Saturday, April 23, 2011

Organic Easter Treats

Over the past few years we have made several changes in the way we eat.  When we decided to change our diet, one of the things that was most important was to keep out artificial food colorings.  So this year we decided to cut out one of the biggest culprits of food coloring Candy.  We are not big candy eaters to begin with but like a lot of parents we try to make sure the kids get their yearly allotment of Easter goodies to fill their baskets.  Well this year we went with a more traditional approach and opted to make everything from scratch without food coloring and using organic ingredients to make everything.  No blue #2, no yellow # 5 and no red #40 instead we created eggs in colors I don't think I have ever seen before but am extremely fond of.  These onion skins made the prettiest metallic red/brown color.
And the spinach made a pale earthy green color.
Canned berries made a deep purple egg and tea made an orange brown.
Did anyone miss the neon colors of egg dying past?  Nope!  And I will surely not miss the side affects that go along with those nasty artificial colors especially the emotional mess it causes my super sensitive to food coloring, son #2. 
 And this was the finished product...


We also made home made jelly bean...this is the mold...we used organic orange juice, grape juice, lemon juice, and real coconut extract for flavoring...and added no food coloring.  Here they are drying in the mold. It is supposed to be for jello jiggler beans but we used it for jelly beans...it worked very well...




We taste tested a few before they were dry and they were so good.  They just melted in your mouth...and the only thing they were missing was the nasty flavor of the food coloring...so nothing...

These are my favorite though...chocolate covered peanut butter eggs...(and other various shapes my silly kids made)



But the best part of making our own treats was being able to spend time together making great memories that hopefully they can share with their kids someday...





Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring at the Chuckle Patch Farm...

Wow I don't even know where to start.  Spring has sprung here in Kentucky.  I LOVE spring...I think if you could bottle Spring it would be some kind of wonderful happy medicine.  



I love the flowers, I love seeing the trees starting to green up, and blossiming pink and white buds all over.  I love that the kids can get out of the house and get some much needed outside time. The grass starts to grow in lush and green, our "guest ducks" come back from their winter migration.  They show up every year...last year we had 16 ducklings hatched by the guest duck...she would take them up to the barn every morning when Kenny was feeding the chickens so they could get some food.  She is one smart momma...she knows we are a farm full of suckers.  Spring is what gets me through the long winter...I get so excited the first blossom I see.  If I am lucky enough to have one of the kids with me I make sure to point it out and I undoubtedly get an eye roll when I point it out.  They just don't see it the way I do...oh well. 

The last few months have kept us busier than ever.  We started March with our youngest Sage having surgery to lengthen his arm.  It was his first major surgery that we did solo.  I think we got the hang of it now.  We make a good team Sage and I.  To tell you the truth I couldn't do it without him.  He has more strenght than any one I have ever met.  I think he makes it look easier just so I won't worry.  Thank you to all our friends and family who have continually prayed for us. 












He was such a trooper and bounced back so fast.  Playing video games only an hour after surgery. He is truly a miracle and this time we have gotten to spend together has been such a Godsend.  

Since having a surgery in February on his leg and now this he has been pretty much home bound.  We have been homeschooling each other.  I am learning 4th grade all over again.  It is much more interesting this time around.  Sage is a very good teacher and has much more patience than I do. 

We lengthened his arm over an inch by turning the screws they placed surgically into his bone.  The schedule required us to turn them every 6 hours day and night.  I am thankful it all worked the right way and even more thankful that we don't have to turn them anymore because what little sleep we got before was even less then, and I wasn't sure how much more I could do on 3 hours of sleep at a time.  The bones are healing well and we go back for another xray in 4 weeks to see if he can get the cage removed and a cast put on in it's place. 


I learned to play a video game, and Sage taught me how to drive a remote control boat in the pool.  It is hard to keep an 11 year old that couldn't walk and only use one arm to play with occupied.  So we got creative.


We took a trip to NJ to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary and our son Jayde's 17th birthday, I also got to have a night out with my best ladies which was a much needed night out. 

We stopped in VA on the way home to visit with my Chickie Dee (that's what I call her), she is my bestie, and my niece Vivian.  We can never get enough of them. 


Vivian has more energy than the Energizer Bunny...on speed...and the vocabulary of a college freshman...she is 3 by the way and I think Dee had her just so I can buy frilly little girl things for her...(the boys were getting sick of me taking pretty purple dresses and holding them up to them just to see what a little girl me may look like) so for the time being she is the cure for everything girly...and she doesn't mind one bit.
We sent our first home grown pig to the butcher and we purchased our first calf Marley she's a Holstein and hopefully will give us lots of milk someday.  She was Jayde's birthday present (he doesn't like the goats milk)  We will user her to raise a calf for the freezer as each year as well.  I am sure I will blog more about her too. 

She is still getting used to us I don't think she was handled quite as much as we were told...Chance had a great work out getting her out to the barn...who would have thought a 3 month old calf could be so strong...

but she is cute and we will love her anyway.



We rebuilt our growing table shelves to start the garden seeds and I put up a fish tank for the boys' goldfish that have been living in a bowl for the past 2 years...I figure if they could tough it out that long in a gallon size bowl they deserved a nice tank...Note to everyone goldfish are not an appropriate table centerpiece for a birthday party.  That's how we got them.  Jayde rescued them from a sweet 16.



I was also suckered into adding 3 bunnies to the family.  Note to self ...leave the kids at home when going to Tractor Supply in the spring.  These little cutie pies are Artemus, Alice, Dustin.  I am pretty sure the boys will take care of them after me telling them they will become stew if they don't...years ago they may not have believed this, but now mmmm they're not so sure...(fyi...no harm will come to the bunnies) They are so cute and fluffy...hehe...I like them.  And even though they have boy and girl names I really am not sure yet what sex they are but I will have them all spayed/neutered soon so we will not have to go down that road...


I have perfected our Challah bread recipe...it was by far one of the best ones I have made yet..look how pretty it was....




Our first all farm raised ,meal of the season...



Pulled pork, asparagus from the garden and home made bread...yum! With organic Strawberry Lemon Pound Cake for dessert...oooolala it was good!



I also learned how to render down the pig fat to make lard.  I know the fat police in NJ probably have a warrant out for me because of this.  I am going to make a fat candle out of it and maybe save a tiny bit to cook something in just to see how much better it will taste cooked in pure saturated fat...*sigh*  But it's organic fat does that make it better? *sigh*