Thursday, September 30, 2010

Black Bottom Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

There is a slight trick to this recipe. I made no bake cheese cake cupcakes first and left a little of the cheese cake batter in the mixing bowl. Mixing it up with the cake mixes adds a lot of moister to the finished cupcakes.

1 devil's food chocolate cake mix
1 dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1 large box instant chocolate pudding mix
6 eggs
3 Cups water (you may need more)
1 Cup oil

Preheat your oven to 350*. I mixed all of the ingredients together in a stand mixer, adding water until it reached the consistency of thick brownie batter. I overfilled my cups, so I got 36 cupcakes. If you filled them correctly (2/3 of the way full) you could get a lot more. Some of them I've decorated as pumpkins, the rest I will decorate as soccer balls. (For my son's soccer game Sat.)

The pumpkin spice comes in when you mix up your icing. I added a little pumpkin pie spice to it, as well as neon orange gel food coloring. Set that aside.

If you don't have orange sugar sprinkles, you can make your own. Take 1 jar yellow sugar, a dash of red sugar, a dash of pink sugar and 2 drops orange gel food coloring. Mix thoroughly, set aside.

*These cupcakes can be top heavy so be careful.*

First spread about a teaspoon of icing onto the top of each cupcake. It doesn't have to be perfect, its going to act like glue.

Cut one mini cruler or twist doughnut in two. Place one half, cut side down, onto each cupcake.

Cover with each with orange frosting. Remember the center should have a small divot from the doughnut.

Coat with orange sugar.

The leaves are just really stiff green icing, piped from a sandwich bag. They did not turn out the way I wanted them to. . . .

Now as far as taste; these were super yummy!! They are really moist and the pumpkin pie spice in the icing adds and extra dimension of flavor without being overpowering.  I will definitely make these again!!

Calves ~ Fall 2010

 Brought home 2 new calves today. We put them in the sheep paddock. It has a gate in the middle so we can easily separate the sheep and calves. Lucy and Ethyl, our red Angus cows, have there date with destiny in about 2 weeks.  Once their gone and their paddock thoroughly cleaned, we'll put the new calves in. These are Black Angus cows, I'll let you know in 18 months if there's a taste difference.

The steer is slightly bigger and all black.
 The heifer has white on her face and a white belly.

I guess he's camera shy, lol!!

We will raise these guys for about a year and a half.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lamb Goulash

This recipe is a lot like my Ratatouille, but the taste is very different. 
Its easy, quick and definitely comfort food without the calories. Serves 6 
3 adults and 2 kids. (one of the adults had seconds)
Aprox. 175 cal per serving (not including the mashed potato's)

The Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground lamb (we used Romney which has a more delicate flavor but you could use whatever you have)
  • 2 Cups baby carrots - cut in half
  • 1 small yellow squash - diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small zucchini - also diced into bite sized piece
  • 1 can of diced tomato's 14.5oz (you could use 1.5 Cups of fresh)
  • 1 packet of onion mushroom soup mix

Brown lamb in medium pot 3-5 min. 

While the lamb is browning, start your mashed potato's. 

Drain the fat, add the soup packet and carrots to the lamb. 

Continue cooking until the carrots are just barley fork tender, then add the rest of the diced vegetables and the can of tomato's. 

Cook 3-5 min. until the veggies are soft but not mushy. Serve in bowls with mashed potato's on top.

Sorry there's no picture of this with the mash potato's. This was so good we inhaled it. There was no talking, no how was your day, just shoveling it in as fast as we could.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free Halloween decorations!!

I love Halloween!!  I got a wild hair yesterday and started decorating. I like to buy stuff after the holidays, when their on sale. I also make a lot of things. The trees below I bought, painted, embossed and added cobwebs in different colors. The pumpkins I made by needle felting.

I love the magazine "Family Fun." They always have great ideas and things to do with the kids. I had not looked through our current issue until today. When I saw the milk jug skeletons I knew I had to make them.

We have a fairly large fish tank, but we also have well water, which can leave trace metals that can start to accumulate inside it. So I buy water in 2.5 gal jugs. My son has been wanting to recycle, so the jugs have been collecting on the enclosed porch.

This one is going to be a little smaller than the others. Its made from a half gal jug, a milk jug and the bones are cut from one of the 2.5 gal jugs. The directions say to cut out the eyes and mouth, but I wanted them to be a little more visible so I colored them in with a permanent marker. To make the whole skeleton smaller I cut out smaller shoulders, cut the bones smaller and will not be adding hip bones.

I free handed the bones onto the larger jug and cut them out with a pair of kitchen sheers.

The best parts are, I have enough jugs just laying around that I can do a whole family of skeletons, they look really cool and they didn't cost me any money!! Just a little time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bunny pregnancy update!!

Ok so I'm a little nervous. Its my first breeding and I decided to breed 4 out of my 5 does. So far I'm pretty sure 3 of the 4 are pregnant.

English Angora - She started to build a nest of hay Sun. and this morning was pulling wool.
Rex - She is fat and when reintroduced to the buck a week after breeding the buck turned away from her.
Large Flemish Giant - Has not entered the nest box since I added hay to it 3 days ago.
Smaller Flemish Giant - Is already a proven mother, and was starting to build a nest of hay this morning.

In theory they're all due tomorrow morning!! I will not be posting pics immediately. I do not want to disturb the mothers. Sometimes with rabbits that can cause a bad reaction in the mother.

Here's crossing my fingers for some lovely babies!!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I know its not Christmas but . . . . .

the craft show is in Nov. so by then the Xmas spirit will be in full swing . . . .  

Anyway this is one of the things I've been working on:

the front cover

the first 2 pages
both have a pocket with a tag for journaling or more photos

pages 3 and 4
and the back of the tag from between page 2/3

pages 5 and 6
the front of the tag from between page 6/7

pages 7 and 8
the back of the tag from between page 6/7
and the front of the tag from between page 8/9

pages 9 and 10
the back of the tag from between page 8/9
and the front of the tag from between page 10/11

pages 11 and 12
the back of the tag from between page 10/11

pages 13 and 14
with a pocket in the middle of page 13
 and tag from between page 14 and the back cover

 the back cover
and the back of the tag from page 14

Please feel free to let me know what you think!
 Sorry about the crummy photo's!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Angora Rabbit False Pregnancy?

Ok so this is my junior doe - Cinnamon. I chose not to breed her because she was less than 6 months at the time. I went out to the barn to feed the other morning and this is what I found: large clumps of felted wool, they looked kind of like cotton balls. I checked around/in her cage, there was nothing she could get a hold of and tear up. She doesn't have any bald patches and the next morning I came out to the same thing. Not sure whats going on here.     

Bunny birth day count down 3 DAYS!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bunny Barn - ideas

Ok, as for cleaning,  its not completely done and I can only do so much before the dust really gets to me but its starting to look really nice. I will be adding better pictures to an animal page sometime in the near future.

I've swept and vacuumed the cob webs from the pig, sheep, and bunny stalls. The stall that the rabbits are in right now is actually the one we use for meat chickens in the spring. Leaving the rabbits there for the time being is ok but only until we decide to raise meat chickens again. Probably not next year but the spring after next. (April of 2012 ish)

Anyway that means the bunnies have to move. . . .

There is room in the barn but its not an enclosed space like the stall. The problem with that is in the winter what to do about their water freezing. If my measurements are correct there is enough room for 16 large hutches and 2-4 smaller hutches. There is also room for their feed barrels.

Another idea is to build a Rabbit Barn off of the existing barn. There's a small area near the chicken pen/stall that already has a door. We would just have to build 3 walls and a celling. I believe the area is smaller then the one inside the barn. I'll be measuring it today so I'll know for sure.

Some things I would like to consider adding/changing in the rabbit barn would be:

    Some of these things would interfere with other ideas I've had, so nothing is set in stone yet. If anybody reads this your comments would be appreciated. This is my first time managing our rabbit herd pretty much on my own. Constructive criticism / comments will always be read/considered and I will do my best to reply to everyone. 

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Cleaning the Barn

    The problem with our barn is dust. . . . and it wouldn't be a problem except that I'm allergic to it. Especially hay dust. I can only get so far in cleaning and then I have to stop for a day or two. And that's with wearing dust masks. It stinks big time!

    I started cleaning the barn over this past weekend, when my sweetie was in. He helped a bunch. We cleaned out the sheep stall then put up more boards in the tire loft. He even nailed them down for me and then got after me for being up there without them being nailed down. I swept the cob webs from the pig stall and sheep stall. I still did not get everything done but being able to breath won over not breathing.

    This morning I tried to work on the bunny stall. . . . I got the floor cleaned up. 2 wheel barrels of uneaten hay and droppings. But again I had to stop because of the dust.   :(  
    My dad bought a shop vac for me to try out. Maybe I'll get to it this afternoon. . . .

    Big Craft Show Nov. 6 & 7

    Ok, I'm still on the fence about this but my sweetie is being really supportive and encouraging me to do a big craft show in Dayton. A big craft show means a higher cost to get in but potentially more customers. I have 9 weeks, counting this one, until the show. Here's my list of things I want to get done before hand.

    100 - Boutique hair bows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 pieces done
    50 - crochet Hats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 done
    5 - felt Playscapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    25-40 - small felt sculptures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    5 - Baby blankets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 done
    10 - crochet Bibs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 done
    5 - crochet baby/toddler Sweaters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 done
    5-6 - Xmas Garland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    5-10 - felt games (checkers, tic tac toe, sorting) . . . . . . . 1 started
    2 - large felt Xmas Soft Sculptures (Santa, sleigh, reindeer)
    30 - felt Xmas ornaments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    15 - by the oz, Dorset and Finnsheep wool  . . . . . . . . . . . Just needs to be packaged
    5 - felt sandwich set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 almost finished
    5 - felt cookie sets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 almost finished
    20 - felt food patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    6 - felt book sets   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    20 - Paper Bag Albums  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    10 - Star albums   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Done
    10 - Explosion box kits  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . just need packaged
    30 - flyer's with name, blog, Etsy shop, pics of bunnies for sale, etc.
    20 - Gift tags (sets of 10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Ya, its probably not all going to get done. But I can try, right? I know realistically that not all of these things will get done, but the more things I bring the better my chances of selling are. At least that's the theory I'm working off of for now. ^-^

    Below are just a few pics of items (I have made) similar to what I would like to take. 

    Felt softsculpture

    Felt playscape

    Tear Bird

    Felt sandwich toppings

    Quilled Sunflower

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Raspberry Brownie Cupcakes with Homemade White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

    This is kind of a semi-homemade recipe.  I used prepackaged brownie mix but you could use your favorite brownie recipe. To save time, you could also make your own brownie mix. Just mix the dry ingredients together, put the recipe on the outside of the container and keep it in your pantry.

    Raspberry Brownie Cupcakes
    2  packages brownie mix - I used Hershey's Ultimate Chocolate Brownie mix, I buy it at Sam's club
    4  large eggs
    1/2 c  water - You'll need 1/2c because of the extra dry ingredients
    1c  oil
    2 Tablespoons of raspberry jam - I used some I canned last year but you can use your favorite
    1 large package of instant chocolate pudding

    Preheat oven to 350*. Mix all the ingredients together. Divide into greased or lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350* for 35 min. Makes 24 cupcakes.

    (Sorry for the crummy photo. I didn't realize it was so bad when I took it last night. This was before they were baked.)

    White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

    6oz white bakers chocolate (roughly chopped)
    2 sticks of butter (room temp)
    1c powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Slowly melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 sec intervals. Cream butter, chocolate, and vanilla together. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Resist the urge to ice your cupcakes while warm. (like I did) and ENJOY!!

    I really liked this recipe, but it just wasn't what I was craving last night. The icing was great, not too sweet and it really tasted like white chocolate. But I didn't want brownies I wanted something a little more cupcakey.

    One of the best parts was they only took maybe 10-15 min to throw together! I was able to make these during the commercials for one of my favorite shows. 

    Regardless they are delicious I couldn't wait for them to cool so I frosted them while they were still warm and I ate 2!! YUMMY!!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Sept. Monthly Menu

    Tues. 7th - Hot dogs, Cheddar worsts, potato chips and corn
    Wed. 8th - Carnita's (slow cooker), sweet potato fries
    Thur. 9th - garlic chicken (slow cooker), butter noodles 
    Fri. 10th - steaks, baked potato's, squash

                   (generally I don't cook dinner on the weekends)

    I'll add more as I go. I'm out of ideas for today. :)


    Currently I have:

    2 Flemish Giant does
    2 English Angora does
    2 Giant Angora bucks
    and 1 Rex doe

    The Rex and one of the English Angora's were bred to a friends' bucks on Aug. 21, 2010. I am expecting purebred kits on Sept. 21, 2010, though they will not be registered.

    I bred the Flemish Giants to the Giant Angora's on the same day. In theory I should get a mix of kits with long wool and kits with reg. fur.

    This first breeding is mostly to see who will produce what and if they will raise a litter. Only one of our doe's is a proven mother.

    The Giant Angora's I have are purebred with pedigree but are not registered as they are colored. They came from a breeding program Colleen Wagner developed to try and introduce color into the breed standard. They are a little small for Giant's so she cut them from her breeding program. I'm breeding with the Flemish Giants in an attempt to increase the size of the kits and because I haven't been able to find a decent Giant Angora doe at a reasonable price within a reasonable distance from my house. With line breeding, after 3 generations, I will have a purebred herd. 


    Here's a quick break down on what we have and why.

    5 Finnsheep - 3 ewe's, 1 ram and a weathers

    2 Dorset - both ewe's (meat sheep)

    We bought the Finnsheep because they are said to lamb in litters, with twins to quadruplets being the most common. Their naturally polled and have short tails. They are also a smaller sheep supposedly with less fat. That means better meat and I don't have to wrestle a big sheep when sheering or trimming hooves. Hopefully next spring we'll have our own lambs and won't have to buy any Dorset's.

    1st Day of School!

    Today is my daughters first day of school. Well, I guess not really. She's been in early head start since she could crawl. But now she gets to ride the short bus and attend Head Start for a 1/2 day, 4 days a week. She's our youngest, her father and I are having a bit of trouble with this. But where it makes me want another it makes him not want anymore. "Sigh" I feel I'm starting to feel a bit older, not quite like a 'young person' anymore.

    Here we go! My first post!!

    This first post is really to introduce us. For me, I'd like to become more organized and make the switch to being a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) to WHAM (Work at Home Mom). Obviously more money coming in would be great but I would also like to improve on some of the things (I feel) I'm no good at.

    I have some insane idea that if I'm a SAHM my home should be clean and uncluttered, dinner should be hot and ready by 6:30pm, laundry should not be piled up waiting to be washed and put away, all of the animals should be well fed and taken care of, quality time spent with children, homework done, I would love to catch up on my scrapbooking, I want to teach my children to recycle and to volunteer, and I should be able to make and post my craft items for sale on Etsy at least 3 times a week.

    Ever feel like you're being pulled in so many directions you can not get anything done? . . . . Ya, me too.