Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chickens and Farm Fresh Eggs

Hello Gorgeous!

Super excited about finally getting some straight from the farm fresh eggs around here.  We don't have chickens but we have connections (my in-laws know some chicken people).  My MIL brought us some lovely brown eggs that we have been enjoying all week.  Soccer Boy lamented yesterday that now he is ruined because scrambled eggs taste so much better with fresh eggs that he'll never be able to go back to the old ones.  Their bright yellow yolks make me so happy, and I don't even personally eat eggs.

Our family got to attend a "chicken seminar" a couple weeks ago held at the local Rural King.  The kids were all over that...
Game Boy holding a hen

They had baby bunnies too

Princess with a bunny

Checking out the ducklings

They learned the proper way to hold a chicken and a trick to calming a chicken down quickly (you have to tuck their head under their wing and gently swing them).  Other fascinating items:

  • Both chickens and ducks lay unfertilized eggs.
  • Duck eggs are slightly bigger and have more cholesterol.
  • The color of the egg depends on the color of the chicken's earlobes
  • You can test the freshness of an egg by putting it in a bowl of cold water, fresher eggs sink and lay on their side, old eggs will float.
  • Fresh laid eggs have a natural anti-bacterial coating on them.
  • Wash the eggs with soap and cool water (hot water can permeate the shell).
  • Once you've washed the eggs you should refrigerate them because you have removed the natural anti-bacterial coating.
  • The average egg purchased at the grocery store is about two months old.
  • Grocery store eggs are laid by white leghorn (pronounced leggern) chickens.

They also taught us how to read an egg carton to estimate the age of the eggs inside.  You don't go by the "use by" date, you look at the Julian dating printed on the carton.  There should be a three digit number listed on the carton.  Sometimes they run the numbers all together, so you look at the last three digits.  This is the packaging date.  Eggs are usually packaged within six weeks of being laid.  So add six weeks to that date to get the oldest date the egg should be.

FYI, the Julian dating system gives a number to each date of the year as follows:

001 = Jan 1
002 = Jan 2, etc...

So on the picture above, the number 065 translates to our calendar date March 6.  So these eggs were graded and packed on March 6 and given a "sell by" date of April 4 (30 days after the packed date).  If they were packed within six weeks of laying that would mean the eggs inside this carton might have been collected around the end of January, at the earliest.  We purchased these last week, a little over a week after they were packed.  They might be a little short of two months old, but ultimately there is no way of knowing exactly how old the eggs inside are.  We did do the water test last week and discovered they do not lay completely flat on their side, they are moving towards standing on end at the bottom of the bowl.  Now that we have our farm fresh eggs we will probably turn these eggs into Easter eggs with our dye kits.

There you go, a little introduction to chickens and eggs.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seven Quick Takes - March!!

Thanks to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum for hosting...

1.  Ah, March!  I told myself I was going to be more committed to blogging on a more or less regular basis.  I seem to have forgotten the small detail that March is birthday month at our house.  Add to that we have made lots of friends who also have birthdays this month.  So we have been hopping from party to party to party with still more parties left to go!!  We went to our favorite local indoor pool/water park to celebrate Princess' 7th birthday this year and took an underwater camera (leftover from vacation).  Prints still not back yet so I'll have to do a separate post for those.  In the meantime here are some of the other pictures from our celebrations:
Happy 7th!!

Her friends came for a "princess party"

Excitement about new TMNT crocks!

Our newest 4 year old
2.  The weather around here has been moving from one extreme to the other.  When we went to the pool on Princess' birthday there was 4 feet of snow on the ground.  The very next weekend it all melted in the 70 degree warm up.  Today is a rainy 50 degrees outside, which is causing my sinuses to go crazy.  I woke up to another headache this morning and didn't hesitate to down 2 ibuprofen with my coffee to try and hold it off.  Which reminds me of the one thing I hate about Spring and the Midwest...allergy season!

3.  So I have been faithfully avoiding Facebook during this Lenten season and I have to admit that I don't really miss it.  I would like to say that I have spent my off line time in prayer and devotion, cultivating virtue and all that.  But the reality is I've recently become a Suduko expert on my smartphone.  Addicting.  Sadly, Downton Abbey is now off until who knows when.  It seems all my favorite tv shows have taken a hiatus and are playing reruns, although happily Grimm will be showing a new episode this Friday!  We finally get to find out what will happen with Juliette being a hexenbiest and what's up with that cliffhanger?!  Adalind is going to have another baby?!  Would that be Nick's baby??  (I realize I'm way too emotionally vested in this storyline).  I know Juliette isn't that thrilled about being wesen, but I got to say if you get to choose hexenbiest is totally the way to go.

4.  We just received a call this week that someone moved and the preschool has an opening so Toddler Boy (I really need to change his blog name, considering he just turned 4) gets to go to school!  Yes, still a homeschooling family but he's doing speech therapy and would really benefit getting it on the daily.  He'll be going a few hours to the same school Princess attends.  Already dreaming about what I'll get done without Toddler Boy creating craziness in the house.  Reality is it's only about 2 months until school is out, so not much.  We'll just have a bit more quiet time to get the older kids schooling finished before the summer pandemonium hits.

5.  Firstborn gets to start a new class next week too...driver's ed.  It is still hard to believe that Doug and I have a child who is old enough to drive.  Crazy!  It seems like just yesterday I was taking driver's ed class, then I have to be honest and admit it really has been 26 years.  Can a quarter century pass by that quickly?  I'm still in denial about my age.  Doug is not looking forward to him being behind the wheel but he's very responsible so I know he's ready (or at least as ready as anyone really can be at 15).  Maybe your not truly ready to be a driver until you're older and have children of your own so you know what's at stake.  Or you've lived long enough and seen enough car accidents to respect the power behind the wheel.  Those self driving cars are looking better and better everyday...
Look out world!
6.  My girlfriends and I are supposed to go out tomorrow for lunch to celebrate our birthdays.  I mentioned how March is the birthday month, and that includes my birthday too.  My friends' also have birthdays this month.  Last year we went all fancy and took our hubby's out to dinner in St. Louis while the kids spent the night at grandma's.  Or was that the year before?  Starting to lose track.  We also went to the Melting Pot one year.  I value my girlfriends so much, they provide playmates for my kids (see Take 1), share rides to school, and in general help me keep my sanity.  One of my friends is getting ready to deliver twins, very exciting!
Flashback...the Melting Pot
7.  Ugh, I am really not feeling well this morning.  I feel like I'm fighting a sinus infection/cold.  Can homeschool teachers take a sick day?  Especially on a Friday (which is when our Lyceum classes meet).  Today is the last archery class too, and Toddler Boy has a doctor's appointment.  What I really want to do is drink hot tea and stay in a warm bed with the humidifier cranked up full blast.  I need to schedule it, maybe after the doctor's appointment and before archery (wait...that's when I'm supposed to make lunch).  Maybe they can fend for themselves at lunchtime?  The older boys could but the younger ones probably wouldn't fare well with that arrangement.  I'll shoot for making an early lunch after the dr. appointment and grab a nap before archery...

Looking forward to the warmer temperatures coming back this weekend!!  Click over to This Ain't The Lyceum to catch up on more Quick Takes.

Friday, February 27, 2015

See Me Homeschool

Theresa over at Ordinary Lovely and Micaela at California to Korea are hosting a blog hop asking homeschooling bloggers to show a typical homeschooling day in pictures (no words)!!  I did a interview post for Micaela's link-up last year How I Homeschool so I thought the new link up would be a great way to see how we actually implement that into our days.

My teenager commented to me yesterday "the only typical thing about our homeschooling days are that they are untypical".  No truer words!  Confession:  I snapped these pictures over two days for the same reasons everyone else has given (namely, you can't take pictures and get the homeschooling done at the same time).  Also, I may or may not have bribed my older children with a gas station soda to allow me to photograph them doing their work.

Last but not least...I didn't do much cropping to these so you can still see the laundry that needs to be put away in the background.  Just keeping it real life...

Head over to Theresa at Ordinary Lovely to click on more See Me Homeschool posts by my fellow homeschoolers in the trenches!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Beach Vacation!!

Thanks to Kelly for hosting!!

So we just returned from vacation in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and I wanted to photo dump...

Sunrise at the beach
1.  We stayed in a condo right on the beach.  The beach = awesome!  It was white sand with very few sea shells, which was actually nice because you could walk barefoot all day long and not step on anything but sand.  The condo was beautiful but Doug and I decided that maybe condo living is not really built for large families?  We spent the first couple of days hissing at the kids to be quiet...use your indoor voice...not so loud (you get the picture).  Our family did a lot of day trips because it was impossible to keep the younger kids quiet and cooped up for long blocks of time and we didn't want to annoy our elderly neighbors.  Typically we would plan a morning activity, come back to eat lunch, and then go out on an afternoon activity.  We would come back to eat supper and then everyone was tired out enough to watch a movie and go to bed.

Balcony on beach
I should mention that the condo was on the fifth floor with a balcony.  Plus all the windows open!  Whose brilliant idea was that?!  We were ever vigilant parents for the first couple of days and made sure the windows stayed locked and blocked off.  The little kids were not allowed on the balcony without Mom or Dad out there.  I will admit that at night we totally blocked off the balcony door with chairs that made lots of noise if you moved them (we have some sleepwalkers).  However, it did make a very nice place to drink my morning cup of coffee.
Morning cup of coffee...awesome!

2.  The drive down was not too bad.  We stayed in a hotel outside Atlanta on the way down and in Chattanooga, TN on the way home.  Both places had heated indoor pools and enough beds to sleep all seven in our family.  I used to help us find some places big enough for our group.  We also had lots of snack food, our smartphones, the Kindle Fire HD, two ipods, and a DVD player with double screens and headphones.

Princess at Florida welcome center
Florida welcome center

3.  The older two boys spent a lot of time fishing.  On Thursday they went out on a fishing charter and caught some redfish, which we fried up that night for supper.  They were also brave enough to swim in the surf (the temps were in the 60s and 70s when we were down there).  The kids claimed the water was warmer than the air once you got used to it.


Heading for the surf

Riding some waves

4.  We took an afternoon drive north to St. Augustine to visit Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest American fort.  We studied St. Augustine and the fort last year for history when my folks went there for a visit.  When we were planning this vacation it was someplace I wanted to take the kids.  The entire fort is made of coquina, which is a limestone made of sea shells.  You can see all the shells embedded in the walls, it was really neat.
The gang outside Castillo de San Marcos

Group shot

Princess with the cannons on the top deck

Toddler Boy loved the cannonballs
He wanted to take one home

5.  We also spent some time walking along the beaches.
Shot of the guys...

Game Boy

Racing the waves!

Toddler Boy with me
Still light enough to be carried...
6.  While the older boys were out on their fishing charter we took the younger kids on a boat ride to look for dolphins.  The kids even got to drive the boat for an extra treat...

Captain for the day

Dolphin family

7.  The last day there my hubby and I got to go out on a date!  We went out to lunch at the Sea Shack and then went for a walk down Flagler Ave. where I picked up some nice jewelry...

My Valentine's gift from my
sweet hubby!
Me and my man

We could have stayed an extra day but I'm glad we didn't because there was a weather system coming in and we don't love driving through the mountains on ice covered roads.  We picked up our dogs from the kennel and made it home in time to do some grocery shopping before this:

Back to reality...

Hope you're all staying warm in the final days of winter!  Click over to Kelly @ This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes.