Jun 28 2010

A Blast From The Past

Published by admin under Kids

Yesterday, we had a tornado warning.  The sirens sounded, so we went to the basement to hang out.  Away from their computers and Wii game, the boys had “nothing to do”.  So, they found this old Atari game in a box and hooked it up.

One would think that with all the modern games out there, they would not be happy with the primitive graphics and grainy picture.

Or with the old fashioned “joystick” controller.

But they were.

One response so far

Jun 27 2010

The Arsenal

Published by admin under Frugal Living, Kids

My boys are way into firearms and blades.

Dad made these and they are some of their favorite toys.

You’ll notice that in addition to the rifle, shotguns, pistols, sword and machete (which incidentally was made especially for a Jason – from Friday the 13th movie fame - costume last year), there is also a block of solid gold.

Which reminds me of the Easter that we found a solid gold egg in the chicken coop.

But that’s another story.

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Jun 27 2010

For Whom The Bells Toll

Published by admin under Wildlife and Nature

This photo was taken in our yard.

We live near a Monestary.

What does that have to do with this coyote?

Well, every morning at 6 a.m. and every night at 6 p.m., the Monestary bells ring.

I always picture a brown cloaked hunchback climbing to the top of a tower when I hear those bells.

But, I digress.

When the bells toll,  the coyotes answer with their howls.

They sound a bit like shreiking children.

The weird part is that sometimes, the coyotes start their howling just BEFORE the bells toll.

How on earth do they know it’s six o’clock?

Last summer, we frequently camped out in the yard and their howling sounded SO close echoing through the woods.

Especially when you are sleeping in a flimsy tent.

We hear the coyotes often, so we know they are around.   But we rarely spot them.

Only twice have we been able to capture them on film.

Once in the summer.

And once in the winter.

Where on earth does the Phrase “Coyote Ugly” come from?

I think they are so beautiful.

No, we do not get to see them often.

But we do see their tracks in the snow.

2 responses so far

Jun 27 2010

Back To The Grind

Published by admin under Frugal Living, Uncategorized

I’m out of my favorite Gluten Free Flour Mix again.

Time to get out the heavy artillery.

We ordered this grinder last year, just a couple months after going Gluten Free.  We figured that  although it was expensive, it would pay for itself over time since GF Flours are not cheap. 

We buy our brown rice in bulk at Costco.  This bag runs about $13.  It’s organic, too!

We grind about 8 cups of rice at a time, which translates into about 12 cups of flour.  This amount of flour will last us at least a few weeks depending upon how much baking is done.  I’m convinced that grinding our own rice makes a big difference in the outcome of my baked goods. 

I just store the flour in ziploc freezer bags in my cupboard or refrigerator, depending on how quickly I think it will be used.

The process itself is easy.

Pour the rice into the hopper.

Place the lid on and turn on the machine by moving the lower knob clockwise. 

The lower knob adjusts the rate at which the grain falls.  Smaller seeds (amaranth, quinoa) would require the knob to be closer to the “fine” side, but with larger grains, like the short grain brown rice, it’s necessary to turn closer to the “coarse” end or else the opening in the bottom of the hopper will not be large enough for the grain to fall into the grinding mechanism.

This is how we keep it adjusted for our brown rice flour:

This gives us a nice, fine grind.  If you do grind the flour too coarse, your baked goods will be gritty.  This is a problem with many of the commercial rice flours on the market. 

It’s going to take some time for the rice to be ground.  The machine is VERY loud and there will be some dust created.  If this is a concern to you, the grinder can be moved into the garage our outside to run.  Just keep an eye on it, so you know when all the rice has moved through.  The machine will start to whine a bit when the hopper is empty.  The 8 cups of this type rice takes about 10-15 minutes to grind.

When the milling is complete, you should have nice fluffy, powdery flour:

Package it up, or mix it with starches to make an all-purpose flour mix. 

This is my favorite mix:

Annalise Roberts Brown Rice Flour Mix

from www.foodphilosopher.com

2 parts Brown Rice Flour

2/3 part Potato Starch

1/3 part Tapioca Starch (aka Tapioca Flour)

Whisk the flours together and store in an airtight container.

4 responses so far

Jun 26 2010

Breaking All The Rules

Published by admin under Homeschooling

We definitely like breaking the rules. 

So, when we were studying Australian Animals, and learned about Echidnas and Platypus’ (or would that Platypi?), we acquired a great fondness for these very special creatures. 

MONOTREME:   ”Any animal of the Monotremata, the most primitive order of mammals, characterized by certain birdlike and reptilian features, as hatching young from eggs, and having a single opening for the digestive, urinary, and genital organs, comprising only the duckbill and the echidnas of Australia and New Guinea.

(Definition from www.dictionary.com)

The Echidna (a.k.a. Spiny Anteater)

The Platypus (a.k.a. Duckbill)

These creatures are both mammals but they lay eggs! 

The Platypus has fur and a bill and webbed feet and is partly aquatic! 

How messed up can you get?

No wonder the discovery of these animals spurred mythological tales to explain their features!

Not the most attractive of animals, are they?  

But their young are called “puggles” which sure is cute.

You can find more fascinating info about Monotremes at these websites:



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Jun 19 2010

Greetings from The Compound

Published by admin under Uncategorized


4 responses so far

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