July 7

Well 4th of july came and went and we had a great time celebrating at my brother’s house.

IMG_1774 we went swimming

IMG_1778 Played on the blow up water slide

IMG_1785 and watched a few fireworks while playing with sparklers -

Dinner was a shrimp boil again – shrimp, potato, sausage, and corn on the cob boiled together with yummy seasoning  - salad and bread, margaritas, and spinach artichoke dip rounded out the meal.

Yesterday, Rowan had her 3rd lesson with her new trainer – it is awesome and wonderful to see her finally growing as a rider. It took this long for me to realize she needed something different, something more, something no someONE better. Rowan has two wonderful trainers she works with and is doing splendidly. Both trainers like her progress and her mare and both have commented how well Row and her mare will do showing in a few months.  (I really need to find a job!)

Unfortunately as you know – we can’t have our trainers come to our barn (one can come but only when she also works with our pony club so it’s not regular ), so we are looking to move Row’s horse to the barn that DOES allow her trainer(s) to come. It will be an actual barn fee we’ll have to pay since now Rowan works off 95% of the board but I did figure for the amount I paid for 2 lessons (lessons+trailering+gas) Rowan take 4 lessons rather than than those 2.

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She had a great lesson! I am so proud of her :)

Bright Blessing!

 

July 1

Happy July 1st!  Today Jaia gets her braces on, which up until this point she was super excited about – Now she worries that they will hurt. Having never had braces myself and only going off what other tell me -I tell her  I think they’ll only hurt for a bit but honestly I’m not sure –  we may be going out for ice-cream after :)

It’s been a struggle getting Row out to the barn on a consistent basis this summer. Part of it is totally me and laziness and knowing it’s a good 3 to 4 hour block I have to set aside for the riding. Part of it is that I think Row really has no pleasure in going and riding at OUR BARN so she’s not ASKING to go. She doesn’t necessarily “fit in” with the girls there (there are some AWESOME girls though, just different personalities) and knowing that the barn you’ve spent so much time at the past 5 +  years won’t allow you to have your own trainer is kinda a bummer. The decision has been made I think and now I need to make progress on moving Row’s horse to a barn that allows her trainer to come.  Ah growth  and change is so difficult.

I’ve been playing around in the kitchen! Dinner the other night was bacon wrapped chicken thighs! They got 3 out of 4 approval yums ( don’t know what my youngest was thinking, same chicken, same herbs, different method)

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You need:

1 to 2 packages of chicken things – deboned and no skin- ( I used 2 for our family of 4- organic from Trader Joe’s)

1 package bacon

3 – 4 cloves garlic depending on how much garlic you like

small bunch of rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

First mince the garlic and rosemary -toss together in a small bowl or just set to the side – you’ll use this immediately.

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The process – take a slice of bacon, open the chicken thigh and lay it across the bacon. Top with the rosemary and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roll. It doesn’t matter which side you roll from  - I made sure to tuck some of the bacon into the thigh as I rolled.

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Repeat until all your chicken thighs are seasoned and rolled. There should be (maybe) several slices of bacon left over – go ahead and fry this in the pan you’re going to use for the chicken. Set the bacon aside after it’s fried – you’re using this in the side dish.

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You may have to drain a bit of the bacon grease off .   Fry the now bacon wrapped chicken in a cast iron skillet – 5 minutes per side. While this is cooking preheat the oven to 425*.  After you’ve fried the chicken toss it in the oven and you’ll finish it off in there. I think I timed it for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile – Our side dishes – I made Cherry tomatoes with capers and balsamic vinegar. This is a go to favorite in our house – the girls love it also. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe and it’s in his cookbook – “Jamie’s Food Revolution”. ( I am a huge Jamie fan)

I also steamed some broccoli and tossed it in a mixture of melted butter, olive oil, garlic powered, salt and pepper – I added our extra bacon bits to the broccoli:)

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As I said – my husband and 16 year old loved the chicken dish and it’s on my “add to menu rotation list”, but for some reason Jaia didn’t like it.  Boggles my mind – silly girl!

And the best part? There were leftovers!

Bright Blessings!

 

June 30

Last day of the month! I can’t believe it’s going by so fast. I’m sure I’ve said that before but wow -

Last week we got together with our friends for another tween crafternooon- this time we made stamps which will be used in the future to stamp fabric which in turn  we’ll use to make zipper pouches or simple bags.

The girls had a great time and I’m having fun planning and doing crafts with the girls as well.

The supplies we used- washed styrofoam container from fruit or meat. Wash well with hot soapy water if you are reusing meat styrofoam. You  can also use the thin craft styrofoam you can buy at the craft store, but that is a different process.  You will also need a pen/pencil if you want to draw a picture first, scissors, paint brushes or something to press down the styrofoam with, paint and paper of course.

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The first thing you need to do is choose what design you’d like to use for making a stamp – it helps to have a picture or design you can trace first and then transfer onto the styrofoam -

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Using tracing paper, trace the design you want and then flip it onto the foam with the pencil side down. Use pencil – ink won’t transfer as well. Once it’s face down, then use you pencil and rub lightly over the whole picture. This will transfer the pencil markings from the paper to the foam.

IMG_1710 You can also just draw a picture directly onto the foam if you know what you’d like to make -

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Using the dull end of the paintbrush, push an flatten any styrofoam you DON’T WANT to show when you stamp – It may take a few minutes to flatten the styrofoam enough  - be patient.

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When you are finished  - paint and press!

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If you are using the craft foam – simply cut a design that you want as a stamp. It helps if you have something firm to glue the styrofoam onto so you can press with it. I scavenged through some old toys to find flat sided things.

IMG_1693  Here I made simple hearts and glued them onto a bottle cap and an old piece of “bread” from one of those wooden play sets  - everything else had long since been passed on -

Have fun making your own stamps!

Bright Blessing  -

June 25

Over the weekend, while Jaia and I were Feising in Kentucky my eldest had a few friends over for a sleepover. Really though – when they are all between the ages of 15 and 18 what exactly do you call a sleepover????  Not a slumber party surely !

She requested pizza (so I left her money) and my homemade very berry muffins.  I’m not one to turn down a request for homemade goodies so I immediately got started on those muffins  -

Here’s my recipe – I found this YEARS  ago online so I really don’t know the original source.


 

Very Berry Muffins

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter – softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 375*. Line or grease approximately 18 muffin cups.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together . Set aside for  a minute.

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In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together until they are light and fluffy.

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Alternate adding 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk mixture. Beat on low speed until all the ingredients are blended together.  (honestly I think I just dumped the whole  bowl of flour in there and then added the buttermilk)

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Using the mixer on low, or a spatula, add in the berries and mix until just blended. I did toss the berries with a bit of flour/sugar mixture to keep them from clumping.

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Fill the muffin tins approximately 3/4 of the way full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean of batter. Remove from pan and cool.

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Enjoy! Try these with some homemade whipped cream – they are delicious!

Bright Blessings!

June 23

So we made it through back to back weekend feising. Traveling 2 weekends in a row really has taken a toll on me – I’m still recovering from the first trip!  The drive was easy, we car pooled with another mom and her daughter – and had a very pleasant time. Lunch we ate in the car both weekends and when we arrived Friday evening, had dinner. This past friday we met with all the girls’ friends and had dinner together at an Irish themed restaurant -

Jaia had a scotch egg -

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Which, according to jaia are not as good as the scotch eggs we can find locally. I had a creamed smoked salmon and potato dish (with cheese). It was not too bad at all.

Saturday morning we got up and headed to the venue where Jaia finished getting ready -

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The venue was huge!

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Jaia ran through her dances several times before competing  -

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Yeah! Three medals!

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I am very proud of my dancer!

Bright Blessings!

June 18

Well it’s been both a rushed and a not rushed summer so far and there isn’t much to post about today. We’ve been busy, what with dance camp and competitions going on. But so far we’ve not been running around crazy. And that’s a good thing. After this weekends competition we will have a lull for a while – dance takes a short break and there’s no big travel plans for a while. I haven’t gotten into my swing of making herbal salves yet and there are a few I’d like to make for us this summer  - itch be gone and sun salve are the two main ones. These are on the agenda for next week.

Rowan’s riding lessons are going great – when we can have them. They are still very sporadic and I’m working on making them have a more set schedule. It’s hard though when you are relying on other people to trailer your horse to and from the lessons because you can’t have your trainer come to you.

The heat is finally hitting the midwest. We are wilting already. None of us enjoy the heat – but oh well.

Yesterday I sat in Doctor’s offices for several hours with my husband – he tore his bicep muscle a week or so ago and we were determining if surgery is in the cards. It is. Luckily it’s an outpatient surgery so will be in and out of the hospital in a couple of hours.  He’s not looking forward to it.

And that sums it up for this week.

Bright Blessings -

 

 

 

June 16

So Jaia and I traveled to our first official out of state feis this past weekend. (Not counting the Oireachtas she participated in last year). Since she’s a novice now I want her to experience a few more feisianna  so she can get both experience and hopefully medals.

We carpooled with some friends this time around which was very nice. It made the time driving seem short (only 4 hours anyway) and the girls had a great time visiting on the way down.

The hotel was meh – We stayed at a Hilton which are nice hotels but man – for the amount you pay you’d think that the internet and breakfast would be free. But nope. Charge for everything they do. I’m surprised the pool towels were free -

Jaia did very good this time around – a second in the St. Patricks day dance and also a 4th and a 5th place ribbon. So she  IS showing improvement – which makes me happy  -

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Getting her wig on .

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Waiting for her turn.

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On stage!

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Silver medal – She was soooo proud of herself! I was too -

We are off again this friday for another feis – this time in Kentucky  - Wish her luck!

Bright Blessings

 

 

 

June 12

Rowan had her first lesson with a dressage trainer at our barn last night. She’s been training with this particular trainer for a while now, just at another barn on another horse. It’s significant BECAUSE of this – Her first time with her trainer on her own horse at our own barn. (Yes, Row has 2 trainers).  Our barn owner is not normally open to other trainers coming in (- there’s a hunter/jumper trainer at our barn who did not work out for Rowan – ) but last night was an exception since our trainer then did a games lesson for some pony clubbers going to a rally.

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It was fabulous and Rowan loved being able to ride her horse at our barn.   This may or may not be a permanent lesson plan for us though – only time will tell.

Pharma is a well trained dressage horse and I’m confident, and her trainers are too, that with the correct training and once these two sync up, they will be an awesome pair! I can’t wait for that!

This evening we head to the circus and tomorrow Jaia and I head out for a feis!

Bright Blessings

 

June 11

Well, I have to say, sadly, that the corset was a bust – No pun intended (but yes – that did give me a laugh). Although the material was gorgeous and the style was okay – I definitely needed more than 2 days to make a corset that was fitted properly. It was TOO BIG – I was bummed. But Rowan wants one for Halloween so that gives me months to create a proper corset!

We did have our FIRST  tween crafter noon earlier this week! It was Jaia and one other friend. We decided our first project should be decorated bulletin boards they can hang in their rooms for picture and notes and what not.

First I gathered supplies – square cork board pieces from Target. Fabric scraps and felt pieces from my stash, glue from joann’s.

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The first thing the girls did was to dig through my stash and choose the fabric they wanted to use for their covered cork boards. Then we cut the fabric to size and glued it around the edges with the E6000 glue.

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After the fabric was glued  - we stapled the corners down for added security. Then the girls decorated. Jaia went through my stash again and decided on the simple route…..

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While Jaia’s friend used the felt pieces and went to town!

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We added some braided fabric to the back with glue and staples – and TA DA!

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Two very cute fabric covered bulletin boards!

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And some cute models!

Have fun creating and if you make some post it in the comments so we can see!

Bright Blessings!