This post is about Gabriel...our Resident Rascal.

So what are two fish doing in a post about Gabriel?

There were 4 fish.  In a 10-gallon tank.  But the little rascal dumped half a container of fish food in the tank.

There are now two fish.

And the big tank (and rocks, and fake foliage and other assorted decor Noah decided on) are in the process of being cleaned.

AND...the big boys now have a child-proof doorknob cover on the outside of their bedroom door so that no little rascals can get in their room unsupervised.  The older boys love their little rascal very dearly, and are so good with him (Noah didn't even get upset with G for doing this)...they just don't love lego creations being destroyed, and said legos dropped in the fish tank...and half a container of fish food dumped in the tank.  (These are all separate, repeated offenses.  We thought the legos in the tank were bad...we should have realized that food would be worse.)

What are we going to do when Missy is mobile?!?


Spaghetti Squash

God is just so creative.


...that shreds into "noodles" very reminiscent of spaghetti.  Who coulda thunk such a thing up?  God, that's who. 

I first became aware of spaghetti squash when Jas and I were a family-of-2, living in Colorado.  

I decided to get crazy and buy one and try it out...see if it really worked like I'd read.

 And it did.  Crazy!

Fast forward, ummm....about 15 years.  It's now been over a year since the 7 of us begun the GAPS protocol...and we have become bosom buddies with spaghetti squash during that time.  It is a yummy and versatile staple in my culinary arsenal...and I'm just sad that it took GAPS to bring it front and center for us.  I usually buy two to four biggish squashes every week at the store.

I had to relearn how to prepare spaghetti squash since it had been forever...but thankfully it is so very easy.

First, I start the oven heating to 400 degrees.

Next, I cut through the squash lengthwise, and lay it cut-side down in a dish (or on a cookie sheet):

Bake it in the oven for between 30 minutes and an hour.  When I get big squash, I cook them closer to an hour.  But sometimes my store will only have smaller squash available, and those only need to cook for about 30 minutes.

Once they're done, take them out of the oven and flip them over in the pan.  Let them cool off before trying to mess with them any further or you will burn the patooky out of your fingers (ask me how I know):

After they've cooled down some, scoop out and discard the seeds, and start "shredding" or raking down the sides of the squash with a fork:

Don't rake across the threads, or you will end up with a mushy mess (again, ask me how I know).

The spaghetti will look like this...

...and this....


And yummy!

Not that it is so yummy right by itself, but as a base for sauces and soups and casseroles...oh, it is so yummy!

We use spaghetti squash in these recipes:

Chicken "Noodle" Soup   (this is hands-down Daniel's favorite supper....every week when I make out our meal plan and I ask the kids what they would like to see that week, he yells "Chicken Noodle Soup!")

Pizza Spaghetti Squash Casserole 

Spaghetti - no link provided here, because I mean just.....you know, regular ole spaghetti.  Ground meat, spaghetti sauce and "noodles".  Yum!

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?  If so, what are your favorite ways to use it...I would love some new ideas for this great squash!


Jack Of All Trades

I went to the Together For Adoption Conference over the weekend.  Jas and I joked that "Survive" might be the only thing on his to-do list while I was gone (like the daddy on one of my favorite blog's HERE).

But Jas did more than survive, of course....he is Super Dad!

I was thrilled with him when I got home.  My bedroom looked like this....

...and this....

...and this!

Stuff EVERYWHERE!  It looked as if the closet had exploded...and, in fact, that is exactly (kind of) what happened!

So, why was I happy about this???

While I was gone, Jas took the opportunity (with LOTS of help from smaller hands) to get done a project that he and I have talked about ever since we moved into this house.

When I left, our master closet looked like this:

And it NOW looks like this:

Jas and I've only been together for 21 years now...why am I still continually surprised by how smart and talented and thorough he is?!?!

I may still be surprised, but I am also very thankful!

Jas took "before" and "during" pictures with his phone, so I could see how the project progressed.

This may sound silly, but I truly would have been a happy, happy girl if Jas had just done the wood work...

...even if he hadn't painted anything.  But he did:  the walls, the new (and old) woodwork...and he even freshened up the floorboards and casing on the door!

It is just more than I had ever hoped or imagined...and I am ecstatic!

Jas taking an "after" pic with his phone, so he could brag on FB...as well he should!

Jas even thought to buy us a new little ladder that we will need to access the new highest shelf.

So, in closing....

....My new closet is great...My husband is awesome....

...and AMEN!


I Heard It

Last night as I mowed (I love mowing!), Chelsea and T-Bone came up to the pasture fence.  They watched me curiously - while lazily chewing their cud - as I circled around and around.

They were in the pasture.  The pasture I no longer need to mow.  Because they're in the pasture.

As I circled around (and snapped this pic with my phone), I told them, "Thank you!"

They said..........(chomp, chomp) "You're welcome." 



When we first closed on our house in March 2013, I called this section behind the backyard proper the "pasture."  

I was dreaming.

March 2013

It looked nothing like a pasture.

The six of us took down the (falling down anyway) wooden picket fence.

And in February 2014, we had the "pasture" fenced in:

And then in April 2014, my dad drove down on his tractor and tilled up the pasture...

 ...and Jas planted grass seed:

And after a few weeks, it looked like the grass seed wasn't going to take...but then it did!

And on Saturday morning, our pasture looked like this:

A.M., 10/11/14

And then on Saturday evening, our pasture looked like this:
P.M. 10/11/14
Don't see anything different?

Look reeeeeal close back in the left-hand corner...


There are cows in that pasture!

At times I thought this was just never going to happen.

But here they are....

Meet our two Jerseys....T-Bone, and his mama, Chelsea.

I took this through a square in the fence....they weren't letting us get that close at the time.

More to come about our cow adventures soon.....but I'll sign off with these "milky" pictures...


Cabinet Makeover - Better Late Than Never

Background: Jas and I had a kitchen island in our house in Colorado...and I loved it.

When we first saw our current house last year, I thought the kitchen looked wide enough that I would be able to put an island in there...woohoo!  I pinned all kinds of DIY ideas on pinterest...looked at ready-made islands in some stores...and then...

As we took out part of the wall between the kitchen and the family room (so I would be able to see what is going on in there!)...the kitchen went from this...

...to this...

to finally this:

I just ran into the kitchen and took this pic.  I didn't even try to clean anything up
and make it look like my kitchen doesn't always have 100 projects going.  You're welcome.

As Jas used the sawzall and hacked into the cabinets that were coming out...

...he set a very nice specimen down on the kitchen floor, and my mom and I immediately said, "THERE is the island!"

Except, well...it wasn't.  It was just too wide to be an island in this kitchen.  

But it was a great cabinet....so we still kept it and put it to use.

For the next couple of months as we worked (and worked) on the house, the children played with (in/on) the cabinet, out in the sunroom:

And once we finally moved in May 2013, we put the cabinet in the eat-in section of the kitchen, as a sort of improvised "welcome" entry area.  

I have no before pictures...it wasn't anything to look at...still half wood/half white.  Thankfully, we did have a proper counter top made for it....after it had been sitting in the kitchen for 6 months.  We're quick around here, I tell ya!

But as we (finally) began Operation Cabinet Rescue and Redo recently, I remembered to take some in-process pictures.

We'd already taken the doors back off, and primed it here.

And here - only 18 months after we cut it out of the kitchen wall - is the new and improved cabinet, as it now greets those who walk into our kitchen:

I love it.

I love the bright, cheery "Cranberry" color. (My friend Amy told me it was "Cranberry"...I like that better than the "Bright Red" I was calling it in my head.)

It bothers Noah that it doesn't match the rest of the cabinets.  I told him he was just going to have to deal with it.

Elisabeth, ever ready to hop in a picture, saw me and jumped in there.

Besides, being pretty and welcoming, this is why I couldn't bear to part with this cabinet once it came down from the wall:

It has tons of storage space.  Storage space that we need.  The left side holds cookie sheets, trays, baking stones, cooling racks, and our world map placemat that we use multiple times a week (as we do school at the kitchen table now...not in the schoolroom...because that makes too much sense.)

The right side holds books and more books that we use daily.

I'm not showing anything above the cabinet, as I have another project "in the works" for that area...

...and maybe it will be done in about another 18 months.  


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