Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Orange Chicken & Yuuki

Even in the midst of a snow fall, Yuuki must SMELL EVERY.THING. 

The kids love Panda Express' Orange Chicken.  Eating out is expensive out here. Our budget is much less than previously. I have been trying to find something they'd like as well as Panda Express Orange Chicken. The first two tries were bombs (one just the PE sauce sold in stores - NOT THE SAME), the other a recipe from the internet.

THIS recipe from Dinner Then Dessert is a hit! I've made it as written. I don't like all the hassle of frying, so this last time I simply baked the chicken and cubed it up - rather than all the coating and frying. The kids said they like it best fried, but this was great too..... I'm putting this here so I don't have to click through Google for 30 min each time I want to make Orange Chicken.



  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil divided, plus more for frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons white vinegar
  • zest of 1 orange


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger root minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili pepper crushed


  1. To make the sauce combine the 1 tablespoon cornstarch, rice wine, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar and orange zest.
  2. To coat the chicken add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a bowl and whisk together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup corn starch and flour and mix well.
  4. In a large frying pan or a wok, heat oil in a wok 375 degrees.
  5. Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
  6. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
  8. When you are done with the chicken, drain most of the oil from the pan (leave about a tablespoon).
  9. Add the ginger, garlic and crushed red peppers, cooking for about 10 seconds.
  10. Add the orange sauce and bring to boil
  11. Turn off the heat, and add cooked chicken and stir until well mixed.

Monday, February 26, 2018

High School Recess

More snow and fog this morning. The mountain has disappeared. The snow load is accumulating on the tire swing.  

High School Recess? But, of course, everyone needs a study break now and again.  ::snort:: 

We've discovered the best bet is to fill the wheelbarrow with snow and move it! Maria, thanks again for the housewarming gift. It's proven to be the all-weather gift. LOL 

Evenings are for reading (Narnia at this point), Netflix (Father Brown) or games. Here they play a creation of the house - RisCatan. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

"Oh, CUUUUUUTE!" Another Sunday - Another Family Dinner

Sunday nights have come to mean family dinner. It's been fun to have the boys come out, the girls and their families come up and simply "be."  The first Sunday night of every month is planned to be our celebration of birthdays for the month.  February was full of birthdays.  I try to make the birthday person's favorite meal and dessert...with four birthdays in Feb it ended up being a dinner two chose, and 3 desserts on the night of the dinner. Then we had Jamin's dinner the following week. The big Family Celebration Dinner was on the actual date of Alex's birthday, 11 Feb. He opened gifts on 22 Feb and tonight, 25 Feb we had Alex's birthday dinner choice. He wanted a BBQ - I was thinking it might be warmer at the end of the month. LOL  

Bella wonders what the men are doing outside! 

 She's a native in the land of technology! 

"Oh, CUUUUUTE!" This is one of Bella's favorite phrases. She says it about her photos, Gideon, puppies, and most of all Benny!!!!!

Gideon loves Uncle Nolan

I am in awe of the fact that these kids will be raised near cousins. I wasn't. Our kids weren't. What a blessing for this generation. I love that Sunday night Family Dinners are becoming common place....such a blessing to be in the same spot.....I love that Krista has a heart to stay connected and sends cards and gift cards for every birthday celebration. Basically, I love family. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Another Great Wintry Saturday

  Saturdays mean Jamin will show up and work in the shop with Michael. The shelves they are building will fill a whole wall in the basement study. They'll be big enough that Michael plans to build them in the room. 

While they worked the kids introduced Bella to the igloo/snow cave.  

Caught in a snow ball fight - Stacia rebounded some ice from her eye

Bella and Izaak 
 Izaak had the idea of the kids sliding down the driveway - which was great fun. Video to follow. 

Josiah stopped by and told them to use the Snow Machines. 

Stacia and Nolan


 Arielle's first solo run

Beautiful winter sunset

Friday, February 23, 2018

Igloo in the Yard

The kids used to have great times in Misawa during the winter! They longed to move where there would be a winter. They've gotten the desire of their heart. They have fond memories of building sledding hills and igloos in the snow. Today, they built an igloo, or ice cave. I'm happy they could do it. 
Nolan surveys the land

Work in progress!

Big enough for three young adults! 
 Bella - our sweetie

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Alex's Birthday Part 2

Alex turned 16 on 11 Feb. It happened to fall on the date of our big Family Birthday/Anniversary Dinner. Birthday celebrants get to pick dinner and their cake. They also wear the pig hat and get gifts. Alex wore the big hat and had his cookie dough ice cream cake on the 11th. Today, the 22nd, we  opened his gifts after baking and before Life Groups. On the 25th, he will have his birthday dinner. Usually the "at home family" will have their birthday dinner ON their birthday, but his happened to fall on the extended dinner...and we were hoping his choice - a burger burn - would land on warmer weather on the 25th. 

We gave Alex a toboggan, a few fishing things and a vest. The others gave him fun shirts. As Nolan said, "This is what happens when you put one thing on your birthday list."  

We are no strangers to 'rolling birthdays'. One year we all put off our birthday until Michael got home from the Middle East. LOL

Winter and Baking

 Just when I thought winter may be losing it's grip we woke to 8 inches of new snow and lots of baking orders. The ruler was slipping - the back shows 8 in, the front had caved.....

 Thursday - nowhere to go; host Life Group in the evening. I love our down day Thursdays. Some worked outside.....
Cory, Alex, Nolan, Michael 

World's Best Snow Removal Crew
 Some played outside....
Auntie Arielle and Bella 
Bella (10 1/2 months) knows she is not supposed to have her pacifier unless she is sleeping. She has taken to putting it down her shirt. She seems to think we won't notice it's there. LOL 
We see you Bella 
...while they worked and played outside, Stacia and I had orders to make a cheesecake and 11 dozen cookies. We planned the cheesecake for Saturday and went to work on the cookies.  Stacia was excited to see how the orders collected collected overnight. She commented, "God really does know the times of our days. There is no other day this week we could have spent the day baking." She woke up early and was done with school by 0900. It was an "at home" day....we baked and packaged until a couple of hours before Life Group. 
Chocolate Chip 

Macadamia Nut/White Chocolate
Making memories with Stacia 
 These 7 dozen went into a box and shipped to Afghanistan....others went to VA and one dozen found a local home. 

Shew....all done with time to clean up before Life Groupers arrive. 

All this baking is part of our seed project. Michael and Nolan are making some pretty pine coasters. Well, Michael is making them....Nolan, true to his business bent,  invested in the project.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Coming Home

I'm not always excited to leave home early in the  morning - but I do enjoy this view coming home!  We have about seven more sessions left of swallow therapy.  Michael will have reached the maximum sessions approved by the VA and have a swallow test to show where he is at. Michael loves barium swallow tests - NOT. ::wink::

The rest of life consists of schooling and researching. I've read a zillion books on mini-farming, chicken raising and canning. I've decided we can't do EVERYTHING this year. We'll have to do what we can. It's a process. We'll learn about the soil and plan a few beds this year....experiment with plastic and soil.....we'll get a few chicks and pray we keep them alive and get eggs.  We'll establish a composting system. We'll plant some trees. We'll take out more dead fall and dead trees. That's enough for this year.  Well - I'd like to get some sort of paving down out the basement door and a hot tub too. LOL  Anyway - I've been trying to learn via books, and FB groups, before we branch out and start buying things.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grands from Nearby and Gifts from Afar

Bre had some business she needed to take care of today. Michael drove her and Gideon and I kept Bella. I would have kept Gideon, but we had no idea how long the day would be.  We had great fun with Bella. 

At one point she grabbed my smoothie out of my hand and dropped the cup. Smoothie EVERYWHERE....all over her hands, clothes, hair, floor, me, cupboards. The poor thing was upset. She doesn't like to be messy. I thought the whole thing funny, but she certainly got a dose of reality discipline. She hasn't grabbed my cup again (it's now 27 Feb).  I got her cleaned up and into a new outfit....and we took a nap together....uh...watched veggie tales. ::snort:: 

She hopped out of bed and  immediately snatched my slippers. It was hilarious to watch her plod around in them. Note - I did take the pacifier after she had a bit of time to transition to awake from sleep. 

A great day was made even better when Michael got home with a package - for me. Check it out!!!! Sweet card, teas, tea bags (which I've not tried yet) and a strainer....such fine mesh. It's changed my life - or at least my tea drinking.....
Those words of affirmation and encouragement were a big hug and they certainly were appreciated.