Welcome to Life at the Holman's.

Within this blog, you will find everything from recipes to school ideas to everyday fun stuff and things we have learned along the way. From time to time you will find just a tidbit of our journey here in Oklahoma. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's For Dinner? - Baked Teriyaki Chicken

It has been a while since I have posted a recipe.  Honestly, I have just not had time to try new things or experiment around with cooking new meals.  However, tonight's meal was a keeper so I thought I would share.

I am a member of the Allrecipes.com site.  It is a sight that I have mentioned in the past as a great resource for recipe ideas.  You can find a recipe for just about anything.  If your looking for that wonderful recipe that your great great grandma used to make that everyone calls by a different name and you have never been able to figure out how to make, this is a great site to start your search.  All you have to do is type in the recipe name in the search.  For example, where I grew up we called this wonderful chocolate desert with chocolaty fudge icing by the name of Mississippi Mud Cake.  Since I grew up along the Mississippi, this name was fitting in our area.  However, many people know the same cake as Texas Sheet Cake. (I am sure there are probably other names for the same cake, too.)  That is where the site comes in handy because you can type in a recipe by whatever ol' name you know it as, and many times find just what you are looking for.

However, if that does not produce the results you need, there is a question and answer/recipe request area that you can use.  Just describe the type of recipe you are looking for and within a short time (usually), someone will respond.  I have never posted a question that someone has not at least attempted to answer.  And...most of the time the advice is great!  You can also use this area to get recipe ideas for a meal.  For instance, if you have some chicken thighs and don't know what to make, just ask the group for ideas.  You are notified through your email every time someone responds.

That brings me to today's recipe.  I am subscribed to a newsletter form Allrecipes.com, and this week one of the recipes caught my eye - Baked Teriyaki Chicken.  You can find the direct link to the recipe here.  We made it tonight, and  after taking a vote, the entire family agreed that this recipe was a keeper.  The only thing I would change next time would be to make about half again the amount of sauce.  My family really liked the sauce, and I made the meal with rice so a little extra sauce would have been a great addition for spreading on top of the rice.  In addition to the chicken and rice, we had broccoli, raw carrots and celery, and ice tea.  Unfortunately, I really did not know what to expect from the meal so I did not get any pictures, but the picture on the recipe site is actually pretty close to what it looks like except we did not have that much sauce.
Baked Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
Picture from Allrecipes.com website
Baked Teriyaki Chicken
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Cold Water
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Minced Garlic Clove
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
12 Skinless Chicken Thighs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine all the above ingredients (except chicken) in a saucepan.  Let simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture boils and thickens.  Remove from the heat. Place the chicken thighs in a 9X13 pan and pour the sauce over the top of the chicken.  Turn the chicken  to make sure all sides are coated.  Bake 30 minutes.  Then turn the chicken and bake for an additional 30 minutes.  The recipe suggests to brush with sauce every 10 minutes.  However, I just returned the chicken about halfway through the last 30 minute baking segment to help re-coat it and keep it from drying out, and it was fine.  

When we made our chicken, I accidentally got a bag of chicken legs out of the freezer instead of thighs.  So we had about 6 chicken legs as well as 3 chicken thighs (not overly huge chicken thighs) in our 9X13 pan.  This worked out fine, and they cooked evenly.  As a matter of fact, I cut off about 5 minutes of cooking time, and the chicken was cooked to the perfect "done-ness" and was very moist.  So the cooking times will definitely vary according to your specific oven as well as the size of the chicken thighs that you have.  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Meet Jason!

The other day I realized that I had yet to introduce a very important person in my life.  For some reason, in the beginning of my blogging, I introduced my kids and the animals but never took the time to introduce my husband.  So here he is:
This is Jason!
Jason and I have been married for almost 15 years.  He is currently working as a full-time self-employed handyman here in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  You can read more about his work at his blog - Life As A Handyman.

Here is some loving family time with the kids:

Wrestling is one of those fun family bonding times that we all enjoy! 
I am very thankful that I have a great husband that is actively involved in the home.  He makes a point to try to spend quality time with his children whether it be wrestling, playing a game, or just going up in the field for a walk. He is thankful and appreciates when I cook a good meal for him.  He even helps out in the kitchen once in a while.  I think I will keep him!

Math, Science, Vocabulary, and Geography Site

In our History and Geography, we have been studying the individual countries of the Asian continent. I want my children to both have a good geography background so that when they hear of countries, cities, etc. on the news and in everyday life they have a idea of what area of our world is being discussed.  Throughout our study, they have located city/country names like Iraq, Kabul, Iran, Israel, Japan, etc that they can recall hearing about in the recent news stories.  This gives them a visual picture of how far away various conflicts or disasters are that are being reported on.

When we began this in depth continent study, I realized how lacking my own geographical knowledge was.  I really do not recall a specific "geography" course that I took either in high school or in college.  (I am not quite sure how I missed that!)  I do, however, remember many of the history courses that I took and remember talking about various countries, but I never really "learned" the countries and their locations.  For one thing, I think when I was in school my primary goal was to memorize the facts for the test enough to get a good grade and move on. As an adult, learning has taken on a whole new meaning and interest to me.  I actually enjoy taking the time to learn rather than memorize. I find more pleasure in discovering how things work, move, and interrelate.

Because of my lack of geography knowledge, I decided that I would learn as many of the countries and their locations that I could right along with the the kiddos! Right now we are slowly making our way through the largest continent Asia.  (There are sure a lot of little countries shoved in that continent!)  We have learned many of the larger more common countries and their capitals and are adding more as we go along. We are also studying various mountain ranges, major rivers, and deserts located on the continent.

That brings me to the site that I found.  There is a great site that has various quizzes in math, science, vocabulary, and geography.  It is called That Quiz. (Here is the link.)  We have been using this site to occasionally check our knowledge of the locations of various Asian countries, capitals, and rivers. It gives me a good idea of what exactly the children have really learned and gives them a chance to see their progress as well.  There are level adjustments that you can make on each of the quizzes to be able to set it to the age appropriate level for your student.  At the end of each completed page you are shown a running total of how many you have answered correctly/incorrectly.  When the quiz is finished it gives you a percentage along with the answers that you answered incorrectly.  You can then go back through the quiz and have them show the correct answer to see what you missed.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have also used a couple of the other subjects just to check up on some basic knowledge in other areas.  I remember now exactly what I missed learning in trigonometry! There is such a wide variety of topics covered in this site that it is a good resource for all ages.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Chickens,Better Eggs by Savannah Holman

The only chicken left from
the 1st batch, a Rhode Island Red.
I recently purchased some chickens from Atwoods. I was wanting to start a farm of my own. I started off with five baby chicks. They were alot of work but it was alot of fun to watch them grow. I had one dark and light brown Araucana chick, two Rode Island Red chicks, and two Barred Rock chicks.
The Araucana was my favorite one of them all. (You can watch a video of the type of  chicken she was at http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/araucana_americanas.html. It has a breed guide up at the corner )
The only Red Production
left from batch #2.
Later, I also bought two more younger chicks. Our new Chocolate Lab puppy Rocky (or Rocko) killed one of my chicks. Dad punished  him. When we had chickens before, Lucy did not seem to bother them. She almost killed one of them though.

One day  I was checking on my chickens and I discovered something was trying to get to my chickens by digging a hole under the door. Lucky for my chickens (and me), it was not able to get in. I saw a track just the moment before I stepped on it. I thought it was a fox but Mom and Dad said it was probably a raccoon or coyote.

One night, we ordered  pizza and rented Despicable Me. Earlier in the day my dad let my chickens out to roam around. Before we went to pick up the pizza, we did not even think about putting them up. I now regret that because after we finished the movie, I went to go put my chickens up. I was calling for my chickens, but they did not come. I ran back up to the house and told my dad to come help me find them. He brought out the spotlight, and we looked all over, but we only found two of them . My Araucana was gone. I ran back up to the house to tell my mom. At this point, I was crying. We did not find them, but I still had two chicks left.

Rocko - the chicken lover!
We went back to Atwoods and got four more chicks. Two of them were Australorps. The other two were a mixed breed. Rocko again killed two more.  At least I do not have to worry about my little chicks getting cold with my original 2 chicks (that are bigger now) around. They keep them warm.

My Araucana
Our neighbor ordered some Australorps from Atwoods, but she accidentallly got Barred Rocks instead. Yesterday, she let me buy some chickens from her, and I went over and bought six. She also had a full grown Araucana chicken that she said I could have. The  Araucana is already laying eggs.
Right: Store egg
Left: Fresh Araucana blue egg
Araucana eggs have a blue coloring to them.

Today my dad went out and checked on my chickens while I was doing school . He said my Araucana was acting weird, and I should go check on it. So I went out to her coop and there was an egg in her nesting box I was so exited.

The farm egg has a darker color to its yolk
than the store egg.

I decided to do a taste test with store bought eggs versus farm fresh eggs. Since I do not like eggs, I let Mom and J.J. do a taste test. Mom and J.J. both agreed that fresh eggs are better than store eggs.

JJ enjoying his Breakfast Egg
I love my chickens and am very glad to have them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garage Sale Find!

Our family really enjoys going to garage sales.  It is fun to see who can find the best deal!  This past weekend, the kids and I enjoyed our time visiting the Perkins, Oklahoma city-wide garages sales.  It is an annual "event" in a small town about 15 miles south of Stillwater.  This was the first year that we had heard of it, so we decided to check it out.

We spent 4 hours traveling around this tiny town.  the second garage sale that we visited supplied what we thought was our find of the day.  I bought a clothes basket full of odds and ends such as C-clamps, steel cutting blades, an old telephone amplifier, plastic sheeting, a rolling pin, a small saucepan, and a few other items all for $2.  Actually the only reason I purchased the basket was for the C-clamps because I knew we needed them and knew they were worth well over the $2!  At this same sale, Savannah found a basket full of arts and craft paints and supplies, and I bought 3 salad size Corell plates (since I have a tendency to break my "unbreakable" Corell Ware).

The only other real find was a metal box of organizing drawers full of bolts, screws, and other odds and ends.  I actually paid $5 for it and later thought....why did I even buy that!  It was even missing a drawer, but I was just thinking about how many bolts, screws, washers, etc. that we have purchased over the last few months for various jobs that Jason has been working on, and the cost really adds up!  I brought it home to Jason and could see that he thought I did alright but not the greatest.  I took out each drawer and began digging through it.  In one drawer there was $1.03 worth of odd change so that brought down the cost to $3.97.  A little better! He did eventually say that I did alright because there were definitely things that he would use so I felt a tad better about my purchase.

However, as we continued our digging, I found a coin collectors plastic case with 2 coins in it.  
One was a 1876 dime and the other was a 1858 quarter.  After a little research online, the total worth is about $25-30 for both of the coins (Ebay here we come!).  The quarter is actually the most valuable of the 2.  We also thought it was really neat to think that we were holding coins that were 153 and 135 years old.
This crazy nuts and bolts find ended up being the best buy of the day!