Archive: November 2011

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~ A Harvest Party ~


post by ann

As I shared  in an earlier post, my family and I  have had ample opportunities for fun this fall…

I had good intentions of sharing all of these fun times in quick succession.  However, as you can see, life got in the way and here we are a few days weeks, close to a month later and I’m just now getting the next post done.  I will just keep on sharing these little snapshots in time with you as I am able…. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy each one as they are posted.

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That same weekend we visited the cornmaze, Ryan’s folks came for their final visit before heading south for the winter.  They are both such good sports when it comes to doing what the kids want to do….

Grandma was commandeered as a  ‘beast of burden’…..

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and Grandpa was happy to revert back to boyhood and jump into a raging airsoft gun battle.

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Then it was off to a Harvest Party with our homeschool group.   The party took place at the ranch of one of the families in the group, but it was definately a team effort to pull it off.

The first item of interest was the Pumpkin Catapult, designed and contructed by the the teenagers of the group.

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Other activities included the three-legged race,

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Looks like fun, but then there was the small problem of separating yourself from your partner afterwards…(can anyone say “slip-knot”?)

Notice Cole going for the pocket knife!

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the gunnysack shuffle  bounce hop race,

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and a good old-fashioned cider pressing.

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As the sun set and the smell of hamburgers hung in the air, a bonfire was lit and we all gathered to sing the Doxology, give thanks to the Lord and dig in to the wonderful potluck dishes weighing down the tables.

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The food was delicious, the fellowship was uplifting and we all went home happy

{And just in case you’re wondering, the adults participated in all phases of fun and activities….it’s just that all photos taken as evidence had to be destroyed to protect the innocent (including yours truly)!!}


No-Egg-Egg-Nog


posted by Chelsea

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!

I should probably start by apologizing.  I’m sorry for showing this to you.  I’m sorry that you’ll gain 10 pounds this holiday season. I’m sorry that you’ll want to make this throughout the year and you’ll feel guilty for doing it.  Go ahead… blame me.  I said I’m sorry.

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Now….. get over it and get excited because what I’m about to show you is nothing but yummy goodness.   My friend, T, makes this every year and puts it in a cute little quart-sized canning jar, along with a little selection of holiday treats and brings them to my house.  I love her for it and then I make more.

Here goes.

The ingredients:

2 quarts of cold whole milk
1 packet vanilla pudding (large packet, not instant)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup whipping cream

Beat on low speed for approximately two minutes: milk, pudding, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until thick.  Add whipped cream to pudding mixture.  Refrigerate.  You can drink this immediately  upon completion of directions.  BUT I will tell you, from first-hand experience, that after you let it sit in the fridge for a bit- don’t blame me, it tastes even better.

Enjoy!

–Chelsea


The Quilt Is Finally Done


by Charlotte

It is done!  After more than a year, I finally finished the quilt that is supposed to be a wedding gift.

It is for my sister-in-law.  It’s a pretty easy quilt, but somewhere in the making of it, I lost my momentum and couldn’t seem to make myself work on it.

If you are wondering, here is my pattern.

You can see on this page the date that I started.

(That’s 2010, if you can’t read it.)

Here are the fabrics.

I got started and when the top was about 1/4 was done, I decided the ivory wasn’t going to work so I bagged it for more mauve.

I got the “A” from the programs at the wedding and free handed it onto the center piece.  Then I satin stitched it on my machine.

After I got the top done, Faith decided to “help” me.  She cut it in a few spots.  This is her biggest hole.

This is what I did with it, because after a year the store no longer had the fabric and I didn’t have enough to replace the whole piece.

It feels so good to finally have this project done.

Even with its imperfections.


Thanksgiving


by Charlotte

Once, when I was struggling with being grateful, I did a study on the word thanksgiving (I marked it down in my Bible; 6-18-06).  The Bible is pretty clear about when and how we should give thanks.

For example, Paul writes:

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and suplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:4-7 emphasis mine)

And Moses wrote:

And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.  (Leviticus 22:29)

We should give thanks always and we should give thanks of our own free will – not because we are “supposed” to.

I am so blessed and this year I feel that emotionally as well.  In some past years I haven’t felt the blessings even though I knew in my head that they were there.  Those were years where thanksgiving was a sacrifice.  It was a choice I made.  I sacrificed my “right” to feel sorry for myself.  I sacrificed focusing on the very real hurts in my heart.  I sacrificed my desire to lobby the Holy Courts for a different story.  I sacrificed me being the center of my life and chose, instead, to put the Lord in His rightful place as ruler.  Those weren’t easy years, but they were good years . . . maybe it would be more correct to say that those years produced good fruit in me. 

It is good to welcome Thanksgiving with a thankful heart.  For thanksgiving to flow easily out of the abundance of my heart instead of it being a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.  Either way, in good times and in bad, it is important to pause from our busyness and give thanks to our Creator, Redeemer, Friend, Comfortor, Counselor, Prince of Peace, and Almighty God for what He has done for us.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.  (Psalm 118:29)

Amen.


Some Salads for “The Feast”


posted by Ann

We’ll be traveling to Idaho to celebrate Thanksgiving with my folks.  I will be making a couple of salads to have with Thanksgiving dinner.  I thought I’d share the recipes here in case anyone might be looking for a new recipe for their own “feast’.

Both of these salads are from my dearest grandma, my Mammy.  We  A.L.W.A.Y.S  have the Cranberry Salad and, I’m throwing the Watergate Salad in the mix because the kids really love it.

I love these recipes because they bring such sweet memories of family and cause thankfulness to well up inside me…. I hope you will be blessed with a very Thankful Thanksgiving and enjoy the salads. :-)

(This post is photo-less as I will be making the salads when I get there….That seemed the best option, rather than trying to keep 6 people, copious amounts of luggage (and possibly one dog) from destroying two salads during a 6 hr. car trip. )

 

Cranberry Salad

This salad is a delicious blend of tart and sweet; crunchy and smooth.

Dissolve both packages of Jello in boiling water, stir until jello is completely dissolved.  Cool.  When Jello is cool, but not set, stir in remaining ingredients and pour into a 2 qt. dish.  Refrigerate until set.
Watergate Salad
This rich-tasting salad is quick and delicious. 
  • 1 small box instant pistaschio pudding
  • 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple,  undrained
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine.  Whip with an electric mixer until completely blended. (Don’t overmix).
Bonus:  Jello Mousse
I had this “mousse” at a funeral a few weeks ago and tracked down the lady who made it to get the recipe.  I am writing it here per her instructions, although she told me the recipe is on the Jello box.  This salad is light and rich….and very easy.
  • 1 (3 oz.) package lemon Jello (I’m told any flavor will work)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip, frozen
Dissolve Jello in boiling water.  Add Cool Whip and whip with electric mixer until smooth.  Refrigerate.

Chicken (or Turkey!) Chili


posted by Ann

I wanted to post this recipe for a couple of reasons ~ the main reason being, that with the change in our weather from mild to BRRRRR I’ve been in the soup-making mood.  The other reason for this particular soup recipe it that it contains chicken (or even better, it’s large cousin, the turkey).  With Thanksgiving (and with it lots of leftover turkey)  rapidly approaching, I wanted to share a good recipe for using that leftover poultry.  This is a mild, creamy soup and is filling and flavorful. It is delicious, but like most soups, I think it’s better the next day.  I like to serve it with tortilla chips or cornbread.

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In large pot, saute chicken, garlic powder and onion until onion and chicken are cooked through.  Then add:
  • 2 cans white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 can chicken broth ( 12-14 oz.)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Continue cooking for 30 minutes.  Then add:
  • 1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
Heat thoroughly and serve with tortilla chips.

 


When The Cows Come Home


posted by Chelsea

A couple of weeks ago I told you we were still out a few cows- a few stragglers wandering around on our summer ground somewhere.  This morning, I thought I’d give you an update.   Every last ornery bull is accounted for.  All but three cows are accounted for.  We are short one calf and will be pleasantly surprised if it shows up somewhere as there’s a pretty good chance something happened to it along the way.  Buck has been on the hunt for the three remaining stragglers- we’re hopeful they’ll be found soon.

In the meantime, all of these cows…

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… are hanging out on the hillside of our winter ground.  There is plenty of feed for about 6 weeks, then we’ll start feeding hay and getting ready for calving season.

This is what our first year has taught us:  If we choose to, there is ALWAYS something to worry about.  Here is our list of worries, turned prayer requests, so far this year:

*we’d find hay at the right price
*we’d get a tractor at the right price
*the cows would find water in each allotment they moved into
*the bulls would “cover” all the cows
*the calves would grow
*we would find enough time to build the fence we needed to
*the cows would all be found
*the calves would weigh what we guessed contracted
*the calves would make enough to make our payment
*there would be enough fall grass to allow us to have enough hay for the winter

And the list continues:

*that the snow would hold off as long as possible
*that every cow is pregnant  (?!)
*that every last calf will be born healthy (?!)
*that the water will run all winter
*that we’ll find more time for fence building
*that the tractor will run all winter (?!)

… and the list goes on.

I think being in agriculture makes us so much more aware of our lack of control in this life.  We do our best, we take the best care of our cows and the land as possible, and through it all, we hand the whole thing over to God with open hands- acknowledging that He is in control and that He is ultimately what this life is about.  We can’t spend our life worrying and neither can you- whether you’re running cows or sitting in a cubicle!

 


Snow Day


posted by Ann

 

Well, around these parts Fall seems to have tucked its tail and run…..at least for now.

Several days ago we woke up to this….

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and a couple of little people in our home were thrilled!
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Needless to say we had to spend a little lot of time digging out snow pants, snow boots and heavy gloves.

 

However, it was worth all the fun these little ones had enjoying their “Snow Day.”

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Walk Down Memory Lane


by Charlotte

My mom came a while back and brought a box full of horses, cows, cowboys, wagons, and Indians.

Upon seeing some of the toys, I was instantly transported back to an old homestead house at Christmas when I first received some of them.

It was comforting to know that another bunch of kids are going to play with these old boys.

And this.

I loved this wagon.  It used to bother me that the horses didn’t match.  Now that is one of my favorite things about it.

Unbelievable that the water barrel is still around.

This old boy is carrying a branding iron.

And this one is ready for a fist fight.

These are still around.  Although the well roof and supports are broken.  If you have a steady hand you can pretend they aren’t.

The well’s bucket is lost.

So is the ax that used to be stuck in this stump.

I thought it was odd that there was an anvil.  It would be odd to have an anvil if your family never put shoes on their horses.

A stack of wood.

And a . . . I have never really been sure about what this is.

A forge of some sort, I think.

The corrals still hold cattle.

Even if they are a little rickety.

I remember my father making the comment that “one ol’ girl always has to go the wrong way”.

I imagined this one was a bull because it was so different from the others.

I read somewhere that corralling cattle when there was so much free range was a little tricky because the cattle would get into the corral and just circle.  You had to somehow get the last ones in while the first ones were going around and around by the gate.

I usually corraled the horses.

I loved this horse.

Probably because it is running flat out.

The man that went on him . . . not so much.  He had a pistol in one hand (now gone because I hated it so) and a bandana over his face.

Not my kind of guy.

Sometimes the wagon driver would ride.

That was me racing my horse like the wind.

Hours went by with these corrals, horses, and cows.  Sometimes I would play with the men too. . . but not very often.

Unless I pretended that was me in the white.

*editors note:  The black was added to the hat by other children.  I always wore white.  :)


Easy Cheesy Bread


posted by Ann

If you’re looking for a quick and easy bread to serve with the likes of spaghetti and soup or just have for a snack, this might fit the bill.

I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home cookbook and have made it many nights when I’m in need of bread on short notice.

This recipe is easy to double, triple or even quadruple.  The dough or the cooked bread can be frozen and enjoyed at a later date.

Also, feel free to use different spices or cheeses.

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Got my helper. :-)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. quick-rise yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (120 – 130 degrees)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
Topping:
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first four ingredients.  Combine water add oil; add to flour mixture.  Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.

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Turn onto a floured surface; knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.  Punch the dough down; place on a greased 12-inch pizza pan and pat into a 12-inch circle.

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Brush with salad dressing.  Combine the seasonings; sprinkle over the top.

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Sprinkle with cheeses.  (I used only Parmesan cheese this time, as I was fresh out of  mozzarella). Bake @ 425 degrees or 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

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Yield: 1 loaf

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