Archive: February 2013

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Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookie Bark

posted ~ ann

In my quest to try new recipes, I’ve realized, not only do I have a large number of untried recipes in my files piles, I also have a large number of untried recipes in my large collection of cookbooks….. That said, I am now determined to incorporate cookbook recipes into my “try- a- new- recipe- every- week” self-inflicted imposed challenge.  This recipe is from a cookbooklet (is that a real word?) I picked up at a kitchen party.  I was NOT disappointed!  This is easy to put together, but looks like it came from a candy store.  This “bark” would make a great gift or could be a great choice for a baked sale.  Enjoy!


Line 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. allowing 1-inch to extend past the sides.  Coarsely crush cookies in a large plastice bag.  Coarsely chop peanuts.  Mix cookies & peanuts; set aside.  In medium bowl, microwave almond bark on HIGH for 1 – 1/2 minutes or until bark is almost melted.  Stir until completely melted.  In small bowl, microwave chocolate chips and oil on HIGH for 1 minute or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds.

Mix peanuts butter into melted almond bark.  Pour it over parchment paper and spread it evenly to the edges of the pan.  Drop eight scoops of the melted chocolate evenly over the almond bark.  Swirl through bark mixture several times  with a knife for a marbled effect.  Sprinkle cookie mixture evenly over the bark, pressing firmly.

Pour remaining melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag; trim corner.  Drizzle chocolate evenly over the bark.  Place pan in freezer for 5 minutes or until bark is set.  Cut bark into 48 rectangles.

Winter Elsewhere ~ Lake George

posted by Donna

The St John’s River, with headwaters in Vero Beach, flows south to north, to  Jacksonville, making it Florida’s longest river. Four miles west of Seville, a wide spot in the river created Florida’s 2nd largest lake (Okeechobee is bigger.), Lake George.

CC Ganoe

The lake is about 14 miles long by 6 miles wide.  It’s classic Florida: alligators, eagles, osprey, kingfishers, coots, pelicans, snakes, otters, even an occasional misguided manatee (though they stick to the river).

We live on a canal off Lake George
CC the canal
where the fishing often excels for bass, crappie, pickerel, sunfish, and bream. There are turtles of all sizes, too.

Most people have pontoons or big bass boats but my husband prefers quiet motors so we putt around in the canal in a ganoe,
CC Ganoe Canal
a modified canoe with a small trolling motor. We mostly journey out between 5 and 6 to catch the spectacular sunsets.

CC Sunset

CC Sunset 2

I am exercising great restraint here just including these two examples. OK, if you insist, I’ll post one more.

CC Sunset with egret

It may be no exaggeration to say I have photographed that big orange ball 100 times.

We have a heron that visits frequently we named “Bliz,” short for Blizzard, and a pet egret we call “Snowy,”

CC Egret Snowy

both in memory of our former winters up north. At least once a season, usually in March, we have an alligator visit.

CC Aligator

As we travel out the canal, we pass palm trees and pine trees, many that overhang our water trail and house dozens of birds.

Once out in the open, on Lake George, it is a vast aquatic expanse but the shoreline is familiar to us near the canal. To the left, there are rookeries filled with dozens of white dots, egrets bedding down in the trees for the night. That’s also where one would most often see a 5 or 6 foot bumpy shape gliding along the water’s surface. Let’s go to the right.

To the right there’s a landmark palm tree trunk bent over at a 45 degree angle. One trip out, I got all excited about photographing an egret perched at the top of the trunk,

CC Egret and Missed Gator

as if posing for me. I took 3 or 4 pictures. We motored around another 10-15 minutes then came back by and I said, “Oh my gosh, there’s an alligator on that trunk with the egret,” so we moved in closer and photographed it 3 or 4 more times.

CC Egret and Gator

That’s when a light bulb went on in my head. I said, “Wait. Was that gator there before and we just didn’t notice it?” Thanks to the digital age, we reviewed our shots, and sure enough, we’d had a true senior moment. The gator had been there all along.

Maybe there’s an important lesson to be learned on Lake George. Look closely: there are worlds within worlds within worlds.

Keepin’ It Simple

posted by Chelsea

Several people have asked if The Lucy Cow’s “unwanted twin”, our bummer calf

tanzania 002

… has a name.  Of course she does!  Because we like to keep things simple, her name is…. Tanzania!   You might remember that our friend, Alicia, is a missionary in Tanzania, so naming the calf after such an exotic and seemingly fun place was only natural!

We love this little calf…

tanzania 007

I’ll have you know that the “we” even includes me!  Not to sound pessimistc, but I don’t always enjoy bummer calves.  They can be a real pain to feed- if they don’t want to take a bottle or if they’re sickly they can really annoy me, even if they’re cute.  Well, Tanzania is a great eater! She can down a bottle in no time at all.  AND she’s super cute.  She loves to buck and run …

tanzania 012

…and play with the girls…

tanzania 003

… how could I not love her?!





4 Is A Big Deal

posted by Chelsea

Our girl.

black beauty

Our sweet girl.

more spring 040

Our quirky girl.


Our independent girl.

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Our big eyed girl.

new 151

Our observer girl.

november 313

Our best little sister girl…


Our Katelyn girl…

fall cattle drive 048

… is turning four.  Today was her due date.  Tomorrow was her arrival date.  Today we anticpate.  Tomorrow we celebrate!


Magic Cookie Bars

posted by ~ ann

This recipe brings back memories of my childhood.  My mom made these cookie bars often!  These bars are sort of a souped up version of a granola bar.  The condensed milk cooks up into a gooey, caramel-type filling and the combination of the nuts, chocolate chips and coconuts is irresistable.  Enjoy!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 13 x 9 inch pan, melt butter.  Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over butter.  Pour milk evenly over cracker crumbs.  Top evenly w/ chocolate chips,  coconut and nuts;  press down gently.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.


Makes 24 bars

**I think this recipe is dating itself, as I’ve never seen flaked coconut in a can.  I just sprinkle a thin layer of coconut over the chocolate chips…..

Along For The Ride!

posted by Chelsea

By the time the third baby comes around, a gal just realizes life must go on.  There are obvious exceptions to that– like a regular nap time for mom and a generalized routine.  BUT beyond those basic necessities, baby just jumps on board and goes along for the ride… literally.

Between snow storms we’ve been cleaning out our willow trees (oh my gracious!) there are mountains of limbs to pile.  The girls have been helping, mostly by having “sword” fights with the limbs.  And Cooper, well, he has not been exempt from the work.  He’s had an important job…

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… so important that it wears him right out!

In addition to yardwork, our bummer calf has to be fed a couple times a day.  Just another task Cooper is helpful for…

feb13 010

… little man is along for the wild ride folks!


Winter Elsewhere ~ Seville

posted by Donna

Population 614. To imitate a true Southerner, one must pronounce this name “See ville,” with the emphasis on the Seeee.  On State Road 17,

CC Hwy 17 sign use this

that runs the length of the state, just two lanes nearly everywhere, Seville is marked by a blinking light, 3 small grocery stores (You read that right, 3!), a post office (32190), and a 100+ year old school that closed in 2009 when it consolidated with Pierson Elementary, 5 miles south. I’ve subbed at both schools since 2004. Seville Elementary was a real gem

CC Seville Public School

and is sorely missed. It had one class for each grade and every teacher knew every student, mostly children from migrant families who work in the ferneries in Seville. The 3 stores, well, there’s just no explaining that.

CC Seville downtown

One is owned by a family from India, one by Pancho, whose family is from Mexico, and one is a convenience store gas station. The post office has a wall dedicated to Seville families whose sons and daughters have fought in any US war.

CC Military board PO

The pictures are faded now but it caused a lump in my throat the year they first created it.

Parallel to Hwy 17 is railroad tracks. There are many crossing bars;
in a 13 mile stretch, there are probably 9 or 10. Amtrak travels past orange groves and pastures filled with ferneries, tooting its horn, heard as far away as 4 miles to Lake George, all hours of the night and day, as it lumbers past rich and poor, young and old, black and white. One time we flew into Jacksonville, 100 miles north, and took the train here. Well, we had to get off in Deland but I’ll save that delightful college town for another field trip.  The train was a blast, sitting way up high on cushy seats with plenty of leg room. The side to side motion might’ve lulled us to sleep but we were too excited staring out the big windows, seeing some new scenery and plenty of familiar landmarks.

When we sped through Seville’s (Did you say it right, with that southern twang?) crossing bars, we took in the sights with true affection.

“There’s Jim Register’s fernery.”

CC Fern Trust

“Oh, the post office.”

“Is that Favian walking home from Panchos?”

“Look, there’s the road to the Baptist church.”

CC Seville railroad crossing

“That’s George’s truck at the Handiway.”

“Good, the kids are at recess.”

and then we settled back and enjoyed the rest of the ride.
We were almost home.

Double Trouble

posted by Chelsea

We had a really cold spell in January.  Ditch water was freezing through.  Cows were cold.  I ordered an electric blanket from Amazon.  For me, not the cows.

At any rate, the cold spell was hard on some of the cows.  A couple of weeks ago Buck noticed the “Lucy Cow” was looking thin.  I agreed- she almost looked like something was wrong with her, except for the fact that her (now huge!) belly had dropped (like big time!) and she looked ready to calve.  We’ve been keeping an eye on her and considered getting her in by the barn, but in case I haven’t mentioned it before, the Lucy Cow is a little high headed and not exactly tame.  So… we thought we’d wait it out and see if she came around.  Well, yesterday, after church we did a drive-by to see if all was well in the calving pasture.  The Lucy cow had a calf!  It was laying very still and so Buck snuck out just to make sure it was basking in the sun rather than trying to die.  He snuck out and found the calf not only very alive, but it had a sibling!  The Lucy cow had twins!

The really funny part about the whole thing is that our Lucy (girl) has been wishing and hoping and praying for a set of twins.  She’s desperately wanted a twin to bring home and bottle feed.  Every time she’s brought it up Buck and I cringe at the thought of having a calf around that we have to bottle feed.  We found the whole thing humorously ironic that Lucy’s cow was the one to have the first set of twins.  The Lucy Cow may have been able to raise both twins, but she only wanted to claim one.  Her high headed self was too baffled by the whole situation to fully grasp it and so she left one and took the other.  Lucky for us and even luckier for this little calf…

bummers13 019

we have two girls…

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…who gladly claimed her…

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… as their own.   Rest assured this little calf has two very attentive mamas!

From Our Kitchen


posted by Chelsea

From our brownie makin’ kitchen to yours…

feb13 009


Valentine’s Day Pop Quiz

posted by Donna

How well do you treat your Valentine? Take this pop quiz. Some questions may require a bit of soul-searching. Score YES answers 10 points and NO answers 5 points.

1. You regularly see to it that your Valentine has some of your quality time, not snatches here and there, not a few fatigued minutes at the end of the day. You make a point to have fun together.

YES _____      NO _____                      Read Luke 6:38

CC Nance and Marc

2. You rarely, if ever, resent doing things for your Valentine (examples: pouring their coffee, picking up their dirty clothes, making breakfast, lunch, and dinner some days), avoiding anger and jealousy.

YES _____     NO _____                       Read Job 5:2

CC Julie and Archie

3. You often show and express affection and acceptance even after _____ years of marriage (Examples: approving eyes, a gentle touch, a lingering embrace).

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Jeremiah 31:3

CC CJ and Steve

4.  You diligently attempt to keep your words and tone of voice kind and uplifting.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Ephesians 4:32

CC Bob and Carol

5. You recall how attacked and deflated you were when you received harsh treatment in a particularly stressful situation so you attempt to keep a positive attitude at all times without blaming or condemning your Valentine.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Philippians 2:14, 15

CC Grant and Kate

6.  It is not out of character for you to tell others what you appreciate about your Valentine, sometimes within earshot.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Proverbs 27:17

CC Mike and Janet

7.  You carefully contemplate what gift to give your Valentine, giving something meaningful and/or needed.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Proverbs 3:27

CC Susan and Stephen

8.  You stay alert to the physical needs of your Valentine.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Mark 10:8, 9

CC Donna and WEston

9. You give and serve and share and care without tracking whose done more for whom.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read 1 Corinthians 13:5

CC Judy and Bill

10. You realize and remind your Valentine of the value of teamwork and strive to be a team player.

YES _____     NO _____                     Read Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10

CC Gabriel and Marcella

Now add up your score.  Using the old school grading system, how did you do?

A – 90 to 100         B – 80 to 89         C- 70 to 79          D – 60 to 69            F-59 or less

How about giving your Valentine the gift of an improved grade?

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