Total Pageviews

Friday, December 28, 2012

Peanut Butter Bon-Bons

 Like most people, I have favorite goodies that I look forward to eating each Christmas.  One of my top two favorites is my Great-aunt Ellen's Peanut Butter Bon-Bons...peanut buttery goodness that just melts in my mouth...YUM! 

These are really quite easy to make.  The "hardest" part is dipping the bon-bons which isn't hard at all!

Peanut Butter Bon-Bons
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 18 oz. jar of chunky peanut butter OR 16 oz. jar of creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3 ½ cups crispy rice cereal

Mix butter and peanut butter in a sauce pan over low heat.  Stir well.  Mix in powdered sugar.  The mixture will be thick.
Add in the crispy rice cereal.  I mix this with my hands…it’s the only way I can get mixed together really well.

Shape into balls; make them however big or small you would like.  I try to get them about the size of a large (shooter) marble.
Chill for 1 hour; then dip in almond bark and put on wax paper to set.  If you want to add sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or cherry chips, make sure you add these before the almond bark sets.
I ended up with 100 bon-bons

While I make these for Christmas, you could make them for any special New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day. 
I like to give these to friends or neighbors in a clean tin or pretty glass jar.  My neighbors tell me they look forward to these each year.

Have a wonderful weekend, and take care of you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finished Projects for Christmas...

Have any of you ever procrastinated on projects?  If not, are a better person than me!  I'm the queen of procrastination when it comes to one major thing...putting binding on a quilt!  I don't know why that particular part of the project is such a pain-inducing feat for me, but it is.  In fact, I decided that I was GOING to finish quilts from years past that were just waiting for binding.  My hope is that by getting some of my "old" projects out of my house, I will be inspired to craft more in the new year.

Quilt Project #1 -- This one didn't need binding, but I did have it mostly finished by May 2012--which was when I intended to give it to my adorable great nephew for his 2nd birthday.  I got it done for Christmas, but I had one minor problem to fix:
Shiloh looks on, shaking his head, thinking "Mom needs to take a second look at those directions!  That dog looks wrong!"
That's better!  I've made at least five of these quilts.  They are very forgiving quilts to make (other than the eye placement!), and kids seem to love them.  It's like a blanket and a friend in one warm fluffy bundle!
If you want to try a flannel rag quilt in the shape of an animal or reptile or bug, look for Simplicity 4993 (dog, cat, bear), Simplicity 2493(centipede, turtle, dinosaur), or Simplicity 2935 (butterfly, owl, flower.)
There is also one designed for fleece: Simplicity 3955 (panda bear, clown fish, ladybug).  I really think that you could do any of the "flannel rag quilts" with fleece, you just wouldn't have to put batting between the two layers...even easier.  Cutting out the pieces honestly takes longer than the sewing.

Quilt Project #2 -- My nephew's Marine Corps T-shirt quilt was supposed to be done for Christmas 2011.  The top was done, but I didn't get it to Red Door Quilting to get it quilted in time.  I got it done this year, and I think my nephew really liked it.
Booger loves to stand in front of the quilts when we take pictures. And, yes, we are from Nebraska, so the rug in our living room is a "Huskers" rug showcasing a football helmet.
Quilt Project #3 -- This is the most embarrassingly procrastinated project!  I made a quilt for my parents-in-law for their 50th wedding anniversary...which was in January 2008.  Mind you, the quilt has been quilted and folded in my sewing room for over 5 years--because I had it professionally quilted in November of 2007!  All it needed was the binding.  I had the material, I just didn't have any "just do it" in my body.  I showed it to my mother-in-law after it was quilted, but it had been so long that she didn't have ANY recollection of what it looked like...even after she saw it again.  I told her it was their 55th wedding anniversary present!  Ha...ha...
I bought the fabric panel with the vintage girl and her puppy pictures.  I didn't have any pattern to follow, so this is what I came up with.  My mother-in-law loved it...even if it was 5 years late!
I really feel that a weight is off of my chest just getting those old projects out of my sewing room.  I've got several projects to work on this next year, though.  My baby sister is graduating from high school, and I have a nephew getting married, and I'm sure other happy occasions will pop up throughout the year, so I'm ready to

I hope everyone had a fun and blessed Christmas season.  Don't forget to take care of you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow Much Love!

Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Nebraska has been the driest state in the country for the last several months, so I am thankful for ANY type of moisture...even a blizzard.

In my last post, I mentioned that I actually decorated my home for Christmas this year.  I used many things that I purchased at a local auction I attended in April (see post  I got a super deal on tons of crocheted snowflakes and other Christmas stuff.  I decided to do my Christmas decorating this year in blue and silver tinsel along with the snowflakes.  As I unpacked the boxes of snowflakes, I found angels and a few crocheted Christmas trees.  There was even a crocheted angel tree topper! 
The previous owner had also added suction cups to several of the snowflakes.  I put these on our sliding glass door.  When the blizzard hit here on Wednesday night, I snapped the following picture at midnight...crocheted snowflakes AND real snowflakes.
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!  Merry Christmas, and don't forget to take care of you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making Traditions...

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year.  However, it can also be such a stressful time of the year.  Growing up, I dreamed of all the wonderful baking and crafting I would do with my children.  Since that is an unfulfilled dream, I've spent this year really trying to figure out how to still enjoy Christmas instead of dreading it.

Last year, I did not even put up a Christmas decorations...nada...  I thought this would make the season easier, but it did not.  It made it worse.  So this year I decided to put out moderate decorations and try to come up with a way to make this a special time of year for Trevor and me.

I decided to shower my husband with small gifts to let him know how much I love him.  I figure if they can make a super-annoying Christmas song about the '12 Days of Christmas', then I could come up with some goofy, small gifts for Trevor.

He was quite shocked when he figured out what I'd done.  He's been having fun with it.  He's also been bragging to his guys at work about how awesome his wife I think it's a success.  I got some great tags on the blog All Our Days.  Here's the link for the printable:

I read several ideas from different bloggers on what they use for gifts.  Some are pretty strict about sticking with the theme from the song.  I'm not...but I did happen to get something with the right number of items for a few of the days.  Here's what Trevor is enjoying:

1) A wallet
2) Turtles (instead of turtle doves...he's not a bird lover in any way, shape, or form!)
3) Pens -- he has a specific kind/color he likes to use for work...
4) 4 Starbucks cold Mocha Coffees
5) 5 pairs of boxer briefs
6) A small tin with mini-snickers
7) An Axe gift pack
8) A dreamcicle lollipop
9) A box of chocolate covered cherries...he loves these...I think YUCK!
10) Some camo zippered bags
11) Royal Milk Maid candies...he loves these...I also think these are disgusting!
12) 12 socks (or 6 pairs)

Trevor's favorite line is "All I want for Christmas is underwear and socks!"  I didn't get him socks and underwear last year, and he kind of razzed me about it.  Giving him socks and undies during the pre-Christmas celebration is just a better idea. 
Thanks to for the lovely image!
Merry Christmas!!  Take care of you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dog Shaming

I broke down and submitted one of my wonderful dogs to  I don't know if it will get published there, but here is what I sent them:
Shiloh has always been a dog that "pisses" when he gets pissed off...what a little turd!  I adore him, but I wasn't too happy with him last night!!

Take care of you!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Company's Coming Potatoes

Trevor and I came up with this recipe for easy potatoes for when we have company.  They are so GOOD with barbecued ribs or steak.  As an added bonus, they are super easy!
In addition to what is pictured, you'll need a crock pot, some seasoning (like garlic, onion powder, and season salt) and a bag of shredded cheese.

1 stick butter
16 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese (we use the chive & onion cream cheese)
Bag of hash browns
2-3 cups shredded cheese (we usually use cheddar or a mix like cheddar jack or Monterrey jack)
Small Onion, diced (we've also used one bunch of green onions...these are great)

1) Turn your crock pot on Medium.
2) Put in the stick of butter and the onion. 
3) Once the butter is completely melted, kind of stir it around to coat the crock.  Then pour in the frozen hash browns.
4) Over the top, glop on the sour cream and cream cheese.  Put the lid on.
5) After about a 1/2 hour the sour cream and cream cheese will be nice and soft.  Stir the sour cream and cream cheese into the potatoes.  Mix well. 
6) Let the mixture cook for about two hours, mixing every 20-30 minutes.  It kind of depends on your crock pot as to how much you have to stir the potatoes.  When the potatoes are getting done, I add garlic powder, onion powder, and season salt...mix...taste...add more if needed.  Remember, you can always add more spices, but you can't take them back add a little bit, then taste, then add...
7)  About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the shredded cheese.  I usually add 1-2 cups of cheese and mix in.  Then I put more on top that I don't mix just depends on how much you like cheese.

I am out of the blogging habit due to a rough August, so I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but you can probably guess that it looks like hash browns with good stuff on them.  I hope you like this dish as much as my family does!

In other news, Booger had to have surgery last month to have a salivary gland removed and a ranula opened so it could drain.  He didn't want me to bother him at all.  I tried to get pictures of his Frankenstein-like neck stitches, but he was totally uncooperative.  Here's what I got instead:
I believe this is Booger saying, "Leave me alone.  I don't feel good, and I just want to sleep!"
Take care of you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Macaroni Salad

I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes for macaroni salad.  Here is how I make macaroni salad...which I learned from my Aunt Alice...who learned it from her Aunt Bunny (Bunny's real name was, unfortunately for her, Berniece.)

I make this about ten times each summer because my husband is in love with it.  He will take big containers of it to eat for breakfast and lunch.  It's not exactly healthy as a meal option, but then how much better is a doughnut, a hot dog, or pop-tarts?

Here is what the recipe card from Aunt Alice says--quoted--so the jokes are hers!  I had to find it because I haven't actually used the recipe card in ages!

1 cup macaroni
1 green pepper, chopped     ]        
1 cucumber, chopped         ]  put the amount that you
1 chopped onion to taste    ]  like for these
1 or two tomatoes, chopped  ]  ingredients   
Miracle Whip -- 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons (or more -- to taste)
Season Salt -- to taste (secret ingredient!)
You can put any number of items into your salad...shredded cheddar cheese, pieces of chopped ham, tuna, peas (fresh or frozen that have been thawed), bacon bits, chopped hard boiled eggs (would be hard to chop unboiled eggs--here's my sign!), olives, etc.

I do make my salad a little bit differently.  I use a one pound bag of large shell pasta; I've never seen Alice use anything other than elbow macaroni.  The first time I made macaroni salad for Trevor I used the shells because they were on sale, and I'm a cheapskate.  Now he thinks the salad "tastes funny" if I use anything other than shells.  I think it is all in his head! 

Also, I don't put any green pepper in it.  I put cucumber, white or yellow onion, tomatoes, and cheese.  My husband prefers Kraft Crumbles Cheese if I can find them, but they are hard to come by I either finely chop bulk cheese OR I use shredded. 

Lastly, I use Spin Blend instead of Miracle Whip. 
My husband is so in LOVE with Spin Blend that he had his Mama send it to him in care packages when he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California and in Okinawa during his Marine Corps days...that's dedication to a salad dressing!  If they ever stop making it, he may have a mental breakdown.

Aunt Alice likes to chop everything up really small...I don't have that kind of patience, so my husband gets big chunks.  The cucumber, tomato, and onion are all from our garden!  That makes the salad taste even better!
Boil the pasta to al dente...still pretty tough.  Mushy pasta in a pasta salad is just icky!  As soon as you drain the pasta, rinse it with cold tap water until the heat is out of the pasta to stop the pasta from cooking further and to prevent the pasta from becoming one giant ball of goo!

When the salad is first made, it should seem pretty gooey.  The noodles will suck up a lot of the salad dressing.  If you don't make it kind of gooey, the salad will be dry when it is served.

It's best if a macaroni salad gets to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours and get good and cool.

Don't put too much season salt...if you accidentally dump a whole bottle of SeasonAll in the I did one time...don't try to save it...just throw it away and start can't wash that much salt off the noodles...just trust me!

This is how I measure things...2-3 "big glops" of Spin Blend and about that much SeasonAll...I know...real scientific!
What's your favorite summer salad?

Have a super Tuesday, and take care of you!

Summer Blog Challenge for August 6

**Do I have a favorite author?**

This is really a loaded question for someone who works in a library!  I have lots of favorite authors...depending on the genre.  We just had a questionnaire go around for a "staff pick" display at our library. 

Here are some of my favorite books--books that somehow changed my view of the world or, at least, have stuck with me for years and years:
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Masque of the Red Death, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat  by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Scarlet Letter and Rapuccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Any of the Post Secret books compiled by Frank Warren
  • Garden Spells, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
For Children / Teens, these are my recommendations...books I loved as a child:
  • Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily's Quest by L.M. Montgomery -- This trilogy is by the same author as the Anne of Green Gables.  The Anne series is good, but the Emily series is AWESOME!  I read this three or four times between fourth and seventh grade...they are that good!
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Charlie's Monument by Blaine M. Yorgason -- This book is out of print, but if you can get it for kindle or maybe find a used copy.  I've read this book seven or eight times.  It is about 100 pages but it teaches so many lessons about overcoming adversity. 
Now for the truth...for my own entertainment I read mostly romance...the smuttier the better.  Here are my favorite romance writers (the higher up on the list they are, the less smutty they are!) 
  • Kaki Warner -- good, solid western romance
  • Jayne Ann Krentz / Amanda Quick -- same writer who writes under different pen names
  • Marianne Stillings
  • Linda Howard
  • Robyn Carr
  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Carly Phillips
  • Jo Davis
  • Kate Angell
  • Rachel Gibson
  • Susan Donovan
  • Stacey Kayne -- She only has about 4 books published, but I sure wish she would write more!!
  • Lori Foster
  • Jill Shalvis
  • Lora Leigh
  • Bella Andre
  • Shiloh Walker
  • Lucy Monroe
See...loaded question for someone who LOVES to read!  Have a wonderful week, and take care of you!

Summer Blog Challenge for August 5th

**What is your dream job**

I don't have one "perfect" job in mind.  I think rather than the actual work, I focus on how a job makes me feel.  My dream job makes me feel needed, yet respects my needs.  It is low stress--at least not harmfully stressful.  It makes me feel like I am able to make a small difference in the world.  It's something I enjoy doing.  While I sometimes think it would be great to be a prosecuting attorney or a dog trainer/groomer or a nurse or a civil the end of the day, I know working part time at a library in a quiet Nebraska city is pretty darn wonderful!

Take care of you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge

Aug 3 -- What Helps You Get Through Meltdowns...

I'm not sure if this prompt is means personal meltdowns or your child's meltdowns, but I am going with the "personal meltdowns."
  • I generally overeat while having meltdowns...chocolate is always good.
  • A good cry is great.  It releases a lot of tension.  As long as this isn't something that happens too often, then it really can be cathartic.
  • I talk to friends and family that understand me and why I'm having the meltdown.
  • EXERCISE!  When I decide I'm ready to get off my pity pot, the best thing for me is to go for a run or go to a Body Pump class at the Y.  Even when I fight exercise, I always admit that I feel SO MUCH BETTER after I've pushed my body.
  • Watch a funny movie.
  • Jam out to the tunes...drown out everyone else!
  • I pet/cuddle with my doggies.  They love me even when I'm in the middle of a full meltdown.
Courtesy of
Have a great day, and take care of you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Preserve It!

I love books published by DK publishers...they have great pictures and easy instructions.  The book PRESERVE IT! is another great offering from DK.

This book has sections about natural storage...ever wondered how to properly store onions for the winter?  This book explains it and shows you how!  There are also sections on drying fruits and vegetables (without a fancy dehydrator), freezing fruits and vegetables (including a list of what freezes well), and of course the jams, jellys, chutneys, preserves, and pickles.  There are also instructions for preserving in oil and canning fruit in alcohol.  There is then a section about salting meats and vegies, curing meats, smoking meats, and making sausages (like fresh chorizo.)  Finally there is a small section about brewing and wine-making.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 53


Mostly, I just whine a lot! 

I stay inside as much as possible.  I think that when it is as hot as it has been this year, books are the best option.  I've been reading a bunch.  I should be sewing, but the heat this year has just sapped most of my energy.

It's not original, but that's what I do!

Stay cool, and take care of you!

Freezing Corn

Usually the corn-on-the-cob comes into season in Nebraska around the middle of July.  Of course, this year has been extraordinarily the corn was ready a month early.  Anyway, I did find some corn to freeze this year.  I thought you might like to see how I get the corn from the farmers' market to the freezer.

  1. Purchase the corn.  (I purchased 5 dozen ears of corn, but I process no more than 3 dozen ears at a time in the roaster.) 
  2. Shuck the corn, cutting off any bad spots. 
  3. Clean the corn thoroughly removing as much silk as possible. 
  4. Using an electric knife, cut the corn off the cob. 
    1. Be careful to NOT cut cob into your corn.  Cob just doesn't taste very good.
    2. I use a jelly roll pan to cut the corn into (instead of a cutting board) because I want to keep the corn "milk" for the finished project.
    3. Discard the cobs unless you want to dry them for cheap TP (I'm really suggesting that you NOT do this...really)
  5. Dump the corn into a turkey roaster (or other large pan with a lid.)
  6. Once all of the corn (3 doz ears worth) is in the roaster, add 1 quart of heavy cream or half-n-half.  Stir the corn to coat.  Put four sticks of butter (1 lb.) on top of the corn.  Put the lid on the roaster.
  7. Bake in the oven at 250 F for one hour--stirring thoroughly every 15 minutes.
  8. After the corn has baked for an hour, let the corn set out until it is cool enough to handle.  Put two cups (or whatever amount works best for your family) into a freezer bag.  [TIP:  I use a canning funnel when putting the corn in the freezer bags to keep messes to a minimum.]
  9. Freeze.  I flatten the bags so that they don't take a bunch of room in the freezer.
When you are ready to use the corn, defrost the corn a little (enough so you can get it out of the bag) by either getting it out a meal before you want to use it and putting it in the fridge -OR- microwave it for a minute or two.  Put on the stove top on medium heat until it is hot.  Stir often.

Corn -- after it has been cut off using the electric knife.

Corn -- after it has been baked.

Corn -- after it has been frozen -- stacked in the freezer.
I know this is not a "healthy" way to preserve corn, but it sure tastes awesome.  This is the way Trevor's mom taught us to freeze corn.  It's awesome on mashed potatoes instead of gravy OR in chicken and noodles.

One year we ended up with 18 dozen ears of corn.  Trevor's mom and dad, Trevor, and I processed corn ALL DAY LONG...we didn't want any corn for quite some time.

From 5 dozen ears, I got 17 - 2 cup packages of frozen corn.  Amounts will vary based on the quality of the corn and how good (or bad) the person is at cutting the corn from the cob.

How do you prefer preserved corn?

Have a wonderful week, and take care of you!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 52


We put soaker hose around the plants to try to get the water exactly where we want it--at the roots, not on the leaves.  We also put down grass clippings to try to keep the weeds down between the you can tell from the picture, I still need to do some weeding, even with the grass.
Take care of you!

Summer Blog Challenge -- Day 51


If you aren't already regular public library users, well now is the time to see what the library can offer you and your children.  Here are some of the great materials and services that many public libraries have:
THANKS to for this awesome graphic!

  • BOOKS -- of course, you all know this!
  • AUDIOBOOKS -- many childrens' departments have a wonderful selection of children's audiobooks; many also have kits that have the book and CD together so that the child can read along.
  • DVDs / VHS tapes -- Many libraries are phasing out VHS tapes, but they may still have a selection.  There are movies for children, teens, and adults.
  • MAGAZINES -- why buy magazines when you can usually check them out at your library?
  • FREE PROGRAMMING -- Most libraries have story times for various age groups; Some even have "Baby Lapsits" where the parent holds the infant while a story is read and other activities appropriate for babies are done.  Some libraries also have free programming during Christmas Breaks and Spring Break. 
  • SUMMER READING PROGRAM -- If your library has a summer reading program, it is a great way to encourage your children to read throughout the summer.
  • DATABASES -- You may be able to access all sorts of databases from your home using your library card.  Some that your library may have include a language program like Rosetta Stone or Mango, Chiltons Online, (free live homework help through college-level courses...math, science, proofreading papers, etc.), or Heritagequest, and online encyclopedias just to name a few.
  • E-BOOKS & AUDIOBOOK DOWNLOADS -- More and more libraries have access to services like Overdrive where you can 'check-out' e-books for you kindle, nook, or other e-reader or download audiobooks for your iPod or MP3 player.
  • TUMBLEBOOKS -- If your library has access to this service, your child can have a book read to him/her on a computer or iPad.  There are also activities that go with most of the stories.
If you are really lucky, your library has a tactile learning area with puzzles and other learning toys.  What a great way to spend an afternoon!

Have a wonderful day, and take care of you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 48

As you may have noticed, I've been kind of slacking off on the blog challenge...there were several prompts for which I just didn't have much of an why waste the cyberspace?

Anyway, I thought I could add to today's discussion.

**5 things to do when the power is OUT**

This somewhat depends on the time of day and duration of the power outage, but here goes!

  • Pet your animals...special one-on-one time petting the dog is awesome!
  • Talk to each other with no interruptions!
  • Look for the flash light...for us this usually takes the whole time of the outage...we turn on the flash light just as the power comes back on. 
  • There is a reason that births go way up 9 months after a big power outage or blizzard. Get busy with your honey...
  • During prolonged outages, clean up the permitting...some housecleaning can also be done like mopping floors and excuses because you can't watch TV, get on the internet, etc.
  • READ!!!  This should be happening even when there is not a power outage, but as long as there is light, you can read!
  • Practice an instrument that has been sitting idle during your hustle-bustle life.
  • Play card games or board games or outdoor games like tag
  • Help those in your neighborhood who cannot help themselves--like the elderly--in any way you can; Even just talking to the can be helpful!
I'm very lucky because I have never been through a prolonged power outage.  I feel for those that do go through the big outages because it almost always is caused by extreme weather which can make some of my suggestions seem trite.

Have a wonderful day, and take care of you!

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

Have you seen The Fabulous Beekman Boys on the Science Channel?  If you haven't, it is a show about Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, two men who bought a beautiful old farm in upstate New York.  They raise goats, other farm animals, and some crops, all the while trying to get along while living a green life.

The book features a notes section with each recipe for you to write anything you want to remember about a recipe or even who liked/disliked each recipe.  There are also pockets in the front of the book with recipe cards for you to add your personal recipes to the book making this a beautiful personalized wedding gift.  What bride and groom wouldn't want handwritten family recipes as they start their new life together?
As usual, I found several desserts I was willing to try.  I didn't have as much luck with the main dishes and side dishes...too many 'strange' ingredients like goat cheese and dandelions.  Maybe goat cheese is wonderful?

I made "Buttery Peach Cake."   I put fresh peaches that have been peeled and cut into wedges then covered with a sugar, ginger, cinnamon (it said to use cardamom--but I don't have any of that, and I don't know what it tastes I used a known spice), and melted butter.  Over the top of that I put a cake batter; the only "odd" ingredient that I had to purchase was plain yogurt.  The peaches kind of drift to the top--somewhat--while the cake cooks.  The cake was really quite fabulous!  I thought it would have been over-the-top-awesome served warm with vanilla ice cream.  My husband said that he preferred it without ice cream.  He definitely wants me to make this again.

Have a super "hump day," and take care of you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Farm Recipes

Ian Knauer has worked and does work for all kinds of food related hot spots like Gourmet magazine and the Food Network. He has written a beautiful cook book called The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food. The pictures are just amazing, and the recipes are pretty good, too!

Just one warning…if you are opposed to seeing a pig on a spit…you might want to avoid this book (or at least pages 68-69. However, if you really want to know how to roast a whole pig, this book has instructions for that.

The book has recipes for produce that peaks in each part of the year. However, it is beyond the four seasons. He has sections for early summer produce, midsummer produce, and late summer produce. I really like the organization of this book.

The recipe I decided to try from this book was Cocoa Zucchini Cake with "Whipped Cream" Frosting.  As with most homemade cakes, this is much denser and less sickeningly sweet than those you can buy from your local store or that come from a cake mix.  My husband liked it a lot...even the frosting...which is odd for him because he usually scrapes off the frosting and throws it away because frosting is "too sweet."  My mother-in-law said I could make it for here anytime.

It's the first time I've tried a cooked frosting.  It was called "whipped cream" frosting.  It had granulated sugar, whole milk, flour, and vanilla.  It was different than any frosting I've ever tasted.  The texture was also different.  I still haven't decided if I really liked it or not...guess that means I'll have to make it again sometime this summer.  Heaven knows I will have plenty of zucchini to use up!
I got to use a zucchini from my garden...YummY!

I hope you take the time to check out this book at your local library.  Have a great week, and take care of you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 40

**What is the hardest challenge you have been faced with?**

This is a really deep topic for my little fun blog, but here goes.

I would say that my greatest challenge has been a life-long fight for believe that I deserve to live.  At age eight, my entire life dramatically changed.  I lost all semblance of stability, safety, and personal boundaries.  As a result, I felt entirely worthless and unwanted.  This all came to a head during my junior and senior years of high school.  I ended up in a juvenile ward for cutting, got out, got kicked out of my mother's home just before my senior year started, moved in with my biological father whom I hadn't seen in nine years in a town 200+ miles away, witnessed a domestic violence incident between my biological father and his wife, moved again to live with my Grandparents, and then attempted suicide. 

Ultimately, the suicide attempt woke me up to reality.  I had an excellent therapist who really figured me out and said what I needed to hear.  In addition to the therapist's wisdom, the devastation to my Grandparents showed me what a selfish act suicide is.  Nothing that had caused me pain was caused by them; to the contrary, they were the only stable influence I had growing up.  Yet, when I was in the hospital for the suicide attempt, my grandparents came regularly (over 200 mile trip one way) because they loved me. 

I kept working on my "issues"--such an overused term.  I was so lucky to meet an amazing man who has continued to help me see that I am worth so much more than I sometimes believe.  He has provided all of the safety and unconditional love that wasn't a normal part of my childhood.  Before my Grandmother died, she said she was so happy I had found Trevor because he provided the stability I had always needed. 

I promised both my Grandparents and Trevor that no matter how bad things got, I would never attempt to kill myself again.  I take that vow seriously.  The good news is that I haven't felt that desperation for years and years. 

Like I said...a bit deep and depressing...I really need to come up with some perky stuff to put on the blog to overcome this moroseness!

Take care of you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 39

**What are some of your biggest pet peeves?**

This post will show some of my grumpy side, but here goes...

*  If someone does a task/job, they should do it right.  If they are just going to do it half-right, they shouldn't  do it at all as it creates more work for everyone else.

*  Rude people/people who think they are entitled to special treatment for whatever reason...people who won't follow simple rules

*  Unsolicited advice...especially regarding how you should feel or act or heal after a personal trauma or tragedy...pushy religious advice regarding how you should feel or act or heal after a personal trauma or tragedy...

*  People who don't take care of their children, whether in public or private.  They don't realize the gift they've been given.

Well, I feel like I've got my grump on for the day.  How about you?  Now I have to take Shiloh to the vet because he has a big bump on his bills could be another pet peeve, but I don't really mind them.  If I didn't have vet bills, it would mean that I didn't have my buddy-dogs...and that would be truly sad!

Have a great week, and take care of you!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 36 & 37

Day 36 **What is a holiday tradition you have in your family?**

We don't have a lot of "traditions."  The only tradition I could really think of is that on Christmas Eve we always have chili.  We often also have another type of soup available for those who don't like chili.  Sometimes I make cinnamon rolls or cornbread.  Everything has to be put away - dishes done - before the presents can be opened.

Day 37 **Something You  Would Attempt If You Knew You Wouldn't Fail**

Hmmm...I would probably write novels.  I use plural because I wouldn't want to write just one.  I have several stories in my head that run the gamut from serious to funny...romantic to literary.  Follow through seems to be my main problem.  I have so much I want to do, but I start things and then move on to something new.  Quilts, crafts, cooking, canning, writing, etc.
Lola...wondering why I am making her stand on two legs...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 30 & 31 ... gettin' behind!

Well, it finally decided to cool down a little bit in Nebraska!  We are going to be in the 80s this they say...

Day 30 **a picture of your style or what you wish was your style**
I wish my style was classic like Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Wood.  However, I am much larger than either of those lovely ladies.  Oh, well.  ; )

Day 31 **Talk about something eco-friendly that you already do**
I take my own bags with me to the grocery store!  I love my own bags, and my homemade bags don't pollute the ground dumps or the waterways.

I check out books from my local library -OR- purchase e-books that don't use any paper at all.

We have a local...grow local...etc.

Stay cool, and take care of you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 33


I am honestly a homebody, and I don't enjoy traveling.  We enjoy camping, but it is usually within a 40 mile radius of home.  Every few years we will go to a lake that is about 100 miles away...that's a huge trip for us!

We are attending a wedding in Omaha in a few weeks.  We also try to get to my Grandfather's house (180 miles away) once every two or three months.  Other than that, we don't have any travel plans in the foreseeable future.

I do plan to spend a lot of time canning/freezing fruits and veggies this summer...if we can keep the plants alive.  It is extraordinarily dry this year, but they haven't told us not to water, yet.

And, some sad news.  The baby robins didn't survive this extreme heat we've been having.  Poor babies!

Have a safe, fun Fourth of July, and take care of you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 32


My cousin Maddie spent the majority of her life profoundly handicapped.  Her mind was normal, but she was unable to communicate with most people, and she couldn't control most body movement; She had trouble controlling her body temperature; She suffered from seizures.  My Aunt Nancy adopted Maddie as an infant.  Maddie could communicate with Nancy with eye movements.  Her body finally gave up last year.  As she was dying, this poem came to me; at Nancy's request, I read it at her celebration of life last July.

When I get to heaven, things will be so different for me.

I will sing!

I will laugh!

I will dance!

I will make new friends, and I will TALK their ears off!

I have so many stories to tell, opinions, thoughts…
and EVERYONE will be able to hear and understand me.

I will go to the mountains and YELL…
just to hear my beautiful voice echo back to me.

When I get to heaven, things will be so different for me.

In life I have dealt gracefully with pain,
but I won’t know pain any more.

In life I have dealt gracefully with being wheelchair bound,
but I won’t have a wheelchair anymore.

I don’t ever have to sit again…unless I want to.

In life I have known great love from my mom, my family, my friends.
I know that will never change.

I will still be around at times—
to comfort my mom,
to remind her of the good times we had,
to remind her of how much I LOVE HER,
to let her know I miss her, too.

When I get to heaven, things will be so different for me.

I will play!

I will run!

I will jump!

I will roll in a meadow of wildflowers,
watching the beautiful colors dance in the sunlight.

I will play in the snow! I will dance in the rain!
I will swim and ride a bike and eat blueberries if I feel like it.

I will do all the things I’ve always wanted so much to do!

I have quite a long list of things to do,
and I will start at the top, or maybe in the middle…

As an aside...Today is the day that I married my honey.  Happy Anniversary, Trevor!  You are my everything.

Have a wonderful holiday week, and take care of you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 28


To be perfectly honest, I feel that laundry is the bane of my existence...I dread doing laundry.  I don't mind putting the clothes in the washing machine or dryer, but I detest folding everything and putting it away.  Procrastination tends to be the name of my laundry game!

That being are my "tricks"
  • If your husband has a really dirty job and has the option of uniforms...just pay them to wash his clothes.  My husband works on semi trailers and comes home covered in fifth wheel grease and animal feces of all kinds...I don't want that in my washer.  If you miss some grease, it is pretty much guaranteed to ruin something you really love the next time you wash.
  • I save a DVD I really want to watch until I am doing the folding of the incentive for folding everything.
  • Every six months I turn all of the clothes hangers the wrong way on the closet rod.  If the item is still "backwards" when I turn everything around again, then I know I haven't worn it in six months.  It's a good time to make a decision as to whether it is really worth keeping or if it is time for the donation sack.
  • I have a magic marker by where I fold laundry.  If I find a sock that is holey, I put an 'X' on it so I know it has become a rag.
  • We try to purchase the same kind of socks every time so that if one sock has a hole I just have to wait until another one is holey and I have a "new" pair.  I'm pretty easy on socks, but my husband wears steel toe boots and walks A LOT as part of his job, so there are usually holey socks with each load.
  • I run one load each week with some baking soda and white vinegar to help clean the machine and keep it from smelling musty.
  • Once a month I wash my shower curtain with two towels, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 1 Tbsp of liquid detergent.  It comes out like new!
I really think the solution to my problem is for someone to come up with a machine that folds and puts away my clothes.  Since I haven't heard that anyone is really working on that, I guess I'll just keep bribing myself to fold the clothes with DVDs from the library. 

Booger says "Thank Goodness for air conditioning!"
Have a great evening, and take care of you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 26 & 27

It's super hot here in Nebraska!  Record highs all around!

Day 27 **What does your significant other do that makes your heart melt? Submitted by Rachael @ Little Britches**

I adore my husband, so a better question may be what doesn't he do that melts my heart...but some of the greatest things are:
  • he's my Snake Hunter...he doesn't make fun of my hysterics...he just takes care of the snake and comforts me
  • he loves me just the way I am
  • he always tells me he loves me
  • he makes me feel accepted and safe
Day 28 **What's the best gift you've ever received? Submitted by Leah @ Crunchy Farm Baby**

For my tenth birthday, my Grandmother bought an upright piano for $50.  It was pea green.  Grandma stripped off the ugly paint and stained it with a deep wood stain.  I was absolutely ecstatic!  I loved music so much, and I was so excited to take piano lessons.  I took piano lessons for many years.  As a senior in high school, I played for the swing choir. 

The green shows through some of the intricate parts of the legs; it reminds me of the love and devotion my grandma had for me.

Have a wonderful day, and take care of you!

Harvesting Color

Sometimes it is fun to read about a craft that you really have absolutely NO intention of ever actually trying yourself.  In that vein, at least for me, is this week's book:  HARVESTING COLOR: HOW TO FIND PLANTS AND MAKE NATURAL DYES by Rebecca Burgess.

This book shows how to identify and harvest plants, wild plants aka weeds for the most part, to use in dying homespun yarn.  The book begins with chapters detailing equipment and materials needed in order to make homemade dyes.  She also has a whole chapter of dye recipes that she has used and tested to help you successfully dye your lambs' wool yarn.
The remainder of the book is divided by the seasons and show which plants are plentiful by season, where to find the plants (within the U.S.), how to determine when to harvest the plants, and what hue a dye from each plant will produce.  I enjoyed the information on the plants because I am surrounded by prairies full of many of the flowers she shows.  I learned quite a bit about different prairie flowers.  I was often surprised by the hue different plants made.  I would expect a bright red flower to make a bright red dye, but that was rarely the case.  Even though I will (probably) never dye any yarn, it was still a fun book to look through.
Have you ever spun your own yarn?  Dyed your own yarn?  Both processes looked super labor intensive to me.  Since yarn crafts are beyond me...I'll stick to just reading about spinning and dying.
Have a fun day, and take care of you!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 25


I'm pretty simple and cheap...My ideal day is a beautiful day by the lake with my butt parked in a lounge chair, sipping a cold beverage (probably Peach Fresca) and reading a book; then, listen to some tunes while I nap.  Take the dogs for a little walk once or twice.  Those kind of days are definitely the most relaxing! auction with awesome stuff

OR...when it is snowing out, I love to make homemade bread or cinnamon rolls and cuddling on the couch reading a book
Shiloh...just chillin'

Hope it's cooler where you are than it is here!  Take care of you!

Summer Blog Challenge Days 22, 23, 24

This month has been crazy busy, so I apologize for getting behind in my posts!
Lola looking svelte after her haircut.  I actually got a picture before she ripped her hairbows out.  The bows are usually out during the car ride home from the puppy parlor.

A better question would be what didn't I want to be when I grew up...I always had something new that was the perfect job for my future.  A few that I remember are teacher, anthropologist, veterinarian, truck driver, rancher, lawyer, and nurse.  In high school, I became totally enamored with becoming a naval officer...which didn't work out.  I went to college for a year with a double major listed of nursing and psychology. 

As an adult, I decided  just wanted to be happy.

I had two or three favorites, but I decided that "yo-yo push pins" was probably my fave so far:

This has to be taking reusable bags to stores instead of using plastic.  I cringe if I forget to take a bag or two with me.  I have tons of reusable bags so that I don't contribute to plastic bag pollution.
Mama Robin had 2 babies late last week...they look dead in this picture, but they are just sleeping.  Mama was off looking for food for them.

Have a great Monday, and take care of you!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 21


"Don't say you don't have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."

-H. Jackson Brown

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

― Paul McCartney

Keep thinking good thoughts, and take care of you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 19 & 20

I held off on doing day 19's post because it is **SOMETHING YOU ARE PROUD OF IN THE LAST FEW DAYS**  Well, since I have been fighting a massive sinus infection...the only thing I am proud of is that I survived...whomever or whatever was trying to dig my eyeballs out with a wooden spoon has finally left me!  YAY! 

I rarely just *watch* TV--If I have the TV on for me, I am usually sewing, doodling, surfing the internet, playing games, etc.  However, when my head hurts like it has the last few days, about the only thing I can do is just watch TV.  I have completed the first and second season of the Inspector Lynley mysteries.  I am starting to think in an English accent...startingn to use words I've never used before like "ponce" and "bugger off"...


August 1980, Age 5 years 10 months
Hope everyone is having a good week and keeping cool.  Take care of you!

Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It and Other Kitchen Projects

This week's book selection is another book to inspire your home canning adventure.  CAN IT, BOTTLE IT, SMOKE IT by Karen Solomon has chapter recipes for:
  • jams,
  • cereals,
  • pantry stock (like vinegar and Worcestershire sauce),
  • pickles,
  • breads,
  • roasted items (coffee beans and nuts),
  • meats (hot dogs and pastrami),
  • smoked fruits and cheese,
  • salty snacks (fried pork rinds),
  • sweet spreads, milks (almond and rice),
  • syrups and sodas,
  • and freezer treats. 
WOW...that's a lot!

I kind of felt like this was a "sampler" book.  Instead of focusing on a narrow part of food preservation, the book has a few recipes (4-5) for each chapter.  If you are looking for a wide variety of a certain type of recipe, this won't be the book for you. 
Also, I kind of had a hard time deciding/choosing a recipe to try for a couple of reasons. 
(1)  Many of the recipes had "strange" ingredients...ingredients that I cannot readily find in my little Nebraska town OR ingredients that I had never heard of, and am therefore, uncertain about spending my funds to obtain.  Some of you may think that ingredients I consider "strange" are common to takes all kinds...
(2)  Some of the recipes that I might consider because they are products I purchase had long time commitments or produced very little for the time commitment required.
**  For example  **
Homemade Vinegar takes a "strange" - vinegar starter (Mycoderma aceti) AND takes around 3 months to produce 1 1/2 cups.  Holy Cow!!!  Do you know how much vinegar I use?!?  I buy 2-3 gallons a month!  Obviously, this was not the experiment for me.
Worcestershire Sauce also takes "strange" ingredients of tamarind paste, fish paste, and blackstrap molasses.  The recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. of molasses (which I can probably obtain here, but not in that amount.  What am I going to do with the other ton that I had to purchase?)  The time commitment was 2 weeks for 1 1/2 cups.  That's probably about how much Worcestershire Sauce I use in a year...but then I'm left with lots of "extra" "strange" ingredients.  It would definitely not be a cost effective recipe for me.  Maybe you have all of the stuff already, so this would be a great recipe for you.
I had Trevor look through the book to see if there was something he thought he'd like me to make.  I didn't want to just make another jam, so I asked him to pick something other than a jam.  He picked Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish.  I asked him for what do you use corn relish?  He didn't know for sure, but he thought it would be good for corn chips...maybe added to sour cream...
It was a small batch, so I'm game to try it.  There was nothing strange, and it didn't require much time.  I honestly got out of bed at 8 AM and had the relish out of the water bath before 10 AM.  I wasn't particularly organized that day either.  The only thing I had done prior to that morning to prepare for making the relish was purchase the ingredients.  Two days before I canned the relish, I was debating about buying the red peppers, corn, and red onion.  When we went grocery shopping, I found an unadvertised sale on red peppers for $0.50 each.  That is CHEAP for my part of Nebraska...they are usually at least $1.25 each.  I decided that was my sign that I was supposed to make this stuff!
As for most canning recipes, it did make a bit more than the recipe stated.  The time commitment stated was "1 day" -- I think this must be the amount of time the relish should be allowed to cure because it took less than two hours to actually make the relish, the brine, combine the two, and hot water bath can the jars.
Later that day, my father-in-law (Howard) came over to see if I had any strawberry preserves left because he wanted waffles for dinner.  I gave him the preserves and offered him a jar of corn relish to try.  He said, "I haven't seen anyone make corn relish since my mom made it when I was a kid."  (Howard's mom died in 1972--before I was born.)  I asked him what they used the relish for...he couldn't remember, but he thought he might remember when he tasted it.  We'll see about that.
Even though there are just a few recipes on a wide range of topics, it's still worth a trip to your local library to check it out.  Maybe it has the recipe you've been searching for!
Do you know what to use Sweet Pepper Corn Relish for??
Have a great day, and take care of you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 18

**A Recipe You Love**

One of my very favorite meals is called a runza.  We have "Runza Restaurants" in Nebraska, but I don't think it is a widely known dish outside the Midwest.  I usually make runzas on Nebraska football Saturdays.  It just screams fall to me, but I went ahead and put a batch together so I could share it with you. 

I've never actually followed the "filling" recipe exactly because I am usually making 4 or 5 batches of dough--so that there are enough runzas for the neighborhood.  I followed it exactly this time so I could see if it makes what it says.  The recipe said it would make 18-20 runzas, but I found it only made 14 runzas (with 1/3 cup filling per runza.)  Whenever I leftover dough, I make a few cinnamon rolls.  If there is just a little bit of dough...then Trevor fries it and dips it in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.



4 ½ - 5 cups flour
½ cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 pkg yeast (or 4 ½ tsp of yeast)
¾ cup milk
½ cup water
½ cup butter
2 eggs (at room temperature)

1) In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

2) Heat milk, water, and margarine until warm (110 – 120 degrees F). Pour into the flour mixture.

3) Add eggs. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Then beat with electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes.

4) Stir in remainder of flour. The dough will be soft and sticky.

5) Knead until smooth. Cover and let rest for 20 min. Punch down the dough, and then allow to rise for about 1 hour before filling.

This is the dough before it has risen.


1 ½ lb hamburger (browned & drained – seasoned to taste)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 small head of cabbage (shredded -- I used a little over a pound of finely shredded cabbage)
Velveeta Cheese (sliced)

1) Mix together hamburger, onion, and cabbage and sauté until the vegetables are soft. [I do this in a large skillet on the stove top; The mixture doesn’t need a lot of stirring—just cover and let heat. The original recipe says to do this in an oven set to 350 F. Original recipe also states to top the mixture with sliced Velveeta…return to oven 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese…cool. I do it a little differently. But this is certainly one way to accomplish cheesy runzas.]

2) Allow the mixture to cool enough to be handled.

3) Roll out the dough (I divide the dough in two to make it easier to work with) and cut into 6 inch squares (approximate…not scientific). The dough will probably shrink up after you cut it from the big rolled out piece, so I usually roll it again when I have a square cut out.

4) IF you didn’t add the Velveeta to the meat mixture, put down a piece of Velveeta.

I cut a slice of Velveeta and then cut the slice in's plenty of cheese.  When I put the finished runza on the cookie sheet, I put the cheese side on top so the cheese filters down through the filling as the runza cooks.
      a. Fill with meat mixture (I use 1/3 cup per runza), fold over and pinch sides/bottoms together working dough to completely enclose the hamburger mixture.

5) Bake on a greased cooking sheet for 15-20 minutes at 350F. (Cook until the dough is the color you like…I like them pretty light, but my hubby & in-laws like the bread to be dark brown.)

6) When you pull the runzas out of the oven, brush the top of the bread with butter.

You can serve with ketchup, mustard, etc. I eat them plain. Trev always wants ketchup.

The variations for this recipe are endless. I’ve sauteed mushrooms and onions with garlic and butter—added hamburger and cheese and filled the runza dough that way. As long as there isn’t too much moisture (aka…sauce) you can use this dough to make pizza pockets or taco burgers.  Also, some people just put the filling in a casserole pan and place a layer of rolled dough over the top.

This is also the dough I use to make cinnamon rolls. The only difference is that I add an egg or two. This makes the dough even softer and yummier.

Let me know if you try it...Let me know if you like it.

Have a fun Monday, and take care of you!