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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!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 15, 16, and 17

Day 15 **Post a Photo You Took That Are Proud Of**
Most of you have seen this photo since it used to be in my blog banner...but I love this picture of Booger.  It just shows off his personality!


Day 16 **Fitness Guru or Couch Potato**

I constantly fight with my weight.  I have never been a skinny girl.  When I was 33, I was told that I either needed to bring my cholesterol down or I was going to have to go on medication.  That woke me up.  I changed the way I ate and I began exercising...a lot of exercising.  I lost 80 pounds.

The problem is that I learned that I really don't mind exercise.  In fact, I really do feel better if I exercise.  However, I really like to eat.  So, I've gained back 40 pounds.  While I can blame some of the issues with weight on my lazy ovaries (I have a raging case of PCOS--polycystic ovarian syndrome), I really can't blame my ovaries for my bad food decisions.

I'm working on the weight thing more intensively again...we'll see how it goes.

Day 17 **Three Things You Are Proud of About Your Personality**

  • I'm strong-willed
  • I don't give in to pressure...I don't take "crap" off anybody.  That can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing.
  • I think I have a good sense of humor.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and take care of you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #14

** Give Your Followers 15 Tips to Get Through Life **

I have a hard time with this because I don't like to "give advice."  So I will give you some quotes I have pinned to Pinterest...and a few "tips" that you can do with what you like.

1)  I end each of my blogs with the best piece of advice I ever received:  Take care of YOU.  That can mean different things to different people.  I know that if I'm not taking care of my needs, I am not truly available to anyone else.

2)  When someone is hurting, give support, give hugs, tell them you love them, tell them you are sorry...but please don't preach, give woulda-coulda-shouldas, or say how you think the person should be handling the situation.  You are not them.  Each person handles grief and pain differently.  Don't add to their pain by trying to be "too helpful."

2) "The soul always knows what to do to heal itself; The challenge is to silence the mind."  --Caroline Myss

3)  "When something bad happens, you have three choices.  You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you."  You always have the choice.

4)  "Enjoy the little things in life...for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."  --Robert Brauit (sp?)

5)  "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."  --unknown--  I happen to be a proponent of gun ownership.  My stance is that people who legally own guns are rarely the people who are using guns for crime....notice that there have not been any mass shootings at a gun range...just saying...Gun ownership is a right that I don't want to be taken away.  Even Ghandi said, " Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."  I want to keep the right to defend myself.

6)  "You are always stronger than you think that you are."  --unknown

7)  "Do what you feel in your heart to be right--for you'll be criticized anyway."  --Eleanor Roosevelt (queen of awesome quotes!)

8)  "Nothing is impossible...even the very word itself tells you I'm Possible."  --Audrey Hepburn  (amazing woman!)

9)  Love what you have.  "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not, but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for."  --unknown  I take this as a big old reminder to 'live within your means.'

10)  "Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it."  --William Durant

11)  "Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." Thoreau

12)  “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

― Anne Lamott

13)  "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  --Eleanor Roosevelt

14)  "Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed. " --Dwight D. Eisenhower--  I have always been disturbed by "censorship."  It's so anti-American!!  I am even more disturbed now that I work in a public library and deal with censorship on a daily basis.  Many people will bring material to us and say, "This needs to be removed from the's obscene/has foul language/is grotesque/etc."  My thought is this--If you don't like the book/music/movie/magazine/etc., then don't read/watch/listen to it!  I don't mind a book with occasional graphic sex, but I absolutely cannot handle graphic I just don't read many popular authors like James Patterson, J D Robb, Stephen King, Alex Kava, etc.  If I start reading a book and I am offended (or bored)...I stop reading it.  I'm a big girl...I can make those kind of decisions for myself.  As for the children and teens...the parents need to make sure they are reading age appropriate materials.  I do think that the bigger the stink that is raised about any book (for example: Fifty Shades of Grey--"you shouldn't have it in the library" -- "it should be kept behind the counter!"  etc.) the more likely people will read just to prove that they can or just to see what all the hub-bub is about.  Thank you for tolerating my second soapbox of the day! ; )

15)  “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”   ― Robert Frost   [TRUTH]

This is what my mom's dog, Buster, thinks of my long-winded advice.
Well, that's what I came up with...maybe it will spark something positive in you today.  Remember to take care of you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge #13

** How do you see yourself by the end of the year **

I don't anticipate any huge changes for me...I'm happy with my marriage, my job, my I plan to just keep truckin' along...livin' the good life in Nebraska.

Pretty boring, but that is the way I like it!

 Take care of you!!

An oldie, but a goodie!

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SMALL-BATCH PRESERVING by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard is in its third revised/expanded edition.  It was updated last in 2007.  It's one of the few books I purchased after borrowing it from the library.  It has over 300 recipes designed for year-round is awesome.

This book gives each recipe in US measurements and metric measurements...always nice for those of you who understand the metric system. 
I have made the jalapeno jelly from this book.  I personally think that jalapeno jelly is YUCKY, but my husband and his buddies seem to really enjoy jalapeno jelly over cream cheese on crackers.  Whatever floats their boats.

I wanted to make something new, though.  So...I found super cheap blackberries when I was at the store.  Maybe someone accidentally ordered too many??  Somebody put the wrong price down??  I just grabbed and dashed to the checkout, giddy with my find...

For less than $4, I made a cute little batch of blackberry jam.  I didn't find many blackberry-specific recipes in any book, so I used the raspberry jam recipe from THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SMALL-BATCH PRESERVING.  It worked great.  It was supposed to make 4 cups (or 4 - 1/2 pint jars.)  I put them in 1/4 pint jars, and I got 10 - 1/4 pints (or 5 - 1/2 pint jars.)
Isn't the color beautiful?
If I'm smart and hold onto several jars of different types of jelly, jams, and preserves, these make great gift baskets at Christmas.  An inexpensive basket from a thrift shop, some cute material, an assortment of home-canned goods, and a box of crackers or me...that is a gift that is appreciated.  Of course, if you are like me, you've given away anything you didn't eat yourself long before Christmas rolls around.  Oh, well. 

Have a great week, and take care of you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #12

** Worst Injury You've Had and How You Got It **

Last summer I decided that I really wanted to become a roller derby girl.  I found out they were starting a team in a nearby town.  I have a lot of pent up aggression, and I am always looking for ways to *TRY* to stay in shape.  So I did some research and purchased a roller derby rookie package...for only $400, I got speed skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a mouth guard, and a helmet.

I got home from work on Monday, August 1, around 7:30 pm.  Trevor told me I had received my stuff.  I was so excited.  I pulled everything out, put on the skates, and immediately headed out to the deck to make sure the skates fit.  The skates fit fine, but my klutziness reared it's ugly head.  About the fourth time across the deck, I totally lost my balance.  Trevor (who was just coming through the gate into the yard) said that my feet actually went above my head.  I awkwardly landed with all my weight and momentum on my left hand; My left had was behind me...Holy Cow!!!  Holding my left wrist tightly, I squeezed my eyes shut and said, "Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow..." etc.  It hurt so bad I couldn't even swear.

Trevor ran over, "Are you okay?"

"No, I think I'm going to lay down."

At this point, he shoved my head forward.  "You are not passing out on me!"

Trevor's usual response to pain (his or anyone else's) is to giggle like a little girl.  He starts giggling, untying the skates, calling Jane and Denny (neighbors) to "watch" me while he rounds up the keys and my shoes.  At this point he says, "Do you think you broke it?"

"It's broken."

" Maybe you just sprained it..." 

"It's broken."

"Let me see it."

As my face split and fire spewed from my eyeballs, an evil "NO!  Don't touch me!" came out.

Apparently I was quite white because Jane kept asking me if I needed to throw up.  My Shiloh Dog was freaking out...he knew Mama was hurt.  He tried to bite Trevor; he must have thought Trevor hurt me.

Anyway, within ten minutes of putting on my fabulous new skates, I was on my way to the emergency room.  Two hours later I was on my way home with a temporary cast and some really good drugs.  I broke both bones in my wrist.  Three days later I got a permanent cast (purple) that I got to wear for six weeks.  Then I had two months of physical therapy because nothing works right after your wrist has been immobile for six weeks.  The tip of the bone above my pinkie finger (styloid process) never reattached, so there was talk of surgery...which was decided against.  Thank Goodness!

Now for KARMA--
My sister-in-law teased me about breaking my wrist and about how I broke my wrist, so she decided to go to a Halloween Party at a bar as a roller derby girl (with both my nieces).  I warned her not to put on the skates...but she put them on close to midnight.  She fell just like I did...broke the same bones...only she broke her right wrist...and she had to have surgery right away...don't make fun of the injured!  ; )

Since I had "worn the skates," I was unable to return them or any of the other stuff.  So, I sold it all to a girl who was joining the roller derby team...for $150.  So the whole experience cost me around $1350 (after I "recouped" my $150 from the sale of my rookie package."  Yep.  Good Times.

Moral of the story:  They include safety equipment for a reason...USE IT...

Have a great day, and take care of you!

Read about others misfortunes...on the blog hop

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #11

Best Day of Your Life

I have been contemplating what to write about for this post ever since I saw it on the blog challenge list.  At the risk of being much more morose than intended, here is what I consider the best day of my far.

On a rare, perfect April day in Nebraska, free of wind and with a perfect temperature, my father-in-law, Howard, my husband, Trevor, and I headed to a nearby lake.  The middle of the week in April meant that we were the only ones on the lake.  I had taken a day off from my super-stressful job.  Trevor had taken the day off to spend with me.  Howard had tagged along because we don't get to go fishing without him! 

After fishing for a while, I decided to pull in my lines and just lay down in the front of the boat.  I didn't feel quite like myself, so I was just going to lay down in the sunshine and meditate.  I thought about the last few years, about the people I had lost, my Grandma, and Step-Grandpa, Trevor's various aunts and had been a tough couple of years.  As usual, I kind of talked to my Grandma in my head.  I told her that I finally felt like I was going to be okay...without her. 

I also thought about what the doctor had told Trev and I about our inability to get pregnant.  He wanted me to go to a specialist in Omaha; but that was not in our modest budget.  Every three months I had to go into the doctor (if I hadn't had a period) to have a pregnancy test and, when they knew for sure I wasn't pregnant, they would give me medicine to force a period and start the process all over again.  What fun! 

I knew it was about time to go in again, and that always made me a bit poopy.  However, as I laid there thinking that I really should not be feeling nauseous on a boat that wasn't even rocking...the lakes like glass...I suddenly realized something.  I was nauseous; I had been super tired lately; my boobs hurt...Oh my goodness!  I knew!  I knew I was pregnant!

Even though I knew I was prego, I didn't want to get Trevor's hopes up without I just laid there on the boat deck, smiling, soaking up the sun and the peace and the happiness.  I dreamed about our little boy who would be ornery and naughty and smart just like Trevor...I just  knew it was a boy.  I took in the wonder, the responsibility, the joy that comes to you when you realize you are going to be a parent. 

That whole day was wonderful!  Life was perfect.

As the next few months train-wrecked around Trevor and I, I often looked back to this wonderful day.  I think you need days like that to bolster you for the bad times.  In June, a friend of ours fell to her death while at work.  In July, two co-workers I was particularly close to me had major losses...One lost her sister to anorexia; Another was in a traffic accident with her whole family.  Her 16 year old daughter was killed; her young son had major head trauma.  Then on August 31, my baby boy, Hank, was still born.  As if that wasn't horrible enough, September saw a 25-year old young man who worked for Trevor killed in another car wreck. 

It was quite honestly a terrible summer.  Tragedy really does make you appreciate the simple, perfect days all that much more.

Too morose? 

Have a great day, and take care of you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Days 9 and 10

Day 9 - Your Worst Cooking Disaster

I asked Trevor what he considered my "worst cooking disaster;"  he immediately said "that awful beef stroganoff!" 

I said, "You think the stroganoff was worse than the 'chicken noodle incident'?" 

He said, "Oh yeah...the chicken noodles were much worse." 

I said, "I'll write about the chicken noodles and crock pot, then."

"I thought you meant the chicken noodles where Lola ate all of the bones."  he quipped.

Boy, I have a lot of disasters!!  I'll write about both of the chicken noodle can decide which was worse.  First of all, I should explain that I make excellent comfort food in the form of chicken noodles.  This is not soup; it is a thick chicken, homemade (or frozen) egg noodle, and corn concoction that you then pile on top of mashed potatoes.  In Nebraska, this is comfort. 

Many people buy a rotisserie chicken, but I would rather start from scratch.  So I put a whole chicken in a crock pot, spice it up, and let it cook for about four hours.  When it cools a bit, I pick the chicken off the bones, throw the bones away (unless I need to make some broth), and proceed with the recipe.

Incident #1 - Lola on a Saturday afternoon

I had picked the carcass clean and thrown away the bones.  I thought, "I better take that out right away so no body gets any stupid ideas about eating chicken bones."  At about that time, Trevor got home from work and wanted me to go with him to the bank...meaning we didn't have much time...we just needed to go...

When we got home, we walked into puppy disaster.  Shiloh didn't have any grease on him...he slept through the whole thing on his rug in the bathroom.  Booger's face was so greasy he looked like he'd used hair oil to grease back his entire head.  And then there was Lola...super greasy as well. 

Here's the thing...Lola INHALES her food--her Indian name is HOOVER.  She always eats like she's been starved for years.  So we assumed she had probably eaten the bulk of the bones...seeing as there were NO bones left.  I pretty much figured Booger got the hair gel look from repeatedly going into the garbage can looking for goodies that Lola had already swiped and eaten.

While Lola hung her head as though she knew she was in trouble, she couldn't stop her tail from wagging.  Her mood was "Doggie Glee!"  Our mood was, "I hope it doesn't kill the stupid dog."

She was okay that night, so we thought we had made it through.  Then on Sunday around noon she started barfing and puking and get the picture...By 2 pm, on SUNDAY, Trevor decided we were going to have to call the ER Vet.  Oh, goodie!  It's $100 just to have a vet look at her on Sunday.  We took her in and found out that she was one very sick pup.  She had to stay at the vet for two nights and three days.  What did she have to have done?
  • x-rays each day to make sure nothing was stuck where it shouldn't be
  • IV fluids and medicines
  • Some high-dollar stuff that "gels" to the  chicken bones so that they can move through the intestines without tearing the intestinal tract
So, my $2.91 chicken I had thought was such a bargain ended up costing us $519.00...for me, that equals a house payment!  Holy, chicken!

Incident #2 -- Just Trying to be Nice

The very next time I decided to make chicken noodles, incident #2 occurred.  My good friend and neighbor, Jane, had her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren (who live out of state) at her house unexpectedly because her son-in-law's father had passed away.  They were all taking care of all the business that goes with that situation, so I told her I would bring them dinner. 

Comfort Food = Chicken Noodles

By now we had a covered garbage can, so Lola was not going to get to the spoils of the day.  I had everything made up and ready to go, but the noodles were not cooking as fast as I wanted.  I had left everything in the crock pot to cook so that I could just take it over to them, and they could eat whenever they were ready.  Usually I cook everything on the stove...apparently the crock pot just couldn't put out enough heat.

My brilliant idea was to just put the crock pot pan on the stove top.  That should's not like the crock pot pan is not made for heat!  Well....

This was one of those ceramic crock pots, and I found out rather spectacularly that it is NOT made for stove top cooking.  I was stirring the chicken noodles, and CRACK!  It sounded like a gun shot.  All of the sudden I had chicken noodle juice going all over the top of the stove. 

Aargh!  I lifted up the pan, and only the sides came up.  Chicken noodles went EVERYWHERE...all over the top of the stove, down the side of the stove, inside the slots in the oven door.  Dogs were all around me trying to get the bounty.  I screamed for Trevor to come help me get the dogs out of the kitchen (he was outside.)  He came running in, took in the mass chaos, and brilliantly yelled, "What the hell happened in here?!?"

By now, I had turned off the burner, taken the side of the pan over to the sink, together we got the dogs locked out of the kitchen, I'd told Trevor what had happened, burst into tears, and my normally perfect husband said, "Didn't you use your brain at all?" 

Now I was pissed NOT question my intelligence in the kitchen!  It took us quite a while to clean up the mess...mostly in glaring silence...Under my breath, I very snottily said, "I did use my brain...I was trying to get things ready for Jane."  And you know what he did?  He laughed...loudly...It took me a few days to get over the incident.  I told him mom about what he said...I told Jane and her daughter what he said...I told any woman who would listen what he said...Grr.

I took the mashed potatoes over to Jane and told her the whole story.  Her daughter Amy said she'd actually broken two crock pots like that.  Jane said she wouldn't think that you couldn't put the pot on the cook stove.  I felt marginally better.

I offered to buy them pizzas to go with their mashed potatoes, but they actually had a whole ham.  It all worked out just fine in the end.

Which incident do you think was the worst?

Day 10 -- Cost aside, what famous piece of artwork would you have in your home?

I'm not really into "fine art" but I love military recruiting posters from World War I and II.  I'd probably take an original lithograph of one of those.

Have a great Sunday, and take care of you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Finds - Glass & Aluminum

You may have picked up from past posts that I have a bit of an obsession with glass (any kind) and aluminum dishes.  When I went to the thrift shops last week I was specifically looking for glass to use for terrariums--not for me--but for a teen program at the library.  I just happened to run into a great aluminum dish deal while looking.  YAY!!

When I was researching the internet for examples of terrariums for the teens to view, I found a few in old coffee pots.  Now I have an added place to look at thrift stores because there are some really cool pots--like the one above with pine cones.  Isn't it pretty?

Now to the aluminum!  I got this great grab bag of "old aluminum dishes" for $4.

There's a whole bunch of jello molds, old measuring cups, a great little funnel, a dented pitcher (love!), some super heavy forks, and a meat tenderizer without a handle.

The "GREASE" pot was not in the bag, but I got it on the same trip for $0.50.  It still had the catch pan in the top so that your grease stayed pure.  You'd pour bacon grease (or whatever type of grease you had) in the top while the grease was still hot.  The grease would fall through, but the crumbs/crackles would stay in the catch pan.  Healthy, huh?
 I ended up keeping some of the glass I bought for the teens, but that is the joy of donating only donate what you want to donate.  ; )

Here's Ms. Robin who decided to build her nest on the motion detection light that shines in my bedroom window.  I went out at midnight to loosen the lights so they would go OFF so I could SLEEP.  Isn't she cute?
 Have a good weekend, and take care of you!

Summer Blog Challenge Day # 8

Not including blogging, your favorite guilty pleasure...

I try not to do things that make me feel guilty...but there are a few things I love to do but I don't let myself do them too much.  I suppose that is the meaning of "guilty pleasure."

In that vein, I would say my favorite guilty pleasure is sleeping in late.  I work part time, and I often don't have to work until 10:30 in the morning.  My husband works at a shop and generally leaves for work by 6 am.  I love to spread out, take over the whole bed (well the parts of the bed not occupied by dogs...) and sleeeeeeep.  Ahhhhh.  Since Trev and I can't have children, I think this is probably something that not all grown-ups can indulge in very often.  If I had children, I would definitely have to get up when they decided to get up.  My fur-kids would rather sleep all day, so as long as I make it to work on time it's all good.

Booger, Shiloh, and Lola hogging the couch...
Oh, and Dairy Queen double fudge cookie dough blizzards with extra oreos isn't bad either...if you have a thousand calorie splurge room in your diet...

TGIF, and take care of you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge #7

Post a Picture of Something That Makes You Happy

Esther, Tom, and Jeanne (age 15)
Please excuse the picture quality and the mullet/huge glasses I am sporting.  This is a picture of my Grandma, Esther, and my Grandpa, Tom.  I love this picture of Grandma because you can see that little orneriness in her smile.  My Grandma and Grandpa have always been there for me, and I appreciate so much all of their love, help, support, and advice through the years.  My Grandma was my BFF, my confidant, and my rock.  She died on November 14, 2002.  It was devastating to me.

I still think of her everyday.

Have a great day, and take care of you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #6

Nicknames You Have and Why

I don't think I have a true least not one people say to my face!  Ha!

My brother and sister call me Sissy because I am the oldest sibling (by a long shot) - My brother, Jacob, is nine years and three days younger than me.  My sister, Sarah, is six weeks shy of being twenty years younger than me.

When I am at the shooting park, my husband and a few others call me Deadeye Dick because I am very accurate when shooting...slow but accurate.  I make head shots with alarming regularity.  Deadeye Dick is actually the title of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Take care of you!

The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles

For the next several weeks I'll be highlighting some newer canning / preserving books.  I decided that I really shouldn't review the book without at least trying one of the I'll also be showing you the results of my efforts.

Author Judith Choate has put together an affordable, easy-to-follow book with several recipes for "easy jams & jellies, chutneys & condiments, sauces, spreads & syrups."  She begins with a chapter of basic information about ingredients and a chapter about equipment and techniques.  There are then eight chapters of recipes.  There are a wide range of recipes that, for the most part, had ingredients I had heard of and would actually be able to easily acquire (if I didn't already have the ingredient in my pantry.)  This is awesome because Nebraska does not necessarily have "fancy" ingredients found in some cookbooks...and if I haven't heard of it or I don't know what it is...I'm a little leery of spending my hard-earned pennies on it.  Maybe that's just me...

Also, this book is designed for small batch preserving.  I like small batch preserving because it is easier when you are canning by yourself.  Or, if you bought to much of something, you can preserve the goodness rather than letting food going to waste.

In addition to traditional jams, jellies, chutneys, preserves, conserves, relishes, and pickles, she also has recipes for canning your own:
  • sauces and marinades like teriyaki sauce and barbeque sauce
  • dessert sauces like white chocolate sauce and red hot apple syrup
  • condiments and dressings like fresh horseradish, spicy beer mustard, and hot and sour salad dressing
Anyway...I made "Mom's Special Strawberry Preserves."  I love that each recipe begins with QUANTITY: how much the recipe should make and METHOD and SHELF LIFE.   For example, the strawberry preserves said that the recipe should make 4 - 1/2 pint jars.  With water bath processing, the shelf life is 1 year.  With refrigeration, the shelf life is 6 months.  This is excellent information for beginners and old-hats alike.

The preserves were a three day process, but the time commitment was not bad on any day.  The first day involved cleaning and coring the strawberries and adding the sugar.  Day two was around an hour worth of heating up and boiling the strawberry / sugar mixture.  Day three was the longer time commitment.  Heat the strawberry mixture back up to boiling and water bath for 10 minutes.

The recipe said it would make 4 - 1/2 pint jars.  I actually got 5 - 1/2 pint jars.  I am completely okay with that!
There's only 4 jars in the picture because my brother had already stopped by to take one jar home.
What's your favorite fruit to can?  Have a wonderful and wacky Wednesday, and take care of you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #5

Your short term goals for the month and why those goals...

My June goals are:

1)  Complete Cooper's Quilt

2)  Complete the new cover for the library bird's birdcage cover

3)  Complete doxie-mobile

4)  My husband and I are trying to NOT go out to eat at supper (dinner or the evening meal to those of you non-Midwesterners) more than two times this month...we'll see...

Why these goals:

1)  Cooper's Quilt was supposed to be given to him for his 2nd birthday on May 12...oops!  Trying to not be more than one month late!  I just need to stop being lazy!  (I worked on it today...not too much more and it will be done!!)

2)  The library bird's cage cover is in atrocious shape...tatters's embarrassing and we have lots of folks coming in for the summer reading program.  It really shouldn't take long, so I just need to stop being lazy!

3)  I've had several stuffed dachshunds cut out since January.  I'd really like the pieces to get out of my craft room, so I just need to stop being lazy!

4)  My husband and I have a terrible habit of eating out 3 - 5 times a week (for supper.)  There are several reasons for this...we used to drive truck, and we got used to eating out more than not...we don't have children, so we don't feel as required to eat at home to teach good's easy...we're lazy...we like to choose different get the picture...Bad Jeanne & we make "goals" like this on occasion...

What are your plans for June?  Have a wonderful evening, and take care of you!

This is a blog check out some of the other super blogs participating in the challenge:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #4

Meaning behind your blog name. be honest, I began this blog without a whole lot of forethought.  It was nearing New Year's Day and the whole "resolution" thing, and I was feeling like I was not doing as much as I could or should.  The "coulda, woulda, shouldas" are not good for anyone.  So I decided that a blog would help keep me on track -- continuously pushing to get projects done -- because I would be somewhat accountable to my loyal group of followers.

I started trying different titles to find one that hadn't already been taken by other phenomenal bloggers.  I love sewing...I love recycle craft and doing what I can to help the environment...hence the title.  I probably should have added cooking or baking, reading, bicycling, dogs, but I decided it was okay to add all kinds of content to my blog even if it wasn't in the title.  I mean SEW RECYCLE BAKE BIKE WOOF LOVE is a little bit much, don't you think?

Have a great evening, and take care of you!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day 3: 15 interesting facts about yourself

I don't know that there are really 15 interesting things about me...and what I think is interesting, other people might think is boring.  But, here goes:

1 - I have a very eclectic / wide-ranging taste in music.  The 34 days worth of music currently on my iPod has country (1930s to current), rock (1950s to current), classical, show tunes, lots of Christmas, some hip-hop, and bluegrass.  My favorites are the Beatles, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Brad Paisley.

2 - I love football...Nebraska Cornhuskers and pro football.  If there is a football game on, I'm probably watching it.

3 - I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so from high school on I worked in a corn research facility, as a certified nurses' aide, a nanny for five children, a semi-truck driver, and as a financial processor for 401(k) plans.  Now I'm a librarian, and I love it!

4 - I wanted to be in the military more than anything as a teenager.  I had the paperwork done for the Naval Academy, but I was born with a heart murmur that can be heard with a stethoscope.  As a result, I was disqualified from any military service.  My husband served in the United States Marine Corps for four years; that's the closest I will ever get to "serving" the military.

5 - I graduated from a class of 14 people.  I moved into the school my senior year, and two of the graduates were foreign exchange students from Germany. 

6 - I live three doors away from my mother-in-law and father-in-law.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

7 - My husband and I compete in an action handgun league in a USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association.)  I shoot a .45 Kimber Custom in the single stack division.  If you don't know anything about guns, that won't mean anything to you...I love this new hobby I've taken up.  I shoot at targets and am ranked based on the accuracy and speed at which I finish the course.  I'm not very fast, but I am accurate.

8 - I love to read fiction books (especially cheap romance novels), but I rarely go to a movie.  The last two movies I saw in the theater were "Crazy Stupid Love" and "I Walk the Line."  I love to watch documentaries -- especially history or true crime, but I don't care to read non-fiction unless it is about crafts or cooking...and really, those books I just browse.

9 - I love brussel sprouts.  I only get them a few times a year because Trevor thinks they are disgusting and stink up the house.

10 - While I love to quilt and sew, I cannot do "YARN" crafts...crocheting and knitting are beyond me!  I have tried, and failed, and tried again and failed's just a nightmare!

11 - I love to bake and can.  I have cut back majorly on baking because I also love to EAT all the things I bake, so in an effort to keep my waist under control, I took up running and bicycling...and reduced my baking A LOT a few years ago...**SIGH**

12 - I am a naturalist in that I do not wear any make up.  I rarely paint my fingernails.  I do shave my legs, though...just in case you were scared.  I figure that make-up is just a waste of my sleeping time, and it usually just makes me break out on account of being blessed with really bad skin.

13 - When I am not biking around town, I drive a 1999 Nissan Altima with a stick shift.  I prefer driving a stick shift...for some reason, automatic transmissions make me antsy.

14 - I don't really like to travel.  I like to camp at small campgrounds around Nebraska, but I don't really care to go on 'vacations' per se...I miss my dogs and my bed too much.  The last time we went out of the state was in 2008.  We drove to Las Vegas because I wanted to see Cirque du Soleil Beatles Love.  The production was AMAZING!  The drunks who threw up on the bus...not so much.  Too many weirdos for us; We ended up coming home early.

15 - Trevor and I have been married since 1999.  We met on the job...we both drove semi-trucks for the same company.  It was love at first sight for me.  I asked him out the first time...once he said yes, we never looked back.

I just got done canning some strawberry preserves and blackberry jam.  I hope you are having a great Sunday, and don't forget to take care of you!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge Day #2

Today's challenge was easy!  Post a picture of you smiling:
This picture was taken last August.  I had just broken both bones in my wrist...had to chop off my long hair because I couldn't take care of it...I was feeling pretty bummed.  Then my sweet Lola came and laid her head on my shoulder (on the 'good' side) and was just so amazing.  I knew then that I needed to remember all the great things in my life. 

Have a great day, and take care of you!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Try New Things

It's a new month, a new summer, and a great time for everyone to try new things.  In that spirit, I've joined the Summer Blog Challenge -- one post a day from June 1 through August 31. 

Day 1 (June 1) -- Why are you doing this challenge?

I have joined this challenge because I often feel like I have ideas to share, but I need an extra little push.  I'm hoping that this challenge will help me become more consistent posting to my blog.  Plus, I'm sure this will encourage me to do more with the time I am given each day.

In the vein of "trying new things," I am working a little at tweaking the look of the blog...Aunt Nancy didn't think Booger's picture really was an accurate picture for the content of the blog.  I've changed it temporarily,  but I'm still thinking on a better banner idea.  I'm also trying to learn more about buttons and linky and other blog don't be surprised if you come to the site and it has changed here and there...I just hope you all like the little changes (that will happen IF I can figure out blogger. ;)

What new things are you trying this summer?  Have a great weekend, and take care of you!