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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!