Monthly Archives: November 2013

In Honor of 13 Years.

2013

2013

Once upon a time,
in a land far away,
lived a brown-eyed girl
who was happy and gay.
Now this brown-eyed girl
soon noticed a man
who was kind and good
with work-roughened hands.
She never did think
in her wildest dream,
that they were both part
of a much larger scheme.
After some talking
and working together,
they realized that God
was planning their ‘Forever’.
Then the kind-hearted man
with the work-roughened hands
told the brown-eyed girl
that he had a plan.
He  wanted to talk –
to write letters and call,
He thought maybe that
‘in love’ she would fall.
She quickly agreed –
too quickly it seemed,
he was surprised that her answer
was what he had dreamed.
They talked for hours
They prayed and they waited
But as time went on
Their love never abated.
There was a wedding
so fine and grand,
Just the beginning
of a bond that would stand.
That was a beginning
so long ago
with romance and love
and hearts aglow.
Thirteen years have passed
since those kids said ‘I do’
trials have been many
and fights have been few.
God is the author
of their story
He will bring them
Safe to Glory!
~Kay Schrock
For my husband, who is all I could hope for, and more.
Thank you for asking me to be your girl.
2011

2011

5 Ways to Be a Better Facebook Friend

5 Ways

Have you ever spent a half hour reading alll the comments on a sensitive issue status? (religion, politics, and whether you eat at McDonald’s are favorite ones) Yeah, me too. You get up and walk away feeling spent, even if you never left a comment or so much as ‘liked’ anything. But that drama still gets you, doesn’t it?

Here’s a few things I think make for a better Facebook friend:

1. Be Happy! I don’t know about you, but it makes me weary to be around people who are always a little grumpy. They had a bad night, their keys were lost, the mailman was late, the cat sneezed on them…you name it.  I do want to hear that you were in a car crash yesterday, I mean, if you didn’t tell me on FB, I would likely never find out! But everyone gets tired of hearing every. little. annoyance. you had in your day.

2. Be Kind. You really have to be careful here. It is so easy to let a little unkindness creep into our FB status updates, and especially our comments. That snarky comment or veiled criticism? Not necessary! My personal rule is to try to only say things that I would say in person. Yes, sometimes I am snarky and yes, I like a good debate. (in person and online. I am really trying to work on this area – most times my snarky comments in real life are not cool. :( ) But if you would be a bit uncomfortable saying it in person, then please reconsider saying it on Facebook. Remember that the very impersonal nature of the internet makes everything more intense, because the other person cannot read your body language, or hear your tone of voice. (emoticons help with this! 😉 )

3. Walk away. You’ve probably heard the saying: “You don’t have to join every party you’re invited to.” And I don’t just mean the ones you are ‘literally’ invited too, either. I mean that glaring wrong, that unbelievable opinion, that irritating remark that your friend wrote. (your friend! Surely she knows better than that!! How can she actually believe that stuff? Doesn’t she know the truth?!)  Yes, I have attended many more ‘parties’ than I ever should have. I regret so many things I have spewed out in frustration. Just keep scrolling, my friend. It’s not worth the anger, misunderstandings, and strained friendship to participate.

4. Stay awhile! On the other hand – if there is a civil discussion going on, you can calmly and kindly put forth your conflicting point of view. Most people enjoy a good discussion, as long as no one turns it into a soapbox or ugly rant. I personally really enjoy hearing differing opinions on various topics, but I rarely ask for them. Mainly because I really don’t want to start the flaming and ranting. (I have inadvertently started controversial discussions – usually by accident! Who knew the that advising a happy, cheerful relationship with your husband could cause such furor?! :) ) Point is, just be kind. Practice the Golden rule.

5. Encourage. I saved my favorite for last! I love, love, love when I open Facebook, and there is an encouraging status update. Yay! I can use all the encouragement I can get. I am sure others feel the same. When someone posts a Bible verse, a happy story, or a word of encouragement – I want to pull up a chair and stay awhile!

I enjoy the small trivia about your day. I enjoy hearing you praise your children. I smile when I see ‘mushy’ love statuses. I enjoy pictures of your cup of coffee or the sunset. I want to see that awesome grade you worked hard for. And I really want to see the latest picture of your sleeping baby! These are bits and pieces of your life… this is why I am on social media – to be social! So keep posting funny quotes, tear-jerking songs, and probing questions. Just be kind. Please be kind. To everyone – but especially that person you disagree with. 😉

 

Winter Heifer Processing

cattle

It was a cold, cold morning. The thermometer read 9° when My Cowboy left the house this morning. I was glad I didn’t have to go out. I would rather stay in a warm house and cook food! When I took the food over the main ranch house, I drove on out to the corrals and snapped a few pictures for you. Just cause I love you. I took pictures till my fingers got numb – then fled back to the warm house. I am a wimp with cold, I tell you.

The heifers had to get vaccinated and tagged, so they rounded them up and corralled them.
IMG_2361

The men ran them through a chute to work on them.cattle

My Cowboy poked at the heifers with the rattle, now and then – just to keep them moving into the chute.IMG_2343

Don Berry helping out…
IMG_2351

Tom was tagging…IMG_2363

And they were all bundled up against the bitter cold. IMG_2356
IMG_2369

I made BBQ beef sandwiches, baked beans, scalloped potatoes and pumpkin cake rolls for lunch. Here come the men! Time to set out the food and listen to stories… IMG_2375

Delicious Pumpkin Roll

 

 

pumpkin roll

One of my favorite desserts has always been pumpkin rolls! Of course, anything with pumpkin in it has the potential to be a winner with me. Yum.

My sister recently asked me if I could give her the recipe for mom’s pumpkin roll. So I thought maybe you would enjoy seeing how it’s done as well. It really isn’t as intimidating as it looks. (OK – it really is intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Because – once you get past all the instructions, it’s worth every minute!)  :-)

So I will make it as simple as possible.

Mix your batter. Pour into a pan.

pumpkin rollIf you use parchment paper – it makes it easy to remove from the pan. Or just grease the pan good.IMG_2287

Bake 15 minutes, or till a toothpick comes out clean. It is a very thin cake, so it doesn’t take long.

IMG_2289If you use parchment paper, just remove from pan and roll while warm.

If you don’t use parchment paper, you can sprinkle a clean dish towel with a generous amount of powdered sugar, and turn the cake out onto it.IMG_2290 IMG_2291 Carefully roll up and allow to cool several hours in the rolled position.IMG_2292 Mix your filling.IMG_2293 IMG_2294 Spread the filling over the cake – leaving an inch or so at the ends.IMG_2316 Carefully roll back up…IMG_2317 IMG_2319 The edge is ugly, so just cut a slice off, so the center in all its’ deliciousness shows!IMG_2320 Yummy. I actually made two – because I am feeding some hungry cowboys today. Personally – I think doubling the filling would be wise – but then again, perhaps that is why I have a few extra pounds around my waist?! 😉 IMG_2324

Delicious Pumpkin Roll
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (opt)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • filling:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 TBL butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Beat eggs well.
  2. Gradually add sugar.
  3. Add pumpkin and lemon juice.
  4. Add dry ingredients and stir.
  5. Spread on a greased and floured sheet pan.(15"X10")
  6. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.
  8. Roll up in towel and cool.
  9. (Alternate way is to just use parchment paper and roll in it.)
  10. Beat filling ingredients together till smooth.
  11. Unroll cake - spread with filling.
  12. Roll back up and chill.
  13. Slice and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice

 

 

The Best Homemade Tortillas

tortillas

I don’t know about you, but I do not like store-bought tortillas! Yes, they are quick. And yes, I have used them many times, but I don’t like them.

1. They break. How hard is it to keep a store-bought tortilla from breaking?! Especially one that is cold? Home made ones don’t break! Even when these are cold – they stay limber.

2. They give me indigestion. Seriously. It took me awhile, but finally I realized that it was the tortillas that were causing stomach pain every time I ate them. I started researching the ingredients, and found that the preservative used is known for causing stomach pain. :/ Aha. So I sadly gave up the convenience of grabbing a pack of tortillas at the store, and started making my own. Most of the time. I still eye them every time I am in the store. I mean, buying them is so easy!

But making them is pretty easy too. Takes awhile to fry them all, I’ll admit. But they aren’t really hard. And if you can lay hands on a tortilla press somewhere, it makes it even easier. I was given a heated press from Mexico. I have owned mine for 7 years and use it often – on a weekly basis, and it is just like new. I make tortillas much oftener now than I did without a press!  I have no idea how or where to get them. (Update: Found them on Amazon! Woot!) But it is the bee’s knees for pressing tortillas really flat – really quick. You don’t need a press though. I have rolled these out with a rolling pin often. The main thing is, roll them thin. As thin as you can get them. And don’t obsess over shape. That will come with practice.

Here is where you can go to buy the press:

tortillas

•I use my Kitchen Aid to mix and knead the dough. Makes it a snap! Then I roll them out on a clean, dry, counter. No oil or flour, please!

tortillas

 

tortilla press

My delightful tortilla press! If you know where to find these in the USA – please tell me!

•Fry them on a hot, dry skillet. (No oil here either.) I use my electric skillet set as high as it goes, (400°) or sometimes my cast iron griddle, or just a regular frying pan. Fry them till they start to have golden spots on them, flip and fry till the bubbles are turning golden brown.

tortillas

•Wrap them in a towel as you fry the remaining ones. As they sit in the towel together, the heat and steam make them delightfully soft. Keep them covered in a towel till you are done eating.

tortillas

 

tortillas

•When you are done with your meal, just pop the remaining ones in a plastic bag and secure. They will keep on your counter top for a day or two. If you are keeping them longer than that, I recommend sticking them in the fridge.

tortillas

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. I usually make them several times a week, and my kids (and My Cowboy!) scarf them right down! They are great with my Fabulous Venison Fajitas

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Homemade Tortillas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious homemade tortillas!
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup crisco
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups lukewarm water
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, crisco, and salt.
  2. Add water and mix well.
  3. Knead 3-5 minutes or till dough starts to clean edges of mixing bowl.
  4. Divide into 20 balls.Roll each ball out thin as possible on a dry counter.
  5. Fry on a dry skillet for several minutes per side. They should be golden brown in spots.
  6. Keep covered in a towel while you fry the remainder.
  7. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
  8. Note: you can use white or wheat flour for these.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2

Sharing over at: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/03/06/thrifty-thursday-week-50/

How to Clean Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware can be intimidating to new users – but it doesn’t have to be! It is easy to clean and care for. All you need to know are a few simple tips. I grew up watching my mother fry pancakes nearly every morning on her cast iron griddle, and I always knew I would use cast iron in my own kitchen.

cast_iron

First off, let me tell you that the skillet in the above photo is the very first cast iron skillet I bought. When we were on our honeymoon in Arizona, we did a little camping, and we needed a skillet. I said that I wanted a cast iron one. (of course!) I neglected to season it prior to that first use. (sad day) It has looked weird ever since. But the good news is – after that first use, I took it home and learned how to season it.  After 13 years of use, it is still my favorite egg-frying skillet! I use it nearly every day.  Cast-iron redemption, my friends.

Now, on to the process of cleaning cast iron. (I am assuming you have already seasoned it, or have bought pre-seasoned. Most cast iron sold these days are pre-seasoned.)

1. Rinse your cast iron with hot water. If there is stuck-on food, use a stiff brush to scrub it. Do not use a stainless steel wire scrubber. It scratches off the seasoning, allowing food to penetrate the porous iron. Do not use detergent. It also breaks down the oil-based seasoning. 

cast iron

2. Once the cookware is clean, wipe with a dry cloth. I usually just wring out my dishcloth – wipe, and then swing the skillet back and forth a few times to air-dry it. I know, it’s kinda weird, but it works! :)  A paper towel works great for drying, too. Just beware that wiping a cast iron skillet (even one that is perfectly clean) will make a dishcloth slightly black. That is why I recommend a paper towel.

cast iron

 

3. Make sure you get it dry! If there is moisture – even just drops – in the cast iron, it will rust. Even well-seasoned cast iron will rust. If you do get some rust in your cast iron, no worries. Here is how you’ll fix it:

a. Scrub with a stainless steel scrubber, till all the rust is off.

b. Get a little solid vegetable shortening (Crisco or coconut oil) on your fingers and wipe it all over the inside of the skillet. This works great if the skillet is still warm. If it’s cold – just stick it in a warm oven till the shortening melts. Wipe it out with a paper towel and use as normal!

cast iron

I hope this helps you feel confident to use and clean your cast iron! :)

 

I’m joining the Homestead Barn Hop over at: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/12/homestead-barn-hop-138.html

How often do you use cast iron?

Catch the Beauty

I never thought the time would come when I was too busy to take time for beauty. You know, ‘stop and smell the roses’, and all that jazz. I mean – who doesn’t stop and smell the roses?! I sure do. At least – if they are growing right beside the path. :)

sunset

But mothering 4 kids and all that goes along with running a home tends to make one busier than you would think. I don’t always stop and smell the roses – because that would mean walking across my yard to get to them. And that is sacrificing 10 minutes of time. I can start a load of laundry and change a diaper in 10 minutes. Or mix up a batch of bread. Or write a blog post. Or… Or…

Or I can stop.

IMG_2114

I can slip on a coat, grab my camera, and run outside when the sun is setting (or rising) and take a few snapshots. Because it is beautiful. And because God painted it – so why shouldn’t I enjoy it? It is beautiful. I love beauty. God created me to love beauty.  I never skip meals – because I don’t like to get hungry! But I regularly skip feeding my senses, because that doesn’t seem so important. Maybe it is more important than I think. Maybe I need to regularly feed on beauty.

It was stunning as the sun sank out of sight!

It was stunning as the sun sank out of sight!

“…it is God who reveals beauty as essential to life. You are the image bearer of this God.”  ~John & Stasi Eldredge (Captivating)

My practical side says: “It’s nearly suppertime. You need to start making food or people will get hungry. You don’t have time to go take pictures. Be sensible.”  

But I am learning that it is OK to enjoy beauty. That supper will get made – and if it’s a couple minutes late – we will still all eat tonight. The beauty won’t last. I need to catch the beauty.

When the sun was gone - the moon was there. So lovely!

When the sun was gone – the moon was there. So lovely!

How do you feed your senses with beauty? Do you paint? Photograph? Just sit and drink it in?

My Love of Exploring

Willows

 

I have always liked to explore. When I was a kid, I would spend hours walking in the woods and fields near our home. I would peer into little shady spots, and sit on fallen trees…just day-dreaming about life. Imagining… dreaming… making up stories in my head. Sometimes stories to write in future books – sometimes stories about myself. Because every kid is the hero in their own make-believe world.

A neat deer path.

A neat deer path.

One day last week I felt the need for some fresh air. You know how you feel after spending several days in the house without stepping outside? You don’t? Well, anyways, it was one of those days…I was feeling ‘stuffed up’. I needed to explore. So, I told the kids I’d be back soon, and off I went.

Deer Tracks

Deer Tracks

I found a well-used game trail. It was fun. Nothing is quite so fun as starting down a curious little path that you never walked before. You aren’t sure just where it will take you, but you want to find out.

deer path

It wandered through the meadow, and down along Horse Creek.

deer path

 

I stopped frequently to watch a darting bird, and take pictures of the interesting tidbits of nature.

Seed pod

Seed pod

bird

nest

The birds were hard to photograph. And I didn’t have the patience to sit and watch. I wanted to keep exploring.

Finding.

I was following a trail, and I wanted to see where it went.

So I kept going.

cattail

The path took me down beside the creek. It was pretty and quiet. The sound of  softly running water – is there a sound more relaxing? And this is different than a water feature in the middle of town. This is nature, as God intended.

"...willows by the watercourse..."

The quiet gurgle of water is all you hear. A whisper of cool breeze, perhaps, and an occasional call of a bird. Other than that – silence. You can think here. You can untangle your thoughts and talk to the Creator.

It can be done anywhere, it is true. But it is easier here.

Here where the grass is soft and the sky is blue.

Mr. Moon - out during the day.

Mr. Moon – out during the day.

And then it brought to my mind the verse in the Holy Scriptures where it talks about willows. You know how you can read a verse twenty times, and yes it’s good, and yes, you like it – but one day it hits you, what God was trying to say?

This was one of those moments. Isaiah 44:3-4

“3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.”

willowsThat’s a lot of willows. A lot!

"...willows by the watercourse..."

“…willows by the watercourse…”

shedDo you like to explore? What is your favorite way to relax and clear your head?