Monthly Archives: December 2013

My favorite photos from 2013

Here are some of my favorite photos from 2013. I picked one favorite from each month. It is hard to pick just one per month! I take 1,000’s of photos, so just making my annual photo albums is kind of gut-wrenching. :) But here you go:


Reata's first solid food. Hmmm - not sure about it!

Reata’s first solid food. Hmmm – not sure about it!


Cowboy's are tough guys with soft hearts.

Cowboy’s are tough guys with soft hearts.


Tagging calves.

Tagging calves.


What a face! :)

What a face! :)


The Dancing Horse.

The Dancing Horse.


One of my best friends 'round these here parts.

One of my best friends ’round these here parts.


My kids were able to walk in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade.

My kids were able to walk in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade.


My sister and her baby were here for a few weeks... I fell in love with her baby. I absolutely loved having 'twins' for awhile!

My sister and her baby were here for a few weeks… I fell in love with her baby. I absolutely loved having ‘twins’ for awhile!


Peaceful days. I do love my clothesline in the sunshine.

Peaceful days. I do love my clothesline in the sunshine.


Reata turned one in September!

Reata turned one in September!


Working cattle during a cold snap.

Working cattle during a cold snap.


My favorite person in the whole world. 13 years ago we promised each other we would stick it out thru thick and thin... well, there have been some thin parts, but the good has far outweighed the bad, and I am enjoying my life with this handsome cowboy.

My favorite person in the whole world. 13 years ago we promised each other we would stick it out thru thick and thin… well, there have been some thin parts, but the good has far outweighed the bad, and I am sure enjoying my life with this handsome cowboy.

Well, how was your year? Do you take an enormous amount of photos too?


Seasonal Threat Relief for Kids

I found a new way to relieve runny nose and coughing for my kids. I have tried different home remedies over the years, but I think that I have found the best one yet. The fastest one, anyways. My 5 year old daughter woke up sneezing and with a runny nose one day. I rubbed 1 drop On Guard on the bottom of her feet, and then gave her a small glass of water with 1 drop On Guard and 1 drop Lemon essential oil in it. That was all we did that day, because we were gone all day. But within an hour of dosing her, she stopped sniffing, and didn’t sniff the rest of the day.


On Guard Touch blog

The next morning she had a little runny nose again, so we repeated the protocol. That night I rubbed more oil on her feet before bed, and the 3rd day we repeated the dose. but every day an hour or less after I gave her the oils, I noticed that her nose wasn’t running anymore. Today is day 4 and she is fine. I really believe that the oil cleared it up so quickly.

UPDATE: I originally wrote this several years ago, and recently the company I buy from has released a nifty roll-on bottle of On-Guard! This is so handy. I give the kids a swipe at the first sign of a sickness.

NOTE: please be careful what oils you ingest!!


If you would like to order some On Guard to keep your kidlets healthy and happy this winter, here’s my store:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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How I Lost 23 Lbs

I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write this post. I mean, how often does any woman enjoy having people read about her struggles to lose weight or stay in a healthy range?

So much angst and stress involved with opening up and becoming vulnerable in this area… So many conflicting views on weight, beauty, healthy eating, dieting, etc, etc. I want you to know that my ideas about health, dieting, lifestyle – whatever you wanna call it – is unique to me. Not perfect. Certainly not the only way, and definitely not popular. But it is me. I am becoming more and more content with my own personality, and less concerned about other people. Feel free to disagree! I have no illusions that this the best way. Just my way. For now.


I also wish to tell you that I lost 25 lbs… that is a much neater number. But for the purpose of this post, I will stick to what I lost while ‘dieting’.  Hence the weird number. :)

Breif bio:

Bedrest for 2 months (and restricted activity for another 2 months) was the cause of extra weight gain while pregnant last year. (2012)

After the Birth: still 30 lbs heavier than pre-baby. After birth, I said!!! Sigh.

Several days after giving birth. I kind of hate this picture. (me on the left)

Several days after giving birth. I kind of hate this picture. (me on the left)

1 month post-partum: Down 10 lbs. During this month I was living in the Ronald McDonald House and trekking to the NICU every day, eating the barest essential at the hospital cafe, and an occasional hot meal at the RMH. I was also stressed about my kids at home, since they had no steady babysitters. So I dropped the weight fast with no effort.

One month after giving birth. Home at last!

One month after giving birth. Home at last!

6 months post-partum: Same. same!! Obviously, something had to change. The freedom and the delight of being in my own kitchen and able to cook for the first time in 2 months… well, it resulted in too many pies, cookies, and cinnamon rolls!

Just before I started Weight Watchers.

Just before I started Weight Watchers.

Enter Weight Watchers.*  One day, my sweet sister-in-law told me about her weight loss,  and it came at just the right time. I was trying to decide on a course of action to lose weight, and here it was. I heard how well it worked for her, and right then I decided I wanted that. I signed up for 3 months of meetings and online access, (expensive!!) and after the first meeting I just decided that I was going to do this! Just like that – I ate according to plan, and lost 3 lbs the first week. 2 lbs the second week, and approx 1.5 lbs/wk after that. There was no huge blinding flash, or sudden bundle of self-control. I just said to myself: “Kay, you can surely do this. You are a strong woman, and after everything else you have done, you can surely stick to this plan!” And I did.

The Number One Thing that made it possible for me to lose weight, is the fact that with WW, you can eat as many/as much fruits and veggies as you want, anytime! They do have a few exceptions to that; potatoes, corn, peas, and avocados do count for points, but they are considered ‘power foods’ so the points are relatively low. I loaded UP on apples, bananas, strawberries, and peaches! :) So yummy, too.

Breastfeeding: I was fully breastfeeding at the time, and while I did notice a slight drop in production that first week, I realized it was because I was using too many points on junk. From then on I used most of my points on nutritious foods and protein and the milk supply wasn’t much of an issue. (Once or twice during a growth spurt, I would eat more for her, but they do give you a lot more points if you are breastfeeding. )

So after I went to a few meetings, (which I LOVED!!) I started using the online tracking, and after my first 3 months were up I canceled and downloaded a free app for my phone. It is a knock-off app from ww, but works pretty good. I loved the meetings and would’ve went more, but with a baby and living so far out, it just wasn’t feasible. But I would recommend the meetings at least at first. The accountability and support are awesome!!

How I ate: Anything I wanted, but NOT as much as I wanted!! When people hear ‘anything I want’, they think: “As Much As I Want!!” No. That is how I gained 30 lbs…eating as much as I wanted!


That is my only rule. I eat biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and (gasp!) white bread! But not 4 slices. Just one. or whatever. I refuse to cut out whole food groups because it is the fad right now. I pretty much can tell you that in 10 or 20 years, it will be something new, and grain will once more be in favor. 😉

After 3 months I had lost 20 lbs. Now, (8 months into it) I have lost a grand total of 23 lbs. Or so. I haven’t been following the plan the last few months because, quite frankly – since my baby is weaned, I don’t get nearly as many points, and the lower amount seems daunting. But I know its doable. Weight Watchers is the number one diet for years with good reason! It is sensible. It does promote low fat, but I didn’t follow that – I just stayed in my point range, and ate what I normally eat.

After losing 23 lbs!

After losing 23 lbs!

So that’s been my journey so far. I want to lose a little more – not sure how much, because I have to ‘know’ when I feel it, ya know? But I plan to get back on track with it here soon. The good thing is, I haven’t really been counting points or anything the last 4-5 months, and I am maintaining. So that gives me confidence that I can maintain with little trouble once I get to my goal.

Taken this week. Still at 23 lbs lost.

Taken this week. Still at 23 lbs lost.


I ate all my points. And I find that if I eat most of the points in nutritious foods, (baked potato vs chips) I can get enough food to not feel hungry. And of course veggies are free points!

My sis-in-law told me that if she would eat lots of veggies, she lost more weight that week than if she stayed in her point range but didn’t eat many veggies. Strangely enough, I found this to hold true for me too.

I didn’t go crazy drinking water. I believe our body was designed by an Intelligent Designer who gave us this thing called ‘thirst’, that will tell us when we need more water. (Just like we know it’s OK to get a little hungry before we down another cheeseburger. )

I didn’t exercise. I do walk a half mile or so a couple times a week, or go on the odd bike ride, but nothing steady.

Stay away from negativity. I briefly joined a weight loss group on FB, thinking it might replace the Weight Watchers meetings for support, but had to leave the group because they were so strictly grain-free, sugar-free, etc. I just can’t eat like that, and need similar support, not people who snicker at me for eating eggs and toast for breakfast. (no offense to them, and I understand if that’s what works for you!)

Have you lost weight this year? How did you do it? Are you brave enough to share? 😀

*I am not affiliated with Weight Watchers, I am not being reimbursed for this post. The opinions and views are strictly my own.

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Merry Christmas!


Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.

18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

3~Ingredient Coleslaw Dressing

I just love a fresh, cold coleslaw, don’t you? I know it’s traditionally a summer dish, but really, I just love it any time. And I wanted to share it with you – because it is so, so simple!

And delicious.

Of course!

My kids (like many, I suspect!) are kinda tricky with salads. For the longest time they refused to touch coleslaw. Which made me sad.

‘Cause I like coleslaw. A lot!

But this week when I made it, guess what?! I overheard my son saying; “Coleslaw! Yum!” As he took a good portion. I was dee-lighted! 😀

Tip: My sister adds a shredded apple to her coleslaw. It sweetens it a bit for those picky kids. I like it too, so sometimes I add an apple – if I have one lying around. 

Easy coleslaw dressing recipe!

All you have to is mix the sugar and mayo (or Miracle Whip, if you are like me!), then add the vinegar.



Mix sugar and mayo…


Stir in vinegar.


Store extra in fridge for later! Keeps up to two weeks.

coleslaw dressing



I know – easy, right?! Of course, you can add more spices if you like, but I never do.  Sometimes I add a bit of milk to thin it out.

Mix the dressing with shredded cabbage and you’re good to go. I like to sprinkle a bit of paprika over the top of the salad… dresses it up a bit.

We like this dressing for regular salad too.

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Coleslaw Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 4-6
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP vinegar
  1. Mix the mayo and sugar.
  2. Add vinegar and mix well.
  3. Add milk as desired to thin. (optional)
  4. Pour over ¼ head of cabbage, shredded.
  5. Mix well and garnish with paprika if desired.



Easy Cinnamon Ornaments

It is almost Christmas! I am amazed how quickly it sneaks up me each year – but here we are again! I have never made ornaments with my kids before, but thought this year that I would try them for once. I was going to do the salt dough ones that I see tutorials for, but then the 4H club made some cinnamon ones, and there was some dough left over, so i brought it home and used it. It is super easy, actually. cinnorn All you do is mix 1 cup applesauce and 1 cup cinnamon together. That’s it! We did have to add some more cinnamon to ours, because the applesauce I used was real thin. So it can depend a little. But still, super easy! Just mix and knead till smooth. I buy cinnamon at Sam’s Club, because it is cheaper there. If you don’t have a membership to Sam’s club, you can use the dollar tree as well. It usually has the bigger cinnamon containers for a dollar.IMG_2578Once the dough is kneaded, roll out. If it is sticky, sprinkle the table with cinnamon or flour before rolling it out.
IMG_2587 Then cut out shapes with cookie cutters.IMG_2591 Poke a hole near the top with a straw. This is to put the string through, so you can hang it. IMG_2595 Let them dry for 24 hours. The drying time depends on how thick you make them, and of course the humidity in the air.IMG_2597 IMG_2598


So there you go! this is something you can pretty much let the kids do alone, and they will love it! You could also paint them, but we thought they were cute the way they were.

The view along the way.

It was a normal day of homeschooling, (or as we like to say: School.) laundry, cooking, tending the baby, and just being a mom. You know. The kind of day where nothing too extraordinary happens, things just kind of go along…


Except – I wanted to see some different scenery, get some fresh air… something! So I did what I always do. I went outside. Outside is a great place to go. You should try it! It is usually right outside your front door – waiting to welcome you to fresh breezes, changing sights, and interesting smells. Now before you go all crazy on me, I know you might not live in the wide open place that I do. I know your door opens to a  busy street – or maybe a 5th floor apartment building landing. I get it. But you know what? Streets can still be walked, there are new sights to be seen, and you’re still more apt to get a breeze on your face outside than inside. :) I have lived in the city. I know what it’s like. I loved it when I was younger – not so much now. The ranch has me truly spoiled forever. But I challenge you to get outside anyways. Go for a walk – just to walk. Not for exercise, not for getting somewhere – just to walk and look. I like to look. Don’t have time? I get that too. Oh yes I do. Trust me! Maybe not today then – maybe tomorrow. Maybe not an hour, maybe just a half hour. Or ten minutes. Ten minutes can work wonders! :)


Back to my normal day… So I decided to go see what My Cowboy had been working on the last few days. I drove out through the lengthening shadows and quiet countryside.


Who says WY is boring?! I love it. Lots of character, yet open enough to run cattle and see around. Yes, I’m prejudiced.



Bare spots and 2-ft drifts. this is my problem when someone asks me: “How much snow did you get?” Huh? what part of the yard would you like me to measure? 😀 Wyoming problems…



Tumbleweeds are a real problem around here. Notice how the wind has blown them all up against the fence. And this is actually a mild case!



Deserted ranch road. I love it.




They were building a roof to cover the reservoir water tank. Although ‘tank’ is kind of misleading, since it is actually a concrete square – sunken in the ground. :) It has a roof to keep out debris, and a gravity-fed water tank down hill from the reservoir. Pretty handy to store water for those un-windy days. Windmills are run by wind – so, no wind=no water. Therefore, when the wind blows, it fills the tank, and then the reservoir. That way the extra water isn’t wasted, just saved for the non-windy days.


Ranch truck!

I drove up just as the sun sank – and they were getting ready to stop for the day. I went and peered into it, and chatted a bit – till I started shivering. I wasn’t dressed warm enough, and I am such a wuss when it comes to cold. So I soon left and headed back home. I kept snapping pictures along the way.


This is why I drive 4X4. A must on a ranch. Plus it’s kinda cool. ;)


The yucca plants bloomed profusely last year in response to the wet summer following the drought. They are full of seeds now – trying to take over the earth.






Do you ever feel like you have to get some fresh air? Or do you just stay inside all day?

Amish-Style Shoo-Fly Pie

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You are probably wondering what Shoo-Fly pie is, right? I mean, it has never made the big time – at least outside of Amish country. But I do enjoy a delicious piece of shoo-fly pie! So I thought, “why not?” Maybe you would enjoy it as well!



For those of you unfamiliar with shoo-fly pie, it is a molasses crumb pie. The bottom layer is gooey and sweet, and the top is a crumble. As usual, there are many variations and style. Some people make a style with no gooey bottom layer – but frankly, that is the best part! :) As I mentioned before, my mom was an amazing pie-baker… she often made this pie, along with apple, cherry, pumpkin, and more. I loved it.

Start with a prepared pie crust. You can use this recipe: Easy, Flaky Pie Crust


Mix the crumble ingredients together with a pastry blender. Set aside 3/4 cup crumbs for topping. To the remaining crumbs, add the Karo, molasses, egg, and water.



Mix the soda with an additional 1/4 cup hot water, and stir into mixture.




Pour wet mixture into pie crust, sprinkle with reserved crumbs.


Please ignore the lumps in this mix. While I normally use a blender to mix this part – I used a whip this time, and it left lumps. But no worries – they ‘bake out’. :)









Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Eat with a dollop of ice cream and some hot coffee! :)

How about you? Have you ever heard of Shoo-Fly pie? Ever eaten it?

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Amish-Style Shoo-Fly Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Amish
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¾ cup dark Karo
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water, divided
  • 1 tsp soda
  1. Combine flour, butter, and brown sugar..
  2. Save ¾ cup crumbs for topping. to the rest, add:
  3. Karo, molasses, egg, and water. Mix well.
  4. Mix ¼ cup additional hot water with soda, add to mixture.
  5. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
  6. Sprinkle crumbs on top.
  7. Bake for 45 min at 350.



CK Custom Leather Spotlight ~ more chaps and chinks!


I thought I would show a few of the chaps and chinks that My Cowboy has made over the last few years. These are all custom ordered. Some of the photos aren’t of the best quality, thanks to my inexperience. But I am learning! :)

IMG_7692 - Copy

He made these cute chinks for our kids, since they ride with him some.

ranch rodeo 003 IMG_7941 ranch rodeo 076 ranch rodeo 077