Monthly Archives: January 2014

Weekend Wind-Down Link Party #4

Happy Friday!

It is cold and snowy around these here parts, although that is normal for us – unlike the weather in the south! I feel for ya – all you southerners! I know when it gets cold down there, it feels really miserable! Guess you just have to use the cold as an excuse to drink more coffee – or hot chocolate. :)

The beautiful sunshine outside my door this morning!

The beautiful sunshine outside my door this morning!

wwdpOne giant party across 8 blogs! That means your post gets a lot of exposure! Meet the hosts:

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As always, we each pick a favorite link to feature. This week we have some great ones! Although it was hard to choose, because there were so many great links!

I picked this delicious-looking recipe:

Indian-Layer-Dip-1024x682

http://www.fromthiskitchentable.com/indian-layer-dip/

and here are the other fun features:

Winter-Printable-Collection-Freehttp://carriethishome.com/2014/01/free-winter-printable/

Surviving-Epic-Cold-

http://www.busymama911.com/surviving-epic-cold/

DIY-Valentines-Day-Burlap-Gift-Bags-936x1024http://www.thecasualcraftlete.com/2014/01/15/diy-valentines-day-burlap-gift-bags/

savings-and-educationhttp://kirstenwomack.com/savings-and-education/ IMG_7205http://www.year-roundgiving.com/2014/01/easy-biscotti-recipe.html How-to-Choose-Color-for-Your-Home-A-Pinch-of-Joyhttp://www.apinchofjoy.com/2014/01/how-to-choose-color-for-your-Picture4.pnghttp://itsalwaysruetten.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-bachelor-chicken-noodle-soup.html

linkyrules

This Simple Home

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De Divah Deals

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Snippets of Inspiration

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A Ranch Mom

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Mendez Manor

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A Living Sacrifice

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 Mustard Seed Mommy

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Moms Who Save

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The link party starts at 6pm eastern. Link up all your fabulous posts, as you wind down for the week-end! :)

Basic White Sauce

Want a simple, basic white sauce? This sauce can be used for a variety of recipes, and can be used in place ‘cream of’ soups, as well. I had a hard time getting decent photos of the process, because making a white sauce is a fast and furious process, requiring all of one’s attention and both of your hands! I did the best I could – you will have to imagine the rest… 😉

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and salt.white sauce1

 

Mix well with a whisk. You have to stir fast and constantly from this point on.

white sauce2

You add the milk a tiny bit at a time – stirring furiously after every addition. It will form a ball on your whisk, most times, but just keep adding milk and stirring.

white sauce3

As you keep adding milk ( a few Tablespoons at a time) it will eventually start to smooth out and look creamy. This is why you stir so hard – to keep it smooth. If you add the milk too fast and/or don’t stir hard enough, it will get lumpy.

If it does form lumps, don’t stress! Just strain it through a sieve.

white sauce4

As the sauce begins to thin out, you can add the milk faster. When the milk is all added, just stir gently till it thickens.basic white sauceI am including a thin sauce, and a thick sauce. I use the thick one for most cream soup recipes, and I use the thin one for my Poor Man’s Steak.

Use the proportions in parentheses for a thick sauce.

Basic White Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 TBSP butter (4 TBSP for thick)
  • 2 TBSP flour (4 TBSP )
  • 1 tsp salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups milk (2 cups)
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan.
  2. Add flour and salt, stir till well blended.
  3. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk, till smooth paste is formed.

Poor Man’s Steak ~ with a surprise ingredient!

I have always liked poor man’s steak. My mom made it a lot, so it is one of those comfort foods that make me feel all cozy and warm inside. Isn’t it weird how we associate feelings with foods?

Anyways.

poor mans steak suprise ingredient

Welcome to the 4th edition of my Beef Recipe Series!

I wanted to try some new recipes with this challenge, so today is an old recipe with a surprise twist. I don’t know about your kids – but mine aren’t too fond of veggies. Well, one of my kids loves them, but the other two would just as soon forget that they exist! :) So I had this good idea today, of how to sneak a few more into their food. I just added two shredded carrots into the meat mixture. It worked! I figured they would whine, but we managed to get almost done with the meal before my picky one said it would be better without the carrots. :) The other two said they couldn’t taste them. I was pleased. I may try some different veggies in the future. I think cooked, pureéd veggies would definitely be easier to hide, but shredded seemed to work, and that’s easier for me. 😉

Here is the round-up of ingredients…

poor mans steak7Mix the ingredients and form patties.poor mans steak6Roll in flour and fry over med-high heat till browned on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side. You aren’t trying to cook them through – just brown the outside.poor mans steak5poor masn steak 4poor mans steak3Once they are browned well, place them in a casserole dish.poor mans steak2Pour the sauce over top… *see notepoor mans steak 1Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 1 hour. (or till the patties are no longer pink in the center) Serve with mashed potatoes and a salad! :)
poor mans steak labeledNote: For the sauce, you can mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup with 2 cans milk and pour over meat patties. Or you can make a white sauce from scratch. I use a basic white sauce recipe.

I’m sharing over at: http://www.nancherrow.com/2014/01/welcome-to-fridays-unfolded-95.html

and: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/02/homestead-barn-hop-145.html

Poor Man's Steak ~ with a surprise ingredient!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef (can use turkey)
  • ½ cup crushed crackers
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 med carrots, shredded
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together gently.
  2. Divide into eight portions, form into patties.
  3. Roll in flour and fry in butter or bacon grease.
  4. Brown patties for 1 minute on each side, over med-high heat.
  5. Place in a baking dish.
  6. Pour white sauce over patties.
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 patty

 

 

Walking Across Wyoming

I did something different this year, and made New Year’s Resolutions. Just a few, and most of them were rather general – therefore keeping pressure off of myself, ya know. 😉

Day 1 of my Walk across Wyoming

Day 1 of my Walk across Wyoming

But one specific goal I made, was to walk 400 miles this year. Just for the purpose of walking. I am not counting miles walked around the house, pushing a grocery cart, or even all those airport miles I walked during my florida vacation early in January! I am only counting the miles I walk for exercise. Mainly around a 2-mile ‘loop’ by my house. I am a bit behind, thanks to the aforementioned vacation, but when the weather is warm and beautiful this summer, I am sure I will have no problem catching up.

Why 400 miles?

wawy

 

Well, the distance from the east to the west across Interstate 80 in Wyoming is 400 miles. So that is my virtual goal. To walk all the way across WY. :) I am having fun, actually. I post my daily walk pictures to Instagram. If you want to see what I see on my walks, you can follow me: kay_schrock is my username.

One of the cold days...

One of the cold days…

I have walked some days that were freezing, and I do mean FREEZING COLD!! Yesterday was one such day. I coaxed two of my kiddos to come with me, to keep me from sheer boredom. They ran, skipped, and jumped all the way. I tried to survive. My legs were numb by the time I was 1/2 way. I tried running a bit to get my blood flowing – and then remembered why I walk and don’t run… I am not a runner. End of story.

Crazy, windy day!

Crazy, windy day!

One day I decided to walk in the field, hoping to break the boredom of the normal two-mile circle… all that did was remind me that the wind is so much stronger on the ridges than down by the creek. Whew! I was windblown and weary till I got home that day!

This was what I saw when I tried to take a more interesting route... heh.

This was what I saw when I tried to take a more interesting route… heh.

 

Coaxed my kids to go with me last night... ended up being the coldest walk yet! 10*....brrr!

Coaxed my kids to go with me last night… ended up being the coldest walk yet! 10*….brrr!

So yes, I am walking…and walking…and walking… and I will keep you updated! :) Where are you walking? (please don’t say Hawaii!!)

Weekend Wind-Down Party #3

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Happy Friday! It’s time for our Weekend Wind-Down Party again, WooHoo!! I love seeing all the links and new blogs. Some great ones last week – here are the featured links! If you have been featured, feel free to grab the “I Was Featured” button on my sidebar and display it on your blog!

14 Tips for Beginning Craft Fair Sellers via Tadpegs


How to go from Surviving to Thriving via From This Kitchen Table


Budget Master Bedroom Makeover via Carrie This Home


Winter Pine Cone Wreath via Neverending Decorating


Throw a “Punny” Football Party via Michelle Paige


How to Encourage your Baby to Walk via Totrides
Winterizing a Floral Dress via More Pieces of Me
Homemade Cleaning Recipes via Ducks in a Row

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linkyrules

Grab our button or link back with a text link, so you can be considered for a featured post next week!

 

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 Check out all my awesome co-hosts! Follow them and share this party! :)

This Simple Home

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De Divah Deals

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Snippets of Inspiration

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A Ranch Mom

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Mendez Manor

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A Living Sacrifice

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 Mustard Seed Mommy

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Moms Who Save

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My favorite accessory for long hair

 

I wanted to introduce you all to my favorite hair accessory – the Flexi-clip! I know it’s been around awhile, but since I have recently ‘opened shop’, I have been eyeing all kinds of beautiful clips! They are quite strong, and yet flexible. I find it extremely hard to find a clip that holds my long hair, without making my head hurt. These solve that problem! They are unique, too – you won’t find them at mass retail stores. I was given one that I love – and I always get compliments on it. It is simple and classy.hair

Here is the current flexi of the month:

janflexi

 

I just ordered this style for my horse-crazy daughter!

I just ordered this style for my horse-crazy daughter!

This one is super cute too!

This one is super cute too!

 

I would like for you to hop over to the store and look around! They also have bobby pins, U-pins, and hair bands to choose from. Everything is gorgeous!!

If you buy through this link, it won’t cost you any more, but it will give me a small commission. So please do me a favor, will ya?  :)

www.lillarose.biz/aranchmom

Tell me, do you use a flexi-clip? What design is your favorite?

Beef Recipe #4 ~ Latin Beef Stew (crockpot-friendly!)

Welcome to the fourth edition of my beef recipe series! Today I am sharing a yummy Latin beef stew recipe that I recently found and liked. I first saw the recipe on www.skinnytaste.com but then I modified it to suit our tastes. It is really hearty and delicious. We like it served over rice, with tortillas on the side. It would also be tasty over pasta or potatoes. Or just plain! :)

Latin-beef-stew

 

You start with 1.5 lbs of cubed stew meat. (Or you can cube a roast or steaks!) Place the meat in a crockpot. Sprinkle with the spices.  Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes and cilantro and cook a bit more. Pour it over the meat.
beefstew2

Add broth – stir it together and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Super easy!! You can even throw the meat in totally frozen, if you like, and just stir once about half-way through. This will make your house start to smell amazing in a few hours – so be prepared to stand strong!! ….or not. I caved. I do not apologize, either! That spoonful of tasty broth was dee-licious!! 😉

latin-beef-stew

Sharing over at:

Nancherrow

5.0 from 1 reviews
Beef Recipe #4 ~ Latin Beef Stew (crockpot-friendly!)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Latin
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 T. cilantro
  • 1.5 lbs stew meat
  • ⅔ cup water or beef broth
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp achiote (opt)
Instructions
  1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and cilantro and cook 2 more minutes.
  3. Place meat in a crockpot, add tomato mixture.
  4. Add spices and stir.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.
  6. Serve over rice or potatoes.

Sharing over at: http://www.themodestmomblog.com/2014/01/modest-monday-link-13/ 

Journey to Grace

This not a post about how I have received grace… this is a story of how I learned to give grace. And mercy. Although to be honest, I am not sure how to separate the two when you are giving them to others.

Mercy - @aranchmom

 

I am not naturally gracious. I am not naturally merciful. In fact, I dare say I am one of the most unmerciful people to have ever walked the face of the earth. I say this truly! Even when I thought I was being merciful, (by not openly criticizing someone) I was very unmerciful in my heart. I was quiet and even smiling on the outside – but quite judgmental and ungracious inside. I would watch someone do something, or hear a statement, and think: “Wow! I can’t believe she thinks like that!” “Don’t they know that is a stupid way to do it?” or as I received light on something in God’s Word: “How can they not see how unChristian that is?!!”

Yeah.

Not so very ‘Christian’ myself.

I shudder when  remember all the words and thoughts I have had over my lifetime, that were very unmerciful. It makes me want to sink into a hole in the ground and never show my face again.

journey to grace

 

Anyone who knows me will know that my tongue is my biggest troublemaker! It is a constant battle to gain the mastery over it. I sometimes get weary of fighting my natural inclination to say things that are cutting, mean or just ungracious. But I keep battling. I keep struggling. because I can’t not struggle. I will not settle for a life of defeat. I will press on until I gain the victory through the power of the Holy Spirit!

But some years ago, I became aware of my problem of ungraciousness. It was through a conversation with a dear friend… she was talking about how ‘merciful’ this certain other lady was. I was struck to my core. I knew that no one would ever, EVER describe me as merciful. And I wanted that. (not the description, but the mercifulness) A longing was lit in my heart for a merciful, gracious heart toward others. I began to pray for it, think about it, and study it.

I realized how much my thinking was wrong. My thoughts were unmerciful – therefore my actions/words were also unmerciful! I began to repent. I cried out to God for change. I asked for the Holy Spirit to fill and overflow my heart. To put a heart in me that was filled to the brim with mercy. You know how He began to change me? By showing me how often the thing I so despised in others was also in me. I began to ‘put myself in their shoes.’

You know, I suddenly realized that I was just like them! When someone reacted in an un-Christlike manner – instead of thinking how wrong they were – I would wonder how I would have reacted in a similar situation…. yep. I had to admit that I would have probably done the same thing. Humbles ya, it does, when you get honest in your very heart. And you suddenly realize that the very things that are annoying to you in others, are the same things you tend to do.

Ouch.

But oh, it works. Does it ever work.

aranchmom

I don’t want to be a cynical, unmerciful person. I want a soft heart toward others. If I remember how much I have been forgiven, it’s easy to forgive. When I remember how much mercy has been granted to me, it is easy to extend mercy to others. 

Jesus is my example – and he intercedes for us night and day. He extended mercy and grace to me when I was wallowing in my sin – uncaring and undesirable. He loved me and washed away my sin and set me in heavenly places! How then can I not extend mercy to my brothers and sisters?

I am still working on this – believe me! (if you know me personally, you don’t need me to tell you this!) I am far, far from ‘there’. I have just climbed a lil further up the mountain…I can see more of God’s glory than I was able to before… but there is still a long ways to climb!

Care to join me on this journey of  extending grace?

Sharing this over at:

Nancherrow
 

Florida Vacation

When I was a kid, my dad would often go to Florida for the winter. We would rent a small house and get seasonal jobs from October till May.  It was great! :) I have some of my best childhood memories in that warm and steamy southern state. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, it gets humid. But I loved it!

Still do, for that matter.

 

Siesta Key

My favorite vacation photo! My 4 kids on Siesta Key.

I enjoy the warmth, the swaying palm trees, the warm rain, and the raucous screaming of seagulls. I love walking around St. Armand’s Circle in the evening, or strolling along the docks at Marina Jacks. A picnic on South Lido Beach in the evening is delightful…salty sea breezes gently brushing your face.

seashellss

My son was intrigued with this broken seashell.

Siesta Key

What a beautiful beach! Seagulls and waves…

And then there is Pinecraft. Anyone who has been there knows what I am talking about! :) A small community of mostly Amish and Mennonite people. Mostly older people, who come south every winter for the climate. And then the young crowd (Breaking Amish, anyone?!) that comes down and ‘sows their wild oats’, away from the eyes of their parents, friends and preachers. Pinecraft has it’s own flavor – an odd assortment of religion, homeless people, and tourists. The streets are filled during winter with people walking, biking or driving golf carts.

Pinecraft house

My parents’ house in Pinecraft. ~Photo credit to Rose Miller~

My Amish grandparents bought a home there in the late 1960’s. My parents helped them move down in ’68. The streets were still sand, back then. They (my grandparents) lived there till my grandpa died, (I am not sure of the year) and then my grandma lived there till her last few years. She died at age 99 in 2005.

pinecraft

My kids were out on this street with their bikes every. single. day.

 

pinecraft

My dad and Lucia.

Some people who have spent time in Pinecraft, or have relatives there – stay far away from it… don’t like the reputation, or the connections – I’m not sure what.  I lived there many winters, and I still like it! 😉 The Amish neither intimidate nor impress me. I am not Amish or Mennonite, but I have many good memories there, and besides that – the streets are PERFECT for kids to bike on! Or for anyone, actually. When I took my kids there earlier this month, they spent a good part of every day just biking. They have a lot of these cool 3-wheeled bikes, and they are fun to ride! My 5 year old enjoyed it tremendously. We could hardly pry her away from her bike! :) My parents continue to spend their winters in Pinecraft, and my dad fixes up old bikes to sell or rent. So he had plenty on hand for us to pick from!

Myakka

Enjoying Myakka State Park on a chilly day!

palm trees

We drove out to Myakka State Park one day to see alligators… but it was cold and windy (for FL) and we didn’t see one gator!! In all my years of going to Myakka – I have never been there and not seen a gator. But this year… THIS year, when I had my kids along – nope! Not a one! The main wildlife we saw was vultures. Ugly old birds, they are!

IMG_3088

We took in the Famous Lipizzaner Stallions – the show isn’t as good as it was when the Mr. Hermann was running it, but I think it will revive in time.

Lippizaner stallions

We spent a morning at Jungle Gardens – always a favorite! The reptile show, the jungle vegetation… but especially the Bird show was extremely popular with my kids! It was the only attraction we took in that cost money. But well worth it! Those birds are hilarious! And so smart.

florida flowers

florida trained birds

We went to various beaches, the kids built sandcastles (of course!) and the last evening we had a picnic at South Lido – just like we did so many times when I was a kid. It was fun.

Lido Beach picnic

Lido Beach

I sure enjoyed my short visit… I thought maybe the reality of Florida – after being gone 14 years – would make me realize I liked it less….

I was wrong.

I like it more! 😀 I think living at the North Pole (aka: Wyoming) for a number of years has given me an even greater love for all places warm! 😉 Hopefully I can visit my favorite childhood home again, someday. And I’m hoping I don’t have to wait another 14 years! 😀

So where is your favorite vacation spot? Do you prefer cold or warm?

 

Weekend Wind-down Party #2

 image

Happy Friday, friends! I have been on a week-long vacation in (mostly) sunny Florida!! I loved spending a few days there and visiting all my childhood haunts. I mostly enjoyed showing them to my own children. They fell in love with the tree-ripened grapefruits, sandy white beaches, and swaying palm trees – just as I did as a kid. It did mess up my blogging for awhile though – I  couldn’t seem to get to much internet – let alone a computer! So I apologize for missing last week’s linky party. I am here tonight! :) (and super excited!) I will leave you with just one picture from my vacation last week…

Lido Beach

Enjoying the waves at South Lido Beach, Sarasota, FL

I’m also thrilled to be able to bring you this party each week along with 7 other fun bloggers. We’re excited to get your posts out there and see what you have to share with us! To start this party we’ve picked 7 unique features from last weeks party. (Please note that we can only feature posts and/or bloggers that link back to us in some way!) Here are this week’s fabulous features: (click on the image to go read the post!)

2014-posts

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FireExperiment

Dark-Chocolate-Sheet-Cake

happy couple under the rain on evening streetShort-Drapery-Rods-735x1024

026

And my own pick:
pun filled valentine collage.jpg

 

If you’ve been featured, congratulations! Feel free to grab this button and display it proudly!

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Meet the other amazing hosts! I could never have done this without them – for sure. they are so great, and have fun blogs. Go check them out!image

 

 

 

 

This Simple Home

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Snippets of Inspiration

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A Ranch Mom

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Mendez Manor

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A Living Sacrifice

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Please link up your diy, craft, foodie, inspirational, techie, frugal, homemaking posts! Please no giveaways or advertisements. We will each choose several features from the link up each week to highlight the following week! We will be pinning features to Pinterest and as well as social media shout-outs! So link up, visit others and have fun!