Monthly Archives: September 2015

Marriage refreshment.

pine forestMarriage is a wonderful thing.
A listening ear when you are full to the brim.
Loving arms to wrap around you when you are needing some love.
Kind words to encourage you.
Kisses to warm your heart and make you smile.
Dreams, goals, and experiences shared.
Laughing together,
Praying together,
yes –
even crying together.
Hugging, holding, knowing, talking, sharing, eating, whispering, loving, caring, smiling.
Every day with someone you love, and who loves you.

Wow. It sounds magical, doesn’t it?!
Oops.

It isn’t, always. In fact, many times we have seasons of paying bills, being sick, tight on money, vehicle breakdowns, disappointments, hurts, sorrows, losses, and even frustrations with each other.

The thing is, the first list is not separate from the second. They go together. We grimace a bit as we pay the dentist bill, but the next minute we are laughing and kissing and tickling. We share dreams over doughnuts and coffee, but our moments alone are interrupted by the baby’s coughing or throwing up. We cry and grieve together over the loss of a loved one, arms wrapped tight around each other – holding the pain at bay. aspen mountains

Marriage is not about living happily ever after. LIFE is still here – waiting to hit us with all the normal struggles and triumphs. But through it all we have each other.

Sometimes, we need to refresh. Sometimes we go through a season of life so hard it rocks our world and makes us gasp for air. Staggering, we catch our breath and go at it again. But we feel choked. We need a breath of fresh air to get our heads on straight. If you hit a really hard spot, if you’re starting to bend under the weight of Life, maybe you need some marriage refreshment. A time of renewal and fresh vision and sweet connecting. mountain stream

My husband and I had hit such a tough spot this summer. Not with each other, but with LIFE. We went through a real tough season of foster care, medical bills, moving, miscarriage, and on and on. We felt like we needed a few days to recoup and refresh. So we dropped the kids off at a friend’s house, and we headed to the mountains for a weekend away.

It was just what we needed. Sunlit forest, golden aspens, quiet town streets, delicious food… we came home feeling focused and ready to hit the ground running.

If you have never left the kids for a couple days and spent a little time on your marriage – I urge you to reconsider! :) It is a wonderful way to reconnect.

When your camera is sitting in the weeds... haha! Sorry, but it's the only one of us, so I included it - weeds and all! :D

When your camera is sitting in the weeds… haha! Sorry, but it’s the only one of us, so I included it – weeds and all! :D

 

Yellow Cake Recipe

yellow butter cake2Do you ever wish for a basic yellow cake recipe? Me too. It took me years of trying cake recipes, to get the one I like best. Most recipes were too dry or too complicated. I just wanted a simple, delicious, yellow cake! Well, today I have for you a perfect recipe. It is soft, moist, and buttery. So yummy that you don’t even need frosting! 😉yellow cake recipe

 

I like to use it for Strawberry Shortcake. Just cover a piece with sliced, sweetened berries, and add a dollop of whipped cream on top. Yum!
My kids prefer it plain.
You can also use it is this recipe: Easy Strawberry Cake

yellow cake recipe

 

 

Yellow Cake Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs and beat.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix.
  4. Add milk and vanilla, blend well.
  5. Pour into greased cake pan. (9X9 or 7X11)
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

 

Makin’ Apple Butter.

makin apple butterCrisp, bright mornings and warm afternoons – feathered with brightly colored leaves, this is Fall. As a kid, I liked Fall, mainly because that’s when the leaves were raked into giant piles; fluffy and ready for jumping into and rolling through. They were spread out and raked into leaf-paths, perfect for playing ‘Fox & Geese’, or outlining our ‘playhouses’. After we’d played in them for hours and hours, we’d toss the leaves into the wheelbarrow, and if you were small enough – you hitched a ride on top, all the way to the dump.

But the second favorite thing about Fall, was Apple Butter. If you’ve never eaten this deliciousness, I am sorry! Apple butter is nothing like actual butter – it is a fruit spread, made with apples, sugar, and spices, cooked for a long time over low heat, till soft and smooth. You eat it on bread. Fresh bread, if possible! :)

makin' apple butter

My parents had a thing for using a copper kettle, and making it outside over a wood fire. First, Mom and us kids would cut bushels of apples for applesauce. We would can many quarts of applesauce, but after Mom had all she wanted, we’d use the rest of the sauce for apple butter.

Dad would build a wood fire in the yard, and after it had burned down a bit, he’d fix up a stand to hang the huge copper kettle on. We didn’t have a apple-butter kettle, but we had friends and relatives with them, so we would borrow one for the day. When we’d return it, we’d always give a few jars of apple butter as payment. (I miss the old days where everyone was neighborly, and loaned without expecting payment. A simple trade of goods or labor was enough!)

Well, we’d pour that applesauce into the kettle, and start stirring. We had a special wooden paddle made just for apple butter. It was a long handle, with a paddle at the end to stir with, and the paddle end had several holes in it, to better stir the apple butter. We’d take turns stirring it. At first, us kids would stir a lot. Once it had cooked down and was getting thick and brown, Mom and Dad did the stirring, to make sure it was stirred properly, and not burned in spots. Dad would add wood as necessary, to keep the fire not too hot or too small, but just right.

We added sugar and cinnamon and kept stirring. It took hours and hours for it to get to the right degree of thick, brown deliciousness! In fact, it was an all afternoon affair. Sometimes more. Once it was done, we would ladle it into jars and seal them. We always kept a jar out for fresh eating, of course.

I don’t know why, but it seems that the best tasting apple butter is made in a copper kettle, over an open fire. Maybe spending hours in the cool Fall air, stirring that kettle, makes it taste better! Anyways, I loved that tradition. I hope someday I can find a huge copper kettle, so I can make apple butter the traditional way. Not much better eatin’, than thick, sweet apple butter, slathered on thick slices of fresh bread!

Did you ever have apple butter hot from an open kettle?makin' apple butter

Riding Through Pairs

Riding through pairsMy husband has been riding through pairs nearly every day lately, trying to keep on top of the cattle health. It is nearly shipping season, and we want them to all be healthy when it’s time for them to leave.

Sometimes I leave my housework and go riding with him. It is always enjoyable, although I am not experienced at reading cattle health, like he is!

Now, I will at some point start remembering to carry my good camera with me, but until that day – here is more cell phone pictures! You know, because ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’! :)

riding through pairs

riding through pairswindmillriding through pairsriding through pairs

 

Weekly goals and Motivation.

weekly goalsAfter an early freeze in August, we are now enjoying a lovely, hot, Indian Summer. I have been soaking up the warmth… preparing for those long, cold blizzard-y days of winter. :)

Oh, by the way – my kids started school August 24th, so we’re done with 2 weeks! Yay! Only 34 weeks to go! 😉 Really, it’s been good so far. I love the flexibility of homeschool, I must admit.

After a particularly trying and hectic summer, I am trying to get my life back to some semblance of order and routine. I have several goals for this fall, and I thought what better way to motivate myself to accomplish them, than to blog about them?! Plus, I always enjoy reading someone else’s schedule. It helps me get motivated. :)

So, I have broken down my goals into several sections. I plan to work on most of the sections weekly. Some may get laid aside some weeks, depending on our plans. Here’s what I have planned for this week:

Spiritual:
Read along with the Good Morning Girls as they go through the book of Acts. This week is chapters 1 – 5.

Marriage:
Plan a weekend away with my husband. (We are both trying to get our schedules/sitter/logistics lined up so we can have a few days alone to reconnect. )

Mothering:
1. Take the kids on a nature hike, before cold weather sets in.
2. Make a special meal and cake for my daughter who has a birthday this week!

Homemaking:
1. Clean out my garden and get it ready for winter. I plan to till it, then cover it in manure and/or straw, and let it decompose over winter. I realize this is not ‘in’ my house, but it counts, right? :)
2. Clean out my hall closet.

Personal:
Host a girls’ afternoon at my home, complete with coffee and cookies and lots of gabbing. :)

Business:
Write daily.
Work on a cinch order I have waiting.

I hope your week is productive and peaceful! :)

Zucchini Pie

Zucchini PieThe legend of the multiplying zucchini is everywhere… don’t leave your door unlocked in summer, or you will find boxes of zucchini piled high! 😉
Well, if that’s the case for you – I have a recipe that will make you want more!

Zucchini pie.

Yep.

OK, it’s basically pumpkin pie, but who cares? Zucchini needs used, and here’s a good way to use it!

First, you wash the zucchini, and cut it into chunks. Big chunks are fine. If there’s big seeds, maybe scrape ’em into the trash. No need to peel.
Then you plop them in a big ‘ole kettle, and put some water with ’em, and let ’em cook till tender.
Drain off the water, dump ’em in a blender, and give ’em a whirl. Actually, give ’em several whirls – you really want the puree smooth.
Then it’s ready to use.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is my favorite way of using zucchini, and my family’s favorite way of eating it! :)

Zucchini pie

Zucchini Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 pieces
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 cup zucchini puree
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBS flour
  • ¼ tsp. cloves (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
  2. Pour into a 9 inch pie shell.
  3. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.