Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Tis the season for seed catalogs

As I slowly get my seed catalogs in the mail I can't help but get excited for this coming year! I have decided to be more relaxed, per se, in 2012. I will explain. 

This past year I tried out square foot gardening. Although I didn't have the 4x4 foot beds as suggested I made it "work" for me. Not only was this year a total bust for some of the crops I found them to be quite difficult to keep weeded because I had all this extra space so I planted a ton of extra stuff to "try out". Now of course I was also pregnant this entire past summer and canning season SO I don't know if I really over did myself or not. I also am not quite sure if I just didn't like some of the stuff I planted because I was pregnant or if it really was that funny tasting.

So I have decided to plant my 2012 garden with totally new seed. I am sticking with as many open pollinated heirloom varieties as I can. I found out I get the best harvests from open pollinated heirlooms. Well at any rate I'm only planted 3 different varieties of squash. a C. pepo, C. moschata and C. maxima. That way I will help to minimize cross pollination. I'm only planting bush beans as I found out this year that pole beans didn't grow well in my garden compared to the bush beans (I also HATED the taste of the pole beans). So I'm only planting one variety. I haven't picked it out yet but I intend on canning and freezing them mostly so I will be planting quite a few of those. Thankfully those are easy to take care of for me. 

I'm still not sold on growing sweet corn this year as I always wanted to try popcorn but I started thinking about it and I really don't eat much popcorn so I may just forget about popcorn this year. I'm only planting enough peas for fresh eating  because it was too much work for me to process them to freeze with the kids underfoot so I will just enjoy garden peas fresh this year! I can buy them organic cheap enough where it really doesn't pay to do it myself. 

I am trying out a different type of carrot, not planting potatoes this year (they did absolutely awful in this soil and I don't have enough compost to fix it). I can buy organic potatoes from a farm for just about the same price I could buy conventional potatoes. 

I'm still deciding on the other garden type items and I also found myself  getting overly enthusiastic but I just look at my little baby in my lap as I browse these catalogs and then I remember to calm down and keep my garden simple and useful this year. Not  fancy or too exotic. That can wait until my kids are older and can help and also pick out their own varieties of things to plant! 

Simple is not less but more! More produce, More time with the kids, More enjoyable summer and less weeds :) haha

Thoroughly enjoying my yearly shipment of seed catalogs,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Days Go By

Well it has been almost a month since my last posting. So much has been going on it's hard to get online to write anymore! A month after baby was born I ended up having surgery to remove my gallbladder and now I am on the mend from that. It's supposed to be an easy outpatient type surgery but I had to stay an extra night in the hospital and also have an extra procedure done to remove some stones stuck in the duct as they didn't want to do open surgery on me since I have little ones at home plus the baby. 

I have been so blessed with my Mother in law's help the past few weeks while my husband is at work. Without her help the house would be a total disaster and I would be in a world of hurt and not be able to have healed up as much as I have up to this point. I'm still on the 10 pound lifting restriction and no hot tubs for a few more weeks. Oh well, such is life sometimes.

On the flip side of this, the timing of it happening was a blessing. Since I just had the baby our insurance deductible is now met before the surgery had it happen next year- yipes! Also the surgery was between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have been able to heal up enough to enjoy the Christmas season with my family and extended family and also be acute pain free and no more stomach aches(which were actually attacks!)  Also it happened in winter so I don't feel sad about having to stay inside and take it easy whereas in the summer I would have wanted to be outdoors and then we all know I love to garden so I would be doing that and getting myself into more trouble!

So over all I am very thankful that since it had to happen, it happened now for all those reasons and I'm sure I'm forgetting some! Praise God from Whom all blessing flow!!!

We are also praying for one of my friends from my college days (a whole 4-5 years ago now!) who is fighting stage 4 brain cancer. They are blessed with 2 little sons I believe are ages 2 and 6-7 months (not positive on the ages) but either way she has two little boys, a husband and family and friends who care for her so we are praying for her and a miracle from God. Please pray for her also.

Well I have to go get myself some lunch before it's time for me to feed baby her lunch! Winter is a fabulous season to spend indoors with family and friends and of course play outside in the snow, that is of course if we ever get any :)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Leftover Ham Casserole- The Best!!!

So I made a super delicious ham and had plenty of leftovers. I decided to find some new recipes to use up leftover ham. While the most common uses tend to be ham and pea soup, ham and bean soup, scalloped potatoes and ham, eggs and ham I wanted to learn more about how to use leftover ham in casseroles. 

I have been really interested in using casseroles since they are typically a one-dish easy to make meal for the entire family! Plus with it being winterish now casseroles are an easy comfort food.

I found two recipes and combined them into my own and it turned out AMAZING!!!

~Leftover Ham Casserole~
2 cups ham
1/3 bag of egg noodles
1 can mixed vegetables
2 cups milk
2 Tbl flour
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
1 tsp mustard (NOT dried mustard, but the kind you put on your hotdogs, haha)
1 cup shredded cheese
toasted slivered almonds OR corn flakes for topping

Cook noodles until al dente, drain and rinse with cool water. In a small casserole dish mix noodles, ham, vegetables together. Slowly heat up the milk, flour, salt, pepper and mustard together and bring to a boil until thickened. Stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Pour over noodle ham mixture and sprinkle your topping of choice on then I put on some aluminum foil over the top and heat thoroughly at 350F. Took mine about 20 minutes.

I used a can of mixed vegetables because that is what I had on hand. You could really use any vegetable you have on hand. If it's canned great, otherwise you could pre cook the vegetables (depending on what kind you choose to use) and add to the noodle ham mixture otherwise maybe it would work just fine if you threw them in raw to make them more crunchy? 

That is what I am loving about casseroles, the recipes are so flexible you can really personalize them!

Happy Cooking!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Days

So far so good with three kids under the age of. . . almost 2 1/2!!!! 

Ivana is doing well, gaining weight and nursing has been going fabulous!!! I'm so thankful for all the reading and encouragement from friends this time around with breastfeeding and nursing :) Nursing in public has been super easy thus far and I don't look around at other people even if they look at me. I just ignore them. Seriously, if they have a problem with it that is just fine with me - just don't say anything about it to me. . . Haha, they would be risking getting a lecture :D haha

The other kids just love having a baby sister and I'm so proud that our little family has bonded so well! I'm so thankful, praise the Lord!!!

This week I have been itching to get my Christmas decor out but I must hold off another week and a half about since I don't want to jump the gun and decorate earlier than our tradition of decorating on Thanksgiving weekend. I don't want to take the joy out of decorating that weekend! We are also getting our tree that weekend too.

I'm still keeping an eye out for a menorah for Hanukkah, I like lighting the candles but otherwise we don't celebrate it in the traditional sense. Maybe I will find one at Goodwill when I go shopping later this week. You never know what you might find in those thrifty stores! 

I'm slowly working on getting our Christmas letter list put together as well as picking out the right card and writing our yearly family update. We are waiting to get our family picture taken until we get our Christmas tree up since we couldn't get a family picture earlier as we wanted to include the newest member of our family in the Christmas picture!!! Being in my tummy didn't count :)

I've also been planning our Christmas gifts for family this year. It's just a matter of putting the gifts together now. That is the nice thing about having a baby and the other kids having nap time in the afternoon- I get time to think! Just have to make sure I have a notebook and pen when I get my ideas! 

Well, time to sign off and feed baby! Hope to continue to post little updates every once in a while as time (and baby and kids) allow me!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Finally Here!!!

Ivana Lea was finally born 11-2-11 and was 7 pounds 15 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long!!! Lots of nice dark hair!!!

Nursing is going fabulous and after weighing myself this morning (11-9) I'm only 2 pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight with her! (Still 10 pounds from my pre-pre pregnancy weight before my first but I will worry about that later!).

I will post the birth story later but soo thankful God gave us a safe birthing experience and Ivana and I are both healthy with no complications. Praise the Lord!!! 

This Thanksgiving is so special, we have 3 blessings to be thankful for!

I will catch up later as time allows.

Lovin' being a mommy ~KT~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today I was watching the local tv morning cooking show and they showcased this neat little coffee shop and they had this latte they make called "November Nirvana". It had vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon in it. I thought it sounded so yummy I decided to try out that  flavor combination myself here at home!

I made my espresso, heated and foamed my milk. I used 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, a nice heaping teaspoon (probably closer to a 1/2 tablespoon!) of non-packed brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. When everything was ready I mixed it all together and sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon on top.

It was heavenly! If I ever get time and money to go to that coffee shop that show cased this flavor combo for a latte I sure will visit!!!

Today I am thankful for the family God is blessing my husband and I with. Since it's November and Thanksgiving is coming up I tend to think more of the blessings I have - although I should be doing that year round- and today that is my "thankful for". 

Still waiting to meet baby #3. I think today will be the day despite contractions being 20 minutes apart. I am hoping and praying to meet baby soon and today would be a great day to have a baby! 

I saw on the radar today that there was actually some purple! Meaning snow and rain/snow mix!!! Then I looked at our specific forecast and there is snow forecast for either tonight or tomorrow night. I can't remember. How exciting! Fall is quickly coming to an end and winter is knockin' on our doors. While I can't say I am totally ready for the bone chilling temps I revel in the changing seasons. I have a few more weeks to start figuring out how to decorate for Christmas! One thing is for sure, I must get some more cinnamon scented pine cones. 

Well I have to continue doing little chores to stay busy before baby comes, maybe the activity will help these contractions turn into active labor! 

~Happy November~

Monday, October 31, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Today was a totally typical late fall day. Sunny, then cloudy, then sprinkled rain, now its just cloudy and chilly! I don't dare say cold because last winter was cold! This is just chill! Ok it is cold but still chill compared to what winter is cookin' up for us! 

Still waiting on baby. I am very ready to have baby. A baby started crying in church yesterday and I had let down. Yeah, when that starts to happen I know I'm close! Very close! The contractions have been different today, going from 30 minutes apart to 20 to 10, then I start doing something and I get distracted and I forget to count them so then I don't know if they are staying the same or disappearing like practice labor often does. 

I'm thinking about going into town with the family this evening after dinner and walking around and picking up a few last minute items for the baby. Maybe that will encourage these strange contractions to kick into active labor and produce a baby! Yeah! I was looking at the calendar today and realized that today is the last day of October! Tomorrow is November! 11-1-11! If I can't wait to have the baby for 11-11-11 then 11-01-11 would be just as fine. Actually any day is fine with me! I'm ready to meet the baby, and start letting my body heal and revive itself after having 3 babies in 3 years. 

Over all it's to the point where I just can't wait to meet the baby and smell that precious new baby smell. That is the most heavenly smell no scientist could ever recreate! New born baby everything about them is precious :)  I guess you could say they are "heaven-scent"!!!! So excited!

Well time to sign off and figure out what to have for dinner. I'm so restless the last thing I feel like doing is cooking but I have two kids and a husband to feed so off to cook I go!!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Breastfeeding, Nursing, Holidays and Crockpots

As I listen to The Christmas Song being sung I can't help but think of the fast approaching holidays. Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. This year has totally flown by and I have been blessed with a fabulous pregnancy compared to my previous two! I actually enjoyed being pregnant this time around! Down deep I know I enjoyed the other two but now that I have accepted how my body changes during pregnancy and embracing the changes instead of wishing I still had the body I had in highschool I don't mind being pregnant one bit! I always thought my prime would be early twenties. Now that I am on the other side of the early twenties I realize that all the women I had talked to in high school were right. A woman doesn't hit her prime until later! I haven't even reached that yet! Interesting :)

Thinking about being "in the prime", about to have another baby and the holidays really made me start to think about breastfeeding again. I finally realized that nursing is what a baby does, breastfeeding is what a mom does. I'm no longer scared or embarrassed to say the word "breast". Every warm blooded animal that needs to feed it's young has mammary glands, funny thing is you don't see a milk cow going in for an "udder enhancement". . . I know there are many exceptions in different religious communities but our american society in general puts too much emphasis on the breast as a sexual object instead of it's natural intended use. I've read the Bible and while there is a place for them in that context the main purpose is to feed babies.

Going along this train of thought I was highly embarrassed to breastfeed in public because of the looks I got. Not so much of the "ew, I can't believe she doesn't use a bottle" looks but the "I wonder how much I can see if I walk close enough" looks. I was appalled. So, what did I do? I tried not just to breastfeed discretely but also I got a nursing cover. 

Seriously people, have you ever had your morning coffee/tea UNDER a blanket???? How about your breakfast??? Do you eat your lunch in the bathroom??? How about "you guys go ahead, I need to finish my dinner so I will just sit in the car while you all have fun". Nope. Not for my baby.

When my baby needs to eat, the baby will get to eat and if someone dares to make a perverted comment they will be lucky not to get my shoe thrown at them. Their mother would be so ashamed of them. I will not put up with crass comments about how I should go to the bathroom to feed my baby or use a blanket. If an adult wouldn't eat like that then a baby shouldn't have to either. 

As for my modesty I can nurse discreetly, this is a free country and in my state there are no laws prohibiting breastfeeding in public. Therefore I can. And I will. I also encourage other moms to just not put up with it, do what you feel is best for you and baby despite what other people think! 

I tried not to listen to Christmas music until closer to Thanksgiving but I woke up to a sassy Christmas song this morning and I just had to listen to it. Then I started listening to other favorite Christmas songs and here I sit, typing and listening to Christmas music! All the while smelling what is becoming dinner in the crock pot! 

I have really enjoyed learning to cook in a crock pot this past week. Today I am making scalloped potatoes in the crock pot. While not too complex and so far my fare from the crock pot has been out of character for my cooking preferences I have enjoyed spending more time with my kids (and off my feet due to the baby pressing a nerve in my back!). Another plus to cooking in a crock pot is if you are home you get to smell the lovely goodness all day long, slowly cooking and getting tastier until the peak for dinner time! 

So I guess that pretty much sums up the title for today. I breastfeed my baby, my baby nurses, the holidays are coming quick and crock pots are pretty handy kitchen accessories! 
Hoping you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sugar Cookies

 Yesterday afternoon my daughter and I made cookies. As dinner was finishing up I was just finishing up frosting them like pumpkins. Since the frosting was fresh I had them sitting out for the frosting to set before stacking them on the serving plate. My son was having a pretty hard time waiting for dinner and putting up quite the fuss. I was finishing up the last of the baking dishes when I realized it suddenly became quiet. Oh no. I turn around and I didn't have to find what he was into at all. He was able to reach up on the counter and help himself to a decorated cookie! He was happy as a clam sitting on my kitchen rug. He saw me said "num num" and kept eating. I got a few pictures with my good camera as a memory. I couldn't scold such a cute sight as that! I just let him eat his prize then we had dinner.

After dinner for desert was, of course, cookies. My daughter didn't see her brother eating the cookie he took of the counter so she had no idea I had frosted them. I handed her a cookie and you would have thought I was handing her a rare prized possession. She said "woooowww my cookie!?" then took it from me with two hands every so carefully as not to disturb the frosting. What a hunny! 

I sure enjoyed the pumpkin cookies with my kids. Of course my husband liked them too! Hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies, yummy!

I am so blessed to have the kids that I have, they remind me almost daily to enjoy the simple things in life (like pumpkin shaped sugar cookies!) because without the simple things life can turn into one big routine. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Babies, Birthing and Other Women. Mostly Other Women.

So I have been doing a lot of thinking on this subject the past two weeks as my time to birth my third baby is nearing. I have done incredible amounts of research on different methods of birthing, different places to have the baby, different doctors, etc., etc., etc.

I still find it incredibly interesting how some people are so happy to be like sheep and others like to think for themselves before following the herd - if they even follow the herd. 

Now, I am no expert on this subject, even if I were to become a doctor I would never consider myself an expert. Look how many times the experts change their minds. Just today they are releasing a new opinion on baby crib deaths. Interesting. 

But at any rate I am not picking on the experts. The real bone I have to pick is with some women. 

You know the type, the one who thinks she has the most horrific birthing story and repeats it like it is impending doom or putting a hex on you like you will have a horrific birth too. On one hand I feel pity for women like that and on the other hand I think they need a slap to the face. 

It's a shame to scare young women about to birth their first baby with their horror stories. But who else would listen to them? Other women that have had a child really don't care (do they?!) because they have gone through birth themselves and despite the fact whether their birth was horrific or not there is no fear there.

I honestly believe from the bottom of my heart that birth affects all women differently, labor can be different with each pregnancy with each woman and sometimes there are scary medical emergencies that need to be dealt with(which is the basis for most horror stories).

Just a few weeks ago I had a few women tell me their horror stories and I just told them that just because they had a hard time giving birth doesn't mean I will, especially since I have already given birth twice before with no problem. Now, I am not saying there is not a chance there could be a problem but I am NOT counting on it. My glass is half full thank you very much!

What surprises me the most is that if they are telling me this stuff and I have already had two kids I can't imagine how petrified a soon to be mama would be if she was about to have her first child. Shame, shame, shame. Just because you got hit by lightning doesn't mean I will get hit too.

If there was one thing I would love to do is to help new moms realize that those horror stories are not that common and while you may be able to do a lot to prevent a hard labor sometimes medical intervention is necessary. But if medical intervention is necessary it doesn't mean you will have a horror story!

My first labor story is one of frustration. If I had gone to a midwife I would have minimized a lot of hassle for myself. But it was my first so how was I supposed to know? I was just a sheep following the herd of birthing horror stories. My second labor went so much better once I had an idea of what labor and birthing was like. 
I am very excited to go into labor with this baby, it really doesn't hurt, labor is work much like running a race is but at the end it is totally exhilarating and you always get a prize no matter what!

I also did some research on labor and the "women's curse in childbirth" and those people in King James time really through women for a loop. The word for Adam's toil is the same word for Eve's childbirth. Well, you don't see men screaming, cussing and losing themselves over having to work to support their family even though it can be quite rough (especially in the lack of jobs available today). So I figure if it's the same word then it's not that labor will be painful, it is work. Yeah, it can get uncomfortable (I had back labor with my second born) BUT if you view it as painful it will hurt. 

Well I could go on for hours about all this stuff. I started writing a book and I think it's high time I finish it. Who knows, maybe someone will actually read it?! You never know! 

The kids are asking for a snack so I better oblige so we can make it through the "witching hour" before dinner is served! 

Do your fellow pregnant sister's a favor, no horror stories! There must be SOMETHING positive to say about your birth!!! I sure could have made my first birth story a horror story but like I said, my glass is half full! 

Kids are such a blessing!


A Hair Past Autumn, A Step Towards Winter

Today I finally realized, with the passing of the majority of the leaves on the trees that winter is quick approaching us. The temperatures in the 40's isn't so bad but the wind makes it seem so much colder. Once all the corn is cut it really will seem like a day before snow!

We took down the garden fencing and posts, put away most of the outdoor stuff that needs to be stored for winter. Time sure flew by!

Since I am without a vehicle to run to town I decided today was a great day to make crock-pot bean soup for dinner. Since we still have homemade bread from earlier this week I think that will make a great combination. My daughter helped "cook" some cookie dough (which is now chilling) so we can make some pumpkin sugar cookies after her nap time. She is such a sweetheart! She loves pretending to cook, I may just have a little chef on my hands!

Here is the recipe for the bean soup I am trying out today:

Navy Bean Soup
  • 2 cups dried navy beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons celery flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 brats (sausages),cubed
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~Mix all ingredients into crock pot and let cook all day~ 

I must say that is the ultimate fix it and forget it recipe! I just hope it tastes good! It sure smells fabulous, I did put the crock pot on high for now but later this afternoon depending on how well done the beans are I may turn it down to low.

Well still no baby yet, I am clearly getting random BH contractions every once in a while but nothing like I had this past weekend. What a teaser! I was so excited, well I still am and I can't wait for the baby to finally come!

Time for lunch, the kids nap time then I can finally get my "morning shower" in the afternoon! The kids woke up super early this morning so I wasn't able to fit in my morning shower but oh happy day I will sure enjoy it after lunch!!!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh Blustery Day

This weekend has been pretty windy and most of the leaves are down, except of course from the oak trees! Still, there is so much beauty in this transition of seasons. The corn field across the street is just gorgeous blowing in the wind, the few remaining leaves on the maple trees in the front yard are a pretty reddish yellow color and I can sit and enjoy the sunshine gleaming down on the different colors! So, the leaves are past peal? No matter, there are plenty other colors of nature I am soaking in before our world is in a blanket of white!

Yesterday I made that Pumpkin Spice Cake but next time I make it I am going to add more spices and also add a teaspoon or two (or three) of pumpkin pie spice in addition to the other spices already in the recipe. The cake was wonderfully moist but not spicy enough for my taste :) Also it could have used some chopped dates or raisins and garnished with some toasted walnuts would have made it even more divine! 

Today I am going to make some homemade bread, but I am cheating and going to use the breadmaker. Sure, it isn't the same as hand made bread but since the baby dropped I'm really not up to standing around kneading bread with all the pressure on my lower back. Plus I have dinner to think about making and other daily household chores that need to be done.

Contractions have slowed down since yesterday but when I do get them they involve my lower back as well. Not painful, but not comfortable either! Yesterday I had to have my husband rub my lower back to help release the tension there after a really strong contraction that left my back in a spasm. Oh what wonderful release a little massage gives! 

I am hoping some of the things I have posted to sell will sell this week. It would be most helpful. I also need to find someone to take our chickens. Once we sell our laying hens we will be down to the animals we want to keep through the winter. Well, almost! I still need to find a home for my pet bunny. Although it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to keep him because if we have to feed the ducks we just keep him in the chicken coop with the ducks anyways. But it would be nice to find him a home.

A rat moved in under the chicken coop this week. Yesterday I even found some rat droppings inside the feed shed. Good thing we keep everything in containers but the rat obviously found something to eat in there. I need to find a way to get rid of that disease carrying rodent. I don't want it reproducing and us having a problem with rats. We haven't had a problem with mice since our cat keeps that population down but I have a feeling from the size of the droppings this rat must be about the same size as our cat, which is actually a pretty smallish sized cat. Hope to find a safe way to rid ourselves of this rat without harming the cat OR the free range chickens and ducks. It's not cold enough to keep them in the chicken coop yet so we let the birds free range until then. 

I recently found an imported bag I absolutely loved at the store. They were selling them for $40 each. I don't have that kind of money to spend on a bag and it was the perfect size to carry everything I need for three kids and of course my normal "purse" necessities for myself. The fact that it was imported makes me wonder if it was really handmade or just "imported" from an overseas factory. I will have to check etsy for something similar I guess. I could always make my own if I could sneak a picture of it. I will have to check online. If I find something similar that will be my next project to make! 

Of course I did want to crochet some matching hats for me and my daughter and the new baby (which is supposed to be a girl according to the ultrasound tech, but only God knows for sure!)

Well off to get the daily chores done so if the baby does decide to come later today at least the house will be caught up!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Pumpkin Spice Cake ~ Super Easy~

I was craving cake today and remembered I had some leftover cooked squash in the fridge. Lucky me I already knew you can substitute cooked squash for pumpkin! So this is what I made, I am in culinary heaven right now! Yumm!!!

~Autumn Pumpkin Spice Cake~
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)

* Mix together the first five ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add, alternating between the milk and dry ingredients until mixed together. Pour into desired greased pan (I used an 11x7 glass pan which was perfect) and cook in preheated 350F oven until done approx. 25-30 minutes until the toothpick test comes clean.

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp rum extract (or you can omit this if desired)
milk to make desired consistency.

*Mix all together and slowly add milk to make the desired consistency. Also depending on how cool the cake is when you put it on also will determine the end result so it's up to you, the cook!


I haven't posted in a while so I thought I would write something. There are quite a few things I have on my mind to write about but I can't possibly write about all of them at once. I guess I will just try to post on each on this week. 

I have so many thoughts on being frugal, cutting costs, cloth diapers, having babies, cooking, working at home/working outside the home, and family life in general. Oh, did I forget to mention Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up too?!?!?! 

I have been having contractions every 20-30 minutes since this past Friday. They slow down to every 30 minutes after I go to bed but they continue throughout the night. I've had some other signs of early labor but not what I consider "active" labor yet - although I can tell I am dilating despite the contractions not getting "stronger" or "worse". I have so much pressure and lower back discomfort so I know that baby is getting ready to come out and meet the world! I know my husband and I can't wait to meet our new baby!!!

I have just about everything ready for the baby, so this is very exciting! It's just a matter of when. We aren't going too far from home because of the contractions not stopping. I remember with my son (2nd baby) I would have contractions for 10-12 hours but then they would stop for a few days then start back up again for another 10 hours then stop. 

A month ago I was dilated to 2.5 and effaced 25% so who knows what that would be now! They didn't do an exam at my last doctors appointment. Oh well :) I have to go each week now so it's curious to see (if baby doesn't come before my next appointment) what these contractions are doing. I also wonder if they will just go into active labor or just disappear. 

It's been a beautiful and blustery weekend this weekend. Most of the leaves in the yard blew away which is nice because it minimizes the raking we have to do later. 

For some odd reason I feel like making a cake today. Maybe that is a sign the baby is coming? I've had a weird hankering to make cake before each other baby was born. I made strawberry coffee cake before my daughter was born, strawberry shortcake before my son was born and I've been craving strawberry cake all day long. I think I will just make some vanilla cake with strawberry frosting. Not sure. Well off to make a cake, maybe after have a baby :D Only God knows! 

Loving the country life,

Friday, October 7, 2011


Season. Is it the beginning of something new? The end of something old? Or is it just the continuation of a chapter of life?

As I sit and watch the basswood leaves drifting through the air landing on the yard and the horse barn I cannot help but wonder. The lush green lawn is now covered in temporary gold. The maple trees are starting their color change from dark green to light green, now yellowing and turning a brilliant crimson red. The air smells crisp, like fresh pressed apple cider. The wind blows from new directions hastening the basswood leaves descent. The end of something or the beginning of something? 

Early in the morning a light fog mixed with smoke from wood burners sits in a haze over the pasture. The horses breath mingles in the haze while he grazes the last bits of new growing grass. The colors surrounding this early morning picture is just incredible. The sumac's crimson, the milkweed's yellow, the grasses slowly turning greenish brown, the last of the late summer flowers drying on their stalks ready to let lose their seeds to lay dormant until next spring. Leaves of different colors and shapes drifting almost silently, except for the initial rustle of their leaving their post on the tree and rustling while they make their contact with the ground.

Bugs and other juicy goodies are getting scarce for the chickens and ducks. The wild geese are making their way slowly south for warmer climes as the sound their wings make as they fly effortlessly through the sky makes a prelude to winter storms coming. The deer and turkeys forage and enjoy the last of summers bounty. The squirrels and chipmunks fight over the acorns and any other wonderful tidbit they find to put into their "pantry" in a tree.

While summer may be ending and autumn is clearly here the excitement of winter approaching and spending more time with family is in the crisp autumn air. Few corn fields are still standing the stalks brittle and scratching against the crisp fall breeze just waiting to be cut down and stored for the farmer's animals over winter. 

Fresh pressed apple cider warmed with some caramel, magic gloves, mid-autumn camp fires, friends and family, the crisp and cleansing autumn air, pumpkin pies, apple pies, leaves falling, peak leaf color and a hug from my husband, kids laughing and playing in piles of fallen leaves raked up just to be scattered about by kids running through them.


Autumn is truly here. 

The circle of life continues on.

So I ask, is a season the end, the beginning or continuation?

Praise be to God for the changing of the seasons and whatever they bring.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wedding Anniversary!!!

Today is mine and my husband's 3rd wedding anniversary!!! 

What a gorgeous day too! Fall leaves are just about peak, Indian Summer temperatures, sunshine! Since we couldn't go to our usual weekend anniversary retreat I got a deep dish pizza to make (since I couldn't afford steaks, but we never ate steaks on our anniversary anyways--We always got pizza!!!) 

I'm going to make some strawberry cupcakes with white frosting like usual and my grandparents got us a really pretty carrot cake which they said we had to wait until our anniversary to eat and we did! We got into it this morning for breakfast before my husband left for work! 

This morning I had breakfast fit for a pregnant mama. Pumpkin Pie Poptarts (I know, real healthy right?! It was a treat!) and my favorite maple flavored coffee. Door County Coffee has the best Maple coffee in the world and I look forward to them selling it each autumn!!! They have other amazing flavors but Maple is my favorite followed by White Christmas, Cookie Dough and a Cranberry flavor they sell during Christmas time.

Well since my plans were messed up due to some circumstances we are trying to figure out it looks like we will have the kids with us for dinner unless I can get a sitter at the last minute for an hour or two. It's so hard for my husband and I to get by ourselves. We finally got some time to ourselves this past Sunday for the FIRST time this entire YEAR!!! We really need to get more alone time together! 

Well I better get started on picking up the house again, making my cupcakes and finding a sitter. We are also trying to sell that buck goat. So I need to make a few phone calls on him today as well. It would be a huge blessing for someone to buy him this week. Well that is all for now, off to get the day started so I can relax with or without the kids when my husband comes home so we can enjoy our anniversary together!!!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stir Crazy

After another awful nights sleep last night I'm having a hard time function. But again, I am also going stir crazy after not leaving the house in almost a week! I need to be around some people! But again, I am sick and that is why no one has come to visit! 

I have been thinking about making some ginger cookies and chili but I'm just not feeling up to it which is why I haven't left the house to go for a ride. I'm not up to getting the kids in the car and back out again when we get home so here I sit in the house. 

Not quite sure what to make for dinner tonight that is "quick and easy and healthy". Still thinking about it but I need to figure it out pretty quick because it's getting to be that time again!!!

I've been craving a pumpkin spice latte and pizza so it's kind of hard to figure out what to make for dinner when all I can think about is a greasy processed pizza!!! Strange. I eat so healthy then I crave random culinary atrocities!!! Well I better sign off and look through my cookbooks for something quick,easy,and healthy to eat before it gets too late! Maybe I will get lucky and my husband will need to run to town for something so I can at least go for a ride and see some of the fall colors before the wind blows all the leaves off prematurely!!! 

Off to dig for a recipe in the cookbook treasure trove!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just Pondering

Today I am abnormally exhausted and it is just past noon! Hope I get an afternoon burst of energy to be able to finish off the day! It must be the virus I have that is making me feel this way. It really stinks succumbing to sickness this far into the pregnancy!

I was horrified last night when I found out the generic vitamin C I was taking had sucralose in it. Sorry, I avoid artificial sweeteners like crazy when pregnant and here I am taking it without knowing it! Since when do they do that?! Well anyhow I will be buying my name brand vitamin C from now on despite the $4 difference. My long term health means a lot more to me than $4. Not only my health but the health of my husband and kids too!

I had heard recently some news about wheat. I, personally, have never been a big fan of grains. They make me feel bloated, slow, hungry and over all not feeling well. When I eat more fresh fruits, vegetables with a little meat protein I feel great. I don't feel slow at all, rather I feel like I can work and get things done! I don't have celiac or any other disorder but I have noticed that when I eat lots of breads (whole wheat or not wheat at all) I don't feel well. That includes crackers, chips and other processed foods too. I had always assumed it was processed food making me feel that way until about a year or two ago when I read that book about blood types and diets. My blood type needs low grains. Then I started thinking that while the processed food isn't good and can make me feel that way then grains even whole grains could make me feel that way too. I don't eat a lot of grains anymore and I do feel better but this new news I heard on wheat, depending on what I learn may even have me limiting the amount of "wheat" for the rest of my family as well.

I think back to creation. You can't tell me Adam and Eve had ready to serve frozen waffles with "maple" syrup composed of cellulose (yes, that is a wood product) and corn syrup. Yum. Sounds good huh? They didn't have potato chips, they had regular potatoes - and not flakes from a box either! They had the real deal. They didn't go to the market to buy a grain fattened steak. In fact, before the fall they didn't even eat meat. Which is something I still would like to study more.

Well as I ponder those dietary items I have more braxton-hicks contractions. Annoying and interesting to not that with each kid I have they become stronger and more noticeable. In fact I think braxton-hicks hurts worse than regular labor. Only 2 more weeks and I will be full term so I can finish my projects before lil one comes. I have to take it easy with all the BH contractions I've been having. I've noticed that with more activity they become stronger so I don't want them to turn into actual labor for at LEAST another two weeks. Although preferably baby will wait until 11-11-11!!!

I've also finished up a finance book. It was so good and I highly recommend it for people wanting to get their finances in order. It's super easy to follow, not boring and I actually feel like I learned something and I support my husband 110% with setting up a new budget. I thought he was joking when he said we could be totally debt free in 1- 1.5 years! If we follow the plan in the book we can. No, it's not a get rich quick book but if we stick to the method then yes, we can be debt free that quick even with 3 young kids! I hope and pray we can stick with it. We got hit below the knees this month financially and it came out of no where. We start getting caught up and bam, back into the hole. I pray God will get us through this period quickly so we can start looking ahead to the future and stop living paycheck to paycheck. It's possible to live well on one income!

After doing the math I estimated that if I worked full time, after taxes and other work related expenses (including child care) I would be lucky to bring home an extra $100 a month. Realistically that is ridiculous. Why on earth would I go through all that trouble just to bring home an extra $100? Getting a full time job out of the home is too expensive. Good thing we sat down and did the math before I went out and got a job! The amount of stress it would have placed monthly on me, the kids, my husband all for an extra $100? Wow. So not worth it. It pays to sit down and calculate these things out! So therefore I will still learn a trade I could do from home and maybe start my own business some day! I do have a few plans in the making but I really won't do anything with them until I'm done having kids. This being #3 we are only planning on 4 kids so that time is coming soon.

I'm so thankful that I have a husband that works hard to support our family. I feel so bad for him when bad things happen to us and I know it is incredibly frustrating to him as well. We had been going the past two years to a place we went to on our honeymoon but our anniversary is exactly one week from today and unfortunately we can't afford to go. Not because of a budget shortage but because of getting kicked right back down. Not sure how I can help out except pray. I know God will work it out in His time. At least I can still make strawberry cake for our anniversary! :)

Well I think it's time to sign off. These are the things I have been pondering on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon. I think I will make myself a cup of tea, put on Hello,Dolly! and try to find something to organize while taking it easy so these BH stop.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot German Potato Salad and Other Good Things

 Today is another perfect rainy fall day! I don't mind the rain when I can stay inside and stay warm and dry! It's not really cold just rainy! The rain really makes the red sumac leaves pop, as well as all the other colors magnify. Can't wait to see the rest of the week. It will be 70 and sunny one day this week I bet after all this rain it will be just gorgeous out!!!

Today, in honor of the weather I decided to make some fall comfort foods. Hot German potato salad, pot roast and for desert I haven't decided yet. Still thinking about what to make! Not sure if I want to do an apple rhubarb crisp or something with frosting on it. I have a few more hours to ponder this before it gets too late and we don't get any desert! 

This is the first time I am trying to make hot potato salad so I hope the recipe turns out! Here is what I used:
~Hot German Potato Salad~
About 5 potatoes sliced and quartered per batch (I did two batches)
1 large onion
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vinegar
2 Tbl flour
2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp pepper
4 slices or more bacon crumbled
*place potatoes and chopped onion into slow cooker. Mix all other ingredients and pour over potatoes, put on low until done (5-10 hours depending on thickness of potatoes)*

Like I said before I hope this recipe turns out! For my pot roast it's going to be whatever mood I'm in when I throw it into the oven in about 3 hours from now. I'm probably going to use onion soup, carrots, a beet or two (no potatoes because I have the potato salad), an onion, cabbage and whatever spices I deem necessary to the desired taste. 

I am slowly getting over the virus I came down with on Saturday. I have been taking extra vitamin C, a teaspoon of honey throughout the day to help soothe the throat as well as the healing properties in the honey, and of course hot tea!  I love my tea! In fact I am going to go sit down with a book and enjoy my freshly brewed tea!

Taking in the smells of autumn (including my spiced pumpkin candle)!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Amazed by Autumn

I'm loving how my house is becoming more homey each day. Plus, getting into the whole excitement of the changing of seasons and decorating is so much fun too! I look outside yesterday and this is what I saw:
The sumac across the road is really starting to flame red! The leaves on the maple trees are just starting to turn too. Otherwise it still really doesn't look like autumn unless the sun shines bright (like it is right now) and really makes that sumac brilliant red! I had to drive to town this morning and run to the bank and on the way I was amazed by the colors of brilliance I saw! I was glad no one was behind me and I live out in the country anyways because I was only going 35 to soak it all in! The different shades of green, some of the trees turning gold, yellow, orange and red, the flowers white, gold, purple, milkweed turning yellow. It was gorgeous! I don't think I have thoroughly enjoyed a drive into town as much as I did today!

My house is also starting to look more like autumn inside too, as you can see from the above picture we have gourds in the bay window, and view of part of my kitchen below:
Plus I have a pumpkin and indian corn and leaf rug in front of my kitchen sink so I can stand on something nice and soft while I do dishes :) Ah, the simple things in life can make even the most mundane of chores something not so bad! I found a really cute harvest wreath at St. Vincent thrift store earlier this week for the same price I could have made one myself except I didn't have to spend anytime making one so for me it was actually a great buy! I could have sworn I had a wreath hanger somewhere upstairs but it either got misplaced or buried (or put by mistake in the garage!) so it's just hanging inside my screen porch for the time being. It will be good until after Thanksgiving when I slowly start switching my seasonal decor to Christmas time!!! I love pine cones and balsam wreaths and the electric ice rink and candles...

But for now I'm totally enjoying this autumn season! Fresh pressed apple cider, if you haven't tried it before it is a must do!!! Cider, homemade bread, indian corn, gourds, pumpkin decor, pumpkin and apple pies, the fresh crisp fall air signaling the ending of gardening season and a time where families can spend more time together instead of working so hard outside. A time where you can look at your kitchen shelves, freezer and enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your hard labor all summer. Yep, I'm all for fall. I really think Autumn is my favorite season of all. Plus my wedding anniversary is coming up! I always wanted a summer wedding but we ended up getting married in the fall and it was just perfect fall weather. I think that is what really started my whole love affair with the fall season. It reminds me of the day I married my best friend and get to spend the rest of my life with him! Autumn is nature's paintbrush showing off the beauty of God's creation, a signal that we can start to slow down and rest for the year. Well, off to open the windows a crack and let that crisp autumn air flow into the house before the autumn turns into winter and we put of the plastic and the windows stay shut until spring. I will enjoy every last bit of crisp fall air that flows into the house, along with the smell of my cider tart warmer and the sound of the wind blowing through the still drying corn across the road. Yep, even while I work there are things to be enjoyed!!!

Hava Nagila!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage and homemade rolls!!!

Yesterday and today I got some huge cabbages!!! I decided since it is cool outside that stuffed cabbage rolls would be the perfect dinner for tonight. Of course you have to have homemade dinner rolls too! As you can see from the picture the cabbages are huge! That cauliflower isn't too bad either! That is a ruler in front of the one cabbage just to show exactly how big they really are!!! Or in the one cabbage's case - was!!!

Here are the cabbage rolls in the oven getting ready for dinner!

I didn't want any tiny little dinner roll for tonight. I wanted hearty!!! So I made them extra big!
The smell of homemade bread filled the house and it was just fabulous!!! Homemade bread is such a comfort food!!!
The finished product with of course Chef's Choice removed just to make sure they are good enough to serve! Oh, heavenly!!! 

Well it is almost time for the cabbage rolls to be removed from the oven so off to enjoy the summer's bounty!!! Will post the recipes later!!!

Livin' Life in the County,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lessons in Simplicity

 This morning as I was doing the dishes before the kids got up I had some quiet time to think. Funny how doing the most common, ordinary of chores can give you great time to contemplate things of life!

Since I've taken some time off from facebook my internet time has dropped considerably. I think it's pretty crazy how just one web page can consume so much of my time, let alone how much time it actually did consume! I never realized how much time was lost to the world wide web until I started taking a break from my most visited page!!! It was a real eye opener because as I have been trying to get things done around the house I was wasting so much time online! 

As the seasons are slowly changing and colored leaves are gracing the yard, the crisp autumn air reminds me of apple pies, pumpkin pies and roasted turkey. Simple things yes, but wonderful simple things! 

Since I am trying to purge and organize my house in order to simplify my life with less clutter and things to constantly pick up (i.e. kids toys) I have to go through other places in my life that need "simplification" as I call it. I recall a quote I read in MaryJanesFarm magazine that said "Being simple to simply be". How true is that! Then of course we all know Henry David Thoreau said "Simplify, simplify, simplify". Some more words of wisdom. I love the technology we have available but sometimes I think it gets in the way of us simply being able to live life. The best thing I ever did for myself is get rid of having a cell phone. Now when I run errands I can concentrate on what I need to get done and if I get on a rabbit trail I can enjoy it without someone calling and bugging me while I'm trying to check out at the cash register!!! I do have a way to contact people if I am in an emergency plus if I get wifi I can contact anyone I need to as well so it's not like I'm disconnected from the world, rather I'm actually getting to enjoy it fully now without being tied down to the cell phone. Not to mention the money we have saved by not having two cell phones!!!

Since taking the time off from my most visited web page I have missed seeing the updates from my friends and seeing how they are doing. Which is a positive side of being able to use technology but on the negative side it took away time from my kids and the house in general. Now, I've been able to really truly enjoy having some book reading time, play time with my kids and this time that they are little and think me and my husband are their heroes is such a short time I don't want to let technology (however nice it is to have) rob me of that precious short time with them. Plus despite me digging deeper into the purging of the house I have been able to keep up with the rest of it so what I have already organized is staying organized compared to earlier this summer I just never could get ahead of the game. Now I know why! 
Back in the day when this country was just starting to get settled people were healthy, and families were strong the way of life might have been rough without a lot of the technology we have today BUT it just seems like society back then was a lot better than now. Ok, I'm not saying it's technology's fault for the position our society is in today but I am saying people need to look at their lives and as Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world" So, so true. 

We are surrounded by little words of wisdom and all of them simple. I love simplifying my life, by simplifcation of my life I've experienced the following side effects: Less stress, better health, easier to stay focused on the positive things in life, more quality time with the kids, less time cleaning the house and more time with my husband in the evening, more time to bake (I love baking!), not being in a rush anymore, peace. Yes, peace.

Simplification leads to peace. If silence in golden then simplification is steel. The strong backbone to a long life. So common, so simple, so important yet often overlooked for those very reasons.

Learning to be simple,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

End of One Season, Beginning a New One. . .

This week the calendar says it will officially be autumn. (Well at least the last time I checked!) I'm very happy with how much work was done this week despite the many setbacks I had. We hit an amazing sale going on for rugs so I was able to get an area rug for the living room to help make it more homey and also somewhat cover the very dated and cold looking tile near the fireplace and hearth. I would like to find a coordinating hearth rug too but I will just keep my eyes open for a good deal and if I happen to have the money then I might be able to get it! 

I'm so thankful for a lot of things and this week made me appreciate my husband even more than I did before. He has given me so much support during the past week when I was having such a hard time, he bought me the rug for the living room, I had been craving plums so bad and after church without telling me what he had to go to the grocery store for (I was clueless) he brought me a bag of plums. What a manly man!! I couldn't ask for a better husband because a better husband doesn't exist. I'm so thankful for my man!!! He has been working extra hard getting the yard cleaned up and winterized. He is fighting that nasty head cold the kids and I all had two weeks ago but he was able to get stuff done around the house anyways. Like I said I couldn't ask for a better husband because he's the man :) 

Friday I had an OB checkup. That was just absolutely stressful. I wish I had not gone at all. I had to reschedule my August appointment for the first week in September and I totally forgot about it!!! They never called me or sent me a letter telling me I missed a scheduled appointment so it took me an extra week to figure it out myself that I hadn't been to see the midwife since the end of July. Now that I'm 33 weeks they want to start seeing me every two weeks. The road construction getting to the doctor is enough to give me a coronary as it is let alone having this big discussion on why I don't want to get the glucose test done. Then, since I have been having lower stomach cramping she wanted to do this other test for fetal fibronectin. I couldn't remember how accurate it is and since everything is pretty much out of pocket for us I hesitantly agreed. I still have to find out how accurate it is because it came back positive. I remember when I was pregnant with my 2nd I had been dilated to 3 and 50% effaced for almost 5 weeks but every two weeks (because I was dilated and effaced) they wanted to do that fetal fibronectin test and it always came back negative. I ended up having him a day before his due date. So after stressing me out and trying to scare me into the glucose test this stupid test  came back positive for that protein. So, according to the midwife I saw she said I could give birth within 1-3 weeks. 

Well let me tell you what. #1 after the exam she gave me I will NEVER go back to her again, #2 she will NOT be delivering my baby no matter when I end up giving birth #3 my body is capable to grow this baby until she/he is ready to be born  #4 No one is going to tell me to go on birth control like I'm some in capable, unschooled highschooler having uncontrolled sex. I mean seriously people the nerve!!! She said that even after I told her my husband and I want to have our 4 kids close together so once we are done with baby stuff we can be done with baby stuff! Some people just have nerve. This baby, and our other two kids are no accident. 

Continuing on I did some research for myself to verify the information I already have and I decided to discontinue taking my flax seed oil, take another dose of my Cal/Mag supplement and continue drinking tons of water like I always do. I am also going to only drink up to one cup of coffee a day and when I feel extra Braxton Hicks I will get out the relaxing chamomile and also start taking red raspberry to continue preparing my body to give birth to this baby when she is supposed to come out. I guess the main point is that I know I am healthy, I know my body better than the doctor or midwife or anyone else for that matter (besides God of course) and by the grace of Yahweh I will give birth to this baby at full term despite what the medical field tries telling me. I will not be discouraged. God is in control.

Besides babies are birthed NOT delivered.

Well as I continue to strive to be healthy, minimize stress (including possibly finding a different midwife/doctor), organize my house, be a wife, be a mom and be myself (can't forget that one!) I'm having a fabulous weekend relaxing at home and enjoying the slow transformation from a house we live in to a home we live in. It's so neat watching the season slowly change from summer to autumn. I'm so thankful God gives us change and also that we never have to go through change alone. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow...