Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year Dawning

Farewell 2014 and Hello 2015! 

I look back on this year with nothing but gratitude. I've been through so many health problems and housing changes but I have nothing but gratitude! Without the hardships I experienced, I would not have seen the things I needed to change in my life. I'm thankful I had to go through what I did so I can see things differently now.

A new perspective for the future, a positive one! 

I have hope that this coming year I will be relieved from the health issues I'm experiencing now. Hope that we'll be able to get chickens, a garden and go swimming. This new year holds so much promise, but we have to go for it! Good things don't just come to those who wait, they come to those who work! Life is as good or bad as you want it to be - no matter what your circumstances may be.

This year, for my blog, I'm going to add my reading list back to help keep track of what I've read throughout the year. I'm also going to be studying vegetables and posting what I learn about them. I'm going to be more focused on homesteading activities, learning things my ancestors could do in their sleep! I'm also going to be focusing on Permaculture. I was just introduced to the concept and I want to learn more! I'm also going to be adding what I learn on using sweeteners naturally and gluten free recipes that won't break the budget or spurn the taste buds!

So for the New Year that is dawning on us, I'm going to add a reading list, studying vegetables, studying Permaculture, sharing healthy recipes and doing homesteading activities! I'm excited for the year to come!

Hugs and God bless!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bright, Shining, Arctic Tuesday!

We've been so spoiled with a mild winter that this winter "cold snap" (isn't that term ironic?!) is really surprising!

So I'm just over here, sipping my coffee and watching my littles play in the house while I do some research!

This morning did not start out so great. Got some bad news about taxes, been struggling with the thievery going on since we moved in here (slowly we only have half the kids toys, missing some of my husband's spendy essential truck items) and never been able to catch the skunk. I saw a man once who was just about to come right into the house and I had fallen asleep watching a movie on the couch. So the tv was still on and you could clearly see me and the guy was still going to come in! Ack!

Then I was reminded, by an internet picture quote thing that read:
 "An entire sea of water can't sink a ship unless it gets in the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can't put you down unless you allow it to get inside you."
I am unsure who the credit goes to for that quote.

How true, though, that negativity can only affect us if we let it!!!
We are surrounded by negativity* but it can ONLY bring us down if we allow it to and focus on it.

*On the flip side we are also surrounded by positivity! Perspective is key here!!!

So, what started out as a "bad" day, got turned around into a "good" day just because I said so. I decided that I was can have a good day. 

Nothing in my circumstances changed, just my perspective/ attitude.

So, I encourage all my readers, if you are having a "bad" day, why are you having that "bad" day? 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Winter Wonderland: Post Christmas Saga

(The view this afternoon from my front window. Actually the view as I am typing this post right now!)

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, so the kids and I are busy planning our birthday surprises for him.

We are still listening to Christmas music- until at least it becomes 2015. I'm not sure how long we will keep Christmas decor up past the 1st as we have so many projects to start and finish the remainder of the winter. If I recall properly breakup last year was in March. 

I'm working on projects to possibly sell at the Farmer's Market this coming summer so I need all the space I can get at this point! Especially since I am going to have a garden this summer as well.

We are still praying that we will be able to buy that property we found that we both really liked. The down payment is a tough one to get. I still believe that if it is "the" property for us then God will provide a miracle for us regarding getting the financing or He will lead us to the right property! There is a nice property up north we like that is just 2 driveway's down from extended family, but its just above our pre-approval rate and since my husband's job is here it just makes sense to go for the property we both agree on here for now. So, we will continue to pray that we can get our own property so we can have a big garden, animals, and a home base for us to raise our little family on! 

January 1st is when I start my second Whole30! It really made a difference for me regarding my overall health. Now that I have been off the Whole30 for Christmas and then New Years, I don't feel so good. I figure I would ring in the new year with the Whole30 and start off the year this way! 

Well, time to get offline to finish birthday prep for my man, continue reading some amazing books that I will share about when finished, and dreaming about chickens, gardens, homesteading and  that first, tender carrot of the season. YUM! 

Dreaming of 2015,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve or, otherwise known as Christmas Adam

I can't believe Christmas is just a few days away now! 

Yesterday we made Christmas (red, green, white) ribbon jello to bring to our Christmas celebrations this week. What is a Christmas celebration (or any celebration) without a jello dish?! 

My oldest daughter LOVES jello molds, so for Christmas I told her we would make a jello mold just for us to enjoy. Poor girl was so disappointed I made ribbon jello instead of a mold for our parties. (I needed enough jello for 2 occasions).

Today we are making sure we have everything together to go celebrate tomorrow and just enjoying each other. We are watching Christmas movies, doing puzzles, and just being grateful for such a wonderful year together! 

This morning we had red skies so I'm expecting a weather change today or tomorrow. Praying for good travel weather tomorrow! 

Anyway, back to my little ones and our Christmas preparations! 

This mama has to check her shopping list twice to make sure we have the items needed for root beer floats and stuffed pancakes on Christmas day!

Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Stocking holder- check!

Here is  the stocking holder I made this year for our stockings! We have a fireplace but its too hot to have stockings hanging off of it so, instead of just hanging them on the wall, I made a holder!

I had a scrap piece of wood that I painted in regular acrylic craft paint- 2 coats.

Then, I stenciled the words. I only had cheap cardboard stencils and I had to use Sharpie markers to "paint" the words on instead of actually using a paint and brush. It worked, though!

Then I flipped it over and attached the hanging claw things (the proper name escapes my mind at the moment). I used three total for the back to hang it.

Once flipped back over I attached the little hooks. I got the cheap four for a dollar pack at the store. They are called "mug hooks", they were exactly what I had in mind to use! I just screwed them into the board and bam! Done!

Now I have a sturdy stocking holder!!

I don't have to worry about fire hazard, falling hazard or chocolate melting anymore!

*Cooler fact is that the wood paneling on the wall was handmade from an uncle of the land lord!* I had no idea one could do that! 

Well, now back to making Christmas ribbon jello with my littles! Tomorrow we make my Best of Show Blue Ribbon Ginger Cookies!!! (First time gluten free, so hoping they turn out!)

Jingle All The Way,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tradition! Tradition!

'Tis the Season for traditions. 

Growing up, my family had a few traditions, whether we called our yearly activities by that name or not, they were still tradition!

My husband, I am sure had traditions growing up as well. Funny, though, I don't remember what he said his family did each year.

I read an article last week on making this season of Holidays simpler, less stress to stress free and just getting down to what all these Holidays do- get people together to celebrate. Key here is the word "together".

The cookies are fun, activities are fun, gifts are fun (giving and receiving), the meals, the fellowship of friends and family gathering. 

The article did hit home with me on one thing.
Less hustle and bustle and more family celebration!

This week I am planning on sitting down with my husband and figuring out what traditions we are going to have as family.

For me, I'd love to carry forward making home made ice cream and having root beer floats on Christmas day. Stuffed pancakes for brunch. Making a few different Christmas cookies the week of Christmas. Making homemade gifts to give to others and of course our yearly Christmas card to send to friends and family.

My goal is to keep it simple, spend more time WITH my family than doing things FOR them. I don't want to do a fancy dinner Christmas Eve or on Christmas anymore. Save that for Thanksgiving, lets just have a nicely set table for a regular meal, even if its just pizza! 

I'd encourage others to let the hustle and bustle go and just enjoy the people around you! Life is such a short time span on earth, lets be with the people we love, not just do things for them. Try to strike a happy medium between doing things for and being with those we love. 

What are some traditions you have that you enjoy, want to keep, want to leave or just care to share?

At any rate, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!! 


Monday, December 15, 2014

Comfort Soup

I decided to make some soup but didn't have a recipe for the taste I was hungry for.

What to do, what to do?!

Make my own recipe, of course!

Here is the criteria list I was dealing with:
Didn't want a tomato base
Had to use ground elk meat
Didn't want a creamy base because I was using red meat
Wanted to use up some veggies I had in the freezer and storage
Wanted it to blend but also be able to pick out the meat from the veggies
Wanted a thicker, almost stew like soup
Fresh out of rice but I did have some gluten free rice noodles.
Wanted a down home, cabin style taste.

So, I took my little list and got to work!

I took 2 quarts of vegetable stock, put that in my pot. Then I added a drained, rinsed can of both black beans and kidney beans. While that was heating up, I fried up my 2 pounds of ground elk with one garlic clove, salt, pepper and half of a huge, organic onion. Then I added that all to the pot. I chopped up 4 small, organic carrots, a half pound of frenched green beans and put those both into my pot.

I added dried parlsey, oregano, Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground black pepper, celery flakes (lucky me, I had some dried as I was out of fresh!), and dried dill weed. I don't ever measure my spices as I go by taste. I threw in half my bag of gluten free rice noodles one everything was at a boil, put the lid on and simmered about 45 minutes or however long it took for the carrots to tender. I stirred as often as I thought about it to prevent scorching on the bottom of my pot as it has a hot spot. It was EXACTLY what I was hoping for in a soup and we had enough for leftovers the next day. It was fabulous then as well!

My tip is to never be afraid to make your own recipe! If it is a fail then consider this:
F- First
A- Attempt
I- In

Make note of what didn't work in it and go from there!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Well, we picked up our Christmas tree this afternoon! I wanted to get a nice, thick farmed one but I did some research to find out if they are sprayed with the pesticide I'm allergic to. Turns out that farmed trees, in my opinion, can stay on the farm. I am not impressed with the chemicals that are used in some Christmas tree farming operations. For us, we are sticking to natural/organic trees. We got ours from a natural tree lot. So what if we can't put on every ornament we own! It's more about keeping our house as natural and organic as possible and not bringing in extra pollution. Having modern appliances brings in enough off gassing! Something like a Christmas tree can be natural.

I found if I put ribbon on ornaments or things like Candy Canes I can hang them from a window as nice decor and with a nice pine or colorful garland it ties it all in together nicely!

I used the pine branches we had to cut off the bottom as decor in the front window box! Perfect! Now I'm just going to go to the Dollar Store here and pick up some fake poinsettia's and put them in with the pine to give it a nice pop of red! (Unless they have something else, the plan is poinsettia).

So, now the task is to find our Christmas lights in the old Christmas box from last year and then we can decorate our tree tonight! 

We're going to make some fun ornaments with the kids to put on the tree along with the ones we already have! 

I'm on Day 15, half way through my Whole30. It isn't going very easily for me, I don't know why. I'm so sick of eating so much meat it makes me want to gag thinking about food. Maybe its just a block I have to overcome but all I want right now is a piece of Mackinac Island Fudge, a nice hot cup of coffee with Wisconsin Cream in it and a piece of Figaro's Pizza with gluten free crust. 

Wishful thinking especially since its all food from "back home", not to be found here in the first place! I'm sticking with it though, I can tell I've lost quite a bit of weight from how my clothes are fitting, or shall I say, not fitting very well anymore. I can also tell by eating whole foods that my milk must be richer as the baby isn't wanting to eat as often and is so much more satisfied after a feeding. She is a happy baby anyway but now, despite teething, she hasn't wanted to just suckle anymore.

Interesting how much what you eat can impact milk supply for a little one! I can't wait to have a scone with my morning coffee with cream in it, though. That time will come! For now, black coffee it is!

Until next time,

Monday, December 1, 2014

Homemade Advent Calendar

Here is a photo of my homemade Advent Calendar! It cost me less than $10 to put together! I used scrap wood for the post and top. I painted them in acrylic craft paint in royal blue ($1), foam brushes (.97 for a pack), paper lunch bags ($1), stencils ($3), foam letters (.97 ea) and I already had the clothespins, but they can be picked up at dollar stores. 

I did two coats of paint on the wood, screwed the top to the post and painted over the screws. The letters had adhesive on them so I just pressed them onto the sign post. I measured the clothespines 1/2" from the edge of the post, 2" down from the bottom of the signpost and 1" down from the one above it. I added the "25" even though most calendars do not have one just to add fluidity. 

I decided to use silver letters to go along with the last week of Advent, the royal blue instead of purple because, while purple is traditional, I felt royal blue would suffice. I had planned on doing blue bags, rose bags and then white bags but couldn't find any so I ended up just using plain brown paper bags and stenciling on them. I bought cheap stencils and they wouldn't work with paint, so I used a blue sharpie I had laying around the house! It adds a pretty "down home" feel to it!

To make the bags smaller I folded them in half. Cut at the halfway point then folded the remainder down, so basically it is just the bottom part of the bag. 

Inside of the bags, I made my own cards from poster board I already had in the house (instead of buying 3x5 cards and cutting in half) and inside each bag is a Bible scripture, an activity, and a book to read (as I have 3 littles). Next year when baby is bigger I will come up with a 4th card, so each child has a card to choose in the daily bag! I'm thinking a "pay it forward" activity for the 4th card in that each child will craft or do something for a charity or something along that line. I have a year to think about 25 different ways to "pay it forward"! 

I'm also working a large stocking holder to hang on the wall (the fireplace isn't large enough for our stockings and gets to hot with the stove insert!) I will be posting on that later this week!

Merry Christmas season!

(This elk is singing a Christmas carol, haha)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 12 and Decor

Day 12 of the Whole30 and this reaction is still persisting. It is a little frustrating but I am persisting because I committed to this program!!! At least my mind is at rest that my trigger is environmental and not dietary!!!

We are busy decorating and crafting here at the house. Right now we are making an Advent Calendar (I will post photos when I'm done! A whole post on the crafts will come later!). We are also making a stocking holder to hang on the wall.

We are about halfway done decorating. Last night the little ones helped me hotglue ribbon to candy canes to hang up in the window. They also helped me make some fun ribbon bracelets to give to cousins for Christmas gifts.

This year is our first "down home" Christmas in about 2-3 years. I forget. Either way I am SO excited for this season and can't wait to pass down some family traditions, start new ones and teach them about why and what we celebrate!

Its totally going to be a Homemade Holiday this year!

Well, back to finish my crafts so I can post about them this week!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving and the Day After!

Thanksgiving was so much fun! What a great time with family! I really miss my family, and thought of them often! We had smoked turkey, green bean casserole, roasted carrots, elk roast, roasted squash and sweet potatoes, beets in a cinnamon apricot sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and of course, the pumpkin pie! I had a regular pie for everyone else and a sugar free, Whole30 approved "pumpkin"apple pie for me, my man, and my daughter. I was so surprised how sweet the sugar free pie was and I am wondering why we, as a culture, add sugar to already sweet things.

In fact, the sweet potato squash pan I made was SO sweet, it was almost too sweet! (ALL sugar free!!) Here is what I did:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Squash

Peel and cube 2 organic sweet potatoes
Peel and cube 1 butternut squash

Place in coconut oil greased pan, drizzle with coconut oil.
Sprinkle with cardamom and cinnamon.
Bake at 325F until done, stirring once or twice.

It was ridiculously good!

Obviously since I am doing the Whole30 I skipped out on a few of the food items, I just made them for everyone else not doing the Whole30!

Over all the only two things I was disappointed in was the green bean casserole and my gluten/grain free gravy. Thankfully, I was given some leads of some good recipes so I will be using them next time, but not waiting until the next Holiday to use it!

So fast forward to today:

Still fighting off another major reaction to something. Since I'm on the AIP Whole30 I know its not food based. I did however eat some non organic meat so I might have come into contact with that nasty antibiotic I am allergic to in the meat OR it was from me doing a deep clean on the built in hutch. We haven't had time to clean it out since moving in and I just couldn't bear to eat a nice dinner next to a dusty hutch. So I cleaned it out with just water this time as we thought I had a major reaction to the citrus cleaner I had used doing a deep clean on the fireplace (the day before I had my first horrid reaction). Anyway just using water I started getting VERY itchy and red that evening. The day before Thanksgiving I was bright red, itchy and started getting puffy. Instantly I took more than just Benadryl and I did the allergy protocol prescribed by the Doctor and it held off balloon face but I did get puffier over night so yesterday no family pictures were taken. Today it is not as swollen, but I switched the main allergy med from Zyrtec back to Claritin, so maybe that was a help this time? At any rate it is peeling like a chemical burn again. It's so bizarre.


I FEEL better despite the reaction! This Whole30 journey is helping me feel so much better! I no longer depend on a morning cup of coffee to get me through the day. I'm not a cranky bear when I wake up and obviously it wasn't the caffeine I was addicted to, but the sugar rush from a sugar caffeine laden latte. (I, however, still LOVE a good latte). I just won't go all crazy with them once I'm done with the Whole30, especially if I find dairy is a trigger. I'm suspecting dairy or eggs to be a trigger, but we shall see when the Whole30 is over! I'm 1/3 of the way done! WHOOHOOO!!!!!

Well, back to re-claiming my house from the Thanksgiving Day chaos of cooking and decorating for the fun Holidays we are going to be celebrating this December!!!!!

Happy Nearing the End of November!!!

Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 6 Whole30

Today things are going well! I just can't believe the difference in my skin. It is so bizarre! I feel stronger, and I am thinking by the end of my Whole30, should be back to "normal"! I have noticed that I fall asleep so much easier as well! I don't crash like I used to and I don't get as cranky when I get hungry. I am still having sugar cravings but I'm practicing mind over matter as I made it to day 6 already, why waste those days previous?! SO not worth it! Especially for the benefits I am reaping already!!!

 In other news we're looking at our Holiday celebration and tradition list and revamping it. Why do we celebrate what we do. What is the history on it? What are our family traditions? What do we want our family traditions to be with our little ones?

Materialism, Commercialism, Greed, Selfishness. Those things are all becoming quite evident as "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving is coming up. How did the season of giving become the season of getting and/or spending?

What are the things we want to grow and foster in our children? It most certainly is NOT the "give me" spirit! We hope we can foster an attitude of "giving"  not "give me".

Something to think about as we prepare for our national time of Thanksgiving.

As a country we really, truly have so much to be thankful for!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 4

This morning I woke up and could not believe that the redness is fading!!! My skin looks like its finally starting to heal up!!! I am SO excited!!!! After a year of this awful condition, finally some relief, thank God!!!

I'm having some pretty strong sugar cravings now. I'm focusing on hydration and not slipping into the bag of dried figs!!!

Last night I made the best squash ever! It was a small buttercup/hubbard looking squash and I chopped half an apple into each, one fig into each, drizzled olive oil inside and then sprinkled cinnamon on top. I was out of walnuts or I would have added walnuts as well.

It was incredible!!!

Tonight we are having elk steaks with onions and mushrooms. Oven roasted carrots and also broccoli!

After the carrots are done, while we are eating dinner, I'm going to be roasted some whole sweet potatoes in preparation for tomorrow!

This is only day 4 and despite yesterday's flareup, I can't wait to see how my skin looks on Day 30!!!

Enjoying the sunshine today!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day #3 of my Whole30 Journey

Well, here on day 3. I made it to day 3!!!! Today I'm struggling more, my skin is actually feeling worse, I have a headache.

Despite how I "feel", I know that once I get past this healing period, I will feel SO MUCH better!!

It is worth it, for me, to go through a few days of discomfort to finally heal my body and hopefully stop this awful skin issue.

So really today I am thankful I can still have coffee!
Celebrate the small things, because someday, they won't seem so small :) (I heard that somewhere and don't know to whom the credit goes to)

Happy November!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Whole30 Day 2

Yesterday I was surprised at how much I depended on sugar and pointless carbs as fuel to get through the day. I also suffered an awful migraine, but after a nice dinner disappeared. (Day 1)


Today is still surprising as now I've noticed how much dairy I used to eat if I didn't have sugary items in the house. I don't miss baked goods as much since I've been gluten free since the end of August.

Its a little frustrating to me to have this cooking learning curve as I am relearning to cook/bake gluten free but now doing it the Whole30 way. LUCKILY, for me, there are tons of resources on their website, Pinterest, and other places online. Coffee with coconut isn't that bad, a hot breakfast- seriously who would complain about that?!

So far no change in my skin. It's only Day 2 though, I wasn't expecting it, just recording it!

I'm really hoping the weather changes though! Without the mountains it just feels like back home, which kind of makes me homesick as the scenery then looks like home (without the mountains). With the mountains in full view, it is comforting knowing that I'm here, not there and helps to keep my perspective in the proper place! That has nothing to do with my Whole30 journey, but still.

Chasiah is working on her 2nd tooth already! She is sure growing fast. Childhood flies by sooo fast!

Found a property we are SUPER interested in looking to buy. We'll see what happens with that. I''m excited to actually decorate for Christmas for the first time in like what, 3 years?!?!!? Day after Thanksgiving, people. Yes, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas stuff is coming out and going up!!!!

On that note, I am thankful to be in a house that I can decorate for Christmas this year!!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre- Baby Prep

It's been a while since last posting! We moved into a new home, outside of town, and have been busy getting settled ever since!

I have a few boxes left to sort out, but hoping to be done with sorting out this week. Finally!
I would really like to make this house a home before the baby comes, but not really seeing that possible at this point.

I've been getting overwhelmed at the thought of birth, especially since I don't have the babystuff set up, house is in moving chaos, family across the country...

Right now I am at 34 weeks along, but I'm bigger, without extra weight gain, belly wise than any other pregnancy. So much different that nearly none of my late 3rd trimester clothes fit. It is very discouraging not having clothes fit- including your favorite sweatpants. Plus, trying to move around with my belly feeling like it's going to tear open. Add in movement and activity induced cramping, back spasms and harder than BH contractions, it gets frustrating!

We are wondering if this pregnancy could be a twin pregnancy due to baby movement, hiccups in different spots, severe fatigue, nausea all the time, belly size and shape, that awful rash- which has no allergic correspondence, among a few other things...

Considering the possibility of twins became too much for me today and then I just stopped, remembering some motivational things I re-pinned on my Pinterest.

I just said "Thank you, Lord!". If God has decided to bless us with twins after having 3 other blessings then He will give me the strength and energy to handle it. Goodness knows, I do not have that energy in me anymore after the past few months! God, if He chooses to put us down that path of a multiple birth, then He obviously has a reason, a plan, and a purpose- His purpose. All I have to do is trust in Him.

Funny, trust is the thing I struggle with most in my walk with Him! God has never shown Himself to be anything less than what He says He is. So why do I have issues trusting Him?

Going back to what I know, my issue stems from not keeping my focus on Christ, where it should be! Instead, my focus is on myself and what I can do- which is nothing compared to what Christ can do and has done in my life already!

So, instead of focusing on " How am I going to do it?", I am changing it to: "God is greater".

God didn't create us to live defeated lives, He created us to live fully and abundantly!!!

So instead of keeping that in my brain, I am going to live it. I'm not going to let the foothold of self-pity and depression in my life. I don't have time for that, I want to live fully and abundantly in Christ and praise Him for what He is doing in my life!! Life is as exciting or dull as you choose.

Reminds me of the Toby Mac song " Choose Life". Well, I choose life today beceause I wasn't created to be in the ruts of despair and worry! :-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake and a Pink Hyacinth!


 Here is a photo of my Pink Hyacinth! This one bloomed first as the tulips and Daffodils are still growing! How exciting to have a light pink flower blooming for Valentines Day! Yay!!! 

Here is my recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cake! I forgot to take a photo of it before we consumed it freely! It was pretty good but I have had better. Not sure what I did differently this time...

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBL cocoa powder
1 cup quick oats
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup chocolate chips or 5-7 ounces baking chocolate, chopped up

Mix together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and the add to sugar mixture. Add boiling water to the oats and let rest until soft. Add oatmeal to cake batter, mix in with chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and put in pre-heated 350F oven. Bake for 30 minutes. 
Let cool while you make the traditional marshmallow chocolate frosting. 

6 TBL butter
6 TBL Milk
2cups sugar
1 cup chocolate chips 
1 cup mini marshmallows or 1/2 cup regular oneN
Melt sugar, butter and milk together  and boil for about a minute. Turn off heat and add in chips and marshmallows. Pour over cake as soon as mixed asit sets up quickly. Let frosting cool then serve! 

Happy Tuesday!
~ KT~

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chuckwagons and Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

Here is a picture of the finish "product"!
Today, I made "Chuckwagons". It is essentially a meat, cheese and biscuit cinnamon roll. I have no idea the history of this recipe except that it's been made in my family "forever"! So if you have any history on this dish, let me know! I grew up eating these and the best part of Chuckwagons is that they freeze well; I mean, very well!!!
So I made a quad batch and whatever we don't eat for dinner tonight I will freeze for when the new baby comes! It's so easy to pull out a bag, throw them in the microwave (or if you're like me and do not own one, the oven!) to reheat and eat!
Yay for homemade "fast" food!!!
My son renamed them "Truck Tires". He keeps correcting me when I call them Chuckwagons! Adorable!!!!
Here is the recipe for Chuckwagons or Truck Tires:
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil or softened butter
3/4 cup milk
1 pound cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef, venison, bison, or other ground meat of choice
Mix biscuit ingredients together, will be semi-soft. Roll out dough in 1/8inch rectangle (just like cinnamon rolls!) on a floured surface. Pat down ground beef on biscuit rectangle. Sprinkle cheese over meat, reserving some to sprinkle on each roll after cooking. Put on greased pan about 1/2" apart. Cook at 350F for 20-30 minutes. After pulling out of the oven, sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each Chuckwagon. Serve when melted or let cool and save for later!
~My notes on recipe~
I used peanut oil today and it worked just fine. I use regular milk but would like to try out buttermilk next time. I used 3 pounds of cheese for 4 batches today. 2 pounds Medium Cheddar and 1 pound Monterey Jack. I shred my own cheese because already shredded cheese never melts like it should.
I also made Chocolate Oatmeal Cake for desert- more on that tomorrow! Also this week I am making another of my family's classics! Pasties!!! They originated in the mines, basically they are a pocket sandwich. We serve them with gravy and ketchup as options. I like them plain sometimes too and a few times I've used bbq sauce and mustard as a side dressing just to try out something different.
One of the things I miss about living in the Great Lakes region is the amount of pasty shops where I could buy hot or frozen pasties so I could enjoy the fabulous meal without the work, if I was short on time! Friendly FYI: Pronounced pas-tee with the "a" being short like the word "cat". Pronounce it the other way with the "a" rhyming with "Katie" and you're a sure shootin' tourist!
So check back for my Pasty making and also for the Chocolate Oatmeal Cake recipe for tomorrow!
Happy Cooking!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Seasonal, Maternity, Nursing and Other Thoughts on Clothing Problems

Today I was "Pinteresting" (my own made up verb for it) and realized, for me, maternity clothing throughout the seasons is not a problem.

In fact, maternity clothing is the easiest type of clothing style, no matter what the season is! (Hello, it's baby season!)

Enter the post natal period and "Houston, we have a problem".

Now I have the problem of nursing friendly clothing, age appropriate clothing, seasonal appropriate clothing, so on and so forth.

Here is where I'm coming from: I feel too old to be shopping in the Junior section, yet I feel too young to be shopping in the Women's section. I tried mixing and matching but it just doesn't work that way.

Enter in the nursing friendly category and that sharply limits your choices, especially if you don't use *tent covers for nursing and you want to remain modest while utilizing a fashionable scarf or moby-style carrier to nurse with/in.

*Side Note to tent covers: I found I received more dis-approving looks while using tent covers and it screamed to the world "Hello! I am feeding my baby and I am trying to hide it so pretend you just didn't see me!". However, when I nurse "discreetly" while baby is in a front carrier, a light layered look with a nursing top, or with a fashion scarf pulled ever so slightly no one notices! I never get looks or second glances!

 ~This is my personal experienced and why I have a problem with fashionable nursing friendly clothing~ 

My Solution* to this problem of dressing age appropriate, nursing friendly yet stylish clothing is simple. Yes, even in the hot months of summer when a little heater is hungry and needs to eat in public and it's too hot to wear the baby carrier. *see more ideas below!

This summer denim, or chambray shirts are "in", as well as loose, button down blouses. Score one for nursing friendly!

Pair a nursing tank with one of those button down cuties and you have a winning top combo. Pair with accessories like a necklace and/or scarf to nurse discreetly and keep a baby's busy fingers busy. Cute coordinating earrings would help too, sometimes its just easier to stick with pearl studs because they go with almost anything!

For the bottom half you can do anything! A maxi skirt, regular skirt, short shorts, Bermuda shorts, capris, skinnies or even the "in" look- wide legged pants, denim or not!

Shoes are the easiest, in the summer you have flipflops, sandals, cute beachy wedges and if you're in the mood for it heels! Just take it easy until you get your balance back after being pregnant for months on end! (Personal experience speaking again!).

For me, diaper bags are a tacky no-no.

I'm sorry, blue dinosaurs, Winnie the pooh, and pink bows in a soft cooler type texture just yells "I'm a mommy and you now know it!".

Nope, I'd rather have my bag yell "I'm a woman, wife, mother and you know it!".

My theory behind this is, I was 'somebody' before I got married and before I had babies. Getting married and having children doesn't change who I am, rather it makes me more of what I was, it makes me better! I don't want to leave my fashionable things, or things I enjoy behind me. Those days aren't gone completely! Just semi on-hold until the kids get a tad bit older. When they move away and start their own lives separate of mine and my husband's, I don't want to have a sudden "my life is gone, who am I now?!" moment. I'm still me and I feel that is important to show my girls. I'm a woman, I'm their daddy's wife and their one and only mommy.

Here's the key to my bag fetish: If I don't show my girls and my son for that matter, what a woman is like then who else will? I look around at the magazines and like that internet commercial says to do, I want to teach my children what true beauty, what true fashion is, what character is before the world does. It will happen!
So I need to show them first!

So whether I make my own bag or find a fashionable one to buy or trade for "diaper" bag use when baby comes. No one will be able to tell it's for a use other than it's original intended fashionable yet handy accessory use.

To sum it all up:
Summer nursing clothes can be fashionable, womanly but not necessarily matronly and you can find clever ways to wear your favorite styles of clothing and still nursing comfortably, discreetly and be comfortable knowing you look good and not frumpy!

Some more summer nursing ideas:
~Altered maxi dresses with buttons down part of the front, paired with a belt around the waist and sandals. Add a scarf if desired and worn over a nursing bra its easy, breezy nursing!
~The classic nursing top/tank with or without a nursing bra underneath. Pair with a :
Button down blouse
Denim/chambray shirt
Crochet/knit wrap or shawl
Fashion scarf
Coordinating blazer
Loose pull over top that can be lifted up but the nursing tank will still provide tummy/back coverage (Think an oversized, casual sweater or a tunic top)
~Bottoms are easy breezy!
Skirts, Maxi Skirts, various types of shorts, various types of pants. Just pair with whatever you feel best in that coordinates with your tops!
~Shoes are even easier!
~Bags should be easier but don't feel trapped in the traditional diaper bag! You can make, buy, or trade for "all-in-one" Diaper changing mat, and diaper/wipes, etc. holders to use in more than one bag! Just grab, place and go! Love that they also give you a place to change your baby on in public, especially since most of the time the diaper changing stations are out of the protective covers!
~Accessories!!! Don't forget earrings, even if 'just studs', or a simple necklace that baby can grasp onto while nursing. Scarves can take an outfit up a notch easily! Bracelets, even if to remind you which side was last can help break the "I just had a baby rut" in your post-natal emotions! In summer a simple pony can look great too! Lip gloss and mascara are easy fixes during the first few weeks post birth to lift your moods and make you feel like a woman again!
Belts can bring up the line of sight so people don't notice the post birth pooch (however temporary it may be or however long it sticks around)!

There is no limit to being fashionable during any of your life stages and in any season! It takes a little creativity, a little bit of your own personal tastes and sometimes a little altering to look Oh, la, la good! Don't settle for just what the stores sell you either! Thrift, make it your self, or have a friend make it for you and shop around too. It does help to think ahead before baby's birth to get a few go-to outfits for going out in public post-baby because who really feels like shopping the first week after birth. (Not this woman! I'd rather sleep as much as possible!)
I will post photos of my summer nursing fashions as I get them together for this year! Stay tuned (it may be a few months, but before June!

Happy Fashioning!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bread Pudding Part 2

Here is the winning bread pudding of last night!
Recipe adapted from:
"Granny's Bread Pudding" from the cookbook "Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen".
1/4 stick (4 Tbl) butter
1 loaf (about 9 ounces) French bread torn into 1 inch pieces
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 quart milk
~Melt butter and let cool- don't let it boil.
~Place bread in 9x13 glass casserole dish.
~In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs with a fork. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the cooled melted butter and gradually stir in the milk. Pour this over the torn bread. Let stand for 30-45 minutes for he bread to absorb the liquid.
~While the pudding is standing, heat the oven to 350 F.
~Bake the pudding until risen, golden brown and not runny, about 45 minutes.
The recipe came with a recipe for Rum Sauce, however, we used a traditional Vanilla Sauce as follows:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbl corn starch
2 cups boiling water
4 Tbl butter
2 tsp vanilla
~Boil 2 cups water. While waiting for water to boil mix the sugar and corn starch in a 1 quart pan. Stir the boiling water into the sugar/corn starch slowly. Put all back on stove and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.
-Variations for the Vanilla Sauce-
You can use real maple syrup instead of vanilla.
You can use honey instead of sugar but only use 1 1/2 cups water.
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Battle of the Bread Puddings

Today I decided to make bread pudding since I had almost an entire, large loaf of French bread that was going stale. Since we don't want to let anything go to waste bread pudding, like in the old days, seemed like a good idea for dessert tonight to use up!

Since the loaf was so big I had enough for either a double batch of one recipe or two single batches.

I decided to make my husband's family recipe for bread pudding, handed down to them through the generations. It's a special recipe and I'm very, very excited to hand this recipe down to our children and keep the traditions going strong!

The other recipe is one that was in one of the new cookbook's my husband gave me and it has a recipe for Southern Style bread pudding. I love southern cooking. Actually I love most kinds of cooking because each style is unique and special to a different place in the country and even the world!

I will post later on the results. I have a feeling the family recipe will win. Mostly because of the raisins and cinnamon involved with it vs. the more plain but sweeter southern recipe. We shall see!

In other news winter finally hit our part of the country and while the sun is shining the brightest since we've been here it is only 4 degrees above 0! I'm used to having brisk winters like that so the temperature is not a complaint in my department but the sun sure makes that sky blue, blue, blue! Against the green of the pines with the snow on the branches, it is absolutely gorgeous out!!! Wow, what a beautiful world we live in, if we only take the time to notice the beauty around us! I'll try to get some photos while my next recipe of bread pudding is in the oven and post later this week!

Here is a photo of my very much missed Nubian doeling Dehlia in the springtime. I sure miss her and cannot wait to get some land and get a few more goats and other animals!
Happy Baking,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Savouring the Season

Today is the second day in a row of a light, fluffy snow falling here. How gorgeous it is to see a bright, white blanket of snow resting on all the branches!

Word has it that we are due for another 10 inches of snow yet! Snow doesn't seem to last too long here and the winter here is much milder than what I grew up with so I am truly enjoying this weather!

Spring will be here before we know it! My indoor tulip garden is growing well and getting me ready for the spring, even while we are getting snow!

Love it! Instead of fighting against the weather, it is so much more enjoyable to take it as it comes and savour it!

Now back to my cup of tea and book!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When a House becomes a Home

Does a house become a home when it is built?

Does a house become a home when there are people living in it? Does it matter if the people living in it are family or friends?

Does a house become a home when it is decorated 'just so'?

Does a house become a home when food is cooked in it? When parties are held? When company is over?

Does a house become a home when it is landscaped? When it has a garden, a deck, a yard, or view?

When does a house become a home?

While house hunting the past few months I have found myself pondering this very subject.
What truly makes a house a home?
When I get a house what do I want to do with it?
What are the goals, what is the 'feeling' I'd like our house to convey to us and for others visiting.
What will we use our house for?

Here are some of my thoughts on what I hope to do to turn our future house into a home!

I want our home to be a refuge from the world. A vacation of sorts and a place in which we can unwind and enjoy to be in. A place when company comes, they wish they didn't have to leave because of the peace experienced away from the hectic world.

I want our home to be a safe place, where our family and friends can be open and not judged. Where we can just be ourselves without having that pressure to be someone or something we are not.

I want to use our home to grow and edify our marriage, our children and friendships with others.

I want to use our home to teach our children to experience life slowly, enjoy life and enjoy our surroundings; to live simply and savor simplicity.

I think our future house will become a home when we move in an start using it with these hopes and goals in mind.

It doesn't matter if I don't get it all decorated up 'perfectly' right away. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination! (One of the things I'd love for my children to learn!)

It doesn't matter if I get a huge kitchen garden right away, even one tomato plant is better than nothing! A few herbs in pots in the window will do just fine too. These things don't make a house a home any more than a few strands of pearls would make a swine a fashionista.

A house, of any sort, becomes a home when you make it a home!

Happy Home-making!