Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ready for 2016

Another year has come and is almost gone.

I have been trying make a list of things I want to accomplish for the upcoming new year.

But to do that you must reflect on the good and bad things that have happened this past year.

My biggest disappointment had to have been my garden.

We had to many big rains at the beginning of the growing season.
My poor plants never could recover!
Oh I can hardly wait to get my hands back in the dirt!

The next disappointment were the lose of my bees.

I have read so many bee books over the summer.
I also joined our local bee keepers group giving me access to
so many knowledgeable bee keepers in the area.
I feel confident on re-starting my hives come spring!

My little flock of chickens took up residence in the coop, 
giving me eggs and hours of entertainment.

Next spring we want to try meat birds for the first time.
Maybe add a few more layers to the bunch.

We welcomed this guy to the family in June.

He has tried my patience many of times over the months,
but has been a new constant companion while the pipeliner spent many months out of town this year.

Then of course there is this guy!

He has brought grandma so many laughs and hugs,
its hard to remember a time when he wasn't in our lives!

We don' get to spend as much time together as I would like

but my family always brings me the most happiness of all!

Lots of new things coming in 2016!

The start of our new trucking business!

I have decided to re-start my fresh cut flower business as well.

I already see lots of hard work in our future.

 These new business ventures scare the heck out of me!

I have copied these 4 signs to hang on my office wall for inspiration!

God has been so good to us already!

May your New Year be filled with the excitement I am feeling already!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gingerbread Snow Globe

Christmas decorating has finally begun 
at my house! 

Well lets just say the Christmas tree is up!

I have been working on the Christmas decorations in my kitchen.
I am thinking gingerbread men and gingerbread houses this year.

Time to go through all my gingerbread entries 
on pinterest.

This one really caught my eye!

Gingerbread Snow Globe from a past Better Homes and Gardens post.
You can find the directions and patterns at the site.

I mixed up the dough.
While it was in the fridge chilling I copied the house patterns onto card stock then cut them out.

Let me say this was one of the best mixing gingerbread recipes I
have ever used!
Not to sticky and not to stiff!

It rolled out really easy too!

I rolled the dough out onto parchment paper.
Then placed the house patters on top of the dough.

It was very easy to cut away the excess dough with a simple butter knife.

Next you can add brickwork, windows and doors to your houses.

Just make sure you don't cut completely through the dough!

Bake 10 minutes.

(By minute 8 the house was smelling delightfully!)

Remove from oven.

Carefully cut along all of the lines that you made before.
Remember don't cut completely through!

Bake another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.

After your houses have cooled completely the big mess begins!

Well I always make a mess with powdered sugar.
Somehow it always ends up all over my clothes!

Sprinkle powdered sugar over gingerbread houses.

I rubbed it into each little crevice.

Cover the sugared pieces with waxed paper for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Arrange your cookies in a large glass jar filled with 2 to 3 inches of granulated sugar.
( I used epsom salt)

It took me a couple of tries to find the right size jar.

I was happy with the end result!

I made a few gingerbread men when I made my houses.

Not sure where they will end up in the kitchen decorations.

But I have to do something with them soon!

The grandson AND the dog have both tried to eat a head off of one!

Gingerbread dough

5 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg 
1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, baking powder, salt, white pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined; set aside.

In a very large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses with an electrci mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. Add half the flour mixture: beat until just combined. Add milk; beat until combined. Add remaining flour mixture; beat until combined.
Using your hands, knead dough until smooth; divide in half.
Wrap each dough half with plastic wrap.
Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Roll each dough half on parchment paper into about 15 x 10 inch rectangle.
Using a sharp knife and the templates score building and rooftop shapes.
Remove excess dough
Transfer each parchment sheet of houses on to a 15x10 inch baking pan.
Add brick and window scores without cutting completely through dough.

Bake 10 minutes.
Remove  from oven.
Carefully cut along scored lines without cutting completely through!
Bake 10 more minutes or until firm.
Remove from oven, cool completely on a wire rack.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over cookies, gently rub in.
Cover with waxed paper and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Arrange cookies in a large glass jar filled with 2 to 3 inches of granulated sugar to help stabilize cookies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Craft show time of year

Yep its that time of the year where I am up to my ears in noodles!

I usually try to do a couple of local craft shows during the 
holiday season.

 My pre-Thanksgiving customers are usually buying noodles in hopes of turning that turkey carcass into soup.

After Thanksgiving the orders start to come in from people wanting noodles for gifts or holiday dinners.
One lady buys a few bags to put in her adult childrens stockings!

This year my roasted red pepper noodles were a big seller.

I made a few batches into bow tie pasta.

My pasta cutter is old and did not cut very sharp lines.
I spent way to much time on them one Saturday afternoon.
But they did sell!

The decorated jars of jelly and apple butter I added to my display sold really well.

The few jars I have left will be given away as last minute gifts
that always seem to be needed.

This year the grandson got into all of the noodle making business.

He was actually quite the little helper.

I think though he is ready for grandma to be done cranking out noodles!

And grandma is ready too!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Clean eating for the dogs

With my 50th birthday approaching I decided to 
implement some much needed changes in my 

The biggest change would have to be my diet.

I have always tried to eat pretty healthy. 

Maybe a soda once a month.
 You have to have an ice cold Pepsi with a bowl of popcorn!

Fast food  rarely passes my lips.
That could be because the nearest McDonalds is almost 20 miles away!

Never did I imagine putting my dogs on the same clean eating plan as I have put myself on!

But that is what happened after our little yorkie poo suffered an injury to her hind leg.

She had put on a lot of weight after we lost our beagle.
Poor thing was so depressed.

Another reason we got the new lab.

Our vet said she was to old to undergo surgery for treatment.

The best solution would be for her to lose some weight.

I turned to the internet for some recipes ideas for making my own
dog food.

I knew the dog food I had been feeding her was just making her fatter!

The best choice of feed came from the lady we bought Red from.

I put 6-8 chicken thigh/leg quarters in the crockpot.
Turn the cooker on high for 7-8 hours, 
switch it to low for another 4 or 5 hours.

The meat should fall off the bones. 
Most of the bones should crumble away to nothing.
 I add in a bag of frozen peas and a bag of frozen carrots.
I let this sit for a half hour or so.

Then I use an ice cream scoop to scoop it into muffin tins.
Into the freezer for an hour or so. 
Just until its solid.

I put the frozen meals into a gallon freezer bag, 
and back into the freezer.

Every morning I pop two out and microwave for a minute or so.

Shaggy gets a few bites of Reds venison food mixed in with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.

This is Reds bowl.

They each get a fried egg late in the afternoon for supper.

(Red gets another bowl full for supper)

Shaggy is almost down to her ideal weight.
Only a pound or two to go!

She had such an issue with bad breath before,
now its completely gone!

It makes me wonder if I had been doing this all along
would the beagle lasted longer than her 8 short years?

I have read all the horror stories lately on Beniful
the product we fed her and Shaggy most of their lives.

I take the time to check the labels of the food I buy for my family,
but I certainly never thought about it for the dogs.

That will never be an issue again!

Clean eating will be permanent way of life in this house.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Another Project

If this summer wasn't hectic enough,
traveling between home and the camper,
the pipeliner and I took on another project.

We bought this sad little house in a town close by.

It sat on a double lot near the edge town.
 It had actually become an eyesore to the neighborhood.

The inside had seen better days too.

We were pretty sure a squatter had taken up residency.

There was only one thing we could do.

Early one Friday morning it became a pile of rubble.

Kind of sad.

You always wonder what stories those walls could tell.

There was not much salvageable inside or out.

The pipeliner told me to leave these for the demolition guy.

But he wasn't home so into the back of my truck they went.
(along with a few other things..)

An afternoon with a scrub brush and bucket of cleaner did them a world of wonders!

Boy oh boy were they dirty!

A few coats of apple red paint, a couple quilts from the last auction and some comfy pillows.

The perfect spot to sit and take in the views from our front porch.

Our little lot in town sure has taken on a better view to!

At least I think so!