Friday, December 12, 2014

It Starting to Look Like Christmas

I just love blog land this time of the year!

There are so many wonderfully decorated homes.
I could sit for hours and gaze at all of the details.

The recipes for holiday appetizers, cookies and goodies!
My pinterest pages are full!

I finally got some decorations up at our house.
The first Christmas in our new home.

Actually the first time I have decorated in 2 years!

Many items came from antique shops near Arthur, Il. when we were pipelining there during Christmas season two years ago.

My first Santa collection!

The putz house was a lucky find on the bottom shelf in a back corner.

All of the bulbs and angel came from an auction dollar box.

My angel tree has lots of vintage finds.

But the best thing under my tree is this guy!

There is nothing better than viewing the season through the eyes of a child.

Thanks to all of you that share your holiday posts!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Christmas Cactus

My Christmas cactus is starting to bloom!

I really don't mind if its a few weeks early.
It just brings me great amounts of joy everytime a bud begins to form.

This Christmas cactus is extra special to me because it belonged to my grandmother.

She passed over 24 years ago!

Grandma followed all of the rules for making her cactus 
"bloom filled" for Christmas.

It was the center of attention on its own special stand during
the Christmas season.

When my grandma passed I took on the responsibility 
of caring for her prized cactus.

My treasured cactus has endured 5 moves, 3 kids picking at its leaves, one dog knocking it over and many forgotten watering's.

Today it is not as grand as it once was many years ago.

But every time it comes into blooms
 I can feel the extra special presence of my grandma.

I hope I can keep grandmas Christmas cactus blooming for
seasons to come!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Giving Hand Made or Homemade

This Christmas I have decided all the presents I give
will be home made or hand made.

If not made by me, 
then made by people who really care about their product.

Today I received a box of goodies from a lady that really produces a great product!


not only has a wonderful blog, 
but also has a wonderful line of products.

Believe me when I say I picked up each bar of soap and gave them a big sniff!

Oh the fragrances make my nose so happy!

I really think I am going to have a hard time giving them away!

After a HUGE mix up on my part with our mailing address,
I was afraid the soaps would be lost somewhere between post offices,
but they finally arrived!

Staci was even willing to reship all of my soaps at no charge, and even send me more for gifts!

Now thats one special lady to me!

I know that her and her husband are busy making products to fill all of their orders right now.

So please check back often at their store if they are out of something.

My sniffer finally decided this bar is going to be mine!

Merry Christmas to me!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oodles of Noodles

I have been up to my eyeballs in noodles!

Today was one of the bigger craft shows I am a vendor at selling my home made egg noodles.

This past week has been CRAZY trying to get enough made.

The local chickens were behind in producing eggs thanks to the recent cold snap.

It is hard to make egg noodles with no eggs!

But I did manage to get enough to keep production rolling.

Everytime I looked at the counter my bags of noodle dough seemed to multiply!

My poor pasta machine started to squeak by Friday.

My house is full of flour!

But I got them all bagged and ready to go!

Out of 39 bags, 
I only came home with 3!

I will give the pasta machine a week to rest up, 
(the chickens too!)
then its time to get ready for the next craft show!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange

Another fellow blogger had this on her post today.
She was joining in and encouraged others to do the same.

I was in a Christmas exchange like this a few years ago and it was a blast!

I think I will join in!

Hope to see some of you there as well!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For my chicken loving friends

I just had to share this with all of my fellow chicken lovers out there.

While my little town was trying to fight a silica sand transfer facility,
another small town nearby was fighting chickens!

A few people wanted to be able to raise their own hens in town.
No roosters, just laying hens.

The war was on!

People had signs posted in their yards either for chickens or not.

These ran in the local paper.

They put it on the ballot for the town to vote.

This is a small town with less than 500 hundred people.

The chickens lost!

What is this world coming to?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Make a difference

Time for me to get back into the blogging world again!

The fight against a silica sand transfer facility coming to my community ended last Wednesday night.

(This fight has consumed my life for the last month and half!)
Many,many phone calls.
Long hours of research.
Hosting public discussions on the subject of silica sand.
Walking door to door getting petitions signed.

Sadly our local city council voted it in 6-0

It was very defeating to sit through a public hearing that lasted until 1:15 a.m.
with the City Council members seated with their backs to the general public.

Most citizens were strongly opposed!

Only 2 council members even bothered to ask any questions.

One battle lost, but not the war!

I have gained a lot of in site through the battle.

Met a lot of wonderful people who care about our environment and want to protect it.

And hopefully educated a lot of people on the dangers of silica sand to our health.

Lots and lots of petitions were signed.

Much media coverage.

Even made the front page!

I just want to remind everyone who thinks they can't make a difference on something you are passionate about,



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Campaigning For A Cause

I have been absent in the blogging world for awhile.
For a good reason I believe.

I have gotten myself wrapped up in our community over the proposal to build a sand transfer facility in my small town.

We had all heard rumors that the guys with suits and ties were looking at our area for a project to do with hauling silica sand.

If you are unaware of the new use for silica sand,
it is used in the oil and gas industry for fracking.

I am not going to go into the whole process of sand fracking for oil.
But I think everyone should take the time to learn what this process is doing to our land.

In my neck of the woods its not the oil they are after,
its the sand.

That pink shaded area in northern Illinois?
I am smack dab in the middle of it!

The big mines are all over Wisconsin.
Those poor people are just over run with all kinds of activities related to the mining business.

Now they are headed to our area looking for more places to mine.

One company is looking at my hometown to build a truck/rail transport facility.
This facility would haul mined and dried silica sand from a processing plant to be loaded onto rail cars on the BNSF rail line that runs through our town.

This proposed site is only a half a mile away from our local schools.

Our school children would be exposed to dangerous silica sand dust
(fugitive dust) every day they attend school.

Silicosis is a chronic lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica dust.
Chronic silicosis, the most common type of silicosis, usually occurs after 10 or more years of exposure to crystalline silica at low levels.

My sons farm house will sit 250 feet across the road from this sand plant.

This started as a hush, hush thing that the City Council thought they would hurry through.

Thankfully word got out and many of the area residents came to the meeting an voiced there concerns.

The Council members decided to hold off on a vote until November 12th.

I have been busy trying to read, learn, and contact others trying to get the word out that this facility is not good for our community.

This facility will sit on the edge of our little town. 
The Council will actually have to vote to annex the land into city limits.
But the farmers living next door have no vote.
Nor does my son.
They don't live inside of the city limits.

I have stood up for a cause I think worth while.
Done things I never thought I could do.
 Talk in front of the City Zoning of Appeals Board.
Questioning the representatives of this multi billion dollar company.
Speaking my mind at the last public meeting in front of the City Council members.
Starting a FB page against this facility.

I still have lots of things to work on before the vote.
Many more people to talk to.

We as a community need to unite and stand up for our next generation.

They will be left to clean up this mess.


Friday, October 10, 2014

My to do next year list!

I took a little break from things 
and went along with the pipeliner on a job.

I think a sight like this brings a big grin to every pipeline guy!

The place where we were staying  had very poor internet reception.

I was so glad that I had packed lots of magazines and a few books
on my reading list.

In one of the magazines I brought along,
they said now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to do in the garden next year.

(I was still thinking about the terrible chore of cleaning out the garden when I got home)

Well I had nothing but time.
Plus a lot of pictures downloaded onto my computer.

These are a few of the ideas I have put in a future file for 
next year!

How cute are these?

I think little man would be thrilled to see these scattered through out the yard.
Need to mow?
Just roll them out of the way!

What a great way to add more color in the garden.

I come across these insulators at auctions all of the time!
(Now to find someone to weld the rebar together)

My kitchen drawer is full of these!

I can already envision my new walk-way in between the vegetable garden and the cut flower garden.

This I am adding to the top of my to-do- next- year -list!

We never had any fires this summer.
Little man is still to curious.
What a great barrier around the fire pit.

These are some of the things that I really want to do!

Then I  thought,
what was one of the best ideas from this summer? 

Watering my ferns in a pot of water mixed with epsom salt.
Mix a 1/2 cup of salt to 3 gallons of water.
Soak your ferns for an hour.
My ferns have never looked better!

One of the fails this summer?

My poke and plant sunflower plan.

Um yeah, most never came up and
what did were quickly devoured by something.

I am sure when winter weather hits
and all we can do is dream about spring things,
this to next year list will continue to grow!

Do you have a to do next year list?


Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Snickers Cake

I was on the refreshment committee last week for
my Bible study group.

This recipe was a new one I had been wanting to try.

I teased them they were my taste testers as I sliced up the cake.

They gave it a big thumbs up!

Hope you enjoy it too!


Apple Snickers Cake

1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups peeled and diced apples
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chopped Snickers bars, divided
1 cup milk
1 box Jello instant pudding (3.4oz.)
1 tub Cool Whip (8oz.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the applesauce, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and sugars.
Beat until creamy.
Stir in diced apples.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Slowly add to the apple mixture until thoroughly combined.
Stir in 1 cup of chopped Snickers.

Pour the apple batter into a 9x13 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake at 350 F. for 35 minutes.
Place on cooling rack and cool completely.

Whisk together the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.
Fold in the Cool Whip gently.
Spoon on top of the cooled cake and spread out.
Place in refrigerator for about an hour to thicken.
Sprinkle the rest of chopped Snickers bars over the top before serving.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is Pine Nut Syndrome

I had a very strange thing happen to me this past week.

Every time I drank something or took a bite of anything
I experienced this awful bitter taste in my mouth.

I remarked one night after dinner to the pipeliner
that this "problem" 
was driving me bonkers!

He thought maybe I was coming down with a cold.
Both him and little man had been dealing with one.

The next night after a dinner, a meal I could barely eat, I decided to "google"
bitter taste in my mouth.

I read through the titles that popped up on my computer screen.
But one title really stood out.

Pine Nut Syndrome

People suffering from a constant bitter or metallic taste as a result of eating pine nuts.


I was on to something!

This is what I had made earlier in the week:

A big batch of fresh pesto!

Those little things up in the right hand corner, pine nuts!

I kept on reading different articles about this strange syndrome.

The adverse reaction can develop suddenly and inexplicably within 12 to 48 hours after consuming the nuts.

It can happen out of the blue,
even to people who have previously had no adverse reaction.

It does  not seem to matter whether the pine nuts are raw or roasted.

It does not seem to matter whether three nuts are consumed or a handful.

The syndrome does not involve mold or any bacteria on the nuts.
It is not an allergy to them either.
Right now it just seems to be a mystery.

However most of the nuts that people have a reaction to come from China, and the Chinese species of white pines called
Pinus armandii.

The Food and Drug Administration is aware of the problem.
They even posted a page on Pine Mouth and the Consumption of Pine Nuts in March of 2011,
when there was a lot of reported cases.

Their report states the bitter taste can last between a few days, to 2 weeks, or as long as a month.

They also go on to say it is exacerbated by consumption of any other food during this period. 
Also refrain from sugary foods.
Sugar enhances the bitterness.

Nobody seems to know why it happens,
but it is not supposed to be dangerous.
Just very annoying!

I thought I would pass this along because this is the time of the year
we are busy harvesting our basil crops.
Getting ready to make that pesto for the freezer.

I guess this batch is going in the garbage!

It was so good too!

After all I did quite a bit of taste testing.

And now my taste tester will be out of whack for a week or 2!

I hope this post helps somebody else who developed this strange sensation!


Head on over to the hop!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Still producing

The count down to fall is on.

The days are still filled with warm sunshine.
The nights are crisp and cool.

But I know it wont be long until the weatherman predicts
the first frost.

I am still trying to keep up with all of the veggies
that the garden produces.

Trying out a few new ideas.

Sundried cherry tomatoes seasoned with Italian seasoning smelled
so good drying in the oven.

I have had fun using my new food dehydrator.

How pretty mixed peppers look in a canning jar.

I have been experimenting with green pepper jelly.

I am still trying to find the right flavor by adding jalapenos.

My flowers are really loving the cool nights and warm days.

The celosia are in full bloom.

And the zinnias just keep blooming!

Here is a picture of my prize winning zinnia!

I was so excited!

I love to dry these pretty gomphrena.

They make great dried arrangements for the winter.

I have also been trying out bread recipes that incorporate honey.

This honey oatmeal bread recipe
seems to be the favorite so far.

But it is so much fun taste testing,
I am sure we will have a new favorite soon.

Fall weather also brings my other favorite season,
football season!

It sure makes Sunday afternoons canning sessions 
a lot more entertaining when there is football
on the tv!

Well except maybe today,
the Packers lost.

Keep on canning!