Friday, February 27, 2009


I seem to say that a lot, don't I?

The youth worker in our church district and I were talking the other day. Her and her husband want to start eating healthier - not eating convenience foods, planting a garden etc.

Sound familiar?

She called me at work this morning (she works from home most the time but comes into the office once or twice a week) - all excited because she found her great-grandmother-in-law's recipe book stuffed in a box - with lots of good sounding recipies handwritten in it. And it had a recipe for homemade waffles in it, which they tried last night and loved. So of course, I had to try them:

Homemade waffles:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 egg whites beat stiff
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Measure dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Combine egg yolks and milk. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in cooking oil and vanilla. Carefully fold in egg whites - do not overmix. Pour 2/3 cup or more batter onto preheated griddle. Close and bake.

Oh. My. Gosh.

You know they are good when Tyler eats 2 waffles pieces (my griddle makes 4 triangle shaped pieces), 2 scrambled eggs and a sausage patty for dinner. We won't talk about how much the rest of us ate:)

Yes, 2 different plates of food - if I take a picture of 1 kids food, I have to take a picture of the other kids food.

The good news - I have a few waffles to freeze to pop into the toaster for breakfasts this week. Supposedly they work very, very well this way.

The bad news - I really need to get another mixing bowl for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

1 bowl for my mixer just isn't cutting it anymore....

And she is bringing this wonderful recipe book into work so I can copy some of the recipes. I can't wait........

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Freezer space....

THANK YOU everyone for your fantastic ideas. Tyler and I are going to the library after work tomorrow, you all have given me some great snack ideas for the kids, and I started right in yesterday afternoon organizing our biggest freezer - where we store all our meat:

And after cleaning it out, I goofed - BIG TIME. We are now down to 1 pound of ground beef - which is a staple in our house. And our steer won't be going to the butcher until probably May. Ooops - guess I'll have to call them and order some....or we will have to suck it up and not eat so much ground beef.

And next I'm going to tackle this freezer:

And this refrigerator freezer:

I am just anal enough that I actually then got on Excel on our desktop computer and did a spreadsheet with what is in the freezer and how much we have (right down to the 3 half gallon containers of colostrum for calves if it's ever needed). I'd show you a picture of it, but yesterday we lost power here for a couple hours, and my wireless router to that computer is now fried:(

The one thing I was REALLY hoping to find was a whole chicken that I could bake (I really thought I had one) but didn't find a single one. Guess when I go to the butcher to get some more ground beef - I'll see if he has a couple......

That's been bout it here. We've been enjoying mildly warmer weather here (40 ish) which feels wonderful after the incredible cold. Of course, with the warm comes mud. Have a great evening!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In a slump....

Not just the markets, but we are too:) Add in the fact we are looking at needing to make a major lifestyle change in how I cook, snacks we eat, etc.....I really need to work to combat it.

So I'm wondering just how I can stock my pantry to our best advantage. I've never been a big menu planner, but I think that has to change now. For the girl who up until 3 or 4 years ago thought the perfect mac n cheese came out of a box..... Hamburger helper used to be a mainstay in our diet.... - this has to be an attitude adjustment. A good one, I think.....

So I have a question a couple of questions for everyone:
  • What are some items in your pantry that you consider essential to cooking from scratch????
  • What do your kids eat for snack foods? I need low sugar, healthy snacks now....
  • Is there any value to a freezer inventory? I pretty much have an idea what is in there right now...but don't know quantities.....with 2 big chest freezers and 2 refrigerator/freezer combos....we've got lots of storage space.
  • What in the HECK do I do with dried mixed beans and dried kidney beans (other than bean soup, chilli and baked beans?)
  • Any good down home cooking cookbook ideas......
  • And most importantly (to me) give me some good, quick, easy recipes for dinner. We are SICK of the same old stuff.......keeping in mind that Todd is really and meat and potatoes kind of guy.....and my cooking style could best be described as the lazy cooking from scratch style...

I know....these aren't difficult questions at all.....right?? haha


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Science Fair

Jessie had science fair yesterday. For 3rd graders in our school, it's voluntary and counts towards extra credit in science. She decided to grow a coal garden - which has been a lot of fun for both kids to do time and time again. Todd & I both wondered why the kid who has a 103.89% in science would want to voluntarily do extra credit work. But we are so glad she did.

Sunday she spent about 3 hours working on the board. Drawing it out on paper, planning it out on the board in pencil, using the markers and gluing all the pictures down. Not to mention the hour and a half it took her to write and type her report.
Last night we went up to the school to see just how she did - she got a "superior". And her "grade" would have been a 98 out of 100. Which earned her an extra 20 points of extra credit.

And some of the other interesting projects that were up there:

In 4th grade doing the science fair is mandatory. She already knows what she is doing - "how a baby calf is born." So I guess her and I will be out there checking on the cows regularly in a few weeks to get some interesting pictures.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Simple Weekends...

I had a fantastic weekend.

The baby quilt for our friends on the fire department - is on the frame ready to be quilted:

I worked on spring table runners for my Mom and I, but am going to put these on hold until I buy a yard of fabric from this fabric line for the center stripe (which is discontinued so I have to wait for an auction to end on Ebay). For this pattern, I'm thinking the cherries are too busy......

I cooked a terrific dinner for Saturday night - ham loaf (brought ready to bake from our butcher), green beans frozen from last year's garden, homemade egg noodles, and artisian bread in 5 min. a day.

Fortunately for me, everyone loved the egg noodles. I had my doubts they would turn out, but they did. I cannot wait to eat the few that are left for lunch.

Today I baked a yellow cake to frost with the leftover blueberry frosting from the Angel Food Cake. And we had beef stroganoff w/ homemade egg noodles (again) for dinner.

And I finished pillows for Jessie's bed. Last night we ran to Lowe's to get the pieces to attach the headboard and footboard to her bed. I'm pleased with how it came out:

Now I'm off to watch the rest of the race - have a great Sunday evening!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Where did the week go????

Seems like I turn around, and it's Friday. It didn't help that I had Monday off, Jessie had an orthodontist appt. on Tuesday (which she doesn't need braces yet), then there was girl scouts and tutoring Tuesday night, Jessie had a doctor's appt on Thursday, tutoring Thursday night, we had calling hours to go to Thursday night for a good friend's Grandma who passed away, and then last night I had to go get the stuff for Todd to make steer feed. UGH.

I did find buttons for Jessie's flower power pillow:

This afternoon I have to get some sewing done. One of the guys on the fire department had a baby Thursday morning (well, his wife did - you know what I mean:)) and Todd asked me last night if I had a baby quilt made that we could give them as a present. So I have to get one done in time for Todd to take it to fire practice Tuesday night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to tell me, right??

But first, I need to do some cleaning, some laundry and some blog reading. I am soooooo far behind on everything!
Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I was in the mood to bake when I finally made it home from work and errands.....

I had seen a recipe on-line for Angel Food Cake. Which was yummy enough - until I read a comment that had the frosting (which consists of cool whip, blueberry yogurt and powdered sugar). I thought this would be a change from our normal chocolate filled deserts....

So I set to work baking 1 from scratch.

Just a couple rules to follow:

Rule #1 - when you think it is done, leave it in a little bit longer. My oven tends to run hot but not in this case.

Rule #2 - DON'T slam the oven door.

Rule #3 - make sure you hide the frosting. Or the little boy in the house will think it's fine to sneak into the fridge and scoop it up with his fingers!

Rule #4 - even when the top falls in because either you took it out of the oven too soon or you slammed the oven door - it will still taste yummy. So yummy that the entire cake will be gone in 1 evening.....

If you can survive making this - it is Oh so Yummy. This just might become a favorite desert....

Thankfully we couldn't eat all the frosting, so I just may have to bake another one tomorrow night.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wonky style

I got productive last night.....well......sort of:)

While Jessie worked on cleaning her room I started on a pillow for her bed:

I'm thinking for the centers of the flowers, I need to find some big funky buttons......

Inspired to create these after seeing this one and these. I think they will look good in Jessie's room, being the pink girly girl room that it is. I'm now wondering how hard would it be to make her new curtains and a new dust ruffle along the same lines.....I think that will be a next winter's project though. Although....maybe I could find a plain white valance and dustruffle and just add the applique?

I was so happy with how the flower power pillow is turning out, I decided to do a wonky log cabin block. Also, I joined Jacquie's Project Improv. And thought I had better practice improvisational piecing. So this log cabin block which will turn pillow was born. Not very wonky, but I'm happy with it:

Todd's dad showed up and hauled away most of this wood (which is good as I don't have to stack the icky stuff - it has bugs in it. And we don't have to push it into the burn pile to get rid of it):

We are getting seriously low on wood - to the point I tend to freak out. Until I remember that Todd has about 30 logs cut to bring home to be split into firewood. Which he says he is doing this weekend - as farmers will be planting before too long, and he won't be able to drive across the fields to get the logs once they all start working ground. Never mind that he should be getting busy at work here within the next month.....


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This weekend past was the ice festival in Medina. So we decided Sunday afternoon to go up there with my parents to walk around.

I had every good intention of getting some sewing done on Sunday evening, but this was much more fun:

Really, really cool. And ......really, really cold! Mom should be putting a couple of really good shots of the kids up on her blog at some point.

Yesterday, I had off because the kids' babysitter needed a day off. And what did I do? Sort of cleaned the house, did laundry - but didn't fold it, and read a book. And that was about it.

Come to think of it, I think Midnight used the sewing room more than I did yesterday.....

I would have sewn last night, but "24" was on and I had to watch it. Tonight my FIL is coming to pick up some firewood that we don't want. It's punky (Todd's word, not mine) and we don't want to bring it in our house. As he has an outdoor woodburning furnace - he can use it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Didn't get a lot of quilty sewing done this weekend - too many other things going on.

Jessie is hard on her bed. 2 years ago I got her 3 sets of sheets - she is now down to 1 set only. Somehow, while she is sleeping, she puts holes in her fitted sheet, and then over time proceeds to shred them to pieces! She is not the quietest sleeper - she is all over that bed, in it and out of it. So this morning, I dug through my sheet stash and found 2 twin sheets (a fitted and a flat sheet) that she now has on her bed. Funny, these sheets that who knows how old they are, seem stronger than the sheets you buy in the I'm going back to Goodwill this weekend to see what else I can find for sheets. Paying $1 - $2 for a sheet at goodwill seems much better than paying at least $20 for a sheet set. Jessie doesn't care if they match, I certainly don't care (as long as it's not something totally horrendous together)......

I've been painting Jessie's headboard and footboard for her bed. I can't remember if I blogged about finding it in my in-laws barn, covered with cobwebs and dust....but, it was free and it's in excellent shape - which is the kind I like! I primered it last fall, then the weather got bad before I could take it back outside to paint it white. Well, I just decided heck with it and painted it in the basement this weekend.

Hopefully tonight we will get them bolted to her bed frame, and she won't be hitting her shins on the metal bedframe that her waterbed sits on.

This afternoon I wanted to do something different. I had seen a very cute doll in an antique store in Ashland - but no way was I paying $30 for a doll. So I dug out a pattern that I had ordered eons ago (from Primfolks by Judy), and made this:

Made from muslin and extra fabric, she is tiny - 16" long. I think I need to find some jute rope out in the barn for the ties to her bonnet - ribbon just seems to dressy for her....I might try and coffee dye her at some point to make her look older, but for now.....she'll sit on my chest.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Millie gifted me with the life is Grand Award.

And I have to come up with 5 reasons why my life is grand! Here goes:
  • I have my family - Todd and I have been through good times, great times, rough times, bad times and have stuck it out and dug in for the long haul. I have the best 2 kids around who bring love, joy and understanding to our lives every single day. I have wonderful parents and siblings, in-laws, grandparents, etc.
  • We both have JOBS! In this economy - that is a feat in itself I think some days. And both of our jobs are pretty much recession proof.
  • We have our little slice of heaven - idiot neighbors aside. Complete with veggie gardens, animals, flower gardens, quiet, space, plenty of room to roam.....
  • We have wonderful friends - who we connect with instantly and it doesn't matter if we last saw them 5 minutes ago or 5 months ago - the connection is there and will always be there. We have 1 couple - who it's like psychic waves or something - she called me the morning I found out I was pregnant with Tyler - before I even had the chance to call Todd because she felt something was going on (litterally, it was like 2 minutes after the test). Some day I'll have to scan a picture of their daughter and Jessie into the computer and post them here - it's freaky that these 2 girls - 12 years apart - look like they could be twins if they were the same age. This of course, leads to numerous jokes and questions among the 4 of us - and some wierd looks from others....
  • I have my hobby that Todd enjoys supporting me with and seeing what I have made.
  • We all have our health - Jessie's broken bones aside:) - hehe
  • I am so blessed with this blogging community - to have met so many wonderful people.

Ok - that is 7 but really, I could go on and on.

And now, I will pass this on to:

Judy, Scrappy Quilter, Janice, Julie, Gina, Amy, Kristie, Katie .... honestly, I could go on and on and on here but I'm getting tired:)

Thank you Millie!!!!

Friday night sewing

Last night I had a bunch of stuff to get ready to mail out:

And I volunteered to make 2 - 12" blocks for a donation quilt to Australia:

And I had to do some blog reading - I am so far behind!

So I finished everything up, boxed up what I needed to send, and this morning Tyler and I will make a run to the post office. Christina, Carol and Tracey - your packages are on their way!
And Judy - I did go to bed around 11:00 - and slept until about 7 - hehehe. That is a short night of sleep for me:) I'm usually the one in bed (on a Friday night no less - how sad!) by 9:30, and I can easily sleep until 8 or so if given 1/2 a chance.....
I've got the housework done (for the most part) and I am off to work on some fun stuff now...


Friday, February 13, 2009

Bears in the Farmhouse

I joined another Quilt Along - this one with Judy Laquidara - for a design she created for Bears in the Farmhouse. I love this quilt. I've loved it since I first saw her EQ design of it weeks ago.

And the greatest thing is - all the fabrics except the stripe came from my stash.
Which is fast diminishing. I'm not sure about the yellow, and I have more blues and greens that I can pull from my stash once we actually get started cutting.

Tonight was a fun night. Jessie is at a campout at COSI with her girlscout troop, so Todd, Tyler and I went out for pizza. Now I'm going to do a little sewing and call it a night.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


Thursday, February 12, 2009


What do you do when it was 70 degrees out yesterday afternoon?
You kick all the boys and girls out into the mud and give them a couple squishy pumpkins to peck at:
You get out the 4 wheeler and yard card (after putting said 4 wheeler into 4 wheel drive so you can get through the yard to get to the chicken coop without making big ruts):
And you proceed to empty out of the chicken coop 3 heaping yardcarts full of ....stuff.

Then you have to keep the chickens out in their run until your husband gets home with the lime and another bag of shavings so you can give the chickens a nice, clean home. Which they will not thank you for - they will in fact be royally ticked at having been locked out of their house for 3 hours!

And here is how Jessie's quilt is coming along. I have the blocks done. I have the sashings and borders all cut. But....with 42 blocks, I need to find a larger place to lay it out to make sure the colors of the blocks all look good together.

And of course, today will be back down into the 40's and rain. But at least it will give me a chance to get inside and get some sewing done!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Glass Jar Saurkraut

  • Remove outer leaves from cabbage - wash, drain and cut into quarters - discard cores
  • Shred 5 lbs. of cabbage at a time - should be no thicker than a dime - I shredded mine right into the kitchen sink to mix it up with the salt in the following step.
  • sprinkle 3 1/2 Tbsp. salt over cabbage and mix thoroughly
  • pack into clean, glass jars, pressing cabbage down firmly - fill to within 1 1/2" - 2" from top - Juice will form with packing; add water to cover cabbage in jar
  • wipe off jar top, put on lids, but do not seal tightly
  • set filled jars in shallow pan to collect overflow; keep at room temperature for 10 days. Keep cabbage covered with brine (1 1/2 Tbsp. salt - 1 quart water)

To process, clean jar tops; add new lids; process Quart jars in boiling water bath for 30 minutes

A few words to the wise - pack very tightly - I did not pack mine tight enough - after the 10 days, my jars were only 3/4 of the way full. Still tastes the same, but need more.

Your house will reek to high heaven of cabbage/saurkraut smell after day 5. Just warning ya that it will smell - but not in a bad way (but at the same time, I was oh so glad to get to day 10:))

Pork and Saurkraut

Some of you may remember when I first tried making my own saurkraut. We opened our first jar over the weekend.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I have never liked saurkraut (that you buy in the store) at all. In fact, I wouldn't eat the pork that was cooked in the saurkraut. That all changed Saturday night. In fact, I should have opened 2 jars, as the kids could not get enough of it.

And to think, if I am being honest here, the only reason I made it was because our Amish neighbor gave me 7 heads of cabbage for 50 cents a piece, and I couldn't stand to see them go to waste. Guess that will teach me.

And since we had a surplus of eggs - I had to hard boil about 3 dozen eggs. At least the kids think a hard boiled egg is a good snack. Tonight I'm making beet eggs out of the rest.....


PS - as for the piggies. We have corn that we grew - so I think we are just buying the rest of the ingredients for the feed and are going to mix our own feed. But - they will only need about 6 weeks of finishing so it might be easier to just buy feed. And there is only 2 pigs coming - which shouldn't be too bad.