Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year - New Beginnings

2013 is just around the corner and I am trying to decide on a few things for the new year. To name a few, should I create a Facebook page for this blog, what purpose is this blog, and where do I want to see it go, what should our budget for 2013 look like, what vacations should we save for, and will I be setting any personal goals for myself?

I am glad when January rolls around each year for the simple reason that it feels like I can start "new" and "fresh" with things.  I can put my best foot forward with a somewhat clean slate and increased motivation.  But to be honest I probably will not have the answer to all these by midnight tonight! I may not even have them by this time next week. I will ponder them alittle longer and hopefully in these slower, snow filled days find the answers to these questions and more that I have in my mind.

I always try to reach my answers through prayer and on occasion I will visit with  a significant person in my life to help in finding an answer.  This person usually is my spouse of course, but close friends sometimes too.

We will bring in the new year by sitting at home relaxing and probably asleep before the first minute of 2013 makes it's appearance! That is us. Simple, Quiet, but most importantly -  Together.

Do you have any new ideas, goals, thoughts you want to share?    How will your family ring in the New Year?  I hope your 2013 is one full of love, laughter, strength, peace, and healing where needed!

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Shots from our Farm today!




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Farming Arrangements


Today I wanted to write about the types of arrangements available to farmers in regards to land to farm.  In our particular area, most of the farmers have either been farming the ground for generations through ownership or their families have been renting from landowners for generations. Although we agree this a good thing, it also means land isn't easy to come by. 

For now let’s review the options, there are three that our farm family currently has in force.  We farm ground that we rent from others, crop share, or we own land.  

Alot of the ground that Milton farms we rent from other individuals.  This means we pay a fee annually to farm the ground that someone else owns.  The amount paid is agreed upon between farmer and landowner.  The farmer takes care of all the expenses of the crop that is planted and produced.  This means whether the crop on that particular field is a success or not, land rent is still due and must be paid.  Renting land has worked well for us and the families that rent to us seem to trust and value us as tenants.  We really appreciate the faith they have in us and we hope for years to come they will allow us to care of it.  Also that if the time arises that they would like to sell, that they would give us opportunity to purchase it.

Some of the land that Milton & I rent now, his father rented before him, which means it has been farmed by our family for at least 50 years! That being said, the land that his father rents doesn’t automatically go to Milton when RV wants to slow down on farming.  Ultimately, the decision is up to the landowners.  Which means Milton and his father visit with the landowner usually to express the interest.  We can only hope that they realize that Milton has already been farming their ground with his father for years and cares for it as if it were his own. We treat it with respect and care for it with all that we have. Some of the landowners live locally, some in other parts of Kansas, and we even have one that lives in California.  As the ownership changes to new generations of the landowner families, the agreements are usually re-discussed, and hopefully an arrangement including us to farm the ground comes out of that.  But with any business, there is risk, and that isn’t always the case.

The second option is to crop share with the owners of the land.  If you crop share, you will split the expenses and income on a percentage basis.  For example, it could be 2/3 share (Farmer) and 1/3 (Landowner) or whatever percentage is worked out between them. We have this type of arrangement as well on some of the land we farm.

The third option is to own the land you farm.  We do own some of our own land, so the expenses and profit are solely ours 100%. In the near future I plan to write a post regarding land ownership.

When speaking of legacy I do not feel that it only entails the land owned by generations of our own family.  The legacy we are creating and living and building is from the point of farming the land and includes the land that is rented and cropshared also.  For it has been done by our family for generations, we take pride in the confidence that the landowner’s families have had in us, and we hope to carry that tradition into the next generation of our farm family.

There are positives and negitives of each type of arrangement I have discussed today.  Some farmers only farm ground that they own, some only farm ground they can rent, and that is ok.  Whatever works for their farming operation is a positive, because keeping the farming operations at a family generation level is essential we believe.

Please feel free to ask any questions, I will do my best to explain. 

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Joy & More!

This holiday  season has brought our family, especially me, a great deal of joy.  I hope your holiday season has been blessed as well.

A few of the joyous moments!

Preparing food together as a family!

  Family around the table together!

Big sister fixing Little sister's hair! Priceless!
Little Girls ready to go to the Children's Christmas Eve Service!
Having these two home from California to celebrate the holidays!
Watching this little sweetie open her gift!
The beauty of this place.
Merry Christmas from our Family to Yours!











Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter at the Farm


On our farm, the winter's are a time to slow down.  As I have mentioned before, we have feeder cattle. This means we do not have to care for cows that will give birth in the months ahead.  If you would like to learn more about calving and other types of cattle raising, you can check out my friends website at  Country Linked or Kansas Farm Mom.

My father in law enjoys feeding the cattle, so he primarily does this task.  It is done in the morning and evening.  The winter months are filled with making repairs and updating the farm equipment, cleaning up hedgerows, attending farm meetings to educate ourselves, and Milton usually is fortunate enough to have a construction job show up to supplement our income.  

We received snow this week, I thought it might be nice to show you pictures of the snow at our farm. 












Did you receive snow this week?  Did you enjoy it and see the beauty it brings? We welcomed it as moisture is a daily prayer in our home these days!

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie



 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chalkboard Door


Remember on this post when I teased you with something that Milton was making for our home? The time has come to reveal the finished product!

I have wanted a chalkboard on our "always used door" for sometime now. 

I thought it would be nice to have for various reasons!  

Here are a few:

To write my weekly bible memory verse on.
To hang PV's artwork on.
To hang the church calendar on.
To write "love notes" to my family members on.
To have my little children and grandchildren draw and write on it! 
To write prayer requests on.
A place for EVERYONE to put a grocery item that runs out! 
The list is endless I think!

It also gave me a reason to buy these cute little magnets! :)





















Supplies we used to make it were Chalkboard paint, 1 piece of sheet metal, wood and stain leftover from when we built our house.


Milton sanding the sheet metal.










Milton painting the sheet metal with chalk board paint.
(please disregard the messy garage!)





















Sheet metal painted with Chalk board paint - ready to assemble!



































The plain door!


Measuring! See Daddy's little helper!

And more measuring!



The finished product turned out very nice I think.  I am lucky to have a husband so talented, not only at farming but at construction as well.  I know this will come in handy and my grandaughter will love it! She spends hours on the one in PV's bedroom!

I will admit, the chalkboard paint isn't exactly the same as a real chalkboard.  When we went to clean off the chalk on the board with an eraser, didn't remove it all.  So we use a damp cloth to make it clean once again!

We also did some wine glasses as a gift for friend this holiday season with chalkboard paint.  You can find the instructions for that task here.

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie



Holiday Recipes 2012

I decided to create a post with all the recipes/links that I used this year for the holidays.  I have had a few people ask for the recipes.  I hope your holiday season is a sweet collection of new memories and blessings abundant!


The Macaroon Kiss - This one was a huge success, if you like coconut, this one is for you!


Rolo Turtles - This was my favorite!

Peanut Butter Kiss - One I make every year!

Two Cheese Wheat Bread - Beautiful & Awesome tasting!

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce - Simple & Delish! Cute gift idea too!

Scent of Christmas - Not to eat but makes your home smell LOVELY!


I also did the pretzels dipped in almond bark which is a tradition in our home. Milton made Elk jerky as well.




Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Monday, December 17, 2012

Memory Verse - 11

I couldn't pick between these following two verses for our next two week verse.  So I am listing both and you can choose which one you would like to do! Of if you are feeling rambunctious, you can memorize both!

:)  Happy Memorizing!

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.



Holiday Memories- 2012 Images

This weekend we began celebrating Christmas with my family.  We had two gatherings and the weekend flew by! But I am glad that we had the opportunity to gather with family, it doesn't happen often enough! Here are a shots I got that brought me joy!

This little gal is one full of vigor, sweetness, and a smile that won't stop! :) 



















Sisters together always bring a softness to my heart! Especially these 3!

















Watching my dad play tea party with PV was so heart warming!















My Mom with her gift from all her children & grandchildren!  Each day in 2013 she will have a "little piece of each of us" with her!  She has one "item" to open each day! 






















This little honey...well let's just say she brought lots of laughs to the ornament exchange game!
(Thanks to Kassidy for bringing this goofy little gal!)
















Each year the adults bring an ornament then we play the game where you can steal an ornament!  Needless to say the snazzy zebra was not stolen! :) My nephew ended up going home with her! 




















Hugs from this guy ( my dad).  They are the best!  He never lets go first! Ever!
















I hope to blog more often for you in the near future, but between our holiday schedule, regular life, and me trying to get all my continuing education credits for my paying job, it's been hectic!

I hope your holiday season brings you much joy and safety!

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Kitchen Memories - 2 (2012)

I don't think that I have mentioned how much I love the candy Rolo's.  Seriously, if they are near I probably could eat an entire bag.  Which obviously isn't the best choice! So when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I should have absolutely NOT pinned it! But I did.....

Rolo Turtles - they are just lovely little creatures!  You can see the entire post here for step by step instructions. 

On a side note, (I don't know this blogger personally but) I absolutely think her blog is lovely.  The vibrant colors and simplicity of her layout! Lovely to my eyes, but you didn't come here to hear me rant about her blog!

Here are the ingredients!

















This recipe is both simple & tasty!  You will want to be sure to put it in your list of recipes to try. In fact, I think I am going to coerce personally recommend for Heather to use it at next years open house! :)  It's alittle late this year, I won't put that kind of pressure on a pal!

Here are the pretzels- all lined up neatly in a row!  They remind me of military guys in formation!
















Here they have their little hats on ready for the oven!
















Pecan smooshing accomplished - time to cool!

















I actually put mine on my patio table on our covered deck to cool. I was short on space in my frig and in Kansas it was chilly, so I used the resources I had! 

Also, in the original recipe she advises to use the rolls of Rolo's, I wanted to make alot and save money, so I bought the individually wrapped. It did take a bit longer  and a helper would have been nice but my little girl was sick that day. So it was up to me!


Here's my pile of Rolo foil for proof!   Festive isn't it! 















I hope you enjoy your holiday season & let me know if you try these!

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nativity

I have a Nativity that I have had for over 10 years. When I get it out each year, the "grass" inside the manager goes everywhere, there's always alittle less with each passing year.  A few of the pieces have been glued back together as it hasn't been handled with delicacy obviously.  But to me it is a beautiful scene, even with the cracks and missing pieces. It's a reminder of the FIRST season and all the days thereafter and what was provided for us!

This year I got the Nativity out and placed it in it's spot for the year, but didn't stop at that moment to "set up" the scene.  Later that evening as I was organizing other Christmas items, I could hear a little girl's voice and the clatter of porcelain figures hitting one another. I didn't go running, but instead stopped to listen.  To listen to my daughter as she played with the Nativity.  I eventually stepped around the corner to watch, not saying a word.  She spent 40 minutes playing with it that night.

I noticed later that evening this is how she "setup" the Nativity scene.















I left it that way, I figured if my 4 year old took the time to set it up and liked it, so did I. 

Today I found her once again playing with it.  She changed it around a few times.  

I think they were really excited to see Baby Jesus! They are SO close! 















Here they decided to give Baby Jesus some breathing space!















(Oh by the way, the knob, she says it is the Star! :) 

This is how it is now, in our home, until the next time she decides to play with it that is.  

Hearing the clatter of 
porcelain in my home doesn't make me go crazy, maybe 10 years ago it did, but now it brings warmth to my heart and a smile to my face.  Because my daughter knows the story of the Nativity, and that makes me proud.

Besides, we own lots of super glue!  


Julie


Just Because

I am writing this blog today........

Because I am home with a sick child and she is now out of bed & chose Diego over having deep conversations with her Mommy! (I know!  What is she thinking!)

Because the past couple weeks have been stressful for me and I just want a release and this is better than a mindless tv show! (That is one thing I do when I want to not use my brain, watch shows that are just nonsense!)

Because I wanted to connect with my readers!

Because I am waiting on the doctor to call me back!


Because I didn't want to think about the "to do" list that is waiting for me on the kitchen counter!

Because I couldn't make "goodies" with my other girls due to our little one being ill! :( 
Maybe Monday!

Because I already dusted the house and really don't want to vacuum!

Because I do not want to go through another course for half a day to get the ONE credit hour I am lacking to renew my insurance license (I am going to wait till Monday when I am less tired!) Did I mention I have a sick kid & I was up with her alot last night! Yep , I am looking for pity! 

Because I wanted to tell you that my dear husband almost has the "surprise" completed & I will be blogging about it soon! Remember, I mentioned it here! (yes I am still excited!)

Because Pinterest isn't calling my name currently.

Because the washer & dryer aren't done yet!

Because I wanted to let you know that this weekend we are starting our Christmas Family gatherings (so I ask for prayers for healing in our home & that MV & I do not catch it! Thank you ahead of time!)

Because after this weekend I am going to share about a couple Christmas gifts we are giving and I am pretty stoked about them!

Because I had a lovely time last night at my church's LWML Christmas gathering and I know a couple of them read my blog & I wanted to say I am REALLY enjoying getting to know you two! We should hang out more often! I love the others as well, but I was sitting by these two and we giggled alot! Giggles are good! :)

Because I wanted to wish you all a Happy Wednesday!

Thanks for stopping by! :) 

Julie

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Grilled Cheese with a Twist!

Ok! I think I have been on a sandwich binge lately!  Here's another that I recently tried for the first time and fell in love with! I first found the idea here but we added a little twist of our own!  I decided my hubby needed some MEAT in his!

Here are the ingredients we used!

Apple, Bacon, Brie Cheese, and Sourdough Bread!
















We fried the bacon like you normally would, sliced the apples and cheese thin.  Butter the bread to grill it in the skillet. Layered the cheese and apple onto the bread, and grilled the bread until toasty and cheese melted!  We opened it and added the bacon when it was finished, but I am sure you could layer it in when you add the cheese and apple too. I prefer mine without the bacon but when I am craving meat I throw some on!

The apple gives it a taste of sweetness and the Brie cheese is just lovely all melted and gooey!

We served ours with a new salsa and chips I picked up at Adrian's Boutique in Buhler, Ks! Yum  Yum!  The chips are Tweeds Flax seed & Sesame seed corn tortilla chips (gluten free) & the salsa is Jake & Amos Peach Salsa!
















Let me know if you have any sandwich ideas or recipes you would like me to try! I am all for new recipes! 

Thanks for stopping by!


Julie

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mushroom Swiss Burgers!

One of our favorite things to eat is Mushroom Swiss Burgers.  So today I am going to share with you how we make them!  It's pretty simple, yet oh so delish! (or so we think)

First the ingredients!
Ground Beef patties, Button mushrooms, Swiss cheese, Onion, Bread or buns!  The type of bread below is sourdough, but usually we just use whatever we have on hand! The button mushrooms are sliced here, I had used a 12 oz container of whole ones and sliced them myself. On the onion, we used about half of it sliced.  As you can tell, we just kinda guess at how much we want!















Milton grilled the burgers to our liking and I sauteed the mushrooms and onions in about 1 tablespoon of butter.















Once the ingredients were cooked, I toasted our bread and added the hamburger patty.  Then laid a slice of swiss cheese on top, and put it under the broiler until melted.  The final step is adding the mushrooms & onions!

And the final product...... ... YUMMINESS!


Do you have a favorite sandwich or burger you like?  Comment below & share if you want too! I am always looking for some new great ways to feed my family!

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie
















View from My Lens - 7

Fence fixing time!



Teamwork!


One of her favorite places to play!


View from my driveway one morning! GOD IS GOOD!

One of the best days of my week!
Spending time with my middle daughter!