Thursday, July 31, 2014

SandHill Plum Memories & Work Ethic

Our sandhill plums are finally coming to the stage of ripeness.  This makes me almost giddy!  I can't wait for them to completely turn and I can start the process of making jelly! Although it is a long process, I know the people that eat my jelly appreciate it.  So putting a smile on their face is well worth what it takes!

On this evening, we headed to the plum thicket to check them, we do this about every other day when they are beginning turning pinkish.  They won't all ripen at the same time, so there will be several days of picking.  The ones we did pick tonight we laid out on a door screen to ripen further and I will begin work probably Friday with them.  The thickets have small thorns so wearing jeans and old clothes is important! Ours are beginning to make their way into the Milo field.  We will have to do something about that in the near future.

This year looks to be an abundant amount of plums in our thicket! Where there are several together we find them smaller but still useful.  We will take all that we can get!  The best part about this evening's happenings were the family memories that were made and the work ethic that was being taught to our six year old daughter.

























The one photo in particular, where she is carrying the bucket full of plums to me, some probably think that this is child labor being displayed.  Or how about this post when we cleaned out the chicken coop!  They probably want my husband and I punished.  Recently I have seen a post or two where farmers and farmer's wives defend raising their children how they do on the farm.  The work they are required to do and so forth.  So when I watched PV tonight, it reminded me of those posts,  and henceforth came this post and me on my soapbox for a few minutes!

I'm proud to say that PV is a farm kid, and I hope she takes away at the very least work ethic.  You can take the child and put them in college to get an education  and they graduate with a degree, but they will still need work ethic to get them through life.  I personally do not feel you are a pure success by just having a degree or lots of money or running a company from a cushy seat in the office with a view or a tractor seat for that matter.

If you lack work ethic, you lack the core base of what you need in a professional and personal life.  For everything takes work, and I'm not just talking about a job. I'm talking relationships, displaying values and morals, raising a family, and heck running a budget and grocery list is work!

I have to admit, my farm kid has it easier than alot of farm kids I have read about and know personally.  I think we are raising her with a combination of farm kid things we know and things I have brought by living off the farm so many years.  I'm not saying all the kids raised off the farm do not have work ethic ( I raised two no where near a farm and I'm proud of them and they both have work ethic I believe). What I'm saying is that the world needs more children (and adults) WITH work ethic, on or off the farm. They need guidance and to know that working hard is a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. That accomplishing and working for the end result brings an amount of pride within.

Creating these memories tonight cost our family nothing but time.  I have that to give my family now and I hope to make many more years of memories in this thicket!  When I am gone, and the kids are gathering information for my funeral, I hope they remember the times of me in the kitchen, in the thicket, or anywhere else I smiled alot with them. That's what matters and I think my girls will do that, they won't be stating how I made them work their rear ends off!

How do you feel about work ethic in today's times?  What is your favorite way to spend time with your family making memories?

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Monkey Butter & More From the Entertaining Kitchen!

My oldest daughter and I spent our Saturday morning together in the Entertaining Kitchen. 















She and I made Monkey Butter and Blackberry Jelly.  We had only planned to make the Blackberry Jelly, but late the night before she called me asking if we could make Monkey Butter.

I must ask, how many of you "pin" things on Pinterest and never remember them or make them.  Ok, I'm glad I am not the only one!  It was on one of my boards on Pinterest and she had to point me in the direction of it!


You can find the original recipe here.   Here is a photo of all the yumminess cooking!
















Our batch only made two 16 ounce jars and an 8 oz jar, and it does have to be refrigerated whether you give it a water bath or not.  We did not find any ground coconut, but we took flake coconut and used the food processor to make it finer.  If you enjoy tropical kind of things, you will enjoy this butter! 




















We made two batches of Blackberry Jelly together.  














She had never made jelly or jam before, so it was nice to have her helping me.  After making my first two batches, I am second guessing how much I am charging for the finished product! :) It's ALOT of work, but well worth it!  Cooking is like farming, I think it has to be in your blood to enjoy it since there can be alot of work involved.

The blackberries I used were from Eldersie Farms which is near the Wichita, Kansas area.  I highly recommend them.  

My daughter thought it odd that the liquid was red, not black.

This is the stage where you are boiling it with the sugar and all ingredients in it.














I am pleased to say that our own blackberry bramble provided 1.5 pints to these two batches of lovely jelly!  I was excited to go out the night before and find several little black gems ready to eat!  I am hoping in the future we can provide our own fruit for my jam and jelly selections!














This is best  97 cents I ever spent was on this!




















If you can or make jellies or jams, you really need one of these! It keeps my fingers from getting burned when pulling the rings and lids out of the boiling water.  It is SO worth the 97 cents I spent on it at Walmart! It has a magnet on the end! Genius whoever created this little baby!

My sister and PV were around, so they both took photos of gals working together. It's days like this, that bring so much joy to me.  Spending time in one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people!



















Are you a jam or jelly person?  What's you favorite flavor? Comment below or on our Facebook page!

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Friday, July 25, 2014

Coffee with the Savior - The Next Cup - Chapter 8
























This is our last and final chapter of this bible study.  Our Monday night bible study group met and it was a time filled with learning, laughing, praying, and eating.  We always celebrate the final chapter of a bible study by sharing some of our favorite snacks!  Good fellowship is a blessing isn't it?  

Let's begin.

Our intentions, as we finish another bible study is that we will continue our focus on Christ, daily visits with our Father, and aspire to be what He leads us to be.  I, myself have found that on occasion I do not stick with the plan that is laid out.  I fall away from the course I am to continue on after a few weeks, days, or possibly hours.  I let the distractions of this worldly life keep me from spending time with my friend, my Savior.  Then another bible study starts up, or I actually stop and think about how many days it has been since I did a devotion or visited with Him.  

Guilt sets in.  Can anyone relate?

Aren't we lucky that we can start anew with each day, moment, hour, or minute!

In our last chapter, we find that Kristen Myers, the author leads us to the place, in the bible, where Moses was not perfect.  He had to be punished by his Father.  Moses chose not to follow God's instructions (Numbers 20: 2-13), and God punished him and Aaron out of his great love for them.  

He did this so others, the Israelites and us today could learn from the example.  Sin separates us from God and from the wonder we have been promised in heaven. 


"The example of Moses shows us that no matter how faithful or obedient  we are, we cannot achieve perfection on our own.  We cannot bridge the gap of separation from God with our own actions. We all need a Savior.  Without one, we have to face consequences of eternal separation from our heavenly Father." (Excerpt from Bible study book page 115)

We can bridge that gap and strengthen the relationship by partaking of the Sacraments, worshiping with others, and spending time daily praying and in the Word.

Our Father is a caring and loving God, but he also continues to discipline.  We all need both of these at times in our lives.  I am not sure about you, but I don't like being disciplined.  

But empowering ourselves with the Word, in either case, will bring forth understanding of why our Father is doing either.  We are sinful creatures but join with me, a sinner too, in building that empowerment.  

When we do not spend time in the Word, we tend to turn ourselves to the world and the things it offers.  We need the Word to keep us focused, build the relationship with Christ, and strengthen us for life here on earth.

Will you make the commitment to spend time with Him daily? Start small if you need to, 5 minutes and build from there.  Do you need a bible buddy?  Let's find you one then! Let me know if you need some help, I have friends I am sure would be happy to help!

Let's pray.

Dear God,
We come to you as ones that need disciplined at times, and we fall short daily at being the way you wish us to be.  We can also bask in your love as we partake of the Sacraments and delve deeper in your Word.  Please forgive us for the times we need discipline but may we open our hearts to understand why it is needed.  Thank you for providing us with friends in faith, and talented authors to write bible studies.  May our knowledge grow in the years to come, and may we become closer to you.
In Jesus Name,
Amen


Thank you for joining me on my first bible study blog series.  I greatly appreciate it.  You might want to check out my other blog if you would like to see more inspirational writings and faith studies.  I would really like you to let me know if there is any way I could have improved on this particular blog series.  It was my first bible study and I invite all information to help me grow.  Thank you. Julie




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lazy Peach Cobbler

We have another of my Mother-in-law's recipes to run by you today!  It's simple, it's tasty, and it's one I think you will enjoy! 

Lazy Peach Cobbler

Find your cake pan, I use a small one.  The size is 11x7, but you could probably make this recipe in a 8x8 or 9x9 too I think.

Ingredients needed:


Peaches - 4 or 5. Just enough to cover the batter in the pan!
1/2 stick margarine or butter
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
Cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Take the half stick of butter and put in the cake pan. Place cake pan in the oven to melt the butter. Mix in a bowl flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and milk.  ( I actually just did this in the pan with butter, I cutup the peaches while I waited for butter to melt.)

Place the batter in the cake pan once butter is melted. Wash and cut up peaches into slices. Lay the peaches on top of the batter.  You can also mix them into the batter if you prefer, that is what I did.  Take the 1/2 cup of sugar and pour over the peaches.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.  Bake about 40 minutes, just till batter is done.  

This time I threw in the corner, as you can by the photo, some of our blackberries from our garden.  It was delish with some vanilla ice cream last night! :)





We hope you enjoy another one of our family's favorite recipes!  Let us know if you try it and what you think!

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Farmer's Birthday

We celebrated the farmer's birthday this past weekend.  I decided we would prepare some things that we don't normally do around our home.  Seafood isn't fixed very often, I don't care for the smell or taste, but my family loves it. The kiddos and his parents came over and we ate and celebrated his life!

Our menu was as follows, the words with lines under them are links to what recipes we used.

Salmon


Tilapia

Shrimp

Potato Salad

Corn Casserole with Peppers 
(The Pioneer Woman cookbook, Food from my Frontier)

Dessert was, of course a homemade cake from scratch by his Mother.  My farmer LOVES homemade ice cream, another thing I am not too big on.  But it is made often in our family as it's a tradition of sorts.  

All the food was very good.  We would recommend all the recipes!

Here is the recipe we use.  Do you have a favorite homemade ice cream recipe you would like to share?  How about a cake? 

Country Style Vanilla Ice Cream

4 Eggs
5 Cups Milk (approximately)
2 Tbls. Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
4 Cups Whipping cream
1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions:

in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until thickened.  Add cream, vanilla, and salt, mix thoroughly.

Pour into freezer can. Add milk to fill line on can and stir well. Freeze as directed. Makes approximately 4 quarts.



Thanks for stopping by!
Julie





Sunday, July 20, 2014

Family Vacation 2014

We took our annual family vacation this past week.  It was much needed as wheat harvest and other activities were quite stressful this year for us.  


















We headed out to see some dear friends of ours in Nebraska. It brought us joy to see their new home, reconnect, and have our children play together once again.

















I will say they pulled out this lovely game while we were there! I had not played it for YEARS!  













I might also mention that I won, I am thinking there will be a re-match in the future and who knows if I get to retain that title! :)  They are serious game players these two on the left. Not the adorable baby, but I'm sure she will pickup a few things from Mom & Dad along the way!













Then we headed onto Colorado.  Milton loves Colorado. I think if he didn't farm in Kansas, that is where he would live for sure!  He goes there annually to hunt elk and deer. So it was the perfect place for him to relax!

We decided to head over to Fort Collins, Colorado.  One place that I want to be sure to share about is the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. ( They are not paying me to say any of this either, but if they wanted to, that'd be cool! :)

This museum was interactive and we loved it.  PV enjoyed all areas of it.  If you want a fun time for a few hours, be sure to put this on your list to check out!


Here PV is "lifting" a piano! 




















There were various areas to fill your time.  One that I really enjoyed was the farming section.  I plan to blog about it in the near future.

While in Fort Collins, Colorado there was public art, shops, and great restaurants!  There were several transformers and pianos about town that were beautiful pieces of art.















We headed up to the Rocky Mountain National Park and visited Estes Park, Colorado.  PV and Milton had the opportunity to play in the snow in July!














Although we love the wheat fields of Kansas, these mountains were pretty breathtaking!  God's creations never cease to amaze me!










We were able to meet up with one of my cousins and her daughter while in Fort Collins.  It was a joy to get to spend time with family while there!

One of my favorite days on vacation was when my brother was able to come down and visit with us.  We had a fun time shopping, visiting Odell's Brewery, and driving around Horsetooth Reservoir.  

My brother and I both love to cook.  So it was fun to go to a spice shop and olive oil stores with him!


















Food is one of the things Milton and I enjoy together.  We like to eat at restaurants that are not available near us when on vacation.  As you can tell, we feel that calories should not be counted on vacation! :) 




















When we made it to Estes Park, Colorado we were lucky enough to hit a Farmers Market!  I was So overjoyed to see Colorado Peaches! I love to make jam with them!  I have made two batches already!
















Life is back to almost normal here at the farm.  Milton has already been out to check his fields, examine the pivot, and took care of the chickens first day back.  

I do have to mention, Milton only stopped once to look at a used combine while on vacation.  But he certainly was keeping his eyes  peeled as he drove! :)














Have you visited anywhere this summer?  We would love some recommendations! Feel free to comment!

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Zucchini Cake

One of our favorite cakes is made from one of my  Mother-in-laws recipes.  It always comes out moist and tasty, I actually prefer it without frosting.  But this time I put cream cheese frosting on it since we were taking it to our friend's home.  

My husband grew up in a house where there normally was some sort of cake or cookies sitting on the stovetop or counter top.  From scratch I might add!  So he enjoys it when I bake something up for our home.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Thanks for stopping by!  Julie


Zucchini Cake

In a separate bowl mix together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp salt.

In a large bowl,  blend together 2 cups sugar and 1 cup oil.

Add:  3 eggs, 2 cups raw grated zucchini, 3 tsp.cinnamon, and 3 tsp. vanilla.  

You will then add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture. Blend until well mixed.

Bake at 350 degrees.  If you are using a jelly roll pan, which is what we normally use, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes.  If using a regular cake pan, it might take 30 minutes.  Be sure to test with a toothpick inserted in center of cake to verify if done.


Enjoy plain or add the following glaze:

1 cup sugar
6 Tbls. margarine or oleo
1/2 c. evaporated skim milk or use cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix and boil 2 minutes. Pour over cake.

If you prefer a cream cheese frosting, just use your favorite one! I normally just throw the cream cheese (softened) and powdered sugar together, with alittle vanilla, until it tastes the way we like.  

On a side note, we use zucchini from our garden.  We normally grate our zucchini and then freeze it in baggies.  This way we can enjoy one of our favorite cakes during the winter months!


It's not the best photo but it was all packaged up ready to travel to
Nebraska by the time I had time to write this post!





















Here's a shot of the partially ate piece of cake.
It was delish, this is my friend's piece.
She had to take of her little baby girl and I snapped a photo of her piece,
mine was already in my tummy! :) 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crafting for Friends

One of my friends asked me to make a bible verse for her home out of vinyl on my Cricut.  I haven't done this much, but I jumped at the chance!  

She happens to be that friend in my life that tends to push me and challenge me.  I'm not sure she knows that but it's a good thing! So I'm not sure why I thought this would be any different! 

Of course I wanted it to be perfect.  Number one because she is my friend, and number two because it was going to be displayed in her home.  

When I say displayed, I mean walk in the door, turn slightly and smack it's in your eyesight!

The first thing I did was cut the first word of the verse out of cardstock in various fonts.  I mailed it to her and before I knew it she had chose a font!  It was time for me to get to work!

I decided to practice by cutting it out of brown vinyl, remember the perfectionist mindset? I now have a couple lines of the verse, maybe I will finish it and figure out a way to use it or gift it! :)

Since she lives in another state, I had to send her photos to make sure it looked ok.  Here is what I sent her. 














I thought the verse was the longest in the bible while cutting it!  I was incorrect.  There's a longer one!

My display isn't even close to how pretty it is in her home.  I am so glad that she is able to share God's word, not only with her family members, but everyone that comes to her home.

If you would like to see how she displayed it, be sure to click on the link below.  Go ahead, it's pretty cool!

Thee Angel Project - Write them on the doors.

Thanks for stopping by!
Julie

Friday, July 11, 2014

Coffee With the Savior - We'll Have to Do This Again - Chapter 7



"when you seek Me...." Jeremiah 29:13

Do you find yourself using email, text messaging, or Facebook to “connect” with your friends?  In our study, the author touches on how these relationship tools could cost us from nurturing our friendships. 

It made me stop and think.  Aren't these  better, easier, more frequent ways to “connect” with our friends and build those lasting relationships?  Part of me is in agreement and part of me is not.  It’s a battle within me. For I know sitting across from a friend having coffee and pie is way more fulfilling than sending her a smiling face or thumbs up! Yet what if we never make time for each other face to face?

I mean, how easy is it for us, or our friend, to ignore the text/email/Facebook message and never respond.  I'm sure I've done it and I know I've been the recipient of some of these, it certainly doesn’t strengthen the relationship!  But when that little notification shows up on my smartphone on Facebook or I hear the text “ding”, well I get alittle smile on my face!

How do you feel about social media, text messaging, emailing, twitter, and so forth?  Do you think it enables or disables relationships?  Ponder that, but let's take a moment to visit Moses once again.

See, Moses spent time face to face with our God.  He was lucky enough to sit for 40 days and 40 nights in God’s presence.  (Exodus 24:18)  When he came down from being with God, Moses face glowed!  I mean who wouldn’t want to glow? Someday, we too, as baptized children of God will get to sit with Him.  Until that time, let's move towards growing that relationship in the ways we can.

Although we can’t send God a text or email message or even a Facebook post on his timeline, we can visit him daily.  Since we are baptized children, we can choose anytime of day to sit with him.  To bask in his presence and take in what He is offering.  Through reading the bible, praying, completing devotions, or through song.

He is offering strength, comfort, endurance, peace, joy, and so much more!  Visiting with God can be as simple as “thank you for this bread for my toast” or “I need someone to hug me Lord, please send them today.”  The way we speak to him should always be respectful but it doesn’t have to be a script or spell-checked, just speak from your heart. 

We allow other things, me included, to distract us from our daily time with God.  If I spent as much time with Him as I do visiting Facebook or even surfing the web, it would be so much better for me.  So, we need to take the distractions, whatever they may be (TV, crafts, surfing the web, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and place them aside.  

Whether it's reading a few chapters of the bible daily during lunch, reading a devotion, getting up 15 minutes earlier to do so, or going to sleep with your trusty bible on your chest, let's do this! Let's open our hearts and minds to God's Word and delve into a deeper conversation with the Great I Am!

Because where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them. (Matthew 18:20)

And if it helps to have a friend to sit face to face and talk about the Word, be sure to order your favorite drink and dessert! You never know, you might both be glowing by the end of your face to face time together!

Let's pray.

Gracious Father,
Thank you for the opportunity to be led into Your word with this bible study and those who believe in Your ways.  May the distractions of this life be put aside and we make the commitment to try again today to grow.   We ask for your mighty forgiveness when we choose the distractions over you.  Having Your grace is one of the luckiest things, keep us from leaving it behind.   May we gather with those that strengthen us in Your ways.

In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.  



*NOTE: The last session, Chapter 8 will not be published until Friday, July 25th.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Farm Girls & Pedicures & Fire

I was fortunate enough to take the day off and spend it with three very special people.  
My three daughters.  


They have brought me alot of happiness and yes even some heartache.  
But I wouldn't change any of it for the world.  
They are so different, yet there are little pieces of each that come out at times,
 that reminds me of one of the others. 

 I'm glad they still enjoy hanging with their Mom. 


Sometimes it is difficult to plan what to do with the age difference between them.

They are 26, 21, and 6 years old.  

So today I planned to take them for a pedicure or manicure. 
 Now, don't think that I am spoiling my 6 year old.  She has never had one before, and 
I explained that it was a special treat.  That we do not get these all the time. 
 I mean I don't think I had my first one until I was 30 or maybe even 40 years old!

Her sister sent this picture to the farmer on text message.  
The caption she put with it was "not a farm girl anymore."  
You can imagine what the farmer thought! :)


Sometimes farm girls, city girls, or any girls need to get pampered too!


This kiddo, she had to be different!  Manicure for her!




We headed to a Japanese steak house for lunch. 
 My older girls really like this type of restaurant.  
PV hadn't been to one, well one she could remember anyway.  
She was a baby the last time we took her to one.

Needless to say, Mom forgot to mention the fact that the chef is 
entertaining and that fire was bound to be made!

Bless her heart, she freaked out, and us other 3 laughed for quite sometime.
She did enjoy the onion when he lit it and made it be a volcano and train!


And even though one of these gals is adopted, you would think they 
were both from the same blood line at times. 
 Silly sisters are the best!

We did alittle shopping and then headed home. 
It was a good day, a very good day.



And I ended my evening by relaxing in one of my favorite spots!
My hammock on my front porch in the quiet country evening.


Life is good.


Thanks for stopping by!
Julie