Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday morning we woke up to 3" of snow! We got another 1/2" by the time we had to leave for church. This was taken from my upstairs bedroom window.

I never get tired of the way snow makes our driveway look like a winter wonderland.

Would you believe...when we arrived home around 1 o'clock...there wasn't a drop of snow to be found?! That's Maryland for you!
Anna and I have started back to selling our quilt kits on eBay. We're doing very well. We cleared $147 last week. We still don't have our website together, so we've decided to keep selling on eBay. We had to raise our prices to pay for eBay's fees...but so far that hasn't slowed down our sales. PTL
This past winter we went to a Christmas party where we ate tofu pockets filled with seasoned rice. They were made by a church friend who is of Japanese descent. Lizzie and I loved eating these pockets! So we asked Mitzi for the recipe.
Today Lizzie and I made some. We cooked 3 cups of sushi rice and seasoned it with 1/2 cup of seasoned mirin. The 16 pockets come in a can. These pockets are actually seasoned fried tofu. Fill the pockets with the rice, and eat. I guess you can tell there is absolutely no nutritional value in these pockets...but we loved them just the same.

This past month in my Western Horseman magazine, there was a recipe for Sparklin' Potatoes. This recipe is a variation of Sparkling Potatoes. Our family wasn't crazy about them. The only reason I tried the recipe was curiosity...since the recipe calls for 2 cans of Sierra Mist soda. I have to was hard to eat knowing there were 74 grams of sugar. Yuck!
This week I have been down in the basement going through my books in an effort to downsize my collection. I have about 20 grocery bagsful so far. I am giving the rest away on freecycle. Anna and I got a laugh at my listings...I cut and paste the same description in each listing, but changed the titles.

This week is unseasonably cold. We are burning lots of wood and pellets. My strawberries were blooming before the snow. Hopefully they will endure the weather.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Lord, we are able, our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

We were successful in having our bonfire this past Friday evening. We did learn a good lesson about using so much green wood. Usally the fire is almost too hot to stand close enough to roast your hot dog...but the green wood does not put off as much heat. It was a nippy 54 degrees when we started.
Everyone trickled in at different times...6, 7, and finally 8 pm for the working folks. I didn't get to use either of my new tripods. I spent the day cleaning...and time got away from me. Next thing I knew, it was time for everyone to arrive!
Just hotdogs, beans, marshmallows and iced tea. When the sun went down we switched to hot tea and hot cocoa.
My Dad enjoyed sitting in front of the fire. Thankfully he had his longjohns on. Dad and I reminisced about all our many camping trips and campfires. Good memories. We also had a lot of fun watching some of the youth trying to roast their hotdogs in the yellow flames. We tried to explain that you have to find the coals...but they didn't want burnt hotdogs. Oh well.
Everyone huddled together laughing and talking.
When Faith, Seth, and Hannah showed up at 8, we let them roast their hotdogs...then we headed for the warm kitchen. Here's everyone playing spoons. I went upstairs to get a warm shower and snuggle in front of a video. The youth spent the evening between the basement with the pool table, foosball, ping pong and air hockey games, and the upstairs playing board games. The last guests left after midnight. I enjoyed using my collection of 29 campfire cups. All thrift shop finds.

Anna the photographer trying a different angle.

It was a fun evening...and cleanup was a breeze. My children said the sweet fellowship will keep them going for a long time. We're all ready to build up the burnpile again (with seasoned wood!) for another Friday evening.

Enjoy spring. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's been a busy spring. One of the big events was this past Saturday when the first of my daughters' closest friends got married. Folks from church will recognize all of the groomsmen...Zachary, John Patrick, Drew, and Jesse. I was shocked to see pictures of the wedding posted on the groom's facebook wall...early the next morning!
Anna finished binding their quilt a week before the wedding. This was new for us...usually we are finishing our quilts just moments before giving them away! We told this to Linda, mother of the groom, whom Sarah was helping to finish sewing her dress late the night before the wedding. I guess we aren't the only family to do this.
On the back of the quilt, Anna sewed her quilt label.
Then she sewed some of the fabrics onto cardstock for a matching card. Clever idea! The wedding was beautiful. Best wishes, Matthew and Jessica.

Recently I bought a 25 lb bag of unsulphured, unsweetened coconut flakes. That fills up two 5-gallon buckets. So far we've been enjoying it in granola, muffins, and now a coconut cake.
I definitely have to find Maggie's recipe for this. The cake was light and fluffy...hard to do with no eggs or dairy. Grandaddy especially liked it...and has asked when we're having more!
Ruthie has been busy making different shapes of bowls. She's also been busy arranging and re-arranging her room. Lizzie is really sweet about letting Ruthie move everything around.
Speaking of sweet, these strawberries were delicious! The produce man at the farmer's market had an overstock and sold the strawberries for $5 a flat! I bought 2 for the freezer and one for us.
Lizzie helped me plant a bunch of hostas that were given to us. We've been doing lots of gardening and mulching. That's why the 7-day forecast suddenly changed from warm weather to 30 degree weather! Yikes! We tried to have a bonfire last Friday evening but had to cancel because of the wind. We invited everyone back for this Friday night...but now it's supposed to be a high of 44! Guess we'll play games inside.
We burned up an old chicken coop. We're down to one lone rabbit now, so we freecycled 2 cages and burned two rotting cages. Still so much to do!
This past week when we had the largest full moon in 10 years, we grabbed our cameras and went searching for the best picture. We thought the moon would look good over the river...but my pictures don't look good. Oh well. It was fun.
I decided to try selling some of our cowboy boots that have been outgrown. So far I've listed one of Ruthie's pairs on eBay.
Unfortunately, now she wants to wear them again! Everyone started the old "You're not really gonna sell them, are you?!" If they want to go to camp I will!
How about these dandy boots?!

Spring is always a busy time for us and this year is no different. Tonight Mike took Allen and Anna north to buy a new motor for the large tiller. Afterwards they are going to Bass Pro Shop. Anna and Allen were very excited about that! It's been raining buckets all evening, so I hope they are safe out on the road.

We're cleaning out our basement and taking vanloads to the thrift shop, and freecycling the large stuff. Sure feels good. Right now we're deciding to take good pictures of the 30+ soccer trophies...then sending them to be recycled. That will free up a couple bins!

Enjoy spring. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We all felt badly about Maggie's 21st birthday being overshadowed by the Virginia move...but we figured sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That was okay with Maggie...but not Grandad! He kept asking when the birthday dinner was.

So Maggie made some homemade pasta (delicious!) and tried out a new cake recipe (it was steamed cake), and I put an Indonesian Beggar's Chicken in the clay pot. Then we called Meemaw and Grandad and invited them to Maggie's birthday dinner. Maggie, I hope you marry someone who will do right by you just like your Grandaddy!

Maggie didn't like her new steamed cake recipe, so she quickly whipped up a second cake. I think everyone but Maggie liked the steamed cake. All I know is, both were gone the next day! This is Maggie explaining that the cakes were a total flop. Our old family joke.

Sunday evening, Anna stood before the church and gave her presentation explaining her upcoming missions trip to Nepal and Cambodia.

Afterwards, Maggie and Lizzie sang with her. The song was the oldie, My House is Full But My Field is Empty. I have been humming it ever since.

This is a piece of the new recipe I tried from my American Cowboy magazine (Apr/May 11) called Borderline Pie. We loved it and ate both pies...but we all had something we would change. I would slice the tomatoes thicker (you can't even see them!), Maggie would take the tomatoes out, someone mentioned not enough black olives, Anna said omit the 3 tbsps chili powder, etc...! We all agreed that there was too much white sauce (a mixture of sour cream and mayo). I can't find a copy of the recipe anywhere online, so if you want a copy, email me and I will send it to you.

Monday night we decided to spread the piles of mulch in our front yard. Since it takes almost two hours to mow the front yard with all the apple trees, we've decided to lay a thick blanket of mulch on the whole area and hopefully never mow that area again. So the tree man who brings our free mulch has been dumping many truckloads. Here's Maggie, holder of the rakes, pitchforks, and dog.

Lizzie enjoyed her turn on the tractor. Everyone loves to drive the tractor!

Mike worked hard.

Doesn't everyone spread mulch when it's pitch dark?!

Ranger is keeping an eye on Ollie the dog...making sure he doesn't get any more attention than necessary.

My forsythia that was rescued from the dumpster is doing nicely.

Poor Allen. He stabbed his pitchfork into the ground so he could go ride the tractor...but he forgot to move his foot. The tines went right through his boot but just bruised his broken skin, PTL. Mom, please don't take my picture! The rest of us tried hard not to laugh.

The past several times that we've had buffet style parties, we've run out of room on my stainless steel table for the serving dishes. So I brought up the heavy duty hutch from down in the basement. It doesn't match my oak set, but this hutch is a family favorite. Nevertheless, the hutch offers lots of additional surface space for serving. It took me a while to get used to it...but now I love it. I already miss it being in the basement where we stored all the board games and puzzles. I liked that the games could stay dustfree in the bottom cabinet part. Oh well!

Tonight Maggie and Lizzie made dinner...and it was a real winner! Maggie took our old favorite recipe...a quiche...and made it dairy and eggfree for us. Yummy! We loved it.

Here's a closeup picture. The "egg" part is made from millet! It sure tasted like egg. I hope she makes this often.

My children are spending the evening with my parents...everyone but Ruthie. She needed snuggle time, so the two of us watched a movie in front of a roaring fire. Mike installed an automatic garage door opener on the second garage door. That will be convenient to use.

My brother, Floyd, had his back surgery this morning. He will come home tomorrow morning if everything keeps going well. The construction business is sure hard on backs!

Our hearts are full of prayer for the Japanese as we see the pictures on the news websites showing misery like I have never known.

Many blessings ~ Kathie
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight.
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's that time of year again! Time to raise money for camp. This year there are three children going, so that is expensive! It's too early to sell raspberry plants, like last year, so right now Anna is digging up my tiger lilies to sell for $2 each. We'll see how that goes.

Sorry it's been a while since I've blogged. I feel like I've never recovered since my fever two weeks ago. I had to jump back into schedule so quickly that I didn't have time to get my strength back. I guess it's a mixture of middle age and low blood pressure.Anyhow, we've been busy. I've got a hodgepodge collection of pictures as well as updating, so here goes. When my American Cowboy magazine comes each month, I always enjoy the one-page recipe section. This issue had two recipes to try, so this afternoon I made the first one. This is called Triple Diamond Veggie Rolls. They were delicious. I used tofutti cream cheese and omitted the cheddar cheese (only become I just plumb forgot!). This is a keeper recipe...but for now on I will use my healthy sourdough bread recipe instead of the crescent rolls.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get to make the second recipe...a borderline pie!

Anna has been getting up early to go babysit darling Clara, daughter of our violin teacher. Anna loves babysitting Clara! I enjoy having Anna come home and telling us all of Clara's funny moments.
I think it is funny that Clara doesn't like Anna to play the piano...but enjoys her singing!
Last Thursday evening, my five youngest children and I piled into our van and headed to Virginia. We left around dusk and drove through amish buggy country to get to the Potomac River Bridge. It was dangerous! The road is curvy and hilly...and it's hard to see those buggies until you are right behind them!
Mike drove down later with Dad's truck and trailer. Yes, my parents have sold their VA home, and we had to bring home everything but the kitchen sink...or so it seemed. My nephew, Dustin, was a huge help. He brought his boss' trailer and we packed it full.
Here's Dustin...gotta get a picture for his Momma! It's hard to get a picture of someone who never stops working!
Dad gave up his spot on the pier in exchange for his spot on the front porch. It was a sad weekend for us...we have lots of great memories here.

A few weeks ago, my mother started sending emails to all our families listing every piece of furniture, as well as all the kitchen stuff, etc. We would give our requests to Mom...and then she'd send updated emails. It's been quite the event!

There was much furniture...6 bedrooms full and two living rooms and kitchens full. It seemed like we gave mattresses to all our friends and family. Mike and I got a complete bedroom set, a sofa set for our upstairs family room, a dresser for Allen, and single beds for Lizzie and Ruthie. Feels like Christmas!

You can see the cottage next was like moving two complete households! Dustin went back down the next day and did another full day's work. I think they got everything but the oysters in the river. (I mean this literally...Dad had hundreds of oysters growing in cages. He brought them home and we put them in Mike's brother's river.)
We didn't caravan home. We left early...trying to beat the rainstorms that waited until the next day to come. Here's Dustin's truck all ready to go.
Here's a can see he was packed full!

Fortunately the drive home is mostly rural...since we had to stop three times to tuck everything back in.
Dustin and my parents didn't take long to catch up to us.
I was looking for the bison farm that we usually pass...but according to the website, they no longer exist. This economy is starting to affect most everyone.
Unloading at Mom and Dad's home in Maryland. Their friend Harry was there to help us. A one-man relief crew. Our friend John Deere also helped. Mom said she'll wait awhile and then start trying to give away more stuff. Now their upstairs bedrooms are full of VA stuff and TX stuff!
Lizzie made a tough decision this week to give away her goats. She realized pollen season is right around the corner, and she enjoys breathing well. We got these goats from and we gave them away on freecycle.
The family who adopted Billy and Nanny are wonderful folks...and live next door to a friend of ours. The new owner has been wonderful about keeping us updated. I love freecycle and all the wonderful friends we've met!

Speaking of wonderful freecycle we met another woman, Dana, when she came to pick up a mattress set. Dana owns a duck farm...something Allen is very interested in starting. Check out Dana's website and blog here. We had a fun hour talking with Dana...and she's agreed to come back for dinner so we can ask her more questions! Thanks so much, Dana.

Maggie's 21st birthday came in the midst of all the moving, so tonight we are having my parents over for dinner and birthday cake. I have an Indonesian Beggar's Chicken baking in the clay pot. It smells sooo good! Maggie made a steamed cake from a new recipe, so I gotta remember to save room for that:-)

I'm expecting my order of seed potatoes and fingerlings to show up anyday. Then the gardening season will begin in earnest. Our county was in a drought with a 3" deficit...but yesterday we got 3" of I think we're even. Today's high was barely 50 degrees, so I'm looking forward to the weather warming up.

Hope everyone is as excited about spring as I am. Don't forget to change your clocks this weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie