Category Archives: projects

catching up & organizing….

seems like that’s what I’m doing all the time yet, I’m still not finished nor  can’t seem to find anything!

I have gotten back on track with my cooking thanks to my friend Alicia and  encouraging bloggers, especially  Kelly @Faithful Prov and @crystalpaine aka Money Saving Mom.  Reading these two bloggers got me on the move again and the house smells yummy!  I was fairly successful at my attempt at bread making this time.  You know it’s always a surprise to see what the same ingredients, cooked in the same manner, will turn out to be!  It wasn’t pretty, but it is good.  A delicious meat loaf is in the oven, (recipe from moneysavingmom.com) and waiting for supper, now. 

In an effort to continue to improve our diets and health, I went to the Franklin Farmer’s Market.  I know it was a HAUL… but I was part of the way there anyway picking  up consignment clothes.  I found some great organic producers. They were all so nice, to explain things. The only drawback is no one is this way!!  Don’t they know folk in this area want to be healthy too??  I got some milk & cream from Hatcher Family Dairy.  Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, there is a difference in fresh milk.  It is delicious!!  I am now on the search for someone reasonably close.  It just isn’t feasible to drive that far for  a gallon of milk.  I made fresh butter from the cream and it is so sweet and good on the toast and I put a bit in our corn last night and WOW was that good.

I also got a Shiitake Mushroom log while I was at the Farmers Market.  Yeah, I didn’t know they made these either??  But basically it’s a live cut log, with holes bored in it & covered with beeswax.  You put the log in the shade & wait.  Gather the few mushrooms it produced and then soak the log in the pond for a day, wait and more mushrooms will grow.  I figure $20 was cheap, if it produced only a few ‘shrooms.  We like them here, cooked especially.  The fella was telling me about drying them too… 

I also found a great planner  “The Well Planned Day” to try to use to keep our school days on track and focused.  It has other resources in it like meal planning as well.  Funny how that keeps coming up?? So day one (today) I actually used the planner and planned a meal.  Put a smiley face on my chart!

I have also moved my blog to WordPress.  That’s no small feat & I’m still trying to figure out how to get some of the sidebar items on here. (a long with a few other tweaks)  I’ll keep my Blogspot up for a bit longer.  So if you’re a WordPress user and have that figured out along with how to edit autosave feature, please let me in on it.

I also finally followed thru on my committment to build the Celtic Quilt Trail its own site.  I have had a link for it on the Chamber’s site for quite a while, but had told Debbie, the Quilt Trail founder, I would ‘fix’ her, her own site.  So take a second and check that out.  www.celticquilttrail.com   This is a great tourism tool for our county and Debbie has done yeoman work on it.

I think that has me up to date??

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Pretzels

Today we made pretzels. It’s cold outside and with the snow on the ground, seems like all we want to do is GRAZE. What better to graze on than some BREAD!!

I found the recipe on another blog, Frugal Upstate, seemed easy enough and it was!! We wouldn’t win any awards for ‘Pretty’. They didn’t pretzel out very well. The last batch we just ended up making sticks. (it didn’t affect the taste!) We tried both the salty and the cinnamon versions. It was a hard call to say which was best. If we had just had some cheese to dip a few in too!!

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"A Christmas Carol" had a great run!

We had a great run of our show.  EVERYONE did a great job, but honestly, I think Pax was the ONLY one who was asked for an autograph!!

I was honored to recieve the chalice. (the hat on my head)  It is awarded the first night by the director to a cast or crew member, then that person passes it on and so forth each night of the show.  The last person to recieve it, gets to keep it.  It is a great honor to be given this by your peers.

Here is a photo of the entire cast and crew,
and a close up of the CrAzY kids!
They were a great group that was willing to work hard and listen!
Paxton and I appreciate all who were able to come out to the show to support us! 
We hope to get do another show soon!

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Last Rehearsal…..

Well tonight is GRAND Dress Rehearsal… that means we do it all just like there was an audience and see what happens!

It is truly amazing how things pull together. It seemed at one point that things would never flow… but we have had three good rehearsals with EVERYONE in the cast present. That makes a world of difference.

Unfortunately our Director, Nancy Nave has been out the last two due to illness. We hope to really impress her tonight with our progress!

Paxton has really done well, to get herself taken care of and ask for help from others when she needs it. I am struggling to remember my own parts and she has hers down pat.

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our garden keeps growing….

Pax and I are so excited. Our garden has started to really grow. We are getting tons of sweet peppers and lots of leaf lettuce. Now the cucumbers are coming in and we got two ripe tomatoes today! Yeah, ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July! Now just waiting on the squash to start.
We went to the pasture this evening and picked a large pan of blackberries, YUM!! We might have had an extra large pan full, if we had not eaten so many as we picked and walked back to the house.

Momma was gracious enough to buy me a large box of fresh tomatoes and I made 21 pints of fresh salsa! I have been waiting ALL year for that salsa. I have so far consumed a pint a day. I better make more! I really missed her help this year making the salsa. She is a much faster slicer-dicer-chopper than I.

I think I will look for a sweet pepper jelly recipe and tomorrow try to make that and some blackberry jam.

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Bread Baking Day

Now therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” 1 Samuel 28:22

In an effort to continue to try to live life more simply and naturally, I have been convicted that I need to start grinding our own flour and making our breads. I need to start this post and say thanks to two ladies. One is Sue Becker of the Bread Beckers. Her message encouraged me to get going on this road that I have been considering for some time; and a BIG thanks to Jane Latsch who unbeknownest to her, has fell into the role of my mentor. I may never meet Sue personally, but luckily Jane is here in my backdoor! We are not usually so lucky to have excellent resources so close at hand and Jane is here in our town.

So trying to model after Carolyn Ingles (you know “Little House on the Prairie”) I want to bake my own bread from nutritious fresh milled grains. But in Martha Stewart style I purchased an electric grain mill and of course I am cooking on an electric stove and even trying to bypass the manual kneading by using my bread machine. So maybe only in small theory is it really Carolyn Ingleish.

To get the most nutrition, you must use fresh milled grains. The instructions to the mill suggested you mill 2 cups the first time to ‘clean’ the machine. WOW!! I had NO IDEA flour could shoot so far across the room!! It was everywhere!! Now more than just the machine needs cleaning!! and I just thought I had dust issues before. Guess I’ll be dusting before my quarterly date! LOL So now I better understand what that marking line on the machine meant—push catching bowl this far back….

Here is Paxton working our first batch of dough. Well that was a BIG STICKY mess, I think mainly because i had forgotten to add the yeast and added too much water.
Batch ONE result: Trash Can

Batch TWO result: Baked in Bread Machine-edible, not necessarily delicious

Here is about the third attempt.

It really was pleasurable to knead the dough (once the sticky went away). I thought we might be on track….
Batch THREE: heavy, but edible


I think this was FOUR; again I tried the Bread Machine.
Batch FOUR; heavy, short and ugly, but again edible


Yeah that’s the 1 1/2 inch mark!

Batch FIVE: BEAUTIFUL, but slightly heavy, better tasting.

End result of all loaves—DELICIOUS– Croutons! No need to let all that work and flour go to waste. Pax helped and we cubed up the loaves and flavored with onion and garlic and toasted for croutons.

I made one final loaf trying a different recipe. This loaf was much lighter in color and texture. I ate a sample slice and decided it was good enough to share with a home bound friend.

Last attempt was at biscuits. Paxton and I made them up, and left them in fridge overnight. None of the recipes “said” you could just bake right then (yeah, not so good for me- refer to gardening post).

We baked them this morning and besides they were the ‘wrong’ color and a different texture. They were delicious!! I think I should get two kudos for this. This is not only the first batch of fresh ground flour biscuits I have ever made— this is the first batch of biscuits I have EVER made. Pillsbury may go broke without me and I think my oven is traumatised after all this baking.

WE all need to rest!- now off to make a salad and use all the croutons 😉

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Gardening in great Spring weather.

Paxton has asked several times about putting out a garden. After paying $2.50 for about 10 strawberries in a plastic container, I decided we’d get busy. I thought container gardening would be the best way to go. The plan was to make a container for a strawberry bed then maybe another for a few ‘salad items’. As with any project I do, it’s a ever changing plan. We started out planning to use 1/2 of 55 gallon drum barrels, now I have changed that plan and tomorrow we’ll go to the lumber yard and I am going to build a bed….. yeah…. I know… Terry will probably end up having to help, (yeah, he realizes that too), but we are going to give it a good try. At least we’ll have all the materials together for him!

While we were in Dickson on Friday, we got a scoop of top soil. Those of you that live in our area know it has been raining…. so the top soil was slightly damp, but by the time we got loaded and a half mile down the road the rain began again. So our load was heavy mud by the time we got home. Never the less, Saturday we dug on, mixed in some ‘country fertilizer’ and then quickly covered it back up as rains came again late in the afternoon. Monday hopefully we can get our needed supplies and make the new beds that I think will work much better than the barrels, we have to unload the rest of the top soil from our truck. Looks like we better be busy tomorrow, more rain on the way.

So here are a few things I learned while working outside.
(ok, I knew most of them, but it was a reminder day)
1. I have little patience.
2. I have little patience with mechanical tools.
3. If it doesn’t crank on the third pull, there’s a good chance you might find it in the holler next time you look for it.
4. I like dirt, it feels good in your hands.
5. Worms are fun to play with.
6. My mind thinks my back is stronger than what it is.
7. Spring is such a beautiful season and a renewing time.
8. You can’t overlook God in the wonder of Spring and new growth.
9. I like birds.
10. I enjoy the silly songs Paxton sings to herself as she plays.
11. I have a small temperature tolerance. Like between 68F & 72F.
12. Our two dogs are good companions.
13. You can figure out a lot of life’s problems and get a lot of praying done on the lawn mower.
14. I am really lucky that my daughter (for a time, anyway) thinks I am smart and fun to be with.
15. Music peps ya up.
16. Hard labor helps you sleep well.

There are more I’m sure, but these are the thoughts that stand out most.

I will post photos of our container garden once complete. I need to post a few photos of the chicks too. They are growing amazingly fast and eat like hogs! Paxton has been good to get in the pen with them and handle them so they will be tame and easy to handle as they get larger. Feathers are coming in and they even fly a short bit. Look forward to seeing their adult coloring.

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