Friday, December 30, 2011

O' Christmas Tree

Here is a jewelry tree that I am just finishing up. Imagine that! I have had this stashed away because I ended up not liking it when I was done with it. It holds at least one piece of jewelry from each of my grandmothers and my mother. My sister made one of these to hang at Christmas time and I adored it so I tried to duplicate it. It is funny how different they turned out. My sister's tree is pastels and is so pretty! My sister-in-law made one as well out of really old jewelry pieces from her great aunt and has a lot of rhinestones. It is gorgeous. I am still not super fond of how mine turned out but I am happy to have it almost done. All I have to add is the small shaped pieces for my kids to play 'I Spy' with. My mother made the drawing of the tree on poster board so each of us could use it. She is a good artist. Most of my jewelry came from the local thrift store but there are a few cherished pieces in there. I do hope it will be passed down and cherished for a few generations. The back board is a piece of foam board that I used spray adhesive on to attach the black velvet to. I reinforced this by tacking the velvet to the back. I purchased the frame at a thrift store. The outline of the tree is simply a string of gold beads glued on the velvet. I used "liquid nails" for gluing the jewelry pieces on. It was a fun project to work on and my favorite part is trying to find the hidden objects.

New Years Bunnies?

I started this, like so many other projects a few years back and then it just sat in my craft room because I cannot stand sewing by hand. I have been sitting by the fire the past few days and decided to pull it out and finish the hand stitching on it so it would be ready for Easter. It is just some old wool cut into the shape of bunnies and eggs and then everything is blanket stitched around with a few embroidery stitches on the eggs. I have a long kitchen table and I like to have themed things on it for different holidays. I will most likely place a wooden bowl in the center of this runner.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I love the holidays and the traditions we make to go along with them. Gingerbread houses are one of my favorite such traditions. This year, I was planning on making this a mother/daughter tradition because last year, my boys only decorated theirs halfheartedly. I decided to make one for the broken foot boy and he participated! He was in such pain trying to sit at the table for any amount of time so he lay on the floor and elevated his foot while decorating his house between bouts of pain. I had fun helping him and my daughter was gracious enough to be all on her own this year. She even made Santa's sleigh and reindeer! I enjoy spending time with my kids.

Not for the squeamish at heart.

My 14 year old boy broke his foot in P.E. last Friday. He said the coach asked them to remove their shoes to play an indoor baseball game so as not to get the mats dirty! My boy was jumping on base and his foot bent in half. Here is a picture of it the first day...keep in mind, this is my super skinny boy without an ounce of fat on his entire body. He has gym class last hour and when he hopped in, there was only one HUGE lump on the top of his foot but by the time he sat down and took the shoe off his good foot, the entire thing was swollen and white.
He told me not to take him to the emergency room that his coach had said to wait. I took him anyway. It is a misplaced fracture of the second metatarsal and a slightly damaged growth plate. We had to see an orthopedic surgeon who said where Holden is young and healthy, he would like to wait four weeks and then see how it is healing before performing surgery if needed.
I took more pictures of the foot today as he has a removable cast and we were icing it. It has been a week and the swelling has noticeably gone down. The bruising is even starting to look better. Notice how his whole entire foot is a bruise. His toes are bruised on top and underneath, his ankles are bruised along with both sides and the bottom of his foot.
I do hope it heals on its own and doesn't require surgery.
Looking at the bright side, he has a while before he has to go back to school with the holiday upon us. He only missed four days last week.


Penguins on Parade!

I saw these on the web. They were too adorable not to make! This is way easy. You just cut a wedge in the carrot and push it through a small olive to make the beak. Then slit the jumbo olive and fill it with cream cheese to make the tummy. The ones I saw on the internet had green onion scarves tied around their necks as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate factory

My kitchen transforms into a chocolate factory during the months of November and December. I am crazy for chocolate. I really don't have to eat a ton of it...but I am so crazy about making it. I don't know why this happens to appeal to me....maybe because it is a challenge and I like to take it on. I have been making these chocolates for four weeks. At least for 4 hours a day excluding the weekends. The Grand Opera Cream that is Maple Nut flavored took me six and a half hours to just make the center. I think the lady where I buy my chocolate from thought I was nuts! This is true...but wait until you sink your teeth into one of the rum balls! They are my favorite! I have been making candy...or rather learning to make candy for about 5 years now. This is the very first year that I finally achieved the SNAP! I was so excited! This has to do with how you temper your chocolate and "seed" it. Thanks to Youtube videos on chocolate tempering, I was finally successful in making my chocolate snap when you bite into it. Yay. I love to share and these will go to neighbors, the kids school teachers, family, my son's co-workers and they will be served for the Christmas home tour at my house this year. Here are the pictures of why I have not put on make-up or done much else besides live, breathe and eat chocolate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A few of my favorite things

I absolutely love the Holiday season! I love all the things that go along with it. I love the smells of pine and cinnamon. I love the Christmas music. I love the yummy treats and warm drinks. I love doing things anonymously for others. I love the sharing and giving and the cheer. I love to decorate and adorn the house with garlands, wreaths and trees. One of my favorite decorations is the tree-toppers I have glued into candlestick holders. I picked most of these up at the local thrift store and they adorn my mantle or piano every year. They add a nice splash of color and a point of interest. Children seem to be fascinated by them.

The warmth and coziness of a wood fire is another of my loves this time of year. It is four degrees this morning and the fire feels the best on days like this. I much prefer a wood stove to heat my home...but this is what came in the home I am renting right now. It doesn't heat as well as a stove but is still very nice. I have seasoned lodge pole pine that burns nice and hot. I really enjoy hauling wood in the fall with the guys. My dad and brother went this year on the weekend I was having a sale and I didn't get to cut any wood for next year. I hope to make the few cords I have last! The sound of dry crackling wood is comforting.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Best Breadsticks!

These are super easy and fast. My sister gave this recipe to me. I am not sure where she got it. In fact, she had to give it to me several times.....I kept misplacing it. :) I tend to write recipes on whatever is handy and then they never get filed in my drawer where they go. This one is written on a paper shoe print. :)

1 and 1/2 c. warm water
1 Tblsp. yeast
3 Tblsp. sugar
3 c. flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning

Combine yeast, sugar and water. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Add the yeast mixture to this. Mix well. Melt butter in a 9x13 pan. Roll out dough and cut into 1 and 1/2 inch strips. Place these in the pan turning to coat each side with butter. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Let raise. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A scrumptious way to use leftover turkey

This is a recipe from tasty kitchen that I tried tonight with leftover turkey. I only made a few changes to the recipe. I left out the mushrooms, added two more celery stalks and two extra carrots. I used about a 1/4 cup more flour and I added the spices in while it was coming to a boil so that the flavor would be more infused. This was perfectly creamy and very delicious.

Wild Rice Chicken Soup
1 cup Uncooked Wild Rice (I Prefer The Whole Grain Style, Not The Cracked)
½ cups Unsalted Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
2 stalks Celery, Chopped
2 whole Carrots, Sliced Into 1/4" Thick Coins
8 ounces, weight Button Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cups All-purpose Flour
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 cups Half-and-half
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme (or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried)
¼ cups Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley (or 2 Teaspoon Dried)
4 cups Cooked And Coarsely Shredded Turkey Or Chicken (smoked Meat Is Especially Nice In This Soup)
2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
First off, you’ll want to get your wild rice cooking, so it’s ready to add to the finished soup. Prepare according to the package instructions. (It takes a while; the instructions on my bag says to cook it for 55 minutes.)
The remainder of the recipe can be made in one stock pot. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and saute until the onion is transparent and softened. Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly.
Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, half-and-half, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and turkey or chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pretzel Cookie Bars

I found this recipe on I was a bit skeptical, but something piqued my interest and I decided to try them anyhow. After these are cooled, they are divine. I know the photo is blurry. This was my eighth attempt and I finally gave up so you will have to look past the blurriness. I am definitely not a photographer.

¾ cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
¾ cups Granulated Sugar
¾ cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs
1-½ teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 bag (11 Oz. Size) Milk Chocolate Chips (I Like Ghirardelli)
3-½ cups Pretzel Sticks, Crushed Into Tiny Pieces
¾ cups Unsalted Butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13x2 baking pan with parchment paper (for easy removal).
Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and the vanilla, beating until just blended.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until airy and gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and add in the chocolate chips. Mix one last time for a second then set aside.
For the crust, combine the crushed pretzel pieces with the melted butter, stir to combine. Spread pretzel mixture over the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
Drop large spoonfuls of the cookie dough and scatter it over the pretzel crust. Carefully and evenly spread the batter over the warm pretzels. With your (clean) fingers, press the dough into the pretzels. Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Remove when the bars are golden and a tester comes out clean.
When bars have cooled, remove (using the parchment paper) and cut into 15 bars. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Improvisation of the day

Okay, so I had two chicken breasts today that I needed to use. I thought about haystacks and other items with chicken but wanted to try something I have never tried before. I finally decided to try a white chili with chicken. I looked up some recipes for white chicken chili and realized that I didn't have any white beans. So I improvised and made up my own recipe. I think it turned out rather tasty. Here it is and let me know how you liked it or what you did to make it your own. My mother taught me that necessity is the mother of invention. :)

NOT White Chicken Chili

Cook two diced chicken breasts with 1/2 C. chopped onion and about 1 tsp. garlic powder in 1 Tblsp. olive oil.
Add 1 can caribbean style black beans, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1 can rinsed black beans, 1 can cream style corn, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. cumin, and 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Heat through and serve with grated cheese and chopped parsley or cilantro.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Month

One more post for today and then I will be done. Good thing too. Six posts in one day is okay...but seven would just be excessive! ;) This is something I made last year or the year before. You know the years start to run together as you seem to get older. This is just another hooked pillow. I do like hooking and it is something I can do in one day if I work hard at it. I took this drawing from a coloring book and traced it onto some burlap. I then chose colors from my wool yarn stash and hooked it. I think it is so hard to find Thanksgiving decorations. I don't shop much for them...but it does seem that the stores skip from Halloween straight to Christmas. I do love Thanksgiving and have a few things I like to put out during November. This is one of them. I think I decided to make him due to the lack of decorations I own for this holiday. I was pleased with how he turned out and the bottom of him is even sewn up!

Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread

Yes, I have been in the blogging mood today. I made some bread that didn't rise as well as usual but sometimes it is a tad cold in my kitchen for it to properly raise.
I grew up on this stuff. I remember having to take my lunch box to school everyday with a sandwich made from whole wheat bread and how I longed to be able to be like the other children who had school lunches. Now that I am older and have actually tasted a few school lunches, I no longer feel deprived. In fact, I feel very blessed. I remember one time when the school janitor came up to me in the lunchroom and told me that I must have a very special mom and that I was so lucky! At that time I didn't see any luck in having to bring lunch from home....but now, I see what he was talking about.

Mom's Bread

Dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast
in 1/2 c. warm water

I am very fortunate to have a Bosch mixer. My grandmother bought it for me 23 years ago and it is still going strong. What this means is, that if you wish to make it any other way, you are on your own. I only use my Bosch for this and have no idea how it would be any other way. Life should be full of experiments though so be brave.

Put 5 c. hot tap water in Bosch
Add 7 c. freshly ground whole wheat flour
Blend well.
Add 2 Tbsp. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey
Add 1 c. WW flour
Then add yeast mixture
Add 3 c. WW flour and mix well
Knead in Bosch for ten minutes
Oil the counter and your hands with Canola oil
Dump the dough out on the oiled counter
Divide into four equal pieces and place in greased loaf tins
Let raise for 30 minutes or so
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until done

Slice warm and smother with butter and honey

Nostalgia and Thanksgiving

This post is not so much about the apples that my son and I dried. We cut them up and I did make a mixture of water and Fruit Fresh to soak them in....but....somehow, they ended up turning slightly brown anyway. I do love to dry apples in the fall. I know some people put them in something sugary or sprinkle them with cinnamon, but I just love them all natural! When my kids come home from school and dip in to these to grab a handful for a healthy snack, it makes me smile.
On to why this post is not about the apples even though you may be wondering about that now that I wrote a paragraph about drying apples. Oh, one more thing I do have to mention here before getting to what this post is really about. When I was in my early twenties, I lived close to an old man. I cannot, for the life of me remember his name. He was kind enough to give me an old Excalibur Mills dehydrator. It is so nice and so large and still works perfectly! I am forever indebted to him for his kindness.
Now....on to what this post is really about....My roots are in Bear Lake Valley. I have a million relatives there. My Aunt (probably great, great Aunt) Ida lived there in the 19th century. She had these very jars in her home. When I was younger, my grandmother let me go into her home and choose something to keep. I chose two porcelain cats. I loved cats as a kid. My sister now has these cats in her home. Then another time as an adult, Grandma, once again allowed me to go inside Ida's home and take these jars home with me. I LOVE these nostalgic jars and how old they are. I am impressed with times past and how things were made with such care and so well. I have run these jars through the dishwasher and they have held up so well. In fact, they do a pretty nice job now of making reproductions that almost look like the real deal. Someone who did not know the history behind these jars may just take them for one such reproduction. But every time I look at them in my kitchen or I fill them with something, I am taken back to days long ago. I have a passion for things that have that kind of influence on me. Some may question me in why I even use something this old. I do believe in using things and now and then, yes the unthinkable does happen and something old gets broken. Whenever that happens (even though I feel as though part of me has been shattered), I try to smile and tell the guilty child that they are far more valuable than the ruined item. I guess if I just put them up high or in some hidden place to preserve them forever that I feel I would miss out on the memories that are induced by using them daily. I feel it makes me so much more grateful for what I have.  

Best Ever Granola

Compliments of my mother!
8 c. oats
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. wheat germ
1 c. almonds
1 c. cashews
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. sunflower seeds

Mix together in a large bowl...and I mean a big huge!

1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter

Heat in a pan until thick and bubbly then add 2 tsp. vanilla and pour over oat mixture. Mix well. Spread on 2 large cookie sheets. Bake at 200 degrees for one hour-stirring every 15 minutes. When cool add 1 c. of raisins or mixed dried fruit if desired.


You know you can't beat that feeling of something warm and tasty in your tummy. My mother always made wassail for the holidays and I loved it! Such a nice warm citrus flavor and just reminds me of home. I took my mother's recipe and tweaked it to make my own version.

2 1/4 c. sugar
4 c. water
4 cinnamon sticks
10 allspice berries
12 whole cloves
1 piece of ginger
1/2 can of orange juice concentrate
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 quarts of apple cider

I just boil the water, sugar and spices for about 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer in my crock pot.

Mothers are the best!

These are some lovely wrist warmers my mother made for me last year. I absolutely love wearing them in the early mornings when I am driving my kids to school. The steering wheel is not so cold with these on. I have huge wrists and very large hands for a girl. A lot of things do not fit on my wrists. I struggle finding bracelets that work for me and such. I even recently acquired some wrist weights and the adjustable Velcro fitting will not even go around my wrist! Talk about aggravating. Anyway, I was happy for the skills my mother possesses to have been able to figure out this pattern and then to adjust them to make them fit me. She is so talented! You would think I would have learned to crochet from such a talented woman....but nope....I stink at crocheting.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dreamy Apple Pie

I have absolutely loved every recipe I have found on Pioneer Woman's website. My mother taught me to cook when I was nine years old. I love to cook, especially baking. I have tried several pie crust recipes over the years and I have found several that I love. I have one with an entire brick of cream cheese in it that is to die for! It does have issues with shrinking though. I have tried them with eggs and without eggs and with or without vinegar. Today, I had an abundance of Jonathan apples from my dear Grandmother's orchard. I decided to make a pie using a new recipe. I found one that looked divine on PW's website and decided to give it a try. It was fabulous! In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the VERY best apple pie filling I have ever used. I LOVED her crust recipe as well. It is so great because you can make it and freeze it. Just perfect for me to make ahead of Thanksgiving and then only have to pull it out and use it! I cannot say enough good about this pie. I would write out the recipe here for you but if you just visit, you will find this recipe and she even has step by step pictures along with the instructions.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin/Nutella Cheesecake Muffins

Wow! I found this recipe on the pioneer woman's tasty kitchen site. I had to try them as soon as I read the word Nutella. I have to admit that I wasn't sure how these would turn out. They are delicious! They made about 24 for me and I had to cook them a couple of minutes longer than the 18 minutes. Fairly easy and fast though. Give them a try. :)

4 Large Eggs
1-½ cup Sugar
1 can (15 Oz. Size) Pumpkin Puree
1-½ cup Vegetable Oil
3 cups All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
8 ounces, Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Nutella
1 Large Egg

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in sugar, pumpkin and oil and beat thoroughly. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, Nutella and egg until smooth.
Place paper liners in a muffin tin. Place about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter into each liner, then 1 tablespoon of Nutella batter, then top with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
These are best served completely cooled. Makes 20 muffins.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Madness

These are so sweet! I could barely make it through one! Not overly sweet...just right...but so filling! This recipe only made ten complete cookies which seemed perfect to me..but if you want more, you should try doubling it.
I love having the internet for a recipe source. You can find so many recipes and variations and then you can still use your creativity and make your own variation. It is an excellent resource. This recipe is found on
I am crazy for Peanut Butter.

Double Decker Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbl. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape bowl. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Add the oats and beat just enough to distribute evenly. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheet, leaving 2-inches between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool completely and place a spoonful of filling on half of the cookies and top with the other half to form a sandwich.

4 1/2 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 - 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbl. milk

Filling: Beat butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add a pinch of salt, vanilla and 1 Tbl. of milk. Beat until smooth and fluffy. If it is too thick, add another Tbl. of milk.

Food, glorious food

This is an imitation recipe for Texas Road House rolls....or you could say Rexas Toad House as one of my boys calls it. These rolls took some time with all the rising...but they were fairly simple to make. I think they tasted really close to the real deal. They were kind of dense and very tasty. I cut them into squares using a pizza roller. This recipe made a ton. About fifty rolls. I followed the recipe with one exception. Well I don't know if you can call it an exception...but all that is found in my fridge on a normal day is skim milk so I used mostly skim milk with about 3/4 of a can of evaporated milk as well. In a nutshell, these were glorious.

Copy-cat for Texas Road House Rolls
4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
3 Tbl. of melted butter, slightly cooled
1/2 c. sugar
2 quarts all purpose flour (7-8 cups)
2 whole eggs
2 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. Add yeast, milk, sugar and enough flour to make a medium batter. Beat thoroughly. Let stand until light and foamy. Add melted butter, eggs and salt. Beat well.

Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto counter and let dough rest. Meanwhile, grease a large bowl. Knead dough until smooth and satiny and put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down. Turn out onto a floured board. Divide into portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into desired forms. Place on greased baking sheets. Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Baste immediately with butter. Yield: 5 to 6 dozen.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wool stripping and hooking

My mother wanted to take a class on wool rug hooking. She needed someone to take it with her in order for it to be offered. I hooked this pillow or table runner. It was actually really simple and fun. I cut strips of wool using a material stripper and then just pulled it through fabric with a hook. It is a log cabin pattern. The sweet old lady that taught this class was so funny. She belongs to the Plum Alley Hookers and Strippers club. She makes the most beautiful rugs, wall hangings, runners and pillows. I recently pulled this out to finish the edge on it. I love how the light contrasts with the dark colors. The example the lady made was out of reds, whites and blues. I have never been very fond of blue and chose to wing it with different colors. I am happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It will be here before you know it! Yikes!

This cold weather has got me thinking about the Holidays. My mother had this painted tray in her kitchen during the Christmas season. I have always admired and loved it. I found a tray at the thrift store for a buck. I spray painted it red and let it dry. The most difficult part of making this was trying to transfer the design from my mom's tray. I tried several things including charcoal rubbing, using tracing paper, and the thing that finally worked out the best was placing a piece of paper on the design and then rubbing a crayon over it. It is painted on the metal tray and thus it is somewhat raised. At least enough that I could finally get a rubbing to show through. I then just outlined the crayon rubbing and using transfer paper, traced it onto my tray. I then painted the lines and filled in the words with black paint and a tiny paintbrush. I never knew I had a problem with shaking until I attempted this project! It was difficult and one I do not wish to repeat. I am now ready to place it in my kitchen for the holidays reminiscent of bygone childhood days. This is the finished project with all its imperfections.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have been Spring cleaning recently (yes, in the Fall) and I ran across some poetry I had written years ago. I had forgotten that I enjoyed writing poetry. I have always wanted to try my hand at writing a children's book and maybe even illustrating it as well.
I don't claim to be very good at poetry but I thought I would share one of them.

Watching through silent panes of glass
Waiting for clouds to disperse
Weary, misplaced in a chasm of doubt and fear
Wanting to run, imitating the breeze on an Autumn morning
Whispering words of my undying devotion to hear the hollow echo return
Wishing for unspoken kindness through love that cannot be touched
Wondering if man is capable of being true, entering into unfailing commitment
Wandering down barren paths I've trod before but somehow all is new springing forth
Winter has faded, shafts of light pierce through clouds
Waking, I realize it is you, here by my side, proving your great worth
Willingly I give you my hand, my love, my life and my unwavering heart

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bear Lake

Here is a picture out of the window where I have been spending the majority of my summer. I LOVE this place, not only for its beauty but the memories it holds. It is where my dad grew up and I spent a majority of my childhood. We used to go and help my grandpa bring in the hay and with the cattle almost every single Saturday in the Summer months. I stayed at my grandparents home every Summer as well for eight weeks or so to pick raspberries for money. I earned enough to pay my school fines and buy clothes for school. A lot of good memories in the berry patch. I picked them from the time I was twelve years old until I was sixteen years old. I used to only dream about picking berries! I couldn't even eat one for a few years after that experience. My Grandpa owned a place called Red Hill. He is gone now, but I sure do have a plethora of great memories with him. If I could, I would spend all of my Summer days here.

Crazy canning season!

I bought TEN Nanking cherry trees at a bare root sale a couple of summers ago. I planted them in my garden far too close to each other....thinking I would move them as they grew. They didn't ever get moved and they grew like weeds! This is the first year I have had fruit on them. They were loaded! I noticed them while trying to catch up on the enormous amount of weeds that seem to plan to grow as fast as they can while I am away. My kids and I picked them last night. I juiced them and sealed the juice for another not-so-busy day (yeah right, who am I kidding). I plan on making jelly with the juice. I have never attempted Nanking cherry jelly and am way excited to see how it turns out! They are teeny tiny cherries but they aren't so sour to make you pucker when you eat one. The pits take up most of the cherry so I am sure I won't be trying to pit them to make a pie. Isn't it a pretty color!

T-shirt Quilt!

I am in the process of making T-shirt quilts for my three boys. I used their old shirts and ironed a fusible interfacing onto the back of them. I had a glass shop cut me the size of square that I wanted out of Plexiglas. I cut them out and sewed a border between them. It was fun and will be a great memory for them. My cousin wants to make one for her daughter and she mentioned that she might use T-shirts for both sides. I am still contemplating that one. I do have to admit that I began this process years ago...and just like all my projects, it was neglected for quite some time. However, I did start this process long before the Twilight series was ever even a dream in the author's mind. In other words, I did not get the idea from the T-shirt quilt given to Bella by her mother in the movie. Just because the top is done, doesn't mean that it will be quilted and finished for another year or even more. As long as I keep plugging away, I feel okay about procrastination. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Fourth of July! (better late than never!)

I bought some wool yarn at a local thrift store and have been hooking pillows with it. They are fairly easy and offer some enjoyment. However, I do not like to sew them up and stuff them. In fact, if you look at the bottoms of a lot of my hand-made pillows, you will see that I haven't bothered to hand stitch the gap that allows for stuffing. I definitely love the creative process a lot more than the mundane task that requires sewing by hand. When first attracted by this art, I was able to find quite a lot of wool yarn for fifty cents a skein and I hoarded it with the intention of mass producing some of my pillows and offering them for sale. I have found that once I make just one, the magic of anticipating how the finished product will look is lost and I have no desire to make another, not to mention five or ten more. I made this one a few years back in celebration of the fourth of July. It is one of my very favorites. I keep thinking I will make another just like it for my sister-in-law...but haven't convinced myself yet. I just make up my own patterns or sometimes I use a simple drawing from a coloring book. I use a punch needle to punch the yarn through burlap.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I have been craving this coffee cake for a month! My oldest boy was kind enough to make me some today. You can use any flavor of pie filling you fancy. Just be sure not to overcook it. This was blueberry pie filling. Deliriously delicious!

Coffee Cake

Cream together:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

Stir in:
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
Spread 2/3 of the batter in a greased 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1" jelly roll pan.
Spread 1 can fruit pie filling over the batter.
Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over pie filling.
Bake 350* for 35-40 minutes.
Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.

Christmas in June???

I LOVE camping! Retreating to the mountains with my children is the BEST summer activity! We spent four days camping this past week. My daughter called our camp spot her "summer home". She referred to the river as our own swimming pool. Lazing in the hammock reading a book together, enjoying the cool mountain breeze is far preferable to shopping at the fact, if you ask me, ANYTHING is preferable to shopping at the mall! We carved animals out of driftwood, had dart gun blowing contests, played in the river, explored and enjoyed each evening by firelight. I generally take a sewing project along so that it can sit untouched until I return, but this time, I brought something simple that had been collecting dust for far too long. I began this Christmas tree skirt ages ago but, alas, it joined the fate of countless unfinished sewing projects forgotten in my craft room. It beckoned me to take it and I threw it in, thinking that perhaps I would find the time to finish it. I did! I know it is a bit early to be thinking of Christmas...that or a bit late, but regardless, I am finally done! Yeah! Now to box it up to wait for December to come around once more. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Butterscotch Pudding Cookies

These are one of my personal favorites! I love making these with different kinds of puddings and chips or nuts. I love using white chocolate pudding and white chocolate chips with macadamia nuts.
Pudding Cookies

2 C. butter
1&1/2 C. sugar
1&1/2 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
5&1/4 C. flour
1&1/2 tsp. baking soda
1&1/2 tsp. salt
1 small box instant pudding (I used butterscotch)
1 pkg. chips (I used butterscotch)

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Stir in chips.
Bake at 350* for 13 minutes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Treasures!!!

I wanted to write a little bit about each of my children and why they make me so proud. My oldest son's name is Trulan. He is twenty years old. He is six foot five. He has an affinity to cars from the seventies. He is an outstanding unpublished author. He has written a series of fictional books that keep me on the edge of my seat! He began writing when he was about 15 years of age. He was extremely bored in school and would spend his time writing. Every day, he would come home and share a new chapter with me. I could hardly wait for the next day to see what would happen in his story. I hope he decides to get published. Tru is a computer genius and loves to build or repair computers. He is currently trying to find employment with all the other unemployed out there. He has a scholarship to USU for this Fall. He has an extreme aversion to dogs! He is my taxi driver and I am going to miss him when he decides to move out.

Cabren is my 18 year old boy. He just graduated from High School. He is six foot four. He is in Alaska learning to be an auto mechanic. He is apprenticing under my favorite brother (sorry all my other brothers but we were tight growing up!). Cabe is very kind and concerned about others. He has an excellent sense of humor. He makes me laugh every single day! I am missing him right now. He likes to fish and once when he was little he told me he wanted to grow up to be a red neck! Cabren is very smart and has a lot of common sense. He has one of those personalities where you know he is going to go far. He is a really good person. On another occasion when I was asking what he might want to be, he said that all he really wanted to be was a good dad. He is going to make some very lucky girl happy one day.

I grow them tall! My 14 year old boy is five foot ten and growing. His name is Holden. He has always (for as long as I can remember anyway) been called Moochie. He hasn't ever had a problem with asking anyone for anything despite all I could do to teach him about politeness and self control. He has always had an excellent sense of rhythm. He would do well at playing an instrument but I can't talk him into it. He does sing and has an excellent voice. He likes to draw and paint as well and is an excellent artist. He doesn't like loud noises or distractions. He isn't very fond of change. He is getting ready to go into the ninth grade. He is a little hard to build a fire under but once he is out, he has a good time. Holden loves to ride motorcycles and is getting good at it. He likes to tease but not be teased.

Kambrie is my one and only daughter. I have posted about her before. She doesn't mind when I talk about her on here....but when I ask the boys if I can talk about the honor roll or some other achievement they have been awarded, they threaten me with my life. Two of them have been awarded the Presidential award in academics. I won't say which two and therefore, my life will be spared. Two of them are also Eagle Scouts, and the third one is so close.

On to Kambrie. She is 10 years old and is a sweetheart! She loves animals and would adopt every stray she could....if I would let her. She is very smart and loves to read. She is fun loving and likes to do most anything. She loves to play basketball. She tried soccer this year and did well but said she likes basketball better. Good thing she is going to be tall. Not one of my boys plays sports. Kambrie claims she is a tomboy. I keep trying to tell her that it is okay to be a girl! She wants to grow up to be a number of things but a Librarian is at the top of her list. Kambrie likes to go fast on the back of my motorcycle. She has loved riding with me since she was just tiny. I bought her a little 50 she did well on it but had a bit of a spill last year and would rather have a four wheeler now.

Here are pictures of me with each of my children whom I treasure more than anything on the face of the entire planet!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Everyone's Favorite!

I love making cookies and have been collecting good cookie recipes for over twenty years. This is my all time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. They are a bit on the sweet side but you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips rather than milk if that suits your fancy.

Chocolate chip cookies
1 pound of butter (yes, I said an entire pound of butter...not margarine!)
1 and 1/4 C. sugar
2 C. brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
6 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 tsp. soda
3 C. chocolate chips

Cream the soft butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the sifted dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips ( I use closer to 4 cups of the chocolate chips).
Form into balls and bake them at 375* for about ten minutes.
Devour them while they are still warm!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chrome Cowgirl

I had the opportunity to travel to South Dakota over Memorial weekend in celebration of my father's 65th birthday. It is about 14 hours travel time from where I live. The night we arrived, we went to Mount Rushmore and viewed the sculpture. It was fascinating to learn about how this memorial came to be and the master mind behind the masterpiece....Gutzon Borglum. The entire process took about 14 and 1/2 years ( only about 6 and 1/2 of them were actually spent working on the sculpture). The thing I found most interesting is that out of the 400 plus people who worked on the sculpture, there was not one fatality! No serious injuries either! An incredible feat considering the wooden beams, dynamite, small wire cables and the hand cranks that were used to raise and lower men in harnesses.

The Black Hills are definitely a must see if you haven't been there already. We rode on some of the most fun roads while we were there! I own a Honda Shadow Sabre. I love it and had a great time on it. However, we ran into a little snow and a lot of gusty wind. My brother owns two Harleys, one of which my Dad rode. His big one is 1800cc's and I think it is a Screaming Eagle. The one my Dad used is a Heritage Springer. Neither my Dad nor my brother were blown around in the wind at all!!! I was pushed and pulled by the wind sometimes drifting an entire foot sideways! Harley definitely has a lower center of gravity that rides so nicely! I really want one now. I love how reliable Honda is but I think someday I may have to become a Hog girl....when I strike it rich! Seriously, I am just happy to have something to ride. I learned to ride on a tote goat when I was about nine years old. Graduating to a Honda Trail 90...then a 175 and so on. No matter the type of road or bike, I live to ride!

I took my bike for a small spin today and while I was riding down a small country road, a tiny bird flew right at me, hit my foot hard and collapsed. I have never hit an animal while riding before and I felt awful for the crazy bird. It reminded me of a neighbor of mine who said he was riding once and a magpie got blown into his chest! He was able to keep his bike up but it broke his sternum! He still hates magpies to this day!