Monday, July 30, 2012

Island Park Retreat

My favorite view from the boat house.

 One calm bull moose!

 This was where I spent every evening and morning; talk about peaceful and gorgeous!!

 The cabin we stayed in.

I have always been fond of pines and rivers.  This weekend was spent in Island Park with healthy doses of both!  I was given the opportunity to stay in a cabin with a mid-singles group.  We floated the river, hiked, played games, enjoyed savory dutch oven meals, stayed up too late, and had a blast!!
The clean air and fresh smells were intoxicating!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


In a sense, I suppose we are all pioneers of a sort.  This day brings a flood of memories to my mind.  I have read many inspiring stories of the groups of people and individuals who believed and wanted something so much they sacrificed their lives to obtain it.  Freedom from oppression and from those who would strive to take away the rights this great country allows, was what required these brave folks to attempt what they did.  I am in awe of their bravery and all they endured.
It helps put life in perspective to hear of some of their trials and hardships.  We sometimes complain if we are in a place where we can't get cell phone service or if traffic is backed up!  We have and enjoy so many modern conveniences, and we really don't know what life would be without them.
On this day, I am thankful for the simple things life has to offer; things such as toilet paper, toothpaste, refrigerators, microwaves, hot water, comfortable and quick modes of transportation, and last but not least, a soft mattress.
When we do not have to work hard or fight for something, we frequently take those things for granted.  I hope you appreciate those who have come before and fought or sacrificed in some way to make your life what it is today; whether that person is a pioneer, a veteran, or simply your parents; I do hope you take a moment to reflect and feel gratitude for what you do have.
I have been through some experiences as of late that have changed my outlook on life. I have come to the realization that life is very fragile and can change in a single day or moment.  Never compare what you have to that of someone else.  Always be grateful for each moment you are alive.  Never take for granted the rich blessings of life.
Despite the difficulties and challenges we face, we truly do live lives filled with riches.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brothers are the best!

Life can be difficult at times.  One thing that always keeps me encouraged is the fact that I have four amazing brothers!  They are all such good men; they always keep their word, they all know how to work hard without complaint, they are excellent husbands and fathers; they are honest, true, kind, brave, protective, generous, selfless, and honorable gentlemen.
I am not often able to spend a lot of time with my two oldest brothers.  They live further away and the opportunity to see them is not as frequent as I would like.
I was able to spend some time with my two younger brothers and their awesome families last night.  One of them manages the Coldwater Ranch and invited us up to a BBQ.  The food was fantastic!  The company was superb!  We met so many new awesome friends.  The decorations were darling!  My sister-in-laws are all very talented women!
My niece, daughter, and I were able to sneak away for an evening ride.  It was a perfect evening!  The horses we rode are named, Applesauce, Caramel, and Z.
We had a lovely time.  Here are some photos of our ride.

 Perfect ending for a difficult day!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

We celebrated my only sister's 30th birthday today.  I remember the day she was born and how my wishes for a sister were finally realized.  She had a head full of black curly hair and she was absolutely darling(still is)!
I remember her first word was, "goose".  She is still fond of fowls of all varieties.  We took her on a picnic and to feed the ducks; followed by tossing a penny from a bridge for a wish come true.
My sister does not seem any older to me and is just another year wise.  She has learned so much this past year and always amazes me with her talents.  She has taught herself to knit, grown her first garden, and acquired her first chickens and geese.
Here are some pictures of this day she was so generous to share with us.

Bounteous Blessings

Apricots Galore!!  I have a beautiful apricot tree with so many gorgeous apricots on it!!  I have been picking them all morning and it is still loaded; not to mention the box we previously picked for my Mom.
I love to juice them and am going to try making apricot syrup this year.
I think I will make some apricot leather as well.
Eating them fresh is by far my favorite of course; too bad they don't last that way for long.
Hope you are enjoying your Summer!  It has flown by for me and I wish I could pause time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Soft Caramel

I was stuck inside yesterday as the insulation guys were here filling my attic and sloped areas to hopefully help with the extreme heat my upstairs holds.
My daughter and I decided to try our hand at caramel apples; seeing how we have a Summer apple tree in our yard.
I pulled out my favorite caramel recipe that I generally only make at Christmas time.  It is such a nice easy recipe and caramel connoisseurs tell me is by far their favorite.
It was so hot, the caramel did not want to stick to the apples; we ended up eating both the apples and caramel in pieces together.  It was delicious.
As with all caramel recipes, you need a heavy saucepan.  Medium heat is also required so as not to burn them.  Constant stirring is helpful as well as a good candy thermometer; although the cold water test works fairly well with caramels.


1 C. butter
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt

Combine ingredients in heavy pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Keep at a rolling boil and cook until a soft ball forms in cold water or to the 'thread' marking on your candy thermometer.  Pour into buttered 8x8 pan.  Dip apples while still warm or cool and cut into squares and wrap pieces in wax paper.