Friday, August 1, 2014

When Our Girl Comes Home and She's Not Helping Her Daddy...

We visit. We laugh. We share music we've discovered. We talk about books. And life. And we cook. And bake. A lot.

I had to work on Monday and I told college girl to dig through some recipes we've collected and have wanted to try and send me a grocery list. One of her friends said that was the best chore ever. :)

So I shopped and lugged home ingredients and we hunkered down in my little kitchen...with music. And this is some of what we made during the week:

 These little cheesecake cupcakes were yummy! College girl's boyfriend's Mama shared the recipe with us and I quickly added them to my collection of favorite recipes - thank you S! I ate the last one for breakfast the other day and it was to die for.

We made these cookies:

I'm sorry to say these did not make the cut. Ick, but yes, I know they look amazing. :) They were a Banana - Peanut Butter - Chocolate Chip cookie. Epic fail.

But these were good:

Lemon Sugar Cookies? Yes. please! However, I expected to taste more lemon and I think I'll add some lemon extract next time around.

Loved these pretzels too and had to make them twice because they were the perfect UFC Fight Night snack on Saturday and the first batch had disappeared. The recipe for these can be found here. We baked ours at 250° for about 10 minutes because we wanted to eat them immediately. :)

DH and I were somewhat skeptical about this next recipe. The look on DH's face when he saw his girl pull these out of the oven was priceless, but we loved it.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls. We're trying to cut down on starches and carbs and this dish was surprisingly satisfying and made it to my cookbook.

Then Baked Portabello Mushrooms were on the menu - loved these! The only thing we will change the next time is to cut back on the salt - otherwise - perfect!

 -Photo from One Perfect Bite -

And  Cajun Chicken Fettuccine was next!

This one was a home run! If you come for a visit, this may very well be on the menu.

And we made this wonderful Chicken and Rice dish. Judy over at Patchwork Times posted this a few weeks ago. I remember this from my childhood and hadn't had it in years. I never really had a recipe for it, but now I do and its tucked inside my cook book now. Thank you, Judy - this was delicious, but I forgot to take a picture.

We also made Sangria:

I'm on the hunt for the perfect Sangria and this was the first batch. It was OK, but not what I had in mind so on to recipe #2.

Then we whipped up some homemade barbecue sauce from a recipe a friend shared:

It was out of this world! Thank you Pauline! Pauline has shared many recipes with me - she has her own section in my cook book. :)

It was a guinea pig week in the kitchen and so much fun! We have some new favorites and dishpan hands from washing mountains of dishes, but the memories are priceless and I've added a couple extra miles to my morning trot. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wretched Kidney Stones and Other Reasons For My Silence

That's pretty much the reason for my blogging silence lately. We've been spending time with our girl and entertaining company and I've been spending way too many hours on the phone with customer service in an attempt to restore our Internet service after a very gregarious storm paid us a visit earlier in the week. We did get almost 2" of rain out of the deal, but it was wild. I talked to people in  India, Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Michigan in order to get our satellite back in working order. Frustrating does not begin to describe the fun involved in that process. :)

I was also down for the count for a good week with a bout of kidney stones that kind of has a funny story. I am an avid reader of Judy's blog  - Patchwork Times - and she has been dealing with multiple kidney stones. I felt so bad for her. I had been talking to DH about it and then began feeling kind puny myself. I figured I had just strained my back or something, and when it started getting worse, I wondered whether it could  be a kidney stone. I had never had one before, but it was getting mighty painful. DH chuckled and said I might be carrying my sympathy for Judy a bit too far. Turns out, I really DID have a kidney stone attack. I kept trying to go about my days  figuring I was uncomfortable no matter what I did or didn't do. So I mowed and ran the weed eater and hauled wood and just tended to the things that needed tending to around here. That was all good and well until I would have such a hard pain that it would drop me to my knees. DH insisted I stop all the nonsense and see the doctor when I tried to crawl back to the house. The only position that even remotely made the pain manageable was to drape myself over the ottoman and I'm fairly certain that looked rather ridiculous. We had company coming too. Thankfully, we have adopted them as family and I figured they wouldn't mind if I looked like a wet noodle, although even my relationship with the ottoman was touch and go. So I finally caved in to DH's insistence that I visit the doctor who fussed at me for waiting so long. I had my first ever CT scan and went a few rounds with the hospital who wanted to bill me for an ER visit. I wasn't sent to the ER, but they tried to funnel me through there because it was 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. Well, it wouldn't have been 4:00 if they hadn't made me wait in the hospital lobby for 2 hours after the doctor had sent me there for a CT scan with STAT orders. Sigh. I minded my manners, but I was persistent and told them it was a waste of everyone's time and money.This was NOT an emergency.

So needless to say, the kidney stone is no longer hanging around and here's hoping it was an isolated incident. I cannot wrap my head around how something that tiny can cause that much pain. and Judy, here's hoping you're soon pain free and rid of those pesky pebbles.

Now our girl has flown the coop for a little while, company has headed back down the road, our Internet has been restored, and I figured it was about time I pop in here and let y'all know that I hadn't fallen off the face of the earth and even if I had, I would have had a firm grip on my trusty ottoman and thus, it would have been a soft landing.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cross Stitch Revival

I've been itching to start a cross stitch project and I've got three on the table from which to choose.

I've had this pattern for a while. I bought it the same time I bought the "Little Bit" bear cub pattern that I made for my father-in-law:

 When I go to their house and look at it on the wall I have two reactions:

1. I am utterly charmed and enchanted by this little guy. Somehow, his personality seeps through the stitches.
2. The person who stitched this was utterly insane.

And this is the pattern I bought at that time - I've shown it before

I think I want to start this one. but I'm not sure I want to use the white background that was included. I think it's too stark and pristine and I was thinking I wanted  a more rustic look. However, I wasn't sure about using a rustic background because I thought it might just make the sky look dirty. So, should I stitch it on white and tea or coffee dye  it once it is stitched?  The thought of that scares me. Maybe the white makes the detail stand out. Maybe I ought to quit second guessing myself and just stitch.  After all, I was drawn to this piece immediately just the way it was and I love a bright blue sky with big, white clouds rolling across it in real life. I think I just talked myself into using the white background. :)

I also found this piece while browsing patterns:

It ought to be a quick stitch and I think I'll look for a linen in a light oatmeal color for it. I just wish linen wasn't so crazy expensive. And then I ordered this:

Proof that I've had another bout of insanity.This pattern was a computer download. I've not worked one of these before and I'm a little overwhelmed. There are 66 pages to print out and 150 different colors in this chart. I have a large collection of DMC floss. I went through it all the other day and I was missing 24 colors so I added those and wound them onto the little floss keepers.

I had no idea that those little numbered stickers for the floss holders even existed. I got pretty excited when I saw those. Its been a really long time since I bought any new floss. I'm talking 15 years long and I started cross stitching 29 years ago so I've been collecting floss for a long time. I always just used a sharpie marker to write the number on the plastic tab.

Then I emptied a floss box and placed all the colors together:

Guess that means I'm actually planning on stitching this one. It's going to be 20" x 14". It doesn't matter what I stitch this on as every square is covered by stitches.

Summer does not allow me much stitching time so I don't know what I'm thinking, but that's not all that unusual. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heaven on a Biscuit

As soon as I got back from the wedding, I set to turning these wild plums into jam,

and before long, I had a beautiful set of jars filled with the lovliest shade didn't set. I was crushed. There is nothing wrong with syrup, but I sure did have my heart set on jam.

There are a variety of reasons it may have not set. DH has a sweet tooth, but as I was making the jam, he asked that I not make it too sweet so I skimped on the sugar and the pectin I had on hand had expired in 2012. I figured it was still good, but I guess not and syrup was the result.

So, the next time I made a trip into town, jar lids and pectin were at the top of the list and I set out on round 2.

Sealed jars were reopened. Emptied. Washed. Sterilized. Refilled. And prayed over. :)

Biscuits were made and a jar was carefully selected. Said biscuit was slathered with butter and the prettiest jam you ever saw and it's divine. Heaven on a biscuit:

Thank you so much M!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'Tis the Season...

...for Cockleburrs.Yes, Cockleburr season is upon us and I am once again teaming up with DH and  my handy dandy sprayer:

Yesterday we left the house early and drove for an hour to get to our designated spot:

The May rains have brought the desert to life and I managed to sneak in a few photos in between my spraying duties, :)  I wish I had my good camera with me, but I was pleasantly surprised that these turned out  as well as they did seeing as I just snapped them with my phone and the sun was glaring on the screen so it was pretty much a crap shoot. Its so easy for me to get sidetracked when I have a camera in hand. The photographer in me just can not resist the urge to capture God's little masterpieces:

I did my best to stay on track and I painted every cockleburr in my path - its my version of multitasking. :)

The thing is, one cockleburr leads to another and before I know it, I look up and I've lost sight of DH and the pickup and anything familiar.

 Or I spied something a flutter and the glint of sun-kissed wings drew me  in:

I was utterly captivated by the busy-ness taking place among these thistles:

Alas, there is work to be done, but one of these little photos will be my screen saver on my phone and it'll be a daily reminder of a lovely morning working alongside my husband and how there is beauty in everything, even a not so glamorous job of spraying cockleburrs in the desert in the summer heat. Call me crazy, but I am so thankful for mornings like this.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend Update

Hope y'alls 4th was a good one! We were unconventional - didn't attend any events - no parades, no fireworks, no rodeos, no barbecues - but my favorite cast iron skillet was filled with fried chicken, and watermelon and Summer Berry Pie were on the menu. The boys roped in the morning and naps were taken.

 On Saturday more roping ensued in the morning

and queso, salsa, and fajitas were served up to friends that evening as a good night of UFC fights had us sitting on the edge of our seats.

Sunday morning found us back in the roping arena by 6 am - see a cycle here? :)

Apparently my hands are soft because I now sport an attractive cluster of blisters from running the chute and pulling the rope on the gate.

I am on a mission to have hubby make a new gate that does not weigh a ton, but I love being out here when the boys rope. The sweet girl from North Camp snagged this shot:

DH reworked the heeling box and welded up a spot for an old toolbox for storing the horn wraps and various roping essentials:

He also fixed up a spot for our girl to sit while waiting for the boys to bring the cattle back up the alley:


DH smoked chicken and pork loin on Sunday and that, along with the weekend's leftovers, will keep us fed for days. I welcome the sabbatical from kitchen duties as I'm falling behind on mowing duties. :)

 I mowed some the other day and ran into something unexpected:

Oops. I've been letting the chickens free range for a few weeks and apparently someone just couldn't make it back to the coop in time. :) Sorry about the quality of these photos - just snapped them all quick with my phone.

Sunday afternoon found us napping off our dinner and settling in for another round of UFC fights in the evening. We watch almost no television, but UFC fights are something we sure enjoy. I know. It always surprises people to know that I am a UFC fan.

It was a good weekend. Today I'm heading to the sale barn and  then I have a date with my pillow long about 8 this evening...earlier if I can get away with it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Manicure for a Ranch Wife

I'm not much for pampering. I consider a haircut every 6 months a treat. I like a no maintenance hairstyle and truth be told, it probably looks more like a mop than a hairstyle most days. But a few weeks ago,  I received a gift certificate from a friend for a manicure. She thought I needed to experience something new. LOL. I figured I could give it a shot since I had a wedding to attend. It was quite the experience for me.

I just had a french manicure and it didn't look bad on my short, fat fingernails.Our girl noticed it when we were at the wedding and she piped up, "Well, look at  you! My Mama's growing up!".

Needless to say, it didn't last long. I came home and ended up with my fingers in the dirt:

 My fingers are always happy when they are in the dirt. :)

Picked wild plums for jam:

Long about day 3, I helped DH clean out a water trough:

Not sure horn wraps and shuffling cattle helped matters any

Moving a pile of firewood pretty much convinced me that my hands can mess up a manicure in no time and manicures belong on someone else's fingers:

Now that I think about it, I probably could have just worn gloves for everything, but it seems things just pop up suddenly and gloves never cross my mind. So thank you for the gift - it was very thoughtful and I really did try to make it last. Pop on over in the next few days and I'll make you that pie you like - let's see how long THAT lasts! :)

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