Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Days

I thought I ought to pop in for a quick post. I sure didn't intend to go without posting for this long.
Like many of you, my days and thoughts are immersed in all things Christmas and I'm trying to figure out how the days are speeding past so quickly. I'm not ready, but ready or not, Christmas will be here in 2 days.

Michael Buble' has crooned his way into our hearts, bringing the Christmas spirit along. The snowflakes and reindeer have been multiplying and are now in their new homes. The last of the Christmas gifts have been stitched: Pillowcases for the kiddos at North Camp:

Actually, that's the only Christmas sewing I did. I don't know how y'all are finding the time to sew and post all of these wonderful projects so close to Christmas! I glanced at my Feedly and had over 250 blogs to catch up on. With a house full of company, there simply isn't a quiet moment. It's quiet at 4:30 a.m. though, so I am stealing a few minutes away, curled up in a corner of the sofa, under a quilt, next to the tree:

I wanted to make some handmade cards for my mom this year so I pulled out card making supplies and racked my brain for ideas a few days ago. I'm a messy card maker:

Our girl was home and she curled up on the bed and kept me entertained as I worked. We collaborated and enjoyed a good visit. When I asked for ideas, she laughed and said that 'any creativity I might have had as a child has been crushed under the piles of  Organic Chemistry formulas, bovine feed formulations, and a pile of dirty clothes". LOL.
Having her for company made it all the more fun

We were all visiting the other evening and I said, "I probably ought to move the mouse head before Omi gets here." DH and college girl burst out laughing and she said, "Now that's not something you hear every day." LOL. Just to clear things up - we have cats outside and they frequently like to deposit lovely gifts in front of the house. We think nothing of it, but we don't want to be completely uncouth when company arrives. :)

We had 2 Christmas parties to attend and they were both on the same night. We kicked off one and shut down the other. It'll probably take me a year to recover, but DH and I decided we could handle one late night a year.

My sewing machine has been in hibernation, but I finished the hand quilting on DH's wool quilt in the evenings and its wrapped and under the tree.

I don't know if I'll be popping back in before the New Year, but I sure didn't want the holiday to go by without wishing y'all a very Blessed Christmas!

Here's hoping there's less hustle and bustle and more  'Silent Night' to your  'Christmas Can't Be Very Far Away' December days. Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! May your days be filled with all the things and people that bring you great joy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quality Time with the Backhoe

Around here, Christmas preparations are often interrupted. Yesterday, I had fought my way into the deepest, darkest corner of the shed in an attempt to begin pulling out the boxes of Christmas cheer.

 I had just found the perfect one-footed, tip-toe position in order to reach the box I was after when the phone rang. "Can I get you to...." Many of our conversations begin like that. :)

This time I was called to load up the socket set and drive out until I found him in Mesquite. DH has been logging in lots of extra hours on the tractor. He's been burying water lines and repairing washed out roads:

The old Case Backhoe has seen better days, but it still chugs into action when duty calls. You could say the same thing about me.

Thankfully, I haven't needed to replace my hydraulic fluid line. :) Poor thing had sprung a major leak.

The proper tools were selected:

and DH set to dismantling the bolts:

and lines:

And the culprit was removed:

I'm the official hold-er of loosened pieces and the hand-er of tools. 28 years of marriage has given me the ability to do so before DH even needs to ask.

I guess its not everyone's idea of fun, but I love it. DH always laughs when I say that it is. Is he married to a crazy woman? Perhaps.

We climbed into the pickup, made a flying trip to town, spent less than $200 at NAPA, treated ourselves to a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Jr Frosty at Wendy's, and headed back out to the tractor.

Before long, the shiny new hydraulic hose:

was installed:

Laundry day's going to be lots of fun!

hydraulic fluid was added:


See, fun:

And after a little TLC,we were back in business.

Even after all these years, I am still in awe of how handy DH is. He is a master at fixing things and building things and I have yet to see him not be able to tackle something successfully whether it be construction, welding, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, farrier, equine, bovine, forage, survival, firearm, or hunting related. He's one smart cookie.

He doesn't do technology, but that's what he's got me for! Well, that and comic relief.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sheryl's Brown Sugar Pound Cake

I discovered another wonderful recipe and after trying it out on DH and the sale barn crowd, it has been declared a hit and worthy of sharing and that sale barn crew is a tough crowd! I even had one cattle buyer complain that he heard how wonderful it was and that the others were supposed to save him a piece, but they did not. So another Brown Sugar Pound Cake must be baked. After all, I need to keep on their good side!

I found this on Pinterest and made it that very day. The recipe comes from Sheryl at  Lady Behind the Curtain and she was sweet to give me permission to share it with y'all.

I did not make the Caramel Drizzle because at the sale barn everyone slices off a piece and walks around with it on a paper towel and I though the drizzle would be too messy, but it was so cotton pickin' good without it. I also baked it longer. Its a very moist cake and I baked mine for 1 hour 45 minutes. Sheryl says to not worry if it sticks and mine did just a little bit, but not much. This one made it to my forever favorite recipe book. Thanks so much for sharing it Sheryl!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 – 8 ounce bag toffee bits
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 recipe Caramel Drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Stir in toffee bits and pecans.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a wood pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean, 75 to 85 minutes.
  6. Cover top of cake with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. (I did do this)
  7. Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. NOTE: Don’t freak out if some of the cake sticks. Mine did too. It’s because this cake is so moist. GOOD NEWS! We get to cover all the imperfections with yummy caramel!
  9. Spoon Caramel Drizzle over cooled cake.

Caramel Drizzle
  • 1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk and brown sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
  3. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla.
  4. NOTE: Make sure you drizzle the caramel while it's still HOT. When cooled the caramel does somewhat harden.
Notes:This recipe is from The Taste of the South’s Southern Cakes Magazine.

Let the Christmas baking begin! 

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