Friday, November 9, 2012

Oo!-Oo!-Oo! Lookin' Out My Back Door

My age is showing with the title of this post.  I have to show a few fall pics.  Our back yard here. 

Lots of leaves coming down now.
 The trees will be bare soon.
Lookin' out our front door, here. 
On another note,we made beans and rice for supper the other night.  I brought the beans to boil on our new rocket stove, then pulled out the sticks for the quick soak method.  Waited an hour, then started another fire, and brought it to a boil for 15 minutes.
Without lifting the lid, I put it into my mock wonder oven below.

 I lined this large tote with blankets and beach towels.  I lined the sunken part in the middle with a brown-black towel so the soot on the pot wouldn't get on my blankets.  I wrapped the brown towel around the pot and added the last quilt, put the lid on and took it into the house.  When we got back from evening church I cooked some rice on the stove, then pulled the beans out of the wonder oven, and they were done!!  We had beans and rice for supper with some salsa---m-m-good.  I just wanted to see if in an emergency I would be able to cook some beans without using much wood if we were without power.
I have plans on making a wonder oven that I got the plans for off of Pinterest, (now that I know it works).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Grandsons Basketball Games

Our grandsons, Cyle and Cole, started off their Basketball season with games with other home school teams in a multi state region here.  How cool is that?!  They both play for Omaha Lightning Teams from Omaha.  The number 3 with the ball here is our grandson Cole.  It was our first time to watch him play although he's been playing for a couple of years.   
This is him with his buddies waiting for his game to start 
 Our daughter, Jen, is helping keep score at the desk on the left, and Cole is on the right.
Our granddaughter Brittany, their sister (standing), supports them going to a lot of their games in Omaha.
There are 6 of our grand kids in this pic, along with our daughter Celeste (mother of 5 of them).  Hubby is standing--those benches get hard after a while.
Here is Cyle at the free throw line.  
...playing (#2) here... 
...and another shot of him shooting the ball. 
I am so proud of our grand sons, and I am so blessed to get to watch them play.
My sisters got to come to a few of the games.  It was a three day spree of games.  I can't remember how many games there were, but I think there were about ten that we watched....SO. MUCH. FUN!!!
My son-in-law, brother-in-laws, nieces, and nephews got to come to some of them also, many great nieces, and nephews too.  I didn't get a pic of them all.  Many of these pics are from our family photographer, Erin, our baby daughter, who is in none of the pics--sorry bout that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Birthday Boy

Here's our Birthday Boy.  Hubby had a B-day, and we celebrated with our kids and grand kids.  I made: Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green beans, and Carrots.  The kids brought Homemade Rolls, Baked Beans, Trifle, and Pumpkin Cupcakes.  Yummy! 
I had Erin carry the cake to him so there would be no tripping by me this time, he-he.

Look what we received---a Rocket Stove.  It came yesterday afternoon.  We ordered it less than a week ago.  It's for emergency situations.  A few sticks is all it takes to boil a little water, which is what we were doing here, and today I plan on making some stew in the Cast Iron Dutch Oven that was my mom and dad's.
That little stove blackened up the bottom and sides of one of my good pots, so I will be using cast iron from now on.

I plan on making a wonder oven, and I think that will be a great combination if we should have another ice storm this winter--We had a terrible one in 2007, and were without power for 12 days.  That taught me a lot.  We had another one the very next year, and were without power for 4 or 5 days if I remember right.  It wasn't nearly as traumatic.  We had a propane camper burner for one pot, and I have propane, but this rocket stove just uses twigs and small scraps of lumber.  Kind of fun.  We also have a self-pruning-tree, as my hubby calls it.  It's a silver maple that drops a lot of small limbs, ALL. THE. TIME!  That will be a great way to get rid of them.  This stove even burns up the smoke after it gets going good--look, no smoke coming out of the top.

We had the sweetest little visitor last night when we were handing out candy--my great niece Arianna--isn't she the cutest thing.  My niece made her costume out of a used suede garment.  How cute is that? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have started a new study--Judges.  It's a slightly depressing book because of Israel's disobedience and idolatry, but to learn how to drive out your enemies (disobedience), it's a great book. 

On another subject, our garage door opener finally gave up the ghost.  It's been acting up for a while, and we got our money's worth out of it, because we've had it a very long time.  Hubby picked up a new one, and he's installing it now.

It has a new feature our old one didn't that I'm gonna like.  You can lock it down (turn it off).  Pretty nice.
ANKLE UPDATE:  I went to the doctor today about my ankles, because I'm not making a lot of progress--at least to my liking.  Sunday, when we got to church, my ankle (the broken one) was hurting so badly that I had a hard time walking.  After eating lo-carb for a whole day my ankles improved.  The doc took x-rays again, and it is getting close to being healed, but he thinks I need physical therapy, so I start that tomorrow.  Stronger ankles here I come.  He assured me I wasn't going to be crippled the rest of my life.  Yea!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dehydrating Produce

I'm dehydrating things now.  This is kale that has been washed, trimmed of the big stems and cut into  good sized pieces. 
I blanched them, then spread it out on two trays. 
I had three small zucchini that I washed, cut up, and blanched as well.
They took up two trays.  It only came with 4 trays, but I have two more coming soon. 
 Below are the results:  Left is the kale that I have crumbled, then the zucchini.  Next in line are the dried apples, or what's left of them.  I dried three apples, and we have about 1 and 1/2 apples worth left.  Lastly, I have strawberries, or what's left of them.  That small jar was 1/2 filled with a large store container of dried sliced strawberries, then it had dried pineapple to fill it to the top, but we munched on those as well.
 I will make a soup with the zucchini and the kale in it and see what I think of them.  I just have to try everything out before I go hog wild, as my dad would say.  I love having the fruit to munch on.  Many times I just want to eat a small snack, and drying the fruit makes it easy to do so.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Beans, Beans, Beans

Well it was a success; no jars broke--yea! 
As you can see 1/2 cup of dry navy beans was not enough. 
For the second batch I upped it a little.  I used 3/4 cup per pint for the navy beans,  a little less than that for the pintos, and same for the great northern beans.  I canned 15 pints altogether.  I ate one the the jars that have less beans in them for lunch, and it was very good.
I'm thinking of canning some pintos in quarts, and pints of chickpeas and blackeyed peas--Yum!
 In (one a few) memories I have of my paternal grandmother, she tried to get me to eat some blackeyed peas, which I hated, when I was small.  I love them now.  I can eat a whole can of them by myself, but they are hard to find now days.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beans and Salsa

 I've decided to make up with an old friend---my pressure cooker.  I am canning some dry beans.
I decided to post on my blog while I am babysitting my canner.  It has been a long time since I posted.  SHAME!
 I bought this canner 31 years ago.  My sister, Paula and I decided to make some salsa, because our Mom and Dad were going on vacation, and with a large garden, they had an excess of tomatoes and peppers and our mother suggested we try our hand at canning some salsa.  She forgot to tell us to use gloves when we were cutting up the hot jalapeno peppers, so we didn't.   About the time we were ready to put the salsa into jars and can them, intense PAIN begin.  We had to finish the job, so we fixed bowls of ice water to put our hands in every few seconds---it was terrible.  We finished the job then she went home to nurse her wounds.  The pain lasted for Four. Long. Stinking. Hours.  I laid on the couch with my hands in ice water.  I haven't used my canner since. I have made lots of jelly, apple butter, and some water bath salsa.  We had our last baby a couple years after that episode, and I just lost interest in canning.  I have been reading peoples blogs about canning dry beans and I had to give it a try, so we dug it out of the attic yesterday afternoon.
My hubby loves beans and salsa.  So here we go.  There are 54 minutes left to pressure them, and a heard a loud crack about 20 minutes ago--I'm hoping it was just the canner popping and not a jar cracking--so far I don't smell any burnt beans smell, which is a smell I am well acquainted with.  I have let my beans boil dry on more than one occasion.  One time it took 3 days to get the smell out of our house.  I get side tracked pretty easily.  I am a little nervous about that crack I heard though.  
It's just a vinegar smell coming out of the rocker weight vent--I'm hopeful.  The pressure gauge stays steady at 15 pounds with my large burner set on 4.5.  (I added that so I will know next time.)  I am maintaining 15 lb. pressure for 90 minutes.  I poured boiling filtered water over 1/2 cup of rinced dry beans, and added 1/2 tsp. canning salt, with 1" of head space--that's also for next time.  With the 2 quarts of water in the canner, I added 2 Tbs.white vinegar so my jars would come out clean.  I will let you know how it turned out on my next post.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Canning Again

I've canned some more---two five pint batches of salsa.  It's medium heat and it taste great.  It actually made 11 pints altogether.  I have one in the fridge.  Hubby had some on his eggs this morning and loved it. 
I looked in my Blue Book and found out about what it means to boil to the gelling point.  I should have read the whole book before starting, I guess.
I think I will have to make some more of the salsa.  But first I want to make some apple butter.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jam Candy

 Well.........I made some strawberry jam today, or...... I tried to make some.  These labels should say Strawberry Candy!
Here's what happened.....The recipe from the Ball Blue Book called for two quarts of strawberries, mashed up, then add 6 cups of sugar.  Boil that till it gels.  That isn't something I understand---maybe if I had been canning for a long time I would understand it.   Sooooooo, I boiled it till it lightly coated a spoon.  Well, I don't think that's what it meant, because it was suppose to make 2 quarts, and it only made a little more than half of that.  I did the boiling water bath on four of them, and put the fifth one in the fridge.
 When hubs came home I asked him if he wanted to taste it.  I could barely get a spoonful out of the jar---it was like candy--it stretched a long way when I finally did get some out.  Here are the pictures of the process.  (I need a medium sized pot, but I didn't want it to boil over.)
I was ready to fill 8 jelly jars, but only used 5. 
Here's the water bath part.

And the finished product.
I used to make grape jam all the time, but it called for pectin and you had to add water if  too much of it boiled away-----it always made the right amount, with the right consistency----Oh well.
I'm planning on making some salsa, and some apple butter.  I think I'll do a little research on the web first.  That Blue Book is not for amatures.
I took the rest of the jam in that jar, and added a little water and boiled it, then poured it back into the jar.  I suppose I'll have to do that each time I open a jar.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I can't believe it's the middle of September and I haven't posted yet this month--my bad.  There hasn't been much going on in the way of sewing, but I have started a new Bible Study.  I'm on week three of seven, and I love it.  The homework just draws me closer to God.  It's five hours per week of study time.  Class time is very good, too.  
This summer we completed a study about money with my hubby, and Erin at our church.  We met some wonderful people in our class, and one very sweet lady that has a blog also.  It's here.  The study was top of the line when it comes to budgets and debt.
It comes with the envelope system which I believe is the key to staying on budget.
I'm still trying to get the hang of it, but my free-spirit hubby doesn't care either way if we do it or not.  He's perfectly content with doing whatever I desire, which leaves me the job of keeping him on board.  I just need to hang in there and keep trying.  It would have been easier when we were dirt poor, but now it's so easy to slip back into old habits.  I know we could save more money by doing this, and I need to be more diligent and organized about it.
On another note, I'm taking my sister to the airport today so she can be with her kids and grand kids for a while.  Hubby is taking off earlier than usual to go with us, and do the driving
(which I love to let someone else do).  We will eat in Branson while we are there.  That will be nice.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Rain Glorious Rain

We've received one and a half inches of rain today.  My hubby and I were swimming in the back yard when the clouds from Hurricane Isaac moved in yesterday evening.  I got out of the pool to take some pictures of the beautiful clouds shown here.
I'm so thankful for the rain we've received--it's been so needed.  By the way the water was 95 degrees--bath water-very nice.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Erin's Birthday Cake and Laughing Out Loud

We had a party for Erin yesterday for her birthday.  Celeste and I fixed the food, and Erin wanted to make her own cake, so me being the sweet person I am, let her.  It was spectacular.  She walked over carrying it since it would have been difficult to drive it over.  She made about nine thin layers with all kinds of different fillings between the three flavors of cake--Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate, and it was kind of heavy, but very delicious.

After we had our meal, I lit the candles and proceeded to carry the cake to her while singing Happy Birthday.  In the process I tripped on Grace's feet and almost spilled it in her lap.  Jeff and the kids continue singing Happy Birthday very slowly while my hubby asks me several times if I did that on purpose, with me saying "no".  I guess it looked like I did.  In the mean time everyone is trying not to laugh, and finish the slow song.

Then Celeste could contain herself no longer.

I wanted to know what was so funny.   She was laughing so hard she couldn't tell me. 
I guess you had to see the whole thing to understand what was so funny.  I will never know, but I understand because I laugh at things like that all the time--you know, mishaps.  I will blame it all on my father.  My mom used to say he laughed at things that weren't funny, then me and my sisters would burst out laughing.  Erin, hubby and I were still laughing about it today at lunch.