If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy Anniversary!

We are celebrating with a quiet day at home.  Together since 2009, we feel like folks are celebrating with us when the new year rings in!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Year in Review

At this time of year, we tend to do a bit of reflecting back on the year we are wrapping up.  I guess I am no different from anybody else.  It is time to look back on the year and appreciate our progress.  I took a glance back at the year by looking back at what I took time to post on the blog.

Instead of making resolutions, last year I set some goals for myself.  In looking back on them, I see that, once again there were some that were met and some that fell by the wayside.  Oh well, maybe next year.

I started off the year doing a bit of organizing.  I worked on the pantry and did a pretty good job of keeping in in shape throughout the year.  There are still a few things that I would like to have to aid in organizing it and keeping it straight but all in all, I think we accomplished what we intended and met that goal.

The month of February found us writing a book.  I'm still not certain whether this was a good thing or if it was the beginning of creating a problem for Mike and me!  At the time it seemed like a great idea and we really enjoyed putting Easton's ABC Book together.  We were excited when it arrived from the publisher and pleased with how it turned out.  I think Easton and his family enjoyed it (and we hope they still do) as well as us.  Another thing we began in February that has continued is that we started watching our quarters.  We have a collector in the family and Mike and I want to be sure she is provided with a representative of each kind of quarter made!

In March we got itchy feet and were looking toward spring.  We had a late snowfall and some cold weather that put spring on hold for us and Mike and I both were battling cold weather and winter.  Neither of used to be bothered by winter weather and really sort of enjoyed it.  However, as we get older, we seem to wish for warm weather more and more.  As a school teacher, I always look forward to and hope for a snow day.  So, if we are going to get any weather, as the old folks say, I certainly want to be rewarded with a snow day!

April brought some spring temperatures and a wee bit of time to enjoy it.  I certainly enjoyed my time off during spring break even though about all I had to show for that week was a hole filled with rocks.  I took some time to rest up and faced the rest of the school year with some strength.  My entire team at work changed over during the last year and then my boss retired in December of last year and we were assigned a new supervisor who is as different as the former one as daylight is to dark.  Needless to say, that certainly has made the job a struggle this calendar year.  My team-mates and I are surviving but that is about all I can attest to at this point.

In May I was ultra-busy at work and barely had time to meet myself coming and going the entire month.  So, things here at home were put on hold.  My only blog posts were for celebrations - Lydia's Birthday, Mother's Day, and Memorial Day.  I think I went through the motions and just survived that entire month!

We did a little more celebrating in June with Father's Day and Bonnie's birthday but it also saw me welcoming a couple of weeks off from work.  Having the month during the summer to rejuvenate made a huge difference.  Having time to relax and do a bit of rambling and chilling-out with Mike certainly helped me to stop and notice lots of other things.  It also made me do some introspective looking at the job our children are doing and appreciate their stage of life.

Summer Days for my family means it is time for the grands to come and stay with us for a few days each.  They get individual attention and we spend time at the swimming pool.  Mike and I always love those times.  I used the time to post lots of here on the blog with twenty-two posts for the month of July!  First of all, we thrive on the summer temperatures, the long days, the opportunity to spend time in the garden and preserving what he has nurtured and grown for us to eat, and the time with the grands.  We both look forward to when life is basically always like that!

The dog days of August found us looking forward and getting ready to welcome grandchild number nine into our fold.  We celebrated the bounty of Mike's many hours of hot work in the garden and did loads of canning and freezing.  We had lots of squash and okra and tomatoes.  We canned and froze and enjoyed the fresh veggies so long as we could.  August also found me back at work and working with new teachers.  There is always a learning curve for new folks coming to our district.  No matter whether they are new to the profession or just new to our district, there is so much for them to take in and lots of support is needed to help them get off to a good school year start.

In September we did lots of celebrating of birthdays but the one that was the most monumental for us was the one where we welcomed grandchild number nine.  We are so blessed with healthy children and grandchildren and this is certainly something that comes to mind when a new one joins our family.  We are thankful and excited about each and every one and love them to pieces even when we get so tired it seems we cannot hold our head up!

By October we were embracing fall and a bit of cooler weather.  We truly enjoy the warm summer weather but we also welcome a break from the heat when fall rolls around.  I was lucky enough to have time to spend a bit of it getting to know the new baby.  One of the things we do here on the farm when we just need some down time is to get on the ATV and take a ride around to just enjoy the beauty of where we are lucky enough to live.  Mike picked up a passenger one afternoon for some rambling and is continuing the tradition down through the generations.

November may have been a busy time for us but it was also a time when we had a chance to share time with family.  I think Thanksgiving might be the favorite holiday for Mike and me.  I have a bit of time off from work and we get to spend time together.  We welcome the children into the house and share some time and good food with them.

I started off December by leading three different workshops at a state educational conference.  Then, it was semester wrap-up time.  Before we knew it, Christmas was upon us and I still had pumpkins sitting on the dining room table!  We did get our act together and get a tree decorated and gifts bought and wrapped to give to the children and grands but it was by the skin of our teeth!  I don't know if we are slowing down way too much or if life is speeding up around us.  At any rate, we have certainly had a busy month of it.  I haven't even had time to put together a December post other than to just snap a quick photo of the kitchen tree and wish everybody a Merry Christmas.

Through the year we had some bumps in the road - one of the grands was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic, I struggled to stay afloat at work with a new direction and a new supervisory team.  We bid goodbye to a few friends who were taken from us way too soon.  We are also still grieving the loss of our daughter-in-law's mother who was taken from this world long before we ever imagined.  We flounder and we question.

We also recognize how blessed we are even when we are traveling along this journey with some difficulty.  The light that has been shining in our lives and seems to be snuffed out is something we eventually realize shines on through us and our memories.  We are grateful for those memories and grateful for the blessings of having those in our lives even for the short time.

We look forward to the new year and we are anxious to celebrate each milestone and each blessing.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Turkey Time

Some of the most tiring but best times Mike and I spend together are while we are getting ready for family functions.  We go and go and go and then, we just drop!

That seems to be what we do, anyway.  Mike fried a turkey Wednesday afternoon. 

We soaked the bird in a brine overnight.  Then, Mike rinsed the bird and set him to dry.  Next, we slathered him with mustard and rubbed him with Cajun spices before Mike's frying venture began.

Mike was a bit of a nervous wreck but he slowly lowered the bird into the hot oil.

It was something he had never attempted before but it immediately started smelling wonderful!

It was something he thought was dangerous. 

It was a one-shot deal for our Thanksgiving Feast. 

And it was a successful venture!

Despite Mike's trepidation, it turned out quite well.

From this point, I brought the bird into the house and covered him with a tent of aluminum foil.

We ate a sandwich and deviled some eggs before Mike unwrapped  the still-warm bird.

Then, bit by bit, Mike carved the old fellow up and placed it on the platter.  He said the meat just fell off the bone.

It was moist, juicy, and tasty! 

It was a venture that will surely be repeated.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


We are glad for a time to 

Happy Thanksgiving to your family from ours!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Getting Ready for a Feast

Mike and I are getting ready for a feast!  A Thanksgiving Feast!

A couple of days ago I baked up some cornbread  and baked some sweet potatoes.

Today I mixed up some dressing and also added oysters to a small pan of dressing for Mike.  I am using the two new casserole dishes that Bonnie and Stephen gave me for my birthday!

Then, I mixed up a sweet potato casserole.  I'll add the toppings right before I bake it Thursday morning.  For yesterday, I simply covered them with clear plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to be ready for baking later.  The dressing needs to chill overnight anyway.  I know it looks rather juicy in the photo below but trust me that the bread is going to absorb a lot of that chicken broth and I may even have to add more to get it as moist as we like it.

I started on a pumpkin cheesecake.  I used my basic cheesecake recipe except that I used ginger snaps instead of graham crackers for the crust and I will simply add pumpkin to the cake filling.

We won a turkey at the Lion's Club Turkey Shoot last week.  Well, our friend's grandson won a turkey at the Lion's Club Turkey Shoot.  All we did is give him a donation and wished him good luck.
This brine smells delightful!

So, yesterday, I put the turkey in the brine and I didn't even take in that shot, either!  Below, you can see that he is soaking up some goodness and will be ready to rinse and for Mike to fry him up.

While I was cooking dinner last night, I also cooked up some sliced onions and some of the squash we froze this summer.  I mixed it with some cheese and a bit of butter and added some cream of mushroom soup to it and will add a topping and bake it.

I'm planning to set the table, sweep, and swipe the dust off the high spots sometime today.  Plus, today's recipes include hash brown casserole, broccoli, green bean casserole, and rolls.

Then, that will leave topping and baking what I don't get done today, cooking some cream-style corn, mac and cheese for the grands, and making something chocolate for Stephen and me.  I think I'm going to stir up Rocky Road Chocolate Cake in a Crock Pot.

At the end of these days I wonder how my ancestors did all this and milked a herd of cows, too!  I've grown soft and don't know that I can keep up!  I'm thankful right now that I have the whole week off from work and can do bits and pieces without having to prep all this as a marathon.  It will be great to visit with the family and I am thankful that they are all planning to try to make it in here at some point on Thursday.  Feeling old and tired like I am at the end of the day, it is a good thing a Thanksgiving Feast happens only once per year!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

You Pay for Your Raisin'

My children will often tell me stories or send me photos of their own children telling me about things they do which are really quite humorous to me.  I mentioned some of Luci's antics yesterday and that I'm thankful for technology which allows them to share these stories.  It also makes me frequently say things like, "I can think of nobody who deserves that more."  Often, I say that because I recall their own antics.

Another message came to me yesterday from Bryan.  First, I got this photo.
Of course, his attire stands out at once - Cowboy Harris.  Look carefully, please and notice that he is standing atop the coffee table.  And, please notice that he has his chair turned sideways atop the table to serve as a counter for his tablet and a toy music machine.

Then, I get the second photo and Bryan's message:
Really, I think that says it all!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Technology is a wonderful thing!

Sometimes, during the days, I will get random messages from the children of things that my grandchildren are doing.  It certainly brings a smile to my face and brightens my day.  There are also stories that are shared which bring laughter and, later, smiles as well. 

Like when Bridgette shares with me that Luci has really been getting into some things lately that were not really appreciated.  First, she was given a large box and some markers.  Bridgette had "eight minutes, Mama.  Only eight minutes!" to finish up a project she was working on for a client.  When she turned around, the box Luci had been given had a few marks on it but Luci was completely covered in marker. 

Then, a few days later, Bridgette was exasperated with Luci because one of the bean bag cubes we gave the children had suffered a seam rip.  Luci noticed the Styrofoam beads and became a bit curious and well, I will stop the story there.  Suffice it to say, the ending was not so pretty.

Only a few days later, Bridgette let me know that she and Luci had placed a load of laundry on the sofa which is only a few feet away from the door to Luci's bedroom.  Bridgette folded the laundry and Luci went to her room to play.  When Bridgette finished folding and took Luci's clothes in to put them away, she found Luci with a tub of baby powder that had been about three-fourths full.  Was being the operative word in that last sentence.  At that point, there was no powder left in the tub because Luci had shook it out all over the bedroom.  Again, the ending here was not so pretty.

Yet, today, I get photos like these two and one wonders how on earth such a sweet face could create such chaos.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

National Diabetes Awareness Month

Image result for type 1 diabetes
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  This is a health issue that is close to my heart because in our family we have members who are Type 1 Diabetic and members who are Type 2 Diabetic.  The blue circle above is the global symbol introduced by the International Diabetes Federation in 2006 giving it a common identity and helping to raise awareness.  For more information, check out JDRF website.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Family Photo Day

I had the opportunity to spend some time with part of our family on Saturday looking through the lens of my camera. 
This one is Mike's favorite!

The photographer Bridgette has used for a few years was unavailable for this year's fall photo session.  Since Bridgette wants to get going with their Christmas cards, she was a wee bit frantic about getting the photos and asked me to take some shots for them.

We had a pretty good session and I was lucky enough to get a few that we liked in about an hour.  Then, we took some time to go in and have lunch.  Most of the time there were smiles with a little bit of goofiness thrown in for good measure.

Taking group shots is just as difficult as one might imagine when there are five of them and one is three-years-old!  When I sat down to do some editing and cropping, I was thankful I had several shots of the same general 'pose' to choose from. 

Sometimes everybody is cooperative and paying close attention and smiling pretty for the camera.  And sometimes, well, sometimes, not so much!

There were also times when the gesture I mentioned turned out to be a good thing.  And there are others that the look didn't seem to match up what I had in my head - at least not for all of the crew!

There were a couple of times when it seemed that we were going to have a Sunday school meeting in order to get everybody in the same mindset.  At times it seemed we were going to kind of have a laying on of hands, if you know what I mean.

All-in-all I shot well over 700 photos that afternoon and I'm glad I'm not the one having to pick which one will be the front of the Christmas card!  After lunch, we went back out and I made a few individuals of the children and some of just the three girls without their parents.  I must say that I really like taking the one-on-one shots far better than the large family groups! (I will share some of those later.)

Having this opportunity certainly helped to drive home just how fortunate and blessed we are!  I'm already looking forward to the next photo session.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I didn't realize

When we cleaned out the milk barn to prepare for my Daddy's estate sale, I told Mama I wanted to keep the brass tags that we used to hang from a chain around the cows' necks.  At the time I didn't have a clue what I would do with those things but I just couldn't stand to part with them.

Earlier this year, I bought a few supplies at the craft store and put them together as wind chimes.  There were enough of them to make a chime for each of our children and one to keep.

The design is simple with a wood piece painted with metallic paint.  I screwed eye-hooks into it and strung the tags onto a piece of nylon cord.  The 'clapper' part of the chime is a plastic tag that hangs down below the others with a large galvanized washer that clangs into the tags.  They have a nice little tinkle in the wind and it brings back memories of getting the cows out of the pasture and up to the barn. 

I wanted the children to have the tags for sentimental reasons, obviously.  Little did I realize that the tags had any value!  I saw a blog post today which featured a similar tag as a keychain.  The post referenced this Etsy link as a source for the tags.  Wow!  My gift was far more valuable than just the sentimental feelings I had, evidently!

Hope they appreciate theirs as much as I do my own and I'm sure my Daddy is smiling about that!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Not a Hairbow

On Halloween the older two granddaughters wore their costumes to school.  So, Luci thought she should wear her costume all day as well.  Her parents had some errands to run, so off to town she went in her princess costume.  Bridgette said that she gets exasperated with Luci because she takes the hairbow out of her hair and often misplaces it.  Yet, the crown she wore when dressed as a princess stayed on her head all day.  Plus, if it got a bit tilted, everything stopped and the crown got straightened.  Maybe Luci's mom just doesn't understand what is important to a real princess!