Saturday, October 30, 2010

Walking with Trick or Treaters

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned at least once that I am not a huge fan of Halloween.  Two huge reasons are

I don't like to be scared.

I don't like the way some people act during this event by letting their inner vandal come out.

That last one might be a bit jaded, but after teaching high school for 18 years and hearing about all the egging, t-ping, and smashing of family pumpkins, it just kind of put me off the whole event.

BUT I am now a mother and kind of have to suck it up for the girls, so for the last four years we have gone trick or treating.

There is a town north of us, Earl Park, that puts on, thanks to some dedicated volunteers including some of my good friends, a community Halloween party and scary walk.  All the kids come as costumed as they and their parents can stand it, eat hot dogs, hop up on the stage with their age group for judging, receive a HUGE bag of candy for their efforts, and are then taken home fighting the expected sugar high the whole way back.  I like it! (Ok, I did NOT go on the scary walk.  Reliving The Birds is enough for me!)

Then last year we added our lovely town's Halloween party to the mix.  Businesses opened their doors, streets were shut down, and all the ghosts, princesses, Jedi masters, and other creatures roamed the street in search of the perfect treat.

This year, we again visited Fowler's Halloween festivities, and guess who came with us!  DADDY!  This is a fall of firsts for him!  We went to the Feast of the Hunters' Moon in OCTOBER, we visited the Indianapolis Zoo and Indiana State Museum in OCTOBER, he carved his first pumpkin EVER in OCTOBER, and he came trick or treating in OCTOBER!  Earl Park is Halloween night, but here is a glimpse of last nights fun, and in the same vein as my last post, a few pics from Halloweens gone by.

 2007 ~ Fairies





 2008 ~ Princesses and Painted Pumpkins
 Tall Guy was embracing his Evan Almighty self!  ugh!
Me embracing food in general!  ugh!

2009 ~ Selena Gomez and Hannah Montana

2010 ~ a Blushing Bride and a Fifties Girl


Watching everyone being judged with a friend


Streets are closed!  Please drive around!


Ahhhhhhh..... the perfect end to the perfect day.  LOVE the clouds God put in the sky tonight!


I think I will call this one a TREAT! 
HAPPY WEEEKEND!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Walking by the Same Place a Few Years Later

Thought it would be kind of fun to compare Indianapolis Zoo pics then and now.  The THEN pics were taken August 18, 2006, and the NOW pics were taken October 22, 2010.  I didn't know how much I would like looking at these until I put them together!

Do you have a place your family goes to yearly or every few years?  It would be fun to post those pics in your blog.  Let me know if you do so I can come see!




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Walking on to a Male-Bonding Moment

This picture just might be worth a thousand words!
They made me giggle when I snapped it,
and I still giggle at these "guys."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking with a Big Knife!

Time to carve the pumpkins!  This is a first at our house because up until now, we have always painted the pumpkins.  Tall Guy and I both had a hankering for roasted pumpkin seeds, and the only way to get them is to.....well.... get a big knife!




Bear was a bit too gussied up to do the dirty work,
so we made her change clothes!

 
At first, Tink was a bit reluctant to put her hand inside the pumpkin,


but once she conquered her initial "ick," she was all in!


You never quite know what is going on in that beautiful but crafty little mind!


My first two attempts!  I don't remember pumpkins being so thick!
The one on the right is supposed to be a princess pumpkin!
Dang!  Where did my apple corer go?  I needed it to make the eyes!

Yes Twin Lakes Class of '99, that is your Student Council shirt!  Wooo!


My last two efforts.  I took a parring knife and kind of drilled into 
the pumpkin to get my circles for eyes!  That danged apple corer will
turn up next week; you can bet on it!
After all this lovely work, they sat on the front porch for one night.  I put them down on the ground before the big storm rolled in, and it's still pretty darned windy out there today.  Hopefully, they will make it back up on the porch, and I will find the candles and light these guys up before the big night!

Trick or Treat!

Wordless Wednesday: Walking Through Beautiful Leaves and Back to the Pumpkin Patch!

The leaf picture was originally much more of the tree.  Kind of neat what a close crop can do!  The next one, I know, you have seen before, but I just really like this picture and thought it worthy of a repeat performance this week.  It's been crazy here on the farm, this time on the inside.  I'll get you caught up soon on all the progress going on around here and some fun pumpkin carving.

Have a great day and hope you all survive the adventure of yesterday's weather!  I think even our windmills were challenged!

Linked to Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 25, 2010

Walking with the Cows on Hunk of Meat Monday

I wanted to have a recipe all ready for Leah's Hunk of Meat Monday, but the cooking gods were not with me, so.......... I thought I would talk about the big Hunk Of Meat coming to my freezer tomorrow.  Yep! Make room for a quarter of beef Mr. Freezer!  Pick-up is tomorrow. 

We raise feeder cows.  My husband's family even did their own butchering for, like 40 some years.  We just started sending the meat out to a local processor in the last three years because it is just a bit too crazy to watch my husband carrying a half a steer on his shoulders from the toolshed to the milk house where we set up shop to cut the meat.  He has had three back surgeries, and there is usually snow and ice out when we would butcher. 

I have helped several times, and it's not a bad thing, although if you don't like to cut up a chicken, you would probably not like it.  We had the whole family here plus some great good friends, and it took the whole day.  We would have fresh hamburger grilled up for lunch, and everyone had a great time. 

Now we just gather for other fun events, and pick up our meat at the butcher's shop.  You know, I have sold several cows on Facebook.  In this day and age, people like to know where their beef comes from.  This year, we have beef going out of state.  One half is headed to North Carolina when a former student comes home to hunt later this fall. 


Next week I hope to have my Cheeseburger Pie recipe all ready to share with you, but for now I need to go make room for some hamburger and steaks!  Wooo!


Hunk of Meat Mondays


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Walking Through the Indiana State Museum and Scratching My Head!

Well, in another first, Tall Guy and I took a day off during the girls' Fall Break to take a trip to the BIG TOWN, Indianapolis.  Tall Guy is NOT a fan of urban sprawl, and it's a bit of a chore to coax him off the farm to share space with thousands of people, even if on this trip those thousands included a gazillion "blue coats" as Indianapolis hosted the National FFA Convention this weekend.  We saw them at the zoo and all over the area of downtown we were in as we visited the Indiana State Museum.  Sorry, Jane, but the Eiteljorg will have to wait for another day.  So much to do....so little time!

I will share some pictures from this adventure in the days to come,, but I want to start off with a bit of an oddity:








Isn't this a kind of pretty piece of art?  It's from our Victorian past, and I can see there is definitely artistry and talent involved here.  I am reminding of the lace making and tatting we saw a few weeks back at The Feast of the Hunters' Moon.  Then I found myself just a bit creeped out when I read the card that decribed what I was looking at:




This kind of art has totally escaped my radar all my..... well......many years on earth, and I am the daughter of a history teacher?!?!?!?  Have you heard of such a way to honor the dead?  Do you have something like this in the family heirloom drawer?  I would say in honor of Halloween, it's time to get such antiquities out for public display!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wallking with Positive Nouns!

  This is the first time I have posted words from another author, but I ran across this article on my friend, Kim's, blog, and the words hit their mark with me.  I wanted to share them with you.  Also, I would love for you to visit Kim at her place A Creative Spirit.  She is a great gal, so full of happiness, but she could use some good bloggy vibes and friends as she copes with the precarious health of her parents.

 

This article comes from a blog called Sparkspace , and I most related with creating a positive space to work and live.  All of us can find something to take away from these word, so I leave them to you:

Would you like more positivity in your life?

One of the most powerful concepts we share in our Creating A Positive Charge Workshop is to surround yourself with positive nouns.

You remember what a noun is, right? A noun is a person, place, thing or idea. Don't worry, we're not covering conjunctions or dangling participles in this article. The last thing I want to do is cause a painful English class flashback.

Nouns are the "stuff" we surround ourselves with every day: the people we encounter; the places we work, live, and visit; the "things" we use; the ideas we're exposed to.

One of the best ways to create and maintain a positive mental state is to eliminate the negative nouns in our lives and replace them with positive ones.

Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to be surrounded by WAY too many negative nouns. You're probably already thinking about the negative people you work with. If any of them are sitting near you, don't look up and make eye contact or they'll know you're reading an article about them. Keep your eyes on the page. It's for your own safety.

Here's a little quiz to take. It's easy. I even gave you the answers.

Q. How many people do you deal with each day that drain your energy, patience, and positive spirit? 
A. Too many.

Q. When was the last time you found yourself in a physical space that inspired and energized you? 
A. Too long ago.

Q. How many truly positive messages do you receive via TV, movies, newspapers, magazines, and Facebook?
A. Not nearly enough.

To demonstrate how many negative messages we receive, pick up a copy of the local paper, USA Today, or The Wall Street Journal. Count up the number of items on the front page that contain some sort of negative message. I do this as a demonstration in my workshops. I have consistently found that 65-75% of the messages on the front page of the paper are negative, and once in awhile it spikes to 85% (that's usually The Wall Street Journal, by the way).

So, if I'm trying to be a positive force in my company, my family, and my community, why would I allow myself to be surrounded by so many negative nouns? That does nothing to help me (or those I'm trying to serve). 

If I was fighting cancer, you better believe I wouldn't pick a medicine that only provided 25% of what I really needed to create a positive outcome. 

You can change the ratio of negative to positive nouns any time you want. All you have to do is dump the negative and seek out the positive. The word "seek" implies there might be work involved. It's not that hard, but it does take some effort.

Stop reading the newspaper every day. Ignore those RIDICULOUS tabloid magazines at the checkout counter. Be careful what kinds of books you read, TV shows you watch, and movies you go to. Don't worry -- if the world really ends in 2012 one of your negative friends who still reads the newspaper will let you know about it.

Find a place that inspires and energizes you and go there often. Like, today. Is it the gym? A church? The library? A certain inspirational business retreat center in Columbus' Arena District? (Yes, a shameless plug. Sue me). Hiking through nature almost always does the trick for me. It's hard not to be inspired by the Master's work, especially when the leaves are exploding in color like they are right now.

And finally, remember those negative people who bring you down? Dump them. Find new friends. You owe negative people NOTHING. True, some people you can't avoid (like certain co-workers or family members), but you can limit your exposure to them. It might take some planning and practice, but it's worth the effort. You don't have to be rude or mean, you just have to chose to limit your exposure to negative people

Always remember that what you focus on expands. If you keep surrounding yourself with negative nouns, you'll have a lot more negativity in your life than you desire. But, if you choose to surround yourself with positive nouns, your world will become an exponentially more positive place. And imagine what you will accomplish in a world like that!

Oh, one more thing. Take a good look at yourself and make sure you're a positive noun for those around you, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking with Going Jane and Her Cupcakes Plus a Surprise on Top!

HELP!

I have two birthday parties coming up next month, and this is the first time we are having "friend parties."  I have three diplomas somewhere in this house with my name on them, but they are not helping me figure out how to entertain 6 and 8 year olds for two-three hours.  Bear is having a tea pot themed party, and Tink is all about Wizards of Waverley Place.  I would LOVE for you to send me any ideas/suggestions/games/mileage from my house to yours!  I could promise to proofread your kids essays when the time comes :-)  SERIOUSLY!  Here's what I have in the way of food ideas so far:

I have been scouring the web and cookbooks for ideas for birthday "stuff" since I have two little girls getting a year older next month!  ACK!  I came up with one I wanted to try, and it was a combination of two ideas, one from Real Simple and the other....well... I couldn't remember where I read about it until I was responding to Going Jane's tale of her husband's attempt to follow directions.  Too funny by the way! ;-)

I saw the cupcakes on her side bar and said to myself, "Ah Ha!"  So here are Miss Jane's cupcakes with a Real Simple ending:

Make any kind of cupcake you wish.  I, of course, had to make the DARK CHOCOLATE version.

I took the package of already made up Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies because I was in a hurry.  Just cut off a bit from the dough, roll it between your palms, and plop it in the cupcake mix.


 DANG!  Tink loves her chocolate almost as much as I do.  Bear?  Not so much.  I told Tink to take off her school shirt before she... uhm... licked cleaned off the beaters.  Whew!  I've seen her "clean" beaters before!


Now, when the muffins are about 3-4 minutes from being done, add the Real Simple ending.  Are you ready?



Real Simple's best ever way to top a cupcake:
 


 Just pop them right on the cupcake, as close to the middle as you can ,and let them finish baking!


Mine puffed up and out, but I didn't see them flattening out, so I had to help them along with a little tap on top!


There they are, all nice and ready to cool for eating.  NO MESSY ICING!  Woooooooooooooo!



Yummy in the inside too, just like Miss Jane's!



My entry for the 4-H judge!  One out of 12 came out 4-H perfect, but they were all good!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Walking with the Lima Beans and Some Updates

Remember my grumblings about Tink's lima bean plants that seem to be thriving despite my lack of affection for them?  Click here if you need a refresher.

Well, one night they were just four plants in a styrofoam cup, then one morning we came down to this:





Did you see it?  Here is a closer look! 

Pardon the flyspecks on my blind stick thingy, but 

Dang!  

I don't dare spray it with Windex! 


NOW what am I going to do with this plant?  It's hanging on for dear life?  I may have to bite the bullet and re-pot the darned things in a bigger home.

DANG!

Uhmmmm.......no sign of the mouse since the evil day.  Pumpkin still goes on alert status once in a while, but no visuals since Thursday.

We are officially DONE with harvest after Steve cut the last double crop beans Sunday evening.  WOOO!  Now time to finish up ground work just in case it ever decides to rain here again!

You gals over 40 will LOVE this. You younger ones take notes! According to my doctor's visit, I seem to be in stellar health except for this very annoying inability to sleep.  With our little girls running around, a mom in full menopause really needs to sleep!  My new doc wanted to put me on a cheap ($4.00 at Wal-Mart) but effective anit-depressant to help with sleep and general moodiness some people say I am exhibiting! 

(If this person wouldn't scare the crap out of me with a blue bat and invisible mouse, I might not be so moody, just sayin'!) 

Anywho.....I didn't want to go back on those darned things; I just want to SLEEP!  So he prescribed the butterfly medicine, and I went to pick up the prescription, only to find out my insurance wouldn't cover it because insomnia falls under mental health, and they will not cover that.  We are paying $185.00 out of pocket!  That's like $6 something a pill!  I should probably just go out and have one or two healthy LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS from HARRY'S CHOCOLATE SHOP, but it's too far of a drive to campus!  You Boilermakers know what I am talking about!  Now I AM starting to feel mental!  UGH!  Gotta go back and talk to my doc to see if he can code it differently since insomnia is also a very well know side effect of menopause!  Oy!

Sigh.....

Deep cleansing breath.......

counting to 12,654,789.....

Since I took my little blue butterfly pill, I suppose I should better end this and float on up to bed.  Sweet dreams out there and have a great day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I wanted to give a shout out to Patrice at Everyday Rurality.  She is having a good ol' fashioned barn party, and who doesn't love one of those!  Stop by as soon as you can and get in on all the fun.  Here is the "poop" as we say down on the farm:

You're Invited
What:A Barn Party at Everyday Ruralty
When:October 16- 23 
Where:Online
Why:To celebrate my 4 month Blog-a-versary (10-16-10)

     I have said before that I love my followers. I do! Big hugs! I also enjoy meeting new people. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share my country life with others. I would love to be able to physically have this event on our farm, but I cannot do it in person right now. Indulge me! This will be fun online.
     I would like you to have a picture of this event in your minds before you join in the festivities. I love fall. The trees are beginning to turn colors. Imagine a large pasture. Yup! Check! We got it! Imagine that I have set several long tables end to end in  that pasture and draped them with old quilts. Cool! We can handle that! Now picture straw bales placed around the tables as benches. There are pumpkins, candles and fall mums decorating the tables. Sounds pretty! Further this picture by envisioning six very nosey horses on the other side of the fence watching as all of us as we "meet and greet." Why can't the horses meet and greet? Neigh-and eat!
 
 
1. Who would you bring with you? (You don't have to use your real names if you wish.)
  All my best girlfriends who I do not get to see nearly enough, so you may have to scooch two tables together for me!

2. What will you wear to the party? (Remember, it's 60's in the daytime and 40's at night.)
What else but jeans, a turtleneck and a sweatshirt?  Maybe a light jacket or vest! 

3. What would you most like to see on my farm?
 Everything!  We all do what we do, but we usually do it a bit differently.  From ground to house I would lvoe to see it all!

4. What dish would you bring since it's pot luck?(Optional: You can post a recipe or photos of a dish if you'd like.) Hmmmmm...... Besides a great cooler of beverages, I might say graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate!

5. What game or activity would you like to do during our get together?
I'm not much on games, but I would love to get to know everyone.  Maybe a scavenger hunt.  Those are always fun on the farm!
 
 
Have fun with this by clicking on the big barn photo at the top of my page, and thanks to Patricia for being such a great host!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walking to the Kitchen for Hunk of Meat Monday and Gooseberry Patch's Best-Ever Lasagna!

I need to use my crock pot more often!  Trying to decide on dinner just wears me out some days, so when I saw that Gooseberry Patch was having a cookbook sale, and I had drooled over the "Goode" stuff my friend Cris at GOODEness Gracicious is making on her Julie/Julia trip through Gooseberry's cookbook, Mom's Favorite Recipes , I thought I would give it all a try.

One of the books I purchased is 101 Slow-Cooker Recipes, and on page 47, there is a recipe for Best Ever Lasagna! Looks yummy so let's git'er dun!

First, I have to get my Hunk of Meat, which was in the freezer all packaged nicely and raised right out in our pasture!  The recipe calls for one pound of ground beef, but we like our beef, so two is much better!



This is my wonderful Pampered Chef steamer that cooks 
my two pounds of ground beef in 5 minutes!  
LOVE THAT!!!


Just put the meat in the pot, kind of break it apart, and add about a 1/3 cup of water or so.
Wish I had that cool Pampered Chef chopper thingy my friend Leah at Beyer Beware is always talking about!

HINT FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
Pst.!  The bright white behind this picture is the bottom of my kitchen sink!
Woooo!  Yea Me!



Poof!  In five minutes it is cooked, AND the fat is separated from the meat!
That green in there is the reflection of my still-living lima bean plants!
Tune in tomorrow for an update on them!
 See the shine from my sink?



Put the lid back on, and it's a very easy trick to drain the water and fat out of the meat.
It's even easier if you are NOT trying to pour and take a picture at the same time!
Gonna have to shine my sink after this!

Here are the rest of the ingredients!
 First layer in the pot sprayed with cooking oil:  Noodles

Next add half of the hamburger.
 


Then half the sauce (I used more than the recipe called for because I added more meat!)


Half of the mushrooms.



Half of the Ricotta cheese
( I mixed it up a bit with the sauce)


Half of the Mozzarella cheese


Now go back and review the last six pictures so that you have two layers!
I added a top layer of noodles before adding the last half of the mozzarella cheese.
This recipe calls for 1/3 cup water, but it doesn't say where/when to add it,
so I poured it over the whole thing before putting on the lid.


Cover and cook on low for five hours



OOOOOOOO!  AHHHHHHHHH! 


The finished product!
Actually this is Tall Guy's second helping!
Here is the list of ingredients for the recipe:

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 t.   Italian seasoning
8      Lasagna noodles (or how ever many it takes to cover your pot twice)
28 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce (I used a bit more than that)
1/3 cup water
4 oz. can of mushrooms
15 oz. container of ricotta cheese
8 oz. pkg. of mozzarella cheese
Garnish with Parmesan cheese

Toss a salad together, and you have a great meal waiting on you when you get home!  Enjoy!

Hunk of Meat Mondays