Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Getting into the Spirit of Christmas!

What better way to jump start those Christmas feelings than by decorating the church and practicing with the kids for Christmas Eve services?

Yes, I know Baby Jesus isn't supposed to be in the manger yet, but we were just trying to put the whole scene together.

Today I THINK I finished my shopping, and now for the Great Wrapping Marathon....I seem to remember promising myself last year that I would not wait until the last minute to wrap this year..... oh well........

In a big irony, I drove around the mall this afternoon with my windows rolled down!  Yep I was that hot because I was power shopping.  Just squeaked the last present in and made it my my doctor's appointment with 15 minutes to spare!  Whew!

Say a little prayer for Tall Guy.  He is still at the mall with the girls trying to find white tights for tomorrow's program among other things.  Almost Merry Christmas..... AND it might just snow tomorrow!   Now I need to get wrapping while everyone is out of the house!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thin Mint Cookies: Look Who's in the Kitchen, Again!

I told Tall Guy that all the posts I write about him doing work in the house have more hits than most of my other posts, well unless I decide to get stuck up to the top of my boots in poo.....

I really do have to tip my hat to my mother-in-law for teaching her children how to cook.  I'm pretty sure I have said it before, but TG does know his way around the kitchen.  Hold on to your hats, but he also can do laundry including folding if need be!  So here he is, dear readers, back in the kitchen to make his family's delicious take on Thin Mint Cookies.

This recipe is super simple and you could probably put them back in the box of Girl Scout cookies that you were supposed to save in the freezer to open at Holiday gatherings, and no one would know that you ate the originals!

Here's what you need:

I think this is why his family loves them so.  Four.Simple.Ingredients!  Back when they had the dairy, there wasn't too much free time of an evening between milking the cows and getting homework done. You can make up a lot of these minty delights in a relatively short amount of time.

We He puts all the almond bark chocolate into a double boiler and lets it melt.  We usually use his mom's, but I improvised this year.

When the chocolate is melted, he adds peppermint extract until he gets the "right taste," and then he adds "just a bit" of vegetable oil until the chocolate has the consistency he likes. Yep Readers, he's a bit cagey on the specific amounts of ingredients he uses, but I love it when he asks for help with the tasting to make sure the mint flavor is just right.  OH!  He actually prefers the peppermint oil rather than the extract, but I couldn't find it anywhere.  Maybe Watkins makes it??

So after the chocolate is just right, he takes a Ritz Cracker, pops it in the pot, turns it over with a fork and then taps the fork onto the side of the pan until most of the excess chocolate has plopped back into the pan.

They are then transferred to a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and taken to a cool place so the coating can set.

Once that is done, you can start filling up tins and empty ice cream buckets that will make great gifts for all your family and friends.  Santa LOVES this treat with a cold glass of milk on Christmas Eve. Speaking of, check out this link for a real treat on Christmas Eve.  All you need is your Christmas cookies!!!!

This has become a family tradition on our farm.  Farm kitchens, at least the old farm house kitchens, aren't always the roomiest of places, but there is always room for family in our kitchen, especially at Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Talking about Tuesday: Hoosier Beef Congress

I'm not sure why I've started this week with a "Day" theme, but whatever it takes to get the writing juices going......I will work with it.

Hoosier Beef Congress was the first weekend of December.  We headed down to the Indiana State Fairgrounds just as observers to see what this gathering was all about.  I believe anyone between the ages of 8 and 20 may show here, and everyone says it's a great way to start gauging the calves for future events. The big show, at least for us, is our county fair.

Watching the kids show calves, especially the younger ones, was fun.  We also heard this event will help finally break calves into being show calves, and I have to say they were all pretty well behaved bovine, with a couple of stubborn ones mixed in just to show it isn't always easy for a 60 pound kid to get a 1000+ pound calf to move at the desired time.  Even the bigger ones can have their hands full!

The best experience for the kids has to come from chatting with the judges and getting comfortable with their calves.

I liked these two pictures because it shows a couple of points.  1.) the difference between a calf "set up" and one that is not. 2.) The difference of the size of the showman and calf can be distracting.

These ladies are getting the hang of it.

What was really fun was finding a bit of Benton County all grouped together.  There a few other BCers scattered around, but it's always nice to find a bit of home away from home.!

This family is Just.The.Best!  They have been in a lot of my posts over the years.  Big Sis shows cattle, and Little Brother loves to help get Sissy's hair ready for show.

It might be "all about the bass" in musicland, but here, it's all about the Bling!

We had a great day down at the fairgrounds surrounded by calves and people...now we need to decide if we can pull our act together and try it next year.  Anyone know when 2015 harvest will be over?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Montage Monday

I've been trying to get a post up, but life kicked in to even an higher gear around here, so here's my plan:  I'm going to give you a bit of a montage as to what is coming up, and then hopefully later today, I will find some quiet time somewhere to put down the words and stories behind the pictures.

As you can see, there is a lot of agriculture involved, and I didn't even include cow pictures.  There just might be some dog pics coming soon too!  Go get your presents bought/ordered/wrapped, and check back with me later today or tomorrow.  Gotta go pack for another trip; this one, though, is just overnight!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's a Bittersweet Day on the Farm

I love Christmas, just about everything from the Message to the music to the family and presents.  It all started long, long ago back when we had real trees.....and tinsel!

This would be my second Christmas, circa 1963.... and I supposed I could turn up about 50 more pics of Christmas trees, but I will just hit the highlights:

This one should be about 1964.....

Hmmmmm..... I'm going to go with 1970 or 1971...

My niece and nephews will be liking this on from 1989.

And our own girls circa 2008

But this year as we put up the tree, there will be one part missing.....

Pumpkin.....  She loved the Christmas tree from jumping in and out of the tree box, to smacking the bottom ornaments, to curling up under the tree for 14 Christmases.  Some days, I just look around the house thinking she will com strolling out from where ever, then plop down and give me that "I want...." look.  See?

She left us at the end of March, and I haven't really talked much about it......I had her a year before I had a husband or children; she was a kitten from here that I brought home right after my Grandma Phyllis passed away.  She reminded me of Grandma because of her coffee and cream coloring.  I told Steve that if he gave her to me, I was not going to choose between her and him if we became official. Follow that last sentence?  She was 14 years old, and lived a good life, but I am sure there will be a little sigh here and there as the girls and I put up the trees today.