December 31, 2007

The Last Day of 2007...

.... and to be honest with you, I'm not sad to see it
go! Phew, what a challenging year to say the least! But, through all the bumps in the road... God has a plan! What are we to learn from the bumps & bruises? Perhaps, it's a lesson in trust... or perseverance (maybe both)? Bottom line is that if we continue to grow in those areas of letting go and letting God, and believing what HE says about us (not what others say), we will continue down the right paths!

He does not promise us a path without bumps and bruises.... but He DOES promise that He will 'never leave us nor forsake us!' (Hebrews 13:5) and that my friend, is a HUGE & comforting promise!!

So, what to look forward to in 2008? I'm not sure, but I do believe that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it! Happy New Year! May you grow stronger in faith, love & contentment in 2008!

December 26, 2007

"She Brought Forth a Son and Laid Him in the Manger..."

This is a verse we hear EVERY Christmas season. When I was thinking about it this morning, I remembered hearing these words; "If we needed technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If we needed education, God would have sent us a professor. If we needed entertainment, God would have sent us an entertainer. If we needed politics, God would have sent a politian. But since we need a Savior, He sent us Jesus!" ("....and she laid HIM in the manger!")

Isn't is amazing.... God sent us HIS ONLY SON for our SAVIOR! I hope your Christmas was a blessed one! One filled with the true reason of why we celebrate Christmas! "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

December 17, 2007

Recipes As Promised......

Chicken Cordon-Bleu Soup

1 stick butter (I use 1/2 stick at the most)
1 small onion diced OR onion powder
1 cup diced carrots (or shredded or a bag of frozen cut carrots)
3 or 4 stalks of celery diced
2 cups diced chicken
(Sautee in the stock pot)

2 heads of broccoli crowns diced (or frozen broccoli)
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. chicken OR veg. boullion ("Better Then Boullion" is excellent!)

(continue to cook till veggies soften then add)

6-8 cups of milk (I use 1 % milk, but whole milk would work too!)
2 cups of diced cooked ham
8 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. of shredded Swiss cheese (We don't care for Swiss, so I use a cheddar & mozz. blend)

(To thicken the broth, I use instant potatoes but the original recipe call for flour/water.) Serve hot with biscuits, rolls or crackers!! YUMMY!
The picture doesn't have the broccoli, milk or instant potatoes in it yet..... and I forgot to take a picture of it all finished! BUT... believe me, it was delicious!
Artichoke Dip
1 14 oz. Can of Artichoke Hearts (NOT MARINATED)
1/2 Cup mayonaise
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese (fresh grated is best)
Dice up the artichokes (there are usually 5-7 per can) and put them in a bowl add the mayo and parmesan cheese and stir well. Put mixture into a small bowl that can be baked.... a french onion soup bowl works well! I usually add a little bit of the fresh parmesan cheese to the top and bake at 325* for about 20 minutes or till lightly browned and bubbling! Serve warm with Wheat Thins....
(I generally double this recipe and bake in a small casserole dish!)
These are two of our family favorites! ENJOY!

December 16, 2007

The Tree Is Officially Decorated!

Audrey & Travis began stringing the lights about 1PM and the decorations went on shortly afterwards! We had lots of fun teasing & laughing. The tree was almost finished when Pete made the comment to me, "Do you remember when most of the decorations use to be on the bottom half of the tree?" I laughed as I looked at the tree..... "YUP, and now look, they are some on the bottom half and lots on the middle & top! A sure sign that the kids are getting bigger!"
This is Austin's year to put the angel on top....... yes, we do keep track, and next year is Audrey's turn! :)

Here's the family favorite part of the day! FOOD... and a good movie! This year we watched "Holiday Inn" with Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby. The old classic black & white was fun for most of us..... Austin got the good sport award!

Menu: Seafood Chowder (clam & crab), Chicken Cordon-bleu Chowder, BBQ Kelbasa, fruit plate, chips & dip, salsa & taco dip with tortilla chips, artichoke dip, crackers & cheese and a bit of chocolate ... to drink we had pomegranate/cranberry juice and raspberry ginger ale! YUMMY!

Today Is Tree Day!

Today is tree day...... what better activity could there be on a day this close to Christmas during a Nor'easter?! It already looks like a winter wonderland with the new snow falling.... we are due to get 10+ inches followed by sleet and freezing rain and then more snow.... it is definately a good day to stay home! (None of us want to miss church.... but it is safer to stay put today!)
I got up early so that I can get started on making the treats for the day; clam chowder, chicken cordon bleu chowder, artichoke dip served with wheat thins, layered taco dip, just to name a few! We've created 'Blake Family Tree Day' as a special holiday during the Christmas season! This is the day we set up our Christmas tree and have lots of fun going down memory lane remembering making certain ornaments, making & eating special snacks, playing Christmas music and just spending the day with each other! They don't know it yet... but I bought "Holiday Inn" as our special Christmas movie for the evening!
I'll be posting tree pictures later..... (and maybe a recipe or two!)

December 2, 2007

Our Fun Day With Gary....

We had the privilege of having Gary spend the afternoon with us yesterday! Gary is a special young man, the son of our dear friends and 'one of the guys' to my kids! Audrey picked him up after doing her errands in town and brought him home for lunch and to hang out with us!

After lunch I asked Gary if he wanted to bake bread or make cookies .... (smile) the child in his heart said "MAKE COOKIES!" We had lots of fun making cookies together! It is interesting to look through the eyes of one who can't see! How does 'make cookies' translate to someone who is childlike in understanding? (mixing or eating?) We set out on this adventure together making oatmeal-raisin cookies!

Gary was a trooper...

He stirred and even felt the dough, but he wasn't too sure he liked what he was feeling! :) ......

He helped to crack the eggs,

and add the raisins.......

He checked out the dough ready to go in the oven......

AND ate the cookies after they were all baked!! :)

What a blessing Gary is to our lives!


1 Cup shortening (I use 1/2 C. butter & 1/2 C. shortening)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Cups old fashioned Oats
1 Cup chopped walnuts
1 Cup raisins

Preheat oven 350* & grease cookie sheets. Beat shortening, sugars, eggs & vanilla. Add flour, soda & salt and mix. Add the oats, walnuts & raisins and blend in well! Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on the cookies sheet. Bake 10-12 minute or until slightly browned. Let the cookies stand 1 minute before removing to the cooling racks! Makes approx. 5 dozen!! :) :) YUMMY!! (The only thing I'll do differently the next time is to add a pinch of cinnamon & maybe nutmeg!)

November 23, 2007

We Had A Wonderful Day....

It is the morning after Thanksgiving and I just had to say.... we had a wonderful day! We all spent the day at Pete's sister Beth & her husband Eric's house where they prepared a feast! They cooked a turkey and a ham, yummy glazed carrots, squash, mashed potatoes etc. etc. etc.... I think with all the additional food that everyone brought we had enough to feed an army, which is good because we had a small army present, 21 people in all!! All of Pete's siblings (2 sisters, 1 brother & himself) were there with all or part of their families, their mom and aunt were all present and accounted for! This is the first year that most everyone has been able to get together in a LONG TIME, and we even had four generations present! (Pete's mom, his sister, her daughter and her two sons.... ) Here's a group shot with only a few missing.... (THANKS GO TO the picture takers: Jason & Eric!) (Missing family members: Eric one of the photographers, Aaron... serving overseas, Josh had to work, Kim had to work.)Since leftovers are a big things around here, I had a turkey cooking at home too! Naturally, we were all tooo full to eat again, but we did enjoy pie, cheese & crackers, eggnog, cider, tea & coffee! We were blessed to have a family friend with us for the day, to have another family member join us later in the day, and also a couple of friends from church popped in!! We had Amazing Grace playing in the living room and a game of 'Fill or Bust' going at the table! (Steve won, Rita was second, Audrey & TJ were in 3rd & 4th place and Pete & I were 5th & 6th .... ) It was alot of fun... Travis, Jason & Austin were watching the movie and had to turn it up a few times, I guess we were a bit loud! :)

All in all..... we had a wonderful, blessed day! Hope you all did too!

November 21, 2007


Just in case I don't get online to wish all of you a "Happy Thanksgiving" I want to do it now! I pray that each of you who reads this will take time to count your blessings..... whether big or small the Lord God gave them all to you!

This is a special season when we should all stop and look back over the past year.... Whether it was an easier or more difficult year than in the past .... there are people, situations and things we ALL have to be thankful for!

I always remember my father in law especially during this time of year.... he was a humble, quiet man who went about life working hard for his family and would help others as he could! He worked many a Thanksgiving plowing the roads so that others could be safe!! Every year he would make a comment that "If it snows on Thanksgiving, it won't snow on Christmas." :) I am thankful for the example he gave my husband of what it is to be a good man....
This will be the 3rd Thanksgiving without him..... but his legacy of love lives on! This picture of the kids with Pete's mom & dad was taken on Thanksgiving afternoon 1996! He sure hated to have his picture taken... but for the grandkids, he'd do almost anything! :)

Don't get worked up over all the details of the day, but rather enjoy the love of your family and friends around you! Remember to let those you love know just how much you love them.... don't assume that they already know! Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!!

November 20, 2007

"Morning Has Broken....."

Morning has broken.... and the sky dumped out a load of 'white stuff'! :) We officially had our first snow storm today! It isn't a huge amount, just enough to make the driving dangerous.... 35-40 MPH up the interstate to get home.... but the beautiful sight of the snow clinging onto the branches is always a heart stopper for me!
The old wive's tale about the first snowstorm is that whatever date the first storm comes on determines how many storms we'll have for the winter season! :) SO.... according to that we should have 20 storms this year! Maybe I'll keep track this year to see just how close we get!!

Can you believe that the radio is playing CHRISTMAS music already!! Tomorrow is "Thanksgiving" and usually the Christmas music starts the day after... so much for tradition! (I have to admit.... the snow and music sure are putting me in the 'holiday mood'!) :)

November 12, 2007

Happy #20 Travis!

Today is Travis's 20th birthday..... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

The day Travis was born (12:37 AM), we had a snowstorm and Pete went home in about 6-8 inches of slippery snow! Did you know that probably 15 of the last 20 years we have had at least flurries on his special day!
Here is Travis at 22 days old!! :) His teddy bear that Uncle Marc sent from Guam was bigger then he was!

Yesterday, late afternoon, Travis had a bunch of guys over to celebrate with him! We ordered Chinese take out, we had all the required munchies and drinks for before and after eating dinner, and the guys had a great time! They started the potbelly woodstove out in the yard, set off a few fireworks, had dinner, played guitar hero, ate jello cake & ice cream and laughed alot and had lots of fun!! And today, it is official..... Travis is 20!

FLASHBACK.... Travis & Pete building the treehouse for his 5th birthday! :)
And here we are today...... all grown up and ready to take the world!! (Ok, well maybe not ready to take the world, but ready to have fun in it!) :)

Happy Birthday Sweetheart.... AND MANY, MANY MORE! :)

November 8, 2007


Since my last post we have had two more decisions to go to Honduras! Both Austin & Pete have joined the team and will be heading south in January too! I'm excited for them and know that it will be a time for each of them to be stretched and grow in their faith!

All three applications for passports have been filed and the appointments for immunizations are on the books for November! (with boosters in December) They may feel like pin cushions by the end of all this preparation time! :)

NOW it is time for hunting down things to bring with them! FUN THINGS for them to share with the children.... soft Frisbees, flip flops, blow up balls, jacks, etc.... anything that they can tuck into their luggage and use for a bridge to have fun and bless the children! (We also need to figure out what to pack for them..... hot weather clothes for sure!)

Lots lists yet to make!!! (My kids laugh at me 'cuz I make lists to get things done! It works for me... even if it is an 'old lady' way of life.... I don't fritter away my time, lose my focus, or forget what the heck I was suppose to get done!) LOL

Have a wonderful day!

November 1, 2007

One Yes, One No and One Sitting on the Fence....

Do you have any idea what I'm talking about? Probably not... :) Well, the kids are making decisions about a missions trip! Travis has said no for this trip, Austin is still sitting on the fence and Audrey has her letters for support all written and is addressing envelopes even as I type!

January 2008, Audrey along with a team of probably 8+/- others will be heading to Honduras for a ten day medical missions trip! They will be bringing in medical supplies and working with doctors to set up medical & dental clinics and treating as many people as will come!

In years past, this group has pulled teeth, held flashlights for the doctors, flushed ears, helped to dispense Tylenol, played with the children and most importantly shared the gospel of Jesus with the people in these small villages! Most likely, these will be some of the things Audrey will be doing on her trip too!

Audrey is thrilled and honored to be able to go!! I'll keep you updated as her plans progress.... she will be applying for her passport this week and already has the Doctor appt. set for updating her immunizations and getting malaria medication!

I am already excited and can't wait to see the pictures when she gets back! (Yes, of course we'll be sharing them with you all too!) Please keep her and her team in your prayers!!

October 29, 2007

God led us to a new church early September. This church bigger then we are use to and the ride is about 35-40 minutes, but it's well worth it! :) The worship time often brings tears (neither sad nor happy tears, but tears from being awed in the presense of God!) and the teaching is wonderful....

Check out the back side of their business card... pretty cool huh!! :) That message in itself is worth the 35-40 minute ride!!

October 25, 2007

Get A Tissue Ready.....

Have you ever heard of Beth Moore? She is a wonderful Christian author, Bible study leader & speaker! If you haven't picked up one of her books you are missing a good thing! God has used her to speak to the hearts of MANY women!! Here is one of my favorites of her stories from one of her journals.....

April 20, 2005
At the Airport in KnoxvilleWaiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say that because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face.

As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?There I sat, trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen.
And it may be embarrassing.

I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. “Oh, no, God, please, no.” I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, “Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!” There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, “Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.”

Then I heard it… ”I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.” The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, “God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m you’re girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am on him. I am going to witness to this man.”Again, as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. “That is not what I said, Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.” I looked up at God and quipped, “I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?”God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: “I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:17

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story my pulse quickens and as I retell this story, I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, “Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?” He looked back at me and said, “What did you say?” “May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?” To which he responded in volume ten, “Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that.” At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, “SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?” At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, “If you really want to.”

Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, “Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.” “I have one in my bag,” he responded. I went around to the back ot the wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.I know this sounds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s.

His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him.I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, “Sir, do you know my Jesus?” He said, “Yes, I do.” Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, “I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.” He said, “You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.”

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft. I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, “That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?” I said, “Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!” And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted because you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place, or it is time to move on, but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one I had missed along the way… all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

I hope this entry has touched you as much as it touches me EVERY time I read it!
Don't strive to be successful.... strive to be a blessing!!

October 16, 2007

Alot Can Change In A Week!

These pictures were taken while looking up the road (basically, standing at the end of the driveway near the mailbox)!! Isn't it amazing how much color change takes place in a weeks time and after a few rain drops! I have a hunch this would be an awesome place for a winter & spring photo too! I'll keep you posted.....

The temperatures are dropping, yesterday morning it was 41* F and this morning it is 42*F .... brrrr a bit brisk!! Thank God we got a bushel (plus) of apples this past Sunday!! Now, I need to make the applesauce and pie filling for the freezer. That will help warm it up on the inside at least! YUMMY....

October 15, 2007

Here are a few more.....

With the coaxing of a couple of friends this afternoon (you know who you are!) :) here are a few more recent creations!

After a fun-filled Saturday going to Westford, MA to "Ink About It", a WONDERFUL, very ADDICTIVE stamp store.... I found some of the most awesome stamps & paper!! This first card Audrey made with her favorite NEW STAMPS that I found for her (Yes, you may borrow them Anne!) ... this pretty much says it like she sees it!! "Behind Every Successful Woman Is a Substantial Amount of Coffee!" Notice the coffee bean background!! LOL She made this delightful birthday card for her friend Emily!
The next card shows MY personal favorite drink..... a hot cup of tea! :) I popped up the lemon, watercolored them and then added a bit of sparkle to the center! The pictures NEVER show them nicely... (I'm gonna have to figure that out next!) I added a delicate white ribbon just above the sentiment and sent this to a friend recovering from surgery.Finally, the last card is all black & white! MUSIC is our family's passion so naturally I couldn't resist these stamps!! I used the big notes & G clef with clear embossing on black paper and then mounted it on white for contrast. I added the G-clef, quarter note & popped the sentiment "Those who wish to sing will always find a song"....

Hope you are finding some rest & relaxation in whatever you enjoy doing best... Audrey and I are having fun creating again..... it has been quite a while! (NOW FOR THAT NEW CHALLANGE OF FIGURING OUT AN ATC! YIKES! I'll keep you posted!)

October 12, 2007

Isn't It BEAUTIFUL!! :)

I wish you could see what we see!! Driving up and down the highway every morning and afternoon is spectacular! It is amazing just how much change takes place in 24 hours! Rainy days, sunny days, foggy mornings...... ahhhh, it is so awesome!

October 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday... On Thursday!! (It's About 1/2 Peak!)

Audrey went outside and walked around the yard yesterday.... Aren't these beautiful!!

September 23, 2007

Happy Lord's Day!

Happy Lord's Day!

We had a great day today.... Pete, Audrey, Austin and I headed down the highway to church and then treated each other to lunch afterwards at a buffet style restaraunt before we came home! (Travis would have come with us had he been home! He's still working hard at a Christian camp.... they are closing down the cabins and winterizing! Last we heard, he is suppose to be home next weekend!)

Since I still have my 'stuff' all over the table
Audrey & I sat down to work on making cards
again.... Here's what I came up with this time!!

Inspired by the gorgeous changing NH foliage and thoughts of the glistening winter nights I pulled out the "Lovely As A Tree" set! Three similar but different looking cards using the same stamps!

I probably should pick up my mess soon since I go back to work tomorrow... I sure had fun playing again!!

September 22, 2007

Home Alone Today!

Knowing that I'd have the day home alone..... I made a mental list of things I'd like to accomplish today beginning with tidying up. My list started with folding laundry, dishes, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming etc. etc. I also added... finish the last 30 pages of my most recent book "Arkansas" by Christine Lynxwiler, bake, vacuum the van, watch a movie and perhaps pull out the stamps and create a card! :)
I got up at about 5:50AM and finished my book with my morning cup of tea and then helped get Pete & Audrey out the door by 7:15 and Austin was gone by 7:40! Ahhhh, now what?! I took the practical route and finished cleaning the kitchen & folded the rest of the laundry THEN, I decided to get out a few stamps to see if I could wake up the creative juices!

I popped in Reese Witherspoon's "Vanity Fair" dvd (ended up being a so/so movie) and proceeded to look over my stamps sets before deciding towork with the ever trusted "Gentle Thoughts" and "Never Ending Joy" sets from Stamping Up!I don't know if they show up well .... but the flower card is suppose to be eggplant & mellow moss while the teapot card is using navy blue & mellow moss! I enjoyed my quiet day..... It sure felt good to dust off this old hobby and try my hand at it again!

PS..... I never did finish my chores!!

September 21, 2007

The "Girls" Are Going For A Ride...

Another decision has been made by way of preparing for *G*U*L*P* winter... It is time for the 'girls' to move on to greener pastures. We've had the goats for 4 years I think, and although they are sweet and sooo personable, it is time for them to be loved by another family! It has been a blast to have them! We've bred them, enjoyed lots of 'goatie babies' and had lots of fun that goes with watching the antics of such loving and curious animals! (Sigh....) Oh the memories of fun!! Like the first babies being born on Christmas morning.... within half an hour of our 'suppose to leave' time to go to my brother's house! That was one awesome Christmas morning.... two bucks we appropriately named: Frankincense & Myrrh (Frankie & Murray)!!
The chickens are also leaving us.... we've had chickens (not this flock) for years and most likely we'll start up again in the spring. Once you've been 'spoiled' with fresh eggs, it is hard to go back to the pale yellow yoked eggs we buy at the store! We'll manage until we get our next order of chicks then wait the 22-24 weeks until they are ready to lay!Oh boy... I hope I don't let my heart rule over my head this afternoon. Pete is coming home later this afternoon to help load them up.... it is a family decision and truly one for the best! New Thought...(grin...) I'll just keep reminding myself that spring is coming.... and springtime brings more barnyard babies!! :) HMMMM, maybe more chicks..... maybe turkeys, maybe a calf..... or a piglet or two!!

September 19, 2007

Tomatoes, Tomatoes and more Tomatoes!

The killer frost is coming.... it has struck about 25 miles north of us over the past couple of nights, so we know it won't be too much longer for us! I'm trying to get the tomatoes all picked and decide what to do with them! (Canning, freezing, salsa, sauce...???) This year it will be sauce! (Hmmm, this picture doesn't show just how many tomatoes I am dealing with... since it only shows a few plants!)

We've enjoyed fresh tomatoes in salads, eating them as one would eat an apple, in open face tomatoe & cheese broiled sandwiches.... etc. etc. Now to save some for the long (sigh) winter months ahead. After picking & washing the tomatoes I diced up and froze
some containers of tomatoes for soups, chili and to add to the store bought spaghetti sauce later on. With what is left I filled up two big crock pots with even more diced tomatoes!!

They cooked down over night and in the morning I added diced green peppers (from the garden) and some mushrooms and it cooked down some more. The tomatoes shrunk down by 50% and I added some onion powder, garlic, a little bit of sugar and some baking soda to the sauce (to help 'kill' the acid...)!

It will go into the freezer (instead of canning jars) and when
I thaw it.... I'll add Italian spices and perhaps some
meat! I can't wait to try it on spaghetti, lasagna & pizza!
(Can you smell it? IT SMELLS SOOOO YUMMY!)
Next.... I'll be moving on to apple picking and finding creative ways to store them!! (I may be making apple jelly again this year!) I'll keep you posted!