Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blizzard's Beauty

Yesterday was the first day in a week that I felt comfortable taking my rear-wheel drive car out on the roads. The blizzard didn't hit us as hard as other areas, but it did leave our roads a mess! There are still a few small icy spots, but the plows have done a great job keeping things clear. Here's a little of what we saw...







Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

...and it's coming true. A little excessive, though. This is what is going on outside our door right now.



This weather has changed our plans, which really kind of sucks. My sisters-in-law from Denver and Lincoln won't be coming back. My older brother and his family live about 2 hours northwest of us, and they're going to wait till Friday afternoon to make a decision. My younger brother from Kansas City is leaning towards staying home, too. We'll miss seeing everyone, but with icy roads and 45mph winds blowing up to 18" of snow, we'd rather they stay safe and sound in their own homes.

I usually do my grocery shopping one week at a time. I plan out our meals before going and stick to the list. This week, we were planning on being at my in-laws' on Friday and my parents' on Saturday, so I didn't buy anything for lunch and supper for those two days. Yesterday, I made a mad dash into town so we could eat something other than cookies, cheese balls, chocolate pie, and hashbrown casserole all weekend! I picked up a copy of A Christmas Story, and on Christmas Day (if we stay home), we're going to watch the movie, and I'm going to make Chicken Fried Rice.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Books...and prayers

I hate to start off a post like this, especially so close to the holidays. But, there is a family that needs as many prayers/well wishes as they can get. A 27-year-old woman, her boyfriend (some reports are saying husband), and 4 kids were living in a trailer home. Early Tuesday morning, it caught on fire. They've been showing pictures on the news, and there is nothing left. Losing all of their possessions isn't even the worst of it. A 4-year-old was treated and released from the local hospital, the mom and a 3-year-old were flown to Lincoln in critical condition. As of yesterday, the mom's condition was upgraded to serious. They are obtaining dental records to positively identify the adult and 2 kids who were unable to make it out of the home. If you'd like to help the family, there is some information here.


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Now on to the books I've added to my library...

The first one, I heard about on Amy Karol's blog. I love this little book (that can be found here), and am so thrilled to have it in my possession. It's cute and informative! The whole book is handwritten with cute illustrations that covers ailments, gardening, and cleaning, and just about everything in between! It's only $5, but worth so much more.



This next book has been on my wish list for months, and I finally bought it a few weeks ago. Alabama Stitch Book. If you have ever wondered what to do with your old t-shirts, this book will help you turn them into some of the most amazing artwork you'll ever wear! Just look at the blog, or take some time to browse the flickr group. I dare you not to be inspired.





Next up is Betz White's Sewing Green. After looking through this book, you'll be going to your closet, fabric stash, or store searching for something, anything, that you can use to make the projects in the book. Of course, there is also a flickr group for this book that offers plenty of eye candy.




Last, but not least, is Amanda Soule's (aka SouleMama) lastest book, Handmade Home. Amanda's books are so much more than just craft books. They offer a way to reconnect with your kids, and yourself. If you love her blog, or have her first book, you'll love Handmade Home. If you'd like a signed copy, just go to her blog (linked above or on my sidebar). In the meantime, check out the flickr group here.



Amanda's first book, The Creative Family, can be found here. Signed copies are available from her site.

Next on my crafty book list are this and this! I mentioned Amy Karol above, and I recommend her first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing. I bought it a little over a year ago and absolutely love it! The second book on my wish list is by the very talented Meg McElwee from Sew Liberated. I have a couple of her patterns and love the tutorials on her blog, so I'm dying to see what's in her book!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ummm...

What to Germany, Bulgaria, Pakistan, and Mexico all have in common?

Someone from each country came directly to my blog post titled, "How strongly are you opposed to grand theft auto?"...either they understood the reference to New Moon, or they were looking for something else entirely!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Warm Thoughts on a Cold Day

It snowed on Sunday, enough to make the schools start 2 hours late. Due to more snow expected tonight thru Wednesday, school has been cancelled tomorrow (and probably on Wednesday, too). The boys and I will probably finish up our indoor Christmas decorating, maybe try making some cinnamon/applesauce ornaments, and thinking warm thoughts.

In the spirit of thinking about warmer things, I'll finally share with you some pictures I took while we were in Chadron and Crawford in August. I didn't realize that I took very few photos in Chadron. Most are from Fort Robinson (an excellent place to visit, by the way)!

This is probably the one picture I took in/around Chadron. It's on Hwy 20 about a mile west of Chadron.

Fort Robinson, Crawford, Nebraska

We rarely go to the panhandle without at least driving through the Fort. This is the place where my grandparents started their life together.


This was taken by the Lodge, looking toward the museum through some flowers. My great-aunt, Jessie (Mercer), donated her WAC uniform that is on display here. My grandpa's older brother, Ralph was stationed here with the army after WWII. He met Jessie, they fell in love, and were married here at the Fort. A former German POW (German soldier) even made their wedding cake!



This is where my mom spent most of her childhood. When my grandparents got married, grandpa was working for the Meat Animal Research Center, which was based at Fort Robinson. When my mom was born, they were living in what is now "Adobe 9A". Every time we go up there, we are able to go through the cabin, as long as nobody is staying in it at the time. I love watching my mom walk through, especially when she's telling us where things were and what was in each room.

What an amazing view they had!




Smiley Canyon - Fort Robinson, NE

These two pics don't even begin to show the beauty of Smiley Canyon. It really is a canyon, although it doesn't look like it from these! If you drive through first thing in the morning, you can usually see the buffalo roaming. We went through in the middle of the afternoon, so we didn't get to see any wildlife.



Toadstool Park - about 20 miles north of Crawford






68 years


Can you read what that says? I know it's really faint. It says, "Remember Pearl Harbor". It's at the bottom of a letter my grandpa wrote to his parents on February 19, 1942.

My grandpa and I had many conversations about his WWII experience. Those conversations made me realize how important it is for us to remember and acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military and their families. Tonight, like every December 7th, the boys and I will watch a National Geographic documentary about the events that took place 68 years ago today.
**I also want to thank everyone who participated in the Cookie Swap - I can't wait to try out these recipes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

COOKIE SWAP TODAY!!!


Time to start swapping!

I had hoped to make each of these recipes, but I had a few extra things fall into my lap this week, so it didn't happen. Every year, as long as I can remember, we have had Peanut Butter Fudge and Heavenly Fudge Bars at Christmas time. One note on the Heavenly Fudge Bars: this is probably the one recipe that I make sure to buy quality, name-brand ingredients.

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

2 C sugar
2/3 C milk
1 C chunky peanut butter
1 (16-oz) package chocolate chips
1/2 pint jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla

Butter sides of heavy 2-qt saucepan. In it, combine sugar and milk. Heat till sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Then cook to soft-ball stage. Remove from heat; add remaining ingredients and stir till blended. Pour into buttered 9x9x2 inch pan. Score in squares while warm, cut when firm.

HEAVENLY FUDGE BARS

1/3 C shortening
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C flour
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C chopped walnuts
20 marshmallows

Cream shortening and add sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Sift flour, soda, salt, and cocoa together and add to creamed mixture. Mix well and stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spread in 8x11 inch pan. Bake at 350 degree oven for about 20 min. Remove from oven and cover with marshmallows. Place in oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spread marshmallows out to cover cookies. Cool, then frost with this frosting:
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C water
2 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 C powdered sugar
Place brown sugar, water, and cocoa in sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir well and pour over top of marshmallow layer on cookies.






Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble, Gobble!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Virtual Cookie Swap


I'm always looking for a few new cookie recipes around the holidays. This usually means spending a few hours looking at recipe after recipe, and coming up with very little. So this year, I've decided to host a Virtual Cookie Swap.

Date: Friday, December 4 - 6, 2009
Where: Right here!
How: Mr. Linky will be at the bottom of my post that day - all you have to do is add your link!
Spread the Word: Please feel free to add my cookie swap button to your blog, linking back to this post. The more the merrier!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How strongly are you opposed to grand theft auto?


So, the sis-in-laws and I took my niece to see the movie Friday night. We weren't too interested in seeing the flick, but figured Jadyn would probably need her mom and 3 aunts to protect her from the crazies. Um, yeah. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! We went to the 7:10 showing, and arrived around 6pm. We had to wait a little to get in, since the previous showing wasn't quite over, yet. By 6:30, the theatre was packed, and the employees were trying to find seats for people! New Moon was sooooo much better than Twilight. KStew's acting hasn't improved, but it's not as noticable in this one. I'm already looking forward to Eclipse!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One down, how many to go?

Have you ever felt like you have the worst luck ever? That's the way I feel sometimes. My laptop, with all those promised pictures, is currently being fixed, but I should have it back by the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'll share with you what we're giving my in-laws and my parents for Christmas.



The original plan was to use a black frame with a double white matting. That would have been insanely expensive, so I was thrilled when I found a couple of frames at Gordman's for $15-$17 that had the right number of spaces! I found the letters at Hobby Lobby when the unfinished wood items were 50% off, so they were only $1 each, and the photos were developed at Wal-Mart. The total cost for both gifts was less than $50!

If your mom and dad are like mine, and my in-laws, and are running out of room to put all those fantastic knick-knacks, I recommend doing something like this. Every year, we plan to retake photos so there are always updated photos of the grandkids.

I really like the way they turned out, so I even picked up another frame yesterday to make one for us!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers

My heart goes out to all those affected by the shooting at Fort Hood yesterday.

A friend posted the following on her facebook page...

"Praying for the Fort Hood Families tonight. That's my brothers base but don't worry...he's safe and sound in Iraq right now."

Another friend's sister had left the place where the shootings occurred around 1pm. The shootings started around 1:30.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Fort Hood community and families.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grrr.

So, I've been trying to upload pics to Blogger for the past two days, and I'm not having any luck. I don't know if it's Blogger or my internet company (we've lost the net completely for a couple of hours both yesterday and today). I'll keep trying, and will get those promised pics up as soon as I can!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Time Flies

Where has the time gone? I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted! I know I owe you some pictures of what came home with me from the Junk Jaunt, but you'll have to wait a little longer (I haven't taken pics of everything, yet)! Sorry! Things have been kind of crazy around here lately. Between all of us being sick at one time or another, swaps, and working on the haunted house, I really haven't had time for much else!


Last weekend was the 2nd (and maybe last) Holstein Haunted House. I was suffering from migraines, so I didn't get to be in it - I was sure that the screaming would have definitely triggered one. I did go in on Saturday to get a few pictures, though! They're not the best pictures, one of those headaches was trying to sneak it's way in, but I hope you'll enjoy them anyway!


My sis-in-law, Jocelyn, played "Fritz" the clown. Fritz was the one who guided the guests through the haunted house. Jocelyn is quite a character herself, so she was perfect! My nephew, Cole, was the funeral director. I tried uploading a video of his head-drop, but it didn't work. I'll keep trying, though, because it is AWESOME!

Jeremy's uncle Mike and Cole in the cemetery (Cole was following me around trying to get into every picture!)

This was the vortex. I really wish I would have gotten video of it. It was amazing! It was pitch black in this hallway except for the green light. It's just a laser pointer my father-in-law attached to a computer fan to make it spin, and the fog from the fogger in there made it look like you were in a spinning tunnel!

There was also an insane asylum, medical examiner (our M.E. was the local butcher, and he brought in one of his tables that he uses to chop meat - his daughter had to lay on it because she was the autopsy - and a couple of racks full of cow hearts and tongues!), funeral parlor, Bloody Mary, and a child's room. In the child's room, my neice Jadyn was laying on a bed and a monster came out of the closet and crawled under the bed. Then, she would "wake up" and fall out of bed onto a rug. As soon as she was down, her dad (he was hiding and you couldn't see any part of him) would pull her, screaming under the bed. Once she was under, the monster would come back out and go back into the closet.


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I did have time for a few crafty things, though. One of those things was a clock. I found this container in my grandpa's old barn when we went out there a few weeks ago. It was made by the Sunflower Manufacturing Co., and there's a ruler on this inside, but I don't know what it was used for. It had two small holes, one on the front, and one right across on the back, that were the perfect size for a clock kit! The screw on the kit was about an inch long, and too big for the hole, so Jeremy cut be a piece of wood (I didn't want that much of the screw sticking out anyway), painted the gold hands red, and put it all together. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to add numbers. I kind of like the simplicity of it now.



Hope you all have a Happy Halloween! If the weekend goes like I'm hoping it will, I'll have a couple of things to show you on Monday, and even add a few handmade items to my Etsy shop!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nebraska Junk Jaunt 2009 - What I DIDN'T Buy!

This gorgeous tree was found in Dannebrog, NE.


I have to admit, I've been a bit grumpy for the last few days. I have decided to boycott any antique "dealer" who sells things that have come from abandoned homes. Just because there's a farm out in the middle of nowhere that nobody has lived in for years, you DO NOT have the right to go take whatever you want. That farm still belongs to somebody, and there's always that chance that the owner (or a son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter of the owner) wants the things that are still there. So, when you go load up an old woodburning stove from the 1920's, you are not only a trespasser, but you are a THIEF. And, if I find out who you are, I can guarantee that I will make sure EVERYBODY within a 300 mile radius knows you for the thief you are.

Now, on to the JJ! There were soooooooooo many goodies, and I came home with a few. Mom and I managed to fill up the back of my dad's pick-up and the trailer. Until I get around to taking pictures of everything I bought, I'll show you a few of the things that I passed up. There are some pictures missing, though. My camera has been doing funny things like saying the JPEG isn't compatible, which is odd since I've used the same camera for a couple of years now. It's probably just time for a new memory card. Anyway...here are a bunch of pictures. They're not necessarily in the order that they were taken, but here they are!


A man in two suits. Love it!

I stared at this old Red Cross uniform for a long time, and it almost came home with me.

This is only part of the collection of old sporting supplies for sale in Broken Bow.



I don't remember what town this little building was in, but something about it just appeals to me.
I always thought the Hotel California was in Cali, but it's not. It's in Elba, NE!

There were a LOT of tractors (and saddles) for sale. I would have loved to have come home with one, but seriously. What would I do with a pretty tractor?




We pulled into Elba, and it was like a huge party there! Our new, smaller traveling gnome got to hang out with Santa and Sam.

I'll try to get busy and take pictures of what I did bring home, and also some of the things we found at my grandpa's farm last weekend. Dad thinks mom and I are slightly crazy, but we're teaching him to appreciate junk a little more!


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