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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.

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