Saturday, April 30, 2011


No laughing at this post if you are a professional photographer . . . 

I am just learning to take pictures.  Natural light is my favorite. Sometimes it is too dark and I just have to use a flash.  But the flash makes everything so stark white.  So I made this tiny little white diffuser to slip over my built-in, pop-up flash.  Check out the difference. 



I don't know if I love it, but it sure does take some of the starkness away.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Yummy Easter Dinner!  There's some of that wheat grass I grow every year.

Jay was so excited to play the piano with Thomas.  He said, "My dream finally came true."

Dying Eggs . . . 

Check out the interesting colors.  Most of the eggs were brown.

A short little egg hunt in the front yard . . . 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bees Have Arrived

First chickens . . . now bees.  Can you believe it?!  I'm still in shock myself.  Check out my very brave husband, Todd, putting our bees into their new home.
And a couple of close ups . . . 

(Amber, are you okay? Will you still read my blog?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The yogurt was fairly simple too.
Pour milk into a pot.  Heat it to between 105 degrees and 122 degrees.  Add the culture.  I added a couple of heaping tablespoon of Greek Yogurt from our fridge as the culture.
Then you have to keep the yogurt at that temperature (105 -122) for 6 to 8 hours.  That's the trickiest part.  For me it was easy.  I bought this yogurt maker on Ebay years ago.  It holds the yogurt at the right temperature.  The book gives several other ways of keeping the temperature stable like using the oven or a crockpot.
Do I dare attempt to make cheese?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I have been wanting to learn to make cheese for a while.  I checked this book out of the library.  It has you start by making butter, then yogurt, and eventually cheese.
We have made butter before but I decided to follow the directions in the book.  First we put the cream in a jar.  Our jar was too small.  Next time I will use a pint of cream and put it into a quart jar.  Then you shake, shake, and shake some more.  This is where it is very handy to have many children.
Within about 10 to 15 minutes the buttermilk separated from the butter.
We placed the butter in cheese cloth and placed it into a strainer.  Then we ran water over it until the buttermilk was washed away.  Then we stirred in a little salt.
Oh, my!  It was delicious! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

It Is

Yes, it is what it looks like! A beehive!
(sorry Amber)

Flowers for Me

Thomas went on choir tour last weekend.  He brought home some beautiful tulips from the flower market for me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sewing Away the Stress

My Dad has been sick.  And it has been a little overwhelming.  I decided to step away from all my responsibilities for a short while and do something I enjoy . . . sewing.  I love to sew.  But it seems it always gets put on the back burner because there are so many other priorities.

I pulled out my favorite apron pattern and went to work.  I stayed up way too late sewing.  And I loved every minute of it.  Even the next morning when I was really tired, I didn't regret the time I spent sewing. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paper Towels

I like to keep my kitchen counters as clear as possible.  It seems like there are just some things that are unavoidable.  Here is the paper towel holder we have used for years. 

Most of the time it looked like this, with a trail of paper towels across the counter.

I picked up this new paper towel holder at Hobby Lobby for 50% off last week.  Hooray! More clear counter space.  Now if I could just figure out what to do about all those red cups . . . 

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

Oh, my!  Yum!  These are so gooooooood.  They taste like chocolate chip cookies on steroids.  I got the recipe from here at Your Home Based Mom.


I was having lunch at a friend's house and noticed she had round bread on the counter.  I asked her what kind of pan she baked it in.  Would you believe a pineapple juice can?!    
 You can fit a bunch of loaves in the oven at once because they all bake upright.  It was so easy.  One batch of my bread dough filled 5 cans.
And the bread just slipped right out of the pan when it came out of the oven.  After slicing the bread I thought the tops and bottoms would make the perfect hamburger bun.
There were delicious.  But I must say, we are use to using the light, fluffy, white, store-bought buns.  These ones were quite hearty and filling, considering they were made from freshly ground wheat.

50th Anniversary Party

Now that I paid $5 for extra storage space for my blog, I can post pictures of the 50th Anniversary party we threw for Todd's parents . . . 

There was a lot of yummy food . . . 

Mom's beautiful wedding dress on display . . . 

a lot of visiting going on . . . 

this picture just because you know how much I love that beautiful granddaughter of mine . . . 

cutting the cake . . . 

a little taste . . . 

and a song.

What a great occasion to celebrate!

Friday, April 8, 2011


I just got this message when I tried to add a picture to my blog post . . .

Whoops! You're out of space. Purchase more storage.
Photos are stored in your Picasa Web Albums account and are included in your 1 GB free quota for photos. Additional storage you purchase is shared between several Google products and is in addition to your free quota.

I guess blogger isn't really free anymore.  Has anyone else got this message before?  What did you do?

Four Favorites for Friday

I learned a little bit about myself writing this post . . . 

Four of my favorite seasonings . . .

Frank's Hot Sauce
I like to put this on everything . . . meat, vegetables, eggs, mixed with mayonnaise as a dip . . . 

Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
Our favorite way to use this seasoning is on chicken or shrimp just before grilling.
Are you starting to see a pattern?

Crushed Red Pepper
Add this and a little minced garlic to some hot oil before frying meat or vegetables . . . delicious! 

And thanks to Kim and Travis, my newest favorite . . . 
Valentina Hot Sauce
Super yummy on scrambled eggs.
 I kind of knew I liked spicy food.  There are many other seasonings that I like, but when I started digging to find my favorite seasonings, I was kind of surprised to find they were all hot.