It’s Only Powder

Most mom’s I’ve talked to love their mini-vans. That’s…um…no. I don’t love our van. I appreciate that it holds the number of car seats and baby carriers that our family needs, it’s clean (as much as it can be with kids), I don’t have to do car-seat-yoga to get everyone in and buckled and it has been reliable. I get it… we need it at this point. That doesn’t mean I love it or even like it that much.

Mike went in to work about 2 am to start plowing. I was out to the barn shortly after 5, taking care of my chores and checking the snow to see what I was up against for drifts that morning. Not too bad, looked like a lot of powder. Nothing to be concerned about, so when Mike called and said he wasn’t going to make it home for breakfast as planned I wasn’t too worried that we weren’t going to be plowed out before I had to go to work.

After breakfast, putting in the pigtails that were insisted upon, brushing teeth and getting everyone bundled up for the cold we were out the door. Everyone was soon buckled in their assigned car seats and we were off. Hahaha. No. We were not off. We were spinning at 25 mph in reverse, going nowhere fast. With a little rocking I was able to back up enough to see there was no good reason for me to be not going anywhere.

Continue Reading

Wedding Glasses


We recently attended the wedding of a dear friend. Okay, so we missed most of the ceremony coming from out of town and with kids, but we caught the vows and isle exit. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding and the reception hall was just as lovely. Everyone filed in to the hall to enjoy visiting during a cocktail hour preceding the supper as most wedding celebrations go.

The head table was seated and the guests were called to their tables as the meal was about to be served. It wasn’t too long after that some idiot had to start the glass clinking. Yes, I called the unknown party an idiot. The glass clinking tradition is one of my top three pet peeves.

Continue Reading

Creamed, Steamed and Marinated

Turnip Green Tart
Filling the Turnip Green Tarte

In my quest for more magnesium in my diet, without using a supplemental pill, I have turned my attention to the dark leafy greens of winter. I am a fan of the hearty greens year-round. Seasonably speaking and eating, these are put into the cold weather crop variety. Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale, Turnip Greens to name a few. These can all be eaten raw, but in all honesty, they are a tougher green. Rather than the “rabbit-type nibble” one may use for tender lettuce, greens of the hearty type can render a “cow-cud chewing method”. Although effective, no one is going to want to join you at the table while you’re chewing your cud so to speak. As a firm believer that meals should not be eaten alone, these greens are best eaten prepared in one way or another.

I mentioned magnesium above, it’s a rather important mineral responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in our body and it’s estimated 90% of the population is deficient. I have found that when I don’t have enough my headaches turn to migraines  and I get both more often. Low magnesium can also result in morning sickness for expecting mamas. Magnesium affects more than just that. Low magnesium cause or increase anxiety and depression, cause muscle cramps, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances and more.

A side note Soapbox: All these farmers that are using chemical fertilizer are not helping the situation. Chemical fertilizer depletes the soil of many naturally occurring minerals causing the food grown in them to be less nutritious. God bless them for growing food for the masses but large scale is not always the answer. For more on soil depletion dig into how composting works and the effects of chemical fertilizer on the naturally occurring organisms do the dirty work of breaking down that leaf pile into black gold that contains multitude of nutrition when used to grow your vegetables. Done.

Turnip Greens Tarte
Turnip Greens Tarte
Turnip Green Tarte
Print Recipe
My version of a traditional Croatian Pie. This works just as well with Chard too.
Turnip Green Tarte
Print Recipe
My version of a traditional Croatian Pie. This works just as well with Chard too.
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2/3 cup Lard
  • 1 each Egg
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp Cold Water
Filling
  • 4 cup Greens (Chard, Turnip or both) chopped
  • 3 each Garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • to taste Salt and Pepper
Servings:
Instructions
Crust
  1. In a bread bowl combine the flour and salt
  2. Add the lard and mix with stiff fingers until it resembles heavy corn meal.
  3. In a small bowl combine the egg, vinegar and 3 tbsp. of water.
  4. Add the liquid to the flour and mix again just until it holds together. (an additional tablespoon of water may be needed.)
  5. Divide the dough into two ball and roll each on a lightly floured surface a little thicker than a thin pie crust. (1/3-1/4 in maybe?) -One for the bottom crust and one for the top.
Filling
  1. Toss everything in a bowl just until the greens are evenly coated with oil.
  2. Place the filling on the bottom crust and carefully cover with the top crust. Roll the edges and pinch together.
  3. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 min or until lightly browned.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little extra minced garlic clove
Recipe Notes

**That is the traditional preparation. I like it, my family finds it a little boring. To spice it up for them I add some browned pork sausage, sautéed mushrooms  and chevre cheese.**

 

Share this Recipe
 
Creamed Brussels Sprouts
Print Recipe
This recipe is my favorite with steamed Brussels Sprouts. Spinach can be substituted for part or all the sprouts.
Creamed Brussels Sprouts
Print Recipe
This recipe is my favorite with steamed Brussels Sprouts. Spinach can be substituted for part or all the sprouts.
Ingredients
  • 12 oz Brussels Sprouts, quartered or 2 bunches of Fresh Spinach
  • 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 each Garlic clove minced
  • to taste Salt and Pepper
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix everything together in a baking dish.
  2. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes with sprouts (or 20 with spinach).
  3. Top with a little extra parmesan cheese.
Share this Recipe
 
Balsamic Kale Salad
Print Recipe
If this is left to marinade for 12-24 hours the "cud-chewing" aspect is reduced considerably.
Balsamic Kale Salad
Print Recipe
If this is left to marinade for 12-24 hours the "cud-chewing" aspect is reduced considerably.
Ingredients
Salad
  • Kale roughly chopped
  • 1 each Apple roughly chopped
  • 1 handful Toasted Pecans
  • 1/2 handful Dried Cranberries
Dressing
  • 1 each Garlic clove
  • 1 tsp Spicy Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 each Juice from Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • to taste Salt and Pepper
Servings:
Instructions
Dressing
  1. Place everything but the Oil in a blender or food processor. Process until the garlic is super finely minced.
  2. While machine is running slowly stream in the oil.
Assembly
  1. Toss the salad pieces with the dressing (enough to lightly coat everything, it doesn't need to swim) and let it sit in the fridge over night.
  2. Top with some crumbled blue cheese before serving.
Share this Recipe
 
Continue Reading

Put Your Bra Back On and Go Clean the Kitchen

vintage-cleaning

Seriously, who’s grand idea was it to keep the women folk working in town after the men came home from war? And then again when women started protesting for equal rights? Ladies you really messed things up for those of us who want to be home, tending the children and doing “women’s work”. Even with careful spending on a modest budget, most households need two incomes to make a go of it. There a very lucky few that can make with one but not nearly as many as there should be.

The women’s rights movement really didn’t do me any good. As far as I can tell I am worse off now than I would have been without they so called extra rights and feminism. I am a mother. Isn’t it my right to stay at home and raise my children? I am a wife. Isn’t it my right (and duty) to keep a clean house and serve my husband? (assuming he doesn’t let that go to his head.) That’s my God given right and it has been taken away by man, women actually.

Equality is what was asked for and for the most part was what we got, but not without cost. The negative effects can be seen every day and for the most part not many take the time to notice. It affects our relationships, marriages, children, health and environment. Think about it…

“Chivalry is dead.” I hear it all too often. Well guess what?!  You killed it with your need for equality! Some girl wants the door held open or a real “pick me up for dinner” date. Well if you want to be treated as an equal then you will be treat as “one of the guys”. What will that get you? A slap on the ass and a that-a-boy! That doesn’t come with sweet sentiments and kind words, it comes with noxious gas from both ends. It may not be right it’s too commonly true. (There’s always a couple exceptions) You know there was a time when being treated like a lady actually meant something. And the women actually acted like ladies?! Amazing!

Go through some old photographs, the more casual candid shots, you will find shy smiles or a smirk. The poses are relaxed and natural. Now look at the photos taken today, an obnoxious amount of “selfies” with “duck lips” and flipping the camera the bird. What the heck are people thinking?! Seriously, where is your head?!

I would like to think this kind of nonsense would not be nearly this prevalent is there was a little more respect and attention to who the audience is. That begins at home with a parent that is actually paying attention to the child, actively engaging with them and teaching what them what it is to be respectful, have ethics and for heaven’s sake think. Use your head for more than a hat rest. I see parents so busy with their day jobs and extra activities that they are too busy to take time and really be with their families. There is a difference here folks. You can have the whole family in the living room and not have “family time”. Unplug, have family meals and notice each other for the next month, you will be amazed at the things you can learn from (and about) each other. I guarantee it will strengthen your relationships.

Family meals have changed a lot in the last few decades. Cooking is becoming something of the past I read recently. How amazingly sad is that?! I can’t imagine sending my children out into the world unable to make a decent meal by themselves. Happy, healthy, and capable is the goal we have for our children. They don’t have to be rich or successful at anything in particular. All of that again begins at home, with a parent willing to take the time to teach (and in this day learn and then teach).

Important basic life skills are not being handed down because there is no one home to give or receive them.

Then there is the argument “I work so I have my own money to shop (or whatever)”. Marriage is when two people become one. There is no “yours” and “mine” any more, it is “ours”. You are in it together. When one falls, both fall and both should help each other up. If you need extra money to spend frivolously, discuss it and budget for it. If the money isn’t there, do you really need whatever it is you want right now? Can it be saved up for, to be purchased later? Arguments involving money coupled with lack of real communication is one of the top causes of divorce. Again this is at home, where we should be mentally present as well as physically. When the little bit of time at home is spent hurriedly cleaning, doing laundry, whipping up whatever frozen/boxed dinner, there is little time, if any, left to be together as family time.

Keeping a household together is a full time job with overtime. How is anyone supposed to keep up on the cooking, cleaning, laundry, children, garden, lawn, animals and so on, when they are already working full time in town? I am a firm believer in “to do” lists. I can get a whole lot done if I have a list. Even I get to a point where it is just not physically possible to add any more minutes to the day. Talk about frustrating. Holy cows!

I have no problem doing “women’s work”. Don’t even think about telling me to do it though, that will get you in a bit of hot water. I know my place, I’ve read the bible. I have yet to figure out how to make all this work. I will get there…maybe. For now I am blaming all those bra burning… ladies (and the overuse of electronic technology) for the majority of the problems we are experiencing these days. Humph!!

Not to mention, if the majority of women were removed from the workforce, there would be plenty of jobs available for the men on the unemployment list. There. The unemployment rate would drop considerably, the kids these days would once again be taught a little respect and a work ethic ( I would hope), causing crime to go down, school grades to go up and we would begin to see a generation capable of taking care of themselves and there neighbors once again.

 

Continue Reading

The Super Secret Secret to Getting Stuff Done

Quite often when I tell people what I have been up to I give them the short list and as far as I can see, it’s not much. Yet I tend to get a surprised reply of “how do you find the time?’ or “I wish I had that much energy.” Well, let me tell yah, it’s not that I have a never ending supply of energy or that I don’t get tired. There are days that I wonder how I made it home from work. Scary I know. You know you’ve been there too, you know the way and could get there in your sleep and sometimes do.

It’s not a matter of so much cardio and the perfect amount of sleep and all those things that the health magazines tell you. They do help, but there’s more to it than that. It’s motivation. It’s the drive to get up in early morning hours to “get stuff done”. It’s the daily and weekly “to do” list and the need to get it done.

It most certainly is something that everyone can do. The whole “if it were easy everyone would do it” is bologna. It takes practice and the feeling that you want to do it. It’s got nothing to do with difficulty. How difficult is it to fold a load of laundry? For most people it’s a very simple task and still not everyone does it. Those that want things organized and put away do it, (or have their wives do it) not those that sit back and think “gee it sure would be nice if …”.

I have always been busy but I wasn’t always motivated to get things done. There is a difference. So many people race to get here and there and at the end of the day can’t seem to think of a single thing the actually accomplished aside from going to work or picking up groceries. That is where the “to do” lists come in to play.

A good list will keep you on track. At the end of the day you will have a piece of paper with all sorts of things crossed off and can see exactly what you got done and what will have to be added to tomorrows list. You only have to fall behind a couple times on your list to understand that it needs to get done or tomorrow (and possibly days after) will be affected. At that point you have the choice to give up or to decide that you will put in a little more effort.

For my lists I like to have them organized, which sometimes means I write a list and then rewrite it to get the “kitchen stuff” together, the “barn stuff” together and so on. I also include any craft or fun project I want to work on. Everything that I hope to accomplish for the day goes on the list. I need to think about a nap category; that might be nice. This way as you are working on one task you know what the next will be there is no time wasted wandering around trying to remember what you were going to do next or deciding what to do. You already have your plan set. Just get to it!

A good list is like new exercise program. You can print off as many programs as you want but they aren’t going to get you in shape. You still need to do the work to see the results. Your “to do” list is the same way. Write as many as you want, color coded, categorized, sprinkle it with glitter if you want. You just wasted good time glittering a list of things that are actually needing to be done. Good job. Take the time to get organized and then get to work. That sparkly list isn’t going to complete itself.

Motivation is not something that can be taught in a book sense but I do think it can be learned in a working sense. If you start small, make a little list for the day. Get everything on your list done by the end of the day and look back on what you accomplished. Let that feeling of accomplishment drive you to try again tomorrow. You also really have to want to accomplish your list. I mean really want to. Just like anything else, talking is just that, it doesn’t add up to anything but noise. The cliché “actions speak louder than words” although over used, is true.

So now you have your list, your motivated and “I will start tomorrow”. Just toss your list at that point.

Start today.

Sitting on lunch break making your list? Make one for the remainder of the day. Then start writing tomorrow’s if you want. Starting tomorrow really doesn’t work for too many people. You go to bed all motivated and ready to get started. When you wake up, are half asleep, “oh that list thing, I will start later” and so it begins. The next thing you know you are going to bed and haven’t touched the list because you forgot to start “later”. Start now. Diets don’t need to start on a Monday, neither does a “to do” list. Besides the sooner you start the sooner you’re done.

I think I may have perfected my “to do” list/ Daily planner organizing. I will continue to give it a trial run for a while. If it proves effective I will make the print outs available to you. Daily planners with time slots have never done me much good. I don’t make that many appointments in the day (if any). I do have a rather lengthy list that needs to get done. I have managed to come up with a system that keeps everything in it’s category and even includes a meal plan! It’s great!

I remember on Saturday mornings, mom would work and it was up to dad to get things going around the house. We used to ask mom to tell dad to let us sleep in. “Get up! You’re burn’n daylight!” was what I remember him saying. At the time I was not happy about the wake up call. Now, I can’t believe he let us sleep in as late as he did! The amount of time I wasted sleeping in when I could have been doing something, oh boy. I now find that I am telling myself “get out of bed, or you will just waste a day”. It’s still about as well received as it was when dad would say it, but it’s true and so I get up.

At this point I am pretty sure that even though I have the drive, the motivation and a well organized list, I am still running on perpetual motion and coffee. 🙂

To do list

 

Continue Reading