Thursday, August 23, 2012

First 5K Race!

When I started jogging for the first time ever last summer, my step-mom, Diana (who is a speed walker) said she wanted to run a 5K race with me. I laughed and thought, yeah right! Like I could ever run 3.1 miles! I got up to jogging/wogging 2 miles last summer, than this year, I decided to get serious and work myself up to 3.1 miles so I could do that 5K with Diana. I wanted to step into her world and find out why she loved racing so much. I'm glad I did and I feel like God used it to strengthen our mother-daughter bond.

We decided to race in the Catherine Creek Classic, and I started to train for it. Just before the race, I was running 3.5 miles very slowly. I was just happy to know I could jog the full the distance and survive!

This is Diana and I after the race. We ran together the whole time and made it almost 30 minutes flat. I was so happy to have shaved my time down to just under 10 minute miles. I came in 4th place for my age division, but the best part is Diana came in 1st in her age bracket. I'm so proud of her! It was fun running with her and it pushed me farther than I thought I could go. I'm definitely going to be doing this at least once a year with her from now on, Lord willing. We are now trying to get my sister to join us for a 5K next summer. Diana is speed-walking the Hood to Coast relay race this weekend. I'm praying she'll do really well and have a great time. Nothing like an upcoming race to motivate you!

I used to think people were crazy for wanting to run, let alone race. I guess it's a official - I'm crazy! 

God Bless,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dutch Oven Garlic-Herb Pork Roast with Potatoes Recipe

Oh, man! I came up with a slam-dunk Dutch Oven recipe that everyone who likes pork will love.

Dutch Oven Garlic-Herb Pork Roast with Potatoes Recipe
3 to 5 lb pork roast
5 red potatoes, wedged
1 onion, wedged
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup mixed chopped herbs (I use fresh basil, oregano, sage, thyme, parsely, chives or green onion)
salt and pepper

Two or three days before you plan on cooking the roast, mix pressed garlic, herbs and salt and pepper (Reserve a 1/4 cup of this mixture for the potatoes) together, then rub all over roast. Put the herbed roast in a plastic bag or large covered glass bowl to "marinate".

When ready to cook:
Place herbed roast in bottom of Dutch oven. Add enough water so the roast is sitting in about 1 inch of water. Cover and cook over medium heat (I use a tri-pod and place it just above the flames or above coals). Cook for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, checking every now and then to make sure there is still water in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add potatoes and onion, along with the rest of the "herb marinade". At this point you only need about a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom to keep stuff from sticking. Cook until potatoes are done (about 30 minutes). The potatoes will soak up the flavoring from the pork, making them extra yummy! Slice and serve immediately. 

Hope you enjoy this easy gourmet camping meal :)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paper Nine Patch Memory Quilt

At my daughter's "Little House" themed 5th birthday party, we had each of the guests make Hailey a 9 patch paper quilt block and sign their name to the back. Later, Hailey and I tied it together to make a beautiful wall hanging for her bedroom. It was a very simple, memorable craft that didn't cost me anything as I already had the paper, glue sticks and yarn. It was simple, even the youngest children at the party were able to participate.

1.) The first thing I did was take card stock 8.5x11 paper (I used white) and cut 4.5 inch squares out using my scrapbook paper trimmer. Then I cut 1.5 inch squares out of lots of different left-over printed scrapbook paper. A paper trimmer makes this job really fast and easy.
2.) Glue the 1.5 inch pieces in a 9 patch pattern to the 4.5 inch card stock block. Instead of using cheap glue sticks, I decided to use some special scrapbooking glue stick that hold up really well. It is called "Pioneer Extra Strong Embellishment Glue Stick" that bonds permanently, is child safe and acid free. Not too expensive and I love it! Don't forget to have your quilters sign the back of their quilt blocks.

3.) When you are ready to put the quilt together. Trim each 4.5 inch block so there isn't any paper overhanging. This is an important step in making the quilt square.

4.) Arrange the blocks into a desired pattern, then using a hole punch, punch only the corners that will need to be tied together to make the quilt.

5.) Using about a six inch piece of yarn, tie the blocks together so they fit fairly snugly together, but not so tight that the squares overlap. Trim the ends of the yarn when finished so that they stick up only about a half inch. 

6.) Hang on wall. We used 12 quilt blocks to make this hanging quilt.

The sky is the limit with this craft! You could get super creative with this our keep it simple. Either way, you will end up with something to treasure. I think this would make a great keepsake gift for someone.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Success at the County Fair!

This is the second year we decided to enter our home cooked/grown goodies. Once again, I'm so glad we took the time because we had great success. It sure helps the kids look at all the things entered with more interest. Also, it is a great way for the kids to earn a little extra money for all those blue ribbons.  The people at the fairgrounds kept thanking us over and over for entering so many things, especially in the home craft and baking departments. They said that entries are getting to be less and less in this modern day of processed foods. 
In Josiah's case, he not only received money for his blue ribbons, but also won the Jr. Division's Baking Championship with his 100% whole wheat bread. The award was worth $25! In addition, he received "Best of Show" and "Judges Choice" and a blue ribbon for it. He was so excited!!!

He got second place on his gingersnaps. BTW, all the recipes we entered are posted on this blog. So just do a search and you'll find them. I don't have time to post all the links.

1st place on the hand-braided wool chair pad. Our neighbour taught him.

They entered their button necklaces and bracelets and got second place. Josiah received 3rd place for the fishhook he made.

I won 1st place with this pic of Hailey in her dunce cap at a one room school house we visited on a homeschool field trip.

Got second place for the Black and White of Hailey in my wedding dress.

The kids got second place for their paper quilt blocks.

I received blue ribbons (mostly because I was the only one who entered anything under these categories) for: feta cheese, queso fresco, ketchup, cultured buttermilk, butter, bacon, sour cream (also got a Exhibit Award) and Italian bread crumbs (also got Reserve Champion). I got a red ribbon on my granola and nothing for my lard because they said it tasted burnt. I use it for soap, so I don't really care what it tastes like. I didn't get anything on my yogurt because I don't add gelatin to mine to make it a smoother consistency and they wanted it smoother.

Hailey received a blue for her Mammoth sugar melting peas.

And a blue for her red potatoes.

Both got blues on their herbs (Josiah entered sage, and Hailey entered oregano). They look so cute in their OSU Beaver sunglasses!

We had a great time! We will miss this sweet county fair when we move.

Hope you are all entering AND winning at your county fairs!

God Bless,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hobo Dinner Recipe

I love this time of the year when we are getting fresh produce from the garden (or other's gardens) and can make things like "Hobo Dinner" on the grill.

Here is what I do:
1 lb hamburger formed into 4 patties
sliced potatoes (I prefer red or gold)
sliced onion
sliced carrot
sliced zucchini
sliced mushrooms
4 fresh minced garlic cloves (one for each hobo dinner)
(More options: red or green pepper, green beans, snow peas, kale, corn, squash)
Variety of freshly chopped herbs (parsely, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano)
salt and pepper 
1/2 Tbl of butter

In a large tinfoil square, place veggies on top of meat patty. Press garlic clove over each one, salt and pepper and add butter. Fold tinfoil around food tight enough so the butter doesn't leak out, but loose enough to be able to check to see if the potatoes are tender. Grill approximately 20 minutes, turning the packet over every five minutes until done. If camping, just place in coals, and check it every now and then. 

Enjoy! You're kids will love it! 
God Bless,

P.S. I hate cooking with tinfoil because of the leaching aluminum, so if anyone has a suggestion for using something else, I'm all ears :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hailey's 5th Birthday - a "Little House" Theme Party

Hailey wanted a "Little House" themed party this year for her 5th birthday. Being a "Little House" nut myself, I was happy to oblige and had so much fun putting this together. We use birthday parties as homeschool immersion opportunities. We research the foods, dress, music, and what kind of decorations would be appropriate for the era. We also use it to teach our guests about some traditional homesteading techniques. Of course our challenge is to put on a great party for as little money as possible. This was the least expensive party I've ever put on. I had a lot of help from friends and family, which was such a blessing! We are doing the "Prairie Primer" unit study this year with some other homeschool families and I felt like this was an opportunity for the kids to start getting excited about it. 

For her birthday breakfast, Hailey requested "pancake men" like Ma made for Laura and Mary in "Little House in the Big Woods". I was able to purchase the "Little House Cookbook" and we used a lot of recipes from it.

I found this old-time nightgown at a yard sale. Hailey loves it and wore it the night before her party.
We finally found a wall tent for an excellent deal and it came in handy for the party. We rolled up the sides and it made a terrific sun shade. We decorated the tables with quilts and mason jars filled with real sunflowers and daisies. 

Hailey in the beautiful dress that was given to her by a friend . We bought her a hoop skirt to wear under it and she just loved it. 

Hailey with her cousins, Jessica and Lily. It was so fun having them come up for the party, and my sister, Stacie, was a huge help to me!

Lily in the same sunbonnet Stacie wore when she was that age. Love this look! I was thrilled to have found a red-checked table cloth like what Ma had in the "Little House" series.  

My niece, Jessica, showing off her paper quilt blocks. I had each of the kids make one and put their names on it. I'm going to tie them all together and make a quilt for Hailey to hang on her wall. It will be something she can remember all her friends by when we move. Jessica is wearing the dress my sister wore at my dad and step-mom's wedding 26 years ago.

Michael was in charge of the coffee grinding station. He had great fun teasing all the kids, including my adorable nephew, Andrew. We told the kids at the beginning of the party that they would have to work for their food just like they did in the pioneer days. They did, too!

My mom was in charge of the homemade ice cream. All the kids took turns cranking the handle.

Instead of a cake, we made "Laura's Little Maple Cakes" and homemade butter-cream frosting with our homemade butter. It was the first time in over 5 years that I bought white sugar (for the lemonade), white flour (for the cakes) and powdered sugar (for the frosting). But this IS what they would have used. We let the kids frost and decorate the cupcakes themselves using berries, coconut and nuts as toppings. 

I didn't have time to make homemade hardtack, but I found some matzoh crackers and we spread butter on them to represent hardtack. The guests made this butter that is in the bowl!

My sis cut out star-shaped watermelon pieces and I but my raw soured cream cheese dip with garlic and basil out, too. We had three different kinds of homemade ice cream to choose from: vanilla, lemon and maple nut.

 I got the idea from "Little House in the Big Woods"of acquiring a pig's bladder from our local mobile slaughter guy . We cleaned it out, blew it up (with an air compressor), tied it off and used it for a ball to kick around. This was Hailey's favorite part of the day!

Not all the guests were as enthused as my kids were, lol. 

The kids made "button bracelets" in honor of the button necklace Laura and Mary made baby Carrie in "On the Banks of Plum Creek".

My beautiful sis and lovely niece, Lily.

I love this pic of my step-mom, Diana, helping Hailey with her button bracelet. Diana was a huge help with this craft!

The kid's got to squeeze their own lemon juice for lemonade, using an old-fashioned glass juicer. This seemed to be a real hit! 

I got to wear my Civil War dress with hoop skirt!

My dad and friend, Kay, shaking butter in a jar.  I filled them too full and it took over an hour for them to turn to butter. I split the cream out between three quart jars, leaving some space, and they turned to butter within a few minutes. I learned my lesson there!

Andrew taking his turn at shaking the butter.

We have butter! Took this pic, just as my butter-lover decided to do a taste test, lol.

Hailey wearing the button necklace her brother made for her. He entered this in the county fair and one 2nd place :)

All the books were Hailey's big birthday present. I started looking for the rest of the "Little House" series on-line (with the help of some friends). They are written by different authors, but are based on Laura's family history. I got the "The Martha Years", "The Charlotte Years", "The Caroline Years", and the "The Rose Years". These books are no longer in print, so some were really expensive and I kept looking until I could get them for a good price. I managed to get every single one, even the really hard to find ones! Hailey and Josiah both love them, so it was a good family gift, too.

Hailey is so into the movie "Brave" right now. Josiah bought her this "Merida" doll with his own money. I was so proud of him! She loved it! Does anyone else see a resemblance?

My sis got her the "Merida" dress and Hailey plans on wearing it to the local Celtic Festival the last weekend of August. She was so excited to get this dress!

My twin sis and I. Not very many adults dressed up, but I can always count on my sister to be a good sport about it :)

At the end of the day, we roasted marshmallows and hot dogs over a fire after most of our guests left. We felt like the party was a rousing success! Our Hailey Baby got spoiled rotten, but I could tell she was loving every minute of it and felt really special. I love that she is old enough to remember more.

Now I'm moving on to planning Josiah's WWI party for his 9th birthday coming up in Sept. I'm getting a lot of fun ideas...

God Bless,


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