Thursday, April 28, 2011

She Graduates Today!

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."
~Mark Twain

Today marks the last day of Pooh's pre-school career. This is a bittersweet moment but I am embracing it with as much joy as I can muster. This is one excited girl! I think she's headed in a postive direction. She shared with her teachers that when she grows up she wants to be an otter trainer and a paleontologist! (I personally think she should begin with tying her shoes and waking up in a happy mood but maybe that will come?!)

I am at the end of a very busy week. I will be happy to complete my responsibilites and obligations but I have to say I am looking forward to some serious downtime....seriously. With the study of the nine star ki cycles I have a pretty good idea of what is going on, at least good enough to make sense of the world and happenings around me. That said the only thing I can control is my perception and how I react to the outside world. I feel like I've been riding on a roller coaster; experincing the most supreme highs and some very low places in there too. I think the key for me (and maybe for you as well) is allowing both happiness and sadness to be in my field as well as releasing the idea that there is nothing "set in stone". Everything changes; the sooner my being consciouly adopts this (it isn't always mind over matter) the more freedom I will feel.

Wherever you are today, whatever you've been fighting for, holding on to very tightly and struggling with or against, I'm going to offer you a radical approach.....just let go. I think there's peace in that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mom of the Year

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:

"You can motivate by fear and you can motivate by reward. But both those are temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation."
~Homer Rice

I used both fear and reward to motivate my children today. I am now preparing for the shiny "mom of the year" award that I am sure will follow this post.

Today was the dreaded "dentist day". It's a nasty word in this house. Of the five of us, this is the least favorite health professional we see. (No offence Dr. Simpson and staff, you all are great!) Our trip this morning entailed a four tooth extraction for Sparky, a check-up for Pecos and not one darn toy for BS. The tooth extraction was a bit rough. And I have to admit, I felt a bit terrible that I agreed to allow my nine-year-old to have four baby teeth yanked from his melon. The upside (hence: motivation) is that the pain would be a one-time deal (until he suffers the agony of braces in July.) If we took all those pearly whites out at once, he wouldn't have to repeat the process again in two months (and in the meantime feel lopsided until June. That's a plus, right?!

Pecos got off easy but not for long. He's got fillings that need to be replaced and a couple of lingering baby teeth that are going to be evicted as of June. They have the option to leave on their own....(encouragement AND motivation?!?!)

BS got off faily easy with the exception that she didn't get a single toy (*tears). However, she did score a cool new tooth brush, water bottle and pencil when she got her Kindergarten immunizations. Wow....lots of tears, and screaming there. I apologized to the sweet nurse and promised that she'd not see this child again until seveth grade.

Oh no, we're not done yet. Ol good buddy Pecos shed more than a few tears with his required seventh grade immunizations too. I figured since we were in already in town we might as well get as many things knocked of the to-do list as possible. In the eyes of my children that is translated as "let's see what else Mom can put us through today."

Long story short, all three walked out of WCDH bawling and lamenting about what a mean mom they have. They completely overlook the fact that most of the time they have clean socks and underwear and do not often go without food. They forget about the dollars good ol mother doles out for baseball gloves, pants and shoes, the rodeo entry fees and the occasional movie tickets. Nope none of that was remembered.

I did try to "soften" the pain buy doing what any uber-organized, caring mother would do....took them through the BK drive through. I know, I had a moment of extreme weakness. Ice cream for all, they got to choose the songs on the ipod (complete torture for me) and gradually the tears dried.

It's days like this that I smile. Most of the memories of my children are happy ones; I can't rightly recall a day when I got all three of them to bawl at the same time. Usually it's two against one, or one picking on the other, but ALL THREE?! Wow, I am TOTALLY MOTHER OF THE YEAR!

Now, where do I go to get that medal?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Cozi

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"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
~English proverb

Are you Cozi? I’m getting that way! I’ve just found a stellar calendar and family organizer that I thought would be fun to share with my readers. This is a free website on the computer and is also available as an application for Android and Iphone users

Once you download the app, you can customize it to match your family members. It comes with a calendar, to do list, shopping lists and even an on-the-go Journal which can be made into a web page and linked with your Facebook account.

To do lists, shopping lists and reminders can be emailed to all members of the family (providing 1. they have an email 2. they check it!) These lists can also be sent as text messages for your on-the-go busy spouse and kids.

I’m always on the lookout for good (free) organizers for myself and clients. This is one I will share in my classes this fall. I am a perpetual calendar buyer (though I usually abandon them around the first of June!) I do however “keep my life” in my phone and have found it to be so much easier to keep track of a pen and notebook. I was forever misplacing my grocery list and one thing is for sure, I always have my phone with me!

What I love about this app is that the calendar and phone are linked so what I type in one shows up in the other! So cool! (sadly, I've spent the morning checking this out so I could bring you this wonderful information!) Clearly it is easy for me to find such positive distractions.

Accordin to the Robyn J. to-do list, I should be getting off of here and accomplishing something. The problem with such a great app is that is doesn't actually DO the work ;( At any rate, here's the website!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dad n Daughter

Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again." ~Bonnie Prudden

If you've been reading this blog then you already know I've had a bit of a struggle with my current transition. It is amazing to think that six years ago today we brought home our teeny tiny girl. I snapped this photo one evening after Chad had got done fixing fence. I loved the dark blue sky in the background and though I don't remember for sure, I plunked the girl in his arms and said, "smile"! He's always a really good sport.

I have been lamanting about the passage of time and how much I'm going to miss having my girl at home with me in the fall, however I want to dispell any possibility that I miss it enough to have another! We're good.

We are certainly going to be winding up the clock this summer. I am pretty excited that the kids are all old enough to be riding and roping, hiking camping, swimming golfing,fishing and participating with us on our various adventures. Typcially Chad is getting ready to rodeo right about now, though he mentioned the other day that he may not go as hard as he did in the past. This was unwelcome news to the boys who did their best to encourage him to continue (they LOVE to go to rodeos and have learned that it gets them out of lawn mowing and other less-than-fun tasks about the place.) We'll see what happens, if he so chooses to stay at home, we have more than enough projects to keep him busy.

Baseball starts soon. Followed by golf league, starting for me tomorrow night (c'mon weather, straighten up will ya?!) We have horses that need to be legged up, a garden to finish planting, various outside projects that I only feel like doing when the sun is out. We have brandings, a wedding and, AND, AND a trip to Moab at the end of May! (I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!) I have a feeling we are in for a busy, fast paced summer. So instead of looking back I am focused on embracing all that is coming down the line. This spring has required focus and determination and now I am ready for a little a lot of FUN!

What is it that you are MOST looking foward to this summer?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm hooked!

Cowboy quote of the day~ "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted" John Lennon

It is said that a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work. After yesterday I couldn't agree more. We spent yesterday afternoon fishing with friends for Pooh's birthday.

I grew up with a grandads, dad and a brother who love fishing. I went along but never really embraced the sport. Fishing was a chance to sit by water, relax and read. Chad and I have taken the kids fishing a couple of times. They are good sports but they know if they want catch something other than moss they should solicit expert guidance.from Uncle Carl or our friend, Joe.

That changed yesterday. I left my book at home and vowed to pay attention. It paid off! She who shall remain nameless (wouldnt want to brag) is now a fishing convert. I couldnt have done it alone though....I had an adorable cheerleader, shocked boys, a patient coach, who helped land the catches and bait the hooks, and a Chad that is thinking "oh no, she's wants to learn something else"!

In truth, I got lucky, really lucky. And I have a long way to go before I could go alone. Hooking worms, landing the fish, getting it of the hook and then cleaning it is more than I know how to do. I learned a lot though and it was a fun way to spend Pooh's birthday!

And the best part, I didnt do a stitch of work. I think l'll be fishing a lot more!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." ~William Penn

I love this quote sent via Cowboy Ross. It speaks volumes about the holiday as well as what many family, friends and clients are encountering this month. Personally I feel like I've had a few more challenges and perceptions of restirction that I like to entertain. Yet without the darkness we may not appreciate the light. Without the challenges, the smooth times may not as sweet.

Polarity is continual aspect of our reality. We don't live in a utopian, dream world. It's real, it's gritty and sometimes raw. We can feel sliced to the bone and hit in the knees one minute and in the next, we may be dancing on the deck and singing praises. It's hard to sing praises when we feel low, yet that is the very time those praises carry us; in our deepest darkest challenge there also exists slivers of light, if we dare scan for them. Sometimes the light isn't visible to the eye but it can always be felt, within our hearts and souls. That light never goes out.

Easter is a wonderful time of renewal and reflection. We have an opportunity to begin again, start fresh and live life from a place of deep appreciation and awareness. Every day is a gift, filled with both hills and valleys. How we choose to navigate is up to us; and if we choose to see the challenges and any darkness, we can also find its polar opposite. The yin and yang. I dare say the world is big enough for both. Balance comes when we effeciently recongize the two and find our "happy place" right in the center; our hearts already know how to do this.

I'd like to extend a joyful Easter message to everyone, may you be blessed with an abundance of peace, hope and love. I may be taking a blog break as we'll celebrate Pooh's 6th birthday and a delicious Easter dinner at the Johnston Ranch.

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


For those of you not on Facebook and are wondering what to do with all the melted snow/rain this spring, here's a novel idea, demonstrated by my lovely assistant Pryce (aka Blue Sparkle, Pooh, Lizzie Beans).

For those of you on Facebook that also find your way to my blog, sorry to overload you all with the same videos. Practice makes perfect-o!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy, Happy Everything~

Pryce's Clock Demo

I finally figured out how to embed videos

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come On Out Here Mafia Wives

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Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"My computer beat me at checkers, but I sure beat it at kickboxing."
~ Emo Philips

Every now and then I’ll turn on tv and listen to the morning news while I tidy up the kitchen. It’s not like coffee, I can go without GMA. Today I listened/watched with amusement as they interviewed four “mafia wives”. Interesting; I saw their fancy dresses and footage of the one with long black hair and a fur coat getting into the back of the car to be driven to who-knows-where.

The next image I saw was a greening pasture with seven horses grazing in the south pasture. I looked at my attire, white shirt with turquoise roses and my old “chore” pants. I’m dressed pretty nice from the waist up, no reason to wear anything decent for feeding animals. I’ll put on something “town worthy” in a couple of hours when I join BS at Kindergarten Round Up.

Thinking further, if producers truly wanted to create a captivating reality show, they should bring the mafia wives here, to a Midwestern farm-ranch location. I bet those gals, "glamed out" in their stilletos, would have had a ball fixing fence with us the other night. Oh it was a joy, let me tell you. It took only two hours to cut brush and overgrown plumb thickets out of the fence line and another hour to dig post holes, stretch the decrepit wire and pound staples in. The finish product looks like a work of art, the likes of which I doubt will ever make it to an east coast gallery, but it should. A straight fence says a lot……………

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Times Marches On

Cowboy Quote of the Day:

"Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened."

~Dr. Seuss

Tomorrow is a day that I have not been looking forward to. I knew it would come and yet there’s a part of me that’s been silently resisting it. My baby goes to Kindergarten Round-up tomorrow. She turns six on Saturday. The time has literally flashed before my eyes.

I think back to this week six years ago. I was completing my last week of teaching 5th and 6th graders. They had a fun little party and on Friday night I went home with the idea that I’d take the following week to play with Parker and get the baby room set up. I hadn’t had that much time to myself in…..(well, since 1998 when Pake was born!)

It wasn’t to be though. We went to a wedding reception in Sutherland the next evening and by 11:36 that night, we welcomed a tiny, adorable baby girl into our hearts. I have LOVED every minute of being home with her. I have not once looked back and wished for anything differently. And now, as time rolls on, we begin a new chapter.

Pryce is more than ready to go to school. She is happy and enthusiastic about learning. I can’t say that I am ready for the transition yet I know resisting it is pointless. I am smiling on all that has happened, truly we’ve been blessed with so many joyful experiences and I trust that we will continue to be. This is a milestone, the first of many that we’ll encounter together.

I know things change. We can’t possibly stop changes that are a natural part of the reality we live in. We also don’t do ourselves justice by living in the past and replaying those happy times because in doing so, we miss the gifts that are directly in front of us right now.

I have a lot of reasons to smile and the tears just affirm that I feel deeply, magically, unconditionally loved and blessed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Learning To Dance......

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Today's Cowboy Quote of the Day:
"Life isn't about waiting for the strom to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain" ~author unknown

Happy Saturday Friends! I don't always post on the weekends but today I am in my office, working to get a jump on the week. I'd be foolish if I thought I had the luxury of time on my side. I don't. What I do have is the awareness that I need to be efficient and work smart. The next two weeks are going to be jam-packed full. I am living life fast forward so the more I can get done in my downtime, the easier I'll breathe when I'm right in the midst of it all.

For me, this means having the house picked up and tidy so that I can find things easily. It means setting realistic time lines and staying on task, resisting distractions and streamlining my energies. And the most important aspect is not just doing all these activites and meeting these requirements and responsiblities, it's about enjoying the entire process.

I've amended today's Cowboy Quote slightly to match the nice day we are having; "It's about learnign to dance in the sunshine when you feel like you have to much to be doing! Go ahead and do it anyway!" RJ

I'm outta here to go hang with the goats and chickens.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Worth the Risk

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I’d like to formally introduce my friend, Ross. He sends me a cool “cowboy quote” every day. He’s done this without fail and it has become something I look forward to. I thought it would be fun to start sharing these with my fabulous blog readers!

Today’s Cowboy Quote of the Day:

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more” ~Erica Jong

As children most of us are taught to “play safe”. Because our parents love us so much, they try their best to prevent harm from happening to us. I’ve caught myself saying the same thing to my kids as my parents said to me, “Don’t do that!"

So despite all of those good intentions of keeping us from harm, we may also learn to avoid risks, preferring predictable, “safe” boundaries to make sure our bodies and our lives stay right on track. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with playing it safe, it may also prevent us from really living, really knowing the depth of our character, our true strengths and how amazing we actually are.

Please know that I am not advocating dare devil invitations here. I am saying that sometimes we can, and should, do things that scare us, temporarily erasing the protective boundaries we’ve created. These boundaries can be self-protective mechanism, primarily to keep our fragile egos from feeling, embarrassment, fear, disappointment, inadequacy and the slurry of other human emotions some of us work really hard to keep hidden.

I say, do what you most love, focus on this and you’ll be guaranteed to experience the gamut of emotions that ensue on your road to success.

Specifically speaking, I started taking guitar lessons. This is an instrument that I’ve wanted to play since I was four. I remember playing on yard stick, tied with a string around my neck, while watching Hee Haw at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Otto’s house. It’s never left me. A friend sold me her guitar about six years ago. I got it out of the case twice and put it away. My mind told me I’d never learn to play and it was too late in my life to ever be really good. Truth usually sounds and feels differently than the mind. The timing just wasn’t right.

In fact, the timing may never be right for things that we are hesitant to try. There are a myriad of excuses that can keep us safely protected from feeling anything that might cause us, embarrassment, pain, shame, fear and feeling defeated. If we’re feeling these things before we even start, why initiate the event in the first place? Usually because they are only surface “fears”, designed to keep us locked within the safety of our personal boundaries. This is where risk comes into play.

Are we willing to forgo the way we see ourselves in every day light, in contrast to the greatest vision we know we carry? Are we willing to push through those old cell memories of past failures and inadequacies to get to a higher level of experience? If we are then the risk is minimal in comparison to the outcome. And this becomes your “fearless driving rain”.

I risked seeing myself at something that I am NOT good at and have little natural talent for. I risked moving into a world that I knew nothing about; I’m not an authority and the only thing I have going is that I can sort of read music. Want to take a stroll in humility? Find something that you can’t do, at all, and start learning it!

I will likely never be on a stage, in front of a crowd of screaming, adoring fans (so there’s my fantasy!) I’ll probably not be belting out my favorite melodies to anyone other than my dog, the goats and chickens. What I am doing is risking my own self image, seeing, living and fully embracing the image of my clumsy, non-nimble fingers trying to make a cord sound like some sort of music!

This may not sound like a great risk on the scale of “things to do with your life” but it’s one that is teaching me a great deal. There’s no room for perfection, the goal is simply to be in the moment, and learn in a new, kinesthetic way, the likes of which I am most unaccustomed to. I am learning that I can’t just read and master something, it requires the “DOING” aspect. Repetition and consistency are what get me over the hump here; and yes, these are my weak areas (I usually can stick with a diet/exercise routine for about a week before I’m bored or distracted!)

So what is it that you are willing to risk? What is something that you’ve always wanted to try yet you’ve pushed aside? If you were to erase all negative self-talk, what would you set out to do, explore, experience? In other words, if there were so such thing as failure, what would love to succeed at?

You’re only may be holding back from something so amazing it has the potential to change your life. Go ahead, take that risk…… may find you have everything to gain.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Toad and Salamander

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As some of you may know, our daughter loves animals. I don’t mean like, I mean LOVE. I recently posted about our “house worm”, Herman Hazel. I must say I never thought that I’d have a child that was so fond of insects, bugs, snakes and the like. While I have a healthy respect for reptiles, they make my skin crawl. I’d developed an intense phobia of them that I am continuing to unwind. I’m a whole lot better around them than I used to be, which is a good thing, because Pryce seems to really enjoy them.

A few days ago, my friend sent a text message sharing that a person in North Platte had a fire belly toad and salamander for sale. Ross knows that our girl is into such creatures and thought of Pryce right away. (I’ve been meaning to introduce Ross to you....he’s the cowboy behind the quotes that I’ll be posting at the beginning of my blogs soon!)

So being the good Mama that I am, I sent a message to the lady letting her know I was interested. Though a series of text messages, we secured what was to be Pryce’s birthday present. The child was ecstatic when I shared that we were going to pick up this early gift. She could hardly contain her joy, “Is it a lizard Mama? ‘Cause I really want a lizard. I love them. I want one of my very own.” I just grinned, praying that a salamander was a lizard in her book and that she’d think the toad was cool……….even if she couldn’t touch it!

We met the girl, got the goods and headed back home. Pryce was strangely silent. I asked what was wrong. She looked at me from her booster seat and screamed, “This is the best birthday present EVER!” I think she was just shocked that I agreed to have these living creatures in the house. For Chad, this was a HUGE stretch, then again, even a dog is pushing it.

I explained very clearly that the frog was not to be touched. She was elated however, to find that she could hold the salamander. I think she picked him up about 10 times on Saturday morning. She gave him a tour of the place and told me that he was very happy in his new home. She also promised to keep her room clean. I even heard that I am the best mom in the world! I sure hope she remembers this when she’s 12 and especially and especially when she’s 16. Is there any way that I can use this as leverage? I’m sure going to try.

Sunshine Chiffon Cake

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Hi Dear Readers,

Here’s the recipe for yesterday’s Sunday Cake Creation (as pictured on Facebook!) Many asked for the recipe so here it is! It seems that Sunday afternoons are about the only time I have these days for trying out any new recipes. (I think Chad is still in shock, two weekend in a row of new cake creations!) In a conversation with him and one of my best friends last fall, I stated, “You know you’re a REAL cook when you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer!” I had secretly coveted one for years but I never asked for one and I didn’t go out looking either. Last Christmas, “out of the blue” Santa delivered a gorgeous professional model to my kitchen. I squealed with delighted and promised Santa, whom I’m sure, was listening that I would be baking a lot more!

I do think Santa and even my family was wondering if I meant what I said on the Christmas morn; if anyone has been following me around lately, I seem to have my head in a book (not the pleasure kind either), fingers dancing on a keyboard, cleaning/ organizing, a lot of running here and there and not so much baking. I cook but in my mind, this is different from baking. Cooking equals drudgery to me (personal opinion) Anyone can patty up a hamburger and throw it on a grill but it becomes a cre8tive work of art when you use a mixer to add breadcrumbs, herbs and spices to the plain ‘ol burger!
Cooking for me requires that I have a meal out by a certain time and though I may spend hours preparing, it’s only going to take 10 minutes at best to eat. Baking on the other hand is without time frames. I only bake when I have the luxury to enjoy what I’m doing. I set aside time to measure the ingredients, read directions and carefully, consciously enjoy the process. Baking requires clean-up but it seems more calculated and manageable. Maybe that’s all in my head but that’s how it feels to me.

I’ve a list I’ve been keeping in my head of the different recipes I want to try; right now time is my greatest hurdle. I have the motivation I just don’t always have a couple of free hours available. I’ve been attracted to cakes, much to the joy of my family. We don’t eat a lot of sweets. Every now and then I’ll whip up a batch of cookies and we’ll gobble them down as an afterschool snack; more often though we’ll have popcorn, apples, crackers or jerky. I put in some busy days so time in the kitchen is kept to a minimum during the day with evenings reserved for final clean-up. It’s the most used room in the house so as a result, it becomes the messiest, very quickly.

The following cake is a delightful spring version. I used lemon but oranges could easily be substituted out. If I had a garden of cute little pansies, I’d add them to the top for added visual flair. The entire kitchen and dining room smelled of fresh lemon and offered us a delightful afternoon pick-me-up. This would be a great cake for a bridal or baby shower, spring luncheon or Easter dessert.

After zesting the lemons, I cut them into chunks and plopped them into a large jar with tea bags and boiling water. After the water cooled slightly I added ¼ cup of honey and we sipped this with our slice of cake.

Oh and don’t forget to get out that pretty cake plate that’s been sitting in the back of your cupboard! Serving your lovely cre8tions is even more fun this way. I’m making a point of using all those fancy dishes and serving pieces I received some 17 years go!

Also note this recipe was lifted straight out of the Kitchen-Aid manual so that’s who gets the credit! (not me!)

Sunshine Chiffon Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar *or honey
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup cold water
½ cup oil
½ cup oil
7 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. grated lemon zest ( I used 4 lemons)
7 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar

Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. butter or margarine, softened
3 Tbs. lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking power, and salt in mixer bowl. Add water, oil, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon rind. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 4 and beat about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl. Continuing on Speed 4, beat about 15 seconds. Pour mixture into another bowl. Clean mixer bowl and wire whip.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 8 whip 2 to 2 ½ minutes, or until whites are stiff but not dry.

Remove bowl from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture to egg whites. Fold in gently with spatula, just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10” tube pan. Bake at 325 for 60 to 75 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake onto funnel or soft drink bottle (I used Chad’s Shiner Bock, we don’t buy soda in bottles around here!) Cool completely. Remove from pan. Drizzle with Lemon Glaze and try your hardest to keep family from eating it in one setting!

*To make Glaze: combine powdered sugar and butter in small bowl. Stir in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is desired consistency.

Have Eggs.....Will Bake!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Easter At The Farm.....Come Gather Your Eggs!

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Hi Everyone!

My family and I would like to extend a SPECIAL INVITATION to vist our farm this Easter season. Starting this week, we thought it would be fun to offer families and small groups an opportunity to come visit our farm to gather eggs for coloring, hiding and Easter cooking!

Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch, take a nature walk in the canyon, pet our ponies and play with the goats. Times are by appointment only.

Please bring "farm worthy attire", which means, OLD clothes and shoes! This is NOT a place for anything fancy that you don't want mud, dirt and yes, even poop on! (This is the reality of being on a real farm!) Remember to bring Easter baskets and cameras as there will be plenty of photo opportunities! Additional eggs may be available for purchase, depending on availablity.

The only cost this year is $2.00/dozen eggs. Donations are graciously accepted and any proceeds will be funneled right back into the feed/hay expense for the animals.We're also available for daycare, preschool and elementary field trips. We've had so much fun with our little farm that we thought it would be fun to share it!

To reserve your farm visit, get directions, and ask additional questions, please call 308.362.4426 or send emails to

We're working on "Summer At The Farm" activities, so please check in from time to time to see what may be coming down the line! We're thinking about offering "camping in the canyon" nights, trail rides, pick your own veggies, jam and canning classes! We're open to suggestions and would love to share our farm experinces with others who may be interested.

Feel free to share this post with others! HAPPY EASTER!!!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cranes and Greens

In addition to the delight of feeling the sun on my legs for the first time in months, we were also treated to this gorgeous display of sandhill cranes. They soared elegantly over hole #4. I am sure my game didnt look any better from above, but it was GLORIOUS to finally be golfing again. I'll be no good for anything the rest of the day!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

My Little Birdie Tea Cup

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Sometime I might do a post on our holding vessels. There's something really special about the type, texture and color of our tea cups. I continaully switch on and off, depending on my mood and the type of tea. The newness has not worn off of this one! I've already packed it with me on a day trip. Crazy...I know!

Blueberry Bliss and Pineapple Kona Pop

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The white pieces.....pineapple the little dark circles dried blueberries and pink flower petals. Not only is this beautiful, but can you smell that? Isn't it amazingly invigorating? It's a PERFECT tea for spring and makes a WONDERFUL cold brew for summer. My kids think this is better than kool-aid.

My Afternoon Indulgence

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I’ve recently indulged in this lovely canister, filled to the brim with Blueberry Bliss and Pineapple Kona Pop. I don’t usually buy fancy teas, in fact, I most often brew up the herbs from my own garden and those that I purchase in bulk that don’t grow easily or aren’t as prevalent my neck of the woods. When I’m at home, I brew loose leaves, though I take tea bags along whenever I travel. As we all know it’s much healthier than soda and makes water a bit more…..interesting!

About 10 years ago, while taking my professional training to become a Feng Shui Consultant I came across a wonderful store in the mall, Teavana! It lived up to it's name; it was like walking into tea heaven for me. I had a difficult time deciding which ones to buy. Since I was on a tight budget I opted for a couple of small bags. I don’t even remember the name but I do recall it had chocolate pieces and sunflower leaves. I used it very sparingly and made it last for a year.

On a recent excursion, I came across a Teavana store at the Flat Iron Crossing Mall. Heaven, revisited. I only had a short time and their selections had expanded since the last time I walked through the doors. Though at anytime I could buy tea on-line, there’s something special, magical about being in a tea store where you get to smell and savor and taste test! I landed on this combination, and WOW! It was LOVE at first taste. The sample had been sweetened slightly with German Rock Sugar, which I did not purchase. I am blessed with a brother/family that provides me with delectable honey from North Central Nebraska. I also splurged on this adorable tea cup, saucer, strainer and lid…..with BIRDS! (see previous posts if this is confusing!)

I spent 9 years of my life drinking Dr. Pepper at 2 pm to get over the afternoon sludge. When I left teaching to be at home with my daughter, I still experienced tired time and a craving for soda. I replaced that craving with herbal teas. I take a 10 minute break to heat the water, brew the tea and sip. That’s all I do for that time. My mind races, I think of all the things I need to do by the time the kids burst in the door and I don’t respond. I just sip.

I could add up the money I would spend on soda and compare it to the cost of the tea but I can already tell that this canister of tea will last MUCH longer. It also contains vital nutrients. Add the honey super-food and savor; nothing to feel guilty about here! “Thank you Ma’am, I’ll have another!”

What’s your healthy indulgence? Please share in the comment section below.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The House Worm

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Here's Herman. He is Pryce’s new house worm. She adores him. On Saturday she was helping her dad prepare the garden and she “rescued” him from the tiller. We have a girl that cries at the thought of worms being destroyed yet doesn’t flinch or bawl when her brothers tackle her.

It certainly puzzles me that somehow Chad and I have produced a worm-loving child. Chad will handle them but he’s not a fan. I avoid touching like them; they give me the creeps and they to closely resemble snakes. Pass. In fact, I purposely make sure that I have someone to bait my hook when I go fishing. The boys aren’t especially fond of worms either. Parker announced to his Uncle Carl on a fishing trip one day that he couldn’t touch any worms because he was “allergic” (which totally makes sense to me!) Pake screamed “snake” when he was three. Alas it was just a giant night crawler but that set him back from any love for the little things. Pryce is a different story. She is totally devoted for her worm friend.

Saturday: She came in with what used to be a box that held microwave popcorn. She’d filled the box with dirt and asked if I’d like to meet Herman. I responded with a kind no. She was undeterred and continued to pester. I agreed to have a look. I also announced that Herman would sleep outside on the chair.

Sunday: It was announced that Herman’s new name would be Hazel, but he was still a boy. She asked for a sucker stick so that she could dig up her worm friend. That is when I took this picture. There was worry that Herman had crawled out or that he dried up. We added water to the soil and a lettuce leaf. Worms don’t eat much, I’m told. Happy to find Herman, I mean Hazel she watched him for the better part of an hour. This child clearly does not have ADD, she focused better than some adults I know. Since Hazel had remained in his home. He got to stay in the house, on the metal organizer. I was told not to “broom” him if he crawled out. “Call for me Mom, I’ll come get him and put him back.”

Monday: Hazel’s name was changed back to Herman. His official name is Herman Hazel Johnston, every person should have at least three names, this includes worms. Pryce wanted Herman to join her for pre-school for show and tell. I told her she’d better ask her teachers. At noon she comes in with her daily arrival announcement, “Home, home home!” and “Good news Mama, Miss Colleen said Herman can come to school. We’re going to have an educated worm on our hands. Joy.

Pryce goes to visit and “cuddle” Herman and flips out because she can’t find him. I notice the soil is exceedingly damp. Maybe he drowned. Sad. After some poking and prodding, her tiny hands held up the worm triumphantly, “He’s alive! I think he looks much healther.” Do worms ever look sick? Apparently she picked up that if worms loose their slime they will die. She’s on guard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I suppose this is one of the cheaper pets around. It is quiet, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and keeps her well entertained. It makes me wonder what is coming down the road. As a friend pointed out, “her ‘pets’ are sure to get bigger, you may want to be cleaning a shot gone when they come to visit!” When that day comes, I’ll bet I’ll prefer having the worm won’t I?

So while I won’t be inviting Herman into my office to keep me company while I work, I’m loosening up a bit having him in the house. The delight and joy emanating from her is contagious! It’s fun to see her so interested and excited. I too get excited about a lot of things, but worms are not on that list. It will be fun to see if these interests in worms, lizards, snakes and bugs stick with her as she gets older.

What were you interested in as a child? Is that interest still present? Please share in the comment section below. I’m curious to know if the things that we love as children turn out to be career paths that we follow as adults. If this is the case, we may have a “worm herder” on our hands!

Meet Herman Hazel Johnston

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Kind of Day

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Oh Sunday, how I love thee, let me count the ways:

It’s quite amazing what a Sunday can do for the soul. I’ve had an active, week so as of 8 pm last night through 10 am today, I did very little. We spent the evening relaxing and visiting. I confess I did sleep in and… IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!

In fact I was so well rested that I did something completely irrational….I went outside and trimmed both Sami and Egypt’s hooves. Truly disgusting and laboring but with a plugged nose and ample rest, I dove right in. It’s a funny thing: I detest the back-breaking work, yet, once I start it becomes kind of addicting, I have a hard time stopping. It felt good to knock out that job. I wasn’t planning it but I’m very glad it’s out of the way. Two of four isn’t too bad. I'm going to need more rest before I tackle the next eight hooves.

Next, we took a fun family trail ride through the canyons. The kids had been asking me to go with them for the last couple of days. Chad was willing to take them but they begged Mom to hop on and ride along too. I’ve had a lot of responsibilities to take care of lately, so I’d put them off for long enough. I grabbed a cap, sweatshirt and down-filled jacket and prayed that George would be kind to my fragile body.. Chad assured me he had warmed him up but I’m always a bit skeptical. I’ve been dumped one too many times to really trust that! The ride was wonderful. I love looking at the world around me on the back of a horse.

Upon returning, I took advantage of the afternoon’s appearance of space and time and decided to bake an angel food cake…from scratch. I have wanted to try this for several months and again, there always seems to be a time factor lurking. I’m excited to say it turned out beautifully, despite the fact that I left out the salt. It ain't cooking around here unless I forget an ingredient or burn something!

Once dishes were done (I seem to dirty every bowl and spoon in the kitchen~no wonder my cooking episodes are few and far between) I descended into my craft room for three hours of homework/study. Ugg. The seven hours I put in on Friday did pay off. I mainly spent my time double checking and cross-referencing, said a prayer that I would actually get a passing grade and then hit click.

That brings me to this evening: goats needs fed, chickens need locked in, kids are hungry and it’s time to be thinking about our bedtime routine. Even though I slept in, I can say it won’t take much to shut these eyes and drift away. Wishing you a wonderful evening and a fantastic week.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Congrats Pecos!

What a lovely day! The weather was perfect; the old garden was burned off, the new one tilled. Chad and Pryce planted lettuce and spinach in the raised bed.

Tonight we celebrated Pake's confirmation. His Uncle Jason, Aunt Jenny and little cousins joined us. The Mass was beautiful and supper was delicious! Now we're settling in for a much needed night off; light the firepit and put on some tunes!

Happy Weekend everyone!
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Is Here!

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I received the first indication that Spring is here. I know that it’s still premature and the chance of snow still lurks, we are in Nebraska after all. We won’t be out of the woods until next month. Three years ago, it snowed on May 1st.

That said, today is the first day that I’ve had the tangible, visceral notation of spring. I don’t know if I can put into words what this feels like to me; every year I wait for this indication, which is more like a subtle nod from Mother Nature. It’s that crisp feeling of exhilaration that comes through when I wake up and see the sun coming in my room, it’s the fresh smell that permeates my office window when I open it and hear the sound of birds chirping.

There's an invigorating breeze coming in,keeping me awake and on the cool side. I type for a bit and then walk into the kitchen where the temperature is significantly warmer. It's not as exciting though, I find myself pulled back to the office window, smelling the fresh air and noticing the green shoots that are pushing up amongst the dead patches of lawn. The sun plays a bit of peek-a-boo amongst thick blue-grey clouds.

I’m feeling more alive, which inevitably comes with this season. Spring isn’t my favorite but it does seem heavenly after a long, cold winter. I forget what it is like to walk out in the morning to do chores with out heavy coveralls, caps, and gloves. I forget how much I missed seeing a plush lawn, feeling warmth on my face when I stand on the deck and noticing the newness of the world around me. This feeling of freshness simply cannot be replicated by any other season.