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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Molasses Sugar Cookies...

I have a ton of recipes.  Some I have found from Pinterest, blogs, different cookbooks, but it seems that my favorites are the ones that are tucked away in my Recipe box.... The ones that are handwritten on recipe cards or a piece of paper.  And if they are in the original handwriting of the person whose kitchen it came from, that's an added bonus.  

Molasses Sugar Cookies.  You either love them or you hate them.  I never tasted a Molasses Sugar Cookie until after Brad and I got married.  This recipe came from his Aunt Mary and, even though it is copied on a sheet of paper, it is in Aunt Mary's handwriting so every time I make it, I think of her.











Molasses Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
  • 3/4 Cup Butter flavored shortening
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brer Rabbit Molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Melt shortening in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Add sugar, molasses, and egg; mix well.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Gradually add to molasses mixture mixing well after each addition.
  5. Form into 1" balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Saying No to the Summer Bucket List...

In four short days the girls will hop of the bus and summer break will officially start!  Boy are we ready!  Well, I'm ready I think.  It's always a bit of a transition with new routines and the girls learning that, even though they aren't in school, there are still rules.  We've been fortunate because, so far, the girls love school.  In fact, if you ask them if they are ready for school to be out for the summer, both of them will say, "No."  

Every year, as a parent I feel like I am under so much pressure to make summer fun!  As I look back on my childhood my summers were filled with bike rides, "helping" on the farm, family time, and just enjoying the break from school.   In previous years I've seen other moms create a Summer Bucket List with their kids.  I thought last summer that this would be something fun for us to create and a neat way to keep track of all the fun things we've done in the summer with a simple check mark.  Well, let me tell you all it did was add to the stress of summer, so this year I am saying "no" to the summer bucket list!!!

That's right!  No matter how much my kids beg, I'm not going to give in.  I honestly don't even know if they will remember it.  Our summers are so jam packed with fairs, weddings, swimming, time spent with friends and family that sometimes it's hard to squeeze anything else in.  

While I tried to keep our bucket list realistic with things that were a given like: fair rides, showing animals, tractor pulls, steam engine show, swimming, fireworks, summer reading,  etc.  Some not-so realistic things made their way to the list like: 
a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, (we already had a pretty major vacation in the works that we were keeping secret from the girls so there was no way this was going to be able to happen.) 
Make home-made ice cream (Let's face it.  Our lives are busy and sometimes the ice cream on sale at the grocery is just way too tempting!)
Camping (We don't have a camper.  I won't camp without a camper.  I know.  I'm spoiled!  We did make arrangements with our good friends who camp at the Steam Engine Show for B and Mel to spend the night in their camper, but B won't spend the night with anyone so that remained unchecked).
And to top it off, B even asked if we could put a trip to Disney World on our bucket list!  Seriously, why are my kids' expectations so high.

At the end of the summer the Bucket List didn't end up being something I could look at and smile because we accomplished all of these fun things.  Instead, it ended up being a little depressing to look at.  Brad tells me I'm too hard on myself and I probably am.  As I look back on last summer we might not have checked everything off our bucket list, but we did so many more fun things that weren't even on that list!  We went to the zoo, we had a campfire (even though we didn't go camping), we didn't go to Great Wolf Lodge, but we went to a splash park;) ate endless amounts of Popsicles and store-bought ice cream...and so much more.

I'm not saying that I think bucket lists are a bad thing.  I think they are great whether it be for summer or lifetime goals, however a summer bucket list just didn't "fit" for us. 

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Hawaiian Pinwheels...

My husband loves ham sandwiches.  When he is in the fields and I'm busy and am unable to deliver lunch to him, he is perfectly content with a ham sandwich.  I thought the recipe for Hawaiian Pinwheels in Gooseberry Patch's cookbook,Mom Knows Best would be a nice twist on the traditional ham sandwich.  I sliced them because I made them for a party I was hosting, but you could easily leave them whole.

The recipe called for pineapple cream cheese spread.  I wasn't able to find it.  I don't know if it is my location or if it really is that difficult to find, so I mixed 8-oz cream cheese with 1/4 cup crushed pineapple and juice.  I also didn't add the lettuce.






Hawaiian Pinwheels

Ingredients
  • 4 6-inch flour tortillas
  • ¼ Cup pineapple cream cheese spread
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 4 slices Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 Cup romaine lettuce, shredded
Cooking Directions
  1. Place tortillas on a microwave-safe plate; microwave for 30 seconds.  
  2. Spread each tortilla with one Tablespoon cream cheese; top each with 3 slices ham, once cheese slice and ¼ cup lettuce.
  3. Roll up tortillas; refrigerate for 2 hours then slice into one-inch pinwheels.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Difference Between Beef and Dairy Cattle...




 This months lesson focuses on Beef Cattle.  There are many differences between the two, not just their appearances.  Crystal at Mom for Less has a lesson plan that teaches the difference.  The girls made these fun little cow puppets to show the difference and we made up a fun little game to go with them.
                                        
First a little lesson..

Beef cattle come in many different colors.  Some are black, red, white, or any combination of those colors.  In the US there are more than 20 different breeds of beef cattle.  Beef cattle are raised primarily for meat.  They have a shorter and stockier build than dairy and use the energy from the food they eat to build muscle and store fat to make meat taste good.


 There are 6 main breeds of dairy cows in the US.   Holstein, seen on the bottom right, is the most popular.  They are white with black spots, but some have a recessive gene which makes them red and white.  Unlike beef cattle, dairy cows are taller and skinnier.  They use the energy in their food to produce milk, not cover on their body.  Most people think dairy cows aren't fed properly because they appear to be too skinny.  That's not the case.  They are fed a very precise ration to make delicious milk!  Some dairy bulls are also raised for beef just like beef cattle.

This is a picture of a dairy cow from Kelsay Farms...

Below is a picture of a beef cow and calf...



















Now that we've talked about the differences, it's time to get crafty.

You will need:
2 paper plates
2 Popsicle sticks
Black paint
paintbrush
Black and pink construction paper
googly eyes
glue

Begin by painting one paper plate black, or brown, or red, or leave it white because remember beef cattle can be any of those colors...


Allow the plate to dry.  While it is drying, begin making your Holstein cow.  Cut various shapes out of black construction paper and glue them to the white paper plate.    No two spots are the same, so they don't have to be perfect;)
Once you have the spots on the plate, glue on the eyes and cut a nose out of pink construction paper.  Glue them to the plate.  Next cut ears out of black (or white...some Holsteins have white ears) construction paper and glue them to the back of the plate.  Finally add your Popsicle stick to the back of the plate.  Allow this to dry.

Once the black plate is dry, begin making your beef calf puppet.  Glue on the eyes and cut an oval for the nose out of black construction paper.  Add black (or whatever color you chose  ears to the back of the plate as well as a Popsicle stick.  Allow it to dry.

 Now, have fun with your puppets!  My girls had a blast performing a puppet show.
 You can also play a fun little game where you can ask your child a question and they have to raise the correct cow puppet in the air.  I have created a list of questions that you can find here.



Have fun teaching your kids the difference between beef and dairy while being a little crafty and be sure to click on the picture below to head on over to Mom for Less for this month's lesson.



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Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is Anhydrous Ammonia?...

We seem to be dodging rain showers every other day around here making it hard for us to find the perfect window to get in the fields.  We have managed to get all of our anhydrous applied.  The anhydrous ammonia is in the white tank that you see below behind the tractor.  The implement in between the tractor and the anhydrous tank is called a toolbar.  It has a hose that connects it to the tank so the anhydrous is applied equally under the ground.
We use Anhydrous Ammonia to obtain the element nitrogen.  We apply most of our Anhydrous before the corn is planted, weather permitting.  Some farmers apply it after the corn is planted.  This is called side dressing.  Since we are adding more nitrogen to the soil, it makes the corn a lush green color and creates a healthier plant.  Anhydrous is the most efficient form of nitrogen.  Anhydrous Ammonia is stored in its liquid form in the tank you see in the pictures in this post, until it is injected in the soil.  The application is carefully controlled by valves and meters.  As the Anhydrous Ammonia is released from the tank, the drop in pressure causes it to boil, releasing the element nitrogen that is used by the corn.

To maintain soil fertility without man-made sources of nitrogen, the 11 million tons of industrially created nitrogen that farmers in the US use each year would need to be replaced by manure from about 1 billion cattle.  Those cattle would require another 2 billion acres to feed.  That demand would take much of the continental United States. (source)

 Anhydrous Ammonia can be dangerous only if it's not handled properly, therefore important safety measures are used at all times.  Special goggles and gloves are worn when switching tanks.  B is modeling the very glamorous goggles here... 


So now you know what those white tanks are in the field!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops...

One of the girls' favorite "recipes" to make in the summertime...or anytime rather...is lemonade Popsicle.  The recipe is pretty difficult;).  You make a pitcher of lemonade and then pour the lemonade into ice cube trays, or if you're fancy, Popsicle molds and freeze.  So, when Gooseberry Patch sent me a copy of their new Mom Knows Best Cookbook and saw the recipe for these Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops, I knew this would be a recipe we would have to try.  Actually, B saw the recipe while I was skimming the opposite page.  It adds a nice twist to our traditional recipe..and they're healthy too!
 All you do is add the yogurt, orange juice, and bananas to the blender and process until combined.  As you can see below, some might prefer ear protection when working with a blender;)  Seriously, why do those things have to be so loud?!
Pour the liquid into the Popsicle molds or plastic cups.  Freeze for an hour, insert Popsicle sticks, then freeze some more until completely frozen.  Enjoy!

 




Banana-Orange Yogurt Pops

Ingredients
  • 16 oz. vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 ripe bananas sliced
  • 8 5 oz. freezer treat molds or paper cups
  • Popsicle sticks
Cooking Directions
  1. In a blender, combine yogurt, orange juice concentrate and bananas.
  2. Process on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Pour into molds or paper cups.
  4. Freeze one hour and then insert sticks.
  5. Continue to freeze until completely frozen.
  6. To remove, dip into warm water for a few seconds.
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