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Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Break Fun...

Growing up, my family never took vacations during Spring Break.  We lived on a farm, and since Spring Break was usually the last week of March, my dad was always busy getting things prepared for the planting season.  I really didn't feel like I was missing out on much.  Since I lived in a very small farming community and went to a private Catholic school, none of my friends seemed to take extravagant vacations either.  Once I got into high school, some of my friends' families would go on vacations to Florida and such, but I still didn't really feel like I was missing out on much.  My parents were probably grateful for that!:)

While we didn't go on vacation and part of our break was spent cleaning house or doing outside work, I can remember spending a couple days at my grandparent's house when I was younger, and once I got older we would go shopping with cousins in the big city and I would usually end up spending the last few days of my spring break with one of my cousins in a county just east of us.

 We didn't travel to any beaches or big cities...well I guess we did make a trip, or four to the city...the girls still had fun!

Saturday night they stayed at their aunt Lauren's house.  Their evening consisted of crafting and watching Frozen.  Brad and I got to go to the mall and out to eat with some friends!  Then we came back to Lauren's and picked up Jo while the older two got to spend the night.  (No one seems to want to keep an 18 month old that doesn't sleep through the night.  I don't know why!) :)
On Monday we made another trip to the city do spend some Christmas gift cards and finished off the trip with a stop at Orange Leaf.
Wednesday we headed to Kids Commons which is a playground/museum.
Jo had a blast at the playground.
And she shoved a five year old out of the way!  Each time she would get to this circle that you could stand on, she would stop and do a little dance, then keep walking.  One time she got to the circle and their was a boy sitting on the circle.  She proceeded to push him out of the way.  It took me a minute to realize what she was doing because you don't normally see an 18 month old pushing someone three times her size out of the way.  Before I could say anything, the kid was looking at her like he couldn't believe he just got pushed out of the way by a BABY!  I told her, "No!" which resulted in her putting her head down and pouting.  Lesson learned?  We'll see!

We took friends with us to Kids Commons because everything's better with friends!
B inside a bubble...


On Thursday we didn't have anything planned, so B got up very early to go feed with Brad.  And yes, that is a sock hat on Miss B.  We live in the Midwest where our weather is pretty unpredictable.  And moody!
Thursday night Brad and I had the opportunity to preview the upcoming documentary, Farmland.  It was such a great movie.  More on that later!

Horrible pic of Jennifer from Jent's Front Porch, but once again, everything's better with friends!

On Friday we headed to the Children's Museum and I guess everyone else had the same idea!  This is the line for tickets, which we stood in for one hour!  I don't think we will be going to the museum on Spring Break ever again, but I think everyone had a good time.
Taking a moment to relax and admire Chihuly's glass art work....
A bunch of eagle's in their nest...
B loves history and it's so great to see her love for it expand each time we visit the museum.  They have an exhibit for Ruby Bridges, Ryan White and Anne Frank and I think this might be her favorite.
Every time we visit the museum she takes a ride on "Sandy."  I think this might have been her last time as her feet touched the ground.

Friday night B and Mel spent the night at Brad's parent's house.  They had movie night Friday and then more crafting was done on Saturday!

B's best friend Margaret spent the night on Saturday night.  Brad happened to get the new battery in the lawn mower so B was giving free wagon rides!
Of course, after a couple laps she wanted to ride as well...

After a little more play, they set to work picking up sticks.  I may have bribed them with ice cream!
Bike rides...
Then we headed over to my family's dairy farm so the girls could pick out their calves for the fair.
After we left the dairy, we headed to our cattle barn to check the cattle. The girls climbed on the hay bales then we headed home for a yummy supper of grilled hamburgers.  They played outside for a little while longer until it was time for Margaret to leave.

Now we are back in the swing of things as school started today.  It won't be long and it will be summer break!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sweet and Savory Beef Sandwiches...

Our big meal at our house is lunch.  It's when I cook the most and usually we have enough left over for supper (or dinner).  I know some people cringe at the thought of eating left overs, but I just can't imagine all that food going to waste.  So, when I know I'm going to have a busy/chaotic morning,which seems to be everyday anymore, I try to put lunch in the crock pot the night before.  This is another recipe that I made from Gooseberry Patch's Super Easy Slow Cooker Recipes Cookbook  It is simple and contains ingredients that you might already have in your pantry.  This recipe will be perfect to take to the fields this Spring.

Sweet and Savory Beef Sandwiches

12 oz. can beer or non-alcoholic
1 C. brown sugar
24 oz. (3 Cups) ketchup
3-4 lb. boneless beef roast
6-8 split Kaiser rolls
Optional : banana pepper slices

Stir together beer, sugar, and ketchup in a slow cooker.  Add roast and spoon mixture over top.  Cover and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours.  Remove roast and shred;return to juices in slow cooker.  Serve shredded beef on rolls for sandwiches, topped with pepper slices, if desired.  Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tex-Mex Taco Joe's...

When I saw the recipe for these Tex-Mex Taco Joes in Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super -Easy Slow Cooker Recipes, I knew it would be a family favorite.  I love cooking in my crock pot and I especially love it when the recipes are super easy and when those words are in the title of the cookbook, you know it will be a great one. In fact, I have already made these twice in less than a month!  Everyone in our family loved them, including a friend of ours who was here for lunch today!

I mentioned that this recipe was easy to whip up, well it only consists of 5 ingredients plus hot dog buns and whatever toppings your family likes.  For us it was cheese, lettuce and sour cream.  Only 5 ingredients!  It does make a lot as it calls for 3 pounds of hamburger, but you could easily cut it in half.  This recipe would be perfect for serving a crowd!

Tex-Mex Taco Joes

3 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
16-oz. can refried beans
10-oz. can enchilada sauce
1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
16-oz. jar salsa
25 hot dog buns, split
Garnish: shredded Cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream

Place beef in a slow cooker. Stir in beans, enchilada sauce, seasoning mix and salsa. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. To serve, fill each bun with 1/3 cup beef mixture, garnish as desired. Makes 25 sandwiches.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Project 52 Week 10 {soft} and Week 11 {patterns}

The theme for week 10 was soft.  Mel was feeling a little under the weather one day last week and I captured this photo of her passed out on the couch with our favorite blanket.
It's a blanket that we were given by our feed salesman.  Actually, he gave a few to my dad and my dad gave it to us.  It has a Holstein calf on it as well as the brand of a calf milk replacer.  It is so soft and is a family favorite.  We might be known to fight over it!

This week's theme is patterns.  Jo's outfit on this day was full of patterns...


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rainbow Pudding Treat...

When I came across this recipe somewhere in the internet world, I knew I wanted to make it.  I knew it would have to be for a special occasion.  I mean, it's not everyday that you make a rainbow dessert like this!  It just so happened that I was hostess this month for my sorority and since St. Patrick's Day is in March, I thought it would be the perfect time to debut this pretty treat.  I made it ,snapped a picture of it and posted it to Instagram and said, "I don't know how good it tastes, but it sure does look pretty."  I turns out that it actually tasted pretty good.  I even made my own adjustments to the recipe, which sometimes doesn't always turn out in my favor, but this time it actually did!  This is the perfect little snack to make for St. Patrick's Day, birthday parties, or just because.  The gold sugar cookie dippers were the perfect pairing with this!  Oh and I may have posted too many pictures of this rainbow treat. It was just so pretty to photograph!

Rainbow Pudding Treat

For the dip:
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 small box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounce container whipped topping (1 Cup reserved for topping)
Food coloring
Rainbow sprinkles

For the gold coins:
1 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
Gold sprinkles (you can also use yellow)

1) Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the pudding and milk and mix until there are no lumps (It takes a few minutes.)  Stir in the vanilla.  Then mix in the whipped topping making sure to reserve one cup for the topping.

2) Separate dips into 6 bowls.  Dye each bowl a different color of the rainbow.  I used regular food coloring, but you can also use the gels.

3) In a serving dish (clear is best so you can see all the colors) layer the dip starting with purple and working your way up to red.  When spreading a new layer, make sure to gently use a spatula or the back of a spoon works great too!  Be careful not to mix the colors!

4) Top with the remaining whipped topping (about 1 Cup) and sprinkles.

5)Next, make the gold coins.  Cut the tube of cookie dough into 1/2" sections then quarter each section.  Roll into balls (about 1/2") then roll in gold sprinkles.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  It's okay if they are a bit crispy because that will make them perfect for dipping.  Allow the cookies to cool and serve them with the dip!  Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Girls Can Farm Too...

Since Brad and I have three girls one of the questions we get asked most is, "Are you going to try for number 4?  It might be a boy this time?"  Another question that seems to get brought up is, " Well, since you have three girls who is going to take over the farm."  
 First of all, I couldn't imagine asking someone such questions, but while I can think of a million and one not-so-nice-things to tell these people, I have learned to bite my tongue (thanks Mom and Dad for teaching me that if I can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all)and answer these questions with dignity and respect.  It does kind of bother me that people still think that girls can't do a man's job.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Shutterfly Photo Book is, Lana!!!  Lana, check your inbox in the next couple days for an email from Shutterfly with all the details.  Thanks for entering everyone!

Disclaimer: A winner was chosen at Random.org


Monday, March 3, 2014

Krispie Choco Marshmallow Bars...

If you haven't entered my Photo Book Giveaway from Shutterfly yet, there is still time to enter.  The giveaway ends Tuesday at midnight!  Click here to enter to win!  Don't miss out!

These bars were a hit by everyone in our household.  You bake them in a jelly roll pan so it does make a pretty big batch, but they were devoured in less than days!  We can't take all the credit though.  We had some visitors to help us out!

This recipe is a 3-step process, but don't let that scare you because they are still pretty easy to make.

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