Wonderful Weekends and Road Trips

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Some days just start off with odd things happening. This morning I made some delicious fruit smoothies for my husband and me to have for breakfast. It was early morning and beautiful weather out, so we sat on the porch to enjoy them.

As we sat there, enjoying the quiet of the morning, I saw something drop just as a bird flew past. When I looked in my cup there was a whitish streak inside my cup! That bird had made a deposit in my smoothie! It did make me wonder what the rest of the day would turn out to be. Fortunately, it did not turn out like it started.

The day did turn out hot and muggy; and I commented to my husband that I was grateful that last weekend had been cooler. Last weekend we had the joy of taking a road trip to see our grandson graduate from pre-school.

IMG_3470 A Taste of Frosting

“If Only I Could Stick My Finger in This Frosting!”

We decided to take the scenic route on our way south for our visit. I figured I would just share. with you, a few of the sights that we saw on our way.

We found a hard surface road that twined through the country side and had some beautiful scenery…..we did choose it because the map had all the little dots telling us that it was a scenic route. The map did not lie…..it was beautiful.

This little town was a perfect spot to get out and stretch our legs. It was also a wonderful place to just drink in the view and listen to the water that rushed over the rocks. It will be fun to trace this road trip on the map later on and remember all these little back roads.

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We arrived at our destination….the graduation….with time to spare. It was so much fun to spend time with the kids and grandkids. We had such a good time going to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.

The Grandkids!

A Bridge in Des Moines

When I think back to last weekend the thing that really stands out is the joy on the faces of our grandkids. They were so excited because they got to have both sets of grandparents at their house at the same time!

Wandering through the farmers market with them, finding the balloon man and eating some popcorn…..okay…….a lot of popcorn….made for some great memories.  I hope they remember that time with as much joy as their grandparents do.

The road trips was great, the scenery was wonderful….but the kids and grandkids…..now there is a treasure without compare!

The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing
 Unknown quotes 

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Treasuring_Family/#ixzz4itjhSeLK

 

 

Not All That Glitters…..

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It may be true that “Not all that glitters is gold.” I think the reverse is also true….Not all gold is something that glitters. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever…..it just sounded kind of profound.

I have many things in life that are really pure gold….family and friends being at the top of the list. My daughter-in-law posted the picture of the two grandkids on Facebook the other day. It just made my day to see those two little ones.

They are the real gold in my life. Those two bring such a joy to life. Everything they do is done with everything they have. They really know how to live life to the full and they sparkle from the inside out.

I did have to do some questioning about the Kaboom game after seeing the photo. I first thought they were knocking down the blocks with marshmallows. Turns out those are white painted blocks…..which is a good thing; as I am not sure about the shelf life of a game that would use marshmallows as game pieces.

I digress (which I often do). I also have some amazing friends. One of them truly does glitter! We have often called her the glitter queen. Wherever she goes she has a sparkle about her….literally. I should explain. She is a craft wizard and loves….(did I say loves?) to use glitter. There are times her husband even sparkles. (I am not so sure how impressed he is with the thought of sparkling.)

There is a down side to glitter. Once it gets loose in your home it attaches itself to everything. My daughter-in-law once gave me a Christmas present wrapped in beautiful paper that had glittery snowflakes on it. It did not take long and everything and everyone had a slight sparkle to and on them….maybe more than a slight sparkle. It was actually quite wonderful in a Christmas sparkly kind of way.

My daughter-in-law started to snicker and informed me that the clerk who had sold her the paper explained to her about glitter.  According to him, and I quote, “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world…….once you have it…..you can never get rid of it.” That is a quote that has firmly planted itself in my brain. It comes to mind every time I see a tube of glitter, a card with glitter or anything sparkly and glitter related. That quote is somewhat like glitter….I don’t think I will ever be able to erase it!

I am so glad that there is so much more to my family and friends than just temporary , external sparkle. They are “Real” and their beauty and worth comes from who they are inside and not what they look like outside. They are beautiful, wonderful people….inside and out.

I pray that you have a friend or family member who sparkles and shines from the inside. I pray this friend or family member spreads a little “internal glitter” over your life and brings you joy. I also pray that you, in turn, spread a little glitter over those around you.

 

“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…
beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle,
or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit.
Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside,
somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL,
it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”

Mandy Hale, T
he Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

 

 

 

Christmas Reflections

glory-to-god

Sometimes it is a blessing in disguise when the winds are gusting cold and brisk at 45 miles per hour.  It forces us to just relax, retreat into the house and reflect on the highlights of the day before.  Monday was such a day.

My husband and I were given the opportunity to sit and reflect on the highlights of Christmas day. Just sitting here now, thinking about it, brings a smile to my lips. I can close my eyes and replay certain scenes in my head and enjoy them all over again.

The day started early with getting the turkey in the oven and the woodstove fired up for the day.  Once that was accomplished my husband and I sat in the dark living room waiting for the rest of the household to wake up.

The two grandkids were first, of course, and came sleepily into the living room, dragging blankets and stuffed animals behind them. They snuggled in close. It is a wonderful thing to sit in a semi-dark living room with a lap full of grandkids, and the warm glow of a woodstove and the lights of a Christmas tree for company.

It did not take long and we were joined by their parents. After that the busy day began.  We did take time to enjoy a hot chocolate party before the rest of the family arrived. (The hot chocolate party was an effective Grandma bribe to get them into bed the night before.)

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Once everyone else had arrived, hugs exchanged, and Christmas greetings given, it was decided to open gifts before we had dinner.  No one was really too hungry anyway, after spending the morning snacking on Christmas cookies, cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate.

Opening gifts is always a bit of a challenge due to the gift labeling system we use in our home.  It has become a tradition that instead of names on the labels on our gifts, we have random stamped images. This started years ago when our sons were small and could not (or would not) leave their gifts alone.

With this system I have my notebook in hand, with corresponding stamped images and names so that everyone gets the correct gift.  Once my sons got older, got married and moved into homes of their own; I thought I would be able to start putting the names on the gifts….not so.  They voted to stay with tradition and the stamped images of leaves, penguins, trees, etc. continues.

Gifts were opened, dinner was enjoyed, rousing games of foosball were played. Naps were taken (not by small children), lego sets were built, cookies were consumed (in mass quantities by small children), books were read, and the day was liberally sprinkled with laughter, good-natured ribbing, and an amazing dose of love that was so tangible that you felt you could reach out and touch it.

 

The only thing that would have made the day any better would have been to have my other daughter-in-law here. She was back home with the stomach flu.

The day was a blessing and was bathed in that love that comes from shared joys, shared sorrows, and shared lives.  it was the joy that comes from being with those you love and that love you back no matter what.

It was the sense of family that is rooted in a deeper truth that there is One who loves us even more than we could possibly love each other.  The love of the One who came to earth so long ago in human form as a baby and gave His life so we might have life eternal.

May the joy of this season remain with you longer than this season is celebrated. May you be blessed by the One who loves you so much.

I am going to leave you with a less than serious ending to this post.  It just seemed fitting that as the Chicken Grandma, I should somehow involve the “girls”(or at least their cartoon counterparts) in this Christmas post.

And may you even be blessed by the silliness of chickens clucking Christmas songs! They may not deserve a standing ovation but they are pretty fun!

Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek;
bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes;
grouped everything and everyone round the Christ

Charles Dickens quotes 

Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/about/Family_Christmas/2/#ixzz4U4lj9wzH

 

 

 

Crossing the Canning Border

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Quarts of Apple Goodness

 

I think this week I finally crossed the border from “canning the produce season” into “using the canned goods season”. I finally dealt with the cooler full of apples that has been standing by my kitchen counter for the last two weeks. My excuse for procrastinating was they (the apples) looked like they needed a little more ripening……I am sticking with that excuse.

I really do like the season of harvesting the garden produce and preserving it for use in the coming year.  It always seems like somewhat of a race to beat the weather, the bugs, the heat, the “girls” (my chickens, for those of you who are first time visitors here), and the voles that seem to love burrowing in my garden and eating the things like potatoes and carrots.

Today I finished those apples and turned them into beautiful quarts of apple juice. I always need to be sure to have juice on hand for when my grandbabies come. It is one of their favorite things about coming to the Chicken Grandma’s house. (it ranks right behind chasing chickens, picking up rocks, throwing rocks, taking a bath in the big claw-foot tub, having tea parties and following Grandpa around).

As I washed those canned jars of juice it occurred to me that once again I would be needing to move a few things around in my pantry. I headed over that way and moved empty jars (yes I still have some) around to make room for the full jars. Pamela at BeeOrganizedWithPamela would be so proud of me for re-organizing the pantry!!

In moving things around I made a disturbing discovery.  There were “signs” that a small gray furry critter decided to cross the border from outside and come on in. I am not sure why this critter decided it was time to change his address and go house hunting.  Perhaps because we had frost on the ground this morning?

I am not sure why the event of the mouse migration always takes me by surprise. We do live in an old farmhouse.  Any small crack in the foundation is pretty much an entrance gate for mice with an invisible sign over – “Come on in and make yourself at home.” This seems to be an annual event.

It will definitely be time to put my husband’s trapping skills to work. I have given up trapping these invaders myself as I am quite sure they gain weight when I put out traps. For some reason my traps tend to turn into peanut butter self-feeders for rodents. Last year when we had this same issue I am pretty sure we ended up with obese mice roaming the pantry….until my husband took over the job. It made me wonder how large one could actually get?

I told my husband it is definitely job security for him. His comeback comment, “Well I am good for something…..trapping mice, killing spiders and opening pickle jars.”  He actually is really good at those tasks.  He laughs when he says this and so do I.

For those of you who would like to try canning

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Peels and Cores

apple juice I have included the recipe below.
I tend to use the peels and cores from the apples
and use the rest of the apple for applesauce or
apple pie filling.  That way I get the most out of
my apples.  I hate to see anything go to waste! When I am done with the peels and cores they go to the girls. They love to finish off whatever is left.

 

 

 

Canned Apple Juice
Apples
Cream of Tartar
Water
White Sugar
Wash apples before beginning.
Cut whole apples into thin slices, or use the peels and cores from apple baking
or apple canning projects.
Red apples peels will add a lovely pink color to the juice.
Measure the amount of apple pieces and put them into a large crock, plastic, or stainless steel container. Do
not use aluminum or porous metal as it will give a metallic taste.
Bring to a boil an equal amount of water.
Add 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each quart of boiling water.
Stir and pour  over the apple pieces.
Cover and let stand for 24 hours.
Pour juice off the apple pieces into a large container, squeezing pieces in a cheesecloth.
Measure juice into a heavy cooking pot.
Add 3/4 cup white sugar for every 2 quarts of juice.
Bring juice to a boil.
Pour into jars and process in hot water bath for 25 minutes for quarts.

For now the shelves are clean, stocked and ready for the “eat the canned produce season”. There is only one small problem. I still do have some empty jars…….I wonder if I can get my hands on one or two more 5 gallon buckets of apples?

And she prepares for herself her bread from the summer
and she stores her food at harvest.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/border/

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day #3

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This is my last day for the 3 day Quote Challenge. I was nominated by the gal who writes the blog – In The Autumn Of My Life. This has been a lot of fun hunting for some of my favorite quotes!

The rules are as follows:
Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
A theme for each day would be nice (though not necessary)
Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass it on….
Don’t forget to let your nominees know that you have chosen them.

For this third day I nominate:

  1. Alheri
  2. Floating Speck
  3. kindergartenknowledge

Explaining why you chose a certain quote is not part of the rules but  I do like to let you know why I chose the ones I did.

Today our kids came to visit and brought our two grandchildren with them. These two little bits of heaven are 2 and 5. After their evening baths I offered to sit with them till they fell asleep. It did take a looooong time. Small children are definitely perpetual motion machines.

I have a feeling that they are worried that life is short and they need to fit every bit of living into one day. Their enthusiasm for life and the living of life is catchy. They use up every bit of energy on everything they do. By the time their heads hit the pillow at night they have nothing left and are exhausted.

Every minute they give 100% of their efforts.  I hope I can say the same when I am at the end of my days. That I did not waste what I was given, that I used the time I had been given that I loved and lived to the full and that I served where and when I was called.

“The Master was full of praise.
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.'”
Matthew 25:21a