Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Moment to Breath.

I know there comes a time in most every woman's life when you just need a moment to take a breath.

Just that single solitary second, when you can tune out the cleaning, cooking, the feeling of being pulled this way and that, a diaper needs changed, baths need run, teeth need brushed, boo boo's kissed, endless laundry, honey where's this or fix that, the older two are fighting, the dogs are barking and the baby is climbing.

The whole shebang of your family and home is kept smoothly running on it's axis because, you continue making sure everyone is on the path they should be. You can't afford a moment of doubt or slacking, for the fear of knowing if you aren't on your toes 100% of the time everything will fall apart.

Those moments...

Take those moments, let the stress of your everyday life go... cry, laugh, pat yourself on the back for being the supreme domestic goddess that you are. Then pick yourself up, pat some cool water on your puffy eyes and continue on.

We as women, are the quickest to put ourselves on the back burner and forget that we are not perfect. As hard as we may try to, we cannot wrestle with life and make it bend to our will and do the things we want. Money will be tight, your marriage will have it's blah moments, and children will take the opportunity to challenge you whenever it is most innopportune.

Just remember... everything will work out! You can balance all the trials of life and family. You've set the foundation and base for your family, the paths are clearly marked you can afford to take those moments just to pause...let your shoulders slouch and .... Breath!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beef, it's what I'm making for dinner. A recipe too.

Of course I'm cooking beef. What did you expect, don't answer that.

Since, bless the big guy above, I've got an abundant amount of beef in my freezer from our local meat locker. You betcha! No buying beef from a grocery store here. I can tell you who owned the cows too. I love it here and not wondering where my food's from.

Anywho... sorry sidetracked again.

I've gotten a bit creative on what to do with roasts. Don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with the typical roast with onion soup mix cooked with potatoes, carrots and onions. I do make that. But, I do get in a rut of being tired of the same ole thing all the time.

You see, I'm feeding a family of five here, four of which are males, which means our meals are very manly man's food. Meat and potatoes, stick to your ribs type food. Don't be adding any funky herbs and frilly sides. Even pasta is limited to spaghetti and manicotti, which has to have a meat in the sauce. Occasionally I can slip in alfredo but not more frequently that about twice a year. So, I decided lets experiment a little. And One of the creations is... Rojo Beef.

Why Rojo you ask...I'm so glad you asked. Because Rojo is Spanish for Red (thank you Dora and Diego) and it's a Mexican influenced shredded beef and it's Red, well the meat isn't because it is fully cooked, but the sauce with shredded bits of bovine goodness are

Now, I feel the need to give a disclosure before I continue...this recipe is spicy. My household loves spicy food. I'm sure it can be toned down, I've just never tried it and I personally think the heat is part of the pizazz of it. This has become a quick favorite here.

*I usually start this cooking around lunchtime to have it ready for dinner.

Rojo Beef

1 large roast or brisket (cut into two or three pieces) , pick your preference...just adjust time for tougher meat

Place the roast in a large pot with a lid on the stove, cover the roast with water

add to the pot with the roast and water...
1 small can of tomato paste,
3 cloves garlic,minced or 1 heaping teaspoon of the already chopped stuff,
1 cup of salsa (whatever you have in the fridge).
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 -2 whole dried chili peppers ( this makes it pretty darn spicy, removing the seeds mellows it some)

Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a constant fast simmer with the lid on. Let the bugger cook and cook till it easily shredded with a fork. Watch your liquid that it doesn't boil out.

Remove the roast from the liquid and shred with 2 forks. Reserve some of the sauce if you want more on your tortillas.

We eat this yummy creation of mine (pat myself on the back) on tortillas with cheese. Sour cream if super spicy. A side of red beans and rice goes great with it. Experiment how you eat it, I just provided the platform for your burritos.

Now run and grab yourself a glass of Sangria or a Corona and enjoy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Constantly on my toes and I'm not talking ballet.

You would think being on my third baby I would have been better prepared and expecting this. Ha, Ha. Baby RJ is officially in that, I'm independent and mobile, I will do anything I want and if you try and stop me I will scream till the my face turns red and do it anyway. {deep breath}...here we go again.

Oh I know he's cute peeking over the gate at me. He's wanting so bad to be in the kitchen and help mommy make dinner, and when my back is turned run into the bathroom to splash and throw whatever he can get his hands on into the potty. Or, into the computer room pushing buttons and making the computer do things I didn't even know it could do.

Mommy please let me out of here, I can just read it in those big beautiful green eyes. What makes it even harder is, just like his 2 older brothers, Odie and Bubba as he calls them, he knows just how to melt my heart, big sloppy open mouthed muahhhh baby kisses. Oh I can't forget the one time he talks quietly and that's "Momma".

So I break, I usually let him out of the baby gated living room and put him in his high chair or close the bathroom door and gate off the computer room. Dilemma solved, every one's happy.

But, for every baby/toddler dilemma solved a new one will arise.... I give you ... the stairs!

That little stinker, just climbed his little butt right up them stairs to his Nirvana heaven...the bigger boys toy room.

Oh, I laughed and I was proud that he has the ability to not only climb up the stairs but back down as well.

I was a bit sad too though. Partially because he does so well up and down the stairs and I'm known for tripping up the stairs or the infamous think there is one more step there that really isn't, so I look like a total dork lifting my leg like Frankenstein walking to take a step that isn't even there, now that's if at the top. At the bottom I just trip and about smash my pretty little pug nose into the front door.

My real moment of self awwww is... a milestone like this makes me realize even more that my last baby is growing up way too fast.

I'm pouting now, my babies are all growing up too fast. And I miss their little tiny chubby baby feet and no teeth grins and looking up at me with that look of total adoration...oh wait, I still get that whenever I fix and kiss a boo boo.

Motherhood is the greatest gift we can be given, but man ole man is it a roller coaster of emotions.

* My quote of the day or words of advise or whatever you'd like to call it...

Make sure you've kissed your baby's. It only takes a second and the effects last a lifetime.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It's HOT, I'm thinking today is going to be one of those goofy weather guy "hottest days of the summer, phewww weeee."

I can handle the warm weather, much better than I can the cold I'd like to add, but my littlest one can't. Oh, it's miserable.

It Could be because he's taking after me, the Irish part that is; reddish hair, fair skin, temper, oh lord that one worries me the most. Whatever the reason, he can not handle hot days, he breaks out in prickly heat (heat rash) and he's moody...

And moody I mean... Worse than if Roughrider Cowboy hasn't had anything to eat and he starts getting the holy cranky man hasn't eaten syndrome he'll morph into a grizzly bear like creature thrashing through the house making the children and I grab sticks and pitchforks to keep him away! Food is the only solution to this beauty and the beast moment. Big manly food, beef and potatoes, not a foofy pasta dish.

OH sorry...Back to the baby...

What is a mother to do? To help the baby with the heat, not the cranky hungry husband..

I keep the house as cool as I can, he's running around in a diaper and I've used baby powder.

Now I just sit back and deal...

Daydreaming of an exotic location to go with the heat. I'm laying on the beach, not in a string bikini anymore. After having three children and putting a layer of fat on for the winter, lol hey it's my excuse if I want it to be, bears put a layer of fat on, why can't I?

So... I'd say I'll go with a nice tankini.

Oh wait, I've been without hot water... scratch the whole beach idea, having extra insulation is one thing, having prickly legs that's going to require a lumberjack named Sven with a chainsaw to get through the pine forest now growing on my lower extremeties. That's just unacceptable.

Back to the real world of chasing my herd of children... who wants a beach when you can have my boys chasing you around the hay field, I mean yard, with a garden hose.

This time that Cowboy man of mine had better get sprayed too.

Mission accepted!

Cue the Charlie's Angel's music.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Hot Water

I know I live in the middle of the amber waves of grain state of ND. Yes, I understand we are a bit behind, or as I prefer to think of it, still in the simple times of trusting your neighbor, no crime rate and it's ok for kids to be dirty and never lock our doors, times. But I do enjoy indoor plumbing and hot water.

Yesterday evening after a full day of my little cowpokes running around outside, playing with toads, shooting garter snakes with a BB gun (supervised by me) , climbing trees, digging a hole in my gravel driveway and all the other typical daily activities of an almost 8 yr old, 4 yr old and wobbling 15 month old. We had come upon that time of day when mom doesn't need to wash the bathroom floor because there is already enough Mr. Bubble water all over it from our pirate adventures in the tub.

Problem.... NO HOT WATER.

Apparently, after that hot,sweaty rough rider cowboy of mine ventured down into the depths of our unfinished basement, mumbled quite loudly some profanities I'm sure he learned while in the Navy and stomped back up the stairs with a look on his face making me and the children want to run and hide our heads under the couch because I just know Ghangus Khan probably had that same look at some point. It was brought to my attention that the HUGE pile of dishes on my counter, go figure it was one of those dinners that require large amounts of dishes, was either going to have to sit there, which really wasn't an option, or I was going to have to boil water to do them.

Let me see if I can get this correct... The hose that brings water into the hot water heater is leaking, which caused water to run down the tank and make this little circuit, makes the hot water heater work correctly, thingy NOT WORK. In other words...it's broke, hopefully he can fix just that thing- ma- jigger and not have to buy a whole new heater. UHGGGG.

If I was a drinker at this moment I would pause, and go take a big old healthy swig of some liquor that would burn all the way down and make me feel better about my current predicament.

But I'm not, so I won't, I'll take a deep breath, pull out my canning pot and boil some water so as I can wash the dishes that have once again stacked up on my counter.

*That which does not break us only makes us stronger....with the way this year has been so far, I'm going to be one strong mama, put me on American Gladiators by the time it's all said and done.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Perfect Pie Crust

Since it's becoming that time of year when all the good fresh fruits are readily available I though it would be a good time to share my perfect pie crust recipe.

For years I've been fighting with pie crusts. Do you use lard, butter or shortening...vinegar or no vinegar, does all the ingredients have to be cold etc. Also, since I like to make apple dumplings in advance and freeze them individually so year round I can pull them out and just bake them I need a pie crust that freezes beautifully..... Bingo... freezes great, works wonderfully with custard and fruit pies and it's flaky...kinda like me.

( makes enough dough for: 1 two crust pie ,2 single crust pies, or 8 dumplings)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups shortening ( I know it's terrible but for once butter isn't better, I use Crisco)

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

5 Tablespoons cold water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

Mix together the flour & salt. Blend in the shortening either with a pastry cutter, a fork or your fingertips until it looks like a course crumb mixture.

Mix together the egg, water and vinegar and Pour into the crumby flour mixture. and blend well.

Divide the dough into 2 balls. Place in separate zip lock bags flatten a bit...refrigerate for about 15 minutes just to set it up some and make it easier to roll, or refrigerate or freeze for a while till you need them.

Once dough is removed from fridge, place on floured surface and lightly flour the top of the dough and roll out to the size you need for your pie pan.

Bake as recipe calls for.

Macho, Muscles and Mud

Those sleeveless shirts, knobby knees and big muscled creatures up there.. those are my life blood, those are my world... the joy, the love, the humor and yet still makes me wonder why do I even bother doing my hair.

I can't recall how many times I hear... "Got tickets to the gun show" as the three older boys (combat boot cowboy included) give me their biggest muscle man faces and show off their pipes, at which that time baby RJ notices and holds his little arms up in the air not wanting to be left out of the macho display of manly muscles.

At this moment I'd like to stop and apologize for the what I hate to admit shows my yard to the east and what happens when it rains almost daily and you get behind on mowing...it quickly becomes a hay field.

Hay anyone? free for the taking just needs raked and baled. I can even provide some "gun show" tickets to help with the bales.

I love my boys all of them, but there are, I'm sorry to admit, moments when I think about, what if I didn't lift the toilet seat when I'm done. I know! I know! A few of you are re-reading that. Let me explain... In most houses the man gets yelled at for leaving the toilet seat up... NOT AT MY HOUSE. I am the only female...we have but one bathroom.... it is easier for me to remember to put the seat up when I'm done than for my little cowpokes to remember to lift it when they go, and then remember to put it back down, so if mommy needs to go in the middle of the night her butt doesn't fall into the freezing water leading to a yelp loud enough to scare the coyotes running through my back pasture. You see, easier for me to lift the seat than them to remember to lift and put back down.

How bout some interesting facts... Since I'm on the topic of boys.

Did you know it's possible for a child to burp the alphabet before he can even recognize what the letters are. Or that a 7 yr old can make fart sounds loud enough with his armpits that he can make a beagle pup jump a good 12 inches off the ground, when the pup is outside and he is in. Or how bout, when on a car trip... farting and burping on command is a sign of dominance and can lead to an all out war of who is the best and will continue for miles and miles until someone either almost pukes or passes out.

LOL, though I probably don't sound like it here, upon writing these tales of testosterone I'm grinning and even chuckling because this is my family, these are my boys, my babes, my love, my life and I wouldn't trade a moment of it for any girly pink bows, manicures and giggly gossip.

There is just something too special about building a heart out of mud, rocks and grass to show mommy just how much she is loved and knowing only the coolest tomboy mommy would understand how wonderfully special it is to find a tree frog or cricket that will stay in your pocket.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Color...My LIfe Needs Color.

These are an example of just a few of the flowers around my place and I might add I am quite proud of the green thumb I didn't even know I had. Who knew, that I could grow such beautiful foliage, not a victory garden by no means but give me time, my cowboy darling has created a monster building me all the flower beds I want and letting me fill them with all kinds of budding beauties.

If you've never driven through North Dakota let me explain my desire for lots of different bright flowery things. Dixie Chicks probably explains it well when the say "wide open spaces". That's it... you drive and it's field after field after field of crops. Oh sure there are occasional pastures full of cows and spring is the best because then it's pastures full of baby moo moo cows. But it's wide open. All green in the spring and summer and all brown in the fall and of course all white in the winter and oh my lord didn't know it would get that cold.

After having done 2 winters here I realized that once the first big snow comes, that's it. It stays, you will not see the ground again till spring and spring can come pretty damn late out here. My husband has been so sweet enough as to go out in negative -30 degrees to shovel a big square out in front of my picture window so I can see the ground, I was really starting to wonder if the dirt and poor dormant grass was even still under there. Hey you would wonder too if you went months with out seeing something, if you didn't see your belly button for months on end wouldn't you just reach down there and pillsbury dough boy poke your own button just to make sure it was still there? OH come on, you know you would.

I know now you can understand my need for color. Because, at any given time the canvas of the prairie is one dominant color and that's just not enough for me, I'm greedy, I want a crayon box worth of colors. I want to paint my property with the colors of my chidren's pudgy little hands after getting ahold of a box of markers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Next Chapter in my adventures as a Military Wife!

Top photo: My life, my family, last time my husband was military

Bottom photo: My life, my family now, my husband has decided to get back in the military.

Notice any differences?

OK, I know you are asking, why the two pictures, well ya'll, I will tell you. Because I'm thinking about the changes in my life since my husband was in the military. Confused are ya?

Let me clarify...my husband, that's the biggest kid in the pics, was active duty Navy when we married, he did five years on a ship, six years total Navy, stationed in Norfolk, VA. After two cruises aka deployments, and being gone roughly 6-8 months out of the year he decided to get out and try civilian life. That was five years ago. Civilian life is OK, he likes his job, likes his hobbies, and loves being home with the kids and myself and living out on our little piece of heaven.

BUT...when you have a man, such as that big, bulging biceps, barrel chested cowboy up there, military is his life. He misses it, it gnaws at him not wearing a uniform, not having his comrades, not serving his country. Not being at the call of his commander in chief. It's all he's wanted since playing war with GI Joe's and little green army men. His life is just not complete without it. I can understand, my life is not complete without sloppy baby kisses and the ringing of "mom, mom, MOMMMM!" in my ears daily. So, the papers are signed and he's now part of th ND Army National Guard!

So, I understand, I support him, I'm his strength when he needs it. And now I'm wondering about my own strength.

Do I still have what it takes to handle year long deployments with 3 young boys and my little prairie home? Can I handle, the winters alone and if anything breaks not being able to tell my hubby to fix it, like a small child who's Christmas toy broke. Of course he does his best to fix it and if he can't, he somehow most always finds a way to make it all better anyway.

My husband and friends have no doubt that I'll be fine, everything will be OK. I'm strong and independent and they have no worries. But, isn't it usually us who doubt ourselves the most. The hardest person to convince of their strengths is yourself.

On the days I have doubts in myself I just keep telling myself.
I can do it... I'm an Army wife now... Proud, Strong, Loyal!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Secret To Dipped Chocolates And A Recipe too!.

Let me give you a quick hint, something I've learned from years of chocolate and candy making.
Dipping Chocolate.

For dipping in milk, semi sweet and even bitter sweet chocolate. The special little buy by the pound discs aren't necessary. There is just a quick little ratio you need to learn.

For every 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
You'll need to add 1 - 2 Tablespoon of shortening, (plain, not butter flavored and NO substitutions with butter or margarine)

Why the shortening you ask? Well, my dears... It makes it softer, smoother and when you bite into your dipped item the chocolate coating doesn't shatter all over the place and make a royal mess.

I use 1 T for items that need a harder and thicker shell like choc covered cherries, that way the liquid doesn't leak. Most everything else I use the 2 T method.

I'll give you a few examples of what this dipping chocolate can be used on... Choc covered cherries, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, truffles, and of course if you don't want to make candies you can dip pretzels, nuts, raisins, graham crackers, marshmallows, cowboys, Oh wait, sorry, that's a different subject .

The list really can go on and on. It's your confections... Let me know how it goes, I'd love to know what yummy goodies ya'll make.

*Warning* I do not recommend working with chocolate in high humidity. There is ways to get around it but I'm keeping this post simple.

Perfect Peppermint Patties
1 box confectioners/powdered sugar (1 pound)
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 12oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shortening
In a bowl combine first four ingredients. Add milk and Mix well.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
Chill for about 20 minutes.
Flatten with glass till about 1/4 inch thick.
Chill for about 20 minutes,
While the patties chill out prepare you dipping chocolate.
Melt the chocolate chips and shortening on a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave but be careful not to burn it it in the microwave and don't let water get into it on the double boiler.
Dip patties, place on waxed paper to harden & freeze to set choc.
Yields 5 dozen

Monday, July 14, 2008


I've lived out here on the prairie for over two years now and this my friend, is my third summer. Now I've pretty much gotten used to the fact that the weather changes without warning here and that being in big sky country it's usually gorgeous and fun. But... When it comes to the kind of season we've been having this year as far as Tornado warnings and touchdowns, it's both thrilling, neat and scary to be able to see a storm coming toward you for MILES. I don't mean oh say five miles I mean holy crap that's a long ways away, miles .

This lovely little photo is before the hail decided to shower down and make it's lovely tink tink harmony and scare the bejeebers out of my middle little ( my middle child). Come on even I know better than to be standing outside taking pictures when it's hailing, well not unless you are wearing a hard hat. Then that would just be being passionate about photography right?

I am well aware in other parts of the country they would have all the right in the world to stone me and burn me at the stake for talking about bad weather. But, I'm still getting used to the fact that it's just a matter of everyday life to have tornado watches and warnings more than a few times summer. God bless you with your nerves of solid rock people in tornado alley.

Oh, I should add that all the damage we've had "knock on wood" has been minimal...branches down,shingles blown off the garage and barn, and my poor snap dragons and moss roses laid over.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Typical Saturday

I love summer Saturdays. Not that Saturdays during school are that much different it's just nice during the summer.

Wake up run around in my pj's till probably around noon. Kids either eat cereal or we have a later than 7am breakfast along the line of what you'd order at IHOP except better, why better you ask...because I made it that's why.

After a nice big later than breakfast but earlier than brunch meal, it's nice to just veg out and watch some cartoons with the kids. Oh don't roll your eyes, you too have an inner child that just loves to sit and watch cartoons while drinking a juice box.

It's usually after noon by the time we all get dressed and decide what the plan for the day is, meaning do we have to go anywhere and do anything...which if that's the case we would have left earlier because it's a 65 mile one way drive to the nearest anything except we do have a little town that the streets roll up at night and they do have a grocery store with the same hours as the bank and the prices would make you choke, we also have a little gas station, a hardware store and lumberyard, not open on the weekends I might add.

You see really "anything" is at the end of a 65 mile drive. OHHHHH, but at the end of that drive is ... play the pretty angel music... Stores, restaurants, coffee stops, damn now I want a carmel mocha latte. I can not forget the reason it's all worth while going to the city...Fleet Farm. I do believe if they sold more food, we can't live on peanuts, raisins and jerky only, BUT, anything I need in life is under that roof. Most women get excited over walking into the mall and smelling the smells of high end perfumes, designer purses, and deciding whether they like the wedge,slingback or peep toe. HA HA I know I just confused some people and probably shocked even more.

Let me fill you in on a little something. Part of me used to be one of those women. I've always been a country girl, but I let that slip away for awhile and let the "glamour girl" side of me lead the way for a while. Trust me once I got married to my rough rider cowboy, the "glamour girl" couldn't find the oh shit handle fast enough to get the hell out of there. So, now you know that there is a different side of me. All of us have different layers that's what make us who we are.

So, now I'm that's I've completely took a side road off the subject of Saturdays I'll get back to that.

Since, I'm sitting here writing this at 11:30 am it's pretty obvious we aren't going to town today. I don't think we'll be going anywhere at all if my dh (dear, darling, damn, husband..pick the "d" that fits) can't get the truck fixed. Ah yes the truck is broke, to be exact the axle. UHHGG. Welcome to my world...just a typical day at my prairie farm.

My wise words of the day "Use butter not margarine"...margarine is one element away from being plastic, was originally created as a turkey fattner but even they wouldn't eat it. and if you leave a tub opened for months IT WON'T MOLD, why you ask because it's fake not natural, just like... oh nevermind.