Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seveteen Years

Dear Tim,

I am pretty sure everyone thought we were crazy. I know we didn't have a clue what we were getting into. Who could have imagined the blessings that would come, or the tragedies we would experience through the last seventeen years? And who on earth could know how fast seventeen years could fly by?

There have been so many wonderful times. There have been some terribly hard ones too. It hasn't always been easy. It hasn't always been fun, but I couldn't imagine tackling this adventure we call life without you.


 Thank you for seventeen years of fun, excitement, love and support. And to think we, have barely started the journey! I love you! 
Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mmmm Steak Done Right

photo credit: Dusty Hurley
Recently, I had a friend and customer ask me how I cook our steaks. She and her husband love a good steak out, but have been unable to create a result they are happy with at home. They have good meat, but need to learn how to cook the steaks right.

I gave her my quick and easy version of steak grilling 101. Pre-heat the grill until it is good and hot. Season the steak lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Turn the grill to medium-high and grill away. I explained the thumb test for checking when the meat is done. Don't know that one? It is explained pretty well here. Then I emphasized that you have to let the meat rest before digging in.

Now, I have always been pretty pleased with my steak grilling results, but her question got me thinking, "Is there an even better way?" Cooking farm raised beef is a little different than cooking feed lot beef. So off to Google I went in search of an even better way to grill our fabulous steaks.

I found this, How to Cook the Perfect, Tender Grassfed Steak. She provides a lot of interesting tips and information, but the main difference in her grilling method is that after searing, the meat is cooked away from the flame. Interesting, and a great excuse to pull some rib eyes out of the freezer for the test kitchen.

It was just Tim and I last night, another great excuse to eat steak. I made a little steak seasoning, roughly based on Rick's Steak Seasoning. I lit the grill, and proceeded according to the method shared in the link above.

The results were fantastic. What you'd like to see a picture? Sorry, Tim and I devoured those rib eyes before I even thought that I might want a picture. Thus you get a picture of the steak (and then some) while it was still out on the pasture.

So glad my friend asked the question. So glad I went searching for a better answer. So glad we have more steaks in the freezer.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let the Festivities Begin

I went into this holiday season feeling completely exhausted. It has been a long hard year and a half. The thought of Christmas, and the tasks surrounding the celebration felt like more of a burden than a joy to me just a few days ago.

Everything was late this holiday season. I started shopping late. Our tree went up very late. My mailed gifts still aren't mailed. (Dear recipients, please consider them post holiday blah breakers when they do arrive.) I was feeling quite buried and emotionally drained.

Then Thursday, a mere three days before Christmas, an unexpected breeze of Christmas joy found me. I was putting together cookie trays and treat bags to give away, and it felt good.  I felt peace and joy. I remembered Christmas isn't about a tremendous to do list. It isn't about all the family traditions we try to keep, or the expectations we set for the holidays.

It is about the miracle of the gift we've been given in Christ. It is about time with family, and the joy of giving to others. And in this house it is about good eating.  (Just keeping it real.)

The whole family is home today. We've had a relaxed day. Farm chores have been completed. I spent some time just watching the animals which is something I thoroughly enjoy, but rarely take the time to do. My little helpers and I have been enjoying the day in the kitchen preparing the feast.

The appetizers are laid out for snacking. Kellen just finished the sushi. Tim and Nolan are finishing up some chores outside.

The sauce is simmering. The meatballs are ready. We may or may not have made enough meatballs for an army. The cheesecake is chilling.

Soon Tim will be in, and we will spend a quiet evening together eating, reading the Christmas story, singing, and likely opening our gifts. We are breaking tradition this year. We are doing things a little different, but fully remembering and enjoying what the season really is all about. We wish the same for you.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Babies

Look what Tim found, or more accurately I should say heard, when he left for work this morning! At first we thought we had triplets, which would be a first for us. We realized that they were in fact, not triplets, but that our only two remaining goats, who are mother and daughter, gave birth on the same night. What are the odds?

There are two boys, on the right, and one girl pictured on the left. The dark one is simply adorable!

So much cuter than any baby pig. Kellen and I have an ongoing discussion about who reigns as the cutest baby animals on the farm.

Sure they are cute, but goat kids rule! I will concede one thing though, baby goats are much louder than baby pigs.

Much to my surprise, Lydia named them right away. They are (from right to left) Brownie, Henry, and Tanla. Guess animals are more fun to name when they are little and cute.

Now, these little cuties have quite distracted me from my substantial to do list this morning, but I am not complaining. Thanks Lucy and Marble for my early Christmas present.


The kids' chocolate covered pretzels remind me of the '80's. Really there are pretzels under all that splatter. Now if chocolate just came in Day Glo colors.

Monday, December 19, 2011

He is a Little Fruity.

I sent Nolan to the freezer to looking for coating chocolate while I was cleaning up some dishes. With my back turned to him, I heard him ooohing and aaaahhhhing, so I assumed he had found the chocolate. When I turned around he had a huge grin on his face. The bag he was holding however, was not full of chocolate.

The exciting find was a bag of frozen blueberries. He had stopped looking for the chocolate and was begging me to eat the blueberries. This is the most fruit eating kid I've ever known.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Early Christmas Present

 There are so many things to love about homeschooling. One definite advantage is you can go places during the week when the rest of the world is in school, often at a significant discount. We took advantage of one such offer last week at Great Wolf Lodge.

I've looked at visiting there before, but the rates were a little beyond my comfort level. But then they had Homeschool Week the first week of December. The discount was significant, and we were able to get a room for all six of us and two days of entertainment for a little more than the normal cost of a hotel room. Merry early Christmas kids. We are headed to the water park.

We were duly impressed with the lobby, not to mention the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff who cheerfully fixed a date mix up on my part, but the water park blew us away.

There was so much to do, plenty to keep the big kids and the little kids happy while wearing the parents out. Everything was clean, and the staff was attentive and friendly. There were only a handful of families there, and some of them were friends of ours. Could it be any better?

In the evening there was a story, songs, and snow in the lobby for all the tired swimmers.

We had so much fun. I hope they offer homeschool week discounts next year!