Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!




I have taken a bit of a blogging break over Thanksgiving and wanted to wish all of you a blessed time of thankfulness as you spend this day with family and friends!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Delightful Snowfall Followed by High Winds

We had a wintry mix blow in Monday night, and Tuesday morning when we got up, the whole world was clothed in deep inches of fluffy whiteness.  Oh, it was lovely!  I knew that it wasn't going to last long, because rain and high winds were in the forecast for later in the day, and so I got dressed while it was still barely dawn and went outside.  The dogs, of course, were with me, and what fun we had!


Roger couldn't wait to play in the snow. Of course... all he thinks about is playing anyway, so the snow just made it more fun for him.


We got a good 3 inches of snow.




I love to see the pine trees covered with the frothy lace designs of the snow.


Looking up through the tree to the sky above...


The chickens did not want to come out, and just stood at the open door looking at the snow.


 After I fed them, they were content to stand and watch the snow from the inside looking out!


The gentle world of white...

The loveliness abounded in the wonder of the fresh white snow...






The dogs enjoying a good romp in the fresh wet snow.


Annie and her nose...


For some reason - we don't know why - Annie loves to stick her nose deep into the snow.  It's her favorite thing to do when there is snow to play in.



See!  I was quick enough with the camera to catch this picture, because she does it so quickly.  But this is what she loves... a cold nose deep in the snow, and then she shakes her head and smiles as only dogs can do!


She also loves to catch snowballs, and this was perfect snow for snowballs.  I threw quite a few to her, and she caught them all and ate them.  Roger was perplexed, he couldn't understand what the snowball catching was all about.


After a few minutes of playing outside in the snow, it began to rain - really-really rain!  Oh I was so sad to see all the rain come, and slowly the snow dripped away.  Then, later in the afternoon, things got much worse.  A huge storm blew in from the Gulf of Alaska with incredible wind gusts that I think got up to at least 60-75 miles an hour here.  Our trees were bending under the power of the wind. After one incredible gust, I didn't think we'd have power long, and I was right.  My son and I were preparing to go and get the generator, and as we were, the power flickered and went out.  Luckily I had dinner ready to go, and we enjoyed steaming bowls of Creamy Chicken Soup in the flickering candlelight.  :)

Later in the evening I saw the power truck drive up our neighbor's driveway, and not too long after that our power was restored, so we think a tree or a limb may have went down on the lines in her yard.  She was not home at the time, so I couldn't check with her to see.  We will walk over there today to make sure all is well.  But thankfully, our power was restored late last evening.

This morning, I will be walking outside to check on our trees and see how they fared in the horrible winds we had yesterday.  From what I could see looking out in our yard, we lost no trees, but I will know for sure once I get out this morning to do a check on our forest.

How is the weather in your area? It seems many areas this year are experiencing unusual and difficult weather patterns.  Looking at the weather forecast, for the next week or two it seems that sunshine is in the forecast, and for that, I am thankful!  :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Having trouble remembering passwords?

Have you noticed that the need for passwords is increasing?  It seems that everything you do now requires some sort of password to access information.

Image result for password

I fear the day when I may need a password to open the refrigerator door, or turn my oven on!

Technology is on a march it seems, and every day things just get a little more complicated... and it seems to happen on a regular basis that you need to create a new password for this or that account or website.  It gets a little overwhelming keeping up with them sometimes!

Not long ago I got an email saying that someone had tried to log in to our bank account, so the account was locked, and I had to reset our password.  And so I did ...  and then a few days later... another message, account locked again and once again a new password needed to be created.

So all of this got me to thinking about how in the world are we supposed to keep up with all the different passwords that we need to have to access the myriad of accounts that continue to demand a "password"?

I was talking to my Aunt J one day about it, and she had a very wise suggestion.... so wise in fact, that I want to share it with you.  Maybe it will help you when you have run out of steam selecting passwords, that somehow either manage to be forgotten and need to be reset, or you need a new one, or whatever the case may be!

Here is an amazing solution!

(do I hear a drum roll... )   {smile}

Image result for password

... to use your favorite scripture passage!  Because the passwords usually require a capital letter, a special letter, and a number... a scripture passage will include all of those!

It is so simple, why didn't I think of it before?

Next time you are stumped for a password... use a scripture passage... it will include the special letter, the capital letter, and the numbers that you need to make the password police happy.  Best of all, in a stressful moment, you can quote that favorite passage to yourself, and not feel so frustrated with the advances of technology that demands these things of you!

I hope you enjoyed this simple tip today... to help keep the password police happy ... and that you don't end up feeling like this poor soul at the end of the day!

Image result for password


(Because hopefully we can all find our Bible!)  {smile}

Have a blessed day :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Homemade Honey-Silk Body Wash

I've been making my own body wash for some time now, and I just ran out of it today.  I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you how easy it is to make your own body wash. It requires just a few simple ingredients.  It comes together so easy, and makes your skin feel like silk afterwards... it is oh so worth it!


The ingredients are quite simple... and you don't need a scientific degree to understand what the ingredients are!


Here you can see that the four main ingredients have been added - honey, glycerin, Dr. Bronner's castille soap, and skin oil.  I love the layered look!


And then add your favorite combination of essential oils (I used Thieves, a Young Living oil) .... (and no, I am not selling it... I just happen to love it!)


Tipping the bottle to mix it all up...


And there you have it - easily made in about 2 minutes - an luxurious Honey-Silk body wash that soothes your skin while it cleanses it.

Want the recipe? I'm happy to provide it.  I've experimented with different body washes that I've found recipes for, and this is the one I'm happiest with.


HOMEMADE HONEY-SILK BODY WASH

3 tbsp raw honey
3 tbsp vegetable glycerin
3 tbsp castille soap
2 tbsp vitamin E oil (olive oil, rose hip oil, or other skin oils will work)
12 drops essential oil (I used Young Living Thieves, but your favorite essential oil would work)

*Use an empty clean container that is at least 8-10 oz.  It needs to have a pourable lid which makes it easier to use in the shower.  I use a plastic container because glass containers are dangerous in the bathtub.

In your empty container, add the above ingredients.  Close the lid tightly and gently turn upside down, and shake a few times until mixed well.  Use about a quarter size on your washcloth or sponge.

Note: If you find that you would like more bubbles, you can use a bigger container, and add more glycerin to the mixture, which I've found helps create more bubbles.

Making your own body wash has a bit of a startup cost at first, but after you invest in the ingredients, it makes a lot and lasts a long time, and you have a body wash for your skin that nurtures it while cleansing it.  Best of all... you can customize and experiment with the skin oils, and essential oils to get it just right for you and your skin.  :)


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Iron Skillet Biscuits

One of our favorite Saturday morning traditions is to eat a huge breakfast, sit around the table, and take our time to visit and talk to one another.  I have several different large breakfasts that I make, but one of our favorites is definitely bacon, gravy with biscuits and scrambled eggs.



Cooking with iron skillets is such a pleasure.  If you've never tried baking with an iron skillet - you really should give it a try.  You won't look back, I promise!  And plus, cleanup is always a breeze with a properly seasoned iron skillet -- you just rinse out with water (seldom is soap needed), and after drying, spread a little bit of grease over the inside of the skillet (butter works fine), and your skillet is ready to be used again.

I wanted to share this simple recipe today, and I promise you this has to be the best biscuits you will ever eat.  The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which you can use if you have it on hand. However, I seldom have buttermilk on hand, and one day I substituted vinegar in the milk and found it worked amazing.  So, that has been the way I've done it ever since.  This way I can make a batch of these super simple, incredibly soft and tender biscuits in a matter of minutes, and cleanup is a breeze too.



IRON SKILLET BISCUITS 

2 cups flour
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450.  Add vinegar to measuring cup, and pour in milk.  Let sit while you mix the dry ingredients.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  Add in cubed butter, and mix together until mixture is in small pea sizes.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in milk/vinegar mixture.  Mix gently until dough forms a ball.  Drop onto floured surface.  Pat into a 1-1/2" thick circle.  Cut out biscuits using biscuit cutter (mine is 3").  Grease 10" iron skillet with butter.  (Note you can adjust the biscuits to fit whatever size iron skillet you have).  Place in 450 oven, and bake 15-16 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Serve warm.

TIP: If you want to reheat day-old biscuits, preheat oven to 350, and moisten biscuits with some water (just a quick dip under running water), and place in oven until warmed, about 5 minutes or so.  The biscuits will taste like they were baked fresh!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

First Snowfall of the Season

Unexpectedly, today we received the first snowfall of the season.. and it's sticking!  At first when the flakes started coming down this morning, I didn't think they would last, as it looked more like frozen rain than snow.



The snowflakes were huge as they drifted softly down out of the sky.



I wondered what the new chickens would think of the snow, as they had never seen it before.  It didn't seem to bother them in the least! 


Pumpkins now covered like patterned doilies with the wisps of snow. 



Snowflakes grouping and bunching together in little piles of white fluff.


Annie enjoying the first flakes of the season as they landed on her fur.


Her fur acts as a natural repellent to the snow!


Roger got so excited with the snow that he began wrestling, and playing with Annie.


Annie wasn't as impressed as Roger was by the snowfall, lol!





Back inside... looking at the snow gently falling outside, I got busy making some homemade bread using my trusty bread machine.  I've learned that you can let the bread machine do all the hard work by using the dough setting - it makes the bread dough on this setting, and then you pull it out of the machine and put it into your baking pan, let it rise, and then bake. I like the results much better this way than having the bread machine bake the bread.  You know that little hole at the bottom of the bread - you don't have that this way, and plus, it takes even less time to make the bread this way too!  


This is my Honey Oatmeal Bread  just as it came out of the bread machine.  I folded it into a loaf shape, and placed it in my greased pan to rise (about an hour or so).


And voila!  A lovely warm loaf of bread that looks like you labored and kneaded it yourself! Shh! It's a great secret folks! Anyone can do this!


All sliced and ready for some hungry souls to come and devour...


Sorry the lighting is quite bad today - horrible actually - with the gray light from outdoors not helping much, lol!


I decided to turn on my flash for this picture, and while it is a bit washed out, you can see that the warm delicious bread wasn't going to last long at this rate with homemade plum jelly and a hot cup of pumpkin spice tea... it made a lovely afternoon snack!  {smile}


And that is how I enjoyed the beautiful first day of snow here!

In case you want to put your bread machine to good use, here is a wonderful recipe for a bread machine.

HONEY OATMEAL BREAD-MACHINE BREAD

1 cup water, plus 1 tbsp (lukewarm, about 98-110 degrees)
3 tbsp honey
2 cups flour (all purpose or bread flour will work)
1 cup oatmeal
1-1/2 tbsp powdered milk
1-1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast (bread machine or regular yeast both work)
1 tbsp butter

Mix warm water and honey together until honey is mixed with water.  You may heat in microwave for 30 seconds if necessary.  Pour into bread machine.  Next add flour, oatmeal, powdered milk, and salt. Make an indentation in the flour mixture, and add yeast.  Cut butter into four pieces, and put in each corner of the bread machine pan.  Select the dough cycle on your machine.  (Mine takes about 1-1/2 hours to complete.)  Once bread machine beeps, take dough out of pan, and shape it into a loaf, and place in a buttered bread pan.  Let rise until double.  Bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes, or until browned and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove bread from oven.  Rub top of bread with a bit of butter and remove from pan.  Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall Storm with Skies on Fire

Sunsets in spring and fall here generally have one thing in common.... the skies exhibit impressive palettes of color, and at times, it can seem that the very horizon is on fire.


In this picture, it almost seems like the tree is breathing fire!


Wisps of bright fiery colors sift through the leaves of the shadowed pine trees.


Extravagant colors shimmering in the wet crisp air, after the storm blew through.


It seemed the very clouds were firebrands as they lazily drifted in the horizon, as the silent silhouettes of the pines quietly watched.


As the evening shadows darkened, the colors in the sky deepened, their beauty radiating, mounting, and billowing out their loveliness.


 
Fall storms never cease to provide such splendor with their capacity for light and dark contrasts. 

The brightness of the blue sky contrasted with the darkness of the shadowed landscape.


And as the shadows continued to gently overcome the light... the misty air rolled up to greet the darkness.