Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tooth Cake

Loosing your first tooth as a child is a right of passage to becoming a big kid. Our oldest son refused to turn six years old because he had not lost a tooth yet. Hence the beginning of a new family tradition, the tooth cake. Connor was so elated when his first tooth popped out that we celebrated by baking a cake. Logan lost his first tooth over the weekend while we were visiting family out of town. The first thing that had to be done when we returned home was make a tooth cake.
I want to share this particular cake recipe. My Aunt Lori gave the recipe to my mother sometime in the 1970's. I think she clipped it from a magazine or newspaper and since then it has been THE CHOCOLATE CAKE of our lives!
Scotch Chocolate Cake
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. crisco
1 c. water
4 heaping TBS cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
Melt butter, crisco, and water in a saucepan. Add cocoa powder and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat.
Place sugar and flour in mix-master bowl. Add cocoa mixture and beat well. Add remaining vanilla and eggs mixing well. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and add to batter. Beat until blended stopping to scrape down sides of bowl.
Pour batter into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Test with toothpick or cake tester. Remove from oven and allow to cool before icing.
This cake is perfect enough that it doesn't need icing. We often just sprinkle it with powdered sugar and eat it warm with a glass of cold milk. ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Be Humble

I have said more than once that I often feel God put me on this earth to make those around me feel better about themselves. In a nut shell I'm a walking bumble. This quote was on the bottom of a forwarded email I received and it sums up perfectly how I feel about myself.

"I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."
~Augusten Burroughs

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Opening Day - Dove Season

Yesterday was opening day of Dove Season. The boys decked out in their camo the second they got their homework done. They jumped in the truck with their dad and headed out to find their grandfather for an evening of hunting, on a school night no less!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boys and Babies

Today is the first day of school. Connor is entering second grade and Logan is off to kindergarten, which is breaking my heart. Both boys had mixed emotions of excitement and nerves this morning. As much as I want to keep them under my wing, life just keeps coming. I have been thinking a lot lately of the lines from one of our favorite books We're Going on a Bear Hunt. We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We've Got To Go Through It!
So off they go......
AND THEN......

I guess God wanted to make sure I didn't have too much time on my hands. James and I came home from taking the boys to their first day of school and went to take care of the milk cows. Look who was waiting for us, a beautiful baby girl.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Visitors

Over the summer months James and I have had the joy of seeing a few wild turkey hens and poults in the pasture in front of our house. Until today the sightings have been few and always very early in the morning. However, this afternoon at nearly three o'clock we had a flock of about thirty visitors pass through our yard. These beauties leisurely tootled around the house while James and I stood on the porch, sometimes less than 25 yards away snapping pictures. What a blessing to have a few unexpected moments to observe these beautiful birds. It filled us with gratitude to live in an area where they make their home.

Monday, June 28, 2010

49th Annual Peach Jamboree

The third full weekend of every June our local community hosts the Stonewall Peach Jamboree. This is the first year we've had the privilege to attended as locals.

Connor road on the Boy Scout float in the parade. He also entered the peach pie contest. He didn't win a ribbon, but his pies were gorgeous for an eight year old who did the work himself - down to the homemade crust!

Both boys participated in the Mutton Busting at the rodeo. It was their first experience with the sport. Logan had the 4th high score out of the 25 kids (of all ages) that he road against. Connor also ran is heart out in the calf scramble.

I entered peach preserves and won with the family peach preserve recipe. I can't really take credit for the win since it's a family recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother.

It is so wonderful to live in a small community!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Mighty Hunter


This morning at 6:32 a.m. Arnie A. Armadillo went to be with his maker. He encountered enemy fire while digging holes in the yard of a Texas Hill Country farmhouse. He will not be survived by any children and will not be missed. Arnie was proceeded in death this week by three rather large scorpions.
Rest in Peace.

War. It's War at my house. Armadillos and Scorpions are on my hit list. I am not a mighty hunter. My weapon of choice is to holler for my husband or boys and let them do the killing. I'm admittedly scared of bugs with stingers and pinchers, don't particularly care for snakes, and have a strong distaste for anything that digs in my yard or tries to kill my chickens. My guys have been gone the past few days so the killing has fallen on my shoulders. This morning I looked out my kitchen window to find a cute little armadillo digging up my yard. I saw red, got the .22 and went hunting. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Plum Good

I am very blessed to have one of the most genuinely giving and kind hearted Christian women I know for a mother. One of my favorite things about her is her happiness. She takes it everywhere she goes and shares it with everyone around her without even knowing she does it. I am so blessed that after 15 years of moving around Texas, I have the privilege of living just up the hill from Oma.

She has more talents than I can list. She is a wonderful cook. Wields a mean flyswatter when the grand-kids get out of hand, I love that about her! And, she makes amazing homemade jellies, preserves, and jams. Yesterday Logan and I helped her make plum jam and jelly.

Isn't that pretty!
And the best part is we got to have fresh heaven in a jar on our toast this morning for breakfast.

My favorite part of this specific batch of jam is that my mom picked the plums herself from a tree at my grandparents house in San Saba, TX. By the way, she climbed the plum tree!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mowing The Yard

I walked outside this afternoon to find my guys mowing the yard.

How fast little boys turn into little men.

This is a shot of the fire-wheels that are all around the house right now. Lousy grazing for the milk cow, but beautiful the look at!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Amazing Wedge

I don't get to town much these days. And by town I mean the small town of Fredericksburg, TX. It is even more rare that I travel to an urban destination that has a franchise other than Sonic or Dairy Queen. I've been craving a wedge salad from a favorite big city restaurant for weeks and finally decided to re-create. It is just so so so yummy I wanted to share. I'll confess I don't usually have candied pecans or Gorgonzola cheese on hand in my kitchen, but it was so worth the splurge.

1 Wedge Iceberg Lettuce

Chopped Granny Smith Apple

Sun Dried Tomato Slices

Chopped Candied Pecans

Crumbled Bacon Pieces

Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

Garlic Ranch Dressing*

Plate the iceberg wedge. Drizzle on the ranch and top with the remaining ingredients. That's all folks! Just dig in and get ready for your tongue and tummy to tango!

*I use homemade ranch dressing. Here is a great link for a ranch dressing recipe. Roasted garlic can be substituted for fresh garlic if you want a sweeter mellow taste. The fresh garlic gives the dressing a nice bite that I happen to love and works beautifully with this salad.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Little One

Our "Little One" turned five today. So we celebrated our sweet Logan and the blessing of his addition to our family.


Hot dog roast in the backyard followed by a pinata....

A friendly round of birthday spankings................

And the finale - Logan requested a Chocolate Cherry Candy Covered Cake .........

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bluebonnet Blues

I have been trying to take a good bluebonnet picture of my boys for the past three years. I have a few friends who can attest to this as they've tried to help me with the project - boys will be boys and I have 100 bluebonnet blooper shots but nothing frame worthy.

You can imagine my excitement when about a month ago I found young bluebonnet plants popping up on the hill in my backyard. Surely I can get a decent picture of my boys in these flowers now that I don't have to go further than my backyard. So this morning I grabbed me camera determined to get some candid shots before the flowers disappear. Please note here that being the mom of two boys I am out numbered three to one in the male to female ration in my house. And while my darling husband humors me, boys just don't want to sit in a bunch of stink'n flowers and pose for their mother to take pictures - no mater what you say. And once again I find myself with the bluebonnet blues.

Just for fun throw in a dog who wants to play fetch in the bluebonnets,

then add a few nosey chickens.....................

What is perfection anyway?


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

Connor and I were looking at a trailer for a movie on my computer. He was standing behind me in the chair looking over my head.

Out of no where he says, "I like the way your hair smells."

I told him thanks.

He then says, "My jacket and sweatshirt always smell like your hair when I put them on. It's my favorite smell."

My heart skipped a beat and I almost teared up. I told him I thought that just might be the most wonderful thing any one has ever said to me.

Maybe one of the sweetest things because it came from the heart of my eight year old boy who grows up a little to much every day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Wonder

The days are getting warmer and longer. Everyone is looking forward to the spring activities that will quickly turn into the dog days of summer. I love warm weather fun, but there is something so beautiful and fleeting about the winter days here in Central Texas. March means wildflowers will soon be in bloom everywhere and the crisp cool mornings will soon turn thick with warmth. Seasons come and go so quickly that I wanted to share a few shots I took of the beautiful winter we had this year. I am secretly hoping that winter will stay just a little longer.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hauling Logs

James cut a dead tree down in our yard a few days ago. I looked out the window earlier today and saw Logan working on his "equipment" so he could haul off the logs still in the yard.

He then loaded the wagon with wood and tried to peddle it to the fire ring in our backyard. The weight of the logs kept tipping the wagon down and his make shift pin would pop loose. So he resorted to carrying the logs.

About that time, big brothers walks out to inspect the situation.

Logan looks at him and says, "Connor I've got a job for you. Take this log and go stack it over there. Then come back for another one!"

I instantly thought, Aggie Bonfire... oh thank goodness they couldn't find an ax!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


How did I loose 28 days? I've heard that time moves faster as you get older, but an entire month passing in what feels like less than a week is ridiculous. I really can't believe it's been a month since I posted. February was a busy month and here is the recap.

My mother has really been enjoying the fresh milk around here so somewhere during the first of the month she purchased a jersey milk cow. Alberta is due to calf in a month or two and keeping Ellie (my cow) company here on our hill.

My sweet husband bought me a dozen red hens for Valentines. No that's not a typo - twelve beautiful little red hens and a nesting box for them to lay their pretty brown eggs in too! They started laying about a week ago and the boys have been having a great time gathering the bounty.

My dad, Opa, had a pacemaker/defibrillator implant procedure preformed on the 18th. His checkup went great and he's on the mend! James and I are so glad to be close by so we can help out.

Connor turned 8 years old last Tuesday. I don't think he could have had a better day. Opa special ordered snow just for the event! In honor of the special weather he requsted his hunting theme cake be iced with white icing for the snow. He and Oma made snow icecream to go with his birthday cake.

February was fast, furious and fabulous! Maybe I can catch my breath in March, but I doubt it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Sock Monster

Do you ever wonder where those socks you know you put in the dryer went? Well here's what has started happening to them at our house.

"The Sock Monster" came tearing down the hall and around the corner into my room like Kevin Bacon busting a move in Footloose. He is wearing a pair of my toe socks that have been MIA for a while. I wish I would have gotten the picture of him a few minutes later when he came through like a blur in the same outfit plus his brothers batting helmet. He really didn't want to give up the rainbow toe socks. This will be a fun photo to pull out around his high school graduation!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rest Time

My little one is full of joy - always. Today he asked his Papa (James) if he could take a rest in the hammock. Even though we live in Texas, it is still January. Not wanting to pass up the chance that the little stink would actually rest we strung up the hammock and piled on some quilts. It was not what I'd call restful and relaxing. But thanks to my husband, I stole away a few precious moments with my son who will soon be in school on beautiful afternoons like today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We call it Supper in the Country!

Growing up and to this day my family refers to the noon meal as dinner, not lunch, and the evening meal as supper, not dinner. This can cause some confusion if you invite someone to dinner and they show up at 7:30p.m.

I love to cook and spend more time in my kitchen than any other room in our home. So, I wanted to share what's for supper at my house this fine Friday evening. My friend Jenny shared a phenomenal chicken enchilada recipe we me last month. My husband had these beauties at her house in College Station and would not stop raving about it. I think the thing I miss absolutely most about living in College Station is being around the corner from my wonderful friend Jenny. Her kitchen is one of my favorite places on earth.

Jenny's Three Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

3 T olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 (14.5 oz) cans mex-style stewed tomatoes
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 t salt
4 oz goat cheese (about a cup)
2-4 T chopped cilantro
24 flour or corn tortillas
2 C half and half
1 t chicken bouillon granules
1/2 C salsa Verde
2 C shredded Monterrey Jack
2 C shredded cheddar

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic: saute until tender. Stir in chicken, tomato, chili and salt. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 mi. Stir in goat cheese and cilantro.

Preheat oven to 350. Spoon approx 1/4 C of chicken mixture down each tortilla. Roll and place seam down in 2 lightly greased 13x9 dishes.

Combine half-and-half and bouillon in a large saucepan over low heat; cook until granules dissolve. Stir in salsa and pour evenly over tortillas.

Bake, covered, for 10 min. Uncover and bake 10 min. Sprinkle with cheeses and bake about 5 min. or until cheese melts.

(If you're not into goat cheese I think you could sub cream cheese or a fresh milk mexican cheese with success!)

For dessert we are having PW Tres Leche Cake. Oh my! Our family was blessed to spend four and a half years living in the Texas Valley. My little one was born there and to date will eat chips and salsa over anything else. Tres Leche Cake is on my husbands top 5 best desserts out there list, right beside grapefruit pie another Valley delight. Over the past three years I have tried to find a recipe to duplicate the cakes we would have in South Texas without success. I made some so terrible the dog wouldn't even touch it. But this recipe is outstanding and makes a truly wonderful cake. Save the left over milk mixture from the recipe and pour a bit on you saucer before plating your piece. You'll thank me. I think you should make this cake to go with the enchiladas as soon as you possibly can!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Morning

James and I have been milking Ellie, our milk cow, for a week. She has settled in nicely. No wild cow milking was necessary.

Having a milk cow is a huge commitment. I realize that we've not been doing this nearly long enough for the shine to wear off, but I'm enjoying the new morning routine. This morning was the first time both boys have had a chance to help.

What a blessing to slow life down for just a moment.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

1st Of Many

This past weekend Connor had his first stock show experience as an exhibitor at the Gillespie County 4-H & FFA Stock Show. He showed two pens of broilers and did great. We received the chicks in November and for the past eight weeks he has been feeding, watering, and cleaning their pen daily. His pen of hens placed 18th out of over 100 pens of birds. Excellent for a first timer!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Milk Cow 101

My husband is off working so my wonderful father and I went and picked up my milk cow and calf yesterday. She has been staying at my dear friend Kerri's Farm. It was a day I will keep in my heart. It's not often that I get alone time with my dad and special that he helped me bring my first milk cow home.

Then there is today......

A few side notes: We haven't had a milk cow on our farm since I was a girl - a good twenty years. That should date me and my milking facility for you. The calf was weaned a little over two weeks ago. In farm terms, at two weeks if you put the calf back with the cow, she's not really weaned. The cart is still before the horse here at my house and that fence isn't quite finished yet. Last night the calf jumped the partition in the lot and is now in with the cow. So, no milk for me. But on the upside this gives me a few days to let Ellie get settled in and used to her new place before my husband returns and the milking schedule starts.

Okay, jump to 8a.m this morning. I went down to the lot to introduce Ellie to her new milking area. Lets call my cow lot and milk shed vintage since it's popular to call old things that are falling apart vintage. And is just sounds fancier than shack or ruins. I think there is something truly beautiful about old barns. But, beautiful and functional don't always go hand in hand.

I was able to separate the cow and calf easily and get Ellie in the milking stanchion. My milk stanchion is just a very old wood feed trough attached to the wall of the very old barn with a front section the cow sticks her her head through that latches around her neck while she eats and is milked. This handy device is supposed to keep the cow from leaving the area until you are done milking. Note here please that I'm not actually milking, just feeding the cow where she will be milked.

The second I have the cow in the milking area the calf goes nuts. She is running around the lot balling and making all kinds of commotion. This isn't really helpful but going on in the background all the same. My new love, Ellie, quickly devoured her food and decided she didn't really care for the new scenery and wanted back with her newly reunited calf. Commence the dancing cow who is throwing a temper fit and trying to remove her wooden necklace. She was almost successful at removing my grandfathers milking stanchion from the wall of my vintage milk shed. Lets just say it was raining wood and my life passed before my eyes a few times.

Now friends, livestock are like children. Allowed to throw a fit and have their way, they will continue to repeat the undesirable behavior. So I got out of the way and let her have her fit all the while praying that she wouldn't pull the whole barn down her first morning here. When she finally stood still, I released her. I surveyed the damage and headed for the house to get a much needed cup of coffee.

After a cup of coffee and sharing my morning events with my loving husband and best friend I think I'm going to need something more that coffee. I do not have a facility that in its present state will hold my new milk cow. But rather I have a beautiful vintage milk shed that is leaning a little more after the morning activities than it was yesterday.

I purchased a milk cow not a range cow. Milk cow implies the act of milking which yields fresh wonderful milk and cream for my kitchen. So, I will be reenacting scenes from Old Yeller sooner than I'd like. I know it's a movie about a boy and his dog. But there is a scene in the movie where a very unhappy cow is tied to a POST to be milked. The character Travis says, "holder her Yeller" and the dog walks into the pen and the cow stands perfectly still to be milked. Well there isn't a lop eared yeller dog to come to my rescue. Flash to me, milk pail in hand, staring down a very unhappy milk cow tied to a post.....................

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fence Posts

Move back to the country - check.

Buy a milk cow - check.

Board milk cow at best friends house because we have to fix-up sixty year old fences and gates surrounding thirty year old cow lot and milking shed - check......

Today my wonderful husband and I broke ground on the first of many fence posts to come during our life on the farm! If you're not familiar with the Texas Hill Country, the dirt grows rocks here. So, hand digging post holes goes something like this.

Step 1: Dig down six to ten inches. Hit rock.

Step 2: Use a rock bar to chip rock up. Remove rock from hole and continue to dig post hole.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you reach necessary depth to set post.

Step 4: Set the post. This step may present a problem. If you have removed more rocks that dirt from the post hole one must go and find enough usable soil to tamp the post in.

Now some might say we put the cart before the horse so to speak. Others might say purchasing livestock before you have a secure way to contain the blessed beasts is just good ol' country fun.
Personally, I think having a husband who will hand dig post holes IN ROCK to set a gate for me is extremely romantic! And, having a friend who will keep the cow I insisted on buying before I had fences to hold her makes me extremely blessed. Otherwise right now I'd be chasing a milk cow, complete with bell, down the county road like a mad person.

I am going to go and get my milk cow, Ellie Mae, and her calf on Monday. Stay tuned to see if the fence holds!