Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Last Day as a Cavalier

This day is hard.  Writing this post is hard.  

We are not moving. Ever.  Again. 

Today is the last day kids are a Cavalier and last day at Tri-County schools.  

We didn't move across the country like some friends I know who are making that move soon.  We have always lived in Jasper County and in the Rensselaer school district, but it was convenient to take the kids to Tri-County because that was the same town I work in. If the school needed a volunteer, I was there. If someone was sick, I was there less than five minutes.  It worked.

First Day of School 2015

Macie starts middle school next year, this is a big move and decided it was time. Ryan will be in 4th grade, and Mason will be in Pre-K.

Great friends were made about eight years in preschool at Tri-County, and we continued to stay at Tri-County schools.  It was a great decision.  The teachers are amazing, the families are awesome. The school was a great atmosphere for the kids.

Preschool gang
We took lots of pictures in preschool!

First Day of School 2015
Student Council Homecoming Float


Student Council buddies - All Hands on Deck!

Tri-County Schools has always put on an amazing Christmas Program.  Such a blessing.  You can't help but get goose bumps every time the 5th graders sing Silent Night.

Tri-County Christmas Program 2015

Sports and clinics offered to the kids was a great opportunity.

Winter Basketball

Winter Basketball
DARE Essay Winners. I left a leadership meeting early to rush to the school to see the 5th grade DARE Graduation. I am so glad I did because Macie was the DARE Essay Winner from her class.  All the winners read their essays at the graduation.

DARE Essay Contest Winners

Spring Baseball
The kids won a lunch with the Principal during the TC PTO Spring Carnival.  She took the kids out separately and she wrote to me, "Enjoyed having lunch with this fine man. You have polite, considerate children who are a joy to be with!"

Ryan picked Bells in Wolcott. 
Lunch with Principal Mrs. Bordner
Macie picked Subway in Wolcott.  Mrs. Bordner said, "Enjoyed having lunch with your sweet Macie today!"
Lunch with Principal Mrs. Bordner

Field Day 2016

Planting seeds at the Intermediate School for a butterfly pollinator garden Monsanto and the TC FFA are sponsoring.

Macie almost getting her hands dirty.

Last bus stop in Remington. By the end of the year, the Brook's bus stop in town turned into our bus route as well!

Last Day of School 2016

The bittersweet day.  I didn't think we would make the switch to Rensselaer this soon, but I knew the day would come.  

It's amazing to think about all the friends and family who have helped with carpooling to and from preschool, games, events, feeding them snacks and subway, buying them Gatorade because mom won't, watching them while Dave and I work long harvest hours, making sure they did their homework.

I hope they are strong when they leave school today, hug their teachers and friends, and walk out proud.  We are so proud of them.  They both received student of the month awards, Honor Roll, perfect attendance, Cavalier Character award, and Student Council.  They make us so excited about what lies ahead for them!

It definitely takes a village to raise my monkeys, oh, I mean children.  

Our village is growing and expanding. We will meet new friends and family. Great opportunities are coming!  Rensselaer is dear to Dave because that is where he went to school, and he's excited about his kids becoming a BOMBER!
Last Day of School 2016

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

So proud of my kids. They really enjoy working in the barn, and spending time with their 4-h projects.  These Mother's Day pictures are not fancy, but just shows them getting dirty in the barn.  Just how I want them to remember growing up.  Working hard and being responsible for chores and animals.  The best part is sharing their experiences with their friends and family.  Explaining to others how we care for our pigs, how feeding is important for show pigs and how we take extra care of them.

It doesn't matter what special time you spend with your kids, if it is at dance, ball practice, ball games, or in the barn doing chores.  It is quality time spent with kids.  Kids need our attention, they need our approval. Be present, and encourage them.

Friday, April 29, 2016

How is lawn soil different than field soil?

In the last post. We talked about leveling out our front yard.  After the construction machinery left, there was lots of sand and ruts in the yard.  We brought in sand to fill in the holes, and leveled the yard, and raised the height of the yard.  The next step was to select a soil that would work the best for our climate and could grow grass quickly.

When you think about an "ideal" soil for our front yard,  you think of a top soil that is black.  Selecting a black top soil could be very expensive choice.  We picked a sandy loam soil for our top soil.  A loam contains about equal amounts of clay, silt, and sand. It is a very fine soil and a couple shades darker than the sand, but not a dark soil.  It is a very fertile soil and sandy loam drains well, but keeps nutrients.  Loam soil is ideal for vegetable farmers.  The best farming soils are said to be right here in the Midwest.  This would be an ideal soil to also find in the fields. The soil would be easy to work with tillage equipment and maintain good nutritional values when it is managed correctly.

The next step to creating a front yard is bringing in the dirt. After many piles of dirt, it was time to spread it out and prepare it for seeding.

Next time we will talk about the type of seed we selected for our yard.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Angel Food Cake with Homemade Carmel Icing

Things are quiet around here.  Like the calm before the storm.  Spring.  Plant 2016

It's been fairy cool, and soil temperatures have remained pretty cool.  No one around here is in a big hurry to get in the fields.  

We celebrated Dave's "BIG 40th" a couple weeks ago.  I really thought I would have a big party for him. I did surprise him for his 30th, and our 10th anniversary. No party this year.  It was probably the best since he wasn't feeling the best.

His favorite cake is angel food. So while he's home with a sick kid, and not feeling the best himself, he made his own cake!

He told me I was in charge of the icing.  I knew he would want the homemade caramel icing.

You can't walk away from this project. It needs your attention.  We have featured this caramel icing recipe when we made Angel Food Cupcakes.

The end result is delicious and fabulous, and  you wonder why you don't make angel food cake every week!

Are you waiting for the recipe? I could post about 40 pictures of this cake or make a movie.  Macie helped take pictures.  Lots of help from the family in the kitchen.

Grandma Lois Caramel Frosting

2 tsp.       Margarine (or butter)
2/3 cup    Brown Sugar
1/3 cup    Evaporated Milk
1-2 cups     Powdered Sugar

Bring to a boil, constantly stirring. Remove pan from heat, and set aside.
Stir in 1 tsp vanilla.
Stir in enough powdered sugar to make spreadable. Immediately pour over cake.


Friday, April 01, 2016

Leveling out a new yard. How to you prepare?

One of our projects this spring is prepping the yard for a complete makeover.  Last fall when the house was completed, we decided to wait until spring to put down top soil and seed the lawn.  The past winter did not bring many snows.  As a result, the sand was exposed for most of the winter.  The sand blew all winter.

From this picture taken last summer, you can see there is some major work to do to the yard.  This picture was taken before the windows and siding were installed.

You can also see we received too much rain last spring as well!

This area was worked a few time by the contractors, using a small bulldozer.

The black line is a sealer  on the foundations wall. This needs to be covered up to protect the foundation..

The first thing to do is prepare the area.  We have already raked the sand, picked up sticks, stones, rocks, glass from old mason jars that were from the old house, and other remains from the construction.

We were welcomed home the other night with loads of sand.  Why put more sand on top of sand? Sand is a cheaper filler than dirt, and we have some areas in the yard that need to be filled in.

There is a lot of sand that needs to be added to the back of the house.  This spring we will concentrate on the front of the house.

So, bring on the sand. Pile it up.

I see a few loads of dirt in our future!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cherry Delight

Holidays always make you reminiscent.  Certain food and desserts can take you back to your childhood.  When I remember Easter dinner at Grandma Patty's I remember Cherry Delight.  While that wasn't the only dessert served, it was one of my favorites. I always wondered if she made it again, I didn't see it displayed with the rest of the food.  She would magically bring it out from the refrigerator in the garage when it was time to serve dessert.

Not only have I been reminiscing about food, but family.  My cousin and his wife just welcomed their second child into the world, and named him after our Grandfather Charles.  I knew they were going to name him Conner, but when they made the announcement of Charles Connor it was a nice suprise.

It may seem like there are plenty of steps to this recipe, but it was very simple, and Macie helped me with the crust.  Rolling pin, baggie full of graham crackers, best project for kids.  She finished the project by pressing the crust mixture into to pan.  I won't let the kids handle pans in and out of the oven yet, but she also helped with the filling and spreading the cherry pie filling on top.

This is a delicious dessert that needs to be made more than once a year for Easter.


  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large can of cherry pie filling

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Prepare crust.  Use a 11x7 baking dish.  Crush graham crackers in a gallon bag with rolling pin, or use food processor.  Mix crushed graham crackers, melted butter and sugar together.  Press evenly into 11x7 baking dish.  Bake in oven 5-8 minutes. Let the crust cool while you prepare the filling.

Prepare filling.  Use an electric mixer and a large bowl and whip the heavy cream until it forms small peaks.

In another bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Then fold in the heavy cream by hand.  Pour filling over cooled crust and use spatula.  

Spread cherry pie filling on top.

Refrigerate overnight for best results.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Corned Beef and Cabbage & US History

As we celebrated National Agriculture Day this week, it made me think back to a trip I made to Washington D.C. in 2010.   Washington D.C. is a great lesson on US History, and we attended a USDA lockup.  There were older pictures hanging up in the Department of Agriculture building that have always stuck with me. At that time, the area seemed more of a swamp area, and cattle around, with the Nation's Capital in the back ground.  I bet it would be hard to find pasture in those areas today.  

Not only do we celebrate National Agriculture Day this week, but also St. Patrick's Day.  Even if you are not Irish, you have to at least appreciate the food that is served on this day as a tradition.  The first thing that comes to mind is Corned Beef and Cabbage.  We decided to make a special meal for the guys at work.  We did cook the cabbage separately, because cabbage was not a crowd favorite around here.  They were told they had to eat cabbage to get dessert, still didn't sway them to try the cabbage.

The corned beef was cooked all morning long on the stove.

The carrots and potatoes were cooked separately.

And of course, the cabbage was boiled in a separate pot.  We try to keep everyone happy.

The final result with everything together was delicious.

3 lbs corned beef       
16 oz cabbage
2 lbs small carrots
5 lbs potatoes
Garlic, sea salt, onion powder, and pepper to taste

Preheat skillet on stove.

Add corned beef, onion powder, sea salt, pepper, and garlic salt.

Chop up 16 ounces of cabbage to add to boiling water until cooked down.

Add carrots and peeled and chopped potatoes to a separate pot of boiling water.

When the cabbage is starting to cook down, keep stirring occasionally. Add to corned beef if you prefer, or keep separate.  Add some sea salt and pepper to season. Make sure to taste test, corned beef has plenty of seasonings.