Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (Tuesday)

More white stuff, yadda, yadda, yadda : p Being punctual is not a strong point and I will cover that in my upcoming resolutions post.

Monday-We went out to eat and had steak and lobster (Kurt had ribs with his lobster tail)

Tuesday-Smoked sausage, saurkraut, tator tots, and corn

Wednesday-Kurt wants pizza from a local place so we'll go pick it up. Probably sausage or hamburger with bacon and fresh mushrooms. Kurt likes extra cheese, but I never order it because there is already a ton on it.

Thursday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans

Friday-Crispy ranch chicken breasts, rice, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Saturday-Spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread

Check out more inspiring menus at OrgJunkie

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weekend Ramblings

Uffda! That's Norwegian for you pilgrims. We have been busy, busy, busy here. The weather has been wreeking havoc for the past week on our already hectic and crazy lifestyle. Every other day Kurt has had to plow snow. Seriously, enough of that white stuff. We already hit the record for the month of December. We would really appreciate a break until the end of the year. We are simple people and a three-day break would seem rather heavenly and very welcomed!

So now you have my weather update, I hope you all enjoyed Christmas in your own way. My girl opened up her presents Christmas morning, but Kurt got stuck with the tractor hauling manure. He had to walk back to the barn for a shovel and he was in the "back 40". He was in the field furthest back and the lane is a half-mile back...we don't have 40 acre fields though. Our land has too many dips and tree lines. I called the neighbor to come and give Kurt a yank with his tractor. Before you can tell them Merry Christmas, you ask are you busy. Will your tractor start? Kurt actually got the tractor dug out, but got stuck after he finished spreading. Good thing I called Warren because he dragged Kurt out.

Back in the barn, the corn silage silo stopped running silage out. A moment before I asked my husband what his favorite Christmas song/hymm was. That's when he let out quite the naughty words. He never did answer my question. Up in the silo he went, to put the stabilizer bar back together. I then proceeded to run the outside water tank over for the heifers and some water ran into a calf pen. Oops. If Kurt was making mistakes, today was the day to make mine as well. We arrived at his parents a half our late for dinner.

We had a nice time visiting with his family, but we still needed to milk the cows and head to my parents. It tires me out thinking out it. All I will say is we made it home in one piece and had a pretty good time.

Tomorrow my girl is going to stay a night or two with my parents and Kurt and I will be going out for supper. We have a gift certificate to a supper club down the road from us. You might think I'm a total yokel, but I love a good cheeseburger. Seriously, but I don't want to waste a night out ordering a burger so I crave one and have a conflict of interest when we get there. Kurt thinks I'm silly, but we had burgers today for lunch so hopefully that will cure my craving.

Once we take our tree down, which will be awhile, I will take some pictures of our house. I have pictures from before I painted and moved in. I think they are quite interesting. I have lots to talk about this week. Resolutions, goals, food, cows, etc.

I forgot to mention this morning we had two calvings that we did not plan on. Kurt thought we had another day to go. We usually calve our cows in pens and they were full. Anyway that makes a rough start to day, and the drifts of white stuff in front of my garage door and milkhouse did not help. Our poor milkman went in the ditch today and Friday and I don't remember them ever doing that. Please take some of that white stuff it's pretty, but it has to go!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hey, It's Christmas

Sorry for the blurry picture. I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Be safe in your travels and content with your company. We will be headed to the Christmas program at our church later tonight and travel will be slow. The plows are out, but country roads are not priorities.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday-Since the Packers on Monday night we are having: Pigs in Blanket and loaded potato skins along with some fresh fruit

Tuesday-My cookie exchange is getting together for lunch and there is program practice that night so we are keeping it simple with: Tacos

Wednesday-I'm honestly not sure what is going on this day. I'm thinking tenderloin and baked potatoes.

Thursday- Merry Christmas! We are going to my In-Laws.

Friday-We are having a simple get together with our friends at our house. I'm thinking, meatballs, cheese, sausage, and crackers, chips and dip, bacon wrapped chesnuts, and a goodie tray.

Head over to HERE for more great menu ideas.

Weekend Update

I have been busy in the kitchen and my house is looking like I need to get busy in some other rooms. I made PW's Cinnamon Rolls and they were actually fairly easy to make. My husband thinks they are addicting. That is a good thing then! Miriam I would say make them for Christmas morning, your husband will enjoy them! Chex mix is a big hit at our house and I usually make it throughout the year but I only made one batch. It looks like it will last us for awhile. I need to make some truffles today, but we had another snow storm and that means extra work. Kurt is plowing around the buildings, but it's so windy the drifts will be back in no time.

I made oreo balls and creamy chocolate balls this afternoon. I need to dip the oreo balls. They look like piles of mud, but they sure are sweet. Our milk man comes tomorrow and I think I'm going to give him a pan of cinnamon rolls and a small bag of chocolates. We received a duffle bag from our trucker(milk man) and the cooperative that we ship our milk through sends us a cheese box with sausage and ring bologney as well. Plus we got a bonus. The more cash flow the better this time of year : )

We obviously did not go to church today. I could not get out of the driveway and our church is 8 miles away in the country on roads I know will be drifted. My daughter has her dress rehearsal for the Christmas program today. Luckily there is a second one on Tuesday night so I do not feel bad about not going today.

I'm also experiencing some drama within my family. It is very irritating and it's putting me in a cruddy mood. I'm trying to get past it but I can not fix it since I'm not creating it. I want to fix it that is my problem. Grrr I'm just frustrated and irritated. I am hoping I have time to watch a Christmasy movie with my daughter like Home Alone that would probably be the most age appropriate. She might find National Lampoons Christmas Vacation funny but we can save that for another year : ) We also have A Christmas Story (you know, you'll shoot your eye out?!)

These are pictures from two years ago. The first one was the one we put in Christmas cards. That calf pictured is now a cow and it is pretty friendly. Maybe next year I can get a picture of the cow and her then put a copy of the (will be 3 year-old) picture. We'll see. Stay warm and fuzzy : )

Friday, December 19, 2008

Caramel Corn

This recipe is from my mom. I made some of the other day. If I can make this, anyone can. Check out the Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Caramel Corn
1 cup unpopped popcorn
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Pop the popcorn and put it in a large roasting pan. Mix butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Take mixture off the heat and add the baking soda. Pour over the popcorn and stir to coat. Bake for 1 hour at 250*, stirring every half hour. Store in airtight containers. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Me and Baking

I apologize for my previous post being so smushed together. I tried fixing it repeatedly and I can not figure it out. Maybe someone knows what I'm not doing right. Thanks! Meghan

If did not say it already, I had big, really big plans for this Christmas season in the baking and goody making departments. I really did not enjoy making cookies until I received a cookie scoop. My husband loves chocolate chip cookies, but I would have rather poured them in a pan and made bars. How easy is that? The cookie scoop has eliminated my fears of making the perfect cookie. Well perfect drop cookie. Cut-out cookies are a whole different deal. Last night as they stuck to my cookie sheets and I cooked them to a crisp, I remembered why I do not make these miserable devils. There I said. I do not like cut-out cookies. They put me over the edge. My daughter reminded me before she left for school that I needed to make the dough for the cookies. Already taken care of Darling, I bought five pounds at the store. Her response was, but Stacey (my baking crazy friend) makes her own dough. This kid spent one day with Stacey three years ago while I went to a funeral and she remembers that? She was three and a half.

Thank goodness for frosting that is the only way these cookies can be saved. As for my sanity, next year I will be buying or exchanging with Stacey for some cookies. I made about 10 dozen peanut butter balls. I ran out of chocolate two-thirds through the last batch. My husband thought they were fine the way they were. I could have called them mud balls because I made them with chocolate graham crackers and rice krispies. I decided to roll them in powdered sugar which makes them look much more mysterious : )

I am also going to make PW's Cinnamon Rolls and give those to our veterinarian, milk hauler, breeder, Mac's teacher, the veterinarian clinic, and some dear neighbors. I need to get these made before Friday because we have herd check with our vet on Friday. These look so good and easy to make. I encourage you to try some of her recipes. There are some really tastey treats waiting to be made over there.

I also usually make Chex mix. A lot of Chex mix to be exact. I have not made any since October or maybe even later than that. How sad! I need to find a pan to make it in because I threw the one I used in the garbage. Onward, upward looking for a pan. I made it with a roasting pan a few times ago and my result was slightly on the burnt side. I know, how do you burn Chex mix? I wondered that myself.

I also had a crazy idea to have a cookie/candy exchange with three of my friends. Seriously what the heck an I smoking (note-I've never smoked anything in my life)? So baking-crazy Stacey already has her stuff made I'm sure. Atleast I know my other two friends are just as slow as I am. We are not getting together to exchange until Dec 23rd but seriously the days are getting shorter and my list is getting much longer.

Other things I would like to make and I will make!
  • Caramel Corn
  • Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies for my dad
  • Cookie dough truffles
  • Meltaway truffles

Did I mention my mom and I bagged 56 quarts of saurkraut on Saturday? I think I took home 20 some bags. I really only needed about 10 to 12 so I will be giving those to people who like it. So far, my friend Kristie likes it and I'm hoping our vet does too! Wish me luck!

I better get back outside. I was in here to get my daughter on the bus. Forgot to mention it has been bitterly cold here. Temperature was -10 when I came in this AM and yesterday it got to a high of 2. The wind chill made it feel like -20 to -35 yesterday. No wind this morning, yet. We are suppose to start getting some snow later tonight into tomorrow afternoon. Hurray.

I think I just need to put a lot of space in between my paragraphs. Is that it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I have been very busy trying to make peanut butter balls, cut-out cookies, and catch up on my sleep. Last week I was so tired and it got me into to trouble a few times with my husband. I fell asleep when I should have been out milking. Oops. I'm switching how I do things at night because I get pretty tired. I do not sit on the couch in the living room because it's too convienent to grab a blanket and fall asleep. Lesson learned...I think.
Monday-We had leftover taco casserole and pork chop bake
Tuesday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and a veggie
Wednesday-Chicken parmesan with spaghetti and breadsticks
Thursday-Tuna noodle casserole
Friday-Leftovers or maybe out to eat
Maybe you noticed, but we have meatloaf a lot. I make the best according to myself and my daughter. My husband likes it too, not that it matters. Ha, ha. I must confess something. The chicken parmesan is from a box with the name On-Cor on it. It must have been an accident that I discovered these tastey little buggers because I normally do not buy frozen meals. For 2.50 to 3 dollars it is a quick an easy meal with spaghetti along the side. I will be back later...as in tomorrow to tell you all of the yummies I have made. Trust me it's nothing to be impressed by, but I have big plans to make more this week : )

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who Doesn't Like a Good Party?

The Holstein Breeders in our county like to have a good time. I think other counties know this because at our get togethers there are usually a few other breeders from surrounding counties. The more the merrier should be our slogan : )

Wives and their husbands look forward to the Annual Meeting/Banquet on the second Tuesday of December. Four months later we party after our County Sale at a nearby supper club until the wee hours of the morning. I told you we like a good party. Then in July is our county fair and their is an open class show for dairy cattle on Friday. After the show on Friday night we bring a dish to pass and have a heck of a good time. The winner of the show buys beer and pop. The barn is just packed with people and it is so much fun.

We have a camaraderie and understand what goes on in each other's daily lives. It is so nice to visit with my Holstein women. I have met some really great women and more importantly have some really special friendships established. When you are having trouble or no trouble these women are there to share the good times and bad. Because they have been there, and if you have not been there yet you will be as well. It's farming. There is no guarantee, it's all a gamble. But friends last, and are their to pick you up when you are down or celebrate when you've done well.

My husband is on the Holstein board so he gets together monthly with about 8 other men. My Holstein ladies and I think we should get together every month or so too. I think that would be great. I do see a few on a regular basis around town or at church. It is so nice to get away from the farm and visit with others who share a common goal. Usually after you have shared your woes, someone can top your awful event with their own horrific tale. Sometimes that is all it takes to make Kurt feel better because he's sure glad he didn't have to through what they did. You can appreciate what you have. I know that doesn't sound too good, but it's what farmers do. It's theraputic for them to talk about. They would not admit that, but us, women we know.

I have some big goals for today. Make Christmas candy maybe peanut butter balls. Get my lights on my Christmas tree. Go to Fleet Farm and get some cat food and do some shopping. Milk the cows of course. To me, all of that sounds rather aggressive and I'm feeling like a nap now after a breakfast of pancakes and sausages. I forgot I really need to keep working on Christmas cards as well. Now that I told you what my plans are, what are you doing to prepare for the coming of Jesus? It is Advent : )

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Turning 1 is Fun

My neice (and God-daughter, Kurts too) had her first birthday on Saturday. Her birthday is actually December 14, but I think my sister-in-law has to work that day. She was so cute smiling for the cameras and I was tickling her feet. I don't see either of my neices much, but when I do I love to get pics of them.

Except for one problem. Big sister who will be three June 1st does not like getting her picture taken. Not even by her mom! She takes such cute pictures when they have their pics taken professionally. I guess that is all that counts. I remember when my mom took my brother and I to Sears I think for pics. I think I was about three and he was almost two. The photographer brought out Cookie Monster or a Muppet and started crying trying to save my brother from the scary monsters. I was such a good big sister!

Hunkering Down

Snowstorm Carter has arrived and had already delivered seven inches of snow by 6 am. We are expected to get up to 14 inches of snow. We are not completely done with our chores this morning, but Kurt needed to plow/push some snow. This pic is up by the house. I think he gets distracted with all of the snow and goes where ever he sees a drift because he is suppose to be clearing behind the barn. We need to clean the barn (empty the gutter that's full of manure and bedding, etc) and he told me I could go in the house for awhile.

I thought I take some pictures of him clearing away the white stuff. I guess he doesn't like being pictured because he started heading my way. In case you are wondering, that is an Oliver 770 and some people love their Olivers. Kurt puts up with it because it has hydraulics and it's useful especially in snow. We also have a bucket that Kurt puts on the front in the summer for cleaning the barn yard or other projects. I must point out too, this is the only green tractor we own. The other three are RED. Maybe you did not want to know that and maybe now you won't like me, but darnit we love our RED tractors.

The schools are all closed for the day. Too bad snow days are not fun days for farmers. Today you do chores, milk, and plow snow. We do plan on getting the lights on our tree and hopefully decorating it. I need to put out my nativities. I have two and some other small items to decorate the house with. I need to start collecting some more decorations. We also have our Holstein Annual Meeting/Banquet tonight. I hope the roads will be safe to travel on by tonight. It sounds like the snow was going to stop around Noon or so. The banquet is not until 7:30 tonight. I have no idea what I'm going to wear. I know, clothes. Thank you!

Here our some of our heifers and bred heifers eating hay outside. The snow is really sticking to their backs you can see. Don't worry these ladies have two barns to go in to get out of the elements. It's really not too cold out today, but the snow is blowing.

Happy shoveling, snowblowing, pushing, or plowing!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Menu Plan 12/8-12/14


Hamburgers, tator tots, and salad


County Holstein Banquet-it's family style chicken and beef tips at the banquet hall down the road from us...we are suppose to get 8 inches of snow by Tuesday mid-day.


Pork chop bake (recipe below)


Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, jello, and chips


Smoked sausage with saurkraut, scalloped potatoes, and green beans




Crockpot Beef Roast

Pork Chop Bake

4-bone-in or boneless pork chops

1 package of prepared stuffing

1 can apple pie filling-homeade is the best!

Brown chops in butter on both sides and season. Pour filling into bottom of 9x13 pyrex or baking dish. Lay chops over filling. Layer the stuffing over pork chops. Cover with foil. Bake at 350* for approximately 45 minutes until the pork chops have been cooked thoroughly. This is delicious. Make sure you get a bite of pork, pie filling, and stuffing together. It's wonderful!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Here I am ____

Fill in the blank and name one of my favorite hymms. This has been a busy week as usual. We moved a group of heifer calves closer to the barn and combined them with the group of four bred heifers. We actually took two of the bred heifers and brought them in the barn. They are both due around Christmas. A bull and a heifer were born this week, and Monday we will take the bull down to the sale barn to be sold. The heifer calf we named Sabrina because her dam's (mother) name is Salena. All of our cows are Registered Holsteins and it is how we keep track of cow familys. Once in awhile I run into a mental block and have a hard time figuring out a name. We currently have cows starting with the letter D, P, I, S, K, M, A, and C. The I cows are definetly the most challenging. Right now we have Isabell, Ivory (whose dam is Ivy), Irene, Idea, Ivette (Ivory's daughter), Iris (daughter is Ireland), and our newest calf is Itty from Ivory. She was born three weeks early and is a little spit-fire.

Would you like to see some wedding pictures? These are our proofs from our wedding. Just fill in the password which is farming. We were married June 21st and have been together for three years. My daughter is from my first marriage and that's another story. Kurt is my little girl's dad and she has not had contact with her biological for three years. She was three when I got divorced and we met Kurt. She has known Kurt half of her life and they definetly have a connection. Someday soon I'll share the story of how we met. Hopefully I can make it sound interesting because it does make a good story. Here is a sampling of pictures from the wedding.

The answer is Lord or the song is known as I the Lord of See and Sky. That is one of our favorite songs.

On a different note, who does St. Nick? I did not even know what that was until I was 11 or so. My family does not do that tradition. We are Lutherans and it seemed like the Catholic kids/families were the ones who did that. Is it a Catholic-thing? I do not know and I wonder because I would not know when it happens but my daughter is in first grade and you know how children talk. It is definetly not a tradition we will start doing because the other kids and their family's do. Uh, oh I almost felt like a was going to start ranting...I will go and

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu Plan 12/1-12/7

Yesterday I finally made broth/stock from my turkey. It yielded a lot. When I say a lot, I mean I was hunting for containers. My best guess is I was blessed with three gallons : ) Plus I have a pot of soup simmering on the stove. I will add egg noodles and make dumplings after the egg noodles are cooked. This is my first time making this kind of soup. Don't laugh, the only other kind I have made is ham and bean soup. I always make a spiral sliced ham for Christmas and have mastered (I really mean conquered) the art of making ham and bean soup. Hahaha.

With the three to four inches of snow we got last night, the soup should hit the spot after the midday milking. There are some pretty big drifts between the barn and the house. Of course, I did not wear my winter boots. I have to tell you we almost gave up on the school bus this morning. The bus normally comes around 7:40 and that is when the first (she's on the second) bus came by. I was wearing sweatpants, a jacket, and my hooded sweatshirt over my head and freezing. My daughter was happy as a clam in her snow boots and pants, winter jacket, hat, mittens, and scarf. I kept checking the time and I was going to drive her if it got to be 7:45 or 7:50. I texted Kurt and told him that and we were going to take the truck. We were near the front door when Kurt texted me back. I c it. He was in the milkhouse which faces south where the bus was coming from. I looked, sure enough there was the big yellow limousine. Crap, I told my girl to run. Poor thing, it's not easy to run in snowpants.

Back to our meals...

Monday-Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (from Thanksgiving)

Tuesday-Spaghetti or chicken parmesan with spaghetti and garlic bread

Wednesday-Maybe we'll go down the road to a place that does a chicken and taco buffet for $5. I could easily deal with that.

Thursday-Leftover turkey noodle dumpling soup or others.

Friday-Homeade pizza-my daughter keeps asking for it

Saturday-My niece's birthday part

Sunday-Something in the crockpot or maybe pork chops

I am feeling kind of lazy this week. I would like to get my Christmas tree bought and put it up. Plus, I think I'm burnt out from cooking last week. To get inspired check out Org Junkie for some great menu plans.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Highlights

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had Thanksgiving at our house just the ten of us. My parents, Kurt's parents, Kurt's 93-year-old grandma, Kurt's two brothers, and the three of us. Kurt's older brother has three kids but this year was their mom's turn to have them on Thanksgiving. I did not have too many things to make the morning of, but I did have some dusting and picking up to do. We ate dinner at Noon and that really made the day fly by. Because Kurt and his younger brother went out to milk a little after 1pm, and did not get back in until 3pm. I had to make a list of things I wanted for Christmas because we draw names on Kurt's side. I got his older brother (again). So far I picked up one thing on his list, and I'm having a hard time finding reasonably priced other items. I gotta stay in my price limit! Haha.

I made the chocolate pie from PW and a cranberry relish/salad that was yummy! The chocolate pie is so easy and it's a chocolate lover's dream : )

Friday morning I got up early and headed to Walmart. FYI I'm not a fan of Walmart, but their ad appealed to me the most and I started my Christmas shopping their at 6am. Then I headed to Shopko and my last stop was Target. I was home by 10am which was good because Kurt had to go get his haircut. I bought mostly presents for my daughter and two nieces. I think I'll probably have to go shopping two more times and I will be done.

It has been tradition that we get a Christmas tree and put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Kurt has not even mentioned it and I'm too tired to tackle that this weekend. I still have to put crockpots and the card table away not to mention the four loads of laundry waiting to be folded.

Time to end this, I have to go out and feed my calves and heifers. Shiver, my legs are still cold from when I came in (only about a half an hour ago). Yawn, I am hungry for someone else's cooking. As my husband would say, how dumb is that. You are tired and you want to go somewhere? Um yes, please : )

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My View

I just wanted to check in and let you know what I have been up to. Yesterday my daughter and I had to go to town (15 miles away) to pick up our sliced ham. We stopped at Goodwill, Target, Fleet Farm, and Festival Foods. We had Chinese in between Target and picking up the ham. On our way to Fleet after picking up the ham I could not find my cell phone. Panic...yikes. So I went back to the Chinese restaurant and there it was underneath the table. What the heck. I was happy I found it so quickly.

When we finally got home at 2pm, I was in the kitchen the rest of the night it seemed. I made the ribbon (jello) salad, mashed potatoes, the chocolate pie, and cranberry relish. I messed the potatoes up the first time around. Don't ask, it really frustrated me and was a dumbo mistake.

Now today, I really, reeeeally, REALLY need to clean. This place has not been dusted since...hmm I can not remember. The floors need to be mopped, but seriously we live on a farm. They are never going to loook clean. The entry way is a lost cause. I sweep it twice a day already. Grrr. Today I'm taking my shop vac to it. If you don't have a shop vac you should put that at the top of your Christmas list. I registered for mine on my wedding registry. Serious. I love my shop vac.

Anyway, my shop vac and I are going to get down to some business before those beasts in the barn need to milked again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I have been so busy getting ready for the big day. We are having 10 people for Thanksgiving and I'm starting to stress. Unfortunately that is normal for me, but I feel like I barely have any time to be prepared. I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Monday-(Good) Hot dogs on buns, baked beans, and potato chips

Tuesday-Crockpot beef roast maybe made into sandwiches

Wednesday-Y-I-K-E-S Fend for yourself day...I'm going to be freakin out. I'm guessing we'll have grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Something super simple.
Thursday-Ah yes, I'm not sure what we will have today. Just kidding. Here is the run down-
-Roast turkey and gravy
-Hot ham sandwiches
-Mashed potatoes
-Sage flavored dressing with pork sausage
-Mashed squash
-Sweet corn
-Green beans
-Cranberry jelly from a can : )
-Cranberry relish, I'm still trying to figure out what recipe to use.
-Rolls, my mom is bringing these
-Veggies and dip, my mom is also bringing this
-Cheese, sausage, and crackers (this is a Wisconsin thing it's standard at any get together)
-Pumpkin pie
-My mother-in-law is bringing a rhubarb pie
Friday-Turkey and stuffing casserole or turkey sandwiches
Don't forget to check out other great meal plans over at OrgJunkie

Thursday, November 20, 2008

French Toast with Sausage Bake

This recipe is from Johnsonville and was with one of their coupons for sausages. I'm going to make it tonight or tomorrow, and I'm confident enough that it will be a family favorite. It sounds delicious. I hope your family gives it a try.

French Toast with Sausage Bake
1 pkg breakfast link sausages
12 eggs
1-30 oz can pumpkin pie filling
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
15 slices bread, cubed
Confectioners' sugar
Maple syrup
Cook sausage according to package directions. Cool slightly and cut into 1/4 inch slices. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, pie filling, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. In a very large bowl, combine sausage and bread cubes. Add pumpkin mixture, stir to coat. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve with syrup. Enjoy!
Please go check out more great recipes over at Gayle's Recipe Swap

I Got the Bird(s)

Yesterday I finally got away from this place, and headed to (the big) town at 1:30 pm. Now that we are milking three times (5:30 am, 1 pm, and 9 pm), I would like to get my errands done before the second milking or after. I left in the middle, and that was Kurt's fault. I had to pick him up and you know how that goes. I had big plans too. I was going to go to four, count them FOUR grocery stores. That just sounds tiring to me, but I had a plan and coupons in hand. A positive about going yesterday is there's a store that doubles 5 coupons up to a dollar, but only on Wednesdays. I even scored three FREE items and only one was at the store where they doubled.

I bought two turkeys a 25 pounder and a 16 pounder. They were both 48 cents a pound. You can not beat that. My husband made a comment when I told him I bought 41 pounds, but it's not like I have to cook them both in a week. Men, sometimes they don't appreciate a good sale. I really like to stockpile when prices are at rock bottom or near. His issue with that is there is a cost to having inventory. That is understandable coming from a business owner. Thanks to me we do not need to worry about buying laundry or dish soap, shampoo/conditioner, razors, toothpaste, body washes, and over the counter pain relievers for a good year or more.

Enough ranting, have a wonderful day. If you would like me to share what I got on my shopping trips, let me know. I may just share with out even being asked because I love a good deal and sharing the news.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Frozen Tundra

This morning it was 17 degrees and by the time I went in to get my little one on the bus it was 10 degrees. No more shorts, I guess. My husband is a pretty smart man. He got his fall field work done before the ground was frozen. He only had to work from 5:30 am until 10:30pm last night to finish. But it is done. Hurray!

I really need to get to the grocery store. I'm debating wether I should leave now or wait for my girl to get home from school. I feel like I really need a nap. Kurt went out to milk and now here I am. I did not have a nap yesterday...maybe the store can wait until tomorrow. There is just not enough hours in the day lately. I hope I am not the only one who feels like this. Next week it will be holiday stress. I guess I am stressing out this week. We have an appointment each day except for tomorrow. Waaaah I know. I'll get over it.

By the way in the picture, Kurt is discing his oat ground. This other picture is one of my favorites. Just thought I would share it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meal Plan for November 17-23

Monday-Tilapia, baked potatoes, and green beans (This was from last week, but we went out for supper instead)

Tuesday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sweet corn

Wednesday-Taco Casserole

Thursday-French Toast with sausage links (Recipe later this week)

Friday-It's a surprise...Kurt owe's me a date night.

Saturday-Pork chop bake

Sunday-Maybe ham and scalloped potatoes, my daughter has been begging for this.

Friday, November 14, 2008

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

I really need to get my heinie out to the barn to feed and milk the girls because Kurt had a meeting. But I must share this with you!

Kurt and I are struggling now at the end of the year and it has to do with not having enough income. Early this summer we lost a few cows and our low milk production caught up to us. We figured we would be ok when the fall came around because that's when a lot of cows were going to be calving in (21 from Aug to Dec which is a lot for us). Which equals more milk. We had purchased some newer machinery this spring which needs to be paid for by the end of the year along with our seed corn bill. Okay fine. No biggy we should have extra corn to sell to pay for this. Last time we sold a thousand bushel of corn it was $5 a bushel and that was in August.

So meanwhile the corn price is roughly $3.50 a bushel and we needed about $4000 to pay the two debts that were due. The whole time I put trust in the Lord that he will provide and so will my husband. Let God deal with your troubles and trust in him to lead you.

We combined our corn and wouldn't you know it! The yield was down, way down. Like we are not sure we have enough corn to feed the cows through the year. So we'll have to buy corn which is the least of our worries. But now we do not have the extra corn to sell for our seed corn bill and plow purchase and we do have a savings (ugh, that I do not want to touch). Last resort is the savings, but I kept the faith and left my troubles with God.

A couple days ago, our crop insurance adjuster stopped by. We are insured that we will yield X amount and actual yield was below that. We are getting basically enough money back to cover our two bills.

Lesson 1-Give God your troubles and he will bless you!
Lesson 2-Always buy crop insurance no matter how much you dislike paying for it...

Depression-Era Butter

I found this recipe/tip on a message board last summer and have been making it ever since. Note-This butter is not suited for baking needs.

Our ingredients are:
1/2 cup of lukewarm water per stick of butter (1/4 pound)
1 softened stick of butter

I do two sticks of butter at a time and 1 cup of water.

Start by whipping butter with hand mixer or a stand mixer (if you are soooo lucky to have one :p). Slowly pour in a small amount of water. Mix until water is not visible. Repeat the process until you have used all or most of your water. This butter resembles the whipped butter I have seen at restaurants and I do not refrigerate it.

Go visit Gayle for more great recipes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oprah & Snapfish

Did you catch Oprah yesterday? You can start decluttering your home of your children's artwork by simply taking a digital photo and turning it into a book. Go to www.oprah.com and search for Snapfish. You only have until Friday at noon to get in on this almost $30 value. Hurry, scurry, go get that book!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Just Realized

Sorry Anne W. you asked me who pays us for our milk. We belong to a milk cooperative. They act as a broker and send it to the milk plant that will give us the best offer. Some farms belong to a milk plant and they ship their milk directly through the plant. So the milk plants pay our coop and they pay us.

Have you thanked a Veteran today? My grandpa passed away six years ago today and he was a veteran. Today is the day I remember him and think about him throughout my day. Thank you veterans past and present!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meal Plan November 10-14

This is my first meal plan. Please bare with me!

Monday-Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday-Whatever we want! Kurt has a meeting.

Wednesday-HHCs AKA hot ham and cheese, grilled to be exact.

Thursday-Hamburgers, tator tots, and green beans.

Friday-Baked tilapia, oven fries, and more green beans.

Breakfasts will be-eggs, hashbrowns, toast, cinnamon toast, waffles (with cheese on the side--it's great with extra syrup), pancakes, or cereal.

Lunches will be-frozen pizza, leftovers, or something creative with leftovers : )

Check for more meal plans here

Milk Money

Question-How often do dairy farmers get paid?

Answer-We are paid twice a month. On the 17th of the month, we receive the remainder of the previous month's milk payment. Then on the 26th of the month which is called the advance because we receive the first half of that month's milk payment.

Question-What expenses are there for dairy farmers?

Answer-Too many! Ha! I have to do bookwork because our accountant is coming Tuesday so this is perfect. Hopefully I won't miss any and if they need any explanation let me know.
1. Feed-from feedmill or other producers
2. Fertilizer, Seed, and Chemical
3. Land/Building Rent/Mortage
4. Operating Loan
5. Artificial Inseminator (breeder) and bull semen
6. Utilities-electric, phones, heat
7. Fuel--we order 200 gallons of diesel at a time which is not that large of an amount
8. Rodent/Pest Control
9. Association Fees/Dues
10. Milk Testing
11. Veterinary-this fluctuates
12. Tractor Loan
13. Machinery Repair
14. Milking supplies (wipes, teat dip, milkhouse detergents and acid)
15. Bedding (we buy four semi loads of shavings a year)
16. Grain harvesting and drying
17. Hoof Trimming
18. Life, Health, Personal Property, Farm & Ranch, Crop, and Vehicle Insurance
19. Crop Planner
20. General upkeep of barn and milkhouse equipment
21. Milk hauling and marketing
22. Credit Card bills-yuck
23. Accountant
24. Labor-Me. Ha ha! I'm cheap.

The Third Milking

Kurt just headed out to milk the third milking. God love him! We are now a week into milking three times a day and it takes a toll on our bodies and mind. Kurt has been milking the mid-day milking with me which is really nice of him. He could be napping, but he helps me instead. Since the most sleep you get at night is six hours, we try to take a nap throughout the day. I did not have one today, but I mostly care if Kurt is able to take a nap. You have to take care of your body or you'll run yourself ragged.

Speaking of ragged, I volunteered to have Thanksgiving at our house. Kind of makes sense that everyone comes to us. Then we will have more time to visit. Kurt already said he would go out and milk at 1pm for me. I know all I talk about is milk, milk, milk. Blah, blah, blah. Our lives revolve around milking. Looking back (eight days ago), milking twice a day is a picnic. This three times a day business is work. Plus the girls are getting used to being milked every eight hours versus 12 hours. Hopefully there is less pressure build up. Observe Krunch, on the left and Doreen's udders are rather "full" looking. Ouch! Have no fear, Kurt's coming to the rescue.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Your Cab is Waiting

My friend Liz sent this to me the other day and I thought I would share it here.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. 'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'. 'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown? ''It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. I don't have any family left she continued. The doctor says I don't have very long. I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. What route would you like me to take? I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, I'm tired. Let's go now.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. How much do I owe you? she asked, reaching into her purse. Nothing I said You have to make a living she answered. There are other passengers I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. You gave an old woman a little moment of joy, she said. Thank you. I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Crockpot Beef Roast

Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge is having her weekly recipe swap. This week instead of watching from the sidelines I decided to jump in with a recipe for beef roast. I especially like this recipe because you could have the toughest cut of meat and it would still turn out great.
Crockpot Beef Roast
2-4 pound beef roast
1 envelope of onion soup mix
1 pint of dill pickles
Sprinkle soup mix over beef roast. Pour pickles and juice over roast. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for as long as you like. Meat is super tender and is great for sandwhiches or with mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

My Day

Here is what greets me in the morning. The cows are actually outside overnight. We get up and out to the barn by 5am or sooner. On a normal day we are out of the barn by 8 or 9 am. Then breakfast and free time. Free time does not happen a lot and for me it usually is my time to do household chores.

Now that we are milking three times a day, we are back out to the barn at 12pm. We feed the cows and bring them back in the barn to be milked again. We are back out of the barn by 2 or 3pm depending on any extra things we do. Back in the house then to eat lunch if we haven't already. Kurt likes to watch MSNBC and I like to come checkout other's blogs. Our daughter gets off the bus just after 3pm and she loves to play boardgames or watch Nick. When she gets home, this is usually when I run to the post office, grocery store, or other errands. Then it's back out to the barn at 5pm. Kurt feeds the cows in the barn for their third feeding and runs the feed wagon with haylage for bred heifers.

I feed my calves and other heifers. Kurt and our daughter also feed calves. I also fill up our feed room pails and set up the milkhouse so Kurt can start milking ASAP. We are only outside for an hour and then we come in for supper. This is Kurt's downtime until 9pm when he goes out to milk again. He usually falls asleep while watching MSNBC.

By the time Kurt goes out, I am so rung out. I basically fall asleep on the couch. Last night I was so out of it by the time he came in. He said he had been in for 30 minutes already and I woke up and said, "Boy, you're fast." He just laughed at me and I fell back asleep. At midnight, we finally went to bed. Then we start it back up again at 5 am.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What a Week

We were very busy this week. We had a cow that needed surgery. She had a DA (displaced abomasum-part of her stomach or called a twisted stomach) and the vet came out Tuesday and she's doing well. The hoof trimmer was here Wednesday afternoon. Thursday the combine came and did our corn. The three wagons and our two wagons are still parked outside though. I think Kurt said he'd take them back tomorrow or Monday. One of our cows, Mariah had a set of twins. A bull and a heifer. We will sell both of them in a couple of weeks when they are bigger. Typically a heifer born with a bull is a free martin meaning she does not have the female parts to become pregnant.

Yesterday we had to hurry up with chores because we needed to meet my mom at 10:30 to get my daughter. My parents were on their way up north to the cabin. They picked me up a 50 pound bag of potatoes last time they were on their way up there for $10. The last couple of years the price has been $6 or $7. I totally understand the increase. I just wish we could charge the milk pant the price we would like too.

We headed to town after we picked up the Maam (that's what Kurt calls her and he said he picked that up from me...I don't think so). I was soooo hungry for Chinese food but Kurt suggested Pizza Hut. Yuck, I like it but not today. I had pizza twice that week as it was. No more!! That's were we ended up though. We picked up a cartful of farm stuff at Fleet Farm first. Then after lunch went to Festival Foods to pick up sale items.

We were so beat by the time we got home and it was only 2pm. I was kind of grouchy and so was Kurt. By 4pm I headed out with the Maam trick-or-treating with some errands along the way. At the first stop, which was across the road I ordered 20 pounds of mixed fruit from the FFA. That will make up a Christmas present for Kurt's 93-year-old Grandma. We only went to a few houses, but her pumpkin was packed full. Forgot to mention my mom sent us home with homeade caramel apples.

I better get at some housework. Kurt and his dad are painting the milkhouse. Tomorrow is the big day when we go to three times a day milking. Just talking about it makes me yawn. Hopefully the money will start rolling in with all the milk we will be shipping.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When it Rains it Pours

Wondering what a typical day in the life of a dairy farming family is like? Me too!! Except each week or day is different than the last. Last week we had a pretty calm week, but this week has been insanely busy. First I have to tell you the kids in Wisconsin have a short school week because of the teachers state-wide conference. So yesterday my daughter and I met my mom half way so she could spend today and Friday with them. My mom is also a teacher so this works out rather well.

Back at the farm, we had the hoof trimmer...pausing...I have to tell you our old milk truck driver just went by. He lays on the air horn as he's coming that's how we get our kicks around here. Of course I called my husband to ask him if he had heard him and he was in the combine so he had not. Back to our regular scheduled programming...So we had the hoof trimmer here and he has a hydraulic shoot the cows go in and have their feet checked for delicious items such as warts and abscesses. They thank us later because they feel soooo much better after they have their feet wrapped. It's like a giant pedicure for cows. Kinda. So that was yesterday. Last night, Andy the guy who combines our corn called and said he was coming today.

This morning we went to Andy's to pick up wagons. My husband took a tractor to pull two wagons home and I took the truck. Maybe I'll take a pic of the combine. Kurt's (that's my husband) nephew is suppose to be here later. Plus I'm waiting for a guy to come who is going to look at our heifers (have not had a calf yet). He analyzes them to see what traits they need so we can breed them to the bull that has the strength of traits that the heifer lacks to pass on to her calf. Sorry if I lost you at Back on the farm : ) I had better get at our bookwork. The receipts need to be corralled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkins, Pumpkins and Saurkraut

I baked six pie pumpkins today. Which unofficially yielded 30 cups and comes out to five cups per pumpkin. A couple of weeks ago, I did four pumpkins and they only yield 12 cups which would be three cups per pumpkin. You are probably wondering what in the heck I'm going to do with all of this pumpkin. I'm going to make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread for all! Actually around Christmas time we give the people we do business with "gifts." The bread is going to be part of this year's gift along with saurkraut my mom and I started yesterday.

I bought 10 heads of cabbage that are larger than basketballs for $1 each. It's a heck of deal. My mom and I were only able to use seven of them. These buggers are big and once you start shredding them it does not take long to fill up a 33 gallon can. The funny thing is I had never tried saurkraut until three years ago. I know the smell turned me off too, but try to look past it or should I say smell past it. It is soooo worth it!! YUM!