Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkins, pumpkins; we like pumpkins . . .

Tomorrow is the big day, Turkey day that is and with that, the coming of the holiday season.  So pumpkins are done, and time to be cooked down and froze for a future yummy recipe this winter.   The kids were sad to see their Halloween pumpkin patch finds "killed" as they so eloquently put it, but will rejoice in the delish food to follow.

To start: smuggle in before mentioned p's without drawing attention to  yourself, put on some good Christmas music and stab the buggers - LOL  Seriously, cut them in half, gut them and scrap clean.  Save seeds for roasting latter if your into that.  We are, but no pic to show since they got gobbled up (pun intended) ASAP!  Just remember to soak your seeds in salt water overnight (I used pickling salt) before roasting.
There are two ways to cook/steam your squash.  You can put them on a jelly roll pan with 1/4 cup water, cover with foil and bake at 400 for 1 1/2 hrs.   Much like cooking a spaghetti squash.

I prefer the crock pot method.  Chop up your cleaned pumpkin and toss in your largest crock
with 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook on low 5 hours.  

Either way you choose to cook it, make sure to let it cool completely before scraping cooked flesh from shell. 

I package my cooked pumpkin up in 15 - 16 oz. size freezer bag, even though canned pumpkin is sold in either 15 oz. or 29 oz. cans. 

I turned mine into home made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  I made spelt pie crust for these beauties.

Perfect!  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 for 50 minutes, works every time.  Now I just have to fend the kids, husband and animals off until tomorrow  : )

Blessings, Beth Ann

Unload the camera

Today is the day before Thanksgiving, 30 days to Christmas (ssh, you didn't hear that from me) and I need to get all the pic's off my camera, to make room for the new holiday ones!  I picked some of my fave to share with you here and I will do a cooked pumpkin blog as well.  I know, I can't wait either !

This first pic is of the tree in Z's room.  He cleaned his room real good a week or so ago (after taking down all his guinea pig stuff) and had his girl friend and the twins help him put the tree up.
It's a white tree that he asked for and received as a gift.  I picked up some vintage blue and silver ornaments last year at the flea market and he put blue lights on it.  Even the silver snowflake on top was a flea market find.  For a guy, my son has always had style! 

This is the second Harry Potter scarf I am knitting.  This one is for B.  It is a Huffle Puff year 3/4 scarf and is going quit well.  I have four more that I would like to make as gifts and another that is an order from a church friend.  I fear I will never get my socks or camo cargo pants knitted for myself!

Here is twin son E with Santa last Saturday.  Twin dd was timid and then I just didn't get a good pic of her - poo : (  Notice the sunshine and the short sleeves on a mid November morning.  I love living in the south!

This is B's room.  Notice the paper chain on the ceiling, it goes all around her room, almost twice.  I have no idea why, but her and two friends spent most of the week-end working on this.  And yes, that is yet another Christmas tree in her room (bottom left hand corner)

Another look at the amazing paper chain : )

Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Syrup and stuff

Greetings all, today sees high winds and rain here in middle TN.  I am missing our Indian summer : ( 
Yesterday I was as busy as a tick on a trampoline (I don't know what that means either, but it sounds good right?)!  Many of the things I worked on were in the kitchen, as usual.  I thought I would share a couple of good home made recipes and ideas with ya.

First,  I made my own pancake syrup.  I have done this before with a recipe that calls for brown sugar and cornstarch.  I tried a couple of different times and was unhappy with the results each time.  I just hate buying syrup, corn syrup, water and chemicals - yuck!  Well I stumbled on this one and just love it:


Boil 1/3 cup water, than stir in 1 cup honey and 1/2 tsp. maple flavor extract.  Let cool and store in refrigerator.

makes 1 1/3 cups syrup

* You can also add a stick of butter to simmering water for 'honey butter syrup'.

I like this much better and as we buy our honey local, it's good for the allergies!
Speaking of allergies, syrup and honey:  I also stumbled on a remedy for home made cough syrup.  It got rave reviews and testimonies on the website.  Again, it is made with honey.  Go local and you can't go wrong.

Cough Syrup

Mix 1 part whiskey (about 1/2 pint) with 1 part honey (about 1 cup) in a mason jar or other glass container.  Crush 3 hard peppermint candies and add to jar.  Screw tight and shake vigorously until candy dissolves.  Take by the teaspoon as needed for cough.  No need to refrigerate.

I am thinking this is a good thing, again no chemicals and most likely give it a go with cold season soon upon us.  I know what your thinking, with those ingredients, who cares if it works!  LOL

One last thing to share with you, how to use up left over cooked grains; such as oatmeal, millet and amaranth.    One thing I like to do is pour the left over into my glass bread dish and refrigerate over night.  It takes on a nice molded shape that is easy to slice and fry.  Everything taste better fried in real butter right!  Oatmeal is great this way and served with either the syrup or honey.  However the millet and amaranth don't hold together well in the heat.  My husband has taken to making them into 'hashbrowns'.   Just smash them down and fry in butter like you would shredded hash browns.  Delish!   A great way to use up food and not waste in this economy, not to mention the health benefits of 'real' food and grains vs. packaged and processed.

OK, that's enough for now.  I think I have to go track down my lawn furniture that blew off my front porch.  I want to crack some joke here about Dorothy and Oz, but seeing as how that is the play my son has been working in for the past two weeks (one more to go), I believe I skip the irony.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random chit-chat

As my mom would say, 'not much happening here'.  That's a good thing right?  LOL  Just thought I would pop in and let ya all know I am still thinking about you all : )   I guess my mom has been on my mind recently.  I talked to her last week , she called to let me know she was a great - grandma again (nine now).  She let it slip that she had a concussion.  Yeah, she's that kind of mom.  She did that once after her strokes as well.  Maybe she doesn't want to tell me because she knows she will get 'a talk'in to'.  Maybe she doesn't know how much I care or worry.  When did our rolls get reversed?  I wish we lived closer to her and my sis and daughter, even though I know I am right where God wants me and I have to be faithful to God.  He has been on my mind as well.  I knew last week that we had a tough or 'tight' week ahead of us, and spent extra time in prayer over this and as always, the farm property issue.  I must confess that I am blessed enough to have 'heard' God answer on a few occasions.  I relish His small still voice.  Some folks aren't so lucky or they aren't quiet enough to hear Him.  I will say I was amazed at how fast he answered me this time.  I hadn't even really finished praying yet! LOL  One of the items I was praying on was working outside the home.  I have prayed on this a number of times, not really getting an answer and not really been blessed by any venture either.  This time however, He explained to me that it would not be to His glory or a testament to Him if I worked.  We best show our faith by letting him take care of us and sharing this with others.  Every time we have a 'tight' week and make it to the end with out missing a meal, or hubby getting a car job, we are showing that our faith is strong and that we believe in Him.  Every time we have the money from 'somewhere' to pay for school books, tuition or even a pair of shoes, we are testifying that God has provided for us as we follow His will for me to be a SAHM and to home school.  If I turn to outside the home for a counted on weekly check, I am saying I need a safety net or a 'back-up' plan, just in case this whole God thing isn't real.  I was awed by this information that was bestowed upon me and couldn't wait to share it with my husband.  God doesn't have to share his plan with us, and rarely does, talk about an answer to a prayer!  I have walked around the rest of the week with my head held higher and my smile bigger.  And are we ever blessed!  Hubby came home the other night with news of yet another person he knows, who is losing their home.  We  wonder quiet often why others seem to have 'more' than us, but then we hear news like this and know that they might have 'stuff', but they weren't blessed.  Everyday I am thankful for my humble home, my amazing husband, my extraordinary children, my church support system, friends that just don't stop helping me and others, and the chance to pay those blessings forward to others.  I am even thankful for the 'tight' times and the animal ministry that seems so overwhelming at times.  For without these challenges, we will never grow and get the chance to let God be our rock, light and savior.

Blessings, Beth Ann
p.s. still no answer on the property thing- poo : (

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Kudos to Facebook

I know that there are as many different opinions on the website Facebook as there is stars in the sky, but I am here to tell you mine is an appreciative one.  Initially I only join because my sister, who lives 800 miles away, asked me to.  It seemed like a good way to keep in touch, and it has been.  Then I started reconnecting with classmates from high school, again a good thing.  I have never had a bad experience with FB.  I have also come to appreciate that I keep local friends updated as well, sometimes it is quicker and easier than email or phone!  But the main reason I am blogging about FB today is that it helped my brother find me and my family on=line.  My brother is ten years older than I, and I hadn't seen him in over ten years.  I didn't even know if he was alive.  I am not going to get into the details of this or pass any judgment.  I was just so unbelievably joyful to hear from him.  He found my sister first, not knowing I had remarried and had a different last name, and then me.  When he called me, well it was the answer to many prayers!  We may not have many things to say in the day to day course of our lives, but through FB I see his activity and have a satisfaction of knowing he is well and still out there being my brother.  Sorry if this sounds mushy, but wait, it gets worse - LOL  Yesterday my brother posted the first recent photo of himself that I have seen in over ten years, on FB.  Wow!  He still looks the same (all his hair for a guy over 5o - LOL) and it made me cry to see him.  I showed it to my husband, the first time he had seen the guy and the first thing he said was, "he looks just like Z in the face" (my oldest son).  My friend came over to have coffee and I made her look at it too, and she made almost the same comment.  Such a good feeling for someone who comes from such a small family, to have this validation of our DNA (for lack of a better term).  Just want to share this with ya'll and if you don't know me from my previous life, here is my big brother:

J or as his friends in school called him, Murph.  Happy early b-day big bro!

And here is yet another random pet pic to keep you entertained:

Daughter B with the new rescue kitten (Nala), waiting to be awakened for school : )

Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pet odds and ends

We had a sad passing here in our home, last night.  Luna the rescue guinea pig .  Which brought to mind that I should blog again on our animal ministry, or I should say our son's ministry.  My oldest son has aspired to be a veterinarian since he was age four.  When my mini doxin became disabled, it led to him volunteering at the local animal clinic and now he works there and is a senior in school.  We home school, so he has a more flexible schedule than most; a God thing for sure.    Our close relationship with the people at the animal clinic lead them to know our hearts and us into the animal rescue world.  When Z first started asking to bring home animals, my husband and I prayed on it long and hard.  Our answer was found in the book of Genesis, where we are commanded to take charge of the animals.  Not everyone ministry looks the same, which is good, and everyone is called to one.  Ours is animals.  We have been doing this almost four years, and not once have we not been able to help provide.  Luna was our first, she was left in Doc's drive way (he lives by us) while he was at the clinic, and she had a bad case of mange.  Doc and Z nursed her back to good health and for the past 3 years she was a fat and sassy pig!  Here are a few more, but certainly not all our rescue animals.

This is Angle, a pit bull mix.  You may remember that Z rescued 9 puppies last summer, she is the mother.  Z and another lady from our church who does animal rescue, went back and rescues the mom the next day.  She still has sores from where she was so emaciated that her bones rubbed the ground when she lay down.  I call this a real rags to riches story. Angle went from a starving dog to a pageant winner at the local pet parade!

Sorry this pic is so blurry.  This is Zoey, a boxer/terrier mix, sleeping on our laundry basket.  She is 100% Z's dog, she loves that boy.  He brought her home when her previous owner abandoned her at the clinic with a pro=lapsing rectum (her poo-shoot kept falling out).  She was stitched up and hasn't had a rectum issue since, plenty of other issues though! LOL

This is Tina, the only surviving kitten from a box of three left on our front walk.  There were 3 white, 4 week old kittens, all with parasites.  My middle dd, Bre, hand feed her every two hours for the first few weeks we had her.  It's a shame people do that, how selfish.  As you can see, she is now a very large and happy cat.

OK, this isn't a rescue cat, actually she came with us from MI when we moved.  I just think it's interesting that yet another pet likes to sleep on our dirty laundry, and we have a ton of that since our washer has been broken for 9 months now and we do all our laundry by hand (which is a bummer since we have handicapped animals that require daily bedding changes, twice a day).

This is Nala, our latest acquisition.  God brought her to our house. We found her under hubby's car, almost dead.  Some of our neighbors said they saw her a couple days earlier, two blocks over from our house.  Doc said she would have died in a few hours if we hadn't brought her in when we did.  She is now one of the most pleasant cats we have, and yet again you can see that all the animals tend to conjugate to certain areas of the house (like the back of the living room sofa).

Like I said, this is by no means all our animals but just a few pleasant happy endings.  Each one has their own story and happy ending.  While we will miss Luna, we know she had a good quality of life and really, that's what it's all about.  My son is taking this passing hard and is learning many life lessons, such as how blessed he is to have such an incredible support system with his friends, family and co=workers.  If your out and about today, hug your local animal care giver.

Blessings, Beth Ann