Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dreaming in White: Snow Country Redux

I was holding out the other day.

I didn't show all the good stuff I got.  

They're all treasures. 

You can decide which...




A Quaint, Old-Fashioned Home
Kay Hoffman

I like to see a modern home
In keeping with our time,
But none I find so charming
As the quaint old-fashioned kind.

A home that has a lived-in look
With porch that's big and wide
Where hickory rockers, like old friends,
Are sitting side by side.

Where flowers bloom in time-worn crocks
To make each day more fair--
Not plants you need to pamper,
Just the simple garden fare.

A welcome mat placed at the door,
One of a home-spun style
With words of greeting
Sure to bring the heart a smile.

Modern homes are nice to view
With their up-to-date design;
Still, it always warms my heart to see
The quaint, old-fashioned kind.

All this and more not much more than a hop, skip and a jump from our house.  

(Does anybody say that anymore, or is it just me?!)

Heart warming, isn't it, to see a farmhouse, 
all tucked in piles of white snow.
It fuels the imagination, hits the "comfort" zone 
that I think we all possess.

So...DO TELL.  

Which is your favorite photo today?  

Make it a great day!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dreaming in White: Snow Country

A soft blanket of beautiful white snow covered our world here last night.

I had some running to do to take care of taxes and on the way home, I meandered a bit, taking the long way: those back roads you know that I love so, so much.  They provide so us much beauty when we take an extra few minutes to travel them.  

The day was gray and perfectly misty with snow still falling and perfect for drive-by shooting.....country style.  Each scene appearing to me as an old painting through the dripping windows of my truck.  

And let me say, in situations like these weather conditions, it's pretty hard to take a bad picture; yes even those shot out of windows that are all wet look good, so the weather was my best asset today!

I can't tell you just why, but these barn shots just break my heart.

There is just something about their lonesome beauty that cuts me deep down and makes me ache.

Is it because this is the way of rural life as I knew it is aging, meaning that I am aging as well?

Is it because this was the moving picture show for my innocent brown eyes as I looked out the station wagon window for all my childhood?

Is it because I want to go inside, take a deep breath, and explore those walls and windows, to smell the past, to hear the wind come through those cracks and see the hay still left on the floor blow quietly around my feet?

I think so.

And the farmhouses that accompany some of these lonely, beautiful barns, they make me want to go knock on the door and ask if I might explore...just for a minute.

All those nooks and crannies tucked under those eaves, if I just might take a minute to peep out the wavy glass window of the upstairs bedroom out at the fields of snow below me...

How do old barns make you feel?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mary Jane's Breakfast Burritos!

Sun's up!  Time to get busy in the kitchen making Breakfast Burritos, a recipe I got from my Facebook friend, Mary Jane.  

She saw that I had posted about eggs being on sale at Kroger 10/$10 and she told me it was a good time to try this recipe.  She was right!  Howdy down there in Texas, Mary Jane!  Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

Tie on a cheerful apron, gather up your goodies, and let's get to it!

Make a single batch for breakfast for your family, or make many batches for the freezer, for an easy, healthy convenience food you can use on busy days for breakfast, or for after school snacks.  

I got the sausage and the hash browns on sale, too.  It took me  a whole morning to get it done--I made four batches...  

I did a dozen eggs at a time, a dozen eggs per tube of sausage and a half-bag of hash browns per batch. You can adjust yours to your taste.

I shredded my own cheese, but you can use whatever you've got.  I used a cheddar blend, Mary Jane recommends sharp cheddar.

I cracked and scrambled a dozen eggs at a time.

Here's the recipe as I received it from my friend, Mary Jane.  I just love how she wrote it so I'm going to leave as is.

"Okay, brown a pound of sausage....I use Owen's, Jimmy Dean, whatever good sausage is on sale...the loose kind, not links...and drain in paper towel.

Add chopped onion and bell pepper to the skillet (Use a BIG one!), along with cubed frozen hash browns.

If the sausage is very lean, you might have to add a little olive oil to the pan.

Cook til tender, and add the sausage back in, a small can of green chilies, a good sprinkle of oregano (the secret ingredient!), a small sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, and a dozen or so beaten eggs.

Cook slowly, scrambling the eggs, until done.  Add a good handful of grated cheddar (I use sharp).  

I wrap 4 to 6 flour tortillas (I usually use the fajita size) in wet paper towels and warm in the microwave, then, on each, place some of the filling down the center of tortilla, fold up the bottom, and then fold in the sides.  Serve with salsa, if desired.  

After we finish eating, I take the leftovers and roll in tortillas that I don't even heat.

Wrap each in waxed paper and drop into a gallon freezer bag and freeze.  Then, you can just take out whatever you need, frozen, and remove the waxed paper, wrap loosely in a paper towel, and heat two at a time for about 2 minutes, ten seconds.

This makes about twenty or more, depending on how "fat" you make each burrito.  I don't over stuff them, because if I do, it is harder to completely heat them through without toughening the tortillas.  The tortilla salesman told my son to take the tortillas home, put in the fridge or freezer, and they will keep much longer.

I use the same bag over and over...just store it in the freezer when it is empty.

I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we do; it is one of our favorite breakfasts.

Mary Jane"

Brown that sausage...

Drain on paper towel.

Throw in hash browns, using olive oil if necessary, with your onions and green peppers, if you please.

Add the sausage back to the pot to keep it all hot.

Scramble your eggs either with the potatoes and sausage or separately, like I did.

Gently scramble those eggs, then add them to the pot.

And then the cheese...

Season it all....don't underestimate the importance of the seasonings!

It is at this point that you add the green chiles, if you prefer them.

Roll the fajitas while they filling is hot.  Heat tortillas first ONLY if you are going to eat them for a meal, if you are making these for the freezer, do NOT heat them first.  

Down the middle goes the filling, up goes the bottom fold, and over on each side, then lay the open side down on a cookie sheet to allow the hot fillings and cheese to "seal" your burrito.

Allow to cool to lukewarm so they don't steam up in the wrapping.

Next, wrap each individually in waxed paper.

Line them up in gallon Zip-Locs for the freezer.

All ready to label.  I wrote the heating time for the microwave, as Mary Jane had suggested for us in her recipe.  

Please note:  you may need to adjust the heating time for your microwave, and adjust accordingly.  Mary Jane recommends putting the burritos in a paper towel to reheat, and two burritos she warms in the microwave for two minutes ten seconds.  

Top them with salsa and YUM!!

All done!  Depending on the size of your shell, you can get one dozen to one and a half dozen out of your dozen eggs, tube of sausage, and half-bag of hash browns.

Time to crush these and take them out to the garden, they're good for the soil! 

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section and I'll answer them there! 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I hope I never get to the point where I cannot be awed by a beautiful sunrise or sunset.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happiness Is...

Happiness is...

A Monday morning in winter, bright and sunny, with a full cookie jar sitting in the kitchen all ready for happy brown-bag lunches all week long.  

And even nicer?  A husband who does the honors with the chocolate chip cookies, mine never turn out, his always do!

I am hoping the Federal Authorities leave their mitts out of my son's lunch bag--he will be taking a couple of these every day all week long.  

I wish the government would mind their own business and stay the heck out of mine!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is it Monday Again? Mother Love

This is a glorious morning. 

Bright sunshine first thing in the morning.  It's a great way to start the day.  It's the fourth day in a row here for us and is unusual this time of the year.  Michigan has had a mild winter this year...and I have to say even though I enjoy the snows and the beauty it brings; I have so enjoyed hardly wearing the winter coat this year!  

A thought for this day I'll share while we enjoy the sunshine.

Be an encouragement to young mothers with little ones.  It can make such a difference.

My daughter has two babies close in age and is always encouraged by those with a positive attitude she encounters when she is out and about and others see her with two little ones in the cart at the grocery store.  

For instance, older couples are always sweet and adorable and tell her she will never be sorry she had her babies close and that she will never be sorry for having more children.  

At the opposite end of the spectrum, younger people tend to think they have a right to be quite outspoken and opinionated about her having two children so close!  This without, of course, realizing that she was surprised and fortunate to even become pregnant on her own for a second time--it happened against many odds.  

When we make comments about someone's family we need to realize that we do NOT know their story.  Jamie and Thad struggled with infertility to get their first child.  The second was a surprise and yet she was a very, very welcomed one!

If you see a grocery cart with two little ones in it and a hard-working mom trying to get her groceries, don't say anything to her UNLESS it can be KIND and ENCOURAGING or helpful!

At church yesterday, a sweet lady from the choir made a point of coming to my daughter to tell her that she loved Audrey's red hair.  This lady saw Audrey from the choir loft and said to herself:  "There's another redhead like me!"  

And she took the time and cheerfully came to my daughter after church and gave her an encouraging word.  Young mothers can use all the love they can get.  

It can be a bit lonely sometimes to stay at home with little ones, yet it is the MOST valuable line of work in the whole world!  Look for ways to encourage and love young moms in any way that you can see!

Being so far away from my daughter and grandchildren, and not being able to be immediately available for in-person, in range encouragement to touch and love them, I am especially sensitive for how we treat our young mothers that are doing the hard thing, the right thing, staying in their children's lives on a daily basis by choosing to stay home and raise their babies themselves.

I have a little experience with this because my last baby was spaced far behind my first kids.  The most hurtful comments came from, of all people, those at church! 

"Did you PLAN it this way?!"  

At church one elderly man (who, according to his age and white hair should have indicated more wisdom!) said to me: 

"What were you THINKING?!"  

(I was ONLY 35!  I often wonder what these same men would have said to Abraham and Sarah in the Bible times!)

Another elderly man at work said:

"Are you nuts!? You already have a boy and a girl, what would you want to have another baby for?!"  

It was appalling!

I know that many of you agree with me, and I know I have the kindest of blog readers--yet just wanted to raise awareness of this issue so that we can be more sensitive--it's actually not any of our business as to how a family spaces  their children!   

If we can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!

Off my soapbox now, this sunshine is showing me, very clearly, all the work I must do around here today!  

I want you to have a sunny Monday, and remember to try to be an encouragement if you can.  Our words and our actions can make (or break!) someone's day!