Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent, A Mothers (and Fathers) way of Life, The way of Insanity

Everyone is celebrating Lent and are abstaining from some of their favorite things.  While reading these lists I think of how I unintentionally observe lent every day.  I don't actually observe Lent...  You see, I  ALREADY abstain from some of my favorite things... Her is a list of my DAILY Lent-ing.

1.  Pooping without an audience, usually my children who need me to do various tasks or just hold them... while sitting on the toilet... with a crying child, or children.  

2.  Having any drink without an oil slick of previously chewed food grease from my children's last meal.  Or better yet, large chunks of half masticated food marinating at the bottom of my drink.  Mmmmm... Pass!  I wasn't thirsty anyways.

3.  Having impromptu 'alone' time with my husband without the 'knock'.
Dad: "Go away"
Dad: "GO away!"
Micah: "NO I DIDN'T!"
Cat fight of Epic proportions ensues outside the door.
Dad: "Forget it..."

4.  Having a snack.  Yeah, that one speaks for itself and all you moms and dads out there 'get it'.

5.  Putting my coat and shoes on and walking out the door.  Now it is an hour long process of 'find the missing shoe', emotional break downs, the coat "WAS right here!", and forgetting the things I needed to return to the store sitting right next to the door, you know, the WHOLE reason I was getting out in the first place.  

6.  This goes with #5.  A 'quick' run into the store.  Hahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahaha.  I guess I should explain instead of just laugh... Ahem...  First there is the kid whose diaper exploded on the way to the store.  Changing the 'septic tank' of all diapers on the van seat, the frantic search for more clothes only to remember you just cleaned out the van and brought in the diaper bag for a good 'go through', finally finding a too small shirt and no pants for the child (who doesn't like the glares from the 'good parents' out there while walking through the store with your half naked offspring?).  Only to fill your basket and have another child "NEED TO GO NOW!", so you abandon your cart, truck your half naked child and small brood to the bathroom, trying your darndest to keep the small herd moving, and keeping the lions from dragging away the straggler at the back of the pack who touches everything through the produce isle, and have the aforementioned 'needing to pee-er' only drip into the pot.  Aaaaaahhhh, oh how I love run on sentences and mixed metaphors. ;)

7.  Clean the house.  Ever clean a room and confidently move onto the next room, only to have the 'ninja destroyers' come into the pristine room and within SECONDS utterly destroy 2 hours of work.  They actually attend a specialized ninja school of destruction to be able to accomplish this.  It requires a blue belt... blue, for my tears... 

8.  Have a day where someone doesn't laugh at poop, gas, or farts.  Well... it is kinda funny!

9.  Talk on the phone.  I don't enjoy talking on the phone but I've noticed that it is IMPOSSIBLE with small children.  Same as the 'alone time' with my hubbs you get strange things happening... "MOM FIFI IS STANDING IN THE TOILET!" "AND SOMEONE DIDN'T FLUSH!"  Well then... everything seems to be in order here...  This one has been true, on a number of occasions... *Face palm.   And literally happened within seconds of being 'preoccupied'.  I promise I wasn't hiding in my closet either, at least not that time ;)

10.  Never be Alone.  I will never go a day without being told "I love you".  I will never go a day without my bouquets of weeds, or cry without hugs, kisses, and lovins.  I will never go without caring and silliness.  I will never go without mudpies and sledding, without tickles and laughter.  And those are things I COULDN'T go without!

I will end on:
11.  Blog in peace!

I could go on and on but one of the kids just microwaved a piece of toast with peanut butter and I need to go open a window to let out the smoke ;)

*Please note, this is just for silliness, I value greatly my children and although they do 'change' your life, I have found they are well worth it!!!   Also, this is NOT a knock on Lent.  It is not intended to make fun of or make small of those who observe Lent. :) Again, this is just an attempt at silliness.

What sort of things can YOU add to this list???

Peace out, Brandy

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Turning a little Farm into our Dream Farmhouse Cottage

August of 2013  we purchased a charming little farmhouse built in 1910 sitting on 30 acres in  the rolling hills near the Missouri River bottoms.  With a horse barn, a large machine shed, detached garage, and riding arena, we knew we were going to thrive here! 

4 Stall Horse Barn

Machine Shed

With plaster walls and not enough room for our brood, we knew we had some work to do to conform this little home into our dream farmhouse/cottage.  Armed with Pinterest, a menagerie of small helpers, and some crazy ideas we dove right in, tearing down walls, putting up walls, and pretty much trashing what was perfectly livable.  That's how we roll baby!  You've got to tear down to build up, right... keep repeating that for me please.  

Time lapse 6 months and we have made progress, slowly but surely.  Mostly Undoing the mess we've made, I'm in Love.  We are maybe half done with the inside, and although I am dreaming of repainting all of the finished walls (I'm not in love with the color) I can not dream of calling another place home.  I will post pics of each room as it is updated. 

Here are some BEFORE pictures.  Enjoy.


Dining Room

Living Room Toward Dinning Room

Living Room Toward Entry

Living Room Toward Stairs
Den - Future Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Master Bathroom
Upstairs Bedroom

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A donkey, a remodeler, and a mom walk into a bar...

Well, sort of, except for of those 3, 2 happen to be me, and as for the donkey, well, we did purchase one this last year.  That, and I don't go to bars...

Confused yet, yeah, so am I.

So much has happened this last year that I haven't blogged.  I thought that maybe now that things have 'slowed down' a bit I should get back to it.

We, bought an investment house, fixed it up, sold it.  Got out of debt- praise the Lord!  Sold another home that we lived in since we were married and purchased a home an hour away on 30 acres.  We purchased it from a great couple who so graciously let us inhabit the home before we closed.  Six months ago we moved right in, tore down walls, some of which were load bearing - whoops, others which opened things up.  We've been rehabbing this home, homeschooling, painting, sanding, crying, laughing, building, and tearing down.  We've bought animals, buried animals, shot intruding varmints (see I can be down home), and over all we are just living. We said goodbye to loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord, and have welcomed wonderful new friends and neighbors into our lives  Good, bad, ugly, it's all here...  Such has been our lives. 

I will be sharing some of our adventures from the last year.   Things have certainly gotten a bit more interesting as we navigate a new life on the farm.  I'll share how good the Lord has been, the struggles we have had, and where we are getting on turning this lovely old farmhouse into our dream home.

All in all, it's been a blast.  So excited that the Lord turned my city boy's heart and eyes to living out here.  Can you imagine, it was his idea!!  Excited as well, to share it with you.  Hold onto your boots friends, this stuff just got real ;)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

My baby is ONE today!

One year ago my little girl Fiorella was born.  She was beautiful then and has grown in beauty and sweetness from that first day.

Sisters - Hannah, Fifi, and Gracie.
Here are a few pics from the time Fifi was born.  Precious memories!

She was so purple when she was born!  Scary!

Big Brother Luke was there when she was born!

Weighing in!

Attack!!  This is Isaiah, Big Brother.

First Bath.

Looking cute in a hat made by a good family friend - thanks Beth!

Grace looks a little scared!

Mixed up mamma and Fifi - 4th of July

Daddy and little Fifi napping.

Happy Birthday Fiorella Rebeka Alafair.  We love sweetheart! 

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to take and look and those who took time to comment!

Drum roll please.  And the winner is...

Tm Jones!  Glad to be passing one on to a flight attendant!

To everyone who didn't win, I will be posting the tutorial very soon and the free printable (the plane) which makes the whole process a cut and paste project from grade school... it's really that easy!

Tm Jones,  I will need an address to send you your free Pottery Barn Plane Knock off!

But wait...  there's more!

Just as a way to shake things up and for a little fun... we have a second winner!

JEN!  I like surprises!  Whew!  Jen, if we will also send me your address I will be getting one out to you the beginning of this next week as well!   Glad to be sending one your direction as well!  The plane themed wedding seems amazing!!

Thanks again everyone!

Outsie!  Brandy

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pancake Cupcakes, Maple Buttercream Icing with BACON Garnish

Rarely is there anything as good as Bacon.  Eggs - WITH BACON.  Chicken wrapped - WITH BACON.  Steak - WITH BACON...  Pancake Cupcakes, maple buttercream - WITH BACON!  Whoa.  Hold the phones, back up the bus...   Pancake Cupcakes with maple buttercream AND BACON?   Oh yeah baby!  Bacon, bacon, bacon, oh yummy Bacon!

I have been wanting to make these for some time and was mulling over several recipes but none seemed to be what I wanted so I went to work in the kitchen.  I was skeptical I could come up with something I would actually like but these are amazing!  The cupcake part is a conglomeration of nearly every recipe I came across and the icing is my own personal recipe.   Made from scratch cupcakes, maple flavor real butter buttercream, oh my, and bacon, need I say more?

Pancake Cupcakes
2 1/2  cups Flour (if your batter seems to thin you may add a little more flour)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (make sure it's soft!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large Eggs
1 1/4 cups maple syrup (I use homemade.  Use my recipe here
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (don't have buttermilk?  Mix 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice to just under 1 cup milk.  Mix and wait 5-10 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger.  Set aside.

In large bowl beat SOFT butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy.  Add eggs, syrup, and vanilla. Mix well.

Alternate mixing flour mixture and buttermilk into butter/sugar mixture.

Fill either lined or buttered cupcake tins.  I use the foil cupcake cupcake liners which can be used on a cookie sheet and you can use as many as you can fit on there.  No need for cupcake tins.  You will see those in the picture.

Cook for approx. 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool then ice with Maple Flavored Buttercream Icing!  Garnish with real bacon (cooked and broken into smaller pieces).

Maple Buttercream Icing

2 lbs Powdered Sugar (approx 7 cups)
2 cups REAL butter softened(don't you dare think of using margarine!)
1 1/2 tbs maple flavoring
1/2 tbs + 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup water

Cream butter, maple flavoring, and vanilla extract together.  Mix thoroughly.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  Beat well between each addition.  Once all sugar is incorporated add water and mix well.  Mix for approx 5 minutes on med speed.  Icing should be nice and fluffy AND YUMMY!

Want one?  Try out this recipe and let me know what you think about these yummy treats!

Ta ta and Peace out - Brandy

P.s.  A little Bacon Humor for you...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Home made Waffles and Syrup

I am on a crusade to learn to make nearly everything we eat from scratch and although this doesn't add time to our day, it lets me sleep better knowing that I am feeding my family healthier foods, free of harmful preservatives and additives and I can actually control what goes into our bodies.  
My breakfast and enjoying pretty flowers given to me by my good friend Kim!

The Bible tells us that 'It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.' Matthew 15:11  It goes on in that chapter to talk about what goes into the stomach is eliminated but out of man's heart proceed all manner of wicked things.  I add this merely to say, although I want to feed my family as healthy as I can, it is not a god set before us to be all consumed with.  If I, for convenience  sake, pick something up at McD's (yuck) than I will not feel guilty and I will not be sinning to do so.  I feel that to often as believers we set up mini gods that we put as all important when the scriptures do not make 'healthy eating' as important as we do.  

BUT, I do believe it is a very worthwhile cause (feeding our families healthy) and that we will reap blessing from the Lord if we do so.  I feel that I have been intrusted with this small herd of people that I need to care for spiritually, emotionally, and physically which in part means keeping those little bodies healthy.  :)  The best way to do that and to fend off health issues we have here is to cook from scratch as much as possible.  Even for me as a mommy, the healthier I am, the better I can fulfil my role He has set before me to care for the needs of my family.  I can not do that if I am sick and unhealthy from bad food choices.  End of that story and stepping down on my milk crate.

Anyway...  Waffles are a daily part of our diet so finding a recipe that my children enjoy as much as they do these waffles was a real bonus.  Who wants to try to cram down their children's throats food they do not want to eat even if it is healthy?  AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!  Besides, they wiggle a lot and it is terribly hard to get them to hold still as you stuff the food in their faces!  Wiggly little varmints! 

Waffles with strawberry syrup.

 This is not one of my healthier recipes at least the syrup isn't but the waffles can be made with all white flour or a mix of white and wheat... which is what I use.

By the way, these I also double and triple the batch and freeze.  They freeze and reheat quite wonderfully.  I must confess it is so nice to have them on hand when I don't feel like cooking in the morning, or even sometimes at lunch, well, for that matter, sometimes at dinner as well.   Nearly every recipe here is great for making ahead and freezing.   

Out of this World Waffles

2 1/2 cups flour or (1 1/4 cup white & 1 1/4 wheat flour)
1 tbs plus 1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup oil (I use canola)

Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, and oil into flour mixture.  Mix until just combined (all dry ingredients are moistened).  Do not over mix as this will cause the waffles to stick to waffle iron.  Cook in a preheated waffle iron until golden (approx 2.5 - 3 minutes).  If you freeze these then when ready to serve take out and heat in toaster.  Enjoy!

Home made Maple Syrup

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Bring water to boil in saucepan.  Add sugar and flavoring.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and serve warm or cold from fridge.  Store in container in fridge.

Cold slushy Strawberry syrup...  mmmm!

You can also make strawberry syrup which my children LOVE!  Just add approx 10 frozen strawberries (or fresh if you happen to have them on hand) + 1 cup syrup into blender or food processor and process until well blended.  This will make a thick slushy like syrup my kids like well, but equally, you can thaw the strawberries and give it  a more pourable consistency, which I prefer.  

Try them.  You'll like them, your kids will beg you for them, and you can feel good that they just consumed less preservatives.  

Happy Baking!