Monday, May 25, 2009

Fried Bread

Fried bread was a favorite of ours when I was a kid, and it's a favorite of my kids, too. My mom often made this for our birthday parties, at our request. My kids often want it for their birthday parties too. I don't know of anyone who has ever tried these and not liked them. And they're so good for you, too-lots of raw bread dough, fried in hot oil, slathered in butter, and dipped or sprinkled with sugar! YUM!

Fried Bread

Bread dough, thawed (I often buy frozen bun dough, or you can cut chunks off of a frozen bread dough loaf)

oil, heavy fry pan

butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, jelly, cinnamon sugar

Put enough oil in bottom of fry pan so it about 3/4 to 1 inch deep and let it heat a few (2-3) minutes on med-hi. Tiny bubbles will start to form. While heating, squish out a round of dough on a small plate that has been sprayed with Pam spray. Check the oil for the correct temp. by dipping an edge of the dough into the oil. If it sizzles a little, it is ready. Start placing squished dough rounds in oil and fry until bottoms are golden, turning when needed. Remove cooked dough onto a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Butter and dress with sugar of choice and consume. Have napkins handy. Eat with a glass of cold milk.

Oil temperature is the trickiest part of this recipe. You don't want it to cook too fast or the centers are uncooked, or too slowly or it soaks up too much oil. Practice will help you know what temp. is best.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Today we made our annual pilgrimage to the cemetery for Memorial Day. It was beautiful out. A lovely Spring tradition to remember those special people who have gone before us.


Yesterday was our 28th anniversary. Here is a blast from the past. What kids we were! Husband brought me a big bouquet of lilacs and tea in bed. (Note-That's my mother's wedding dress, unaltered.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Matching Outfits

Daughter M. made her own pair of shorts in a recent homeschool sewing class. She has been working on a matching dress for her doll. We finished it tonight. Sister W. is joining in with some hand sewing. (She made a sling for her dolls' broken arms.)

Last Day of School

FIELD TRIP! Last day of school, and Teacher Mom got the day off. Principal Dad took the girls to the museum and the Falls, and out for lunch. Let the summer begin! (Pictures by L.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

White Flowers

Always love the new spring flowers in the yard.

Done Planting

Finished planting beans yesterday. Have been able to "row" the corn since last week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yard Birds

Today, we saw our Baltimore Oriole for the first time this spring. (These pictures are from last year.) Brother B. was showing us his pictures of birds yesterday, and he had already seen their Oriole. They even have cardinals! We started counting up the birds we have seen from our window (most of them today) and came up with an impressive list. Husband learned his birds from his mother, and has taught us all to look for and listen to them too. Birds are some of our favorite things.

We counted goldfinches (red and yellow), bluejays, thrush, oriole, wren, pigeon, mourning dove, cowbirds, sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers, turkey buzzards, pheasants, redwinged black birds, hawks, owls, blackbirds, robins, barn swallows

Roasted Asparagus

Mother's Day dinner (lunch) at our house, with Husband's Mom, was beef roast, gravy, potatoes, carrots, fresh fruit salad, roasted asparagus, buns, milk, tea and chocolate/peanutbutter/Rice Krispie bars, followed by a nap. Perfect.

Here is the roasted asparagus recipe.
1 lb. asparagus
1/4 c. olive oil

Trim tough ends of asparagus and place in oven-safe flat pan or casserole. Drizzle with oil. Salt and pepper liberally to taste. Toss and stir until evenly coated. Bake in 400 degree oven 8-10 min.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Three Mothers

I have been blessed with three mothers. There are many other mothers that I have observed and admired over the years, but these three are my very own.

My Mom was raised on a ranch on the isolated Midwest prairies, 40 miles from almost everything. She went to a one-room schoolhouse, and was the only one in her own class for 12 years. She had four brothers and one baby sister, (who was born only after Mom left home for nurses training. Midlife babies are a recurring theme in our family.) Her dad was a rancher and her mom a homemaker and occasional schoolteacher. Mom met Dad while at school on the other end of the state, and they were married in 1955, when she was 20 and he was 23. They had 5 children and farmed together for 40 years before retiring.

My Mother (In-Law) was raised on a farm in the eastern part of our state, near a "big" town. She had three brothers and a younger sister. Her dad farmed and her mom was a homemaker. She was in 4-H where she met my father-in-law while in high school. They were married when she was 18 and he was 19. They raised 6 kids and farmed their whole lives together, until he passed away from brain cancer at age 63. She still lives on the farm. She has been my Mother for 28 years now, with never a cross or bossy word from her.

My Spare Mother, Lois, was raised on a farm with many siblings. She and my "Uncle" Ralph have been in my life since before I was born. They introduced my parents to each other on a blind date. They raised 2 sons on a farm, and in a small town, while farming and trucking for a living.

My mothers all have much in common. One of the most important things they share is the ingrained desire to serve others. This is a natural expression of how they were raised, the culture they were raised in, and their personal faiths. They have each given much to this world in their quiet, steady service.

My Mom served by raising 5 children as well as 30 foster children. She and Dad were foster parents during the first 35 years or so of their marriage. Mom also taught Sunday school, Bible School and women's Bible studies. She cooked homemade meals three to five times a day, for years, on the farm. She entertained friends, family, visitors and church groups with style and grace. The sheer weight of her daily schedule at home would have laid me low, but she did it like "The Little Engine That Could". She was invaluable in helping me with my three oldest kids when we lived close to each other. I enjoyed freedom and peace of mind whenever she babysat. She now volunteers at her local hospital and for her local home school group's weekly 2-year-old class. (None of the kids in that home school group are her "real" grand kids, but her beloved, well-populated neighbor family is in it, so she helps.)

My Mother (in-law) served by raising 6 kids and helping on the farm. She has always been involved in community groups and church. She worked at the county fair and as an election official on voting days. She has been active in our church and has held many offices, including State President of our denominations women's group. She cooks excellent meals, is a gracious hostess, and gardens. She has a "green thumb" and is known for her flowers and beautiful yard and flower beds. She and Father-in-law sang often, together and individually, for churches, weddings and funerals. She faithfully visited and cared for her aging parents and in-laws in their later years. She tenderly cared for her husband and oldest daughter through their individual cases of cancer and saw them laid to rest a year apart. She never wavered in her duty or her faith. She has always been available to help, with work or grand kids, and is still helping with her great-grand kids.

My Spare Mother served by raising her kids and helping on the farm. She worked as a postmistress. She cooks, bakes and entertains. For years she made cakes for special occasions. She has always been active in her church, and also served on the local school board. Over the years, she faithfully cared for her aging parents, siblings and in-laws. For many years, she also helped care for a couple of elderly neighbor ladies in their home. She had an infant son who died shortly after birth, and a daughter who lived a few years at home in a semi-vegetative state, before passing away, also. She is an active presence in her grand children's lives. Whenever I have an event (graduation, etc.), Spare Mother will call and ask if she can "Gertie" for me. "To Gertie" means to come and manage the kitchen and serving so I can spend time with my guests. Whenever I needed cleaning help over the years, I could call on "The Whirlwind Sisters"--my Mom and my Spare Mom. They have been friends for over 50 years now.

These three mothers have shaped my life. I have watched and absorbed their lessons. They have helped me with homemaking, my marriage, my social life, my emotional life, my spiritual life and my parenting. This is my heritage: quiet strength, steadiness in adversity, calm acceptance, faithfulness, and unflagging service. I hope that my life can reflect theirs and honor the way they have given themselves to this world in service to their families, communities and God. I am still watching them. I pray that I have many more years to learn from each of them.

Thanks for everything Mom, Mother and Spare Mom. You mean more to me than I can tell you. Happy Mothers Day. I love you.

Friday, May 8, 2009


M. and L. had ballet pictures this week, in anticipation of their recital at the end of the month. These are some shots I took.

Spring Tulips

A perfect spring beauty.

A Study in Asparagus

One of the best things about spring: our own asparagus patch! Asparagus is certainly on the favorite things list at our house!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Natural Urge/Six Theories

Mother's Day is coming up this weekend. I found these quotes while looking for something else. I find them to be personally relevant!

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~Phyllis Diller

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot

Monday, May 4, 2009

Picasso Cubism Study

Our last day of co-op art for this year! We had an interesting time looking at some of Picasso's more familiar (and strange) works (see last week's Picasso's Peace Doves post). We talked about cubism, the idea of "seeing" different sides of one object in a single picture. We tried it ourselves in a project found on the excellent art site I directed their drawings while they sketched in pencil. Then we used black colors to outline our drawings, and colored in with oil pastels. Strange color choices were encouraged, in the Picasso style! When I made my practice project, I found that the black pastel smeared too easily when coloring. Try to make the black line thicker rather than thinner for best results.

Farm Planter, Revised

Husband's local siblings got together yesterday to rebuild their mom's front planter, and weeded it and her other yard planters. She is an inveterate gardener, but with a broken right hand and knee cap (from a missed step a couple of weeks ago) she has been unable to do her weeding. Sibling bonding abounded. It looks great, and she was very pleased with the results.

Pictures by Brian
Top: Sister K. (whom Husband affectionately calls "Butt-head") Husband, Brother G (whom we farm with)
Second: Husband, Brother B. and G.
Last: Beautiful finished planter! Mine next, please!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bar-B-Q Meatballs

This is my recipe for BBQ'd meatballs.

One batch of meatballs (I find mine in the freezer section at Wal-Mart!)


1/2 to 1 full jar of cherry jelly

1 bottle of bottled BBQ sauce (any kind-I like honey flavor)

Brown meatballs. Add sauce and jelly to pan. Heat and stir until blended and jelly melts. Serve when hot, or place in crock-pot for later.

The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook

Really neat book. I am enjoying it very much. I was lucky enough to find it at a second-hand store! Not only can the man cook, he can really write!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Farm Technology Gone Bad

Husband has been in the field, but had a rough day today. His field monitor got some new updates, and he has been (re-)working out the kinks. Technology is wonderful (he can plant straight rows at night via GPS, has hands free steering, and has more information monitored/saved than you might believe) but it is a KILLER for a farmer to have to sit still in the field. (Even if it is to manage the tractor computer.) The season is still early...tomorrow is another day, with no rain predicted...
(For those of you who like big equipment and technology "stuff", here are a few pictures of the monitors, tractor and corn planter--in the field, and folded for road use.)