Wednesday, December 24, 2008

While all of you are gearing up to celebrate the birth of our Lord……

We have just celebrated the birth of our L!
Ok, we are gearing up to celebrate the birth of our Lord, as well, but 16 years ago yesterday L was born. What a wonderful Christmas it was that year. We brought home a newborn babe on Christmas Day! He was wrapped up with a great big red velvet bow. 16 years later he isn’t so keen on this type of adornment, but we did deck the dining room with streamers and balloons – birthday stuff, not Christmas stuff. He is such a good sport. Some years his birthday celebration gets lost in all the Christmas Craziness, but I do enjoy stopping a few moments to relive his arrival and beginnings.

L was the baby for 8 years. Wow! Now look at him! He informed me when he was 2 that he was NOT my baby, NOT the Little Brother. I think an angel had whispered in his ear, and I should have listened. He’s now the big brother to 4. And a really terrific big brother at that!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 Days Til Christmas!

See what we’ve been up to . . . .
(Warning: This post is loaded with pictures)

Annual Cutting Of The Tree

Annual Trimming of The Tree

Annual Christmas Recital

Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza

Annual Christmas Baking Day (ok, this one takes us more than one day)

C’s Christmas Cake Creation (anyone needing a holiday cake?)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

When the Cat’s Away The Mice Will Play

Actually, the saying should be, “When Mom’s Away, The Kiddies Will Play!” I was gone the other day, for most of the day. I put in my hours at local pg center and then helped set up the Christmas Tree Auction they are holding to raise funds. When I walk in the door, E comes running and says, “Guess what C can do! L is teaching us to do it too!”

They proceed to show me how they can walk up the walls in the hallway. A trick my older ones learned from a friend years ago from a friend that stayed with them while M and I were out of town one weekend. Now they get to pass on the tradition to my younger ones. So, if you come visit and see foot prints 6 feet up on my hallway wall, you’ll know why.

Now, this morning, I ask M to download pictures off my camera to the computer. As I scroll through to see what is there (I am looking for a couple shots for my on-line projects) and THIS is what I see -- again, evidence of what goes on when I’m not home.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fall Harvest and a Few Recipes

No, I’m not talking corn or wheat here. I’m talking deer! My mighty hunters bagged three more during the opening weekend. 2 really nice bucks and a doe. Today is processing day – lots of work, but definitely worth it! My freezer will be full tonight! Thank the Lord for providing the meat, Thank the Lord for my men for bringing it in!

Venison Recipes

So, what do I do with all that meat? My family really does love it! I’ve had a few ask for some recipes. I don’t know that I actually follow any recipes, per se…..but here are our some of our family favorites. These are all very forgiving dishes - I use up what I have on hand, and make do with what I have, making substitutions as needed.

Smothered Venison
Lay out your favorite cuts of meat (tenderloin is best, steak works great, roasts do ok) and pour a 15 oz can of tomato sauce all over the top. Sprinkle with a little seasoned salt and pepper and basil, lay slices of onion, green pepper on top. Add a can of sliced mushrooms (drained). Bake in a 300 oven for 2-3 hours (or in crockpot on low all day). Serve over rice.

Venison w/ Gravy
Pour one can of Cream of Mushroom soup into greased 9x13 baking pan. Lay out venison steaks (or tenderloin or roast) on top. Sprinkle with a packet of dry onion soup mix. Bake in 300 oven 3-4 hours. Meat is tender and make its own gravy! Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.
You can also do this in the crockpot – put meat in first, then seasoning, then soup. Cook on low all day.

Pan Fried Venison Tenderloin
Pour a thin coat of oil (I use olive oil) in fry pan, med to med/hi heat.
In a shallow bowl, beat a couple eggs and 3 tablespoon milk.
In another shallow bowl, mix ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup corn meal. Add favorite seasonings (like seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, etc)

Dip each piece of meat in egg mixture, then coat with flour mixture and place in heated oil in fry pan. Cook 5 minutes and turn, cook 5 more minutes.

Venison Stew
I cut steak into bite size pieces and layer in bottom of crockpot. Sprinkle favorite seasonings over meat (seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, onion soup mix, basil, bay leaf are some ideas) – Add a layer of diced potatoes, sliced carrots, sliced celery, frozen peas. Pour 15 oz can of diced tomatoes over all. Spread can of Cream of Tomato soup and add water just to cover. You can add a can of cream of mushroom soup for added flavor and to thicken if you like. Or add a little flour dissolved in milk or water to thicken.

Most of our venison we process into burger. Generally, I use 1 part ground beef to 3 parts ground venison. We also make jerkey from our ground venison, using a gun-type thing-a-ma-jig that squirts out the cured ground meat onto the dehydrator.

OK – now I’m hungry! Let me know if you try any of these ideas and how they work for you, or how you have improved on them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Funny Little Incident . . .

. . . at least I thought it as humorous. Here is a little snippet I wrote up while on vacation, right after we crossed over the Canadian Border, back into the U.S.:

Oct 17:

We’ve just crossed the border, back into the US. M pulled up to the border station, rolled down his window and said ‘Hello!’ The young man in the booth looks at his co-worker standing behind him and says, “Wanna check this one?” With a yawn and and a shake of the head he says ‘nope’. I think he saw the camper, the kids, and didn't want any part of us.

Our border guard then asked us how long we’d been in Canada, was it a pleasure trip, how many in the vehicle?
chuckle, chuckle, ‘yes, 8’

The fellow asks, are they all children? Are they all our children? The same family? Maybe he didn't believe us, or maybe he pitied us, or maybe he was just glad it was us and not him?

When you travel in a pack, I suppose no one wants to mess with ya (hee, hee, hee). I could see in his face he was not in the mood to check everyone’s papers, he waved us on through – have a nice day!

We were treated very well at the borders, coming and going - no hassles, though the Canadians don’t seem to be as concerned about who comes through their borders as the Americans do. We definitely had more questions when entering the US.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

" In my own little corner. . ."

". . . in my own little chair. . ." "It's possible, for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. It's possible!"

Ok, I have these songs stuck in my head. E woke up this morning with a low grade fever. It has been a long standing tradition that when my little girls are sick, we snuggle up together and watch Cinderella. The l970's made for television Rogers and Hammerstein version. That's the only time we watch it. When they are feverish or when they need to keep 'the bowl' on their lap. This is a long-standing tradition, started when A was about 4 years old.

E and I curled up in my bed and watched it, bringing back memories. Funny how I can remember A or C so clearly doing the same things E or R do now. The years are flying by! But yet, my precious memories help them stand still, in my mind at least.

The boys? Not much into Cinderella -- Andy Griffith, the Lone Ranger, Lassie, Ol' Yeller. That's more their speed.

There you have my few rambling thoughts this afternoon. I must admit it is very fun having a large family - I get to revisit those special traditions over and over -- once one grows out of it, another steps in to take their place!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bringing Home the Bacon….

Er, I mean, the Venison! L got a nice doe during the Youth Hunt this past weekend, and M brought in a young one with his bow last week. My mighty hunters are coming through once again! Just in time, too. I was seeing the bottom of my freezer! I am so thankful they are willing to get out there and provide for the family. It sure helps the grocery budget, helps me put healthy and nutritious meals on the table. What a blessing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Thoughts This Post-Election Day

It has been decided, we have a new President-elect. But my hope is not in this man, my faith is not in this man, my trust is not is this man. He is merely a man, flawed and imperfect. My hope, faith and trust lie in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Anne (Ann with an ‘e’)

A big highlight of the trip (for Mom anyway) was Green Gables and Prince Edward Island. The house and grounds were just like I imagined (though not just like you see in the movies).

I could almost see and hear Anne and Marilla working together in the kitchen, Matthew and Anne visiting in the barn, Anne and Diana laughing by the pond, Anne hurrying breathlessly through the ‘Haunted Wood’.

We listened to Anne of Green Gables on CD while traveling through New Brunswick, it made the actual site come alive for even our little ones, once we got there. E is now a fan, through and through.

She looks a little like Anne with those braids, eh?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Whale Watching

This was definitely at the top of everyone’s favorites list – the highlight of our vacation, I think. We took a whale cruise out on the Gulf of St Lawrence. A seal came up close and personal to say hello, and then a pod of about 15 pilot whales, including a couple of babies only 2 weeks old. Thrilling! We also saw 5 or 6 bald eagles.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Vacation Pictures

Here are some photos taken in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (Fundy National Park and Cape Breton National Park) Enjoy!Plenty of trails to hike along -- R was mostly determined to climb the hills herself, but once in a while those little legs would near give out and she would have to accept some help from old Mom!

The children were thrilled with all the treasure they found at low tide. They were very interested in the barnacles and snails that were still attached to the rocks. R was quite offended they wouldn't move out of her way, she kept busy swiping them off and away. E kept busy 'rescuing' as many as possible, moving them to puddles left behind.

Dickson Falls - Gorgeous! The Boardwalks were so nice, made some of the hiking easier, but added to the view as well.

And the ocean is, well, BIG!

L and C had fun racing the waves and the tide -- more than once I thought they'd end up in the ocean!

And, then there were the colors -- it was as though the Lord had painted them on His canvas just for us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

On the Road again!

Oct 9 –

We were able to stop and meet another of my MOMYS friend (hi Neysha!) before crossing the border again. She and her family met us at a nearby park where we had a quick picnic lunch and the children could run off their pent up energy. She was very sweet (I knew she would be!) and we enjoyed visiting with her and her dh about country living, gardening, canning, etc. Again, our visit was much too short.

We then had a short wait at the border (we are amazed at the long line of cars and buses waiting to get through) But once at the gate, we didn’t even have to show our papers -- then on to the Bay of Fundy – magnificent views, gorgeous weather, and the colors are still spectacular. Our rock hounds filled their pockets and packs, our hikers had a good workout, and the family photographers kept their cameras snapping.

Our statistics, to date (Oct 11) :
8 days on the road
7 US States
4 Canadian Provinces
2,087 miles
5 campgrounds
5 sunny days

2 misty days
Temperature range 60 hi to 45 low
30 different state license plates
8 different canadian license plates
2 bandaids applied

A drawer full of souvenirs
And a couple hundred rocks

We are really enjoying our tour of eastern Canada. We especially have enjoyed the unique character and personality of each province.

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