Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Celebration!

It was a hard day - so hard for us to loose the fellowship of such a precious young man...isn't that selfish? When I think of Todd now, I see that infectious grin, I see him exploring heaven with great delight,  and I see him in the presence of our Father and the saints who have gone on before.  He is whole, pain free and happy!  Our Father is so much wiser than we...

We had a wonderful celebration of Todd's life!  Todd was very involved with high school bands.  He worked each summer at band camp sharing his knowledge and sharing his Lord. This last Friday night the drum line at a local high school dedicated the half time show to Todd.  They also carried this banner...

This amazing group of kids played a drum cadence, at his funeral and at the gravesite, that Todd had written and taught to them.  He touched so many young lives.

Todd wanted a banquet that reflected the banquet in heaven.  He wanted people fellowshipping and telling tales about him....he wanted laughter and good memories...and that's exactly what happened!

Todd knew he was going to enter the presence of the Lord!  He had no doubts or fears.  He was going to be welcomed into the arms of his Savior whom he had served so faithfully.

I am so thankful for the knowledge given to us in the Word that we can know...for sure....that we are promised an eternal life in the Kingdom if we have walked with Him here on earth.

It is an amazing concept that we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience...for a very short time.  We are encased in this mortal body but one day will be set free from its confines to experience an eternal life.  The choices we make in this life will determine where we spend that eternity.

I pray that I get to see each of you in eternity...that we will worship our Father together one day.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Memory....

Our dear friend Todd fought the good fight, he finished his race and he kept the faith. Last night, he was welcomed into the arms of His Saviour. He was a true hero of the faith. He was a godly man who influenced my boys tremendously and thousands upon thousands of others.  

Todd is cancer free, pain free, completely restored and dancing on the streets of heaven with the saints and we rejoice with him.  We serve an amazing God who offers hope and gives assurance that this is a very short separation. We grieve because we miss him but we know that we will be together again....for eternity.

Please be praying for his wife and children as they walk through this difficult time. Please be praying that the celebration of his life will touch many people.

I beg your grace as the boys and I adjust to this loss and take some time to serve his family throughout the activities to come this week...we will sorely miss our dear friend.....

Thank you,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yummy Rolls...

This has been a weird garden year - seems the beds are weedier than ever but our garden has produced more!  Maybe if I work hard at it, I can convince myself that this is good evidence for not weeding...

I am so blessed by my Father.  Each year it seems that His blessings increase!  I am thankful to be able to raise this wonderful, organic food to feed my family.  My tomato bucket in the freezer is filled to the brim for winter salsa.  My pantry is filling up with canned green beans, dilly beans, tomatoes, and more.  Peppers are being dehydrated and others are being frozen for stir fries and sauces! Jellies and Jams of all kinds line my pantry shelves.  I'm looking forward to making our own peanut butter this year from Elijah's peanut crop!  My freezer is filled with beef once again. I'm tired...and I'm ever so grateful to a Father that loves me so much and makes me feel so well cared for....just amazing for I am so undeserving!  What an awesome Father we serve!

For the last few days, I've been doing this....

...lots and lots of it - and I'm not even half way through!  So, for the next few days I'll be doing the same..then jalapenos will follow, then more bell peppers, cayennes, fresnos...seems that the list goes on!

Since I'm so busy playing with my canners, I thought I'd share a wonderful roll recipe with you.  I've had it forever and don't remember where it came from but my boys love it and it also makes nice homemade hamburger buns! A dinner meal is not complete without some sort of homemade bread - or so my boys believe. Good thing I love to bake!

Stonewater Farm Dinner Rolls

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2 pkgs. of yeast (active dry) - this is the same as 5 tsp.
2 cups warm water (please don't use tap water! Distilled or filtered is best!)
1/2 cup sugar (you can use less)
2 tsp. salt
6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour - more if needed (you can use a mix of wheat flour and all-purpose)
1 egg slightly beaten (farm eggs are best!)
1/4 cup butter melted and slightly cooled (but not solidified!)
4 - 5 tblsp. butter melted for brushing the tops of the rolls

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add sugar. Let proof for 5 or 6 min.  Stir in egg. Add the 1/4 cup melted butter. Stir in the salt and flour. Add flour slowly until dough begins to become a little stiff.  I don't mix this by hand, I use my DLX mixer. I find that  6 cups of flour makes a nice dough. Knead for 6 or 7 minutes. You can leave this dough in your mixer to rise (I do, and cover with a clean dish towel) or you can remove the dough - shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl...then cover and let rise.  Let it double in size (about an hour.)  Remove the dough from the bowl and turn out onto lightly floured surface and punch down.  Separate into two even sections.  Let the dough rest about 10 minutes.

Take your first section of dough and pinch off balls (a little larger than a golf ball) until you have 12 evenly sized balls of dough.  Place these in a 9x13 greased pan. Cover and let rise while you do the same with the other half of your dough. Let that pan rise also - this takes about 30 minutes. You want the dough to double in size. Brush rolls with melted butter and bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. When you remove the rolls from the oven, brush rolls again with the rest of the melted butter.  Serve warm. Yummy!

If you want to make hamburger buns, divide your whole ball of dough into 18  or 20 equal sections.

Enjoy...think I'll take some of the leftover rolls and make tomato sandwiches for everyone tomorrow while I'm canning!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Just one more note....

Just one more note about recipe tabs....

Several of you expressed interest in what tabs I used in my own books.  Just thought I'd share that as I created this tutorial, I realized that some of my categories needed to be subdivided.  They were much to varied, making it hard to locate what I needed.  I will be adding the following categories to my books:

Muffins & Scones - I do a lot of muffins for breakfast and during fall and winter.

Brownies & Bars - bar desserts are quick, easy and my boys love them!

Holidays - for those special things I cook only during the holiday seasons!

Candy - my recipes for homemade caramels, tootsie rolls, peanut butter cups, fudge and more! 

Herb & Spice Mixes - for all those seasoning mixes I concoct from my herb garden!

Cobblers & Crisps - because we love fruit based deserts so much..I collect a lot of these!

Biscuits & Rolls - a mainstay of our evening meals!

This will require me to add an additional book to my shelf but that's okay...this system is designed to grow with you over the years.  Just remember to re-order your tabs and re-label the spines of your books so you know which book to grab!


Organizing Recipes (Part 4) - A tutorial

Organizing Recipes Part 1
Organizing Recipes Part 2
Organizing Recipes Part 3

Now that you have all of your well loved recipes in sheet protectors and filed under their proper tabs, it's time to deal with those recipes that you have wanted to try but haven't had the time. This is where the pockets on your binder and on the dividers play an important role.

I found that because I kept my "want to try" recipes in an unorganized fashion, it was too much trouble during meal planning to find them and incorporate them into my grocery shopping and daily meal schedule. Because of this, my collection kept growing but I rarely used the things I was keeping! The steps you go through today will eliminate that problem and keep them right at your fingertips!

I find recipes that I want to try in the paper, from friends, in the mail, email etc. Choose one of your categories and gather those recipes.

These are some "Chicken" recipes that I want to try. They came from magazines, newspapers, a recipe card that came in the mail, the back of a mayo jar, email and some books.

Gather your "want to try" recipes for one category.  You are then going to open your book to the tab for that category.  You will file these recipes in the front pocket of that tab.

Here are all of those recipes tucked safely into the front pocket of my "chicken" divider tab.  Next time I decide to add a new chicken dish into my weekly schedule, I can pull these out, pick one, add the necessary ingredients to my shopping list and add the meal to my planning schedule!

Each time I find or am given a new recipe to try, it goes into the front pocket of the proper divider.  It's so easy to keep track this way!

Once I take a recipe from the front pocket and give it a try, it's time to decide if it is a keeper.  If it wasn't a hit in my house then I just throw it away.  However, if it was a recipe that I want to use again, it goes into a sheet protector and in the book under the proper tab.

I found that after cooking dinner and cleaning up, I often didn't feel like hunting up a sheet protector and following through that night.  After our evening meal is when the boys and I spend some time together talking, playing a game or reading aloud.  I did two things to help me fix this problem. First, I now keep about a dozen empty sheet protectors in the back of each book to make it easier to accomplish right away if I have the time.  Second, if I really don't want to mess with it at that time or perhaps have used several new recipes for that meal, I gather the new recipes from that meal and file them in the back pocket of the proper tab.

Here are several chicken recipes that I have tried and we love.  I slipped them into the back pocket until I have time to spend a few minutes putting them into sheet protectors.

They are now safely tucked away into the back pocket of my "chicken" divider. About once a month, I sit down and take the "keepers" out of the back pockets of my dividers, put them in sheet protectors and file them properly.  This keeps me from feeling that after the meal I have to sit down and do a bit of filing.   I prefer to spend 15 minutes sometime during the month and get them all done at once. Choose the method that works best for you.

The last difficulty I found was dealing with multiple recipes on one sheet of paper. Sometimes in our local paper, there will be several recipes from different categories on one page. I have also been given multiple recipes on one sheet of paper.  Perhaps there are several recipes I want to try on that sheet but they belong in different categories!

Here was a sheet of paper given to me that has several recipes I'd like to try. I take these mixed sheets and file them in the front pocket on my binder.

As I go through them, I put a small check next to the recipe if it was a "keeper" and mark a line through it if it wasn't.  Then I need to either copy the good ones (which I often do) or cut them out and save them in the back of the proper divider.

Now that you have all of your labeled dividers in your books, you need to place something on the spine so you know which book to grab off of your shelf if you have more than one.

Remember these binder spine inserts?  You can easily make an insert for the spine of your binder following the directions in this package.  You can also cut a piece of firm card stock and create your own.  When you are done it should look something like this...

The name on each of your tabs in your book should appear on the spine of your book. How you organize them is completely up to you.  I tried to keep most of my "meal" categories in one book - meats, veggies, salads etc.  In my other book, I put desserts of all kinds, beverages, breads, non-foods items etc. You organize your books in the way that makes it easiest for you.

You may find that after using your books for awhile you want to change things around.  Just remember to change your spine inserts to reflect the contents of your book.

Once you have finished going through the steps I outlined today, you should have a very organized system that keeps all of your recipes (tried and untried!) at your fingertips.  Hopefully you are well on the way to eliminating your recipe collecting clutter!

Any questions?  Leave me a comment and I'll try to help.  Any suggestions?  Please share with all of us if you have an idea that could make this even better!

*An added note about tabs*
Several of you expressed interest in what my tabs were in my own books. Just thought I’d share that as I created this tutorial I realized that some of my categories needed to be subdivided. They were much to varied, making it hard to locate what I needed.  I will be adding the following categories to my books. Muffins & Scones (I do a lot of muffins for breakfast and during the fall and winter months), Brownies & Bars (bar desserts are quick, easy and very popular with my boys!), Holidays (for those special things I only cook during the different holiday seasons!), Candy (so I know right where my recipes for homemade caramels, tootsie rolls, peanut butter cups and more are located!), Herb & Spice Mixes (for all those seasoning mixes I concoct from my herb garden!), Cobblers & Crisps (because we love fruit based deserts so much...I collect a lot of these!), Biscuits & Rolls (a mainstay of our evening meals!)
This will probably require me to add an additional book to my shelf but that’s okay...this system is designed to grow with you over the years.  Just remember to re-order your tabs and re-label the spine of your books so you know which book to grab!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Worthy is the Lamb

As you worship the only true God today, may you be filled with His wonder....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Organizing Recipes (Part 3) - A tutorial

Organizing Recipes Part One
Organizing Recipes Part Two

Today we begin putting our recipes in our books!  Select one of your piles.  You will be doing one category at a time - I'll be working on soups along with you.

You are going to take your recipes and place them into sheet protectors.   There are a variety of ways to do this as you will see.  These protectors will help keep your recipe safe from splatters as you cook and they wipe clean easily! You will only be working with the recipes that you know and love.  Leave the ones you haven't tried in the pile.

You can place recipes that are printed out on regular paper easily into a sheet protector...

Then flip it over and put another on the other side...

You can save family recipes - this way you keep those recipes handwritten by your great-grandma!

You can always place another recipe on the other side - I'll do that when I have another one to add!

Recipes from the newspaper are easy....

Remember to use the other side for another recipe!  As you see, sometimes you will turn a recipe on its side.  It doesn't matter as long as it fits in your sheet protector!  Even napkins can be stored this way!

I love Taste of Home magazine!  The Taste of Home magazines that are filled with recipe cards are some of my favorites.  When I punch them out, I can get 6 to a sleeve!

You just flip the page over to get the instructions on the back of the card.  I do handwritten recipe cards this way also.  I put a small piece of tape on the edges of these cards to hold them in place.  This keeps them from slipping over each other in the sheet protector.

If there is a recipe in a book that I use ALL the time, I will copy it and put in in my book.  This keeps everything that I use regularly at the tip of my fingers.  I took a recipe for Taco Soup from a Paula Deen cookbook, changed it a bit, tweaked it a bit more and made it my own!

If we ever had a fire, I would grab these on my way out of the door!  As each of my sons gets married, I will be making a book for them filled with their favorite family recipes. This will be an easy task since everything I need will be in one of my books.  A short time at the copier, a few supplies and you will be able to create a lovely gift!

As you get one category finished, place them in your book under a divider.  Be sure to insert a label in the tab on the divider and place a bit of tape on each end of the tab so your label doesn't fall out.

Continue doing this with each category until you have all of your recipes in sheet protectors and filed into your books under the proper dividers.

I'll give you a few days to get this done, then there will be one last post to show you how to make these books work for you.  Remember, there is a purpose to these pocket dividers!

Happy filing!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Organizing Recipes (Part 2) - A tutorial

You can read my first post on how to organize your recipes here.

Now that you have your supplies, the first thing you need to do is sort your recipes and, at the same time, make a list of how you want your tabs to read in your new binder.  This is going to be very different for each of you depending on how you cook and how you collect recipes.

Clear a large space and grab a handful of newspaper clippings, hand written cards, internet printouts, letters from family and the occasional napkin that holds a recipe. Begin sorting them into piles by category like you see in the picture.  When I helped Julie organize her recipes, we sorted everything... EVERYTHING... first. It makes the rest of your job go very quickly.  So...sort it all dear readers!

You'll want piles for main meals, desserts, baked goods, vegetables.....all the normal things you find in a purchased recipe box.  You can look at the dividers in any cookbook to get an idea of what the piles might be.  You can do all of your saved recipes at once or you might need to do a little at a time.  By the time I started this, it took me several afternoons to go through my box in the closet and sort it into piles.
As you are sorting, you will think of new and unique tabs just for your family.  Make a list of those ideas...Julie and I kept a written list of what she wanted her tabs to be....which made it very easy when it came time to create a tab.

You also may find that you need more than one tab to cover a category. For instance, you might have a tab that says Desserts. I started with a Desserts tab. I have, over the years, expanded that Desserts tab to several tabs:  Cakes, Pies, Cookies and Desserts. My Desserts section now covers anything that the other three don't....things like brownies,  cobbler and cheesecake.  If you don't cook a lot of desserts then you might get by with just a tab for Desserts....or maybe Desserts and Cookies.

You can type your tabs or handwrite them - I have a few of both but will eventually end up with them all typed...it's just easier for others to read.

I promised several of you to share the list of all of my tabs and how I have divided my books.  Feel free to copy what I have done or to individualize them for your own needs.

My first book has the following tabs:  Beef, Breakfast, Chicken, Eggs, Mexican, Pork, Salads/Dressing, Sauces, Sides, Soups, Italian, Dairy.

My second book has these tabs: Appetizers, Beverages, Breads, Cakes, Cookies, Desserts, Fillings, Frostings, Pies, Non-Food and Miscellaneous.

My third book is strictly for preserving food in the summer.  The dividers on that book are: Pickled, Relishes, Jams/Jellies, Veggies, Meat, Sauces, Soups, Dehydrated, Frozen

If you don't make your own salad dressings, don't eat mexican or bake pies, or don't can and preserve food then your tabs will vary slightly from mine.  Don't worry - your books need to be about you and your style of cooking.

One hint, I noticed after taking my books to Julie's that several of my tabs fell out of their slots.  A small piece of tape of either end of each tab will save you from that fate.  I have already added those to each end of my tabs so I don't loose them again!

So...dear readers...get sorting and next post we'll go over what to do with your piles once you are finished sorting your recipes...letters...napkins....cards....scraps of paper....


Monday, August 9, 2010

Organizing Recipes

Hopefully you've had time to purchase your supplies for your recipe books.  Gather your magazines, recipes, books and supplies. Next post we'll begin to build our books.

We'll get back to the equipment shed a little later.  This will give the boys time to finish the small things that still need to be done.


Sunday, August 8, 2010


Fall with me today....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sagging Floors -Pt. 2

In my previous post, I shared with you the problems we were having with our equipment shed.  Here's how my boys decided to proceed with our building repair.

After going back to some of the men in our body for counsel, we visited the local hardware store to determine what was available and what things cost.  For us, a repair usually requires planning and saving.  We have no desire to accumulate debt to accomplish our projects so we determine the best course of action, price the supplies and then often have to wait several weeks or sometimes months to have the necessary funds to complete the task.  Fortunately, this was an inexpensive fix and we only had to save for a couple of weeks.

The first thing the boys had to do was jack up the sagging floor.  They did this with our hi-lift jack.  If you have a homestead, you must have one of these jacks....this is a non-negotiable.  We use it constantly!  They usually run about $100 but you can sometimes find them for less.

The boys placed the jack in an area where they had removed the floorboards and jacked the floor up to the proper level.

Next step was to find a new way to support the floor.  The boys decided to go with deck footers.  These were not very expensive (about $6 each).  They are a block of cement with a "valley" down the middle...perfect for laying the supporting floor board down that "valley".

The boys placed paver sand under each footer to help keep it level and stable.  It only took a few bags of paver sand for our project. Here they are placing the sand before adding the next footer.

They continued down the wall - adding a footer for each cross beam. You can see the hi-lift jack on the right in this picture - it's the tall red piece of metal.

Once they had all of the footers situated under each support beam for the floor it was time to slowly release the jack so that the boards ended up on top of the footers - and settled properly in that little "valley".


Now...time to replace the flooring and take care of the other small problems.   Part three will cover those finishing touches.


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