Friday, December 30, 2011

I guess that makes me “that guy”

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We had our first snow right after Thanksgiving. And I was out driving in it. I had a doctors appointment and ran some errands in Evansville. Crazy me.

It’s been a while since I lived in a second story apartment. Probably since 2004. So the snowy stairs were a bit of a surprise.

snowy steps

I think we need to start keeping a snow shovel in the apartment…

The view from above was actually quite pretty. But then I realized that I was going to have to clean all that snow off my (tall) truck.

birds eye view

It’s an Expedition, and I need to use the running boards to get in and out. So I can’t quite reach the top. At all.

snowing on truck

Until about three months ago, I drove a Nissan Altima. I was low to the ground. I used to hate it when I would get behind someone who did not clean the snow off the top of their vehicle. I always ended up with a windshield full of snow.

Now, I hate to admit it, but I am those people. This is what my sunroof looked like (from inside the truck) right before I drove off.

sunroof snow

Sorry, little cars behind me!

There’s just no way I’m going to be able to reach the top of this 00thing. And I think I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oh itchy tree, oh itchy tree

1 comment:

…your leaves are very itchy.

Last year, after we decorated our Christmas tree I noticed that my arms were a little itchy.

This year, it was worse.

I put the lights back farther between the branches, so I’m sticking my arms in and out of the tree the whole time I’m putting lights on. And I put on either 4 or 6 strands, I don’t remember which.

itchy arm

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Remodel Mondays – I always hated this kitchen

This is the part I have been looking forward to the most. To be honest, this whole project started as a kitchen remodel, and exploded from there.

This was our kitchen to start with. A true galley kitchen. The dishwasher is the black appliance in the front of the picture, stove next to that, tiny counter space before the sink under the window, a little more counter space around the corner, and refrigerator wedged between the cabinets and the wall. We had so little counter and cabinet space that we added a free standing cabinet and microwave cart on the wall opposite the sink.
full 3 kitchen

Monday, December 19, 2011

Remodel Mondays – A new basement


remodelmonbadge The home remodel project is moving so quickly now, I can barely keep up! The first part of the extravaganza was to do some demolition on the outside of the house, so the basement under the new addition could get dug.

This is the east side of our house. This will soon just be the middle of the house. Our dogs love to sleep under the spruce tree on the left of the photo. That was one of the first things to go… They are going to have to find another place to sleep next summer!

exterior stone 4

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bye bye, babies

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Our babies are all grown up! Well, at least as grown up as we get to see them. Our calf babies were born in January through March of this year, and we got to see them grow up until early in November. Our cattle farm is a cow-calf farm, which means that we keep our adult cows, they get to have babies every year, and when the babies are around 8-10 months old we sell them. We wean the calves from their mothers when they are 4-6 months old (then they are called weanlings). When they are a year old, they are called yearlings.

This is Hank back in April. He was only about 3 months old then, but he was always our biggest calf.hank on the hill

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ready, set, remodel!

About a month ago, we started on our home renovation. This is a serious renovation. The entire house is getting taken down to the studs, walls rearranged, electricity and plumbing re-run, and an addition. We’re not kidding around. When we do things here in Southern Indiana, we do them big.

I’ve been taking tons of pictures, and am going to be sharing these during Remodel Mondays!exterior stone 5
We have been talking about this project and working on the plans for the house since May. All of a sudden, in the first week of November, everyone (except us) was ready to get started!

We had a week to get the house completely emptied.full 1 office

Monday, November 7, 2011

These boots have done their walking

I have this pair of Merrill hiking boots. I got them during my residency, and they have worked hard.

They have been worn on 16-hour shifts, working in the large animal hospital. They have been worn at 2am to see an emergency in the middle of the night. They have been worn at 10pm when the work isn’t done for the day yet.

They have been in horse manure, sheep manure, cow manure, alpaca manure, and dog poop.

(I had a different pair of boots I wore when I helped cows give birth. THAT is a different kind of mess…)

Now they mostly sit in the corner and collect cat hair.
boots in corner

The cats are fans of these boots. Something about the smell of all that poop is just so great to rub on.
cats love boots

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Home improvement


We have been planning for a seriously major home remodel since May. Things were going very slowly until yesterday. Now, all of a sudden, everyone is ready to kick it into high gear.
Hubby Doc and I spent a day cleaning out our garage so we have a place to store things during the construction. We are also working on finishing out a space that will be our temporary apartment for the next 3-4 months. And we need to move out of our house ASAP, so we can start pulling the stone off the exterior walls. Apparently the guys will be ready to break ground for the new addition sooner rather than later.
If I'm a bit absent over the next few weeks, this is why. I promise there will be lots of pictures to share, but it's going to take some time to get moves out and settled back into the new temporary digs. The existing house is going to get some major plastic surgery, and we are also putting on an addition, so the before-and-after photos should be pretty dramatic!
Stay tuned, but please cut me a little slack if things get a bit sporadic around here!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Pampered Chef Winner!

Congratulations to apple blossom... She won The Pampered Chef giveaway! I am so excited to have this chocolate-themed prize pack to share!

The good news for everyone else is that my party is still open... If you were just dying for the Chocolate Cookbook, or something else Pampered Chef that you just have to have, you can still order through Donna's site until Sunday 10/30, and please list me as your host! (Just search for Marybeth in the "first name" box, and you'll find me!)

Thanks for playing along... I hope you were inspired by The Pampered Chef line as much as I was... I'm looking forward to some great fall cooking with my new tools! (Oh yes, there will be pictures.)

{While my Pampered Chef consultant, Donna Harpe, has donated the items for this giveaway, the comments and opinions expressed here are my own.}

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I have a problem…


It has to do with dry lips.

Not chapped lips. Just dry.

I always have a ChapStick (or some other brand) in my pocket, and there’s always one in my purse.


Not that weird yet? I also keep a stash in my desk. (I think there’s seven there.)desk

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chocolate Lava Cake

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To-die-for, melt-in-your-mouth, ooey-gooey chocolate cake from The Pampered Chef Chocolate cookbook.

In the microwave.

In ten minutes.

I’m sorry, Weight Watchers who??

Okay, six easy steps. Ready?

1. Mix up a chocolate cake batter. Just like the box says. Then put it in your Deep Covered Baker. (Don’t have one? You need one. It’s just like a slow-cooker, only fast. There’s even a recipe book to get you started. Oh, and it also comes in taupe, if you’re not crazy about cranberry.)
chocloate cake

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food Day 2011

Isn’t every day Food Day? Shouldn’t it be?

October 24 has recently been declared Food Day, and boy am I planning to celebrate!

I love food…  Love to cook it… Love to eat it… Love to share it… (Did you know that calories shared with girlfriends don’t count?!) Although I don’t much love cleaning up after I cook it… But I suppose that comes with the territory. Ah well. The dishwasher comes in handy to help with that part.

So many memories are built around food! Think of all the celebration dinners, family meals, parties, carry-ins, all the gatherings that happen around food. So much of our lives is centered around food, but we rarely think about the farmers who make all this food possible for us or the veterinarians who work so hard to maintain farm animal health and welfare. They are the unsung heroes of the food chain.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Pampered Chef giveaway!

Have I teased you enough? The giveaway is finally here! I am so excited to have this fantastic candy-themed prize pack to give away!

The prize pack includes...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Pampered Chef cooking show

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We had a blast at my Pampered Chef party last week!

I didn’t take as many pictures as I had planned… Well, because it was a party. And there was chocolate. And wine. So not many pictures.

We crowded ten women (plus me and my consultant, Donna Harpe) into my teeny tiny kitchen, dining room, and living room. Sorry to Andrea who had to sit on the floor…

We had a great demo of how to make this chocolate lava cake. (Recipe coming next week, and it’s so easy, you’ll die!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cozy warm fall in my Carhartt coat!

FINALLY, the weather has started to cool down! It seems like summer has been hanging on for all it is worth!

I will admit that this is my first venture into Carhartt. And I was not disappointed! Hubby Doc has been wearing Carhartt for years. His favorite pair of coveralls is a Carhartt. They have been through lots... snow, mud, cow manure, and most recently fire (don't ask), but he still keeps on wearing them!

Ever since I received my Carhartt Sherpa sweat jacket from their women's line, I have been dying for it to get cool enough so I could wear it! (The jacket is just a little to warm to wear on those 80 degree days we have been having!)

And boy has it come in handy... (I gave Hubby Doc a little crash course in photography so he could take some pictures with my "fancy camera" to show you.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

That invisible fence sure is invisible!

1 comment:
We have two outside dogs. They usually live inside an invisible fence. They have plenty of room outside, two cozy dog houses, and a great shade tree. I don't know why they wouldn't want to hang out there all the time.

But they don't.

The invisible fence stopped working. So now they go wherever they want. Lucky for us, they don't leave the property, but they sure are enjoying having the run of the place.

They hang out in the holly bushes in front of the house.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pampered Chef is coming! Pampered Chef is coming!

I am having a Pampered Chef party this week! I am so excited!

I am a Pampered Chef junkie.

Seriously. We registered with them for our wedding two years ago, and I haven't bought any Pampered Chef anything since then. I'm ready for my fix!

Here are a few of the things we love and use all the time around the house...

These bamboo spoons are a must-have. I use the flat one in the middle for browning ground beef all the time. Although, I do have my eye on the Mix N'Chop. I hear it is phenomenal for ground beef!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Steak on the (improved) grill

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It just wouldn't be a post about my improved grill if I didn't follow up with cooking something on it!

Steak and potatoes are one of the favorite meals around here, and certainly one of the easiest things to throw on the grill. I start with a couple of scrubbed potatoes, and cut them into pieces. John likes thin slices and I like big chunks. So we compromise with thin chunks. I add a little EVOO, kosher salt, pepper, and Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix.

(Have I mentioned? There's going to be some serious Pampered Chef fun happening here over the next 3 weeks...)

Then I wrap the potatoes up into little aluminum foil packets and throw them on the grill on high heat. (I am very scientific about how long these cook - they go on first, and they stay on until everything else is done. Usually that works just fine.)

Then I season up the meat. These are two ribeye steaks from our freezer. Again, nothing fancy, just some EVOO, kosher salt, black pepper, and this time McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.


I set the meat aside for a second while I got the veggies ready. I speared green bell pepper chunks and garden tomato chunks on flat skewers, sprayed on a little EVOO and sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper. The steaks and the veggies went on the grill at the same time - the meat on the lower rack and the veggies on the upper rack.

Again - super-scientific - the veggies stayed on until the steaks were done, and then just a hair longer. I like the flat skewers much better than round skewers. The flat skewers help keep the food from spinning around on the skewer as you flip them over.
Super quick, super easy, super pretty!
(Next time, I would put the peppers and tomatoes on separate skewers. The tomatoes were done, but the peppers were still a bit crunchy. The peppers could have stayed on the grill longer than they did.)

But this is my all time favorite thing about grilling. After we loaded up the dishwasher, this was all the dishes I had to wash.
It doesn't get any easier than that.

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Friday, October 7, 2011

My new grill

1 comment:
Okay, it is not new. But it is definitely improved.

I've mentioned before about the troubled days my grill has seen - broken handle, busted igniter, a rusted-out heat shield...

The biggest issue was definitely the heat shield. It had rusted through, in a few spots.

rusty heat shield sm
This was a really big problem. All my steaks, burgers, and hot dogs were burning! That is not good eats. I love love love to grill, and things were really not going well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Taste of Indiana Farms


One of the fun things I got to do at the Indiana State Fair in August was to run the Farm Bureau Taste of Indiana Farms booth for the southwest part of Indiana.

Each part of the state (“districts,” in Farm Bureau talk) had a commodity to feature. We had pork. Yum!volunteers sm

I worked with Dewig’s Meats so we had some great barbecued pulled pork to give away to everyone who came through the three-day event. We had some great volunteers from our district, including my husband. Hubby Doc had a blast talking to almost 5000 people over three days!!john sm

There was free popcorn in the front of the building, and lots more free food in the back of the building.popcorn smEverybody had a blast, even the kids!strollers in line smThis is not just a Farm Bureau event! The Indiana Watermelon queen was there, giving out watermelon slices.watermelon queen sm And the Indiana Honey Queen was there, passing out honey samples.honey queen sm

(We tried to get them to have a Queen showdown, to see who was the “Top Queen,” but they wouldn’t go for it. Such well-behaved young ladies!)

Did I mention that Indiana Pork gave us temporary pig tattoos to give out? Everybody wanted a pig tattoo, even me! (I may have put on more than one…)pig tattoo sm

Yes, you could say I got into the spirit of things and collected some flair over the couple of days…flair smMark your calendars – we’ve already got the dates scheduled for next year! Come visit us in the Farm Bureau building at the Indiana State Fair on August 14-16, 2012. I’ll be organizing fruit for next year, so come on by and learn what kind of fruit Indiana grows. I bet you’ll be surprised! There will be free popcorn, free food, and more flair than you can shake a stick at! What else is there?

Oh, and the whole rest of the fair. You’ll probably want to see that also.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oatmeal Bread

1 comment:
I just love baking bread. I used to use my bread machine about once a week, but it’s been put away for over two years now. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to pull it out of hiding!
PhotobucketI found this oatmeal bread recipe in Better Homes and Gardens’ “Bread Machine Recipes,” and I thought it sounded like just the perfect thing for the fall weather we are having here!

I made a 1-1/2 pound loaf. (Though I am wishing I had made a 2 pound loaf!) The instructions here are for the 1-1/2 pound loaf; the printable recipe card below has both sizes.

First, toast 1 cup of quick-cooking rolled oats in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until they are brown (stir occasionally). This brings out a really great nutty smell and flavor.

oats smThen fill up your bread machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For my Toastmaster, I added 1/3 cup water and 2/3 cup milk, warmed to around 80 degrees, and 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces.

milk and butter smNext I added 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. I layered 2-1/2 cups of bread flour and the toasted oats on top of the liquids.

The cookbook instructions are to add the oats with the flour. I added half the flour, then the oats, then the rest of the flour.

flour and oatmeal sm{It is important to use bread flour in bread recipes, not just all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten (a kind of protein) content than AP flour. The gluten traps the carbon dioxide that is formed by the yeast, which helps the dough to rise. AP flour just doesn’t have the same gluten content, and may not hold up to all the kneading that goes on in bread-making. Save yourself some headaches, and make an extra trip to the grocery store for bread flour.}

Finally, I added 1 teaspoon of Red Star Quick Rise Yeast in a little pile right in the middle.

yeast smI loaded everything right into the bread machine, and set it for the whole wheat cycle, and a medium crust color. I love just a hint of crunch on the crust, while the inside of the bread is nice and soft – the medium crust color setting hits this perfectly for me! (If you don’t have a whole wheat or whole grain setting on your machine, just use the basic white bread option.)

bread machine smFour hours later, and ta da – it seems like no work at all! (And isn’t that the best thing about bread machines?!)

finished loaf smThis bread was so good warm with butter right out of the bread machine…

slices sm But it was also great lightly toasted with egg salad, fresh garden tomatoes, and homemade pickles! (The good thing about putting in a garden late, is that we still have fresh off the vine tomatoes in September!)

egg salad smThis will be a huge favorite of mine coming into the fall and winter. Something about the oats just gives this bread a great texture. We will be eating this with soups and stews, with big hearty sandwiches, and just warm with a bunch of butter. Can’t beat that. :)

The printable recipe card…

oatmeal bread recipe card
(Thank you to Red Star Yeast for a coupon for the yeast.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Love on Leontein


One of our Real Farmwives is having some trouble. Leontein, from Four Leaf Clover Tales, has been through the cancer battle before, and won. She just found out that she has to fight it all over again.

I met Leontein through the Real Farmwives, and am really just getting to know her. I do know that she has a great sense of humor, and is one seriously strong chickie. It’s not just everyone that comes to the US from the Netherlands to start up a dairy farm from scratch!

One of the things I love about Leontein is that she is not afraid to talk about her underwear. She has these skull panties that she wears to every doctor’s appointment – they are her “Power Panties.” Everyone needs a little good luck charm, and these are Leontein’s!

It looks like she is going to need some extra pairs for the coming months, so if anyone knows where she can find them, please let her know!

Please stop by the Facebook page we set up for her, Love for Leontein, and leave an encouraging message. Or stop by her blog and leave some love there, too.

We’re all behind you, Leontein. Kick cancer’s butt!!

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