Friday, July 31, 2009

Quilt Completion #2

I have been busy sewing as much as I can and I love it! I completed another baby quilt this week. For this quilt I used three materials.

Material #1--Red with White Polka Dots

Material #2--Red and Black Ladybugs and White Daisies on a
Yellow Background

Material #3--Yellow with White Dragonflies

I pieced it and tied it and it looks like this:

These two quilts are for our niece and nephew Ava and Coy, who are twins, so I wanted them to be similar but different.

You may remember the ISU quilt from a previous post.

They are in the mail. I hope they enjoy them!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rhubarb--Info and Tutorial

Rhubarb is a vegetable with a unique taste that makes it a favorite in many pies and desserts. It originated in Asia over 2,000 years ago. It was initially cultivated for its medicinal qualities, it was not until the 18th century that rhubarb was grown for culinary purposes in Britain and America. Rhubarb is often commonly mistaken to be a fruit, but rhubarb is actually a close relative of garden sorrel, and is therefore a member of the vegetable family. Rhubarb is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.
I grew up with the notion that rhubarb was only good in the spring, so I usually just used it until June. But in doing some research a few years ago, I found that in Iowa rhubarb is good spring-summer, provided the summer isn't extremely hot and/or dry. Several years ago we moved our rhubarb and added to to it. The first year you don't use it, the second you can use just a few stalks, but this year it's ready to go. That along with this cool weather has made for quite the crop of rhubarb!

All that being said, I'm not a huge fan of rhubarb, but I have found some recipes that are wonderful and don't make my mouth pucker! I made the first one for book club and they asked for the recipe, so here's a tutorial for them. I made the second for my husband and he loves them both!

Rhubarb Dessert
1 c. sifted flour
5 T powdered sugar
1/2 c. oleo

Mix these three ingredients and press into an 8x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 min. and cool.

Next cream:
2 beaten eggs
1/12 c. sugar

1/4 c flour
3/4 t salt

Fold in:
2 c chopped rhubarb

Spoon mixture over cooled crust and bake at 350 for 35 min.

Rhubarb Cobble
3--4 c chopped rhubarb

Put in 8x8 or 9x9 pan

Cream: 3/4 c sugar
3 T margarine

Mix dry ingredients:
1 c flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 t salt

Add to creamed mixture alternately with 1/2 c milk and pour the batter over the rhubarb.

Next mix: 1 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
Pour over batter
Finally pour 1 c boing water over the sugar mixture and bake at 375 for 1 hour.
(this recipe is also good using raspberries, cherries, etc.)
Both recipes are good with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped topping.
(I apologize for the lack of photos during the process, and for the poor quality of photos. I am just NOT a photographer, and it doesn't come natural for me to take the pictures! I'm working on that.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's County Fair Time!

It's that time of year.....yes, county fair time! All of our kids were in 4-H from fourth grade until they started college, and two of them were also in FFA. So, we know quite well the work that is involved in county fair....baking, sewing, writing, washing animals, painting, canning, etc. Oh, and when they were all in at the same time it was REALLY stress time!! All four of them took baking at some time or other, even Travis. In fact Travis baked and qualified to take rye bread and bagels to state, mostly to get under the skin of his leader who thought that was "girl stuff"! Each of them qualified to take something to state, usually yearly.
All of the kids showed cattle, even the girls. Tasha won grand champion in the dairy division several times. I can still see the kids out bathing the cattle in the yard--girls in their shorts, sports bras, and shit boots and Travis in his shorts and shit boots. They thought it was work, but they had a great time doing it. No one came in dry. Usually a quick jump in the pool was in order. The cattle were usually sold at auction after the fair, or butchered for us to eat. They loved those calves and could be brought to tears if someone mentioned that we were eating "Andy", or "Booger" or one of theirs!

There were times when a couple of the girls wantedto quit 4-H because it was a lot of work and their friends weren't in it. We insisted they stay in, and as adults they are very thankful that we did. They learned many great skills in 4-H especially public speaking skills. 4-H helped them learn to be good record keepers, be organized, be cooperative and helpful, become leaders, meet many friends, and learn to do things they might not otherwise have tried to do. I hope they will all involve their children in 4-H.

Well, we went to our first cattle show with the newest generation in our family---Payton. Iowa county had a Pee Wee Bucket Bottle Class for K-3rd graders who are too young to be in 4-H. Payton just finished second grade so he entered this class. Uncle Travis loaned him a calf to raise. It was born March 1st and Payton got it a few weeks later. He then had to bottle feed it twice a day until it was old enough to eat feed and hay, then he had to feed it twice a day again. His calfwas a black Angus/Holstein mix. He named him Case--after Case IH tractors. He spent a lot of time with Case and had him well trained to lead.

As part of this class each child had to meet with judges ahead of time to answer questions about their calf and the raising of it. Payton did quite well in his conference, but he was stumped on a few questions. The judge then also asked them questions when they were in the show ring.

The day of the show Payton was a nervous wreck! You can see in the photos that he didn't smile a bit while showing.

Case went back to Travis' and Payton had to say good-bye. He was sad, but he knows he'll get to do this again next year. We are beginning another chapter in our lives watching our grandchildren in 4-H, and we couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bigfoot Tutorial

I mentioned that a family favorite is Bigfoots which we made during our recent camping trip. I thought I'd give you a little tutorial as they are soooo easy to make and soooo yummy!

First of all you need to thaw some frozen bread dough. We usually eat these for breakfast sot I put it out the night before and its ready in the morning. If you've never used frozen bread dough for anything other than bread then just spray a cake pan with Pam, put the frozen dough in it, then get a piece of plastic wrap, spray with Pam and put it over the top. I used two loaves this weekend and that made about 20 Bigfoots. It will look something like this in the morning.
Next flour your board, counter, table or wherever you want to roll them out. We used a clean tablecloth on the picnic table. Pull a piece of dough off and roll flat. If you like the edges a little crispy, then roll them quite thin, but if you like them a little doughy, then leave them a little thicker. You can just experiment the first time you do it.

Now put some oil in a large pan--about an inch or so. I usually use my electric skillet at about 350. It can hold about two at a time. For camping we used a skillet over the camp stove. Put the rolled out dough in the pan in a single layer. They cook up rather quickly so I stay right with the pan. Using a pair of tongs, turn them over when they brown up. When they are done put on a cookie sheet covered with paper towel to drain some of the grease.
And now you're ready to frost them. We use canned frosting for camping, but I usually make my own at home. You can also toss them in some cinnamon and sugar instead.
Eat and enjoy!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cool Camping and Great Food!

We had a great weekend of camping this past weekend at Rock Creek State Park. Bud and I arrived at the campground on Thursday evening. Trilby, Mike, and boys and Tasha and Kyle joined us Friday evening. Friday evening was spent getting them set up and then supper and sitting around the campfire. (Listen to the great crackling fire!) The boys insisted on S'Mores and we introduced them to Jiffy Pop. There were some full tummies before they went to bed! Luckily warm clothing was packed as we set record lows Friday night--49 degrees. We were toasty with the furnace in our camper running, Trilby's family was warm, but Tasha and Kyle got a little chilled in their tent. Saturday was beautiful even though we were in pants and sweatshirts. Sunday was gorgeous too!

Breakfast on Saturday morning was a family favorite---Bigfoots! Now, you may know it as "fry bread" similar to what Native Americans would have eaten. We got started making these when my kids were little. We had a restaurant in town that make them in the shape of a "big foot". Well, being the frugal person that I was, I knew I could make them cheaper at home, so I set out to try. We then began to make them for breakfast one of the mornings each time we camped. I have made these things for a large camping group and the kids just keep coming back for more! Cael enjoyed his bigfoot!

Nate enjoyed his bigfoot also as you can tell by the chocolate on his face! (Every time I tried to take his picture this weekend he turned his head and said, "No, Nanny!")

Cael and Nate each caught a fish, but Nate was afraid of his once it was on the ground!

We played Rummikub, sat around the campfire,visited, read, went for walks, napped, canoed(Tasha, Kyle, Payton), and of course we ate! We all cooked our own thing and shared. Throughout the weekend we had ribs, catfish, hot dogs, burgers, chicken breasts, bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, potato packets, cabbage casserole, baked beans, lettuce salad, watermelon, cantaloupe, peanut butter brownies, and homemade ice cream! Kyle and Cael were in charge of freezing the ice cream. It was so yummy I forgot to take a picture.

We were parked right next to the playground, so the two little boys spent their time over there.

They were the "suppliers of toys" for the group! Two big trucks and two containers of toys made their way over to the sand for two days. Payton spent his time on his bike, and they all made new friends. I had such a hard time getting Payton to stand still for a photo, but finally got one just before they left!

Everyone had a great time!
(I had so much trouble getting this to post correctly! The first paragraph just won't behave!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quilt of the Wrong Color!

Yes, I have been working on some crafts and quilts this summer, just a little more slowly than I would like! I think I've mentioned this before, but I make a baby quilt for each great niece or nephew when they are born. Well, I've gotten slower and slower at this, so now it's my goal to get it to them before they turn one!! Last summer Bud's niece had twins--a boy, Coy, and a girl, Ava. So, I've been working on those lately. Well, I've got Coy's done.

As you can see, it is yellow and gold--Iowa State's colors! Yes, it goes against my beliefs to deal with that, what being a Hawkeye fan and all! But, they are BIG Iowa State fans. Actually, I do sometimes cheer for Iowa State in my classroom. The kids are usually Hawkeye fans, but one or two will always be for Iowa State. I like to cheer for the under dog and/or play devil's advocate!

So, now I need to get Ava's done so I can send them off. Then I need to get one made for the newest grandchild due in August!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happiness Is.....

Spending the day with your youngest grandson! Nate spent the night with us and then stayed the next day while his family was at the fair. Nate has never spent the night with us without his brothers, so this was a first. He's normally very quiet when we're around, but there's usually a group of people. I've heard him chatter away as I'm talking to Trilby on the phone, but hadn't heard it myself. Boy, did he talk nonstop all day! I guess he needs more opportunity without those brothers speaking for him. He and I had a great day!

He is a good little eater and loves, loves, loves watermelon!!

We spent time playing outside.

Nate investigated everything, including the smells of the candles.

And he perched on my chair while I stitched on a quilt.

What a way to spend a nice summer day!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lions, and Tigers, and Trains! Oh, My!

Yes, I know I got the saying wrong, but we didn't see any bears! Trilby and I took the boys on a little day vacation last week. We started off visiting Trainland U.S.A. outside of Colfax. We have seen this sign MANY times, but have never veered off the interstate to visit it. But, Cael is nuts for trains, so we decided to check it out. It was very interesting. Here's a little description of it :
This operating toy train museum depicts a cross-country tour of the USA, featuring 25 Lionel "O" gauge trains running on 4,000 feet of track, covering 2,600 square feet of display area. Adults and kids alike will enjoy moving displays, and detailed backgrounds of various locations in the USA.

They had a little scavenger hunt to find things in each section and buttons to push to make various things work. They boys loved it!

We then headed to Des Moines to Blank Park Zoo. We started by having our own picnic lunch on the lawn out front, then headed in for an afternoon of fun.
Cael loved the close up view of the fish.

We enjoyed a train ride--Cael with me and the other three together.

Payton wasn't interested in a camel ride, but Cael was. They won't let you ride alone if you're under 10, so Cael had to be paired with this little girl.

Feeding the animals wasn't as fun as we thought it would be since there were so many kids feeding them that they seemed to be full! But this guy enjoyed Cael feeding him.

Feeding the Koi was fun for all.

Nate fed the giraffes with Mom's help!

This is the view I saw most of the day. Here they are watching the monkeys.

I was very interested in the plants and greenery. They had some gorgeous impatiens and hostas. I was happy to see that they also had creeping charlie and morning glories! Makes me feel better that even people paid to keep the plantings look good still fight the weeds!!

I'm so happy to live close to my grandchildren so we can share these things and I can be a part of their lives on a regular basis. ( I type this as Nate is crawling all over me with his horse and horse sounds!) A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Struggle

EXERCISE----Why do some people seem to enjoy exercise while I HATE it so???? I hated PE and recess in elementary school, so I imagine this is something that has been with me for many years. As a kids I rode my bike endlessly and spent my summers swimming, boating, and skiing, so there were some forms of exercise I liked. But as an adult I wish to be somewhat sedentary. I like to sew, make crafts, and read when I have free time. None of these things burn many calories or keep me in shape! I don't like the sweating, the faster beating of my heart, and any pain I might have. And yet intellectually I know I MUST do something!

CURVES is the only form of exercise I really don't mind. Now, I didn't say I liked it, just that I don't mind it IF I must exercise! We have a CURVES just a block from school, so there is really no excuse for me not getting there. Although I do seem to make excuses!:) I will often pick up my friend, coordinate with another friend, and we go at the same time. This way it seems like more of a social event rather than just exercising. This summer I have done a fair job of getting there. I went yesterday and then came home and walked on the treadmill. AND by the end of the day my right knee was killing me! Now, it may be the incline I used when I walked, but on the other hand, it may just prove that I am not cut out for exercise!!

Any ideas or suggestions designed to help me learn to exercise are appreciated!!!