AHAHAHAHA–I am back!!

My beloved laptop crashed in early December.  What that meant was the Christmas letter I had stored on the desktop just sat unprinted and all blogging came to a halt.  I got a Surface.  Super.  I learned how to use a tablet and Windows 8 all at once.  Yes, Bill sent me a tutorial e-mail when the Surface was shipping, but I don’t watch boring techie stuff.  It is bad enough that I have to pretend to listen when I ask him about his day at work.  I don’t even know what his acronyms stand for, nor do I understand his need to bring some of his techie terms into our daily life.  But I am a good wife, so I continue to ask how his day was.  I am sure he is thrilled to hear about my days at my job as well, although my stories are funny.  Seriously funny.  So back on topic.  I didn’t have my blogging software put back on my laptop until today.  I had to wait for Bill to have a weak moment so I could get the software I needed put on this thing.  He needed me to edit something, I needed him to install something – even steven. 

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Christmas was great – we all headed to the farm with an uncertain return date and enjoyed the laid-back time there so much that we stayed 8 days.  8 days of eating too much.  8 days of fleece pants with forgiving elastic waistbands and slippers.  8 days of great company and great memory making centered around food. I ate spam.  SPAM, people.  Bill’s mom has a great sense of humor and I tried it. 

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Peace and Harmony at Christmas this year…and shooting stuff.

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Cross Country Skiing for Lazy People.

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Homemade Donuts

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Lots O’ Rummikube. 

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Dog Wranglin’  – this fireplace visit was earned years ago and finally paid out.  At the farm, dogs don’t come inside the house, but we are working on wearing her down on this rule.  These aint no Motel 6 dogs.  Look how happy Lucy is,

So then we came back (a few pounds heavier) to a house with no groceries and made a conscious decision to only buy healthy foods to replenish our fridge and pantry.  Good-bye, M&M’s so delightful and colorful.  Good-bye, Doritos.  I will miss how you color my finger tips.  Good-bye, my best friend Mt. Dew.  Not for forever, but until I am no longer addicted (can a alcoholic ever drink just one??).  I still haven’t come to terms with the idea that I am a Mt. Dewaholic,  never able to control how much I drink.

I have been hauling my lunch to work, and have co-workers asking for recipes so here I go again, recipe-ing until once again, I fall off the bandwagon and start eating foods of the devil.  Bill is hoping this is a life-long change, and I think for the most part, it may be.  But then, I have said that before and went right back to shoving my hand in the chip bag.  Naughty me. 

We are using MyFitnessPal.com to track our calories.  Did you know that my after school snack of a McDonalds #2 with a Coke had almost as many calories as I eat in a day now?  I loved eating those.  Seriously.  So once in a while, I eat a cheeseburger and steal a couple fries from my kids just for fun.  Gotta live a little.  I have managed to cut up and eat 3 pineapples in a row – in the past, the pineapple on the counter was for decoration and then when I noticed the puddle under it, I would say, “oh, darn, Looky what I forgot again!” and throw it away.  I also have made my bed every day, but that has nothing to do with my eating habits, I am just proud.

So what diet are we on?  We are on the Eating Healthy, Eating reasonable calorie diet.  It seems to work pretty well.  Granted, I miss the ability to drink the Dew under stress, but after 4 days of wanting to cut my own head off due to lack of Dew, I am clean and clear.  Two weeks sober today.  Kinda a big deal for me.  Last time I was serious about this, I made it 4 1/2 months.  I think I can go longer this time.  It is all a competition, either way, I win, right??

The first recipe to share comes via Ms.  February.  The only change I made was to add an extra can of white beans to the pot.  Maybe they were navy – I am not sure. I even used super healthy noodles found in the super healthy section of our local grocery store.  That is how I roll these days.

Classic Minestrone Soup    Enjoy!!!!

Also, one last thing – Our little Princess has been having stomach issues lately.  Much testing, much figuring out “what the hey!”  and we still don’t have solid answers but for sure, she is lactose intolerant, so our entire home is shifting a little bit that way so you may note that in some of my recipes I post, I have left out milk or used fake milk – you know the type, gross stuff passed off as milk.  Blech.

 

Uffda! This one has been long.  But so much to share!!  I hardly got started. 

Happy Mid-January, everyone!!!

Just Popping in to Say “Hi!”

I tell ya, to have the time to sit down and write about all the stuff that goes through my head.  You have no idea what you are missing.  Seriously. 

We have had some weeks that ran us ragged.  For real.  I have been SICK with no time to really do anything about it. 

JP is the cause of most of the crazy.  Not as in Crazy Man kind of crazy, just freshman in high school kind of crazy.

He achieved his Eagle Scout rank a week and a half ago.

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Last week, he ran in two Cross Country meets.  Season is now over.  But he earned his first letter, we are told.  That is super cool.

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He and Bill ran a half marathon today, and he kicked butt.

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He is about to start behind the wheel and then take his Driver’s License test, and maybe that is why my stomach has been so bad.

We spent NDEA at the farm, which is where every under-the-weather me should be.  My mother-in-law takes care of me like she is a nurse or something and also takes care of all the kid stuff.  While she made and fed them cookie dough cheesecake, cheeseburgers, and waffles piled high with strawberries, chocolate chips and whipped cream, I ate Cream of Wheat, mashed potatoes, and plain noodles.

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This was a “heck no” for me.  But I can drool.

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Instead, I ate this.

I have mentioned my stomach issues before, yep, they are back in rare form.  I have consulted with a stomach guru, and will be eating only plain things, mostly in some sort of liquid form, until this stomach era comes to an end and once again, I can eat something with flavor.  I have been thinking of eating clean again, so game on.  Can you put bacon in a blender?

We had middle school parent-teacher conferences.  Seems Crazy Man likes to talk a lot.  But in a good way.  Seems Curly doesn’t.  And that is a concern.  Why?  Why does her quietness concern anyone – the fact that she is there, pulling great grades, and not freakin’ should be good enough.  Seems Princess finds school to be easy.  Good for her.  Life is great in 7th grade.  7th grade is awesomeness.  7th grade is all roses no thorns.  For this week anyway. 

Crazy Man made it into jazz band – pretty cool deal that will add Tuesday and Thursday early AM drop-off’s back into our schedule for the school year.  He does love his drumming, though, so it is a good thing and we (and by we, I mean Bill) will drop him off with a smile.

What else is new around here?  Oh, Lucy.  Yes, Lucy on steroids is a horrible monster.  She has been peeing on carpet, eating tons of human food that she steals (like entire loaves of bread) and at the farm, she decided to eat her entire container of glucosamine tablets.  About 50 of them down the hatch.   So guess what?  After a call to the vet, she also puked up about 50 of them thanks to the hydrogen peroxide treat we were told to give her.  YUMMY!! 

I think that is a quick wrap-up of life lately.  I have a couple awesome ideas for blog entries, the best of which is My Dog is a Democrat.  See if I get time to write that one, it might be a classic.  Or, it might just be an awesome exposition that only is reality in my mind.  Until then…

There is just something about corn…

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Depending on how our fall weekends go, this might be the last time I see my corn before harvest. 

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Goodnight, corn.  Life at the farm sure has changed since you were a seedling!

An Apple a Day

We went to the farm this past weekend.  Job #1 was to clean up the apple tree.

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We love apple season – crisp air, sweatshirts…

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Look at this one, mom!!

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Oh wait, this one is the perfect apple!

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Can I eat them?

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Refreshments delivered in a metal bucket?  YES!

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Can’t miss any of them!

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Today, I froze 48 cups of peeled sliced apples, and maybe made it through half of what we brought home.  There is nothing better than warm apple crisp in the winter and we are ready!

Apple Crisp (from Carol)

Mix together with fork:

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup flour

1 C (-2T) sugar

1/2 cup cold butter or margarine

1 cup quick oats

6 Cups(6 – 8 med) apples, pared, cored and sliced

Combine these ingredients and stir into apples:

2/3 cup sugar

2 T. flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Grease a 10” X 6” baking dish. Pour apple mixture in and then sprinkle topping over apples. Bake at 450 for 10 min and then 350 for 40-45 minutes more until bubbling & tender. (Double for 9 X 13 and triple for 1o X 13)

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Road Trip

Set the Scene

Three in the back

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Co-Pilot

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Driver with “best alert driving medicine”

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Destination

The Corn Patch – or The Farm – whatever you prefer

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Where the corn is more than knee high this 4th of July

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and the dirt is plenty. (1 clean, one not)

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And the family is awesome.

The Way Home

A little bit of rain coming our way as we drove…my 80 MPH couldn’t outrun the clouds.

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Our view while driving…so we stopped for a small little session of “hope that sound isn’t a tornado; but just in case, there is a deep ditch right there.”

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Never been so happy to see this town – and I am always happy to see this town.  But they had no power, so we continued.

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A few trees snapped in half here and there along the way…

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The fireworks stand we stopped at on the way down to grab some sparklers;

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Semi #1 blown in the ditch (also our detour #1);

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Semi #2 blown into the ditch (also our detour #2);

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We couldn’t even go see that town…nope, denied.  We kept going.

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And then the clouds got all cool

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And the sunset was neato

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And we made it home with a fun story to tell.  Pictures all courtesy of my kids.

Another weekend, another road trip

Memorial Weekend – the unofficial kick-off of summer.  We usually spend it either camping or at our favorite resort, Brookside, with my side of the family.  With our current circumstances, we decided to **hope you are sitting down** head to the farm again instead.  But why throw away the camping aspect?  After all, we have a new camper to break in.  We were wussy campers, however, and set up inside the machine shed so we would stay dry with the nasty weather being forecasted.  When given the option for a dry camping spot vs. the other option, well, hello!!!

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We really enjoyed our camper…even though we didn’t have to get all our stuff out, it was much more roomy and better for our family.

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As you can see, even Lucy has more space to chill in this camper.  She really wanted to jump up on a bed, but she is on jumping, running, and pretty much anything that makes her a lab restrictions.

We spent the weekend with a whole slew of family.  We did a lot of wild and crazy things together, the most craziest being a chance meeting between a four-wheeler carrying an 11-year-old-boy and a tree resulting in a little surgery to set a very broken arm.  Nope, it wasn’t Crazy Man, it was one of his cousins.  Life lesson learned for the Pieper children.  Helmets?  Heck yeses!  Anyways, this guy is pretty sure the cast will help him pick up the babes.  Pain meds + kid = awesome conversations.

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Snapshots of the rest of the stuff that just can’t outrank Surgery Boy:

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German heritage means lots of wieners were involved.  We boiled them, grilled them, and roasted them.   Yes, many were washed down with beer.  But not mine.  Yuck. 

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Curly loves s’mores.  The first ones of the season are always the best.

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A great shot of Cocoa.  I dropped my camera lens cover to get this photo, but don’t worry, she found it.

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Curly finally took her turn on the horse.  She would much rather ride a little pony.  Strange for a girl who loves Roller Coasters more than pretty much anything?!?!?

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And some of the family shot stuff.  Ok, just targets and clay pigeons.  But the gun itself was impressive.  Kicked like a mule, bit like an alligator.  So they said.

Another awesome aspect of visiting the farm so often is getting to watch the gardens and farm fields grow.  Every weekend, something new is blooming. 

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And then on the way home from this exciting weekend, we stopped to shop at Albertville (along with a bazillion people) and I found all the shirts and tank-tops I have been needing.  Even more success. 

We are home for 3 more days of school parties education and a major vet appointment.  It will be an interesting week.

Friday, drive to farm; Sunday, drive home; Repeat

This weekend was another weekend at the farm.  It was another chance to celebrate family.  We kinda have a thing for the Amish people, so when an Amish Auction happened to be on the calendar of fun things to do with Papa and Gram, we were on it like bad weather on a camping weekend.  Obvious to us after we got there, so were a couple thousand of our closest friends.

Traffic was bumper to bumper and the parking lots were jammed.

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Of course,  my heart was palpitating because of the over 1,000 hanging baskets going up for auction.  I only bought 2 because I had to get them home.

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Others were there for the quilts or furniture.  Some quilts went for over $1,000.  We couldn’t partake because Lucy sleeps on our bed; thus we have a much cheaper version.  I would have loved to snatch up some of the furniture, but I have a house payment to make.

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The food was amazing.  Somehow without electricity, the Amish served pancakes, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage and donuts for breakfast.  Lunch had so many choices – the favorite of many was chicken legs served with no silverware, making barbarians out of all who enjoyed.  We visited the homemade ice cream line a couple of times.  Yep, they made ice cream for us all.

I have two favorite moments from the action.  First, not too long after we got there, we lost Crazy Man.  I was told he would be fine and safe, so I tried to pretend that not knowing where he was didn’t bother me.  When Curly was bored after watching a couple hundred hanging baskets be sold, she and Princess went on a mission to find their brother.  Much (not) to our surprise, he was located on a Pony Cart with his new Amish buddy, Levi.  They were out working the horses and he was covered with mud.  He was in his happy place.

The second greatness of the day was JP and his new friend, Raymond.  Raymond was an Amish man about to hit the magic age of 21, which is a big turning point in the Amish culture.  They exchanged all kinds of information about what it is like to be Amish versus “Englishmen” as they refer to us.  Raymond was very interested in cell phones.  JP asked him all our burning questions like “If you need one, would you use an ambulance?”  and “When are you getting married?”  You know, all the important stuff.

On the way home, we got to drive through the home of SPAM.  Yes, Spam, people.

Spam, which kept past generations alive, is a beautiful meat product which I can honestly say I have never eaten to my knowledge.  Look at all those semi trailers ready to haul Spam all over America, making people of all races happy.  Or something.

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Spam is legendary.  It has its own museum.  Of course it isn’t like the bacon museum or the T-bone museum, you know the typical meat museum.

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And because someone somewhere actually knows what is in SPAM, Hormel decided to invest in a medical institute.  I think it is where people who have eaten SPAM in quantity are studied for damage.

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               As always, the farm is full of new life.  After all, someone needs to feed America.

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The bad of coming home is that we came home with a tri-pod dog.  Lucy decided to give her leg the final push it needed to go useless.  What the means, we will find out this week as we visit the vet to learn our options.  We are prepared with the knowledge that this will put our “how much would you spend on a dog” theory to the test.

The good of coming home was the hauling home of our Amish furniture.  Merry Christmas!!

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