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Posts from ‘July, 2014’

A meme

Barbarah over at Stray Thoughts tagged me in a meme this week. I haven't done many of these but I thought I'd give this one a try. So, here goes. 🙂

Aprons, yes or no and what does your favorite look like?
Yes, I wear an apron nearly everyday. What can I say, I'm a very messy cook and baker. My favorite right now is one my friend Kathy gave me for Christmas. It is reversible and is pink on one side and has the word Love printed in differing scripts on the other side. It has long ribbon ties and I love it.

Baking/favorite thing to bake
I love to bake and it's hard to say what is my favorite thing. I love to try new recipes and techniques. I enjoy yeast bread baking, but since it's just the two of us we don't eat a great deal of bread.

Clothesline, yes or no
We are not allowed to have a clothesline in our subdivision but we do have a retractable one in the garage that I use for drying rugs and large items like comforters.

Doughnuts/have you ever made them?
I have made them quite a while ago. My daughter and her family are here visiting, and we actually are planning to make some baked doughnuts this week with the special pans she brought with her.

Everyday/one homemaking thing you do everyday
I cook something nearly everyday, even when we are planning to go out to eat I try to cook something and put it in the freezer. I also make the bed each morning.

Freezer/Do you have a separate freezer?
Yes, we have a small chest freezer and then two refrigerators with freezers on the top. I love the ability to buy and make things ahead. We also store some of the berries and vegetables from the garden in the freezers.

Garbage disposal/Do you have one?
Yes. We compost a lot of our food scraps, but it is really nice when rinsing dishes to not have to worry about things going down the drain. We have a little removable screen that helps keep silverware from dropping down by accident.

Handbook/What is your favorite homemaking resource?
I do have some books that I turn to for certain information but increasingly look to the internet for information.

Ironing/Love it or hate it?
I wouldn't say I love it, but I do enjoy it when I have everything set up and ready to go. I try to catch up on my ironing when I am sewing so I never have a backlog.

Junk Drawer, Y/N, where is it?
There are several in the house that are pretty junky, but probably the most official one is in the kitchen.

Kitchen--color and decorating scheme
The kitchen is yellow with light oak cabinets, and the curtains have a floral theme. We also have an old Hoosier cabinet which I use as my baking center.

Love--what is your favorite part about homemaking?
I really enjoy cooking and meal-planning.

Mop, Y/N
We have a Libman sponge mop, but I rarely use it because my dear husband usually does the floors.

Nylons--Handwash or in the machine
I still wear them in the winter because my feet are always cold. They go in the laundry in a mesh bag.

Oven--do you open the door to peek or use the window?
I do both! If I can't see what's happening clearly enough I open the door to check further.

Pizza--what do you put on yours?
It varies. Sometimes we have mushrooms, sliced onion, or sliced kielbasa. We almost always have ripe olives.

Quiet--what do you do during the day when you have a quiet moment?
I sit at the kitchen table and read or catch up on email at the computer.

Recipe card box, Y/N? If yes what does it look like.
I have a large recipe card box that my friend Cheri gave me. It was originally intended to store photos. It is stuffed full and I really need to purge a few so there is more room. I also have many cookbooks and a couple of notebooks full of recipes that I have printed off the internet to try. So many little time.

Style of house--What style is your house?
It is a ranch that is about 20 years old. We are very thankful to be in this house and feel like the Lord gave it to us. Developers bought our last house in a very miraculous way and paid us much more than we had paid for it. This enabled us to buy our present home. Our decorating style is "Early Attic" or "Contemporary Basement."

Tablecloths and napkins, Y/N?
I have a vinyl tablecloth on the kitchen table, and Rob and I use cloth napkins daily. When we have company I sometimes use a tablecloth in the dining room (but not so much when there are a lot of children) and then we use paper napkins.

Under the kitchen sink--Organized or toxic wasteland?
It's a bit cluttery, but I can find what I need down there.

Vacuum--how many times a week?
Usually once a week, again by my dear husband. Sometimes it gets a touch up when we have lots of company.

Wash--how many loads of laundry a week?
Most weeks it's 4-5 loads unless I'm doing some deep cleaning.

X's--do you keep a daily list of things that you cross off?
Not generally. I sometimes keep a list of things to do when preparing for an especially busy time. I do keep a couple of shopping lists and a list of things I need to cook ahead.

Yard, Y/N? Who does what?
Rob takes care of the yard and garden. I cook, can, and freeze the produce.

Zzzzs--What is your last homemaking chore of the day before going to sleep?
This can vary from day to day. I sometimes will take something out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to thaw for the next day. I often check the cat's food and water to make sure he is taken care of for the night.

This was fun to do. I will tag Megan, Deb, and Carrie who read my blog. I won't be offended if you don't want to participate or don't have time at the moment. Anyone else who would like to can also join in. Just leave a comment so I can check your blog.


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Wildlife in the West

I wasn't quite sure how to approach the topic of wildlife for this post. We saw quite a variety of wildlife during our time in Colorado. We saw very few animals during our time in New Mexico and Arizona.

While we were staying in the YMCA camp our friends took us on a couple of day trips to nearby places of interest. One day we went to Bear Lake which was pretty close to where we were staying. The water was a beautiful blue and there was still snow on the ground in a few places near the lake.


As we were driving to the lake we had our first glimpse of elk and we also saw a magpie. We had seen magpies in France before and of course we remembered Heckle and Jeckle from our childhood. 🙂


On another day we drove into the Rocky Mountain National Park and went up nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. We saw many elk from a distance and while we were eating a picnic lunch some very friendly elk came pretty close to us.


We also were fortunate to see some moose. We saw some from a distance and then we happened upon a female standing quite close to the road.


When we were pretty high up in the mountains it actually began snowing a little and we got a picture of a few flakes that landed on Rob's shirt. He wanted to "enjoy the cold" so he didn't wear a jacket.


There were signs up at the higher elevations asking people "to respect the tundra" by staying on the paths which were provided.


Some very cute little animals who live at the higher elevation are the marmots. They look sort of like groundhogs and we saw several of them sunning themselves on the rocks. We saw one who appeared to be kind of a ham. He stayed out while many tourists were taking his picture and he kept turning to allow us to get shots from different angles.


We also saw wildlife near our cabin at the camp. From the porch we saw chipmunks, ground squirrels, and mule deer. Rob got this picture of a mule deer one evening when we went for a walk.


Late in the first afternoon we were at the campsite we went for a walk and talked with a couple who were staying two cabins away from ours. They told us that while they had been away that afternoon a bear had come onto the porch of their cabin and had gotten into their hummingbird feeders.

The next afternoon when we returned to our cabin we noticed the rangers were at the cabin next to ours. While the people were out in the afternoon a bear had broken in the screen in a window they had left open.


The bear crawled through and had made a real mess in the cabin. She had opened the refrigerator and had eaten lasagna and yogurt and had smashed eggs all over the floor. She had opened cabinet doors and had smashed in the microwave (apparently she couldn't open it without thumbs.) She had opened a jar of nutella and a jar of peanut butter. She took the peanut butter with her. When we arrived on the scene she was sitting behind the cabin eating peanut butter. The rangers kept trying to run her off but she kept coming back for the peanut butter. We later found out from the neighbors that she had two cubs up a tree behind the cabin.

Below is a video Steve captured of the bear not far from the cabin she broke into. If you are reading this blog post in e-mail or in a blog reader, you will probably have to go to the blog post itself to view the video. Be patient - it may take it a few seconds to load.

The next morning we learned that the bear had come back during the night. The neighbors had two cars. One car was locked and one was unlocked. The bear got in the unlocked car and just walked around a bit. She actually tore the door handles off of the locked car. We discovered that she had investigated our car but fortunately didn't do any real damage--just some minor scratches and some paw prints.


Before we started our trip Rob had opened a private Facebook account just for our family so we could tell our kids what was happening and post pictures for them. He named the account Rob and Becka's Great Adventure. Our friends Steve and Karen had never seen a bear at the camp before and they blamed it all on us for wanting an adventure. 🙂

We had one last encounter with wildlife when we returned to Steve and Karen's house. They had a friend dog-sit their little daschund, Nikki while we were at the cabin. In the early evening when we returned they let her out in the backyard and she ran to a corner and was barking her head off. There was a raccoon in the yard and he quickly climbed the fence and scrambled up a tree. Nikki even barks at animals on TV. Here she is in action:


In my next post I will tell about some of our adventures in Arizona.


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Something good to do with those tomatoes


I'm working on the next travel post but wanted to share this idea for using tomatoes once again. We really like these and they are easy to prepare. I think this would work best with a Roma type tomato. Rob planted what was called a grape tomato plant in the garden this summer and the tomatoes are more like small Roma tomatoes, so that is what I have been using for this recipe.

Roasted Tomatoes

Slice Roma tomatoes in half and then place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet with the cut side up. Brush the cut side with olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and roast for an additional 20-30 minutes. Watch carefully to see if they are getting done to your likeness. If you are using very small tomatoes they may take less time.

You may wonder what to do with your roasted tomatoes. Well, they are quite good for snacking. 🙂 They are also good on sandwiches. Be sure to try them on a grilled cheese sandwich. They are also good chopped up and added to green beans or in this White Bean Dip. I like to make a tray full and then divide them into little snack bags and freeze them. Then when they are needed for a recipe you can just take out a portion and thaw for your recipe.


Enjoy those tomatoes!


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Our Colorado Adventure

We had a wonderful time visiting our friends Steve and Karen in Colorado. They are the perfect host and hostess and tried to think of everything to make us comfortable and to show us many of their favorite places in the mountains in the days we were with them. They rented a cabin at Estes Park Center YMCA of the Rockies. The YMCA has 137 cabins that they rent out and they have summer camps for children too. They have a cafeteria, a post office, a general store, miniature golf, etc. Here is a picture near the front of the campground:


Our cabin was one of the highest in the park. We had this lovely view from our front porch:


Here are some pictures from the interior of our cabin:




Various donors have donated money to build the individual cabins over the years and each is furnished by the donors. Our cabin was very well equipped and Karen did a wonderful job of planning the meals and gathering supplies to bring.

The views from around our cabin were spectacular. The mountains were truly beautiful. Here is the view behind our cabin:


Last fall there was severe flooding in the area and we were told that because of the extra rainfall that the wild flowers were especially plentiful this year. We saw many, many fields full of all kinds of wildflowers. Here are pictures of a few:




We were able to see quite a variety of wildlife during our time in the Rockies and in my next post I will tell about some of our close encounters. 🙂

Here's a final picture of sunset in the Rockies:



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Our big adventure

For several years Rob and I have talked about the possibility of taking a trip out West since neither of us had ever been west of St. Louis, Missouri. Well, after much talk and planning we took the plunge and just returned from a nearly two week trip. It will probably take me several posts to say all that I want to say about our adventure, so if you get bored you can just stop reading. 🙂

We flew from here in Greenville to Denver for the first leg of our trip to visit with our friends Steve and Karen. Steve and Rob used to teach together and had offices on the same hall. When Steve and Karen moved back to Colorado last year they encouraged us to plan a trip to visit them. After many phone calls and emails they helped us plan our trip.

We arrived in Denver on a Saturday night and the next morning we attended Beth Eden Baptist Church. Although the pastor was away the day we were there we did hear two very good messages. In the morning one of the assistant pastors spoke and in the evening there was a visiting evangelist. After the services we were able to talk with some former students of Rob's and even a former student of mine from one of the first years that I taught Home Economics back in the last millenium.

One fun thing that Rob got to experience that afternoon was playing the handbells. Steve is in a group at church learning to play handbells and Rob was able to attend practice with him and participate. Here are Rob and Steve hard at work:


In my next post I will cover the highlights of our time in Colorado.


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