Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Big Thank You, Snow and Happy New Year!

 

A great big thank you to all of you who left me punch recipes and emailed them to me.  I have a ton of them now!   I am going through all of them and trying to decide which one to make.  I sure do appreciate everyone who took the time to share their recipes.  




On Wednesday the weather report said there was a possibility of snow flurries.  So we headed into town to take care of wedding details.  About ¾ of the way through our trip a friend of my daughters looked outside (we were in Costco) and said.. “It’s snowing!” ..  yikes.. that was not supposed to happen.  So I rounded everyone up (they were in all parts of the store) and we got out as quick as we could.  I figured a little snow in town could very well mean a lot more at home.  I was glad we got out of there.  The drive home was a bit stressful as snow is not common enough for drivers around here to master it and traffic was terrible.  Snow continued to fall through the night and this is the white winter wonderland we woke up to..





 


Today Tobin and I will head out, now that the roads have been plowed, and go back to town.  He has some errands to run and I need to finish up what I was trying to do on Tuesday. 



New Years Eve! 


We are staying home, as usual.  My son Jacob has a friend coming and I am sure the kids will stay up to ring in the New Year.. me? Well I will do what I always do .. go to bed early and wake up early on the first day of the New Year..  


See you all in 2010!! 


 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Updates from the Homestead

  We had a very nice Christmas.  The day was relaxing.  We had our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve and then just enjoyed leftovers and goodies on Christmas Day.   

Here are some pics to share ……






 


I did not waste any time however and yesterday with the help of my kids we got Christmas all cleaned up.  The tree is out back ready to take down to the goats for a little Christmas time treat, the decorations are all put away and the house all cleaned up.  Now maybe I can think better! I love the holidays but I also love the feeling of putting it all away and looking forward to brand new year with all of its excitement, goals and planning.   


Seems as though my year will start off with plans right away!  There are two weeks now until Richards wedding! Yikes!  


Yesterday I was starting to feel a bit stressed with details.  So I did what I always do when I feel that way.. started making a to-do list..  it is amazing how that helps me.. write it down, see what needs to be done, figure out when it needs to be done and I feel my stress level fade a bit.   


I have at least three trips into town lined up this next week to deal with things..  clothing, cake, decorations, etc..  Then the following week will be devoted to dealing with the food preparations and getting my house clean and in order.  Since it is a small wedding the reception will be here at my house afterwards.   


I have a question.. does anyone have a good tried and true punch recipe they would care to share?  I don’t make punch and was hoping to find a recipe that someone has some good experience with.    If you do you can leave the recipe in the comment section or send it to me in an email: crystal@thefamilyhomestead.com  


One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to set goals for myself for the upcoming year.  I have some basic goals in mind.. like make tons and tons of soap!  I have not had the time as of late to stay on top of it like I usually do and my inventory is suffering because of it.  So I think February and March and maybe April will be devoted to soap making.   


I can’t wait to start planning out this years garden as well!  My garden was so much fun and gave us so much that I am really looking forward to doing it again.  We are still enjoying spaghetti sauce and salsa that I made from my garden tomatoes as well as other goodies I made.  So that has me thinking about what else I would like to plant and plan to use in some way.   


Those are just a couple of my goals.. I think my mind will be able to focus on goal planning with more clarity after the wedding!  Or maybe after January.  My best friend’s son is also getting married in January and I have committed myself to helping her out too.  His wedding is two weeks after Richards.   


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday! 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Cookie Making

 

My friend Jennie gave me her Sour Cream Cookie recipe and I made it on Saturday.  Then we had fun frosting all those cookies!  There were a lot of them!  This recipe is great!  Easy to make and they taste so good.  I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour in mine and I used all vanilla flavoring because I am not a fan of almond flavoring.  I did divide the frosting into 3 bowls (and flavored it all vanilla) and colored it red and green and left one white.  The recipe is a doubled recipe so if it is just too many cookies for you .. you can cut it in half.   But before I share the recipes here are some pics..





And while we were decorating cookeis .. the guys were busy doing what they always do (and of course I was interrupting by taking the picture!! LOL) … 


  


Here is the recipe….   


Sour Cream Cookies

4 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup butter (approx. 2 sticks plus 6 TBSP), softened
4 eggs
2 cups sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. baking soda
9 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350º. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla and almond extract to the sugar/butter mixture. Mix. Add to that the baking soda and flour. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake 8-10 minutes. This is a doubled recipe. A single recipe uses 2/3 cup butter. Recipe makes approx. 12 dozen cookies.

FROSTING

8 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 dashes of salt
2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
milk to right consistency

You can divide the frosting into 3 parts before adding the flavoring. Flavor 1 vanilla & color pink. Flavor 1 almond and color green. Flavor 1 maple and leave white. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and flaked coconut.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What’s Been Happening on the Homestead


 


I am feeling a bit of shock to know that there is less than week before Christmas!  I am almost ready..  seems to happen to me every year.  I think.. this year I will do all my shopping early, be prepared and ready to go come December.. and for whatever reason it never happens entirely.  I do usually start buying gifts in October so that does help some.. but when I get right down to the wire I still have lots of gaps to fill and things to do.… more details.. I just keep making lists    


For Christmas dinner we are having a Turkey dinner.  Richard was in the Philippines over Thanksgiving and Lolot has never had turkey so it seemed like the meal to make.  I will make up the meal and serve it on Christmas Eve.  I like Christmas day to be easy and not hectic with a lot of cooking.   


The wedding plans are coming right along. Since it will be a small wedding with little time for planning we are focusing on just a few things to make it special.  Lolot has a beautiful wedding dress and I just ordered the bridesmaid dresses.  The wedding invitations are going out today, I believe.  There are always so many details in planning a wedding, even a small one.  You want it nice, and you want it special..  and that means details.  We are also praying about the weather.  We live in an area where the roads can get nasty this time of year, so we are praying that the weather cooperates for those traveling to the wedding.  I have three weeks left to help them pull it all together!!   


Yesterday Emily and I drove to Eugene Oregon so she could take a Dante test at the University of Oregon.  This was the nearest college we could find that administers the test.  It was six total hours of driving and one hour of testing…  She took her World Religions test and passed!!  She gained 3 credits and is now a total of 6 credits into her senior year..  we are seeing the end in sight!  She has 24 credits left to go.. then she will have her bachelors degree in accounting..  she is doing a super job!  She starts up her online courses again in January.  She has one more Dante to take and a few TCEP tests as well as 3 more courses.  She took a little break for the month of November but is now back to the books again!  We are very proud of all her accomplishments.  Can’t say enough good things about College Plus!   


Christmas Baking: I actually have not done much of it.  I think this week I will try and find some time to bake a few batches of cookies.  I have baked some pies lately.  I find pies so easy to do.. I have my pie crust recipe that makes four crusts.  They keep for a couple weeks in the fridge or longer in the freezer.  I usually just plan on using them up within a few days.  This time I made two Chocolate Cream Pies.. those were sooo easy and so yummy.   With the other two crusts I made apple pie.  With a house full of hungry people.. none of the pies last long…. Which is fine with me.  Besides my lack of time to do Christmas baking, I really don’t want to deal with the temptation of all those goodies around either! LOL..  I have no desire to head into the new year with extra pounds to lose.. due to holiday excesses.   But a few cookies and maybe another pie or two for our Christmas dinner would be good.   


My time lately has also been filled with keeping all the hungry tummies in the house filled and content, keeping the kids focused on school (however our Christmas break begins on Monday, yea!!), and keeping the house clean, organized, laundry done and all that is involved in keeping the wheels turning on my homestead.  Sorry for the pause in blogging.. that is what happens when life takes front and center! LOL..  I have little time to be on the computer..  I will be back to blogging regularly soon..  I just know it!   


Have a great weekend on your homesteads! 

Friday, December 4, 2009

CDs now available as eBooks!

 


  


 


I now have available the following CDs in ebook format for a reduced cost:  


The Family Homestead Recipe Collection


How to Make Whole Wheat Bread


If you would like more information about these ebooks click on the links above


or click here:  http://crystalscountrystore.com/ebooks.htm
to see information on all of my current eBooks.


Please note that if you have previously purchased either of these CDs, there is no new content being added.  

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Updates from the Homestead

 

Finally I have a few minutes to do a little blogging.  Life has been very full and busy lately.  On the 23rd of November we celebrated my daughter Sierra’s 14th birthday.  She requested Pumpkin Cheesecake (she loves anything pumpkin!)  She was actually born on Thanksgiving Day and that has made her birth all the more memorable!  This year however she got her own day to celebrate…



 


Then it was a simple and quiet Thanksgiving Day for us due to the fact that we were all planning, working and waiting for the big moment in our lives..  when Richard and Lolot came home!! 


They arrived home on Monday (Nov. 30th) after 18 hours of flight time and having been up for 24 hours. They spent the first few days recovering and adjusting to the time change and dealing with jet lag.  


 It was wonderful to see Richard and to finally meet the love of his life, Lolot (this is her nickname, her name is Doneza).  We all really have fallen in love with her.  She is so sweet and so kind.  I could not be happier for son.    It has been so good to see them both happy and excited about their future.  We have been spending a lot of time on wedding plans!  We don’t have a lot of time so we are working on the basics of what is important to them both.   


Lolot has also been sharing lots of pictures of her family with us.  That has been nice to see them and get to know them as she shares about their lives.  Family means a lot to her and I know she feels a bit of sadness to leave them but also excitement to be here.   


Here are a few pictures to share… 




 


She showed us how she cuts up a pineapple..  very impressive!!





And she cooked Chicken Adobo for dinner for us too..  Incredibly yummy!!!  She could not find some of the ingredients she was familiar with.  Richard searched around and has now found her a Philippine grocery store so she can purchase the ingredients she is more familiar with. 



 


I can’t wait for more cooking lessons!  It has been a fantastic opportunity to learn all about a new culture and food.   


I will be back soon to post some pics of Leanne’s bedroom..  it turned out great and we got it all painted and got her moved back into her room.. and Emily out of her room and into Leanne’s room so we could give Em’s room to Lolot.  We wanted to her to have her own place. I figured she was dealing with enough changes in her life and would appreciate a little space of her own as she adjusted to our family.   I was very thankful to have it all come together in time..   Thanks for sharing in our excitement!   


Hope you all have a great Friday on your homesteads!

Full time job opportunity with CollegePlus!—Seeking Public Relations Manager


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College Plus! Asked me if I would be willing to post this job opportunity on my blog..  It sounds like a great position for the right person!

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The San Antonio office of CollegePlus! is in immediate need of a creative, forward-thinking Public Relations Manager. Our current PR Manager is transitioning to new responsibilities with CP! and this leaves an important role to be filled.

This is not an internship opportunity—as PR Manager, you would be a full time employee in the San Antonio office, a key member of the marketing team, and you would report directly to our Director of Marketing.

To be a successful PR Manager with CollegePlus! you will need:

·        An understanding and commitment to execute the mission of CollegePlus!

·        Creativity, self-motivation, and the ability to problem-solve

·        Dedication to the team and willingness to communicate with your colleagues

·        Attention to detail, passion for your work, and able to take quick action

·        Able to handle the pressure of meeting deadlines

 

Specific job skills to fulfill your role as PR Manager:

·        Strong writing ability—compelling and intuitive writing

·        Manage various writing projects from planning to production to publishing

·        Use PR to increase web presence, drive web traffic, and build SEO

·        Utilize the latest technology and tactics in social media marketing

·        Manage multimedia productions, visual presentations, and artistic marketing

·        Generate publicity for CollegePlus! programs and products   

  

CollegePlus! is growing and this position is a great opportunity for a great person! Competitive pay will be offered based on your skills and experience. If you would like to be considered as a candidate for PR Manager, here’s what to do next:

1.     Email your current résumé to davec@collegeplus.org

2.     Feel free to go beyond just a résumé, include some writing samples, a personal story, an essay about your favorite book or favorite music, etc. Be creative!  

 

This is an equal employment opportunity, all candidates will be considered. If you are accepted as a candidate you will get a detailed job description and an initial interview. Please apply today as this position needs to be filled immediately.