Friday, May 30, 2014

Sweet Summertime Tea

Oh sweet summertime! So many wonderful things come with this time of the year. One favorite is sweet tea. I used to not be a sweet tea fan until this recipe. Plain jane was my way of choice, so trust me... This recipe is good if it makes me sway the other way! So kick up your feet and pour yourself a glass of this crisp summertime refreshment!

Sweet Summertime Tea
*Makes one gallon*

12 Lipton tea bags
4 Cups boiling water
12 Cups cold water
1 Cup sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Add baking soda & tea bags to your pitcher. Pour boiling water over bags & soda and let sit for about 15 minutes. Remove tea bags with a squeeze to make sure you get every ounce of flavor out of the bags and throw the bags away. Then pour in your sugar and stir around until it is dissolved. Once dissolved pour your cold water in and give it another stir. Let it chill in the fridge for a while. Once chilled pour over ice, kick back and enjoy!!

*TIPS* Add some lemon juice and serve with a sliced lemon wedge to give a lemon twang. My preferred way to drink it. Love it! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Homemade sweetened condensed milk

1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup boiling water
Put it all in a blender and blend til thick.

I left mine a little bit runnier than store bought and it was easier to use in my homemade coffee creamer. So much cheaper and healthier than store bought!


Click to print.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb pie. A sweet, delicious treat perfect for summertime. I hadn't ever made one myself so when we moved into our house I was excited to see a rhubarb plant in the backyard. With this beautiful weather we have been having in our area this rhubarb blossomed up and was saying cut me down and make a pie! So I did! Takes me back to my childhood days when I would bounce for joy when my mom would bake this pie! Hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy every bite of it! 

So heat your oven to 425 degrees and lets do this! 

Slice of heaven. 

~ Strawberry Rhubarb Pie ~

~ Use your favorite pie dough recipe OR dough recipe below ~

Flaky pie crust Ingredients 

4 Cups Flower
2 1/2 Cups shortening
2 Teaspoons salt
12 Tablespoons ice water

Pie filling

4 Cups sliced strawberries
4 Cups chopped rhubarb
2 Cups sugar
3 Tablespoons tapioca
2 Tablespoons flower
2 Teaspoons vanilla
1 Teaspoon lemon zest
1 Teaspoon cinnamon


2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons butter cut into little squares

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Blend salt & flower together in a bowl. Fork in shortening. Pastry cutters are life savers for this task. Use fork if you don't have one though. Once flower and shortening is blended together leaving no loose flower start adding your water 1 tablespoon at a time until your mixture takes on a doughy texture. Not too wet though! Divide dough in two separate balls.

Stir all filling ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes to allow tapioca to slightly swell before cooking process. While waiting roll out your bottom crust into your pie dish allowing crust to hang over sides but firmly pressed to fit in the pie dish. Pour in your pie filling. Roll top crust over entire pie. Trim excess dough off edges but leave enough to roll up and crimp into a crust. Roll your edges and crimp. Slice six one inch long vents into top of pie. Using any excess dough you may have depending on the size of your pie plate top with any cut out decorative shapes you would like. I like rolling up tiny balls and placing them over the top like polka dots everywhere. Finally sprinkle sugar over the top and evenly place buttery cubes all over the top.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and roll up edges to catch any drippings as the pie bakes. Place on rack below the rack the pie will bake on. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Decrease oven temp to 375 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Let cool and sit for an hour or so. Serve warm if desired. Ice cream is a wonderful addition to this dessert as well! Enjoy! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Last day of kindergarten

My baby is growing up! We have had a long first year of homeschool.  It was a big learning curve for me. Figuring out what works and what doesn't, how to get her to pay attention and love learning.  We had to change curriculams about a month into our schooling because it wasn't working for us at all. That made our year even longer. We went through a lot of crayons, erases, pencils, and yoga pants, but here we are; done at last!

Love you Harlee! Can't wait to teach you in first grade!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Baby Bunny Love!

So the other day my family and I were walking around in the field and picking wild asparagus. Just enjoying a nice sunny day and soaking it in. As I walk to some asparagus this rabbit dashes out in front of me of course sending me into a slight cardiac arrest... I mean c'mon who doesn't jump when bunnies do that? Okay, Okay, OKAY... Fine, I'm a jumpy person. ANYWAYS! My husband, Westen tells me, "Hey Mia there's another bunny there in the side of the ditch."

Bunny family!
Being the animal lover I am I wanted to see how close I could get to the bunny for some pictures. As I get closer I see the bunny was acting different. Would not move. I was shocked and was wondering if the bunny has some disease or something and was dying. I quickly notice that was not the case. She had babies! They were hours old if that. It was one of the coolest things I has seen in a while.

Tending to her babies!
I sat there basically sitting in the same ditch she was in. I was taking these pictures with just my cell phone. Yes, my CELL PHONE! I was that close! Just when I thought that this couldn't get any more awesome the daddy bunny (Or so I'm assuming?) came back around from where he went when he flushed out. He stood his ground right above the mommy bunny and just watched. I was not only in shock but just amazed by what I was watching.

See them??? Hard I know but they are there! 
So anyone who knows me is probably like really? Mia... you hunt rabbits.. Your amazed by little rabbits? Okay I see where your coming from, but this was really cool I thought. I hunt elk & deer but could spend hours just sitting amongst them watching their day to day. Were surrounded by amazing wildlife and how they go from their day to day can be fascinating. I love nature and I'm dedicated to preserving habitat and conserving the wildlife the land thrives with. Amazing how god created all of this for us to see and enjoy and pass on for future generations to see and enjoy. 

Happy Mothers Day bunny family!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Being a wife to an HEO at the power plant comes with early mornings leaving for work. Like a lot wives I am always wondering what to send with my man to get him through the day. FINALLY!  I have thought of the perfect solution and of course now I'm asking myself why didn't I think of this before?? Nevertheless, now I am a religious baker of this easy breakfast casserole. Or as I sometimes like to call it... The WORKING MAN'S BREAKFAST! (Or  working woman's of course... ) It is SO nice to have this ready to go for him to warm up when breakfast time rolls around at work. It is also nice to have baked up when I have a houseful of guests. I hope you give this a try. It will make packing the lunch box go a lot smoother or it will also make feeding a houseful of guests a breeze!! This casserole is great! Simple as that! 
                                         So turn your oven to 350 degrees and lets do this!

Did I mention there was cheese on it? Oh yes... 

   Easy Breakfast Casserole
  2 pounds cooked & crumbled breakfast sausage
                                                     Half of a purple onion / chopped                                                     
 1 Cup cheese
  1 Dozen eggs
  1/4 Cup milk
   1 Teaspoon salt
     1 Teaspoon pepper
        1/2 Teaspoon chili powder
        1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

Set your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 pan and pour crumbled sausage in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle over chopped onion evenly over meat. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk and spices together. Pour egg mixture over onions and meat. Sprinkle the cheese over everything and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. 

What is AWESOME about this recipe is you can pretty much add anything you would desire in it. Hash browns, spinach, diced chilis, bacon, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink! This recipe has the basics but you can defiantly get creative and add whatever flavors you desire into this!

*For the working man I cut potions out and freeze them in sandwich bags and get the next day's breakfast out the night before*

Click here to print!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A day in the life of a oilfield wife

My husband is up before dawn, and gone within five minutes of waking up.  I'm left alone laying in bed with the familiar pit in my stomach.  I'm alone, again.  It's not long before I'm up to.  I have the normal housewife chores, the mom chores and the household chores.

I also have the honey-do-list.  I have an I'll-do-it-all by-myself-list. I would love to make a honey-do-list for my husband.  I would love to have more help with things around the house.  But that's not going to happen anytime soon.

That's not to say he doesn't help; because he does.  Yesterday he worked 18.5 hours.  That doesn't leave much time for a honey-do-list.

Honey will you please mow the lawn?'re kidding right.
Honey will you please find the smoke alarm that is chirping and fix it? it yourself.
Honey will you please carry that really heavy bookshelf downstairs?...find a way to get it down there yourself.
Honey will you please take out the trash?...put on your big girl panties and do it yourself.

I have been known to take apart pieces of furniture (like bookshelves or dressers), carry the pieces downstairs and put it back together. Sure that can take me an hour or more and it would take him five minutes.  But I know that that five minutes is five minutes less that he could see the kids, and they need him even more than I do.

We are wanting to buy a generator for backup heating in the cold North Dakota winters.  So finding an electrician and researching job.

Figuring out what homeschool curriculum to job.

Finding a place to take the car in to get some work job.

Honey-do-lists are for only the things I absolutely, positively can not do myself.  As time goes on and my power tool skills grow, this is less and less.

You may be thinking right now that this is crazy, and you're right.  You may be thinking right now that he should help me more, but there you're wrong.  When he has days off he is willing to help me with anything I desire help on.  But the thing is, that we need to just hang out with him.  The kids need to play with their dad, they need to catch bugs with their dad, they need to talk to their dad.  And I need to cuddle on the couch and watch TV with him, more than I need him to take out the trash.

The kids and I have long days.  He doesn't have a regular schedule; he isn't home at 5:00 sharp everyday; we don't know what time he will be home til he walks in the door.  Some days it could be 2:00 but that is rare.  Most of the time the girls and I eat dinner without him.  Most of the time he is here to help put them to bed. Sometimes he isn't.

Our lives are unpredictable. We could move somewhere new at anytime.  He could go out of town for work and be gone for a week or two, or even three. Some oilfield men are gone for months at a time.  We could get a call saying there has been an accident on the rig at any moment.

I hear so many people say "oh the money must be great".  Yes, it is a good paying job, so I can go buy a brand new extra large plush couch...and sit on it alone.  That good paying job comes at an even higher price.

My kids are good, loving kids but some days they whine and kick and hit each other like crazy.  Much like any other kids I'm sure.  But when they start acting out of control 99.9% of the time they haven't seen their dad much lately.  And it breaks my heart that they miss him so much.  It breaks my heart that I can't even tell them how much longer it is til he comes home.

By now, you probably think we would be nuts to live this life. You may be onto something there.

The oilfield, like it or not, runs America.  Your car needs gas and you probably use things like shampoo, shaving cream, nail polish, hair dye, lipstick, lotion, and band aids.  In your house you probably have a refrigerator, paint, pillows and trash bags. Your kids probably play with balloons, crayons and footballs.  You probably take aspirin and antihistamines. You probably wear clothes and shoes. And all those things need oil to make them. (see more things made with oil here)

You can not even ride a bike to avoid supporting the oilfield, cause those bike tires are made from oil.

There is a certain sense of pride that comes with knowing you're part of something that runs the greatest country in the world. My husband is supporting his family in the way that he knows best, and he loves the oilfield. We love him.  He is oilfield through and through. We are an oilfield family.

We wouldn't have it any other way. We are oilfield proud.

Photo credit goes to my hard working oilfield husband.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Elk Stir Fry

Living in rural Colorado hunting season is a BIG time of the year. Not only is it my favorite time of the year for going out and making memories in the woods, but its also my major grocery shopping for the year. No meat wrapped in plastic in my household all my meat is organic mountain fed elk, deer, bear, pronghorn, or sometimes even mountain lion. Yes, I said mountain lion. Anyways elk is what I have a majority of every year and I love cooking with it. I believe elk is some of the best tasting meat on the planet. No joke.... this stuff is seriously THAT good! Elk stir fry is a different direction to take this lean meat, but it is a delicious direction!

Give it a try and Enjoy! 

Redneck Panda Express.

Elk Stir Fry

2 Pounds elk meat (I use back strap, shoulder, or hind quarter steak meat)
1 Purple onion
2 Red bell peppers 
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons montreal steak seasoning 
1 Cup stir fry sauce ( I use Kikkoman brand)

Slice your onion, bell peppers and in a pan caramelize in butter over medium high heat. Slice your meat in skinny strips and season with steak seasoning. Once onions and peppers are caramelized transfer them to a plate and cook your sliced meat in pan over medium high heat until desired temperature. Once meat is cooked pour onion/pepper mixture back over meat and mix together in pan over medium heat. Once mixed pour over your stir fry sauce and stir until blended. Serve over rice.

I have used a variety of veggies in this recipe as well. So whatever you desire throw it in with your peppers and onions when caramelizing! Add more sauce if you wish for more. Can be served over Udon noodles, too!

Click here to print!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Herding Owls with a Broom

Herding Owl with a Broom

Life on the family ranch is certainly never dull.  Early this morning Paul saw something walking down the driveway.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a fledgling Great Horned Owl.

By the time I got there, it had walked down the side of the house and sat there for awhile.  Paul tried to go out the front door and get it to walk on down the driveway hoping to get it into the shelter of some trees.  Nope, he snapped and popped his beak at him and wouldn't move.  We carried on with getting Paul ready for work.  I went out to look again and it was gone and I didn't see it though I'd have sworn I heard it popping its beak as I went out the door.  Then in a bit Paul found it where it had crossed the back porch and crawled under his toolbox (which was about 3 feet from my bare ankles when I went out earlier and why I heard it pop its beak!).  

The morning proceeded with wondering how to deal with this owl.  I didn't want our dog Clancy getting it and the owl getting some good tears in on Clancy with that beak and its talons.  We did chores by Clancy going in and out the front door and avoiding the owl.  It was still there and I knew something needed to be done.  So I got the push broom and poked it out from under the toolbox.  It went across the porch rather reluctantly and then across the back yard.  Wish I could have gotten some pictures of that because it was fluffed up with its wings out.  It stopped and turned to me many times as I swept it along.  It tried to fly a few times, but didn't get more than a couple feet off the ground in a couple of hops.  Then I discovered it would grab the broom bristles and I messed around with it hanging on the broom and lost it several times.  Finally got it kind of secured on there in an awkward way and headed for the tangle of trees nearby.

After a few attempts, I kind of got it in the trees, but it wouldn't turn loose of the broom.  So I left it hanging there for a bit to see what would happen.

When I came back in about ten minutes, it was upright and loose from the broom.

And mama is watching from another tree not too far away.

The fledgling can't fly so I don't know how this will turn out.  I just know it's better in the tree than right on the ground outside my door with my dog and other family dogs nearby.


I had to be gone for a couple of hours and when I came back there was no sign of the owlet.  No sign of mama either.  I will always wonder how she rescued it.  So I'm just going to believe I helped to save it. 

2nd Day Update:

Paul spotted the owlet further into the tangle this morning and higher up.  Since it can't fly, not sure how it got there but it's still around.  Then this evening I went looking and not only was baby sitting there, but mama owl was sitting right beside it, so I KNOW she is still caring for it!

Several days after the last update I traveled out of town and left Paul with instructions for updates and to keep an eye out.  He continued for about a week to see the young owl and mama in the tangle of trees.  The young owl moved from place to place in the tangle.  Then one morning, they were gone.  But that evening they were both back in the same tangle.  Baby owl had flown.  The next day they were gone and we haven't seen them since though in the dark we hear owls hooting off and on.  We are choosing to think it all worked out and we were able to help save this young owl.

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