Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pumpkin?? Fall Only??

   Are you a person who only craves pumpkin in the Fall?  I enjoy pumpkin all year long. I have a pumpkin sheet cake recipe that is so good you have to eat it whenever you want, no matter what season it is!  I understand the whole eat in season thing but I don't care when there is canned pumpkin on the shelf!

   Jeremiah requested pumpkin gobs back in the middle of summer.  I made two batches of those gobs!  They ate it them so quick that I only got two out of both batches.  I found that recipe when the kids were little and I wanted a recipe to supplement our Thanksgiving studies.  They were called Pilgrim Pies and I couldn't pass that up. Perfect!

   Since I am a person who can eat pumpkin any time I am all about eating Aldi's Pumpkin Tortilla Chips!  Oh! My! Gosh!  They are so, so good!  I could eat them anytime.  I got this bag two weeks ago and I ate almost every single chip myself!  I don't even feel slightly guilty about eating all of them either. I wish they had them more often than in the Fall but I will get them when I can. 

   Do you like these chips?  Have you ever tried them?  I hope I'm not the only one. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

From My Front Porch

I haven't posted a Front Porch post in a bit.  I feel like its kinda like a repeat from last year but... here it goes!  ;-)
 The leaves have stared to turn.  I took these pictures last week so the leaves have changed a bit more since then.

A local farmer made some round bales this year.  I snapped this picture late in the evening to capture bales and I am so glad I did. 
The farmer came back early the next morning to load them up and haul them to his farm.  I tried to get a couple pictures of that but I was facing the rising sun and it was just too bright to get a good photo.  They used a red and blue twine this year to secure the hay.  I like it.  It matches my house!  :-) 

Well, that about sums it up for today. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Where, oh where has the Johnson Family been?

   Oh boy!  Have we been busy.  Crazy days for us.  I'm not sure when I posted last but we started school for the new year in August.  I was really sad about the thought of starting this year because it is the last year of homeschooling for Madilynne. However, I am enjoying this year because when you have older kids you can really have some good discussions about the topics they are studying. They have some really good thoughts and sometimes challenge my thinking! 

View of VA Beach from our room balcony.

   We have been traveling a lot lately also.  As much as I like getting on the road and being together making memories, I am so glad the traveling is done.  The last trip was to Virginia Beach, Virginia.  I loved the trip even though I am not a huge water fan.  I loved waking up every morning to seeing the ocean, the surfers and dolphins while drinking my tea!  I was really surprised at how well Madi and Ryder got along.  When you have two teens, well, they can kind of get on each others last nerve.  Both kids were awesome to travel with....most of the time!  ;-)  The trip to the beach took us 7 hours to drive to.  That's a long time in the car.   

   We were at the beach while Hurricane Irma was bearing down on FL.  My brother J lives in FL and he hightailed it out to safety in NC.  I am so glad that he was safe and as far I know right now, his home didn't sustain any damage. 

   I have been busy getting the produce from the garden canned for the last month.  Our garden gave a lot of produce but the wildlife around here ate their fair share this year.  I was able to can several batches of salsa and some jars of green beans.  I froze some zucchini and green peppers too. I bought some carrots and my mom helped me can 29 quarts today.  That was a lot of chopping!  Jeremiah grew two nice pumpkins.  He brought them to the front porch to use as fall decorations. 

   Speaking of fall... some of the trees are starting to show their colors!  My dad has a saying that "The colored leaves are the flowers of fall." 

    I think that I will finish with that for the evening.  I hope to post more later! Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them. I was close to my grandmothers more than my grandfathers.  My mom was one of 12 kids so there were a lot of us grandkids running around.  I think there were 33 (?) grandkids.  My grandma always made us feel special though.  I went to visit my grandma before she passed of Alzheimer's and I was prepared for her to not know who I was.  I walked up to her bed and I greeted her and asked her if she knew who I was.  She looked me and said, "Yes, I know who you are.  How could I ever forget you?"  She proceeded to tell me who I was and different things about me.  I forgot about that day until I started to type this. Now I have tears streaming down my face so hard I can hardly see to type!  
On my dad's side; I never knew my biological grandfather as he passed several years before I was born.  I was close to my grandmother though.  She had Parkinson's disease and I helped my dad and uncle take care of her until she was too sick for us to take care of at home.  I spent a lot of my growing up years with her and my grandpa (her second husband).  I can remember one time when he took me fishing and I caught a brook trout and thought that it was the biggest fish of my life!  I don't think he got much fishing done that day! 

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?  I don't think I was ever attached to any particular item.  I had several dolls that I played with though.  I kept those dolls and thought that Madi would like them when she was little...nope! She wasn't into my old dolls so they are currently in storage! :-)

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.  I see a forest and trees!!!  I try to see the whole picture in things and I also know that in every situation there is two sides and the truth.  :-)   I also like to look for the light at the end of the tunnel!

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?  I do not like sour candies!!!  Of the foods listed I will say lemons.  I really like a slice of lemon in my water.  I have tried kumquats before and I can't say that I particularly liked them.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.  It has been a rollercoaster ride but I love it!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
   My mom came over to visit yesterday afternoon and we flipped through some old photo albums I have.  I am so happy that I have those photos and not just pictures on a computer.  It has encouraged me to print off more and fill some more albums!  I am so excited to print more photos.  Am I the only one who likes to look at actual photos instead of digital ones? 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Peek Into My Life

   At church several weeks ago before starting his sermon one of our pastors announced that the church cleaning crew found a note where a lot of the teens sit. 
 He read, "If you keep staring at her, you'll go blind."

   I personally loved this!  My "romantic heart" thought this was so awesome.
 Teen boy smitten with the lovely teen girl... Ahhh....  
   When we arrived back home I teasingly asked Jeremiah if he ever stared at me while we were dating?

Jeremiah: Yep, all the time!
Me: All the time? You must not have stared enough because you aren't blind.
Jeremiah: I stared enough. I wear glasses now.  ~wink~
   Let me tell you, that was one of the sweetest things he could have said to me! Yes, it falls into cheesy but it melted my heart!  ~Dreamy Sigh~  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Flowers and the Garden

I went down to get the mail and I saw this pretty little flower right beside the driveway.  Not sure how it got there but it is pretty. 
The snowball bush is quite lovely this year. 

The red beets are doing really well.  There are also several tomato plants and onions planted in this garden.

The peas and tomatoes are doing great.

Onions and lettuce.  There is also kale, celery and broccoli in these rows. 

These are the vining plants. Cucumbers, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, zucchini and I think cantaloupe and a watermelon plant.

The zucchini are doing great.  There are 5 or 6 squash ready to eat.

Another view of the zucchini.


Spaghetti squash and this one has several smaller squash coming on also.

Baby cucumbers! 

Our Grape arbor!

It's loaded with grapes again this year.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

From My Front Porch

It's time for another set of photos from my front porch. This post is pretty photo heavy.
  The hanging baskets that Madilynne picked up from the store are doing great!

I couldn't decide which picture to use here so I added all three!
I know a bit of overkill....

This photo is the roses that are in bloom across the road from the house.  I went over and took some close up photos of them so you could see more clearly.  These blossoms are starting to get old.  Some of the pink color is leaving them and they are turning pale pink.

This is a row of tiger lilies that I can see from the porch.  It is to the left facing the road and honestly there isn't much to look at except for field so I hardly take pictures that direction.  I went to the edge of the yard and took these and then decided that they were so pretty that I would also take a couple closer shots. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I haven't posted for a bit so I decided to answer some questions for the Hodgepodge! Hope you enjoy reading today.

 1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?  Many years ago we attended a fireworks display that was set a record for the most fireworks set off within a specific time. I can't remember many of the details anymore but it was fabulous! 
My hot buttons: my family can tell you very simply...when I am hot and/or hungry.  People don't do much that make me angry except the things that would make anyone upset like child abuse/neglect.  I have come to the realization that a lot of people are quite honestly stupid and are lacking a severe amount of commonsense. Ok, I guess that is a hot button too! HaHa!

 2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?  I haven't attended any parties.  Would picnics count?  I have been to several picnics so far.  We have done several campfires also.  For us a campfire is family sitting around a big fire pit roasting marshmallows, hotdogs, making mountain pies and S'mores.  In our family a great party has to have FOOD and lots of it! :-)

3. What does freedom mean to you?  I come from a long line of veterans.  Freedom wasn't free.  Someone paid with their life, blood, sweat and tears for us to be free. Families were affected when that loved one was taken from them for our freedom. We are free to worship as we want, vote in politics like we want and make decisions for our families as we want like whether to homeschool/private/Christian/public educate our children.  We are free to think and act upon our thoughts as we want. We are able to post blogs that have our views expressed pretty freely also...even if they are written with out any commonsense! ;-)  I guess that is a bit along side my answer to number 1.  I also feel that folks need to realize there are two sides to every story.  Pros and cons to every hot button issue out there and we have the freedoms to express those due to our veterans ensuring our freedoms.

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?  What annoys me the most about cell phones is that people talk way to loudly into them.  I don't feel that I need to hear your conversations so use your inside voice on the phone; even if you are outside.

5. What's your current summer anthem?  I don't have one.  I don't think I have ever had an anthem.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
  I am trying to enjoy summer to its fullest this year.  Usually I am ready for summer to turn into fall but this year has been so different.  I am just loving summer.  I am not ready to turn in the sandals for boots anytime soon!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Life With A Teen Boy??

First thing: this was posted with permission given from Ryder.
What happens when you have a
Teenaged boy and add in
A treadmill on high speed and
An 8lb weight

 Ryder truly thought that the weight would just roll down the treadmill.  Well, THAT didn't happen!  HaHa!  Everyone is safe and no harm was done except to the window.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Strawberries and Peaches

Our neighbors went to the lovely state of GA last week for their oldest granddaughter's high school graduation. They would be gone for a week and needed us to take care of their beef cattle and to feed the cats while they were away.  We are happy to help them out so they can travel see their children and grandchildren. 

   They always bring back a thoughtful thank you gift and this time they brought a gallon of strawberries and a peck of peaches.  They were so flavorful, fresh and brightly colored. 

   After eating some fresh; we decided that it was just going to be too much to eat before they would go bad so I made 9 pints of strawberry jam and froze several quarts of peaches.  The peaches will be a wonderful addition to a smoothie.

 Ryder eats toast with butter and jam every morning.  I have even had some on toast...yeah the "bad gluten kind" too!  I didn't get sick and it is so delicious!  Madi made some parfaits with vanilla yogurt, granola and fresh peaches!  They were delicious also.  Ryder ate two, maybe three, that evening.  There is just something about fresh fruit that is awesome!

   I had to put more pictures in here to show how bright  the colors are! I love it!

The jam is a brighter red color than these photos show. It is bright red like the strawberries but for some reason my camera didn't feel like making them red! 
    Not really a big deal though as the taste is what is more important than the picture. 

   I used the recipe in the Ball canning book.  It is a very simple, easy recipe.  I did choose to use the pectin recipe.  After having these strawberries Jeremiah decided that he wanted to plant some more strawberry plants.  Our plants died out several years back and we just never got around to planting more.  I ran to the local greenhouse and bought 14 plants.  Jeremiah was happy that they still had some and they were marked down to $.75 a plant!  They are rather large plants with blossoms and two of them have strawberries starting!

That's a wrap from the Pine Tree Forest!  I think I may need to eat something with jam this morning!  I need something with my tea! 
Have a blessed day, y'all!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Honey Spring 2017

   Our bees made it through the winter.  Happy Dance!!!  Our winter wasn't as harsh as it has been in past years so that was a help. However, my dad has done more research on beekeeping and decided that we needed to make bee candy and feed them through the winter.  I am guessing that it was a huge help as all the hives thrived this time. 

   Dad and Ryder went up to check on the hives two weeks ago and Dad decided that one hive in particular was just too full! Yep! Too full!  They filled a tote with frames and brought them down.  Madi and I scrapped them and then I started to filter the liquid gold! It is so sweet and a beautiful color.  We haven't ever had the opportunity to harvest honey in the spring so this was a real treat! 

   In the picture above you can see my little pint jar on the left.  I put honey in my tea every morning.  Actually, whenever I make hot tea I put honey and vanilla creamer in it.  I am addicted to it.  I am all about the honey and vanilla!  I have made my own vanilla creamer in the past but it is a bit more work than I really want to do right now.  I just use Coffee-Mate's Natural Bliss creamer.  It's made without GMO's.  It sounds so good that I think I need to tear myself away from the computer and make a cup of happiness!  Have a blessed day! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From My Front Porch

   I am a bit behind on posting pictures for this month. I have been busy harvesting honey, making jelly and freezing some fruit. I will post more on those thing later.  Even though I didn't have the time to post them, I did take them. These photos were taken on June 2 or June 3.

   We had a good rain storm earlier this month and it wreaked some havoc on the rhododendron bushes.  The blossoms didn't make it through the storm.

   Madi planted some flowers and decided that the front porch would be the best place for them.  They give the tomato plant some company!

   Our hanging baskets are looking great! They have really grown in size.  The colors are lovely!  I'm still really happy with them.  I give them at least a quart of water each everyday!

   Everything has turned green again!  I'm so excited to have this beautiful weather.  Its kinda crazy though as we have had to have the heat on a couple times because it gets a bit too cold at night!  It's June!!!

   This rhododendron didn't loose as many blossoms as the other one during the storm.  They are such happy colors!