United We Stand…Resisting the Attempts to Divide Agriculture

To be upfront with any new readers, my husband and I are organic crop farmers. We walk the line of organic and conventional agriculture every day – we raise 2400 hogs in climate controlled curtain sided barns, meaning our animals are raised conventionally. We do this for a few reasons, but the main one is so that we are able to capture the manure to use as our fertilizer on our fields. In our opinion, it is the ultimate recycling program.

Much has been said about a newly published report by two doctors at Stanford University about nutritional differences in organic and conventional foods.  I am a little sad that friends who choose to farm differently than I do are touting this report as a “see I told you so” kind of deal.  I have avoided my Facebook account for most of the day because of some comments. So, here is my take on this.

Ever since advertising and marketing started – and all I know about that timeline is it started before I was ever thought about – people have been touting their products in such a way as to sway people into buying what they are selling. Who can forget the slogans “Tastes Great, Less Filling”, “Finger Lickin’ Good”, Good To The Last Drop”, or “Breakfast of Champions”?

Land O’ Lakes will tell you that their milk will stay fresher, longer because of their opaque packaging. Chevy Trucks will tell you that their trucks have a better payload than their competitors. Are they being deceptive, or are they trying to appeal to their target audience? How are the advertising practices of milk brands or truck brands any different than how conventional or organic produce are advertised?

The Stanford study looked at nutrition – mostly vitamins A, C, and E. It also looked at detectable pesticide residue. My first response to the study of the vitamins was “duh”.  I don’t buy organic produce because I think it has better nutrients.  I buy according to taste, and what my family will eat. Many times we can find different varieties of vegetables in the organic section that have a taste we prefer. Look at the surge in heirloom tomatoes being grown in back yard gardens, the the varieties of small tomatoes available at your local supermarket. People are enjoying the food experience, and are demanding foods that fit in with their developing tastes.

I have talked with people at different events that appreciate the way we grow our crops. They believe that a minimal three crop rotation is the best for the soil and the environment. They will buy organic as a way of supporting those who farm in ways they believe in. Nothing was said about nutritional value. There is more to the organic equation than just nutrients, I think.

We should all be celebrating that fact that there was only 38% of conventional produce that had detectable pesticide residue. That means our pesticide residue monitoring systems are working. I understand that there are those who have very little tolerance for pesticide residues due to allergies and illness, which is why you buy organic. I am happy you have that choice, and that it is becoming more readily available for you.

I will never make anyone feel bad for the food choices they make. We all have different taste in clothes, shoes, cars, TV’s, computers, orange juice, cereal, etc. We don’t tear each other apart for those differences, why do so many feel it is okay to condemn food choices? I see no need to have an us vs them attitude in agriculture. What benefit is that to anyone? I would encourage everyone to have a mixed, balanced diet filled with color…and the occasional deep fried Milky Way on a stick.

I am just thankful I live in a time where I do have the choice to buy what I like.  I am thankful for those who gave their lives so that we are able to express our opinions in a public forum, and not be jailed for it. I am thankful for those who are still serving who are sacrificing time with their families, and for those who are eating mess hall meals so we are able to walk into a grocery store and buy whatever I feel like buying that day. I am thankful for all of the families that are farming, doing the best they can to raise crops and livestock for those who are unable to.  As you can tell, I think there are many other issues that are a little more important than this study.

My younger brother, saluting the American Flag at a Twins game in July…a few weeks before being deployed for 12 months. I thank him for defending my freedom, and pray for his safe return.

Pictorial Tour of Our Barley & Field Pea Season

It has been way too long since my last post! It has been an unusually busy spring here, but even in all the busyness, I stopped to take photos of the fields as the crops grow. This year, I am focusing on our barley and field pea crop.

There is no restriction on early planting dates for either barley or peas, and the fields were ready so they went in first.  We started by preparing the soil with the field cultivator. It does not dig very deep, but it smooths out the seed bed while taking out the first flush of weeds. Below you can see the field cultivator behind me.


We planted the peas first, on March 17.  After they were planted, Jonathan set the GPS guidance system to move over 3 inches so we could plant the barley next to the peas. The barley comes in bags, making it easier to fill the grain drill if two people throw bags.  Each bag weighs 48 pounds. In this photo, you can see how we line the bags up along the walking platform to make it easy to keep track of how many we put in. It also makes it easier to pull the strings off the tops and dump them into the drill.  Jonathan was sweet enough to pose for a photo.


Once the seed is in the ground, all we can do is pray for rain and good growing conditions.  When the seeds germinate, and a little green tint appears in the field, we all get excited.  Spring is such an exciting time with all the new growth appearing. It makes everything look and feel so fresh!


Here is a little pea plant next to some barley. At this stage, the barley looks like grass.


As the season progresses, we check the fields for weeds and other things that may hurt the quality of the seed.  We continue to pray for timely rains, while praying that hail does not damage the crops. I hold my breath every time a thunderstorm rolls through!

The next two photos were taken on the same day.  The first one shows how the barley and peas grow next to each other. The second one shows how the color is changing in the field.


When the barley starts to turn from green to gold, Jonathan starts scouting the fields to see if he can get an estimation on a harvest date. He breaks open a pea pod or two, and chews on the peas. When they are green, they taste a lot like sweet peas. After they mature, they get too starchy to be tasty to me.  Jonathan does the same with the barley. He shells out the barley to see how easily it breaks away from the stem, and chews on a few shelled pieces to see how chewy they are. Both were pretty green at this point, but Jonathan was very excited to see a pea pod with six peas in it.


Saturday, June 30th, the barley and peas were ready for harvest. This would be the earliest that Jonathan has ever harvested a crop. He started by harvesting the perimeter of the field, which is what we call a buffer strip. This buffer cannot be sold as organic, since it is too close to a non-organic field.  It is handled separately from the time it gets harvested until it is sold.  After Jonathan harvested the buffer, I took over the combine for awhile.  We were able to finish harvest on July 3rd.

Two views from the combine – looking at the barley and peas at the point of entry and at the discharge.


This year had an interesting little twist. We were able to plant our barley and peas early, then harvest them early.  For the first time ever, we are double-cropping. That means we can grow another crop in the same field after the first crop has been harvested.  Our cousin, Charlie, noticed that we were still cultivating our soybeans during harvest.  He offered the use of his tractor, and his son, to disc the field before we brought out the field cultivator. Sid did an awesome job, and saved us a lot of time. This morning, Jonathan was up early to start digging the field to get it ready for planting soybeans. I took over after breakfast so Jonathan could get the planter going.

Jonathan finished planting soybeans a little after 9:00 this evening. He never imagined that he would be planting a second crop on Independence Day!  Now, we are back to the point of praying for rain, and watching carefully for the seeds to emerge.

Hope you enjoyed the Pictorial Tour!



New Recipe Time – Chocoflan Cake (With Photos!)

We’ll start this story way back in March of 1993. Jonathan went to Ecuador on a short term missions project, and to see his sister who was a missionary there at the time.  While there, he experienced an excellent dessert called Flan. Thanks to the Food Network and the internet, we all probably have heard of it now. At the time, however, it seemed way too hard to attempt to make.

Fast forward 19 years. We are now in a newly formed Dinner Club where the hosts choose a menu and divvy up the courses of the meal to the attendees. Jonathan and I were asked to bring the dessert, which I thought was awesome. The whole evening was based on Rick Bayless and his Frontera recipes.  We had the choice of making….wait for it….Flan de Cafe or Chocoflan!  Jonathan was pretty excited that at last I would learn how to make this dessert.

I read through both recipes, and settled on the Chocoflan. I had more of the ingredients on hand, and a pan that it would fit in. I cheated a little bit, and made a test cake the day before our dinner party. Good thing. More about that later.

Here is the process, with the recipe…and in true Bredlow fashion, a few modifications.

The recipe calls for a 10 inch round cake pan with three inch sides. I couldn’t find one in Williams Sonoma when I was at the Mall of America the last time, so I started looking online for ideas.  I came across a video from Chef Marcela Valladolid from Food Network, where she made basically the same cake in a Bundt pan.  Excellent idea!

For the mold (Bundt pan) you will need

  • a little softened butter and some flour
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade cajeta (goat milk caramel)

I found an 8 ounce jar of goat milk caramel at Williams Sonoma, which was the only “exotic” ingredient.

The goat milk caramel along with some of the wet ingredients.

Butter and flour the pan as you would for making any cake (or used a spray like Baker’s Joy or Pillsbury Baking Spray with Flour).

Pour the caramel into the bottom of the pan, and swirl it around a bit to spread it up the sides about a 1/2 inch.

For the cake:

  • 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons espresso or 2 tablespoons espresso powder dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 9 ounces buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat water for a water bath. Use a pan with high sides to put the cake pan in for the water bath. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder together. Set aside. With an electric mixer (use the flat beater if you can), beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light in color and texture. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the egg and espresso.  Add half of the flour mixture, at medium-low speed, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat. Scrape the bowl, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat for one minute.

Sifting the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda

For the Flan:

  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla made with Madagascar vanilla beans and Prairie Grains Organic Vodka, and the rest of the flan ingredients.

Blend until smooth.

Flan ingredients in the blender.

Put cake batter in Bundt pan over the caramel

Cake batter in pan – layered over caramel

Gently pour flan mixture over cake batter.  It works well to pour the flan mixture into a small ladle and let it over flow.  (I couldn’t do that for the photo…my hands were full!)

Gently pour mixture over cake batter.

Place roasting pan and Bundt pan into the oven. Pour hot water up to an inch deep in cake pan surrounding the Bundt pan. Do not put water into the Bundt pan…just around it. While you are doing this step, you will notice the cake batter floating to the top of the pan. This is a good thing!

Batter is floating to the top. I used a Wilton 1/2 sheet pan for the water bath. You want the custard to cook gently, thus the water bath.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, except the very center. (Using the Bundt, the center will be done, however, the cake may jiggle a little bit. That’s okay.)

Remove from the water bath and cool to room temperature. This will take longer than one hour.  Remember earlier when I mentioned that it was a good thing that I tested this recipe? If you turn the cake out too soon, the flan layer will slide right off of the cake layer. Still delicious, just not very pretty. At all.

I put my cake in the refrigerator for a few hours to make sure it was chilled, and firm enough, to unmold.  Carefully run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake/flan to free the edges. Invert a rimmed serving platter over the cake pan, grasp the two firmly together, then flip the two of them over. Gently jiggle the pan back and forth several times to ensure that the cake/flan has dropped, then remove the pan. Scrape any remaining cajeta from the mold onto the cake.

This is how ours looked right before serving to our Dinner Club:

It was absolutely delicioso!  It is very rich, so we served coffee with it, which brought out the cocoa really well. I will most definitely be making this one again!

Now that I have this cake figured out, I’m thinking a caramel flan can’t be that hard!

Making A Change…

I wanted to share the last blog I wrote as a member of SparkPeople.com. When I joined, the nutrition articles were fairly balanced, even though their nutrition expert is vegetarian. However, in the last few months, a noticeable change has taken place. They are currently pushing their vegetarian cookbook, and encouraging a vegetarian lifestyle. I have issues with this both as a farmer, and as a Christian who believes that God created our body to rely on things received from animal protein. God also gave us the animals to use, but we are to care for them before we use them for food.


I have loved my time on SparkPeople, and have interacted with many great people. The calorie trackers and fitness articles have really been helpful for me.

Sadly, I cannot ignore the changes that have been happening regarding the nutrition articles and cook books that are for sale. Pushing a vegetarian diet goes against recent research by unbiased sources. The articles that were published were even available on the Health Article pages. The human body needs cholesterol to be able to use the vitamin D we get from our food and the sun. We also need the amino acids and B vitamins only available through an animal protein for brain health. They are finding that vegetarians and vegans have smaller brains and more issues with dementia as they age than those who eat meat regularly.

Jonathan and I raise hogs on our farm. I can tell you that their diet is more nutritionally balanced than anyone in my family’s is. When a blizzard is raging, Jonathan is out in the barns making sure the animals are warm and dry, with plenty of food and water. When there are severe thunderstorm warnings or tornado warnings, he is out in the barns making sure the animals are comfortable, and that the power stays on so they will have plenty of food and water. They are fed free choice, like a buffet on a cruise. They are healthy and happy. They grunt in a contented way when we check on them throughout the day. My ranching friends treat their cattle the same way. With care and concern for their health and well being.

I cannot continue being a part of a web site that continues to perpetuate the agenda of animal rights groups by promoting the Meatless Monday concept, and pushing vegetarianism and veganism. So, I am breaking up with SparkPeople. I will move on and find other ways to track my daily calories and my fitness goals. I will read nutrition articles that are peer reviewed, and not based on a biased understanding. I will eat meat, vegetables, grains, dairy, fats, and sweets all in moderation. The human body was designed to run on nutrients provided by many sources – meat included – and I intend to feed mine that way.

To all of my friends on SparkPeople – I will miss you! I will be keeping my account open for about a week before permanently closing it.

Summer dinner for Jonathan- t-bone steak, mashed potatoes, and garden peas.

Catching Up Is Hard To Do…

I cannot believe that January is almost over! Typically this month is filled with farming book work, getting tax stuff ready, and all the other end of the year stuff that comes with running a business. This year we started out a little differently…

On December 26th, Jonathan’s sister and family came from the Chicagoland area for a few days. We had a fun Christmas celebration with that side of the family on the 27th. I love reconnecting with family, and catching up on their activities.

My side of the family arrived on the 29th. We celebrated Christmas with them on the 30th, and stuffed ourselves silly (again).  On New Year’s Day we drove down to Iowa to see relatives that were gathering at my aunt’s house. It was fun to reconnect and catch up on their lives.

Mom and my sister Pam spent the night with us once again, while Sheryl’s family stayed overnight at aunt’s house. On January 2nd, everyone headed for home. That is when Jonathan and I started packing for our trip. 🙂

On January 2nd, Jonathan and I left for Fargo, ND. We had an early morning flight from Fargo to Salt Lake City, UT. From Salt Lake City, we flew to Honolulu, HI! We were going to attend the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, which was held on the 8th and 9th.

We were traveling with cousins Andy and Heather. We have traveled with them to Nascar races and Disney World, and they still like us, so we thought it would be fun to go to Hawaii together. We were right. We had a blast!

Our travel agent arranged for a tour company to meet us at the airport where we received a fresh flower lei, and an invitation to a free breakfast the following morning. We all thought, “Free breakfast? Okay!” It was a sales pitch of sorts, telling us about the various tour packages they have available. Since we had about 4 days before the AFBF stuff started, we gave a look at what we thought would be fun. For once in my life, I really didn’t care what the plan was. I chatted with a tour company employee while Jonathan signed us up for events. It was quite nice to be able to just let go.

(Pic: At the airport after landing in Honolulu…we had been up for about 18 hours at this point, and it is starting to show)

Our first activity was whale watching, while Andy and Heather chose to go snorkeling in an area with sea turtles. I get motion sickness really easy, so I made sure I took meds for that. Good thing! I had never been out on a boat in the open ocean, so I was a little nervous about the waves. This was a lunch cruise with a buffet of great food to eat while cruising out to the whale watching waters. At least that was the plan. The whales had a different idea. Two of them were in the harbor that morning. They think it was a mom and a juvenile calf that had followed a fishing boat for 6 days and over 800 miles! We got up close enough to be sprayed three times with whale snot.   I gave my new camera a workout!

(Pic: one of my whale photos. I have others that I am not sharing online…)

That evening, all four of us went to a magic show dinner theater thing. We met some really nice people from Australia and Canada. After that ended, we went to the Lani Misalucha show. The best part was when she did impersonations of different singers. She had some of them spot on! Sadly, no photos were allowed for our evening adventures.

The next highlight was Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, where the weather was beautiful. The museum grounds had been improved since we were there in 2004, making it an even better experience. Three survivors were at a book signing for a few hours.

After Pearl Harbor we went on a city tour and saw the State Capitol building and the Iolani Palace. Friday night we went on a supper cruise where we would see the sunset while at sea, and watch fireworks over Waikiki. There were Polynesian dancers on board, so between the sunset and the fireworks we didn’t get bored. The night was beautiful. The fireworks had to compete with a great full moon over Waikiki for my favorite scene of the cruise.

(I’ll let you decide which you like better…the full moon or the fireworks)


Saturday we had some beach time, and just took it easy most of the day. Sunday brought the start of the AFBF Annual Meeting. The opening ceremony sets the tone for the entire event, with an address by President Bob Stallman. We were really impressed by what he had to say, and it made us proud to be a part of such a great organization.  We believe that there is room for all types of agriculture – organic or conventional, crop or livestock, etc. We need to work together, which is what President Stallman mentioned in his speech. The keynote speaker on Monday afternoon was Dave Barry. He was hilarious! It was a great way to end a great meeting.

(Pic: AFBF President Bob Stallman)

We also attended a luau, and went on a Circle Island Tour with a bunch of our Minnesota friends. We started our journey back to Minnesota (and reality) on the 11th, and made it home the afternoon of the 12th.  Our flight schedule took us from Honolulu to Los Angeles (no celeb sightings, but it was 5:00 am when we landed). Los Angeles to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Fargo. Then a 4 hour drive home. This didn’t quite work with us. Thursday evening was Parent’s Night for the dance team. Laura is a senior this year, so in my mind this was a big deal. If we were to catch our flight from Minneapolis to Fargo, we would not have made it back in time.  I was bummed when we discovered this before we left, but Jonathan made a few phone calls…

Cousin Denise picked us up from the airport in Minneapolis, and brought us home. Andy and Heather flew on to Fargo as planned, picked up our luggage (we checked it in under their names in Honolulu), and drove our van to their house. Jonathan and I made it back home in time to shower and change clothes before heading into the school. It was worth making it back in time!

The following morning, Jonathan and I ran some errands, then packed our bags to head to an organic farming conference a couple of hours away. We picked up our van on the way home from the conference the following day, and kinda crashed once we got home. That was a week ago.

I still have a few loads of laundry to do, and gifts to distribute. I finally caught up on reading all my emails as of this morning. Jonathan and I both feel like we are finally back in our time zone, and that our brains have finally caught up with us.  Hopefully, we’ll get caught up on the book work this week as well.

Vacation was great, but catching up is hard to do!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

This year we once again started our Christmas celebration with our church’s candle light Christmas Eve service. It was beautiful. We all hold candles and sing Silent Night near the end of the service.  It is the best way to celebrate Jesus’ promise to us!

After church we had our Christmas Eve supper. Nachos were on the menu this year, just for something different. Watching the anticipation build within the girls was so fun. They are 21, 19, and 17, yet they are just as excited as they were at 5.  Part of the excitement now is watching everyone open the gifts they picked out for each other.  We tell each other what gifts we want them to open next, or what went into the selection process of the one they just opened.  The were genuinely happy with what they received, but also with what the others received. There was no pouting, jealousy, or bummed out-ness.  It was probably the most relaxing and enjoyable Christmas since before Anna was born.

On Christmas morning, we were back at church for regular Sunday service. We sang many Christmas carols throughout the service.  After church we lounged around for a little, had a late dinner, and played games or watched movies. It felt so good to relax!

When Christina went to get a drink of water late in the afternoon, she looked at the sunset and asked me to run out and take pictures of it. It was magnificent! The colors were so brilliant!  I grabbed my camera, and ran out the door. I was wearing shorts, and t-shirt, tennies, and a fleece jacket when I ran out to the edge of the yard to try and capture the sky. It was relatively calm at the moment, so I could hear birds singing in the grove to my right. It was such a nice evening! What a switch from a year ago when we had wind blowing over 20 inches of snow around!

We will be hosting family all week, and we are excited! Jonathan’s family is coming at the beginning, and my family at the end. We love to spend time with both sides – laughing, eating, laughing, playing games, laughing, eating…

So, I will wish you all a Happy New Year today. May your year be filled with God’s blessings, love from family and friends, and much happiness!

Here is one of the photos I took of God’s Christmas Painting:

Reading Between the Articles…

I was reading a women’s health & fitness magazine this morning while drinking my coffee. Most issues of this magazine have typical headlines on losing 10-15 pounds this month, or getting the body you want by (insert holiday here). The healthy cooking sections are touting the latest research in fat burning meals, or which fruits and veggies give you the best anti-aging antioxidents. Then I looked at the ad right before their big motivational section. It was for Tonalin…a pill you can take for reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.

Wait a minute. This followed an article about fat fighting foods. Isn’t that sending mixed messages? So I started looking a little more closely at all the ads in this mag. There were also full page ads for Fastin (a fat mobilizer) and SlimQuick Razor (America’s Stongest Female Fat Burner). Interspersed were ads for Centrum vitamins and supplements, a coulple of NY Road Runner’s sponsored events, and prescription meds.

I looked at a competing magazine, they were even worse. They had the same SlimQuick Razor ad, but they also had ads for Zantrex-3 (ooh, Snookie was “caught” with a bottle!), Fit stack (a 3 supplement series), Lichi 9 (lose 25 lbs in weeks), 2-Week Boot Camp Extreme Diet (contains bottles of Fat Burner, Colon Flush, Carb Blocker, and Bloat-Less), and Super Antioxident Chews from jealousblueberry.

I moved on to the latest issue of Runner’s World.  I was curious, since I hadn’t paid that much attention to all the little ads in the back. There was one quarter page ad for Alphastra. That was it. However, if you are looking for a race or a car, they have an ad for that.

While I don’t always agree with the nutritional advice in any given magazine (I don’t believe in cutting out any one particular food group, especially the Meatless Monday thing, but that is a whole blog in itself), I enjoy the recipes and like to hear about the latest in nutritional trends. I also like the different workout suggestions for cross-training.

I appreciate that RW doesn’t blast us with the next quick fix, but encourages us to push our bodies harder to get the results we are looking for.  That is what will work in the long run. (Pun intended?) If you want results – weight loss, Personal Records at races, or just overall fitness – you have to work for it. You have to put in the blood, sweat, and at times the tears.

I am pretty sure I know which magazines I will continue to support, and which ones I will let go.

This was taken after the Long Grove Turkey Trot in 2010.  Yes, I look like a dork!  BIL Paul is right behind me. He was nice enough to run with Christina and me instead of running at his much faster pace. Christina beat her mommy to the finish line, but stuck with me until the sprint at the end.

A Yoga Review…Of Sorts

I have heard from many runners about the benefits of yoga. I have dealt with alignment issues starting in my hips, and messing up my knees for years. I figured I’d give it a shot.

I purchased a beginners DVD set, that (according to the package) started with the basics. You could choose to do one of the four workouts on the first DVD, or you could do them all! Sounded good to me!

I got my mat all ready, popped in the DVD, and sat in anticipation while the hostess droned on and on about the benefits of yoga, and what she hoped to accomplish with this series. Finally, it was time to begin.

She had me sitting on my heels just like she was to begin. We started with breathing exercises, which she explained pretty well. Then we stood. Okay, she wanted me to do a pose…what was it she called it? Shoot. Missed it. I just tried to copy what she was doing, because the only thing she explained was when to breath.

We moved into downward facing dog. Oohh! I know that one! We were then supposed to bring our left foot up in between our hands. What? No way that was gonna happen! By the time I had my feet in position, she was on the other leg. Nuts.

She then went into about three more poses in rapid succession, without really explaining what we were doing…except for breathing. I gave up…

Found a different beginners yoga DVD that I had gotten for Anna. This one was for the lower body. Cool! I popped that one in.

After listening to her drone on and on about the benefits of yoga, we were ready to go.

We did some poses that I still don’t know what their names are, but we looked like trees and mountains, I think.  And the downward facing dog…. I swear we did about 100 of those! Old shoulder issues cropped up by the end of the session. Nutserdoodles.

At least I got some of the poses. Except the ones where we went from a plank, jumping to put our back feet in between our hands. Right. Obviously, I have had more muffins in my life than she has. They are displayed around my center to remind me of their presence every day.  Some day, I would like them to go visit someone else, but for now, they hang around here.

My hamstrings are also probably a little tighter than most. I think you could play a tune on them at times. Just strum along!

Uff da. I think I will need to figure out a different way to stretch, because I am not this flexible!

Sunny Saturday…

Today I helped Jonathan put the star up on the windmill. Okay, help may be too strong of a word. Let’s just say I handed the star to him after he got to the top of the ladder, then walked away. I hate watching him climb up the windmill! I pretty much pace back and forth, with phone in hand in case I have to call 911.

It was such a beautiful day out today! Mid 40’s, sunshine, little wind. I would normally be happy about that, but I love snow. It looks so brown and dreary outside. Not very Christmas like.

I did go for a little run/walk for about 1/2 hour. The first running I’ve done since the goat chasing incident.  It felt really good!  When I got done with my stretching afterwards, Jonathan was baking up the Belgian cookies I had mixed up earlier in the day.

I still have Peanut Blossoms and Russian Tea Cakes to make before the night is done. They are heading for a bake sale at church tomorrow. Extras will go in the freezer for our Christmas celebrations.

Tomorrow we’ll light the third candle in our Advent Wreath! Have a blessed day!

Christmas Joy

We had a great Thanksgiving at my sister’s. The weather was great, so we didn’t have to worry about icy roads. That is always a plus when traveling over 5 hours!

I participated in the Facebook thing of counting down to Thanksgiving by posting something you were thankful for each day. I have been missing out on the intentional daily reflections that would help me focus on what I was thankful for.  So, I think I will continue the practice. Only I can’t call it Thanksgiving Thankfuls…  Maybe the Christmas Joy’s? I’ll take suggestions for a catchy name!

My challenge for you, the few who actually read this, is to post on your Facebook pages or in your own blogs about something that has brought you joy that day…or just in general makes your heart happy.

My Joy for the day: Having Jonathan give me 30 minutes of his time to do anything inside the house that I wanted him to do. Thanks for taking out all the trash, honey! 🙂

P.S. The house is smelling really good right now…I’m making a new bread recipe called Sour Cream Bread. It is supposed to make great grilled sandwiches and french toast. I’ll let you know how it turns out!