Monday, April 29, 2013

Mid-March Vacay!

This blog post is over a month overdue. I wanted to share about a vacation we took with my parents to Lake of the Ozarks, MO, about a half hour south of us.

We checked my parents into the resort on Saturday night March 16, went out to eat, then our little family of 5 came home to prepare for church the next day. Everyone was out celebrating St. Patty's day that night.

We went back on Sunday afternoon and got settled in. There was a kitchenette there, so we brought most of our own food and were able to eat in.

Tired teddy bear.

Judah and Grandma Linda playing a game she invented with the cribbage board. They also liked to play the board game Sorry!
 Monday, we went to the Bridal Cave and to Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
We visited the Bridal Cave. It left a huge impression on Judah, and somewhat of an impression on Andrew. Whenever they see a billboard advertising the cave, they ALWAYS let me know with great enthusiasm!

Grandpa Allan inside the cave.

I thought this wall was just super cool.

We went out to eat at the Dairy Queen next. The many faces of Judah.

Hepped up on a DQ blizzard.

No cavities yet...

The many faces of Andrew.

Also hepped up on a DQ blizzard.

This was before his tooth turned brown from hitting it really hard...

My better half.

The extremely cool Ha Ha Tonka State Park, where the ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century castle lay! We are walking up the path to it. The castle burned down in the '40s.

Grandpa Allan and Enoch with the ruins behind. It was chilly but sunny, so the nicest day of our vacation.

Family shot. The sun was so warm, the boys wanted to take off their coats, but the breeze was cool... so we were constantly putting on and taking off jackets.

Enoch stomping around... look at that view!

Grandpa Allan and Grandma Linda

Andrew refusing to turn around.

Me (with everyone's hats stuck in my coat pockets) with the ruins in the background.

The water tower. The water was up top and a family actually lived underneath it to take care of it.

We couldn't go in. :-(

The boys enjoying the trails.
Tuesday, we went swimming in the morning (the water was SOOO COLD! Yes it was an indoor pool!). Then to a winery and to a historical site that explained the making of the Bagnell Dam... so interesting! I must've stopped taking pictures because I don't have anymore! Good job, Mom. Jeff had to return home that evening to get ready for church the next evening (it was Lenten season), but before he left we realized that across the inlet from our resort, we could see the police poking around. There had been a death on one of the boats! And the police had been poking around for evidence. Weird...

Wednesday, we took the boys swimming, although none of the adults wanted to go because of yesterday's near-pneumonia experience... but the boys didn't care. We played and got things packed up to head back home for the evening church service. After church, Mom and Dad headed back to stay one more night at the resort. (Another funny thing, the lady at the front desk, Mom discovered, was related to someone from my hometown of Colo, Iowa and would be going there in May for a graduation party! Small world!) On Thursday, they wanted to visited Tan- Tar- A Resort where they honeymooned 33 years ago.

I enjoyed the vacation, and look forward to going back to the old castle again... but when the weather is a bit nicer. :-)

A Gain and a Loss

As I sit in the midst of a messy house, I feel the need to write. Not clean the house or do laundry. Not do the dishes, even though ALL those things and more must be done. But... I need to get some things off my chest.

I've been mostly silent about many things in my life lately, mainly because I've been wanting to see how they would turn out. Oh, I've been wanting to share, but ... let's just say that, in light of all the oversharing that can sometimes happen with Facebook and blogs, I think it's okay to be a bit mysterious most of the time. Life is more exciting that way, isn't it? Besides, I'm sure your lives are all plenty interesting without waiting with bated breath for my next blog post or facebook status! :-)

Anyway, for the Gain.

We bought a house. Again. Yes, I know what you're thinking. "Are you crazy? Don't you already have other houses...?!" Yes and yes. Just so you're all up to snuff, we do still own our Mankato house. We will be selling it in a year or two, depending upon our renters. The Wannaska house is under a contract for deed (with someone reputable, after having a not-so-reputable family stay there) so we are receiving monthly payments for that. We are currently renting a small old farmhouse that is really too small for us. We moved here with the intention of buying some place bigger within a year or so of moving here. So. Here we are, 16 months after moving down here. Time to move again, right?!

It was a foreclosure home, and needed some fixing up. We closed April 11, and started demolition mode immediately. There are a few things that need to be done, I won't go into details now, because I could go on and on. But I will say that I'm excited about the remodeling going on! The only pinch is that we want to get the upstairs done enough to be able to move in the week before Father's Day as our current landlords will be leaving for Alaska then, so we wanted to get everything taken care of by then. So every spare minute is spent working on the house.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, it's only about 3 miles or so from the church. :-)
It doesn't look very warm and inviting because of the snow, but this picture was taken back in February. The back side of the house.

And for the Loss. I think we were due the end of November/beginning of December.

I'll just repost my facebook status:
Though He giveth, or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh,
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy. ELH 174, vs. 4

In God's infinite wisdom, he has allowed me to carry a new life for a while, but then to also lose the baby. His ways are not our ways, but we trust that it is all for our good. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

I will end with some cute boys. I can't believe it was 80+ degrees today after having so much chilliness and rain! The well-digger came today (yes we needed to dig our own well...) and so Enoch was a little distracted in the first picture. But when I changed angles in the 2nd picture, then Andrew had had enough. You can't win 'em all, eh?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How I make Granola

This will be a quick post without pictures, but I wanted to share how I make oatmeal. I know there are already a ton of recipes out there for granola, and it's possible this one exists out there already. I modified it from another recipe that I have written down on a random scrap of paper, and I can't remember where I originally got that one! 

My Granola Recipe

4 c. freshly rolled oats (or you could just use pre-rolled)
2 c. combination of water & kombucha, yogurt, kefir, lemon juice, or vinegar (maybe I should be more picky about how much of each, but I'm not... I shoot for at least 2 T. of the souring liquid, but usually more)
1-2 T. of whole wheat flour (I usually don't measure, I just put in a "splash"... aren't I so exacting?!)

Mix these together 12-24 hours before you want to make it. The mixture should be somewhat dry... as in, no additional liquid sitting around at the end of that soak period. 

Then, mix together with the above....

1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. real maple syrup
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
3 scoops of stevia powder (If you don't have this, you could add a smidge more sweetener)
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon (or more if you desire)
2/3 c. ground flax seed (I have started leaving this out... if flax does not give you gastro-intestinal distress, then you could go ahead and add it in.)

Grease two 11x17 pans and pour mixture evenly between two pans. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until it looks "set" on top and no longer glossy. At this point, I pull the pans out and break up the mixture into clumps, then return the pans to the oven and continue stirring and un-clumping periodically. To be honest, I have no idea how long I do this for... maybe 30-40 more minutes? I go by intuition and feel. And then I turn off oven and leave the pans in there for several hours or overnight to get hard and crunchy. 

When the pans have cooled I put the mixture in a bag and add some raisins... maybe 1-2 cups? Again, I go by feel. ALSO, I add shredded coconut, about 1 c. If coconut isn't your thing, you can leave it out.

And that's how I make granola!