Sunday, July 30, 2023

Life Has Happened Again...AND BAGELS!

 Hello, friends!

So much has happened recently since it has been almost a month since my last blog post. Unfortunately, there is no way that I can update you on everything that has happened, but I am going to hit the highlights as well as possible. 

While out of the ordinary I am going to bullet point those highlights and try to put everything in order as much as possible.

  • Early July - Right after the 4th of July we took a couple week break from summer school. While we were on our break I finally found time to put together Kayla's "Princess Canopy". She has wanted one around her bunk bed for a long time, and I had purchased the stuff awhile back. Unfortunately, it took a bit of time to get it done. Once we finally did get it done it turned out really cute, and I think she loves it.
Kayla's Tulle Bed Curtains...What She Calls Her "Princess Canopy""

  • July 9th - BAGEL DAY! - I decided to try making my own bagels, and they turned out fantastic. I don't plan on ever buying bagels again, as these homemade ones were SO MUCH BETTER! My whole family loved them, and I made them a few days later for my mom, sister and family in southern Missouri. Everyone liked them. I served them with strawberry, cinnamon sugar, and lemon blueberry cream cheese. YUM! Here's the recipe! You won't regret making them.


4 cups flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water

Water Bath:
8 cups water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Put flour, brown sugar and kosher salt in bowl. Stir yeast into water and add to flour. Mix dough. Turn onto floured bard and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough into greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 balls and place half of them on each sheet. Let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425℉ and prepare water bath by adding water, brown sugar, baking soda and salt to a park pot and bringing to a gentle simmer. Poke a hole through the center of each dough ball and stretch a bit. Drop as many as will comfortably fit into pot and let simmer for 2 minutes. Flip them over and let them simmer for 2 more minutes. Take out and let drip. Place back onto baking sheet and repeat until all are boiled. Bake the bagels for 12 minutes and then flip over and bake 8-12 minutes more or until golden brown. 

Bagels Before Boiling

  • July 11th - Our rock tumbler finished with a load of beautiful gem stones. We are pretty much keeping it going constantly. We put it in the basement where we can just barely hear the light hum of it running from the livingroom. It is completely unnoticeable unless you are purposely listening for it. It turns out beautifully polished rocks. We currently have it processing petrified wood. SO COOL!

  • July 14th - We attended Civil War Day Camp at Prairie State Park in Liberal, Missouri. We went down on Thursday to spend time with family, and then spent the day on Friday out at the park. Day camp was lots of fun and we all had a great time. My sister was there with her family and my mom works there so she instructed part of the program.
Mom Teaches About Medicinal Plants

Cousins! (Mercy, Esther, Kayla and Alysia)

The Group Pounds Jerky into Powder to Make Pemican

Dana Makes Pemican

  • July 14th-18th - Friday evening after day camp we headed towards home, stopping in Nevada to drop Kayla off to her mother for a weekend visit. Aaron wasn't feeling well and we stopped multiple times on the 2 hour drive home as he was getting sick every little bit. On Saturday he wasn't improving and by Saturday night/Sunday morning he was even worse. We ended up at the ER on Sunday morning at 1:30 a.m. He was so bad that they admitted him, and started him on multiple medications as well as fluids for dehydration. Aaron has been a diabetic for probably close to a decade, but was only recently diagnosed since he wouldn't go to the doctor before. Unfortunately, the diabetes has caused him to develop gastroparesis, and it will have to be managed with diet and medication. He was in the hospital until Wednesday afternoon. During this time there was a shuffling of children occuring as Monday I had to go get Kayla from her mother and then got the kids to my mom so she and my sister could keep them while we were dealing with Aaron in the hospital. I can't even begin to tell everyone how much we appreciated the love and support as well as prayers during this time. It has been rough, but Aaron is on the mend. He is still weak, but is finally able to eat again and has returned to work even though he needs to take things slowly.
Aaron at the Hospital When He Was FINALLY Starting to Feel Better

  • July 20th-24th - My mother-in-law (Lisa) came up on Thursday and stayed overnight with us as I was supposed to take her for a procedure on Friday (scheduled long before Aaron's hospital stay). The procedure on Friday at Research Hospital went smoothly, but took longer than we thought it would take. They told her she would have to return on Monday so while she originally only planned on staying until Saturday we ended up getting to have her for the whole weekend. Her appointment on Monday went well, and she left in the afternoon. However...while she was here over the weekend her boyfriend decided to come spend some time with us and wanted to cheer everyone up. As a result we ended up having "Christmas in July". He even brought a small Christmas tree, as well as gifts for the girls, Aaron, mother-in-law and myself. He did way too much and spoiled us rotten for 2 days straight. Terry is a nice guy and he makes my mother-in-law happy. We are glad to have him in the family. 
Kayla Watching Mimi Unwrap a Gift

Alysia with Part of Her Gifts

  • July 24th - The girl's have been studying local government and how things work at a county level so on Monday afternoon we visited the Clay County Courts to file our custody modification paperwork for Kayla and they got to see government in action. Kayla has officially decided she wants to stay with us with scheduled visitation with her mother, so with her mother's agreement the papers have been filed and we are just waiting now. We are not sure if there will have to be a hearing since all parties are in agreement, but if there is it should go smoothly and everything should be good. While there the girls had to get some pictures taken at the blue fountain there.
Kayla at the Fountain

Alysia at the Fountain

Alysia and Kayla at the Fountain

Let's see...what else is new? Kayla's mom sent the girls some diamond painting kits, so they are working on those as part of art class. They seem to be having fun with them. I'm working on one as well that Terry got me as a "Christmas in July" present.

This week we have a full week of school planned as well as preparing for a birthday part this weekend for Terry. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and fiancé and my family are going to throw a small get together for him and I'm going to make homemade pizza and a Jello cake (at his request). 

All for now. Talk to you soon!


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

4th of July and Garlic Pasta Recipe

Hello, friends. 

I hope you all had a great 4th of July! We certainly did here!

In the morning the girls and I got up and started cooking. We ended up making baked beans, a blueberry and strawberry layered mousse dessert for our red white and blue theme, as well as macaroni salad. We made burger patties and prepared everything to grill out later in the day. After cleaning up the house and mowing the yard everything was set and ready to go. (Thank you, Aaron for doing such a great job on the yard!)

Kayla - All Decked Out for the 4th!

I started the grill about 4:30 in the afternoon and got the meat on, and by the time it was done our company had arrived. My mother-in-law Lisa came, along with her new boyfriend, Terry. Also in attendance was my sister-in-law Izzy, and her fiancé Christen. We ended up bringing the food inside to eat after we grilled it because it was way too hot at 95 degrees F. to enjoy much outside time while the sun was still shining.

Me and My Double Beauties

After we ate in the evening we went up to our church to view the Worlds of Fun fireworks from there. We get a great view from the parking lot there. This year we couldn't afford any fireworks but Terry ended up bringing some with him and when we got back we shot them off. They were very pretty and the girls really enjoyed the sparklers.

Watching Fireworks Over Worlds of Fun

Overall it was a great day and the girls had a lot of fun. We got to get to know Terry a little bit and look forward to spending more time getting to know him in the future.

Shortly after our company left a very strong thunderstorm hit. Thankfully we never lost power completely but I feared that we might because it kept pulling down. I have a tree in my backyard that I worry about every time it storms. I think my brother is going to try to come cut it down for me soon, and I will be thankful to not have to worry about it anymore.

This morning Alysia was very sweet. Last night we were too tired to do much cleanup from the holiday and so we went to bed. I got up this morning and Alysia had gotten up early and on her own accord had taken it upon herself to do some of the cleanup. There really wasn't that much left to do when I got up. I swept the floors and we got rid of some trash.

This afternoon and evening I have been working on school with Alysia still trying to get her caught up. Hopefully that will be done tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime Kayla has been watching Finding Dory, which is apparently one of her new favorite movies.

Aaron is at work tonight and I'm just kind of trying to keep everything a little bit low-key. We had plenty of leftovers from yesterday, so I didn't end up having to cook dinner. I did make a very simple garlic butter pasta for lunch. It was super delicious and I'll tell you how I made it here.


Garlic Butter Pasta

1 pound spaghetti

1 stick butter

¼ cup olive oil

1 head garlic

1 large handful of fresh basil (can use dried)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder (or just sprinkle until the ancestors tell you to stop)

Salt to taste

Cook spaghetti to al dente. Meanwhile, chop garlic. Put butter and olive oil into a skillet and melt. Add garlic and saute until soft. Wash and chiffonade fresh basil and throw into skillet. Drain pasta. Add butter mixture, garlic salt, garlic powder and salt. Toss well and add more seasoning if desired. So delicious!


Well…that’s all for today. I have to fold a load of laundry and grade Alysia’s math final as soon as she finishes here in a moment. Have a good night!


Monday, July 3, 2023

Graduation, Garden Produce and Refrigerator Pickles

Hello, friends.

A couple of weekends ago we had another niece's graduation party. Lizzy graduated this year as well, and I was able to go down early that day in order to help her do her hair and nails. I thought her hair turned out really great. I found some small sparkly silver and cubic zirconia hair jewels that we used in it. Congratulations to Lizzie on her graduation. We are so proud of her.

Lizzy's Hair

Aaron, the Girls and I with Lizzy

It may only be early summer, but our garden has already started producing and we are extremely excited to be eating out of it already.

Fresh Green Beans

So far, we have had a couple of messes of new potatoes and green beans with ham, and it was so delicious. It reminded me of my childhood when my mom and grandma used to make the same thing. I haven't had this recipe in probably 20 to 25 years. 

Here’s the recipe for you!


New potatoes and Green Beans

1½ pounds baby potatoes

1½-2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and snapped

1 stick of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ham steak

Wash baby potatoes and green beans. Boil green beans and baby potatoes seperately until soft. Once both vegetables are soft drain all of the water out of the potatoes and most of the water out of the beans leaving about a half inch or so in the bottom. Combine potatoes and green beans. Chop ham steak into small pieces and add to the pot, along with butter, salt and pepper. Stir together until butter is melted and serve hot. 

New Potatoes and Green Beans with Hot Biscuits


I also have been getting a few cucumbers and so while I didn't have enough to make a big batch of  pickles yet, I did make a couple of quarts of refrigerator pickles that are absolutely delicious. While making the pickles I, unfortunately, did not have any fresh dill so I did use dried dill weed. However, I would prefer to make them with fresh dill if you have it available.

I also pickled a small jar of green beans so Aaron could try them. We both love them so I'll probably be trying to pickle some more beans in the future. You really can use this recipe on any vegetable that you want to. I want to try carrots and cauliflower as well. Yummy! 

I did start with a recipe for refrigerator pickles, but then I ended up changing it enough that it is really a completely new recipe. Here is the recipe that I created. Each recipe will make 1 quart of pickles.


Refrigerator Pickles

¾ cup white vinegar

1½ tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup cold water

1 pound cucumbers, cut into spears

2 teaspoons ground coriander

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved

¼ teaspoon ground dry mustard

8 dill sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed

Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a stainless steel pan. Put on a burner on high heat and whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour the brine into a bowl and add cold water. Refrigerate brine until ready to use. Wash and cut the cucumbers into quarters. Pack into a clean quart jar and add spices to top. Pour cooled brine over the cucumbers and spices, adding a bit of water at the top If needed to cover cucumbers. Cover jar tightly and place in refrigerator. Cucumbers will be ready after 24 hours and will be good for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Cucumbers Being Cut Up

Refrigerator Pickles

Pickled Green Beans


In school Kayla has been studying both different kinds of governments as well as our representative government and the branches of it. I came up with some pretty interesting visual aids this week. I'm not  an artist  but these visual representations helped her pass her history and geography test. I think her favorite has been her "dictator" which she has been carrying around the house.

Duties of the 3 Branches of Government

Our "Dick-Tater"

The Branches of Government

Alysia is still working on her finals over this last set of books, but Kayla did really well on hers, so her reward was to make cupcakes. We made white cupcakes with pink and white strawberry flavored frosting. She loved them, and was sweet enough to want to take some over to our neighbor. They were super delicious and I am hoping Alysia does as well so that she can get her reward in as well. We were so busy in the last few weeks that we got a little bit behind in school and it's taking her just a bit to catch up. However, since we aren't taking the whole summer off, I'm ok with going a bit slower.

Kayla's Cupcakes

Kayla Enjoyed Decorating Her Cupcakes

Cupcake Close-Up

We are preparing for 4th of July tomorrow. I can hear fireworks going off and my husband mowing the lawn as I type. We are going to have company. My mother-in-law and her new boyfriend, as well as my sister-in-law and her fiancé, will be present. We're going to grill out and probably go watch some fireworks.

Last week I got my nails done for 4th of July and when I got home Kayla had to have hers done as well. I thought it was cute that she wanted to be just like mama.

Kayla and I's Nails

Well, that catches you up for now. I'll check in with you soon. In the meantime, have a very happy 4th of July, as well as a safe one!


Homemade Sports Drink Recipe

Hello, friends!

When you're hot and thirsty one of the go-to's is Powerade or Gatorade. Over the last 3 years I have spent a fortune on these types of drinks for my husband, as he works in a very hot environment and sweats a lot. 

We had found a way to get them a little bit more inexpensively by buying them at a dent and ding food store that we found up by Jamesport, Missouri. However they were still pretty expensive for the quantity we have bought him over the years. 

Recently I found a way to make a Gatorade or Powerade type sports drink at home. My husband absolutely loves it and we have completely replaced his sports drink intake with this homemade version. 

Of course, part of the reason to drink sports drinks is to replace the electrolytes and sodium that you sweat out while hot, but my husband is diabetic and that added another level of trying to find sugar-free sports drinks. This has solved all of our issues, and for less than one small bottle, you can make more than two quarts. 

In this recipe the potassium chloride replaces the potassium in the sports drink, and the salt replaces the sodium. 

Homemade Sports Drink

Today's Flavor - Cherry Limeade


Homemade Sports Drink Recipe

2 quarts of water (or 1½ quarts of water and ½ quart of ice if you want to mix ice in so it is cold immediately)

1 package of Koolaid mix (any flavor)

⅛ tsp potassium chloride (also known as potassium salt) (I use Great Value No Salt Sodium-Free Salt Alternative)

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar (or Splenda)

Put water in a pitcher. Add other ingredients and mix. Add ice at the end.


So there you have it. Super simple and super cheap! Try it out and see what you think. As for us…it’s revolutionized our summer drinking during the heat!

Talk to you all soon!


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