Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We are spending today and Christmas with Luke's family. We got a dusting of snow last night and it really feels and looks like Christmas around here. Hopefully the roads wont be too bad between here and there, but we have plenty of time to travel and take it slow.

Hope everyone gets to relax the next two days and enjoy the holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008


First of all--it's really freaking cold!! Yesterday the wind chills were -30 and believe me that is frigid. Today it is -6 but should get up into the teens this afternoon. We still have all the ice and snow from last week since it hasn't been warm enough to melt anything.

Grandpa got to go home from the hospital on Friday. He spent 20 days there and I'm sure he was ready to get the heck out!

Mama Kitty is ready to POP! I'm hoping that we are going to have Christmas kittens. I've been feeling really sorry for her with her huge belly, trying to walk around on the ice. I don't think I've ever seen a pregnant cat before so I'm not sure how far along she is--I cant imagine her getting any bigger though!!

Saturday night we went to a movie with some friends. We went to the theater in Memphis and it only costs $2 per person and all concessions are only $0.75! Can you believe it--Luke and I went to the movie and each had popcorn and pops for a total of $7. I was amazed at the great deal!! And...Bolt is a really cute movie :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Skating

Today we are fortunate to have power. Last night around 5:00 we started getting freezing rain and "thunder snow". This is like a thunderstorm in the winter...weird huh? I hadn't ever experienced that before. This morning we woke up to an icy wonderland. All the tree branches are weighed down with ice but apparently none have fallen on the power lines. EVERYTHING is covered with ice and it feels like you are ice skating without skates--just trying to walk outside.
The peach tree in our backyard: (never mind the random loose calf running through the back of the picture--they're lawless)

Covering every single pine needle:

Icicles hanging off one of the gates in the corral:

Our cows were hungry and cold:

I rode along with Luke when he fed hay this morning. We gave them a little extra so they could have somewhere dry to lay. The wind was really bitter cold.

Today is one of those days that I am especially thankful that I work from home and don't have to even attempt to drive anywhere.

Our Christmas Tree

Luke & I got our Christmas tree put up this week. I think it's one of the prettiest trees that I have ever seen. When I lived in Montana we were always able to just go out to the ranch and pick from millions of trees. Since I've lived in Missouri, Luke & I have always cut down a cedar tree from a ditch or fence row and made due with that. This year was my first trip to a tree farm. We drove way out into the boonies--several miles of gravel past our house (which if you've been to our house it's several miles on gravel) and ended up at this neat tree farm. We could pick any tree for $15 so I thought that was a great deal. Ours just barely touched the ceiling in our living room so we did have to trim off some room for the star. It's a really full, pretty tree though.

Here's Luke setting it up. All decorated and pretty (for the second time-since it already has fallen down twice!):
I think we finally have it in the stand straight and level and now we are hoping that it wont tip over anymore!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Baking

On Tuesday it was snowing like crazy and I didn't have too much going on for work so I took my own snow day. I spent the entire day baking Christmas cookies. I wanted to try all new cookies this year and then mail an assortment to family back home. I didn't take any pictures, but here is what I made:

1) My Grandma Sue gave my a cookie press while I was home over Thanksgiving. I had never heard or seen a cookie press before--so I had to do some research on how to even use it.

Classic Spritz Cookies:
3 sticks of butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teas. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour

You mix the butter, sugar, egg & vanilla. Gradually add the flour while mixing. Fill the cookie press about 3/4 full and begin pressing out cookies. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
I had a little bit of trouble getting the cookies to stick to the cookie sheet (instead of hanging on the cookie press) but the cookies turned out really good and the shapes are really cute. I added green food coloring to the tree shaped cookies.
I would recommend a cookie press to anyone. Here is the one I have:

2) Raspberry Pinwheels
These are SO good. Luke described them as tasting like fruit cobbler--I'm telling you they're great. The only change I would make is when you brush them with egg and add the sugar, I would only brush with egg white. My eggs left kind of a yellow smear on the top which makes them not look as appetizing as they are.

3) Glazed Lemon Cookies
These cookies were really easy and really good. The glaze is delicious!

4) Almond Roca
My Mom always makes almond roca every year for Christmas. I didn't have her recipe so I used this one:
I happened to forget to add the water--so this is testimony that you don't need to add the water. It will work great and taste great without it.

5) Simple Fudge

This fudge is so easy to make and tastes great:

Simple Fudge:
Heat 1 package of chocolate chips and 14 oz of condensed milk on the stove. Stir continuously.
Once all chocolate chips and melted add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of chopped nuts. Stir in. Pour into 8x8 greased pan. Refridgerate until solid.

Warning: None of these recipes are low-fat or "healthy" in any way...but it's the holidays so splurge!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cattleman's Convention

We were at another trade show this past weekend. This time it was in Springfield which is about 5 hours from where we live, so it was kind of a trip. We left Friday morning, set up the booth Friday night and the trade show was all day Saturday, then we came home yesterday. The trade show went well and I think we got some new business--so that's good.

Here's our booth:We thought that the convention would be more fun, but there really weren't any people close to our age there--mostly older or kids.

We did get to make a trip to PFI (a western store) while we were in Springfield and did a little shopping. Luke & I each got a new pair of jeans. I talked Luke into getting some Cinch "Dooley" jeans which is a really big deal since he doesn't feel comfortable in anything but good old Wranglers. I had to convince him that they were really HOT! I got a pair of Cruel Girl "Sabrina" jeans and I really love them too!

On the way home we drove through a terrible rain storm and as we got further North it turned to sleet and freezing rain. The wind was blowing really hard and it was really nasty outside. This morning it was -12! I'm sure glad we got home when we did, as the weather is supposed to be getting worse the next 2 days. Oh, and we found a very hungry Papa Kitty locked in the garage when we got home--so that's another reason its good we got home when we did!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Montana Pictures

Here are some more pictures from our trip to Montana over Thanksgiving:

Matt skipping rocks on Flathead Lake:Look how far Luke can skip a rock:
In Montana, we don't get fake trees or go to tree farms...we go out in the woods and chop down a tree!

Here's Luke chopping down a tree for Lynmarie:

Jethro was supervising:Lynmarie and her tree:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

And that's not because of all the decorating I've done (because that hasn't happened yet!).

Yesterday we had our first substantial snow with lots of wind, creating drifts everywhere. It's supposed to be cold at least through the weekend, so we may get to keep the snow for a while. It definitely helped me get into the holiday spirit!

The roads were getting pretty bad yesterday afternoon. The wind was blowing so hard that it was making the roads slick and decreasing the visibility. Here's the view from my car as I drove home from work yesterday (I made the only tracks on our gravel road):Here's our wintery looking house:
Poor Tryan (my bottle calf from last May). He always looks so pathetic and the snow definitely doesn't help. He's had a rough life...but he's such a sweetie!
I felt sorry for the bulls, so I fed them a little early. They really enjoyed the hay. With the wind and being covered in snow, I'm sure they were needing a little extra feed. Here's our older bull, Mr. T:

So far, we are enjoying the snow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fun at the Ranch

This is where Luke & I got married about 1 1/2 years ago: The brown grass and the perfectly bright blue sky made for some beautiful pictures. The weather was in the 40's and sunny almost every day we were there. (This is not usual for Thanksgiving in Montana!)

We even saw a Golden Eagle flying over the meadow. Even though it was so high in the air, it still looked huge!
Mom, Matt & Margo:
Margo being a silly dog and playing with a stick that would barely fit in her mouth.
Our job was to put up the elk fence around the hay shed. So far, the elk have been keeping their distance and staying out of trouble, but it's just a matter of time until they return. It's been a really warm, late fall so they are still staying in the high country. They use 8-10 foot boards that are wired together to make a "fence" to protect the hay from being eaten by the elk. These fences are pretty heavy, so it's a bit of a job to get them put up. The elk have plenty to's just easy for them to eat from a hay bale, so they target the haysheds. Then, the cows run out of hay. Since hay is incredibly expensive in Montana, it makes ranchers hate elk!
Later this day was when Grandpa got hurt, so it was kind of a bittersweet day.


This is how Mom looked most of the day:

She was not too excited about Thanksgiving.

Bruce finished off the turkey with a torch since it didn't brown...

Matt spiked the punch, so us "kids" were happy:

Here's the fancy cake that Mom made that was delicious:

Grandma Sue:

Grandpa left to go feed cows:

After lunch at my Mom's house, we went to my Aunt Becky's for Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family. It was a busy day and we definitely ate well!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This Girl's Getting Married!

Congrats Mariah & Lyle!!

Poor Grandpa!

We got back from Montana at 2:30 AM Tuesday morning and we were so worn out. The last few days we spent in Montana were very stressful. On Sunday, Luke, Matt & Grandpa were outside working on the corral and getting it all ready to bring the cows in. Grandpa was going to ship his calves on Monday. Well, Matt was leading Rachel (Penny's weanling filly) into the barn and she pulled back really quick and knocked Grandpa down and stepped right on his left leg. It was not hard to tell it was broke as his boot wasn't facing the same way as he was. It was a really bad break in a leg that has been broke 4 previous times, had the ankle fused and the knee replaced.

He had surgery that night and they put a plate & screws in to hold it together but didn't feel like it was a very secure fix. Grandpa was in so much pain and just felt awful. It was so hard to see him that way, he is always so strong and tough. I didn't want to even consider leaving on Monday (when our flight was scheduled), but Luke convinced me we had to and that really there was nothing we could do there.

Everything took a turn for the better yesterday. Grandpa had another surgery and everything is going good. The doctors think it's going to heal okay and that he should be able to go home tomorrow. He is feeling so much better and has hope again. I don't usually think of a broken leg as life threatening, but when you get up in age, any trip to the hospital is bad news.

Please keep Grandpa in your thoughts and prayers. I don't know what we would do without him!