Monday, January 31, 2011

Horse Racing and Strawberry Shortcake

A few of my favorite things right now...

Secretariat, so motivational.

Dunkin' Donuts Strawberry Shortcake Coffee, so yummy.

The babe got some ink...

The Fence Post came out today!

Goals Update

Three weeks ago I posted my 2011 goals and promised at the end of each month I would report back to you all on my progress (or in a few cases, lack of).

Drink more water.
I’m doing very well on this one. Definitely not drinking the eight or whatever it is, recommended glasses a day, but I’ve certainly increased my water intake. I find this fairly easy to do (and I say easy…easy to fill my glass several times a day and force myself to drink it) when I’m sitting at my desk, however I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately and still find myself reaching for my coffee and Diet Coke.

Stick to a budget.
I am crushing this one! When I got my paycheck, I put my promised amount straight into my savings, and John Wayne is right…it does feel good. I’m pretty darn proud of myself!

Read atleast one book each month.
Fail! I am maybe 10 pages further in my book than I was three weeks ago. Has anyone read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? I am on page 262 of 644. Is there good reason to persevere through 400 more pages or should I give it up and find another read? Even though I’m kinda struggling with it, I’m having trouble with the idea of not finishing it…???

Keep my pictures organized.
Honestly, haven’t done much in this department. I have been sorting through them on my computer to get some decorations for the Little Lady’s birthday party made, but haven’t made any true progress. I am confident it will happen though!

Start sewing again.
OK, while I haven’t actually made anything yet, I did some major organizing. John Wayne bought me a new cabinet for the craft room and I spent a Saturday sorting through material and sewing supplies. I’m now organized and ready to go…an organized sewing room makes the thought of sewing a lot more appealing!

FAIL. Ahhh…so three weeks ago I listed my goals, the first week I had trouble dragging myself out of bed, but did manage to exercise once (yes, one measly day) and realized I loved it! I loved the work-out, I loved how I felt, I loved it! Then, here come the excuses…I got sick! Two weeks ago I came down with a nasty cold and the nastiest part of the whole thing…a horrible cough that I still have, two weeks and counting! So, excuses, excuses, but I couldn’t walk from room to room without a coughing fit, let alone exercise. My alarm was set for 5AM this morning, only for me to be awakened at 4:55AM by a horrible coughing fit. This WILL get better!

The “d” word.”
So I haven’t been all out dieting, which was never my intention, but for the most part I have done well at cutting out the junk. I have been making a conscious effort to cut out the junk and in return, I’ve lost a few pounds! While I do feel good about this, in February I think I’ll not only do that, but also focus on portion size and see if I can’t part with even a few more pounds.

I really like my goals and having something to strive towards. While I might have failed in a few departments this month, surprisingly I don’t feel discouraged and am just ready to tackle them this month. So we’ll see how February goes, reporting back in 28 days!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ranch Wives Cooking Club - Brownies

Go to your pantry and throw out all of your boxed brownie mixes, because after you try these delicious, so simple brownies, you are never going to need another mix ever again.

Mix 1 cup melted butter with 1/2 cup cocoa and 2 cups sugar.

Mix in 4 eggs, one at a time.
Mix in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder, add to wet mixture.

Pour into a greased 9x13 metal pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.
The recipe says to bake for 20-25 minutes, mine usually take 40 minutes.

Many times I sprinkle with chopped walnuts before baking, but we are going to my Bestie and the Great White Hunter's house for dinner tonight and I couldn't remember their feelings towards nuts. You can also sprinkle with powdered sugar, but I think we're just going with good old plain brownies tonight.

As easy as a mix and I promise you won't be disappointed!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Conveniences...are they missed???

In August, right after I found out that we’d finally be moving back to the ranch soon, I wrote a blog about how fond I had grown of the city conveniences. I listed the nine things that I thought I’d miss the most…almost six months later, let’s check in and see how I’m doing.

1) Ice cream run.
The Schwans man and I have become all too good of friends. Over the holidays they had this turtle cheesecake ice cream…ahhh, I am drooling on my keyboard. Mrs. Schwans (or whoever came up with the idea of delivering ice cream to rural areas in a refrigerated truck) is pure genius in my book!

2) Go to Target just because.
Yeh, this one is the one I miss the most (I told you it would be). Alco is good, but not quite (let’s be real…nowhere near) Target good. Target, I love you and miss you.

3) Pizza delivery.
There’s a new pizza delivery boy in town…every Friday night John Wayne and I take Pizza Hut home for dinner with my parents. (Wow, they get paid well for watching my rowdy child all week…a cold pizza every Friday night!) So yeh, after the 50 minute car ride, you reheat or eat cold, but it’s still pretty good.

4) Rent a movie at Blockbuster.
Haven’t missed this one a bit; in fact, we’ve been so busy we haven’t even signed up for Netflix yet. Today on my lunch break I did venture over to Alco to buy Secretariat. I’ve been jonesing for a trip to the movie theater, but since I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future, I decided I could spend $20 bucks on a DVD.

5) Get pastries from Altitude Sweets.
Darlene’s Delights in Limon makes fabulous donuts! And the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls have become a new Sunday morning favorite for us.

6) Starbucks drive through on my way to work.
Thank you Dunkin Donuts for making the best ground coffee ever! Each morning I’m armed with my Farm Credit travel mug and ready to face the day.

7) Late night Taco Bell run.
I don’t care that their beef isn’t enough beef to be called beef (I can’t believe I just said that), but it tastes good!!! I miss Taco Bell almost as much as I miss Target.

8) Hobby Lobby.
It hasn’t been too much of a problem...until now, right in the middle of planning the Little Lady’s birthday party and I need ribbon and paper and glue and Hobby Lobby stuff!

9) Chick Fil A for lunch.
Yeh, this one’s pretty big. Anytime I’m traveling for work or in the city for any other reason, I always search out the nearest Chick Fil A. (Did you know that Greeley doesn’t have a Chick Fil A?!? I found this out earlier this week when I was in town for the Farm Show. I always knew I didn’t really like Greeley…)

And this was the dumbest statement I’ve ever made: Hmmm...I think I see a strong theme here...maybe this move will make me skinnier?!?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dinner Time

I love being a big girl and sitting at the table with Mama and Daddy. I eat little bits of whatever they're having for dinner. Tonight I was loving me some shredded cheese!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A blizzard, a barn and a cell phone

Today I traveled to Greeley for the Colorado Farm Show. As I was cruising down Highway 79 between Bennett and Prospect Valley, I passed a spot in the road where John Wayne and I once had an "incident." Good, bad, or otherwise, here's the story.

One Friday afternoon during John Wayne and I's college years in Fort Collins, we were headed home for the weekend. I don't remember if it was snowing when we left the Fort or not (it probably was, maybe our judgement wasn't so good back then), but by the time we turned south from Prospect Valley, we were in an all out white out. When we could no longer see the front of the car, literally, we decided we had to pull off and wait it out.

We didn't have to sit there too long before it let up enough that we could slowly get back on our way, but we did have to sit there long enough that I had a problem...I had to pee! BAD! Highway 79 is lined with farms, so I trudged to the front door of the nearest farm house and knocked on the door, of course with John Wayne by my side. No answer. There was only one answer to my problem...there was a big open face barn, I was desperate, that would work.

Once we finally made it to Wild Horse, John Wayne discovered he had a problem. His cell phone was missing. After retracing our steps in our minds, we came to the conclusion that the cell phone had fallen out of his pocket...when we were stopped during the the farmer's barn.

I chalked it up to a loss.
Oh no, not John Wayne, one of the most frugal men alive. He was going to atleast try to get this cell phone back.

The next day John Wayne proceeds to call Prospect Implement to find out who lives where we had stopped. Much to my humiliation, John Wayne makes the call and tells our story. Luckily he was dealing with a very nice (and good humored) farmer's wife. She said she'd go look for it, but from experience "those things don't hold up well in moisture," her husband had apparently lost several in the irrigation ditch.

Well, she never did find the cell phone, but boy did she have a good story to tell at church on Sunday!

Moral of the story...I'm not sure, but hope you got a good laugh!

I made it to Greeley without any blizzard, barn or cell phone incidents today and got the booth all set up and ready for the show tomorrow.

I hope the forecast for tomorrow evening's drive home is dry! : )

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A sneak peak...

It's very hard to believe, but in just a little over a month we'll be celebrating the Little Lady's 1st birthday.

Now, all of you that know me know that I LOVE to throw a party, so I've been anxious to get started on this one. I'm going to call it #2 in my party planning book, right behind my wedding!

I didn't allow myself to start on it until after Christmas, but then I dove in...pretty much just a lot of time spent on Etsy looking at all of the cute options. I had pretty much decided on the cute little owl "Whoooo's turning 1" theme, but then my bestie Katie said, what about a monsters theme. Well since we have our very own little monster on our fitting!

And once I found this on Etsy, there was no turning back, a monster bash it would be!

This weekend I worked with Heather who owns Chickabug (who is GREAT to work with by the way, highly recommend her for helping you out with any of your party needs) to get the invitations and other things ordered for the Little Lady's monster bash. Heather will print the invites and a few other things for me, but then most of the other stuff, like the cupcake wrappers and toppers, banner, etc are pdf files that Heather has already sent me and I'll print and assemble these things myself. I'll for sure be back to Heather and Chickabug again next year about this time!

Can't wait for the big Monster Bash!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bragging Mama

Be sure to pick up the January 31st edition of The Fence Post. The Little Lady won the Babies 2010 contest and will be on the cover of the special edition inside that issue.

Thanks to all of you who voted!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who voted for me in The Fence Post's Babies 2010 contest. I won!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the January 31st edition where I'll be on the cover of the inside special edition!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More excitement then we needed for a Sunday morning

John Wayne and I are headed to the big city today for his company retreat/meetings.
My Dad was having baby goat and water issues this morning.
None of us went to church.

John Wayne went down to feed the dogs. I was busy trying to get ready and the Little Lady was being needy. Irritated that it was taking John Wayne way too long to feed the dogs, I stepped out on our porch and started hollering at him.

I then realize he's standing outside of the old house that we all use for storage with a hose.
And smoke is billowing out the top of the old house.

"The old house is on fire," he yells at me. "Get your Mom and Dad."
"Really, are you serious?!?" was my smart reply. (Some people's reactions quicken during emergencies, apparently mine don't.)

Mom and Dad were cleaning out the goat barn, so I put my strong lungs and loud voice to use...they were up to help John Wayne in no time. They were able to get the fire stopped before we lost too much, a few things burned and we lost some stuff to smoke and water damage.

Mom did lose her spare refrigerator. She was pretty disappointed about that, it came in handy for brandings and such when lots of cooking was in order.

You can tell by the melted handles on the fridge, it got pretty darn hot!

Part of the floor burned and I was nervous the whole time they were fighting it that it was going to give way.

Thankfully we were all at home and able to get it stopped. It could've been A LOT worse.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jenn's Wedding

This afternoon we had the honor of attending Jenn and Tyler's wedding.

Jenn was an absolutely beautiful bride.
I was more interested in her pretty flowers than anything else!

I had lots of fun...especially because my friends Skyla and Kelsi were there!

(Mama says if she was a Photo Shop expert, she'd patch these two pictures together and have a fabulous one...but she's not, so you'll have to patch them together in your head!)

Thanks Tyler and Jenn for letting us be a part of your special day. We wish you many years of love and happiness!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Last night me and Justin were watching Grey’s, and maybe we were just a little too into it because all of the sudden we weren’t sure where T was. (It is just a single wide trailer, not too many places for her to go, so let’s not get too worked up!)

We had most of the lights off, just a few lamps on.
Justin went one direction, I went the other.

Next thing I hear….
ROAAAARRRR as little Tressie comes out from underneath the kitchen table as if she had been waiting patiently for the right chance to jump out and scare us.


Thursday, January 13, 2011


If I took a day off work for something, it’s probably blog worthy, right? (Not that I wouldn’t love to take a day off, just to take a day…)

Anyways…yesterday John Wayne and I sold our calves in La Junta.

I could’ve snapped all sorts of pictures and entertained you all as I took you step by step through our day. But, I could tell by the look on John Wayne’s face when I asked him, that he would be completely mortified if I whipped my camera out in the sale barn and started taking pictures.

So the day pretty much went like this…
(Minus pictures, but I did sneak this one of the Little Lady playing with our friend’s little boy…cuteness! Shane had her giggling!)

The guys went to my father-in-law’s and loaded the calves.
The guys drove to La Junta. John Wayne has a blow-out on his trailer. This puts John Wayne in an even more anxious mood then he is already in.
The guys get to La Junta and unload the calves. For a brief moment, John Wayne relaxes and breathes a sigh of relief before he starts getting anxious again about how they’ll sale.
After lunch, we find our seats in the sale barn and get settled in for what could be a very long day.
Not too long into the sale, I hear the auctioneer say John Wayne’s name. Thank you Don Honey, I think I could give you a hug…putting our calves at the beginning of the sale just gave my husband a year of his life back that he was otherwise going to worry away waiting for one little word…SOLD!

The calves sold well. Check in hand. Sigh of relief. And big smiles on our faces!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Goats

My Grandpa and Grandma have baby goats...lots of them! Well, I guess I should say soon they will have lots of them! Right now they just have one set of triplets.

Here I am all ready to go visit the goat barn.

Here I am with two of them. They are spunky, Mama never could get a picture of me with all three of them.

I'm beginning to like them more and more. My first visit I got a little frightened when one of them cried for their mama.

By the way, do you like my new hat?!? Mama and Daddy got it for me for Christmas; it's my goat checkin' hat.

Grandpa says here any day now we should have lots of babies!


John Wayne and crew are preg-checking our cows at my father-in-law's today.
This equals "honey, we'll need lunch."
That's easy enough...stew in the crock-pot and a pan of corn bread.

Stew is a great easy, transportable meal for occasions like today.

Cut up enough potatoes, carrots and onions to feed an army.
Brown several pounds of stew meat.
Throw it all together in the crock-pot and mix it with a couple of cans of tomato soup, some water and a generous dash of salt and pepper.

I mixed the stew up last night and put it in the refrigerator, but afraid that it might not have enough time to cook and the guys would be eating crunchy potatoes and carrots, I set my alarm for 3AM to get up and turn the stew on.

This morning, I get the meal all packed up and as best transportable as I can and start packing it out to the pick-up for John Wayne. On the second trip, John Wayne meets me half way, grabs the insulated crock-pot carrier from me, failing to keep it level and juice starts pouring out of the bag.

I will be buying one of these...
with a locking lid.

Oh well, hopefully too much juice didn't escape...
and John Wayne remembers to take the crock-pot in and plug it back in immediately...
and my time spent in the kitchen at 3AM...
equals perfectly cooked potatoes and carrots for the guys.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My 2011 Goals List

I am a goal driven person and a firm believer that writing it down will help you achieve it. Well, I’m going a step further…I’m not only writing it down, I’m sharing it with you all.

My 2011 Goals List, in no particular order…

Drink more water.
I really don’t like how water tastes. I really don’t like having to go to the bathroom 7 million times each day, which is what happens when I drink water. But…I HAVE to drink more water. There are times when I can look back on a several day period, when I have not taken a single sip of water (yes, I realize that many of you are gasping right now). My body would probably appreciate some water instead of all the coffee and Diet Coke.

Stick to a budget.
John Wayne is a saver. I am a spender. For the past 8½ years John Wayne has tried to turn me into a saver, to no avail. Well, now with the prospect of building my forever house in the next few years (my forever house is where I will live my next at least 72 years), I am now a saver too. I have a BIG number that I would like to see in my savings account by the end of the year.

Read at least one book each month.
I like to read. After I had the Little Lady, I began questioning whether or not I would ever have time to read another book ever again. Well, now I have time during our commute and during my lunch hour, so really a book each month shouldn’t be a problem. (I think my current book of choice is my problem right now.)

Keep my pictures organized.
When the Little Lady was first born, at the end of each month I was backing all of my pictures up to a CD. Well, 10 months later, I have a mess of pictures everywhere…in my Shutterfly account, in my Kodak account, in my Picasa account, on my desktop, even on my Mom’s desktop! Why I even have all of these different accounts is beyond me?!? I need to get a new system and stick to it. I also want to do a good job of either printing pictures out and scrapbooking or making photo books online. I want to have something to give the Little Lady rather than just a stack of CDs.

Start sewing again.
When I got my sewing machine almost two years, much to my family’s surprise, I took off sewing…loving it and actually doing a pretty good job. Well, life has been so hectic lately, I haven’t done any sewing for quite awhile. I threw together an apron for a shower gift this fall, but haven’t touched my machine since then. I would like to complete at least one project each month and I’ll start with a bag for my Mom that I’ve had cut out for a year and a half now. I HATE having unfinished projects lying around.

Exercise. Yes, this one’s on 99% of all American’s list who make a resolutions list, right? Well, I want to get back into the routine…I feel so much better when I’m exercising (even though I don’t like to exercise). And I like to do it in the morning, I hate spending the day dreading going home and having to exercise (and yes, I think I mentioned that I don’t like to exercise…therefore I do dread it). So 5AM, 4x week, that’s my goal. This is a big one, but I’ve told you now, so I may actually do it. I have a fear of failure and letting other people down.

And then there’s the big one…
The “d” word...
I don’t know…I’m torn. I love to cook and bake and I know it can be done, but I’m sorry, healthy is not my style…I love real butter and lots of it. So maybe if I cut out all of the processed, store bought “bad for you” stuff: Little Debbie Snacks, candy bars, etc…I can continue to eat the good “bad for you” stuff. I think that’s a fair enough compromise. I’d rather be happy, eating my butter, then a grumpy girl craving it…all be it skinny, but still grumpy.

So not only have I shared my goals with you, at the end of each month I am going to report back to you on how I’ve progressed. Wish me luck and hold me accountable!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

Friday night we went to Wild Horse to the New Year's Eve Card Party.
It was a good time. The party was pretty much dominated by my family, there were probably around 25 people there total, with probably close to 18 of them being Hammer's.

I was a little nervous about how much fun it'd be...the Little Lady decided to forgo a nap that day of all days.
But...she ended up doing great! There were enough of her Grandpa and Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles and cousins to keep her entertained and happy.

We all dressed up for the occasion.
Here's cousin Josh rockin' the sweats and cowboy boots.

The Little Lady and my cousin Lauren, one of her favorites.

Helping Grandma with her hand.

My favorite part of the whole night...
Marilyn made her famous homemade donuts!
Oh my goodness, move aside Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy have nothing on Marilyn.
I've already put in my birthday request!

The Little Lady agrees...!!!

We played Pitch. There were six tables, with the winners moving tables and the losers staying put. So that means most of us got to play with a lot of different partners throughout the night; unless you're Lauren, who never moved seats once!

My Dad was high point for the men and my cousin Leah was high for the women.

It was a great way to ring in the New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We spent the day welcoming the new year with family at Grandpa and Grandma's.