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Monday, December 24, 2012

Stitched Presents

For cousin Jessica -- who loves Nativities. A couple months ago I got to visit a town called Glasgow, Montana. Not much going on there but did get to spend a little time with some cousins and get to know them really for the first time. My husband and son were supposed to take a guided fishing boat day out on Fort Peck Lake but the weather proved non-cooperative so they will return in the Spring. It is amazing how you can be related and yet not have the opportunity to get to know each other. Family has always meant a lot to me as I grew up in a foster home. As a child you are told in the foster home that you are part of the family, but the last name is never the same, and then when it really comes down to introductions to new people -- you are called the "foster child". I, however, was fortunate to get to know and love Aunt Marie. She found out about me when I was 15. She came to visit in Tennessee and then we started a correspondence through mail and phone for many years. When I turned 21, she was my anchor to moving on with my life and helped get me to Montana. Many years later I can see how she helped so many in the family get from one place to another to where they need to be. I am glad to say she is now where she needs to be and hope that she continues to be happy and feel love from all the family -- near and far. Still trying to figure out the 1st, 2nd, 3rd cousin order of family and wondering where the "twice removed" parts come in when people are talking. Guess I need to do a little research. Did manage to stitch a few presents for the Glasgow area cousins and hope they have a wonderful holiday season. Here is thinking of you -- McKenzie, Malani, Nicole, and Christian (he got a knitted cap)!!

Holidays and Sniffles

Pssss . . . It's snowing again. It is also 2 degrees outside currently. Ever felt like things were running smoothly -- no stress, no worries. Holidays just around the corner and then BAM! Out of no where a little tickle starts in the throat and then next thing you know you are laid out flat in bed for 5 days. That happened to me. Packages were not even sealed up to be mailed out. One more afternoon at the sewing machine needed to finish up a wall hanging headed to Kentucky to my brother and his new wife. Well things will be arriving late for some. Christmas cards unfinished will become New Year greetings. Am I sweating it -- NO. Not what the holidays are all about. Do I have my 3 kid's presents wrapped -- NO, but I know they will be happy and feel my love. Just so thrilled none of my family came down with my more than sniffles. Glad they are not saying these words anymore, "Mom you sure do look like a picture of health, NOT." -- Avery age 13.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Wish

Trying to get into the spirit of the holidays coming up. Came across this photo and it made me laugh! Hard to believe Thanksgiving is this coming week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pheasants and Wheat Stubble

One critter I have not had much success capturing in photos is a pheasant. We have a bunch of them running around the wheat stubble fields here in Fort Benton, MT. I was able to catch some shots at a distance a month ago.
Makes me sad to write "shots" as it is now pheasant hunting season here. Several hunters and their dogs have been trying to walk these muddy fields (from our last snowfall) but they aren't staying long due to slipping and sliding. So I think the pheasants are safe for a few more days.

Fall Colors in Montana

Just checking on how I have been remiss in posting lately. I so enjoyed the Fall colors in Fort Benton, MT this year and want to put them out for anyone interested to see. Hope you like them!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Down South Humor

Even though my home is now in Montana, my upbringing was in the South. I love this Halloween humor someone sent me recently.

Simple Delicious Cookies

Avery and I just finished reading, Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. We decided to take a break and make some cake box cream cheese cookies. Today, we chose dark chocolate cake mix and added a few chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and a sprinkle of walnuts. -- Avery reports: "The best!" Want the simple recipe for these to make your own variations, check this link out: Cake Mix Cookies

Witches Humor

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Orange Butter and Swedish Pancakes

Article found in the Great Falls Tribune, August 29, 2012. I have to try me some of this orange butter!!! Recipes by Marcus Samuelsson ORANGE BUTTER Makes about ½ cup. Can be made ahead. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. ½ cup real butter, softened 1½ tsp. fresh orange peel ¼ cup powdered sugar 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice Using electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. SWEDISH PANCAKES Makes about 18 small pancakes. 3 eggs 1¾ cup milk 1 tsp. vanilla 1/8 tsp. salt 4 tbsp. melted butter, cooled 1 cup flour Additional butter for cooking the pancakes Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In blender pitcher, combine all Swedish pancake ingredients, in order. Blend until well-mixed. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Brush melted butter to coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons batter in hot buttered pan and swirl to make a pancake. Cook until edges begin to curl up. Grasp edges of pancake with both hands and flip to cook other side briefly. Remove from pan and transfer to platter. Place platter of pancakes in preheated oven to stay warm. Repeat, making Swedish pancakes out of the remaining batter. Roll pancakes and serve dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a dollop of Orange Butter. Enjoy! Sydne George can be reached at Recipes from “Special of the Day” are archived at

Fudge For My Taste Buds Please

The last posting was about recipe award winners from the recent State Fair in Great Falls using Spam -- something I have always thought of as mystery meat. The same article went on to include a couple of recipes I am going to have to try. Just might have to wait for huckleberry season to come around again though. What do you think of these recipes? Logan took home his third culinary blue ribbon in the C&H Sugar Fabulous Fudge Contest. HUCKLEBERRY FUDGE 8 ounces cream cheese 4 cups sugar 1½ tsp. vanilla 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped ½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped 1 cup huckleberries Grease 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Heat white chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Fold melted chocolate, huckleberries and nuts into cream cheese mixture. Spread into baking dish and chill for one hour. ——— Josh Pecukonis shook up the state fair standings by taking the top prize in the adult category for his fudge that replicates a steaming cup of cappuccino. CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAPPUCCINO FUDGE ¾ cup evaporated milk 1½ cups mini marshmallows 2 cups sugar 1 stick butter 5 tbsp. instant coffee granules 17 ounces white chocolate chips 2 ounces cream cheese 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup dried tart cherries ½ cup slivered almonds For white swirl portion: ¼ cup evaporated milk ½ cup mini marshmallows ½ cup sugar ¼ stick of butter 6 ounces white chocolate chips Mix sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a pan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add coffee granules, white chocolate chips, marshmallows, cream cheese, vanilla, cherries and almonds. Make white swirl fudge separately. Divide tan fudge into coffee cups. Add white fudge and swirl to recreate coffee house-style cups of fudge. Recipes for all the winning culinary contests are available at the Cascade County Extension office, 3300 3rd St. NE.

Are These Spam Recipes For You?

Okay -- all you Spam lovers -- here are some recipes for you!!! I talked about these at the dinner table the other night and the kids cried YUK when it came to Spam with chocolate. What do you think? This article was found recently in the Great Falls Tribune under a piece called Give and Take, August 29, 2012. Spam rarely gets people running to the dining room table. Frankly, the mystery meat has a bit of an ick factor. Yet every second, 3.8 cans are sold in the U.S. The Spam contest at the Montana State Fair challenges cooks to create unique Spam-tastic dishes. Sean Varner won the youth division with his Summer Camping Spamcakes that was adapted from a breakfast meal he enjoyed at camp this year. He describes it as fun and yummy — just like camp. SUMMER CAMPING SPAMCAKES 12 ounces of classic Spam, diced into ½-inch squares 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 14 ounces of Jiffy raspberry muffin mix 2 eggs 1¼ cup milk Stir muffin mix, eggs and milk and cook 1/8 cup of batter on a hot griddle. Add cheese and Spam while batter is cooking. Flip when pancake is light brown and bubbles pop. The pancakes don’t need syrup, unless you want an extra sweet treat. ——— Adult winner Megan Varner wanted to show Spam in a more sophisticated and modern way. Here’s her recipe for Spam ice cream with a chocolate Spam bark. SPAM HEAVEN 2 cups heavy cream 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 3 tbsp. melted butter 1 cup chocolate ice cream topping (not magic shell) 2 (12-ounce) cans classic Spam ½ cup chocolate chips ½ cup chopped pecans 2 cups white chocolate chips Whip cream into stiff peaks. Whisk condensed milk, butter and melted chocolate ice cream topping. Chop 1½ cans of Spam and fry it. Add to chocolate mixture. Fold in the whipped cream. Place in freezer for six hours in a covered container. Thinly slice remaining Spam. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler. Spread thinly on baking sheet. Layer with Spam and pecans, then cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle on top. Refrigerate for at least one more hour until bark is hard and chilled. Cut into pieces and use to garnish ice cream.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Magnificent Sunrise

My husband was heading out the door to work yesterday morning a little after 6 a.m. and came into the house saying, "Honey, come look at the sun rising this morning". Grabbed the camera and took several photos. Simply spectacular!! Just had to share. -- in Fort Benton, Montana

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dragonfly Crazy

My kids think I am nuts, but I can't help chase dragonflies and try to get close up photographs of them. Here is one from the other day.
I don't know what the attraction was to the handle of our lawnmower, but this critter kept flitting off and then returning for his photo session with me. I took only 8 shots and these 3 turned out b e a u t i f u l!!! Hope you like them as much as I do.


I HAD TO SHARE THIS Story Someone Sent to ME -- I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me. 'Hello Barry, how are you today?' 'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas They sure look good.' 'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?' 'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.' 'Good. Anything I can help you with?' 'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.' 'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller. 'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.' 'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?' 'All I got's my prize marble here.' 'Is that right? Let me see it', said Miller. 'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.' 'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked. 'Not zackley but almost.' 'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy. 'Sure will. Thanks Mr.. Miller.' Mrs Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.' I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts....all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket.. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.. Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them.. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt. We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ......' With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles. The Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath. Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself... An unexpected phone call from an old friend.... Green stoplights on your way to work.... The fastest line at the grocery store.... A good sing-along song on the radio... Your keys found right where you left them. IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13

Monday, August 6, 2012

Peacock Feathers

I spent a lot of time this past week working on an embroidery piece of a bird I find very fascinating -- the peacock.
Here is some information obtained online through Wikipedia about this special character. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks.[1] The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny colour with darker brown patches. The peacock flares out his feathers when he is trying to get the peahen's attention. Peafowl are omnivorous and eat most plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and other arthropods, reptiles, and amphibians. During the mating season they will often emit a very loud high-pitched cry. They also travel in hunting packs between ten and ninety. There are many different cultural significances in other lands that picture a peacock in them. He has many different representations even a deity who possesses benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and knowledge. In some cultures the peacock is also a symbol of pride or vanity, due to the way the bird struts and shows off its plumage.
Proverbs about bird feathers -- Some I have heard and others are new to me. Chicken are beautiful because of their feathers, women are beautiful because of their make-up. Thai Proverb -*- Fine feathers make fine birds.. Vietnamese Proverb. -*- Every bird is proud of its feathers.. Maltese Proverb. -*- A bird does not change its feathers because the weather is bad.. Nigerian Proverb. -*- The fowl perspires, but the feathers do not allow us to see the perspiration.. Nigerian Proverb. -*- A bird will always use another birds' feathers to feather its own nest.. South Sotho Proverb. -*- The peacock hath fair feathers, but a foul voice.. Chinese Proverb. -*- A bird is known by his feathers.. Yiddish proverb. -*- Words and feathers the wind carries away.. Romanian Proverb. -*- The peacock hath fair feathers, but foul feet.. Romanian Proverb. -*-
I zoned in on my dogwood blooms on this piece as well. One thing I miss living in the South is dogwood trees. We used to have one in our front yard when I was growing up and I loved those delicate petals.

Friday, August 3, 2012

John Deere Harvesting

I was thrilled to spot the Amber Waves Harvesting crew out our front window working away cutting and harvesting Spring wheat on August 2, 2012.
My kids thought I was crazy stopping to snap photos of the big green machines chomping away in the fields and stirring up wheat dust as they kept in rhythm working away.
Hope you enjoy these photos. I think they are massive. My daughter, Savannah Rose, asked "Mama, how did they harvest the wheat before these machines were made?" I told her by hands. Made me think of Little House on the Prairie shows.
A little research also shows that a tool called a Scythe was used to harvest wheat before machines were used.
From Wikipedia: A scythe is an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass, or reaping crops. It was largely replaced by horse-drawn and then tractor machinery, but is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia. The Grim Reaper and Death are often depicted carrying or wielding a scythe. (I hadn't even remembered this last part until reading it again.)-- So I am learning and relearning all over again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Storms Clouds Fort Benton Montana

It amazes me how fast the weather can change. Big white cotton ball like fluffy clouds hanging in the skies for the most part. Blues in so many different shades. I enjoy even taking cloud pictures at times. Yesterday, a huge storm came across the plains very swiftly. It was a big one and thunder and lightening were playing their symphony as well. My daughter and I headed outside -- her because it was cooling down rapidly and me with my camera to capture the moment.
I stayed outside till the big raindrops started hitting pretty hard. Didn't want to ruin my camera.
I tried to capture the storm after it passed over our house but was just over the hill from us. I loved the colors of the ripened wheat field accented by the dark storm clouds...only wish I had captured the shot better, but I had to quit playing and rush to get ready to leave for work.
Same is the situation now for me. Got to get supper cooked and then ready for another 12 hour overnight shift.

Dragonfly Wings

Yesterday I ventured out into the front yard for a while so my son could get the yard mowed. We have mainly garter snakes that like to visit us around the place we live. My kids are like me in having a very strong dislike for these slithering creatures so they request a parent "hang around" when outside.
At first I thought the flying "critters" were bees going for the overgrown clover and bushes up next to the house. Then I realized for the most part dragonflies were in the air. So I grabbed what has become like a best friend lately -- my digital camera. Well, one dragonfly liked having his picture taken. It took over 40 pictures before I captured him and all his detail. I just love the wings. Also, I find their heads to be very fascinating. I found this diagram online of the different body parts of the dragonfly.
This one was much smaller than the other one I blogged about recently. Also, his coloring was very different. Guess I am going to have to do more research and see if there are different species. I did also wonder where these creatures go when storms blow over as one did a little later. Haven't found much online for this answer, but they must "sense" it coming and find places to hide. Can you guess what my next blog will be about? I grabbed my camera for it too.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stunning Sunsets

Taken Saturday -- July 28, 2012 I have been off work for a few nights in a row this week and have stepped outside just as the sun has been setting a little after 9 p.m. here in Fort Benton, Montana. I am amazed at how each one is so different. Hope you like these photos. It is hard to pick which ones I like the best as I shoot from different places in the front and back yards. I love the ones with the trees in the forefront, but the colors of the sun and surrounding clouds over the wheat fields are equally spectacular.
Taken Friday -- July 27, 2012
Taken Thursday -- July 26, 2012 Even after the sun has gone to bed for the night, the skies are still beautiful in colors as seen in these taken tonight.
Also, I would like to note -- I did not color enhance any of these photos. I left them as taken with my old trusty digital camera. I did choose different settings to see what effect I would get with them though.