12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Crafts, Ministry, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life

Homemade Valentines are not a thing of the past! These cute Valentines will make any receiver know without a shadow of a doubt they are loved. Being a ranch ministry it is something we love to share…LOVE with animals! PLUS…it’s below zero here in Minnesota…so what’s a girl to do but craft!

Each animal or gnome brings a smile just because of their huge tummies. I love how it makes it look like they are holding their tummies full of goodies! They may take you some time, but soooooo worth it!
Just change the colors to fit anytime of year giving.

Material Needed Gnome:

Aren’t these just the cutest?

Material Needed for Barn Animals

How to:

Once you have cut out your image, put together how you would like. There is so much variety by adding background paper and ribbons to spice up your Valentine so play away. I used the extra pieces for the legs and paws and used double stick take to secure them to the ball.

After your image is glued together, decorate your ball background. I used the Cricut’s shape image circle and made it slightly larger than the ornament ball. If you use a dark circle for your backing you don’t have to decorate.

Hot glue around edge of your ball filled with candy. Place your circle backing on to secure. You may need. to add more glue to make sure it is fully enclosed.

To secure the ball to the front of image I used a piece of velcro so the image can be reused as a tag. (see below)

Or you can just hot glue it directly to your image.

Making the tag to fit easily behind the ball. I do show the recipient how they can use it and regift using the image as a gift tag.

Velcro on back of ball

Sucker for gift ideas…so…use them as gift tags!

Enjoy making the ones you love feel LOVED!

This holiday is so awesome! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

The homemade key chain craz is hitting the craft fairs big time this year and heading into 2022 I think it will remain a great gift idea as well as craft for kids and grandkids! Easy to make with your Cricut machine and some imagination. Making them personal is always a special touch.

I got busy this Christmas making key chains as we found some plexiglass in the barn. PERFECT for making this project and use it up in a wise way. Dan cut them up on his laser machine and I got busy pumping out both for our Trading Post at the ranch and for personal family and friends. I also like using them as tags for the outside of gift.

Here are just a few:

Made with background vinyl: Expressions Vinyl

Expressions Vinyl has all your heat and permanent vinyl needs! Love this company and FREE shipping with $49 or more. When you shop with them you will get your own inspirations for sure!

Many of the designs I got in Design Space. If you have a Cricut, it really is worth $10/mo to have this great feature! So easy to add your own ideas too.

Enjoy! You won’t want to stop! HA!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Health, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

January joy is so needed in the states where the cold and gloomy days get super long. What better way to fight through the blues than bring in some joy! Anywhere from date nights to decorating your home in color with ambiance to boot! Here are some fun ways to boost your winter blues to joyful days!

TIP ONE:

Try and have a day to clean your home or work space. Really dust off the desks, launder and chairs or bedding including throw pillows, and organize as you put things back into place. Using essential oils freshens up a room and of course lifts your spirits as you clean. (Orange, Spearmint, and Lemon are wonderful together! I call it my joy blend) I choose the rooms I use the most, even if it’s only one, at least that one space brings in the joy and kicks out the blues! OH…turn up some TUNES and ROCK those blues away! Favorite blends for my “go to”.

TIP TWO:

Pick 4 dates stretched out in the month of January and February that you get out and do something with the one you love! My hubby and I love to ride, but not often will the temperatures fit that day out, so we plan a movie and dinner out, going out with friends, game nights, a short trip to an event or snowshoeing in the woods. Look at a calendar and pick out those adventures and mark them down! Having something fun to look forward to always keeps the mood up-lifting. One thing I want to add this year is dancing. (shhh, Dan’s not a fan…but hope to make a reality)

Fun Gift Ideas To Make

Making or putting together gifts for folks who are shut in’s or sick will bring you peace as well as fill your heart with joy! I like to have things on hand but of course a jar of homemade soup, bread, and a note in a basket may have to be a last minute throw together for a sick friend, but having soup ready in the freezer is a step to making sure you follow through. Here are a few of my go to’s:

Get well, mason jar full of soup, homemade herbal teas

Learn some tips on blending your own tea…HERE

Nothing like bread and infused rosemary olive oil and sparkling water with fresh lemon to brighten someones day!
In a box, ready for game night with friends. Nothing in here will go bad so it’s all set to go!
I made a cuddly easy sew blanket! Really…only took me 1/2 hour to sew! I call it my Yummy Bubblegum blanket.

Nothing like homemade items and of course my fav…cards! Always have a stash on hand for those special moments and needs! How to make Chocolate bombs, HERE.

Fighting the Blues IS to be taken seriously

Working with many folks in our ministry we find this time of year extra hard. Especially if one has faced a recent loss or battling an illness with themselves or a loved one. What makes it all the more challenging is the cold and how much easier it is for folks to isolate themselves.

If you have a relationship with Jesus you know who to go to in times of dire need and strength with extra time in prayer, meeting with other believers, and most importantly, growing in your bible time. It’s important to acknowledge when your feeling down and call up a friend to get together and share how you are feeling. A trusted person who can pray with you and do something out of the ordinary fun and refreshing as well as lead you to a safe place. Please…if you are still struggling, call a counseling center and meet weekly with a therapist. It’s never OK for you to continue going down a path of despair. Call for help and know YOU ARE LOVED by a MIGHTY KING who can bring you healing and HOPE!

OUR PERSONAL JOURNEY…HERE

Let’s enjoy a winter season with JOY! Some of us have to work harder at it than others, but get your brain refreshed fill up on dopamine and rejoice in life even in the hard times! It can be done…trust me!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, and ENJOY THE RIDE HOME,

Lee

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Food, Ranch Life
Christmas morning Dan and I make sure the Christmas music is playing stockings stuffed, the bible open to the Book of Luke, and hot chocolate along with Christmas Kringle are all special traditions we hold dear and never want to miss. The year 2021 was full of recovery mode and we will close this year being thankful for the breather! This special time to rest and celebrate our Savior who came so we may experience daily rest in HIM!

HINT: Read the directions as you prepare this! First you make the crust, then custard, then the frosting, but it doesn’t all get thrown into a bowl. HENCE…my daughter almost did! SO…read first and do one step at a time!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp water as needed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick butter (yes another 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
Directions: (3 groups)
  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees.
  2. First step: CRUST: Cut 1/2 butter with 1 cup flour adding a tsp of cold water pea size crumbly mixture to form a nice dough. On floured surface roll out dough forming a rectangle about 3-4 ” length. Or form a ring shape like above. I like using parchment paper to roll out dough so it transfers easily without falling apart. Place on cookie sheet.
  3. Second step: CUSTARD: In a small sauce pan over high heat bring 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour slowly stirring consistently until a nice ooie custard forms. Should be nice and smooth, no lumps. Take beaten eggs and a little at a time stir into custard mixture. Add tsp of almond extract and stir all together. Spread on top of your crust getting to edges as best you can. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top.
  4. BAKE: Place in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes until nice browning on top.
  5. Third step: FROSTING: Mix powdered sugar, cream and tsp of almond extract in a small bowl blending until it’s nice and smooth. When your pastry is done, wait a few minutes and spread on top of kringle while still warm. You can add sliced almonds on top for a nice finish.
  6. ENJOY!!!!! Taste awesome with coffee, tea, or a mug of hot chocolate with whipping cream!
Delightful Christmas table with plates of love messages
Not so little any more!

Traditions are precious! We love ours and yes they change over time but somethings we try and hang on to just because they are special for all of us! Christmas is all about Jesus and embracing HIS precious gift of salvation! What an act of LOVE! Why the Christmas setting is all about love!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, enjoy every moment with the ones you love,

Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Don’t buy those canned creamed soups…just don’t! They are not only full of sugar your body does not need but much added fats your body will not burn. Instead take a few extra steps and make your dish have a healthy richness and boost of flavor using a fresh cream soup. You won’t be disappointed!

My husband loves cooking homemade and really hated when I would buy the creamed soup to add to dishes! Really it was about money versus taste or health for him so he taught me to make my own. It is SOO simple and with the right ingredients will work every time!

Dan’s fav…broccoli cheese…me….not so much!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter, REAL, lard, or coconut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp. Xanthan gum or tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (for richer use cream or half and half (no almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper and a dash more fresh pepper

Directions:

  1. In saucepan melt butter, or fat of choice.
  2. Whisk in flour choice. It will make a thick paste.
  3. Slowly add liquids.
  4. Bring to just before boiling point. Add more liquid if it’s too thick.
  5. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper.
My fav… Hungarian Mushroom with lots of cream!

Notes:

To make a cream of celery or mushroom just add 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh celery or mushrooms.

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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life

Make a gift be special by just adding a bow and tag to give the receiver an extra…WOW! You don’t need any fancy gift wrap. It’s all in the presentation which will make their day!

Using fancy gift wrap is not only expensive, but to me they are pretty gaudy. The images take away the awe. I prefer simple with a country feel.

Have you ever seen old westerns or if your a heartie, When Call the Heart and the general store keeper wraps up the package with brown paper and twine? Well…that’s my kind of package! SO pretty and simple!

Simple and sweet!

If You Own A Cricut…

If you own a Cricut Maker , you have the perfect fast and easy way to decorate your gifts! Adding a personal tag, a card with your own font choices will bring a special touch and of course the bows and twine to tie it all together. The ideas are endless! I absolutely love the Cherry on Top company, free shipping on orders over $49 (easy) and the selection is awesome. You can also buy some Cricut items too from them. The mason jar fronts I got off of Design Space (which to me is a must if your a Cricut owner) and their placed on a easy open box.

The ideas are endless!

For all occasions!

Tags, Tags, Tags

Oh boy! When I discovered the 3D tag idea I went nuts! For one thing they are adorable on gifts but when you can make cards with them and other decor well…this just got me getting into the creative mode! Gnomes are my fav!

Yep Gnome Crazy!

Because we are a ranch…the animal package I chose was farm. 3 D Character Farm Bundle. Great deal! The pick up truck is cute…but would not recommend. Unless your cutting tool is brand new this project didn’t turn out well. But it is cute for sure! Christmas gnomes are flooding this site. Choose away!

I made another gnome for fall packaging which I like to use my left over vinyl for the package to cover up other advertising. As you can tell, I like to package with just what I have around the house and not buy bags and wrapping paper. Keeping it simple and sweet. Scarecrow Gnome fun name tag for the holiday dinner table!

Snow Globe Delight

Using small boxes is such a fun way to give my chocolate bombs as a gift but I wanted to add something extra to the front. SO…I grabbed this idea! Again simple and fun and with vinyl or background paper I can add a little touch here and there to put it all together. This grouping was easy to weed as well.

Snow globe Nativity

Crafting A Gift Is Always Special

Think ahead to someone you know who could use a pick me up and make their day! So many ideas and little time we say around here! Right now is a great craft just bursting with ideas! Here is a bundle you can get in on for just $4. Really a great bundle to have for sure as signs are a big deal!

CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS!

ENJOY crafting and wrapping in a very unique way this special time of year…or ANY occasion…think outside the box when you wrap!

God’s blessings,

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Training a teenage Haflinger who has been given the privilege of living life as she pleases has now brought on new adventures for her NEW life here at True North Ranch.

MAY 1, 2021

Our daughter Mac and I headed east to pick up a rescue named Rainie and another named Kaley who were renamed, Tilly. It was a fun get-a-way as mother and daughter shared many memories of our horse training, learning do’s and don’ts as we were so green back in the day, and recounting the rewards from many hours of groundwork.

HOME SWEET HOME?

When we got to Tilly’s place we witnessed instantly she had a spark of energy in her and was not at all comfortable with us. She was separated from her brother and dad and would not settle down. I knew then we had some serious work ahead of us! We left early in the morning which surprisingly she loaded well. Rainy is such a laid-back go-with-the-flow kind of girl we didn’t worry about her at all but it sure was a good thing we had her as Tilly needed a mate for the 10-hour journey home. We made one overnight stop at a similar ministry to our Hope Rides, which was awesome as the girls could stretch their legs and rest, and Mac and I could get a good night’s sleep! Morning came quickly and again no trouble loading the girls! Praise the LORD!

We arrived at the ranch right on time with many greetings from friends. Ministry sessions were also happening during this time of transition which became an amazing observation for them. We put our boys, Bo and Nugget in the round pen and as we unloaded the girls we let them loose into thier new home. full of trees and breathing Min

Our First Time in the Round pen

MAY 7, 2021

After an hour playing the catching game…in a sweat…Mackinzey and I got Ms. Tilly to the round pen. Of course, very nervous so we decided to bring Rainie in as well for support. It’s so important to have a “pit crew” in times of distress. Not only for humans but horse’s too.

A good first day!

True Colors

This next training session was much different. Two things different. One, she was on her own. Two, I took the halter off. Three…bad idea…with both those elements we had a fussy session that was suppose to only be an hour or two turned into…5 and 1/2 hour session! She was in a sweat and so was I! Never would I recommend this combo…but you don’t know until your in it and you can’t quit unless it’s on a happy note…it took her THAT long to get herself unwound!

Here’s a glimpse…

https://youtu.be/PaKpj1F7BHY

Ground work, ground work, ground work!

Amazing how we will see a change in her. She was ridable on the last one with one leading on the ground…and rider confident. Tilly did great! But when Abbie came again a month later, she could only ride her with her head pulled in. As Abbie said, if she gave her her head she would bolt and become unconfident. One of Tilly’s biggest hang up as she wants to see you. SO this helped…

Tilly Camp! October 16, 2021

Thinking Tilly needed an extended time with Abbie we decided to have Tilly spend some time at Abbie’s farm. This way she can take her out more frequently and understand some real issues away from our ranch. WOW! Listen to this first adventure…

And there we gooooo…

Camp Day 2

I decided to pay a visit and see first hand how Ms. Tilly was doing. She is definitely missing the ranch and familiar world at our ranch. I spent an hour there and took a short video. Again…it’s about her not having a visual on the handler which is a MUST for a horse to trust because no horse will see their rider on their back. She has to get to the trust without the sight.

Ground Driving

This technique is huge in understanding and working with getting a horse under saddle. Yes ground work, round-penning and playing on all yields is all a part of the training which Tilly has had all summer, but THIS is one that proves her lack of trust and need for this kind of ground work will need to be in her training plan. Abbie tried for several more days and it was decided she needs to be at the ranch to do this. SO…going into colder temps here in Minnesota, I begin where Abbie left off. I will have Abbie come show me as I haven’t done ground driving in years and will use Bokoda who knows this well from driving days and learn from him. Then we will go to Tilly and help her along. Tilly is back with her herd and content!

Keep Posted…

The sogga of training continues…keep posted as one day she will be used for riding God willing. The biggest thing I think about is every horse has a purpose. Riding, driving, racing, bronc riding, cattle work…What IS TILLY’S…it may not be riding…we’ll see!

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life, The Boys

Honoring our blue is indeed something they surely need. Dan and I prayerfully added a once-a-month day for the Blue and their families to enjoy the ranch and most important…each other!

Tilly enjoys her first paint time.
How we decided

Most of the time when we work together one of us comes up with an idea drawn from what is happening in our community and the surrounding world. It was without question when all the trauma the law enforcement officers were facing and continued to face we knew not only they personally were suffering but their families as well. Adding a once a month event just for them was an honor and our first one touched us all!

What we served

Keeping the meal simply because when there are kids involved, food really isn’t all that big a deal. We served sloppy joe’s, bacon beans, chips in a bag, BLUEberry lemonade, and for a treat, root beer floats. We fit in as much blue as we could in the deco and serving dishes as we could making it extra special by giving each child, spouse, and officer a goodie bag. The bag included special goodies they would enjoy like chocolate for the wives, candy for the kids, and the officers received a chuck full of needs for a busy day on the streets. From granola bars, gum, and bandages to a lollipop and Kleenex. One goodie bag was a poem just for them!

chuckwagon serving table

FUN begins…

The games we provided are ones we also use for our Harvest Hoedown, but we added the Ax throwing because we just know our officers…they love completion and the thrill of hitting a target! We also included horseshoe of course and our TICK tac Mosquito game along with calf roping and time with the bunnies. Painting on the horses was a highlight and even branding on leather. The fire risk was in the RED so we couldn’t do our usual branding in the fire pit so we improvised. They loved it!

RIDING is always included and the one thing all kids love to do. We show them the games to build the relationship with the horse they choose and when they are ready they saddle up and ride.

It’s always a joy to see the smiles and hear the laughter, especially for our BLUE 6 families. We love our BLUE!

Honor your blue and don’t forget to say THANK YOU. They serve us well!

Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Botanical Beverages using fruits and herbs will be a smash at any party! Not only is it good for you, but incredibly tasty too!

I find using fresh herbs in a beverage to not only make me feel healthy but absolutely more refreshing to the pallet! WOW! I love doing this and mixing it up a bit with using different herbs, bubble spritz either club soda or Kombucha even tea, and yes some people do add alcohol but we don’t. That to me would defeat the purpose of health as well as just not our style.

Try it anyway you like…and let me know of some other creations you came up with!

Some suggestions: Add lime, pink grapefruit, mint, blood orange, raspberries

Ingredients: Makes one

  • cup of strawberries
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 oz honey syrup (see below)
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz club soda or kombucha or green tea
  • ice
  • garnish ideas, strawberries and or basil sprig

Directions:

Combine the first 4 ingredients into a shaker. Muddle gently together just so berries are crushed. Over muddling will make the herb bitter. Add your soda and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until nice and cold. Double strain into a glass full of ice and garnish.

Isn’t it pretty? These make great holiday beverages .

Honey Syrup

1 c water and 1 c honey

Warm water in a saucepan, remove from heat and add honey. stir to dissolve and cool. Store in refrigerator for one month.

Fresh Watermelon Cucumber Mint

Ingredients:
  • Half large watermelon, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2-3 cups fresh water
  • 1/2 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • juice of one organic lemon, and zest
Directions:
  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small pot and boil on medium-high heat, whisking until sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Remove sugar mixture from heat and add mint leaves to hot mixture and let everything steep for 20-30 minutes, covered with a pot cover.
  3. Once infused, add it to the blender along with the sliced watermelons, cucumber, and blend for about 2 minutes, at low speed. You may need to split the mixture if the blender gets too full.
  4. add in lemon and zest and blend for another 30 seconds. Strain juice into your prepared pitcher or mason jars.
  5. Chill juice in refried for 2 hours, serve over ice, and top with fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy all your creations and keeping healthy and hydrated!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Grillin' One, Ranch Life

Homemade Angel Food Cake For A Special Angel’s Second Chance At Life Indeed Will Be One Tearful Birthday!

On November 1, 2020, we faced a day of excitement and fear all within just hours of one another. Mitch received a new liver which we all have been waiting for for over a year and because it was his second transplant the surgery had become difficult, complicating, and very unsure if he would pull through. Intense bleeding of over 40 liters was lots in the first 2 hours.

To say the least, this birthday will be a celebration of second chances! Mitch is now 26. WOW! What a life this young man has had and for sure a testimony to the faithfulness and worthy of Praise to an amazing Jesus! SO VERY THANKFUL!

He loves to cook and so does dad! (first liver came from) The boys get to work making a special meal, Beef Wellington, and his favorite cake…Angel Food homemade of course. One the best fro trials he faced!

Homemade Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cup egg whites, I used the liquid, or separate 9 eggs

1-1/2 cups sugar, divided

1 cup cake flour

1-1/4 tbsp cream of tarter

1 tsp pure vanilla

1/4 tsp lemon juice, juice 1/2 lemon (save rest for frosting)

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Place egg whites in a large stand-up mixer bowl; let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Sift 1/2 cup sugar and flour together, twice; set aside.
  2. Place oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add cream of tartar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. gradually fold in flour mixture with a spatula, about a 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Gently spoon into an uncreased 10″ tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake until lightly browned and the entire top appears dry, 35-40 minutes. Immediately invert pan (upside down on its legs); cool completely, about an hour.
  4. Run a knife around the side and center tube of the pan. Remove cake to a serving plate.

Frosting:

4 cups powdered sugar

2 sticks softened salted butter

1/2 squeezed lemon juice and zest

4-5 tbsp. half and half (or heavy cream is yummier)

Beat in stand-up mixer powdered sugar and butter until creamy. Add lemon juice and zest keep beating. Add half and half or cream. Beat until nice and smooth.

The Main Course!

The boys went to work on the Beef Wellington. Neither one has ever made this before so it was quite the sight to watch as they worked together to make this special meal.

Preparing the mushrooms, garlic, and onions cut ever so finally and saute’ in butter until a nice brown and translucent color. The kitchen smelled divine!

Next step give this precious meat a little rub down with mustard and salt and pepper!

This was a 2lb cut…would recommend 1.5!

Now for the hard part, wrapping the meat with crepes and pastry crust. A little tricky…but it looks beautiful already!

The hardest part was the wait…BUT ohhhh so worth it!

Just melts in your mouth!

Served with garlic mashed potatoes, spinach salad, fluffy biscuit, and a little sauce Mitch whipped up to pour over the meat…this meal was indeed a treat! Dan loves his meat rear the rest of us Dan popped back in for a few more minutes to medium. Truly, melted in our mouths! The pastry around the meat was so crispy and flaky. Amazing meal for sure!

A second chance…

This day could have been a whole different day. Thinking back to how close Mitch’s life here on earth could have been cut short but instead, the Lord provided this day to happen! A second chance to celebrate another birthday, to live every day in joy, and to bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ! May all of us live like we have a second chance because when we choose to submit to Christ and call Him Lord over our lives we are given the best second chance ever…eternal life forever with Jesus and enjoying a meal HE has prepared for us. Now that IS amazing! Enjoy your second chance day…A blessed Easter to you all!

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Food, Ranch Life, Treats

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies without All the Ads and fuss! I love baking up fresh crispy cookies for my man without having to go through a bunch of blogging ads. I put together this recipe in a combination of trial and error and this… by far… is the best!

I think you will find this recipe a delightful and easy one to follow. KEY…all ingredients need to be at room temperature so planning ahead is needed. It really is what makes this cookie so yummy and flavorful for even days afterward. (if they last that long) PLUS…don’t you love when you are looking to start a recipe you don’t have to deal with a bunch of ads! Geeeez…one thing I love about our blog…the ads are your choice to click on! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla (homemade is best…mason jar full whiskey with 2 vanilla beans steeped 4 wks)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. milk (any kind)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand-up mixer, mix butter, sugar, and molasses until creamy with whipped attachment.
  3. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat again keeping it creamy. Now switch to the paddle attachment.
  4. Mix in a small bowl, flour, soda, and salt.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture into the creamy mixture until all is combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Place 1 tsp. of dough onto a cookie sheet at 2″ apart and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate sheet halfway in the cooking process. I only do one sheet at a time for best crispiness.
  8. Let cookies cool for 15 minutes before using a spatula to move them to the cooling rack.
  9. Repeat for each batch and enjoy many nibbles along the way!

Trying not to eat the cookie dough while you wait….SOOO hard!

The crispy thin taste is out of this world!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Mom’s Favorite Homemade Bread Recipe A For Sure Winner Every Time You Make it!

My mom would make 6 loaves of fresh bread EVERY DAY! Can you just imagine? I don’t have too many memories of my mom as she died when I was super young but I do remember the aroma of our home always smells like fresh bread! I also remember the counter being full of those beautiful golden loaves ready to sink our mouths into.

Generation picture, My mom, daughter Mackinzey, and Me

Sure Thing Recipe

This recipe is a sure fit every time I make it. If I allow for the 5-minute kneed time and check the consistency of the bread while doing so, it turns out beautiful. I feel the key to homemade bread making is giving it time, don’t be in a rush, and little to no distractions is always a plus.

I hope you find it just as simple and enjoy the art of living life simply and full of being OLD FASHIONED!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water, 105-110 degrees
  • 1 Tbsp. Active Dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup Organic Sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-5 cups of flour

Directions:

Prepare the Dough

  1. In a stand-up mixer or large bowl, add yeast and water and a pinch of sugar. Let stand for 4-5 minutes to see if yeast is bubbling. (this is called proofing the yeast to make sure it is active. If it doesn’t bubble then you need new yeast and start over)
  2. Add remaining sugar, oil, and start mixer on low with the paddle attachment. Slowly add 1 cup at a time of flour mixing well. After 4 cups have been added, switch to kneading attachment and add flour 1/4 cup at a time to get the consistency of elasticity and smoothness. You may not need the last cup and you may need more. When the dough cleans the bowl your dough is ready to be kneaded.
  3. On the knead attachment or if you don’t have a mixer, place your dough on a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Put a little oil in the bowl and allow the dough to be totally covered in the oil. Cover bowl with BPA-free plastic wrap, or a warm tea towel and let rise for 1 1/2 hour to at least double the size.
  5. Spray 2 9x 5 loaf glass pans you can also flour the pans too. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  6. The second rise, punch down the dough and split in half placing them into your prepared loaf pans. Cover again using BPA-free plastic wrap, spraying the tops so you don’t have stickiness. Let rise for an hour in a warm place. When they are done rising, they should be about an inch above the pans.
  7. Gently remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  8. My mom used to tap the top and if it was hollow it was done.
  9. Allow the loaves to cool by inverting them on a cooling rack for 4-5 minutes.

I hope your bread turns out as wonderful! If not, try again!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Ranch Life

Classy Potato Gratin Dish That Is Quick, Easy, and A Family Favorite!

Don’t you just love a nice side for any good meal. Especially when you don’t have a ton of time to make something? I sure do! Here is a great side even make ahead if you like. Simple too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. Finlandia butter softened
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz Finlandia Swiss cheese or aged Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, dill, or basil for garnish
Every Bite Delicious!

Ready to POP into the oven!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potatoes about 1/8inch or less, using a mandolin slicer or sharp knife.
  2. Rub bottom and sides of 8×8 baking dish with softened butter, then place a single layer of the potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and then with a scant layer of grated cheese. Repeat until used all the potatoes.
  3. Pour heavy cream over the potatoes, then use your fingers to gently press out any air pockets. Freshly grate nutmeg over the top then cover with panic breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake for about an hour or longer until the top is golden brown and a knife can be easily inserted in the center, indicating that no raw pieces of pat remain.
  5. Allow cooling for 5 minutes then serve with chives garnish.
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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life

Big Pick Up Tailgate Stamp Set Adorable and Fun And So Versatile!

Anyone who loves to stamp will adore this set! WHY? Mostly for all the creative ways this truck can be used. For any greeting card to invitations, this set will bring much joy to any stamper. The Big Pick Up Tailgate is from Honey Bee stamps. They have adorable sets that fit our country life!

Another reason I love this set so much is I can use my Cricut Maker to add my greetings using pens, bling it up using vinyl, and even have my Cricut Maker draw and cut flowers in bunches. I tell ya, I had one fun day creating these along with my daughter who LOVES trucks! Having the Design Space makes your crafting so versatile! You have access to so many fonts and many ideas to inspire your art. Really a simple investment.

Daisy Truck

For this card I created a background border with an embossing flower dies on my Big Shot. Powder blue and grays for the card stock, and Pastel Gelatos with a watercolor pen to apply to the truck. I used an old Stamping’ Up set, Daisy, and stamped it on the jean background paper. Wood would be cute too. I just ran out. If you’re a country girl like me, you will love that grouping of paper! A corduroy button for the center and the leaf I got off the Cricut Design Space. I also used the pen to make the words. If you like brights for pens check these out! Their new and add any POP to any card or project!

Flower Bunches

This one was fun as I got to use my Cricut again to make the flowers than my Bright Gelatos for the watercolor. Sticking with the gray and white but adding a pop of yellow helped me tie in the spring look I was going for. The words again are in Design Space. Isn’t this little truck just a cutie?

Hello Blue!

The daughter loves her blue so of course, she tried her hand at using the Tri-Blend markers for her watercolor technique. She was able to do her fading and washout style which turned out pretty cute. The trees are from Stampin’ up too. When using these markers you have to use the Memento pad to prevent bleeding. Easy to clean too.

U R Loved

Another one of Kinzey’s cards. She used glitter vinyl this time for the words and wood grain background paper. Around here we have to have wood grain paper…it’s just our thing! The flowers again we got from Design Space plugging in solid cut-out flowers for cards. Quick and easy using up old scraps of paper. Notice how she did the bumper…she used the bottom of the background paper for a “running board” with running horses. LOVE IT! If you like country western theme scrapbooks and or any crafting for that matter, this site has great stuff!

Stay Humble

Bring on watercolor again using the Gelatos. Found this pen and cut it on Design Space so it was a perfect fit for the red truck. Again adding texture with the woodgrain paper and flower die cut. Pop with the red checkered ribbon.

SUPER fun set I am sure you will not be disappointed having this in your collection!

ENJOY crafting and giving the gift of love,

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

COMMENTS:

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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

Amazing Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole is great for quick dinner and perfect make ahead and freeze. We all love dinners we can freeze for nights when we don’t feel like cooking!

My daughter and I like making up meals on cold winter days that we can easily freeze and have ready for those busy days when we don’t have time or energy to cook. This is one great dish for just that!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 coked chicken breast, cubed (rotisserie chicken is great too)
  • 3 cups cubed ham
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

You will use the above for layering. In a 9 x 13 glass dish, put meat on the bottom, cheese, meat…so on.

Next mix 3 tbsp. melted butter with 2 cups bread crumbs, Panko is a good choice.

The sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. flour with 3 tbsp. butter, mix to a paste
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Cook over medium heat, after you have a nice smooth paste, add remaining ingredients and stir well. It doesn’t have to be thick but not too runny. Add Swiss cheese. Pour mixture over your layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until nice and golden on top.

Enjoy and a nice big piece of French bread really makes this meal!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Ranch Life

When to Plant Seeds Indoors and Outdoors a map to help you get started.

It’s February here in Minnesota and even though the temperatures are not warm I am in the mood to start planning my gardens. We do have several around the ranch and our home so making a plan is important. Some gardens will be vegetables, other herbs, and other flowers with a mix of herbs. Each one is in different areas of sun and shade so yep, this takes some time.

Garden Bed

If you want to check out my beginning stages of a special herb garden around our ranch, The Thyme Out pasture was a fun and creative way we use herbs to teach kids and adults! Love, LOVE this area!

I came across a great chart to map out when to start my seeds indoors. I do like to start these in our home early because we have such a short growing season. I have a variety of ways I start my seeds using only the BEST organic seeds. True Leaf Market. Truly a wonderful company and they provide so much more to get any gardener started. New of seasoned!

One important need when starting your seeds in the soil. Again love this product and gets my mixture ready to help my seedlings do well. Compressed Coconut Coir and Omri Potting soil. Of course, manure is our base.

This chart really helped me! Look how early onions are! But when you want a good crop, starting early helps.

Below is our MN great temps and late to plant outdoor season. I especially like to pull my garden beds in July and replant for fall harvest time. This way you get leafy greens which freeze easy too.

The last one is watermelon

I went to our state University to get this info if you want to go directly to the link. They have a TON of info!

So much fun and with a little planning and work your gardens will be flourishing! Enjoy!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life

A Box of Love; DIY Kit anyone can make!

Recently when our son was going through his liver transplant, I wanted to be able to give goodies to folks who were prayer warriors, nursing staff, doctors, and even our hotel check-in staff. I just wanted to show them how much we appreciated all they did during our time with Mitch being sick.

We are often in the cities for Mitch with procedures and appointments and right now I am sitting in the hotel room putting the final touches on the things I have made. All weekend knowing we would be traveling down I got busy making up Heart Hot Chocolate Bombs and cute boxes to put them in. Along with some teas in a tube. There is nothing more fun than giving a gift of love wrapped up in love!

Here’s the first one I made:

2 hearts were so cute

In the next box, I added more with the Cricut Maker. I tell you this machine has added to my crafting tenfold of fun! Not only can I get the cut out in the middle, use the extra hearts for other cards and projects, but also do words, borders, and even make tags. Having the Cricut access is really an inexpensive way to get SO much for your money and the ideas….whoa… The fonts alone are worth it!

So fun and cute!

How to make a box

For the base of the box: to fit 2 heart hot chocolate bombs or 4 1/4 x 5 1/5 cards

Card-stock cut 10″ x 8 1/2″ then score 2″ on all 4 sides. I use my cutter to cut than a scoring tool all in one sweet device! Next cut on score lines on each intersecting score-line. Fold in and using double-stick tape to secure corners well. Regular glue and mono adhesives are not strong enough.

For the lid:

I used a different color for my lids and as you can see also using background paper can add a fun eye-catching box.

6 5/8″ x 8 1/8″ score at 1″ on all four sides. Cut on the score lines up to intersecting lines on each corner. Fold in, tape and seal. I used acetate for the window.

Now the fun part…decorating! If you’re using a Cricut Maker I went into the Design Space and chose my images. Measure the size area of your box top and create your image in the design space to fit the size in the middle of your box. When you go to MAKE IT, fit your image on your standard grip mat to the area where your box will be. I measured using a ruler the size of the image and measured my cardstock box. I used patterned vinyl. To make my tags I used these fun adapters using my gel pens for words. I LOVE this idea so I can use markers, ballpoint pens, and sharpies to create any saying!

Here’s another idea:

Couldn’t help it…made another:

So you can see these can be a ton of fun! Filling them with cards for the person to use or with treats…all in love!

Have fun creating your own ideas! Share them too!

COMMENTS: Love to hear share away…

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Food, Ranch Life, Treats

Take a trend and try new designs

Making the new hot chocolate bombs was so fun over the Christmas season that I just had to go into the next holiday….Valentine’s. So my daughter and I got busy trying our hand at this new idea.

We tried a couple of different molds and found this one is fun and this one is what we used for the post. Mostly why we liked these is because it wasn’t as deep as a typical muffin cup size and the saying YOU & ME was perfect for the holiday.

Cherry hearts didn’t work
This one turned out awesome

Basic directions:

I recommend using the Ghirardelli brand wafers for your chocolate. The Wilson brand carries many dies and I like making color using herbal powders like Beet and Turmeric. Plus the chocolate tastes much better! Pour wafers in the saucepan using a double boiler method. This will control the chocolate melting process without burning. You don’t want that!

Using a paintbrush paint chocolate into your molds. If you have this mold, the cherry ones won’t work as the leaves all go one way and of course, you need one to be the opposite. Not that we made any mistakes and found out or anything…so yeah..moving on…

Make sure to do the sides well

The important part of doing these we have found is doing the sides and top well. Once you have done one layer, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. My daughter had a fun idea of getting a tye-dye effect. Add sprinkles to the bottom of the first layer. These turned out so cute and colorful!

Next, do another layer, pop in the freezer for another 5 minutes, and you’re ready to slowly pop out your mold. Making sure to peel away the mold from the chocolate.

Now you’re ready to smooth seams and fill. We did one, filled it, then melted the other seam and secured it with the other. I just love how these turned out! We put a little plate on the stove, let it warm up, and put the chocolate heart on a plate to smooth the seam. Just for a few seconds.

Enjoy making these for all your loved ones ANYTIME of the year!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Healing, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Sewing

Why in the World?

Why would I go to so much time to make these? Well, first of all when you live on a ranch and have animals that get sick or hurt one doesn’t think so straight when it’s an emergency. By having this concept ready to go, I can grab and go and know I have all I need to help start the healing process.

The same goes for the flu bugs and basic first aid. The instructions help for anyone to be able to know how to use the items in the bag. I love this especially if a staff person has to use it or family. This way I don’t have to be around. Big Plus!

Easy To Prep Bags

If you’re a sewer this will be easy peasy. Just 2 pieces of any material cut to any size. Make with right sides together leaving a 1-2″ seam at the top for string, stitch at the top, and there ya go.

I made the words on the outside using my Cricut Maker, iron-on vinyl, Heat EasyPress. If you don’t want to invest in a full-size heat press this little guy is a great option! Makes for easy craft iron too! You’re now ready to have a visual go-to kit. Each bag has a “recipe” for what is in the bag and instructions on what to do with items or how to use the bag. I again used my Cricut, writing tool using my own pens by implementing these amazing adapters. SO COOL, and used card stock so it’s nice and durable. You could even laminate them for longer use. (I am telling you those adapters are a game changer! It Will save you SO much money!)

Notice the top which I folded and sewed to make opening for ribbon or tie, then sewed right sides together. Simple and fast!

If you are not a sewer, here is a wonderful idea where you can still decorate the outside and label your bag.

It’s so fun to have different fabric for each kit
What a fun idea for gift giving too!
I used some leftover quilt scraps to make these bags
Cricut Design Space has templates for recipe cards. I deleted what I needed to fit the kit idea.

Enjoy getting organized for when illness or accidents happen around your homestead! It feels so good to know I can tell my family to grab a remedy bag and follow the instructions to help whatever they are dealing with. If you want herbal blends ready to prep for your horses, here is a link. And here.

For essential oils, here.

God’s blessings,

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life

Birthday Card with Cricut Maker Using Writing Tools

For the first time, I used the writing pen in my Cricut Maker. Being nervous about using this new tool I youtube a great video which helped a ton! Also…I practiced on scrap paper that I could potentially use in other cards. My hubby told me these are really expensive through Cricut so I wanted to be conservative plus they wear down quickly. But while looking for the video on “how to” use the pen, I came across these amazing pen adapters! Take any pen and boom…save money and pen away! Loved this idea!

Side note…anytime you purchase from links it helps us help others in our ministry…www.truenorthranch.org…thank you!

How to Use Pens

I love going onto Defont.com and creating some of my favorite fonts and saving them into my Design Space…ideas are endless!

How to use other pens:

Using the pen adapters it’s awesome!

Some tips:

When I make my cards I love to combine my rubber stamps and what is really cool if I don’t have the stamp especially in sayings I can pop in a pen of my choice and make it all work beautifully. Check out Stamp Market’s cardstock really awesome! The Vinyl I use is from Expressions vinyl and I love the Oracle 651 and Easyweeds the best. Their heat transfers are also amazing. Go crazy they are an inexpensive and wonderful product and customer service. Below is how I store my vinyl.

Yes I make a lot of cards for our ranch ministry, so I turned half of the card rack into vinyl storage.
LOVE LOVE the pen adapters! GAME changer!

I enjoyed making these TAGS as well for gift boxes. Just another dooo dad to add in your gift making ideas.

Well, I hope you find this post helpful not only to save you money on using the pen adapter but for using the concept of expanding all your written ideas. Card making is just one way I use pens, but I know I will find other projects and get creative with them. ENJOY!!!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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