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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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July 31, 2011

BOTW: Plum & Necterine Sangria

With summer time coming to a close in August and back to school right around the corner, fitting in that one last summer party can be tricky.  Why not serve a summer time sangria to your guests.  It's easy, refreshing and you can make a huge batch of it.  After searching the web, I came up with this sangria concoction from Williams-Sonoma for my 'Best of the Web' this week.

Plum and Necterine Sangria

Look for plums and nectarines that are ripe but still firm to ensure that they do not become too soft when soaked in the wine. Rinse the fruits well to remove any surface chemicals before slicing them. Use a dry white Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc for the wine.

3 plums, halved, pitted and cut into thin wedges
3 nectarines, halved, pitted and cut into thin wedges
1 can (12 fl. oz.) nectarine nectar
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine
Ice cubes as needed
1 bottle (24 fl. oz.) sparkling water, chilled

In a large pitcher, combine the plum wedges, nectarine wedges, nectarine nectar, orange liqueur and wine. Stir well, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours to blend the flavors.

To serve, fill glasses with ice cubes and add the wine mixture, dividing evenly. Top off each glass with sparkling water. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Photo credit: Williams Sonoma

What's your favorite summer time party cocktail?

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!
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July 29, 2011

Baked Brie with Chokecherry Jelly from North Dakota

A while back, my blogging friend, Katie who is from North Dakota, was out in California on business and we had a chance to visit 'in person'.  She came bearing gifts.  One of them being this Chokecherry Jelly from her home state.  I wanted to save it for just the right moment.  I had never tried Chokecherry jelly but I knew I would love's just my sort of thing.

Last week I wrote about how baked brie is such a treat for me and that I was making some for a party we were attending.  I thought the Chokecherry Jelly would make a perfect combination with the creamy brie I was about to bake.

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July 28, 2011

Parent Lesson #506

My kids, age four and six, 22 months apart, are not twins but sometimes I think I can imagine what it feels like to have twins.  They do most everything together, from playing Legos, riding bikes, helping me bake or cook, watering the garden, you name it. 

My youngest, Paige is a total animal lover and handler.  Bryce, the six year old, loves animals as well but doesn't get as up close and personal with them as his sister does. 

Until just recently. 
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July 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday with Linky: Coastal Natural Air Conditioning

I'm loving Thankful Thursdays.  I'm finding it to be so much fun and easy to come up with things to be thankful for on a weekly basis, no matter how big or small. 

Just recently, as temperatures on the farm reached into the 90's, and a welcomed email from some good friends to join them at their farm beach house was immediately accepted.

Just a short 25 minute drive and we went from temps in the 90's to a pleasant 74 degrees.  It was a girl's trip this time, just Paige and I, Bryce, the 'farm boy' wanted to stay back on the ranch and work with his Daddy and practice target shooting with his BB gun.  I guess I couldn't blame him for his decision.....sandy beach or BB gun....what boy would choose the beach over that?!

So it was Paige and I who enjoyed some of our natural air conditioning and we were thankful to have it on this day.  But we weren't the only ones.  Out in Pt. Reyes, there are a few dairies left and we witnessed some authentically, happy cows. 

There's is no reason these dairy cows shouldn't be happy, what with the ocean as their view, the fog bank just off the coast and temperatures that very rarely, if ever, reaching into 80's. 

Just 5 minutes from our destination, I stopped, jumped out of the car and to our left snapped the photo below.  The vibrant blue of the Pacific Ocean, dairy barns in the center, and if you'll look closely you'll see some dairy cows grazing in the fore front near the pond.

On the right side, Tomales Bay and our destination comes into view.

Playing on a beach in Tomales Bay is just short of heaven in my opinion.  We watched the tide come in, there are no waves to contend with and plenty of sea life to explore and capture.

Paige was very careful to capture a small jelly fish without touching it and then eventually releasing it back to the bay.

My animal lover was loving her day at Tomales Bay, as was I.

What are you thankful for today?  Feel free to link up to Thankful Thursday, a great way to find other blogs or have them find you!  Just copy the code below to paste on your blog post after linking up.

Linking up Thankful Thursday with:
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Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 26, 2011

WW: Milk's Favorite Cookie

Hello, my name is Nancy and I'm a self proclaimed Cookie Monster.  If there are cookies in the cookie jar, I've been known to sneak a few here and there.....without the knowledge of my kids.....they're only allowed a cookie or two after a meal or a healthy snack.

I'm not proud.

On a recent secretive trip to the cookie jar, I got to thinking.  If milk had a favorite cookie, what would it be?

I'm pretty sure chocolate would have to be involved, wouldn't you?

I didn't bake any of these cookies, but they are a couple of my favorites that I try not to keep stocked in the house very often.....due to my self control issues......they'll probably be gone by the time you read this post.

Again, I'm not proud....but I am honest.

Oreos.....chocolate and creamy heaven.

Black Eyed Susans.....buttery, topped with creamy fudge chocolate, washes right down with an ice cold glass of milk.

Of course Chocolate Chip Cookies rate right up there as well!

Okay, let's get serious, what's your favorite milk dunking cookie?

Linking up Wordless Wednesday at:
Pinke Post
Project Alicia

Upcoming:  Want to participate in a 'Thankful Thursday'?  I'll have one up tomorrow, available to link up to  at 4:00 p.m. PST!

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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July 25, 2011

Road Block to the Calf Barn

If you've been following along with me for a while, you then know my story on bulls and how they seem to always seek me out, well, once again I had a road block to my destination.

On route to the calf barn, where the kids were 'helping daddy', the path takes you through a paddock area between the milking parlor and freestall barns to the left and a dry lot area, where a string of cows gather on the right.  Charlie, the bull, stands between me and my kids. 

I'm terrified of most bulls, but most especially of Holstein bulls.  They just seem to be more aggressive and protective.

My game plan:  {photos are not zoomed in}
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July 24, 2011

LoverBoy & My friend Mary

My birthday yesterday, was just like any other day, just the way I like it.  I did make a solo trip to the grocery store, which I totally enjoy sans kids.  On the drive back home I began thinking about all the Facebook birthday wishes I received from friends, which led me to think about all the different friends I've had come into my life up until now. 

Do you believe in signs?
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July 23, 2011

Baked Brie ~ Happy Birthday to Me!

Because it's my birthday today and calories do not count for me today, I'm having one of my favorite appetizers, ever.  Baked Brie with raspberry jam.  Yum! 

Thank you for ALL the Birthday wishes on Facebook and Twitter!  You certainly know how to make someone feel loved:)

Photo by Google Image

What you need:
6 oz. round of brie cheese
one roll of crescent rolls
your favorite jam
water crackers

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Spread the crescent roll onto a counter and pinch together seams.
Cut the Brie through the equator into two pieces and place one half on the puff pastry, cut side up. Spread the jam on the cheese. Replace the top half of the Brie.

Wrap the dough up and over the Brie.  Place the Brie package on a nonstick baking sheet, seam side down.

If you have extra dough, cut designs from the dough scraps and decorate the top of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve with the crackers and sliced pear or apple alongside.

What's your favorite appetizer, if calories didn't count?

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 22, 2011

Angry Birds

If you follow me on Twitter, you then know that I was dreading the appointment I had made to take Paige in to wrap up her Kindergarten immunizations.  It's one thing when they're babies and don't know what's coming, but when they're just about five and you tell them they need to go to the Doctor to get ready for Kindergarten.....they know!  Her first question was, "Am I getting a shot?"

I didn't want to tell her she needed three PLUS a TB test.  But I did promise my frightened 4 year old that if she did get any shots, I would take her to Toys R Us afterwards to pick out a toy.

The appointment didn't go very well, but Toys R Us did.

My little animal lover picked out a battery operated walking, dog talking dog that had a very close resemblance to someone else we know............

Meet Cutie!

Poor Chloe didn't know what to think of Cutie.  She's not afraid of a herd of cows but it's an entirely different story with Paige's new stuffy, Cutie.

Bryce's role for this day was to be a supportive big brother to his little sister and to do all he could to take her mind off what was going to traspire at the Doctor's office.  He was also allowed to pick out a toy at Toys R Us.

I'm not proud....I bribe my kids.

My video game crazed boy, who is allowed to play video games only one day a week for an allotted amount of time {whole other story}, chose a stuffed Angry Bird toy.  If he can't play the game but once a week, he was going to make sure he had Angry Birds in his life every day, one way or another.

The best part of this story is how Bryce came up with a real life Angry Birds game he created from Jenga blocks and his new Angry Bird stuffy.  I have never played Angry Birds on video, I don't know if you have, but it's totally fun with the reenactment game Bryce came up with.

We play it every night.  He sets up the Jenga blocks in various configurations and we all take turns throwing Angry Bird from across the room to try and knock down the blocks.  So much fun and more difficult than it sounds!

By bed time, Chloe and Cutie agreed to tolerate each other.

Are you an Angry Birds fan?

I love to hear from you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment. Have a fantastic day!

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July 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday with Linky

Things I'm thankful for....well, I'm thankful for all sorts of things every day but Thankful Thursday has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?!

On this particular day, the kids and I headed over to the Hidden Pond to watch Dominic move some dirt around.  I'm thankful it's summer time and the kids are out of school and we can take a random ride over to the Secret Pond to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

I did bring snacks.....some Nutella and Ritz.....

I also brought some healthy snacks as well...fruit and nuts.

Paige insisted on dressing in her 'sparkle' outfit for our jaunt to the woods.....

A pink sparkly top and some black sparkly tights with pink sparkly sneakers.....can't argue with her, some days a girl just needs her bling.

Chloe also came along, on leash.  She's two and I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to let her off leash.  She takes off every time.

I'm also thankful boys like to build 'sand castles' in the dirt.
And then build another one for his sister.

All while watching Dominic move some dirt.

What have you got going on today? 

Bloggers, feel free to link up to Thankful Thursday, a great way to find other blogs or have them find you!  Just copy the code below to paste on your blog post after linking up.

Linking up Thankful Thursday with:
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And Farm Photo Friday with:

Farmchicks Farm Photo Friday

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 19, 2011

WW: Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are a favorite flower of mine.  I especially love the blue colored variety.....I think it's in my blood, you see, they're on the island of Sao Jorge in the Azores, where my dad is from and they just about COVER the entire island.

So whenever I buy a Hydrangea to plant here at home, I have five at the present time, I buy them in 'blue' but they all change to shades of pink.....every time. 

I know it has to do with the soil.  I've heard throwing a few rusty nails into the hole before planting will keep the blue color, tried it, doesn't work.

So for now, it's all about pink Hydrangeas on the farm.

Linking up Wordless Wednesday at:
Pinke Post
Project Alicia
Live and Love Out Loud

P.S.  I'm hosting a new Linky Link Up tomorrow....Thankful Thursday.  Feel free to link up your blog post for the day!  It goes live 4 p.m. PST Wednesday afternoon!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 18, 2011

Promise of Success

After returning from our Lake Tahoe vacation a few days ago, I went out to water my container garden, hoping everything was still doing well and had not been eaten by the jack rabbits that live here as well.

I have seven tomato plants, two cherries and the others, a variety of Early Girl, Beefsteak and a couple of unknowns.  What I found was a promise of good things to least from the Cherry tomato plant anyway.

You see, in the past, my tomato plants don't produce very it the windy weather, the soil or the coolness of our climate.  But this little guy has given me some high hopes.
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July 17, 2011

National Ice Cream Day~What's your flavor?

This holiday rates right up there with Christmas in our house, National Ice Cream Day.  What other day of the year gives you permission to eat ice cream?!  Well, I admit, ice cream is consumed in our house quite often, no need for a holiday.  But it's fun to celebrate!

Did you know, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month. He also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month. 

Loved that man.

The kids are digging their Rocky Road cones.
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July 16, 2011

BOTW: Grilled Steak with Pepper Relish

It is grilling season right now, and what sounds better than a Chunk of grilled Meat?! Not much in our house.  So I scoured the web to find this tasty looking recipe from Eating Well.  We'll be serving it up soon at home!
Grilled Steak with Pepper Relish

Makes 4 servings

Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
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July 15, 2011

Thistle ~ a lesson in life

The Thistle is something we see a lot of, here on the farm.  My kids know to stay away from these sharp prickly plants, but I often find myself drawn to them. 

They're beautiful in their own way. 

When they've gone to seed and the light is just right, like the other evening behind the calf barn, they're beautiful.

And when they're flowering and full of color, they're gorgeous.
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July 14, 2011

Pizza Picnic

Some days when the work day is over, it's not really over.  Sometimes after the calves are fed their dinner, this is the last thing to do during Dominic's work day, there are extra things to accomplish in which there is not enough time to do during the work day.

When days like this occur, we try to make it a family event.  The other night, the kids, myself and Chloe packed up a pizza picnic, some raspberry lemonade and headed over to the portion of the property that sits behind Stafford Lake, where Dominic was already there and bulldozing some dirt.
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July 13, 2011

Farmers on Summer Vacation~Goosed

When  traveling on summer vacation with farmers, by the last day, things happen.  I don't know if it's the mountain air they're not used to or the sand between their toes.......or just the exposure of their toes. 

But by the last day of vacation, the farmer may be missing the animals he feeds back at the farm.

And if you are so inclined to take a nap on the beach, be aware, the remaining farmers may have the sudden urge to feed any animal they come across and even use your body as a dinner plate to do so.

Of course I thought the scene above was quite humerous and snapped photos..........until I saw the photos they took of me, during my nap..........
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July 12, 2011

Cave Rock~Lake Tahoe

Normally on our visits to Lake Tahoe, we stay on the west or north shore of the lake, but this trip we wanted to mix it up a bit and stay on the south shore.  Lake Tahoe, itself sits at an elevation of about 6,200 feet, sitting on the California and Nevada border.  It is 72 miles around the rim and 22 miles long and 12 miles wide across the lake.
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July 11, 2011

Farmers on Summer Vacation 2011

Gotta love when there's a beach just steps away from the rental house at one of the most beautiful places on earth that comes equipped with clean restrooms, snow capped mountains in view, 80 degree temperatures and a beach cocktail waitress......yes, a beach cocktail waitress.

So, we only bought one of these each, but what a treat!

This is how we spent most of our day, in South Lake Tahoe today.

That's all I've got today:)

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 10, 2011

BOTW: Cherry Nice ~ loaded

My Best of the Web for this week is all about the summer cocktail.  When I saw this on Williams Sonoma's website, it just screamed summer to me.....or maybe it's because we're headed out of town to one of my favorite places on earth for a little R and R. 

As a matter of fact, as you're reading this, I've probably settled in and am enjoying one of these or something very similar.

Cherry Nice

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July 9, 2011

Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Pops

My kids LOVE frozen pops and I admit, I do as much as they do.  Want an easy recipe to make at home?  Here's one that won't disappoint....

Photo from Williams Sonoma
This is also a fun project to do with your kids.  Fun for a child's birthday party, slumber party or get together!  You can be creative and use your favorite flavors.


1 cup strawberry yogurt
1 cup orange juice
1 1⁄2 cups raspberry juice

Set eight 5-ounce popsicle molds or paper cups on a work surface. Spoon an equal amount of the yogurt into each mold or cup and press down with the spoon to fill the bottom evenly. Cover the molds. If using cups, cover each with a square of aluminum foil, pressing it firmly around the sides. Poke a popsicle stick through each foil cover, pushing it into the middle of the yogurt. Set the molds or cups in the freezer until beginning to set, about 40 minutes.

Remove the molds from the freezer. If using cups, carefully lift off the foil but leave the sticks in place. Pour an equal amount of the orange juice into each mold or cup. Cover, return the molds or cups to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 40 minutes. Repeat the procedure with the raspberry juice. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours or up to overnight.

To serve, slip the pops from the molds or remove the foil and peel away the paper cups. Makes 8 pops.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Kid's Cookbook, by Abigail Johnson Dodge Pin It

July 8, 2011

Cow Camp Blogging Workshop - the recap

My day began rising at 6 a.m. yesterday, to get myself ready for the 40 minute drive north to Windsor, this year's location of the California Holstein Association Juniors Cow Camp days.  A jam packed 2 1/2 days of cow lovin' fun.  Just over 50 campers attended.  They camped outside under the stars for two nights in the beautiful Richard's Grove on the grounds of Saralee's Vineyard.
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July 7, 2011

Cow Camp

I'm happily spending the day in Windsor today, teaching a workshop on blogging to approximately 50 kids at "Cow Camp".  Cow Camp is an annual event put on by the California Holstein Association and a number of volunteers, for the Juniors within the club. 

After the workshop, there will be a Cow Camp blog ready for viewing, complete with 50 new authors, all sharing stories about their farm animals, showing at the fair and their experiences in agriculture, in their own words. 

Update will be coming soon!

*I haven't had the time to visit and comment on some of my favorite blogs I like to visit because of getting ready for this workshop, but I'll be back soon to see you:)

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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July 6, 2011

Where The Farm Path Leads

No matter what we happen to be doing on the farm at any given time,

if Paige is with me, whatever path we take almost always ends up at the same spot.

The calf barn is the place to be.  Neither one of us can resist the temptation.  It only takes a "Mom, can we....." and we're headed in that direction.

Next time, I'll need to remember to wear something other than white flip flops.  Oh, and pardon those alien toes of mine, I didn't mean to subject you to such a sight.....especially if you're reading this before your morning coffee:)

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you!. Have a fantastic day!

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