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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, 2012

Wedding Crashers

This past weekend, we headed down to San Luis Obispo {SLO} with family, to visit  other family.  SLO is one of my favorite towns around.  It's beautiful, near the coast, not too hot, ever, wineries all around, crisp fresh air and it's nicknamed SLO not only because of its initials, but because of its slow paced life.  

There are no drive-thrus in SLO.  Nope, not even a drive-through Starbucks!  It's a take your time kind of place and I like it.

Whenever we're in SLO, we usually stay at the Embassy Suites.  Probably one of my favorite places to stay with family.  Full breakfast is included with your stay every morning and a free 'cocktail hour' is also included every evening with snacks and cocktails, beer and wine.  It's like they never want you to leave the hotel....and they make it easy not to.

Upon arrival Saturday afternoon, they informed us a wedding would be taking place in the atrium, which is the common area that all the rooms look down on.

When my kids and their cousins caught wind of this, they were giddy with excitement.  This would be the first wedding my kids have ever 'attended'.  

Totally felt like wedding crashers.

The balcony to our room overlooked the atrium, perfect viewing.  The bride made her late entrance from the glass elevator, just above her awaiting guests.  Paige was speechless.....I think she wanted the dress.

Cousins came over from their room to watch the ceremony, patiently awaiting the big and "hopefully long" kiss.  Yep, that's all they wanted to see.  Fifteen minutes later, they were satisfied with what they witnessed.

Then it was time for our night out.  The kids great grandma, Great Nonnie, was whom we came down to visit.  So off to meet her at her home then out to dinner.

Have you ever been a Wedding Crasher?

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 27, 2012

Gin Cocktail For Summer

If this cocktail doesn't say 'summer', I don't know what does.  It has all the essential ingredients....gin, honey and Limoncello to name a few.  Refreshing and goes down smooth, served in one of my favorites, a mason jar.

So while you're watching the 2012 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies on Friday night, have one of these........

'Best of the Web' for the week....The Leland Palmer

Photo courtesy Nigel Cox

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July 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of Girl Scout Day Camp

Growing up, I wasn't a Girl Scout, Daisy or a Brownie.  I really think I missed out, after spending the last few days at Girl Scout Day Camp I now see what it's ALL about!

Paige will be joining a troop this fall with her 'in town' girlfriends and to participate in the Girl Scout Day Camp for a week this summer, I was required to volunteer my time for three days since Paige is not yet a Girl Scout.  I'm so glad I did!  These girls know how to have fun!

Every morning begins with Flag Ceremony, where the color guard, a different day camp unit, comes out to fly the flag and lead the Pledge of Allegiance  for the group of almost 300.

There are 16 Units with approximately 11-13 girls in each with 2-3 unit leaders and six teenage aids....lots of supervision.  Each unit has an individual unit namem Paige's, one of two 1st grade units, are named the 'Princesses' fitting.
Throughout each full day, every Unit goes from activity to activity that include, crafts, Karate, archery, cooking, trivia, ice cream making and various others.  There is also some down time where the units can work on their lanyards or play games and such.

If you have a girl enrolled in Girl Scout Day Camp, you can add a male sibling as a 'Tag'.  When I first told Bryce I had enrolled him in Girl Scout Day Camp, he was NOT a happy all.  So I re-phrased it to 'Day Camp'.  There is one unit of boys named 'The Party Crashers' that include nine boys.  They are separate from the girls but they get to be involved in all the activities as well.  They also get to ambush the girl with squirt guns and ride their bikes around.

After the first day of camp was complete, Bryce tells me,

"Mom, I am SO happy you signed me up for this camp!  I just LOVE it!"

The campers, at times, get to view some wildlife living in the park.  Today two baby raccoon were spotted in a tree while we were making ice cream.  So cute.

Until one of them dropped thirty feet to the ground and broke its leg.  Animal Control was called and I'm SURE the raccoon will be nursed back to health.

Just never know what new day at Girl Scout Camp will bring.

Were you a Girl Scout or Boy Scout growing up?

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 25, 2012

TT w/Linky: For the Love of Bacon

Running errands the other day, I stopped DEAD in my tracks when I saw this banner outside of my local Burger King.....

BACON Sundae! 

What?!  Where have I been? 

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you've seen this already and know how excited I was to  find this new treasure and also wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself!

No need for any more words on this Thankful Thursday......the picture tells the story.......and all for $2.49.

Link up with anything you’re thankful for! And if you’re not a blogger, just let us know in the comment section what you happen to be thankful for on this day.

 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 24, 2012

Shredded Chicken to Feed a Crowd of 150

We recently had a party at the ranch. A margarita party and to soak up all the margaritas consumed, I wanted Mexican food to go along with the theme but for a crowd of 150, I didn't want to have the shredded chicken catered.  Too costly.

I thought maybe I could attempt this myself.

Here's how it all went down.....

The day before the party:
I used 30 pounds of chicken, mostly boneless, skinless chicken breast and about 1/3 boneless, skinless thighs.  Place all the chicken pieces in two roaster ovens and add 16 cups of water to each.
Cook on 275 degrees for five hours.

Then start shreddin'!  I used two forks and one by one, all chicken shredded one hour later.

I used a 24 ounce container of Taco Seasoning and mixed it with about 10 or so cups of water and began mixing it in with the shredded chicken.  Once that was complete I fit all the shredded chicken into one of the roaster pan liners, covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  The next day, party day, I heated the chicken back up, low and slow, in the roaster pan on the lowest setting {200 on mine} for about three hours, mixing it periodically.  

EASY.  Just a little time consuming but well worth it....I'm really picky about how my chicken is cooked and I would do this again for another party for sure.

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 23, 2012

Post-Party Crashers

Have you ever had a party and ended up with some late, late party crashers?  Well it happened here.  These girls just couldn't keep themselves from showing up......12 hours after the fact.

We had an outdoor, summer margarita party the other night which was a ton of fun {at least for me} where we had a nice group of friends, jumpy for the kids, whiffle ball, eating, drinking, etc.  All went well, nothing broken, all bodies accounted for....a good party.

I look out the front window at 8 a.m. the next morning to survey and plan the clean-up duties and find some late party crashers, 15 of them in fact.  Happy as can be, looking for some nibbles and coming a little to close to the  jumpy house that was still out on the lawn.

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July 20, 2012

'BOTW' Peppered Salmon with Roasted Root Veggies

Gardens are over-flowing this time of year.....or at least most are.....mine is not.....I just raid my mother-in-law's and/or visit the farmers market for fresh beets and sweet baby carrots.  When I came across this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it.  Fresh salmon fillets with caramelized sweetness, roasted veggies, healthy and super quick and easy to prepare.

'Best of the Web' .......
Peppered Salmon with Roasted Root Vegetables

Photo and recipe courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 small beets, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt or salt
4  4 - 5 ounces skinless salmon fillets
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper blend or black pepper
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons water
Chopped green onions {optional}

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a baking pan combine carrots, beets, half of the oil, and half of the salt. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting time. Transfer vegetables to a platter; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, sprinkle salmon with remaining salt and the pepper. In a 12-inch skillet heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add salmon; cook for 3 minutes. Turn; cook for 3 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Transfer to platter with vegetables. Add juice concentrate and the water to skillet. Simmer, uncovered, about 1 minute or until thickened; spoon over salmon. If desired, sprinkle green onions over all.

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, 2012

Backstage with Demi Lovato

When Hallmark contacted me to see if I would be interested in attending a backstage party with singer, Demi Lovato, I wasn't quite sure who she was.  After some 'research' I recognized some of her songs and thought Paige and my 12 year old niece would love to see her in concert, so I accepted the invite.

So glad I did.

The girls, especially my niece, Morgan, had a fantastic time.  This was the first 'real' concert for both Morgan and Paige.

On the drive down to San Jose, running a little late, backed up traffic for our hour and a half drive, I was becoming just a bit nervous about arriving on time.

Morgan asks, "What time does it start?"

Well the backstage party begins at 5 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m.

Morgan:  "Backstage?!!"

Oh, did I forget to mention that we are meeting Demi in person and she's going to play for us?

"Why?!".....SO excited.

Hallmark is promoting a new product, Text Bands, and this is how they're kicking it off.

Paige:  "What's 'backstage'?"

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July 17, 2012

A Lil' Bit of Chicken Fried ~ Steak

I think I have FINALLY got it right with this Chicken Fried Steak attempt {number 4}.  As many of you know, we raise our own beef here on the ranch and after the first 'harvest' of our first animal, years ago we had a freezer full of home grown beef cuts.....a few of them I was not too familiar with.

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July 16, 2012

Weapons of Mass Destruction ~ Heifers

It was a late night coming home from dinner and all I wanted to do is get the kids into bed, put jammies on and crawl into bed myself.  After working outside for much of the day on the yard, I was so looking forward to a good night's sleep.

But just to get every one's engines all reved up before bed, as we drive into the yard, we're greeted by 20 pair of bright, glowing heifer eyes peering at us from our front yard.

It only takes one heifer to break through a gate before all the others will follow.  And boy, can they ever do some damage in a short period of time.

As I surveyed the damage the next morning, this is what I discovered.....

They used my bear as a rubbing post before it toppled over...

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July 13, 2012

'BOTW' Citrus Shrimp Tacos

During the summer we manage to throw at least one big bash of a party.  This summer it's 'Margarita Madness' and it's happening next Friday.  To go along with the five gallons of margaritas I'm making, we've decided on a taco/burrito bar.  Scanning the web for ideas I came across these lucious things.....Citrus Shrip Tacos by Southern Living.

Don't they look GOOD! 

Not sure I can do shrimp for 100 people.....probably more along the lines of shredded chicken, but I couldn't resist featuring these on my 'Best of the Web' for this week. 

Photo and recipe by Southern Living

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July 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday w/Linky

I am thankful this week that writing this blog helps me to document all the funny conversations I have with my kiddos.  Things that I would be sure to think I'd remember well into the future will definitely not be the conversation I had today with Bryce. 

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July 10, 2012

Sights of Milking Time

Spending an afternoon at the calf barn brings many sights, sounds, smells and experiences.

At around 3 p.m., our second string of milk cows make thier way past the calf barn to the milking parlor.  They know the route well and look forward to their eight minute turn at the milking machine. 

During their turn, they enjoy a little snack of's all good.....relief of udder pressure, a little snack, then turned back out to their corral where they will enjoy some dinner and more leisure time.  We've been enjoying a mild summer thus far and the cows really seem to enjoy it.  The cooler the temperature is, the better it is for them.  The more comfortable the dairy cow is, the more milk she will produce. 

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July 6, 2012

Chick Drink for Summer

Any drink that includes pineapple in the recipe is a drink I most definitely will love....they're chick drinks, plain and simple.  And when I drink one, I envision myself on a warm sandy beach basking in the sun.......then I'm startled by some random ranch noise and as my eyes open and I'm brought back to kid's 6' x 6' sandbox.  

It works for me when it needs to.

I'll be going to BlogHer12, a blogging conference, in NYC in just a few weeks.  One of the keynote speakers is none other than Martha Stewart.  The Queen of Entertainment, right?  To get myself into the Martha Stewart vibe, this chick drink, from Martha's website, is making an appearance in my life this weekend.

photo and recipe courtesy Martha Stewart

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July 5, 2012

Better Than *** Cake!

When scanning through the dessert section of the North Bay Dairy Women Cookbook to find a cake recipe for Paige to enter in the Marin County Fair, I came across one that sounded really delicious....and then I looked at the name......Better Than Sex Cake.

She doesn't need to know the name of the cake to bake or enter it.  In fact, a dessert name isn't even required when entering.  


As we're assembling the ingredients....

"Mama, what's the name of this cake?" asks Paige.


Think fast, think fast, think fast.

It's called Better Cake!

"Well that's stupid....NO cake is better than Disneyland."

I'm not sure it's better than either of those titles, but I do know it's really, really good.

Moving on..........

Here's what you need to do to try it out for yourself....

Mix 1 box of yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding, sour cream, eggs, oil and water; beat well.  {Full recipe below}

Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a bundt pan, sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 for 65 minutes.

The judges must have like it at the fair.  Today I picked up Paige's reward of $6 and her first place ribbon.  Bryce received a reward and first place ribbon for his Darn Good Chocolate Cake as well.

What would you fill in the blank with?

Better Than { fill in the blank} Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix {small}
8 oz sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 - 10 package of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and water and beat well.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips by hand.  Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 65 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and remove from pan.

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 4, 2012

Favorite July 4th Recipes

On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.

I'm baking my Mini Cherry Pies for the party I'm attending today, which is a favorite for me....easy, quick and yummy.  Here are a few other favorites I found................

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July 3, 2012

Marin County Fair ~ Cousins

The Marin County Fair is going on in our area at the moment.  Yesterday was Dairy Cow Show Day, where the dairy cows are shown by fellow 4Hers and since Bryce will be showing next year, I like him to get as much exposure to showing as possible, just to make sure he really wants to experience this himself next year.

Taking a break from the Dairy Show, we found cousin, Miss E., and brought her along to find some lunch.

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July 2, 2012

Colored Pancakes Priceless Faces

We have a new tradition in our house these days, thanks to a friend of mine for this genius idea.  Something that is extremely easy to mix and  makes the kids ecstatic about eating their pancakes in the morning.  

A little neon food coloring goes a long way.

On a recent sleepover, cousin Leila and Paige decided that Positively Purple was the color of the day for their Mickey Mouse pancakes.  They took turns dropping the food coloring in and mixing the batter.  Their very own color creation. 

Sleepover #2.....Perfectly Pink waffles....

And just this morning, halfway through flipping pancakes, we decided that Smurfette Blue should be added to the remaining batter to start the day out right.....this is my favorite color.

The smiles on their faces are priceless.

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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