Monday, July 30, 2012


Would you believe that I didn't take one picture this weekend? This makes me so sad! We did however, enjoy this video, time and time again.
 It really hits home for those who have tried to cater to certain allergies or food sensitivities, and dietary restrictions. Enjoy!

Our weekend was a bit more of a blur than intended-we had a little bit too much going on and just not enough time. Weekends like that remind me to make sure that the next one is much slower. MUCH slower.

Regardless, there were some really good moments, and I got some much needed *girl* time with my sister and our two childhood friends...the kind of friends that are just there for life. 

The ones you don't get to see as often as you like, but talk to daily.

The friends who will show up in the middle of the night with a hug and tea 
when your world is falling apart

the ones who are the first to hold your newborn babies

the ones you call when you think you're going crazy

the friends with whom you share your deepest regrets, proudest,
 or most embarrassing moments

the ones who have shared the bumpy road with you, and are still holding on

the friends who will always know who you really are, and come without judgement

I had forgotten how much I needed time with them. We stayed out past midnight, laughing and crying, and laughing so hard that we cried. We got in late, and are probably all suffering for it today, but it was well worth it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

{ yarn along }

I'm happy to say that this week I finished Lotte's little rag rug. She seemed to know it was hers right away when she crawled on to it and laid her head down, and gently pat the rug with her chubby hands.

I wanted to show you all some close ups of some of the feed sack fabrics that revealed themselves one print at a time as I made my way through each ball.
I really fell in love with the reds and blues...and especially when the ended up together.

I think that this will be a cozy little spot for her to go to when she's feeling tired, or a good place to park her bottom while she enjoys eating (reading) one of her little books.

I finally started my rae that I've been dying to try for a long time now. I picked a soft cotton and bamboo blend in chartreuse...I bought the last few skeins left so I got a really good deal. It feels too nice though for me to be using...I feel like I should still be *practicing* with acrylics.
One of Lotte's little tiny hair clips makes a perfect stitch marker, and I can easily move it up my work as I go, to count my increased rows.

and this folks, is my reading for the next month. Or at least until I get this task finished. 
I have years and years of one of my favorite magazines, Country Living, stored on a book case in my art studio.
And what's worse....I have both British and American issues. And they've gotten out of control. 

Hello, My Name is Corrie, and I am a Country Living Addict. There. I said it.

I've decided to do the unthinkable, and go through each one and rip (*gasp*) out my favorite recipes, articles, how to's and inspirations etc, and store them in a binder with plastic sleeves. 

I never thought that this day would come, but alas, it has. I want the space that they're taking up for things that just matter more. 

I thought it would be a dreadful task, but as I got going, I wondered why I hadn't done this ages ago. Now I'll be able to open up binders and immediately be able to see my favorite things without having to weed through the ads and articles that I don't care about. 
It's rather refreshing. I've gone through probably about 30 issues today, and already have condensed the space to about the size of two magazines. Incredible!

Playing with Ginny in yarn along.

Monday, July 23, 2012


This weekend was...

homemade strawberry Jam
a trip to the farmers market
a baby asleep on my chest, drool down my arm
sunny laundry hanging out on the clothesline
a warm night with the windows open 
washing dishes while listening to the voice of Garrison Keillor on a prairie home companion
flashbacks of my dad singing "powdered milk biscuits" to me when I was little, while he listened to the same 
brazilian limeade 
lazing about in the grass under the shade of a good maple tree
sorting odd socks
the beginning of a
new knitting project
summery dilled potatoes with sour cream
ridiculously simple but hilarious jokes : where did the king keep his armies? In his sleevies!!
an eviction of some unwelcome porch guests
listening to some soft, gentle lullabyes by Renee & Jeremy
a bit of thrift store Christmas shopping...we do that a little early around here because we have a large family-our extended family has made a pact to buy used for the kids, which is more fun anyway!
a baby giggling on the back porch in her swing, watching the rain
a terrific thunderstorm and rain that fell for hours, leaving the thirsty soil renewed and a beautiful shine on all that it touched 

Joining Amanda in weekending

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yarn Along

I'm a little late getting my Yarn Along post up today-I forgot to photograph anything yesterday, and we all know how poor night time lighting can be. ( I really need to get a good flash for my camera!)
I'm near complete my crocheted
rag rug, but half way through the week, as the rag rug grew larger and larger, I decided that I needed a project that was more portable. Half my knitting time is while we're out, in the car, at friends houses or church meetings etc, and the rag rug was getting way too big to carry around. Mark was complaining that when we were driving, he couldn't see his side mirrors any more because of my massive rug. So a smaller project was needed after the rug was banished to the house.

I'd been admiring little knitted/crocheted skirts for a while and decided that it was time that I make one for Lotte. I was a bit uncertain with some of the knitted patterns that I looked at, and realized that knitting would take slightly more time since I'm new to the whole thing, and decided to crochet it without a pattern instead. I made a foundation chain waist, and then did some triple crochet for a round so that I have something to string some icord or ribbon through as a drawstring. Then I've been working in half double crochet, increasing each round by hdc1 stitch, and 2hdc in the next. I guess I'll just stop when I think it looks ruffled enough and long enough to cover Charlotte's little derriere. I might add a separate ruffle on the under side in a contrasting colour, but I haven't decided yet. 

My reading lately has been limited to mostly cook books. Not just any cookbooks, but specifically the weird old church collective cookbooks...(the ones where everyone submits a recipe and they either give them away or sell them for a fundraiser etc.)

I stumbled upon a few of these at my grandmother's house when I was visiting, and my aunt and I couldn't help but laugh at some of the recipes. They all either involved absolutely no *real* cooking,(add a box of this to a box of that) or were basically composed of ingredients that really should never go together. Ever.
For example: (a recipe from my own Grandmother!)

My friend Anna and I were looking over these last week and decided that these need to be created again. Sort of as a tribute, partly as a joke, and a little bit because our school of thought "don't mock it 'till you've tried it".

Whether they're amazing, or putrid, they need to be cooked. We might start a bit of a collaboration as we try making these and testing them out on our families.
Our families don't really know that they're going to be part of a science project, but that's half the fun, isn't it?

Monday, July 16, 2012


Our weekend was full of warmth and sun
Running through a sprinkler
Some rain, and some hail
Goofy boys with even goofier jokes
reorganizing of closets
purging of unused and outgrown clothing
a morning of music at church
a birthday celebration for my youngest sister
a family gathering 
Chicken souvlaki
Ice cream and Oreo caramel cake
Muddy knees and dirty toes
Back yard bathing babies
giggles and cuddles under fresh bed sheets with silly bedtime stories.
(G.I. Joe was, of course, the main character.)

Hope you've all had a terrific weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2012

{This Moment}

. . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I've received several emails regarding the Runzas I mentioned in several previous posts, from people wanting to know what they are, and how to make them, so today I'm going to share my recipe. 

Runzas,(sometimes called Bierocks) originate from Germany and were brought by immigrants who settled in the mid-west USA. (and in some areas of Canada.)

These little wonders are delicious bread pockets filled with mainly cabbage, ground beef or ground pork, onions and seasonings. Depending on who you ask, they can be round, rectangular, or a half moon shaped. They can be small like an appetizer, or as big as a Calzone. They can be dipped and eaten with anything from Ketchup to Creamed Horseradish.

Everyone seems to have their own way, and their own little spin on making them. Some people only use pork, some only use beef. Some never do onions, some won't even call it a Runza without the onion.

I'll share the way that my family makes them, and include some other seasoning options that i've tried.

I usually make about 20 or more at a time because they're great to have around as leftovers. I'll give you a half recipe though, just in case you don't need to feed an army. 

If you do decide to double it though, I'd suggest making two single batches of the bread portion, rather than doubling it. This dough is quick and only takes 15 minutes to rise, and a single batch is already a lot to work with. Unless of course you have a stand mixer with a dough hook that will hold that much dough!

I always make the filling first, because it's easier to work with when it's not terribly hot.
For the filling:
 1 lb of ground beef (or ground pork)
Half a head of cabbage, shredded (Or one bag of coleslaw mix works well if you're tight on time!)
One onion, diced.
Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Stir fry the ground beef and onion on medium heat. When the beef is almost finished, throw in the cabbage. 
It will look like a lot of cabbage but it really cooks down.
Once your cabbage is nice and wilty, turn it off and let it sit until it's time to fill the Runzas. 

Don't drain it just yet, let the cabbage absorb some of the beef juices. I usually drain off the fat (if there is any) right before I go to fill the Runzas. And then add the salt and pepper to taste. 

At this point, preheat the oven to 350, and start on the dough.

For the dough, you will need 
2 pkgs yeast
1.5 cups of warm water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of sugar
4.5 cups of all purpose flour + a bit extra for fine tuning and rolling

Mix the yeast and water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the salt and sugar. Last goes the flour. Now this recipe says 4.5 cups. Depending on the weather, the flour i'm using , and as they say, um, altitude (I don't get that. I'm not scientific, but we'll go with that..) I often need a bit more, or slightly less.
 I recommend adding the flour slowly, stirring it in until you have to knead it. If you've added all your flour and it still looks like batter, you'll need a bit more. If you've added almost all your flour and you're already at the pizza dough consistency, stop.

Ok, if you put in too much flour, it isn't the end of the world. Just add a bit more water. We've all been there.
I picture these immigrant women measuring their flour with old tin cans and rolling their dough out on uneven harvest tables. I don't think precise accuracy is the key here

Once you get to that magical pizza dough consistency, let the dough sit and rise for 15-20 minutes. The warmer the area you let it sit, the faster it will rise.
Once it's doubled or near there, it's time to roll it out. 

There are two ways to do this. You can either roll them out individually, or roll a large circle and cut smaller circles out of the dough by tracing a saucer with a knife. I find it much easier to just roll them out individually.

I divide the dough into 10 equal balls, which are just slightly smaller than a tennis ball, and roll them out one at a time on a floured surface, and fill them as I go.

Once the dough is rolled out into a circle at about 1/4 inch thick,(doesn't have to be perfect) put about a half cup of beef and cabbage mixture on one half of the circle. Then close the dough over it and pinch the edge shut. I like to crimp the edges with a fork, but it isn't absolutely necessary. It does really seem to keep it from opening in the oven as a it bakes though.

Once folded, place on either a greased or a parchment lined baking sheet. They do puff up quite a bit, so try not to put them too close together.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. For extra magic, brush the tops with melted butter before serving. 

Now for the fun part: the dipping options! I like these best with ketchup (homemade is even better) or Nacho cheese. I know that sounds bizarre, but trust me, it's amazing.

These can also be eaten with sour cream, or smothered in gravy, salsa...anything you want.

Some of the different seasoning options for the filling include (but are not limited to:)
taco seasoning (chili powder, cumin etc)

italian seasonings (basil, oregano etc.)
cajun or creole seasonings (paprika, cayenne pepper) 
Hungarian style:( Smoked paprika, caraway)
Indian : (curry with tiny diced carrots and peas)

The possibilities are endless. I've added things like mushrooms and carrots, or even chorizo and queso fresco.

As delicious as all of these are, I have to say that my favorite, hands down is the traditional simple salt and pepper. I'd suggest trying it this way first before any other. It seems simple, but the flavour of the beef and cabbage together is anything but boring.

If you try them, I'd love to hear how yours turn out! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yarn Along {Rag Rug}

Last week I posted here about these incredible balls of scrap feed-sack fabric that I found at a thrift shop. I knew immediately that I wanted to use them for a rag rug, but I wasn't sure which technique to use...crochet, or the old toothbrush knot method.

After unrolling it and playing with it a bit I decided to go with crochet. Whoever made these strips not only too the time to sew them all together, but they also ironed them into bias tape.

 I have perfect, uniform, narrow strips to work with, which is crocheting up really nicely. I'm nearly through the first ball now, and I have a rug a bit larger than a place mat.  
I'm not aiming for anything massive, just something sweet for Lotte to sit on in her room someday when she's naughty. (Never!)

I meant to take some closer photos of the different fabrics that keep showing up in this ball, it's one treat after the other. They remind me so much of old house dresses and aprons.
 I can almost smell them drying on the clothesline on a warm summer day.
I'll be sure to take a few close ups for next week.

I haven't done a lot of *pleasure* {novel} reading these last couple of weeks, but have been looking through old recipe books and "Chick Days". -okay, for me, this IS pleasure reading! 

We're planning our coop and/or tractor for next year, and I thought it would be fun for the boys to read about it before we go ahead. The boys each have a few requests for different breeds, so we'll have to narrow it down just a bit.
We know we want some good egg layers, and I've always had a soft spot for the Rhode Island Red Hens.
I want to give them fun, silly names like Nellie, Agatha and Tess. Mark insists that their last names will be : Rotisserie, Teriyaki, and Cordon Bleu.  I think he's counting on actually eating some of our chickens rather than housing them all through the winter. Should I tell him that tough old hens don't make the most delicious chickens?

The man is tenderhearted, i'm sure he'll fall in love with them and won't be able to actually eat our back yard pets. *fingers crossed.*

Joining Ginny this week in Yarn Along :)

Monday, July 9, 2012


This Weekend was:

an impressive thunderstorm
kissable baby cheeks
a kitchen re-organization
a much needed day with the whole family at home
board Games
fancy drinks in some special glass cowboy boot cups

some recipe clipping

some canning
a good roll on the floor with a curious baby
extended family gatherings and meals shared
iced tea with cranberry scones
peanut butter cup pie

full, but satisfying

Friday, July 6, 2012

{this moment}

. . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

I'm thrilled to be joining Lady Cordelia this week in *Thrifty Thursday*.
I'm a thrift/antique store junky, and love nothing more than to stumble upon little hidden, often overlooked treasures.
While visiting my family, my Aunt and I stopped in "Habitat Thrift Shop" in Marysville, Kansas, where I found all sorts of goodies. My favorites though were these three giant balls of fabric, all sewn up and ready for a rag rug. 

Just shy of the size of a volleyball, and marked down from $4 a piece to only $1, these were an amazing deal. I was beyond excited to find out that they're made of vintage feedsack fabrics.
These take so long to stitch up, I can hardly believe that they were only a dollar!

I've been meaning to make a rag rug for a while now, I just can't decide between the crochet route, or the old toothbrush method that my Great Grandmother used to do. I've never done the toothbrush method, but I just might have to try my hand at it. It seems simple enough based on the many online tutorials.

And if that fails, I can always rip it out and start with the crocheted version, right? Or leave them balled up and sitting out on display, they're so pretty just like this!

Whoopsie! I've been informed that Thrifty Thursday will now be hosted here, in case anyone else was interested in participating... Sorry for the confusion!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yarn "Black Hawk" Nebraska

My aunt thought it pretty funny that I took a picture of my knitting project in front of Willa Cather's house. Once I explained *yarn along* to her though, she thought it very neat and helped me "stage" the photograph! It was extremely windy, and the scarf kept blowing down off of the sign. 
Would you believe it if I told you that I was still working on the same old scarf? I must be the slowest knitter ever. Well, that and I keep letting life get in the way. There's a tiny voice in the back of my mind reminding me that I won't need to have this finished until there's cool weather again I blame her.
The Knitting did come with me on our family trip, and I managed to add about a foot to the scarf, despite having pretty busy hands with Lotte during most of our stay. 
She does ok in the car, but needs constant entertainment. Let me just say that "patty cake", "peekaboo", "here's the church" and "oh little playmate" have officially been sung too many times this month. No...this year. 
She was really good though, so I shouldn't complain too much. Travelling with babies could be oh so much worse.

Because I knew that we'd be visiting family in Kansas and Nebraska, and was hoping to stop in Red Cloud NE,  I started re-reading two of my favorite Willa Cather books, "O Pioneer!" and "My Antonia". 
 character Antonia Shimerda was actually Annie Pavelka, nee Sadilek. She is standing on the left.  Frank, the brother standing, is one of my ancestors. In the book, he was somewhat crazy. In reality, he was actually not crazy but deaf.
As it turns out, some of Cather's characters are my ancestors-and they lived in  and around Red Cloud and Guide Rock. (In the book, she calls the town Black Hawk to protect the true characters).
I knew this before I visited, but I was really happy to find photographs of the actual characters from Cather's books. And of course, pictures of Willa Cather herself.

I've just started reading "song of the Lark" again because right now i just can't get enough of her books. I'm hoping to dig up some information on some of those characters as well. 

Unfortunately for the boys, this was the highlight of the day. A water pump on the back porch of Ms. Cather's house, that was for display purposes only. It was such a hot day, and they moaned and groaned over our silly pilgrimage the entire time we were in red Cloud. At the time I wanted to bop them, but in hind sight, I can remember being taken on what seemed to be insignificant field trips at their age. I really can't imagine any other little boy acting differently than they did.
Lotte behind Willa Cather's house, next to the Hollyhocks. 
The Harling house where Antonia (Annie Pavelka) worked as a maid.
The grave of Willa Cather's Parents.

Last but not least, the sweet little depot where all the immigrant families first arrived.
It was so neat to imagine the very same people in her books actually going about their lives in this little town. I'm honored to have been able to visit.

Joining Ginny this week in YarnAlong.

P.S Happy Independence day!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back in our Groove

I believe that unpacking is probably my least favorite part of travel. Not only does it mean an extra few loads of laundry, but also damage control on those few things that should have been done before the trip even started.
The one very fragrant dirty diaper that seemed to miss the last load and got left in the basement, right in front of the washer. The window that should have been closed, that let in a small colony of insects. The basket of laundry that got folded, but never put away. The tomatoes that didn't get watered for almost an entire month because the assigned waterer didn't realize they were there. 

Yes, waterer is a word now, didn't you know?
I always come home from these long road trips, inspired by the many decor, home, garden and cooking magazines that I read during our more-than-one thousand-mile drive. My notebook is littered with lists of recipes, gardening tips, plants I want to try growing and craft ideas 
Regardless of my good intentions though, some of those recipes never get made, some of those plants don't get planted for a few years, and the craft ideas are often the first thing to make it to the back burner. 

Usually, it's because I've realized the reality of my laundry load, or something of that nature.

The one thing though that does seem to help kick start some form of organization is getting a week's worth of loose menu planning. I say loose because we haven't actually been on our big grocery shopping trip yet, and i'm going based on what's in the freezer, and what produce we have from the reduced rack from a very quick dash into an all-night, way-too-expensive grocery store. 
That being said: here is our week in advance.

Because of my really massive dry erase marker, some of this is only readable by me. I'll translate:

Sunday: Grilled pork chops, potato salad, coleslaw,corn on the cob, mint Juleps. 
Monday: Chicken (ended up being cream of broccoli soup with some chicken in it.)
Tuesday: Away. We were supposed to be away today, but due to some illness in 2 out of 3 minions, we're waiting until Thursday. 
Wednesday: Beef and Noodles. (Okay, this is my aunt's recipe that is amazing. It's made with fresh rolled noodles and roast beef. I'll post the recipe later.)
Thursday: Runzas
Friday: Beef Tacos. (because there will be leftover roast!)
Saturday: Mesquite Chicken (Maybe.-I'm not feelin' it right now. But there will be chicken..because we already have it!)

Produce that we have that we need to use up in these meals or throughout the week: 
Broccoli, peas, green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, green peppers.
 Hopefully next week has a little more variety after our grocery trip...and realizing that we have a lot of chicken and beef going on this week

Do you meal plan? I'd love to see yours!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekending {home sweet home}

This week we finally loaded up our car for the long ride home. We waved farewell to our sweet little cabin that my Grandpa built with his own two hands, and kissed him and Grandma, and the rest of our Kansas family goodbye.
Each time I go back it gets so much harder to leave. My heart aches as I watch the red dirt roads disappear behind us, and I try my hardest not to cry...but leaving Kansas is never easy.

Not only do I miss my family, but I miss being in the country. I long to be surrounded by nothing but fields of wheat, wild flowers and prairies, and being able to see the night sky in all it's splendor. 
I miss the sweeping clouds that will march through an afternoon sky on a whim, completely overtaking the sun and any sign of light, convincing us all that it's actually the middle of the night, rather than the middle of the day.
I don't know if I've ever felt anything closer than the hand of God, than being below, and center, at the mercy of the sky when those purple clouds roll in.

I do know though that we have a home here in Ontario, in the city, and whether or not it's permanent, and even though it's lacking in my beloved windmills, it's still a home. A good, safe and happy home.

This is where we met and fell in love, this is where our children were born. 
I try to remind myself how much we've been blessed with the home that we've made here, and the family that we have. We really are, truly blessed.