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Saturday, April 25, 2020

World Penguin Day

Today on World Penguin Day I would love to share with you some ideas about penguins.

Today why not have a bit of fun wearing black and white traditional penguin colors. Pretend with you children as if you are one of the penguins migrating north. Be sure to do some walking and waddling as these birds do not fly.

Penguins live in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and the Falkland and Galapagos Islands. Penguins migrate due to temperature changes, changes in food availability as well as the need to mate with others. National penguin day The traditional migration day is also the day that is celebrated on April 25th as World Penguin Day

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Friday, April 24, 2020

World Meningitis Day

Your child suddenly appears to have flu like symptoms and you take them to the doctor to find that it is not the flu but meningitis. This is one of the infectious diseases that grip parents with intense fear. For this reason it is important to ensure that all are not only aware of meningitis prevention and vaccinations but also support lines if the worst happens. 

Meningitis is a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It may the result of infection by bacteria or viruses. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe type and often results in medical emergency. Meningitis can strike quick, be hard to diagnose and can lead to death in matter of hours.  In the case that death does not occur the victim of meningitis may have their life changed otherwise through deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, or the loss of a limb. Meningitis has no age limit but the youngest among us are at particularly at risk

The best way to guard against this terrible disease is thru vaccinations. To find out more about Meningitis and the annual Meningitis Day visit

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Pigs in Blanket with Honey Mustard Sauce

batch Easy Homemade Puff Pastry (recipe follows)
14 ounces mini hot dogs

2 cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), cold
1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard (I used a combination of Dijon and yellow mustard)
1/8 teaspoon paprika (for garnish)

Drain the mini hot dogs and pat them dry with paper towels.
Divide the puff pastry in half, wrap one half in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other half to a rectangle shape about 9 inches by 18 inches.
Trim away any uneven edges, then cut the pastry into 1 1/2-inch wide strips.
Place a mini hot dog at one end of a strip, and roll the pastry around it, allowing it to overlap slightly.
Trim off the excess pastry and seal the seam by brushing on a little water and pressing gently.
Place the unbaked pig in a blanket on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the seam side down.
Repeat with the remaining mini hot dogs and pastry.
Chill the unbaked pigs in a blanket in the freezer for 20 minutes minimum, or overnight.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree F oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce.

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch slices and add to the flour mixture, tossing to coat.
Stir in the cold water until a thick, shaggy dough forms.
Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk shape, and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill for 1 hour in the fridge, or 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer.
Unwrap the dough, dust the work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rough rectangle shape.
Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter.
Turn 90 degrees, roll, and fold again.
Repeat about 4 more times, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour or overnight.

Stir the mayonnaise, honey, and mustard together until combined.
Transfer to a serving bowl and dust with paprika for garnish.

recipe resource

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Flower for Month of April Sweet Peas

Sweet Pea flowers have a glorious scent and are available in a range of colors and patterns. Most varieties will grow as tall as 5 - 6 feet but there are other varieties that are shorter and appear in a "bush type" Likewise, some varieties will bloom early and others later so it is best to get a few different varieties so blooms will nearly always be present.

Starting when the weather is still cool outside will allow sweet peas to be grown from seed. The heat of summer often knocks sweet peas out. If you start the sweet pea seeds inside you will be able to ensure a longer season of blooms. Sweet blooms keep the vine flowers cut often and pick off faded blossoms.

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Arbor Day History

The last Friday in April is known as National Arbor Day. This day has been celebrated since 1872. The tree lover day first occurred in Nebraska during the 1800s. The state at the time was mostly treeless and the day was a way to getting others to start planting trees. Today, the National Arbor Day foundation provides millions of trees that are planted each year.

A journalist from Nebraska J. Sterling Morton helped create the National Arbor Day in 1872. With his help those with agricultural knowledge were informed of the need for trees. Over one million trees were planted that  first Arbor Day.

Every Year National Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday of April.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

caramel cinnamon french toast

1/4 cup melted butter
2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated Caramel Rolls with icing
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pour the melted butter into an ungreased 13x9 glass baking dish. Separate both cans of refrigerated Caramel Rolls into 16 rolls, setting the icing aside. Then cut each Caramel Roll into 8 pieces and place the pieces on top of the butter in the baking dish.
In a medium bowl beat the eggs. Then beat in the heavy whipping cream, cinnamon, and vanilla until they are well blended. Then gently pour over the Caramel Roll pieces. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.
Bake for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes.
Microwave the icing on medium (50%) for 10-15 seconds or until it is thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle the icing over the top of the French Toast Bake. Serve with syrup if desired.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour unbleached
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup vegetable oil canola
3 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 x 2" loaf pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl combine sugar, shredded zucchini, eggs, and oil. Mix well.
Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture and stir just till combined.
Fold chocolate chips into batter.
Pour half of the batter into each greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then turn bread out on rack and cool completely. Wrap and store in refrigerator overnight before slicing (if you have the willpower!)
For a lighter version of this delicious bread, replace the vegetable oil with applesauce and reduce the sugar to 1 cup.
You may also replace the unbleached flour with whole wheat pastry flour to increase the fiber content.

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Walking Taco--- Taco Bar Style

With the kids home every day it may be time to shake up meal time. Here is a great idea that has little mess or waste Enjoy!! 

Individual sized bags of  Corn Chips (one per person)
Hamburger or turkey meat
Toppings for tacos (tomato, lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, etc.)

This recipe takes just a little preparation. You can do this by yourself or with any interested kids around camp. Just like regular tacos, cook your meat and season it to taste. Your kids can help chop and stir the meat
Next, prep your toppings. Cut the tomato, get out the sour cream, etc. Place everything on the table.
Last, get the chips  Give each a bag and tell them to crunch up the chips with the bag still closed. Once they’re done breaking up the chips, let them choose their toppings from the taco bar. Then have them close up their bag tightly and shake. Voila! Walking taco.

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Springtime Strawberry Salad

Spring Mix Lettuce
Seedless Grapes
Red Raspberries
Mandarin Orange Slices
Red Onion thinly sliced
Feta Cheese
Salad Dressing

Slice all fruit and onion to desired size pieces. Add fruit, onion, walnuts, pecans to lettuce. Toss salad. Top with choice of dressing and Feta cheese.

recipe source

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Ground Beef Casserole

Olive oil spray for pan
2 lb. extra lean ground beef (93% lean)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar, divided
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Lightly spray a 2-quart casserole dish with olive oil and set it aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly spray it with olive oil.

Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until the meat is no longer raw, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and return it to the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne into the beef, then slowly and patiently mix in the cream cheese until fully melted and incorporated.

Turn the heat off, and mix 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar into the beef mixture.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar on top.

Bake the ground beef casserole until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

recipe resource

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Jelly Bean Popcorn

  • 10 Cups of Popped Popcorn
  •  3 tbsp. Butter (Sweet Cream, Salted)
  •  3 cups Mini Marshmallows
  •  Jelly Beans - Regular Sized
  •  Jelly Beans - Miniature Sized
  1. Pop 10 cups of popcorn and salt liberally and place in a large bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan.  Once the butter is melted, add 3 cups of mini marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are melted.  Turn off the heat as soon as the last marshmallow has melted.

Pour 3/4 of the marshmallow mixture ver the popcorn in the bowl and then
gently fold the popcorn with a spoon until most of the kernels are covered in mixture. Pour the marshmallow popcorn onto a prepared cookie sheet. Drizzle the remaining marshmallow mixture over the popcorn on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the Jelly Beans and sprinkles over the popcorn. Allow the popcorn to cool. Break apart into pieces and serve    recipe resource 

wednesday hodgepodge

1. What's something you resolved to do this year? Have you done it?

This year we had resolved to start a family business. About 20 years ago I had my own shop and really liked it. My children now grown adults wanted to open a shop similar to that and also attend flea markets and make money the way the family used to. Yes we all still had our day jobs (well some of us work nights) We are all in the health care field and the work is long and often hard so this new business would offer an outlet of sorts. 

We started and were preparing then the "stay at home" order occurred and had us all staying at home, shutting our small business down and canceling the festivals etc... that we planned to attend. 

Hopefully when this is all over we can pick back up and begin again
2. Where do you go to find quietude?

Our quiet place is the river. It is nearly an hour drive but getting there is so enjoyable and a time to get away. The ride is relaxing and if I am not driving I may just steal a bit of sleep as well. We sit down on the river side to enjoy the boats, water, and whatever may be going on at the time. 

3. A friend asked this question on her Facebook page and said I could borrow it for the're only allowed to buy 5 things at the grocery store, and all must start with the first letter of your first name. Whatcha' buying?

Angelfood cake so delicious and perfect and soft one of my favorite cakes
apples are a great treat as well, nutritious and so plentiful in southern IL
Archway cookies oh my around since my childhood and able to put a smile on
A&W rootbeer because I need something to drink and it is also the name of a restaurant I love
andies mints perfect for good breath and a sweet treat as well

4. The television show Survivor, the Gloria Gaynor song 'I Will Survive', survival mode, survival of the fittest...pick one and discuss.

Survival mode is the short-term, fear-based mode of thinking you enter when your fight-or-flight response is triggered. It's the poisonous mentality that leads you to attack or retreat during stressful times rather than communicate and embrace

This is how I often feel during this crazy time in the world. First it seemed like a death sentence that the world had been given it was a time to gather your own and make sure all was cared for Even now while there are more survivors it is still scary. I work in the health care field and know many tactics but truly no one has answers So while we do retreat we are all starting to fight back for our way of life. 
5. Share a favorite quote or saying about strength.

join the fun here

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

6 feet apart

So have you been out and about anywhere?? If so and you live in a state with a stay at home order you may have seen a sign like this. So as our family demonstrates you can get outside and have a good time and still stay a distance away so that you are there with family and friends and there is no one touching. Oh how I wish this was all over but til then be careful out there but don't forget to enjoy life

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Monday, April 20, 2020

My Grandmother --- Turnip Strong

My grandparents were farmers in the early and mid 1900s. The farm they had was passed down from the future generations and when my grandparents retired from farming then they to passed the farm to the next generations. As far as I can tell my family had farmed that land from the late 1890s or early 1900s to today. The fourth generation is currently farming the land that started out as a single family farm many years ago.

While my grandfathers family was busy farming my grandmother was the daughter of a soldier and his wife. Harry Odum fell at battle and my grandmother was raised by a strong lady but they had little means. So as a farmers wife she made sure that every move she made was frugal. One of her frugal ways was to have a garden in her backyard. Thus she could grow her veggies while her husband grew his crops.

Her little garden or actually it was a rather large garden was surrounded by a white picket fence. There she would grow tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce and one of her favorite veggies turnips.

Turnips are white skinned root vegetables. In texture and appearance you could compare them to a potato with a bitter flavor. Their flavor goes great with sweet meat like pork. The nutritional value of turnips is high as a number of vitamins and minerals are found inside them. Take a look at the many health benefits turnips have

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The Man Known as Johnny Cash

During President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat in the white house many things were different. The duo loved to be outside and would often entertain their guest with musical duos. Many groups were invited to the white house. Red Skelton and Merle Haggard made the scene and entertained the president and his guest. One of the most unforgettable musicians to entertain at the white house was Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash in April 1970.

Like many things during the 1970s the gossip would swirl as the press reported that Johnny Cash would be performing at the white house. The fear was that the songs he would sing may glorify citizens on government assistance as well as help form opinions on anti = war protesters. However, Johnny Cash who was a supporter of President Nixon would entertain those in the audience with songs like "a Boy Named Sue" , "Five Feet Tall and Rising" and "What Is The Truth".

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Toddler Immunization Month

April is Toddler Immunization month. The importance of routine immunizations for children 2 and younger are highlighted. It is very important that we take our children to get their vaccinations to ensure they do not get sick. This is never easy for the child or the parent. The immunizations are spanned out so if one is able to stay up to date they will have an easier time. No matter if you take your child to get their "shots" at the doctor, health department or clinic there are some things that you can do to make the process easier. 

Prepare by bringing along the child's favorite book or blanket. If the child is old enough tell them that they may feel a small pinch but all will be well. Following the "shot" tell your child they did great and offer some love. Be sure to ask the provider what non-aspirin pain reliever the child should take if they are uncomfortable following the immunization. 

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

With all the kids at home all day long as schools have been shut down for the rest of the year I like to shake the day up a bit with a fun lunch. This delicious fajita grilled cheese is just one example of how delicious and different lunchtime can be. Enjoy!!!

fajita filling:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup sliced yellow pepper
1/2 cup sliced red pepper
1 cup sliced green pepper
1 cup sliced red onion
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Tbs. lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

for the sandwiches:
8 slices sandwich bread
8 ounces sliced pepper jack cheese
Butter, for spreading

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over high heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook the vegetables for about two minutes until slightly tender and very fragrant. Add the garlic, the corn, black beans, lime juice and seasonings and cook for another 4 minutes or so until fragrant and tender, but still slightly crisp.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place two slices, butter side down in the pan. Top with a slice of cheese, a generous helping of the filling, top with more cheese, and another slice of bread, butter side up. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side until the bread has browned and the cheese begins to melt. Flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and the outside of the bread is toasted. Remove from the pan. Repeat with the remaining bread and filling and serve hot.

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