Puppies, Christmas cookies, and musings

Hello once again! I have not blogged in awhile, but today I decided to share another post with you all πŸ™‚

We’ve had a puppy explosion over here, and it’s fun watching them grow. And a little stressful πŸ™‚ They are ready to go to new homes, and I find myself torn between happiness about that, and also feeling a little sad. These are theΒ  mini labradoodles, and they get played with the most, because they have taken up residence in the garage πŸ™‚ I will miss my welcome committee every time I come home πŸ˜‰

There are 5 in the litter, but “George” is my favorite!There is lots of chaos here πŸ™‚We also have a litter of mini golden doodles. They are so sweet and cuddly.

This is “Rosie”This one is “Oreo”And this is “Joe”We have more, but this post might get too long πŸ™‚ It will be nice for the children to be home from school this week to help more with them.

We had cookie exchange here with my mom and sisters, and made some candy. It was a full day, but went too fast πŸ™‚These oreo truffles are a favorite here!

Then we had the “helpers”And the snitchers πŸ™‚His face when we slide the goodies out of reach πŸ˜‰Cousins..So many yummy treats! The chocolate are a favorite at our house!! Here is the recipe!

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

  • 1 3/4 flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 24 large marshmallows, halved


  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tblsp. hot, strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine flour, soda, salt,& cocoa. Cream shortening and sugar, beat in egg. Add flour alternately with milk, beating well. Add vanilla. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 350* for 8 min. Top each cookie with a marshmallow half, pressing gently onto partially baked cookie. Bake 2 min. more. Cool and Glaze. Yields 4 doz. cookies.

And the taste testers πŸ™‚I think it’s safe to say they were quite tasty πŸ™‚It is nice to have a big selection to hand out cookie plates! So glad we do this every year!

Now for the musings part πŸ™‚

My children came home from school the last day before ChristmasΒ  vacation, with reports of all the school festivities, and who all was going to Florida over vacation. I could see the jealousy in their eyes, and I admit I joined them in their jealousy for a bit πŸ™‚ Somewhere warm and sunny sounded quite divine, and we have never gone on any big family vacation. My mind went to how hard we work at farming, the low milk prices the past while, and how it seemed unfair that we can’t do more “fun” things πŸ™‚

But my mind didn’t stay there long, as I thought of ALL my blessings!! Good health, my family, plenty of food, a home, a farm that we are working on buying, my home business, and so many more things that I can take for granted!! Life shouldn’t be all comfort and ease, should it? Because worthwhile things take hard work, and faith, and patience. Ahh, that last one is something I lack πŸ˜‰

I admit to being extra stressed in December, allowing the STUFF to get the best of me at times. I think it was last Saturday night, after another round of cookies were being finished, and I was cleaning up yet another mess, the children heard me say, ” Well heaven is looking sweeter all the time!” πŸ™‚ As it should be, right?

It is far too often I allow the daily things to weigh me down, and let that spirit of discontent in.

Friends, I challenge you to count your blessings this Christmas season! And share a bit of that Christmas joy with others!! Blessings, Jo

Valentines Supper

I don’t always do this for Valentines Day, but this year I felt like it πŸ™‚ So I pulled out the china, and the glasses that were collecting dust, and tried to make my valentines feel a bit special! I had fun snapping pictures too πŸ™‚img_20170214_151403_370 img_6899_edited-1The centerpiece was cranberries and greens…Β  Β  img_6885The food….img_6903A little snitch πŸ™‚Β img_6904_edited-1 img_6905_edited-1A candle lit view…img_6896_edited-1img_6901_edited-1img_6900I spoiled them with cranberry ginger ale and everyone got a chocolate rose.img_6902_edited-1My happy crew. And real life!Β We did not get dressed up πŸ™‚ Hubby was at his side job, and after milking, I came in from the barn to his phone call. “Sorry, but I won’t be home till after 7:30. So we ate without him πŸ™‚ Well, life doesn’t always go exactly how we planned, does it? But by the looks of it, it was a pretty big hit all around πŸ™‚img_6906_edited-1Happy Monday , friends!!

Ice cream Pie

You do not disappoint. I don’t care if it’s blowing and cold outside. I still love you. You’ve made my bit of quiet this afternoon so sweet. I feel much calmer after enjoying your yummy goodness.20150212_134504And now the question is, how much exactly is a serving?? πŸ™‚

Ice cream Pie

1/3 cup karo (light corn syrup)

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 cups rice krispies

Mix and put in pie dish. Makes one shell.

Fudge layer:

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup fudge topping

3 Tbsp. karo

Mix. (I heat it a bit to mix it easier) Add to pie shell. Freeze till firm. Fill with ice cream.

My friend Christina gave me this recipe, and it’s quick and easy, and oh so tasty πŸ™‚ And it supports the dairy industry πŸ™‚ Need any more reasons to give it a try? πŸ˜‰

And now I best get crackin’! πŸ™‚ Happy Thursday!!

More From My Phone

I don’t know how the weather is where you live, but here it is COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really would just stay at home if I could. But there is school children to take to school, groceries to get, and bible school this evening. But in between that, we will be staying warm in our home.

Time to unload some phone pics once again….20141230_182007 20141230_182328 I don’t make this rollup very often. It has lots of delish chocolate, and is a weakness for me when it’s here πŸ™‚20150102_083049I love watching and listening to her play doll!20150102_084427 20150102_084444Momma/Daughter selfie #that’sactuallythesunshining:)20150101_133848My lunch – love taco salad!20150103_163948More playing doll20150103_084550Our regular Saturday morning breakfast. This is a momma sized pancake πŸ™‚20150105_095008Helping hang the barn wash up on the drying rack before we head out in the wicked weather πŸ™‚20150105_181239One of our favorite meals – mashed potatoes, parmesan chicken, and corn. All I could hear was chewing πŸ™‚ Nice when you make a meal they like so much, they just eat, and don’t complain.IMG_20150104_134250If you’ve never had Longhorn’s chocolate stampede, you are missing an awesome moment if your life πŸ˜‰ However brief that moment may be. It’s good this was shared by 4 people. I looked up the nutrition facts on it. Oh boy! It has a whopping 2,180 calories! Total fat – 131 grams. To burn off the calories? 605 min. of walking, 249 min. of jogging, 181 min. of swimming, or 332 minutes of cycling. Like I said, 4 people shared, but I could easily polish it off by myself. I’d just skip the icecream and eat the chocolate stuff πŸ™‚ I say, worth.every.bite!!20150105_112233Home from BB’S. Unloading the loot.20150105_201119Bedtime snack. Oreos and milk. The 2 empty spots didn’t want their picture taken πŸ™‚20150106_131209Β  Love my hardworking, tired farmer and his sidekick πŸ™‚ 20150106_144857Bad picture of a yummy cupcake. Mother-in-law was baking for something, and didn’t like how they turned out. Lucky us! We get to reap the benefits πŸ™‚20150107_112304 20150107_112830Lunch at Macs with a friend.20150107_112918I had a coupon. Buy one, get one free. Cue the happy dance. Put it in the freezer when I got home. Might share it πŸ˜‰20150107_12263620150107_123201Making an “E” with pasta20150107_123514Dale was discussing with our vet how our little man struggles with school books. His wife works with special needs children, and they were so kind to give us this hooked on phonics set. Tristan is really enjoying it! Another thing they suggested was abcmouse.com. He really loves it and it’s teaching him alot!

Have a blessed day! Try to stay warm πŸ™‚

It’s Christmas morning, and our house is loud and jolly. The children were bursting to open their gifts! Giving gifts is something that we keep pretty simple at our house. The past few years we have not spent much on gifts, simply because they have too much already. This year we did buy the older 3 a bit larger of a gift. Kirsten really wanted a camera, so she was tickled with that. I figured with her being 12, she should be responsible enough to take care of one πŸ™‚ Devan got his LOOOng time wish of a bb gun. I have to say, it was so fun to see his face! And Tristan is loving his truck and cattle trailer to haul all his animals. Jenna got a play doh set that made her very happy. It’s worth cleaning up the mess, as much as she loves to play with play doh! She got little containers of play doh from her Sunday school teachers on Sunday, and she played and played some more with them. With this dreary weather, it was so nice for her to have that to play with!

While we try not to focus just on giving gifts, there is so much delight in seeing the happiness on your children’s faces as they tear into the gifts. And our sweet daughter blessed us so much today. She went around and handed out cards to everyone. That’s so her, she loves to make cards and notes! But I opened my card, and there was money in it.Β  Same in Dale’s. And $1 for her sister, and $2 for each brother. I said, ” Kirsten! That is too much!” I felt wrong taking it, but I also could tell she really wanted us to have it. So I said thank you, as my momma heart swelled and the tears came rolling down. You know those moments when you feel so proud of them? πŸ™‚ Because this is something that we want our children to learn from Christmas. That giving is so much better than receiving! It humbled me and taught me a lesson that I need to be more willing to give. She doesn’t have a huge amount of money, and was still willing to share. I’m just so happy she has a giving heart!

It’s time for this lady to get ready for our family get together. I’m so grateful we are all well today! Devan threw up during the night on Tue. night, and I was hoping and praying we could go today.

Well, we are back home again after a lovely time with family. The children are in bed, and things are winding down. We sure missed my sis and her family this Christmas! Merry Christmas, you dear people in Haiti! πŸ™‚

Mom had a wonderful meal! It was loud! Their was intense games of Dutch Blitz πŸ™‚ Good times!!

A few pictures of our cookie exchange day. We did candy as well.cookie bake, christmas, etc 002 Working on the peanut butter cups. Tristan was the ever present helper. He had no one to play with, since Cody and Owen couldn’t be here, and Karen couldn’t make it because of sick ones. That was disappointing 😦cookie bake, christmas, etc 005

cookie bake, christmas, etc 008 Above are mocha truffles. It is very good these are not around much! Dangerous to your health πŸ˜‰cookie bake, christmas, etc 009Peppermint patties. These were hard to coat. We weren’t sure why.cookie bake, christmas, etc 013Yum , yum! cookie bake, christmas, etc 015This was after school. Everyone wanted a taste πŸ™‚

And I’ll share a favorite recipe of ours. We call them chocolate marshmallow cookies. They are also called Amish Hats, depending what cookbook you have.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Large marshmallows, halved

Combine flour, soda, salt, & cocoa. Cream shortening and sugar, beat in egg. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Add vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. Top each cookie with a marshmallow half, pressing gently onto cookie. Bake 2 min. more. Cool and glaze.

For the record, I adhere to the baking time pretty strictly. Some of your ovens may vary, but this worked good for me.


1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/2 cups 10x sugar

3 Tbsp. hot coffee

1/2 cup butter, melted

This recipe doesn’t have instructions for making the glaze, but I will tell you how my mom does it. She melts the butter on the stove, then adds in the cocoa till it’s dissolved. Remove from heat, and whisk in 10x sugar and coffee. The reason I gave her instructions is because I made them, and my glaze looked terrible πŸ™‚ See below.cookie bake, christmas, etc 034_edited-1 cookie bake, christmas, etc 036 cookie bake, christmas, etc 037I almost didn’t include pictures of this lumpy icing, but this thing happens sometimes πŸ™‚ Betty Crocker I am not! I was going to hand them out on cookie trays, but these will not be going to anyone else. I was disappointed as they do take a bit of time to make. The good part. They still taste good, despite their looks, and we will enjoy every last one!! πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! A few more days left to enter the giveaway πŸ™‚

For the cupcake lovers

cupcakesCake part : 1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup oil

1 cup water

Mix together dry ingredients, and then add the rest. Fill cups 1/2 full of batter.

Filling : 8 oz. cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

dash salt

6 oz. chocolate chips ( I like semi-sweet )

Soften cream cheese and beat well before adding the rest of the ingredients. Put 1 tbsp. filling on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min.

A tip for a moist cupcake – Do NOT overbake πŸ™‚ I always set my timer for 14 min. and then check them. If I think the center isn’t quite set, I will do them 1 min. longer, but that’s it. Then I let them sit a bit in the cupcake pans after they are out of the oven. I think they may bake a little bit more just sitting in the pans.house,farm, misc 038I often get compliments on these when I make them πŸ™‚ Hopefully you enjoy them as well!

Easy, Delicious bars

If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE chocolate πŸ™‚ I also love an easy recipe. This came from a church friend when she brought us a meal after I had Jenna. It is my go to recipe when I’m having last minute company, or feeding a hungry work crew. The best part – you don’t even need your mixer.

Crust : 1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (1 sleeve)

1 (14 oz.) can Eagle BrandΒ  sweetened, condensed milk ( I’ve used other brands, but I do like the thickness of Eagle Brand)

Toppings :

2 cups semi – sweet choc. chips

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup peanut butter chips

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass dish). In 9×13 pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter. Pour sweetened, condensed milk over crumbs. Sprinkle with 2 to 3 toppings of your choice. Press toppings down gently with a fork. Bake 25-30 minutes. Don’t overbake πŸ™‚ When I see mine browning around the edges, I get it out. Remove from oven. If using marshmallows, sprinkle on directly after removing from oven. Press down with a fork. Bake 2 minutes more. Cool. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature. ENJOY!

My family likes the semi-sweet & pb chips for the toppings, so that’s what I stick with. Let me know if you try them, and if you liked them πŸ™‚house,farm, misc 037

Fool’s toffee

This recipe is simple, and the perfect combination of salty and sweet.


40 saltine crackers

2 sticks butter

1 cup light brown sugar

12 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts, choppedmisc. may & june 076_edited-1Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Line saltines on foil close together.misc. may & june 077_edited-1Boil butter and brown sugar until foamy.misc. may & june 079It should look like this.misc. may & june 080Pour over crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.misc. may & june 081_edited-1Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers.misc. may & june 082_edited-1When melted, spread evenly. Refrigerate. (You may sprinkle with crushed pecans, or walnuts if you like.) After refrigerated till firm, break into pieces. I store them in the fridge, but they are better if you get them out a bit before munching to soften them up.misc. may & june 083_edited-1Enjoy the deliciousness πŸ™‚

If you’re like me, you may have to argue with yourself every time you pull the dish out about how many are a proper serving πŸ™‚


I’ll be honest, I usually do my baking when Jenna is napping, but this time I let her “help”:) It is fun to watch her eagerness to turn the mixer off and on.may 2014 003_edited-1may 2014 002_edited-1may 2014 006_edited-1 may 2014 007_edited-1This is a quick, easy recipe we enjoy.

Chocolate Oat Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup oatmeal ( I use baby oatmeal )

1 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

dash of salt

Directions :Β  Cream together butter & sugar. Stir in egg & vanilla. Add oatmeal, flour, soda, & salt. Press 2/3 of mixture into a greased 9×13″ pan.

6 oz. chocolate chips

1 14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk

1 Tbsp. butter

Melt together chocolate chips, butter, and sweetened, condensed milk, stirring constantly over low heat. Pour over mixture in pan. Crumble remaining oat mixture over top. Bake @ 350 degrees for 18 – 20 min.

Tip – Be careful not to overbake πŸ™‚may 2014 005_edited-1And then you may lick the spatula if you’d like πŸ™‚


My family loves these brownies! And so do I πŸ™‚

Extreme Cookie Dough Brownies*

1 brownie mix { 9 x 13 }

3Tbsp. water

1/3 cup oil

1 egg


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup soft butter

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. milk

1 cup flour


1 cup chocolate chips

2 tsp. shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brownie mix with water, oil, and egg, and bake brownies as directed on package. Cool. Combine brown sugar, sugar, and butter. Beat till light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla; blend well. Add flour and mix well. Spread on cooled brownies. Combine chips and shortening. Heat and stir till smooth. Spread to cover. Refrigerate 30 min. and cut. Store in fridge.

* Recipe from ” Heartwarming Recipes from our Family’s Table”spring 2014 047Enjoy!

Word of warning – they may disappear quickly πŸ™‚

Tip ~ They are great with coffee!