Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020, NOT the year we wanted!


So the end of a year always puts me in a reflective mood.  My birthday is  December 31 so a new year always means a year older! 2020 has certainly been a difficult year.  Besides all the pandemic crazy, my husband and I have had aging parents facing health challenges, kids facing job challenges, military life challenges, college challenges with COVID, and on and on and on!  Can we be done yet??!

The holidays certainly were not what we hoped, no gathering with the grandparents for their safety; no traveling home for our daughter and military son-in-law (all leave cancelled!) and no visits from our grandkids!  Very sad indeed.

Happily there are things to focus on for 2021.  I have started my 2nd children's board book!  Son number 2 got engaged and they are planning a summer 2021 wedding!  Our recently graduated teacher has her first teaching job!

So for now let's take it one day at a time.  Hurry up 2021 ...we need a new start!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

My favorite EASY sugar cookie recipe!



Early December seems to be an excellent time to share my favorite EASY sugar cookie recipe!

These cookies have always been a tasty family favorite of my gang and I hope you will enjoy them too.


Favorite Sugar Cookies 

1/2 c. shortening

2 TBSP milk

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 c. sugar

1 egg

2 c. flour 

1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.  Mix together shortening, sugar, milk and egg.  Stir together in another bowl flour, baking powder, salt and soda.  Mix dry ingredients into shortening mixture.  Roll out on floured surface & cut with cookie cutters.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Decorate as desired when cool.

I love these cookies for all holidays! I have cutters for pumpkins, ghosts, Christmas shapes, hearts and Easter eggs.

If you would like more free recipes, join my recipe email list.  I will send an email about every other month with new tasty ideas.  Join the list here Prairie Chick Recipes


Happy Holidays!


~ Connie


Thursday, November 12, 2020

What do Pandemic Holidays look like??


So what will the Pandemic Holiday look like in 2020???  This holiday season we'll most likely be home alone...literally.  With a vaccine for COVID-19 not even set to be a possibility until early next year, the holidays will look a little different than we're used to.   But while some traditions may fall by the wayside for the safety of yourself and others, that doesn't mean that other ones won't take their place.  So although the holidays may not be the same this year, that doesn't mean it should stop you from getting into the holiday cheer!

~ Enjoy less stress of cooking for a smaller group this Thanksgiving.  Involve your family members in the food prep ... this is a great opportunity for little Bobby to learn how to make Grandma's famous pumpkin bread.

~ Enjoy the lack of in person Black Friday shopping!  Use the time to shop online or spend those hours enjoying more quality family time.

If you feel yourself falling into a holiday funk when thinking about canceled activities, make a list of ideas for new holiday traditions and activities to try.  This is a season to be truly thankful for our good health and the love of our families.


Happy Holidays!

~ Connie


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Slow Cooker Chicken Burritos


October has me in the slow cooker recipe mode.  Warm comfort food always sounds good on a cool Fall evening and when it's a simple crockpot recipe that's even better.  Hope you will find it as tasty as my crew does.


Easy Crockpot Chicken Burritos

In a slow cooker layer in 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Sprinkle over them 1 package of taco seasoning mix.  

Next add to the crock pot, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can whole kernel corn and 1 can of black beans.

Cook on low for 6 hours.   With 2 forks shred chicken in the crockpot and mix in 3/4 c of sour cream.  Cook 1 package of Spanish rice as directed.

Serve chicken with, rice, flour tortillas, salsa, grated cheddar and any of your favorite taco toppings!

YUM!

If you'd like to receive more free recipe ideas from me, please join my recipe list.  Subscribe with this link, and receive an email with new ideas 6 times a year. Email me Prairie Chick Recipes

Happy Eating!

~ Connie


 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

NEW DESIGNS! Cards by PRAIRIE CHICK







I've been in kind of a pandemic funk this week... worrying about my daughter who is in college, and my parents and in laws who have health issues. BUT since worries don't change anything I am trying to focus on making and sending fun cards! I have added some new designs, so if you are looking for cute mail to send to loved ones, please check out my handmade cards.

You can find my Etsy shop here - Cards by PRAIRIE CHICK

~ Connie


Friday, August 28, 2020

Iowa Derecho 2020




Monday August 10, 2020 was a day of devastation in Iowa. A line of thunderstorms produced straight line winds that exceeded 100 mph.  This storm tore across the center of Iowa from West to East and destroyed crops, homes and businesses!  The worst of the devastation in our immediate area was just 10 miles north of our acreage in Grinnell.  The town lost many trees, several businesses lost roofs, a few were totally destroyed and numerous homes received significant damage. Amazingly there were only 3 reported deaths in Iowa. Sadly two were in our very own Poweshiek County.  Unlike tornados which are somewhat common in Iowa and last a few minutes, this storm raged over our home for an hour and we are truly amazed that we only lost a few trees and had no damage to our house or buildings!

Power was out at my home for only 3 days, but friends in Grinnell suffered thru August heat with no power for two weeks!  Thankfully our community is strong and neighbor helped neighbor in this difficult time.  #IOWANICE

What the heck, 2020 ... first a pandemic and now a derecho!

~ Connie



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

My New Creation! "Hello, Ruby"

 


One of the things I've been wanting to do for awhile now is write a kids book.  I had an idea to make a counting book for toddlers and I wanted to feature the antics of my two real life "dorky" cats!  Emmett and Ruby are brother and sister and we rescued them about 7 years ago.  The pandemic winter provided me with the time to really work on my illustrations and the spring was a time to search for a way to self publish my board book.  (Not an easy task!)

With my granddaughter's birthday coming in late July, it was soooo exciting to open the box from the publisher and see the copies of my very own book!  Hopefully Adalynn will love it as much as I do!

If you'd like to see it ... check out my Etsy shop at this link Cards by Prairie Chick

~ Connie


Friday, July 3, 2020

July 4th Fruit Kabobs



Even if you are not going to your usual big July fourth picnic because of COVID,  some fun food can spice things up.  I saw these ideas for fresh fruit kabobs and loved them.  I think any kids in your family will too. All you need are strawberries, blue berries, water melon, bananas, wooden skewers and a star shaped cookie cutter.  How simple! I know a lot of parades and fireworks are cancelled around our area, but hey we can still have celebratory food!!  


Happy Munching!

~ Connie

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Cards by Prairie Chick --- find my Card Shop!

I'm excited to share that I have opened an online shop featuring my handmade greeting cards.  I enjoy sharing my artwork with others thru this card line and its been especially satisfying to send fun mail during the pandemic. I hope you will find some things in the shop too! 

Here is the link to my Etsy shop  Cards by PrairieChick -- Link  here to Online Shop

If you don't see what you are looking for in the shop or want to make substitutions to the sets just let me know... I am happy to work out custom orders just for you!


~ Connie


    

Friday, May 15, 2020

Down the trail, through the woods and by the pond...

 


One of my goals for the trail thru our woods, is to create a special place for my grandchildren.  I really love this walk and I hope they will too.  I have added a few interesting things to see and I hope they will love exploring with us to look for new additions each time they visit.



Still on the "To Do List" are:

    1. a forest tea party

    2. a bench for bird watching

    3. Ladybug Tic Tac Toe

    4. painted rock caterpillar

    5. a 2nd fairy house

    6. a sign post to magical places

    7. a pirate's ship and treasure


Just over here dreaming up adventures!

~Connie

Monday, April 20, 2020

Apple Pear and Romaine Salad


One of my favorite salad recipes is one shared with me by my grandmother.  She was a wonderful cook and I have lots of awesome recipes from her.  This salad is so colorful and tasty that it has become one of my all time favorites!  I hope you will give it a try soon.


Apple Pear and Romaine Salad

1 pear and 1 apple, chopped
1 cup salted cashews, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce
4 oz shredded swiss cheese
1/4 c. dried cranberries
Mix all together

Dressing - 
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp poppy seed
2/3 c. oil
Mix together and pour over lettuce mixture (use whatever amount you desire ...this seems like a lot of dressing to me!) Chill salad 1/2 hour before serving.


Hope you enjoy this taste of Spring!  For more free recipes, join my email list Prairie Chick Recipes.  You receive 6 email a year with ideas.

~ Connie





Monday, April 6, 2020

A little trail thru the woods...

While we have been on the quarantine lock down, we have been trying to spend some of our outdoor time reestablishing a trail thru our woods to the pond.  At one time there was a trail but it has had numerous years of neglect ...so it has been a challenge to cut back the trees and the under story plants.  That however is the 1st step to creating a neat trail thru our property that we hope the kids and the grands will enjoy in the future!


I hope this summer and in years future to add some cool artwork and signs along the trail.  Maybe a fairy village, a fishing bridge at the pond and a playhouse in the woods will pop up in the next few Springs!  John and I have some fun ideas in mind so slowing down, and staying home because of COVID-19 are prompting us to act and enjoy our outdoor spaces.  Stay safe and quarantine on!

~
Connie

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Grandma's chocolate chip cookies


This cookie jar is a twin to one my Grandma always had in her kitchen.  It was always stocked with homemade cookies ...usually chocolate chip which were my Grandpa's favorite!  I searched for quite a few years to find this Pig. So every time I see him in my kitchen I am instantly reminded of my wonderful Grandma Catherine.  I have tried many chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years but never found one that seemed like her cookies.  I even have her exact recipe but they never turn out like hers always did!!?? I don't know what her special secret was.

I have however found one that I love ... and it seems like they are a close taste and texture match!

So I am pleased to stock my Pig with these yummies!  If you like to bake give them a try soon.  Your family and friends will appreciate the results.


Chocolate Chip Delights

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick margarine (softened but not melted)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp milk
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or mint chips

In a stand mixer cream sugars, margarine, oil, egg, milk and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients until mixed in.  Add chocolate chips.

Bake on parchment lined baking sheets at 350 for 11 minutes.
Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from trays.  Makes about 3 dozen.


Hope these are memory makers for your family too!

~ Connie





Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Long Winter ...



This has been a rough season for me.  Two long months of physical therapy, the post wedding and post holidays let down, family relationship stresses, concerns over an ill parent, winter cold, snow and ice ... it has all just really piled up and sent me down a lonely dark path. The worry and the depression have ground me down too often.  There are too many days where I focus too much on the things I haven't done right or well.  There are still times where I struggle to adjust to our empty nest.  As much as I love to see my adult kids grow and flourish in their own independent lives ... I sometimes really miss those days of messy kisses and toddler storybooks!  Moving far from my best girlfriend in Illinois when we relocated back to Iowa 2 plus years ago and the moving away of a new dear friend here (when her aging parents required help) are also tough turns of life to navigate.

Such is Life.  Nothing is ever storybook perfect.  Nothing is ever as it appears on social media.  The sun will rise tomorrow and offer us all the possibility of a fresh new day.  Savor the small blessings and pray through the tough stuff.  And forgive yourself and others often.  No one is perfect.  I have to remind myself of these things often as I look into the next new day.

Here are some words I read that seem timely as we begin the season of LENT.

"The Lord does not ask for perfection, but for a heart that longs to grow closer to His.  There is no wrong way to offer our prayers or our days.  The Lord delights in our efforts.  What parent scoffs at their child's repeated falls while learning to ride a bike?  They encourage and assist, knowing this task takes time and practice." 

Peace and Prayers

~ Connie