Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Rainy Day

The Rainy Day
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

My husband recently did this poem with this students at school, and he brought it home and shared it with me. I was so grateful for the message of hope and assurance that all is for our learning and good. Yes, "some days must be dark and dreary" so that we may more fully appreciate those bright days that grace our lives. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures:

"And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet" (D&C 29:39).

How grateful I am for the chance to overcome and grow through adversity. How grateful I am that not ALL of life is adversity and there is JOY to be had! And how grateful I am to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches me such truths.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake

I promise, we don't eat all of our veggies in this house pureed in a baked good. I guess I just tend toward those recipes on this blog. But anywho--this is a great way to use beets if you find yourself with a glut. And oh boy, do we have more beets than we know what to do with!


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 small handfuls of chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups of beet puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat with no problem)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
powdered sugar for dusting

In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of the butter. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth and allow pan to cool slightly while proceeding to next step. Cream the remaining 3/4 cup butter with the brown sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Blend the chocolate mixture, beet puree, and vanilla into the creamed mixture (it will appear separated). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture, stirring until well combined. Pour the batter into a greased bundt pan and bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake to cool about 15 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cake has cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar, slice, and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I was reading a bit from an old Relief Society manual the other day and came across this quotation:

When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not over program us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear.
~Elder Neal A. Maxwell~

I needed this today. Hope it helps you on a day when you need it too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut (or pumpkin) Pancakes!

We were blessed with butternuts this year!
And thank goodness, I say,
because these beauties will see us through the winter.
I have a deep love for winter squash,
and so we have already been digging into the supply.

Here is one of our favorite breakfast recipes for butternuts:

Butternut Squash Pancakes

1 egg
3/4 cup milk (full fat is best)
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 cup squash puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a small saucepan, combine the squash, oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon, and warm over medium heat until coconut oil melts (but don't let the mixture get HOT).

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, powder, soda, and salt, and stir to combine.

In another small bowl or large measuring cup, measure out the milk and mix in the egg.

When the squash mixture is warmed to the point where the oil has become liquid, fold into the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly to ensure no dry pockets of flour. Then add the milk and egg mixture. Stir until batter is smooth and well combined.

Cook on a hot, greased griddle in 1/4 cup portions over low heat. Throw in a few chocolate chips if you are feeling sassy, or just enjoy with some pure maple syrup! (yields 12 pancakes)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daughters in my Kingdom

I have been so grateful to have a copy of this remarkable book for the last few weeks. I love reading a few pages every time I get a chance. I was particularly struck by an excerpt from a talk by President Thomas S. Monson on charity. The message was shared only a year ago as part of the general Relief Society broadcast, and yet, somehow in a year I had forgotten so much of his important message.

President Monson spoke of charity beyond just the relief of suffering or giving of substance (though noted that this form of charity is also "necessary and proper"). "I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

"I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

"There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. the need for charity is everywhere.

"Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited...

"Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. it is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others."

And the message went on. I read back through the words of this living Prophet, and I know that I have a whole new list of goals to work toward. My vision of charity needs to expand. And I'm so grateful that we are given the wonderful guidance we need to truly become more like our Savior.

Monday, August 15, 2011


It has been far too long since I posted anything on this blog. I think, perhaps, it was a bit lofty to believe I had time to manage more than one.

But here I am. Ready to try again.

Part of the long absence was due to a long family vacation. The other part of the absence is because I am busy fighting through morning sickness--which is where the title of this post comes into play.

We all have miracles occur within our own lives. Some are large and touch the hearts of any who hear about them. Some miracles are small and are only miraculous in our own eyes. However, all are blessings from the our Heavenly Father and a reminder of His great love for each and every one of us.

I have seen many little miracles occur in my own life since we found out we are pregnant again. One, in particular, truly let me feel of that love from my Father in Heaven.

Marty had to leave our vacation in North Carolina a week early to come home for Scout Camp. I was then going to caravan up to Pennsylvania with my 2 sisters and 10 children to have Marty meet me at the airport to finish the drive home. This, to be honest, terrified me. I had no idea how I was going to cover hundreds of miles by myself when even a trip to the grocery store left me clutching a gallon plastic baggie to catch anything that may decide to come up.

Before he left, I asked my sweet husband to give me a Priesthood blessing. As the hands of my husband and my father were placed on my head and my husband spoke to our Heavenly Father in my behalf, I felt the sweet assurance that comes with faith in Priesthood authority. I was going to make it. Somehow, Heavenly Father would help me get to Pennsylvania.

The morning of the trip came. I was tired, a little queasy, and trying to remember the peace I had felt at my blessing. I packed the seat next to me with snacks, water, and baggies (just in case), and we headed out for a day of driving. The first few hours went by, and I felt okay. Better than okay. I kept nibbling on crackers and licorice and sipping on water, keeping my stomach busy and happy. By lunch I needed substance and was amazed at how a burger and french fries could make me feel so much better. The last few hours of the trip seemed to go by slowly. I was starting to lose steam, and felt a bit queasy. By the last hour I had a headache and was hoping I would not need to pull over.

By the time we got to Eva's house and I got myself out of the car, I knew that I was in for a rough night. But I remember laying in bed, afraid that any movement would send me back to the bathroom, praying to thank Heavenly Father for getting me there. I knew he wouldn't lift the morning sickness for good, but he gave me enough of a break to accomplish what I needed to--just like he promises he will.

The next day I left for the airport to pick up Marty and barely made it to his terminal without tossing my cookies all over the car. I parked, quickly kissed him hello, and buried my face in a plastic bag. I barely took my head out of various plastic baggies the whole 6 hours home. I was still amazed at how I had managed the whole day before in the car without getting sick once.

So that was my miracle. And it certainly made me feel loved by my Heavenly Father. I am so grateful that he knows each of us and answers our prayers. I am grateful for the Priesthood of God here on this earth. And I am grateful to know there is a sweet little spirit growing inside of me. How blessed we are.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kale Chips!

I don't have a picture of these delicious snack bites, BUT I can say that my polka Dot ate them as well as potato chips (and life is rarely quiet for her on the green veggie front).

Kale is quickly becoming one of my favorite plants in the garden. It starts producing early in the spring and doesn't quit until nearly Christmas in this neck of the woods. It also doesn't take more than a handful of kale plants before you feel like you are suffocating in dark leafy-green goodness. When the plants get a little out of hand, or you just need a crunchy, healthy snack option, these kale chips are just the thing.

I'm not going to give any measurements because everyone will like them a little different, but here is the gist of how you make them:

Cut, wash, and dry a whole heaping pile of kale from the garden. Tear the kale leaves from the thick stems in large pieces. Put all your pieces in a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil (I'd say hmm about 2 Tablespoons--maybe more. You don't want to find a puddle in the bottom of the bowl, but you want each leaf to get a little). Then sprinkle with some salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese and toss to coat evenly. Bake at 200 degrees on an aluminum covered sheet for about an hour, or until chips are nice and crispy all the way through. Put them in a bowl, watch them disappear, and feel good about how much leafy green power is now making its way through the bodies of those near and dear to you.

Seriously, I think you'll like these. Eating your greens isn't so bad after all:)

Friday, June 10, 2011

"What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?"

Every April and October, members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and anyone who wants to listen, for that matter) have the incredible opportunity to listen to the words of our living Prophet and other church leaders. For two days we are filled with the messages of these inspired men and women, each of whom has sought out what to speak on through much prayer and fasting. I ALWAYS come away from these sessions with specific questions answered, my eyes a little wet from tears, and a set of new goals.

I have been trying to be better at reviewing these messages between conference sessions, and I especially seem to turn to this guidance on difficult days. Last week, when trying to be a good mommy was feeling especially difficult, I happened to listen again to the talk "What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?" from Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy. Choosing that talk on that day was what Heavenly Father knew I needed; I know he guided me down the list of talks to this title. These were the lines that moved me the most on that day:

A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?

I certainly need my girls to help me become a better person. In no other way could I learn such patience, humility, charity, and all other Christ-like attributes.

The rest of the talk can be found here. And all of conference can be found here. No matter what faith you are of, these talks are uplifting, inspiring, and will certainly bring you closer to Heavenly Father as you heed their counsel.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Goats are Back!!

After a long winter of being non-milkers (our lady dried up around the end of November last year), our brother and sister-in-law very generously offered to send a few more goats our way. On Memorial Day we welcomed back Hermione and met Oma for the first time. Hermione is no longer a milk-giving gal; she's getting a little too old for that. However, she came along to keep Oma company and to give her joints a break from all the long walks at the farm when they move out to pasture.

I have to admit, I breathed a little sigh of relief when milking every day was no longer part of the equation. But now that my little Lucy is going through a half gallon or more of goat milk per week on her own, we didn't feel right refusing a free goat. I'm also pretty sure that I have the best husband in the world, because he has offered to do ALL the milking! All I have to do is strain it and get it in the fridge when he comes in. Deal.

Memorial Day was also a major planting day for us. On days like that when you feel dizzy from so much sun and sweat, you have to stop and remind yourself how much you love eating fresh food. Or you go crazy. And start cursing your beautiful vegetables. Who wants that? We have been blessed to already eat asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, lettuce of various kinds, broccoli, and onions from the garden. We now also have eggplant, multiple peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, dry beans, green beans, peas, corn, butternuts, delicatas, two types of pumpkin, basil, parsley, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, beets, turnips, carrots, and maybe some other things that I am not remembering all at various stages of growth. Whew! I feel better just typing that. It really is worth it!

As tired as we were at the end of Monday, I loved looking around the dinner table at a family with dirt smudges on their cheeks and brown earth under their nails. I love knowing that every time we go out to weed we are getting fresh air, working together, and living more providently. I love my Heavenly Father who has seen fit to bless us with this little piece of land, and we will keep doing all that we can with it. Because that is the best way I know to say "thank you."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soaked Whole Wheat Flat Bread/ Tortillas

For a few months now we've been trying to do all of our bread products from scratch over here at the farm. We've also recently started soaking a number of our whole grain recipes in order to improve nutrition. And this simple recipe has become an almost weekly staple for us for making flat bread to go with hummus or rolled thinner for tortillas to make quesadillas.

On to the recipe!

Soaked Whole Wheat Flat bread/ Tortillas:

3 cups flour (any mixture of hard white and red wheat flours)

1 1/4 cup warm cultured buttermilk

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

12-24 hours before you want to cook the flat bread, combine flour, buttermilk, and oil in a bowl until a dough forms. Cover the bowl with a tight fitting plate or plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place in the kitchen for 12-24 hours. (Soaking is optional--just combine all ingredients and proceed as usual if deciding not to soak).

After soaking, add powder and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Divide the dough into 8 balls. One-by-one, flatten each ball into a disc and then roll out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick for flat bread, thinner for a tortilla.

In a lightly greased cast-iron (or other heavy bottom pan) over low heat, cook each piece of flat bread, flipping occasionally, until brown spots are forming on both sides. I don't want to give a time frame here because every pan will be different. Just don't rush it. It pays to cook a little longer over a lower heat so that you don't burn the bread.

Serve bread with your dip of choice, or allow bread to cool and store in a plastic zip-top bag for up to 5 days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Martha, Martha..."

I seem to always have a favorite scripture for the different seasons of my life.

About two years ago, just as I was learning how to be a new mommy, one of our stake presidency members came to our ward for a visit. He spoke with the women about creating balance in their lives, a kind of balance that I was struggling to find (and still can be struggling to find some days!). However, his message was timely and what my little heart needed to hear, and the scripture that he used often echoes in my mind when things start to get a little crazy. He opened the New Testament to Luke 10 and read verses 41 and 42:

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

For me, those passages oozed with tenderness. It was as if I could hear Jesus saying, "Kimberlee" and then again, in an even softer and more loving, yet concerned, manner, "Kimberlee." At that moment I knew. I knew that dinner did not always need to be elaborate, the floor did not always need to be perfectly clean, my food storage menu plan did not need to be flawless, and I certainly did not need to feel depressed if my baby weight had not yet given up residence at various spots on my body. I, too, was "careful and troubled about many things." And I was letting those things get in the way of my happiness as a mother, my ability to be a good spouse, and my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Something needed to change. I needed to more fully understand that "one needful thing."

Of course, as it so often does, the answer to my problems came back to what I already knew: I needed to be reading my scriptures more often and more diligently; I needed to be praying--always--and really listening to what my heart was told in return; I needed to be less critical of myself and others. I needed to just refocus, refrain, and remember that sitting at the feet of Christ will always be more important than the pile of laundry in my bedroom.

I wish I could say that I have been perfect at this principle since that day. Oh, I wish! But I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that helps me to turn back to this scripture every once in a while and remember what was in my heart that day. I am grateful for the atonement and the ability to be forgiven and try once again to be better. And I am oh-so-grateful that when I do stay on track my life is full of peace.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rhubarb Cake

Behold, the rhubarb plant!
When I see this sweet thing bubbling up out of the ground
in the early spring, I can't help but get a little giddy.
The winters are long, and our butternut squash has worn out its welcome.

Well, it just so happens that about the same time
the rhubarb is threatening to overflow its place in the crisper,
my littlest of my little ones has a birthday.
(hooray for springtime babies!)

Because my little Goose will eat nearly anything I put in front of her,
and because I had rhubarb to spare,
she, naturally, got a little concoction I like to simply call a
Rhubarb Cake
for her first birthday treat.
And I think she was pleased as punch!
But who doesn't like something covered in cream cheese frosting?

Rhubarb Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

For the Cake

(We recently started grinding our own flour--to save money and for freshness--hence, the flour types. But all-purpose and regular wheat flour will work just fine.)

1 cup hard white wheat flour
3/4 cup hard red wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar (or experiment with your sweetener of choice)
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
15 ounces stewed rhubarb (simply chop a handful of stalks, drizzle with a tablespoon or two of honey, and simmer on the stove until it breaks down to a juicy, soft mess. mmmmmmm)
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans. Sift together the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, and then fold in half of your stewed rhubarb (or 7.5 ounces). Beat this all together for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the rhubarb and eggs and beat another 2 minutes. Pour batter into greased pans, bake for 30-35 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean!--you know the drill), and allow to cool before frosting.

For the Frosting

2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
4 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Tablespoon milk (more to thin, if necessary)
1 1/2-2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if it seems to dry, more powdered sugar if it seems too wet. Then frost and stack those round, rhubarb-filled beauties.

This cake is tangy, spicy, and sweet--all at the same time. Hope you enjoy!

Let me start off by saying...

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! This is a true blessing in my life, and I am grateful for my faith. Although we're often called Mormons, that nickname neglects to mention Jesus Christ. And we DO believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. But more on my faith to come...

I also live on a beautiful piece of land that we affectionately call our "farm." I'm a novice gardener, goat-milker, and chicken keeper, but I am learning more with every season. I'm also the Mother and Homemaker of our acre of land, and I hold these titles with joy! I love to spend my time learning new things about the garden, healthy habits for my family, and doing as much in a natural or from scratch manner as possible (all within our budget, of course).

My hope for this blog is to have an outlet for my spiritual thoughts and a place to document my adventures as I continue this wonderfully down-to-earth life we are creating for ourselves.

So, without further ado, I welcome you to "Faith and a Farm"!