Monday, September 29, 2014

Motivation Monday - Staying Relevant

As my followers know, I have recently become an empty nester.  I am entering a new stage of life - one that Al and I are actually looking forward to.  We had our kids young and now we are young enough to still enjoy our life and each other.    

The other day, I was thinking about some of my family and the stages of life they each are in.  Honestly, I was thinking of things I would like to tell some of them about how they could make the stage they are in easier....then I thought of something my Dad use to say.  "You know, when you are old, you know a few things about life, sad part is, no one will listen to you, because you are old."   I laughed as I thought about his telling me this.  I remember him giving me advice and my thinking....well, I am going to do it my way anyway.  Later, to only wish I would have listened.  Now there are days I would Dad do this?

I decided that I will NOT give my advice, unless asked - because, no one will listen anyway.....

All of this has lead me to my post for Motivation Monday on relevancy.  Finding your relevancy in whatever stage of life you are in, is important!  Being able to feel connected to each situation and the people involved in it gives us relevancy.

The week before my Mom passed on, she told me that she felt she still had a few things she could "share" and "contribute" to her family yet.  What a blessing she was to all of us!  She was even in death, a lesson for us, relevant to us and apart of us.  She did that all with grace and dignity.

This is my favorite picture of my parents.  Almost every time I pass it - I say, "thanks Mom and Dad for being such wonderful parents."  I usually kiss it too....

So, today, I am focused on being relevant in my life and to those that I share it with.  Relevant in my advice, relevant in my passion, relevant in my relationships.  Today, I am focused on being relevant in my business and the way I want to represent myself.  The places I choose to sell at, the people I choose to sell with and the types of things I create.

It is my desire, that the experiences that molded me into the woman I am today, will WANT to be relevant to those I love.  So, that I can be the example my Mom was to her family.  

I hope this little post wasn't too personal.  Rather, that in your reading it, you might be motivated to seek your own relevancy in the stage of life you are in and the situations you are going through.  

Blessing from Ringle, Wisconsin.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Treasure Hunting"

One of my little "gifts" is that I have "junk ESP" and a photographic memory - must be the artist in me.  I have been having so much fun setting up this auction this week.  I know my limits - I now hand the boxes to a much younger person - who carries them up the stairs.  Tomorrow, he will running them down stairs....lucky him.

I found this really cute mesh purse - before I even opened it, I knew it was a Whiting Davis.  It is so cute and small.  I was so excited when I found the original packing and box in a totally different part of the house.  Putting them together now, makes this item complete and hopefully will bring a better price.  When you pack up an estate, it is so important to be aware of what you packed so if something like this happens, you can match it up.  "Willy nilly" packing won't make us the most money.  

It is fun to work with Al, he is older and a wealth of information!  As we are packing I can hear him say..."oh my goodness" or "wow, you will never guess what I found" - truthfully we have found some awesome treasures!  He gets so excited and then will proceed to tell us exactly what the items is, why it is valuable and how much he thinks it is worth - priceless!  I know I know stuff - but, I'm learning stuff as well!  I hope when I reach his age - I still find joy in doing this!  

The house will be up for auction as well - it has a lot of potential - with original charm!  

(beautiful fur coats - this one actually fits me!)

I'm off to go and work (play) - have a great day!  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Town Hall Trinkets, LLC - Auction Time

I am self-employed.  My business name is Town Hall Trinkets, LLC.   When people ask me what I do, I usually say, "I'm a junk dealer and folk artist."  This really is only a part of what I love doing.  

I consider myself to be a "Jacky' of all Trades..."  I specialize in helping people decided what to do with their personal property.  Sometimes this is just one or two items, other times a whole estate.  I give them advice on value, what to keep, what to donate and what to toss.  

This usually leads to my purchasing an item or buying out the whole estate.  I then bring it back to my farm, store it in one of my buildings and sell it.  I've been doing this for over 22 years.  

Over the years, I worked with 2 friends who were auctioneers.  I did go to auctioneer school, but life threw me a few curve balls and I was unable to pursue that to the fullest.  Now that I am an empty nester, I want to.

Last Summer while attending an auction, the auctioneer had to take a break and asked if anyone wanted to sell.  I suddenly heard "I will" and it was me!  So, I conquered my fears, jumped up on the hay wagon and sold the rest of the items on the wagon.  This developed into a relationship with this auctioneer where he has hired me to help him from time to time.  

Which leads me to this post.  My friend, Mary Jo's aunt passed on and she wanted me to come over and help her figure out what to do with her estate.  I was prepared to either do an estate sale there or do a buy out.  After discussing all the options with Mary Jo and her cousins, we came to the decision that the best option for them would be an auction.  They want to sell the house and 3 cars too.  This way, it will hopefully all be "gone" in one day.  

So, this week, I will be busy setting up this sale.  Saturday is the auction.  There is so much stuff, that we will have 2 rings that day.  What that means is there will be 2 auctioneers selling at the same time.  I will be clerking for one of them and hopefully get to sell a few things.

Here is the link to the auction sale bill:

I worked yesterday and found so many cute things.  For me, it is fun just to "find" them.  I don't plan to bid or buy anything as I am working on a commission.  So the more money we get for the items - the more money I make.  Believe me, I like it all!  Unfortunately, we just paid for 2 weddings in 8 months and my buildings are full - I don't have room!  LOL

If you happen to come, come up to me and say HI.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivation Monday - A Week of One-Pot Meals

I thought it would be fun to make all of our suppers last week in the crock pot - a one-pot meal week.  Sometimes, I hear friends say, "I wish I could cook like that."  You can!  Just put it in the crock pot and leave it.  

Monday:  Meatloaf with sliced potatoes on top (next time I will add cheese)

Tuesday:  Chicken noodle casserole (with Kale).  I added uncooked noodles the last hour of cooking.

Wednesday:  Pork chops, butternut squash, apples and potatoes.  

Thursday:  Venison Chili 

Friday:  Cheese (meatless) Lasagna.  This was so good.  I put uncooked noodles in layers with, sauce, cottage, mozzarella and feta cheeses.  Next time I will add spinach.   

So, for this Motivation Monday - cook homemade meals this week.  It is so easy when you use your crock pot.  

I had a busy week with my business and it was nice to come home to something all ready to eat. 

There are tons of recipes for "one pot meals" - look some up and give them a try.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.   

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Breakfast Made From Left Overs - Squash, Oats & Whole Wheat Pancakes

Last night we had a "one pot meal"  - I'm posting pictures after a week of meals.  Anyway, we had butternut squash and potatoes, I was thinking about pancakes and hash browns this morning.  Here is what I did.

I smashed the squash and grated the potatoes.

Squash, Oats & Whole Wheat Pancakes:

1/2 C smashed cooked squash
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C oatmeal

Mix together:

Add 1 C milk, 1 egg, 1/4 t salt, 1 t baking soda, 1 t baking powder and 2 T brown sugar.  Mix well.  Let sit a bit to soak the oats before you put in pan.

I used a serving spoon and put 2 spoon fulls per pancake - makes 8.  Once I put the batter on the pan, I added grated nutmeg and raisins.  

Take grated potatoes and put on sprayed pan along with the eggs.  The potatoes are already cooked - so only need to be browned.

O.K. these pancakes are yummy, good for you and will keep you full - all morning.  What a great farm breakfast.  Best part, I have pancakes for tomorrow morning too.

I love crispy edges on eggs!  I hope you try this recipe the next time you have some left over squash.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homemaking Skills - Pumpkin Pie 101

I have been asked to share how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.  My daughters' friend (since Kindergarten) asked me to help her by sharing a "how to" make a pumpkin pie.  I LOVE sharing homemaking skills and encouraging young women to do these things.  Here is how my mom, Al's mom and sister Lori do it - they are the pie experts - not me...

First, I looked through some of my antique and vintage cookbooks.  If you are out at flea markets, antique shops or thrift stores - look for old cookbooks - they have tips no one shares anymore.  

Al's mom's recipe for:  "Fool Proof Pie Crust"

4 C flour
1 3/4 C vegetable shortening 
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 T vinegar
1 egg
1/2 C cold water

Mix flour, shortening, sugar and salt with a pastry blender or fork.  In a cup, whisk together vinegar, egg and cold water.  Add this to the dry mixture - stir till moistened.  Mold into 4 balls.  Chill.  Roll out the ball on a well floured surface - to fit your pie pan.  Carefully roll the crust back onto your rolling pin and roll over your empty pan - or fold the crust in half then half again and place in your pan.  Press down the edges with a fork or pinch between your thumb and index finger to make a pretty edge.  

How to Prepare a Pumpkin for a Pie:

First, you need to use "pie" pumpkins - NOT the Jack-O-Lantern type.  Pie pumpkins are smaller and have a dense inside.  (Lisa, check with John and Linda Wierzba, out in Galloway...probably a relative to your boyfriend, they have these - this is who I get them from).

Cut your pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, poke holes in the shell with a fork or knife.  Put the halves on a baking sheet or pan - put about 1/2" water in the bottom.  Bake at 200 overnight - Easy Peasy...

In the morning, scoop out the flesh and put in a food processor or blender - blend until there are no chunks.

Now, you don't have to do this can buy a can of pure don't even have to make the crust from scratch....IGA has great prepared crusts....

Pumpkin Pie Filling - #1 (9" pie)

1 1/2 C cooked pumpkin puree
1 1/2 C evaporated milk
3/4 C sugar 
2 eggs
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t ground cloves

Pumpkin Pie Filling - #2 (9" pie) Betty Crocker

2 eggs
1 Can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 Can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t ground cloves mom always used pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices - she always said it "mixed" up better.  If you do this, replace the cinnamon, ginger and cloves with 2 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice....I like it this way better.

With either of the 2 recipes, mix the following way:

Mix in bowl, sugar, salt - spices; which ever you choose - in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar spice mixture.  Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.  This can all be done by hand....

Pour the filling into your crust lined pan.  My mom always did this and I also like it....sprinkle 1 T sugar over the top of the filling - could do cinnamon and sugar too, but your pie will be darker when done.  I don't know why she did this, but it looks nice.  

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce to 350 bake 40 - 50 minutes.  Now to test your pie, poke a knife into baked filling - not in the middle - rather almost the middle - I don't know why, this is how my mom did it....when the knife comes out clean it is done.

I hope this was helpful and good luck baking!  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Motivation Monday - Lessons from Critters

I love to watch my critters.  Believe it or not, you can learn much by observing them.  One thing that sticks out in my mind from last week, was my barn cats.  

I've posted about them before, Pumpkin and Midnight are sisters they are from a litter we had in 1999 - they are 15.  Midnight has a daughter, Patsy she is from a litter in 2006 - she is 8.  

Midnight caught this mouse earlier this summer



Patsy and the mouse she caught

Midnight and Pumpkin, over the years have caught hundreds of mice.  Mice that they each fed to Patsy.  Patsy, has been a spoiled little baby for years.  Over this past summer, I've noticed that Midnight and Pumpkin are slowing down, sleeping more and not "mousing" as much.  To my surprise, Patsy, has been hunting.  Now, she will catch mice and bring it to them.   

This had me thinking about a post on the circle of life.  As you know, we spent years taking care of our mom.   All daily tasks - we did for her.  I know that is how it goes, roles change - we all were blessed by the experience of caring for her.  I didn't see it as a chore, rather something I tried to do out of love.  

When I saw Patsy, bringing mice up to the porch for her mama and aunt, I thought about how her role has changed.  Her instincts must be helping her, as she never did much hunting.  I thought about my mom and my taking care of her.  I never really thought of animals doing this, but here is proof that they do.   

Sometimes, it is just the little things in life that teach us the greatest lessons.  On this Motivation Monday, I would hope this little story and life lesson from my critters, would encourage you to find ways to help the older family and friends in your life.  Before we know it, it will be us that needs the help.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Cookies - Week 20

Cinnamon Roll Cookies:

2 sticks butter softened
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar

Cream together, add:

2 eggs (my chickens lay small eggs - so maybe 1 large)
2 t vanilla 

Mix together, sift together the following:

2 3/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t grated nutmeg

blend together with creamed mixture

Cinnamon spread:

1 stick butter softened
1 C brown sugar
2 T cinnamon

whip together

Divide dough in half, roll out to 1/4" thick and spread with 1/2 of the spread

roll up like a jelly roll and cut in 1/2" pieces

Bake 350 for 10 min

Make a frosting of powder sugar and corn syrup  

Drizzle on the cookies and enjoy!  Makes 3 doz.

I actually made this recipe up - I saw a picture for cookies that looked like this on Pinterest - only when you clicked on it - it didn't have a link.  So, I thought...I can make something like that.   

My husband says they are super good.  I would agree!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Zucchini "Logs"

This time of year - zucchini is abundant!  My grandma Kincaid made something similar when I was little, but hers had hamburger in it.  I wanted to make a meatless version with low Weight Watcher points.  I have to tell you....this was delicious and filling. 

Cut your zucchini in chunks/"logs", scoop out the seeds - not all the way to the bottom - you want some zucchini to hold in the filling.

I then took some cooked brown rice (1 C), some shredded carrots, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 can of cannellini beans (or any bean would do) and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup.  Do NOT add any water - just the soup - the juice from the zucchini while cooking will be the liquid.  S&P

There was enough filling to do 4 "logs" - fill with the mixture and bake covered at 350 till zucchini is fork tender.  Bake uncovered for last 10 minutes or so.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.