Monday, January 31, 2011


Considering my last post was entitled "Heatwave" I feel just a little bit silly sharing with you tomorrow's forecast for here in Central Missouri.  Yes, it did get up into the 50s at the end of last week.   Yes, I did wash my car -- not that you can even tell it now, but that's another story.  I can tell you this . . . it is no longer 50 degrees.  Yes, the weather here in Missouri is consistent - - CONSISTENTLY CHANGING!!!!

Freezing rain will be my friend driving into work this morning.  And this, well, this is what the forecast is for tomorrow:

"Details for Tuesday, February 01

A wintry mix in the morning, becoming all snow and windy in the afternoon. Snow may be heavy at times. Cold. High 26F. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. 10 to 15 inches of snow expected.

Evening: Occasional snow showers. Quite windy. Low 14F. Winds NNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70%. Significant snow accumulation possible."
Yes, you read that correctly -- 10 TO 15 INCHES OF SNOW EXPECTED.  I'd definitely call that SIGNIFICANT.
I could count on one hand the number of times Central Missouri has gotten 10 to 15 inches of snow.  I am heading to work today, despite the freezing, 'cause I'm pretty sure I WON'T be able to make it to work tomorrow.  I drive a car after all, not a snow plow
My husband will be feeding LOTS of hay to our cows, and keeping an eye on our heifers, who have decided that this would be a good time to start having calves.  We've already had a few baby calves starting last week, and usually a big storm really gets the babies coming.  Something about the dropping barometric pressure ? ? ? ?
So, to all my Missouri blogging buddies, BE SAFE out there.  Drive carefully if you have to get out, and if you don't HAVE to get out, well, don't. Stock up on bread and milk and eggs, and flashlights :0!   Prayers for safe travels, and a big hug to each one of you.  Here's hoping and praying that the power stays on!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


"We're havin' a heatwave, a tropical heatwave!"  If you grew up watching Archie Bunker you can just hear Edith singing, and I use the word "singing" very loosely, those words.  But that's what's coming here to Down On The Farm.  We had a big snow last week, and most of that snow is still on the ground or pushed into piles.  But today we are expecting temperatures in the 40s and tomorrow, they are saying it will be over 50 degrees!!!  Wow!  My car is whispering to me "wash me,"  "WASH me,"  "WASH ME!"

By the end of January I'm pretty tired of winter, and we still have quite a bit of winter to go around these parts.  So here's hoping you will get a little break in winter just like we are.  Hard to believe that January is almost over.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Many Thanks

To everyone who left a comment, called me, texted me, came to the visitation or funeral, or said a prayer for me and my family last week, I would like to say a HUGE thank you.  Last week was a tough week.  But I was reminded what amazing friends I have and what an amazing family I have.  And, how awesome God is.  He has comforted me and my family beyond anything we could have hoped for.  Knowing I will see my Grandma again is a blessing beyond words.

I would appreciate it if you would keep my mom in your prayers as the days and weeks go by.  She is doing great, but, I know it is hard for her to accept that her mother is gone.

To each one of you I again say thank you, and I am asking our Lord to pour out His blessings upon you.  God is so good!!!  Love you my friends! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Grandma Remembered

Flossie Ellen Barton Hall
October 11, 1913 to January 17, 2011

Yesterday, my Grandma Flo went home to be with her Savior.  Our hearts are broken, but joyous, because we know she is walking streets of gold.  She has gazed upon the crystal sea.  She has heard the angels singing.  And she has seen the face of Jesus.

My Grandma was born near Hoecker, Missouri, the youngest of 10 children.  Her parents were Andrew and Amyee Barnhart Barton.  In 1934 she married my Grandpa, James Howard Hall.  She gave birth to eight children (six girls and two boys), my mom being the third oldest.  She has 17 grandchildren.  Two of those grandchildren met her in heaven yesterday, as did my Grandpa.  My Grandma has 35 great-grandchildren.  And my Grandma has 11 great-great grandchildren. 

My Grandma Flo loved to garden, and she loved flowers.  She was a wonderful cook.  She could make chicken-n-dumplings like you've never had in your life.  My childhood memories of being at their house always involved a huge family meal.  At Christmas time there was always a tree surrounded by mounds of presents.  Even with a big family, there was always a gift for everyone.

I could tell you stories of my Grandma all day long.  Good stories, funny stories.  I have memories to last a lifetime.  She was am amazing woman and I loved her with all my heart.  And while my heart is broken, and I will miss her terribly, she would have wanted us to let her go.  And her heart's desire would be to see each one of her family in heaven.  If she could say one thing to us, she would say "promise me you will meet me in heaven."  So that is my gift to you Grandma.  My promise to meet you in heaven one day.  When you see me, come a runnin'.  'Cause I'll be running to you.   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taco Soup Recipe

One of my family's favorite meals is Taco Soup.  This is truly comfort food to the max.  It is very easy to make.  One of those throw-it-in-the-crockpot-and-forget-it kind of meals that you will look FORWARD to coming home to.  And your family will look forward to eating.  Here's what you need:

2 pounds ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix (or 3 T homemade mix)
1 16 oz can dark red kidney beans
1 16 oz can light red kidney beans
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 envelope ranch-style dressing mix

The instructions - well, it's pretty simple.  Brown your ground beef, then put it, and the other ingredients in your crock pot and stir it well.  You can let this cook all day on low, and when you get home, it's perfect.  I serve this in bowls over tortilla chips with cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top.  Of course, this works perfectly well on the stove top too.  But the longer this soup cooks, the better it tastes.  It is also great warmed up the next day.

And this recipe is very flexible.  If you are serving a big crowd, add a couple more cans of beans, or corn. I haven't made chili in a long time.  My family much prefers taco soup.  So, if you're looking for a great wintertime supper, this is it.  Your family will love it!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Isn't it frustrating when you get ready to cook something, and you don't have all of the ingredients?  Maybe that doesn't happen to you.  But it sure does happen to me.  And, while I don't live 20 miles from the nearest town, I don't live IN TOWN, and I don't like having to go back to town once I get home from work. 

Something that I tend to run out of a lot are those little seasoning packets and mixes.  Especially taco seasoning.  My family loves tacos, and taco soup.   I make lots of things that call for one packet of "taco seasoning mix" and it seems I either have 5 of them in my pantry, or I have NONE.   It's hard to justify driving nearly 10 miles one way to the grocery store for that little packet of taco seasoning.  Soooooooo, I have decided to take control of my life by making my own.  Well, it's not actually taking control of my WHOLE LIFE, just one little aspect of it.  But a very ANNOYING aspect of it.  Have I mentioned I don't like going back into town after I get home ? ? ? ?

I searched online and found several recipes for homemade taco seasoning.  Some were fairly elaborate.  Some called for items I didn't have.  But, I finally found a couple of recipes that sounded pretty good.  And it turns out I had all of the ingredients.  Here is the basic recipe that I used:

1 T chili powder
3/4 t garlic powder
3/4 t onion powder
3/4 t red pepper (crushed or flaked)
3/4 t oregano
3/4 t paprika
1 1/2 T cumin
1 T salt
1 T black pepper

I tripled the recipe and put it in a small glass container.  I used what I had in my pantry.  These spices are store brand -- NOT the expensive brand  Like I said, I used what was on hand.  And I wish you could SMELL this mixture.  It smells DELICIOUS.  Very spicy, but not overpowering.   Based on what I've found online, you would use 3 Tablespoons of this mixture to equal one envelope of store bought seasoning. 

I must tell you that I have not actually USED this taco seasoning mix yet, but I will.   One of our favorite recipes is taco soup.  And it seems whenever I want to make taco soup  I NEVER have a packet of taco seasoning mix.  That shouldn't happen again with my handy, dandy homemade taco seasoning mix.

It took all of  five minutes to mix this up.  And while I haven't really figured the cost difference, I can tell you this.  Most of the seasonings I have are $1.19 for about 3.5 ounces.  And I know those little envelopes average 79 to 89 cents each, for only three tablespoons.  So I can ASSURE you, it is much cheaper to make your own.

I'll let you know what my family thinks about my newest time and money saving adventure.   I'll be making taco soup over the weekend and I'll share my recipe AND my honest opinion of my homemade mix.  'Cause hey, if it doesn't taste good, then I haven't helped myself or you!!!

If you have a favorite homemade "mix" recipe . . . please share it with us. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Half Right

Well, the weather man's forecast was HALF RIGHT.  Instead of the six inches of snow they were calling for, we got about 3".  Three inches is a typical Mid-Missouri wintertime snow fall.  But it was enough snow to close school early yesterday, and to cancel school for today.  The temperature this morning was 16 degrees.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am NOT disappointed that we didn't get the big snow they were calling for.  It's all husband can do to keep up with feeding hay to the cows and keeping our long driveway graded.  I just wish the weather people would be a little more accurate in their forecasting.  Because a lot of people take that forecast seriously.  The weather affects our daily lives, and we depend on accurate forecasting.

So bundle up and stay warm!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Snow It Is A Comin'

Brrrr!!  Woke up this morning to a pretty good dusting of snow.  And it's cold.  Temperatures in the low 20's and by mid-week we will have lows in the single digits and wind chills below zero.  The forecast is for snowfall this afternoon and evening and overnight.  The weather people are saying we could get four to six inches of snow before it's all over.  Now I'm from Missouri.  Lived here all my life.  And in the last 20 years I could count on my fingers the number of times we've gotten six inches of snow.  So, let's see how the forecasters do.  I'll let you know tomorrow just how much snow we actually wind up with.  So far nothing is falling from the sky.  How do the weather forecasters do in your neck of the woods?  Are they fairly accurate?  Or are do they usually miss the mark?

Stay warm everybody.  And if you don't mind, I'd sure appreciate a prayer for my dear Grandma Flo.  She is 97 years old, in a nursing home, and not doing well.  My mother is with her right now and will be spending the day there.  Please pray for strength for my mother.  I can't imagine how hard this must be for her.  Thanks, and God bless you all!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Decisions Decisions

Cole and I spent the entire evening working on college scholarship applications.  How exhausting.  Trying to make yourself sound like you deserve a scholarship, without sounding like you are bragging, is tough!

Cole has the option to use his A+ Schools eligibility, and he can attend a community college in Missouri with his tuition paid in full.  We would have to pay room and board and books.  However, there is a community college about 20 minutes from our house.  So if he chooses that route, which right now seems to be his first choice, he can live at home and go to college for free for one year, then transfer to a four-year school to finish his bachelor's degree.  Cole took a lot of dual credit classes his junior and senior years, so he will graduate with 30 hours of college credit and will be able to finish his Associate's Degree in one year, saving his grateful parents THOUSANDS of dollars, and saving himself one year of college.

Cole is also applying for a scholarship to another University in our area.  This particular University actually offers several scholarships for which Cole is eligible.  So he will apply and then see what happens.  Some of the scholarships are good enough that he would forego his A+ eligibility and attend directly out of high school.

Where Cole will attend college is such a big, life-altering decision.  So many things to think about.  Many of Cole's classmates are headed off to Mizzou -- the University of Missouri-Columbia.   Mizzou is a great school.  But it is also a HUGE school compared to Cole's senior class if 147.  And it is an EXPENSIVE school.  All of the brochures he has received from Mizzou estimated in-state tuition and room and board at $23,000 per year.  Yes, I said TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR!!!  

This mama is VERY thankful that her son is happy to live at home another year and go to community college for FREE!

I would ask for your prayers as Cole enters this exciting time in his life.  Above all else we want God's will in where he will go to college, and what degree he will pursue.  And of course, scholarships would be good too.  Very, very good.

And pray for me, because the thought of him graduating from high school in May is enough to make me cry right now.  Of course we are proud of his accomplishments.  But, for those of you who have children who have graduated, you KNOW what I mean.  And if your children are still young, well, one day you will understand all of the emotions involved in watching your baby grow up.

Thanks to each of you for your prayers.  They mean so very much!  I just love my blogging buddies!!  And please know that I pray for each of you too!


Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year and a Birthday Wish for My Mother

Well, like it or not, the holidays are officially OVER!  Thanksgiving, done.  Christmas, behind us.  New Year's Day, yep, it's past.  Today is January 3rd.  Of course it's not JUST January 3rd, it is my mother's birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!!!!  I sure do love you and I pray for many many more birthdays for you!!!!!!!!!

Here in Missouri it is cold.  Winter is truly here.  The days are still short, the grass is brown, and spring is a long way away.  This is the time of year that a lot of people really dread.  That period of time after the holidays and before warm weather arrives.  And for many people, it can be a sad, dreary time.  A time of discouragement.

I want to encourage each one of you to not let this time of year overwhelm you.  Because just like the holidays can bring pressure and stress, this time of year can bring its own set of emotions.  God made every season.  He made winter and He made the snow.  He even directed the days to be shorter.  So, instead of wishing these days away, use this time after the pressure of the holidays, and before those spring activities, to focus on God's will for your life this year.  Last year is past.  It is over.  You can't go back.  But this year lies before each one of us.

So today, as we experience the beginning of a new year, give God an opportunity to do a new thing in your life.  Don't just SAY you're going to read the Bible more, or pray more.  Make a PLAN to do those things and then stick to it.  Set aside time each day to meditate on God's word.  And don't just read the Bible and pray, but be obedient to His will.  Don't just be a "hearer" of the Word, but a "doer" of the Word (James 1:22).  You can't just KNOW what you need to do, you have to DO IT.  Because NOT doing what you know you should be doing, is sin.  ( James 4:17)

God has so much MORE for each one of us who want more of Him.  But, in order to get more from Him, He wants more from us.  As a matter of fact, He wants ALL of us.  He wants our whole heart.  Our whole soul. And in return, we get His love, His mercy, His peace.

He sure does love you and me.  And that should make us smile even on a cold, dark day in January. 

"This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24  So today, rejoice!