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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mexican Turkey Lasagna

The only leftover turkey recipe you’ll ever need.  Trust me.

Mexican Turkey Lasagna


This is one of my all time favorite turkey recipes.  I know I should have posted it before Thanksgiving, so you’d have time to make it with your leftovers, but you still have a couple of days, according to the 4daythrowaway website.

This is the Mexican Turkey Lasagna I make every Black Friday:

Adapted from Food Network.

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or cubed
1 small container sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
2 cups shredded cheese, divided (I use cheddar or Monterey Jack or a mixture)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 extra large flour tortilla (or a few smaller ones)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine turkey, sour cream, most of the cheese, salsa, chiles, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
(At this point, you may be tempted to simply eat this mixture right out of the bowl, cold, with tortilla chips or your fingers.  Go ahead.  I won’t judge.)
Tear tortilla into pieces and arrange in the bottom of the pan.
Layer half the turkey mixture on top of the tortillas.  Repeat another layer of tortillas and filling.  Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 30, or until heated through.
Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Variations:
Use corn tortillas for more texture.
Heat turkey mixture through and use to fill tortillas.
Heat turkey mixture through and eat as a dip.
Eat turkey mixture cold from the bowl.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Best Way to Serve Oranges to Kids

I wrote a really philosophical, deep post about blogging, and then cut up an orange for my two year old and decided to blog about that instead.

Isaac is not a great chew-er, and giving him a traditionally peeled orange segment can be a problem.  He doesn’t chew it all the way, it slides partway down his throat, and he gags it back up.  To accommodate, I’ve started serving oranges like this, instead, which is quick, easy, and does not require peeling.

 

oranges for kids

 

Step 1: Break out a John Deere cutting board, because that’s the way we do things at the Creek

Step 2: Slice orange like this.

IMG_6823

Step 3: Stack slices and cut stack in half.

IMG_6824-3357(rev 0)

Step 4: “Open” the slices.

IMG_6825-3358(rev 0)

Step 5: Remind your child not to eat the peels, and serve.

IMG_6826

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Five from the Archives: Everything you wanted to know about Turkeys

just in time for Thanksgiving!  If you have questions about the way turkeys are raised, feel free to ask!

 

1.  The Scoop on Turkey Poop

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2.  Can Turkeys Walk?

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3.  Getting Ready for the Big Storm:  How turkey farmers prepare for winter weather

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4.  Wash Your Hands (Turkeys and Disease Prevention)

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5.  Responsible Antibiotic Use:  How we Decide when to Give Antibiotics to our Birds

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Teaching Obedience through Consistency…or Not

 

Disobedient children can be enough to make a momma crazy.  Trust me, I know.  In my quest for cooperation and obedience from my kids, I’ve heard one piece of advice over and over…

“Be consistent.  Make rules and enforce them, if you want your children to obey.”

obedience

 

But what if obedience isn’t actually my goal?

What if there’s more than that?

What if my efforts to teach my children to obey actually teach them something else?

 

When I think about my real purpose as a parent, my long-term goals and values, obedience is never one of my goals.  Of course I want my boys to be respectful and obey laws, but I also want them to be independent thinkers who can solve problems and make decisions on their own.  I want them to be kind.  And patient.  I want them to be flexible and open to others’ ideas.

IMG_20130607_164634_349(rev 0a)

Demanding, without reprieve, that my children do what I say, just because I said it, doesn’t serve that purpose. Rigidity, often termed “consistency,” doesn’t serve that purpose.  It doesn’t teach my boys what I truly want to teach them.  Instead, I’m modeling the exact rigid, inflexible, “my-way-or-the-highway” attitude that I don’t want them to have.

 

I’ve been trying to catch myself and change my response to my childrens’ requests.  Tonight, Adam asked for a snack after supper and I said no.  When he asked again, I said no again. But when he explained that he had a really yucky taste in his mouth and wanted a granola bar to get that taste out, I changed my mind and changed my response.  I gave him a granola bar. 

What did that teach my child?  Did it teach him that Mom’s a softy who will give in after enough whining?  Maybe.  Did it teach him that whining will get him what he wants?  Maybe. 

But it also taught him that logical, rational arguments, presented in a respectful tone can change peoples’ minds.  It taught him that perseverance pays off.  And it taught him that it’s okay to change your mind. 

Good lessons, I think.  Better than simple obedience.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A coincidence? Or something more?

Last weekend was Junk Jubilee Jingles, a large junk show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 
My dear friend, Kim, who owns Invintg and Antiques Iowa, asked me to set up a booth with her.
We discussed it several times, and although I really wanted to do it, it would have meant 4 days away from my family, plus many other hours in preparation.
So I declined, and Kim decided not to do the show, either.  I spent the weekend with my family, instead.

As it turned out, it was Kim who needed this weekend to be with family.  Her beloved mother passed away last week.

I’m reading  The Art of Thinking Clearly and the author would argue that these things are merely coincidence.  It’s just a coincidence that we decided not to do the show, and it’s just a coincidence that Kim happened to be free last weekend to mourn her mother’s passing.
But I believe it’s something more.
I believe God led me to decline because he had a bigger plan for last weekend.  God knew what was going to happen, and he knew Kim needed to stay home.
for I know the plans I have for you says the Lord
That belief may not be rational.  It may not be “thinking clearly.”  But the idea that God has a plan for us is a belief that has gotten me and many others through some hard times.  When we trust in God’s plan, we know that someday, everything will turn out alright.
And that way of thinking is clear enough for me.

By the way, this printable is a free gift for my email subscribers.  In order to download the file (without the watermark) you must sign up for my email list below.  After you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that has the link to download the printables. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)  Any questions, just let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#FoodThanks: Reflections on Giving Up Groceries

About a year and a half ago, our family embarked on an experimental journey to understand what it is like to live on a very limited food budget.  I was reminded of this experiment last night and have been thinking about it a lot today.  The first three paragraphs here are from one of my original Giving Up Groceries blog posts, and the rest are my reflections after last night’s discussion.

giving up groceries

“I had both boys with me the first grocery trip.  Adam wanted mini-muffins in the snack aisle.  There was NO WAY those were in the budget, and I wasn’t giving in that early in the game.  He threw an absolute fit because I wouldn’t get them. 

I was so embarrassed.  I think that if I had just said “no” because I didn’t want to get them for him, it wouldn’t have been so bad.  But the idea of not being able to afford them was so hard.  We ended up with a muffin mix for $1.29, but that meant I couldn’t buy eggs. 

That first shopping trip was so stressful.  I came home and was crabby to the boys and crabby to Bart.  And it made me think about how hard it would be to be the kind of person I want to be if I had a serious stressor in my life, whether it was money, illness, cancer, whatever.  It makes my battles seem not-quite-so-hard.”

 


I truly cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak that a mother must feel when they cannot afford to buy food for their children. Muffins are not in any way an essential food item, but a year and a half later, this memory still haunts me.

sharing sweetcorn

What would it be like if my child could never get a “treat” like muffins or the donuts in the background of that picture?

What would it be like if we had to stay on that kind of a food budget indefinitely?

How would my children react to being limited in their food choices?

How would I react to the ongoing stress of such a tight food allowance?

What would that mean for my family?

As hard as it would be to limit our food choices because of money, it could even be worse. Can you imagine not having food for your children? ANY food? Can you imagine your child crying out of hunger? True hunger – not just “I’m starving and I want a cookie” hunger. What would that be like?Isaac and banana bread

In America today, 1 in 5 children live in “food insecure” households, meaning that they have "limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways." (USDA.) That is heartbreaking to me. My grocery experiment gave me a tiny glimpse into the life of a mom without “food security” and it made me so much more thankful for everything that we have.

This year, we’ll join #FoodThanks by making a donation to our local food pantry so that a food insecure family in our area – possibly even the family of one of my son’s friends – can have a bit of the comfort that we have everyday. We’ll be joining Subway to #SubtractHunger so that another mom doesn’t have to hear her child cry out in hunger. And we’ll continue to grow turkey in the most efficient way we know how so that other families have access to affordable, nutritious protein.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Behind the scenes: Our “Great Day” Video Shoot



A couple of weeks ago, Lou from GREAT DAY on KCWI visited our farm to talk turkey.

turkey barn

It was cold outside, but warm and toasty in our barns.

thanksgiving turkeys barn

I *hate* that we had to give in and give Isaac his pacifier, but that’s real life.  We’re a family first, farmers second, and I had to take care of my boys.

KCWI Great Day on a Turkey Farm

Adam was out of the picture by this point because he was so crabby.  This experience gives me a greater appreciation for child actors.

GREAT DAY and turkey farmers

Both boys ended up with fevers that evening.  I should have seen it coming.

KCWI turkey farm tour

If you want to see us at our best trying to talk about turkeys while juggling two crabby, sick boys, tune in to Great Day on KCWI Thanksgiving morning!

Friday, November 15, 2013

What I’m Reading: Fall 2013

I used to be such a voracious reader, especially of the classics.  I read Jane Eyre at 10, and loved Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and Laura Ingalls Wilder as a young girl.

When I was teaching, I read a lot of children’s novels.  I love, love, love novels for tweens and pre-teens.

But the past few years, I haven’t read much at all.  I decided to rectify that situation after stumbling up The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog a few months ago.  Today, I’m linking up to her blog party, Twitterature, for the first time.



1.  Pride and Prejudice
After reading her blog, I HAD to read Pride and Prejudice.  I will admit, I had a really hard time getting into it.  I tuned into the mini-series on netflix (always staying ahead with the book) and that helped me through the first half.  By then, I was used to the language and hooked on the story.  Loved it, and I can’t believe I never read it before!





2.  The 5 Love Languages of Children
This was an easy and interesting read.  So many parenting books are NOT, so this was refreshing.  However, I was not able to truly identify my childrens’ love languages (especially the youngest one) and I think this book encouraged me to be too “soft” on them, worrying that I was screwing with their primary love language, even though I can’t tell what that is.  I may re-read this in a few years when they’re older.




3.  A Year Down Yonder
This is one of my FAVORITE books.  I read it with my 6th grade students, and thought it was hilarious.  It’s so nice to have historical fiction for kids that isn’t depressing and boring.  I can’t wait until my little Adam is old enough to read this book with me!  It is a great fall/winter read.






4.  What to Do When There’s Too Much To Do
This book is a lifesaver.  Er..it would be if I actually got around to finishing it.  When I was actively reading it, my time management skills improved a kazillion-fold.  And then I stopped reading and stopped being productive.  Sigh.  Must start reading this book again.






5.  Phoenix: The Rising
Can’t leave this one off the list.  Maybe I’m a little biased, because my aunt wrote it, but I could not put this book down (the first or second time I read it!)  It is suspenseful and clever and the story sucks you right in.







Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy for more short book reviews!
*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Wrap Up

It’s officially over.

I posted 31 times about decorating with junk.

decorating with junk

It took me 43 days.

What did I learn from this experience?
1.  I MUST take better pictures before, during, and after HomeShed projects.
2.  I am NOT cut out for blogging every day.  Phew!
3.  I really need to organize my photos better.

I’m already thinking about my topic for next year’s 31 days series. Maybe I should start writing now!

In the meantime, you can browse this year’s 31 Days of Decorating with Junk:



Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Owning a Junky Business Part 4


q&a

Owning a business like The HomeShed has been a dream of mine for several years.  In many ways, my business has exceeded my dreams – it is more fun and more fulfilling than I ever thought possible.

But it’s also hard.  Harder than I thought it would be.

One of my facebook followers asked, “How do you not get discouraged when people don't flock to your shop?”

My first response was, Not at issue!  We’ve had such a great response to The HomeShed that I’m always happy!


But that’s not exactly right.  It’s true that during our first sale, our sales were double our goal.  And our second sale, our sales were double the first sale! I was flying high and loving life.

And then June came around, and our June sale was lackluster.  I think our sales were almost at the point of our first sale.  I was so disappointed – I expected each sale to get better.
 
How did I handle it?  Well, it was definitely sobering and depressing.  I analyzed it and overanalyzed it for weeks.

In the end, I decided to focus on the good things – many of our customers were repeat customers, I was proud of the furniture pieces I’d done for that sale, and we had three months before the next round.

But it is for this reason that I’m glad that I do not rely on The HomeShed as a source of income.  For me, right now, it is only for fun, to challenge myself, and to provide a creative outlet.  If I really needed to make a certain dollar amount from my creative business, I’m sure that would change things a lot.


Another Facebook fan asked how I balance it all.

Not very well.

That’s why I LOVE that I have a break between sales.  It keeps me excited and keeps me from getting burned out.  The Monday after a sale weekend has officially become a “stay-at-home-and-do-nothing” day because the entire week before a sale is crazy busy. 

I have started pre-planning a bit more to make sure my family is taken care of the week before a sale.  I’m not a regular meal planner, but planning dinners and laying out a weeks worth of clothing for the boys saved my sanity the last go-round.  If I were to have a sale once a month (or every weekend!) then I would definitely need to put more routines in place to make sure that my family is not neglected when I’m HomeShedding.




2012-09-29_10-25-00_158

I guess what I’m saying is this:  A creative business looks like fun from the outside, and it is.  But it’s also work.  And if it’s work that you rely on for income, it can lose it’s fun-ness pretty quickly.  So surround yourself with people who support you and compliment your work style, get some routines in place to make sure that you don’t negatively affect your family, and keep your chin up!

This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up


Monday, November 11, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: A Not so Junky Basement


Our house is over 100 years old.  And our basement was disgusting.  Imagine a wet, musty, yucky graveyard for old appliances.  We used it as a makeshift workshop while working on the rest of the house, so there was sawdust everywhere, including stuck in the decades old cobwebs on the ceiling.  There were large gaps at the top of the cinder block that mice and (yes!) snakes used to enter the house.  And I still had to do my laundry down there!

I searched for over an hour to find a “before” picture of the basement, but I can’t find it.  Maybe it was just too horrible to ever photograph.  This is the best “before” picture I can find, and it’s a LOT better than the real “before.”

yucky basement before

But not anymore.  Our disgusting, yucky basement is now a welcoming family room.  An amazing transformation.

finished basement

Last year, we were thinking about building a home addition.  We needed more space.  But as our plans (and the cost) for the addition grew, we started to wonder if it was smarter to finish the basement.

At first, we weren’t even sure it was possible.  But the cinder block walls were in pretty good condition, and the ceiling was high enough (a rarity in these old houses!)  So we called Midwest Basement Systems to see about the water issues.

A year and a half later, we have a finished basement for a 1/5th of the cost of an addition!
So how’d we get from this

unfinished basement

to this?

fireplace tv tand

First, Midwest Basement Systems put in a “french drain.”  They pounded up concrete along the walls, inserted a drain, installed two sump pumps with backup batteries, and a couple of wall braces where we needed them.  They used spray foam insulation around the top of the cinder block to seal any gaps. They also installed a plastic sheet on the walls – similar to a pool liner – so that if there’s any condensation, it runs down behind the plastic and into the drain.

midwest basement systems french drain
basement french drainbasement wall linerbasement spray foam insulation

In the meantime, we had our contractor (who did our siding and windows) move our washer and dryer to the back room of the basement.

Then came the fun stuff.

Framed up the walls, and hung drywall.

basement framed walls
basement drywall
But notice the ceiling?  No drywall up there.  Instead, hubby used a paint sprayer to first prime, then paint the ceiling.  Primed first…

primed basement ceiling
Then painted… and installed green LED lights.
painted black basement ceiling

Vinyl flooring at the base of the stairs and towards the laundry room, and carpet in the family room.

black painted basement ceiling

Finally, we purchased an electric fireplace/tv stand to warm things up a bit.

fireplace entertainment center

Bart has started moving things down to his “man room” and I’m thrilled because his office will become a play room on the first floor!


finished farmhouse basement 

This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up