Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Keep or toss?

I have heard for years that if you haven't used it in the last 12 months toss it. WAIT!  It does pay to be a mild pack rat.
In 2003 I started a business in the Avon, Minnesota area. For 5 years I lived in a variety of apartments and temporary locations. At that point in my life, I had an in the house cat. My father, upon my request, built this multi level cat kennel.
Cat Kennel
The litter box was on the bottom with linoleum wrapped around the edges. The next level was a pillow, above that was the feeding level and the top was the princess level with a final pillow. After my cat passed away, I  kept the kennel in the car port.
First Test

The chickens have been eating the cats food, so today we moved the kennel into the main barn and we put the food in the top level and the water dish in the level before it.  I didn't take a picture but we put the door on the end and it covers both of the top levels.  We will need to put new hinges on it.  Being stored in a car-port/garage for so many years has rusted the ones that were there.
Playtime in Kennel
Time will tell if we need to put a door on the second level.  I have a door for it and if the chickens can get in there and up the hole to the third level, then we will need to cover that level.  But we want the cats to be able to come and go as they please.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fat and sassy

A friend of mine told me that I  focus too much on the other animals and not enough on the cats. So this is to share with you that the barn cats are healthy,  a bit fat and very sassy.

We do have a bit of a problem with the chickens bullying the cats and eating some of their food. But I have a plan to solve that issue. More in a few days!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cocoa coconut banana nut brownie

I saw a brownie recipe on Facebook that made me drool. It was low calorie and healthy. I shared it on my page. But when I went to make it, I was missing many of the ingredients. So I  did my own thing. This is what I came up with:
3 bananas
1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
12 drops liquid stevia (flavor of choice)
dash of nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 C coconut flower
1/2 C coconut flakes (unsweetened)
Nuts optional
Banana Coconut Brownies
I pulled out my food processor because the other recipe said that it combined things in a food processor.  And the ingredients that I'm working with are on the dry side.  Tip: If you don't have time to bake and you have over-ripe bananas, put them in the freezer.  They have their own wrapping to protect them from freezer burn.
Baking ripened bananas
I put the three bananas in the food processor and started by dumping the 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Add cocoa powder
I had a very finely chopped coconut.  I wish that I had a coarser grade coconut.  At this rate, it would not add the texture that I hoped.
Coconut is always good
I am still learning to bake with coconut flour.  I have learned that it takes less flour and more moisture.  So I chose to use only 1/2 cup of the coconut flour when the other recipe which I was bench-marking from used an entire cup of regular flour.
Don't forget coconut flour 
I added the eggs and the rest of the flavorings as well as the baking powder and salt before closing the top and starting the blending process.
Eggs added before blending
It was thick. I sprayed the 8x8 pan with olive oil before pressing the mixture in.  Once I had it in, I turned around and realized that I had forgotten to mixed the nuts in.  So I sprinkled them on top and pressed them into the mixture a little bit.  It worked okay.
Mixture pressed in pan ready to bake
I baked at 400 degrees and they turned out beautiful but most important flavorful.  A low sugar, gluten free recipe. YEAH!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


After chores this evening,  I stayed outside awhile with the dogs. I could tell by the clouds along the horizon that the sunset was going to be beautiful.

I had my cell phone with me. Although what I was seeing wasn't changing very much, by changing the perspective of the camera I was able to get a good variety of photos. 

I really want to pull out my paints and canvas!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


It is difficult to keep balance in our lives.  I had a good day today! I spent several hours working in LinkedIn in, reviewing documents about Microsoft Dynamics AX, and working on my Web page setting up some sales items.

On the other hand, I stopped in the morning to appreciate the sunrise. I finished coloring a picture that I've been working on for several days.  I cuddle with my puppy on the way to and from the vets office and I sat at the spinning wheel for a short time spinning my Llama/wool blend.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hello Birdie

High up in the glass - less window
on the crooked frame
sits a little birdie
with a friend or two

Little ones oh so sweet
They were the first to tweet
Let's flock together
Because it's better!
# partyinthebarn

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What are you doing here?

It is the middle of January and I saw a mosquito flying around the house. I thought I was dreaming until I saw it resting buy some water on the kitchen sink. I guess the state bird is alive and well all year round.


Oh what a Friday it was! I was still tired from Thursday. Friday afternoon was the puppies well puppy check. We had to manage getting 11 puppies from the hobby farm to the vet. It was an event; but, we managed. 

We were about a mile north of Richmond, 2 miles from home, when we found a dog running down the middle of the highway. With help of other people nearby, we manage to get the dog. We now had 13 Dobermans and one stray dog in the van together. Once we were at home the stray dog stayed in the laundry room until its owners came.

We unloaded the puppies from the back of the van in the kennel out onto the snow. It was their first time in the snow. They didn't seem to mind it most of them decided to taste it. Hopefully it stays warm enough to get them out more this next week.

When I got in the house, I went on to the Facebook page lost dogs Minnesota and registered the dog we found. I printed for flyers and quickly drove them into town. On the way back I had to stop several times to take pictures. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous. It radiated so beautifully against the background of the farm and it reminded me why I love this place. So yes, TGIF!

I tossed a picture of our trusty Gloria in with the sunset pictures. She is always so happy to greet us when we come home. She is so faithful to protect the farm when we are gone.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Thursday I went to a job fair. Selfishly I found myself praying that very few people showed up; for example, only the people that my sister and I needed to connect and network with.

They told us between employers and job seekers there 500 people registered. We were assigned tables.  I was at table 45 which had three to five people at any given time even though it was set up for ten people. (God answered prayer.) It helped but I was still exhausted at the end of the day.

I had requested a special lunch "bell pepper free". They tried. They had made a pan of rosemary potatoes instead of the potatoes with bell peppers.  They had chicken in a cream sauce.  I could visually see what could have been bell pepper flakes. I mentioned it and they offered grilled chicken also. When they pulled back the foil, I pointed out that they had used the same bell pepper flake seasoning. I was stuck with the vegetarian stuffed mushroom which amazingly did not have bell peppers.

I am a big fan of Dr. Who. It was a little bit disturbing when I saw the screen up front.  I kept waiting for Cassandra to open her eyes and start talking.

There were a lot of education seminars about LinkedIn. One of the big focus points was to have a good head shot. My sister took several for me at the end of the day. When I looked at them all, I said NOPE! I look the same way I feel "exhausted!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gluten free ...

Tell me how I'll be measured and that will be my guide for my decisions.  Tomorrow I will be meeting up with a group and going to a job fair. I've had a very good interview with a good sound company but I don't take anything for granted.

I will have a follow-up interview on Monday.  If that goes well, then I will be scheduled for an in person interview. I don't want to pass up the job fair even though I'm excited about the potential of the company that I'm already interviewing with.

I am betting by now you are wondering what any of this has to do with gluten free. Being allergic to bell peppers,  I always carry snacks with me. When I asked one of the others if she'd like me to share I received the response, "sure, it's gluten free."

I was asking particularly about the haystacks (large marshmallow rolled in caramel then covered in rice crispies.) Although gluten free and delicious they are not diabetic safe. I added to them the banana coconut flour bread and banana pumpkin cookies that I made over the weekend.  We now have good treats and tasty treats. :^)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Keeping warm in Minnesota cold

One way that I enjoy staying warm is by cooking and baking. Saturday I baked oatmeal raisin cookies and banana pumpkin cookies. On Sunday I baked coconut flour banana bread, Dale's wheat bread and I cooked chicken seasoned with onions and garlic.

We are still working our way through the tasty goodies. But it did help to warm the house. No wonder why Minnesotans gain weight in the winter months. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Praise God in the hallway ....

... when God closes a door until he opens up the next one.
Luke 19: 37-40
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees and the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

"I tell you", he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

Evidently we are keeping too quiet. These gems, rocks, stones cry out the Glory of God! (See the cross?)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Curiosity of a Doberman

They say curiosity killed the cat but it sends the Dobie girls in circles. They had just come in from outside. It was too cold for the outside and Dale was still out there. That equals torture to my three girls.

Their view out the windows is very similar to my favorite sunset view.  Doesn't it make you wonder if animals enjoy the beauty of nature around them?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A special blessing!

I asked the question, "what am I doing wrong but these plants keep dying? The first one got moldy. Now this one is drying out."

I received the answer "somewhere in between." They also mentioned that they were going to make it right.

When I got home from the mill on Wednesday, there was a box waiting on the kitchen table for me. I opened it up to find not one, not two, but three replacement plants. One of the plants even had a bud. I am so excited.

I will definitely order more plants from Hinterland Trading. After all if my ignorance that is killing these plants and they replaced them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day trip!

Jeanne was given several Llama pelts free.  It was almost as if she had her own Llama sheared. (No she doesn't have any Llama. Maybe one day?)

Instead of processing it herself,  she decided to take it to a mill for processing. I told her that I'd love to take half. She called and it was ready.  I guess this is a pro for being laid off. I was able make the day trip.

I am going to toot my horn here. The mill had a new POS (Point of Sale software.) Jeanne and I were going to pay half and half on credit cards.  Their program automatically submits the invoice amount to the credit card company. They had never split an invoice payment.  I taught them how. :^)  ....and I had never seen this software before.

Back to my day trip. We picked up nearly 65 pounds of Llama and sheep wool combined. There are two levels of brown a light and dark. When I got home, I tried spinning a little bit of both colors. It spun beautifully.  I wish that I had more time this evening to spin! I will share mor about the mill on another day.