Grain Mill Test Run

It worked!! I love my KitchenAid mixer already and now I love it more. You may recall that a few weeks ago, we purchased a Grain Mill Attachment for the mixer.

grain mill

The purchase was made after I did a bunch of research on flour, and storing flour and buying flour in larger quantities than 4-5 lbs, etc. I learned that grains have a longer shelf life than flour. In addition, you can buy different kinds of grains and grind what you want of each to mix and match for baking and bread making. It seemed like a neat way to expand upon the kitchen adventures.

A few days ago we disassembled the mill to wash it up, let it dry, and reassembled for a test run. We filled the mill up just over half way with wheat.

grain in mill

It was really fun to watch the grinding and see the flour falling out. I started the mixer on the slow setting, but then we double checked and it said throw that switch to 10, and we did!

grinding I

grinding II

We chose the setting just shy of finest.

grinding flour

Fargo didn’t like the noise that the pretty kitchen power tool made at first. But now he’s wholly unimpressed.



I used 2 cups of freshly ground flour with two cups of store bought for a loaf of bread. Worked great in terms of dough.

bread dough ball

And I could put a picture of the bread, fresh out of the oven, but I wouldn’t want to make you drool. It looked beautiful, like the rest of the bread I’ve made in the dutch oven, and it was delicious! I ground more yesterday for another loaf of bread. Now I need to get brave enough to try mixing flours.




It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago I started this blog. I probably don’t have any more readers than I did a year ago, but it’s been a really great personal project. I have gone back to posts about recipes and activities for reference and I’ve used it to reminisce about the past year. A huge thank you to those of you who have read, supported and contributed thoughts, ideas and supplies to this venture!

You may have noticed that there has been no mention of running since the big running weekend in October. There has actually been no running since the big running weekend in October. With hubby’s running ban, I’ve tried to get out walking with him almost daily. Definitely easier on some days than others at this time of year. Maybe the new year will bring back some running mojo…maybe?

It’s been great having the girls walk with us.

family walk

Fargo continues to add “The Terrible” to his name in terms of leash manners. Every time I think we’ve made some solid progress, he does something TERRIBLE in terms of pulling and lunging behavior. I so want him to just walk nicely for us. He also still zoomies, which can be painful/dangerous if you are in the way. Everything we read says most dogs are done with the zoomies by age one. Fargo The Terrible is going on three and he is obviously NOT most dogs.

Then he does this and The Terrible is forgotten:

fargo leg snuggle

fargo b chair

I think my baking skills have progressed pretty well, and the next post will be about the first go with the grain mill. Now that I have different grains, and new bread baking book (thanks hubby!), I am excited to try some different breads.

We are still cleaning the garage (mostly hubby is still cleaning the garage) with the idea of creating work space. I have done more cross stitch lately in the attempt to get back to hobbies and try new ones. I have yarn for a knitting project and will soon be getting wood for a furniture building project. Good indoor winter stuff.

I have used the eldest’s camera to play with photography more than just with a cell phone.

tufted titmouse

dec winter sunrise

The next decision will be what to do with the blog. After a year, am I ready to see if anyone else is interested in empty nest trials, tribulations and adventures? Am I ready to try and attract more readers beyond family and friends? I have purposely avoided common tags, and made up funny and obscure ones, which hubby always points out with a “aren’t tags supposed to help people find you?” Maybe it’s time to be less obscure.




We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. Usually, Hanukkah is well underway by the time Christmas rolls around, but this year (as I’m sure most know), Hanukkah started on Christmas Eve. A long time ago, hubby and I made the decision to focus on family/cultural traditions vs structured religion of any sort. For Hanukkah, this means candle lighting and latkes!

Back in the day, we had a PPP (Potato Pancake Party) which meant peeling and grating about 30 lbs of potatoes, 8 lbs of onions, and frying for about 4 hours. Since the girls have mostly been away for Hanukkah the past few years, we really haven’t done anything grand. This year, they were home, but we kept it just us anyway. I thought I was paring down the recipe, but it was still a lot of frying.

latke batter

It’s hard to tell, but that is the largest mixing bowl I own. I used to have 3 frying pans going at once, and maybe I should have had at least two, but I stuck with the new one I got for my birthday.

latkes frying


The first ones ALWAYS take forever and I feel like they took even longer in this pan. I probably could have left them all in a few minutes longer, but just didn’t have the patience. Not too bad though.

latkes frying II

Meanwhile, Fargo was not impressed with the latke production and just wanted to play with his new ball. Shocking, I know.


The one amazing thing about latkes with the new pan is that nothing stuck…not a thing! Easy out of the pan and onto the blotting station.

latke towel

We ended up with a pretty good pile to eat. This isn’t actually all of them. Enough for dinner and breakfast!


Then we lit the candles on the Pooh menorah, which was a gift to the girls from long ago. The menorah is in front of the Christmas tree, which is on the table because Fargo zoomies.

pooh menorah

xmas tree

And then the crew watched A Christmas Story, which is tradition. Happy Holidays, no matter which ones you celebrate and let’s hope for the best 2017 possible!

December, Part III

It’s been a few days since the Part II post. We were away to fetch the youngest after her semester abroad and now SHE IS HOME!!! The nest is full once again! Seeing these two together was the best thing ever.


Fargo has two snugglers to choose from for a few weeks.

B and Farg

While we were East, we swung by to see my friend Beth. She contacted me after my post about getting a grain mill for the pretty kitchen power tool to offer us some grain. It is always nice to see her and holy cow, she started us off right on the grain front. THANK YOU BETH!

jars of grain

Fargo was excited about the grain too and photobombed!

grain photobomb

One thing about being in a neighborhood is that it is easier to get out for walks, and we walked a few times each day. Hubby and I saw a beautiful holiday/winter sunrise scene one morning though the picture doesn’t capture the striations of color in the sky.

a-town morning

During some browsing, we found an interesting interpretation of a tree. I kind of like it.

bottle tree

Hopefully my next post will be a report on the grain milling.



December, Part II

THE ELDEST IS HOME!!!! She brought her bestie with her for a few days. And their wish for snow was granted. Not a ton of snow, but enough for it to look pretty and give them a dose of Winter.

The nest is partially full and Fargo is happier. Hubby and I may be just a little bit happier too. Fargo is also pretty happy about the snow and about playing in it with his popped soccer ball (this is why we can’t have nice things).

fargo snow ball

fargo snow ball 2

Bundle up!

bundle up

This makes my heart happy.

happy fargo

Counting down the hours til the nest is FULL!!



December, Part I

The past few years, December has been a time of anticipation. Not so much for the holidays, but for the nest to fill back up again. It’s a combination of having lots to do to get ready for the girls to come home, and trying to pass the time without wishing days away.

Sunday before last, I used an organizational project (that absolutely did not need to be done) as a way to feel like I was accomplishing something, but also catch up on shows and hang inside on a chilly day. A close friend knew that I was trying to revive some old hobbies and explore new ones, so he brought over a bin of cross stitch supplies. The bin included a number of containers of thread. Already having a few containers of my own, I decided that I should organize, combine and weed out what I didn’t think I’d use.


After that, I switched to house/baking prep because it was the one week countdown til the eldest and her best friend arrived. Besides all of the cleaning and grocery shopping, I wanted to have goodies to celebrate their arrival.

I baked bread, which came out beautifully just like every other time.

beautiful bread

And I baked Boozy Pecan Praline Bars, as the girls have never been here when I’ve made these yummy treats.

boozy treats

boozy wedge

And, got to have the pumpkin bread!

choc chunk pump bread

We were ready!!



Return of Fargo The Terrible

The past few months we have worked really hard on leash manners. A friend mentioned that she had used a little squirt bottle with water as a deterrent for leash pulling, so we tried it. We were pretty pleased with the results. A little spritz of water with a firm “no pulling” was seeming to do the trick. He still had some sudden zigs and zags when smells are too tempting and my reflexes weren’t quick enough to nip those, but overall he was doing much better and we were walking a lot more.

I have no idea what happened this past week, but we had the Return of Fargo the Terrible!! Pulling, zig zagging, having “I need to run to every person and every dog” freak outs, etc. Earlier in the week, I was glad hubby was done walking because I had  had it with Fargo and so left  Fargo in the car with him and did a solo lap.

For the next walk, we opted for a different place that rarely has other people/dogs around. It didn’t matter, Fargo was back to his antics and I was getting upset. I really thought it would be better yesterday morning, though I’m not sure why I thought it would be better, so went to the more remote spot again. It is a mile long loop and the first loop was reasonable. Then my good friend showed up, with her little dog (whom Fargo had walked nicely with a week prior) and it all went to shit. Fargo was truly TERRIBLE! It was a mile of wrestlemania 🙁

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper, and I have some sore muscles this morning. I guess the water bottle needs to come along for every walk again. I definitely do not want to feel this upset with him. Although there was no punishment, because he certainly would not have understood, I think he knows I’ve been upset. He was quite snuggly this morning.

fargo snuggly

Also, it’s hunting season and so we attempted this.

fargo orange



It’s been fairly quiet here in central PA.

I created an Instagram account:

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend with my parents visiting, but there was a definite void without the girls here. We did lots of talking about the future. We took some nice walks, somehow picking the same times as our good friends which meant some extra visiting time with them. We ate yummy food.

I did make a new goody, Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.

chocolate pumpkin pie

I couldn’t find the wafer cookies in the recipe, so I used chocolate graham crackers, and reduced the amount of sugar since there is sugar on the crackers. It was very tasty!

Hubby and I haven’t made much progress on the garage because once you get past the obvious decisions on what stays and what goes, there sits the pile of “what the heck do we do with that?!?” stuff. Stuff that is in good shape so it shouldn’t go in the garbage, but that you will never use. Does it go on ebay? Or get donated? Is there any monetary value to it? I do have a box full to take to a local shop, but haven’t actually made it to the shop yet.

Today begins December. The holiday month is here. It is also the countdown month for us. This blog is turns a year old in a few days, and though the past few weeks have been sparse, I plan to continue adding posts. We are almost to single digits for the eldest and her BFF to arrive and under 3 weeks for the youngest to return from abroad. I try not to wish the days away, but it’s hard.