Book Review #1 - The Old Man and the Boy

About a month ago, Redbeard and I were heading to a good friend's wedding all the way in North Dakota.  RB decided he wanted to finish the book he started reading a few months before.  By the time we drove ten hours up there, the radio was getting old.  I decided on the way back we should read the book together!  RB, as expected, was skeptical of my reading out loud skills and I was worried about actually liking the book.  He finally gave in to my demands for entertainment. 

Much to my surprise, The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark, is an excellent book.  The old man spends his time teaching the boy about life through numerous hunting adventures.  The book takes you through the last years of the old man's life.

It starts out with the Old Man teaching the Boy to shoot a shotgun at quail and ends with the final hunt the Old Man and the Boy on together. In between, Ruark tells stories about training bird dogs, bird dogs training young hunters, deer hunting, small game hunting, fishing of many freshwater fish and saltwater fish, and many, many more stories of a youngster growing up during the 1920's. 

If you enjoy hunting stories, this would be a great read for you!


Harvest meals - Beef and Pepperoni Calzones

Fall harvest is upon least for now, so I will share my favorite harvest meal with you!  The men love it too!  It is easy because it is not messy to eat in the combine!  I wrap them up in foil straight out of the oven and keep them in a cooler until I get to the field.

Writing about recipes is a new challenge for me.  I love to cook, but when it comes to sharing a recipe I made I run into a challenge.  I don't use measurements.  It seems that I have turned into my mom.  She doesn't measure ingredients before throwing them in the pan and her dad, my grandpa, is the same way.  I guess you could say I come from a long line of ad-libbers!  This recipe makes about 15 calzones, the smaller recipe is at the bottom of the post.  So here it goes....

Beef and Pepperoni Calzones

Start with two pounds of hamburger

Fry it up!

Add the spices:
2 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
2 t crushed red pepper
1 t chili powder
1 1/2 t oregano
2 t Italian seasoning
I use about 50 slices of regular pepperoni and 50 of turkey pepperoni.
Stack the pepperoni to cut into quarters

Stir in pepperoni

Add 1 cup green peppers, 1 cup chopped onions, and
1.5 24 oz cans of spaghetti sauce
Finished product!
Filling up close

I make the dough in the original recipe size and make as many batches as I need.  Each batch makes about 5 calzones.

Start with
2 1/2 c flour and 1 package of quick rise yeast
Whisk together and add my secret ingredients...
3/4 t garlic salt (instead of regular salt)
3 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
2 t oregano
2 t crushed red pepper
Add 2 T olive oil and 1 cup warm water
Stir until all ingredients are combined and
knead vigorously for three minutes
let rise for at least ten minutes with the bowl covered.

Separate the dough into 4 ounce sections

Roll dough into a flat, football shape

Add meat and mozzarella cheese

Fold dough over and press down

Roll the outside of the dough onto itself to make a double seal

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes

Make butter sauce with butter, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese

After 15 minutes brush on the butter mixture onto the top of the calzone

Put oven on low broil for 5 minutes or until browned

Take them out of the oven and enjoy!!!!

Beef and Pepperoni Calzone Filling

Makes 8-10 calzones (depending on how much you put in them)

1 lb hamburger, browned
50 slices pepperoni
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t chili powder
3/4 t oregano
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
18 oz spaghetti sauce

Prepare as stated above and enjoy! :)

7 comments: has its drawbacks

I was talking with my buddy the other day.
I said, "Deer season starts Sept 16. I'm getting excited for it!"
" But wait, what's that, Jake? That would be archery season." He said
"That's right!" I said
"So that would mean that you are going to bow hunt deer?" He asked
"That's right!"
"So you are going to hunt deer with a bow and arrow?"
"That's right!"

That's right, I will be bow hunting deer this fall and winter. Hunting with a bow isn't an entirely new thing for me, since I went spring turkey hunting with a bow earlier this year. So yes, I am new to the bow hunting experience. When I first purchased my bow,  I only intended to turkey hunt with it. But I soon found out that shooting a bow is quite fun. Naturally, my hunting desire turned to deer.

As I envision how my first few hunts will go this fall, I see myself like Tom Miranda on Territories Wild, making epic shots on big trophy deer or like Steven Rinella, the MeatEater, harvesting game and cooking a part of them out in the wild. However, I know that historically, bow hunting has a low success rate. Chances are I will have few good shot opportunities and even more missed shots.

I guess the standard way to deer hunt in Kansas is to put up a tree stand and wait for a whitetail deer to come in. I don't want to climb a tree to just fall out, so that's not in my plan. I plan to spot and stalk or still hunt Mule deer. With that being said, I wouldn't pass up a good shot on a whitetail.

So, I know I'll have to take one for the team and I'll end up with more hours and days hunting because of this bow hunting thing. Actually if I really tried to, I could up my hunting time by weeks or even months. Its a terrible thing, spending more time hunting. Thanks a lot Archery Season.

Bow hunting... it has its drawbacks.


Barn quilt blocks

About a year ago, I first learned about barn quilts.  I hadn't heard of them until the Ag Heritage Park put two up on their barn.  My grandparents founded Ag Heritage Park in 1999.  My grandpa had a vision to honor where American agriculture has come from and show the future generation what the past was like.

My grandparents inside Ag Heritage Park 
View of Ag Heritage Park from the parking lot

My aunt, Connie Larson helped get the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail started.  They have been putting on workshops in the Manhattan area to get others interested in making quilt blocks.  If you are interested in attending a workshop or would like to keep up to date on the latest quilt block news visit Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail's facebook page.

Last month my grandma asked if I would help with the barn quilt block workshop being held at the Ag Heritage Park.  I said I would help not knowing what I was getting myself into.  I started a block that day and now I am addicted!

I chose to do a pattern that used four colors.  I wanted to incorporate my favorite colors, purple, pink, orange, and green.  I drew out the pattern on the 2' x 2' board and then used Frogtape to tape all the lines around the first color.  I decided to paint the biggest portion of the board first.

Quilt block after first paint color with tape still on the board

The paint has to dry in between applications.  Some colors, like red and orange, can take up to six coats.  When the paint is dry and thick enough, the tape can be peeled off and a new color can be taped.  I took some pictures in between the first coat and being finished and they disappeared from my phone.  You will have to use your imagination to see how it looked right before it was completed.

This is my quilt block after I finished it....the first time

After looking at the block that I painted for awhile, I wasn't completely satisfied.  My mom helped me redesign in so I wouldn't have to completely repaint.  We decided to extend the purple lines to meet and add green and purple triangles.  I think the after is much better!  Let me know what you think!  I plan to do a step by step post in the future and I will make sure the pictures are saved on the computer!

The after picture
I decided I would make my mom a quilt block for Christmas.  I made it last weekend and I think it turned out really nice.  She added some final touches to it since she is more artistic than me.  It turned out great.  The block I made is on the left and Mom's first quilt block is on the right.

Quilt block made by me on the left and
Mom's first one on the right

My Grandma Zimmerman has made two blocks so far and is working on her third.  My aunt has made too many to count.  Her skill is much better than mine!

Grandma Zimmerman even made a couple.
Here is her "Farmer's Daughter" block.
If you would like to see our quilt blocks and many other ones, come to the Ag Heritage Park (103 S. Main  Alta Vista, KS) on September 28, 2013.  There will be a quilt block show from 9 am - 4 pm in Alta Vista.

Like Ag Heritage Park and Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail on Facebook for more information!


A bathroom fit for a queen

I remember seeing our house for the first time.  It seemed perfect for us.  There were definitely changes that needed to be made and the bathrooms were on the top of the list.

We needed to turn two back-to-back bathrooms into one bathroom.  This was our first experience with home design and decor.  I was nervous about picking out the best bathroom components.  We split the decisions up between us and hoped that we would end up with a nice result.

We were very surprised by the result.  We actually put together a nice bathroom.  I wish we would have taken a better before picture, but we didn't imagine the result would make us so happy.  Both bathrooms were 4.5 feet by 9 feet.  One of the bathrooms had a beautiful blue bathtub and toilet and were replaced with nice, new, WHITE ones.

Bathroom number 1 before complete with a blue bathtub and toilet

Bathroom number 2 before with a shower and blue sink

I remember coming to visit Jake and seeing what the bathroom looked like when it was gutted.  There was a lot of space.  The wheels started turning and we began to plan.

We chose a grayish porcelain tile that would go with both the brown cabinets and purple decorations that I wanted.  I was very happy with how it looked when we laid it out on the floor.  We decided on a diagonal laying pattern.  I was shocked to see how much pattern affects the look of the floor.

The floor after it was finished

When we went to pick out cabinets, there was one design that stuck out to me.  We chose to get kitchen cabinets in the design I wanted from the beginning.  The kitchen style allowed us to have taller cabinets and design the layout we wanted.  The result was exactly what we had envisioned.

I fell in love with the detail on these cabinets!

We finished up the design process with choosing the counter top, bathtub, and wall color.  The wall color is the only place that mistakes were made.  I wanted a smoky purple colored wall and picked out the wrong color.  We had to repaint the walls, but it looks so much better. It turned out perfect!

Decorating was the last item on the list.  I couldn't find curtains that I liked so my mom offered to sew them for me.  She did a great job!  I registered for the purple and gray floral pictures and they look great!  I just have figure out on which wall they will hang.

Here is the final result!  I think it turned out better than I dreamed of and expected!  Tell us what you think!

The after result

Stay tuned for the next post about the house.... My purple palace


The most magical day

April 6, 2013 was the best day of my life.  I can't believe it has been five months already.  I wanted to share some of my favorite moments and pictures.  I narrowed it down to my top 20.

I started out the day with hair and makeup done by my cousin, Mary.  Instead of eating breakfast that morning, I decided to bring crackers and other snacks to eat.  It is hard to see in the picture, but I wore a shirt that my mom made.  It said Future Mrs. Wyrill.  It was perfect!

Mary fixing my hair while I stuff my face with Cheez-its

I knew Mary would do a good job and it exceeded my expectations!

The "after" shot

 My parents made this day and my dream possible.  They were there for us with love and support and my mom was the best wedding planner I could have had.

My parents, Kirby and Cindy, with me before the wedding
Photo by Donnert Photography

 If there is one thing you should know about Redbeard, it is that he HATES pictures.  If there is a camera out, he is frowning.  The smile in this picture shows that he was excited to marry me (even if he won't admit it.)

This is one of only a few documented smiles from Jake.  I guess he was happy to see me.
Photo by Donnert Photography

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a very emotional person.  That has changed slightly over the last two years.  I love this picture, because Jake is making his "keep it together, Jessie" face.  As you can see, I got it back together pretty quick.

Jake is giving me the, "don't you dare cry on a day like this" face.
Photo by Donnert Photography

 We were blessed to have such an awesome wedding party.  These people have played a big part in our lives.

The wedding party
Photo by Donnert Photography

It may seem weird to some, but we have three pastors marry us.  We wouldn't have had it any other way.  Each pastor played a big role in our lives and relationship.

Pastor Fries, Pastor Grimm, and Pastor Schultz (left to right)
Photo by Donnert Photography

 My maid of honor, Jeri and I have been friends for over eight years.  In that time we have exchanged seven hugs.  We hug for big events and obviously this was one of them.  I am so glad I have it documented in a picture.

Hug #7
Photo by Donnert Photography

I was most nervous about starting to cry or falling when I walked down the aisle.  I would say dad and I passed the test.  We even smiled as we walked!

We made it down the aisle with smiles and no tears!
Photo by Donnert Photography

St. Paul's Lutheran Church means so much to us.  It is the church where we were baptized, confirmed, and now married.  My parents were married in the church, also.  It is hard to move away from a church that I have been a part of for 22 years.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church - Alta Vista
Photo by Donnert Photography

 This picture pretty much sums up our feelings at this point.  I was completely overjoyed and Redbeard was just glad he made it through the ceremony.

It is official!
Photo by Donnert Photography

Sarah Jane came all the way from Texas and caught the bouquet.  Her face is priceless!

Sarah Jane was really excited for the bouquet!
Photo by Donnert Photography

My mom gave me the handkerchief she used for her wedding.  We just happened to pose for a picture after the ceremony.  The handkerchief matched my mom's wedding colors from 24 years earlier.  It was her great aunt's and my mom asked to use it for her wedding.

Mom and I after the ceremony with her handkerchief from April 8, 1989.
Photo by Donnert Photography

 After the ceremony, I changed into my reception dress.  The town of Alta Vista, where we got married, added a huge limestone sign recently.  Luckily our photographer thought to take pictures by the sign.  These photos ended up being my favorite.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.
Photo by Donnert Photography

 Of course we had to have fun with our bright sunglasses!

The bridesmaids and I
Photo by Donnert Photography

 And we had to represent our school, Kansas State!  Go Cats!

K - S - U!!!!!
Photo by Donnert Photography

 I couldn't have imagined how nice our flowers would look.  I had a vision and they brought it to life!

I think I had the prettiest flowers in the history of weddings... -
Photo by Donnert Photography

These girls brighten my day.  I am so glad they were able to share the day with us.  It is hard to believe that five of us are married now and one more marriage on the way!

My sorority sisters surprised me with this picture. Thank you ladies! 
My parents went to the photo booth to take a nice picture.

Aren't they cute?  They celebrated their 24th anniversary two days later.

This is my favorite picture of the night.  My mom drew the pattern for the light on the floor.  She put together all of the elements I wanted into one design.  Yes, she incorporated wheat, a cross, a heart, and wedding rings into one neat design.

The first dance - "Hey Pretty Girl" Kip Moore
Photo by Donnert Photography


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