Getting the Christmas Tree

Eli and I ventured out into the wilderness today and got our Christmas Tree. (well, maybe not so rough into the wilderness) but we found a 7′ tree and now, the house smells amazing. But, let me back up. There is a place up North here called, “Christmas Tree Land.” Wonderful acres of trees. We took a hay ride into the fields and were dropped off somewhere out in the middle of the tree farm. We got lost out there for a bit of time, walking through and smelling the amazing Noble Fir trees; feeling their soft needles and just enjoying the experience of finding a tree. Here is a picture of the farm:


The snow-covered mountains are in the background. The snow line dips nearly to the valley floor but no snow is accumulating down here. Yet. Our tree ended up being in an obscure part of the farm, surrounded by smaller trees. It stood out magestically, and when I saw it, I knew it was the one. 


We will wait for Daddy and the older boys to come home to decorate it. Love the smell of Noble Fir Trees!


Making Homemade Tea

I’m going to make tea. Yes, even buy the tea bags, mix up the blend, fill the bags and then steep a nice cup of tea. Mint is a great starter tea. Mint is good for digestion and overall, a refreshing tea. 

Another recipe I will try is called Tranquil tea.  Here is the recipe:

  • 4 parts chamomile
  • 2 parts lemon grass
  • 2 parts rose petals
  1. Add all the herbs to a glass jar and shake until they are completely mixed.
  2. Use one teaspoon of tisane for a single serving (about 8 oz). Add your desired amount to a tea strainer or teapot. Cover with boiling water a let steep for at least 5 minutes or up to 10.
  3. Add a touch of raw honey or a tiny pinch of stevia for a hint of sweetness to bring out the flavors. (taken from

I love the combination of rose petals and chamomile. Lemon grass adds a little twist. The chamomile does the calming. Lately, pretty-much every night before bed, my kids ask me to make them “sleepytime” tea – I think we get it from Twinnings or some such company. Thinking on it more I figured I could make something up myself. There are so many possibilities – combining mint and chamomile; mint and lemon grass; or, a straight cup of mint tea.


Apple Strudel Recipe

I am attempting to make Apple Strudel today. Looking outside, it seems like a good day because the rain is coming down.  Here is what I hope it looks like:

I will be using a puff pastry dough for this recipe. Additionally, I will add some golden raisins. Those sound good to me to add a bit of chewiness and color.  Here is the recipe I will be using:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place apples in a large bowl. Stir in brown sugar and golden raisins; set aside. Place puff pastry on baking sheet. Roll lightly with a rolling pin. Arrange apple filling down the middle of the pastry lengthwise. Fold the pastry lengthwise around the mixture. Seal edges of pastry by using a bit of water on your fingers, and rubbing the pastry edges together. Whisk egg and milk together, and brush onto top of pastry.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Here is the German word for Apple Strudel: Apfelstrudel

Apple Strudel is a traditional Viennese strudel, a popular pastry in Austria and in many countries in Europe that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire (1867–1918).

“Strudel” a German word, derives from the Middle High German word for “whirlpool” or “eddy“.[1]

The apple strudel variant is called “jabolčni zavitek” in Slovenian, Almásrétes in Hungarian[2] and Apfelstrudel in German

Genießen Sie Ihre Mahlzeit – means “Bon Appetit” in German (all info from Wiki)

Ahhhhh, Summer…..

Fondly, I recall our hours on the lake. They were amazing. Beautiful. Glorious. Clear skies, calm water – it was wonderful to push off from the dock, crawl out of the 5MPH zone and then, throttle up and speed off.  The smells of pine trees – seriously – coming form the shoreline. The warm breeze blowing over us as we jetted across the lake. Right now, as I stand in our kitchen, on a cold November morning, I think on those moments, on the lake. The exploring we did on the various islands dotting Lake Pend O’reille. Pulling up to the sandy beach, getting out, and walking around an island filled with archaeoligical finds – etchings on a rock wall from thousands of years ago. Pictures of deer and letters that must have formed words in the person’s language, so long ago. Fossilized ferns and small animals. What an exploration we were on as we scoured the island; we being the only ones. Alas, I now look out the window and snow is a whisper away. I can feel it. But, how nice that I found this picture and can re-live those wonderful summer moments.


Walking Along Up At Schweitzer

Daddy, Eli and Caleb are walking, just outside the lodge, up at Schweitzer. Hayden was babysitting yesterday. A nice gig for him as he made quite the income! So, there we were, up on the mountain. Panning around you can see the snow and the mountain, looming so tall above us. We hiked up the mountain a bit, crossed a bridge over a powerful stream, pouring down the mountain. It was so fun. The air was clear, clean, smelled of pine trees and the sun was just setting behind the mountain.

Here are more pictures from being up there:

Wow, that’s Sandpoint down there and Lake Pend O’reilleimg_2858



So, there you have it. Sadly, we are missing Hayden. He was on new adventures, being a teenager and making some money 🙂 Hope you enjoyed our visit up the mountain.

Schweitzer…Yes, We Have Snow!

Schweitzer has snow! We don’t yet, down in the valley. While out, I took these pictures. The temperature isn’t too cold – 50’s today. It rained for about three weeks up here and during that time, it snowed up at Schweitzer. It is about 10 degrees colder up there. So, any day now, skiing season will open!!!




Goat Escape

The goats are really determined AND strong. When they purpose to get out of their HUGE goat-fenced area, they usually make it. It happens as I am closing the door – one of the goats puts their horns in between the frame and door and then, push through and power out. They are strong. Once one comes out, it is a goat stampede. Yesterday, Snickers was the first to get out. I managed to keep him at bay…but then, when going back to coral him in, I opened the door and Mr. Tumnus pushed his way out and Nibbles and then, Buttercup. Only Knighthawk was left inside. Well, as Hayden said, “Mom, we can’t leave him in there – he wants to join the party.” So, I let Knighthawk out also.  Here is video of the goats already out and then Hayden and Sophie bringing them back in:

The goats got out and started eating leaves from a maple-like tree. They loved them! They made their way to the old goat house but then came back, being lured by grain. 

Also during that morning was the sunshine! We have not seen the sun for almost three weeks. Just standing in it felt good. 

Honey Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

What better bread fits a rainy, cold, fall day?  Yes, you know it – Pumpkin Bread.  But, not just any ordinary pumpkin bread. Since I love baking with honey and whole wheat flour, I found this recipe and share it with you. Credit goes to for providing this great recipe.  I love this recipe for not only the varied ingredients but also, because I can put everything into one bowl and mix. Right now, as I’m typing, I can smell the warm, inviting smells of the cinnamon and allspice, blended with the pumpkin and ginger. The entire house smells like warm spices and pumpkin. This recipe also calls for coconut oil and I really enjoy baking with this. Coconut oil blends so well with other ingredients and the finished product (when coconut oil is used) produces a more moist bread.  Plus, the added, slight flavor of coconut infuses the bread with a unique flavor.  Here is the finished bread, first:


this slice, on top, has butter on it. I just popped the bread out of the pan and it is still warm…

that darker brown color you see on top of the bread is cinnamon. Before baking, I sprinkled cinnamon on top, swirled with a toothpick and when it baked, it created a deeper, darker color to the bread. I can just taste a bit of the cinnamon with each bite. Yum!


Here is the recipe:

  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • Optional- ⅓ to ½ cup rinsed millet
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*
  • ¼ cup hot water*
  • Optional- turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling on top
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and beat well.
  3. Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla, then the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Stir in flour, just until combined. If you’re adding millet, stir that in as well.
  4. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then mix briefly into batter until it is evenly distributed. Spread batter into the greased loaf pan.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with the tip of a table knife for a pretty marbled effect. Sprinkle a big pinch of turbinado sugar on top for a light, sweet crunch.
  6. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. Be sure to check that the bread is done baking by inserting a toothpick in the top. It should come out clean. If the top of the bread jiggles when you pull it out of the oven, it’s NOT done! Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
 Here’s her website if you want to check out other great recipes: