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Our Life is Here

I’m joining my fabulous photography friends for another  “Our Life is Here” blog circle.

It seems like our family has been running in different directions lately and we haven’t had a chance to do much as a family.  I turned 40 last week though and they did help me celebrate with a few friends and their families, we had a great time.

Life has changed a lot recently.  I started working from home!  I work with city governments to create websites that will help engage their communities.  I love it!  I start my mornings just as early as I always did, but now I don’t have the 20 minute drive to work.  Instead I spend what was my drive time having breakfast and reviewing my Power Sheets.  Have you ever tried Brummel & Brown Strawberry Spread? I can’t believe I’ve missed out on this for so long, it’s yummy.  Anyway, I love my Lara Casey Power Sheets.  They’re so pretty to use while I work through my organized goal planning.
Our Life is Here

Thanks to the Omaha Performing Arts for giving us tickets, Jim and I recently had the opportunity to watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.  I’ve wanted to see the show for as long as I can remember and had the opportunity to interview the Rockettes a while back.  They were honestly more amazing than I had ever anticipated.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

This was the first time we had been to the Orpheum.  It was all decked out in Christmas decor and made for a beautiful venue.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

To start the show off Santa showed up in a Union Pacific train and introduced the Rockettes before the show got started.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The costumes were gorgeous, the choreography was great. My favorite part was the living nativity.  I’ve seen children portray the night that Jesus was born during Christmas programs at church for most of my life, but this was different, it was absolutely beautiful and really brought it to life.  Make sure you see them while they are in Omaha through November 30th, tickets can be bought here.

We hosted Thanksgiving for Jim’s family today.  I was really hoping to get some photos to share, but the day always seems to fly by so fast.  As we get into holiday season the kids are already making lists of what goodies they want to bake.  I broke out a fresh notebook to keep track of our holiday planning.  Just like today it’s so handy to pull out my notebook to keep track of how much turkey and mashed potatoes need to be made.

Hope your family has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Please follow through our circle and visit my talented friend Jana at Photography 2204!

Fall 2014

This fall has really been flying past.  Lizzie wanted to decorate pumpkins this year though so we made it happen.  14-10-26 Lizzie Pumpkin-2

We worked on it out in the garage to keep the mess out of the house.  She wanted to use one of those carving kits that provide you with some really neat patterns.

 

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After cutting out the bottom of the pumpkin it was time to get started.

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Did I mention she painted her nails all swirly to be more festive?  She loves to try out Pinterest ideas on her nails:)

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She was saving the seeds to bake, but things got to busy and we ran out of time.

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It was kind of neat to watch the owl take shape.  While we had used carving kits in the past this was the first time I had seen them recommend getting the pattern wet and covering it up on the pumpkin with Cling Wrap to hold it in place and prevent it from drying out.

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She was trying to convince me to make spaghetti from the innards…. I don’t think it would taste the same as spaghetti squash.

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Hope everyone’s having a safe fall. It sounds like we might be getting snow soon:)

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ALS

This past year I learned a lot about ALS and how heartbreaking it is.  ALS 15

In just a little over 6 months time we watched our friend, Aaron Brodersen, go from being diagnosed to losing his life to ALS.

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Aaron and his wife Tani celebrated their 20th Wedding Anniversary this year.

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Aaron’s mother lost her long battle with breast cancer shortly after Aaron was diagnosed with having ALS at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota this spring.

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Aaron was only 43 years old.

ALS 05Aaron was a farmer, his family’s farm is neighbors to my husband’s family farm, they grew up together.

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Aaron was a good father, his son is Colten’s best friend.

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Aaron was a UPS man for 18 years.  Aaron’s first ALS symptoms were when he started losing strength in his arms which made it hard to work.

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Aaron was a retired firefighter who volunteered his time for over 10 years.

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Aaron was a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

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After being diagnosed Aaron and Tani received lots of support from the Iowa ALS support group.

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It was amazing to see all of the support for ALS this year with the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Many people don’t know someone with ALS and were looking for faces to put with this terrible disease.  Between our community and other small local communities totaling less than 10,000 in population combined we’ve seen 4 people lose their life to ALS recently.  It makes it hard to believe that “two incidence per 100,000 people” is accurate.

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ALS is one of the most heartbreaking diseases because there is no chance to battle it and fight for your life.  You have no idea how much time you have left with your loved ones.  Aaron’s journey with ALS was briefer than most, the average life expectancy for a person with ALS is 2 to 5 years.  Aaron’s ALS started in his arms making it hard to feed himself, then it moved to his legs, and eventually his neck and lungs.  They were so thankful for the support they received from the Iowa ALS Association and any support you can give to the Iowa ALS Association is greatly appreciated.

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In the lyrics of Brad Paisley “When I Get Where I’m Going”, I hope Aaron has spread his wings to fly while standing in the light of our maker’s amazing grace.

To learn more about ALS and what has been done in the 75 years since Lou Gehrig was diagnosed, visit the ALS Association.

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Hawaiian Meatballs

Positively Angel: Hawaiian Meatballs

One of our favorite appetizers is Hawaiian Meatballs.  Through the years we’ve nibbled on meatballs made many different ways but this kind is the best.  Each time I bring it to a party I get asked about it because the sauce is very unique.

Positively Angel: Hawaiian Meatballs

These are perfect party snacks because they hold well in heat and as the night goes on the sauce gets thicker and yummier:)As a matter of fact, when I make a plate of these I always like to scoop on a little extra sauce to dip the meatball in as I’m eating it.

Ingredients

    1. 3 pounds frozen Italian meatballs
    2. 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
    4. 5 tablespoons cornstarch
    5. 2/3 cup water
    6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    7. 1 cup packed brown sugar
    8. 1 (15 ounce) can pineapple chunks
    9. 1 (15 ounce) can pineapple crushed

Directions

      1. Heat meatballs in pan, drain excess fat.
      2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, ginger, salt, water, and soy sauce.  Mix until smooth, then add brown sugar and both cans of pineapple.  Pour into skillet with meatballs.
      3. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils, about 5 minutes.  Heat through.  Best if simmered or heated in crock pot for 30-60 minutes.
September 25, 2014 - 7:46 am

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek - I have a bag of the turkey meatballs in my freezer! I’ll have to try this!

September 26, 2014 - 10:15 am

ajepsen@live.com - Katie that’s a great idea! I’m sure it will taste great :)

Pan Fried Chicken & Gravy

Positively Angel: Pan Fried Chicken

Well, it’s been a while, but I promised to post our recipe for pan fried chicken. This is always a favorite meal in our house when we get around to making it, which is usually on a Saturday when we have more time.  I found this recipe in my favorite Better Home & Gardens Cookbook, I love all of their plaid cookbooks. The recipe calls for a blend of seasonings but we really like the poultry blend in the photo above. Once you get your flour mix ready it needs to be patted onto the meat.

When we first started making this recipe I would do the chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy by myself but it seemed that no matter what I did everything would be in need of attention at exactly the same moment so Jim started helping me out and now he does the chicken by himself most of the time.

You fry the chicken on each side long enough to give it that brown crispy coating, then you turn it down and cover it while the chicken finishes cooking.

While the chicken is frying your mouth will water just waiting until you can pull a piece off.  After the chicken has cooked you will need to save some of the drippings for gravy.  There is no store bought gravy that can compare to homemade chicken gravy made from pan drippings. Mmmm!

 

Positively Angel: Pan Fried ChickenPan Fried Chicken is always served best with mashed potatoes and gravy and it’s so filling.  The leftover chicken tastes great cold the next day too!

Pan Fried Chicken

Adapted from BHG

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 1/3 cup Flour
  • 3 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cut up frying chicken
  • Cooking oil

For the Creamy Gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons reserved drippings in skillet
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 1-3/4 cups milk, separated

Instructions

For the Chicken:

  1. Combine flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken pieces, a few at a time, coat with mixture.
  2. Add oil to a large heavy skillet to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  Heat over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to sizzle a drop of water.  Reduce heat.  Add chicken to the skillet.
  3. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes, turning to brown evenly.
  4. Reduce heat; cover tightly.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Uncover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks).
  5. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings for gravy.
  6. Transfer chicken to serving platter; keep warm.

For the Creamy Gravy:

  1. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet at medium heat.  In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, black pepper, and poultry seasoning, stir in 3/4 cup of milk.  Pour milk mixture into skillet, stir in an additional 1 cup of milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1minute more.  (If desired thin with additional milk.) Makes 1-2/3 cups gravy, sometimes I make a double batch of the gravy.
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