Cake Pops

My daughter and I have tried (and loved) cake pops from Starbucks.  Yummy.  But at $1.99 a crack, there has to be an easier way to make them at home.  Right??   So when we were dubbed with the task of dessert for Christmas we decided to make Cake Pops.  Not the kind where you use the fancy little machine and essentially just make mini cake spheres.  Like authentic, Starbucks copy cat, Cake Pops.   It starts out with your basic boxed cake mix, prepare and bake as directed.   After the cake is totally cooled, then the fun starts.

Waiting for cake to cool takes forever!

Crumble the cake, we used a food processor for convenience.

Whirrrrrrrr!

Perfect

You’ll need something to bind this all together.  2 Tablespoons of pre-made frosting is perfect. Yeah, just 2.  It doesn’t sound like it will be enough but magically it all comes together. A good ole wooden spoon works great for the job.

Roll the cake/frosting mixture out into balls and freeze for at least 30 min.  Or longer if you get busy and distracted like me.

Time to add the lollipop sticks.  As a disclaimer, use lollipop sticks.  Don’t try to substitute skewers because that’s what you happen to have on hand, it doesn’t work well.  I like to use the Ghirardelli melting wafers.  This stuff is awesome.  It melts so smoothly and stays in the melted state for quite awhile.   Start out by melting just a few wafers.  Dip the end of the lollipop stick into the chocolate and then insert it into the cake ball. Repeat until done and back into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Lollipop sticks add to the fun.

Back into the freezer

We decided to be tricking and used white chocolate on the chocolate cake pops and dark chocolate on the white cake pops.

Coat each cake pop thoroughly.

Once all the pops are covered in chocolate back into the freezer for a bit.  Store them in an air tight container in the fridge.  I have no clue how long these will last in the fridge since ours only made it a couple days before they were all gone.

Waiting for one last chill in the freezer.

Everything is better with sprinkles.

These are fun and delicious.  Sprinkles are about as fancy as we get.  If you try them and go all out decorating them, please share a picture!

Tis the Season

Tis the season to listen to Christmas music.  We all have our favorites, traditional, remakes, non-traditional, instrumental, new songs and more.  I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my most favorite songs.

In the traditional category the winner is O Holy Night.  I specifically enjoy Carrie Underwood singing this.  She keeps it for the most part traditionally sung, but adds just enough to add her touch, but not too much.

 

One of my favorite “new” Christmas songs is Let it Be Christmas by Alan Jackson.  Its not a over the top full of flair song.  Maybe its more of a reflective song, a way to reflect on the season.

 

Finally I think Pentatonix did a stellar job on the remake of Little Drummer Boy.  Granted all their songs are awesome but if I had to pick my favorite Christmas song by them it would be this.

 

Thanks for letting me share a few of my favorite Christmas songs with you.  I’d love to hear what your favorite song is and which version of it.  Merry Christmas!

Stinky

After the cows and calves are out to pasture its time for one of the more stinky jobs on the farm. Time to clean the lots. We use a combo of our loader tractor, skidsteer & good ol’ fashion pitchforks. The latter being used the least, if at all. 😉 Check out the video below of Harvey piling the manure in a pile in another one of our lots.  Its always intriguing to see how much the piles shrink down over the course of the summer. I’ll try to post progressive pictures as this pile as it (ideally) gets smaller and smaller. This fall we will rent a large vertical manure spreader and disperse the “natural” fertilizer across our fields. ​

2015 YMCA Bull Run

On Saturday I completed my 7th race of the year at the Aberdeen, SD YMCA Bull Run. My first 10K for the year. If you remember I also ran it last year, you can read about it here.  This year my 13 yr old son, Wyatt decided that he wanted to run also.  He did the 5K in 28:43.  I think he did awesome for his first 5K.  Also considering he did zero training for it, but I guess you can pull that off when you’re 13.

Overall I was rather happy with my run.  I was really hoping for a personal best but alas it didn’t happen.  I’m starting to think PRs happen when you least expect them.  But I’ll touch upon that some other time. Back to the run…..since this is my 2nd year at the Bull Run I was familiar with the course enough to know approximately how far each turn was.  Granted there was a garage sale along the way that almost distracted me, but I wasn’t carrying any money with me.  😉  Shortly after mile 5 it down poured, but just for a brief time.  My hair didn’t even get totally wet.  I finished the race in 1:09:57.  Two minutes and 49 seconds faster than last year. Not bad.

This was my first race with my new toy, a Garmin Forerunner 220.  I ❤ it. I broke a golden rule of running and tried something new on race day.  But I got it on Wednesday afternoon and I had gone for my run that day in the morning, I just HAD to use it.  I was just giddy to give it a whirl.  The Garmin has tons of capabilities.  It is currently set up to alert me when my pace is too slow.  It also will alert me of my run/walk intervals.  Once synced with my account online, done either through my cellphone or connecting to my computer it will show me my route and automatically keep track of the mileage on my shoes. AND……the next time I have a big race, there is an app that you can download to follow my progress.  By using the Garmin it has reduced the number of apps I run on my phone to just music, either through Pandora or Amazon Prime music.

Do you have any gadgets that you use when exercising or a favorite app?

It happened…..

I knew eventually it would, it really wasn’t a surprise. Before I even started I knew the out come. But that’s OK, I’m not going to let it bring me down. Yep, I came in last place during my most recent 5K.  For anyone that runs road races you always fear that you will be the last person to finish. As runners, why do we fear last?  Realistically someone has to come in last.

Paige with her encouraging sign

On Saturday, June 20th I took in the Frederick, SD FinnFest 5K. If I’m correct there were 7 or 8 of us there for the race.  From what I’ve heard last years attendance at the FinnFest 5K was about 50ish. But that’s how small town races work you never know who’s going to show up.  All of us were runners, no walkers entered into this one.  For the first 3/4 of a mile I actually stayed pretty close with lady in front of me.  But she slowly inched away.  At about mile 1 1/2 I could see ahead of me someone on the side of the road.  My wonderful sister in-law picked up my daughter Paige where they met me and cheered me on.  It was AWESOME!  Paige had made a sign the night before that said “Go Mom!” I was just expecting her to be at the finish line but this was better yet.  They drove ahead 2 more times to cheer me on.  And they were there when I finished too.  Yet, even though I came in last, I placed in my age group.  Which I thought was hilarious and scored me a neat freezable water bottle.  😉

 

Later that night I came across this on my Pinterest……lastweird huh?  But its true.  It does matter what place I get, the likely hood that I will ever get top 3 is very slim.  Why do I run?  I run for me.  Sounds incredibly selfish doesn’t it? I mean, I’m a Mom.  Everything I do is supposed to be for my kids right? I’ve determined that I need to take care of myself first. Only then can I properly care for the rest of my family.  I feel better, not just physically, but mentally too.  I seem to have more patience, be calmer, happier overall. I can go on and on about why every mother should be selfish and think of herself first for once, but that’s another post for another day.  In the mean, I’ve got a 10K to train for.  If you’re up the for challenge July 25th in Aberdeen, SD is the YMCA Bull Run. They have a 1/2 marathon, 10K & 5K.  Plus a munchkin run. Fun times!

Spring has Sprung

Other then the calendar saying so what are some of the signs of spring? Geese returning to the North, baby calves running around the pen and temperatures varying by 60 degrees in one weeks time.  You know a normal spring. 

The Hubby was spreading fertilizer on our fields the other day. I was fortunate enough to get to ride along with him to the fertilizer plant for a refill. Got to take advantage of those mini dates when you can! 😉

They have a really nice set up at the fertilizer plant. Hubby had called ahead so the guys knew what we needed. We just pulled into the building and within moments the correct mixture dumps into the spreader. 

Programing in the correct ratio.

In less then 10 minutes we were back on the road headed home!

Fill ‘er up!

  

Be looking for more updates on planting as the season progresses! 

A New Trail

Veteran's Memorial Bridge

Veteran’s Memorial Bridge

Its not every day that I get to go for a run in the middle of the week at a new location.  I’m in Fargo for a work meeting staying downtown. Which means I was able to go for a run along side the river.  It is so neat to see other runners, bikers & walkers. Generally the only people I meet on a run are driving down the gravel road.

The run its self wasn’t pretty, I’ve been having problems with my outer shins tightening up.  Fellow runners, any suggestions? Shortly after mile 1 they cramped. Today I was able to walk it out. And just take it easy for a distance. About mile 2 I was able to pick up the pace. Fortunately I was able to see pace improvement at the end. Yay! Overall it was fun to get out with some different scenery. 

Running in March

At the start, waiting to head down THE HILL.

1st race of the season is done!  Saturday my sister & I ran the Runnin O’ The Green in Jamestown, ND.  The monies raised from this go to benefit Camp Grassick. Runnin O’ The Green is technically a bar run with stops at 11 bars within Jamestown.  99% of the people that participate are in it just for the drinking, but knowing that it was still a 5K we decided to actually run it therefor being the 1% that didn’t drink. 😉  We weren’t the only ones actually running it too. I would safely say there was about 10 people that ran it.

The start of the race takes you down this huge hill. Steep is a good word. Then it’s off to the bars. You have a little punch ticket to have punched or signed off at each bar. We were under the impression that a drink was required at every bar. Hit the first one and the ladies signing our ticket told us na that’s ok.  The closer we got to main street the closer together the bars were.  For the most part the route was clearly marked, until the 2nd half.  We had to stop and ask for directions!  As we came out of the Vet’s, we asked a kind vet where the next location was.  Pretty sure he was just guessing but he did send us in the right direction!  We came dashing into our last stop with an “unofficial” finish of 4 & 5th for the women. Unofficial since there was no one there from the race committee to verify our times.  But we did see the others that had been ahead of us the whole time standing around outside, thus 4 & 5th for us. As we enjoyed our celebratory drinks 3 more ladies came running in.  They were equally thrilled to be in the “top 10” finishers.

We headed home thanks to our driver (my son).  We could have safely drove our selves home but with as many cops that were around town we decided to stick with our driver. Would I do this particular run again?  Maybe. It was ok, still fun.  I realize its mainly a bar run, but they could still cash in on some people that are just interested in just the race side of it by having someone at the end to record times and such.  But overall it was a fun afternoon with my sister, running together and enjoying the beautiful March weather.  Not more you can ask for.

Day 29-Where have you traveled?

Well this is going to be short. I’m not a well versed traveler. Period. Of course there are the given, South Dakota & Minnesota.  When I was a junior in high school I was able to go to Washington DC through Close-Up.  The motel we stayed at was in Virginia, I guess if you really wanted to you could count that state then too. I was able to go to Colorado with ND Farmers Union the summer before my senior year.  I’m not going to count the states we drove through.  My sister graduated from basic training (for the guards) in Fort Leonardwood, MO.  We made a side trip to St. Louis to the Budweiser Brewery for a tour.  The tour is really neat and worth your time. My kids went back to school that fall to report they saw how beer was made.

There ya are. Yep, that wraps up where I’ve traveled too.  Of course I hope to expand that list in years to come but its ok.  I have no problem being patient.  Good things come to those who wait. 😉