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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Marathon Cooking

I love looking at blogs and getting advise from sites like examiner and pinterest. On one of these sessions I found a blog about preparing food ahead. It was different than most of the advise from blogs like it because the writer also included a shopping list as well as the receipes and order of cooking.
After a two hour trip to the grocery store (Thank God I had the strength that day.) I had a mountain of groceries to do something with! I almost cried. The notebook of instructions for this marathon cooking spree was on the table, so I proceeded to #1.
Get a piece of paper and note the servings you are making. How many twice baked potato servings are you bagging, the number of meat packs you are dividing out. You will use this information to write your menu on your calendar. Yes, you have to write down what you are going to have for dinner on the calendar. If you rely on yourself to do this day by day, you will forget what you have already used and what is available to use. If you write the meals down after they are cooked, you can plan your menus for a month or two and not have to think of "whats for dinner". If something comes up or you go out to eat, just draw a mark through that dinner and put it after the last date that has a menu. WARNING: MARK ALL OF THE FOOD YOU PUT IN THE FREEZER! The food plays trick or treat with you if you don't. I want to know what I am thawing out for dinner.
I put the perishable groceries in the frig and commenced. Filling my large sink with warm water, I poured 18 pounds of fairly large (not the baking size) potatoes in for a quick wash. I set aside 3 lbs for other dishes and put the rest in a 350 degree oven timed at 1 hr 30 min. (I didn't wrap the potatoes because I wanted crispy skin for the twice baked potatoes these would become. (I found it interesting that cooking 1 baked potato takes as long as baking 15 pounds...hmmmm)
After getting the potatoes going, I opened a small bag of pinto beans and poured them in a crock pot with half a piece of salt pork. I filled the slow cooker with water and plugged it in on high. These beans would be done after all the other things were cooked. One of my hispanic friends advised me not to salt the beans until they are almost finished. (I can't remember the reason, but she was very serious about it so I don't salt them until the end.)
I also put some northern white beans (a small bag) in a slow cooker with the other half of salt pork and covered with water and set it on high also. This is for the white chicken chili I will be making later.
Ground beef was next. I purchased 8 pounds. The hubs likes 90% or higher for our health, but I am a penny pincher and bought both 93% and 86% and mixed them together. I told him that it averaged out to 90%. I don't know for sure, but it is close enough.
I put the ground meat aside and chopped 8 onions and 6 bell peppers. 3 onions and 2 bell peppers were set aside for other recipes. I got a big frying pan out and put half the onions and bell peppers in and stir fried them. After that, I added the ground beef, a small can of jalepeno peppers, a tsp of chili powder, salt, pepper, minced garlic, (and other spices you like in Tex/Mex food). I stirred it over medium heat until all the meat was browned. I divided the mixture into quart sized bags that had the amount I need for the hubs and I. If you have a big family, you will need to adjust the amount you put in each bag. Tag them: Use for Tex/Mex dishes. Leave these bags on your counter until they cool off. It is terribly hard on your freezer and frig to put hot stuff in them.
Using the same pan, I put the rest of the onions and bell peppers in the skillet and added the beef, salt, and pepper. This will be a plainer mix that will be used for spaghetti, lasagna, and other dishes that require a meat mix. Divide,bag, and tag for your use. Set aside to cool. After things cool, put them in the freezer.
At this point, I take the remaining ground beef and form into patties, placing them on a cookie sheet. I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 min. After that time, the patties are semi frozen and can be placed in quart sized bags. The hubs and I use 3 patties at each meal. He has 2 hamburgers and I have 1....Divide according to your family.
If you have set aside any ground beef for a special recipe, put those recipes together at this point. (millionaire good...look it up on pinterest)
After cleaning up the ground beef mess, I get out the steaks and roast that I purchased after the heart attack I had looking at the high prices. (I kid you not!) I divide the steaks according to what the hubs and I eat. The portions are a little smaller than we want to eat, but I am sort of looking out for our health here. I bag them up, mark them, and put them in the freezer.
Then I grab that lovely roast. If I am not planning for a dinner with friends, I divide it. I swear my hubs loves roast so much, he would eat the whole thing. (He isn't overweight...I wonder why. I am and I am the only one who thinks about these things in our house.) I grab some carrots (washed, peeled, and quartered), onions (chopped), a can of cream of mushroom soup, and an envelope of dried onion soup mix. I put all of it in a big cooking bag, tag, and freeze.
Chicken is next. I usually purchase 3. 2 are whole chickens and one is cut up. (Unless the hubs is home to cut it up for me, I get it already cut into identifiable pieces..I blame it on the fibro, but I am just not good at it.) Anyway, put the cut up chicken into a bowl of milk or buttermilk. While the cut up chicken is soaking in milk, I get out two big pots and put a whole chicken in each, cover with water, use 1tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper (hubs and I like pepper), several carrots, half a stalk of celery in each pot, a chopped onion in each pot. Set them on the stove and get them to boil. Boil for an hour and half. Turn them over half way through. You want them to be done to the bone.
While the whole chickens are boiling get a large skillet and put 1/2 inch vegetable oil in it. Wait to turn on the heat. Grag a gallon size zip lock bag and put a cup of flour, salt, and pepper, and any other spices you like to fry your chicken with. One friend said that if you use self-rising flour to coat the chicken, it makes a lighter, crispy crust. I have done this and she is right. Anyway, put about 3 pieces of chicken in the bag and shake. After the chicken pieces are coated, place them in the skillet. Start the burner to medium. Take another 3 pieces and coat them and place them in the skillet. Do this until the skillet is full. Fry chicken at medium heat for 30 min and then turn each piece over and fry for another 20 min. Do not turn a lot unless you don't like there to be a crust.
Put the fried chicken pieces on a wire rack that has paper towels under it. After the chicken is cooled, place half in a bag tagged 'fried chicken'. Then put them in the freezer. One chicken makes 2 meals for the hubs and I.
After the chicken is done, check on the whole chickens that are boiling. They should be done to the bone. Take a knife and cut into the thigh and look at the bone. There shouldn't be any blood. If it is done, then you need to get some tupperware or glad type containers ready. Lift the chicken out of the pot and place on a platter or dish to cool. Use a sieve and pour the water from the pot, which is now a great chicken broth, into small plastic containers. You can use this anytime a recipe calls for chicken stock or broth. Throw the vegetables that are in the seive with the roast in the package after it cools off.
I usually buy 2 cans of salmon and make salmon cakes as an option for dinner. There are some really fancy recipes for this dish online, but I alway go back to my mama's. This is her recipe, more or less:
1 can salmon with juice, 1 egg, crushed saltines, salt and pepper. Mash together and make patties. I have added some chopped onion to this.Form into patties and place on a cookie sheet to freeze individually and then tag and bag.
The boiled chickens should be cool enough to debone. After I take the meat off the bone, I put the chicken pieces in the bowl of my kitchen aide mixer. I use the paddle attachment and it shreds the meat perfectly. I divide the chicken into dinner size servings. I reserve 2 cups for the white chicken chili. The rest, I tag and bag to be used for chicken enchiladad, chicken and noodles, and bbq chicken.
I get the white beans out and proceed to make the white chicken chili. Great recipes for this are on the internet and pinterest. After assembline all the ingredients, I cook them together for 30 min and then tag and place in dinner size containers.
While the kitchen is a mess, I stir together waffles from a mix. I get out my waffle iron and put the setting on the lightest one. These will be toaster waffles. The hubs says these are sooooo much better than the standard frozen waffles. By this time, I am tired...really tired, so I only make one batch. I set them aside to cool and tag and bag. '
I get out the 2 lb bag of bacon and fry it up. Some of it, I have cut into 1 inch pieces for dishes like spinach salad. I take the full sized bacon out and cool on a rack. I divide them into portions for the two of us and place them in bags. I take the bacon pieces and divide them into those silly tiny containers that come with the handy food storage kits. I pour the grease into these containers with the bits. Dishes like spinach salad , and old fashioned green beans require the grease. I freeze all of these.
After everything is in the freezer, I sit with my calendar and list of meals. Last time I spent $300 for groceries. The hubs almost had a heart attack....I had already stressed out about this. BUT AFTER I wrote down a meal on each day on the calendar, we had two and a half or more meals already taken care of. That is really good for us. I am thinking it is a really big savings because every trip to the grocery store costs more than we ever expect because of the other items we purchase while we are there.

I can't tell you how great it feels to know that I am taking care of my family even while I am sick. Today was one of those days. I couldn't stand and make fried chicken for my husband, but I could reach into the freezer and get the chicken and oven fries that I already prepared when I felt better and put it on the counter for him to heat in the microwave for dinner. That means a lot to me.

Minced garlic - in jar
8 onions
6 bell peppers
several jaleneno peppers
fresh baby spinach (for the spinach salad)
16 pounds of large (not baking) potatoes (You can use baking potatoes, but I don't)
1 small to medium bag of carrots - (for roast and chicken stock)
1 bunch celery (for roast and chicken stock as well as to munch on raw while I cook)
salsa (We use Pace picante sauce)
BBQ sauce (I use mesquite in the cheapest bottle. Use what you like best.)
2 or 3 envelopes of taco seasoning
1 small bag pinto beans
1 small bag white beans
2 or 3 cream cheese - 8 oz(for the twice baked potatoes & other recipes)
shredded cheddar cheese and mexican mix cheese - lg bag
1/2 - 1 pound salt pork (for beans)
sour cream
butter - a pound or two
steaks- however many you can afford and the kind you like to cook. You will just be separating these into the amount you will use for one meal. I purchase those that are grouped together and on sale.
roast- 1 or 2
8 pounds hamburger (2 lbs for patties, 2 lbs for meatloaves, 4 lbs for meat mixture for tacos, spaghetti sause, nachos, etc)
1 cut up chicken (or more depending on how much your family uses for a meal. One works for 2 meals for the hubs and I.)
2 whole chickens (to boil for chicken broth, and shredded chicken packets)
2 pounds bacon (to make bacon bits and also to separate out for meals)
2 cornbread mixes (I use Jiffy, but some of you may use cornmeal and assemble it all yourselves. Jiffy is super easy. It is up to you.)
1 box quick oats (for meatloaves)
1 box saltine crackers (for salmon cakes)
brown sugar
pancake/waffle mix
powdered sugar
granulated sugar
all purpose flour
self-rising flour (in case you want to try coating your chicken in it to fry)
2 cake mixes (white or yellow)
1 angel food cake mix (I am going to try that recipe on pinterest where you use an angel food cake mix and dump in a can of crushed pineapples with juice and bake. It sounds good. Look it up to be sure I got it right.)
vinegar (for the fresh spinach salad)
canned goods:
1 crushed pineapple
1 sliced pineapple (for pineapple upside down cake you will make with one of the cake mixes and divide up into meal sized portions)
1 or 2 diced tomatoes 8 oz cans
1 or 2 diced jalepeno peppers 8 oz cans (for tex/mex meat mix)
2 cans salmon (I use the pink because it is cheaper for salmon cakes)
2 large cans of cream of mushroom soup (1 for each roast and 1 for the chicken chili)
white corn (for white chicken chili)
frozen fruit for the fruit dump cake (1 white or yellow cake mix sprinkled over a package of frozen fruit with a can of sprite poured over the top and baked at 350 degrees for 30 min - divide into servings for several meals)
frozen broccoli - for vegetable chowder or vegetable soup (recipe is on pinterest)
1 can sprite
gallon sized zip lock bags
quart sized zip lock bags
cling wrap
freezer containers
The last time I made these purchases, it was over $300. I was able to make meals for 2 for almost 3 months, give or take a day. I didn't include recipes because we all have our favorite ways of making dishes and also, I have to admit, I am a little lazy about doing it.
I have found a lot of freedom in doing cooking this way. Of course, the day I am cooking I am somewhat like Lucy in the chocolate factory, but the payoff is that I know what is for supper for weeks. I don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen for weeks...I am able to provide nourishing and tastey meals for us even when I am not feeling well. I am sure that you can adjust the list of food prepared to acomodate your food needs and concerns. This is just a blueprint. I tweaked the list that was on pinterest for the things we like to eat. You can do the same.
Happy eating and have fun on cooking day!

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Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)


JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446509396

ISBN-13: 978-0446509398



Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.

I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?

I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.

In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?

I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.

Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.

Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.

I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.

Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!

Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.

Do One Thing at a Time

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.


Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].

—Hebrews 12:2

When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.

The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.

Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.

Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.

The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

Nan's Journey

Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)


Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.

Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.

“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”

Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602478325
ISBN-13: 978-1602478329


Chapter One

It was late. The moon had risen and the night symphony was in full force. Crickets chirped at their rivals, the frogs, and dominated the night chorus. Only one sound in the forest was foreign—a whimper from under the ferns. At the base of the largest pine in the woods was a small form crying, moaning, and whimpering. Black hair, matted and dirty, hung in long ropes down the front of the tiny girl. She had been in this spot for hours. At least that is what it felt like to her. Stretching, she cried out in pain. The blood-covered welts burst open to bleed again. Her back was wet with blood, and her dress was torn and useless.

Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.

She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”

“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”

“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.

“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”

“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”

“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”

Nan’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”

Nan held her breath.

“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.

The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.

The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”

She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.

“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”

The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.

“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”

For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.

“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”

Cruise Blunder

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO
Great book signing in Colorado!

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO
Booksigning - Elaine

Elk's Resolve Proof is Here