Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fix it Friday–Sun flares

I haven’t done I Heart Faces’ Fix It Friday in a while and this lovely shot caught my eye.  Even without work, you can see the potential.


Opening this in Photoshop, I tried doing an all-over level adjustment, but I wasn’t happy with what I was getting.  I went in with my dodge tool and lightened midtones in his face and some of the foreground as well as a few streaks of sunlight on his shoulder.  Then I used the burn tool to darken some of the shadows on his clothing and his long lashes!  The sponge tool let me saturate just the tall weeds and the blue areas in the sky.  I also used the clone tool to get rid of most of the lens flare on the bottom right.  A little contrast made all the difference at the end.  It’s more of a tweak than an all-out change, but I like it!!



Want to play along? Visit .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the shore of Lake Sakakawea

Saturday before the 4th of July, we spent most of the day at the 4 Bears Powwow in New Town, ND.  While I was enamored with all the dress and music, my kiddos were getting pretty tired of sitting around while I endlessly snapped pictures.  I decided to grab some drinks and take them down to the camping area where they could play in the water and be free for a while.  Arnold (our new friend and walker who was along for M2M) told me the lake was really high and usually there is a swimming area, but its currently under water.  That didn’t stop the kids from getting their feet (and everything else) wet.






Friday, July 8, 2011

Homemade Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

First, let me start with a history on how the Shepherd’s pie came to be the masterpiece we’ve created at our home.  When my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, there were times when his platoon was in an area where the good old “mess hall” wasn’t really an option.  Putting together what they had, my husband made his men a version of Shepherd’s pie that they still talk about 5 years later.  The meat they got was hamburger cooked over an open fire, salt from a local vendor, instant potatoes, and whatever vegetables they could get ahold of.  Since coming home, we have made it many times (with a greater selection of ingredients!) and we’ve come up with this recipe, which we love to serve when we have guests.


4 cups of seasonal vegetables, diced (we used onions, carrots, green beans and corn)
1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves aged garlic (ours were unintentionally aged!)
3 strips of thick cut bacon (we prefer to trim the fat off)
1 1/2 cup chopped chicken (leftovers are perfect for this!)
3 cups mashed potatoes (instant or real, prepared with Knorr Concentrated Homestyle Chicken Stock)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white wine
2 packets Knorr Concentrated Homestyle Chicken Stock
1 tsp smoked (or regular) paprika
1/2 tsp white ground pepper
1 TBS flour
1 egg
One small jar pimentos
Extra virgin olive oil

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes (and SO worth it!)

Shepherd’s Pie Filling

Dice the vegetables, slice the bacon, and crumble the chicken into separate bowls.


In a skillet, heat 2 TBS olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté bacon until crispy.  Next add ‘hard’ vegetables (carrots in this recipe, however, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, celery if those are the seasonal vegetables you prefer), and continue sautéing until the carrots are heated through, but still have most their raw crispness (three to five minutes).  Next add to the mixture the ‘soft’ vegetables (in this recipe, we used green beans, corn, and onion).  Heat through and remove from heat.  Place into a mixing bowl, drain and add the jar of pimentos, and set aside.


Shepherd’s Pie Sauce

Deglaze the frying pan with 1 1/2 cups of white wine (add it to the pan while the pan is still hot).  Bring wine to a simmer.  White cooking sherry will do nicely as a nonalcoholic substitute, if you prefer.  Add one 4.66 oz. Knorr Concentrated Homestyle Chicken Stock.  Whisk until evenly distributed.  Next, whisk 3/4 cup sour cream until evenly mixed.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Add 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper, and 1 TBS flour.  Mix well, and allow to reduce the sauce until thickened.  Pour over the Shepherd’s Pie Filling and fold both together.


Mashed Potatoes

If you are making instant potatoes, use Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock instead of plain water.  If you are making traditional mashed potatoes, boil them in Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock.’


Thoroughly beat one egg.  To temper the egg mixture (raise the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them), take about 1 tsp of still-hot mashed potatoes and whisk into the beaten egg.  When mixed, add 2 tsp more of still-hot mashed potatoes, and mix until the beaten egg becomes thicker and more velvety.  Pour the tempered egg over the rest of the mashed potatoes and fold them together.  Having the tempered egg in the potatoes, or even brushed over the mashed potatoes will allow them to crisp to a golden brown.

The Big Finish

Place the filling in your cooking vessel (ours was about 8’ x 10’ x 4’).  Spread the filling to an even depth and cover with the mashed potato mixture.  Smooth the potatoes and score with a fork. 


Bake at 350 degrees for thirty to forty five minutes (until the potatoes turn golden brown).  Let cool before serving, serves 4-6


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Four Bears Powwow

We were welcomed with open arms to the Goodiron family and I can’t even describe how good that felt.  They were so wonderful to us while we were in Mandaree.  “Our home is your home.” They allowed us to be part of the family.  One of the events going on that same weekend was the Four Bears Powwow.  I have never been to a powwow in my life, so seeing it was not only a first for my kids, but for my husband and me, too.  It was amazing.  I loved every minute of being there.  If JC would have been more cooperative, I think I would have stayed until dark.  I also think if I had stayed, I would have run out of space on my camera’s memory card.  The experiences our family had during this trip were very special, I’m so glad we were able to make it happen.







Tuesday, July 5, 2011

March to Mandaree–Home

Sunday was the final day of the March to Mandaree.  We walked together for the last miles down to Nathan Goodiron’s grave site for a service and breakfast.  Words were spoken from the heart and taps played.  It was a beautiful service on a beautiful morning.  It was also a bittersweet ending to this 415 mile journey.  The roads were long but the sacrifice was worth the remembrance of these fallen heroes.  Chris Kleinwachter.  Travis Van Zoest.  Curtis Mehrer.  Nathan Goodiron.  Remember those who have given everything. 













Learn more about March to Mandaree at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

March to Mandaree day 15

Today we marched to the home of Nathan Goodiron.  Today was our homecoming.  Along with family and friends we walked the 4 miles to Paul & Harriet’s and were welcomed with amazing food and stories.  Sunday at 8:30 am will mark the official end of this journey as we together march the very last  miles to Nathan’s grave where a service will be held.  Everyone is invited to attend, even if you are unable to walk along.




To learn more about March to Mandaree and how you can support our efforts, please visit .

Friday, July 1, 2011

Almost there

Not many more steps now until we arrive in Mandaree. Until we have access to internet once again I can share just a few things.

Over the weekend we were hosted by several families and would like to thank the Simmers, Mehrers, and Baumann families for all of their hospitality. The National Guard in Bismarck also hosted a picnic for us which was wonderful. We appreciate everything our hosts have done for us.

Day 12 we arrived in Hazen and were met by Patriot Guard from Bismarck. We were hosted 2 nights by the Johnson family (thank you!)

Day 13 we were escorted out by a Hazen fire truck and friends. That evening we were welcomed into Beulah with a picnic by the extended Goodiron family. We were also treated to rooms at the hotel (kids+pool=happy!) by the generosity of the O'Berry family. The Beulah Beacon had a great front page story about the march.

Day 14 puts us in Kildeer and ready to march into Mandaree tomorrow. We will be joined in the last 4 miles by any man, woman, and child that wants to participate. We have been in such good hands and we can't wait to be there!

To learn more and how you can donate to help us March to Mandaree, please visit
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2