We started the week off with the 4th of July picnic at Hatton Hall.  It was misting/raining so they grilled under the pavilion and we had a great turn out.  The 4-H group talked about patriotic songs and we sang several.  Great job on the program and the food.  Everyone seemed to have a great time visiting.

This week the Callaway Youth Expo was the big event in the area.  Our neighbor Shea Smith was chosen queen and I got to talk to her for a few minutes today.  She said it is nice being queen except her brothers don’t comply with her requests!  Except Beau, he tells her every morning, “Good morning Beautiful!”.  What a sweet thing for a little brother to say and what a way to start your day.  Of course, she is beautiful but for a brother to acknowledge it…

Let’s start with Tuesday, I had been asked to judge sewing and told them yes I would be happy to.  As the time approached, it started making me nervous that I would make a wrong decision.  As I talked to other judges, they had the same thoughts.  My partners were Margaret Fansler and Roberta Brown, both I have known for a while so that made it easier.  One of the first people we judged had been sewing for 7 years, she made a lined jacket, top and slacks, hand sewing the arm linings in.  I sat there in amazement, thinking back when my mom tried to teach me to sew.  So our kids ranged from 8-18 years old and they all did a wonderful job.  They were all well spoken and could explain the process very well, knowing all the sewing terms and materials they used.  So to those that I judged, congratulations and to their project leaders, keep up the great work, you are doing amazing things with these young people.

The horse show was cancelled because of all the rain we received.  Sad that happened because we have some really good kids that do a wonderful job with their horses.

They had the small animal show, the pedal tractor pull, swine show, cattle shows, bucket calf show.  As I am scrolling through facebook, I see lots of pictures of kids I know winning events!

Then I go to inspect the ham breakfast.  I see lots of candidates supporting our youth in the county.  Plus they are eating some really good food (if the comments to me were correct!).  What a great way to get out and visit lots of people and see what the needs of the county may be.

To all the youth in the county!  You are all winners just from entering and going through the process, learning to speak and show!  Hope everyone learned something!


Sorry for the MIA

So many times I started to post something and things kept getting in the way.  I am going to try to commit myself to at least one blog post a week.  Call me out if I don’t please!!

So many thing have been happening around here I don’t even know where to begin.

OK, so work has been crazy busy and I have taken on a few more things.  I started teaching a food dehydration class about 2 times a year and it has expanded and I have been to Centralia schools a couple of times to teach them about that.  They have always been a fun group of kids and love what I bring for them to test.  Dried watermelon is their favorite (and by far the hardest to dry!).  Thanks to everyone that has attended and taught me something new.  I have also taught a few classes on various things at the Fulton Library.  Sherri McBride contacts me several times a year and we plan something (usually food wise).  Last year’s “One Read” was a book called “Station Eleven” where most of the population is destroyed and how people survive (Have to read the book to learn more).  So we had a discussion about foods grown in the wild.  We had a great discussion about this and I hope many learned that Nature provides us with many blessings.

This started the search for elderberries, you see my oldest started her own jam/jelly business and wants mostly stuff grown locally.  Strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, blackberries, blueberries and lovely elderberries.  They are tiny but grow wild in so many places here in Mid Missouri.  We started picking them and they are TINY!!  But they are a great source of immune building nutrients.  We are closely watching them this summer so we know when we can start picking them again.

Last month, I did another presentation at the library and we talked about food to boost your brain power and I will be taking this program to the kids later this month.  We talked about how smoothies are easy and quick to make and make a great start to the day.  We used bananas, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  Everyone had their favorite and no one was the clear winner so that shows how versatile smoothies are.  We used local honey as a sweetener and  I told them they could add spinach, kale or any “green” to make it more healthy.  They were excited to go home and try it.  Can’t wait to teach the kids how to make their own breakfast.

I am still quilting and late last fall, Jimmy bought me a quilting machine.  No not a long arm quilter but it does a wonderful job and I love it.  Just need more time to work on it and learn about it.  Joined a quilter’s guild recently and we have a wonderful time.  It is really just a group of local ladies that are interested in quilting and we get together once a month, usually make a block with a theme and we draw for the winner.  One of the best times we have is that monthly meeting.  If you are interested in joining, let me know and I will have them add you to the Facebook group.

So Tara started her Jam/Jelly business called Fruit of the Spirit (check her out on Facebook), and it has been a journey.  She is always checking my freezer for my summer harvest to see what she can get and has ventured into my garden to “steal” some of my jalapenos.  She has involved the whole family.  I can’t tell you how many bushels of apples they picked and Greg peeled, how many gallons of blackberries the kids picked (and ate!) or how much fun they had planting the 40 rhubarb plants and 50 strawberry plants I picked up for them at an auction.  Sometimes we make runs for supplies if everyone is busy and she has cleaned me out on pint and half pint jars from my stash.  Luckily my mother gave me a bunch of quart jars and I found some at a garage sale (and a friend has been watching auctions for me).

Greg decided to be baptized and chose July 3rd as the date.  We were a little concerned because the weather forecast was for heavy rain for the weekend and he was going to be baptized at their lake.  We got 5 inches of rain but because we had such a dry spring/summer it wasn’t too bad.  The rain stopped and we all stood by the lake while Scott baptized him and it was a wonderful ceremony.  Ryker was really afraid for his daddy, thinking something like a shark was going to bite him.

Shawna decided she had enough of living in Columbia so she and her fiancee (yes you read that right) are building a house on our property just south of where Jimmy’s grandparent’s house used to sit.  They are doing most of the work themselves and have been wiring it this week.  They are getting married in September  and the time is flying by.  We have most everything done except the food which will have to be done that week.  Her first shower is in a couple of weeks and it will really seem real then.

Thanks for staying with me through all this rambling, next time I won’t wait so long.  Blessings to everyone reading this.

Post Thanksgiving musings

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving, that day when so many people shop and refer to this holiday as Black Friday.  Me, I am not a shopper but did get out and go to my favorite shop in the world today.  Material Girl Quilt Shop in Centralia MO is a wonderful experience so I was excited to go there today.  I found some beautiful material that I just finished creating a pattern for that I saw a picture of and decided I could make a variation of.  Oh, my goodness, I am not sure I am going to be able to give this one away.  Sorry Shawna!  It is going to be made out of batik material and I can’t wait to finish it and post pictures pre-quilted and post quilted because Jan Forsee is amazing always with her quilting ideas for me.

And then because my husband doesn’t like leftovers and we cooked over 35 pounds of meat for his family’s thanksgiving dinner, I decided today to make some food and freeze it and take it to our local sheltered workshop that serves vulnerable adults in our community and gives them employment opportunities.  So we have turkey and noodles as well as turkey and stuffing frozen tonight for them.  I have almost a weeks worth of food for somewhere between 40-60 employees that eat at Kingdom Projects Inc.  We are trying to make our workshop more profitable and if I can help feed them for at least one meal, I am happy.  If you are interested in helping out, contact me and I can help you make contact with them.

This year instead of focusing on what I was thankful for, I decided to focus on the giving part.  I even talked to the children in our church about the importance of giving, even if it was just a hug to their parents.  So I have been trying to do more giving this month and it really makes me happy to see little things become so important to others.    I think I will continue to do this for the rest of the year and it may become my New Year’s Resolution.  I like it to be random and very few people to know about it.  Some times, it may just be as simple as a smile at someone who looks like they really need it, slipping a little present to someone or maybe making a meal for Kingdom Projects when I find myself with extra food.

So from our family, we are giving all of you a big hug today and may your life be a little brighter.

It has been a long time since I was on here and I have missed you all.

Let’s see what has happened.  DH had hip replacement in March and is doing awesome with it, now he has a knee that is bothering him.  At this rate by the time he is ready for retirement, he will be bionic!

Spring came and a huge garden, the kids and grandkids put the garden in with us this year.  Once again our tomatoes were superstars.  We quit taking 5 gallon buckets to the garden and used the wheelbarrow to take them to the produce table about every other day.  Peppers have done well, okra (which we never grew before) did awesome!  not so much for the cantaloupe, something kept eating it and I strongly suspect grashhoppers!, butter nut squash, Oh My Gosh.  I bet we have between 70 and 90 and they are still blooming!

Work is so busy and we have not slowed down since January but it is all good and something different every day.

Mr. B wrestled this winter (still don’t understand it), he played t-ball and did very well, hit several triples and doubles and made several outs.  Ms. A danced and was so cute, she has learned she loves to sing and knows all the words and motions to “Frozen”.  Mr. R is still a Papa’s boy and shadows him everywhere.  When Papa was in the hospital after surgery (that very night) R insisted that he get in bed with Papa and of course he was allowed to and laid right there next to Papa and was content!

Mowing the yard and church has been a challenge this year because we have had rain when we need it and between that, the garden and work for both of us, it has taken some pretty creative scheduling to keep everything looking good.

Most of my quilting has been put on the back burner because we have been so busy but with the weather cooling off, the garden and yard will slow down so I can get back to that.

It is time to start back to Kids For Jesus in about 10 days and I am excited to see all the littles again.  I have missed them this summer and I didn’t get to help with Vacation Bible School because of my work schedule so that makes me doubly excited to get back to work with these kids.  A heart bursting moment I guarantee you all, when you hear your grandchildren recite the Lord’s Prayer during Church service.  I guarantee it will make you cry with joy to know they are being trained up in God’s ways and Grace!  Plus they have awesome teachers at Church and a great babysitter.  Our church held VBS this year with a new preacher and according to the kids it was great.  They ended up with a camp out in the parking lot and breakfast the next morning.  Thanks so much Pastor Rebecca!  You are amazing.  She has a son that is 6 weeks younger than Mr. B and they have become great friends.

Now it is soccer season with the grandchildren, instructional of course, they are too young for anything else.  Makes me glad because another sport that Nanny and Papa know nothing about, luckily Caleb (Shawna’s boyfriend) does and plays with them!

I promise I won’t let it be so long next time and I promise I will be telling you all about Craft Day that is coming up in 3 weeks.  Oh gosh, now that really made me nervous, better get busy getting ready to have a pie baking marathon with the girls and slip some cornbread in there as well!!

Hope your spring/summer has been good.

Our grandkids always want us to make up stories to tell them. First question is fiction or non-fiction. Brock always wants a non-fiction story so I usually end up telling him a story about his mom and aunt growing up.
This is a story I haven’t told them and I believe it is a fiction story or at least I have never seen this happen.
So, as a fiction story starts, here goes…
Once upon a time, there was a husband and wife that lived together in the country. The wife loved to sew quilts in the winter time. She had been gathering quite a pile of quilt tops and material during the spring, summer and fall.
**Side note:a quilt top is just what you think it is, the top of the quilt, there has to be batting and a back quilted to the top for it to truly be a quilt. AND gathering quite a pile of material is called a stash or as the wife’s children call it “hoarding”.
One day on the weekend when the weather was bad as it seems to get sometime in Missouri winters, the wife decided to do a little stash busting (see the explanation above!!) and get those backs complete so she could send them to the quilter. See, most quilts take anywhere from 3-6 yards of material to properly cover the back and this wife likes to piece backs so they are not plain. It makes them more interesting and have more character. She explains to the hubby that she is trying to get rid of some of that material that just appeared over the summer in her sewing room. And she actually had 18 quilt tops to get ready. He said he would take care of the housework if she wanted to sew all weekend.
(This next part might or might not be the fiction part).
So the hubby, while doing house work, cleaning and doing dishes, decided he needed to wear an apron. The wife was a loving wife and didn’t take any pictures to share with the world so you just have to visualize it in your mind. Remember this guy is 6’2″ and weighs somewhere around 245 pounds! By taking care of the housework, the husband allowed the wife to stash bust almost 50 yards of material.

While most of this story is true, there are parts that are fiction but the hubby’s cousin thought it would be funny to write this story, so Kent Hanan, here is a story just for you.  Sorry there are no pictures but I am sure you can use your imagination.



To my mother! Today you are another year older. I wonder when you were a little girl growing up in town and visits to the big city was an adventure for you if you thought your life would take you on the journey you have been on.
Did you know you would raise 4 kids that are totally different but in some ways just alike? Did you know you would marry into a huge family and spend your life on a farm, learning all about that way of life that was so totally different from your childhood? Did you know those same in-laws would be more like brothers and sisters than you ever imagined possible?
I remember you telling us stories of growing up. Of course, you all may not have had much money, but you always had family around and cousins to play with and get in trouble with right? And you all still visit (sometimes only on facebook, but still visit!) to this day. Paper dolls and dollies seemed to be your toys of choice. I remember you talking about visiting Aunt Gin and Uncle Tom, what an amazing role model she was/is for you. The funniest story was of you and one of the cousins hiding in Grandpa’s dump truck and he found out just before his truck was loaded. I bet you gave him a few gray hairs that day and it has been a good story to pass along to your kids.
I know it is crazy to think about all the things you have seen change in your lifetime. Farming in the 60s is very different from now, we used to haul hay in a 3/4 ton pickup and you let us ride on the top of the load (taught us to be excellent at stacking!), going to Illinois to get peaches and yes they are still my favorite fruit, I think because my subconscious mind remembers all the fun times we had. You and Dad always worked together as a team and were an excellent example of what a marriage should be. When things got hard, you all never quit. There were lots of hard times during those years on the farm.
When Grandpa was so sick and in the hospital, you would go to see him everyday and he grew to expect those visits, you were his little girl to the very end. And then years later when Granny was diagnosed with cancer, you stepped up to the plate and took her home, put your job on hold to take care of her. She appreciated that so much and you were such a blessing to her.
Thanks for reminding me a couple of years ago that I love gardening and sharing my bounty with others. You love to spoil the grandkids and great grandkids and are the happiest when everyone is around. July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the highlights of your year because everyone tries to get home to see you all. Plus you always make a ton of food for everyone.
I know it sometimes slips other’s minds because your birthday is around Christmas but I wanted to be the first to wish you a very special day and I hope it is everything you hope for.
We love you.

Merry Christmas

If you have not received a Christmas letter from me by January 1st, I hope you can read this on here. Life has been a little crazy so yes I am very late getting my letter out. Promise to try to do better next year.
December 2013~~~Merry Christmas from Jimmy and Mylene. We hope your year has been as blessed as ours has. Jimmy is keeping busy with his job at Kingdom Telephone as well as all the other things he does, lawn care, gardening, helping out the neighbors when they call him, whatever he is doing it seems he is busy all the time. He recovered very nicely from shoulder surgery and the surgeon was amazed how well he has healed up. Mylene is busy with her job as well, teaching food classes throughout the county and has taught a couple of other “food related” classes as well, food dehydration and storage, emergency preparedness food storage and edible holiday gifts. She has really enjoyed this opportunity to help her friends become more prepared for the food markets to come. She also helped with a disaster preparedness exercise in July to help our citizens know what to do when and if there is an emergency.
We had a garden this year, only 32 tomato plants, 40 bell pepper plants, onions, lima beans, squash, jalapeños, Anaheim peppers and cantaloupe, everything grew very well and we were able to store food for the winter as well as share with others, providing some tomatoes and bell peppers for the Post Office Bar and Grill in Fulton. One of the neighbors provided us with sweet corn and Mylene’s brother gave her green beans and pears! Saying we are blessed in our community is an understatement. Everyone is always willing to help out.
We had so much snow last winter and it looks like we are going to have more this winter. Prayers that everyone stays safe when it is bad out. Then the summer was not as hot as last but it was still rather warm and dry again this summer.
Ryker James Stemme made his entrance on January 16th, 2013 at 1:07 am, which is Mylene’s Aunt’s birthday as well, one day after Mylene’s parents 53rd anniversary. He is such a sweet baby, walking at 10.5 months because he couldn’t let his sister and brother get away from him. They love him so much and it is fun to watch them interact with him. He is Papa’s boy and wants to be everywhere Papa is and will throw a fit if he can’t go.
Brock started kindergarten this year and has Mrs. Warbritton and loves school. I asked him last weekend if he still likes school and he said “What do you think, of course I do!”. He amazes me every time I see him how much he has learned, spelling, math, reading (although he says he can’t read really good yet but he is working on it). And he has lost two teeth, with two more loose. He is over 4 feet tall and weighs 70 lbs. He has just started wrestling practice with a meet soon. Good luck buddy, you are going to have to teach Nanny and Papa about wrestling because we know nothing about it.
Adrianna is the leader of the younger kids at Agnes’ house. She is going to school with Ms. Agnes according to her and loves working on it. She is in dance in Centralia and has a good time, learning to twirl a baton as well. Can’t wait to see how she does. She always wants to help in the kitchen, baking goodies as she says. She is so much like her mommy and Aunt Sha-Sha, sometimes it is like stepping back in time.
Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season and I hope each of you get to hear the wondrous story of Jesus’ birth sometime during Christmas. It is amazing and so special each time we hear it and want each of you to be blessed as well.

I have lots of pictures on Facebook to see how everyone is doing. We recently took a picture of the whole family at my parents house outside in the snow but the weather was nice.

Merry Christmas and happy new year from the Dunns.

Jimmy and Mylene


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