Knolltop Farm Wife

Welcome to my blog! I'm a wife, mother of four and a self-employed freelance writer. I live on a dairy farm with my family and I enjoy sharing our life with family, friends and anyone else who wants to visit the farm. There's no telling what the I will write about from day to day, but hopefully you'll be enriched when you stop by! Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dairy Christmas Traditions

It's not Christmas without......

Fill in the blank. Traditions are part of what builds a family and Christmas is full of them.  When you open your gifts, the dinner you create, right down to which ornament goes on what side of the tree. It's all a part of holiday traditions. 

On the Knolltop, I have managed to carry on a tradition that began in my childhood, on my home farm.  Each Christmas was filled with holiday baking.  My mom and sister would begin baking and end with pretty packages filled with home made goodies to give away to friends and relatives.
Among those baked goods were Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls originating from the local church cookbook published in the late 70's.

My sister made those one year and we haven't missed a year since. 

While the recipe originated to us in 1976, the tattered recipe card is from the late 80s when wrote a copy for myself when I moved out on my own. For 39 years Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls have been at every family Christmas celebration.  We don't make them any other time of the year, just Christmas.

The ingredients are simple but specific and important. There can be no substitutes for the butter, only the real thing will do, especially for this dairy farm wife!  And they turn out best if they are made with Jiff brand peanut butter.  The dipping chocolate is a personal preference.  For looks and efficiency, almond bark is best. But for taste, I would only use Hersheys Milk Chocolate Chips. They don't set up quite as well, but I would rather enjoy the taste than see how pretty they are on a platter. You can also mix the two kinds of chocolate, this is what I do. It's a nice compromise.

When I was a teenager, we had a confectionary in our little town called Spagnolos Confectionary.  Mr. Spag, as we called him, had big blocks of Hersheys Chocolate in a glass case. He would hammer the chocolate into big chunks and measure out 10 pounds at a time for me.  I usually ended up going back in and getting more. This was before chocolate chips came in different flavors, back then it was semi-sweet or nothing.

While some people may recognize these delectable treats as buckeyes, they are a little different.  First off you cover the entire peanut butter ball.  Secondly, these contain rice crispy cereal. So they are just a little different than the traditional Buckeye.  Plus any self respecting Michigan State fan would beat a buckeye, not eat a buckeye.

While these are great treats to eat, they are also a great family activity. Bring the kids in and have them help you roll up the balls and dip until their hearts content!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1 Cup Butter
4 Cups Crunchy Peanut Butter
6 Cups of Rice Krispies
6 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
6 Bags of Milk Chocolate Chips (Approx)

Mix softened butter, peanut butter, rice krispies and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Roll into small balls, a little smaller than a golf ball. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave and dip each ball in the chocolate and place on parchment paper, foil or wax paper.  Refrigerate or leave out to set up.

Here are a few other dairy good recipes:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Quiet Tuesday Afternoon

Good Afternoon from the Knolltop! I'm just sitting here in my office, in a very quiet house writing a few things and getting ready for my youngest son's varsity basketball home opener against Jonesville.  It should be a good game but this will be give us an idea of how the team will do this year. It's Jake's senior year, so I'm hoping they do well.  On the other end of the spectrum, my son Luke has been coaching 7th grade boys basketball and they are presently undefeated.  That's the first time the 7th grade has done this since Luke was in the 7th grade.  So kudos to these boys for their hard work, determination and desire to want to win.

I'm kind of excited this week. I've been invited to be a part of a dairy bloggers community blog.  We were asked to blog about a Christmas recipe with dairy products in it. I just finished that blog and can't wait to see what the other bloggers decided to write about!  This will give everyone a nice collection of tested recipes for all of us to try this Christmas! So make sure you check back in on Thursday to see everyone's blog and to see what recipe I decided to use!

It's time to get movin from this office to the barn for chores and then the gym for fun!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Harvest Season Rolls On

It’s an October morning and harvest continues to roll on throughout the country.  I’ve seen reports of happy farmers finishing beans and moving on to corn. I’ve seen reports of neighboring farmers harvesting 450 acres of corn for their cancer-stricken neighboring farmer and last night lying in bed, I received a text from my son who was still in the field harvesting beans well after dark.

It’s that time of year when passion and tenacity are at their highest and work ethics are driving men and women to stay in the field until the job is done.  Combines hardly get a chance to cool down, grain trucks comb the roads and full fields begin to take on their flat, brown wardrobe of winter.

It’s time to fill up the bins, to convert feed to food and feed the world.  Farmers will trade in their sit down dinners at noon with family for solo sandwiches on the tailgate. They will swap time spent in the bleachers for time in the tractor cab. They will stay up late, rise up early, tread through the day surviving the lulls on cokes and coffee. Repairs will plague them, weather will haunt them and grain prices will lure them.

When the job is done, satisfaction will reign and families will reunite around the table with talk about plans for next spring. Equipment will be inspected, purchases will be pondered and spousal dust-ups are inevitable.

It’s harvest season. Be safe. Hug one another. Bless each other with a kind word. Never leave without an “I love You” lingering in the air, because you just never know…..

Friday, August 28, 2015

Going to War...

Enjoying a morning of freedom from having to go anywhere or pack to go anywhere, I sat down to hammer out some more work for a project that was taking longer than I ever thought it would.

Email notifications started going off on my phone, this isn't unusual but when I looked to see who they were from, my heart began to race and that old familiar friend began to creep into my mind.


Fear likes me. He likes to control me because I've been easy to control. When he enters,  I bow down and serve him whatever he wants.  Condemning thoughts or destructive self talk, whatever fear wants, I hand control over to him.  He can have my self confidence, my thought life, my intelligence, my responses, my future, he gets it all, I give it all up to him.

But today was different. Today I went to war with fear. Instead of trying to brush past fear and pretend he wasn't the elephant in the room, I stood up to him. Today, I took my Bible, flipped it open and began to read Hebrews 4:16 out loud.  And I prayed. 

My next go-to passage is in Daniel and like an old friend who knew just what to say, my Bible flopped open to Daniel 9:17 where I began to read Daniel's prayer out loud. This is a powerful passage in Daniel where he prays for God to hear him, answer him and to act! Strength and hope jumped off the pages when I read this passage. Daniel says, "We do not make requests of you because we are righteous but because of your great mercy." And that is exactly how I feel. I needed God's mercy and strength.  I needed him to take the fear and replace it with His perfect love.  I needed a courage transplant and that's exactly what He gave me as tears began to fall onto the pages of His word.

How did Daniel know I would need these words today?  How did God know to tell Daniel to write this passage so that thousands of years later, on August, 28th, 2015, Melissa would need to read it and transform her thinking? How?

I don't know how God orchestrates all of the answers to our prayers, but I do know that He is my rock, my strong tower and when I run to Him, he opens his arms wide to take me in, squeeze me tight, love me wholly, only to release me, to spread his goodness and faithfulness here on this page. 

Don't let fear control you, grab God's word and go to war. You will be the winner.  Every. Single. Time.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fast cars and gritty teeth

When you were younger did you ever say, “I will never…….”   Fill in the blank—drive a minivan, let my children have a motorcycle, allow my kids to play video games, sit and watch dirt track racing….

Last weekend I found myself doing something I thought I would never do.  Racing of any kind was not on the radar in my family. My parents never took us to any kind of car race, motorcycle racing, nothing of the sort.  The closest we ever got to racing was the Standardbred racing at the county fair.

So when my husband said, “Hey, you wanna go to Butler?” I said, “uhm….sure.”

Growing up in the south, dirt track racing was his the thing to do on Saturday night.  He watched it on TV, he went to the track, he loved every minute of it.  I have never known this side of my spouse, we never had the time or the energy to take four kids to the dirt track on a Saturday night so this part of his personality has been muted….until now.

Sitting in the dirt covered stands we watched as all kinds, colors and shapes of cars sped around the oval. As they roared by and skidded around the corner I found myself enjoying  this strange spectacle. I picked out my favorites and cheered them on as they went by.  When all the cars would get in formation before their race and the announcer suggested everyone stand and wave to the drivers as they went by, yes…I was standing and waving with the rest of the crowd.

We sat there until midnight rubbing the dust out of our eyes, clearing the grit from our mouths and listening to the announcer say things like, “the track needs more gription.”  Is that even a word?

A new world has been revealed to me now; the world of fast cars, dirty hair and the necessity of earplugs. 

I wonder which  ‘I will never…’ statement will happen next?



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Family Photo Day...gone wrong.

It's a cold and windy day on the Knolltop. The cows have had their lunch and now it's time to head into town for a few supplies.

I miss writing on this blog. It's a freeing place to be for me because no one pays me for it and I can write whatever I want and if you don't like it, you can click exit.  But I hope you don't, it's not my desire to offend anyone.

It's also been a great timeline for our family. A place where I have documented so much of our lives for a few short years and I believe that is such a valuable piece of our history. While none of my children will read this today my hope is that when they are 50 or 60 they will come back and look it over and savor the memories from their childhood on the Knolltop.

One thing...among many things....that I did not do when our children were young was the annual family photo.  I've seen countless other families who have had breathtaking photos of their families and yet we have nothing but church directory photos.  So while JW was home for Christmas, I harassed my family into posing for a photo.  Here's how it all turned out.


As you can see there wasn't a really good photo in the bunch.  I would try to direct and then they would overdo everything I said.  Someone thought Bobby was drunk., No,  he wasn't drunk, that's just what he looked like that day! I'll try again the next time JW is home from the Air Force.  But until then, this is what we have to add to our family scrapbook.