Children’s Project: Create a Magical Craft Box

Snow days off school can be full of fun things for children to do.  Snowball 87464879fights, sledding, building a big snowman or fort – among the many mugs of steaming hot cocoa.

But what about those weekend days full of grey, cold rain and mud?  What do you do with a house full of bored children?

Enjoy the creativity of good old-fashioned arts and crafts projects of years gone past.  They are simple to plan for and do not break the budget. Continue reading

Compact Composting for the Rural-Urban Farmgirl

Urban living is no reason to give up your dirt-under-the-fingernails farmgirl fantasies. And believe it or not, February is a fabulous time to start thinking about your future garden, no matter how petite the plot will be. After all, spring is just around the corner.

The first step to growing your own goodies is great soil, and there is no better soil than that which you create yourself. If making soil sounds like it’s way out of your league, think again. You don’t need farm experience, a tractor or even a backyard. In one tiny corner of your kitchen, you can convert food scraps into compost, the most critical component of fertile soil, and it will happily nurture an amazingly productive windowsill or outdoor garden. I can hardly explain how satisfying it is to lay the groundwork of your own garden — you have to try it for yourself! Continue reading

Ways to Work Smarter in 2010

2010 is off and running.  We all have the same amount of time in each day87627289, so how is it that some people get so much more accomplished than others?  Here are some basic time management principles that have been proven to help us cross more things off of the “to do list”.

Don’t Drag Your Feet.
Procrastination is a big time waster, so do the things that you don’t like first.  Clean the bathroom first or balance the checkbook before you continue with other chores that need done.  Being able to check the distasteful task off of your list, will give a sense of accomplishment.

Perfectionism is another challenge for many.  We don’t want to tackle the task until we have examined it in all areas.  Some major projects may warrant the time, but if it’s not, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Lower your standards some, teach other family members how to help and delegate some of the responsibilities. Continue reading

Endings and Beginnings

September 17, 1937.87457018

A date that probably holds no significance for you, but one that made all the difference in my life. On that date, a young man named Bill, recently discharged from the Army, married a girl named Ann. They were like any other married couple, then or
now, with great dreams for their life together and the youthful optimism to believe that those dreams would come true. And their greatest dream was to have a child.

One year passed, and then another and another, and still their dream was not realized. In all, 17 years would go by as they waited and prayed for the gift of a child. And then one day, the child for whom they had waited so long was born — that child was me. Continue reading


My Dad started Lehman’s in 1955. 55 years later, he’s still at it.

My dad, Jay Lehman, at work restoring antiques for our store display.

My dad, Jay Lehman, at work restoring antiques for our store display.

My Dad’s an amazing and talented guy. He’s made his way successfully through some huge challenges. He grew up in the Great Depression. He helped rebuild post-war Europe. He faced down loaded guns held by drunken soldiers in Congo. He refused to give in when JaywithCarcorrupt agents of the Kenyan secret police threatened to arrest him.

I’ve never really gotten an honest answer from him on why he started Lehman’s. When you ask, he trots out the same old cliché every time.

“No one would hire me, so I figured I’d have to start my own company,” he always says with a laugh.

I have to admit, that’s a little unsatisfying. I don’t know what the real answer is, but I’m pretty sure he would have had no problem finding a job. Continue reading

Secret tunnel found near our store

I made important updates and corrections to this article on March 26, 2010. I’ve also learned that full details will be presented on May 24 at 6:30 in the Holmes County Public Library in Millersburg, Ohio.

In the fall of 1981, the bulldozer of an oil well drilling company cut into and partially destroyed an ancient stone tunnel less than an hour’s drive from our store. Experts have dated the tunnel to as far back as 4000 years old.

Ancient stone tunnel and secret chamber may date to before the time of Columbus.

Bob Murray, who owned the site when the tunnel was found, buried it to prevent children from falling into it. And, the strange stone tunnel was lost to memory for the last 25 years.

Recently, two members of the local historical society who originally discovered the tunnel, Don and Nita Continue reading

And the Winners Are… (Cast Iron Skillet Recipe Contest WINNERS)

We asked – and you answered. We received over 50 great recipes for our Cast Iron Skillet Recipe Contest. I tell you, it was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Narrowing down the stack of mouthwatering recipes was one of the most difficult projects we’ve tackled in months. After an inner-staff taste-test and vote, three recipes emerged as the clear winners.  However, even if these three don’t sound delicious (and we’re not sure how that could be…), we plan to publish the other 50 recipes in a future post, so watch for it! For now, read on…we promise you’ll be getting hungry very soon!

mexicanCasseroleAnd the FIRST-PRIZE WINNER is…

Mexican Casserole – Harriet Engle
Harriet will receive a $100 Lehman’s gift card. Congratulations, Harriet!

Here’s my recipe, passed down from my mom (who still does it better than I do!!)

2 pkgs Jiffy cornbread mix 2 eggs
²⁄3 cup milk 1 can cream style corn
1½ lbs hamburger 1 pkg taco seasoning
Water as needed for taco seasoning 8 oz shredded cheese

In a bowl, mix the cornbread as directed with the milk and eggs; add the cream corn, set aside. In a 12″ skillet, brown the hamburger. Drain the grease, then add the taco seasoning and water, simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the skillet. Pour half of the cornbread into the skillet, spread the meat and cheese on top. Finish with the other half of the cornbread mix. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes, serve with taco sauce. If you have your own cornbread recipe or taco seasoning recipe, go right ahead and use them. This is a quick tasty dinner that also freezes well. If your skillet isn’t big enough, you can do this in a dutch oven or 13″ x 9″ cake pan, too.

fiestaChickenThe Runner-up!
Iron Skillet Fiesta Chicken – Jannine Fisk
Jannine will receive a $25 Lehman’s gift card. Congratulations, Jannine!

4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp. salt ½ tsp. black pepper
1 large green pepper, cut into strips 1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 large yellow pepper, cut into strips 1 large yellow onion, cut into strips
1 packet (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning (such as Old El Paso brand) 2 boxes (8.5 oz. each) corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy brand)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten ½ cup milk
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish 1 small jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breast and season with the salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on all sides, 6 – 8 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the cast-iron skillet and set back over medium heat. Add the green, red and yellow bell pepper strips and the onion strips and cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until softened. Add the reserved browned chicken back into the skillet and stir in the taco seasoning. Mix well and turn off the heat. In a large bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, eggs, milk, fresh cilantro, jalepeno pepper and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Mix until just combined, then spread the mixture evenly over the chicken, peppers and onions in the skillet. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese over the top of the batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!

appleGingerbreadAnd finally … A Very Honorable Mention:
Apple Gingerbread Skillet Cake – Mary Marlowe Leverette
Mary receives the deep admiration of our taste buds and bellies from tasting this rich, spongy, sweet gem of a cake.
Thank you, Mary!

4 tablespoons butter ¼ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons molasses ½ cup chopped pecans
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thinly  
½ cup sugar ½ cup butter
1 egg 1 cup molasses
1½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cloves ½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups plain flour 1 cup hot water

Heat oven to 350° F. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter to begin the topping mixture. Stir in brown sugar, molasses and pecans. Evenly layer apples over the sugar mixture. To make gingerbread, cream butter and sugar and add egg. Add molasses. Stir together dry ingredients and slowly add to molasses mixture. Add hot water and mix well. Pour batter on top of apples. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until gingerbread springs back lightly when pressed with a finger. Remove skillet from oven and invert onto a heatproof serving plate. Serve warm or cold. Very good with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

Six Little Ducks That I Once Knew…

Once upon a time, about thirty years ago, we lived on twenty acres 87565532in western South Dakota.  My husband and I decided that these twenty acres would make a nice “homestead,” just about the time that the modern version of that word was becoming popular.

I have loved ducks for as long as I can remember.  I have WANTED ducks for as long as I can remember.  Once we got our homestead, I worked on Norm for a very long time to allow me to get ducks. Continue reading

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Make Kiss Roses for Your Sweeties

Hershey's Kisses ChocolateChocolate and roses are two words that seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.  They are the old stand-by for a romantic gift and can be a very expensive purchase.  What if there was a way to combine them together into a gift that didn’t put a dent in your wallet but still showed you cared?  Well, there is.  Kiss roses make special and unique gifts that don’t cost a fortune.

Begin the process by gathering your supplies.  For this project you will need:  floral stems, floral tape, foiled Hershey Kisses, plastic wrap, ribbon for roses, and foliage (optional).
Continue reading

Grow a Countertop Carrot Crop

Lately, I am yearning to sink my teeth into something straight from the

Not only are carrots good for eating, but they double nicely as plate decorations.
Not only are carrots good for eating, but they double nicely as plate decorations.

ground. My nose is already sniffing for the sweet smell of thawing earth beneath the snow, and my hands are missing the dirt as much as my palate misses fresh-grown flavors. Alas, there is still a lion’s share of winter yet to come.

But I’m not one for sitting idly by when there is a glimmer of possibility waiting to be cultivated. Sure, my outdoor garden may have to wait a while longer, but I think I’ll jump-start a little sunshine-inspired food right here in my very own kitchen. What do I have in mind? Carrots!

Yep, carrots are just the cure for my cravings. Growing them indoors provides a mini-gardening experience and a delightful dose of freshness and color — all in one countertop crop. Carrots will grow quite contentedly in containers because, unlike the ground, potting soil is perfectly loose and well drained; plus, there’s no competition from grass and weeds.

Continue reading