August 27, 2011

Tomatoes and Green Beans!

I had thought I would spend my Saturday crafting, but hubby and some kiddos came in from the garden this morning with buckets full of produce.  Tomatoes and green beans to be exact!  Since he's such a cool hubby he got started helping me in the kitchen!

First we did the tomatoes.  He washed them and got the water boiling to blanch them.  I was in charge of that since I could sit on the stool to take care of that business (I had just made eggs, biscuits and rolls for breakfast so I was tired!)

Abby and Lydia wanted to help so they took the bowl of tomatoes to the sink with a water and ice bath to cool them down.

 Then they would take the tomatoes over to daddy to be strained in our Norpro Sauce Master

We haven't packaged the sauce up yet.  It'll be going into quart size freezer bags once it cools.  I imagine we'll have at least 15 quarts of sauce!  We'll use it for chili and stew!

Next we took care of the green beans.  They brought in several ice cream buckets full of beans!

They were having a lot of fun!

Many hands make light work!  Eli, however, was eating most of the green beans he snipped!

I was "quality control" for Abby's green beans.  It was hilarious how she snipped them!  

I blanched, cooled (in an ice water bath), and packaged up 9 quarts of green beans!  I can't wait to make green beans and bacon!

August 25, 2011

Fall Decorating Ideas

I wrote this post last fall.  This year with a new baby coming late Oct./early Nov. I think I'm going to show the kiddos the pics from last fall and turn them loose on the fall decorating.  I need help this year and that's where my troops come in!  That's a brave step if you know me.  I like my fall decor "just so".   We'll be decorating Labor Day weekend so that we can get the most out of our fall decor before the Christmas season sneaks up on us!'s the post from last fall.  Hope you get some fall inspiration from it!

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We finally have all of our fall trimmin's up around the house and on the porches so I thought I'd share with you all our decorated home.  We've been asked if the house at the top of the blog is really ours.  Yep.  We love it!  It's pre-Civil war hand-hone beams in the basement, walnut staircase, creaky floors and all are a great reminder of our country's history.  We gather for dinner in our dining room thinking about who ate here over 150 years ago.  Kind of fun to think about Aunt Bessy cooking dinner on the wood stove way back when.  Even though we have lots of Amish neighbors I'm sure they heard a lot more horse and buggies going by back in the day.  

I'll start off with the formal entry...the front porch.  We never use it but it sure is fun to decorate!

 Here we have our side porch.  This is where our guests enter. 

This is by the back mudroom door.

When you arrive at our home you'll first enter the living room.  See that little old school desk?  
I got that for a little bit of nothin' at a garage sale!

 Here we have a shelf that's above the living room couch and the seasonal tree.  During the winter it's covered in burgundy pip berries, and little rustic ornaments.  The rest of the year it's decorated in Americana style.

Next we have the kitchen.  It's full of all sorts of Fall fun!  

" Today is a gift from God, remember to thank him!"

 Fall time sure is "Something to crow about..."!

 This is my shelf above my counter work space.  The rolling pin is my Mom's. It is one of the only wedding gifts left from their wedding back in 1960.  See the ladle?  That was my Great Grandma's.  

When visiting our home you would most likely enjoy a meal with our family at our large table.
  I'm sure you would enjoy the cozy fire here. See the two crystal pitchers?  One is my Mom's and the other was my Great Grandma's.   I love having bits of history and memories decorating our home!

A lot of friends love and adore this dining room.  We do, too!  It's the only room in the house with all of the original plaster in tact.  It also has a built in china cabinet perfect for our Blue Willow collection (wedding gifts!) and my Christmas dishes (stored in the bottom).  I call it the "George Washington Room".  Couldn't you just see old George at Mt. Vernon at a little antique table writing away?

Here are a few pictures of our bedroom.  While it's not decorated in a Fall theme it is special to us.  Growing up neither of us had matching bedroom furniture.  For many years of our marriage we had mismatch and made do with what we had.  When we moved into this house a few years ago we needed a new bed so we bought a few nightstands and dresser to match.  We love it and are so thankful for the many blessings we have in this home.

Well that's about it!  Thanks for stopping by my dream home in the country!  God Bless!

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All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all.  -- Elinor Wylie

August 23, 2011

A Crafting Coup

No, not a coop.  A coup, as in coup d'etat.  As in "to replace the deposed government with another body".  This body is taking over!  The foyer in the house, that is!  We never use the formal front door...unless entering and exiting to decorate the front porch.  We don't even have a sidewalk that leads to it.  We live in the country...there are no sidewalks.  No one comes to our front door. Ever.  So I had a dilemma and then a thought. 

I don't have much available space in our home to craft that's private and personal, except for my closet that my hubby lovingly made more usable for me last Christmas (that would be the dilemma).  I have a little sewing table that belongs to the girls (given to them by a friend) that lives outside my closet and that's it.  Nothing.  Every other space is occupied by toys, schoolwork, or little people (and some not-so-little people).

So...I had a thought...or several.  I'm taking over the foyer (that would be the coup part!).  I explained to my kidlets ever-so-nicely over lunch that in order to get some crafting done I need a bit more space.  Space that is untouched by other human hands.  I felt so selfish telling them that it's now my space and an area that is not allowed to be played in.  No more Lego missions, Barbie spa days, or go-betweens as they try to take off Darth Vader's other arm with their light saber.  Then I had another thought; we have over 3,000 square feet of space in this house, and over 150 of it is their play room. Surely I can have a teensy 48 sq. feet of it, right?  Yeah, sure, you betcha!! 

My "Inspiration Station" (a sign hung above my craft closet door) is in the beginning stages right now.  I brought down a table that was supposed to be for decoration in the upstairs hallway but was becoming a catch-all for toys and dust bunnies.  (Well actually I had a couple helpers bring it down since no one would let me do it...something about a baby bump.)  Perfect table for my sewing machine!  Here's a little sneaky peek. 

I'm planning a day trip (last one for quite a while) with my BFF to Shipshewana in a few weeks so I plan to acquire a few things there to spruce up my new area.  I am thinking of putting the girls' sewing table and machine (bottom right hand corner of the pic.) out in the play room since their craft closet is out there and they do most of their crafting out there anyway.  I'm thinking of a drop down mini ironing board in it's place for ironing bits and pieces for crafting or putting my die cut machine on it when I need it.  I plan to spray paint an old chair and make a cushion for it.  (Also lots of felt on the underside of the chair and table legs so when I need to move it, it won't mar the floor.)  Another option is to get an area rug (something raggy and country) for the entire area or for just under the desk to keep my tootsies warm in the winter.  A lamp of some sort to help with night time crafting is needed (I think I have what I need). I need to acquire some baskets, shelves, and other little do-dads to pretty it up (this is where Shipshewana will come in handy!).  So hopefully some time soon I will have a finished product to share with you!  And hopefully my kiddos will remember to play elsewhere!  *wink*

August 21, 2011

A New Gooseberry Patch Cookbook!

I have a recipe that will be published in a new Gooseberry Patch cookbook in the new year.  So be on the lookout for a review and a giveaway then!  But for now, the kind folks at Gooseberry Patch have asked me to do an early-bird review of a cookbook coming out later next month.  I was so excited yesterday when my review copy came in the mail!  I am also excited because they included a copy for me to giveaway as well!  What's more is that this hard cover cookbook is over 300 pages and filled with lots of yummy recipes and pictures to go with them!  I spent some time yesterday pouring over the cookbook so I could pick out some to share with you.  Now all I have to do is narrow down my list to 3 (or more) recipes to share with you.  Not an easy task, I assure you!  Be on the look out for some yummy recipes, a few pictures to go with them, and a fun giveaway in September!

August 19, 2011

You Know You're a Farmgirl When...

After reading Amy's post on this topic over at Homestead Revival I thought I'd make a list of my own. 

You know You're a Farmgirl When...

*your alarm clock is the rooster crowing at 5 a.m....but you don't worry about it because he'll be in the stew pot in a few weeks. 

*the family vacation is planned around the garden schedule and when you plan to butcher the next batch of chickens.

*your husband asks you what you want for your birthday and you say with a dreamy look in your eyes that you would love a porch swing

*the conversations with your girlfriends center around the latest fashions in aprons and towel stitching patterns, the newest homemade cracker recipe in Mary Jane's Farm, and what's going on with your kids (the two and the four legged variety)!


*it's 8 o'clock in the morning and you're in your pajamas milking the goat.

*the family regularly opens the refrigerator to find leftover seed packets next to the homemade goat milk yogurt.

*finding good canning jars at a garage sale is a huge score!  (Even better when they are accompanied by bands!!)


*the children pray for one of the animals at every meal. (Especially for the roosters to be nice and the goats to not get out!)

*your energy saving dryer is clothes hanging out on the line and all over the house in odd spots. 

*you get excited at the thought of going outside to work because you get to wear your pink plaid mudboots.  *smile*


*you know without a doubt you can fit 5 bales of hay or 4 bales of straw in the back of the van and exactly how it needs to go in when you pick it up from the Amish supplier.

*a date with hubby includes the bulk store in Shipshewana followed by a lovely stroll through Tractor Supply Company on your way home!


*evening prayers are filled with thanks to the Lord for this dream life you are living!

*sleepy dreams are of baby goats and chicks, farmhouses, red barns and old time trucks! 


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