October 31, 2010


A few of you asked what chores my kiddos do.  I had thought I posted this but then found it in the "draft" section.  So sorry to leave some of you hanging! 

I need to revamp this list because the youngest on the chart is now 4 1/2 his baby sister is 2 1/2 and loves to help, too.  This is one I wrote about a year and a half ago.  When I revamp it I'll post it but I know some of you needed some help now.

We alternate weeks.  This week is Week B, next week is Week A and so on. 

This first chart is their Daily Chore Chart.  (Click on the chart to enlarge to get a better peek.)
Note:  The "Playroom Supervisor" is the one who makes sure people are tidying up and getting the job done.  The "Librarian" is responsible for organizing the book shelf in the playroom.

This next chart is our Monday & Friday chart.  We like a tidy house before the weekend so that if we have company it's nice and clean.  Then cleaning up a bit on Monday makes for a nice week.  (Click on the chart to enlarge to get a better peek.)
Well I hope that helps some of you.  Like I said we are needing to revamp this list dramatically!  I'll keep you all updated when we do.  

Last Day for the Sale

I've written so much about this time management program ya'll are probably sick of it.  But I really feel the need to spread the word.  Amy, the author, wants to encourage all of us to use our God-given days wisely.  Since reading this plan it has helped me to see where I'm wasting time in my day and where I'm using it for the best.  You wouldn't believe all the things we as a family have accomplished since I've implemented this program.  And I'm not talking just work that has been accomplished.  We've found time for other fun things as well without stressing and squeezing them into our day. 

If you want to get a jump start before the holidays come you are going to want to order this now.  It's about a 20 minutes read and there are a few worksheets with instructions that help you along the way.  The sale price is $7.  After today (FIRST THING TOMORROW) it goes back to the regular prices of $9.  So snag it today while you can!

To order go to the side bar at the right and click on the smaller box that looks like this one.  
You won't be sorry!

October 29, 2010

My Favorite Things Series -- Crafty Fun!!

If you missed last week's post on my favorite kitchen lovelies you can read about that HERE.  This week I'm sharing my favorite crafty things with you!  I'm an odd sort of crafter.  I dabble in a little of this and a little of that.  I enjoy stamping.  I used to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator so cards used to be my main thing.  Then I got started on scrapbooking so that's what I use my stamps for these days.

I also love to do other crafty things like wooden signs, embroidery, painting baskets, decorating the house...you name it.  I am a sewer but please don't ever ask me to sew something precise.  Quilts and fancy dresses are something that turn into a nightmare. (If you are in the mood for some cute girlie dresses, go HERE.  Too cute!  Check out her craft studio HERE!  Too cute for words!)  I have a view quilt squares in a bin somewhere that are far from quilt-like.  I joke that I have crafter ADD.  (No offense to those that have the real deal.)   I say I have crafter ADD because if a project takes a while to accomplish you will find it days or weeks later in a bin unfinished.  I have a list of projects to finish. Really.  It's sad, I know.  If you ever feel crafty and want to help a sister out come over my way would you?

O.K....so now that I've totally turned ya'll off from crafts altogether I'll list my favorite things.  (wink)

First I have to send ya'll over to my most favorite Stampin' Up! demonstrator in the whole wide world, Linda.  If you need anything crafty in the realm of stamps and papers...Linda's the gal!  Go HERE to say howdy!  Tell her Carmen sent you, K?  (Psst...you can shop from her catalog there, too!  It's beautiful and full of all sorts of lovelies! Don't say I didn't warn you!)
You can make little beauties like this...

And this...

Next on my list is this little tool...the Sizzix Big Kick die cut machine.  Love it!  My mom and hubby bought it for me for my birthday this year.  Since then I have been having way too much fun with this thing! 

With that tool and die cuts you can make little beauties like the flower of Linda's in the picture above!

Another of my favorites are sites to find embroidery patterns.  Some of my favorites are:


The last tid bit I want to share with ya'll is where I buy my crafting goodies. The  Factory Direct Crafts site has oodles of fun things to craft with!  I don't buy my craft items anywhere else. That is unless I have a coupon for Michael's or Hobby Lobby, because I love me some good coupons! (wink)


Next week I'll share some of my favorite books!

October 28, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 43

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 43 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This week's chapter is titled "Old Fashioned Homemaking".  I agree wholeheartedly with Lynn, the author, when she laments about her newlywed days  "...I was completely unequipped for this vast job of taking care of home and family. ... I had studied and prepared for a career in the working world."  Isn't it sad that that's too often the case?  I could go on a rant and share my thoughts on the subject but I won't...not right now, anyway.  If you remember my story about our first week of marriage you'll remember that I knew of nothing in the kitchen and hubby (who so eagerly agreed and yet didn't know a measuring spoon from a whisk) cooked stir fry.  For a week. Guess who decided to learn the ropes of the kitchen?  Yep...we didn't have stir fry for a loooong time.  (grin)  Lynn, shares quotes and tidbits of information to lead up to reminding us that we are really blessed when it comes to convenience in the kitchen.  We don't have to "...pluck, cleanly disembowel, and behead [our] chicken".  Well, our family does on occasion when we butcher a few chickens, but her point and mine, too, is that we have so many conveniences to be thankful about when it comes to our kitchen experiences.  Imagine how long it took great-grandma to do laundry...all day long!  I'm going to interject a tidbit here, if you are interested in learning more about homemaking skills (especially teaching them to our daughters) then please visit RAISINGHOMEMAKERS.COM where I am a contributing blogger.  The ladies there are always sharing new ideas and tips for doing just that...raising future homemakers.

Another idea that Lynn touches on was the enjoyment they had as a family when the power was out for a few days.  It was an inconvenience to their family but they also bonded and built great memories by playing games and reading by the fire.  To that I will add that you don't have to bond like that only in a power outage.  My plea to you is to make a regular family night...once a week.  Whether it be movie and pizza night, game night, etc..  If you only have one night a week to get together, great, but why not try to be together after a meal each (or most) nights?  Turn off the television, get away from the computer, and sit around together.  Read a family favorite or a classic together. Enrich your soul at the same time and read God's Word together?  Or...bond together in the kitchen and teach the family how to make a dish...bonding and teaching them how to bless the family in the kitchen.

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."  James 1:17

October 27, 2010

Time Management

If you missed the sale on the Tell Your Time e-book don't fret.  It's still a great deal...$7.  So...click on the side link and enter the code InTheClub.   
I'm implementing her plan and looking forward to making the most of the hours in my day!


Need Time Management Help??

Order a copy of Amy Lynn's "Tell Your Time" downloadable book.  Today until 6:00 it's only $5!!! 
Go to the link in the side bar of the blog under my profile-- it looks like button below.  Enter code: YayForLaunch.

November Menu Plan

I really love my BigOven recipe program!  It made menu planning a snap!  I got November's menu done in an hour or so.  I only include dinner because breakfast and lunch are up in the air each day.  We rotate between bagels (I shop at the bread outlet for inexpensive bagels), baked oatmeal, muffins, pancakes and eggs...you get the idea.  Once in a while I'll cave and we'll have cereal but my gang can down two boxes (easily) in one breakfast!  Lunch is usually left overs or cheese quesadillas or pb &j. 

If you need a walk through of the BigOven program go to THIS TUTORIAL for more info.  Also, if you are interested in buying I have a "Buy BigOven" sort-of button on the side column.  If you'd click through that to buy, that'd be great!  Please and thank you!  : )

I also need to note that last month I had lofty goals of linking to each recipe here.  About 95% of them are on my blog and there is a search tool at the side bar.  If you could please search through there that would be wonderful!  Also, the (D) stand for dinner.  If I included something for breakfast and lunch there would be (B)'s and (L)'s. 

Here you go!  (Click on the calendar to enlarge.)

October 26, 2010

Overnight Coffee Cake

I promised when I found a recipe that was a winner from the Homemade Harvest cookbook I'd post it on the blog.  Well I am making good on my promise!  I made the Overnight Coffee Cake (p. 23) Saturday night for Sunday morning and it was pretty hootin' good!  I think it was better, though, later in the day when it was cooled and the sugary topping was a bit gooeyer (is that a word?).  I am thinking about tweaking it a bit, though.  I'm thinking of using half apple sauce and half butter in place of all the butter and putting some chopped apples put on top (and pressed in) before the topping is sprinkled and before it goes in the oven.  Oh, and I used quick cooking oats (1/4 c.) in place of the pecans for the topping.

Overnight Coffee Cake

2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour, divided                           
1 t. baking powder                                                       
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt                                                          
3/4 c. sugar                                                                 
1 c. brown sugar, packed and divided                           
2 t. cinnamon, divided
3/4 c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Lightly coat a 13x9 baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray.  Add 2 tablespoons flour to pan; shake to spread flour evenly around insides of pan.  Stir together remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon.  Stir in butter, milk and eggs; beat until well combined.  Pour into baking pan; cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.  When ready to bake, toss together remaining brown sugar and cinnamon with pecans; sprinkle over chilled batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serves 12-15.


October 25, 2010

We interrupt our regular scheduled blogcasting...

...to bring you a small itty bitty commercial.  Ready?  A-hem...

I love Shutterfly!  Not only do they have great quality photos and cards but they have decent prices, too!  (I find great coupon codes to use in addition and it makes it even better!)

I really like this card!

 And I might put this picture of my kiddos on it!

Or I might pick a collage flat photo card and put a few different pictures on it.

Might I suggest these?!

The flat photo cards are adorable!  Find them here: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/flat-photo-cards

I also loved the religious cards.  The Christ Wishes is my favorite:  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/religious-christmas-cards

I liked the folded Christmas cards, too!  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/folded-greeting-cards

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I found this website and thought I'd share the recipe...

Just Like Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
Makes 1-2 servings

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute – adjust to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (or 1/4 cup of espresso if you have an espresso machine)

In a saucepan stir together milk, pumpkin and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds or until foamy. I don’t usually bother with the blender and just whip the mixture really well with a wire whisk.

Pour into a large mug or two mugs if you decide to share. Add the coffee or espresso on top.

Optional: (But don’t even think about skipping this step. I mean it). Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.

October 22, 2010

My Favorite Things Series -- Kitchen Lovelies

Since Christmastime is comin' I thought I'd share with you each week a few of my favorite things.  Not just kitchen goodies but lovely things in general. Things that I think you might enjoy.

Now I have to add that I have Amazon links here for you to click on them to get to the exact product.  Can I ask of ya'll a favor?  If you are going to do any Amazon.com shopping at all this holiday season, would you mind getting to their website through me?  Just click on any item I have linked to Amazon.com and then go shopping (an easy way is to click on a cookbook I have in the side box).  I get a commission on products that you purchase through my link.  It's a small amount but it all adds up for our family.  Thanks a bunch!

Today we'll start with my favorite kitchen gadgets, gizmos, and decor.

When it comes to whipping up a meal my KitchenAid mixer is my go-to tool.   Whether it's whipping up cake mix or mixing bread dough, this mixer is tough as nails and will not disappoint!

Another favorite in the kitchen is my RCA under cabinet AM/FM radio and CD player.  It also has a clock and a timer!  I love it!  It's nice to play some soft music when I'm the only one up and working in the kitchen in the morning.

Speaking of soft music. This is one of my favorite CD's to listen to on those quiet mornings in the kitchen.  I love listening to Fernando Ortega! I have to admit that all the songs on this album are favorites!  I couldn't choose just one to share! 

On quiet Christmastime mornings I love listening to instrumental music and I found one particular pianist's album particularly delightful.  Beautiful soft music!  

I love my Black & Decker Spacemaker Toaster Oven!  When you have something small to reheat and you don't want it soggy from the microwave or it's not large enough to heat up the big oven then this is your gadget!  Some mornings we have four slices of bagels in the regular toaster and then four in the toaster oven.  It makes the toasting process a lot quicker!  Especially since I don't like waiting for the big oven to heat up.

I'm linking to this new cookbook that I just adore!  If you're looking for a great cookbook to give as a gift then Gooseberry Patch "Homemade Harvest"  is the way to go!  For the review I wrote click HERE.

I love this "Farmhouse Christmas" Goosberry Patch cookbook!  It's full of delicious home cooked meals that will warm the bellies of your family breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and then some!

We use this little chopper gizmo to chop black olives, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and nuts.  It's great you don't get your fingers in the way so there is no blade to worry about.  I love it that any of my kiddos can use it to help out in the kitchen!  Watch another bonus is you can put the items you want to chop in the cover on the bottom of it and chop away.  No need for a cutting board!

Speaking of cutting boards.  I love this type of cutting board!  We have a large one like this and a small one.  They are great.  Wood types soak up bacteria.  Glass types dull the blade of the knives.This is poly cutting board has a groove to trap the juices so you don't make a mess (well, as much of one, anyway!).

I have to admit.  I don't actually own this particular Pyrex set.  I have a few of these pieces and I love them!  This set is actually on my wish-list.  ; )   Did I tell you I love these?  You can bake in them, then (once cooled) put the lid on and store in the fridge.  You can also put these in the freezer. (Before I put the lid on and put it in the freezer I put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the food in it so there's no air touching.) Then you can defrost or warm up food in them in the microwave (lid slightly ajar, of course).  I like that they are glass and not plastic and therefore you won't get any chemicals on your food.  Love them!!

Another confession...I don't own these beautiful jars but I sooo wish I did!  I have some cheaper jars that I keep my flour and sugar in (they are a pain, though, since the lids screw on...sigh).  But...aren't these ADORABLE?

- - -

Well that's about it for today!  Thanks for peeking at my favorite things in the kitchen!  Next time I'll share my favorite crafty things!  I am looking forward to sharing my favorites in that department! There are sooo many!  ; )

Until next time...

October 21, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 42

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 42 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

 This week the topic is "Friendship".  Lynn laments that she's not always the friend she wants to be.  We all feel that way, don't we?  Between family, church, school, lessons and activities, and household chores we are stretched beyond our limits some days. Sometimes we have to make due with what we've got and often times, shares Lynn, that includes sending a card or making a phone call.  "...God can use my humble offerings, like He did the two small coins offered by the widow, which were all she had to give (see Mark 12:41-44)".

Lynn suggests various ways to make friend connections: Bible study, mom groups, craft nights, occasional lunches out, exercise classes, and I'll add FaceBook in there for good measure.  (Don't laugh...FB is the ONE place I can connect with everyone and visit with friends whom I miss that real one on one interaction with.) 

Lynn shares a story about stretching herself to chat with a grocery checkout guy.  Not to make a lifelong friend, but to be friendly.  She didn't want to strike up a conversation but her son suggested it so she went forth and had nice results.  If we want to have friends we need to show ourselves friendly.  No, that saying is not in the Good Book, but Jesus did go about "doing good".  "Not only did he leave a large body of teachings on the value of love which does not seek its own -- he was also the embodiment of such love.  When all is said and done, Christ is our source for the art of relating."  (Alan Loy McGinnis The Friendship Factor)

Lynn offers some five minute friendship ideas:
*Order a pizza and have it delivered to a friend's house.
*Buy her a gift certificate at the local coffee place or ice cream shop and pop it in the mail.
*Pray for her via e-mail or by leaving a prayer on her answering machine.
*Leave a "have a good day" sticky note on her door or her car if you're close by.
*Send stickers in the mail to cheer her on.

"When time for friends is extremely limited, follow Cynthia Heald's advice:  Meet some classic Christian authors through your reading.  You'll never be without a wise friend, day or night."

- - -
"A friend loves at all times."  Proverbs 17:17


October 20, 2010

And We Have a Winner!!!

Drumroll please...

Random.org has chosen number 13...."Lois, with hope from Minnesota!" come on down...you're the next contestant on...  oh, whoops... we're not the Price is Right?  Hmm... well Lois, you win anyway!  ; )  Congratulations!!

Please e-mail me at carmen(at)christian(dot)net with your mailing address and I will get that bright and shiney, brand spankin' new "Homemade Harvest" Gooseberry Patch cookbook out to you. 

And just in case ya'll were wondering...the Queen of the Castle post will be delayed a day.  We had a really busy week around here so far and it's starting to wind down so I'll have time to write the post tomorrow.  I'll put it up as soon as it's done.  I know ya'll will understand, right?

Love and hugs to all!  And thanks for entering the giveaway! 

October 17, 2010

Homemade Harvest...and a Giveaway!!

EDIT:  A giveaway winner has been picked and comments are now turned off.  Thanks so much!   

Gooseberry Patch was kind enough to send me a copy of the Homemade Harvest cookbook to keep and a copy to give in exchange for a review for ya'll!  Oh I found so many recipes in this book I want to try!

Homemade Harvest is divided into several chapters.  Old-Fashioned Memories has a lot of lovely memories shared by folks from across the country.  I enjoyed the memory of mom who reminisced about how she and her daughters called leaves blowing down the street "giggling" leaves.  And they still call them that today even though they are all grown up!  I though that was super cute!

- - -

Farmhouse Breakfast was one of my favorite chapters.  I'm always looking for new ways to "do" breakfast besides nutrition-lacking cold cereal.  I liked the Overnight Coffee Cake, Rise & Shine Frittata, Apple Raisin Muffins, Farmhouse Sausage Patties, and most of all Breakfast Bars.  I'll share the recipe with you here:

Breakfast Bars
1 c. granola                                                        2T. ground whole flaxseed
1. cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked             1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. all-purpose flour                                       1/3 c. honey
1/8 t. cinnamon                                                  1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed                               1 egg, beaten
1 c. nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. dried fruit, chopped into pieces

Combine granola, oats, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts, fruit, and flaxseed meal in a large bowl.  Whisk together oil, honey and vanilla; stir into granola mixture.  Add beaten egg; stir to blend.  Press mixture into a parchment paper-lined 8x8 baking pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges.  Remove from oven and set aside 30 minutes to one hour to cool.  Slice into bars.  Serves 8 to 12.

- - -
The next chapter is Warm & Inviting Soups & Breads.  I really think we'll like the Pear Bread and Herb Bread recipes as well as the Ham & Potato Soup recipe!  I can't wait to share them with you after our family has tried them!

Savory Suppers is another great chapter in this book!  From Judy's Pot Roast & Gravy to Nellie's Spinach Salad you'll find something delicious to temp the family to the dining table!

Cozy Desserts has plenty of dishes to help you side step that diet!  Oh my!  I can't wait to make Warm Fall Lemon Cake, Pumpkin Squares (more cake-like than the Pumpkin Pie Squares I make), and Quick Apple Dumplings are going to grace our presence at the table soon!

If you're looking for some nummy-nummy dips and spreads look no further!  Fall Festival Favorites is the chapter that will help you host a fun and easy tailgate party or a casual get-together!  Cheddar Apple Pie Dip peaked my interests as well as Cincinnati-Style Chili Dip and Marianne's Cranberry Roll-Ups!
Looking forward to those get-togethers over the fire pit in the back yard or at the campground?  Then Campfire Classics will help you go from boring S'mores to Fireside Banana Splits!  Yumm!  Also to tempt your pallet are recipes for Grilled Peaches & Pineapple, Mom's Muffin Cup Breakfast, Farmhouse Dinner, Campfire Cakes, and more!

If Homespun Halloween is your thing then be sure to check out Spooky-Sweet Candy Corn, Spicy Pumpkin Warm-Up, and Vanishing Pretzels. 

Harvest Pantry shares some delicious recipes for canning.  Some of my favorites include Strawberry-Orange Jam, Blueberry-Lemon Jam, Sweet Freezer Slaw, Apple Pie Filling, and The Best Freezer Pickles!  Imagine how easy it will be to whip up a wonderful home cooked apple pie with home canned filling!  Deee-lish!

If you are thinking of doing some crafting this fall Home Sweet Homemade has something for you!  Harvest Table Runner, Blooming Mum Pin, Apple Wreath, Indian Corn Pin (this one looks super easy!), Sparkly Pumpkins and Tin-Can Luminaries put me in the mood to craft!

I have quite the list of these recipes that I plan on trying!  Oh My!!  I'm going to be a busy little bee in the kitchen this fall whipping up some delicious Gooseberry Patch goodies!  Don't worry...I'll share some of our favorites!

To order, please click on the link below. Thanks a bunch!


Now on to the really fun part!!  I have a brand spankin' new copy of this cookbook to giveaway to one of ya'll!  All you need to do is leave your name (like "Carmen from northern Indiana" or "Carmen from Old House Kitchen blog"...something like that).  No need to post a link or comment on FaceBook, etc.  I'm making this really easy.  
Just leave your name in the comment section here!! 

However, I know you'd like to give your friends a chance to get this book so you'll want to post about this on FaceBook or your blog, right?  If they win, then maybe they'll grace your presence with some yummie treats created from this cookbook!!

Contest starts NOW and ends 
WEDNESDAY, October 20 at 9:00 p.m. EST.  
(Each entry receives an ordinal number, total number of entries entered.  
A number is chosen by the number generator at Random.org.)
EDIT:  A giveaway winner has been picked and comments are now turned off.  Thanks so much! 


October 14, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 41

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 41 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

Week 41 is titled "The Seasons Are Changing:  Homemaking in the Fall".  The author made me chuckle when she said "It's the time of year I feel especially domestic, as thought there's nothing I should be doing that's more important than simmering a stew or baking a pie. ...  Everything about the season makes me want to nest, to make my home cozy, to withdraw from the approaching cold and settle in for winter."  She hit the nail on the head for me!  : )

Planting bulbs is a great fall activity that reaps benefits in the spring!  Here are a few tips Lynn (the author) shares.  Plant bulbs pointy side up!  Plant bulbs three times as deep as the bulb is tall.  Wait to plant when the weather turns cool.  (I have a box of bulbs that I need to get in the ground!)

As the weather cools fireplaces are used more.  Lynne has some great fire safety tips!
Call a chimney sweep to have the fireplace cleaned.
You should have at least one easily accessible fire extinguisher.
Make sure you have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home (don't forget to change the batteries!).  (Preferably one in each bedroom, six to twelve inches from the ceiling.)
Discuss fire safety with your family...if the door's hot, don't open it.  Crawl on the floor for clearer air.
Practice opening windows so they know how to get out.
Plan on an outside spot to meet in case of emergency exit.
Practice a fire drill when no one's expecting it.

I'll leave you with a few fun fall ideas that Lynn shares with readers...you know..because the fire safety thing was a bit of a downer...
Pull out candles to dine by.
Hike with your family on a woodsy trail.  Look for leaves to decorate with!
Make up beds with flannel sheets so everyone's nice and comfy.
Buy a jug of fresh apple cider from the market.
Pull out your slippers and curl up on the couch with a blanket, a good book, and a cozy fire!

- - -

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."  Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV

- - -

Have you enjoyed going through this book so far?  Would you like to enjoy the entire thing? 
Or maybe give it to a friend for Christmas?  Click on the link below:

October 11, 2010

October 7, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 40

For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 40 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This week's chapter is titled "The Joys of Leftovers".  Lynn suggests making leftovers less obvious. She shared a story about how she spruced up "leftover night" with a quick and easy menu of all the options, threw in some jokes and a fake French accent and the family was happy.  We don't always have the option of eating out when there's "nothing" in the fridge.  We have to be creative.

My advice:  Plan your leftovers wisely.  Roast a few chickens in the roaster one night served with baked potatoes, a side salad and rolls.  The next night chop up the left over chicken, season with taco seasoning and serve with taco shells, the left over salad, and whatever else you need for taco night.  If you have extra chicken left over from the roast that you didn't add to the taco seasoning you can freeze that in baggies of about 2 cups each.  Easy to thaw and toss in with noodles and a can of chicken gravy served with a side of mashed potatoes for a quick meal.

Baked potatoes make a great addition to left overs.  (If you thought ahead and made a ton of baked potatoes the night you roasted the chicken then you just have to warm them up!) You can add whatever meat (or chili) you have on the top with sour cream, cheese, etc..  Eggs are another quick fix.  Scramble eggs for dinner and serve with sausage, pancakes and fruit.  Whatever eggs and sausage are left over heat up in a skillet. Toss them in a soft tortilla with some shredded cheese.  Yummy!

"Author Cynthia Yates suggest living off what you have in your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard for a time without buying anything new unless absolutely necessary.  "Try it.  Start with a week, then longer.   Using things up gets to be a habit, as does creativity.""
- - -

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."  Romans 12:2

October 5, 2010

Welcome to Our Home!

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!

- - -

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

October 2, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Fudge

Spiced Pumpkin Fudge
A friend shared this recipe with me years ago.  I questioned her at first and didn't think my kiddos would like it, but this recipe is delicious and perfect for fall!  It's a much requested favorite at our house!

3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
12 oz. butterscotch chips
7 oz. marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter, evap. milk, pumpkin, and pie spice in saucepan. Cook over medium heat to a boil. Add thermometer. Stir until it reaches the soft ball stage (230-235 degrees). Remove from heat, add butterscotch chips and stir until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla and mix will. Pour into a 9x13 buttered pan. Cool, cut and enjoy!

October 1, 2010

NEW 2011 Motivated Mom's Planner!!!

The new Motivated Mom's 2011 planner is available NOW! It's only $8... for an entire year's worth of planner...a great deal in my eyes!  Go HERE to order!  You can also try the last 3 months of 2010 for only $2.

You have a variety of options for ordering...8 1/2 x 11...w/ Scripture Reading...1/2 size...1/2 size w/ Scripture Reading...Page per Day...1/2 size Page per Day...Page per Day w/ Scripture...1/2 size Page per Day w/ Scripture!  Lot's of options!!


Yes, I said Christmas music!  If you have been following us on Facebook or if you know me in person you know that I love October 1st!  Not only is October my favorite month (I love fall, my birthday's the 8th, I love fall...oops did I already say that?) but Oct. 1st is when I start playing Christmas music.  Someone on Facebook mentioned they needed some ideas for instrumental so I thought I'd share with you my favorite!  It's a great blend of dulcimer, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar...the perfect mix!  Some of my favorite songs are O Come All Ye Faithful, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Hark the Herald Angels Sing!  You'll love it!  Christmas on the Mountain by Craig Duncan!  Go check it out! 

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