October 31, 2011

All Grown Up...mostly

Remember when our little goat baby, Pixie, was a wee little thing?

And she looked so little by her mama?
Then remember when Isaac won 
Reserve Champion showing her this summer at the 4-H Doe Show?

Well this little girl is now almost as big as her mama!

She's grown up...kind of.  Not full grown yet, but big 
enough to melt my heart.  *sniff, sniff*

I know this picture doesn't have anything to do with little miss Pixie, 
but I thought it was a lovely shot I took the other morning as I was 
walking in from helping the boys with the goats.

October 29, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Giveaway!

Ready for another giveaway?  I know I am!  
"It's more blessed to give than to receive", right?  

Well...we're giving!

One winner will receive a gift packet of a
Gooseberry Patch Christmas Planner

Here's the scoop...

Entry 1   
  Leave me a comment sharing your favorite 
homemade gift to give for Christmas.  
(One entry)

Entry 2
Share the link for this giveaway on Facebook
Just click on the Facebook "Like" button at the bottom of this post.
Leave a separate comment telling me so. 
 (Another entry)

Entry 3
Blog about this on your own site.
Leave the web addy in a separate comment.
(Another entry)

Please be sure you leave something that distinguishes you from other comments like "Carmen from northern Indiana" or your email address.
Giveaway starts NOW and ends Saturday November 12th at midnight (EST)!

**All entries need to be a separate comment for drawing purposes.  I count up the total number of comments and then enter it into random.org.  Random.org picks a number then I count down to that number in the comment section.  If all entries are left in one comment unfortunately you will only get one entry.**

*  *  *

Oh and don't forget...my 20% off coupon code 
BIRTHDAY20 ends Monday, October 31st.


October 28, 2011

Popcorn Balls

I got an email a while back asking for a recipe for Popcorn Balls.  My commitment here at Old House Kitchen is to only share recipes that are tried and true and pass the taste test of my large family.  Sometimes I make an exception.  This is that exception.  I have been told by the sharer of this recipe, pinky promised, that these popcorn balls are awesome!  I'm going to give it a go this weekend.  You try it, too, and let me know what you think.

Popcorn Balls
3 quarts popped corn
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup (light or dark)
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. butter
3/4 t.salt
3/4 t. vanilla

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, butter and salt over medium heat in a saucepan.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cook without stirring until the syrup forms a soft ball (236 degrees).  Add vanilla and pour the syrup slowly over the popped corn.  Mix well so every piece is coated.  Shape into balls with greased hands.

Makes about 12.

photo credit

October 27, 2011

Chalkboard Fun!

I bought this lovely little tray several years ago with the intention to chalkboard paint it to write lovely little sayings on it.

Then I was lacking the chalkboard paint.  Wouldn't it figure that Michael's didn't sell it?  I've got to rant here for a moment.  If you want to pass this paragraph and go to the next I won't be offended. My favorite craft store in the whole wide world is Hobby Lobby.  Those are my peeps, right there!  Part of it has to do with the fact that when I was a Stampin' Up demonstrator over 8 years ago I think every worker in the store had hosted a party at some point.  Besides, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came.  (Do you hear music?)  Me and Hobby Lobby are like that.  Sorta.  The only problem in my love affair with Hobby Lobby is it's forty-five minutes from my house...talk about a long distance relationship!  If I go in our large 15 passenger van it's like $10 in gas just to go there and back!  (I'm really not sure...I'm guessing, but I guess it's something close.) If I go in our car it's more than  half that, but hubby has the car most of the time and when I go in the direction of Hobby Lobby I usually multi-task and take care of other errands which means I usually have some kiddos with me, which means that I have to take the van. So.. Other craft store options...JoAnn's.  Well they're right down the road from Hobby Lobby.  So that's no different.  *sigh* What's a girl to do?  I was so excited when Michael's moved into our area!  It's about 20 minutes away, near the grocery stores we frequent, near my favorite Kohl's, and on hubby's way home from school so if I really need something and am really specific (He calls it "idiot proof"...he's not an idiot, just so you know...he's actually rather brilliant.  Moving on...) he'll stop and pick it up for me.  He'll even use a coupon for me!  He's super awesome like that!

So...back to Michael's.  Nope.  No chalkboard paint.  That's my problem with Michael's they don't carry what I need when I need it.  *sigh* Guess where I got it?  Just guess.  Hubby knew I had been looking for chalkboard paint, saw some at Menard's and bought it for me!  I told you he was brilliant!

Where was I?  Oh yeah...back to the project!  Phew I can really get sidetracked, can't I?

So.  Being the impatient one that I am I didn't tape off the edges of the tray. Hubby always tapes everything off when he paints, but me?  Nah...I'm wild like that.  *wink*  (Actually I'm not allowed to paint walls unless I'm using the roller...in the middle..."cutting in" is not on my list of things I do well.)  So...I painted it and it looked like this....  

Um...yeah.  I'm thinking there may be something to that taping off business.  *sigh*

Then I had a lovely little assistant "season" it by rubbing chalk all over the paint.  (It had to dry for five days...oh the agony!  I am not patient like that!)  It was totally against my beliefs to totally mess it up like this...

But it had to be done. Then I rubbed the chalk around with a paper towel and then wiped it clean with a damp rag. 

After it dried I got out my Chalk Ink Markers (in classic colors) and they have Earthy Colors (I loooove these!!) and decorated it.  Like so!

Isn't it lovely?  It only took me oh, like, 3 years to actually get down to business.  *sigh*  But, it's done and I'm so glad I did.  Now, I think I'm going to go raid hubby's wood shop for more wood to paint.  Every room needs a chalkboard (or two), right?

* * *
Like this project and want to share with friends?  Click "Like" under this post.

October 26, 2011

Homemade Buns

Homemade buns (this recipe found on cooks.com) are perfect for Creamy Chicken Sandwiches. Heavenly, I tell you! Give them a try!

Homemade Buns

1 c. boiling water 
1/2 t. salt 
1/4 c. sugar + 1/2 t. (divided)
1 T. shortening 
1 pkg. yeast  (2 1/4 t.)
1/2 t. sugar 
4 c. flour 
1 egg

Pour boiling water over sugar, salt and shortening.  Mix yeast in a little water (lukewarm -- about 1/4 c.)  Add 1/2 t. sugar.  When first mixture is lukewarm, add yeast mixture.  Stir in egg, and then flour. Let rise in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Then roll in small balls in greased 9x13 baking dish.  Let rise again (double in size).  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.


October 25, 2011

Craft Room Update

A while back (over a month ago!) I shared my frustrations with you HERE that I didn't have a space for crafting.   I've done a bit of shopping, spray painting, tweaking and I think I have a good start. 



I spray painted an old chair burgundy and added a black seat cushion. Under the table I put a repurposed burgundy floor rug to keep my feet warm in the winter! 

I found a set of three wall baskets at Shipshewana Flea Market.  I hung them with masonary nails.  Hubby knows I love old timey things (yes, I think I just made up a word) and since masonary nails look old timey he picked some up for me at the hardware store.  

I hung these little keys on the basket with torn homespun fabric.

  The lamp base was green so I spray painted it black and gave the shade a little face lift.  I punched holes at (fairly) even intervals around the shade  and then with the same black and tan homespun I wove it through.

Then I filled in the spaces with black buttons.  I used glue dots to affix them. (I love glue dots!)

This is the door to my craft closet.  I put black and white pics of some of the kiddos on each side of the door.  I plan on adding a few more here and there. The sign above the door says "Inspiration Station"! I also put another black basket on the wall.  It was a brown basket I bought for a quarter at a garage sale a while back so I spray painted it!  (Most of the baskets are empty still...I'm sure they'll be filled in no time with fun crafty things!)

This is the inside of my closet.  Hubby built those wonderful shelves for me last year for Christmas!  

More shelf space!  See the ladder there?  It's on my craft to-do list.  I'll share that with you when I get it done!

I am thinking about hanging some grapevine garland around the craft "room" above the doorways and add some pip berries and white lights.  Not sure, yet.  What do you think?  Anything ya'll can think of to make this craft are a haven?

October 24, 2011

Fall Delights: Desserts

I know some of the snack ideas that I shared last week could be used as a dessert, but today is definitely dessert ideas!

Caramel Crunch Apple Pie is a yummy blend of apple, caramel and crunch!  Pair it with some ice cream and drizzle caramel sauce on top for the perfect dessert!

Pumpkin Pie Squares are a wonderful alternative to rolling out pie crusts for two pumpkin pies.  It can feed a crowd or be saved for later.  The crunchy crust is amazing!

If you're looking for a super simple fall dessert look no further.  Butterscotch Bars use a box mix as the base to this wonderful fall-flavored dessert!

Fruit Crisp is so versatile.  Wonderful with fruit of summer or just as amazing with ripe pears or apples from fall's bounty!  Don't forget to top it with some ice cream!  Homemade Ice Cream is the best!

Southern Fried Apples are another perfect summer or fall dessert!  Again...don't forget the ice cream!

Impossible Pumpkin Pie is a wonderful alternative for those who don't like pie crust but love pumpkin pie.

Is there a dessert on this list that's a favorite of your family?  What dessert might you try next?  What are your favorite fall desserts? 

photo credit

October 22, 2011

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

I love these pumpkins!

For a fun and easy fall craft go visit Lindsay at
The Cottage Home for this lovely Tutorial.

October 21, 2011

November Menu Plan

Click on Menu items to take you to the recipe.  Zoom in and out with the + and - buttons. Download the menu plan by clicking the cloud button (to the left of the - button).  Enjoy! November Menu Plan

Fall Delights: Snacks

If you're like me when the weather gets chilly snacks are a must-have.  I hope you find some yummy falls snacks from this list that will be a must-have for your fall afternoons or evenings!

I'm going to start with my all-time favorite beverage.  I probably don't even have to post it here.  You all have it memorized, right?  *wink*  Spiced Chai isn't necessarily a fall beverage for me since I drink it every day. But it is the best beverage for fall (in my opinion, anyway)!

Spiced Cider is second right next to Spiced Chai for fall beverages in my list!  Perfect mix of apples and spices!  Mmm...

I'm not a coffee drinker, but the spices and pumpkin in this Pumpkin Spice Latte  recipe make it all worth while!

Since Monkey Muffins are rolled in cinnamon and brown sugar that makes it a fall kind of snack in my book!  They are super simple and wonderful paired with my favorite beverage!  *wink*

Ollie Kookins make me think of my grandparent's cabin up in the north woods of Michigan.  They are so yummy fresh out of the deep fryer and rolled in powdered sugar!  You have to make these to experience their cinnamon raisin goodness for yourselves!

Some of you may be thinking I'm a little wacky to put Applesauce on my list of fall snacks, but when you make homemade chunky applesauce and eat it warm you will know what I mean!

Amazing Caramel Corn ... need I say more?

Cinnamon Candied Apples are a must for fall! Their spicy, cinnamon, sugary, apple flavor is all the lovelies of fall rolled into one!

My kiddos love Spiced Pumpkin Fudge even through the holiday season! 

Which recipe are you going to make first?!  Or do you have a favorite that's not on my list?  What are your favorite fall snacks?

Next week I'll share our favorite fall desserts! 

photo credit

October 20, 2011

Fall Delights: Main Dishes

I thought I'd take some time this week to share some yummy fall favorites.  Today's recap is our family's favorite main dishes.  

Chicken Pot Pie is the most requested dish in our home.  It's a bit time consuming compared to the rest of the dishes, but oooh so worth it!  Besides, nothing says lovin' like a homemade pot pie in the oven!

Chili is wonderful cooked on the stove or in the crock pot.  Pair it with some corn bread or Ultimate Cheddar Bay Biscuits and you've got heaven in a bowl!

When I bring  Cinnamon Chicken to the table all the kiddos start talking about the famous episode with the same name on Little House.  Lots of good memories!  Don't forget to serve it with Smashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Bacon and Honey Yeast Rolls!  Top off the meal with Cherry Cinnamon Applesauce for dessert!

Creamy Chicken Sandwiches and Sloppy Joes are great dishes any time of year, but perfect to pop in the crock pot in the morning or early afternoon and have ready for dinner on a busy day!  Serve either meal with simple sliced veggies and chips and you've got super easy meals.  If you have time in your schedule, serve with some Zippy Steak Fries!

Pioneer Beef Stew is another one dish meal slow cooked in the crock pot! This stew is super simple and very tasty!  Serve it with Easy Dinner Rolls to complete the meal!

Chicken (or Turkey) and Rice Soup
 we often serve this soup for Sunday lunch.  It's super easy to prep the night before (chop carrots, defrost already cooked chicken, mix up the seasonings) and then pop the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning before church.  We like to serve it with Simple Garlic Bread!

There you have it.  Our fall favorites!  I hope your family finds a fall favorite from this list. There are more main dish ideas under the "Dinner" tab found under the header of the blog.  Next time I'll share our favorite snack recipes!

photo credit

October 19, 2011

Apple Dip

I know, I'm on an apple and pumpkin kick lately.  Blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I just love this time of year and all the yummy foods that go with it!  My mother-in-law made this several years ago for a get-together and it was so yummy I begged for the recipe.  It's deeelish!

Apple Dip

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 package (5 oz.) toffee bits

Combine cream cheese, sugars and vanilla in a mixer until well blended.  Stir in toffee bits and serve with apple wedges.

Tip:  Wedge apples beforehand (preferably same day), dip them in lemon-lime soda, place on a serving tray, wrap with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


photo credit

October 18, 2011

Simple Garlic Bread

A friend made this for our family a while back and I was delighted over how simple it was and yet how flavorful!  I'm warning you, though, you can't just eat one piece.  

Garlic Bread

1 loaf of Texas toast (or Italian bread)
1 c. softened butter
2-3 T. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing dry mix packet
2 t. garlic powder

Mix the last three ingredients together and spread on Texas toast.  Lay toast on baking sheet and broil.  Keep a close eye to make sure the toast doesn't burn.


October 17, 2011

Spiced Cider

It's chilly again in our neck of the woods and other than Spiced Chai I can think of nothing better to sip on in the cool fall months than Spiced Cider!

Spiced Cider

1 gallon apple cider
1 c. orange juice
1 T. lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 t. allspice
1 t. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer for 6-8 minutes or keep warm on low. Strain and serve.


What is your favorite fall beverage?

photo credit

October 15, 2011

Bay Leaves!

Yes!  Bay leaves!  If your house has been invaded with "lady bugs", which are actually a sort of beetle, then bay leaves are your solution!

My dear friend, Karla, over at the The Culinary Enthusiast told me last year to put a bay leaf in each windowsill and the lady bugs would stay away.  I never got around to trying it because I was always out of bay leaves and could never remember to pick some up at the grocery.  Well this fall I remembered!  I bought a bottle of bay leaves for less than $2 and let me tell you I am enjoying a house free of lady bugs!  Yes, we have a few strays on occasion, but this old farmhouse kitchen sometimes had at least a dozen crawling around the kitchen window alone.  It was awful!  This year...wonderful! 

Now if could just do something about some pesky spiders that have been invading... I think I have a solution for that, too!  I'll share it with you if/when I get the secret ingredient needed!

photo credit

October 14, 2011

Canned Apple Pie Filling

I love pie!  I know most of you have probably figured that out by now, but I just thought I'd emphasize it.  Moving on...

I ran across this recipe years ago and have used it since to can some wonderful apple pie filling that makes the holiday prep time go so much smoother since we make several pies at a time.

Canned Apple Pie Filling

5 lbs. apples -- peeled, cored, and sliced
5 c. water
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. corn starch
2 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 T. lemon juice

Sterilize 6 quart jars, lids and bands.  You can either run the jars through the dishwasher and take them out as soon as the sterilize setting is done or boil them for 10 minutes.  I do the latter.  I also place the lids and bands in a saucepan and keep the water boiling until I'm ready to use them.

While the jars are sterilizing combine water, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and lemon juice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. 

Fill hot jars with apples and pour syrup through a funnel (keep your jar rims clean) to the tops of jars (leaving 1/2 inch head space).  Wipe rim and threads of jar to make sure it's free of sauce and then put on lids and bands.  (I dry my lids and bands real quick with a clean towel before putting them on my jars so they don't rust.)  Make sure the bands are tight, but not too tight!  Process in boiling water for 20 minutes. (Make sure the water starts boiling after you put the jars in before you start the timer. Also make sure the water is covering the jars at least an inch.)

You might have some pie filling left over.  If you do whip up a pie using either my Pie Crust Recipe or my Sour Cream Pie Crust.

Or place the rest of the filling into a baking dish and top with my fruit crisp topping recipe HERE.  Bake as directed.

Like this recipe?  Share it with friends on Facebook!  Just click the "Like" button below!


October 13, 2011

Fair Fun!

We went to the fair last month and I thought I'd share some of our fun pics that we managed to snap in between rain showers.

Abby is comfortable around chicks and goats.  She wasn't too sure about this piglet.

The kiddos always enjoy sitting in the new tractors.

He thought he might like to take this one home!

Eli looked super cute on this little zero turn mower!

Hannah could easily be a farm girl!

I couldn't resist an extra pic of Eli...love that little dude!

 This goat thought maybe Abby would share her lollypop with her.  Umm...notsomuch!

Look at the horns on this bad boy!

 Of course no fair is complete without the kiddie rides!  

Abby loved riding the carousel with big sister!

We also enjoyed elephant ears, cotton candy and fried cheese on a stick!  We were too preoccupied with those yummies to snap some pics of that!

October 12, 2011

Homeschool Blog Awards

Homeschool Blog Award Nominations are open!

Click the box to nominate your favorite homeschool bloggers.  
Hint, hint...there's a category for 
"Favorite Homemaking or Recipe Blog".  *wink*

Seriously, though...I'd like to know who some of your favorite homeschool bloggers are.  Do tell!
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