December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hey all! 

We've had a crazy busy couple of weeks!  Between stomach bugs and cold bugs someone in the family has been down and out for weeks. Matter-of-fact a few of us missed out on practice for the Christmas program at church this morning because I and a few others are under the weather.  Hopefully we can all make it by tomorrow night!  I can't wait to see it!

Christmas has kind of snuck up on us.  I can't believe that it's this week!  I'm determined to enjoy the next two weeks of Christmas vacation that my hubby has off.  We have plans to do a puzzle or two, watch movies, read books, do some crafting (I hope to get the kiddos' 4H memory books caught up ... er, I mean started *ahem*), enjoy yummy food, and just some down time together. 

Whatever you have planned this Christmas vacation take some time to enjoy your family, say "yes" to the things that matter most, and remember the reason for this season. 

Luke 2:11 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas for our house to yours!

November 29, 2014

Stuffed Meatballs

Have you had your fill of turkey and all the leftovers from the big dinner?  We usually go the Italian route after having several meals of turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup... you get the idea.  So here's a little something to enjoy this weekend!  No turkey involved!

We are very big fans of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country!  Their recipes are well tested, tasted, and spot on!  However, they can also be a little bit time intensive.  So...a little tweaking in the kitchen was needed.  I can't find the original recipe online without needing a membership to get it (hubby has a subscription -- get yours HERE!) so I'll just share the tweaked recipe with you!

Stuffed Meatballs

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (we use the kind in the shaker bottle) - divided
2 large eggs
1 T. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
3 sticks mozzarella string cheese
32 oz. jar pasta sauce (we used 1 quart homemade pasta sauce)
2 T. olive oil
Pasta -- whatever kind you like

Combine panko, 1/2 cup parmesan, eggs, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Add pork and beef and knead with your hands until incorporated into panko mixture.  (Do not over mix or the meatballs will be tough.) Using 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, divide meat mixture into 15-ish portions and place on plate.  

Cut mozzarella sticks crosswise into 15 3/4 inch cubes. Place 1 mozzarella cube into the center of each meat portion and pinch meat around cheese to close.  Roll meat between wet hands to form completely sealed meatball.  (This can be done up to 24 hours before cooking...just cover and place in the refrigerator.)

Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add meatballs and cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes.  Flip meatballs and cook until browned on opposite side, about 3 minutes.  Drain all but 1 Tablespoon-ish fat from skillet.

Pour pasta sauce over the meatballs and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Flip meatballs so second browned side is up. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.  Serve with pasta.

November 28, 2014


We're having a sale! All mantle signs are on sale! No coupon code needed! But you can get extra savings when you enter the code NOV14 when you order $50 or more!

November 24, 2014

Barbecued Water Chestnuts

This recipe is a family favorite and just happens to be in one of the cookbooks I'm giving away HERE!  (Giveaway ends Friday the 28th!)

Barbecued Water Chestnuts

2 8-oz. cans whole water chestnuts, drained
1 lb. bacon, cut in half
1 1/2 c. catsup
6 T. brown sugar, packed
1 T. vinegar

Wrap each chestnut in a piece of bacon; fasten with a wooden toothpick. Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Remove chestnuts to a mini slow cooker; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer; cook for 15 minutes, or until thickened.  Spoon sauce over chestnuts. Turn slow cooker to low setting for serving.  Serves 10.

No Peeking!  That's good advice for gift packages and slow cookers alike.  
Cooking time increases by 15-20 minutes every time a slow cooker's lid is lifted.

November 21, 2014

Southern Hospitali-Tea and a Cookbook Package Giveaway!

Hey all!  Long time no see!  I'll have to do a post regarding all the happenings around the homestead soon!  One of them will be our newest addition!  If you've been following along over at Instagram (@OldHouseHomestead) or Facebook then you'll be in the know.

I have a few kiddos that are helpful in the kitchen and there's talk of them writing some blog posts soon so maybe you'll see their work here!

The kind folks over at Gooseberry Patch have given me a copy of their Slow Cooker Christmas Favorites cook book and their Good For You Everyday Meals to give away!  (Details are down yonder.)

Here's a recipe and tip from the Christmas cookbook that I'm going to try for Thanksgiving!

Southern Hospitali-Tea

6 c. boiling water
4 black tea bags
4-inch cinnamon stick
1 c. orange juice
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Place tea bags and cinnamon stick in a heat-proof pitcher or bowl. Pour in boiling water; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Strain tea into a slow cooker, discarding tea bags and cinnamon stick.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 4 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Don't toss that lemon or orange half after it's been juiced!  Wrap it and store in the freezer, and it'll be ready to grate whenever a recipe calls for fresh citrus zest.

Come back soon for another yummy recipe that is a family favorite and in this awesome cookbook!

Don't forget about our coupon code that I mention HERE 

Cookbook Package Giveaway!  
Starts today and ends next Friday!   
Enter below!

November 20, 2014

Christmas Sale!

Hey all!  

I have an awesome coupon code for you to use at our Etsy shop Old House Mercantile!  

Use coupon code NOV14 to save 25% off orders over $50!

Coupon expires November 29th!

July 25, 2014

Christmas in July Sale!

We're having a sale at the shop

Hurry, though, because after July 31st you'll miss out!

4H and a Winner!

Hey all!  Phew!  What a crazy week!  4H summer judging is wrapped up and the kiddos have already started planning their projects for next year!

Before I share some pictures of the week with you I'll let you know that the winner of the Gooseberry Patch Grilling and Campfire Cookbook giveaway is...

Tracey Burrows!!

Tracey, please contact me at
within 7 days (by August 1st at midnight) to claim your prize! 
(If not contacted by then I will redraw for a different winner.)

*  *  *  *  *  *

Now onto 4-H...

Saturday was the Summer Doe show.  If you follow us on Instagram (OldHouseHomestead) you saw a few pictures from that day.  

Ready to go!!

Isaac won Champion Sr. Dairy Doe and Grand Champion Dairy Doe with his goat, Pixie!

Hannah won Reserve Champion Jr. Dairy Doe with her goat, April!

And Lydie won a blue ribbon with her little girlie, Daisy!

Sunday I came down with a stomach bug so hubby took the kiddos to summer judging on Monday since I was still under the weather (one of the perks for having a hubby that teaches school and has the summer off!).  He tried his hardest to get pictures from that day, but with kids in various buildings and he had all 8 of them there with him we'll cut him a little slack! 

 Foods:  Lydia made bananaberry muffins (recipe HERE) and got a blue ribbon.  Isaac made biscuits (recipe HERE) and got a blue ribbon.  Hannah made a peach and oatmeal tea ring (I'll share the recipe soon!) and won blue, honor, and champion ribbons (and is making another one for the state fair next week!).  Rebekah made a blueberry crumb top pie and got a blue ribbon.  (Crust recipe HERE, filling recipe HERE)

 Noah entered an electrical set and got a blue ribbon!

 Lego was tough.  Let's just say judging was...interesting.  Noah won blue, honor, reserve champion ribbons.  Rebekah won blue and honor ribbons. Hannah won a blue ribbon.  Isaac won blue and honor ribbons.
 Isaac's creation...a mountain camping scene.

Hannah's creation...a Lego Friend's strip mall.

Tuesday there was more judging and I was able to go!  
It wore me out, but I went and I'm so glad I did!  

 Hannah got blue, honor, and reserve champion for her embroidery!

Lydia got a blue ribbon for her embroidery!

Rebekah got a blue ribbon for her sign she made!  
(After fall fall and display she will be selling this in our Shop!  Half of proceeds will go to charity!)

Isaac won a blue ribbon for his punched tin art!  
You can't tell too well, but it is an Indianapolis colts helmet. 

Noah won blue for a pencil drawing of a black capped chickadee! 

Isaac won blue and honor ribbons for his step stool in woodworking!

Lydia won a blue ribbon for her pillow!

Hannah won blue, honor, champion, and state fair ribbons for her ironing board cover, organizer and pin cushion!  
It's going down to the State Fair next week!  

For her champion ribbons she was invited to attend an awards ceremony Wednesday night after the ice cream social!  She received two trophies for her efforts!  

We are so proud of all of our kiddos and their accomplishments!  
They learn so many life skills in 4-H!  That alone is worth it!  
The ribbons and trophies are the icing on top!  

July 14, 2014

Chuck Wagon Beans

Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!  We are in full swing of getting 4-H projects completed this week so we're hitting the ground running!  We have kiddos working on sewing, woodworking, Lego creations, baking, embroidery, drawing, and other arts and crafts projects this week.  It's crazy busy!  Here's a yummy recipe we're going to enjoy this week!

Don't forget...Wednesday (the 16th) is the last day to enter the giveaway for Gooseberry Patch's Grilling and Campfire Cooking book over HERE.

 Chuck Wagon Beans

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. bacon, diced
2 onions, diced
6 to 7  15-oz. cans baked beans with molasses
1-1/4 c. ketchup
1-1/3 c. boiling water
3 T. mustard
2 cubes beef bouillon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 c. brown sugar, to taste

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown beef, bacon and onions; drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients, adding brown sugar a little at a time to desired sweetness.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.  Enjoy!

July 11, 2014

Weekend Sale!

Save 20% off over at the shop this weekend!
 (now thru Sunday at midnight!)
 (click picture below for link)
 Coupon code:


Pie-Iron Pizzas

When we went camping up north we made pie iron pizzas for dinner one night.  They were super yummy and most of the kiddos could make them by themselves with just a smidge of help.  The older kiddos helped cook them over the campfire.  Our family of 10 has six pie irons so we have to be patient with each another.  I think a few more pie irons might be on our list of to-buy's at the end-of-season clearances, though. 

This recipe is another good one from Gooseberry Patch's Grilling and Campfire Cooking!  I'm giving away a copy HERE!

Dawn's Pie-Iron Pizzas

1 loaf sliced bread (we used white and needed more than one loaf)
1/2 c. butter, softenend
1 to 2 15-oz jars pizza sauce (we used a larger jar of spaghetti sauce...more veggies in it and cheaper)
8-oz. pkg. pepperoni slices
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
8-oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
4-oz. jar sliced black olives, drained
8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat pie iron in campfire.  Spread 2 slices bread with butter on one side. Place one slice, butter-side down, on hotter side of pie iron.  Spoon desired amount of pizza sauce over both slices of bread.  Top one slice with pepperoni, vegetables, a handful of cheese and remaining bread slice.  Close pie iron.  Cook over campfire for several minutes; opening carefully to check how toasted the bread is. Close pie iron; flip over and cook other side to desired doneness.  Makes 6-8 servings.

July 7, 2014

Corn Dogs on the Fire!

I have another fun campfire recipe to share with you!  We tried this while we were camping and it was pretty tasty!   This is from the Gooseberry Patch Grilling and Campfire Cooking book that I'm giving away HERE.

For this recipe you'll need a pie iron.  A rectangular/square one is best!    

We had a little sticking problem at first so we added a bit more butter to the pie iron the second time around.

Campfire Corn Dogs

8 - 1/2 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix
1/3 c. milk
1 egg
8 to 10 hot dogs
Ketchup, mustard ... whatever you like on your corn dogs.

In a bowl, stir together muffin mix, milk and egg until moistened (we added a tablespoon of melted butter). Place two hot dogs inside a well-greased pie iron (more butter is better!).  Add enough batter to fill bottom of pie iron.  Close pie iron; turn over and cook over campfire for 3 minutes (give or take a minute).  Turn over; cook for another 3 minutes (again, give or take a minute), or until cornbread is set.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Slice between hot dogs; serve with ketchup and mustard.  Enjoy!
Serves 4.

July 4, 2014

July 2, 2014

Dutch Oven Breakfast and a Giveaway

A few weeks ago we went camping in northern Michigan at Tawas Point State Park.  It was beautiful!  We had a great view of the bay.

With gorgeous sunsets!

And a beautiful lighthouse to admire as well!

We had a lot of fun and plenty of time for relaxation.  It's so nice to just get away and do nothing but relax, have fun, and enjoy each others company.  We had a little snafoo at the beginning of the trip with our van breaking down, but the Lord provided the knowledge and skill my hubby needed to get it fixed and we were good to go. It was a bit chilly with temps barely hitting the 70's, but I thought it was heavenly and the kids didn't seem to mind not sweating as they rode their bikes and played at the playground with new found friends.  It was the perfect weather for a campfire!  We had one at least twice a day (unless it rained).  For Father's Day we bought hubby a grill thingamajig for grilling over the campfire so that's how we cooked our meals.  We had hot dogs, hamburgers, pork loin, and a few other yummy recipes I'm going to share with you over the next two weeks. 

The kind peeps at Gooseberry Patch have given me a copy of this fun Grilling and Campfire cookbook to give away!  There are so many yummy recipes! I dog-eared so many pages of recipes I want to try in the next few weeks, too!

Today's recipe is

Skillet (Dutch Oven) Breakfast

1 lb. bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
32 - oz. package frozen diced potatoes
10-16 eggs, beaten (we used one dozen)
8 - oz. package shredded cheddar cheese
*we added 1 lb. of ground pork sausage, but you can skip the step if you like
(We also added a little hickory hamburger seasoning that we had on hand and that was yummy!  You could just go with salt and pepper with a bit of onion powder.)

Cook bacon in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-hot campfire.  With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a plate and set aside leaving grease in the pan (we wrapped the cooked bacon in aluminum foil and sat it by the campfire to keep warm).  Cook and brown the ground sausage removing the meat with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm.  Add potatoes, cover and cook until golden (cook about 3-4 minutes and then turn them over and cook another 3-4 minutes).  Pour eggs over potato mixture and stir with a spatula until cooked to desired consistency. Stir in the bacon and the sausage and sprinkle with cheese.  Remove skillet (or dutch oven) from the campfire and cover.  Let stand until cheese is melted.  Enjoy! 
Serves 8.

Starts today and ends Wednesday,  July 16th at midnight (EST)
One winner will receive a copy of Gooseberry Patch's Grilling and Campfire Cooking cookbook!

*  *  *
Entry 1
Leave a comment with your favorite camping/campfire memory, song, recipe
(One entry)

Entry 2  
  Go visit our Etsy shop HERE.
Leave a comment here with your favorite piece in our collection. (One entry)

Entry 3
Share the link for this giveaway on Facebook.
Leave a separate comment telling me so. (Another entry)

Entry 4
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".

**All entries need to be a separate comment for drawing purposes.  I count up the total number of comments and then enter it into 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.**

July 1, 2014

Well... Hello There!

Hey all!  I know it's been forever since I've popped on here. I apologize.  Last year I had some sort of viral bug that wouldn't let me go.  Then in January, when I thought I was on the mend, we got pregnant!  With that came all day morning sickness.  Morning sickness mixed with the last of this viral thing meant I felt pretty cruddy 24/7. My family has been super helpful.  Between hubby running more than the usual errands and the kids cooking more and taking care of more things around the homestead I haven't had to do too much.  I've kept up with the shop with their help, but blogging kind of was put on the back burner.  It's kind of hard to want to write about food, recipes, and decorating when you feel mighty cruddy and exhausted. I'm still not 100%.  I get tired easily, it takes me a while to get going in the morning, and I can't walk too much because of pregnancy aches and pains, but when you're near 40 and pregnant with your ninth child I guess that's to be expected. We can't wait for the new little one to make their arrival mid/end of September! 

So. I'm back (to a minimal extent) and ready to share our lives and home and some yummy recipes with you all.  You won't see a post every day, or even every other day, but I'm here and hopefully there's someone here to read it. 

If you haven't visited the shop in a while go take a peek!  There are lots of new signs that have been added in the last month or so. This Family Rules one was just added yesterday!

I'll be back soon with a recipe and a giveaway from Gooseberry Patch!  A while back they asked me to review their new campfire and grilling cookbook and since we went camping a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance to try some new campfire recipes! 


February 1, 2014

Snow Slushies

Are y'all ready for spring?  I know we are.  Last month we had a record amount of snow. We are supposed to get more this week!  I have a super easy, very yummy, and very healthy recipe to share with y'all that will use up at least a little bit of that snow! 

Snow Slushies

8 cups fresh snow
1 - 12 oz. can of juice concentrate thawed (thaw it in the fridge)
(We used Old Orchard Apple Cherry -- very yummy!)

Gather your snow and pour the juice concentrate over it.  Mix well and serve!  Super yummy and healthy for you, too! 


Do you have a favorite snow recipe?  Do tell!

January 23, 2014

Everything Under the Kitchen Sink

How much do you spend each month on cleaning products?  Whether you buy the chemical laden junk (can you tell I'm not a fan?) or the bottles of all-natural supplies that clean your wallet out before they clean the potty (yeah, I went there) you are spending precious hard-earned money.  It doesn't have to be that way! Today I'm going to show you my under the kitchen sink mini make-over and a few all-purpose cleaners that are safe, easy to use, and inexpensive! 


I took everything out from under the sink.  It was not a pretty sight.  There were some cleaners in there I haven't used since we moved into this house (since I saw the light on those nasty cleaners). Almost 6 years ago! I pitched them, along with a lot of old brushes, and other junky things.  To be honest I always shuddered when I had to go under the sink.  It has always been a not-so-pretty sight.

I vacuumed out the cabinet, wiped it down with my homemade anti-bacterial cleaner, let it dry, and then put down shelf paper.

I have an addiction to these baskets.  It's a rare treat when I find them at our local Dollar Tree. I may or may not buy all of them when they are in stock.  *wink*  I use these baskets in my craft closet to organize supplies and rubber stamps, my kitchen cupboards to organize baking supplies, cookie cutters, and other odds and ends, in my pantry to organize snacks, and now I use them under the kitchen sink!

I bought the Full Circle Come Clean Natural Cleaning Set a while ago on Amazon (affiliate link).  They came as a set with a juicer attachment so you can put fresh lemon juice in your cleaner if you wish.  I also love the labels, a microfiber cloth and a little recipe/idea book that came with it!  I haven't decided what to put in the smallest bottle, yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something!  I'm thinking a homemade (and inexpensive) shower/tub pourable scrub of some sort.  (I'll let you know when I come up with something!)

* * *

All-purpose cleaner 
(good for windows, mirrors and toilets 
(add in some baking soda), etc.)

16 oz. water (2 cups)
2 oz. vinegar  (1/4 cup)

 *  * *

Anti-bacterial cleaner  
 (for good deep cleaning, toilets 
(that lingering little boy potty smell...yup), 
anything you need to disinfect!

16 oz. water
10-100 drops anti-bacterial essential oil blend (recipe HERE). 

Note: On the post with the anti-bacterial recipe I suggest 100 drops per 2 cups water for cleaning.  I've been using 10 drops per 2 cups.  There is still a scent there and it does seem to work pretty well.  If you have a more difficult area to clean you might want to up it a bit.  I'm all for saving money!

January 20, 2014

Cheesy Potato Mash

We had left-over potatoes in the fridge from a meal of roasted chicken, smashed potatoes, and veggies the other night.  Hubby decided to get creative!

The measurements aren't real precise so you'll have to make it to "taste".  The flavor and consistency sort of resembles a twice baked potato.

Ingredients you'll need are:
  • Left-over smashed potatoes (or mashed if you don't like the skins)
  • Cheese (we used cheddar, but you could use co-jack, pepper jack, or any other kind you like)
  • Seasoning of some sort.  We used a hickory burger seasoning. (pictured below)
  • Toppings such as crumbled bacon, onions, chives, etc.

 Picture courtesy of

What to do:
  • Brush a thin layer of olive oil on a griddle or skillet and heat it up to 375 degrees
  • Put a few mounds of smashed potatoes on the griddle
  • Sprinkle on seasoning and stir around in the potatoes a little bit in their little pile to warm them
  • Sprinkle on cheese and any other toppings that you desire
  • Serve and enjoy! 

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