Monday, November 30, 2009

Just for Today....

I'm enjoying the quiet.

It's rare when I crash.

I normally go and GO and go some more.

But today, I can't go.

Head hurts.

Body hurts.


Need to recover.

Just to BE.

I'm enjoying the quiet.

More than that, though, I NEED it.

How are YOU feeling this Monday after Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Headin' to the Deer Woods...

Dad and son heading to the deer blind. They are actually at least a quarter mile from the house here, I used my telephoto.

Mr. Redbone Hound keeps his eye on anything that "isn't supposed to be there" and he knows who those hunters are, but keeps his eye on them anyway. He secretly wishes he could deer hunt, too. He actually loves to watch hunting shows on the outdoor channel and will sit and wait and wait to see an animal. He knows when the hunters whisper that they're getting ready to shoot and he gets as excited as the hunter. We like to say that Duke watches a "magic window" which is the television because he "hunts" on television more than he does in real life!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

For Thanksgiving we have a few being that we never decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over, either inside or outside. (So tomorrow will find me schlepping the pumpkins and corn shocks and gourds to a wheelbarrow and dumping them all and perhaps de-tangling the Christmas lights.)

Another tradition is that we use some special dishes that we only use for Thanksgiving dinner and they include these vintage pheasant glasses...

As well as these vintage ironstone dishes with the bittersweet pattern...bought by my husband while we were dating. He bought them because I was coming to his house for Thanksgiving dinner and he wanted nice dishes for us, instead of his mismatched bachelor goods.

So....we used them for our dishes as newlyweds and then, when I got new at some point, I decided that we would keep these to use always for Thanksgiving dinner. Our kids have heard the story of these dishes so many times that they can recite it to us...!

Another tradition is our Thanksgiving morning cinnamon rolls....made the night before so we can watch the parade and not worry about what's for breakfast. I can get right to dinner prep if there's no breakfast mess to worry about! Cinnamon rolls aren't that filling so I consider it a "light" breakfast, even though there's a stick of butter in the pan! (Don't tell anybody!)

Two pumpkin pies, plain with just a bit of extra ground cloves and cinnamon, with no fancy topping like nuts, served with homemade whipped cream.

Mmmm....Thanksgiving is so worth looking forward to and I find it fun to cook for it simply for the smells...they're heavenly!

Another tradition is that we clean up from dinner, and then kick off the Christmas season with an evening at a movie theater, and come back home for leftovers and pie. To kick the Christmas season off with all of us going to a Christmas movie (whenever possible), just seems right.

This year, we watched "The Blind Side" and I heartily recommend it. It's not a "Christmas" movie per se, but it did include Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays toward the beginning of the movie. I can't say enough good about this movie, if you get a chance, go see it! Guys especially love the story and Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw are the main characters and did an awesome job. Anyone who remotely loves football will love this heartwarming, true story!

Our menu is boring to some perhaps, very predictable, very traditional...

This year it was fun to look at the table and see all that we had grown ourselves in the garden, such a good feeling and we're thankful for a good year from the garden.

Oldest son....for whom I am so thankful (and he's wishing I would stop with the camera already!).

Mr. Farmhouse...I can always count on him (always, so thankful!) for help with anything I need while I'm making dinner.

Being the only girl in the house now (Jamie lives many states away!) the boys always rib me about lighting candles for special dinners. I can take the ribbing and I light the suckers up anyhow!

Son number two makes it a point to never smile for the camera if he can get away with it....thankfully today he sorta smiled.

And he makes it his business to dispense quickly with at least a half-dozen of the homemade dinner rolls, another tradition.

And we all like lots and lots of turkey, and value the leftovers for turkey sandwiches. Cooking for Thanksgiving is totally worth it just for the leftovers!

Of course, we missed Jamie and Thad today, but we'll be seeing them at Christmas time. They're always in our thoughts when we're not together on a holiday. I posted these pictures mainly so she could see that we're still doing everything the same as we always have!

What are some of YOUR Thanksgiving traditions??

And, just to keep it real......this is what I had to deal with all day long on Wednesday!!

Purty, ain't it? Real purty!

MMM.....yup, the SEPTIC TANK!

NOW PLUG YOUR NOSE...and don't toss your cookies, this is life in the country, you know! And it's NOT ALWAYS PRETTY!

I woke up Wednesday morning ready to put on an apron, turn on the radio and hum and bake and cook all day long, but the septic tank decided to BURP and man did that burp stink!

I thought, man, what in the world IS THAT? (The nose knows!) Well, my nose wouldn't leave me alone and I was all over this house sniffin' and lookin' and checkin' trash cans and dumpin' them, looked in the fridge, checked anything and everything I could think of.

Then I went in our second bathroom and WHOOOOOOOEY!!! I knew instantly.

I called my husband with the dreaded news (and thanked God that it happened on Wednesday and not TODAY!!) and he came home and uncovered it
(these are the times when I'm glad I'm not the man, know what I mean??!) and hooked up the hose.

Meantime, I got ahold of the yellow pages and the septic guy got here a couple hours later (you talk about a crappy job!). Well, the nice fella with the big red tank truck with the bull painted on the back (!!!!) got half the tank done, and came to the door and said he had to go dump it (yes, he said "go dump it", really he did!) and he'd be back in several hours! Okay...

Well, he left that beautiful green hose laying on the yard until three hours later when he came back, finished the job and left. WHAT A STENCH we were blessed with while that tank lay open for four hours!!!!!! We couldn't let the dogs out and w
hile we had no septic I couldn't finish the laundry, run the dishwasher, clean the bathrooms....practically nothing that I had on my list to do that day. So I did other chores that involved no water.

Once he left, we
opened the windows and aired the house out and I got myself busy and completed a whole days' worth of work in the hours between six and one thirty in the morning.

I'm tired.

I'm thankful for indoor plumbing, I really am.

And I'm also thankful for septic service. Truly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for....

So thankful for the chance, once again this year, to be here to say THANKS.

Thank you God, for blessing our family this year, for preserving us, for your mercy and your grace.



The first Thanksgiving in our farmhouse, 1991, was a cold, dark blustery day. We had moved in only weeks before. But it was warm inside, and I steamed up the windows making a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It was a good time, a special holiday in our "new" old house. As we were eating in the dining room, just outside the window, we watched snow start to fall.

It wasn't just a few flurries, it was huge, fluffy snowballs falling from the sky! They were coming fast and furious. It was beautiful and like being inside of your very own snow globe.

It wasn't long before the ground was covered, and when the dishes were all done and put away, it was soon time to pull out the snow pants and boots, and the kids and their dad and I all went outside and there was enough snow to build a nice snowman, the first of the season. Building the first snowman is always a fun-filled time and lots of laughing and leaves happy kids with very pink cheeks!

Soon the dryer is running with wet, matted snowy mittens and scarves and wet snow pants, and the wonderful smell of snow all around you. (Yes, snow does have a smell, it's a totally clean, fresh, snappy smell!)

The tea kettle whistles and soon those pink-cheeked kids are sipping hot cocoa with a marshmallow on top.

That Thanksgiving Day was almost magical to me, and I will always remember it. Having moved in just days before, I took it as a sign that we would have many happy days in this old house. Turns out that was true and for that, I am thankful.

And now, I can't help myself, I always find myself watching for another magical snow on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Pan Each for Dinner & Desert

Bloggers are such helpful people....they're the virtual friend over the back fence....just miles and miles away in....say, TEXAS! I got this delicious recipe from Tina at Cherry Hill Cottage and I knew I had to try it. It just so happens I have a friend who is pretty much taking care of her elderly mom full time after a fall broke her pelvis.

So, knowing that I wanted to make this recipe, I offered to take dinner one night for her own family as well as her mom and step dad. I just couldn't wait to see if they all liked it. They did! So, it's a keeper, and here's the link to "Shirley's Chicken Pot Pie"....thanks TINA! (I'm smiling at you and waving wildly over the back fence...!)

And, another blog-wonder, whose blog I've read since its inception, is Ree, over at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. I've long ago lost count of the awesome recipes of hers that I've tried, and this one is just the best for this time of year. I happened to have plenty of apples on hand the day I took the Chicken Pot Pie over so I tried her Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet and HOLY COW WOW!

I wasn't able to invert it on a plate like she recommends because I was carrying the meal to the family, but it smelled absolutely HEAVENLY and looked gorgeous and was even easy to assemble. I'm always up for an iron skillet recipe!
This "neighbor" happens to be talented in many areas, especially in photography, has multiple blogs and is a ranching wife way over in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. She home schools all her punks and even managed to find time to write a cookbook!

With recipes like this one, she will be a top seller in no time because all her readers have pre-ordered and we're for sure going to tell our friends about it and give it for Christmas gifts!



Monday, November 23, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins...

On a chilly fall or winter morning, these muffins just hit the spot for a light breakfast maybe with some fruit or yogurt on the side, and with a steaming cup of tea or a hot cup of coffee. Or, they'll gladly serve as a light dessert at the end of a meal of soup and salad. They're my kind of muffins, woman. You will soon see why. And if you make them, you will TASTE why!

They're cinnamon-y.

They're chunk-y.

They're full of crunch-y.

(Like me. Hah!)

Check this recipe and see all the GOOD STUFF contained therein!

Morning Glory Muffins
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
(these muffins freeze well)
Yield 16 muffins

in one bowl, sift together:
1-1/4 c. sugar
2-1/4 c. flour
1 T. ground cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

then get ready and set aside:
1/2 c. shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 c. raisins
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
8 oz. pineapple shredded or tidbits, drained
2 c. grated carrots
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped

in another bowl, whisk together:
3 large eggs
1 c. veg. oil
(or substitute some of the oil with applesauce, that's what I do.)
1 t. vanilla

Mix the oil/egg mixture with the dry ingredients, then stir in your pineapple, raisins, etc.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake them for about 35 minutes, taking care not to burn. Remove from oven when the top springs back.

(I imagine you could substitute some of the carrots for zuchinni.)

Cool slightly and enjoy!

See how the muffins are nice and chunky?

Sometimes I make these in my gigantic muffin tins, and wrap them individually when they're cooled. Then they can either be given away or frozen in a Ziploc if you have them leftover.

This is the time of year that baking brings a cheerfulness to the home that we need on those dark, dreary, gray days. Share some with a neighbor or a friend or a teacher.

They'll be glad you did!

(Now, where'd I set my cup of coffee?)

I now have all my recipes in their own little recipe box, HERE....for easy access. On the sidebar is each recipe I've published since I began this blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks....For Giving

This afternoon I blog-hopped for a bit and found myself over at
Meadowbrook Farm.

While I was there I read about Teresa's "Compassion International" girl she sponsors throughout the year. What a neat post, and so to take off on her idea of sharing what it is we all do this time of year---I thought I would tell you who it is we share with like Jesus taught us to do. After all, it is a season of Thanksgiving and it's followed by a celebration of the Lord's birth. What better way to show His love than to GIVE?

For a long time, I've participated in a program by Samaritan's Purse called "THE SHOEBOX PROJECT" and that's something that I'm sure most of you have heard of. If not, you can read more about it here. I just dropped off my shoebox items this afternoon in a town nearby. If you're too late for the shoebox items, you can always donate toward the shipping of these items at the website.

Not only does Samaritan's purse assemble and wrap all our donations through the shoebox project for gifts for kids around the world at Christmastime, they are up and running all year with disaster relief around the world. As needed, they can, in a short time, have jets ready with supplies to fly wherever they're needed. They help at home and abroad and always with the message of Christ's love.

They also put out a catalog (here's a link to their great online catalog), that looks very much like the one above, that allows the giver to choose what to buy for an individual or a village in a third-world country.

This is a great way to teach kids about compassion, sharing and thinking of others, as they look through the gifts that can range in price from under $10 to the thousands. If you want to buy medicine or immunizations for one family or a whole village, or livestock for one family or a whole village, you can.

If you'd like to buy a single blanket, you can.

My son and I always gravitate toward the pages with the livestock. Usually we get chickens because we loved ours so much and because the eggs will feed the kids nutritious and pure protein, and the chickens will undoubtedly multiply and the flock can expand and the extra eggs can be sold to make income for the families in the village.

I am so glad that there are organizations out there like Samaritans Purse and Compassion International who help us get our giving to the people that need it.

It's as simple as can be. We can do a little or a lot, but we can all do something. I think in times of economic downturn, it's more important than ever to help because God honors the sacrificial giver.

Spread the word, and tell on your blog how you give at Christmas time.

(This year it seems that we are hearing it told around the world about how SORRY someone is about actions of the U.S.A., and I would like to remind us all that our America is the most compassionate of all countries.

I don't know what kind of people dear leader hangs with, but most all the people I know are compassionate and care and take action, especially now but all year long, too.)

And we are compassionate without being forced to be.
We do it because we want to obey Christ.

Scenic Sunday: Black & White

Snow in Black & White

Halfway to the top of Pike's Peak
Taken by Jamie
August, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Golden Grain....

Taken yesterday, just outside the front door....

And this, taken with a telephoto, just outside the back door and way across the fields of the neighbor's grain bins; they are the ones who farm the land all around us. Thank heaven for the farmer....

It's an unusually nice day here in Michigan for late fall. I have quilts and sheets hanging on the line! Last year by now we'd had snow and cold, cold weather. I just saw a big group of Harleys go by the house, and a few classic cars have been up and down the road today. I got the Mustang out and started 'er up, backed her out of the barn and let her run for a bit and vacuumed her out. I would have loved to wash her, but being in the pole barn all winter, Sally would just get dusty again in no time.

Doesn't it seems like this year has just flown by!?

I hope you have a good Saturday!

Pine Hollow Lodge: Blueberry Kitchen

It's a chilly, chilly morning at Pine Hollow Lodge . Come on in!

In the kitchen are custom-made Amish cabinets and it's decorated in a special blueberry theme inspired by a childhood book Mary enjoyed called "Blueberries for Sal". Mary designed the cabinets and the Amish built them for her. They are made of Ash.

On the side of one end of the base cabinets is tucked a little display shelf. Here she displays a favorite tea set, perfect for hot cocoa!

I found two kinds of berry fabric in my stash and sent it up to her. She inserted the muslin strip between the two and stamped it with blue ink using individual letter stamps with lines quoted from the book. Clever, huh?

A built-in corner china cabinet full of blue beauty.

Mary had the book, Blueberries for Sal taken apart and matted and framed in very large frame at a frame shop. It makes a nice graphic display for a very large wall. Above it hangs a blueberry wreath I picked up at a garage sale. So much fun when a room is a "theme".

My favorite piece in the room is a chalkboard and calendar frame Mary had made for the wall by phone with a magnet board at the top for memos using leftover tin backsplash from the walls. Also this stool is an antique store find and a bright spot for a guest to sit and visit while dinner is finished. Cute apron, too, eh?

Mary's back splash is real tin and is a bright spot in contrast to all the wood in the kitchen. Cobalt pendant lights hang from the tongue and groove pine ceiling to brighten the corners.

A perfectly blueberry tea kettle sits on the stove waiting to whistle for a cup of hot cocoa.

Are you chilly?

Let's go sit down with chubby cups of cocoa...shall we?

Hope you're keepin' warm today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Market, To Market

Last weekend when we went to Illinois, we went knowing that there would be a Christmas sale at Stone Meadow Farm and we decided to drive up so we could go to the sale and meet Joy and Ang. (Read about the sale from Joy's point of view here.)

We missed the full inventory, their sale the night before had been a blow-out. But we were glad we went, and there was still plenty of inventory to choose from. And here I'm showing you some of the goodies I picked up. The Christmas mood started that day with mulled cider in the french-country style farmhouse kitchen. These vintage ornaments were packaged to show their shine through the cellophane.

If we'd had a truck, we could have brought home some farm style antique furniture! There were some really nice pieces at reasonable prices.

It was such a pretty day outside and the drive was pleasant, the surrounding area to this farm was beautiful rolling hills and countryside.

I also picked up this piece of wool with cobalt blue plaid pattern for when I re-do the family room (it will eventually match the kitchen and cobalt and red as the main colors) and the old enamelware pitcher trimmed in cobalt blue which will be placed in the family room, too. That's a project for after Christmas.

Below are some finds from the little resale shoppe in Ang's town where I picked up a few things I could pack into the trunk in a small space. The whole shoppe was full of painted furniture and each room had a color theme. It was pink in the first room and as you moved through the shoppe, the colors changed. I didn't think to take a picture of the different rooms but I did take a quick shot of Ang and in this photo you can see how cute the resale shoppe was!

That little pink wicker dressing table makes me want to make sure that I have a pink room somewhere in the house!

I found this tiny cupcake tin that works perfectly with my tiny child's stove that sits on my kitchen counter!

I don't know what I'm going to do with this, but it's an old set of Christmas candy canes the have a light on each. Some of the candy canes are broken and some of the light clamps are broken so I bought myself a project but am going to try to figure out a way to make them usable again. Love the old lights whose colors are so different from our new C-9's.

And these are vintage pillowcases I couldn't help but take home with me. The crocheted edges are in perfect condition and I can't imagine how long these took to complete.

And check out the clever use of an old deck of cards used for tags, all items in the shoppe were priced this way.

And the owner of the resale shoppe was such a nice lady, she let me "play" with her old cash register. It's very very similar to the one I used on my very first job. I love how these old registers sound and the bell that rings when the door opens.

We loved our visit to Illinois and meeting Ang and Joy, and all the shopping we were able to fit in in just a short time!