Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Not the Season I expected

It is another strange Christmas season in our world!

Last year we were out of town with the pipeliners job until the 23rd of December.
The only decorating that I got done was my little table top tree that lit up our camper.

By the glow of those lights I spent many nights looking at pictures of my favorites blog pages.
The beautifully decorated rooms that they shared for all of us to admire.
I smiled as I imagined how I would use this idea or that idea in my home for next years holiday season.

 Then we sold the house in town.

Before the move I sold quite a few of my Christmas decorations.
They wouldn't look quite right at the farmhouse.

I did save a few.
( Love my little putz house)

(A few Christmas figurines I bought last year while out of town.)

Then a month ago we decided to buy the new house.
My mind sure hasn't been on decorating the farmhouse for Christmas.

It has been on all of the things we need to get done for the move.

On top of that the pipeliner got called out of state for another job.
He won't be home until Christmas Eve!

I have been busy, busy filling  some big orders for my home made noodles.

The last batch gets delivered tomorrow!

The best part of the season so far has been little mans first trip to visit Santa.

He was just amazed at the man in the red suit!

So again I have my spent my nights looking at my favorites blog pages.
Admiring your lovingly decorated holiday homes.
Dreaming about how my new home will look next Christmas season!

(Another sneak peek of the new house)

Oh boy, I can hardly wait!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

French Toast Sugar Cookies

I said I wasn't going to do any Christmas cookie baking this year.
Then my Bible study group decided to do a little cookie exchange.
I baked a batch of peanut butter blossoms for that.

The pipeliner wanted to take some to the guys at work.
I baked some sugar cookie cut outs.

Then the son called.
Gee mom it sure would be nice if you sent me some Christmas cookies.

He has been in New Jersey working since August.
Plus it has been a real tough fall with everything that has happened.
How could I tell him no?

This was my son 27 years ago!

He has loved French Toast ever since he could eat it! 
Every morning I would ask what would you like for breakfast?
French Toast!, he would yell down the steps.

When I came across this recipe last spring, I knew who I would be making them for, the son.

Yum, French toast cookies!

I baked him a big batch of these!

This the other request he had.

Heck, these are so easy to make.

I decided to bake him some peanut butter blossoms and a batch of chocolate crinkles.

That should hold him over until he can get home for Christmas.

I packaged them up, headed to the post office to be shipped out East.
I don't think they got there yet do to the bad weather.

But I bet he will be thrilled when he opens his care package from mom!

Spring 2013

French Toast Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick butter), slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cream sugar and butter;add egg and beat until combined.
Add dry ingredients to sifter and sift.
Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture while mixing. 
Then add the vanilla and stir.
Chill 30 minutes before rolling out.
Roll out and cut into squares.
Bake 375 F. for 10-11 minutes.
Let cool then frost.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened
1 lb powdered sugar
2-3 tsp. maple extract
2-4 tbsp. milk, or to desired consistency

Cream softened butter with 1 cup powdered sugar. Then slowly add in the rest.
Add maple extract. 
Add milk to spreading consistency.

I sprinkled a little sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Here We Go Again!

Things are about ready to change in our world again.
We made the decision to leave our little farm house.

It has been almost 2 years since we laid our eyes on this little piece of property.

The property had been neglected for a few years.

We purchased the farm in January of 2012.
It seemed like forever before the snow melted and we could start working around the yard.

And there was lots of work to do!

After a many days of raking, pulling weeds and one awful bout of poison ivy we got it done!

What a difference a year makes!

The next project was the house itself.

The poor roof was weighed down with 6 layers of shingles. 
The workers swore they heard it breath a sigh of relief when the last layer was removed.

Each room needed a little TLC.

The living room was a hodge podge of colors and uneven wall paper boarders.

The only thing I didn't want to change was the farmstyle kitchen. 

The cabinets were made by a former tenant.

We have put a lot of time, love and money into this property!
It became a relaxing weekend retreat for us.

Then this spring we decided lets make it our permanent home.
The house in town went on the market.
We were so excited when it sold and the farm could be our full time home.
But soon after the move it became apparent the space was just to small.

I love to entertain, and the house just won't hold more than a few people comfortably.

A few ideas floated around.
Lets add on.
Maybe build a new house.

But that would mean tearing down a great little house that was built in 1861.

We just couldn't do that.

The hubby is always scanning the real estate pages.

He came across a house only a few miles up the road.
We went back and forth about making an appointment to look at it.
On a Friday night last month we took that step.

I cried!
It felt like home!

We made an offer the next day.

The sellers accepted!

But my heart still felt bad for leaving this little farm.

That Saturday night a tragic thing happened.

My sons girlfriend was killed in an auto accident not far from the house.

Our once scenic view will always hold the memory of all the emergency lights that horrible night.

I knew it was time to go!

The papers will be signed on the 27th.
A late Christmas present to us!

We haven't yet decided what to do with this little farm house.

I am sure God will guide the right person to this property, just like he did for us!

Two moves in one year?

We must be crazy!

Very blessed, but crazy!

Here is a sneak peak of the new house.
It sits on 5 acres!
Lots of room, but lots more things to tackle!

Ready or not here we come!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Cranberry Orange Upside-Down Spice Cake

Its a cold day out in northern Illinois!
And on these cold days there is no better way of keeping warm then doing a little baking in the kitchen.

I have been wanting to try out some recipes that came in my favorite magazine this fall.

In the September/October issue, there was a fantastic article on cooking in your cast iron skillet.
Many mouth watering recipes were included. 
We were staying in the camper at the time, not an ideal place to try them out, so I stuck the magazine away for later use.

This morning I decided to get my iron skillet out and try the first recipe.

Thats when I noticed the skillet was getting a little dull in the middle.
I am usually good about cleaning it out after each use and then oiling it up for the next time.
I will put the blame on the hubby for not putting it away right! lol..

First things first.

I rubbed it down with shortening and let it season in a 350 F. oven for an hour.

Back to new and ready to use!

The recipe I tried out was called 
Cranberry Orange Upside-Down Cake

It looked pretty tastey before it ever went in the oven!

How pretty is that?

It even came out of the pan like it was supposed to when I flipped it!

Not quite enough of the gooey sauce for me.

But I am sure the pipeliner will enjoy it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

There are still a few more recipes I am going to try out.
Spinach Sausage Skillet Pizza, Caramel Pecan Skillet Brownies and Roast Chicken with pan Sauce are next on the list!

I guess I forgot all of the good things you can whip up with your favorite cast iron skillet!

Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Here and there

Once again time has got away from me and blog land!

 We have been enjoying some beautiful scenes at the farm.
I love watching the sunrise from the back door.

Even our first snowfall covering the yard.

The sunsets can't be beat either!

The pipeliner did take some time off so we could do a little traveling.

Down the road we roll!

First stop was St Louis. 

The favorite on this trip was a tour of the Budweiser brewery.

Its free, and you can sample the beer at the end.

I never get tired of looking at these amazing creatures!

We were lucky to see the whole team in their stalls!

Next was visiting relatives in Arkansas.
They have some beautiful views  from those the mountain tops.

And the views at the bottoms are just as spectacular!

This waterfall is on an aunts property. I could listen to its trickling all day long!

It was nice being gone. We enjoyed visiting with relatives we don't see very often. But its always great to be back home!

Plus grandma sure missed this little face!

Time to get busy thinking about baking, shopping and decorating!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Canning and Crafting!

I can't believe that so much time has passed without an entry from me!
I have still been busy getting the last of the seasons harvests put away for the winter.

Like I didn't already have enough stuff to do, I decided to sign up for a few local craft shows.

My biggest seller has always been my noodles.

They are so easy to make!
The drying time takes a little longer though.
I sold all but one bag, and even got a few orders for the holiday season!

At the last craft show I decided to add a few different flavors to my caramel corn that I always make.

You can find my recipe here.

The biggest seller was a Mocha Munch!

I even took a few orders from customers that enjoyed my popcorn so much! 

I purchased a Whoopie Pie pan from my niece who was selling them for a school fundraiser.

They were a big seller as well!

The pumpkin filled with cream cheese frosting were the best!

I love doing craft shows!
More for the conversation of fellow crafters, then for the money making aspect.

Mean while, I was still trying to find things to make with my bountiful supply of apples!

I tried my hand at canning apple pie filling.

The filling turned out great!
Clear-Jel is my new canning best friend!
But the apples I had left were small, and took for ever to peel and slice.
I decided just to dry them for decorations.

Just soak them in a little lemon juice and pop them in a 200 F. oven for the afternoon.
The middle of an apple has such a pretty design.

The last thing I got into my freezer was pumpkin!

I took advantage of all the leftover pumpkins that didn't make it into jack-o-lanterns.

That is it!
I am done now for the rest of the month!
No more baking or making until December.
Then its time to start the holiday baking season.
( I really can't wait for that!)

Plus this grandma is ready to take sometime to spend with the cutest monster ever!

And lastly,
today is Veterans Day!
Thank you to all of the men and women who serve our country, and who have served!
You are remembered!