She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Work and Play

There is just nothing like combining a little fun with your work to make the task pleasant and memorable rather than drudgery.

We did just that this week as we cleaned up our winter wood stack. Ridding the area of the base layer of logs that were really unusable indoors, we made such a pleasant campfire. And no campfire is complete without a few hot dogs and marshmellows to roast. Smores are just one my favorite treats!

Here are a few photos of our memorable evening.

Jase and Jeffrey enjoying each other's company by the fire.

The whole gang

Colton enjoying his meal.

Luke admiring his Dad. (I sure hope he looks at me that way!)

Jase enjoying his newborn kitten ~ Marshmellow!

... and I just couldn't resist including this photo that Colton took of a lone hot dog. When it showed up in my slideshow, I just couldn't stop laughing. It looks so funny just sitting there. Must be my weird sense of humor! LOL

Take a little time to enjoy every moment!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From My Kitchen ~ Cappuccino Brownies

Well okay, its not REALLY Monday but somehow that day just got away with me. Spring time is beckoning me to the outdoors and I simply cannot resist the call!

However, I did want to post this yummy recipe for Cappuccino Brownies. My son, Jase, made this and entered it into the County Fair. He took home a 1st Place Blue Ribbon so you know it has to be good! So if you love the blend of coffee & chocolate, give these a try!


4 1 oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4 c butter, melted
2 c sugar
5 eggs, divided
1 t vanilla extract
3 T instant coffee granules
1-1/4 c plus 2 T all-purpose flour, divided

8 oz. pkg, cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Place chocolate and butter into a large bowl; stir in 2 cups sugar until well blended. Mix in 4 eggs, vanilla and coffee. Stir in 1-1/4 cups flour until combined.

Spread in a greased, foil-lined 13x9 baking pan.

Now beat the cream cheese, sugar, remaining egg, 2 T flour and cinnamon in same bowl until well blended. Spoon this mixture over brownie batter and swirl with a butter knife to marble the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Eat the crumbs because you want want to waste one little bit of these delicious brownies! LOL

Cool in pan. Cut into squares. Makes 24 brownies.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Pleasures

This weekend has been full of outdoor work and lots of fun!

As a family, we planted flowers, reseeded the lawn that we began last year, as well as tilled and resowed areas that are just so poor that reseeding isn't going to help much.

The north and west sides of our home are beginning to look like an emerald bowl now that the trees are filling in. I am so pleased with the way it turned out ... especially since we have no idea what we're doing! LOL I want to put a picnic table right out in the middle of those two trees and eat lunch there every day that the sun shines.

My mom and dad bought me that sweet little bird bath for my birthday. I hope to create a butterfly & bird garden right around it to draw nature down from the tree tops where we can enjoy their company!

In between our work times, my boys convinced me that I must swing from their vine. So I climbed up their homemade tree ladder where they pulled the vine to me so I could get ready to swing.

Before I knew it, that vine pulled me right out of the tree and it was all I could do to wrap my legs around the vine before plummeting to the ground.

It was soooo fun! And I have the bruised legs to prove it! LOL Actually I can hardly wait to heal so I can try it again. Some folks just never grow up!

Finally, here is a little crock that I got at a yard sale. I purchased two old meat grinders from the dear woman holding the sale and when she saw me looking at this crock that was cracked, she told me to just take it home! I did just that and with a little gorilla glue, it made a perfect little planter for this pretty red geranium. Even the hummingbirds thought so because they have been visiting it frequently.

Wishing you joy today,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buried Treasure

My husband found this pretty little flower out in the pasture. He dug it up and brought it home for me to plant in my flower garden. (So sorry about the picture quality.) It has a 1 inch double bloom and is highly fragrant ~ almost like lilac. Does anyone know what it is?

And while he was digging this bloom, he heard a "clink" so he kept digging. No, it wasn't an old lock box full of gold. Wouldn't that have been nice? But it sure was treasure!

He unearthed this old enamelware coffee pot. Isn't it lovely? The bottom has rusted through in a couple of spots so it makes a perfect planter.

I cleaned it all up, and now it holds a small potted ivy for my kitchen. I just love the red trim on it.

Our land had been owned by the same family for generations. It sort of got separated from their main parcel by the country road and so finally the owner chose to sell off this 16 acre parcel to us about 10 years ago. (Lucky us ~ well not really ~ the Lord just blessed us to pieces!) He tells us there was an old log house here that he sold many years ago. We continue to uncover evidence of the previous owners, and it is so exciting.

We found several old jars (the large ones) while on a hike as well. Just a wee bit of one of the jars was sticking up from the ground. So we got our trusty shovels and went to work. The result now lives on my kitchen windowsill where I can enjoy their beauty and restablish the history of this place. Who knows what we'll find next!

May your day be blessed,

Monday, April 21, 2008

From My Kitchen ~ Amish Style Oven Fried Chicken

This yummy recipes comes from Patty at Morning Ramble. It was sooo good. And I loved the fact that I didn't have to stand over it and wait for it to get done. I just put it in the oven and went outside until my timer told me it was time to open the oven!

My family loved it too! Do you see the little white spot on one of the chicken pieces on the right? That is where my husband simply could not wait until I took the photo. I had to make him put that piece back on the serving plate until I could snap this shot. Now that's a testimonial! LOL Thanks Patty!

Amish Style Oven Fried Chicken
serves 4-5

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (2/3 stick) butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (optional)
8-9 chicken pieces - legs, thighs, breasts

Place the oil and butter in a shallow cooking pan (a jelly roll pan is perfect) and put in a preheated 375 oven to melt. Set aside.

In a large paper sack, combine the flour and seasonings. Roll the chicken pieces, 3 at a time, in the melted oil-butter mixture, then drop them in the sack and shake to cover.

Place on a dish or wax paper until you have them all done.

Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Bake for 45 minutes.

With a spatula, turn over and bake 5-10 minutes longer, or until the top crust begins to bubble. Serve hot or cold, but the crust texture is better if the chicken is not refrigerated before eating.

I did not have a paper bag on hand when I made this chicken. I used a 1 gallon zipper bag. However, I do believe the coating would have been much better had I followed the instructions. So try to get that paper bag before you give this a try. I know I will.

The pan drippings make a tasty gravy. We had mashed potaotes & corn on the cob as our sides. It was like an old-fashioned country picnic ... without the ants!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Darling Quilt by Mom

I just have to share this beautiful quilt that my Mom just completed as a gift for my dad. All the applique work is hand-stitched! AND I was so proud of her when she adapted the classic "Farmer Boy" design by adding the fishing pole with the fish to reflect my Dad's love for the sport.

Isn't her work just amazing? She is already working on two Tennessee Volunteer quilts for my nephews. I can hardly wait to share those as well.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Country Boys

Springtime holds special joys for country boys. Today my country boys enjoyed all its pleasures.

... running the woods with their paint ball buddies

... swinging on vines

... relaxing in a hammock

It is so sweet to be a country kid!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Afternoon Outdoors

I had the most glorious day! This afternoon, the boys & I took our science class outdoors as we learned about plants & roots, perennials & annuals, sun & shade. It was so pleasant! The warm sun felt so good and the air was sweet with new blooms. Ahhhhhh ....

.... and we transformed one little corner of our world into a pretty flower bed. It's just a little spot at the end of the ramp off the back deck but it turned out so pretty.

There are some pretty little variagated hostas that I planted from roots last year. I thought they had been lost to the drought but they came back. Hurray!

Then we surrounded the area with rocks that we harvested ourselves. I just love when we can beautify our environment at little or no cost, don't you? We ran out but I hope that we can gather the remaining rocks sometime this week.

The boys worked hard to add some Lily of the Valley roots. I just adore that flower. The fragrance is so sweet and the little white bell flowers are so simple & pure.

Song of Solomon 2 "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."

Then we filled in the area with some inexpensive pine mulch. Ta da!

Here I am wearing another "thrifty find" apron from our fun yard sale trip this weekend. It is so perfect for gardening ~ crafted from heavy denim and lined with muslin. It has hand stenciled accents and even came with with matching gardening gloves ... but I just had to wear my orange ones today!

Finally, I planted some annual flower seeds. It is always such fun around here because it NEVER fails that I forget where I put my planting "map" and when summer rolls around, I get all sorts of colorful surprises! LOL


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thrifty Treasures

During my special yard sale trip, I found so many treasures. I want to share one of the treasures that Cousin Wilma bought for me for only $3 ... an apple peeler. Thank you, Wilma!

I've always wanted one. I just love devices that work without electricity. I love their simplicity and using my own energy to operate them. I guess this would fit under the category "Another weird thing about me." LOL

Well I discovered that my boys are fascinated with it too! If you want your children to eat more apples, just attach one of these handy contraptions to a table in your kitchen. You will just see that big bowl of apples simply disappear.

And though I didn't get a picture, husband's love these things too! I caught Jeffrey peeling two apples just for fun. (Some boys just never grow up!)


Monday, April 14, 2008

From My Kitchen ~ Free Recipe Book!

Today I want to tell you about a whole book full of recipes that you can get free from Gooseberry Patch & Sun Maid Raisins ~ no strings attached. You can choose either FALL FAVORITES or FAMILY FAVORITE RECIPES or choose by putting an "x" in the first box!

Just click on one of the books above to go to the page. Fill out the form. Hit send. And before you know it, a wonderful recipe book will arrive in your mailbox.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Apron Crazy!

I have gone apron crazy! Certifiably! My workspace is covered in fabrics, linens & trims. The sewing machine is humming at all hours. And I'm having so much fun.

Here is my latest apron creation. It is crafted from the "Harvest Apron" pattern in MaryJane's Ideabook using Mary Engelbreit fabric.

The large panel on the front is actually one big pocket. It is perfect for gathering eggs or vegetables from the garden. Or for wearing around the house and picking up stray items as I tidy my home. I thought it was a bit too short for most people, but then I realized that its size was intentionally created so that you can gather items in the pockets without them knocking against your knees! That MaryJane sure knows her business!

Here is another apron that I made for my blogging buddy ~ Katy at The Country Blossom.

I hope to have some more lovely "Harvest Aprons" in my FarmhouseBlessings etsy shop soon!


Monday, April 7, 2008

From My Kitchen ~ Morning Glory Muffins

We just love muffins for breakfast. This is a wonderfully delicious recipe that includes fruits, nuts & vegetables. And they freeze well so make a double batch and you can have that fresh baked taste next week with little effort!

2 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c sugar
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 c carrots, grated
1/2 c flaked coconut
1/2 c raisins
1 apple, peeled, cored & diced
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
3 eggs
1 c oil
2 t vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine flour,sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in carrots, coconut, raisins, apple and nuts.

In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into flour mixtures.

Spoon into greased muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes. Makes 16 large muffins.

So simple! This is also a great recipe to "mix it up" a bit. I usually make mine without the coconut but add more apple. Even try some different spices. But believe me, they are perfect just the way they are as well!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Hero ~ Miss Arbie

Miss Arbie is my neighbor and friend. She lives in a sweet little house at the end of the road. I pass her home each time I go to town. It's not unusual to see her outside hoeing in her garden. Or at Christmas, using that same hoe to hang her Christmas lights to the top corner of her outbuilding. Or hanging all her rugs across the porch for a good beating.

The amazing thing is that Miss Arbie is 85 years old this year. She is the most tenacious woman I have ever met. She battled breast cancer within the last five year and has emerged victorious from that battle. I'm not surprised. She just doesn't give up!

On top of all of that, she has a heart of gold. When we first moved into this small community, we were strangers in every sense of the word. But Miss Arbie reached out a hand of friendship to us. She made us feel welcome & loved. When we went through some tough times with our son's illness, she showed up at our front door with a bag of fresh garden vegetables, a smile and word of encouragement.

When I grow up, I want to be Miss Arbie! She's my hero!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thrifty Treasures

I just had to share two wonderful thrifty treasures that my husband brought home for me. I would not have been happier if he had showed up with a diamond ring!

This first fruit box ($1) I lined with a warm blanket for my outdoor cat, Shy. He sleeps curled up in it every night. Don't you just love that colorful label?

I turned this rustic box ($2)on its side as a wonderfully primitive side table for my old chair ~ a $5 thrift find! I think I'm going to add a nice pot of geraniums or an ivy inside. I think that will look so pretty.

How do you like my finds, Nancy Jo? Nancy Jo is the queen of thrifty treasures!