Wednesday, December 22

Deck the Halls

I thought I would share a bit of our Christmas decor. I decorated before Thanksgiving this year as we were not here. It was such a good idea! I loved coming home from Thanksgiving and having Christmas ready. So welcome to our home. 088089This is the display on the hall table when you first come in the door.124106114109120121125097       113132 130 115I don't know if I'll be on much in the next couple of days. My parents are coming tomorrow for a couple of days. I hope you all have a merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21

the gift of bread

One of my favorite things is the arrival of my Aunt's gift at Christmas. It consists of a lovely white box with the name Boudin on the side in brown letters. Once you open it up the smell of sourdough fills the room.083 I admire the six soup bowl loaves she sends to us each year and then quickly wrap them all up for the freezer. I will have one for my birthday in March and save the others for other special occasions through out the year. Then I will pull the last loaf from last years package and warm it up for dinner savoring each bite of its wonderful flavor. Nothing beats a loaf or real San Francisco Sourdough Bread. Thanks Aunt Beth, every time we eat a loaf we are reminded of your generosity of such a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, December 15

Zuppa Toscana

Ever wish you could have some of those restaurant dishes at home so you don't have to go out and spend the money? Or wish you could create a healthier version with better ingredients? Look no further! This recipe tastes just like it does at the popular restaurant. I was so excited to try it.  It was so yummy! My son summed it up well. "Mom, this one's a keeper for sure"! While it's not necessarily a freezer meal, I did cook the sausage before hand. Everything else was done the day we ate it, it was very easy to throw together.

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes( I used red potatoes that I had)
¼ of a bunch of kale
TO PREPARE: Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, set aside. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour. Add the heavy cream and just cook until heated.  Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.
Recipe from

Tuesday, December 14


Are you as sick of looking at that last post as I am every time I open up the ol' blog? It doesn't even have a photo to help it! I have been quite busy this past month, but that is not really why I dropped off posting entirely. You see I have been sick all year, I just didn't know it until my hair started falling out. Then I finally decided to go to the Doctor, nothing like waiting until the extreme begins to happen. I am a great procrastinator. :)  I mentioned all of the things bothering me, cold all the time(even in the middle of summer when it was 100 degrees), dizzy, so tired I couldn't get out of bed, pale skin, etc. Believe me when I say there was a loooooong list of things. He sent me off for some blood work and after many vials of blood and a couple of days wait, it was determined that my Iron and Vitamin D levels were extremely low. I began taking supplements, and about 5 weeks later around the beginning of November I could feel myself getting better. I had so much more energy, wasn't dizzy, and could get out of bed without a struggle. After my 6 week check up for another round of tests, I felt like I was bouncing off the walls some days I felt so good. With that came the urge to clean my house. I began to notice all those things I was to tired to do before, like wash windows, and cabinets, and the walls. I went on a cleaning spree and scrubbed the first floor from top to bottom, nothing was left untouched. I didn't want to sit down and blog I wanted to do something! I feel so much better but my hair is still falling out, not as much as before and I can see new growth coming in, but I believe I lost about half of what I had. My mother really noticed it when we were visiting for Thanksgiving, thankfully I have a LOT of hair on my head to start with or I would have bald patches. I am ready to be back to normal and be able to keep up with the daily tasks and still be able to do all the extras that need to be done.
We have been spending a lot of time just being together, having fun, making messes, and living. 024 018
I am so thankful to be feeling better, and am trying to not look to all the regrets of what could have been if I had gone to the Doctor sooner. God is good and he carried me through so many days when all I wanted to do was hide under the covers and sleep. I plan to pick up my camera again and capture all the things I have been missing, and focus on being thankful for every day good or bad.

Wednesday, November 10

Another cook done

Well I finally finished cooking last night. I had one meal left on my list so I decided to make it for dinner and then freeze the extras. Here are some of the things that went on this weekend, along with some reminders to myself. I think bullets will make it easier to write it all down. It was a crazy weekend for sure and there are many reasons it took me so long. Such is life, it's never perfect, but always worth living.

  • Next time I cook remind me to follow my own advice. It really makes sense!
  • For example: Only choose one new recipe to try. It takes time to learn a new set of directions.
  • Preparation the night before is necessary to saving time on cooking day. Wish I had remembered that. Sigh.
  • Its ok if it takes longer that 3 days to finish. Its still DONE!
  • Our dishwasher broke, this really wasn't an issue with cooking as I reuse so many of the pots anyway, but there are still dishes from the meals. Remember that it makes a nice drying rack or storage space when out of room on the counters.
  • My husband was not feeling well(and still isn't) I needed to take time to take care of him and the children. Instead of him watching them for me.
  • Don't forget important dates in your life. It was our anniversary, I forgot and then remembered so we took Saturday evening to go out to dinner and then have cake for desert. 
  • We had fun! Some of the children are really able to help out now that they are older.
  • Children discussing who gets to grate the cheese? Music to my ears as I did not have to do it! They also helped peel the garlic, measure out spices, and stir the pots.
  • Plan to incorporate the children helping the next time I cook. Yes, it must be planned or they constantly ask me what they can do next. This is actually a good problem. :)
  • I made 65 meals, more than I expected, and there are 4 more in the freezer left over. 
  • Do the math right when adding up pounds of meat. Its no fun to have to go back to the store because I forgot something. Twice.
  • I thought of a good method for freezing in small spaces. I will share that soon.
  • Now I must go clean the kitchen, the floor is a bit sticky.

That about sums it up. ALL DONE! I do have lots of new to you recipes to share. This is my winter rotation menu, and I added a couple of new ones in this time.

Monday, November 8

Where did my baby go?

Do you see it or is it just me but the baby face is disappearing at an alarming rate. I don't think I'm ready for that yet!! Sometimes I wish we could freeze time but then I guess in a way we do, with the photographs.174

Saturday, November 6

Eleven years

Today we celebrated eleven years of marriage.
How time flies! 056 Picture take by our son. At least there is one of us together this year, even if we are a bit fuzzy. :)

Friday, November 5


One of the things on my rather long list of things to do is take more pictures to learn my camera better. I find so many times i don't take the time to practice. So when we went away I took all of my books and manuals with me. Not that it helped, but I did take a lot of pictures to practice with the different settings. I'm not brave enough for manual yet, especially since I can't see clearly enough to focus properly. Yes, getting my eyes checked is also on that list. :) Anyway I did learn some things, but I have so much more to learn. Here are my meager attempts at portraits on a chilly morning in the mountains.
199 201 208 217 226I set out all prepared to take a family shot until I couldn't find my tri-pod attachment. So my father-in-law took this one for us. He only took one shot, thankfully we are all looking in the same direction.  233One must not forget the hundreds of outtakes to get that perfect shot. :)227And one more because it's so hard to pick and choose.  219

Thursday, November 4

Mini Cheddar Meat Loaves

I will be cooking again this weekend since the last time I cooked was in May. I am busy gathering my recipes and preparing shopping lists. I thought I would share one of my boys favorite meals. Meatloaf! Not just any meatloaf but individual serving sized meatloaf. It is so yummy and stays moist because they are small. They also take less time to cook which is always nice. This one will be on the menu this winter. I am only cooking to get through until January at this time. Then I will cook again for the rest of the winter. I find I need the meals to get through all of the holidays but don't have much time to prepare a full three months worth. 011
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar or sucanat
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard
FREEZER STEP: In a bowl beat egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion, and salt. Add ground beef and mix well. Shape into 8 mini loaves. Place into greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Spoon over mini loaves. Freeze.
TO PREPARE: Thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.
TIPS: You can cook this from frozen if you forget to pull it out beforehand. I use my homemade ketchup and 1/8 cup sugar to make it a bit healthier and less sweet. You can also make six larger loaves, or tailor it to the size of your family.

Wednesday, November 3

Doctors and Vacation

I spent last week sanitizing my house and still didn't finish. It wasn't on my list to become a germ freak. Then I took my girls to the Doctor for a strange rash on their arms and legs. Diagnosis? Impetigo. Never heard of it? Me either. Apparently its a form of a staph infection common in children. I just love it when the experts say common. Sigh. It's also highly contagious, which explains the crazy amounts of cleaning I did last week, all before we were to leave on vacation for the weekend. Why do these things always happen right before your supposed to do something big? So on top of cleaning I was packing for a weekend in the mountains of West Virginia, hence the silence here. There was just way to much to do! Thankfully they are getting better and their bodies are accepting the antibiotics. It could have been so much worse. 003 We had a wonderful time away and the weather was perfect. It's such a beautiful spot to visit and the children look forward to it all year. This year we took a little side trip and visited Blackwater Falls State Park. It was beautiful!
021 I'm not sure what prompted the salutes but they all did it at the same time. 043
We played and fish in the creek that runs through the family property. Some a little more than others. :)164 091116 We hiked, enjoyed the views and relaxed! It was a great weekend!093 086We are all ready looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, October 26



On a whim we decided to try carrots. We don't have good soil here, it's like planting in rocks. So my husband was convinced they would get stuck  and not grow. We also planted them late in the season when it was HOT, and them some. But as you can see they grew! Some are short and stubby, some are big and rather long, all are sweet and tasty. We will make sure to plant more next year, this experiment was a success and my children have all ready eaten them all.

Sunday, October 24

Drive By

On the way home from Church today I spotted these on the side of the road. Oh the possibilities! There are a total of 5 shutters and the door. It wasn't until I got home and looked them over a bit more that I realized that one pair was arched and they also have most of their hardware. I have no idea what I am going to do with them yet but I'll think of something! Such potential.

Linking to
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Friday, October 22

My front porch

I have always wanted to make my porch pretty for fall. This year I finally took the time to do it. My husband is all ready asking when it's all coming down. He has his eyes on the hay bales for the garden. I still want to make a new wreath or at least beef up the one that is there. I am beginning to think that might be a project for next year. We shall see. 005006009I always love an excuse to use the enamelware I have collected. 010Pumpkins come in so many shapes, colors, and sizes. So much creativity form our Creator. I just love this time of year!

Thursday, October 21

Canning season may be over...

...but there is still housework!018

Look what happens when when you don't do laundry for two weeks. I spent two hours last night folding and I'm still not finished. I am afraid this is what I let go when things get busy. I wash it, dry it, and dump it. It's not really a very good system and one of the things I am working of for next canning season. Housework went out the window. Now it's time to catch up, clean up, and put the laundry away.

Wednesday, October 20

A Winner!

I wrote everyone's name out on a piece of scrap paper so I could draw one out of the box. 019

Mosey's Days

Please send me your address so I can get it shipped out to you. While it's a bit late for this season, I am sure it will come in handy for next years harvest!

Friday, October 15

A Giveaway!

This is one of my favorite things during canning season. I use it to puree berries, make salsa, applesauce, jam, tomato sauce, etc. You put the food in the hopper, crank the handle and the good stuff comes down the white chute and the yuck comes out the end. No removing skins or seed it does it all for you. It is so easy to work that my children fight over who is going to turn the crank! So I thought it celebration of the fact I have been blogging for two years I would give one away!

One reader will win a strainer for your own use. It comes with one screen for apples/tomatoes. It will save you so much time in the kitchen, especially if you can in large quantities or want to get started.
To win:
  • Leave a comment on this blog post for one entry. Please include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!
  • Share this giveaway on your blog for two entries, and be sure to let come back and let me know!
  • This giveaway is open to all US residents and will end Tuesday night at 8:00.


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