Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Adventures

Saturday afternoon our family ventured out in search of the perfect carving pumpkins. We have a wonderful farm market about 30 minutes from our house. it's our favorite, and we go every year.

Now, if you know us, you know that we are always just a touch behind schedule, and running like crazy. Needless to say, we didn't get to the pumpkin farm as early as we would have liked. We half expected to find a farm that was completely picked over, and closing soon.

Instead, what we found was the perfect night time fall adventure!!

The pumpkins were far from picked over.

We had such a wonderful time in the dark!!

The Teepee was a little more fun.

We found the perfect pumpkins:

We took a spooky hay ride, minus the spook, of course! (Aaron got a little rained on, hence the bothered expression.)

And finally, no fall outing would be complete with out:

What a day! Completely wonderful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family Cookbook Friday

I think, since I have been doing so many of our family recipes, that I will dedicate one day a week to my family.
So, here is it, Family Cookbook Friday. I hope you enjoy it!

This recipe is a favorite of my brother's. My mother used to make them for him all the time.

Gina's Chocolate Crinkles:
(I have seen variations of this recipe in several cookbooks)

½ cup vegetable oil
4sq. Unsweetened chocolate (4 oz), melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar,. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add Vanilla. Sift flour. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours or over night.

Heat oven to 350°. Roll small balls with dough and drop into confectioners sugar. Roll to cover completely. Place 2” apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Beautiful Home

When was the last time you stopped and looked around at the
Incredible home God has made for us?

Everywhere we look, we can see God's beautiful work.

It's awe inspiring.

My oldest has quite an eye for it when she gets a camera in her hands:

God's gift to us, in all its magnificence, is all around us.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Do you think the Lord put me here to clean up after you???"

Is this all I'm good for? Cleaning toilets and making lunches, and doing laundry? Really??

Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like no one appreciates the things you do to keep your home running smoothly? You spend all day washing and folding clothes, and all you hear is "why didn't you do my pink shirt?"
or maybe this one:
You spend an hour and a half fixing lasagna and fresh bread for your family and your son says "But, I wanted hot dogs!"
What is your first thought when this happens?
Unfortunately, this is often my first thought. But of course, that is not the right attitude. We can explain to our children at this point that we worked hard to make a nice dinner to nourish their bodies, and share some special time together. We can use it as a teaching opportunity.

...Too bad they have to be taught, right? Wouldn't it be nice if they came to the table and said "Mother, you have made us a splendid dinner, thank you for all that you do."

Holy cow. I'd probably fall out of my chair.

If your children and husband are anything like mine, that is not how it goes. So, I go through my day feeling unappreciated and undervalued.
However, that is where I make my mistake. I am not unappreciated, and I am not undervalued. I am a treasure in the eyes of God the Father. He sees all that I do for my family, for His family. He sees me caring for His children and training them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
If I can keep my heart in the right place, I'll know that God is in the laundry, and He is in the lasagna. I am doing His work by feeding my family healthy food, and caring for their home.
If I can keep that in mind, I won't feel quite so bad. Then maybe, just maybe...I'll make hot dogs tomorrow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's for dinner?

Picture it:
It's twenty after five and you are standing in the kitchen staring into the open refrigerator hoping that something fabulous will appear before you. We've all been there, and it's terrible. Kids screaming because they are hungry, and you have NO IDEA what to give them. So, you start thinking... Cheese puffs? Ice cream? Happy Meal?

So, what's for dinner? If yo don't decide soon, the scene in the kitchen will turn into something like this:

With a little pre planning you can solve this problem, and probably save a little money, too. Taking a few minutes to plan a weekly menu can save hours of heartache later in the week (It also makes for happy well fed husbands).

I usually do my shopping on Friday afternoon. So, I spend a few minutes every Thursday making a plan for the following week. Choosing recipes in advance allows me to add any needed ingredients to my shopping list, and prevents last minute runs to the store during the week. I pick 6 recipes, leaving one night for leftovers or pizza, and add them to the menu. It's nothing set in stone, and can easily be changed to meet the daily needs of the family, but I always have an idea of what to make.

By planning ahead of time, I avoid the blank stares into the fridge, and I'm able to feed my family a nice home cooked meal... Before 8:30.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whatever happened to Hannah Montana? ~(Graphic Pictures, use caution)

I strongly believe that part of making a home is being vigilant about keeping certain things out. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more necessary, especially to protect our children. I was devastated to see a Miley Cyrus video on Ordinary Inspirations, my friend Traci's blog. (Thank you Traci, for letting me re post this video.)
The little girl who used to be the silly, talented Hannah Montana has been exploited (by her parents!!!!!), and is now making obscene, disgusting music videos.
This is the same girl who just a few yeas ago was the envy of every little girl in the country. Unfortunately, to many girls, she still is.
This is the video she made for her new song "Can't Be Tamed".

What has happened to this girl is absolutely heartbreaking. ...And it is terrifying to think that

this is what my young daughters are being influenced by!

As mothers, we are called by God to teach our daughters what is good and decent. We are to show them how to become women of God. Wives of God.
"Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." ~Titus 2:4

If we allow our girls to be taken in by the images the media bombards them with, we will lose them to the world. I am constantly monitoring what my children watch and listen to. Some people tell me that that I am too sheltering, but I fear for their hearts if I don't. When they walk out our front doors, they are at the mercy of their environment. We need to arm them before they leave so they will be prepared to turn away.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ~Psalm 4:23

More From Our Family Cook Book

I recently learned that another blogger would like to feature my chicken pot pie recipe on her blog. Thank you Bargain Briana!!
Look for me 10/31!

Here's another recipe from our family cook book. I hope you enjoy it!

Sour Cream Salsa Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup light sour cream
Spray liner of crock pot with vegetable spray.
Add the chicken breasts .
Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix and top with salsa .
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
When ready to serve, remove chicken from crock pot and place on meat platter. Shred chicken with two forks.
Mix together 3 Tablespoons water and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch.
Add to salsa mixture in crock pot and stir well.
Turn crock pot to high and sauce should begin to thicken in five minutes.
Stir in sour cream and replace chicken. Serve on Tortillas or over rice.

Alternative: I usually try to throw some black beans or corn in, just to sneak another serving of veggies in!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A hand up for modesty ~The Winkee

Plunging neck lines. It seems like they are becoming more and more of a problem for those of us who choose to keep ourselves covered for the Lord, or whatever reason. I know that my husband would not appreciate me showing myself off to every man I meet, and I have always taken measures to make sure I am adequately covered. However, There are times when it is so hot, or you have to wear something formal, when a tee shirt under your regular shirt is just inappropriate. Enter Winkee!
I found this nifty little number on another blog that I follow. I decided to give it a shot, and boy am I glad that I did! It's called a Winkee, and it's a little piece of fabric that attaches right to your bra and covers the space in between that all those deep v-neck shirts seem to accentuate. It looks like you have a shirt on underneith, but you don't have to deal with layers! Awesome!

It looks a little unorthodox, but I am so pleased with it!

It is shaped like a triangle with elongated points, and each of those wraps around a different place on your bra. At the end, It leaves you looking polished and covered! They come in several styles to match whatever look you're going for.
What a great trick!
I only have one issue. I am a rather large chested gal, and the straps aren't quite long enough for me. The little stickers it comes with are pulled too tight when I have it on, and they pop off. I just put a little velcro on those spots for a more permanent custom fit. Problem solved. I am SOO glad I bought these. I think I'll probably get a few more.
You can get one of your own by going to their website

When i bought them, they got lost in the mail. I contacted their customer service dept., and was treated wonderfully. They sent out a new order for me immediately. They were great. I actually think the package was sent back to them. But, there was no hassle at all. Good people.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dark Fall Days

Anybody else notice how dark and dreary some fall days can be? I always feel it when the sun isn't out and shining. So, what to do? I think a wonderful way to pick the whole family out of the gloomy weather slump is by adding beautiful color! Flowers can be an inexpensive way to dress up the home and put a smile on the faces of your family.
I love fall arrangements. The oranges, purples and yellows are my favorite combination. I picked these beauties up at Walmart for $5 this afternoon. You certainly don't need to spend a lot of money to add some style.

So, punch it up! Add some beauty to the inside of your home as the flowers outside start to fade, and keep that summer beauty all year long.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homemade applesauce...An Adventure

Saturday our family went to Green Acre Farms to pick fall fruit. We picked some wonderful apples and raspberries. Crispin apples are my favorite, so we loaded up! We bought 50lbs!! I went with the intention of making apple sauce, so we bought plenty.

Next, we moved on to raspberries. I love to add flavors to my apple sauce, and raspberry is a great one! (we also love peach!)

If you have never been fruit picking with your family, it's a wonderful, inexpensive way to spend some family time. We do it quite often.I t also allows me to teach my children lessons in being frugal. Picking fruit is MUCH less expensive than buying it from the grocery store, and we get to take it home and make fun homemade treats! It makes for great together time.

When we get the apples home, it's time to peel and chop them. Then, into the crock pot for the rest of the day. The smell of apples cooking fills the house. It's wonderful, especially if you add cinnamon. mmm!

It takes about 4 hours on high for the apple sauce to cook down. Then, I add a little sugar, and pour it into jars for canning. If you are unsure of how to prepare jars for canning, make sure you boil jars and lids in a large pot for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria on the surfaces. If your dish washer has a sanitize cycle, that works well, too. After filling jars, wipe the tops with a wet paper towel to remove any food and ensure a good seal. Dry lids and secure them to the jars with rings. Process apple sauce in a water caner for 20 minutes (Don't start timing until water returns to a boil!). Please see this website for processing directions.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trying my hand at canning Salsa

My husband and I took the kids to the public market today. I got it in my head that I would put up a few jars of salsa. So, off we went in search of tomatoes, and a few other things I needed. We had such a nice time! We saw all the fall decorations, and met Sully, a very nice old St. Bernard who had come to the market with his owners.
It was a beautiful day for an outing!
When I got home, I got to work peeling tomatoes, chopping vegetables and cooking the salsa down. I spent a few hours preparing everything for canning.
Here is the recipe I followed. I took it from It is very good, but more like a Pico De Gallo than a salsa, in my opinion ( I halved it, because it is huge!):

25 or 26 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cluster garlic, peeled and chopped
2 bunches celery, chopped
6 lg. bell peppers, chopped
9 lg. onions, chopped
2 bunches cilantro, chopped
Jalapenos to taste
1/2 c. salt
2-3 c. white vinegar
2 tbsp. oregano
Put all ingredients in an stainless steel stockpot (avoid enamel!) and heat through, stirring often.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes pints and quarts (hot pack). For cold pack, process 50 minutes. Yields about 4 1/4 gallons salsa. (17 quarts or 34 pints)

I love to use my canned goods at Christmas time. They make great gifts for teachers and bus drivers!
...And of course, you can't make fresh salsa without nachos to put it on!