Monday, February 28, 2011

Wonderfully Busy Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend here at home.  At least, I did anyway :)  Caleb and Murry both had to work so I'm not sure how wonderful their weekend was, but mine was great. 

Saturday was very, very busy, but busy doesn't necessarily mean bad.  This Saturday, busy was good, very, very, good.  I spent most of the day putting up plum butter and plum jelly from plums that I had picked in the summer and frozen.   My mother also gave me a ham so I sliced it and now have several bags of ham in my freezer.  In addtion to the plums and the ham, I washed  and line dryed five loads of laundry, milked goats (and fed baby goats) for my neighbor, ran a couple of errands, made preparations for Sundays lunch and supper, played with my grandaughters (always a priority) and went over garden plans with Caleb when he got home from work.  That kind of busy I take delight in! 

Sunday was quite uneventful, which is also delightful.  We went to church as usual and thanks to my wonderful programmable rice cooker/steamer, lunch was ready when we got home.   After lunch I sat on my porch with the laptop for awhile and then read for awhile.  Of course I'm sure you already know that I also had to squeeze in a Sunday afternoon nap :).  By the time I woke from my nap it was time to get ready for evening services.  We had two wonderful services yesterday and I feel "fired up and ready" for a new week.

Today's plan is to put up more plum jelly and plum butter, make some breakfast foods for the freezer, go over a few school items with Ferrell, and possibly move the chicken tractor again.  It's starting to look a little stormy here so I guess I better go check on the critters before it starts raining.  Hope ya'll have a great week!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Menu for Week of 2/27/2011

Sunday - brown rice, steamed vegetables, fried ham
Monday - venison stew and cornbread
Tuesday - Meat loaf, peas, fried green tomatoes, cornbread
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Ham pie and Salad
Friday - Taco Soup
Saturday - Leftovers

Lunch - Soup & sandwiches, muffins and fruit, leftovers, soup

Breakfast - eggs & toast, hot or cold cereal, muffins, pancakes, fruit, smoothies

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mud Pies and Playhouse

Many, many years ago when my children were small, my Dad built a playhouse for them.  This playhouse is tall enough for me to stand upright and had room for all of my children at the same time.  It has three windows that open and also a full size door.  The door can have only the top portion opened or it can have both the top and bottom opened. 

Ferrell decided (with a little help from Rachel) to clean the playhouse so the girls could use it.  It took a good bit of cleaning before it was usable and it still needs a paint job, but here's a few pictures of Rachel making mud pies and enjoying it as it is.

Rachel can barely see over the half door :)

It definitely needs a coat of paint and also some steps for the girls.

Rachel has been busy :)

Oh, for the record, it was only called a PLAYHOUSE when Amanda was playing in it.  If the boys were using it, it became a CLUBHOUSE ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Couldn't Stand It Any Longer!

With all of this beautiful weather we've been having I have had a case of Spring Fever like you wouldn't believe.  I have been outside almost everyday working in the yard, moving the chicken tractor, cleaning in the barn, clearing out some of the raised beds, and cleaning and rearranging things on our front porch.  Anything that would keep me outside.   

Well, even with all of that, I have been "itching" to plant something.  I have held off due to not knowing if we would have another REALLY cold snap come through.  Yesterday I couldn't stand it any longer.  I went ahead and planted a few things.  Not many, but enough that I was able to get my hands in the dirt for a little while.  I planted a few cabbage plants, spinach plants, kale plants and basil (seeds).    I am so looking forward to gardening this year and am hoping to expand my garden quite a bit.  I love watching things grow and being able to grow things that will benefit my family is such as blessing.     Yep, I think I'm ready for SPRING!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gluten Free Dessert Idea

This was a spur of the moment dessert that I threw together Saturday afternoon and surprisingly it turned out wonderful.   I'll share with you what I did although I don't have an exact recipe, because I was making it up as I went along.

The first thing I did was take inventory of my kitchen cabinets.  I discovered a bag of marshmallows, 3/4 bag of chocolate chips, and a box of Rice Chex cereal.

I melted half of the marshmallows with butter, added enough Rice Chex cereal to "smush together" to press into the bottom of a  baking dish to form a "crust".  I then melted all of the chocolate chips with the rest of the marshmallows and about a tablespoon of butter and spread it on top of the "crust".  I topped that with dry Rice Chex cereal and sort of "smushed" them into the gooey chocolate/marshmallow mix already in the pan.   After they had cooled a little bit I sliced them into bars.  It was quick and easy and very, very good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ham Pot Pie

I cooked a large ham yesterday, so for supper we had Ham Pot Pie and Salad.  It was soooo good that I thought I would share the recipe.  Since I didn't have an actual recipe to go by, I'm just putting what I did.  You can use any vegetables that you have on hand.  Quantities will vary depending on your families size.

Ham Pot Pie

2 tablespoons butter (or butter substitute)
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
chopped ham
cubed potatoes  (I used three large ones)
sliced carrots (I used about a cup of baby carrots sliced thin)
1/2 cup ham broth
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch  (If you're allergic to corn, tapioca starch should work fine)
Milk (rice or soy milk will also work)
Boiled eggs (I used three.  Eggs can be omitted if you have food sensitivities)
Biscuit dough (I used gluten free)

Melt butter in skillet and add chopped onions and garlic.  Cook until tender and translucent.  Add potatoes and carrots, 1/2 cup ham broth and 1/2 cup water.  Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender, adding more water as needed to keep vegetables from sticking.  When vegetables are tender add chopped ham (mine was actually shredded) and enough water to cover meat and vegetables and let simmer while you mix cornstarch with enough milk to make a paste.  Add to vegetables and ham.  Let simmer a few minutes while it thickens.  Depending on how "juicy" you want your pie you may need to add more water.  Add seasonings if desired.  My ham and broth was salty enough that all I added was a little pepper.   Pour into deep casserole pan and add boiled eggs.    Mix biscuit dough and drop by spoonfuls on top of filling.  Bake at 350 degrees until biscuits are browned.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of 2/20/2011

Sunday - Leftovers and sandwiches
Monday - Ham Pie, salad
Tuesday - Spaghetti, steamed vegetables, bread
Wednesday - Broccoli soup and chicken salad sandwiches
Thursday - Baked Chicken w/gravy, mashed potatoes,
                  green beans, biscuits
Friday - Stromboli, salad
Saturday - leftovers

Breakfasts for the week:  Muffins, pancakes, rice pudding, hot or cold cereal, fruit, smoothies

Lunches for the week:  Sandwiches, soup, fruit, muffins, leftovers

Friday, February 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Muffins

Muffins are one of the things that I try to keep baked and in the freezer.  They heat up quick and are "almost" as good as fresh from the oven.  These peanut butter muffins are usally a hit with everyone that tries them.  I honestly cannot remember where I got the original recipe for these, but I think it was from an old cookbook my mother had.  Anyway, as always, I make changes as needed to fit whatever ingredients I have on hand and also to adapt to gluten free.

Here's the original recipe.

Peanut Butter Muffins

1 3/4 cups sifted flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, soda, and salt.  Mix sugar with peanut butter until well blended.  Beat egg and add to peanut butter mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Add flour alternately with buttermilk.  Beat after each addition until batter is smooth.  Spoon batter into a well-greased muffin pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until done.  This makes 1 loaf or 12 medium muffins.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Relaxed and Peaceful

Yesterday was absolutely wonderful.    I have got a bad case of spring fever already and it's only the middle of February.  What's a girl to do?  Well, I'll tell you what I did.  I got up early and did all of my housework (at least I did almost all of my housework :), got Ferrell started on school, and made goodies for my Wednesday night class at church.  Then I had the whole afternoon (at least until time to get supper ready so we could make it to church on time :) to work (play) outside.  Yay!!! 

To start, I cleaned off my front porch.  It's recently been the catch all place for anything my family doesn't want to walk to the shed and put away.  I got all of the "junk" off of the porch, swept it and arranged the porch furniture.  After that I filled my hummingbird feeder.  I know that it's early, but it's also warm and usually as soon as it gets warm our little hummingbird friends start looking for the feeders.  Next I spent some time raking pine straw (we have A LOT of pine straw).  I now have several piles to use for mulch around my blueberries and also to put over newspapers between my raised beds to help cut down on hoeing and weeding in the garden.   I then spent some time sitting on my "clean" porch doing computer work and some writing.   By the time I finished my grandaughter was outside and ready to play amd after that it was time to start getting things ready for supper and church.  

I have to say that yesterday was one of the most relaxing and peaceful days that I have had in a long time!   I am soooo thankful for the warm temperatures this week and the opportunity to be outside in the sunshine.  It works wonders on the mind and spirit!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas

Thought I would share some of the quick and easy lunches that we have around here.  Most of the time it's only me and Ferrell here for lunch, but some of these pack well for the other guys to brown bag it.

Pasta salad  (pasta cooks up quick and we
                    usually have raw or lightly steamed
                    veggies in the fridge to add with
                    just a little Italian Dressing for a
                   quick and filling lunch)

Soup  (either leftovers from the previous night or
           one of the single serving containers that
            I keep in the freezer)

Sandwiches (we usually have some sort of lunch
                   meat in the fridge.  If not there is
                   usually some cooked and shredded roast,
                   chicken or turkey to mix with mayo, pickles,
                   boiled eggs, etc. to make a delicious

Muffins (I usually have some type of muffin or homemade
              bread baked and in the freezer)

Fruit or fruit smoothies

Scrambled eggs and toast  (Around here eggs aren't just for breakfast)

Cooked and seasoned beans from the
freezer (heated and run through the blender and
            served with sour cream, cheese, salsa and
             tortilla chips)

Leftovers from the previous nights supper

I guess that Sundays are the only day that we make lunch our "main meal" of the day.  For the rest of the week everyone is eating lunch in different places and at different times.  Having things that can be prepared quickly and easily is a big help for the guys that carry their lunches, but also for me and Ferrell since neither of us have to get "off task" for very long.  This is what works for us.  I would love to hear what you do for lunch at home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Afternoon with the Goats

Last Friday afternoon a friend of mine called and said that they were planning to be out of town on Saturday and were wondering if I would milk their goats for them.  I have to say that I was VERY excited to help them out. 

We had milk goats when my children were younger, but when Amanda had cancer I wasn't able to keep up with everything, so we ended up getting rid of all of our goats, chickens, and rabbits.   We now have chickens again and have been talking about getting rabbits and goats, but haven't completely decided yet.  

I  always enjoyed milking, but I didn't realize just how out of practice I was.  You can tell by the picture that when milking the first goat I managed to get almost as much milk on the goat and the ground as I did in the bucket.

This was the first goat I milked Saturday.  As you can see I had a little trouble getting started :)

The babies wanted  to see everything :)

I have to say, that for me, it was an enjoyable Saturday afternoon.  I had forgotten how much fun baby goats can be and how much I enjoyed milking and caring for livestock.  I'm seriously thinking that milk goats may be in my future :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu for 2/13 - 2/19

Menu for this week.

Sunday - Sandwiches and Chips
Monday - Chili and cornbread
Tuesday - Quiche, grits, ham
Wednesday - Leftover chili from Monday over rice, salad
Thursday - Rosemary & Thyme Chicken, steamed
                  vegetables, homemade bread
Friday - Beans & Rice, salad, cornbread
Saturday - Leftovers

Breakfast - muffins, pancakes, eggs & toast, hot or cold cereal, fruit

Lunch - leftovers, sandwiches, soup, hamburgers, fruit

Snacks - brownies, cookies, fruit, popcorn

Friday, February 11, 2011

February's Snow Day (2011)

Thought I would share some of the pictures my son Ferrell took of the recent snow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

A while back I purchased a new cookbook on Amazon titled "Make it Fast, Cook It Slow."  All of the recipes in it are either gluten free or easily adaptable to gluten free.  I decided to try the recipe for Cheeseburger soup last night and I have to say it was delicious.  I admit that I only used her recipe for a guideline though.  I didn't have some of the things on hand so this is how MY recipe ended up.

1 pound ground deer meat (browned)
4 cups beef broth
1 onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
4 potatoes ( peeled and cut into small pieces)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup milk

The original recipe is designed to be cooked in the crockpot, but since I waited so late to start mine I just did it on the stove.   My family loved it so much I think it will become a regular around here. 

Oh, I also made a pot of rice and the soup was really good over the rice.  I know that isn't exactly a balanced meal, but oh well :)

If you decide you're interested in having the "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" cookbook by Stephanie O'Dea I would appreciate it if you would help me out by shopping through my Amazon link in the sidebar.    It's a really great cookbook with lots of delicious recipes that are not too complicated for the average person, which is exactly what I need :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I am so thankful that God chose to bless our family with these two beautiful little girls. They have definitely made my life richer.  So much that it's sometimes hard to imagine what our lives were like without their giggles and smiles :) 

Poor Ellen doesn't always know what to think of big sister's love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

January Accountability Check

Back at the beginning of January I posted some of my goals for 2011.  I had intended to do an accountability check at the beginning of February, but am just now getting around to doing it.

So far I have only lost one pound, but I actually haven't been working all that hard on it either.  I haven't yet started exercising regularly, but we are just now getting settled into a "real routine."  I don't know why it's taken me so long to "regroup" after the holidays, but for some reason it has.  Now that I have a "sort of" routine worked out, I am hoping to get started next week with a regular exercise plan.  Exercise for me usually includes walking, stretching, and occasionally an exercise DVD when the weather is too cold or wet for me to walk outside. 

I am also struggling with Scripture memorization.  My children have always been much better at that than I am, but I am persevering.  I can say that my personal Bible study time has been very good this year.  God continues to bless our family in many unexpected ways.  I am learning more and more about the areas that I need to turn completely over to Him.  I struggle greatly with wanting everything to be the way I think (know) it should be, but I am learning that I need to let go of some things and let God handle them.  My time alone with Him has become very precious to me.

I have already been working on ideas for Christmas and birthday gifts and am working on some projects for the Christmas craft fairs (as well as other craft fairs) that we are planning to attend this year. 

We had sold out of almost all of the soap we had made before Christmas and I am just now getting back into my routine of weekly soapmaking.  I am hoping to spend at least one day (possibly two) making soap each week in order to have a good supply. 

I know it's early, but I have already been looking at seed catalogs and making plans to expand my herb garden.  I am also hoping to have a larger vegetable garden this year. 

I have done much better with my blogging so far.  I have been able to consistently blog several times a week and intentionally don't blog on the weekends in order to keep that time devoted to my family and home. 

There are so many more goals that I would like to accomplish before this year is out, but I am trying to take them one step at a time.  In the past I have had a habit of overwhelming myself with tasks and then only being able to accomplish a small portion of them.  In my "old age" I'm learning that I need to pace myself.  By tackling one thing at a time, I am able to stay focused and not get "spread all over the place" like I usually do. 

I hope to post another accountability check at the end of February and I hope that everyone will bear with me.  I just know that if I tell others my goals then I am much more likely to follow through.  I appreciate everyones patience.  This time I decided to post some long term goals, but also a couple of monthly goals as well.  Can you tell that I really need accountability?  It seems that's the only way I get anything done and since my children are all older they aren't around all day every day to remind me of what I should be doing.  I know that seems backward and that I should be the one reminding them, but around here it quite often works the other way.  They remind me of what I had intended to do and that always helps motivate me to go ahead and do it.

February Goals at a Glance

Improve Scripture Memory
Consistent blogging
Lose at least one pound (I know it's ridiculous.  I should be
                                     aiming for at least 5 pounds, but
                                     knowing myself so well, I'm
                                     shooting for one pound  at a
                                     time :)
Begin exercising
Finish garden planning and start seeds inside (tomato, cucumber, squash, pepper)
Clean my desk and surrounding shelf area
Clean & Straighten Kitchen Cabinets
Make soap at least once a week

If I'm totally honest, this list  is probably all that I will be able to accomplish in addition to our daily cleaning, laundry, schooling, living, etc.  I'll let you know how I did at the end of the month.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly Menu 2/6 - 2/12

Menu for this week.

Sunday - Leftovers and sandwiches
Monday - Deer Stew and cornbread
Tuesday - Bar-b-que Chicken, potato wedges, salad
Wednesday - Cheeseburger Soup
Thursday - Hamburger Steak w/gravy, steamed vegetables,
                  homemade bread
Friday - Quiche, pancakes, grits, biscuits
Saturday - leftovers

Breakfast - scrambled  eggs w/bacon and toast, muffins, pancakes, fruit, smoothies

Lunch - sandwiches, soup, leftovers, fruit, muffins, pasta salad

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Turkey Rice Soup

I had a craving for this soup a couple of days ago and just had to make it for lunch.  It is soooo good!

Homemade Turkey Rice Soup

2 cups turkey stock  (freezer)
2 cups water
1 cup chopped turkey (freezer)
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup uncooked rice
3 carrots chopped
salt, pepper, parsley, onion salt, celery salt to taste

All measurements are approximate.  Feel free to experiment.

Put all ingredients into pot together and cook until carrots and rice are tender.  I usually cook it on low for a while to let all of the flavors mingle really well.  This soup is one of our family favorites and it also freezes well.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cute Apron

I'm curious.  Does anyone, besides me and Amanda, still wear an apron in the kitchen?   I have always loved aprons and usually wear one whenever I'm cooking.  Maybe that's because I'm such a messy cook :)   Anyway,  I thought I would share a picture of my daughter in a really cute apron she ordered from Avon last week.

Putting her new apron to good use!

Showing off the new apron and teapot she got from Avon!

I didn't realize that Avon had so many different things.  I always thought they were mostly makeup and jewelry, but they also have really cute things for the kitchen.   If you're interested in finding out about some of the different products they carry you can check out Amanda's website at

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gluten Free Haystacks

My children love homemade candy and haystacks are one of their favorites.  During the Christmas holidays I adapted my recipe so that it would be gluten free for Caleb.  It was really good and has ended up being a favorite of everyone.  During Christmas I made both gluten free and non-gluten free haystacks, but the last time I made them I only made the gluten free ones and had no complaints.  I haven't been making many sweets lately, but I think it's time to fix that :)  Here's my recipe for gluten free haystacks.


1 - 12 oz. bag gluten free butterscotch morsels
1 cup gluten free miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup gluten free peanut butter
1 cup peanuts or pecans (optional)
Chex cereal (I've used both Corn and Rice Chex.  Both are gluten free.)

Melt butterscotch morsels and peanut butter slowly and then add marshmallows.  Cook slowly until marshmallows are partially melted and add Chex cereal.  (I add enough to be plenty crunchy, but not so much that it won't stick together).  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to set until firm.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grandmama's Chocolate Cobbler

This recipe was my grandmother's and is a favorite of our family chocolate lovers.  Thought I would share.

Chocolate Cobbler

1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk

Mix above ingredients.  Melt 1 3/4 to 2 sticks butter in a baking pan.  Pour milk, sugar and flour mix over margarine.   Mix one cup sugar with four tablespoons cocoa.  Sprinkle over batter.  Mix 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup milk and pour over cocoa mix.  Then bake at 350 degrees until set.