Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Since tomorrow is the first day of September (the day Fall officially begins for me) I am posting a delicious recipe.  If you like pumpkin lattes you really need to try this recipe.  Being a coffee connoisseur, I really think this is good.  The only thing that I would do different is if you have a sieve to pour the milk/pumpkin mixture through as you add to the coffee go ahead and use it. If you don't have one, don't worry, it still tastes just as good.  Here you go!

You will need:

1/2 cup of ground coffee (try to use "good" just taste better).
1 1/2 cups of water
3 Cups of whole milk
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
Scant teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream and additonal cinnamon for garnish.

Brew the coffee and water in your drip coffee maker.  Meanwhile in a large pan combine the milk, pumpkin, brown sugar and spice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until steaming.  Divide the coffee among five mugs; add pumpkin mixture.  Garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon.

These are soooooo.... good.  Have a great Day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much to Make Me Happy

I'm all about simple things.  It is often the simple things in life that make us most happy.  Take a few minutes today to think about all the little things that truly make you happy...not the things you think you need to be happy.  Here's some things I thought of.

Cold sheets

The smell of wood smoke in crisp Autumn air

A cozy blanket

The crackle of wood in a fire

The sound of walking in crisp Autumn leaves

Holding my hubbies hand

A hot cup of coffee on a cool morning

A good book

The whistle of wind

Reading my Bible in the morning

Seeing my hubby pull into the driveway after being gone all day

Flannel pajamas

My daughters curls

My son on a tractor

The sound of sleighbells in winter

A sweet, crunchy apple

Making a home cooked meal for my family

Warm hats and mittens

A cup of cocoa

Christmas Music

The flicker of a candle

I could go on and on...What simple things are you thankful for?

S'more Pancakes!

Why not do something really special for your kiddos some morning before school.  I think any kid who sees these on their breakfast plate would be a happy camper.  I have seen several adaptions of this recipe, but I really didn't follow one so I will just tell you what I did.  Take a look.

Yummy...stop drooling:)

Here's what you'll need:

Pancake mix (whatever you prefer...want mine?  Click HERE).
Chocolate Chips
Marshmallow Creme
Graham Crackers

Here's what you do:

Cook your pancakes according to the recipe you use.  Just before you flip them over throw on some chocolate chips.  Once they're done put them on a plate and slather some marshmallow creme over the top.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers (I used cinnamon teddy grahams).  Change up the ingredients for endless possibilities.  I wouldn't recommend serving this everyday...a little sweet maybe...but definitely a really nice treat for the kids.  Blessings.

What's In My Coffee Cupboard

Since my blog is all about the simple life...I thought I'd share what I feel is one of life's simple pleasures...A GOOD cup of coffee.  For all of you who may not be coffee drinkers (shame on you!) maybe its a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  At any is what's in my coffee cupboard.

I think that at any given time, I have several types of coffee in my house.  This isn't even all that I have right now...I have some flavored coffee as well.  I really love coffee, but having said that, I'm not a person who drinks cup after cup.  I'm more like a 2-3 cup a day drinker.  Seriously, I'm all about the experience of drinking coffee...the taste, the smell etc...I really enjoy my java.  And I enjoy it even more when its cold outside.  So what do you like to drink...what kind of coffee do you prefer?  I love to read your comments so feel free to leave one.  Have a Great Day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School

Much as I hate to admit it...there is a certain degree of "fun-ness" (is that a word?) to  the first day of school.  I love the smell of new books and the feel of pages that have never been opened.  I can't say for sure but I'm not totally convinced that my children share these same sentiments.  I'm guessing that when I asked my son if he was ready to start school and he went..."aww..."followed by a contorted face that he wasn't reveling in the whole new book thing like myself.  But school must go on!

I'm so thankful that I get to homeschool.  Sometimes it's hard..I won't lie...but when I think of the alternatives...I realize that is is worth any sort of inconvenience.  When I woke up this morning I prayed that God would help me to be loving, patient and to speak kind words to my children as I teach them.  The "teaching" part is easy.  I was always a nerd in school...I loved school.  But the part that doesn't always come as easy is the patience, love, kindness, long-suffering, understanding.  I dare say that those are the most important.  I'm praying for a great year filled with fun, learning and growing together.  It is such a blessing to be able to have my kids home with me where I can direct their hearts and where they can truly "be themselves" without any sort of peer pressure to be something they're not.  To all of you who are beginning school...have a great year.  Wherever your kids attend school...bathe the school year in prayer, prayer and more prayer.  I don't want my kids to see my flesh as I teach them...I want them to see the fruits of the spirit being exercised in my life. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Cozy Kitchen

Today I was busy canning tomatoes and baking some zucchini bread with veggies from our Garden.  As the tomatoes were boiling in the canning pot, two loaves of whole wheat zucchini bread were cooling on the baking rack and simmering on the stove was a lovely pot of macaroni soup. For those of you who read my previous post about my love of macaroni soup... I just couldn't wait...I opened up one of my jars of tomatoes and threw a pot together.  My taste buds appreciated it.  And the thing that makes me most happy is that my kids loved the macaroni soup just like I did when I was little!  I don't think there are many things more cozy to me then the smells of the kitchen and the sounds of my children playing around the house.  All these things are what make a plain ole' house a HOME.  It is what my kids will remember when they are older and what makes me most happy in the here and now.  I am so thankful for the bounty of food the Lord has given us.  He daily loadeth us with benefits!

For the recipe I use for the zucchini HERE.

And here it is....the love of my life (well besides my hubs).

Have a simply great day everyone.  Remember to stop and be thankful for the little things.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

People Chow!

The recipe I'm sharing today has many versions and variations.  However the one I use comes from this lovely Gooseberry Patch Book:

Sorry about the flash in the picture.

The recipe calls for the following:

1 stick of butter
2 Cups of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 box of rice Chex (17 1/2 oz.) I have used slightly less with satisfactory results.
1 bag (16 oz.) of confectioners sugar.

Combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan.  Melt over medium heat, stirring often. Pour over cereal and mix until thoroughly coated.  Place cereal in a paper sack, sprinkle in powdered sugar.  Fold down the top of the paper sack and shake well.  makes 3 pounds or about 12 servings.

Caution:  This stuff is addicting!  Author is not responsible for any accrued weight while consuming this recipe:)  I wonder if you eat it while walking on a treadmill it "cancels" out calories?

On a different note...every time my kids and I make this recipe it recalls special memories since it's tradition that I make this recipe every Christmas Eve. Do you have a recipe that has a sweet memory attached to it?  If so, share it with us.

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month."
 ~Harlan Miller~

Two more little reasons why I LOVE Fall!

I went to the store today to pick up a few misc. items but decided to stroll down the home fragrance aisle and... my heart leapt for joy.  There sitting on the shelf was a whole display of lovely new Fall scents by glade and Airwick.  Knowing I had coupons for these items I grabbed three and left on my merry way.  Is it weird that I look forward to going home and cleaning and then spraying (or plugging in) a Fall scent.  Hey what can I say...I'm easy to please.  Here's what I found!

The sprays are a scent that Glade came out with last year called "Cashmere Woods."  I sooooooo love this scent.  It reminds me of a cross between a woodsy smell and a comfy sweater with the lingering scent of perfume on it. 

The Airwick scent is called "Hot Chocolate and Fireside."  If that doesn't say enough...chocolate and the smell of a cozy fire...I think I'm in love.  Do you have a favorite fall scent?  If so please share it with me in the comment section.  Have a great day:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As I sat outside this morning drinking my coffee...I realized how content I felt.  As I sat on my porch and felt the warmth of the coffee cup in my hand and the cool breeze brushing against my skin I had such a feeling of contentment.  I really, truly love the simple life.  I like quiet moments and small blessings.  I was thinking to my self how richly I have been blessed and how wonderful God is.  I was thinking about all the wonderful things the Lord has provided for my family and I.  Just last night I was silently thinking (maybe not even praying necessarily) that I wanted to find some new curtains for my bedroom (the ones I bought not long ago were too dark so I used them somwhere else) but right now it's not in the budget...especiall since I have expensive taste sometimes.  We were at a thrift shop and lo and behold I found the most perfect curtains.  They were like new and exactly what I was looking for.  It reminded me once again...that God cares about even the little things and that He hears requests sometimes left unspoken.  Things here have been a little tighter than normal...but that's life.  The thought struck me that I really need not worry about money or the false sense of security it Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Blessings

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hot Cakes!

Today I'm sharing my hotcake recipe.  To me hotcakes (I prefer hotcakes instead of pancakes) are the ultimate comfort food.  I have searched high and low to find a recipe that I like.  This recipe was actually one of the more simple ones but it's become my favorite.

You will need:
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 Tab. of baking powder
1 Tab. of sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 egg
1 1/3 cup of buttermilk
2 Tab. of veg. oil.

Stir together dry ingredients.  Stir together wet ingredients.  Mix together until moistened.  Don't over should still have some lumps.  It should look something like this:
Butter (use REAL butter) to grease your skillet.  Immediately start dropping batter onto the skillet (whatever size you like).  They are ready to flip when they look something like this:
Cook until the bottom is golden brown.  Quickly put these babies on a plate and put some butter on top.  Drizzle with syrup and enjoy.  Make sure you share!

Countdown to Fall!

To say that I am excited about the arrival of Fall would be the understatement of the century!  I wait all Summer for Fall to burst on the scene in all of its wondrous glory.  Thought I would give some reasons why I love fall so much!

1)  I love the colors...they are so warm and inviting.  It's no coincidence that my whole house is pretty much Fall colors.

2)  I love the Cinnamon Butter that Country Crock comes out with in the Fall/Winter Season.  Have you tried it?  You need to!

3)  I Love the aroma of flavored coffees brewing in my coffee pot...hazelnut, pumpkin spice, Golden French Toast...O Baby...Be still my heart.

4)  I love the smell of homemade baked goods filling my house...especially anything with pumpkin.

5)  I love my Northface Fleece...we hardly ever are away from eachother.

6)  I love scarves

7)  Honey Crisp Apples...Need I say more?

8)  Saturdays spent at Fall festivals with the hubs and kids.

9) Pumpkins, Gourds and haybales...O my!

10)  Starbucks Pumpkin Spice's a beautiful thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gooseberry Patch-Rise and Shine Quiche

Don't you just love the cover of this cozy:)

I don't think I've found a bad Gooseberry Patch Book yet.  They are all so quaint and filled with such great ideas.  I happened to try a recipe from this book simply because I had all the ingredients on hand...and needed to use up some hash browns in the freezer.  Turns out that everyone loved it.  They cleaned the pan and asked for more.  I definitely will be making this again.

You will need:

24 oz. pkg. frozen diced potatoes, thawed
1/3 cup butter melted
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese (I used Monterrey Jack because it's what I had)
1 cup of cooked ham diced
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 t. of seasoned salt

Press potatoes into the bottom of a greased 9X9 pan; brush with butter.  Bake at 425 for 25 minutes: top with cheeses and ham.  Set aside.  Beat milk, eggs and salt; pour over cheese mixture.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 25-35 minutes (depends on your oven). 

Here is is right out of the oven!

Here's the quiche ready to eat...that lovely slice of bread is homemade Maple Wheat Bread that I made today.

Homemade Tomato Sauce...Yummo!

I had a few cooked tomatoes left over from canning so I decided to turn them into spaghetti sauce.  I really, really, really love just about any form.  It's even better with some homeade sauce.  I really didn't follow a recipe, but I will kind of give a rough estimate below.

I started with I'm guessing about 6 cups of tomatoes. 

I then added the following:

1 Tab. of dried parsley
1 tsp. of oregano
1 tsp. of basil
1 tsp. of italian seasoning
2 tsp. of garlic salt
1/2 tsp. of thyme
1 tsp. of salt
1 Tab. of olive oil

I basically cooked down the tomatoes a little and then added all the ingrdients.  I just kept adjusing the taste.  I added more garlic....because I LOVE garlic.  It came out really fresh tasting.  I'm really looking forward to eating it on a cold winter night.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canning Memories!

Is is just me, or does anyone else think canning jars are so pretty?  I love the simplicity of canning and the memories it brings back of yesteryear.  I love knowing I picked these tomatoes out of my garden this week and now they are ready to be put away for later use.  There is nothing like a fresh garden tomato, free of pesticides.  They really make my heart go pitter-patter.  Canned tomatoes bring back memories of my Grandma.  I remember watching her can tomatoes in her kitchen and boy...were they ever good.  I remember she would tell my Grandpa to go down to the basement and get a jar of that moment I knew she was going to make macaroni soup.  It was my favorite. She would brown some hamburger with a little onion, add the tomatoes, let it simmer a bit and then add some elbow macaroni.  She probably added a few other things but that's all I remember.  She would serve it in a bowl with some fresh Italian bread and REAL butter and it was soooo good!  To this day it is why I still absolutely love canned tomatoes.

My Mom came over last night to help me can...mostly because I wanted to make sure I was doing everything exactly right.  My Mom, my daughter and I all peeling tomatoes, seeds and juice flying was a special memory.  I'm sure there are tomato seeds and juice still lurking in my kitchen somewhere, only to be discovered at a later date.  Being in the kitchen with my Mom and daughter reminded me of a simpler time when people were happy with just having enough to eat and the strength to do the jobs that needed to be done.  And as I was cleaning up, I thanked the Lord for the fresh clean water we had to use after a day of hard work...a simple thing we take for granted but I am SO thankful that we have it...and a nice comfortable bed to crash in after a long day.  I am already anticipating making some macaroni soup with some fresh homemade bread and REAL butter...Come and Get it!
" A thing of beauty is  joy forever."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vintage Christmas Cards

My son designed this one...with just a little help from me:)

I totally LOVE vintage things...especially things from the 40's-50's.  As I was in my craft room (area) working away I had a brain storm.  I had all these really pretty Christmas cards that I had saved in a box because I just couldn't bear to throw away such lovely pictures.  I kept thinking to myself...maybe I can use these later.  Well there they sat for way to long...until today.  We re-furbished old cards into lovely vintage Christmas cards.  No two are alike...which makes them extra-special.  The kids even joined in and had a ball.  Check them out and give them a try yourself.  I just love looking at them:)  Maybe I'll send one to myself!

Doing my Christmas dreaming...a little early this year!

christmas scenes Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey everyone...I was just looking at my last post and realized I was going on a month. I really don't like to go that long without posting something...somehow the time got away from me. I have been super busy trying to get our home school material ready for this year. On top of that I have also been trying to get some painting done around the house. So the title of this post suggest I am doing my Christmas Dreaming...although I don't think for me it's that early. Everyone knows I love Christmas. I love the colors, the smells, the cold, the lights, flannel sheets and Christmas Decorations. My heart rate is increasing just thinking about it all. So anyway...about this time every year I pull out my paper and pen and plan all the recipes I want to make, plan out gift giving and holiday meals. I even think about my decorations and what I want to try that's new. You may even catch me listening to a Christmas tune while I happily make cards or sew gifts. Crazy for some, but that's just me. I guess I should emphasize that for me the Holiday season starts in September and goes through December. It only comes once a year and I like to enjoy it. As soon as September rolls around you can bet I'm thinking of my fall decorations and the Thanksgiving turkey...did someone say Turkey? Mashed Potatoes with gravy? So here are a few pictures of the cards I've been making. Some I like better than others...but as I get going I feel more creative. Also the containers I made for our cookie swap out of oatmeal containers are at the bottom.