Sep 27, 2011

Apple Picking Fun


I just read from another blogger, Bevy, about being behind on posting and I totally agreed! Mind you, she just had her third child a few weeks ago....so she's got a pretty good reason....I on the other hand....do not.

Anywaays....

I've been meaning to post about starting homeschooling this year.  Olivia is four now and so we've decided to have a more 'formal' school time.  So I will post all about that, just not today....

No, today we're going to jump right in on the homeschooling adventure in process and I'm going to share with you our first family field trip.  Oooo, fun! ;)


It was fun though!  Oodles even!  And of course, where should a family go, in September for their first official family field trip - an apple orchard...of course!




And in true form of all that we do, we took the lovely back roads, meandering through gorgeous country side, ogling farm houses nestled among beautiful landscapes, getting lost (even with a GPS) on crazy dirt roads and eventually ending up right at the door step of the orchard we were looking for!


Nice!


The girls were more then happy and ready to roam after being cooped up in the car!




Now, I will say, there are places closer that we could have gone to., but they did not have the kind of apples I wanted....and we all know how much this gal loves a drive in the country! ;)


So apple picking ensued!








The weather was perfect, the girls were happy, stripped socks were worn, it was all good!










And I even came prepared with my tripod, to take advantage of nice scenery, gorgeous weather and a happy family.  Our last family photo was over a year and a half ago! :P





After a successful family photo shoot, there was more of shoving apples at the camera lens and then it was time to head on our way. 




It was a lovely day!  My husband's job has been reduced to four days a week, which is okay - it's really a kind of blessing - so we now reserve Mondays as Family Field Trip days, not to say that every week we will go somewhere but it's nice to be able to do it together!


And they beauty of homeschooling is having these opportunities together!  To spend time as a family, just as God intended!  I have more to say on that, but on another day.  Until then I leave you with a part of my favourite Psalms;











I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,

                                  Psalm 17:6-8








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Sep 21, 2011

Garlic Bread Goodness!


Here is a most fantastic garlic bread recipe!  Seriously, it's delicious enough to make and eat all on it`s own......not that I have ever done that....


Here`s how you make some serious garlic bread goodness!

First you go and get one of those fresh French bread loaves they sell at the grocery store or local bakery.  At our local grocer these loaves sell for a $1.00 and depending on how many people you are making this for you might get two servings out of one loaf.


Truth be told....this isn`t actually a French bread loaf, they were sold out. But it worked just fine...but I still say the French bread loaf is best!



Next you make up some garlic butter, or buy some...it`s up to you.  Here is what I do:


Garlic Butter

Ingredients
  • A whole bunch of butter....okay again not accurate with measurements...I usually eye it up, but it is a lot, I`d say like a cup or more.  I know it sounds terrible (terribly good that is!)  But this is garlic bread goodness and the ratio of goodness is equal to the ratio of butter used!
  • Four or five (or more) garlic cloves.  I chop them really fine or use a tiny grater to ``puree`` them.

Add garlic to butter, mix together.  If time allots, allow to rest for a few minutes - I'd say no more then 10 minutes should do it.  And there you have delicious homemade garlic butter.  You can do it with margarine and you could even substitute in garlic powder, but I have tried these other alternatives and this is the best way to make it...in my opinion.



Now while your garlic butter is resting, take your nice crusty bread loaf and proceed to cut it into slices, stopping before you cut all the way through!  So each piece is still connected at the bottom of the loaf.  It should look something like this, mind you I was using a half loaf here.

Mmmm...I could eat it right at this point....but wait, it gets better...Ooooo so much better!



Spreading the slices apart, slather in the butter.  Make sure to butter both side of each slice and if using a half loaf like I did, make sure to slather some butter on the end piece (of the cut side). 

Don`t be stingy now! ;)






Now wrap that buttery sucker up in tin foil.  Like a delectable little present.



Place this bundle in a preheated to 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  When the time is up, remove (carefully with oven mitts) from the oven and turn your oven from bake to broil.

Unwrap your present!


The butter should be mostly melted into the bread (sorry no pictures here).  But again, be careful, it is surprisingly hot!  Now, cut the slices the rest of the way through, separating them and lay them, single layer, on a baking sheet.






Stick them back into the oven, under the broil and watch them turn to a beautiful golden goodness! ;)  Turn them once one side is finished, making sure to golden up each side.





Now all you have to do is serve it up! 


Like I mentioned, it is tasty enough to almost stand alone.  We had it one night with a nice summer salad.






And of course, it goes amazing with pasta, soup, chili, stew or any other hearty supper.





This is such a fantastic garlic bread recipe, it`s really quite easy, a crowd pleaser and a sure way to make for some happy kids!





BON APPÉTIT!





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Sep 15, 2011

Breakfast or Dessert? You decide!


I have been a fan of oat meal for some time now, especially since my children LOVE it so much. Seriously, they totally LOVE it, as in it's a treat for them, which is a far cry from where I was when I was little!

Anyways, I posted way back in January....this post in which I talked about making oatmeal and then throwing frozen fruit into it. The oatmeal cools off nicely and thaws the fruit and when you sit down to have breakfast everything is one happy bowl of goodness and I thought, 'It can't get any better then this!' That was, until yesterday.

Yesterday I went to visit my newly married sister-in-law, (who's blog you can read here and you can also see her wedding photos here on my website shameless plug I know.) Anyways we got talking about oatmeal....because that's all newlyweds and stay at home moms have to talk about....*blank stare* not quite! We got to talking about oatmeal because the days are getting cooler and we are both avid lovers of autumn days!

So I was telling her about frozen fruit in oatmeal when she revealed to me this interesting and yet at first thought, revolting idea;




Topping said oatmeal with yogurt.

Okay, so revolting is a bit strong of a word. But when she first mentioned it I just couldn't think through the idea of the textures and I don't know, it just didn't seem to fit. Then she proceeded to sway me by comparing it to melted ice cream on apple crisp.....

I do like apple crisp......

.... and I do so very much like ice cream.


So giving her the benefit of the doubt, this was my breakfast today....







And wow, was she right! I'm sorry for doubting you Stephanie! It was delicious, blueberry oatmeal with vanilla yogurt, tasty, filling, healthy, wondrous!


Dessert for breakfast...yum......this is gonna be a good winter!






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Sep 12, 2011

Kitchen Makeover- Part 3: Kitchen Shelves


So here is the final instalment....for now.  Until we have the money and gusto to do the counters and the back splash. 

*rolls eyes at thinking of where said money and gusto shall come from!*


Anyways, here are the shelves before and after:










And since we are in the spirit of DIY and easy home projects here is how we made our rustic country shelves.


First we were blessed with an abundance of old barn board, left in our basement, when we bought our house four years ago.  If you are not in possession of left over barn board, scour yard sales, classified ads or ask friendly barn owning neighbours if they have any to spare. 

We used an almost empty can of primer, any white paint will do including acrylic or tempra from say, the kids craft supplies!?!?   You don't need much so just use what you have.  I think we only had about 2 inches or so left in the bottom of our can and it was plenty to do this job! 

Add some water to the paint.

Okay, so my measurements are a bit vague but really you don't need to be exact.  You are really just making a wash.  So add a little and test it out.  Remember you can always add more, you cannot take it back out.  Mix it in a separate container if you are worried about messing up - but seriously don't stress about it, it's all good!





Next, slop that white wash on!


Yup, just slop it on there...hence the newspaper protecting the floor...though if you slop like I do I recommend more newspaper....a lot more!







Coat as much or as little as you like.  But when using a material like the old barn board don't be skimpy on the wash as they tend to soak it up.  Slop it on and then using a rag, wipe it off.  Wiping off more or less of the wash, depending on the look you want.





Don't worry if it drips over the edges, it's all part of the rustic appeal.  When you are satisfied with the amount of coverage, (or lack of) let it dry and repeat on the other side and remaining boards.




Boards are done!

Now here is a great secret of hubby and mine.  We love to use plant hanging hooks for shelf brackets!  Seriously, they are inexpensive, sturdy and look far nicer then many other shelf brackets - unless you want to spend some extra bucks...but who wants to do that?

Aren't they purdy!?!?






I just warn you, that you need to use good heavy duty wall anchors when using these and try hard to hit a stud, important for when you want to load up your lovely rustic shelves after all your hard (well it's not that hard) work!









And now the fun bit; adorning your new shelves with many a kitchen lovelies!










And yes even some practical things too.









And a neat idea I got from a friend, a handy and decorative way to store candles.







Lastly and most definitely not least, a central location to set our bibles, devotional material, journals and inspirational memory scripture.





So there you have it, another easy, practical and pretty idea to both dress up and personalize your kitchen.  I love this area....apparently I love every area of my kitchen...anyways, I like how this is all usable space, organized and totally us at the same time....because believe it or not we are NOT organized people - but that's a story for another time...we'll just say the power of God is amazing! ;)


Well get to it ladies, let me hear how you organize and personalize your kitchens.  Big or small, old or new, share your ideas, we can all use the inspiration!




Happy Homemaking!



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Sep 5, 2011

Kitchen Makeover -Part 2: The Coffee Corner


Well folks this is where the day truly starts.  Though my devotions, breakfast, most of my blogging, and what nots happen from the window seat - none of it would be possible without my coffee corner!  This is the spot in the kitchen designated to all things related to coffee or tea...except the cream, of course.



I'm sorry, but I don't think I have a very good before picture of this part of the kitchen.  Just know that it was more unorganized, the canisters were on the counter and not on the shelf and well it just didn't look this darn snazzy!


I've had these great canisters for years now, since shortly after we were first married.  I originally only wanted to purchase the "Three Crows Coffee" canister, but the lady at the store offered me a great deal to take all four, so I did - and they have been an integral part of our kitchens since then.







And next; the machine that makes it all possible!  Originally I had an old, old, old coffee maker and I had a real bad habit of leaving it on and going out for the day....bad, bad habit!  So hubby and I switched to a french press for a few years.  Now that is some fine coffee making there I tell you!  But after two kids and a slight growth in my need desire for more coffee, more often - we switched back to a regular coffee maker.  But that's not the one pictured here...no we, er...umm...well...loved our other one too much and we also out grew it's eight cup capacity.  It has since "gone to a better place".  We now have this FOURTEEN cup monster!





It's a great machine!  Not only does it make a mean cup of coffee but it beeps as soon as it is ready, so I don't have to miss one second of fresh, delicious, hot coffee. ;)



I found these cute and vintage canisters at our local Goodwill,  a few years ago and I use them to store various types of tea. I love coffee...in case you hadn't guessed that by now, but I take the occasion to enjoy a cup of tea in the afternoons or evenings now and again.  A friend has recently introduced me to chocolaty chai tea and it is amazing!  It will be a staple in my home from now on, especially as we move from the summer into cooler days.






So there you have it, just a little corner of my kitchen.  I love having coffee and tea on hand, it's rare you meet someone who won't drink either and it's such an inviting way to get to know someone or to pass the time.  Sitting, chatting, sipping, sharing. I think summer is fabulous, but as these cooler days set in, I look forward to giving this little corner of my kitchen a real work out - so come on over the coffee's always on!










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Sep 2, 2011

Kitchen Makeover - Part One: Kitchen Cork Board

Wow, September; hello!  I see that I was a bit slack in my posting for August - but I'm back in the game again.  Glad to be hearing from many bloggers who have survived the multitude of natural disasters going on around them and being thankful for all I know who are safe and sound and praying for all who are and have been affected by the happenings of late!





About four posts ago, at the beginning of August - 'cause that's how slack I have been! - I had mentioned in this post about how in tradition of most long weekends my hubby and I got busy with a small home reno/make over.  I was hoping to reveal it to you in one glorious post but that's not going to be the case.

For one, the project grew and will take longer to complete then one weekend allowed.  Also, I think it will be fun to break it up a little and focus in on the details that make up the whole!


And what we got busy with was the KITCHEN!

*big grin*

I have always loved my kitchen!  It is bright, big, and the heart of the home.  It is where I have my devotions, where we eat breakfast together on the weekends (and the kids and I during the week), it's where I prepare meals made from love and what's found in the fridge, it is home to good conversation and quiet moments of contemplation.

But it was also the first room we painted, four years ago.  My husband and my dad lovingly and painstakingly restored the once black painted original plank flooring to their glorious state that they are now and hubby built the window seat, but like I said, that was all four years ago and I found the room looking a little.... tired lately.

So as we were out shopping on the long weekend...at the beginning of August...I said to my sweet hubby, "Hey, I want to paint the kitchen, chocolate brown.  What do you think?" and sweet hubby replied, "Sounds good!"  Hence why I call him sweet hubby! ;)

Well here is the kitchen before:




And the 'before' of my beloved window seat;







And the 'after', I keep saying "Now my kitchen has personality!" 












Oh, I love it!  It's bold and dramatic, yet warm, inviting and still holds it's country(ish) charm! :) 



Other then revealing to you the result of a couple of coats of paint, I'm sharing with you a nice little project.  Easy and a great way to personalize a space.


I realized, after going a couple of weeks without one, that I need a cork board in my kitchen.  It's just a must....that's all there is to it.  I was also kind of tired of having my fridge covered in things - SO that being said we (hubby and me, yay team work!) made this;




Our kitchen cork board, right next to the window seat. It's great, I keep all kinds of stuff there and not on the fridge and I love how it looks like art first, cork board second.

 Here is what we did:

We took an old cork board that we had, if you don't have an extra one lying around you can buy one, either one pre-framed, pre cut at a store like Walmart, or you can find it at a hardware store and I believe it's on a roll so you can select your size.

Ours was purple and just wouldn't do, so it had to be painted! ;)




See, much too purple!  I mixed paint, some from the chocolate brown of the kitchen with a tan colour that is in the lower half of our dining room and viola; it went from purple to this:






Hubby then trimmed it out to make it look like art on the wall. If you don't have a handy hubby, or are not ambitious enough to do it yourself, you could find a picture frame the size of your cork board, remove the glass and frame and hang it that way. Think yard sales, Goodwill, etc. for inexpensive large frames - and don't forget you can spray paint the frame any colour so pick one you like the design of and don't worry about the colour of it! :)



I love cork boards I love how they are useful, decorative and inspiring. Already we have adorned this one with;




Inspiration for us and for a witness to others;;






Coffee and tea themed push pins, to encourage the relaxed café feel of the room and to hold notes from dear sweet neighbours;





And who doesn't like having little reminders of good friends, special times, or other such things posted to see daily?!?





I had known for a while that I wanted to paint the kitchen and the jump from pale yellow to chocolate brown seemed obvious.....okay, well to me at least!  Plus, when I found these pillows I just knew there was no other choice!



Yes, roses from my sweet hubby, just because....yes he's that sweet!  He also knew I'd like that the red went with the new colours of the room....*sigh*  God sure knows how to bless a girl!




Oh did I mention just how much I LOVE these pillows?



I did?  Okay, good, just wanted to make sure....


So there you have it, part one of the kitchen makeover.  This is probably my favourite part, only because I love my window seat so and because something about friendly notes and little things that dress a cork board make me so very happy.

Simple things!


I will post more about; the kitchen shelves, the coffee corner and soon *fingers crossed* the new counter and backsplash.

Until then I have a house that desperately needs cleaning, rooms that need organizing, laundry that should be sorted from summer to fall, oh and we start the first day of Homeschool on Tuesday....

*blank stare*

Good thing it is only Junior Kindergarten.


But I warn you, as I type this I sit at the dawn of another long weekend....and well shouldn't a school room have a face lift too?!?!?





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