Friday, September 30, 2011

Country Living Inspiration

Have you seen the cover of the latest edition of Country Living Magazine? I spied it at the library while the boys were in art class and made a note on my Ipod to check into it more......take a peak at this!

I immediately started drooling over the white "quilt" looking pumpkin on the far right. If you go HERE you can download the beautiful design and print them off for you own use! All the directions are there as well.
Country Living said they bought pumpkins and painted them white...I decided to buy white pumpkins instead to save me time. I found them for $3 each! I needed some kind of adhesive ( I used spray adhesive again to save time.) Then a little bottle of Mod Podge. Print and cut out the designs. Make sure your pumpkins are clean and dry then. Spray the back of the paper with the adhesive and stick them onto the pumpkin.Make sure your edges are all sticking. After a couple minutes of drying I applied a layer of Mod Podge over the paper (I have never used this before....FUN! The reason for it is to seal the paper and protect is against moisture.) I applies a second coat for extra protection. In case you haven't used this goes on creamy white but when it dries it is shiny and clear.
Aren't they so fun, cute , and quilty (it's a word, trust me) looking? I think so....worth my time! 

I'm so thankful for magazines like COUNTRY LIVING that offer such inspiration. Happy Fall!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Such a CUTE addition to my kitchen......

Sometimes when you see a blog post your educated and you learn something new, sometimes your charmed by a trash to treasure, but yesterday I was TOTALLY INSPIRED and PUT ON A MISSION!
The lovely ladies over at Sweetwater lit a fire under me and I went straight to work. What is all this about you might wonder........feast your eyes on this gorgeous little gal!

Isn't that such a cute kitchen towel? I thought so.....if you'd like to make one of your own go visit the girls at Sweetwater! This is a link to all the fabric requirements and instructions.
While your there, you can be swooned by all their yummy, gorgeous, and divine fabric.....just saying!
This is my version....I think she might be the first of many shabby chic looking towels for my kitchen.
I'm not usually one for a paisley print, but the colors match my appliances and rug that is already there so it really looks so cute. "SHE IS NOT FOR USE".....are think are the words I told my children!!!!

A Couple of My New Favorite Recipes!

I tried TWO new recipes this week and LOVED them both!! This was a pleasant's not the normal outcome when I try something new. Usually I get all excited, put all the time, money, and effort into a new recipe......and every hates it or it doesn't "wow me" like I was hoping. I had the total opposite experience this week...Yahoo! Here is the first one.....(both recipes are compliments of the new All You magazine)

For my crock pot and family size I doubled everything in this recipe except the tomatoes.
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, sliced
4 C of chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
1tsp of Italian seasoning
1 C of shells or macaroni
1-15 oz can of navy or northern white beans, drained

Put all the ingredients in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours. 30 minutes before serving add in the shells, then cook on high for 30 minutes.
 Top with grated Parmesan if you wish.

Peaches & Cream French Toast

1-8oz. loaf of French bread, sliced or torn into pieces
8 large eggs
2 C whole milk
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2-15 oz can of peaches, drained
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 heavy cream

Butter/spray a 9X13 pan. Line the pan with French bread. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until blended. Pour that mixture over bread. Arrange peaches on top and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Take out 30 min. before baking. Preheat oven to 350. Pour cream into a small pan bring cream to boil and cook down about 10 min, or until cooked down by half. Drizzle that over pan. Bake 45-55 minutes until casserole is lightly browned on cooked through. Let is stand for 10 min. then serve.

FYI: I did not use whole milk, I used 2% instead. I also didn't realize the sugar went on the night before and added it just before baking. It still turned out so incredibly yummy! The French loaf I bought was 16oz so you actually can get two casserole from one loaf...BONUS! I was excited to get to use some of my own canned peaches, farm fresh eggs, and vanilla. I have a feeling this will be a staple at our house from now on! So easy and SO GOOD!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homestead Happenings....

It seems that since our school year has started I've been slacking on blogging.......So here is a speed round up of what we have been up to!
On my birthday weekend, Justin started taking a look at some lighting we had right outside our garage doors. We discovered that a combination of water in the lights and bad wiring was the reason for them not working. I made a run to town for NEW LIGHTS!! New lights have been on our "To Buy List" but they were all interior lights......plans have a way of changing sometimes don't they? Before heading out the door, I quickly jumped online and instantly fell in love with these lights! I called ahead to be sure they had two in stock (I didn't want to drive 30 min. to get there and find out they only had one). Once Hubby hung them up I was even more smitten with them.....they remind of the old gas all know how I LOVE "old" things!

These beauties are available at Lowe's
 I have had two separate transplanting sessions around here lately! I'm SO VERY THANKFUL for people who are willing to share their bounty of plants! I'm also very thankful that each day since all my new green beauties have been transplanted that we have had enough rain so I didn't have to fuss over them by watering everyday...LOVE THAT!!
The kids have been extra helpful the last two weeks in helping me get some things done. (I have started an intense 3 times a week back & neck treatment/therapy. Which means I have been very sore, and not able to do nearly as much as I'm used to accomplishing.) We have started putting our garden to bed for the winter. We had a bale of straw that had broken in the barn so instead of throwing it out in the field I brought it the garden.!
When we aren't schooling, canning, transplanting, mowing, cuddling kittens, or doing everyday cleaning chores we are enjoying the fall season as much as possible! I LOVE everything about the season! I have a few fall projects I'd like to accomplish and plan to share with you in the next couple weeks. I can't make any promises with my crazy pain issues at the forefront of everything right now, but I'll sure try.
(Chalk art work done by: The one and only Caleb Gaerte)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Dream House Tour.....

I know I've been slacking on the house tour, but a girl can only do so much! If you missed the first stop on the tour (the half bathroom) you can go here. Today I'm taking to the kitchen.....I think we've improved this space 100 times over! There are still some things on my checklist like: countertops (I'm thinking darker gray, farmhouse sink (stainless) , faucet (black), some kind of brick looking backsplash, barstools, lighting, and a microwave that matches all my other appliances. Although it may sound like I have a lot on my list, I'm perfectly content with the progress we've made thus far. All of the other things will happen in future years, or when we strike a bargain I can't refuse! Enough babbling: Here are the "Before & After" shots of the kitchen.      THE BEFORE:

BEFORE PART 2: We had painted the walls gray and laid down that yummy tile floor (that looks like antique wood flooring.)
 Before: We had painted the walls gray and laid down that yummy tile floor (that looks like antique wood flooring.)

I totally adore this's where I spend a lot of my time! I think my favorite two things are the island, and just how large this space is! If you want to know more details about how I painted my cabinets you can go here and here. Next stop on tour our dinning room.....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homestead Happenings....

I haven't posted anything in more than a week! I've been running around like crazy crossing things off my list. One of things that kept me busy almost every night for a week was canning! Tis the season......I did two batches of spaghetti sauce, one batch of applesauce, peaches, and tomato juice. I lost nearly an entire bushel of peaches to mold....ugh! I had no idea they wouldn't keep for several days. As frustrating as that was I chalked it up to "Live & Learn!"

My pretty peaches!

One of the nights I wasn't canning I was bagging up chickens....Really is it that time already?
We didn't complete the task that night but we bagged up the first NINE! We left all these chicken whole since we had to cut up the others to get them into gallon bags. This time I was prepared and bought  TWO GALLON SIZE bags! Call me crazy, but putting your own meat in the freezer is wonderful!
As fall officially is under way, all my flowers are on the blooming decrease. I brought in a sunflower bouquet early last week. Look so great with my little Indian Corn! I'm keeping the seed heads and drying them out to replant these gorgeous beauties next year. This variety only gets 3-4ft high.
 The variation of the colors is so yummy
Yesterday I changed it up and snipped a little off my little peach rose bush.

On another afternoon/evening the boys clean up a fence row that had lots of dead limbs in it
Which led to this.....
Hope your enjoying cooler temperatures in your area...we are soaking up every last second of it here! I am hoping to do some more transplanting, thanks to some generous people in my life! As I put my garden to bed for the fall/winter I'm already dreaming up what I will plant and add next year. Also on the agenda is making grape juice from some Concord grapes from Aunt Cindy! She also shared some tomatoes and zucchini with us!! I see more spaghetti sauce and zucchini bread in our future!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Field Trip Friday #5

The month of August came to a close, but because of the holiday weekend we decided to squeeze in another Friday field before we resume a 5 day week school week. BOY I AM GLAD WE DID!!!!
This is where we went...about a 45 minute drive for us! (BONUS: While on this field trip we hit the bulk food store and stock up on spices, peaches, apples, dried fruit, popcorn, and wheat flour.)

The beginning of our tour was guided. Some talking by our guide, videos, & lighted demonstrations all kept the kids very interested the entire time we were there! Below is a picture of one of the demonstrations that lite up while they were talking about each event.
This was one of the videos they watched during the tour.

After the guided part we were off on our own. Lance had a paper filled with questions to answer along our way. He was set on getting all of them answered. I LOVE his thirst for learning!

This field trip was by in far the BEST museum type trip we've been on ever! We got in on the family rate of only $16! I was shocked to learn this center has been there since the 80's yet I've only know about it for a few years. I would HIGHLY recommend visiting if you get the chance, we spent a little over 3 hours there...engaged in learning the entire time!
For those of you in my area, where some other places or events you have visited that you would recommend checking out. FALL is upon us let me know what harvest things you'll be doing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Field Trip Friday #4

For our FOURTH Field Trip Friday we didn't have to travel far, only 20 minutes.
Black Pine Animal Park was our destination! Lots of Wild and Exotic Animals to see.
 The lion exhibit was by far the thrill of our visit. He was all the way up by the fence this morning. We could literally reach through the fence and touch him we were so close. DON'T PANIC we didn't attempt to pet him but we were that close! Looking into the eyes of this HUGE lion was intense. Just being in his presence was simply amazing....
Besides Lance, have you ever since such fake smile? They had a good time, and loved having the run of the place. Only two other people we in the whole park that day.....This field trip was $30 for all 5 of us. I had another FREE admission ticket from my sister, so that was nice! It was a fun trip, but not one we will make again for several more years.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grocery Report

I went on my monthly grocery shopping trip last week and Kroger was one of my stops. I haven't made a coupon run in soooooooo very long but I thought I would share this little score with you. I had almost forgotten what is felt like to have such a coupon high! (smile)

 Here is the break down of my deals: Starting on the left
4 Notebooks on clearance: $.15 each
2 M&M's: manufactor $1 coupon
2 Snack packs $.50 coupon (tripled) paid .50 for both
5 Cake mixes: $.99 each
5 Kashi Cereal: $2.99 each
Because I bought the cake mix and the cereal equaling 10 back to school items I got $5.00 off my total
2 Cranberries
2 Ranch Dressing
1 Sugar: I had a manufacturer coupon and a Kroger coupon paid $.39
OJ: had a manuf. coupon and a Kroger coupon
eggs: FREE egg coupon from Kroger 
Peter Pan: Manf. coupon & Kroger coupon
Sour cream: Kroger coupon
2 Coffee Creamer: Kroger coupon
Facial Cleanser: Kroger coupon
Make up remover: Manf. coupon
watermelon, 2 strawberries, and $.39 a lb. bananas
1 head of lettuce
I also had a coupon for $1 off when I purchased $5 in the dairy dept.
Because of a mix up the manager accidentally have me another $5 off since she didn't think it took it from the back to school deal. We later discovered that it actually had...she said don't worry about and let me keep the $5 extra off my total!! How COOL is that! Blessing.....Blessing.
I SAVED $44 in coupons and discounts and SPENT $61....I was thrilled with that considering the items I bought!!!
In case your wondering about all those Kroger coupons....I got them in a mailer from them several weeks ago. If you do not receive these I'm sure you can go to their website and sign up for them, or call your local Kroger and ask them how you can get them.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homestead Happenings

It's been a long while since I updated on our Homestead Happenings. Here are some pictures of how things are going around the Gaerte Homestead. The first picture is of Lance's ducks...all grown up now. We had a sad event happen, we lost of the ducks to a predator of some sort.

 I love watching how all the animals hang out together....this playful kitten "Happy" loves to lay in the sun and watch the chickens roam.
 We moved the one laying chick and ducks to this pen so the other chicken could get used to them before we combined them all together....which we did this past week. Everyone is getting along!
 These ornery puppies have grown like weeds.....boy do they have a LOT of energy!!! 
Camo on the left, Caleb, Hunter on the right.
 These are the second batch of meat chickens we have raised this year. In just about a week or so they will be joining our freezer...I have to admit there is a remarkable difference in taste with these chickens compared to what we were getting from the store......YUMMO!
 This is one of Lance's 4-H pigs that didn't meet market weight during the fair. We thought it was a great opportunity to keep him, fatten him up, and add him to our freezer as well....which will be happening very soon as well.
 I bought and canned peaches for the first time EVER. I was so surprised at how easy and rather quickly I was able to accomplish this task. My total was 15 quarts of yummy goodness to enjoy during the winter months!
Yesterday, we welcomed yet another liter of kittens! They are so stinkin' cute! I've been trying to convince the MISTER that we NEED to get these females fixed so this doesn't keep happening. If for no other save my sanity when we have to get rid of them and all the children vote to KEEP ALL of them. So in 8 weeks your welcome to let me know if you would like one of the four little beauties for your own!

Design by Amanda @ BloggerBuster