Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Festivities

Our New Year's Eve started with a little house cleaning. . . .
Do you think it's time to buy a new sweeper? The plug, as you can see has been replaced twice.  The kids would grab the cord and yank it from the wall.  Did I mention kids don't like to vacuum?   It's been duct taped, bungee corded, belts replaced and it's now coming to it's end.  How appropriate for the end of 2010.  I'm taking this as a sign that God has big things in store for us in 2011.

After cleaning up the house, we baked a few cookies for tonight.  We used the last pound of melting chocolates we had for this holiday season, along with baking a few other types of cookies.

After baking I enjoyed a hot cup of green tea with peach and read a good book.

 We are enjoying our Christmas decorations and lights for one last night.  Tomorrow they 
will all be put away until next year.

Happy New Year and Blessings for a blessed 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A peek at Handmade Christmas presents for 2011

The green one is a hot pad holder, very thick with a crab (reverse sc) stitch for edging.  The red is a dish cloth, and again very durable.  I used an on-line pattern, but used yarn I already had, and did not add the pansy flower as instructed in the original pattern.

Dishcloth and Hot Pad Holder (register for free with sugar n' cream yarns to download free pattern)

Preparing for New Year's Eve ~ Game On

Among our favorite things to do on New Year's Eve, besides eat, is play games.  I didn't buy confetti or bottle poppers, so the kids will have to make their own party favors (including hats) from newspaper.  I'm sure they will find a way to do it. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A late Christmas gift from my kids ~ Happy Camper's Ornament

 Isn't it just adorable!

Pictures with the Christmas light inside to light it up.  There are windows on each side, including a door where light shines through.  Check out the tiny Christmas lights around the window!

This was on my wish list and I absolutely love it.  I'm almost afraid to put it on my tree with the cats in the house.  I just love it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happiest Moments from 2010

I asked my kids to write me a letter with their happiest moments, so I thought I might share a few of my own.

1. Camping with hubby and cooking all of our food over the campfire.

2.  Canning for the first time.

3.  Cooking meals entirely from the garden.

4.Writing my first novel during NaNoWriMo in November.

5.  Cutting my first cord of wood by hand (and all of my farmgirl accomplishments).

6.  My outdoor reading room.

7.  All of the beautiful butterflies I took pictures of.

8.  Watching the sun rise.

9.   Hiking.

10.  My flower gardens.

Of course this is not a complete list, but it's a small start of sharing my happiest memories.  What are yours?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting out those dust covered journals ~ Lots to write about this Christmas

It's time.  It's time to get those journals out and use them.  You know, the ones that have fancy covers, leather bindings and others that I'm too chicken to write in?  Yep.  Those are the ones.  It's time to get busy and start my second novel.  Only this time around, it will be for the eyes of an editor and agent.  The first time was for practice, but you never know, it may make it to the printer yet.

For Christmas, I told the kids what I really wanted from them.  I wanted an essay, a story, or memoir of their favorite and happiest event in the year of 2010.  I received one letter from my youngest, and a power point show from the next oldest, but nothing yet from the older kids.  I know they are not afraid to write, but may the "lazy's" have taken over them.  I also told them I wanted a clean house and peace.  I knew those two were not going to happen. The kids have also, way too often, associated Christmas with "buying" and maybe they can't get over the hump that prevents them from enjoying a homemade/handmade gift.

(More Christmas Day Snow)

Our propane tank ran out Christmas Eve, while one kiddo was showering - ha ha!  We had to boil water like the pioneers did to heat water until the propane company opens.  We will be better prepared for the next fill-up.  Yet, still I am happy they do happen.  It gives me so much to write about.  It reminds me to be thankful for non-electric ways of life, and to be thankful for simple, everyday things, like hot water.

Another accomplishment for me, is starting a journal simply for story ideas, names to write down - anything.  It's a red vinyl covered journal I was too chicken to start writing it.  Now I have several pages of glued down pictures, names, places, things people have said and more.  All for the good of a story.

Christmas Day Snow

After our traditional Christmas morning breakfast . . . . .

 After the kids opened their presents . . . . .

I baked us apple pies by using my recently home canned apple pie filling . . . 

 . . . . and made another family traditional recipe . . .

Hot Cranberry Punch ~  Yum!

. . .  and then (yes there is more)
I  crocheted several dishcloths, trying out new patterns I found in books from the library.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Birthday Party ~ Spaghetti Tacos

My youngest daughter requested Spaghetti Tacos for her birthday dinner last night.  If you watch the iCarly show you'll know what I'm talking about.  To be honest, they were delicious!
These were so easy to make and very tasty!  I'm now wondering what kids will ask for dinner, for the next upcoming birthday celebration. 

More Laundry in the Snow

I know I'm crazy, but my electric bill is at the lowest ever.  Now if I can just balance out all the expenses the school is demanding.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse ~ Total

This morning, from 1:30am to 5:00am (EST) we could see a total lunar eclipse.
The kids snapped this photo to share.   I know it's not the best photo, as we do not have a camera that would capture the eclipse the best, but it's a photo no less.  The next one won't be until 2094 (at least that is what the kids read).  I'm glad the kids stayed up to see it.

It was very foggy/cloudy, so the red color really doesn't show up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bird Watching

I'm not talking about bird watching with binoculars today.  I'm talking about the kind that cats do - ha ha ha!
We have an ornamental apple tree (I have no idea why someone didn't just plant a real apple tree), and in the early winter the birds come in hoards to eat whatever is left on the tree.  Two of our three cats watch the birds from the window during this time, and keep us entertained by popping in and out of windows all day.  My kids snapped this cute photo one day when the birds filled the tree.

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Canning for Christmas Gifts

The teacher of my 3rd grader, will be receiving a jar of homemade candy apple jelly.  I crocheted a round dishcloth in variegated cotton with red, green and white colors, and wrapped it around the jar.
 The dishcloth ended up larger than I thought, but you know they always shrink after washing.  It fit perfect around the bottom of a half pint jar of homemade jelly, and served nicely for "wrapping" paper.  I hope the teacher enjoys both items.

We have also started our holiday baking.  The kids are doing most of it considering I am sick, and so are many of the other kids.  I have one daughter who has taken over the candy making and is doing a wonderful job.  She helped make toffee, and made buckeyes for the family Christmas.

Toffee starts with a lot of butter, but ends up tasting so delicious.  I think this year's batch was the best batch ever made so far.

 My daughter did a great job.  It really helps to have help.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Handmade ~ Wrap

I just finished another Christmas present.  I made this nice warm wrap for my 14 year-old using a pattern on-line.  One more gift done!

Lots of Snow!

We did a lot of shoveling yesterday.  We got some snow, and today we have the glory of frozen pipes.  Luckily, I have spare jugs of drinking water, spare jugs of water for the pets and the chickens, and spare water to flush toilets.  I'm feeling like a real pioneer woman, only without the outhouse.  Although, right now, I wish we had one - ha ha ha!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Men's Hat and Scarf Set - Christmas Handmade

Here is another finished crocheted Christmas gift.  This is a men's hat and scarf.  I used up leftover yarn from a blanket, yarn from a friend and leftover yarn from crocheting wrist warmers last winter.  Here's the pattern I used:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another Day at the Horse Rescue

Sharing a few more photos, the horse above was asking me for a snack.

Well, Hello there!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Handmade - Another Poncho

With leftover yarn from a blanket and leftover yarn from a scarf I made last year, I made my 8 year old this poncho.  It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but she's tall, so she can wear it for a few years.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mixing Up Homemade Mayonnaise

Dinner tonight involved preparing a batch of homemade mayonnaise.  It was easy to make with our farm fresh eggs, oil and a bit of lemon.
We are making "Potunas" which is a recipe I found on-line.  This is an easy recipe if you have potatoes in you cellar from you summer garden, and you have chopped and frozen green onions from your herb garden.  We can't wait to taste the final "Potunas."
(I am baking my potatoes with olive oil and sea salt)

Don't forget you can freeze your leftover egg whites!  Mine went right into the freezer for omelets in the future.  Waste nothing.

Crazy Mom!

. . . but never "lazy" 
(sharing a note my 8 year-old wrote me)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Homemade Gifts ~ Poncho

Here is a pattern I am using for my 8  year-old's poncho.  I am using leftover yarn from two different projects.
 I will make 2 rectangle pieces and sew them together, creating a diamond shaped neck hole.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Canning Candy Apple Jelly

With simple ingredients . . .

. . . and sterilized jars and lids (we don't have a dishwasher to do this) . . .
And after a 5 minute boil bath, we now have about 3 1/2 pints of homemade jelly.  I used organic apple juice

Here is the link for the Taste at Home Recipe:  Candy Apple Jelly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Day at the Horse Rescue

Here are three of the rescue horses

A few more pictures.  These are not all of the rescues.  Some are are in the barn too.

The drive here was very scenic, with many farms.  I snapped this photo of an old abandoned house that intrigued me.  I made my husband pull over so I could take a photo. I can't wait to buy a nice zoom camera.

This photo holds a story for sure.