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~

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve Traditions

I can't say we area carrying on my childhood traditions, but I wanted to write today and share them.  My kids are older now, and well, I can't really stay up that late (ha ha ha!).

As a child, Mom would fill the kitchen table with leftover Christmas cookies, chips and dips, cheese ball and crackers, and punch. Lights would be off and candles would be lit.

The real Christmas tree would still be up, covered with that thin, silver tinsel, homemade ornaments and blinking lights.  There was a star light on the top.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Traditions - Hot Cranberry Punch (family recipe) ~ Messy Bun Hat

Friday was like my typical Monday - busy, busy, busy.  I removed everything from kitchen counters, sorted, washed, washed and dried and put away, washed some more and scrubbed and .....reclaiming my kitchen.   I set the rules straight with the girls, but this morning I woke up to dishes drying on a towel.  Sigh.  I had high hopes they'd get the message when I told them the kitchen was closed until they finished their "to-do" list I gave them.  I want to wake up to a clean kitchen every morning now.  That is the goal anyway.

I posted a few days ago, that I made our traditional Hot Cranberry Punch on Christmas this year.   I guess over the years I have forgotten to share the recipe.   Although it's a Christmas/New Year's tradition,  I have made this punch throughout winter.  Just be sure to stock up your fresh cranberries while they are in season in the fall first.  I freeze mine, and they work just fine for this recipe.  In our area, after the season is over, you can't find them anywhere.

The recipe comes from our family recipe book.  Back in the day, I collected family recipes and typed up a recipe book and gave each family one.  Each page was computer printed, and placed in a plastic page protector, and into a 3 ring binder.  My kids drew the photos for each category.  A cover was made, glossary and even family stories.  Now-a-days, you can just send recipes off to companies and have them printed for a price.  Which reminds me, there are a few kids that moved out that do not have one of the "family" cookbooks.  Hm.  I may have to work on that as a gift next year, but one for the vegetarian with just our family vegetarian recipes.


You can use any brand of these ingredients, but I do use organic for ours.  Organic cranberries are now found in most grocery stores, as well as organic orange juice and lemon juice (and organic whole cloves).

I typically double this recipe, because it's enjoyed so much and goes fast.  Any leftovers can be cooled and placed in the refrigerator, reheating as necessary.

Hot Cranberry Punch
(organic ingredients)
2 quarts water
1 lb. fresh organic cranberries (or frozen)
2 Tbsp. grated organic orange peel
12 whole organic cloves
6 cinnamon sticks

Combine in large pan, and gently gook until cranberries are soft and have "popped."

Strain.  I simply place a strainer on another large pot, lined to help strain out the cranberry seeds.

To the strained liquid, add 1 1/2 cups organic sugar, 4 cups organic orange juice, and 1 cup of organic lemon juice. Heat until sugar is dissolved, and serve warm.  

Note:  If you'd like to use the cranberries, after straining them, for another use (bread perhaps?) put your cloves in  cheesecloth and tie it up before tossing in.  The cinnamon sticks are large enough to just pick out.

It's snowing here again.  We've heated up to a whopping 15°F outside this morning.  Hubby and I both slept in and boy if felt great.  We needed the rest, as we plan to cut barn wood again today.

Oh, I crocheted my first messy bun hat too.  I used a free pattern on Ravelry. 

It was "It's all about the messy bun" pattern by June Nemeth, but I was disappointed in the final results.  However, one daughter was absolutely happy with it.  The photo on the pattern shows the hat with a flat brim.  The final hat ended up so long it has to be folded up to fit correctly.  To make the brim flat I will have to leave 3 rows of DC out before the brim.

Either way, I now have a pattern to work with.  I had yarn that matched a color in my daughter's double wrap scarf, and she is a happy, happy gal.  She now has a matching set and she says she always has a messy bun, and loves it.  I may have to give her and my other daughters business cards to had out when someone asks where they got it.  My one daughter wearing her "Harry Potter" scarf gets compliments all the time too.  

I do believe I'll be crocheting myself a "messy bun" hat.  I would like to have one for outdoor work, barn work days.  For now I simply do a side braid to get my hat to stay down.  I do not function with work very well, with my long hair straight down.

Now that all of my crochet orders are finished, I need to spend time and clean up all my yarn today, ha ha!  It's been crazy, busy and good.  

Friday, December 29, 2017

Ham Soup ~ Yarn Keys

These cold frigid days remind me why I stocked up.  No one needs to be out in these temperatures.  

Our leftovers are dwindling down to a few pieces of pie, ham, BBQ green beans, etc.  I whipped up a crock pot of ham soup, using celery cubes I froze, onion, home canned tomato soup (vs. tomato juice), some frozen garden tomatoes, carrots, dehydrated mushrooms, chili powder, fire powder etc.  It's deliciously spicy and just what will warm me up even today.  

I never had time to try both roll recipes, so I may take some time in the next few weeks to try them.  Maybe today, if I get done with chores early.  

Yesterday I had a good amount of chores and made homemade yogurt.

My main barn door is froze shut, but I can gain access to my ladies and gent via another door.  I am rotating a watering unit daily as it freezes solid at night.  I know they make electric ones, but I prefer this way.  Our electric is the highest in the area.

I finally broke down and purchased some yarn keys.  After trying to find the same color of a yarn (to duplicate a scarf), I decided I better start keeping track of brand/color better.  I have yet to find the yarn I want, but I am now more organized.  This brand is made in America.

You clip your yarn label in the slot, and hook it to your yarn.  Knit Picks has them, called "Yarn Valet Keys."  I will probably need a few more.

Speaking of organized, I have purged a few tops that are too big and I started purging costume jewelry.  One daughter is delighted to gain new clothing and accessories.

I'll be back soon with the punch recipe.  Stay warm!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Welcome Back! Grab a cup of Java!

We got through the holidays, birthday, and anniversary craziness.  We had a few hiccups, but managed to get through it all.  It has really slowed down, despite not yet the New Year, so I am at the computer this morning.

It's been bone-chilling weather here.  One night down to as low as -5°F.  So far, we are keeping warm.  Hubby and I fired up the wood splitter.  It coughed and sputtered, but eventually started, and together we cut wood Christmas day for several hours.  
We cut up a few more barn beams (had to shovel them out, ha ha!)

The holiday leftovers were a blessing too.  At Christmas Eve dinner, ha ha, we never even cut into one pie.  Seriously, we were so stuffed, those two pies lasted for days here.  

(our sweet potatoes continue to supply us)

I had a bit if a hiccup making my sweet potato pie too.  Did anyone notice on my recipe post I left out the temperature to bake it?  Ha!  I had to figure that out considering I didn't follow one specific recipe.  Anyway, in the process of being rushed I added 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes vs. 1 lb.  In the end, it still tasted good.

Christmas day all three of my older kids showed up, including my son.  My step-daughter didn't show up, but otherwise, we had a nice visit enjoying leftovers (the kids stuffed themselves so full, they too did not want pie).  I offered take-home leftovers, including cookies and pie, and after saying no, the next day I got messages they wished they had (ha ha!). 

It was the first Christmas to "fully" enjoy my own family (husband and kids) by ourselves, without expectations of being elsewhere.

Hot cranberry punch was made, which my oldest daughter loves.  We all like it, but it's a family tradition, and a favorite.  Luckily, I had stashed organic cranberries in the freezer.

At Christmas I discovered our oldest two daughters have the same likes.  As one saw the other get a Harry Potter scarf, the other sat wide-eyed and dismayed she didn't get one.  She'll get it on her birthday come February.  While the kids visited, I crocheted grand-pup Mia her doggie scarf - sporting Honolulu Pink, just like Zuri's.

As for our anniversary, we had a few hiccups in just getting out to dinner.  Our "Grad" daughter gifted us a gift card to eat at a steak house that we really like.  First up, from early morning to 1pm, we lost out due to one cat needing to visit the vet (Jasper - had a bladder infection).  I piddled around and picked through yarn stash while waiting.

Next, as Hubby pulled in the driveway from the vet, a friend of the family pulled in.  He came in had coffee, cookies, wanted barn wood (really? when it's -1°out?), and wanted our snowmobile (that has sat un-used for years).  

You can imagine my frustration as I was dressed up and ready to go out.  Hubby and both wanted to eat early and get home early, considering the frijid temperatures. 

Long story short, our guest finally leaves, we head to the steak house but find out it's not open for another hour.  We decided to use my birthday gift card and eat at another restaurant.  It was the worst, awful, terrible food you could eat.  We'll never go back.  We only went due to the gift card. We came home and hunkered down to movies, more Christmas cookies and eventually more leftovers (including pie).

What's on the hook(s)?

I received one order for a slouchy hat, so that's what is on my hook currently.  

On a smaller crochet hook - handmade cute-ness.  I did not have one specific pattern.  I used yarn stash of a crochet thread I have.  I am very impressed with the way they turned out too.  I wanted to have something "heart" at the upcoming craft show (if they still hold the show). I'll be picking through more yarn stash and making a few more in different colors.

I have another double wrap scarf in the making too (light blue and soft white), and I hope to make a matching slouchy hat (to sell).  I had a quick chat with Hubby on opening an Etsy store, and we'll probably talk again. It will cost me to list items ($.20/each item for 3 months, plus a 3.5% transaction fee from the price the item sells at.  And if they don't sell at all in the time period offered, I lose money.  So...most likely another talk.  Quite possibly a trial period.  

I need to research the tax laws as well. I have located the "vendor's license" application ($25.00).  So, the numbers to open an Etsy are increasing already.  I'd have to sell some high priced items to make it work.  There are no consignment stores in the area anymore.  All closed.

Normalcy has returned here at the homestead.  It's back to the organizing, purging and making necessities from scratch. I'm glad our anniversary trip was canceled for a later day.  I don't think we'd be enjoying ourselves in these temperatures.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Birthday ~ Random Tidbits ~ Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's gorgeous out this morning!  We will have a white Christmas this year.

I got my homemade "lysol" wipes restocked.  

They are made with 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, a teaspoon of dawn liquid soap, and what ever essential oil I feel like adding.  There are recipes all over the internet to make these. I add 10-12 drops tea tree oil.  Be sure to use a thick paper towel to make these.  

Our youngest turns 16 today.  Boy do the years fly by.  She was the toughest labor, smallest baby (only one to weigh under 10 pounds), and the quickest recovery.  Went to the hospital on the 22nd, had her on the 23rd, and was home on the 24th.  Best Christmas ever.  

The blueberries have been simmered in wine, the cookies are all made, as well as the candies (more than I anticipated).  I need to boil my sweet potatoes today for another pie, and also bake sweet potato fries (to reheat in the oven tomorrow).

The scarf orders are all complete.  I am down to working on making my one daughter her Harry Potter scarf.  I've had compliments on my own "HD" scarf while I've been out and about too.  

The dogs have scarves now too.   King is sporting the red one and Zuri the princess pink.  I just need to make one for my grand pup Mia.  

I'll be taking a short break from blogging (oh what will I do with my time?), as we are getting very busy around here - birthday, Christmas our 19th wedding anniversary (going on 20 years) and then New Year's Eve.  See ya' when we slow down a bit.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Macadamia Peanut Brittle Recipe ~ Homemade Peppermint Patties

There was a request for the other brittle recipe, so here it is:

Macadamia Peanut Brittle
(you need a candy thermometer to make this)

1 cup sugar, organic
1/2 cup light corn syrup, organic
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup peanuts, organic
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, organic
2 Tbsp. butter organic, softenend
1 tsp. baking soda 

Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it with organic shortening.  Set aside on a hot pad.  Measure butter and soda and keep nearby.

In a medium saucepan mix sugar, corn syrup, water and salt.  Place candy thermometer in pan.  Bring to a boil.  

Toss in nuts and continue to boil. Stir consistently, but slowly so you do not slow down the temperature, but keep it from sticking to the pan.

When it reaches 300°F remove from heat and remove thermometer, add butter stirring.  Once the butter is melted, stir in the baking soda and pour onto prepared pan.  It will foam up.   Spread the mixture out and allow it to cool completely.  

Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I also made homemade peppermint patties for the first time.  So easy to make too.  Here is that recipe:

(Youngest helped me)

Homemade Peppermint Patties
3/4 cup organic sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 tsp. organic (or homemade) peppermint extract
4 cups organic powdered sugar

Mix and roll flat on a non-stick surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness.  This dough is sticky, so you may need to work it a bit by hand, then roll between two pieces of parchment paper.  Or coat the rolling pin with powdered sugar.

Cut into small pieces and all them to dry on a non-stick pan for up to 12 hours.  You could get fancy and make small circles, but for us squares were quick and easy.

Drop each piece into melted dark chocolate and coat.  Place pieces on waxed paper to harden.  Store in an airtight container.

Note:  You won't use an entire can of sweetened condensed milk, so I put my leftover milk in the fridge to use up later.  There are many tips on using leftover sweetened condensed milk on the internet.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

More Cookies Please ~ Random Thoughts

I am on a roll this Christmas.  What cookie was chosen next?

Well, it was random.  Everything is random today.

Whiskey Caramel Cookies.  The dough is made with my homemade yogurt (recipe calls for "greek" yogurt).  No eggs.  It's a "Taste of Home" recipe if you are interested.

I have become intrigued with reading vintage cookbooks lately.  I don't know why, but some times I find a hidden gem inside, and continue to read them.

King has become obsessed with socks.  He doesn't eat them, he just picks them up and takes them to other places.  He did this to my daughter's friends while they slept over recently (ha ha ha!).

What is something you enjoyed getting as a gift, but never asked for? The first thing I thought of - books and jewelry.  I love surprises, and winter is the best time to read a book around this homestead. Or summer camping trips, or porch time. . .

I never find an open jar of peanut butter here.  Why?  Because I only buy organic, and no one likes to stir it when it's first opened. Ha ha!  We used to have a peanut butter stirrer from the general store, but it broke and was never replaced.

Well, I was right when I said it would plummet, but now they are saying the teens and snow.  We may get snow for Christmas - yay!

Hubby and I looked at the weather forecast to plan another good wood cutting day.  Why oh why can I not get that man to cut wood all summer and have it done already?  I do not know.   I need to figure out a way to motivate that man.  

Our "Grad" daughter, now with two jobs, is ex-haus-ted!  She is over worked and constantly complaining how tired she is.  I keep reminding her she'll be getting a nice fat paycheck.

Our "Vet Tech" daughter came out for a visit and brought our grand pup.  She raided the Christmas cookie stash and he (dog) was treated with a cooked egg.  

I've been taking a tablespoon of my four thieves vinegar, on any day I have a teensy bit sore throat, drainage, or runny nose.  It's working I tell ya'!  So far, I'm the only one brave enough to take it. It's not that bad. It tasted like garlic vinegar.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Beautiful Day ~ Harley Davidson Scarf

I woke up yesterday thinking, "hm, a good day to clean the coop, or maybe the next?"

I checked the weather. Oh boy.  Our temps will plummet to the single digits at Christmas, and Tuesday was the warmest (high of 48°F).

So...I skipped on out to the barn and mucked the coop, giving those lovely egg layers clean straw and warm beds. I needed the vitamin D and fresh air anyway, and a break from the kitchen. 

I had a sink full of dishes anyway.  I then decided to spend about two hours digging out photos for our youngest daughter.  She had her party, but her sweet 16 birthday is approaching.

I also took advantage of the day and put the laundry on the line.  The wind dried it very quickly too.

Here is the book I borrowed from the library.  I have no idea if I'll get time to read it.  I'm still crocheting two scarf orders, but not complaining either.  It intrigued me, as my other blog (store) is called "Rooster's Crow Farm."  It's where I post my items I hand create and offer for sale (you can visit it here).  It's my slow start to a possible Etsy store.  We'll see how business goes (again).

I can always check it out again later, when the scarves are all done.

Speaking of scarves, I created one for myself (like I need another one), when I should be making myself a hat. It's a Harley Davidson scarf.  If I can find matching yarn (I used every bit from my stash), I will be making these to sell too.

I better get busy making King's doggie scarf too.  If the temperature really does drop, he'll need it.  The last time it was down in the teens, (not kidding) he tried to do his business on his back feet with his front feet in the air.  Next thing you know, we'll be buying both dogs booties.  Jesse has a pair and they come in handy on very cold days.  The cold, icy ground is no fun for the dogs.  One year we shoveled an area for them.

I think we have reached a record on how tall we can stack dirty dishes.  We were plum lazy last night, and taking it slow.  Even Youngest was home early and we had a nice visit before Hubby got home.  She played with water color paints (my kids are extremely good artists), and I crocheted a Slytherin scarf.  I'm about 80% done with that order.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I find myself hanging around at the computer a little longer in the mornings, as winter rolls along.  That's okay too.  Winter is my time to relax a bit more, but I have neglected some housework too.

I delivered the last scarf order to the big city, but need to go back to collect the cash.  Now, I am working on another order that my youngest daughter got me. Photos to follow soon.

Hubby, as he walked in the house:

"Hun!  The library wants to know if you are sick?"




"Yeah, there is only one book in for you and it's normal."

Ha ha ha ha ha!  True!

Not sure if I'll get to read it before it's due back.  Like all the other books I've borrowed, ha ha!  Photo to follow soon.

I finished up a few more Christmas goodies, including a new recipe:

Macadamia Peanut Brittle.  It tastes like caramel corn, but very good.  This recipe is a stove top recipe, and the mixture is then poured onto the pan to cool.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today.  Although I posted already today (go back one post to catch up on), I need to stay on track, and making a list will help.

On the breakfast plate. . .
Leftover fried potatoes, gravy with homemade sausage, homemade biscuits and home raised eggs (photo from yesterday).  Homemade yogurt will be my lunch with this lumber-jack breakfast (again).

Right now I am . . .
Heading out to do hen chores and empty ash bucket.

The weather outside . . .
Wow, warmer and in the lower 40's.  Although cloudy, the warmer temps are much welcomed.

Looking around the house . . . 
 I see I need to tidy up and wash a few tablecloths.

On today's to-do list . . .in no particular order
-hen chores
-laundry washed, bedding etc. and on the line
-empty ash bucket
-bake cookies
-make brittle
-fetch mail
-check library returns
-water plants
-walk dogs
-vacuum, sweep
-dinner prep
-refill my nettle hair rinse
-refill ice cub trays
-bring in firewood
-fold towels and put them away
-dry and put away washed dishes

Currently reading . . .
 Not reading anything currently - busy, busy, busy.

On the TV. . . 
 Library movies

On the menu this week . . .
I have no idea, going on a whim this week.

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will . . .

Looking forward to this week . . .
 Hm.  I guess I would have to say baking Christmas treats.

Favorite photo from my camera . . .

Devotionals, Scriptures, Key Verses, Quotes. . .

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Sunday Work Day

Sunday was a work day for us.

First thing, I got up early and baked homemade fresh biscuits.  They look yellow because the lights were on an it was still dark outside.  It was foggy as well.  The weather is a teensy warmer, so hence the morning fog.

The recipe is on my blog:  Here

Coffee was brewed, and Hubby and I ate a "lumber jack" breakfast of home grown fried potatoes, gravy made with homemade organic sausage, and home raised eggs.  The kids slept in.  Then we got to work.  The girls were to do the dishes but later I found it they didn't.  It was Hubby who did them all.

We cut another load of wood from the barn beams and boards.  I donned my steel two boots and headed out to the rubble.  The nice part of cutting barn beams etc. is that it's just cut, haul and stack.  No splitting required.  Evidently, I removed enough nails to provide kindling for two more loads in the future. 

We brushed ourselves off, shook the gloves and what not.  Then I showered, and Hubby did the surprise for me in the kitchen.  I guess he went upstairs, and found one kiddo doing homework, so he just washed the dishes for me.

Then teamwork began again.  All of us started on some Christmas goodies.

We got a few cookies done, including our favorite cut-out recipe using organic butter and a butter frosting.  Speaking of butter, there is a shortage of organic butter in our area.  I went to two largest groceries that I could, and the largest store of all was completely sold out.  Then at the next store, only 3 pounds left.  So, cookies are limited this season, but we do have some stashed now for the up coming Christmas day.  I have no access to raw milk here, to make my own, and this shortage has brought up the topic of raising dairy goats again.

Needless to day, Hubby and Youngest, fell asleep at 7pm-ish.  I got about 11 hours of sleep and boy it felt good to get it.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

All Things go Wrong ~ Granny Squares

Just when I think we are gaining, the all-things-go-wrong storm continued.  

The chicken barn door froze to the ground, daughter's work called her in, so no car was available to pick up anything (when I was about to head out the door to do that), chicken feed can was emptied, fire wood ran out.....I'm trying to be the half-full kinda gal, but man.

The truck is running, but the car is not.  Daughter is paying for parts but her dental bill arrived ($300.00).  We are now not even sure she can afford the car insurance let alone the repairs needed (maybe $160.00 plus).

Well, I dug through the un-split felled tree and pulled a sled full of wood to the house.  The "glass is still half full."  At least I gained on that troubling situation.

My most depressing moment was calling the hotel and canceling our anniversary trip.  I had exactly enough earned from my recent craft sales, until truck parts were needed.  I'll admit this was a tough pill to swallow, as we have not been out on our anniversary for over 17-18 years and we are going on 20.  I sulked and sighed, and dug through my pantry for comfort food.  

I came up with a cheese and cowboy candy grilled sandwich and home canned tomato soup.  It helped, but it took an entire day for me maturely wipe those oh-poor-me emotions from my head.  A bottle of wine would have come in handy.  I got over it and pulled on my "big girl panties."

I pulled back my shoulders, ate a few pieces of fudge, turned on the Christmas music and told myself, "it could be worse."

Granny squares were created by the numbers to de-stress.  Or at least it looks that way.  The dogs, thankfully were troopers and slept quietly by the wood stove.  Most of the time.