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~

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Sunday we got "Big Red" fired up.  Here's hoping she'll keep starting now.  It (the truck) could need a few parts yet.

We drove "Big Red" to the "Big City" and delivered a gift and Christmas cookies, picked up load of straw and headed back home.  I forgot to renew my library books, but it looks like only a few are late (this time).

On the breakfast plate . . . 
Homemade breakfast burrito and coffee

The weather outside is . . .
Rain is on the way, with a high of 56°F, but will quickly go back to the low 20's at night for the next week.

As I look out my window . . .
It's still dark out.

On the to-do list . . .
-take care of the chickens
-feed barn cats (Leo still comes once every often)
-put away clean dishes
-empty ash pan (depends on the rain today)
-start another tincture
-knock down some cobwebs
-put a few Christmas decorations away
-put a Christmas tablecloth away
-re-file all of the recipes I got out over the holidays
-take down the snowman shower curtain and put it away
-sweep kitchen
-measure out dry ingredients for homemade biscuits

Currently reading . . .

On the TV . . .
A netflix series called The Ranch, and another called Rain.  not sure if we'll finish the Rain series.  It's getting weird like the Walking Dead got weird.  I don't enjoy movies where they eat people.  Yuck.

On the menu this week . . .
I'm about to go check my pantry.  Possibly homemade stove top tuna and noodle with some veggie sides.  I'm taking meals much easier this week. 

What I'm creating . . .
More sunflower keyfobs

Sorry for the dark photos.  I took the rest of them very early in the morning this morning.

Started a granny square winter scarf

Working on some mini crocheted hearts

Knitted dishcloth, another scrap lapghan, and more crocheted headbands.

Finished some spring cup coasters

Finished a few knitted dishcloths

Finished a few heart dishcloths

New recipe I tried or want to try . . .
Nothing this week.  

Favorite photo . . .
I haven't been taking a lot of photos lately.  This one makes me smile.  It's always a good day when laundry can dry outside.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Getting Away

2018 didn't go by without another grave to dig.  Sapphire will so, so greatly be missed at the homestead.  Thank you all for your kind words.  We just didn't think that it could ever happen, as both cats came with the place, and we've been here over 10 years now.

We've been running strong over this Christmas, and with Hubby working on our anniversary, we took off for a night.

We started out early and made a few purchases.  We ate lunch at a locally run (nearby big city) Mexican restaurant and were pretty happy with our food.  We made a few other stops and walked through one of the largest (oh my aching back) antique malls.  I couldn't believe I only left with one item - a beautiful red butter dish.  

We were going to visit a local winery and listen to live music, but us "old" people couldn't stay up that long, and retreated to our hotel room (which by the way got a good spray down with my anti-ill oil I brought along).  We were quite disappointed in the steak and potato restaurant though - cold potatoes, dry steak, and the mixed drinks were horrible.  After a first bad one, I ordered one I know and it was the worst ever, finally sending it back.  Overall, it was a fun, fun, and relaxing (other than our hike through the antique mall), and we even stopped at a local chocolate/ice cream shop.  Mmmm.

We brought our youngest daughter home a few goodies, and I bought myself a new sweater (which I need more of).  I of course wanted to visit the yarn store, as we are so limited near the homestead, but I put it off for another day.  I don't think we'll be browsing through many antique stores too often anymore.  We both get to coughing and itchy eyes from all the dust.  I do love them, but we'll stick to smaller ones in the future.

Hubby and I plan to do a lot more celebrations for our 20th anniversary, so I hope that involves more bike rides too.  

I'm back home today cleaning up the kitchen and stoking the fire.  "Big Red" is getting worked on, in hopes she'll be running later today.  It's sunny, but cold.  I'm just glad there's no snow (yet).

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Gettin' Fresh Air ~ RIP Sapphire

The weather yesterday was fantastic as fantastic can go in winter.  Not only myself, but the laundry was out getting fresh air.  Low 50's, a bit breezy, but cloudy.  I still took advantage of it and put the laundry outside to dry.  I even got a load of towels dried outside.  Felt great, since it's been awhile to be out.

What went up, must come down.  I am starting early due to our schedule right now.  I feel like it's coming down as fast as it went up though.

I pulled out my recipe book for my 4 Thieves vinegar and was short of one ingredient.  Thankfully, I got an order placed and will restock my ACV as well.  My gallon jug is almost empty.  I have one more jar of 4 Theives already made.

Other than laundry, bills got paid and one daughter came for a visit.  She took her Jeep to a dealership to have the heat looked at (not working properly) and when she took her Jeep home (heat not fixed) it was making a horrible sound.  They told her it would cost her $100 to be tested.  Instead, she drove to our place where Hubby fixed it and helped her fix a few other things after work.

Thankfully, she was here too.  While I had thought someone hit a raccoon across the street from our homestead, she had walked across the street to double check. 

Sadly, it was our barn cat Sapphire.  In all the 10 years we've lived here, both her and Aurora have been safe.  My heart is so heavy.  Sapphire had a thing with me, while Aurora with Hubby.  They'd love on us daily.  Strangest sort of barn cats - kill rodents, but love on us.

The two were like glue.  Always cleaning each other, sleeping with each other, hunting with each other.  We always believed Aurora was her mother, but there was no way of telling.  Sapphire is the gray cat and we called her "Sassy" and I will miss her greatly.  She would kill full sized rabbits and bring them to the porch.  Nothing got past her either.  She was a good guard cat.  I'll never forget the day the cats were screeching out back.  They were warning us of a black water snake at our back door.  Oh, my heart is so heavy today.  She'd be the first to greet me in the morning and the last, while out with the dog.  She even loved on Jesse and the other dogs.  She visited me in the garden, barn and anywhere outside.  Sapphire will be upset she can't hunt in heaven.  RIP Sapphire. Aurora will miss you, but we'll give her extra attention and love.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

One last gathering ~ Winner winner chicken dinner

When I went to feed Tiger yesterday morning, I noticed the bucket gone from my utility room. My first thought?  Oh no.  My youngest is sick now. By 2pm, she had not come downstairs so I tip-toed up the stairs and took a look.  She was sound asleep.

Christmas had me all discombobulated, ha ha!  I woke up thinking it was Wednesday and it was Thursday.  Only one more holiday and I can get back to my "to-do" list and recoup.

My phone was blowing up too.  Apparently, Hubby's family wanted one last get together before one family returns to GA.  Gah!  They asked us to host.  Double Gah!  Hubby said no way, ha ha!  

Even though I am tired of cooking and baking, I whipped up a breakfast scramble with bacon and dandelion greens.  We all could use a dose of detox and nourishment.  I had a lot of dishes to wash, so I thought why not dirty some more.

Within a short time, the family decided to do a "taco" dinner night (Hubby's family).  I am just thankful someone else hosted it. 

Jesse (aka "tater tot") table surfed for the first time ever.  It was chicken of all things.  He does love chicken.  Oye.  We have no idea why after all these years, and he had been fed just prior to that.  I guess we'll have to make sure food is put up from now on.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Gift and Tidbits

Here is what I received for our 20th anniversary.  Hubby surprised me with this beautiful necklace.

I also got a dozen roses.  We plan to celebrate when he is off work.  Or can get work off.

Update on our sick daughter.  She did not go to the ER, but I am pretty sure she caught the actual flu - body aches, vomiting, headache, fever etc.  A friend of hers checked in on her, bringing her broth, and other "clear" foods.  Her brother also kept an eye on her, and she was able to get her work shift covered for a day of rest home in bed.

In the meantime, because she was over at our place on the 23rd, I've been sanitizing, and wiping everything people may have touched.  I'm even watching sofa blankets, as she stayed the night too.  We are doing preventative measures as well, with 4 Thieves vinegar, teas etc.

We don't have to worry about dinner prep for a few days.  We have a ton of leftovers and even breakfast from Christmas morning.  Although Hubby forgot to take a plate of goodies to work, he went with breakfast and lunch already made too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas 2018

This was the plan anyway, but.....

Jars of Wild Violet Jelly

Jars of canned corn relish

Three girls received hand embroidered kitchen towels, paired with other gifts. 

The kids all received a "Starbucks" wine cork tree ornament.

The girls received charm bracelets I put together with their favorite things.  This is just one of them. 

I hand embroidered this towel for a biker friend of ours.  We invited him out for the big party/meal.  He has very little family, and he is family to us, so I didn't want him to go home empty handed.  He does his laundry on Sunday, and it's sort of a joke, because he often says "I can't ride 'cause I have to do my laundry.

As for what didn't get gifted - the jelly and corn relish.  They had a family Christmas on Christmas day without us.   I had called my Mother to wish her a Merry Christmas.  She couldn't talk long as she was putting food in the oven for a gathering with one of my sisters and brothers.  I was not invited during the call.  We live 25 minutes from where they gathered.

 I was invited 45 minutes prior via a text, and I had rolls rising, and no car.  We had sent our Youngest to deliver some homemade ginger-ale to our 19 year-old who was very sick.  In fact, she may have gone to the ER last night.  I'll find out later.

Anyway, I now have almost 40 rolls that were not consumed with my own kids.  In fact, it was our first Christmas to eat alone.  They kept our youngest (and another daughter was there also, who was expected at our house) at the gathering for almost 5 hours.  I'll be freezing some rolls to see how well it works.

The traditional snack mix and hot cranberry punch were never made either.  I was expected to do it after they finished their own gathering, and I was quite perturbed by what had happened anyway.

Today is my 20th wedding anniversary.  I'll be back to post a picture of my gift.  Hubby has to work today, and I have a ton of dirty dishes from a meal that was to be for many and ended up for two.  I hope to have an update on our sick daughter as well.  I was very worried about her.  She had to work yesterday(and has to work today), and called saying she was laying on the floor behind the counter, and couldn't stop throwing up, even sipping homemade ginger-ale. 

I hope your Christmas was delightful, peaceful and just enjoyable.  The gathering we had with Hubby's family went fantastic.  We had somewhere between 40-50 people here and a lot of food.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

Oh my gosh, we had the house packed with family and friends.  What a good time.  Birthdays were a hit too.

We have leftover cake too.  Everyone was stuffed to the gills.

I had to laugh this morning.  I found a sticky note on the oven door "Food inside."  Mia came to us for the night, and before the kids went to bed they put all the food away for us.  I was so stinkin' tired.

Youngest got a load of birthday presents and was very happy to celebrate with so many folks.  We had so many we almost couldn't fit in the family photo.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Hostess with the most-est. . .

...with the most-est headache.  I got a text asking for us to once again change the time of the Christmas party.  I've already sent out invitations to people and it's getting out of control.  Hubby wasn't happy either.  He has to work the next day.  

My 19 year old came out to help with the candy making.  We had issues of course.  I wasn't running on all "cylinders" and she hadn't worked with candy for a year.  We were a bit rusty at it, but after one batch, turned on a Christmas movie to take a break.

We made buckeyes, mint chocolate covered crackers (mock mint girl scout cookies) and I made another batch of salted caramel fudge. The guys at Hubby's work were begging for the fudge.

A plate of goodies went to work with Hubby this morning.

It rained all day Thursday.  Cloudy, dreary, and cold.  It's wet and cold today, and I have no plans to bake one iota.  It's a house cleaning day.

You may see a blurp or two in my posts from now on.  It'll start to get crazy busy.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Making Dirty Dishes....and then some....

Wednesday the weather was just about the same - high of about 44°F.  I woke up super exhausted, so I took my time early on (again).  

Here's why.

The night prior, Hubby and I drove to the other "Big City" to pick up some last minute baking supplies for the holiday baking.  However, there were zero half-pint canning jars anywhere.  Sigh.  Literally.  Even sugar in the smaller bags, and toothpicks were sold out.  Frustrated and beyond tired, we returned home to crash.  Someone please, please (I beg you) remind me to buy my holiday supplies in September.  I even stopped at the dollar store for parchment paper - zero in stock and lines so long I would've walked out anyway perhaps.  At the craft store, the lines were long, and one cashier.  I almost fell asleep in line.  Nope,  not doing it next year.  I'll order online if I have to.  It's crazy out in the people-y world.

The only reason you all get to read another post, is because I was once again downing coffee just to wake up and start the day.  Not to mention a bit of procrastination.

More baking went on at the homestead . . .

Salted Caramel Fudge, Peanut butter blossoms, more candy apple jelly, and one last batch of cashew brittle.  

I spoiled tater tot with some homemade dog food - organic oats, chicken, peas and a bit of bacon grease.  My original recipe calls for a "human" vitamin, but I did not add that.  I don't even take them, except for raw Vitamin C.  I didn't add the salt substitute either.  I figure the bacon grease is salty enough.  He devoured it of course.

The only bad thing about a gathering at our place, is we get pantry pirates.  I won't name names, but it's not my side of the family. Sigh.  Seriously, they open pantries and take canned goods.  They have no idea what work goes into a canned item - work the garden, plant the garden, weed the garden, pick the garden, can the garden....a LOT of work, and for organic food for the family of my own.  We had a terrible garden year this year, so it's slim pickin's in the stock-age here as well.  Not to mention the cost of organic seed/plant and the cost of canning supplies, double with the time involved in all of it.  I just find it downright disrespectful and rude.  I am not going to let it continue.  Okay, off my soapbox....I'm just going to put a few kids on guard this time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Baking

I woke up Wednesday dragging my feet.  I was full force on Tuesday, and so happy with my progress.  Slowly, I got things rolling.  With a 3rd pot of coffee.  And some rock n' roll.  There is one radio station that plays all Christmas, but it's slow stuff.  I had to hook my phone up to the radio and get some rock n' roll going on.  

Baking resumed. More brittle was made too.  I called out to the kids and got reinforcements to finish the baking.

I literally gave the cashew brittle to my daughter and told her to hide it.  Otherwise Hubby would have it gone before the festivities started, ha ha! 

Good news.  Jesse ate his breakfast.  However, Daughter (his Mom) called me last night.  We are going back to all homemade food for him now.  He doesn't have many years left, and we will be spoiling him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tuesday Teabag Tidbits ~ Holiday Baking Starts ~ Cashew Brittle

Canning took up most of my morning yesterday.

We've been out of Candy Apple Jelly for over a year, so some of this is going in the pantry.

I had to whip up a batch of homemade ginger-ale syrup.  Youngest texted me that she was feeling pretty sickly.  Thankfully, I have club soda on hand, but now I'm out of honey.

Made my first batch of organic cashew brittle.  I hope to make one or two batches more yet.

Dinner was easy yesterday.  I used leftover mushroom gravy, combined with homemade condensed mushroom soup, and cooked pork chops it in the crock pot.