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~

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Frigid ~ New Crock Pot Recipe Tried

 We warmed up from an 8°F wind-chill to 18°F.  I had the brainy idea it was great weather to muck the coop.  It was a bit windy, but half the coop was cleaned anyway.  Nothing like fetching one frozen egg in this frigid weather.  

Although the sun was out, the chickens wanted no part of the outside world.  They wanted to huddle inside.

I have been lazy with cooking, so it was a recipe to try from this cookbook.

Chicken Chickpea Tortilla Soup

I love my crock pot, but I'm not a big fan on "soups" for dinner.  It typically is not a substantial meal, and my brain immediately associates it served with some sort of bread.  Then I think a side sandwich.  What do you serve with your soups?  Another vegetable side sounds good too.

The recipe suggestions for serving it, say try yogurt, cheese, crunchy blue tortilla chips.  By the way, the nutritional information is included with the recipes in this book.

Anyway, the above recipe was easy and quick, and the results of test tasting were good.  Delicious!  We loved it.  I used a full 4 cloves of garlic (recipe says 3-4), and I only had one can of regular diced tomatoes, so the 2nd can was fire roasted (organic) tomatoes.  Also, the recipe states for 6 cups of stock.  I used 4 and it was plenty.  The photo is deceiving, as it shows very little broth.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe, and did not top it with anything, it was that good.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

This and That


Detoxing after the holidays, as well as mentally. 

Not what I expected to show up, but shoveling for the first time of the winter season was therapeutic.  Not just the physical activity, but getting outside for a while.

It's "shot gun" week here in our state for deer season.  So far, it's been pretty quiet.  It has also been very cold too.

The dreaded moment - hand pricing all of the jewelry I made.  It's done.  Those are just the crocheted bracelets, and the beaded crocheted bracelets.  I organized the keychains, and priced them too, along with earrings and necklaces.  Pricing stuff continues....

A funny for you all.  I just found out that that piece on the top is magnetic for a reason.  It's so you can remove it to clean the lid.  I have wanted to find out why the lid was magnetic for a long time.  Every time I washed it, things stuck to the lid.  My husband got this Yeti from work, and gave it to me a while ago.  Oh boy, so did you know about this?

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Just the Bits


We are into cold weather now, and it's been snowing off and on here lately.  Woke up to a wind chill of 8 degrees.  Yep, that cold (and more snow).

Still not in the mood to decorate for Christmas.  I have yet to turn on the porch Christmas lights.

A morning moon.  

I got frustrated with the chicken watering units sold in our stores.  They are either too big, or I can't hang them, or they don't let the water out as they should.  I ordered a new one online.  I am hoping it does the job.

We have hit another hiccup with the coop build.

All I can say, is I am thankful that Thanksgiving is over with. 

I've been experimenting with different ingredients for beef and bean breakfast burritos.  Eggs are far and few this time of year, so it's been sort of fun to take it slower in the kitchen.

Sugar alert!  There is cane sugar in your Randall's cooked and ready to eat pinto beans.  I keep these on hand for when I cook for a large group of people, and I never realized there was cane sugar in them.  

Best way to avoid that is to just cook your pinto beans from dry beans.  I do that in my crockpot (soaking the night before), and adding onion and garlic to them.  I call them the unfried refried beans.  I cook them all day in the crockpot with a bit of water and watch them so they maintain enough moisture.  I do not add any salt until the end.  The beans cook much better.  The beans end up versatile for many dishes.  I have  also frozen them after cooking them.

My pricing "station" is under way.  The more I price my crochet items, the more I am dreading the craft show.  Here I wanted to do this, and now we are talking about how we can't wait for it to be over with ha ha!

My husband has offered to pay me to stay home vs. set up at the craft and vendor show.  I'll be honest, I may take him up on that offer.

While I priced items the other day, one of our nephews came over to help us mow, but ended up repairing our dishwasher.  We ended up taking the inside of the dishwasher apart, and giving it a deep clean, so that job is done.  Did you know your dishwasher has a filter, that needs cleaned about once a month?  I guess I forgot, but it's super-ity, duper-ity clean now.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Homemade "Jiffy" Corn Muffin Mix


The very popular "grocery" item during the holidays contains "bioengineered" ingredients. It's a new word for "gmo" (genetically modified) on so called food products now.

You can make this homemade.
Find the recipe for it HERE.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Refrigerator Rolls


This is the first year I did not make the rolls.  
These are very good, and I passed the recipe on to a grand niece.  She is made them this year, and forgot how many I told her they make ha ha!  They freeze pretty good too.  The recipe comes from another blog I follow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Just the Bits

 We are on the hunt for a wider ridge cap for the chicken coop.  We will need to be creative and resourceful, if we cannot locate one.

We have another leak in the kitchen, but it's under the floor, so yay us.  We may have to cut out the bottom of the cupboard and check under it.  Not what we need right now at the holidays.  It could be another issue.  

The  weather turned much colder and brought rain.  Lots of rain.  

Has anyone who crochets, noticed that the "I" hooks are getting made now with new handles, but the measurements are not the same as the original hooks?  Top one says 5.50mm and the newer one says 5.25mm.  Both say they are an "I" hook.

Yay!  The photo upload function works again on blogger!

The kids were over for Thanksgiving, and two mentioned that medical workers would buy "boot" cuffs for their 40oz. Quencher Stanley cups.  It keeps the tumbler from scratching surfaces, but I do not own one to measure.  Does anyone have one to measure the width of the bottom, and the height up to where it goes wider?  I may just take this one to Wal-mart and try it, ha ha!

Homemade seasoned salt was restocked.  I don't use this very often, but I do make it homemade.

I am thankful the library gave out 2024 calendars for free this year.

I found a project to use up scraps of cotton yarn.  Particularly solid colors, but we'll see.  It will be gifted, so I can't share it if I am successful (just been too busy to crochet much).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Handiwork ~ Baby Washcloths ~ Crochet


Top yarn is 4 ply cotton yarn, the bottom is the Honeysuckle cotton yarn.

Tucked away in one of my yarn totes is yarn from a store closeout.  I think I bought it, thinking I was buying cotton yarn the thickness of a 4 yarn.  It is very thin cotton yarn, and about a thin 2 maybe?  the label doesn't even say what hook size to use or even the thickness.  It is USA made, and I think the company closed back around 2011.  I've had the yarn that long.

Not that I need another project right now, as we have so many going on, but I wanted to find a use of this yarn.  I'm trying very hard to get stuff made for the last craft show.

By the way, I was invited to another craft show, and once again the cost would be $50.00.  This particular show was $20.00 for a 2-table space the last time I participated.  Crazy high prices, unless you sell high priced items.  It just takes the "fun" out of fun.

Anyway, back to the subject of this post, which I apologize if it's boring.

Funny, how I can get hooked onto a new project.  I was moving my binder project to another area (for a winter snowy day project), and a pattern fell out.  It was for baby washcloths (crochet pattern).  I him-hawed, and left it sit on the end table.  Well, I had written the source of the pattern, and borrowed the library book again, just for fun.  

I had the pattern, but not the photo, so hence the book borrowing.  The color of the yarn (to me) was perfect for something "baby" so I gave it a whirl.  I figured 100% cotton was just right for a baby washcloth with the thin cotton yarn.

I think they are turning out nicely.  I used a "D" hook.  I have yet to try them myself, so I may be asking a friend to try them first, but I may have found a purpose for the yarn, and will make some up for gifting or donating.

I also have some cotton blend baby yarn I mistakenly ordered several years ago, and forgot to return.  I made a few washcloths with that too to try.  It's not 100% cotton, but I found a pattern online where they used the same blend for dishcloths.  I mean, if it's a "washcloth" you would not be re-using it, so I believe I found another way to use up another "oops" yarn purchase.

Just in case you crochet, this book has the pattern for the baby washcloths, and there are 3 patterns.  I have only made one so far.

Also, a pattern in this book.  I made these to sell at craft shows.  I am sold out, but it takes two strands of cotton at a time to make it.,

A cute and very easy pattern also in this book.  I made these one year for gifting.  They did not sell at all at the craft shows.  I tucked these in with other gifts. Sometimes the ribbon can be found at the dollar stores.

Sorry for the long post.  I never intended that, ha ha!  I have one person trying both washcloths with their baby.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

 The weather . . .

We went from 60-70's to 50's and rain, and this week we'll barely see 50°F with lows in the 30's.  I was successful at crossing off "wash rugs" and they dried outside before the weather turned.

Right now I am . . .

Posting this blog post and sipping coffee.

Thinking and pondering . . .

Well for starters, I'm searching to see if they sell metal ridge caps that are wider than 10 x 10 inches, and possibly covering the coop with a tarp until we figure things out.

We have another set back with the chicken coop roofing.  He hand built the rafters, and the roofing he cut is too short for the ridge cap by about 2 inches.   Not what we needed with the holidays and such.  Otherwise the ridge cap would have been up last night.  

How I am feeling . . .

Tired.  However, I taught my granddaughter how to crochet.  In the amount of time she was here, she learned to chain stitch and by the end of the night, I taught her how to go back the second row using single crochet.  She left with a bag of yarn and a crochet hook, and a happy kiddo.  I  fear though, she will drive her Mom mad with questions now (ha ha!).

On the breakfast plate . . .

Egg, bacon, and cheese breakfast sandwich.

On the lunch plate . . .

Have no idea yet.

On the dinner plate . . .

Leftovers thankfully.

On the menu . . .

-have no idea yet

What I am wearing . . .

PJ's - still sipping coffee and getting this posted.

On my reading pile . . .

On my TV this week . . .

Christmas on Mistletoe Farm (Netflix).  I picked this randomly, when I my husband worked overtime, and found it quite fun to watch.  Very quirky, and at one point you'd think of it as a musical.  A father with 5 kids inherits a farm and the animals with it.  The town is very small, and the funny part is there is a woman in the town who crochets/knits for everyone and everything, including kid goats.  Everything in this movie is surrounded by something crocheted in the scene.  Family friendly.

Looking around the house . . .

Update on the home renovations/repairs/improvements:

When we moved in this house, the entire kitchen, and master bath had zero hardware on the cabinets.  I bought plain wood knobs, and hand painted them with acrylic paints to appear like weather paint.  They have lasted 14 years, and still look the same as the day I painted them.  

I've been installing new hardware in the master bath.  I've had it in a box since last year, and we got so far behind, painting in there did not happen (yet).  I decided to install all the new hardware, and will beautify as the weather sees fit.  Now I'm not shuffling the box around to sweep and mop.  

To-do list . . .

-make a breakfast dish
-finish cleaning out the fridge (started it, but didn't finish)
-put trash out, including a lawn chair I keep forgetting about
-work on menu/grocery list for the week
-work on pricing craft show items

From the camera . . .

Marinated cheese.  A first time trying, and why I wanted a basil plant indoors.  You can't buy fresh basil this time of year (atleast here anyway).  Delicious.

Something to share . . .

Nothing to share today, but asking if anyone has a tried and true crock pot, good, macaroni and cheese recipe to share?  Or an oven baked recipe that re-heats nicely.  One that travels well, re-heats well or stays heated in a crock pot.

Devotional, Quote, Prayers . . .
Our friend Jill - her Dad is in a nursing home due to a fall, but now they discovered cancer, and there are health issues with her daughter's pregnancy.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Hillbilly Hen House

 The recent days have been in the high 60's and low 70's, up until Friday.  We dipped just a hair, and the rain moved in.  The rain did not stop me from working on the new coop.  I've dubbed it the "Hillbilly" hen house, ha ha!  We've had to do some crazy work in order to make things work with what we have.  Nothing seems to come together straight, nor level, but it's getting done.

I decided to do things a big backwards, but it's a race against the clock with painting trim.  Instead of waiting for a day to measure and cut the trim, then paint it, I just painted what we had.  I can touch up later, but it's painted now, before the weather gets too cold.  The weather is quickly changing here.

I bought my husband that wrist wrap that is on his wrist. It is magnetic and holds the screws for him.  Now he needs a carpenters apron and/or a tool belt.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Homemade Cleaning Spray ~ Money Savings Tip

 You'll need a sprayer bottle to make the homemade cleaner.  I just picked one up at our Dollar Tree to try this cleaner out.  

In the sprayer (24 oz) add 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, and fill with water. Leave room to add only 3 drops of Doctor Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap.  Shake and spray to clean surfaces.

Note:  We have well water, so I filled the sprayer with distilled water.

Money Savings Tip:  

SOS pads - where ever you buy these at a low price, lower that cost more by cutting them into smaller pieces.  It's a one time use item, and will last a lot longer for scrubbing your sink or whatever you use them for.

I last purchased a box of 10 at Ollies for $1.99.  Cut those in half or in 3rds and you get a better bang for your buck.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

This and That ~ Something I Learned

Just when I was getting the scissors to cut my under-the-sink mat, I opened the cupboard to eye-spy another leak on the other side of the sink. 

I'm awaiting a new gasket for that side, before I can clean up my kitchen floor (again). 

I am starting to bring my craft totes downstairs.  The inventory is being packaged and priced.  There is a lot to sort, so this is taking over the living room, while I try and take advantage of the outdoor weather for those projects.  Anxiety at is best, ha ha!

Not sure if I mentioned this, but the store on the island that sold my crocheted camper Christmas ornaments closed it's business recently.  The museum that was selling my dish scrubbies, jar openers and soap saver bags had a major flood last Christmas, closed for repairs, and asked me to pick up my items.   I have called local market stores where you rent a space, and they are no longer taking new vendors.  The general store about 20 minutes away also told me they are not taking new vendors.

Anyway, I had purchased the packaging for said stores, so I am packaging these ornaments, but I do have a question.  I am packing up make up washcloths, face scrubbies and such, but would you buy packaged hot pad sets, or should I just price them and not package them?  I'm thinking people will want to feel the thickness of them, and same with the knitted dishcloths.  

Something I learned:

Homemade Buttermilk (preparedness item):

-4 1/2 oz. dry powdered milk

-2 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar

Whisk well.

To make:

-4 Tbsp. of dry mixture with 1 cup of water = 1 cup of buttermilk

If the power goes out, you can make buttermilk, but you will need a way to cook via a generator, wood cook stove or camper propane stove.

Purge this week:

-crocheted cat blanket donated to a daughter

-donated a cookbook to a daughter

-donating 3 more fiction books

-one decoration from a bathroom went in the donation box

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Pea Casserole

 I was intrigued to try a new pea recipe, but did not want to use the canned condensed soup it required.  In the end, I think I did too much over thinking with this dish.

I did a little research, and whipped up my own condensed soup in it's place.  I will be tweaking it as we try my homemade condensed golden mushroom soup.  I basically used the directions for homemade condensed mushroom soup, but changed the broth from chicken to beef and added other ingredients, still using the shallots and mushrooms.

As for the pea casserole, here are the 3 ingredients to make it...

2 - 12 oz bags of organic (or home grown) frozen peas, cooked

1 can of golden mushroom soup (hence the homemade "can")

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Once the peas are cooked, mix in other ingredients, pour into a baking dish and bake at 350°F

My opinion?  I didn't think it was absolutely out of this world good, but it wasn't bad either.  It lacked flavor.  I think I need to continue to add a few more ingredients, but we will be looking for more ways to dress up peas from now on.  Maybe more organic soy sauce or possibly add Braggs Liquid Aminos.  Maybe more onion, and some garlic?

I have researched most recipes online for ingredients for "Golden Mushroom Soup."  What would you add for flavor?  I honestly think you could just use the homemade mushroom soup and maybe add some organic beef bouillon or homemade beef bouillon. 

Do you have a favorite way to dress up peas?  I wonder if just sprinkling some parmesan cheese on it would be tasty?  I googled for recipes, and most have a breaded topping.  

Pea Casserole © Nov 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Measure Twice

 We know that what you read for measurements at the hardware stores are not actually the real measurement when buying lumber.  We were so consumed in just getting what we needed and getting back home, neither of us realized what he was basing the coop door on.

He bought 10 inch wide boards, and the actual width is smaller.  Always shop with a measuring tape.  We knew this, and like I said, I think the stress of just getting it done was upon our brains.

When they built the door, it came short of what we intended it to be.  Another eye roller moment, and another set back to get it all just right.

Measure and measure twice when buying materials while building something.  

Any who, the door was taken back down to paint, and I spent almost 4 hours painting the coop.  I ran out of paint, but the only areas left to paint are the very top front and back, where I need a partner present to climb our tallest ladder.

I took advantage of our 60°F day, and will continue to this week, as the weather returns to the 40's next week.  

In hindsight, we should have painted the upper pieces before attaching them.  Live and learn.

As you can see we still need to "button" this coop up with a roof.  The run will mostly get built (all depends on the weather) next spring, but we can finagle a fence for the winter.

We are making progress, but there still is a lot to finish (indoor sliding door, outside trim on the entire coop and such).  Once the roof is on, we can work on the inside, get the run door cut, ramp built etc.  

We will recycle perch posts from the old coop, as well as the roosts we installed in there.  We may recycle a roost from the barn, but recycling what we have in any way helps.  I'm just hoping and praying for some good weather days to paint the trim before it's too cold (and get it installed).

Measure Twice © Nov 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Monday, November 13, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

All of my plant cuttings from the herb garden did not produce roots.  I had sage, basil, two cuttings of parsley, and one of spearmint, and they all died off.  I'm wondering if it was too late in the season.  I really want an indoor sage plant, so I may be looking for seeds or a plant soon.

Our weekend went way too fast.  Saturday was a wash for a work day, due to an event that pretty much took over the entire day.  We worked on the chicken coop Sunday, but we both agreed that we do need help with the roofing.  

Today I will be joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. 

The weather . . .

We will be running about in the lower 60's for the high this week.

Right now I am . . .

Sipping coffee, posting this.

Thinking and pondering . . .

 I have a bottle of coconut syrup I need to use up.  Any suggestions other than topping pancakes/waffles?

Oh!  I might be good on yogurt and granola.  Mmm.

How I am feeling . . .

I am really not feeling the holiday motivation at all. I would much rather prefer to stay in, watch movies, crochet or whatever.  I have no motivation to host any meal this season. 

On the breakfast plate . . .

Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage scramble with bell peppers and onions.  Coffee.

On the menu . . .

-Crockpot steak/potatoes, side of asparagus or brussel sprouts
-Crock pot pork chops, sheet pan root vegetables
-Sheet pan chicken and sweet potatoes, creamed corn

On my reading pile . . .

On my TV this week . . .

Movies on Amazon Prime.

Looking around the  house . . .

Well, I still need to preserve some squash, so those are still in the kitchen.  I need to measure and cut my under the sink mat, and put everything back where it belongs.  We are still putting things back to their homes from all the projects.  My husband finally went through a few boxes and sorted and purged.

To-Do List . . .

More like a week long to-do list, as I am working on deep cleaning projects that I abandoned during all these projects.  Hence a lot of crock pot or sheet pan meals this week.

-take trash out
-Wash rugs
-Clean out fridge
-Work on front porch clean up
-start baking and freezing the last of the spaghetti squash
-work on upstairs flooring
-paint chicken coop door, partial trim

From the camera . . .

We pieced the upper back with scraps, to avoid having to purchase another sheet, and to use what we have.  

Something to share . . .

Come back my blog in a few days.  If you crochet that is.  I will be sharing a post about the yarn stash and how the baby washcloths are going.

Thanksgiving Tips/DIY Ideas and Recipes . . .

I have no holiday mojo this season (literally zero), but I have made a new pea dish.  I am waiting on a review from a taste tester (other than us).  Post to follow this week.

Devotional, Bible Verses, Prayers . . .

No current prayer requests.

Happy Homemaker Monday © Nov 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart