Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yummy Homemade Chili for the New Year....

Well, I decided to use my new Lodge Dutch oven to cook our chili in for our New Year's Eve party tonight. My sweet family got this awesome gift for me for Christmas! I love those guys so much.

I thought I would share this really good homemade chili recipe with you just in case you would like to make some of this yummy, hot, goodness on an upcoming cold night.
Homemade Chili Recipe

2 pounds of ground meat, I used ground vension
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 can no salt added petite diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can of chili beans
1 cup water
1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
In a large Dutch oven, saute your onions and garlic until translucent. Add your ground meat and cook until done. Add your remaining ingredients and cook on low for about an hour.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lots of goodies......

A few months ago, the bugs and I mailed 20 UPC labels to Sunny D in exchange for 20 books. Yes, I said 20 books! 20 labels for 20 brand new scholastic books. We were so happy to receive our little package of books. I am so happy we decided to participate in the Sunny D book spree this year. Look for it next year and save those Sunny D UPC's!

Look at all those books!

And, I will be catching up on my fun days soon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Days 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9......

Well, our days have kinda run together. I always like to think that each day will go as planned, but after 8 years of homeschooling, I should know better.

Day 3 should have been making caramels and nothing got really got done that day except grocery shopping. Which by the way, is always an adventure in itself! 

Day 4 was National Cookie Day and so for that day, we made the No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal cookies, just a day late!

Day 5 I planned to make the No Bake Pecan Coconut Cookies and we changed our minds, so instead, we mixed up a batch of our Homemade Hot Cocoa mix.

Day 6, scratched everything and went Christmas shopping!!!

Day 7 was Cotton Candy day so everyone at some yummy cotton candy vanilla snow that I found at the dollar tree. It was a hit!

Day 8 was National Brownie day! Made some really yummy brownies.

Today is Day 9 and we were going to make homemade Christmas cards for the family but one of the bugs hurt her ankle yesterday on the trampoline so we are all taking turns catering to her needs while she stays on the couch all day resting!

Maybe tomorrow we will do as planned!!!


See my sweet little helper! She loves cooking with Mommy!

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan. On medium heat, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in peanut butte, vanilla and oatmeal.
Drop teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool for 30 minutes.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
1 cup cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
1 cup coffee creamer
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
To make one cup of hot cocoa, add 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mixture to 1 cup of really hot water.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day 2 - easiest peanut butter fudge ever.....

Today, my little Sadie bug wanted to help me make this peanut butter fudge. She is always the one that wants to help me cook. She has been wanting to fill the little plates on this Christmas tree stand I sat out on our table a few days ago. I have to say, we had fun making it but it didn't quite turn out like smooth, chewy fudge. It was very crumbly and brittle. I think I would change it up a little and add more milk or maybe a little cream.  I can't remember where I ran across this recipe. Anyway, here is the recipe!


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the sugar and milk to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove it from the heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix well. Pour into a shallow dish and , your done! Let it cool and cut into squares!

Looking forward to Day 3! More cooking and hopefully decorate our Christmas tree!

God Bless!

Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 December Fun Days and Holidays....

December is here! We can't hardly wait for this time of year. Twinkling lights, baking cookies, singing and listening to Christmas hymns, wrapping gifts, drinking hot cocoa.

We love so many things about December and have so many fun things planned this month. Maybe you could join in on some of the fun.

Stay tuned because we will have lots of pictures to share, great recipes, crafts and more! We are also doing Christmas reading in our bibles. I know I am a little late posting all of this but I will post our scripture we are reading soon.

Here are the holidays and fun days for the 1st 25 days of December.....

Day 1 -  Decorate the inside of our home for Christmas.

Day 2 -  More decorating, putting up the Christmas tree and making No-Bake Fudge. Will share the recipe.

Day 3 -  Make some yummy microwave caramels. Not to fond of cooking in the microwave but my stove is out of commission right now.

Day 4 -  National Cookie Day! We will be making No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal cookies. Will share the recipe.

Day 5 -  We will be making No Bake Pecan Coconut Cookies.

Day 6 -  Make balls out of chicken wire and Christmas lights for outdoor decorations and go see a Live Nativity.

Day 7 -  Cotton Candy Day!

Day 8 -  National Brownie Day! We are going to make Nutella ones.

Day 9 -  Christmas Card Day!

Day 10 - Make some No Bake Oreo Truffles and if we have enough time, maybe some chocolate covered oreos.

Day 11 - Celebrate National Hot Cocoa Day. Its really this coming Saturday.

Day 12 - Make a Christmas Tree Hand Canvas and some fingerpaint canvases.

Day 13 - Ice Cream Day!

Day 14 - Make homemade wrapping paper.

Day 15 - National Cupcake Day!

Day 16 - National Chocolate covered anything day!

Day 17 - Make photo ornaments for the grands!

Day 18 - Make cookie baskets for our Christmas cookies and our annual Van Express Ticket Day!

Day 19 - Christmas Party with friends!

Day 20 - Bake lots of Christmas cookies!

Day 21 - Winter Soltice!

Day 22 - Deliver gifts to the local hospital to the children that are sick.

Day 23 - National Chocolate Day tomorrow! Make something yummy!

Day 24 - Christmas Eve Boxes and bake Jesus a birthday cake!

Day 25 - Celebrate Jesus' birthday and drink some homemade eggnog. Yesterday was National Eggnog Day.

As you can see, we are planning on having some fun this month. Maybe you can check back and see some of the fun things we will be doing!

God Bless!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How to "roast" your pumpkin in your crockpot....

Every year we go to the pumpkin patch and all the bugs bring home a pumpkin to paint and eventually cook.
We have always liked to roast our pumpkins in the oven for using in pies, pastries, chocolate chip pumpkin bread (which happen to be my families favorite!) and other yummy recipes calling for pureed pumpkin. After seeing numerous posts about roasting a pumpkin in a crock pot, I decided to try it. It works great!
Here's the full instructions below!
1) 1 pumpkin (if wanting to roast whole, use a pie pumpkin) ours was too big, so I cut it into a few large pieces.

2) I took the seeds out of mine, but you don't have to.

3) Put the pieces into your crock pot with 1 cup of water and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until soft.

4) Here you go, beautifully cooked pumpkin! Now, scoop out the  cooked pulp and puree in the food processor until completely smooth.

5) It should look like this right out of your processor. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Apple Pie Filling in a Jar.......

This past week I went and picked up my Jonathan apples I ordered through my food co-op. Last year I made lots of apple sauce and apple butter for Betty Grace who turned a year this past August. She took care of all I made and we have been out for a while. This year I am putting up ape pie filling in jars. I usually freeze a lot but decided to tackle canning lots of everything I can get my hands on. For now it's 80 lbs of Jonathan apples. In the next few weeks I will be canning sweet potatoes and pumpkin. I love this time of year!

The possibilities are endless with apples! You can freeze them, make homemade applesauce, apple butter, apple jelly or apple pie filling.

I started this process today and doubled a recipe I found on

This apple filling turned out beautiful! I am so excited to use this for pies, cobblers, crisps and anything else that uses apple pie filling in the recipe.

I started with these beautiful Jonathan apples we are able to get from an Amish community in Illinois.

I started peeling, coring and slicing apples until I reached roughly 12 pounds. The recipe calls for 6 pounds but I have so many apples I decided to double it.

In a large pot I blended the water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and apple pie spice.

I cooked this mixture until it was thick and bubbly.

I removed the thick filling from the heat and packed my sliced apples into my jars like this

and then ladled the hot, thick filling into the jars over the sliced apples.

After I did this, I put my sterile flats and lids on and processed my quarts in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Here is how they turned put, Beautiful! Can't wait to make a pie!


4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
10 cups water
6 pounds of washed, peeled, cored and sliced apples

In a large pot, blend all the ingredients and being to a boil and cook until it is thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Pack your apples in clean, hot canning jars leaving an inch of space from the top.

Fill with the hot syrup and close with hot, sterile flats and lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner and let cool.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rat Killing.......

RAT KILLING! Just another fun day around our homestead. When our summer garden is done, we always bush hog our gardens down. Well as you know, these little rodents we call RATS, like living in tall grass. So, a couple of our bugs got their "weapons" and got ready! Here are few pics I snapped during this scary time! Just ask the little bugs! 

Even these guys enjoyed it. The bugs that is! They were jumping sky high!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Canning Pears.....

I have canned lots of pears in the past. Just putting them in a light syrup and canning. I had a bottle of white grape peach juice on hand and it sparked an idea I had a while back!

Instead of making a light syrup for the pears, I just cooked my pears in the white grape peach juice and processed them.

They turned out beautiful and delicious!

Looking forward to some delicious apples in the near future! Love canning anything and everything!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Awesome Giveaway

Thought I would share this giveaway! If your like me, this would be nice to win to replace an old one!

God Bless and Good Luck!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

oatmeal-pineapple muffins

This morning my 7 year old bug got up and wanted to make muffins for breakfast. This mommy couldn't pass up the opportunity of cooking breakfast with my sweet girl! Here is a photo and the recipe to these delicious muffins. Adapted from a baking cookbook we found at the dollar store.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar or in my case, sucanat
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup of oats, finely chopped
8 ounces crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla and pineapple with juice. Mix well. Add flour, baking soda, salt and chopped oats. Mix thoroughly and spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners. Top with a little of crushed pineapple if you have any left from using a large can like we did. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did this morning!

God Bless!

Monday, May 26, 2014

a little Memorial Day fun........

Cake first.....

Then a little fishing.......

And of course, Betty Grace taking it all in!

God Bless!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

so blessed......

As I was walking down our driveway, picking dewberries with my three baby bugs, I just can not imagine life getting any better than this! I am so blessed!

Not only do I have beautiful helpers, we also have a gallon of freshly picked dewberries to make some yummy dewberry ice cream and dewberry lemonade!

God is Good!

Monday, April 28, 2014

finally something in the ground.......

As of last Saturday, we finally have vegetable seeds in the ground. I am so excited! As you can see, there are others just as excited, that is, about having fun!

This was before all the planting began. Gotta have a little fun before all the hard work, right! Here are my rows ready for planting.

I decided this year to add a couple of different varieties of summer squash to my garden. Along with the yellow crookneck and straight neck, white scallop and my all time favorite, as of two years ago, 

lemon squash, I have also planted spaghetti squash and sweet potato squash. I am very excited about these. I am looking forward to see how these two grow and produce. 

As you can see, I had a couple of helpers. 

Not really sure what they are doing, since one is hoeing a little far away from the actual garden. Never know what these  two are up too!

I had a goal to plant at least three different types of vegetable seeds this past Saturday and succeeded! Along with the summer squash, I also planted two varieties of zucchini squash and four varieties of cucumbers. I have quite a bit more planting to do. Here is what I will be planting in the next week:

Approximately 40 tomato plants, banana peppers, jalapeƱo peppers, bell peppers, okra, green beans, pinkeye purple hull peas and hopefully corn. Watermelon and cantaloupe to follow. I am hoping and praying I can get all of this done before we leave for our homeschool conference in two weeks! Wish me luck!

Here is another one of my little bugs! She is always happy and having fun outside!

God Bless!