Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Dec 27, 2015

Tasty, Simple Holiday Meals, Thrifting Score! More Snow

Swedish meatballs
Tasty, Simple Holiday Meals-
I like to always try new recipes. This year I had to work Christmas Eve, although I got off 2 hours early! Next year I will take off some holiday time as I'm still building up vacation time, and can't use any yet. This year I hosted a Christmas morning brunch buffet and decided to make Amish Style Baked Oatmeal. It was a HUGE hit! It was nice and light thanks to the baking powder. I used our eggs, and  home-canned/home-grown organic apple slices in the bottom, making it extra special! I served it with thick bacon, tangelos, Pannetoni bread, and hot beverages. Everyone had fun and left with a full tummy.

Santa's helper (hee hee) got me this on eBay for Christmas. My, she has great taste! It will hang in my kitchen in the spring on my white back splash. 

Baked oatmeal with a hot orange roll, leftovers the next day :)

Last night I made Swedish meatballs with cream sauce, egg noodles and served it with Lingonberry sauce. I used this recipe- Swedish Meatballs. It's pretty simple to make the meatballs, and since you bake them in the oven you can walk away-

browning in the oven

We had a mixed kale salad with it. Later we sat down and watched The Christmas Story, what a hoot! I never realized it was set in the late 1930's, not the 40's. Fascinating to look at the kitchen, clothes, etc.

Big Thrifting-
We hit the Goodwill store today and really scored! We started off with a really expensive baby backpack, a gift for our expecting kids. We paid $25.00, new these would be atleast $100.00 more!

I also bought the French-style lavender basket above, nice workmanship-

I found 2 nice work blouses, a hanging cubicle file holder and these- 

wooden flowers for yard art, new

lightweight planting tin, $1.99
Like-new Olive tray/dish, $3.99

More Snow-
We had more snow on Christmas Eve and it was cold enough for it to stick! We had the first white Christmas it a few years, what a treat! The ski resorts are loving it and it's so pretty. It really makes the holidays decoration outside pop! It's been really COLD, it's 16 right now, at 6:30 p.m. The low is forecast for 6 degrees, Thursday morning. The coop is warm and with our newer house no freezing pipes, and a good furnace. Life is good!

Dec 20, 2015

Keeping the Holidays Simple, More Snow! Thrifting

Keeping the Holidays Simple-
This year I'm so glad we had already downsized the holidays with our family. Since I work full time now, year round now, I have less prep time that I used to. Bye bye "winter break"! I know some people have huge, local extended families, tons of parties, etc. but we're more low key. Sometimes I think people just don't know how to say "no, it's too much, thanks anyway". It gets to be too much stuff to do, more $$$ to spend. It kind of cracks me up when people have "holiday organizers", but to each there own. If I had that much to organize I'd re-think my priorities! But that's ME. Running around like crazy is just not our mode. We do a simple gift exchange with our adult kids, and most of us are eating healthier so there's less wheat and sugar. I still bake, just on a much smaller scale! Today I made 2 fresh Cranberry Cornmeal Torte, made with real butter, and a little pure Orange extract. The cornmeal gives it a great little crunch!

Our smaller house is easier to decorate and every year I get rid of more decor. I was looking at my tabletops the other day and realized I just had too much clutter. Time to pass some things on! Our tree went up yesterday, and I'm baking a cranberry tart with cornmeal for a Solstice celebration tomorrow night. It's peaceful, reflective and a nice quiet break from our American plastic culture. Next year I will have some vacation built up to have some time off. I'm getting two 3-day weekends back to back, a nice break! I'm hoping to do some furniture painting and I'll post that if I do. Here's a few fun things around the house, some I may, or may not, pass on to my kiddos-

Keeping all these!

Love our little tree

Love my window

Might pass on

Keeping the birds and snowmen

Santa will go bye bye

Our little bedroom tree I made, added the birds and birdhouse

Anya dug under the comforter, I think I'll keep her :) 

More Snow!
Thankfully we seem to have settled into what seems like a normal winter. While the N.W. has been slammed with a lot of heavy rain, we've also gotten lots of snow in the surrounding hills and mountains. Great news! The ski resorts have really been hurting the last several years, low water in our reservoirs, and ugly brown hills all winter. It's 5 p,m., 38 degrees and just started snowing lightly. It was a nice sunny day today earlier, and then the storm blew in. Dave and I cleaned up the coop a bit yesterday ahead of the storm. We always try to work with the weather. We are having what's being called by a local weather man a "a train of storms", one after another. Happy dance!

I really scored last week with this gorgeous quilted table runner and a cute Santa wreath (no pics sorry).  I hit the thrift store on a day when all their home wares were 40% off! I got the runner and and a little white Santa wreath for work for a whopping $2.50! There's lots of quilting there and really perfect except for a couple tiny spots-

Dec 12, 2015

20+ Questions!

Thanks to Mama Pea for the idea at Ahomegrownjournal   Here are my answers....

1)  Do you like blue cheese?
    Yes, once in a great while.

2)  Have you ever smoked?
     Tried it once, ew!

3)  Do you own a gun?
     No comment
4)  What flavor of Kool Aid is your favorite?

5)  Do you get nervous before dental appointments?
     No, I usually fall asleep!

6)  What do you think of hot dogs?

7)  What's your favorite Christmas movie?
     The Christmas Story, it’s so dang funny!!!

8)  What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
     Strong black Irish Breakfast Tea, with a little milk and sugar

9)  Can you do push-ups?
    Maybe, bum shoulder
10)  What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
     My pendant from Peru

11)  What's your favorite hobby?
        Photography or teaching

12)  Do you have A.D.D.?
       No way, I’m more OCD

13)  Do you wear glasses or contacts?

14)  What's your middle name?
15)  What are your thoughts at this moment?
     My nose hurts, need to get glasses adjusted
16)  Name 3 drinks you regularly consume.
       Teas, almond milk, OJ
17)  What is a current worry of yours?
        Craziness in the world
18)  What do you currently hate?
        Politicians who fuel fear and hatred when they could do so much more
19)  Where is your favorite place to be?
        In the snow in the mtns.
20)  What do you plan on doing on New Year's Eve this year?
        Stay home after seeing the new Star Wars movie!

21)  To where would you like to travel?
        Europe, to the old countries where my ancestors came from.
22)  Name three people you think will do this questionnaire on their
       Who knows?
23)  Do you own slippers?

24)  What color shirt are you wearing?
25)  Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
        NO! Too cold
26)  Can you whistle?
       Yes and on key
27)  What is your favorite color?
        Purple, then blue
28)  What songs do you sing in the shower?
        I can’t make you love me, in the same key as Bonnie Raitt

29)  Would you be a pirate?
        No, I don’t like to steal
30)  What's in your pocket right now?
        Burt's Bees lipbalm

31)  What's the last thing that made you laugh?
        My cat hogging the heat vent
32)  What vehicle do you drive?
       2013 Subaru Outback, 2010 Mazda M3
33)  What's the worst injury you've ever had?
        Broken ankle

34)  Do you love where you live?
       Mostly, but I'd rather be in more of a mtn. rural area
35)  Would you change your first name if you could?
        Yes, I’ve always loved Anna

36) What's the biggest regret you have?
       I don't regret anything because everything has brought me right here right now. And that's a good        place :)

Winter & Holiday Prep, Amazing Duet

Last year

Winter & Holiday Prep-
Sorry for the no-post weekend last weekend! My new job, which I really like, has impacted things in a subtle way. With a later schedule I get home after dark, jump into dinner and the day is mostly over. Ironically my daughter has started working there, as well as the wife of a former co-worker. When I mentioned to a few people that they were hiring, had good pay and great benefits some followed and applied and got hired too! Anyway, I woke up early this morning, 5:45 and finally got up while Dave slept. It's just Anya and I! She seems confused up why I am up so early since Dave's the early bird :) We have another major storm on the way, with a projected 2-3 FEET of snow in the mountains. Thankfully this winter seems to be normalizing, with rain and snow. Our back desk looked like this last weekend after a big rain storm-

The girls are enjoying their "sun room" and coop in the icky weather. It's snug, dry and lots of room.

In the sun room (made from recycled materials) in last last year's snow

Here's my girls having a snack break, with some fresh spinach-

When they see me coming to the coop and I say "girls, you want some food?" they know to run inside! 

I keep holiday things pretty simple. I laugh a bit when people have these "organization tips" for the holidays. Some people just really overdue it IMO. They run around and are exhausted which to me defeats to the whole idea. It should be fun and relaxing, and not about stuff. Maybe we're just a lot less materialistic? For instance I put out my winter decor 1st, then the tree a few weeks later. Lights went up outside last weekend-

cell phone, blurry sorry

It looks really festive. A neighbor came by while Dave put things up and said "my wife always tells me to look at your lights, they're so nice!" I think she's giving him a hint :) We have house lights, ice skates, snowmen, and snowflakes, we like it. Here's a few shots of some inside holiday kitchen goodies, many thrifted-

my Solstice vase with Dave's birthday branch lights he gave me :)

My table-top mini greenhouse transformed into a winter wonderland! I used Kosher salt in the base for the snow!

My nod to Scandinavian traditions, God Jul!

My vintage jars decked out!

My fave Chicken Tree!!! 

Spread it out and it's not so overwhelming. If you stay home full time, or when I had "winter break" then I could do more. Working full time you have to pick your priorities. We also don't emphasize gifts and baking. Most of us have cut way back on wheat and sugar, while we do indulge a bit. With our kids grown we do a gift exchange- everyone gets 1 name. It takes the financial burden off our kids (and us) to make or buy gifts for everyone. We really still enjoy our holiday time, it's just less about "stuff". I read this the other day on Facebook and LOVE the idea! Simple and easy! 

Anyway, I decided to make a new dish, for me, for Christmas brunch here, baked oatmeal. I'll use some home canned homegrown apples, my eggs, nuts and sounds delish!

I had some left over Pannetoni bread and turned it into french toast last weekend! Festive and yummy!

Amazing Duet-
I was channel surfing last week and PBS has had some amazing concerts on. I watched Josh Groban's Stages Live. It had a gorgeous theater, incredible orchestra and songs. Kelly Clarkson came out for a duet. When she sang her first note I almost fell out of my chair. WOW, I had no idea she could sing like that!

Nov 28, 2015

First Snow Storm, French Country Dishwasher Face Lift

First Snow Storm-
While we didn't get much snow here in Boise this week, an inch or so, we did get a lot more north & east of here. Good for the forests and skiers! I love the way the sun sparkles on the snow! It puts me in the mood to put away my fall decor this weekend and putting up my winter goodies. It was 11 degrees last night, pretty dang cold! The chickens are in good shape with their heat lamp and snug coop. I also bought a "flock block"- Nutrena Scratch Block since one is molting and I thought they could use some extra calories! I put it out in the coop and haven't seen them working on it yet. I put some rolled oats on top to get them started. I laos out out LOTS of wild bird feed as they need some help this time of year. Our heated bird waterer helps too.


Some random snow scenes from our little homestead- 

French Country Dishwasher Face Lift-
I always love a great DIY project and this is one of my favorites! While I'm not a fan of all white, I love the vintage look! Check out the post for more info! It's so nice to customize something, on a budget, that you're not fond of and and come up with something unique! There's lots of other fun junky ideas as well~~~
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