Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back....

As most of you know, this blog is still fairly new! Most of my posts I put together in the beginning have not been looked at much and I figured I would compile them in one post for you all to enjoy! Don't want my dear readers to miss out!

I am very excited about the year to come, I have a lot of ideas for this blog and I hope you all bear with me as I journey thru the blogger world. It has been fun and I am looking forward to a year full of good food, fitness and health, gardening, kid's party ideas, canning and so much more! I plan to share a lot more resources that I have found helpful for our family. I get asked all the time "how do you do it all?", well if you have the right tools and resources, it makes the task easier!

Let me know if you have any plans or lifestyles changes you want to make in the new year!! I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year.... New Changes!

Well, we are in the last few days of 2014... where did it go? What did we do with this past year? What are your plans for the new year to come?

Keep reading to find out what I'll be doing....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

May you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas.
....And remember, Christ was born this day, HE alone is the reason we celebrate!

Merry Christmas!

P.S. you might not hear from me until next week. Gotta soak up some good quality family time and enjoy our winter break!! Feel free to browse around and read some of my older posts, you might find something interesting!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Barnyard Boredom - Buster Blocks

Have bored chickens?

...... Then make them some Barnyard Boredom-Buster Blocks!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homemade Gingerbread House Kits

Need an easy, fun gift idea for little one or family friends?
Put together a 'Make Your Own Gingerbread House' kit!
Its so easy to put together and takes very little time and effort! 
Check it out!.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Smokey BBQ Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a favorite in our house. It took me several years and many meatloaves to come up with this flavor packed meatloaf.....

How To Shine Your Sink - Naturally!!

Last week I worked on several cleaning projects, and one of them was scrubbing my kitchen sink. And I don't mean just wiping it out after doing dishes, I mean scrubbing, like getting the gross stuff out of every corner and crevice! And I did it without having to wear gloves or breathe toxic fumes! How? You ask, well keep reading....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Clean You House Before Christmas Challenge Day 3 Update

Well, by the third day of this challenge, I was feeling pretty ambitious! I planned on scrubbing the main bathroom and kitchen!.... What was I thinking?! I had a wonderful plan. I even wrote it down! For the most part I followed most of it, but didn't accomplish everything!
Here's how my day went:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Clean Your House By Christmas Challenge Day 2 Update!

Ok, ok, so I'm a little behind on posting this... sigh... but hey, that's life, right?

Anyway, I had a super busy day yesterday. I cleaned the living room. it only took a few minutes. It doesn't get too messy since the kids no longer play in there, but occasionally a few toys migrate their way down the stairs and into the living room. And of course, there is baby stuff in there! So after a few minutes it went from this:

To this:

Ah, much better!

I also worked on several loads of laundry, and still working on it today!

Today's goals are to scrub the main bathroom and give the kitchen a good scrubbing!!

Let me know how you are doing!

Check out Crystal Paine's challenge  here.

Keep Cleaning!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Clean Your House Before Christmas Challenge (update!)

Most of you may have read last night, that I will be following moneysavingmoms cleaning challenge. Read that post here.

So, I didn't get any before and after pics last night, but I cleaned my boys bedroom, put away their laundry, cleaned the toy room, removed broken toys and put everything back in it place, and I scrubbed the kid's bathroom. I used my homemade cleaner and it smells so fresh in there!

I hope you are following along in this challenge as well. It will be nice to have a clean house for when we start our holiday baking! I will post later on today what challenge I will be working on tonite! (Maybe I'll even get some pics!!).
Check out Crystal Paine's update here.

Let's Get Cleaning!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Clean Your House For Christmas Challenge (Day 1)

I just read this challenge on and thought it would be the perfect addition to my Christmas  Countdown! Crystal Paine is challenging her readers to decluttering and cleaning in 5 days to get our homes ready for Christmas! I am ready for the challenge and hope you are too! 

I have been a follower of money saving mom for years and have done several of Crystal's challenges. I always feel 'challenged', and I love the reward at the end of it! So I challenge you to join her this week! I know I will!!

If you want to join in the challenge go here.

What rooms will you be tackling? Let me know!
I will be working on the kids bedrooms!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Countdown ~Holiday Spiced Potpourri

This potpourri makes a great all natural air freshener AND it makes a great homemade gift.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Keeping Your Sanity

I'm sure you all are thinking about Christmas shopping, planning menus for holiday get togethers, decluttering and cleaning every corner of the house for when company arrives, trying to figure out what to buy everyone, or maybe you are just trying to keep your sanity as a busy mom! Well, I know I'm working on all of the above! And boy does it get a little hectic in my head.... Just gets hard to keep it all sorted. On top of all that, I've got a monster living in my laundry room, dirty dishes keep appearing in the sink and my kitchen floors seem as if Hansel and Gretel got lost in there!! ;).
I know I'm not the only one with this problem (don't leave me hangin' here ladies!).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Grandma's Apron

I found this poem online and thought I would share it with you all. 

GRAB yourself some cocoa, and give it a read!



Looking for an easy, quick lunch for your little ones? Then you've found it!
I came up with this recipe when my kids were always asking for pizza for lunch.
I make it in assembly line fashion, so if your gonna make these, grab your ingredients and let's get cooking!

Christmas Countdown ~ Cranberry Orange Spinach Smoothie

Cranberries, oranges, bananas and spinach have so many wonderful health benefits, so I came up with a smoothie with all four of em in it! It is refreshing, energizing and satisfying, so I thought it would be perfect to share during this busy holiday season. It makes a great breakfast drink or a mid-day snack when you just need a little 'pick me up'!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Countdown!

It's here folks! December 1st!!! That means its time to start our Countdown to Christmas!! 
As you know, I will be doing a Christmas Countdown with my kids each day until Christmas. If you haven't read it you can find my post on a simple Christmas Countdown here. I will also be posting each day (Lord willing, of course!). I will share with you all recipes, crafts, homemade gifts, and much more, all related to getting ready for Christmas. I will share with you my holiday menu filled with wonderful recipes that I always get requests for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Homemade Pizza Dough

I have been using this recipe for 2 years for all of our homemade pizza! It is a tried and true recipe! You can take my word for it as we are a pizza eating family! This dough recipe is also great for bread, cinnamon rolls, hoagie buns, or dinner rolls. If you are looking for an easy recipe that has limitless uses, then you have found it! Give it a try!

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

We had an early Thanksgiving with some close friends of ours on Saturday, so I have already prepared a list of thanksgiving dishes. If you will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner this week, then you know all about the time and preparation that goes into getting ready. I will share some recipes on basic Thanksgiving dishes. These can all be made the day before and put in the oven when ready to bake.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

If you are looking for a yummy candy treat that is super healthy, low sugar, chocolaty, but caffeine free, then this recipe is for you!
This recipe is packed full of healthy goodness!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toasted Seed Crackers

I love healthy snacks, I just don't like the price tag attached to them! I am always on the look out for recipes for simple, homemade, healthy snacks!
I found a recipe for snack crackers a few months ago and they were good but of course I had to change it up a bit!  And the nice thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile. You can make these to suit your family's liking!

Simple Hot Cocoa

The past couple mornings have not been so exciting around here. It is just bitter cold out there! The littles were out yesterday hauling in wood, so while they were out freezing, I whipped them up a batch of hot cocoa.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Snowy Morning at Our House

We awoke to such beauty this morning! It was the perfect snowy morning! My kids get pretty excited when the first real snow falls! Everyone was anxious to get outside and do their chores! The boys bundled up and headed out with snow shovels in hand and the girls gathered animal feed and headed out as well! I'll probably have a hard time getting them back in for school!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Snow In The Barnyard

Here's a pic of our feathered foals on the morning of our first snow in western Pennsylvania! Unfortunately this is the only pic I got because the battery on my camera died right after taking this picture! We have already had a few problems with the chickens adjusting to the cold temps. The oldest little discovered that one of our gals had a bleeding comb the other morning :(. Some of the chickens have chosen to sleep in the trees outside the coope over the summer, so now that the cold is here we are going to have to train them otherwise...(sigh...).... You will never hear me say that chickens are the smartest animals around! We have had one of our leghorns squeeze into the fence with our 2 German Shepherds, get caught by the female and shaken around a bit until we got alerted by the guineas ( gotta luv the guineas!), only to run off with a few less feathers and do it again the next week!! I think the count is now up to 4 times of this happening to the same chicken!! And she still hasn't learned her lesson!! They certainly are fun barnyard animals to have around though. And they come with a few benefits. Fresh eggs!! If you have never had a fresh, free range chicken egg, you are missing out! The taste and color are completely different of the eggs you buy in the store. Chickens are also great for bug control. This is our first year for having roosters ( we have 3 of them! ), anyway, our roosters have caught at least 3 mice!! I have a strong disliking for mice so this is bonus points for the roosters!! Overall, chickens may not be the smartest, but they are fun and provide healthy eggs each morning!

Hope you are enjoying the snow!
Keep warm!

How To Make a Simple, Fun Countdown to Christmas

In years past I've always wanted to do a Countdown to Christmas with my kids. Just something fun and simple (and easy on the wallet helps too!). Well, by the time I would get around to putting one together, I didn't have enough time to put one together, or I had already gotten so busy with the rest of the holiday preparations, I forgot all about. So I got an early start this year! I have put together a month full of fun activities for the littles. Its easy to get caught up in the business of the season, so by setting aside special activities to do each day, makes the season more special. I also wanted to be sure to post this early enough for you all to have enough time to put one together.

 Now when putting your countdown together, make sure to have your calendar handy so you don't plan something in the countdown when you have plans otherwise. For example, on Sundays we go to church so therefore I need to make sure I don't plan to bake cookies that day for the countdown.  So I will just put a treat in the bag for everyone. This is so simple and easy to fit into your schedule.

Here's what I did:

I bought an assortment of craft supplies and a bunch of fun simple activities and each item or items will go into a paper bag labeled with a number starting with 25 and counting down. On December 1st the littles will open the bag to reveal the 'special' activity for the day!

Here's some of the stuff I gathered up:

I bought these on sale for 50 cents each!! The lids go on mason jars and the straws are reusable and large enough to drink a smoothie with, so the day these get opened, the littles and I will be having smoothies!

This is just some activity books and fun pens you can find in the Christmas section at Walmart. I will put these in a bag for a day perhaps when I have a shopping trip and these can make great peace keepers while in the store!!
 What kid doesn't like bubbles?! Thought these would be fun for a cold snowy day outside when everyone is getting cabin fever! I will use the erasers in a bag for a Sunday.
 This is a whole weeks worth of goodies! On a Monday the littles will receive a note card and a craft supply saying to save up craft supplies each day for a super crafty party at the end of the week! We will then decorate the Styrofoam ornaments.
 This is easy and self explanatory!!

 The possibilities are endless as to what you can do with your kids and this countdown!
 Each year we put up a ceramic Christmas village, these trees are a new addition for this year, so when we open this bag with them in it, it will be the day we put it p the village.
 These are the bags I will be using.
 My kids love rocks!! In fact, in their toy room they have a container of rocks to play with!
Get creative and have some fun with this Christmas Countdown!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crispy Chic Peas (Garbanzo Beans)

I have seen a lot of recipes for roasted chic peas, so I figured I had to give these a try! Boy am I glad I did!!! These little things are delicious!!! They were pretty easy to make, the hardest part was waiting till they were done!

Here's what I did:

Chic peas, garlic (of course!), ranch dressing mix, salt and oil.

Heat about 1-2 tbsp oil in skillet for a few minutes.

Put in about 1/2 can of chic peas. Stir around to coat in oil.

Add seasonings. 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp ranch dressing mix. Stir.

Continue cooking till chic peas are golden brown and crispy. About 20 minutes.

Look at all that crispy yumminess ( is that a word?!?). ;)

These are great just as a snack, or used on top of a salad!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Today I had a kitchen filled with 10 kids! Yes, 10!!! My 5 littles had their 5 friends over for apple pie baking! It was a lot of fun and a quick way to get a lot of apples peeled and chopped! I took time yesterday and did some prep work and made all the pie crust. That made things a lot easier! Here's a few pics I got when they got started,

You can see all their little hands busy peeling apples!!

but then I forgot to get pics of my island covered in apple peels :/. But anyway, everyone had a great time regardless of my lacking in the photo department!

Alright, use your favorite crust recipe and get the crust put in your pan. Then you'll need about 5-6 apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick slices. Mix in 1/2 cup flour, 2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 cup sugar in with apples. Stir till all apples are coated. Put apples in prepared crust. Now you can top it with another crust, or put on a crumb topping. Here's the recipe for the crumb topping:
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 stick butter

Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Mix in rolled oats and brown sugar. 
Mix with pastry cutter. 
Sprinkle over apples. 

This recipe makes enough topping to cover 2 pies.
If your are not making 2 pies, you can freeze remaining topping for another time.

Bake at 375* for 45-50 minutes.

**Here's a yummy twist: I drizzled caramel ice cream topping over the crumb topping after pie came out of oven. Mmmmmm! Can't wait to try it!