Thursday, November 20, 2014

Farmhouse Recipe: Overnight Pumpkin French Toast

Pulling a recipe out of the archives to share with you today....

This right here is like eating dessert for breakfast.
It tastes like pumpkin custard.
And it's become the traditional Thanksgiving Breakfast in our family.

Overnight Pumpkin French Toast
(a recipe tweaked from Gooseberry Patch's Autumn in the Country)
1- 15 oz can pumpkin
8 eggs
4 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 loaf of baggette bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
Garnishes: maple syrup, whipped cream

Place cut bread in lightly greased 13x9 pan. Mix together rest of ingredients and pour the pumpkin mixture over  the bread. Push down bread with a spoon so that the tops of bread is completely covered in the pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (check around 25 minutes to make sure your bread is not blackening).
Garnish with maple syrup and/or whipped cream.

I suggest a strong cup of coffee to accompany this.... we also like to add a side of fresh fruit to cut down on the sugary sweetness and sorta even out the meal....

Do you have a traditional breakfast for Thanksgiving?
If so, please share!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sneak Peek: The Farmhouse Sitting Room

Popping in to give y'all a bit of a peek at how the farmhouse sitting room is shaping up.
Sitting Room.
Who has those anymore?
A Sitting Room is defined as a room where people can sit down and relax.
Isn't that lovely?
This house just needed a room for doing exactly that.
So there you go.... a Sitting Room.

When my parents lived here this was their living/family room. When my great grandparents lived here I remember it as a sitting room.
We've put the piano in here, a few mismatched book cases, my beloved rocking chair and a cozy reading chair.

We call it the sitting room
and we call it the library
and when we're stumped we call it the room with the piano.

Here's what I do know- there's not enough room for all our books.
{I'm dreaming of floor to ceiling book shelves on the west wall.}
The reading chair gets a lot of use.... devotion time, coffee sipping time, reading and just resting.
The fact that the furniture is all around the perimeter of the room and the middle of the floor is wide open leads to lots of great time spent playing board games here, and putting puzzles together and most importantly, I have to admit- it's where we separate and fold laundry.
The piano seems to take center stage (it didn't have such a vaulted place at the old house- it was off to the side in the dining room.)
And my girls have never played the piano so much before we moved here.
Now they play often.... (each self-teaching, thank you youTube).
And we like it like that.

Lu just finished sewing me the most beautiful curtains this past week. They really make the room, in my opinion. I love them.

The layout of the room is interesting. It really only has 2 walls. It's an early take on an open floor plan.... It also is the front entry to the house. The two walls have space taken up by two large windows too. The room is on the west side of the house so it gets great afternoon light.
I like that.

In the above picture you can see what I'm talking about when I say "open floor plan". I seriously adore these chippy painted banisters that separate the sitting room from the dining room. The reading chair was a $12 find at our local Salvation Army. It's got great bones and good, firm stuffing but the fabric is totally 1980's and grungy. I'm researching diy chair recovering and have even purchased some fabric.... just afraid to take that big of a diy leap right now. So it's got a couple sheets tossed over it and tucked in here and there for right now. [Remember: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.] It's working for me right now.
And that big, beautiful, galvanized W? Hobby Lobby. Half off. $15. Love.
Standing lamp- Goodwill.

Here's the east side- bonus- you get a glimpse of the family room. We're using the buffet that was in the dining room of the old house as an entertainment center. I like it.
To the far left of the picture is the front door. I'm standing by the piano to take this picture.
My mom picked up that footstool at GW for a couple bucks. We're planning on recovering it, but right now it's just nice to have a place to rest your feet.

One more of the beautiful piano.....

There's a story to this piano.... and even to that old padded cushion on it's bench.
My great grandparents bought the piano for my grandmother in 1932 when they were living in Chicago. They purchased it from the neighbor lady across the street and wheeled the behemoth across the wide street (complete with trolly tracks running down the middle) to their home. It's an old player piano (the player guts are long gone now) and it was brought to this very farmhouse in 1946 when my great grandparents moved here with my grandmother and her older sister. It sat in the family room where the buffet/entertainment center is now. It moved with my grandmother when she married my grandfather and I have fond memories of plunking on it as a child at their home. When Grandma downsized, it went with her daughter, my sweet Aunt Sandy and my Lu was blessed to plunk on it as a toddler at Sandy's house. A few years after Sandy passed away, my uncle hauled the piano to our previous house. It took six guys to get that thing in our house! Gram and Aunt Sandy always wanted Lu to have the piano. 
And now, it has just about come full circle.... right back in this house, sixty-eight years later.
Still sporting the piano cushion my grandmother made ages and ages ago, because I cannot bear to recover it. The memories are too sweet and too strong.

Middle C sticks.
A string from one of the upper black keys has broken.
It can no longer be completely tuned.... but it's close. Sort of.
And someone took a hammer to over half the ivory keys, breaking off the little curved edge at the ends.
And a few pieces of the veneer have come off and been lost.
But we don't really see any of that when we look at this piano.
Instead we see, feel and touch family history.
Just as it should be.

Just as it is with that beloved rocking chair. The very rocker my parents purchased when they were expecting me. The rocker my mama rocked all three of her children in. The rocker I have rocked all three of my babies in.... It's come back to this house too.
I do believe it's quite happy to be back.

And that is what makes this little sitting room feel perfectly perfect to me.
All that love that's wrapped up in it.

>>> I hope to be able to give you a full post on this room soon. You know..... one with plenty of before and after photos, info on the paint colors and curtain fabric and the lowdown on the cost.
Staying hopeful...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I wasn't forgetting.... really I wasn't.

A year ago I started (what I thought at the time would be) a year long series entitled, "Embrace the Camera", in which I committed to putting myself in front of the camera for a photo at least once a week for an entire year. [see the post that started it all here]
Um, yeah.... about that.

I'm sorry.
According to the blog, I made it a grand total of 26 weeks.
So what happened?
You know.... a little thing called packing up your home of 20 years and moving to a farm.

I didn't exactly stop getting my picture taken, it just wasn't a priority on my weekly to-do list.
And taking the time to put edit it and put it on the blog these last few months.... well, we all know how well I kept up with blogging.

My 41st Birthday.... Me and my girls
I don't see the experiment as a complete failure though either.
I was able to complete and document half of it here.
And if I look back through our photos.... while there aren't pictures every week, there are indeed, more pictures of me than years previous.
And wasn't that the point of this experiment? To get myself out from behind and in front of the camera?
So, in summary, I count it a success.
For a gal that likes to finish a project completely to the point of checking it off the list.... this was difficult to let go of and get over labeling "undone."
And that leads me to thinking-- My life is pretty much about living "undone," so I guess this is fitting.
It isn't about finishing the project, or checking it off the list.... it's about the undoneness of it all. The living and thriving (and dare I say, enjoying ) in the midst of it. And that- that I have accomplished.
I've learned to put myself in front of the camera, even when I don't feel like it, most especially when I don't feel like it. Because it's about marking the memories with and for my children, not about whether that photo angle gives me multiple chins or that my eyes crinkle so much you can't really see them.
After all, I'm a woman who is mostly coming undone. God has shown me that He alone completes me. Nothing here ever really will. I'm okay with documenting that.

In fact, my year came to a close just last week....
I celebrated my 41st birthday. 

And we took pictures.

The Mister and I all spiffed up for our fancy birthday dinner date.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Paint what you can

Last Saturday was a beautiful fall day.
I love spending beautiful days doing outdoor projects on the farm.

Now here’s the deal…. The house is in serious need of some paint.
But I don’t have the time or resources to paint the whole house exterior.
My thing was I really wanted the front entrance (a nice little corner) of the house painted.
It was really bugging me.

And I had the time and the paint to get that done.
So I did.
And since I had paint left in my cup, I decided to touch up the front porch and the back porch. And paint the back door. Sigh. Sometimes I roll like that.
Oh there is plenty that still needs painting but these little areas are done for now and they make me happy.

Because I’m embracing the simple fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful (thanks Nester)
And if little half-completed small tasks make me smile- I should do them.

Isn't that a beautiful difference? And now that one bright, shining, non-paint chippy spot is making me smile.
And also this spot right here- the back door.
It was looking pretty sad until Saturday.....

Yes, the rest of the back side needs a good scrape and paint but that door and the bit of white siding to the right of it look spiffy now!
And that makes me smile.

The other thing that makes me smile is finally finding a very close match to that dark green paint after hauling home paint samples from 5 different stores. [The piece of paper that we wrote down that color and number on are long gone.] Winner: Forest Floor by Do it Best Corp (and I mention it here so I have record to come to....]

With the weather changes the green may have to wait until Spring, but just in case another nice day comes around again this fall.... I'm ready.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sharing the In Between.... Farmhouse Projects

A year ago we had finally put our yellow townie farmhouse up for sale and began preparations for moving to the farm.
We started scraping, patching and painting the inside of the farmhouse in earnest.
We moved here in May and proceeded to paint 3 more rooms.
And then we stopped.
This mama got tired of painting....
and we had outside projects to work on.
and we started back to school.
And we needed to spend some time living in these rooms to get a feel for how to proceed.
Especially with the kitchen.
That one's gonna take some time and ingenuity.

The thing is- not one room is totally and completely finished where I would say- Yay! It's done.
Not a one.

The family closet is painted and the shelves are up but there are boxes on the floor full of things we don't know where to put....
There are curtain rods to be hung, curtains to be sewn and artwork to be put up in the master bedroom.
And more of the same in the girls' room.
And the boy's room....

And so life goes.

And I haven't shown you a single remodeling project on the blog since we moved in.

Well that's about to change- even if the rooms aren't complete and finished and just so.
Because I am reminded of the Nester's lovely, freeing motto: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. 

Which is why I went ahead and hung a couple pieces of the material that our master bedroom curtains are going to be made of.... right up on that lovely curtain rod. Just cut fabric clipped and hung- no frills, no nice, straight seams.... yet it makes me smile. It's just the right splash of color. And it makes me happy.
And that's good.
So why shouldn't I do a bit of sharing of the In Between?
Not just started and yet not finished.... The In Between.

Really.... It's nice to see progress.... where we've been and how far we've come..... Like the master bedroom for instance:

So stick around.... and see what we've got going on in these farmhouse spaces.

Here's one more for funsies.... The Family Room In Between-

Isn't that wonderful?! The first photo is when my mama was still packing the room up. She painted that room right before we moved here in June of 1981 and it hadn't been painted again.... just the addition of a wallpaper border and wallpaper "wainscoting" sometime in the early 90's. She had some wonderful furniture in here that really made it work for her and her style.... but not mine. This was a fun room to redo.
We widened and raised the curtain rods to give more height to the room and painted it a lovely color called Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. The couch and hanging lamp are from Ikea. My Lu sewed those lovely pillow covers and I painted the coffee and end tables with chalk paint.
I love how tranquil this room feels to me. And it's Lu's favorite spot to do school.

So what do you think? Would you share your In Between or would you rather see completely finished rooms?
Do you live in the "in between" of half finished rooms like me? Does it drive you crazy?
Tell me. I really wanna know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Words Matter: Naming the {Farm}

I love words.
On a good day, I consider myself a bit of  a wordsmith.
Other days.... I just simply enjoy words.
I love typography.
Seriously love it.
Typography is words with visual appeal.
I'm a sucker for a quirky, interestingly made letter.

Combine those loves with the fact that we just finally, after five months of living here, decided on a farm name that everyone agrees on....
Well, that right there's gotta be celebrated and proclaimed just so.

You see, this farm we inhabit has a story that ties directly to my heart strings.
Because this is my family farm; the farm where I grew up.

And now I'm back, with my little family of five, right here on familiar ground with familiar people.
We're reclaiming the land, shaping up the house and helping my parents build a little mom & pop apartment in the wonderful, retro 1940's gas station building on our property.
Three generations together on family land.

Can you hear my heart sigh?
Can you see why this farm naming is such a bigger than big deal?
I thought so.

Our farm name is dual- straight from scripture and also a play on words, one of my mama's passions.

Pulling from scripture, pulling from The Word.....

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic."
Isaiah 38:16

And I simply love the message version of Ephesians 2:19-22
 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

And finally- 1 Peter 2:5-6 (NIV):
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Living stones.... a sure foundation.... a home country.... building a home.... you belong in what he is building.... fitting you brick by brick, stone by stone..... with Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone.

Those words draw me in and call me home. They label me and mine and fit us brick by brick into this space of land and house and blue sky..... fit us stone by stone to this place God provided for us with his infinitely blessed and sweet timing.

Without further ado-- May I present our farm name:

And the play on words? Our farm is situated on a corner with a very large stone sitting out front.
Cornerstone Farm

And here's where the typography comes in- Day's Spring's (in)Courage store's new line of typography letters, Words Matter Letterpress Blocks.
When I saw these, I was smitten.
Seriously smitten.

Because words matter. And words that matter should be celebrated in beautiful ways.

And I couldn't just stop there.... I also played with the idea of family and farm....

Aren't those brackets darling?!

You can create your own words using the different fonts and block sizes to create your own beautiful, unique word picture right on their website.

This would look stinkin' cute in my dining room:

And the room we're turning into a sitting room/family library..... well, this gets me good >>>

The naming of things is important and words matter.
Do you have a word that is resonating with you? Or the special naming of something that needs to be celebrated like our farm?
Create your word!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crocktober 2014 Recipe: Ham It Up! Slowcooker Casserole

Alas, October is almost over...
Which means I've basically missed much of my beloved "Crocktober"....
Well, at least posting about Crocktober on here, that is.

I've managed to make at least one crock pot meal a week around here.
And with the temps having dipped into brrr chill area these last couple of weeks, we've enjoyed quite a nice variety of soups.

Tonight we're having my very favoritest chili- White Chicken Chili (recipe here).

In honor of Crocktober still hanging around for a few more days...
Here's last year's post that links to all my crock pot recipes to date.

And here's a new recipe!

Ham It Up! Slowcooker Casserole

6 medium potatoes, sliced thin (yes, leave the skin on- it's good for you!)
1 medium (fist sized) onion, chopped
1 pound ham, cubed
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better, in my opinion)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Paprika (optional but really, just do it)

In your slowcooker, layer the following: half your sliced potatoes, half of the onion and half a cup of cheese. Do it again with the other halves.
Spread the two cans of soup over the top using a spatula to spread it all over so it completely covers up all the potatoes and ham and cheesy goodness. Top it off with remaining half cup of cheese then sprinkle liberally with paprika. Not lightly, liberally!
Cook on low for 8 hour or on high for 4 hours.

This dish is quite filling! We baked up some biscuits and served up the last of our home grown tomatoes, sliced thick, as a side dish.

Really wishing I'd taken a picture of that deliciousness but I was too busy eating it!


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