Monday, October 31, 2016

Menu Monday!

I have chowder and chili on my menu this week. A sure sign of cooler temps and rain. I love a pot of something to serve on days like this. Rain, rain and more rain seems to be the theme for our weather this coming week.

Today I'll be home and busy doing house work and some cooking while listening to all the rain falling. Tonight I have planned beef burritos. I'll be using THIS recipe. I'll cook the roast in my IP. I'll also make my own enchilada sauce as I can't seem to find a brand that I like. If you have a brand of enchilada sauce that you like, let me know. :) I'm going to make refried beans, rice and a salad to go with this meal.

The rest of the week is looking like this...

IP Lasagna
It probably is easier to make lasagna in the oven, but I want to try it out in the Instant Pot to see what I think. The sides will be butternut squash, green beans and french bread.  You can find the recipe I'll be trying HERE.

I love THIS recipe and have made it several times. Very easy to put together although I'm planning on cooking my own beans rather than using canned beans. The IP makes bean cooking super easy.

Clam Chowder
I had this on my menu last week and never made it.  I still have a large can of clams on my pantry shelf and it is sure to get made this week. I'll serve either french bread or biscuits and a salad with this chowder.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Acorn Squash in the Instant Pot

I've made acorn squash in my Instant Pot several times now. It is sooo good and so easy.

I made a YouTube to show you how to do it. I'm showing 1 acorn squash, but I have done 2 and think 3 might work as well. Also I'm planning on trying this method out with a butternut squash that I have. I'm guessing the time should about the same, but I will find out.. :) 

Hope you have a chance to try some yummy winter squash!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week. I thought it would be fun to do this weekly, providing my life cooperates. :)

So Far This Week
After a busy weekend communicating with my kids, which I love....  On Monday hubby and I headed over to our daughter Hannah's house. It was her birthday. I gave her a FitBit for her birthday gift. I knew she had wanted one. It will be fun to see if she gets as hooked by hers as I am about mine.

I'm a little slow going on the fall cleaning. I've made some baby steps....  my laundry room/pantry/mud room is all cleaned and reorganized!!

Today's Weather
Wet & Gray..  the expected high is going to be 61 and rain 

On My To-Do List
Clean my fridge. Another fall project. It needs to be done and I'm thinking I've procrastinated on this project for more time then it will actually take me to do.. ha, ha..

~vacuum carpets
~sweep & mop floors
~vacuum & mop both upstairs stairs and basement stairs
But I'll see how far I get, this mornings plans include a visit to see my grandbabies..  :)

Projects I'm Working On
Planning Christmas. I'm working on a simple notebook to keep track of basic things. With 8 children who have spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends and a lot of grandchildren I find I get a bit mixed up on things like gifts. I buy something with someone in mind and then forget who I bought it for. Or I buy someone a second gift because I forget that I had already bought them something earlier on. Or.. I buy a gift, hide it and forget where I put it! Ha! So.. I'm putting together a notebook for gifts, addresses of friends and family, and a place to jot down meal plans for holiday dinners and any baking I want to do.

The View Out My Window

What I'm Reading
The Bible. I was thinking that next year I wanted to do a “read through the Bible in a year” thingy. I've done it many times, not each year. But I'm always blessed by doing it and learn many things. Imagine my surprise when I found a YouTube channel that has all 66 books of the Bible being read. So, I've already started. I've made my way (listening) through Genesis and Exodus so far. I love it! I bring my Kindle into the kitchen with me while I prepare meals and listen or listen to it while folding laundry or doing simple household tasks.

The Count of Monte Cristo.. I admit I love classic books. This is one I've not read and am slowly making my way through it. So far, I'm enjoying it.

What I'm Listening To
Currently, the sounds of silence. :) My hubby is doing some repair work on our barn right now and my two youngest kids are both at work. I' taking the quiet time to sit and write this.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I like things that are frugal. I'm not sure every week I make an concerted effort to do things that are frugal. Some things are just part of our life style. As an example.. my husband has run copper pipe through our wood furnace that feeds the hot water tank. Now that the weather has cooled down and we are making fires every day... not only does it heat our home but it also heats our hot water. We see a major drop in our power bills every winter because of this.

The other frugal thing we have done this week is to pick apples from our own tree. My hubby likes taking an apple to work each night. Right now we have a big box of them in our fridge and I don't need to buy them from the store

How is your week going?


Sewing Tutorial: Gathering Fabric

This time of year always seems to make me want to pull out my sewing machine and make something. I have a few things floating around in my head that I'd like to make soon. A common step in sewing is gathering fabric. Thanks to a good friend of mine I learned how to do this very easily several years ago. I thought I'd post this tutorial for anyone out there who may be doing a little fall sewing. Maybe it will help!

The traditional method of gathering fabric has you sew a large strait basting stitch across the fabric and then pull the bobbin side to gather in the fabric. What would always happen to me is the bobbin threads would break or the task was just painfully time consuming. 

I learned this trick a few years ago from a friend of mine.

You will need some cotton crochet thread:

Set your sewing machine to a large size zig-zag setting with a long stitch length.


Set your presser food on the very edge of the fabric and put the crochet thread between the feet of the presser foot.

Now slowly begin to sew a zig-zag stitch with the cotton crochet thread in the center of the stitch. This is what it will look like:

If you are gathering something large then it will be helpful to do the gathering in 2 places. For the skirts we have used the side seams as the start and stop points.

Then pin your fabric to the piece that you are attaching the gathered edge to. I like to pin side seams together and then center seams together. 

Now carefully begin to pull the crochet thread and gather the fabric up to the correct size. 

Secure the end of the crochet thread to a pin in a figure 8 to hold it. 

Continue to do pull the crochet thread and gather the whole piece of fabric. 

Now pin everything in place.

Now smooth out the fabric and sew a 5/8" seam all the way around.


Remove your pins. You can easily now remove the crochet thread by finding the end and pulling it out. The only evidence left behind is the zig-zag stitching which you can also remove with a seam ripper if you would like, but I rarely do this.

Turn right side out, iron and Voila!! You are done!

I hope this helps some beginning sewing lady out there!! ~smile~


Monday, October 24, 2016

Menu Monday!

I had a nice weekend. On Saturday my son Jacob came up for a visit and spent several hours here. We had such a nice chat. He visits regularly and I always look forward to the visits. Over the weekend I also had a long phone chat from my daughter Emily. She is the daughter that lives in California. Her due date is fast approaching and we are all excited. She has approximately 4 weeks left. My goal is to be down there with her for the birth. We are praying for God's best timing on it all. It is a 2 ½ hour flight or a 12 hour drive. We'll see what the best option is when the time comes. My hubby is also taking time off work and we will be staying and helping out for a week or so after baby arrives.

Over the last few days I've been putting together a few freezer meals for Emily. If I need to get down there quickly I'll fly and hubby will drive down as soon as he can or we will both drive down together if we feel we have the time. In any case the freezer meals will be packed in ice and put in an ice chest for the journey. She has an Instant Pot so I made meals that she can just put in the IP easily. I wrote what the meal was on zip freezer bag and how many minutes it would need to be pressure cooked. Hoping to help make her first couple weeks with a new baby a little easier for her.

Now on to the menu for the week...

Pork Roast
I found pork roast on sale last week at Costco. It was a large package of pork sirloin roast. I was able to cut it into 3 roasts. Two of them went into the freezer. I actually made this yesterday and we are having the leftovers today. I did a simple rub on the roast using Cajun seasoning, garlic, a little salt and pepper. I seared it in the IP and added about 1 ½ cups of water. I pressure cooked this, removed it from the IP and thickened up the remaining juices. After that I cut up some new potatoes and a couple sweet potatoes and cooked those in the IP. I only cooked them for 4 minutes, but it was to long for the sweet potatoes. However it still tasted yummy! And a salad was served on the side. As I said, tonight will be a repeat of this meal.

Meat Loaf
It's been a little while since I've made a meatloaf and it sounds good this week. I'll make some potatoes (of some sort) and I have some bok choy in the fridge that I'll cook up in the IP to go with this.

Chicken Pot Pie
I had this on my menu recently and did not make it. I had enough leftovers from other meals. So it will be made this week. I'll probably serve a green salad on the side.

Asian Beef & Broccoli
I searched for a few recipes on line and not sure I've really found what I was looking for so I may just see what I can come up with. If time is short I'll just use Yoshida sauce and add some red pepper flakes for a spice up. I will be making it in my IP. I have a couple pounds of beef chuck steak that I'll use for this. And add the cut up broccoli to it after it finishes cooking and let it simmer long enough to soften up. Broccoli cooks very quickly in the IP and I don't want to take the chance of turning it to mush. I'll serve rice or maybe some noodles with this meal.

That should do it for the week! How is your menu planning coming along?


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New eBook!!! All Things Christmas

 It has been a while since I've had a new ebook and I'm excited to share this one with you. 

This 27 page ebook is a compilation of my favorite Christmas baking recipes, homemade gifts, and lots of homemade gift ideas. 

It's not too early to begin thinking about Christmas!

The ebook is an automatic download. You will receive an email with a download link after you order

All Things Christmas
Homemaking on the Homestead
The Family Homestead


Buy Now

Monday, October 17, 2016

Menu Monday

It was a wild wet week here in the PNW. We were feeling the tail end/remnants of typhoon Songa and it did a lot of damage to the coast and inland. Two tornado's touched down in two different coastal towns, which is very rare here in this part of the world. Thankfully we are far enough away that we only received a lot of wind and rain, but no serious damage. It sure is feeling more and more like fall!

Fall tells me that the holiday season is just around the corner and I'm thinking about Christmas already as my list is pretty long with 8 children, their spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends and a whole lot of grandchildren! I do enjoy this time of year and find planning and preparing makes the best holiday times. This week I'm going to take some time to sit down and write out my plan for gifts, food to make, and all other holiday organizing.

As for today, it will be a day at home. I have housecleaning and laundry to catch up on. Dinner will be easy. I made a large pot of pizza chili over the weekend and we have enough left for our dinner tonight.

The rest of week is looking like this..

Italian Chicken
Super easy and good Instant Pot (IP) meal. I'll use chicken thighs and my favorite Italian salad dressing to flavor. I'll try and get this recipe up this week after I make it. French bread, sweet potatoes and cooked kale (both made in the IP) will be served on the side.

These will be cooked up inside as our BBQ'ing days are over for the year. I'll serve with all the typical trimmings. I'm thinking of making a potato salad along side the burgers.

Chicken Enchiladas
I saw this recipe the other day. It is for enchiladas made in the IP. I figured I'd give it a try and see what we think. Tortilla chips, salsa, and a salad will round out the meal.

Split Pea Soup
Wet, rainy, cool fall days call for soup sometimes. I'll use either bacon or sausage to flavor the soup. I plan on using my basic recipe and converting into an IP recipe. I'll keep you posted on that goes :). Crackers and a salad will be the sides. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Super Simple Table Runner

If you're looking for a simple sewing project that will add some nice decoration to your home, this easy table runner may be the project for you!

What I really love about it is that it can be done so quickly and the end result can add a lot to your home. It requires only 2 pieces of fabric, a ½ yard and a 1/3 yard.. that is it. If you sew regularly you may even have that already in your fabric stash.

Here are a couple that I've made...

What I like is that you can make several of them for the different seasons or holidays.

The video below shows you how it is done.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Laundry Hacks

Sometimes, even though you've been doing the same thing for years and years you come across a different, perhaps better way of doing it. That is a hack, “a not so common solution to something”. And more specifically I've stumbled across a method of folding laundry that I really like and is different then the way I have been doing it.

Maybe I'm just slow to come around to things like this. After posting this, I'll probably hear from ladies that have been doing it like this or similarly for years.. ha, ha.. :) But I just had to share as lately I've been on a laundry theme.

I was reading through a recent Reader's Digest and came across this article: I was not really thinking I would try it, but did find it interesting. After cleaning out my summer clothes and reorganizing my drawers I decided to give it a try.

All I can say is.. wow! I really like this. It makes the drawers look neat and orderly and the clothes easy to find.

Basically she shows you how to fold your clothing into squares. Then, instead of stacking the clothes on top of each other you lay them horizontal from front to back in the drawer.

I found this method is keeping my dresser drawers much more organized and makes it easier to find what I am looking for.

Now I'm going to tackle my hubby's things and see what he thinks! :) I'm pretty sure he'll be fine with it as he is just happy to have what he needs ready to go when he needs it.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu Monday!

How was your week? Are you ready to tackle another week? Lots on my to do list this week but I am ready. My menu is set and meals one less thing I have to think about.

Today is a appointment and grocery shopping in town. I may be home a little on the later side so I'm contemplating picking up a pizza from Costco. I know my family won't mind my choice! :) I'll grab a salad in a bag from the grocery store to make this a super simple night.

The rest of my week is looking like this...

Pan Fried Sirloin Steaks
I found some petite sirloin steaks on sale last week and picked up a package. It is to yucky out to think about a bbq so I'm going to do a quickly pan fry these little steaks. I also bought a couple acorn squashes. I'm going to try doing those in the Instant Pot. I'll serve some biscuits along with this meal.

Clam Chowder
I made it a few weeks ago and it was so good I figure for the cool wet weekend a head it will be perfect. I'll add crackers and a salad along side.

Pizza Chili
Just a unique twist on a pot of chili. I came up with the recipe a few years ago while trying to use up some items in my fridge (leftover pepperoni and sausage from pizza making). I'll a side dish of dinner rolls and a big green salad.

Roasted Chicken
I'll make my “roasted” chicken in the Instant Pot of course.. :) Makes it so easy. Rice and a veggie (yet to be determined) will be served on the side.

Friday, October 7, 2016

After 14 Years!! Love & Friendship

We meet many people in our life. Some just pass through, some become friends and then we lose touch as life moves forward and some become true friends. Those women that are like sisters to us. The ones that we share our ups and downs and share our hearts with. The ones that love us, hold us close to their hearts as you hold them close to yours. Usually in life we don't have a lot of those trusted friends and the ones we do have hold a special place in our heart and lives.

Fourteen years ago I was in a Yahoo Group (remember those? :) for moms and I met Laurie. She was expecting her 4th baby. We immediately started a friendship. She was a stay at home mama, a homeschooler, homebirther, she loved all things homemaking, we both had a love for country life, a love for Jesus, and the list went on and on. The one thing that caught our attention right away was our husband's names. Her husband's name is Toby, my husband's name is Tobin. Very similar and not common.

As the years went on I started my website and message board. She joined and our friendship just grew. Then we joined FaceBook and the friendship continued.

We always talked about one day meeting each other in person. How amazing would that be. When we met we could not have lived farther apart. I live in Washington State and she was living, at the time, in Florida. And with raising children, homeschooling, and very busy lives a visit or a meet up seemed like only a dream for the both of us.

Until last week. We talked about it more seriously last year and set a time that would work for both of us this year. And we were finally able to make our dream of hugging each other in person and spending a few days together a reality.

She arrived on Wednesday and returned home on Saturday.. way to short for the both of us! People can wonder if the person you know on line is the same as the one you will meet in person. And she was all of that and more. We talked non stop. I know for a fact that if she had stayed another week we would never have run out of things to talk about. Fourteen years of life to fill in the details to share more in depth about so many things.

I took her to see a few sights, the beautiful scenery here, her first trip to IKEA, and more I wanted to do if the time had allowed us.

I'm already plotting in my head how we can make our next visit happen!! We both are thankful that God allowed this time together for us.

Laurie is also a fellow Blogger and has a wonderful blog..  I hope you take a few minutes to check it out and enjoy it

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Laundry Revisited

A few blog posts back I mentioned laundry. I asked if laundry was a job you liked, disliked, or loved. I've never been a big fan of laundry. Maybe because over the years raising 8 children we had a LOT of laundry. It was a daily constant chore. As someone who had many children said long ago, if the washer and dryer are not running, we are in trouble. :) And that was so true.

When the children were at home it was all about the system of laundry. Everyone old enough did their own laundry. Each child had their own laundry basket, each child had their own color of towel and washcloth (which they hung on a hook after use and washed with their laundry). And each child did their own laundry once a week. There was still general/family laundry to do such as kitchen towels, cleaning rags and such and my and hubby's laundry. So to me laundry was a home management task, not something I took time to enjoy.

Of course nowadays that hecticness is behind me and life is not the pace it once was for me. So laundry had me thinking.

Sometimes the chores in life are more about our attitude then they are about the job itself. When I asked about views on doing laundry, I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the replies. Some loved laundry. I was actually encouraged to read this and that is when I had to stop and remember, it can all be about attitude.

Since posting about this, I've done some rethinking on laundry. I realize how thankful I am to be able to do this task for my hubby and for my home. One thing I think about with all household tasks is, time. If you were to time how long it takes to do certain chores you realize that it really does not take that long. Such is the case with laundry. It's a pretty easy process so why not stop and appreciate the smell of clean clothes, stacks of neatly folded clothing, dresser drawers restocked and ready to go for another week, and blessings of keeping a home.

One lady responded by saying she would listen to music or an audio book while doing laundry. I loved that idea. I also thought, what a great time to also listen to a Bible study or a pod cast.

Life to me is often about living and enjoying the process, focusing on the positive and the blessings. Even the blessing of laundry.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Menu Monday!

What a week I had last week! Sooo much fun with my friend who was here visiting. Lots of fun and little time to blog. I'll be sharing all about our visit later this week.

For now, it's back at it here at home. I have a full to do list planned for the upcoming week and my menu all written out so I don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about food and cooking.

Here's what my week is looking like..

Beef Pot Roast
I had this on my menu not long ago and never did get it made. I plan on making this today in my Instant Pot using THIS recipe. I'll serve mashed potatoes with this and turn the juices from the roast into gravy. Not sure what veggie I'll serve. Most likely green beans and carrots.

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
I'll use the roast and gravy left from Monday's pot roast for this meal. Chop up the leftover roast and heat it with the leftover gravy. Spoon over toast. That is how my mom always made a hot roast beef sandwich. A salad on the side will round out the meal.

Chicken Fajitas
It's easy to forget my own recipes sometimes. :) I was going through one of my ebooks and came across this simple recipe and wanted to make it this week. The recipe can also be found on my website HERE. I'll serve this with the typical .. tortillas, extra veggies on the side and if avocados are a decent price this week maybe I'll make some guacamole.

Soup & Sandwiches
Not sure at the moment what kind of soup I'll make. It may be something simple like tomato soup (I have a few jars of my own home canned tomato soup base) or maybe it will be a chicken vegetable soup. I'll see what sounds good on the day I make this. I have some croissant rolls that I purchased from the bakery at my grocery store that I plan to turn into ham & cheese sandwiches. I'll serve a salad on the side.

That should do it for the week!!