Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November Wrap Up

Here we are into the first week of December and I have yet to put up my tree!  I really want to paint the living room before I decorate.  Dragging feet.......

November was a quieter month after all of our traveling both near and far over the summer and fall. We had our share of fun things though, just close to home! When I look through my camera roll I see a lot of pictures of food! Haha! Here are some included.

One of the great things about being in a college town is the access to free entertainment.  Almost weekly there are concerts, plays, lectures, and sporting activities where the cost is very minimal or free.  Recently, Chad and I have been going to the concerts put on by the music department at the college. This week we went to the jazz concert where they did a jazz rendition of The Nutcracker suite. It was excellent!  Next week we see "Meet Me in St Louis" put on by the drama department.

Casual clothes are also acceptable to wear at the concerts.

I didn't do any painting in November, but I had another little house project that kept me busy.......removing the paint from the hardware of doors in the kitchen!  They had several coats of paint from over the last 100 years, but when the paint was stripped off it had a beautiful, old patina! 

Each door's hardware takes a day to remove, strip and refinish! My landlady is pleased......

Our favorite little visitor came to see us the week before Thanksgiving!  She is getting SO big!

She is almost 6 months old and is rolling and trying to scoot. 

While Nakoma and Phoebe were here, we celebrated Thanksgiving the Sunday before the actual day since they went home to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. We had a local, grass fed pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted root vegetables, and my Sweet Potato Crescents with ginger snaps for dessert. 

Speaking of gingersnaps and sweet potato crescents.......


While Nakoma was here, we worked on a little project for the Christmas tree.....pompom garland! They are fun to make and super easy!

Waiting to be hung on the tree as soon as that room with the flower walls is painted!

Thanksgiving Day we had a friend of Chad's join us for the meal.  I ended up making a ham since the turkey I bought was 16 pounds. 

I also made an apple pie with a leaf and turkey cut out crust.  I think it turned out pretty well!

Finally, I dug out my grandma's doilies and ironed them.  I am thinking about framing some and hanging them on the walls in the living room once it's painted.

Aren't they lovely?

Remy had a great month as well and shot two deer during rifle season, but a not so good ending with a bad case of poison ivy.  We now have plenty of deer meat in our freezer.  He is back to bow hunting now, hoping to get a buck, not to be deterred by poison ivy! 

Sorry for you who do not like the sight of death......

Chad has been busy this month.  He accepted a new position within the office where he works and has been busy learning all the details that go with it.  He also is getting ready for finals starting next week.

December looks to be fun; we have a few Christmas parties, a few Christmas concerts, painting, and getting ready for guests.  Oksana will be visiting us the week of Christmas and Nakoma and Phoebe will also be back then.  Naomi will be here the week after New Years. We are SO excited that we'll see all three girls.

Hoping you all have a great month as well, friends!  Thanks for following along on the picture update for November!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sweet Potato Crescents

Today I wanted to share another recipe.  This is my family's favorite Thanksgiving recipe and it is always requested for family get-togethers.   I came up with this one about 20 years ago and I actually entered it in to a Taste of Home contest and won runners-up! I was awarded a cookie jar and two cookbooks, both which I still use to this day!

Over the years I have tweaked it a bit.  I now use coconut oil instead of the shortening, and at times I have made them with whole wheat flour, although we prefer the taste of white. I have also substituted sucanat or honey instead of the sugar the recipe calls for, with good results. I often use the dough for cinnamon rolls, which make a great Thanksgiving morning breakfast!

Because this recipe is now property of Taste of Home, I can only share the link to the recipe.  As you can see from the description though, it's mine with my former married name.

See the recipe in the link following.  Sweet Potato Crescents

Happy baking!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall at the Farmhouse

What a lovely October we had here at the farmhouse! Since returning from Chicago at the end of September I have really packed in the work and play.  Here are some highlights!

This is my current yard.  We have been getting rain so the grass is still green, but the leaves are red, yellow, and gold. We still need to do a final mow and raking of the yard once the leaves have fallen.

The back yard view. Look at that color!

Chad went on a 4 day domestic mission trip with a group of students to DC at the beginning of October, and while he was gone I painted!  Even though we only rent our home, we plan to live here until Remington graduates, so our landlords are paying for some updates as long as I do the work. 

Here is our freshly painted office/school room.....

Our home is pretty simple, but it's amazing how much a coat of paint makes it look better!  I am still hoping that someday our landlords will redo the floors, but painting really changes the look of the room!

 Here is the office before.  Lovely 80's style paneling with flowers......throughout the whole house. 

We also painted the kitchen and Remington's room.  I want to try to get the living room done before Christmas.

The Kitchen

I would love to paint the cabinets and tile the floor....but then I remember this is a rental! Haha!

So after the painting was done it was time to celebrate my birthday!  The weekend after my birthday was a brisk, cool sunny time and the leaves were amazing!  We took a little road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the fall colors!

The following day we went to the apple orchard with a group from our church gathering. While Chad and I felt like the old people of the group, we had a great time and have made so many dear friends with these people!

While it was very cold that day the scenery was gorgeous! 

After apple picking, we went into Charlottesville for supper.  Just like when Chad and I were there in the spring, the music man was on the street with his various instruments.  We found out he does it full time.  What a fun way to make a living!! We enjoyed his music while we waited for our table at the restaurant.

After we went to the apple orchard I really felt like fall was upon us!  I took the apples we picked and went home and made a fabulous pie!!
So much for eating gluten free.  It is SO hard during the fall and holiday months!!

The weekend before Halloween was homecoming at the university, so Chad was busy all day with the float and tailgate.

I think the Banker in Chad still has a hard time believing he is able to do what he loves, working with this group of crazy people!

My friend, Amanda and I were able to slip away from our teenagers and husbands for awhile and indulge in the festival food!

Finally, to wrap up the month of festivities we went to the last outdoor Farmer's Market of the season and took a Halloween walk with Koda along the trails nearby.

The waterfall was so pretty!

The tunnel was also cool to walk through!

My new boots for fall and winter!

I noticed as we were walking that a lot of the leaves had fallen since I had done the walk just the week before.  We are about to the end of the foliage season, but this is one of the first years I feel I have really got out and enjoyed the colors and change of the season.

I have put myself on a strict budget for the month of November. With all the running around I've done over the summer and fall our budget has really been put on the back burner. My cash system is back in play and lots of cooking will be done at home to avoid eating out. I have gone through my closet, AGAIN, as well as Chad's and sorted out some things to sell. Household items are also having a thorough going-over as well.  I feel like it is time to prepare my little nest for the long months of hibernation. 

Well, friends, that is the fall wrap up! Have you done any fun fall activities? 

Friday, October 30, 2015

The End of My Wandering Year - My Trip to Chicago

Last month, I wrapped up my summer/fall travels with a trip to Chicago with my best friend, Alicia. Over the summer we had chatted on and off about how we should do a girls road trip or destination trip together. See, Alicia and I have been friends for well over 30 years; our parents were friends, as well as grandparents, uncles, and aunts. We have a multi-generational line of friendships that span from the early 70's.  Of all the women on earth she is the closest thing I have to a sister.  She was with me when Jeremy died, when my parents died, and when Remington was born. There has been so many pivotal moments in my life, where she has been right there beside me holding my hand, and I have missed her greatly since we moved away from Nebraska. This summer both of us were to the point where our time apart had really taken it's toll and we ached to see each other. So once we started talking about a trip together, there was no stopping us.  It came together in a few weeks and we had a beautiful time while we were there!  

We ended up finding a cool little apartment in the Logan Square neighborhood which is about a 20 minute train ride from downtown Chicago.  We wanted a place that was laid back where we could brunch, go to coffee shops, bookstores, and yoga, but also not too far from downtown.  It was perfect!  It was nice to return to a quieter neighborhood after the hustle and bustle of site-seeing.  We enjoyed many days of seeing the sites downtown, but mostly enjoyed our time in Logan Square and neighboring Wicker Park.
The neighborhood where we stayed.

The cute little apartment.

Our days were spent sleeping in, going to yoga, and wandering our neighborhood as well as downtown Chicago. 

We started our downtown adventures on a sunny Saturday.......
with lunch along the riverfront.

Followed by a lovely walk......

and an architectural boat tour!

And finally, a walk along Michigan Avenue.

Such a pretty day!! 

Monday we decided to walk along the lakefront.

And looped around to downtown to look at the buildings.

I couldn't resist stopping by Sprinkles! 

And, of course, The Bean......

Relaxing after a day out and about with my canine host, Mia.

We loved coming back to the apartment every evening to cook, drink wine and beer, eat snacks, and watch TV!

We made one very permanent memory while we were there......
I got my first tattoo and Alicia got her second. 

I got four birds on my upper back.  One for each of my children and to remind myself, His eye is on my sparrows. I love it!!  Alicia got the phrase, "Bind my wandering heart to Thee" on her arm!  I love hers, too! I eventually want to add a tree and perhaps some script to my tattoo. 

So many memories!

At the end of the 6 days we were ready to return to our families, but so thankful to have spent the time together! I highly recommend Airbnb for travel accommodations. What a fun way to travel!  By staying with a host we were able to get the insiders view on what to do and where to eat, plus coming back each day to a comfortable home was the best! It was nice, too, having a kitchen to do some of our own cooking.  We loved our host, Sara, and felt at the end of the week we were leaving a friend. Here is my referral link for $20 off your first stay, if you ever decide to use Airbnb.  Our trip was perfect in every way! Have you used Airbnb?

This is the last trip of the year for me.  Now it is buckling back down to the budget, doing some home projects, and cramming in fun, fall activities! I hope to be sharing a acreage/home/fall post soon!

Have a lovely week, friends!