Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Homemade Cinnamon Buns and Dinner Rolls

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It rained all day yesterday....the kind that pours down, floods everything and makes a mess of the property. I wasn't going anywhere! To make the home smell good and keep the kitchen warm I decided to make homemade dinner rolls and cinnamon buns for dinner. I had put on a crock-pot of Beef and Barley soup from scratch that morning and the temptation of homemade dinner rolls to go with it were too much to resist.

Yeast in bowl.

I follow a recipe that I had discovered on Frugal Village and I love it. I make bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon buns and pizza crust from that one recipe. It is a large recipe that will make three large rolls that the family loves.

White Sandwich Bread

In a large warmed bowl, add 1 cup of lukewarm water, 1 tsp of white sugar and 2 tbsp (or 2 packets) of yeast. Let sand 10 minutes, then stir until yeast is dissolved.

I buy my yeast in bulk from the local Health Food Store. $3.50 for a pound of yeast is a great deal!

Next stir in 2 cups of lukewarm water, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tbsp of salt and 1/2 cup melted butter. Beat ingredients then stir in 9 cups of flour, adding them 1 cup at a time.

Once it is stirred well, use a cup of flour on the countertop for kneading. Knead until the dough becomes elastic which is about 4 to 5 minutes.

After kneading, put the dough in a large oiled bowl and flip to coat both sides with the oil.

Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let it rise one hour.

Punch down dough to remove air bubbles and divide into 3 loaves. If you wish to make cinnamon buns I used the dough for one loaf and rolled it out. Then I shaped the rest of the dough into buns and placed them in a greased pan.

I rolled out the dough for the cinnamon rolls, spread on butter (fairly thick), added brown sugar and cinnamon. You could also add raisins but we aren't a big fan of raisins around here.
Starting at one edge roll the dough into a log and slice pieces and place in a greased cake pan.
Cover pans with clean dishtowels and place in a warm area for another hour.
Loaves should double in size. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F for 20 minutes.
They are ready when they turn a golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack.

Delicious! Nothing better than homemade soup, dinner rolls and cinnamon buns for dessert!

Remember to give your loved ones a hug! =)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homemade, Handmade Christmas

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There are a number of blogs I follow that I love to read each day. They are listed at the right sidebar. These women are so inspiring with all that they do and how they live. Katie over at Katidids has been talking about her family having a homemade, handmade Christmas this year. You can read about it here...

Today her topic is about men's gifts. Men are difficult not only to buy for but also to make something for but she has listed alot of great links that will help to make that special male in your life a gift that they will love and appreciate.

I, too, have decided to make more gifts this year for Christmas. We have quite a few friends that we exchange gifts with and all of them will be getting something made by me. I am quite excited about it actually. I gave much thought as to what everyone would like and have spent the last few months sewing, knitting or crocheting their gifts.
This year I also plan on wrapping all gifts with homemade wrapping paper. I will make some re-usable shopping bags as wrapping paper as well but I plan on wrapping most gifts with brown kraft paper that will be decorated with stamps, fabric and designs. Less in the landfills and easier on the pocketbook.
One of my most favorite Christmas movies was the Walton Christmas. Do you remember that one? It always brought a smile to my face that the children were happy with the gifts they received and didn't expect much. Those were the good, old days. Now children want a room full of gifts, the most expensive and still don't seem satisfied. It scares me to think that these younger children are growing up believing that material possessions bring happiness.
If you plan on making more homemade gifts this year, I would suggest getting started now if you haven't already. To me a homemade gift is one from the heart. Anyone can walk into a department store and pick something out but when it is made my the giver's own hands, then they must think the world of that person.
If the whole handmade idea is intimidating, start small. Bake some cookies to give to a neighbor or mailman. It is a beginning and you will notice how much joy it brings to you to see how much it is appreciated. A warning however, once you start it is hard to stop.
Remember to give your loved ones a hug! =)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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Thanks everyone for your kind comments yesterday. Yes, I think I am ready for him to leave..... I can't be selfish even though I want to keep him home forever! He has matured alot since leaving high school and it is time for him to go. I don't know what first interested him in Norse Theology but he could tell you a bunch about it already. He has always found that topic to be fascinating and I am excited that he is following his dream.

It has been a beautiful day today...much work being done outside. We are not going to have too many more days like this so we have been enjoying the sunshine. I have been reading two very good books lately that I had picked up at Goodwill.

Living a Beautiful Life is an elegant book with delightful suggestions on how you can turn dull, irritating routines into life-enhancing rituals. It has simple ideas on how to make your home a lovely oasis of tranquility. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Simple Pleasures of the Home enhances your joy in being at home, whether baking an old-fashioned apple pie, soaking in a pine-and-bergamot scented bath, or falling into bed amid lavender dream pillows. The book includes so many wonderful recipes and how-to's that I want to try them all!
My Mother enjoys writing poetry and I have one of hers to share with you that describes exactly how I feel about my love with books....
My love affair with books
Started when I was small
A lonely child can find the world
Between the covers of a book

I'd hold a book in my hand
And be filled with anticipation
I would never know
Where I would be going or who I would meet

As I got older and my interests changed
I met Kings and Queens in foreign lands
I learned how they lived and how they ruled
The people in their realm

Rich people, poor people
Through books I learned to know them
Their lives, their pains and joys
Their hardships and their heartaches

As I grow old I hope my Lord
Will see fit to grant my wish
That my eyesight never fails me
So I can read 'til my dying day.

Have a great evening everyone and give your loved ones a hug! =)

Monday, October 26, 2009


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A quick note tonight as the excitement around the old homestead is high. Lucas received notification today that he was accepted into the university of his choice!

He will be attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay Ontario in September 2010. He has been extremely nervous waiting to hear if he was accepted or not.

He will be following in my footsteps. I too graduated from this amazing University. It is nice that he is continuing the tradition. He will be studying Anthropology/Archaeology with a major in Norse Theology. We are all very proud of him, excited for him and I am being the typical Mom by worrying already! LOL.
We enjoyed one of his favorite dinners....homemade pizza.... and are still talking about all that needs to be done before next September. Ahhhh, the excitement of being on your own and starting your life. I am so happy for him. :)
Give all your loved ones a hug!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


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Living way out of town we don't receive many trick-or-treaters. We usually only get three. Yes, three. One is the daughter of a couple of friends of ours and the other two are really young children that are friends of ours as well.

Since we only have three visitors...and it is so much fun to see how they are dressed since we don't see many.... we do things a little different around here.

I always have pumpkin cookies, cakes and squares ready along with hot apple cider and hot coffee for the adults. They come in, sit and visit, have a treat and when they head out the door, the children receive a trick or treat bag. The bags are really quite large and include a couple of little toys that I think they will enjoy.

So the pumpkin is ready .....but the baking has to be done yet. I won't bake until the day before or else Bob, Luke and Pasie will have everything eaten! This time of year is what I term 'the holiday season', as after Halloween is Thanksgiving, then deer hunting time and then Christmas so most of my time is spent in the kitchen cooking and baking or else I am decorating the house.

Busy times are almost here but I love them!

What do you do for Halloween?

Linda, please email me at tattoolady51 at hotmail dot com concerning the clothespin bags. Thanks! =)

Friday, October 23, 2009

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Not much to report today. I cruised through a local craft show before I picked up some groceries. There were many lovely things for sale....I forgot my camera or else I would have shared some of them with you. I am so sorry. LOL, I need to attach that thing to some part of my body!

Once I browsed through the fair, I grabbed a few things at the local grocery store and headed home. The weather has been horrible.... snow, rain, wind and cold.

Luke was busy winterizing the boat and motor and fixing the duck pen so they can stay warm and dry. I think even the ducks are beginning to dislike this weather. Bob was busy in the shop so I took the time to make a banana cream pie and then started dinner.

This evening I will spend some time working on some crafts and curling up a good book.

Have a great night and give your loved ones a hug! =)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Snow Day!

Pin It A snow day! Yep, the kind of dreary day where the clouds hang really low in the sky and you can almost see those flakes dancing around inside them waiting to drop on unsuspecting!

The flakes were huge and what a mess that type of heavy snow makes. We had to dig out the insulated coveralls (a must around here), winter boots, hats, gloves...everything.

Look at the size of that snowflake...right in the middle! They were soooo big.

The roads became slick and dangerous as it had rained for hours before the temperature dropped and the snow began to fall.

Then Bob and Luke just had to take out the four-wheelers to slip and slide around like the crazy guys that they are!

I could just envision broken bones, flipped wheelers and lots of mud.

They did arrive back safely though....while dragging in mud, grass, snow, wet clothes... just in time to eat a hot dinner.

Off to clean up the mess they made when they walked in the to find enough registers to put the boots, hats and gloves on. It is going to be a loooonnnng winter.

P.S. Give your loved ones a hug! =)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Best Friends

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Not only is family priceless but so are friends. When I moved from my hometown to live with my hubby in another city, I not only gave up spending time with my family but with my best buddies.

Erin and Ryan are those best buddies. Erin and I had worked together for many, many years at an elementary school and had become very close. We still are but we cherish our time together even more now.

They visit at least 2 -3 times a year and we look forward to when they can come and spend some time with us.

Erin and her doggy Rufus.

Not the most flattering picture and I am sure I will hear about it when I talk to her next time but I think she is adorable anyway.

This is her husband Ryan. He is just as goofy as she is. He is a true hunter and fisherman and loves the talks he shares with Pasie when they are together.

The guys. These two are inseparable and dangerous for practical jokes when together.

Here is Erin at her best. She and Barb were having a blast one evening. This picture represents Erin's goofy nature that I love.
We miss these guys very much and unfortunately I don't have a picture of their two children Matthew and Morgan. They also come and never want to leave! The arguing that goes between the kids and the parents is amusing when it is time for them to head home.
I miss these guys very much and love them with all my heart. They both have been the best friends that a person could ask for.
Don't forget to give your loved ones a hug! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Clothespin Bags

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Today was spent crafting and baking. A cool, cloudy, windy day brings out the nesting instinct. I attempted to make clothespin bags for the craft show in December. I am happy with how they are turning out.

Here is the first of my clothespin bags. It is rewarding to make something new out of recycled materials. Less in the landfills!

The vintage wooden hanger and clothespin adds to the look of the bag. I am happy with how it turned out.

There is always time for a cuppa and a treat. This was a new recipe that I tried with fresh garden zucchini. It is a yummy, moist cake that everyone loves. A real keeper.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour milk
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup chocolate chips plus extra


Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Mix all ingredients together except zucchini and chocolate chips. Mix well with a blender. Once mixed well, fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill pan and sprinkle another 1/3 or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top of the batter.

Bake 40 - 45 minutes. The cake can fall a little in the middle.


Have a great evening everyone and give your loved ones a hug. =)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family Pics and the Ride Home

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Before taking my Mom home, we had to get some family pictures. We won't be seeing her again until Christmas and we miss her a lot.

Bob and Mom

Luke and Mom.....Luke is 6 feet 7 inches tall so he kind of towers over her!

Me and my Mom.... I HATE having my picture taken! UGH

After the pictures, we loaded up the car with her belongings and shopping finds. The car was pretty full! This is about 1/2 way between where we live and Canada. It is a small town of Virginia ... a mining town. Very pretty but it was very overcast that day. They have 10 of the big windmills lining the hill...unfortunately you cannot see them in the picture because of the clouds.

That was our adventure when my Mom was visiting. A lovely time and always a joy to have her. Miss you and love you Mom!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Feeding Time and Fun Times

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When my Mom was here we went shopping! I love shopping but not malls or department stores. My favorite places to shop are these types of places!

Goodwill!! Thrift Stores, Salvation Army! This Goodwill is huge. It is located in Duluth which is about 30 minutes from where we live. I don't get a chance to shop here much but always make a point to hit it when my Mom is down visiting with us. We love this store. It has everything you could imagine. The Monday when we stopped they were having 'vintage day' and all old clothing from the 1940's to the 1980's were on sale. I suppose people check out their selection for Halloween costumes. My Mom picked up some very pretty sweaters and blouses along with a microwave stand she had been looking for. Great deals!

We also stopped at the Goodwill here in town (my favorite store) and my Mom saw me admiring this cute little gardening seed box so she bought it for me! I just love it and have already began filling it with heirloom seeds that I have saved from my garden this year. It is just perfect.

Thanks Mom!!!

The day was also spent feeding the ducks. They really need to leave now but I don't think that they plan on flying anywhere soon. Every morning I wake up afraid to look out the window at the pond. I am frightened that they will be frozen in the ice. They refuse to go to their warm shelter and insist on staying in the water all night.
Does anyone have any suggestions how we can tell them it is time for them to fly south?

Wonderful Blog

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I wanted to let all my readers know about a wonderful blog I have discovered. It is called the painted quilt. Kaaren creates lovely quilts and the pictures of her creations are absolutely gorgeous!

Check her out here...

The first Friday of every month she releases a new Freebie pattern that readers can use and enjoy. Her button is on my sidebar (the blue quilted basket).

Take the time to tour her blog and drool over the lovely items she makes. I wish I was that talented! =)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apples and Awesome Views

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Sunday was spent peeling apples and peeling more apples. Pasie's apple tree produced a huge crop this year. We had six - 50 pound bushel boxes of apples from one little tree!

There were so many apples I didn't think we would ever finish! Many were rotten but they were tossed out to the deer .... we have to feed those little ones as well!

Here is my Mom busy at it. Notice our cups of tea sitting there with us? Can't be without a cuppa to help us complete our job.
We used this older apple peeler for a while...but many of the apples were odd-shaped which made it difficult to use this contraption so we resorted to hand peeling. We ended up with quite a few bags that will be later used for apple crisp, applesauce, apple cookies.. MMMM, just thinking about it puts me in the baking mood.

That morning, the deer wandered through the yard....

I think they could smell the apples from inside the house and were waiting for their share! So cute....three little ones. They didn't stick around for long as the ducks chased them away from their grain! =)
Give your loved ones a hug tonight...never take them for granted. Have a great evening!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snow, Nasty Roads and Canada

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Saturday morning I woke up to this.......

SNOW!!! The worst part wasn't the snow but the ice that had accumulated on the roadway over night. Very slippery.
I wasn't looking forward to the three hour drive to pick up my Mom in Canada but it had to be done.

Rock cuts along the way.

After I gassed up the car, cleaned off the windows and bought myself a cup of coffee, I turned the radio to my favorite channel.... National Public Radio and off I went.

You can see the layer of ice on the roads in this was slow for about an hour. Then the roads began to get better as up north they didn't receive as much precipitation as we did at home.

Don't the evergreen look pretty?

After driving for three hours, I reached the Canadian border. Here I am passing from the United States into Canada! I have crossed this bridge about a million times in my lifetime....nothing special for me. =)

My Mom was already packed and waiting for me when I reached her house. We loaded up the car up and headed back right away. We chatted all the way to try and catch up on the gossip. Dinner was ready in the crock pot when we walked in the door and were ready to hit the bed after our tummies were full of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies.

I'm Back

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Dropped Mom off last evening. It was a long day driving up and back. I spent some time with my nephews Tyler and Brady and my sister in law Shelly while I was up in Canada because it was Brady's 14th birthday. I also dropped in to say hello to my best buddy Erin at work and headed home once again.

Once home, I was exhausted so I crashed on the couch. Bob woke me an hour or so later and I headed to bed. After 10 hours of sleep, I am beginning to feel normal again!

Mom and I had a great time so I will sort through my pictures and post later this evening. Off to start my day and get some laundry caught up.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Will Be Back On Tuesday

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I successfully picked up my Mom today from Canada....although the drive was slow due to 4 inches of snow overnight!!!

I wish to spend quality time with her, do some Christmas shopping, some processing of 100 pounds of apples and some crafting so I will be back on Tuesday after I take her back. I promise I will take lots of pictures to show you!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and spend some fun time with your loved ones. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Top Ten Frugal Tips

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1. Make as much food from scratch as you can. Bread, soup, stuffings, cookies, cakes...anything that you can make from scratch will save you a ton of money! Plus it is healthier. You don't know what is in those prepared, convenient foods! Make your own!

2. Make a budget! If you have a budget written down, it will save you a lot of un-necessary spending.

3. Turn off the lights! If you or a family member are not in the room...turn off the lights! Start keeping track of your energy consumption and learn where your money is going. If you watch your power meter, you will learn how much you can save by turning off a switch.

4. Drink water! Children and adults do not need pop, juice, or energy drinks. Get your children and yourself in the habit of drinking water. Not only is it good for your body but it is free! If you start getting into the habit of always having a re-usable water bottle with you, your body will start craving water when it is thirsty.

5. Start a change jar! Perfect for when you empty out your hubby's pants before throwing them in the wash. Oh, and any change in the washer in this house is mine! If they can't empty out their pockets before throwing them in the goes to the change jar! Change adds up quicker than you can imagine (especially in Canada with the Toonies and Loonies!) Use your jar money for vacation, a special treat for the family or paying off debt.

6. Make your own household cleaners! Educate yourself on how to use vinegar and baking soda to clean everything in your home. Cheap and non-toxic. I haven't used store bought shampoo and conditioner for months.... I use a mixture of 1 tsp of baking soda to 1 cup of hot water and it is better than any shampoo or conditioner I have ever bought, no expensive de-tangler necessary here.

7. Watch flyers and use coupons! I use coupons regularly and watch all flyers for sales when buying groceries or large priced items. I rarely buy anything that isn't on sale. If you stock up on sale items, it saves a lot of money which leads to number eight on the list.

8. Stockpile! Stockpiling canned goods, meat, and groceries will save you a ton of money in the long run. My stockpile is large and it is like I have my own grocery store in my pantry. If I want to try a new recipe, I rarely have to worry if I have the ingredients on hand. We also stockpile meat from hunting in our backyard.

9. Do not eat out! Keep a journal of how many days your family eats out in a year and cut it in half. Eating out is not only causing Americans to become obese but if you have ever watched any of those television shows that prove what workers do in fast food restaurants to the food before it is served to the will never eat out again!

10. Stay out of the stores! You can't spend any money if you aren't there to be tempted.

This is a small sampling of my ways to save money....I have many, many more. I would rather have the dollar in my pocket than giving it to a large corporation.

Make sure you give your loved ones a hug tonight. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Answers and Artisan Bread

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As promised, I did make another loaf of the Artisan bread today. I hope that the following tutorial will be easy enough to understand. If I am unclear on any of the instructions, please ask me to clarify. It is a very easy procedure and well worth the effort.

This bread is like a sourdough bread and best eaten fresh. I have eaten up to two days later with fine results, but like anyone knows, bread is best when hot out of the oven.

Artisan Bread


3 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons of salt

6 1/2 cups all purpose flour


1. In a large bowl, add yeast and salt to water and stir well

2. Mix in flour and stir in with large NOT knead the dough

3. Cover and let rise for 2 hours

4. Cut off a grapefruit size of the dough. Stretch the dough and fold underneath.

5. Place the ball on a greased pizza pan. A stone pan is best but my pizza pan works well (mine has holes throughout the pan to allow air to rise from underneath).

6. Lightly flour the ball of dough.

7. Using a serated knife, slice partway through the dough...I usually slice it three times.

It should look like this.

8. Cover with a clean cloth and let rest for 40 minutes.

9. Fill an oven safe bowl halfway with water (I use an old bread pan). Place in the lowest rack in the oven and turn oven on to 450 degrees. The water adds moisture to the heat which is essential to properly bake this bread. The oven needs to be at a full 450 degrees before the dough is placed in the oven.

10. Place dough in oven and bake for 30 minutes

Viola! Fresh baked Artisan bread!

It sounds a little complicated but once you do it once, I am sure your family will ask for it all the time.

This recipe makes approximately 3 or 4 loaves of bread. You can bake one at a time and keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator (covered) for up to a week. Just follow steps 4 through 10 to make bread fresh daily!

I had two readers ask me questions in my last post so I will be happy to help.

Courtney - Yes, I have dehydrated foods before I received my dehydrator. You can use an oven or the sun. I do not recommend the sun as there is an increased chance of food spoilage that way. Here is a link to a great site that explains using an oven.

I hope that you find what you need there. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Katie - Here is an easy recipe for Whole Wheat Bread....although this recipe includes regular flour as well, it is worth trying. If I run across any others that are only whole wheat flour, I will let you know!


3/4 cups warm water

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup of bread flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp rapid rise yeast

Bread machine - place all ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select whole wheat cycle and regular bake time, press start.

After 5 minutes, check how the dough is kneading, it may need either 1 tbsp of flour or 1 tbsp of water, depending on the consistency. Once the bread is done, allow it time to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

In the oven - prepare as usual. Allow it to rise twice. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cover loaf with aluminum foil, and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Remove bread to wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Have a great evening everyone and give your loved ones a hug! :)

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