Re-Discovering Snow

Even if you're not a snow lover, it's hard to deny the magic of that first snowfall of the season.  I woke up to a "Mama, there's snow!  Can we go outside?"  Just like that, we were outside before 7am. Goodness, they had fun.  And I just love a rosy cheeked kiddo who needs to snuggle mama to warm up.

As it often does this time of year, that snow melted before we could blink.  A very disappointed three year old said "Mama, why did the snow disappear?  I'm going to ask got to bring lotsa lotsa lotsa snow and for that snow to stay a long time." 


Thankful for these winter loving kids.

Announcing: Christmas Cookie TAG (And I'm it!)

Remember the days of tag?When you'd run and run and run, trying to avoid the one who was "it"? How you'd get sooooo close to being caught and you'd arch your back to just squeak by without being caught? And then you'd run *just* a little closer to the "it" person, but never close enough to actually get caught. You'd spend your whole recess trying to be safe. And you'd celebrate with tired legs and rosy cheeks if you made it the whole recess being 'safe'.
Well, we have a new type of tag for you. But in this one it is FUN to get caught and you MUST get caught. Because what we have to offer you is so delicious that you wouldn't want to NOT be caught. That's right. You want to be caught right in the middle of our Christmas cookie baking game of TAG.
Whoever is "it" bakes cookies and posts the recipe for everyone to enjoy. And then she tags the next blogger, who will also be in charge of baking and adding a recipe to our TAG game. And she'll tag the next. And the next. And the next. And before you know it, we'll be up to our ears in delicious cookie-ness. Cookie-ness is the very best state of being during the holiday season. Cookie-ness really ought to be a word. And now I'm hungry. Up first is: Jackie from Born Imaginative! (Hey, that's me!)

Please join:
Jackie from Born Imaginative
Daisy from Maple Hill 101
We'll be tagging each other for the next three weeks bringing you 12 delicious cookie recipes for your Christmas holiday! We hope that you check back with us to see who's going to be the next "tagged" person!! 
And as an added bonus, I thought I'd go ahead and share with you a couple of my holiday "must makes" recipes.  A family friend made this a-MAZ-ing cookie sampler annually. It seriously was the best part of our Christmas time eating. Given I live states away, I conned her into giving me her recipes.  Yum.  (And thanks, JoAnne!)  Make sure to check out the other bloggers today.  They're linking up some past goodies. Mmm. Make sure to try these listed below.  You won't be sorry:

Buckeyes (Gluten Free).  Recipe here.

Mexican Wedding Cakes. Recipe here.

Danish Chocolate Orange Cookies.  Recipe here.
Christmas Casserole Cookies (Gluten Free).  Recipe here.

And these aren't a part of  her recipe collection, but I love them so.
Soft Sugar Frosted Cookies.  Recipe here.

Okay, now it's your turn.  What are your 'must makes'?  Or do you think you want to give one of these a whirl?  Or tell me how excited you are about this game of cookie tag?  Are you PUMPED like me?  (I do love my desserts.)
Oh yeah...I almost forgot, I'm IT in this game of TAG.  I better get baking.  I have three days to deliver a scrumptious recipe to you.  I'm on in.  
Check back soon!  

And do share this post with your friends/family and on your facebook page.  I'm betting you have friends who would love "in" on this game of TAG.  It's not to miss.

Okay, I'm rambling.  I better get baking!  (And sampling).  Three cheers for Christmas Cookie TAG!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you, my dear readers. I'm thankful for all of you, and how you hop on this blog of mine regularly. Blogging isn't my job, I do it for fun.  And I'm humbled and blessed at the connections that have grown since I have started it.  Thank you, kindly.

As for Thanksgiving, I shall be doing the following:

Cooking and baking. With help, naturally.
 Being outside, regardless of the weather, with my favorites (including the dear husband of mine, pictured below.
 And reading a few (dozen) books with my loves.
That's what we'll be up to.  Wishing you and yours the comfort of a cozy home and the relaxation that comes with a slower rhythm a holidays gifts us with.

Mama Made: "New" Wool Dress

We live in an 1880s farmhouse.  Fabulous to look at, but it's rather cold.  The kitchen, in particular, has no insulation under it. Just dirt.  And it's freezing down there, literally.  I always have something on my feet during the winter in this house and I also frequently wear wool to keep me warm.  Although sweet girl never seems cold, I wanted to make her some warmer dresses out of wool.  But you know how expensive wool is at the fabric store?  Expensive.

 So, I thrifted.  I bought the skirt on the left for $2.00.  I thought it would make an adorable and warm dress. And then I had this set of jammies she wore so much when she was crawling that there's a giant hole in one of the feet. I removed the hot pink zipper to put in the back of the dress.  And then this little gift bag provided me with the perfect color bow. 
And with all these repurposed items, I found myself with a dress.

For me?  She couldn't believe it!
 And dare I say I love it?
 And I love this sweet girl too.
 I used a McCallsl pattern that I bought for a whopping quarter at a thrift shop for the bodice.  And then I sort of made the bottom of the dress above fit the bodice.
I put my hand on her belly after she was wearing it for a couple hours...toasty warm!
Now I've completely caught the wool dress making bug.  I promise you, there will surely be another soon. It's...umm...already in the works.  You see, I told you I caught the wool dress making bug.
 And just for fun, a few "selfie" shots with sweet girl.  So thankful to have her.



It's also the Homemade Living Series Wednesday.  Check out these blogs!

Today is: 

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Apple Cider Vinegar

This post is a continuation from apple picking (click here).  That's right, snow's starting to fly and I'm still chatting about apple picking.

Way back after I had made oodles of goodies from said apples, I looked at the pile of peels and cores and couldn't toss them.  I was planning on giving them to the rabbit and chickens, but I decided to do something else.  Apple cider vinegar.  And I didn't tell you because I wasn't sure it was going to work.

It totally worked.

Seriously, this is likely the easiest thing I made ever.  I know I always say that about making yogurt, but this is even easier than making yogurt.

Apple Cider Vinegar

1) Toss cores and peels into large glass jar.
2) Fill jar with water.
3) Cover with cloth and rubber band.
4) Store in dark place (our pantry) for a few weeks (I did almost two months).
5) Drain, strain and store.

After a few weeks, you can smell it.  I dare say that I loved smelling the fermenting apples everytime I opened the pantry door.  They started looking like this:

But of course, ended looking like this:
I ended up with a gallon.  It tastes oh so good.  And it was free.  And it's good for you. A marvelous combination of pluses, if you ask me.  I like yummy and free, and good for you is a bonus.  It's a little different from the store, because there's this thing called the 'mother' that is a glob of stuff that is totally normal, but store apple cider vinegar doesn't have that 'mother' because it's pasteurized.  Oodles of info on that online, just google.

What to do with it?
We'll mostly do salad dressings-we're getting back to making all our own again.  I might try to clean with it.  I clean with white vinegar that I buy, but I'd totally switch to free that I make if it works.  Also, my friend told me adding a small amount to rabbits' water helps their urine smell less potent.  Might try that.

Now your turn-tell me if you've given it a try before.  Or tell me if you think you'll use your scraps next apple season to give it a whirl.

As it should be...

Blustery weather = our time outdoors is sparse and brief. Cold noses, fingers, toes and the like. Because I am a believer that fresh air and exercise is good, daily, regardless of the weather, I nudge them closer to the barn.  Well, not that I really  need to nudge. All I have to do is open the barn door and there they go. Off to exercise with their favorite four legged and feathered friends. Childhood as it should be. Come along with us...



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