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10/30/14

The Best Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte - Revisited

 Note: Because this was a widely searched for topic, I decided to pull this post from my old blog, thus the copyright on the photos are not up-to-date.

Fall has arrived!  And with fall, comes one of my favorite things about this season - the excuse to make my version of the most delicious homemade pumpkin spice latte, ever.
  

If you love a good pumpkin spice latte, but can't justify spending a lot of cash on a fancy shmancy one from the coffee shop, no problem.  Whip up your own that you are going to love even better, not to mention saving a few dollars while you're at it.

Here's what you'll need:
(Yields: 2 Servings)
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1-4 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix*
1/2 cup hot coffee
whipped cream
  
*If you don't have pumpkin spice in your pantry, you can make your own using this recipe!
 
 
 
 Directions:
 
 Add milk to a medium saucepan.


 Add pumpkin puree and sugar to the milk.


  Whisk well.  Cook over medium heat until very hot, but do not allow mixture to boil.
 
 
 Remove from heat; add vanilla extract.


 Next, add pumpkin spice. Whisk.


 Next, add coffee.  Whisk well.


 Pour into two mugs.


 Add a little whipped cream, or, you could add a lot of whipped cream like I do. :)


Garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice and sugar.  
Go light a pumpkin spice scented candle, kick your feet up and enjoy! 
 
 
Want to print this recipe?  
 
 
Click here:  
 
Printable Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe 
 
 
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8/7/14

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Because there is an abundance of zucchini everywhere right now and because nothing is more comforting than a warm, sweet loaf of zucchini bread, I give you my zucchini bread recipe:


 
Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 to 2  teaspoons cinnamon (according to your taste)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 large eggs

1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded zucchini (I use 2 cups)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon orange peel zest


* * *


Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease loaf pan

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and walnuts.

In a medium bowl, with a whisk or fork, mix eggs, oil, zucchini, and orange peel.  Mix until flour is moistened.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.  Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool loaf on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan and serve.   Makes 1 loaf.


 
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8/4/14

Gearing Up For A New Homeschool Year

     Normally, by this time of the year, we are well into your fifth week of school.  But this year has been anything but normal for any of us, especially me.  With the health crisis I've been faced with, we have been delayed a bit.  And to be honest, I've been very apprehensive about this year.  But with much prayer and everyone on board for a smooth-sailing year, we are about to embark.                        
     I use the phrase 'smooth-sailing' lightly, because in our six years of homeschooling, we've never had a smooth year.  In fact, I would consider our years more like sailing on an ocean that is very unpredictable, with beautiful, clear skies for a few days, followed by  raging storms that tosses us about to and fro, and even threatens to sink us to the bottom of the sea at times.  But thankfully, we always manage to make it to the safety of the shore - but only barely.  I expect this year will be no exception, because, well, that's just how life is.  
 
But what has changed is my way of thinking and dealing with situations that arise.  If there's anything I've learned from this whole experience of finding out that I have a terminal illness, it is - live life for today.  One day at a time and no more.  Enjoy THIS day.  Each day is precious and I will not let myself worry and stress over schedules and deadlines.  I want it to be more of a positive experience for us, instead of trying to live up to what they say we should be doing.  Who is 'they' anyways?  Have you ever thought about it?  I'm not a law breaker, so I will still stick to our state guidelines, but on my terms. 
 
My children may not be rocket scientists, they may never be doctors or lawyers.  They will probably end up with what is considered a mediocre job, but so?  So what.  My hope for them is that they enjoy what they do, they contribute to humanity and that they live their lives knowing a Savior who died for them.  I want them to have the best in life, but not at the cost of being miserable with their lives, because being rich, having fancy cars, homes and status will never fulfill the emptiness that comes with that kind of life that they tell us to have.  And that's all I'll say about that.  :)

 
 If you are interested in finding a good planner, let me show you the best homeschooling planner there is.
This isn't sponsored, but when I find something that I absolutely love that makes my life easier, I'm all for sharing it with you other moms.  It's called The Well Planned Day planner and you can find it here.
 
 
 
It's always encouraging to walk into a room and find books being read and enjoyed. 
 
 
 
It does this mother's heart real good. 
 

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7/31/14

Making It Match (Sorta)

Several years ago, I drew out a design and measurements of a coffee table that I wanted my Hunny and I to make.  It was for an awkward space in our great room.  A lot of you from my old place 'Life on our Mountain', will probably remember this table project.  The way this room is set up, it doesn't leave a lot of choices for furniture placement.  We've tried every placement you could think of, but this one is the one that works and flows, and since the room is about 25' long, it needs balance on both sides.  One whole wall is windows and doors for the beautiful view we have, another wall is a fireplace and bookcase wall.  The two side walls on either side of the room is where the sofa and loveseat are placed.  It's very open and has 5 doors that are heavily used.  This empty space needed something that could be used as a foot prop, a book and plant holder, as well as enduring many cups of coffee that it would undoubtedly be used for.  
 
This table worked wonderfully for years, until we acquired a set of light creamy white cottage style tables.  See my dilemma? That black table with the walnut stained top was throwing the entire room off with the new lighter furniture added.  Believe it or not, this table remained like this for months, until one day I just decided to go for it.

I went to buy paint on a whim without even taking anything to try to match the paint I was about to have mixed.  I just 'eyeballed' it and I was pleasantly surprised at how close of a match the paint was.  




I sanded it lightly, because it looked as if the cottage tables were scuffed a bit (on purpose) and had black paint underneath showing through.  So I wanted to try to achieve this same or similar look.



 After three coats of paint, lightly sanding in between each coat, I was ready to scuff it up a bit to match my newer tables.



After sanding the creamy white off in different areas, allowing some of the black to show through, I stained the top of it a nice oak that my brother happened to have that was surprisingly close to the oak tops of the cottage tables.  Win!

 
 
 
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7/28/14

Letting Go

 
 
 
Sometimes that's all we can do. 
 
And oh!  How good it feels to breathe deeply and let go!
 
* * *

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen. ”
― Reinhold Niebuhr
 
 
 
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7/24/14

Looking Back

I realize that the month of July is nearly over, but I wanted to share a few phone photos from July 4th for my family who reads this little blog. :)
 
We didn't have any big celebration or go on vacation, but we did have our little family together at our home, enjoying a good meal, treats and a few sparklers.  
 





 
 
 
video
 
 
 
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7/14/14

Enter My Young Living Essential Oil Drawing! [A Giveaway]

Last week I announced on my Instagram feed that I'd be giving away one 15ml bottle of Young Living Citronella Essential Oil to one of my readers.  Today is the day you can enter to win!  I wish I could give everyone of you a bottle of this wonderful oil!  

I thought since summer is in full swing, it would be nice to share a bottle of Citronella Essential Oil with one of you.  I'm sure that all of you have heard about Citronella being a natural insect repellent, right?  But did you know that it's also used for respiratory support as well as having mood lifting properties?


Citronella has also been used as an antidepressant, antiseptic,  anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, as well as having many other uses.  It's an essential oil that you want to keep on hand!


 

* * *






*If you'd like more information about the wonderful benefits of using Young Living Essential Oil, please click here to read all about my essential oil testimony and how they've helped myself and my family!  
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

*Giveaway open to US residents only.  

Okay, are you ready to enter?  Click on the Rafflecopter below!

 
 
 
 
 
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7/2/14

Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler Recipe

Hi friends!  I posted a peach cobbler photo on Instagram a few days ago and have been asked to share the recipe I use.  I thought I'd share it here on my blog because it's so much easier to type a recipe on the computer than on my tiny little phone keyboard.  :)  
This recipe was passed down to me from my mother, passed down to her from her mother.  It is so easy ladies!  And you know the great part about this recipe?  You can substitute any fruit of your choice in the place of the peaches!  Imagine whipping up a blackberry cobbler, blueberry cobbler or raspberry cobbler  using one simple base recipe!
I've included a printable recipe at the bottom of the post. 


Ok, here's what you'll need to make the easy cobbler recipe:
 * * *

*Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler*
Ingredients:  

1 cup of flour (self-rising)

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 stick of margarine or butter

1 large can of sliced peaches 

9x9 square baking pan or cast iron skillet

* * *

Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add stick of butter to skillet or pan, place in preheating oven to melt butter.

Mix the flour, sugar, milk and vanilla extract; set batter aside.
After butter is melted, pour peaches (and syrup) into the melted butter, spread evenly.
Pour batter over peaches.

Bake for 45-55 minutes (ovens may vary) or until the top is golden brown.  
Tip:  *You will most likely see the fruit bubbling around the edges during the baking process.  I always put a cookie sheet on the lowest rack in my oven to catch any overflow.




 
 
 
 
 
Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler Printable Recipe Here
 
 
 
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4/7/14

Hot Beverage Station - Coffee Station


Pinterest: The place where I could possibly waste so much of my day if I weren't very careful.  Have you ever used it?  If you haven't, I'd tell you not to go there, except that you can really find some very helpful information.  It's loaded with anything and everything you could possibly imagine to build, create, cook, sew and so much more.  Look me up there!  
Ok, getting back to my post . . . I've been wanting to share this since Christmas, but I'm just getting around to posting it today.


video

I have wanted a coffee brewing station since I first laid eyes on a beautiful one I saw on Pinterest early last year.  I knew that my mom was going to give me money towards a Keurig coffee brewer for Christmas since I had went all starry-eyed after I used her Keurig, so I thought it would be the perfect time to put together our coffee brewing station aka coffee bar.  I saw several photos on Pinterest, and noticed they all had one thing in common - the basket shelf unit above the bar.  I knew just were they found it - Hobby Lobby!  I remember seeing it there, but thought it was way too expensive.  I still think it's overpriced, but I used a 50% off coupon I had, so I was able to justify the purchase.  I already had everything else on hand, so the shelf and a portion of the Keurig price was my only cost.


 
I love our coffee brewing station.  The Keurig works out so well for us because of our different 'shifts'.  Before, I'd make a pot of coffee early when I got up and then a couple hours later when my husband woke up, it was old and too bitter, even if I put it in a carafe.  I must put a disclaimer in here.  I do not enjoy the coffee made from this brewing system as much as I do from say, a French Press.  But, it works well for my husband, who absolutely loves it - so that is good enough for me.  I don't mind making French Press for myself.  However, I do love brewing tea using the Keurig, and I love having hot water on demand for hot cocoa and my Friendship Tea & Chai mixes that I make.


The shelf is not only pretty, but it's very functional.  I store K-cups, teacups, saucers, teas and my French Press on this shelf.
The chalkboard coffee art is made out of wood and I added a few coats of chalkboard paint so I could change out the word as I wanted to.   The "R" monogram is from Hobby Lobby.  I used a 40% off when I purchased it, so it was just a couple dollars.  I already had the red buffet cabinet, it actually holds art & craft supplies.  I pulled the trays from the kitchen and I had previously made the lampshade for the lamp during another project and thought it looked nice on the bar.
I must admit, that using the K-cups feels like a waste to me, not to mention they are very expensive!  So, most of the time, I use the re-usable cups that you can add your own coffee to.  I just feel better about it, and when we do use the K-cups, I open them and dump the coffee grounds into my compost pot.  There's still the plastic left, but that's a whole other can of worms that I won't open.  :)

This is has been one of the most handy projects I've ever done.  The coffee station is like the hub of our household.  It's used all throughout the day and night and it has saved me so much counter top space.
If you've ever thought of creating a place dedicated to hot drinks, what are you waiting for?  Go ahead - do it!  I think you'll enjoy it!
 
 
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4/3/14

13 Bean Soup

When I was a kid, I remember having pinto beans and cornbread at school for lunch, then coming home and asking my mom what was for dinner, and she'd answer, "soup beans and cornbread".  Most people know these beans as Pintos, but around these parts, we mountain folk call them soup beans.  It seemed like this happened at least 3 times a week, but I'm probably exaggerating a bit.  To a kid who hated soup beans and cornbread, it seemed like an awfully lot of beans.   But, I know for sure that at least once a week, the school served soup beans and cornbread and so did my mom. 

It's funny how things come around full circle.  I'm an adult now and actually like pinto beans.  My husband is not a fan, he has the same memories as I do, except he never seemed to get over the never ending pot of soup beans we had as kids.  :)
My favorite beans now are actually a bag of mixed beans called 13 Bean Soup , which includes : a beautiful, colorful mix of navy, black, red, pinto, baby limas, large limas, garbanzo, great northern and kidney beans, black-eyed peas, yellow split peas, green split peas, and lentils.  Take in the beautiful colors, after they are cooked, they lose that beautiful color and are all just dark beans.  But, oh!  The taste makes up for losing the color!  :)

My very simple recipe is delicious served with a piece of hot cornbread just out of the oven.  

* * *

Here's what you'll need:

13 Bean Soup
2 1/2 quarts of water
Ham Hock or cubed ham (omit ham if you do not eat meat)
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to suit your taste

 

Here's what you'll do:

Check for any pebbles or debris that may be in the bag and remove.  Rinse beans well.

Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low overnight. 

This bean soup is a hearty, delicious soup that is sure to satisfy your tummy!  Enjoy!
 
 
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