It’s been a minute since I’ve spent some time here, but wanted to give you all an update.
WE’VE SOLD OUR HOME AND WILL BE MOVING TO THE FARMHOUSE THIS SUMMER
We will be moving in just 3 short weeks to be exact! I can’t even begin to describe the pool of emotions that I feel right now. (Excited. Fear. Nervous. Giddy. Shock.) I am in complete awe of how quickly this all came together.
There is still much work that needs to be done at the Farmhouse. So while the kids and I are holding down the fort in Oklahoma, finishing up school and work, and packing up our current home, my sweet husband is in Missouri overseeing renovations at the farm and working at his new job.
This past weekend I picked out and purchased the new refrigerator, stove, and backsplash for our sweet farmhouse kitchen. I’m already dreaming about the first meal I will make in that space. It’s gotta be memorable!
I’ll be heading back to the farm in two weeks and can’t wait to see and show you all the progress!
I found an empty notebook, one day, while cleaning out closets and thought it would be perfect to write down updates and progress as we begin to renovate our farmhouse. And then I thought….of course I should share it here as well!
This is Part 1 of many on this journey of buying a farm and making it a homestead. I do not claim to be an expert by any means. In fact, I am quite challenged when it comes to picking out paint colors. But I am giddy and humbled at the thought of taking something from ruins and turning it into something of beauty. (There’s a sermon here I’m sure!)
We spent this past weekend emptying the home of trash, left-over furniture, ripping out carpet and flooring. It took most of the day, and we were pretty well spent by the end of it, but stepping back and looking at a clean slate was quite satifying.
Now comes the hard part, for me, anyways. I am ready to dive in and start painting and decorating. However, I have to patiently wait on the plumbing and electric to be checked properly and updated. Currently, there is a giant hole in the backyard from a water pipe issue, a hole in the bathroom wall from a water leak, and many other challenges that need to be taken care of before the remodel can begin.
At one point I stood in the middle of the kitchen floor, looking all around me, and thinking there are so many things that should leave me feeling discouraged. Yet, all I felt was peace. I could sense a connection with this house, that will soon be our home, and I knew without a doubt that the peace I was feeling was all God.
I want to say THANK YOU for being here and being apart of our blog. I look forward to sharing this part of our lives with all of you! And I can’t wait to see and share what God has in store for our family and our farm.
They broke bread in their homes and ate with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28
Well guys, we are FARM OWNERS! Yep! We finally signed the papers and received the title to our very own 45 acres, with a farmhouse! It still feels so surreal but we are excited and can’t wait to begin the renovations in making this place our homestead.
I read a quote the other day that said “What if I accept that what I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.” I don’t know who wrote it but they were speaking to my spirit.
And that is exactly what I see when I think about our future on the farm. A simple, beautiful, gentle life. Life with chickens, cattle, goats (kids request), our own garden, and all the homemade jams and sauces my little farmhouse kitchen can store. (In cute little glass jars of course)
I had been wanting to attempt my hand at making my own caramel and chocolate sauces (this will be next), so one evening I just went for it! I had all the ingredients, which are ONLY 3, and whipped up the most delicious caramel sauce I’ve ever had.
The first taste and I knew we had a winner! My 12 year old may have said something along the lines of “This stuff could make you a millionaire.” I wouldn’t go that far, buddy. But maybe we should call this the Millionaire Sauce because it definitely tastes like a million bucks to me. 😉
The BEST Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups of SALTED butter – I love and use Vital Farms Butter with Sea Salt
1 cup Heavy Whipping cream – room temperature
1. Heat sugar, in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat. When you see the sugar begin to melt, start whisking!
2. Whisk continually until sugar completely dissolved. At this point you can slow your whisk down. But keep an eye on your sugar, this is the stage it can burn.
3. Melted sugar will become a golden amber color. IT’s GORGEOUS! Now, add your butter and whisk till butter has melted and both sugar and butter are combined.
4. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Be sure your cream is at room temperature or your Carmel will begin to harden and clump on you.
5. Remove from burner and let cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge. This sauce will keep for one month.
Serve over ice-I cream. Drizzle over your favorite latte. Dip our Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie in it. You can’t go wrong with this caramel sauce. But beware…….you may find yourself wanting to hide away in the corner to simply stick your entire face in the jar. 😉
“They broke bread and ate with glad and sincere hearts.” – Acts 2:28
I LOVE baking cookies. I did as a young girl, too. There was something natural about it for me. Like it was something I was meant to do. Here’s the funny part, I loved baking them, but I DID NOT EAT THEM. Crazy right?! I didn’t start enjoying the taste of chocolate chip cookies till I was an adult, but, I have far made up for it since then.
My chocolate chip cookies have changed a bit over the years and this recipe is hands down my favorite. I refer to them as my version of a Cowboy Cookie. They are packed with chocolate, oats, and pecans. And they are BIG!
One of the great things about this cookie recipe, here, is it’s all mixed in one bowl! No need to measure wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Makes clean up so much easier.
You want to start by placing your 2 sticks of butter in a large microwave safe bowl. (This will be the bowl you will use to mix the remainder ingredients in.) You want your butter slightly melted. I wish I could tell you why this matters, I can’t, I just know the cookies turn out perfect every time.
After you cream together your butter, sugars, salt, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla, you are simply going to add your flour, chocolate chips, pecans, and oatmeal. Stir with a wooden spoon or bakers dough whisk. (My favorite!)
TIP: Add 2 FULL bags of chocolate chips. One bag of milk chocolate and one bag of semi-sweet. I know it sounds like a lot, but TRUST me. You’ll thank me later, so will your family.
You want your cookies to be quite large in size, so use an ice-cream scoop or large spoon to scoop dough and place on cookie sheet. This also helps with making sure the cookies are the same size. They will bake more evenly.
Place cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them! Everyone’s oven is different and you don’t want burnt cookies. Take them out when the outer edges are golden brown and the center looks slightly undercooked. Cool on a wire rack. Go ahead……try one before you call the family in, that first one out of the oven is always the best, and you deserve it.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 Sticks of butter (slightly melted)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 – 1 cup quick cooking oats (whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Slightly melt butter in a microwaveable bowl. Then cream together butter, sugars, baking soda, salt, eggs, and vanilla till smooth.
2. Add flour, chocolate chips, oats, and pecans. Stir with a wooden spoon or baker dough whisk. This might take a little elbow grease.
3. Use an ice-cream scoop to place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Remember: golden brown along the edges means they are done.
5. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
The broke bread in their homes and ate with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28
Get your favorite blanket and fuzzy socks ready because this latte will have you feeling all the cozy vibes with every sip.
Sipping coffee, along side my husband, is one of my favorite things to do. It takes me back to our first date, sitting at a tiny, round table, in a quiet little corner tucked away in the lobby of Union Station in St. Louis. Now every date night, most always, ends in a café somewhere enjoying those last few minutes before heading home.
And since we’ve been spending more time at home, because of a pandemic, AND, watching our budget because we bought a farmhouse to renovate, we’ve been making our own coffee dates at home. I won’t complain about that. 😉
I have been working on keeping the cozy, through out our home since Christmas ended. Have you ever heard of HYGGE? My friends were quite surprised that I hadn’t heard of it till now, but I’ve never really been on time when it comes to trends. But this is definitely one I can get on board with, in fact, I think I was created for this!
HYGGE – A Danish word that means coziness. It is a feeling more than a word – it is the ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures and making the ordinary more meaningful, beautiful and special.
I’ve been bringing in a HYGGE feel into our home by adding more candle light glow, warm oversized blankets to cuddle up with on the couch, enjoying a homemade latte in the afternoon in my favorite mug, reading a good book in the evening, even wearing fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm! (this is huge cause I can’t stand socks!)
And what speaks coziness more than a good old fashioned chocolate cake, sitting beautifully in a cake stand, waiting to be served to friends and family? It’s not a secret that any time I’m in the mood for cake (which is all the time), it’s always a chocolate cake I want.
Not just ANY chocolate cake either. I prefer a very simple, “lick-the-bowl-clean” delicious style of cake. In fact, are you sitting down for this?? My favorite chocolate cake starts with a box mix! It’s true. But there are extras and tricks that I add to the mix that makes this cake so delectable. And when you find something that you love so much, why mess with a good thing?
Here’s how to make a box cake mix taste like it came from the bakery:
Use milk instead of water (whole milk is best)
Add one more egg than the instructions call for
Add a package of instant pudding mix to create an incredibly moist cake that you will want to stand over and eat straight from the pan!
Now let’s chat frosting for just a moment. Are you a “more frosting and less cake” or “more cake and less frosting” kind of friend? I’m all about that frosting! Especially buttercream. This chocolate frosting is smooth, rich, sweet, and oh so good! It compliments the cake perfectly. You won’t be able to stop at just one slice.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups of whole milk
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 stick butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate
Mix cake mix with ingredients listed above. Combine with a whisk for 2 minutes or with electric mixer.
Pour into 2 greased 8inch round pans. Bake according to box directions. Let cool on wire racks, completely, before frosting.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together butter, powdered sugar, milk, melted chocolate and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin. *Frosting should be thick and not slide off cake.
Frost cake and enjoy!
They broke bread in their homes and ate with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28
The first time I heard about fish tacos was the summer of 2003 and since I wasn’t a big fan of fish (of any kind) I wasn’t chopping at the bit to give it a try.
That was until the moment I stepped into a little place called Rubio’s!
I was living in San Diego at the time and my sweet friend treated me to lunch one day. This was the same friend who had mentioned fish tacos the minute I arrived in sunny California. She knew I was going to be a hard sale, so she had to trick me into trying it by NOT telling me where we were going to lunch.
This was definitely one of those “Don’t knock it till you try it” moments. I was instantly hooked and completely obsessed. In fact, any time someone asks me what I miss most about San Diego, I ALWAYS say the Fish Tacos from Rubio’s.
When we decided to add more fish to our diets I knew immediately it had to be in the form of TACOS! The recipe my husband and I put together is one of the EASIEST and can be on the table in under 30 minutes. That’s sure a win in our books.
What makes these tacos even more delicious is the crunchy coleslaw mix and creamy sauce. You’ll want to serve these every week!
4-6 Tilapia Filets
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Creamy Lime Sauce
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 tblsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Mix spices, for fish, together in a bowl.
Rinse and pat dry fish filets. Sprinkle a generous amount of seasonings on both sides of filet.
Cook either in a skillet, with a little olive oil, or cook on the grill. We cooked ours on a flat outdoor griddle.
Allow fish to cook 3-4 minutes on each side.
Cut fish into pieces, place in a corn tortilla, add shredded cabbage and a drizzle of the creamy lime sauce.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28
Yeah, we did! I still laugh when I tell people. Partly because I’m stupid excited and partly because I’m in shock. This is not a thing I ever saw myself doing. But, goodness, don’t you love when God knows better than us.
Now, this isn’t just any old Farm. This 40 acres and log sided home once belonged to my husband’s great-grandparents. The home was built by the very hands of his great-grandfather. It is beyond special and I am thrilled, for my husband, that he will get to raise cattle, hunt, and all the other farm things on the land once occupied by his family.
There’s some renovations to be done and I’m already pinning ideas that will make it our own. I’ll be sure to take you on the journey with us! And when I figure out how to add a Pinterest button to the blog, you can come check out my Home Reno board. 😉
There’s so many things I’m looking forward to about OUR Farm (I still giggle when I say that!).
The back deck! I have big dreams for this space. Rocking chairs, lights, plants, and a dining area where we can fellowship with friends and family!
Coffee with my sister-n-law any time we want! Family has become even more important to us in this past year, so the idea of living on neighboring farms with our family, watching our kids continue to grow, and just live life together makes my heart swell!
Sunday dinners with my son and new daughter-n-law. And of course baking cakes to be the centerpiece, in our Farmhouse kitchen, at these Sunday dinners! 😉
All this to say, I am looking forward to adding DIY projects to share with you all. And of course new and old favorite recipes. 😉
Every Christmas I put together Cookie Boxes for our teachers and my coworkers. Delicious treats, wrapped in a simple box, tied with a beautiful satin ribbon. They make the sweetest gift! (See what is did there?? 😉) Plus, I love the idea of gifting something that is homemade.
This year I was looking for another cookie to add to our gift boxes and I discovered what I believe is NOW my favorite cookie. Delicious. Super simple. And so fun to make.
When I heard we had potential snow in the forecast I KNEW I would be putting on my apron, turning on Christmas music, and baking some cookies. This was the perfect opportunity to try out this new recipe before deciding if they were worthy enough to make the box.
THEY DID! AND THEY ARE!
I can’t wait to show you our beautiful boxes when we are done. Until then…….enjoy this recipe.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups of All-Purpose Flour (I use Kamut flour)
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup softened butter (I LOVE Vital Farms)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
Powdered sugar – to roll the cookies in
1. Sift dry ingredients into a medium size bowl. This will help break up any clumps in the cocoa powder and flour.
2. Using a stand mixer or handheld, mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time) in a large bowl.
3. Combine the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients and mix on low. Mix until just combined.
4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
5. Take cookie dough out of fridge. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of dough into your hand. Roll into a ball then roll in powdered sugar. Make sure the ball is coated with the powdered sugar.
6. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.
7. Cool on a wire wrack before serving.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28
We were scheduled to spend this Thanksgiving out in the country and I was so excited. It would have been the first time, in nearly 10 years, that my sweet husband would have been giving thanks with his family. Truck loaded with luggage, groceries, three kiddos, and three dogs, we headed out to spend six wonderful days with family.
Then I got sick. Not only did I get sick, I got COVID. Three days before Thanksgiving. I cried.
As sad as I was to have been exposed to this virus, I was in the perfect place to spend my isolation. A charming little farmhouse, over looking 100 acres. Every morning I met the sunrise, with a cup of coffee that I couldn’t taste, my bible and journal. I spent the first few moments giving thanks for the day in front of me and for the opportunity to rest.
The more time I spend out there, the more my soul craves that style of living.
And while my family was out and about hunting or exploring, I used my energy to bake and cook and prepare some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes for my husband to share with his family. Putting together my momma and grandmother’s traditional dressing was a little challenging with no taste and no smell ;). But it brought back so many memories of Thanksgivings past and watching my mom and her mother work their magic in the kitchen, dressed in their new outfits, Macy’s Parade playing on the TV, and us kids greeting the aunts and uncles as they began arriving with pies and side dishes and hugs and kisses for everyone.
Although I didn’t get to cook alongside anyone or even sit at the table with my family, it was still a Thanksgiving to remember. And one that will always remind me of just how much we have to be thankful for.
The broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:48