Once Upon A Little Farm

A Glimpse Into Our Country Life

15 Days of Fall Fun ~ Day 2: Combine Rides and Spiders

Well, I goofed up.  I did not stick to my plan for our projects today.  Fridays really lack routine at our home and I’m realizing that that really gets the kids and I all out of sorts.  They’re pokey and less apt to know what is expected of them.  I’m impatient, grouchy and apt to yell because I am bummed that it’s usually a highly unproductive day.   Those feelings went out the window when ventured outside into the glorious fall day that God had created.  The sun was shining and temps reached the low 70’s here in western NY.

Fall fun did happen, for sure, but it was not what I had originally planned.  Isn’t that the way life usually works though?  The best times cannot be entirely planned for.  We can plan our day all we want, but it is the Lord who actually determines what steps we’ll take (Proverbs 16:9).

We rent out all of the tillable farm land we own and it always a neat experience for my children to see all of the monstrous farming equipment.  The old relics my dad used on this same farm were less than half the size of the modern day.  The lower fields by our barn were planted to soybeans this year, which they harvested today.  My 2 year old son was so excited to see the big combine working out there.  We ventured out to see it up close and even got to ride a few rounds! 🙂 The view of our farmhouse is nice from the cab of a combine.  The kids had a great time and won’t soon forget that big harvester!

In addition to our unplanned fall fun, I’m showing you the spider my daughter and I made a week or so ago.  We hung it from the ceiling to “scare” Daddy when he came home from work.

To make the spider you will need….

  • 1 small black paper plate (or be prepared to paint both sides of a white paper plate if that is all you have)
  • string
  • black constructiImageImageImageImageImageon paper cut into 1 in. x 8 1/2 in. strips (need 8 strips for the spiders 8 legs)
  • black paint
  • brush
  • 2 –  1 in. white paper circles or 2 large wiggly eyes
  • glue stick
  • thumbtack (for poking holes in plate)

He is simple to make….

  1.  I had my daughter paint the white side of the paper plate black while I cut the paper strips for the legs.
  2. We used the 2 white paper circles instead of wiggly eyes.  Use black crayon to turn them into eye balls with black in the center.
  3. When the paint had dried, my daughter used the glue stick to attach the 2 eyes and 4 legs on each side of the eyes.
  4. I used a thumbtack to poke 2 holes side by side in the center of the plate.
  5. I put one end of the string down through the first hole and up through the second and then tied it off.  The remaining length of string is what we used to hang him from.  He is taped onto the base of a light fixture.

Happy Unplanned Fall, ya’ll!

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15 Days of Fall Fun ~ Day 1: Buttery Fall Cutouts

Yes, it becomes more apparent everyday how fast Christmas will be here, but I just could not wait until then for cutouts. I have all these nice fall cookie cutters that need their time to shine being used in the capacity they were designed for!  In our house it’s tough to lose sight of what they’re originally for as we use them for giving our sandwiches and cheese fun shapes and for making “cookie cutter prints” with paint.

My kitchen was already a disaster.  The dishes were not completely done and we have very little counter space anyhow.  When making cutout cookies, I always get out my grandmother’s big and old bread board and put it on the kitchen table.  Only one half of our kitchen table is usually usable at any given moment due to clutter. Anyone else have that problem? 😦   My kids love to play with a little bit of the dough in addition to helping with the cookies.  We have a carpeted kitchen (wasn’t my idea) and have not changed that inconvenient aspect yet.  Bits and pieces of dough, flour, sprinkles and the like are always such wonderful additions to the carpet fibers! Perhaps we’ll get to my lack of house keeping skills in another post, or rehab my house cleaning skills and keep posting on my progress!

Anyhow, cutouts are a lot of fun to make! Most of this batch will be headed into work with my husband in hopes of bringing a little cheer there!

Buttery Cutouts

Here’s what you will need…

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring, if desired

Here’s what you do….

For the cookies:

  1. Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir just until well blended.
  2. Divide dough into 4 pieces.; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each dish tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Working with 1 disk at a time, roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters.  Place about 1 to 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are brown.  Cookies cool fast and can quickly be removed to make room for the next round!

For the icing:

  1. Combine powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl; stir until smooth.  This can be refrigerated up to 3 days as well.
  2. Separate icing into small bowls.  Tint each batch with desired food coloring.  Frost your cookies! Add sprinkles if you wish! ImageImageImageImageImage
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Coming Up: “15 Days of Fall Fun”

Starting Thursday, October 25, I will be doing a little blog series called “15 Days of Fall Fun”.  The best part: my family and I get to enjoy all the activities before I can blog about them!!! 🙂   Stay tuned! 

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Glass Jar Luminary

My fondness for jars is growing and growing since I did so much more canning this summer.  I’m blessed to live in a house that has old jars in every nook and cranny of the cellar and attic.  I believe the jar I used for this is actually not a Mason jar, but rather, is an old Jif Peanut Butter jar. There are really no limits to what you can do with these…cover with cloth, with tissue paper, etc. etc…… fill with pencils, candy, plop in a tea light and use as a luminary, etc., etc.

Here’s what I used for mine:

  • glass jar
  • tissue paper cut in squares
  • Mod Podge
  • small brush
  • glitter glue

Here’s what I did:

  1. Paint sections of the outside of the jar with Mod Podge.
  2. Arrange tissue paper squares over the glued area.  Overlapping is fine and gives a nifty look. Continue until covered (you may choose to skip the bottom or cover it).
  3. When completely covered, go over entire jar again with a gentle coating of Mod Podge – this helps any corners or overlapped areas stick better.
  4. I set my jar upside down to dry.
  5. When dry, I applied a thick bead of glitter glue around the top.

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Snowy Epsom Salts Textured Jar

I’m blogging tub-side while my kids are playing in the bath.  I’ve let my latest craft sit a few days while I pondered what else it needed.  It was just so stark naked without the ribbon.  At first I thought a bow would be nice, but bow-making and I are not friends.  This was super simple and the end result can be used as a pencil holder, a luminary with a battery-operated tealight, a vase, or can hold any other little odds and ends you might be needing a home for.  A set of these could be used at a winter-time party to hold the plastic ware or silver ware!

You will need:

  • a clean jar of your choice
  • Mod Podge
  • brush
  • Epsom Salts
  • a shallow dish or tray that is as long as your jar is tall (I used a styrofoam meat tray)
  • spray paint in the color of your choice
  • ribbon or other decorations of your choice

Directions:

  1. Fill the shallow dish with Epsom Salts (you will have a glue-covered jar in your hands, so it is best to have this ready ahead of time).
  2. Paint the entire outside of the jar with Mod Podge.
  3. Roll the jar generously in Epsom Salts.
  4. You can use the brush to retouch any areas with Mod Podge that did not get covered with salts as much as you would like.  Re-roll these areas in Epsom Salts.
  5. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Spray paint the jar in a well ventilated area such as outside.
  7. Allow to dry.
  8. Decorate as you wish.  You will need a double-sided adhesive if attaching the ribbon.  I used Sticky Strip from Stampin’ Up!Image
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Pumpkin Swirl Bread

This recipe makes 3 loaves. I sliced all 3 up and put them on a tray for coffee hour after worship at church this morning. A loaf also makes a great gift – all wrapped up in aluminum foil with a gift tag.  The bread must be kept refrigerated though, due to the luxurious swirl in the middle!

Here’s What You Will Need:

FILLING:

  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

BREAD:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Here’s What You Do:

  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and milk.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in yet another bowl.  Gradually add this to pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Stir in in the nuts, cranberries, and raisins.
  4. Pour half of the batter into three greased and floured 8 in. x 4 in. loaf pans.  Spoon filling over batter – in a strip down the middle.  Cover filling completely with remaining batter.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 – 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool before removing from pans.  Slice and serve or wrap in foil.  Refrigerate until serving.

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Coconut-Cranberry Granola

My latest kitchen venture: Coconut-Cranberry Granola —– yum!  My kids are enjoying munching on it right out of the bowl. 🙂

Here’s what you will need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix the oats, coconut, and almonds; set aside for a moment.  In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the honey, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, and salt.  Microwave on high until sugar begins to dissolve, about 35 seconds.  Stir into oat mixture.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until granola is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Stir twice twice during baking.  When done, allow to cool, stirring occasionally.  Transfer granola to a bowl and toss in the cranberries.
  3. Divide granola into packages (I used Mason jars) for gift giving or store in an airtight container at home where it can be devoured.
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Dried Apple Wreaths

I have had the itch to make some crafts for months now, but have not taken the time to do so. My cousins were visiting recently (whom, because of their age, are referred to by my children as Papa Craig and Papa Tom, and fulfill those roles extremely well indeed). This visit provided much entertainment for my kids and allowed me to sneak in a few minutes here and there for crafting, while still being within earshot. I made an ornament, experimented with some Mason jar crafts, and fiddled with this wreath.

Apples are a sure sign of fall! This wreath was easy and smells oh so yummy!!!
1. I used 4 to 5 apples for a small wreath. Cut from top to bottom in 1/4 inch slices. No need to remove core or peel.
2. Soak slices in a mixture of 1 cup lemon juice to 1 quart water for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from liquid and lay slices on paper towel, patting dry.
4. Sprinkle both sides with some cinnamon.
5. Time to dry the apples! I read that an oven could be used, but I used my food dehydrator, which I received as a Christmas gift. I placed the slices on the bottom 2 racks and rotated the racks throughout the drying time. A total of 6 to 7 hours seemed to work well. Be sure to flip the each slice over a few times throughout the drying process. Note: They will not be dry like apple chips, but rather will be kind of leathery and bendy.
6. You can use yarn, ribbon, twine, etc. to string your apple slices on. I used what is readily on hand here: baling twine. I tied a knot at the end of a length of twine and began sliding the apples on. The bigger slices with holes in the center near the seeds go on easily, while smaller slices may need a hole poked in them. I had a kids paintbrush nearby, the end of which worked well for poking the holes.
7. When all of the slices are on, bring up the end of the string and tie to the knot you first created. Be sure you are leaving some excess string at the top. Bring this excess down to make a loop for hanging. Tie this loop off with the other 2 knots. No rules really. If it works however you do it, then you did it right!
8. I covered up the plenitude of knots with a Christmas-ish strip of fabric. You can tie the fabric in a bow, but I was not having much success getting it to look nice, so I left it in a more rustic knot, ends hanging down.
9. Enjoy! This could be hung on a cabinet knob, like mine currently is, or on a door, or given as a gift. A very small version of sorts could be made and used as an ornament. Possibilities, possibilities !

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Crispy Marshmallow Pumpkin Treats

Today with my own two and “the after school crew”, we had some sticky fun! I usually only buy generic, so we used Millville Crisp Rice Cereal from Aldi and followed the box directions for Marshmallow Crisp Bars.  Our variation came when we changed up the routine and used Baker’s Corner Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows (also from Aldi).  These gave us the orange color we were looking for and a little pumpkin flavor, too!  When the mixture was done on the stove, I sprayed each of the kids hands with non-stick cooking spray, gave them a generous piece of parchment paper (did not have wax paper) and a big heap of the ooey, gooey, crispy, orange mixture.  Their task: form it into a pumpkin-shaped ball and decorate.  We used Lime Flavored Tootsie Rolls for the stems, along with Smarties, Dots, and M&Ms.  Some decorations stuck better than others.  We made one for Daddy, too!

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Here Goes….

So I have been wanting to write a blog for a long while.  I’ve dibble dabbled with a few, but never really followed through with posting on a regular basis.  While I don’t think I have much to say, perhaps I’ll find a few followers who enjoy the simple life as well.

It is my intent to post here the everyday events that unfold on our little slice of God’s world.  Perhaps I’ll fill you in on our latest arts and crafts projects, my canning adventures, favorite recipes, a Bible verse that is really getting me through a rough day, the excitement that comes with the birth of a calf, or our garden and veggie stand which I’ve named: The Farmer’s Daughter ~ Homegrown & Homemade Goods.

Thanks for coming along on the journey! Blessings to you!

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