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Tuesday, November 24, 2015
It's so easy for us to lose focus and forget what Thanksgiving is all about, being thankful, grateful for all we have. That requires us to be fully in the moment. Fretting over menus, and decor is a surefire recipe for disaster. No one will remember if the paint was peeling on my shutters or if I didn't mop my floors or if the light bulb's out in the hall. But, they will remember my grateful spirit and my hospitable heart.
From our home to yours, have a most blessed Thanksgiving.
XO Amy - The Little Farm Diary
Monday, November 23, 2015
My blog tour went so well. Thank you for visiting all the fabulous ladies who reviewed my book and for constantly supporting me. The giveaway is now over and the winners have been chose. Please shoot me an email if your name is below.
and the winners are....
email me at email@example.com
send me all your details and whether you want a hard copy or ebook copy.
Then I can get your book out to you asap :)
Thursday, November 19, 2015
This french toast is a favorite because it's quick to throw together and you can prepare it ahead of time....oh and it feeds a lot so you can share it with your friends and family.
When I made this recipe, I doubled it. I made one for us to eat that night and another to put in the freezer. I cooked my casserole that I placed in the freezer. Now I have french toast casserole to enjoy later in the month. I love having a few saving graces in my freezer chest. It makes this mama happy :)
So here's how you make it...easy peasy :)
Blueberry and Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole
1 20 oz loaf of bread, cubed
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups maple syrup
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups maple syrup
Place half the bread cubes in a greased 9x13 in. pan. Layer cream cheese cubes evenly over bread. Sprinkle with blueberries. Cover with remaining bread cubes.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and syrup. Drizzle egg mixture evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350'. Let casserole come to room temperature, then cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 25-30 minutes more. Serve with powdered sugar and syrup.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
This got me thinking...
What would my "don't buy" lists consist? I came up with some items and then I asked you guys. You had some really great ideas, which really inspired me. I've included the top ideas from our compiled list.
Paper Towels - I stopped buying paper towels a few years ago. I found that not only was it better for the environment, but I could knock quite a bit off my monthly budget. We use rags for cleaning up. These are great because when you've finished cleaning, you can just toss them in the wash. One wash cycle and they're like new. I keep a reusable grocery bag near my washer. I toss used rags in there. When the bag's full, I do a load :)
All-Purpose Cleaner - this is my favorite thing to make homemade. It cost very little and is safe for the whole family. Just mix vinegar, water, and some essential oils together and you're good to go. Check out this tutorial to make some today.
Ashley also shared her recipe for Windex, which I'm dying to try out. You can find the recipe here.
Greeting Cards - if you know me in real life, then you know I am NOT a huge fan of greeting cards...especially with birthday gifts. Yes, sometimes it is nice to get a card in the mail and I love my grandma's annual holiday cards, but I think greeting cards are expensive. $3 or more for something that will just get thrown in the trash? No thank you. Going homemade on cards is a great way to save. You get to still give the sentiment of a greeting card, without spending a bunch of money. I also think homemade cards are so much more personal. I love to create 4x6 prints via picmonkey and print at Costco. You can print for under 50 cents a piece. Much better than $3+ right?
Pre-Made Cookie Dough - I've found that making cookie dough at home is not only cheaper, but you get more bang for your buck. Chocolate chip cookie dough is my favorite. You can double batch it and either freeze the dough or freeze the baked cookies. This helps to have some yummy treats always stocked in the freezer. I also find that when I stock myself with yummy items, I'm less likely to toss treats into my cart when I'm grocery shopping. This keep impulse buying to a minimum.
Freezer Meals - we all love having a few saving graces in our freezer. Having a few quick casseroles or lasagnas is great when you don't feel like making dinner or you need to bring a meal to a friend. I have found that doubling recipes when I make them allows me to stock the freezer without needing a full freezer cooking day. Also, making your own freezer meals means you know exactly what's going into your food.
Garbage bags - Jen and Ashley shared this idea and I thought it was brilliant! They save by reusing plastic grocery bags. Jen says "I don't buy garbage bags. We use the sacks from the grocery store for most of our garbage and our recycling goes into our garbage can without a bag around it. When the grocery bag is filled, it goes outside into the big garbage can and (hopefully) keeps our kitchen from stinking up ;)". Ashley said "I reserve all my stuff that gets stinky in the fridge till the night before garbage night, that way we only have to take out the garbage once a week and reduce the number of bags we use." Brilliant ladies!!
Baby Wipes and Diapers - Going the cloth route is a great way to save. Dayna said "Cloth diapers & cloth wipes (cut up squares of old tshirts). Wipe solution is water with a drop of lavender or tea tree oil. Saves so much $!"
Music CDs - I love listening to music and I use to spend a lot of $$$ on either CD's or singles via Amazon. I could easily spend $20+ on music in one shot, then I learned about Spotify (thank you Tanya). Hubby and I pay $10 a month and we get unlimited access to music. It's been a great alternative to how I got my music before.
Cable - you know I'm a BIG supporter of Netflix and hulu. We haven't had cable in over 8 years. We spend less then $20 a month and we have a huge library of shows for the whole family.
Land Line- we joined the strictly cell phone club a long time ago. We realized that we didn't have a need for a landline anymore. All of our friends and family have cell phones and we have unlimited minutes and text, so it makes sense. Save yourself some money and kick the land line.
I was so blown away with all the ideas you guys shared this past week. Thank you for always being so inspiring!!
Do you have an item you don't buy that didn't make the list? Share it in the comments below :)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
This past week in my scripture study, I've had one word on my heart.
We all live ordinary lives. We all get up in the morning and go to sleep at night. Yes we have struggles...and demons we face. We have relationships failed and love that is lost. We deal with grief, depression, anger, hurt, etc. We've all had moments of despair in this life that we're living.
We've also experienced great joy and happiness. We've felt love and responsibility. We've felt excitement for what's to come. We can all relate to these emotions because we've all felt them.
Our lives, when taken at face value, are quite ordinary.
But when we dive deeper, we see something outstanding. We see the fingerprints of an extraordinary God. A God who saves us. A God who lifts us up when we are too weak to stand. A loving Father in Heaven who gives us sadness, so we can truly relish in the joy.
This month marks two years since my dear brother left this Earth. Although it absolutely breaks my heart to write that, I can now look back and see God's fingerprints on my life...I see him in the day to day.
I remember when I got the call that my brother was dead, I fell to the floor because the grief had overwhelmed me and I could no longer stand. I sat and sobbed for what felt like an eternity, but was actually only a few moments because soon after I collapsed, something extraordinary happened. I felt loving arms enshroud me. My God knew I was broken. My Saviour knew I needed His help to carry the burden that was placed on my shoulders and heart that night.
I can look back on these two years and see God's mighty hand. He wasn't punishing myself and my family by taking my brother much too soon, but he gave us an opportunity to lean on him.
About a year after Philip died, I had a dream about him. We we're driving in the car laughing. In my dream the realization came to me that it wasn't real. I woke up in tears. I called to tell my mom what had happened and she shared a great comfort with me. She said maybe the dream was God's way of letting us know Philip was happy. He was back home and was OK. He had been released from whatever demons plagued him in this world. Now I can cling to that little bit of grace God gave me.
He knows our hearts so well, for he created them. He knows we will have disappointment in this life. We will have dreams that will die. Sometimes people will let us down or hurt us, but thankfully we can continue on because we walk with Christ. He gives us strength and shelter. He allows us to do the hard things.
Whatever you are going through today, I pray you take a moment to look for God's fingerprints. I promise they are all around.
We may be ordinary men and women, living ordinary lives, but through our Savior Jesus Christ extraordinary things can happen :)
Monday, November 16, 2015
As I was sitting here, thinking about the up coming holidays, my mind turned to the yummy dishes people make to share with friends and family. I thought it would be fun to share my family's menu plan for Thanksgiving and maybe you all could share your family favorites in the comments below.
Sounds like fun right?
Now I'm well aware that our menu is a smidge...OK a lot...carb heavy..and I'm OK with that. Turkey day is our day to eat our favorites. I try to let everyone pick a favorite side dish. This is how our menu has panned out this year :)
We'll start with the turkey. Turkey is one thing I love/hate to cook. I hate cleaning the turkey and I REALLY HATE pulling out the neck and gizzards. It totally gives me the heepie jeebies (not sure about that spelling??) I love a turkey though because they're so many ways to cook it and it truly is one of my favorite proteins!
When you cook a turkey, you can do one of two things.... You can either freeze all the leftovers and use them in all sorts of recipes months later or you can binge on turkey for the following days. Growing up, we did the latter. I have many fond memories of turkey day leftover munching sessions. We'd watch Christmas movies and enjoy all the delicious leftovers.
Now that I have a family of my own, we do a mix of both options. I try to get the biggest turkey I can. We pull off as much meat as we can. We eat as much turkey as we want the first night, afterwards I bag up all the leftovers. I leave some in the fridge for turkey day leftovers and the rest is labeled and put in the freezer.
This year I'll be making my turkey like I did in the video above. It's my go to turkey recipe :) I'll stuff the turkey as well with my favorite stuffing...basically two boxes of turkey stuffing, 2 apples chopped, celery, and craisins. I throw it all together and try to keep it on the dry side, that way it'll soak up some juice from the turkey. It is dang good!
Next we'll have a Wagasky staple of green bean casserole. I follow the recipe on the can. The only thing I do differently is add 5-6 fresh mushrooms chopped, a handfull of cheddar cheese, and lots of pepper. Yum!!
Corn..because well it's my daddy's favorite. I make it straight from the can because it's tradition and I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it. ::wink wink::
Mashed potatoes... Oh how I love me some mashed potatoes and gravy. I'll be using this recipe. I cook my potatoes in the pressure cooker and whip them with my mixer. I keep the skin on my potatoes to add some rustic charm.
Macaroni and cheese. This is a new addition this year and was picked by the kids. Right now I'm not sure what recipe to use...any suggestions? I usually use Velveeta, but I haven't decided yet.
Candied Yams. Another request from the red heads. I haven't made this one in years, so I'm looking forward to making this treat. I use two cans of yams, sprinkle with brown sugar, and top with marshmallows. Bake till marshmallows turn golden.
Lots of cranberry sauce, which I snagged for 75 cents each at Winco last week. Woot!! Woot!!
I'll also be making my dinner rolls, seen in this video. We can't have a family dinner without them :) Served with butter and honey.....Nom! Nom!
To drink, we'll be having soda. The kids are going to pick their favorites. They're excited for some Rootbeer and Mnt Dew. I think this mama will need some cream soda :)
And last, but certainly not least, dessert...
Because somehow we'll find a way to have pie after eating everything else. We'll be enjoying a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie from Costco. You get your biggest bang for your buck and I haven't mastered the pie crust yet. It's on my list.
Now I want to know what's on your turkey day menu. Let's share some tips, tricks, and recipes lovelies.
Friday, November 13, 2015
I don't know about you, but I love getting a glimpse into other bloggers lives. Maybe it's that I'm nosy or maybe it's the fact that this mama just needs to know I'm not the only one who has dirty dishes or unmade beds. I always feel like these types of posts give me a strength I didn't know I needed till I hopped onto my favorite blog...
So whatever your reason is, I hope this post finds you well. I hope you see that I too have a messy kitchen at the end of the day. I too have piles of laundry that need to be folded. I too have had a week that went by faster than I thought it would.
I also hope it encourages you to slow down....
I hope it encourages you to live in the moment...
I hope it encourages you to take some to yourself.
Being a mom is a tough business. Sometimes we need just a few moments to recharge...whether that be reading a good book or hiding out in the bathroom for a few minutes...
Don't judge.....we've all been there friends :)
I hope you know that we are all part of a sisterhood...we are sisters in Christ. Know that I'm cheering you on. We can do amazing things because we were made by a creator who is magnificent. We are his daughters and he doesn't make mistakes. No siree.
You are amazing. Never forget that friend. You truly are!
-soccer practice - DIY Birthday Decor - Impromptu Guitar Lesson -
-French Toast Casserole - Monthly Grocery Shopping-