This summer our neighbors started what I have thought our town needed for a long time…a farmer’s market!

The response has been good, from what I can tell. Sadly, there were a couple of rain out weekends. We haven’t gone every time. We were out of town for one weekend–had something else going one another weekend.

It is a fun place for folks in the community to meet and catch up with each other.

It is smack dab in the middle of town, literally at the intersection of Front and Center!

I really hope they continue to have the farmer’s market in the future!

We have plans to head out there in the morning. The weather looks like it is going to be perfect.

Here are just a couple of pictures we took the last time we went to the Fishtown Farmer’s Market.

This was just a sample of the goodies at the farmer’s market.

There is nothin’ quite like that fresh farmer’s market produce!

Do you have a favorite local farmer’s market?

 

 

My goodness it has been a busy Spring!!!

I’m sad to say this seems to be our new pace of life.  The last time I posted on this blog was December! And here it is May! So, I am going to try to do a little catching up in the next few posts. With school coming to an end for the year, hopefully things will slow down a little. I would really like to get back to testing and blogging about new recipes and such. Fingers crossed!

To be honest, January and February are a bit of a blur. With a child in college and a child in high school they returned to school after Christmas break at different times. My timeline got a little skewed! I know we had ONE day of snow.

In March (Notice I skipped February! Who knows what happened then?!) we were honored to host a sweet missionary family and our pastor and his family for dinner. I didn’t get any pictures of the people that night-ugh. I am really out of practice doing this blog thing! Plus, we were just having too much fun! I did think to take a couple of shots of the pretty Spring Table decorations while I was in the midst of setting the table. I borrowed a few things from my Mom, and a few on-sale spring flowers finished off the look.

Unfortunately, one of the cats thought my little birdie was real! I used it anyway.

This bank was from forever ago! Not sure if it was mine or my sisters.

Here are a few decorations from around the dining room/den and the porch.

I jazzed up a wreath by using twine to tie on a few flower pots. More sale plants filled some pots, others stayed empty.

I have been waiting for just the right occasion to use this garden themed ribbon.

I made two crockpots full of Pork Chops with Field Peas! Using the crockpot is the way to go when company comes! This is a crowd pleasing recipe!

Individual Banana Pudding cups were also a hit at dessert time.

I hope you have been enjoying your Spring, too!

Welcome to our house!

christmas-wagon

Why do we all love decorating for Christmas?! I suppose nostalgia has something to do with it. There is also the fact that our homes get a face-lift for free, unless you buy new decorations each year.

I pulled this little wagon out of a dumpster this summer! It is perfect filled with fake presents and a cookie jar on our porch coffee table.

christmas-porch-pillows

I was thrilled to find this fun Christmas ribbon on sale at The Paul Michael Company while on vacation this summer.

sled-and-skates

My husband’s childhood sled came to live with us! Oh, if that sled could talk! I’m sure there would be stories it could tell!

north-pole

I made this North Pole as decoration for the seasonal membership recruitment for my chorus. The flower-pot base worked well with the empty wrapping paper tube I got from a gift shop. A little paint and ribbon and voila! I couldn’t stand to just throw it away, so it found a home on my porch.

kitchen-wreath

Look what I made to go in my fancy new kitchen!!! Well, actually, I made three!

wreaths-on-cabinets

If you look closely…

scrap-wreath

you might recognize the fabric from another project! I love “free” stuff!

vintage-bottles-with-berries

top-of-refrigerator

vintage-kitchen-vignette

christmas-shelf

I love my new kitchen!

I enjoy the old things we have, too!

plaid-china

…like plaid Christmas plates

vintage-christmas-decorations

and vintage decorations!

joy-lamp

joy

joy-with-light

I picked up these “JOY” ornaments at last year’s after-Christmas-sale. I wish they had had all the right letters in the plaid. Oh, well. I like the was the light shines behind them at night.

german-crate

This great German crate (a hand-me-down from my in-laws) got relocated this year. Skeeter seems to approve.

slipcovered-couch

The gray and red from the kitchen came into the den. I picked up the snowflake pillows on sale last year. I guess that is where I got to thinking about the gray for the kitchen. The sweater pillows came from Goodwill. I couldn’t commit to cutting the pillows just yet. So, these are held together with safety pins.

gray-sweater-pillow

black-red-and-gray-sweater-pillow

red-and-white-sweater-pillow

I truly hope you all can find TRUE JOY this season-which is only found in Christ the LORD!

nativity

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, that will be to all people.” Luke 2:10

Go ahead and add these Coconut Pecan Pralines to your holiday baking list!!! They are sinfully delicious!

coconut-pecan-pralines

My husband and I recently had a dinner meeting with some of our friends. When I asked our hostess what I could bring, she said dessert. Then her daughter chimed in and begged for No-Bake Cookies. Fine by me! I LOVE NO-BAKE COOKIES!

I had seen a new “No-Bake Cookie” recipe on Pinterest a while back. I thought I would try this new recipe along with the old faithful No-Bake Cookies and see what folks thought about them.

two-cookies

I had a little trouble with these new “cookies”…well, at least I thought I had.

They didn’t set up in time for me to take them to the meeting. UGH! I was a little frustrated. So, what else could I do but start eating the gooey cookies right off the waxed paper with a spoon! Oooohhhh! They were so yummy! Still a little warm…WOW!

I looked back at the recipe. I had not let the mixture boil quite long enough. I probably didn’t stir long enough either. The name of these “No-Bake Cookies” was actually Coconut Pecan PRALINES! I have made pralines in the past, successfully and unsuccessfully. The unsuccessful time, the mixture set up way too quickly. Maybe I cooked them too long. I was unable to set out the batch as individual pralines! It did make a fine topping for ice cream though.

As the afternoon went on, and I fixed a second batch of No-Bakes to take with me, I noticed my pralines starting to set. There was still no time for them to be ready for the meeting. So, I took a double batch of regular chocolate peanut butter No-Bakes to my friends’ house. Their daughter was excited that I left a bunch for their kitchen!

Back at home, however, I had a whole batch of Coconut Pecan Pralines! Oh, poor me! Well, it would be “Oh, my poor pants!” if I didn’t get rid of some of them~and fast!

It was just a couple of days later when we learned of my death of my husband’s 92 year old grandmother. You may remember Mamaw and her Lemon Jello Cake  being featured here as a “guest chef”.

cake with milk

Perhaps you remember some of her handiwork…

Chip's Mamaw made this plastic canvas mail box. Katie loves how it really opens.

We have so many special memories of time spent with Mamaw.

I took the Coconut Pecan Pralines to share with family after the funeral. Everyone loved them. I have to think Mamaw would have loved them too.

no-bake-cookies

No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1 stick of butter

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups oats

Bring first four ingredients to a boil. Stirring to avoid scorching. Boil one minute.

Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter melts.

Add oats. Stir.

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds. Work quickly! They set up pretty fast.

plate-of-pralines

Coconut Pecan Pralines

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 stick of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

2 cups coconut

Combine the chopped pecans and coconut in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Bring the first four ingredients to a boil, stirring to avoid scorching. Boil for 3 minutes!

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and coconut-pecan mixture. Stir until mixture starts to thicken~about 4 minutes!

Spoon onto waxed paper in bite-sized mounds.

A couple of these in a cellophane baggie with a ribbon and you may as well move to the North Pole!

 

 

 

When we lived in Indiana, my husband had a meeting in the northern part of the state in a little town called Whiting, IN. Whiting sits right on Lake Michigan. Chicago is a stone’s throw away. The part of the meeting he remembers the most was the potluck, or as they say in Indiana, pitch in. The tables and tables of delicious casseroles and desserts were breath-taking. It wasn’t until a fella brought out four huge pans of mostaccioli that my husband thought he had died and gone to heaven! The man had a heavy Chicago accent, so it wasn’t mostaccioli, it was MAStaccioli.

In case you were unaware, the Chicago Cubs won the world series!!!!

cubs-win-the-series

We are Cubs fans here at our house–not bandwagon fans. We have loved the Cubbies for a long time!

When they made it to Game 7 I figured I needed to make something Chicago-ish for dinner. I thought about deep-dish pizza. I thought about brats. Then I remembered the Whiting experience and decided to make mostaccioli!

I didn’t, however, make four huge pans of mostaccioli. One huge pan was plenty!!

Cheesy Mostaccioli

This recipe comes from an old Pampered Chef fundraiser cookbook. My sister bought it for me when she was in college. (By the way, The Pampered Chef company is based in the Chicago area–Bonus points!)

Pampered Chef cookbook

We barely made a dent in that pan!

Hooray! Leftovers!

Easy Weeknight Dinner

Enjoy!

Cheesy Mostaccioli

1 package mostaccioli pasta (16 ounces) cooked according to package directions

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

1 jar (28 ounces) of your favorite  spaghetti sauce

1 can condensed cheddar soup (11 ounces)

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella, divided

***cook’s note***You could replace some of the ground beef with some ground Italian sausage. I’m not a fan, so I stuck with the ground beef. I think next time I will add just a little more Italian seasoning-not too much more though.


*Once your meat is cooked and drained, add spaghetti sauce, soup, pepper and seasoning.

*Stir in pasta and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.

*Transfer everything to a  4 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

*Sprinkle last cup of cheese over the top.

*Bake in a 350˚ oven for about 40 minutes.

Critics’ Corner

Chip-I LOVE this dish. I once enjoyed it at a “pitch in” (Indiana for “pot luck”) at Whiting Baptist Church in Whiting, Indiana. It was so good I almost made myself sick. This batch is like being “back home again in Indiana.”

Katie- I thought that it was sooo tasty! The soft cheesy noodles at the bottom were my favorite. I felt so “Chicago” eating it! Go Cubs! 🙂 

Megan-off at college

 

 

Reformation Day–”Ya say you want a revolution!!!”

About 500 years ago on October 31st Martin Luther, a German monk, turned from the Catholic church. Here is a very good description of the events…https://thideology.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/standing-against-superstitions/

luther-posting-95-theses-560x366

He changed the course of the history of the church that day.

Since we are talking about Martin Luther, I thought I would share a little from another Luther celebration.

Our family took a trip to Germany last summer with my in-laws. The trip  coincided with Lutherfest, the celebration of Martin Luther’s marriage to Katharina von Bora. It was a festival like no other I have experienced.

Here is our hotel…

luther-hotel-wittenberg

hotel-menu

We started the day before the festival at the Wartburg Castle.

wartburg-castle

german-flag

The Wartburg is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

This is his desk.

luthers-desk

The castle is quite ornate in places. Of course it has changed throughout the years.

door-in-wartburg-castle

door-detail

martin-and-katharina

They only allowed a limited number of photographers to take pictures. Naturally, we designated Chip as our photographer. Notice his official, fancy, green sticker.

photographer-sticker

There was a little cafe just outside the castle entrance.

lunch-at-wartburg

This is where they guys started the wurst count (or as we in the states call them…brats)

brat

brat-with-mustard

I’m not sure I remember how many they ate on our trip, but it was a lot!

After we returned to the hotel from the castle, we decided to check out the festival scene.

The main festival events didn’t start until Saturday. There were a few things to see and do that Friday night though.

festival-banner

german-beer

We had dinner a small restaurant. The highlight was the picture posing we did!

family-photo

family-faces

One of the things I loved about German was all the flowers!

Everywhere you went there were flower boxes. The little restaurant had a flower cart that was too cute!

flower-cart

Saturday morning we were excited to get to the festival–maybe a little too excited. We got there before too much was happening. There were a couple of vendors open, so we looked around a bit.

herb-cart

Before we knew it we started to hear a commotion! Drums!

black-and-gold-parade-band

Two bands marched through the streets to a field. There were all kinds of tents set up in the field. Everyone was having their own party. It was kind of like how you might imagine a tailgate party in the 1500s would be!

blue-and-silver-parade-band

Of course my band girls LOVED seeing the marching bands!

band-members

parade-horn

We didn’t have a program, well, not one we could read. There was a program–in GERMAN! We could make out bits and pieces. It was more fun to just hang out and see what happened next!

We had a time to tour the Castle Church.

castle-church

This is the church were Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses.

castle-church-door

luthurs-grave

The church was under a bit of construction at the time. Our tour was in German. Here is a tip, don’t answer your cell phone during a German tour! (any tour for that matter) There was one fella, who didn’t speak German either, who decided to have a conversation in the über resonant church! The tour guide told him, “Hello! We wait!”

All along the festival/parade route were vendors of all sorts–food, toys, herbs, jewelry. After our church tour, the girls and I felt the need to fit in to the atmosphere a little more.

festival-bells

There was a pretzel stand right outside of the church!

pretzel-cart

We had the chocolate one, of course.

pretzels

Next we stepped into a visitor center for a minute. I don’t remember where the others were. I DO remember the sky opened up and rain poured!!! The details of when and where everyone was are a little faded. I just remember Chip and Bud getting drenched!

luther-movie

This movie poster was in the visitor center. We have this movie. It is REALLY good. Maybe we will watch it tonight!

It is a good thing we did a lot of walking on this trip because we did a lot of eating!!!

potato-pancakes

These potato pancakes with apple sauce were quite tasty!!

waffle-cart

bread-cart

meat-cart

planked-salmon

We obviously couldn’t eat from EVERY food cart, although we wanted to try them all!

crepe-cart

crepes-with-nutella-and-bananas

Crepes with Nutella and bananas!

pizza

This little pizza was yummy. Instead of a traditional red sauce, it had a white sauce that was like a cross between alfredo sauce and ranch dressing.

mushroom-cart

Megan had spied this huge pan of sautéed mushrooms and couldn’t wait to try them!

mushrooms

brats

More wurst!

fruit-cart

Fresh fruit was a welcome change from all the fried food!

custard-with-strawberries

These little custard cups were AMAZING! Strawberries with vanilla creme. I still need to work on replicating this recipe. I think if I can ever make it as delicious as it was in Wittenberg, my family will never let me make another dessert!

The parade was such fun!

People of all ages participated.

parade

parade-fun

parade-baby

irish-wolfhound

flower-girl

dancing-baby

I’m not 100% sure why I am making this face…

parade-surprises

Maybe it had something to do with this…

washtub

The parade was a “wedding celebration”. There was a reenactment of the Luthers wedding ceremony. We missed the ceremony but caught them in the parade.

martin-and-katharina-parade

wedding-party

Toward the end of the parade route there were people passing around little cups of champagne. Katie didn’t think much of it!

champagne-face

That evening we went to a church service–in English!

english-church-service

Since it was the Lutherfest wedding celebration, there was a special ceremony for married couples to reaffirm their wedding vows. It was very cool. We all cried.

vows-us

vows-them

reaffirmation-of-vows-us

reaffirmation-of-vows-them

certificates

I hope you will go read the Martin Luther link. Here it is again so you don’t have to scroll forever! https://thideology.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/standing-against-superstitions/ 

Hopefully, you will have a new way of thinking about October 31st!

 

 

 

 

Well, I finally got around to putting out some fall decorations at our house. I use many of the same decorations year after year. See some from previous seasons here.

I guess I was suffering from too much Pinterest! Too many cute decorations out there that I had no money to buy! “But wait…,” I told myself, “I don’t need to buy ANYTHING! I have TONS of craft supplies to make my own cute things!” So, I dug around in my fabric stash–pulling out ALL of the fall-colored fabric. I didn’t have a pattern. I did see a picture of a cute little hoot owl wall hanging that served as my inspiration. Sorry about the picture quality.

Hootie wall hanging

I love the hooties! The homespun border is pretty great, too. I didn’t go crazy with my quilting. just some outlining. If the black stitching around the owls looks messy, it’s supposed to! I love how my little wall hanging looks hanging on the inside of our back door. I had fun working on it!

When I was ready to put my cute men’s shirts pillow cases on my porch pillows I couldn’t find them! We had drug all the fall decorations out of storage and the pillow cases were nowhere to be found, along with a few other things.

Well, I just happened to be at Goodwill Outlet store the other day. I ran across a great plaid shirt. I LOVE PLAID!!! (I may have mentioned that a time of two! Like here, here, here and I’m sure a few other places!) I thought I would grab it for crafting something. I also came across a ’90s fall sweater. Sorry, I forgot to take a “before” picture. I loved all those fancy sweaters back in the day! I was an elementary school teacher back then. I guess those sweaters just WENT with elementary teachers! Plus, I have always seen myself as having a bit of a Mrs. Frizzle personality!

mrs-frizzle

 

I knew immediately what to do with that sweater!

recycled fall pillow

The front of the sweater was perfect for a pillow case!

The back was cute with just a little pumpkin on it. However, I thought it was a little out of balance with the scarecrow pillow. I roughly stitched “Pumpkin Time” on the sweater. The back of the pillows is made from old blue jeans. I had to add the twine ties on one side of each pillow to make a pillow case and not a pillow.

I think they turned out cute. Don’t you like the new plaid shirt pillow case? Pillow cases are much easier to store than pillows!

By the way, I did find my other box of fall decor hidden under a table and behind a box of Christmas decorations.

One more crafty show and tell item…a sweater pumpkin!

sweater pumpkin

This orange sweater also came from the Goodwill Outlet. The leaves were from a moth-eaten jacket that was headed to the dump.

Here is another picture for you to see the size of the pumpkin.

Size of sweater pumpkin

I simply cut a square form the sweater. I gathered the ends together at the top. Before closing the top with a rubber band, I stuffed the pumpkin. I wrapped a little twine around and around the pumpkin to give it the pumpkin sections. Then I tied the leaves on with the same twine. I thought about stitching some veins in my leaves. I still might do that one day. It was quick to make! The front of the sweater had a zipper. I’m not sure what I want to do with the rest of it yet.  For now, I’ll stuff it in one of my craft closets for another time when I need to have something new!