Tis the season

Tis the season to cook and clean and buy and spent and.......

Sound familiar?  It happens.  We get so consumed with perfection we forget what the holidays are all about. The perfect dinner, the perfect gift, a perfectly clean house.....I will be the first one to admit I strive for perfection.  I like my holidays to go smoothly and I hate to be in a big rush.  How do you avoid this?  Well for me I just plan ahead, I make lists of all the stuff that needs to get done and then break it down into something that can be done however many days ahead of time.

Last night I roasted my pumpkins for pie and began cutting out fabric for a yo-yo garland I am making.  Today when I get home from work I will probably seed and peel my pumpkins. And since I need to pick up the Hubs later I may bring my knitting or sewing with me to get a little done on the ride home. Tomorrow I have to make a dessert for Little Birds Thanksgiving Dessert party on Friday.  We will get some cleaning done when the Hubs is off for his two pass days.  I have been doing a few small upkeep chores before I go into work that have to get done but allow me the time in the afternoon to do some bigger cleaning tasks.  Planning ahead makes me less stressed about getting things done.

I know from now until after New Year's our weekends will be packed with parties, baking, wrapping, shopping, and preparing that I get really stressed out.  Last year I was given the best advice.  Take a life break for the entire month of January.  No parties, running around, baking, etc.  I felt so much better that I took the time to relax and enjoy my weekends.  This was the best advice ever!!  Thanks Karen!

Another thing I need to remember is to step back and enjoy.  Imperfections and all.  Remember, no one will remember that you didn't wrap their gift like Martha Stewart.  Or that the cookies were a tad overcooked.  Or you forgot the gravy......Wait, no my family still hasn't let me live that one down.  What they will remember is that they had a wonderful time with their friends and family.  And really isn't this what the holidays are all about?


Right now.....

I love documenting the randomness of my children, whether through pictures, videos or just writing it down.  I wanted to give you a glimpse into my thoughts and how sometimes we are very random ourselves.  So here are some of my thoughts from this morning............

Right now it is 7 o'clock in the morning.....

Right now I am watching the sunrise over the trees through the back sliding door.

Right now the wind is slightly blowing and shaking the last of the leaves off of those trees.

Right now the Hubs is sleeping and is missing this beautiful sunrise.....

Right now it is very brisk outside.

Right now I am thinking about how I am slowly becoming more of a morning person.

Right now our Belgium Sheepdog, Bear, and Bronwyn are basking in that sunrise as it stretches across the living room floor.

Right now the girls are at their Mema and Papa's, I miss their laughter this morning!

Right now I wish that my kids would stop growing up so quickly.

Right now I realize I need to stop and focus more on my kids right now while they are still young.

Right now I should be folding towels and trying to get a handle on the run away laundry.

Right now I am doing some research instead of chores.

Right now my house is a huge mess....

Right now I don't care about the above because my children are happy, my husband is happy and everyone is well loved, a spotless house is just low priority in the scheme of things!

Right now I am re-reading the homemade card I made for the Hubs for our anniversary......

Right now I am thinking about how content I am with life......

Right now I am trying to figure out how to sell the idea of re-purposing the old slop sink as a potting bench to the Hubs.....He is not convinced!

Right now I am thinking about how I need to mulch the garden this week and chop up leaves, get hay and manure.

Right now I am thinking it is now 9 o'clock the Hubs is still sleeping, I should wake him up and I should begin my chores for the day....

Right now I am truly hoping you all have a wonderful day!


This moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Living in the land of milk and honey......

Sorry guys, I just started a new job a few weeks ago and have been running around like crazy ever since!

Anyway, I was talking to a friend about getting raw milk and the fact that it is close to me.  She basically said to me that I live in a wonderful magical place where fruits and veggies are abundant directly from the farms not the supermarket.  I started thinking, not to toot my own horn, but I do live in this magical place where agriculture is still very much a way of life.  There are about 46 farms in my area from Kingston to Ellenville.  46.  Wow.  Not all are organic but some practice organic methods of farming, some don't.  Some truck in out of season fruits and veggies, some don't.  It all depends on where you go.  This is why it is important to know your farmer!
I wouldn't change where I live for even a moment.  How about you?  Do you live in a land of milk and honey?


This moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


A pup named Bronwyn

This past weekend while we were apple picking at Liberty View Farm, we passed a yard sale.

The Hubs saw the sign for a dog and wanted to stop.  The sign read "Free to a good home, 10 month old half boxer, half coon hound." I wanted a little time to think about a new dog.

That Sunday we were back in the area (not really but somehow we "magically" ended up over that way) and he wanted to just see the dog.

Yup we are the proud owners of that half Coon Hound, half Boxer 10 month old puppy.  She is such a sweet dog!  Her name is Bronwyn.

Unfortunately our Bronwyn is not quite a whiz yet....She is not housebroken or trained.  This is very frustrating!

But how could you not love that face!  And her nubby little tail!

Our other two (yes two, we are crazy I guess) dogs are taking it okay.  Bronwyn is full of energy and is ready to play all hours of the day! She is going to begin obedience training starting next week.  I really hope this helps us be able to deal with her overly energetic self.  After all she is just a puppy!


Apples anyone?

I love October, the smell of the crisp clean air, the foliage, pumpkins, and apples....Yes I am once again blogging about apples!

We went apple picking this weekend.....I am now up to my eyeballs in apples and I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Little Bug.....
A good motto to live by.....

We leased an organic apple tree from Liberty View farm. It cost about $70 but everything on the tree was ours!  We got about 75 pounds of sweet, juicy, organic apples from our tree. That's a little less than a dollar a pound for apples!  Farmer Billiam is just a sweet, wonderful person, I am really glad we found this farm. We are definitely leasing a tree again next year!  If you are interested in leasing a tree just follow the link above. 2012 is not up on the site just yet but I am sure it will be as soon as their busy season is over!

I can reach this one.....
We call her "Two Bites" Little Bug!  Such an apple waster!!

I already put up about 11 cans of applesauce and made an large pan of apple crisp and I still have two bags of apples left!  I am thinking about making some apple pie filling and apple butter as well!!

We filled up three of these bags!!
Little Bird is crazy about bees too!  Liberty View has bee hives, along with goats, pigs and chickens, so they were hanging out by us the whole time we picked.  She was very excited that this little honey bee, along with many others, landed on her apple!  She has such a great respect for bees because she knows that we wouldn't have food if it wasn't for these little guys!  (No bee nor child was harmed during this picture or while picking!)

Little Bird and the honey bee

We were also invited to apple pick with the Hubs family on Sunday. We picked a few apples but we were just there to get some pumpkins.....

The Hubs, Little Bird and Bug trying to find a nice pumpkin!!

Yes my children dress up to go to the farm.  We had a lot of fun picking and talking with everyone!  We don't get to see each other that much so it is extra fun when we do get together.  My niece and nephews were just so cute!!

M, eating apples when your front teeth are missing is kind of hard!!

K loved eating apples!!

T with a bag of apples!
And to top it all off the leaves on the top of the mountain have begun their transformation.  If you live in the area and get a chance take a ride over the mountain on Rt 44-55.  When you get just past Minnewaska State Park I promise you won't be disappointed!!  Mother Nature has surely done some beautiful work this year!  I am hoping to get up there and take some pictures soon!

I can do it all by myself... 
Disclaimer- All of the opinions regarding Liberty View Farms are solely my own.  Liberty View did not compensate me in any way, shape or form to write this raving review.  They are just an awesome farm!  Mother Nature on the other hand bribes me all the time!  Haha!  


This Moment

I know I started a "Hooray for Friday" but I found this over at SouleMama and it is just a sweet way to end the week.......Enjoy!
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



I have found I love to knit. Mind you I am not a seasoned pro, I have only been knitting for a month now and it is my new favorite way to relax.  I love to try and find just the right type of yarn.  There are so many different types of yarn, wool, synthetics, novelty and specialty. The textures, the colors, I could spend hours trying to find just the right skein of wool.  I am by no stretch of the imagination a pro.  I have so much to learn.....

There is such a sense of accomplishment from finishing and giving something handmade!  I love handmade gifts so much more than something bought at a store.  I think homemade is so much more personal.  

Here is a sneak peek at a scarf I am making for the Hubs, don't worry he already knows all about it!  He works outside all winter, I want him to be warm.

It's just a basic knit stitch, grey scarf.

I love how relaxing knitting is........

I could do it for hours and hours.......

I am so eager to learn new techniques but I am trying to not get ahead of myself.  I just want to finish this scarf for the Hubs.

I am sure he will love it! 


The last Kindergardens of the season....

Wow!  Kindergardens has finally come to an end!  It felt like this summer just whizzed on by!  It was great seeing other gardens and watching our children learn about how to tend a garden.  Even though it was hard work, we had so much fun in our garden this year!  We are not quite done harvesting yet!

I was so excited to find that 2 of our pumpkins were ready to be harvested.  The other 2 are still green and small but there is still hope they will turn before it get too cold!  This was our surprise harvest. We never planted pumpkins they germinated all by themselves from last years pumpkins, which we threw over the deck once they went past their prime!  Surprise! These will be our carving pumpkins for Halloween!

Our  pumpkins Jack and O' Lantern! 

We have been trying to get out to pick the tomatoes as well as the rest of the garden, but this rain!  We may have to build an ark soon!  20+ inches in two months, CRAZY!! A lot of my cherry tomatoes have big splits in them and if I remember correctly this means that they were over watered.  Sigh....oh well, the chickens have been eating them so I don't feel like they are completely wasted.  I am trying to pick them green and ripen them inside to see if this helps a little.  We did find a late zucchini and were very happy since the deer got into most of the plants!

Little Bug helping with harvesting!  

As for the chickens, no more casualties yet and no eggs. Thank you to everyone who emailed me with advice on how to keep a handle on this!  It was so appreciated!  We have been trying to find someone who has gals already laying eggs for sale.  We thought we found a guy up in Tannersville, we had some conversations but then he never wrote me back to schedule a pick up. Then a friend (and fellow chicken owner) offered to get a phone number for her friend in Gardiner (which is much closer), I will see her today and hopefully she will have the number!  So hopefully in the next week or so we will have chickens that actually lay eggs!

It is almost the end of the summer growing season, what are you happy to have harvested.  Did you have a surprise harvest like we did?


Hooray for Friday!!!

I have been feeling a little down in the dumps lately and I need something to shout Hooray about!!

I want to make "Hooray for Friday!!!" a weekly party, just because we all should shout hooray for the simple little blessings in our lives!!  So join me, if you have a blog join along, if not post a comment about what it is you are thankful for!

I love Fridays!  They are so much fun!  The beginning of the weekend and normally the end of a very hectic week.

So where should we start?  Oh I know!

My sweet babies.....

They just melt my heart......

I am ever so thankful for them.....

We are off to Kelder's Farm this evening for the Jennie Bell Pie Festival!  Mmmmmmm PIE!  Can't wait to tell you all about it!  

It's Friday!  What do you want to shout hooray for?


Kindergardens and giving up chickens........

Well here we are, next week is the last week of Kindergardens, harvesting is almost done and I am down to two chickens.  

Like many gardeners this is the time of year is when you start to reflect on how to make next years garden better than this years. I have a few ideas I have been kicking around.  I am hoping to get some of it done (and share with you guys, of course!) before the real cold weather sets in.  This was our first year having a big garden. Not everything went according to plan, which can be disappointing and frustrating to say the least. But you learn from your mistakes. 

Here are some things I learned this season:
  • Many hands make light work
  • Patience
  • Little hands always make work fun
  • Patience
  • Never bite off more than you can chew
  • Patience
  • Plan ahead
  • Patience
  • Sometimes you plan ahead and it just doesn't work out
  • Patience
  • Keep trying
  • Patience
  • Gardening is a lot of work that is well worth the effort. 
  • Patience
  • The internet is a great tool but I find 9 out of 10 times you cannot find a direct answer and everyone is an expert.  It helps to invest in a good book, or several.  I like Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.  I also bought this book called Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land.  I have referenced back to these books many, many, many times this past year.  I know there are other really great book out there, these are just the two I use quite a bit.  The Country Wisdom book has much more than gardening. It is a good all around book if you are interested in homesteading. This book has recipes on how to make cheese, breads, jams, etc.  I find I use it for more than gardening. 
  • Patience (notice the theme?)
Patience has always been something I have needed to work on and this year I was forced to be patient.  Nature hurries for no one, I learned this first hand.

One of my favorite pictures, picking strawberries at the farm

As for the garden.....I was happy to find the peppers started to grow, yeah just a tad bit too late. The frost will be here soon enough.  I harvested all of my basil and froze it.  I am going to try my hand as drying some rosemary, I have a little more research to do before I start that adventure.  I have tomatoes a plenty and a ton more out in the garden. I attempted to make homemade sauerkraut, let's just say it didn't turn out edible by any stretch of the imagination. (I didn't know mold could be those colors!) I will try again, hopefully this weekend.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is a success this time!  I am also saving some of my basil and garlic chive seeds.  I'll let you know how this turns out as well! 

We are not giving up on chickens completely, just until next spring.  I may look at some hens that are already laying for over the winter and then get some chicks in the spring.  I am not sure yet, I think it depends on if the last two of our six original hens survive.  I am now trying to locate a local hatchery which sells chicks for the spring.  This way I know where they came from and the breed is more accurate.  The garden center I bought them from sold me mostly Rhode Island Reds and a few Golden Comets but told me they were all Golden Comets.  The worst part about this whole thing is that we haven't gotten a single egg.  Errr....Maybe next year. 

How is your garden doing?  Do you feel like a big success or a mini failure this year?  What will you do differently next year? 

 And because I like pictures, here are some oldies but goodies!


Malus domestica and a recipe

Autumn is my favorite time of the year!  The air gets cooler and the leaves start to turn brilliant hues of red, yellow and orange and it is the start of apple season here in the Hudson Valley.  When I was younger I lived down the road from an apple orchard and I remember every fall smelling the ripe apples ready to be picked as I walked home from the bus.  And as I drive around now, I smell these delicious sweet treats and brings me right back to my childhood.

Did you know apples, Malus domestica, originated from Kazakhstan and are now cultivated all over the world?  And that apples are full of dietary fiber, vitamin-C, beta carotene and are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). They are also rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenols.  Apples are also low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories.  Maybe an apple a day is good for you.....

What is the best way to eat an apple?  Well I like them picked right from the tree but there is nothing like apple crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream on top!  Yum!!  But if you don't like apple crisp you may love apple pie, applesauce, apple fritters, apple doughnuts, I could go on all day long!  I like slicing up apples and using them in sausage stuffing. I also love stuffing them in poultry, along with my celery, carrots and herbs, to add flavor! 

So here is my recipe, it's not fancy but it is oh-so-good!!  P.S. I always double the crisp part.  In my opinion more is better! 

Apple Crisp

  • 10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples.

    Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Use a pastry cutter (or your fingers) to incorporate the butter. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

    Bake at 350 degrees  for about 45 minutes

    Taste test 15 or 20 times just make sure it tastes okay!!  Serve plain or with homemade vanilla ice cream!  Your family will love you forever! 


    A survivor? I feel more like a struggler, thank you....

    The other day someone compared having infertility issues with being a survivor.  To me a survivor is someone who has come close to death, not someone who has non life threatening issue. Someone who beat cancer is a survivor, a crash victim is a survivor.  Death knocked on their doorstep. 

    I don't feel that because I had children I "survived" infertility.  I feel more like a struggler (if that's even a word, if not I just made it up), I struggle with infertility, and will even when I can no longer have children. 

    What do you think? I am interested in know how you guys feel about this.  Post anonymously, if you want. Would you consider yourself a survivor or a struggler? 


    Never forgotten

    We will never forget 9/11/01....The day our lives were changed forever.  And even ten years later, despite the economic and government turmoil, I am still extremely proud to be an American!

    So hug your family a little tighter and be thankful for all that you have every single day!

    Please fly a flag, attend a memorial service, thank a solider, police officer, firefighter or first responder for all they have done, have a conversation with your children about heroism and what it means to them, have a moment of silence, or just pray......Whatever you do, please just remember.  We made a promise to all that gave their lives on that September day....We will never forget.


    I have time.......

    School started today.  Little Bird started Kindergarten.  Yes, I cried.  I cried the night before as I read her a book about going to Kindergarten, I cried as I tucked her in and told her how happy she makes me, I cried as I got her dressed in the morning and I cried as I watched my baby get on that bus and magically turn into a little big girl.  It was heartbreaking!

    My mom said to me yesterday that I should treasure these moments because before I know it she will graduate and go off to college.  I have time I thought to myself.....

    Hours old sweet little baby Grace
    No, I don't have time.  I remember five years ago adoring this brand new little life and thinking to myself five years is such a long time from now. We have time....We witnessed first smiles, giggles and teeth.  We watched as she crawled then walked then ran.  We were amazed as she cooed then babbled then spoke.  We have time I thought.....We were blown away as she recognized letters, numbers, colors and animals.  As she wrote her name over and over with great precision, as if she knew how to do it from day one. As she read short stories to us from memory.  We are absolutely stunned by how fast five years went.  And now she is off to start a new adventure called school, without her Mama there to help her.  It's one of the many things I will have to let her go and do, by herself.  It's hard for me to let her grow up, I think it is a hard thing for any Mama to do.
    Little Bird's first day of Kindergarten!
    Time just goes so fast that before I know it five years turns into ten, fifteen, twenty....Then she will be all grown up, starting new adventures and leaving my "nest" to test the waters on her own.  I have time.....No, I really don't.  But I promise to treasure her achievements as they happen and make sure she knows that her Mama is there for her, no matter what.

    She couldn't wait to get on the bus!  She is dragging me!
    I know that someday, a long time from now, my children will come to appreciate what I am going through.  I will be there to remind them to treasure the moments because they do not last forever.  And they will think "We have time".....Silly girls.

    So I hope that Peanut, Little Bird and Little Bug have a great first day of school/preschool and I hope they always remember......I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap, a barrel and a heap and I am talking in my sleep about yooooou, yes about you, my hearts a leaping, having trouble sleeping, cause I love you a bushel and a peck, you bet your pretty neck I do!

    P.S. This is the best song ever!  I have sung it to my sweet little girls for a long time!  

    Hope all the kids enjoy their first day of school and the parents remember to slow down and treasure every little moment!   


    What did we get ourselves into? Week 1 Locavore Challenge

    Could you eat locally for one day?  One week?  One month?  One year?  My family and I have taken the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge.  Our goal is one month. We already eat somewhat local because of the vast variety of farms in the valley.  But we want to take this one step further by trying to find not only vegetables and fruits but meats, honey, cheese, maple syrup, etc. The guidelines are to eat within a 250 mile radius and sustainably.  A 250 radius means most of New England and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  I want to keep it a little more local so we are staying within a 100 mile radius.

    We were very excited and could not wait to start the Locavore Challenge!  We were all ready to go then Irene struck.  We were without power for 3 days. Because there was a shortage of dry ice (and in my opinion, poor planning by the local and state emergency management boards), my area didn't get a drop off until Tuesday, right around the same time we got our power back. So we lost all of our perishable food.  Loosing the food though was a blessing in disguise. As we make the switch over to all things natural and organic, one of the guidelines for the switch was that we eat everything we already have.  No throwing out food, as it is very wasteful.  So I felt like in this instance I was not being wasteful, the food went bad on its own. It was a perfect time to start anew!

    But we fizzled right from the start.....The first four days we ate out. We ate local but I am quite certain the food itself was not local. There is now an agreement that we will not be eating out anymore for quite a while. This challenge may have gotten off to a bad start and I am not going to let that stop us from doing this! 

    This weekend we set out to get some groceries in the house.  Lots of things are in season right now and the farmers markets/stands are full of local goodies!  Fall squash is starting to come into season here and I got three acorn squashes that I plan on making some into soup to store for the winter and maybe baking one with butter and brown sugar.  Yum!  I got some double duty beets, you can eat the tops as well as the beet.  Beet tops are OH SO YUM! They taste just like spinach!  I bought double the veggies needed and froze some of the veggies for meals later in the week/month.

    On a side note, I just wish that the farmers market in Ellenville would have a few more artisan vendors like Kingston does. Kingston is a half hour or so ride, Ellenville is about a ten minute ride. The Ellenville market has a beef farm from Rhinebeck come down about once or twice a month (if that) and no vendors that make artisan cheeses or anything like that.  There is one farm and a bakery who are there every Sunday but other than that it's kind of hit or miss. This past Sunday was the farm, the bakery, a local restaurant, a winery, some place that makes avocado smoothies and the local information booth.  It just would be nice to have more variety since we have so many wonderful farms around us!

    We also have been looking into where to get pastured beef, chicken and pork. Right now we buy our beef from a farm stand in Stone Ridge. I found a few farms I can buy pastured beef from directly so it is coming down to comparing quality and price. I have a market where I get whole chickens from in Gardiner and the farm that supplies the market is also in Gardiner.  I have not been able to find a decent place to get pork.  If anyone, who lives in the Hudson Valley, knows of a reputable farm, let me know!

    Photo courtesy of Moo!

    Have you taken the challenge?  How have you done so far?  Have you succeeded or failed?