Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fall Fun at the Farmhouse!!!

The Old Farmhouse Gathering Team on Etsy will start it's Fall Celebration tomorrow and run through July 23rd. There are some really talented people on this team and I am really proud to be a part of such a fine group of artisans.

Below is a sneak peak at what I have included in the celebration. Click on the photo below and start your fall shopping today!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Was Invited... link my Vanilla Ice Cream recipe on Sweet as Sugar Cookies blog. There are so many wonderful Sweet Treats for Saturday, I don't know which one I want to make first. Click on the photo below if you want to make any one of the fabulous desserts that have been posted.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 cups vegetables, broccoli, red and/or green bell peppers, snow peas
  • 1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained

  • Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Keep warm.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, 20 to 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with favorite cooked rice.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Not Sure What These Are Called But They Sure Are Pretty!

    This is a photo of a hanging basket my mom has hanging in the front of her house. It is absolutely gorgeous!!! There's one problem though. We don't know what the name of these flowers are called and the best way to care for them. I wish that florists would make sure they include a tag and instructions with their plants. Makes it a whole lot easier.

    Do you know what they are??? Click on the photos for a larger view.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    2 cups heavy cream
    2 cups whole milk
    3/4 cups sugar
    2 tsp vanilla
    Pinch salt

    Whisk all ingredients together until sugar dissolves. Pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to freezer container. Allow to cure for at least one hour. Serve over warmed Blueberry Cobbler (see yesterday's post) or garnish with favorite toppings!!!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Blueberry Cobbler & Homemade Ice Cream or is that Homemade Ice Cream & Blueberry Cobbler?

    Berry Cobbler

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    We Love A Good Party!

    June in our family is a party month! My son-in-law's birthday and my two grandchildren celebrate their birthdays in June. This year the grandkids had their family birthday party combined. My grandson turned 2 on the 15th and my granddaughter turns 6 on the 28th. With everyone so busy, it was easier on my daughter and son-in-law to combine their party. For now, at their ages, they are okay with it. They had fun handing each other their gifts and watching each other open them. (Truth be told, we adults enjoy it just as much I think.)

    The cake was a hit! That was a combined cake too. The bakery did a great job with Dora and Diego decorating the cake. It worked out perfect since my granddaughter likes Dora and my grandson likes Diego :)

    Friday, June 17, 2011


    Peonies are truly one of my favorite flowers. The plants can grow very large and the blooms are just gorgeous. It seems that every year the flowers are more beautiful than they were the year before. It also seems that just as they begin to open we have a huge wind and rain storm which knocks that heavy blossoms down. (I tell myself that I will remember next year to stake the plant and every year it's the same thing - I forget!!!)

    Single large open blossom. 

    Peonies growing among the Hostas. 
    Makes a striking arrangement! 

    Peonies are a great flower for cutting 
    and makes a beautiful centerpiece. 

    Peonies come in a variety of colors. 

    Try growing some in your flower garden.
    Can be grown in most any state in the US!

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    To Market, To Market!!!

    See you tomorrow :)

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Blueberry Ice Cream

    Blueberry Ice Cream

    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
    1 TBS lemon juice
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    Pinch of salt
    2 cups half -n- half (you can use heavy cream for a richer ice cream)

    Dissolve sugar in 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over low heat. When sugar is dissolved, add blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to burst.

    Remove from heat. You can mash the berries if you want, but I don't.

    Allow to cool to room temperature. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

    Once berries have chilled completely, add half -n- half. Combine thoroughly. Pour into your favorite ice cream maker following the manufacturers directions.

    If you like a soft ice cream, serve immediately. Or, allow to freeze for an hour or so to firm up a little.

    Makes approximately 1 quart.


    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Getting Ready!

    The blue birdhouse mounted on our shed was given to us about 15 years ago by dear neighbors of ours; Jim & Delsie. They have since passed away but are always remembered for their love for people and nature. They were wonderful examples to us and we miss them dearly.

    Every year we have to laugh at the Starlings who attempt to squeeze their fat little bodies in the tiny hole. Needless to say (and very thankful at that) they are unable to nest in that box.

    A few years ago a Robin decided to build her nest ON TOP of the birdhouse. For two years, we had Eastern Bluebirds raise families in the house. They were fantastic parents, weren't shy around us at all and we were able to experience every one of their babies fledge.

    (Public domain photo)

    This year we have a family of Song Sparrows who decided to take up residence. They too are wonderful parents flitting back and forth feeding their little ones who are themselves about ready to leave the nest. These little sparrows aren't shy either. Just this morning as I was having coffee, sitting on my porch swing and working on a Ladies Bible Study I will be teaching in a couple of weeks, the male decided to sit on the deck with me as well (I could almost reach out and pet him).

    The picture only shows two little ones peeking their heads out when in fact there are three. I've tried to get a picture of all three but they just won't let me.

    Here's a couple of pictures with the parents feeding the babes:

    I venture to say that the little ones are getting ready to leave the nest any day. They keep venturing out a little further each time I see them.

    (Click on each photo to get a closer look.)

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Grab Your Tissues

    No one knows the hardships of people. We pass so many people on the streets, in the stores, in our communities, in our workplace and even in our own families. We cannot ever know the depth of the hurts of others nor the challenges that people face whether it be physical or emotional. People all around the world have needs that we may never hear about.

    Here's a young man in Korea who has lived a very tough life from the age of three. Take a few minutes to view the following video to hear a very small portion of his life story. I can't even begin to imagine what he has truly had to endure. WARNING: You want to grab your tissues. There wasn't a dry eye in the house and there won't be one in yours either.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Blueberries - Yummy!!!

    When we bought our house 21 years ago, there was only one Blueberry Bush already on the property. It was probably about 10 years old or older at the time. It was sickly and spindly, had so much woody stems and no growth. We might have gotten less than a couple of blueberries, if the birds didn't get to them first that is!

    Over the years, I have pruned and pruned and pruned. Even though I would read that you need to have more than one bush in order for good pollination to occur, we just never did get around to  planting any other bushes (until last year and it is still very small).

    For the past two years, this bush has produced an abundance of blueberries; big, beautiful, tender, sweet blueberries. Last year, I actually froze 4 gallons of blueberries!!!

    This year, the bush is so heavily laden with fruit, I'm pretty sure there will be even more than 4 gallons! Yay!!! If you click on the photo, you can see how large the fruit is already and they still have about a month before harvest.

    I'm thinking muffins, pies, cheesecake and an amazing BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM!!!! I'll have to post that recipe soon!

    In order to keep the birds from eating all the blueberries, we cover the bush with netting. We started to do that yesterday but for some reason couldn't find the netting. And it started to get pretty windy and that stuff can be a bugger to work with. So my husband has the stakes in the ground and all he needs to do is scout out the netting so we get that covered this week.

    We did have supervisors while we were working outside yesterday afternoon!!! Take a look at who thinks they are in charge :)

    This is Lucky Boy!!! He's probably about 10 years old now and loves to have a run around the Blueberry Bush after we have the netting around it. He's so funny! We inherited him from my nieces before they moved to Florida. He lives year round outside and loves it!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and he loves lovin'! Just start scratching his face and ears and you've made a friend for life. I think he was probably disappointed that the blueberries aren't protected yet. Patience Lucky, patience!

    Why is it that some dogs do not like looking at the camera? Do you think they know that they are having their picture taken and are a little camera shy? This is Maggie! Maggie is 11 years old and is part Australian Shepherd. She is certainly the smartest dog I have ever been around. She actually taught herself to bring me my slippers! I never even thought about teaching any dog how to do that, but she felt that was something she needed to do.

     Maggie LOVES to garden. I will be pruning dead limbs, pulling weeds, whatever - and she has her nose right in my hand pulling everything out of my hands and throwing it on the ground wherever she wants. (I don't have the heart to tell her that I actually have to clean up the yard twice when she HELPS!) We have even had her carry large tree limbs for us! She really is a hard worker and loves to please. Hey, everyone has to earn their keep around here.

    If anyone has any favorite blueberry recipes, would love to have you pass them on. Maybe we can even get a Blueberry Cookbook together. Now, that sounds like a good idea!!!

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Do You Have A Favorite?

    When I'd first gotten married (almost 32 years ago), my husband and I (mostly me) were asked what it was we'd like to collect for our home. Neither one of us had to spend too much time thinking about it - we already knew what we liked. So for the past 32 years we have been collecting pigs. If you stepped inside our home and spent any time with us, it would soon become evident that that is what we have all around our home. I've lost count now but at one point we had over 200 pigs in various forms - from cloth to ceramic to brass to resin and most any other form that's out there. We have mugs, creamers, banks, plates, salt and pepper shakers, napkin holders, butter dishes, serving trays and more. We have pigs in ballerina tutus, pigs in gondolas, sleeping pigs, pigs rolling on their backs and even a pig with a broken foot. Have you ever heard of the game Pig Mania? We have that too! We have white pigs, black pigs, brown pigs and of course pink pigs.

    Most of the pigs we've collected over the years were gifts to us for various events; birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. We have pigs that we've retired because they've become fragile over time.  Even though my decorating style and colors have changed over the years, we have never lost our love for pigs. In fact, whenever we visit the local fairs in the summer, I tend to want to spend the most time with the pigs. I'm fascinated by their prickly hair, their thick skin, curly tail and their wet, curious snouts. In fact, we even owned a Pot Belly pig at one time. Boy, I could tell you stories about that time in our lives :) All I will say about that period in our lives is "Duh, what were we thinking?!?" We weren't even living in PA at the time. We were living in a city in Northern New Jersey (in fact we lived 11 miles outside of New York City)! We did own our home here in PA and would travel in our Ford Escort wagon with our two kids, dog and pig for long weekends! Made for a very interesting 2 1/2 hour ride.

    Okay, you know a little more about me. What about you? Is there a favorite collectible you have in your home?

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Handmade Blog Party Sunday

    Click on the photo above and show off what you are making for yourself, for others or for sale!!!

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Let the voting begin!

    Please take a minute and head over to The Old Farmhouse Gathering Team blog and cast your vote! The team has worked hard on their entries and would love for you to choose your favorite. The winner of the most votes will receive a wonderful prize AND there will be a winner chosen randomly from all those who leave a comment on June 12th.

    Click on the photo above and cast your vote today!

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Flag Day Appreciation Challenge

    The Old Farmhouse Gathering team is having a 
    Flag Day Appreciation Challenge!!!

    Mark your calendars! Beginning tomorrow, June 4th through Saturday, June 11th, you will have an opportunity to vote on your favorite Flag Day item. Would love it if you would stop by on the 4th, take a look at all the entries and VOTE!

    There are twelve Old Farmhouse Gathering team members that have entered the Flag Day Appreciation Challenge!!! You will have a tough time choosing who to vote for.

    Here's an early look at what I'm entering in the Challenge:

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Makes Me Think of ...

    Family, barbeques, baseball games, fireworks, Independence and Freedom! (For ordering info, please click the photo above.)

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Happy Birthday!!!

    To our wonderful son-in-law Don!!! You are a blessing in our lives and we love you very much! Enjoy your day!

    This Is How I Feel :)

    I'm melting! Melting!  Oh, what a world, what a world!

    Every season has it's own uniqueness and beauty, but I must admit I do have my favorites and this is not one of them. I know it's not "officially" summer yet, but it sure does feel like it. 

    To make me feel better, I visited my local quilt shop and purchased some fall and winter fabrics. Didn't make me feel cooler but it sure made my day!