Happy New Year!

10906521_10203509467041540_4797943210317936694_nWe had a wonderful holiday with family. We celebrated with my parents over Christmas and New Year’s Day. Then this past weekend we headed south to do Christmas and New Years with our daughters and their families. That would include our adorable grandson. It was so much fun to see him and his excitement. It is amazing at only 6 months old he quickly got that the presents were for him.

I love New Years and the thought of a new year and new experiences. I love to reflect on what I have done that is new in the year just ended and what is in store in the new year. I thought I would share some of these things that I hope to do in 2015…

  • Make more cheese. I have only dabbled in this; I want to make more and more cheese and buy less and less cheese.
  • Make candles. My daughter got me candle making stuff for Christmas. I cannot wait to dive into this; on my radar are some very special candles that I will be putting on Etsy… more to come on that as the year progresses.
  • Garden year around. I have a good start on this, but I have MUCH to learn and do here.
  • Understand my bees better; we got bees in 2014 and I continually felt like I did not know what I was doing. By the end of 2015, I want to feel like I do know what I am doing with them.
  • Visit family more.
  • Take down time with hubby-whether it be at home or elsewhere we need to relax and do nothing together more.

So there are some of my hopes for 2015. What about you? New things you want to try? Things you want to learn?

Happy Unleashing in 2015!



Farmgirl Friday Christmas Blog Hop #181


Merry Christmas farmgirl friends! Deb and I are running a little late this week, but not without a good cause! All the Christmas preparations and fun have us in a whirl. Check out Deb’s check list and all that she has been into!

We went to a lovely brass Christmas concert last night and today we are baking cookies and bread. The house smells incredible and out the windows we see sunshine and frost.  I hope that you are mixing in fun and the season spirit into your to do’s.

Blessing to you all this week and into the New Year. We will see you here on the hop in 2015!

DEB AND (ME)- DEBBIE  ( aka Farmgirl Unleashed)  

Remodel Survival Through Christmas

DSCN0329For those of your that have lived through a remodel you know that being in the middle of one at the holidays can be a bit challenging.  If you are doing it yourself, another layer of challenge is added.

A few years back, we were remodeling our dining room at our former home. It had been going on for months. As a matter of fact, the wallpaper alone was approaching 6 months in the removal process. It was a grass textured wall paper with other layers underneath. It had me in check mate and the holiday was fast on its way.

I think more than the fact that it wouldn’t be complete was the fact that I was hating this room a lot at this point since the wallpaper and I could not come to an understanding.

So what’s a girl to do?

Go with it. I decided that if I couldn’t beat it then I would join it and make the room the tackiest room ever! So out came every roll of wrapping paper I could find and the decorating began.




As I started covering the wallpaper with wrapping paper my spirits lifted. I felt like I was in control for just a bit.  I added garland and then decided to not remove my ladder and tools, but include them into the decor!



A friend of mine popped in as I was doing this and she did question my mental health for a bit, but then understood (I think)…


We all loved the new look for Christmas, and it made me forget about the remodel that was seemingly taking over my life. The cheery look also brought a lot of laughs from all who visited.

We even took a holiday picture of Jasmine here.


Have you ever done something a little extreme to regain your sanity in a seemingly impossible situation?

Happy Unleashing your creative side!






Tradition: Holiday Throwdown

We have lots of traditions at the holidays.  One of those is our family cooking throwdown over New Years. We get together with our girls and their significant others each year right after Christmas and through the New Year. We often go somewhere “beachy” although this year we will be at one of their houses due to scheduling challenges for travel. During our trip we select a night and a theme and each of the 4 couples compete for the coveted Throwdown Champ award. The prizes vary between puzzles (we always do a puzzle together on this trip), a game or something that someone has donated as a prize.

There are 8 of us so we crowd into a small kitchen where eight of us cook simultaneously







And some of us have made an escape for a task…DSC_0363

We have competed with pasta, pizza, sliders and appetizers. We have eaten well during these competitions!






We have had awesome foods like the year our Italian competitor made a KILLER vodka sauce for their pasta. We have had the not so good beer cheese dip that ended up a weird consistency.

We have had fun more than anything though...





We cast ballots in the voting booth (the bathroom) and we vote on taste, visual appeal and originality.

So we like to eat so we have incorporated that hobby into a fun, holiday tradition. Let another Holiday Throwdown begin!!!


What are some of your holiday traditions?

Happy Unleashing during the Holidays!


Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #180 and A Little Giveaway from Santa Claus!


Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

I found the cutest little cowgirl boot ornament in Santa Claus, Indiana last weekend and have been running a little giveaway this week for it.


It’s not too late to enter; as a matter of fact I want all of our farmgirl sisters to have a chance to have this cutie pie on your tree! So read here about Santa Claus Indiana and how to enter to win! 

Deb has spent her morning catching up on all the postings from last week. Be sure to stop by and give her a big ol’ howdy today!

And as Deb said on her post, we are both so grateful for all of the sharing each of you do each week here.  We love seeing all that you do and all the incredible talent you have.

And I quote Deb here, “FARMGIRLS ROCK!

Have a wonderful day and week!


When Christmas Goes Down the Drain

On Christmas Eve in 2004, several hours before my parents were to arrive, we had a surprise! And not a nice one…

Now before I tell you about our surprise, let me just say that Mike and I had been engaged for just 6 weeks, we had the house decorated to the nines and we had more food than could feed an army. We had planned and prepped to make this the most perfect Christmas ever.  Let me also share with you that my sister had passed away suddenly early that year and we all needed a celebration.

As we were making our last rounds through the house, we picked up on a smell in the sunroom where the hot tub was. As we got closer the smell became more offensive and we soon realized we were smelling sewage! We lifted the deck flooring that surrounded the tub and we saw that the drain into the main line was totally backed up and coming up into the room and under our flooring we were covered with raw sewage!  YUCK! YUCK! and YUCK!

So what does one do when it is Christmas Eve (no plumbers available) and you have family on the way? You go and rent yourself a massive electric snack and head to the crawl space.

100 foot snake

electric snake 2

Thank goodness the tool rental place was open and could accommodate.  We made multiple trips that day as the 50 foot and 75 foot snakes were not long enough to hit the back up that was way out in the front yard.

Needless to say, I was a mess! On my last trip to the rental joint, I was crying and thought all was ruined.  Mike knew that and while I was gone, he put together a little surprise for me in the crawl space…

crawl space lites1

crawl space lites2

Yep! Mike had hung Christmas lites in the crawl space for me while I was gone. I felt like the Grinch in the scene “it came with out tags, or  ribbons or bows; maybe Christmas is a little bit more.” Yeppers! Christmas was still coming, it was still a happy time and we would have it in our crawl space with our 100 foot electric snake!

debbie and snake

snake and mike

So we went at it in the midst of our Christmas lites and cleared that clog!

all done

That night after everyone was in bed, presents were under the tree and all was nice and clean again we paused and took a picture of ourselves by the fireplace.

us after

Mike and those lites had turned my tears into laughter and smiles. It is a Christmas eve we will not ever forget. What a mess and what a great lesson for us to learn early in our life together. We can count on each other to raise the other up when we need lifting and to see it through to the end — even when it is YUCKY!

Happy Unleashing during this Holiday Season!



Giveaway from Santa Claus


Yes, you read that right. I have a little giveaway direct from Santa Claus– Indiana that is.  Did you know that there is a Santa Claus, Indiana? It is in fact the only place you can get a post mark from Santa Claus in the world!


Of course we had to visit the huge Christmas store. I have never seen so many decorations and ornaments in one place.  It was pretty incredible.


It was in this shop that I found the perfect Christmas ornament for my farmgirl sisters. Take a look at this adorable ornament!


Now what farmgirl doesn’t need a cute cowgirl boot on her tree?!

How do you get this? SIMPLE.

Good Luck!


Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #179

apronHello and welcome to December! It is cold, but not snowy here currently. Fall decorations are down and chopping a Christmas Tree down this weekend is on the agenda. We are reading about what the small, local towns around us do for the holidays and deciding how we can fit in all the light displays, concerts, plays and other fun things. We are heading to my mom and dad’s tomorrow to get their Christmas decorations down from their attic. I have been looking at Etsy, Pinterest and other DIY sites for really cool, make it yourself Christmas gifts. PJ’s are waiting to be sewn. Hubby and I spent a fun filled evening last night with cheese and crackers and wine doing a bit of online shopping for goodies.

Coming off of a great trip seeing all the kids and spending Thanksgiving with our first grandson was supreme! We cooked and ate and played and enjoyed. It has also just made me reflect on how blessed we are. We have a lovely life with great health. Others around us are not so fortunate and each day I thank God for our health and the ability to do and enjoy what we have.

So it is busy, but filled with holiday fun. What are you enjoying and doing? What are you busy with? Do you go over the top with decorating and baking for the holidays or keep it simple? Glad you took time to join us today; share what you are up to!

Be sure to stop by Deb’s she is highlighting a beautiful box and sharing a little power tool envy! I love power tools! How about you?

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #178


Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I know it was yesterday, but we are still celebrating and visiting. We will have a 2nd round of dinner tonight and I can’t wait. I love the leftovers and spending time with family. An added bonus is that much of our food came from our garden this year. For me that made everything taste better! Celebrating with the kids and our first grandson was (and is) glorious!

Deb has been busy this week moving her mom in and decluttering on top of celebrating Thanksgiving! Oh that word… I love the feeling after decluttering but can procrastinate that one pretty successfully. We try to declutter an area, drawer, cabinet or something for 30 minutes a couple times a week. We have much still to go through since our move and although this does not get it done quickly it does move it forward. How about you? How do you do all the stuff you normally do and still find time to declutter those areas that just seem to hold onto things?

I am thoroughly enjoying fall. I am playing around with low tunnels and cold frames outside. Hopefully we will reap a harvest from those efforts.


What about you? How was your Thanksgiving? Are you making gifts for the holiday? Do you bake lots of cookies and yummies? So glad you are spending part of your day with us. Please share what you are up to!apron

Be sure to stop by Deb’s and see who won the giveaway and say hello! Thanks for joining us!



Cranberry Chutney

You may be like me and thought your entire life that you did not like cranberries or cranberry sauce. That stuff in the can just seemed like a glob to me and it had zero appeal. I know that some of you love that stuff and I respect that, but it just seemed like really thick jello to and I am not a jello fan either.

Fast forward to adult life and passing age 45 and I discovered cranberries. Yep, the real deal cranberries. Oh now there is a yummy little morsel!


I tried making several different cranberry sauces and although they were better than the canned stuff they were all so sweet. I am a savory taste person on Thanksgiving–no marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, no honey on the carrots and no cranberry sauce that is sweet like jelly. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweets! But I just save my sweet taste buds for pies at dessert!

A few years back I discovered a cranberry chutney recipe. I cannot recall where I got this from; it might have been Good Housekeeping Magazine. I love it and now it has become a tried and true, Thanksgiving and Christmas thing.

The great thing is that you just dump all this stuff in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer slowly for the afternoon. The recipe says 30 minutes, I simmer for 3 – 4 hours on low. It gets a wonderful think consistency and all the cranberries burst open with flavor.

Here’s what you need to fill your saucepan:

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries

1 C Brown Sugar (make your own using 1 cup of sugar and 1 TBL Molasses mixed up in a food processor)

1/2 C dried apricots chopped

1/2 C Golden Raisins (honestly the dark raisins don’t cut it in this recipe)

1/4 C Cider Vinegar (I use Braggs)

2 TBL minced fresh ginger (so much of the goodness comes from this!)


1 small onion finely chopped

1 clementine or small orange peeled and chopped (save the peel if you brine your turkey)

1/2 tsp salt



Into the sauce pan it all goes. Bring to a boil and then simmer, simmer, simmer. Simmer as long or as short as you want; consistency is up to you. I like mine reduced down good.


This is really great stuff. Yummy on Thanksgiving but really splendid on the turkey sandwich I know you’re gonna have for leftovers!

If you are like me and thought you did not like cranberries or would like something less sweet with a little kick, try this! Let me know if you do and what you think.

Happy Unleashing (in the kitchen this week!)