As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Friday, January 30, 2015

A Weekend Chat


The weekend starts out with our sweet Nora's 6th birthday! What a gift she was to our family those 6 years ago...and what a gift she still is, with her quiet and gentle spirit, her beautiful voice, and beaming smile. When we called her this evening to sing "Happy Birthday" to her, she was full of excitement about this grand and glorious day.



In honor of Nora's birthday, I'll share this poem by A. A. Milne...

NOW WE ARE SIX
When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
Now and forever.

Happy birthday, Nora...now and forever!




Saturday will be full...lots of coming and going and projects. Ron is helping Brian and Kristin with another house project. Bekah is taking some 4-H workshops. Kati and I will be cleaning and cooking and bizzing around the house. 

We have started off the new year with some productive school time. House projects, on the other hand, have taken a back seat. I have several small things waiting in the wings. Maybe this weekend... or maybe not... 




Of course, this Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, but we are just not sports people (notable exception: our son-in-law Brian). However, we can really get into some Super Bowl food, so we'll be cooking up some meatball sliders and potato wedges. Board game, anyone? :)




What's happening in your world on this last weekend in January? Are you happy to be able to check off this month of winter? Are you counting the months to spring? The weeks? The days? (I asked a friend that question this week and she said that she was counting the hours! She is really longing for spring!)


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter in the Farmhouse


After the rich color of autumn followed by the fullness of holiday decor, The Farmhouse is ready to breathe a little. Winter decor should be cozy, but gentler, don't you think? Kind of warm and welcoming and "come and sip a cup of tea"-ish. Maybe a few bits of nature reflecting what is just outside the door. 

Have a peek around. I even have a cup of tea there for you. :)

















What is your house like in the wintertime? Do you let it rest?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls



We've been watching The Pioneer Woman on Netflix Instant. The entire first season, watched in a week. So when I offered to bring bread to Kristin's house on Sunday, this recipe came to mind immediately. 

These delectable Buttered Rosemary Rolls begin with frozen bread dough! (One of my resident bakers did not approve. She insisted that we should make our own dough. But this particular baker did not volunteer to rise in the wee hours of Sunday morning to make said dough, and frozen dough sounded pretty good to me, so we went with it.) 

They were easy to make and soooooo good! So good, in fact (and so easy!), that I made another batch to accompany Monday evening's dinner. Mmmmmm....








I made some extra rolls in a baking dish which worked just as well, although I liked the presentation of the cast iron pan.


BUTTERED ROSEMARY ROLLS


frozen unbaked dinner rolls
3 tablespoons butter, divided
chopped fresh rosemary
coarse salt

* * *

Directions:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an iron skillet over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and allow pan to cool for 10 minutes.

Place the frozen dinner rolls in the warm skillet, allowing space between rolls. Cover with a dish towel and set aside to rise for several hours.
(On Sunday morning, I hurried the thawing/rising process by placing my pan in the oven which I had preheated to 200 degrees and then turned off.)

When rolls have risen, melt 2 tablespoons butter and brush butter onto rolls.
Sprinkle with coarse salt and then with chopped rosemary.

Bake for 14 minutes at 350 degrees, or until tops of rolls are golden brown.


*This recipe is found ~here~ on The Pioneer Woman's blog, but I used the (very slightly different) directions in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.




Do you enjoy watching cooking shows? What are your favorites?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday Snapshots: A Treat


Yesterday, we were treated to an afternoon at Kristin's house. 

Lots of treats...


A scrumptious winter meal
apple cider beef stew, cheddar mashed potatoes, peas, rosemary rolls


Yummy banana cake made by Maddie



A piano solo by Owen



Lots of conversation. No picture of this, but take my word for it. We hadn't seen one another in two whole weeks and there was a lot to catch up on!


Not sure if I'd consider this a "treat" but I think know Ron did.
The men did a few impromptu house projects including taking down a large mirror in the foyer that the previous owners had adhered to the wall.
(My man loves a house project! He went from nodding off in Brian's recliner to being fully engaged with ripping off huge shards of glass.) 




Were there any treats in your weekend?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"I Will Bring You Home"


I talk a lot about home here on my blog, whether it's making a home, homeschooling, home cooking, decorating, or gathering people in our home. But this week I have been listening to a song that has challenged me to even deeper thinking about home. 

It's one of those songs that has different levels of meaning. The Lord has been a home to His people, the nation of Israel, throughout their history. But He is also a home to His people --the Church, His bride-- as we are homeless people, strangers and aliens in this world, on the way to our permanent home. 

He IS my home. 

The Farmhouse? I love it and I am grateful for it, but it is temporary. Its only value is in how it is used in His service. 

May I find true satisfaction, my heart's deepest desires, in my Redeemer.

"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come." Hebrews 13:14




Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Cooking {Beef Stew}


I love cooking during the winter months! There is just something comforting about a soup or stew simmering on the back burner while we're finishing up school in the afternoon. I like using hearty ingredients like root vegetables or winter squash. And isn't the yeasty aroma of rising bread intoxicating? 

Recent meals at our house have included 
  • a potato, onion, and bacon frittata 
  • homemade meat sauce and spaghetti (with enough sauce to put in the freezer for another meal)
  • cream of potato soup
  • Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Pulled Pork

This week, we revisited this yummy recipe for Beef Stew with Noodles. Beef stew is a favorite with Ron, so I was happy to surprise him with this as he came home from work. 

Here is the recipe with my tweaks...



BEEF STEW with NOODLES

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
2 pounds boneless beef cubes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
coarse salt, ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 32-oz.box reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used what I had left of a bag; it may not have been 1/2 pound.)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups extra-wide egg noodles
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar


Directions:
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat shortening over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until seared and brown, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and stir to coat onions and beef cubes. Cook about a minute.

Stir in broth and water, loosing brown bits in bottom of pan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Stir in noodles and continue cooking for about 6 minutes.

Add peas and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until noodles are soft.
(That night, I had a bag of Steamers in the freezer, so I cooked them in the microwave and added 1 cup of the peas to the stew with the parsley and vinegar.)

Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and vinegar.




What kinds of winter foods are you cooking up these days? Do you cook differently in the wintertime?


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekend Snapshots: Another Visit!


~ photo by Bekah ~


There were many years of great distance between us and our son's family. Visits were once a year, or sometimes even two years. When they moved back to the East, visits were a bit more frequent, but there were still long stretches when we could not be together. 

But now...oh, how wonderful it is for us to be able to hop into the car and head on over for a weekend! We met Baby Paul in early December, and then, less than six weeks later, we got to see him again! We are actually going to be able to watch him BE a baby! Not only that, but we are forging new relationships with the other three children! We are no longer faces on a computer screen or names on a "happy package" or voices on the telephone, but we are Gran and Papa in the flesh! A couple of days before we visited, Sarah told us that Peter kept saying, "Two more days 'til Papa and Gran come!" and then he'd clap his little hands. We LOVE that!

(I know I'm using lots of exclamation points here, but I am feeling exclamatory!) :)

So here I am with a very grandmother-ish post...with lots of pictures of our time together.


Peter had drawn a picture of Papa and Gran to greet us.


Aunt Kati met Paul for the first time! (She had to work the first time we came.)


So this time there were THREE women to take turns cuddling Paul!


Presents for all!








Eve (7) with Aunt Kati


Nora (almost 6) with Aunt Kati


Aunts and nephews.




Paul and his mama, our beloved daughter-in-law Sarah.


Guy time at the grill. 


We played our own version of Pictionary...fun for all!


Three generations.


On Sunday, Kati did a photo shoot with all the children.





We had a mini birthday celebration with Nora who will be 6 in a few days.



Good-byes are not so painful these days.
Instead of tears and sniffles, we hug and say, "See you next month!"

I totally love that!

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