Happy New Year

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I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with contentment,  happiness, health and love!!

Looking forward to 2016 and sharing more of the many new adventures we have planned for our little homestead!!  Tina

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Grandma Ruth’s Preserve Thumbprint cookies

These cookies are delicious!  Rich buttery flavor with the touch of fruity sweetness from the preserves.

The man’s mother makes a cookie tray for each of her children.  These are one of her cookies and my favorite by far!  This year she turned 80 and has realized it’s too much work to make so many cookies.  She made a 3 ring binder for each of her grandchildren with all of her recipes and a beautiful handwritten not to each of them.  What a special gift!!

Last night we made her thumbprint cookies.  This was my first shot at making these and while not as pretty as hers (which are always perfectly round), they taste the same!  We are bringing them to a family party tonight.

These are ridiculously simple with easy ingredients and dough that is perfect to work with!

2 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter softened

2 eggs, separated

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

finely chopped pecans (or walnuts) to roll cookies in

Any flavor fruit preserves (I used apricot and raspberry)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt and vanilla.  Beat at low speed scraping the bowl often until smooth (about 2 minutes).

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls.

In  small bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy (this is clear with many bubbles)

Dip each ball into the whites and then into the finely chopped nuts.

Place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets (or parchment/silpat)

Make a depression in the center of each cookie with the back of the teaspoon.

Bake for 8 minutes, remove carefully and place a small teaspoon of preserves in the center.  Return to oven and bake for approximately 7-9 more minutes (or until lightly browned on the edges).

Makes about 36 cookies!

 

Little Cabin in the woods

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Our new cabin in our woods

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I have always wanted a cabin in the woods since I was a little girl.

My uncle and his wife had a small cabin that we would visit with our family a few times a year.  It was nestled way up on a hill and in the winter we would spend the day there with our entire extended family and sled down the hill, drink hot cocoa and have chili or soup for dinner.  In the summer we would play in the open fields and fish for catfish in their small stocked pond.  It was always such a cozy place to visit with the woodstove heating the house surrounded by family and full of fun!

We built a camping area behind our horse pastures a few years ago.  You can see how we enjoyed it in my past posts here:  Camp out visitors  and Staycation Vacation

This year the man decided it was time to make a more permanent addition to the camping area so we can literally stay back there all summer, fall and even winter with the addition of propane heat!  At our local county fair we designed a small “shell” of the cabin we dreamed of and had the Amish build and deliver it.

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Slowly we are finishing the inside to our vision. We started by building and painting a ladder for the kids to use to get into the loft which will be their sleeping area with feather beds to lay on and nice warm down comforters to snuggle in.  We designed it so it is large enough to fit 4 adults so they can have friends sleep over comfortably.  I found foam pad pieces in a hardwood design and we lined the floor of the loft with it.  There is also a full size window so they can see the horses and enjoy a summer breeze.  The railing comes from a garbage pick I found and we sanded and rounded it and cut it to size.  It’s perfect!

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Next came insulation inside and a rustic wonderful ceiling to keep it warm and cozy in the winter and cool in the summer.  I was thankful for the man’s brother coming to finish it off as it was hard work and I was tired of holding boards up with my hand and head while the man nailed them in! Thanks Uncle Tom!!!!

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Outside a new fire pit has been constructed so we can cook our meals and enjoy family and friend time around a bonfire.  The horses love being close by.  The man and teen planted a few beautiful pine trees we can watch grow over the years.  Wrinkles is already enjoying her new spot on the porch to relax while we work.

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The views of the ice pond, warming shanty, woods and sunsets are stunning from the porch!  Even though we are cleaning up and burning the leaves, the weather is so mild I am not sure when we will be able to ice skate on the pond.

Next up we will be building a small kitchen area and purchasing some multi-functional furniture for sitting and sleeping.

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This is our new little piece of Heaven right here on Earth 🙂