Tag Archives: Fall / Autumn

Homemade Chai Tea

I love the taste and the smell of Chai Tea… I hate the price tag at coffee shops…. So, Let’s make our own!!


Chai Tea: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.


I simmer 3 black tea bags in a pot with 4-6 cups of water. I add my spices in a cheesecloth or flour sack wrap that I tied close

Spice bag is filled with several cinnamon sticks, and about a Tablespoon of whole allspice, whole cloves and whole coriander, 3 or 4 whole star anise. I also add about 1 teaspoon of ginger and cracked black pepper. This mixture gives a yummy spice flavoring. Sometimes I will add some licorice root as well to change the flavor. 

I cut a flour sack to a 6x6in square and place all of my spices in the center and then tie the top. 

Once brewed, let the tea sit and seep for about an hour to meld all of the spice flavors. 

Fill a glass 2/3 with the tea mixture and add ice and top with milk. I sweeten mine with liquid stevia or local honey.

Have some yummy tea for me! <3

The smell of fall – simmering potpourri

I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating  fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.

I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time.  I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.

We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!

Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other

burner.  This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side. 

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove

This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus. 


For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit. 

After 1 hour, the mixture is simmering down.

Better Breathing

  • 1/4 cup eucalyptus
  • 2T lemongrass
  • 2T whole cloves


Fall is HERE 

  • 1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, whole 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Open your Mind

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Harvest Spice

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Fresh and clean

  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
  • 1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chai Tea Potpourri

  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • 1t  cinnamon
  • 1t cloves
  • 1t allspice,
  • 1/2 t black pepper,
  • 1/2 t ginger,
  • 1/2 t coriander seed,
  • 1t mace,
  • 1 star anise

If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite snacks is pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or roasted pumpkin seeds (whole). I eat them on salads, in my homemade granola or just as a snack.  You can salt them and roast, or roast plain. You can flavor with lime and chili or with cinnamon and sugar. I obviously only make this is the fall and hopefully  it lasts for a while. 🙂

To start, I separate the seeds from the pumpkin string pulp. This is not an exact science. But I do have a ton of little hands (and kunekune pigs who love the pulp) and toss those seeds into a strainer and rinse. 

Next, lay seeds out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. And let air dry for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once dried, toss with a tsp of olive oil and spread back out. Sprinkle with your topping/ flavor of choice.(or leave plain) This can be garlic powder, sea salt, chili and lime juice etc.

Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir and back in for 10 more minutes. 




Pumpkin Cheesecake (one cheesecake in a pie pan and 20 cupcakes)


Crust for cupcakes (do this recipe twice – the second one is for the cheesecake in a pie pan):

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 C   sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter


  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down into cupcake papers. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into  cupcake crusts and into the pie crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 30 minutes for the cupcakes and 1 hour for the cheesecake. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Turkey Handprints – craft for Thanksgiving

This is such a FUN and EASY Thanksgiving project. You need construction paper – brown, orange, red and yellow, glue sticks, a pencil, a black marker and a pair of scissors.

  1. Trace your hand one time on each of the red, yellow and orange papers and cut them out.
  2. Cut a oval out of the brown paper.
  3. Cut a triangle out of the orange
  4. Glue the 3 hands on the back of the oval
  5. Add eyes on the front with the marker and then add the beak.

We had SO much fun making these today with our friends, Wyatt, Gus and William.

Kris' Potato Soup (stolen partially from my sister, Jen!)

My sister is AMAZING and gave me this potato soup recipe years ago. It was handwritten on lined paper. Last week in a FRANTIC search, we couldn’t find my favorite potato soup recipe… I called up Jen and asked her if she would send me another copy. She couldn’t find her’s either but did email a quick semi-recipe. ( I LOVE my sister!!!)


Here’s her email!

Cant find it.. here is a quick recap of whats in it but you can add anything you think sounds yummy..
Boil cubed potatoes in big pot
In a pan cook cut up bacon. Remove cooked bacon and in the grease cook onions, celery, green onions, fresh garlic, shredded carrots till mushy.
Remove potatoes from big pot and make a sauce….melt a stick of butter and add about a half cup flour and stir constantly so it dosen’t burn. When slightly brown add milk and keep stiring with a whisk. add as much milk as you would like your soup thin.
Lightly drain onions from bacon grease but leave some in for flavor
Add all cooked ingredients to pot
add a few handfuls of cheese and salt and pepper
Heat through
I think that’s about it but I always end up adding other little things:)
Here’s what I came up with!!
Kris’ Potato Soup
  • 5 pounds+ Potatoes peeled, and cubed
  • 1/2 pound carrots – sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound celery – sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (OPTIONAL) – chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion – chopped
  • fresh rosemary or basil (you don’t have to use fresh but to me tastes a WHOLE LOT BETTER – Bountiful Basket always has fresh herbs in their add-ons too – You can always dehydrate what you can’t use fresh for later… I have a herb garden throughout my house and garden which includes 3 types of mint, rosemary, 2 types of thyme, 3 types of basil)
  • 1 pound bacon chopped
  • stick of butter
  • 1/2 c flour (we grind our own)
  • 1/2 Gallon of milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Cheese for top

  1. add cubed potatoes to a pot of water. Boil for 25 minutes or until tender and slightly mushy
  2. meanwhile, cook bacon in a pan on low.
  3. when about 1/2 cooked, add celery, bell pepper, carrots, onions, rosemary, and garlic and simmer until bacon is fully cooked and veggies are tender.
  4. drain potatoes when finished and set aside.
  5. in potato pot(no potatoes in here, yet), melt stick of butter  and add the 1/2 C Flour. Stir (whisk) into a “rue”. Add your bacon / veggie mixture
  6. Add milk and stir into a sauce
  7. Add potatoes
  8. add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with grated cheese on top

This recipe is FANTASTIC (Made it again today!!). Serve in bread bowls or with fresh sourdough loaves and a salad.

Thankful jars just in time for Thanksgiving

November to me represents everything that I am thankful for. The leaves are changing colors, fall is HERE! Time to start baking, and using those apple sauces and canned foods that we worked so hard to create over the summer. I love pumpkin and cranberries with a touch of cloves and cinnamon.

  • This year, I am thankful that we are in our new bigger house.
  • I am thankful that God is in our lives.
  • I am thankful that Lar has a job in this economy (even if I have been eager to disagree about the cuts that he received).
  • I am thankful for my family, my friends and my health.
  • I am thankful that we have the options to homeschool even with the harshest criticism from people who *were* our friends.
  • I am thankful that I am so close to finishing my art degree even with the battles that I have fought!
  • I am thankful that food is plentiful and that I can feed my ever-growing family and have learned to coupon shop to the fullest extent.
  • I am thankful for the followers of my blog and hope that I can continue to serve your throughout the upcoming year.

So the project for the day: OUR THANKFUL JARS

You will need a mason jar (or a recycled spaghetti sauce jar from your kitchen) and a lid, plus some paper (construction or scrapbook), glue and embellishments.

My kids used glitter, fake flowers, stamps and ink, decorative scissors and ribbon.

We spent about 90 minutes cutting gluing and decorating our jars.

Then, I cut 2 12×12 scrapbook papers into 1×6 strips. Every day between now and Thanksgiving, each person in the family is going to write 1 thing on a strip and drop it into their jar – their name gets to go on the back and the thankful on the front of the strip. On Thanksgiving, we are going to take them out and staple these together and make a paper chain to hang in our school room.

fall crayon leaf art

Berlyn's Wax Paper Leaf Art

Looking for some fun fall activities for the kids? This is a FUN and EASY project, These look fabulous in your windows for fall.

What you need:

  • crayons
  • wax paper (2 equal sizes sheets)
  • leaves
  • butter knife or crayon sharpener
  • 2 cloth diapers or old kitchen towels
  • iron
  1. Take your first piece of paper (some are wax on 2 sides, other are on one) Wax up and lay it on an old dish towel or cloth diaper.
  2. Use the sharpener or butter knife to “shave” pieces of crayon
  3. Add leaves and crayon pieces to the wax paper.
  4. Add second sheet of wax paper on top on the leaves and crayon shavings to make a “sandwich”.
  5. Layer the second dish towel on top.
  6. Iron gently, making sure that you move the iron to not burn the paper. (Once the crayons are melted, you are done!!!)
  7. Trim the paper even and hang on your window!!!
Even Larry got involved with this project!!!
Rowan's Wax Paper Leaf Art
My Berlyn getting ready to work on his project
Rowan using the sharpener on her crayons
My nephew Jacob NEEDED to make one too for his window at home!!

T-Shirt Scarf?

Now, I do admit that I am creative… but after seeing this on not one but TWO of my favorite sites, I had to try it for myself.  This was SUPER EASY! (both Cut Out and Keep and Kevin & Amanda)

I went to Goodwill and found 4 shirts with $1 tags (my favorite colors) and got to work. I LOVE visiting Goodwill. Sometimes I find SUPER BARGAINS and other times nothing that really interests me.  🙂 I bought a green, blue, brown and white tee-shirt.

You can use any TEE-SHIRTS as long as they have a bit of stretch to them still. Recycle what you have in your dresser – even ones that are stained.

Now you need to start at the bottom and cut ringlets straight across the shirt –  1 inch wide. You need 7 from each shirt (not the bottom hem, you will need that one later for this project.

Next, you will need to give each of these circles a stretch and wrap them around your hand in a circle. You need to make piles to use. 🙂

This is the no-sew finale comes in… you take the hem of the shirt that you cut off at the beginning and tie pieces between each “circle” making a chain of your circles in a pattern that you choose (or make them random).

Once that you have all 28 circles chained together, then you have yourself an AMAZING new winter scarf from recycled tee-shirts.

Have a FUN and colorful start to winter and enjoy your new scarf!!