Christmas 2015 Throw Back Tour

Hey everyone! We’ve been busy working on this year’s Christmas decor around the farm. We’re excited about some new things for 2016. In the meantime, let’s take a mini tour of the house decor from 2015. Hope you will enjoy it and who knows? Maybe you will have a little inspiration!
Let’s start through the front door! As you enter the front door, and step into the foyer, the first thing you see is the living room tree.  I love having the tree here. It looks pretty through the leaded glass doors at night! As you pass down the street, it looks like it is sparkling! You can also see the tree from the dining room and study. It’s nice to see it while we share our Christmas Eve dinner.
This tree is decorated with an assortment of ornaments. I used ornaments in different shades of pink, greens, blues and golds. Most of them I have had for years. The walls in this room are pale gold, and the Aubusson needlepoint rugs are off white with floral bouquets in all of these colors. The ceiling of the foyer has a handpainted scene with cherubs and florals.
None of my trees actually have a theme. I’ve just enjoyed collecting ornaments that are interesting and that I love, and also that go with the color scheme of the room. Since this tree is in the formal part of the home, it is decorated in an elegant, almost Victorian style. I have vintage Victorian furniture in the living room.
To the left of the foyer is the study, let’s visit this room. Actually this room is a study, library and guest bedroom. This room is also done in pinks and greens. This little tabletop tree gives this room a cozy, and welcoming glow. I have it decorated in pretty pink vintage ornaments. In Victorian times, you would often see these tabletop trees in decor.
On this ladies writing desk, I have a vintage pink typewriter. I enjoy decorating around it for the different seasons. This was taken on a day that I made our family recipe of Brownstone Front Cake.
To the right of the foyer is the dining room. This room is what I call Old World style. I fell in love with these toile parsons’s chairs done in this Bosporus fabric. This is the tablescape that I used during Christmas and during our annual Christmas Eve dinner. The plates are from Johnson Brothers and called Old Britain Castles. I use them every year. This nativity set is I always used as a centerpiece.
The tree in this room is actually one normally used on the front porch or patio. I decorated it in colors that I pulled from the chairs and needlepoint rug. There are peacocks and florals in the rug in beautiful jewel tones of teal, turquoise, reds, greens and golds.
The next room you will see is the sitting area of the master bedroom. This room is simply decorated with two white slipcovered club chairs, ottoman, and white shag area rug.  As you can see, there are also touches of pink.
Here, I have another pink tabletop tree. The mantel is covered with a white snow blanket and lights hidden underneath for a winter scene. Bottle brush trees, a little glittered coach with horse and glittered cottage gives the mantel a dreamy, storybook look.
My bed is covered with a white matelasse bedspread and shams. I found the pink and white toile, european pillow shams, years ago and just had to have them! I think they look so elegant. To complete the look, I have these beautiful toile stockings displayed in this room.
This is a picture of my farmhouse apron sink decorated in simple greens and gingham ribbon. I think this sink is one of the focal points in my kitchen.
Another focal point in my kitchen is my Country Charm Stove, one of my favorite pieces in my home. It is cast iron with a porcelain top. It is a reproduction of an old wood cook stove, electrified. This little lady has served our family well for many years.
Our final room on the tour today is the family room. This is where the family gathers. As you can see this is a bright and cheerful space. Yellow! The tree in this room is decorated in an assortment of ornaments that coordinate with the colors from these two comfy chairs and the needlepoint rug. This is a room where we can all relax and hang out.
The mantel in this room is decorated with a vintage, glittered, putz village that we have had in the family since I was a little girl. It is just magical! My mother used to place it underneath the Christmas tree. I would sit and stare at it for hours, letting my imagination travel to Christmases long ago.
I hope you enjoyed our little Christmas tour 2015!. We’re excited for Christmas 2016!  We have done some new things this year and I can’t wait to share! Hope you will check back to see!
Have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!


No Bake Cookies

I posted this photo on Instagram last night, and the response was immediate! I had so many requests for this simple recipe, that I thought I had to share it on here also.  To be honest, I have no idea where the recipe came from, I have had it forever, but please be careful! These cookies are extremely addictive!

No Bake Cookies

1 cup Sugar, 2 Tbs. Cocoa, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 stick butter

Mix these 4 ingredients in a pan. 
Cook on medium heat until it starts to boil. Cook additional 1-2 minutes. Stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. 
Cool 1 minute. 

Add a pinch of salt, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal. 

Stir and drop by the spoonful on wax paper. Let cool and set up. 
Store in air tight container.

For Pinterest

Fall/Winter Lettuce Crops, Garden Hoops, and Frost Quilts

This year, we decided to use our above ground garden to plant a lettuce crop to harvest into the winter.  Lettuce tends to do well in our area because it thrives in temperatures from 45-65 degrees F. Our lettuce plants are doing beautifully, they are super easy, and it is so rewarding to be able to walk to the garden and pick a bowl of fresh greens for our dinner, a snack for the chickens/turkeys/guineas, or a big bowl to feed the bunnies! Lettuce also continues to grow after you have plucked a few leaves, making this an excellent winter crop that could extend to spring if you live in the regions that don't suffer from extreme temperatures. Also, you don't have to have a huge raised bed or in ground garden to grow lettuce. You can grow lettuce in a small pot on your porch, all it requires is good quality dirt (we recommend Good Dirt), light, water, and protection from extreme heat or cold. 
On a recent morning, the weatherman announced that the "growing season" technically ended in our area when the temperatures went down to 23 degrees. Apparently, he has never heard of something we decided to try a few weeks ago in hopes of extending the growing season of our lettuce garden for as long as possible. Using some new products that Gardener's Supply Company sent to us, I am very happy to say that our lettuce not only survived the cold snap, but it did so beautifully, without one bit of damage!
What are these miracle products? Garden Hoops and Frost Quilts
Garden super hoops were so easy to install, you simply bend them into spot with little effort, and stick them in the ground, securing them with garden staples. These row cover hoops do an excellent job of not allowing the moist cover fabric to lay on the tender plants, which keeps them from freezing.

The frost quilt itself, which is sometimes called floating row covers, was rated for temperatures down to 24 degrees, which should protect our garden for much of our winter. It rarely gets much lower than that here. I am very pleased to say that when I went down to the garden that morning, a bit nervous, I must admit, my lettuce plants had survived!

The garden quilt frost protector is made of polypropylene fibers that allows 60% of light to pass through. It was raining this morning, so I went to check on the plants, and I am pleased to report, that water was also passing through the material. What I love about this product is the fact that I don't have to remove the sheeting each morning and recover the plants each night. The material is light enough that it will not suffocate the plants during the day.

To show you the difference, I didn't have enough of the material to cover the flowers around the front of the garden, so, I decided to use the old standby, which is an old sheet. Unfortunately, the sheet did nothing to protect the flowers. However, it did prove to me that these products worked great!

Just to show you the difference, in the below photos, the top two images are of flowers in the same raised bed as my lettuce garden. I only covered this section with a bed sheet. (I ran out of the frost quilt) As you can see, the bed sheet did nothing to protect the plants, and by lunch, they had literally liquified. However, the section using the garden row super hoops and the frost protection fabric survived, and is doing wonderfully, even though our temperatures dropped so far.
Click photos below to view the products on Gardener's Supply's Website
Photo Credit for images below: Gardener's Supply

Choose "Happy"

When asked why we chose to name our farm, "Happy Days Farm," I paused for a moment. 
The reason may be different than you are assuming.  If you have noticed our farm photos, we surround ourselves with the word whenever we can, as a reminder.

Was it because all our days are happy?..........Most assuredly not.
Living a farm life is most definitely not always happy. There are usually more hard days than happy ones. Life is also no different here than anywhere else. We work hard both here at the farm, and at a regular full time job. 

So why did we choose "Happy?" It is something we strive for. "Happy" can happen at any time, in any place. "Happy" doesn't discriminate. "Happy" is neither rich nor poor. "Happy" is a choice, and sometimes, it is a hard choice. "Happy" is a state of mind. I choose, in this moment, despite all circumstances surrounding me, to be Happy." Sometimes, this means walking away and not having the last word in an argument. Doing this simply says, I am not basing my "Happy" on you. No one else can make you "Happy," and it is liberating to realize that it isn't their job to do so. Only YOU can choose "Happy" for yourself. It isn't a permanent state of being. It is a moment-by-moment lifestyle choice. 

Do I fail sometimes?..........Absolutely- more times than not.
Do I have days where I am anything but happy?..........Of course.
Is life always fair?............Absolutely not. 
Am I blessed?.............Most definitely!
Am I happy?...............When I choose to look at my blessings rather than my problems.

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