Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Tradition

Here at The Vineyard Homestead you will find us snuggling under our blankets, watching a trilogy, and eating New Year's Eve Popcorn. We will be patiently waiting to start the count down to watch the ball in Time Square drop. Toasting each other with sparkling apple cider in fancy glasses of coarse. My favorite tradition will be to kiss my honey to ring in the new year! 

New Year's Eve Popcorn

Pop a large bowl of popcorn
1 cup M&M's
1 cup white chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients in Large bowl and serve!

I am Happy,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Wrap Up and Up Dates

We had a wonderful Christmas. The kids loved their gifts and had a great time opening them. Roger and I didn't get to bed until 2:00 am so when they came into our room at 7:00 am we were not thrilled. I put the Ham and Potato breakfast casserole in the oven ( We were unable to have it Christmas Eve morning at our house because we were at the hospital with Roger's mom)  We ate it wrapped in a tortilla with salsa and it was really good. Then we got ready and headed into see Kathy and visit with her for a while. We left around 1:00 and headed to my parents and opened more gifts, ate a lot of food, and had a nice day visiting. My mom and dad got me an apple peeler and a cute sewing basket (cheetah print) with a gift certificate to Joann's! I can't wait to spend that. Roger and the kids got me a dehydrator, food saver, canister, and a tripod and lid lifter for my dutch oven! I see some camping and out door cooking in our future :).

I wanted to share an update on Roger's mom Kathy. She had her 4th surgery on Monday and they think that they were able to get out all the infection this time. Her white blood cell counts have gone down and that's a good sign. If it looks like the infection is gone they will take her in again to close her wound and then she can be released from the hospital. Please keep her in your prayers and thank you for praying for her. Thank you Lord for being with her and us through this!

Our good friend Roy will be going home soon with an IV to give him antibiotics for a month. He will probably need about 2 months to heal. He should be fine and recover fully!!! Praise the Lord. Thank you for your prayers.

I have not been home much in the last few days and I can't believe how messy the house can get when know one is here :). Today is the first day I have had the energy to clean and it feel good to have a lot of it done. I hope tomorrow I can get the Christmas decor down and put away. We have had so much rain here in California it is amazing.  My dad said that we have over 200% above normal snow pack so far this winter and  that is wonderful news for us farmers. Our vineyard is full of water and this is the time of year that we prune our field so hopefully the rain lets up a little so our crew can get in and prune and tie the vines.

I do miss visiting all of your blogs and hope to have a chance to catch up here in a couple of days. I bet you all had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you are staying warm and rested and looking forward to the New Year. I know I am.I'm really excited for spring and planting a garden!

I am Happy,


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy to the World!

The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2: 1-20

Merry CHRISTmas

I am Happy,


Friday, December 24, 2010

Prayer Request

A quick post. I am so thankful for all of you who read my blog. I'm glad of the friendships that I have made through this and to have many of you know the Lord as I do.  I would love for you to pray for my MIL Kathy. She has a very serious infection and is on her second surgery today and may need several others. We took her to the doctor yesterday and things are not well with her. Please lift her up in your prays along with all of our family. It is not a fun time to be stuck in the hospital anytime, but it's really not fun at Christmas. I know she would really like to be home. Also a dear friend of ours Roy has a really bad Staph infection in his knee and it is not getting better after 5 day in the hospital. He is a diabetic and I'm fearful that he may lose his leg. They will be doing surgery on him as well today so please keep him and his family in your prays.

I pray that you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

I am Thankful,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 20

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
Matthew 1:23

Welcome to day 20 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I thought I would share our holiday menu with you, I am having a Christmas Eve day breakfast at my home. We will be spending that time with Roger's mom and grandfather. We always spend Christmas Eve with them!


Ham and Potato casserole
and homemade jams
milk and orange juice

I found the Ham and Potato recipe at

On Christmas morning is when we open all our gifts as a family all nice and warm in our PJ's. I will be making pancakes and sausage for breakfast and then we will get ready and head up to my mom and dad's home. My sister and her family will be there along with my grandma Candy. My mom makes lots of little snack for us to snack on all day like spinach dip, artichoke dip, cheese ball, etc... My sister will bring lots of yummy sweet treats. We will open all our Christmas presents and just hang out and chit chat. We are not having a traditional holiday dinner nope it's ribeye for us!


BBQ ribeye
twice bake potatoes

a chocolate pumpkin pecan pie!

twice bake potatoes: bake potatoes at 425 degrees until done. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut potato in half and scoop out into bowl. Place skins on baking sheet. Add to potato in bowl a carton of sour cream, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, chives, salt and pepper and soften butter. Put mixture into potato skins top with cheese. YUM! Bake until warm and melted at 350 degrees.

It's OK to eat all this because we can make our traditional New Year resolution of eating better in just a few days. LOL!

I am Happy,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 19

Welcome to Day 19 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. How cute is this? My mom brought up some of this yummy reindeer food for us to snack on and it was soooooo good. I wanted to jazz it up and turn it into a great gift, so this is what I came up with. I think this homemade gift would be great for kids and grown ups.

My Mom's Reindeer Treat:

1 large box of Chex cereal
3 14 oz bag of white chocolate melts
1 bag pretzel sticks
1 medium bag of cherry cordial M&M's ( this makes it really yummy!)
1 8 oz bag of salted peanuts

In a LARGE BOWL mix all ingredients except white chocolate. Melt white chocolate until smooth and pour over mixture. Stir to coat and pour onto wax paper until harden. Break into pieces and enjoy!

For reindeer jar:

Brown, white, red card stock
black buttons
hot glue gun

free handed cut out antlers from brown card stock, cut out circles for nose (red) and eyes (white). Glue black buttons on white card stock circle. Hot glue eyes and nose to jar and antlers to ring lid. Label and glue tag to top of lid. Tie ribbon into bow around jar lid add small dot of glue to keep in place.

I am Happy,


Day 18

Get Ready, Get Set, Decorate!

Welcome to day 18 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. Every year my kids and my niece get together and decorate sugar cookies. It is such a fun time for them and great memories are made. They always save their best one for Santa!
                                                 Look at those sweet chubby cheeks

I am Happy,


Day 17

Welcome to day 17 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. Tamales are a big part of the Christmas dinner here in California and the south west. Roger's Granny and Pop always had tamales for Christmas eve dinner and we always had them at Christmas time when I was a kid. Last year my mom, sister and I made our own tamales. We decide to make them again this year a little different. Last year we made them with shreded beef and some with shreded pork. We made a Chile sauce that goes into the meat. It took all day so this year we thought we would do it with ground beef with taco seasoning (my dad's idea). It went so much faster and there were a lot less dishes to clean :).

Here is what we used:

6 lbs. ground beef
taco seasoning
corn husks
Tamale steamer

spread masa onto corn husk, fill with meat, cheese, olive. Roll up tamale and fold bottom.
After assembling tamale they need to be steamed  standing up for 2-2 1/2 hours.


Then enjoy! They are so good and the best part was to spend the day with my mom and sister!

I am Happy,


Day 16

Welcome to Day 16 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. My kids have always made gingerbread houses. Last year Roger and I decided to make one with them. We had so much fun we decided to make it a McLain family tradition! We had a lot of fun and they all turned out so cute! I think that more candy went into our tummy then went on the houses, but that's the best part of making gingerbread houses.

I am Happy,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 15

Welcome to day 15 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I am hosting a Christmas eve day breakfast at my home this year. I love to set the table for the holidays. I have a set of Christmas dishes that I love and add to each year. I have three adorable children and have bought enough for them to all have a place setting for 12 plus all the extras like serving bowl, casserole dish, gravy boat, salt and pepper shakers, cream and sugar, and so on.

I filled this cute little sled with greenery, berries, pine cones, and jars with red candles. I placed it on top of an embroidered doily that was Rogers Granny's. I also found the cute trees from the $ store and thought they were so pretty. A few little tea lights placed around and if I say so myself a very pretty table.

In the rest of my dinning room I have my nativity scene on the buffet along with two Christmas trees.

I have put my Christmas dishes in the plate rack on the wall along with a swag. My hutch is all dressed up to and filled with some of my Christmas dishes. My Christmas cards are placed in the basket that is hung next to the hutch and I love the three trees next on the floor.

I am Happy,


Day 14

Welcome all to Day 14 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. My sister is the baker of the family. She loves to bake and every time we get together for dinner she is in charge of desert! We always look forward to see what she has made. My favorite is a pineapple cake with toasted coconut and homemade whipped cream! My daughter Kristen loves Auntie Hope's Cherry cake with cream cheese frosting and always request it as her birthday cake. You can always count on desert to be in some form of pumpkin flavor September through November and of course as any good family would we like to tease her about it! Starting the first weekend in December she is busy baking lots of yummy homemade treats to give as gifts. I think homemade gifts are the best gift you can give. I like that you are doing something you love to give to someone you love! What could be more special then that? I asked her to share one of the cookies that will be in her gift tin this year! She said this one is her favorite.

Mocha Nut Balls                                                       
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Confectioners sugar
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine the flour, cocoa, and coffee granules; gradually add to cream mixture and mix well.  Stir in nuts.  Roll into I inch balls.  Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  bake at 325 degrees for 14 – 16 minutes or until firm.  Cool on pans for 1 minute before removing to wire rack.  Roll warm cookies in confectioners sugar.
Thank you Hope!
I am Happy,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 13

Christmas Tree Lane

At Christmas time my family, Grandma and Papa, my sister and her family all pile into the van and visit Christmas Tree Lane. We have done it for many years now and look forward to it every Christmas season.

We always start out the night with dinner. Then it is off to Starbucks for our various favorite warm drinks. We join the long line of cars enjoying all the beautiful, funny, bright! Christmas lights and decorations. It is a lot of fun for all of us.

Christmas Tree Lane has been a Fresno tradition for 88 years and host over 100,000 people in December. It is 2 miles long and I was told is the longest Christmas light display in the USA.

It has all of Santa's reindeer slightly hidden for the kids to find. The trees also have speakers that play Christmas music. When the girl were little we told them that the tree were singing :). They have 2 days in December that you can walk and the other days you can drive your car through.

I am Happy,


Day 12

Welcome to day 12 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I have a Christmas gift you can do in your sleep! Well, most of it anyways and when you wake up you can make some yummy biscuits and have breakfast all done too. It also makes your home smell wonderful.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

12 apples cored and sliced (you can leave peels on)
6 cups of sugar
2 t nutmeg
8 T cinnamon
6 T vanilla

Put apples in crock pot then pour in other ingredients. No need to stir. Cook on low all night. Puree apples and spoon into pint or 1/2 pint jars. Process in hot water bath for 20 min. 

It's that easy. They make wonderful gifts and you can make some nice homemade bread to go with it.

The only thing is your nose will be delighted all night and you may not be able to stay asleep.

I am Happy,


Day 11

Welcome to Day 11 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I Hope this season is treating you well. I made these adorable homespun angel gift bags to hold little holiday treats. They are really cute and simple to make.

What you need:

Lunch bag any size or color ( the bag I used was small 3 1/2" x 6 3/4" inch)
decorative craft paper   
craft stick
glitter glue

 Fill your craft bag with your homemade treat. Gather at top of bag and tie bow with yarn. stick craft stick through top. Cut out craft paper to appropriate size of your bag. Fold craft paper like fan and staple middle. Then glue to back of bag. Cut out a circle for head and draw face and hair. Add glitter glue halo and glue head to craft stick. Cut out heart and add to bag. She's done and ready for you to give to someone you love.

I am Happy,


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 10

Homespun Gift Wrap

Welcome to day 10 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. My Mom has no idea the effect that  making our own wrapping paper for Christmas as a kid had on me. You see I was a brat! A cute brat, but definitely a brat :). One year she decided it would be fun to make our own gift wrap, so she set it all up and my sister and I went out into the backyard and saw that we were going to have to paint our own gift wrap. What? Are we poor? Do we have to? How embarrassing! I told you I was a brat. Well it was fun and now it is a memories that I remember every year. Like my mom I thought how fun would it be for my kiddos to paint or wrapping paper this year ( They were excited, but like every other child can still be brats at times ;))  It is simple, fun, and will create memories for your family.

What you need:
Butcher paper (we used paper rolls for laying raisins on when they are drying in the field FREE!)
Craft paint
Glitter glue
What ever art supplies you have

I am Happy,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 9

Welcome to day 9 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas! I am slowly be surely catching up. My family loves hot cocoa. The kids make it anytime day or night they love it. When I was little it was tradition that we always had hot cocoa when we decorated our Christmas tree. I do the same with my kids and they get the special treat of me making it stove top with a candy cane stir stick and yummy puffy marshmallows. YUM! I thought I would share a simple mix that I keep out on the counters during the cold months around here.

4 cups nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup non dairy creamer
1 grated dark chocolate candy bar

mix all together well and place in a ball jar on the counter. Scoop to taste and enjoy.

This also makes a wonderful gift with a tag and some ribbon.

I am Happy,


Day 8

Welcome to day 8 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. Hip Hip Hooray! Another thing to check off my list. I love to receive Christmas cards in the mail. I really love the ones with pictures! It is always nice to see friends and family. Here are my cuties on dad's old tractor. I love that it is all rusted and of course that it is a Ford. Joey could not resist being a boy and that's one of the reasons I love this picture and my girls are so pretty. I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas with the ones you love most!

I am Happy,


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 7

Christmas Ornaments

Welcome to day 7 of  my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. We made some really cute ornaments out of mints. It was really fun and easy and the kids enjoyed helping me.

All you need is:

Mint candies red and green
candy sprinkles
ornament hooks
wax paper
cookie sheet

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of wax paper on cookie sheet. Design your ornaments using mints. Make sure that all the mints are touching. Place in oven and check often. When candy starts to melt remove from oven. Before cooling decorate with candy sprinkle, ribbon, and ornament hook quickly.

I am Happy,


Day 6

Stocking Stuffer

Welcome to day 6 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas
When I was a little girl I received a color crayon apron from my great aunt who we all called Sister. I loved it and thought it was the neatest thing so when I saw Cheryl's crayon rolls @ a pretty cool life I had to make them for my kiddos.

Jenna, Kristen, & Joey

I love the way they turned out and I can't wait till they have them. They were really easy to make and fun.

I have imported my blog over here and I am trying to get everything here the way I like it, so I will be playing around a bit. I hope to see my old friends around and make new ones.

I am Happy,



Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 5

25 Days of a Homespun Christmas



Hi everyone and welcome to Day five of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I know that you have all been wondering where I have been. The host of my blog was having some problems and seems to have fixed them now. I also lost the use of my home computer it got what is called the blue screen of death? I hope it is able to be fixed because we have been through a lot together :) I will be up dating my 25 days of a Homespun Christmas so please come back for a visit.

Joey was so excited! He could not wait to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. "A Zip Zoom Logging Adventure Thomas the train". He practiced in the car all the way there.  This jolly Santa was great and made Joey feel really special!

Now the girls needed a bit of coaxing to go over to Santa. You know they are a little older than Joey and to be seen with Santa isn't really that cool.                                                                                              

And here is the picture I was waiting for! Our three always little CUTIES!

I am Happy,


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 4

25 Days of a Homespun Christmas

Welcome to Day 4 of my 25 Days of a Homespun Christmas. I hope that you are all enjoying the blessings in your life.

This is the season for giving and there are so many wonderful ways to teach our children about giving during Christmas. This is my favorite Samaritan's Purse. They have a Christmas catalog that comes out each year with many things to chose from to help someone that is less fortunate. They have everything from chickens to soccer balls that can be purchased for a struggling family. They also through this are able to share the love of Jesus with these families and lead people to know the Lord so your gift keeps on giving! They have thing on here as little a $8 and to as large as helping to build a home for a family. Please checkout this site and let the Lord lead you in your giving. 

I want to thank my sister for sharing Samaritian's Purse with me and I hope that you will share it with someone you know. 

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I am Happy,