Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mama Tip Tuesday! Sweet Savings at the Farmer's Market!

I smell savings, sweet cinnamon apple savings!

Last Thursday the girls and I stopped at the Farmer's market to take a few pictures of the glorious local produce. I didn't have a lot of cash on hand that day so we didn't plan on staying long. We stumbled upon one of the apple vendors that had a big (about 10lbs) bag of apples, labeled seconds $2.00. I love apples, but there are times that we pass them up since they can be more costly then the other produce. This week was the week to get my fix! I couldn't leave these apples behind. After all I'm not perfect and neither were they. Another fall favorite of mine would be at Tuttles Orchards, CARAMEL APPLES!

I brought them home and wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them. I showed them to my husband and he said his mom used to cut them up, throw them in a pot, then sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar. Easy enough!
This is what I did:

5-7 lbs Apples chopped and peeled
2 Tbps Cinnamon
2 Tbps Brown Sugar
Juice of one lemon

I threw it all in the crock pot, stirred and let the sweet smells fill the house. For about 6 hours on low or warm. I accidentally left it on warm for 6 hours. Happy accident? I think so. At the end my apples were so tender and sweet!

Nothing was wasted! My Chickens loved the peels!

Coated and ready to be cooked!

After about 2 hours of cooking!

The hardest decision after this is to use the potato masher for chunky Apple Sauce of throw it in the blender?
Blender it is.

Yes, I had two bowls full!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Community Impact - One Mobile Food Pantry At A Time

Tackling the Issue of Access with a Pantry on Wheels


This Saturday the Gleaners Mobile Pantry will arrive in Fortville again to help those in need, especially those with barriers including transportation, mobility and cost of travel. The event is organized by the Vernon Township Trustee and The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Through both group's coordination with Gleaners this great program is brought to the town at no cost to the tax payers or either organization. A completely FREE event that benefits so many that truly need it.

For more info on how this Gleaner's program works for communities in need click here.

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the last Gleaner's Mobile Pantry in Fortville, and I was impressed by the entire operation. It was so well organized and there were so many great volunteers there to truly help. Plus getting to chat with the families while checking them in was a humbling experience. I remember the times in my life when I could have benefited from being in that very line, but I let my pride keep me from the help that was readily there. I think everyone gets down on their luck at least once in their life, don't you? I encourage those in need in the Fortville area to accept this amazing help poured out by Gleaners and two great organizations within our town.

I know there has been a bit of confusion about what the Fortville Mobile Pantry is and how it works. It's just like a regular food pantry but on wheels. It arrives to a designated spot within the community, on a designated day and time and food is pulled from the truck and set-up on tables. Families are checked in (you only need to provide a small amount of info about your household) and then guided by volunteers through the mobile pantry line to select food to take home. A very simple process indeed. A single mobile pantry provides enough food for 150 to 300 households.

This Saturday's event will take place from 10 a.m. - noon in the parking lot of Erlewein Mortuary at 124 E. Staat Street. It will again be a walk through mobile pantry (not drive through). If you are disabled and need help through the line or someone to shop for you, that can be done too. There also are volunteers to help you to your car with your food. If you have questions, please feel free to call the Vernon Township Trustee at 317.485.7327

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday FortvilleMama Feature - Bed and Breakfast Charm

A Quaint B and B Nestled in Fortville with a History All Its Own

Did you know Fortville Indiana is home to a premier Indiana Bed and Breakfast? Most don't.

I had the pleasure of touring the Ivy House Bed and Breakfast this past weekend, and oh how I enjoyed each and every feature! I've driven by more times than I can count and admired its quiet charm and beautiful gardens. I actually use it as a landmark when telling relatives how to find our house, for we only live a few houses down the street. It's a gorgeous stately home from the street, and the interior is just as charming.

As I arrived for my tour and journeyed up the tailored front path, I noticed features I hadn't even seen from the street! An inviting front stoop with two built-in wood benches and an old fashioned glass mailbox. I was greeted by the friendly innkeepers, Jim and Linda Nolte, at the entry of the inn. As I stepped inside, I noticed there were many small touches throughout the front room that only added to the charm: a lovely old piano, an old bankers desk, old fashioned ladies hats hung on display and beautiful lace curtains billowing in the early fall breeze through the large old windows.

I have to say the front room instantly put me at ease. Sitting on the cozy leather couches and chatting with the innkeepers about the history of the inn was such a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I definitely see why they have so many repeat customers and are rated a top ten Bed and Breakfast in Indiana. There are personal touches throughout and the owners have thought of each and every detail to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable!

I loved all the original details throughout the home that have been restored and highlighted beautifully by the owners. The dining room is full of historic charm, and I adore the antique swinging butler door that goes from the dining room to the kitchen. Upstairs there are three themed guest rooms (English Ivy, Boston Ivy and Baltic Ivy), each with their own private bathroom. English Ivy was my favorite with its four poster bed and claw foot tub. In the upstairs hall there is even an array of books and movies for guests to choose from during their stay. I was so pleased to see Anne of Green Gables among the choices. I see a sisters getaway weekend in my future with a movie before bed and a cup of afternoon tea on the swing on the secluded side porch.


I think the details I found most fascinating during my visit centered around the history of the home, its owners and visitors over the years. The Nolte family purchased the home in 1980. They are the 5th occupants of the home. Long before the Noltes purchased the home, it was owned by the Ferrell family. J.E. Ferrell, who had the home originally built in 1921 (the builder, a man by the name of Harry Tuttle) and was a prominent doctor in the area. The Nolte family even has an old glass door that was part of the doctor's practice long ago. It states walk-ins are welcome. Oh how doctor's offices have changed over the years!
Another interesting tidbit - grandsons of both Ferrell and Tuttle still live in Fortville today!

It is rumored that this Fortville Bed and Breakfast once housed a prohibition-era gambling operation and was often visited by legendary gangster Al Capone and his associates! According to local stories, black limousines were regular visitors in the home’s driveway. Moreover, a few years back Jim Nolte uncovered all sorts of gambling paraphernalia in both the attic and basement, and some punch card-type gambling games hidden in the insulation behind some walls. Due to the inn's exciting past, it was featured on an episode of HGTV's If Walls Could Talk!

I asked the Noltes if running a B and B was tiring. Both chimed in, "No not at all! We love what we do. It's our passion." The Noltes have been innkeepers since 2001. After sending their youngest off to college and experiencing a 25th wedding anniversary east coast B and B tour of their own, they knew they just had to open their own inn. They knew it would be perfect, for they had the perfect house in the perfect location. Slightly outside of the hustle and bustle of Indianapolis, but 15 minutes within attractions in every direction. Oh how right they were and the trip advisor reviews confirm it. Visitors travel from as far as Germany to stay at the Ivy House.

For more pictures of this lovely Indiana Bed and Breakfast visit their Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mama Tip Tuesday! Old Fashioned Laundry Soap

Ever wonder how your Great Great Grandmother got her clothes so clean without modern conveniences? 

She used Lye.

Don't Lye to me... Lye is not the worst thing in the world. Lye should not be feared but respected. In her day, they would take ashes processed into lye mixed with animal fat to make soap. Well, we are not going to get into that much trouble.

Many people ask me why I make my soap with Lye. "Isn't it to harsh?" My answer is not if you don't know what you are doing. One of our modern day conveniences is a Lye Calculator. This will tell you if your recipe will go through a saponification. Which means once the soap is cured, it will have no trace of lye. Cool huh?

Here is the recipe I used HERE.

A few things I want to add from my own soap making knowledge that are not mentioned in the blog. Be sure to only use plastic or glass with anything that comes in contact with your soap. Metal can cause a reaction with the lye. Never use tin, zinc or aluminum. Wear rubber gloves, goggles and long sleeves and an apron to protect your skin. It is also a good idea to wear a breathing mask considering lye can put off fumes. Make sure you are making soap in a well ventilated area!

Everything you put in your soap should be measured by a scale (preferably digital). Remember, everything should be measured in weight not volume. I used lard from the store but you could use coconut oil, bacon grease (also lard) or Crisco. However, check the lye calculator to make sure your using the correct amount.

After mixing (DAY 1)

After day 3

Day 3 ( getting it good and mixed)

My trusty stick blender

Lastly, I added orange essential oils! Every time I do laundry it smells like an orange cream-sickle! So far it has made my cloths so soft, clean and fresh! Without needing softener! I love it! Best of all, it's inexpensive! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Connect for Success - Women Helping Women

Women Helping Women Help Themselves Seminar in Fortville

You don't want to miss this FREE event taking place this Saturday (9/21) from noon - 2p.m. at the Fortville Christian Church. It is sponsored by the Fortville Business and Professional Women's Club and focuses on helping women of all ages seeking to find employment opportunities and/or better their job status.

A representative from WorkOne will be on hand with tips on how to identify your talents, build a better resume and prepare for an interview. Fortville's BPW also will be highlighting various scholarship opportunities for high school young ladies, as well as working women looking to make a career change.

In today's challenging job market, this is a can't miss FREE opportunity to learn insights that can help you in your search for the perfect position. Light refreshments will be served and takeaway handouts will be available.

To RSVP for this event, please call Carol Stevens at 317.326.7194.

For more information on BPW click here. Fortville's BPW is always welcoming new members. The club exists to promote women personally, professionally and politically. It is a great place to network with other local professional women. The group meets at 5:30 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Caramel Apples Oh My!

It isn't September without a trip to Tuttle Orchards!

When I saw the weather report mid-week, I knew exactly where we were spending our Saturday afternoon! Tuttle Orchards - one of our favorite fall spots in Hancock County. I love the drive through the corn fields on the way there. I love how the kids get excited and chatter in the backseat about all they are going to do while we're at Tuttle's. I love walking across the street to the farm store and sweet shop. We always do that first after we park! The kids can never wait to run and see the bee hive too. They are always in awe of the buzzing bees and their honey. It never gets old for them. Then there is the kid's farm play area, a wonderland of farm fun. A hay maze, mini tractors to drive, a corn stalk house to play in and a huge play set complete with a tire swing. I always leave the coach man (aka my husband) to tend the hooligans for a minute and sneak off to cut my own sunflowers while they play. Only a $1 a stem! U-pick apples are fun too. The kids love the wagon. They fight over who gets to pull it. We always end up with so many apples that a pie or two is definitely in order.

There is so much fun to be had at Tuttle Orchards, we end up going quite a few weekends between September and October. Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on all the fun happening each week year round.

Here's my top ten Favorites at Tuttle Orchards!

1.  Caramel apples with nuts from Tuttle's Sweet Shop
2.  U-Pick apples
3.  Pork burgers from the Tuttle Orchard Farm Shop freezer
4.  Pecan apple butter
5.  Apple salsa
6.  Bee hive
7.  Buying flats of flowers in the spring for planting
8.  Peanut butter fudge
9.  Roasted corn from Tuttle's Grill
10. Unique seasonal d├ęcor items


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mama Tip Tuesday! Mess Free Chicken Watering System!

Wake up call 5:30am!

The idea came from the cashier at TSC as I bought the $40 galvanized watering can that I now despise. I was told to put some nipples on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and they can drink from them. The nipples can be ordered online and making it was easy to do. I did a little research and found them on Amazon, HERE. I thought, for the price, it has to be better then the metal watering can that leaked out after just a few hours! The new bucket lasts around 3 days!

The despised watering can! 

Here are the materials you'll need:

You want 1 nipple per 3 birds.

Drill with a 11/32 bit

5 Gallon bucket with lid (to keep dust, insects and falling debris out of the water)

Drill holes in bottom of the bucket evenly spaced. The nipples screw into the holes and will not leak. It's just that simple!
We left room if we needed 2 more.

Hello there!

My helper

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

St. Lawrence Fall Festival Giveaway

Fall Family Fun on a Budget

Fortville Mama is thrilled to be able to offer this amazing family fun giveaway prize pack for the Saint Lawrence Fall Festival! It's the perfect opportunity to kick off the fall season in style and support a great cause - St. Lawrence Parish's outreach to the community!

The event runs Friday, September 13th (5-11pm), Saturday the 14th (3-11pm) and Sunday the 15th (1-6pm). Admission, parking and musical entertainment are all FREE, and who doesn't love FREE when you have a family to entertain on a budget!

Tons of fun will be on hand all weekend long, including yummy food vendors (elephant ears - need I say more), amusement rides, inflatables and games! Plus live entertainment, including headliner Corey Cox! Read more here via our earlier blog post about Nashville star Corey Cox and his Indiana roots. It's a steal to get the opportunity to see him for FREE!

St. Lawrence church and school is located at 46th Street & Shadeland (4650 N Shadeland Ave, Indianapolis). Not far at all from Fortville!

Now for the good stuff! Details on the giveaway!

Prize pack includes: 10 Carnival ride tickets and $10 St. Lawrence Food/Beverage tickets. (Can be used on any of the food booths under the big tent, inflatables, children’s games or beer garden.) Total prize pack value $20!

TO ENTER - comment below on what you are most excited to try at the St. Lawrence Fall Festival and LIKE the St. Lawrence Fall Festival Facebook page.

Additional entries can be earned by:
Contest runs through 9/11 at noon. Winner will be announced via Fortville Mama's Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to Like and Follow our pages.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mama Tip Tuesday! Sand Box with seat and cover!

Sand in my toes

There is something so invigorating about covering your feet in sand. Nothing more relaxing then running your fingers in the sand. It can definitely clear your mind after a long day.

My girls can spend hours in the sand. My 1 year old loves to roll in it. Throw it over her head and go wild. My 3 year old loves to build castles and put little flags in them. I have a feeling that they will both be artists like their mama! My chickens even love to play in it too. Now, if I can get them to start painting I could become a millionaire selling their artwork!
I sent the plans to "Poppie" (what the girls call grandpa) and said that the girls needed this sand box! Keep in mind that Poppies have a soft spot for granddaughters. This special Poppie was grandpa daycare for two years. He came to our aid when I was working, when I was pregnant with the second and on bed rest and then when I transitioned to two children. He has a special place in all of our hearts! 

All it took was sending him this link SAND BOX PLANS and he was off... Finding things to sell to fund the project and collecting all the materials. He thought of all the details, even rounding off the corners in case someone bumped their head. We all liked this particular plan since it was simple and kept the cat, dog and chickens out of the sand box. Plus it's easy for the girls to get in and out of.

Look at them go!