Super Fast Chicken Barley Soup

Our family's favorite quick dinner on a cold winter night

Happy New Year! It's been bitter cold all over the nation and even NC is feeling the fingers of Old Man Winter. I'm not complaining, because I thrive on this kind of weather; however, the past couple of days have brought scratchy throats and stuffy noses to the farm.
This recipe is perfect for one of those nights you have NOTHING to eat and the kids are worried you will starve them, yet again. Do your kids do that? Mine get panicky when they don't smell something yummy by 4:45. Seriously, they've never not eaten, but alas, panic always ensues.

This recipe is my go-to on busy winter nights .
All you need is for your hubby to stop by the grocery store on his way home and grab a rotisserie chicken. Everything else is easy to have on hand. If you are more prepared than I am, you may have some cooked/shredded chicken in the freezer already defrosting. Whatevs. Oh, and you will fall in love again with your food processor.

1 cup shredded onion
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded celery
2-3 garlic cloves
2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
4 cans chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup quick barley

Shred onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in food processor. Melt butter in stew pot and saute shredded veggies. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce to med-low and cook 15 minutes.


Farmhouse Christmas Tour

Welcome to Willow Hill Farm

I chose to do a "Classic Christmas" theme this year. 
 Warm and cozy 
 Tradition with a spin

Come on in!

Welcome to the reading room. 

This is the quiet room, as you can see from the sleeping dog. He thinks he owns this room and lets us join him every once in awhile. 
Our advent trees add just enough sparkle and remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

My dad made this little wooden sled years ago. 

 The keeping room

I found these free printable chalkboard ornaments online (I'm sorry I can't remember where). Printed off at Kinkos so I wouldn't use all my black ink. A sheet of three ornaments for .19 made me smile.

 Wrapping paper from Target and Hobby Lobby

Come on up to the bonus room!

This is the kid zone, so we went whimsical.

Back down in the heart of the home, touches of Christmas cheer here and there.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!


So Much Happened in October...

 Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile. ~ William Cullen Bryant

I had a chance to slip away to the NC mountains
 and be an only child for two solid days...

The view from my parents' back deck... not a bad spot to sip coffee
 We drove all of the winding roads that usually make my kids carsick, hiked my favorite places, and soaked in the fall beauty.

 One of my most favorite places on earth is Grayson Highlands, Va. We didn't start the day with a plan, but somehow we ended up there. Know why I love it?
Wild ponies.
We had searched for them our entire hike, and almost given up. Then we rounded a curve on the way back to the car, and there stood a momma and her colt wrapped in their winter coats. I couldn't stop smiling.

I think God likes surprises...
 I've shared how God provided mulch and gravel for the farm here. And I've shared how a pavilion was built like stone soup here. This past month, I know He was smiling down from heaven when His people got together and surprised us with a tractor. They were anonymous givers, but we are so incredibly grateful. My Farmer was grinning for days.
 We are trying to decide what color she should be. Also, I think she needs a name... Thoughts?

October brings the North Carolina State Fair.
 Some years we skip the fair,  but this year my Farmer said, "Let's go together."  I love that he is still full of surprises.
 We happened to choose the least crowded night, which was perfect.

My volleyball girl (#28) finished the season strong. After three days at the state finals, we came home second in the state of NC. I'm so proud of her determination. It was a season of learning and character building. Middle school girls teach life lessons. I'm proud of the way she handled it all.  Her character shines and she truly loves Jesus.

October was FULL. It was fun. But my favorite month of the year has begun: NOVEMBER
November is so much quieter. It is my month of reflection and thankfulness...
and sweater weather!


Farmhouse Fall

UPDATE: So many questions about our exterior colors! Here's the info:
Exterior Gray: Sherwin Williams Earl Gray
Front Door: Sherwin Williams Watery
Exterior Trim: Sherwin Williams basic trim white
Shutters: Sherwin Williams Tricon Black
Welcome to Willow Hill Farm! Fall is my favorite time of year around here.

The Keeping Room

These cheese boxes were found in our family's old barn. 

I love how the sun filters onto the kitchen table.

Living room

We made this scripture pumpkin last year. Dollar store Bible, Mod-podge, and a foam pumpkin. So easy!

Grandfather's tool box is the perfect place to showcase some funky gourds

We have a dear farmer friend who blessed us with an abundance of fall delights. So thankful!

The sky seems bluer this fall.
Sure do love these boys!

 Happy Fall Y'all!

I'm linking up with Imparting Grace today... come join the fun.