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Pictures of Marquette, Michigan

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Waves rolling into Marquette Bay on Friday

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The lights of Marquette, MI, with Saturday’s sunset in the background and shove ice on the shore.

The past week the temperatures have been in the 70’s and 80’s, which for Elisabeth and I, is much too warm! We prefer cold temperatures ūüôā I was looking through our blog post drafts, and I was rather shocked to find this post from our vacation in Marquette in February! But I am glad we didn’t post it then, because it seems fitting to post it now, when the temperatures are so horrid and all I want is cold and snow.

These photos are from our weekend in Marquette, MI. It was windy all the way up to Marquette with whiteouts in some areas.  The waves in Marquette Bay were rolling in and crashing against the icy shore. On Saturday, when the wind had calmed down, there were huge icicles hanging from the branches of trees and bushes that grew near the shore. Saturday evening we drove south out of town and around the lake and saw some shove ice. It was a beautiful evening, as you can see.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Gabrielle

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Modest Spring Fashion Outfit #3

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My third spring outfit is actually a dress, not a skirt and top combination like usual. The gray and black knit material makes this dress perfect for the months between winter and summer, and I think it will be wonderful this fall, too!

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So, I must tell you about this wonderful bargain!! We girls and Mom were at Sears a few weeks ago, and I was casually sifting through a few of the winter clearance racks with no intention of purchasing anything. Then I spied this dress. The chic¬†details of it immediately caught my attention: my favorites are the soft cowl neckline, the subtle high-low¬†hem, and the short¬†ruched sleeves. I must tell you, the¬†ruching on the sleeves sealed the deal. And for $20, I surely couldn’t go wrong!

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This dress did come with it’s own¬†belt, but it wasn’t just right, so I borrowed a¬†belt from a different dress in my wardrobe.

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These classic black heels were perfect for drawing the outfit together. I just bought them last week at Payless Shoes for about $22. Besides being super comfortable, they are¬†the perfect height (about 2 1/2″), in my opinion. While I love wearing¬†4-inch or taller¬†heels sometimes, most of the time¬†I don’t want the extra height.

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And I curled my hair again for fun.

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You can see the ruching of the sleeves a bit better in this photo.

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When General interrupted the photo shoot, I¬†had to stop and give him some kisses. ‚̧

He’s the best dog ever!!

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin

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Maple Tree

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This old giant maple tree has stood on our land in the shed yard for well over half a century. Our great-grandfather planted it when he owned the property, and for many years it shaded the large barn that stood across the way from it. We girls used to play in this maple all the time since it was one of the easiest trees to get into, even though because of its structure it was impossible to climb very high. Once we even boosted our dog General up into it! Several times we have tapped it for maple sap too.

 

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Last summer, we noticed that it was dying, so our dad and brother started to cut it down. Because of the soybeans, they could only cut part of it; and, after it dried for a few weeks, Dad showed us girls how to split the larger logs into firewood using a wood splitter. We found several large pale yellow worms or grubs (we tried not to look at them too closely!).

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This past Saturday, our dad and brother finished it off. It didn’t take long for it to crash to the ground, and now there is a nice stack of¬†firewood waiting to be split¬†and an even bigger stack of sticks to be burned!

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

 

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Day Seven: Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

This is Day Seven in a 8 part series featuring amazing pumpkin recipes! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Remember the very first recipe in this pumpkin series? That’s right, those delicious Pumpkin Biscuits! Today’s recipe starts with that same super easy biscuit dough, but it takes it to a whole new level. We roll the dough into a huge rectangle¬†and¬†slather it with a buttery brown sugar mixture. Then we cut it into narrow strips and roll the strips into large circles in pie plates. It’s really simple, but the result is gorgeous! This recipe actually makes enough dough and filling for two giant cinnamon rolls, so you can have one for yourself and one to share with a friend! (Who am I trying to kid…)

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Step by step:

 

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Melt 1/2 cup butter in a glass measuring cup. Mix in a pile of brown sugar, maybe a cup or so. Just add it until it seems sweet enough. Then stir in a large teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

 

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Yep, just like that.

 

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Here is the dough, all ready to go.

 

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Roll it to about 1/4 inch thickness.

 

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Spread the butter/brown sugar mixture evenly across it. As you can see below, we sprinkled on some extra sugar in a few places, because it was a bit thin.

 

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Using a pizza cutter (or a sharp spatula) cut the dough into narrow strips, approximately 1 inch wide.

 

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Roll the dough into circles. After the first strip, I placed it in a greased 10-inch pie plate and just wound the remaining strips around that.

 

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It looks just a bit like a rose. A really yummy, pumpkin-cinnamon rose. It must be a special fall variety.

 

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It’s growing!! Leave a little bit of space between the¬†cinnamon roll and the pie plate, to allow for it to rise. Then bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes, or until it’s no longer doughy.

 

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Let them cool for a while before you add a glaze.

 

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We like to make a delightfully simple glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, a tiny bit of milk, and a few drops of vanilla or maple extract.

 

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Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls. Tear them apart with your hands in a ravenous fit of hunger.

Or cut them into neat, dignified portions and serve with milk or coffee.

 

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Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (to 1  1/2) cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Dough:
3   1/2 cups flour
4   1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1   1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk (until the consistency is right)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract

For the cinnamon-sugar filling, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the dough, in large bowl combine first four ingredients. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, sugar, and milk; add to flour mixture and mix well. Knead 8-10 times. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread cinnamon mixture evenly across the dough. Cut the dough into strips and roll into two large circles (one in each of two 10 inch pie plates). Wrap remaining strips of dough around the circles. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes or until no longer doughy. Cool on wire rack while mixing the glaze.

For the glaze, whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle across the cinnamon rolls. Serve slightly warm. Yield: 2 giant cinnamon rolls.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Six: Best Pumpkin Cupcakes (with Dreamy Cinnamon Frosting)

This is Day Six in a 8 part series featuring yummy pumpkin recipes. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.DSCN1974

We never let an autumn slip past without one of us girls making pumpkin cupcakes. This is a recipe that Kerstin found several years ago. She made them once, and they were immediately voted into our recipe book. The cupcake itself has the perfect amount of sweetness, and a rich balanced spice from the pumpkin pie spice. The frosting is a dream! With cream cheese to make it (you guessed it) creamy, and butter to make it smooth and light (not in the healthy sense of the word, just the fluffy sense), it simply melts in your mouth. Some powdered sugar for sweetness, a big splash of vanilla extract, and a large dose of cinnamon all take it over the top.

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Make them for Thanksgiving! Or make them for the weekend! Make them for your dad’s birthday! Or shucks, just make them for Thursday.

I promise you won’t regret it. Ever.

Here we go:

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Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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This is gorgeous!

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Add the eggs one at a time, and beat the mixture well after each addition.

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You can see how creamy the butter mixture is! Add the pumpkin.

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And beat it in.

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Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl.

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Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately. I usually do three additions of each, but it doesn’t matter too much. Just be sure to beat in each addition thoroughly.

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Here the batter is perfect!

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Prepare the cupcake pans. I love using miniature cupcake liners! These pumpkin ones are so cute, and they are perfect for pumpkin cupcakes!!

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Fill the cupcake liners three-fourths full with batter. I like to fill a Ziplock bag with batter, cut off one corner, and squeeze the batter into each cup. It keeps the cupcakes even and the pan clean.

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For miniature cupcakes, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 15-18 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick. Bake standard-sized cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until they test done.

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I also filled some standard-sized cupcake liners. They’re really cute, too!

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For the frosting, beat softened cream cheese and softened butter until it’s smooth and fluffy.

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Add the powdered sugar in two additions, beating the mixture well between additions.

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Yum! You can almost feel how silky smooth it is.

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Add a bunch of cinnamon. This really makes the frosting special!

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Pour in about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. It’s rare that I measure this stuff!

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Mix it together and you are ready to smother some cupcakes!

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Hmm, this is a challenge. ūüėČ

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Pipe it on, spoon it on, or slather it on with a knife.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes:
3/4 cup butter, softened
2   1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
2   1/3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk
Cinnamon Frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for standard-sized cupcakes or 15-18 minutes for miniature cupcakes, or until cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a large bowl beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: about 2 dozen standard-size or 6 dozen miniature.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle