One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Joy of the Holidays

My 7 year old showed me a different side of her yesterday morning. She came bouncing down the stairs to get ready for school singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! Just as happy as could be and smiling at 7:30am.

I'm pretty sure she gets that holiday spirit from me (tee hee).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Pie, 10 Stitches, and Good Food

Here is the photo of the homemade apple pie I baked. I have always made Dutch Apple Pie, but this was delicious! The recipe came from AllRecipes on-line. Here is the link: Apple Pie by Grandma Ople. I added cinnamon to the apples before I put them in the crust, just as another person had recommended. Of course we topped it with vanilla ice cream. My son said, "oh we have to take a picture of that!"

I haven't posted since we baked the pie. I had a little accident with my head and flying firewood. It was plain stupidity on my part and I got myself too close to the wood pile, while unloading a truck load of wood. Ladies, if you are unloading wood, be sure to be more careful tan I was. Luckily, it did not knock me out too long (just a second or two). After my brother kept insisting I get it looked at, I went to the hospital.

The doctor on duty convinced me that staples worked better than stitches, so I caved. "Fine, give me the staples, but can you please not shave too much of my hair?" I begged. I have to say the shot to numb it first didn't hurt anywhere near as bad as the thunk to the head. After a few staples, the doctor starts telling me, "uh, there's another cut and I think we are going to have to do stitches anyway." So out the staples went, and in went the stitches - 10 to be exact.

As I was laying on the gurney getting worked on and having friendly conversation I realized I was wearing my neon green socks. The photo doesn't do justice. If I had better lighting you'd see how awful they looked under those bright hospital lights (ugh!). To top it off, I was wearing a yellow shirt. I put the socks on because I was not going anywhere for the day (nothing matches with them). Or so I thought.

I guess the joke was on me! I had to figure that if the doctor saw them sticking out from my jeans, he was thinking "this woman is a case for sure."

My head hurts, but my arm hurts worse from the Tetanus shot I had to get. The kids keep asking me questions to make sure my brain is functioning correctly. This morning, I took the time to cut and chop and mix, to put beef stew into the crock pot. Just a few minutes ago I looked at it and wondered why it wasn't cooking. Once again, I failed to plug it in. Luckily it's early so it has time to cook, and luckily this is nothing abnormal. It's just another crazy day in the home.

The chickens are getting carrot peelings for a treat today. I read that they like peelings but not whole carrots. It's a great way to keep them fed organically and make good use of the scraps.

I have to say, that even though I was supposed to be resting, I made dinner the night of the accident. It came from The Cardiac Recovery Cookbook (how appropriate) and was Summer Vegetable Spaghetti. Now if you froze your garden tomatoes at the end of the season, this is the perfect recipe to add them too (and yellow squash. zucchini and green beans).

Summer Vegetable Spaghetti

I used a 15 oz. can of no-salt added tomato paste, double the vegetables, and did not add the extra salt. I also let the mixture simmer longer until the vegetables were softened. It was delicious. I also added parsley that I had dried from my herb garden and doubled the garlic. I made it as natural and low in sodium as possible. The Parmesan cheese adds enough salt to the dish.

Which brings me to my next synthesis paper for my English class. I'm working on a claim that is somehow related to the fact low cost foods, which many people are buying, are very high in sodium, and the dangers sodium has on the body. I'll have to figure it out and narrow it down.

One last note. Last night, my dear husband came home from work and handed me a pair of safety glasses and said, "Your hard helmet is on order." I had to laugh, but there was a serious tone to his voice about staying clear of accidents while I was healing (and to use safety measures more often). He got bonus points from me because the safety glasses were pink ribbon glasses. I'm sure I'll be wearing both on the next wood splitting day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Trees


I think I may write outdoors today. The trees are turning nice colors, and the weather is actually pretty nice. The tree in the photo above, is actually red today. I took this photo a few days ago. Maybe I'll take my camera and do a little walking too. School seems to be going along well and I only have a book review to write today.

I'm planning on getting work finished early so I can watch an hour of FoodNetwork. I haven't watched it in a long time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas - Bead Projects

I found this wonderful link to many free bead projects. All of the instructions include a skill level and there are many ideas for Christmas gifts you can make yourself.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Relief

The kids are very excited it is Friday today! The weather has taken and turn and it is raining and colder today, but the could care less about that. I can remember when I was in High School. I loved Friday's. I couldn't wait for the day to end so I could go out with friends. Now that we live in the country, it's more about just being able to do "nothing."

They still find it fun to see me struggle with my English class, but that's okay. Whey they are all grown up and have children of their own, they will see it differently. However, deep down inside, I think they are all cheering for me to get my book written, get a job related to writing or just want me to succeed in life.

They are already talking about our game of Apples to Apples we play on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One dog, a rabbit and a kitten


It's not the best picture, but this shows how well they all get along. They were all in motion and I was trying to quickly take the picture, but forget to switch the setting on the camera.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One Rabbit and a Kitten ~ Milo and Tiger


You can tell by the amount of hair on the chair, that Tiger sleeps here all day long. The kids put the chair near the wood burning stove and he loves the warmth. We have weird animals. Who would have thought a rabbit and a kitten could get along? I'll have to post a photo of one of the dogs, the rabbit and a kitten who were all playing together on the kitchen floor.

Crackly Pear Cake ~ Writing updates


Today I am baking the Crackly Pear Cake from the Idea Book/Cookbook/Life Book. I am baking it with fresh chicken eggs, and putting the egg shells in the garden for next year's garden. I even wore my apron, even though it' not hand sewn by me (yet).

I had extra pears from our visit to a local orchard, so I thought why not? The family would love a sweet snack when they get home. The chickens have given us 5 eggs today. That's great! The sun is shining they are are out pecking.

While the cake is baking I will get some writing done and work on my short synthesis paper that is due soon. I think I have a journal for just about everything now. I even have a journal for my garden and flower beds. My kids think I am weird. Now if I can just find my hand held tape recorder, I'll be set for the winter. I still need to choose another restaurant to review for the college newspaper. Or maybe a book this time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stocking up for winter - Susan G. Komen for the Cure Journal

Winter is on the way and we are stocking up on fire wood. I am also taking inventory on working flashlights and batteries. And it doing so, I found that energizer has printable coupons on their Web site and if you are a supporter of Breast Cancer Research, you'll like the free journal you can mail in for. You just have to send 3 UPC's and the dated receipts.

For the link go to: Energizer Promotions (there is a separate icon for the coupons and one for the printable order form for the Susan G. Komen for the cure journal). Why not get a freebie and save money on something you need? There are expiration dates on the coupon and on the free journal, so be sure to order it soon. Last year they gave away really nice back pack bags.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pumpkin Walnut Bread Made in the Crock-Pot!

I have never baked a dessert in the crock-pot, so today was the day to try it. I found several recipes on-line, but this one sparked my interest more. It used less eggs and look pretty good.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread - Crock-Pot Recipe

This was delicious! By placing the paper towel in under the lid the bread was very moist! It did not stick to the crock-pot either. I didn't have non-stick spray so I put a light coat of olive oil in the crock-pot.

If you like pumpkin and easy desserts, you have to try this. Next time I will split the flour 1/2 and 1/2 with whole wheat and use applesauce in place of oil. YUM! It passed our test.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Freeze Dried Clothes

Winter is approaching and the cool air is nippy from the wind. I, however, am still putting my clothes on the clothesline to dry. It made a huge difference on the electric bill here. Even though it's cold out, the wind is drying them nicely. I'll have to remember next time to wear gloves to keep my fingers from freezing.

I used my special wire egg basket to retrieve the chicken eggs yesterday. The kids laugh at me because I looked like someone from Little House on the Prairie. Yesterday I had braided ponytails too. It will give them something to talk about with their own kids someday.

The kittens are often found sleeping on the fireproof rug in front of the wood stove. At first they were curious about it, but now they are discovered it's very warm in front of it.

Hopefully, after next week, the girls and I will start our first project with Farmgirl Sisterhood. I can't wait to get started. In a way, we already have.

While at the library, I found a delicious and easy recipe for Black Bean and Avocado Chicken Wraps. I'll have to double check on the name of the magazine, but they will be added to our recipe box. And of course, we substituted baked dry beans for canned beans. There no better way to cook.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Family Games and Fall Food

My 15 year-old daughter won yesterday when we played our family Apples to Apples game. It's seems to be our new winter tradition for Sunday afternoons and evenings. The weather is cooler out and it's nice to sit in front of the wood burning stove to play. The game cards are a bit out of date considering Michael Jackson has passed away. It would be nice for this company to actually sell new card sets every so often, and offer more that are family friendly for kids under 12. Although it's geared toward kids 12 and up, we still play the game together.

We are roasting pumpkin seeds for a snack tonight and I can't wait to eat some. We haven't roasted pumpkin seeds in a few years. It was nice to grow all of our own pumpkins this year and not have to buy them at the store or market.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Christmas Joys ~ Splitting Wood Day

We are already getting excited about the upcoming holidays! Last year we could not find enough blue lights to wrap around our large evergreen tree. Hopefully this year we will. Blue seems to be people's favorite, or maybe the stores are not stocking that color as much. The kids are already asking to put up the artificial tree, but I am standing my ground on that one - no trees until after Thanksgiving. We put the tree up too early one year and it didn't have good results. We actually have 2 trees. I found one at Goodwill for $4.00 during the off season and it's a good size tree.

This year I would like us to visit a tree farm and cut a fresh tree. I'd like to support locally owned businesses and we can mulch our tree after the holidays. I haven't had a "real" tree in a long time. Actually, I have never purchased a real tree since I moved out of my parents and was out on my own. Every year we looked forward to the fragrant evergreen smell coming from our fresh cut tree.

With 2 six month old kittens in the house this holiday, it could be very interesting. I can remember when the kids were very young. I'd have to put my artificial tree into a play pen to keep them out of it. It worked great.

Today, as a family, we are splitting wood in preparation for the up coming cold winter. So far we have not turned on any heat or used the wood stove. It's cold here today too.

We are singing Christmas songs and drawing and writing about the holidays. I am so excited we are planning a traditional holiday, with as much of it as homemade as possible, and keeping the focus on the real meaning.

Jump and sing today! Enjoy your family today!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Afternoon Dancing

"Honey you didn't throw a hip out did you?" asked my husband.

With my beat red face, and harbored breathing I plopped onto the bed to recuperate.

The kids and I have certain times of the day, usually after everyone is home from school, where we turn up the music and just dance like wild people in the kitchen.

I think I am still suffering from hip swinging yet this morning. Have you turned up your music and danced today?

I'm surprised the police didn't show up yesterday, when my 15 year old and I were dancing in our porch chairs during "tea time" (our time of the day to rejuvenate) with headphones plugged in our ears. The farmers across the road probably thought we were on drugs, as we bobbed our heads up and down for all to see.

My lifetime motto is "Dare to be Different".

The kids are encouraging the family to write

For quite some time now, the kids have put our dry erase board to a good use. At the beginning of school we used it a lot for reminder notes, but now it's the board that encourages writing and thinking.

The kids have started writing a question down on the board and everyone writes an answer. Today's question is "What is your favorite food for lunch?" It's fun to see what the new question is, or what every one's answers are. For the youngest one, it's help with spelling too.

Yesterday of the kids drew a Christmas Tree, so I drew ornaments to it (ha ha ha). It's just been a lot fun because they have to think more on what to ask now. We answered so many questions it's getting harder for them to come up with a fun question.

I never knew we would get so much use out of simple dry erase board. I guess I better stock up on dry erase markers (ha ha ha).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Tidbits


Yesterday I was telling one of the girls how peaceful it was to watch a farmer harvest his field. One side of her mouth curved up, and one eyebrow pulled upward. Her mouth fell open and she just thought I was weird. She thought I had lost my marbles.

Watching a farmer sitting in his combine seat, harvesting across a large field, with no other person, house, or vehicle in site, truly is peaceful to watch. It's a way of life that is slowly diminishing.

Speaking of simple country life, I found a wonderful magazine at the local library. It's called Cook's Country. Here's an online link to the Web site to: http://www.cookscountry.com/?extcode=K00YAAN00

Along with Clean Cooking and several others, it has some very good recipes.

The family is getting surprised tonight with a baked cereal snack, and homemade Hot Cranberry Punch. The chickens blessed us with 5 eggs today!

Bless your family, spouse, friend or neighbor today.

Packing Kids' School Lunches

"Mom will you please, please write me a note and sneak me a piece of candy again?"

That came from my 7 year-old. What started as an apology to her, ended up a tradition this year. I took it a bit further and included all the kids, including my 12th grader (tee hee). The way I see it, I only have this school year to embarrass him. He recently got "snacked" and came home with a smirk on his face. He enjoyed it whether he said so or not (tee hee).

So, I better get to the store and stock up on small snacks and note paper (he he he).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Living my Life ~ Facebook Follies

I have to admit, that many times, I have felt I was not living my life for me. However, since I have put limitations on how much time I spend on the computer, I feel I am giving myself time to live my life. And for me. I'm not speaking selfishly, but in the spirit of caring for myself.

I'm one of the very few people that do not have a facebook account. People can be whoever they want to be when they chat on-line. Whether in a form, chat room, or facebook, there is too much of a window for too many to see your personal life. Sure I have a blog, but do we really need to be on facebook daily? With people who most likely never visit you outside of the virtual realm?

I started my blog to force myself to write everyday. Simply for my own pleasure, in my quest to sharpen my writing skills and to write a book. I began to share family traditions, recipes, crafts and eventually a blog for recycled art projects. Those basic ideas to were good and are still good.

Facebook reminds me of poison. Once you try it, your hooked. If you fail to check it daily, you feel upset. Emotions are stirred when people are rude and emotions stir when someone refuses to be "your friend". It has become one of the top social networks on the Internet today. But do we really need to be so connected that we can't even connect with our husband's and children? You may have gotten today's "news" on facebook, but do you know what your child did in school today? Do you know what your husband did at work today? Interesting thoughts huh?

This is a tough subject, because I have family members with facebook accounts. For whatever reason, they are all different. For old classmates it could be to brag or boast about their career. If I did have a facebook account, it would read "Stay-at-Home Mom" and rich! I'm rich in heart, love, and to the best of my ability, remain rich with Christ in our lives.

As for me, there will not be facebook follies. I'll check my mailbox for letters and answer my phone for calls, and let those who really want to keep in touch, keep in touch the old-fashioned way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More crocheted dishcloths finished

(Size 9 x 9 inch, above)



(Size 10 x 10 inch, above)



(Size 8 x 8 inch, above)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kittens, College and Chickens

That is sure a strange combination to write about today - kittens, college, and chickens. Despite our efforts to find homes for the last two kittens, we could not. They have already adapted to the barn life, and one has already learned to hunt mice. Although they are given fresh food and water twice a day, they still have the instinct to hunt. We have plenty of field mice too. They remain friendly and are often held. We'll have to start working on warm winter beds for them.

I survived writing the group's paper last Friday. We received a 90% grade on it, however not with much help. Apparently, group projects are still required in some classes and many of the students simply don't participate. Why? I have have no idea. Could it be that they aren't the ones paying for their tuition and they could care less if their grade is reduced? Either way, it was tough for me, considering I haven't been to college in years. I was thrilled to see the grade though. Although, I did miss my writer's group meeting due to working on the final touches before handing the paper in.

I'm so happy we started raising chickens for eggs. We were blessed with another double yolk the other day. Each child has learned how to care for them, so it makes it easy when work needs completed. The chickens are getting a bit brave and wandering a bit further each day. We have acres full of grasshoppers that they fight over. They are not caged during the day, and have free roaming access throughout the yard. I do have to be careful in case "foxy loxy" returns to our "farm".