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~

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Excerpts from a Journal Junkie

from the Homesteading Journal. . .

We stocked up another truck load of hay for the goats. Speaking of goats, my 15 year-old said she could feel Peanut's baby kick.  She is due to kid in about May. 

(sorry for the bad photo - bad lighting)

I am trying my first batch of "budget" baking mix and we made Monster cookies.  They were pretty good too.



I've found another way to add kale to our meals - mix it in with garlic mashed potatoes. Note to self - plant more Kale in the garden this year.

I've also been looking for ways to utilize our stocked up blueberries and ricotta cheese.  Both are future goals for us - produce enough home grown, chemical free blueberries to stock up, and make homemade ricotta cheese from our own raw milk.  I've been adding both ingredients to pancakes and topping with a homemade honey syrup.  Every time I bought a bottle of pancake syrup (when real Maple syrup was too expensive), I would cringe.  To my surprise, the homemade honey syrup is delicious, healthy, affordable, and utilizes our raw honey we purchase locally.  Raising our own honey bees is on our future goal list also.


The kids cleaned their room, and one decided she did not want this pink vintage suitcase anymore.



I claimed it as mine.  It's too small to really pack clothes for a trip, but I could use it to store books or games for camping trips.  Possibly use it to store craft supplies.  Not sure yet.

My son invested in a charger to charge AA rechargeable batteries. Although electric, it should save us money on batteries when we need them.


We recently found out that we can dump our wood stove ashes directly to our garden.  We've been adding some to the compost, so it makes sense, and easier too.




from the craft journal. . .
  
(before framing)


I finished the shadow box that I was framing my Grandmother's 1924 Valentine in.  I quilled the top two corners and added a few quilled hearts around her photo.


I finished 3 pairs of dice earrings for my 10 year-old (who has been begging for a pair).  She saw them at Claire's (6 pairs for over $8.00).  I told her I could make them, and did for a lot less.  I purchased dice beads for $2.99 plus 30% off, and have more to make for all the girls.


I finished  three pairs of pink dice earrings I made from pieces of a broken, elastic kids hair band.


I also finished a few more bottle cap magnets.  The kids have been asking for more, to use in their school lockers. 

I also finished two other projects that can be read on my S.C.R.A.P. Blog:
 http://scrapreusedandrecycledartprojects.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-can-i-do-with-vintage-wooden.html

http://scrapreusedandrecycledartprojects.blogspot.com/2012/01/pin-cushions-using-kitchen-and-art.html

 from the family journal. . .



I surprised the kids with another "Punch Bowl" Friday punch and cookies.  I am working on more new family traditions.




from the gratitude journal. . .

Today I am thankful for:

1.Cartoons - they make me laugh.

2. my stove

3. Music

4. the extra drying racks that Mom gave me, I've been using them a lot this season

5. God's Promises
 


 

  

Monday, January 30, 2012

View from My Porch


Take time to watch the sunrise each morning.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Homemade Baking Mix ~ Vintage Hairbrush Set ~ Sneak Peek at Shadow Box

The last couple of days we have had a thin layer of snow each morning.  The problem is that it's over a layer of rain that froze, melted and froze again.  The school closed yesterday and today they have a 2 hour delay.  


I mixed up my first batch of "baking mix" that will be stored in those two containers you see in the photo.  Last year my Uncle gifted us with some dishes and those containers have been very useful.  The mix will be used to do baking with, and to see if it's useful for us (in saving money).  I am a whole wheat flour kind of person, so this is a real test for us.  If you haven't seen Candy's blog, this recipe can be found here:  Lazy J Bar C Farm.

I'm starting to work on my "family history" projects (in teeny tiny steps), and remembered that Mom gave me her mirror and hand brush set last year.  This set was given to her in 1956 for my Grand parents.  It is completely unused and in perfect condition.  The question now is, use them or store them?  Honestly, they are so pretty, that I may be using them.  What a treasure these items are.  The box can be used as a jewelry box, but it's been a wee bit smashed in over the years.   It has a lock and key on it, and lined with red velvet. 

Yesterday I posted about possibly framing my Grandma's 1924 Valentine in a shadow box.....and I did.  Here is a sneak peek at the quilling that I have started for the upper two corners.  Behind it is old wall paper.  I am using an acid free scrapbooking adhesive to attach the card and envelope.  I was actually considering cutting the writing from the envelope, but kept it whole.  Just this much quilling took about 1 1/2 hours.  I'll update it when I have it finished.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

True Love on the Farm and More Projects



Jasper and Tiger were playing and fell asleep right afterwards.  Jasper is sleeping with his head directly on top of Tiger's head.  Both are sound asleep.  Awwww!

 My 15 year-old and her Billy goat.  It takes a lot of love to love a Billy goat.....

Good barn kitty!  This doesn't show the love that this cat has, but she is a wonderful mouser.  We have 3 barn cats and they are so loving to us.  They can kill a mouse one minute and curl up underneath our chins the next.  Aurora (pictured above) can purr very, very loud.  She's truly one of a kind.

If you've been following my blog, you know I've finished the egg beater rack, the strainer plant pot, the garden mushrooms, and the drapery ring ornaments.

You also know I still working away on the sherbet colored afghan, and a knitted block blanket.......well, guess what? 

I've added more "projects" to my list.  I have a wonderful idea for using yo-yo's for a few more Christmas ornaments.  I have an idea for something I haven't even found yet in thrift stores, and about 3-4 more gifting projects.  Crazy isn't it?!

I also have a beautiful Valentine's Day card from 1924.  My grandmother won it in a drawing contest at her school in the 6th grade. My wonderful Aunt mailed it to me.  I am working on what I am going to do with it.  I'll post that when I finish it too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finishing Up More Unfinished Projects

If you get a chance, zip on over to my S.C.R.A.P. blog to see the latest finished, re-purpose project.  It started with an old hand egg beater:

I'm working on more later today if I feel good enough.  Yesterday, I found out I have an ear infection and sinus infection.  The antibiotics are making me very sick and very tired.

Oh...and for my "list" I have added more projects (LOL!)

Last night we tried Spicy Tuna Melts, and they were a hit.  So easy and very healthy.  We had a salad for the side dish.  Tonight, I have no idea what I'll be making.  They family is counting on me, now that they've had a week of really good food.  Maybe western style ribs in the crock pot?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mac n' Cheese Please ~ Health Update

We have tried a few healthier versions of Macaroni and Cheese, but haven't really found one we all like.  Of course, this is a tough dish to replace that ooey, gooey cheese sauce we all like.

After searching the Internet, I found a few that may taste pretty good.  I baked Sweet Potato Mac' n' Cheese, and we loved it!  It doesn't have that cheesy taste you get with a cheese sauce but my kids devoured this. 

The ingredients are simple, and some day, I hope to be making my own cottage cheese from scratch (or ricotta).  I know we will be adding "sweet potatoes" to the garden this year also.  For our dish, I used whole wheat penne noodles. Very simple, and very good.  I had broccoli as a side dish.  

I've had two good meals in a row, so the family is counting on me.  I'm back to searching for clean eating dishes, and hopefully find a delicious dish again.

As for the update, hubby and I have been back to the gym for over a week now.  I continue to walk on the treadmill at home and we are already feeling much better. However, I am going back to the doctor today and hopefully, they can finally put an end to my ear trouble and sinus issues.  

Recycling updates:  I've been collecting plastic cheese bags for the school.  I  hope to be sending in our first shipment this week.  The school receives $.02 for each one I ship in, and the landfills will be a cleaner place.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Twist on Fries

I am trying to add more vegetables and fruits to our meals, so I made Rutabaga Fries to go with baked Tilapia and peas mixed with carrots.  

These were okay, but nut spectacular.  We used a recipe that required fresh chopped rosemary and onion powder.  They were good, but not really good.  

There are so many recipes available for baking these.  I may try using a garlic herb mix on them the next time I bake them.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When the Kids Don't Feel Like Watching TV

That's a shocker title - "Don't Feel Like Watching TV."  You'd have to wonder what's wrong with them.  Even though I try to limit what they watch, for them to say that, is a rarity in this house.

I guess it's proof that your kids watch what you do, and I do a lot of handiwork here.  I do think that "craft" got a bad name somewhere along it's lifetime, and we often hear people say "I don't craft."

If you think about it, even cooking can be a "craft."  It's a skill using your hands, and it's a bit sad that "crafting" has been stereotyped.

Okay....back to my story.  After a long day of working out, shopping for groceries, and picking up one kiddo at an overnighter, I was ready to relax early.  I decided "jammie" hour came early and began to knit in my room. 

All the sudden, kids started coming in and going in an out of my closet (also the storage area for most of our crafting supplies).  I watched and wondered what they were up to.


"I need to do something to expand my creativity.  I feel like my brain is rotting."

Out the door she (my 15 year-old) went with the box of paints.  Then she came back.

"Do you have any large paper?" she asked

"Of course I do," I proceeded to explain where I had it stored (I still have large paper I bought over 3 years ago at a S.C.R.A.P. store in Michigan).

Out the door she went again.


About an hour later, I was being shown paintings that my 17 and 15 year-old daughters painted - finger painted.  They were all giddy and laughing and having a good time.  My younger two daughters were also painting.

Then my 10 year-old walks in, "do you have any bows in there?" she asks pointing to the closet.

"No, those are all in the garage now."

She goes into the closet.  

"Oh, I know what I can use!  Ribbons!"

She later hands me a letter and a wrapped gift.  The letter told me how much she missed me when she stayed overnight at a friends, and the gift was a recycled valentine's heart candy box (small) painted with foam figures and beads glued to it.

I'd say my kids are full of creativity.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chopped and other updates. . .

We've been watching the "Chopped" Foodnetwork show, and the kids love it.  Last night our 12 year-old begged for her own box of food to cook with.

We gave her 2 boxes of black wild rice, a jar of pimentos and a bag of mini-marshmallows.  I had no idea what to get, or how creative she could be.

She cooked the rice, added the pimentos and added leftover diced chicken we had that she marinated a bit in soy sauce.

She made a dessert with the mini-marshmallows and crushed rice chex cereal.  She added raisins also.  It kind of tasted like rice krispie treats, but tougher to chew.  She did pretty good.

I think they had so much fun with this that I may purchase items for her and her younger sister for another round.

Gus came home late afternoon yesterday.  He's doing good and getting lots of pampering.  He follows my son everywhere now.  The vet told my son that the growth/lump was very deep, black and very nasty looking.  My son agreed to have it tested in a lab, so we will know for sure.  However, my son felt another lump in another area, so he'll be watching that too.  Thank you for all you prayers for Gus.

The weather is a teensy bit warmer, and we got more snow last night.  The pipes finally thawed by late evening last night - YAY! We get showers!


Although yarn and quilling paper has arrived in my mail, I continue to knit and crochet daily.  I am amazed how fast I can knit know compared to last summer.  I can remember days where I could not knit when the kids were home.  I literally had to take entire knitted block apart, because I lost track of rows and stitches.  I'm not an expert at it, but much better.  Now, when I get back to tatting, I'll probably have to re-teach myself again.  Ha ha ha!

 A recent sunrise from my front porch.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meet Gus - Surgery Today and Wooden Drapery Ring Christmas Ornaments

This is Gus.  He's about 11 years old.  We went to the humane society to find a kitten or cat, to play with our long time cat Mattie (oldest daughter's cat).  When we got there, I was busy looking at the cats, and my husband disappeared.  I found him in the dog section.  

We walked through, and every dog was barking except Gus.  That was his name at the humane society also.  He just sat in his cage and looked at us.  

I kept thinking, what did someone do to you? I really thought his ability to bark was not there.  He was so quiet and so calm.

Poor Gus, and another dog, had been left out and abandoned by someone.  They just moved out, left the dogs tied up outside, and left them there.  Horrible.


I once wrote on a topic for a Web site on family pets.  You can read the original story about our pets here: http://www.helium.com/items/1754966-our-pets-and-how-they-live-in-harmony.  I do need to update it, but you can read about how we ended up Gus.  

Gus is basically my son's dog.  They spend a lot of time together.  A few years ago my son was playing with his dog's lips and laughing, but felt a lump in his jaw.   Thankfully, for his play time with his dog, we had the lump removed.  Now, my son has found a lump on his leg, which he has been chewing on and biting off hair.  

Today, Gus is having surgery to remove the lump.  We don't know if it's cancerous yet or not.  Gus has been biting it too much to take a sample prior to the surgery.  The good news, is that he'll get his teeth cleaned today also.  That will keep him healthy.

Gus is very much like those dogs you see plopped on the front porch on a hot summer day.  He loves to bathe in the sun, and if we are lucky, we can get him to run around with the other dogs.  

Gus isn't a ball and fetch kind of dog, but once in a while he'll play tug-o-war with a rope, and the other dogs.

We think that Gus may have have been a hunting dog at one time, as he is the only dog (other than Sadie chasing birds) that can catch a gopher.  

We are praying today the Gus recovers quickly from this surgery today.  He's been a huge part of our life here.  He's made us laugh and he's taught the kids to love.

I finished the wooden ring Christmas ornaments.  The complete story is on my S.C.R.A.P. blog:  http://scrapreusedandrecycledartprojects.blogspot.com/2012/01/christmas-ornament-using-thrift-store.html

A close up of the quilled holly leaves and berries drying.

I'll admit, I wish I had more of these rings.  These were fun to make.  I am creating two more in pastel colored yarn and will post those when they are finished also. I was lucky to find these rings for $1.00.  I looked on ebay and other places and they sell for much more.

We woke up to frozen pipes in half of the house today.  Good thing we have water on hand (in jugs) to flush toilets.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Library Book Heaven ~ Or Dilemma?

Well, most people were right.  All of the those library books got me into a lot of trouble - ha ha ha ha! UGH!  I found soooo many ideas I want to make for friends and gifts and family and and and and......

Check this crochet project out.....

This could have been my "best friend" when I was sick!  These are super cute and handy.  I wonder if these would be useful to women in nursing homes?  The pattern for these are in a book titled Big Book of Crochet, by Leisure Arts.  This book is packed with ideas! 

And that's just the beginning.  I have already started writing book titles and projects into my "crafting journal."


It seems like I am adding projects every day now.  I did have plans to make my Mom some notecards from wallpaper, and did not, so those are on the list again this year too.


Speaking of projects, my 9th grader is working on a box assignment for Art class.  The box is a cigar box and they are filling it with items the represent a place they like.  She came up with ideas and of course headed to my closet - the craft/clothing closet in my bedroom.  It's not small, but not real big either.  


When we moved here, the closet was added on between the bedroom and the garage, so the walls (most of them) are block walls.  There was no hanger bars for clothes hangers either.  It was simply wire shelves on the walls.  


In my prior home I had organized all the supplies in labeled containers, and most of them had fit into this closet.  Many tubs of beads, and material went into the garage.  I often forget what's out there too.

Anyway, she started with a crackle paint to create a barn look on the outside, and then asked for other supplies (I'll post a finished picture later).  This is where we both laughed.

"...but what can I use to make chicks or eggs with?"


"sculpey?"


"OH! I know! That clay stuff I put in your closet last year!"


"Are you kidding me?" I shrieked.  "I'm not sure I can find anything in there!"


So....we ventured into the closet and finally found the clay she was needing, the popsicle sticks and more wood scraps she could use. We ooh'd and ahh'd over things we found in containers, including the tiny wooden clothespins I had.


And guess what?!  I found the roll of applique I had been looking for!  Yay!  Two days of searching and found it.  


You can bet that I'll be spending some time cleaning that closet today.  After I clean a few drawers in my refrigerator too. 


Not only did I find the applique, and items she wanted, but found a tote bag with two unfinished crocheted dishcloths in it. Aiyeeee!  Yep....there's that word again.  I  guess there won't be any moss growing around me feet too soon.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pumpkin Butter Bread and My Day "Off"

If you are like me, and have leftover pumpkin butter you need to use up, you may like the recipe we tried.  I baked a Pumpkin Butter Bread. Although it wasn't our favorite, they ate it up.  I didn't have raisins and walnuts, and that may add more flavor to it.


This year I am trying to give myself a day "off."  We do honor the Sabbath on Sunday, but I really need to give myself a "break" and tend to  myself for a day.


It's been slow going on this.  However, it's only been two weeks of initiating it also.  


Ha ha ha!  A day "off" is a good day to bring home library goodies and browse books.  I found a few great ideas for using up my yo-yo's for Christmas ornaments and some great gift ideas.



I also finished (YAY! I can say the word now) the last of the cat flour sack towels.

I am also making progress on my mixing bowl re-purpose project. Somewhere around the house I have the original magazine article on how to make these:  Garden Mushrooms

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Excerpts from a Journal Junkie

from the homesteading journal. . .



I made another batch of homemade dishwasher detergent. This has saved us money and kept the chemicals off of our dishes.


Although many of the kids are not willing to try my homemade deodorant, I can say it holds up to a full workout at the gym, followed by an afternoon of wood splitting.

The snow has melted and the rains have arrived again. The yard looks like it flooded already, so the laundry is being dried inside. . .


{scrap fabric drying on my indoor clothesline}



from the baking/cooking journal. . .


I used to cook from my pantry to keep foods from expiring, but so often I am cooking from my freezer.  With the increased amount of garden and fruit frozen versus canned, I searched for recipes that can use up my shredded zucchini, and blueberries.  




I baked two loaves of zucchini/blueberry bread, and realized that I could also utilize any applesauce I have frozen as well (in place of cooking oil).  I had to smack a few hands from snatching my frozen blueberries.




I also finally canned Cinnamon/Cider jelly for our own family.  Now that the Christmas holiday is over, I can catch up on chores for my own family. 

from the crafting/handiwork journal . . .

I worked like a mad woman all weekend, to try and finish up or at least work on unfinished projects.  While I continue to crochet my sherbet colored afghan, I started painting mixing bowls.....
 {soon to be posted on my S.C.R.A.P. blogspot}

. . .I picked up at a thrift store almost 4 years ago.  I boxed up a few finished ornaments, and finished a few re-purposed projects.  


I finished another scarf. . .

While cleaning up my craft supplies (which could take me weeks), I found yet another unfinished project. . .


I worked a little on this yesterday, and when it's finished, this set of towels will be completed.

The list continues....


from my personal journal . . .

Two kids are home sick, hubby has been having stomach trouble (still went to work), and I am coughing with congestion, sinus pressure and once again the dreaded mucus.  I was so hoping we were all over this, but this is the pits.  

Today I am thankful for:

1. my washing machine
2. mail delivery to my home
3. my kid's jobs
4. the income I earn from writing
5. hot tea
6. essential oils and Vick's Vap-Rub
7. kleenex
8. my Bible
9. God's Love
10. paper