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~

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections of 2014

Over the past few years I have managed to post reflections of the entire year.  I apologize in advance for the length of this post.  I had no idea how many steps we have taken this year in successfully living a more sustainable, morally earned lifestyle, removing nasty chemicals from our lives, learning more about natural remedies, herbal teas, and so much more.  This lifestyle is not for everyone.  Although splitting wood is both physically and mentally challenging (our source of heat), I would not trade it for a switch on the wall any day.  And I could not have gotten this far without the partnership and support of my husband.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Re-Stocking Supply ~ Flourless Brownies (Oh My!)

We used the last "can" of homemade mushroom soup in our freezer, so I'll be spending the day mixing up more and re-stocking the supply.  

This time I will make a few cream of chicken soups as well.



Yesterday, I spent the morning in the kitchen making breakfast.  I started by cooking a shallot, red pepper, and chopped kale. Later I added one small minced garlic.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rest and Relaxation (kind of) ~ Whiskey Butterscotch Sauce

Sunday we finally sat around and simply enjoyed ourselves.  We tossed around the idea of going bowling, but the more we relaxed and took time for ourselves, the more we wanted to simply hang out (in pajamas no less).

It's hard for me to sit around and do nothing, which was what we told Mom to do (she had another ER visit) for the next few days. 

I was reading through a library book, on handmade gifts and decided to not let the year end without a "bang." 


I went to the kitchen and made Whiskey Butterscotch Sauce.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

All things are possible.....

Hubby and I went to one last Christmas family gathering.  We ended up going by ourselves, but brought home leftovers.  The kids gobbled them up last night.

Although I was tempted to crochet, and had another unfinished project in my hands (I found several as I was cleaning a few days ago), I put it away.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Beautiful Day . . .

It sure feels good to get some order restored.  The tree is still up, and the lights are still up outside, but my bedroom (aka Gift wrap central) is cleaned up.  


The girls went shopping with their Christmas gift cards, so I cleaned and dusted and re-organized.  I even found a few items to give to the thrift.  And before they went shopping, they cleaned up the dishes for me.

Friday, December 26, 2014

After-Christmas Clean Up ~ Tidbits


We did not get a nasty storm as predicted.  In fact, we did not get as much rain as I thought we would, and we got zero snow.  Today might be the last warmer weather day for a while, but no snow.

In fact, the sun is already shining here today.

I'm worn out with running here and there for gatherings.  We all sat around the front room last night and watched a movie, sipped hot cranberry punch, and nibbled on leftover food and cookies.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Handmade/Homemade Christmas 2014


Here is what I gifted extended families this year (hint: not the baking dish):  


Birthday Dinner ~ Sorghum Candy Making


Youngest asked for me (for her 13th birthday dinner) to make a few new recipes - Pumpkin and Sage Baked Macaroni, and Italian Oven Roasted Cauliflower. 


(Cauliflower dish)


(Pumpkin Macaroni Dish)

Both were super easy to make,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A bit of baking ~ Dog Pile

Our 18 year-old was not agreeing with my cookie "cut back" and is busy baking in the kitchen.  She made the dough yesterday, and is already baking them.  At least she is agreeing to a select few, as I suggested.



She insisted on a few of our favorites.  One is a recipe called "Angel Cookies" but we use it for our "cut out" recipe every year (butter frosting).  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Storm Prep ~ Second "Pop Test"

Sunday was a full work day here - wood pellets restocked, wood cut, split and stacked, animal feed restocked, and  chicken coop cleaned.  Water jugs were also filled. Around here any type of storm can cut out our electricity, and we have yet to buy our generator.  That's next on the preparedness list.

Tonight we are re-securing the snow fence, in anticipation of bad wind, rain and maybe snow.  We may even have a white Christmas this year.

Although they are talking about "storms" they are also saying it is not the worst storm to come through.  So we are praying for good travel weather for friends and family.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week of Events

We had a computer blooper yesterday morning, so I did not get anything posted.  Sorry.  Not much going on here anyway.  Nothing exciting, funny, or interesting.  Although youngest had a duet in a recent school (in-school) choir concert. 

We haven't baked one Christmas cookie recipe this year, and I'll be honest.  I'm not missing it.  The sugar that is.  The girls tell me they will make a few recipes to take with us to gatherings, but we'll see.  I do need to get buckeyes made, as it is the only thing my Dad asks for, for Christmas.


(2012 cake I baked and frosted)
 
Youngest has a birthday in a few days, and we haven't baked a homemade birthday cake for two years now.  She's opted for alternatives, and this year asked for a peppermint pie. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

In Search of . . .

Yesterday, right after I posted, I went in search for something on the internet.  I can't even remember what I was searching for at the time, but remembered clicking on "images" for another search and wound up finding another crochet pattern I want to make.   I'm pretty sure I was not looking for patterns.

Sigh.  Another pattern that requires a color I do not have.

Double sigh.

And then there was the triple sigh for finding another project when crafting journal if full already.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Count down . . .

Here's a few more Christmas items around the house this year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jingle Bells ~ Tidbits

I'm glad I did all of our laundry last Sunday.  It's been raining here for a few days now.  I'm starting to wonder if we'll even have snow on Christmas this year.

I, once again, had a busy day in the kitchen.  I did not make it back into the closet as planned.

Now that Alias has a new tag to wear (his rabies shot tag), it sounds like jingle bells when he walks around the house.  He's now gotten the nickname of "Jingles."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Closet Update ~ Sharing Tea Knowledge ~ Homemade "Vaseline"

My extreme closet cleaning was 90% successful.  Okay, maybe 80%, but I am still pleased.  I listed all my current projects (which were way fewer this time) in my crafting journal, just to make sure this mind of mine didn't forget them again.  One empty plastic storage drawer is now labeled "current project" so I stay on task with one until it's done.  Then I can move on to the next.

Several things made it to the donation pile, one garbage bag was filled, and a few pieces of clothing were passed down.

I still need to go in and vacuum (yes there is carpet in there), and work on the rest, but it feels so good to get it done.  The sun was out all day too.  I even put on some music.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Spirit ~ Extreme Clean in December?

Hubby and I spent the night watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie.  We ended up watching three in a row.  I got a lot of handiwork done too.


Today the weather is to be in the 50's, so have a plan.  Normally, I'll do the all-out house cleaning, barn chores, haul wood thing.  Then I put aside time in the evening for handmade Christmas gifts to be worked on.

Today I'm taking advantage of the weather.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Handmade Christmas Ornament ~ Infused Honey Update

Although these can wait to be finished, I did get one done for photo sharing purposes.

Here's this year's next (I say next, because I'm always making more than one) newest Christmas ornament:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Lost ~ Door Knockers ~ Tidbits

My 15 year-old lost her scarf I made her.  She can't find it anywhere.  Hm.  Of course as the maker of it, I'm not totally happy about this.  I asked her if she left it at school.  Nope.  I told her she might need to clean her room up, and maybe she'll find it.  Nope, not there either.  She got a lot of compliments on it too.  I'm not even sure I have the same yarn colors in my stash.  Either way, I can't make her another one until after Christmas.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Friday Thing

When I worked full time (and lived in the city) I always looked forward to Fridays.   Now, Fridays are no different than any other day, because Saturday's start with barn chores.  That's okay too.  Although on Saturdays and Sundays I have Hubby home to help, and the kids too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Catching up ~ Basic Collard Greens


Wednesday seemed like my "Monday" cleaning day.  I had a long list of to-do's, and we were out of chicken and goat feed to top it off.  As well as vinegar, a much needed agent for cleaning.  That meant two trips in two directions, or asking Hubby to help with the feed pick up.

Before I could put pork chops in the crock pot,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Day of Tears

Yesterday we cried a lot.  Don't worry, they were all happy tears.  Guess who is home?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Handmade Hand Lotion ~ Tidbits


I've been wanting to try this recipe all year, and finally got around to making it.  I don't have the preservative for the updated recipe, and I used lemon essential oil (organic of course).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hubby ~ Critters lurking

Now I have two patients here to care for.  Hubby hurt his ankle and refuses to have it checked by a doctor or even have an x-ray done. 

Evidently, when he drove to the big city

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Goodbye Chemicals ~ Hello Grapeseed Oil ~ Surprise Mail

This is the list of ingredients in the make up remover wipes my girls use.  We can't afford "organic" or natural remover, but we found another substitute now.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Congestion relief ~ Tidbits


You would think the jalapeno's in the chili would have opened my sinuses but they did not.  I ended up brewing up hot ginger tea and that seemed to do the trick.



Sadie enjoyed her homemade dog food.  She devoured it.  I give thanks to the blog "With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart" for posting the references and information regarding making homemade dog food. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hot chili for a cold day

Considering I was on the go for the last few nights, we have not had a good hot meal. I opened the freezer and pantry, and whipped up a crock pot of chili.  

Over summer I did not have enough jalapenos to pickle any, so I sliced and froze them in baggies.  For the chili, I simply took out some, and finely chopped them while frozen.  They chopped so nicely too.

I am thrilled with the tomato paste I canned too.  I was saying my thanks for every item we where blessed with over summer, and stocked up, as I made the dinner.


Everything that went

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good ending for a day

Yesterday afternoon, I waited for the girls to get home.  I told them we were all going to the animal clinic to visit Sadie.  Hubby had called them early in the morning, and they said it would be good for Sadie.  

We were also told that she could not come home until Thursday (today).  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dog Update

I'm up early, but I most likely will go back down for nap after barn chores.  Hubby and I were up most of the night waiting for a call.

After the vet called me (the first vet), and I was given the not-so-good prognosis, I was back in the car to go pick her up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dog emergency. . .


This morning was completely different.  It's not my normal chore/work day here.  I woke up to one dog not herself.  I could tell by one look.

Instead of coming right back inside (when I took her out), Sadie simply laid down half way to the door.  Immediately I knew something was really wrong.  Yesterday she was fine when I walked her.  In fact, while walking her, I looked down and saw her carrying her leash in her mouth (walking herself).

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra today, at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Warm Weather ~ A Peek at Decor


Hubby and I got more wood split, hauled and stacked.  Our warm weather day was about to turn back to cold, so we worked hard.  We cut more than we typically do in one day, so I was happy.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mashed Rutabagas and Green Peas ~ Leftover Mashed Potatoes


In my recent organizing days, I located a recipe that uses leftover mashed potatoes.  Not very often do we have them leftover, but this recipe is a good way to use them to create another healthy dish.

Start by peeling and cutting a large rutabaga into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add them to a pan of water and a bit of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover until rutabagas are tender (30-40 minutes).  Drain.  Mash them.



Combine your

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our Onion Soup Mix Experiment ~ Tidbits

Why onion soup?  Because I have nothing else to write about today (yet).   

Believe it or not, I am still deep cleaning here and there (three boxes went to the thrift store), and finally got Hubby to replace the old (very old) light fixture in the kitchen.  We've had replacement for it for a long time, but have not had the time to get it up.

Back to the soup. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

A no-rush day. . .

We got a teensy bit of snow last night, and this morning it is so peacefully quiet outside.  The traffic is almost zero.  As I stood sipping a cup of hot coffee while one dog was out and about I could hear Timmy purring up a storm while rubbing his head on my slippers.  It was so nice out there, that I didn't mind Jesse's morning jaunt.  In fact, I think I downed an entire cup of coffee watching him go from tree to tree, while listening to Sparta crow from the coop.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Barbecued green beans are are already in the crock pot.  I decided on that, and a yellow squash and corn casserole today.  The green beans are made with my homemade ketchup, and the casserole with the corn we put up (and homemade baking mix).  Simple. I'm lucky to have found organic yellow squash at the grocery store.

 (sorry for the links to the recipes, I got kind of lazy today)

Today is a good day to post a gratitude list.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

As random as it gets. . .

I have no new recipe to share, no family funny, nor exciting updates today.  It's a cold, cloud covered day here today, and you can tell the snow is on the way.

When the girls got home from school, they could hear gun shots out behind the homestead.  I did my usual walk around the property.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On the Road Again. . . . 75 plus miles


Monday was a day about everyone else.  You know those days where everyone has needs, and your the one required by your title as Mom to see to the needs?  

I did not even get out of the shower before one of the kids called.  She forgot her "gym clothes."  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Tidbits ~ Do I hear Jingle Bells?

The weekend did warm up, and it was enough to let the fire go out.  Although we woke up to sunshine and no rain Sunday morning, I was fighting a migraine.

Around 5:00am Sunday morning, I took ibuprofen, and let a dog out.  The ibuprofen took the edge off, but laying there, I knew it was a migraine.  Then a bit after 8:00am, I asked Hubby to go search for my migraine medication.  It had expired.  It had been that long since I had one.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Recipe Find and Other Tidbits

It's 5:30am.  I am up to fill the wood stove.  This morning we've warmed up to 29°F, but it feels like 20°.  Our "warm up" today is about 45°F.  I'm not going out today, even though I had plans.  We are getting freezing rain.  Not fun to drive in.  

My wood splitting partner, aka Hubby, is still at work at this hour.  He left at 10:30pm last night and won't be home until late this afternoon.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Carrot Sandwich Bread


I'm not really a fan of baking yeast rising breads when it's colder in my house, so I wanted to try this 1969 cookbook recipe for a sandwich bread.


Homemade Bread, By the Food Editors of Farm Journal © 1969.



The recipe caught my eye, because it uses carrots in the recipe.  My first choice in "shortening" in this recipe would be real lard, but I do not have access to any.  I used organic, non-hydrogenated shortening.  If I keep coming up with reasons for lard, Hubby may reconsider raising our own pigs too.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crazy Weather ~ Scaling Back the Holidays


How cold is it?

Cold enough to freeze eggs in the coop overnight.  Not just one, but three.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Freezing Temps



 (very early this morning)

If you are wondering.   I did not get my wish for school to be closed.  Mom always said, "If wishes where horses, then beggars would ride."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Warming up with soup. . .

Monday was my typically cleaning day (for the indoors anyway).  My indoor clothesline and all of my drying racks were filled to capacity.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

View of my porch....

We completed a good portion of wood splitting, and our porch is slowly being restocked with wood.  The view of my porch is much different now.  We still have plenty to cut and split.  Unfortunately, a few of those large pieces in the yard, were Ash.  That stuff is terrible to split (stringy).  But, we are thankful to get a good day's work in, although it was Sunday.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Splittin' Wood


Although folks tried to get Hubby to go elsewhere over the weekend, I put my foot down, and told him the "boss" says he cannot go.  We are behind in splitting wood, and several trees need cut up now, one that fell over on it's own already (more on that one later).

 
Remember that load of "free" wood that was delivered while we were in South Carolina?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Muti-tasking Day and Gratitude


I didn't think it was possible, but I decluttered while walking my daily miles on the treadmill.  There is a nearby bookshelf (we have to move things around when we start burning wood for heat) and I simply pulled books off that I no longer need.


I offered these to Youngest who loves to write like her Mom, and a few went into the "thrift" box I am slowly filling up.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Freeze Drying ~ Barn Cat Shelter Update ~ Tidbits


This is a rug (one of two not yet replaced with a homemade rag rug), that Hubby left out to dry overnight.  Ha!  That's what you call "freeze dried" on the clothesline.  It was pretty chilly yesterday, and the snow continued all day, but nothing that was a concern.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Random Tidbits ~ Sausage and Kale Millet Skillet


I was up, and sipping through my first cup of coffee Tuesday morning, when my phone rang about 7:00am.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Barn Cat Tote Shelters ~ Tidbits ~ I got "notered"


Our 18 year-old daughter wanted to make new winter shelters for the barn cats, so we decided on making one to see if they will use them.  We've always used totes at the door, packed with blankets, but this time we made these:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Curried Sweet Potato and Millet Soup with Pumpkin Cornbread


In my quest for locating more good millet recipes, I found some in a cookbook I already had.


Although the recipe I tried is in the book, it's also online if you are interested in making it - Curried Sweet Potato and Millet Soup.  I substituted pure maple syrup with our homemade corn cob syrup.

The results?  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekend Tidbits


The kids pretty much eat me out of house and home after school, so Friday morning I baked up some pumpkin pancakes using some of our favorite ingredients, and saved the rest for their after school snack.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rain, Tea and Me


It rained all day yesterday, but thanks to my multitasking mania mode, I got the dogs walked, all of the remaining pepper plants pulled from the garden, stove ashes dumped, eggs collected, goat's water checked....all before it started raining.  A good warm breakfast was much enjoyed after that.

Nothing new right?  I was very satisfied with the morning progress, but rain makes me lazy.  I tend to gravitate towards a sofa, blanket and a book (or some sort of handiwork).  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Breakfast ~ Herbal Journey ~ Jasper

We've been eating leftovers for a few days.  I cooked up a crock pot of organic black beans with onion, and those have been going fast too.  I really enjoy eating the beans with scrambled eggs, home canned zucchini salsa and a bit of cheese, all wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla.  Youngest started doing this after school, and they really are delicious.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reading, Writing and Chicken Chasing

Are you ready to talk over coffee today?  Mom gifted me this recent mug in a bag of odds and ends she sent home with our 17 year-old last week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What my kids do to me ~ Sunset and other Tidbits


The other day my younger three girls were raving about muffins I made last year.   I had been discussing making pumpkin pancakes or waffles, so the topic of pumpkin was wafting through their busy brains.

"They were HUGE!"

"They were so good!"

"They were really moist and big!"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today.

Junk Drawer Christmas Tree Ornament

Today I reveal to you the junk drawer inspired Christmas tree ornament. 

Are you ready?  I know, I know.  The suspense has to be driving you nuts.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Random Tidbits


Sunday mornings are my favorite here on the homestead. 

 
There is hardly any traffic whatsoever, and the pure sounds of nature are beautifully making music. 

  The stars could be seen well this morning too.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

National Novel Writing Month ~ Recovery Room ~ My Herbal Journal


Today, I start writing a novel in one month.  It's National Novel Writing Month.  I've been participating in this for a few years now.  One day, one of these quick, fired up novels, will make it to print.  

Of course this month long writing does not suggest preparing ahead, so am starting with a blank slate this morning.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fall Ends ~ Blueberry Millet Muffins

Yesterday morning there was a layer of fog over the fields.  Kind of pretty and perfect for a Halloween-ie type photo.



 
Walking to the mailbox I discovered

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From the Handiwork Journal . . .



. . . crocheted tiny flowers and glued them to paper clips.  These are quick to make, add color to your work space, and are fun to gift.  I loved they way these turned out - adorable!



These tiny flowers could be added to handmade cards, bobby pins, and so much more.  I glued them to large paper clips using a clear drying, strong craft glue.



I am crocheting two flower patterns for making these.  I do like the first flower better.  

I keep a box of "tuck in" gifts that fit in an envelope or card, and my stash is dwindling.  So many of these are going in the box.

The patterns for making flowers are in this book:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Color ~ Clothesline

While walking to the mailbox, I noticed my snapdragons are adding some vibrant fall color to the flower beds.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winter Prep List ~ Dishwasher Detergent

Yesterday I gave my master bathroom a good cleaning, but the tub was left to scrub today.  I made sure I had porch time.  I also got the bills paid and propane ordered, so a big cup of coffee was needed this morning.  

My coffee cup today is actually pink with white polka dots.  The early light in the kitchen makes it look different.  

We are making progress on the "Winter Prep" list, but

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

 I'm joining Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today.

Fillin' Up ~ Dried Leaf Art


Sunday morning consisted of more wood splitting and stacking.  It feels good to gain on that job.  We are trying to get all the wood inside the barn split first, before we tackle the monstrosity pieces again.  We are getting another tree soon, and that wood needs a place to dry inside the barn.  I'm excited to get a bit ahead on our supply.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tuckered out


Camping?  Well, after a full day of splitting wood, we were too tuckered out to mess with the camper, ha ha!  We did sleep well, even if it wasn't in the good ol' outdoors.

Truth be told, I think if we put up the camper early, and then did the hard work, it would have worked.  However, that wonderful morning chill is back today and I would have not wanted to leave.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Routine ~ Pink


Yesterday I watched the sunrise whether I had intended to or not.  It's darker out now, and the sun rises later now.


Jesse is

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sunshine


Sparta and the ladies enjoyed a long day outdoors yesterday.  The sun was shining and it was just perfectly cozy.  No dreary skies or fall cold drizzle.