Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

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, April 30, 2010

French Toast Casserole Taste Testing in Progress

With the blessing of so many eggs from our chickens, we are test tasting several French Toast Casseroles.  I have recipes for many egg dishes, but not for this type of casserole.  Many of the recipes require 4 to 12 eggs to make.  We are thrilled to give these a try.  We have 2 from the Internet that are being baked this weekend.  The trouble I am having, is finding a very healthy recipe.  Many require cream and butter.  Without other farm animals, I would have to buy these items.  I'm seeing more benefits of adding goats, cows, pigs, and other animals.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gold Mine Find ~ Goodwill

I visited a nearby Goodwill in search for old buttons for my daughters, however I wound up finding a wonderful deal on fabric! Each piece, which is about 3 yards or more were priced $.75 or $1.50 each. I absolutely love the first one on the left in the photo (with roses). I plan to sew curtains for my short bedroom bookshelves. I also found an old canning jar with a lid. I may repurpose it into a soap dispenser! The canning jar was only $.75.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Young Cultivators ~ Farmgirl Sisterhood

My 8 year old daughter is so excited about working on her "Young Cultivator" certificates (Farmgirl Sisterhood), that she cut photos from old magazines and decoupaged them to a notebook to journal her progress. One of her sisters helped with the decoupage.

Project and Repurposing Fabric

I am re-purposing furniture fabric samples into a yo-yo fabric project.  Here a  few circles cut from the fabric samples.  They are all made with different materials, but easy to use.  I simply tore the cardboard cover from the sampler and pulled each piece of fabric free.  I found the samples at a SCRAP store in Michigan (that is now closed).  I have about 1 1/2 hours into the project so far.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More spring cleaning and clearing out

If you are following my progress in cleaning house, I have discovered at one point in my life, that I had been binder crazy.  I cleaned out my 7th binder of papers today.  Most of them were from my Travel Agent studies from long ago.  In fact, I had held onto them for more than 18 years.  I must have thought that I should keep them in case I would go back to that kind of work. 

I have filled a 18-gallon tote with papers to burn.  It's amazing how much "stuff" is around here that can go.  I gave my husband a job last night and, it too, involved paper.  And a bunch of magazines.  We should have a big bonfire to celebrate getting all of the cleaning done too.

I just washed up 2 more rugs for storage (next winter), and did some more deep cleaning on some shelves.  It feels so much better to walk into our bedroom now.  I'm not finished, but with one area at a time, it will be soon. 

It's a good thing that the weather is too chilly to be working in the yard today.  I am finding little areas that I can spot clean and toss items from.  I emptied another 18-gallon tote from the garage, and cleaned two more book shelves.  I donated 4 more items to the library also.  I also gave some items away free.  Phew! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rain, rain and rain

Just before the rain arrived, I was able to put about 3 bags of mulch in my rose bed.  It's been raining since then and is still raining this morning.  I keep thinking how easy it will be to weed the flower beds after it stops.

My husband bought me this sign last fall in clearance.  I think we got it at a Cracker Barrel store.  I had it hanging in the house until after winter and finally have it hanging by my front door.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wild Spearmint ~ What a Blessing!

I found wild spearmint growing along a ditch bank on the property. I'm very excited because I have not had spearmint in my herb garden for many years. It tends to take over everything, so now I can make tea again. This means I need to make another herb drying rack. Foraging is so fun!
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wild Growing Catnip

I located some wild growing catnip on the property. It was growing along the side of one of the barns. I brought some in to wash and dry, but Jasper and Tiger had located it and took off with it. It looks almost like spearmint.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking a Mud Bath

From what my daughter has told me, the chickens dig a hole and take a "mud bath."  They actually fight over this spot.  I'll have to do more research on this.

Birds, Deer and More Spring Cleaning updates

I saw a deer today about noon, walking around the woods beyond the field out front.  Last night my husband and one of the girls saw 3 deer walking into our property from the back woods.  They were all female.  Today I saw small birds coming from the largest barn. It looked liked a finch but I was too far away to see for sure.  Speaking of birds,  I sure hope to we get to see our summer hummingbird again.

There is still a chill in the air, but it's perfect for weeding flower beds.  I got yelled at last night for having "too much" green onion.  I am trying to locate a food pantry to donate some too, but not many have refrigerators.  It sells pretty cheap in the stores this week (2 for $1.00) so not many people mess with growing it.  Either way, I pulled a bunch to cook with this week.  We've added it to eggs, potatoes, potato salad, and even mixed it with cooked black beans and cheese for a dip.  I was lucky to have cooked up a batch of dry beans and had them all ready in the freezer.  I will have a bean baking and freezing day soon.

Today's spring cleaning updates:
-washing 3 bed quilts
-scrubbing out a few kitchen cupboards and decluttering and organizing them

Sunday Gardening

I am trying to instill Sunday as a "rest" day around this homestead, but my husband is going nuts with my flower beds.  Since we already had the natural rocks from the property, and the dirt from last year that was brought in, we expanded my herb garden.  Now there is room to plant flowers in front of the herbs.  We already have seeds started for planting next month.  Around here we cannot plant until about Mother's Day.

After that was finished I had a sinus headache that needed tending.  I still have not purchased my masks, but plan to on the next trip into town.  I cooled my forehead with a wash cloth and recovered.

I relaxed by finishing a book, Tall Cedars Homestead by Carrie Bender, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  It's fiction, but sounds so realistic.  It's about an Amish couple who just married, and are renting a cabin in Montana.  The book is written in journal form, but I loved reading every bit of it.  I may have to write a review for this series.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Clean ~ Bathroom First Aid Drawer

This is the bathroom first aid drawer.  Very messy and band-aids are always everywhere.  Nothing stays in a box.  I dumped everything onto the floor and washed out the drawer. Here is the "after" picture.

Band-aids are sorted by size and all of the tubes of medications are in one container.  Phew!  One more thing cleaned, decluttered and organized.

We found another 31 new spiral notebooks and several packages of loose notebook paper.  I'm not even done decluttering the clothes and a few other shelves in my closet.  It's about the size of a mini-bedroom with poor shelving in it.  Anyway, I must start writing by hand with all of these notebooks around here.

I also found several handmade Christmas cards that got buried in a box.  They are now where I can view them and use them for next seasons gift giving.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Clean ~ More Stuff!

I just found 11 more pairs of unfinished flip flops (groan).  I guess I will add "decorated flip flops" to my "Mom's Boredom Buster Projects" list on the desktop.  It will be a way to use up my extra fabric I have also located.

I also had a basket that held misc. baskets for gift giving.  One basket I had purchased from a SCRAP store, before the move, must have been wet on the bottom from a plant.  As I went through each basket, this particular one had a layer of mildew on it!  Gross!  Just one more reminder that cleaning is always a good thing.

Now that I know where my flour sack towels and hankies are, I must add that craft project to my "boredom" list also.  They are hope chest projects, which are all stowed into one tote and labeled for each child. 

Spring Clean ~ More Stuff!

Over the days of decluttering, organizing and cleaning, I have found 25 new spiral notebooks in the utility room storage area, found 4 more in my bedroom closet along with 16 new writing tablets, and I believe I will find more.  Any writer will find this hilarious.  I guess I'm not doing enough writing by hand.

I believe the kids will be set for those school supplies for next year anyway. Ha ha ha!

I washed 2 more floor rugs also. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Clean - Bedroom closet/craft storage room

AAACK!  Hidden behind items on a shelf,

Rain, Gardening and a Spring Clean Update

The rain is coming down in light short spurts and are just long enough to get the top of the gardens soft, but not enough to get the weed's roots out easily.  As soon as it stops raining I get out my tools and start to dig, and about 5 minutes later it starts to rain again.  However, I have been successful in transplanting extra green onion.  It is growing so fast this spring I need give some away and spread it out.  I love the smell of it when I'm gardening too.

I came across this herb gardening newsletter.  I'm not sure if I will learn anything more, but here is the Web site in case you want to start a home grown herb garden, Herb Gardening

Spring Clean Update:
-Utility room is finished (took an entire day including washing rugs).
-Washed 2 door curtains
-Cleaned 2 more areas of carpet
-Started another van load of items for Goodwill or where ever
-Cleaned off the tops, and organized, night stands (my husband's too).
-Washed up old ripped blankets and rugs, stored in totes for the barn cats next winter (and labeled it)
-Emptied another tote of crafts, condensed them etc.
-Sorted all my extra (and there were a bunch) handmade Christmas ornaments and labeled boxes for each kid for their hope chests.
-Donated jewelry displays, for craft sales, to a dear friend.

-Gave my Mom the last pair of flip flops I had made.

I should have started earlier in the year with my spring cleaning.  With gardening and flower beds to start working in, I have to choose between cleaning inside or out most days.

Planting Potatoes ~ First Day in the Garden

My husband and I both have blisters to show how hard we worked.  I forgot, over the long winter, how much work is involved.  In the end, it's all worth it, but I was not prepared.

Pollen is high and I have a major sinus headache, my body aches in places I didn't think was possible and I feel like I need a nap already.

I took frequent breaks to enjoy some iced tea, but still felt I have aged over the winter.  I better get more weight off or I won't survive the heat this summer either.

During one of my trips to the kitchen, our 16 year-old daughter opened the fridge and was standing there.  They do this often, as if something will jump out at them and say "eat me."  I was just about to yell "don't stand there with the door open" our cat Tiger jumped into the fridge and nosed around a shelf.  HA HA!  He better be careful because she could have looked away while shutting the door and shut him in there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I had to laugh this morning at our 8 year-old.  She was walking around the kitchen saying "noterization" over and over.  I had told her she would get "notered" about once a week to avoid getting herself too plump.  So today she said she just wanted "notered" in her lunch.  She loves to read the notes I write her and she even writes me notes too. 

Just the other day she wrote me a note telling me to "rest" and that she would do the cleaning when she got home. Ha ha ha!  So I did!  I lounged in the lawn chair and read a book outside.  I wrote.  I made iced tea and enjoyed myself.  However, the cleaning never did get done that day.

Maybe it takes a kid to say something like that to keep the guilt from zapping me.  I still have the other kids asking for to be "notered" too.  It's a good thing I am cleaning and really decluttering because I found a plastic container with a lot of writing paper, cards, and envelopes.  I am all stocked up for the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning Update for Those Needing the Inspiration

Of course, in our home, Spring Cleaning brings drama.  Who wants to clean anyway?  Not my kids.

Today, my goal is to locate a pharmacy who participates in proper disposal of unused or expired prescriptions and vitamins.   With all the allergies in our house you'd think there wouldn't be anything leftover to dispose of.  However, I filled a paper bag with items that need to leave this house.  I've read so many ideas on the Internet on how to "properly" dispose of them, but the all mention to contact your pharmacy first.  I wonder how they really dispose of them anyway.  Either way, its more things out of our home that is not needed.

Next on the list, is crocheting a few more cat bed blankets of the Humane Society.  I found 2 skeins of yarn that would make nice blankets.  My husband would love to know that the yarn is leaving the bedroom closet.

Also, in my closet are craft sale items that never made it to the sale.  So far, I have been able to donate many items, but still have decoupaged flower vases made from recycled glass bottles.  Maybe the kids could give them to their teachers with flowers in them.  Too bad I don't have my tulips yet.  Those would have been a nice gift for Earth Day this year.

A few pairs of decorated flip flops made a new home at the local library for small reading prizes.  A few were simply given away.  Again, leaving more space in my closet.  

Who knows what I will find next.

Monday, April 12, 2010

If you don't like mice, don't move to the country

The house mousers have had a productive day today.  Tiger caught, not one, but two mice today.  The first one we gently pulled from his mouth and tossed outside to the barn mousers.  "Queen Sheba" of the barn cats, walked nonchalantly to the door, picked the mouse up in her mouth and then walked it over to our dog's "cooling pool" - plop!  In it went.  She tortured it for several minutes.

Then after the kids got home, Tiger caught the second mouse.  When the kids tried to take the mouse it evidently was still 100% alive, and barreled down the hallway.  Now you would think that after a few years of mice and getting used to hairy spiders and slithery snakes, we would not have acted the way we did.  My throat still hurts for screaming. Yup.  We all did the one-step dance and screamed as the very tiny mouse scampered around our feet.

Sha-bam!  Tiger caught it anyway and out the door it went.  Phew!

Just a few minutes ago our 8 year-old caught her first frog this season.  And if you have read my blog, you know how I feel about frogs!  They have me on tape.  I'm waiting to see if they will attempt to bring it inside.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reusing a Basket Liner ~ Double Toaster Cover

While decluttering my closet, which is my craft storage area also, I came across some 11 x 13 inch basket liners I bought.  They were $4.99, marked down to $.99 and marked down again to $.40 each.  I guess I had intended to buy baskets and use them to give Christmas gifts in.  Anyway, who would have known that this $.40 basket liner would make the most perfect double toaster cover?!

I was going to sew one with the craft material I have, but now I don't even need to sew.  Sorry for the poor photo.  I meant to edit it, but I was so excited with the frugal idea that I had to blog it.  I sure hope this tip helps anyone considering sprucing up their kitchen.

Friday, April 9, 2010

40th Anniversary for Earth Day on April 22, 2010

I think the approach of Earth Day this year couldn't be more inspiring.  It's the date that is keeping me focused on clearing out items in the home we do not need anymore.  Goodwill in our area is sponsoring a gift card drawing for anyone dropping off 2 bags or more during certain days.  I think that is great!

The kids want to start a compost this year.  We should have started it last year.  I think it is a great idea.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Declutter challenge and Spring Cleaning ~ April 2010

In the personal challenge to declutter and clean my home, I now have a van full of clothes, purses, curtains, and books that are soon to be dropped at a thrift store.  Today I found 7 more items to give away and one to recycle.  I can't believe how I have kept ahold of some of these items.  I still have an electric typewriter.  Does anyone even use those anymore?  I'm not sure they even sell the typewriter ribbons for them.  I can't believe I moved that thing twice.  What is wrong with me?  Maybe a child can use it to play house with. 

Even the kids are going through their clothes too.  It's been a great feeling to live with less and help someone else.

Rain and cooler weather has given me more reason to go through items.  One shelf or drawer at a time, and sometimes an entire area.  The garage will be last.  I am sure there will be a trip to the dump following that cleaning job.

I have not even given myself a deadline for my cleaning, but I am hoping for the end of May.  Then I can rest easy over the summer in caring for the vegetable/fruit garden.  And of course, what would be life be without several flower gardens?!