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~

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unadorned Pleasures in Life

After reading ladaisi's blog post about her "optimistic" list, I decided to write my own.  It inspired me to go and read the original post at the Optimal Optimist blog also.  And in no particular order, here is my list:

1. The smell of sheets after they have dried on the line outside.
2. Hearing the rain fall.
3. Listening to my rooster crow in the morning.
4. The smell of coffee brewing.
5. Listening to a marching band.
6. The feel of cold sheets and pillows.
7. Sitting in my rocker on the front porch.
8. Cooking a meal over a campfire, including making coffee.
9. Sipping hot cranberry punch on a cold day.
10. The feel of sunshine on my skin
11. Writing with a new pen.
12. The smell of fallen dry leaves.
13. Looking at my flowers outside.
14. The taste of the omelets that my husband makes for me.
15. The smell of an evergreen sprig.

Thanks to both of your blogs, you have inspired me and have encouraged my kids to do the same! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Writer's Survival Kit ~ Kid Made

My 8 year-old daughter made this survival kit for me at my desk.  It's a piece of paper, with 2 pockets glued to the front, filled with wintergreen lifesaver candy and tootsie roll pops!  It's attached inside my roll top desk with poster putty.  The arrival of November 1st is closer than I want it to be.  I am actually starting to doubt myself and I should not be.  NaNoWriMo month - hear I come!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Confessions from a Journal Junkie

In the process of cleaning up the bedroom, I decided to clean out my nightstand.  My night stand has a drawer and a cupboard underneath.  I have not yet tackled the drawer on account of what I found in the bottom half.  I have to confess - I'm a journal junkie!

In my nightstand I found:
~ 25 unused journals of various styles
~ 1 completed journal
~ 2 unused prayer journals (I have a 3rd in my desk I am using)
and I also found:
~ 3 World War II, autographed, books with real stories, not read yet
~ 1 paperback Christmas book by Catherine Palmer

Oh, and that's not all the journals I have.  On top of the night stand I have a basket with 2 notebooks for note taking, and one journal.  I also have a travel journal, camping journal, gardening journal, journals to write about each child and who will receive those journals when they graduate, a homemade gift journal, a journal to record books I have read, a journal to write everything I borrow from the library (they do not keep track anymore at the library), a journal I wrote when my mother was in and out of the hospital, and many more.  Yep.  I'm a journal junkie. 

The funny thing is that my current every day journal is a plain spiral notebook, and the ones in my nightstand are hardcovers or moleskin covers.  I'm beginning to wonder if I feel they are too nice to write in.  I guess I better not ask for journals this Christmas. 
I have also encouraged the kids to write in journals.  One daughter journals about her volunteer jobs and horse riding, and another journals about her dog.  I also encouraged my 13 year-old daughter to write during her jaw surgery recovery, when she could only eat liquids.

Although I have taken my journaling to high level, I don't regret keeping them. 

Sun Chips ~ They bagged the bag~ More trash in our landfill now

Can you believe that the compostable bags Sun Chips was recently sold in, is no longer made?  People complained too much to the company because the bag was too noisy!  Don't people know how to use a bowl?  Good grief!  Frito-Lay should not have stopped making the biodegradable bag.  It was not a good choice on their part, in keeping our Earth clean. 

Watch The Colbert Report to see the news:
October 6, 2010 Colbert Report

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Camping Recipes for Breakfast

The cool nights here are perfect for a few more fall camping trips.  I found this Web site

Red ribbon week for the kids

Today is "interesting hat day" to celebrate a week long red ribbon week at my kids school.  In a last minute search, I remembered a hat I sewed for another daughter several years ago.  The school system they were in at the time required them to create a Renaissance costume, and wear it to school.  I had sewed a hat for my daughter's Swordsman, and yes there were woman who did that back in the day.  Anyway, the hat was tucked into the dress-up/costume boxes over the years and today was getting good use of it.  I have to say that I can't believe I sewed that hat.  I'll try to get a picture of it when my 8 year-old brings it home today.

The hat looked similar to this hat

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Articles

Reflections: Giving Gratitude on Thanksgiving Day

Tips for using leftover potatoes

Tips for Donating Food to Charity

Unique Ways to Send a Thank You

Making Progress

I'm making progress in tidying up the house before my husband returns.  Yesterday I wrote an an article, "How to have a weekend getaway in your home" and also spent 3 hours sewing.  The sewing project was sitting on my sewing machine, and cluttering up the bedroom.  Therefore, I decided to get started, and clean up the bits of clutter.  I also managed to sew a leg back onto my youngest daughter's stuffed frog.  I see she wants a cat tail sewed back on a stuffed cat, but I cannot find the body to it.  Hmm?

I have managed to take 1 very large load of recycling to the recycling center, and the kids put the leaves into the compost.  Once I have the odd jobs finished, I can get back to writing more articles.  Thankfully, the weather was windy today, and the laundry dried quickly outside.  I have several writing magazines that have not been read yet, and are sitting in a pile.  I've since stopped those subscriptions and have been borrowing from the library.  It helps tremendously on cutting down on clutter.  I'm also more prone to read them before they are due back, unlike if I get them in the mail.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Curtain from Jeans

I started to sew a curtain from old jeans.  The squares I am cutting are 10 x 10 inches.  I am making 5 squares wide by 8 rows long.  This curtain will help keep winter air from coming into the house via the garage.  It's heavy so it should help keep the air in the garage when anyone opens the door connected to the house.  It's hard to explain how it's built and how I'll be using it, but the dimensions will pretty much fit a doorway or the size of a half-shower.  I'll post the link to the directions on the S.C.R.A.P. blog for another way to recycle jeans.  The photo above shows one strip sewed together and a few cut squares.  This is the first time I have used a quilting pattern or used my rotary cutter.

Dead Mouse in the House

"Mom there's a dead mouse upstairs!"

That was the greeting I received this morning when I entered the kitchen.

I'm pretty certain I know which cat caught it too.  Jasper.  He was walking around the table sniffing, and the next thing I know, he's on top of the table looking around the counter tops.  Last night I heard a huge commotion in the kitchen.  This morning things were strewn about on the counter tops as well.  I'm glad they caught it, and glad they chose not to eat it. 

I think they all need a special treat today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hankering for another Crackly Pear Cake

I have not baked this pear cake since last year.  It was delicious.  We do not have pear trees on our property and we were unable to get them from a family member this year.  We plan to plant more citrus trees next spring. 

It would be nice to make this cake next weekend, to welcome my husband back from a week long business trip.  And while he's gone I think I will work on cleaning up the place, including raking leaves to add to the compost bin.  I think I'll spruce up the bedroom, take recycling to the recycling center and a few other chores my husband does not enjoy doing.  I need to have my writing space clutter free for the upcoming writing month as well.  I better make sure the fridge is stocked well and the kitchen decluttered too. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

The case of the missing box of tea bags

We all got a chuckle this morning.  Someone left the container that stores boxes of tea bags, on the kitchen counter last night.  This morning the boxes were all over the counter and floor, and one box was missing.  We found it in the living room, near the wood stove, full of teeth holes.  One of the cats smelled the catnip that is in the Tension Tamer tea bags, but he failed to get the box open.  We will surely laugh every time we open that box of tea! Most likely, it was Jasper.

Friday Sunrise

This morning's sunrise was full of changing colors.  It was fun to share it with my 8 year-old, who is well enough to return to school today.  We saw colors of peach, pink, gold, lavender, blue and yellow.  What a wonderful way to start the day today.  Not many kids take the time to enjoy a sunrise, but I try to share those moments with them when ever I can.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Progress on the next blanket

This current (crocheted) blanket now measures 68 inches wide by 21 inches long.  This pattern is much more challenging and requires more concentration.  The stitches used are basic, but it takes more thought and requires less distractions and interruptions, than the last blanket.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spontaneous Hiking Trip ~ Poor Man's Banana Tree Leaf

Due to one of the kids telling us they had a birthday party invitation today, we took a spontaneous hiking trip, following dropping her off.  It was a perfect time to hike.  There were only a few people on the trail, and the leaves were absolutely breathtaking.  I love the reds, oranges, and yellows.  I could not help but bring a few leaves home and decorate the house with them.  I picked up the 15 inch Poor Man's Banana tree leaves for the kids.  They will make wonderful back feathers for a "Tom" turkey craft.  A good coat of wax paper should hold them through the fall season indoors.

During our hike, you could hear and see the acorns dropping from the tall trees.  We picked up a few of those to decorate for Christmas ornaments too.  Maybe we'll make a few painted singing angels with them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sandwich Bags

I had to laugh at my eight-year-old daughter the other day.  We try to use reuseable containers in their school lunch bags, but sometimes there isn't enough room for them.  We resort to plastic sandwich bags, but only to a minimum (the goal is to do away with them).

"Mom! How to you work this thing?" she said while handing me the sandwich bag.

We switched from ziploc type bags to fold over bags to save money.  We can get 3 times the amount of sandwich bags for the same price of zip style.  She had never used this type of bag and it's the style my mother always used to pack my lunch as a child.  It never dawned on me that times have changed that much, and so fast, for even little things like sandwich bags. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Freelance Writing On-line ~ The Cons

Anyone submitting articles for are also rating helium articles.  This means that you must take time out of your day to carefully, and honestly, rate other writers, as well as write quality articles.  The stressful part, is that not all "writers" have experience in writing, and therefore rate articles too quickly or judgmentally. Some times, I wonder if the person rating it even reads the entire article.

Many times, my articles that have been rated to a lower status of all submitted articles on one particular title, produce a higher earning for me.  And as for earnings from on-line articles, they are so much more difficult to earn and require a lot more articles to be written.

I think today, I will be ordering a few, up-to-date resources, from our library.  It's time to get serious with this freelance business.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Tips on Stretching Meals ~ Dry Kidney Beans

Use leftover kidney beans (instead of canned kidney beans), from making red beans and rice, and make chili.  Today we are doing that.  I added fresh tomatoes from our garden.  Our garden is still yielding us Roma tomatoes.  Although the green peppers are smaller for this time of year, I diced several of those from the garden too. 

I started to clean out our garden for the season, and pulled about a dozen and a half good sized beets.  I'll roast those with onions and fresh rosemary from the garden too.  We still have some turnips and squash also.

Splitting Firewood by Hand ~ My First Cord of Wood

Start date 9-13-2010

In Progress 10-11-2010
There is more wood stacked to the left and to the right that cannot be seen.  And there are pieces that were stacked but not split also.

The stack of wood to the right, in the above photograph is about 5 1/2 feet tall by 1 1/2 feet wide by  10 feet long.  The stack to the left is also 10 feet wide, but not that tall and also 1 1/2 feet wide.  The stack to the right is older, dry wood for this season, and the stack to the left is split wood for next season.  You can see in the lower left corner, that I have a lot more wood to split, and I have successfully cut my first cord of wood.

Today, I need to purchase a new sledge hammer.  The one I was using, had a wood handle and it was pretty beaten up when I started splitting wood.  I also split wood with a maul ax and was successful with that too.  I now know how the pioneers stayed in shape.  This is very hard work.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Making it Last ~ Over 90 cookies with 1 can of crushed pineapple

Since we are completely out of canola oil, and a few other baking ingredients, I chose to make these pineapple cookies for the family.  I'm hoping they last throughout the weekend.  If you have one can of crushed pineapple (in natural juices), you'll find this recipe frugal and delicious! 

Pineapple Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shortening, organic (no hydrogenated fats)
Mix the above three ingredients. Then add:

2 eggs, farm fresh, beat well.  Then add:

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (in natural juices), drained and juice reserved
1 1/2 - 2 tsp. vanilla extract

In another bowl, whisk or sift:
4 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1  1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Mix dry mix to wet mix, and stir until completely blended.

Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets by teaspoon (it will spread out).  Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, or until golden around the edges.

Mix amounts of powdered sugar to reserved pineapple juice to a consistency you prefer.  Frost cooled cookies.  Enjoy!  Makes a little over 90 cookies if you use pampered chef's smallest cookie scoop (teaspoon).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Low Provisions

I have to admit, that when we are low on pantry supplies, low on food in the freezer, accompanied by low finances, I can get depressed.  However, I love to be creative in the kitchen, and make new recipes with whatever we have on hand.  I also find inspiration from other sources.

Our family loves to watch Little House episodes, and it often reminds me to get creative.  We recently watched the episode where they are in an abandoned house in a snow storm, and are about to shoot their horse for food.  Thankfully, an Indian comes to their rescue.

This week we are out of canola oil, about out of flour, sugar, brown sugar and milk.  I decided to put some of the remaining flour into homemade biscuits, and make homemade gravy with the marked down sausage I had in the freezer.  Thanks to the chickens we'll enjoy eggs too.  Because I am aiming to get away from processed foods, I chose to make an cake from scratch, using canned fruit.  I can't wait to can pears, apples, and other fruits next year.  I will find so many ways to cook with them.

Thankfully, the good Lord urged me to buy a few extra pounds of butter when it was on sale for $1.50/lb.  Those had gone in the freezer, and have helped with baking biscuits and making lunch packings.

National Novel Writing Month ~ Should I do it?

For two years now, I have contemplated participating in NaNoWriMo.  It would certainly give me the deadline and motivation to write a novel and actually complete it.  I've been slacking over the last year, and with the large garden we grew, haven't gotten back in my "groove." 

Starting November 1st to November 30th, people from all over, participate in this wonderful oppurtunity.  I would have to abandon all thoughts of writing up a plot, characters, and story in advance.  The idea is to start fresh from day one.  Can I do it?  I guess I won't know until I try it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leftover Coffee

Typically, we never have coffee leftover after I've been up.  However, today I did.  I decided to use 1 cup of it to make 1-2-3 Coffee Bars for after school and lunch snacks.  Not very healthy, but frugal.

The rest of it will go in the fridge, for iced coffees.  The weather is good today and it sounds about as good as homemade iced tea (made with green tea of course).

Our coffee grounds are always composted or sprinkled in flower beds after we make coffee - nothing wasted.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If my kids had a video camera. . .

My kids would have filmed me last night if they had the chance.  I was be-bopping back and forth in the kitchen trying to get all of the garden veggies sliced and diced for roasting.  I typically have things under control, but not last night.

After I put the baking dish of delicious and fresh vegetables in my oven, I started to make stove top tuna and noodle - a family favorite.  It took me 15 minutes to realize I forgot to add the potatoes and carrots to the roasting pan, quickly pulled it out.

"Oh no! I love potatoes," said my thirteen-year-old daughter

I was frantically moving around the kitchen (potato and carrot peelings flying in mid air), between one pot on the stove top, and preparing the potatoes and carrots, when my sixteen-year-old said, "gosh Mom we need to catch you on film.  We'd make a lot of money on funniest videos with you!"

Now doesn't that make a mother proud? Ha ha!

Finding the Time ~ Writing

Yesterday I was successful in publishing a book review and an short article, but I had drafts from the previous work day.  Today however, I have "Mom" duties.  One daughter is sick and needs the attention of a doctor, and two others had bad headaches yesterday.  With the long drive to town, I'm may have to use my evening crochet time to work on articles.

Because of the recession, it seems like everyone is writing on-line and earning a good income from it is a bit more difficult.  I do cut my time down with crockpot dinners, but even that takes time to prepare.  My goal is to publish daily to help pay for my daughter's 8th grade class trip.  Why in the world a school would take an out-of-state trip during a recession is beyond me. 

Friday, October 1, 2010


While taking time to look through campfire cookery books, I heard a sploshing of water coming from the kitchen.
Okay, so the "cowboy" book is not campfire cookery, but I had fun reading through them for new recipes.  Anyway, I went to investigate the noise.  It was not the sound of a cat or a dog slurping water, but a splashing around play in the bowl kind of sound.

I got a good chuckle.  There sat Jasper, our oreo colored tiger cat, staring down into the dog's water bowl.  He's the same cat who took his toy mouse to the water bowl and dropped it in.  He was staring at his orange chenille stem that he'd been playing with for several days.  The next time I looked in the bowl, it was gone.  There are footprints of water everywhere in the kitchen - ha ha ha!
 It's now on the kitchen floor, while he takes a leisurely nap.