Monday, January 28, 2013

One Small Thing- Crock Pots

In the south we say Crock Pots. Others call it slow cookers. Either way, they are amazing. If you don't have one you should really look into getting one. If you do have one, but don't use it, you need to really look into using it more. If you do use one a lot, awesome for you, you probably have some great recipes to share.

A great source for Crock pot recipes includes You can click the picture below for one of my favorite recipes for refried beans!
Gooseberry Patch ( which I love their cookbooks) has a Slow Cooker cookbook also for relatively cheap and again, I just love it.
5 Brand New Titles from Gooseberry Patch...Shop Now!
I found that when I do my menu plan, that I include at least one or two crock pot meals a week in the fall and winter. It just makes sense to me and my family and our needs. You dump everything in the morning, turn in on and when you get home from work you have a delicious meal waiting for you. This is especialy important for us in the winter when it gets dark earlier, which we tend to eat dinner earlier.
If you are trying to simply cooking, trying to try new recipes or just wanting more homecooked meals, please dust off that crockpot ( or find a good used one at a thrift store) and start making good use of it.
What are your favorite things to cook in the crockpot?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Christmas Dishes!

Well, not actually "Christmas" Dishes, but some dishes I got for Christmas. I shared with you guys the set of plates I found at a flea market that my mother got me for Christmas. I have been meaning to share with you all a photo of my newly acquired treasures. Not only did I get a set of amazing chicken plates, but also another family member got me a set of dishes he found at a flea market for me. Here they all are, laid all in glorious splendor.
Yes, folks, be jealous. The set on the left only has 3 bowls but that's okay. Still beautiful.

The chicken dishes are so fun to me. They really just remind me of me! I love this one of the rooster, so proud and cocky.

The one here is adorable also, with the two little chicks in the bottom. I let the girls use these when we eat on them, they like the chicks....
Here is a closer picture of the other set. My uncle ( with Down's Syndrome) got them for me. He is the absolute best shopper. He makes a list and shops tirelessly for the "PERFECT" gift for each person. He is just so thoughtful. These dishes are wonderful
It's amazing what a few new dishes can do to a girl isn't it?
Until Next time, Happy Homesteading ya'll!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bug Out Bags: What they are, why we need them

Let's talk about Bug Out Bags....
 Bug out Bags are really nothing more than a back pack, tote or bag of some
sort that can easily be grabbed and taken with you in the event of an emergency. Recent events just in my life include a tornado ( that thankfully didn't "get" my house but left us without power and without road access for a few days) and a snow storm that left us without power for almost a week, so we retreated to my in laws who didn't have power, but had a fireplace. I feel that it is very important to have these items handy and ready to go. Other examples of when you might need something like this include : hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and even scarier in events of terrorist attacks or other acts of violence.

 What should go in your bag?
1. Water Most sites recommend 1 liter per person per day, so a three day bag should have at least 3 liters of water.
 2. Food Military style MRE's are of course a good option, but we also have things like power bars, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts and trail mix.
 3. Clothing It's great to have an extra set of clothing, make sure it's the best bang for you buck though, as you can't carry a lot. I have a rain poncho, a sweatshirt, a pair of sweat pants, one tshirt and an extra pair of socks and shoes. It would be great if a warm blanket would fit in there as well.
 4. Emergency Supplies My husband and I each have a small first aid kit in our bags with things like gauze, band aids, antiseptic, aspirin and anti diarrheal medicine. We also have batteries, flashlights, a hand cranked radio,candles and matches.
 5. Fun Stuff When we were in the cellar last year our girls bags each had one book and one small toy. I also normally put a deck of cards in my bag as well for the kids.
 6. Personal documents I do have many personal documents in a safe box at the bank, but you will need things like account numbers, keys to safe boxes, drivers licenses etc. So make sure you have that in a safe place to take with you.
 7. Other items specific to your family Women will probably need feminine products of some sort. If you have medicines take that. Diapers may need to be considered if you have a little one.

 Overall just make sure you have a bag you can grab in a pinch , so you know you want have to worry about anything for a few days. Hopefully then you can return home, as the bug out bag outlined above is really only good for about 3 days.

 I'll talk in a different post about more long term survival type preps you can be doing.

 Until Next Time- Happy Homesteading

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Raising Modest Girls in an Immodest World

Wow. Being  a parent is hard. It is of course full of blessings and smiles and gumdrops and all that goodness, but at the end of the day I am a steward of these beautiful little lives the Lord has blessed us with. And I want to do well! Having two young girls ( 5 and 7) I am really beginning to understand the severity of immodest behavior among others. Especialy in the way that women ( and girls) dress. Whew.

I found this cartoon in Pinterest and thought it was fitting for today's post:
Pinned Image

I really have a desire to instill in my daughter's virtue and modesty.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says
" Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

In our home we have a few little unwritten rules that at least helps steer us in the right direction while raising our daugthers.

1. Mom is an example!
What?? That's right ladies, your daughters are looking towards you, and dissecting everythign you wear to learn how to dress. I am very aware of my outfits, and try to make sure that each and everything I wear is pleasing unto the Lord. I make a point to not wear v necks or other collars that expose any cleavage, make sure my skirts are loose and free flowing and make sure nothing is too tight.

2. Swimsuits
I am astonished at the parents that think tiny little bikinis for toddlers are acceptable. Not only are they teaching young girls what is okay for them to wear, I also fear that it lures the wrong kind of attention from people, we live in a sick world folks and evil people are out there. bikinis serve no purpose either, they just don't. We stick to one peices that have skirts attached to them, or even the two peices that are boy shorts ( or surfer shorts) and long sleeved rash gaurd shirts. It protects against sun burns better anyways.

Something like this ( not my kid by the way)

3. Play Clothes and other dresses
I see many 7 year olds in my daughters class with tiny mini skirts, tight, v neck blouses and skin tight shorts. I just sigh. What are they learning about being a modest female? How will they attract Godly men looking like that. Hey, just being honest! I have found beautiful cotton no shrink dresses fro that my girls love to wear, and they are loose, cover all the necessaries and they can easily play in them.
Unshrinkable Dresses and Accessories. Colorful combinations for all-day comfort.

They love the matching tights and head scarves as well.

There are other places to buy modest dresses, although I'm beginning to be less and less impressed with mass merchants, who favor towards stuff with Justin Beiber plastered on every article of clothing, spaghetti staps and tiny shorts and skirts. I have found I can find some nice things on Ebay for cheap from LLbean, Lands End and even Gymboree has some nice long cotton dresses.

Is this a struggle for all you parents with daughters? Any other rules you dress your children by?

Linked up to Simple Living Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop til you Drop, Homesteading Barn Hop

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My 3 Favorite Homesteading Magazines

I love to read. But, I have discovered that despite my desire to read long romantic classics by the fire placed , curled up with herbal tea, typically I only have a few minutes here or there to flip through a magazine while kids are yelling, biscuits are burning and a whole host of other chores are waiting to be finished. That is why MAGAZINES ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND. That's right folks, I now relish walking to the mailbox for my coveted treasure. I sneak away for a few minutes after dinner and can read an article , enough to energize me and fulfill my desire for print materials. I thought I would share with you all my top 3 magazines. Perhaps you could benefit from them, or at least gain enjoyment from them.
I will say though that IF you are going to order magazines ( and I order them rather than borrow from the library because I like to KEEP mine and reference them over and over) then I recommend ordering them from Ebates. Once you sign up there you can shop and get up to 26% cash back from your order. Great way to get magazines a bit cheaper.

1. Hobby Farm Home
 Hobby Farm Home Jan-Feb 2009
Yes, this is my favorite. It has all kinds of articles in it that just "fit" so well with my life. Last month they had an article on vintage Pyrex! They have amazing recipes that I always find myself trying, crafting projects, articles about raising animals and gardens, about keeping your home. It's my number 1 for sure. I would highly recommend this one. Soap Making, bath and herbal mixtures, canning, all the good stuff.

2. Hobby Farm
Hobby Farms - Current Issue
Hobby Farms is just as well written as Hobby Farm Home, but is a little less "home" and a little more " farm". They have more articles about animals, cows, horses, goats, chickens, pigs, turkeys, sheep etc. They have articles about equipment and gardening also though. I really enjoy this magazine.

3. Mother Earth News
Mother Earth News Cover
This one has been around for a while and it pretty awesome. It has more in it about greener living. Solar power, how to save on electricity, building greener homes etc. It still has recipes and gardening advice in it as well though.

Other magazines that I love but just didn't make my top 3 list include Organic Gardening, Vegetarian Times and GRIT. What are some magazines you enjoy and anxiously await each month?

Linked up with Teach Me Tuesdays

Happy Homesteading!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Small Thing- Leftovers

Pondering this new year I've been updating my menu plans, grocery lists and doing inventory on my pantry, freezer and fridge. One thing that I think we could probably ALL do better on( myself included) is to make sure we make the best use out of our food as possible.

Food is expensive folks. If you grow your own food you put a lot of sweat, tears and time into cultivating it and growing it.

So I think One Small Thing we could all vow to do this year is to USE UP OUR FOOD. Don't throw out leftovers, don't allow produce to go bad, don't let milk, yogurt, cheeses or breads spoil.

I have a couple of tricks for this.
1. Containers.... Silly I know, but make sure to have a stock of reusable containers WITH LIDS, to put leftovers in. I have ones with little compartments in them that I use for mine and my husband's lunch. I pack them up while I'm cleaning up after dinner and we are good to go the next day. Clear ones work best of course so you can see through them. I use them in and out of the fridge. For instance when I make a loaf of bread of rolls, I don't store the leftovers in the fridge, I have a nice Tupperware container that I put it in by the stove. I can see them, I know it's there and I'm much more likely to use it the next day for breakfast, a sandwich etc.

2. Pizza- Extra Produce I can always put on a homeade pizza. If you have just a few peices of broccoli, peppers, fresh tomatoes, etc. just pile them on a nice homade pizza. The nice thing is that you can customize this based on preferences. Maybe half of it ( for my husband) will get the tomatoes, maybe the girls peices won't. It's a great way to get some extra veggies and not let it go bad.

3. Soup- I freeze small containers of left over corn, beans, peas, etc. and when I get enough I put it all in a big pot with some home canned stewed tomatoes and we have delicious soup. I also do this when I make tacos and used browned deer meat. If I just have a half a cup or so left I freeze it and will add it to my soup. I may not have enough for a full serving, but saving up all my leftovers over time makes for a delicious pot of soup.

4. Plan ahead for meals: I sometimes make a large batch of rice, I'll use it through out the week. One day it will be a base for the stir fry, another day it will go in a Mexican casserole, another day I may put it in to beef up my soup. Just because you have an extra batch of something, doesn't mean you have to use it the next night for the same dish. Think ahead and you'll have lots of ideas I'm sure.

This will save you on your grocery bill, and it just makes me feel better knowing that I'm being a good steward of what I've been blessed with.

Anyone else have some creative uses for leftovers?

Linked up to Monday Homestead Barn Hop

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thinking Ahead- Canning Part 2- Produce

So now that you have thought about what equipment you need for canning, it's time to start thinking about what actual "stuff" you want to can, or maybe I should say what you are capable of canning based on availability.

Think about what you grew last year:
Was it enough for your family?
Was there excess you could have canned?
Were there things you grew that your family didn't like, or didn't grow well?

Then think about if there are things you would like to change from last year's garden?
Do you want to plant more of something hoping for an excess?
Do you want to plant something you haven't planted before?

The thing about gardening is that it is always best fresh. I mean c'mon, who doesn't revel when they take a big bite of a just ripened tomato, still warm from the heat of the sun, juices running down their chin......... but I digress.Anyways, it's best to eat things fresh from your garden, but if you have EXTRA then you can it!

You need to start planning your garden with that in mind. Can you plant an extra row of tomatoes that you can put up? Can you put in one more blackberry or blueberry bush? Adding just one or two additional things yearly and in a few years you'll have yourself more than you can handle.

Another thing to remember is that if no one eats it, it's a waste of your time, effort and money. This isn't true in survival mode of course, if something were to happen and all you had to eat was canned ( insert least favorite canned food of all time) then you would just learn to eat it. I learned my lesson the year that my daddy and I put up about 50 quarts of pear preserves when our pear tree went wild one year. We could see the pears going to waste, and you can only eat so many and make so many pear cakes, so we made preserves. They weren't much good to start with, add that to the fact that with all the other beautiful jams and jellies I made, we just didn't eat them. I have given them away, tried to think of other uses for them and finally am down to about 2 quarts.

So my point is that canning can be a lot of work and if you aren't going to eat it, then you may want to rethink it.

Some of my favorite things to can:
Strawberry Jam
Hot Pepper Relish
Muscadine Jelly
Blueberry Jam
Pepper Jelly
Vegetable Soup

I wanted to leave you with a link from my canning party I had last summer. I plan on many more. Check it out here ( put up 200 ears of corn and 60+  jars) Enjoy and can on!

What are you all looking forward to canning this year? Anything you will NEVER can again?

Linked up to Monday Barn Hop, Simple Living Wednesday