Thursday, December 29, 2016

A few ways I save money on groceries

I've talked a bit about the need for our family to be better with our money. There are a few shopping apps that I use in order to maximize the things that I buy. Two things to remember though before I share these apps:

1) Don't buy junk just because you get cash back. There are offers for many items on these apps that I don't buy. Be careful not to buy the sugar sweetened beverage that you normally never buy, just because it's a good deal. On the same spectrum there are always great produce deals on these sites. This week for example on Savingstar you get %20 cash back on bananas.

2) Don't buy something just because there is a cash back coupon for it. Many people may get into the same trouble with normal coupons, just because you can get a bit back for it, doesn't mean it was on your list. Make a list, plan your meals THEN check the following apps to see what you may get cash back for.

Now the apps I use MOST:

Checkout 51
Checkout 51. Click above to look into it. I like this one because they always have a "pick your own" type of produce offer. The likelihood that I bought something on the list is always high. This week it is .25 cents back for either oranges, raspberries, grapefruit or bell peppers. I bought a big fat red bell pepper for .49 cents and then got .25 cents back for it. There are other things also such as popcorn, coffee creamer, Heinz mustard etc. Normally there is at least $2-$3 a week of stuff on this app. Again, these are things I normally would buy anyways. So once you hit $25 you request a check and boom a week or so later it is in your mailbox. I cashed out 2 times last year, each time was effortless and that money went straight to debt.

SavingStar, Inc. Save on groceries with no clipping and no printing today
Savingstar always has some neat Buy X of Whatever and get X amount back. For example there currently is a buy $10 of Bush's Beans and get $3 back. I had some $1 off coupons for Bush's Beans, I bought 10 cans when they were on sale for $1 and got back $3. So 10 Free cans of beans for my pantry plus $3. They also have freebies every so often so buy for example a box of jiffy cornbread mix and get the price back in your app. You can cash out for paypal, starbucks gift card or bank deposit. I normally do the paypal, then transfer it to my savings account or whichever debt we are working on.

The last one is Ibotta. 
Here you search by the store you are shopping at and it gives you the items you can purchase. There are some called "any brand" for things like a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. They don't care the brand, which is nice because I buy a lot of generics. They have bonuses often also for things like redeem 5 offers get $5 extra dollars or something. This really is a great one to use. You can cash out for paypal or e-gift cards. I had $50 worth of Target gift cards I got from here that I used to purchase some extra baking supplies and gifts for Christmas.

All of these can be found in your app store on your phone. They are all free to download. You normally either have to scan the bar code of the item you purchased or take a picture of the receipt, or sometimes both. The apps are all super easy to use and tell you what to do.

There are some others one I use that I'll try to write about soon. Any apps that you guys MUST MUST use you would like to share with me for grocery savings?

Happy Homesteading!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Here we come a caroling....

Ever since I can recall, our church has gone Christmas caroling a few days before Christmas. Last night was our annual excursion. The last few years have been especially fun because my own children are old enough to kind of realize the importance of serving others in our communities.

We visit a few church members that may be older, or in bad health, and those that have lost a spouse and may be lonely.

It's such a rewarding experience to see them smile ( and in many cases cry!) with tears of joy. We normally give some small little token gift, some home made cookies, some fruit, some home made jam then sing 3-4 songs. Last night we sang.

Joy to the World
Away in a Manager
Silent Night
We Wish you a Merry Christmas

One house we went to were the couple are both in their late 90's, both the husband and wife cried, then the lady gave all the kids suckers.

It's not too late to go this year! Just bundle up a few of your kids and friends and visit a few homes of families that may need a bit of extra Christmas Cheer this year.

Something free, easy and so rewarding we can do this Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Word of the year? 2017 is coming

I'm sure we are all still excitedly getting ready for Christmas- and rightfully so! What a beautiful and serene time of year. However I wanted to share something I've been doing the last few years. I'm not sure if I came up with it myself, or if I read it on a blog or in a book somewhere, but I've picked out a "word of the year".

In 2015 I chose the word " thankful".  I tried my hardest to really teach thankfulness to my kids and to show them what it meant to be thankful. I took special time each day to give thanks to my Lord for his abundance and his blessings. I really tried hard to embody the word. Every time we had a testimony at church, I felt lead to share my thankfulness. Overall, it was just a good year of spiritual growth. But of course when January 1, 2016 came around, I didn't stop being thankful. Just the contrary, I became aware of what a year of super thankfulness did for me and my family and I've tried to continue it.

In 2016 the word I chose was "prayer". I had always prayed. We always prayed before meals and such. But this past year I really made an effort to get more involved with my prayer life. I read the book ( and watched the movie) The War Room- which really encouraged me. I have been studying prayer more in my Bible readings and have been trying to elevate my prayer life. I have had some personal victories in my prayer life and feel myself drawing closer to the Lord. I feel like this extra commitment has just given me incentive to really make more time for prayer.

So here we are almost to 2017. I've been searching for my word for the year. Of course I still hope to keep up with my thankfulness and my prayer life, but my new word for 2017 is.....


I hope to really get in the frame of heart to be super content. I want to study the word, pray for contentment, be thankful for what I have and learn to appreciate all the little things that are truly amazing.

Anyone else want to throw in a word for the year? Anyone been thinking about what your word could be for 2017? I'd love to hear about it?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Teaching Giving at Christmas

I strongly believe that giving is something that can be encouraged and taught at a young age to foster a giving spirit when older. You may recall that my husband and I are trying to pay off our debt and really focus on family, fun and memories. Even though we are paring back our Christmas overall ( as far as gifts, wow did we buy the kids too much!), there is one tradition we love keeping.

We give goats. Or chickens. Or geese- to people in need through 

We've been giving to this organization for a while ( 15 years maybe?) and when my oldest daughter started Kindergarten, she wanted to give a goose in her teacher's name for Christmas. Talk about making this momma proud.

To backup just a bit, according to the website Heifer's mission is to:
We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.
When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.
I love that Heifer promotes "passing the gift" meaning that when a family accepts a gift, they are trained on how to care or manage that gift, then are expected to give the knowledge to others around them. They have projects all over the world, even right here in the United States. They help provide everything from actual heifers.... to ducks, geese, goats, sheep, rabbits, vegetable gardens, bee hives and more. It's a great way for us to teach our kids about sustainability as well. 
Once you donate, you can order free "honor cards" in a variety of beautiful prints, to give to whomever you are honoring. 
This year both of our older daughters decided to get this: USE THEIR OWN MONEY to purchase a gift for their teachers. One "bought" a flock of geese, the other a flock of ducks. I also purchased a gift of a gardening project in honor of my boss who has been extra amazing this year. 
We love to give at the holidays, I think this is an amazing way to share our blessings with those that can benefit from it. It's not a handout, anyone that has hand milked a cow twice a day, or made goat's milk cheese, know that these families work hard, but just giving the initial gift of an animal can make such a difference in their world. 
Happy Homesteading Y'all!

Monday, September 5, 2016

So what changes are we making?

The last few days I've talked about the Debt pickle we're in, how it happened and why we are trying so hard to get out of it. Today I wanted to just kind of go over the things we are doing to help remedy the situation.

We made a budget. We've "had" a budget before but it was pointless because we never used it. Laughable actually and a waste of paper. So we have a budget for September and so far ( a few days into the month) we are doing okay with it.

There are certain things we can't do anything about; like our childcare. Our son is 4 and has the most amazing babysitter ever. She watches him 4 days a week and my father in law watches him on Fridays. We have to pay her of course what she asks, which is comparable to day cares in our areas and she provides breakfast, lunch and snacks. She's just awesome. We'll pay her until Fall of 2017 when little man starts school...

We got rid of cable years ago, but right now have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime. Netflix I think we will keep and I've already paid for Amazon prime for about 9 more months (it's a yearly fee). I checking into cancelling Hulu though. That would save us 11.99 a month.

I've budgeted $450 a month for groceries with NO eating out. I haven't been to the store yet this month ( September) but will have to go soon. Although it wasn't too many years ago I was feeding our family on about $280 a month, but all the kids are bigger now and the costs have went up, so I think $450 is fine. Looking back we were spending at least $600 a month on groceries ( gulp) and between $100-$150 a month on eating out. We didn't even eat out much but with 5 of us, it added up quickly. The sad thing is that if you would ask me how much I am spending a month and I would probably have said oh about $400..... Man I was clueless.

So point being,now we have a plan. We know what we were spending and have ideas and thoughts on what to spend going forward. We also have a plan for saving for my tuition in the Spring which will be due in January and we won't have to put back for the summer since I'll be getting paid all summer now.. We'll need to build up some savings for other expenses like emergencies and such though.

Anyways, it feels good to have a plan. It feels okay to have a start.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Our reasons to get out of debt

So the last two days I've posted about our financial distress situation. I won't rehash that. We've made some super bad decisions....

So what do we really want to do with our lives? With our money? With our family?

My husband and I have always wanted to buy some land up in the mountains. We have a specific little town in our state about 3 hours from where we live currently that we have fallen in love with. The town, the people, the landscape. It's where our heart is. We go there several times a year hiking and such and dream about having land there. Maybe just to camp on, or put a small camper on. Maybe to build a home on one day. But we want some land there.

We want a small creek, and it needs a well, and acreage for the kids to play on, and room for a few animals. We want to be remote, and not see another person or home from our place.

There is a small college about 30 minutes from there that has the program that I teach in, so it's possible that I could get a job there and my husband does computer-y type stuff so he might be able to work from home. A lot of ifs but it gives us something to think about. Perhaps we just weekend up there, and the kids and I say there in the summer and my husband come up after work on Fridays. We've talked a lot about this imaginary piece of land we want. But I think it energizes us. It gives us something to look forward to.

We were hoping to be able to buy some land within 4-5 years but I'm thinking now it may be 7-8 years. The problem is that it will be a big fat never though if we don't do something about it today. We have to get debt paid off and get some savings built up. I honestly think if we work super super hard and stay focused it could still be within 4-5 years. I hope that motivates us to really get moving on this debt needle.

Besides that dream, we need to be better role models for our kids. They aren't super greedy or materialistic, but I also don't think we've taught them about money as well as we could have. They don't know that we are having trouble right now, they still have food and snacks and clothes so all is well. But we want to be able to leave them a legacy and to help them be successful.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

So what happened? How did we get so far into debt?

Yesterday I talked a bit about our family being in financial distress. It's a hard realization. But I think it's like other problems: until you realize that you really do have a problem, it doesn't seem real to you.

So we have a problem with money. Not necessarily with making money; my husband and I both work hard and have good jobs. We just aren't spending it wisely, and not saving it for rainy days.

We have debt. We have student loans, 1 car payment ( thankfully one is paid off) a mortgage, 2 credit cards, medical bills and a mortgage. Dave Ramsey would say we "are normal". He also would say normal people are broke. Ugh. We are.

The problem really happened this summer. My last paycheck was May 15th. I wouldn't get paid again until August 31st. We had put a little money back for summer, but not near enough for what we needed. I mean what was I even thinking? Why did I not sit down and actually map out how much money we would need? Lesson learned. We were way way short.

Early on in the summer we went on vacation with my husband's family. We do this every other year. My father in law rents the house, we pay for everything else. Although we didn't live it up on vacation, there was the extra expense of gas, groceries and eating out. We spent money that we should have been saving for the rest of the summer. I'm just being honest here guys, we messed up.

I took two classes towards my PhD this summer, and we paid out of pocket. Although, I'm thankful we had that money we could put towards my education without additional debt, we should have saved more.

Things like our mortgage and electric bill needed to be paid, but we didn't have enough to cover it from my husband's checks, so out comes the credit cards that we haven't used in sooo sooo long. Ugh.... again I'm thankful we were able to pay, but we are just in a mess.
So we are going to stop digging. That is what it comes down to. We have got to stop getting further into debt.. We have to start making progress and get some savings built back up. Tomorrow I'll talk about our future goals, then I'll talk about things we are doing to hopefully help. After that I'll get back to just posting on the regular happenings around the homestead with some updates thrown in every so often.

Happy Homesteading Y'all.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Financial Distress

Financial Distress; typically you hear that term when describing a school, company or business. However, that is where my family is at this point. Since I do about 90% of the spending in our family, I'll take blame for it, but it's here and it's bad.

I mean we're fine. We just have been super dumb about our finances. So here is the thing; on most things I'm super frugal. I mean we grow a ton of our own food, I can a lot, we have chickens for eggs, we don't buy a ton of extra wants. I thought we were doing good.

But I haven't gotten paid since May 15th ( I work for a university) and even though we had put "a little" back for summer, it wasn't near what we needed, so we got behind on stuff, we used credit cards and it's just a mess. A few things popped up that needed fixing, a few medical bills and doctor's visits came around, my middle daughter broke her glasses and we had to pay out of pocket for a new pair, and we just overspent.

You may or may not recall that I'm about 3/4ths of the way finished with my PhD program and we are paying out of pocket for that. We did have enough to pay for that, as we had a separate account set up for it, but that's just an extra expense we have right now. We both though agreed that I'm so close, that if we buckle down and just save that the small amount I'm paying out of pocket is worth it. Thankfully I receive scholarships for most of it.

So on September 1st ( yesterday) the hubs and I chatted about it. Actually it was quite a discussion for quite some time.... and I think we are both very very committed to getting things under control. We laid out every single bill and payment that we have and discussed. We talked about things we are both doing that are not conducive to the goals that we have. We talked about financial behaviors we have that aren't good for us. It was actually very therapeutic.

So here we are. On Day 2 of our journey. The first thing that I think is helpful is that back before July 1st started I opted to start getting paid all 12 months instead of just 9 months. This is the first year that our university has offered that, and although that means my check is smaller each month, I will get one all summer.

Tomorrow I'll write more about "What happened?" also known as " How did we get here?". It's a mess folks.

Others are no doubt dealing with a realization that the debt is overtaking their life, and I welcome you to follow along on our journey. Some of you have gotten out of debt years ago- good for you! Others may never have bitten the debt ridden apple- even better. I think we can all learn from each other!

Happy Homesteading!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A rainy ( but productive) Saturday

It's been raining here a lot... We are not in the flood zones; our thoughts and prayers are with those in Louisiana though.

I got up early and had some coffee and read a bit. Then my oldest daughter went to collect eggs. We have quite the stockpile so I decided to make and freeze some breakfast burritos for breakfast next week.

I had some home made sausage from a wild boar we got last year and then added some  bell peppers from the garden with about a dozen eggs and wrapped them up in a nice flour tortilla. Then I wrapped them in foil and put them in a big baggie and put in the freezer. Bam; 10 breakfasts ready to go....

I then made about 3-4 dozen home made chocolate chip cookies, which will be yummy snacks for us all next week.

Lunch was tacos made with deer meat, tortillas, black beans and peppers on mine and hubbies, no peppers for the kids.

I made 2 gallons of tea to drink for the next few days. Un sweetened , but my kids don't really know what sweet tea is to taste like, so they don't know..

Other updates around the homestead:

Our pears which normally are amazingly abundant seem to be lacking this year and on top of that there appears to be an insane amount of squirrels that are eating them... I'm not sure how many we'll get.

We are still getting a few tomatoes and peppers from the garden, but the main harvests of our summer crops are mostly over.

We are still getting eggs daily which is a blessing.

The muscadines and grapes also aren't doing as well as normal. I'm hoping for enough for some jelly and juice...

What's going on around YOUR homestead???

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Are you in love with beauty and spa products? But not so much with the ingredients?

I think I've had this picture in my mind that in order to be a "real" homesteader and to be super crunchy and green, women had to forgo all the luxurious, amazing smelling, beautiful beauty and bath products. But that is totally not true.

I love nice long baths.

I love a good face mask.

I love soft lips and hair.

I love a good lotion.

I love a wonderful soap.

What I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Posh products are that they are free of a lot of those weird crazy ingredients that I try to avoid and that they are made in the USA. I would appreciate it if you would check out my site here . There are so many wonderful items and they are buy 5 get the 6th Free and also $5 shipping no matter how much you buy.

If you are looking for a way to earn a few ( or a lot) of extra dollars around the homestead I have found Posh to do the trick. I have found it easy to sell because people love it and it's practical. They have a great commission plan and treat their consultants so well. For example, most companies you can earn free products ( which Posh does also) but you also earn Posh points which are good for a huge variety of items like electronics, travel, gift cards, toys for the kiddos etc. I got a Keurig for my office with my Posh points last month!

Thanks for checking out my site at

Please let me know how I might can help you, if you have questions about signing up to sell, or questions about products.

Happy Homesteading Y'all.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Going out to eat: What does it really cost??

I think we all can pretty much agree that eating out is expensive! Normally it's not a very good choice as for as our health either. As a Registered Dietitian I have clients come to see me to discuss weight loss or healthful eating habits and they tell me that eating out is so much cheaper and easier than cooking. WRONG. 
First of all, let me just say I get it. I have three kids, am married and both my husband and I work outside of the home ( me for 9 months, him all year) so I understand the need to manage time. Even more than that though I. am. cheap frugal. For our family of 5 to go out to eat at a fast food restaurant like Wendy's or McDonald's it is going to cost us between $26-$30. ( I looked up menu prices online). 

Today, after the kids dentist appointments I made a quick stop at Kroger to pick up a few things. My total was $36.83. That got me thinking about how in just one meal, my family could spend that on fast food. If we went to a "nicer" place to eat it could easily be $45-$50 including tip.

So what did I get today at Kroger for only $36.xx. See below!


 So for protein there is the Dark Silk Almond Milk ( it's so delicious), some Stonyfield plain Yogurt and some Swiss cheese discounted from the deli. It's a yummy spreadable type I'll use on veggies and stuff. 

 And the fruit, oh the fruit. That's right guys I got the above fruits and veggies. It includes 2 quarts of strawberries, 7 granny smith apples, 7 red delicious apples, 7 peaches and a bunch of organic carrots. 

 Then for treats I got a big bag of trail mix, some dried pineapple and a bag of granola. We also got about $3.xx worth of chocolate covered almonds we shared in the car on the way home. 

Now I understand that there are things in my pantry that will help make the above foods into meals, but just think, would you rather your family have a greasy burger and stale fries and a soda, or have ALL of the above food. That will last me and kids for snacks for a while, and the yogurt and granola and fruit will serve it's purpose for  breakfasts and side items. The carrots I'll chop and eat with the cheese . 

Hey guys, if you are worried about your health, your finances (or both) then just grab a shopping bag.

Happy Homesteading! 

P.S. I used cute little reusable produce bags for the fruits and veggies and the dried pineapple, in an effort to reduce waste. I have more I didn't have with me, so next time I'll be sure to bring them ALL so I can reduce our waste even more. 

Back to school shopping with ThredUp! You get $10 to sign up

You may be starting to think about back to school shopping. Or just clothes for your littles in general. You need to be looking at ThredUp.

ThredUp actually has clothes for men, women and kids of all sizes. They are preused ( although some I have gotten new with tags!). You get great prices. I like ThredUp for a few reasons:

You can request to have a clean out bag sent to you, and then send them your clothing.They will resell it for you and send you a check. I myself have never done this, but I have known a few people that have and have been fairly happy.

I love that these clothes are being basically recycled, there is no need to buy new if you don't have to. You are getting some great deals!

You can shop from your pajamas and get some AMAZING deals. I just got the following for my oldest daughter.

The jean jacket is here favorite ( she is beginning to really enjoy clothes). I got all three items ( the shirt is new with tags) for $18.96 which included shipping! However I had some credits in my account of $20 that I got for sharing my link with others and having them sign up, so my entire order was FREE!!!

You can't beat FREE. 

Sign up through my link and you get $10 to shop with!!! Free $10. If nothing else you could get yourself a nice scarf or something for totally Free. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Harvesting around the homestead today: May 30th

The song that comes to mind is " Thank you Lord, for your Blessings on me". 

We are beginning to see some color on our tomatoes so it shouldn't be long on those and we have lots of little peppers. We continue to get 7-8 eggs per day and today I harvested more broccoli and our first zucchinni and poblano pepper. I also got a nice green onion from the garden today.

I would estimate that if I bought these items from town ( organic and free range) I would have paid about $2.50 for the 8 eggs, maybe $3.50 for the broccoli, .20 cents for the onion and lets just say another .50 cents for the pepper and zucchini. That is about $7.00 give or take just today from our garden. Again, Thank you Lord, for your blessing on me!

I'll saute the broccoli, pepper, onion and zucchini up tonight for supper and will boil the eggs for the kids probably for snacks. Or we eat eggs about every morning for breakfast so they may end up in the breakfast plate.

We have one of our chickens trying to set, and she has several eggs under her. This is her first time though and she keeps changing nests so we will see what happens.

I also have one rabbit that should have been bred a while back, although she hasn't started building her nest yet, so it may not have taken.... I'll keep you updated.

Happy Homesteading Y'all!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Check in: How is this Homesteading thing going anyhow?

I've been blogging for a while ( not always super faithful but you know....) and I thought it would be good to see how things are coming along around the place...

Things that are going really good:
We'll start with the positive and see what good progress we have been making as a family.

1. We are living pretty simply. We have one TV in the house and only have Netflix. We watch on average less than one hour a day of TV and go many days without turning the sucker on. Since before we had kids my husband and I had a super expensive cable package and it seemed all we did was watch TV, I would say this is a definite plus in our home.

2. I've gotten really good at meal planning and keeping our groceries under control. I've been making our own bread, rolls and pizza crusts and planning accordingly for the things we need at the store. I know what I'm harvesting for the week and what I have canned or frozen so I can make a pretty good list. There are many weeks where we don't go to the store at all, and even more weeks where the only place I go is the Farmer's Market.

3. We love our chickens. The kids love 'em, my husband and I love 'em and they are keeping us stocked with eggs. They are fun, not too much trouble and we enjoy the eggs.

4. I've gotten good at canning!! That doesn't mean that I've canned all we needed for a year or anything like that, but I've gotten good at it. I know what to do and how to do it.

5. There are some things in the garden that we grow plenty of, at least for the last few years. Those items are muscadines, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I've got all of those that I want.....

Things that are going okay:

There are also some things that are going good, not amazingly well, but I'm still pretty proud of.

1. Our gardens in general are doing well. Above I listed the things that we really have way too much of, enough to share, and even sell a bit. There are some other things though that we have just enough of. A little bit to share, and can even. Those items are squash, zucchinni, okra, cabbages, kale, lettuces, broccoli. corn and potatoes ( both sweet and white). We also normally ( some years are better than others) get enough pecans from our trees.

2. We ( as a family) are reading a lot and that makes me happy. Every Tuesday we head to the library for books. Even my husband is in on the action when he has time. All three of my children really enjoy reading and I of course do myself. I'm pleased with this aspect of our homesteading quest.

3. Our diets are good. You may recall that my profession is a Registered Dietitian and I am working on my PhD and even though we have always eaten pretty well, I can say that I'm pleased with the way we eat. We have lots of water bottles, we pack lunches and snacks when we travel, and I cook a lot. Are we 100% organic? No. I don't have a desire to be honestly. We aren't vegetarians or paleo or anything like that, but I am impressed with myself when I open up our pantries or the fridge or freezers. My kids aren't picky and we eat a variety of really delicious food.

4. We are watching our trash production. We use reusable items like dish clothes, napkins, even feminine items, as well as reusing what we can, recycling and donating or consigning items that no longer fit us.

5.We are composting! Not only do we have rabbit manure and grass clippings and leaves, but we compost our broccoli stems and apple cores and just all those little knick knacks from the kitchen. Our composting is coming in handy.

6. We have one bee hive and have done well with them I think. We should be ready to harvest our honey here in a few months.

Things that I'd like to work on:

1. We have plenty of pears and muscadines, but I'd like more fruit!! I always have enough blueberries, blackberries and strawberries for a few desserts a year and for us to snack on, and occasionally enough to freeze a bit or make some jam, but right now I'm getting our berries, apples and peaches from the farmer's markets or pick your own type places. I'd like to add more fruit to our homestead. 

2. I'd also like more corn and peas to add to our pantry and freezers. We eat a lot of corn, and I do put up quite a bit, but I think adding a few more rows of each would be helpful. 

3. I'd like to start making soap. I have plenty of herbs that I could dry and I bought a book off of Amazon about how to make cold press soap, but that's been it. I'd like to start experimenting with making our own soap. 

4. Last year I put up a ton of delicious pizza sauce, pasta sauce and salsa, this year I'd like to try my hand at vegetable soup. Last year I would just get a jar of stewed tomatoes and add frozen veggies and stuff to it, but those big quart jars of veggie soup I remember from my childhood are just calling my name. 

5. I'd like to try cheese making. I don't have a place to get good fresh milk right now, but I'm sure if I looked a little harder I could find someone local to get some milk from. I know you can make cheese from grocery store milk, but I would like some from a local farmer. 

If you've read this far. Bless you :). 

What are some things you are doing super well with on your homestead? What are some things you could work on?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What's blooming around the homestead?

Some wildflowers. 

 I'm not super good at flowers. We have some mixed flowers planted as well as some sunflowers but they aren't blooming yet. There are a few pretty colors though around the homestead.  Enjoy and Happy Homesteading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What's growing around the homestead?

We have a total of three gardens that we tend each year. The one below is one of our newer ones, we've been gardening this spot for about 4 years. 

It has lots of cabbage, broccoli, green onions , corn, squash, peas, beans, zucchini, watermelon and cantoloupes. 

It won't be long before we'll be digging some nice potatoes and we are already harvesting broccoli and cabbages. 

This is garden number two and is our "main" garden. It has the stuff we'll pick almost daily and it has tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn, beans, squash, zucchinni, blueberries, radishes, onions and is framed by the muscadine and concord grapes. 

It won't be long before we have blueberries to snack on. 

Some tomatoes peaking through. 

Baby zucchinni!

Grape vines

A teeny tiny apple that will be yummy soon. 

 And this is garden three. Here are our cucumbers, a few more melons and a few blackberries. 

We also have a small plot of strawberries that are doing pretty good this year, not enough to can but enough to eat. And we have a large bed of asparagus and several random  herb containers and gardens. I hope everyone else is off to a beautiful, productive gardening season!

Happy Homesteading!!!!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Seeing the South: Weekend to Natchez, MS

My very best friend since literally birth is getting married next weekend! So as matron of honor I wanted to take her to a fun girls weekend before the wedding, so we headed towards Natchez, Mississippi. It is right on the Mississippi River and has beautifully restored plantation homes that literally feels like you are stepping back in time. 
 We toured several of them which was amazing, but we couldn't take pictures inside. The outside though gives you a good idea of how perfect they are.

We took a carriage ride through downtown, and I think this was the bank. There are blocks upon blocks of just amazing historical buildings. 

 This house is called The Longwood. It was very very interesting and if you go to visit Natchez, I found this to be very neat. I won't give away what is so special about this one, but go see it if you are ever around. 

 Then we went to Saint Mary's Basilica. It was free and is open to the public. Even though we are not Catholic the architecture was stunning. We went inside and just sat and soaked up the wonderfulness. It is reportedly the first Catholic church in Mississippi. The stained glass windows are amazing. 

I don't know how I didn't get more pictures of the house we stayed in, but here is the one I have. It is named "The Monmouth" and is a beautiful Inn you can stay in. The grounds are spectacular with a rose garden, hiking trail and two ponds. If you are looking for a nice historical weekend getaway, I'd point the car towards Natchez. Even homesteaders have to have fun right? 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Asparagus and Dill Quiche

I'm always ready for a good Quiche Recipe. We are blessed to have many eggs at the moment ( well most moments actually) and after a trip to the library and coming home with a book called "Pies" by Ashley English I found this Quiche that seemed just right for Spring. You could make your own crust of course, but I did not. I found them on clearance after the holidays and bought about 20... They were like .29 cents for a two pack. I doubt I could make them for that. Anyways.... the asparagus is not mine , but from a farmer's market we go to. The dill is mine, as are the eggs.

So you cut up a bundle of fresh asparagus into bit sized peices and put into the pie crust.
Then add the dill.
Then you crack your six farm fresh eggs into a bowl and mix well, then pour onto the top of your pie. This is also where you add the heavy whipping cream.
Cover with about a cup of Feta and bake at 350 until it begins to get nice and bubbly and brown on top.  My husband and I gave this recipe a 10! The kids gave it probably a 7.5. Either way it was a nice way to use up some eggs and it fed us dinner, then kept great as left overs for lunches for a few days. It's quite rich and didn't take much to fill you up.

I would say to number 1) check out this super fun book from the library, I gave it back but plan on getting it again in the summer when my fruits and veggies are more productive and two try out this recipe for a very nice Spring brunch, lunch or dinner.

Happy Homesteading!