Monday, October 13, 2014

8 Things We Don't Spend Money On

A big part of homesteading is being able to do things for yourself, it takes "homemade" to a whole new level with the ultimate goal being making, building, growing everything yourself. It allows us to save money, control the ingredients / materials that are being used, and teaches us valuable skills.  I am always looking for the next thing to make at home and while some things definitely take practice, I have a lot of fun learning and trying.


1. Yogurt: Yogurt is the most recent addition to my "make it at home" list.  After reading a million blog posts about people making their own yogurt I decided to give it a try.  Turns out that they were all right, it was so much easier than I expected it to be and the yogurt tastes great.  

2. Bread:  I love baking.  It is fun and satisfying work besides, the house smells like heaven when there is fresh bread in the oven. I've gotten pretty good at sandwich rolls and flour tortillas and tried many more recipes. A lot of the time I cheat and use my bread maker on the dough setting to mix and rise whatever I am baking.  Either way there is nothing that beats the taste of fresh bread and the cost difference is crazy! 

3. Fire wood:  While it does take a lot of work and owning some equipment (chain saw, splitter, etc.) it is still way cheaper to harvest wood from our own property.  If you don't have a lot of wood on your property don't worry, ask around you might just have friends or family that are looking to take out a tree or two.  Offer to take care of it for them as long as you can keep the wood.  We've done this several times and it's worked out really well.

4. Compost:  Why pay for garden mulch and compost when its as easy as collecting food scraps and cleaning out the chicken coop?  We have an on-going compost pile that gets veggie scraps, egg shells, dirty coop shaving, etc. added to it regularly.  When I need to compost the garden I just fill up a bucket from the back of the pile and I'm good to go.

5. Hats / Scarves: Learning to knit and crochet was one of the best things I've done.  I have so much fun making hats, scarves and other little projects.  It makes for great homemade gifts and I'm able to keep my family warm all winter with things I lovingly made for them.

6. Clothes repair: A small sewing machine and a well stocked sewing kit has made it so that I never have to pay to have pants hemmed or pockets sewn again.  *I'm short so having pants and skirts hemmed is common.  My machine and sewing kit aren't fancy but its enough to handle basics and that's all I need.

7. Cleaning Supplies: I make the majority of our cleaning supplies from laundry soap and all- purpose cleaner to cut rags for dusting, dish towels, etc.  The all purpose cleaner is just a simple mix of vinegar, tea tree oil, and sweet orange oil (for scent).  I picked up a couple big spray bottles from the hardware store and mix a new batch whenever we are running low.  It's all-natural, inexpensive, and safe for use around kids and pets. 

What do you like to make at home? 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meal Plan 10.6.14

It's starting to feel like fall out there, bring on the soups and pumpkin everything! We're doing lots of leftovers this week since I'm cooking a couple "big batch" recipes.  I'll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.



Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and homemade blueberry cereal bars.

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we'll have a "breakfast for dinner" night once a week and at least one "meatless meal".  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don't want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.

Week of 10/06/14

Monday: Hamburgers and salad

Tuesday: Chicken noodle soup and biscuits (we never got to this last week)

Wednesday: Sweet and sour kielbasa with rice and veggies

Thursday: Breakfast burritos

Friday: Puppy party with friends (we'll grab sandwiches and picnic it up when we get there)

Saturday: Leftover soup and sandwiches

Sunday: Leftover kielbasa on rolls 

What are you serving up this week?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meal Plan 9.29.14

Did you see I got a blog post written? Teaching Tilly the value of helping out around the homestead is important to us and I was so excited to share it with you.  I'll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.



Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and apple cinnamon muffins.

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we'll have a "breakfast for dinner" night once a week and at least one "meatless meal".  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don't want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.

Week of 9/29/14

Monday: Turkey melts with homemade garlic herb bread

Tuesday: Crock pot roast chicken with rice and veggies

Wednesday: Pancakes and sausage with apple sauce

Thursday: Chicken soup and biscuits 

Friday: Puppy party with friends (we'll grab sandwiches and picnic it up when we get there)

Saturday: Leftover soup and sandwiches

Sunday: Sweet potato, apple, cheddar bites 

What are you serving up this week?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Teaching Young Children to Help


We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make sure that Tilly had a very active role in life here on the homestead.  When she was first born we would wear her while doing everything from cooking dinner and picking apples to stacking firewood and feeding the chickens.  From that young age she saw us working and became used to seeing these chores getting done.

Now that she is getting bigger (she'll be 2 in November, can you believe it?) we have her working right along side us and we love it! She is learning that living on a homestead involves work and she is gaining skills that will help her through out her life.  Even more importantly, she is learning to help.  Sure, I could probably accomplish all these tasks a lot faster by myself but sometimes the lesson is more important than the time it takes (or the quality of the work).


5 Ways to Teach Children to Help

1. Toy or child sized tools: Tilly has her own pot, spoon, little cups and other things that she plays with while I make dinner.  It keeps her busy while I am cooking and also gives her time to practice using those items.  She also has a bucket and shovel for when we are working in the garden.

2. Clean up time: We have clean up time every night before bed.  We go around the house and pick up toys and other items and put them back where they belong.  Tilly has always seen us doing this and now readily helps out when we declare it "clean up time".

3. Observation: We have always made a point to keep Tilly a part of everything that we are doing.  She has seen us working, cleaning, and cooking from the time she was an infant in the baby carrier.  The more she sees the more she learns so we are sure to give her a front row seat.

4. Start small:  Start with simple things like putting the crayons back in the box or pulling the clean clothes out of the dryer and build up to harder or more complicated tasks.  Always be right there to guide them and make sure they see working along side.

5. Praise:  Keep your tone upbeat and shower your little helper with praise.  Be specific with praise and name the job they are doing "Wow, what a great job carrying the napkins!".  The more specific you are the better, it keeps your praise genuine and helps the child to know that every thing they do to help is appreciated.

*How do you encourage little ones to help?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meal Plan 9.22.14

I know, I've been slacking in the blogging department.  This is the time of year when I am up to my neck in produce (45 lbs of apples what?) and there are a million other things that need to get done.  I promise I'll make more time for you, real soon.  I'll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.



Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and english muffins.

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we'll have a "breakfast for dinner" night once a week and at least one "meatless meal".  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don't want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.

Week of 9/22/14

Monday: Taco pizza (I have left over taco filling from last week)

Tuesday: Crock pot chicken and stuffing

Wednesday: Cheesy hashbrowns and scrambled eggs

Thursday: Tortellini with sauce and salad

Friday: Puppy party with friends (we'll grab sandwiches and picnic it up when we get there)

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Pancakes and apple sauce

What are you serving up this week?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Meal Plan 9.8.14

Well the first week of school is in the books.  We didn't get to everything on last weeks menu so this week will look similar.  I'll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.



Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and english muffins.

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we'll have a "breakfast for dinner" night once a week and at least one "meatless meal".  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don't want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.

Week of 9/08/14

Monday: quiche with veggies and bacon

Tuesday: Green chili chicken enchilada casserole

Wednesday: Turkey melts and corn on the cob

Thursday: Visiting with Uncle Norman at his favorite restaurant

Friday: BBQ ribs and roast potatoes

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Homemade pizza

What are you serving up this week?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Meal Plan 9.1.14

We start back to school on Tuesday so things are going to get busy around here.  I spent two days last week prepping freezer meals, veggies, and canning so hopefully that will help keep us organized.  I'll try and link up recipes when I have them and you can check out my Pinterest boards for more ideas and inspiration.



Breakfasts: We have a variety of breakfast items kicking around the house and pick and choose as we go.  This week we have yogurt, cereal, and english muffins.

Lunches: I typically pack our lunches the night before.  Most of the time it is leftovers from dinners but some of our other favorites include, english muffin pizzas, quesadillas, crackers and hummus, and sandwiches. For toddler lunch ideas, check this out.

Dinners: I plan these out one for each night.  Typically we'll have a "breakfast for dinner" night once a week and at least one "meatless meal".  I try to stick to traditional real food (no food dyes, artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners)  I also try to make as much from scratch as possible, it is cheaper that way and I can control the type and source of my ingredients.

Note: Tilly eats the same things we do because 1. I don't want to make extra work for myself and 2. I want her to be exposed to lots of different flavors and textures.  I just make sure things are cut into pieces she can handle.

Week of 9/01/14

Monday: Celebrating a bunch of family birthdays with a cookout

Tuesday: Turkey melts on homemade garlic herb bread that Tilly and I baked today and corn on the cob

Wednesday: Crock pot whole chicken and roast potatoes

Thursday: Pancakes and fruit salad

Friday: Shredded chicken tacos with all the fixings

Saturday: Grilled cheese with veggies for dipping

Sunday: Veggie quiche

What are you serving up this week?

*Linking up with: Homestead Barn HopHomemade MondaysModest Mom