Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Stock From Scratch

Chicken stock, used in many recipes, but where does it come from? Well, for most folks it comes in a can or a box from the store ladened with salt and preservatives. But it didn't always come that way! Once, long ago, when folks raised more of their own food, including chickens, people made their own chicken stock. And to be honest with you, it really isn't all that hard to do! While it takes time to make, it is one of those set it and walk away kind of things.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Make Your Own Stained Glass Leaves

Fall..... the time of year when the trees change from a mass of green to a beautiful display of colors. Now, if your children are anything like my country kids, well during the fall they have to pick up what seems like EVERY beautifully colored leaf they find and attempt to bring it in the house. I say attempt, because around here, I have had to put a stop to bringing large numbers of real leaves into the house.

Why? Well because, the leaves get left around and dry out. Eventually the dog or cats find them and try to eat them making a mess. Leaves just collect in weird places, like in the furniture!  Just over all a messy headache. I love that my children enjoy the beauty of nature, I do! But to be honest, I only want to vacuum, let's say twice a day, no more.

So what is a mama to do when the young long for beautiful fall leaves? Craft some! This simple project really does add a touch of color and fun to a room without the perpetual mess of real leaves. So let's get started......

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop August 23

simple saturdays piggy Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Breakfast on the Farm

A while back I received an email for our local 4H (because the oldest country kid is in 4H) about an opportunity to visit a dairy operation and have "Breakfast on the Farm." Seeing as the event was FREE, we love checking out farms and breakfast was included, well how could we pass this one up!! So on the appointed day, our family headed out.....

When we got to the farm, I guess none of us realized just how big of an event this was going to be! Hubby was complaining before we even parked asking "are you sure we can't just go to Cracker Barrel?" Ummm, that would kind of defeat the reason for coming to check out a dairy operation, now wouldn't it?!?! So I forced everyone out of the car and onto a wagon to be driven over to the farm as we had to park in a field across the way from the farm. After getting off the wagon we had to stand in line for breakfast.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Homemade Pumpkin Spice

Fall is coming! I know some of you are like "say it isn't so!" But fall is on the way. It seems a bit early this year, but if you look at the signs of nature.... leaves are already starting to drop, birds are heading south.....

And as you all know, with fall comes the season of pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING. Cookies, cakes, pies..... but why buy "pumpkin spice" at a store when I bet you already have all the spices in your kitchen to mix some up yourself! Seriously!!

I use four basic spices to make my pumpkin spice mix. I know some folks use allspice as well in their mix, but I find it a little redundant, since it's flavor is so similar to cloves. So here it is folks, the "recipe" for making your own pumpkin spice.....

Ingredients
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons ground ginger
2 Tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cloves

Simply mix all the spices together and place in an air tight container. Now wasn't that simple? You can use this mix for any recipe that calls for pumpkin spice. And how cute would it be in baby food jars with a nice tag, given as a gift!

So when your ready to embrace the "pumpkin spiced everything" season, just remember... skip the store and mix your own!


**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop August 16

simple saturdays piggy Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Monday, August 11, 2014

I'm a Fair Mom

All year long, I drive the oldest country kid to a lot of different 4H meetings.... there is craft club, poultry and rabbits. And then, for one glorious week in August it all pays off. That's right, the county fair! A week when the kids get to show what they have made and learned all year long.

Now when I say county fair, you may see images of livestock and elephant ears, quilts and rides...... But for a "fair mom" there is nothing but slightly controlled chaos, show times and a repeating list running through their heads to make sure everything goes off without a hitch and that their kids have a great time! Soccer moms have nothing on a fair mom, because we jam it all into a week or less!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop August 8

simple saturdays piggy Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homemade Cherry Pie From Scratch

There is just something about pie that makes everything better. Case in point, I was trying to set up a computer for the oldest country kid in his room for homeschooling this year and I was having "issues." So what did I do? Declared "screw this" and went and made a pie! And ya know what? Life was better! So what was this magical pie I made? Just a simple homemade cherry pie from scratch!

Now I don't know about you, but canned pie filling is not my thing. Who needs red dye in their cherries? So I made my own pie filling. It is rather simple and soooo much better then the store bought cans of red dye #40. I started out using my cherry pitter to remove all the pits from some cherries I had picked up on a whim at the farmers market. If you don't have one of these, you should! I got mine from Pantry Paratus for just a few dollars and it works GREAT!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Chicken of the Woods

Foraging for food is becoming the next big thing with folks looking to get away from the grocery store. One things folks can try there hand at is edible mushrooms. (Please do your research, carry a field guide, and ask if your not sure!) We LOVE hunting morels in the the spring time. There is nothing like wandering in the woods and the delight of finding those yummy little gems. In fact this year the oldest country kid found his first one ever!

Recently I walked out, maybe 10 feet from our back door, and was SHOCKED to find a mushroom growing that I had never seen before. It was bright orange and very large. My first thought was "I wonder if we can eat that?" I'm a little strange, I know, but you would not believe the things we have foraged just in our own backyard, mere steps from the house! After calling the family together to gawk in awe of this find, we set to work identifying the mushroom, which turned out to be a Chicken of the Woods.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

DIY Corkboard Coasters

No one likes ugly water markers on their tables...... So what do you do? Well if you are over 60 you use a coaster..... If your under 60 you should use a coaster! But why settle for plain old coasters when you can make your own, in any shape you want, from corkboard?!?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop August 2

simple saturdays piggy Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Homemade Calzones

Do you ever just get sick and tired of pizza? I know we do, so on nights when the country kids want pizza but I need a twist, I make calzones. Okay, I guess it is "just" a folded up pizza as my oldest likes to call them, but then again it's not at the same time.

Traditional calzone from Naples, Italy are made with a salted bread dough and contain meat and cheeses. I don't normally keep ricotta and pecorino in the house but I do have other traditionally ingredients and of course I add our own twists.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: 9 Health Benefits of Cloves

If you like to cook or bake, I bet you have clover in your cabinet right now. If you don't, you should! Why? Because clovers are good for so much more then flavor! Seriously, they have health benefits as well! How do I know?

Well you see, in college I had my wisdom teeth removed, during the healing process I got what is called a "dry socket." They hurt like heck. So I called the dentist and drove well over an hour to have him help me. As he was packing the hole I started smelling a familiar smell..... I looked at him and asked "Are you using cloves?" And he admit it was! I had driven over an hour for him to make a clove paste to relieve my pain, when I so could have handled it at home if I had know. Not to mention he charged and arm and a leg!

So what are cloves good for? Well I am glad you asked.....
  1. Toothaches - Cloves are anti-inflammatory and have analgesic components which means they will help reduce the swelling around a problem tooth and relieve the pain. You can make your own paste with a little ground cloves and olive oil.
  2. Joint Pain - Since cloves are an anti-inflammatory and posses analgesic properties it helps reduce inflammation and alleviate joint and arthritis pain as well as muscle aches. Just mix some clove oil with olive oil and rub on the affected area for relief. 
  3. Headaches - Put a few drops of clove oil on a piece of cloth on your forehead and leave it on for about 20 minutes to help open the blood vessels which will help alleviate your headache.
  4. Nausea and Vomiting - Something about the smell of cloves is soothing to the human body. By putting a few drops of clove oil on a cloth and sniffing it, you can combat nausea and morning sickness. For vomiting mix ground cloves in honey and swallow.
  5.  Respiratory - Cloves can be used to treat a common cold, stuffy nose, sore throat, and sinus issues. Just drink a few cups of clove tea when your ill or put clove oil in hot hot water and inhale the steam.
  6. Stress - Cloves contain a component called Eugenol, which is a muscle relaxant. Just put a few drops of clove oil in your bath water and enjoy a nice long relaxing soak.
  7. Earaches - Simply mix one tablespoon of crushed cloves in 1/4 cup of hot olive oil and let it set for 20-30 minutes. Strain the oil and put a few drop in the ear for 10-15 minutes before draining. 
  8. Mouth/Bad Breath - Since cloves have antiseptic properties, they can kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. You can either chew a few whole cloves or swish with a clove tea a few times a day.
  9. Digestion - Cloves have carminative properties which means they prevent gas formation. Cloves are soothing to your gastrointestinal tract as well, thus alleviating gast and stomach aches. The oils in cloves reduce inflammation and can combat stomach infections. How do you get these benefits? Just use cloves in your cooking!

So what are you waiting for? Stock up on cloves and alleviate what ails you!


**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 25

simple saturdays4 300
 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter "Buckeyes"

Two things that really do go together.... chocolate and peanut butter! One of the greatest candies ever made is the "Buckeye." It's called that because it is supposed to look like a buckeye nut. I, however, really don't care what my candy looks like, so I dabbled with the Buckeye recipe and cover it completely with chocolate. More chocolate is always better, right? Chocolate.... peanut butter... *drool*

This easy to make recipe will put a smile on your face and likely a pound (or two) on your hips if you don't share them! But they are so good, it might be hard to share.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Baking Soda.... Your New Best Friend

There are certain things in life, that once you get to know them, will blow your mind. Take our old friend baking soda..... Oh sure, it works great as a leavening agent (aka it makes stuff rise) when you bake, but did you know that this simple item has a million and one other uses too? Okay, maybe not a million and one, but it is sure handy!! It's not just for baking folks!

How handy is baking soda, you ask? Well, what I'm about to share with you is an list of things you can use baking soda for besides baking. And I promise, I am sure I have missed a few! But I am hoping you will see why you might want to start hoarding this stuff!!! No seriously!! Baking soda is one item everyone has and should have more of. Baking soda really is amazing stuff........

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 18

Simple Saturdays Joey
 Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!


 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Italian Cookies With a Twist

So one thing I have never mention before (at least I don't think) is that I have some wonderful Italian blood running through my veins. My great grandparent immigrated from Italy and Sicily. In her very old age, the woman who once made yummy biscotti, began to refer to Ritz cracker as cookies (insert gagging here.) It saddened me that I never got the chance to bake with her. So many wonderful culinary secrets left this world with her. But I digress.... you're here about some cookies.....

What we have here folks is the basic traditional Italian Easter Cookie. Let's face it, every Italian family puts there own spin on this simple recipe. Some add lemon or almond flavor, it really is a personal thing. I added a few simple, commonly used American spices, nothing that would scare my hubby like anise. I personally love black licorice flavor! Hubby, not so much. These cookies also come in a variety of shapes. There is the flattened ball, which is what I made, but you can get fancy and do twists or braids! I am about to hand you the basic recipe and you can run with it as far as your taste buds desire!!! You add your twist!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: The Making of an Egg, Why Calcium is Important to Hens

If you own chickens, you know there is nothing so wonderful or delicious as fresh eggs. Every day we go out and feed the hens and in return they give us those glorious eggs. But how much do you know about how an egg is made? Do you know why calcium is so important to your hens? Do you know how to supplement their calcium intake? Fear not, I have all the answers for you, right here, right now!

First off the egg..... It takes about 25 hours for a hen to "make" an egg. But how does she do it? Once the yolk leaves the ovary it enters an area called the magnum. For the next few hours the membrane is added to the yolk before it travels to the isthmus where the white is added. Once the egg gets to the uterus it spends the next approximately 21 hours getting the shell put on. And what is that shell made of? Calcium!!! Yeah, it is kinda of important to the whole egg process.