Monday, November 30, 2015

(mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop #47

Welcome to the (mis)Adventures Mondays 
Blog Hop!  

I am so excited you are here and I really enjoy seeing what you all have been up to! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us!

This party is a 
Rules Free Party!!!

Share anything you want!!! We love seeing what you are up to! Be it recipes, DIY, giveaways, hops, crafts, funny stories... they're all welcome here!

After you share, don't forget to take minute to check out what everyone else is up to!

Before we get to the features this week, I wanted to remind you about a giveaway we are having. This is a great chance to win a unique gift to keep or give this holiday season! Just click the picture to go enter!

Each week's feature(s) will be pinned to our (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop Board over on Pinterest! So who is getting pinned this week?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos November 22nd - 28th

I totally dropped the ball this week when it came to taking photos. I was too busy living life! And that is the way it should be, in my opinion. With fun times to be had in the snow, Thanksgiving to host, and the four day weekend our family had, I was too busy enjoying my memories instead of taking photos of them all. I did manage to find a few photos on my camera and phone that I wanted to share with you this week. While I may not have taken a bunch of photos this week, there were MANY things that made me smile! These are just a few....

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop November 28th

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop #90
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!

Monday, November 23, 2015

(mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop #46

Welcome to the (mis)Adventures Mondays 
Blog Hop!  

I am so excited you are here and I really enjoy seeing what you all have been up to! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us!

This party is a 
Rules Free Party!!!

Share anything you want!!! We love seeing what you are up to! Be it recipes, DIY, giveaways, hops, crafts, funny stories... they're all welcome here!

After you share, don't forget to take minute to check out what everyone else is up to!

Before we get to the features this week, I wanted to tell you about a giveaway we are having. This is a great chance to win a unique gift to keep or give this holiday season! Just click the picture to go enter!

Each week's features will be pinned to our (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop Board over on Pinterest! So who is getting pinned this week?

Maple Tapping Gift Ideas and Giveaway

As you may or may not know, we have been tapping our maple trees for a few years now. It is a wonderful outdoor activity that the whole family can be part of. Not to mention, you end up with some super yummy syrup!

Over the years, we have improvised and made our own equipment for tapping because, well, equipment can get a little pricey. For the most part, our homemade equipment served its purpose. But I have always longed for something that could keep the bugs out of our sap as it collected, you know, “REAL” equipment. And as with any hobby, you are always looking to upgrade what you use as time goes on.

Last year I contacted Maple Tapper about their equipment….. but it was flying off their shelves so fast, they were backed up on orders. That’s a good problem to have if you’re selling maple tapping equipment! That means more people are tapping and that they obviously carried affordable, quality supplies!! I also might have waited till it was a little too close to tapping season to try to get my hands on new equipment. *hangs head* So I suffered through yet another tapping season with ants getting in my sap collection buckets. Those little buggers would just shimmy down our homemade taps, jumping right in the sap on their quest for the sugars in the sap.

Maple tapping season usually starts anywhere from mid-February and can last through mid-April, depending on where you live and the weather. This year, I didn’t wait, and my taps showed up last month in preparation for our 2016 tapping season. I cannot wait for the ground to freeze this winter! I am so looking forward to tapping this coming year!

Now is the time to start thinking ahead for the tapping season. It is also a great time to think about giving a unique gift to someone you love. Tapping can be a family affair and Maple Tapper has kits and equipment for folks of all ages. That's right, tapping is for kids too! Our oldest country kid loves collecting sap every year, boiling it down and of course eating the results!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos November 15th - 21st

What an incredible and diverse week we have had here at the homestead. You could feel and see fall slipping away quickly. The temperatures took a downward turn the wild birds began heading South in mass.

We always put Thanksgiving before Christmas, but my sewing might have had a more winter theme this week. And I may have broken down and already bought a Christmas gift or two.

Homeschooling and enjoying nature, even with the first snow fall yesterday, continue to be moments of growth and delight for the country kids. What a magical week we have had! So what made me smile this week? A LOT of things!! Here are just some of them....

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Super East DIY Pillowcases!!

Super easy do-it-yourself pillowcases….. Sure, if you are a professional seamstress, right? Nope! I am no professional, in fact, I am self-taught. Well, unless you count that half a semester back in middle school home economics class when I was supposed to sew a nightgown. Yeah, that didn’t end well!

Seriously folks, I didn’t start sewing till I was pushing 30. I bought a second hand machine and decided to just sit down and go for it. Recently my hubby bought me a new machine and what an amazing thing that is. It does stitches I don’t even know what I would use them for! I never buy patterns, I am more of a “wing it and see if it works” kind of girl.

But fear not, I have learned how to come up with my own patterns and simple ways to make things without all the technique jargon and know-how and so can you. If you can sew a semi-straight line, you can totally make these!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Awesome Apple Pie Recipe

Fall is here and that means cooler temperatures and apples, the perfect combination for baking! When it comes to apple pie however, my hubby is VERY persnickety about how he likes his pie. The crust can't be overly sweet and the apples cannot be too firm or too mushy. Gee, that makes baking him an apple pie so simple, right? Why does he have to be such a pain in my baking?

The first time I served this pie to him, I of course waited for him to finish his first bite and then I asked the dreaded question. "So what do I need to change?" His response was "nothing!" What a relief! Ha!! I have perfected the plain apple pie into total awesomeness! That's right, I have nailed his every wish in this easy to pull of pie. Go me!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A (couple of) Weeks of Homestead Photos

What a crazy few weeks we have had. I so missed sharing photos with you, but my computer decided to get an attitude and had to go to the repair shop for a week or so. But I am happy to report it is back up and running like it should and it only cost me $65!!!! I could not have asked for a better outcome in the price department.

Sadly, we also had a lose here on the homestead. The oldest country kid's pet quail became ill and passed very quickly. There was nothing I could do to save her, but his response was one of compassion and deep love. While our hearts hurt for her lose, my heart swelled knowing my son has developed such wonderful qualities.

So I went through my photos and picked out a few from the past couple weeks that in some way made me smile. I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Christmas in November" Giveaway

I am so excited to team up with Mary from Mary's Heirloom Seeds to celebrate her reaching 7,000 likes on Facebook!

In honor of this milestone, she is THRILLED to sponsor another Giveaway for Mary's Heirloom Seeds. This is their largest giveaway opportunity yet. You have a chance to win 1 of 3 organic gift packs from Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

-Organic Garden Gift Pack ($39 value)

-Grow Your Own Herbal "Medicine" kit ($25 value)

-Mary's Organic Sprouting Kit w/ 8 ounces of organic seeds ($25 value)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fermenting Pickles, A Yummy Science Project

When it comes to homeschooling topics, we as parent pick topics that fulfill portions of our curriculum, like science or math. Homeschooling projects should also be about fun. And around here, homeschooling projects are sometimes useful and yummy too! We (meaning my hubby and I) have been using fermentation as a form of food preservation from some time, but recently it became a homeschool project that taps into history, science, math and more.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Budweiser Clydesdales: An American Icon

There are certain things in American society that are icons. You know, things that when you see them, you know just know them, like the golden M for McDonald’s, Muhammad Ali, or the flag raising on Iwo Jima. And while these images or symbols are easily recognizable, how much of their history do you really know?

Last week we had the opportunity to see one of those American icons, the Budweiser Clydesdales and learn more about them. Of course we all know them as the horses in the Super Bowl commercials, but these teams of horses are so much more than just a commercial for a beer manufacturer. The horses have an interesting history behind them, filled with interesting facts you may not know.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sorry! Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed the tumbleweeds blowing through my blog recently. I am not ill, nothing horrible has happened, my computer just died last Wednesday with no warning. Since I don't make any money blogging (and I am okay with that, as that is not why I blog) I have had to look into the most cost effective way to get back up and running.

And while I still have some access to the internet through the oldest country kid's homeschool computer (which is slower then.... well you know,) it doesn't have the capabilities I need in order to upload photos and the like. *pout*

And while it might be dead on the blog till someone can fix my computer, which I am hoping will happen this week, I am staying in touch with readers over on our (mis)Adventures of a "Born Again" Farm Girl Facebook page. So if you miss me, be sure to stop by over there!

I will try to have our Monday hop up, but there will be no newsletter this week. I had so many things in the works when the computer dropped dead.... I am itching to share so much with you. So be patient, I promise to get it all figured out! Fingers crossed please for a quick and cost effective computer repair. Yeah, I know those two things don't go together, but a girl can hope!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos October 19th - 24th

What a busy week we had! This mama needs a nap! LOL We went apple picking, visited a museum, saw the Budweiser Clydesdale, and started processing our black walnuts. It has been a week of fun and hard work, and has brought quit a few smiles to my face. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did living them.....

Thursday, October 22, 2015

DIY Pin Cushion and Storage

Ever since my hubby bought me a new sewing machine, I have been sewing like a mad woman. You see a few years back, my rotten country kids messed with my old one and it was rendered basically useless, except for making a straight simple stitch. But this new sewing machine... It even threads its own needle! Seriously! I had no idea this advancement in sewing had been made in the last decade! Let's just say, my sewing juju is back.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos October 12th - 18th

Life feels a lot calmer this week with our annual Halloween Camping trip in the books. It was so nice just to putts around the house and not be planning, making, and packing. The country kids did keep me on my toes with attitude and illness, but it was just another week of being a mom. Homeschooling is going well and both boys are blossoming. The temperatures have tanked, and I would like my fall back, before going into winter so fast! Season change (and around here that could be a few times in a day) but nothing can keep me from finding things that bring a smile to my face. I hope you enjoy these moments......

Friday, October 16, 2015

DIY Halloween Headstones

Halloween is one of our family's favorite holidays. Even before we had children, hubby and I loved decorating the yard and handing out candy. Over the years we have had a variety of headstones, from the crappy foam store bought ones, to things we have made ourselves.

This year I decided I was done spending money on store bought stones and foam. I was done constructing headstones out of foam that eventually fell apart. This year, I was going hard core! Break out the wood!!! Not only were these surprisingly easy to make, but the supplies to make 5 headstones cost about the same as buying one of those crappy 4 piece foam store sets of around $10. I love that I am able to personalize them as I wanted to. And I don’t know what you think, but I think they turned out pretty darn good!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Halloween Camping, A Family Tradition

Halloween doesn't always have to be about ghost and ghouls and trick or treating one night a year, oh no....

Five years ago we were lucky enough to stumble upon an event at a nearby state park that has become a family tradition, Halloween Camping Weekend. Some parks call them harvest festivals, but whatever they are called, they are a wonderful chance to get your kids out in nature and make family memories to last a lifetime. Many state parks in Michigan hold them, and I would bet other states do as well.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos October 4th - 11th

What an amazingly busy week we have had here on our little homestead. The oldest country kid is now a full fledged 4Her. I was super busy making headstones, candy, costumes, and curtains for our annual Halloween camping trip. And of course we still had to tend critters and homeschool. While this is my favorite time of the year, it is also the most exhausting! But no matter how tired I am, I can always find small moments that make me smile.....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to Can Green Beans. Yes You Can!

A few years back, my mother gifted to me her old (aka missing pieces) pressure canner. After purchasing a few parts we had that bad boy back up and ready to go. I can honestly say I love that old piece of metal. It allows us to preserve so much wonderful food for the winter months, without having to worry about things like, “what if we lose power,” which I might add happens from time to time around here. No one wants to lose a freezer full of yummy goodness due to a power outage. Plus, I think canned green beans taste so much better then frozen ones.

Canning green beans is not a hard thing to do either! Even if you don’t grow your own green beans you can pick up a nice mess of them at a farmers’ market. With a pressure canner and some jars, you are on your way to the most amazing meals in the winter months. Nothing beats fresh, but canned comes a close second, locking in all that yummy goodness.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos September 27th - October 3

Brrrrrr!! That's right, I said it, brrrrr. I am so not ready for these 40 degree mornings we have had this week. Cleaning a duck pool is no fun, but having your fingers go numb too is just too much! But there have been plenty of things this week to make me smile and forget the cold winds that are a blowin. Halloween is one of our family's favorite holidays and we are all getting revved up for our annual Halloween camping trip. So what was so wonderful about this week?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homemade Apple Fritters

I love a GOOD doughnut, pastry, or fritter now and then. I mean, who doesn't? And it's not like I NEED to have one, but come on, we all WANT one, right? But no one want a treat filled with preservatives or that has been sitting in a gas station doughnut case who knows how long. And not all of us live near a bakery. Well fear not my fine friends, I have a homemade apple fritter recipe, with simple ingredient, that will make your taste buds sit up and thank you!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos September 20th - 26th

Another week has come and gone in a blur of activity. Fall is upon us, with cooler temps, homeschooling is consuming the majority of our days, and the panic that winter will be here all too soon is lingering in the back of my thoughts. Of course there are always moments during the week that bring a smile to my face and this week, these are the moments......

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Tators Taught Me

The potato is an important staple food in many peoples' diets. Potatoes are rich in vitamins B and C, potassium, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Talk about a lot of wonderful packed in a small thing! Since potatoes can be prepared so many ways, you can eat them year round and not grow tired of them. Boiled, baked, mashed or fried, there are endless ways to utilize potatoes. Knowing all of this, I of course wanted to grow my own. I was delighted when my aunt gave me some money for my birthday, because I knew exactly what I was going to use it for.... Seed tator!! 

Since I learned many useful things this year in my little potato patch,  I thought I would share them with you. From the comical to the practical, here is what tators taught me.....

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos September 13th - 19th

This week seemed like everything was in motion.... like fast forward. I swear it was a blur! And some of the pictures prove that! So much to do, everyone and everything going in different directions. I need a week's worth of naps to catch up! Though it was a busy, crazy week, it still made me smile. I hope it makes you smile too....

Friday, September 18, 2015

Haystack Treats

Country life means the end of summer is haying season. It's a time when you put up food for the winter months for your critters. But what about your human critters? My country kids love Haystack Treats, and no, they are not made out of the same stuff hay bales are! These yummy treats are just four ingredients of delectable goodness!

So put down the sickle, park the baler, and get to the kitchen, because it is time to whip up some human Haystack Treats!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Finding Your Voice in Life

Why do we do what we do? How SHOULD we do what we do? Recently I hit a snag, a frump, a "why am I doing this phase" that really made me step back and take time to examine my blog, its contents and why I do what I do. You may have noticed the lack of post and the tumbleweeds blowing through, but I had to do it, heck, even if you don't blog, you should do it...... FIND YOUR VOICE in life people! And I am here to help you..... No I am not some amazing self-helper, just someone who took a step back and did some serious thinking, aka I hide from my kids in the bathroom, with the door locked, looking for the meaning of life.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Week of Homestead Photos September 6th - 12th

Fall is here.... The sandhill cranes are migrating through and the morning temps are in the 40s and 50s. Homeschooling has started again, with the oldest country kid in 4th grade and the littlest doing preK work. We are canning every last thing we can in preparation for winter. Here is what brought a smile to my face this week....

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Muffin Liner Owls

When I think of fall, I think of things like colorful leaves, pumpkins, corn stalks and owls. Maybe I am odd with the whole owl thing, but around my neck of the woods, that is when I notice them calling. Here is a neat little craft I did with the oldest country kid that is really easy to do, but oh so cute! And, I bet you have everything to do it in your house right now. Well, if you have kids or like to bake, you probably have everything!

A Week of Homestead Photos August 30th - September 5th

I feel Summer slipping away quickly and Fall knocking on the door. Homeschooling is getting ready to start again, the last harvests from our garden are approaching, and I feel a little sense of urgency. I think the country kids feel it too and they behavior is all over the place.... *sigh* Time to take a deep breath and remember what makes me smile because it is better to focus on the good in life!