Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday on the Homestead

What a busy week. I have been taking care of a lot of things in my home this week. Our school year is in full swing and going well. I have been baking and cooking with the secondary motivation to warm up the house. We have been enjoying many fall like mornings and evenings with sun during the day. I have been making a lot of soups and baking bread and rolls.. does a great job of warming things up!


Yesterday the rain came and it looks like it is going to stay now for a few days.. Gotta work on that 75 to 100 inches of rain year!  One nice thing about the rain is that it means we most likely won’t be running out of water. Our water comes from a spring. If the weather goes dry for an extended period of time then our spring dries up. We have a second spring that we pump from when this happens but we can’t drink the water so we have to buy drinking water or get it from our very kind neighbor who lets us fill up our water jugs at his place. This will be our 11th fall in this house and only the 2nd one that we have not had the spring dry up. Typically it only lasts for a couple of weeks.. but that seems a lot longer when you are dealing with it. 


I sold one more goat! Now I am down to 5 adults and 3 kids to take through the winter. I do believe we will use the 3 kids for meat at the end of next summer; after they have had the spring and summer to eat and gain lots of weight. I am going have them all turned into goat burger. 


We also went and got hay for the winter. It may not last us all winter but we will see. Luckily the man we buy hay from typically has it all year round and he is close by so a hay run during the winter is not a big deal.


I wanted to thank all the wonderful and kind people that left me comments on my son’s deployment. Those first few days are really tough and I so appreciated the prayers and support. I too am praying for those that who let me know they had husbands, brothers and family members currently deployed. 


My son let one of my daughters know (via his myspace messenger) that he had arrived and then the next day was able to give me a call. It was good to hear his voice and know he was doing well.. tired from a long flight but doing well.


On another note, I mentioned doing a lot of baking this week. Well I was grinding some wheat one afternoon this last week and my whisper mill gave a loud bang and died.. Tobin gave his mechanical explanation of what most likely happened. We have decided to purchase a new mill. I am currently researching various mills and will let you know what we decide to buy. Since it is something that we use almost daily I plan to find one that can handle the job for us (this is the second time I have had it die on me.. the first time Tobin fixed it, this time he said it may just be time for a new one). I have one in mind but still need to finish my research and discuss it with Tobin. He tends to gage these things by what type of motors and other mechanical features they have. 


Today I plan on going into to town to pick up animal feed and do a bit of grocery shopping. Dinner tonight will be meatloaf, potatoes (either garlic roasted or cheesy), and a salad.


I hope you all have a great weekend on your homestead!





Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Son Is On His Way to Iraq...

My son who is in the Army is on his way to Iraq.  If it comes to mind, prayers for him (and us.. sniff, sniff) and all our soldiers over there, would be appreciated. 

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday on the Homestead


Today is looking like a beautiful fall day!! It will be sunny and about 70 with the morning and evening very cool. We had a few days this last week that we thought about starting a fire in the morning to take the chill off.. but we did not. Instead I just put a pot of soup to simmer on the stove and started doing some baking! That did the trick. 


This last week has been busy. It has been our first week of school. So far the kids like the new curriculum and things seem to be flowing smoothly. I am working on a new routine with school and housework so I can better keep it altogether around here!


I had someone here on the blog and my message board ask me about he fire in my area. It is several miles from me so I am fine.. (thank you for asking ).. But I am keeping that area in my prayers.. 3 or 4 houses have burned, last I heard and several families have been evacuated so it is not sounding good at all.


I also had someone ask me about the paint color on our house. She asked what it was called and that it looked gray.. well digital cameras and the internet being what they are.. it is not gray but a light tan. The color is called Rugged Trail and is put out by Miller Paints.


I wanted to send a special message this morning to a VERY special friend of mine. We met on the internet awhile ago and she is one of the sweetest ladies I know and has become very special to me and my family.. and today is her birthday!!






Finally before I could get his blog post written my brother called me! I love to hear from him. He is a kind, caring and loving older brother. It made my day to hear from him. 


Now it is time to quell the children, LOL, and get them going on their homeschool day! Hope you all have a great Friday on your homesteads!

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Soap Scents for Fall Time!!


I have 2 new soap scents ready for fall time at



Oak Leaves and Acorns: a very pleasant combination of rustic pine, wild violets and fall leaves.  This one is a favorite of mine!


Brown Sugar & Spice: This one is pretty much what is says.. a scent of brown sugar with spice…. and a little hint of vanilla. If you like the scent "warm vanilla sugar" I am sure you will like this one!


And I carry another favorite Pumpkin Spice all year long due to its popularity! 




Saturday, September 15, 2007

Summer Remodel Job


After 3 months and lots of work, the south side of our house is finally finished; at least the living room and the sunroom. The windows to the far left are another project for another year.. we have big plans..   but they will have to wait for another summer! We also are working a little bit on the east side of the house; we put in a new front door and are doing some painting. But the changes don’t seem as dramatic as this side. 


I have been asked by a couple people if I would share pics of our remodel job.. so here they are!


Here is a pic of what it looks like now…



Here is what it looked like before…



I am very proud of my hubby Tobin.. he did all the work himself.. including building the window frames and doing a lot of repair. The house was built in 1925 and there is/was dry rot in a few areas. He has repaired all of it in this part of the house (and he repaired rotten areas of the deck as well), framed in the new windows, put up all new siding (but not on the upstairs section) and primed and painted it. The inside of the living room and sunroom now needs to be finished as it is just studs in both rooms.. but that will be our winter time project!   



Friday, September 14, 2007

Chicken Green Bean Casserole


3 cups milk

3T cornstarch

2 chicken bouillon cubes

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups cooked, cubed chicken

2 cans green beans (or 1qt. home canned green beans), drained

2 cups homemade croutons (recipe follows)

cheddar cheese



In a sauce pan, combine milk and cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Turn heat on and add bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Whisk and stir until bubbling and thick. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and green beans. Pour into 9x13 pan. Top with homemade croutons and as much or as little cheese as you desire. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.


To make croutons for this recipe:


Cut up 4 to 6 slices of bread (enough to make a generous 2 cups) into cubes. Melt ½ cup butter in a medium hot frying pan. Add bread and gently stir and let them absorb the butter. Stir and mix and cook them until crusty and browned. Remove from heat and use in above recipe.



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Updates from my Homestead


It has been almost 2 weeks since I have blogged. We have had a lot going on here on our homestead and I have not had a lot of extra time. 


Last week I took several trips into town; all necessary, but more than I usually do. I had a nice day with my daughter Emily. Her and I went to the mall and shopped and had lunch and frappuccino’s and just had some nice mom/daughter time. Tobin and I made a trip to town and then there was another one for some grocery shopping.


The biggest highlight of last week was my daughter Leanne’s birthday! She turned 16 and of course I ask myself the same question.. Where have all the years gone!!  We celebrated her day with family. It was very nice.  I am thankful for the love of family. We were all so blessed by the visit from my brother in law and his new bride and her children. It made Leanne’s day even more special. 




I made some peach jam last week too. I have bought 60#’s of peaches this summer and the first 40#’s were all eaten by the family.. which is great!! I love serving in-season and locally grown fruit to them.   But I really wanted jam as well. Finally with the last 20# box the eating slowed down and I had enough to make 6 batches of jam.



The south side of the house that Tobin has been working on is almost painted!! It should be done by this weekend. We are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel on this project.. it has been a huge job this summer and Tobin is about wore out.. he is looking forward to the end of the project (at least the outside) and taking a break. He has taken extra days off for the last several weeks and now this week we go back to our regular schedule. 


I have also been spending time cleaning and organizing and preparing for school. I usually don’t start school until closer to October but felt like we need the routine and schedule back around here. I love the free-ness of summer but there comes a time when I say “enough is enough” and it is time to get back into a better routine. 


After many years of using the same curriculum and vowing I would not do anything differently, I have finally decided to make a change. I have used ACE Paces for a long time (except for math, we have always used Saxon and will continue to). I purchased the Robinson Curriculum. One of the things I appreciated about ACE is that it is a self directed curriculum. I set up the weekly schedules for my children, help them when they have problems, check over their work, etc…  but for the most part they work independently. I like that a lot and one thing that appealed to me about the Robinson Curriculum was that same independent learning. I have eyed this curriculum for several years and finally decided to go for it. So we will see how this year goes. Over the summer I began printing books for my children to read and they have read a lot of them and enjoyed them quite a bit. So they are eager to get started this year. I need to spend the rest of the week and weekend printing and assembling books. 


Now for the picture of the week.. here are “Ellie’s Kitties” sitting on the birdhouses that Jacob and Isaac made while on their camping trip. They were napping and it was just sooo cute I could not help but to get my camera and snap a couple of pictures!!




I have more to blog about.. but am once again short on time! I will be back to share some of the organizing things I have been doing to help my household ease into our fall routines and help me manage my time better..  


Have a great day on your homestead! 

Sunday, September 2, 2007

This Weeks Menu



Pot roast in crockpot

Yummy Pinto Beans


Peanut butter pie



Baked fish

Laurie’s macaroni & cheese





Cheesy potatoes

Green beans



Crockpot chicken enchiladas

Chips & salsa




~Happy Birthday Leanne!~




Soup made from leftovers on Sunday

French bread or dinner rolls





French bread

Fresh veggie of some sort


Recipe Requests Answered


After I posted last weeks menu I got a few recipe requests and here they are:


I had a couple requests for the pizza rice casserole. It was very good! 


Pizza Rice Casserole

Crystal Miller


2 cups cooked brown rice

1 ½ cups cottage cheese

1 lb. sausage or hamburger or a combo of both

1 onion, chopped

1 -14oz can diced tomatoes

1 -8oz can tomato sauce

2 t Italian seasonings

½ t salt

Mozzarella cheese



Black olives, sliced


Combine cooked rice and cottage cheese and spread into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Cook sausage and onions until sausage is done and onions are soft. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings and salt. Spread this over the top of the rice. If you want to use the optional items layer those on top of the sausage/tomato mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese (as much or as little as desired). Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until all is bubbly and hot and cheese has melted. 



Page asked for my Hawaiian Pineapple Cake recipe. This one I actually got from Best of Mennonite Fellowship Meals but reworked the recipe to be a little bit healthier.


Hawaiian Pineapple Cake w/cream cheese frosting

2 cups cane juice crystals

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 t baking soda

1 t. vanilla

2 eggs

½ t salt

1- 20oz can crushed pineapple, do not drain



½ cup (or 1 cube) butter, room temp

8oz cream cheese, room temp

1 cup powdered Sucanat (could use powdered sugar)

1 t vanilla


This cake is easy to make in a Kitchen Aid or Bosch. Combine all cake ingredients and mix until well combined. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray and pour cake batter into pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done. After the cake has cooled, spread with frosting.


To make frosting combine all frosting ingredients and beat very well until the frosting is smooth.


Anonymous asked for my Macaroni Salad recipe. Well to perfectly honest I don’t have a recipe written down. I make it like my mother always made it. I cook macaroni noodles (the amount desired for my family) and add a couple eggs to the noodles while they boil. I drain the macaroni and peel and chop up the eggs and add those. I chop up onions and pickles and add those to the macaroni. Then I make the dressing to mix in. I combine mayonnaise and pickle juice until just right..  which for me means that I neither taste mayo or pickle juice to strongly. Then I add chopped garlic, salt, pepper, seasoning salt to taste. I also add a couple tablespoons of mustard to this. I like to use Dijon the best. I mix all this together and then mix it with my noodles. Put in the fridge to get cold and serve with dinner. Hope that helps and maybe one of these days I will take the time to measure out the ingredients to make a more precise recipe.



Halflinger asked if my family liked to eat big meals when it is hot. Yes they still eat well no matter what the temperature is! My hubby works nights so he is unaffected by the heat and I send him whatever I make for dinner plus a second meal.. usually sandwiches; he works long shifts and spends 1 ½ hours total time commuting so I send lots of food with him.