Friday, October 31, 2008

What’s been Cooking in My Kitchen


Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the kitchen and enjoyed every minute of it.  There is something very satisfying to me in making my family good healthy meals from scratch.  Here is what I did… 

I started the day by getting some pinto beans cooking for Yummy Pinto Beans.   

Then I ground up some hard white wheat in my Retsel grain mill and got busy.  I made a pan of Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:


Then I ground up some soft white wheat and made some Gingerbread Cookies.  These big soft cookies are soooo good!  It was the recipe I mentioned in a previous blog.  I got the measurements down better and now can share the recipe with you.  First here is a picture of them:


Here is the recipe: 

Gingerbread Cookies

¾ cup butter
1 cup cane juice crystals
1 egg
1 T water
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2t ginger
1t baking soda
¾t cinnamon
½ t cloves
¼ t salt
2T cane juice crystals for rolling the cookies in before baking 

In a mixer cream together butter and cane juice crystals.  Add egg, water, and molasses until well mixed.  Add remaining ingredients (except for the 2T cane juice crystals).  The dough should be firm enough to roll into balls.  I found that with freshly ground flour I really had to pack my measuring cup tightly with flour and even add another ¼ cup flour.  Just make sure the batter is firm enough to roll into a ball.  Shape the dough into balls about the size of a walnut.  Roll in the 2T cane juice crystals.  Put on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.   

Bake cookies for 9 to 10 minutes.  Allow them to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing.  This recipe will make approx. 2 dozen cookies.   

Finally after the baking was done I finished my pinto bean dinner.  I cooked up some hamburger and one large onion and added that to my beans.  Sierra made a salad and some homemade ranch dressing.  I served the soup and salad with whole grain crackers and everyone enjoyed Gingerbread Cookies for dessert.  Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls will be served for breakfast with scrambled egg burritos.  Here is a pic of last nights dinner:


Hope you all have a great Saturday on your homesteads!! 





Detailed Cleaning Lists


I recently posted about my homemaking notebook and got several emails from ladies asking for my detailed Master Cleaning List and detailed Daily Cleaning Lists. I have put them on my website for anyone who would like to look at them:




Happy organizing ladies!!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday on the Homestead

Today was a nice day.  Tobin and I went to town this morning to run some errands.  He had a load of steel scraps that we took in for recycling, then it was a stop at Home Depot, the bank and finally the gas station (where we paid $2.59 a gallon for gas!!
).  We left early and the kids got the chores done and were working on school by the time we returned.   

The rest of the week has been productive.  Tobin helped me do some packaging of soaps and catch up on all my book work (tax season will be here before we know it ).  We spent a few evenings watching LOST with the kids and are almost done with season 2.  It has been another fun TV show to watch in the evenings.   

This week I also made 2 more pies.  I had that great pie crust recipe that I made on Saturday for my Sour Cream Apple Pie and still had 3 crusts left.  I tightly wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.  On Tuesday I pulled 2 out in the morning (so they could come to room temp) and later in the evening made 2 Blender Fudge Pies… they were yummy!  Now I have one more pie crust and am still trying to figure out what kind of pie I want to make next.  I was thinking of maybe a pumpkin pie or another apple pie.  Here is a pic of my Fudge Pies:


You can find the pie crust recipe here:
Whole Wheat Pie Crust in the Bosch 

And the pie recipe:  Blender Fudge Pies 

The weekend ahead looks like it will be back to work for my hubby and baking goodies, keeping up on the house, making soap, and keeping up on the meals for my hungry, growing kids!   

Hope you are all having a great week on your homesteads! 

Monday, October 27, 2008

This Weeks Menu



Whole grain crackers










Dinner rolls



Chicken rice tacos




Chips and salsa



Baked chicken

Mashed potatoes

Green beans

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pictures to Share

I just had to share some updated pictures my daughter Carolyn sent me this evening.  I can’t believe how my little grandson, Owen, has grown!! He just looks so cuddly and sweet (of course this is my biased grandma opinion! LOL ):



This big brother Caden (another cutie! :) :




And a current pic of Jonathan and Carolyn:



Thanks for indulging me in this grandma moment!


Basket Weave Afghan

I had a question on what type of yarn I used for my afghan so I thought I would just share the link to the pattern.  The pattern was from the Lion Brand website.  I used Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  The yarn is thick and oh so very soft


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Updates from the Homestead


My week has been kind of busy. We did take one day that was Tobin’s day off and just did nothing all day. It has been forever since we did that and it was nice. The kids did do a little school work and we did a few chores but there was nothing else on the agenda except spending time together as a family. 


The rest of the week seemed full however. We spent lots of time on the school work and housework and projects. The kids are all doing a study on Australia right now so each of them had a report to write this week and work on their presentation which they will be giving to me and dad in a few days.


I actually FINALLY finished my basket weave afghan! I love it and it looks great in my living room… but I just can’t believe how long it took me to finally get it done. I started almost a year ago. I was half way or more done with it by spring but it got put up on a shelf as I dealt with lots of details and lots of other things to do.  I took it off the shelf about a month ago and started working on it. I just picked it up whenever I went into the living room to sit and visit with the kids or Tobin. And finally, row by row, I made it to the end. Now I need to finish my quilt I started last year and I will really be on top of my game.   I use to sew like crazy but it seems hard for some reason to find the time nowadays. I keep thinking as the kids grow up I will have more time… but I don’t seem to, I actually seem to have less!   Here is the final picture…



This morning I woke up quite early and before my hubby even got home from work I got 30#’s of soap made! I have a lot soap to make on my to-do list and I needed to get moving on it. They were all soap scents that I like and I finished the last batch of soap with ‘pumpkin spice” just to leave the house with a festive smell. 


The weather here has been beautiful.  Lots of sunshine and 55 to 60 degree days. I just love this time of year (not as much as summer..  but it is my second favorite!). The mornings are cool enough that I need to get a fire started and it feels good to sit with a hot cup of coffee warming my hands and a fire warming the house. 


Another favorite way to warm up the house is baking. Sierra and I did some baking today. She made some gingerbread spice cookies that were delicious but need a bit of work (we are still perfecting the recipe so I will post it after we try it again to make sure the recipe works well), then pumpkin bread and finally a sour cream apple pie.  Between this mornings soap making and this afternoons baking my house smells delightful!  


Here is a picture of today’s baking:




For dinner I put a pot of navy bean soup on to cook before I started my baking and Sierra made the salad after we were done. She is now at her friend’s house to spend the night. Emily worked all day and Leanne went with her to help with the twins and the two of them also baked cookies. Our house is full of goodies  


Here are some of the recipes from today’s baking…


Sour Cream Apple Pie

2T whole wheat pastry flour

¼ t salt

¾ cup cane juice crystals

¼ t nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1 t vanilla

3 cups peeled and chopped apples

1 9-inch single crust unbaked pie shell



1/3 cup cane juice crystals

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 t cinnamon

2 T butter


In a medium size bowl combine flour, salt, cane juice crystals and nutmeg. In a separate small bowl combine egg, sour cream and vanilla. Add this to the flour mixture. Add apples and stir well. 


Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 30 minutes. Remove pie from oven and increase temperature to 400. Sprinkle topping over pie and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool before serving.



Combine cane juice crystals, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.




I finally think I have a pie crust that I like. I tried something new and made up a batch of pie crusts in my Bosch. I used butter and coconut oil and was quite pleased with how it turned out. The dough was easy to work with and not sticky. I am going to freeze the other 3 crusts for use later on. 


Whole Wheat Pie Crust in the Bosch

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (make sure to pack the cup tightly with flour if you are using freshly ground flour)

1 tsp salt

½ cup + 2T coconut oil

½ cup + 2T butter

1 egg

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup cold water


Begin by using the wire whips and combine the flour, salt, coconut oil and butter until mixture is crumbly looking. In a small bowl combine egg, vinegar and water, set aside.


Switch to the Bosch dough hook and add the egg, vinegar and water mixture to the flour mixtures. Mix on low speed until the dough has cleaned up the sides of the bowl. It takes about 3 or so minutes for this to happen. 


Divide the dough into 4 pieces. You can make 2 double crust pies or 4 single crust pies. You can refrigerate this dough for a couple of weeks as long as you have it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. The dough can be frozen too. 


If you don’t have a Bosch mixer this recipe could just as easily be done in a Kitchen Aid mixer.


The pumpkin bread recipe is on my site here:


The cookie recipe will come when I have it perfected.. which won’t be until after we eat up all the goodies in the house. I am letting the kids and Tobin enjoy those goodies as I work on my self control.. don’t need to gain back any of what I have worked to loose LOL…  


Hope you all have a blessed Sunday on your homesteads..  



Monday, October 20, 2008

It’s Monday!


Monday morning is here and I have a busy week ahead as usual. Last week seemed to just fly on by. The kids are making good progress in their school work, Emily is doing great on her CLEP testing (in fact she is taking another one today) and Leanne is studying her drivers manual so she can be ready to take her test soon. Leanne has also been handling all the math with Isaac and Sierra. That has been a great experience for her and she is doing a fantastic job of it.


This last week my church gave Hannah a baby shower. It was soo nice! The ladies in my church are so sweet and loving and Hannah felt truly loved and blessed by their outpouring of generosity. I was happy to have a chance to see my granddaughter again! Plus I got to see her yesterday morning at church as well and hand her around to all the ladies to oohh and aww over her. She is almost 4 weeks old now! Here are a few pics from her shower:




The table was decorated so cute! 



This is Auntie Sierra and baby Elizabeth:



Here is a picture of my girls and Sierra’s friend Makayla 

(from left to right: Makayla, Sierra, Emily, Hannah and Leanne):




My Monday is going to be busy with school, at least this morning. With my new schedule on housekeeping (having my daily chores written out for each day of the week) I am happy to say we are doing a much better job of maintaining a clean house! So we will run through the chore list for Monday and then move onto school. In the afternoon Tobin and I have our date afternoon/evening. We have some errands to run and our usual stop at Starbucks for coffee.. 


Speaking of daily chores I have had a few emails requesting I post my lists of daily chores. I will do that sometime this week and put them on my website and post the links here.  Many of the chores are specific to my home but you can make adjustments to fit your own home and cleaning routines. 


Time to get the kids up and get the household routines rolling for the day! Hope you all have a great Monday on your homesteads! 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homemaking Notebook

Well I have my homemaking notebook together, pretty much anyway. I spent a lot of time looking at websites and looking at different planners and various ways that planners are used and divided up into sections.  In the end I narrowed down what I uniquely desired in a notebook. Every family is different and everyone may need a planner for different reasons.  So after all my research I created my own planner that covers specifically what I need to help me stay organized. I needed my planner to help keep my household chores planned out and detailed, my kitchen menus, grocery lists and pantry lists in one location that makes it easy for me to use, and have my homeschooling assignments for my kids set up month by month.

Here is what I have so far (I am sure I will continue to do a lot tweaking). I keep my notebook open on my kitchen counter for easy access and find I am accessing it all day long! ~smile~ :

This section is for the household organization. I have a master list of all my household chores written down. Then I made a daily list of chores and put those in page protectors. The chores are broken down room by room:

I also have a section for our month at a glance so I can jot down appts and info I don’t want to forget (like what day of the month I put in my Azure order and when we pick it up or what day of the month the kids Wyld Life club meets), We do not have a lot of outside activities so I don’t have a lot to keep track of. I know the kids youth group meets on Sunday night, so I don't write this down.


I also added a section for phone numbers.  Seems I always looking for telephone numbers and this makes it easy for me to find my most often called numbers...  which are my kids mostly! LOL..

Then in the kitchen section I have my monthly menu and grocery lists and pantry lists. I put my monthly menu planning calendar in a page protector so I can easily access it to see what I planned for dinner each day.  Right next to that is my “grocery list” page. I can easily refer to the menu and write down any grocery items I need for the week and because I leave the notebook in the kitchen on the counter I can add to the list throughout the week as I see items that need to be replaced:

I also have a pantry list section. In this section I have a copy of my basic pantry list and I put my master grocery lists in there too. Long ago I made up a ‘master grocery list’ for each store I shop at. I put a list together of everything I buy from that store and divided it into categories like baking supplies, condiments, fruits and veggies and so forth. I have an example of this on my website here. I need to update that list as there are a lot of things on it I no longer buy and things I currently buy that are not on there. But it will give you an idea of what my master list looks like. I use the master list to help me check stock of items I buy and jot down items I need to add to my grocery list.

My last section is my homeschooling section. I have one section that is where I write down assignments due so I don’t forget when I told the kids there paper on Australia is due! ~smile~ This is mainly for the classes that we do as a group.



Then I have section for each of the children and it has a month by month calendar with their individual classes and what needs to be done. This way I know we are on track for finishing their work by the end of the year.

Also of interest to some of you may be the calendar website I found. I really like it and have been printing my calendars from this site for my notebook:  They are PDF files and can be saved right to your computer to use again and again. 

So that is my homemaking notebook, so far. I keep adding and tweaking it so it may be a bit before I have finished.  I need to buy some stick on type tabs when I am in town next time.  That would help me find my sections a little faster.   




Sunday, October 12, 2008

I’m Back!


I am home from vacation.. have been for a few days now and just getting life up and running again. Hubby and I had a great time! We flew south to get some of the last rays of sunshine and heat before we burrow in for the winter months.  We spent a lot of time pool side and out and about in the sun  . When our time was up we felt ready to come home and enjoy kids and family and look ahead to school time, holidays and a few projects that need to get done.  


I spent a good portion of my afternoon packing orders. I said orders would go out tomorrow but did not realize until I got back home that tomorrow is a holiday. So if you ordered from me while I was on vacation your order will go out on Tuesday. 


Is it looking and feeling like fall on your homestead? It is on mine! On the last day of my vacation I left a 90 degree day and a couple hours later landed in the cool, damp, and cloudy Pacific Northwest.. I knew I was home! LOL.. and I knew fall had really started. The last couple of days have been cold at night.. almost 35 one night but warming up into the low to mid 60’s and sunny during the day. And there is that familiar October nip in the air. 


In the Home: I am currently working on refining my home organization notebook. I am working on the chores. I wrote a master list of all chores and now plan to put together a page for each day of the week showing what jobs need to be done for that day. Our school days take up a good portion of our day so it is nice to have to put a lot of thought into the house work that needs to be done each day. I won’t be trying to remember the last time the stairway was washed or the laundry room floor was mopped. What time is not spent doing school work and chores it is spent cooking and baking! .. and of course I have my little business to keep making products for. Nice to see and experience the blessings of children that know how to help around the house!  


On Budgets: Is everyone enjoying the drop in gas prices?? I know we are.  Has anyone seen it go below $3.00 a gallon?  A couple days ago I was in town and I saw it at $3.19. Who would have thought I would get so excited about paying  $3.19 a gallon for gas! LOL..  


Well I have a busy week ahead and I will be back blogging and sharing about it as the week goes by. For now I am happy to be and back to my little homestead and preparing for winter.