Updates from the Homestead


Life on the homestead has been a little unsettling lately. We have spotted a coyote 3 different times, once it took a chicken. Sadly to say on the third sighting our sweet little Pomeranian Ellie must have challenged him. She would do this to other dogs no matter what their size. She may have been little in size but she had a big dog’s instinct to protect. The coyote killed our little Ellie.   I was just devastated. I don’t think I realized just how much she had worked her way into my heart. It was a very sad day at our house. The days since then are getting better but my how those pets become such a member of the family. 


Today is Monday and I have the typical amount of activities going on. The kids are working hard to finish up the school year and I have some writing papers to correct and should get a couple more books printed and bound for the kids. Jacob just finished the Personal Memoirs of General Grant and said he liked it and said he would much rather get his history from the source than history text books. My first year with the Robinson Curriculum is just about over and I have been really pleased with it and will continue to use it next year with maybe a few changes.  I have people ask me to give my review on RC and I will do that, but I wanted to use it for a complete year before sharing any more about it.


Bread Baking.. I have had a few blog posts about baking lately and with that came questions that I will attempt to answer here..


Someone asked me about what the filling was on my cinnamon rolls.. I have the recipe posted on my site that shares that http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/cinnamonrolls.htm  . I usually use Sucanat or cane juice crystals and cinnamon.


busybeemama  asked what I cover my bread with when it is rising. I typically put my bread in the oven to rise. I have a “bread proofing” setting on my stove and I don’t cover it with anything. Before I had a stove with this setting I would turn my oven on until it just started to get warm, then turn it OFF and put my bread pans in there and leave them their until they were about 1 inch above the pans. I don’t take them out of the oven, I just turn the oven on and let them start cooking. I start timing the cooking of them when I turn the oven on. If I let something rise on the countertop because my oven is being used I cover it with a towel.


Southernbelle asked how to substitute sugar in my regular recipes.. first I always have to say that I have not made my recipes with sugar and don’t know how they would turn out.. but that being said, you can sub sugar 1:1 in the recipes


I had two people ask if I could post on how I made the cinnamon bread.. it was very easy.. I made my regular bread recipe and added about 1 tablespoon of cinnamon per loaf of dough (for the 4 loaf recipe I added 4T cinnamon when I added in the flour). 


April asked what I was grinding for flour.. I use hard white wheat. I also buy organic wheat from Azure Standard. If your bread is not rising as much as mine is there may be other issues than just the type of wheat used. What recipe are you using? You can email me if you would like and I can try and help troubleshoot your bread baking.


And finally to DonnaJoy.. it was so very nice to see here.. I miss you too..  


Other updates.. Leanne is still working on fundraising for her missions trip but took a break from that this last weekend to participate in our churches 30 hour famine and went door to door raising donations for that. This is the second 30 hour famine she has participated in this year. I love seeing where her heart is at and her desire to help those in need. 


Emily started her first course with her home study college. She is doing interpreting literature and will be ready soon to take her first Clep test.  This is a 6 credit course. She is still working full time as a nanny for the little twins. Emily turns 18 in another few days. The day before her birthday we (Emily, Leanne, Sierra and me) will be having a girls day out… she wants to go to the big mall in the city for the day and then we plan to go and have a nice birthday lunch. Everyone is looking forward to that. 


In a few weeks Jacob and Sierra will be going for a visit to see my oldest daughter. They are excited.. it will be longest flight they have ever been on. Jacob can’t wait to play xbox with my son in law.. lol.. and Sierra can’t wait to play with Caden and help Carolyn out. She has been over doing it lately and has had to work harder on taking it easy so she said she would love having Sierra there. 


Tobin and I will be leaving on vacation next week  so I have been busy getting ready for that and getting things taken care of in my home to prepare for being gone. 


This week I really need to get some soap made.. we will see if I can make that happen with everything else that needs to get done!  But for today.. it is business as usual around our homestead..


Hope you all have a great Monday on your homesteads! 


  1. My little toy poodle died yesterday as well - she was my constant companion - oh how I miss her so I can certainly understand your sadness - big hugs to you and your family.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your Ellie! :( Those coyotes can get brave sometimes, I hope they find someplace else to hang-out and leave your critters alone :(

    Sending hugs,


  3. I am sorry to hear about your ellie, I am sure she put up a good fight though if in her past she would taunt and put up a fight with the big dogs. Anyhow I hope you are able to get the coyote off and away from your animals so you dont lose any more

  4. Hi Crystal!

    Just wanted to wish you and Tobin a great time on your vacation! Have a safe trip.


  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your Ellie. We lost our duck this weekend too. It's amazing how these animals work our way into our hearts isn't it?!



    P.S. Have a great vacation!

  6. Crystal,

    I sure have been thinking of you all with the loss of little Ellie.

    How great for Jacob and Sierra getting to go and visit Jonathan, Carolyn and Caden. This will be a special time for them.

    Have a wonderful time next week on your vacation with Tobin. Jon and I are also going away next week and looking forward to our time...just the two of us.

    Love ya my dear friend,


  7. Oh wow - thats real sad about your dog

    Have a good break away.

    Love Leanne

  8. I'm so sorry about Ellie! I'm sure she went down bravely...defending her home and family!! :)

  9. madiantin.blogspot.comApril 28, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    Oh no, I'm so sorry about your little dog being killed. =( Oh how sad. =(

    Could you please tell us a little more about the home study college your daughter is doing? Where is she doing it through? What did you need to do to get her started on it?

    Thanks so much!

  10. Crystal

    I am so sorry to hear about your dear Ellie - bless her heart. I believe the Lord has a special place for faithful companions like her!


  11. I'm so sorry about Ellie. It sounds like she was a very brave little thing!

    I, too, would be interested in what college your daughter is taking classes from, if you wouldn't mind sharing.

    I hope you and your dh have an awesome time!



  12. I am so sorry for your loss! ((hugs))

  13. Hi, Crystal. So sorry for your family's loss of

    Ellie. You're right when saying that animals do become part of the family. I know you will all miss her very much. Thank you for your answer too. I am going to try the oven method. I am trying your Italian Pinto recipe tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a hit here. My husband loves beans but has only had them in ham broth or baked. Have a nice vacation with your hubby! Take Care, Jessica

  14. I am so sorry to hear about your pup. They do get into your heart, don't they? I hope that you won't have any more problems for a while.

  15. what a sad day for you. What a brave little dog you had.

  16. Dear Crystal,

    I have read your blog for about 2 years now, you were the first blog I read when I was desperate to find info on how to be a Godly Wife and Mother. Thank you so much for all you do. You are a blessings.

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have a Pomchi (Pomeranian/chihuahua sorry about the spelling :) and the Good Lord just knew he couldn't make this dog 90 pounds because he has the heart of a Lion and would be running the world.

    It is a very sad loss, but I remember a saying when I was in the Military about "dying with your boots on". Solidiers never wanted to die for something stupid, they preferred to do it in battle, the bigger the battle the better and if they saved someone's life it was a gift from God to go out that way.

    Didn't Jesus say that no greater love does one have than to give their life for their friends? Your little sweet Ellie was called to sacrifice herself for the protection of the family she loved and she ran to the call, even in the face of overwhelming odds. I tell ya, that is a lesson to me. What courage, what a wonderful blessing she was to your family.

    Many Blessings :)


  17. I am sorry to hear about your dog.

    My comment is about the RC review that you said you hopfully are going to be making. I really am anxious to hear your review. I am considering this method once again in our homeschool . What changes do you see need to be made after a year of using this?

    Do you plan to use other sourses for free books? RC has been around for some time now . THere has to be other online sources added to the free sites since that curriclum was made.

    Do you use the McGuffey readers with your children that are found on the RC cds?

    I have been reserching MR on the net and how they are used and want feedback for them as well.

    What Math curriclum do you use with the RC ?

    Hope I havent overloaded you dear !

    God Bless.


  18. I just wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your dog Ellie.



  19. I just wanted to say I am sorry to hear of your loss and I too know how dogs work their way into your life. When my mini doxie became paralyized we had so tough choices to make and many hours of crying and praying went into them. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    With all that said, I enjoy your blog and all your helpful info. My favorite is the pepermint mocha coffee creamer. I have made all your recipes with real sugar and they are all fine, wanted to share that since I read someone asked. Also, my bff has used RC for her 3 kids for almost 3 years now and loves it. She is also an avid reader of your blog. Let me know if I can pass on any info to you or her. You may visit me at my blog ~ bethannsblessings@blogspot.com

    Blessings, Beth Ann

  20. you'll continue to be in my prayers as you move thru these next difficult days without your little ellie!




  21. I'm really sorry to hear about your very brave dog, Ellie ...

    ... and I wanted to thank you for that cinnamon roll recipe! I LOVE all the recipes you've posted that I've tried! My husband, Jason, was VERY pleased with the cinnamon rolls and asked me to make them more often! Again, thank you!



  22. Crystal & Family,

    I am so very, very sorry to hear of your loss of your beloved Ellie! ((HUGS)) I have a Yorkie and he too is very much like that. He will go after any "strays" in your yard with a vengence! :-) My prayers are with you and your family.

    In Christ's Love,


    Hidden Creek Hills


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