Friday, November 25, 2011


It's been a long time since my last post and a lot has happened in our lives.  I won't bore you with all of the details, but one of  the many things that has happened since my last post is that my mother was diagnosed with advanced stage uterine cancer that has spread to the liver, lungs and kidneys. 

In the midst of our trials, God has been so faithful to bring many blessings.  One of these is in the form of a new little grandson, Landon Clark Sibley.  It was such a joy to share this Thanksgiving Holiday with him and with my parents.  It was definitely a bittersweet time, knowing that this will probably be our last Thanksgiving with Mama. 

I thought I would share a few pictures of Thanksgiving Day at our house.

Mama and Landon

Daddy and Ellen

According to my Mama, a holiday isn't a holiday without a little music :)

Mama listening to music while enjoying her new great grandson.

Our Family

Me and Daddy

Me and Mama

I praise God for His many blessings on our family, they are way to numerous to count!  Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of August 28, 2011

On this week's menu plan you will see some of the same things that were on last week's menu plan.  That's because I didn't actually get around to making those meals last week, so I just put them on the plan for this week :)

Sunday - Pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans

Monday - Bar-b-que pork chops, peas, corn, slaw and cornbread

Tuesday - Deer Meat, butterbeans, corn, and cornbread

Wednesday - leftover soup

Thursday - Taco chicken bowls with tortilla chips

Friday - hamburgers, potato salad

Saturday - leftovers

Breakfast - Baked oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit, yogurt, smoothies

Lunches - leftovers, sandwiches, potato soup, fruit, smoothies

We have been getting a little more accomplished around here lately.  Some of that is due to Amanda feeling better, but some of it is due to the slightly cooler temperatures.  I have really struggled with being out in the heat this year and have avoided it as much as possible.  I guess my age is starting to show :)

Some of the things on our list for this week are:

Cleaning the porch (mine and Amanda's)
Rearranging things in the shed
Finishing the yard work (weedeating and cleaning the fence line)
Sewing (still have a couple of projects that I didn't get to last week)
Building a porch rail at Amanda's

What's going on at your place?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of August 21, 2011

I'm going to give menu planning another try this week and we'll see how it goes :)

Sunday - Chicken rice soup

Monday - Turkey chili with tortilla chips

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza and Pesto Pasta

Wednesday - Beef strips with veggies

Thursday - Taco chicken bowls with tortilla chips

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Meat loaf, peas, corn on cob, cornbread

Breakfasts - pancakes, oatmeal, fruit, cold cereal, cheese toast, breakfast burritos

Lunches - leftovers, sandwiches, fruit, soup

I'm hoping things have settled down enough that I can actually follow a menu plan this week, but since we do have a few outside things going on it may or may not happen.

My youngest son has football practice from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Monday's and Thursdays which usually means I plan a simple crockpot meal that can be eaten at anytime or carried to the football field for a picnic. 

On Tuesday of this week I will be taking my daughter back to the doctor.  She is hoping that the baby cooperates so that we can finally find out if it is a boy or a girl :)  Amanda has been having a good bit of trouble with her hip lately and has been falling quite often.  She fell three times today, so we have located the crutches she had as a patient at St. Jude for her to use.  Hopefully, it will give her the support she needs and prevent her from falling again. 

In addition to football and Amanda's doctor appointment I am hoping to work on a few sewing projects.  I have three nursing mother cover-ups that I need to make for some sweet young ladies that we know and I am also planning to do some sewing for Rachel. 

Amanda and I went through the girls clothes recently so that we could determine what we needed for the fall and winter.  We found out that Ellen has an abundant supply of everything, but Rachel has two shirts, five jumpers/dresses and about three pairs of pants.  We're hoping to hit some yard sales and thrift shops soon to see if we can locate a few items for her.  I'm also working on a few skirts and pants for her as well.  Thankfully, Amanda was able to purchase winter coats at a consignment sale last year that will fit the girls this year so we don't have to worry about that. 

I am also hoping to do some canning and maybe even some cooking for the freezer this week if time permits.  I like having things on hand that make meal times a little easier.  

One of the things I'm planning on making for the freezer this week is my Chicken/Turkey Rice Soup.  I have made it twice this week at Rachel's request.  I'm also planning on cooking some beans either to can or freeze for quick meals and maybe some pancakes and muffins. 

Well, that's the plan for my week.  How about yours?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homestead Update

Things are finally quiet around here (at least for the moment) so I thought I would give a quick update on the homestead. 

Due to several things coming up over the past several months, we haven't done nearly as much on our little homestead as I had hoped to this summer.  We did have a small garden and even though it didn't do as well as I had hoped, we had a few yellow squash and zucchini, as well as some peppers and strawberries for which I am thankful.  I also planted two watermelon plants and the vines are loaded with melons and still blooming.  So far we haven't had any ripen enough to eat, but some of them are pretty big.  I can't wait until they are ready to cut into :)    I LOVE watermelon!!!   

Our tomatoes did not produce at all, but our herbs did great.  I have dried quiet a few of them in the dehydrator as well as making pesto from the basil to freeze. 

My neighbor gave us a good bit of corn and squash, which I was able to put up and he also brought us thirteen watermelons a couple of days ago.  In case you haven't figured it out, I have a GOOD neighbor :) 
I'm thinking about trying my hand at watermelon rind pickles, but need to locate a good recipe first.  I've only had them once a long time ago, but if memory serves me right I really liked them. 

I've decided that I'm not going to try having a fall garden this year, but I am already making plans for my spring garden.  I've learned some things that don't work for us and figured out some things that are working, so maybe next years garden will produce better. 

I haven't done as well with the livestock end of our little homestead as I would have liked either.  My chickens are still laying, but a snake got into the nest of our "setting" hen and since that point none of our hens have expressed a desire to set.  Since we don't have an incubator we did not get any little chicks this year.  I'm hoping to have an incubator by next year though.  

We still have our two rabbit does, but I haven't had time to locate a buck yet.  Since I haven't had time to get the additional cages built that's probably a good thing.  Now that things are starting to settle down, I'm hoping to get a couple of cages built and start breeding the does by the time the weather gets a little cooler. 

I dried up my milking goat about a month ago.  I decided that, in order to keep my sanity, there were some things that had to be let go and that just happened to be one of them.  I am planning to breed her and also our little nubian doe this fall so I should have a good supply of fresh goats milk this spring.  

My two older boys also expanded our horse pasture a little bit.  It's been needing to be done and they finally had a weekend off to take care of  it.  I'm glad to have it done and the horses are definitely enjoying the fresh grazing area.

Well, that's about all we've had going on the homestead front lately.  Maybe next year we'll do better :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Gluten Free/Dairy Free COR (Clean Out Refrigerator) Casserole

I didn't realize how much time had passed since my children were toddlers until I started staying with my daughter to help with her two girls.  Those two little stinkers can find more to get into in a day than this old woman can keep up with :)   Especially since they seem to sleep in shifts which leaves this grandma "pooped" most of the time ;)

They are definitely keeping me on my toes and trying to get meals on the table for ten people (I cook for my parents as well as my own family) on a daily basis is beginning to become a little overwhelming.  I miss the days of having my children home to help, since the only one around during the day and early evening is my youngest son Ferrell and he has his hands full keeping up with all of the outside work that needs to be done.  He also tries to be available for my parents whenever they need something and to be honest I don't know what I would do without that special young man :) 

Meals are becoming slightly "hodge podge" and probably not very well balanced if I actually took the time to think about it, but I think that for this season of my life that is perfectly okay.  Now that Amanda is starting to feel some better I am hoping to become a little more organized and maybe even replenish my freezer with already prepared meals.  

I made another COR Casserole (Clean Out Refrigerator) over the weekend that was a big hit, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

I haven't decided on a name for it yet, but it is gluten free and can also be dairy free by using soy cheese.

Cooked beans (I used what was left over from a previous meal.)
Cooked gluten free pasta
Salsa (homemade works fine)
Browned ground beef
Grated Cheese  (I made a separate casserole for the girls with soy cheese that was also very good)

I combined the beans, pasta, and ground beef together in a casserole dish and added enough salsa to make it "juicy".  I then added grated cheese to the top and cooked at 350 degrees until it was heated through.    It was very good, but my son Caleb recommended that I add a layer of crushed tortilla chips either as the bottom layer or on the top with the cheese.  He felt like that would be the "finishing touch" to make it a family favorite.   Served with a salad it made a deliciously, filling meal and was soooo easy.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gluten Free Lasagna

This is a "made up on the spot" recipe using things I had on hand at the time.  It turned out really well and tasted delicious. 

The night I made this I actually made two variations.  One of them was dairy free for the girls.  Both were very good. 

I will say that you need to be sure that no one in your family is allergic to tomatoes or eggplant before serving this dish as my youngest grandaughter had an anaphylactic reaction after eating this.  The E.R. personnel feel certain it was tomato, but her pediatrician thinks it could possibly have been the eggplant.  Both tomatoes and eggplant are in the nightshade family. 

Gluten Free Eggplant Lasagna

Two eggplant thinly sliced lengthwise
Sphagetti sauce (homemade works fine)
Ground beef (browned)
Cottage cheese
Mozzarella cheese (grated)
Parmesan cheese (grated)

Lightly spray your lasagna pan to prevent sticking.  Then place thinly sliced eggplant in the bottom.  Mix sphagetti sauce and ground beef together and cover the eggplant.  Next put a layer of the cheeses and repeat until all ingredients are used.  Make sure to end with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the eggplant is cooked through and tender. 

Dairy Free variation

Follow above recipe, but replace the cheeses with a dairy free alternative (soy, etc.). 


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Potato Soup Recipe

We eat a lot of soup around here and Potato Soup is one of my favorites.  I thought I would share our recipe.  This recipe feeds my family and most of the measurements are approximate since I rarely measure when making soup.

Potato Soup

4 cups chicken stock (I use my homemade from the freezer)
6-10 medium potatoes cut into small pieces
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves garlic chopped
salt, pepper, parsley, and celery seed to taste

Put all into a stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes and onions are tender.   Thicken with cornstarch and water.  (You can use milk if you do not have dairy free family members). 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Quick Update

I thought I would take a minute to post another quick update from the Baker Homestead :).   Things are still pretty hectic and for now it doesn't look like that is going to change. 

My daughter, Amanda, has been on bedrest for the last week or so and during that time she had an asthma attack that required a trip to the doctor for meds.  In addition to the asthma, Rachel woke up vomiting one morning.   Of course, since she was sleeping on the couch with me at the time it was a fairly rude awakening :). 

This grandmother has great admiration for all of the mothers of little ones out there.  My youngest is sixteen and I've forgotten how to function when getting up three or four times a night with little ones that can't (or won't) sleep.  Add middle of the night sickness and bedwetting to the mix and I'm about pooped :).  

After the bout of asthma and vomiting I thought we were doing good, but then on Saturday Ellen had an anaphylactic reaction to something that I cooked for supper.  We're still not 100% sure what caused the reaction, but are thinking it had to be either tomato or eggplant.  We made a trip to the E.R. for steroid shots and a prescription for steroids to be given at home. 

Sunday, for some reason, I was totally exhausted.  Not the normal kind of exhausted, just almost to the point of not being able to function exhausted.  I had to take a few minutes just to walk around a little and unwind.  I also took Ellen to Walmart with me while Rachel was napping.  I needed to pick up a prescription for her, since the pharmacy was closed by the time we left the E.R. on Saturday evening.  Just getting out of the house that few minutes seemed to really help my state of mind. 

Yesterday I carried Amanda back to the doctor for a checkup  and she has been released from bedrest, but still cannot do any lifting, bending, squatting, etc.  When we came out of the clinic the van would not start so we had to have someone come pick us up.  Thankfully my sons were able to replace the alternator on the van that evening and it's now back home and running good. 

After Amanda's doctor appointment we took Ellen to her doctor for a follow-up on Saturday's E.R. visit.  When we left the pediatric clinic we went straight to the hospital for blood work to be drawn for a RAST test on Ellen.  Hopefully we can find out what caused her reaction on Saturday.   We then went and picked up an Epi-pen for her.  Having that is making her Mom and me both feel much better.

My garden is starting to produce a little bit now.  So far we have enjoyed zucchini, eggplant, squash, peppers, strawberries, onions, and herbs that we have grown ourselves.   The grass has about overtaken things and since I don't really have time to worry about that I just wade through the grass and pick what's there. 

Well, I guess that's about all that's going on here.  Hope all of you are having a great summer.  I look forward to things slowing down a little so that I can catch up on what everyone else is doing through their blogs :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Menu Plan for the week of July 17

Keeping it simple!

Sunday -  Pizza

Monday - Soup & Sandwiches

Tuesday - Hamburgers, potato Salad, chips & salsa

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Salad, Biscuits

Friday - Brown Rice Lasagna (

Saturday - Leftovers

Breakfasts - fruit, eggs & toast, smoothies, cereal

Lunches - Sandwiches, soup, fruit, smoothies, raw veggies

Saturday, July 16, 2011


In the midst of all the craziness around here lately, I've still managed to do a little canning.  Thought I would share a few of our favorite recipes.  A lot of my recipes don't actually call for processing in a canner.  I am comfortable with that, but feel free to process them if you feel the need.


10 cups squash (shredded)  ( use yellow squash)
1 big bell pepper (chopped or shredded)
4 large onions (chopped)
 4 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons celery seed
2 1/2 tablespoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix first three ingredients well and add 3 tablespoons salt and let set over night or at least 10 hours.  Put into colander and drain.  Combine last five ingredients in pot and bring to a boil.  Add squash and simmer for 30 minutes.  Put into jars and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. 


8 cups peeled and sliced cucumbers
2 bell peppers (sliced)
1 large onion (sliced)
1 1/4 cup vinegar
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons celery seed

Put cucumbers, peppers, and onions into a jar.  Mix other ingredients and pour into jar and refrigerate.  Keeps for several weeks.



Soak whole cucumbers in salt water (1/2 cup to 1/2 gal water) for 48 hours.  Remove and cut off ends.  Slice and put three tablespoons alum to each gallon of cucumbers.  Add enough water to cover.  Let stand 24 hours and drain.  Place back into churn or glass containers and cover with vinegar.   Add 2 tablespoons powdered tumeric to each gallon of pickles.  Let stand 24 hours.  Drain vinegar and put pickles back into containers.  Put a layer of pickles, then a layer of sugar until jar is filled.  Be sure top layer is sugar.  Let stand 24 hours.  Takes about five pounds of sugar per gallon of pickles.  The sugar will turn into syrup and the pickles will keep for months on the shelf.  I usually make mine in gallon jars and put some into quart jars to keep in the refrigerator. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Quick Update

The last few weeks have been busy and blogging (obviously) has been low on my list of priorities.  I'm thankful that we have had quite a few "at home" days recently, which has enabled me to get a few (much needed) things done around here.  As any of you that are trying to start (or maintain) a homestead know, there is ALWAYS quite a few things that need to be done :)

Anyway here's a quick update on life here at home.

My Dad is still not feeling well, but thankfully he will be seeing his cardiologist this Friday.  I am really praying that the doctor can figure out what is making him feel so bad and get my Dad back on the road to good health.

My daughter has been doing much better the past few weeks.  She still tires easily which is pretty normal when you're pregnant during a Mississippi summer.   Throw in two toddlers and it's amazing to me that she functions at all :).  

We have started getting  a few squash from the garden and have also been dehydrating some of our herbs.  It's beginning to look like that's about all we will be getting from our summer garden.  My tomatoes and cabbage did not do well.  (Actually, I do have ONE tomato plant that looks as if it will produce a few tomatoes). 

I have already been planning a fall garden and am sincerely hoping that we have better luck with that.  I guess I need to find a little more time to spend working in the garden, but lately time has been a precious commodity with many, many demands on it :)

I'm still milking daily, but for some reason the last three or four days the milk has been tasting "off".  I don't have a mastitis test kit, but I do have a strip cup.  The milk shows no flakes, the udder is not hot and feels totally normal.  The goat is eating well, is not pastured in a weedy area, has fresh hay and grass to eat and overall appears healthy.   I guess I will spending some time this week trying to figure out what the problem is with her.  Oh well, as I said before, there is always quite a few things to be done and that's just one more to put on the list. 

I did not make a menu plan for this week, simply because I haven't had time.  A precious man of God and very dear friend of ours went to be home with the Lord this weekend and I just haven't had the time to think much about menu plans.  I know that we will be eating leftovers from the weekend and will probably have a couple of nights that are simple soup and sandwich nights.  Outside of that, I have no plan.

Well, I guess it's time for me to get started with the laundry.  Ferrell is at church camp this week helping out as a counselor, so I'm trying to take up the slack.  That boy has NO idea how much he is missed :)

Have a good week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I haven't had much time to blog this week, but what little I've been on has been very frustrating.  I don't know if anyone else is having the same problem I am, but I am having trouble commenting on my blog or anyone elses.  Everytime I try to I get an error message.  If you have left me a comment, I promise I'm reading them and I usually take time to read your blog I just can't seem to respond or comment to anyone.  Oh well, maybe it will work itself out soon.

Even though my week has been busy, we have had a good one.  Monday we had a sweet young man come over for supper with our family and enjoyed a great visit.  We did not do fireworks this year, but we had plenty of good food and fellowship.  

Today, I carried my Dad to the doctor for a pacemaker check.  The pacemaker checked out fine, but since he is having some other issues the doctor scheduled him for some more tests on the fifteenth of this month.  Everyone's prayers are appreciated. 

The rest of my time has been spent soaping, cooking, gardening, babysitting, cleaning, and helping Amanda do some rearranging in her house and shed.  Life is good here on the homestead.  So how's your week going?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Menu Plan for July 3, 2011 - July 9, 2011

For the most part this week appears to be another week without many away from home activities.   I do have quite a bit that needs to be done around here though.

Since my Dad is now having trouble with his blood pressure, he is planning to call the doctor Tuesday to see if he can get an appointment for this week.  If he does get an appointment, I know that at least one day will be spent taking him to the doctor.

In addition to that, I have some squash that I need to get into the dehydrator and also some herbs that are ready to gather.   I also plan to make some more plantain/comfrey salve since we seem to be accident prone lately :).

I have a few more batches of soap I would like to get made, in addition to experimenting with some recipes.  I have also been asked to make soaps for a young lady to use as "guest favors" at her wedding.   Hopefully, the molds will be in this week and I can get started experimenting with that as well.  

All in all, I think that I have plenty to keep me out of trouble this week, even without the need to be away from home much.

Here's our menu plan for the week.

Sunday - Deer roast, butterbeans, corn, cornbread

Monday - Sloppy jo's, potato salad, tortilla chips, rotel dip

Tuesday - Sphagetti, salad, homemade bread

Wednesday - Sandwiches, soup, bread

Thursday - Taco salad, refried beans, chips, salsa

Friday - Hamburgers, crockpot baked beans, chips

Saturday - Grilled chicken sandwiches, salad, chips

Breakfasts - oatmeal, eggs & toast, fruit, smoothies, cold cereal

Snacks/desserts - watermelon, homemade ice cream, goat's milk fudge, cheese & crackers, fruit, smoothies


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Uneventful Week

This has been a totally uneventful week so far and I am loving it!  Monday, I did take my Dad to the doctor as he had been running a pretty high fever over the weekend.  We found out that he has an infection in his leg and since he is diabetic, anything involving legs and feet requires attention.   The doctor started him on an antibiotic and he seems to be feeling somewhat better.  He is still having trouble being up for long at a time though. 

Other than that we have pretty much been here at home doing some things that have been needing to be done.   The funny thing about homesteading is that there is always something needing to be done.  No time for boredom here.  No sir!

This morning I went over and milked for my friend that is out of town.  She has three nubian does and quite often lets me come milk for her when they travel and I get the milk.  It's a pretty good deal as far as I'm concerned, because I enjoy milking and enjoy the milk even more :)

Tomorrow I will be going with my daughter to the doctor for her checkup.  She has a sonogram scheduled and we are really hoping to find out what the baby will be.  I think we will be taking Rachel with us, so that she can see the baby on the sonogram.  I can't wait!

Well, there are still things to be done, so I guess I better get to it.  Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Satisfying Saturday and Sewing Projects

Saturday was a very satisfying and productive day for us here at home.  My oldest son left on a motorcycle trip to North Carolina to ride the "Tail of the Dragon."   He pulled out about 5:30 a.m. so of course I got up to see him off.  After he left I went back to sleep for a little while and then got up to officially start the day.  

We were able to get most of the yard work done and I was also able to do the sewing I've been trying to get done.  I made two dresses for the girls (one each) and also some diaper inserts to be used with Ellen and also the new baby when it arrives.   

The diaper inserts are made from an old towel cut to the correct size and doubled.  I also made some from and old micro-fiber dish towel that I had.  The new inserts are working just as well as the ones we purchased when Amanda was pregnant with Rachel and they were free.  It doesn't get any better than that. 

I am planning to use some older receiving blankets to make a few more diapers for Amanda as well, since many of the cloth diapers she got with Rachel are getting very threadbare.   We will probably purchase a couple of new "bum genius" diaper covers, but I think that the receiving blankets, coupled with the inserts should work very well and eliminate the need to purchase more cloth diapers.  

I thought I would share a picture of Rachel in the dress I made for her.

Notice the matching flip flops.  That was a total coincidence, but they looked really cute with the dress :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of June 26, 2011

Getting back on track with menus just did not happen last week, sooo, if this weeks menu plan looks familiar, that's because it is a slightly modified version of last week's menu plan :)

And, here it is.

Sunday - Potato Soup & Sandwiches

Monday - Southern Smoked Sausage Rice Pilaf and salad

Tuesday - Chicken Stir Fry with Rice

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Mexican Night (tacos, burritos, mexican cheesecake, and whatever else I think of :)

Friday - Hamburgers and Potato Salad

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Breakfast - cheese toast, smoothies, fruit, hot or cold cereal, eggs & toast

Lunch - Sandwiches, leftovers, potato soup, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - chips & salsa, fruit & cheese, cookies, smoothies

This week is looking to be a fairly slow week and I hope it works out like that.  Last week was supposed to be an "at home" week, but I managed to be away from the house five out of seven days for at least part of the day.   I know that I will be taking my Dad to the doctor this week, but I'm not sure exactly what day.  As far as I know, that's about it, other than our normal Thursday grocery day. 

I'm hoping to get another dress made for each of the girls and also some work in the garden done this week.  At some point I need to build two more rabbit cages and I'm hoping to get to that as well. 

That's a brief look at my week, what's the plan for yours?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Thursday

Thursday is payday for my husband, so that is typically my "town day" if all goes according to plan.  Yesterday started off as usual with milking, clean-up, quiet/Bible time with coffee on the porch, etc.  

After the morning chores and quiet time were complete I went over to help my daughter "bug bomb" her trailer.  She has been having lots of ants and spiders recently and it seems that no amount of cleaning can get rid of them, so it was time to get aggressive :).   We covered what needed to be covered, packed the girls things for the day, and got busy. 

After bombing the house she had to be out of it for four hours, sooo, since sweet Ferrell volunteered to babysit, we decided to go on to town as usual for groceries and a few other errands.    One of our stops was the local produce house where I was glad to purchase a bushel of butterbeans, some squash and a few tomatoes.  I have been literally CRAVING a good tomato sandwich.  I bought tomatoes there last week and they were really good, so I decided I had to have some more.  I think I could survive the whole summer eating nothing but tomato sandwiches.

By the time we got home from town it was time to start airing out Amanda's trailer and get it cleaned up.  We spent most of the afternoon washing bedding, couch covers, mopping floors, washing counter tops, tables, bookshelves, toys, re-washing dishes, towels, and anything that those babies could crawl on, touch, or put into their mouths.   It took several hours to get it all done, but she now has a very clean, hopefully, bug free home. 

After we got her trailer cleaned, I went ahead and canned the butterbeans, because I knew that I had several other things I want to work on today.  I ended up with seven quarts of butterbeans canned and I froze two quarts for my mother.  She doesn't liked canned vegetables, because they don't taste as close to fresh.  She's right, of course, she usually is, but I don't have enough freezer space this year, so I will be canning and dehydrating most of our produce when it's possible. 

Since, I do have a lot to do today I guess I better hop to it.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainy Day Trials and A Fudge Recipe

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was thankful  this week did not have many things to take us away from home, so I should be able to get a lot accomplished.  Well, so far, this week has definitely not gone as planned. 

Yesterday, Amanda and I took my mother to see a dear friend of hers that is a cancer patient in the hospital in Tupelo, which is about an hour and twenty minutes from our home.   We left at 11:30 a.m. with the full intention of being back home by around 3:30 p.m. which would still give plenty of time to do some laundry and make supper.

In theory that sounded great, but what we didn't count on was the pouring down rain (for which we are very thankful) and the windshield wipers quitting on us as we were traveling home in the middle of the pouring down rain. 

We were blessed to make it to a friends house where we could wait until the rain slackened to a steady, semi-gentle rainfall instead of a downpour.   As we left my friends house (she lives about an hour from us), we creeped down the highway with our flashers on while talking to my son that is a mechanic in another town.  

He happened to know a mechanic that worked in a nearby dealership so we stopped there and they were able to give us a temporary fix that got us home.  Hopefully, my son will be able to get the needed parts today, so that we can get the van fixed up.  I am so thankful for good friends, mechanics, and God's watchfulness over His children.

We were able to get home between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. and my children all graciously volunteered to eat last nights leftovers.  The menu plan (thankfully) got thrown out the window again, but I am not complaining.  It's little adventures like this that make life interesting :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that when we stopped at the dealership in West Point, I ran into a friend of mine that I have not seen in a couple of years.  We've recently stayed in touch through facebook, but I had no idea where she worked.  It was really wonderful to see her again.

And in case anyone is curious about where my wonderful sixteen year old son was while all of this was going on.  Well, he was babysitting two toddlers.  Yeah, he had his hands full :)

Last night I got a call from the lady that I sometimes milk for and she had some excess milk she wondered if I would be interested in having and I think you already know the answer to that question ;). 

Today I will be deciding what to do with the extra four gallons of milk in my refrigerator.  I'm thinking I will freeze some of it for soap, make ice cream with some, and I'm thinking goat's milk fudge is in my near future :)

Oh yeah, life is good.

Here's a simple Fudge recipe to try!

Chocolate Goat's Milk Fudge (from Goat's Produce Too!  The Udder Real Thing, Volume II)

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups goats milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup baking cocoa


1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup walnuts

Place sugar and cocoa powder in a large pan.  Mix well.  Add milk.  Bring to a boil.  Boil gently until mixture reaches the soft ball stage.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and butter.  Add peanut butter and nuts if desired.  Beat by hand until thick and pour into buttered 8" x 8" pan.  Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Full Day

Yesterday was a pretty full day for us.  I am very thankful that I didn't have lots of errands to run and nothing that really REQUIRED my time away from home.  I did, however, make a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up some inexpensive pipe insulation.  

I purchased the pipe insulation to make "bumper pads" for the new trundle bed that my son Caleb made for my grandaughter.  Little Ellen is just learning to walk and still falls quite a bit.  Last week she fell and hit the bed frame at least three times in one day and ended up with bruises on her head, leg, and chin.  Amanda and I decided it was time to take care of that little problem. 

The pipe insulation fits just right over the wood frame and really doesn't look bad.  I guess we could paint it or something, but it is a dark charcoal gray color and doesn't really look bad at all.  What doesn't look so great is the pad we made for the corners. 

We cut the pipe insulation into smaller sections, but since it is in the corner it seems to want to "pop" off easily.   Amanda had some black duck tape in her shed that we used to hold those pieces in place.  She taped it in such a way that it "almost" looks like a vinyl corner cover.    Oh well, it was cheap and our baby's little body will be much better protected.

While Amanda and I were "fixing" the trundle bed Ferrell started mowing the yard.  Since there is such a big area to mow it took him several hours.    After he finished the mowing that could be done with an actual lawn mower, he came over and helped me in the garden.  We were able to pretty much finish up the weeding and mulching and were also able to get the small "pea patch" planted.  I'm glad we were able to get that done, since it is looking like rain here today.  

My menu plan for the week has already been changed.  We ended up having a roast with carrots and potatoes for supper, along with some fresh sweet corn that my dear neighbor brought to me yesterday.   I guess we are "winging it" after all :) 

 I am hoping to get back on track today, but we will see.  I am discovering more and more that it's okay for me to just "go with the flow" and not stress so much over things.  That's a hard lesson, but it does simplify life quite a bit.

I was also able to get most of the laundry done yesterday, as well as, some basic house cleaning.  There is still quite a bit to be done in the house and I still have a couple of sewing projects to finish for the girls.  Maybe if it's raining I will be content to work on those, instead of finding things to do outside ;) 

In the midst of all the work going on yesterday I did find time to play with two very sweet little girls for awhile.  They love for their RoRo to push them on the swing, so that is exactly what their RoRo did. 

We also walked over to Granna and D-Dad's house (my parents) for a popsicle.   It is so wonderful to see how much my grandchildren love their great grandparents and how much the great grandparents "light up" to see those precious little ones coming.   

I've enjoyed spending some time on the front porch with my coffee and computer this morning, but all good things must come to and end.  I do believe that I have laundry waiting, dishes to be washed, milk to care for, sewing to start, soap to make, annnnnd you get the idea, right? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu plan for week of June 19, 2011

It's time to get back on track with my menu planning.  Last week we had some very strange meals and combinations of meals, so I am determined to do better this week.  It should be fairly easy, because we don't have much that should be taking us away from home this week.  That always helps me to stay on track.   I'm also planning to keep things simple, it's WAY too hot to do any major cooking :)

Here's the plan.

Sunday -  Pork tenderloin (crockpot), mashed potatoes (crockpot), and green beans with gluten free bread

Monday - Southern Smoked Sausage Rice Pilaf and salad

Tuesday - Crockpot Meat loaf, dried black-eye peas (crockpot), squash, cornbread

Wednesday - Leftovers, Potato Soup, Sandwiches

Thursday - Mexican Night (tacos, burritos, mexican cheesecake, and whatever else I think of :)

Friday - Hamburgers and Potato Salad

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Breakfast - cheese toast, smoothies, fruit, hot or cold cereal, eggs & toast

Lunch - Sandwiches, leftovers, potato soup, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - chips & salsa, fruit & cheese, cookies, smoothies

My garden is coming along nicely and I have quite a few green tomatoes on the vines.  I am so ready for a fresh homegrown tomato sandwich.    I also have a few peppers coming in.  My squash is loaded with blooms, but I'm really afraid the heat will kill them before we are actually able to harvest any.  I guess we'll see. 

I was able to stop by the local produce market last week and was thankful to get several pounds of yellow squash for a good price.  I've already got it dehydrated and in jars for the winter.  I also picked up a few fresh tomatoes that were much better than the ones I have been getting at the grocery store.   I enjoyed every BITE of those tomatoes too :)

I guess, since I do have several projects going that need my attention, it's time to stop my ramblings.  Hope all of you have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Great Start

I have had a great start to my day so far.   It's not even 8:30 a.m. and already the livestock has been fed, goat milked, Bible/quiet time completed, spent an hour weeding the garden, visited with my son a few minutes before work and even had time to blog. 

I sincerely hope the rest of my day is this productive, but somehow I have a feeling that by late afternoon I will be ready to CRASH!

Hope you're having a wonderfully productive Saturday as well!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Clean out the Refrigerator Mexican Casserole

Usually when I plan our menu for the week I make sure there is enough for us to have leftovers for lunch and quite often I make enough to freeze for another meal.  Since last weeks menu plan sort of got "tossed" and this week I didn't make a menu plan we have had a "hodge podge" assortment of meals.  Last night is an example.

As supper time approached I was trying to decide what to make for my family.  I found myself doing what I frequently fuss at my children for doing and that was standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open while I blankly stare at the contents.   I finally decided that I had enough leftovers to make a casserole.   I did and it was delicious.  So here's the recipe.

Since I was using leftovers I didn't measure, but am listing an approximate amount of each item.

Clean out the Refrigerator Mexican Casserole

3 cups cooked rice
1 cup corn (with liquid)
1 pound ground deer meat (browned) (you could use beef or chicken)
Salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, (really any spices that you like)
3 cups give or take gluten free picante sauce

I put all of this into a casserole dish and mixed it with enough picante sauce to make it as "liquidy" as I wanted.    Bake at 350 degrees until everything is heated through.

If I didn't have dairy free family members I would have topped this with cheese before baking, but instead those of us that eat cheese added grated cheddar to our serving.   We also had leftover baked beans and chips with homemade salsa.  

My refrigerator is now clean and we had a tasty (if somewhat strange), frugal meal as a result. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bikes, Trikes and Blessings

I have been blessed with a wonderful set of parents and am so thankful to live close enough to enjoy them on a daily basis.  They have always been so loving and generous to my children and are now continuing that tradition with my grandchildren.  Here's some pictures of a new bicycle and tricycle that they bought for Rachel and Ellen today.

Rachel is just a little excited :)

Uncle Caleb helping Rachel get started

Rachel helping Uncle Caleb

My sweet Mother (Granny/Granna) helping Ellen with her new tricycle

I hope I am never guilty of taking for granted the wonderful relationship that I have always had with my parents and I'm so blessed to see my children enjoy a close relationship with them as well.   God's blessings are abundant.

P.S.  These pictures were taken at about 7:00 p.m. and the girls had already had their baths and were dressed for bed.  We don't usually have them running around dressed like that :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This is the first morning in over a week that I haven't had someone to drink a cup of coffee with in the morning and I think I miss it.   Usually our lives are so hectic, with everyone on a different schedule that we rarely have breakfast or coffee together in the mornings. 

After our morning chores, Ferrell usually disappears to his room to study and I take care of the milk and clean the kitchen.  After the kitchen chores are done I take my Bible and computer (weather permitting) to the porch for quiet time and blogging. 

When I finish that it's time for the day to get moving and I seem to spend a large portion of my time alone or after about 9:00 a.m. or so I will have the grandbabies and possibly Amanda visit for a little while.   I'm definitely not complaining about that, because I've always been a "loner" by nature so it works just fine for me.  BUT, Hannah was such a great guest to have with her sweet, gentle nature and quiet ways I find myself missing her company. 

She didn't get up quite as early as we did most mornings and the mornings that she did get up early she would spend quietly in the bedroom getting ready for the day.  When she was ready and able to meet the "daily chaos" that constitutes our life she would come to the kitchen and visit with me while having her morning coffee.  I would usually have another cup myself and it really made for a peaceful, calm start to the day.   Hannah, you are missed and if you are up to it, we are looking forward to you visiting again soon. 

Since I posted last night I have had a few changes in my plans for the week, so I know that I will not be making plum jelly this week.  Hopefully, I will get that done next week.   I am also pretty sure that I won't be making soap today, but I'm hoping to get to that either tomorrow or Friday.  If all goes well though, I should be able to make at least one of the girls dresses today, but I guess I'll just have to see how the day goes. 

Well, as much as I enjoy sitting on my porch in the mornings I guess I better take myself into the house and get started.  If I don't, I won't get much of anything done, now will I?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to Normal

As much as we enjoyed our visitor the past week, it is now time for things to get back to our "somewhat" normal routine.  

Caleb and I took Hannah to meet her family in Texarkana today and I have to say that I am definitely not as young as I used to be.  We left at 6:15 this morning and got home about 7:00 this evening and boy am I tired and stiff from riding so long.

We had a great time getting to know Hannah and I really enjoyed having company while I was working around the house, but I really didn't do much that was productive. I wanted to have time to enjoy Hannah's visit and to be honest it was really nice to have a quiet, uneventful, lazy week.  Maybe we should have company more often :) 

BUT, since all good things must come to an end, it is now time for me to get to work.  Tomorrow I am planning on making a batch of citrus swirl goat's milk soap and hopefully work in the garden a little bit.  If I have time I am also planning on making a dress for Rachel.  I bought some really cute fabric on a recent trip to Tupelo and am looking forward to getting it sewed up into dresses for the girls.   I'm planning to post pictures when I am finished. 

Later this week the plan is to make more plum jelly.  A sweet lady that we go to church with is giving me several gallons of plum juice and I can't wait to put it to good use.    I'm  also thinking I may try making a plum cobbler. 

I never did get around to making a menu plan for this week, but since I sort of "did away" with my menu plan for last week I will probably use some of those meals for this week.  Maybe I can "get it together" enough to make a plan for next week :)

Well, I'm tired so I think I'll be calling it a night. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More pics

As I stated a couple of days ago, we have been having a great time with our visitor from Texas.  I thought I would share a few more pics. 

Caleb taught Hannah to shoot the rifle.

And the revolver

Who remembers Rock'em Sock'em Robots?   This was an intense competition!

Not only did Hannah "outshoot" Caleb she out "boxed" him too!  Way to go Hannah!  Not bad for a "city girl!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hannah's Visit

I know that I haven't posted much this week, but we have been keeping busy as usual.  Actually, I guess this week hasn't been "as usual" since this week we have been enjoying a visit from a sweet young lady from Texas. 

My middle son, Caleb, and I left early Tuesday morning for Texarkana to pick up his friend Hannah.  After meeting up with Hannah and her Mom we loaded up her stuff and headed for home.  I'm not much for traveling so for me it was a LONG trip, but the good company made it bearable :)

Hannah is very sweet girl and a really good sport.   Since she is from the city, coming to our little homestead is quite a "culture shock", but she has pitched right in with a sweet and willing spirit.   We are so thankful that she has a sense of humor, otherwise she probably would have had a pretty tough time of it as we quite often have "Green Acres" moments.  We've greatly enjoyed our time getting to know Hannah and are not looking forward to returning her to her family in Texas.

I have to say that Hannah is the first person I've ever seen drive a tractor in a skirt and high heels, but it didn't slow her down one bit.   I think she could probably do just about anything she sets her mind to ;).  Here's a few pictures from our week.

Caleb giving Hannah a ride on the tractor

Rachel and Ellen wanted a ride too.

Hannah learning to drive the tractor.  Caleb looks a little scared ;)

Learning to milk.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Menu for June 5 -11

Thankfully, things are becoming more normal here on the "Ole Homestead.  Amanda and Caleb seem to be feeling much better and we are starting to "get a handle" on all of the food sensitivies we're discovering.  God has blessed our family abundantly the last few months and we are so thankful to Him for all that He has done.

This upcoming week we are looking forward to having a friend of Caleb's come spend a week with our family.    Since, we would like to spend most of our time visiting instead of working we have tried to get things "caught up".   

As you can see we are having a very simple menu plan this week.     

Sunday - Deer Steak, Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Monday - Sphagetti & Salad

Tuesday - Chicken Salad Sandwiches,  Potato Salad, Chips

Wednesday - Hamburgers, Leftover Potato Salad, Chips

Thursday - Bar-b-que Chicken Chunks, Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Friday - Homemade Pizza or Tacos

Saturday - Bar-b-que Sandwiches, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans

Breakfast -  smoothies, hot or cold cereal, toast & eggs, fruit, muffins, pancakes

Lunch - leftovers, soups, sandwiches, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - fruit, smoothies, cheese & crackers, popcorn, cookies

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finally, A Fruit Fly Trap that Actually Works!

Every spring it seems that I begin a battle with fruit flies that lasts for months.  Regular flies are bad enough, but the little fruit flies drive me insane and it seems they are always winning the battle.  I have tried several things in the past and usually end up using some kind of store bought spray (repeatedly) before we ever get rid of them.   I really don't like using those sprays and have been looking for something more natural.  After reading several things online about making fruit fly traps (and trying to use them without success), I decided to combine a couple of the ideas and give them a try.  I did and it worked.  Within fifteen minutes there were about thirty of the little pests in the jar and more sitting on top!   Yay! 

This is what I did.

Take a jar that you don't mind throwing away and use an ice pick to poke a few holes in the lid (I made quite a few).   Put equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in the bottom of the jar about one inch deep and then add a piece of rotted fruit or two.  I used bananas and peaches.  Put the lid on and set it on the counter (or wherever you have your fruit fly problem).   After a short period of time you should begin to see fruit flies inside the jar.  For some reason they go in, but they can't get back out.   After a couple of days toss the jar (fruit flys and all) in the trash.  If needed you can make another one. 

I would love to hear any other suggestions for getting rid of fruit flys or black houseflies.  It seems that we have an abundance of both this year. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Good Monday

Monday was a good day for us here on the "old homestead."    We were able to continue working on the "ongoing" list of projects that need to be done, as well as keeping up with the laundry and other "normal stuff." 

I was able to put up quite a few jars of strawberry jam, in addition to working in the garden awhile.  I have to admit that I also took time to sit and watch the chickens and goats.  There is nothing any more relaxing to me than sitting on the porch and watching the goats graze and the chickens scratch and peck their way around the yard.  Throw in a couple of "strutting" roosters and you have quite a show. 

While I was busy with my various activities, my middle son, Caleb, was working on a trundle bed for my youngest grandaughter.  Due to the limited space in Amanda's home, she asked if Caleb could help her find a solution to three babies, one bedroom.  They settled on a trundle bed that will roll (with locking wheels :) under Rachel's daybed during the day and can be pulled out at night.  He built it in such a way that if she is later able to purchase bunk beds for the girls, then the trundle will serve as a big drawer for storage.   I'm very proud of the job that he did and Ellen is loving her "new" bed.

Rachel got in on the work as well by "helping" me work in the garden and also "helping" wash dishes.  It really blesses my heart to be able to "work" alongside these sweet babies as they learn and grow.    Later, after all of Rachel's hard work, we let them play in their little wading pool for an hour or so.  

Rachel is learning to be very watchful and protective of her little sister and yesterday I noticed that Ellen is beginning to look to Rachel for help with the things that she can't do yet.  It is so sweet to watch them play. 

I have had a great start to my week.  I hope you have too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Winging It

We will be "winging it" as far as meals go this week.  I haven't had time this weekend to plan for them, but I do have a few things in the freezer so, hopefully, it won't be too bad. 

This past Saturday was very productive and I am so thankful to my hardworking boys who spent the majority of their day working on projects for me.   One of the big projects was yard work. 

I know that doesn't sound like a big project, but we have about 10 acres that has to be mowed and weed-eated.  That includes my parents and daughters yards, but since we all live on my Dad's place it makes for one BIG yard.   (That doesn't include the bush-hogging that has to be done in the pasture and woody areas.)

Thankfully, we have a finishing mower that is pulled behind our Deutz tractor and also a riding mower and a couple of push mowers.    My youngest son took care of the mowing close to the house while the older boys did the tractor work.  While one of the older boys was on the tractor,  the other was helping with various other projects that were going on at the time.

After mowing, my two youngest sons weed-eated around all of the fruit trees and flower beds and then did the ditch banks.  My yard looks soooo good now. 

In addition to the yard work, my middle son bought the materials to begin working on a trundle bed for Amanda's youngest daughter and my oldest son replaced a fuel pump in his Dad's surburban. 

We also did quite a bit in the house Saturday and I was thankful for the help in lifting and moving things around.    I'm really hoping to get most of the household projects completed by Thursday of this week so that I can focus on soapmaking and sewing the latter part, but I'm not sure if it will work out that way.   Mainly because my sweet husband bought 16 pounds of strawberries at a really good price and I am hoping to be making jam today.  He mentioned that he may be able to get more if I wanted them, which I do, so I may be spending the next couple of days making jam.  

I have two nursing cover-ups that need to be finished by Wednesday, because the lady I'm making them for has a baby shower to attend this upcoming weekend and that's the only day I will be seeing her to deliver them.  

All in all, I'm looking forward to another busy, but productive, week and am so thankful that God has blessed me with hardworking helpers :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Not So Bad After All

Even though yesterday started out bad and I continued to drop, spill, run into, etc things for the rest of the day it ended up not being so bad after all.  

I took the time to enjoy my coffee (wet backside and all) and then proceeded to enjoy a bowl of chocolate pudding.  I think it was the pudding, but suddenly things started to look better.  I decided that it really didn't matter how many "accidents" I had, because I was still blessed.   I have a wonderful family, a great life, and gracious Heavenly Father and absolutely NO reason to be complaining. 

After my coffee and pudding revelation, my daughter, youngest son, two grandaughters and I spent most of the day in town running errands.  We had to get feed for all of the critters, groceries for the family, and while we were out we took time to deliver quite a few Avon books. 

My daughter, Amanda, is an Avon representative and since she desperately wants to homeschool her children and desperately does not want to have to work outside of the home while trying to do that, she is making a big effort to increase her customer base.  Soooo, if you or anyone you know would be interested in checking out her website you can find it here    When ordering online there is a minimal shipping fee (free for orders over $30) and the website includes any sales items and also the outlet store. 

By the time we finished running our errands, Amanda was really getting tired and the babies were really getting cranky, so we called it a day and headed home.   I think we were all ready for an early bedtime.  

I'm not sure yet what the day holds for us, but my plan is to work on my house cleaning "To Do" list and hopefully spend some time in the garden.  I also have a couple of errands to run this afternoon that I didn't get to yesterday.  All in all, I'm expecting to have a productive day.  I guess we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Foot in the Bucket Kind of Morning

Have you ever had a "foot in the bucket" morning?  Well, anyone that's ever milked knows exactly what I'm talking about and I'm having one of those days today.  

To begin with I overslept which is never a good thing.  I usually try to be up and moving between 6:00 and 6:30 every morning.  This morning it was 8:00 before I got up.  That automatically puts me two hours behind and the day hasn't even started. 

Ferrell and I went out to milk and everything was going well, when all of a sudden the dear, sweet, goat that I'm milking, for no apparent reason starts stomping (I realized later there was a fly bugging her). 

Since I was daydreaming and not paying attention she managed to get her foot in the bucket and dump all of the milk.  It would have been ok if she had dumped it at the beginning, but NO she waits until we're almost finished.  

As we come in from the barn I walk into the kitchen to clean up the milking supplies and realize SOMEONE had a midnight snack evidently and I now have a sink full of dishes to wash as well.  (We don't have an electric dishwasher).  

By this point I'm getting slightly aggravated with myself and the way the day is going, so I decide to go on the porch with my coffee to "simmer down" before tackling anything else.  Guess what!  My swing cushions are wet due to the rain we had last night!   Guess what else is wet?  

 I think I may go back to bed and start over.   Probably not though, since I have quite a few errands to run and I'm seriously thinking, that to get anything productive done today I will have to incorporate my "15 minute rule."  Maybe that will make me get motivated to re-start my day. 

I hope everyone else is having a better start to their morning!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making Soap and Enjoying Life

I am really enjoying my week so far.  It's been busy, but it's a normal kind of busy and that I can take delight in.  I've made a start on my "To Do" list for the company that we have coming in a couple of weeks and have also kept up fairly well with our "day to day" things (like the never ending laundry :).  

Today's plan is to make more goat's milk soap.  I made some last week and am planning to make a couple of batches today as well since I sold the last of what I already had on hand yesterday.  (I did keep a few bars for my family). 

Soapmaking is one of those things that I really enjoy doing.  I enjoy playing around with new recipes and learning what works and what doesn't.  I've been learning to add herbs and colorants to some of my soaps, since I have had a few people request that and it's been fun.  Some of my "experiments" have turned out well and some just haven't, but they're all fun.  

I usually make my experimental batches in a smaller (one pound) quantity, so that there is not as much waste if it flops.  It's fairly easy to adapt the recipes to larger quantities later using if the recipe is one I want to continue making. 

Today I will making a plain, unscented, goat's milk soap, because I am totally out and I have a few people that really like it for their children dealing with eczema.   I also plan to make the same recipe with Lavender scent  simply because I like it :) 

Well, I guess if I don't get started, I won't get finished so time to go.  I hope all of you are enjoying life as much as I am at the moment!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Normal Routine

Things have finally started to settle down and I am able to establish a routine of sorts.  For me, routines equal normal.   Even if our routine periodically changes or gets interrupted I still function much better if I have one.  Things have been so crazy around here the past few months that I am really thankful to finally have a routine in place that allows me to feel like I am accomplishing something instead of just "spinning my wheels".

So far today I have done the milking, washed & hung four loads of laundry, spent an hour playing in the yard with the grandbabies, made a double batch of plantain/comfrey/aloe salve, made a quick trip to town, spent an hour in the garden, made homemade deoderant, filled the hummingbird feeders, fixed snacks and lunch for the grandbabies, cleaned house (nothing intense just dishes, sweeping, straightening, etc.), put beans on to soak, and am now about to begin supper preparations.   That is the most I have accomplished in one day in a long time.  I think I am finally re-learning how to work around toddlers in the house and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to finished today's list tomorrow :) 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Menu Plan for 5/22/2011

In case you haven't noticed I've been a very inconsistent blogger lately :)   Spring and summer are always a busy time for us and this year has been busier than usual.  I have discovered that I need some sort of weekly plan, since I absolutely do not accomplish as much without one.   So here's the plan for the week!

Sunday - Leftovers and Sandwiches

Monday - Bacon, Eggs, Grits and Biscuits

Tuesday - Sphagetti, Salad & Homemade Bread

Wednesday - Soup & Sandwiches

Thursday - Deer Meat with gravy, Rice & Steamed Vegetables

Friday - Beef Stir Fry & Rice

Saturday - Hobo Dinner

Breakfasts - Cheese Toast, Muffins, Hot or Cold Cereal, Fruit, and Smoothies

Lunches - Sandwiches, Soup, Leftovers, Fruit, and Smoothies

Snacks - Cheese & Crackers, Fruit, Smoothies, Muffins, and Cookies

Other things that I will be focusing on this week are:

Soaking and cooking beans for the freezer
Dehydrating strawberries
Making more plantain salve
Making two nursing cover-ups for a friend
Working in the garden
Making more plum jelly
Making goat's milk Soap
Making plain lye soap

In addition to these projects we are also hoping to give our house an overall deep cleaning over the next couple of weeks.  My middle son is having a friend come spend a week with us in June and I would like to have several things done before this visit.   I won't attempt to post that list here, but there are quite a few things that have been "let go" the last few months and I am hoping to catch up on those areas before our guest arrives.  That will free us up to relax and just enjoy the visit with (hopefully) fewer distractions.

I am also still spending quite a bit of time helping my daughter since she is continuing to have problems with her pregnancy.  She is seeing the doctor again this week and hopefully will be able to begin resuming normal activities.  

In the meantime, Rachel and Ellen spend most mornings with me.  I take them home for lunch and a nap (their Mom naps during this time as well) and after their nap they come back over for a couple of hours to play outside.  After playing outside they go home and watch a movie or play inside while I prepare supper.   Amanda and the girls usually eat supper with us and after supper, Ferrell does the dishes while I take the girls home to get baths and into their pajamas.   At that point I go home and finish anything that I didn't get done during the day and hopefully sit down with a cup of tea to unwind before bed. 

So what's your week looking like?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mornings on the Homestead

I love early mornings on our little homestead!

For me, that is the perfect start to the day.  There is such a feeling of peace in my spirit during the mornings while I milk and Maybelle is the perfect goat for milking.  She stands quietly and eats while I milk and it gives me time to think and sometimes NOT to think, but just a time to enjoy the peace and quiet.  

Now anyone that has livestock knows that by quiet, I don't really mean silence, I just mean no pressure, no stress, no real chaos, and no immediate demands on my time.  While I'm milking I can hear Ferrell moving around the barn feeding and watering the horses, moving the young goats to the pasture area, and cleaning whatever needs to be cleaned at the time. 

For some reason, neither of us really talk while we're in the barn.  I think he enjoys the peacefulness as much as I do (or maybe he's just too sleepy :).   In the background we can hear the horses softly nickering, the rooster crowing, and the goats gently bleating.  

After our time in the barn we quietly move back to the house and really begin our day.  The quiet time is over and real life begins to intrude.  Yep, I love mornings on the homestead.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week at a Glance

Sorry I haven't had time to post yet this week, but for some reason this week has seemed a little busier than usual.  When I think about it, it probably hasn't been, but it definitely seems that way :). 

As you have probably figured out I have no menu plan for this week.    I have been meeting myself coming and going this week and we have been eating whatever I happen to have in the freezer or can prepare quickly.   Some of the combinations have been strange even for me.  An example would be last nights supper.  We had an egg and smoked sausage "crustless" quiche (aka frittata) and bean dip with tortilla chips.   We have an abundance of eggs at the moment and lots of beans cooked and in the freezer so it seemed like a good idea at the time :)

Sunday I wasn't feeling well and still wasn't feeling great yesterday, but as you know life goes on.  I spent most of yesterday keeping my sweet grandaughters which does not help my productivity level any.  By the time they went home I was "wore slap out" as my Daddy would say.  We had a good time though and I am so thankful they live close.   

Today, my daughter called me at 6:00 a.m. to tell me she was having trouble breathing and was taking a breathing treatment.  That's usually a sign that I need to be prepared to take her to the doctor, which I did at 8:00 this morning.  When we got home, since Amanda had been up sick most of the night, I kept the girls at my house so that their mother could sleep.   Now it's about time to start getting things together for supper since the kids bluegrass gospel band will be practicing here tonight.   

I think that tomorrow should be a slow day and I am hoping to make some soap and work in the garden a little bit.   I guess we'll have to see though.  It greatly depends on how Amanda is feeling and whether or not I have the girls.  I absolutely am not brave enough to attempt soap making with two toddlers underfoot :)

Thursday I will be taking Amanda to a doctor appointment at 9:00 a.m. and taking Caleb to a doctor appointment at 1:20 that afternoon so I'm not thinking I'll be doing much around the "old homestead" that day.  Especially, since they will be having practice again that evening.   (They are working hard to get ready for their concert at the First Baptist Church in Eupora on Saturday night.)

Friday should be another slow day with another practice that night and Saturday is their concert in Eupora with The Red Roots Trio.   I guess that about sums it up.   So how's your week shaping up?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Two-legged AND Four-legged Kids at Play

Thought I would share some pictures of  the "kids" (both two legged and four legged) at play!

All of our kids enjoy playing in this old culvert.

Ellen loves the culvert, but isn't too sure about the goats :)
Ellen crawled in, but I don't think she realized Dottie was behind her!

This was right after she realized Dottie was in the culvert with her.

My oldest son Heath and his friend John decided that big kids like to play too :)

Heath & John "walking" the culvert

Heath & John falling off of the culvert :)

John was a little sick after his ride ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Wouldn't Trade it for the World!

I don't know about the rest of you, but my life really didn't turn out the way I expected.  When I was young and still living at home with my parents I always imagined my life would include lots of money, a well-ordered house with EXTREMELY well behaved children (mine were never gonna act like the ones I usually saw in Wal-mart or the grocery store :).  A maid to help out 3-4 days a week, every recipe I tried would turn out simply awesome, I would always be the perfect weight, I would only work on projects that I personally chose too, we would live in the country, but I would never really have to get my hands dirty (unless I wanted to).  You get the picture, right? 

Well, my life did not turn out like the dreams and fantasies of a young girl.  We don't always have money for the things I want (or even some of the things I think I need), but I've learned a lot about patience and working hard for what we have.  I've learned to appreciate it more for the time and effort that goes into earning it. 

My home is definitely not always well-ordered, but it's full of love and quite often full of people.  I've been in houses that were VERY well-ordered and clean, but I felt SO uncomfortable there, because there was no true hospitality.  

My children have not always (and still aren't) extremely well-behaved.  They're human and they have me for a mother, enough said.  

I never could afford the maid, but I have hard working, intelligent children that know how to cook, do laundry, clean house, tend babies, change oil and tires on the car, milk goats, butcher rabbits and chickens, mow the yard, build fences, and the list goes on and on (and yes, I know all of that doesn't fall under the category of maid, but I also dreamed of gardeners, chaffeurs, etc.  If you're gonna dream, dream big, right?)   

Quite often my recipes do NOT turn out as planned, I'm definitely NOT the perfect weight and I consistently work on projects that I don't personally choose.  Sometimes I think my hands are dirty more often than they're clean and I've done things I never could have possibly dreamed about. 

Things like milking goats, butchering chickens and rabbits, shearing sheep, changing oil and tires, bringing baby goats into my house and warming them in the oven of my stove to keep them alive, bottle feeding orphaned animals (kittens, puppies, goats, rabbits, etc.),  stacking hay, building fences, sewing clothes, homeschooling, managing an old time gospel all acoustic band, making homemade soap, learning to cook gluten, dairy and egg free, and the list goes on and on and on. 

You know what I've discovered along the way?  I love my life!  It's not uncomplicated and it definitely requires hard work.  There are always unexpected interruptions and projects that require immediate attention and sometimes it still blows my mind that, by todays standards, my chosen homesteading, homeschooling, hardworking lifestyle is referred to as simple.   Then I get to thinking maybe it is.  Maybe if I look at my life the way other people do, it really is simple.

During my daily activities I can take the time to appreciate the little things, like the smell of clothes hung on the line, the sounds of the rooster crowing in the morning, and children giggling in the yard.  

I'm not bogged down with committees or club meetings.  I don't always feel like I have to look picture perfect, because of who I am going to be seeing or what I'm going to be doing.  I don't have to be at an outside job five days a week to pay for my new car or the wardrobe that I need to do my job.

We have no outside school activities unless we choose for there to be and I can spend time sitting on my porch in the evening listening to (and sometime participating in)  the music my children play.  I can enjoy watching my grandaughters play in the yard with our dogs, goats and rabbits and later cuddle with them while reading a story together. 

I have time to do special things for my family (like oven drying freshly painted car parts, Lol.  (And yes, I have done that :). 

I will never be rich and it's pretty much a given that I will never have it all together.

 I am a simple person with a simple life and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I've been "kicking around" the idea of getting some bees and was wondering if anyone has any information about getting started?  I have never raised bees and don't know anyone that does, but I was thinking that it would be interesting and also beneficial for our little homestead.  I would appreciate any information about beekeeping that you would be willing to share.

So far this year, we've added rabbits, chickens, and goats to our little homestead so I'm thinking about the bees for next year.  That way I've got a little time to learn before just "jumping in" like I usually do and also the opportunity to figure out if it's something I really want to do or not :)

Plan for the week

My menu plan for this week is very tentative and includes more salad/slaw than usual.   This is mainly because my daughter's pregnancy has been classified high risk and her doctor wants her to take it easy and that means I will be spending a lot of my time making sure that Amanda is eating and resting.  I will also have two sweet little girls spending a LOT of time with their RoRo for the next few weeks.

 I know that I will thoroughly enjoy the girls, but due to the fact that one of them is not quite three years old and the other is 16 months old it will be a little difficult for me to get much accomplished.  That's okay though, because building relationships is far more important than cleaning house :)   

Rachel loves to work in the garden so I'm sure that will be on the agenda for the week.   She also enjoys the goats so I'm sure we will also be spending some time "working" in the barn as well.  (Now, if we can just convince our "little Ellie girl" that the animals are not trying to attack her everytime they come close, we'll be doing good :)  

If Amanda is feeling fairly well, I am hoping to make some mozzarella cheese with some of my goats milk and I have a few recipes I want to try for soft cheeses as well.   I also need to make some gluten free bread for Caleb and hopefully make up a few more meals for Amanda's freezer so that she will not have to worry about cooking.   

Tuesday I will be driving my Dad to his doctors appointment which is over an hour away and we will be taking the girls with us so that Amanda can rest.  It should be interesting, don't you think?  I'm hoping to be able to work in a little bit of shopping while we are in Tupelo, but it depends on how my Dad is feeling and how well the girls are cooperating.   We'll just have to see how it goes, but for now here's our tentative meal plan.

Sunday - Roast with potatoes, carrots and green beans

Monday - Tuna Casserole and salad

Tuesday - Bar-b-que Chicken (crockpot), salad, and rice

Wednesday - Smoked Sausage, Rice, and Beans

Thursday - Chicken Enchiladas and salad

Friday - Hamburgers, Homemade Baked Beans, Cabbage Slaw

Saturday - Leftovers

Breakfast  - muffins, smoothies, fruit, hot cereal, eggs/toast/bacon

Lunch - leftovers, soup, muffins, sandwiches, smoothies, fruit/cheese

snacks - cheese/fruit, smoothies, jello, homemade chocolate/vanilla pudding