Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday...On My Walk

This is my spot. MY spot. Of course, it's only mine until someone discovers I've gone missing - and they know where to look to find me. When cold weather comes I'll have to find a new hiding place - I mean, a new "spot." Or maybe I'll just take a quilt to the hammock.....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We've been working! Of course, every time we planned a time to get our fall garden going – it rained, and rained. Finally we got a sunny Saturday and got a good start. I'm really wanting to plant some pumpkin seeds, but that's all we have left to find. The kids loved it – and were especially amused at slipping and sliding in horse manure. I've read mixed reports about horse manure, but it was aged (for the most part), and it was free. We live surrounded by our neighbors horses (oh, how I love them!) and they let us wheelbarrow out as much as we need. We also bought a load of topsoil and mixed everything very well. We've planted cauliflower, cabbage, romaine, carrots, and broccoli. Now I would love some herbs and pumpkins! When it comes to gardening (and many other aspects of homesteading) I feel like a kindergarten student on the first day of school – I don't really know my way around or what to expect – all I can do is keep trying. Funny thing is – I'm SO enjoying this journey, manure and all!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday: On My Walk

My babies started school yesterday. I sit here in a WAY too quiet house waiting for the pressure cooker to heat up so I will be able to can some yummy glazed carrots. Just a few photos of my youngest - savoring the last few afternoons before a new school year.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Plants that Heal..... Aloe Vera

I don't know much about plants and their healing abilities – another area of homesteading in which I'm a complete neophyte. I do know, however, that people survived for hundreds of years without a CVS pharmacy! There is healing in plants that we can grow in our own soil, we just have to learn what they are and how to use them. Here is yet another lost art. I'm sure my great-grandmother knew what herbs would good for stomach aches, or what would help a skin rash. I've even read that there are plants that are natural bug repellants! Wow. So much to learn.

One little plant that I do know a little about is Aloe Vera. I have pots and pot of the stuff. It just keeps growing and growing dozens of little offshoots. I have given it away and still have a ton. Aloe doesn't like the cold weather or frost, so pretty soon I'll have to re-locate it all inside.

Here are a few uses we have found for Aloe:

Sunburn treatment – it's soothing and cool and feels great on a sunburn. I'm sure it could be used to treat minor burns of any kind.

Eczema – My now 13 year old used to be plagued with Eczema. Aloe soothed his itchy skin. I managed to avoid all those nasty steroid creams by just treating him with Aloe.

Bug Bites? Okay, I don't know about this one, but my six-year-old daughter constantly breaks off little bits of Aloe to treat her mosquito bites. She says it helps the itching. It works for her so I say, go for it!

Bottom line, Aloe is quite handy to have around. I'm sure a quick Google search would yield many more uses for this versatile little plant!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School

Tomorrow is the first day of school. I'm not sobbing yet. Keeping busy has really helped. Yesterday we made sure we had lots of good “lunch box” food. We chopped the celery and the carrots, cubed the cheese, etc. Everything is ready and easy to pack quickly. My boys start at 7:30 am, so we have to get out early! This past weekend I made mountains of waffles and froze them for quick before school breakfasts. I used THIS fantastic recipe from Michelle at Today, I plugged up my brand new dehydrator for the first time. Armed with my trusty “Dehydrator Bible” I'm dehydrating bananas for the first time. Hopefully these bananas will make good lunchbox treats as well. We've learned so much this summer and participated in so many new endeavors. I hope the new school year brings as much enjoyment. I will miss my babies.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Sew" Excited!

I love being a stay-at-home mom, and since all my children are now school age (boo, hoo), I have found that I have a little more “creative” time. In the kitchen, or behind a camera or sewing machine, I try to use my creative time to add a little extra income - I consider my little income to be a little budget flexibility – SO important to a family of six. This month, August 30, I'm participating in a designer launch – what we are calling “The Big Reveal.” A group of us moms who design and sew children's clothing have come together to form a group, “Once Upon A Wardrobe.” We will be auctioning all our beautiful wares together in hopes our creations will be bought and loved! I think it's so important to know how to sew, to cook, to do something constructive and beneficial to the family. Yes, I have a college education, I could get a full-time job, but that's not what's right for my family at this time. I really love keeping my home – my haven! Here are my one-of-kind creations I'll be auctioning on the 30th!

Captain Hook!

Feels like Fall! Comfy Knit Fabric

Witchy Minnie

Christmas Minnie (Many of our customers are BIG Disney fans!)

Pink Cinderella (Remember the dress the mice made?)
Here is our Facebook page! Join us! Once Upon A Wardrobe

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What's In A Name?

After lots of thought and consideration, I finally decided on a name for this blog – a name that I could stick with and be happy with for many years to come. When I thought of our home, the word, “haven,” immediately came to my mind. We've lived here a little over two years now. We needed to move, to escape animosity, to find refuge, to have more room for our four children. I prayed and prayed that if it be the Lord's will, that he would move us to a home where we could flourish and grow. We had lots of needs and this house, this land, fell into our laps. It has been one amazing blessing. We found our “haven.” I added “homestead” to the title, as a constant reminder of what we want to become. We are not a fully functioning homestead yet, but we are progressing. Homesteading to me means learning to make things from scratch, working the land, tending what animals we can fit on our property, and living more simply. Homesteading is a noble goal, and will make our home, our haven, even better. I'm so grateful for our homestead haven, and I'm excited about this new journey.

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday: On My Walk...

As a child, imagination was everything. If I could imagine it, I could do it. I could travel to a far away lands, I could be a queen, I could beat up my brothers and not get in trouble! I spent countless hours in the treetops in teetering little tree houses made from wood pallets just imagining that the forest was my spectacular kingdom. My awesome banana seated bike was my noble steed and together we could do ANYTHING.

This is why I seek a more simple life. I have the best childhood memories and I want my children to have the same. I want them to use their brain instead of their fingers to push the “on” button of some techy device. Now, I do love technology, but children have the learn how to respect the technology they love, and still know how to survive without it.

Yesterday morning my boys woke me up at 5:45 in the morning to tell me they were going fishing. to my ears. Fishing, fun, electricity free. Here is a photo from one of my afternoon walks. This is my daughter's “tree house.” It's beside a tree, not in it, but she doesn't care. Last I heard she was running a mud pie bakery out of it and doing really well. Couldn't hardly keep up with the crowds of hungry customers....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Break

We are getting ready to go back to school – trying desperately to savor these last few days of summer vacation. My children and I are in agreement, that this was the fastest summer ever. It seems like just yesterday we were jumping and shouting for joy (literally) on the last day of school. My children are good students, they do very well. They tolerate public school and do the best they can. Homeschooling is just not an option for them – for lots of reasons. I so admire homeschooling mothers out there, but public school will have to do for us right now.

So, before I get all weepy over my keyboard, just want to share this photo. My 13 year old rigged the wagon to his bike seat and everyone rode and laughed and screamed until they were just plain exhausted. SO much better than a computer game – don't you agree? Sweet summer memory....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday: On My Walk....

I have a daily ritual during the summer. After dinner I go on a walk around our property – taking however many children with me who would like to come. I photograph things, talk about things, but mostly I just enjoy the scenery. When the days get shorter, I don't always get my walks in, but I always try! I thought it would be fun if every Friday I posted photos from my walks that week. Sometimes they will be captioned, but sometimes there will just be photos. I have so many misc photos – I'd love to include them on my blog! So, here's the first Friday edition of my “walk” photo.

These are peaches growing on our peach tree. Notice the problem?? After lots of investigation, I've discovered why our peaches never get big and really are never good enough to eat. The deal is: I didn't kill enough of them. Yes, you have to remove MOST of the peaches from the branches and leave just a few and they will grow big and yummy. Now they just have hundreds of tiny, bitter peaches and huge piles on the ground because the branches can't support.

Next spring, I'm killing lots of peaches! And then I'm canning the rest of 'um!

Joining the carnival fun with the Morris Tribe today. This is an awesome blog!
The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival

Monday, August 06, 2012

What's Up Doc?

So, I finally got brave enough to use my newly acquired pressure cooker/canner. The water bath canner seemed pretty simple to me, but the pressure canner was a wee bit intimidating.

I really didn't want to blow up my house.

It was really pretty easy though! I stayed glued to the pot and watched the PSI gauge like a hawk! I would have loved to have canned fresh from my own garden carrots, but I had to settle for a giant bag from the grocery store. When Lacey sees me put the canner on the stove, she immediately gets her safety knife out of the drawer and pulls up her little stool to the counter. She loves to slice, dice, and cook! I think potatoes may be my next canning venture – I like the thought of canning things I know my kids will eat. Carrots and potatoes go with everything!