Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Importance of Having the Right Resources

Homesteading is not just something that you decide to do on a whim and begin. It is a continuing learning process that takes a lot of hard work and research. You may do something that does not turn out the way that you planned but that does not mean that it is time to throw in the towel. This is the great part of homesteading there is no one set of rules that is going to work for everyone. There are so many different levels of homesteading from the guy who lives in an apartment and is trying to grow some of his own food to the homesteader turned self sufficient business owner.

No matter what level you are at or what your motivation is you are going to continue to learn and continue to make mistakes. This is what is great about life, the never ending learning process.

Also, you can never have to many resources when it comes to homesteading from magazines, like minded individuals

to talk about your adventures with and what has and has not worked for you, books, and online forums and blogs.

Then there comes the books. I feel that you can never have to many reference books. We are continually growing our book collection. However, we will not purchase a book unless we have checked it out from the library and feel that it will be a valuable resource to us. It is better to check out a book before purchasing so then you will not be disappointed when the book is not really what you were looking for. 

Here is our stash of favorites!
Our future plans include having a profitable organic farm. We do not want a huge operation but would like something that we can keep up with the bills and maintenance with out having to have an off the farm job. So, it is important for us to learn to be frugal and do things on our own. The less money you have to put out for bills, food, and other essentials the less money that you need to make to survive. So, our collection of books consist of things to help us become more self sufficient, and books on small scale farming.

Our Resource Binder
Here is the dividers that we have in our binder
We also have a resource binder that we keep magazine articles, goals, finances, recipes, contacts, pictures, and other things that we find motivating in. This has helped us keep on track to what we want to become. Whenever we start feeling down in the dumps about how things are going, we take a look at the binder and how far we have come since we began this journey and look at our goals and where we want to go and the motivation comes right back.

In an up coming post I will be going through some things that we have tried and did not get much success with as well as things that we have tried that are working out wonderful for us. Remember that it is not a matter of success or failure, it is a matter of what you learned during the process.

Hope that you are enjoying our blog and look forward to hearing what you have learned through trial and error, and what keeps you motivated!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu Plan Week of 3/25 thru 3/31


I rotate between these options every weekday and Saturday in no particular order:

cereal, pancake roll-ups, fresh fruit and toast, yogurt (homemade) with fruit and granola, egg sandwich, oatmeal, and sausage gravy and biscuits

Sundays it is usually something quick like cinnamon rolls, cereal, or oatmeal


Monday - Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, Yogurt topped with Fruit
Tuesday - Potato Soup, and Fruit
Wednesday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and Corn
Thursday - Subway - Have appointments in town
Friday - Homemade Chicken Pot Pies
Saturday - Egg Salad Sandwich, Carrot Sticks, and Fruit
Sunday -Will be snacking on appetizers, while Easter dinner is cooking


Monday -Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole
Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday -Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches, Homemade Oven Fries
Thursday - Grilled Chicken Salad, and Homemade Bread Sticks
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Leftover Smorgasbord
Sunday -  Easter Dinner


Homemade Yogurt, Applesauce, Homemade Granola Bars ,Smoothie, Fresh Fruit and Veggies

Kitchen Savings

Being financially responsible carries over into all areas of our lives!

Earlier this week I shared items that we have re-purposed in order to save money. Today I will be sharing how we save money in the kitchen . Our family of four (sometimes more because we our foster parents) has a food budget of $150.00 a month and many months we have money left.

We save all leftovers. There are many possibility's for these.  Leftover buffet on the weekend, freeze in individual portions for a quick lunch, make them over into another meal the next day. For example taco meat in our home gets many uses: taco soap. chili. sloppy joes after doctoring up a bit, taco casserole, spaghetti, and the list goes on. Leftover roast gets turned into pot pies, hot beef/pork sandwiches, BBQ sandwiches, beef/pork stroganoff.

When we roast a chicken or turkey we will use the carcass to make broth and then can it

Stale bread gets turned into croutons

Crumbs from chips, bread, and cereal that are leftover in containers gets put into a mason jar with some seasonings and we use it for "breading" pork chops, chicken tenders, etc...

Leftover coffee gets frozen in ice cube trays and go great in making iced coffee, or to cool down your coffee fast

Peels from carrots, celery ends, garlic peels, onion peels, all get used in our homemade broth

We do a lot of canning, and freezing saves a ton of money and the taste is way better then store bought foods

We make our own bread, crackers, cereals, snack foods, cookies, birthday cakes, chips, pizza dough, pasta.

We have a jar in our freezer for leftover veggies and when it is full it means that soup will be on our menu for the following week

We  make a weekly menu plan

We only grocery shop once a month. In order for us to do this I keep a list of what we frequently use in the kitchen in a months time and go off that for our shopping.

I keep an updated inventory of all items in our pantry, canning room, and freezers.

We buy our meat in bulk...half a pig, half a cow, and we raise our own chickens for meat. We place any money left over at the end of the month from our grocery budget into another envelope for the purchase of meat.

We eat one meatless meal a week

We use beans and rice a lot they are cheap and you can get a very filling and healthy meal for less then a buck for our family

We slice our own lunch meat instead of buying from the grocery store. Cook a roast or turkey breast, cool, and place in fridge overnight then slice in the morning. An electric knife works great for this, but I would love to own a meat slicer. Slices better after it has been cooled. Then we use our vacuum sealer to divide them into one week portions and freeze

This is just a handful of the many things we do to save money in the kitchen. What do you do for savings in the kitchen? I would love to hear your ideas!

Stretching that Dollar through Repurposing

Those who are on a homesteading and self-sufficiency quest learn to make do with what they have.

Here are some of the things we re-purpose to get the most use out of.

Around the house:

An old board and some mason jars to make a neat little organizer for our bathroom.

Old sheets to make curtains for the kids room, dining room, and living room.

Scrap fabric and old clothing to make the kids quiet books

Boxes have many uses - child's toy, cover with contact paper or fabric for cute storage container for open shelving,  magazine organizer, kids drawing boards, shelf divider in the linen closet

Scrap pieces of wood can be made into toy blocks, shelves, door wedge, cake board when covered with parchment paper

Old Shirts have been made into smaller shirts for kids, and a braided rug.

Jeans that have become floods but fit great can be turned into a pair of shorts in a matter of about 15 minutes with a nice hem.

Ripped towels get a second life by cutting them into nice squares and turning in the edges....cloth napkins. When the napkins start looking bad then they become cleaning rags

Fleece blankets have become really comfy pajama pants

Stay tuned for the items we have re-purposed for outdoor use.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meal Plan 3/18 - 3/24


I rotate between these options every weekday and Saturday in no particular order:

cereal, pancake roll-ups, fresh fruit and toast, yogurt (homemade) with fruit and granola, egg sandwich, oatmeal, and sausage gravy and biscuits

Sundays it is usually something quick like cinnamon rolls, cereal, or oatmeal


Monday - Chili and a piece of fruit
Tuesday - Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, Yogurt topped with Fruit
Wednesday - Ham Sandwich, Carrot and Celery Sticks, and Fresh Fruit

Thursday - Corn Dog Muffins, Yogurt with Fruit
Friday - Potato Soup, and Fruit
Saturday - Spaghetti and Bread with Butter
Sunday - Ham, Garlic Mashed Taters, and Glazed Carrots


Monday - Breakfast for Dinner - Pancakes, Sausage Links, and Scrabbled Eggs
Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken, Green Beans, and Baked Potato
Wednesday - Breaded Pork Chops, Corn on the Cob, Buttered Noodles
Thursday - Chicken Dumplings
Friday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and Homemade Potato Chips
Saturday - Leftover Smorgasbord
Sunday -  Hot Ham Sandwich, Homemade Potato Chips, and Fruit


Homemade Yogurt, Applesauce, Homemade Granola Bars ,Smoothie, Fresh Fruit and Veggies

Monday, March 11, 2013

How God Brought Us To Where We Are

It was four years ago that we packed up and left Michigan and headed to South Dakota

We are asked all the time how we happened to come to South Dakota. Well there is a simple answer of a job and then there is the long story.

My husbands work was taking a toll on our marriage and finances. He worked for family and would always come home upset, hurt, and angry over something that he would be blamed for that he did not do. He went from getting a good hourly rate plus a lot of overtime, to being paid a salary that was less then a 40 hour week of hourly pay.

We were over our heads in debt and barely making it. We knew that we needed to do something. So, after many prayers we decided the best thing for us was to look for a job no matter where it was. We knew that it had to be in the agricultural field, because we wanted to get experience on a farm so we could one day have a farm of our own.

So, we found that job and it sounded like it was the right choice. So, after a two day trip to South Dakota for an interview we decided to move. We moved in two short weeks. Carelessly packed up are belongs into a U haul and headed to South Dakota for good. The day my husband started his new job I got this sinking feeling in my stomach. We were told that housing would be included as part of his salary. However, the night of his first day at work his boss came to our house and handed us a lease and wanted the first two months rent paid in advance. We had no choice but to pay it. Needless to say that was the first lye of many from his former boss. Within a year he found another job, better pay, and a house that was actually a part of his salary. We moved an hour north of where we first were. We have been here ever since. His boss is great and we have not been lied to about his salary or benefits.

However, he works on a commercial hog and crop farm. We have learned many things from his job. One thing that we have learned is that we do not want a farm that deals with chemicals, confined housing of animals, and the giving of antibiotics and other shots to animals. We want an organic farm. We want the animals to have room to be free and roam, we want to tend to our gardens in a non-chemical manner, we want a safe place for our children to enjoy the outdoors.

We have been working hard to make this possible and have a goal of owning and operating an organic farm and homestead within the next two years. We believe that God did bring us to where we are today so we could learn but also so we could see the dark side of commercial farming first hand. We will continue to save and work towards our dream. We grow as much of our own food as possible, and our learning to preserve and become self-sufficient. When we move we feel that we will have some of the knowledge to get us started in the right direction. But, we also know that it will be a learning process and that we will always have to expand on our knowledge in order to succeed.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

15 Goals for Spring

The cold snowy days of winter are almost behind us time to start thinking of the projects that need to be completed this spring!

I am a list type of person and I get a certain satisfaction at being able to cross things off my list! Also, if I do not have a list I tend to lose track of what my goals are and then something that would have been easier to do earlier in the season becomes a hard task or does not get completed at all.

Well here is a list of 15 things I would like to do here on the home front this Spring!!!

1. Get the garden planted by the end of May

2. Finish the landscaping around the house that I started last fall

3. Restring the saggy clothes line wires

4. Teach the boys how to feed and care for the chickens

5. Raise two different sets of Broilers - one early spring one late spring

6. Finish de-junking our basement

7. Refinish some old metal chairs that we picked up 2 years ago from an antique mall

8. Build a rainwater collection system

9. Keep up on the weeds in the Garden

10. Pick Dandelions and make Dandelion Jelly

11. Repaint the mailbox and welcome sign in our front yard

12. Plant some more grass in the chickens yard

13. Spruce up the outside of the chicken coop

14. Make a rabbit hutch for the boys and get them each a New Zealand rabbit

15. Make a new fire ring with rocks that I have collected from the fields near our house

We have many more things that we want to work on around here...however this is the list that I will be working on. My husband has his own list. Then we have one that we as a family will need to work on.

How do you plan when you have things to get done? Lists, Mental Notes, Go with the Flow I would be interested in hearing what works for you and what you hope to accomplish this Spring

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