Sunday, December 27, 2009

Again With the Hats!

Well, hello! Yes, I'm knitting again (still?). Can't seem to help it as it is my ministry.
What would I do without a ministry? Without devine direction? Wither away and die. At least spiritually!
Thank God my Heavenly Father is here to guide me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Firewood!

A good friend, Mike, cut this firewood for us today. He found it while doing outside clean-up and was swift to deposit it into our trunk.

Good friends are a true blessing when most of the world seems to have forgotten basic kindness!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Every Day

Imagine, if you would, having Christmas every day.
Not a huge meal every day.
Not a ton of presents for you every day.
Imagine, instead, making it Chistmas for someone else every day!
Imagine giving someone a good meal who would, otherwise, go without.
Imagine baking a cake, cookies or pie for your local shelter.
Imagine putting in a vegetable garden at your local shelter.
Imagine paying your phone, gas or electric bill and putting the same amount on the shelter's bill.
Imagine showing God's love every day as though it's Christmas.
"He who does for the least of these does also unto me..."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Storm Security

It's so funny to look back at this picture (I took it a while back). I was so sure we were set for a month or two!
Then the storms hit and temps dropped! And, a week later, we were out of any decent sized logs!
What a scary day that was!! Now my mission is to stock-up more firewood than I think I could possibly use in one lifetime!
I Refuse to Freeze!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dehydrated Turkey!

Hello there! Nice to see you again!
I had a little turkey left over from Thanksgiving, so I decided to dehydrate it. I pulled it from the bones, and pulled it apart a bit. Then I covered it with a bottle of bar-b-que sauce and mixed. I did not marinate overnight this time, but put it straight on the screens.
By morning I had a gallon size freezer bag of turkey jerky to munch dry or add to stews later!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dinner On a Wood Stove!

Wow! It is So nice to have a wood stove in our home! Not only do we have a heat that feels truly cozy, but we can also use it to cook without using the gas stove! It is comforting to know I can cook without paying the gas company. I can Cook anything on the wood stove and am planning to learn to use it for baking, also!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homework & Hugs...

After a long day, Matt decided to pitch in on cleaning his room! Then he got a long hot bath and started his homework. He may get it all caught up yet!

Cleaning Matt's Closet...

So, I am now cleaning Matt's closet... Hauled everything out, swept and am trying to make it usable and not a source of drafts.
On the right side of the floor I have stacks of his personal blankets. This is the outside wall, so stacks of thick blankets were a no-brainer!
On the left side and center I placed throw rugs for insulation from the crawl space. The far left side is for balls that would be ruined if left out in the shed all winter. The center is for shoes and boots.

Life Hit Me in the Face!

Well, hello! Welcome back! Come in and sit a spell.
Today has been eventful already. And rough. Matt woke up early and ate an entire container of ice cream. We would have locked it up, but it was So disgusting, we didn't think he'd eat that much at once!
Well, I noticed that Matt had not picked up his room like I asked, so I pointed out that Santa won't bring presents if you don't take care of what you already have. His room is trashed and he doesn't tae care of his outside toys either. Santa's only willing to bring clothes and, maybe, ... ...
That's when he told me to move out and started punching Hard! It went on for a long time. At one point I thought I had a firm hold on him and would be able to talk to him until he calmed down, but I'm not strong enough!
I know I'll be sore tomorrow. The bathroom is trashed. And, since I tried to restrain him, I will probably get a visit from DCFS.
Did you ever Not have any support system? I seriously Need to just sit and cry.
He and I are good now. He calmed himself down. We all went on our hike.
What the heck do they expect me to do?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Matt's Sewing on Patches

Good morning!
As part of our practical living skills program I am having Matt sew on all patches he gets from now on.
It is so gratifying to see him using his "...always do your best.." Cub Scout attitude as he learns to sew!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Roasting Sunflower Seeds

Well, hello there! So nice of you to drop by! Pop off your shoes and grab a seat by the stove.
Tonight I am experimenting with the idea of 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire'.
I sorted through the seeds I harvested from the last of our sunflowers.
Then I rinsed the seeds thoroughly and placed them on aluminum foil on top of the stove.
A short while later, while knitting in the next room, I smelled fresh roasted nuts! What a wonderful smell!!!
I think we'll be planting a lot of sunflowers next spring!
Wonder how acorns would taste roasted like this?!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stocking Up On Wood!

Good morning! With the weather turning colder, I am thinking more and more about winter heating options. A couple nights it has dropped to 30-32 degrees F! So far we have been toasty, but we need to think ahead.
We were given a load of firewood by our friends Chris & Bettie McCollum, but that wood is already gone. Dave came over to help candace with the baby, so she had him haul in firewood from the back of our lot. It's enough to get us through 1-2 months. Then we're in trouble!
I did finally turn on the furnace. The darn thing is on it's last legs so I set it at 50 degrees as a back-up only.
Chris says they have extra firewood they can share and Matt and I have been picking up wood in the cemetery and as we drive around.
I failed to properly prepare and now must really hustle. The saying is So true:
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Early Morning Beauty

Matt and I went for a drive in Oakwood Cemetery this morning to scrounge fallen limbs for firewood.
Were we ever surprised to see such an elegant healthy buck wandering around munching vegetation! It is great to know there is still such amazing wildlife so close to home.
What a great way for Matt to start his school day! Watch for his blog about our adventure... www.thingsmatthewlikes.blogspot.com

Oakwood's 'Tenant'

Oakwood Cemetery

10.12.09

Goings On

Hi! Welcome back! Take your shoes off and come sit by the fire.
Tonight we are very busy as usual. Matt is showered, laundry started and his bed is made up. He is in his room stalling on doing a math paper...
Candi is bathing Aiden and has already hung a load of diapers out on the line... wonder is she remembered to add salt?
I am cooking dinner, tending the fire and keeping everyone on track.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fresh Acorn Squash

What a yummy lunch this was!
I used a recipe my Grandma gave me:
Cut squash in half.
Scoop out seeds and pulp.
Cut back and forth across the inside of the squash.
Put butter and brown sugar (to taste) in scooped out area.
Microwave for 5 minutes on high.
Stir and eat.
(Be careful~ it's hot!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Veggie Omlettes

There's something special about eating what you grow.
We picked fresh summer squash, potatoes and onions. Then we pealed and cut each up into the frying pan with our favorite cooking oil.
Once the veggies were tender, we added eggs and lots of cheese.
Veggie Party at the breakfast table!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Knitting for Youth Mental Health

Good Evening! How are you?
I am watching 'Deadliest Catch' and knitting another hat for the coat drive at Will County Community Health Center Youth Mental Health. A receptionist blessed me with 3 bags of yarn! It was like Christmas!!
They need stocking caps for 3-4 year olds, so I am focusing on the smaller hats. Picked up a pack of bells and a couple packs of large bright buttons at Walmart to knit into the hats for a little extra fun!
These kids go through so much, a happy hat can only be a good thing. I am thinking I should call my hats 'Heavenly Hats' as God directed me to this and I pray about each hat I knit. Almost as though each hat is being heavenly directed for a specific child.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Updates & Property Elevations

Well, Good Morning, all!
Thought I would stop in and catch you up on our crazy world. Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but, with the new baby in the house, things have been hectic to say the least!
I do have a couple blogs started and saved as 'drafts' in my phone, but the battery died, so I am forced to log on and blog with out pics.
I've been thinking a lot about the current economic and political situation and trying to decide if my family is okay where we live currently. I was unable to find a reasonably priced map of local elevations, so I am getting ready to map elevations of landmarks around me. I found a link that shows elevations of public places such as schools and parks( www.topozone.com/states/Illinois.asp?county=Will&feature=school). Using this tool I can make note of surrounding elevations. It will not be as accurate and user-friendly as a map with all the elevations drawn on in nice little loops, but it will be better than nothing. I think I will be able to establish my home's elevation and decide if we are truly high enough. Also, I can establish what would be our best routes out of town in the event of a national disaster. I am basically surrounded by flood plains, so this thinking is critical. I am thinking that my only roads off of my hill will be under water.
After I post all possible/ pertinent elevations to my map, I will begin to investigate any potential escape routes. Of course I will have to investigate during heavy rains. I'll post pics of how much/ little hope there is. I may end up having to just buy a boat! LOL!
Stay tuned to see what I find out!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our New Sweetheart

Aiden, at 2 days old, is doing well and working hard at training his Mom.
We are so blessed to be able to hold him every day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stocking Food

We have some food and a rudimentary storage system, but are totally unprepared for a true emergency. I guess I thought we were getting close to being ready, but I was only fooling myself.
When I took this picture, it really hit home that we need a real storage system immediately. First, I need to pull it all out onto the kitchen floor and resort everything. Then, I have to get a shelving system that will work with our food preservation methods. After all, food in ziploc bags needs different storage than canning jars or metal cans!
I also need to be able, somehow, to store enough food for four (4) people for 2-3 years. That will take some creativity as our pantry is about 4'x5'. And, of course, whatever I do must be done for free.
I'll let you know what I finally figure out!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dehydrating Squash

Welcome back! Life on the homestead is zipping along as usual.
Tonight, as we prepare for another backyard camp-out, I am trying to keep the dehydrator running full-time.
My shelves are full of zucinni and summer squash. A yummy winter feast in the making!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Latest Knitted Hat

Good evening! Check out the hat I just finished. I went all out with the stocking cap concept. Sure hope the recipient likes it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bug-Out Bag

Hi! Welcome back! Tonight I am contemplating the repacking of my bug-out bag. Yes, I am finally getting back to this project, mostly because I am deep cleaning and re-arranging my room which is causing me to deal with things I had tabled.
The first Bag was a red transplant bag~ easy to spot from a distance! Now I am using a dark blue backpack. We'll be way less noticable and blend in with the others.
For my initial content list for my primary bag I have chosen only the most critical items I would need if we were forced to walk out:
1. Personal documents
2. Prescriptions
3. Basic first aide kit
4. Bible
5. Emergency blankets
6. Addresses/ phone #'s
7. Maps
8. Books on wild edibles, etc.
This isn't everything I would like to take, but these are the contents that we absolutely must have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Hat is Finished!

I am finally finished with the one on the right. The needles have the band color for the next one. The stripes will be those bright pinky colors and the maroons of the right hat.

Hats & More Hats

I am still knitting... Of course! Not that any of us believed I could stop!!
This is a small batch I dropped off at Will County Community Youth Mental Health For the coat and hat drive. I broke down and bought 5 more skeens of yarn at Walmart... I was so sick of the colors I had already and the new pretty colors were calling my name.
I am having so much fun making more hats with new color combinations. And, now, I am also trying to make more small hats so all the childrenms needs will be met.
It's good to have a hobby that helps others, relaxes me and is in His will!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Today's Breakfast

Hello! Today I whipped up a special breakfast to honor 2 days off in a row.
First I melted butter in a fry pan and stirred in pieces of fresh tomato (1/4 lb) and zucinni (1 lb). While that simmered on low I added 1/2 tube of pork chorizo, some Adobo, 1 1/2 packets Sazon (with cilantro and tomato) and a teaspoon of home canned sofrito.
I let it simmer until the zucinni was tender and stirred in 6 eggs.
Cooked until done, it was wonderful~ and full of veggies!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We went shopping!

Yes, we hit Menards! This weekend we will begin the chicken coop!
I am so excited I could pop! Imagine~ fresh eggs just outside our back door!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Matthew Helps, Too!

It's so nice when a family works together! As times get tougher and we spiral towards 12.21.12, it becomes more and more critical that every member of a household does their part to keep things running and get ahead.
At 8 years old, Matt is able to sort, wash, hang out and fold his own laundry. This takes a weight off my shoulders and frees up time to do other things.
If a family is to survive, they must all work together!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kudos to Silver Cross Pediatrics!

Good morning! Happy Monday to you! As I sit here at Silver Cross Hospital with my son, I must tell you what exceptional service we are receiving from everyone on the Pediatric Unit!
Kudos to the entire Pediatric Unit for such TLC!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Laundry on the Homestead

Time to hang yet another load of laundry.
I overheard a neighbor talking about us the other day.
His friend asked when he was going to hang out his laundry?
He replied, "I'm not a robot. They're robots! All they do is work!"
I was so flattered!
Then back to mowing the grass we still have.
As time passes there will only be grass in the play are.
Vegetables will be growing everwhere else!
Life on a homestead is always busy and never boring!

Multimedia message

As I look out over my farm I am aware of how far I've come since we bought this place. But I am also very aware how far I have to go to catch up with the homestead I'm modeling. Little Homestead In The City is the homestead I am modeling mine after with exceptions to allow for the codes in this area.
It is good to see how far I've come and good to have direction for my life!

View from my Bathroom Wiindow

This is the view through my bathroom screen. It's the wonder that greets me every time I get into the tub. I gaze out at clean laundry on the line, corn as high as my head and tomatoes ripe and waiting for me.
Truly, can you tell me what better view I could find than this?

A Feast in My Backyard

Hi! This is Broadleaf Plantain. It's a wild edible that we've found quite yummy!
The leaves cook up nicely as a spinach substitute. The seeds are good seasoned and roasted or cooked into a casserole as a protien.
Now, you absolutely must not eat any wild edibles from areas you are unsure of. Are pesticides, herbicides or inorganic fertilzers in use? Any run-off from farms or roadways? It is far better to go without than risk your health!
Go pick some plantain today! Happy, healthy eating!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stock Up on Firewood!

Hey! Notice how October the weather is? Well, that's because the snow is coming in October, so typical October weather is Now!
If you haven't started to stock-up on all the winter necessities, now is a good time to start.
Why wait till the first week of October, when all your neighbors are in a panic?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Foraging Bounty!

Hi! We went foraging in the woods for a bit tonight and came home with a lot of free protien! Due to the bizarre weather, the nuts are falling early. So are the pinecones.
With all the food recalls and prices going so high, it is critical that we all know of all options available.
Today is a good day to take a nature walk with you kids. You'll be amazed how much food you'll find!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Research Project

Well, I finally decided to take my research to a different place. Rather than just reading and applying all I can, I thought I'd share with you.
The first book I am reading (rereading) is "The Book of the New Alchemists". I read through this book a couple times last year and went back to sections several times because I just couldn't get it off my mind.
Today I am starting over fresh. I am going to reread it, check the internet to see how their designs worked, then apply all I can to my lot.
It will be interesting to see how I fare on these projects compared to them!

Organizing Pantry... Finally

It's so good to finally get the shelves in! I decided to put away the groceries now and pull out shelves and finish adding the cedar when we have time.
This way we can gauge what we are stocked up on and go back to rotating stock properly!
All those boxes we kept tripping over held way less food than we thought, but now we know where we stand. That is a very good feeling!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Laundry Soap Results

Hey! Sorry I didn't get back to you about the soap and how it turned out.
I stirred it tonight to start a new load and it is great! Thicker than before, but not separated.
We are officially good to go!

Front of the House Harvest

Hey! I moved the car out on the street and look what I found! I do believe this is a squash bonanza. And right outside my front door, too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

So Pretty!

I couldn't resist taking one more picture of the new section! Please, pardon my giddiness!!!

Fence Panels Go Up!

Well, as we near evening, the fence panels are going up. Although the fence is no where near finished, we are closer to having a secure lot.
That feeling is priceless!!!

Fence for North Side of House

It's finally going up! The neighbors are SO pissed!

Fencing Continues!

Yes, we're at it again! This is the front of the house. The fence itself is only 4 feet high as per city code. The posts are 8 feet high so we can build a pergola across the drive.
Once finished, the pergola will be open from the top of the fencing to the top of the posts themselves. Above the posts we will mount a framework and top with latticework.
Roses, wisteria, clematis, etc. will climb up the posts and drape fragrantly over our car.

My Tomatoes Runneth Over

I went 'shopping' because I was spreading more cardboard to expand my garden and look what I found! There are more out there ready and many the bugs got first. I only stopped because my bag was full!
Got to go prep these for processing... talk to you later!

Cooling Time...

Well, the batch was thoroughly reheated. I added a bit more borax and baking soda as well as left-over Clorox 2, Oxi Magic and about 1/4 bottle of Xtra detergent.
Now that it's stirred, I'll let it cool and see what we've got.
Check back in a couple hours to see the progress. See you then!!

Unusable Mess

Hey! What a beautiful Sunday!
Remember that last batch of laundry soap I made? Well, it separated as it cooled and did NOT clean our laundry completely. I was reduced to using commercially made products as I did not have time to address the problem.
Today I am going to redo the batch. I am not going to throw it out, but reheat it and add another 1/2 batch. I am thinking I did not heat it enough last time.
Stop back later for the results!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Environmentally Sound Cat Litter

Have you ever thought about all that chemically-based clumping cat litter? How good are those chemicals for you cat? What happens to them as they break down in your local landfill?
How much better would it be to use animal bedding? A soft bed of pine or cedar for those precious, tender paws?
And, as long as your cats are vacinated, you have a free source of fresh manure for you garden. An addedd benefit is that you know what they eat, so you know, specifically how clean it is. After all, who can say how safe all the hormones they treat cattle with are in those bags of cow manure?
Fresh animal bedding helps you and your feline family!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

'Shopping'

Well, hi there! Would you look at what Candi found when she went 'shopping' tonight in our 'yard'?!
Cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, sweet corn, strawberry corn, banana peppers, wax beans, green beans, summer squash and cucumber.
Anybody want to loan me a dehydrator (or 6)?
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