Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Blessing

"You shall work six days, 
but on the seventh day you shall rest;
even during plowing time and harvest 
you shall rest."
~ Exodus 34:21

"Now He who supplies seed to the sower
and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing 
and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
you will be enriched 
in everything for all liberality,
which through us 
is producing thanksgiving to God."
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so..."
~ Psalm 107: 1-2a

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Preparedness Challenge #39

Welcome to the Preparedness Challenge! Each month USA Emergency Supply hosts a give away to encourage families to set something aside to prepare for a time of emergency or the unexpected. Those who link up or leave a comment of something they did during the month to be prepared will be entered in the drawing (please take a moment to read the rules at the bottom of the post).

Today's Winner & Give-Away!

Last month's give-away from USA Emergency Supply was 2 food grade buckets with  2 gamma seals... favorite items of mine that I use every day! I'm pleased to announce the winner today...

Donna a.k.a. ddu!

This month our give-away item is a Freeze Dried / Dehydrated Vegetable Combo Pack... a great way to get a jump on your food storage for emergencies. Each combo case contains 6 large #10 cans of vegetables including carrots, peas, corn, onions, celery slices, and potato flakes. Great items for making soups or side dishes.   

Having dehydrated vegetables on hand isn't just for emergencies. It's great to have these items as a back up for nights when you open the refrigerator and realize that the produce you thought was in the hydrator drawer is actually missing because someone ate it! Or it spoiled. Or you forgot to buy it. Nothing is more frustrating than to be half way through a recipe and realize you don't have that one ingredient!  

Two links you might want to check out...

All About Dehydrated Vegetables
Storage Life of Dried Foods

Dehydrated foods have come a long way and they aren't like they were 'back in the day'. So be sure to read up on this information for future reference and so you'll be an informed consumer. It also might help you with decisions for your own personal food storage.

How I Met The Challenge!

It was a busy month starting back to school, having two birthdays, and camping out, but I did get a few things accomplished...

• Food Storage:  Bought extra olive oil, coconut oil, dried coconut (for granolas and such), bulk sucanat, cans of green chilies, and coconut milk. (Honestly, I didn't THINK I was craving coconut, but I see a theme here!)

• Emergency Preparedness: Picked up a few extra small flashlights to stash around the house, but otherwise, I was a bit weak in this area. Perhaps I'll focus more on this for October.

• Sustainable Living: Bought a new goat!! A little doe that I'll be breeding this winter. (Guess I should post some photos soon.) I also added more vegetables to the fall garden and let one VERY broody hen sit on 6 eggs. We should have some extra chicks mid October! I also bought two books. One on growing winter crops and one on cooking greens

Now it's your turn to join the Preparedness Challenge..

Join the Challenge & Enter The Give Away

To be entered in the drawing you must complete the following 2 steps:

1) Either leave a comment
(with your email info - this is required to contact you)
link up your Preparedness Challenge blog post
(you only need to comment or postnot both).

2) Your comment or link up MUST include something you did this week to be more prepared in terms of food storage, emergencies, or sustainable living (or all three areas!) Posts not related to at least one of the three areas of preparedness will not be counted toward the give-away. Please be sure to clearly state in your comment or post what you did this month to be more prepared (see my example above as one easy way to do this). Again, the three areas we are focusing on include: 

• food storage for life's unexpected events whether related to long term effects from a disaster or a job loss and everything in between

• emergencies for times of power outages, natural disasters, and such

• sustainable living in order to be more independent, both physically and financially, and to live as close to the land as possible given each individual's situation 

Please be respectful of our challenge and only add a post on one of these three preparedness topics ONLY in order to retain the integrity of the link up event. If your post is just a general homesteading post, please save it for the Monday Homestead Barn Hop.

NOTE: This challenge and give-away ends Friday, August 31 Friday, October 5 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Be sure to take the Preparedness Challenge picture and add it to your blog so others know you're participating and hopefully they'll join up, too! THANK YOU!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Inspiration Friday: Fall Foods & Recipes!

With the changing season, different produce will soon be coming from the garden. Time to refresh our menus a bit with some autumn foods and recipes. Pinning is great, but adding them to your Plan To Eat app is even better... easy to upload from any blog or website, drag and drop for menu planning, and a touch of the finger brings up the recipe. I use my ipad (a hand me down!) on a recipe stand on the kitchen island so it's easy to reference while cooking.

Note: click the link below each photo to take you to any articles, recipes, or tutorials.

Here are some new things I'm hoping to accomplish this fall...

foraging food locally...

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or just visit a local orchard and pick your own...

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I plan to use some of the apples for making dried apple slices. Maybe a little cinnamon and sugar on some. This link uses an oven, but I like to put them in my dehydrator instead.

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I'm still getting tomatoes from the garden, but even if you're harvest is over, perhaps you canned some? I want to try a few of these soup recipes (I always adapt them to make them as healthy as I can)...

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And then some non-tomato soups...

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How about a late summer/fall salad? I'll skip the chorizo on this one and add some local raised grass fed beef sweet italian sausage or basil & garlic sausage, but the lentils with tomatoes sound amazing for a hearty fall dish...

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For you bleu cheese lovers, you will NOT be disappointed if you make this salad... I promise!

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Baking in fall is a given! Try my Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles.

Or maybe some Whole Wheat Scones? I have a few other good fall recipes you might like for eggplant and such.

And pies... I always need help to make a good crust!

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Bread baking is so autumn-ish, don't you think? I want to try some San Francisco Sourdough this next month. I already have my starter!

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Good pizzas will make for great fall fare. The second link has over 40 different topping ideas!

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Seriously, I could go on all day. Better stop before we all gain 10 pounds just drooling at the screen. Sometimes I think that actually happens!

What's your favorite fall food?

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Give Away: A Time for Everything's Divide-It Wallet!

Okay friends... I know many of you are Dave Ramsey fans, Crown Ministry fans, Mary Hunt fans... and you're very frugal and wise with your money, so I think you're going to LOVE this new give-away! And for those of you who WANT to be better stewards, this item is for YOU!

Little secret here...

I studied consumer science and did an internship in college for one of those consumer credit counseling agencies... you know, the kind that help people that are WAY in debt pay off their obligations. We would have them cut up their credit cards and then go through their bills and budget with a fine tooth comb, nixing anything that wasn't necessary for life (such as cable TV). Next we would organize their debts from greatest to least in terms of rates, balance due, etc. Each client would then contact their creditors and try to negotiate a lower rate or balance and arrange a new monthly payment til each creditor was paid off the agreed upon balance.

Now I'm not saying this is the way it should be done. Truthfully, if I owe $1,000, then I should pay back the $1,000. But putting that aside, the point I'm making is the fact that we would have them cut up the credit cards and use only cash.

Here's another little secret... a confession...

Despite what I KNOW about budgeting, we've had one little credit card we've kept. {Sigh.... }

Long ago we cut up all the others. This one was not only for "just in case", but for ordering on line... that kind of thing. I can't speak for my husband, but in my own mind, I've justified it because we get cash back for using it. And use it I have. Not frivolously (I pay it off monthly), but to be totally honest... I've made a few purchases that I would NOT have made if I had only been using cash. Instead, I would have waited, made do, figured out another alternative, or done without altogether.

In case you haven't heard, California is in a debt crisis and it's affecting EVERYONE. So it's definitely time to go CASH ONLY.

Now, I tried this once before, using a cash wallet that had paper envelopes and it didn't work so well. For one thing, I got frustrated trying to get into them quickly at the cash register. Soooo embarrassing to hold up the entire line while I dug out my cash and then quickly tried to write down the amount (because this was printed on the front of the envelop and therefore, I felt compelled to do it). I also found the envelopes weren't big enough for a lot of smaller bills, not to mention they would tear on occasion. This lasted about 3 months and I ditched the system entirely.

I realized that if I was going to go to a cash based system, it had to be easy, quick, and uncomplicated while still holding up to the wear and tear of every day use. So I hit the Amazon, eBay, Etsy stores... anywhere I could find cash wallets. And I looked at them for a LONG time, asking myself questions like:

• Can I get into this easily without a fuss?
• What can it hold, realistically?
• How well is it organized?
• Will it hold up to wear and tear?
• Will it work for the way I shop? (Grab my wallet out of my purse and run in to grab one item at a store)

Finally, I asked myself, if I could design a system that fits ME and how I shop, what would it look like? Here's what I envisioned...

And you know what? I found it at Melissa's Etsy shop, A Time for Everything.

FYI here... I sought out Melissa, not the other way around. She didn't email me to do a give away, I purchased from her and then asked her if she was interested. Why? Because this is exactly what I think most of us need... a SIMPLE, well constructed cash bag with dividers. That's it. (I like SIMPLE tools!)

Just to be clear, let me list why I picked her cash wallet...

• This would be easy to get into... just a zippered bag. Much like those big bank bags that businesses use for transporting cash or for using as their petty cash bags.

• The fabrics were not only very cute, but laminated! Do you know how dirty a fabric wallet could get in my purse or in the console of my car? This one can be wiped clean.
• Melissa's sewing skills are impeccable. Doesn't look "homemade" at all! Very professional.
• It had sturdy dividers that I could label to fit my needs. These are plastic and while they flex, they are also fairly firm, supporting the structure of the bag. (You label these yourself or you can purchase custom labels for $2).

• It was roomy enough to expand for my needs (at least to a reasonable point). No struggling to get the cash out because it catches on the ends. AND, I've even tucked my cell phone in there a time or two).
• The coin pouch I purchased from her would easily fit into the front of the cash stash wallet as well as my driver's license and any other store cards (the kind where you earn points).
• The price point was hands down, one of the best of all the systems I looked at. Most were around $30, but Melissa's was only $18.

Here are some actual photos of my own cash stash wallet Divide-It Wallet* and coin pouch...

In the second photo, you can see my phone and coin pouch inside, while the last photo has all that in it with the cash wallet zipped up. Not bulky at all! Keep in mind that this is soft sided and not ridged, so on it's own it would be floppy, however, if you keep the dividers and money inside, it maintains it's shape.

The only thing I would have done differently on this (just being honest here)... I would have added a tiny tab on the side seam where the zipper pull starts so it would be just a tad easier to start unzipping. However that probably would have made the seam bulky, so I'm not sure it's really a good idea. Instead, I just pinch the side seam and it unzips easily.

One more thing... these aren't just good for cash only systems. If you are a coupon clipper, check this out...

I don't use coupons for food (make it from scratch), but I do save store discount cards, preferred customer cards, and flyers with discount codes, so this would be EXCELLENT for organizing them in your purse!

Maybe you need two? I thought so.

Enter the Give Away!

Melissa has kindly offered a Cash Stash Wallet Divide-It Wallet* and Coin Pouch (in fabric of your choice from her current collection) to a Homestead Revival reader! Here's what you need to do...

Visit her Etsy store and see the goodies! She has more items than just these two. Come back here and leave me a comment with your favorite fabric choice. If you don't have a blog, please leave your email address so I can contact the winner!

• For an extra entry, like her facebook page or follow her blog. Come back here and tell me which one you subscribed to.  Again, if you don't have a blog, please leave your email address so I can contact the winner!

For one additional entry, follow my Pinterest page (see right side bar under "FOLLOW"). Then come back here and tell me that you've completed this step. Once again, if you don't have a blog, please leave your email address so I can contact the winner!

This give away closes Monday, October 1, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. PST. is now closed. 

Get a Discount!

Melissa has also offered anyone making a purchase during the month of September FREE SHIPPING! Just use the code "HOMESTEAD" when checking out (under payment choices there is a link that says "apply shop coupon code" where you can type in the code). While this code only works for U.S. shipping addresses, those who purchase internationally can add a note when checking out and she'll refund you the equivalent of the U.S. shipping fees for that item. Melissa can ship first class world wide for reasonable rates (since the product is very light weight).

There really is a time for everything... don't you think NOW is the time to get those finances in order?

*Due to a new vendor who named their shop after the same name (Cash Stash Wallet), Melissa has opted to rename her wallet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Time to Read?

As busy moms and homesteaders, reading isn't a luxury we typically get to indulge in unless it's late in the evening. And by that time, who can keep their eyes open very long? Regardless, I always have a stack on my nightstand.

But then again, I also keep a book in the bathroom. (Too much information? Sorry, but it's true... I try to read every moment I can!).

I take a book of some kind with me almost every time I go to town. After all, you never know when you might get stuck... waiting... and waiting. I've found I get a lot less irritated that I'm "wasting my time" if I have a something to read (and I typically require the children to bring a book as well).

But, what I really want to share is a few sources for books on line that are FREE! And it gets even better...

they're AUDIO BOOKS!

In fact, I just deep cleaned the entire pantry today and managed to get through a good portion of Barbara Kingsolver's best seller, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at the same time! (Don't you just love multitasking!) Although I'd read it before, her book has been just as good the second time through (and I highly recommend it!).

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to Michael Pollen's book, In Defense of Food. Now I've had that book for almost two years, but it never seemed to make it to the top of my reading list. Something else always edged it out. Then I found it on line... SCORE!

So, what's my source?

My local library. {cheers, clapping, whoorah!}

Many libraries subscribe to a service called One Click Digital where you set up an account through your local library and then down load free books on your computer, phone, or other device, typically for a period of 10 days, after which they expire. You can always recheck them if necessary, but I find listening is much faster than reading. (Well {blush}, at least for me.) Just contact your local library and ask if they have this service or one similar.

You can also get classic books for free through LibriVox. Each book is read by volunteers, so often you get some really fun readers with terrific accents. However, I did get one very precocious French girl whom I had difficulty understanding, but that was the exception, not the rule. (She sounded darling though!)

And finally, there is Lit2Go, another source for classic works that can be accessed through your iTunes store.

So when I need to do something less than pleasant or shall we say, something I've been avoiding, like dusting the ceiling fans, vacuuming the baseboards, or walking that extra mile for exercise... I now have something to treat myself to at the same time. No longer am I procrastinating and dreading the inevitable... no, no. I just plug into a good book and savor the moment!

Gotta run... I think the living room has some cob webs that need tending to.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Barn Hop #80

Welcome to the Monday Homestead Barn Hop where you're invited to link up your blog with your very best post of the week; something happening at your homestead or something of interest that will help benefit fellow homesteaders. Plus, each of the 3 Homestead Barn Hop hostess selects her favorite post of the week to highlight the following week. So be sure to visit all three blogs because the "Featured Homestead" could be YOURS!

If I could only tell you how hard it is to decide on the Featured Homestead each week! So many, many great posts linked up! Thank you, friends. I get a ton of ideas from your blogs and I'm so blessed to have a weekly reminder that there are others out there who are definitely kindred spirits! Occasionally, I come across a really great post, but no link back... please be kind and link back to one of the three host blogs so we can include you in the featured segment. 

This week, the featured homesteader is JES of Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth.

"Making your own cleaning products has made a comeback as many homemakers seek to save money and remove creepy chemicals from their homes. Most of the recipes involve vinegar, water and essential oils. The addition of essential oils... can really add up! Instead of constantly dropping those expensive ingredients into your concoctions, why not create your own lavender based vinegar to clean with? "

If you've been featured in the past...

If you've been a featured blogger on the Barn Hop, either today or in the past, we now have a special button for you should you wish to add it to your sidebar stating that you've been a featured blogger! You can find it on my button page by clicking the hen with the blue barn on my sidebar that says "HR Buttons". It's a good idea to link it back to the page where you were featured so your readers can see where you're actually mentioned. (These buttons do not have a code since it needs to be linked to the page you're featured in and it will change from week to week. Just copy the button or drag it to your desktop).

Join The Barn Hop!
and Amy @ Homestead Revival...

...invite you to link up and share your homesteading adventures!

Did you share any cool new homesteading tips on your blog this week? If so, we’d love to have you link up below! Even if you don’t have a blog, we always welcome your comments!

Please remember that the Homestead Barn Hop is meant to be a place to share homesteading related encouragement and inspiring ideas specfically related to homesteading. In an effort to keep our weekly round-up clutter free, links which are not specifically homestead related, and any promotions such as giveaways, contests, carnivals, etc, will be deleted in order to maintain the integrity of the Barn Hop. Please remember this is a family friendly link up. Any pictures or posts linked to the hop which aren’t appropriate for our children to view or read will also be deleted immediately. We’re pretty conservative, so we ask that you use good judgment and err on the side of caution. 

Make sure that you link to your Barn Hop post, not your blog’s main page, so your guests won’t have any trouble finding your great tips!

We would also appreciate it if you would link back to the Homestead Barn Hop in the post that you share! Feel free to grab the banner at the top of this post to link back to us with.

Want a chance to be a “Featured Homestead” next week?

Be sure you've included an actual link to the Barn Hop, preferably the button, on your post or sidebar, with a link back to us. Thank you for sharing the message about the Homestead Barn Hop!

Occasionally there is a problem posting due to glitches in the internet or the Linky Tools. If you have difficulties posting and it does not show up immediately, please wait a little while and try re-posting (this helps avoid double posting). We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, be we do not have absolute control over the internet. Thank you for your patience and understanding!


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