Getting Started

I don’t buy books much anymore. That’s what my Kindle is for. My house is so small and I had sooo many books and it was driving Joe crazy. So in order for me to get a Kindle to use to read from I agreed to downsize on my books. I did really really well at first. I got rid of all but my most loved books and most of them have been put in storage. But as time has gone by I have bought a book or two here or there. There’s just something about an actual book and holding it in your hands and smelling it and thumbing through it. Nothing compares.

And cookbooks and self help books just don’t work for me on the Kindle. I have to be able to thumb through and find a page I need and bookmark it and even write notes if need be. So at the beginning of the year I ordered a few books to help get me started on my plan to save time, save money and eat healthier around here. I’m loving these books. I already had Little House Living and have read it multiple times and have used some of her ideas. She has a wonderful blog too with so much great information on it. I’ve gone through it and written down so many recipes and ideas that I want to get started on.

Then there’s Homestead Kitchen. I almost didn’t order it because I didn’t know if it would really help me out much.  I ordered it more for a treat to myself because I’m loving watching Alaska The Last Frontier  and I wanted to learn more about Eiven and Eve and the Kilchers. But I’m glad I’ve got it now. I’ve read it from cover to cover. It’s amazing how much reading you can get done on long road trips! I love this book. I love all the personal stories and there are so many recipes I want to try. Now it’s just a matter of slowing down around here and taking the time to try something new now and again.

These last two I want to really spend time going through and I just haven’t had the time yet. I have browsed through them and think they are going to be full of great information and be very helpful. The bread recipe I tried out the other day came from The Made From Scratch Life. So much of what you read in these books is common sense and really, I just need a reminder now and then to get back to the basics. Many things are things I have wanted to do or try but just wasn’t sure how. Now I have no excuse – I just have to get up and do it!


Today is a cold windy Monday at 1 degree and the wind makes it feel even colder! I just came in from cleaning out the chickens. They are happy campers now. Clean coop, fresh water, feed bowl filled and banana peels for a treat. As happy as they can be I guess being cooped up in the coop. They sure don’t like the snow and cold. The kitties have fresh water too and a bowl full of food and a nice warm insulated doghouse full of straw.

Today has been busy. A two hour delay at school due to the cold and wind. That means keeping Drew entertained and yet ready to go to school when it’s time. He doesn’t sleep in and he gets all settled in at home when there’s a delay and then it can be a fight to get him out the door. Today we played with legos and talked about school. I think that helped.I made chocolate chip cookies when I got home from delivering Drew. Eric goes back to Iowa today and I wanted to send him off with something yummy from home! Then I spent some time on the phone with my mom who is trying to help my aunt learn how to use her new iPhone. Mom doesn’t have an iPhone so it’s quite comical trying to get her to understand over the phone so she can explain to Aunt Konnie over the phone what to do. I think we might be running to Konnie’s house tomorrow afternoon. It’ much easier to explain in person than doing it this way.


I did manage to squeeze in a frugal pantry craft though. Am I the only person who will buy a product at the grocery store just for the pretty label? I loved this label on the store brand flour at our local grocery store. Now, in this instance I would have bought this brand anyway due to it being the cheapest. When you shop at the local grocery store in a small town, you tend to buy the store brand. It still many times is more expensive than anything you can buy at the bigger name brand store. But sometimes it’s just cheaper and much less time consuming to run to town which is seven miles away than it is to run to the closest Fareway or Hy-Vee which are 30 miles away.

I was in need of flour and when I saw this label on the flour bag I fell in love. It’s blue for one thing and I love the old time feel!  I thought it would be perfect glued to my flour jar. Now to find similar labels for my other jars – sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, powdered milk, rice, macaroni noodles, etc. I’m not sure that will happen at the store so maybe I can find something on Pinterest I like that will coordinate. I like the how cheery this looks sitting on my cupboard and would like to have all my jars look pretty. And I used wheat paste so if I need or want to I can take this off and replace it with something else down the road.

Back To Basics

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I know me and I know I just won’t keep them. But I have been doing a lot of thinking and researching lately on getting back to the basics. I really want to slow things down around here. Do a lot less running and spend more time at home. I want to cut down on our grocery spending.  I want to do more from scratch cooking and yet  I want to keep it simple too. I’m going to slowly work on stocking my pantry and my freezer with items to make spending time in the kitchen fun and yet quicker and easier so I have more time for other things. I also want to eat more wholesome foods and a lot less processed foods. I don’t really have a plan but I have picked up a few books to start reading and I’ve gotten some great ideas from blogs I like to follow.

I want to try new things in the kitchen. And so the other day I tried my hand at homemade bread. Have you ever read the ingredients in store bought bread? It’s scary. I had never made bread before but I took the plunge. And it was fun! And it filled the house with a delicious aroma! And my loaves looked beautiful (to me anyway)! And they tasted great! But, I didn’t let them cook long enough. They were a little doughy. On the bright side – a friend of mine stated she likes them that way – they toast up great in the toaster! So, I will put baking homemade bread down as a win for me and something I want to keep experiment with and do more often!

And I tried my hand at making homemade vanilla extract.  I had no idea how vanilla extract was made. I knew about the vanilla beans of course but had no idea it was just vanilla beans and extract. How easy. And the way they smell all ready – oh my! The hardest part is waiting the two months or more to see how it turned out! I have six bottles sitting in the back of a kitchen cupboard. I’m hoping to keep some and use others as gifts. I got my instructions and the beautiful labels from I used label paper I had here at home to print the labels onto and cut them out. Again, super easy! I plan to try my hand at making lemon and orange extract too.  And again – no extra, unnecessary ingredients. Just plain and simple and fresh!

Today and Friday I get to sub as an Associate at the elementary school. Something else I’m trying – I said get, not have to. It’s more fun to get to do something than to have to do something. It’s amazing how just changing the way you say something can change your outlook! So I get to sub at the school. Now, I do enjoy subbing and especially for the Associate I’m subbing for the next two days. I get to attend PE class with the preschoolers and library with them too. And I get to spend the majority of my day with different groups of children helping them with their reading skills. Of course, I love to read so reading with the students is just plain fun. I even get to spend a class period doing just that – reading. I oversee the class as they have quiet reading time and so I read too! It’s fun to get out and something different and rewarding once in awhile. And I get to see Drew throughout the day so that’s a plus too!