Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kale Chips

I have discovered a very yummy, very healthy snack. 
Kale chips!

Super simple.

Pull your kale in fairly large pieces off the ribs of the stalk. 
Lay on a baking sheet
Take a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and toss together
Sprinkle with sea salt 
Bake at 275* for about 45 min- 1 hour
Give them a quick toss about mid-way though.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Tearing down and building up

There comes a time in ones life, if you are honest, when you have to look at yourself and ask... 
What am I doing?
Am I where I need to be as a Christian?
As a wife?
A mother?
A friend?
A teacher (in homeschooling Mom's case)?
Am I fully sold out for the Lord? Am I serving Him with ALL my heart?
Or am I giving Him the leftovers?
Am I walking hand in hand with my husband on the same path?
Or am I trying to sway his heart and mind?

Friends, I am going to be completely honest and real with you here.

For a long while, I just kept on believing I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing. I was blinded by my own pride. It's not easy to reveal to others that pride was welled up in me, but it was. I felt I was doing good by my husband, my kids, I was a good Christian... well, good enough. 

I have been pulling my husband down a road that was not the path the Lord has for him. I was playing tug-o-war. Pulling, pleading, wanting my own selfish way... for many, many years.
My husband in his good-natured, loving way, would talk with me, but I didn't want to get it. I would eventually win him over, I thought. 

Thankfully, I finally began to listen. To listen to what God has been wanting to show me for so very long. He has a job for me. It is to serve my husband to follow my husbands lead, to be his helper, to work alongside him. To serve my family. To serve The Lord.
Everything else is secondary. 

I won't tell you I've been a wretched wife or mom, I haven't. I adore my husband and my kids. I love them and I serve them daily.... what I mean is.
My heart, it has not been in the right place. 

I've wanted my own way.

This doesn't mean our, I mean my dream of a farm is never going to happen.
 It might. 
It doesn't mean we won't garden, or can, or keep chickens. 
What it means is, I am letting go of my own way and truly asking The Lord to give me direction.
To help me serve my husband and our roles in the church more faithfully. To share our lives with others more openly. To hopefully point more people to the Amazing Love of our Savior. 

I let my homesteading dreams become idols. They became TOO important to me. So important that I  was short-changing the ones dearest to me.

I want my life to be a testimony to God's gracious love. I want to shout it from the rooftops, I want His Grace to flow out of me and onto those around me. I want to see others feel the deep, deep love of Jesus. 

So forgive me friends, please. 

My heart has returned to it's First Love.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sourdough Banana Bead

Lately I have been waking up very early again... It's a good thing!  

This way I can get breakfast on the table. 
Breakfasts have been pretty bland lately, so I thought a nutritious banana bread would be a nice change. 
The house smells amazing by the way...
What a happy way to wake my children up!

Sourdough Banana Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil/butter/lard
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup sourdough starter
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (use can use 1 white/1wheat)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream fat, sugar, egg and vanilla.
Add bananas and starter
Add flour, salt and soda.
Do not overmix

Bake at 350* til golden brown and middle is set.

(you could also add nuts, chocolate chips, poppy seeds, etc)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Closing in...

I do believe this has been our busiest summer so far. So busy that I am *just now* gearing up for our 2013/2014 homeschool year! We will begin the first week of September. So I have about 2 weeks to get a plan and to organize that plan. As with anything I do, I like to have things really FRESH. Meaning, I want to completely clean the area, top to bottom before we start. I want to rearrange, make things more organized and easy to access and to find. 
So we begin. 
Pulling out books, Rearranging books, Sorting through books.
It is no small task. 
If I am not back in the morning, it's because I am under a stack of books somewhere in my home.

Let the planning commence!

Friday, August 16, 2013

{this moment} :: 8/16/13

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, August 15, 2013


My nephews begin school next week, so they wanted to come and spend the night with Aunt Chassy... I know, not really... they wanted to spend time with my kids, but I want to believe they love me too. haha
So while we were sitting down to supper the night prior, my middle nephew Kade says, "Aunt Chassy, what are we having for breakfast in the morning?"
I asked him, "What would you like?"
He replied, with NO hesitation, "PANCAKES!"

Well, that was easy. Meal planned for me. 

I have been using a recipe for a while that the family loves! I also have been making them BIG, I used to make little 'silver dollar' pancakes, but I have realized that I can make one big one in about the same amount of time and everyone loves the big flap jacks.  
Here's the recipe

Homestead Pancakes
3 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (you can use plain, but I LOVE buttermilk)
1/2 cup oil (I use coconut)
1 Tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

Blend first 5 ingredients together for about 3 minutes or until very frothy.
Add flour and baking soda, mix briefly, just til combined.

Fry up on a griddle with a little butter or coconut oil.
Serve with real maple syrup. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

No Grocery Store Challenge Update

So! How's it going?
Have you been able to save a little for these past two weeks?
Have you had to take a trip to the grocery?
I'm going to be straight up with you...
I have.
Kicking and screaming... (not really) I did go to the supermarket.
There have been some circumstances that forced my trip. It's ok though, because through it we got to celebrate a birthday with some extended family.
My BABY boy turned 8 a few days ago! That's my youngest... My youngest is 8!!
I am nearing 40, what?!?!? Excuse me for a minute.
Ok, what? We were talking about the grocery store.
Anyways, even if you have had to take a trip to the grocery store (like me) keep on with the challenge. Try not to go back. If you are like me, any time I can avoid it, I can avoid garbage foods and overspending. So don't give up. We've got 2 weeks to go.
You can do it!
I can do it, too! :)


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

::In my kitchen::

In the true homesteading spirit, I am doing my best to really use e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g and not let things go to waste. This years sunflowers are coming in a little at a time and being saved for seed. Eating and planting for next year... and drying some for my fall decorating that will be here soon!

Apples from my very own tree, into the crockpot for applesauce for this mornings breakfast and for canning.

Pumpkin seeds drying for next years planting. 

The shaker pickles that have been working up on my counter are now canned and ready for the pantry shelf. 

And my little fella who is a very reluctant reader is practicing his reading for me while I break beans. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

this moment :: 8.9.13

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How our garden is growing :: 8.8.13

The garden is a busy place right now. Some things are finishing up for the season. Making room for new plants to arrive for the fall garden that we ARE planting this year. 
The sunflowers are tall, proud and gorgeous. I love that in this quick snapshot, we see a bee making it's way from flower to flower. 
Yesterday, this was our haul. So beautiful! 
More green beans for our pantry shelf. Grape juice waiting to be canned as I type.
Pumpkins ready to puree. It's a bountiful time on the homestead right now.

The swiss chard is still growing beautifully. I have just planted another couple of rows! Yay!
A very busy happy time. 
Today we are canning more spaghetti sauce. 
Have a wonderful day! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oatmeal in the morning

Breakfasts can be blah, can't they? 
Truthfully, I don't always jump up ready to make a big pancake breakfast or bacon & eggs, biscuit and gravy breakfast. Some mornings I want to sit and savor my cup of coffee, the quiet and let the earliness of the morning linger just a bit longer. 
To do this, I prepare the night before. 
Refrigerator oatmeal is one of those 'prep' breakfasts. 

I pulled out a lot of options for the family, so they could personalize their own combinations of flavors. 

Every one of us got this basic recipe in the jar...
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds

After that, it was free choice.
We had peanut butter and apple.
Pumpkin seed and peaches
Chocolate chips with raisins
Each one choosing what they thought would be a flavor combination they would like.
We shook our jars. 

We labeled our jars.
And into the fridge til morning. 
Breakfast is done!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Canning Days

Canning days are a special time around here. It's been a tradition a long time in the making. We had canning days when Nannie Red was still alive. Those were glorious days to be in our family. The kids helped too, but afterwards,  we got to play! 
Time has passed and now my sister and I have our own family, the tradition of canning days continues with all of us at Grandma Jean's house.  
Over the past week or two we have put up corn, green beans, squash, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, salsa, okra, pickles, beets... and the list goes on. 

It's part of the fun. We all get together, we all bring what we have and share everything. Most of the time, it all equals out. I may have more of this, or Sister may have more of that, Mom has this... we pile it all together and make the best of it. It is a blessing. 
When it's all put by, we split it 3 ways. Even Steven.
We all go home with achey backs, throbbing hands, full larders and happy hearts. 

There have been times where we have processed things alone at home. And still, it is a blessing we are very grateful for, but,  the canning days make it so much sweeter when we are all together. 
I love seeing my children helping out. Taking the role that I used to have so long ago at Nannie Red's. 
Even my little brother while at home the other day got in on the action of processing our 40 dozen ears of corn we were creaming. 

These are days of work, but days of sweet memories also. Days I will treasure for as long as I live. I know one day, when my children have grown into adulthood, they will look back and remember canning days with the same fondness that remains with me, today. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Grape Jelly

It's getting that time of  year again. Our grapes are turning that gorgeous shade of purple and are about ready for harvesting.  When yours are ready, here's all you need to do to make up a great batch of grape jelly with Pomona Pectin. 

4 lbs grapes
1/2 cup water
Mash grapes and add water, bring to a boil
Turn down heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes
Pour juice into a fine sieve bag and drip until all juice is extracted. 
Juice must set in refrigerator overnight. 

4 cups juice
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
2 cups organic sugar
4 teaspoons pectin
2 teaspoons calcium water

Prepare juice  and add it to pan with lemon or lime juice.
Add proper amount of calcium water. Stir well

Measure sugar into separate bowl and mix with pectin. 

Bring juice to boil.
Add pectin-sweetener.
Stir rapidly to dissolve pectin, bring back to full boil
Remove from heat.

Fill jars...
Process jars in hot water bath canner for 10-15 minutes 


Our grapevines are not only housing grapes this year, but also some gorgeous baby bird eggs. Thankfully Moma bird is just caring for her eggs and not picking off our grapes. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

{{this moment}} :: 8.2.13

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, August 1, 2013

No Grocery Store Challenge

It's August!!!

With August comes a new set of challenges, we are feeling the summer still in full swing, but at the same time we are realizing that fall and winter are not too terribly far away.
Yesterday at almost noon our temps were in the high 60's! Almost unheard of for the last day of July in the South. It was lovely, and it does get ones mind thinking about the days to come. 

A friend of mine suggested something last night. I thought it was a great idea, although it *might* be tough. I like a good challenge, though. 

For the month of August, I challenge myself and you if you so choose, 
to stay OUT of the grocery store. 
Are you serious???

Yes, I am serious. 
Well, what will we eat?

We will eat from our pantry
We will eat from our garden
We will eat from our freezer
We will eat from our fridge

I'm not suggesting ANYONE starve themselves or their family. 
This is just a way of challenging ourselves to get real with our food and to see where we can cut costs and stay away from grocery stores that suck our wallets dry. 

These are permissible:
  • Farmers Markets, preferably once a week at most (this is a challenge after all)
  • Local co-ops (we have a produce co-op that delivers twice a month)
  • Local Farmers (milk, eggs, veggies, fruit, cheese, etc)
  • Azure Standard
  • Eating at someone else's home
  • Decide a do-able money limit for your family and set that as your limit for the month (I know every family is different)
  • Also, I know that like myself, August is a busy time for buying in bulk or buying to put by for winter. This is PERMISSIBLE, because most of the time you are not going to get these things at a grocery store anyways... But if you do happen to have an awesome grocery in your area that you find a fantastic deal on food to put up for your family... this is OK.
  • You may barter or share with friends.  Example: Friend 1:I won't make it all month with the amount of coffee I have available... Friend 2: I will give you some that I have to make it, or I will trade you some coffee for some zucchini. :)

So what do you say? Would you like to still provide great meals for your family and save a little money in the process? I know I do! Come along with us for the month and let's challenge one another!

I will try and post a weekly menu as part of our encouragement to eat what we have. If you blog, do the same! I think it will be a great way to stay accountable and to help one another along for the month!

TODAY is August 1st, so there is no going to stock up now on things we might want... 

If you would like to participate, leave me a comment below!