Monday, January 27, 2014

Dinner Plans 1/27 ~ 2/1

Monday ~ Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday ~ Greek Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Squash

Wednesday ~ Baked Ziti with Meatballs, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Take Out

Friday ~ Beef Stew, Homemade Rolls

Saturday ~ Ground Beef Stroganoff, Bread & Butter

Sunday ~ Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Desert of the Week ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Linked to Meal Plan Monday

Friday, January 24, 2014

Redoing the Garden Journal for the coming season

Last year was the year I formally started documenting everything that went on in the garden. I also blogged here a ton, so that is kinda a journal as well. This year, I decided to add a few more things to my binder. Here is my journal last year. Garden Journal 2013. I took out the pages from last years journal and put them together at the end of the new journal so that I am able to refer back to it if needed.

Last year, the program I used to help me determine the dates to plant what started to charge 25.00 a year. Seeing how I will only use it once, I didn't think it was worth the money. Instead, I went on a search to get more updated dates from someone from my actual state. I came upon the UNH Cooperative Extension (duh, why didn't I go here in the first place) and found the planting and maturity dates of vegetables in New Hampshire. You can find the list here if you live in NH: Planting & Transplanting Info. There are also some other interesting links that you might check out as well.

New this year to my journal is a pH list for Veggies, Fruits & Herbs, Soil Temperature chart, and a Seed Depth chart, all can be found here from Mike the Gardener.

I updated the Companion Planting chart from the small one I used last year. I found this wonderful full page one that is loaded with all sorts of veggies, fruit, herbs and flowers. The printing is small so more info will fit on it, but I can deal with it. You can find the chart here.

The last things I added to the journal was detailed info pages on each of the veggies I plan on growing. I wanted to make my own up, but found these instead and they were exactly what I was going to do, but with more info. It is an ebook that you can download from USA Gardener. I just printed out the pages of the veggies that I will be growing and added them to the back of the journal. Here is the page on Bush Beans.

Of course I once again added the pages from Terroir Seeds Garden Journal. I just love it! I also save the seed packets that I use. If I saved the seeds from the year before, I will keep the seed packet from that year as well, to refer back to it if needed.

Hope you enjoy my updated garden journal. What kinds of things do you add to your garden journal, if you keep one?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Made To Crave ~ Chapters 1-3

This past week we started another Bible study over at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Like the past study, I totally need this. It's a diet book of sorts, about reaching a healthier you while strengthening your relationship with God.

The first chapter goes over cravings and how God made us crave. It talks about ho Eve was tempted and craved the apple. It also went over how Jesus was tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. I crave all sorts of things, but mostly food. It drives me nuts sometimes. Of course when I give in to that craving, I eat way more than I should. Because of this, I have put on weight. Of course it doesn't help if my doctor puts me on Prednisone to help with my arthritis flares, that stuff gives me the hungry horrors and I eat a ton.

The second chapter talks about replacing our cravings for food, for craving God, something I desire a lot. Of course as I type up this post I am eating homemade waffles with butter and powdered sugar on it. Right now my biggest problem is with sugar. This is going to take some getting use to. Cutting back on sugar will be hard.

The third chapter is about making a realistic plan to help you ditch the cravings of food, for the cravings of God.

This weeks Blog Hop topic that I chose was #Empowered.

I am empowered! I know I can do this. Not only will I loose weight and will me in a smaller size, but it will help my RA. My loosing weight, I am not putting so much pressure on my joints. My hips and knees have really started to bother me a lot recently. I am going to do this to make my pain lessen, so that I can maybe do the things that I love that I haven't been able to do.

"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God"  Psalm 84:2

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dinner Plans 1/20 - 1/26

Monday ~ Leftover Chicken Pot Pie, Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday ~ Turkey Noodle Soup, Homemade Bread

Wednesday ~ Baked Ziti with Meatballs, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Barbecue Country Ribs, Roasted Potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Friday ~ Tuna Noodle Casserole

Saturday ~ Greek Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Zucchini

Sunday ~ Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans

Desert of the week ~ Homemade Apple Pie

Linked to Meal Plan Mondays

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What does "Homesteading" mean to you?

This is a post that I have been wanting to do for sometime now. I have had some people tell me that I can not possibly homestead where I am. I beg to differ. So, what does homesteading mean to you?

The definition of a homestead is:

  1. a house, especially a farmhouse, with adjoining buildings and land.
  2. Law Property designated by a household as the householder's home and protected by law from forced sale to meet debts
  3. Land claimed by a settler or squatter, especially under the Homestead Act
  4. The place where one's home is 
I have a home and I do have a little land and one outbuilding (a storage shed). So, according to the first one, I have a homestead.

I live in a mobile home (a home is a home regardless of what it looks like and we own it outright, so no mortgage). I do live in a small mobile home park, but because it is small, each home here has a decent sized yard. Our park is just two streets. The side that I live on has nothing but a stream and a tree line behind it. Our park owner said that our lot is the biggest one in the park. He also doesn't care what we do as long as it is kept neat. 

This is the stream behind our house. This was taken in late spring before the stream was overrun with wildflowers and weeds. You can see a tree that fell in the upper left hand corner. That is the "bridge" that Matt uses to get to his fort.

This was part of the garden last year. You can see the tree line behind it at the edge of our yard. Matt has cleared out a little area in the "forest" to make a fort.

We are not allowed to have outdoor animals, so that limits us. We can not have the chickens or goats that I want. So no eggs and milk to make cheese. The hubby wants to get bee's but I am not to keen on that idea. I would love the honey, but not the risk of getting stung. A neighbor not that far from us (not in the park) has a few hives, so we saw lots of his bee's in our yard last year, just not as much as the year before.

Most of the blogs that I read here have what some people consider true homesteads. They have acres of land, animals, large garden, etc. This is why I think most people consider what I am doing is not homesteading, hence the name of my blog. 

So how do I define homesteading? To me, it is a way of life. I grow my own veggies and preserve them in a few ways (canning, dehydrating, freezing). I am frugal in the way I shop (I coupon, price match, use thrift stores, meal plan). I am also eco friendly (I use cloth bags when I shop, use a clothes line in the summer, use cloth pads for my period, rags and towels instead of paper towels, we recycle and compost). I also cook from scratch. Not many prepackaged things are found in my house. I think the only things that I have are some boxes of cake that I got cheap.

To me, this is homesteading in the 21st century. A life style of self sufficiency. Granted I will not be totally self sufficient, but I do what I can to lower our footprints. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Picking the seeds for the 2014 garden

I love this time of year. When all the seed catalogs start showing up. Curling up in bed with a hot cup of tea and a catalog. Lots of mine are dog eared and starred from picking plants to try and get. I order some of the ones I grow every year, seeing how I know how they do in my area. I also am planning on trying a bunch of new plants this year too.

I got a bunch of catalogs this year. My go to companies are:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Johnny's Select Seeds
Territorial Seed Company
Seed Savers Exchange

As you can see in the picture, I got a ton of other catalogs. I've enjoyed looking through them to see what the offer, if there is anything different that might work out, and the prices. For the past couple of weeks I have been making my lists, crossing items off, finalizing things. I think I am finally done with picking them out. Now to start placing the orders for them. Here is what I plan on growing.

What I always grow:

Bush Beans
Pole Beans
Garden Peas
Summer Squash
Butternut Squash

New this year:

Brussels Sprouts
Dry Beans
Chinese Cabbage

The garlic and blueberries were planted in the fall so they got an early start. I ordered 2 year plants so I might have some berries this year, but I will have some for sure next year. We also eat a ton of watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe, so I am hoping these do well. All of the fruit I picked said that they are perfect for my northern climate. I can (and usually do) go to the farm down the street to get our strawberries, but I want to be able to go out to my own garden and pick them whenever. Same with the blueberries. I picked out three plants that will each produce blueberries in June, July, and August, so I will have berries all summer long. I am drooling now just thinking about eating all the veggies and fruit we are going to grow. So excited!

Now to plan out the garden and make sure all the plants will work with each of the ones I plant next to it. We are also going to be building some pore vertical gardening things to help maximize the space we have to fit all these veggies in.

Dinner Plans 1/13 - 1/19

Monday ~ Corn Chowder (never made it last week)

Tuesday ~ Meatloaf "Muffins", Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Wednesday ~ Chicken Parmesan, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Turkey, Stuffing, Butternut Squash, Cranberry Sauce

Friday ~ Turkey Pot Pie, Mashed Potatoes

Saturday ~ Stuffed Pork Chops

Sunday ~ Turkey Rice Soup

Dessert of the Week ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Linked to Meal Plan Mondays

Friday, January 10, 2014

Monthly Plans for January


  • Homemade stews and soups
  • Homemade Bread
  • Root Vegetables
  • Hot tea and chocolate

  • Seed catalogs coming in
  • Pick out seeds to order
  • Plan garden layout and plant rotation

  • Snow everywhere 
  • Full Wolf Moon
  • Tracks in the snow
  • Lots of winter birds at the feeders

Fun Holidays 
  • National Hot Tea Month
  • National Soup Month
  • National Hobby Day
  • New Years Day (1)
  • Fruitcake Toss Day (3)
  • National Bird Day (5)
  • Cuddle Up Day (6)
  • Bubble Bath Day (8)
  • Houseplant Appreciation Day (10)
  • Make Your Dreams Come True Day (13)
  • Dress Up Your Pet Day (14)
  • Ditch New Years Resolutions Day (17)
  • Penguin Awareness Day (20)
  • Martin Luther King's Birthday (20)
  • National Hugging Day (21)
  • Squirrel Appreciation Day (21)
  • National Pie Day (23)
  • Spouse's Day (26)
  • Chocolate Cake Day (27)
  • Backward Day (31)

Family Fun 
  • Make snowmen
  • Make snow angels
  • Have snow ball fights
  • Go sledding
  • Learn how to ski (Matt)
  • Make seed ornaments for the birds
  • Family movie nights

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Book List For 2014

I read a lot. My house has tons of books and magazines all over. My Kindle gets plenty of use. I killed two of them so far and now have a Kindle Fire HDX. I have nearly four thousand books on it, but not all have been read.

This year, there are a few, okay a bunch, of books that I really want to focus on reading. I have both fiction and non-fiction books on my list. Lots of these I got for free (like 13 different Beth Moore books!!) or very cheap for the Kindle. Some I have read before but just need to refresh my memory. Here is my "little" list.


  • The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman
  • Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer
  • Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer
  • Beyond Hope's Valley by Tricia Goyer
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer
  • A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter
  • Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemyer
  • Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson
  • The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

  • Putting on the Spirit by Katie Horner
  • Revealing Jesus Devotional by Darlene Zschech
  • Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore
  • A Heart Like His by Beth Moore
  • Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph
  • My So Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn
  • Made To Crave by Lysa Terkeust
  • Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
  • Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow

  • Trailersteading by Anna Hess
  • Ask Jackie - Homesteading from Backwoods Home Magazine
  • Best of the Barefoot Farmer Volume 1 by Jeff Poppen
  • The Under Cover Gardening Guide by Nicolette Goff
  • How to Plant Your First Companion Garden by Spencer Hillside
  • Blue Berries in Your Backyard by R.J. Ruppenthal
  • Homesteading in the 21st Century by Janet Williams
  • Companion Planting by Mel Jeffreys

  • Natural Allergy Remedies by Dr. Terrell Clements
  • Essential Oils for Skin by Susan Henry
  • Natural Homemade Remedies
  • The Natural Home Pharmacy
  • Natural Home Flu & Cold Remedies by Sophie Littlefield

Monthly Plans for December

It just dawned on me that I never posted our December themes and plans. So, here it is, a little late.


  • Gingerbread
  • Clementines
  • Homemade cookies of all kinds
  • Fudge
  • Candy Canes
  • Ribbon Candy
  • Pomegranates
  • Fruitcake (yuck)

  • Plant greens and winter berries in window boxes
  • Make sure the garden plants have plenty of mulch
  • Get the snow shovels, plow and ice melt ready

  • Snow falling
  • Poinsettia
  • Holly 
  • Mistletoe
  • Christmas Trees
  • Cold clear nights
  • Cold crisp days
  • Shortest day of the year
  • Full Cold Moon

Fun Holidays 
  • World Aids Day (1)
  • National Fritters Day (2)
  • Special Education Day (2)
  • International Day of Persons With Disabilities (3)
  • National Cookie Day (4)
  • Santa Day (4)
  • Day of the Ninja (5)
  • St. Nicholas Day (6)
  • Pearl Harbor Day (7)
  • Letter Writing Day (7)
  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day (8)
  • National Brownie Day (8)
  • Christmas Card Day (9)
  • Human Rights Day (10)
  • National Poinsettia Day (12)
  • Gingerbread House Day (12)
  • National Cocoa Day (13)
  • Bill of Rights Day (15)
  • Cat Herders Day (15) 
  • Go Caroling Day (20)
  • Winter Solstice (21 or 22)
  • Christmas (25)
  • Boxing Day (26)

Family Fun 
  • Make Gingerbread Houses
  • Drive around and look at the lights
  • Decorate the Christmas Tree
  • Decorate the house 
  • Make Christmas gifts
  • Make and send out Christmas cards to family
  • Send out Christmas Cards to soldiers
  • Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes
  • Buy some toys for Toys For Tots
  • Make homemade hot chocolate mix
  • Make cut out snow flakes
  • Play in the snow (if any)
  • Make a snowman (if any)
  • Watch Christmas movies
  • Read Christmas books
  • Spend time with the family
  • Advent time
  • Set up the Nativity

Monday, January 6, 2014

First week in the 31 Days To No Spending Challenge

Click picture for Challenge information

This past week of the challenge was a short week because it started on Wednesday. But in all, we did well. It also helped that the hubby had Friday and today off, so there was no takeout food for lunch for him. 

I tend to cook from scratch pretty much all the time, so out food budget is cut down big time now. Most of the coupons out there are for processed boxed food that is so salty and bad for you. I have been thinking of stopping using coupons because I haven't used any in a few weeks and my budget is still low. I honestly have no budget for food, but I like to keep it around 60.00 or so every two weeks. 

This weekend I did need a few food items and ham was still on sale, so we grabbed a couple to put in the big chest freezer in the shed. Food items we got this week are: 

Two hams 10.51 and 9.52
Celery 1.58
Mozzarella Cheese 4.98
Whipping Cream 2.42
Gallon of Whole Milk 2.49

Total spent on food this week: 31.50

I might have saved more if I could have found coupons for the cheese and cream, but I didn't see any. We did buy two papers this Sunday for the coupons. A neighbor also gave me their inserts. There were 4 inserts total in each paper, so there should be some good ones in there. I have yet to look. My coupon binder needs to be cleaned up big time. Something that I do every year around this time anyway.

My menu for this week is all home cooked meals, including our dessert for the week. You can find the menu here: Dinner Plans for 1/6 ~ 1/12.

The hubby is working tomorrow, thank goodness cause he is driving me nuts, so I can get a few other things done. Like the freezer inventory (I have three freezers, two totally full and one partly full) so this will take awhile. I also need to look at my pantry stock. I know I am low on baking soda, so I will need to add that to my shopping list for this week. I tried to find some at Walmart today, but all the had were little boxes. I want a big box of it. I use it for cooking and cleaning, so it gets used a lot. 

Now if the hubby is a good boy and does not spend any money on food outside of my budget, we will be fine. He has a habit of spending money on lunch while he is at work and then not eating it. Drives me up the wall. I need to make sure I have some tuna or chicken salad ready for him for the morning. 

Well, week two is off to a good start. I will tell you all about it on Sunday.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dinner Plans 1/6 ~ 1/12

Monday~ Turkey Noodle Soup

Tuesday ~ Ground Beef Stroganoff, Bread & Butter

Wednesday ~ Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Veggie, Ham & Cheese Rice Bake, Rolls

Friday ~ Corn Chowder

Saturday ~ Baked Mac & Cheese, Croissants

Sunday ~ Leftovers

Dessert of the Week ~ Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie

Linked to Meal Plan Mondays

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Personal Goals For 2014

Most people make new year resolutions. I have before too. But like everyone, I didn't keep them up past the first month. This year, I am not making a list of resolutions, I am making a list of goals I want to accomplish. I already made up a list of our homesteading goals and some from there are here on my personal goals. I really need to do those badly.

I have noticed on other blogs that people have been making one word the theme for their year. I can not pick just one word. For me it would have to be organize, focus, and declutter. See a theme there?

So, my goals for this year are:

1. To declutter and purge out things not needed from my house. We have accumulated a ton of "stuff" in the 5 years we have lived here. We even threw out a ton of stuff when we moved too. So the hubby and I need to go through everything that we own and toss or donate a ton of our stuff. Steve is worse than me. He has many "collections" of stuff all over the house, the shed and now our storage unit. My biggest problem is books. I love to read and have three and part of a fourth bookshelf full. Not to mention my new Kindle that has over three thousand books on it. Good thing the hubby got me the one with 32gb memory. hehe

2. After we finally, or during the decluttering part, we will organize what we have left. For me the biggest part is organizing the kitchen and my big closet. I have boxes in my closet that I haven't opened in a couple of years. We also need to organize Matt's room and his closet to make the most of his small space for all his things. We purge his things a few times a year and donate the things to a thrift store in town. I need to reorganize my household binder and my budget binder to make them more user friendly.

3. I also need to learn to focus on one thing at a time. Because of my RA and the pain I am in, my mind is all over the place. Sometimes I feel like I have ADD or something. When I am on the computer, I have more than one tab opened, usually three or four. I also will have a couple of books on the sofa with me that I am reading at the same time, not to mention the Kindle with a few books going on it too. Then the tv will be on. Right now I am using my Amazon Prime free movies and tv shows to watch tv. Stargate SG-1 has been playing all week long here.

4. Sew more. I have a few sewing projects that I need to get going. I need some new cloth shopping bags and new cloth pads for my monthly visit. I also want to make some "Swiffer" sweeper cloths for dusting and mopping. I need to finish making the Christmas Stockings that I started before this past Christmas and the panda blanket that I started over a year ago for my daughter. I would also like to make a quilt for my bed. We don't have anything pretty in our room, so I want to make something pretty.

5. Read more. I have not read much this past year and I miss doing so. I have been way to focused on the computer and tv. I need to cut those back for awhile I think. Spend more time with my nose in a book on the Kindle using my imagination. I have so many new books sitting on my living room bookshelf that I want to read. There is a mixture of fiction and non fiction. I need to get in the habit of reading my Bible and devotional first thing in the morning before I check any kind of email or blog stuff.

I need to focus more. There's that word again. Maybe that should be my word this year. What is your word or goals this year?

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