Homestead Skills: September

This post contains affiliate links.

You guys, I have been on a planning and goal setting spree! In my Homestead Skills Checklist post, I outlined all the things I wanted to learn, and I love to schedule, so I wanted to share my September schedule with you all! Now I have some accountability and will be able to have you all call me out if I don’t accomplish something. I have some fun new things in the works for those of you that subscribe to my emails too! September is going to be such a fun month!

September Homestead skillsWeek 1: Get some plants in their pots! I consulted many gardening websites and the Farmers Almanac and came up with some veggies I want to grow. Lettuce, spinach, and sweet potatoes are on my list. For the potatoes, I am going to use a potato bin!

Week 2: I am going to knit myself a sweater! I have been looking at a ton of different patterns, but I really need to level up my knitting game, plus I have so much found yarn in my house, that everyone I know will be sporting something I’ve knitted for them. I know I live in Florida, but we’re going back to Kansas for the Holidays, so I am getting the kids outfitted with hats, mittens, and scarves. You can follow my Knitting board here!

Week 3: Composting! I am gearing up to have my family go on a ZERO WASTE challenge. This is going to be tough, especially after a summer of easy foods and we had more waste than I have ever seen. My aim is to get us on track to not wasting and create great habits for the future!

Ginger soda
One of my first ferments, Ginger soda!

Week 4: FERMENTED FOOD! This is something that I have loved for a long time, and I cannot wait to start brewing kombucha and adding fermented salsa and pickles to my meals and get my stomach back in order.


Week 5: Home organizing and tracking. With all these new ideas and challenges, I really need to stay on top of what I am doing, what is working, what needs to change, etc. I am still trying to figure this out, but I NEED this in my life. If you are an organizing guru, drop your link in my comments, because I want to interview you!

That is it! This is a jam packed month, but I am ready to really begin to tackle these homestead skills! I’ll be sharing the books, tools, and links I use to figure this stuff out, and if you all have any handy advice, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment and let me know what has worked for you in the past.

Back to School Tips-How I prepped for the new year.

We went back to school this week, and I hate to say it, but it totally snuck up on me. Again.

The boy will be in third grade this year, and we have totally changed our lives. This year’s routine will be totally different. I work at home now, and we live just about a mile from the school, so we’re walkers! When I was on maternity leave, I loved the routine of walking the kids to and from school and the boy actually talked to me about his day. I want to believe that it’s because he cherishes our time together, and not just because there is nothing better to do.

I’ve been prepping for about a week for this first week back to school, and I wanted to share with you all what I did.

Passion Planner
My trusty planner!

I scheduled each day. With the new life changes this year, my toddler is at home with me. I decided to run a couple hours of “homeschool” in the morning before her nap. Each week is a different letter focus, we’ll be doing some sensory play and counting. I have this Pinterest board just for her, so all of my homeschool parents, feel free to send me your best stuff! I’m also a part-time virtual assistant, so I need about six hours each day to dedicate to clients and business, which I have broken out into two-hour blocks throughout the day.

I meal planned and then scheduled those meals. I have always meal planned, but I haven’t been planning what days each dinner will occur. This way I can have things chopped and ready to go, meat thawed, etc. on the night that I need it.

I prepped everyone’s breakfast and lunches. Even though the girl and I are at home this year, I went ahead and prepped our breakfast and lunches to make life easier and to make sure I have a better meal structure than I did over the summer. I did easy egg and cheese cups for breakfast, and everyone got their own lunches.

meal prep final
My fridge after everything is done!

Boy: Turkey sandwich with carrots, ranch dip, and an apple.

Girl (toddler): turkey pepperoni, cheese, peas, and crackers.

Mom and Dad: Salad with sliced turkey.

My family is honestly cool with eating the same things every day and I hardly have a complaint. I switch up the meats and types of veggies, but essentially it’s all the same stuff every day.

kid lunch
Back to school lunch!

The night before we made sure the boy had all of his stuff together. We discussed the new routine, walking through everything we’d be doing from sun up to sun down. I made sure he understood my expectations for the morning and evening routines, his chores, his behavior and the activities he’d be allowed between the hours of 3 and 8 pm.

 

I am going to repeat these steps each week, and my goal is smooth sailing all year long! Subscribe to follow and see if I make it!

Let’s make this the best back to school season yet!

Homestead Skills Checklist

In my suburban homestead planning post, I talked about how I wanted to do as much as I could on a smaller scale. So, I really wanted to create a homestead checklist to work through things I either need to brush up on or learn entirely.

homestead garden
Our garden back in 2014

I originally had the idea for this homesteading blog before our daughter came along. In those days, we were still tending to nine raised beds, six chickens, and two ducks all in our back yard. We were also on a mission to find at least five acres with a modest home and I was so excited at the idea of the new journey we were headed towards.

Homestead chickens
Our girls! I miss their eggs!

Soon, our jobs grew, our family grew and the dream of having our homestead with gardens, orchards, chickens, and animals faded to the back. It has been sad for me to leave this dream in the back of my journal to make way for my family and all that we need to accomplish on a day to day basis. This checklist is my way of reaching out to that dream and work on the skills that I will rely on when the dream becomes alive again.

homestead skills checklistThanks to everyone that I follow on my Pinterest boards, I got some amazing ideas on what skills are being used and what categories I need to brush up on.

Let me share a few things I have done over the past few weeks that fall in line with this thinking. First, I made enchilada sauce from scratch! It was so great and only took me a few moments to whip together in my Vitamix.

Then, when I was decluttering, I found a ton of yarn and my knitting stuff. Knitting was one of the very first things I taught myself using YouTube videos, and I am really proud of what I learned over that time. So, I have been working on picking it up again, but I keep getting frustrated and putting it down. I am currently in the market for some quick and easy projects to boost my knitting confidence (Knitters drop me some links or send me some pins on Pinterest!)

Little by little, I am going to be building on these skills and getting back into the swing of preserving foods, learning some home and garden care, and reconnecting with the outdoors.

You can download my Homesteading Skills Checklist! These are just my starting skills, feel free to add your own and have fun with it.

What are some things you want to accomplish in your home?

We are going to have so much fun y’all!! I will share my wins along with my failures and undoubtedly ask questions to all of you!


Tell me about your self-sufficiency dreams and things that you are already a rockstar with! Comment below!

 

 

My Favorite Summer Recipes: Cucumber and Tomato Salad

cucumber saladWhile I never intended to run a food blog, I do love food and coming up with recipes that nourish my loved ones. I love the whole process from the prep work to the eating. So, not sharing recipes that I love and recipes that I’ve come up with would not allow me to be true to my passions and the things I obsess over in my home.

I already shared my ultimate summer favorite, baked beans, it’s always a hearty barbecue favorite side and I never grill out without them. I hope you all LOVED that recipe, and if you haven’t made it, go do it now. Like most all of my recipes, this is another super simple, can be thrown together in minutes type of side dish.

Originally it was inspired by this cucumber, onion, and vinegar refrigerator salad my husband’s grandmother makes. I wanted something similar, but with a few more vegetables and most importantly, vegetables my children would eat.

I am a little nervous about sharing this because it’s barely a recipe, but enjoy it anyway!


Here are your ingredients:

4 Tomato

1 red onion

1 cucumber

2 sweet cornsalt

salt & pepper to taste

2Tbs avocado oil

2Tbs apple cider vinegar

 

Salads like this one scream out summer to me, it is so colorful, bright and cheery. Not too heavy, but the addition of the corn helps make it feel a bit more than just bunny food. Now, you could also add romaine to make it stretch out a bit if you are going to a large party or family gathering, but sometimes salads without lettuce just make me happy. Sometimes skipping the lettuce just is BETTER.

So then you chop it all up and I take out all the seeds in the tomato, it will last longer this way either in the fridge or at a party, and the cucumber will stay nice and crisp. Toss it into a bowl and put about 2 Tbs of Avocado oil and 2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Healthy, happy, easy…just how I love my food.

 

 

Also, I was half tempted to toss in a bit of honey, but the corn was sweet enough that I didn’t need to touch it. Oh, I just thought of something GREAT…toss that corn on the grill really quick before taking it off the cob to give it that summer barbecue taste. Now, I’m sad I didn’t do that, to begin with. I hope you enjoy this recipe and share it with everyone. Go ahead and make it your own adding spices to compliment your main dishes 

I also want to hear about your favorite summer recipes! Comment below…summer is almost GONE!!

My Favorite Summer Recipes- Baked Beans

This post contains affiliate links, and if clicked I may earn some money.

One of my favorite things to do is to cook for a crowd. I love being able to share food with my friends and loved ones for me, cooking, baking, eating equals LOVE. I also enjoy the tradition of a summer barbecue party, and with the fourth of July weekend having just passed, I was inspired to share one of my favorite summer potluck recipe, baked beans!

Baked beans are the best, they are syrupy and sweet, can be served hot or cold and customized to fit whatever you are grilling. For example, whenever my husband smokes ribs, chicken, brisket, I save some back and make a smoky, super meaty version for the next day. This recipe starts with a very basic recipe I always use and then add more stuff in for extra goodness.

I will start by saying I got most everything in this post from Aldi (I found the sauce in the back of my pantry and already had the mustard), we have one in our neighborhood, and I love shopping there since it is such a money saver. I definitely recommend this, but you can find everything at any store, I’m not a fan of using weird ingredients too often.

baked beans ingredientsThe ingredients:

2 green peppers, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

5-16 oz cans of pork n beans

4 links cheddar turkey sausages, chopped

                                                                   1 cup barbecue sauce

                                                                  2 TBS of yellow mustard

8 slices of bacon

chopped turkey sausage

What I did differently, was add the turkey sausages and a bit more vegetables than I usually do. I wanted a heartier side, and the party I was attending was part of my gym crowd, so I knew they would appreciate the additional protein and veggies.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 325°. and get your veggies chopped, I then heated up my cast iron skillet and tossed a bit of bacon grease in there, not a ton, just enough to saute the vegetables a bit, you can also use butter or olive oil; just get the onions and peppers tender.

baked beans mixed

Chop up your turkey sausage, I slice and then quarter them, so they will go throughout the entire dish. Open and drain your five cans of pork and beans, then mix them together.

Add your sauce and mustard and give it a good stir, then add to your disposable tin pan and top with bacon slices that have been cut into quarters. This particular bacon was sliced really thin, so the slices got pretty crispy.

Bake for around two hours, honestly I wait till I start to smell the bacon and the sauce, then I check the consistency of them and want them to be syrup like.

baked beans final

 

So, folks, I am a new blogger and you can tell because I did not snap a picture of the final baked product!! I was headed for the door with two kids in tow and trying to beat the rain…so you will just have to try it for yourself. Take my word when I tell you it was, beautifully browned and bubbly, and completely gone by the end of the night. These beans were super hearty and could really stand on their own as a great campfire meal.

Did you try this? Make your own variation? Let me know in the comments below!

Meal planning from a busy mom

I take pride in my meal planning and preparations for my family. I love to cook, and since I am still working, I never get time to prepare the meals that I would really like. Sometimes I find it really difficult to be inspired to create meals for my family of four. Generally, I am incredibly lucky that they are just fine eating the same things the entire week.

This allows me for prepping most of our meals on Sundays and grab and go during the week. My process is fairly simple: look for store ads for sales and coupons, (Thank you BOGOs!!) then build my meals around those items.

A few things that I have to keep in mind: I am a busy mom, so casseroles and crock pot meals are my best friends. My eight-year-old has soccer at least two nights during the week, so at least two dinners need to be portable for him.

I have a toddler in the house, so soft finger foods are her whole deal right now. Lastly, the husband also cannot cook during the week, everything must be heat and eat style.

1. Take an inventory of everything that you currently have in your pantry and freezer.

I think a bunch of people miss this part and constantly clearing pantry of old items they haven’t used. I let this step be the start of my meal plan and helps me save dollars by using up my current stock. This week, my husband is smoking a giant pork loin we got on sale a while back. I also have two pounds of beef in the freezer, from when I bought three pounds at a sale price last week. So I know there will be a spaghetti day and a taco day (I know I am boring right now, but it’s so fast.) I have also take inventory of my self-canned foods and dry goods, I just keep a running list from week to week and mark off as I use them.

2. Download and use your local grocery store app.

My local grocery store has an amazing app that lets your put together a shopping list. I use it to remind me which aisles and brands are having the BOGOs. This also gives me online coupons, since I am far too lazy to buy a paper and clip coupons by hand.

3. Put pen to paper and start to formulate your plan for that week.

I do keep the grocery store app stuff electronic, but it just helps me to think to be able to write it out the old fashioned way. I take my simple template and spell it all out, this is to prevent impulse buys and make sure I get everything. I also keep my meals in a column on the page, so I don’t forget what my focus is.

How do you all keep it together and make sure your family and loved ones get fed every day? Share in the comments below!