Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Jan 25, 2015

Pantry/Dark Days Challenge Meals, Vintage Chicken Wire Frame, Freebies :)

 Pantry/Dark Days Challenge Meals-
I realized the other night I did a combo! Pantry Challenge and Dark Days. I used frozen red bell peppers, frozen pepperoni, leftover cheeses, my frozen homemade/organic pesto, and local pizza dough. A double header! Tonight we're having Jambalaya (the mix is pretty good!) with shrimp and Andouille sausage. I have leftover bread to go with it, and salad with homemade dressing.

My Inspiration

Vintage Chicken Wire Frame-
Last summer I saw the frame above in Idaho City, and snapped a quick pic. They had planed the wood down to bare. On the way home I found an old, chippy, $10.00 local window frame at Habitat, and Dave and I broke out the glass and added leftover chicken wire. I thought it woulds be a great way to display my vintage kitchen items.

I recently took a small wire brush to ours, and I got to decorating today, it took a few tries for placement but easy easy otherwise. Dave added the wire and bracket to the back. All done! Here's the print that was there before, over our dining room table-

New frame-

Total cost- $10.00

Since it was much heavier, Dave added 2 brackets on the back and hung on the studs. I don't think it's going anywhere! Since it's hung with raffia I can change the placement pretty easily if needed.

Yesterday I was reminded of the adage- one person's trash is another treasure! I met with some fellow librarians to hang out, and some brought swappables. I scored a hand-beaded butterfly, with glass beads. I thought it was plastic until I got it home and looked up the name on the tag Pretty much a fair trade deal and glass beads! Really nice. I hung it over my computer in the dining room-

Reminds me of Spring!

I also got a new pitcher from Italy, nice! I decided to plant my new ivy in it :)

I like the green ivy and the green kitchen items. Maybe I'll train it up the chicken wire! Love freebies!!!

Jan 17, 2015

One Month Pantry Challenge- Doing An Inventory

One Month Pantry Challenge, Doing An Inventory-
Last weekend I ran out of time to do a good inventory of our freezer and large pantry closet. I did it tonite. I found this helpful- 1 Month Menu Plan Grid  It's a nice sized, free printable menu grid/calendar. I also found this nice, simple freezer inventory list here-

This got me started to write the basics of what we have, in the freezer and pantry closet. Unlike most people we don't have a lot of frozen meats, since we don't eat a lot of meat. We eat lots of vegetarian foods!

We had 2 meals so far- frozen chicken smothered in homemade frozen pesto, with leftover french bread and salad. Ditto the leftover chicken, with taters and more salad.

Tonight I made- Spicy black bean soup and corn bread, good for a cold, rainy night. I use the pre-made "soup" as a base and added what's in the photo, + 1 more can of corn & spices. I mashed the canned beans slightly. Yummy and filling with the corn muffins made with buttermilk.

Main pantry closet

Chest freezer, a great investment!

Our version will look a bit different, since we're not feeding a family with kids. With just the 2 of us, our meals can be more flexible. I know I won't be able to do a whole month without fresh veggies, milks and fruit. I may buy more meats too, since I don't store a lot of those. Some of the items in my pantry are for long term/emergency food storage so they are off limits for this purpose. I am generally just challenging myself to use up more everyday stored foods, to rotate them and then will work on replacing with newer foods. I have a lot more fish than I thought so I'll make a Finnish Salmon Pie. I made it last year, added lots of peas, and great flavor! There's always lots of fresh eggs too. Speaking of the hens- they'll get any freezer-burned foods (if any) so they will be recycled :)

I got out these handy sheets I hadn't used yet to play with menu planning-

Here's a few more tips to save money! Lessons Learned on the Front Lines of Frugality

Jan 15, 2015

Liebster Award!

Liebster Award!
I received an email today saying my Little Homestead blog had been nominated for a blog award! What fun! It's always nice to have people acknowledge all the years spent building a blog up. I received it from Britni at Homeschoolinmommychronicles  Britni says-

The Liebster Reward is and award being passed around the blogosphere to up and coming bloggers. The rules are as follows:

    Acknowledge and thank the blog who nominated you. Done
    Look for an award image that you like, and post it on your blog. Done
    Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/blog who nominated you. Done
    List 11 random facts about yourself. Done
    Nominate 11 blogs with under 1,000 followers to receive the award. Done, but I will do 3. I don't follow that many blogs, sorry.  
    Let the bloggers know that you nominated them. Done
    Give them 11 questions to answer. Done

Here are my answers for Britni's questions:

    1-When you were a child, what was your dream job? Do you have that job today? No, I never had one specific job, but I LOVE being an elementary librarian!!!

    2-What are your 3 favorite books? Rumi- The Essential Rumi, The Lord of The Rings books, and Ordinary People As Monks & Mystics: Lifestyles for Spiritual Wholeness. Quite a range, eh? :)

   3- If you have to move out of the country, where would you move to? Either Scandinavia (probably Norway or Sweden), or France/Italy/Spain. 

   4- Can you cook? YES! I'm quite a foodie, and have lots of great compliments over the years.

    5- Is there any post you’ve been planning to do, but have been postponing for awhile now? Yes, news of my death ;)

   6- If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? Invisibility! Think of the information you could glean! Just don't get run over by a truck...
  7- Do you prefer the beach or the mountain? Why? Mountains, hands down- trees, water, snow, clean air and wildlife...
  8- What movie did you love to watch as a child? The Sound of Music

  9- What is something that your learned recently? How to play school politics :)

 10- What is your favorite season of the year and why? Winter- no yard work or food preservation!

 11- What TV series do you watch? I have Netflix and just finished Firefly, great Scifi show! Otherwise- NCIS New Orleans, NCIS and Chicago Fire.

Here are my 11 random facts:

1-I hate school politics
2-I LOVE Traders Joe's chocolate bars with whole hazelnuts, oh my!
3-I hate shallow people, not hate, but find them INCREDIBLY boring
4-I LOVE SNOW!!! I could live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, you name it. BUT I would need green summers too
5-I worry about aging
6-I worry about my adult kids stupid mistakes- I hate having to sit back and watch them happen
7-I love my adult kids :)
8- I love my best friend, who is also my hubby Dave :)
9- It pains me to listen to women of all ages constantly criticize themselves, especially how they look. It's pure self-loathing. Who taught them that???
10- I just want a decent night's sleep- every night :(  Long story...
11- I'm listening to my cat snore right now :)

I'm nominating....

Jackie @ Bornimaginative Wonderful posts and amazing photos!!!

Margo @ Thriftathome  Great ideas, family stuff and photos!

Susan @ E-i-e-i-omg-bybiddie  Just too freaking funny, and really inspiring, doing it all alone :)

I'm asking the three lovely ladies these sames questions-

    When you were a child, what was your dream job? Do you have that job today?
    What are your 3 favorite books?
    If you have to move out of the country, where would you move to?
    Can you cook?
    Is there any post you’ve been planning to do, but have been postponing for awhile now?
    If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
    Do you prefer the beach or the mountain? Why?
    What movie did you love to watch as a child?
    What is something that your learned recently?
    What is your favorite season of the year and why?
    What TV series do you watch?

And what are your 11 random facts?

Thanks all!!! 

Jan 13, 2015

Create A Simple Home Inventory, Aebleskiver Success! Do You See What I See? More Thrifting/Sales, Front Hall Mini Re-Do

Create A Simple Home Inventory-
I had meant to do this for years, then read this- Kiplinger Simple Home Inventory  Really pretty easy, and will save you a huge headache later, if something happens. You may have all those weird items, like I have- Grandma's blue glass toothpick holder from the 1920's, worth $100.00. Add up all the furniture, clothes, books, collections, firearms, tech, etc. it can add up much faster than you think. Just take some simple, but specific photos, and store them. In 2 different places. I'll put one in our little, fireproof safe. and maybe store online.  Better safe than sorry!

Aebleskiver Success!-
With my fondness for Scandinavian things over the years, I remembered Aebleskivers . I had gone to the town of Solvang, CA on a trip with my Dad as a kid. I remember eating these little Danish, luscious puffballs. Then I read about them recently! My daughter got me a gift certificate from Amazon for Christmas, and I found a great deal on a pan. While I'm not a fan of many kitchen gadgets, I got one for myself, as a gift :) It came with a great little cookbook that worked great. I used the basic recipe, with buttermilk and stiff eggs whites. They came out super fluffy, like a cross between a donut and a popover. Yummy!!!

My little pan

Recipe book included

How to make Aebleskivers, from Solvang where I went as a kid!

Do You See What I See?-
No more holidays, now it's all about winter! I'll keep my goodies up another month until it's time for a few Valentine's Day things. Here's a peek- 
Made these

Made this

Over our bed
In the kitchen

And Empress Anya on our new comforter :)

More Thrifting/Sales-
This last weekend we hit a Goodwill thrift store and Lowe's. I found a brand new denim jacket, the chicken trivet, wooden mini-planter, fall napkin holder and flower print. At Lowe's I found 75% off red, felt wool balls and the exterior holiday light bag. Dave loved it!

Anya had to stick her nose in!

Cheap and fit perfect with our front lights
Love the chicken:)

"After" photo

Front Hall Mini Re-Do-
I had this cute little birch, thrifted hanger for a while, but didn't know where to put it-

Over winter break I noticed our dining room looked much nicer. One day I asked myself- what's different? I realized I usually hung my purse, lunch bag and tote bag for work on one of the chairs, kinda messy. I had stored them for break elsewhere-

That day I had a revelation! I could put the hanger in the front hall, under the little shelf. Dave did a quick install, cheap fix!

All better!

Jan 8, 2015

Giveaway Winner Is...., Super Simple Pot Roast, One Month Pantry Challenge

Giveaway Winner Is....
Lisa!!!! Lisa pleas email me your shipping address. Find the "contact me" tab on the right down near the bottom. Thanks to the small group who participated!

Anya chose the winner in her paws :)

Sorry for the blur

Super Simple Pot Roast-
Last weekend I wanted a nice, big roast beef. I saw this and thought, hmm, huckleberry roast beef. Why not? Well, I got a pot roast instead thru a miscommunication :) So, change of plans. I wanted something really simple, with no veggies. I found this Beef Pot Roast (with onions) and it came out fab! Juicy, moist tender, lots of Au jus. I only added 1 TBL of Worcestershire to the recipe. I saved the onions for the next night, and made French Dips. First night I served it with buttery/pepper whole grain linguine, and salad. Night 2 dips. For the Au jus I added about 3 TBL of flour, thickened slightly, whisked a lot, then 3 cups of beef broth. Perfect, not a gravy, but slightly thicker broth. Next time I'll try Katie's recipe. They're all good! Love her show on PBS :)

One Month Pantry Challenge-
I knew I needed to work more on my freezer and pantry items. I used some home-grown, frozen nectarines, and leftover fresh cranberries and made crumb-topped dessert. Wonderful and tart! Then I read A Months Meal Plan For The Pantry Challenge  and had a "oh yes!" moment. I will have to do this a bit differently since there's only 2 of us, but it's a good starter plan. This weekend I'll go thru everything and make a list. I can save a lot of money, experiment, and save a lot of $$$. Great idea! I'll post more of my challenge!!! Feel free to join in :)

Jan 4, 2015

500th Post Giveaway, Top 10 Posts of 2014, 100 Life Hacks To Make Life Easier

500th Post Giveaway-
Well, it's taken a while buy I got here! There's always up and downs with blogging, as you all know. Whether you write one or read one. One I loved stopped suddenly when the writer passed away. Another I loved just stopped, I emailed her, but no response. Sad. I assume there were some kind of personal problems, and I hope she's OK. Anyway.... to celebrate my little blog I have a few fun things to giveaway! It's a tea basket! But not any tea basket- some wonderful Earl Grey tea and English Oat tea cookies! And for summer, the screen netted basket!

Nice, classic Earl Grey tea

From England! Crunchy, you can taste the oats, pretty healthy & not too sweet

Fun basket with retractable netting to keep the summer bugs away!

Just leave a comment about why you like my blog and you're in! I'll have Anya randomly choose a winner by Wed. this week. I'll post it here, so you'll need to check back and email me your address. I'll re-draw if I don't hear back from the winner by Sat.... Good luck!

Top 10 Posts of 2014-
After seeing others posting theirs, I was curious what mine were. So here, for the first time on my blog ever, they are.... drum roll please-

1- Thrifting, More Projects Done, Lagenlook Clothing? Who Knew!

2- How We Accidentally Saved Lots of Money & Supported Our Local Community Services, DIY-Indoor Hanging Herb Garden

3- How to Make Water Kefir, Choc Chip Oat Pecan Cookies, Freezing Rain, Ice/Snow's Coming...

4- Free "101 Things To Do ’til The Revolution" eBook/PDF, Goodnight Moon Parody

5- Bathroom Remodel Reveal- Finally! Fun DIY Home Makeovers For Less Than $50

6- Free Chicken Pergola, Recipes- Graham Crackers & Marshmallows, Rhubarb Sauce, Independence Days Challenge, Garden, Staycation Ideas

7- Hey You Idahoans! Handsome Young Man Needs New Home

8- Food Pantry Re-Do & Some Prepping Info, Food Fatigue

9- Simple Amish Kitchens

10- Harness Driving Goats And Dogs

I thought it was interesting, the range from fashion to fermenting! Thanks to Dave for figuring out how the heck to get this data from Blogger. There's gotta be an easier way~~~

100 Life Hacks To Make Life Easier-
Wow, some really great ideas here!!! 100 Life Hacks That Make Life Easier  My personal fave-

Jan 3, 2015

Thrifting/Sales Finds, Anya's New Spot, More New Year Deep Cleaning, 500th Post Giveaway!

Thrifting/Sales Finds-
I have been looking for a new summer quilt for two years. My search ended this week! It needed to be king size, even though our bed is a queen. It has a deep pockets mattress, I gave up on dust ruffles, so I just needed a longer one. I wanted something nice, soft cotton, durably made. I went thrifting lots of times, but could never find one. I went to Ross this last week and stumbled on to this-

New Quilt!

Nice, fine quilting, soft and reversible, with opposite stripes. I washed it and put it on over the comforter. I LOVE it! $35.00 well spent. I gifted my daughter with our old one :)

I went to Lowe's and found these babies, 75% off, just like the Scandinavian ones I had seen online but much cheaper. I wish I could knit and I could have made the red balls! Too cute to pass up, so I bought some for next year. I will get rid of some more things to make room for these. My kids love my leftovers!

Tomtens! (or gnomes) 

Little trees

For some generic winter decor I bought these nice, neutral burlap-wrapped snowflakes. Perfect on my old, chippy window! Good size, about 5" across. All of these packs were a buck or two each...

Anya's New Spot-
After I made a small pile of donations on the floor Anya decided it was her new "spot'-

More New Year Deep Cleaning-
I gave away a car full of donations this last week, deep cleaned both my linen hall closest, Dave wiped down all the kitchen cabinets, oven, baseboards and fridge. Now it's mopping and vacuuming! It's nice to have the extra time over break to deep clean. Nothing better than starting the New Year clean, tidy and more organized!!!

500th Post Giveaway!
Wow, it's hard to think I've done 500 posts since 2011! To celebrate I'm putting together a little giveaway. I'll put something together and put it up here. Anyone in the continental U.S. can join, and it comes with free shipping! Check back soon!

                                           500 POSTS, WOW!!!

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