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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Autumn is Officially Here and So Are All Things Apple and Pumpkin!

I cannot stress enough how much I love the Fall!!  Especially for one suffering from hot flashes, the cool, crisp air is a blessing from my precious Lord!  On that note, I am enjoying a cuppa of my homemade pumpkin coffee.  Yummy!  I simply put my favorite coffee, Chock Full Of Nuts, into my brewing basket.  To that I add about a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 t. cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, with just a pinch of allspice.  I mix that around and voila!  Pumpkin Coffee!  Once that is poured into my favorite mug, I will often add sweetened condensed milk.  Wow!  So delicious!  This is to be savored sitting in a comfy chair, curled up under an afghan, with a good book in the peace and quiet.  Nice!

I have been busy dyeing roving and knitting swatches of my yarns for my shop.  Getting ready for the fall/winter selling season.  You never know what a yarn will look like when it's knit or crocheted.  Hopefully this will help.

Last evening, I discovered, what I think, is a wonderful Science website, Physics4kids .  They also have Geography4kids, Biology4kids, Chemistry4kids, and a link to a really good math site - Rader's NUMBERNUT.  My sweet hubby wants me to start teaching some serious science to our 4th grader, Ben.  So, we are going to start Physics.  Just a basic class - nothing too involved, but he wants Ben to have a general knowledge of motion, matter, speed of light, etc.  I am pretty convinced , right now, that I am definitely am going to go for DVD courses in science when he gets older.  I was pretty good in Biology, Earth Science and basic Physics, but to get an in depth education in Chemistry and Physics will require DVD teaching!

As far a our organic, healthy way of eating, it's coming along.  The trouble is leaving home.  When we go to anyone's home or church for meals, it's tough, mentally, to stay the course!  However, we are doing much better than we were a year ago.  Now,I am going to be forced to stick within my $60.00/week budget!  I will post my menu for this coming week, along with my grocery list.  Then, I'll let you know how I did staying in my budget.  I love the challenge!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I love the fall!  I mean, I really LOVE it!  The coolness of it.  The art of it - all the beautiful colors!  The smell of it!  All of it!  I feel so much better inside and out in the cooler weather.  Although, praise the Lord, our summer was super mild!  I don't think we ever got into the 90's.  Whoo Hoo!

So, we are still trying to eat healthy, although I have not abstained from sugary desserts like I had intended.  I need to pray about getting control of this area.  However, I am doing much better than I have been doing.  Still trying to get the hang of the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.  It isn't that hard, once you get the concepts of carbs, fats and how they interact with your body.

I have not been using my Wonder Washer that much either!  I need to go to my original plan of having the kids do their own laundry and then all I have left are my and my husband's clothes and towels.  It does work great, though.  Only 2 minutes for a large load and 30 seconds for the rinse!  WOW!

I am working on my ETSY shop a lot!  I have kinda slacked off a bit this summer, but our bank account is screaming - "Get back to work!".  I am expanding my line of roving quite a bit.  I'm also going to start on my first digital instructional video!  I am excited about that.  I'm going to do a basic spinning class, I think.  It would be a great gift combo with a spinning wheel!  We will see.  Ben, my now 9 year old, has agreed to film me.  We will see about that, too!  LOL.  I don't know if he will have a steady enough hand.  Anyway, I am grateful for his willingness.

I have completed 2 baby blankets this summer.  And, on the urging of my family and friends, I have added custom baby blankets/wall hangings to my shop.  I am not sure if this will work, but we will see!  I did enjoy creating each blanket a lot. 

I have discovered, through Stacy Makes Cents, a great meal planning site.  In the past, I would do a menu for the week, but I would forget where the recipes were - book or computer,;  which book;  which website?!  This site does away with that!  Your meal plan, recipes and shopping list are all in one spot!  And it is super easy to import recipes as you stumble across them on the internet.  Just one click!  The site is Plan To Eat.  Check it out!  There is a 30 day free trial, then it is just $4.99/month.  Well worth it, I think.

I am going to sign off and enjoy a cup of Creamy Pumpkin Pie tea before homeschool starts!  This is wonderful with cream and honey!  Yum!!  And the aroma is fantastic!  I highly recommend this organic blend by Shoshanna at the Bulk Herb Store!

TTFN (as Tigger would say - Ta Ta For Now)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life Au Natural

I am finding and creating dishes that my family is liking this past week, praise the Lord!  I was beginning to think that my 8 year old son was going to have to get a feeding tube if he didn't start eating soon!  Smoothies saved the day!  His favorite contained everything but the kitchen sink!  It had Kale, wheat germ, flax seed, coconut, blueberries, strawberries, mango, vanilla yogurt, oj aconcentrate, and a breakfast blend all natural juice - oh, and some egg shell water ice.  What is that?  Well, I saw it on this YouTube.  It's good for bone health.  Anyway, he loved the smoothie!

I promised I would tell about my chili!  It was awesome!  I cooked some organic kidney beans in a pressure cooker with some sea salt.  I then put 1 tomato, 1 onion, some basil and oregano, banana pepper, and a hot pepper in the food processor.  I added that to my beans - water and all.  I also browned 1 pound of organic hamburger and added that.  It was still a little on the thin side,so I added a little cornstarch.  I'm going to order some arrowroot, which can be used to thicken and won't contain the carbs.  It was delicious!

I am in the process of reading Trim Healthy Mama at the recommendation of a friend.  It is really eye opening!  I love it!  I will share some of the wisdom as I read on!

I made 4 quarts of homemade vanilla yogurt this morning along with a pint of sour cream.  I haven't tasted the yogurt, but it smells fantastic!  My little girl had a little of the sour cream on a bean burrito we had for lunch.  It wasn't really ready, but there was a little bit of firmness on the top, so she got a little of that.

Oh, and the big news is I got my Wonder Washer yesterday!  We have done about 6 loads in it and it has worked great!  Drying the clothes is a challenge in this rain, so I'm having to use my dryer.  My goal is to try and take us off grid as much as possible. I have a pic of it on my  Facebook page.  Just click the link.  I posted it yesterday, so it should be pretty close to the top of my page.

I am stir frying this evening for supper.  No meat - just veges.  I have some whole grain rice.  According to Trim Healthy Mama, I should have a protein with this, but life goes on!  I just took some granola out of the oven that I made to go over my vanilla yogurt for dessert!  It has nuts in it, so there is a little protein!

Take care and Happy Living!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Ther are some challenges with going chemical/hormone free in your eating - namely cost and taste.  Yes, cost is what keeps a lot of families from going natural.  However, if you overcome cost, you are still left wanting in the area of taste-at least for a newbie.  I have 3 goals for my new c/h free lifestyle.  The first is to eat c/h free on a budget of $60.00 a week for a family of 4.  Secondly, I want to be able to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks that my family will love.  Lastly, I want to share it all with my dear readers.  I want to eventually post menus with recipes and costs.  

For now, my success and failures in the past 2 days.  Homemade pineapple ice cream - UCK!  Ok, I followed a recipe for this one.  The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of liquid Stevia.  I thought that was a lot, but, hey, it's a recipe that someone has tried and liked!  I did use coconut milk in the place of evaporated milk, bot the aftertaste of the stevia was terrible!  It was not edible.  That was Monday evening.  This morning, I made an oatmeal casserole for breakfast.  Success!!!!  This was a winner.  Even my picky eater ate it! Here is the recipe:

1 organic apple cored and sliced
1 c. raisins
1/2stick of butter
2 eggs
1/2 c of maple syrup
2 T. wheat germ
2T. Flax seed or flour
3 c. oatmeal
2 t. baking soda
1t. sea salt
1 c. Vanilla Almond Milk
2 t. cinnamon

Grease a shallow casserole dish.  Layer the apples and raisins in the bottom.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a mixer.  Pour this mixture over the fruit.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. 

The apple, raisins, butter, eggs, wheat germ, oatmeal, and Almond Milk were organic.  Kroger has an organic brand that is relatively inexpensive.  I buy a lot of my groceries from Kroger.  They also have c/h free meat.  

This afternoon, I gave the ice cream another try.  This time I used honey instead of stevia.  I didn't add any fruit. I used vanilla almond milk in place of evaporated milk.  It was a lot beter, but not much taste.  We added some leftover breakfast casserole as a topping and it was really quite tasty.  Next time, I will add a little more honey and another teaspon of vanilla.  

As soon as I perfect the ice cream, I will share the recipe!  Coming tomorrow - Awesome Organic Chili!  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Going Natural!

Hello everyone!  Well, it's been 5 months since I last posted.  That seems to be a recurrent theme!  Let's see...

We started our new homeschooling year using the Charlotte Mason method.  We began our new school year the first of June and my kids are loving it so far!  So do I.  It is so exciting to see them anxious to do school.  We are using living books for science, history, literature and grammar. Ben and Grace are remembering things much better using the living books.  Message me if you want details about what we are doing.  I'm happy to share but don't want to bore those who have no interest!  We also started French using a YouTube course with 72 lessons!  My children have taken Spanish for 3 years and I thought I would let them experience French for 2 or 3 years and see what they like.  We have school at the park, at home, outside under a tree - really nice to break it up.

My yarn shop, Simply Homespun, is doing great!  I am introducing mini skeins this month.  I didn't even know they were in demand!  People are using them to make "hexipuffs" that are then joined into a Beekeepers Quilt.

So, I decided to take the mini skeins and do a little twist (no pun intended) - I made them energized!  These should make quite a show in a quilt.  Look for more of these coming soon!

The Hines family has also gone all natural!  We haven't had sugar in the house in about 2 months - well, there is a little bit left in the canister, but it is about 3 months old.   We are using honey and stevia in place of sugar.  I still haven't mastered making a cake with stevia, but I'm working on it.  I did make some lemon lavendar muffins and they did rise, so that was a major victory!  I used yougart as a bulking agent in place of the sugar.  When you use stevia, you have to replace the bulk that the sugar would have given you as it only takes 1/4 t. Stevia to every 1 cup of sugar!  Sugar really contributes a lot to a recipe - sweetness as well as texture and bulkiness!  It is fun experimenting though.  I am using Stevita.  It doesn't have any after taste.  It is expensive, but using so little of it, it is probably going to wind up being less than sugar per serving.  I am trying really hard to use only food without chemicals or hormones.  It is really expensive - about double our $50.00/week grocery budget, but it is worth it.  My little 6 year old was starting to develop early thanks to the hormones added in meat and milk!  That was my motivation in switching our life style to an all natural one.  I made my own laundry detergent, am making our own bread from chemical free flour, and have gone back to raw milk from hormone free cows!  We are making our own butter from the milk so that has helped us save on butter as well as cutting down our usage of butter significantly.  All in all it has been fun, but I'm going to have to be more diligent in sticking to a budget and planning a detailed meal plan each week.  I will be posting our menus here so that anyone interested can take advantage.  Also, I will put the food cost up for you.  I wish I had this now from an experienced "naturalist"!

We are getting ready to go to our small group Bible study this evening!  So, until next time...

May God bless you and yours!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Catching Up

Ok, so it has been 5 months between posts - meaning I'm not very good at blogging!  lol  I'm so sorry to anyone who is following me on this site.  I am going to do better.  I know I've said it before, but I am really going to put forth an effort to be regular.

I'm still dyeing fiber and spinning yarn!  I am still homeschooling my 2 youngest.  I'm still trying to live frugally so I can continue to stay at home.  So, in these areas, nothing has changed.  I am going to keep my posts short, but helpful in some way. 

So, with that in mind, I have a few things I have learned this year so far:
1.  2 ingredient cookies - Banana and Oats - amazingly turn out like a cookie sans taste.  You must, must, must use extremely ripe bananas.  I didn't on the first batch and UCK!  No taste whatsoever.  The second batch, the bananas were a little riper, but to be on the safe side I used some honey and a pinch of salt.  These were better, but still not a strong taste.  So, I am going to try in one final time with almost rotten bananas and oats and see if they are any better.  The recipe got rave reviews from lots of women, so I must be doing something wrong.  I'll keep you posted!

2.  Do not buy fat free cheese.  It should be illegal to call this cheese.  It is nothing like cheese - you can't chew it, it doesn't melt and it has no flavor! 

3.  Even if you love the smell of books, you will probably love a Kindle!  I thought I would never like a Kindle.  However, my daughter got one and I thought it was pretty cool.  But, still, I thought it is just something else that I want, but would never use.  I ran a book store, for Pete's sake.  I love books - the feel, the smell, the sound of pages turning, the highlighting and note taking in the margins, etc.  Well, my daughter gave me her Kindle (she upgraded).  It's just the basic white Kindle - black and white with no bells and whistles at all.  Well, I LOVE it!  I am addicted to downloading free books!  lol  And the amazing thing is, my little 6 year old who is not doing great in math, will readily do addition flash cards on the Kindle!  She doesn't realize it's school!  At least for now.  So, I'm going with it!

Here are a few of my favorite freebies for the Kindle:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Brown Bear's Addition Flash Cards (Level 1)  This actually costs $1.99 but well worth it.  Level 2 is free.
The Covenant by Beverly Lewis  - Truth be told, I haven't read this particular book bur everything I have read by Beverly Lewis is really good. It is sitting in my Kindle in my "pleasure reading" folder!

TTFN (ta ta for now)

May the Lord bless you and your family and keep you in His perfect peace!