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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Homesteading through a Blizzard

Barn under snow. And still falling.
Soon Bonnie won't be
able to see out the back door!
First things first during a storm.
Rob and the boys shovel
small pathways so we can get to the barns.
Blizzard Kolbe! Even though his
name is spelled different from this
blizzard I knew it was going to be
a whopper!

Butch is wondering
when all the white stuff will stop falling. 

Daisy at another hay feeder. There is
plenty for every goat!
Snow doesn't bother the goats
as long as they have yummy hay in their barn.

Gigi hanging around outside the goat barn.
Tommy wondering if we
are still going to milk the goats
in this weather.
Every morning he gets a sample!
The chicken run is under snow.
So we opened the entry way and
made it into a make-shift patio for them.
Katniss checks out the new chicken patio.
Chickens in their patio!
Chores done . . . let the games begin!

Bonnie having fun on the path.

Millie makes a bee-line
for the house. 
Yummy. Homemade
Hot Chocolate to warm the soul!
Homemade Hot Chocolate
For every 10 oz. of milk (we used goat milk of course)add:
2 Tablespoons sugar
a pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla 

Whisk in pot on low heat until sugar and cocoa are dissolved. Continue to heat until desired temperature.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

3 Ingredients = Great Savings on Laundry

Making my own laundry soap has been something I have done for quite a few years now. Even before I lived on our homestead I realized how important is was to keep our family costs down. It may seem time consuming or weird to whip up your own batch of laundry soap, but this small effort has proven its worth to me. Here is how I do it and the cost effectiveness.

The 3 Simple ingredients are:

1. Zote Soap = $1.70 (for this batch I used 1/2 of Zote and 1/2 of one of my homemade soaps). I found Zote Soap at Family Dollar for $1.00 but you can also order it online or I have seen it at Home Depot. You could also use Fels Naptha
2. Super Washing Soda = 3.49( you only need 1 cup per batch so = $0.44)
3. Borax (4lb. box) = 3.99 ( 1 cup per batch = $0.50)

A grater and a large pot to
be used only for soap.
5 Gallon Bucket
that can that the heat.

Some other things you need are a 5 gallon bucket, an old pot and a cheese grater. It also helps to have a long stick to stir the soap. One batch gives me 5 gallons of laundry soap.
Grated bar soap.

Grate your soap into your pot.

Add water

Step One: Grate your bar soap into pot. Add water and stir on medium heat until dissolved.

Medium heat and stir
until grated soap is dissolved.

Add 1 cup of washing soda.
 Step Two: Add 1 cup of Washing soda. Add more hot water. (I just use hot tap water, but some people like to keep another pot of water heated.)Stir until disssolved.
Add more water.
Stir until washing soda is dissolved.

Add borax.
Add more water.

Step Three: Add 1 cup of borax. Add more hot water. Stir until dissolved.

Step Four: Continue adding hot water and stirring until your pot is full.

Pouring hot detergent into bucket.

Step Five: Pour your mixture into your 5 gallon bucket. Continue adding hot water and stirring until your bucket is full. At this time you may want to add your own scents or essential oils.

Optional Step: Get a gorgeous man to help you stir.

After detergent is cooled
I transfer liquid to individual containers.
Step Six: Let the soap sit in the bucket until it is cool. Then transfer the soap into containers of your choice. It could be recycled laundry soap containers, or juice or vinegar jugs. Just be sure to use containers that will be easy to shake and pour.

Step Seven: Let it set in containers overnight  - it should turn into a thin gel. 

The only down side to this soap is sometimes it separates and you have to shake it before pouring it into your washing machine. It is fine to use in a High-efficiency machine (that's what we have). And it is a much more natural detergent. So for $2.64 you can make 5 gallons of laundry soap. One gallon of laundry soap can range from 10.00 - 20.00 (brand variation). You have to admit that is a huge savings. 

Is this method too time consuming? No, 5 gallons last our 6 person household at least 4-5 months. So basically, I only have to make a batch 2-3 times a year. The savings is well worth that small amount of time. 

I hope you found this post to be helpful. 
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Day in Our Boots

If you ever wondered what homestead, homeschoolers do all day. Here is a sample schedule of what a day is like for us. I try to get our family to focus on mind, body and soul each day. If we have touched upon each of these things throughout the day and the animals, the children and myself are still alive I believe it to have been successful.

4:30 a.m. - Dad leaves for work. I try to squeeze in 2 more hours of sleep.

6:45 a.m. - I leap out of bed late . . . screaming "we only have 5 minutes to make it to daily morning Mass, people!"

7:03 a.m. - We arrive to our pews just in time to hear the last half of the 1st Reading. Despite our usual tardiness we enjoy the rest of the Mass and still get to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. It gives us strength to make it through the rest of the day.

8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. -Back at the homestead we take this time to eat breakfast, feed all the animals and milk the goats. We also gather materials for our school subjects in between our many moments of distractions, fooling around, bizarre conversations and peeks at social media.

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - School work either at home or the library (the library is less distracting for us . . . and all the kids can get onto a computer without rotating on the one we have at home. But sometimes due to weather or car problems we have no choice but to stay at home for school work. The kids than take turns between book and computer work.) I am here for help or sometimes I work on blog posts.
We believe every animal on the
homestead deserves an education.
Here Millie learns more about rodents!

Homemade bread with peanut butter
and homemade raspberry jam!

12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Angelus prayer and Lunch (which is usually a salad or green smoothie for me and for the kids leftovers or sandwiches made on homemade bread. I do however encourage them to to have the green stuff too!)

12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - This time block usually is my flexible scheduled time. It may contain one or more of the following:
- More Schoolwork
-Workout at our Community Center (which includes swimming)
-Meeting with friends
-Crafts or Hobbies
-Other must be done homestead chores (depending on day and/or season)
-Baking, cooking, canning, cheese making or soap making
-Silent reading, personal art or writing
-Playing with or walking the dogs
-Volunteer work

Gigi prays while watching the fire.
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Divine Mercy Prayer and the kids get some free time. They usually choose to watch Doctor Who or check out their social media. I take this time to prepare supper.

One of our suppers. This is
boneless pork chops stuffed with
apple stuffing on a bed of
swiss card.
4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Last of the homestead chores, hay for the goats, collect eggs and close the chickens in for the night. We also tidy the house before Dad gets home. After Dad arrives home we eat supper. Supper is sometimes pretty gourmet or as simple as lentil soup and homemade bread. After supper we clean up.

7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. - Family Rosary and Relax Time.  Sometimes we watch a movie or show (while I knit or write). Sometimes we play a game or just take the time to talk and laugh together.

Once a week the boys film a local t.v. show.

Other nights the kids order pizza and the hubby and I get to go on a date.

Sometimes we meet friends at the Community Center Pool so the kids get to have fun with friends.

Bonnie pooped out from our busy day.

9:30 p.m. - Everyone retires to their bedrooms. Some chose to read, while others just flop down on the bed and fall fast asleep.

Even with everything I have to squeeze into our busy day I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful life!

Thanks for looking in on one of our days!