Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Loving what I have (being content)

This Christmas was so wonderful! We got Kyle a few items and didn't go over $20. Tom and I agreed that becoming debt free would be a better gift to each other then getting something for each other. We are learning to be content with what we have. We are buying things we only need and nothing else, sometimes it hard but we just think about having no debt. So we are on our financial Journey and hopefully if we keep plugging away at everything like we plan we will be debt free before we know it!!

Even though we live in a 650 sq. ft. home with two bedrooms and one bath. We are content, because some day this house will be paid off and we will be debt free and own it! :) So if sacrificing square feet to keep us out of debt, I am all for it!

I have been listening to a man named Dave Ramsey. He has an awesome story and just tells the truth to peoples face, which I really like. I have also read his book and wow talk about motivated! I would highly recommend reading his book and listening to him on his website.

So I hope you check him out and get sooo motivated to get out of debt too! :) Also remember God will provide the things we NEED , so don't be scared to down size and live below your means to get out of debt. That is what I want to do, not only to get us out of debt, but also to make a bright future for our boys and for our retirement and life journey! :)

Hope you are inspired to do something about your debt and to just be content with what you have and knowing GOD IS IN CONTROL!!

Let me know how your journey is going!! I would love to hear and for us to keep each other motivated! We can do this!! :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter fun

Well I am at a loss. I am trying to think of things to do with the kids over the winter. Kyle likes doing crafts, but only for so long. I don't want them to veg out on the tv watching movies all day. Anyone have any creative games? Crafts? I would prefer free or very cheap. :)

I don't know why my brain isn't functioning enough to think of things, but sometimes you just need a little brain boost from someone. :)

Any ideas would be greatfully accepted!

Today I was kicking tooshy! I got all of the laundry and dishes done. So for tomorrow that leaves dusting, sweeping and cleaning the bathroom! Then done for a little. :)
I am ready a very cool book I got from the library, it is called Back to Basics. It teaches you everything about sustainable living and how people lived the basic kind of life. We could really learn alot! I am waiting to get another book from the library called, the encyclopedia of country living! I can't wait sounds so good! Have you read any great books lately? I would love to hear any recommendations!

Well off to get dinner finished up before Tom gets home. Have a wonderful evening everyone!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec. '10

It has been a while since I have written, busy with the everyday life. :) Today it is 32 degrees out and very windy. You can tell winter is on it's way, which for Kyle is very exciting he wants to go sledding again!
We put the Christmas Tree up last weekend. I love putting up the ornaments and seeing how our life has changed through the years. From when Tom and I had our first Christmas together, when we were dating, to when we had Kyle , and now Tyler. I love this time of year! I hear all these things about what my kids want and how much people are spending on gifts and it is sad to me. Christmas to me is spending time with my family and being able to share a time to be happy and so thankful for the miracle that happened and for the Real reason for Christmas.
Don't get me wrong everybody likes getting gifts, but I dont want our boys growing up thinking that Christmas is all about presents, for them also to know it is better to give then to recieve gifts.
Tom and I have decided not to get each other major gifts this year. We would rather put the money toward repairs or things we want to do to this house or to put into savings for that homestead out there for us someday.

I have started sketching out the garden for this coming year, I know , I know, but I love gardening! :)So I am excited about hopefully getting more yeild out of the garden this year since we experimented with a few things last year. I will post a run down of what we will be growing in a few weeks.

Anyway, I was out of the making my own stuff there for a while, but I am getting back into it. :) I made two loaves of bread lastnight which will be for sandwiches and for french toast which we will be having later in the week. I made a batch of laundry detergant and some maple syrup. (and no I did not go out and tap a sugar maple! :) hahaha) I found a easy recipe that taste just like the store, but it only has 3 ingredients.

Maple Syrup:
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Maple extract

Bring water and sugar to a slow boil over low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat before it comes to a rolling boil. Stir in maple extract as it is cooling.

There you go and it costs around 20 cents to make. That is some savings!

I have also tried my hand at homemade marshmellows. Which I am excited to say they came out great! Great in Hot Cocoa.

I thought I would give an insight to the menu plan for this week.

Monday: 16 bean soup and homemade rolls
Tuesday: Homemade Hamburger Helper and corn
Wed : French Toast
Thurs.: Meatloaf, wild rice and carrots
Friday: Spaghetti with garlic toast
Saturday: Oatmeal with toppings
Sunday: Leftovers
Can you tell we like breakfast foods! hahaha

Well, hopefully it won't be this long till the next time I write. But if it is I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas! Don't forget what this season is really about!

God Bless,

Friday, September 10, 2010


Sorry I haven't been on here lately. I have been really busy and not feeling to hot either. I am going to post how I shelled and froze soybeans, the other day. This is our first time doing this. A wonderful woman out our church and her husband grew alot of soybeans this year in there garden and asked if we wanted some. Well, who can say no to free food! :)

So while we were picking the soybeans I asked her how do you use soybeans in cooking? What do you put them in? She told me you can put them in a stew like any other vegetable. They put it in stir fry and with corn for a type of succotash, instead of lima beans. I am going to do some more research on how to cook with them. Any one else use soybeans before with their cooking? How did you use them?

So here is how you shell soybeans....
Once you pick them you will put them in boiling water and blanch them for about 5 mins. then strain them out and then you can easily push on the pods and the beans will come out. The beans have a clear skin on them, if you just squeeze gently the skin will come off. ( You will be very sticky by the end of this process) :) Then you will want to rinse them again in a strainer and put them into individual bags for meals. Tada! Here are some pictures:

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! :)


Friday, September 3, 2010

Canning so far and homemade laundy detergent

I thought I would share the recipe I use for laundry detergent. It cost about 7cents per load! :)
Here is how I make my homemade laundry detergent.

1 bar natural soap (ivory is best) grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup borax

Mix together. Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

Kyle enjoys helping me make this!

I wanted to update on how my canning has been going this year. Still not doing huge amounts but getting there. I have done pickles( dill, bread and butter), stewed tomatoes, ketchup, peaches, applesauce only to small jars( hopeing to do more this fall). And hoping to get more applesauce and do some pie filling to finish up.

I just thank God everyday for all He has given us and for all this wonderful food he gives us to can and eat! What a loving and caring God! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Busy Busy

Today was a busy day! I froze 6lbs. of potatoes and 3lbs. of green beans. Our freezer is really looking like it is getting ready for the winter. I am hoping to get enough frozen/ canned that we won't need to buy fruits/ veggies during the winter months. I am going to go to Roots market on Tuesday night next week and go to the produce auction. !!! I am so excited! I have never been there before but our one neighbor went and got a huge box of produce for $1.00 and 6 tubs of ice cream for $1!! Crazy! She said she would take me but even not maybe Tom and I will go! Yay!!

On a worse note, it was so hot today! It was 93 degrees and our corn I think had it's last day. Thankfully my zucchini is still hanging in there. I did see a couple of flowers blooming so hopefully I can get a few zucchini to freeze. I can't wait for fall to be here that is for sure. I am not a heat person. I love spring and summer because I can plant my garden but the heat is just crazy. Hopefully next year we will have a more mild summer.

Kyle starts our church's "school" next tuesday! He is really excited and so am I to have atleast 3 hours to run errands or just to have time to myself sort of. :) Hopefully Tyler will be sleeping during this time. I can't think of anything else for tonight! So I hope you all are doing great!

Happy Homesteading from the Wagner family! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is a picture of our corn so far! Still to small to pick but getting there!

And the pictures of the bug I found on the green beans today. Anyone have any ideas what this is?? It is a worm of some sort wasn't sure if anyone new what kind. (Sorry the pictures are so blurry, it was tiny and my camera couldn't focus to well on it.)

These are pictures i wanted to post of our rain water barrels. This has really come in handy when we don't get a lot of rain for a couple of days. :)

Does anyone else have a rain barrel system? I would love to know what yours looks like or how you collect your rain water!

Visit to a goat farm!

Earlier this month we went to visit a running goat farm to see how they ran it and just to get an idea of a small operation they had. What a blast! We learned a lot and of course Kyle loved being able to be with the goats. It was hard to get him in the car! I think when we start our goats we are going to be purchasing from them for sure. It is also nice they are friends of the family as well :)

Laundry Line!!

I thought I would post pictures of the Amish style laundry line Tom put up for me , for our anniversary! :) I love it!!

Our night at the fair!

On Tuesday night we went to our local fair and had a great night as a family. Of course the first place we had to stop was to see the livestock! :) Goats, sheep, beef and heifers! Then on to the petting zoo and baby chicks hatchery (which both were Kyle's favorite!) Then we had some cheesburgers for dinner and milk shakes for dessert. ( I know not the healthiest meal but hey it was the fair! ) After eating dinner we went and played on the tractors from Tom's work. Then one last visit to the animals. Kyle just loves animals, I can't wait to have some of our own for him to grow up with! then we headed home, Kyle was so worn out he fell asleep in about 5 mins. of being put to bed. It was a great night!

Fall is on it's way!!

I did some more researching about homesteading last night, like I seem to be doing every night when the boys are asleep! :)

Last night I learned you can use tomato jars that you get from the store to use for your canning. ( like the vegetables from your garden!) How awesome is that! ) the blog: said the good ones are the classico ones. but if you go to the store take a lid with you and see if the canning lid fits and tada you have a canning jar! Awesome!!

Here is another tip I found out, I never new you could tell I always went off by the expiration date on the carton!

The other day I told you I made homemade ketchup so I thought I would share the recipe I used.

Homemade ketchup

4 qts. tomatoes (about 24) ripe, peeled, cored and chopped.
1 Large yellow onion, chopped
1 Large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 1/2tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. wholeallspice
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 TBSP. salt
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 TBSP. paprika

1. In a large, non reactive saucepan or Dutch oven over moderate heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, and red bell pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft. Using a food mill or sieve, press the vegetables through to make a puree. Return the vegetable puree to the saucepan.
2. Over high heat, cook the vegetables puree rapidly until it is thick and the volume is reduced by about half, about 1 hr.
3. Cut a 4- inch square of cheesecloth. Place the celery seed, mustard seed, allspice, and cinnamon stick in the center, gather up the corners to form a bag and secure with kitchen string. Add the spice bag, brown sugar and salt to the tomato mixture. Over low heat, cook the mixture gently for 25 mins., stirring frequently.
4. Stir in the cider vinegar and paprika. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the mixture is thick.
5. Spoon the ketchup into 3 hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving a 1/8th space between the top of the ketchup and the rim of the jar. Wipe the rims, cover,and process for ten mins. in water bath. Cool and test for airtight seal. Label and date and store in a cool dark place for up to one year; the ketchup will be ready to eat in 1 week. Once a jar is open , store the ketchup in the refridgerator.

**Makes 3 pints.***

My thoughts: It was a long process for 3 pints. It is good we tasted it when I was putting some in a jar, it is very tangy I think would be the right word. I am still waiting for a whole week and to see if the taste settles a little. But we both said it would be great with steak fries! YUM!
So even though it was a long process at least I learned , who knows we could have a ketchup shortage in the US hahah.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thinking alot today.

Today was a great day at church and in our fellowship group. I came out wanting to try harder to better myself and the way I do/ say things.

Today after church my husband and I packed up the kids and headed to Lowes to pick up materials to put up an Amish laundry line! That is my anniversary gift from Tom and I love it!!

I have been thinking alot of how much we would love to move to an acre or more and have our homestead, but right now that is not an option. We may live in a 650sq. foot home, but we are living within our means and using as much of our yard to do the garden of foods we want to do and it is teaching us how to do things so we will know how to do them even better when we do go to our future home.

I was reading a blog today about what would you do if the United States went through the Great Depression again? How would you survive and how would you feed your family? It is sure something to think about. It is so amazing to hear stories and read recipes that people who went through the great Depression ate and did during the Depression. Alot of the meals seem really tasty and they are so simply. Now a days people would probally turn there noses up at something like that, but hey I'm going to try it! :)

I planted a small garden of fall crops for freezing and I'm going to try and can some salsa from the tomatoes from our garden(the tiny tomatoes). Hopefully next year we will get some big ones to be able to make some tomatoe sauce from. I put in the garden some spinach, snap peas, we will see how they do, and some brussel sprouts (my first attempt at growing these so I'm excited to see how these turn out :) )

Tom's dad took Kyle to the Amtrack station in town and he got to see a train, well the rest of the night all we heard was about the train! hahaha I wouldn't trade that for anything though! I love seeing how he is growing and learning and really so excited about life! I love that and it is just so contageous!

Well it is getting late and have a lot of laundry to do tomorrow!!Yay, I get to use my new line!
Another day done with the Wagner clan :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wow it has been a long time!

I haven't realized how long it has been since I wrote on here, but I have made a goal to try atleast right on here once a day or at least once a week. Alot, has happened since I have been on here last. Kyle has turned 3 this passed July! Crazy! and we have a new addition to our family, Tyler was born on June 23, 2010 and we love him so much! It has been an interesting journey so far being a mom of two but i am loving every minute of it! I love this adventure!
Tom lost his job back in May from Groffs and is now working at Messicks Farm Equipment which he loves! I am so glad he found a job that he loves and something he knows! :) Thanking the Lord for providing that for us!

Okay well on to the garden we planted this year. We made two new gardens around our house , we dug up a huge garden in our backyard (or as much backyard as we have hahah) and a spot on our side yard, to try and get more product in to can and freeze. I will have to post pics. We had a pretty decent crop. We planted green beans which did great, and I am on my second planting of them to freeze. We also had a mixed lettuce which was very abundant, but was not a favorite of Tom's so we are going to try to grow iceberg next year. I planted cucumber plants but they didn't do well at all. So maybe next year , thankfully our associate pastor gave us an abundant amount from their garden for me to make bread and butter pickles along with some dill! Yum!! We planted some corn late but are very excited to say it tassled and now has heads growing on it!! That is going to be frozen to depending on how well it grows. We were genorously given 23 or so strawberry plants from a friend of mine to start our first strawberry patch and I transplanted the 4 plants we had started last year. I am very excited to see what next year brings for them! We are trying to grow potatoes this year, i pulled a small plant up and sure enough little potatoes are growing! Yay!!! Our first time and we see something! We had an abundant amount of Roma tomatoes this year and I can officially say I am tired of tomatoes right now! :) My oregano plant took off, I need to get out there and dry some. Our mint plant did awesome but that is no suprise! We also planted some squash which is starting produce, ( I planted a little late). And last we had green peppers which produced but the peppers were very small. I think that is about it for the garden, so all in all not a bad year, but going to try some new seeds and see how everything turns out next year. God has really blessed us with a good garden this year.

I did alot more canning this year then I have done. I have canned about 8 qts. of peaches, 6qts of dill pickles and 14 pints of bread and butter pickles. I also canned 3 quarts of applesauce, but when fall get here I plan on canning more applesauce, pie filling and maybe just some sliced apples. I can't wait! YUMMY! Today I am in the process of making homemade Ketchup and it is quite the process. I am needing to finish it tomorrow but I will get 3 pints of that for us to can. I am learning that it takes alot of time but it is a great experience and giving the experience to get better at my canning, so I am thankful!

This year we wanted to get some chickens and I emailed our borough, who wrote back and said we were not aloud to even if they were caged 24/7, because they are "dangerous animals". So, so much for getting fresh eggs in the morning. :( Another reason I can't wait to get our little farmette!

We are learning alot of stuff living where we are though to prepare us for the day when we do get our farm. We are learning alot about gardening, animals( through blogs, youtube,etc.), composting, etc. We are also learning to be content with our 650 sq. ft. home. We are living within our means and that is what we are wanting to do. By doing this we will hopefully be able to save for our farmette and be able to have our own little Homestead. :)

We are starting the no tv again and maybe even taking it off the wall to make sure we don't watch it and have more family time together! That is the best kind! I have also made a goal to read more books and made a list of books I would like to read by the end of winter, here is my list:

Better Off: Flipping the switch on technology by: Eric Brende

Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour

Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need in just a quarter acre! Editor: Carleen Madigan

I am sure I will add more as the months go, but it is a great start!

I am also wanting to atleast read a book of the bible a month. I feel like I need to get a deeper connection with God and what better way to get that then to read His word!

So until next time! God Bless!