Monday, November 28, 2016

Where I have been

It has been forever since I have been on here and I have missed it!! I have been working a lot and life has gotten busy!

Thankfully the winter season is upon us and life is finally slowing down. There are some things going on at the homestead that I haven't been able to share.

Sadly, I didn't get to preserve a lot of the garden this year :( But hopefully I will have things planned out better next year and get a lot more canning and freezing done.

We just got 3 more does to add to our goat herd and will be getting a buck here shortly to be able to have some babies this spring! Slowly getting our herd back up and growing!

I am going to start planning the garden for next year shortly and can't wait for the seed catalogs to start rolling in! Anyone else??

I have been making a lot of premade mixes and doughs to make life a lot easier around here. Things got so busy I was getting depressed that I didn't have time to make a lot of my homemade things and we were eating a lot of premade things. So happy to have the time to get back into doing it!!!!

Our chickens are doing great. Our eggs have gone down right now, as a lot of them are going through molt right now. But thankful we are still getting some to enjoy ourselves and to be able to sell.

We are getting the homestead ready for winter, getting heat lamps set up and water heaters ready. Even though we are already having to change waters because of ice in the mornings.

Winter can be a depressing time , and a time where I can't wait for spring : to get back into the garden, to hear peeps from baby chicks being hatched, to watch and hear baby goats running and playin in the pastures. But winter is a time for us to be able to recharge, to plan for the coming year and get excited about how we will grow our homestead. I am hoping next year to be able to add a pig to our farm to be able to have meat for our family, but we will have to plan that out a little more. We are hoping to get more produce put up and be able to sell fresh vegetables at a farm stand as well.

So for now we will , be excited about next year and enjoy the planning and the anticipation of what is to come this next year. We continue to feel blessed to live this life and be able to produce food for ourselves and for others to enjoy! That is what we love and our passion, to be able to sell fresh eggs, produce and meat to others and hear how much they enjoy it!

Here is to a new season of planning and another season of our journey. I hope you will join us, as we continue this journey back to our roots!

~ Katie

Monday, May 23, 2016

Our Debt Free Journey

I have been asked many times to share Our Debt free Story. So I thought I would take the time to do  just that.

So our journey started in around July 2010. I was reading one of my favorite bloggers ( and she did a post about Dave Ramsey. She talked about how her family paid off their debt and even paid cash for their new house!! ( How cool would that be!). So after reading her blog I started to research who this Dave Ramsey fellow was and how we could start this journey as well. I mean how cool would it be to have no payments!!

So after researching I talked to Tom about this and how the baby steps work. I will stop here for a minute. If you have never heard of Dave Ramsey you can go here and you will be able to see what the baby steps are and how they work. You can also go under the show tab and listen or watch his show live, which I do , it gives you so much motivation!

Okay back to the story....

I told Tom how great this guy was and that we should do a budget and we could have no payments and be debt free. ( yeah , he was skeptical!) , but he agreed and off we went onto our debt free journey.  I started meal planning, couponing, making everything I could from scratch and we put every ounce of extra money we could to our debts.  We continued to pray for guidance with our money as well.

The debts we had were just like everyone else's or as Dave would says we were just "normal". We had my student loan debt, 3 or so credit card debts , a car loan and of course since we just had our 2nd son we went and bought a used minivan ( but took a loan out on it). Close to $45,000.00 in debt! Yep normal... As we were going through this journey Tom was laid off twice, but we kept going and I think that gave us more motivation to get the debts paid off!

Before we new it, the credit card debt was gone, then the car payment, then the student loan and last but not least our van payment!!! We became debt free July '13!!! That was a very surreal day for us, making that last payment and it really did take a long time to sink in that we didn't have any payments ,except our mortgage.

Some people may think we are strange.. we don't own any credit cards, we own both our vehicles ( one car is from when I was in high school and the paint is chipping) which are both reaching 113,000 miles but they are paid for so they drive like a dream!, we don't buy anything unless it is with cash.

So fast forward to today as we are starting a new journey in our debt free journey! The journey  to pay our house off early and have no more mortgage payments !!  We are getting there slowly but surely and yes it will take us a good bit to get it done, but we know we can do this , because we have tackled debt before. Yes, it will take a lot of sacrifices and yes we will get tired and discouraged. But with each other, prayer and support from others and our family. We can do this!

And so can you!!! I hope telling our story helps you , whether you are just getting started or you just needed more motivation as you are on your journey! Keep going you can do this and before you know it you will be able to yell "I'M DEBT FREE!!!".

I would love to hear the story of your journey to becoming debt free! Whether you just started or you are still on your debt free journey, leave your story in the comments! You may also motivate or inspire someone else to get financial freedom!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

The anxious wait for spring

I have to say that this winter has been a harsh one, with the blizzard and pretty consistent cold days! This week is suppose to be temperatures up in the 60s and even hit the low 70s! Then back to cold. I am starting to think spring is never going to come, but that could also be the gardener inside me screaming to get out. 

I have seedlings in my house sprouting ( yes it is early to start some but when your little boy asks to plant something and I have the longing for the smell of dirt, we plant!) and the sight of the green shoots emerging gets me so excited! These are the days every gardener is longing for. The days when you can finally dig in your garden, smell the fresh dirt and feel it in your hands. The day that you can put that seed in the ground and care for it, to then be able to pick fresh produce for your family to eat and preserve. The days when you smell the first cutting of hay from the farm down the road from you, when the goats are running and hopping around in the warm spring breeze.

The days of chirping coming from the chick brooder. Little fluffs of color that will in the coming months, roam around eating bugs, grasses, etc. and producing amazing eggs to feed my family and others.

The days when you sit and listen. Listen to all of God's creation. The birds that have flown back from their long trips and finding a place to put their homes. The smell of the flowers just starting to bloom and the tree leaves beginning to pop.

The days I think of my grandfather and what he would think of our homestead. I would have loved to see him with our animals. To sit with me (if we get a dairy cow) with our cow and show me how his dad taught him. How he would show me how his mom used to grow the garden and techniques that worked the best.  Even though he can't be down here. I know he I smiling down at us.

The days where my dreams flow. Dreams of other animals. Dreams of other projects.

But mostly these days...... I just look around and feel so amazingly blessed.

~ Katie

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Giant shopping trip and menu plan 2/7/16

        Okay this was a good haul for 2 weeks worth of groceries ( I know I will more then likely need to get another gallon of milk within that time and have leftover in my budget to use for that). So I decided while everyone is at home watching the Super bowl, I would enjoy the quietness of an empty grocery store and do my shopping. Bliss pure bliss! So my budget was $139.52 for 2 weeks.

This is what I got:

Loaf of Italian bread- $1.69
Container of Biscuits-$ 1.49
Sour cream- $1.19
Strawberry Yogurt-$2.49
Pie crusts- $2.19
Minute maid OJ- $2.89 ( had 75 cent coupon that doubled)
Butter- $3.29 (YIKES)
Shredded Cheddar cheese- $1.88
Shredded Mozzerella cheese- $1.88
Milk- $3.19
Texas toast garlic bread- $2.69 ( had a 50 cent coupon that doubled)
Frozen sweet corn-$1.25
Frozen sweet corn- $1.25
Frozen lima beans- $1.25
Charmin toilet paper- $8.29 ( had 50 cent coupon that doubled)
Glad kitchen bags- $7.59 (1.00 off coupon) ( some nice person left a coupon with these)
Tide pods- $4.99 ( had a $2.00 off coupon)
Vanilla pudding mix-$0.65
Chocolate pudding mix- $ 0.65
Motts Fruit snacks - $1.99 ( had a 50 cent coupon that doubled)
Brown gravy mix- $0.59
Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix-$1.69 ( had a 50 cent coupon that doubled)
Ortega taco shells-$ 1.99
Onion soup mix-$ 0.89
Lipton noodles-$1.00
Lipton noodles-$1.00
Giant pizza sauce- $ 1.00
Chicken gravy-$ 1.19
Sliced mushrooms ( canned)- $1.19
Pineapple chunks ( canned)-$ 0.99
French dressing- $ 1.67
Mustard-$ 0.89
Mayo- $3.49
Sugar-$ 4.89
Maxwell House Hazelnut-$2.49 ( had a $1.00 off coupon)
Wheat thins-$1.88 ( with coupon from flyer)
Pretzel rods- $1.99
Long grain white rice- $1.50
Cape cod waffle cut, Cape Cod BBQ, Cape Cod Original chips- $6.00 ( sale buy 3/$6, they are originally $3.79 each)
Hillshire Snacking salami tray-$2.99 (had a $0.75 off coupon that doubled) ( I will admit as I am typing this up I am enjoying this and it is awesome!)
Ham Slice -$ 11.17
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast- $10.29 ( we do have whole chickens of ours frozen but this is for a quick meal , instead of having to thaw and cook an entire bird)
80% ground beef -$18.23 (6.33 lbs.)
Large bag baby carrots-$1.99

Before Savings: $149.03
After Savings: $123.31 (tax included) **Yay**

Left in Budget for February: $155.76

Menu Plan For the next 2 weeks: There are a few from my Pinterest recipe boards

Quiche( bacon and cheese), toast
Garlic butter shrimp ( Tom and I), boys chicken, rice , veg.
Pizza pull aparts, pizza sauce, cut up raw veggies
Pulled pork(from freezer) sandwiches, veg., apple slices
Stuffed french bread, veg, canned peaches
Spaghetti, veg.
Slow cooker Salisbury steak. ,mashed potatoes, veg.
Ham and Pineapple , rice, veg.
Pancakes, bacon
Ranch chicken, noodles, veg.
Baked Oatmeal, Blueberries (from freezer), biscuits
Tacos, toppings, veg.
Hot dogs, tator tots, veg.
Baked Chicken, gravy , alfredo noodles, veg.

 Did you find any good deals at your stores? I would love to hear about it!
Have a wonderful week!


Friday, February 5, 2016

January food budget total

Okay so this is a little late getting up. January's budget, ugh, well I did go over around $50-70. With the large snow storm that hit us. I did not factor that in that coming and everyone being home! I t really did in our pantry. We were seriously bare bones. So I had to get some essentials to stock it up again.

But February is a new month! So we have another month to keep it at or below budget! Yay!! I did notice I didn't do a full menu plan for January. I find that it really does help me stay on budget, if I have a menu plan written out. Do you find this as well?

So I have spend some in February already. I bought some Clorox wipes, cereals, milk and napkins. ( I am missing something in there but that's okay).  Sorry no picture or shopping list!

Shopping trips to Darrenkamps and Weis: $ 45.62 ( Is it just me or are things getting more and more expensive!)

Total: $45.62

Left in February Budget: $304.38

How are your budgets doing? Did you overspend too? Did you go under!? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Some changes on the blog

There will be a little change to the blog. It will still deal with homesteading things still, but it will also be changing as our homestead will be as well.  My husband is going back to college! He will be starting college classes this coming month (Feb.) and with  4H, my work, school and daily life. Life on the homestead is going to change.

We are selling all but 1 of our goats ( my mom's is staying of course) and will not be starting a herd up again until my husband finishes college classes or me just might never again. That is in God's hands!  I know we will get the people who say " you are giving up!", "this was your dream and now you are letting it go". To those people , we are not giving up! We have thought about this, prayed about this, and feel at this time in our lives we need to give some things up for now. While this time in our lives will be stressful, hectic and just need to have "space to breathe". For those who are supportive of this , we thank you so much for your congrats, and prayers as we go on this new journey God has planned for us!

So if you see meals that are from a box( shriek!), or not organic. Don't get upset please. Once again we are working on paying our house off , as well as having really hard schedules. So yes I will more then likely have something not homemade on my menus, and yes we won't be buying a ton or organic, I will try my best to get to farmers markets and still support local farms as much as I can. (Wow sorry for that run on sentence). To those who do want to judge that is fine. Once again though we are going through a time in our lives will I am going to sacrifice for a better later. ( Any way sometimes it I nice not to have to cook! Can I get an amen!?)

The blog will also have more book reviews, bible discussions, verses that have impacted my life or make you sit and really think on it as well. I am trying to dig even deeper in to God's word this year , to strengthen my walk and relationship with God ! So I hope you will share what God is doing in your life and what books, verses, and quotes you would recommend that have really impacted your life!

So that's it! I hope you all stick around for the amazing journey God is taking us on!

Once again thank you all for the great support and prayers!

Have a wonderful Sunday!! God Bless!,


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Monday, January 25, 2016

Homemade English Muffins

With all the snow we have gotten and the boys are off school today, so I decided to make it a baking day.

One of the things I love to make is homemade English muffins. The smell from the oven that spreads through your house and then having the patience not to eat one before they have cooled.  Yep, I love the homemade kind. As an extra bonus you get 18 muffins compared to the store bought and you know what ingredients you have in them!

I love to enjoy mine with some butter and local honey! I also use them to make mini pizzas  for my boys, which they love. You can be even more creative and come up with your own way of eating them.  What is your favorite way of eating them?

Okay so here is the recipe I use, it is from the More- with - Less cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre ( one of my favorite cookbooks!)

English muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Heat in a saucepan until very warm (130 degrees)

1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine ( I used butter)

In a large mixer bowl, combine:

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg. dry yeast ( or 2 1/4 tsp. if you buy bulk yeast like me)
1 1/2 cup flour
With mixer on low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes, or beat vigorously by hand.

Beat in :
1 egg
1 cup flour

With spoon , add:

2 cups flour, or enough to make stiff dough

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead just until well mixed, about 2 mins. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased large bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

  Punch down dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface; cover with bowl 15 minutes , and let rest.

Meanwhile,  place cornmeal in  a pie plate. Roll dough about  3/8" thick. Cut dough into 3' circles; reroll scraps to make 18 circles in all.

Dip both sides of the circle in the cornmeal and place on cookie sheet. cover and let rise in warm place until doubled about 45minutes.

Brush large skillet with oil and heat.

When skillet is medium hot put in 6 muffins, cook 8 mins. on each side or until brown. Repeat until all are cooked.

To serve spilt muffins horizontally with tines of fork and toast.

I hope you give these a try and if you do come back and let me know what you think!

Have a wonderful day!

~ Katie

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Quick trip to Darrenkamps

     I had to make a quick trip to the store yesterday. Tyler is snack person for his class on we had to pick up snacks , needed milk and picked up a few things for my in laws. I am not including the things I got them in this post though. So the total has been changed to only have what I paid for our groceries.  Sorry I didn't get a chance to get a picture of the trip but here is the run down.

Shopping trip:

Kellogg fruit snacks: $1.99 ( not these where not on the list, but they were on sale and they were Nascar! :) )

 Quaker granola bars: $2.99 ( got 3 boxes)

1% milk: $3.19

Always: $3.19

$20.74 ( this included tax and $0.10 discount for bringing my own bags)

Remaining Food Budget for Jan. : $34.91

How are your budgets going? Staying on track? If not don't give up! I would love to know how your shopping adventures are going! Find any great deals? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My first Aldi trip

This was my first time ever at an Aldi store! I was quite surprised how much organic stuff they had, how nice their produce was and was impressed with their prices. I would definitely go there again!

If you have never been to an Aldi, you will need to take a quarter to get your cart (don't worry you will get this back at the end), you will need your own shopping bags and your cash or debit card (they don't take credit cards). They have many great products chips, baking items, dairy items, fresh produce, meats, etc. They also have an aisle that had things like workout mats, blenders, car supplies, etc.

After your shopping is done and you check out. You will unpack your cart in your car and return your cart where you will get your quarter back! So if you are in the area or just like checking new stores out like I do. I would definitely check out an Aldi store. Okay see here is what I got and the prices.

Aldi shopping trip:

Baby Spinach: $2.49 (organic)
Rigatoni pasta: $1.29
Honey crisp apples: $3.99
Navel oranges: $3.49
Turkey Pepperoni: $2.19
White cheddar popcorn: $1.79 (organic)
Multi colored peppers: $1.69
Can of kidney beans: $0.59
Butter:$ 4.58 (total for 2)
Jennie -0 ground turkey(3lb. pkgs): $11.98 (price for 2)
Large eggs:1.45 each (got 2) Our chickens aren't laying!
String cheese: $ 2.79
Dried apricots:$2.89
Mini Babybel:$2.89
Kefir:$2.49 (got 3)
Pita chips: 1.99
Baby spinach:$2.49 (organic)
Granny smith apples: $3.99
Quinoa chips:$1.99
Spring mix: $2.49 (organic)
Can of Cannellini beans:$0.65
Squeezable applesauce: $1.79
Kiwis: 1.49
Sharp shredded cheddar:$2.79 (got 2 bags)
Goldfish crackers:$1.85
Organic rice cakes:$1.59
Turkey bacon:$1.89
Trail mix:$4.89
Olive oil spray:$1.49
Multi grain chips:$1.69
Sour Cream:$1.29
Dried Blueberries:$2.45
Total: $95.61

Box of Chex cereal: $3.89
Box of Cheerios:$3.89

Grocery budget left for Jan.: $55.65

I can say we are fully stocked for a long time! The only thing we will need to get the rest of the month will be milk, etc.

Have you gone any great shopping trips lately? Do you have a favorite store you like to shop? I would love to hear it and feel free to post a picture too!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New blog series

Hi Everyone! Starting this new year I am going to be starting a blog series. I am wanting to work on my food budget this year, as one of my goals. So as usual I am going to be giving myself $350.00 a month for a budget. I will be documenting my store trips (with pictures of what I bought) and my menu plan for that week. My goal is to stay on budget or better yet get below my budget and then put the extra money into our savings.

Sound good? Do you want to join me? Let me know if you are joining, I would love to see how everyone else is doing!
So I know we are already a few weeks in to Jan., but I will post my latest shopping trip and what my amount I have left for my Jan. budget! So here we go! Yay!

Today I stopped at Darrenkamp's to pick up a few items, but also stopped by the reduced meats, veg. and bread area. I got some great deals!

***Tip always check these areas out! You can save a really good amount of money, on these types of things and if you can't use the items now freeze them! I love stocking up on breads, rolls and bagels! I just stick them in my freezer and just pull them out when I am ready to use.

Shopping trip items:

Bananas- $1.50
Baby carrots- $0.99
Milk- $3.19
Bread- $ 1.00 (reduced)
3 packages rolls-  $3.00 (reduced)
hot dog buns-$1.50 (reduced)
Perdue Mesquite chicken breasts- $2.99 (reduced from 9.99!)
Hatfield hot dogs- $0.99 (reduced)
Sandwich bags- $2.00 (on sale)

Total: $23.22 (includes 5 cent discount for bringing my own bag and tax)

Left of January budget: $159.04

Menu Plan;

Chicken pot pie, butterhorns
Tacos (using black beans from the freezer), corn
Chicken noodle soup, freezer biscuits
Homemade pizzas, broccoli
Blueberry Pancakes
Baked Chicken, gravy, tator tots, green beans( from our garden)
Spaghetti, homemade garlic bread, steamed carrots

*This menu was made with items I already have in my fridge, freezer, or pantry*

Do you have any tips that helps you save money on your shopping trips? I would love to hear them!