Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vintage Appliances Review

I have so many reasons why I love vintage. I love it because its broken in, made well, works well with making everything from scratch, and most importantly, has a history.

Before I realized that living a simple life was what I truly needed in my life, I would go out and buy expensive new things and watch them fall apart so quickly. It kind of mimic'd my life. I thought "buying" my life is what I needed. I needed high fashion jeans, 4 in heels (I wince just thinking after being a mom for 3 years), purses, you name it. It didn't make any sense to why I was so miserable. Until one day my husband and I decided to grow some things at our apartment in pots. And it wasn't until I discovered cloth diapering that their is a better and more cost effective way. How blind was I? And wow did the light bulb shine bright on top of my head when I realized that living simple could really work.

I believe God gives you lessons in life. You may not understand them but it happens and its not until down the road that you say "ah ha, now I get it"!! I believe all the tough times in my life brought me to here. My husbands food allergies that caused me to make things from scratch, my strong desire to own a sewing machine ( I seriously at the time had no idea where that was coming from), looking for alternatives ever since I was younger for medicine, and list goes on.

So this is my first review of a vintage item. This is a hand mixer with a green wooden handle. It was made in the 40's or 50's. I love it because even my daughter can use it and its uses no electricity. I laso love it for my first few cups of flour when I'm making bread (shown here) because the bread is fluffier. You have to wash it by hand when you're done but it is so worth it.

Ahh vintage.....just makes life that more sweet.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Maggie relaxing after a long day....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Que Sera Sera.....

So our week here at the homestead has come to a close. This week has had its challenges from a screaming unruly almost 3 year old, to dogs with cabin fever due to the extreme cold (Maggie our newest addition to the family was shivering outside as Madeline and I were sledding), feeling like I'm rushing around to get things done by Christmas, and of course those holiday (Merry Freakin Christmas) people who will run you over with their cars just to get a closer spot (I never understood that). We have made some changes to the house. Zach built a table for our basement which is going to grow us some indoor lettuce spinach, etc with use of an indoor light. We took all the toys up from the house, with exception to learning tools (crafty things, dress-up, puzzles) and we are going to start a rotation. I have done this Madeline's whole life because she has so many toys, but I am taking pictures of all her toys in their bins and then putting the pics in a photo album and in the beginning of the week she will get to choose which toy she would like for the week. Its a great way to learn words by sight by introducing the word at the bottom of the picture. We have also started our homeschooling. I am not approaching it as "school" but focusing on more projects about certain topics I think Madeline would enjoy.
But I think the biggest change in our home is he did it.....he followed his heart of something he has always wanted to do understanding the risks, but knowing it will be better for him and his family down the road....Zach put in his 2 weeks. He has been waiting till this day for the freedom knowing he only has 2 weeks to work at a job that goes against what he believes in. I already see a difference in him and he has only been home a few hours. The lesson we are learning in life is to trust God. We have seen way too many things happen in our lives that we couldn't explain any other reason. Second, you will never know what you are made of until you take the leap, the risk, and jump. Third, Its always good to have money saved because it really helps out with number 2!!
So although some may find it strange and crazy to just up and leave a job that pays well to pursue your own business with a family, I admire my husbands strength for standing up for his beliefs and leading our family the right way.
"Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be, the future's not ours to see, Que Sera Sera".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Having a homemade holiday.....

So as the weather turns and the snow starts to cover the homestead, many things are happening here. First, is the season of giving. So many people are having such a hard time and so its great to really find things in your community you can help out in. It doesn't have to be much. It could be sending a card to an elderly person or offering to pick them up for church, or cooking a meal for a family less fortunate. However you help this season, its important to help. It shows our children compassion for others and makes them thankful for the things they have.

Next, my husband has finally decided to start his own business and is quitting his job. I know, to some that may sound crazy, but to us, its what makes sense. He is in a job that no only makes him have to make judgements against his beliefs, its is making him stressed to where he needed to take a leave of absence. We feel God is guiding us in the right direction and we trust Him.

Finally, I have the desire to make comfort foods. I love this time of season for that reason as well as others. I love feeding my family things that I know exactly where they came from and who made Its also a great time of year for Madeline to help me in the kitchen.

Each year, traditionally, I make stew. It sticks to the ribs on those freezing cold nights and warms us up. My mom (who was not the best cook) always made this recipe growing up and I can honestly say I feed it to my family now.

1lb hamburger (we eat organic but any will do)
28 oz can of tomato sauce
28 oz water
onion chopped (all veggies add as much as you like)
broccoli (frozen veggies work great too)
green beans
1 can kidney beans
garlic powder
celery seed
brown sugar

Brown meat and add to crock pot. Add tomato sauce and water then the veggies (so not to overflow). Add spices and cook on low all day. Serve with homemade rolls.

I hope this recipe adds warmth to your family in a season filled with love.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

To Homeschool or not to Homeschool.....

So we have spent the last few weeks as a family deciding Madeline's future. I have always had strong feelings in homeschooling her and so once Zach was convinced it was full speed ahead!! Our reasons for it are similar to other homeschoolers. We feel she will learn the way she should and really discover great things about learning. Not that public school cannot do the same things, but for us, this is the route to go.
We are a very close family and we intend to stay that way. Besides in my mind, I didnt go months of pregnancy, hours of labor, a c-section, and breastfeeding until she was 20 months with MANY sleepless night in between for someone else to teach her. With her home, we can really see what she is learning and build from there. We can introduce her to things she would never see in a classroom.
Right now my daughter is in the comfort of her family making a snowman out of tissue paper and gluing it on to paper. She is working on fine motor skills and learning about how much glue she would need to cover her project. Then we are headed outside because they are calling for 2 1/2inches of snow where she can futher learn about snow. What a great way to learn about snow and actually enjoy it too!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

All your ducks in a row...

Or geese that is.....
So this past week we "goosesat" for a friend of ours. Madeline (our daughter) loved having them in the house. We got to feed them and give them water (fun and amazing things for a 2 yr old). It was amazing to see how quickly they grew where they didnt fit into their box they arrived in. On Sunday, it was time for them to return back to Vermont to Cold Antler Farm. Jenna, their owner, came back to some issues on her farm and ended up having to give up some of her animals (geese included). This made me think of always making sure you have all your ducks in a row. You always have to have a plan. When you farm or homestead I have learned that you need to always have a game plan (not that it always works out the way you want). It keeps you driven, and it helps you to focus on the future and your long term goals. Without plans, its like we just keep walking in a circle.
Even if it involves taking a risk and taking you out of your comfort zone....a plan is a must and stick to it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homemade Life

I went to a funeral this week. My childhood friends mom had a brain aneurysm and died at the age of 56. She didn't get to say goodbye, or hug her one last time, she just died. But even though she had to go through such a traumatic situation, her mother was truly an amazing woman.

Sharon (her mother) was my brownie and girl scout leader when I was a kid. She went to school for nursing and later taught nursing to others encouraging them the whole way, She was a cheerleader for her family and the activities they were involved in, she was a loving christian wife to her husband, she traveled to China with Patch Adams and went into the orphanages and cared for the children, she was active in her church, and when she was buried their was barely any standing room in the church.

So you're asking what does this have to do with a homemade life? Through her life, Sharon taught me that its what you do in life that matters. It matters to the garbage man who she used to put inspirational messages on the garbage can to lift him up. It matters to the nursing students who are now nurses who said without her they would have never made it through. Sharon chose a homemade life. She set out and put herself in charge of her life. She didn't allow others to make the decisions she made and she was in control of her actions.

I choose a homemade life because I want to be in charge of what I put on the table, in our mouths, and in our hearts. I think that when you choose to live a homemade life, you are choosing to live life to the fullest.

Even though Sharon is passed, she still continues to touch our hearts. She still continues to teach us good things, for when you open your heart to the idea of a homemade life......the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tis the Season!!

Its days like today that make me smile. You know, the dreary cold ones that make you want to stay in the house and bake, can, or sit with a big cup of coffee and read a book. My daughter and I (and hubby not by choice) are already in the holiday spirit. We have decided to make homemade gifts for everyone. We are saving money for our farm and well....I love homemade. I think it really shows someone how much you care by really taking the time. Not that other gifts don't do that but you get what I mean. This year I am making fresh bread and applebutter for adults and for the kids....scarves and gloves. Are you making anything from scratch this year? Please share your ideas!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New in town

Ahhh so we are finally homeowners after years of deciding where we wanted to live and so forth. We settled into a little homestead in Bowmanstown, Pa across the street from great friends and a population of 800!! Our home is 1300 sq ft half double with about .13 acre. Not much but its a great place to hang your hat at the end of a hard day. We have a beautiful farmstyle kitchen that Im extremely territorial of because its what I've always wanted. The house smells of pumpkin spice and makes me want to run out to antique stores to furnish it.

So first things first. We took down the pool and put up garden beds!! Who needs a pool anyway?My 2 almost 3 yr old can use her plastic pool to throw her rocks in (besides she's rather be helping us in the garden). Next, up went the compost piles and demensions for our wooden fence that will protect our little homestead from intruders (trust me, we've had them).

My husband Zach sold his subaru for a 89' 4x4 Ranger. Best 1000.00 bucks we spent since moving in!! It does its job and then some. As for me (Shellee), Im looking forward to the next few years on our first homestead. I look forward to the garden veggies, our greenhouse going up in spring, fruit trees, and campfires where that pool once stood. I look forward to us sweating in the summer pulling weeds, washing clothes and lugging them to the washline to dry, and new motivations to keep us moving forward. Homesteading may be living the simple life, but its far from that....its so much more than that. Its hard work and dirty hands, its staying up till midnight on a second job so you can quit the first one that you hate, its learning from mistakes but you pick yourself up and you keep going, its fullfilling your life with your faith and your family. After all you only get one chance to get it right.......