Catching Up

Since my blog posting has been sporadic over the past year I thought I would do a brief update and catch everyone up on what has been going on here @ home.  I did post more regularly on my Instagram and my Facebook page, I hope you’ll check them out.

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My husband’s cousin and her children.

Last year was really busy with all sorts of things: family, health, home, schooling etc. We had several family members going through various trials, one of the biggest was the loss of hubby’s cousin to ovarian cancer. Such a beautiful woman lost too early to a cancer that there isn’t much awareness for. She had been going to doctors for a year trying to find out what was going on before she was diagnosed. We are heartbroken, continuing to pray for her children and family as they learn to live without her. My own health has been an issue over the past year, mainly my asthma. I have had asthma since I was a young child and this past fall was probably the worst it’s ever been, and making some drastic dietary and supplement changes have helped dramatically. The main change for me was getting serious about eliminating dairy. We have also worked on filtering the air better to help keep the dust down.

Our home has so many projects going on, but when money is tight you have to be selective on what gets done and what gets put off. We still don’t have a working dryer but we took advantage of the mild winter we had used the clothes line when we could. Those times where we couldn’t we could haul laundry to the local laundromat. I don’t mind hanging the clothes up, but the challenge was trying not to trigger an asthma attack while doing it. This summer we are hoping to get some painting done, replace several windows and our doorwall, get our rain barrels going again, and more. We’ll see how the budget shakes out as to how far we get.

Our internet was cut. This was a HUGE adjustment. I didn’t realize how dependent I was on it and that made me uncomfortable. While I do want to be connected, I don’t want to be dependent. I’m not able to keep up with blogs and channels as much as I used to, but I am now spending more time reading real books. Cutting the internet and land line was a big help to our budget. Having the cell phones with limited data has been great overall and I’m not really sure if we’ll go back to having internet.

Noah

Homeschool Senior

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Class of 2017

Homeschooling has been bitter sweet. This is our last year of homeschooling. Our son will graduate shortly. This past year has been full of wrapping up one journey and preparing for another. It’s hard for me to believe that I did it…I homeschooled him from kindergarten right through to graduation. He’s looking forward to pursuing a career in Information Security and I’m excited to see him spread his wings. Bitter sweet. Mama loves her baby.

weedsWe had so much going on last year we never got around to getting the garden started, so we left it fallow. This year it is overgrown and needs a good taming. While we are a little behind in getting that part done, all the raised beds are planted and growing. Not everything is heirloom this year, but I am looking forward to growing, harvesting and preserving what we do grow.

Our Daisy dog is now a year old. What a challenge and a joy she has been. She is such a sweet dog, but she is just full of energy it is hard to keep up. daisyTennis balls are her absolute favorite toy and she loves to have you throw them for her. She still chases the chickens once in a while, but she is learning. Pepper dog is quite protective of them and Daisy is slowly learning from her. Unlike Pepper, we haven’t done a good job of socializing Daisy with people and we do have to work on that. I’m happy to accept any tips for that.

The pantry. Pretty empty. We did stock with some store bought food, but we miss our home canned food. My first canning of the year was some pork we got on sale. I’m hoping to get things like beans done now before things get busy and the weather gets warm.

beadsMy Etsy shop has been opened about a year now and it is nice to have an opportunity to share my hobby with others. I really enjoy doing craft shows and art fairs, but they are a lot of work and take a lot of time. While I miss meeting the people at the shows, it has been fun to send my work off to people far away…even as far as Australia.

Hope you enjoyed this highlight. I’m off to get laundry going. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Feel free to comment and let me know, or share a link to a blog post.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

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Coffee Recipes

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Enjoying my morning hot coffee with the sun streaming in the window.

I have to say first off, I’m not a fan of iced coffee. Blech. I don’t mind coffee flavor in some things (like my favorite hard to find Coffee Crisp candy bars) but in my mind when coffee is cold, you either heat it up or get a fresh, hot cup. I thought I was just old school.

 

I was going through some cookbooks looking for a certain recipe and as I was flipping through one of my older cookbooks (1977) I came across a few coffee recipes including one for iced coffee. Wow. It was a thing back then too! I thought I’d share the recipes so I could save you from spending your hard earned cash on expensive cold coffee shop coffee.  I’m sure the recipes would work just as well with your favorite dairy free milks too.  Enjoy!

Iced Coffee: For each glass of iced coffee desired, brew coffee using two level tablespoons coffee and ¾ measuring cup (6 fl. oz.) cold water. Use more or less to suit your taste. Pour hot coffee over ice cubes in tall glasses. Serve immediately with cream and sugar.

Coffee Ice Cubes: Pour about 3 cups of brewed coffee into ice cube trays. Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours. If used with cold coffee, makes enough cubes for eight 12-ounce glasses; with hot coffee, enough for five 12-ounce glasses.

Coffee Frosted: Combine two cups of chilled brewed coffee with 1 pint of vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavored ice cream in a bowl and beat until blended and thick. Serve immediately over Coffee Ice Cubes in tall glasses. Makes 3 2/3 cups or 3-4 servings.

So, do you enjoy cold or iced coffee?  How do you like your coffee best?  You can let me know in the comments below or with a link to your blog post.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Farmer’s Markets

I have always had a love for farmer’s markets since I moved into my first apartment. It was a small studio apartment that was directly across the street from the city’s farmer’s market. Not only could I see and hear the weekend busyness of this big city market from my main street windows, but all I had to do was walk yards across the street to experience it. This city girl was hooked.

Now I’m living out in farm country and I’m thinking about selling at a farmer’s market. We have small farmer’s market here locally which has a nice mix of local farmers, Amish and a few artisans. I have always thought it was interesting that in a rural area such as ours farmer’s markets are so small. The average I’ve seen at the handful of markets around us is about 15-ish local sellers and their produce selections are usually small. I think part of the reason for this may be the local flea market (which is huge but only open during the week), but even the produce sellers there are very few compared to the artisans and antiques. I think another may be local tourist markets that sell produce that is sold farm stand style but with commercial produce.

Despite that, the small local farmer’s markets do get a good bit of local traffic. I have been considering whether to join for the past year and I think I am going to do it. I plan on selling mostly greens such as lettuces and spinach, and doing some bread baking. These are two areas that I enjoy and that I don’t see a lot of people there selling. The Amish that do offer baked goods sell mostly cookies and pies. I also may take some of my crochet items like dish cloths and market bags.

I have researched our state laws and the cottage laws and I am comfortable with my plans. The farmer’s market I’m planning to join has a very reasonable yearly fee and runs two days each week. While I hope this venture will be financially profitable, I hope even more to connect with people and promote buying local.

Do you shop farmers markets? What brings you back? Are you a seller at farmers markets? What do you sell and what do you enjoy about it? I’d love to hear from you! You can answer in the comments below or post a link to a post you’ve written about it.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Garden 2017

Gardening season is officially under way here @home.  Wheeee!

2017gardenweedsLast year we weren’t able to get a garden going and we left it fallow for the season. That was hard. It was the first time in many, many years I haven’t had a garden. The result from letting it go is that the garden plot is now very weedy and turning it over by hand is not going very well. We are planning to rent a big tiller this week and get it tilled.  Son is going to whack all the weeds before we till.

2017gardenraisedbedsIn the mean time, the four raised beds are planted and growing. Compost from last year was added as well as local compost to fill the beds.  I didn’t start any plants this year so I purchased tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.  Not heirloom this year but we’ll work on that for next year.  Radishes, broccoli and peas were started by our own saved seed.  Everything is doing well except the broccoli which I think is a bust.  The first bed has broccoli (well, supposed to have broccoli) and peas.  The one behind it has cauliflower and radishes.  The bed next to it has tomatoes and onions.

2017gardenlettuceThe raised bed near the house (dubbed the kitchen garden) has lettuce, garlic, spinach and carrots.  The early spinach planting is pretty much done and bolted and has been reseeded already.

The herb garden is sparse this year.  My lavender, yarrow and savory didn’t make it through the winter so I will need to plant new.  I’m not sure why because our winter was actually fairly mild as a whole.  Chives are going 2017gardenchivesfull blast and drawing many bees.  Hubby loves having them in salads.  We had a nice small harvest of asparagus this year and we are hoping for a bigger one next year.

Lastly, the strawberries are looking great. This bed is badly in need of a good weeding, but the strawberries don’t seem to mind. I’ll need to cover these with bird netting because the local birds (as well as our own chickens) will gobble them up once they start ripening.

2017gardenstrawberriesJust a small update for now.  I’d love to hear about your garden this year whether it is a big farm garden or a small patio container garden.  You can leave a comment or link to your own blog post.

Until next time…live simply and love abundantly!

Ann’Re