Thankful.

Thankful

It’s been quiet around here, I know.

However, I do think about this little space daily.

I come up with ideas about what to post, what pictures to take, where to share my ideas….so on and so forth, but the time never comes.  The morning turns to evening before I know it and weeks go by faster than I can imagine.

Then a baby comes.

Yes, you see, as I mentioned a few months back, we were expecting our fourth child.  Well, she’s here now!  And she’s the thing I’m most thankful for this holiday season.

On the whole, I have so much for which to be thankful – my husband, my four(!) beautiful children, my home, our health, my extended family…..and so much more.  And as cliche as it might be, I’m thankful for you.  The people who come here to read and share.  Thank you.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?  Please share in the comments.

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A week of firsts…..

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Del Monte, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DelMonteBTS   http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV - http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Back to School - A Week of Firsts:Five Little Homesteaders

And just like that…. summer break is over.

This past week was a big one on our little homestead.  Two of my three kiddos headed to school and it was a serious week of firsts for all of us.

My oldest turned 5 and then became an official kindergarten all in the same week.  Then my middle daughter packed up her little backpack and headed off to preschool.  That left me and the littlest home alone for a good portion of the day.  Going from a loud and crazy house of 3 kids 4 and under to a quiet house of just me and my little 2 year old buddy…. well…. let me tell you.  It’s been a transition.

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On having fun

On having fun :: Five Little Homesteaders

We got out of town this last weekend.  It was something we desperately needed.

We hadn’t been out of the state since before my son (who is now two) was born.  I was feeling a bit claustrophobic and in need of a change in scenery.  I’ve found that the desert can do that to me.

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Homemade Candy Corns with *Less* of the Junk

I’m not one of those moms who forbids candy at Halloween.

We go trick or treating (last year was our first year, actually).  We get candy, we eat it (in moderation) and we enjoy it.  But I’m never THRILLED by all the sugar and junk that I’m filling my kids’ belly with (not to mention my OWN belly).

So, this year I was determined to make some of my traditional favorites at home with less “junky” ingredients.  The first thing I tackled was candy corns and I must say, I think they came out pretty good!  And the best part is, I didn’t use corn syrup (which is the main ingredient in most homemade candy corn recipes).

Click below to see the full recipe and DIY.

Ingredients
1/4 cup honey - http://amzn.to/13dp0Ds
1/2 tsp vanilla - http://amzn.to/1bj8VS6
1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar - http://amzn.to/18ctLlO  or maple sugar - http://amzn.to/H34j8B (if using maple sugar, be sure to give it a whirl in a small food processor or coffee grinder to make it more “powdery”)
3/4 cup tapioca flour - http://amzn.to/19EKsqG (+ a little more for kneading)
Food Coloring (get natural food coloring here - http://amzn.to/11LmCmy )

Directions
1.  Mix your honey, vanilla and melted butter in a bowl.
2.  Add the powdered sugar and mix well until completely incorporated.

3.  Mix in the tapioca flour a 1/4 cup at a time.  It will seem difficult to get it fully incorporated but believe me, it will eventually all mix in.  As you get to the final 1/4 cup, you may need to start kneading the “dough” to fully incorporate the flour.

4.  Split the dough into three equal pieces.  Leave one piece as-is.  This is the white part of the candy corn.
5.  Add two drops of yellow food coloring to one of the remaining pieces and knead until the “dough” is fully colored.
6.  Add two drops yellow and one drop red food coloring to the final piece of dough.  Knead until the dough is fully colored.

7.  Put in the freezer for 5 minutes.  (This makes the dough easier to work with, especially after all the softening that occurs when you knead in the food coloring.)
8.  Remove from freezer and shape each ball into a long (about 1-1.5 foot) rope.
9.  Line your ropes up as shown in the picture and form them into one long rope by pushing the pieces together slightly.

10.  Put in the freezer for 5 minutes.
11.  Remove and cut into triangles.

12.  Enjoy!  My kids love these.  I store them in the fridge to keep them from softening too much.

Do you make candy at home?  What are your favorites?

         

Tasty Tuesday Linkup

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Small-Batch, Homemade Applesauce

We had an amazing Labor Day weekend.  One of the best weekends in recent memory.

We headed three hours south to the little town of Willcox, Arizona and did some serious apple picking. It was so much fun and only a *tiny* bit hot and humid.  (Ok…. maybe it was a lot bit hot and humid….  but we’re trying to keep it positive here.)

So, we went apple picking and it was our first time doing so as a family.  We had a great time and came back with a little over 40 pounds of apples.  My plan is to do a large batch of applesauce and can it (!).  (Don’t worry…. my mom is coming to help me, so I won’t be able to screw it up and therefore we won’t all die of botulism.  Phew.)  But, honestly, who can wait all that time for yummy, fresh applesauce?   Certainly not me, nor my husband, nor our three adorable children.

So, what’s a mommy to do?

Well, let me tell you.  This mommy took to the internet for a quick and easy, small-batch, applesauce recipe.  And you know what?  I couldn’t find one!  And some of you might be saying that this is because applesauce is really easy and who the HECK needs a recipe for it?  Well, I’ll tell you who – this girl does!  So, I looked over the large batch recipes and came up with my own.

Here you go….. the Five Little Homesteaders’ small-batch applesauce recipe!


Ingredients
6-ish apples (We had two varieties – red delicious and criterion.)
1/2-3/4 cups of water (enough to have about 1/2 inch in the bottom of the pot)
1/4 cup sugar (Now, before you go jumping all over me, yes, I used refined, white sugar.  You could certainly use this - http://amzn.to/174m0x1 or this - http://amzn.to/1dBKId1 in place of it.  Or if you are really serious about the whole no sugar thing, you can omit it altogether.)
1 tbsp lemon juice - http://amzn.to/19dI4W7
1/4 tsp of cinnamon - http://amzn.to/137cTuK or apple pie spice - http://amzn.to/1fvAyrc (I used apple pie spice, which is just a combo of spices.)

Directions
1.  Peel and slice your apples.  (I use this thing - http://amzn.to/174mbIA for slicing apples.  It is a life saver.  I use it daily for the kids.)

2.  Put the apples and everything else into a pot.

3.  Heat on medium until the water starts to boil then reduce to simmer.
4.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5.  Smash your apples up. (Careful they are hot!)  You can use a simple potato-type masher - http://amzn.to/1fvAAzc if you don’t mind chunks (which we don’t) or you can use a food processor - http://amzn.to/1fvAE1V .  You can even use a food mill - http://amzn.to/18n0l29 , if you’re that hardcore.
6.  Enjoy while hot!  You’ll be in heaven, I promise.

Do you make applesauce?  What is your secret ingredient?

           

Tasty Tuesday Linkup

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We guest posted!

Another day, another guest post. 

Head on over to the blog Naturally Mindful - http://www.naturallymindful.com/2013/08/how-to-garden-with-children.html and check out a post I wrote on gardening with children - http://www.naturallymindful.com/2013/08/how-to-garden-with-children.html . 
Did I leave anything out?
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I guest posted (again!)!

I’m copping out again this Friday and sending you over to another blog to read a post that I wrote.

Head on over and visit Rachel at the blog This Original Organic Life. - http://www.thisoriginalorganiclife.com/2013/07/19/guest-post-diy-bird-feeders-with-five-little-homesteaders/   I wrote a post about making two kinds of bird feeders with your kids.  Cute and easy projects – my favorite kind!

Happy Friday everyone!

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Making Butter

This post on how to make butter is part of the Pantry Revamp series here on Five Little Homesteaders.  To read more about it, check out the first post here.  To read all the posts in the series, click the “pantry revamp” label to the right.

If you’ve been reading this blog at all for the past few months, you know that I’m trying to make more things at home, from scratch.  And when I learned where butter REALLY comes from, I decided to give homemade butter a try in my little kitchen with my two oldest kiddos. Here’s how it went down. 

Pretty Simple.  You just need two ingredients – kosher salt and heavy cream. 
We started with the mason jar and shaking technique.  Pour your cream into the mason jar and add a pinch of kosher salt. 

Then shake it….and shake it….. and shake it.  Then shake it some more. 

Then, when not a whole lot is happening and your kids get bored with shaking – pour it into a mixing bowl and get out the beaters (even better if you have a kitchen aid). 

Eventually (and we’re talking like 5 minutes or more), your solids (the butter) will start to separate from your liquids (the buttermilk). 

Pour the liquid off and what your left with is the butter.  Try and squeeze as much of the buttermilk out the butter as you can, so that it will keep longer.  Use the buttermilk in baking (pancakes!) and use the butter on everything else :)


Will I do this again?  Probably not.  It was quite a bit of effort and doesn’t save money.  It was fun to show the kids (and myself) where butter comes from and if I had my own cow, I suppose I would do this on the regular.  But until then, I think I’ll just keep buying the butter. 

Shared on:

From The Farm Blog Hop - http://thismindbeinyou.com/2013/05/from-the-farm-blog-hop-35.html
Frugally Sustainable - http://frugallysustainable.com/2013/06/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-75/
Wildcrafting Wednesday - http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/06/wildcrafting-wednesday-23.html
The Backyard Farming Connection - http://www.backyardfarmingconnection.com/2013/06/the-backyard-farming-connection-35.html

Tasty Tuesday Linkup

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