Category Archives:Crafting on the homestead

Cute messenger bags

We have been going to the library at least every week due to the extreme heat here. The air conditioning is wonderful for one, and two, it gives the boys a bit of time to get their pent up energy out. But besides just playing with toys and tablets, I want the boys to pick out books to bring home. After checking out my fabric stash, we found some Mickey Mouse fabric that would work out perfect for a little book messenger bag.

I love using patterns from (no affiliation). Even if you don’t have much sewing experience, but have a machine this website is one I highly recommend. Their directions are easy to read. And better yet, they have pictures of the steps!

I had my oldest pick out one of the bags- Vintage Style Kid’s Book Satchel. He even helped for a while handing me pins when I needed to pin. He wanted to help cut, because he has been doing so well cutting paper 😛

I made two bags so there wouldn’t be any fighting with different color piping/ edging on the bags. Between taking care of the house and the kids I was able to finish both bags in about 3 days even though I made some alterations due to what supplies I had on hand. I think they turned out pretty well!

Solar Oven tryout in the works

Keeping cool in the desert is definitely a must. And turning on the oven, heating the kitchen up is certainly counter productive when trying to keep an entire house cool.

As you may know, I do love to bake, especially fresh breads to eat with our homemade pasta. Before we moved I had done an article on baking bread in a bread machine verses the oven.

Now with us living in the desert, I’m really looking forward to building a solar oven and try my baking in there. Stayed tuned for my future blogs on building and then cooking in a solar oven! And check out my “review” on the bread machine vs. the oven.

Relaunch Giveaway

Moving is never easy, but after getting settled it’s time for a relaunch. We sold our homestead in Illinois, and moved to Arizona. Between all of the moving and selling, writing got pushed to the wayside. Now with renewed vigor I’m ready to get the ball rolling again!

Our beloved chickens found a new home with plenty of wooded land to roam. Our current residence does not allow us to have chickens, but I have already started looking into new coop designs for when I can start a new flock. (A side note: Tractor Supply is right down the road- it’s so hard not to buy all of their chicks!) I’m leaning towards a coop that has a rainwater trap since Arizona does not get as much rain as frequently.
The kids and Fendi are doing well in their new environment. (I think Fendi particularly LOVED not dealing with snow this past winter!) And we have a new baby arriving in November, this time around it is a girl!

While the bulk of my posts had been about the chickens and goats while in Illinois, I am working on some new posts that deal more with my kids (keeping them busy during the extreme heat of summer), gardening in the city, and a few other crafts and sewing projects I have been working on.

To celebrate my relaunch- now through Memorial Day all new subscribers will be entered into a drawing for a set of 4 kitchen towels I finished on my loom! I’m very excited to start production on these towels and to add to my store front!

These are 100% cotton towels, that soften with every use and wash! Three Large Dishtowels measure 18″X 24″ and a hand towel that measures 18″X 15.5″.

Don’t miss your chance to win these beautiful kitchen towels! Click here to subscribe and be entered into the drawing!

Delicious Graham Crackers Please!

Summer camping is in full swing, and the traditional s’more is always welcome fireside.

Setting up our tent in the front yard

Four boxes of graham crackers in one is a bonus of having our Sam’s Club membership. My son loves graham crackers (and so do I), but the day came when I had to tell my 2 year old that we were out of crackers! After the disbelief and tears of a cracker-less kitchen passed, I though “well gosh darn it, why not make them from scratch”. Entering stage left, Pinterest, with its wonderful pins of graham cracker recipes.

I chose two rather popular pins (see them on my pinterest board here). There are the basic ingredients that are the same for both recipes, however here’s the lists of differences:

Homemade Honey Graham Crackers

This recipe has: nutmeg, butter, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and baking soda.

This recipe has: egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and milk.

After completing both recipes a few times, I had my trusty taste testers choose our go to recipe.

Overall, we decided on the recipe from Completely Delicious.  We especially think the dough taste great baked or raw; and for those parents who don’t want their kids eating raw egg, this recipe is also a bonus.

Three  tips I have are:  (1) make sure you roll out thin, thinner than you think you should,                                     (2) check them in the oven at the shortest bake time to make sure they don’t over bake. The edges can get rather crispy quickly.

(3) Even with my Kitchenaid mixing bowl, a double batch was a bit too much at one time

With one batch of graham cracker dough and rolling fairly thin, I was able to get 55 crackers (minus a few that were eaten raw by the family).

Leave a comment below if you have a different graham cracker recipe you like!