Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemaker or Desperate Housewife?!?

Long time no see I know! I started a weight-loss challenge on New Years Day and it requires me to blog twice a week on it or be kicked out. I like most of the modern world have only so much time in the day so I laid this blog aside for a little bit. I might not be back in full blogging swing but I'm at least here!

I was working on orders for fruit and veggie baskets today and someone posted a status update on Facebook (where I get the orders from) which said " Productive morning! We've done some school work, baked a wheat loaf, wheat sandwich rolls, cookies, and biscuits. Chicken stock is working on it's own. The house smells amazing!" That comment got me thinking... I have very productive days and then sometimes I have days where I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. Regardless of the days outcome I'm working daily to improve the lives of my loved ones. I'm working to stretch our dollar farther than humanly possible, I'm working to become more self sufficient and not rely on the big box stores to meet our needs.... I'm WORKING! I'm working on being a Homemaker not a Desperate Housewife!

So with my weight-loss challenge being so fresh in my mind, and all the motivation and support I have received from it I thought I might issue a Homemakers Challenge here! Here is the best part.... you make your OWN goals for what you would like to accomplish in YOUR homemakers journey! No following me, or jump through this hoop and that hoop. Just making progress in your own home on the things that directly affect you and your family.  It could be learning a new skill like baking bread, or seriously addressing your food budget and learning how to stick to it, or heck for those with several small children it could be making sure the kids toilet stays flushed! You would need to link up once a week and post something on your blog with pictures showing what you accomplished this week! No goal to big or to small.

So what do you think? Any working mamas out there who could use a little encouragement and a gentle nudge now and then?!? Come on it's only 10 weeks... you can do it! You're already working so you might as well have a little fun while doing it!

Leave a comment here or send me a message on Facebook or email if interested!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why Do You Do What You DO?

I was posting on my weight loss blog today and one of my blogger friends asked why we made everything from scratch.  "Was it a philosophy of life or is it just because you like to have it all self made?", she asked.  I began to explain that here in the U.S. we have one of the lowest food CPIs but our food was total garbage and even it was on the rise. Our meat is raised on concrete farms where the cow stands hoof deep in manure and never sees a blade of grass and certainly doesn't eat it. Once our meat is slaughtered it is then soaked in ammonia to kill all the bacteria that has taken over the animal due to poor care at the mass farms.  This technique has made it possible to save the scrap portions that had previously been rated for dog food and now they are made into hamburgers for all our favorite fast food restaurants, including our children's school lunches! Think I'm making this up? You can read for yourself here, here, and here.  Unfortunately it doesn't stop there. Our bread has zero nutrients when they are done with it and has to be fortified just to have half the nutrients of fresh ground wheat bread. Our milk is tainted with antibiotics and rBGH and then pasteurized to kill all the bad bacteria present, again, due to poor care for the animals. The sad part is the the pasteurization process kills all the good bacteria that is beneficial to we humans who drink it. So basically we are drinking a product that does us little good.  And the list goes on....

Raw milk from our local farm.

Notice she is a free range cow able to eat grass at her leisure and is not hooked up to a milking machine for hours on end.

Most people have one of two opinions. The first is "I don't even want to know. It taste good and that's all I care about".  The second is "What am I supposed to do, quit my job and learn to make, grow, and raise everything myself?"

I don't think either of those positions are correct. I understand we live in a modern world and most people would not want to live the farm life. That doesn't mean you deserve to eat ammonia soaked, feces filled meat, contaminated veggies, and chicken filled with so many hormones to grow larger birds in a shorter amount of time that they can only take a few steps before their legs give out and they fall! We have a right to fresh, safe, nutrient-dense food!
A pork shoulder roast from the local butcher.

Cooking the roast in the rotisserie to make pulled pork for dinner.
Some might say "What can I do?"  There are many things you can do, but my first suggestion would be to educate yourself. After a short period of time you will begin to see how corrupt our food system is and you will want to find a better way for you and your family. The second step is to take your hard earned dollars somewhere else. Our grocery stores all sale the same products. You will not get better meat from a high end grocery store unless you go to an organic-only store such as Whole Foods.  If you can't afford to shop at a store such as that for everything (I know I can't) then find a small local butcher shop who is willing to answer your questions on processing, where their meat is raised, by who, what the animal eats, etc. If you don't have a butcher in your town look for small farmers. If all else fails find the closest one to you and make a day trip to get what you will need till the next time you can make the drive.

This is the amount of fresh produce Racey & I got in one day for volunteering at our farmers market co-op.
Begin to replace the filler foods you normally serve with fresh vegetables. Take all the snack food in the pantry and replace them with fresh fruit and a few home baked items. You have options, you just have to choose them.

Dehydrating pineapple for trail mix, pizza topping, or just to snack.
I remember when I was a young mom, my son started suffering from migraines and ADHD symptoms. Everything I read said to quit feeding him processed foods, caffeine, wheat, dairy, etc. till I could find the cause of his issues. I was so young and ill-informed I had no idea how to do it. I can remember lamenting to his father that I had no clue how to achieve this. All I knew how to feed my family was what the grocery store sold and it ALL was pre-packaged foods and easy to cook meats. Time has passed and my son is now almost 17 and I have finally found a way to feed him without killing him. The only problem is that now he, like most of America, is accustom to crap food and it takes him a while to actually develop a taste for real food.  Just the other night I pulled a crab, artichoke, and spinach cream cheese dip from the fridge and placed it on the counter with some crackers for Racey to munch on while I was finishing dinner.  McClane wandered by and asked what it was. I told him knowing he wouldn't try it, and after a few minutes he said "This is another one of those foods that, if you just eat it, and don't look at it tastes REALLY good."  Racey and I both laughed and agreed with him.

McClane was fussing at me for taking pictures of him making butter from the cream off our fresh milk.
So I guess my question for you is, "Why do you do what you do?"  Do you chose to stick your head in the sand and ignore the reality of our food crisis?  Do you think you can't afford to eat any better than you currently are, or are you ready to take charge of your health, your food, and your money and demand only the best for you and your family?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Back to Basics

Sorry I haven't blogged in several weeks, but I started an new blog with my weight loss challenge and between the challenge, that blog, and our new edition of Ms. Cooper Annabelle, I have been swamped. 

Back to Basics

Part of homesteading is learning how to take care of yourself and your belongings without running to an outside source. With that principal in mind I decided to attack our large area rug that needed to be cleaned. When Mckenna moved back home she brought her two dogs with her and for a week or two we had issues with not letting the dogs out in time so of course they chose the rug instead of all the easy to clean hardwood floor that surrounded the rug!

I first laid the rug in direct sunlight to help sanitize and remove the bad odors. It's winter here so I didn't have to worry about the sunlight fading the rug, if fading is a concern for you then only place in direct sunlight for a few hours at a time.

After a few hours, I sprinkled baking soda liberally over the rug and swept the powder into the rug.  Baking soda is a natural odor absorber and you don't have to worry about it damaging the fibers of the rug. I again let the rug sit in the sun for several hours.

If you are trying to freshen only then you can vacuum the rug several times and maybe place over a fence or something similar and beat the remaining powder out of the rug. Becuase our rug had been peed on, I wanted to wash it as well. I took the garden hose and sprayed from the top down for several minutes. You can look on the back of the rug to confirm all stains have been removed. Once clean I let it air dry for a day or so. Once the rug is back in it's place vacuum one last time to fluff the fibers back into place.

*You should always check the label of your rug before using and cleaning products or water.

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