Category Archives: Frugal Living

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Things have been crazy-go-nuts here on the homestead with harvesting, cutting and splitting wood, prepping for fall classes, and having a mobile little one running amuck. That being said, I figured that I owed you all at least a quick post seeing how it’s been so long.

For the past month or so I’ve been living off from homemade creamer in my coffee. It was an idea I found mentioned on a few other homesteading blogs and I decided to run with it. The recipe is easy enough to memorize and make any time you’re out:

– 2 cups of any type of milk or creamer

– sweetener to taste

– 1 tsp. of vanilla

– spices to taste

So far I’ve played with using cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk, heavy creamer, whipping cream, and light cream. Maple syrup, honey, and sugar all work well for sweeteners. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and almond extract have all joined in the mix on occasion. This is a wonderful add on to any cup of coffee, chai, or cocoa.

10 Ways We’ve Improved

I was getting a little disenchanted with the whole homesteading thing this morning while reading a friend’s post. This friend has been going at this much longer than I, has more knowledge, and is much more efficient. However, it got to me nonetheless, and I felt like I just haven’t been doing enough to simplify our life and help with the homesteading schemes and dreams as they were. For us, this means doing things naturally, safely, and mostly on our own. I decided to sit and think of at least ten ways that I’ve made our family healthier, safer, and/or more self-reliant.

1. Avoiding chemical cleaners and using organic methods instead, like for combating mold/mildew.

2. Swapping to organic, human, and local health products. I personally only use baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair now. Joe uses Dr. Bronners, and for soap we’re now buying goat’s milk soap from the farmer’s market.

3. Adding a wood stove into our home.

4. Taking the plunge of getting our first livestock: laying hens. They’re free ranged with no antibiotics. Great, healthy eggs high in vitamins than store bought ones and we know how the girls are treated.

5. I’ve increased the amount of repairs done to clothing to keep things being used longer.

6. Knitted items are being burned our at a decent pace now and a braided rug has been started.

7. Canning and stashing began with a bang this year. We all ready have the same number of jam jars in the freezer that we did over the entire course of last season.

8. We’ve made a full swap from using DEET products.

9. Joe’s been finding numerous projects to do using the free pallets that we’ve been able to track down.

10. We’ve been able to focus on making even more food at home than before, which is great! Bread, ice cream, pasta, and many other attempts have come out well. Some things we’ll still buy as we only have so much time in the day, but its’ nice o know that we can do these things in a pinch.

Homemade Ice Cream

In an attempt to try to eat more wholesome on the dessert side of things, we decided to try our hand at homemade ice cream a couple of months ago. (Normally we would have raw sugar in the house only, but with wanting to try this recipe and with canning season fast approaching, we purchased some white sugar.) The recipe itself was super easy:

4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups cream
1 package instant pudding (optional)

The consistency comes out similar to ice milk without the pudding and more like soft-serve with it. After making a patch each way, we decided we liked it better without the pudding, but that it would be a great thing to keep in mind as an easy way to flavor the ice cream.

Yet another pallet project: Stairs

When we bought out cute little blue house, there had originally been a porch on the front. Well, the porch had no flashing and was aiming on rotting the sill if we left it there. With the use of a chainsaw and the destruction of a couple chains, the porch went. This left us with a very small set of stairs and that a pool rail for a railing. Functional, yes. However, when you’re suddenly lugging a child in and out of the house, while fighting the border collie for purchase on the stairs, and not being able to stand on the top step to open the door due to the door taking up all the space all of a sudden functionality takes a different meaning.

Last month, in amongst painting the house, the stairs got an upgrade using free lumber from pallets.

Needless to say, the upgrade that been wonderful. While it might be a little difficult to see, due to the lack of continuity in the photos, the landing is about twice the size as before. There;s now room to set down groceries, the kid, or anything else, and open the door. Not to mention the railing is actually at a height that makes you feel secure when using it.












Yet another great project done by Joe!

Free Wood Shed

Well, the gas to get the pallets and the screws might have added some cost, but the concept’s there. By scrounging at a local business, Joe was able to get the okay to take as many pallets as we want, when we want. This has worked out great! Not only were we able to use them for help fence in the gardens, but Joe’s been putting his creative New Media skills to work are created these wood sheds that each hold roughly a cord. Each shed takes eight regular size pallets and some scraps to tie it all together. While right now the roofing is plastic sheeting that we mis-bought this winter, the long term goal will be to get metal on them that will by far outlive the sheds themselves and will be used on the next generation.

We’ll need six of them on the property, but we definitely have the room, so it won’t be a problem. We’re also planning on building a mini one out front, maybe half the size, that we’ll keep stocked up during the winter and that will give us a couple weeks worth of wood at the ready during the cold spells. Hurray for better planning than last season!