Thanksgiving Dinner and Preparing for Christmas!

Hey Everyone!

Wednesday I had helped my mom start preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had made the Pumpkin Pies and mixed up the rolls.

I had made myself a Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie for thanksgiving, and made two regular pumpkin pies for the rest of the family.

This year we had kept Thanksgiving dinner simpler than we have in years past. Now that it is down to just my immediate family, as my grandparents and great – aunt who used to join us for holiday dinners have all passed away, it is a lot simpler.

After we had had dinner and before I had to take a nap before going to work Friday morning, I put up and decorated my little artificial Christmas Tree.

Over the past couple weeks I have been ordering Christmas gifts for those in my life, to make sure I get them in, in time for Christmas.

As I am getting older, what I want for Christmas, is less about just things, or getting the latest and greatest electronics. I have what I need and some of what I wanted in that department. I don’t need the latest and greatest. I have a smartphone, that is a bit older, but still works great and has everything I need. This past year, I have been learning how to be content with what I have.

This year for Christmas and my Birthday I know I am getting some practical things. Well practical to me things. They wouldn’t be practical for everyone.

That is how I am trying to live my life, is more practically, and be more frugal. That is part of the focus of this blog, is Homemaking made simpler. Those who know me, know I love history, especially the era of westward expansion / frontier life / pioneer life / Homesteading as well as the 1950’s. I also have been interested in learning about and diving into Women’s History. While these are two very different periods in history,

In the years since my food intolerances really began manifesting themselves, learning where my food comes from, and the concept of being self sufficient and eventually living on one income, has been something I have been researching. At least with where I am from, living the more traditional lifestyle where the husband works and the wife is a homemaker and raises the kids is all but a memory.

I have always preferred being able to go outside and work on the land, like having a garden, some fruit trees, and maybe some chickens, pigs and goats. I also enjoy cooking and baking, as well as knitting.

I am one of those who wants a home of my own, but I don’t want anything fancy. I want a home to keep, and hopefully one day raise kids in. I also have realized that I am more of a country girl than a city girl. I would also make memories than have a bunch of things that I don’t need and will not use often enough to justify buying them.

As I get have gotten older, having frivolous things is less and less appealing. Which is why when I am asked what I want for Christmas and my birthday (they are less than a week a part), it is getting harder.

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Buying Men’s Razors (budgeting series #1)

Hey Everyone!

With everything I love doing, and the lifestyle I am living and want to continue living (and take it to the next level and beyond), it is time I really start budgeting and learning how to save money / spend less when I do shop, I am working on learning how to maximize my use of coupons, store apps, store rewards programs / money saving programs, Ibotta, and doing way more DIY stuff.

Learning to be Frugal is what I am trying to do.

I still have a lot to learn, especially on which things it’s ok to buy the generic brand or the less expensive option, and on which things you want to buy the name brand or more expensive item, because the quality is better. When it comes to things needing to last, spending a bit more money for a quality item, that you then maintain, will last for a while.

I have know about and used the Safeway club card for years, as well as looked at in store deals and in store coupons when I am looking at, say shampoo or razors. Yeah, I have the ones I like, but when it comes to shampoo and conditioner if one of my favorite brands is on sale or has a coupon to save some money, I would go with that brand. For instance, one of the brands of shampoo and conditioner I bought today were on 2 for $10, when they are regularly $5.99 a piece. I also got a bottle of each shampoo and conditioner of one of the Herbal Essences bio renew line of hair care. I had seen that it was on Ibotta for get $1.50 back on each one, effectively making them $4.49 instead of $5.99.

One of the frustrating things, is that women’s razors are always more expensive than the men’s razors. Seriously, there is no reason we need girly colored razors when they guys work just as well or better, and cheaper. That is why I bought a package of the guys razors instead of a similar product marketed to women. There was also an in store coupon for $2.00 off, which is even better.

This is just the first post in a series I hope to continue in the future.

Over the past few months I have really begun to see why things are really necessary in life and what things are not. Once the holidays are over, I am getting rid of my Hulu Plus and Netflix subscriptions, as that is when the seasons of a couple shows I am currently watching will be over, and I will be caught up as much as possible on The Black List.

It’s time for Pumpkin

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Yesterday after I got home from work I felt like baking. Beings that I didn’t have to work today, I had the time to bake.

Now that autumn is finally here, as well as the fact that I love pumpkin food, and the weather is cool enough to actually warrant baking, I am back in my element. I love cooking and baking.

A couple weekends ago I made split pea soup, and this past weekend I made Chili.

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, pumpkin scents, pumpkin food, hot tea, the changing colors of leaves, I love the fall colors anyway.

I am actually excited that summer is over, and on to cooler weather.

Autumn Decorations Haul

Hey Everyone!

Today I stopped at Joann’s, and picked some more fall decorations.

Over the past several years I have been working on my stash of fall decorations.

My goal is to keep my fall and Christmas decorations to two plastic tubs a piece, including seasonal Scentsy warmers. Once I am able to get a place of my own again, I really want to organize my fall and Christmas decorations and Scentsy warmers, and try to condense as much as possible. Once I am able to move again, I also want to go through my stuff, especially from college and see about donating some of the stuff that I haven’t used in 7.5 years that I don’t want or need again for a place of my own (like cookware, dishes and furniture). I know there are boxes full of clothes that no longer fit or are my style.

I am really trying to find the balance of living simply, without too much in the way of material things while balancing making wherever I live feel like a home. I have totally been inspired by those who live in off grid cabins or build their own off grid home on a homestead.

I went back and watched one of the first Pure Living for Life videos where Alyssa was talking about why she was selling her relatively new Subaru and that she and Jesse were in the process of moving to their 5 acre property, and were working on doing it debt free. The point she made was pretty much that for many people we go to jobs that we may not necessarily like, to pay in the debts so we can have the things that on the social level we are expected to have and congratulated on. She had also stated that when she and Jesse told people about them going and living off grid and building their own house, and doing what they are doing now, everyone they knew told them that they were in essence crazy.

While I don’t know that I want to totally go off grid, the idea of building my own house (with help of course), and living on some property, and live debt free is the kind of life I want to live. Being able to live in a house I helped build from the ground up, and be able to entertain, and enjoy the house and property, and share that with others is something I am working toward.

Fall Has to Be Coming

Hey Everyone!

Saturday, I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and picked up some more flours to make up the brown rice flour mix I use for gluten free baking. I also got a package of the gluten free Shortbread Cookie mix.

Yesterday I had baked my Shortbread cookies, for being gluten free & vegan they turned out amazing. I had used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp on them prior to baking them.

I had also cooked up some chicken yesterday, but I needed that for dinner. Cooking for dinner isn’t always the most interesting.

This summer, the wildfire smoke has been so bad. It hasn’t been just one wildfire that has been causing our air to be at an unhealthy level quite a bit, and our skies to look like the photo above. It has also been a very hot summer, the hottest since at least 2009.

While I was out and about for my job interviews today, I noticed that quite a few trees were turning already. I have been over this heat all summer, and I am so ready for cooler weather. The stores and nature (despite the heat and wildfire smoke), is leading me to believe that autumn is coming, and soon.

Major Urban Homesteading Going on in this House

Hey Everyone!

This weekend has been a busy Urban Homesteading. 

Yesterday (Saturday), I went out with my mom, to two farm stands to get peaches and berries to can and make more Jam. 

After we got back to the house, I picked raspberries in the backyard and planted some lettuce starts that we got for free. I watered them really well last night, as well as again this morning. 

Last night my mom and I made two batches of blackberry jam and one batch of strawberry jam. 


Today I picked more raspberries, and made some more raspberry jam. 


We had also picked up a Hermiston Watermelon and a Hermiston cantaloupe from one the farm stand by the golf course. 

This weekend 4 batches of jam were made, and peaches will be canned later this week sometime. 


Tomorrow I will be checking my lettuce plants and seeing how well the my be taking. They have had plenty of water, and a nice warm day today, I am hoping they take and that I can get some lettuce off then before the season is over. Free salad would be awesome. 

It Pays to Check every Label

Hey Everyone!

A friend of mine had brought it to my attention today that Heinz “Apple Cider” Vinegar isn’t actually made from Apple Cider. The only difference between the regular Heinz Distilled Vinegar and the so called “Apple Cider” Vinegar is that the “Apple Cider” Vinegar has flavors and colors added. This is deceitful marketing if I ever did see it. 


There are other brands (including the store brands) that actually make Apple Cider Vinegar. So check the label if you actually want Apple Cider Vinegar.

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I read my friend’s post about the Apple cider vinegar, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was like “you know better than to not read the label, even on something as dumb as Vinegar”. Not because it actually has dairy in in, but to double check to make sure, because nothing is safe until you check, and not everything is what it says it is. 

I learned to read every label, because way to many things that would think don’t have dairy in them actually do, including things that say “non-dairy” yet contain sodium caseinates (the protein in milk). So while the vinegar doesn’t contain dairy, I am still way to trusting of mainstream food from the grocery store. 

If the past 5.5 years haven’t already taught me to question everything and literally read every label, this has definitely taught me that, as well as that you can’t trust name brands to be honest with you. 

I hate to say it, but we live in a day and age when big corporations love to lie to the consumer for the sake of the almighty dollar and their profits.