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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Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

Hey Everyone!

This morning as I was putting the dishes away, I had noticed that there were some ripe raspberries out on the raspberry plants in the backyard. 

So I went outside and picked them. 

And then ate them with the salad I had….


I sure do love Oregon berries and locally grown produce. It’s even better when they come from your own backyard. I am all about modern day homesteading, and growing a lot of your own food. I wouldn’t mind living on a farm or ranch, and raising a lot of my own produce, as well as chickens (layers and meat chickens), pigs (for food), as well as stocking the freezer with fish (salmon, cod, etc), caught here on the west coast, venison, elk, maybe a moose. I also want to have a good supply of freezer jam made from local berries, as well as canned jams and jellies. I definitely want to try at some point in my life, black currant jelly, elderberry jelly and fireweed jelly. 

I know canning, preserving, gardening, and farm life is hard work. I love working with my hands and seeing the product of my efforts, and being in the kitchen as well as outside. I also know that berry bushes scratch up your hands, arms and legs. I know that it takes a while to pit pie cherries before you can them. 

I was raised in the city, and raised eating grocery store food 99% of the time. Now that I am older, I am way more conscious of where my food comes from, how it was raised, what it was fed, what it was given (hormones, antibiotics etc), and honestly all of that grosses me out. I have tasted fresh caught salmon, and locally grown vegetables, and chicken that I saw where & how it was raised and honestly all of that tasted so much better than the grocery store food. 

Since I developed food intolerances and sensitivities, I am all about clean eating, as well as knowing where my food comes from, and how it was raised. 

At the end of the day, I would just as soon spend a day working hard outside or in the kitchen doing something to provide food for myself and my future family, whether it be to eat right away or preserve for eating in the colder months when fresh food is scarce. 

The more I can do for myself (of help my future husband with), and the less I have to rely on the mainstream grocery stores for, the happier I would be. I am also sure the more fresh, local, natural foods (as opposed to processed) I can eat, I know my body would do better with. 

That is my ultimate goal, to raise more of my food myself, live on some acreage, and be more self sufficient (including learning how to sew). 

Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

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If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

Non-Dairy is not the same as Dairy Free

Hey Everyone! 

I hate when I am out somewhere, and food companies lie to you on their packaging. When packaging on a food product that says that it is “non-dairy”, “Lactose Free” and so on and so forth, but you then go to the ingredients to just make sure, and then clear as day see “contains a dairy derivative” and Sodium Caseinates. 

For those of you who are not dairy free, Lactose is the sugar in milk, And Sodium Caseinates are the proteins in milk. So those of us who are either dairy intolerant or have a milk allergy, we can’t eat any product that has milk, cream, butter, cheese in it, but even more so than that, we can’t have anything that has Lactose, Whey, Whey Protein, or Sodium Caseinates in it. 

It is out and out lies, as well as false advertising and misleading for companies to claim something is “non-dairy”, when it in fact has something like Sodium Caseinates in it. Case in point – coffeemate coffee creamer says right on the bottle it is “non-dairy creamer” and that it is lactose free. Just because it is not straight up milk or cream, it is full of sodium caseinates (the milk proteins). How is something that clearly contains a milk derivative (that makes certain people sick) non-dairy? That is a lawsuit waiting to happen if it hasn’t already. 


I had grabbed a vanilla one for the pictures, but all the flavors contain sodium caseinates. 

Things like this disgust me and are appalling. While I am no expert on dairy allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, I have dealt with being dairy intolerant long enough to see right through companies schemes. 

When I had to go dairy free, there was no in between no mans land, of “do I really need to do this?”, I had to do it, or not be able to function. I also didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes or any form of dairy free support network. It was just me, on my own, and I had a sharp learning curve. 

Now, five and a half years later, I have a pretty good handle on being dairy free (I will have a better handle on it when I am able to live on my own again). It is all part of Homemaking – being able to cook and bake to accommodate my food intolerances. 

If I could help even one other person, who is forced to go dairy free, the pain and hardship of the past five and a half years would be worth it. 

Urban Homesteading, update. 

Hey Everyone! 

A few posts ago I know I talked a bit about urban homesteading. I still want to do the homesteading part, but not so much the urban part. I am at best a small town kind of a girl. 

Yes, it would be easier to deal with my food intolerances in the city, as the availablity of Gluten Free & Dairy Free food is so much greater, but I am not one for easy. 

While I could do dairy free & gluten free pretty much easier, being out west here, is preferable to me. It would be a shorter distance to get Bob’s Red Mill products shipped, or closer to drive to Portland and stock up. 

As far as the homestead part, that would be easier, garden wise to do in a small town or out in the country. I have wanted to have enough property for a while to have some goats and chickens, in addition to the garden for a while. 

Depending on where I end up, I definitely want a greenhouse, to be able to grow some vegetables in the winter. 

While I do not want to live in the big city forever, as it is to busy, and on the go for me. I definitely prefer a slower pace of daily life, where I can spend more time outside and feel like I have room to move and breathe. I still want to homestead, use more alternate forms of energy, like solar, and live a more self sustainable life. 

Urban Homesteading?

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For the past year or so, Urban Homesteading has been something I have definitely been wanting for myself. 

The whole idea of being able to grow most of my own fruits and vegetables, and what is not feasible to grow on the small scale or can’t grow enough of to do all the jam making, canning and preserving, that I would like to do, I would locally source my food by going to the farms themselves, and purchase from farmers at farmers markets. 

In the past couple of years, I don’t know exactly when, some time after developing food intolerances, I have definitely taken a turn somewhere from being very mainstream to being more non traditional. 

In today’s society, we have become all so consumed with having what we want when we want, that for many, the idea of working with our hands outside, growing our own food and self sufficiency are a thing of the past. 

Part of it is the city I live in, the self sufficiency, DIY, Urban Homesteading, shopping local, buying local food, shopping at farmers markets, organic food, is definitely very prevalent here. 

I am very much one who would rather be outside, working in the dirt, growing as much of my own food as possible than sitting in an office. When I was little, I was the one who would be outside playing in the the dirt, digging up worms. I was also the one who loved camping and fishing so go figure. 

The part of the country is a great area for growing food, like Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peaches, pears, cucumbers, corn, pumpkins, squash, cherries, apples, pears, and so much more. 

A day to Bake

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I wanted to bake today, and I was in the mood for something pumpkin, so, this afternoon I did just that. 

This morning I held off doing much, as I knew the electric company was going to be doing some work in my neighborhood and taking the electricity off line for a bit, and I didn’t want to be in the middle of baking something and have the power go off in the middle of it. Fortunately they got that done before lunch time. 

This afternoon I baked pumpkin cinnamon rolls and pumpkin muffins. 


For the last few weeks I have definitely been in baking mode and trying new recipes. I am working on my homemaking skills as well as gluten free & dairy free cooking and baking skills. 

I am really trying to become a better homemaker.