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.

Preparing for Christmas

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I am one of those people who waits until after Thanksgiving to decorate. That doesn’t mean that I don’t start preparing for it earlier.

This year, beings that I have been working Retail, in a store that carries Christmas Decorations, I have been inundated with Christmas Decorations for the past month and a half. I have also been slowly working on purchasing the decorations I have liked over the past month or so.

This year, at work, one of the main themes for our decorations this year is “Nordic Lodge”. Beings as it has taken up more than 3 fixtures on Center of Floor, it is a pretty big deal. There have been a few decorations that I have seen every time I have gone to work that I loved, so I have picked them up.

Autumn and Christmas are my two favorite times of year to really decorate for the season. I love decorating this time of year and make where I am living look festive. When I was in college, I didn’t care so much about my first apartment, as it was kind of a crappy apartment, that never felt like my. My second apartment while in college, from the time I first walked into it, felt like home, and I decorated it a lot more.

I definitely want to decorate more when I get my own place again, and make it feel homey and cozy.

Yesterday, the newest Holiday Scentsy Warmer I had ordered (as well as some bars and a holiday brick) arrived. I got the winter stag Warmer, as well as 3 bars of lavender white Balsam and a brick of Silver Bells. One of my favorite scent combos this time of year is Very Merry Cranberry and Silver Bells. On its own the very merry cranberry is a bit to sweet and a bit too much for me. The Silver Bells helps tone it down and add in a light minty, cold & crisp mix to it, which I love.

It definitely struck me yesterday when I had pulled the warmer out of the box to see it in person that the side of the reindeer has a bit of the Nordic pattern similar to what some of the ornaments I had bought at work have on them.

Baking For Others

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This afternoon, my mom wanted to bake some cookies, so I helped her.

These cookies weren’t made for me, they were made for my dad and brother. So, they have butter, eggs, wheat flour and regular nestle chocolate chips that have dairy in them.

Sometimes being Dairy Free, Egg Free and limited gluten really sucks, and other times I am not at all disappointed that I have to live with food intolerances and sensitivities. I am really working to get back on track with clean eating and living a healthier life, so the fact that I cannot eat these cookies without being sick just means I am not tempted to eat them, and helps me stay on track.

I love baking, and on a chilly, wintery afternoon such as today was, was a perfect day to bake. Even when I am not baking for myself, I enjoy baking and cooking for others.

Eating Venison

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To some, eating venison is adventurous. (If you can’t find it in the grocery store than it’s exotic).

Today I had some Venison for the second time that I can remember, as an adult. I may have had some at some point when I was a kid, but I just don’t remember it.

I definitely love trying different meats. I eat so much chicken, and don’t care for beef.

Venison is texturally similar to beef, but isn’t as heavy and has a totally different flavor. I actually like the more gamey flavor of Venison.

Not counting Beef, Chicken, Pork, Shrimp and Salmon from the Grocery Store, I have had fresh caught salmon from the Pacific Ocean, as well as fresh caught trout. I have also had crab, clams, tilapia, cod, lingcod, tuna, bear jerky and wild boar sausage. I have also likely eaten Elk, and other types of seafood that I can’t think of at the moment. The best chicken I have ever had was one that my my cousin had raised on his property. That chicken was definitely cage free, and allowed to roam in a large pen.

Part of my whole goal and desire with simple homemaking is to be more self sufficient and self sustaining in how I live my life. With that, while still in the process of learning about how to live the life I want is trying new things.

While I don’t want to live completely off grid, I am definitely tired of living a completely on grid life style in the city.

I don’t fault anyone who lives in the city, and / or enjoys and prefers city life, that is their right and choice to do so.

I do make some foods Vegan, because I am dairy intolerant, and egg sensitive, but I am by no means actually vegan. If it weren’t for my food intolerances and sensitivities I would still be eating eggs and dairy products (dairy free yogurts and cheese alternatives are not the same as the real thing, and I definitely miss eating Tillamook Cheese and Yogurt).

I am all for ethical hunting and fishing. I also love being out in the Garden, and I would love to raise chickens and maybe some goats.

Working to make my place a Home

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Today I went shopping at the store I work at, to purchase the rest of the Christmas ornaments I have been eyeing for the past week and a half, since we got them in stock.

I started buying the ones I like last week and picked up the last few I liked today. I might as well pick up the cute ones while they are in stock, before the mad rush for Christmas everything happens, and all the ones I like sale out.

Beings that my store is in the same complex as a mall that has a yankee candle store I decided to walk down to the Yankee Candle and at least smell the candles. I found one scent I actually like, which is the apple pumpkin. They were having a sale, the small jars were buy one get one free so I got two of the apple pumpkin candles.

On my way home I had stopped at new seasons and picked up a couple boxes of my favorite Steven Smith tea maker tea – no. 47 Bungalow.

While I am working to live a more minimalistic life, having a few things to make my future house a home. Besides just the fact that I enjoy Homemaking, hospitality has also been on my heart. Whether it is extending friendship and an open door to young women in college who are away from home and need that support system, a listening ear of someone who has already gone through it, and a home cooked meal every so often. Being that someone who helps them make their new home feel like home because they will be there nine months out of the year for at least four years. As well as young women who are through school and starting out on their own, and maybe moved someplace new for work and trying to figure out the whole adult with a job thing. Starting college and new jobs are always hard, and it is even harder when you move someplace new to do that, and pursue your dreams. I have been there, I have been through it. Being able to be there for other young women who are going through similar situations I have been through and be able to open my home to them to help ease the transition is something that is on my heart.

When you want some chocolate chip cookies

Hey Everyone!

Sunday afternoon I was really wanting some chocolate chip cookies, but didn’t have chocolate chips. I made a run to the grocery store to get chocolate chips so I could bake a batch of cookies.

That is one of the few things I like about living in the city, the fact that the grocery store is still open at 6 pm on a Sunday evening.

When I got back from the grocery store I made a batch of gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies.

Making a quick trip to the grocery store because I needed one thing, and the fact that the grocery store is just the road, makes life easy. It got me thinking about living in a small town or out in the country, where making a quick trip to the grocery store in the evening isn’t an option, making sure I have Baking basics, including chocolate chips on hand for those times I feel like baking cookies one evening. It’s always nice to have ingredients on hand to make some staples on a whim.