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)

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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.

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

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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.

Autumn Decorations Haul

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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.

What is Simple Homemaking?

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The past couple years I have been feeling like the direction my blog is going to go will be changing.

I have known that living in the city is not who I am, or where I am the most authentic as well as where this blog kind of stalls out. There is only so much I feel like I can do in the city with a smaller backyard.

To me, simple homemaking, is living debt free, growing and raising my own food, doing a lot more DIY stuff, and not having a lot of frivolous material knick-knacks. There is a fine line between making a house feel homey, and going overboard.

I am wanting to go even “Simpler” in terms of how I live, and not buy more material things unless I need them, as well as make as much of my own stuff as I can, as well as grow and raise a lot of my own. That is my 5 – 10 year goal, to be a homesteader.

Peaches Galore

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I had mentioned in a previous post that over the weekend, while at one of the farm stands, we picked up 60 pounds of fresh, local peaches. 

Today we canned most of them. We got a total of 3 batches (21 quarts) of peaches. We also got two batches of muffins, a batch of peach freezer jam and some left over to eat out of the 60 pounds. 


My mom and I had gotten on the subject about how in the olden days women used to can in houses without AC over a wood burning stove, in dresses with longer sleeves and long skirts. I had been thinking about that earlier in the day, and in the days and weeks prior to today, about how much women did in the summer in addition to their regular routines. Fixing meals, doing laundry, cleaning house all didn’t stop just because canning season arrived. They would be out in the garden and picking the fruit and putting it up in addition to taking care of a family and a home.

My mom and I do why we do because we enjoy doing it. In the current day and age it is easy enough to get fruit to put up. I can only imagine how hard it can be in years when the weather is uncooperative and / or crops fail, and you then don’t have food to put up for winter. 

I had gone out earlier in the evening and picked raspberries and to check on my little lettuce plants. My lettuce starts seem to be taking. As much as I don’t like the hot weather, the plants do go better when it is warm / hot and sunny. I am totally hoping that I can get some lettuce off my little plants before the weather gets too cool. 

Today was extremely productive, and I am tired for all the right reasons. I love days when I work hard and get a lot done.