Monday, December 28, 2009


If you haven't already, go to  Instructables and check it out. They have directions for how to build a ton of things. A lot of the stuff involves upcycling, which is really cool.   I used the site to find directions for building Rob's bike stand for Christmas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shameless Promotion!

Check out my hyena cart shop!
click above.

Arizona Local Food


I found this website while trying to figure out where to get organic meat for the kids. We are talking about buying a quarter of half of a beef so it's cheaper.   The website has all kinds of foods and tells you where to get them in your area. It is a really neat resource!

My Christmas presents from Rob!

Rob gave me the coolest presents this year!
First he made, (yes ladies made), me the coolest bracelet! It is gorgeous and so comfy to wear! Check it out:

He also bought me a strollometer, a distance/time computer for my jogging stroller. This should help me get ready for my duathalon in March!
Here it is on our BOB duallie:

The Greenhouse!

Our family gave us a greenhouse for Christmas! Talk about the coolest gift ever!   It is 6x8 and tall enough for Rob to stand in. I can't wait to get it up and get some organic veggies growing! We got the foundation down yesterday. We decided to put it closer to the house so we can get water and so it helps protect it from the wind. It will still get plenty of sun in the winter and in the summer the shade will help keep it cooler. Hopefully the rest will go up next week.

Cole's Play Kitchen

Rob built the cutest play kitchen for Cole's Christmas present. It started as a nightstand and all together cost about $30. I absolutely love it! It is way cuter than any Walmart plastic kitchen and the red matches my decor! (Which I'm sure Cole was really concerned about.) The drawers hold all of the play food and the pots and pans so it is really easy to clean up. Don't I have the best hubby ever?

Merry Christmas everyone!!

We had a wonderful Christmas here! The kids were spoiled like crazy by the family and the house is still completely destroyed with toys and packaging. I should probably go and start shoveling out the living room soon before we lose the baby in the mess.  I hope everyone has a safe New Years!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Play kitchen

I want to make a play kitchen for Christmas by reusing old furniture. Anyone have a link?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


It snowed a little! The kids ran outside to shiver and watch. Of course it melted right away.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Permission for chickens!!

My hubby has agreed to the chickens! There is a local chicken farm so I am going to check into how they are raised. I would love to get some organically raised chicks but I'm not sure how to find them.


It is suppose to snow down to about 3,000 feet in the next couple days. Here is Prescott we are around 5,000 so maybe we will get some snowflakes for the kids to chase!

Book Review: The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!

Don't walk, run out to buy this book! It is amazingly cram packed full of information and ideas for every wannabe homesteader with a limited space. The authors give you detailed information for every project and additional resources for further research.

You will be amazed by the potential of your own quarter acre homestead once you read this book. I am very excited by many of the projects from beekeeping, to harvesting wild Jerusalem artichokes, to planting efficient gardens! I usually don't purchase books I can get at the library but this will definetely be an exception.

Make Your Own Diaper Sprayer or Handheld Bidet!

I found a really neat WEBSITE that has directions for making your own handheld bidet/diaper sprayer. It costs around $20 with parts from your local home improvement store.

Vegetarian "Meatballs" Worth Writing Home About

These vegetarian meatballs are excellent with spaghetti or on a sub sandwich! They taste like the real thing.
SERVES 4 -6 


  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix, or one packet onion dip mix
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup dry Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbs bouilllion
  • Marinara sauce or broth


  1. Mix ingredients together in order. Except Marinara sauce or broth.

  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. Form into 1-1/4 inch balls and place on baking sheet sprayed with Pam.

  4. Bake in 400 degree oven until brown, about 20 minutes.

  5. (May be frozen now.) Place meatballs in casserole and cover with broth or marinara sauce.

  6. Meatballs should be within 1/2 inch of being covered with liquid.

  7. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour (1-1/2 hrs if meatballs are frozen).

  8. Or meatballs may be prepared in a crockpot on high setting for 1 hour (or 1-1/2 if frozen).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today was...

A horrible rotten no good bad day. My kid flooded the bathroom and two bedrooms, another spilled an Icee on the backseat of my car, and another spilled an entire bag of chex mix on the living room floor. Needless to say I didn't sit still a lot, so the GOOD news is that the new deodorant held up great. The coconut oil smells so good! So run down to the health food store and buy some coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch to whip into some new deodorant. The recipe is on an earlier post for those of you who missed it.
(The lady at my local store claims the coconut oil is yummy drizzled over popcorn too.)

tags: Homemade deodorant, coconut oil, home made, homestead, green, natural, urban.

Book Review:The Gorgeously Green Diet: How to Live Lean and Green



The Gorgeously Green Diet: How to Live Lean and Green 

by Sophie Uliano


I checked this book out from the library and from the beginning I was already wanting to buy it. The author talks about why we should eat organic to support our health, how to incorporate green living into our everyday lives, and how to become greener in the future. The book is good for everyone from Light Green people who have just started recycling to Dark Green's who already compost and garden organically. 

The book also has a specific eating plan meant to get the organic eater off on the right foot. The diet plan is probably good for weight loss  but I see it more as an overall health booster.  The book includes shopping lists and tips to support the eating plan.  There are also recipes and suggestions for being thrifty and green at the same time.

I highly recommend the book, it will teach you way more about organic eating than you ever thought you wanted to know.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Urban homesteading with CHICKENS!!!

Our Little Urban Homestead Will Soon Have Some New Additions (Hopefully):
I called the city and waded through the beaurocrats and finally found out that there are not any official rules to keep us from having laying hens. The rules are actually pretty simple: Fewer than (4) birds, no roosters, and they must be contained. Any complaints from the neighbors will be strongly researched so I was advised to keep them in a fenced coop behind my privacy fence.
I would love to get some banty chickens like a friend of mine used to have when we were little. They are so full of personality!!! Now all I have to do is convince my hubby to agree to the chickens and build a coop. I think he will agree as long as I promise not to let them poop on the porch.

Fall Project Reminder: Clean those gutters!

Don't forget to get up on a ladder and clean out your rain gutters. Now is a great time to get rid of the leaves and gravel that build up so that your rainwater collection remains clean. You might want to install a simple filter before your downspout to prevent leaves from going into the barrel. An old screen or some wire mesh will work. A clogged downspout into a rainwater barrel is no fun to clean out in the middle of the fall rains.

All Natural Deodorant Recipe:

5 Tbs. coconut oil
1/4 c. corn starch
1/4 c. baking soda

Heat oil till liquid and mix other ingredients. You can add Essential Oils of you choice, too. Pour into a container with a lid, or an old deodorant container. Keep in a cool place, it will melt if it gets too warm.

I'm going to mix some up and give it a try. I will report back in a week or so and let you know what I think. All the reviews I have read so far seem to be really good. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cookbook Reccomendation:

Check out Taste of Home: Mom's Best Meals  this is comfort food to die for. The recipes are all of my Grandma's generation and give no thought to calories. But even as unhealthy as they might be, there is something completely comforting in their buttery goodness. Even for non-meat eaters such as myself there are tons of side dishes, salads, and desserts!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Little Bench

I am so proud of myself. I made this nifty little bench for the kids from an old headboard and a couple of fence pickets. It is too cute and such a good way to re-purpose the materials. Now all I need is some pumpkins to put next to it.

Cloth Diapering: Diaper Swappers

If you are interested in the Cloth Diapers I talked about earlier this week check out It is an amazing community of mom's who cloth diaper and who are more than willing to share their experience!
I have since learned that Diaper Swappers is having some issues with computer viruses. Unless you have an excellent anti-virus you may want to check out another site such as Cloth Diaper Nation, or Hyena Cart. I am also happy to answer whatever questions I can!

Book Review: The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

Book Cover Image From, visit for  preview of the book.
The Urban Homestead is authored by a couple who live in Los Angeles. They provide extremely entertaining instructions and inspirations for urban homesteading projects.  These projects include raising bees and chickens, building your own composter, and making sourdough starter.  The book is crammed with information on a wide range of subjects and will undoubtedly change your viewpoint on more than one.  Some projects may be a little advanced for most of us, such as the Humanure compost toilet (Yuck!). But others are easy and approachable.
I personally enjoyed the sections on preserving food. While my husband thought "Checking Chicken Asses," was entertaining for it's level of grossness.. Yes, the language isn't for everyone (including most of our Grandmothers) but if you were blessed with an ounce of sense of humor you will enjoy this book. I suggest you try to check it out at the library and if you enjoy it buy one to keep on hand for reference.

It's Getting Chilly.

It's getting chilly! The neighbor's tree is blowing leaves all over our front porch and the nights are chilly. We have finally busted out with the footie pajamas for the kids and our cold wood floors make me wish for some of my own.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not your momma's cloth diapers.

Bumgenius Diaper

Cloth diapering is one of the things that we do to save money and keep diapers out of the landfill. It can take between 300 and 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. Not to mention the fact that they are full of those chemicals that so handily soak up all that pee. So for us cloth diapering makes sense. 

These are not your momma's cloth diapers. They are much easier to use and much cuter. My youngest is running around the house right now wearing a diaper that looks like a like a milk cow. He also has bright colors, trains, and an American flag. These new cloth diapers come in many different forms.

There are very inexpensive options, such as prefolds and waterproof covers, as well as the more expensive designer diapers. We started cloth diapering by buying a package from The Natural Baby Company for around $80. This package included prefolds, waterproof covers, and snappis (the closures that replaced pins.) It is enough diapers for about 3 days depending on the age of your baby. Washing every 3 days can get old but if you are on a budget this really can't be beat.  You could spend $80 in one month buying disposables.

Next we started using Bumgenius pocket diapers. These are stuffed with a very absorbent insert and put on the baby just like a disposable. For Daddy's and Grandparents it doesn't get much easier than this. As an added bonus you can buy these in One Size Fits all. You simply adjust the snaps to whatever size you need. I used the same diapers on my 2 year old and 6 month old  by adjusting them.  You can buy packages of these too.

There are also hybrid diapers like Gdiapers that use chemical free biodegradeable inserts. You still have to wash the covers, but you flush or compost the inserts. These are nice because your house never gets stinky. But you do have the recurring expense of buying the inserts. (About $30 a month for 1 baby.)

Washing cloth diapers is also much easier than you probably imagine. Once you get the hang of it and have that moment of enlightenment where you realize there is nothing unnatural on your baby there is no going back. So grab a couple diapers and give it a try, you never know you might get addicted.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Projects and Looking Forward.

Our Nutty Cat "Pepper"
As Fall sets in a lot of our planned projects are on hiatus. The square foot garden beds, beehive, and new landscaping plants will all have to wait until Spring.  This is still a great time to start a few other projects though. We have plans to build a compost bin, make a pretty flowerbed near the front door so that it will be ready to plant with Spring blooms, and of course do more weather proofing to the house.  We have also been talking about building a greenhouse, but that's probably going to have to wait until our more urgent projects are met.  Fixing the garage door so that it can open is probably more important in the long run.

There are lots of books at the library about building your own Greenhouse. Some of them are really complex, and more than a little discouraging. I prefer something more along the lines of Greenhouses for Dummies. Either way check out a book on greenhouses and you may be more than just a little inspired!

The Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

I made THIS recipe for the kids this week. It is delicious and moist. The kids love it and chow it down, I love it because the pumpkin is full of vitamins.  I recommend making at least a double batch!!


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, eggs and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture and blend well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan.
    Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until loaf tests done. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over cooled bread. Yield: 1 loaf.

*Recipe and photo from Taste of Home online. My bread didn't turn out nearly as pretty but it sure tasted yummy.  

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Weekend's Project

Build a Better Birdhouse Sunset Magazine Website

By the end of the weekend I hope to have a couple of these birdhouses finished. I think it will be a really fun project with the kids. I would like to do at least three, one for each kid. That way it is more interesting  for them. I would love to provide a home to some of the birds that will come here for the winter. The project directions say the house is suitable for most smaller birds.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today's Project Inspiration

Grab this book.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking 

It will change the way you think about dinner, and home cooking in general.  My goal is to do about 90% home cooking from scratch like Grandma used to do. I think it's a good idea to keep all the preservatives away from the kids.  I would like to do 100% but I'm a realist and I know it's hard to avoid some things.  There would be mutiny afoot if I didn't let the kids have popsicles and the occassional cheetos.

If you get this book swing by Sam's club and get a big bag of flour and a jar of yeast. I also recommend getting some gallon Ziploc bags with the slide closure and dividing the flour up. We keep our extra flour in the freezer so it doesn't go rancid and the smaller bags make it a lot easier to use and store. Just remember to get the extra flour out before you need it. Yeast doesn't seem to like the freezing temps.


Made From Scratch: Book Review

I found a really neat book at the library. "Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life." By Jenna Woginrich.  The book is really entertaining and very inspiring, I finished it in an afternoon, sitting on the porch swing while the kids ran around screaming.

This young, sane, and college educated woman decided to take a conscious step away from city life and start homesteading. Her stories are funny and yet you can feel her pain and frustration when things, inevitably, don't always go right.  From her disastrous attempt at beekeeping to her first successes baking, Jenna will have you laughing and pondering taking on some new challenges of your own. The book is available on Amazon, and I'm sure proceeds will go to building a new fence, stocking wood for winter, or feeding the chickens.

Also check out her blog: Cold Antler Farm

Monday, September 21, 2009

Honey Bee Madness

I am very intrigued by raising honeybees in my backyard.  I found a website named appropriately enough  Backyard Hive which has some really interesting information about raising honeybees in top bar hives.  As I understand it bees are not thriving like they used to and lots of people who are familiar with the industry are urging people from every walk of like to take on beekeeping  in order to support the species. Beehives are now everywhere from a farmer's field, on the roof of high rises in New York city, and in school yards. I can't see why bees can't also have a home in my backyard. 

It's interesting that whenever I bring this subject up with anyone they act horrified. You would think I am talking about raising rattlesnakes. I can't imagine why bees instill such fear in people.  I need to do some more research and find out what type of hive is best in our Arizona climate and what we need to do before thinking about getting the actual bees.

P.S. The photo above is a nod to my kids who love The Bee Movie. Black and Yellow.

Fall is creeping in!

It feels like Fall is slowly creeping in. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's, and I'm hoping I will need a sweater in the evening.  I love to sit outside on the porch swing and watch the kids play until it gets dark.
I was hoping to get a bale of straw and some mums and a few pumpkins to put on the front porch, however I was reminded that my darling son would shred the bale and have straw tracked into the house.  Maybe I can find some old baskets to recycle and stack my flowers and pumpkins on instead.

Utah Peach Pie Jam

Peach Pie Jam
We made this jam from peaches we bought from The Bountiful Basket*, a food co-op in our area.  I bought 32lbs of  Utah peaches for $20. Not too shabby. The peaches were already almost over ripe wen we got them so I wasn't able to make the fruit leather I had planned, but that's ok. The kids are eating up this jam like crazy.

I canned two dozen jars of jam, gave a bunch of peaches to friends, and peeled and froze some for later.  That fresh peach taste will be awesome in smoothies in the middle of winter.

* The Bountiful Basket is also in other states too. Visit the website here to see if there is a drop-off near you.

Welcome to our little homestead!

We just bought our house on 1/4 acre in Northern Arizona a few months ago. We just finished getting settled in and some real projects will be taking place over the next year. Hang in there with us!!

Please look at the archives to the left or visit our main page. This is an old entry and there are MANY more now!!!