About Me

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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Diced Ham ready for meals

A well stocked pantry and freezer  is a must! Also, you can get things much cheaper when you buy in bulk!! The question I hear the most: "But what do you do with it all?" Well, this is one of my new favorite bulk purchases! Ham freezes very well and makes for quick and easy lunches and dinners.
At sams you can get a boneless ham for around $3 per lb. Pick out your ham and walk on over to the deli area and ask them to slice it for you (I prefer thin sliced). Then you have deli sliced ham for half the price as you will spend at your local grocery store. 
When I get home I keep half as the thin sliced large pieces and then I cut up little squares of the other half. These are perfect to put in large glass canning jars to freeze. 
I try to always have one in the fridge defrosted and ready for sandwiches and wraps. This is a crazy easy lunch idea for the kiddos or for anyone who stops by your house for a visit with an empty tummy (with my family, this happens quite frequently...but I love it!). Henry loves to make lunches around here and this is a great way for him to easily do that. 
This is also perfect to toss a few squares into your morning eggs, or into any dinner entree that needs some extra flavor :) Potato soup is perfect with a handful of ham! If you don't have the freezer space for this much extra meat...team up with a friend or two and share a 10 lb ham...much cheaper for sure!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Letters in Flour for Preschoolers

Fitting everything into one day can be quite a challenge sometimes! I love to have "formal school time" where we sit down at the table for a few hours and really focus on various assignments, but in all actuality that is not the way it happens every day! Since the kids are still in the pre-school age, I try to come up with fun activities to accomplish our work. This is by far one of Addies favorite ways to work on her letters and numbers! While Im doing some baking, I will just spread some flour on the counter and let Addie draw with her finger for an hour or so! She absolutely loves it and it is an easy way to get through some school work while baking bread or other goodies!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beef & Barley Stew Recipe

Its cold outside and time to bust out the soups and stews recipes!! I LOVE soups and stews and this is by far one of my favorites. My mother-in-law introduced me to this recipe and I absolutely recommend it and want to pass it on to all of you as well :) It does take some time to prep and cook, but well worth the time!

Beef & Barley Stew:
1 ½ Lb Boneless Beef Chuck Cubed (or Venecine, Chicken, Pork...any meat!)
1 Tbl Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Chopped Onions 
1 C up Diced Carrots
½ Cup Sliced Celery
1 LB Fresh Sliced Mushrooms 
2 cloves Garlic
½ tsp Dried Thyme
1-14.5oz Can Beef Broth 
1-14.5oz Can Chicken Broth 
2 Cups Water
½ Cup Pearled Barley
1 tsp Salt (optional)
½ tsp Pepper
3 Tbl Chopped fresh Parsley for Garnish

1: Brown the meat in oil and remove from the pot
2: Saute the onions, carrots and celery in the meat juices
3: Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme to the sauteed veggies and cook for 3 minutes
4: Add the broth, water, barley, salt and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil
5: Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1½-2 hrs

Friday, December 9, 2011

Basil Rooting

I love to make Herb Bouquets ... they are very easy and convenient to have on hand to throw basil into any dish! This past summer, I started letting my basil bouquet clippings take root in the water and once they are nice and strong then I transplant them out into the garden! It has worked fabulously and now we have a large amount of basil!! I cant wait to make basil pesto to freeze and eat all winter!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh my little George!

I have hardly talked about George here! He is just such a delightful little fellow :) Keeping mommy busy with all of his cuteness!
Addie is such a good helper! George loves her so much and pretty much gets anything he wants if he can get Addies attention to bring it to him!

George sure loves the outdoors! I pretty much carried him around during all of my outdoor chores this summer and he would coo and giggle at everything!

I have several slings and sure have loved carrying this cute little fellow everywhere. He loves to look out of the front like a baby kangaroo in a pouch!

This was from Georges first trip to the zoo...yes, he loved it!

Oh and cooking with mommy in the kitchen always brings out the laughing and talking in this little bundle of joy!

Ah, my buddy and me :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First snow

A thin sheet of white covered the ground last night. The chickens are loving it, but the goats are not as thrilled. Henry and Addie could hardly contain themselves long enough to get their snow suits on. Henry was the first one down the snow covered slide, while Addie cheered for him at the bottom (wishing she had a snowball to throw at him when he reached the bottom). 
The garden has finally slowed down for the winter and although the harvest was much less than we had anticipated (due to the harsh summer weather we received), we are still very blessed from the abundance of food and knowledge we did harvest from the rough season! Now those harsh hot temperatures have past and we are preparing for the cold season that is upon us. A big stack of firewood and a stocked pantry are delightful to see as the first snow settles on the ground. The bees are busy working in their hives eating from their honey stores. The chickens are loving this cool weather! Hot weather is hard on the chickens bodies, but when the temperature starts to drop the girls will puff out their feathers and prance around the yard. The goats also puff up! They look like they have gained a bunch of weight, but its just from their extra thick furr that's all puffy and snugly. At night they curl up together in the back of their barn in a big pile of hay and hunker down for the night. The girls look so cute first thing in the morning as they peek their fluffy heads out of their little barn door to examine the outdoor conditions.
This is such a beautiful time of year! Warm food, hot tea, lots of baking to help heat the house, and plenty of family nights hanging out by the fire...what more could we ask for :)