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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Addie's Avocado Almond "dip it" recipe (grain free, dairy free)

What's more fun than decorating your dip!! This is Addie's new favorite "dip it" and it is actually a recipe that she made up! She just kept saying "ok mommy, lets put some of this in there"...and so I did and then we blended it up and decorated it!

  • 1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tomato (quickly eat the other half so it doesnt go bad - at least that is what Addie says!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt to taste
Easy directions: Toss it all in a bowl and puree it with a hand blender. And of course you must make a fun face on your dip...this is Henry and Addies favorite part!

This dip is great with sliced bell peppers, carrots and celery! Addie also likes it on her lettuce wraps with a little bit of turkey! 

Enjoy!! Let me know what creative ways you find to use this dip!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Custom Jewelry


Silver Necklaces. Silver Rings. Custom Jewelry

I just had to share with you all this gorgeous necklace I had made for my mom for Christmas! A delightful lady on Etsy custom handmade it for my mom. It has such superb quality and was just packaged so beautifully!
I highly recommend her and all of her gorgeous work! If you have been considering any custom jewelry, you should definitely swing on over to her Etsy shop! 


Silver Necklaces. Silver Rings. Custom Jewelry

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nest Box Adventures!

Its a race to the nest box to see which girls laid us some presents! The excitement of these 2 kids would make you think that they were golden eggs in there! Ummm, let me clear that up right now that there are in fact no golden eggs here. Bummer!
If you are considering raising backyard hens I highly recommend adding nest boxes to your coop. The hens love to curl up in the boxes where it is warm and dark and lay their eggs. The kids also love knowing exactly where to find treasures! We had to put a log stump at the foot of the nest box so the kids can reach up and collect the eggs without us...besides, its really cold outside and its alot easier to watch from the backdoor with a nice hot cup of tea while the kids run out in the cold to bring in the eggs! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Soaking Almonds

If you like Almonds you will LOVE soaking raw almonds!! 
SO Simple! Just toss your almonds in a jar, 
cover with water, put a lid on it and let them soak overnight!
In the morning they will be puffy and oh so easy to chew! 

These are also great to blend up into dips or sauces and will add a nice creamy taste and texture. 
Give it a try and let me know what you think and what creative ways you find to use your soaked almonds :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wood Stove Cookin

One of my favorite things about winter is the crackling fire in the wood stove! I love to layer the top of the stove with bubbling soups and stock along with the busy whistle of the tea kettle. I use to boil down stock in my standard stock pot until a few months ago when Bryan bought me my new 24 Quart stock pot!! Yes ladies and gentlemen... that's 6 gallons!! I always save chicken and turkey bones in a large freezer bag to make one large batch of stock. Then on a good cold day when the wood stove is roaring, I fill my new stock pot with those dinner remnants along with a few onions, carrots and celery sticks and let the fire do the rest! I usually let the stock rumble all day and into the night then strain out the liquids and let it condense down even more. But hold your britches and don't toss out those bones just yet...there's definitely still meat on them to pull off and save! Perfect for barbecue chicken sandwiches or chicken lettuce wraps! 
Not only do we benefit from the ridiculously good chicken stock for our soups and stews, but wow does the house smell good that day!!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Colorful Array of Backyard Eggs

Addie saw (what would have seemed to be) her first dozen store bought eggs. As she opened the carton of the 12 white glistening eggs she started to scream and laugh hysterically. I was quickly looking around trying to figure out what was so hilarious to her...she kept laughing and finally exclaimed (while pointing at the white eggs) "Mommy they look so funny!!!"" Yes, then I realized that she is so used to her brown, cream, blue and green eggs that the appearance of 12 white eggs, all perfectly the same size, probably did indeed look quite hilarious to her!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our egg layin beauties!

These girls have proved to be quite the productive group of hens!

The chickens, who were baby chicks just a few months ago, are now full grown and proving to be excellent egg layers!! Addie has taken such good care of them from the time they first joined our little farm back in March. At the end of the summer I realized how hard Addie was working to take care of them and that she basically did all the feeding and egg collecting...so, we told her that if she wanted she could have all the chicken responsibilities...she gladly accepted! Along with the irresponsibility, we told her that if she sold any extra eggs she collected that she could keep the money in her jar. She quickly decided she wanted to sell them for $10 per dozen (decided upon due to only have 10 finger...otherwise Im sure she would have thought of a higher number!). I told her that she would never get $10 for 1 dozen eggs...quickly she exclaimed "Oh, Grandpa will buy them!". "Oh, yes Im sure you are right...but we are not charging grandpa $10 for eggs!"
We are down to 9 hens (several were roosters and a few were lost to the harsh summer we had) but they are layin very consistently! Addie was bringing in 7-8 eggs a day until just about a month ago as the daylight began to dwindle (chickens egg production is based dramatically off of hours of sunlight...as well as a healthy diet). With the slight temperature rise we have seen as well as a new organic chicken layer feed we have them enjoying, their production has taken off again and Addie is bringing in at least 5 eggs a day...some days we have 8. I'm sure the production will lower slightly as we enter the cold winter months, but these girls are definitely strong heritage breeds and I really look forward to seeing them in the years to come!

I think hens are a fabulous and easy way to start having your back yard produce something for you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Brussel Sprouts in garlic butter with soy sauce

This is my families new favorite side dish thanks to my dear friend Julie.

Brussel sprouts, cut, sauteed in butter and garlic with a little soy sauce right at the end! Delicious, easy and super healthy!

I can not get enough of these little yummy nuggets! Hope you all give them a try too...i mean really, when you start with butter and garlic how can you possibly go wrong!?!