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, August 31, 2011

Root Beer Floats from homemade rootbeer

It hot outside!! We are about to break a record here for most 100 degree days in a summer and that has been disastrous for our backyard! But on a happier note...when its hot what is more fun than icecream...and even more fun than that is ROOTBEER FLOATS!!!  We have had a bottle of root beer extract for about a year and have yet to use it. So, in celebration of... well, everything ... we are making Rootbeer! And what is more fun than a "pre-dinner activity" with friends!

Bryan found this recipe on the Backwoods Home website (backwoodshome.com). We wanted to brew the rootbeer so we could bottle it...but this recipe with the dry ice just looked like WAY too much fun to pass up!

Super-kwik super-cooled root beer:
6 cups sugar
3¼ gallons cold water
2 ounces root beer extract
4 pounds dry ice

In a large cooler or tub, mix sugar and water together until sugar dissolves. Stir in the extract. Gently put dry ice into the liquid and cover with a lid, loosely. Don't tighten it down or pressure may build up. Let the mixture "brew" for about an hour, then serve. Store the remainder in gallon jugs or bottles.

So, here we go!!
First, I would like to add a note...read your recipe! I thought I had read the recipe very carefully and when it say "2 oz of extract" that does not necessarily mean it will be the entire bottle...I put in the entire bottle which was 4 oz (oops). So we had to make some quick adjustments of quantities! 
Now that we have our water, sugar and extract all stirred together...its time for the fun part!!! DRY ICE!!

Henry, the girls won this one!

This method of root beer does not produce a carbonated beverage...but it was very cold and delicious over ice cream! The dry ice was a delight for the kids to watch as it bubbled and produced the overly exciting fog! Definitely the recipe I recommend if you are making root beer for a group...not the recipe I would recommend if you are wanting to bottle it though.

All these wonderful pictures were taken by my dear friend Nicole! Check out more of her pictures on her blog!

Friday, August 26, 2011

MamaSource Coupons

Lucky Vitamin
$30 of Health Products & Back-to-School Essentials (40% off) from Lucky Vitamin via MamaSource! Click here to get your deal! 

Another Great Deal: $20 Worth of Quality Kids' Books (50% off) with Slimy Bookworm!! Click here to get your deal!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is in abundance this time of year and there is always a dilemma as to what to do with it all!! Grill it, fry it, make cookies and breads, pastas and raviolis...the list goes on and on.

I love Zucchini bread and have to recommend this recipe from AllRecipes . This is by far the best Zucchini bread I have had...moist and delicious! I did a double batch and made 3 regular loaves and 4 mini loaves. I like to do 2 different sizes so I can wrap them with parchment paper, stack them and tie a fun card to them as gifts.

What is everyone doing with all the extra squash and zucchini you are getting right now?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tea Pot Cozy by Katie

Teapot Cozy
I love tea! As fall starts to creep up on us and the evenings get a bit brisk, I love to curl up by the fire with a pot of hot tea! What better way to dress up a plain white tea pot than with an adorable tea pot cozy! 
Katie has a fabulous shop on Etsy and I highly recommend her work! She made me this adorable Tea Pot Cozy and I just love it! 

All of her pieces are high quality with exceptional attention to detail! Check out her shop and support this new up and coming Etsy store

Soft Alpaca Baby HatTea Cozy - Forest Green

Newborn HatSweet Baby BootiesKatie made a pair of these adorable booties and a matching hat for George right after he was born and he loved them! I'm pretty sure I loved them more though! They are absolutely adorable and incredibly soft! Katie's high quality work was obvious as the booties and hat withstood many many trips through the wash. 

Pink Mittens
CandyCane HatVisit her Etsy Shop and fall in love with her one of a kind designs...and while you're at it purchase a few gifts or something special for yourself!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Week as a Home school Mom

We have been talking about homeschooling for several years and low and behold the time has finally arrived for me to gear up and go for it! I have my degree in Education (as well Theater and Music) so I thought for sure this would be a breeze...I mean, after all, its just kindergarten!! HAHAHA "just".  Well, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for ANY home-school mom just from a week of this!

Teaching Henry to read: First off, I promise you that I KNOW how to READ! But why oh why is it SO hard to teach him to read!! Patience...Patience...Patience...along with Phonics!

Teaching Addie her letter and numbers: She could care less! I'll point at an A on a chart and ask her what letter it is and she will say "TWO!!!" and be VERY proud of herself. I will say "No, thats an A"...she keeps a big smile on her face while saying "Ok mommy" not even a moment of care crosses her face that she missed that by a long shot! ... now we have backtracked to 1 letter and 1 number of the week!! Patience...Patience...Patience...and more Patience!

Our First day of School!! Last Monday was our "official first day". The kids went to bed Sunday night SO intensely excited for school the next morning. You would have thought it was Christmas eve or something! We woke up the next morning and went outside to get all the goat milking, gardening and egg collecting done for the day and then we were going to jump right in to schooling! I walked outside and the crisp cool breeze almost took my breath away (very lovely since it has been in the 100's here lately). We were outside for a good hour, all the while Henry and Addie were bugging me to get in and "start school" (oh how differently they will feel someday!!). I feel like we haven't been outside in MONTHS because of the atrocious heat we have been having...so our first "official school activity" was RECESS!! Henry and Addie cheered!! We stayed outside for a few more hours enjoying the delightful weather and then we were blessed with a good rain (which of course we stayed and played out in for a while!). Finally we hussled inside  soaked, cooled off and SO excited, quickly changed clothes and sat down for school. Ok...so here we are...the kids are looking at me with such great anticipation and I had a blank stare looking back at them. "Ok, here we go!" We had a good hour of work and it went quite well...they were both asking for more. Then my sister called me and thought it would be fun to go to the zoo since the weather was so nice (it had stopped raining by this point)...To the ZOO we go!!! After spending a few hours at the zoo I thought it was time to get home and maybe fit in another hour of school. Then my sister reminded me that it was ice cream day at my grandpas nursing home. Yes, ice cream and grandpa won!! We loaded up the kids to go see great grandpa Al and have some ice cream. By the time we got home it was getting close to dinner time and the window of opportunity for another hour of school was gone. So we ate, milked goats, got ready for bed and went to bed early to have a big day of work tomorrow :) This was very far from what I always pictured my first day of homeschooling looking like and definitely outside of my lesson plan. Regardless, I couldn't have planned a better day!

Much more to come in our new adventures of homeschooling!! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kitchen Remodel 2009

These pictures are long overdue! I have a whole section on renovation and yet I had not posted any "after" pictures! To be perfectly honest, I have not even taken all the "after" pictures because this little place is constantly in remodel or one more project is always on the horizon. 
I thought I better start updating as many projects current status and then even more picture updates to come as we finish various projects.

Welcome to our Kitchen!
from the "before" picture on the left, you can tell that we had to start over! We tore everything out...even the walls and designed the kitchen into a U shape with a large open bar on one side. We had to move around all the wiring and plumbing to make room for the appliances we wanted.

This wall was the step down entrance into the "den", but a portion of the den became the laundry room so that is where we put a cut out wall for the pantry and refrigerator to set. 

The entrance into the kitchen was a small door which we eliminated as well and made a large archway over the bar to give the room a good open floor plan. This was crucial for the layout of the house, since the house is only 1000 sq feet we wanted to make sure to make it as open as possible to make it "feel" larger :)

*notice Peaches standing on our back deck railing ;)

We installed the cabinets, appliances and plumbing ourselves, but had the counter tops installed by a granite company. We were able to take our time and find several sales on cabinets and counter tops and got a custom kitchen for a fraction of the cost!!
This was a tremendous amount of work, but well worth it in the end!! 
If I had to do it again, would I do anything different? Nope :)

Hive Inspection

Taking a look at the busy busy bees! The bees are doing great and are pretty much the only thing still thriving throughout the terrible heat we just experienced! 
I love seeing the new wax they are forming in an impressive amount of time, as well as the fresh capped honey!!