Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our Homestead Project: Gardening

So Mariah (my little, pregnant sister) and I are really into providing our families with good, healthy food and natural remedies. Some of our favorite projects are:

(1) Chicken Stock/ Beef Bones Stock

One of my super large batches usually fills 10-12 freezer bags and some ice cube trays.

I try to make a batch of chicken or beef broth every month or so to keep us nice and stocked up.  I found the cheapest way to build up what I need to make the stock is to get organic rotisserie chickens from my natural food store ($8 a piece). I shred them and store the meat for meals throughout the week and keep the carcasses for stock. I then keep all the carrot, onion, and celery ends and bits we use and freeze them. When I have enough carcasses and veggies, I throw them all in a pot and let them simmer for 2 days. 

The gelatin and minerals in the bone broth are amazing when it comes to feeling sick, healing or keeping teeth strong, or just cultivating a great gut environment. We try to consume broth at least once a week in a soup form, but ill add broth cubes to stir fries and sauces for extra nutrition. 

(2) Home Made Kombucha

Here is my continuous brewing system. We've been making kombucha for a little over a month now and LOVE it! I can't afford to keep my whole family on probiotics (as much as I would love to), so this is a much cheaper way I am able to provide my family with a steady supply of good bacteria.

Its so fun for the kids to pick what they want to flavor the kombucha's with. Our family favorite has been strawberry lemonade. We have such a strong good continuous brew I am getting about 1 1/2 - 3 Gallons of Kombucha a week! My husband bought me a second 2 gallon container to start a second brew system since he's so in love with kombucha now. 

(3) Cooking Healthy, Delicious meals made from Organic Produce (when we can):

I am not a big fan of cook books... like at all... but I bought this one from the Mache Conference. WOW! I am amazed at this cook book. I have not made a single thing that my family hasn't liked. Even my veggie-protesting son, and my husband who refuses to have a meal without meat have both ate a salad as a meal.

You can look inside if you click here.

**See more at the bottom of this post about this amazing cook book!!**

The first salad I have ever seen my son eat. He had two bowls!! It's a cabbage asian type salad. 
Potato Soup used with homemade chicken stock, bacon, and raw cheese. SOOOO GOOD!!!

Pumpkin Bars that are sweetened without sugar. They also don't include any flour. I believe their considered "paleo". Low in carbs, high in protein and make a great dessert or breakfast. 

Root Vegetable Mix. The sauce for these bad boys was AMAZING! This was the meatless meal my husband indulged in. He even said, "If you keep cooking like this, I wouldn't mind" :)

A Cucumber, Dill salad that I added eggs to.

Coconut Flour Pancakes with maple syrup and bananas.

Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow squash lasagna. No noodles.

Green Bean and Bacon deliciousness with some cheese potato wedges.

(3) Herbal Salves and Tinctures:

We also make a "Vicks Vapor Rub" that we call our Respiratory and Cough Salve.  I swear it calms a cough faster tthen the potent vaseline based stream line rub.

So our *NEW* project is our MASSIVE garden:

It started out as this humble patch next to my moms house which we put the men to work tilling and raking.

Then we got a little more ambitious and had them till a little further.

Then we stretched it up further...

Here's pregnant Mariah and I leveling out our ground.

Our backs pretty much hurt after less then a half an hour.

But here is a snap shot of what the garden grew into. :)

Our goals for this garden are to store up as much organic produce for our family as we can, as well as provide fresh produce we can eat through the harvesting season. We're making a ridiculous amount of collards to freeze, cucumbers to pickle, kidney beans to dry, strawberries to jelly, hot peppers to freeze, squash to freeze, bell peppers to freeze and more. 
Here is Alyssa and her fiancĂ© Pablo putting compost around our strawberry plants. 

I'm not a big fan of gardening either, but I figure there are some things that it will really help me with:

(1) Feeding my large (and still growing) family with organic, local produce, without continuing to raise our grocery bill.

(2) Learning skill sets such as how to preserve seeds and grow our own food in case we need to turn back to doing this as a source of survival in a few years.

(3) Homeschooling opportunities are countless. We've got over 50 books from the library, watched several documentaries and science videos on plants, bugs, habitats, food chains, and more, and we've done many art projects about parts of plants and how photosynthesis works. We've talked about how the pilgrims lived when they first came to this country and how hard they had to work (even the small children) just to survive.

(4) Spiritual applications and teaching moments for the kids are also countless. So many times throughout the Bible, farmers, plants, seeds, and fruit are used as examples to spiritual lessons that God wants us to understand. Giving the kids a tangible plant, seed, fruit ect that they can wrap their little hands and minds around makes a BIG impact on a little heart.

(5) Teaching the kids character through work ethic, patience, endurance, and practical life skills such as cooking, preserving food, tilling the ground, pulling weeds, harvesting crops, caring and nurturing plants, ect. is not scarce with maintaining a garden. You could also teach older kids about money management and how to price out what is needed to grow crops and what they can do to sell their crops to make a profit. The possibilities are really endless.


I'm going to keep you posted on our progress and things I've learned with this new journey our family is experimenting with. :) 

I am very excited, and a little nervous, about taking on such a big project when being pregnant, having a baby, and going through all that we are in this season, but the Lord's really laid this on my heart and my husband agrees and is funding me in it. 

Where God guides, He provides. 

I'm excited to see the work He does in my heart and my kids hearts as we take on this new summer project.


I wanted to touch on the cookbook I mentioned above in a little more detail.

It's called 
Farm Girl Fresh
Eating Pure in a Processed Foods World 
You can check out their website here.

This cookbook follows the philosophy of health that I've developed over the years, and it equips you with amazing tasting meals and simple, easy laid out recipes. 

Not only does it do this, but it uses produce you can grow in the midwest and breaks each "chapter" up according to that produce starting with apples and working it's way to zucchini. It teaches you how to grow, preserve and cook that produce. My sister and I planned and planted our garden with this book in one hand and our starter plants in the other. We plan on following it's simple steps for canning, dehydrating, and freezing our produce, and then using the recipes to make our own meals, snacks, desserts ect. 

It teaches you how to grow herbs, dehydrate them and make your own spice mixes.
It gives you a simple way to make hearty chicken stock in your crock pot.
It gives numerous recipes for salad dressings, marinades, and stir fry sauces that don't require nasty preservatives, added processed sugar, or much preparation.

The kids love paging through the beautiful pictures on every page and picking out what they want to try the following week as we put together our grocery list. 

I obviously cannot say enough good things about this "cook book" that is really much MORE then a cook book. 

My sister, step-mom, and another one of my friends are all making meals from this book and sending each other pictures of our meals. 
I'm very encouraged and excited about what these ladies have put together and I hope it blesses you too! 


  1. WOW!!! that is soooo AWESOME... Praise the Lord for His provision, i so love to see the pix of the kids beautiful smiles, it warms my heart to see God's hand upon them. Mama you are a blessing and an example to your Hubby, lil' Ones and everyone who knows you of Jesus Christ's enduring, everlasting love... Thx for sharing your lives with us. {{hug}}

  2. Love your blog - what a blessing to read!
    Joyce & Colleen
    Farm Girl Fresh

  3. I love gardening, fresh veggies and herbs the best, canning & drying. You will enjoy it hopefully once you taste the fruits of your labor.
    Your blog is encouraging to read and great information.
    Thanks for sharing praying for you guys.
    Do you make your bone broth in a slow cooker?

    1. I use a large crockpot I scored at a thrift store. It can fit two whole chickens and a decent amount of vegetables in it.

    2. Do you keep adding water to your crockpot.. And how is your garden growing?

    3. Yes I do.
      It's going GREAT!! I am going to post an update with picture soon :)

  4. I'm so proud of you! You are doing such amazing things for your family! I wish I could turn back time for myself and have you to look up to as I raised my kids. My life and especially THEIR LIVES would be sooooooo much better!!! Your sisters are so very blessed to have you to model after and inspire them. I thank God for you and Alex raising your family to be warriors for Christ in literally EVERY aspect of their lives!!! It's so wonderful to be able to see!! ❤️❤️❤️