Kitchen Reno

A kitchen remodel was my first request in our new house. I love to cook and I don’t mind smallish kitchens but the dark cave-like feel was kinda getting me down. Plus…mustard walls, blue counter tops and dark maroon cupboards would make even the hardiest among us a little sea sick.

The unofficial “plan”
The double oven and cabinet has been added from our old house. My husband installed this on his first round of the remodel. The original oven was on the half wall that was removed.
Here my husband removed an old glass stovetop and a the section of half wall that went with it. Thankful that mess is gone! The glass top had a horrible crack in it!:(
Some cupboards were removed as well on this wall. Lovely paint combination,  yes?
This is the “new” side of the kitchen with a new gas stove top and new counter and cabinet.
The “old” side of the kitchen. Gorgeous… original mustard walls, blue counter and maroon cabinets! :0

We have cabinets for our island coming. Thanks to some heavy budget cutbacks we will be able to get those in a month or so. Next up is to investigate and remove the center wall. Hopefully it’s not weight bearing!

Then, my dear friends, the demo shall commence! My new motto to repeat 10 times daily (or 10,000 times daily ) “The mess will be worth it!”

Food, Project Feed Me! #hungrymama

Project FEED ME tilapia #hungrymama

Tilapia, mango chutney, sautéed kale

Yesterday’s lunch was tilapia with mango chutney and sautéed kale. I like the single serve fish filets because they are so fast! If I get salmon I can cook that up quick too if I have it thawed before hand. The mango chutney was really just frozen mango chunks that I combined with leftover rhubarb freezer jam and a bit of water and cooked up in a saucepan. My favorite was the kale though…I know, I’m weird. But seriously it was pretty yummy. I chopped it fine in my ecochop and sautéed it with smart balance and a bit of Chipotle seasoning. I’ll definitely be doing that again!

What is your favorite “fast food”?

Food, Project Feed Me! #hungrymama

Project FEED ME #hungrymama

Quesadilla with bbq sauce and elk meat. A glass of water with lime 🙂

I am currently making my lunches at home. I know it sounds like a lot of work to do on lunch break. However,  I have noticed some serious benefits already!

Real food people, it’s REAL FOOD!

It’s HOT food (not the same as a cold salad or sandwich)

I get to eat sitting down and not in a car or at my desk! Like real adults!

I eat healthier.

I look forward to planning my meals as I am a planner at heart.

I feel like I am caring for myself. Certain things mean more than others to each person. (Love languages) I guess food is my love language!

I am happier.

No weight lost but I feel thinner.

I get to invite friends to my home to join me 🙂

I can make full use of what I have on hand. My meals must be quick so that means what I have in the fridge (or cupboards) gets used up and we have less waste.

It’s very budget friendly !

I feel more rested and satisfied after a real meal. Frozen burritos are not really my thing…

Well, there you have it. I think I’ll continue my meals at home as often as possible.  If you are free for lunch come on over!

DIY, Frugal

DIY Extravaganza

Here area few of the things we like to DIY around Henneke Farm:

Laundry soap (you can find that post here)– super easy to make and very cheap so this one is a win.

Shampoo-  most homemade bar soaps (you can find that post here) work very well on hair *bonus* they are a hair/body bar in one.  My family still gets shampoo and I buy the sulfate free kind when it’s on sale but it ain’t cheap! Bar soap does the trick and keeps cost down. *extra bonus* They are totally customizable to your needs and taste.

Toothpaste-  don’t tell my dentist but my teeth feel way cleaner and stronger after trying the homemade tooth paste. *WARNING* it taste terrible (but it works)! My youngest daughter has some yellowing and loves that her teeth are cleaner with my paste.  The taste has kept the other family members away- they refuse to be converted!

Gatorade type drinks – We add some lemon/lime juice or other flavor enhancers (my watermelon jelly that didn’t set is my favorite) to plain old water.  My kids actually really like this. To kick things up a notch we add ACV and to sweeten we add stevia.  We do occasionally get a gatorade or similar drink for a treat but on regular days this is our main “flavored” drink.

Paper towels (except for camping, road trips and my cast iron cookware) I buy a $3 rag bag from the thrift store and use them as my messy towels.  When they get icky I wash them and when I can’t stand the looks of them anymore I give them to the boys to use when they are fixing machinery in the shop.

Sauces- Most can be recreated easily with minimal effort.  I do buy sauces but only if they are a steal.  Other wise my blender can puree tomatoes and a bit of butter and flour in a sauce pan can make a dandy base for creamier sauces.

Spice mixes – Kinda the same deal. If it’s a steal, sure. If not, I have my spices on hand to mix up most flavors that my family likes. Plus, you can usually find recipes for rubs and seasoning blends online.

Some clothing – I don’t sew a lot from scratch ( I HATE patterns!:/) but I do alter many of my things to fit my daughter when I am done with them.  I also add bits and pieces to outfits to make them more complete/modest.

Animal pens/feeders –  We were blessed to have a ready made farm to step into but there have been a few items that we have had to build for ourselves.  My husband made a simple hayloft in the goat barn.  My son made a feeder for the chickens.  With help from my son I made an enclosed chicken yard.  Yep, we are a DIY family!

Girly stuff- Hair masks,(you can find that post here) scrubs and simple beauty aids are easy and fun to mix up in the kitchen.  Recently my 8 yo made her own lip balms (you can see that post here) completely on her own! Nice 🙂

Gifts- Not all homemade gifts are a hit (can I get a witness?) but we really wanted to give something personal this Christmas so we set off on Craftpalooza (you can see that post here) this year and it was super fun as well as rewarding to give our handcrafted items to those we love.

Hope you are having a lovely Monday!



DIY, Family, Frugal

Going Old School (again)

Ah, the budget. A thing ever one loves to hate. We, here at Henneke Farm, have put it off for a while. We were still in new house mode where everything needed repaired/updated ASAP.  Then we had a family vacation followed by 2 emergency trips out east. Now we were scrambling for financial air so it’s back to square one. Hello Dave Ramsey!

We have been debt free for several years now and I can’t tell you how awesome that is. Truly, you have to experience it to know. We pay cash for everything so no worries about credit card bills. We live on a modest amount (for all 5 of us & 25ish animals) so we aren’t doing terrible but there was a lot of room for improvement.

Here is a snapshot of the system we had during the “haze”

I go to store and call husband from parking lot-

Me: “I’m at the store, what can I spend?”

Husband: “not much”

Me: “so….like you wanna eat beans this week?”

Husband:”no, you can get real food just not much”

Me:”I need dollar figures, I’m not a mind reader”

Husband:”about $50″

*I go into store and buy half of aisle 9 because we are out of everything

Repeat that about 3x a week for 2-3 months. Fun, right?!

Yeah, not so much. So we sat down and wrote it all out. My husband, who is techy printed out the budget. I am hands on and I had to write mine….to make the numbers “real”, you know. Then came the debit card verses the cash system debate.

My argument : I can keep better tabs on spending if I have cash and I’ll spend less.

His argument : It’s better to use a card because all purchases are accounted for online.

This went on for a while. It was a nice cicular discussion that tends to flow around itself and arrive exactly back at the beginning everytime. *sigh*

We ended up settling on the cash system with a challenge. I could use the cash from a recent sale for all of the food/household/animal purchases this month. Here’s the challenge – the money I would have taken out stays in the bank and I have a about $300 less than I normally would have to work with. Challenge accepted!  One week down…3 more to go!

My homemade cash system. I just cut down tabbed dividers to fit my wallet and added a cover made from a plastic folder. On each category I wrote the total for the month and when to withdraw it. I’m an old fashioned girl living in a high tech world!
DIY, Home

New Year, New Projects

One thing I really wanted to do is to get organized this year. I’m sure many people have that on their list January 1st and as the days slip past and weeks turn into months it becomes more of a dream than a reality. I can relate to that! I started a full house purge and on my way through I noticed a few small, seemingly insignificant items that just REALLY  bugged me. Messy papers for one. I hate messy papers and yet I love paper crafts. The struggle is real folks!

So, as a task oriented individual I set out to find a solution. Behold mess paper exibit A:

A box. Full of notes. In alllll different sizes on so. many. scraps. of paper. The inconsistency of it all! (Insert dramatic music here)

The goal is to copy all pertinent information onto index cards and file by date. Why bother? Um, because there’s good stuff in them thar notes! (Use mountain man voice here)

So I have begun and I have to say I am very happy with my progress. True, it may take me more than 2018 to complete (I have notes from as far back as 2005-2006 ish) but I love being able to flip through them easily and remember/review what was preached.

My stack so far
Another card in progress
See what I mean? Scrappy paper mess into neat and tidy 🙂
My notes in their new home. No messy scraps and easy to look through. I’ll be taking notes on index cards from now on so no more copying for me!
Food, Project Feed Me! #hungrymama

Potato Soup (the abbreviated version)

On one of my lunchscapades I started tinkering in the kitchen. It was a cold and blustery day so soup was on my mind. I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge and I thought I’d make a quick potato soup. The fact that I had a bit of leftover bacon from breakfast may have influenced my lunch choice as well! This was a fast substitute for what usually takes hours of simmering. Without further ado, I give you Potato Soup, the abbreviated version.

2 tablespoons butter in crock pot on high

Add in 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I get the jarred kind not the dried stuff)

Add desired spices- generally salt and pepper suffice but I added a dash of no salt Greek blend, a teaspoon of “soul food” blend and about a teaspoon of parsley

Mix spices into melted butter and add about 2 cups mashed potatoes. Mix well and turn crock pot to low.

Add about 1 cup heavy cream. Mix well

Thin with milk to desired consistency and turn crock pot to warm. Add chopped bacon and mix well.

I was careful about my crock pot as it runs hot but you may be able to get away with keeping the temp higher. My “keep warm” temp is the perfect eating temp so that’s where I kept it. With milk based sauces and soups higher temp can “break” it so I erred on the side of caution.

I’d give you a picture but it’s gone. As in I ate 4 bowlfuls  gone…oops!

Food, Friends, Project Feed Me! #hungrymama

Lunch Oasis

Today’s meal consisted of fried mashed potatoes with eggs and summer sausage. Country comfort food!

In an effort to make my day less like a perpetual to do list I have decided to try using my lunch break more like a dinner party. The goal is to build in a bit of down time into my day so that I’m less frazzled at the end of it. Not to mention it saves money and is probably a lot healthier.

Today was another “do” day where I ran around and did all the things that needed doing. That’s all great and stuff but I’m getting sooooo tired. I can’t spend my life rushing through projects and lists. It’s not healthy and I think it may even be counter productive sometimes.

So I’m going to take the time to make myself a nice meal. Yes. I’m going to COOK on my lunch break. Not because I have to but because I want to. It feels nourishing and it’s almost a luxury. I happen to love cooking just a bit more than I love eating. I get that I’m weird and that many people would prefer a drive through meal over cooking. I just feel like cooking for someone is a wonderful way to love them. Why not love myself a little then?

Care to join me for lunch? 🙂

Home, Organize

Just Getting Started

Yesterday I was in big time purge mode. I just got tired of being tired. I’m sick of managing “stuff”. I want clarity of mind when I look at my home and I want to be able to find the stinkin’ tweezers!

Anyway, I cleared out a couple of kitchen cupboards and ended up with a full trash can and a bag to donate. That felt so good I kept on going…and going… it’s like that one action sparked a whole chain of events. We ended up with 3 bags to donate, 3 bags in the trash and several items that we could sell.

Now, I’m no mimimalist by any stretch of the imagination. But when you are wearing many different hats simplicity is the name of the game.

Just for funnsies I took a before and after of my most dreaded cupboard. The baking cupboard. *shudder* Truth is…it wasn’t that big of a deal. Just goes to show you that the old saying “Once begun is half done” still rings true!

My girls love baking! Putting things away neatly? Not so much :/
Neater but not very easy to get to…I need a shelf!
Pretending to be handy and install my shelf…um, yeah…
Reason #5, 001 why I love this guy!
So.much.better. It really is the little things!
DIY, Frugal

Book Jacket DIY

My tattered little travel bible.  Its cover is sadly worn.

Have a beloved book that could use a sturdier cover? Have no fear, you can easily (and in expensively ) update your book’s look and also up its durability. I am working on a new cover for my bible. I have two with worn soft covers that are needing a little more protection. My larger one I did a while back and my smaller travel size is getting its make over now. Here’s the process…

Cardboard jacket and my tattered bible.  They are soon going to be best friends!

I cut a cardboard cover to match the size. Hello, stuffing box! I purposely used a thinner cardboard to make sure it was flexible.  I planned on using a thicker fabric and small books can be tricky to work into their jackets when completed.

The chosen fabric.  A simple but sturdy yellow and gray floral print.  I liked the detail and shadowing on this fabric.  Had I thought it through more I would have picked the prettiest section with the most yellow and I would have flipped my cardboard over to the white side to keep the floral print nice and bright on the finished product.

You want to give your cardboard a healthy smear of plain old white glue and then place your chosen fabric on top. Make sure you have some excess on the fabric, especially the cover sides. You need to keep weight on it as it dries to keep it from bubbling up. Make sure your weight is distributed evenly.

Glue, cardboard and fabric sandwich 🙂
I use my DeMarle (BONCook) baking mats to keep all that stickiness in one place and not on my countertop.
The tin is to distribute the weight of the brick so that there are no lumps as it dries.

You can check you cover periodically to make sure is smooth and test dryness. During the drying process you will want to “try on” your jacket by placing it over your book and locating the creases where the cover bends. As you form the jacket around the book it should naturally crease in the right spot. You can use a ruler to neaten the crease and add more pressure. This should be done before it’s fully dry as the cardboard is softer and shapes easier. After you crease it leave it to dry fully (again, weighted)

Next you will cut two pieces of cardboard half the size of each cover and glue them onto the fabric. These will be the flaps that hold your book’s original cover in place. I *should* have spaced these pieces out 1/4″ as it needs a little gap to go around the edge of the book’s cover. Yes, that 1/4″ inch matters. I’ll show you how I “fixed” it but you can leave a 1/4″ gap and not have to fix anything! 🙂

My two end pieces that will become the flap that holds my bible cover in place.


The end pieces have been added and the edges of the fabric glued down.  DO NOT glue the fabric on the sides of the flap.  Those pieces are left out so that we can create the pocket that the book cover will slide into.

Leave to dry. When dried you can trace your book jacket (not flaps) onto cardstock or an old folder and cut it out to make a nice clean inside to your book jacket.  You can just glue it in place and again, weight it to dry.

I used and old folder to line my book jacket and now I am using a ruler to put a crease where the books binding will go.  I want to make sure I have the flexibility to open it!
It’s dry and now it’s time to make our side flaps into pockets.

Almost there! Ok, I’ll show you how I fixed my oopsie and then we’ll finish this book!;) Get the pun? Long post? Book? Hehe…ok, back on task!

I had to force my 1/4″  curve in there and that made my cover off by just the *{tiniest}* amount. Still, if I had spaced the flaps out 1/4″ I would have given the jacket enough room to bend around my book.

Ok, time to wrap it up. Bring in the hot glue!

Fold your excess flap fabric in. And hold it…hold it…!

Add a bit of hot glue. *Pro tip* use a butter knife to get in that tiny space and make it smooth!

One finished corner! Three to go!

Project complete! You can see the bit of fabric at the corner where I miscalculated the curve of the cover.  I’m going to see what I can come up with to dress it up a bit but I’m very happy with it!

So there it is.  Your kinda-long-but-totally-doable book jacket DIY 🙂

Happiest of New Years to you!

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