Monday, January 31, 2011

Buying Your Homestead

Many people contact me about wanting to know how they can speed up the process of buying their homestead property. They are looking but don't know how to do it. I know with our economy in the shape it is in presently, that can be a big problem when you are trying to find financing. One option that many people do not consider is if they qualify for veteran loan discounts. If I was just starting out now, that is the option I would investigate. My husband being a Army veteran would easily qualify for that type of loan.

There is such red tape and paperwork trying to get through the process of buying your house. So finding a way to do it easier and faster is a plus. So if you or your spouse has been in the service, be sure to check them out. Streamline Refinance is another way to find lower interest rates and better benefits for refinancing your present home. Sometimes that can be an option that will lower your monthly payments.

Housing is the one area of life that you usually have to acquire debt to get it. Not many people have that much money in their bank account. The whole process is a puzzle to many people and sometimes they find it easier to stay where they are, rather than buy their own home. If finding a mortgage is holding you back, check out the  veteran loan discounts and let them help you though the process. Working with a qualified specialist will help you in securing the home of your dreams.

I know when we purchased our home back in 1999, the regulations regarding mortgages wasn't that hard to deal with. So if you are just getting started now, things are a lot different for you than they were for me. You can apply for your mortgage before you even locate the property, to see what type of mortgage, and how much of one you qualify for. Then go looking! That way you will not be disappointed to find a property you really want to purchase, but cannot get the financing for it. I would also recommend not buying one out of your price range. You don't want to be strapped trying to pay your bills every month.

I hope you find the home of your dreams. Remember though, sometimes you have to settle for one that isn't quite what you wanted. But it is affordable. Once you are living in it, you can make it the house of your dreams. That is what I have been doing little by little. Good luck! And let me know how you make out in this endeavor.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole unless otherwise stated

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shopping At Alice Makes My Life Easier!

My order arrived in 2 days!

I have started ordering from Alice regularly now. It is making my life so much easier. Walking in the stores has become very difficult for me due to me having bad knees. I prefer to go to smaller stores because they are easier. Ordering from Alice is a very nice alternative for me. Not only does it save me from walking in the stores trying to find my products. Many times they do not have exactly what I want. Now I can order exactly what I want. It also saves me from having to drive anywhere on these snow covered icy roads. I placed my order on Wednesday and it was here on Friday. Can't beat that for fast shipping!

 Securely packaged in a heavy box!

I first shopped at Alice in September of last year and wrote about it in this post, Thinking Of Shopping At Everything I wrote in that blog post still holds true. All the items were packaged securely and the tops were tapped down on the liquids, such as the Dawn dish detergent. I felt the prices were very good compared to what I pay locally. It only differed by a few cents. The shipping is free and my order was very heavy. I think I got a great deal from Alice!

The last time I ordered they included a little free sample bag with a Bic disposable razor. I had ordered a bag of Gillette disposable razors for my husband. So when he used the free sample Bic razor, he liked it a whole lot better than the Gillette ones. Plus, it lasted longer for more shaves. So I ordered a package of the Bic Comfort 3 Advance razors for him. This time though, the free sample was for Propel Zero. It won't be something we will use. It has a list of ingredients that don't belong in anything I would be drinking!

Emptying the box out!

For the most part, everyone is pretty used to shopping online now. But Alice is such a pleasant shopping experience that I hate to finish my order and leave! I love to go to their site and plan my next shopping trip with them. So by the time I can go shop again, my cart is usually waiting to be checked out. Not that many sites are that easy to use. I can't think of one thing I don't like about Alice. Have you shopped there yet? If so what did you especially like about it? Convenience? Yes! I liked that too. Brand name good quality products? Me too! 

I am not being paid or compensated in any way for this post by Alice. I wish I was! But no free products or anything from them for writing this post. My thought is that maybe there are others who have considered purchasing from them and were afraid to make that first order. Well, I'd like to see them stay in business and add more products to their store. I am a very happy customer and will be placing many more orders with them.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrating 14 Years Of Marriage

Today is my anniversary. Fourteen years married to the man of my dreams. The man I should have waited for instead of getting married twice before. But who knew? Who knew the man I was dreaming of was a real live man? Not just in my imagination.

Fourteen years ago we went to the justice of the peace, who was a woman and she married us with another woman standing in as our witness. That is just so like us, to get married alone with nobody we knew there with us.

We then drove to Larry's parents' home. He couldn't wait to share this news with his parents. His mother had been praying for this day. She was surprised to see us there, and sat and talked a bit. Then said she had to go to her dentist appointment. Larry stopped her and said, "Before you leave, I want to introduce you to someone." She looked at him as if he was a nut.

"To who?" There was no one there but his parents and us.

He looked at me and said, "To Mrs. Larry Lupole."

His mother jumped out of her chair and shouted, "Praise the Lord!"

Of course, after that she insisted we stay till she got back and we would all go out to dinner. Which we did.

We have had the usual ups and downs most couples have. Bad times, good times and all those times in between. I am very thankful to have a caring husband who is also my very best friend in the world. I can tell him anything and I can share my secrets with him.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, January 28, 2011

katlupe's Chicken Wing Pizza

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pizza and chicken wings are popular at most parties at home or out in restaurants and bars. Making your own is not as hard as you might think. Pizza Perfected can be a new way of entertaining your family and friends. Teaching your children how to make their own instead of always buying it out. 
Chicken Wing Pizza is a pizza my family eats quite often. When we order it though, sometimes it is not hot enough, or does not have enough chicken on it. One time they even forgot to put the cheese on it! So I took to my kitchen and made it from scratch. I found a couple of recipes online and worked on them, and adjusted the ingredients and amounts for the way my family likes their chicken wing sauce. This is what I came up with:
katlupe's Chicken Wing Sauce Recipe
12 Tbsp. Tabasco Original Red sauce
1/2 cup butter (can be less, adjust it if needed)
2-3 Tbsp. white vinegar (add more if you made it too hot)
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Dash of black pepper
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients in a small pan over low heat until the butter is melted. Stir occasionally. Use any pizza recipe you have. You may even use a bought or frozen pizza. Then put chunks of chicken on top. And sprinkle the hot wing sauce over the top. 
In the pizza shop where we buy this type of pizza, they put blue cheese dressing on the pizza and then bake it. I tell them not to do that since my husband doesn't care for the blue cheese dressing. I add it to mine later when I eat it.
TABASCO® Original Red sauce is not added to make it super hot. It is added because the heat enhances the other ingredients to give you a scrumptious pizza, chicken wings or whatever you use it on. The first Tabasco Original Red sauce was introduced in 1868 and continues to be the most popular of their six sauces.
Preparing your own pizzas or snacks for parties will make your parties stand out among friends and family because most people do not cook from scratch these days. How do you make your parties at home special? Do you have special recipes that you are asked to make or bring to parties? Maybe you will start a trend with new recipes from the Game-Day Party Menu! I found more than a few that I liked there. Hope you do too!
Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Old-Fashioned Blended With Modern Technology

In this day of the technology era, being a homesteader, even a "modern homesteader" sounds to others like you are living like the Amish or like they did in the 1800s. People will always say, "You are living old-fashioned." Nothing could be further from the truth. Even our own family members think that.............even though we know more about the new modern technology than they do!

I have quoted my husband many times, saying, "We are  not living old-fashioned at all, but of the future.............blending old ways with new technology and ways of the modern world. One of the ways of the modern world we are trying to overcome is in the use of gasoline. Fuels. Propane for our gas stove. Kerosene for our light in the evening. Gasoline for our chainsaw, generator and truck. Some day our dream is to own an electric vehicle and charge it with our own system.

We already use an electric lawn mower and garden cart. In the garden we use an old fashioned tool, the wheel hoe. No gas fumes coming from a rototiller on our garden beds or the person using it. Plus, no buying the gas to run it or all the maintenance to keep it running or all the break downs. I can even use the wheel hoe in my beds. Not to mention the modern technology of using solar for electricity. Now who can call that old-fashioned?

The chainsaw and the generator are two items that will be hard to replace. One item my husband keeps wanting to buy is the crosscut saw. He says it will be easier to use than a chainsaw and he won't have to buy the gas. I know many people would not want to use one because the chainsaw is quicker and less work. But the fumes from one is reason enough to not want to have to use one. They also take a lot of maintenance and money for repairs. Our chainsaw is a good one, but replacing the chains, sharpening chains, etc. would all be eliminated with the crosscut saw. My husband says he would enjoy cutting wood in silence immensely.

Using computers makes us able to keep on top of technology and ways to make our jobs easier. The jobs or tools we use that are old-fashioned are often being used by us because it is a better alternative. Just because a tool is manual or doesn't use any other energy source other than your hand power doesn't mean it is not a good alternative. You can pick and choose what you want to use for each job.

What about you? Are there any tools you use around your home, in the kitchen or outside that have been used in past and are considered old-fashioned? Why do you like them? I will be doing some future posts about some of the tools I use or that I have used or plan to use. Some will be old-fashioned or antiques. Some will be new modern technology. Let me know what you would like to use that you don't use. Maybe I can do some research on those too.

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dairy Products Without Owning Livestock

 I would love to be able to produce my own dairy products. That is never going to happen for me, so I have to buy mine from the store for now. Maybe someday I will be able to purchase milk locally from a farmer. Our property is not big enough to support a cow. My husband's grandfather always had one cow and he would lead it to neighbors' yards and stake it there for the day. Then come back later for it. I guess the neighbors weren't so critical of a cow on their lawn back in those days. I can just imagine what would happen now if your cow wandered onto the neighbors' lawn today!

The perfect thing, of course would be to have a milk cow and process your own milk into cheese and butter. Oh that would be the best! People who raise a cow for their own dairy products, in my book, are very lucky. In the past I have made my own Neufch√Ętel cheese using the instructions written by David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D., at  Beginning Cheese Making. I think his instructions are the best you will find. I used them myself.  Even coached other beginners on a forum through the process, as we worked on our cheese together. 

I have been canning cheese over the last couple of years and will be doing that again pretty soon. I have found a method that works, and for the two of us, it works fine. I can in the smallest canning jars so we use a little bit at a time. Canning makes it possible to have butter and cheese in the summer months with no refrigeration.

When the cheese is canned it will be different than you are used to. I use a grapefruit spoon to take chunks of it out and put it in my recipes or grilled cheese sandwiches, on hamburgers, etc.. It works, just doesn't look the same and is a different texture than fresh or shredded. I used shredded when I did this. I will try to document this the next time I do it so I can post it on here.

I have canned butter a few times. The last time I did it, mine did not turn out right. The first time, it was really good and was a lifesaver for us. Now as I have been thinking about it, maybe it was because the first time I did it in cooler weather. The last time it was hot and even my pantry would not cool it. I put the jars in cold water to try to cool it. It didn't turn out and I had to dump it. Well with the price of butter now, I am planning on doing it again. The weather is cold and our pantry is almost a freezer at the moment. So I will try again. I like to can it because I use less butter that way and I can stock up if I find it on sale.

Butter and cheese are now being sold canned by one or two companies because they heard the cry from people wanting to purchase them for their preparedness stocks. I checked out the butter this morning and it was a very small container for $6.00. A case of 24 cans was $139.40. Now that is exactly what has motivated me to get back to home canning it. The price of the cheese is not much $3.99 a can. Ouch! I am trying to prepare and stay prepared but still remain frugal. There are ways to do this and I am doing them so far.

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, January 24, 2011

Problems and Worries

I belong to a number of forums. They are not all homesteading ones. So there is a different mix of people and lifestyles. One thing about this winter that I have noticed is that it seems to be a hard one all over. I have been asked to pray for more people and more situations than ever before. It seems that more troubles seem to be the norm. Instead of logging on to read of good news in my online friends' lives, I read of depression due to some problem in their lives, illness or illness of a family member or friend, lost of job, not able to find a job, lost of a spouse, financial problems, etc.

Makes me wonder if it has always been like that. Or is it just being on the internet, and expanding my friend network includes so many more people? That means that at all times there will always be some having major problems at any given time. All you can do is to offer up prayers for their situation and know it is heard. I have had my share of problems over the years and have received many prayers answered.

So what are some things you can do to relieve the depression while waiting for your prayers to be answered? I am the type of person who usually tries to stay "up." It is not a hardship for me to be that way, since I am more like my father in that way.

These are things that help me stay in a positive frame of mind, even when those I am closest too are miserable, depressed and grouchy:

  • Keep a sense of humor! Humor is a big thing in my family. My parents were always joking with each other and anyone else who came into their home. Even when my mother was crippled and not able to do physical things anymore, she still had her sense of humor. 
  • Eat well! Make some good food. Sometimes I will have someone say they are not hungry and picking at their food as part of their down mood. I will go to work in my kitchen and make something that will cook or bake for hours, simmering slowly, filling the house with smells that will keep your stomach grumbling all day. Soon they will be wanting a little to eat, then taking second helpings and more. Food is good for the heart!
  • Take a walk outside! Living in the state forest land makes it easy for me and my husband to leave our troubles behind and go out into the natural world for an hour or so every day if needed. Nothing clears my mind better than getting out among the trees and plants of the forest. Listening to the birds, seeing the sun shine in the trees or even the snow on the branches of the pines. 
  • Listen to some music! Music is good for the soul. I love to put a cd in my computer that has good memories for me. I love all kinds of music so I can pick just about anything. Music from the 60's takes me back to FL where I grew up and brings good memories of a better day and time. 
  • Read a book! I am an avid reader. Every night before I go to sleep I read for a couple of hours. But if I am upset about something, I can pick up a book and read and it takes my mind away from what is troubling me. If someone else is upset, like my husband, I will choose a book that will have a message I want him to hear. From the Bible, to business books, to books about people who have faced similar problems, etc.........many times I will just start reading aloud and it seems to quiet him, almost like a child hearing a story read aloud at bedtime. 
  • Hug a horse! Or a dog, cat or a red hen. This works for me but not for a person who is not into animals. My husband would not be doing this on purpose. Now me...............going out to the barn and telling my horses all my torments of the day is nothing unusual. They really listen to me too.

These are just a few different things I use to relieve depression or what I call "grouchy husband syndrome" (can be interchanged with "grouchy son syndrome" or whoever is in the syndrome at that time). Do you have certain things you do to help yourself or others through problems that can't be solved right away?

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Son Is Nice To Have!

My son has come to help us for a few days. I didn't have to ask him twice. Just told him we needed some help. The below zero temps seem to be harder on us this year than before. So we asked him to help and here he is. Just for a couple of days and it has been a relief for us. Sometimes you just need to ask for a hand from someone.

I am thankful to have a son who is never too busy for his mother. Never forgets me or lets too much time go by before he calls me. Stays in touch all the time with me. And now here he is splitting firewood, feeding my horses, carrying water, etc. No thinking twice about it or giving me excuses why he couldn't do it. I am truly blessed by a wonderful son!

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting Started In Canning

Presto Pressure Canners

Are you afraid to use that canner you bought two years ago? Is it sitting there in the cupboard next to those cases of canning jars you bought to start your journey into canning your own foods? Why are you afraid? Are you afraid the canner will explode? Or maybe you are canning using a water bath canner, preserving fruits and tomatoes, but are afraid to get into the pressure canner.

The first step is to buy a good canning book. The Blue Ball of canning is the most popular and is easy to follow. It shows you how to get started. It has detailed instructions that you will need to follow when learning how to can. This is the same book that I learned from. Your pressure canner if bought new, will have an instruction book that is another good source of instructions. Presto has their manuals available for free downloads on their site. Mirro has instructions for using their canners available on their site also. Many times when purchasing a used canner the owner will have the manual that came with their canner. Read it and read it again. Become familiar with your canner!

Canning Equipment

The other items you will need are:

A rack that sets on the  bottom of the canner, comes with the canner but if you purchased a used one it may or may not be there. Make sure you have one.

Jar lifter

A jar lifter is what is used to lift the jars, which will be hot, into the canner and out again when you are finished. These can be found in kits with some other useful equipment.

One other item I like is the lid lifter. It has a magnet on the bottom to pick up the lids out of hot water. It usually comes in those kits or can be purchased separately.

The pressure regulator and the dial gauge 

A pressure regulator will come with your canner. If you buy a used one and it doesn't come with it, you can find one and purchase it online. My first canner, which I found at a garage sale for ten bucks was missing the pressure regulator so I had my local hardware store order it for me.

Quart jars

Of course, jars, rims and lids are the next item you will need. I got lucky when I was starting out and answered an ad in the newspaper for used jars. I bought over 40 jars for $30.00 from a lady who's husband had died and she didn't need so many jars anymore. Over the years I have bought some new and some used. I find them everywhere. Now I really don't need anymore. Sometimes I have cases of empties, then later in the year I fill them up.


When you are done you will be proud of your work. NOTHING compares to your OWN home canned foods!!! You can start out buying from local farms or farmer's markets. Many times you can find some great deals from someone who produces it and doesn't want to haul it to the farmer's market every week. Sometimes they will give you extras if you are a regular customer. Often I find something on sale in the grocery store and can that too.

Canned Pumpkin

I hope this helps my readers who have been thinking about learning how to can. You can do it and I think you will be surprised by how easy it is once you learn how. The biggest job of all is cleaning and cutting up your vegetables to be processed. It is more fun if you have someone to work with you. Many times, my husband sees me doing it and will come out and get a cutting board and knife and go to work. Talking while working makes it an easier job.

I wrote a post a couple of months back giving you an idea how to do this in my post, Canning Pumpkin From My Garden. In the future I will detail canning more since so many people have contacted me about how to learn to do it. It is a job that should be taught to all people. At least if you know how to do it then you can preserve food without refrigeration or freezers. Tastes great too!

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bad Weather Day At Peaceful Forest Homestead

Short post today. Weather is pretty bad here and I don't have much time on here. My son came to help us for a few days so I will just say, "Thank God for sons!"

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homesteading Websites Need Traffic Too!

As many of my regular readers and followers of this blog already know, I have been writing a few reviews here and there that I am paid for. Not that many because most of the products or services they ask me to review would not be appropriate for a homesteading blog...........even a modern homesteading blog! I turned one down this week that was for artificial turf. Now can you imagine me writing the benefits of installing artificial turf.......fake grass in your yard? I wonder how my horses would feel about that?

I have one advertiser on the side of this blog that does sell homesteading products. He contacted me to put his little ad on the side and I am quite happy with it. He sells products that fit. That makes a big difference! I am going to try to find other websites that may want a link on my blog to sell homesteading products too. Like if you make soap, candles, have an eBay store selling homesteading type tools, fiber, even finished products like needlework items that you might be selling on etsy, Bonanza or eBay or your own site.

So I am offering a way to bring some of my traffic to your site. If you are paying for pay per click or any other type of search engine optimization, you may already know that by putting your link on other sites increases your traffic. I would also be pleased to introduce you to other bloggers in this niche. Just about any blogger would be pleased to make a little bit of money from their blogs. I am sure you would be pleased too, to get more traffic to your products or services. Blogs too, if you just want to increase your traffic to your blog, I am open to those types of ads also. If you have a farm or homestead website or blog, placing a small ad on my blog could help. I mean, I really work on this blogging and networking business. As you may have noticed I try to write new post often.

If you are looking to get someone to write a post about your products or a certain product, I can do that also. I would write a post that would contain links to your site. Plus I promote all my posts on Facebook and Twitter and even on other blogs and most important, The Blogfrog. I am sure you would get increased traffic. I am not talking big money here. So contact me and see what we can work out.

Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, January 19, 2011