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DIY Fire Pit



We have already established that autumn is my favorite season, right?

The cool temps, the colors of the leaves, apples, football, stews, sweaters, and pumpkin pie make me happy, happy, happy.

Autumn is also a great time of year for bonfires and cowboy cooking.

One of the best things that we ever did was build a fire pit in our backyard. And purchase a campfire cooking tripod. {affiliate link}And Lodge Dutch Oven with the lid. {affiliate link}  See my Lodge Cast Iron haul here.


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How To Make A Skirt From Jeans


I love skirts.

Long ones, mostly. Especially ones that hit right at the ankles, but those are hard to find when you have long legs.

I also like knee length skirts.

I just like skirts.

It's difficult to find skirts that fit right.

They say when you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

Enter the DIY Denim Skirt.

I made a long one a couple of years ago, but have wanted to get a knee length skirt to wear in the summer or to pair with tights and boots in the cooler months.

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When You Don't Feel Smart Enough To Homeschool



Insecurity.

It's an ugly thing.

It robs us of confidence, peace, and blessings!

Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of parents decide not to homeschool because of that very reason. Their fear of failure stops them from taking that leap into one of the biggest blessings a family could experience.

It's totally understandable! The last thing we'd ever want to do is fail our children. We don't want to limit them by not helping them reach their fullest potential!

HOWEVER, what if I told you that even if you are weak in some areas, there are a lot of resources that will help you and your child succeed?

"Where there is a will, there is a way." 

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Why I Call Myself "The Caver's Wife"



In a world saturated in feminism, identifying one's self as "my husband's wife" is SO taboo.

"You're setting us back a few decades, sister!" 
"You shouldn't wrap up your identity in your husband! Be your own person." 

Ouch!

Sorry. It's just that I rolled my eyes so hard, I hurt myself.

You would think that a culture that celebrates the woman's right to choose, a woman CHOOSING to immerse herself in God's plan for her life (i.e.,serving her family) would be encouraged.

On the contrary.

The world's lust is not indulged by the biblical family model, instead, it is pepper sprayed with conviction.

Talk about a buzz kill!

So instead of being celebrated, a woman that spends her days cleaning the home, preparing the meals, educating her children, and doting on her husband, is bullied at every turn.

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5 Tips For Successful Homemaking



I will be the first to admit that I am not a master homemaker, but it IS a passion of mine and something that I am constantly working on improving.

When I married my husband, I was 18 years old. That was almost 18 years ago, people.

I see you doing the math! Cut it out!

Aw. Just look at us.

Thankfully, my parents taught me how to cook, clean, and do laundry. (If you aren't doing that for your children, start today! It's never too late or too early)  Thanks, Mom! <3

However, the art of homemaking is something that I am still learning.

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Behind Every Successful Man...




I am constantly amused by what I observe in my own home.

It's funny how things get communicated between the members in my family. I see and hear them expressing one thing, but it's what they're not saying that I'm picking up on more and more--especially with my husband.

When I began deciphering his code--which I will reveal to you in just a moment-- I began to see a pattern in his behavior. I tested my theories in controlled and uncontrolled environments until, finally, I cracked the code.

I then decided to branch out a little. I asked the question: Is it just my husband or are there others that have this unspoken language?

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Our 2016-2017 Homeschool Curricula


It is that time of year again and I think I am more excited about this year than I was in years past. Sounds crazy...I know.

Our homeschool curricula choices are a little bit different because I won't be doing as much teaching as I have before.

This is a huge help for this work-at-home mama!

Bible


For the most important subject of our day, we are doing whatever I think we need at the time. We started the school year reading and discussing the book of Daniel. After our daily reading, I would have the kiddos either draw or write a few sentences in their journal to document what stood out to them the most.

After we finished that, I found 31 Days of Drawing Through The Bible from Susan Evans. The kids like it because they love to draw and create scrapbook style journals. It's a good review on the bible stories that they have learned growing up. I think after we finish this series, we will do something a little more thought provoking.

Reading


You guys know that I love the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. We are a reading family and I love that by following this style, my children read good QUALITY literature that teaches them the correct forms of language and is so engaging they don't even realize that they are learning!

The books that I select for the children's reading are listed on the free curriculum guide from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Fifth Grade 

Parker is starting the year reading through C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia   {affiliate link}. He is starting with The Magician's Nephew. To go along with his reading, I found these resources to make Parker a lapbook .












Ninth Grade

Emily is experiencing the magic that is J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. {affiliate link} She has loved reading The Hobbit and tends to read a little longer than she has to during reading time. I love it! I also found these chapter questions for her to answer as she finishes each chapter.










Math & Language Arts

 

After taking their loooong placement test, we've finally settled on the curriculum and levels for the children's math and language arts. Both of the kiddos are going to be using Switched On School House. It's a Christian curriculum that teaches the subjects and assigns the work. It's all done on the computer. I will be nearby to answer any questions they have, but other than that, it takes a huge burden off of my shoulders. I'm really excited about giving this a go this year!

US Geography

We are loving US Geography! We are using Road Trip USA from Confessions of a Homeschooler. She has put together activity sheets, recipes, websites to visit, songs to learn, and animals to classify. Even my ninth grader is enjoying it!













Science

 

Fifth Grade

Currently, Parker is working Earth Science from Easy Peasy, but we've decided to use the Science program that came in the Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum.



Ninth Grade

Emily has been showing a lot of interest in Marine Biology lately and I decided that Biology would be a good subject for her to study this year. Might as well strike while the iron is hot, right? I love how the Apologia {affiliate link} curriculum teaches apologetics. It's a fantastic approach to building a solid Christian education.

Foreign Language 

Spanish


I've always heard that the best way to learn a foreign language is to learn it in a conversational form. My mom, who minored in Spanish in college, found this Spanish curriculum, Excelerate Spanish, and thought that it would be a great way for us to learn to the language. It's been a lot of fun so far. You learn a dialogue for a certain situation {i.e., waiting for a bus}. You then learn hand motions to go with phrases so you are engaging multiple parts of your brain. The program comes with a DVD, workbook, and teacher's guide.


For art, music and other electives, we will just do what we feel like when we feel like it.We take a more student interest led approach in those subjects.

That wraps up our curricula choices for this school year. Here is my video talking about it as well.


I hope you all have a wonderful school year!

Tangi
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My Norwex {Just Add Water} Haul!

My Norwex "Just Add Water" Haul. I can clean my WHOLE HOUSE with just water!!


It's finally here! It felt like a lifetime to get my Just Add Water Package from Norwex, but it's finally here.

You guys know that I am a pseudo-crunchy mama. I like things as natural as possible, and that includes my house!

We have all heard about what the chemicals in conventional household cleaners can do, but sometimes it takes a hit close to home for those things to sink in.

When Jack and I got married, I moved almost 400 miles away from my family. Thankfully, there were people in my new hometown that were ready to love me and make me a part of their family. One of those people I lovingly refer to as Aunt Nito.

A couple of years ago, Aunt Nito had a stroke. The Lord was with her and she pulled through. During all of the testing that she had, she learned some detrimental facts that she was quick to share with me.

You see, during one of her tests, the doctors found that she had neurological damage--the kind that's found in folks exposed to a chemical spill. After interviewing her for the cause of this, it was determined that her years of being a professional housekeeper exposed her to enough chemicals that she now has permanent neurological damage. That is some scary stuff! She didn't use commercial grade cleaners, just your everyday household stuff that most all of use on a daily basis.

This information had a great impact on me because, 1} I love Aunt Nito! and 2} I was also a professional housekeeper.

I had already started using homemade cleaners in my own home to cut down on the chemicals {and the money}. The frustrating part is that every time I would use my cleaners, my family would complain about the smell of vinegar. Even using essential oils in the cleaner didn't keep them from dramatically exclaiming how the smell was going to make them vomit or was giving them a headache. *eye roll* To be honest, I didn't love the smell either, but I got used to it and it was better than using chemicals.

I am so thankful that I was introduced to Norwex. I can clean and disinfect my home with JUST WATER!! Really. From top to bottom. The cloths clean, scrub, dust, and disinfect; essentially, the cloths replace all of the surface cleaners that we use! They're fun to use {because it's AMAZING what they clean and how well they clean} so my house is as clean as a museum. HA! I also love that it saves me money over time. There's an initial investment, but since I'm replacing consumable products with non-consumable products that, with proper use and care, will last for many years, I am saving hundreds of dollars in the long run. I don't have to worry about the air quality in my house after cleaning (we're allergy sufferers here),  AND my kids can help me clean with no worries. Woohoo!!

I love it so much I became a consultant. I had my first party and used my commission check to invest in the Just Add Water package. IT'S SO COOL!! Here are the items that come in it {click the caption to read more about the products}.


Click here to see the Just Add Water Package



If you want to see how truly excited I am about this stuff, here's my unboxing video! Enjoy. :)











Tangi





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The Beautiful Purpose of Homemaking

Dishes.

Laundry.

Floors.

Beds.

Meals.

Menu planning.

Groceries.

Bills.

    ....the list goes on.

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday....

I'm pretty sure the reason that I have become a protective weirdo with my routine/schedule is because it helps me to know which day is which. Without them, the days run together and I start to feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. 

 I love being a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mama. As you know, I have waited years for this. But even still, I can sometimes loose the joy in homemaking. 

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Zucchini Bread





One of my favorite things about summer is gardening.

Gardening means zucchini.

Zucchini means zucchini bread.

Zucchini bread and coffee means yummy in my tummy.



To make this delicious, simple, Amish recipe with a Caver's Wife spin, you will need:

3 Eggs, beaten until foamy
1 cup melted coconut oil
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons real vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 loaf pans with coconut oil.
2- Combine eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini.
3- In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
4- Divide batter into two waiting loaf pans.
5- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the middle.
6- Pour us some coffee and call me when it's ready.

**I've also spoon the yumminess into muffin cups. It makes it easier to freeze and serve later. It made almost 24 muffins.

Enjoy!
Tangi
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Feeling Like A Lady {While Being A Workhorse}

This is what I call "The Works" Contouring, concealing, eyebrows--everything!
I have a confession.

There is a little something that not a lot of you know about me.

When my hubby and I got engaged, I was actually attending cosmetology school.

That's right.

I am a Beauty School dropout.

Even though I will probably never go back to finish my training and get a license, I still enjoy the artistry in hair and makeup.

I'm not crazy-obsessed with brands, brushes, creams and powders, sprays and gels-- but I do enjoy feeling feminine.

Most of the time I wear little to no makeup, my hair is usually in my favorite TSC pink and camo cap, and my outfits usually consist of denim, t-shirts, and Nikes.

There's nothing wrong with that! I'm a worker and it isn't practical to wear cute clothes and be all painted up when I'm in the dirt with sweat dripping down my face.

What I look like most of the time
 My friend, Julianne {Dirtpatcheaven}, calls girls like us "Useful". I like that. I would definitely consider myself useful. Useful. Not afraid of getting dirty. Getting the job done. Useful.

Speaking of Julianne, she also likes makeup and hair stuff. She even has a separate YouTube channel devoted to the subject called NaturalHappy. You should check her out.

Anyway, I've kind of being toying around with the idea of doing some makeup tutorials on my channel.
It may not go over well, but I won't know until I try.

I digress.

My point in all of this is that it's important to me to still feel like a lady. Even though I'm strong, I like to feel soft. Even though I dress for hard work, I still want to feel feminine.

If you check out my Pinterest boards, you'll see a weird combo of homesteading, gardening, manure, modest fashion and beauty stuff {among other things}.

It's okay to feel like a lady and still be "useful". Some people seem to think that you can't be both. I disagree.

Are you like me? Are you low maintenance all the time? Are you high maintenance all the time? Or are you a little of both some of the time?


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I'm here. At home. With them.

**I really like Facebook's "On This Day" flashbacks. I love the photos and the statuses that I had forgotten about. This status came up this morning and I wanted to share it. I posted it on April 8, 2015**

 
Picture of my current favorite shirt



I have to publicly thank the Lord for the path He has set me on and the prayers that He has answered.


I've always enjoyed getting up around 6ish. I check messages, drink coffee, get a few chores done, meditate on the Lord and the things that I need to get done in the day.

When I worked outside of the home, the mornings were chaotic even if I had the forethought to plan things out or get up extra early.

In contrast, this morning I got ready, started my coffee, put a few things away-- and then I couldn't help but smile, giggle even, as I turned on the laptop and pulled out my lesson plan book.

God is good.

For years I harbored guilt and bitterness for not being at home with my children. I prayed that the Lord would bring me home. I never had peace about working-- even if I enjoyed my job, made enough money that we were "comfortable", or loved the people that I worked with. I just knew that if I stayed home, that God would take care of us because we would be in His will.

Teaching the boy to garden
When Parker started school I thought "Well, that's it. That door has shut. There is no need for me to be home now." My heart broke.

Fast forward several years later-- my children are middle and elementary school aged and I'm here. At home. With them.

I have a couple of odd jobs that help us out financially. We're still figuring out how to work our new budget-- which is a failure at this time-- but we'll get it. My house isn't as clean as I thought I would have it while being at home. Most of the time I feel like I don't know what I'm doing or what's going on...but I'm here.

At home.

With them.
Taking the kids on amazing adventures

Beginning the homeschool journey feels a lot like learning how to ice skate. I'm still in the awkward falling down stage. I fall down, get back up, and wobble with my arms flailing. Not graceful. Not pretty. Just all over the place and wondering if I'm ever gonna get it right.

But I'm here.

At home.

With them.

Teaching the girl to can
Sister, if you are a working mom and feel the draw to be home with your children, pray. If you are a working mom that desires to be home more than you are, pray. If you are a stay-at-home mom that needs to help make extra money for your family, pray. There might be a door that opens automatically or it might take a long time but keep praying. God knows the desires of your heart. He is faithful and He will do what He knows will work together for good for those that love Him.
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Dutch Oven Cooking: Three Bean Chili

Last week, my Caver built a fantastic fire pit in our back yard to accommodate the cast iron cooking gear that we picked up at the Lodge Factory Store in Chattanooga, TN.

Last night we finally were able to set it all up and break it in. We had a great time and hope that you enjoy it as well. You can print the recipe for my Three Bean Chili here.
















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Venison Tacos

In case you have missed it, I am part of an exciting collaboration with seven other YouTubers to bring our viewers our Family Favorite Frugal meals. (Their links are in the description box of my video.) Each day we are taking a turn to share our frugal recipes. I'm sharing Venison Tacos. In the video I talk about homemade taco seasoning and homemade tortillas. I wanted to post the recipes here so you can print them.



So, here they are:

Homemade Taco Seasoning:
(click here to print)

2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp garlic powder
1-1/4 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c chili powder
1/4 c onion powder


Mix together and store in an airtight container (mason jar with lid). Will keep for a year. Use 3 tbsp of mix and 1/3 cup of water for every pound of meat. 
 
Homemade Tortillas:  
(adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine )
3 c all purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 light tasting olive oil 
1 c warm water 
Combine dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl. With the dough hook attached, mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for about a minute, scraping the bowl as needed.   After the dough forms into a ball, mix for about another minute or until the dough is smooth. 
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead in more flour if the dough is sticky. Divide the dough in half and then in half again-- continuing until you have 16 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten with your palm as much as possible.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes. 
After 15 minutes, heat a pan (griddle) over medium high heat. (No oil) Roll out the tortilla until about it's about 6-7 inches in diameter. Place on the griddle and cook until bubbles form on top or the bottom has light brown spots, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side for about 30 seconds. 
Tortillas will keep in the freezer for months and on the counter  for a day or two if kept in an airtight container.  


I hope you guys enjoy these recipes! 

Tangi

   
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Southern Chocolate Gravy


In the south, there are a lot of foods that say, "I love you", but there are very few that say, "I will love you forever."

One of those foods is BACON! 

Hmmm...on second thought, bacon is the universal I-will-love-you-forever foods...

...unless it's against your religion....or your doctor's orders. In those cases, bacon sends a whole other message and you should just pass the plate to me and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

But this post is not about my obsession enjoyment in the partaking of that delectable, smokey, salty, heaven-sent goodness. 

No.

Not today. 

Today, I'm talkin' straight up chocolate for breakfast! 

Ladies, I'm talking to the men folk today! Hand him the apron and the whisk, and step aside. 

This is the perfect Valentine's Day breakfast food.

Enough pillow talk! Let's make some chocolate love happen!

SOUTHERN CHOCOLATE GRAVY

Ingredients: 
Yields 4-6 servings
1 TBSP real butter
3 TBSP all purpose flour
1/4 c cocoa, unsweetened 
1/2 c white granulated sugar 
2 c milk (not skim)
Pinch of salt (1/8 tsp)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

Directions: 
In an iron skillet (or medium sauce pan) melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add in cocoa, sugar, salt and milk. Whisk until most of the lumps are gone. (There will still be some lumps, but if you continue to whisk, they will cook out.) Continue to whisk until gravy starts to bubble and thickens (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 

Pour over hot biscuits and enjoy!  

I hope you enjoy this recipe! My family sure does!

If, for some reason, the gravy is lumpy, you can pour it through a mesh strainer for a silkier texture, but since I babysit the gravy and constantly stir, I've not had issues with lumps.


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Homesteading Goals for 2016

I think I am more excited about homesteading this year than I have been in the past.

I know.

How is it possible that I could be even more excited than I have ever been without imploding?

Lord willing, this is going to be a great year with more plants on the homestead, learning more skill sets, and getting the family more involved than in the past.

Here, I'll tell you all about it. Grab your coffee and a muffin!

Here we go...



What are your goals? Are you trying new things? Let me know in the comment section below. :)
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Homemade Granola #2

This is my second granola recipe; and really, my granola will vary each time I make it because it really just depends on what I have on hand. This time I am making granola with pecans, coconut oil, and flax seed.

To print the recipe, go here.



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White Sandwich Bread Recipe


For years I have made our bread. It's cheaper, tastier, and so much better for my family. Today on the channel, I show you how to make it.

To print the recipe, go here

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