5 Quick Ways To Practice Homesteading Skills This Weekend


5 Homesteading Skills to Practice This Weekend | Cooke's Frontier


We talk about this homesteading thing all of the time, about how it can happen wherever you are currently planted, with whatever time you have on hand. That’s all true, but I think we forget that you need to practice skills to get really good at them!

The weekend is the perfect time to try something new, practice getting better at something, or just spend your time doing something that will add a new level of ability to your skills.

Here are 5 quick things that you can do this weekend to practice your homesteading skills. Some take a little longer than others, but a lot of that time is spent waiting so you can be doing other things.

Practice makes progress and progress makes homesteaders happy!

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Homestead Happenings This Week

  Now that the first *full* week of January is behind us, I’ve decided that it’s about time to get my butt in gear and get some blog posts written. I’ve been really bad this last year about consistency and keeping up with things here but I think I have a plan that will allow me to be better. We’ll see how it goes, of course, but I am fairly optomistic. Some highlights of my week: I wrote my first blog post for the Homeschool Review Crew. I’m very excited to be writing more about our homeschool journey this year and being able to share a little more of that part of our life with you. If you would like to read that review, you can check it out by clicking here.  

In other news, I’m working on the most time-intensive crochet project I have yet to tackle. It’s a blanket for my husband and he specifically requested something super warm with few to no holes (some crochet can be pretty holey). So I searched and searches for something I thought he would enjoy before settling on the patter, “Stained Glass Beauty” from a book of patterns I bought at a yard sale. I searched the web and found that it’s also available on Ravelry as well if you’re interested. It’s also called Stained Glass Beauty there. Beware!! This pattern takes SERIOUS time and a LOT of yarn. That being said, it’s simply gorgeous and the textures are to die for. The back is just as lovely as the front! I love it when a yarn project works up that way.

We’ve been working on our house again, big surprise there, and I have been searching out and buying a few little items that our home has been wanting. Like a rug for the living room floor. Not only are our floors now beautifully sealed and finished, but we now have a lovely cozy rug in the middle for playing Legos on, doing homework and schoolwork, reading and just general relaxation. It seems like a small thing, but to us IT’S HUGE! I’m very excited :)

I’ve started writing up the DIY post on building your own butcher block counters because I still get SO MANY people wanting to know how we did ours, what we used, how hard it was, etc. They are still just as beautiful as they were when we put them in and are starting to get a little character to them, so I could not be more pleased with our choice of counter for our newly remodeled kitchen. You can expect the first post in that series early next week. I had to divide it up into a couple posts because it was just so long.

Lastly, on our little homestead in the country town, we’ve been enjoying many more home cooked meals and treats. I feel like you all aren’t as excited about recipes as you used to be, so you can expect me to roll back on recipe posts this year, but I do have a few new ones to share here and there. My focus for the next year will be on dutch oven and solar cooking. I’m looking forward to diving into these topics more and sharing the information with you.

I’m looking forward to a productive and educational 2016 and I hope you are as well. I’m off now- I hear my bread calling to me, it’s time to bake it off!

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Online Curriculum and Courses Review

SchoolhouseTeachers Review 2016


I was pretty excited about the chance to review a Yearly Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com because it was a resource that I had heard so much about, but hadn’t yet gotten around to looking into for our use in our homeschool. Boy, am I ever glad that I got to poke around over there!

Maybe you’re wondering what exactly SchoolhouseTeachers is…and I’m happy to fill you in a little more. SchoolhouseTeachers is a site filled with courses for every grade level and subject, available online 24/7, and can be used anywhere you go. SchoolhouseTeachers.com has a library of over 10,000 (yup, you read that right) videos and even gives you achievement certificates to print and use, access to record keeping help, planners for everyone, and high school help resources. It’s seriously jam packed with all sorts of things to use with any age level.

I loved the options available for elementary homeschool curriculum choices. My biggest problem is that I find all of these great resources and want to implement them into our school day, but that ends up overwhelming everyone (kids and mom alike), so I was very careful about what I chose to use for the time I had available for this review. With the holidays happening and an already busy schedule, looked through the choices to find a few things I could add into our day NOW and a few things I have bookmarked for use over the rest of the year.

Daily Writing from SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a great way to encourage creative writing skills in your elementary homeschool curriculum.

The first curriculum item we used was the Daily Writing Themes by Sharon Watson. These are fabulous, fun, fast ways to get the kids to do a little creative writing. I loved that I could print them out and set them at the girls’ work stations so that they could get started on that while I was getting the breakfast dishes sorted out. By the time I was done, so were they and we would move on with our day.

These worked very, VERY well for us. My girls enjoyed the themes and often would write far more than what was asked of them. I saw such a huge improvement in not only their creative writing, but also in following directions, self-starting and following through to the end. Did I mention how much fun they were?! They are tailored to the month/season so there are seasonally appropriate or holiday type themes. I found these to be helpful to keep the girls excited about lessons when they were getting so close to vacation time. There was not a lot of fuss when writing time came around in the morning.

The older girls (2nd and 5th grades) probably got a little more out of these, but I feel like it did give the younger girls (1st grade) the chance to use their imaginations and think creatively. Maybe the spelling or grammar wasn’t always perfect for them, but that gave us something to correct and writing things over was a great handwriting exercise, so I felt like it worked out extremely well for us. We’re planning to continue with these through the end of the year.

Everyday Copywork is a fun way to add handwriting practice to your Elementary Homeschool Curriculum.

The next item I chose for us was the Everyday Copywork by Bonnie Rose Hudson. We needed to work on our handwriting and I felt that these would be a fun way to work on that a little bit. There are SO MANY different holidays, books, Bible verses, interests, etc to choose from that have a copywork worksheet available for it that you could fit one of these into any lesson or project that you have going on.

Since I am a firm believer in cursive, my older set worked on cursive worksheets and my younger ones printed. That made it so easy to have those options for the same worksheets so they could all work on the same work, in our case it was Early American History. I felt that these added a bit of fun and practice to our day and I plan on using them throughout the rest of the year as well.

One thing I really liked was that you could search the site by curriculum type (Math, Science, Language Arts) or by grade level. That makes it so easy to find what you are looking for or to discover something new. I’m so excited to have this resource at the ready for the next year!

The only thing I had a hard time with was knowing where to start. If I may make a suggestion to you it would be to make sure you begin on the “Start Here” tab and go from there. Watching the tutorials and reading through the other information on that tab made it so much easier for me to get a grip on how the site works. There is a serious amount of resources and curriculum to use here, so don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed at first. I know I did. Just take it slow and so some exploring.

I would feel oh so very negligent if I didn’t add the the amazingly HUGE benefit of the 6 (YES! 6!) Homeschool planners available to you with your membership. There is a planner there for you and they are a great addition to the value of your membership. These are such a blessing to me to be able to download and use during my year. I’m truly loving them and have been enjoying being just a bit more (….ok, a LOT more) organized.

If you would like to read other reviews of SchoolhouseTeachers, you can click this graphic and it will take you to other reviews you can read through. I can’t wait to read how others have used the site or how they plan on using it in the future.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review 2016

Finally, if you think a Yearly Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com might be for you, I want to share with you this coupon code. You’ll receive 50% off the membership price by using the code “CREWFOLLOWER”


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A Jewish Bakers Pastry Secrets Cookbook Review

A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets Book Review

It’s cookbook review time! I love to review cookbooks…..I love to read them like a good book and learn something new. This book was especially interesting for me because it’s FULL of recipes and instructions, tips, tricks, antidotes and other little bits and pieces.

Now, I usually like a cookbook to be illustrated because I often choose to make, or not make, a recipe based on it’s looks. This cookbook does not include any photography, but it’s so rich in text that you don’t even really notice or mind.

The book is divided into 10 chapters:

  • Equipment- an overview of what you will need to have on hand to successfully make these recipes.
  • Basic techniques and Recipes- Here you find basic recipes for fillings, glazes, and other basic recipes that are the basis of recipes later in the book.
  • Bundt- all things Bundt! Recipes like Cheese Buns, Sugar Buns, Streusel Cake and more.
  • Babka- All variations of this delicious pastry.
  • Strudel- from apple to to cheese to cherry strudel, you’ll find it in this section
  • Gugelhopf and Portuguese Sweet Bread- Probably my favorite section of the cookbook.
  • Stollen and Polish Kolacz- Traditional and Non-Traditional recipes abound
  • Puff Pastry- My mouth watered at this section…..everything you can make with puff pastry.
  • Danish Pastries- Cinnamon danish, Prune Danish, Coffee Cake, and Apple Swirls are just some of the recipes here.

More than just the massive amounts of recipes, I enjoyed learning new techniques and tips to make my homemade pastries into something that more closely resembles the ones available at the best bakeries. You really can make anything at home!

Pros: Highly informative, loaded with recipes, tips, tricks and helps.

Cons: Lack of pictures, highly technical at times.

I received this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS for this review.

5 Ways To Have A Frugal And Fabulous Christmas

5 Ways To Have A Frugal And Fabulous Christmas! 5 simple ideas for transforming stressful and expensive holidays to stress-free, frugal celebrations.


Let’s face it– Christmas should be one of the most beautiful holidays of the year where we gather with family and friends to celebrate.The reality is much less frugal and celebratory– we worry about buying a good enough gift, extend our finances beyond humanly possible, go into debt, become harried, hassled and less than gracious.

Do not despair! The serenity and peace of the season is within our reach! Let’s explore the ways we can simplify our Christmas holiday and bring the JOY back into our homes.


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