Don’t get me wrong, I love summertime and spending it outside with my family and friends. I love the sound of the cicadas in the trees of Arizona. I love eating freshly picked watermelons from the garden and swimming in the pool with the kiddlings…
But my favorite time of the year is the fall when we start to can (applesauce is my favorite) and bake. Hoodies and apple pies!! Fires in the fire place. I love baking bread and biscuits. I love the smell of cookies coming out of the oven. (My waistline, however, doesn’t love that part! 😉 )
I love the approaching winter season when we celebrate the birth of our savior.
Every day in the fall, I try something new in my kitchen. I attempt new cookies or bread. I love making dinner in the crockpot. I love creating new soups for my family.
This morning in my area, we woke up to the first day of frost on our windshields. It was 34 degrees out when I got up at 3:30 for my classes to start. And our high today isn’t supposed to get over 55 degrees. It is a crockpot kind of day!
On the list for the week –
Chicken and Dumplings, Biscuits, Crockpot beef stroganoff, homemade noodles, and animal circus cookies.
We have beautiful purple cabbage coming out of the freeze dryer this morning and apple slices going in.
We plan on having a road trip if it doesn’t rain at the end of the week
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies
Peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
PREHEAT oven to 375°F.
COMBINE together butter and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and soda. Beat until combined. Next, beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour, oats and chocolate chips.
Drop on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees
*This recipe doubles fantastically – We add 1 bag of chocolate chips to a doubled batch.
Welcoming in the new year at our homestead is a fun event. We are not really “party animals” and do normally spend New Year’s Eve with our kids at home. We play games the entire day and eat homemade finger foods (like homemade egg rolls, meatballs, chips and dips, etc).
This year, we had new games added to our collection including Steampunk Munchkins, Timeline – American History, The Ticket to Ride expansion for 1910 and Oregon Trail. (Yes, I know! Not the standard games that everyone else had in their collections – But we are a gaming kind of family and have all of those standard Sorry and Monopolies too!)
So for hours and hours, we spend time as a family…. What have I learned while playing games with my kids? I have learned that I don’t like playing against Griffen in Munchkin… He is RUTHLESS! Trystan still does not play well with others and cheats his way through every game that he plays. Larry remembers all of the rules to all of the games that we play…. He is filled with folders of useless knowledge too. I know that Rowan and Elwyn are very competitive, but will help you out on teaming up on games. I know that Shelby LOVES to just sit and play any game, anytime with anyone. Berlyn does not always play well with others. Breckin is a good sport and will not only play games with his sisters, but will dress up for one of the princess games with them.
Upon the ringing in of the New Year, we make it outside to bang pots and pans and yell Happy New Year…. then come in and drink “kid champagne” AKA Sparkling Apple Cider.
This morning, we woke up to 2 new baby goats on our homestead! Declan (one of our registered Purebred Nubians) and Ava (a Registered American Nubian) had 2 baby girls…. We are thrilled to have already added to our homestead this early in the season….
“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving”
— Gail Tsukiyama
Kris Mazy-Fullmer and her husband Larry were married 18 years ago.
“It was not in our plans to have children, but it was it God’s plan,” Mazy-Fullmer said. “I was on birth control, but our first child (Shelby) was born just before our first anniversary. After Shelby came, she was so amazing, she changed our minds instantly.”
The Chino Valley couple now have five biological children, two adopted sons, and are occasionally foster parents too.
“After all our kids were born we adopted our two sons, Breckin and Trystan,” Mazy-Fullmer said. “Both brothers were severely abused both physically and mentally. I know God gave me these boys so we could be loving parents to kids in need. I didn’t realize how much love that we have to share.”
She has homeschooled most of her children, they are also in 4-H and they keep busy with the 400 animals they have on their acreage.
“The kids each have their own animals to take care of,” Mazy-Fulllmer said. “My daughter Elwyn is our ‘goat whisperer,’ she milks the goats every morning and night. Our son Griffin is my engineer, he builds and repairs all of our barns, etc.; Rowan is in charge of all the baby chicks, she feeds, waters and collects eggs; Berlyn (who is autistic) just has a way with horses and he trains with Horses with H.E.A.R.T. for the Special Olympics. Breckin is our 4-H Bunny Boy and takes care of all the rabbits. Trystan is so very intelligent and he is my snuggle monster, and Shelby is now in college and also works full time.
“We live in such an entitlement society these days, and we are teaching our children that it takes a lot of work to live. They all know how to cook, bake bread and raise animals,” she said.
Besides taking care of all her children, through the years Kris still took the time to get a college degree. The family grows all their own food, which she cans and dehydrates. All meals are made from scratch.
“I do all this because of all the allergies, and food intolerance with some of the kids. Elwyn is allergic to red dye; Trystan is gluten, sugar and lactose intolerant; Berlyn and Breckin both have to have sugar and dye free food too. Everything I do, from my photography (to give them memories), my cookbooks (she has written three) is to better their lives, and getting my degree is to help my special needs kids. Your life is what you make it. But my husband is my rock, I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is an amazing husband and dad.”
Mazy-Fullmer shared that she came from a small family so she thinks her large family is phenomenal.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child and it is true, my parents, and my sister and her husband live next door and are very active in our kids’ lives,” she said.
“I think I was put here to be a mom. I love each of my kids differently, they are each individuals, with their own special talents, and personalities, and they are all gifts.”
Griffen has been very excited to get involved with the communications team with our local Oath Keeper’s group. He just picked up a handheld radio and was able to sit and listen to the check in for all of the local members for the Sunday night check-in.
Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Our local group has some pretty AWESOME teams, including preparedness (which I am a part of), communication, security, engineering, etc, all in case of an emergency in our community.
So Griffen’s newest goal is to get hie Ham Radio License. I wonder if he can get my Grandfather’s old call number… And I think that I should get mine license as well.
His first step is to learn the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. And to start going to local meetings for Radio Operators… Our Yavapai County group is www.w7yrc.org.
Welcome to 2016! And Happy 12th day of Christmas!!
This year on our homestead, we are working really hard to get self sustaining and be able to offer more animals, produce and eggs to our friends. It has been a great year! We have pressed the “easy” button and made life simpler which is this busy mama’s long term hope for the family. (And by simpler, I do not mean easier, but rather slowing down the CRAZY and drinking iced tea on my porch, watching chickens peck the ground and kids playing outside.)
What are our goals for our homestead this year? We know that most of these won’t happen this year… but we are all hopeful.
add tilapia to our aquaponics system (right now, we have just goldfish in there.)
add an additional aquaponics system
Add a solar system to the aquaponics system(s)
build another greenhouse
build a smoke house
add 5 more raised garden beds to our garden
build additional quail house to house at least 150 more quail
purchase a second cabinet incubator for all of the eggs that we have been hatching
publish 2 more books
plant and tend our garden
not go to the grocery store from May until October (and we are well on out way! I just got a call that our 1/2 steer will be ready to pick up in mid February from the butcher. Our pigs will be going to butcher in March too. My freezers will be FULL!)
learn to make sour cream and purchase a cheese press to make cheddar
raise turkeys to sell (we have 80 eggs in the incubator right now.)
raise coturnix quail to eat weekly for our family
Continue to homeschool our amazing kids (minus Shelby who is in college and is being joined by Larry in college this spring to get an additional degree)
continue to offer our home as a foster family for kids who need us
It is a beautiful October day up here in northern Arizona. A lot has happened in the last month. We have (as a whole family, including my parents and sister and her family) picked up a steer. TBone will fill up our freezer in about 8 months or so. He is a bit thin, so we are “fattening” him up.
Berlyn is continuing to be homeschooled with the other kids. Autism will not stop this handsome guy! Meet Fern! She is a KuneKune sow to breed with our Wilbur. 3 of the kids joined 4H this season for swine market, swine breeding, rabbits, goats and poultry.
We officially got back the first of the goat’s registrations back from ADGA (American Dairy Goat Assoc.) 4 more to go this season!
I am so very proud of my SHELBY! Shelby, you have accomplished so much! You are an an amazing woman, growing daily into the person that I knew that you would become. You are a hard worker and that shows by working full-time and college full-time. All of the kids in the house look up to you. I honestly can not believe how fast time flies.
You use a ginger bug to make home made fermented (naturally carbonated) sodas like ginger ale. My kids go GA-GA over the sodas that you can make with this. A ginger bug is like a sour dough starter. It needs time to “sit” and “cook”.
1/4 cup fresh ginger roots, finely diced or grated
1/2 cup white sugar (do not use stevia or honey!!)
2 cups of water
Quart size mason jar
Yes, you can double this recipe! We do because we make a larger batch of ginger ale each time.
Finely dice a piece of ginger root enough to fill a 1/4 cup measuring up. I do not peel it first however do wash really well.
Place the ginger in a quart size mason jar and add 1/2 cup sugar.
Add 2 cups of water to the mason jar.
Stir and cover lightly. I use a piece of white cheese cloth tied on with a ribbon… but a coffee filter and rubber band works just as well. The “bug” needs to be able to breathe and the cover makes sure that fruit flies and dust do not get into it. You will need to leave this on your counter in room temperature to create a “bug”.
Once a day for the next 5 days, stir the “bug” and add 1 tablespoon of diced or grated ginger and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
After the sixth day, you will be able to see if your bug culture is active and ready to use if there are bubbles on the top. It will begin fizzing like a carbonated soda when you stir as well. If it is not bubbling, continue for 2 more days adding sugar and additional ginger. After 9 days if your mixture is not bubbling, then toss and start again.
Once the “bug’ is ready, your can add it to other mixtures to create homemade sodas.
Keep the culture away from other cultures like sauerkraut and kombucha or it can cross culture.
To keep the bug alive and continue growing it, you will need to feed it daily.
You can also “rest” it in the refrigerator and add your 1 tablespoon of sugar and ginger weekly
To reactivate it, remove, let it reach room temperature and begin feeding the bug again daily.