Something new

Monday, March 31, 2014



My wife has been asking me for some time now to write a post for our blog. I have given some input to some of her posts, but for the most part all of it so far has been in her words. I suppose she feels that the blog could use a bit of my voice. I have been there with her this whole time doing the work I just do not have the talent for writing that she does.

I dug shelves into the red clay to build the cinderblock walls of our garden. I searched high and low for materials for the chicken coop we built. All the while putting finishing touches on this old house we hoped to make our own. 

The whole time I knew she wanted to write this blog as we went. From the striping of the old wall paper to the pallet cabinet conversion she wanted to show anyone who wanted to know how we made our house our home. The whole time we were either learning as we went or making it up as we went along. 

With the help of other bloggers we have managed to get fresh eggs daily, turn trash into treasures, and design on a budget. Some things I learned the hard way like horned worms are not caterpillars, but for the most part a lot of what we needed to know was there for us in our online circle. I think that is what we wanted to do with this blog help those who want to do something new

So I hope in some way we helped someone. It is not easy doing something you have never done before. I hope seeing what we go through good or bad, gives you the inspiration to try something new.

I have never grown my own food before. Though I did not grow as much as I would have liked I did grow more than I ever have and I know more about it than I did before. I had hoped that I would have the time to do better this season but we do not think we will have another one here. 

Winter Stead the site I hope will go on but Winter Stead the place will be gone soon. The sad truth is that things did not work out here as we had hoped. I do not think we will be here through the spring even. I plan to plant and tend the garden as long as I am here. Maybe the next family who lives here will take over and enjoy the garden. Chances are though the place will sit here an asset of a bank and will likely fall in to disrepair.

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So what does that mean for us? Something new again. We have talked about moving to Uruguay (pictured above) but that is kind of expensive and we would have to learn Spanish. 

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We have talked about building an earth ship home (pictured above) somewhere secluded, but this again is expensive and we would have to learn a lot of new skills. 

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We also have talked about refitting a bus (pictured above) and living like Gypsies. It might be the cheapest but it is also the most far-out. 

I am not sure what we will do next but I do hope to get better at blogging about it. It is sad to think that my first blog post for Winter Stead might be the last blog from the Winter Stead.

-Mr.Winter

Hemp Paste

Friday, March 28, 2014

I got an e-mail from my publisher today stating that my Authors copy was officially ready for print. Once I receive it and sign off on it saying that it is perfect my book will be ready for official printing!

So.. with the anticipation of the release of my book I wanted to share one of the recipes in it with you!

I've been using the Re-mineralizing toothpaste recipe for some time, and I can truly say that it works. Small cracks/ cavities in mine and my husbands teeth have literally vanished.

However, this recipe does taste a little bitter and because I love Hemp Oil so much and the makeup of Hemp is ideal for perfect human health I decided to make, try out, and share my review of a toothpaste made with Hemp oil!

Hemp Paste is perfect for the kiddo's, because it does taste better and doesn't have the tingly sensation; my little brother chooses it over the Re-mineralizing toothpaste. He uses it everyday!


Ingredients:
  1.  ½ cup of Coconut Oil

  2.  1/8 cup of Hemp Oil

  3.   1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

  4.  15-20 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

Directions:
  1.  Mash the baking soda into the coconut oil with a fork or whisk.

  2.  Stir in Hemp Oil & Peppermint Essential Oil

  3. Place in container with small spoon or BPA free plastic squeeze bottle.

Notes:

 ·         Around our house we refer to this toothpaste recipe as “Hemp-Paste,” & yes it will be green. However it will not stain your teeth at all.


·         The nutrients in hemp oil are perfect for balanced oral health. The blend of Omega 3, Omega 6, antioxidants, and fatty acids are wonderful for healing damaged teeth and allowing them to naturally heal. Hemp is also anti-microbial and anti-bacterial.


·         Peppermint oil is also a wonderful ingredient for overall oral hygiene. Peppermint oil kills bacteria, helps to reduce plaque, and keeps your breath smelling minty fresh. If you are not a fan of peppermint toothpaste you can replace this ingredient with sweet orange essential oil or another oil of your choosing.


·         Baking soda is an excellent semi-abrasive ingredient which helps remove plaque and prevent gingivitis. If you prefer to leave the baking soda out, the option is yours. However, baking soda is also great for neutralizing your pH levels which is a huge benefit for your teeth and your overall health.


·         My teeth feel amazingly clean, as if I have just left the dentist’s office, and they feel so smooth and strong. They have gotten significantly whiter and brighter!

How baking cookies from scratch is an act of rebellion.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I'm not going to lie.. I'm sort of a cookie monster. I can easily devour 8-10 cookies at one time.. let me re-phrase I used to be able to eat that many cookies in one sitting when I was eating "food-like" products.

My husband knows this about me, and the thing he enjoys the most is making me happy.. so in order to "give me cookies" <-spoken in the voice of Cookie Monster, he started baking them from scratch.



When you cook or bake from scratch you know exactly what is in your recipe, and can always change up the ingredients if you want to (or need to for dietary concerns). For instance, we made a batch of cookies using Avocado in the place of butter and by doing this made a health food. However.. Avocado's cost a lot more than butter so for now we are primarily using butter in our cookie making.

Making cookies from scratch is an act of rebellion because we are questioning the current system and relying on our own intelligence to determine what is best for us. When we blindly followed the crowd and purchased pre-made cookies or even a box of pre-measured ingredients to makes cookies we were blindly eating "food-like" products and making ourselves sick in the process.

Now I eat 2-3 cookies and I'm full, as if I had eaten a meal.. because guess what?! These cookies are made from real food ingredients!! I also crave "junk-food" less often because we have started cooking more and more from scratch (not only cookies but as many meals as possible). 

Although my husband enjoys making cookies for our family and friends if we felt comfortable picking up a box of cookies off the shelf we would. However.. sadly, we can't trust our once loved brands and now that we have become accustom to cookies from scratch anything else tastes.. well.. gross.


For the remainder of this post I am going to let Mr. Winter describe how he makes his cookies, which are now famous in our neck of the woods by the way!! =D

He says: Pretty much any recipe will do, the trick for getting the cookies the way we like them is in the preparation. Where I think people mess up in their cookie making is by rushing. I take the time to ensure when I mix my batter it is put together properly, I try not to skip any of the steps. For instance if you are supposed to mix the ingredients into two bowls, I mix them into two bowls. I find that the softer the butter the better the cookie, so I leave my butter to melt in the window sill so it is always soft when I am ready to bake.

I have three or four different bases that I use, then I add what people like depending on which type of cookie I am making. If someone I know loves dark chocolate chips I will start with a chocolate  cookie base and for half of the base use dark chocolate chips and for the other half I will use peanut butter chips. This way I can ensure everyone will enjoy my cookies!

One of the big things that helps me, because I know I am going to make a lot of cookies, has been designing my kitchen with all of my tools and ingredients for baking cookies in one area. This has cut my prep time in half.

Making cookies, for me, is fun. I turn on a podcast (usually the History of Rome) and when baking I look forward to others enjoying the fruits of my labor.


Non toxic cleaning products

Friday, March 21, 2014

Clean it up; with simple ingredients found here: 

At the beginning of this year (2014) I ran a small challenge to help motivate you.. *cough* me.. to get rid of toxic products and find alternative recipes.

These recipes are SUPER simple, most only include a few ingredients.I am a beginner at all of this; and with a little help from a few of my blogger friends and a few age old recipes I have successfully been able to transform this area of my life. ... Let me tell you, this was an area I had been avoiding. But why?!? There are so many positive aspects to making your own cleaning products:
  • You can craft non-toxic recipes in your home
  • You probably already have the ingredients
  • You can totally customize the scent
  • You can take small steps by figuring out which recipes you actually need based off of the products you have been using and replace them.. as you go!
Without further adu; here are the links to the posts I wrote during the challenge. Did the challenge help others? I hope so; did they help my family. For sure! Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below!
  1. Week 1 | Cleaning with Vinegar.
  2. Week 2 | Simple Baking Soda Recipes.
  3. Week 3 | This is a mess that calls for some serious soap.
Labels I made specifically for the challenge, feel free to save and print. If you do not have label sheets on hand, just print out the label and use packing tape to stick it on the bottle!  





Our Kitchen..

Thursday, March 13, 2014


**Update: This post was written two months before we found out that we had to leave our homestead. However we find ourselves telling new friends about this makeover so we wanted it to be visible again.**

We don't want the best of everything, instead we want to make the best out of everything that we have. Welcome to our kitchen makeover!


I'm going to try to make this post with more photos than words, after all a picture says a thousand words right? Hmm.. let's see!

Our first look at the kitchen when we moved in. Our refrigerator was too tall to fit in the allocated spot so we placed it across from the oven.

The oven only worked for a few months, I'm not blaming the oven though.. we cook 99% of our meals at home and it was a little old. So we bought a new oven, that of course wouldn't fit in the allocated spot. So, my husband built a new cabinet for our like-new double convection oven out of pallets!

I loved the look of the pallet cabinet without paint, and we thought about staining it however we felt that the kitchen would look better and be easier to keep clean with a fresh coat of paint!
The space where the original oven went was meant to house a dishwasher, when the "like-new" dishwasher was installed we realized it didn't work so now that space is for storing bulk baking/ cooking goods!


Adding the shelf for our small appliances.
We took off all of the hardware and soaked it in Coca-Cola to loosen up the gunk. This bowl bubbled for over six hours!

Once we removed the hardware from the coca-cola we soaked them in hot soapy water and scrubbed each one with a toothbrush with a diy soft-scrub mixture.

I ended up having to scrub each one twice to get the hardware back to it's original beauty, can you tell the difference between the clean one and the dirty ones? The (semi) clean one is the bright copper looking one! Wow what a difference a little elbow grease made! We didn't want to buy new hardware because we loved the character of these..
First coat of paint.

Alright, by this point we made less time for photos and we were just ready to get our kitchen back together! So here the second coat has been finished, the doors got two coats of paint and I screwed the hardware back on so Mr. Winter could attach the doors back in place!

If you are in my kitchen you will always see dishes in the sink or drying on the counter, as I said earlier we cook 99% of our meals at home. My husband says "Dirty dishes are better than empty bellies any day!" I agree!
We decided to take off the cabinet doors below the sink so that if the fabric got dirty we could just wash it, we also think it looks nice and matches the fabric in front of the bulk storage area!

The final project really is amazing! The hardware looks new, the entire kitchen sparkles and inspires us to enjoy spending our time in the kitchen! Yes, we would like new counter tops, and a new stainless steel sink one day.. but for now we love the makeover just the way it is! Thanks for reading!

Love Potion

Monday, March 10, 2014

 A few weeks ago I told you I would be concocting new perfumes, fragrance oils, body sprays etc.. and this time I'm sharing one of my favorite blends of essential oils that just so happens to raise your libido and can be used as an aphrodisiac!! <3

To be honest when I first came up with this perfume I was mixing this blend because these are some of my favorite scents. I had no idea that they were so healing and romantically intense!

This spray smells amazing, and you can spray it on your pulse points (neck or the back of your wrist for example) or you can spray it onto your pillows to enhance the "mood" in the bedroom!

The blend is super simple:
Fill your container with witch hazel. Then add 20 drops of Rosemary Essential oil, 15 drops of Ylang-ylang Essential oil, and 10 drops of Patchoulli Essential oil.
This is the blend I use, you can adjust the ratio a little or add in 10 Drops of Clary Sage to change up the scent.

You can wear this as your daily perfume if you like, just because you spritz your wrist does not mean you will have men falling over you at the market.. The best part about this mixture is that it will smell different on each person that applies it.

The essential oils in this mixture work on the aromatherapy level to sooth any emotional tension you have around "love"; whether it is self love, or frustrations in relationships.

If you want to know more about raising your libido and how aphrodisiacs work check out this article.

Enough

What is enough?

Are you smart enough, fast enough, do you care enough... fill in the blank.

My point here is about perception. Each person wants something different out of life, if we all wanted the same things life would be pretty boring. However.. when you are constantly comparing yourself to others you will NEVER have enough.

The first step in realizing how much you actually have is to be grateful for all that you have; whether it is your intelligence or the clothes on your back. If you are reading this then you have more wealth and a better education than half of the people on this planet... let that sink in.

When you stop comparing yourself with others you will wake up to your true potential.

What is true potential?

Potential is another one of those words that is different based on each persons perception. Of course my potential is going to be different than yours. I want different things out of life.
 
What would happen if you suddenly realized that you have enough, you are enough, and that your dreams are worth reaching out for? You would find out that you have enough potential to live the life you want. You will also start to love it! That my friends.. is enough!!



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