Birthday Sale! 

I rarely write blog posts about my small business. Originally, I wanted to keep them separate. The blog and my shop. Seeing as it’s a part of my life however I felt I could (and should) share more about it. 

You may have read my other blog about it: The Well and Spindle  | The Heathen Homesteader

https://theheathenhomesteader.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/the-well-and-spindle/

Well, I’m back. Sort of. I hope. I’m trying? 

I have planned a shop revamp due to be completed and revealed on the Fall Equinox (aka late September). I am changing up a lot of what I offer. Aka making what my kids let me. Crochet, wood burning when my husband isn’t at sea and can watch littles, et cetera. I don’t want to say too much just yet! Partly, as I’m not sure what I can complete before the opening. I plan to do a big listing drop four times a year. The Solstices and Equinoxes. Thought I’d make it easy to anticipate! Also, this gives me enough time to build up stock without stressing for time and taking away from my family.

In the meantime I’m trying to move out “old” product to fund this. I’m hoping if you’re reading this that you’ll at least take a peek and consider helping this mom out! My shop makes me feel more human and full of worth outside of raising gorgeous kids (if I do say so myself). 

My 29th birthday is in a few days so I’m having a sale to help with everything. Every item sold helps tremendously in growing my small business and supporting my family! Sale ends July 23rd at 11:59pm PST. Use coupon code: “TWENTYNINE” to get…you guessed it! 29% off of your order before shipping charges! 

Thank you for bearing with me and supporting moms like myself! 
http://www.thewellandspindle.com

Ostara 2017 

It’s the night of the Spring Equinox as I write this. I’m tired (in a good way) from a long and relaxed day…even though I was working in the kitchen for half of it! Yesterday, my family tidied up the porch and planted another round of seeds we had in our fridge that were getting prepped to plant. We also repotted a few babies and took note of other plants that needed new homes soon. 

Today, my husband had to work in the morning so I spent the first part of the day alone with the kids. We ate a home cooked breakfast (as usual) and then took turns taking baths and showers so we’d all be clean and fresh for the day. I even got to do a face mask while washing the kids. By the time we were done my love arrived home! For lunch I made buttery seasoned Brussel sprouts roasted with pine nuts (I usually use almonds but wanted to switch it up) and topped with a egg. Keeping with the general Ostara food themes of potentially using seeds, nuts, greens, edible flowers and eggs for the day.

I also baked pretzel rolls despite having made regular pretzels yesterday. My husband loves these and always asks me to make them.

I topped half with sesame seeds. Yum! I love sesame seeds!

I even pickled some veggies! Someone likes the liquid so…

I had other treats I wanted to make but not enough mouths to eat everything I planned. Maybe next year! This year was more than enough for my family and for offerings. 

I even tidied the kitchen altar a bit for the day. It’s very simple due to the little grabby hands in the house. 

We played outside after I was done baking. My toddler Dagmar immediately jumped into this massive puddle. What else did I expect? 

Mina seemed to enjoy the light sprinkles of water that the breeze blew from the trees. Haha! (Not our car btw)

After ANOTHER bath for the toddler I took the baby upstairs to read while the other two napped on the couch. I rarely get uninterrupted time to read so this was very exciting for me. Then this cutie decided to giggle and smile the whole time which of course I couldn’t ignore! Aw! 

All in all it was a good and simple celebration. Nothing fancy and all done using things we had. You don’t need to break the bank or go all out to celebrate the change of the seasons! Recognition and time spent with loved ones or on some self care is all you need!

Checking In – Life Update

Though I have decently kept up the Instagram and Facebook page for “The Heathen Homesteader” I have completely neglected the (this) blog (and the accompanying Twitter and Tumblr. Oops.). I got pregnant with my second child last year and my brain power and energy went down the drain. I thought that once I had the baby I could get back to work but now I’m even more tired. Parenthood is no joke! It’s difficult but worth it. 

I wanted to take a moment to check in however. To let you all know I am still here and don’t plan on abandoning this project of mine. I just need time.

Also, meet Wilhelmina “Mina” Johanna! She was born on January 3rd and weighed 10lbs 14oz. 

She’s about 16lbs now at a little over 2 months old. 

Her big sister Dagmar absolutely adores her and smothers her with love. 

So you can see I have my hands full! Literally. 

Working on a recipe today for an oat bread and I hope to be able to share it as soon as I can. Thank you all for your continued interest in my work and your support. 

A Year Of Crochet 

In November I celebrated one full year of learning crochet. It was an on and off journey as I had other crafts I enjoy that I would spend long periods of time on instead. With the holidays coming up and a husband that was at sea I decided several months ago to focus almost solely on crochet. It was the craft I know most people I was going to give gifts to would enjoy. I also snuck in quite a few things for my toddler and baby that is on the way. The more I made the more I learned. I progressed and learned more about crochet in the last month than I have learned the rest of the time I have been learning. I can now read patterns a bit better and am more confident in my abilities as well as what I know I can tackle. 

Here are some of the things I have made recently:

I can’t wait to continue this journey and expand my knowledge and experience. I’m hoping with two little ones I’ll have plenty of projects year round to work on for them and others. Mamamade goods they can give their own kids should they choose to have any. 

To see more pictures and updates find me on: 

Instagram: theheathenhomesteader

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/theheathenhomesteader

Homemade Edible Play Dough 

Yesterday was a busy day. Cooking, cleaning, baking and mommying. A friend suggested I make my toddler play dough to help keep her happy and busy when I can’t be hands on with her. I have been wanting to make play dough for some for quite a while but never got around to it. I have made it before when I was younger for my baby sister and kids I babysat over the years but it was time my little one had some too. This recipe is safe for toddlers in case they decide to eat some. It makes quite a bit too! I ended up giving half to the neighbors!

You will need: 

*2 1/2 cups flour (unsure how gluten free flours would work if you are curious)

*2 cups hot water 

*1/2 cup salt (I used Kosher)

*3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used melted coconut) 

*1 tablespoon cream of tartar

For coloring and/or flavoring you can use 2 packages of a powdered drink such as Kool-Aid or use food coloring and either food grade “kids safe” edible essential oils or flavoring extract. For the second option I would experiment with what works for you to determine how much you need. 

Start heating up water. I used a pot on the stove top but you can use a tea kettle or a microwave. 

Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar. 

Add flavoring and oil. Mix well! 

Add food coloring to the water if you are using it. 

Pour water into flour mixture. 

Mix! Mix! Mix! 

If you need to alter the color a bit feel free to here.

You will need to mix for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth, flexible and cool. Alternatively, you can knead it once it cools for the same amount of time. Kneading produces a better dough I have found. 

Store in an air tight container when not in use. Have fun! 

Timehop Memories

Yesterday morning I checked my Timehop as usual looking for photos of my toddler from the year prior. When doing so I found this image from six years ago. It was a younger me before I cut off all my hair collecting vegetables in my Opa’s garden. I don’t remember who took the picture. Most likely one of my younger sisters. It brought back so many memories. Some vague images of my mom’s vegetable garden when I was very small and then our large future gardens of mostly herbs and flowers when we (my sisters, mom and eventually my step-dad) were older and living elsewhere. I also remember my Opa’s ranch type home that once had livestock before my time on this earth. Then when he moved a state away when I was a pre-teen he slowly made a few gardens in his new home. A vegetable patch, a few apple trees, berry bushes and a small greenhouse among other things. All with his own hands as is his way (and which I admire). 

My childhood was full of farmers markets and swap meets. Handmade and homemade goods. My mom teaching us crafts and giving us the freedom to explore any interest that took hold of us as kids and teens and also the freedom to explore outside on our own. All alongside stories of her own childhood with talk of her animals and growing up on the glorious chunk of land I got to grow up with as well before it was sold and sadly modernized by the new owners. Of course there were other inspirations from both sides of the family but she was there to inspire us the most. 

It’s funny to me now to see how different my sisters and I are. We all had nearly the same upbringing (my youngest sister is 14 so she has a little bit different of an experience) but have different interests. My husband and I want to live a little more rurally with a farm and animals. Eventually, using my talents (and his since he picks everything up at lighting speed so he will undoubtedly learn faster than I did) to create and sell goods we made from our land at markets and such. The others I won’t speak for but though they seem to both love crafting and fresh farm food I’m not sure they want to live a life smelling like natural fertilizer and farm animal fiber. Which is perfectly well! 

Another part of me knows this yearning is naturally part of me. Whether through genetics or being born with the interest at heart. I have wanted it for so long. If you have read some of my blogs that weren’t recipes or how-to ‘s you would know that even as a child I felt this pull to the homesteading life. Nothing is more frustrating than living somewhere that you can’t live as you wish. I see the space we have and want to fill it with chickens and a garden instead of cement and mostly unusable plants. You can’t rush dreams though! So until the land we want makes itself available (we are always on the lookout!) I’ll be learning and growing through books and small hands on experiences. 

Maple Cacao Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread is a favorite in our house! We even bake it as gifts as we love to experiment with different ingredients we add to our recipes. Share the love! Today, I started with a plan to make chocolate chip banana nut muffins but thought it might be easier to transport a pre-sliced loaf on a walk later today. I wanted something a little different so I looked at our ingredients and saw maple syrup and Droste cacao. Perfect! The maple syrup helps to sweeten the bread as cacao can be bitter. This recipe doesn’t need to include nuts but I added pecans as I love varying textures in my banana bread. This recipe makes two loafs. 

You will need:

*4-6 bananas (2-3 is recommended per loaf)

*3 cups flour

*2 eggs 

*3/4 cups sugar 

*3/4 cups brown sugar 

*1/2 cup melted butter

*1/3 cup maple syrup

*2 tbsp cacao of choice (I used Droste) 

*2 tsp baking soda 

*2 tsp vanilla extract

*1 tsp salt

*optional 1-2 cups of nuts of choice or chocolate chips. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Smash up your bananas! I used half frozen bananas I had chopped up when very ripe (the riper the sweeter they will be) and half fresh. 

Start melting butter.

Add dry ingredients.

Add maple syrup!

Add melted butter! 

Mix lightly before continuing.

Add vanilla and then the eggs.

Dump in nuts if you decided to use then!

Mix mix mix! 

Greased two bread tins then pour your bread mixture in. Bake for 1 hour or until fully cooked. 

Let cool for 3-5 minutes then pop out of containers. 

Let cool then enjoy! 

Nectarine Jam Recipe – No Pectin Needed

Jam making is one of my favorite things to do. If I am to be honest I don’t actually care much for fruit except mostly in smoothies it in infusing drinks. I am a savory flavor person and prefer vegetables. Though, fruits are my favorite to work with. The smells and textures in my hands are so invigorating, sensual and beautiful. The variety of color and the scents they release when worked with are intoxicating. Nectarines are known to represent romantic relationships (especially marriages), fertility, abundance, longevity, love, happiness, et cetera. 

My toddler goes through food phases. She seems to eat ANYTHING if we are out or at a friends house but at home she changes her mind on things she will consume. Recently, she went on a nectarine rampage and we bought piles of them. The last few days she seemed to be “over” them so they have sat ripening more and more. I decided instead of leaving them to make jam instead. I only had three left but you can easily double, triple, etc this recipe. 

You will need: 

*3 whole nectarines 

*1 1/2 cups of sugar

*2 teaspoons of lemon juice

*a dash of spice of choice (optional)

Nectarine skin has natural pectin so don’t peel it! If you prefer not to eat the skin then you will need to add pectin to this recipe. 

Wash and chop nectarines! Toss the pits or save them for other uses.

Place into pot and add lemon juice and sugar. You can add your spices now if you wish or during the last 5 minutes. Some prefer to add it later. I used a dash of cinnamon. 

Turn onto medium heat and stir. Cook for 30 minutes and stir every few minutes.

It should look something like this when close to done. 

You can mash it up with a potato masher if you prefer not to have such big chunks (or chop smaller to begin with). I mashed mine as I may use it for a cookie filling. 

If you’re going to can the jam you can proceed as you wish. I won’t be detailing instructions for that this time around. I decided since it is a small batch that I will be using this weekend that I would just let it cool slightly then add to a container.

Do not add steaming hot jam to a cool or room temperature jar! I let mine cool a little then poured. I added the lid immediately and the little bit of heat left sealed it slightly. I then let it cool more on the counter before refrigerating. Enjoy! 

Midsummer 2016

I joked a few days ago that when you’re a single person celebrating a holy day it seems to be a lot easier to do what you planned. Even last minute. Even with no plan. To have funds for supplies for cooking or craft making, to follow a schedule or ritual of sorts, etc. That in comparison being a parent with a family and a child/children can be a lot more difficult. That you can plan all you want but inevitably you’ll probably end up with pizza delivered as your family feast. With a mumbled: “Sorry. It’s pizza again.” When you’re setting out the first serving as an offering. That half your crafts may be unfinished and you’ll be cleaning your sacred space up right before it’s time to use it instead of preparing it ahead of time. Luckily, we fared well for Midsummer this year.

My daughter woke me up with a soft “hai” about an inch from my face before she bounced down into my arm and snuggled her face against me. My husband was downstairs and came upstairs to greet us with a “Happy Solstice!” after hearing us get up. Soon after we ventured downstairs and my husband lured me into the kitchen to show me a nice clean table (such a rarity) and a piece foxglove he collected for me. He knows how much I love them and how sad I was they were all at the end of their lives by Midsummer. He found one with a few blooms left for me. Then he revealed he had actually collected everything. Top to root. That it was waiting for me in the garage. I was so happy! I had only harvested a root from this plant once before. He said: “I wonder what the neighbors think of me going for a run and coming back with a 5 foot plant.” Haha! As if they are not somewhat used to it. After that we listened to Swedish Midsummer music and watched videos on traditional celebrations before moving onto more child friendly songs for our toddler. AKA more upbeat songs with funny words that she laughs at without knowing what they mean. Accompanied by lots of silly dancing of course. Eventually, my husband made us his amazing waffles stuffed with goodies for a special breakfast and we sat together and enjoyed that. 

Throughout the day we cleaned and talked and enjoyed ourselves. My husband had opened up the house in the early hours of the morning so our home smelled like the sweet dampness of the dewy flora around our home mixed with the invigorating scent of various pine and Western Red Cedar from the forest behind our home. We burned candles and incense as the day grew slowly warmer. Lately, the sun has not made much of an appearance until the afternoon when it fights it’s way through the clouds. 

Other things we did were putting on brightly colored clothes (mostly) and then we went for a walk to collect wildflowers.

Checked on our small but thriving vegetable garden. 

Transplanted a Fern to a pot I painted with the rune “Sowilo” on it (and added a Lemurian Seed Quartz to the soil). 

Baked honey and strawberry cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. 

And honey and milk bread (with half coconut flour). 

Later, we played with friends outside and shared cake with them. 

Our “feast” wasn’t anything amazing as our day had been full of celebrating and merrymaking. We also were on our second day of celebrations! So cuddles with our daughter were called for to end the second day. 

The day period we had attended a local Midsummer event. We are lucky to live in an area with a part of the county that has a large Scandinavian population. There are many “Viking themed” shops and a local chapter of the “Sons of Norway” that holds regular classes, meetings and events that appeal to us. This year we were able to make one of their Midsummer events (last year we moved to the area a month late). 

We showed up to watch them decorate their midsommarstång (also called a majstång among other names) or “Midsummer Pole.” with local flora the club had collected. Once finished the children and teens from the club led a procession through the city to bring more people to watch the pole rise. Once gathered it took some time to raise the pole but it was fun to watch. Traditional Midsummer songs (in Swedish) were sung and dancing occurred. It was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to attend again next year! 

Mother’s Day Weekend

This weekend was a special one for us. Before we had our daughter we didn’t go all out for most holidays or even celebrate them all (meaning most holidays celebrated by the majority of Americans). Our truly special days that were of upmost importance were days that meant something to us. They still are. The day we met and fell in love, the day we officially started dating, the days (we may have done it a few times in different spiritual ways) we got engaged, the day we conceived our first child, etc. You get the point. Those are our real “holy-days” other than some purely spiritually based days of the year and a few conventional holidays. 

This weekend was both the anniversary of our official dating date (we celebrate everything it feels like!) on Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday (it’s still Sunday in our part of the world but it may be past midnight where you are). We’re not big into Mother’s Day but both years I have been a mother my husband has bought me roses and we have gone on a nature walk at least. This Mother’s Day I was excited to use a coupon for a discount on buying some makeup that also got me a free gift at a beauty store. I rarely buy myself anything except for craft supplies but I can’t pass up on saving the amount I did when getting items I already “needed.” Makeup is a great personal pick me up. I used to wear it daily but have almost stopped completely since I left my job to be a stay at home mom. Other than that my husband bought us a rare “bad food” treat for lunch, we caught up on a few shows, I had an uninterrupted nap alone (crazy right?) and we went for a nature walk as a family. A nice and simple way to spend our first entire day together as a family in almost two months. 

Saturday my husband had to work at night but the day was really special. We woke up and shared the news of my pregnancy with everyone (our parents and a few close friends already knew). I took some quick photos of our toddler the day before and put this together kind of last minute. 

Her necklace is actually a Thor’s Hammer teether from “Helles Teeth” on a cord. Her garb is a pillowcase and a quickly crocheted belt. For not spending a dime and less than an hour of time I think it turned out decently! 

After we shared our joy I started on food. The night before I had baked my first homemade Kransekake (Norwegian Wreath Cake) based off the one we had at our handfasting. We may have eaten that for an indulgent breakfast.

I also made homemade pretzel rolls for our Saturday lunch. I ended up making so much food we skipped the rolls. I made buttery spaetzle with champignon sauce, roasted asparagus and local-ish wild salmon with a German dill fish sauce. 

Shortly after that my husband left for work and my toddler and I went to play with friends at the park.
I may not have gotten everything done that I set out to accomplish but it was a fulfilling and loving weekend that I won’t soon forget. 

We feel so blessed by the gods and our ancestors with the growth of our family and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.