By Jenny Stephenson
Homesteading, romantic in thought, can at times be overwhelming! Let’s be honest, don’t we all love the idea of homesteading? It seems so “glorified” like on Little House on the Prairie; I would love to be Ma in her cute little dresses and aprons having Pa playing his fiddle next to the fire.
Then reality strikes and I realize homesteading means making bread from scratch, growing a garden, canning, sewing, chickens, and Pa will now need to play the fiddle in order for this little dream of mine to come true! Suddenly deep inside I’m reverting back to thoughts like, “How bad could store-boughtbread be?” and “That box of biscuit mixreally is amazing; it can make everything!”
I’m hoping I am not the only one to have one of these panic days. Usually all it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store to look at the fifty-nine ingredients in the sweet little package of storebread to remind me exactly why I don’t want that in my house!
My dilemma is I’m not Ma. I’ve had my days of shopping at the grocery store, making brownies from a box, and yes, I’m ashamed to say, even eating at McDonalds. I know the conveniences that come with this lifestyle. Homesteading does take more work, a little more planning, and a lot more creativity, but I can say it is worth every bit of work. I love that my kids know their scrambled eggs come from their very own chickens (they also have names because they are pets as much as they are providers to us). I love that after my daughter helped me make tortillas from scratch the first time she said, “Wow, Mom, making tortillas takes a long time.” I also appreciate that my family sees the beauty of God’s perfect creation and that He makes seasons that provide us a smorgasbord of delicious fruits, vegetables, and nuts, all because He loves us! It’s beautiful, amazing, and such a gift, but it is work.
I’m a little OCD by nature, I’m determined to make homesteading as simple and streamlined as I possibly can for my home. Basic things like meal planning each month and canning food have made a huge difference. But this week I stepped into a new level of simplifying that is about to rock this homesteader’s world.
I was making pancakes for dinner the other night and was thinking about my old ways of boxed pancake mixes when the thought struck me, “What if I premixed all the dry ingredients for my pancakes just like the packaged boxes? Anytime I’m making pancakes all I would have to do is mix in the wet ingredients (eggs, milk or water, and butter) and presto—I have pancakes made from scratch!”
I, of course, went straight to work on this and made twelve dry batches of pancakes. I put the mix into a cute container, labeled it, and I was set to go. Not only is this great for my family, but now anytime I need a quick gift for a neighbor or friend, I can just throw some mix into a mason jar, add a cute tag with the directions, and I’ve got an instant gift sitting in my pantry at all times.
I have only begun to scratch the surface on this idea. I’m going to pre-make dry mixes with everything I make from scratch: brownies, cookies, and pizza dough. The possibilities are endless and though it does require a little bit of upfront work, the end result is quick meals for my family. Quick meals are not just a convenience for the golden arches anymore, my friends. I’m here to tell you we can have our cake and eat it too (from scratch of course)!
Jenny Stephenson is married to her high-school sweetheart, Ben. Currently she is the mother of three children as her family anxiously awaits the arrival of another son and daughter through adoption later this year. Jenny homeschools her children on their property in Austin, Texas. She is a leader in a homeschool group called GrowAustin.org and is a District Leader with DaringDaughters.org. Jenny also owns her own home-based, plant-based business and has a blog: http://www.vintageburlapbarn.blogspot.com.