Tag Archives: Urban Homestead

The most comfortable rain boots

Update: see the end of this post for an update after I’ve actually gotten a chance to wear these!

I got a package in the mail the other day. I had been eagerly anticipating it for a couple weeks (not used to waiting any more – thanks Amazon! :-\ )

And then it finally arrived!


If you know the Bogs brand, then you probably already know what is in the box. If not, let me show you…


Insulated waterproof boots! I was so excited to see these on sale that I just had to snatch up a pair. I had heard of Bogs and decided to get them since they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. My previous run-of-the-mill rain boots sprung a leak in less than a year. So disappointing.

And, moving back to Nevada soon means less rain, but more snow and especially mud on the homestead. And we’ll be building in all sorts of weather. I know at some point I’ll be tromping all over our property wearing these boots. (See update below 😊)


I like that these are insulated enough that I’ll be able to wear them in the snow, but not as heavily insulated as some of their boots so on those later spring days my feet don’t roast.

And they are comfortable! And cute! In fact, they are so cute, I’m wondering if I really want to wear them in the mud and muck. Maybe I’ll buy another pair that’s not as cute so I won’t feel as bad getting them dirty. Hmmmmm….decisions. πŸ™‚

One thing about Bogs, though, is that they run small in the shank (the area that goes around your ankle and calf.) I can wear these ones because they are shorter and have a bit of give at the top. But the tall boots would not work for me. I wonder if they make a wide calf version.

Overall I am very pleased. Definitely the most comfortable rain/snow boots I have ever put on my feet. Excited to have a reason the wear them.

What do you wear in foul weather when you have to be outside?

UPDATE: I wrote this post back in March. Today is November 1st. We are now living back on the homestead and my prediction about mud has definitely come true.

Mud. Mud. There was mud everywhere!

Mud. Mud. There was mud everywhere!

We’ve had several fall storms come through and our heavily clay soils are just soaking up that rain and turning into a quagmire. Β So these boots have been great in the mud and muck. I especially love that they are form fitting around the ankle so that when my foot sinks down to my ankles in veryΒ sticky mud, the boots don’t get sucked off my feet. And yet, the toe box is wide enough that my toes have room to wiggle. Perfect.

And while our well was being drilled? Yeah, they definitely came in handy then!

In the stream created as our well was being drilled.

In the stream created as our well was being drilled.

So now that I’ve had a good chance to wear them, do I still say they are the most comfortable rain boots?


I am able to wear these boots all day trudging around in the mud and my feet won’t be killing me at the end of the day.

I only have two gripes with them, and they are small ones.

They are a bit difficult to take off when they are coated in slippery mud, but I was able to help that issue by taking out the laces, or loosening them completely. They really aren’t needed anyway.

And the other problem is that sometimes, when walking down a steep hill, the top part of the heel of the foot box can dig into my Achilles tendon area. ButΒ overall, not much of an issue.

Definitely the pros to these boots far outweigh the cons and I am sold for life I think. πŸ™‚


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Daily Life #12 – Handmade with love

I love that man of mine! Every day, all day. But there are times when he does something which just melts my heart an extra bit.

Like what’s happening right now.

We are not really what you would call sports fans. But we do like to watch the Super Bowl. So in preparation for tomorrow’s game, my wonderful husband is sitting down explaining football to Princess Girl so she can follow along easier.

Be still my heart!

Yeah, I know it’s not much. But one sure way to this girl’s heart is through her children. Not only that, but I just love seeing a man being a good daddy.

And speaking of love, Valentine’s day is just around the corner.

I am almost finished with Hubby’s Valentine gift. In an effort to stick with our new, healthier ways of eating, we have decided to forgo the candy this year (I know, it’s almost sacrilegious to not have chocolate on Valentine’s day, but I think I’ll survive. Maybe.)

Anyway, I came up with some inexpensive and easy gift the girls and I can make for our main man. I wish I could show it to you right now. But it will have to wait.

I also started another bookmark for a special someone. This one is extra special since there is no printer involved. I’m drawing and coloring by hand. And I’m actually excited about how it’s turning out.

Working on these things by hand is so much more personal than just buying something from the store. No, they don’t cost much, and may not look as nice as something you can buy of the shelf, but each one is infused with love.

And speaking of love, you know what else makes my heart melt?


My three year old washing the last of the carrots from the garden. I was able to start her on the task and walk away to finish other tasks. Yes, she took forever, but she did the job and did it well. When did she get so big??

And, for those of you who have been around for a while, yes, these are the last of the carrots which we planted from seed last February. They are oddly misshapen, I think because they stopped growing over the summer, and then started growing again this fall. They overwintered wonderfully in the garden. WAY better than they would have if I had picked them. One of the reasons I live growing carrots in this area!


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Daily Life #11 – DIY paracord belt and signs of spring!

I finished my belt!


And O.M.Gosh, my fingertips hurt from gripping the p-cord over and over and over as I weaved the thing!


Weaving, weaving, weaving

Overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. As you can see from the first picture, I ended up using two different colors because we didn’t have enough of just one. But I think the two tone effect is cool. Besides, people hardly ever see my belt since I never tuck in my shirts.

So, out goes the very worn bracelet.


Well, maybe I’ll keep it for those days when I’m not wearing a belt. πŸ™‚

Oh, and here’s a picture that shows the instructions of how to make a belt or bracelet using the weave I used.

Today I went for my walk, but it took twice as long to go the same distance. I kept getting distracted by all the signs of spring just around the corner.




And I walked through the neighborhood park which has the wild onions growing and picked some for our dinner.


They are still small, but very flavorful.

Our house designer emailed us the house plans today. We are so very close to being able to submit the plans for our building permit. So Hubby and I spent a substantial amount of time going over everything, making changes were needed, and fueling our dreams.


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

First Frost


We had our first frost here in the Portland area this morning. November 22nd and we just now froze! Gosh, the growing season is long here!

I love frosty mornings even if it does mean a bit more work to care for the animals.


This morning’s chore was pretty easy, though. I just broke the ice layer in the chicken’s water dish and plucked it out. Not so easy when it get’s frozen solid.


Frost sure is beautiful. God’s design frequently amazes me.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Summer Doings

I know I’ve been horrible at posting for months.

So, what have we been up to this summer?

Take a look and see!

We went camping:

We traveled to Nevada to work, see family, and spend time on the Homestead (click or hover over pictures to see captions):

We worked on house plans:Exterior views

And found a building almost the exact size of the one we are going to build:20150610_155031It’s cool (and helpful) to see the dimensions in real life rather than on paper.

We harvested cherries from our very own cherry tree:

Dad and Flower Girl planted the garden.20150609_161319

Princess Girl and her BFF ran a lemonade stand and made quite a lot of money!20150613_170558

One of my sisters came to visit and we made raspberry jam after picking the raspberries from her extended family’s farm!20150701_103628

We had some weird stuff happen in the chicken coop:20150702_102452

We were messy like a typical 2 and a half year old (there’s STILL specks of paint in the bathroom from this!):20150702_153057

We had our first tomato (and a couple more since then). Mmmmmm….


We played with sparklers to celebrate the 4th of July:

We traveled back to Nevada once again, then to Missouri for a family reunion (click or hover for captions).

We did other typical summer type stuff (click or hover for captions):

And we traveled back to Nevada once again so I can work – Β (click or hover for captions).

So, you know. We’ve kept busy.


Homemade Laundry Soap

Soooo….I’m a horrible blogger. I made about a year’s worth of laundry soap a couple days ago. I meant to take pictures so I could post step by step photos. The last time I intended to do a DIY tutorial, I ended up in the Emergency Room. This time, I got half way into the process and forgot to take pictures.

I’m horrible, I tell ya!

But enough about me. Let’s learn how easy (and cheap!) it is to make your own laundry soap.

There are about a bajillion different diy laundry soap recipes out there. I’ve been using this particular recipe on our clothes for at least two years now. Why did I choose this one?

Because it was the one my cousin gave me back before I really got into this diy journey.


And because it’s simple – only 3 ingredients besides water. Washing soda, Borax, and Fels-Naptha soap (all can be found in the laundry isle of most large grocery stores).

That’s it.


I know, right?

And the process is just as simple.

Step #1: put 4 cups hot water in a pot.

Step #2: grate the Fels-Naptha into the water.


Step #3: stir and then gently (gently!) boil until the soap is all melted. Don’t vigorously boil unless you don’t mind suds all over your kitchen.


(And that’s all the pictures I got till the next day.)

Step #4: add in 1/2 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda (this is not baking soda – there’s a difference!) to the pot and stir till dissolved. (Note: this time around I doubled the amount of borax and washing soda to see if there is any difference in the long run.)

Step #5: fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water. Pour the soap contents from the pot into the bucket and stir well.
Step #6: fill the rest of the bucket with hot water, stir and set aside until the next day to let it set up.


See, told you it would set up.

Step #7: now stir, stir, stir! It would be awesome to have one of those paint stirring attachments for a power drill. That would make this part super easy. I thought we had one of those somewhere. Hmmmm… it’s probably still in our shed back on the homestead. Since I didn’t have one of those stirrer thingies, I just used a big slotted spoon.


And eventually I even just used my hand to reach in and mush up all the gloppy clumps. It was strangely satisfying.


Step #8: fill a container such as an old laundry soap dispenser or large jar half full with your soap, fill the rest of the way with water and shake. Use approximately 1/4 cup for a front loading washer (you lucky folks) and about 3/4 cup for a top loader. Shake with each use.

That’s it. See, told ya it was simple. And yes, with 4 people in our family and a top loading washer, this amount of soap will last us approximately a year.

So, how does it work? You know, I have to be honest, it’s not the greatest on stains. But it does a good job keeping things generally clean.

It is gentle enough that we used it on Flower Girl’s clothes when she was a baby and suffering from bad eczema and it did not irritate her condition.

It does tend to be clumpy when I pour it, but then, I’ve never taken the time to really, really stir it up well either. I’m sure that would make a huge difference.

As we travel on our journey toward all natural products, I like that the majority of ingredients in this laundry soap are all natural. I did however, read the ingredients on the Fels-Naptha soap and it does have some perfumes and unpronounceables. It’s diluted quite a bit in this recipe, so I went ahead and used it this time. I think by the time we need another batch, I will try to find a more natural soap. I have heard you can use Ivory soap in place of the Fels-Naptha. I will have to look into it more.

But, I’ve got a year to do it. πŸ˜‰

Have you ever made your own laundry soap? What’s your favorite recipe?


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Fresh salad!

Fresh salad, straight from our garden/yard. Yum! I needed to thin out the lettuce from the small garden, I picked some of the over-wintered-but-not-doing-so-well spinach from the big garden, and I found some dandelion greens in the yard. I had a head of purchased iceburg in the fridge and add to all that some borage flowers which just started blooming and you have a gorgeous salad almost too pretty to eat. Almost, but not quite. πŸ™‚


I love that dandelions are considered a weed, yet they are edible and good for you. And the borage is a volunteer which comes back every year.

Edit: For the health of you and your family, be sure if you are harvesting any wild edibles that they come from a trusted source not treated with any harsh chemicals! We don’t use any herbicides or pesticides or even any fertilizer on our lawn, so I know the dandelions are safe to eat.

It begins!

I’m so excited. We got our first egg from one of our pullets. We received the chicks in November at about 3 weeks of age. I figured they’d start laying in April sometime. Looks like I was right!


I just love the deep brown color of this egg. The only brown ones we've ever gotten through the years have been light colored.

Our English Game Hen (who is about 2 years old) started laying again a couple months ago after the winter. But she only lays about 4 eggs a week, and since she is Princess Girl’s pet chicken, the eggs were reserved for Princess Girl to eat. So I’m very excited to start getting eggs from our other girls for the rest of us to eat. With only 4 hens, though, they won’t produce enough eggs for all of us on a regular basis, but they’ll offset how many we have to buy. And we buy a lot of eggs!

Dreaming of the day when we have room for a larger flock. πŸ™‚


“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Garden Update

So, I went away for 10 days and came back to some radishes and lettuce ready to pick, or at least thin out (and eat the thinned one’s πŸ˜‰ ). And just about everything too tall for the glass cover.

20150408_101728 20150408_101735 20150408_110320 20150408_110326


Princess Girl was excited to pick some of her radishes, even though she’s not even sure if she likes them.

I’m not quite ready to leave the garden completely open to the cat, though. He likes to curl up in the warm sun, right on top of my baby onion plants. So, I’m thinking I’ll put another level of boards up around the garden and raise the glass that way. Then we can continue to let the chickens roam free too. Yeah, the chickens would decimate the garden right now. In fact, they were out and about while I was checking on the garden this morning and were VERY interested in what was in that box!

In other news, the spinach in the pots on the deck are doing much better than the boxes on the fence. I’m thinking the fence boxes might be holding too much moisture. Need to drill a few holes in the bottom and see if that helps. And I need to trim the honeysuckle already. It grows so fast, but I knew it would. Hmmmm, looks like I have some gardening work ahead of me tomorrow. Ahh, shucks! πŸ˜‰