About familyplushomestead

a homeschooling family from the midwest, trying to share the ways we do it.

Banana Muffins/bread Mania

banana muffin mania

stored here for posterity’s sake

our favorite banana bread recipe (the cookbook is missing btw. had to find it online – thank goodness I did!)

I made 6 (I can count!) 8 doz muffins and 3 mini-loafs tonight.



  1. Heat oven to 350°F; grease bottom only of 9 x 5 or 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and margarine, and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the bananas, milk and vanilla–blending well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, nuts (if using), baking soda and salt–mix well.
  5. Add to the banana mixture, and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan.

and that is it…  thank you pillsbury!


Pumpkin Muffins

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

recopying this recipe here for regular usage 🙂

Ingredients3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
3/4 c canned pumpkin (1/2 of 15 oz can)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 12 medium muffin tins, or 6 jumbo muffin tins. Mix all ingredients with hand mixer. Bake for 20-25 minutes (a little longer for the jumbo muffins!)

Bake, Cupcakes, Muffins, Bakery, Baking, Breakfast



Rhubarb ~ How I love thee!

Rhubarb, prolific, abundant,

rhubarb plant



You can use Rhubarb in all kinds of yummy desserts ~ we make a lovely muffin with struesal..

You can make a beautiful sauce.  It is super easy and delicious over homemade ice cream!  This is a delicious and easy way  to preserve your rhubarb!

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • In a sauce pan, add rhubarb, sugar, and water. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer until rhubarb is soft and  thicker ( 10ish minutes), stirring occasionally
  • When it’s done ~ whatever you don’t use can be easily canned,  fill clean and sterilized pint jars and cover.  Water bath (boil) for 15 minutes!   I love canning rhubarb because it is usually the first start to the canning season!


Lastly ~ this is not a healthy recipe but we love to use jam or jelly in our Kombucha and this is one of our favorites!

  • Take 5 cups of cut rhubarb, cover with 3 cups of sugar ~ let sit overnight
  • cook for 15 minutes
  • add one package of strawberry instant jello
  • fill sterilized pint jars
  • waterbath 🙂

Each batch  makes 2 pints,  today ~ we did 6 batches!    This is also delicious over ice cream 🙂  13128922_1015337331836801_1578800990_o

finished product 🙂  yummy, not so good for you but a nice treat! 13184790_1015349111835623_1734627187_o

Enjoy the versatile rhubarb in your garden!





Frugal Meal Recipe: Meat/Potato (GF)

So when you grow your own food, you need to know how to use it!   This is a recipe I love to use, especially when it is cold outside  ~ it’s comfort food to me!

meat and potatoes

So – hamburger or pork ground – and you can use canned meat if you have it!  Simply drain it and fry it up a bit with some onion!

You’re going to add it to some potatoes.  If you don’t have canned ones, you can cut them up and boil them in some chicken broth for 20 minutes.

When I make it ~ I like to use one more part potato than I do meat.   Family of 16 here so we used 4 quarts of potatoes and 3 quarts of meat.   When we make it fresh, I cut up 1.5 potatoes per person.  (so for 8, I’d do 2 quarts of potatoes, etc)

Then we cover it with a little sauce to make it more stew like.  I don’t drain all of the broth off the potatoes and I add a homemade cream soup to it.  I make it with gluten free flour so we can all eat it.

I start with butter.  I make 8 Tbsp and melt it gently.  Once that is melted, I add a cup of flour and mix that together.  I then add milk – usually start at about 2 cups and add more if I want to.   Since I’m mixing it with the broth in this recipe, I go for thicker 🙂

I then season it. We use Einkorn flour from Young Living   Our gluten free son and my husband tolerate Einkorn well!   (what? you didn’t know they had more than oils… oh YES!)   If I needed the flour to be certified gluten free, I’d get it where I get my seasonings, from Azure Standard 

It’s a cheap, filling, warm meal,  you can use stuff you have on hand and stuff from your food storage super easy.  It’s something I always keep on the shelf.






Who else does a garden? Do you plant mostly vegetables or do you enjoy flowers?
We pretty much only do veggies here on the farm, mostly because we feed 12 kiddos and that means we need LOTS of veggies.
We buy our seeds from Baker Creek Seeds and Seed Savers. If quality and Non-GMO are important to you, that’s where to start!  
So our goals for a given year are to plant enough for our family for the entire year in the following vegetables that we can.
Tomatoes… this is huge to us – we can as close to 500 quarts as we can.
Potatoes …
Beans,  canned would be mostly green but I do can dried beans too
tomatos from garden
dry storage of
pumpkins (we dehydrate and can)
potatoes and carrots
pop corn
Then we plant seasonal eating in the following:
Lettuce, lots and lots of lettuce
Radishes (I’ve attempted fermenting these but it’s primarily immediate eating)
I will admit, we are dependent on our friends for our supply of sweet corn.  We just can’t make it through.
What are you planting this year?
See you soon!

Freeze the Budget Part 2

So, now you’ve made your menu. I want to talk to you about freezing your spending.

First – set your dollar amount you are aiming to.   I find that 20$ per person per week  which is recommended in the War on Debt by Dani Johnson tends to be high at our house!  (We have 17 people here much of the time.)

Then, make your menu!!  (hey do you need help on your Sunday dishes? This is how I do Sundays )

Make your grocery list according to your menu.   Seriously, if you aren’t eating it on the menu, don’t buy it!

Don’t shop when you are hungry! (Truth!)

Don’t shop with kids (ok, that isn’t possible for some of us but if you do, then turn it into a game! have helpers, price checkers, calculator people.. whatever you need!)

What do you not need to buy?  Time to hit you with a truth.  Mommas, we need to be making more from scratch. If you are buying food made with preservatives and a whole bunch of pre-made stuff, it’s time to start learning more about what it means to say home-made!  if you are on facebook, look me up, I’ll get you added to a beginner group for real food cooking!   In the beginning, I thought things like hamburger helper was home-made, I was so wrong!!  We  need to get back to eating food closest to how God made it, whole and good for our bodies! That means limiting white sugar,white flour, pasta and preservatives!

Alrighty,  clearly more to come. Take some baby-steps with me, and help get your food budget under control.



Freeze the Food Budget (Part 1)

a Good morning to you!

I’m labeling this Part 1!  I *think* we’re going to do more than a couple of posts on freezing the food budget.  The funniest part about this series maybe that this isn’t directed at you, my normal readers!  We know you are generally big family mamas yourself and you may have amazing tips to bring that food budget done! (share in the comments).

I went to a Dani Johnson workshop last month (ORLANDO in January, very nice!)  and one of the things she focuses on is DEBT and if you’ve been reading here, you know that I also am trying to be out of debt!  We were down to our mortgage until we ended up with 2 mortgages and not enough for living expenses!  We are back in debt and that is like JAIL.


The key to this is when you look at your budget – some expenses are fixed… but some aren’t and  our food budget is often one of those!  So what we need to do is look at bringing that expense down!  Folks, there are wayy wayy too many choices for our dollars.  We need to watch where we spend that money, so Step 1 is going to be

a) set a budget – FIRST!  (take your total you spent last time and trim it a bit!)

b) MAKE a Menu!  Account for your life stuff.  We plan morning, lunch and dinner every single day. Makes a huge difference.  Put snacks on the menu if your family does snacks.

c) Make a grocery list according to the MENU and purpose to NOT add to it at the store because you are *hungry *tempted * or caught by *eye candy*.

This is just the first step!  We’re going to be taking the budget post and the menu post into the next level in coming posts! We’re going to talk about trimming the fat and ways to break the spending cycle!

The menu graphic I love is found here: http://teachingwhatisgood.com/

whats for dinner

So – until next time, start making small changes!




Moving with a big family! Guest POST

While buying a new home is a wonderful and rewarding experience, moving a large family is no easy feat. It can be very difficult to keep things timely and organized, but moving doesn’t have to be a disaster. When you have a huge family, you have a huge advantage: helpers, helpers, helpers! This list of tips will help ensure that getting your whole clan from one home into another goes as smoothly as possible.

The first thing I would suggest is making or finding a time-organized checklist a couple of months before the move. Like this handy moving guide, or this awesome, printable moving checklist. Now that the basics are covered, here are some tips specifically geared to help large families stay organized and on schedule:

Family Day

Have a family day a month or so before the move where everyone helps go through everything. Get rid of things that aren’t needed or used or clothes that don’t fit. If clothes or toys are being passed down, move them to the right child’s room now so they will be in the right place when you get to the new house. De-cluttering in advance will save a lot of time and hassle come moving week, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to donate much needed supplies to a family, church, or organization that needs it.

Pack and Organize Important Records Early

Getting your families’ vital, medical, school, and financial records packed and organized well in advance will save a lot of stress. Plus, if you don’t already have a filing system in place to keep everything organized, now is the time to do it! You can buy boxes that hold hanging file folders that you can use for the move, and you can also use them for storage for however long you want (you can upgrade to a fancy filing cabinet later if you like.) More little blessings means more records to get lost or misplaced, so I highly recommend having them well organized and filed, and moving is the perfect time to get them there or simply re-organize them!

Use It or Lose It!

About six weeks before the move, start trying to whittle down your pantry and freezer items so you’ll have less to move, and try to eat everything you can from the fridge in the last week before the move. It might even be a good idea to run out of food a day or two before and just order pizza or eat out. A large family means a lot of stuff, so alleviating things that are easily and often replenished, like food and personal care items, will mean less packing and unpacking.

Utilize Your Assets

There are so many tasks involved with preparing and planning for a move, and different age groups can handle different responsibilities. Take some time to sit down and write up what’s expected of each child, or each age group. You know what’s best, but here are some general guidelines:

Teenagers can pack all of their own things, and can also help pack fragile items and kitchen, outdoor, or garage items.

Pre-teens can pack all of their own things and most household items, although it’s best to leave dangerous tools and equipment to older children or adults.

Kids ages 8-10 can pack all of their own clothes, bedding, and toys, but may need some assistance packing anything fragile or sensitive electronics. They can also help with household items like books, movies, and games.

Kids ages 6-8 can pack their clothes and toys, but will probably need assistance with electronics and fragiles.

Kids 4-6 can pack toys and stuffed animals, and may be able to pack their own clothes.

Make Labeling Easier

Instead of using a marker (that always seems to disappear) to label each individual box, consider color coding. It’s worth the money to buy colored packing tape or larger sized price-sticker type labels and assign a different color to each child and each room in the house. It will save so much time not having to write on each box, and when you’re moving in, a simple glance at the boxes will automatically tell you where each one goes.


Don’t get too attached to the notion that you will somehow be able to annihilate Mt. Never Washed before the move. Let’s face it, if you have more than a few kids, there’s no way you’re escaping the house with all clean laundry. While you can make sure most clothes, towels, and linens are clean and packed, there’s just no reason you should be worried about laundry the day of, or even the day before, the move. A good way to keep things organized is to give each child their own trash bag to put all their dirty laundry in on moving day. They could use laundry baskets, but it will take up so much more room: empty baskets can all be stacked, and trash bags full of clothes can be easily molded into awkward spaces on the moving truck. Trash bags are also a great, space-saving option for packing bedding and pillows.

Tips For Moving Day

When moving day comes, keep the older kids around to help, but try and find a place for the little ones to go for a while, or see if a friend or family member can come over and keep them occupied with a backyard activity so they’ll be out of your hair.

The traditional method of emptying out one room at a time may not work with so many bodies moving in and out, so delegate. Have a few of the strongest helpers on furniture duty, and then have the smaller ones assigned to empty boxes and everything else out of rooms one at a time. Make a list or even a map showing how to empty out the house (rooms closest to the door first so that things flow smoothly and there’s less in the way.) Also, have a couple of people in the back of the truck there to just organize things, that way the movers can just bring things to the truck and leave them there without worrying about finding the right place to put it. Use this system and your home will be emptied faster than you could ever imagine!

And finally, when you get to the new house, adopt the same method: Keep two or three in the back of the truck to hand things to the relayers, who will take each box or piece of furniture to the proper room. Once the truck is empty, take an hour and assign different family members to help unpack the things you’ll need right away like kitchen items, bathroom items, and school stuff. Then you can let the children go into their own spaces and unpack their own things.

The last piece of advice I can offer is to slow down, take a deep breath, and relax. Moving is a stressful task, but you’ve got this!

I hope these tips are helpful, and if you have any useful tidbits of your own, leave them in the comment section!

By AJ Earley

We’re back!

I had some problems with my WordPress password and some issues with that but wanted to let you know to tune in!  We’re back 🙂 big family and all!  I have some ideas about blogging that I haven’t done in a while, in fact a brand new passion for sharing!

First coming up – I have tips for moving with a big family!  (Guest BLOG)  followed by some menu/ cost cutting tips I’ve been asked to share on AND I’m going to be working through some adoption questions including some of our story and help with emotions with essential oils!    So if that appeals to you, make sure you subscribe now!

check out Brian’s blog at http://www.brianfriedl.com and his testimony today on adoption!

No, we aren’t adopting more BUT isn’t it awesome that our children’s hearts are turned towards it!

See you again, SOON!


Friedls adopt more

Called Higher – Journey On!

This is my new mantra .. all the things we are in Christ are good, but we journey on.  We go … more.  We move Onward (my kids laughed at that word yesterday)  but He is calling me higher, calling me deeper. So thankful, amazed at all the things that have happened since I have said yes to this journey.  I’ve committed.  I’m His.

I can’t wait to see what is in front of me.  And yes, that makes me nervous too!