How to Make Your Own 3 Ingredient Lotion Bars

Do you know what you’re putting on skin? After undergoing an endoscope and biopsies on my esophagus and upper stomach four years ago (amen they came back cancer free) I took a good hard look at our home and food.

Photo credit and recipe to CommonSenseHomesteading.com

Photo credit and recipe to CommonSenseHomesteading.com

I researched GMO’s, what was really in the processed foods at the store, and the use of pesticides on commercially grown crops. Continue reading

Grandma’s Heavenly Chocolate Mayo Cupcakes & Caramel Frosting

My great-grandmother passed down many things in our family, and though I never knew her, I still think of the woman she was whenever I use her recipes or sieve when making applesauce, raspberry jelly, and blackberry syrup. I know she was a God fearing woman and an excellent baker. I wonder if she had any idea her legacy would live on in my home.Make this easy homemade chocolate may cake with no cook caramel frosting that's been passed down in our family for over 4 generations. No dairy and so moist you won't believe it doesn't have any dairy.

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10 Easy Steps to Grow Your Own Food

There is little else more rewarding than growing your own food. It cuts down on your grocery bill, improves your health, makes you more self-sustainable, brings families together, and brings us closer to God.

If you’ve never grown  your own food or had a garden, it can feel a little bit intimidating. It seems everyone has tons of advice on the wrong and right way to do things. But you just want to get growing. These 10 steps will get you growing your own food in no time.10 Easy Steps to Grow Your Own Food

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Honey Whole Wheat Buttermilk Sandwich Bread

Are you ready for the best ever sandwich bread? Funny story, I’d been making homemade sourdough bread for my son’s lunches at school. Every night he came home with an empty lunch box, good sign, right?Honey Wheat Buttermilk Sandwich bread recipe. This melts in your mouth and is so light, you'd think it was made with regular white flour. My husband thanked me for making this bread it was soo good.

I thought so until one of the ladies from our church who works in his lunch room pulled me aside one Sunday. Continue reading

Wild Edible Plants-How to Make Nettle Leaf Tea

Do you know how to safely harvest wild edible plants? Do you know which ones are excellent candidates for not only food, but also medicinal purposes?

Almost all of my life I’ve viewed stinging nettles as, well, a stinging nettle. I mean, those suckers can pack patch a zinger. Building forts as kids we always managed to get zapped by one of those pesky plants. They like to invade the yard and are a nuisance. Or so I thought.How to harvest wild edible plants and make nettle leaf tea. Did you know all the medicinal reasons to use nettle leaf tea? Recipe and tutorial here

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How to Cook on a Wood Stove

Why should you learn to cook on a wood stove?

As a little girl, I remember my mother cooking stew on top of our wood stove during the winter months. We have a decent size forest on our homestead and every year we lose a few trees to a windstorm or old age, so a wood stove is the perfect way to use our resources.6 Tips for Cooking on a Wood Stove Did you know you could bake on a wood stove? Put your heat source to work as your cooking source and save money.

Cooking on a wood stove takes me back to the pioneer days and to my grandmother’s kitchen, where she had an old wood cook stove. My parent’s still have a hybrid 1940′s Monarch half wood and half electric stove. You could say I come from a long line of wood stove cooking.

Learning to cook on a wood stove is smart for survival type situations, such as power outages, but I cook on mine even when we have power. It’s extremely frugal to cook on a wood stove, like as in free.  You’re already using your wood stove for heat, so using it as a cooking source is doubling your resources. Continue reading

Annual Heirloom Seed Giveaway!!

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This is one of my favorite days of the year. Heirloom seeds are one of my passions. They can be saved year to year, cutting seed costs to zero, making you self-reliant, no worries of GMO’s, more flavor, more unique options, and the stories behind some of them are incredible.  Heirloom seeds are a living story or our ancestors and the God who made them. @MelissaKNorris http://ctt.ec/7fd86+ #giveaway #gardening Click to Tweet

My grandparents moved from North Carolina to Washington state in 1941. They traveled with two other families on the back of flat-bed truck they converted to a camper with bunks.

Can you imagine the cramped quarters? Packing space was limited to say the least. But my grandparents brought with them a packet of their pole green beans, October beans, and a cast iron skillet. We’ve always referred to them as tarheel green beans.

When my husband and I were dating, he came to meet my parents for the first time. He told me he didn’t care for green beans, so when my mom passed the pot of green beans, I was surprised he took a serving. After eating his beans, he helped himself to more. I leaned over and whispered, “You don’t have to eat more.” I thought he just wanted to impress my parents.

He replied, “These are the best beans I’ve ever eaten. I don’t like other green beans, but I love these.” Heirloom plants are like that, more flavor than their hybrid counterparts.

Tarheel pole beans grace many a garden in our valley. These beans can’t be bought in a store, either the seeds or the harvest. I’ve scoured the heirloom seed catalogs and websites and have never seen these beans available.Heirloom Seed Giveaway win over 12 varieties of heirloom seeds to get your garden started

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The Miracle of Nature and Gardening Giveaway

When you look at the balance of nature and begin to examine how intricately its design, you can’t help but see the miracle of God’s creation. At least, I can’t. It’s amazing how plants are designed to compliment one another, how animals enhance the soil, and the healing properties found in herbs. I only have to step outside and study nature to see God’s hand at work.

This past weekend I was stuck inside going over all of our paperwork for taxes. Now that I have a business, there is much more preparation involved. After three hours, my head was pounding. I stepped outside for a break. Within in minutes of watching the bees flit about my blooming heather bush, my headache was cured. The realization that I don’t take a break from my work to admire God’s handiwork nearly enough broke over me.Spring Bonanza Giveaway! Win compost worms, Amazon gift card, and a copy of Pioneering Today

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Episode #20 Starting Seeds Indoors Winter Gardening Series

 Start your seeds indoors. Which plants do best as starts, seed starting chart timeline, and hardening off tipshttp://melissaknorris.com/?p=3554 Everything you need to extend your growing season and get started now!

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Starting seeds indoors can greatly lengthen your growing season, but you’ll want to use these tips to make sure your starts get off to their full potential. Continue reading