Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Making Your Home A Haven

Doesn't everyone wear winter gloves and shorts when vaccuming?

Crystal Paine has passed Making Your Home A Haven to her friend Tammy. In honor of the switch today's challange is a simple one. Come up with a morning routine of no more than five things. I already have a morning routine so this one was easy.

1. Feed/change my five month old daughter

2. Coffee/computer time

3. Feed my four other children

4. Morning chores (Sweeping, dishes etc.)

5. School

Yes, Bible and prayer time should be in there but I tend to fall back asleep if I try that in the morning. Either that or I get constant inturruptions from rising children. Hmmm... I remember when a quiet time used to be a quiet time.
Check out other routines at Tammy's blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Pizza, fresh veges, cookies

Tuesday: Crockpot pork chops, rice, stir fry veges, bread, cookies

Wednesday: Turkey pasta, Salad, Challah, ice cream

Thursday: Baked chicken, stuffing, creamy spinach, breadsticks, brownies

Friday: Cheese soup, cheese bread, summer sausage, corn, berry crisp w/cream

Saturday: Salad w/ hard boiled eggs, cheddar biscuits, ice cream

Sunday: Chicken nuggets, tator tots, fresh veges, ice cream

For more meal menus visit The Organization Junkie!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend Food Fun-Homemade Poptarts!

My "helper"

The finished product- Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

The eating of...

Okay, mine didn't turn out as good as hers, but my kids don't seem to care. For more weekend food fun go over to Ship Full O' Pirates!

Bath Time

Because the Grandmas haven't seen Tay take a bath, I had my 12 year-old daughter take pictures of the process. Tay is the first of my 5 babies to actually enjoy (not scream through) the entire process.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Garden Club Friday

Well, I wish I had some exciting news or pictures to show y'all, but even though today is the first day of spring, by the calendar, it is still too cold in Michigan to do anything. I did notice that some of the larger farms in the area have plowed their fields and I saw some farm hands laying down plastic over a field but for my little garden it is just to early. (Remember last year I planted in mid-May and still got caught by a frost.) So I will wait a few more weeks before getting my spot ready for planting. I don't intend to start much by seed so timewise I'll be fine.
Right now I have a plethora of garden reading to "plow" through: The Frugal Gardener by Catronia Tudor Erler (How to have more garden for less money), Vegetables by The American Horticultural Society (Illustarted encyclopedia of gardening), Organic Gardener's Composting by Steve Solomon, The City People's Book of Raising Food by Helga and William Olkowski (I'm currently on the chapter about soil and how to improve it.) and also The complete book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour. (It has a large section on food from the garden.) If I can't grow a good garden after reading all that then I guess I'm the farmer's market's best friend.
I'm itching to get started and jealous of those of you who are lucky enough to be able to start already! Kentucky and points south are sounding really good about now.
For more Garden Club Friday go on over to the Peterson Clan.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homemade Thursday

My current favorite homemade item is made by my mother! (And quite a few others too- but mine are from my mom.) It's the full body bib! Take an inexpensive handtowel, cut a hole in it, add some ribbing and sew on something to make it decorative. I love that Taylor is totally covered when she eats. Full Body Bibs save her clothing from spills and stains. They are easy to wash and inexpensively replaced. There's nothing better for little eaters.

For more Homemade Thursday's head over to Mother Hen's blog! Yes, she came back! Yeah!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My current reading and new stuff

A trip to the library yesterday garnered two books on gardening, one on raising chickens and other livestock and one on making my own baby food. I wear my life on my coffee table. LOL!
It's almost time to start my vege garden, Taylor is already eating rice cereal and ready to move on to more options and I have set my goal to start raising chickens next spring. (I'd do it this year but I think my plate is full.) I'm also reading The City People's Book of Raising Food by Helga & William Olkowski. (I'm on the edge of suburbia- not city but not fully country either.)
I have also joined up with Newbaby.com to start learning to shoot video for my blog and I joined Twitter but I don't know how much I'll tweet. It's hard enough to find time to blog. Thanks to Jendi over at Jendi's Journal for pushing me in that direction.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Monday: Beans and rice, Cheesy broccoli, Ice cream with chocolate sauce
Tuesday: Italian sausage spaghetti, Italian flat bread, Salad, Minister's delight
Wednesday: Crockpot porkchops, Stir-fry veges, Rice, Ice cream with chocolate sauce
Thursday: Spinach/cheese/sausage calzones, Fresh veges, Cookies
Friday: Pizza, Fresh veges, Cookies
Saturday: Cheese soup in cheese bread bowls, Summer sausage, Corn, Berry crisp with cream
Sunday: Chili, Challah, Salad, Fudge
For more Meal Plan Mondays go The Org. Junkie or here.

We are the people of God!

The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

We will love the LORD our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our might.

The commands of God shall be on our hearts. We shall teach them diligently to our children and shall talk of them when we sit in our house and when we walk by the way and when we lie down and when we rise up.

We shall learn them so they will continually affect our actions and words- and we shall know them so they will affect our attitudes and decisions.

We will speak of them so often that our home will be known as a place where God's Truth lives!

We are the People of God!

-Reading from Westside Baptist Church of Jenison, MI

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Garden Club

Iced over puddles in our back yard

A dusting of snow on our deck

Hi y'all! True to my word last Friday... my garden did indeed have snow on top of it this week. Not a lot, but some and I still expect at least one more good snowfall of 1 to 2 inches before April is over.

My gardening is being done in my head and through the library right now. I have to research corn, mulch and compost. I'm beginning to scan the seasonal aisles at Costco too. I'm waiting for their wonderfully robust tomato plants to come in. This year I'm leaving them in their pots on my deck so that I don't kill them with frost like last year. I can easily move them indoors if needed.

For more garden club, join us here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Best Dessert Ever!

Well, one of the best desserts ever, at least: Vanilla-Coconut Sundaes!

Vanilla ice cream, toasted coconut, homemade chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a topping of fresh strawberries. Yum!

I toss some coconut on a baking sheet and stick it in the oven at 350 degrees. (NOT BROIL!) Watch it carefully and shuffle it about occasionally. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

For the chocolate sauce: Sorry, I don't have a recipe. I just toss half a stick of butter and a few handfuls of chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl and nuke and stir in brief bits of time (30 seconds) until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add a bit of cream (not whipped) and a few tablespoons of sugar and stir till smooth.

For homemade whipped cream: Pour some cream in a bowl and use an electric mixture to whip it until it is thick and peaks form. Whip in some sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla to taste.

Outback Steakhouse used to have this on its menu but they shaped the ice cream into a perfectly shaped ball and rolled it in coconut. I just scoop out mine and toss coconut on top. Usually my hungry ice cream eaters can't wait for a perfectly shaped ice cream ball.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We're learning!

Taylor is learning to eat rice cereal!

Taylor is learning to sit!

Taylor is learning to hold toys better!

Taylor is learning to grab toys herself!

Wendi over at Roger's Wonderful Life has pushed the non-techie in me to add a new gadget to my blog. She wanted to follow my blog but I didn't have that option button on my page. I had seen it before but I'm one who resists change and didn't add it. But.... since she asked, I thought I'd see if I could do it.

I'll take a bow now! I did it. No, it wasn't hard at all but I freak myself out about doing anything beyond basics when it comes to computers and the internet etc.

So now I have a nice little followers button that you can add yourself to. Please do. I like to pretend I have readers. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

You'll notice a couple of repeats from last week's menu. Last week was so busy I didn't have time to get a couple of crock pot meals started and thus ended up eating from our pantry and freezer stocks- something that was easy to pull out of a hat without much thought or pre-prep!
I love cooking with the crock pot but I have to remember to start the dishes on time so they can cook all day.

Creamy Italian chicken on pasta
Bread sticks


Mashed potato
Challah bread
Cheese cake

Spinach/cheese/sausage calazones
Fresh veges

Strawberry Belgain waffles
Vanilla ice cream w/ toasted coconut/chocolate sauce/strawberries

Cheese soup in cheese-bread bowls
Summer sausage
Fresh veges
Berry Crisp w/ vanilla ice cream

Salad with hardboiled eggs
Garlic cheese biscuits
Minister's Delight

These are not the most basic of meals and yes, we could eat cheaper but I'm addicted to eating out, so if the meals are a bit more than basic I tend to be able to avoid the temptation to say, "Let's just eat out." That little phrase is the budget killer and my weakness.

Some prep, ahead of time, at the right parts of the year help the food budget too. I have berries in the freezer that we picked at a u-pick farm last summer. Baking from scratch lowers the bill too... all the bread items are homemade and I serve them in abundance. Bread is filling and allows our meat servings to be smaller. Most of the desserts are homemade too. My food budget goes further on the baking aisle of the grocery store then the junk food aisles. Also all of my eggs and cheese and most vegetables are bought in bulk at Costco. (The DH is in management there.)

For more Meal Plan Mondays go on over to the Org. Junkie's site!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Garden Club

My Garden is really sad looking. Here in Michigan it is far from garden season. Last week my garden plot was under snow: This week it is not, but it very well may be next week. You never know here. It isn't considered safe to plant until after Memorial Day. However today it was warm enough for tree fort building- thus enhancing the back yard "garden".

I have however started to consider what is going to be planted. I asked each child what they wanted in the garden (Seven- peas, Andi- carrots, Remington- pumpkins, Reagan- tomatoes) and then when I had their answers told them they would be in charge of said crops. I also want to do corn, summer squash and zucchini. The DH wants Rhubarb and I'm also considering doing a cook's herb garden and perhaps a small cutting flower garden.

Last year we didn't till (just turned soil over) and we didn't amend the soil in any way. This year we plan to till and amend. Also last year I planted too early and lost a really nice Costco tomato plant. This year my tomatoes are staying in pots up on the deck where I can take them in at night if I need to. I'm itching for the garden season to start and for the farmer's markets to start up too. I am definately ready for spring.

My sad looking little plot is just begging for some spring TLC!
Join the club and show off your garden and plans!

Crazy Busy!

Vampires happen when Mom gets busy!

Thanks goodness for washable markers!

Police Department of Grandville, Michigan

Kids waiting for stickers and pencils.

The police cruiser! The boys loved this!

Oh my gosh, was this week crazy! I hate missing this many posting days in a row. Tuesday we all got up and got ready to head out the door to a home school field trip. Luckily for me I got online to check the time of it and discovered the field trip was on Thursday! Sigh... so to keep the kids from total dissappointment, we loaded up into the mini-van (other car still in the shop- waiting to see if the warrenty will cover the repair) and took a drive through our nearby country side. The kids enjoyed seeing the farm animals that were out and about (so did I) and the DH and I brought the computer along and listened to one of the MP3 downloads of Vision Forum's Entrepreneurial bootcamp- the one on farming.

For such a simple outing we all had a great time. The kids even surprised me with some school work. The farm on the MP3 was in Virginia. From the back of the car I heard... The Capitol of Virginia is Richmond! (We've been studying the states and learning capitols.) Later in the program the host was talking about the providence of God. Again from the back... "Providence is the capitol of Rhode Island!" What do you know... they really have been paying attention.

Later that day I had to take Taylor to the doctor for her 4 month check up and shots. Can I say she doesn't do shots well. Tylenol is our friend on shot days. After that I had to take my 12 year old to sewing class.

I know that doesn't seem all that full of a day but when you're breast feeding an infant, it fills up the time really quick.

Wednesday Taylor was still grumpy from shots and I spent most of the day playing catch up from my lack of home time on Tuesday. Between cleaning, schooling, keeping Taylor happy and cooking (I'm not a fast cook. I like to go slow and be precise to make sure I don't forget things. ) the day passed far to quickly. Then it was off to Wednesday night church.

Yesterday we actually had the field trip to the police station. But being as we are currently a one car family I had to get up with the DH at 3:00am to take him to work so that the kids and I could have the car. (He was off on Tuesday.) The field trip went great and then it was back home to do our daily chores and school and then it was back to pick up the DH from work. I didn't get any cooking time earlier in the day so I made the kids some chicken nuggets for dinner and the DH and I went out on a date. (Ate out with a gift card from Christmas.)

I'm reading this thinking, "Where did all the time go?" But I just couldn't find a big enough block of time in all that to post. I don't usually post in the evenings because I'm not coherent enough. I tend to fall asleep on the couch a lot with what ever I was doing falling to the floor.

Today we are cleaning house in preparation for a bread making class I'm teaching to our church ladies tomorrow and I'm also finalizing the presentation flow etc.

Thank goodness next week is normal. My daughter doesn't even have a sewing class to go to. Church and grocery shopping are our only required activities away from home! I prefer that. My little mind gets boggled to easily when there is too much running around.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Salad with hard boiled eggs
Bread (I was supposed to make this for yesterday's meal but it got moved to today's.)

Bourbon chicken (I'm cheating with this one. It comes from the freezer section at Costco)
Tator tots (Yah... this is another take from freezer and heat up item- the day will be very busy.)
Cheesy broccoli

BBQ porkchop supper
Fresh veges

Bean and cheese burritos

Creamy Italian chicken on pasta
Green beans

Chicken nachos
Refried beans
Fresh veges

Mashed potato
Green beans

For more Meal Plan Mondays visit http://www.orgjunkie.com/ !