January 31, 2008

Smudges on the wall

For the past few years I've been striving for this goal, which I thought was really important. I mean, other people told me it was important, so I figured it was. But yesterday as I noticed a smudge of some kind of food hardened on the wall of our cupboards, it donned on me that a perfectly clean and organized home isn't all that great.

I mean, the pictures you see in magazines or room 're-dos' on TV shows DO look beautiful. But it lacks one big thing-LIFE! Then I thought, why am I trying to make our home look as if there are no children in it? What am I trying to prove- is being a perfect housekeeper really a realistic goal?

See, I have a friend who keeps an absolutely spotless house. It blows my mind because she has a 10 year old and a 2.5 year old and it just seems so effortless for her. However, I don't see all the work that is involved with it. But I'm not her, and my family isn't her family, so I shouldn't be comparing myself with her. I know I wouldn't want her to compare herself with me.

So, I realize now that stickies on the chairs, smudges on the door facings, scattered pieces of a dollhouse and a trail of dry cereal on the floor isn't a catastrophe anymore. They are signs of life- of little lives that are sweet and innocent and precious. I'm actually thankful now that I have messes to clean up, for how empty a perfectly kept home would be without these little ones, and I know I would wish I could clean up their messes if I were childless.

January 29, 2008

Homemaking Inspiration

I was going to do a post on my cloth diapering system, but my camera is out of juice and I don't have anymore batteries for it. I had bought more diapers last summer and Sarah outgrew them quickly, but thanks to my favorite diapering board on babycenter.com, I got some suggestions on how to make them fit. (toddler size prefolds)

Today feels like Monday to me, since I was gone yesterday. Having 'no plan' is starting to catch up with me. I get frustrated easily because I can think of a lot of things that need to be done, but have a hard time prioritizing them. Plus I feel PMS surfacing, LOL.

So this morning I sat down and wrote out exactly what I was going to do, just this morning. I needed to catch up on laundry, dishes and general tidying up.

1. tidy living room
2. get children dressed, tidy bedrooms, strip sheets
3. put clean sheets on beds
4. switch out laundry
5. get the kids set up with activities while I do dishes
6. start a pot of chicken stock
7. plan out menu and grocery list
8. brush girls' hair (forgot earlier)
9. School
10. lunch time
11. make bread dough and tuna salad for dh's lunch tomorrow
12. Checked kombucha, done already! What's the deal? (I started it Thurs.)
13. Kids watched a video while I loaded dishwasher and got it going, then super cleaned my dish drainer

Sometimes though, I guess I get the 'homemaking blahs' and need some inspiration. You know what works for me? Reading the Little House on the Prairie series. Any part of any of the books will do, but my favorites are Little House in the Big Woods and The Long Winter. I don't think 'Ma' ever felt that she wasn't a necessary part of the family, or ever felt she wasn't doing something worthwhile. It was obvious that without her presence their life couldn't have been possible. She was submissive to her husband, a visionary man always dreaming of land in far off places. She hardly complained about their simple, hard life and the children pitched in to help. She always kept busy and always found something to do in the home. She didn't have any other friends or family most of the time, just her husband and children. There was no 'getting away' or 'girl time', and if anyone needed it, it would be Ma after being cooped in a cabin for months on end from the snow. And the big thing, they were happy with SO little material possessions. It makes me want to go through my house and get rid of everything but the essentials. I would love to be able to sit down with 'Ma' and have a long homemaking chat :)

They always devoted the morning hours to work, the afternoons to studying and sewing, the evenings for family and entertainment. (Pa and his fiddle or storytelling) Each day had it's own task, which most of us are familiar with:

Monday- wash day
Tuesday- ironing
Wednesday- mending
Thursday- churn
Friday- cleaning
Sunday- rest

Seems simple enough, but most of us don't have to spend a whole day ironing or mending since we have dryers and sewing machines now. Amazing how with all of our time saving equipment, we never have enough time. A big dream I've always had, is to live way out in the country and farm. I want to live in an old farmhouse with minimal conveniences (plumbing and electricity please) and be the capable farmwife that gets up before the crack of dawn to get that stove roaring and biscuits in the oven :) I want to can and preserve produce from my own garden, churn butter from fresh cream from my own cow, and collect eggs from our chickens. I want us to sit outside on a summer evening, hand churning ice cream and listen to the crickets. I want to make our quilts for our beds, knit our sweaters and mittens and have a huge clothesline.

Of course, this is all in my head, and when it came to reality it might not be all that great, but who knows. Was I born in the wrong time period? Nope...God wanted me here, now for His purpose, but it's fun to think about.

January 28, 2008

Breakfast help

I'm back again.

Today we went to have a speech evaluation done with Leiah, then a little shopping at Target, which I hardly ever go to, then we ate at Long John Silvers...I think I've only eaten there maybe twice in my life?? It was good.

So, I'm back home now, the girls are resting, I should be, the house is rather a wreck despite the fact that I cleaned it up last night. Anyways, you've heard of 'writer's block'? Well, I think I have 'breakfast block'. Every morning it's like my brain has been wiped clean of what to make for breakfast. I think mostly I'm just getting tired of the same things. We typically eat scrambled eggs, toast and some kind of meat twice a week, sometimes in the form of burritos, we eat oatmeal, rice, baked oatmeal which lasts two breakfasts, pancakes and on Saturday I try to make something different. Last night I made banana bread and we ate that with eggs and turkey bacon today. Sunday we ate soaked oatmeal with honey and cream, boiled eggs, toast (store bought bread) with jam and some bananas.

Lately though, I'm just out of ideas. It has to be healthy and fairly easy, and cheap would be good too :)

Any ideas? Rarely ever do we eat cold cereal and for awhile I made granola, but the oats need to be soaked first, and that's just another step. I did make some ham/cheese bagels and froze them back in the fall, which worked well, just haven't done it again since we ate them all.

My brain is quite foggy right now...I drank a little coke at the eating place and am sleepy from our weekend, so I'll stop before I type something silly :)

January 26, 2008

The Dress Barn

This guy is so funny! I about busted my gut laughing at this one, the part towards the end. Go to youtube.com and there are about 30 videos of this fella. Be sure to turn the music off first.

January 24, 2008

Another busy Day

Yet another busy day today. Tomorrow my mom, nephew and niece will be here, and it will be quite busy, so I had to get everything done today for the week. So, this morning the girls helped with vacuuming, mopping and cleaning bathrooms. Well, they sort of helped, mostly watched. Miss Sarah has been exhibiting more of an attitude lately; she needed lots of correction today, as did the other two. I was planning to start a 'boot camp' of sorts next week, but I have to go to the neighboring city twice, we'll see. I really just need to review www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com

So, anyways, I did sit down and read several books for our 'school' while Sarah played in the playroom. (I finally bought a gate) Then we tried going outside, but it's just too cold. Then I heated last nights pot of veggie soup and we had lunch. My cousin came by and my children turned into terrors! Finally, they were doing so badly it was obvious it was nap time. While they were laying down I started a new batch of kefir, kombucha and was going to make more sourdough bread, but I'm out of all purpose flour and I'm not sure if it would work well with 100% whole wheat. (as in, we were going to eat it for dinner and not enough time for it to rise)

I still need to make some cookies-whole wheat peanut butter, make some tomato sauce for lasagna today and pizza tomorrow and fold a load of clothes. I'm trying to buy less meat because I wanted to save us some money-well, forget that ! I worked so hard trying to make things come out for $70 or less, and it was still $100. Last time I just bought whatever we needed without worrying too much about what it cost and is $80. How did that happen?

So, we've been having more meatless meals or stretching the meat more. Last night we had vegetable noodle soup with homemade chicken stock and some chicken sandwiches made with homemade rolls and the leftover chicken from making the stock. Tonight we will have spinach-cheese lasagna, salad and garlic butter rolls. (same batch of rolls, I'll just paint them with garlic butter and heat them)

I didn't realize how much cooking I did around here- it doesn't seem like a lot but typing it all up makes it seem like a lot. Ok, so anyways, tonight I have go to Walmart and get yellow thread and rick rack to finish Leiah's dress and get some more winter clothes for ME! I'm alternating between two blue jeans, 1 black pants, and several skirts, and when it's less than 40 degrees outside, I want pants please :)

Ok, enough rambling about my day...


Ok, I have a lot to say, so hopefully I can get it all in here.

First off, God has been blessing me so much. For several weeks I was just soooo tired and sleepy, don't really know why. I would need down time each afternoon to make it through the day. But every day this week I have had plenty of energy to keep going without having to take a break- I do take a little one while the girls are napping, but still, thank you Lord!

I have never really been all that moved by the book of Acts. I don't know why, but it just never piqued my interest. Last week I read a book about Smith Wigglesworth, an apostle of faith during the early 1900s-1940s. Wow was he a character! 'Only believe' was his motto and he traveled the world over preaching and healing thousands upon thousands of people. I read portions of the book to my husband, who greatly dislikes reading, and it really inspired both of us to seek after the Lord with renewed vivacity.

Lately when my children are taking naps, the first thing I do when I sit down is read my Bible. I tried to get up early again and do it, but things just haven't worked out there. We'll see. I felt compelled to read the book of Acts and I'm up to chapter 10 now.

The Holy Spirit has made this book come alive to me. I read of Peter preaching to thousands in the city, and they ALL believed! Then there's Philip who goes to Samaria (Acts 8:4) and preaches, and the WHOLE CITY comes to Christ! Can you imagine what that would look like today? Not only that, but they were all baptized in the Spirit and speaking in tongues. What if the city of, say, Dallas ALL came to Christ and were baptized in the Spirit? Talk about revival now. This further cements that these men had to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit before this was possible- remember Peter always stuck his foot in his mouth. In order to be effective for Jesus, we have to be totally yielded to the Spirit so He can guide our words and steps.

I pray for revival to fall- we know the Lord is coming soon and I don't want people to be left behind. I know many people will be, but I don't want them to. I pray we can open our hearts and listen to His voice and obey it so we can help others be saved before it's too late.

January 23, 2008

Heart change, MOPS, routine...

Yesterday was a busy day as well. The morning didn't go well at all. Everyone, including me, was grumpy. I do really try to not let my emotions rule me, but when no one cooperates and there's just a general fussiness, it's hard to remain upbeat.

Which brings me to a question. How do I keep a right heart towards my children? I'll read some inspiring things, feel convicted and do good for awhile, then we'll have an off day, and I feel like a drill sergeant- yelling, with no love, and a sort of hardness in my heart. Why am I so bad at training my children?? This is the dilemma- I read everything about how to correct and train, but what do you do when they kids declare mutiny?! How do I train them all at the same time without getting out of control? And does 'regular' child training work with special children too?

I have been praying a lot and asking for wisdom, but I feel stuck and stumped sometimes. Does anyone else's children just look for things to tear up or get into? When they have two rooms of toys (not full of toys, but different kinds) a kitchen cupboard of toys, a playpen of toys and many books? I let them play at the sink some, help me with cooking and cleaning and they have responsibilities, but it doesn't seem to be enough.

I know they won't be perfect at all, but I get so tired of it!! I have a vision of what I want our days and life to be like and we are far from it. Wait, I just figured out the major problem- Alexa wants to be the boss-of everyone! She is strong willed, but she's not the classic strong willed child, she does yield at times. But, she has this desire for power and control, she wants to run the show.

Now, how do you change that besides a miracle?

Anyways, today I went to MOPS, and for those who may not know MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. I went religiously when Leiah and Alexa were babies, then after we moved I didn't attend as much. I wasn't sure about going this year, and I didn't go but a few times. I prayed about it, and felt led to go today. The girls did very well and had lots of fun and do actually have Bible lessons. I am going to pray about possibly being on the leadership team for next year- I have been going for almost 5 years now and been on the 'receiving end' for a long time.

The downfall is that my middle child always acts terribly when we get done with MOPS- either from being tired or from picking up bad habits from the other children. They are all laying down for naps right now.

I did finally get some sewing done and most of Leiah's dress is done-just need to hem and add trim/buttons.

What else, well I've figured out that the best routine for me is no routine. Sounds strange, but making a to do list works better than anything else. In our household, things rarely go like they're 'supposed' to, so I end up moving things around a lot. The only thing I do routinely is grocery shopping on Tuesday night. I am about to start taking Leiah to speech again, so life will change a lot more, and I will most likely HAVE to make a routine to stick to.

January 21, 2008

My Monday

Today I didn't have much planned, but a lot happened.

7am, I've been awake for a few minutes (I always sleep thru dh's alarm) and can't believe that it's already morning- and I went to bed before 10pm!

I got up, got dressed, tidied the bedroom, took the laundry hamper to the laundry room, then went to the kitchen. I tidied a few things in there, then started frying eggs for my hubby, and started water boiling for cornmeal 'mush'- an experiment. Next I started the coffeepot :)

The children were getting pretty loud so we let them come out,LOL. Hubby got his lunch together, ate his breakfast, and while he got the rest of his things together (he really needs a 'man purse' hahaha!) I made him some coffee in a thermos and off he went to work.

The girls and I had a fried egg, cornmeal cereal with sugar and milk, and banana bread muffins and milk.
I sat in the recliner with my coffee for a few minutes to collect my thoughts about how our day should go. Then I started cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes while the girls watched Little Bear.
I started the laundry and started a large pot of chicken stock.
Get the girlies dressed, room tidied and beds arranged, then did hair and teeth, then started school. It's now after 9:30 am. Next I make a phone call to the speech therapist to get Leiah's appointments set up.

We did Brain Gym, numbers and shapes on the chalkboard, then Sarah was getting very fussy, so I took her to the living room, put her in the playpen and let her watch Baby Einstein and play with toys. Then we did flash cards with sight words and ABC ones. I got a phone call, so afterwards we moved to the couch for reading while they snacked on some fruit loops. I got another phone call, but couldn't cut it short (important) then it was getting to be lunch time.

The girls had some free play time while I worked on lunch. I never have a plan for lunch and so I was thinking grilled cheese sandwiches, and then I realized I had hot chicken broth on the stove, crushed tomatoes in the cupboard, and half and half in the fridge- DUH, make tomato soup! It was yummy- we ate it with the sandwiches, they got some apple juice and I drank water. I got my sourdough starter out, fed it, then washed it's container good, then put it back in it's 'home', then back in the fridge.

My cousin comes over on her lunch break a few times a week, so she arrived and I fed her hot soup and a sandwich and visited awhile. Then it was time for naps. We had several discipline issues today, which I attribute to the busy-ness of the weekend and being around other children that are unruly at church.

Anyhoo, while they napped I did some menu planning and reading online, then I went to the kitchen. This is where the unexpected part comes- I did a lot of cooking in there! I took the chicken out of the pot to let it cool so I could pick it off the bones. Then I chopped up some veggies and got them cooking in some butter. Next I heated some water in another pot to cook some quinoa (keen-wah) for a recipe I had seen last week. I did some dishes, made some iced tea, thickened the veggie sauce I had going and added the chicken, then poured it in a casserole. I made up some dumpling 'dough' and dropped it on top to bake for dinner.

Hubby called to say he wasn't feeling well and was on his way home. Leiah and Sarah woke up (Alexa had been awake for awhile) and they had snacks of homemade chocolate chip cookies and bananas. Matt came home and rested while they girls watched Snow White and I folded clothes. I made the batter for the quinoa and decided to put it in a loaf pan instead of a muffin tin and put it in the oven. I heated a fried egg in the microwave left from breakfast, chopped some lettuce and tomatoes and added that to some leftover salad. Then I cut two sort of thick slices of stale bread, then cut it into cubes. I heated some olive oil in a skillet, added the bread cubes, then sprinkled salt, garlic powder and dried thyme on top. I stirred and toasted the bread till dry in the pan and lightly browned. After it cooled I added it to the salad with a good grating of romano cheese (marked down at the store last week)

We ate dinner, then started the clean up process and my quinoa loaf finished baking. Dh gave the girls baths because my hands were chapped and red from being in hot water so much today and while he did that I cleaned the living and play rooms, then rearranged the girls bedroom, again...

We get them in pjs, play a bit, take vitamins, drink of water, off to bed. I heat some milk to make some yogurt, and now I'm blogging. After the milk cools I will add yogurt from the previous batch and let it sit overnight. I have a good batch of kombucha going- it's on the sweet side so I'm letting it sit at room temp tightly closed so it develops carbonation like coke. I don't usually do this because it can get more sour, but since it's on the sweeter side it should be pretty good tomorrow. (just tasted it- good, but a bit sweet) I still have two loads of laundry to be folded and put away, but it's mine and hubby's clothes and many of them need to go in the closet as they aren't 'foldable'.

What's next? Sewing! Last Thursday I had planned to sew all afternoon, well, when I sat down to my machine, the thread kept tangling up, so as I was checking it out a big fat black spider crawls out!!!!!!!!! I literally felt a shock wave go through my body- wow was it nasty looking, no wonder my thread was getting tangled. I went to get something to kill it with and of course it was gone when I came back. I poked around a bit with some scissors, no spider. No way was I going to sit there and sew now. I made dh take it apart Friday-no spider, and he just got it put back together yesterday evening. Leiah's dress is barely started!

I hope to go to bed early so I can get up earlier-we'll see...

January 20, 2008


I realize I've been 'absent' from blog world for several days. I guess I'm just 'blogged out' from my kitchen posts and mostly, I've just been busy doing nothing if that makes sense. I've been relaxing with the girls, reading books, playing, and baking. We've had some pretty cold weather the last week (for here anyways) so we've been holed up in the house.

I've also been getting ready for our trip in a few weeks. You see, most of you know that in the stores they start marking down the winter stuff this time of year and getting rid of it. Do you know I went to walmart two weeks ago and could not find one winter dress or even a winter pattern for a dress!? My girls are growing so fast they are about out of winter church dresses, and they've grown out of the pattern sizes that I have. So I had to get a pattern for pajamas and alter it.

Anyways, dh and I went shopping Thursday night and wow did God bless us! I found a nice goose down filled ski jacket for $40, a really nice coat for Sarah marked down to $14, plus countless fleece pullovers, sweaters, long johns, hats and mittens for the girls at Old Navy. So, if you're needing some cheap winter clothes, go there now! I'm kinda concerned though- I looked at the highs and lows of temperature in Upper Michigan- er, the low was -13, but the windchill was -26!!!! I've never been that cold in my life. The last time it got down to 0 degrees here was when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old.

Oh, and I made a dessert Friday night that was YUMMY! I'll have to post it, and actually it was semi-healthy. It was like shortbread crust, on the sweet side, pressed into a tart pan, baked, then filled with sour cream sweetened with honey and vanilla extract, then topped with fresh ripe mangoes. (they were on sale) Then I sprinkled the whole thing poppy seeds for color-it was really, really good. The sour cream tasted like cream cheese-similar to fruit pizza. Very easy.

Ok, well, I'm still waiting for my Firm tapes to arrive. I am anxious to get started on having jiggle free abs, LOL. I'm just plain tired of been jiggly period!

Enough ramble...surely I'll have something more interesting to say later :)

January 17, 2008


So what have I been doing the last couple of days? Well, Monday was kind of a rough day because I was trying to catch up on some cleaning and laundry, and had determined to not get frustrated with my children. That didn't work too well, and I just broke down and became rather depressed at my lack of self control. So I talked to my husband, and we both agreed that I needed to devote the first few hours of my day just to the girls. That way, the important things will get done and I won't get side tracked working on the house and end up feeling guilty later.

Tuesday we started 'school'. For the moment I haven't made a schedule or used a curriculum, just shooting from the hip to see how they do. They are doing very well, especially Alexa, surprise! She is just soaking it up. I am making sure to do Leiah's brain gym exercises and we work on numbers and letters, do puzzles and drawing, read several books and today we played another brain gym game where we make the kids into a 'sandwich'. (pillow, kid lays down, spread the kid with 'mayonnaise' put a blanket on top as 'cheese', then the other pillow, then you press down-supposedly that pressure is soothing and comforting) They really liked that.

So, I need to take some time to make up a schedule for us so I'm not wasting time trying to figure out what to do. I really want to teach Alexa to read, but am not sure how to go about it because she doesn't know how to recognize all the letters yet.

In other news, ha ha, we are going to make a trip to Upper Michigan the 15th of February. Did you know it gets -20 degrees there? What's the coldest it gets here, 20 degrees or more!!! I have very few long sleeved shirts much less clothes for that kind of weather! And of course all the stores are getting rid of winter items, so tonight my dh and I are going shopping to hunt down some warm clothes!

It also takes TWO DAYS to get there...two days in the CAR with all the girls. We've done it before and it was terrible!!!!!!! However, they are older now, and more able to stay focused on activities like coloring or something. Thank the Lord we have a DVD player built into the van.

Anyways, I must go and work on some sewing for awhile.

Weird things about me

Here are the rules:
1~ Link to the person's blog who tagged you.
2~ Post these rules on your blog.
3~ List seven weird or random facts about yourself.
4~ Tag random people at the end of your post and link to them.
5~ Let every person know they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Now let's begin!

Ok, so I was tagged by thirdtimemomma to do this here thing-maybe I will get it all right.

1. I actually chose to take chemistry in college- I loved it in highschool along with calculus and used to be intelligent enough to do it!

2. I used to be a skater chick-I wasn't great at it, but I could do it and was self taught.

3. I used to color my hair weird colors, wear leather pants and jackets and rock out at Christian rock concerts :)

4. I mastered the art of making jewelry out of hemp and beads. It was fun and fairly easy to do after the first one.

5. I've eaten a cricket (on purpose, a dare), raw meat (hey it was in Paris) and some type of weird bird. (guinea fowl??)

6. I have scoliosis- curvature of the spine. My spine is in the shape of an 'S' and has been since I was 8 years old.

7. I love peanut butter anything-sandwiches, cookies, fudge whatever-love it!

I'm tagging Amanda

hopefully she will read this :)

January 15, 2008

In My Kitchen Day 4

Ok, this will be my last kitchen day. I skipped breakfast and lunch pictures, since they were repeats, however I did make tuna salad for lunch, but it didn't look too lovely :)

So, before lunch I heat about 9oz of whole milk and half and half together, and put it in this little saucepan to heat to 160 degrees with the candy thermometer. The kind of yogurt I make is called Caspian Sea Yogurt, and it's really easy and really good. I haven't made a large batch yet, but I plan to soon. The yogurt has a good consistency, isn't very tart, and you can make it richer with the addition of extra fat. (cream or half and half)

While that was heating I started the tea for making kombucha. I got my big pot out and measured 8 cups of water. I put it in the pot and turned the burner on high to get the water boiling.
Unfortunately while that was coming to a boil my milk almost boiled over and got too hot! I had to strain it because it got scorched. I always do that!
I think it will be ok, so I just pour it into the jar to cool down. The water is boiling so it's time to add the sugar. This time I am putting in a cup and a half of sugar in hopes that the brew will need a longer brewing time. Remember last week it was ready in four days!

This is the kind of tea I use. I am brand loyal to Lipton tea bags- it's just the best tasting in my opinion and it's the only kind my mom used. I also added an herbal peach tea bag too. This makes great regular iced tea- we love our iced tea!

Now we have to let that cool before we can put the scoby in. Time to get back to the yogurt. It is just barely warm to the touch now, so I add 2 T of yogurt from the previous batch.

Next I put a coffee filter on top held in place with a ring from the canning lid. It will set in 12-18hrs, then it goes into the fridge. I find the consistency to be perfect- not really thick and firm like custard style yogurt, but not runny. Mine is usually done in 12 hrs, so I will most likely put it in the fridge just before bed tonight.

The tea has cooled enough now, so I get my pickle jar washed and pour in the tea.
Then I get my 'mushroom' from the fridge that we put in there last week. In it goes with some of the kombucha from the previous batch. I put another coffee filter on top and secure with a rubber band before put it in the cupboard. And that's that!
I will have more pictures of dinner and bread making later. Again we are now getting the blue underlined words here but I don't know why, sorry. I am going to try making two loaves of bread today.To be continued ;)

January 13, 2008


Tomorrow is already Monday again! I am not planning to do another picture day of the happenings of our kitchen, I will do it on Tuesday when I make yogurt and kombucha. I need to wash all the bedding in our house (it's been two weeks!) and the kitchen needs a good all over scrubbing-I'm talking floor to ceiling!

I just ordered some exercise videos from The Firm- a combo whole body workout and one that I'm really excited about "Jiggle Free Abs". If it weren't offensive, I would take a before picture and post it- I think I could win on jiggly abs,LOL!! 4 babies in three years, man! (our third was a miscarriage) It would be so cool if I acutally had a firm belly. Anyways, I've heard these are killer tapes, as in you're gonna be real sore the next day. I used to work out hard as a teenager, so I know sore, but I hate it! The good thing is, if you keep it up you don't get sore anymore :) Hopefully that will be good incentive to keep it up, if I can get started that is :)

Saturday I finished painting in Sarah's old bedroom, which is now the play room and will eventually be where we have 'school'. I wrote the words to 'Jesus Loves Me' all around room at the top of the walls and painted them and made a new curtain. I've been trying to organize things but it's slow going. Sarah's crib is still in there because I need the playpen in the living room and she needs a confined place to nap. It is large, so I'm having to work around it. My husband made them a nice chalkboard yesterday too- with wood and chalk board paint. I will take a picture when I get it like I want :)

Well, I need to get to bed, busy day tomorrow, as usual!

January 12, 2008

In My Kitchen Day 3

What a busy day! I've been doing extra cooking, painting the walls of a room, cutting out fabric for dresses and rearranging toys and stuff. I haven't really had time to get the pictures up till now.

So, today we sort of slept in, or at least didn't get up till almost 7:30. Yeah, that is sleeping in at this house :( I didn't have anything planned for breakfast, which isn't a good thing, but I flipped through one of my favorite cook books, and decided to make cinnamon roll biscuits. I've never made them before and usually on Saturday is when I make us something special for breakfast.

I got my wonderful kitchen aid mixer out, what a blessing, and put the dry ingredients in. Then I dropped in the cold butter cubes.
After the dough was ready I rolled it into something like a rectangle, buttered it and sprinkled sucanat (Evaporated cane juice) and cinnamon on liberally.
Next you roll it up in a log and start slicing. I wanted to get them all in one pan so I packed them in. I still didn't get them all in one pan though. (oh, and I used Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour)
I popped them into the oven and started making scrambled eggs.
Then I made a glaze for the cinnamon rolls. I melted 1 T butter, added 1 cup of powdered sugar, 4-5t milk and a drop of vanilla extract. Like I said, a special treat :) The biscuits are done and ready to be 'glazed'.
And that was breakfast. My husband took the older two girls with him to run some errands, so it was just me and Sarah for lunch. She ate some Gerber graduates things and I had leftover stew, which by the way was great! It came out sooo good- the deer meat didn't taste 'gamey' at all. Dee-lish! However the trash was stinking up the house, so after taking it outside I started some simmering potpourri- orange peel, cinnamon sticks and ground cloves.

This afternoon, around 3:30-4pm I started a new batch of kefir. Last time I put less grains in and it took about 30hrs, so I wanted to time it to where it would be ready tomorrow night.
I put approximately 2 cups of milk into my honey jar, then about 2T grains.

Then I put the kefir in the cupboard to do it's thing- this is where it lives.

Next I made some raspberry bars for our church potluck tomorrow. They are so good and so easy to make. To view the recipe, go here.
All ready for the oven!

For supper tonight we are having salmon patties and pasta salad. I was going to make oven fries, but I was getting tired and didn't feel like peeling potatoes. I tried the oven browning method again. I don't like salmon patty mixture in a loaf pan, but I don't like having to stand at the skillet cooking the patties and turning them. So, I oiled up the sheet pan with olive oil, put all the patties on it, then topped each one with a bit of butter.

After about 20 minutes on one side I cranked up the heat to 425 and turned them to the other side for about 15 minutes. They came out great!

I started the pasta salad while they cooled off- chopped celery and red onion, sliced grape tomatoes, canned white beans, Italian dressing and macaroni.
Well, that's the end of day 3. I will not be doing anymore tomorrow, and I will probably do just one more day next week so I can show how I make yogurt and kombucha. As you can see, I do cook a lot of different things, but much of our food is still pretty 'normal'. I'm not perfectly strict about our diet- I can't be! I can't keep track of it all the time.

One more thing, this is what our sunset looked like tonight- so pretty!

January 11, 2008

In My Kitchen Day 2

Well here is a picture of the bread I made last night. I tried to slash it so it would break open like it has before, but I really need a razor blade to cut through the sticky dough. I think next time I need to use less starter or make two loaves!

After I turned it out onto the towel I went to bed :)

This morning my husband got going earlier than me and started the coffee pot for me. Thanks! So I set to work toasting the fresh bread and frying up eggs in coconut oil, which is really good by the way :)

Coconut oil is an exceptional fat. I don't have time to go into it, but I can tell you it's antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Many people who have candida albicans overgrowth are able to get rid of it by eating virgin coconut oil. It is healing to the gut and many who have thyroid problems find the coconut oil helps them a lot. This tub costs about $10 and lasts anywhere from 1-3 months depending on what I do with it. Mostly we fry eggs in it, butter bread with it, or I will use it in baking.

I had two eggs, runny in the middle, which I used to hate, and ended up eating two slices of the bread I made with butter, cinnamon and raw honey. Better than regular cinnamon sugar toast!
So I said I wasn't going shopping with children anymore. Well sometimes there isn't any other choice, so that's what I did today.

My husband works for Brookshires, a grocery store chain that's mostly in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and some in Oklahoma. I like going there because it's smaller, less people, usually better quality than our walmart, they sack your groceries and take them to the car and the carts are better. I do not like that their prices are high than most everywhere else, especially on some items like specialty items. (organic and things like that) Sometimes they have good deals, like today was buy one package of chicken breasts and get one free.

I loaded up the chillins' and drove the 3 minutes to the store, LOL.

Here are the kids in the cart; I like the set up where they can see where they are going and not where they've been. I generally have better luck with them behaving well at Brookshires. Walmart is a circus.

I didn't take many pictures in the store because most of the time people were around and I didn't want questions about why I was taking pictures. Check out the price of this milk I buy. However in February we are switching back to the raw goat milk, so it will be double that.

And this is the kind of eggs we buy. For a long time they were only $1.49 per dozen, now they are double that! Oh well, good nutrition pays off in the end.

I'm not sure why everything is underlined and I can't get it to stop, so we'll just have to deal with it for now.

Here we are at the checkout with all of our groceries.

Sarah is quite unhappy as you can see. They ALL started crying right after I took the picture. That was a lot of fun-not. After I got home I realized that one of my gallons of milk didn't make it with me. I called the store and they actually delivered it to me! I can't say how thankful I am that I didn't have to get everyone back in the car and go back up to the store.

This was the girls' lunch. I let them pick it out at the store. Lunches just aren't my thing. It's either leftovers or from the freezer/can. If I want to be healthy I make tuna or egg salad with veggie/fruit sticks. In the grand scheme of things, eating a not so healthy lunch once or twice a week isn't going to kill us :) I ate leftover rice and chicken and meatloaf :)

Sarah enjoyed her lunch :) We also had a small piece of the coconut banana cake I posted about earlier.

Everyone is asleep now. It's getting close to 3pm and I need to start the stew. I have deer meat in the freezer from my father-in-law in Upper Michigan. I've never cooked game and only eaten it once I think. So here we go. I have no recipe, I'm just making it up here, and am trying out my Pampered Chef stoneware cooker again.

Here's the meat- kinda looks like liver or something.
I cut it up, tossed it in some flour and salt, poured olive oil in my cooker, then put the meat in it.

I had preheated the oven to 425 degrees, then I put the meat in for about 10 minutes. Then I stirred the meat around and let it go a few more minutes. While it cooked I chopped all the veggies.
The meat browned up pretty well with this method. I added some dried thyme, worcestershire sauce, all the veggies and then poured water up about half way in the pan. I covered it and stupidly grabbed the pan with my bare hands! Luckily I yanked my hands away quick enough I didn't get burned. I will not be adding potatoes to the stew, I'll just serve it with bread and a salad and that should be plenty :)

Alright, time to check the kombucha. It was looking like it might be ready already so I tasted it. Yep, it's ready. I only started it on Tuesday! I guess I need to add more sugar next time or something...So, now I have all this kombucha in my fridge!

Here's the mushroom from the previous batch(on the left, good ones on the right in the bowl). He's not looking too good, so I'm throwing it out. The new one goes in the fridge till next week. We're overflowing with kombucha and kefir right now. From left to right- two batches of kombucha, our milk, the kefir, juice, yogurt...the kefir grains and kombucha scoby are in there too.
I snapped a picture of me too, since you all haven't seen a recent picture of me. I haven't changed, except I am wearing jeans here.
Well this may be all I do for today. These posts are getting rather long. Hopefully tomorrow my husband can take some pictures of me doing stuff- we'll see, I may not have time depending on what we end up doing- my visionary husband!
By the way, all the pictures are 'clickable' and will open into a larger image. Also there are lots of typos- sorry, trying to do this fast when I can!!

January 10, 2008

In My Kitchen

Today I started snapping pictures of our meals and how I prepare them. We didn't have a 'normal' day, but I decided to start anyways.

So welcome to my kitchen. This is where I do most of my meal prep- my flour/sugar canisters, spices, baking items and mixer are all accessible, as well as bowls and measuring spoons in the cupboards and drawers below the counter.

I started our breakfast last night. I mixed 3 cups rolled oats, 1 cup kefir, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 t salt, 1 t cinnamon all together before bed. I covered it with a towel and let it sit until morning, which was 6:30 am.

Preheat oven and mix in 1/2 c brown sugar or honey, (I did sugar this time) 2 eggs, 1 t baking soda, 2 t cream of tartar, and I added dried cranberries and dates, about 1/8th cup of each.

Grease a baking pan ( I used a round cake pan) and smooth mixture into it. Pop it into the oven for about 30 minutes.
Time to check on my yogurt- it has set so I put it in the fridge. More about that later.

I also got my sourdough starter out and fed it. Then I checked the kefir and kombucha. Everything is looking good.

Time for breakfast. The girls eat their baked oatmeal with drizzled raw honey. I eat it with my homemade yogurt with a little drizzle of honey.

We were at my mom's house for lunch and while the girls were taking naps, I made me some garlic tea. I have some allergy/sinus stuff going on and it finally got bad enough for me to do something about it. I chopped a clove of garlic and put in the infuser in that yellow mug. Then I added boiling water. Before I drink it I will add some apple cider vinegar and honey. Not terribly, but not wonderful. It does help though. While that was steeping I drank a packed of vitamin C.

Then I made some sourdough bread. Leiah woke up and played at the sink for awhile while I made bread. I use about 2/3 whole wheat flour to 1/3 unbleached all purpose flour. The starter I have was already 'white' so for now I'm keeping it that way.

Ok, here the bread dough is ready for kneading. Kneading bread dough is one of my favorite things!

I got my rolling pin and rolled it into a sort of rectangle, then rolled it up like cinnamon rolls and put in my greased loaf pan. Unfortunately I forgot about it and it overflowed the pan! So I punched it down and it rose again even faster!!! Luckily I caught it before it overflowed, and now I'm waiting for it to bake. It might look weird.

This week I have not gone to the grocery store yet to buy all of our food. I've picked up a few things here and there, but just haven't had the time to get it all. So I revamped our leftovers from last night. We ate grilled chicken fajitas last night and we had one large chicken breast left and some sauteed peppers and onions.

So I chopped more onion and garlic (chopping garlic sure clears the nose!) threw it in my pot with some olive oil. I let it cook for a few minutes before I put a little over a cup of brown rice in there. I let it cook for a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Then I added 3.5 cups of water, ground cumin, chili powder, some salt and about 2 T tomato paste and stirred it up before I put the lid on to let it cook.

After the rice was mostly cooked I added the chicken I had chopped up and the sauteed veggies. We also had frozen corn on the cob, which I cooked of course, and leftover guacamole and chips. Tomorrow I have to go to the store!! I dread it though...remember I said I wasn't going shopping with the kiddies again? I will be eating my words I guess. Maybe I can snap some pictures of the process if all goes well...no promises though :)