Saturday, February 22, 2014

Survival Saturday

We are buried deep in snow but its still time to turn thoughts to planning and planting your garden.

This year, I am doubling the size of our garden.  I should have enough carrots, peppers, onions, and green beans to make it throw the year after canning and freezing are done.  I hope to have enough tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce for the year and also make enough chili to last through the cold months.  I just finished up the chili and spaghetti sauce from last year.  

I'm adding more beds for beets.....hubby wants pickled beets.  Yuck, but I will do it for him.  I'm also adding broccoli this year.  Potatoes didn't do well last year but it was so wet and cool that I'm surprised I got anything at all.  Hopefully they will do better this year.  

Last year, I used the previous owners vegetable garden area to plant the cucumbers and pumpkins.  I don't know if it was because the ground was so bad or the weather, but they didn't produce hardly anything.  Six cucumber plants and I got eight pints of pickles.  This year, I'm adding a raised bed for the cucumbers, pumpkins, and cantalope.  I was able to get 14 cantalopes last year off of two plants in the raised bed.  They were delicious and I was literally giving them away after a while.  We couldn't keep up with them.

I ordered another blueberry bush and 25 more strawberry plants.  I also will be getting three peach trees and two pear trees.  I hope to add some more berry plants this year, possibly cranberries and currants/  We'll see how it goes.  Next year, I hope to add dwarf apple trees.  I'm looking forward to getting more apples.  I will be looking for organic solutions for our apple trees that are already on the property.  We lost a lot of apples last year due to bugs.  I also need to really getting into pruning.  The trees have never been pruned and the fruit is really small.  

This year I'm also planning on buying a wheat grinder and start making our own bread.  It will hopefully be sometime this summer.  I've very excited about that.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Let is snow.....

I took several days off this week.  I really needed to pray, rethink, and readjust our schedules.  I start school next month and was realistically trying to figure out how I was going to do all of it.  

I just revamped the kids chore charts...and mine.  Each big kid is assigned an area and responsible for it during the week.  They also each take one day to pick up the bathroom and clean the sink.....which for some reason acquires toothpaste art every single day.  I will be working with the littles in their area, which will train them and help me get things done.

I have also worked on school items that needed to be done.  It was good to be able to clean up those items and organize.  This weekend, I hope to clean up the kitchen good and clean out the basement.  

Other than that, we've been up to snow. And snow.  And some more snow.  Not a lot, except the eight inches yesterday, but the wind has been crazy this year.  The fields are empty, but not my house.....its all been blown to my house.

See for yourself:
On the other side of this giant pile is the driveway.  You can see the little barn roof on the top off in the distance

This is the same pile, but I took the picture with the garage and playhouse so you could see how tall it is

This is the other side of that same pile.  And I swear that there are stairs underneath all that snow that lead up to the deck

TL is standing in front of the tree so you can see how high that pile is in front of the barn.  Before the storm it was about a three foot drift and had a six foot path to get to the barn.  Thank goodness we don't have any animals in there, we couldn't get in.  The wood is stored in there though, so I'm thankful we didn't loose power

The driveway.  The drifts are 3-4 feet tall.  It was clear before the storm.
So, we are officially snowed in.  Who knows when they will plow the road.  We're a small town road, so the last to be plowed.  My friend will have to bring over the skid loader to get us dug out.  Not sure when he'll get to that, we're last on the list for him to do.  Poor guy, he's been plowing for about 12 hours already today.

Take care everyone!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap up

I've been quite busy this week getting ready to start college in a few weeks.  I'll be taking two classes at once, so life is going to be very busy indeed.  I'm looking forward to getting my master's done....but it will be a struggle.

As if our weeks aren't busy enough with Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Taekwondo, and volunteering at the church's afterschool program, the older girls and I have thrown in some bible studies.  Princess and Bug a Bug are attending a girls study with the Pastor's wife.  I am attending a meaty discussion on Malachi.

I've been planning out the garden and its expansion.  I just ordered some more fruit trees (it will stop being cold and snowy one day right?) and berries.  I will have to order more cinder blocks and a load of dirt so that we can  build more beds.  I love our raised garden beds!

I have also been working on some cleaning and organizing that I won't have time for once we finish school.  

In school this week:

The big girls are workly on an Olympic study.  They have to research six countries and follow and then graph their medal standings.  They also have to research two sports and write a short report on them.  We've been staying up late watching the Olympics, so our school days have been shorter, but we all love the Olympics so we're enjoying the sacrifice.

The big girls are working on the Human Body.  We will be adding in some games and Professor Noggins cards to help us out.

TL is finishing up Adventures of Huck Finn and is doing well with Biology.  Spanish is difficult for him, but he is making huge strides and trying really hard.

Trouble is doing really well with her reading.  I need to be more consistent though.  I've let it goes several times and she needs the practice.  We're still working on short vowel words, but I anticipate her starting other books in the next month or so.

Have a wonderful and safe week everyone

Survival Saturday

I plan on taking a trip to Sam's Club at the end of the month to do some stocking up on items.  With six of us at the house, we take advantage of the prices and the amount of goods that they sell.

This week, I will be stocking up some rice, peanut butter, and toothpaste.  An odd combination but I realized that I don't have extras in those areas so I'm getting those done first.  

I also wanted to discuss some inexpensive and great cleaners that you can make and use:

Window cleaner:
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water

Disinfectant spray:
1 cup peroxide
1 cup water

Everyday cleaner:
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup rubbing alcohol
several drops of your favorite dish detergent

I switched to these cleaners months ago and love them.  Its nice to have some great cleaners on hand and ones that don't cost a bundle.  I have stocked up on ingredients and can make them in a moments notice.  Its nice not to worry about toxic chemicals polluting my home.

It has finally warmed up here.  We're expecting snow now today because its above 0.  Also, keep the midwest in your prayers.  For those of us that heat with propane, we have been hit hard with high prices.  I just paid over $600 for 200 gallons of propane, which will last 20 days or so.  

Be blessed and have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tasty Tuesday

I've had many requests for this recipe.  I'm not sure why I've never posted it until now.

Roast Sticky Chicken

1 large roasting chicken
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp salt

Mix all the spices in a bowl.  Clean out the chicken and pat dry.  Rub spice into the chicken inside and out.  Place in a resealable bag, seal, and refrigerate overnight.  The next day remove from the bag and place a chopped, peeled onion inside.  Cook 6-8 hours in the crockpot.  It will literally fall apart when you take it out and its is so delicious!

Pork Tenderloin

1/2 cups olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
pepper to taste
garlic to taste
1 1lb pork tenderloin

Mix marinade ingredients together.  Marinade 3-4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Sear tenderloin on stove 2-3 minutes per side.  Place in oven.  Cook 30-40 minutes.  I have also just put everything in the crockpot and cooked 5-6 hours.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our week ending 2/7/2014

We seem to be having difficulty getting everything done during the week.  Part of it is my fault because I haven't been totally prepared and I've been busy with other items.  

One is that now I am an advisor with Tapestry of Grace.

I am very excited to be an advisor for this wonderful curriculum.  It has been a huge blessing for my family and we absolutely love it.  I look forward to guiding others to decide if TOG is right for them and teaching them how to use it.

I also received word from the VA this week, that my hubby's Post 9/11 GI Bill has been transferred to me to use so I can start my master's next month.  I am really excited but a little nervous as to the amount of work that I will be doing.

On a homeschooling note:

Biology is going well with TL although he is struggling with the amount of material and vocabularly words.  I've vowed to read through the material and better prepare to answer questions and help him take notes to study from.

Elemental Science Biology is absolutely fantastic!!  I couldn't ask for a more fun and engaging curriculum for the girls.  I am also using the Intro to Science curriculum with the littles and they are loving it.  I will be doing a curriculum review hopefullylater this week.

Math is still a struggle for Princess.  I find that if I don't have her do as many problems and help her work through them, she seems to grasp it better.  I hope that she will make great improvements this year with the changes.

All seem to be doing well with their areas of study.  TL wants more work with Spanish so I find myself working with him on that quite a bit.  I tried to reinstall Tell Me More but the disk doesn't want to seem to work.  I'm going to clean it and try again.

We are expecting extreme cold tonight and tomorrow night again ( in the low -teens and -20s).  A little warmup to 15 on Wednesday is going to bring us some snow.  We will be bundled in thankfully Tuesday during the really cold part.  No activities at all!  Yeah!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Survival Saturday-laundry soap

I've been working diligently on stocking up for three months.  Because I already have a stock for about three weeks, it wasn't too hard to see what I would need for three months and add onto that.  I decided to take advantage of the low prices on canned beans (I will also be adding dried beans) and stocked up that shelf.  I also needed just another two bags of powdered sugar and brown sugar, giving me one bag for each month.  Overly generous, but sometimes its nice to have on hand.  

I've been making my own laundry soap for a while and I LOVE it!!  So much cheaper and it works great.

1 box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (abt $3.50)
1 box Borax (also about $3.50)
1 Bar of Fels Naptha soap

*Note that you will need a bar of Fels Naptha with each batch.  I am still using the same boxes of Arm and Hammer and Borax and I'm on my fourth batch. 

Grate the bar of Fels Naptha and put it on the stove in a large pot.  Add one gallon of water.  Boil until the pieces are melted.  And 1 1/2 cup each of Borax and Arm and Hammer.  Dump the pot into a large rubbermaid container (I have a friend who uses two five gallon buckets and then just divides it in half).  Add nine gallons of water.  Mix and let sit overnight.  It will be a gel-like liquid.  I then divide it up into ten one gallon water jugs.  We don't have a sink in the basement and I'm not lugging two five gallon buckets up and down the stairs so I do it this way.

Use one cup for each load-equals 160 loads total.  

When I discussed this with my mom, she stated that she loved Fels Naptha because it was a great stain remover.  You just rub the bar on the clothes.  It makes you wonder why woman changed to all these expensive laundry detergents, softeners, and stain removers.  The cheap stuff works just as well!
For fabric softener, I use a few tablespoons of vinegar.  I made up two jars and add sandalwood essential oil to one and lavender essential oil to the other so it cuts through the vinegar smell.  My clothes are clean and bright and I love it!

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Some Winter Olympics Ideas

Here are some ideas to do for the winter olympics:

1.  Do a study on Sochi
2.  Pick about six countries and graph the gold medals wins for each country
3.  Have each child pick a sport and do a presentation on it; history, rules, famous athletes, etc.
4.  Take a look a the US team and graph the number of athletes for each sport.

These are just a few quick ideas.  Enjoy the Olympics!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My reading list

This year is going to be a very busy year.  Yesterday, I received the letter from the VA stating that I am authorized to use my husband's GI Bill for school.  I will start my master's degree on March 3rd.

I have shortened my yearly reading list in order to accommodate this new adventure.

1. Washington's Secret Six-currently reading
2. Mayflower
3. 1776
4. Washington's Crossing
5. Bunker Hill

This completes my history reading for the year.  I usually read more but this will be a busy year.

On my classics list:

1.  Little Women (currently reading with the girls)
2.  Secret Garden
3.  Anne of Green Gables
4.  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
5.  Last of the Mohicans
6. King Solomon's Mines
7.  The Hound of the Baskervilles
8.  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
9.  The Invisible Man

Most of these are books that I am reading to keep up with the kids literature requirements.

And of course, I have quite a few historical fiction books on my list.  I narrowed them down to:

1.  Sara's key
2.  Shadows and Strongholds
3.  Redfield Farm: A story of the Underground Railroad
4. The Last Camellia
5.  Unburning Alexandria
6.  Blackberry Winter
7.  The Last Runaway
8.  Mariana
9.  Splendour Falls

I know that I will probably not come close to finishing this list, but its a good try!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Menu plan Monday

This is a very busy week.  We are on the run every single night so I'm making the most out of my crockpot this week.

Monday  Breakfast-eggs, sausage, toast
            Lunch-leftover pizza from the Super bowl
            Dinner-Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

Tuesday  Breakfast-pancakes
             Lunch-cheeseburger soup

Wednesday  Breakfast-oatmeal
                  Lunch-Chicken and cheese quesadillas with veggies and fruit
                  Dinner-Sticky chicken, rice, corn, and applesause

Thursday     Breakfast-cereal
                  Lunch-Leftover soup and grilled cheese
                 Dinner-stew with homeade rolls

Friday        Breakfast-waffles
                Lunch-sandwiches and fruit
                Dinner-tacos and rice

This and that:

We are praying that propane prices go down.  Currently its $4 per gallon and I have enough for about 18 days.  I'm hoping it goes down or I'm not sure what we'll do.  At that price, we can't afford to get much and it won't last very long.

I have a very busy week this week and I'm praying that I make it through it.  We have boy scouts tonight, American Heritage girls tomorrow night, the after school program on Wednesday, our co-op meeting and taekwondo on Thursday, and the Teen Spot program on Friday night.  I'm also squeezing in getting our taxes done on Wednesday night.  I'm gonna be pooped at the end of the week!  I will also be so thankful when TL gets his driver's license which will cut down my running two nights a week.

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!