Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Cleaning List: Update on Homemaking Challenge for September

OK.. this is my ideal schedule. With summer and other things I’ve not kept up with this and seem to be always be behind the curve. My desire is to hit these areas in my home on a regular basis, at regular days.. again!! :) … So far this week, I’ve been keeping up. It really, most days, does not take that much time to do this. Especially when I compare it to what it was like for me years ago!!

I’ll keep you posted this month on how it’s going for me. Hope you are getting your cleaning schedule worked out this month too!

Clutter pick up
Sweep kitchen floor
Clean off counters in kitchen
Clean out fridge to make room for grocery shopping (I shop on Monday)

Go through the house hitting each room and dealing with the basics
Kitchen: sweep, mop, wipe out microwave, clean off counters, wipe down fronts of cupboard doors and drawers
Living room: clean up piles of clutter, dust, and vacuum
Dining room: clear out table and chairs, sweep & mop, clean up clutter ‘hot’ spots (where mail collects and kids leave all their stuff)
Laundry Room (which is also my pantry): clear off counter, reorganize pantry shelves as needed, wipe down washer and dryer, sweep and mop floor
Bathroom: give it a good overall cleaning
Bedrooms: vacuum, dust, pick up, etc..

Community laundry: such as bathroom towels, kitchen towels, cleaning rags, cloth napkins.. my kids do their own laundry
Pick one room to do a deeper cleaning and organizing in

Keep up on basics

Laundry day for my and hubby’s clothes
Clean bathroom - just the basics:  clean out the sink, tub, toilet, sweep the floor, shake out the rug
Sort and organize recycling
Vacuum and wash both sets of stairs (one to the upstairs and the one to the basement)
Vacuum living room carpet and throw rugs in the hallway
Kitchen: sweep & mop floor, wipe out microwave, wipe down fronts of appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, stove)
Upstairs: my kids all have their bedrooms upstairs, so I check weekly to make sure it’s not a disaster up there.. ha, ha!! :) and then have them deal with it on Saturday, if I see any issues

General: clutter pick up, keep the kitchen clean, floors swept as needed

Not a whole lot of cleaning gets done on Sunday. I plan my weekly menu, I prepare my grocery list for Monday, clean up clutter, keep the kitchen clean, make sure the kids get their laundry done and are ready for their work week..


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Broccoli Salad

I made this last night for dinner. I was originally planning to make this to go with chicken and gravy over biscuits, but it seemed a better fit with lasagna. So I changed up my menu and made lasagna.

This salad is so good!! If you are looking for a little something different, this might just be the ticket. I made this earlier in the day so it would have time to drain and chill before dinner.

This recipe makes a very large amount of salad. Remember, I feed 6 adults.. :) .. so feel free to cut it in half or more if you are not feeding an army like I am!

Broccoli Salad

3#’s broccoli florets (the heads only, I buy them in a large 3# bag from Costco)
½ of a medium onion, chopped (I used a Walla Walla Sweet onion)
½ cup craisins (raisins would also work, but the craisins were very pretty)
1 ½ cups mayo
3T white wine vinegar
4t sugar
salt & pepper, to taste

Blanch the broccoli for 2 or 3 minutes (bring a pot of water to a boil, add broccoli, bring it back to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes). Drain and soak in cold water to cool off. Then drain again. It’s important that the broccoli is very well drained. I put my broccoli, in my strainer (that was sitting in a bowl to catch the extra liquid) in the fridge for about an hour so it could be well drained and cold.

While the broccoli is draining make the dressing. In a large bowl mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar and salt & pepper.

When the broccoli has cooled down and drained put it in a large bowl. Add the chopped onions and craisins. Add the dressing and gently stir to coat it well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

10 Books with a Lasting Impression

I saw this on FaceBook.. and have loved looking at others book lists. You were to name 10 books that had a lasting effect on you. So I thought.. ok.. what would be my 10 books? I’ve listed them in no particular order. According to the rules:

“the 10 books that had the most meaning in my life: In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take too long or think too hard about it. They do not have to be great or classic works / just books that have had an effect on you.”

If you have a book list to share with me.. I’d LOVE to see it!! It was fun to think about and come up them…

So here is my List:

1. Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder – my introduction to homesteading, at a very young age. I read them all as a little girl.. was always fascinated with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life. Definitely left a lasting impression on my life!

2. Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis – I loved this series. I read it, sat while my hubby read it 3 times to our kids as they were growing up. The spiritual messages in this book really spoke to my heart over and over!

3. The Way Home by Mary Pride - I have 8 kids.. what more can I say about how her message on children, God, motherhood and so much more impacted my life

4. For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – This book had a tremendous impact on how I chose to homeschool my children. From early on I felt that reading to my children was one of the most important things I could do for them. And reading classic works to enrich their lives and broaden their understanding of so many things in this world.

5. Home Style Schooling by Dr. Raymond S. Moore – the first homeschooling book I read. This book is what began my vision of homeschooling our children.

6. The Bible – goes without saying.. my life line, my love for God, my love for my Saviour, my direction in life. Without it, I would be lost.

7. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – seriously I only recently read this book and the lasting impression on me has been tremendous. I saw the world and people in a whole new way. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this book, why he wrote it like he did, why it ended like it did.. has given me much food for thought!

8. The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen – Evil reigns everywhere.. even in the name of Jesus. Her book was eye opening to me, test the spirits and know where they come from!

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – one of the first adult classics I read (many years ago). What can I say.. jealously, revenge, social class issues, .. by the time I was done reading it, I had a lot to think about! I still remember it to this day.. so I guess it left an impression on me!!

10. Many Infallible Proofs by Henry M. Morris – a great book on “Scientific Creationism” .. we are saved through faith.. I have no doubt about that. But reading this book and seeing scientific facts that back up creationism was eye opening. Very good book with a lasting impression for sure!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Menu Monday!


Crockpot pork chops, potato salad, French bread, green salad

Chicken n’ gravy over biscuits, broccoli salad

Tacos, chips & salsa, fruit platter


Lasagna, French bread, green salad

Crockpot roasted chicken, garlic roasted potatoes, salad



Friday, September 5, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for September!!


I know, you probably thought I forgot about my monthly homemaking challenges… but I did not. ~smile~ July and August were not only crazy months for me (especially with my sons ruptured appendix!), but they were hot and sunny and it’s been beautiful outside. So I spent time enjoying the outdoors and having friends and family over to enjoy some of this amazing summer with me. Frankly, doing extra tasks in the home was just not on my list.

Now as fall is approaching my schedule needs to change, routines need to be reestablished and life needs to move on into a steady rhythm. 


This month I’ve decided to work on creating a workable household cleaning routine. My life has changed a LOT over of the last couple of years. I use to have several children at home, helping with the daily chores. Now, I’m down to just one at home during the day. My son and both daughters work full time (my daughter Sierra works almost full time and is going to school as well) and so while they may be gone for most of the day, their foot print still is left behind to be dealt with.

So my game plan: discuss basics with them (again!! ~smile~) of picking up after themselves, following through with anything that they are doing that makes a mess (like clean up the kitchen after making themselves food, wash their own dishes after a meal, clean up the bathroom after a shower, etc.).

Then create a daily/weekly basic house cleaning schedule to follow.

I’ll be updating you on my progress and sharing my lists and thoughts on keeping the house clean on a daily basis.

Do you have a daily/weekly cleaning schedule that you follow? With summer fun, children, gardens and canning (or whatever has kept you busy this summer) have you let it slip away? Do you need to refocus on this in your home?

If you do, please join me this month in fine tuning, creating, and implementing a new schedule. I think it’s a great way to welcome in the fall!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In the Kitchen..

Fall is beginning to make its appearance here in the Pacific Northwest! The days are getting shorter, the evenings cool off quick and it takes a bit of time to warm up in the morning. The other day the clouds covered the sky and the house was cool and I decided to do a little cooking. Up to this point, I’ve not wanted to heat up the kitchen much. Just too hot!! But on this day I made up a couple of family favorites for dinner and did a little baking.

I started by making my Mexican Rice Casserole for dinner. I made a HUGE pan of this. Feel free to cut the recipe in half to fit your needs. I feed 6 adults daily and this meal fed us for 2 nights. The recipe calls for shredded cheese on the top.. I only had cheese slices (real cheese, not American, so that is what I used instead).

Here is the recipe..

Mexican Rice Casserole

2lbs hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
10 cups cooked brown rice
1 can rotel tomatoes
2 cups salsa
2 cups frozen corn
2 to 4 cups shredded cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large frying pan cook hamburger and onion until hamburger is no longer pink and onion is soft. In a large bowl combine cooked hamburger/onion, onion, rotel tomatoes, salsa, frozen corn and half the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put all ingredients into an 11x15 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until all is hot and bubbly. Serve with a little extra salsa on the top.

I also made Refried Beans to go with this meal.

And the recipe…
Refried Beans

3 cups dried pinto beans
12 cups water
1T salt
1 cube/stick butter (8T)

In a large stock pot combine dried beans, water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 3 hours. When the beans are soft heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add butter and let it melt. Scoop out beans and some of the broth into the frying pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans and continue to add more beans and mash until all the beans have been added. Add more bean broth as needed to give a smooth consistency.
I served it with corn on the cob that our neighbors had given us.. it was a delish meal!!

After I was done with all that I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls…

Cinnamon Rolls

I began by making a 2 loaf recipe of my favorite bread..

2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 T yeast
1/3 cut olive oil
2 t. salt
1/3 cup gluten flour
5 to 7 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (or you can use all white flour or half white and half wheat.. if you do you can skip the gluten flour)

In a large bowl or in a large mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid or Bosch type) combine the water, yeast and honey. Let sit for a few minutes to give the yeast a chance to start working. Add the salt, oil, gluten flour and 3 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Continue to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl and does not feel sticky to the touch. Knead for 4 minutes in a Bosch mixer or 7 to 10 in other mixers or 10 to 15 minutes by hand.

Let the bread rise once, punch down, and divide the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a large rectangle (12x15inches or so). Spread with butter, sprinkle as much brown sugar over the top as you’d like and then sprinkle on cinnamon. Roll the dough up, from the long side. Cut the dough into about 1 to 2 inch pieces. Lay on a large jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with Pam, or greased or (my favorite) lined with parchment paper. Repeat this for the second half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until nice and brown.

While rolls are baking make the glaze..

Cinnamon Roll Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar
3T butter, softened
2t vanilla
3 to 4T milk

In a mixer combine powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix this for a few minutes. Add milk. Mix until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency. You don’t want it to thick.. should be more of a glaze than a frosting.

Spread glaze over cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven…

I'm looking forward to more fall baking and cooking again as the weather slowly cools down! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Foot Soak..

Aww.. it was amazing.. after a summer of flip flops and heat and neglect my poor feet needed some attention. I usually love to soak in Epsom salts but did not have any. So I found some Avon foot soak stuff.. it was good.. but then I love Avon.. :) .. I also added about a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the foot soak..

Then filled the bowl with boiling water and enough cold water to make it tolerable. I soaked for almost an hour and it was heavenly. My feet felt so soft and nice. I smooshed around some foot cream (again from Avon) when I was done.

If you need a little “me time” .. give yourself a little foot soak…