Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday on the Homestead



Hope everyone had a blessed Resurrection Day! My girls and I made a nice dinner which consisted of pot roast, cheesy garlic potatoes, coleslaw, peas & corn and a chiffon cake. 


Now I am looking ahead at the week and see lots on my to-do list. I have been doing some spring cleaning. I started last week in my basement storage area. I have been going through all my storage totes and purging lots of stuff. I don’t desire to be a collector of stuff yet somehow despite my feelings on this I still end up with too much, and I don’t like it. Maybe after helping to clean out my grandmothers and step grandmother’s homes and last year my father in laws home I saw the huge accumulation of things that they acquired over the years.  We gave away and hauled to the Good Will and the dump lots of “stuff”. It made me wonder what is the purpose of “stuff”? How much time have I spent over the years, storing, going through, organizing and dealing with my stuff? I think our fascination with our possessions takes away from simple living. Granted we may need some of the things we hang on to, but how much is reasonable? That has been the question I ask myself with every shelf I clean, and with every tote I open up. Am I really going to need this again? If I feel it is something that has value and that I WILL use again, I keep it but if I question it, I am giving it away. The best part of it all is how free it makes me feel when I do this, showing me that yes indeed.. stuff certainly can be a burden. 


Aside from working in my basement some more I have school work to check up on with the kids and with their help we will get the house in nice shape. My older girls are already off to their babysitting jobs this morning so it will be me and my 3 youngest (which really aren’t so young any more.. they are 14, 12 and 10) doing the housework. In the afternoon Tobin and I have some errands to run (which includes taking several large bags of clothing to the Good Will drop off! ) and a few other things are on our list.. one of which is our traditional weekly stop at Starbucks!  


Hope you all have a great Monday on your homesteads!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

This Weeks Menu


BBQ Beef in crockpot over brown rice




Tacos w/ all the trimmings














Chips and Salsa



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday on the Homestead


I am getting ready to head to our nearest little town with my older girls. Tomorrow the youth group at our church is holding a bake sale to raise funds for Leanne’s mission trip and for another young girl who is going on a missions trip this summer as well. We need a few ingredients that we don’t normally buy and some small size paper plates. 


Here is what the girls are making (and none of this is healthy stuff! LOL):


Rice Crispy Treats

Banana Muffins

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon Rolls


When we get home I think I will be doing some crocheting. I am still trying to find time to finish my basket weave afghan. My afternoon looks rather calm actually. Which is nice because yesterday was very busy. I made nearly 35 pounds of soap and that seemed to encompass most of my afternoon. I was quite thankful that Emily had put crockpot chili on in the morning and Leanne made the coleslaw at dinner time. Sierra helped them do the clean up so dinner was a nice team effort that did not involve me! LOL.. 


Dinner tonight is baked chicken legs, mashed potatoes and coleslaw that I have leftover from last night’s dinner. Another easy dinner!


Yesterday we officially enrolled Emily in a program where she will be working from home to earn her college degree. She wants a degree in accounting/business. If all goes according to plan she should have her bachelor’s degree in less than 2 years. She will begin next month. The program we are using is called College Plus if anyone would like more info on this. After looking and discussing all her options during this last year since she got her GED, this seemed to be the most cost efficient and workable plan. She will continue to work her job as a nanny and the money earned there will help to pay for her education and give her time to study while the boys nap and so on. And if she needs extra study time Leanne has agreed to fill in for her. 


Emily did arrive home safe and sound last Monday. She decided she likes flying and traveling and can’t wait to do more. I thought I would share a few pictures of Emily’s trip to Maryland, WashingtonDC, New York.


Here are some of her in WashingtonDC:






And a picture of her with my son in law and daughter Carolyn:




And one in front of the Wall Street Journal (her favorite newspaper!  ) in New York:




And finally here is an updated picture of my sweet little grandson Caden (his looks remind me A LOT of my oldest son Richard when he was a baby):



That is all for Saturday on the Homestead… time to head to the store so my girls can keep on baking this afternoon! 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Isaac!!


Yesterday my baby turned 10!! As with all my children’s birthdays I always ask the same question.. Where did the time go!? And Who said he could get older!?  But they do grow up.



He had a very nice birthday. Grandpa came and brought pizza, which has been our little family tradition for many years now. Isaac’s friend Andy came and even Hannah was able to stop by and wish him happy birthday. 




Here a few more pics..


My girls made him Dirt Pudding.. I got the idea and recipe from one of the ladies on my message board and it was a big hit (thanks Ann )! They put gummy worms in the pudding. Definitely a boy thing! LOL… They also made him cupcakes because we were not sure how candles would stay in the pudding.. 





He got a new bow and some arrows from us and loved that. Went outside to test it out even though it was raining. 




Hard to believe 10 years has gone by so quickly!! 

Monday, March 10, 2008

This Weeks Menu



Tacos (did not have them last week due to fixing chicken noodle soup instead)






Isaac’s Birthday!




Fresh fruit platter




Cornbread or tortilla chips






BBQ beef (cooked in crockpot with homemade bbq sauce)




Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cast Iron Questions Answered


I got a few questions from my post on cleaning and maintaining your cast iron frying pans that I will try and answer:


Amy Jo,   asked where I bought my pans at. I bought them at a sportsman type store. The ones where they sell items for hunting, camping, fishing, etc..  The brand I have is, Lodge.


Anonymous made the comment that when your pans are seasoned well, no food sticks to them. This is true. The longer you use them, season them, etc.. the better they get!


Another anonymous person asked what to do if you don’t have coconut oil. You can use oil. I have used olive oil but I have not been as happy with the results as when I use coconut oil. You can find coconut oil pretty easily. Walmart even sells it.   She also asked if I use soap, no I don’t. I have written more in detail about this on my website. You can find my article here:





Saturday on the Homestead


Today was a very nice day at home. I did some housekeeping and spent some time sewing with Leanne. She has not shown a lot of interest in sewing in the past so I did not push it. Then she had something she wanted to make and so we did today. Now she is eager to finish a couple other projects and learn more.


The house was nice and quiet.. the boys were at their friends house and Sierra was busy with her blogs and updating her ipod and I was assisting in the sewing and getting dinner on, and on top of that the weather was sunny and beautiful.. it was a pleasant afternoon.


Dinner was very easy. I had leftover spaghetti sauce and noodles and made that into a spaghetti casserole. And had salad left from last night.. so I had dinner on the table pretty quick!  I will post the recipe tomorrow. It was delicious and a great use of my leftovers.


With my housework pretty much caught up on I now need to move onto soap making. I think maybe tomorrow I will measure out the oils and get my molds set up and maybe make soap on Monday. 


Emily should hopefully becoming home on Monday as well (I definitely miss her!), but that won’t be till later in the day.. if she gets on both her flights without problems. The only one that could be tricky is leaving out of Seattle for home.. very busy usually (we fly standby so have to wait for an open seat). But we could drive there and get her if we had to.  


Thats all for Saturday on the Homestead.. oh yes... Don’t forget to move your clocks forward tonight! 

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cleaning and Maintaining your Cast Iron Frying Pan


Seasoning a cast iron frying pan is on going process.  I bought my first cast iron frying pan a couple of years ago and just love them.  Here is how I keep mine clean:


I used the frying pan to cook up some veggies and then I cooked up some hamburger after that to use in spaghetti sauce



When I was done using the pan I poured water into it and let it come to a boil




Then I used my little scrub brush to loosed up and remove all the food bits that were left on the pan



Then I poured the water out and rinsed the pan




I used a scrubbie pad to remove all food



I put the pan back on the stove to let the water evaporate and let the pan heat up.  The heat is what kills the germs



When the pan was hot I used coconut oil to reseason the pan.  I don’t use Crisco.  Crisco is hydrogenated oil and I don’t use it for cooking or anything else but maybe soap making occasionally



I put the small scoop of oil in the pan and let it melt




I then took a napkin and swished the oil around in the pan



I let this heat up a little more, just until I see it smoke a little bit



And the pan is done and ready to be stored.  I store them in my oven. 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday on the Homestead


Monday’s are a strange day. Part of me is gearing up for a new week and part of me is winding down for the weekend. Tobin works over the weekend and then has his days off during the week. We do manage to work this out. So this morning the part of me that is gearing up for a new week has already started working on the to-do list around my home.


Here is what it looks like for today (by this time in the morning some of this has already been done):


Laundry – 3 to 5 loads, actually have not counted to find out the exact number

Clean up the kitchen, sweep and mop the floors

Straighten up the laundry room: sweep and mop the floor

Vacuum the living room and vacuum the furniture off to remove the dog hair

Clean the bathroom

Sweep and mop the dining room floor

Bring in firewood

Food preps, which won’t be much today, we are eating leftovers and no baking needs to be done


Of course I don’t do all of this myself. I mentioned in a recent blog I was working on training my younger ones with the household chores. I had one lady ask me about this wanting to know what I do. Her kids, however, are 6 and under. Well what I do and what this lady would do would be very different. My kids are 9 (almost 10), 12 and 14 years old. 


So here is how I tackle the cleaning/training time:


All three kids clean up the kitchen after breakfast. I follow up on this when they are done to make sure they attended to all the details.


One of the kids sweep the dining room floor after eating and then mop it.


I start laundry and give Sierra assistance as she works to clean up the laundry room and sweep and mop. She basically already knows how to do this, she just skimps on it if I am not following up on her. 


While I do laundry and work with Sierra, Jacob cleans the bathroom and teaches Isaac how to do this too. He can clean the toilet, wipe off counters, sweep and mop, shake rugs, etc.. Other details he is still learning how to do. Jacob has been cleaning the bathroom for about a year now.


After the laundry room is done and laundry is underway, Sierra and I will move into the living room to vacuum furniture, pick up any clutter and vacuum the furniture and do a little dusting.


Jacob will bring in firewood.


All this usually takes us about an hour or less and then we move onto school work.


School for Today is:


Saxon Math, 1 lesson


Reading in books from the Robinson Curriculum: Jacob is reading Picturesque America and will be starting For the Temple by GA Henty. Sierra is reading The Rover Boys on Treasure Isle and Isaac is reading: Four American Naval Heroes.


Writing: Isaac will do some handwriting practice, Jacob and Sierra will write one page on whatever topic they choose. 


Presidents: We are doing a unit study on presidents and the election process and we will begin this weeks study in the afternoon. Actually I may be gone so Leanne who is home today will be directing kids. This week we will be focusing on the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Three Branches of Government.


So this is what my “Gearing up for the New Week” Monday is looking like!  My “weekend” Monday means that Tobin and I will head into town for our weekly date. Like that part the best! 


I hope you all are having a productive day in your homes! 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

This Weeks Menu



BBQ Ribs (I cooked these today in the crockpot and covered them with my Texas BBQ Sauce).







Tortilla chips, salsa















Saturday, March 1, 2008

It’s Been Awhile!


Well I took a blogging vacation.. not intentionally but rather by default. I had a huge and building and getting on the verge of overwhelming to-do list that had to be tackled. It was getting to the point I was not sure where to even start! I shared my feelings about this with my hubby and we talked about where to start and what I needed to work on and then the next day he started the day by making me coffee and directing the kids to do their chores and that gave me the time and encouragement to start the first thing on the list. After that was done I started the next and the next and pretty soon I was on a roll! It started feeling so good to get things done that I just kept on going for the next several days. These were not necessarily major things (some things were bigger than others) but an accumulation of lots of stuff that had to be dealt with (make appts, mail off pkgs, catch up on my bookkeeping, make phone calls, make soap, label and package products, clean up of things, print books for the kids schooling, check the kids writing papers, etc, etc, etc.... ). 


Since then I have been doing some organizing of my home. Mostly I have been organizing my products. As my business has grown so has the amount of things I make and the need to store them somewhere. So I have shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes labeled with different soaps, lotions, lip balms and more. Some areas of this are more organized than others so I worked to get that under control but still need to figure a better way to organize all my packing supplies. 


I also made about 45 lbs of soap and hope to get another 35 lbs made next week sometime. Plus I made over 150 tubes of lip balm and still have more I may try to finish making today. 


As well as all the above mentioned things my home life has been rather different I have only 4 kids at home and during the day only 3. So it makes for different feeling household. It is not that any one child is noisier or more of an issue.. it just seems to be such a strange phenomenon that when one child leaves the whole house just seems different.. don’t know if anyone else with big size families notices the same thing or not.


But anyway, the reason for the change: over a week ago Tobin and I put Emily on a plane to Washington D.C. She is staying with our older daughter, Carolyn, and her hubby at Andrews AFB in Virginia. They have had a great time visiting and touring around the area. This week she is really excited as they all have a chance to drive up to New York City and do a little sight seeing. I can’t wait to see all the pictures she promised she would take!  She will be gone another week and a half. Leanne has been gone during the day filling in with the nanny job for Emily.  Leanne has taken care of the twins on several occasions and has worked with Emily so she did not mind. Besides she is able to earn a little extra money to put towards her mission trip.


Having my household down by 2 during the day has also shown me what areas of household chore training I need to impart to my youngest 3 children. My older girls are so capable that I rely a lot on them and when they are not here.. well I really see what level the younger ones are at (or rather what level they are not at! LOL  ). So this has been a good opportunity to stress the chores and training with them.


Well that is update for now. I hope to be back to blogging more regularly again. Just had to keep those priorities in order and boy does it feel good to be on top of stuff right now!