Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vacation Time

Crystal’s Country Store is on vacation (and so am I )


All orders placed as of September 29th will be mailed out on October 13th. 







Saturday, September 27, 2008

LeanneĆ¢€™s Mission Trip, Final Post


I thought I would wrap up Leanne’s mission trip. Leanne will be sharing Sunday at church about her trip and Emily and Leanne made up this presentation and I thought I would share it with you. 



Friday, September 26, 2008

My Granddaughter is Here!!


My daughter Hannah delivered Elizabeth Emma on Wednesday morning, September 24th at 9:16am. She weighed 6lbs 15oz… and what a cutie she is



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bits and Pieces from the Homestead


Life has been busy with our school schedule starting back up. I have found myself overwhelmed with trying to keep all my plates spinning lately. Think of the circus act with the guy who has the long poles and he gets a plate spinning on the pole, then takes another pole and does it again, all while keeping the first plate spinning. So I think of myself with lots of poles and lots of plates spinning (and I know lots of moms just like me! LOL). Since my girls got back from Maryland we have been working together to keep things moving ahead (keeping those plates spinning ). My daughters are the BIGGEST help I could have ever dreamed of. I am so thankful for their cheerful attitudes and their helpful hearts and hands. With the three of us handling so many details we decided a homemaking notebook would help us to all know what is going on and what needs to be done. So this last weekend we finally got started on it. 


Homemaking Notebook


After a lot of thought we now have the beginnings of our new homemaking notebook. I have it divided into 3 sections. 1) Household Management: .. daily, weekly and monthly chores and goals. 2) Menu planning: pantry lists, grocery lists, monthly menu planning calendar and 3) Homeschooling: which is broken up into several sections with calendars for each child and schedules, assignments due, etc..


Now it needs some more refining. I can’t say it looks real pretty! LOL.. My main focus is something that I can use not something that just sits and looks pretty.. I will work on making it look nicer as soon as I have it all organized. I did buy a blue notebook last night while I was in town. I liked that better than the old black one I had found on my book shelf. 


I will share more details and pictures as I get all the quirks worked out of this one.  


Menu Planning is always important to me. This is why I devote one whole section to meal planning, pantry lists, grocery lists and more.   I like to know what is being served and what groceries to buy to make it all happen. Here is a look at what we will be eating this week:



Menu for the Week


Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Hot dogs and sauerkraut

Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken, mashed potatoes, salad

Thursday: Crockpot hamburger veggie soup, bread, salad

Friday: Chinese rice, post stickers, salad

Saturday: Crockpot Chili, tortilla chips, salsa, salad

Sunday: Crockpot beef roast, potatoes, salad

Monday: Leftovers


Notice the use of my crockpot a lot over the next several days?? Yes, well with life as busy as it is I just LOVE using my crockpot! I am an early riser and find I am just tired by evening and I really appreciate a quick to put together meal or better yet, one that has been simmering all day in crockpot and is ready and waiting for us!  




A lady on my message board posted this today.  I thought these were good things to remember right now! 


1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still works.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Super Easy Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup

Fall time weather seems to come and go around my parts. Earlier this week we nearly 90 degrees and by the end of the week it was down to 70 and cloudy.. time for some comforting hot soup and homemade dinner rolls!  My family really enjoyed this meal. If you like things a bit more spicy make sure to have the Tabasco sauce sitting on the side. 



Super Easy Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup


1lb hamburger

1 onion, chopped

1 can green beans, drained

1 can corn, drained

2 cups sliced carrots

1 can diced tomatoes

3 cups water

1 T chicken or beef broth powder

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 can organic cream of mushroom soup (a brand such as Amy’s, found in health food stores)

Salt and pepper to taste


Brown hamburger and onions until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add to crockpot. Add remaining ingredients, stir. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Serve with some hot homemade dinner rolls for a great fall time meal. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Using Overripe Bananas


I usually buy a large bunch of bananas from Costco each time I grocery shop.  Typically they get eaten up before they start to get too ripe.  But occasionally I find myself with several bananas that need to be used up in a hurry.  Most often I make banana bread. It is easy to make, freezes well and my family loves it.  But sometimes I get a bit more creative.  Here is what I recently made with my overripe bananas: 

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
Crystal Miller

2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour, freshly ground if possible
2 T baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk, buttermilk or kefir
¼ cup light olive oil

1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 large bananas)

Mix dry ingredients together. Add milk, eggs, oil and bananas. Stir until blended. Bake on a medium hot to hot griddle until bubbles appear and the pancakes are nice and golden brown.

Banana Cream Cheese Pie
Crystal Miller

1 9in graham cracker crust (recipe follows)
1 cup whole cream
2 T cane juice crystals
1 8oz pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temp
½ cup cane juice crystals
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large bananas)

1 heaping cup whole frozen strawberries
2 T cane juice crystals
1 t cornstarch

Prepare graham cracker crust and allow to cool.  While crust is cooling assemble pie.  Whip cream with 2T cane juice crystals until stiff.  Set aside.  Beat softened cream cheese, cane juice crystals and mashed bananas until well combined.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spoon into graham cracker crust and refrigerate for a couple of hours to firm up.  Spoon topping over pie before serving.

To Prepare Topping:
Allow frozen strawberries to thaw just enough to slice them. Put them in a sauce pan with cane juice crystals and cornstarch.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes stirring every now and then.  Heat mixture to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until sauce thickens.   

Graham Cracker Crust
1 - 9" pie crust 

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 20 rectangles)
1/4 c. Sucanat or cane juice crystals
1/3 c. melted butter 

In a small bowl combine crumbs, sucanat (or cane juice crystals) and melted butter.  Press into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool before adding pie filling.  

Banana Strawberry Kefir Smoothies
Crystal Miller

2 ripe bananas
1 heaping cup fresh strawberries (frozen will also work)
2 cups kefir
Honey to taste, optional

Put kefir, bananas and strawberries into your blender. Turn your blender on high and mix until all is smooth (taste to see if you want to add a little honey for sweetener at this point). Pour into a glass. Enjoy! 

And here are a few more options as well: 

Banana Bread

Banana Cake 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins 

If you have some bananas that are getting too ripe and you don’t have time to deal with them you can freeze them.  I have done this many times.  I peel the bananas and put them in zip type bags.  I typically put 2 bananas per bag as this seems like the typical amount for most recipes.  The bananas will turn brown when you defrost them, but they work just fine in banana breads, muffins, pancakes, etc..  If you want to use them smoothies simply add them when they are still frozen. 



Saturday, September 13, 2008

Updates from the Homestead


Life is slowly returning to normal for me here on the homestead. I was hit by jet lag which really seemed to slow me down. But things are moving along normally now. My daughter Carolyn is doing great and my daughters Emily and Leanne flew out to Maryland Thursday to lend a helping hand for a week or so. 


On Tuesday Emily took and passed her Macroeconomics CLEP test and that officially finished up her first year of college! She started taking her CLEP tests in May. It took her 4 months to finish her first year. We are quite proud of her determination and effort in this. After she comes home she will get back to work and studying and will begin her classes for her 2nd year of school. I am not sure how many CLEP tests she has left but after she finishes them she will begin her dante tests at a different college. 


Fall time is here and I am thinking about becoming more streamlined in my home. I am working this weekend to get a new planner book assembled. It will be divided up into various sections to help keep me on track and organized.  Emily and Leanne are helping me quite a bit this year with the homeschooling so we decided we all needed a central spot to see what is going on and where things are with the kids each day and what household chores and work need to be done. Plus I will have things like my menu plans and running grocery lists too. So many details involved in keeping all the wheels turning!   I will show it to you and chat more about it as soon as I have it all done. 


I have a few bananas that are starting to get covered with brown dots.. time to do something with them! I usually do banana bread but this morning I think I will go and put together a batch of banana pancakes for the kids.  They are not up yet so maybe I can get them done before they wake up. 


Hope you all have a great weekend on your homesteads! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Grandson is Here!

My grandson Owen James was born on Sunday at 6:41pm at home with my friend and I as birth attendants.  My best and closest friend Sarah and I flew to Maryland on Thursday because my daughter was having a lot pre labor signs.  Friday and Saturday her labor started and stopped and finally on Sunday it kicked in for good.  She had a longer than expected labor for a second baby.  When Owen was born Sarah and I saw why this was.  Owen was born with his head in a “military presentation” meaning that the largest diameter of his head(across the brow) was what was born first as opposed to the crown of his head. My daughter did a fantastic job of laboring and delivering and the Lord was with us all each step of the way. There were many aspects of this labor and birth that were challenging to us all.  I saw in a powerful way that birth is a process..  a spiritual process that is; and not an aspect that is seen to the same degree as a hospital birth.  I knew this from my own homebirth experiences and Sarah and I were the ones to deliver Caden, her first baby, and we saw this..  but this birth took a lot more out of us mentally, physically and emotionally and we saw what it is to watch the hand of God carry us through.  I am home now and my entire family is praising Jesus for his grace, love, mercy, and wisdom.  We walk a walk of faith daily but rarely experience a walk of faith that takes you to your limits…  God is good all the time and today I am praising HIM for all He is..   

I would have loved to stay and soak up more of that newborn goodness..  but Sarah and I both had children and lives to get back to.  I hope to go and visit her again soon.   

Here are some pictures to share with you all..