Showing posts from 2010

January Menu

Well here is this month’s menu!  I have a few planned leftover days because I wanted less time in the kitchen so I could focus on getting my house organized.  But planning meals for my family is the first step in organization. So here are the meals planned for January….
1st – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
2nd – chili, cornbread, salad
3rd – egg rolls, chicken chow mien 
4th – fish tacos, Spanish rice, salad
5th – yummy pinto beans (make extra for tomorrow), homemade dinner rolls, salad
6th – leftovers
7th – split pea soup made with ham bone saved (frozen) from Christmas dinner, dinner rolls, salad
8th – Cajun baked chicken, cheesy rice, salad
9th – spaghetti, French bread, salad
10th – kielbasa cabbage & pasta, salad
11th – salmon patties, garlic roasted potatoes, coleslaw
12th – tacos with all the trimmings
13th – crockpot beef stew (make extra), dinner rolls, salad
14th – leftovers
15th – tuna noodle casserole, salad
16th – lasagna, French bread, salad

It's Almost the New Year!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I did not get a chance to post before the holiday like I had wanted to. Life just became a whirlwind of busyness. Prior to Christmas day we made a spontaneous trip up to Port Townsend, WA to visit Tobin’s parents. It was such a nice trip and we all enjoyed the break from our routine. It is always great to visit with the family.

The girls and I got right to work after we got back to prepare food for our Christmas dinner. Leanne and Sierra handled all the cookie baking and helped me with our Christmas dinner. This year Tobin had to work over the holiday so it was a little different than usual. We enjoyed what time we did have together. We had our big meal on Christmas Eve and then he left for work. We opened gifts in the morning when he got home. We had a relaxing day and munched on all the leftovers from our Christmas dinner. Later in the afternoon the kids all headed into town to see a movie.

I got all the Christmas decorations p…

Updates from the Homestead

Hard to believe the month is flying by so quickly! Yesterday my daughters Sierra and Leanne and I went shopping and I finished up the last of my Christmas shopping. I still have one more gift to get out in the mail and now a lot of wrapping to do! :) I got my daughter Emily’s box packed and took it to the post office.. and spent half my life savings mailing it to her! LOL.. it was not that bad, but it was a bit of sticker shock! What a mama won’t do for her babes.. you know? ~smile~ .. But the best part of it all is she got it in one week and was just thrilled! It was worth it all to know how excited she was to receive all the goodies.

We have had a flu bug going through the house. It’s been the cough, fever, achy muscle type thing. I think we are all pretty much past it now. We rarely get this sick; in fact I told Tobin that it has been years since I can remember the whole household being sick with something more than that common cold. I guess our immune systems were due…

This and That

Shipping food gifts outside the US..
One of my commenter’s left me a bit of interesting advice on shipping food items. When I wrote the article I was thinking about sending gifts to family members in the states. If you have family members in other countries you will want to check with the Post Office to see what kind of restrictions there are for the country you are sending food items to. For instance, I checked for Denmark and found I can’t send powdered milk or products made with it. No idea why, but now I know I can’t send my daughter any cocoa mix.

Speaking of Denmark

I don’t think I have ever shared my daughter Emily’s blog with you yet. She blogs about her life and opinions on issues. Currently she is blogging about her experience in Denmark. If you would like to check it out you can find her blog here:  She has recently posted some beautiful pics of Copenhagen and the snowy winter weather she is experiencing!

Cookie Making
Well, it is th…

Options for Shipping Homemade Food Gifts

I got an email from a nice lady who had a great question for me.. this is the question…

Could you please make some suggestions on food gifts to mail? Like a lot of people, my gift budget is stretched, and I'd love to make some goodies for my family to ship. But what makes a good "shipper"?

Great question.. I have family in Illinois.. and over the years my nieces have said they always look forward to the Christmas box from Auntie Crystal.. (~smile~) .. I put a whole lot of homemade love and goodness into those boxes and I will share what I have done and what I think works the best.. and why I choose what I do..

Cookies.. you know, what is Christmas without cookies.. but in my experience cookies don’t really ship all that well .. they break and fall apart and by the time they reach the recipient they are at least a couple days old or more. Cookies taste the best fresh out of the oven. My solution has been to send cookie mixes.. give them what they need to bake a…

December Menu

December is just about here! I spent time this last weekend working on my December menu. I have linked many of the meals listed on my site. One note to make.. I have French bread linked to my pizza crust recipe. I use this recipe to make French bread.. the 3 crust recipe will make 2 loaves of French bread.

If you need a menu calendar to write your monthly menu on you can find mine here:  I post a new menu calendar each month. They are a handy way to write out your menu and keep it on your fridge for easy reference.

December Menu

1st – tuna patties, garlic roasted potatoes, coleslaw
2nd – spaghetti, French bread, salad
3rd – baked chicken legs, mashed potatoes, salad
4th – potato sausage chowder, biscuits, salad
5th – beef stew, bread sticks, salad
6th – Chinese rice (with chicken and shrimp), egg rolls
7th – fish tacos, Spanish rice, salad
8th – crockpot lasagna, French bread, salad
9th – brats and potat…


I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving day! We enjoyed ours so much. I had 8 people here (13 total), and it was a lot of fun. Here are a few pics from our day…

My granddaughter Elizabeth :)

Today I am cleaning up and getting ready to pull out the Christmas decorations and think about the upcoming holiday. I have already done quite a bit of my shopping.. online! I love the UPS man this time of year! LOL.. ;) I am not a fan of Christmas shopping, at least not any more than I have to go out and do. I prefer online shopping as much as possible!!  

Right now my first agenda is to get a box packed up for my daughter Emily.  Emily is a coffee lover and knows all the local coffee shops and which ones make the best coffee. Sadly in Denmark coffee is not as big of a thing as it is here in our part of the world. So she is suffering a bit for lack of a real cup of coffee.. The first thing that is going into the Christmas box is a Melitta coffee cone and filters (lets you make one cup…

Updates from the homestead

Well it has been a while since I updated .. life has been sooo busy! I was helping my daughter Emily prepare and pack for her trip to Denmark. She will be an au pair for a super nice family for the next year.

She left yesterday morning. We headed out about 6:am and stopped at Starbucks for a final cup of coffee together. Sierra was with us too.. we got to the airport at 7:30 and stayed until she had gotten through security. She headed to Chicago and then from there flew on Scandinavian Airlines to Denmark. She had an 8 hour wait in Chicago and a very long flight after that. She called this morning to let us know she had arrived safe and sound with her new family. It was pretty emotional for me as her and I are very close and the thought of not seeing for a year was hard to handle.. but, I know this will be an awesome experience for her and am so excited for what she will encounter.

Before she left she took the last test of her last class for her degree.. so my sweet and …

Thanksgiving Planner

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your home this year?  I made a Thanksgiving planner a few years ago to help with the process... 
3 weeks ahead of time  Figure out how many people will you be serving and how big of a turkey you will need.  To calculate this, you need to figure about 1 ½ lbs of turkey per person.  So if you are feeding 8 people you would need a turkey that was about 12 pounds.  I usually buy them bigger so I will have leftovers.  Write out guest list Plan out menu Gather recipes Write out grocery list 2 weeks ahead Buy turkey (if buying frozen ones) Make dinner rolls and freeze.  I like to freeze them before baking.  I shape them into rolls; lay them out on a tray and flash freeze them.  On Thanksgiving Day I bring them out in the morning to defrost and rise.  If your guests are contributing to the meal let them know what you would like them to bring. 1 Week Ahead Clean out your fridge to make room for the added food items IF you have not bought your tur…

Make a Thankful Tree

Want a fun way for you and your family to display all that you are thankful for?? Make a Thankful Tree!!

You will need:
1 brown paper bag
Construction Paper: red, yellow and orange

Cut open the brown paper bag by cutting down one of the creases and then cutting the bottom off. Lay the paper out on the table and use about half to ¾ of the length of the bag to draw a tree trunk. Staple this to the back of a door or a bulletin board.

Using the remaining pieces of the bag make branches. Staple those coming form the tree trunk.

Now make leaves out of construction paper. Make lots of them!

Put them in a basket and leave a pen nearby.

Have the members of your family begin to write down on the leaves what they are thankful for. Begin to attach these leaves to the tree.

Once you start this project.. the tree can fill up quickly!!

How nice to have a heart full of thanks to the Lord for all His blessings when you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner!

November's Menu

I realize the month is well under way but I thought I would post my November menu. Sometimes it can be helpful for coming up with new meal ideas. Sometimes when I get in a menu planning slump I like to look at other menu plans and see if it sparks some creativity! Plus it just seems that this time of year gets very busy and having my meals all planned out takes a lot of stress out of my day. 

Those meals marked with (CP) mean they are crockpot meals. The highlighted meals are links to the recipes on my site. Currently I have my menu written out on my Nov. menu planning calendar and hanging on the fridge..  it makes it easy to see what's for dinner each day and what kind of preps I need to do for tomorrows dinner..  I post a new menu planning calendar on my website at the beginning of each month (I actually try and get it up a few days ahead of time).  You can find the menu planning calendars here:

Nov Menu
1st- Pumpkin Ch…

Updates from the homestead

Well.. it looks like it has been a while since I posted a blog.. I started having little computer issues and they escalated to big computer issues. I got my resident IT man (my son Jacob) working on them. He managed to transfer all my files to my laptop and then I had to get my laptop set up so I could do my thing from it.. I still need to work on my main PC but for now I am up and running and that is a good thing!

All the while I have been busy at home, taking care of life and keeping up on the kids schooling and taking care of details. One of those details was canning the last of my pumpkin. I did not take pics of the process but will lay out the details….

Canning Pumpkin
I started by cutting the last three pumpkins I had left in half and cleaning them out. I pre cooked the pumpkins for about 15 minutes in the same way I had done it for pumpkin puree (see previous blog post). It was enough cooking time to soften up the skin so it was easy to peel. Then I cubed it into 1 inch pieces. …

Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree from Fresh Pumpkins

I finally had a chance to work on some of my pumpkins this last week. I made pumpkin puree for the freezer and roasted pumpkin seeds. My son Isaac helped me by taking some pics and he was in charge of doing the seed roasting, and he liked that quite a bit..

I planted smaller size pumpkins that were meant for pies. The big ones you get in the grocery store this time of year are not really pie pumpkins. I have heard that they tend to be stringy and not too tasty. Pie pumpkins are sweeter.. so my suggestion is if you want to do this at home see if you can locate some pumpkin varieties that were grown for making into pies (maybe farmers markets or health food stores).

I processed 4 pumpkins on this day weighing a total of 33bs. Here is how I did it…

The first pumpkin was about 8lbs.

I started by carefully cutting it in half..

Then cleaning out the insides by scooping with a spoon until all the seeds and insides were gone. Make sure you save the seeds.. I will show you at the end ho…