Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/menuplanningcalendars.htm  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 potato casserole, green beans,
10th – taco soup, cornbread, salad
11th – crockpot chicken and gravy, brown rice, salad
12th – hotdogs, coleslaw, chips
13th – yummy pinto beans, dinner rolls, salad
14th – homemade pizza, salad
15th – chicken potato soup, garlic cheese biscuits, salad
16th – meatballs, mac & cheese, salad
17th – crockpot scalloped potatoes w/salmon, salad
18th – hamburger stroganoff over pasta, salad
19th – cream cheese chicken enchiladas, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
20th – tuna melts, homemade tomato soup, salad
21st – chili, cornbread, salad
22nd – meatloaf, baked potatoes, salad
23rd – cheesy chicken & rice casserole, salad
24th – baked ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, jello or fruit salad, spinach salad
25th – leftovers
26th – navy bean & ham soup, cornbread, salad
27th – chicken fajitas, chips & salsa, salad
28th – kielbasa, cabbage & pasta, salad
29th – crockpot hamburger, veggie soup, dinner rolls, salad
30th – salmon noodle casserole, biscuits, salad
31st – lasagna, French bread, salad

Friday, November 26, 2010


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 of coffee at a time.. you sit the little coffee cone on top of your cup, put a filter in and pour boiling water over the grounds) plus some Starbucks coffee! She already knows this gift is coming so if she reads this blog.. no big surprise to her! Ha.. ha.. 

Today we have freezing rain falling and super slick roads so I am staying right here in my comfy, warm home until it melts. I'm thinking winter is really here..  

That is all from the homestead for now.. but will be back soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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 awesome hardworking daughter got her BSBA in accounting in 2 ½ years and we could not be more proud of her. She is off on the adventure of a lifetime!

While all the preplanning and packing was going on I also was able to add to the accomplishments this year.. teaching my son Jacob to drive (that makes 2 kids taught this year)! He got his driver’s license a couple of weeks ago.. that makes 6 down and 2 to go! :) I get a break now for a year or so before my daughter Sierra is ready to get her permit.. whew!

Last Sunday we celebrated my oldest son’s 28th birthday. It was an exciting time because it was the first time in 5 years that he had been with us to celebrate his birthday. It was great being with all the family. His amazingly sweet wife planned a party for him at his favorite pizza place.. Izzy’s (you know it if you live in my area ;) .. it was a lot of fun and I took lots of pics.. here are a few..

Sierra and Leanne

Tobin, Jacob and Emily

This was the whole crew (plus Richards best friend Aaron and his wife Valya..  Aaron is the son of my very best friend Sarah.. Richard and Aaron have been friends for many years now...).. 

We kind of take over a restaurant nowadays.. LOL.. it was a lot of fun....

..That’s all from the homestead for now….

Thursday, November 11, 2010

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 turkey yet, they should be on sale this week. 
Do your grocery shopping of staple items you will need for the meal

4 to 5 Days Ahead
If your turkey is frozen you need to put it into the fridge to defrost now.  A turkey will take anywhere from 2 to 6 days to defrost depending on its size (figure one day for every 5 pounds of weight). 
Buy any fresh and perishable items you will need
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate
Make salad dressings and refrigerate
3 Days Ahead
Clean your house
Get out and ‘good’ dishes or bigger serving dishes and get them washed
2 Days Ahead
Wash table linens
Get out your roasting pans, thermometer, turkey baster and make sure they are clean and ready to go
Wash and chop up veggies for stuffing and side dishes and put in refrigerator
Make pie crusts, roll them out, and put in pie plates. Cover each one with plastic wrap and put in fridge

1 Day Ahead
If you are making mashed potatoes for the crockpot you can make those up now and store in fridge. Tomorrow you take them out and put in the crockpot on low in the morning.
Make stuffing and refrigerate. If you are stuffing your turkey do not do that now, wait until right before you put the turkey in the oven
Assemble side dishes
Assemble any jello type salads
In the evening pull out your turkey, clean it and make sure it has defrosted and put back in fridge. Remove giblets and refrigerate
Set the table in the evening if desired
Assemble and bake pies
Thanksgiving Day
Put some Christmas music on (this is our little tradition ~smile~)
Stuff turkey and put in oven at appropriate time (or if you have a roaster oven you can bake the turkey in there leaving your oven for heating up side dishes and baking dinner rolls)
Put the giblets in water with a little salt and let those simmer. You can use the broth for gravy and the cooked and chopped giblets can also be added to the gravy
Pull out dinner rolls and let them defrost and rise
Set the table if you did not do this yesterday
Put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot
If you have a second crockpot you can put the stuffing in there to warm (if you are not stuffing your turkey.  I always stuff the turkey and have leftover stuffing in a second crockpot)
When the turkey has finished cooking, pull it out
Put the side dishes in the oven to bake (if you did not bake the turkey in a roaster oven)
Bake dinner rolls
While the side dishes are heating up and rolls are baking, make gravy
Take a deep breath
Light some candles
Freshen up
Greet your guests
Enjoy your meal and give lots of thanks the Lord for his blessings and bounty in your life

Saturday, November 6, 2010

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!

Friday, November 5, 2010

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: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/menuplanningcalendars.htm 

Nov Menu
1st- Pumpkin Chili, tortilla chips, salad
2nd – bakedchicken legs, mashed potatoes, salad
3rd – split pea soup, pepperoni bread, salad
4th – chicken enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad

5th – crockpot lasagna, homemade French bread, green beans
6th – beef & veggie soup,biscuits, salad
7th – meatballs (crockpot),mac & cheese, salad
8th – chili,cornbread, salad
9th – tuna patties, garlic roasted potatoes, coleslaw
10th – tacos made with mylentil & rice taco filling, and all the trimmings
11th – cranberry chicken (CP), mashed potatoes, salad
12th – black bean sloppy joes onhomemade hogie rolls
13th – pizza rice casserole, salad
14th – chicken potato chowder, homemade dinner rolls, salad
15th – beef enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad
16th – spaghetti, homemade French bread, green beans
17th – Chinese rice (with chicken and shrimp),egg rolls,
18th – white bean chicken chili, soft whole wheat bread sticks, salad
19th – quick beef stroganoff, salad
20th – clam chowder, oat dinner rolls, salad
21st – taco soup, cornbread, salad
22nd – hot dogs, coleslaw, chips
23rd – pizza – Sierra’s Birthday!!
24th – egg salad sandwiches,tomato soup
25th – Thanksgiving Dinner at my house
26th – leftovers
27th – leftovers
28th – beef stew (cp),bread sticks, salad
29th – nachos for a crowd, chips, salad
30th – southwest stew(CP), cornbread, coleslaw


Monday, November 1, 2010

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. I put the pieces in a pot and covered them with water and boiled them for 2 minutes. I filled hot jars with the hot pumpkin chunks and water. I canned them at 10lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. I had three pretty large pumpkins and ended up with 14 quarts canned and 6 quarts in the freezer.

House Keeping and Using Our Time Wisely ..…
Keeping house.. a seemingly endless task, no? Well a few weeks ago I decided to really dissect my time and see how much time got spent on keeping up my home and if I was using my time as wisely as possible. You know being a housewife is very different than going to a job every day. My time is dictated by my own schedule and I am responsible to use my time as wisely as possible.. was I doing that? For one week I started keeping an hour by hour log on what I did each day. One thing I learned is doing the basics in life (house keeping maintenance to keep my house looking neat and orderly) really did not take that long.. you know .. 5 minutes to unload the dishwasher, 15 minutes to vacuum the rugs, 5 minutes to sweep the floors, 10 minutes to change sheets, 15 minutes to clean the bathroom, etc.. So.. I realized I had a lot of time left to take care of important details, cook meals and embark on projects, etc.. Sometimes I get emails from ladies asking me “How do you do it all?”… well my first response is always.. I don’t do it all.. and I don’t.. I am really just a regular lady raising kids, keeping a clean house, homeschooling, taking care of my hubby, cooking food.. yea it is a lot.. but, it is my daily work. I found out in that one week of being ultra conscious of my time that keeping up on my priorities may be tedious at time and an unappreciated task.... but was that so much different than what my hubby deals with at his job? Do I really need to be recognized for just doing my job? Nope.. I am blessed to be able to do what I do each day.. that was my conclusion..

So I have a new appreciation on being a good steward of my time… less time on the computer, less time spent idle and more time spent doing the tasks that the Lord has given me to do.. I thought of the Scripture ..” do not grow weary while doing good”.. yes it can get wearisome to do the same thing day after day.. but what a blessing I have to be in control of my days, to take care of my family and to serve the Lord in this way. My job: be a good steward of my time and serve my family with thankfulness, love and joy!! :)

On another note.. I am proud to say that my daughter Emily just took her mid term test on her very LAST accounting class for her degree.. she has two weeks now to study up and take her final. The class is an online class from
Louisiana State University.. she has done all the book work and is now at the test taking point. The reason she has only two weeks to get this class done is that she will be leaving to Denmark in two weeks. She will be there for one year.. She has taken a job as an Au Pair for a super nice family. An au pair is similar to a nanny.. but they travel to a different country, take language classes and play more of a big sister role and gain a culture experience while there. They receive room and board and a small salary to take care of personal basics and language classes in return for helping to take care of the children in the home. She is super excited about this experience. I know for sure we will miss her dearly but I am thrilled that she is able to do this. When she gets back home next year she will then work on pursing her life as an account :).

That is all from the homestead for now! Hope your week is off to a great start!!