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Showing posts from 2011

Functioning in Dysfunction

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I like being organized. I like when things in my home function well. As my family life has changed over the years (from babies & toddlers to young people to teens and older kids).. my systems of organizing things have changed too, at least in some areas. I recently decided to give my laundry room a good cleaning. Last year I organized the pantry shelves and cleaning supplies and such. But I was still fighting with a few things in there, such as my vacuum cleaner, my Sh-mop, empty laundry baskets, etc.. it seemed I was shoving and stuffing these things and fighting with them when I needed them. That is when I realized that often times we will learn to function in dysfunction (I'm not talking about major dysfunction, just small things that can cause frustration and we don't realize it). We don’t really see the issue and we just keep working with a system that obviously does not work well… but it works enough to adapt to it or to function within the dysfunction.



My…

Our Christmas & Moving into the New Year!

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We had an amazing Christmas! My kids and their spouses and grandkids began arriving at about 3 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. I had pretty much done all the dinner cooking except for the ham in the oven and the turkey in the roaster oven were still roasting. My kids had a lot of fun just socializing, enjoying the goodies, sparkling cider and egg nog. We had dinner around 5:30 and spent the rest of the evening doing a lot of chatting and a bit of gift opening. It was very memorable for us all..


Sunday we enjoyed Christmas day with lots of relaxing and eating leftovers as I really had cooked for an army as usual. Monday with the help of my 3 youngest kids we put Christmas decorations away disassembled the Christmas tree and with a little moving and reorganizing of things in my basement we found the perfect home for the tree where it will now await the holiday season of 2012. 


On Tuesday we loaded the family in the van and headed north to Port Townsend Washington to visit…

Christmas Menu

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Homemade Gift Idea: Dish Towel Apron

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Christmas is fast approaching! If you’re in need of a quick gift idea this dish towel apron may be just the project. It requires basic sewing skills and goes together very quickly. Using dish towels means no raw edges to think about!! :)

You will need 2 cotton dish towels that coordinate and some ½ or 1 inch twill tape.

I purchased my dish towels at Target. I got 5 in a package and the cost was $10. You will use 2 for the apron. I figured $4 an apron was pretty good (plus the cost of the twill tape, I had some on hand already). For my pack of 5 dish towels I got 2 aprons and an extra towel for my kitchen, or it could be put in a gift basket along with the apron.


You can find detailed instructions for the apron on this site: http://thepickledweasel.blogspot.com/2009/11/christmas-making-tea-towel-apron.html

Lay out your towels…


Sew them together….


Use the twill tape for the neck and ties…



And you are done…


Updates from the Homestead

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This time of year seems so very busy!! My niece Megan came and spent a week with us. She lives in Chicago and was here in July and was back again to spend time with our family. She is such a sweet lady. We had a very fun week with her. My girls kept her busy between trips to town, shopping, going to the mall and making sure she touched based with all her cousins. Yesterday I took her to airport for her flight home and she is now back in Chicago.. planning her next visit to see u!! :)

My spotty blogging this month is due to not only our visit from my niece but orders to pack, gifts to prepare and wrap and still keeping the daily home life rolling along. My kids are getting their Christmas break from our homeschool starting on Monday so that will be a nice break for me too!

Tomorrow Emily and I are planning on baking a few types of cookies to put in the freezer for Christmas dinner dessert. I basically have most all my Christmas shopping done… just one more gift to buy.. bu…

Homemade Gift Idea: Chai Tea Mix

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Here is a great little drink mix that is quick to put together and makes a wonderful gift. I make a few batches of it this time of year, not just for gift giving, but also so we can enjoy it too because it is delicious!!

Here is the recipe..

Chai Tea Mix
Crystal Miller

2 ½ cups cane juice crystals or white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom

In a small bowl combine cane juice crystal’s and vanilla and allow to dry. After it has dried out break up any clumps. In a large bowl mix all ingredients well. In a blender blend 1 cup at a time of the mix to make it a fine powder. Store in a glass jar or ziplock bag. To serve mix 2 rounded tablespoons of Chai tea mixture into a mug and add hot water. 

Enjoy often during this holiday season!

Here is how it’s made..

You first begin by making your vanilla sugar. You can purchase vanilla sugar but it is kind of spendy but oh so easy to make. Measure …

Homemade Gift Idea: Super Simple Sock Rice Pad

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This is a fun and super, super easy project and a very frugal gift as well!! It is making rice pads out of socks. Rice pads are great for the winter time. You can heat them up in a microwave and take them to bed with you to warm up on cold winter nights.

Here is how you make them…..

Find some cute holiday socks….



Fill them about ½ to ¾ full of rice…


Sew the end of the sock closed….


And that is it!!!!




December Menu

1st – leftovers
2nd – lasagna, French bread, salad
3rd – black bean chicken chili, chips & salsa, salad
4th – salmon patties, mac & cheese, salad
5th –  cream cheese chicken enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad
6th – crockpot Hawaiian chicken, rice pilaf, salad
7th – clam chowder, homemade dinner rolls, salad
8th – leftovers
9th – crockpot bbq meatballs, crockpot mac & cheese, salad
10th – taco soup, chips & salsa, salad
11th – chicken curry, rice, salad
12th – spaghetti, French bread, salad
13th – leftovers
14th – Mongolian Beef, rice, salad
15th – yummy pinto beans, muffins, salad
16th – baked chicken legs, cheesy potatoes, salad
17th – beef stew, homemade dinner rolls, salad
18th – hamburger rice enchiladas, cornbread, salad
19th – leftovers
20th – sausage potato chowder, French bread, salad
21st – marinated pork steak, brown rice pilaf, salad
22nd – chicken cacciatore, dinner rolls, salad
23rd – Family Christmas  Dinner (still working on menu)
24th –…

Dutch Oven Cranberry Beef

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Over the weekend I was thinking about my fresh cranberries in the fridge that I wanted to use up. I know I can freeze them, but wanted to make something with them. So the idea that popped into my head was cranberry beef… and this was the recipe I came up with. I had no idea how it would turn out but took pics anyway. I figured if it did not turn out I would just toss the pics and not share. But if it did turn out I wanted to be able to share it with you. So I made this yesterday for dinner. And let me tell you it was sooooo good!! My family went nuts over it. So here it is…

Dutch Oven Cranberry Beef

Olive oil
1- 4 to 5lb beef roast
1 large onion, chopped
1T minced garlic
½ green pepper, chopped (or a few mini peppers)
2 cups cranberries
¼ cup water
½ cup honey
1t salt
½ t pepper

Heat your dutch oven over medium high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot set your roast into the pan and let brown for a minute or so and then turn and brown on the oth…

Homemade Gift Idea: Bath Salts

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Bath salts are an easy and inexpensive homemade gift. The basic ingredients can be found in most any store such as Walmart or Target. The exception to this is the essential oil or fragrance oil. If you are doing small projects such as this one the best way to find the fragrance or essential oil is on ebay.com. If you plan on making a lot of items that need these types of oil then you can also try SweetCakes ( http://sweetcakes.com/ )for a nice variety of scents.

Basic Bath Salts
Crystal Miller

1 ½ cups Epson salt
1 cup baking soda
½ cup sea salt
Essential oil or fragrance oil, your choice

Mix all ingredients together well. I find using my hands to do this does the best job. Put in glass canning jars or zip-type bags for gift giving.


Now, lets make some bath salts!!


Gather your ingredients together…



Measure the Epsom salts into a bowl…



Then the baking soda…



And the sea salt…



Stir it around real well to make sure it is combined…



Now add your fragrance oil (or essential oil). I u…