Showing posts from March, 2012

Cleaning with Vinegar Part 2

Or maybe it should be titled.. “cleaning the bathroom with vinegar part 2” .. :) Yesterday I posted on cleaning my toilet with vinegar and how well that worked and today is about the shower, tub and sinks..

I am a Scrubbing Bubbles fan, as much as I try and find things that work instead I find the SB to be so easy to use and quick. But, I wanted a natural cleaner that worked well and fairly easy. I have now found one and can happily say good bye to my Scrubbing Bubbles.

I used 2 ingredients: Vinegar and Dawn dish soap

I asked my daughter the other day to pick me up a spray bottle (I’m thinking for cleaning) and she brought me home one (she shopped in the health and beauty section, LOL )!! I took my 12 oz spray bottle and put about 3T of Dawn dish soap in it. Then filled it up with vinegar. Shook the bottle carefully to combine the ingredients. And that was it…

I sprayed this on my tile, my tub and my bathroom sinks. I used a scrub brush to clean the tile and tub and it work…

Cleaning with Vinegar

One of my favorite cleaners is Shaklee’s Basic H2. However my second favorite cleaner is vinegar and I use fairly often in my cleaning. Recently I tried it on my toilet. I’ve been using Mrs. Meyers toilet bowl cleaner (another natural cleaner). I do love Mrs. Meyers. It smells very nice, works very well, and is ok to use when you have a septic system. But it is on the expensive side.

So this is what I did…

I poured about a ½ cup of vinegar inside my toilet tank and let it sit for 30 minutes, then flushed.. I then poured a little vinegar into my toilet bowl, let it sit for a few minutes and swished it around. My toilet bowl was sparkly and clean, except in a few areas where there were still stains where the water fills up the toilet bowl. So I tried something else..

I put ¾ cup baking soda into a plastic container and added about 10 drops of orange & lemongrass essential oils (I wanted the nice smell :).
Then I added ¾ cup vinegar to this mixture. It fizzed quite a bit..…

Homestead Break

I just had a 3 day break away from my homestead. One thing I find is that it is incredibly hard to just stop and take a break while at home. On Sunday my hubby took me away for 3 days (gotta love that man :). It was my birthday gift from him. We went to the Oregon coast. It is about a 3 hour drive from our home. I had the most wonderful time. It was so nice to not have to worry or think about anything :).. My kids handled the homestead without me and I relaxed, walked on the beach, enjoyed seafood and much needed rest.. all with my super fantastic husband, who needed the break away as much as I did. Today I arrived home to a clean house and dinner simmering away in the crockpot (thanks to my daughter Sierra who did not want me to have to cook when I got home.. gotta love that girl :)… 

Now back to my regularly scheduled programming.. :)

This Week’s Menu

Monday Leftovers Tuesday Crockpot Sweet & Spicy Chicken   over brown rice, salad Wednesday Tacos Thursday Beef stew (from my own canned beef stew), biscuits, salad Friday Crockpot Island Pork over brown rice, salad Saturday Crockpot meatloaf (instructions for freezing and cooking in crockpot here), crockpot mac & cheese, salad Sunday Crockpot Chili, cornbread, salad

Homestead Moments

Today’s homestead moment was all about sunshine! We have had so little sun lately that I almost forgot what it looks like.. in fact a couple of days ago I had to laugh at myself.. I got all excited about the fact that the cloud cover was lighter that day! I have been seriously sun deprived.. :)

But today I totally enjoyed the sunshine and thanked the Lord for this blessing…

Stuffed Manicotti for the Freezer

My second freezer meal plan for this last shopping trip was stuffed manicotti. On Tuesday I made the stuffed shells. I was kind of “winging” it when I came up with the recipe. I bought 3 packages of manicotti. Altogether there were 42 manicotti shells. Here is what I did..

I cooked the manicotti noodles for 4 minutes. That was about ½ the time called for on the package. I would have used whole wheat manicotti noodles if I could find them. The grocery store I shopped at had a nice variety of whole wheat pasta, but no manicotti noodles. I will look for them online and see if I can find them for the future. But for this time, I bought the white ones (picture shows 2 pkgs, but I used 3).

While they were cooking I put together the manicotti filling. Here is what I used…

3lbs cottage cheese (this was the large container from Costco)
3 cups grated mozzeralla cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese
4 eggs
3t dried parsely
2t minced garlic
1t salt
½ t pepper

I mixed the ingredients together..

Ranch Chicken for the Freezer

I’ve really been enjoying getting food in the freezer lately (as you can tell by my blog posts! :). My goal has been to plan a few meals and meal starters for the freezer every couple of weeks when I do my big shopping (which I’ve managed to get to every other week, with a stop at the local grocery store in between for fresh salad veggies).  This has been so nice to have on hand!! 
This week I tried a new freezer food, Ranch Chicken. We have not had this yet, it is on the menu for Saturday.

I purchased 8lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I used 5lbs of it to make Ranch Chicken. This was pretty simple to make. Here is the basic recipe:
5lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
3 to 4 cups bread crumbs (this is an estimate as I did not actually measure it out)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 ½ recipes of homemade ranch dressing (you can find the recipe here: )

I began by making the bread crumbs. I had some bread …

Crockpot Chili using my own Pre-Prepared Foods

In the last several weeks I’ve been sharing freezer and winter canning foods. These items have come in so handy. It is extremely nice to be able to pull something out of the freezer or off the shelf and have a meal come together super quick. Makes all the time spent making these foods more than worth the effort. I take days when I am home and able to do more in the kitchen to help me prepare for days when I am not able to be in the kitchen. Yesterday was one of those days.

I had to go into town to grocery shop. My cupboards were pretty sparse. But I knew that my energy level might not be all that great after a 4 to 5 hour trip into town (I am feeling better, but the energy levels are still not back to 100%). I had crockpot chili on my menu. So before I left for town here is what I did…

I pulled out 2 packages of my hamburger mix that I made a couple of weeks ago. You can find that post here: . …

This Week's Menu

Sooo…  I’m back.. from a rough few days..  that flu bug was something else!  Had me down for the count for a couple of days and honestly I can’t remember the last time I felt so sick.  But I’m now on the other side of it and grateful to be feeling like my old self again and to get back to the business of my home.  So much falls apart when a mom gets sick.  First and foremost my cupboards are looking a bit bare, so top on my to-do list for today is grocery shopping.  I have some new meals on my menu this week and a couple freezer cooking ideas to share with you over the next few days among other plans.  For now I will leave you with my menu for the week….
Monday Crockpot Chili, cornbread, salad Tuesday Meatballs & gravy over mashed potatoes, salad Wednesday Stuffed manicotti covered with spaghetti sauce (recipe to be posted), salad Thursday BBQ beef (crockpot freezer meal) over noodles, salad Friday Leftovers Saturday Ranch Baked Chicken, cheesy brown rice (recipe to be posted for …

Updates from the Homestead

I was thinking a good title for these updates would be: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!! ~smile~ So I’ll start with the “good”..

My daughter Leanne finished all her class work for her degree! It is now just a matter of paperwork and she should officially graduate in a couple of months. We are so incredibly proud of her. She earned her BA in English in 2 years 10 months. She showed lots of dedication and spent countless hours devoted to her school work. As for her next step, well she is checking out a few different options as of now. I’ll keep you posted!

Now for the “Bad”…
Yep, snowy weather! In the middle of March here in the PNW is not real common. It can happen, but typically we are beginning to move onto spring like weather at this point. I guess this may not be bad for those who like winter weather, but I am one who looks very forward to the end of the cold and snowy stuff… so yesterday as I watched it snow and then rain and snow again and my niece in Chicago said i…

Motivation and Proverbs 31:27

Some days I lack motivation. I drink a second cup of coffee waiting for the motivation to come. And if it does not, I still press forward anyway. Maybe I don’t get as much done on those days as I do on days when I have lots of motivation, but I do get something done. Maybe it is just the way I function but when I sit down in the evening I feel so much better knowing I made progress on the day. I have a never ending to-do list and can’t afford many days of doing very little, despite my motivation level. I do try and take a day off every week and relax and spend time with my family. It is difficult sometimes because my husband works the regular weekend and his days off are during the week. I keep my kids and myself on more of a Monday thru Friday schedule. Sunday’s are usually a slow paced day around my house and during the week we keep to a schedule as much as we can while still enjoying Dad at home with us. Mostly we enjoy having him home in the evenings. He works graveya…

Happy 14th Birthday Isaac!

My son Isaac turned 14 yesterday! As I always say when my children have a birthday.. “Where has all the time gone?!” .. seems like he was my little shadow following me all around not all that long ago. Isaac is my 8th child and 3rd son. 

We had a very fun party for him. Most of the family was able to make it, but some had to work and could not. We had a great evening.

The birthday boy with his new camera..

My daughter Sierra really wanted to do something fun for his birthday cake. She is my creative artist. She found a website that had showed how to make rainbow cake in a jar. She had a lot of fun making these little cakes..

I made 2 pizza’s…

And had a taco bar. I kept the taco shells warm in my large crockpot and in the small crockpot I kept the taco meat warm..

Isaac is such a good kid.. I am so thankful for him. He loves to skateboard, ride his bike, play with his friends, play xbox, and ballroom dancing.. he is currently practicing for a dance competition coming up this…

This Weeks Menu

Monday Pizza & taco bar (Isaac’s birthday celebration) Tuesday Potato chicken chowder, dinner rolls, salad Wednesday BBQ Beef (crockpot meal from the freezer) over pasta, salad Thursday Crockpot Teriyaki Pork (crockpot freezer meal) over brown rice, salad Friday Chicken noodle soup, dinner rolls, salad Saturday Leftovers Sunday Chili (using cooked hamburger from the freezer), chips & salsa, salad