Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bulk Ranch Dressing Mix

I’ve made my own ranch dressing for years. Every now and again I buy it but we are never big fans of store bought. It can be a bit of a hassle to make it, especially as quick as we consume it. I decided to try and take my recipe and turn it into a dry seasoning mix that can easily be added to the rest of the ingredients. I did and it is great and so easy to make!

Here is the recipe I came up with…

Bulk Ranch Dressing Mix
¼ cup onion powder
2T garlic powder
6T parsley
1T dill weed
2 ¼ t salt
2 ¼ t seasoning salt
¾ t pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl…

Add 1 (full) Tablespoon to…

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk

The mix will fill a half pint canning jar.  One batch of salad dressing will make approximately 2 cups of salad dressing..

This mix will make about 10 batches of ranch dressing.

If you would like to make this into ranch dip, just add only enough milk to make it a dip consistency.

Print Recipe:



Monday, April 28, 2014

Menu Monday!

Baked chicken legs, garlic roasted potatoes, salad

Bbq chicken pizza w/white sauce, salad

Bean & bacon soup, cheesy biscuits, salad


Crockpot cheesy cowboy casserole, veggie platter w/ranch dressing

Chili, cornbread, salad

Pepperoni bread, split pea soup, salad

Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Homeschooling Advice to my Daughter

My daughter Hannah is getting ready to start a little formal homeschooling with my oldest granddaughter. So we had a talk recently about this. I gave her my thoughts and advice. I thought I would share what I told her, perhaps it would be a help to someone….

1. You’ve already been homeschooling, just by living everyday life. Don’t sweat it…

2. When all of you (referring to my children) were 5 I focused on only a few things. Reading every day to you, teaching you to read, math…. because in the end.. knowing how to read and how to think logically (What I feel math is all about), will give them the keys to ANYTHING they want to pursue in life.

3. I taught all of my children to read using “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”… maybe it’s not for everyone, but I used it for 8 children, with various learning styles and they all learned to read. It is simple and not stressful for the mother or the child.

4. If she gets to a point in the book that it becomes difficult, put the book on the shelf for a month or so, then go back a few lessons and start again. Stop as often as needed, allow her to do this at her own speed.

5. Math: count the silverware as you put it away, add groups of things… 3 red legos here and 4 blue legos here.. how many do we have altogether? And if I take “this” many away, now how many do we have? Keep it simple, keep it fun

6. all other subjects…. Just read books… lots of books, lots of trips to the library. I use to go to the library with a laundry basket, and the kids would fill it up, and the next week we would bring it back and refill it. No end of the topics we can read about!

7. play with the children

8. take walks and talk

9. bring them into the kitchen and cook with them

10. teach them to fold laundry with you

11. plant a garden (even if it’s just containers on a deck)

12. let them play in the mud

13. play board games with them

14. love them, it covers just about everything else….

Homeschooling is not hard, it is living life and just taking it one step further… and then another step… and another.. before you know it you are making high school transcripts and helping them take the next step in life. Enjoy your babies, love every moment with them, and give them everything you have and more than you thought you had… it will be worth every day and every moment……


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hummingbird Nectar

I saw the first hummingbird of the season the other day come to my feeder hoping for something. Unfortunately there was nothing there for him/her. So I quickly brought the feeder inside and cleaned it up and made some hummingbird nectar, filled the feeder and hung it back outside.

Hummingbird nectar is easy to make. 1 part sugar, 4 parts water. I put the sugar in a canning jar.. and added enough hot water to dissolve the sugar…

Then filled the jar up. I added some red food coloring to my mix.. for one reason.. when my kids look in the fridge they will know what the heck it is! LOL… BUT after I did this I researched a little more on this… some say it is NOT the thing you want to do, some say it is not a problem..

One thing I do know is that it is not necessary to add it. Is it bad or good for the birds? I have no idea. I probably won’t do it next time. I’ll just put some note on the jar so my family knows what it is…

In any case.. I’m looking forward to watching all the hummingbirds come to my feeder. They are beautiful birds and give a lot of joy…


Monday, April 21, 2014

Menu Monday!

Spaghetti, french bread, salad

Hamburger stroganoff over noodles, veggie platter

Hamburger enchiladas, chile relleno casserole, refried beans

Creamed tuna over biscuits, coleslaw

Lasagna soup, french bead, veggie platter

Chicken pot pie, salad

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updates from the Homestead

My biggest updates are about jobs for two of my daughters and another one passing a major time in her work. We are super excited for all of them.

My daughter Sierra, just a few weeks after getting her driver’s license, got her first job. She is super excited and has been a hard worker and loving it. She was hired to work in the deli of a grocery store in town. After only 2 weeks of working she has been asked to stay overtime periodically and help and was asked if she wanted full time work. I’m thinking they know a good worker when they see one. I’m very proud of her. For now she plans to save her money for dental assistant school this summer. She is in the process of filling out the paperwork for enrollment. She still loves her photography and wants to continue that as hobby, with some of that saved money from her job going for camera lenses and other equipment! :) Love seeing my little birds take their first flight from the nest. It is bittersweet and an incredible blessing at the same time.

My daughter Leanne has kept herself very busy since coming home from S. Korea. She has taken various classes both online and at the local community college, as well as teaching herself both Spanish and Korean. She picked up a LOT of Korean while in S. Korea and wants to keep in touch with this. We have all been watching a lot of Korean movies! LOL..  She also has been searching for work. She enjoyed teaching but was not sure that was the direction she wanted to go. So she has been looking into other options. However, she liked the idea of staying in touch with the ESL (English as a Second Language) field. She just recently found a part time job as an ESL teacher for adults. When she does find more permanent work she plans to continue this job as it is evenings and weekends and something she knows she will enjoy.

Finally, here is an update to share on my daughter Emily. She finished her second tax season on Tuesday and is breathing a huge sigh of relief. She is a staff account for a firm in the city. Tax time is very stressful for any accountant. They work incredibly long hours from mid-January to April 15. She has spent the last few months getting up at 3:30am, heading out the door by 4:15 to be at work by 4:30 and not getting home until 6:30 or later. Plus she has her computer set up to work at home on the weekends, which she did. When asked how she is surviving her answer is always a cheery.. “Great!!” She is a trooper. To help her out I made several meals a few times for her freezer. It’s a challenge to come home after a 14 hour day and then make dinner. She and her hubby were very grateful. I enjoy this new role as a mom of grown children and the ability to help them when I can.

This is the most recent picture I have of the 3 girls together. It was taken about 1 ½ years ago at Emily’s wedding.

(Leanne, Emily, Sierra)

That is the recent news and updates from my homestead!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Menu Monday!

Marinated chicken, brown rice, salad (this one did not happen last week, so we’ll try again)

Philly cheese chicken sandwiches (crockpot), homemade tomato soup, veggie platter

Baked pork chops, crockpot new potatoes, spinach salad


Pesto/mozzarella stuffed chicken thighs, french bread, salad

Crockpot chili, cornbread, salad or veggie platter



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring from the Homestead

Spring is in full force in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had plenty of rainy days, which is normal for us, and the temps are warming up and that means everything is growing and turning green. It can be a big job to keep our property under control. This last week we’ve had a string of sunny dry days and my hubby and boys have been working on lots of mowing and property maintenance.

I went out yesterday and took a few shots from around our property and as you can see there is a lot of green everywhere, with bits of color here and there..…

Our pond is fed by 2 springs and has a drain that allows us to lower the level of the pond when we need to take care of anything… as we are currently doing. The first job my hubby did after lowering the level of the pond was to replace the boards on the dock..

The drain for the pond is under the dock and we access the drain below the dock. Part of the dock lifts up to allow access. For right now, my son just reached down under and grabbed a few sticks that were blocking the drain…

Having the level of the pond down also revealed the steps my hubby made many years ago. And currently he is replacing one of the boards on the top stair …

My goats were also out and about enjoying the sunshine….

That is all from the homestead for now, hope you are enjoying spring as well!!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weight Loss Thoughts

I wrote about my own weight loss journey awhile back. You can read my story HERE. Recently I’ve been talking to a few people on the subject. After maintaining my loss for so many years now I’ve seen things differently. I am NO expert and I’m not a doctor, or a nutritionist or anything with a big title that would give me any authority to discuss this. What I have is my own experience, the experience of others and my observations of these things.

Food can be a vice and one of the most difficult spirtual battles we will fight. We have to face it every day.  It can be just as much of a vice as any type of vice… alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc… the biggest difference I see is that we must eat (a friend once said to me that food is the Christian drug of choice, all other vices are not acceptable but food will always be). We can put alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs in the trash can and walk away free. But we can’t do this with food. We do need to eat to live. What I have seen and lived is that we develop and emotional connection with food. I’ve had people even tell me that they don’t deal with emotional eating. But what I’m talking about is not the…”I’ve had a bad day and now I’m eating a gallon of ice cream to soothe me” type emotion. What I see is that we develop rules and needs based on what and how we feel food needs to play a part in our lives. An obvious example (to me) of this is eating 3 meals a day. We’ve heard we must, we’ve heard we have to, so that is what we live by. We don’t take into account that not everyone truly needs to eat that much food; it is just becomes how we operate. And because this is not logical (to me), then in my opinion it must be emotional.

Personally I have many days that I don’t put out enough energy to warrant eating that much food, and so I simply don’t. And, I’m fine, no metabolism issues, no nutritional deficiencies, etc. This is how I’ve been for many years. Some days I’m super busy, going all the time and guess what… I may eat 3 meals on those days because my body needs the food. How do I know it does? Because I’m hungry. My stomach is growling and empty and needs some fuel.

When someone asks me about weight loss (which happened this week) my first question is, what role is food playing in your life? Is it controlling you? Does it dictate what you do and when you do it? Can you go to a party that is serving cake and not have any because you are just not really hungry.. or do you struggle and it leaves you feeling angst?

The positive things I’ve discovered about food.. we need it! :) it tastes good and we should enjoy good food, we need to eat a healthy diet, food is our fuel and just like a car or any engine we would want to fuel it with the best choices. There are many healthy choices out there. Do the best you can with the finances God has blessed you with.

If food is not in the proper place in your life, here is what I recommend. Pull out your Bible, pray for wisdom, pray for self-control (this is a fruit of the spirit), cut your portions in half, eat only when you are hungry. When you sense that food is taking control of you instead of the other way around… pray for self-control and sit down and read your Bible, any verse, any chapter, until the need to fulfill the impulses pass. Over time, this will get easier, you will be able to walk away from food when you are not hungry, when it is not in your best interest to eat it (I know how much I can eat in a day by experience… do I want to spend this eating junk or eating a super good meal such as my daughter is preparing tonight for our family: Korean pork, brown rice, kimchi, egg rolls, salad.. wow.. I’ll take the yummy good food over that junk any day now)… and finally there is no need to eat in excess.. you might find that an hour after you’ve eaten a reasonable sized portion (and walked away from the table) after eating half what you might normally eat, you are feeling great… if not, pull out your Bible and start praying for HIM to satisfy you in ways that are beyond anything overeating could ever do for you.

Food is an amazing servant but a terrible master. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for April!!

We are a week into April and I’m just now getting this month’s challenge up! Life has been very busy for me lately. So here we go for the challenge..

This month my focus is on spring cleaning. However, since I started this challenge back in January I’ve accomplished things that would normally have been done this time of year. But that is great and the whole purpose of my monthly challenges is to be able to do small things all year long rather than be overwhelmed with numerous items all at once. It has also been the goal to attack areas of the home that often not really seen and therefore can get neglected.


For April’s challenge I have 3 items to knock off my list…

1. Clean light covers on my overhead lights. As I’m having more sunny days and the light shines in I see way more dust on the hanging lights and covers than I care to.

2. Vacuum dust bunnies in the corners of the house and ceiling. And move living room furniture away from walls and vacuum behind and under them. Also vacuum couch/furniture cushions.

3. Wash windows. Dirty windows are just one more item that have appeared when the sunlight comes through the windows.. ha, ha!!

This is one challenge that would be very difficult to take before and after pics of.. so I’ll pass on that this month.

Also, my bathroom challenge continues onward and will be done soon! I will update you on the progress when it’s finished.

So who is with me for this month’s challenge? :) ..
Happy spring cleaning!!


We Can Do This Girls!!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Monday!

Korean pork, egg rolls, rice, kimchi

Beef pot roast, roasted red potatoes, broccoli

Burrito pie, chips & salsa, salad


Marinated chicken, brown rice, salad

Tuna patties, mac & cheese, veggie platter

Chicken lasagna, french bread, salad


Friday, April 4, 2014

Homeschool Elective Opportunity: Learning HTML

Do you have a student who would enjoy learning about HTML and making websites? I received an email awhile back from a homeschooling father and computer consultant. He is offering a free online course for kids to learn basic HTML. Classes begin April 7th.

The class is 3 weeks long and he will have a new lesson online each day. It is totally self-paced and students can catch up and review missed lessons.

From his website he shares:

Students will learn:
Basic HTML Tags
Understanding of fundamentals of Web Design and Internet Pages

The class is open to students from age 9 on up. Here is a list of his prerequisites:

Class is open to any students 9 years and older
Some familiarity with keyboard is valuable
This is a
free "beta" class and I'm asking the participants share their feedback with me to help me improve its value and ease of use.

You can find out more information on his site and sign up for the class here:

My youngest son Isaac was very excited when I told him about this class and has signed up for it. It looks like a lot of fun and filled with valuable information!