Thursday, May 29, 2014

Homemaking Challenge Update from March (Bathroom)


Back in March the Homemaking Challenge was the bathroom. I originally planned to go in and clean out drawers and cupboards, reorganize and put some shelves up in one of the cupboards. Then my sweet sister in law came to visit and asked me if she could paint the cupboards. This was a project she knew I had wanted to do, but did not have the time. I was so happy and thankful for her willingness to jump in and tackle it. She loved doing it (she likes any kind of DIY project!). By the end of April the project was finished and it was time to do the reorganizing. I’m just now getting around to showing you the finished project. I wish I’d taken pics of the cupboard doors beforehand. They were not attractive at all. The bathroom is old (as is our house) and all I can say is the doors and drawers had a very 60’s/70’s look and feel to them. Now they are looking very bright and fresh. My pictures do not do them justice. For some reason my camera seems to give some of the pics a yellow hue. The cupboards are white. I still need to do a bit of decorating in there, but it will just be one step at a time. For now the biggest part of the job is done.

Since it’s been a couple months I’ll show you the before pics as well as the after pics.

This was one of the drawers I showed you in March…

And this is how it looks now…

And another…


The tall cupboard that I felt was a bad use of space….

This is what it looks like now…

The cupboard that was full of junk and hard to find anything….

I cleaned out stuff, threw away bottles of mostly used things, outdated items, etc.. and then organized it. I purchased 3 little plastic baskets and divided the items into 3 groups .. 1) Hair products 2) Creams & lotions of all types 3) First aid supplies….

The cupboard that use to hold my towels was under the counter and awkward to get towels from or put them away (as you can see they have been moved to the tall cupboard above)…

And now this cupboard holds the TP and a whole lot of empty space for more organizing….

Now for the cupboards. If you look closely at the ‘before’ cupboards you can kind of see the doors.. they were wood and an orangy color.. so even though I don’t have before pics of what the cupboards look liked, I’ll show you the after pics…

So that is my final update for the bathroom project!!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Canning White Bean Chicken Chili

The other night I needed a quick dinner. After a chaotic week I had not prepared what I’d planned. I went downstairs to my canning cupboard and grabbed a couple quarts of white bean chicken chili. It dawned on me as I was preparing it that it is a recipe that I meant to post back in the fall time, and never did. So I figured I’d post it now. It is so yummy, and so easy for a quick dinner.

This meal MUST be canned in a pressure canner. It cannot be canned in a boiling water bath canner. It contains meat, beans and vegetables and these are all low acid foods. All low acid foods must be canned in a pressure canner.

You will need to know and understand basic canning procedures to follow this recipe. I did not go “step by step” for canning.

White Bean Chicken Chili
~recipe will make 6 to 7 quarts

3 #’s navy beans
1 ½ gallons water
2T salt

2 #’s boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs, your choice)
1 quart corn or 4 cups frozen corn
1 large or 2 medium size onions, chopped
2 – 7oz cans chopped green chiles
7 cloves garlic, crushed
2T chili powder
2t cumin
1 quart chicken broth
Reserved bean broth (approximately 2 to 3 quarts)

In a very large stock pot (mine is 14 quart size) combine beans, water and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. After one hour, drain beans of broth but save bean broth to add some back into soup later on.

While beans are simmering chop chicken meat into small pieces and set aside (no need to cook the meat ahead of time as it will cook while the soup is simmering).

After beans have been drained, return to stock pot and add chicken meat, corn, onions, chiles, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir and add chicken broth. Now add reserved bean broth until it covers the soup.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Prepare quart jars by washing and pouring boiling water in them so they are hot. Fill hot jars with the hot soup. Wipe the top of the jar rim clean and put a (new) lid on. Apply a ring and tighten finger tight.

Put jars in canner and follow instructions for your canner.

This soup needs to be canned at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes for quart jars. If you want to can this using pint jars you can. In that case it would be 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes. If you live in a high altitude area make sure to adjust pressure for your altitude: 

To use this chili…

Open jar and pour into soup pot. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat and add:
½ cup sour cream

Taste, add salt if needed. Serve and enjoy..


Monday, May 26, 2014

Menu Monday!


Korean pork chops (pork chops marinated in Korean BBQ Sauce), brown rice, broccoli

Marinated chicken, brown rice, salad

Tacos w/all the trimmings


Creamed tuna over biscuits, veggie platter

Crockpot cheesy cowboy casserole, salad

Chicken pot pie, watermelon and cantaloupe


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Updates from the Homestead

My blogging got lost in all the busyness and issues at home and with my family. This last week was a crazy and scary week for us. My hubby and I had been able to get away for a few days which was very nice. After coming home my niece from Iowa came for a visit. My sister in law is staying with us and she came to see her mom. It was so nice to see her.

However the scary part came shortly after we arrived home. My daughter Hannah works part time and takes her children to super nice lady who watches them. One evening after she picked them up she noticed a rash and a boil on her baby’s leg (this is my little grandson Will who is now 10 months old). She called the babysitter and inquired and was told that the babysitter’s husband and son both had the same thing. Hannah wasted no time and took him into the ER. They were able to drain the boil and have the fluid tested. Our sweet baby Will had MRSA. We were all in shock and very concerned. My daughter Leanne stepped in to baby sit as Hannah did not want to take them back to the babysitters until Hannah felt comfortable that the issue had been solved. Then after getting home I also took care of the kids as well. Our biggest scare was not knowing if little Will would respond to the antibiotics. We were all very thankful when he did. Praise God!! Staph infections are always scary and very serious, so as this week came to close we were all thanking God for his blessings in this. Thankfully the girls did not get it.

This is a pic of my oldest granddaughter Elizabeth and my little grandson Will…

Needless to say that between, time away, family visiting and grandma duty, blogging and most all computer time took a back seat to life! :) I’m praying this coming week is smooth sailing on the homestead….


Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu Monday!


Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli

Burrito pie, cornbread, salad

Caramelized baked chicken legs, brown rice, salad

Fish sticks, mac & cheese, salad


Pizza rice casserole, salad

Navy bean & ham soup, crackers, veggie platter

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Pesto Feta Cheese Stuffed Chicken

This meal is sooo good. I would call this company good. If you want a meal that is impressive yet easy, this just may be the ticket. It looks and sounds gourmet, but yet is not hard to make. I served it with brown rice and a salad.

You can use chicken breasts or boneless, skinless thighs. I used the thighs. Thigh meat is less expensive and in my opinion tastes better because the chicken is so moist. But whatever your preference is go with that.

I used 3# of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I had an 8oz jar of pesto sauce and used less than ¼ of it. And only used maybe 1/3 cup of feta cheese. So my measurements in my recipe are general. If you make a smaller amount then of course you won’t need as much. You will also need a few slices of bacon (one slice for each piece of chicken you have).

Begin by pounding your chicken pieces to flatten them. This is easy to do. I laid out a piece of parchment paper, laid some of the chicken pieces on top, covered with another piece of parchment paper. I then used a mallet from my sons tool box (ha, ha,.. they do make meat pounders, I don’t have one and this did the job just fine). Pound the meat until pieces are flat and fairly thin.

Now spread a spoonful of pesto sauce on them, and then sprinkle some feta on top…

Roll them up and wrap them with a piece of bacon to hold them together and transfer to a baking sheet. I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on top, this is optional.  I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup and no sticking…

Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. Serve and enjoy!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for May.. Update!!

Well my daughter Leanne and I tackled the laundry and pulled everything off the shelves, cleaned them, tossed things, organized not only the food, but cleaning supplies. I got rid of nearly empty bottles of this and that and discovered things I’d forgot I had. This was by far one of the easiest and quickest chores so far this year! Ha, ha!!

And this is what it looks like now…

How is it going for you? 

We Can Do This Girls!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

100 Life Skills


Recently I saw a facebook test circulating around on 100 life skills. You checked the boxes on how many skills you had and see what your end result is. I got 77. Some of my kids got answers in the 50’s. However some of the “skills” they had listed I had to stop and ask myself.. are these really ‘life skills’? Throwing a football, how to open a champagne bottle, how to eat lobster, etc. So I went on a quest for REAL life skills. Those skills that people feel are really needed in life, things they wish they knew or know and want their kids to know too. I came up with a list and then I asked my kids, my friends, my husband about what life skills they think are important. What life skills would you like to see your kids have? What life skills have you needed or wished you had. This list is a compilation of their responses. I want to thank everyone who answered my questions. I really enjoyed hearing what everyone I asked had to say.

I’m not computer savvy enough to know how to make this into a test, if you want to see how many of these skills you have, then I suggest the old fashioned way.. take a pen and paper and keep track of your score..  :)

These 100 life skills are not in any order. I wrote them down as I thought of them and as people gave them to me.  And frankly some of these may not actually qualify as a "skill" but rather a life principle.  Also some of these "skills" are farm related.  I'm sure many could live their entire life and never need to know how to milk a goat or clean a barn stall, but as a country lady I add them because I think they are good skills to know!  ~smile~

As a reader of my blog.. if you have any to add to the list.. please do in the comment section!


1. bake a loaf of bread

2. cook a meal using leftovers and/or pantry & freezer items only

3. milk a goat

4. plant a garden

5. freeze and can harvest from a garden

6. raise chickens

7. make cheese (of any kind)

8. plan a menu for a week

9. keep a house reasonably clean

10. make a meal without a recipe

11. know how to make business phone calls

12. make a budget

13. live within your budget

14. know how to change a vacuum cleaner bag

15. how to clean a toilet

16. how to treat various stains on your clothes (blood, vomit, grease, grass, etc..)

17. how to teach your kids basic math skills (with Common Core this is becoming more and more a real life skill!)

18. how to teach a child to read

19. basic first aid such as cleaning a cut, dealing with a sprained ankle, a spider bite, a bee sting, etc…

20. how to clean a barn stall (or maybe if this not relevant, then simply knowing how to roll up your sleeves and get a dirty job done)

21. how to figure out the decimal equivalent of 5/8 (or any fraction)

22. how clean a slow moving sink drain

23. check the oil in your car

24. add oil if it is low

25. change a flat tire

26. how to make a really good cup of coffee

27. how to drive a car

28. how to sew

29. how to change a diaper

30. make baby food

31. balance a checkbook

32. how to build a fire

33. how to bbq a burger

34. how to check proper inflation of your car tire

35. in case of a flat tire to know where your spare and needed tools are located in your car

36. how to determine how many miles per gallon your car gets

37. dealing with difficult people in the work place

38. how to properly take a phone message for someone else

39. how to write properly (letters, resumes, cover letters, thank you cards)

40. how to calculate monthly interest

41. how to plan and organize for a large gathering of people such as a party, holiday, wedding reception, etc..

42. know how to live life without a credit card and use cash

43. (this relevant if you have boys in the house) Lift the seat, put it down when you are done, flush..

44. understand your constitutional rights

45. know how to contact your representative and senators

46. How to count back change and know how much change you should get in a transaction

47. understand the truth about immunizations, know the health risks and downside of them

48. to be able to figure the price per pound or ounce of any food item in the grocery store

49. to clean the lint from your dryer duct

50. no more “fluff” cycle on the dryer… just fold it and put it away

51. know the health effects of consuming hydrogenated oils

52. to read and understand product ingredient labels

53. how to tax plan.. how to figure your income tax ahead of time and plan for it

54. how to listen to others no matter how you feel about them

55. how to sweep and dust

56. know how to read and study your Bible

57. know how to differentiate between needs and wants

58. How to delay satisfaction and be content with where you are in life

59. Basic maintenance on things you own

60. How to sew a button on

61. how to read a thermometer

62. How fold and iron properly

63. how to sharpen a lawn mower blade

64. How to wash dishes (and load a dishwasher properly if you have one!)

65. how to insulate/weatherize your home for cold weather

66. how to make your own herbal medicines for colds, sniffles and the flu

67. How to properly and safely handle a gun

68. How to make a bed

69. how to jump start your car if your battery is dead

70. how to put snow chains on

71. how to clean your gutters

72. how to clean your oven

73. to understand the difference when giving of your time and finances between ‘real’ needs as opposed to indiscriminate charity

74. to understand that patience and longsuffering is work in progress for all of us

75. to have an appreciation and be thankful for the job that your employer has provided for you

76. how to protect your social security number (as in.. don’t give it away online!)

77. how to search and purchase needed items online

78. how to use basic software for home management such as Quicken, Excel, Turbo Tax, etc..

79. know how to set an atmosphere of peace and love in your home

80. (this is relevant if you are a homeschooler).. know how to create a high school transcript for your child

81. to trust God in your life. Life will have its ups and downs and God is the only constant that can be depended on

82. how to organize the ‘stuff’ in your home

83. know how to deal with a 3 year olds temper tantrum

84. know how to gracefully deal with unexpected company for dinner

85. when dealing with difficulties in life.. before you take a stand.. ask yourself.. “is this the hill I want to die on” .. many of life’s issues are seriously not that important, but some are.. can you differentiate them?

86. to drink an adequate amount of water each day (instead of all the other alternatives out there)

87. to know what ‘real’ healthy food choices are

88. to understand the importance and significance of what marriage is

89. to know and understand the difference between right and wrong

90. to understand that honesty is rewarding

91. that self-discipline is important

92. to know that there is a God in heaven

93. to know patients is a learned skill

94. the ability to communicate with not only your peers but people of all ages and all walks of life

95. how to view life and decisions logically and not emotionally but to use wisdom and discernment

96. understand that serving others is an act of love

97. how to recycle

98. to think “outside the box”

99. how to paint

100. how to declutter your home

Monday, May 12, 2014

Menu Monday!

Cheeseburger soup, crackers, salad

Marinated chicken, brown rice, broccoli

Tacos w/trimmings, chips & salsa

Chicken bacon chowder, french bread, salad

Yummy pinto beans, crackers, veggie platter


Creamed tuna over biscuits, salad

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day (a little early)

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day but I figured I get this out a day ahead of time. Becoming a mother is something no one can prepare you for. The moment they put that small little human being into your arms you are in love and have a bond that will stay with you the rest of your life. It is the most amazing experience. In that moment you become a mother your life will never be the same. It is THE most wonderful, rewarding, joyful and incredible experience. It will take you places physically and emotionally that you never knew existed. And you will never regret one moment of it.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Three years ago I wrote a post entitled “A Few Reflections on Raising Children”. I am reposting it here today for my Mother’s Day Post. This is a REPOST (my daughters are not in Denmark anymore.. LOL.. I’ve done reposts in the past and sometimes people do not realize that it is an older post, so I just wanted to make that clear)..

A Few Reflections on Raising Children
(in between the paragraphs of this article are a few random pics of my kids/family through the years)..

Leanne left on Wednesday morning for Denmark to spend 3 weeks with Emily. To say I was stressed for those nearly 24 hours of flights and layovers is an understatement. She arrived safe and sound and is currently with Emily enjoying her time in Copenhagen. But it made me reflect a bit on raising children.

I thought it was tough when they were young. I had to make sure that the home was safe, no sharp objects for them to get a hold of, make sure the cleaning supplies were out of reach, keep the baby gates in place, teach them to play nicely and not be rude, obey the rules, potty training, diapers, nap times, sleepless nights, etc.. Then we move onto spending the nights with friends, outside influences and activities, and keeping a stable home and during it all you think, when they get older this will be easier, I won't fret so much about them… well not quite..…

Then they learn to drive! And you wait up for them, pace the floor not able to sleep until you hear the car pull in and they are home.

Or they join the military and are deployed.. You worry everyday for their safety and pray continually for them. And then praise and thank the Lord when they are finally home.


Some marry and have issues that you listen to and pray for and try and give godly advice. They have children and you now you have grandchildren who you think of and pray for.

And then.. some decide to go and spend a year in Europe! When you don’t see them pop onto Skpye or Facebook for several days you wonder.. is everything ok? And you pray some more… and then they call you and there is peace in your heart when you hear their voice.

And as I was taking my 19 year old daughter to the airport and putting her on what would be a nearly 24 hour flying and traveling experience with little contact.. well.. I prayed some more.. and realized that being a mom never does really come to an end. Your children’s well being is always first and foremost on your mind. And I also realized how simple it was in the days that the biggest challenge was keeping them away from the scissors and cleaning supplies and keeping them happy, well fed and living in a clean home.

Not to confuse simple with stress free.. no those days had their stresses too… I remember one day when I had several little ones in the home and I was pregnant with Jacob. The day was stressful and my father stopped by to see me. He saw my stress right away and said to me, “Can I take the kids for a walk?”… heck yes!! I said.. and as he was leaving with them all (after spending a half hour trying to find shoes and get everyone ready to leave :). .. he said to me.. “Remember Crystal.. These are the Good Old Days.. these are the days you will look back at one day and remember fondly”… aww.. such wonderful words of wisdom from my father. He passed away 5 years ago and I miss him terribly.

But how true his words were! And you know, one day I am sure I will look back at these current days and say the same thing.. “those were the Good Old Days”.

Moms… treasure EVERY day no matter how difficult, stressful or how hectic.. Believe me with 8 children I KNOW hectic and crazy.. .. But, really the years go by quickly and they grow up and new challenges come our way..So when I start to feel stressed by it all.. I remember.. treasure these moments today and ultimately I remember ONE most important fact…

Jesus is in control.. How awesome is that! It goes way beyond anything I can handle and it is so comforting to know that He cares for them more than I can comprehend. He is watching over my children and grandchildren!