Monday, August 31, 2015

Menu Monday!

Last week's menu planning went very well. I was pleased with the changes. So I'm going to try again this week.

The chicken pepperoni casserole turned out amazing! I'll be posting more details and the recipe tomorrow.

The meatloaf pie that was planned did not get made. I had 2 pounds of hamburger left in the freezer. I ended up having a couple more people to feed than planned and I knew it would not be enough. So I did a quick check of my pantry and decided to make chili bean soup instead. It was the perfect choice. I made that yesterday and have leftovers for us today (Monday). I also made cornbread and a salad to go along with it.

In my freezer I still have some chicken legs to use up and a pork roast. I'll need to buy hamburger this week.

This is what I have planned for the rest of the week...

Cilantro Chicken

I have chicken legs in the freezer and will use these. This is a recipe from my daughter and I've not made it before. I plan to serve this with rice and a salad.


Pretty basic. I have lots of tomatoes and salsa to accompany the tacos. I'll serve some fresh summer fruit on the side as well as tortilla chips and salsa.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I have a bag of hogie rolls in the freezer. Seemed like a great way to use those and the pork roast. I cook the roast in the crockpot for 12 or more hours. So it is tender and falling apart. I shred it with 2 forks and add barbeque sauce until it looks right. Serve in spit hoagie rolls topped with coleslaw. Potato chips and fresh fruit or a veggie platter will be served on the side.

Either a pot of soup (something simple) or burgers on the grill will be the back up plan if I happen to need an extra meal.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Garden Update

My garden is doing very well. The weeds keep threatening to overtake and lately I think they are winning!! But such is life with a garden.

I wanted to give a little update on my Royal Burgandy bush beans. They were fun to plant and grow. They tasted amazing! I picked the first batch right before my daughter Leanne came home and cooked them up for her home coming dinner. Oh yum!! Here is what the looked liked before cooking...

And after cooking (yep, they turn green when they are cooked) the beans are on the right (this was the meal I made for Leanne when she came home it was cooked sausages & chicken, mac & cheese and the green beans) ...

I cooked them in a some water with a bit of salt and dried onions. When they were done cooking I drained them, added a few strips of cooked and crumbled bacon and a little bit of butter, salted to taste. I honestly have never seen green beans eaten up so quickly by my family! I'll definitely be planting them next year.

I mentioned in a previous blog post about the rest of my green beans. Hannah and I canned 28 quarts and I sent her home with lots of fresh green beans and we had enough for a couple more meals after that (cooked as above, it is now a family favorite).

As of now, I'm moving onto tomatoes. I picked these a couple evenings ago...

That is a little over 60 pounds! Hannah and I have been making salsa with these this week.. lots of salsa!!

How is your garden doing? Or is it done? Do you plant a fall garden?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Washington Fires

I'm sure everyone has heard of the horrific wild fires in Washington State. It has just been an awful year. We are in SW Washington but have had a few fires here as well. It has kept us on our toes. Never in all the years that we've lived here have I seen it this bad. We have had a long, hot dry summer. At this point anything is capable of starting a fire. Outside a small town in Oregon a huge grass fire was started when a small pickup blew a tire. Sparks from lawnmowers and chainsaws are starting fires. In all the National Forests in Washington there is a ban on all campfires, bbqs, etc. For now there is a halt to most logging being done.

It is sad to see the devastation of so many homes and so much land. And the loss of lives has been incredibly sad. Four firefighters have lost their lives battling the blazes.

We had a fire start about 4 miles from us. Thankfully they had it under control by the next day. We were not in any danger. It was unnerving to see helicopters w/water buckets flying over our house. There have been a few more fires in the forest areas farther from our home. We live in an area that is on the edge of the National Forest. Our home is surrounded by fir trees and forest vegetation.

We decided to have a plan, just in case. We discussed with our boys what the game plan would be if we had to leave due to fire. What we would take and where we would go. It has been a sobering thought.

It all has given me a lot of food for thought. I find it interesting that we spend a lifetime amassing 'stuff'. Some of it necessary for daily living, some needed for certain times of the year, some sentimental, and frankly some of it that really has no need or meaning. But if ever faced with the situation of having to leave your home quickly, and only taking what could fit in your vehicle, you quickly narrow down what has the most value. No great gems of wisdom to share, but how the perspective changes on the things we have when seen through a situation such as this.

As of now, we are in prayer. Prayer for the firefighters, prayer for families and people in threatened areas, prayer for those who've lost so much, prayer for rain to end this horrible season. And praying for the Lords safety for all.

These are pictures taken from my deck last Saturday afternoon. The smoke is so thick you can't see the mountains on the other side (this is the smoke from the fires in the north of our state). The sun barely showed all day. When it did, it was an eerie golden color.

Here is what it normally would look like on a sunny day (this pic was taken a while back)...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Menu Monday!

The format for this week's Menu Monday is a bit different. If this works for me I may keep this format for a while.

As my kids seem to, more and more, have busy lives of their own I find it very difficult to plan certain meals for certain nights. I've always done it that way in the past and it worked great under the circumstances. But things are achangin'

I'll plan a meal, make the meal only to discover they have other plans and we end up eating the meal for the next 2 or even 3 nights. Which is great, less cooking for me. But, sitting in my freezer and pantry are the ingredients I purchased for meals that won't get made. I try and get them made in the following week.. sometimes this works and sometimes, once again, circumstances come up and they still don't get made.

I was looking for something in my freezer over the weekend and took note of the supplies (mainly meat) that I have on hand. And I have a pretty full pantry.

Here is what I had in the freezer:

5#'s hamburger patties
6#'s chicken drumsticks
3#'s chicken thigh fillets
5#'s hamburger
Over half a bag of fish sticks
5# pork roast
Lots of frozen veggies
1 large bag of hogie rolls
1 loaf french bread
2 large loaves of bread
Mozzarella cheese

And misc things like orange juice, ice, tater tots, hash browns, etc..

And my pantry:

Several cans of cooked beans
lots of tuna fish
tomatoes: diced, sauce, paste
pasta of all sorts
spaghetti sauce

And misc things like: condiments, granola, crackers, canned fruit, etc..

I also have a garden full of tomatoes and squash..

So in light of this my plan for the week is to come up with 3 meals using what I have on hand and cooking the meals as it works through the week rather than assigning certain meals to certain days.

For now I know that we will be having leftover pork chops, macaroni salad, green salad and watermelon for dinner tonight. I made this meal on Sunday with the intention of having leftovers for Monday.

The rest of week here is what I'm planning...

Italian Chicken Pepperoni Casserole

Using my chicken thigh fillets, pepperoni (have that in the fridge), spaghetti sauce. I'll make this by putting a layer of the chicken in a large baking pan, topping it with pepperoni slices, covering it with spaghetti sauce and sprinkling mozzarella cheese over the top and baking it. I'll share this in more detail if it turns out good! ~smile~ With that I'll serve either pasta or french bread and a salad

Meatloaf Pie

I'll be making my standard meatloaf recipe but patting it thinner in a large baking dish. I'll top it with chopped fresh tomatoes and cut up summer squash. Top it with mozzarella cheese and bake it. I'll serve this with rice and a salad.

Crystals Crockpot Beans

You can find this recipe HERE. I'll serve this with either cornbread or biscuits and fresh summer fruit.

If for some reason I need another meal this week, there is always hamburger patties or fish sticks to make a quick meal!

The good side to this plan is that it will make for an easy grocery shopping week as all I'll really need is fresh fruit and lettuce, dairy, eggs, and few misc things (non food related such as laundry detergent and cat food).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Menu Monday!


I have a lot of summer squash coming on and my neighbor has blessed me with a lot cucumbers. I'm working to use those (or keep up with them :) this week in my menu.

BBQ chicken sandwiches, coleslaw, chips, fruit

Hamburger zucchini casserole, marinated cucumbers, biscuits

Burgers on the grill


Roasted chicken legs, tater tots, sauteed summer squash


Baked pork chops w/ zucchini pineapple salsa (new recipe I'm trying), rice, salad


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Homescooling Retirement

A few days ago I was in Target.. and looking at all the school supplies for sale.. I got excited for moment.. and then .. I got even more excited..

This year I am retiring.. yep.. for the last 28 years I've bought school supplies, curriculum, made plans, and organized the education of my 8 children... but .. I AM DONE!! Thank you God for seeing me through the last 28 years..

I do not regret one single day!!! If I had it to do all over again.. I would do exactly the same thing.. I would homeschool each of them all over again.. there were great years, there were good years, there were difficult years... BUT.. I never wavered from our conviction.. I stayed true to what God called us to do.. and this year.. (with a bit of sadness) I walk by all those cute back to school supply sales (all those Minion school supplies had me wishing I had just one more kid to homeschool.. ).. and thanked the LORD.. I am DONE!! .

I've taken all 8 kids all the way through high school.. and now.. my job is to support my children as they homeschool their children.. and take a break.. and sit back.. and enjoy my retirement..

To all you mama's homeschooling your sweet children, do not lose hope, do not waver from your convictions. Life will send you curve balls, life will not always go as you want it to. There will be days you will question what you are doing, wonder if you can handle it, wonder if you are doing the best for your children. Pressure from the outside will make you doubt what you are doing. It will make you wonder if you are doing what you should for your children or if you are doing enough.

As I sit at the end of this long journey all I can say is this, every day spent with your children is worth the time and energy. It is worth the stress. It is worth fighting against the pressures you may feel. It is worth EVERY single moment. Your children will be just fine, they will remember an amazing childhood filled with a life that was a total devotion by their mama. Hang in there, and enjoy the journey.. the good, the difficult, and all that homeschooling entails.

When you cross the finish line, the joy will be beyond anything you could have imagined and all those hard days, dirty house moments, mac and cheese for dinner (or hey cereal because that is all you could handle for that day!), and those amazing days when your child “gets it”, and those days you spent doing nothing but reading and having a picnic in the living room.. will have been worth everything. You will not regret one single day. Your children are worth every single moment of time you have invested in them.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Menu Monday!


What's cooking in your home this week? It's going to be another very warm week so simple is once again my theme for the week.


Fish sticks, tater tots, marinated cucumbers, watermelon

Tacos w/all the trimmings


Lasagna, french bread, sauteed summer squash, marinated cucumbers

Roasted chicken legs, mashed potatoes, green beans


Friday, August 7, 2015

Gardens, Green Beans & Grandkids!!

I've had a few busy but fun days. My green beans were ready to be picked and Hannah and the grandkids came and we picked beans.

The grandkids did more playing in the dirt than picking :). When children get dirt, water, shovels, buckets and a few pans.. you end up with this (ha, ha, ha)...

But we also got this...

Today I canned up about half of them (minus the ones we ate)....

Tomorrow Hannah will be here again to help me can up the rest of them. She'll take half of them home with her. I planted a large garden and she's helped me this summer with it and we are sharing the bounty.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Menu Monday!


I think we're at the end of a bit of a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. It has been hot, hot, hot... I had zero desire to cook last week. My house was already hot enough (we don't have air-conditioning as is fairly typical in our part of the world) and when it's 85 inside the house and 100 outside... turning on anything stove or oven like is out of the question! :) .. so we lived on leftovers, sandwiches and frozen food that was reheated in the microwave. This week the temps outside drop back into the lower 80's and I see a little more cooking happening. Hope you all are surviving summer and meal planning.

Leftover hamburger/rice/zucchini casserole, salad

Burgers on the grill

Crockpot chicken chili, tortilla chips, salad


Lasagna, french bread, green beans


Tuna patties, macaroni salad, watermelon