Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not that I really needed another reason to go simplier

But today being Erica's 11th birthday, he being so spoiled in the ways of the world came to a huge head. Now this is the child that was in severe need of a new bike a couple of months ago and was told we were giving it to her early as she needed it but it was still part of her birthday. She accepted that. Until today. When she got her bike basket, a new book bag and lunch box in her favorite color and the book bag personalized with her last name. And it wasn't enough for her. She even said so. Yes this is our fault. Up until a year or so ago when we decided to go the simple ways, we tried the old "give them everything we never had trick". You know what?? They are not a darn bit happier, and I think even more unhappy. We had already pretty much decided that this coming year for Christmas, the kids would get three gifts the same way Jesus did at his birth. For two reasons, one to knock down the spoilage, and two to try to bring the real meaning of the holiday to the fore front once again. Now, I am more determined than ever to go the three gift route. I never dreamed that one of my children would ever be the way she was today. I just hope that this being her 11th birthday, that I have time to tame the monster we have created.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Canning jars canning jars everywhere

And I am out of places to store them. I bought alot last year, and the ones that were empty have been refilled. I was out. So today I went and bought six more cases. They are sitting here on the table needing a home. The full ones are outgrowing their home also. I am hoping that this will be plenty, as I am doing more meal stuff now that I have a pressure cooker, and using them for a turn around. And we are using up more of the ones from last year, I just really had no idea how much jam to make and way overdid it. I really hope I can find all these jars a home soon. Of course there are things we can and should get rid of, I just need the time and energy to get that done. Maybe after our camping trip I will get beloved to help me with that.

Erica's birthday is coming up later this week. We are giving her a new backpack and lunchbox for school in her favorite color (lime green). We spent the money for good LL Bean ones due to the quality and their return policy this one should last her several years rather than buying at least two cheap ones each year. She is also getting a basket for her bicycle. I think she will be really happy with that as well.

We are very much looking forward to our coming camping trip. We are going way later in the year than we usually do, but that is just how the schedule has allowed. It has been a fairly cool summer here in Ohio so far, and I hope it stays that way for us. Of course we want it to be warm enough to enjoy swimming and the water slides. I have canned alot of our meals to take so we should need less cooler space and have less ice to pay for! We are thrilled about that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Angel Food

Today I picked up my first Angel Food order. I have decided to put in an order next month as well. The food looks pretty good, we are having a couple of the steaks tonight. Erica doesn't like steak, so she is having a Boca Brat. I used to try to force meat on her, but have decided at this point as long as she is eating healthy I will not force meat down her. She will eat some meats, mostly ground I really think it is a chewing thing. We are also having some nice tomatoes we got from the roadside stand and some cucumbers they were giving out with Angel Food that someone had extras of and brought in. Our veggies are not ready yet. I also bought some extra tomatoes from the roadside stand to can tomorrow because I didn't produce enough of my own last year. We ran out in December. I hate buying store ones of any kind, just no flavor there!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I love my home canned potatoes

I have been doing so much more canning this year. I did some potatoes and I love them. Beloved loves fried potatoes, but they take so much time I never make them much. I made him some the other night from my diced canned potatoes. They were so fast, the prep work was already done, I just strained and rinsed them and fried them up. They really were the best fried potatoes I ever made. I am going to be canning more of these for sure! If you would have told me ten years ago this was where my life would take me, I would have likely told you that you were nuts. But I love the road my life has taken. I know that a whole bunch of people think we are just to plain, to simple and to old fashioned, but I love it.

We smoked a ham yesterday and so I used the bone to make beans tonight. Tomorrow we will have another meal of it. Maybe in scalloped potatoes or something of the sort. It used to be I would never use a whole ham, but that was before I had really learned to cook. Now I have learned to make leftovers into a whole new meal. It really makes a huge difference.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My silly garden and school is approaching again

The zucchini has finally started going crazy in the garden to the point that I am giving it away. I have a bunch here I am going to freeze for bread. Last year, every last plant of zucchini died. We are so happy to be getting some this year! The thing in the garden this year that is really acting crazy it the eggplant. Lots of pretty flowers, and not a fruit one on them. I just can't figure it out! They seem healthy and growing very well.

Tomorrow, I am going to town to have an errand day. Don't miss the back to school sales at Staples, even home schooled need school supplies and the first good sale is this week. I will also be stopping at Wal-Mart for some flour I have gone through alot making up pancake mix for our camping trip. We are very much looking forward to that! And as soon as we get back it will be all about beloved finding a job and getting Erica back into school. She has really been enjoying her library activities this year summer and I think she is sad to see those end. She has one coming up to decorate a T-shirt. I ordered her a backpack and lunchbox for school from LLBean. They are expensive but supposed to have one heck of a return policy to where if it falls apart in ten years, they will replace it. So I splurged and went for quality. I have heard from many people that they still look new after several years. Hoping that is the case, as Erica easily goes through two a year of the cheap ones.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who says living the frugal and simple life has to be boring?

Honestly even with beloved losing his job, things are not looking so bad here. Of course we try to always be prepared and save as much as we can. We use our coupons and stockpile groceries, and make far more food from scratch than we buy prepared. I guess God has taught us to be frugal so that when the chips are down life can still be good.

The garden has been producing nicely, but the lettuce is tall and seeding out, so I am having to pull it up and replace it with seed. We won't be having lettuce for awhile. The plants we currently have were doing great at keeping us in lettuce for two months, so we really can't complain at all. We are still getting cherry tomatoes and have a lot of green tomatoes just waiting for enough sun. When they start changing, I will be doing a whole lot of canning. We have also eaten the first two zucchini out of the garden.

I have been keeping the kids in treats. We have never had dessert every night, and still don't but I have made pudding a couple of times with powdered milk. Also, Deanna on Our Plain and Simple Life blog posted a recipe for powdered milk milkshakes that I had seen before and was afraid to try. Erica loves them. And they are cheap and so easy that Erica can make them herself! Her blog is in my blog list and she has a really nice blog, pop on over and check it out. She is just so full of good information!

Tonight we had lentil tacos I got that recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife site. The kids ate it pretty well on our homemade whole wheat tortillas. I added some black beans to mine, just because it sounded good that way. I don't think I make any recipe without changing it some. I don't think the kids are really happy that I am going meatless at least three nights a week and very little meat the rest of the nights, but truth is meat is expensive and most of us eat more of it than we really need. I am really hoping to find a tortilla press at the thrift store though, it would make the tortillas so much easier to make, and they would be more perfectly round instead of funny looking. We may have more meat tomorrow night though, the neighbor sent over some hamburger buns tonight. God blessed us with them and we will use them I just need to figure out how. I am thinking ground hamburgers so I can add in some TVP to stretch the meat farther.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What a nice Fourth we had

We went to the park as always to watch the Fireworks display. The park is right behind the store my son works at, so we always get there early and park in the back of the store. From there it is very easy to carry our picnic a few feet to the grass to eat and Erica can play on the playground. It was raining this year, so we took our EZ up to keep us dry. Luckily it was just a light rain nothing major and not much wind at all. Our EZ up is a 12X12 so plenty of room for the four of us in our chairs and the small table for our food and drink jug to set on. We had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, potato salad and biscuits that I made at home. Erica didn't get to play on the equipment quite as much tonight due to the rain, but got to some. When they were over we packed up what was left to pack up as we had already cleared the food away earlier and came home. Even with the rain it was a nice evening out. Being a SAHM, it is nice to have an outing sometimes and of course I look to do them very frugally. And you don't get much more frugal than a picnic in the park. We love to do picnics and love them even more when there is a bonus such as fireworks. I had plenty of leftover food, so I guess tomorrow I will just find something to add to it and have an easy cooking night tomorrow night.

I cut up the chickens yesterday that I bought on manager markdown for tonight's dinner. And I only keep the legs, thighs and breasts to fry. The rest I cooked up and canned some chicken broth. I used some of it to make tonight's gravy, but the rest I will have for another use. I am loving having my pressure cooker now so I can do such things and stretch the budget so much farther. And I would like to thank you so much to Prairie Mom at the life of the prairie mom blog for giving me the extra umph I needed to do this. I had started canning jams, jellies and other hot water bath stuff last year and had been afraid to try the other way. One of her posts inspired me to try and I am so glad I did. Talk about making life easier and cheaper on those busy days when I don't have a lot of time to cook!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Boy am I glad we are doing some homeschooling

Ok, I don't hate public schools. But maybe in some ways I do. With the Fourth approaching the other day, I took the opportunity to talk to Erica about it. All she knew at all was things we have already talked about. She didn't know anything about the Declaration of Independence. Granted, those in the government today don't seem to want us to know anything. They would be much happier if we sat back and forgot about wanting to fight against taxation without representation. They want to tax us more and more against everything this country was based on. But maybe it is because so many of our children don't know what this country is based on that this is allowed to happen. So many people this last election said they wanted to vote for "change" but did they stop and ask just what kind of change they wanted and what kind they were going to get? I at this point would urge all parents everywhere to have this discussion with their kids. Because if we lose sight of where we came from, how will we know where we are wanting to go? This is turning into a big lesson for us this summer on the home front. I just wonder what the school has been doing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today's society makes me sad sometimes

I was at Wal-mart today. I had to buy my 25 pound bag of flour and my 15 pound bag of sugar and my baking powder and my bouillon. The cashier said to me (now keep in mind she was not younger than me or even my own age) "Wow, you must have a lot of baking to do". I said to her "well I make all of our breads and do most all of our cooking from scratch". The cashier then told me that she didn't have patience for that and the lady behind me in line agreed. I guess I don't see it as a matter of patience, it really isn't that hard, it is just something I do. Now, I do have a mixer that I couldn't imagine being without, but it just isn't hard nor is it time consuming. Well maybe somewhat time consuming if you factor rising time, but who has time to sit around and wait on that? It does that itself while I do such things as hang out the laundry. Now, I didn't ask but I am guessing that those women don't do that either. After all, that takes patience. It really made me sad. It seems that women have had to strive so hard to be come "equal" in our society, that some of them have forgotten how to do the things that make us women. I guess I looked back on my life today and felt more grateful than ever that I can be a wife and mother. I said thank you to God today as I walked out of Wal-mart. I am so happy to have the skills and the patience to cook for my family. I am so glad to have this life that I have now rather than the life of the factory worker I once was. I know some women work because they have to, I was one of them. But after I left my first abusive marriage and I married the wonderful loving man I am with now, I found out what being a wife and mother really means. I gotta tell you, to me it means sheer joy. Since tonight was a busy night I got out some chili that I had canned, cooked some spaghetti to put it on, whipped up some bread sticks and some cinnamon rolls for dessert and we had a nice quick cheap yummy home cooked and not from a box dinner. So tonight, as I take off my apron and change from my dress to my nightgown, I think I will give my beloved an extra kiss. And an extra hug for being the kind of great husband that has taught me how wonderful it is to strive to be a great wife.