Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Purchase

My new toy is a Food Saver that I purchased this week. Since I do alot of dehydrating and bargain shopping it has come in handy. I recently purchased alot of bulk oatmeal and then repackaged into Food Saver bags and vacumn sealed for future use as it's going to take quite awhile to eat all that oatmeal. It's also great for freezer foods as it keeps the food from getting freezer burned so you save money in the long run. Today I vacumn sealed over 20 lbs. of oats, flour, noodles, nuts and seeds while watching two of my grandchildren, plus cleaned the pantry and refrigerator. I'm tired!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garden Update for June

Tonight we decided to just stay home and attend to the garden. Our children have youth group and so it looks like just Chuck and I at home. We need to weed and pick some more cherries. I think the count is now about 20 gallons that have been dehydrated. The squash plants actually have squash on them, and I've been picking some strawberries and enjoying. The rest of the plants are doing well, growing so big. My spinach has gone to seed, I need a shadier spot in the yard to plant some more. It may be getting too hot to replant, I'm not sure, though, I'm still such a novice to gardening. Trial and error!! I love my new raised beds as I haven't had to do much weeding and I like that they are right off the patio in the side yard. Well, off to work!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Musings from Mom

On Sunday, our daughter, Katey, arranged for all the kids still living at home to meet with Chuck and I for lunch, at a local restaurant, for a Father's Day celebration. As I looked around the table at our six youngest children I had thoughts of, "My, they are all so grown up, now." My days of caring for little ones are over and it has gone so fast. I loved those years, but am happy for this new season. We had a nice meal, good conversation and they all paid for the meal. Then they all got in their own cars, except for 14 year old, Alex, who went with Julie, and we watched them leave, one by one. Our car is so empty, now, the big yellow van has been replaced. It feels kinda funny, bittersweet. But....it's part of life!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy 26th Birthday, Chad!

You are a devoted husband, passionate father, talented business man, and wonderful son. We all love your easy going, humorous ways. The Lord has blessed you in so many ways and best of all, he has your heart. I love you. Happy Birthday!
Love, Mom

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries

Well, now that most of the birds have been scared away, I have alot of work to do. Our son, Chad, along with youngest son, Alex, picked cherries for me, today. I had already been dehydrating the pickings that my husband had labored over the day before and without a pitter. I enlisted the help of my daughter, Julie, and we pitted many, many cherries by hand! Found out from my daughter-in-law, Jessica, that there is a nifty tool to help with this task. She was horrified to find out I had been doing it by hand. Chad picked one up for me and I am amazed at the speed I can pit the cherries, now. I have my work cut out for me. I have bowls and bowls waiting for me and trees that are still loaded with one of my favorite fruits.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Barbie, The Scarecrow

It's time for cherry picking! We have three great cherry trees that produce an abundance of sweet cherries and every June I sit on the patio swing and stress out about the many birds that swoop down and devour them. I wouldn't mind sharing the top part of the tree with them, but they get piggy and want it all. This year, I want to be able to dehydrate alot of them for our family's winter fruit and so my husband came up with a plan that seems to be working. Barbie!!! He found a Barbie head at a yard sale on Saturday and put it on a rock in the yard. It even scares us when we look out into the yard, forgetting it's there and see it on the rock. He also had 2 of ours sons put pie tins in the tree. But, I think it's Barbie that has them scared!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June Birthdays

Happy Birthday to Isaac, Gracie, Sunny and Chad. We have birthdays every month, but October. Last weekend, we went on a 3 hour train ride to celebrate Isaac's birthday. It was a nice afternoon with Amy, Nels, Chloe and Isaac. Isaac loved the train ride and sat and watched the scenery the entire time. Isaac is now three! Last night we had Chad, Jessica, Gracie, Steven, Caleb and Joshua over for dinner to celebrate Gracie's birthday. Chad climbed our cherry tree and picked cherries to take home, the kids loved eating the cherries off the tree. They also enjoyed our toys and were so good. Gracie is now five! Tomorrow night we will be getting together with Nathan, Sunny, Maddie, Jacob, Judah and McKenna for Jacob's ball game and saying, Happy Birthday to Sunny.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Treasures

With threatening rains we got up early and picked up my folks and off to yard sales. We found lots of sales, could have stayed out all day there were so many. Sunny, our daughter-in-law, asked us to find her a toaster oven, we found a very nice one for only $2.00. I bought the grandkids some clothing, toys, costumes, art supplies and one homeschooling notebook. The items were 50 cents apiece or less. My favorite find was an old looking pot and that was $5.00, my most expensive item of the day. I like to collect pottery and use it to decorate. I also love boxes and baskets and use them to store items and decorate, too.
This summer I'm on the lookout for small pots for when I start my seedlings next gardening season. I found that clay pots work real well for the seeds instead of the newspaper pots I had made, which after awhile got ugly. I had to look at them for weeks in my dining room and got so tired of them. This next year the clay pots will look alot nicer. Found some more today, so I'm getting quite a collection. My goal is at least 50 of them. I like to overplant because some of those little seedlings don't make it. Something else I would love to find this season is mixer attachments for my KitchenAid I bought last week. The hunt is on!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Brain Food-Reading!

I love books. My mom gave me my love of reading when I was a little girl. She loved to read, also, and would take me to the bookstore. I also received books in the mail that she had signed me up for.

I have so many books waiting to be read and I have a hard time giving them up. We recently donated a bunch to the public library and it was difficult to pick out which ones as I worry I will regret giving them away.

I meet with a friend for coffee on a weekly basis and we are discussing a book we are reading in between times. It's fun and when you read the same book and then discuss it, you get more out of it as you have another view of it besides your own.

We are reading the "Who Switched Off My Brain?" by Dr. Caroline Leaf. It's about controlling toxic thoughts and emotions. Researchers say that 87% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life.

It's very interesting and I will be using the information to detox my thought life!!

Ten Minutes to Dinner

I said in my "Pizza Makes a Boy Happy" post that I'm not a lover of cooking. For that reason I seek out fast ways to cook a good meal. I learned about dehydrating foods through some YouTube videos that I found. The site is called dehydrate2store and there are 10 videos that teach about dehydrating and how to use it in cooking fast meals in the crockpot. I was so impressed with the information that I invested in the dehydrator that she used. It's called an Excalibur and has a fan in the back with 9 trays. I ordered it online and have been dehydrating and then putting the food in canning jars.
Today I timed myself on how long it took me to make a crockpot full of a nutritious, delicious soup. It was 10 minutes from start to finish. I have made this once already and it fed us one dinner and a few of us lunch the next day.
All I did was take 2/3 cup of several of the jars, added 1 can of beans I had on the food shelf, a can of tomatoes, water, a hot pepper, and a small frozen tupperware of refried beans I had made awhile back, grabbed pieces of ham I had in the refrigerator, added these and dinner was done.
Amazingly, the dehydrated food goes back to its original size and flavor and is easily stored as it dehydrates into a very small size. It's better than freezing to me as I don't have lots of freezer space after purchasing part of a cow and taking advantage of sales on fruit. Also, I've thought about the "what if" on power outages. Dehydrated food can last for years and years.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Walk With My Man

I've finally thawed out and am ready to get back to my walks with Chuck. We had gotten in the habit of a nightly walk and then winter hit and I became like the she bear that I am and went into hibernation
So, last night we went on a walk, it felt so good. The sun was getting ready to set and the air was just a little on the cool side. Chuck and I got to have good conversation, held hands and enjoyed one anothers company.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pizza Makes a Boy Happy!

What is it about pizza that even the most picky eater will enjoy? At least that is how it is at our house. I've been cooking for years and it seems that whatever I've cooked at least one or even a few would have a negative comment. Mind you, there has been many to please so one or two out of thirteen, that's not too high a percentage, but still discouraging as cooking is not one of my favorite things to do, in fact it's way down there on my list.
But, pizza is always a hit! I make enough dough for two pizzas and use a pizza stone to cook them. My favorite stone is from Pampered Chef, I like the thickness of it and the pizza cooks so nice without burning the bottom.
The dough is easy and with a KitchenAid mixer it is no trouble.
Here's my recipe:
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup warm water 1 T sugar 2 T oil
1/2 t. salt
3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer, stir in sugar, oil, salt and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth-mix rest of flour to make dough easy to handle. Keep mixing until smooth. Place in greased bowl, cover, till dough is doubled. Punch down and roll out on pizza stone.

I use Prego sauce and spread on pizza, add whatever I have. This pizza I chopped spinach, added red pepper flakes, onions and ground beef, covered with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 till hot and bubbly. This recipe makes 1 large pizza.
Alex is happy, no complaints!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Time for Yard Sales

It's spring and time for yard sales. I've been a fan of yard sales for 17 years, now, and have gotten great bargains over the years. It's also a fun time to spend with my" 70 something" parents. We start very early and roam around seeking them out and then at some point stop for coffee and enjoy the time together. During my homeschooling days I would find books and curriculum that would have cost a bundle. I've also done alot of decorating with items I have found.

Here's some pics of some of the items I have found so far this season. I usually pay $1.00 or less for clothing, you can see I love pink! The chest I just had to have and it looks so nice at the bottom landing of the stairs. Also, not pictured that I found on Saturday, a KitchenAid mixer for $20.00. I've already used it to make pizza dough. I'll be posting my finds every week. I always feel like I'm hunting, minus the blood!!

What Old People Do For Fun

Last year I got the desire to try gardening. Early in our marriage my husband and I planted a small garden, but with little ones and not really knowing what we were doing it wasn't successful. So the years went by and the most I would do would be to throw some wild flower seeds out or plant some flowers, but had decided I didn't have a green thumb. This time I bought a book by Mel Bartholomew called Square Foot Gardening, read it and got excited. Got Chuck involved and he built me a 4x4 square foot with wheels attached and put it on our patio. Nathan, our oldest son, built me another one for my birthday. Picked out a few other spots in the yard, planted tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. It was successful and so rewarding to pick my own veggies and know that I had actually grown them.

This is my second year and Chuck built me three more beds that are 4x15 and one smaller one. We picked out some more small areas in the yard, also, and planted potatoes, more tomatoes. So, now I have 6 beds and several other areas in the yard to care for. I really enjoy it. I'm already picking some strawberries and am amazed at the growth of the plants. I'm excited to see how much produce I grow this year.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bravery is coloring your own hair

I've been coloring my hair for years, now. I recently decided to look into a natural alternative to the chemical dyes. After much research I got brave and ordered henna from an online source. Henna is made from the leaves of the henna bush. It is used to dye the hair or as body art. It gives a reddish color and if you add other plant powders you can get different colors. Best of all, it's so good for your hair.

I ordered body art henna which is the best quality and also the plant powder, indigo. The indigo is used to dye blue jeans and when added to the henna powder it can dye the hair more of a brunette color, toning down the red I would get if only using henna on my brown hair.

I spent lots of time testing it out on hair I had saved from a recent good trim. I was worried I would end up regretting the color and having to live with it as it is permanent. I found the hair samples to be wise as on one of them I added to much indigo and it turned almost black and that would have been way too dark for my coloring.

I finally came up with a formula that I'm so happy with. I ordered and researched on a site called hennaforhair. Now I am a content "somewhat redhead!"

Happy Father's Day, Chuck

I thought since it's almost Father's Day that I would write my first blog honoring my husband since he's been and is a wonderful father to our 11 children.

I met Chuck when we were only 15 years old and we've been together ever since. We married right after high school graduation and started our marriage with hand me down furniture and little money. He's been such a good provider for us. After working for his dad for the first six years of our marriage he decided it was time to start his own business. He had wallpapered our daughters room and liked doing it so he began his own wallpaper business. He bought some tools, borrowed his dad's pick-up and began handing out his business cards to paint stores and taught himself the trade. Amazing when I look back, as he had to start from scratch and just had faith that God would see him through. We had three children at the time and a house payment and all the bills that come with a growing family. Then our family kept growing and he welcomed each one. He was always looking for different ways to increase his income. For quite awhile he raised birds and had built a 1200 square foot aviary on our almost 1 acre property. Then he started into sales and built up an advertising business and that is what he does today and has for many years.

Twenty years ago, we decided to do a major move and picked Boise, Idaho off the map and with a pregnant wife and 7 children we moved and he had to start all over. He kept some advertising customers in California which kept us going and he built up the wallpapering business here and began seeking advertising customers, also. There has been some lean times, but God has rewarded his efforts and prayers and that positive attitude he possesses.

He is now the father of eleven, grandfather of 15, with one more due in August. He is so proud of all of them. We are blessed to call him husband, father and grandfather!!