Thursday, September 30, 2010

If It's Not Broke Don't Fix It

Oh she's not crying because I stuck her in the laundry basket.

She's crying because I'm taking pictures and not giving her a ride to the basement on top of the dirty laundry. There are basics in life that make things run far more smoothly. One of them is clean laundry and another appetizing meals. The clean laundry, I have down pretty good. My individual bins to place the kid's folded clothes in works great. It did when our kids were young and it works great with the grand kids. The grand kids are learning to put their clothes in the hamper, though I've a new one, you can see it to the left of the bed in the below picture, and our kids did too keeping the clothes up off the floor. Our old large one looked like a piece of furniture also but I gave it to our daughter not thinking we'd need one so large. Surprise!!, life changed. Now I have to empty this smaller one each day and our youngest adds her 23 pounds on top and Grandma gets a little weight lifting in as I cart her to the basement and back up. The middle child still leaves gingerbread like clothes trailed across the house as she sheds them but we're making progress and our children that picked their clothes up as children leave theirs on the floor as adults. LOL This generation doesn't seem to see the importance of keeping beds made and things picked up. I see it as a simple matter of respect and appreciation for the things you are blessed with. Take care of your belongings and they'll be around a long time.
To keep drawers neat, I roll the shirts and pants in the kid's drawers so they can see the full selection of clothes instead of rifling through them dumping some on the floor and tangling up the the rest in their drawers. It worked when our kids were young and it works with the grand kids.When kids are real small and not prone to pick their own clothes, you can roll shirts and pant together as sets.Our t-shirts on the other hand have been put several different ways in the drawers but the latest is my favorite, folded in fourths and stacked like they were files in a file cabinet. Mine are stacked left to right and with Kirk's drawer configuration it makes more sense to stack from front to back. We can see exactly what t-shirt is where without searching through the drawer. In my husbands case all other methods have meant the drawer is soon messed up royally and I can't get any more clean t-shirts in it until I straighten it out. This method would work good with the kids if they were a different size and since I've only one dresser to put their clothes in I'm dealing with clothes in another fashion. The room will not fit one more piece of furniture.

The following method works great for sheets and it's so efficient I've never changed the method. The closet stays neat and everything to change the bed is in one bundle. If you've ever had kids changing their own beds, you know that if they have to find the pillow cases, the top sheet, and the bottom one, the closet is now in a jumbled mess.

As you look upon this set of sheets, you will see that they have pressed in wrinkles by our grand daughter as she rode the laundry basket up the stairs. It wouldn't be so bad but they sat in the basket until the next day. Oh well, the blankets will cover them. For queen or double beds, the first fold is lengthwise drawing the bottom to the top and then fold width-wise with the flat sheet. The folded sheet is done the same way except you fold over the top and end where the elastic is. Lay the fitted on top of the flat sheet.

Fold in half and then half again. Lay the pillow cases on top. For twin sheets, fold them in thirds as this will make them the approximate same size as double and queen sheets making stacking them in the closet easier. Okay, staking them in my closet easier. Yours might be a different story so tweak to fit your needs.
Fold the length in half and in half again until you have a nice neat bundle

Now if I could just find some order to the top of my dresser. It has looked like this for two weeks and I'm not sure when I'll get to it.
And though most of my upstairs remains pretty well picked up like the living room. You won't want to look on top of the t.v. cabinet if you wish to think I've got it all together. The cabinet in the left upper hand corner with the fake small pumpkins on it. It hasn't been dusting in two weeks and you can write your name on it. Pillows that were once on the couch are tucked away and the afghan that was once on the rocking chair is in the closet. The kids just wouldn't leave them alone and they were strewn everywhere. Though the glass on the bookcase in the hallway and the glass on the television and bottom of the case are covered in finger prints, I feel calmer because things are picked up at least twice a day. One thing I've learned over the years is that everything should have a specific place. And if doors can close on it, like on the television set, or the books in the bookcase, then there is less to dust, less for the kids to mess up and best of all, - less for me to do. Besides out of sight is out of mind for the grand kids, or most of the time anyway.

Maybe it is because some things work so well that I keep working hard to fix other less efficient areas. I've had some success in menu planning but I need to fine tune it further with the demands of raising grand kids that are small and needy right now. My financial budgeting worked well but with all the chaos, I didn't stay committed to it and now, I don't have the tight handle on it I should. A few things have changed like on-line-banking and so I'll have to tweak my methods again.

The tangle of bills and financial paper trails drive me nuts. It's why my dressers often become piled high. Oh how I could use an office but alas, I don't see one in the near future so I'll muddle on. My garage is another frontier that really needs organized. I thought it would be this summer that I finally started to untangle the mess. Three little ones changed that plan. I do get a new garage door next week. I've needed one of those for umpteen years.

So don't go thinking I'm Miss Organized because I've a plan for menus. It's precisely because I'm not organized and getting things done in an orderly manner that I crave it. It's also a part of my Autism. Think Rain Man and scale that way down a ways. The disorder of the past five months has been stressful, major stressful and I'm going to find my way back home to a more peaceful existence one way or another.

So it's meals now and some tuning on the finances. I'll share a few things that has helped us with debt management and then chore lists. I use to have that down pat but I've lost my way. It went something like this: change beds on Monday and wash sheets; clean bathrooms on Tuesday and Friday, not like now where the main bathroom gets done once a week and ours - every two weeks; vacuum Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays etc. If you've ideas to help me along my way, I'm game for suggestions and meanwhile, maybe some of the things I do can be tweaked to fit your lifestyle and be of benefit to you.

But for now I'd best get those bathrooms cleaned and some work done before it's back for the third time today to the school. This time to pick up our oldest grand daughter. Since I home-schooled our children for fifteen years, this school mom job has me learning a new tune.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Done - Hardly

Without the kids here on Monday and Tuesday, I was able to get quite a bit done on my menu planning.
But am I done, hardly. I did get some roll dough made, raised, and frozen to bake at another time. And some cinnamon roll dough made, raised, and frozen also.
Life wouldn't be complete without biscuit dough cut into acorn and leaf shapes. It is October after all and that is the cookie cutters for this coming month. The individual biscuits freeze well and I can pop as many as I need into the oven. It adds a little fun to the meal and I know when the dough was frozen by the cookie cutter shape. If you've a dessert and a bread in the freezer, it makes any meal a special meal. Unexpected guests think your psychic and knew they were coming when you throw together a quick soup, toss in biscuits or rolls to bake, and thaw a dessert.
But before I could be able to really glance at recipes to choose from I had to do a quick reorganization of the recipes into categories. They'd become a bit muddled.
Breads have me a bit perplexed at how exactly I plan on using the recipes. It's pretty easy when oatmeal bread is on the menu for breakfast with scrambled eggs and peaches but how about all those other recipes for everyday bread I want to try. My goal is sometime here fairly soon to be making most of the bread we eat. I did that once some time ago but alas, I lost my way back into the easy weasy store bought but inferior loaves. My husbands test came back that he needs more fiber. I've bran and flax seed all ready to combine into some hearty rye and wheat loaves but I need to get organized enough to actually try recipes out and find the ones we love.
When I read the caption on my Main Dishes header I thought once more how much I need to learn to enjoy this time in our lives where we are taking such an active role in raising our grand daughters. One never knows the future and how many years we'll have this opportunity to be of such influence in their lives.
Then when I was deciding what to fix for the month of October I went back to the Monday is soup day and Wednesday is chunk of meat day. You know, beef cutlets, pork chops etc. Some of you probably have meatless night but not around here. My hubby's tests came back again that he is low in protein. Hard to believe with all the meat he eats. We love dried beans cooked up too. And I was careful to make sure we had chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and fish included. One night was Mexican or Italian night. Crock pot night is great for Friday nights if you've teenagers and sports. This narrows down the selection and makes it easier to make choices. I included lots of new recipes to try this month. Next month I want to feature lots of pumpkin and squash recipes.
I've still have the quick breads and muffins to get made for the month, along with cookies for lunches.
I'd love to move from there to some meals in the freezer and I hope to make a double batch of a few of the things I whip up this month so they'll be handy for really tough scheduled days or when the kids are sick.
Even if they don't come down with a bug for a long while, there are lots of vaccinations that they are behind on and it has been my experience that our family reacts adversely to shots. That's why our children and grand children have waited until six months to start them. That gives time for the nervous system to more completely develop lowering greatly the number of big reactions to the vaccines. Our babies and grand babies have been blessed so far to not to be in day care and exposed to lots of germs at an early age eliminating the great need to be vaccinated at an early age. But, our daughter has fallen far behind in getting her children vaccinated thus, grandma will be visiting the public health nurse frequently over the course of the next year to get the kids caught up. That means lots of days the kids will be rather cranky.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Never Give a Date

I give up. I'm never going to say when I'll do something again. I just keep thinking my life is my own and then our little ones yell Grandma... or in the case of the littlest one Gammaw. Only it is usually GAMMAW!! said in a demanding urgent tone at great volume. For example at church last Sunday when I left the chapel to deal with our middle grand daughter's misbehavior and left the youngest with her Grandpa. The whole room heard her wails of sorrow and saw the tears that streamed down her face at being left behind. I know because all eyes turned to me as I rushed back in to get her.
Oh she's cute to be sure and those great big blue eyes just melt you. But exasperation isn't far behind those Oh... how cute sighs, as she's in to everything and when she's not trying to stick keys up her nose, she's trying to stick them in the light sockets. The ones she used to pry off the child safety latches. And if you hear her grunting and moaning, she's trying to scale the end table from the rocking chair with a book and a sippy cup in hand after she's cleared the table to make way. Don't turn your back after you've started the bath water because ready or not she's climbing in.
But oh is she CUTE!!
And since she's only little once, I'm determined to enjoy this brief period. I just have to lower the ways she can frustrate me.
I've found supper to be especially frustrating with her demands of my attention at their highest at that time of day. It isn't only her as our five year old is especially cranky. Okay, she's cranky most the time lately as she sees school as the thing that is keeping her away from time with her mother. And the middle child doesn't want to take a nap though she desperately needs one. I'm going to work hard on establishing a scheduled nap for her and triggers to make her sleepy like their bedtime routine at night. I haven't had her much during nap time but that is about to change. Evenings are challenging with homework needing done for the five year old, baths, supper, livestock chores, lunches to prepare for hubby and our kinder gardener, stories to read, etc. etc. etc. Most of you know just what I'm talking about.
I'm working on a fix. A set routine is imperative I know. The bedtime routine is set and it beautifully keys the kids in to being very sleepy. Now I've to refine the hours before so they aren't so Grandma directed. I'm finding the key is to not do everything myself. The kids pick up their own clothes and put them in the hamper and toys are put away earlier rather than later when tired and crankiest. A short movie fills in the time when the toys are picked up right before the 40 to hour long bedtime routine depending on if it is bath night or not. Now I want to add chores like emptying the bathroom trash and helping with supper. Children need to be needed and this 51 year old grandma can't do all the work anymore and I shouldn't have to.
One of the major problems has been supper. With the demands of the kids, especially our youngest, I don't have time to look up recipes and supper hasn't been something to write home about. I'll tell you. No, I won't because it has been a source of embarrassment. It has to change for nutritional reasons. Therefore, it has to be made in a much quicker fashion than the once leisurely fashion I before I began co-parenting. So I've been working off and on the past few days, when the kids aren't here, on a new plan to survive the coming days when I'll have them twenty-four hours, five days a week.
Our daughter starts her new job Wednesday.
First of all, I copied calendar pages for the next few months. I then planned a menu for the month of October, breakfast and supper since lunch is leftovers or sandwiches.
Orange dots are things I need to make ahead and I'll have to be sure and check the menu ahead each day so I can thaw meat, and begin chopping vegetables etc. early in the day when I've only the youngest grand daughter at home. Making as much ahead of time as possible I know to be key to a smoother delivery. This will also transform into a shopping menu which I can be looking for sale items from the store to lower the cost. I also plan on laying things out for breakfast the night before as you know how rushed mornings are.
The second faze is putting all the recipes I'll need for the month in a small notebook
in order of the days they will be used. Some are typed up nicely like this one as it is a long time favorite with pineapple on the bottom. It will be a special Friday treat. Since they are all right there in the notebook, I don't have to look for them which means they'll actually get made. There's a step missing in here but I'll talk about it later. I almost said tomorrow but then who knows what tomorrow will bring, let alone this afternoon.
The copied calendar page goes in the front of this notebook and then the different colored tabs are just sticky notes cut into strips. Color coded to tell me what day of the week it is, green Monday, blue Tuesday, purple Wednesday, etc. They also have the date on them. I only used part of two sheets per color for the whole month. This isn't a big money drainer. If I don't need a recipe, then it isn't in here. Most of the recipes are just pages ripped out of magazines or copies from the Internet. Some are ones I've been wanting to try but haven't been organized enough to get done. Eventually, a recipe at a time, I hope to get our favorites typed up and put into plastic slip covers unifying the pages. Also they will be spill proof. Things like my pancake and waffle recipes, I'm going to have more than one copy so they can be placed in order for the two or three times a month they are used.
This hasn't been fast to put together but most of the time was spent redoing and figuring out a smoother method to make it all work. Refining is still going on as I've started to move into November with meals I didn't use in October.
How I came up with so many ideas for meals and organizing your recipes will be another post. Also the calendar pages for our grand daughter's lunch menu will go up as I complete it.
One of these days I might actually get this role of parenting as a grandparent figured out. Input from you dear friends would be greatly appreciated as I muddle through. I'm still waiting for your ideas on lunch ideas. So don't be shy and comment. I'll admit I'm slow getting your e-mails answered but just know that I do appreciate them and I'll get them answered when I can sneak away from my duties. So while I have these few hours to prepare I'd better shush and put the pedal to the medal as they say. So much to do and so little time to do it in.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Spiritual Thought

It's Monday, I know but a trasformer was down yesterday that effected two houses, ours and the neighbors, confusion reined. The power company came and put in a temporary line and I figured this morning I'd do Sunday's thought so you wouldn't miss out completely. I'm putting together a new menu plan today and a with a different way of doing it. That will go up later today.
(Exodus 20:7)
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
" Those who routinely take the name of God in vain and resort to filthy, crude language only advertise the pverty of their vocabularies, a glaring paucity in their powers of expression, and a flaw in their moral makeup." Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, September 25, 2010

School Sack Lunches

I love lists except the past five months I've not been able to follow them. My hope has been renewed with our daughter's new job. I may actually have a set schedule from her. Here I go again making another list. This time it is a school lunch list.
Chime in with additions as I think we can all use a little help in this direction. Well, those of us with kids to send sack lunches for that is.
A couple things I've learned in the last few weeks is that giving something a fun name adds great appeal to to the desireability of the food. For instance, ants on a log. It's nothing more than a stick of celery filled with peanut butter and raisins spaced on top but don't tell my grand daughter that. She thinks I've created a fun masterpiece.
The Internet was a wash except for a couple ideas as site after site had the same boring thoughts touting them as something wonderful. To whom, I wondered.
Our oldest has begun to complain a bit as she's found that sandwiches get old in a hurry. My creativity is stifled because of time but I will not resort except in extreme emergencies to buying her a school lunch. I've seen the no nutrition meals and highly processed foods they serve. Her mother can make her own choices on the days she's in charge.
With sandwiches being the staple this past month and a narrow amount of choices she likes, we've been narrowed down to turkey breast, ham, tuna, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and the assortment of add ons like lettuce. I refuse to serve lunch meat and leave that option for her mom also. This has left her menu less appealing with sandwiches only as the choice.
The extras I can come up with some pretty exciting choices. There are loads of choices of cookies, and there is always fruit, nuts, and vegetables. The two younger kids like to scrounge through her lunch box as soon as she hits the door to see what's left. It's usually a few extras. When she wanted a school lunch on Friday and alarm went off in my head and I decided I'd better get my act together if I wanted her happily bringing her lunch box to school.
So lets start with the extras and move on to the main menu where I'd love some ideas from you.
Dried: Apples, Bananas, Pears, which I've already dried some. Then I bought Mangos, and I'm going to see if she likes Cherries, Blueberries, or Cranberries. Raisins of course are great. Fruit roll ups are soon to be drying in the food dehydrator and I'm sure I can find some pleasing combinations with that avenue.
Fresh: Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Oranges and other fruits as come in season.
Melons are only available for a short time and so I've left them off the list.
Canned: Mandarin Oranges, Applesauce, Peaches, and Pears.
Crackers / Cheese (Cut the cheese with small star cookie cutters and the cheese take on a whole new dimension)
For instance Ritz crackers which are round become the moon and the cheese the stars. Let your child name the Galaxy. Okay, we're missing the sun but then you can say your child is the sunshine when they smile. Corny scores with kids.
Of course the ants on a log as I mentioned above and carrots sliced in different manners or radishes scored to make a flower are great dipped in Ranch dressing. Cucumbers aren't very tasty from our store but once in a while we get some good ones and I'll add them when I can. Pickles are something else she likes.
One of the things that has been a big hit has been a mixture of peanuts, raisins, and m& m's. Beware that in some school peanuts are banned as some kids have terrible allergies to them and the school fears that the allergy afflicted child might come in contact with them.
So change the peanuts out with almonds, raisins, and other dried fruit.
Granola is another snack I'm going to make.
And after I thought of that, I rememberd the Cracker Jack like popcorn I use to make for the kids.
Sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are great too. Don't forget to save the seeds from your pumpkins when you carve them.
Popcorn once in a while is fun too. Our oldest thought it was great. You can add gummy bears or something fun with it to surprise them.
Of course since I've given you the recipe for yummy home-made grahmn crackers, they need to be thrown in once in a while too. One gal told me they are good with peanut butter. I've never tried that.
Now I'm not going to mention all the kinds of bars, cup cakes, pudding, and cookies as I'll leave those options up to you. They can be an especially fun way to celebrate the holidays that are coming up. Dirt being one thing that comes to mind. You remember, chocolate pudding on chocolate cookies crumbs and gummy worms sticking up over the edge of the cup.
As for drinks, water is the main choice but chocolate goat's milk, and juice are added for a treat once in a while. The juice can be frozen and serve as the ice pack also.
A big hit has been the slices of quick breads tucked in and don't forget to add muffins which I've given you a nice selection of those to try.
Last but not least, my grand daughter likes black olives and I plan on throwing some of those in for a change up.
I know she loves smoothies. They could be frozen and they'd be thawed by lunch while also serving as the cold pack to keep her other foods fresh.
Now the toughie, the main dishes.
I thought of making cheese sticks. I make bread dough and roll it out fairly thinly wrapping it around a Motzerrella cheese stick. Thinly so it cooks quickly before the cheese melts out of it. Then if I give her some pizza sauce to dip it in while coming up with a cool name for it, I just may have a big hit on my hands. Cold pizza is also a good choice. And why stop at the cheese sticks I thought. How about making some Calzones? I think I'll makes some and freeze them.
Salad is also an option and our grand daughter likes chef salads. On Friday, she wanted cereal and milk. Why not? So that was her main dish.
Which lend the brain to wonder into breakfast foods. Souffle is something I'm going to have to see if the kids like. You can freeze it before cooking and that makes it a wonderful quick meal to throw in the oven for evening also.
The great idea I found off the Internet was Frogs in a Bog, which is simply a cornbread muffin with a sausage poking up. It's the name that will make it popular. Leftovers in a thermos work great and spagetti and lasagne comes to mind. I'm mustn't forget to freeze single servings for future hot meals. Let's not forget soups, and chili -which should be served with cheese and Fritos, or better yet cinnamon rolls -. Toot -sy has got to be the name I'm going to start calling chili. Don't forget names are important. These left overs can be frozen in serving sizes to reheat before sending. Don't forget to put boiling water in the thermos to heat it up before putting the hot foods inside or your dish will cool down quickly.
What about pigs in a blanket with ketchup. Those could be made up ahead of time too or served the evening before and the leftovers put in our daughter's lunch. When I served them for her first time the other day, the name made them a huge hit.
Snacks work great when they are non parishables and put in containers or sandwich bags and stacked in a box like files for our grand daughter to choose from the night before as we are preparing part of her lunch.
I've got to quit but that doesn't mean my brain is still and I'm anxious to see what you come up with so chime in.

Brenda's Photo Challenge

Brenda's photo challenge was the color Orange. Some of you saw this last week oops!, I was a week early. If you've been following my posts you know I'm barely hanging on right now with the work load and confusion reins. But I promise when the kids are off to a birthday party today, I'll get a post up about sack lunch ideas to make up for yesterdays silence. It was just all I could do to hang on and posting didn't get done. I've been working on a list of ideas for lunches so I don't have to think to hard when night time comes around. Many of you know how difficult night time can be with three small children, supper, baths, home-work, livestock chores, and preparation for the next morning. So while I put my disasterized house in a assemblance of order this morning, take a quick peek again at the photos and come back later this afternoon. I'll have my idea list up.Sunrise just over the hill.

Peaches always look so warm and inviting, a reward for all the hard work canning them.
Unfortuneately, no pumpkins in my patch this year but we'll have to depend on the store for our pumpkins this year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quilting, a Comfort

I've got the first block done and others will soon follow as they are in different stages of development. The pattern is called Baby Bows and I've made it a couple times before but only the quilts were nap size. I increased the block size by four inches hoping to speed up the time it takes to get the quilt done. I'm also cutting out and working on another quilt called Butter Churn which includes many of the same fabrics. Time is ticking away and cold weather isn't far off. The kids will need more quilts on their beds to stay warm at night. Right now, our youngest has only one twin quilt on her bed and so her nap blanket lays on top of that at night. The middle grand daughter has a double quilt folded in half on her bed and the oldest two thin twin quilts.With the youngest grand daughter also needing a big girl quilt for her bed at home when she turns two in January, I've some serious quilt making to get done in a short time. I looked for some nice bed sheets to make quilts out of but all I saw was solid colors and I was looking for plaids, checks, or something that was easy to mark, sew or tie.
You might think I'm all done with canning etc. I'm not but canning dried beans will wait and though the food drying is sitting on the counter reminding me, I haven't gotten to making fruit leather with the peaches that are in jars but a few years old. It's how I recycle them. The kids, old and young, gobble the, older and slightly discolored from age, fruit up in a hurry. It really should be on my to do priority list but I can't resist sneaking to the basement for a little while each day to sew.
Today, I spent some time trying to get a handle on life. My prayer is that with the new job our daughter just got and will start next week, is that I will have a set schedule. It will help with the finances also. Presently, nearly everyday my plans for the day are turned upside down and time to get my tasks accomplish is shrunk into a very small time frame. Meanwhile, I'm picking up the ball others have dropped and dropping some of my own in the process. It's driving me crazy. I'm a pretty flexible person but this life I'm living doesn't have any shape or form. Not even jello but I'd have to say more like a flood of water with little control.
So this quilt that some may perceive as more work, is actually a creative release. Quilts in my world equate to comfort. Comfort making them and comfort snuggling under them. It is one of the things our grand daughters love about our house. Snuggling together underneath a warm quilt, reading or watching a movie. And though some may enjoy the ones you purchase from Walmart or K-mart. They're rough and the textures under my work worn finger tips catch as my hands rub across them and it is like fingernails on a chalk board for me. It's my sensory processing which over loads easily with sounds, colors, and textures that causes this irritation. That's why during this highly stressful time, I'm working with cotton flannel. Not the expensive type from many fabric stores but little bits I've picked up here and there at a good price. Oh, dont get me wrong I love the expensive brands of flannel as I've a rich man's taste but alas, a poor man's budget.
So just in case your needing a quilt to work on too, I'll give you a quick run down of this simple and fun pattern. The first step is to cut a four inch strips of fabric from your 45" width and then cut that down to four inch squares. Cut one strip from a solid colored fabric and the other a patterned fabric. This quilt works well in using up scraps of fabric from other sewing projects. Flannel need not be the fabric of choice.
Then I cut a strip of the same patterned fabric that is 2 3/4 inches wide by approx. 45" wide and cut that down into 2 3/4 inch squares. Taking one square, I folded it in half and creased the fold with my fingers to leave a visible line to sew along.
Then I laid that on top of the solid colored four-inch square, matching the corner. After sewing along the line, I cut a seam allowance. Pressing the seam open to alleiate bulk, you have a square once more.
The next step to to sew the squres together. There are several ways of combining the squares but my favorite is the one in the first photo. I'll let you watch as the quilt progresses but I've promised scrambled eggs and toast to the kiddos. I'm cooking dinner but they've vetoed it for breakfast. Oh well, it will be all made for tomorrow. I'll have the kids for the next couple days and nights and food already cooked is a treat. Then our daughter will have a few hours here and there to give me time to do some of my own work. It looks to be a long week ahead.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sour Cream Waffles

Some can eat and eat and eat and never get fat like our grand kids who are always hungry and eating. Some of us unfortunately, just have to become nervous and stop eating as much and our body panics, " Oh no, she might starve to death. Let's put every pound into fat reserves." Like I would ever have the slightest risk of starving to death. Then on days like today when I'm so nervous I can't eat because my stomach is cramping, then I just look at all the food I'm making for the grand kids and I gain weight. Some of you might think I'm exaggerating but really my scale proves this fact over and over again.

Then just to keep my body on a roller coaster I change to becoming a nervous eater, I gain weight with this stress relief mechanism also. The only way I loose weight is to lower the stress level and then on days I'm hungry and eat a lot. I loose weight and on days I don't eat much, I loose weight.
But the stress level I'm under, I have little control over right now.
My sister says it is our hormone imbalance that is causing the fluky way we are made up. My doctor ordered in a whole new regiment of hormone replacement and we'll see is she's right when I'm in balance. If that's ever possible. But then I'm suppose to be skinny too with having Addison's Disease. But then Two Ton Tessy here has blown that theory all out of the water too. And though today I'm just not wanting to eat much, yesterday, I wanted to cook. I did and since it is something I love to do, I found some stress relief in it. Kind of makes me envy our youngest grand daughter how she deals with stress. She has a fast and easy method. She pulls her shirt way up high...pokes her bellybutton...

and sucks her thumb.

Somehow, I don't think I'd look so adorable doing that. It's tempting but since we're trying to get the two older girls to stop sucking theirs, I'm afraid I'd be labeled a bad example.

From the stomach cramping last few days
I have found a wonderful waffle recipe to add to my list.

Sour Cream Belgian Waffles

Oh yeah, they are good!!! Three recipes of one thing is never enough for me and so I'm still working on finding new ones to add to my cookbook I'm creating. So far I have Black Forest, Gingerbread, and Apple Cinnamon but why stop there? Call me greedy if you want but variety is the spice of life and I have really spicy loving taste buds. So yesterday since Waffles were on for breakfast, I tried something new, Sour Cream Belgian Waffles. Those of you who have been with me before know that I can't leave a recipe alone and true to course I didn't this one.

This recipe put to shame my standard Betty Crocker recipe I used for years when I was raising my kids. I've still a pumpkin waffle in mind to create and then just maybe I'll be satisfied.

Sorry no photos on the subject as it was a really rushed morning getting a reluctant kinder gardener off to school along with her pre-school sister.

Sour Cream Belgian Waffles

2 eggs (separated)

Place the yolks in a bowl with:

2/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup goat milk ( you can substitute buttermilk if you are underprivileged and don't have a goat.) But oh how you are missing out because goat's milk makes everything so much richer tasting. As for buttermilk, I want to learn to make cultured buttermilk with goat milk someday and so stay tuned just maybe it will be this winter. That and marmalade are on my list to do when the cold winds blow and the snow piles up. But now were off the subject. So focus Holly, focus.

In a cup whip your 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl mix 1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 teaspoon baking soda

Then mix the dry and wet ingredients together until smooth and fold in the egg whites. If you like a heavy textured waffle, skip the steps where you separate the eggs and whip the egg whites. Just add whole eggs.

Cook as instructed by your waffle maker.

Now I couldn't leave this recipe alone after I'd glanced at Betty Crocker and saw where they'd mentioned substituting orange juice for the milk. I had to try so to intensify the orange flavor I substituted 1/2 cup of orange juice concentrate and 1/2 cup water for the 1 cup of milk.

Plus I add 1 teaspoon of dried orange zest.

The results weren't as good as I anticipated and the judging panel - the kids, my daughter, and I- decided it would be good with orange marmalade on top but not one of our favorite recipes over all. I much prefer orange fudge but then who wouldn't?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Too Much to Do, So Little Time to Talk

Went out to the bees today. Alas, they haven't put any honey into the brood chambers.
If you look at the dry countryside surrounding them, you can see they aren't going to. They are still finding a little pollen but they must be working hard at it to find anything. I must of made a mistake in putting honey supers on and not making them work the brood chambers out first. I'm going to have to unstack the whole pile and pull the brood chamber out and re-stack. Normally for winter we leave the two brood chambers and two honey supers. That means early next spring I'll have to put on the brood chambers before the same mistake is made again. The queens didn't lay a single egg in these new brood supers.
I'll have to restack the boxes anyway as the bottom entrance is turned to wide open to allow lots of room for breezes. Flip the bottom panel and the opening is smaller for winter. The bees will narrow it further as cold weather arrives. This will be prime time to get stung as I thoroughly stir up the bees and they conclude that someone is out to rob their hive of honey. I just wish it were so but I put the hive out in the field too late. It's been and run to catch up year. Something I've just never managed.
This being the first year the bees will be in this field over the winter, I need to move the apiary fence to the other side of the haystack. Don't know why the previous bee keeper put it here on the side where the winter winds will hit the hives full force. The other side where row after row of hay will block the bulk of the winter winds seems much more appropriate. I do need to check out where the snow drifts land most often to make sure the hives won't get burried. I'd have worked on the project toady but my daughter had a hair appointment with me. She wanted blonde highlights added. Beware of adding talents, they make your to do list very, very long. I've got to get the youngest's bangs trimmed tonight. The other girls I did a few days ago but the youngest was asleep at the time.
Wow!! are we please with our Chicory. Yes, we're switching gears here and talking about goats.

Chicory is only two years old but look how much milk I received this morning, three quarts. I'm getting 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 gallons of milk a day. Doesn't look like I'm going to miss my Saanens after all.
I made mint ice cream with the cream from a few days ago when I separated and tomorrow I've got to get another batch of cream buscuit dough made to freeze.The little goats are growing well and with their mom's performance, I've high hopes for them. I'd like to show you just how well they are growing but I've not the time to stand around waiting for them to hold still. They do but it's only when their head is down eating or maybe when I'm not around. So this poor photo is to illustrate that yes, they still have their milk goiters.
And talking about goats. These Pronghorn are nicknamed goats and right now they are collecting does for their herems. This big buck has a especially large group of does. I don't envy him. More just means he has to run more. The young does in particular are keeping him busy as they keep trying to sneak off.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Spiritual Thought

We often pray about our physical safety. Do we remember to pray about our spiritual safety? We live in perilous times.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This and That

What have I been up to? Trying to stay ahead of the kids and the deer. Yes, the deer are back. Haven't seen them all summer until now. The first evidence is the missing cabbage, the grape leaves, and pruned plum trees, and the beans have been shorted by half. But except for deer poop, I haven't actually seen them until last night When I caught a glimpse of a small buck.
It's not all bad since I'm tired of the garden and their arrival hustles me to bring in the harvest. Yesterday, it was the onions. Not a great harvest and they could of waited since the deer aren't too fond of them but since I cleaned the hay shed and picked up a few small piles of old hay around the pens, I had to have somewhere to put it. It seemed as good a place as any to deposit the heaping pickup sized load.
Let me give a word of advice to your first time livestock raisers. Always clear the area where you are going to store hay to the bare ground. Any left over hay or vegetation will collect moisture and transport it to the hay. That means mold and mold spreads. Our budget is small and hay is expensive. Not to mention the time and money spent transporting it. Mold is a money waister and needs controlled.
Our Hay sits in a shed but the shed is far from weather tight and so we cover ours in plastic with old tires holding it down from the winds that sometimes whip through the building. Before scraping the shed floor,I picked up a few small piles of old hay around the pens making the area neat and tidy.
And today, I worded inside emptying some canning jars that had old food in them and cleaned house. Something that just doesn't get done often enough.
But the delight of the day was watching the kids play Nurse Nancy. It's a book the kids delight in my reading. It's about a little girl that loves to play nurse. Toward the end her brothers join her and form an ambulance out of a wagon and take turns being an injured patient. You know the book is old because the little girl's dress is really, really short and is major outdated in style.

The kids took turns on Grandpa. It was fitting since he's been sick for three weeks. Yesterday, he went to the doctor and received several shots and some anti-biotic. The girls watched fascinated as the nurse injected the meds.
Shots were skipped today. A pretend hurt finger was bandaged and his heart checked to make sure it was beating. Okay, it was the stomach but how is a four-year-old to know where that's located.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chaos in the Food Storage Room

There was complete chaos in the food storage room and since I'm nearing the finish line of canning. I decided it was time to put the room in order. Besides, I'm out of jars and a cleaning will show me what jars need to be emptied and fed to the chickens and thus freeing up a few jars to complete my canning.
To fit everything on my shelves, I have to use boxes. This allows some of the jars to be stacked two, high.
Also this putting the room in order allows me to know what vegetables I need to use sparingly and what I need to use a lot of like green beans. Having some extra of each vegetable is important for we never know what will do well in the garden and what won't.
Remember the sweet corn that wasn't real sweet? When it received more water it sweetened up the corn. A good thing to put in my gardening book when I start one. Had to add that before I forgot to tell you what I discovered.
And now with the room in order, my daughter can come and help herself, supplementing her food budget.
Plus, I have a good idea on what items I need to look for as case lots sales are plentiful in the fall at the grocery store. Mandarin oranges for instance are a biggy with the kids and I must start looking for chocolate chips in bulk. Kirk believes that chocolate is one of the main food groups.
And if you think the room still looks a bit messy. It is. You can't put that much food into that small a room and have it any other way. But at least the floor is clear and I know where last years jars of pumpkin are. Being able to find things is what storage is all about. Beauty is just sometimes a luxery. Right now, I just want all this food storage to be done so I can start quilting. Winter will be here before we know it and I'm real short of bed covers.