Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Peachy

I know I should be making a menu this morning, but I am sure you will understand when I show you how busy I was... I am now into my second box of beautiful organic peaches. Yes, they are from California, but really.. where was I going to find these beauties in Wisconsin? This is how they started, and this is how my stove started, note how clean it is.
The big black pot has jars heating in it, so they will be very clean for the peaches. You don't want anything nasty growing in your jars. The lidded pot is water heating for peeling the peaches, and the pot in the back has a light sugar solution in it. I am using white sugar for this and as I type I am wondering if you sucanat would have worked just as well. Hmmm, next batch perhaps.
Once the peaches are peeled, pitted, sliced and sprinkled with ascorbic acid, they are loaded into the hot jars and topped off with the syrup.
Here they are, all full and taking a nice hot bath for 20 minutes. This is what makes it possible for us to still be eating these little jars of sunshine in the middle of the winter.
Ta Da! They are so pretty that I almost want to just store them on my counter top. The only problem with that is my kids want to eat them while they are still cooling. Who needs Del Monte?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bloggy Break

Yes, I am on a break. It seems kinda lazy to tell you after the fact and not have written it at the start of the week, like it was something I already had on my calender. The fact is, whenever my hubby is home, it seems like I never have time to read the blogs I follow, let alone compose my own thoughts... So this week I have spent in the garden praying for rain, loving my new clothesline and being just a bit glad for the sun despite my wilting peas, and getting ready for the weekend. On Saturday we will take a trip to the capitol city to spend the night before leaving our oldest at camp for a whole week. He is very excited for the opportunity, and really, I am excited for him too. I just hate that he has to be gone so far, for so many nights, away from the safety of home and watchful eye of his parents. I know that the day he becomes an adult is fast approaching, but he assures me that he plans to live at home until he is 35 so I won't have to worry about him. We'll see... I'll be back on Monday with our new menu and budget strategy. Peas anyone?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Garden follow-up

Wow, it has been a while since I have written about the garden project and boy have things changed. I never get tired of seeing the new green spring out of the ground in late April, and that is just the weeds! Remember the potatoes? Well, here they are now...
Here is the rest of the garden too, pay no attention to the weeds, that is 2700 feet of love! I am so excited to start eating out of it on a regular basis. We have been in the lettuce patch for a while, and every once in a while I steal a baby carrot from the row.
Now I can go pick peas to go with those carrots and I have spotted baby tomatoes coming too. I have a feeling that now things are really growing, I will have to do a couple updates on this one...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

God is in control, and that is good...

Wow, what a crazy couple days this has been. This anniversary was only second in stress to our wedding day. Sitting in Mass on Wednesday morning, our new priest reminded me, without even knowing, that God is in control, not me. I thought about that the rest of the day while I was waiting to hear from hubby. Six year long story short, we got great news yesterday afternoon that ended a long ordeal and allowed us to celebrate our day with all the appreciation for what our lives have become and all the gifts He has given us. God is good, Amen!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Book of Job

Tomorrow we will celebrate 14 years together. That is such an incredible number, 14 years, especially now considering the divorce rate. In that time we have gone from nothing but love to everything and still love and we are on top of the world. We buried a Dad, had four children, lived in a trailer, built a home, went from unemployed to paying our debt off a bit at a time, and we are so grateful for the gifts God has blessed us with.
Somewhere between yesterday's phone call, and tomorrow's news, we are waiting to see if we are going to lose it all. We may have to start all over again. I begin to prepare myself for the fight ahead, not for our possessions, but for our marriage. I will fight, not for our home, but for the structure and security my children deserve. Our little bit of land is beautiful, but it represents a labor of love, turning a field into a garden, and that can be rebuilt. It is not about the money we have made, but the debts that we have repaid, and we have done it honestly. It's not about pride... but it is....
So tomorrow, on our anniversary, we will find out if our lives continue like they have, and pray our children never know the difference. Please Lord, remind me today of Job and how through it all he never turned away from you. Today, I just need to know that you are an Awesome God and all things are in your hands. I am grateful that I know this.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Monday July 12-18

My sister brought over a fun new WW cookbook called 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. What better idea than that? It is a beautiful cookbook with a ton of recipes in it, it has shopping lists on the side and entire menu's on each page with their "point" values included. This is my kind of cookbook. I made out my menu and my shopping list and marched into big-box determined to only buy what was on the list in order to stay on my budget.
I have to say I did stick to my list with the exception of a couple staples that I was out of like sugar and baking soda. Despite making my menu and sticking to the list, I still came away with a total of $135.00 for the week. Now while this is not bad for a family of six, it is not where I would like to be. So... here is my menu for the week, and I will be looking for ideas on how to do this even more cost effectively while still continuing to know what I am eating before 5:00 hits. Any ideas?

Chocolate chip scones and milk
French toast sticks and syrup
Cereal (Kashi)
Breakfast kabobs
Eggs and toast
Breakfast cookies
Egg Quesadillas

Re-runs (otherwise knows as left-overs)
Carrot and celery sticks
Bagels and cream cheese
Wraps and chips

Sunday- Tilapia sandwiches with chipotle slaw, peaches (6 points)
Monday-Cheese and green onion omelets with blueberries and grapes (6 points) and toast
Tuesday-Asian pork wraps, slaw, oranges (8 points)
Wednesday-Roast beef sandwiches, cucumber and onion salad, (5 points)
Thursday-Italian pot roast, polenta, salad (10 points)
Friday-Shrimp rolls, pear kiwi salad (6 points)
Saturday-Shredded beef enchiladas, salad (still looking for a low point option for this)

Now I am off to email my sister and let her know the menu is up, this way she can decide for herself what nights look good to have dinner here, we love it when she comes!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

Just wanted to say happy Independance Day! Praying for my sister's husband who is in Kuwait helping to keep it that way.
We miss you Uncle Mitch...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coupons for Kids

My kids would play video games all day if we let them, and that includes the two year old as well. With being well into summer, of course we have heard the standard, "I'm bored!" at lest one hundred times per child. If they are not busy being bored, (thinks on that one for a moment) they are fighting, constantly. Of course their solution to all this is more time on the computer or the Wii, and of course, trying to be the granola girl, I say no way. To which they moan and cry and want to know why did Santa even bring the Wii anyway? Hmm
So our solution to all this is the coupon. It eliminates most of the arguing, some of the I'm bored and all the fighting to do their chores in the morning. This is how it works. Each child has a chore board with their jobs for the week on it. This list is rotated each week between the three oldest kids, with the youngest helping his older brother. I do modify it a bit depending on which kid has which set, but here is this weeks list. After they finish their chores and one page in their workbooks that we picked up here, they are free to play whichever media they choose, but only for 32 minutes, this is their "coupon". Why such an odd time? We had it set for 30 but our oldest argued it takes two minutes for the system to boot and the game to start and we enjoyed this thinking so much we agreed to add the extra two. Chores, homeschool and no arguing for either! Works for me.