Saturday, July 28, 2012


Whew! The summer has flown by around here!
I can't believe in a few weeks the kid will be started up school again and we will be into our fall schedule! I thought summer just started!
I have been fortunate to receive friends' overflowing bounty of cucumber and tomatoes, so guess what I've been up to? In case the picture doesn't totally give it away, I've spent several days over the last couple of weeks canning pickles, tomatoes, making pickles, drying tomatoes, making tomato sauce, salsa, jams and jellies. I now have quite a full canning larder-well when it comes to tomatoes, anyways, and dried so many herbs my hands smell like pizza even after repeated washing! Oh, well, at least I smell delicious.
This picture is not of pantry, by the way. My canning pantry is the inside of an old mini fridge-red neck recycling at it's best, my friends!
I am trying to get Husband to make me one like the one above, but so far I have been met with....resistance. Something to do with the 2,583 other things on his to-do list. Whatever!
We, and by we, I mean I, am looking to expand the garden even further next year and hopefully add a fruit tree or two and maybe put in a herb garden bed so I can move some of my larger planters off the back porch. It looks like a tiny little jungle out on the porch!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Misc.

Today I woke up to a rather intense thunderstorm, which I normally enjoy, but as it happened to be 3:00 a. m., I was somewhat less than excited about this particular one. But the garden is loving the rain!
I already have harvested some herbs, and my tomatoes are reaching small tree status-now if they would just hurry up and give me some tomatoes! Another couple of weeks and I'll have enough mint to make extract. I'll post the super easy recipe when I do.
Since it is rainy today, the kids and I will be doing a pantry inventory. Not a favorite chore, but if you buy in bulk, you better have an inventory to keep track of what you have, or you'll end up with canned veggies that expired in 2007. Not that it  has ever happened to me. * Whistles innocently*
I need to place an order for a few baking/cooking supplies and the company I use has a vast variety of goods, including canned bacon, something I find repulsive, but the kids find fascinating. Maybe I'll order a can just to see what it's like. But it's a can....gross!
The kids are born preppers and will often search through the catalog for new/interesting/prohibitively expensive items and beg me for them. It's like their toy catalog, the bizarre little creatures that they are. There are worse vices to be had ,plus I do love them myself! Some people have sports cars, some the latest tech gadget, myself and the kids,we drool over the Big Berkey water system or the years' worth of freeze dried fruit. Poor husband thinks we've all gone mad, but even he admits the practicality of most things.
Our school is almost finished for the year, and frankly, neither the kids not I can wait. We are all so ready for summer break this year! Next year should be interesting with a middle schooler and a high schooler!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I know I've been scarce lately! I've been a tiny bit busy with school,Scouts,activities, driving Eldest to and from his job everyday,spring and the 1,439 things we all have to do!
Let's see how about a quick update from absent me?
We put in a raised bed in the "front" yard. It's about a 20 by 20 foot bit of lawn in front of our driveway,surrounded by pine trees to the back, our wood stack to the left and the back porch to the right.We had to put in a raised bed, because our ground is mostly pine roots mixed with packed clay and rocks,sprinkled with poison ivy, the only thing our ground will readily grow!
 I simply bought a raised bed kit and put it up. Then Hubby complained it was crooked and said he would straighten it out for me. Then I waited 2 weeks, got tired of waiting and dumped 12 yards of topsoil/compost in it. Hubby now looks at the raised bed every day and mentions how crooked it is. I pretend I can't hear him., but I laugh a tiny bit inside because I know it is slowly driving him mad. I'm that kind of thoughtful wife, you see.
Three days ago I planted half a dozen cucumbers and 3 mixed hot peppers. Mixed meaning they will be some sort of hot pepper, but I won't know what exactly until they begin to produce in a couple of months. Note to self: label seeds next time.
Then we had quarter sized hail, but miraculously, I believe everything will survive!
I have tomato starts waiting to be planted this weekend-10-15 of Roma, Brandywine,Supersweet, Cherokee Purple and a couple Black Krim, along with about a dozen more hot pepper mixes, Bell peppers, basil, dill, broccoli, and various herbs.
Beans will go in this weekend as well-about 20 bush beans and Kentucky Wonder, some Boston pickling cukes and more Straight Eight cukes.
I also have 3 blueberry bushes I hope survive the summer so I can replant them next spring-until then, they are hanging out on the back porch, attracting all sorts of flying creatures.
Raspberries, strawberries, and potatoes are coming in, along with 3 volunteer pumpkin plants growing in the compost pile.
If everything survives, I should have lots of delicious veggies this summer and hopefully enough to can, dry and make into jams, pickles and salsas! Yummy!
Youngest Boy is loving Scouts, and has been going to weekend camping trips once a month. I've been going along, both for his comfort and to help with driving the other Scouts, and because, well, I don't mind camping to much. Bugs, dirt, camp cooking, hiking and tent sleeping all seem to agree with me,plus the hikes are great, even if I feel every bit my age my the time we get home Sunday!
Eldest has gotten a part time job flipping burgers, so I get to haul him 40 minutes round trip twice a day until he gets his own car, which at this rate should be by the time he is 37.He is working towards his GED and Hubby is working with him on a budget. Hubby is a saint!
We are getting close to winding up our school year in a couple of months, and with the weather finally getting warmer, we will be getting out and doing some day hiking soon-Girl is looking forward to that! She really enjoys hiking and outdoors stuff, as long as she doesn't have to use a Port-A-Potty! That girl can hike for hours!
I will be back as soon as I can-I promise!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls

Stolen Fronm Another blog, but So worth the reposting:

1. If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys. To be more specific, you will attract the kind of boys that like to look down girls’ shirts. If you want to date a guy who likes to look at other girls’ boobs and chase skirts, then great job; keep it up. If you don’t want to date a guy who ogles at the breasts of other women, then maybe you should stop offering your own breasts up for the ogling. All attention is not equal. You think you want attention, but you don’t. You want respect. All attention is not equal.
2. Don’t go to the tanning bed. You’ll thank me when you go to your high school reunion and you look like you’ve been airbrushed and then photoshopped compared to the tanning bed train wrecks formerly known as classmates – well, at least next to the ones that haven’t died from skin cancer.

3. When you talk about your friends “anonymously” on Facebook, we know exactly who you’re talking about. People are smarter than you think they are. Stop posting passive-aggressive statuses about the myriad of ways your friends disappoint you.

4. Newsflash: the number of times you say “I hate drama” is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama. Non-dramatic people don’t feel the need to discuss all the drama they didn’t start and aren’t involved in.
5. “Follow your heart” is probably the worst advice ever.
6. Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being. Emotion is good; it is nothing to be ashamed of. Emotion makes us better – so long as it remains in it’s proper place: subject to truth and reason.
7. Smoking is not cool.
8. Stop saying things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” First of all, that’s not true. And second of all, if it is true, you need a perspective shift. Your reputation matters – greatly. You should care what people think of you.

9. Don’t play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention. Don’t pretend something is too heavy so that a boy will carry it for you. Don’t play dumb to stroke someone’s ego. Don’t bat your eyelashes in exchange for attention and expect to be taken seriously, ever. You can’t have it both ways. Either you show the world that you have a brain and passions and skills, or you don’t. There are no damsels in distress managing corporations, running countries, or managing households. The minute you start batting eyelashes, eyelashes is all you’ve got.
10. You are beautiful. You are enough. The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough. You are not thin enough. You are not tan enough. You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough. Your teeth are not white enough. Your legs are not long enough. Your clothes are not stylish enough. You are not educated enough. You don’t have enough experience. You are not creative enough.
There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, (and most unfortunately) a pornography industry: and all of these have unique ways of communicating to bright young women: you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough.
You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. None of it.
You were created for a purpose, exactly so. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend; it is mind-boggling how much you are adored. There has never been, and there will never be another you. Therefore, you have unique thoughts to offer the world. They are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them.

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.A

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

This. You must try this. It is THE best syrup, according to the kids, who attempted to prove this point by drinking it directly from the bottle. They finally settled on chocolate milk, heavy on the chocolate, light on the milk. Then they flipped out for 1/2 an hour before the sugar coma hit.
None the less, I had a craving for something chocolaty tonight and this fit the bill perfectly. I didn't even wait for the syrup to cool, but poured it over ice cream like a hot fudge. It's not as sticky sweet as the commercial variety of chocolate syrup, which makes it perfect for ice cream topping, chocolate milk, or even added to your coffee. Plus it's only got 4 ingredients, all of which I can actually pronounce.
You could make it with raw sugar  or suconot, but I just used plain old white sugar this time around and it was heavenly!
Here is the recipe-give it a try and you'll thank me!

Homemade Chocolate syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat to a full, rolling boil.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cocoa, a bit at a time, whisking well.
Pour syrup through a fine sieve, to get the remaining coca lumps out.
I pressed mine through with a spoon.
Add vanilla, whisk and let sit a few minutes to cool.
A film might form over the syrup as it cools-if it does, remove the film if you wish.
I just stirred it all up and it was fine.
I poured mine into a large honey "bear" shaped bottle, or you could simply use a mason jar with lid.
Chill and use just like commercial syrup.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Prodigal Returns

Our eldest son has made an unexpected, if not completely unappreciated return to our lives and household as of last week, after living on his own for 3 years.
3 years in which he did not always make the wisest, nor the healthiest choices, nor the most legal, but that's another story for another time.
So, after almost peeing myself, having a fit and falling in it, and very nearly hyperventilating, we collectively took a deep breath and set about welcoming him back into the house.
There are strict rules as to what is allowed and not allowed, what is negotiable, and what will result in immediate and permanent banning from the house, most notably being anytime an illegal act is committed or the monthly pee test does not come out cleaner than...well, I was going to say my kitchen floor, but we want it a whole lot cleaner than that! Geesh! Yep, that's right.We make our kid go do a monthly pee test for us,because,although we are loving parents, we are not stupid, nor are we naive.The kid did spend 3 years on his own, some of which was spent in less than ideal situations, after all.
So, how is it going so far?
Well, it's only been a week, but so far it has been going pretty darn good. There have been, and continue to be adjustments, but for the most part it has gone well. Hopefully this is an indication that Eldest has become the process of bettering himself, otherwise known to us as pulling your head out of you bum.
The volume in the house has definitely increased, and the food seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate, but there is another adult male in the house, and we all know they can eat!! Eat,fart and belch. Copiously.
He has begun looking for a job, and in the mean time will start working towards his GED next month and shadowing me at the horse rescue every week. Got to keep him busy!
So, we are settling into a new normal in the house and hopefully this will be the start of a bright new chapter for us all! Fingers crossed(and toes and what ever else you can think of...)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Pollen Among Us

Although I love the warm weather and the beautiful sun we have been enjoying, not to mention the gorgeous flowers starting to bloom (our cherry trees are almost ready to bloom!), there is one thing about spring I do not enjoy: allergy season.
And,Oh, my allergy season is here and it has hit with a vengeance!
Both guys have severe tree pollen allergies, and now that the maple and pines have begun to unleash their yellow coated fury, allergies have kicked into high gear, along with the accompanying sniffing, sneezing, itching, sore throats and discomfort that makes sleeping difficult and outdoor activities fairly misserable. Even Girl and I have not been immune to the scratchy eyes and sneezing, abeit on a much lesser scale than Sniff and Snot over there. A few extra Kleenex and a couple spoonfuls of local raw honey and we're good.
The boys haven't fared so well. Boy is actualy doing pretty good, since these allergies don't send his excema into over drive like some others do. A new allergy medicine added to his regime, the spoonfuls of raw honey 2-3 times a day and a change of clothes every time he comes in from outside, plus limiting his outdoors until the worst has past and he seems remarkably unaffected.
Husband, on the other hand has steadfastly refused my repeated attempts to get him to let our allergist put him on some allergy medication, nor will he take any home remedy, preferring instead to cough,sneeze,itch and moan his way throught the day and night, waking me up periodically to tell me just how badly he is feeling. I don't think my three a.m. response was very comforting, although I do believe it was a quote from a book-in this case Go The **** To Sleep.
But after several near sleepless nights and my paitence wearing dangerously thin, I did finally convince him to take an over the counter allergy med, pop a couple herbal throat drops and take some honey. I think the last bit was only to cover the taste of the herbal drops, which, admittedly taste like gym socks dipped in ass. Not that I know what either tastes like, mind. But I've heard stories...
The effect? He was down for a rest and a couple of hours later, he is up and if not fully 100%, at least he is able to function for the most part. Yeah! Maybe we can both get some sleep tonight!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Food Rules-The Book

So I bought this little book by Michael Pollen-you know, the same guy who wrote The Onmivore's Dilema and In Defense of Food. It's basically a complilation of bits of common sense, housewife wisdom and healthy eating tidbits.
It is a nice, easy book and not a bad way to spend a nice afternoon,which is all it took me to read through.
Since we are trying to do much more whole foods type eating, I thought this would be an easy introduction for us all-and I love the way he is very laid back about most things-not in your face-you-must-eat this-or-die type sermons!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No School Days

Every once in a while, we take a day off from school, not because it's a holiday or vacation day, but for the simple reason that we can. Today was one of those "school free" days.
Everyone is having a hard time adjusting to daylight savings time, so I used that as an excuse to play hookie today! We normally school 10 months out of the year and generally don't do spring break at all, so I don't feel to badly taking a random day off once in a while-not that I would feel bad anyways, mind. I figure as long as we keep up what is legally required for school and I remember to occasionally feed my kids and they remember to occasionally bathe, we're doing just fine.
So what did we do today? Almost nothing! And you know what? It feels really good!
We planted a few plants, spread some straw, and walked the property. Did a quick inventory in the storage room. The kids pulled out some MadLibs and took turns writing marginally acceptable things while I caught up on domestics. Took a walk down to the lake.
Over all I would say this has turned out to be a great day to play hookie-so nice, I'm tempted to do it again tomorrow!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Growing Things

I've been restlessly waiting for the weather to get warm enough to begin my seeds, but in the mean time what's an anxious garden-a-holic to do?
Why, grow celery of course! I recently came across a great little article explaining how to grow your own celery from store bought celery, and just couldn't resist giving it a try myself.
Especially since it takes 2 minutes and zero effort on my part-my kind of project!
Basically this is what you do:
Buy your celery,bring it home and cut off the bottom end, about 2 inches from the bottom. You could skip the second step and do this in the store or your car, but people might be alarmed seeing a chubby middle age woman wielding a knife to poor defenseless vegetables. Then again, in my area, they most likely wouldn't even notice anything out of the ordinary.
Anyway, once you have removed the bottom off your celery, simply place in a container of your choice with a couple of inches of water and wait 3-4 days.
I chose used cottage cheese containers, because I like to keep it classy.
After a couple of days, you should see fresh little leaves beginning to grow from the center of the celery, and tiny new roots sprouting off the other end. Once your celery is growing, plant it with just the new leaves peeking out, fertilize well, and mulch with 3-4 four inches of well, mulch. I just used leaves from the compost pile. Again, I like zero effort. Don't forget celery likes to be kept pretty moist all the time!
You can plant yours outside in the ground-I chose to put my celery in a medium pot, because if left to it's own ways, celery will span out like the petals of a flower and take up a lot of space. I am going to solve this problem by setting a 2-liter bottle with top and bottom cut off over the plant, thus confining it to it own space. Plus I'm hoping to move it indoors when it gets cold and keep harvesting!
Celery can be continuously harvested I have been told-I have never done this, so I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully we will be getting celery until it freezes in the fall!
One added thing-I happened to have 2 celery bunches, one organic and one not, so I did this to both of them. The organic celery grow at almost twice the rate of the regular one,providing an interesting comparasin, even Hubby could appreciate. We wonder if the regular bunch had been treated somehow to prevent sprouting somehow. Hmm... Even Hubby mentioned the organic celery looked healthier than the regular one,so it must be true!
We'll see which one does better when I plant them both. Unless the squirrels eat them that is. Do squirrels even like celery?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back to the Start

This ad first aired during the Super Bowl, but I only recently got around to watching it. I think it speaks volumes as to where we came from, where we are going, and where we should be heading. Plus, you get some Willie Nelson as well!
Perhaps this ad will give us something to think about, perhaps it will spark some good dialogue,who knows?
It's a much gentler way of getting the message accross then some other ways, and to me, is much more likely to make people stop and think, not just stop and cringe as some more in your face ads can do.
Take a look and tell me what you think of it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just a Thought

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's Tuesday!

We attended an open house at a local prep school this morning, which was both interesting and, as always, a bit eye opening to me. You see, we live in a fairly affluent part of the county, and this particular school touts itself as both a private prep school and as a supplemental program to augment homeschooling. The open house itself was very nice-the school is a private, Christian centered prep school, and I must say I was impressed with the variety offered and the rigorous classes. The school was warm, welcoming, and unfortunately prohibitively expensive. Like $1200 a month expensive, which is about $1198 above our budget.
But what struck me, as it always does when faced with situations like this, is the behavior and attitude of the parents. I was asked what my husband does for a living, what kind of car I drive, weather I have a degree, and what "spa" I go to to get my hair done. I can only imagine how disappointed the women were to learn that I not only color, but cut my own hair,that my car is a 1997 Jeep with windows you roll down yourself, and that I the only degree I have is a Master's in BS.
Although a very nice school, I was struck by the curious fact that none of the women attending asked me about my kids-the whole reason we were there in the first place.
It seemed much more a social evaluation than an opportunity for my kids. And we all know this chicky doesn't do the social climb. Complete lack of social skills and a shocking tendency to swear during casual conversation aside.
Quite simply, I decided a long time ago that if I had to choose between liking myself and being liked by others, I would take the former in a heartbeat, that I would conscientiously choose a full heart over a fat bank account(although that would be nice,too) and that if the only thing my kids came away with as adults is to be true to yourself, then I would be pretty darned lucky.
Plus, I have a sneaking pride in my quirky, redneck tendencies. Give me a couple of cinder blocks, some plywood and a roll of duct tape and I can do anything! I make my own cleaning products! I have kids who can name every villain in every Nintendo game ever made-EVER! We think shows like Mythbusters and Sons of Guns are cinematic gold!
So, I guess even though the school itself wasn't a good fit for us, it did leave me feeling pretty satisfied with what I do have and what I choose to do without, and that maybe, just maybe my kids will grow up to be just fine.

Monday, January 30, 2012

10 List

We've been spending a fair amount of time at home lately between sicknesses and minor injuries, which is both a blessing and...not so much. I do like being home for the most part, but I also enjoy getting out a few times a week, even if it's just to the park or grocery store!
I few things have come to mind recently that really can make my day a bit brighter. These are usually very small things, easily overlooked in our daily lives, but these tiny insignificant things make me smile for a moment:

1. Watching the cat sleep.She is a mini contortionist-it's like watching yoga in freeze-frame!
2.The view from my kitchen window at sunset, all purply,pink and musky. In my mind, it's gloaming, not sunset,though.
3. The soft swoosh of a gas stove igniting. For some reason this never fails to conjure a sense of warmth and peaceful domesticality.
4.Wood stacked by the fireplace, waiting for a fire. Or an actual fire in the fireplace for that matter. The smell of woodsmoke is always a welcome scent to me.
5. The sight of new things growing. Whether it's a baby, a kitten or a tiny plant just poking above the ground, the promise is there, making me feel a bit of hope every time.
6. The kids wrestling with Dad. They may be loud,violent and more often than not it ends with someone bleeding, the pure savage enthusiasm of all parties involved is a sort of joy to watch. As long as no one bleeds on the couch.
7.Seed catalogs. This one is self explanatory. I look through the latest editions like a junkie eying his next fix and pretend I'm living on a farm with time, land and energy enough to plant everything I see.
8.Cooking. There is something usually relaxing about creating food,plus the smells of baking are little memory capsules to me,reminding me of other times,other places, other lives.
9.Sweat. Yes, you read that right. Sweat. Sweat gives me a feeling of accomplishment, tells me I've worked hard at something I usually enjoy, be it working outside, barn work, hiking, or something a bit more,primal shall we say? As long as it's clean sweat,it's good to me! Of course, my opinion changes come July when breathing breaks a sweat,mind.
10.An approaching storm. The feel of anticipation heavy in the air, the chaotic clouds, the sounds of thunder, and the cleansing feeling after one are like a spiritual shower, leaving me feeling clean and refreshed.

So, what are you're little joys you find in daily life?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Ramble

With the weather reaching near spring time temperatures this weekend, I spent a portion yesterday transferring my ready(and some not quite ready) compost to our raised beds,mulching,raking and generally getting ready to get ready for spring!
I am sooo ready for the higher temps of spring,to open windows and air out my home, to enjoy the birds,flowers and all the new growth of spring! Now, if we could just have all that good stuff without the reemerging bugs and skyrocketing pollen counts. Well, one must take the good with the not so good I suppose.
I did plant some of the really early stuff-peas,lettuces,green onions,and parsley. Next week-plant the potatoes in the potato box,and maybe even the second raised bed as well. That's a lot of potatoes if I do! Not that we won't eat every one,mind. In my mind, there is no such thing as a bad potato recipe.
Speaking of food, our Real Food Challenge,here, is going surprisingly well. I actually think I am having the hardest time adjusting to less processed foods, if my ransacking the kitchen in hopes of chips last night was any indication. I have learned a couple things in the last few weeks,though. Such as:

1. Processed is REALLY convenient. Rice-A-Roni, for example is as simple as your can get and takes almost no time. Making it from scratch takes only 15-20 minutes longer, but if you're like me and it suddenly occurs to you at 5:34 p.m. that you need to get dinner, timing can be an issue,not to mention actually having the ingredients to make from scratch. I'm learning to take a minute or two during breakfast to think about what to have for dinner. Imagine that-me, thinking ahead! Wonders of wonders!LOL

2. It amazes me how much longer the kids(and adults) stay full when we eat things made with whole wheat,etc. The kids normally eat 2 full bowls of cereal for breakfast and are hungry in about 3 hours. This week we had whole wheat blueberry buckle, and both kids had two pieces and were full until lunch, 4 hours later. Of course, I had 4 pieces and couldn't move for the next hour.

3. If deprived of chips and snack foods, my kids will eat fruits and veggies as snacks-voluntarily! They keep doing this and it's freaking me out just a little bit. Salsa is this weeks dip of choice. Equally good with tortillas and apples, I've been told.

4. This last one has surprised me. I find the kids have not asked for chips,candy,cookies,etc. I thought they would be begging me for snack foods, but much to my surprise, they have not asked for anything. They have been asking for me to make various homemade goodies, which I gladly do most of the time. Both the kids and Husband have stated they prefer homemade to commercial made almost every time. I do take this as a great compliment, but I also keep in mind they will pretty much eat anything that can't run fast enough. Remember these are the kids that have eaten earthworms,pill bugs, and an occasional spider in their toddler years. So there is that.

5. We have started getting deliveries from Nature's Garden Delivered, a company that will deliver fresh organic, and when possible local foods right to your doorstep. It's amazing how much more interested the kids are when they can pick the fruits and veggies we get! Now if I can only get them enthused about hauling compost for me....

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We are sick. Hence the sniffing,moaning and generalized whining you see. What I thought was a cold has become instead a full blown flu And, generous person that I am, I shared with Husband. Who, by the way, in typical male fashion, has become completely unable to care for himself beyond shuffling into the kitchen to inquire about soup.
On the up side, it appears the kids have been spared so far,thanks to semi-fanatical hand washing and some vitamin C doping. Plus, they act like we have the plague and refuse to come close to our sniffy, feverish, nasty selves. Wise choice, my children,wise choice.
Of course, with mom down, it means our school has become a little less structured the last few days, with quite a bit of video watching for history and reading for science, and maybe we even neglected to do math a day or two. OK, and maybe, just maybe my kids spent an entire afternoon watching Amine. Hey-world culture, right?
I've been doing my fair share of TV watching these last couple of days as well. One can only watch so much Fruits Basket, you know!
One of the movies on my to watch list was Forks Over Knives, which basically is a run down of why a Vegan, or plants based diet is best. While, I don't necessarily agree with a completely vegan diet, it was an interesting movie, and did get the old brain turning in some new directions. Plus, it sparked some pretty cool discussions with the kids on a wide variety of food and diet choices,and why we eat the way what we do, as well as what we're doing to change things for the better.
So I guess this whole sick thing isn't ALL bad-but it ain't all good either!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I woke up this morning to thunder. Big, rumbling, rolling thunder, with lightening lighting up the bedroom and the sound of rain sliding down the windows.
I've mentioned it before, but I do love thunder and storms-provided I'm safe and dry inside and not trying to say, navigate rush hour traffic or finish the grocery shopping!
A storm this early in the year, while not rare, isn't exactly common either, so I spent a few minutes just enjoying first storm of the year before getting up for the day.
It's been unusually warm this year-we've only had a couple of days below freezing in fact. Enough to kill my peace lily I imprudently left on the back porch over night, and to finish off the pepper plants,but not much else. I don't think the squirrels even slowed down this winter. The weird squirrel who sit on the front porch and looks in our window is still here, creeping the cat out on a daily basis.
Unfortunately one of the kids woke up this morning with a sore throat,congestion and an upset stomach. Since my kids think taking medicine may, in fact, kill them, we have been exploring other ways to help when someone is not 100%.  I've actually found a few simple home remedies that work as well-and in some cases-better than the over the counter meds we normally buy. One of the best and easiest things I've found for mild sore throats is a simple spoonful of raw honey. The kids take a spoonful every morning to help with allergies, and since it is honey, and very sweet, getting them to take an additional spoonful every few hours is pretty easy. So easy, that I'm beginning to suspect sometimes they don't have a sore throat at all, they just want  honey!
A spoonful of honey and a cup of warm water with a few drop of peppermint in it does wonders to ease mild sore throats and mild upset stomachs. The water and peppermint was something I remember my Grandmother giving me as a child many times! I think you could use any temperature water,we just use warm water because I like warm water to drink when I'm not feeling completely 100%
So, after a dose of peppermint and a sip of honey, the previously wimpy child is feeling much, much better!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January Pantry Challenge!

Just thought I would let everyone know what we'll be doing this month!
We are participating in the January Pantry challenge! What's a pantry challenge, you ask? Well it's simple-a pantry challenge is just a time to take a good look at what you have in your fridge,freezer and pantry and try to use what you have as much as you can for a month.
January is a great time to do this,since the new year usually brings with it thoughts of decluttering, organizing and reducing-especially spending once we get that credit card statement from December!
Plus the cold weather is perfect soup,stew and chili time-a great way to use up those odd bits and pieces that end stuffed in the back of pantry or freezer.
Now, this doesn't we won't be grocery shopping this month! I'll be buying fruits,veggies and dairy like we always do,but what I will try to do is instead of automatically filling my shopping cart every time I go grocery shopping, I'm going to try to limit my purchases to fresh produce and dairy and for the rest, try to use what we already have. Which turns out to be quite a lot.
Those bags of zucchini from this past summer? Zucchini bread! That left over Turkey in the freezer from Thanksgiving-turkey noodle soup!
That mystery meat hiding in the back of the fridge since 2010? OK, that gets tossed. The idea is to use what you have, not poison yourself and you family! ;)
We'll see how I did at the end of the month. It should be interesting to see how much food we already have in the pantry and freezer, and how creative I can be using it!

Taco Chicken

OK, this is the easiest recipe-and it makes the most tender,moist chicken! Perfect for cold winter nights, rushed days, heck it's pretty much perfect anytime! It goes like this:

You will need:
A crock pot
chicken broth
taco seasoning

Get out your handy-dandy crock pot and put chicken in it.
I use whole chicken,chicken breasts, or even thighs work well. You can put the breasts and thighs in still partially frozen, if you're like me and forget to thaw them out ahead of time.
Sprinkle a package of taco seasoning over the top of the chicken. If you buy taco seasoning in bulk, it would be about 2-4 tablespoons seasoning.
Then add a couple cups chicken stock, or a can of chicken broth.
Put the lid on, set it on low and cook 8-10 hours.
That's all you do!
When done,shred the chicken for tacos,or serve as a main meat dish.
We like it with Mexican rice, or red beans and rice.
How easy is that?