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Friday, May 31, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Gardening

This is the last post on the subject of gardening.  I haven't done any gardening this week and that's basically because we've had bad weather every day since Monday.  Rain, lots and lots of rain, and I'm afraid that if I go out there I may never be able to return.

But today, I will put on my boots and brave it.  Because next week is VBS and then the rodeo and I always fail, ALWAYS, at gardening during this week of the summer.  Every year I have good intentions and every year, I get behind and then I never catch up.  I still have so much to plant.

All those things I told you I needed to plant last week - yup, haven't done it.  But I will or I won't and it will not be the end of the world.  I still am planning on trying.  

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts -


My sister (step-sister) wrote a post recently in her blog Five in Tow, about being here - right where we are.  Since we are in a "hallway" of sorts and are looking to the Lord for the future and some possibilities that are out there, I find that I need to continually remember to be here.  Or as one of my favorite quotes says above, "Wherever you are, be all there."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday's Household - Delegate!

With the rodeo and VBS looming before me, I know that my tendency is to let the house go and just allow it to get trashed.  Trouble is - I had it clean last Friday and by Saturday it wasn't looking too pretty.

Carpenter had a talk with me last night.  He knows the load I am under right now, but he had to take the time to remind me of some issues I have overlooked in our house.  At first, my response was "Ouch!" even though my lips were silent.  But as I considered what he had to say, I realized he was right.

And now, look out kids, we're going to get this done today.  I have a lighter load today, because yesterday when I showed up at church to paint the decorations, there were a lot of ladies there ready to work.  We were going to work for three hours, but because we got done so quickly we went home early.

So today, I have painting VBS decorations checked off the list before we even start the day, though Jones has some plans to do some today.  Things he would like to do.

So, now, I'm going to set up some teams and work on the house for about a half hour in each area that really needs work - which equals about 4 or 5 areas.  Obviously I need to keep up with laundry and I really need to get out in the garden and weed even though it's been raining a lot.

No wii, till bedrooms are clean.  Have you heard me say that before?  I have, but got away from it.

What I'm realizing is that although I am swamped with these other two major things, I still need to keep up at home.  A huge thanks to those who came over to help me with VBS because without that I would be a lot more stressed.

Have a wonderful day
STeph

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy chicken

Yesterday we spent the day splitting wood and playing in the pond out in the pasture.  We also had a great time with Carpenter's aunt and uncle and cousin.    It was a great day.  I told Carpenter I wished that more days could be spent like that.

Today though we're kicking it in high gear.  VBS starts on Monday and I'm the director, so we'll spend this afternoon at church getting things painted and ready and Thursday we'll be over there. Because of all that, I need to have something ready for supper.

We cooked up chickens this weekend, so I have a lot of already cooked and boneless chicken in the freezer.  I took a bag out and put three cans of cream soup (2 of chicken and 1 of mushroom).  I put it all in the crockpot on low.  Later right before we eat I'll add a cup of sour cream.  We'll put it over rice. 

I love the fact that I can make rice now (10 in the morning) and once it has cooked I'll just turn off the stove and leave it there till I need it tonight.  It won't be hot, but it will be room temp.  So then we pour the hot gravy over it and it's perfect.

Have a great day
Steph

Friday, May 24, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Gardening

The garden is coming along great.  I don't have as much planted as I want to but maybe today will be that day. 

I just have one extra kid, but we have piano lessons, meetings with the school guidance counselor, trip to the dump and then a trip with hubby to go pick up things for the rodeo concessions in a couple of weeks.

Uh, doesn't look like I have a lot of time to be gardening. 

Potatoes need to be planted and onions, beans lettuce, spinach, carrots, um yeah, pretty much everything. 

What is very cool is that the little kids decided yesterday afternoon that they needed the weeds for their fort.  O.k.  Not sure why, but who cares?  They hauled away at least three wheelbarrows of weeds that are where I need to be planting, so I'm one happy girl.  Also they don't have time to squabble when they are working as a team getting all those valuable weeds. 

Today they are out there again filling wheelbarrows.   Tank is the leader and the motivator.  He's having a blast. 

It's so fun to have my kids excited to do something that needs to be done, even if it is motivated by reasons other than my own. :)

Making the most of today
Steph

P.S.  Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday's Household - summer schedule

I am working on a summer schedule, basically so I don't go crazy this summer.  I have one bedroom chore and one main level room per day.  Then we also have a fun thing to do each day.  For each main level room, we have five chores.  And we have four teams, so I get the other chore.

Monday
  • bring your laundry down
  • little boys' sheets
Piano room
  • pick up books
  • dust
  • cobwebs
  • wash walls
  • sweep and mop floor
Letter writing day

Tuesday
  • cobwebs down and wipe walls
  • girls' sheets
Nursery and hallway
  • straighten toys
  • straighten bookshelves
  • dust
  • vacuum
  • wipe walls
Gardening day

Wednesday
  • dust and straighten shelves
  • boys' sheets
Living room
  • clean under couches
  • clean out couches
  • dust
  • vacuum
  • windows and walls
Art Day

Thursday
  • vacuum/mop floors
  • our sheets
Kitchen/dining room
  • cobwebs
  • walls
  • dust
  • clean fridge
  • sweep and mop
Baking day

Friday

Back porch
  • straighten sandals and boots
  • sweep
  • mop
  • wipe walls
  • windows and doors
Basement
  • sweep freezer room
  • clean the bathroom
  • sweep and mop laundry room
  • sweep furnace and wood room
Craft project

Making the most of today
Steph

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Mixed-up soup

I'm not one for eating the same thing or leftovers while having company.  And this past weekend we had some of our favorite company. 

A girl/lady who comes to our home about 8 times a year.  She's fun and the kids adore her.  She was in a car accident when she was young because of a foolish decision on her part (she'll readily admit it).  Now she uses a walker and needs extra help.  So, since her parents work a lot on the weekends, sometimes she'll come and hang out with us. 

Anyway, back to the cooking, so on Monday morning my fridge was full of different containers of lots of different things.  Instead of following the menu, I decided to take everything and dump it into a pot.  Obviously a jello salad wouldn't go into that pot, but we didn't have jello salad. 

We had Mexican beans, duck gravy, bean and ham soup, and some venison and corn topping for over rice.  We also had french fried potatoes, and I'm not sure what all.  I put it together and hoped that it would taste good. 

I would have to say it was delish.  But mixed-up soup is on the same line as the "must-goes".  It's never the same twice. We even have enough mixed-up soup for lunch today.  People were skeptical as they dipped their spoons into their bowls and then hurried to finish it up after that first bite. 

Making the most of today,
Steph

Monday, May 20, 2013

Project Monday - The new need is still a need

So last week, I posted pictures, rather embarassing ones if you ask me.   The yard is a mess.  So much to do.  And yet this past week, the only thing I was able to do in the yard was make sure it got mowed - which helps the look a lot for two reasons.  Number one - it's mowed.  Every lawn looks better mowed.  Number two - sticks and toys had to be cleaned up before any mowing could be done. 

Oops, and I forgot about the one other thing I was able to do - plant some flowers.  Yahoo.

So we have a start, but with dental appointments for five and eye appointments for 6, we didn't have time for much else. 

This week was supposed to be driver's ed for two and that would really have taken a toll on my week as this driver's ed is 23 miles away.  That would mean 100 miles in the van daily with 10 kids.  Not my idea of a fun week. 

Last night I talked with friends at church and found that drivers' ed may not even get us a discount on insurance.  And since our boys are only 15 and 13 (14 this summer), Carpenter and I figured the budget couldn't take such a huge hit right now.  The boys are disappointed.

One of the things that I noticed right away about Carpenter is that he kept his word.  It's something I really appreciate about him.  This is a situation where we should have followed James' advice and said, "If the Lord wills, you'll be doing drivers' training this week."  But we didn't and now, I'm apologizing all over myself, because I feel bad for disappointing them.

They are being respectful and not angry.  And I guess I have to remember that there is a difference.  We can be disappointed and respectful.

Back to the yard, this week I hope to get the trees cleared out so I can put up fence behind the cedar trees.  I'd love to move the chicken house, so that my yard is just for the kiddos, but probably won't be doing that yet.  Just behind the chicken house is a wood fence.  It needs some repair.  And then in the trees behind the swingset, we'll put a wire fence, back behind the first row of trees.

So we'll try to get that all done.

On another front, I wanted to show you pics of the curtains and the plane project.  They aren't done with their planes, but the boys do have curtains in their room that Waterman sewed on my sewing machine.
He made another set for the other window.  The valance is a bit longer than I would like, but that's easy to fix.

They also worked on their plane kits to hang from the ceiling.  Some are almost finished but others have a little way to go.

Making the most of today,
Steph

Friday, May 17, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Gardening

 These are the boxes for the kids.  Almost all done with them, except for tomatoes and some peas and beans that I  just bought today.

 My peas are looking really good.  Just need to weed around the edges a bit more.

Yesterday we transplanted cauliflower, broccoli and peppers.  I have some watermelon and tomatoes that need to grow a bit before we transplant them.


My flowers are looking good and I bought some profusion zinnias today to plant in my flower bed.

 More flowers in my flower bed
My tomatoes are still tiny so I think I'll wait till next week to put these out. 

I still have onions, peas, beans, brussel sprouts,  and radishes to plant from seed. 

Making the most of today.
Steph

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Laundry backlog - Wednesday's Household


 A little blurry but you can see that the littler boys and the girls now have a laundry basket in their room
 At the top of the stairs to the basement is a laundry basket for any laundry that needs to go down to the washer.
And all this laundry is because the sewer guy came and fixed our sewer and we put a hold on laundry for three days.  So glad I was keeping up before he came.  And no, I didn't know when he was coming.

What I am most thrilled about is that this is not because I was lazy!  This is still like this in the middle of the week because we've been at the dentist and eye doctor's this week.  Tomorrow it will be conquered - uh, maybe. :)

The timing of the sewer repair was the best ever because I was with a great friend all day Saturday anyway and wouldn't have had time.  Her son graduated and she was puttin' on a spread.  Such fun to spend a day with her. 

Making the most of today,
Steph

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Living out of the freezer

This week and maybe month we need to live out of the freezer.  So I took inventory - at least of the upstairs freezer - so that I would know what we have.  I don't want to run and buy stuff to make a meal when I could just make something we already have.

Because I was emptying the freezer, I thought it would be a great time to clean it.   And while I was cleaning it, I thought some of the things could use some bleach and my sink also needed bleaching.  It yellows over time and then needs a soak in some bleach water.   So I was able to cover quite a few bases with one project.

As you can see we needed some organizing and cleaning up.  Sometimes it bugs me that my kids don't put things back how I want them.  And then I remember that someday, things will stay where I put them and I will be wishing they wouldn't.
I started using these bins in my freezer awhile back.  If you've been following my blog, you were "there" the day I put them in.  I love them.  For one thing, if I want to know what I have I simply pull out the bins.  One bin was already soaking so there are only two in this pic. 

The other thing is that I hate it when you put a bag of food in the freezer and then before it freezes it manages to get wedged around the wires on the top shelf.  Ugh!  It takes a miracle to get it off.  Another reason I love these bins.

But they weren't looking so clean, so

into the bleach water they go, along with the ice trays.   The other side was full of soapy water for cleaning the fridge.

Now for the plan

This is what I found in my freezer. 
  • 7 packages of ham - one of which is a ham bone.
  • Bean and Ham soup
  • Peanut gravy with pork and squash - for over rice
  • Pork - spiced pieces
  • Venison - 3 packages
  • Hamburger - 1 package
  • 1 container of duck - Sharpie's ducks got run over and therefore we have duck meat in our freezer.
  • 1 bag of peas
  • 1 pkg of brussel sprouts
  • 5 bags of beans
  • 1 pkg pizza sauce
  • 1 pork roast
I will need to get a couple of extra things because we have our friend coming over this weekend.

So the rest of the weeks menu for supper meals will be
  • Wednesday - Peanut gravy with pork and squash over rice
  • Thursday - Duck gravy with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts
  • Friday - Pizza
  • Saturday - lunch - hotdogs and baked beans
  • Saturday - supper - bean and ham soup with corn bread
  • Sunday - lunch - pulled pork sandwiches
  • Sunday - supper - grill spiced pork and roasted potatoes with peas
  • Monday - Venison stew
  • Tuesday - Ham curry over rice

Shopping list
  • Hotdogs
  • Corn meal
  • Hotdog buns
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Green pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • 1 can of pizza sauce
  • Milk
So that's my shopping list for the week.

Making the most of today
Steph

Monday, May 13, 2013

Project Monday - a new need around here

Now that spring has arrived, we are in desperate need of that picket fence I've been wanting.  Two little one-year olds make for a busy time outside.  Right now, it isn't too hard, but in the fall when my kiddos are off to school and it's still nice, I don't want to run after them every little bit. 

So yard clean-up here we come.  Carpenter says we need to get everything else done before we can start a new project, so I'll take some pictures to show you our wonderful yard. Ahem. 

Then we'll decide what needs to be done.

 Circling from the back porch around to the front - this is the dogs' area.  Really not ideal to have the dogs commandeer the picnic table but as you can see in the next picture their dog house is not moveable.


They sleep in the hole under the house.  It works perfect.  The only thing that is not good about this is that the chain for Jack runs right in front of the steps, not nice for parents.  One goal is to eliminate the chain altogether, by fencing up the back yard which could be opened to a wider area for more fun for both dogs. 


This is the other side.  Parents walk past this when they bring their kids over.  It was dug up last summer and now I'm ready to figure out what to do there.  It needs to be sloped so the water doesn't collect, so haven't figured this out.


Swings and teeter-totters for the kids and a sandbox for the littler ones.


In front of the swings, needs to be mowed, but other than that, I'm satisfied with it.

This also looks good, except for all the grass growing up around the propane tank.  I'll need to find a way to keep the grass out of there.


 The very back of this picture is the duck and chicken pens.  I think they'll have to go.  Also the green carpet that was under our pool last year.  Still need to find a place for that too.


And all this wood needs to be split and stacked and more duck stuff to be moved - somewhere. 

Get it done in a week.  I don't think so.  This will be worked on the rest of this month, while I also work on VBS and the rodeo, which is in the first week of June.  Lest you think I am planning an entire rodeo, I am not.  Just the food, but that's enough for me.

Making the most of today,
Steph

I'm heading outside to move that carpet. ;)  Eat an elephant one bite at a time!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Gardening - Week 2

 I thought I would share what we're doing in the garden and show a bit more about it.  I know that I have posted on this once before but it was just the initial stages.  I got my photographer out there today and was able to get more pics of the process.  We still don't have all the things planted in Jules garden, but I'm still monitoring tests, so we'll probably finish it later in the day.


First, I dug the soil back.  Who needs to go to the gym, when you have a garden?


Then filled it up with dirt, and dug it down a bit around the outside.  And since we're splitting wood, I've been putting the small bark scraps and stuff in the walkway.


Then I laid some sticks down to help me see the 16 squares.  If you take each stick and imagine that it goes the full length of the box, you'll have 16 squares.


Since I was putting broccoli in these two squares, I just dug one hole.  For onions or carrots I would do more than one.  I also transplanted some volunteer lettuce from the edge of the garden into her lettuce spots.


 I only put one thing of lettuce in those spots but think that four would be perfect.  We'll plant carrots right in the ground and normally lettuce or spinach too.

And here she is with her spot.  She's my gardener, flower girl, lady-bug lover.  So she'll love it.  Later on for one of our crafts this summer, we'll do rock painting.   That way they can individualize their gardens, and decorate them a bit.

Making the most of today.
Steph

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - Keeping things straight

We as moms, have an abundance of things that we need to keep track of.  We need to make sure not only that we are dressed and ready for the day, but that each little person that we are given charge of, is also ready for the day.

We must take care of hygeine needs, not only of ourselves but also of our young ones.

We must feed ourselves and the family God has given us.

Even in exercising, we need to make sure that our children have an outlet for the energy that is unceasing.

And rest, we must make sure that we all get the rest that we need, and knowing who has what needs in this regard is somewhat difficult. 

We also have what seems like a bazillion other things to do. 

Lately, I've been messing around with some games on the computer while I wait for my boys to finish their tests.  I really have other things I could do nearby and still monitor them.  But sometimes I take a break.

One of the games that I play is a farm game - no it's not FarmVille.  But you're required to harvest certain things and get enough to pass the section.  Well sometimes I find all kinds of things to harvest and then the game is over and I'm out of moves and I realize that I was harvesting all the wrong things. 

Say the goal is to get 20 onions, 30 suns and 40 rain drops.  I was harvesting carrots and apples.  Oops.  I need to have my goals in front of me and that is why I succeed so much better when there is a list near me of the things I need to do. 

When the list is next to my computer, I usually allow myself to do one fun thing - like reading a blog or playing a game and then I go and tackle one thing on my list.  It works pretty well for me.  I get to the end of my day - not with computer overload - but with a neat house, laundry done and supper ready. 

Not every day works out well, even with my priorities straight.  But I don't do what the sign says when I've failed the game - I don't give up.  I will try again and continue asking God to mold and shape me. 

Making the most of today
Steph

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday's Household - Program Night

School program was last night - so today's pics are about that. 

For grandpas and grandmas that live far away and aunts and uncles who are not near. 


This is the whole school.  We make up half of it. 


They sang a song and recited some verses at the beginning.


Then Jules shared her poem about the gifts of senses that God has given to us.


Tank shared the poem about "Wynken, Blynken and Nod".

And a piano piece called "The Banjo Picker".


Daddy caught someone peeking over the back of their bench.


The older girls shared their poems next and Bugaboo had two long ones - "The Sandpiper and I" and "The Children's Hour".

Then she played her recital piece "Camptown Races".


Waterman shared his song "Covered Wagon Days".


Jones shared a poem called "Crossing the Bar",


and Sharpie recited a portion from "The Present Crisis".


 Then they revealed the surprise.  They had made a cute craft out of crayons for all the moms.


It's on a canvas, and we need to find a place to hang it.  It's beautiful!


Then came the snacks, which was really a lunch, and fellowship.


Our favorite lady stood in for all the grandparents and aunts and uncles who couldn't be there.  We're so glad she was able to come.

Steph