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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday's Household - preparing for freezer meals

I'm starting to think about what to make with the extra turkey from our meal. So when I run out to do my last minute shopping, I will grab a few extra things.

4 foil pans
2 pkgs of broccoli
4 pkgs of corn
celery
carrots
2 cans mushrooms
1 24 oz container cottage cheese

This will help me make two recipes of each of these:
  • Easy Chicken Divan
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chicken and Dumplings
  • Hot Chicken Salad
We have to double a recipe because of the size of our family.  I probably won't be able to make all of these recipes, but Christmas is coming, so I'll do the others after that meal. :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We have our whole weekend planned out - none of us are working on Friday.  We'll be sawing lumber during the day and playing games and partying when it's dark.  I'm looking forward to a weekend of family.  We put in so much time this last year working in the pasture and being apart, that I'm especially thankful for this time.

We'll be back on Monday!
Keep pressing on
Steph

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Cheeseburger Casserole

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking a meal to one of our new moms.  It's amazing how easily you forget what holding a brand new baby feels like.

I made this recipe for the family with a fruit salad and some lemon bars.

It's very easy, only 6 ingredients:

2 lbs of hamburger, cooked
1/2 block of Velveeta cheese, cubed
2/3 cup catsup
1/2 cup bacon bits
8 oz of elbow macaroni, cooked, al dente

Mix all of these together.  I cooked the pasta, then chopped the cheese and put it on top.  When I was done cooking the hamburger, I put it on top.  This way the cheese started melting and could be mixed through a bit better.  Place in a Ziploc bag.  Put 1 cup chow mein noodles in a small freezer bag.  Tape the bag to the gallon bag. 

Label it:   Thaw.  Place in a baking dish.  Heat at 350 degrees until heated through (generally about 1 hour, if it's been frozen).  Top with chow mein noodles for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

My testers had mentioned that the original recipe was lacking, so we vamped it up.  Tractorman and I taste-tested it and it was delish!!!

Because I only used half of a block of cheese and we don't generally use processed cheese, I made a double recipe for a future baby or need. 

Have a great day!
Steph

Monday, November 25, 2013

De-cluttering the clothes

Rooms were a disaster this last week.  I've shown older pictures of  their rooms.

They weren't this bad, but they were bad.  And had I kept up on inspections like I should have, they wouldn't have. 

Anyway, even though they weren't this bad, drastic measures had to be taken.  So I made a list of what they need for school clothes and farm clothes and dressing up clothes.  Then I took a tally of what they have. 




The clothes that had holes or stains get thrown out, the ones that have been worn a bit but still are nice get passed on, and the new things Grandpa and Grandma brought this last time get worn. 

Less clothes in their room means less to lie on the floor.  So I'm hoping we can keep up a bit better.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Soon I'll have another bag for Goodwill and the pile for throwing away is growing bigger.  Another good thing about this: they won't be wearing stained or torn clothes --- for awhile.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts


Teaching is something even the young ones can do.  They can be mentors of those littler than them.  Teach your children to teach others.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday's Household - Keeping up

Just a bit of maintenance keeps things from getting out of control.  Just a bit of paying attention when the kids are playing helps.  Just doing what I don't want to right now is worth it. 

Taking five minutes to start a load of laundry keeps it from getting to be a huge mound. 

When the kids are playing, paying attention to make sure that they don't get out more than they can handle helps keep messes from getting too big.

I don't feel like folding laundry, but doing it for about 15 minutes right now, will make my day so much easier. 

Starting supper in the morning makes the day go so much better, because I know that I won't have to quit my stuff early to make supper.  Also today, I'll be out shopping for milk, and we head to AWANA early so I won't be feeling frazzled while I'm trying to get my kids ready for church.

So keeping up takes a few minutes, but it helps make progress toward some of the goals that I have. Because if I keep up, I can spend some time doing the projects that I want to do.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Chicken A La King - 11/19/13


Chicken A La King
2 ½ cups of Chicken White Sauce
1 green pepper
2 lbs chicken
1 gallon bag
 


Put 2 cups of chicken (cooked and cubed) into each bag.  Melt butter in saucepan and add flour, bouillon and pepper.  Stirring constantly for about two minutes.  Gradually add half and half and water.  Stir until thick and then remove from heat.   Once cooled, divide the sauce between both bags and then add mushrooms and peppers to each bag.
Label with this label:

CHICKEN À LA KING


Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Simmer the chicken and sauce in a large skillet over medium heat until warmed through. Do not boil.


Review from the testers:  YUMMY!!!!!!!  They served it over biscuits.

Steph
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

De-cluttering the drawers


 This is one of my favorite things from last year.  My spices.


 Not much changed with the hotpad drawer, except a little straightening.



 As with the towels.  Just needed a little straightening.


And the silverware also needed some straightening.
Like!!!!! 



Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm the server.

Lately my littlest guy, Tractorman, has been running around saying "I'm the server."  - thrilled for any opportunity to bring someone a glass of water, a fork or whatever.  I'm learning that I want to be more like that. 

"For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:28
On Wednesday, he was running around saying "I'm the server." - no he's not really thinking the waiter, because we hardly ever go out to eat, so he doesn't know that there is a name for the people who bring food to you.  He's just thinking that he wants to serve and he's changing the verb to a noun. 

"Do you need more coffee?"  "Can I fill it up?"  "How about if I make you another pot?"  and here I am saying "No, you can't do it yourself.  You are only five."  while Daddy's saying "Sure.  I need more coffee." 

Oh, to have the joy of serving as He did and my little boy does today.  Setting the cups in order for when Grandpa and Grandma come over for breakfast.  So excited to do the little things. 

Quite the opposite from my attitude - I think of the little things as mundane.  I do them over and over and over again.  It gets old in my mind, because I'm not thinking of serving.  I'm thinking of what I want to do. 

I want to be more like the Son of Man - the one who did not come to BE served but to serve. 

Desiring to be joyful in service
Steph

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Walking in the newness of the Spirit - how do we teach our kids?

I've been working on memorizing Romans.  Memorizing chapters 6 and 7 at the same time that we struggled with one of our children made me realize that we are forgetting something in our teaching. 

I wondered if they even realize that they have the Spirit of God in them.  Have we just assumed that they already knew that? 

How can they do the things that we ask of them in their own strength?  And if they don't realize that they don't have to do it on their own, how would they react?  As I memorize Romans 6, I realize that it would be extremely frustrating to me to try to do the "Law". 

It becomes legalism when we're doing these things in the flesh, but a heart yielded to the Spirit is amazingly different - it's the abundant life. 

Have I put my child in the chains of legalism?  And as I look at the one who is struggling, my heart breaks because I am pretty sure that I have.

This morning I asked my oldest if he realizes that he has the Spirit of God in him to help him not follow the crowd.  He shook his head no.  Ugh.  If he doesn't get it, I don't know if anyone else would have gotten it. 

It's not that we haven't talked about it, it's just that we haven't emphasized it.  And I am seeing that more than anything they have to know that, after they understand that Christ is their savior.

So I'll be hugging on my struggling one more than ever and sharing with him the joy of walking in the newness of the letter.

So, go, find your kids and make sure that they know the way to have abundant life.
Steph

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday's Household - the new normal

With boys going to public school, my world looks very different from what it did last year. 

Mornings start even earlier than they did last year.  My husband wants to have some quiet time to spend in the study of the Word, so he gets up at 5:00.  And since it doesn't really pay for me to try to sleep another half hour, I have been getting up too.

This morning he and I spent a half hour side-by-side on the couch, he on his computer and me on mine.  I was working on Scripture Typer which is huge in my understanding of the word.  He was working on his application for ministry for our church group.  It involves a lot of using Scripture to support your beliefs.  It will take him awhile to get this done.

At 5:30, I leave the computer and he continues working, and start breakfast, put his lunch in his lunch box and make his thermos of coffee, get the fire going in the wood furnace, start a load of laundry, and get out what's for supper (oops, still have to do that, it's in the basement and I forgot it earlier).  Ran around getting information for our health insurance and a receipt. 

At 6:00, the older boys get up and get started on their day.  And by 6:30 Dad is out the door and gone.  Piano for one of them and Awana for all.  The boys get on the bus just before 7:00.

Then it's time for the littler ones to get up.  Get dressed and eat.  Clean rooms. Piano for three.  Awana work if they aren't caught up.  Hair combed.  Shoes on.  Run out to feed chickens, ducks and dogs.

The first daycare child arrives around 7:30 and then for a half hour it's a bit of chaos, as I'm competing with him for my children's attention.  They love him and want to spend time with him, but I need them to finish getting ready.

8:15 we load up, unless we have a public school drop-off  (then it's 8:00).  And we drop off the school kids and pick up one from the bank where her mom works.  Then it's home with the two little ones (at least today) some days we have my Kindergartner home, he has school two days a week.

It's music time for the first hour.  Then a bit of  Bubble Guppies.  Then it's reading time.  Then lunch and it's nap time.  While they are napping, I have time to focus on things that take more concentration (like our Cooking Day planning) or require me to leave the play area.

3:15, we load up the babies (2-year olds) and head out to pick up the private school kids.  The older boys ride the bus.  Snack time and then moms are coming to pick up their kids.

By 5:30 we're getting supper on.  Then it's family time, and finally, if I've been faithful throughout the day to be productive, I fall into bed and sleep restful sleep.

I love my days, but sometimes I get lazy and forget what I need to be doing.  Lists of jobs help me with that.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Cashew Chicken Stirfry for the freezer


Cashew Chicken Stir Fry


2 lbs chicken breast
¼  c soy sauce
2 Tbsp c red wine vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 c unsalted cashews
1 pkg of broccoli and cauliflower
2 gallon bags
1 quart bag


Cut chicken breast into chunks.  Place into bags.  Mix soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and fish sauce.  Divide between 2 bags.  Add 1 ½ t minced garlic, 1 t minced ginger and ½ t crushed red pepper to each bag.  Place 1 cup of cashews in each quart bag. Place inside of another gallon bag with a pkg of vegetables and  bag of chicken.
Label the bag with this label:
 

CASHEW CHICKEN STIR-FRY

Needed on hand to complete this entrée:  2 teaspoons sesame oil. Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir-fry chicken and sauce until meat is almost cooked through, 20 minutes. Add vegetables; stir-fry until tender crisp. Sprinkle with cashews and serve. 

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

De-cluttering in the kitchen - upper cupboards


 I worked on these cupboards today.  Things I liked from my organizing last year - the canning jars!  That helped make so much more room in my kitchen until I get a pantry. :)  Things that I wanted to change - no more mugs in the cupboard with the dishes.  We have a cupboard for that.  Also the plastic plates don't get used much around here, so they will go in the back of the van for picnic lunches and days when I forget to bring "tableware" like I did last night.

 

Things that didn't work from last year  - the measuring cups hanging on the door got in the way, so I'm trying keeping them in the measuring container on the top shelf.  I labeled all the containers so the family knows where to find what they're looking for.  I still like the recipe cards hanging on the door.


 These cupboards will still be a nuisance as the glasses get strewn everywhere and though we are done with sippy cups, we still have them to contend with because of the little ones we have during the day.


The baking/cooking cupboard will still get messy.  One of these days I'll figure it out.  All the vinegars and sauces get a bit cluttered when I'm working in the kitchen.  Moving the toaster out was helpful though.

 

And the hot drinks cupboard was a wreck.  I pulled out everything, and I'm giving away some mugs.  I just don't need all we have.

Above the stove - I love my brick for holding up the cookbooks.  It works so well.  The vitamins needed a bit of fixing up, but it all is straightened once again. 

A future project - that was on the list last year too is to put new shelf paper down.  I want to put up lists for shopping in cupboards that have supplies.  For example in the hot drinks cupboard a list of things that are needed in that cupboard, so that I can circle them and remember things easier.

And here's my hot drinks cupboard after I straightened it up.  I'd like to get a basket for teas. But for now it looks a lot better.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Update:
These are the things I found to get rid of - yeah for moving stuff out.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Living the life

Yesterday, the Bible study gals were talking about Romans 7 and the life that we have in Christ and freedom we have to choose not to sin.  It was so exciting and fun to talk about the life we have in Christ - to know that warring against the flesh is actually a part of the walk.  I was on a high and loved discussing this with my friends. 

I came home to a quiet afternoon of memory work and a few other things.  Then I went to pick-up the kids and everything changed.  There was the chaos and loudness of "He took my seat!"  "He shoved me while I was getting in the van."  Somehow dealing with two-year olds is a whole lot easier. 

Dropping kids off at piano, and shopping with said two-year olds and a teenager who wants to make them happy.  Happy and goofy doesn't work in the store.  We have fun, but our norm works well when we don't have big kids.  Frustration is setting in. 

Babies are dropped off while we wait for piano kids to get done.  Then we pick the kids from piano up, one is sobbing because a book was forgotten and he got fewer reward points.  At this point,  I'm handling things o.k, but a bit more frustrated.

I had been working all week preparing for a weekend project that starts today (Friday) because my husband's self-employed stuff takes place on Fridays and Saturdays.  I "knew" we needed to get to the city (1 1/2 hours away) that night because we have missions conference all weekend.  But since he hadn't had time to look at the details that I had been calculating all week (my first time trying to  help him in this way), he wasn't ready.  Logically, it's totally understandable.  He also needed to talk with the owner a bit more to get an idea of his choices in the whole project.  But the frustration is climbing.

My big boys are home with homework done and there is so much to share.  This new journey of public school is hard for them.  They hear all kinds of language that we never use or generally hear and then they are blindsided by comments that are completely inappropriate.  So they seem to talk non-stop.  I feel the guilt weighing heavy as I just wish I could say, "I can't take any more." 

Younger ones need help studying, my littlest ones need snuggles, and I just want to find a place to hide.  And then I remember some words from my memory work earlier, "present your members as instruments of righteousness". 

That's all.  Just a few words.  And I remember how exciting I thought it would be to walk in the Spirit and to war against the flesh.  I knew it wouldn't be fun.  I mean after all warring is a battle and battles are never fun.  But the challenge.... I was up for it.  Yes, I was definitely ready.

24 hours later, I'm feeling battle worn.  Like Satan somehow got word that I was ready for a battle and threw everything he had at me.  I know that this discouragement isn't walking in the Spirit.  While my mouth stays closed (mostly), so I'm not spouting things that I shouldn't say, I'm still communicating, at least to my dear husband that all is NOT right with my world.   Somehow all we talked about yesterday is in the far distant past.

And then I heard it, right after I ran out the door, with my husband's questions about the project ringing in my ears, and coatless and lunchless and homeworkless kids jumping in the car so that they wouldn't be late for school.  I heard a song as soon as I turned on the radio.

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
 
My favorite line - "You shut the mouths of lions" 
 
Hey, just yesterday a friend in our group had mentioned that we forget that we have God's power on our side.  Totally forgot that part.  But this song brought that back to the forefront of my mind.  And then, I'm believing God, trusting Him and forgetting about any strength I might have thought I had. 
 
 
After I got home and was still working on sending off my dear man on his project, and my boys' home from school and babies needing me, I got back into the frustration, but I remember the truths of this song and I'm back and ready to face the day. 
 
Chin up - God is on your side!!!!! Because of that, all things are possible.
Steph


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - another freezer recipe


Party Enchiladas
3 lbs of chicken
2/3  pkg of cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1/3 can green chilies

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp lime juice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp chili powder

6 tortilla shells

1/3  c salsa

1 c cheese

1 can olives

4 cups of Chicken White Sauce

1 foil pan

 

Cook chicken. Beat cream cheese.  Add sour cream, chilies, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, chili.  Stir in cooked chicken.  Roll mixture in tortilla shells.  6 tortillas per pan.  Pour sauce over the shells.  Top with olives and cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil. 
Label with this label:
 
 
 
 

PARTY ENCHILADAS

Completely thaw one dish in the refrigerator.  Bake, covered, at 350°F for 55 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until sauce is bubbling.
 
My crew of cooks took this recipe home and they all loved it.  Hope you do too!
Keep pressing on,
Steph
 
 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ready for some de-cluttering

I am ready to start de-cluttering again.   So I think Monday's Projects will be back up with my de-cluttering projects.  Tuesday's I will keep posting recipes that I'm freezing.    I haven't figured out Wednesday's and Fridays yet, but we'll get that figured out this week.

For now, enjoy my pictures of the latest project almost finished, but in the pictures you can't tell they aren't finished. :)

I'm so happy this project is finished.  It took us almost a year.




Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cooking Day with Venison

I spent $70 on food for these meals yesterday.  Not all of that $70 will go into these meals.  For example, I needed 8 cups of shredded mozzarella, but the big block was cheapest, so I bought that.

First, I put the rice on to cook.


 Then a sink full of hot water for dishes


 Then I pulled out the spices I needed and put them on the counter.


And my other ingredients for the recipes.


I finished making my roasts yesterday and had bagged them, so now I chopped what needed chopping.


Ready for the final ingredients

Beef Bordeaux

 The older boys played with the babies and tried to help them with the puzzles.  It will still be awhile before they "get" the four-piece puzzles.

I even had some help with grating the cheese.

The last of the meals  to go into the freezer.

So actual cost on my Easy Sauerbraten was  50 cents for the carrots, 20 cents for the gingersnaps.  When the day comes that we eat it, we'll spend about 40 cents on sour cream and then make rice to go with it, so our total cost will be about $5 dollars, that will give us supper and the next day's lunches.

Actual cost for my BBQ Beef Sandwiches was $.50 for BBQ sauce (I make my own). On the day, I will need hamburger buns.  If I don't make my own, I will spend $2.25.  Total - $2.75.  This is not a meal that would work for lunches, so it will be on the weekend.

My Philly Beef Sandwiches cost $.75 for onions and about $2.00 for the mozzarella cheese.  On the day, I will need hard rolls, which will be about $3.00.  Total - $5.75.  Again we won't have a lot of leftovers, if any, so this will be for the weekend.

The Beefy Enchiladas were $.60 for beans (homemade), probably about $.50 for sauce, $2.00 for cheese and then about $2.00 for tortillas on the day (unless I make them).  So the total is $5.10.  This will be a lunch and supper meal.

The Beef Bordeaux was about $3.50.

Beef Stroganoff was $3.50.

Osso Bucco (I don't know what that is.)  was $3.00

Middle Eastern Stew was $3.00

Southwestern Stew was $5.00

Oriental Stew was $5.00

All told I put 22 meals in the freezer and we're having Oriental Stew over rice tonight.

Enjoy,
Steph