April is here

I feel like screaming too!

I feel like screaming too!

 

We flipped another page in our calendar. Can you believe it’s already April!? But it’s here and so far is looking like a slower month for me. I truly need that and will try my hardest to limit activities this month. Since January, I feel like all I have done is run errands, go to doctor appointments or have some kind of activity to get the kids too. My spring break wasn’t even a break.

I am an introvert. So by nature this kind of schedule has been hard for me. But one of my new years resolutions was to be more present for my kids. And so far I have been doing it. I’ve been saying yes to activities and not coming up with excuses why we can’t go. My anxiety has been under control which has been so nice. We’ve been enjoying life.

But this mom needs a little slow down. I think that is good for everyone. No matter what kind of person they are.

I want to dig my hands in the dirt. Hang out with my chickens. And complete some projects I keep putting off.

I also feel this is a good time to get our eating and budget habits back on track. I have to admit since the holidays I feel like it’s been nothing but sweets, candy and fast food. I told you life has been crazy! But now it’s time to get back on track. With hubby’s kidney problems and our daughter’s behavioral problems, good food is very important. I have noticed a lot of behavioral issues popping up with my girl. So time to catch it before it’s out of control.

Last month, I made dinner menus for the next 3 months. So I am ahead of the game there. I also got the majority of my grocery shopping done for the month last week.

This week I am focusing on organizing and few areas of the house. While also learning how to live without some of my major appliances.

YUP! The well broke. I tell you what…you can tell it’s April because it just poured 3 days into it. We have sand mixed in with our water. And of course it happened on a Sunday. Hubby tried to fix it but couldn’t. Looks like we are looking at a new well.

Like Hubby said we take 2 steps forward and 5 back.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got the majority of our building project done that we had been working on for months.   We were planning for some other projects and business is going good. We were feeling accomplished. And now this!

My mom was here when it happened and said man, ya’ll can’t catch a break. And it’s true. This is part of living on a homestead. Fix one thing and another thing needs fixing. Mom and I walked through and talked about how to fix the fence until we have money and time to replace it.

So we can take showers. But I can’t run my dishwasher or my fancy washer. Luckily we bought a cheap old washer and will use that. I have to use bottle water for cooking or drinking. Recycling truck is going to love us this week. We are only washing pots and pans. Everything else we are using is disposable. It’s killing me. I all about reuse and limiting our garbage as much as possible.

OH well! (Pun intended) It is what it is. A few days or so; won’t kill me……I hope!

 

Holidays upon us..week 7

Well it is here. The holiday craziness is officially upon us. I know I am a little behind because of illnesses and remodeling. Yes, we decided to remodel in the middle of the holidays. We did the same thing 4 years ago too. We are just crazy like that. But thankfully it is done and now I just have to reorganize my house. I am also writing this while dealing with a very sick little girl and a million things on the to do list. But I always pull it off. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth. But hey that’s life.

So what should you be doing….

Hopefully you already shopped, are ready to shop, going shopping for everything!

Grocery shop for Thanksgiving no later than this Friday. It will save you from dealing with the massive crowds.

Make a plan for your Black Friday shopping. I am not participating because it seems the stores open earlier every year. I like to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family and friends and shop on the actual Black Friday but I will just be shopping from this very computer I am writing you from.

Christmas shopping should already be happening. We have had boxes coming in at least 2-3 times a week here. I am almost completely done with my family outside of my household and just need to concentrate on my kids now. Hubby already bought his present so that’s one less person for me to worry about.

Hopefully you found my Holiday series helpful. I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Holidays ya’ll!

Christmas Planning…week 6

Last week, I came across this fantastic post by Christy Jordan. For those of you who don’t know, she runs a blog called Southern Plate and also has published 2 cookbooks. She is my blog idol.

Anyways.

She posted about how she makes a Christmas Notebook. It was so easy and simple. And I thought what better way to get organize than to have one place for everything.

I always have half used notebooks lying around so I put one to use and turned it into the Ford Family Christmas Notebook. Her is very fancy, where I just took a sharpie to the cover.

I did everything she did, but I also added in a page for Thanksgiving menu and grocery list.

And I will be adding pages for Christmas Cookies to bake, Elf on the Shelf Tricks and our 25 days of Christmas activities.

I hope ya’ll will find her blog and post as enjoyable as I did.

OH I forgot… Target and Walmart black friday ads is up on the site.

 

Holidays Upon us..week 6

We have 2 more weeks of Holidays upon us post and then it is here. All the craziness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Thanksgiving: Get your final menu figured out! Hand out assignments of who is to bring what. Figure out your portion of the meal and make a grocery list. Also remember plates, cups and silverware. If you are fancy and use non-paper items, make sure you have enough. I use paper goods, but I like all of my food served in regular dishes. So I will be getting them out this week and washing them up and seeing what I still need.

Black Friday: The ads are slowly starting to roll out. I am still waiting for the 2 bigger ones: Target and Walmart. But there are a lot that have already been posted. Check them out here.

If you haven’t started yet, then start that shopping!!!

You only have 45 days to go!

I know I didn’t say anything about Christmas in this post. That’s because I have a special Christmas post coming on Wednesday.

Eat at Home Challenge

For the last 2 months, we have really struggled with fast food. Our lives have been so busy with at least 3-4 activities on the calendar every week that it was easier to just grab something while we were out. But then there was also moments of how about we go here and there for dinner. Or do you want to get this or that for breakfast. It got out of control.

My proudest moment was when I had to take my daughter for a last-minute, late in the day doctor appointment. After the appointment, I had to make the, normally 30 minute, drive back to our hometown during rush hour traffic and stop at the pharmacy. It would have been easy to get sucked into the let’s just pick something up game. But I refused! I knew I had meat thawed in the fridge that needed to be used up. I knew we had already ate out at lunch time because of a homeschool meeting. I knew we were going over to my mom’s for pizza the next day. And I wasn’t going to do it! I got home and with the help of my middle daughter. I made dinner at home. It was completely from scratch. But it was the best I could do under the circumstances and much better than fast food. We had pork chops, mac and cheese (organic from a box) and broccoli. And I was darn proud. So proud, I turned around and did it again on Saturday. And then again on Monday.  3 busy days that could have been easier to just throw the towel in and hit the drive through. But I didn’t!

So to take it a step further, I am challenging myself to a 2 week eat at home challenge. I am going to start as of this Sunday. That means I am already 2 days into it. I actually signed up for this challenge through Eat at Home Cooks. I really love this blog because it gives some simple tips and makes it easy for all of us to eat at home. Not to mention the recipes are yummy.

And let’s be honest we all need to eat at home to make room in the fridge, freezer and our waistline for all those holiday foods that are coming up.

Why I don’t make my own pumpkin puree

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I am the queen of making things from scratch. I know it’s healthy and I love the taste of homemade better than anything else. I have always been like this. I always like things better when they are homemade.

Last year I decided I was going to try to make homemade pumpkin puree. And let’s just say that is not happening again. I couldn’t find easy instructions anywhere online. So I was really winging it. Then I had problems trying to scoop the pumpkin out of the skin. And more problems trying to get it to that smooth texture that comes from a can.

It really was a hot mess. Like, no seriously, it was HOT! But I tried and really at the end of that project, I stood there and asked myself why did I think this was a good idea? I don’t even like pumpkin!

OY VEY! Sometimes the things I get in my brain, even I can’t explain it!

Why would I go through all this extra steps for something I don’t eat. Because I love my family and they love pumpkin. But in the end, the only ones to benefit from my experiment was my chickens.

So if you’re a lover of pumpkin and have found the detail instructions to make your own pumpkin puree, have a go at it. Me~I’ll stick to the can stuff. And that is probably the only time you will ever hear me say that.

 

This blog post participated in the Simple Homestead Blog Hop

What’s cooking Wednesday~ Fruit Salad

A little side note: Yes I know it is Thursday and this segment is called what’s cooking Wednesday. But yesterday I kept forgetting it was Wednesday. And then when I went to write this post I thought I lost my pictures. I looked through all of the SD cards and convinced myself that I had gone crazy and lost them. Then this morning, I was browsing through my pictures I have saved online and VOILA! They appeared here waiting for me to write this post the whole time! I blame this on the time change and Mommy brain.

Here it is! The long awaited Fruit Salad recipe to go with my quiches. My hubby and kids love this super simple recipe.

 

 

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1 20oz can pineapple; crushed

2 small cans mandarin oranges or 1 large can

1 pkg. strawberry jello

1 tub cool whip or homemade whipped cream

2 cups cottage cheese

Combine the cottage cheese, jello and fruit. Mix together.

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I usually make homemade whipped cream by beating 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with a tbs of sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. This is why my fruit salad takes a little longer.

Add either cool whip or homemade whipped cream to cottage cheese mix and fold in gently. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then serve chilled.

You can add a little bit of nuts. I used to do this but got away from it when my son started eating it because he hates nuts. But honestly, nobody notices  complains about them not being in there.

There you have it folks, simple, easy and yummy! This would make a great side dish to that ham you are planning on fixing for Easter.

 

What’s Cookin’ Wednesday~ Quiche

Quick! You have a last-minute guest who is coming at a meal time. What do you fix?

This has happened to me. A family member of mine (*cough Aunt Jo, LOL) likes to wait until the last-minute to make plans. A couple years ago, we had talked about getting together on a certain day, but no solid plans were made. Luckily, I had done a massive stock up shopping so I was prepared when I got the text confirming that our get together was on.

Yes, you can always go out and pick something up. Or order pizza or sandwich trays from your local grocer. But nothing says welcome like a simple home cooked meal. My aunt offered to just pick something up, but why waste the money when I have everything here.

That day we were meeting around lunchtime, so I decided to do a brunch theme. I whipped up 2 quiches, a broccoli and cheddar and a bacon and swiss, and my famous (at least to my hubby) 15 minute fruit salad.

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Quiche is one of those dishes that looks complicated but really isn’t. And you can make it using whatever you have around the house. It is so versatile. Pick out your fillings and go.

Start with the crust. Now you can either make your own pie crust or just buy the refrigerated or frozen ones from the store. I actually used the refrigerated Pillsbury Pie crust this time. You just unroll it and place it in the pie pan. But I have been known to go all fancy and make the pie crust from scratch.

Once that is in the dish, move on to the filling. Cook, chop or whatever you need to do to the fillings now. In my case, I fried up some bacon, chopped some broccoli and grated cheddar and swiss cheese. Then I put a nice thick layer on the bottom of the crust.

Some more filling ideas~Caramelized Onion, mushroom and bacon (amazing!), Veggie (any and all kinds), Southwestern ( chicken, peppers and cheddar)

 

Next, mix up 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups half & half, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. You can just use a fork to do this. No fancy mixers, it’s just a light mixing. Pour into crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn down oven to 325 degrees and bake until set. You don’t want jiggle quiches. You want springy, so if you touch the middle it is firm but soft, like a sponge. I will say quiche baking time will vary based on the amount of fillings and how deep of a pie pan you have. I have some that have baked in 25 minutes and others that took 30-40 minutes. Just keep checking on it. And if the edge your crust starts getting too dark, put a little aluminum foil around it. Just make sure not to cover the egg filling.

The basis of this recipe came from Cooks.com and makes 1 9 inch quiche. For 2, like in my picture, double the recipe.

 

 

 

 

Hello 2015!!

New year 2015

 

I know I am a little late, but honestly I don’t start my new year resolutions until after my birthday on the 5th. Why deprive myself of cake and celebration!?! I made it another year and, dang it, I earned that slice of cake!

So my new year starts when winter break is over and normal life resumes. Well as close to normal as this bunch can get.

I have thought about my new year’s resolution for sometime now. Months actually! I feel like 2014 was my year to find myself. I found out that I have a passion for homesteading that I never knew was there. And not only homesteading, but natural living, without all the chemicals and medications. I like being able to keep my family healthy without the use of antibiotics or over the counter drugs. I like cooking from scratch and knowing what is going into my food and that the items are of the best quality that I can find.

But there were many areas that I floundered at. I don’t want to say fail because that is so negative. I feel like I never failed. I may not have put my best effort in to them, but I never failed, so floundered is the perfect description.

So here they are my resolutions:

  1. Learn more and love life~ Enjoy it, every minute! I noticed my anxiety has flared up a little bit and I want to get a handle on it better so I can accomplish this task. Just get healthier in general. I see too many family members fighting different diseases and I don’t want that. I wanna be around for a long, long time.
  2. Expand our homesteading. I would love to get where we can raise our own meat and add some more egg layers to our little flock. Ducks are coming only because they are so cute!
  3. Separate myself from the negativity. Too many times I let other people’s life choices stress me out and worry me. Yes, they are my family and I love them, but they are not my immediate (in my household) family and those are the ones that need my guidance and attention. So I am going to learn to Let it go! (cue Frozen song here)
  4. Blog more and interact with more bloggers. Expand this and possibly make a business that will thrive and I can be extremely proud of.
  5. Spend more time with my kids. This year my oldest is turning 18!!! How did that happen I have no idea?!? But I feel like I blinked and her childhood was gone. So I am using that as an eye opener and cherishing every moment I have left with them all.

To help me with these, I will probably set little mini goals each month. I seem to do well with a to do list type thing. Sometimes I get so busy with just the everyday stuff that I look up and a whole month has gone by. I would like to try to slow down a bit and that is my overall theme of the year.

Slow down and enjoy being me!

Cooking with kids~ Chicken Cordon Bleu

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A long time ago, as in a few months ago, I would just buy those frozen Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu. Times has changed, money is tight and since I would have to buy 4 packs for one meal, it had to go. So I was at the store with my kids, wondering what to fix for dinner. I wanted Chicken Cordon Bleu and knew I had already thawed out chicken at home, decided to fight the urge to buy it premade and made my own with the help of Brianna.

My lovely assistant

My lovely assistant

 

This recipe is very easy for kids to make because it’s pretty hard to screw up and really doesn’t involve any measuring. So I knew it would be perfect for my special child to make. Plus there was no recipe to read just listening to Mom.

Ingredients:

chicken breast~ I use thin sliced, but if you prefer the thicker ones just adjust your cooking time.

Dijon mustard or honey mustard

seasoned bread crumbs

oil or cooking spray

deli sliced ham and swiss cheese

This is what I used, but honestly the ingredients can be switched out to fit your families taste. I would have prefered honey mustard, but didn’t have any.

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Coat both sides of the chicken with a thin layer of Dijon Mustard.

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Then coat with breadcrumbs.

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Saute in a pan until lightly brown on both sides. You can use butter, coconut oil or grape seed oil. This will take about 5-7 minutes depending on the temp of your pan.

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Remove from pan and stick on a cookie sheet. Add ham; as much or as little as you like.

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Another thin layer of mustard.

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Then top with the cheese. Then I pop these in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. I want to make sure the chicken is done and the cheese is melted. Now if you are worried about the cheese getting burned, you could always put the chicken in the oven before you add the mustard and cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes and then add continue with recipe, baking another 5-10 minutes.

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And then VOILA! The finish project! It was delicious! I usually add a cheesy rice as a side (almost like a risotto) and some corn or broccoli.

Enjoy!