Friday, February 27, 2009

Preschool Time - Color Matching

It is hard to believe Rebekah is already two. She is growing up much to fast for this mama. And like any little sister she looks up to her big sisters and wants to be just like them. This includes doing everything they do as well.

For a while now she has been asking to "do school, too". That used to mean a box of crayons and paper or the math blocks to appease her and keep her busy for a while. Lately, however, she has been wanting more. We have been working on ABC's and 123's orally, but it was becoming quite obvious that she wanted something to do with her hands as well.

It has been a few years since we have had a preschooler in the house and most of the activities I made are gone. So I was excited to find Totally Tots, an awesome blog with a bunch of creative women posting tons of activities and information for toddlers and preschoolers.

Rebekah loves ice cream. It is one of her favorite signs as well. So when I saw this file folder color matching game, I knew it would be a big hit. There are a bunch of other file folder games, so go check it out.

The object is to match the color of the ice cream on the white card to the one attached inside the file folder. Even though there are shades of blue and pink, Rebekah is doing really will. The only colors that continually confuse her are white and grey.

And of course it is always more fun to play with a big sister.

Science of Simple Machines-Pulleys

Sarah has really been enjoying her science this year. She is using Exploring Creation with Science CD-Rom. Not only does she enjoy the fact that it is on the computer, she loves all of the experiments. I love that she is having so much fun learning. It is an added bonus that all of the experiments so far have used common household items - no big extra purchases.

This module is all about simple machines. Sarah and her dad did an experiment earlier in the week on levers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that. However, they had a good time and Sarah learned a lot. She was amazed at how levers decreased the amount of work needed to lift an object.

Today Sarah, Hannah and Mom performed an experiment that showed how a pulley or system of pulleys decreases the amount of work. You can see we used a broom, actually two of them, and a piece of rope. Whoever held the end of the rope tried to pull the two holding the brooms together. Neither girl could pull the brooms together when the rope was just wrapped around one handle. However, when the rope was wrapped around both broom handles to form a "pulley" both girls could easily pull the brooms together.

We had a lot of fun with our pulley experiment. Of course the laundry you can see on the couch was the next task, and that wasn't nearly as much fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gratituesday - Fruit & Veggies

With the economic state the country is in everyone seems to be trying to find ways to pinch their pennies. Usually one of the largest parts of a family budget that you have some control over is the food budget. Coupons, sales, and rebates. There are lots of ways to pinch here and there. However, even with these the dollar just doesn't seem to go as far at the grocery store as it used to. Especially if you want to eat more healthy. I don't often see coupon for fresh fruits and veggies. So what's a family to do?

Well, here in northern New Hampshire we have a wonderful Baptist Church that is the answer. Every Saturday they pick up all the "old" produce, the produce that they feel they can't sell or has reached its sell by date, from our local Hannaford grocery store. Now don't jump to any conclusions and think this NOT rotten food. That was the mind set I had in the beginning until I went one Saturday. Most of what is there looks like the stuff I bought at the beginning of the week and now it is Thursday or Friday. Now I don't know about all of you, but I only shop once a week or less. So produce I pay full price for almost always sits in my house for at least a couple of days. So not only is the produce quite nice, some of it is like factory seconds at the outlets, you just can't find what's wrong with it, but there is usually a wonderful selection. This Saturday I picked up . . .
  • 5lb bag potatoes
  • 5lb broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • honeydew
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 mangoes
  • 3 pears
  • 8 apples
  • 2 lbs grapes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 bag hearts of romaine
  • organic fresh basil
  • 3 baby eggplant
  • 1 pt grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 12 oz mushrooms
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 4oz watercress

Now the shelf life isn't going to be fabulous on this produce, but there are many ways around that. I brought the broccoli home and blanched and froze it. Now I have enough broccoli for quite a few meals. I also try to plan my menu around what we were able to get. So Sunday we had chicken fajitas and used the peppers. Lunch today was Chicken Salads with the romaine, cucumber and grape tomatoes. We also freeze a lot of the fruit for smoothies and muffins. The watercress is going in our green smoothies for tomorrow's breakfast.

I am so grateful to be able to still feed my family fresh fruit and vegetables without breaking the bank and for the Ness family who opens the doors of their church and give up their Saturday to do this.

The sad part is that if the Ness family didn't pick up this produce it would be thrown in the dumpster behind the store. And there are days of the week that this does happen. With the economy in such bad shape and people struggling, it is sad to see how much waste there is in this country. Have you thought about all that God has blessed you and your family with? Please don't waste it. It is our responsibility to be a good steward and teach our children to be as well.

Head on over to Heavenly Homemaking for more inspiring Gratituesday posts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mom, There's Nothing to Do!

Doesn't every mother dread those words? Now I have known mothers who have taken this opportunity to find chores, I mean things for their children that would be considered less than thrilling. And while this can be a productive approach, both for accomplishing house work and teaching our children independence and creativity, sometimes it just isn't the right answer.

Cabin Fever has set in up here in the cold north, and we are often stuck inside with temperatures below freezing. So what's a mom to do to keep her sanity as well as her children happy and busy you ask. My answer is to visit one of the coolest kid's crafting blogs out there. The Crafty Crow!

This has to be the BEST, UP TO THE MINUTE selections of kids crafts. Every day crafts and activities from some of the most creative blogs out there are showcased on The Crafty Crow. All the time consuming searching has been done for you. And that's not all. You can search for crafts by age appropriateness, craft medium, and holidays.

So the next time your kid say they are bored and have nothing to do why not surprise them will a cool craft instead of another chore. The smiles and laughter will be worth having a little dust around the house. Cause you know, the dust will always be there, but your children wont. Take time today to make some beautiful memories. Your children will think you are the BEST MOM in the world!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Winter just wouldn't be complete without a hardy bowl of beef stew every once in a while. This is a wonderfully flavorful stew that I can never seem to make enough of. I love the fact that I can make this in my crock pot. Returning home after a day of skiing is so much more pleasant when a warm and satisfying dinner is waiting for you. I hope you all enjoy this as much as my family does.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs beef cut into bite size pieces
  • flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 6 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stacks celery, chopped
  • 1 jar onions
  • any additional root veggies you like - we add turnip when we have it

Brown beef in a little bit of oil and the garlic. Sprinkle with seasoned flour to coat. Put beef in the bottom of the crock pot. make sure to scrape all the wonderfully flavorful drippings in as well. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the crock pot. When you add the tomatoes cut them into quarters with the side of your spoon. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until your potatoes are soft.

We like to serve this with whole wheat biscuits or 90 minute dinner rolls.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Weeks Menu

Breakfast: Eggs, Toast, and Homemade Turkey Sausage
Lunch: Grilled Ham & Cheese, Carrot Sticks, and Pineapple
Dinner: Shrimp in Creamy Dill Sauce over Linguine, and Broccoli

Breakfast: Green Smoothies
Lunch: Soup & Crackers (I am still looking for a good homemade cracker recipe if anyone would like to share - HINT)
Dinner: Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy, Egg Noodles, and Green Beans

Breakfast: Breakfast Braid
Lunch: Cesar Salads
Dinner: Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
Lunch: Ski Day Picnic - Hummus, Veggies, Crackers, Cheese and Fruit
Dinner: Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup and Biscuits

Breakfast: Gingerbread Pancakes with Sweet Cream
Lunch: Mac & Cheese and Apple Slices
Dinner: Homeschool International Pot Luck - We are bringing something from Greece

Breakfast: Green Smoothies
Lunch: Turkey and Cheese Pocket
Dinner: Hannah's Choice - Sarah and Dad wont be home!

Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins
Lunch: Crock Pot Beef Stew and 90 Minute Rolls
Dinner: Finger Foods after Church
Thanks to some of my favorite blogging women for sharing their favorite recipes.

Stop by Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas and recipes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Androcles and the Lion

The girls were blessed again to receive scholarships to attend Children's Stage Adventures' winter camp sponsored by the Mount Washington Valley Children's Museum. They spent last week auditioning, participating in workshops, memorizing part and learning songs in order to put on a wonderful production of Ancrocles and the Lion. The choice of show couldn't have been better as we are studying Ancient Rome in just a few weeks.
After such a wonderful experience this past summer with the same group's production of the Princess and the Pea, both girls hope to get bigger rolls this time around. Well their dreams sure did come true. Sarah was cast as none other than Androcles. And Hannah was cast as Pout Miser, a major character with quite a few lines.

Both girls worked so hard both at camp and at home to memorize their lines, songs, and dance steps. By the time show day arrived both girls were running on pure adrenaline. The show was a huge success. The girls as well as the rest of the cast did an amazing job. Children's Stage Adventures is a wonderful organization. It is truly amazing what they can accomplish in five days with a group of children ranging in age from 5 to 11.

I wish I had gotten better pictures during the show, however, I was trying to video the production so dad could see it later. Luckily they do have photo ops at the end of the show so at least you can see you great they all looked in their costumes.

The Miser Family grupmy at the loss of their slave and the prospect of being thrown out of Rome for good!

Androcles and the Lion - Best Friends!

One of the opening scenes of the play. Androclese is pleading for forgiveness after being caught asleep on the job!

The museum is bring Children's Stage Adventures back again this summer in August and the girls are already talking and planning. If there is ever a Children's Stage Adventures camp or workshop in your area I strongly recommend them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snow Ice Cream!

We were blessed to have a beautiful snow storm today! About 15 inches of the white fluffy stuff fell. It was getting dark when the girls came home from play practice, so instead of going out to play in the snow we brought some snow inside. We made yummy snow ice cream!

Here is what you need to make snow ice cream.

Clean new fallen snow
Maple Syrup - the real kind from here in New England
Heavy Cream - milk works, but cream is soooo much better

Fill a cereal bowl with snow. Add to this about 2-3 Tbsp of maple syrup and 1/4 tsp of vanilla.

Next add 4-6 Tbsp of heavy cream.

Stir until all of a sudden what should appear but ICE CREAM! Eat right away before it melts. CAUTION! The ice cream will be VERY cold!

This truly makes some delicious ice cream. and to top if off it is quite healthy - no processed white sugar or preservatives - and also quite frugal. Not to mention you earn bonus mommy points and have happy children.
I truly feel sorry for those of you who don't live in an area with snow. I will admit that sometimes winter gets a little long and bleak, but there are so many winter wonderland joys that I would miss. So while I can't send snow your way, feel free to plan a trip to a snowy region to enjoy all it has to offer including Snow Ice Cream!

Smoothies with a Surprise!

The girls discovered some frozen fruit in the deep freeze and ask if we could have smoothies for breakfast. Little did they know that smoothies has been on my mind as well. However, not the kind of smoothies the girls were used to.

I have been doing a lot of research surrounding our diet lately. For no reason we seem to be getting sicker more often, food doesn't seem to taste they way it should, Doug is concerned about staying in shape for his job, I'd like to loose the rest of the weight I gained with Rebekah, and we have growing children to feed.
These are just a few of the reasons I began to take a closer look at what is being put into my family's bodies. And of course there is the cost factor. Everything at the food store costs more! I figured there had to be a better way.

Sorry for getting off topic a little. I will keep you updated on more of my findings and how we are changing our diet and shopping. For now back to smoothies.

Lindsey at Passionate Homemaking had a wonderful post on green smoothies. Now don't turn your nose up yet my smoothie doesn't look green does it? Check out her entry and you will see all the wonderful benefits of green smoothies. And if you have picky children, who don't like their veggies, this may be the answer you are looking for.

Here are the ingredient for the first batch of smoothies we made today. Missing are the blueberries and a touch of water. And yes your eyes aren't playing trick on you there is spinach in that lovely, heavenly tasting pink smoothie. We also used kefir instead of milk for a nutritional boost. The brewers yeast was my own addition. It is a great source of protein, iron and essential amino acids.

Here is the recipe that we used for our first batch of smoothies:

1 handful of spinach

3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate

1 cup kefir

1/4 cup water

1 banana

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 Tbsp brewers yeast

I put the spinach and orange juice concentrate in the blender and let it whirl. This helps make sure that the spinach is completely pureed. Next add the kefir, fruit, and water is necessary. Lastly add the brewers yeast.

The girls liked it so much we had to make a second batch. This time we added a Tbsp of coconut oil for added benefits and a smidgen of agave nectar for sweetness.

As you can see Rebekah really enjoy her smoothie. We plan to make these a part of our weekly breakfast menu. All of us were surprised at how filling they were.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bathroom Redo - Part One

The main and only full bathroom is next on the project list. It has been a room we have been thinking about tackling for a while now. Unfortunately, it is not an easy room to deal with. As you can see, it is on the small side, especially for a family of five. We have been trying to figure out how to create more storage space for personal toiletries as well as toilet paper, tissues and cleaning supplies.
We were hoping to put a built in shelf on the back wall. Unfortunately when my husband cut through the wall we discovered an old roof line right were the shelf was to go. Oh well, back to the drawing board. We would be open to storage solutions if you have any to share.
As you can see the floor also is in dire need of work. The linoleum is tearing at the threshold and pulling up along the tub. We are going to put in a laminate wood floor that matches the original, antique pine in the rest of the house.

Work begins stripping paint off the solid panel doors. The paint is coming off easier than we expected. The doors underneath a beautiful. We plan to do the other door up stairs soon.

Doug has been working on the drywall, repairing the hole he cut for the built in shelf that didn't work out, as well as the holes from the old towel bars and some other minor bumps and bruises. Hopefully the last coat of that is dry and we are ready to start painting later tonight.

Hopefully part two of this bathroom redo wont be too long coming. I so dislike projects that seem to linger on and on.

Banana Bread / Muffins

I have been making this banana bread recipe for quite some time now. And it never fails that people request the recipe. So here it is.

I usually double the recipe so I can make a loaf of bread and a dozen muffins. As you can see some of the muffins are missing. The kids got to them before the bread was done baking. Both the bread and muffins freeze really well, and I love the convenience for being able to pull them of the freezer for a quick and delicious breakfast.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Mash bananas. Add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to bananas mixing well. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well. This will seem quite dry. Add banana mixture to flour/butter mixture. Add the nuts if using. We like the nuts in the bread, but not in the muffins. Pour batter into greased and floured pans.

For large loaf, bake 1 1/4 hours in a 325 degree oven. Small loaves bake for 45 minutes.

For muffins, bake 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Trip to the State Capitol

Homeschooling is under attack in New Hampshire. Two bills have been proposed that would dramatically change the face of home education in the state. Last week the education committee heard testimony for and against the bills. Sarah was lucky enough to attend the hearings. Over 1000 homeschooled children and parents packed the state house. It is one of the largest turn outs EVER!

Many homeschool parents and children spoke against the legislation, citing everything from financial issues to restriction of parental rights; from the lack of objectivity of the bills to the double burden of proof.

The committee has yet to vote on the bills. It will actually be a few weeks before they do. In the mean time homeschooler wonder wonder why their rights are under attack. Could it be that home education continues to produces high achievers putting many in the public system to shame? Is it because homeschooling is not the norm and misunderstood? Is it a result of pressure from those within the failing public education system who fear loosing more students to home education? Whatever the reason behind the bills, a little research into the homeschooling movement in this country sheds light on why the trend is growing.

First, homeschooled student continue to out score their public and private school peers. Secondly, colleges are increasingly recruiting homeschooled students as they tend to be better prepared for rigorous college courses and have the independence needed to succeed. Thirdly, with a significant number of homeschool graduates studies are finding them competent, happy positive contributors to society. There are more benefits to homeschooling than I can cover here. The three mentioned only focus breifly on the education of the child and don't consider how home education positively impacts family relationships, freedom of religion, a love and desire for knowledge, student independance, and so much more.

The sad truth is that the sponsor of the bills had no reason for proposing the bills. She had no studies, no proof that homeschool laws in New Hampshire were not working. Quite the contrary, just last year an investigative committee found that the homeschooling laws were working quite well and saw no need for change.

With the public education system is failing so dramatically in this country, it would be refreshing to see lawmakers take on the big fish in the pond knowing that they might loose some campaign funding but gain their self respect and integrity back.

Check back later as I plan to add links to the proposed legislation and testimony.

PS from Sarah: I met Govenor Lynch and even got to shake his hand. Not that the hearings on the bills weren't interesting, but this was the highlight of the trip!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gratituesday - ABC of Thankfulness

I have so much to be grateful for in my life. I was having a hard time narrowing it down for this weeks Gratituesday. Then my daughter sent me a post that inspired the ABC's of Thankfulness. So here is what I am grateful for this week.
Jesus Christ
Pastor Brown
Quiet Times
Scrapbooking & Sewing
Tapestry of Grace
Vision Forum
being a Woman
Zeal for life

What are you grateful for today? Have you stopped to really think about all that you have been blessed with? For more inspiration visit Laura at Heavenly Homemakers and other bloggers who have shared during Gratituesday!

Baked Haddock with Spinach

This haddock dinner was so yummy, I just had to share it with all of you. It was quite simple to make as well, which is always a plus. Sarah did most of it herself. She is taking over the dinner preparations a couple of times a week. We served this with brown rice.


  • 3 cups frozen chopped spinach, about 2 packages
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2lbs haddock fillets
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp dried leaf thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Cook frozen spinach in a small amount of water with a dash of salt. Drain well, squeezing out excess water.

In a medium skillet, melt butter. Saute onions for about 5 minutes. Add spinach and nutmeg and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Butter a shallow baking dish. Arrange haddock fillets in a single layer. Place spoonfuls of the spinach mixture around haddock.

Drain tomatoes reserving juice. Place tomatoes around haddock. Sprinkle with herbs and salt. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water, if necessary, to tomato juice to make 1 cup. Melt butter in small saucepan. Saute chopped onion until tender. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch into remaining 1/4 cup juice. Stir into boiling mixture. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce returns to a boil. Pour over haddock fillets.

I'm a Big Girl Now!

Papa surprised Rebekah and brought her home a present - a BIG girl bed. Rebekah was so excited! She helped Mama make the bed and find a pillow. Then she and Rosie climbed right in. And as Goldilocks would say, "It was just right!"

The nights haven't been perfect. Little Miss Rebekah still wakes a few times and ends up in bed with Mama. That's okay. She is doing better sleeping on her own. Not to mention the time they are little really is so short - we need to enjoy these times when they "need" us. Before too long they will be so big and "think" they don't need us any more.

Monday, February 9, 2009

This Weeks Menu

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Toast, Sausage

Lunch: Nachos

Dinner: Tuna Melts, Avocado Slices, & cucumber Slices

Breakfast: Crepes & Peaches

Lunch: Soup & Crackers

Dinner: Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy, Fried Potatoes, & Peas

Breakfast: Cold Cereal

Lunch: Fish Sticks & Corn

Dinner: Pot Roast, Red Potatoes, Carrots, Onions

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Ski Day Picnic - Hummus, Veggie Sticks, Crackers & Cheese, Apples & Peanut Butter

Dinner: Hamburger and Rice Casserole, Green Beans

Breakfast: Bagels & Yogurt

Lunch: Mac & Cheese & Broccoli Bites

Dinner: Pizza

Breakfast: Cold Cereal

Lunch: Grandma's for Valentines/Birthday Celebration

Dinner: Still at Grandma's

Breakfast: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Lunch: Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions & Celery

Dinner: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Stop by organing junkie for more menu ideas.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sewing Project #4 - Printer Cover

Today, while the littles were napping I was able to whip up this printer cover for my hubby. It is definitely the easiest of the sewing projects I planned to tackle this month. Hubby received the printer for Christmas and requested a cover. How could I say "no" when really doesn't ask for much.

Hopefully this will keep the dust and stuff out. I am hoping my thank you is wonderful "professional" pictures of the girls. (hint hint)

Oh yea, and the cost of this project was about $3.00.

Gratituesday - My Husband

My husband just got back home after being at his parents for a few days. While we missed him terribly I am glad he could be with his parents during this stressful time, my father-in-law has a quadruple bi pass. Praise God the surgery was successful and my father-in-law is recovering wonderfully.

I am so thankful to have a husband that has his priorities in order. He loves God and his family. He works hard to provide for us all that we need. He is a wonderful example to our children and everyone how knows him. I am proud to be his wife and helpmeet.

I am so grateful for the husband God saw fit to bless me with.

Stop by Heavenly Homemakers for more gratituesday.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Crepes are one of Hannah's favorite foods. She loves them for breakfast, snack and desert. It must be the French in her. Her she is making them with the handy-dandy crepe maker I bought when I was in college. Yes, it is almost an antique!

Here is breakfast. Crepes stuffed with homemade applesauce and sprinkled with powder sugar and cinnamon. Boy were they yummy!

Crepe Recipe

  • cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Place ingredients in blender container in the order given. Blend 30 seconds, stop and scrape down sides. Blend 30-60 seconds until smooth. (You can do this in a bowl with a wire whisk, fist combing flour and eggs, then gradually add liquid. Beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients.)

Batter can be used immediately. However, an hour or two standing will make the crepes slightly more tender. Batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

If you don't have a fancy crepe maker, you can cook these in an 8" non stick skillet. You only need to cook them on one side and they do cook quickly.

Crepes can then be eaten with just a dusting of cinnamon sugar or filled with fruit, cream cheese and fruit, applesauce, taco meat, shredded chicken, veggies, pie fillings, or pudding. Really the sky is the limit. We find crepes are a great way to turn left overs into a great new meal.

Leave me a comment letting me know how you decide to use your crepes

Sewing Project #3 - Pajama Pants

Sarah and I had a great time making her new pajama pants. They were so easy! I think we may need to make a few more pairs for both her and her sister. The picture above shows Sarah turning over the waist band. Below she is modeling the finish pants. Don't they look great?

The total cost for this project was $8.48. The fleece was some of the most expensive fabric we bought and the pattern has only been used once. If we make a few more pairs thus using the pattern again, the cost of this pair will go down. I still don't think the price was too bad. And Sarah is hoping there is enough scraps left over to make her doll Kit a matching pair. If we can get those made the price is great for two items.

Three projects down. Only four more to go!

This Weeks Menu


Breakfast: Crepes, Fresh Fruit

Lunch: Tuna Melts & Apple Slices

Dinner: Baked Ziti, Salad, Italian Bread


Breakfast: Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

Lunch: Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans

Dinner: Baked Chicken Legs, Stuffing, Corn, Cranberry Sauce


Breakfast: Eggs & Toast

Lunch: Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Dinner: Baked Haddock, Brown Rice, & Spinach


Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Ski Mountain Picnic- Sandwiches, Hummus, Crackers, Cheese & Veggie Sticks

Dinner: Beef Stew & Biscuits


Breakfast: Cereal

Lunch: Kids are at a friend's house, Mom has jury duty!

Dinner: Cheddar Wurst, Baked Beans & Carrot Sticks


Breakfast: Bagels & Yogurt

Lunch: Orzo with Tomatoes and Pesto

Dinner: Homemade Pizza


Breakfast: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Lunch: Quesadilla, Orange Quarters

Dinner: Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, & Applesauce

Stop by organizing junkie to see more great menu planning ideas.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

Making your own laundry soap is easy and affordable. This recipe makes about 2 gallons or enough soap for 64 to 90 loads depending on the type of washer, load size, and soil level. For us it turns out to be less than 2 cents a load. Now that's a good deal.

1/3 bar Fels-Naptha
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax powder
~ You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

I store the ingredients in glass jars. They look much prettier in my laundry room than the cardboard boxes. On the right is the grated Fels-Naptha. The middle is the borax and the right is the washing soda. I am able to purchase all three of these items at our local Wallmart.

First you will need to grate the Fels-Naptha. I use my food processor to due this quickly. Next put the grated soap in a sauce pan and add 6 cups of water. Heat this until the soap melts.

Add 1/2 cup of borax powder and 1/2 cup of washing soda to the melted soap & water mixture. Stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Next add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. If you would like to add a fragrance to your soap you can add essential oil here.

Cover the mixture and let it sit for about 24 hours. During this time it will gel. I like to use my hand blender to make the soap a more uniform consistency, otherwise it seems to have clumps of gel floating in liquid.

Use 1/2 cup per load. I have a front loading washer and only need about 1/3 of a cup.

Staying Toasty Warm

The weather up here has been quite cold of late. Luckily we have a wood stove to keep us all toasty warm. The girls have the responsibility of keeping the wood box filled. While the older two are diligent in completing their task they don't see any fun in it. On the other hand, Rebekah thinks helping fill the wood box is quite a lot of fun and wont let the older two go out without her. She only carries one piece, and I think slows the older girls down a bit. However, they are patient and help her out. I know that this training will pay off for all of them.

The snow banks were quite high when these pictures were taken. Believe it or not we have had another 18" of snow since and we are expecting more. It makes me so grateful for a full wood shed and a wood stove.

Ah . . . the beauty of a full wood box.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

These are the best bran muffins. You can make them plain, or add just about anything you want or have on hand. The muffins in the picture have bananas and chocolate chips. We also like them with dried cranberries or blueberries.

Almost as good as the muffins themselves is the fact that this is a refrigerator batter. You can mix up a batch of these muffins and keep the batter in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This makes it so easy to have fresh baked muffins for breakfast.

The family gets something yummy. Mom knows they got a healthy homemade breakfast, but doesn't have a huge mess to clean up. Now that's a winner in my book.

  • 3 cups Wheat Bran
  • 1 cup boiling Water
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Mix 1 cup wheat bran with 1 cup boiling water; stir and let water absorb into bran.

In a separate bowl blend sugar and butter.

Measure and combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Combine the moist bran with beaten eggs, the remaining 2 cups of bran, buttermilk, blended butter-sugar mixture, and flour mixture. Stir until well blended.

Place in refrigerator for future use, or bake at once. When preparing to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir batter well, adding fruit or whatever you wish, and spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake 15 minutes or more if you added soft or mushy fruit like bananas.