Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farmer's Market Preparations

The girls and I have decided to rent a spot at the Jackson Farmer's Market this summer. So we have spent the last couple of weeks making lots of list and lost of handmade goodies. We are selling mostly baked goods and homemade alternatives to help with housekeeping duties.

Hannah and I have been sewing.

  • Children's Aprons
  • Market Bags
  • Pin Cushions
  • Crayon Rolls
  • Clothespin Aprons
  • Needle Books
  • Book Marks.

Sarah and I have been baking and making labels.

  • Cookies & Brownies
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Scones
  • Quick Breads
  • Doggie Treats
  • Granola
  • Spice Mixes

I've been knitting.
  • Cotton Dish Cloths
  • Kitchen Scrubbies filled will Wool
  • Wool Dryer Balls

All of us have helped make homestead soap, laundry soap, natural deodorant, sun tea and more. And of course the chicken have been laying eggs for us to sell. Our hope is to add a couple of new products each week.

It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Last Saturday was opening day and we did well. We hope that as summer kicks into full swing we will do even better. Our goal is not only to supplement the family income, but also earn money for a three day trip to Boston with our homeschool group in the fall.

If your in the area we would love for you to stop by and check out the market. And if not, watch our shop as we will be listing some of our items there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taco Pie

Looking for a quick dinner? Look no further. Taco pie is a winner any time of year at our house. And it ends up being quite frugal as well. For some unknown reason we eat less taco pie than if I was to cook tacos. Same stuff so you figure it out. I'm stumped but happy to save.

Here is one of the two taco pies it takes to feed our family, and there is usually a piece or two left over. We make one with refried beans and one without. However, that may be changing as everyone, even the picky one, likes the bean one better.

We use homemade tortillas. These are so delicious, so easy and so cheep frugal. If you aren't making your own tortillas you really should give it a try. Here is our simple yet tasty recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or two knives. Mix in the water until a soft dough forms. Knead just a few times. Divide into balls, the number will depend on the size tortillas you want. We usually make about 10. Roll out each ball on a floured surface. It takes a little practice to get them thin enough and round, but once again it is worth it. Cook on a hot skillet, we use cast iron, for about 30-45 seconds on each side. That's it. Be warned: you may want to make a few extra or get used to making them often.

Once you have your tortillas, taco pie is quick. In a pie plate layer a tortilla, taco meat, refried beans (if you are using them) a little shredded cheese, repeat for two more layers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Slice and serve with all the fixings.

Tomatoes, lettuce and salsa from the garden help top this frugal meal. Too bad I can't grow olives here in New Hampshire. They are a family favorite.

HINT: Making your own taco seasoning is frugal and healthy. All the flavor with none of the preservatives, dyes or fillers. If you don't want to make your own and are local you can purchase our taco seasoning as well as many other seasonings, baked goods, soaps and handmade items at the Jackson Farmer's Market, Saturdays 9-1. Hope to see you there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan ~ Week of June 28th

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Oatmeal Wheat Toast
Lunch: Green Smoothies
Dinner: Stir Fried Veggies with Pork and Brown Rice

Breakfast: Double Berry Streusel Bread
Lunch: Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Taco Pie

Breakfast: Crepes with Ricotta Cheese Filling and Fruit
Lunch: Eggplant Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Dinner: Spaghetti and Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash

Breakfast: Yogurt and Granola with Fresh Fruit
Lunch: Mac & Cheese and Peas
Dinner: Scrambled Eggs with Veggies and Ham, Oatmeal Wheat Toast

Breakfast: Green Smoothies
Lunch: Cream Cheese, Tomato and Sprout Sandwiches
Dinner: Pizza and Salad

Breakfast: Blueberry Scones
Lunch: Tuna Wraps and Peaches
Dinner: Cheese Burgers, Seasoned Fries and Tomato Salad

Breakfast: Pancakes and Bacon
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: BBQ Chicken, Potato Salad and Corn on the Cob


This space has been quiet for a week. Wow! It has been a while since I have taken such a break, but this is just what the family needed. Of course we didn't take a break from life. We have been very busy. So busy I don't even have pictures to share. I did remember to grab the little point and shoot the other evening as we headed out the door for a walk. And I am glad I did.

There aren't' many dandelions left so Rebekah was extremely excited when she found this "wishes" as she calls them. She held it up for everybody to see before she made her wishes and started to blow.

A deep breath . . .

And then she blew, and blew, and blew. It was so cute to watch her little cheeks puff and puff. She didn't get discouraged when the seeds wouldn't take flight.

Instead she asked for a little sisterly help

And they all made wishes together.
Hoping all your summer wishes are coming true.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice Celebration

Summer greeted us with beautiful blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, warm temps and a pleasant breeze. Who could ask for more? The day was busy as usual: produce run and horseback riding lessons, knitting and reading. However the evening brought something a little special.

A fire in the pit out back.

Roasted corn on the cob and hobo pouch dinners! Yummy!

A little one who was hungry after swimming.

A little farmer's market knitting by the fire as the girls . . .

. . . roasted marshmallow of course.

Sisters feeding each other smores. Nicely, might I add.

And a little one who just likes the marshmallows.
A perfect welcome to summer here in New Hampshire.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan ~ Week of June 21st

This is the first week of the All You Magazine month long grocery challenge. The budget is $25.00 per person per week. Now that is actually way over our weekly budget, so staying under budget should be easy. What's at stake? A $1000.00 grocery gift card! That's a lot of groceries! Along with budget, the contest also considers healthy meals and creativity. Wish me luck!

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Oatmeal Wheat Toast and Berry Smoothies
Lunch: Sloppy Lentils on Homemade Rolls and Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Pouch Dinners in the Fire Pit - Summer Solstice Celebration!

Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt and Vanilla Pecan Granola
Lunch: Tuna Wraps and Three Bean Salad
Dinner: Black Bean Burritos and Mexi Rice

Breakfast: Green Smoothies and English Muffins
Lunch: Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Dinner: Hot Dog Corn Muffins and Sauteed Veggies

Breakfast: Crepes with Ricotta Cheese Filling and Berries
Lunch: Mac & Cheese and Peas
Dinner: Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Veggies and Cheese served with Toast

Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt with Vanilla, Pecan Granola
Lunch: BLTs and Potato Salad
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Lunch: Almond Butter Sandwiches
Dinner: Burgers and Potato Salad

Breakfast: Kefir Waffles and Bacon
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: BBQ Chicken Legs, Corn on the Cob and Cole Slaw

Strawberry~Banana Frozen Yogurt
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking List:
Oatmeal Wheat Bread
English Muffins
Burger Buns
Pumpkin coffee Cake

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie. Hope on over for more great menu ideas and recipes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

{this momment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



In gratitude this week for:

  • new friendships (Bekah's jumping for joy over hers) and old friends
  • a surprisingly blessed opportunity to write
  • farm fresh milk, kefir grains, and homemade yogurt
  • quiet moments of sewing
  • this life I am so blessed to live

Wishing you all a glorious weekend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

All Aboard!

Today we went on a grand adventure to the Conway Scenic Railroad. Some of the creative moms in our homeschool group organized a jam packed day surrounding a historical tidbit. The weather wasn't as cooperative as we would have liked - off and on rain, but that didn't stop about 90 of us, 53 homeschoolers and 21 parents plus younger siblings, from showing up!

The station is in the center of downtown North Conway. Built in 1874, it served as the main terminal for the Conway Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad. The station closed in 1961 when passenger service to Boston ended. The Conway Scenic Railroad, a heritage railway, opened in 1974.

The day started with a scavenger hunt. Groups of about five kids headed off to local stores to collect clues. Each clue lead them to their next. The final clue was a hint to the historical tidbit.

Everyone had a great time looking for clues. The businesses in town were great too. How would you like 50 plus kids running through searching for clues? Actually, everyone was behaved really well, and not all the kids went to the same stores.

The little ones stayed in the park in front of the station. They found clues in the flower pots, at the base of the flag pole, and the Iron Entrance Gate. Each clue had them looking for something or doing something. They loved it!

Here are a bunch of them holding the clues! It's hard to see, but there were even photos to help the little ones. Smart! Then it was lunch time. No pictures! We were too busy eating.

Then we were off on a tour of the station and its outbuildings. This picture isn't very clear, but it is of the turntable in front of the roundhouse. There are also a couple of engines and on the far left is the snowplow engine. It was huge! Yes, we get a lot of snow up here in the White Mountains.

Finally, what everyone was waiting for. The train ride. Here Bekah and her new friend, Solenne, show off their tickets.

And of course, when the conductor came to punch them, they thought it was great, as long as they got their ticket back. The conductor was great! We engaged the kids, asked them questions, told them jokes. And on the way back to the station told the kids all about the history of the line and early settlers, as well as information about the different signs, crossing, bridges and whistles. Thanks Derrick!

After we got back to the station we headed over to the White Mountain Model Railroad exhibit. The group has a wonderful collection of model rail roads set up in the old freight building at the station.

It was a wonderfully full day of friends, trains, scavenger hunts and more.

Thanks to all the moms and kids who helped put this together. And if you are wondering about the historical tidbit ~ it has to do with Alexander Graham Bell and a phone call to Boston.

You can see more picture from our day here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spring comes late here in New Hampshire and after the long winter I am always anxious to get the garden in the ground. Some years I don't wait long enough and Jack Frost pays us a visit and lots of hard work can be lost over night. This year I only lost a few seedling that we had started inside. And now with the first day of summer quickly approaching the garden is looking pretty good.

We've planted quite a few different varieties of peppers and many of them already have small fruits on them. We love peppers; both sweet and hot! Hopefully the pantry will be full of pickled banana peppers by fall.

This is our second year planting onions. Last years harvest was small, but delicious. And the onions wintered well. Hopefully these white and red varieties will do as well.

Sarah has been my garden helper this year. The others help, but loose interest much more quickly. Weeding, planing, weeding, watering, loving~ the rhythm of the garden. So peaceful!

Lots and lots of bush bean! We ate and froze quite a bit last year and hope to put up more this year.

The peas are starting to climb. And the first flowers were discovered just this morning. If I can keep Rebekah and Hannah out of the peas we might get some put up for winter. Last year they are them as they picked!

We also have three varieties of potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini planted. The spinach is ready to harvest and the rest of it is looking good. Even the yellow squash that the bear stepped on is coming along.

The herb garden smells devine! Chives, dill, taragon, rosemary, basil, and garlic. I hope to dry some of our own herbs this year. And Sarah will be making pesto. We may add some parsley and cilantro.

My mouth is watering now thinking of all the yummy fresh goodness we will be eating soon. And the farmer's market opens on the 26th. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Simple Breakfast ~ Cinnamon Scones

I love to bake. I just wish I didn't love to eat as much, but that is another story all together. As for the baking, I'm always looking for something new, something delicious to bake for my family. There is something so full filling about baking. Spending time in the heart of our home, surrounded by fresh simple ingredients that with a little love become wonderful treats. Does anything say I love you better than fresh out of the oven treat? It is such a simple joy to watch the the parade of family and friends through the kitchen, pausing just long enough to grab whatever treat is on the counter, taking a little bit of love with them.

Cinnamon Scones

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup kefir
  • 10 oz package cinnamon chips
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, combing the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in kefir until just moist.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 10 times, gradually adding cinnamon chips with each knead. Be careful not to over knead. This is not bread dough. Think of it more of a dough massage.

Divide dough in half and gently pat each half into a 7" circle. Cut each circle into six wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

This is a wonderful scone. You could easily substitute dried cranberries or blueberries for the cinnamon chips. Just add about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan ~ Week of June 14th

Breakfast: Vanilla Almond Granola and Yogurt
Lunch: Almond Butter Sandwiches, Cucumber & Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Salmon Patties, Brown Rice and Broccoli

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Oatmeal Wheat Toast
Dinner: At a friend's house Yea!

Breakfast: Green Smoothies and Muffins
Lunch: Creamy Mac & Cheese, Peas
Dinner: Sloppy Lentils over Homemade Burger Buns and Green Beans

Breakfast: Vanilla Almond Granola and Yogurt
Lunch: Tuna Wraps, Carrot Sticks, and Apple Slices
Dinner: Spaghetti, Salad, and Bread

Breakfast: Fried Egg Sandwiches and Hash browns
Lunch: Egg Salad Pockets, Cherries & Oat Cakes
Dinner: Cheese Burger Roll Up and Seasoned Fries

Breakfast: French Toast and Sausage
Lunch: Left Overs
Dinner: Steaks on the Grill, Baked Potatoes, and Stir Fried Veggies

Breakfast: Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Big Meal: At my in~laws for Father's Day

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie. Hope on over for more great menu ideas and recipes.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rags to Riches ~ Project Saturday

A trip to the dump led to the wonderful discovery of two wooden chairs. They were a little worn and the wood was faded, but they seemed to be pretty sturdy. So into the van they went. I was hoping that my wonderful husband could work a little bit of his magic and turn these abandoned junk chairs into something fabulous for our front porch.

Here's the chair after a quick wash and tightening of the hardware. It is already looking better. My husband was too quick, so I didn't get a true before picture.

Next was a coat of stain.

I think the chairs came out great! There are two of them. They look great on the front porch on either side of the wicker love seat we picked up at a yard sale a couple of weeks ago. Now I just have to sew up a few cushions and pillows. I've got something in mind for this project, so stay tuned. Hopefully, I will get to it this week.

It will be so nice to be able to sit on our front porch. We have never had furniture on it. I am already looking forward to evening knitting and sipping iced tea.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Veggies~ A Quick Delicious Meal

Summer means a dramatic shift in our eating. Lots and lots of veggies and meals that are quick to prepare. Here in New Hampshire you can't waist your summer it is too short already.

This quick and simple meal was a hit with the girls. And it was very frugal as all the veggies came from produce day. If you aren't familiar with our produce day, you can read more about it here. Hopefully we will have wonderful veggies from our garden soon.

A quick stir fry of green beans, carrots, summer squash, broccoli, grape tomatoes and garlic. A little homemade Italian dressing to finish it off. Served over a bed of brown rice it was delicious. We all fought over the leftovers for lunch the next day.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



In gratitude this week for:

  • sisterly love
  • rains that nourish the garden and cool the air
  • busy days at home
  • my family's good health
  • produce day

Wishing you all a glorious weekend.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Raining ~ Let's Make Play Dough

We woke this morning to chilly temps and rain. Good thing we worked in the garden and hung the laundry out to dry yesterday. I find it hard to stay inside when the weather is so nice, so a day of rain is good for getting inside projects done.

The first project: Make some play dough for the kids. Easy, fun and even allows mama some time to get other projects done with the kids are playing.

You will need
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • coloring
  • scents (optional)

Mix the first five ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it clumps together forming a soft dough. This should take just a couple of minutes. Once the dough is cool enough to handle kneed it until it is smooth.

Now you are ready to add color and scents. We divided ours into four pieces. We like to use Wilton concentrated paste coloring and essential oils for scent. Kneed the color and scent in to your liking. That's it except for the best part . . .