Thursday, June 30, 2011

Uneventful Week

This has been a totally uneventful week so far and I am loving it!  Monday, I did take my Dad to the doctor as he had been running a pretty high fever over the weekend.  We found out that he has an infection in his leg and since he is diabetic, anything involving legs and feet requires attention.   The doctor started him on an antibiotic and he seems to be feeling somewhat better.  He is still having trouble being up for long at a time though. 

Other than that we have pretty much been here at home doing some things that have been needing to be done.   The funny thing about homesteading is that there is always something needing to be done.  No time for boredom here.  No sir!

This morning I went over and milked for my friend that is out of town.  She has three nubian does and quite often lets me come milk for her when they travel and I get the milk.  It's a pretty good deal as far as I'm concerned, because I enjoy milking and enjoy the milk even more :)

Tomorrow I will be going with my daughter to the doctor for her checkup.  She has a sonogram scheduled and we are really hoping to find out what the baby will be.  I think we will be taking Rachel with us, so that she can see the baby on the sonogram.  I can't wait!

Well, there are still things to be done, so I guess I better get to it.  Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Satisfying Saturday and Sewing Projects

Saturday was a very satisfying and productive day for us here at home.  My oldest son left on a motorcycle trip to North Carolina to ride the "Tail of the Dragon."   He pulled out about 5:30 a.m. so of course I got up to see him off.  After he left I went back to sleep for a little while and then got up to officially start the day.  

We were able to get most of the yard work done and I was also able to do the sewing I've been trying to get done.  I made two dresses for the girls (one each) and also some diaper inserts to be used with Ellen and also the new baby when it arrives.   

The diaper inserts are made from an old towel cut to the correct size and doubled.  I also made some from and old micro-fiber dish towel that I had.  The new inserts are working just as well as the ones we purchased when Amanda was pregnant with Rachel and they were free.  It doesn't get any better than that. 

I am planning to use some older receiving blankets to make a few more diapers for Amanda as well, since many of the cloth diapers she got with Rachel are getting very threadbare.   We will probably purchase a couple of new "bum genius" diaper covers, but I think that the receiving blankets, coupled with the inserts should work very well and eliminate the need to purchase more cloth diapers.  

I thought I would share a picture of Rachel in the dress I made for her.

Notice the matching flip flops.  That was a total coincidence, but they looked really cute with the dress :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Menu Plan for Week of June 26, 2011

Getting back on track with menus just did not happen last week, sooo, if this weeks menu plan looks familiar, that's because it is a slightly modified version of last week's menu plan :)

And, here it is.

Sunday - Potato Soup & Sandwiches

Monday - Southern Smoked Sausage Rice Pilaf and salad

Tuesday - Chicken Stir Fry with Rice

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Mexican Night (tacos, burritos, mexican cheesecake, and whatever else I think of :)

Friday - Hamburgers and Potato Salad

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Breakfast - cheese toast, smoothies, fruit, hot or cold cereal, eggs & toast

Lunch - Sandwiches, leftovers, potato soup, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - chips & salsa, fruit & cheese, cookies, smoothies

This week is looking to be a fairly slow week and I hope it works out like that.  Last week was supposed to be an "at home" week, but I managed to be away from the house five out of seven days for at least part of the day.   I know that I will be taking my Dad to the doctor this week, but I'm not sure exactly what day.  As far as I know, that's about it, other than our normal Thursday grocery day. 

I'm hoping to get another dress made for each of the girls and also some work in the garden done this week.  At some point I need to build two more rabbit cages and I'm hoping to get to that as well. 

That's a brief look at my week, what's the plan for yours?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Thursday

Thursday is payday for my husband, so that is typically my "town day" if all goes according to plan.  Yesterday started off as usual with milking, clean-up, quiet/Bible time with coffee on the porch, etc.  

After the morning chores and quiet time were complete I went over to help my daughter "bug bomb" her trailer.  She has been having lots of ants and spiders recently and it seems that no amount of cleaning can get rid of them, so it was time to get aggressive :).   We covered what needed to be covered, packed the girls things for the day, and got busy. 

After bombing the house she had to be out of it for four hours, sooo, since sweet Ferrell volunteered to babysit, we decided to go on to town as usual for groceries and a few other errands.    One of our stops was the local produce house where I was glad to purchase a bushel of butterbeans, some squash and a few tomatoes.  I have been literally CRAVING a good tomato sandwich.  I bought tomatoes there last week and they were really good, so I decided I had to have some more.  I think I could survive the whole summer eating nothing but tomato sandwiches.

By the time we got home from town it was time to start airing out Amanda's trailer and get it cleaned up.  We spent most of the afternoon washing bedding, couch covers, mopping floors, washing counter tops, tables, bookshelves, toys, re-washing dishes, towels, and anything that those babies could crawl on, touch, or put into their mouths.   It took several hours to get it all done, but she now has a very clean, hopefully, bug free home. 

After we got her trailer cleaned, I went ahead and canned the butterbeans, because I knew that I had several other things I want to work on today.  I ended up with seven quarts of butterbeans canned and I froze two quarts for my mother.  She doesn't liked canned vegetables, because they don't taste as close to fresh.  She's right, of course, she usually is, but I don't have enough freezer space this year, so I will be canning and dehydrating most of our produce when it's possible. 

Since, I do have a lot to do today I guess I better hop to it.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainy Day Trials and A Fudge Recipe

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was thankful  this week did not have many things to take us away from home, so I should be able to get a lot accomplished.  Well, so far, this week has definitely not gone as planned. 

Yesterday, Amanda and I took my mother to see a dear friend of hers that is a cancer patient in the hospital in Tupelo, which is about an hour and twenty minutes from our home.   We left at 11:30 a.m. with the full intention of being back home by around 3:30 p.m. which would still give plenty of time to do some laundry and make supper.

In theory that sounded great, but what we didn't count on was the pouring down rain (for which we are very thankful) and the windshield wipers quitting on us as we were traveling home in the middle of the pouring down rain. 

We were blessed to make it to a friends house where we could wait until the rain slackened to a steady, semi-gentle rainfall instead of a downpour.   As we left my friends house (she lives about an hour from us), we creeped down the highway with our flashers on while talking to my son that is a mechanic in another town.  

He happened to know a mechanic that worked in a nearby dealership so we stopped there and they were able to give us a temporary fix that got us home.  Hopefully, my son will be able to get the needed parts today, so that we can get the van fixed up.  I am so thankful for good friends, mechanics, and God's watchfulness over His children.

We were able to get home between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. and my children all graciously volunteered to eat last nights leftovers.  The menu plan (thankfully) got thrown out the window again, but I am not complaining.  It's little adventures like this that make life interesting :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that when we stopped at the dealership in West Point, I ran into a friend of mine that I have not seen in a couple of years.  We've recently stayed in touch through facebook, but I had no idea where she worked.  It was really wonderful to see her again.

And in case anyone is curious about where my wonderful sixteen year old son was while all of this was going on.  Well, he was babysitting two toddlers.  Yeah, he had his hands full :)

Last night I got a call from the lady that I sometimes milk for and she had some excess milk she wondered if I would be interested in having and I think you already know the answer to that question ;). 

Today I will be deciding what to do with the extra four gallons of milk in my refrigerator.  I'm thinking I will freeze some of it for soap, make ice cream with some, and I'm thinking goat's milk fudge is in my near future :)

Oh yeah, life is good.

Here's a simple Fudge recipe to try!

Chocolate Goat's Milk Fudge (from Goat's Produce Too!  The Udder Real Thing, Volume II)

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups goats milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup baking cocoa


1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup walnuts

Place sugar and cocoa powder in a large pan.  Mix well.  Add milk.  Bring to a boil.  Boil gently until mixture reaches the soft ball stage.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and butter.  Add peanut butter and nuts if desired.  Beat by hand until thick and pour into buttered 8" x 8" pan.  Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Full Day

Yesterday was a pretty full day for us.  I am very thankful that I didn't have lots of errands to run and nothing that really REQUIRED my time away from home.  I did, however, make a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up some inexpensive pipe insulation.  

I purchased the pipe insulation to make "bumper pads" for the new trundle bed that my son Caleb made for my grandaughter.  Little Ellen is just learning to walk and still falls quite a bit.  Last week she fell and hit the bed frame at least three times in one day and ended up with bruises on her head, leg, and chin.  Amanda and I decided it was time to take care of that little problem. 

The pipe insulation fits just right over the wood frame and really doesn't look bad.  I guess we could paint it or something, but it is a dark charcoal gray color and doesn't really look bad at all.  What doesn't look so great is the pad we made for the corners. 

We cut the pipe insulation into smaller sections, but since it is in the corner it seems to want to "pop" off easily.   Amanda had some black duck tape in her shed that we used to hold those pieces in place.  She taped it in such a way that it "almost" looks like a vinyl corner cover.    Oh well, it was cheap and our baby's little body will be much better protected.

While Amanda and I were "fixing" the trundle bed Ferrell started mowing the yard.  Since there is such a big area to mow it took him several hours.    After he finished the mowing that could be done with an actual lawn mower, he came over and helped me in the garden.  We were able to pretty much finish up the weeding and mulching and were also able to get the small "pea patch" planted.  I'm glad we were able to get that done, since it is looking like rain here today.  

My menu plan for the week has already been changed.  We ended up having a roast with carrots and potatoes for supper, along with some fresh sweet corn that my dear neighbor brought to me yesterday.   I guess we are "winging it" after all :) 

 I am hoping to get back on track today, but we will see.  I am discovering more and more that it's okay for me to just "go with the flow" and not stress so much over things.  That's a hard lesson, but it does simplify life quite a bit.

I was also able to get most of the laundry done yesterday, as well as, some basic house cleaning.  There is still quite a bit to be done in the house and I still have a couple of sewing projects to finish for the girls.  Maybe if it's raining I will be content to work on those, instead of finding things to do outside ;) 

In the midst of all the work going on yesterday I did find time to play with two very sweet little girls for awhile.  They love for their RoRo to push them on the swing, so that is exactly what their RoRo did. 

We also walked over to Granna and D-Dad's house (my parents) for a popsicle.   It is so wonderful to see how much my grandchildren love their great grandparents and how much the great grandparents "light up" to see those precious little ones coming.   

I've enjoyed spending some time on the front porch with my coffee and computer this morning, but all good things must come to and end.  I do believe that I have laundry waiting, dishes to be washed, milk to care for, sewing to start, soap to make, annnnnd you get the idea, right? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu plan for week of June 19, 2011

It's time to get back on track with my menu planning.  Last week we had some very strange meals and combinations of meals, so I am determined to do better this week.  It should be fairly easy, because we don't have much that should be taking us away from home this week.  That always helps me to stay on track.   I'm also planning to keep things simple, it's WAY too hot to do any major cooking :)

Here's the plan.

Sunday -  Pork tenderloin (crockpot), mashed potatoes (crockpot), and green beans with gluten free bread

Monday - Southern Smoked Sausage Rice Pilaf and salad

Tuesday - Crockpot Meat loaf, dried black-eye peas (crockpot), squash, cornbread

Wednesday - Leftovers, Potato Soup, Sandwiches

Thursday - Mexican Night (tacos, burritos, mexican cheesecake, and whatever else I think of :)

Friday - Hamburgers and Potato Salad

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Breakfast - cheese toast, smoothies, fruit, hot or cold cereal, eggs & toast

Lunch - Sandwiches, leftovers, potato soup, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - chips & salsa, fruit & cheese, cookies, smoothies

My garden is coming along nicely and I have quite a few green tomatoes on the vines.  I am so ready for a fresh homegrown tomato sandwich.    I also have a few peppers coming in.  My squash is loaded with blooms, but I'm really afraid the heat will kill them before we are actually able to harvest any.  I guess we'll see. 

I was able to stop by the local produce market last week and was thankful to get several pounds of yellow squash for a good price.  I've already got it dehydrated and in jars for the winter.  I also picked up a few fresh tomatoes that were much better than the ones I have been getting at the grocery store.   I enjoyed every BITE of those tomatoes too :)

I guess, since I do have several projects going that need my attention, it's time to stop my ramblings.  Hope all of you have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Great Start

I have had a great start to my day so far.   It's not even 8:30 a.m. and already the livestock has been fed, goat milked, Bible/quiet time completed, spent an hour weeding the garden, visited with my son a few minutes before work and even had time to blog. 

I sincerely hope the rest of my day is this productive, but somehow I have a feeling that by late afternoon I will be ready to CRASH!

Hope you're having a wonderfully productive Saturday as well!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Clean out the Refrigerator Mexican Casserole

Usually when I plan our menu for the week I make sure there is enough for us to have leftovers for lunch and quite often I make enough to freeze for another meal.  Since last weeks menu plan sort of got "tossed" and this week I didn't make a menu plan we have had a "hodge podge" assortment of meals.  Last night is an example.

As supper time approached I was trying to decide what to make for my family.  I found myself doing what I frequently fuss at my children for doing and that was standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open while I blankly stare at the contents.   I finally decided that I had enough leftovers to make a casserole.   I did and it was delicious.  So here's the recipe.

Since I was using leftovers I didn't measure, but am listing an approximate amount of each item.

Clean out the Refrigerator Mexican Casserole

3 cups cooked rice
1 cup corn (with liquid)
1 pound ground deer meat (browned) (you could use beef or chicken)
Salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, (really any spices that you like)
3 cups give or take gluten free picante sauce

I put all of this into a casserole dish and mixed it with enough picante sauce to make it as "liquidy" as I wanted.    Bake at 350 degrees until everything is heated through.

If I didn't have dairy free family members I would have topped this with cheese before baking, but instead those of us that eat cheese added grated cheddar to our serving.   We also had leftover baked beans and chips with homemade salsa.  

My refrigerator is now clean and we had a tasty (if somewhat strange), frugal meal as a result. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bikes, Trikes and Blessings

I have been blessed with a wonderful set of parents and am so thankful to live close enough to enjoy them on a daily basis.  They have always been so loving and generous to my children and are now continuing that tradition with my grandchildren.  Here's some pictures of a new bicycle and tricycle that they bought for Rachel and Ellen today.

Rachel is just a little excited :)

Uncle Caleb helping Rachel get started

Rachel helping Uncle Caleb

My sweet Mother (Granny/Granna) helping Ellen with her new tricycle

I hope I am never guilty of taking for granted the wonderful relationship that I have always had with my parents and I'm so blessed to see my children enjoy a close relationship with them as well.   God's blessings are abundant.

P.S.  These pictures were taken at about 7:00 p.m. and the girls had already had their baths and were dressed for bed.  We don't usually have them running around dressed like that :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This is the first morning in over a week that I haven't had someone to drink a cup of coffee with in the morning and I think I miss it.   Usually our lives are so hectic, with everyone on a different schedule that we rarely have breakfast or coffee together in the mornings. 

After our morning chores, Ferrell usually disappears to his room to study and I take care of the milk and clean the kitchen.  After the kitchen chores are done I take my Bible and computer (weather permitting) to the porch for quiet time and blogging. 

When I finish that it's time for the day to get moving and I seem to spend a large portion of my time alone or after about 9:00 a.m. or so I will have the grandbabies and possibly Amanda visit for a little while.   I'm definitely not complaining about that, because I've always been a "loner" by nature so it works just fine for me.  BUT, Hannah was such a great guest to have with her sweet, gentle nature and quiet ways I find myself missing her company. 

She didn't get up quite as early as we did most mornings and the mornings that she did get up early she would spend quietly in the bedroom getting ready for the day.  When she was ready and able to meet the "daily chaos" that constitutes our life she would come to the kitchen and visit with me while having her morning coffee.  I would usually have another cup myself and it really made for a peaceful, calm start to the day.   Hannah, you are missed and if you are up to it, we are looking forward to you visiting again soon. 

Since I posted last night I have had a few changes in my plans for the week, so I know that I will not be making plum jelly this week.  Hopefully, I will get that done next week.   I am also pretty sure that I won't be making soap today, but I'm hoping to get to that either tomorrow or Friday.  If all goes well though, I should be able to make at least one of the girls dresses today, but I guess I'll just have to see how the day goes. 

Well, as much as I enjoy sitting on my porch in the mornings I guess I better take myself into the house and get started.  If I don't, I won't get much of anything done, now will I?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to Normal

As much as we enjoyed our visitor the past week, it is now time for things to get back to our "somewhat" normal routine.  

Caleb and I took Hannah to meet her family in Texarkana today and I have to say that I am definitely not as young as I used to be.  We left at 6:15 this morning and got home about 7:00 this evening and boy am I tired and stiff from riding so long.

We had a great time getting to know Hannah and I really enjoyed having company while I was working around the house, but I really didn't do much that was productive. I wanted to have time to enjoy Hannah's visit and to be honest it was really nice to have a quiet, uneventful, lazy week.  Maybe we should have company more often :) 

BUT, since all good things must come to an end, it is now time for me to get to work.  Tomorrow I am planning on making a batch of citrus swirl goat's milk soap and hopefully work in the garden a little bit.  If I have time I am also planning on making a dress for Rachel.  I bought some really cute fabric on a recent trip to Tupelo and am looking forward to getting it sewed up into dresses for the girls.   I'm planning to post pictures when I am finished. 

Later this week the plan is to make more plum jelly.  A sweet lady that we go to church with is giving me several gallons of plum juice and I can't wait to put it to good use.    I'm  also thinking I may try making a plum cobbler. 

I never did get around to making a menu plan for this week, but since I sort of "did away" with my menu plan for last week I will probably use some of those meals for this week.  Maybe I can "get it together" enough to make a plan for next week :)

Well, I'm tired so I think I'll be calling it a night. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More pics

As I stated a couple of days ago, we have been having a great time with our visitor from Texas.  I thought I would share a few more pics. 

Caleb taught Hannah to shoot the rifle.

And the revolver

Who remembers Rock'em Sock'em Robots?   This was an intense competition!

Not only did Hannah "outshoot" Caleb she out "boxed" him too!  Way to go Hannah!  Not bad for a "city girl!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hannah's Visit

I know that I haven't posted much this week, but we have been keeping busy as usual.  Actually, I guess this week hasn't been "as usual" since this week we have been enjoying a visit from a sweet young lady from Texas. 

My middle son, Caleb, and I left early Tuesday morning for Texarkana to pick up his friend Hannah.  After meeting up with Hannah and her Mom we loaded up her stuff and headed for home.  I'm not much for traveling so for me it was a LONG trip, but the good company made it bearable :)

Hannah is very sweet girl and a really good sport.   Since she is from the city, coming to our little homestead is quite a "culture shock", but she has pitched right in with a sweet and willing spirit.   We are so thankful that she has a sense of humor, otherwise she probably would have had a pretty tough time of it as we quite often have "Green Acres" moments.  We've greatly enjoyed our time getting to know Hannah and are not looking forward to returning her to her family in Texas.

I have to say that Hannah is the first person I've ever seen drive a tractor in a skirt and high heels, but it didn't slow her down one bit.   I think she could probably do just about anything she sets her mind to ;).  Here's a few pictures from our week.

Caleb giving Hannah a ride on the tractor

Rachel and Ellen wanted a ride too.

Hannah learning to drive the tractor.  Caleb looks a little scared ;)

Learning to milk.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Menu for June 5 -11

Thankfully, things are becoming more normal here on the "Ole Homestead.  Amanda and Caleb seem to be feeling much better and we are starting to "get a handle" on all of the food sensitivies we're discovering.  God has blessed our family abundantly the last few months and we are so thankful to Him for all that He has done.

This upcoming week we are looking forward to having a friend of Caleb's come spend a week with our family.    Since, we would like to spend most of our time visiting instead of working we have tried to get things "caught up".   

As you can see we are having a very simple menu plan this week.     

Sunday - Deer Steak, Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Monday - Sphagetti & Salad

Tuesday - Chicken Salad Sandwiches,  Potato Salad, Chips

Wednesday - Hamburgers, Leftover Potato Salad, Chips

Thursday - Bar-b-que Chicken Chunks, Rice, Steamed Vegetables

Friday - Homemade Pizza or Tacos

Saturday - Bar-b-que Sandwiches, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans

Breakfast -  smoothies, hot or cold cereal, toast & eggs, fruit, muffins, pancakes

Lunch - leftovers, soups, sandwiches, fruit, smoothies

Snacks - fruit, smoothies, cheese & crackers, popcorn, cookies

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finally, A Fruit Fly Trap that Actually Works!

Every spring it seems that I begin a battle with fruit flies that lasts for months.  Regular flies are bad enough, but the little fruit flies drive me insane and it seems they are always winning the battle.  I have tried several things in the past and usually end up using some kind of store bought spray (repeatedly) before we ever get rid of them.   I really don't like using those sprays and have been looking for something more natural.  After reading several things online about making fruit fly traps (and trying to use them without success), I decided to combine a couple of the ideas and give them a try.  I did and it worked.  Within fifteen minutes there were about thirty of the little pests in the jar and more sitting on top!   Yay! 

This is what I did.

Take a jar that you don't mind throwing away and use an ice pick to poke a few holes in the lid (I made quite a few).   Put equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in the bottom of the jar about one inch deep and then add a piece of rotted fruit or two.  I used bananas and peaches.  Put the lid on and set it on the counter (or wherever you have your fruit fly problem).   After a short period of time you should begin to see fruit flies inside the jar.  For some reason they go in, but they can't get back out.   After a couple of days toss the jar (fruit flys and all) in the trash.  If needed you can make another one. 

I would love to hear any other suggestions for getting rid of fruit flys or black houseflies.  It seems that we have an abundance of both this year.