Pioneer Woman at Heart
One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!
One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~
Monday, August 31, 2009
I am making the eggplant/zucchini casserole tonight, but instead of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, I am using baked spaghetti squash. The kids don't like the squash that much, so it's a good way to sneak it in. I hope it tastes good.
I cannot wait to grow this bountiful garden again, and of course with God's blessing.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I may substitute the spaghetti noodles in the eggplant/zucchini bake, with the spaghetti squash. Not sure yet. I found a few that looked good too.
I can't wait to can tomato sauce. I use it so much during the summer with vegetables. I'm even using my green onion to top the pizzas for tonight. We went through all of my dried Thyme and Oregano, so I had to cut more to dry. I also cut Rosemary to flavor the beets that are roasting.
I brought a sprig of thyme into the house and potted it. I have never grown my herbs inside, other than rosemary, which I usually kill before spring. I'm heading out tomorrow to cut some oregano to grow inside also. I have grown basil inside since spring, and I am really enjoying not having to buy it. The cats don't bother due to the taste.
Now all we need here are peach trees. I would love to bake with fruit too. The pear and apple trees are young, so it will be a few more years for them. I think we will plant a blackberry bush and strawberries for sure.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I'd like to see them get out of their car when all of the dogs are outside - ha ha ha ha! "Opps! I accidentally let the dogs out sir! You'll have to get in your cars and leave now!"
Good grief. It's bad enough to have sales calls on the phone, but door to door in the country? I'm moving to the high hills next.
I had one child left home (other than the one going to on-line school). She was late getting up because of me. I was trying desperately to get my writing done, and did not pay attention to my motherly responsibilities.
The bus rolled in, and she had no lunch packed. I scooted her out with a bag that had only a few items. I felt absolutely horrible to have her so upset at the beginning of the day. I logged off everything, and finished getting dressed.
Feeling so horrible, I decided to not only pack her a lunch and deliver it, but to deliver it in my special pink ribbon lunch cooler. I wrote her a small note that I hoped it would bless her day and that it was packed with love. I added a neat sticker too.
When I got home, I decided I wasn't going to let the computer steal my day or mind away from me. My family needs me, and it's bad enough I started back to college. I can't delegate chores anymore because they are all in school during the day.
I surely hope her day was blessed with the lunch I packed, and that she forgives me for getting her up late. I think I am putting too many "things" into my day and I need to re-prioritize them.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I have a feeling that road work is about to start on the 2-lane highway in front of the house. I keep seeing men in florescent colors measuring, driving back and forth, planting sticks with bright pink flags, and even measuring from the road to the trees and barn. Out of curiosity I almost went out and asked what they were doing. Wouldn't you? If you saw 3 men walking a great distance onto your property, you might too.
The kittens think my "hippy" skirt is a play toy today. They never did it before, but today they are playing with the hem of it. To them it's probably a moving target.
Four pancakes made, and about 100 to go. Unfortunately, I do not own a griddle. Maybe I can add that to the family wish list.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I have already put dinner in the crock-pot, and have one load of laundry on the line. I'm a bit behind and still have to do my homework. The kids think it's funny- watching me try to juggle everything and go back to college. They laugh at the fact Mom has homework too.
I think, as I find ways to grow and freeze or can our own vegetables, the kids are starting to feel the same "pioneer" spirits that I do. They are already talking about how they don't really get to "live" there own life if they are forced to work a job they really don't like, just to survive. They are imagining running a farm, raising their own meat, dairy, vegetables, etc. It's interesting to see them consider schooling, college, and the final outcome. Is it really worth it? I know I will find out for myself, as I have just started back to college. I'm already wondering, "What was I thinking?!"
I can say, that bartering vegetables this summer was worth it. I would love to meet more farmers and vegetable growers, and barter for items that didn't grow or were not planted. We did buy the corn, but it was worth it. The freezer is filling up and it will help our grocery costs. It's also much healthier for us, than to buy it canned from the grocery store.
I may even try to blanch and freeze some more zucchini. The nights are getting cooler here and the garden won't last much more.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I'm not surprised, but all of them slept in. Either way it didn't matter. It's raining and very cloudy today. Thank goodness we are getting rain. The vegetable, herb, and flower gardens needed water badly.
Already this morning, my 12 year old is making a dog leash with her macrame board. It's wonderful to see each child find something to improve themselves with. I may even make a second macrame board for myself.
I learned something from my oldest daughter, regarding preparing our 10 year old for middle school. Buying her a bra had not been on my mind, but new socks and underwear were. She advised me that in Middle School the girls all change for gym in the same room, where everyone can see every one's everything. She let me know I should buy some training bras to ease that situation and help her feel less awkward in during physical education. With so many children going in so many directions, it was definitely helpful to get this information. Hopefully it will help other parents sending their daughter's into Middle School for the first time.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I wrote a somewhat funny and very true story about parking spaces on www.helium.com. It was from my mother's view, and if you happen to go to helium and read it, she now has a handicapped sticker (thank goodness). Note: I'm moving this article on helium to another category. I'll post when I have the link.
Tonight we are benefiting from the vegetable garden once again. I pulled several zucchini so we can make another quadruple batch of zucchini pancakes, I pulled several tomatoes, which will be added to our ground turkey burgers, I pulled two acorn squash, and 2 cantaloupe. Since we do not water our garden ourselves, some items are smaller, but I'm so glad we don't use chemicals of any sort to grow it.
Tomorrow I'll be pulling more turnips and beets. I sure hope it rains though. We really do need more rain.
We have benefited from the garden so much. It's lowered our cost, provided healthy meals, and is helping us all lose weight. On July 26th I measured my upper arms, waist and thighs. I just measured them, and I have lost 1/8th inch on each arm, 1 inch off of my waist, and 1/2 inch on each thigh. I've also kept off 15 pounds (approximately). I am really going to miss the garden, but look forward to canning next year. I may buy a bushel of corn from a farmer, blanch it and freeze it for the winter months.
Speaking of winter coming, I have rearranged the front room furniture so nothing is near the wood burning stove. We've cleaned under the furniture, and will be washing the curtains soon too. It feels good to have all of that done already.
My current project, along with the last pair of crocheted slippers, is a reusable crocheted shopping bag. My 12 year just made herself a macrame board and is starting to make handmade gifts for the holidays as well. I'm finding many useful patterns at the local library.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The girls are already outside giving poor "Caspian" a proper funeral. Cat claw marks are evident on the poor little guys sides.
Today I have the joy of paying $105.00 in school fees for 3 kids. Plus, I get the joy of paying a student fee for my son, who does not even attend the school. He's bussed to a career center school, but because we are in this school's district, I am required to pay a $7.00 student fee and a $1.00 guidance fee. Evidently, some of it goes to pay for the prom. I had no idea that, we the parents, are paying for that.
The kids have now managed to destroy the PS3. It's probably a good thing, now that school is starting. It is way to expensive to replace it, so if they want a new one, they need to find a job and buy it themselves. The best part is that I don't' have to worry about it monopolizing their free time. Now they can find more time to be creative and spend more time applying for jobs.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Free Geography Publications
Geography Quiz Bowl Questions
Free Printable Geography Worksheets
Scholastic Free Printables (register to print)
National Geographic for Kids
Free and Inexpensive Geography Materials
Fact Monster - Geography Guide
Knowledge House - Study Resources: Geography
Free Federal Resources - Geography
Printable Outline Maps
Geography Study Resources
Fifth Grade SS Geography and Map Skills - On-line Flash Cards
Monday, August 17, 2009
I've passed the canning course and now have my own certificate. I can't wait to purchase all the supplies and start canning. It will be new for the kids too.
To learn how to take this course read an article I have written on how to register for it (on-line).
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Crocheted lip balm holders for each of the girls. I'm using leftover slipper yarn, so each girl will have matching slippers and lip balm holder. I'll be attaching a lanyard clip and ring to each one before I wrap them. These will be stocking stuffers.
Here are 3 pairs of slippers completed. I found buttons from $2.00-3.50 (2 per package), on clearance from $.50 to $.97! What a deal! The camo slippers have deer crossing buttons I found in clearance for $.50! I'm working on the 4th and 5th pair. They know they are getting them. They picked their color of yarn and they picked out their buttons. I had to size them as I crocheted them, so I needed their feet anyway. Believe it or not, but they are trying to make me give them the slippers now. Ha, ha, ha!
Now the challenge remains on what to make my 17 year old son. I'm looking for more bootie type slipper patterns for him.
School starts tomorrow for one daughter and for myself.
Jasper has been at it again. So has Tiger. They have chewed on books, tried to eat a plastic fly swatter, and more. Argh!
Yesterday we attended another fair and our youngest brought home a gold fish. Adding more animal in the house. At least it doesn't need brushed and doesn't need a litter box.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This year I am contemplating teacher gifts early. One gift may be dried herbs in a cute glass spice jar or recycled jar. I'm drying rosemary for these cute jars I found in clearance. I grow rosemary in my herb garden without chemicals. What's better than home grown?
1. got up showered, dressed, ate breakfast
2. made bed
3. wrote for 2 hours (my time)
4. put laundry on the line outside
6. watered outside plants
7. did dishes
8. called financial aid office regarding application
9. cleaned up bathroom floor
10. went through yesterday's mail, sorted and shredded etc.
11. put cushions out on the back patio
12. cleaned off kitchen table
13. put more laundry in the washer
14. cleaned up utility room floor
15. cleaned off kitchen counters
16. checked library on-line for items due and items in
17. swept off front porch
18. ran vacuum in bedroom
19. picked up kids flip flops laying in hallway floor
20. ran dishwasher
21. sent e-mails to sister, mom, brother, and friends
22. make chicken and cheese Quesadilla for lunch
23. put corn pudding in the crock pot for dinner's side dish
24. checked garden for any veggies - pulled turnips for dinner, beets, and zucchini
25. put away dried herbs that were drying on the herb rack, cut more to dry
26. read Bible
27. swept kitchen
28. worked on handmade Christmas gifts (keeping the it frugal and budget friendly this year)
29. put more laundry on the line
30. put more laundry in the washer
31. got the mail
32. delivered a healthy meal and fresh zucchini to Mom
33. took one daughter to a doctor appointment
34. picked up needed items and attempted to get prescriptions (that's a whole story in itself)
35. drove home and wrote another article while eating my dinner
36. drove to the gas station to fill up the van
37. took towels off the line
38. washed my face and got ready to go to bed
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I could not find the pattern on-line. Here is the link to other free patterns that are in the same issue of "Makin' Hay" and other issues - Mary Jane Butters Patterns and Instructions.
If you have access to a fram supply store such as a TSC store (Tractor Supply), you might find the Aug-Sept 2009 "Makin' Hay" Issue of this magazine. In it, you find patterns for knitting and for crocheting the slippers.
I love doing research, so I'm spending quite a bit of time reading about every food I cook with, and learning the benefits to our bodies. I've researched and continue to research about the foods we grow ourselves. I've learned a great deal about the affects of sodium and how we were including way too much of it with canned foods.
I've taken a free home study course on how to preserve foods, and passed the course. It was fun and I learned something new. Next year, I will be canning - something my grandmother used to do. I've learned to blanch my cut zucchini before freezing, and so much more. It's been fun!
All of this has led me to write so many new articles. On eHow I wrote how to register for the free home study course (which i found out about in MaryJane's Farm Magazine), and I've written an article on Helium about how to add fiber to your diet. I've added articles on eHow how to make our Refried Beans, and my famous "tades" as my 7 year calls them. The more garlic flavor, the more she'll eat. And through it all, we are staying healthy.
I've been working on handmade Christmas ornaments and each one requires drying time. Each morning, for the last two days, Jasper (dubbed Marley) has taken off with my Seashell Milk Ring Ornaments. Grr! Luckily, I've been able to rescue the ornament, but that kitten can still find trouble.
He's taken off with my son's earphones to his MP3 Player, he's knocked over 2 plants and has successfully broken one pot, he's dug into each and every plant in the house, and he's pulled curtains down off the windows. This is all minimal damage compared to other things he's capable of.
I've used an entire roll of masking tape to tape across the tops of all the plant pots that are left. Even though it's there, I still find dirt outside the pot - Grr! Masking tape has not worked, mothballs have not even bothered him, and a spray with jalapeno sauce onto the plants has not worked either. He's unbreakable. He went around the house and took a nibble of each and every mothball he could find, and threw it all up the next morning. Luckily, he's okay and back to his frisky self, but mothballs???!! Hence the dubbed name "Marley".
And now that I know he gets into my room and drinks directly from my water cup, I now have a refillable water cup with a straw that closes down. No more kitty spit in my water!
Yesterday I pulled a desk drawer open. I heard paper crinkling, but didn't see anything, so I pushed the drawer shut. All the sudden I heard something in that same drawer. And this drawer is very narrow, not your typical drawer. So I open the drawer, and out pops Jasper!
In the morning, if someone doesn't get them feed soon enough for him, he'll tip one of the dogs food bowls over, let it spill out onto the floor and have a snack. Our dogs dishes are up on racks for their convenience, but Jasper things they are part of a jungle gym.
Yesterday I cleaned off the counter tops around the computer area. Every day both kittens jump up onto my papers and the floor gets decorated with pens, papers, paper clips, markers, highlighters, and anything else that's within their paws. I just have to remember to put the drying Christmas ornaments some where else for the night.
All of the mothballs are now in the trash, but we stay alert for Jasper's next move. Now I'm wondering what will happen to the Christmas tree this winter. Gulp!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
My computer area is cleaned and organized now too. I have a family life planner and I'm getting ready to add more pages to it. I love the weekly meal planner sheets. They are wonderful to keep my meals organized. It saves us money too.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I just started a third pair of girl's/woman's slippers and have found a nice manly pattern for my son. He's getting a pair whether or not he wants a pair (ha ha ha ha!).
Today, I had to assign a child to make signs that will be duct taped to the tops of the laundry hampers. For some reason, after 4 years of having them, no one can remember that you don't put wet towels and wash cloths in with the clothes. Ugh!
Well, even though the temperature is horrible, I'm about to make us some of my famous baked snack mix and watch Ghost Busters with the kids. It's been many years since I've seen it, and the kids have requested my company. Fun, fun, fun!
Now if I can just get my husband to stop ranting and raving when I am writing, I could concentrate and do a better job.
This beautiful Sunday is a bit too humid. We are taking time to try another zucchini recipe so if it passes the family test, I'll be sure to post it on the zucchini recipes post. The brownies we made last night were pretty good!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Yes I got swallowed up and chewed up and spit out. However, now we can actually see the floor in there! Ha ha ha! Although there is not enough room for all my craft supplies, I have organized, decluttered and found two purses with stuff in them. One of them has a chewed up strap from a naughty dog.
I've even cut an old pillow case into strips to sew together for another rag rug, put those absolutely wonderful 3M hooks everywhere to get stuff off the floor (like my boxing gloves), and vacuumed up 2 hairy wolf spiders.
Amazingly, I will still have time to finish a second pair of crocheted slippers, close out my on-line pampered chef party, get some writing done, and make dinner. I'm taking advantage of this wonderful rainy day.
Before the snow arrives, I will have rolls of cut rags all ready for a winter rug project. I'll have handmade presents to share and bless with, and I'll be rested knowing that all the Christmas ornaments are made and in their assigned boxes.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The summer season is the perfect time to get handmade Christmas gifts made. Especially the smaller ones. It's too hot to crochet a large blanket when temperatures are in the 80's. Here is a photo of crocheted slippers the girls will get in their stockings. I do have to measure their feet for accuracy, and they know they are getting them, but they still have to wait for them. I found the pattern in a farm magazine from the tractor supply store. I happen to see the magazine when I bought the chickens a new feeder, and had no idea that crochet and knit patterns were in the magazine. I believe it was about Mary Jane's Farm magazine. If I locate the pattern on-line I will be sure to post the link. There was both crocheting and knitting patterns for this easy slipper.
I found the buttons at a craft store in clearance. Shop around and watch for great deals before buying to keep your costs low.
CROCHETED LIP BALM HOLDERS
* Pattern #1
* Pattern #2
* Pattern #3
Update: I just made my first crocheted lip balm holder. They are so easy and cute to make. I'm using leftover slipper yarn and making a matching lip balm holder for each of the girls. I'll have to get really creative for homemade gifts for a 17 year old boy.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Today I gave her a prompted paper regarding a snow story on a single lined paper. Immediately the tears poured and, "bam" her hand slams the kitchen table. To humor her I dropped a Christmas CD into the CD player, hoping the music would inspire a "winter" story regarding snow.
..........so far it's not working. We've touched on simile's and metaphor's and use of adjectives, but still her "fountain" of writing is not even dripping out. Even though I have researched and written an article on helping a struggling fourth grader, we continue to have trouble. Could it be that once a child misses the "blooming" process and teachers just let them pass from grade to grade (even if they cannot spell the word "because" at age ten), that there is no recovery possible? If there is, I'm going to find the path to it. Christmas music or not.
My hands smell like fresh rosemary as I type right now. I just put dried rosemary in spice jars, and put more up to dry. My sage was not very bountiful, but put some of that and dill up to dry today. Winter cooking will be blessed with my home grown herbs.
Speaking of herbs, I am searching for a wonderfully tasting dry Italian herb mix that I can make myself. This year I am cutting costs down by making everything I can, such as dry mixes. I won't be buying those packets anymore, nor will you ever see me buy dry onions - yuck!
I have plenty of library craft books and fiction books to occupy my few hours to myself. This morning started great with time alone on the front porch. With my Bible and a cup of coffee, I spent some time with God. It sure felt good.
Laundry is on the line and we have not used it all summer. It has been great! I am getting bed spreads, linens, and curtains washed and dried before the weather changes to the fall cool temperatures. I don't think I have to worry about that for a few months, but with school starting this month, the 17th for two of us, time will limited.
Eggplant Italian is in the crock-pot for dinner. I'm not sure what to do with the zucchini yet. I'll figure something out later. We still have some cucumbers and spread for snacking. I sure feels good to eat healthy.
I'm heading out to my favorite lawn chair. Send up a few prayers my "brain block" dissipates (that's what I call writer's block when the household atmosphere clouds my brain - ha ha!).
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
1. Creamy Pepporoni Cucumber Rounds, from The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 7th Edition. I also found the exact same recipe on the Internet (click on the recipe title). These are pretty tasty and are a nice snack idea.
2. to be announced.