Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it is Monday again so it is time to post my menu.  Here is what I have got planned this week.

Monday: Roast Chicken, potatoes, peas.

Tuesday: Fettucini Alfredo with leftover chicken, salad.

Wednesday: Hamburgers on homemade buns.

Thursday: BBQ pork chops, rice, grilled veggies

Friday: Scrambled eggs, homemade bread, and fruit salad.

There that gets me through the week.  On the weekends we just tend to scrounge around on the leftovers or cook up something simple.

For more menu ideas head on over to the org

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Apostles Creed

My oldest daughter has to memorize the Apostles Creed for her Christian Ethics class so this week instead of a bible verse we are going to work on memorizing the Apostles Creed.  It is amazing that I say this every Sunday at church but when I go to recite it on my own I always miss parts or put it in the wrong order or something.  For those of you who don't know it this is the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary,
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Planting Some Plants

It has been cool and rainy here so I haven't been able to get into my large vegetable garden.  However today the rain let up enough to let me and girls plant a few planters and the flower bed by my back door.  A while back we visited the green house and I let the girls pick out a few flowers to plant.  Here is my youngest daughter with the pot that she planted.  She picked out a geranium and some petunias to plant (And yes that is a pail of sprouted potatoes in the background.  They are to be planted in the garden if it ever dries up.)

We also put a few plants into the flower bed.  We planted 4 cherry tomato plants (which should be good to snack on in the summer), some marigolds and petunias, and some parsley and basil.  Here is my oldest daughter in front of the flower bed.  It looks pretty bare now but if everything grows well it will soon fill in. All the wire fencing is to discourage the cats and chickens from digging in my flower bed.

So I accomplished a little bit today and spent some time with the girls.  Hopefully the weather will smarten up and we can get some more garden planted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rhubarb Jam

Yesterday I made some Rhubarb Berry Jam.  It was so easy and it tastes yummy.  I just sort of made up this recipe from others I have come across.  I used more rhubarb and less sugar than most of the recipes I saw.

First I cut up 16 cups of rhubarb and placed in a large bowl and then I sprinkled it with 3 cups of sugar.

I let that stand overnight and in the morning a lot of the juice had come out of the rhubarb and it looked like this.

Then I put it in a big pot on the stove and boiled for 15 minutes.

Then I added one can of wildberry pie filling and stirred that in until the pot came back to a boil.  Then I turned off the heat and stirred in three small packages of raspberry jello.

At this point I was pretty much done.  You can either put it in canning jars and process and seal or take the easy way out as I did, put in any freezer safe container, cool, and then store in the fridge or freezer.  As you can see I just used some old jam and condiment jars I had lying around.  I didn't fill them really full, leaving room for it to expand in the freezer.

Mmmm, yummy homemade rhubarb jam on homemade bread.  It doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Chicks

We keep a few chickens on our farm for personal use.  We usually have some meat chickens that we butcher ourselves and some that we keep for eggs.  I must say that farm fresh chicken tastes much better than the stuff you can get in the stores.  Also the eggs are much better too and our chickens are free range, pasture fed, and pretty much organic.  When I walk outside these days usually a bunch of chickens follow me around (at least until I feed them or they figure out that I am not feeding them this time).

Yesterday we got some new chicks that my father-in-law and his wife hatched.  They are Americauna chickens and they will lay blue eggs.  They are super cute and the girls love them.

Chicks are fun to have.  We are blessed to live where we can raise some chickens.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

Well it is the dreaded Wednesday again.  My weight today is 165 lbs.  So no change from last week.  I am actually surprised that the number did not go up as again I ate too much over the weekend and since last weekend was a long weekend that meant an extra day of pigging out.  If I really want to lose weight I am going to have to watch what I eat 7 days a week not just 5 or 4.  Also no workouts to report this week.  Not good.  This is the point where I would normally probably give up.  However, I want to continue to try and make some healthy lifestyle changes.  I have been successful at reducing the amount of coke I drink but I know that it would be very easy to start drinking it daily again.  I also have been doing pretty good at drinking water, but I have to continue to track how much I am drinking because otherwise I forget to drink it.  I have said in the past I have said that I find it easier to drink my water with a straw.  Well last week my straw-topped water bottle started to leak, so I had to find an alternative.  Most water bottles have either a squirt top or a screw top you have to remove to drink and having a large glass of water around all the time isn't practical as I would probably end up spilling it.  So I rigged this up:

I just took a canning jar and poked a hole in the lid for a straw and voila my new water bottle.  This isn't an original idea I read about it somewhere (unfortunately I have no idea where or I would give credit).  I am enjoying using my new water bottle, it cost me nothing, and as it is made of glass it is probably better for me than a plastic water bottle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I know it is Tuesday today but yesterday was a holiday (Victoria Day) in Canada so I did not make my menu.  We went to the city and took the kiddos swimming again which is a lot of fun.  My Nintendo-loving husband was also excited to purchase the newly released video game Super Mario Galaxy 2.

So here is my menu for the rest of the week.

Tuesday: sausage, rice and corn.

Wednesday: roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed veggies

Thursday: Quesadilla's made with leftover roast beef

Friday: Fresh homemade buns, tuna salad, raw veggies.

Saturday: Spaghetti and tomato meat sauce from the freezer.

I have been switching some of the meals around in my menu plans according to what I feel like and what the weather is like but it definitely is nice to have a plan to work with.  I must admit that I don't find making a menu easy.  Even with these simple meals that I plan it takes me a while to work out a menu for the week.  I hope that it gets easier with time and it definitely beats have to come up with an idea for supper every day.

For much better menu ideas than what I post head over to org junkie and check out menu plan Monday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Planting Garden

Well this past week I finally got a little bit of garden planted.  I planted this 4 ft x 8 ft box using the square foot garden method. I have a large garden area but the soil is very heavy clay so last year I built a couple of boxes and added some purchased soil.  It seemed to work pretty well although shortly after planting the cows got out and had to investigate it.  They caused quite a bit of damage.  Hopefully that doesn't happen this year.  In this box I planted 8 squares of peas, 8 squares of carrots, 4 squares of beets, 2 squares of spinach, 2 squares of lettuce, 2 squares of beans, 2 squares of radishes, and 4 squares of onions.  So that is a lot of garden in a little space.  We will see how it grows this year.  I have a lot more I want to plant but it is supposed to rain most of this weekend.  So when the weather gets nice again I will be busy.

Rhubarb: Muffins and Sauce

I have two rhubarb plants and as you can see they are producing tons of rhubarb.  I love rhubarb desserts and rhubarb sauce (especially on ice cream).  While I am trying to cut desserts and lose some weight I can't let rhubarb season completely pass me by so the other day I made some rhubarb muffins and rhubarb sauce.  The rhubarb muffins are healthier than many desserts and I have been eating the rhubarb sauce without ice cream.  My girls have also been enjoying the rhubarb sauce as a treat in their lunches.

Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins

2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, finely chopped
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350*F (180*C).  Grease 12 muffin cups or coat with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly; stir in milk, lemon juice and oil.  Measure flour, sugar, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Stir with a fork until mixed.  Make well in centre.  Pour in egg mixture, stirring just to combine.  Gently stir in rhubarb until evenly mixed.  Immediately spoon batter into muffin cups.  Bake in center of oven until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out onto a cooling rack. Enjoy or store in a sealed bag for up to 2 days at room temperature or do as I did and toss them in the freezer to pull out for a quick breakfast or snack.

I reduced the sugar in this recipe by about 1/2 cup and it still tasted fine.

Rhubarb Sauce

I don't have a recipe for rhubarb sauce.  I just chop a bunch of rhubarb and throw it in a pot with some water.  Bring to a boil then simmer until the rhubarb is soft.  Add sugar to taste.  If you like sprinkle some cinnamon in as well.  Yummy!

How do you like to use your rhubarb?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

Today's weight : 165.  Yeah! That is down one more pound.  I didn't do anything drastic this past week just tried to eat a little less.  I didn't do any formal workouts this past week between fighting off this cold and spending time doing yardwork.  In the summer when it is nice I like to spend a lot of time outside and I have a big yard and garden to take care of but I would still like to do 2-3 more formal workouts a week.  So I will see if I can do at least a couple of workouts this week. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where I Stand on 4 Everyday Life Choices

On Friday Simple Mom talked about 4 everyday life choices we face when we simplify our lives in this post .

So I thought I would post what I do here.  Every one's life is different so when it comes to simplifying your life you have to chose what works for you. 

Question 1:  Should I take the time to clip coupons?

I don't clip coupons.  There just doesn't seem to be that many for the stuff I normally buy and no stores around here double coupons at all.  So for the time spent it doesn't seem worthwhile to me and it would probably just tempt me to buy more processed foods.

Question 2: Should I line dry my laundry or use my clothes dryer?

I line dry my laundry.  I live in the country so I have lots of room to hang it out and no neighbours to be checking out my undies on the line.  I enjoy going outside to hang it up and find it peaceful and relaxing.  In the winter I have a line strung across my basement that I use to hang my clothes.  I do have a dryer and it does get used occasionally but most of the time my clothes are line dried.

Question 3: Should we have a land line phone in addition to cell phones, or cell phones only?

Well, having a cell phone only wouldn't work where I live because the reception is spotty.  We have instead chosen to not get a cell phone and we only have a land line.  Sometimes a cell phone would come in handy but we have lived without one for this long and another monthly bill is not something we need right now.

Question 4: Should we become a one car family?

We have two vehicles (three if you count the truck which is used mainly on the farm) and have no plans to become a one car family.  Living in the country we have to drive everywhere, nothing is in walking or even reasonable biking distance.  So if we had only one car either I would have to drive my hubby to work and then pick him up again or be stuck at home all day.  Neither option is appealing to us so we are going to stay a two car family.

There that's our decisions on these issues.  Where do you stand?

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Weekly Goal

This week for my weekly goal I am going to try to keep a food diary.  I will track my water intake, vitamins, and food.  I am going to continue to try and drink 4 bottles of water a day, drink only one pop a week, and just try to reduce the amount of food I am eating while increasing my intake of fruits and veggies.  So we will see how that goes.

On the homemaking front I need to go through the girls clothes and bring out their summer clothes.  Any spare time I have this week I want to spend in the garden.  So I want to focus on just the basics in the house, keeping it clean so it doesn't end up completely ignored while I spend time outside.

Menu Plan Monday

Well our menu went well last week and I think this is the longest I have kept up with menu planning.  Yeah me! We did finally get to have our hotdog roast which the kids always love.  We only had one incident when a cat ran off with my daughter's hot dog.  The roasted apples were good but took a while to cook.  So I cooked them and the girls ate them.  I am planning on having another meal over the fire this week.  So here's what is on the menu for this week:

Monday: Breaded Pork Chops, rice, and frozen veggies

Tuesday:  Hamburgers

Wednesday: Cheddar Ham Oven Omelet or a similar egg dish and fruit salad.

Thursday:  Beef stroganoff in the slow cooker, with egg noodles and peas.

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Fried Chicken and mashed potatoes.

Sunday: Hotdogs and/or grilled cheese over the fire.

For more menu ideas check out menu plan monday at org junkie.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bible Verse For the Week

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:8

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Cleaner Porch

Just checking on some of my weekly goals.  The girls room has stayed pretty neat all week but it will need a quick tidy up when they get back from their sleepover.

My other goal was to clean the porch.  I kept putting this off because it was a big job.  It did take me nearly two hours and I didn't do a completely thorough job but it looks much better.  This is what my porch looked like before: 

And this is what is looks like now:

Aaah, much better.  I put away all the winter stuff (boots, jackets, snow pants, mitts, toques).  You need a lot a stuff to survive a Saskatchewan winter and we had some snow still just last week.  We should be done with snow now though so all that stuff got put away for the summer and I swept it out.  It could stand to be washed but I wasn't up for that today.   I also gathered up all the recyclables that were floating around and put in them in the car to be dropped off at the recycling depot and put a bunch of stuff that was gathering away in the basement.  Here's hoping we can keep it neat for a least a little while.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tomato Seedlings

Remember the tomato seeds I started here.  This is what they look like now.

Yesterday I transplanted some of the plants that were growing two to a pot.  I also added more dirt around all the plants.  Tomatoes are one of the few plants that will grow roots all along their stems so adding some more dirt will encourage more root growth.  In Saskatchewan we are about two to three weeks away from planting these outside still.  I will let them get used their new homes and grow some more roots and in about a week I will start taking them outside for a while each day to harden them off.  Then they should be ready to plant in a couple of weeks.  With the nice weather we are finally having I can't wait to get into the garden.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weigh In Wednesday

We are finally having some nice weather here and I am unable to enjoy it as much as I would like because I am suffering with a cold.  I am going to hang my laundry outside today and will try to spend a little time enjoying the sunshine but first I still have my dishes to do and supper to start.

Well on to Weigh In Wednesday.  Today I weigh 166lbs. Yeah!  That is down 4 lbs from last week and down 1 lb overall.  So I did much better this week but there still is lot's of room for improvement.  I still tend to mindlessly eat so I am going to continue try to really be aware of what I am eating.

I did work out 5 of the last 7 days and will continue to try and reach that goal but admitedly I doubt I will make it this week as this cold definately has me not feeling like working out.  This week the DVD I did the most was Women's Health Train For Your Body Type.  It has a bunch of workout sections that are 10 to 15 min long and you can pick and choose which ones you want to do and customize your workout.  I found this was a good workout to ease my way back into working out but it was still challenging enough that I really felt like I had worked out.  I didn't do the cardio part much as it is high-impact and I can't really do high-impact at this point but instead did walking workouts for cardio.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Focusing on the Basics

This morning I woke up and wasn't feeling well.  I have a head cold.  I was not feeling energetic at all.  So I decided just to focus on the basics and then rest without guilt.  I started a load of laundry, put a chicken in the slow cooker for dinner, and did the dishes.  Now I will just focus on caring for my son and getting some rest.  Sometimes when a person isn't feeling well, they have to take some extra time to rest without feeling guilty.  (Why as moms do we always feel guilty when we take time for ourselves?)  However, if we have the ability to get out of bed it is good to focus on some basic chores so the house doesn't completely fall apart.  I'm glad I was able to keep up with the dishes and have a plan for supper, so I can rest without worry.  Hopefully, I will feel better tomorrow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Weekly Goal

So I have been doing pretty good with my weekly goals.  I have been keeping up with drinking my water and taking my vitamins.  Last week my goal was to have no pop and I had two cokes on the weekend.  So I didn't entirely achieve it but that is much less than I normally drink.  This week I want to continue with the water drinking and taking my vitamins, as well as only have one coke this week. 

On the house cleaning we did finally get the girls room cleaned up yesterday, so this week I want to make sure it stays that way by having the girls tidy it every night.  Also my goal for this week is to clean the porch.  It has finally stopped raining and snowing so if I get it cleaned maybe it will stay that way for a little while.  I am planning on putting the winter stuff away as well as hopefully we have seen the last of the snow for a couple months.

Menu Plan Monday

Well, we have a couple of people under the weather here which is no fun at all.  So it is a fairly simple menu for this week.  Thank goodness for menu plan Monday which keeps me making a menu even when I don't feel like it.

Monday: Homemade bread and cream of mushroom soup.

Tuesday: Roast chicken in the slowcooker, mashed potatoes, and frozen veggies.

Wednesday: Pasta with leftover chicken, broccoli and cauliflower salad.

Thursday: Fish, rice, and corn.

Friday:  Hot dogs and roasted apples over the fire.
We didn't get to have our hot dog roast last weekend because the weather didn't cooperate so we will try again.

Saturday & Sunday:  I don't have a plan yet for Saturday and Sunday.  The girls will be gone on a Girl Guide sleepover on Saturday so we will probably keep it simple.

So that's it.  Nothing fancy this week, hopefully next week I will be more creative but still it is nice to have a plan in place.

For more menu ideas check menu plan monday over at org junkie.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. 
Here are a few quotes for you  to enjoy.

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love.
~Mildred B. Vermont

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
~Author Unknown

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.
~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Never underestimate the importance of this job we have and celebrate all the joy it brings you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cold Weather and a Bible Verse Book

It is May 6 today and I think there has only been one day in May that is hasn't snowed here. 
But as my bible verse for the week says "...In all circumstances give thanks..."  The moisture will be good for the crops (if we ever get them planted) and the grass.  Actually I don't mind too much as I have plenty to keep me busy indoors but a nice day to work in the garden would be good too.

Last year as part of her preparation for First Communion my oldest made a notebook to write in her favorite prayers and bible verses.  Since we have started memorizing some bible verses I decided to have my younger daughter make one as well so we can use it to record our bible verses for the week.  So I found an old notebook from my school days that still had quite a few blank pages, ripped out the used ones and gave it to her.  I printed a picture that she coloured and glued on the front.  Then inside we pasted a printout of common prayers and she printed the bible verse for the week.  So now when we see a prayer we really like we can add it to the book and as we memorize bible verses we will add them as well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

Well if I didn't want to post my weight online last week, I really don't want to post it this week.  But I said I would do this so here it goes: my weight this week is 170 lbs.  That's right, I didn't lose any weight and instead gained 3 lbs.  Not exactly the result I was hoping for.  However, I am not totally surprised as I ate way too much over the weekend and most of it was junk.  But if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  So I will try to do better this week.  I am going to try to focus on being really aware of what I am eating and why I am eating it.

Also I worked out 4 of the past 7 days.  So not too bad but not great.  This week I hope to work out at least 5 of 7 days.  I generally work out with exercise DVDs.  I don't live near a gym and working out at home is much more convenient then having to go out.  Often my son is lying on the floor watching as I move around above him.  I have acquired a bit of a collection of exercise DVDs over the years so I have some variety.  You can get DVDs on nearly every type of workout (yoga, pilates, kickboxing, weight lifting, toning, bootcamp, dance etc.) and there are many different instructors with many different styles so you are sure to be able to find one that appeals to you.  It has been cold and snowy here so having an exercise DVD to work out with is much better that trying to go out in that cold. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Homemade Toys: Sock Ball

Do you have lot's of unmatched and lonely socks lying around your house.  Make up a quick and easy sock ball for the kiddo's to play with.  Take one sock that is in fairly good condition and stuff it with some other socks (or any other stuffing material you may have) until you have a nice round shape.  Tie a knot in the sock and voila a sock ball.  You can cut the excess material off or just leave it on as I did (it is fun to try and catch it by the tail).  I made this for son to bat around on the floor and when the girls came home from school we had an impromtu game of catch.  It is really soft so it can't do much damage in the house. 

What do you do with your unmatched socks?

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Weekly Goal

Last week my goal was to drink a least 4 bottles of water a day and take my vitamins.  I did pretty good, reaching my goal every day but Sunday.  As long as I keep my water bottle filled it isn't hard for me to sip the water, but when I don't bother to keep it filled I don't drink nearly as much water.  If you are trying to drink more water this is my best tip:  Keep a full water bottle around and sip it through out the day.  My water bottle has a straw top which I prefer as I find it easier to sip with.

This week my goal is going to be a bit harder for me.  I want to continue tracking my water intake making sure to drink at least 4 bottles and in addition not drink any pop this week.  I have a coke nearly every afternoon and I want to get rid of that habit. 

On the household front I want to clean and organize the girls room and help them keep it that way.  Anyone have tips on how to get an eight year old and a six year old to keep their room clean?

Monday: 4 bottles of water, vitamins, no coke


Menu Plan Monday

My menu plan went well last week.  I followed it pretty good with only a couple of substitutions.  It really is nice to know what  you are having for supper ahead of time.  So here is the menu for this week.

Monday: rice, leftover chicken from Guide supper, and sweet potato casserole.

Tuesday: waffles, eggs, and fruit salad
My oldest has Brownies after school today so I needed something simple.  I haven't made waffles for breakfast for a while so waffles for dinner it is.

Wednesday:  Golden potato rolls with BBQ roast beef, and raw veggies

Thursday:  Spaghetti and meat sauce.

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday:  Hot dogs (hopefully cooked on the fire outside if the weather cooperates) and roasted apples.

Sunday:  Homemade pizza

Well that's my menu for the week.  For great menu ideas head on over to org junkie and check out all the menus.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bible Verse For The Week

Well the memorization of the bible verse went well last week.  I taught it to the girls as well so we could recite it together.  Here is the verse we are going to work on this week.
"Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18