Monday, January 26, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I really enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook when I am able to.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, January 26, 2009

Outside My Window...
Snow! We lost all but a speck of our snow last week, but now we have a bit more.
It's only about an inch or so, but the world outside my window is fresh and whiter.

I am thinking...
What a difference a week can make!
Thankfully, I feel so much better than last Monday.

From the learning rooms...
We are back to school - all our usual subjects!
I hope to finish "Mother Theresa" this week and move on to our next read aloud.

I am thankful for...
Healing and all of the help and tender care I received
- especially from my Historian.

I am praying for ...
Discernment and encouragement.

From the kitchen...
There are some dead things in my fridge that really need to be cleaned out!
I need to get some groceries, get back on our menu plan and resume the recipe testing
- January is almost over and I have about 10 more recipes I'd like to try!

I am wearing...
Long denim skirt, white turtle neck, and soft lilac cotton hoodie jacket.
I love the little touched of velvet ribbon on my jacket ... they inspire me!

I am creating...
A big long shopping and to-do list!

I am going...
Just taking one step at a time - I am so much better, but not entirely over my multiple infections. I can swallow without any pain today for the first time - Yeah!

I am reading...
Better Homes & Gardens is on my bedside table, but I don't have a book on the go right now.

I am hoping...
That things go really smoothly for my Immigration Physical on Wednesday.
They found my old physical results, but they are so out of date (perhaps because they misplaced our file for two years????), it must be re-done.
Another big expense, and royal pain.

I am hearing...
It is our 'after lunch' break right now and I think Dreamer has her nose in a book.
Storyteller is obviously in a fight against evil and I can tell by the sounds,
the weapon of choice light sabers!

Around the house...
I'm not sure where to begin - it kind of looks like a tornado hit!
If it's true that the Mama is the glue that holds the household together
... we've definitely come 'unglued'!
I wish I had the energy to whip everything back into shape in a day,
but it's going to have to be a bit at a time!

One of my favorite things...
Watching our children sleep and praying blessings over them as they do.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Continuing to pray for the Lord's guidance with our search for a new church.
1. Continued rest and recovery.
2. Schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, a birthday party and co-op bowling party!
3. Cleaning and Mount Ironmore
Poppa and Grammy are coming this weekend, Lord willing!

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing:

I enjoyed pouring soy wax into my old candle jars and recycling them!
I can't wait to burn them!

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A cat by any other name?

I think I have been patient quite long enough!
Today is the day that I finally get top billing on this so-called family blog!

I don't know what my humans have been thinking.
I have been a part of this family since September 2006 and not once have I had a feature post!
An occasional mention now and then! That's all!

Pretty? Did someone say pretty kitty?
That's handsome ... if you don't mind!

My name is Mr. Peppermint, after all!
Also known as Mr. Minty, Mintyopolis, Inty and Peppy.

Oh, and Naughty Kitty once in a while ...

Are you wondering how I became part of this family and why I was
given such a wonderful name?

I remember it like it was yesterday....

After spending some time out in a lonely field covered with some sort of filthy dark plastic, I decided that it was far too hot and confining. I was hungry and I just really wanted my Mama, but she was no where to be seen. I clawed my way out of the darkness and began wandering around in a big scary field. There were loud crazy machines cutting hay and it was terrible.

The Creator had His hand upon me as I crossed the busy road and
found myself on a nicely cared for quiet lawn.

I wandered up to the door of the house but right away a big huge black beast
barked wildly and chased me!
I ran for my life to another green lawn - this one not so well cared for, but strewn with toys .
I could hear happy children inside the house and I smelled something wonderful ... food!

I found it easy to peek through the back door and thankfully, this time - no barking beast!
It wasn't long before two small children were looking back at me
and calling their Mama to come and see me!

I tried to look cute, but I was just so tired and hungry.
I meowed as best as I could, but no one opened the door.
I decided to lay down and have a nap in the sunshine.
It was warm but I began to shiver and shake.

That's when they opened the door.
I didn't have the strength to walk in so a sweet little human Girl picked me up
and brought me in the house.
They gave me a wee bit of tinned milk and tuna fish.
It was true love!

Then, they put me back outside!

They tried to ignore me, but every day I kept coming back at lunch time
and I tried to look my handsome best! When I meowed and cried, they fed me.
I think the Boy and Girl tried very hard to convince the
Mama and Daddy to let me stay - and it worked!

After a while, they took me to a terrible place where I had a check up and a little surgery.
After that, I was forced to stay in the sunroom until I was back on my feet.
They bought me real yummy kitty food and I began to grow and get stronger!

That's when I got my name:

- the literary cat

There is a very old Little Golden Book on the bookshelf that was much loved by the children. It is called 'The Candy Shop' and in it there is a little white kitty named Peppermint, that lived in the Candy Shop because no one really wanted it. One day a wee girl comes into the shop and falls in love with the cat, naturally, but has not money to buy her. The Candy shop owner shows compassion for the girl and gives her the kitten. She takes him home and gives him a bath, but accidentally drops him in her mother's bluing! His lovely white fur turns blue! She takes him to school for the annual class pet show, and he wins the first prize!
It's such a touching story!

I think that I won first prize when the Creator guided me to this family!
They are very good to me.

I have the best seat in the house - overlooking the back patio garden!
Who needs t.v. when I have the whole garden to look at!
In the summer I have butterflies and hummingbirds to play with!
I love to roll around in the herb garden.

Do you see that chaise lounge?
My human Mama recovered it just for me!

For the most part, I am an outdoor cat all summer, and just come in for breakfast and supper, but in the winter - well, let's just say that I don't like snow one bit!

I am supposed to stay on the towel on the ottoman, which my Girl human changes and washes far too often. Just when I get it smelling like home ... you know how it is with these humans - far too clean if you ask me! I also have the Boy's old stroller outside on the Grammy flat porch stuffed with fluffy towels - it's a great place to hunker down for a nap.
The towels out there get quite nice because my Girl often forgets to wash them!

I sometimes sneak into the cushions on the chairs in the sunroom, but not when any of my humans are looking or I'll find myself out the door no matter the weather!

Bad habits? Why of course not! I would never attack the wicker chairs in the sunroom with a vengeance and cause untold destruction! Never!

Enough of the spotlight for me - I really need to take another nap now!
No doubt someone will soon come along and sit in the big chair and scratch me
behind the ears until I purr with contentment!

Life is good!


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Friday, January 23, 2009

National Pie Day Success!

Ready? Set? Bake!

I am blessed to have a 'baking corner' where everything is at my finger tips and ready for a Baking Day! Ours isn't a big huge kitchen, so when we renovated shortly after moving here 4 years ago (already?), I knew that I wanted to design it for maximum efficiency! I haven't re-arranged much since we moved everything in because it seems to really work well for me - though it is a bit squishy in my corner if I have more than one helper!

I think I've confessed before that
I am not a confident pie maker.

My Mum is an amazing pie baker and to her it truly is 'easy as pie'. Not so much for me!
The thing is, I just keep trying, and I do it because I love my family and this is a special treat we all enjoy! I'm not being braggy and boastful when I say that I am getting better at it - I just want to encourage your heart! Keep trying - we'll get it by and by!

Do you see my pie plate collection? I pick them up here and there thrifting - never paying more than $1 or $2. Most of them are clear glass because of my Mum's sage advice -

It is easier to know if the pie is completely baked if you can just peek at the bottom and make sure the pastry is light golden brown and not 'gray'!

Do you see my cute 'mini' pie plates?
These are really hard to find, so when I do see one I snap it up!
They are so very handy for sending over to Mr. Neighbor.
A man in his 90's ought to have home baked pie once in a while, don't you think?
They also are great for making anyone feel extra special when I whip up a 'just for you' little pie!

I actually have a few more pie plates, but they are in the freezer with Tortiere (French Canadian Meat Pie) and unbaked shells in them for quick pies another day.

Pie pastry anyone?

Now things are really getting messy! Do you see that long skinny metal thing-a-ma-jig?
I stole borrowed it from my Mum! It's so very helpful in pie making.

I use it to slide between the counter and the rolled pastry and to help fold the pastry in half to place in the pie plate. I also use it to trim the pastry that hangs over and to clean up the counter when all is said and done!

You might think we are hosting a Pie Social here tonight, but I promise you that we aren't! I'm planning on sending my ambassadors out to distribute pies to friends who just might not be aware of the importance of this very special day! Of course, there will be a few pieces left for all takers here at home as well!

on the menu ...

- for the Historian who has been such a wonderful good man during this current illness

- For Dreamer

- a tiny little pie for the Storyteller


- just because!

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National Pie Day

Have you heard the good news?

Today is National Pie Day!

What a fun 'holiday' to celebrate!
I took a quick survey last night and the choices were wide - blueberry, dutch apple, chocolate, pecan, and butterscotch were all suggested!

Our thoughtful Storyteller even suggested that since I am still just getting well, we should just drive over to our favorite Airport Cafe and gobble some of their yummy homemade pie! Sadly, little things like work and school put a crimp in that plan, but as soon as our school work is done, we're going to get to baking! We'll be sure to save some for the Historian for when he gets home from work!

What kind of pie are you going to enjoy today in celebration of this National Pie Day?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yesterday morning, our sweet sweet Storyteller bounded into our room around 7:30am. I was still mostly asleep, but not for long!


'Mmmm .... yes, Bud?'

'Mama! You're not contagious anymore!'

Than he slipped a soft sweet kiss on my cheek and ran humming out of the room.

What a lovely way to greet the day!

I am truly better and yet still really unwell. Thank you for all of your prayers and kindnesses!

My ears and sinuses have responded nicely, but my throat and glands are still so very tender, and my mouth continues to be a raw sore point. I am still enjoying soft, bland things only, as even the 'magic mouthwash' cannot numb things sufficiently to actually chew something as interesting as toast. I am missing my morning vice - orange juice! We had nice soft pasta for supper, but the tomato sauce was too acidic I guess. Ouch! I'd better stick to yogurt and scrambled eggs - well cooled!

One of my meds is keeping my brain in full gear at night when all I long for is sweet precious sleep. I've been trying to use the time to pray and wait on the Lord. In a sense, I have so much to be thankful for even in this. Impressed again and again on my heart are these words of comfort and assurance of God's unfailing faithfulness ...

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:8

He really has it all covered, doesn't He?

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I really enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook when I am able to.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, January 19, 2009

I really want to keep in the habit of doing this weekly daybook,
but today it's going to have to be the 'Reader's Digest' version.

I'm sick.
They say homeschooling mums are over achievers -
I don't know about that, but we do tend to strive for excellence!
I guess when I get sick, I even like to do that up well!

I spent a miserable day in bed Saturday with fever and chills, a splitting headache
and such a sore throat, and the night wasn't much better.
On Sunday morning I asked to be taken to the After Hours Clinic to see a doctor.

The results:
Strep throat
(fastest positive rapid strep test she had seen)
double ear infection
sinus infection
swollen glands
My doctor was quite funny about the whole thing - she prescribed 'magic mouthwash',
'horse pills' and some 'perk you up's'.
Quite a lot for a woman who generally avoids any and all meds if possible.

She also gave me three days off work!!!
She told me to go back 1/2 days at first and ease into things.
I'm not sure if she understood what I said when I told her I was a stay at home home schooling mama, or if she knows just what that entails!

My dear Historian was home all weekend and has taken 2 days off work.
He is taking such good care of me and the children are helping out too.

I'm quite sure I'll be on the mend quickly, but your prayer support is much appreciated!

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's A Keeper - Week #2

I have failed to try any new recipes this week. I did try adding a few more healthy things to my bread recipe, but it is better suited for construction material - it's quite brick-like! You can almost eat it if you slice it thin and toast it and put lots of butter and jam on it! It might take a gallon of tea to wash it down though! Oh well!

I've been exhausted this week - I've gone to bed before supper two nights and just after supper every other night. This morning I awakened with a sore throat and full blown cold, so I guess I've been involved in a battle with germs - and evidently, they won! I thought I was just tired from our big day in the city on Tuesday and from our co-op day Thursday. I was figuring that hibernation is the perfect past time for cold weather ... now I know my body just needed the sleep.

This morning, despite our best efforts, our pipes are frozen. We have a tiny trickle, so there is still hope, but not enough for a shower. Thankfully, things are supposed to warm up a bit today. I am praying that is it enough to keep the pipes from bursting. I really like having water for laundry and showering. And for making tea. Lots and lots of tea.

We did make a batch of old fashioned fudge yesterday, so I'll share this 'oldie but goodie' with you all!

Mum's Old Fashioned Fudge

Generously butter a 8x8" glass pan or the equivalent. Measure 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract into a wee bowl and set aside.

In a deep heavy pot combine:

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

4 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 cup milk

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil that cannot be stirred down, set your timer for 8 minutes and continue to boil, stirring gently. If you have a candy thermometer, you need to boil this until it reaches 235-240 degrees F. Remove from heat, add 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract - it will sputter, so do be careful.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Begin beating the hot syrup with a strong wooden spoon until the mixture becomes very thick and looses it's glossy appearance. It's fun to take turns beating the fudge so be sure to share the joy! As soon as it is no longer glossy or shiny, pour it into the buttered pan. Let sit to cool for 15 minutes. Cut into 1" squares and allow to set for about an hour before sampling. If there is any left, it keeps well in an airtight container.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Frugally facing the FREEZE!

Are you freezing in your area? We are facing record breaking lows here in the Midwest. This morning as I snuggled under the covers, not quite ready to face the day, I heard on the radio that Georgia is colder than Alaska this morning! So much for global warming!

I talked with my dad this morning and it was -37 C ... just a bit chilly to be sure. Considering that the last 5 winters in North Bay have been relatively mild, this one, by comparison has been quite a hardship for Northern Ontario - early snows, huge back to back snow accumulations and record breaking lows. I have a feeling that the usual 'January Thaw' just might pass them by.

It's really cold. There is no denying that. We don't have a choice about it. Unless you can fly off to warmer climes, you're stuck with the cold for however long it lasts.

How you deal with the cold is another matter entirely. You can choose, like we have to see it as an opportunity to thank God for all of His blessing - including the cold. Just think of how many less mosquitoes there will be in the gardens this summer!

Here are some of our 'tried and true' frugal ideas for facing the freeze - from my home to yours!

Frugally Facing the Freeze:

  1. Snuggle up! Sharing body heat is a great way to keep warm on a cold day. Cuddle up on the couch with your kids and hubby with a great book and a giant bowl of popcorn. Don't forget the blankets. Take turns reading and enjoy the quiet of a winter evening together.
  2. Hang it all. Forget the dryer - hang your freshly washed clothing in the furnace room or by the heat source. It will dry fast and help humidify the air.
  3. Close it. Shut up unused rooms and leave the vents just opened enough to keep the pipes from freezing. Just keep the rooms you are living in warm.
  4. Drip! Drip! Drip! A bit of water dripping from the tap is surely less costly than fixing frozen burst pipes! This is especially important where the pipes are not insulated or if you have a crawl space, like we do.
  5. Tea party? Why not! Cheap, hot and oh so soothing - tea is the perfect choice! Make pot after pot of this steaming beverage and enjoy a tea tasting party.
  6. Fill the cookie jar! Baking not only warms your kitchen, it warms your tummy too. Keep the oven filled by baking more than one batch - you can share or put up the extra in the freezer. Be sure to bundle up when you step out to take some fresh baked goodies to your neighbor.
  7. Draw the drapes. You'd be surprised at just how much a bit of fabric pulled across a window can warm a room.
  8. Dress in layers. Don't turn up the heat, put on some clothes! Have a layered look fashion show and make the best of dressing warmly. Remember, exposed skin is cold skin!
  9. Slip into slippers. There are certain children who are adamantly opposed to wearing their slippers, but in this kind of weather, they are required. Making it a game keeps it light and little toes stay warm!
  10. Cabin fever? Move it! That's right - just start moving things around - big things! I'm talking about re-arranging a room or two! It will give you a whole new outlook and the effort will warm you up!
  11. Save on bath and beauty! You don't really need to shower every day when you aren't sweating it up. Don't forget to keep well moisturized - inside and out.
  12. Cover up! If you do need to go out, be sure to cover up everything you can. Fashion is not the issue here - looking good doesn't mean a thing if you freeze! I know from personal experience how much frostbite stings.
  13. Oh, FUDGE! There is something special about making fudge or pulling taffy on a cold cold day! You don't have to save these kinds of special treats for special occasions! Stirring the pot for a batch of old fashioned candy can really warm a body up!
  14. Reach out! There are many who are not so blessed. Finding a way to reach out to those in need will warm your heart and theirs. I just called our local homeless shelter and they are accepting donations of soup and baked goods, and are also in need of volunteers to wash bedding. What needs can you meet?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good news and bad news!

The good news is that our immigration appointment in the big city went really well yesterday - we got out of here on time, had good roads and a nice traffic flow - we found cheap parking and we were early for the appointment! All good! We were praising the Lord!

We saw a definite answer to prayer in that we got a very nice and compassionate Agent, and he even apologized for the length of time our case has taken! I was shocked! He didn't bother with the whole long interview since it was quite obvious that we are really and truly married - we've been married so long, we are beginning to look like one another! That, and and fact that we brought the children along ... proof that we are married I guess! I was glad that he didn't go into all of the questions that we were asked at our first interview 17 years ago - some were not fit for little ears, and I did a lot of blushing. I was just a young bride, after all!

The bad news is that my medical is missing.

As in, not in my file! My huge, honking, can't even close it properly file. Our file is more well traveled than I am, so perhaps it got lost along the way! It's been to States I've never even seen!

Thankfully, my dear Historian was able to quickly put his hand on our receipt for the U.S. cash that we paid to the Doctor for my medical - he is so organized! Our kind agent seemed to indicate that I would not have to re-take the physical - the office would simply get a certified copy re-issued. I hope that will be at their expense .... ? I don't want to re-take that physical. Not only is the exam quite invasive - it's expensive! Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure if I would pass it now, either. That's a scary thought.

The agent was saying that my visa would be a 10 year visa instead of the usual 2 year that they often issue first, since we have been married for so long. If they can quickly sort out the medical forms, I should receive it in 1-2 months! Yeah! Praise the Lord!

After our interview, we went to the Creation Museum again. What a joy and a blessing - it is so well done, and there is so much to learn. We had a fantastic time, but it wore me out! We came home a bit later than I'd hoped, and I crawled into bed and slept 11 hours.

I talked with our Congressman's office this morning. They called to see how everything went and assured me that if there are any more problems, they will be involved and work on our behalf. I think they want to get my file off their desk as much as we want it to be resolved! That's a blessing!

Today, we have all been very tired, but we are working steadily away at school and home chores. Our Storyteller learned a hard lesson - he was wandering around brushing his teeth and sister bumped into him hard - which shoved the toothbrush down his throat and hurt him badly. His throat is so sore. We are doing soft foods only - an no spices since they really hurt too!

I've made chicken noodle soup, banana muffins, orange jello with 'floating mandarins', brownies, apple sauce, and I have two loaves of whole grain bread rising. He has asked for mac and cheese for supper - without the pepper.

The other big big big blessing is that we have SNOW!

Yeah! Everything is canceled, but we don't mind! We are just as happy as can be to have inches and inches of soft fluffy white snow! The children played outside for hours! It's still coming down fast, and the Historian called to say that they've decided to close up shop at the library, so he is heading home! It's been a day of blessings - including a call from my Mum saying that since we can't 'slip up' to Canada for a visit for at least a month or two, they are going to come down again! Something special to look forward too for sure!

For now, if you need us, we'll be catching snowflakes on black paper

and looking at God's handiwork ....

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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Simple Womans Daybook

I really enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook when I am able to.
It's a great way to start the week with a positive focus.

For Today
Monday, January 12, 2009

Outside My Window...
Snow! snow! snow!
It's only about an inch or so, but the world is fresh and white and clean!
Thank you Lord for the snow!

I am thinking...
I usually love shoveling when it is light and fluffy like this dusting is,
but I'm not feeling very energetic so far this morning!

From the learning rooms...
We have 'the basics' this morning, but also need to get to work on our co-op projects.
The Storyteller needs to work on his creation poster and
Dreamer is excited about her Ohio History project!

I am thankful for...
Sweet friends and God's amazing provision.

I am praying for ...
Tomorrow is our 'big' immigration interview in the city - this time it is to change
my temporary status to a permanent resident status.
I am praying for traveling mercies and for all to go well.
I am praying for strength and for peace - right now I feel anxious and worried.
There have been so many bumps in this long long road ...

From the kitchen...
I hope to make cheese bread and maybe some nice soup for lunch.
It just looks like a good day for soup!
Cookies for our trip perhaps?

I am wearing...
Jeans ( it feels funny, but is far more practical for snowy days), a cream turtleneck and a cream hooded sweater, thick rag wool socks - which also feel funny since I usually wear tights.

I am creating...
Our mantel still looks so bare - I need to make it pretty this week!
Yesterday Mrs. M and I were completely spontaneous and went for a fun afternoon adventure - exploring little antique shops and dreaming big dreams!
We stopped at the Flower Factory and I bought a few things to spruce up the mantle.
Last week I created sweet ice cream cone measure tapes from Betz White's Warm Fuzzies book!
That was so fun - I like using up the wool scraps from our purses!

I am going...
Monday's are good home sweet home days, but later I'll be taking Dreamer to ballet and the Storyteller and I will run for a few groceries while we are out.

I am reading...
I am back to my quiet time - praying through the Scriptures.
All things light and fluffy for my before bed reading - my two current favorite authors
- Cathy Marie Hake and Mary Connealy are making me smile!

I am hoping...
To leave our home nice and tidy for tomorrow so that the rest of the week goes smoothly!

I am hearing...
Cars on the now wet roads and our Storyteller quietly reading to himself.
The washer is doing it's job!

Around the house...
We didn't do much cleaning over the weekend, so it's time to tidy up!
I tried to get on top of Mount Ironmore, but my iron and my back up iron are not working properly - I got about 1/2 the pile done Saturday since we were grounded by freezing rain.

One of my favorite things...
A letter or call from a far away friend!
Playing in the snow!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Continuing to pray for the Lord's guidance with our search for a new church.
1. To the city we go tomorrow for my immigration interview!
2. Schoolwork, extra-curricular activities and co-op!
3. Cleaning and Mount Ironmore.

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing:

Thank you for reading my daybook!

Be sure to visit Peggy to read more Daybooks!
There are many many others participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook
and it is so much fun to read their thoughts!

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's A Keeper - Week #2

This recipe was really well received at our supper table on Tuesday Night! The leftovers were a great stand in for deli meat at lunch times all week too! The best part - it was easy. Also, relatively cheap, since our favorite drug and hormone free boneless skinless chicken was on sale this week for $1.88/lb!

Nuts About Chicken

4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken, your preference

3/4 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs

2/3 cup toasted pecans, walnuts or almonds, finely chopped (we had pecans on hand)

2 tsp. sweet paprika

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup melted butter

In the morning, place your chicken pieces in a container with a tight fitting lid and pour buttermilk over the chicken. Put on the lid and give the container a shake to evenly coat the chicken with buttermilk. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, giving it a shake once or twice during the day to redistribute the buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and generously butter a 9x13" casserole or baking dish.

Combine dry ingredients with seasonings and mix well. In a separate measuring cup, melt the butter and set it aside.

Remove chicken from buttermilk one piece at a time and place in dry coating mixture, turning until evenly coated. Place each piece in the baking dish in a single layer. When all the chicken is coated and in the dish, drizzle the melted butter over all the pieces evenly and place in oven, uncovered. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until done.


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Friday, January 9, 2009

Spring cleaning?

Maybe if I were SuperWoman, I would be starting my spring cleaning, but, I'm not! I've put it off until scheduled it for the first week of March, but in the meantime I needed to make some more of our regular cleaners for everyday use. I have a nice big basket that I lined with pretty fabric and it is our home cleaning kit. I use empty spray bottles from the Dollar Store and fill them with these homemade solutions - labeled well!

Today, one of my dear home school friends asked me to share my recipe for the cleaner I brought to co-op yesterday for our end of the day cleaning sessions. I thought I'd share these recipes here too because they work so well for me and are fairly inexpensive. Essential oils can be costly initially, but I just use a few drops and they seem to last a really long time. The lovely scents make me smile while I clean and they do linger, making the house smell fresh - which is really a blessing!

Heather's Counter Top Spray
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 T clear, non-sudsing ammonia
1/4 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 T clear liquid laundry detergent
3-5 drops essential oil (I like lavender and eucalyptus)
2 cups tepid water
Remember - never to use products containing vinegar, alcohol or lemon on marble counters as this will etch the surface, causing damage.
*Multiply all ingredients by 7 to make a gallon of this solution (that's what I did for co-op!)

Heather's Carpet Fresh
2 cups baking soda
1 cup corn starch
6 drops essential oil - I like lemongrass or lavender
Combine in a large shaker ( like a Parmesan cheese container) and cover tightly.
Sprinkle lightly over carpet - let sit for 10 minutes; vacuum thoroughly.
Test first in a small area - my carpets are very light colored and I don't know how they will work on darker carpeting.

Glass Cleaner Recipe
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon clear, non-sudsing ammonia
3 drops essential oil - I like wintergreen or lemongrass for windows

Super Grubby Window Shine
Mix in a gallon container:
1/4 cup of sudsy ammonia
1 cup of rubbing alcohol
1 teaspoon of dish washing liquid
8 cups of water
Pour into spray bottles.

Combine 1 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of washing soda.
If you like you may add a few drops of essential oils like thyme, lavender or tea tree to make your scouring powder a natural disinfectant.
Sprinkle and use with a damp rag, using rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Bathroom Disinfectant
2 tablespoons Borax
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups hot water
Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Shake until the borax dissolves.

Super Strong Spray Cleaner
*For the really grungy places that we don't want to admit to!
Combine in a spray bottle:
1/2 tsp Washing Soda
1 tsp Borax
1 tsp vegetable oil-based soap (I grate a bit of a bar of Fels Naptha)
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 cups of very hot water
Shake well until all the solids have dissolved. Spray and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

No-Scratch Soft Scrub:
1/4 cup Borax
1/2 cup baking soda
3 tsp. clear liquid dish soap
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
hot water
In a bowl, mix the borax and soda with soap to form a creamy paste. Add lemon oil and blend well. Slowly add hot water until smooth. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, then rinse well. This keeps well when tightly closed. Shake well before using.

***These are my trial and error formulas that have been working well for me, but I'm no chemist! Be very careful not mix chemicals like bleach and ammonia or vinegar together - it is very toxic!

I have not come up with a creamy wood furniture polish that really makes the grade, and it appears that Mrs. Meyers stopped selling her wonderful furniture cream in my favorite - lavender, so if you have a recipe or favorite earth friendly product, please do tell! I am using up some lemon oil, but I don't like all of the oily residue. Or the prolonged polishing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I just finished another purse ...

And, I put it in our shop! We still don't have our purses back from our wonderful local shop owner - she hung on to them for her last two days of business (Friday and Saturday) hoping to sell a few more for us! Now she is closed for the rest of January and we just need to get them from her and list them in the shop too! This Etsy Shop is a fun way to do business, so far! Of course, I haven't actually sold anything, but that's o.k.!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Luscious Leftover Buffet

We usually enjoy 'The Luscious Leftover Buffet' on Monday nights. It's quick and easy before Dreamer's ballet class, and it really helps to clean out our fridge in preparation for the groceries that the Storyteller and I usually pick up while we are in town during ballet.

Here's some tips for 'selling' your leftovers in a simple but effective way. Whatever your family calls it, you will enjoy the fun of making something everyone seems to dread into an enjoyable family tradition.

  1. Spread it out! If you have an empty counter, clean it off and spread out the offerings, like a buffet. Everyone likes to make choices, and buffets are super popular with kids.
  2. Divide it up! A single small mug of chili, soup or baked beans is fun to pick up and that way everyone who wants a taste can get one. No one needs to see that messy casserole dish, so dish it up in paper cupcake cups or little custard cups and make it something special.
  3. Swap the cheese! Sometimes the cheese on the top of a casserole gets overbrowned in the process of reheating. I don't feel badly in scraping off a bit of the ugly cheese and putting on fresh. Fresh cheese also dresses up a cup of chili, reheated quiche, a bit of salad or a creamy soup. The same thing goes for leftover pizza - a fresh layer really does something good for reheated pizza.
  4. Keep it simple! While it is great to use leftover turkey in turkey a la king or beef in stroganoff, those leftover meats are just as delicious when served simply. Cold roast beef, turkey, chicken, bratwurst or ham can be served sliced 'as is' or in a sandwich, on top of a cracker or diced into some leftover salad.
  5. Put it on a stick! 6" bamboo skewers are pretty cheap, and they make a great 'finger food' supper when you put your leftover meats and cheeses or fruit cubes on a 'stick'.
  6. Cut it fancy! It doesn't take any extra effort to pull out your crinkle cutter then your paring knife, so why not cut up those fruits and veggies a bit fancy and see if they don't liven up your buffet?
  7. Use those tongs! I don't know why our kids think this is the 'best part', but we use cheap salad tongs for picking up things like sliced meats, breads, veggies and scrambled eggs. It might cause a bit more washing up, but I tell you, our kids are totally skilled when we are out for a treat at a real restaurant buffet!
  8. Make it a privilege! We are so blessed to have an abundance of food in this country - wasting is just not a choice. Making being a part of the buffet line a privilege that can be lost through grumbling or complaining can seriously brighten the attitude of those picky eaters who are not so keen on the whole idea.
  9. Set it to music! My husband started the 'music to match the meal' thing for our family when he took over the making of Mama Joy's Meatballs and serving them up with fresh green salad, a fresh loaf of crusty bread, and Dean Martin singing in the background. It made a simple supper more fun for all of us. I decided that we should do the same thing for 'The L.L. Buffet' and so I let the kids pick - they chose Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey 'Eugene Sings' and it seems to be a perfect fit!

I hope these simple tips will help you use up those leftovers in a fun and creative way that will bless your family and your budget!

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