Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting Ready for 2010-2011

We homeschool our children so this is the time of year that I get everything ready for the coming year. This year we will be using:


The Robinson Curriculum

Saxon Math

Assorted reading books (The majority of these will come from the library)

There are a few books that I'm going to purchase that go along with the RC that I'm going to purchase from Amazon today. -I have a $25 gift certificate so that will pay for about half.

Then that's it other than some paper, pencils, & crayons. I wait to get these when the stores start having sales on school supplies.

Schooling around here has gone from sitting at desks with a board in front just like a classroom to lounging on our beds doing worksheets. I think we've finally found a balance between the two. My children are older now too so they should be able to be responsible for much more without having me run behind them every minute. This is one of the things the RC advocates, a self-teaching program.

If you would like to check it out try here:

I LOVE books...Here are the ones I'm ordering today. Some new & some used.

Books I'm getting from Amazon:

The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia

The Usborne Internet Linked Book of Knowledge

The Usborne Internet Linked Book of World History

4000 Things You Should Know

Rand McNally Schoolhouse Children's World Atlas

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sometimes I get so frustrated with things that go on in the world.
I've caught up on the Kagan supreme court justice story (not good imo)
I recently heard a story about in Mass. they will be giving out condoms in elementary school!
Yesterday I heard a story on the news about one of the "fees/taxes" that we are forced to pay on our phone bills is going to free cellular phones so people on gov. assistance can get one!
Then there's the war, the Isreal situation, and more.
What are we to do other than pray?
We may not have control on some of these things, but I know what I can do...get the word out and VOTE. The way to get these dumb-dumbs out of office is to stand up & vote them out.
Please remember this when your elections come up.

Monday, June 28, 2010


A new week. I am planning on staying around the homestead most of the week. Afterall homesteading is HOME steading! lol To get most of the things done around here that I want to accomplish means just that staying HOME. It's also where my favorite 4 people are...

In the kitchen today:
16 pints of tomato sauce put up
bread rising on the counter
flours ground & put into the freezer
soup & zucchini cornbread for supper!
In the home:
Bills paid
Home management binder cleaned out & organized
laundry done
floor mopped
bathroom cleaned
Around the homestead:
1 dog in heat set up in a kennel
eggs gathered
chicken fed & watered
ducks fed & watered
dogs fed & watered
pigs fed (still had water)
water & chlorine added to swimming pool

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Around our homestead...

On the agenda today...yep dealing with more tomatoes. Today's canning will be just whole tomatoes. Peeled, and packed into a jar w/lemon juice & salt.

We will be hanging out around home & enjoying the pool & a grilled lunch/supper. Pork chops, veggie packets, & homemade bread. Yum!

Grilled pork chops- liberally sprinkle with cajun seasoning & grill

Veggie packets- chop fresh, bite-size squash, potatoes, carrots, corn, peppers & onions. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. Put into a "pocket" made of heavy duty aluminum foil. Seal up & grill for about an hour. --Can make 1 giant one or 1 for each person.

Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Salsa

Ok. I'm just about tired of looking at tomatoes! lol
My husband said the salsa I made the other day was "ok" but requested I find a recipe without the vinegar in it as he didn't really like it "that much." ~He's been here while I've canned before & knows how much time & work goes into it so I don't think he'd dare say man.
So I found this recipe that doesn't use vinegar. This is the one I will be making today. (I will be using cilantro in place of the oregano though)
Our 17th wedding anniversary is tomorrow. We were trying to plan something to do last minute but really didn't come up with anything. Besides, I really haven't been feeling too great yesterday or today. I actually have a little surprise for him but it will be delayed 2 weeks...shh...
So today I'm trying to relax a bit this morning & drink a bit of coffee. Everyone else here is sleeping so it's pretty quiet.
If I feel better later I'm thinking we could all go for a drive. We like to go out through the country sometimes & just look. They are building a highway through around here & we haven't went and seen the progress in a while.
I hope ya'll have a nice day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I've been very blessed with the amount of eggs we're getting this summer. We have 13 laying hens right now. So we get between 9-13 eggs per day!

Selling them has been pretty easy too. Seems many people realize the benefits of a more natural diet. I joined a food co-op and for the past couple of months they have placed orders too.

Our eggs are a mixture of dark brown, light brown, & light green. My hens that should be laying around October will be white egg layers.

So with all these eggs, what is my favorite way to eat them? Give me 2 eggs over easy with a slice of whole wheat toast any day!

There are, of course, many ways to enjoy eggs. Omlets, quiche, fritata, french toast, egg salad, etc. My daughter's favorite way is just boiled with a little dash of salt & pepper.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Salsa & Canning

I've got tons of tomatoes sitting on my counter & porch waiting to fully ripen. So tomorrow we will be making & canning salsa. There are several recipes here We will be using the "Home Canned Salsa" recipe. I will need to run to the store to get some onions, salt, & seals but other than that I have enough to make probably at least 5 batches.

My husband & son really like their salsa! lol

So far this season I've canned & stored:

strawberry preserves

Green beans

whole new potatoes

chopped potatoes

tomato juice

crushed tomatoes

enchilada sauce

pasta/spaghetti sauce

pizza sauce

Still in pantry from last season:

dill pickle spears

dill pickle slices

bread & butter pickles

pickled squash & onions

cowboy candy (candied jalapenos)

jalapeno pepper slices

banana pepper slices

green tomato salsa

It may seem strange, but it's so neat to open the pantry and see things that we've grown & preserved ourselves. ~Hard work pays off~

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday around the homestead

When you live on a little homestead there is always something that needs done. Since it's so hot & humid this time of year it usually gets done either in the early morning or evening. The afternoons are reserved for in door activities other than swimming.
Monday is laundry day around here. The soon-to-be new neighbors are still doing some dirt work so my clothes will not be hung out on the line today. So I'm trying to get them all done asap before it heats up too much to save on the air conditioning.
I did some canning again yesterday. Crushed tomatoes & pizza/pasta sauce. I've done pretty well so far this summer by keeping up with it. Our tomatoes are doing great so I'm thankful for that. I've gotten to put alot up & give alot away as well. ~and they're still coming!
The corn, potatoes, cucumbers, & green beans are finished. They will be all coming out soon so we can till and plant pumpkins! I've been wanting to do that for a few years now but never get around to it in time. If we want pumpkins in time for October we have to plant in July. I am hoping to get a bunch and perhaps have some type of fall party with some other homeschoolers and be able to have a carving/decorating contest where we could supply the pumpkins.
Well, as for the rest of our day, I will be reading over the children's new curriculum along with the normal chores & summer activities. Hope you have a lovely day!

Sunday, June 20, 2010



1 small/medium sized cabbage

2 carrots

1 1/2 cups salad dressing (like miracle whip)

3 T. rice wine vinegar

2 T. honey

1/2 tsp onion powder

Shred cabbage & carrots. (I used the small shred in the food processor)
Then wisk all other ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
Pour dressing over the cabbage & carrots.
Mix well & refrigerate for at least an hour.
The great thing about coleslaw is it gets better as it sits so you make it a day in advance if your having a bbq or party.

Happy Father's Day

Today's plan... relax with the family & have a nice meal.

Mini burgers aka sliders on homemade whole wheat buns
Tortillia chips with fresh salsa

Saturday, June 19, 2010

*SALES FLASH* of the week

Ok. Here's what I found:
Super 1 Foods:
Chicken of the Sea tuna .50 a can. There are certain things that if a certain price or lower I buy a bunch. So...I bought 20 and to be honest if I didn't just pay for the pond & land work I probably would have bought 40!!! (put them in your pantry/food storage)
Also not advertised they had food club brand tomato soup 3/$1 so I bought several of these too because it's my daughter's favorite soup to dunk a grilled cheese into. ~smile~

Food Storage...

I must be honest, cooking & canning I know how to do, but the food storage aspect is fairly new to me. I am going to do my best this year to preserve at least most of the vegetables, sauces, & meats that we will use.

I've printed up some lists of things that I feel we "need" in the household & then food & other items that maybe aren't 100% necessities, but things we like to have around. ~example...peroxide is a need in case of injury, ketchup we all like but would survive without. lol

Today I thought I'd start with meats.

I must admit I'm blessed with the fact that other than a couple of chickens a month or some canned tuna I have not had to purchase meat at a grocery store in about 2 years!

I never thought that was possible, but here's how we have done it.

Beef- a friend raises a cow for us that will be ready in the fall. Come next spring we will be raising our own steer!

Pork- we raise our own hogs

Venison- I'm lucky to have 2 hunters that usually get at least a couple of deer a year, sometimes more.

Fish- I've also got fishermen. We live about 5 miles from a big lake so we usually have bream, catfish, perch, & bass in the freezer.

I have not canned meat, but I have canned the stock & it's delicious.I saw a recipe online for a chunky type beef stew that you can. I plan on trying this and also canning some of the beef in chunks this in broth.There are many recipes online to do this & my pressure canner came with some recipes as well.

Anyone have anything to share about this? Any recipes for storing meats? Just leave me a comment...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yummy Refrigerator Pickles

My cucumbers did not do well this year. I did end up with about 8 that were ok, but the rest were bitter & half-dead (Thank you Mr. Gopher) So the pigs & chickens are enjoying them. I only made up 1 batch of yummy refrigerator pickles.
Refrigerator Pickles:
Peel & slice about 4 cups of cucumbers
Slice 1-2 bell peppers, about 4 banana peppers, & 1 small onion
Place in jars, bowls with lids, etc ~Remember these are to be kept in fridge NOT shelved.
Then in a pot combine 2 cups vinegar & 2 cups sugar.
Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved.
Pour over veggies.
Put on the lid & refrigerate.
Let set for a few hours & then enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tamales, A Family Affair

This past weekend we made a big batch of tamales. All of us had our part in the "assembly line."
We used the recipe from Alton Brown (Good eats on food network) The only thing we changed was that we cooked 2 whole chickens overnight in the roaster oven & used this meat in place of the pork in his recipe.
They turned out GREAT!!!
We ate a bunch that night & the next day for lunch. The rest were wrapped in newspaper & placed in the freezer.
There was a pretty good bit of chicken filling left-over so I divided it in 2 and used one part to make chicken enchiladas for supper last night...oh yeah! I will share that recipe later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Pond Picture

It doesn't look nearly as big in this picture, but it is dug.

They are now spreading all of that dirt (you can see some of it in the very back)
They expected to be done today, but a hose broke on the bulldozer yesterday and they are not back yet so it may be one more day. ~Then I hope the rains will come!!! It will probably be a while though.
Today I'm waiting around on the air conditioner repair man. Our unit is not blowing as cold as it should. Then the children both have dentist appointments this afternoon.
Hope ya'll have a great day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's To-Do's

Here is my list for today:
Towel laundry
Make & can spaghetti sauce
Shred up zucchini & freeze
Vaccum house
Place food co-op order
Take books back to library
Mail bills

School's Out For Summer...

Ok, so if you're around my age, which we don't need to mention, you probably know this guy! ~Scary~ However his song School's Out for Summer seems to stick in everyone's heads. I'm guessing it's not the "lovely" tune, it's the lyrics. Let's face it, most kids dislike school.
We have homeschooled our children for the past 6 years now & know what? Our children still really don't "love" school. ~gasp~
We are taking a summer break, but ours is just for the month of June. After the 4th of July we will begin "formal" studies again. ~children sigh~
So until then there will be lots of swimming, playing, day trips, wii games, more swimming, canning for mom, gardening, fishing, VBS, and even more swimming. (Have I mentioned we live in the deep south??? When it's over 100, as it already is, swimming is key!) oh...and despite my continued OFF applications, lots of skeeter scratching too...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The pond...

We hired some people to dig a pond for us & spread out the dirt in the back part of the field. They were going good for 2 days but had to stop due to the rain. They should be back one day this week to finish.
This is a project that my Pa & Tyler have wanted for years. I think it will be nice too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Homemade Cleanser

Jar with lid
essential oil (optional but it does smell good. Use any scent you like)
Now listen closely because this one is tricky...
1. Poke holes in the lid as you do when your dear, lovely child brings in some wierd looking bugs & just "HAS to keep um."

2. Pour some borax in the jar.

3. Sprinkle with a couple drops of essential oil (remember this is optional)

That's it!
Use it just as you would comet or ajax type cleanser.

Canning tomato juice

Here is the easiest way I've found so far...

First go out to your garden & pick all of the red tomatoes. *If you don't have a garden, you may buy them at a farmers market, from a neighbor, or at the store if you must. Now, make a note to yourself.

~Dear self,

Plant a garden next year!

Next, wash the tomatoes in cool water.

Cut out the stem and any bad spots out.

Place them in a blender & blend.

Pour the beautiful pink colored juice into a big soup/stock pot.

Bring this to a boil then turn it down to a simmer.

Allow to simmer for about 1 hour. ~Until it's the desired consistancy you like. The more you cook it, the thicker it will become.

Now ladle this into your clean canning jars.

Whipe the rims, put on lids, & place in water bath canner.
When water is boiling process for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove jars and allow to set untouched until the seal "pops."

Notice you do not have to peel the tomatoes? If you've done this before you will appreciate that you don't have to fool with that!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Around the Homestead

Gramma was in town for the past couple of days & sadly this morning she headed back home. We all went to Waffle House for breakfast and then hugged her good bye. Afterwards we did the grocery shopping & other errands.
When we got home we all had things to do.
Pa & Tyler did the mowing, weed eating, & tilled up the garden.
I did some kitchen work. I canned enchilada sauce and made a strawberry pie.
The heat index today was over 100 so I was glad to get to do inside chores!
Abby had the task of planning, shopping, & then cooking our supper. (We should be able to eat soon)
My niece is going to spend the night and we'll soon be winding things down for the night. Perhaps a movie is in store. We checked out Nancy Drew from the library.
So that's our Friday...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Here we go!

I've decided to start a new family blog. So let's meet the family:
Pa, Ma, Tyler-16, & Abby-11.
Then there's all the animal members. We've got:
Chickens, ducks, pigs, dogs, fish, & a cat.
We have a fairly big garden & are striving to be as self-sufficient as possible.
At the moment we're remodeling our mobile home & have dozers in the back field digging us a pond!
We also home school our children. This is one of the biggest decisions we ever made but I would say it's been the very best one!