Wednesday, April 28

Planning for a big cook

My goal this weekend it to plan and prepare 80-90 meals . These will last us all through the summer, and canning season when I really don’t have time to cook and the stove is taken up with tomatoes.

I thought I would share a little about how I plan for such a large endeavor. It really isn’t hard it just takes a bit of planning and organization. I start by looking through my recipe books and jotting down meals that we like, meals that are good for the particular season I am cooking for, and meals that will freeze well.039 My storage cookbook (I have two)

After I have made my list I then copy each recipe so I can put it in my go-to notebook. My go-to notebook is simply a small thin 3 ring binder. This keeps everything I need for the months in one spot for easy access. I will refer to it every time I pull out something from the freezer.

026 It sounds like a lot of extra work to copy each recipe but it is really worth it to not have to search for anything while you are cooking. Then after you have done it a few times there is less and less to copy. This means my regular cookbook has doubles of everything. I keep my recipes in plastic sleeves so they don’t get ruined. I am not a neat cook!029As you can see some are copied out of cook books and some I have taken the time to type out and put in my 3 ring storage binder.029028 







After they are copied I group like meals together, chicken, pork, beef, marinades, etc. This is how I will cook. I usually do the marinades first as they are easy, then move on to the beef dishes, and then the chicken and pork. Each of my plastic sleeves in my go-to notebook is labeled with a number, and I usually have 20 recipes each cook. These numbers correspond to my shopping list so I make sure to buy enough of each item.  You can see the numbers on the labels in the top right of each plastic sleeve. I reuse these sleeves each cook.025  I print our four pages of my shopping list planner. It usually takes that many when I fill in each ingredient. Starting with the first recipe in the book I write down all the ingredients and fill in how much I need for each under the number one. Then I move on to the second recipe writing down any ingredients that I don’t all ready have listed, and the amounts for each under the number 2 and continue until number 20. After I have finished this step I triple every recipe as I am totaling up the numbers in my total columns. Your totals should look big!  033You’ll notice that for 20 meals I have a double number column. This is so I can fit them all on one page, otherwise it is to much to keep up with and I forget to buy something or I buy to much.

Then my last planning step at this point is to transfer it all to my shopping list per the layout of the grocery store. I group meats together, dairy, canned items, dairy, etc. This will make it easier to shop.











Tomorrow I will share with you how to shop!

Thursday, April 22

Wednesday, April 21

One week later…


One week ago I poured my Diet Coke down the drain. It was one of the last unhealthy things in my kitchen. The first three days were pure torture. I was dizzy, irritated, shaky, and craving it something fierce. For five days I had a headache, and was irritable and grumpy, and then on the sixth day I woke up early and couldn’t wait to start the day. It was finally over! I have so much energy I can hardly sit still. I have gotten so much accomplished and my children like “the new mommy” better. I still crave the soda, it will take a couple of more weeks for that to go away, but it’s not so bad without the rest of the withdrawal symptoms.

Two weeks ago I stared back to Weight Watchers and exercising 30 minutes a day. I’m not one to do something half- way, but I sure put myself through the wringer this time! I have managed to loose 6 pounds so far and all ready I need a smaller size pair of jeans. Thank goodness I have a few tucked away, and it’s warm enough to pull out the summer skirts which are a size smaller. It’s amazing how much stress can affect you even if you think you are dealing with it well. I didn’t realize I was eating to much. I wasn’t snacking just eating large portions in an effort to control something and not exercising. Now I follow the points system and make sure I am making healthy choices. It’s easy with the online system. I don’t have to get out to a meeting, and I can plan ahead easily to stay within my points for the day. I have done this before, twice. The first time I lost 40 pounds after Fiona was born. The second time I lost 20 pounds after Gwen was born. I was 7 pounds from my goal when I quit two years ago and now I have 15 pounds to go. I hope that by keeping updates here it will help me stay on task and not give up or get discouraged, and I am praying that this time around I’ll make my goal.


Our blueberry bushes came in the mail yesterday! We have been searching for just the right variety for a while now. Not everyone in my family likes big blueberries. But we all like  the small and wild ones, like the ones Betty Crocker puts in her muffin mixes.
We stopped buying prepackaged foods many years ago, but the children still want tiny blueberries in their muffins. So this year I found them!
They are heirloom highbush Rubel blueberries and were originally found in New Jersey in 1912 and are actually better for you than the bigger berry varieties as they have more antioxidants in them.  They  also don’t get all mushy in your muffins because they are half the size of a regular berry. I am looking forward to planting these this weekend and harvesting our first berries this fall if all goes well.

Tuesday, April 20

Saturday, April 17

Garden Progress

It’s the middle of April , taxes are filed, the census is turned in, and the strawberries have flowers! Lots of flowers. I am hopeful we will have a good crop this year. I still have plenty of jam left from last year, so these are just for eating. The children can’t wait, they check them every day, even when I tell them it will be a couple of weeks yet. I just love their enthusiasm for all things homegrown. Fiona especially mention’s almost every day how she can’t wait to go eat beans out of the garden.


The peas and onions, we will plant two rotations of these this year, this is the first.  My husband plants them together because we eat the onions before the peas are ready. Then we will plant again to store them for the winter. As you can see we are still working with the soil, it is terrible here! More like rocks with a little bit of dirt.


The lettuce and spinach. We ate our first spinach out of the garden this week. Our tongues were green, it was that fresh and so tasty!  The potatoes and broccoli are also coming up and soon it will be time to plant the rest. I am so excited for this year, hoping to get much out of this small space we have planted. David has been hard at work on the soil and his composting to get it ready.

007  We still have plans for another garden patch and a raised bed for the carrots. The herb garden is taking off that I started last year. I may even add a few more varieties if the Amish woman has some out on her wagon for sale. I love having a variety for the color and the taste.

I love this time of year! When everything is new and fresh again.

Thursday, April 15

Apple Blossoms

Remember those apple trees we planted last year? Look at how well they are doing! A constant reminder to trust.
We added six more this year, bring our little orchard up to six apple trees and four peach trees. Hopefully in a few years we will be able to eat the fruit. Sadly, this year we have to pinch it all off to ensure healthy root growth. It always amazes me the relation ship of a tree to a person. God constantly does the same things in us, pruning, trimming, pinching, so that our faith will grow and be strong. I have the pleasure of seeing this visual reminder every morning right out my kitchen window.
God has been and is faithful, always.  We are finally seeing the fruit.

It’s been nice knowing you…

Yesterday I quit. I poured my soda down the drain.
Today, I am exhausted, shaky, have a terrible headache, and dizzy.
But I know that tomorrow I will be all right.
Just got to get through today….

Saturday, April 10

Spring Cleaning and random stuff

Today the weather was cool after a few days or 80 degree weather. I spent the day cleaning my house, well really re-organizing. One can’t clean unless it’s all put away. I really should only start one major project at a time. That way I wouldn’t have so much to fix! Nothing is completely finished yet, so I have no pictures. I will post some as soon as I get it done. Knowing me it will take a while with all the things happening this month, plus outside work.

Look what I finally have growing in my Yard!!! I bought these bulbs last fall, and then with everything getting all crazy with possible moving I never got them in the ground. Hubby kindly planted them for my around March first and most of them came up! Aren’t they beautiful? One of my favorite flowers.


And in other news, look who is riding without training wheels!!!

005 015 

Friday, April 9

Lancaster County

  40 pounds locally milled flour,
New straw hats for the summer.
047052 039
New canning supplies. This is the pint size canner, it hold the smaller jars with less water and less surface area to heat. I also picked up a stainless steel funnel, so I don’t have to worry about plastic chemicals contaminating my fresh food. Looking forward to trying them out soon!

Tuesday, April 6

Spring has sprung

It’s 87 degrees here today and doesn’t really feel like spring, but everything is blooming  and it’s so lovely!
Peach blossoms! We are praying there are no more hard frosts or we will loose these again.   
It’s not spring around here without the dandelion's. The children love to bring them to me as presents. I found this one in the kitchen waiting for me to find.

Monday, April 5

Resurrection Day In Pictures




Our table this year. I tried to incorporate as many symbols of the Resurrection that I could. Then all through dinner we can talk about them find the references in scripture. 
We had nails, stones, swords, white, purple, wine(sparkling grape juice), a crown of thorns, 30 pieces of silver, three white candles(for the trinity) dice, lamb, bread, and vinegar in a glass. It was so much fun to hear the children as they discussed everything while eating.
040030   We started off the day with a sunrise service, then Sunday school and church. We then came home at took naps and then I prepared the dinner. It was a beautiful day to celebrate the Resurrection or our Lord!
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Friday, April 2

At lunch today…

David took the day off from work today to plant some more apple trees in the “orchard” and have time to be together as a family before the Good Friday service.

It was so nice to have him here! We all ate lunch together and in his blessing he said “and Lord please hear our prayers”.  

After the amen's, Miles said “Poppa, Jesus must have a lot of ears to hear everyone’s prayers”.

Thursday, April 1

My little sewing corner

I was all excited to finally get this set up the other day. I have two little girls dresses that need to be finished for Sunday. I worked all afternoon and into the evening to get it done. I was glad I was finally getting to something on my list and then I went down to work on the dresses.
You know what; it is FREEZING down there! I wrapped myself up in 4 or maybe 5 blankets while I stitched and pressed the hems. My nose is cold, I can’t feel my toes, and trying to thread a needle was near impossible, but I was so excited to have a space that it really didn’t matter. I know it will warm up and I have all summer to think about how to keep myself from turning into an ice cube later in the year.
I have plans for this space. Of course, don’t I always have plans? :) I love having my machines out all the time. It makes it easier to work on something for a few minutes. I love how the children can be playing and I can see everything they are doing. My table faces the play room section. I love being able to leave a project out in all its messiness and no one sees it! I love that I have a space, even if it isn’t pretty.
This is currently my view when ironing. The pantry storage “room”, with my quickly disappearing canned food, silently reminding me of the work I will need to do come harvest. 015
As I work more on this space I will share all the things I am doing and pictures of my girls in their dresses!


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