Monday, October 31, 2011

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }

The weather in my neck of the woods:
57 degrees right now, feels so good outside.

Things that make me happy:  
A slow easy morning, no rushing

Book I'm reading:
The Secret Life of Josephine:  Napoleon's Bird of Paradise by Carolly Erickson - LOVE historical fiction :)

What's on my TV today:  
Ghost Hunters Live

On the menu for dinner:
Spaghetti and Foccacia

On my To Do List:

Trick or Treating

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Just made some Canned Spaghetti Sauce this weekend, you can find the recipe on the post below.

In the craft basket:
Ripple blanket is growing steadily, it's becoming a beast to carry around by I'm loving it so much.

Looking forward to this week:
Hubby has the day off today, so we're enjoying having him home.  Later it's giving out candy and trick or treating with the kids :)

Tips and Tricks:
Buy produce in bulk if you get the chance, there's many ways to make use of it before it goes bad.  Just think that in 6 months time if you feel like some zucchini and there's none in season, you can just grab a bag out of the freezer and enjoy it :)

My favorite blog post this week:
No blog reading

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
When I first started blogging back in 2006, this blog was one of the first I read and then I lost track of it and just this weekend was able to find it again.  It doesn't get many comments but I LOVE it anyway, matter of fact some of the BEST blogs out there hardly have comments or many readers.  :)   Go on over and visit Farmgirl Fare, you won't regret it :)

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

Can't think of one actually, there's usually so many going on at the same time for me, I'm constantly learning :)

On my mind:
Homeschooling, Christmas

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fresh Produce

I do love me some fresh veggies, there's nothing like it in fact.  But, it can be pretty expensive to stock up on.

When I heard about The 3000 Club Market on the Move, I was so excited.  For a $10 donation, you can get 60 pounds worth of fresh produce, and it varies from month to month depending on what is in season.

This was the first time it was in our area so needless to say, there was a huge turnout and not too much of a variety and by the time we arrived, they were also running out.

But I think we still managed to get quite a good deal for the $10 we donated.


Not bad huh?


Tons of tomatoes, it was around 10 and a half pounds. Tons of cousa squash, cucumbers and zucchini, plus some cherry tomatoes.

It's great to bring home all that produce and still be helping charity, but when you get home, what to do with it all???


First thing, I set to washing everything really well, then got to work.

Four Jars of Homemade Salsa following the recipe on my food blog.

Homemade Salsa

Then I took half of the leftover tomatoes and turned them into some Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce.  I got four jars out of that, you can certainly make huge quantities but for the 4 of us, this was more than enough.


Here is the recipe I used for these and I didn't do the same amounts, I just tweaked it to the amount of tomatoes I was using. The recipe I'm sharing with you makes a WHOLE lot more. (my notes are in red)

Canned Spaghetti Sauce
One batch makes about 10 quarts of sauce

20 pounds of fresh tomatoes
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped fresh parsley OR ¾ cup dry parsley
2-3 tsp. bottled chopped garlic OR 4 fresh garlic buds chopped in small pieces
½ cup olive oil

2 Tbl. chili powder
3 Tbl. Un-iodized salt
2 Tbl. Sugar
2 tsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Rosemary
2 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. powdered basil
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Cumin Seed

Peel the tomatoes and chop them into bite size pieces. Another option is to put your washed tomatoes in the blender and puree them. (that is what I did)

After the tomatoes have been chopped or blended, weigh the tomatoes. (20 Pounds of tomatoes is about 12 quarts)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, green peppers, celery, parsley, garlic, and olive oil in a large stockpot. Note: I can fit 1½ times this recipe in one of my tall pressure cookers.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for ½ hour. Stir it every 3-5 minutes so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Now add the rest of the spices.

Bring the spaghetti sauce back up to a boil and cook it over low heat for 2½ hours. Remember to stir your sauce every five minutes. Roma Tomatoes cook down faster than the other tomatoes because they aren’t so juicy.

Fill your quart or pint jars with the spaghetti sauce. Wipe down the top of the jar before putting on the lid and ring. One batch makes about 10 quarts of sauce.

I processed the jars before canning. If you want to learn how to do that, just check out these Simple Instructions.

While the spaghetti sauce bubbled on the stove, I set to work, washing, slicing, blanching and bagging the zucchini and some of the squash for the freezer.  They keep up to 6 months in the freezer.

Here's how I do it:

Wash and slice the zucchini or squash into about half inch slices, you can also slice the squash into sticks, I do a combination of both really.


Bring a pot of water to boil, then drop the slices in, just do a small batch at a time. Boil for 3 minutes.....


Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.


Drain, bag and freeze for up to 6 months :)

Here's some of the zucchini....


Here's the squash......


So, if you're in the Arizona area, check out the schedule for when the Market on the Move from The 3000 Club will be in your city.

For those that don't have the Market on the Move, be sure to check out your local co-op's, Bountiful Basket etc.  I'm sure you can find a good deal :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{ Slow Cooking Thursday }

Here's a good one if you have family visiting or even if you just want a big weekend breakfast ready for when you get up :)

Slow Cooker Sausage Breakfast Casserole 
Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole
Credit: Jimmy Dean

1 pkg. (26 ounces) frozen shredding hash brown potatoes
1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Hearty Original Sausage Crumbles
1 cup (4 ounces) shredding mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredding parmesan cheese
1/2 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
6 green onions, sliced
12 eggs
1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper


1. Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the potatoe on the bottom of slow cooker.

2. Top with half of the sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes and green onion. Repeat layering.

3. Beat eggs, milk and pepper in large bowl with a wire whisk until well blended.

4. Pour evenly over potato-sausage mixture.

5. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or on high setting for 3-4 hours or until eggs are set.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemaking Routine....Yay or Nay?

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

One of the most common questions I get in my inbox is "Do you follow a homemaking routine?  How do you get so much accomplished and still have time for crafts?".

I thought I would tackle this subject next because I think it's one of those that is talked about a lot, but the answer to this question seems to be varied.  Some swear by routines, others just fly by the seat of their pants.

I think I'm somewhat caught in the middle.

Let me start by saying that when I first got married, I was so scared and overwhelmed with the thought of taking care of a home by myself, that I often wondered if I could do it at all.  So I turned to lists.  I literally had lists for everything, it's like I couldn't take a step without having a list showing me which put to put forward and at what speed to go.

But as I became more comfortable and confident as a homemaker I realized that what works for some, may not exactly work for me, and honestly, I found that out pretty quick, because in my attempt to become like everyone else and feel like I had to conform to some sort of invisible code of Homemaking, I was really not getting anything accomplished and was only giving myself a headache.

The first thing I had to do was sit down and stop to think.  Do I really need a spotless house, do I really want it look like a museum, do I want to be like some of the mothers of my friends growing up who were so picky about the house being immaculate that we were not allowed to play with anything in their bedroom.

I was scared to touch, I was scared to look, heck I was scared to breathe for fear that I would accidentally blow some dust onto the furniture.

That's not me, that's not living, in my opinion.

One of the things that most stuck out in my mind was a quote from Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management:

" THE DAILY DUTIES OF A HOUSEKEEPER are regulated, in a great measure, by the extent of the establishment she superintends. "

Amen!  Because what may be a great routine for someone with a big house and a few kids, is obviously not going to work for someone with a smaller house or apartment and 1 or two children.

But, taking into account what else she says, you can certainly apply it to your own situation and that's what I have done, so here's some examples of how I go about my day.

She should, however, rise early, and see that all the domestics are duly performing their work, and that everything is progressing satisfactorily for the preparation of the breakfast for the household and family.

I'm usually the first to be up.  The first thing I do is set my kettle to boil for my morning coffee, while that is going, I empty out the dishwasher, throw a load of clothes in the washer and set the table for the kids breakfast.  At this point I also pull out the meat from the refrigerator for that night's dinner.

While I drink my coffee, I will sit down and check email, blog, facebook and the lessons for the day.

By this time the kids are starting to wake up, so it's breakfast time.

After breakfast, which, in large establishments, she will take in the “housekeeper’s room” with the lady’s-maid, butler, and valet, and where they will be waited on by the still-room maid, she will, on various days set apart for each purpose, carefully examine the household linen, with a view to its being repaired, or to a further quantity being put in hand to be made; she will also see that the furniture throughout the house is well rubbed and polished; and will, besides, attend to all the necessary details of marketing and ordering goods from the tradesmen.

After breakfast I clear up the breakfast dishes and put them in the sink filled with soapy water.  (I will keep adding dishes throughout the day until there's enough to run another load)

Then I switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and throw in the next load.  I move onto the living room and give it a quick run through, fix the pillows on the couch, pick up any stray toys laying around or books or whatever, just a quick tidy through.

Next are the bedrooms, open blinds, open windows, make the beds, tidy up.

When that is done, I will sit down at the kitchen table and plan the lessons for the day.

This will keep me quite busy for the rest of the morning, then it's lunch time with the kiddos and right after lunch we have schooling.

We're usually done by 4pm, and then the kids have free time to do whatever they wish, while I go deal with laundry....though all day long I am switching from washer to dryer etc.

Then in between laundry and finishing up any school work that I need to go through, I am starting dinner and setting the dinner table.

IN THE EVENING, the housekeeper will often busy herself with the necessary preparations for the next day’s duties.

After the dinner dishes are done, table cleared and kitchen clean, I will give it a quick sweep with the broom, check the menu so I can pull out the meat from the freezer and move it to the refrigerator.

I then move to the bedroom.  One thing my husband and I have done from the very beginning of having children, was to give me at least an hour a night for myself.

Usually it's the time the hubby and kids will hang out, watch tv or play a computer game together.  You have no idea how just one hour of some time to yourself, when you have little ones, will replenish the soul.  It was a huge lifesaver for me when my children were babies and toddlers, it was my time to recharge.

As they have gotten older, that time has now become mine to take my shower and then relax with some crochet or knitting or even watch a show on my laptop.

Image credit: The Shepherds House

Now right at the top of this post, I added the very well known poem.....let's take a look at it again shall we?

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

These few lines were what kept me sane in the first few years of marriage and though I haven't completely stayed with it exactly as time has gone by, I haven't completely dismissed it either.  To a certain extent I still do go by it......matter of fact, if you're just starting out as a Homemaker, it's a pretty good foot in the right direction  :)

One thing I've learned over the years, don't leave all the cleaning to the weekend or to a specific day, doing a few things a day will keep your house clean and tidy and you will soon find that you're having a lot of spare time to do things that make you happy, whether it be reading, writing, crocheting or sewing :)

So how about it?  Do you follow a routine to keep your home in order?
Do you fly by the seat of your pants?
Or are you somewhere in between?

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Still in the 80's and I'm so ready for the cooler Fall temps.  This time of the year always makes me miss Idaho even more.

Things that make me happy:  
My teapot

Book I'm reading:
Back to The Shape of Mercy :)

What's on my TV today:  
Once Upon a Time - want to see the first episode and see if I like it
New Merlin episode

On the menu for dinner:
Have leftover meat from last night so I'm making Roupa Velha.  A Portuguese dish using leftovers, onions and potatoes etc.

On my To Do List:

Change all the bed linens

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
I was sent some seasoning to try out, so I threw something together with the ribs I had and it turned out VERY tasty.

In the craft basket:
Cover for my toaster
Fabric Bookmarks
Ripple blanket for my Ripple Along with Lucy and Heather

Looking forward to this week:
Just a good week of schooling, work for us all

Tips and Tricks:
I use vinegar for pretty much all my cleaning but sometimes I like to infuse it with a little citrus, not just for the scent but for the cleaning qualities as well, so I use lemon and orange peels and place them in a big jar with vinegar, then let them steep.

My favorite blog post this week:
Haven't done any blog reading this week.

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Can't think of one off the top of my head.

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

To slow down, as it is life already goes by at lightning speed and there's no need for me to add to it.

On my mind:
Homeschooling, Christmas

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Old Fashioned or not???

The Homemaker's Uniform is simple, or at least it is for me.

I'm going to talk about the apron today and I'm sure there are women out there who will turn their noses up at this post and think that I've either lost my mind, or I'm stuck back in time, and that is ok because we all have different opinions.

I happen to be falling back in love with the idea of wearing an apron and truthfully, I find that the minute I put it on, I immediately go into Homemaker mode and get things done quicker.

The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she'd found.
Or to hide a crying child's face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best.
-by Tina Trivett-


From Better Baking:

Women ‘officially’ wearing aprons came about the turn of the 20th century, in Victorian England, although most pioneer matrons wore them, and wore them for all the right reasons: to keep their clothes clean from all the hands-on tasks they did. But Victorian England matrons, at home, were the first to wear aprons, on the domestic front (and not really need to wear them at all!) and these were delicately embroidered and stitched. As the 1920’s roared around, women no longer wanted to be solely associated with the home front and aprons, once a symbol of ‘domestic pride’, according to apron author Teresa Coats, were adopted more, as they were first intended, with a utilitarian purpose by those serving the upper classes. In short, the matrons went out to play; the maids stayed in and were bequeathed the aprons.

These days, the only people who wear aprons seem to be chefs and those of us, regardless of age that have the values of another time and generation. Then there are some, like me – who simply, honestly, quite love aprons.


My apron has become a part of my daily routine, I slip it over my head, tie the strings and get to work and I literally leave it on all day long, until I turn the lights off in the kitchen and head to the bedroom. Then it gets hung back up until the following day.

Now I know that it may seem old fashioned, and maybe it is, you certainly don't need to wear one to do your housework or to cook, but for me it's a necessity, it's just another part of being a homemaker that I truly enjoy and I don't have a problem with people seeing me in it.

It's functional, it's pretty and it puts me in the right frame of mind to get my tasks accomplished.


Thinking back on my childhood, I don't think I can envision my greatgrandma and grandma without an apron over their dresses.  I can even smell the mix of cleaners and talc powder when my greatgrandma would engulf me in a hug.

I remember watching with fascination as they would use the apron to carry potatoes from the pantry to the sink where they would be peeled for dinner.  I would mimick it with my t-shirts and always think that one day when I grew up, I would have an apron all for myself, just like that one.

Those aprons had pockets filled with all sorts of things....kleenex, keys, random papers here and there.  And nowadays mine have become the catch all as I move from room to room doing my cleaning.  If you had to take a peek inside, you would most likely find candy, lego pieces and GI Joes.


It's truly become a part of me and I wear it with pride.

I happen to believe that old fashioned is not a bad thing, I've been told I'm old fashioned many times, I've been told I am a real homemaker, heck my own husband told me I'm the perfect 1950's housewife not that long ago LOL

I consider aprons a part of being a homemaker, and I think that might be a little bit of why they tend to be frowned upon at times, I mean after all they have become synomymous with domesticity, they seem to bring forth pictures of women slaving away on a stove or doing farm work.

While some may shy away from that, I tend to feel more drawn to it, but then again I'm the gal that literally inhales anything to do with simpler times, with hard work.

I think it's high time that this tradition of years gone by, be resurrected, not only for the practicality of it but for women to remember to embrace who they are and not ever be ashamed. I have seen far too many shy away from aprons because it makes them look like a homemaker and that's not supposed to be the cool thing......thank the Lord that I was never and never will be one to follow the cool gang.

If wearing an apron every day makes me old fashioned and uncool....then sign up me for that club, I'll just go on wearing cute little aprons and happily living my life.

Look back through the history of aprons.........

Twelfth century:
Guess who wore aprons first? Men, as hygienic, protective wear.

Fourteenth century:
Dark-colored aprons started to be worn tied at the waist.

Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries:
Colors denoted the trade of the wearer. English barbers wore a checked pattern; butchers and porters, green; and masons, white.

Eighteenth century:
The pinafore apron was "pinned" to clothing.

Nineteenth century: 
Cooks began turning the apron only once before washing. Any more, and the stains aren't hidden.

Long aprons cover and protect clothing.

1920s Porch Swing

Straight-line aprons are the style.

Beautiful prints with bright sashes, along with crocheted aprons, make an appearance.

Printed half-aprons tied around the waist, and aprons made of handkerchiefs, are popular.

Full-skirted plastic aprons, and ones with cross-stitch designs, gain U.S. popularity.

Half-aprons with attached hand towels are sure-fire hits, along with aprons sewn with plastic hoops or valance material.

1970 to present:
Barbecue, anyone? Grilling is a popular design or theme for modern-day aprons.

So, now I want to know, do you wear aprons? Do you wear them everyday or just when you cook or just on special occasions?

How many aprons do you have, do you make them yourself?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

{ Slow Cooking Thursday }

Morning everyone, on to today's recipe:

Image credit:  Bellaonline

Slow Cooker Italian Sloppy Giuseppes

1 pound mild Italian sausages
1 pound hot Italian Sausages
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced very thin
1 red bell pepper, quartered then cut into thin slices
1 green bell pepper, quartered then cut into thin slices
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water

12 Freshly Baked Italian Buns
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the casing from the sausages and brown them in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the sausage pieces.

Meanwhile, cut the red onion in quarters and slice thinly.

Core the peppers, quarter them, and slice them thin.

Transfer the vegetables to a 4-5 quart slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper.

When the sausage is brown, drain it well and add it to the slow cooker.

Stir the mixture well and cook 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

15 minutes before serving, skim any residual fat from the top, turn the slow cooker to high, stir in the cornstarch mixture, cover and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Split the Italian buns and spoon the sausage mixture over; top each with 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Goodness, it's been a few days

since I last updated the old blog.

I seem to be getting worse at this blogging thing as I age LOL

I'm still here, just been so busy the last few days, have a very full life right now with lots on my hands, but I'm so blessed to be able to do it all and end each night thanking the Lord for what I have.

 So what have I been doing?

Because I don't seem to have enough WIP's, and because I already have such a boring life, I decided to throw another project into the mix.  I'm doing the Ripple Along with Lucy and Heather, and I'm loving it so much, I'm determined to finish this one :)

Ripple blanket

The days are getting darker earlier so I'm reveling in the chance to light up my candles and enjoy their beautiful glow


Hubby is in the beginning of an inspection/exercise, so he's working 12 hour shifts which means we eat dinner a little later in the day, but we do enjoy sitting down after a long day, talking and catching up


There's always time for a little crafting in my home, I function better when I'm allowed to mix in the usual day to day shenanigans with some creativity


I love how my children enjoy learning even when we're doing the simplest of tasks....last Unit we studied the life cycle of plants, their seeds and how they reproduce, so while scooping out pumpkins we got to review that once more :)


Though I didn't have time to finish both topiaries, I did manage to finish this one with the kid's initials. I couldn't decided if I wanted to do just monogrammed pumpkins or a pumpkin topiary so I figured I would just do both.


and the best part is that you can get a tasty snack at the end....olive oil, garlic powder and salt, it's so good


We also started Home Life for Jasmine today and our first lesson consisted of making chocolate asphalt


it's just like pouring asphalt onto a road and then rolling it smooth....incorporating cooking with engineering, brilliant


and again, the best part is enjoying the results at the end


but in between all of this, I've been watching Period Dramas but most importantly Downton Abbey. How many of my readers love the show as much as I do? Did you know that you can watch the new Season even though it's not scheduled to air here in the States until January 8th of 2012?

You can watch it by going here to Fast Pass, or at Project Free TV. It airs every Sunday and so far there have been 5 episodes, the 6th will be airing this coming Sunday, so go one, go catch up on the new series so you'll be ready for the new one this weekend :)

I think I've babbled enough for today, I can hear my ripply blanket calling my name, so I'm off. Have a wonderful night :)