On the Menu Board

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Here is our menu for the week:

Monday: Tacos – (Yes this was on last week’s menu. The girls went on an overnight and my husband and I went out!)

Tuesday: Salmon, rice, broccoli & cauliflower

Wednesday: Sausage, cabbage, potatoes, onions and peppers

Thursday: Squash soup and bread

Friday: Lasagna and Birthday cake!

Saturday: Beans and dogs and a veggie

Sunday: Baked whole chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots.

 

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Last Week the chili and corn bread were a big hit. I got the corn bread recipe off of the Food Network site. It is the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. It was the best cornbread I ever made. The chili recipe is my own. I literally just throw a bunch of ingredients in a crock pot and let it cook. So easy! So tasty!

I do use dry beans, but cook them ahead of time. You can use canned beans. I use black and red, but any favorite bean would be fine. I try and watch my salt intake and I feel the canned beans have a lot of extra salt.

Chili in the Crock pot

2 qt mixed beans (black, red, pinto, black eyed…)

2 onions

2 peppers

1 lb hamburg (I have also used chicken) fried in skillet with a bit of oil

1 qt stewed tomatoes

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp tumeric

1 tsp pepper

Add everything in a crock pot. Put on high for one hour then turn to low for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with cornbread, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Do you put up a menu at your house? Do you struggle to find meal ideas every week? I know I do. I thought I would share my ideas and if you feel like it you could share yours. Comment below and leave a link to your menu for the week.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Triangles

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I finished this scrappy quilt for my daughter. Not all the fabrics were from my scrap pile, but a lot were. She picked out a few of the fabrics at a quilt shop. I made some of the fabric from some of her drawings. It was risky, because I didn’t really ask her if that was what she wanted because I wanted to surprise her. She loves to draw but I wasn’t sure if she wanted to always have the drawings on show.

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This is the first time I tried a triangle quilt. My daughter saw one last year during a Quilt Shop Hop and liked it. I decided to make her one but didn’t realize there is a little bit more to it than sewing triangles together. After searching online for ideas I came across a blog called Stitched in Color. I loved the look of her triangle quilt and thought her directions were easy to understand and detailed enough for me.

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The challenge for me was lining them up so I didn’t get too many triangles on one side more than the other. Also I got a little obsessive about colors and brights and darks. I quickly gave that up though or I would have driven myself crazy. In the tutorial it really showed how to make sure to keep the points and it worked like a charm.

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On the day I was finishing it she wrapped herself up in it while I was sewing the binding. She loves the quilt. Luckily she likes the drawings and was surprised to find one in there that she drew when she was three years old. She couldn’t believe I saved it.

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Joining Amanda for Finish it Friday! Happy Quilting!

 

 

Another Warm One – In February

Last night we all woke up to a huge clap of thunder. It was pouring and windy and thundering and lightening. It is February 25th for crying out loud! On March 21, 2012 I snapped a picture of the girls catching some rays on Lake Sebago in Maine. It was in the high 80’s. I wonder if this year we will see those types of high temperatures in Spring. I know we cannot stop this warming trend our earth is on. I will mourn winter though. I feel a bit cheated this year.

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I actually like winter. I like Summer and Fall too. I am not a fan of Spring. I know, who doesn’t like Spring? I think Spring here in Maine is ugly. As far as the calendar reads it may be spring on March 21 but usually we do not see it. There is no color. Everything is brown or gray. There is so much mud we have to walk on pallets from the driveway to the house. Which can be a little dangerous if you try to walk fast. Your feet can get stuck in between the wood pieces and you may lose a shoe! I cannot keep the mud out of the house. It seems to be everywhere.

Because we have had such warm temps with intermittent snow and ice and cold we have lots of mud every time there are thaws. It has been that way all ‘winter’ here in Maine this year. Yuk!

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One good thing about these temps is that my greens are growing and I suppose I can start adding a garden section to this blog. It won’t be long before we are eating lettuce and spinach now. With the sun higher and out longer the greens will be growing! Of course I will have to be careful to pull up the sides of the hoops should we have any 80 degree days!

Having fresh greens early in the season is good but I like a real winter. I love to be tucked in and cozy for months on end. I love sitting in front of the fire with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and my knitting or my stitching.

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Poor snowmen everywhere around the state are melting or are long gone. Their little carrots and handmades are floating in puddles. With all this rain my chickens are going to wish they had webbed feet when they go out of the coop.

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I know I am different from the norm because I am hoping for one or two good cold snaps with some more snow. Lets cover up all that mud. Lets have a little bit more time to order those seeds. Lets have some more time in front of the wood stove curled up with a ball of yarn and some needles.

Does anyone agree with me? It is okay if you don’t. Happy Winter!?

 

Buy or Make?

Why do we make things? I suppose there are many reasons. Some are economical, to save money. Another reason is that it is fun and it is a hobby. Sometimes we make things because we can create a better version. Sometimes we make things that are useful. Lucky we are when we make something for all four of those reasons.

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I finished my cowl that I have been working on. I really love the way it came out. It is soft and the colors go well with my hair and coat.  I priced out cowls and found a range from $30.00 to $200.00! I think my one skein of yarn cost me about $22.00 with my store discount.

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The yarn is from Mountain Colors in Twizzle.  It has silk in it so maybe that is why it feels so nice. I can’t say I knit this up better than anyone else could, but I certainly had fun doing it.

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It is still cold here in Maine so I have a while longer to wear it. So now I have useful checked off the list. I guess making this cowl was certainly worth it to me!

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I was in Portland, Maine recently. I went into a little second hand book store called The Green Hand. I found a few books I liked. I finished reading one already. It was a quick read. It is called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. She gives her opinion and backs it up with facts on whether you should make something from scratch or buy it at the store. Some of the ‘makes’ surprised me. I liked her down to earth attitude. The book is sort of like a cookbook and has lots of recipes too, which I always love.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along  again this week. Happy knitting and making!!

Creating Open and Full Minds

 

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What word describes this phrase – Providing opportunities for our children to have open and full minds – . I hesitate to write about this subject because I don’t know how to put a word to it. I don’t want to use homeschooling. We don’t only learn here at home. Our children have attended school. Sometimes one class a week, sometimes once a day, some have attended all four years of high school and some have gone to college. Some have done apprenticeships. I don’t want to use the word unschooling because sometimes I do insist on a subject being learned, like math. I do insist on music being practiced as well because I am paying for the lessons.  Maybe there is a word out there that describes how we do things but I have not found it yet.

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What I do know is that we have provided the opportunity for our children to grow, learn, love, and succeed in their own ways. I can’t say that we always made the right choices or did the right things. My children are all pretty happy, quite intelligent, community minded, strong willed, and wonderful human beings.

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All our children are all so different, but alike as well. They do not always get along, I should say we all do not always get along but there is lots of love.

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We are not a wealthy family. We have never been wealthy and I am relatively sure we never will be. At times we have not been above the line of poverty. We never felt poor though. We always had enough to eat, a roof over our heads. We always found a way to allow our children to follow their path. My husband has always been the one to bring in most of the money. We made the decision very early on that the best way to save money and take care of our children in the best way was to have me ‘stay home’.  I have multiple streams of income. Sewing, cleaning, taking care of elderly people, even selling eggs are some of the ways I make money. I also trade eggs and produce for other types of produce that I don’t have the room to grow. I work with my kids in tow, on weekends when my husband is home and here at the house. I do not put in many hours for pay but it is a help. It allows for the lessons and the ‘fun’ things we do.

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We all have a love for learning whether it be reading, gardening, music, sewing, cooking, politics, art, science, philosophy, or building. It is fun to watch how the learning evolves. To creating a newsletter and sending them out to friends and family, to reading and studying Nietzsche. To picking up the guitar and learning scales to recording music. Learning to make spoons to building a Yurt. To playing imagination games about a story you have read to learning to shoot a bow and arrow. To drawing people to creating a map of a town. To learning to sew to making a quilt. It is all amazing.

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We tend to learn together. Directly or indirectly everyone seems to be involved in everyone else’s projects. We talk a lot in this house. There are lots of discussions. Lots of conversations. Lots of arguing. Again, lots of love.

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I wish I would have written down all the things that I myself have learned along the way or learned from my children. I feel like I have been ‘homeschooled’ right along with them.

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It is quite an experience mothering, guiding, watching them learn, and loving them so much along the way. I am in awe of them all. Of course there has been sadness, frustration, and confusion, but there is happiness, peace, and content as well.  No matter what age you are you still learn. No matter how old you are there are things you haven’t done. We teach our children without even trying and they also teach us. We all are creating open and full minds.

 

On the Menu Board

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Although I am no chef I do love to cook.  I am the main cook for my big family and they love to eat. Luckily they usually like to eat what I make. On Sunday afternoon I set aside time to create a menu for the week. It isn’t because I am super organized. The main reason I post a menu on the bulletin board is that I get tired of telling each person what is for supper. Seems like they still ask but now I just point to the board. Have you ever told someone what is for supper then ten minutes later someone else asks and you answer “You just asked that!” and the person says “No I didn’t that was so and so” ? I forget who asks me and I get a little tired of answering five or six times.

 

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Another reason I post it is that my husband is great at remembering to take out anything from the fridge that needs to thaw. I am not great at remembering to do that. Before we head up to bed he will look at the menu and take out the hamburg or chicken or whatever needs to thaw for supper the next day.

 

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It can be a challenge to come up with meals because I love a little variety. I don’t like having the same thing week after week. Plus I want the meals to be healthy. Most of our meals are made from scratch so it takes a little extra planning. I think it would be helpful to have different meal ideas to pick from every week. I hope that if you make a weekly menu (and you read this blog) you would be willing to share yours. I am making Monday my menu sharing day.

 

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Here is my menu for this week.

Monday: Chili with cornbread

Tuesday: Steak Fahitas

Wednesday: Teriyaki chicken on the grill with asparagus and brown rice

Thursday: Goulash (American Chop Suey)

Friday: Pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and onions and carrots and applesauce

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Beef Roast with roasted potatoes and broccoli and cauliflower and rolls

 

A Meal that worked really well and everyone loved last week was Thai Noodles and Stir Fry Veggies.

Here is the recipe:

Thai Noodles

Various stir fry veggies, like Bok Choy, onions, pea pods, garlic, carrots, broccoli…..

1/4 to 1/2 cup Soy sauce

2 Tbsp of Thai paste (mild)

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp oil

First thing soak the noodles in hot water.

Cut up veggies and start cooking the hardest vegetables first in a wok or deep pot. In my mix it was the carrots. Then add the next vegetable that takes longest to cook. Keep adding until all veggies are in. Mix up the soy sauce, Thai paste, honey and oil. Add to the veggies. Cook for a bit longer and transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Add some soy sauce and oil to wok and put in the Thai noodles. Stir and cook until soft. It shouldn’t take long if you soaked them. You can either add the veggies at this point and serve or you can put noodles on each plate and then add the veggies. Serve with extra soy sauce and a little hot sauce for those who like it a bit more spicy.

I think it would be fun to share your menu for the week. Tell about a meal from the previous week that worked really well and why. Maybe even share a recipe. Does that sound fun? Until I have added the Linky Party link I would love for you to leave a comment with a link to your blog post with your menu. Thanks!

If you see a meal in my menu that you would like the recipe for let me know. Enjoy your week!

Final Push

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Full steam ahead on this sweater I say. I am finally finished with a quilt that my daughter was waiting for. I am not quite done with the shirt I am working on for myself. It has frustrated me so much I have put it in a time out. It is beautiful in the arms and yolk but the back is so puffy and baggy. I have tried darts, and bringing in the sides and it still looks like a maternity top. Not that I don’t like those. I loved wearing maternity clothes when I was pregnant. Loved being pregnant. But I am not expecting and I don’t want anyone to ask if I am thank you very much. I think a little time away from the shirt will be just what I need.

I started The Book of Tea. It isn’t just about tea and the ceremony surrounding it. It is a book about Japanese philosophy and art. I like it. It talks about Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Thanks to my sons and their love for philosophy I am understanding this book quite well.

I am putting away the socks and the shirt so that I can push ahead on this sweater. It is called February Lady and it would be so nice if I could wear it in February! Happy knitting!

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along today.