Happy Halloween and This Week’s Menu

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Trick or Treat? It seems like Halloween, the ‘holiday’ gets longer and longer every year. We started celebrating on Saturday. With Halloween on a weeknight, a Monday no less, any parties needed to be planned for the weekend. And party we did. The girls and I, with a friend, went to a Halloween party and a dress up Contra dance. Tonight the girls are out with dad going house to house. Visiting with friends, knocking on doors, and going to a haunted house. I expect there will be some very tired girls tomorrow.

I am home with my son. He is playing music and I made a pie. My first apple pie of the season. I had a home made but frozen pie crust in the fridge so I decided to throw together a pie for the adults here that won’t have a big bag of candy.

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I dressed up this year. I usually don’t. Maybe it has something to do with having daughters. We did it together. Maybe it is because I am older now and don’t care what anyone thinks. What ever the reason, it was fun.

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I am the gypsy on the far right. Our friend is the squid.

Here is our menu for the week!

Monday:  Spaghetti and tomato sauce with salad

Tuesday: Pork Teriyaki with rice and brussel sprouts

Wednesday: Fried chicken, squash, and salad

Thursday: Vegetable Soup and rolls

Friday:  Noodles Romanoff and green beans

Saturday: Chili

Sunday: Whole chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots

Have a wonderful week!

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Forcing Tomatoes to Ripen

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I realize the gardening season is pretty much over, at least here in the Northeast, so it might seem weird to be talking about tomatoes still. In the beginning of October I felt it was time to start finishing up with the plants that were not going to be covered up. It has been a warm fall (again) but I knew it wasn’t going to be warm forever and any day we could get warning of a frost and I didn’t want to be scrambling around outside in the dusk trying to pick all my sensitive vegetables.

Even though the tomatoes were not ripe yet I brought them in. Many of the tomatoes did ripen up. We made salsa, sauce, and froze some for future use. For some reason though, this year, many of the tomatoes did not ripen up. I had a lot of tomatoes. It was a very good year. It could have been the heat we had in September. I read that extreme heat can hinder the ripening of tomatoes. They like it between 75 and 80 degrees and the temps were up to 90 during some weeks in September.

I read on a gardening site that you could force ripen tomatoes. I was a bit skeptical. I was quite surprised though because it has worked wonderfully. So far I have only had to throw away 2 tomatoes. I had tons of tomatoes. To only loose 2 is amazing. They don’t ripen at the same time. That is very helpful. Halfway through I made a tomato soup. Enough to freeze! I am about ready to make some more or maybe another tomato sauce. Of course we have been eating them in salad and soups too.

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So this is what I did. Wrap each tomato individually in paper. Place them in a box. Add a few apples. Yes, apples. They emit a gas called ethylene and it makes fruit ripen. Cool, right! Anyway after you add the apples close the box and put in a warm, but not hot place. I kept my boxes right in my kitchen.

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See the difference already? This was after about four days. I took out the ripe tomatoes and put them on the counter. This minimizes rot.

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About a week and a half.

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I took this picture just a few days ago. I started out with four boxes and now I am down to one.

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And a huge bowl of nice ripe tomatoes is sitting on my counter. I guess that is another way to extend the season!

Now off to make some more soup!

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Menu and Quick Roasted Veggie Recipe

Did you ever have those weeks when you finally sit down and look back on it you get tired just from the memory? I have had a few weeks that have been like that. I am finally getting caught up. It wasn’t even anything big or thankfully serious. A combination of being away from home for a whole weekend and having visitors (including my three sons at different times) threw me out of kilter for a while. I have been mentally drained from the growing pains of young adult men. I have been physically tired from all the running around. It really doesn’t take much to get me all unorganized and overwhelmed. I am hoping I am back at it now though. I do have a menu and even a recipe to share.

Super Easy Roasted Vegetable Sauce for Pasta or Rice:

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This recipe is so easy I wish I could make it every week. I probably could except that most of my family would probably get sick of it. The ingredients are only what you want. I used onions, garlic, peppers, fresh tomatoes (not canned), zucchini, summer squash and basil leaves. I cut everything up in big chunks. I left the garlic cloves whole. Place all of the veggies on an oiled baking sheet. Set the oven on broil/low and placed the pan on the lower rack of the oven. Keep checking to make sure nothing is getting too cooked. When things look soft and there is some liquid on the bottom of the pan it is done. You could transfer it all into a pot and keep warm while your pasta or rice is cooking. You could just eat the veggies too. Add salt and pepper to your individual plate. So easy and so tasty!

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Here is our menu for the week:

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday: Indian Cauliflower Soup (Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday: Pork loin, mashed potatoes, squash, and broccoli

Thursday: Speghetti and clam sauce

Friday:  Beef Stew

Saturday: Chicken fahitas

Sunday: Hamburger patties, cubed sweet potatoes, and green beans

Enjoy your week!

 

A Pair of Pillows

I planned and finished a pair of pillows in a week! That is quite an accomplishment for me. It was very fun too. I used Crazy Mom Quilts’ pillow tutorial. It was easy to understand. I love those step by step tutorials. Perfect for me.

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Just like in her tutorial, Amanda advises to quilt it with a batting behind it. I did and I am very happy with it.

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My pictures look better taken outside but the pillows are for inside. They will go in the chairs that are right in front of the wood stove. Even though it is 70 outside right now (in Maine!) and the grass is really green still, it will get cold in a matter of weeks. I am getting ready the only way I know how. Sew!

Happy Sewing!

I am joining Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts today.

 

 

Education Journey

I don’t talk a lot about what my kiddos are doing for school or learning here. It certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. Boy is it happening. Right now as I type the two girls are out in their tee-pee they made out of branches, plastic, blankets and twine. Very rough and simple but fun for them and they like it. They are cooking their own home made naan over a fire they started on their own. They brought me a taste of the bread. It is very good. Yesterday they did almost the same thing only they made tea and bread on a stick.

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Of course earlier today we were driving into town to drop off one of my daughters to the Jr. High for her 45 minute strings class. My other daughter and I went for a walk and then sat in the car listening to an audio CD. I also read books to her but this is what she wanted to do and I am happy to sit, listen, and knit!

We do a variety of things. I read a book out loud to the both of them every day. I don’t have to make a big deal about ‘discussing’ the story because it happens all on its own. All my kids have always asked questions and voiced their opinion about what they think about without any prompting. Now getting them to write it down? That is a whole other subject. No pun intended! Writing is not a top priority for kids, at least not mine. Of course they know how to write and they do write things. They write stories, newspapers, cookbooks, and letters. They also type. They have blogs and they recently learned to do Google slides. They write when they want to and about what they want. So I don’t complain.

We don’t have a ‘school’ day. We do have a routine of sorts. I wouldn’t be able to function without one. In the afternoon we set aside two to three hours of time that we do things together. Some days that is a field trip. Sometimes it is working on a subject that they have picked to learn about. We are working in the Geography coloring books and learning about the continents and countries. They also wanted to learn about biology spurred by the introduction of the microscope last year. I found a really nice Biology curriculum that didn’t break the bank and is full of lots of hands on activities. We have all been having fun with that. Sometimes we go for a walk in the woods together. Sometimes we watch a movie! We don’t usually do the same thing each day. Variety is a good thing when you are learning, I think.

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Freedom is another important thing. I don’t insist on much. I ask them what they want to learn. Luckily they always have such good ideas. Sometimes what they pick works out great and there is interest and fun and we learn a lot. Sometimes things they pick sounded fun but ended up not being what they thought. It is okay to stop doing something. Not everything works out. They know there isn’t a whole lot I insist on. Mostly what they do are things they have thought of or things I have suggested and they also thought it sounded neat.

They both do math. One prefers doing problems out of a book with help from me when needed. The other likes to use a CD math course called Teaching Textbooks. It gives one problem at a time and is great at teaching and explaining. They do math almost every day. Math (and Reading) things I have always insisted on. Luckily I didn’t have to ‘teach’ my kids to read. It kinda just happened because they wanted to learn it so badly. Knowing how to read and do arithmetic will help with learning everything else. And much of it can be learned independently.

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When the kids were younger we did a lot more reading together. We did a lot of crafts and art. They are a older now and the things we learn together are more challenging. We play games, do experiments, go on trips. It is different. So much easier than when they were little. Some of the things I miss, like cuddling on the couch after stories or cooking together. Those things happen, but not as often. They are much more independent. Just recently I was sewing and they both joined me downstairs and needle felted the night away. We weren’t doing a ‘project’ together but we were ‘together’. It was nice.

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So that is a little bit about our journey in education. Life really. How about you? How do you learn with your family?

 

Monday’s Menu

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Autumn is here and I love it. Of course you have heard me say that already and probably are sick of hearing it. I am really enjoying it though and trying to savor it. Walking through the woods is so nice with the fresh crisp air. The girls and I went into our own woods recently and of course I didn’t bring my phone or camera so missed the chance to share with you in pictures what we saw. I will try and describe it though. We heard Grackles up in the trees. Many of them. They were jumping/flying from tree to tree. There must have been hundreds of them. They were making so much noise. Honestly, what came to mind was the movie ‘The Birds’.  I wasn’t scared though. It was amazing. By the time we were back to our house they had moved on. So glad to have been in the woods to see them.

Lots of leaves are turning now. I have been in the mood for soup! How about you? Well this week we are having one. I can’t decide which to have though. I have both beets and leeks in the garden to use. I could use a Beef soup bone I have and make a Beef, beet Borscht or I could make a Potato Leek soup that everyone loves. I think I will put them both on the menu and decide when the time comes! Or maybe you could help me decide. What do you think would be good?

Here is our menu for this week.

Monday:  Pizza

Tuesday: Beef, Beet Borscht or Potato Leek soup

Wednesday: Baked Pasta and sauce

Thursday: Broiled boneless Chicken with rice and veggie

Friday:  Beef Roast

Saturday: Chili and bread

Sunday: Chicken ala King Home made

Have a great week!