Under Costruction.....


Just like life building (rebuilding) a blog is a journey.... please stick with us as we make this blog better. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lemon Kind of Day - Updated

Well I am sad to see the last of the fresh lemons go....but they were so wonderful to cure a bit of the winter blues while they lasted!  We were able to make lots and lots of fresh lemonade, even raspberry lemonade one day with frozen raspberries.  I used fresh squeezed juice on chicken and in salad dressing, zest on veggies, lemon bread and lemon coconut bars and now I have just finished putting the lemon rinds in a large 2 quart jar filled with vinegar and I have checked on my preserved lemons everyday.

You would think that one might get a little sick of lemons...but we haven't, in fact we all laid around last night and lamented on  how we should call the sweet aunt and run down and get some more....you know...run down as in a state away.....doubly good, I little out of town jaunt and bring home fresh lemons....

But I guess we will have to make ourselves happy with the preserved lemons and that fresh lemony smell when we spray the cleaning vinegar on our cleaning surfaces after sitting and steeping for the next four weeks....and it looks so pretty on my counter that I started a bottle of orange peels soaking in vinegar!  Fresh smelling and natural cleaning supplies that won't joke us to death when you spray them. You can visit My Old Kentucky Homestead where I got the idea from.  Love the internet!!!

I also researched and studied how to preserve lemons since my hubs had been in Afghanistan and had enjoyed a recipe that called for preserved lemons and he wanted to make it at home or us. So off to the one and only Arabic store we could find in the big city....we learned quite a bit there....and enjoyed some melt in your mouth roasted lamb kabob...

mmm.....getting hungry....

we ended up not getting any of the preserved lemons at the time because 1) they were a little expensive and 2) I didn't know how to use them except or that one recipe. Now, I know not only how to use them, but to make them. It if you can cut a lemon, you can make preserved lemons, or limes if you prefer! 

I don't know why I hadn't heard of these before because when I researched it......preserving citrus fruit has been going on for centuries in practically every country that had access to citrus fruits, including the United States!  This just made me realize how much I don't know about the world, and my own little world!!  The US tended to pack them in Vinegar while the Middle Eastern and North African countries tend to pack them in salt, which is what I did. The preserved lemons can be used in sushi (which I have been experimenting with the last couple of months), fish and chicken, ceviche, ice cream and venison...Yes, venison!! Which will be good, as it is time to put in for our deer tags and we are all hoping to draw out to fill our freezer once again!

...and now....I can't find my pictures..that for once...I took...how maddening! FOUND them....thanks to my #3!

But I can tell you it was a success because all you do is lay kosher salt on the bottom of the glass jar after gently scrubbing the lemons.  Cut of the blossom end (and the little knubs if you are using Eureka lemons).

The cut length wise into the lemon making an x, but not cutting all the way through. You basically have a quarted lemon that you now put 1 tablespoon of kosher salt in, covering all over.

Layer in the glass jar, tamping down as you go to release the juices. Keep layering until about an inch from the top. At this point I was really pushed hard on the lemons to get the juice covering the lemons and to put more in there, as I was only going to do one jar to see how it went.

Cover with another tablespoon of salt, and add fresh squeezed lemon juice if there isn't enough.

Then cover and let sit at room temperature for a few days, after which you can store them in the fridge where the should last for a year or longer.  Leave them be for 3 - 4 weeks and then use to your hearts content! You could also water bath them or ten minutes if you would like them to sit in your pantry.

I can't wait to use them in this Moroccan Chicken with Lemons and Olives recipe. I drool every time I see this recipe!

You ca also visit this site or more ideas on preserving lemons.

Now if you'll excuse me...I am going to go enjoy a lemon coconut bar..

Lemon Coconut Bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cold butter or margarine
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan with coconut o
2. In a bowl, combine flour and confectioners’ sugar; cut in the butter until crumbly 
3. Press into the bottom of a lightly greased. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
4. Then, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and baking powder until well mixed. Pour over crust; sprinkle coconut evenly over the top.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars....if you can wait that long! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

{Minute Monday}

Did you remember through the week that change is sometimes imperceptible?  Or did you constantly have to remind yourself, like I did every few minutes, like I did?

Bus I did learn a few things...

1) A good way to get a major appliance cleaned out underneath of..... say, lint, lost change, buttons, chewed gum and sunflower seeds is .....to have it break down. All clean...and thankfully, it is back up and running.
2)Potty training may be easier then you think, if you do nothing, go nowhere and commit to running to the potty with your twins every 15 minutes and dancing crazy everytime they go.
3) The paci/binkie/bobby/pacifer was easier to ditch then I thought.
4) Having church at the 1 pm block bites when you have babies that need to have a nap....but are instead up at 1:30 am to play because they finally got their nice long nap at 6:30 pm, which in the end will be good because you will get all your laundry done and folded while baby happily giggles and plays like no big deal that the rest of the world is snoozing.
5) Your husband will be the sweetest thing ever when he says....."go ahead...go back to bed", and then stays home to make sure that the oldest five get off to school on time dressed, fed and happy (well, maybe just the elementary students are happy!)
6) When and if we get our little homestead farm.....there won't be any going back to bed for me...or the animals will not be happy.

7) Making preserved lemons is easier then making lemonade!
8) I would rather cook and eat at home, then at a restaurant. Thank you dad, really, it was sweet, but I always feel heavy and awful after your well meaning gesture.  And the quality restaurants that are out there...are beyond your's or my budget when feeding a family of 10! You're the best.

I'm sure there are more things that I learned, but I am getting old...and for lack of sleep...can't remember all of them, but I do know the older I get the more I have to learn.

Thank heavens!

And thank heavens we have the internet to have all the information we want at the tip of our fingers and can pretty much learn anything we want......

If you have a minute, you can go to The Prairie Homestead and read dozens upon dozens of amazing women sharing their knowledge. I love it!

Or go to Forgotten Way Farm  for a chance to win drying rack, campfire cooking, videos and more! You know I did!

Or if you have ironing to do and need some interesting tv and/or talking going on...like I do...go watch Fresh, a movie about the food industry's failure to honor nature's way of providing food through old fashioned practices. It can bee seen for free through tomorrow.

And tomorrow, I'll share pictures of my preserved lemons!! Now for one last class of fresh lemonade. 

Photot Credit

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The ABC's of an Abundant Life

A is for Attitude

Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said:

“Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”

We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.

B is or Believe in Yourself

Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.
You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.

C is for Courage

There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win!

Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.
Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

You can read President Thomas S. Monson's message in it's entirety here.

Wishing you a restful Sabbath.

Friday, January 27, 2012

{Frugal Friday} Second Go Around - Stir Fry

Fridays are going to have to be a quick and easy post.....because

because...the hubs is home on Fridays, and even if we don't have an agenda for the day....I need to be his....call...

I mean beck and call girl.....that's how we roll!

And as I type this I am still feeling a little guilty that he was on his hands and knees...belly really....

scrapping the floor with a knife at the kunk that collects at the baseboards...because that is where the kids push it when they mope....and well...it is on my to do list.....but I hadn't gotten quite there and.... a quiet lunch today with my friend without having to corral little twinners or canoodle the baby....sounded wonderful....so I ran...and I mean ran out the door and came home to the hubs offering up some love.  I'll take it, I'll do the floor next time the overnight visitors come..

or in another year or two.....or after the hubs decides to do it again.

But I will get over the guilt real quick...like right now and share with you a quick recipe for a second go around dinner.

Doesn't that sound better then left overs?

Remember this yummy recipe? This to die for Marinated and Bacon Wrapped Venison (or other meat) steak. Yes, so do I, my mouth waters all over again thinking about it. Well I still had several left over steaks from Sunday dinner...because I hid them from the man child. But there were only a couple so I needed to make the dinner stretch for all ten of us...

What would you make? YES...that is what I did....I made Stir Fry!! Is there anything better? Other then Marinated and Bacon Wrapped Steak courtesy of Jill over at The Prairie Homestead?

So we (I) sliced up carrots, broccoli, onions, a little celery and red peppers and threw them in the cast iron skillet with hot sesame oil, in the order that I typed as carrots take the most time to cook. After a good couple of minutes, add in 1/3 cup hot water and let the veggies steam until the water is boiled out. 

During this time you can slice the meat nice and thin, once the water is out, toss in the meat and give it a good shake. And then add in the following...

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (from the mother)
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
These need be in no special order, but I always put the liquid in last, stir around and then thicken.

I served with rice and had to stop myself from eating more then my share. I make stir fry whenever I need to stretch the meat...and it is healthier....and most the family will eat it..unless their is seafood somewhere hidden in it. Silly children.

Second go arounds are always the best in my book but I also made these the other night that were oh. so. finger. lickin. good.

But that is another conversation as I am still getting over my guilt of eating the little devils because of all the msg laden broth pumped into them...and a slight headache to go with it. But they were good, hopefully you can get your hands on pastured chicken drummettes. But we'll talk later.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

{Goin' Back to the Farm} Take Action Thursday

I know KNOW that so many of you are so busy with kids and work and farms and LIFE!

But here are two small things to add to our ever ready to do list, but can help make a difference;

First, "Like" us,  Goin Back to the Farm  on Face Book. A page dedicated to obtaining and helping to secure the future for pure and nutritious food from farms and ranches that practice healthy stewardship over the animals and the earth. As well as sharing article on sustainable practices and spreading the news about the falsehoods and lies from the government, big agriculture and corporation farming that are a danger to each one of us, our country and our earth as well as future generations.

Second, sit down with a glass of fresh lemonade, herbal tea or even raw milk and watch 
Fresh, which is free or the next week, and then join them in helping to educate our family, friends and neighbors.

There, not too much to ask right?

Now I must go finish my ever growing pile of ironing.

photo credit 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Roll Your Eyes if you Must....My Ode to Cloth Diapers

This morning as I strolled through my house (after rushing to get dressed since the youngest two school attendee's missed the bus and returned home in tears and I needed to take them) shutting off lights, picking up wet towels, turning off radios and shutting bedroom doors so I don't have to see the disaster they left in their room....

{seriously is it that hard to get dressed and ready in the morning? I know their room was picked up last night.  And does organized and order skip a generation or two? And how do I help me one wee one that likes to be organized...when her two sisters do not?}

and then started folding and preparing the cloth diapers for the day.....yep...you heard right...cloth diapers...

You're not the first to gasp, giggle, roll your eyes...the fam already did that and a few friends expressed their dismay....however, 

I thought I would share our (mine and baby's...since no one else is really venturing into the whole adventure with me...yet) experience so far. And wouldn't you know it...the ad for the G diapers is on my blog....coincidence...I think not!

So far so good.  I love them and Baby seems to be happy in them. First, she has a tendency as have all my babies to have rashy bum when they start table food. I personally believe that the disposable diaper was part of the reason, so I bought natural chlorine free diapers (with this last baby, but before it was just slap on the ointment liberally) because I thought that cloth diapers wold be too hard and gross and  time consuming.

{I still remember my youngest brother's diapers being left in the toilet to be cleaned out all the time...and when you only have one bathroom....that can be a problem...a HUGE messy problem...because what did I or my siblings do?  We just plopped it right out on the floor.....yep....that's right! As a mom now I can understand that would have been so irritating...but that's what you get when you have a house full of kids, one bathroom and you leave a poopy diaper in the toilet...nope not one ounce of remorse....I will work of repenting on that a little latter...}

and the smell of the diaper pail...UGH! No thank you.

But as I started shifting (dragging) towards a more natural lifestyle, I started looking into it before this last baby was born.  In fact my hub's cousin does...she has this website making and selling cloth diapers, and I was serious until I told my better half the cost....yeah..that was a big ole no.

But then late Saturday night when we were perusing the aisles of our local grocery store late at night looking for a somewhat health ice cream (we found it...gelato...in case you were wondering )...we also call that date night.

And at the last minute remembering we needed diapers...we found these....gdiapers! Not only are they cloth, but they have a disposable inner core, if you want to use that on the go...that is...get this...flushable!!

Here are their own words..they say it best:
                "gDiapers keep baby’s footprint teeny tiny. gRefills are the only diaper to be certified 100% biodegradable. A disposable diaper that truly goes back to the earth, rather than sitting on top of it. Or use gCloth, a washable insert option that’s as gentle as an ocean breeze."

I got four different diaper covers, the cloth diapers and the disposable inserts to start...and they had coupons on them! BONUS! I figure I am always, always doing laundry...so no worries about having a larger stock at this point....but I may. So far baby has only pooped when I have her in the cloth insert, but that hasn't really been a problem since she is still nursing a majority of the time...but I know that will change. The idea was to put on the disposable insert when she needs to poop in the morning....but so far...she is keeping me on my toes!

The inner disposable liners can also be composted (after you dispose of the poop) further heeding our stewardship to the earth or thrown away.  I also like their philosophy to business and families. You can read more here.

AND let's not eve get to the chemicals and the nasty stuff that makes up a disposable diapers....you can read more on  this website if you care and want to know about the gory details...and they will make you gasp. Now to get the twins fully potty trained.

My #3 informed her #1 sibling that she would be using these when she had babies as he made fun of me.....that's okay...I know I will get the last laugh.  One day he will care, especially if he sees his dream trough of working for the DWR...and he sees what those pampers do to his mountain....and that something of my cares and passions are being transferred on to my kidlets.

Tell me what your experiences are with cloth diapers...including your funny don't really want to remember them growing up stories!

Love yer poop cleanin up earth friendly mom guts...

photo credits

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sigh or Freak Out.....

I am not a perfect mother...there I have said it...it is out...sorry to blow your minds....
My baby really doesn't really look like a gnome in real life.

Whatever, all that know me.....are laughing....as I just posted this morning that I forgot my #5's kindergarten spotlight.....I don't know how...it was boldly typed out on his calendar that has a prominent place on our fridge.....and I even thought about it last week....and yet I did forget....and not only did I forget....I am late...very late...it was due yesterday morning.

So late last night while my hubs finished the dishes (which he should, I fixed him chicken fried steak...in coconut oil mind you), I ran to the store to get the necessary spotlighting paraphernalia and then proceeded to go through 20 years of pictures to find the last and only six yeas of his life.....and can I just tell you all I miss my little babies, yes I know I still have babies, but when I look at those sweet chubby angelic faces and stubby little legs...my heart just melts....because I remember when.....

and then we cut to this morning as the other sweet chubby angelic baby boy turned to towering over me man child stormed out of the house....because....because....I sighed over something that his teenage mind has once.again.put.off.and.is.now.late.and.will.be.forgotten.and.lost.and.then.I.will.have.to.nag.to.get.it.done.again. and.he.will.say.I.am.freaking.out.AGAIN!

...and he forgot his freshly made lovingly prepared egg sandwich.....in a huff....

Now let's just say I didn't freak out this morning...but...

yes...but...I have before....and sadly, I probably will again....because you see....

I had to learn to be a good parent, a good mother...and sometimes I forget that....a lot

It was easy to be a blissfully happy and good mother to a teeny tiny little bundle of heaven; snuggle them, rock them, kiss them, adore them, sing to them....no problemo.....

They didn't talk back. If they were crying I knew how to soothe them, pat them, burp them, change them, feed them and love them till they were cooing again. Admittedly, I have had wonderfully colic free, easy going stress free babies...till mctwinner #1, she changed things up....but still...I didn't view her as hard...just more needy demanding, and #8 has been by far the sweetest most easygoing baby along with #3, #4 and #5...and #7.  I just have really good babies.

And then they turn, oh about, three, eleven, fourteen, or seventeen,  sometimes two, in the case of one of the twins.....and then the learning curve begins all over again...and again...and again....over and over.

You would think that I would get it the second time around, or at least the third, however, each of my children are so different that I have had to learn something new. How to let one fly, how to make one of them more secure, how to push another to be a little more, to refrain, to push and prod, cajole and sometimes bribe into making good choices that will affect them further down the line.....and I still have a long line to go down.

Or just to bite my tongue...that would probably solve a lot of problems.....

But I don't, sometimes I freak out (except this morning...no freak out) and forget that I am the parent that is in control and knows what I am doing and that I understand my children sometimes will make choices that I do not agree with and that they will have to live with the consequences. Except, that I think that I will have to deal with a mess one way or another, so I will just make them mad now and then not deal with the messy consequences later ad they will thank me later for it.

Life and agency doesn't work that way, #1 reminds me of that all the time, like on a daily and sometimes hourly basis...he is much too much like me. (There I have admitted it!) Just like the Lord gives me freedom to choose my own path, I have to give my children {a little} room to make their own choices, and to learn and grow.

BUT IT IS HARD!  I MEAN HARD! to let them make stupid choices that down the line will make no sense to them...but I must, I must.

And here is where I am constantly reminding myself that it is okay to still be learning as a parent, and if you think that you know it all....well then....good luck my friend.

It's okay to make mistakes as a parent, as long as we are just as quick to tell our kiddos we are sorry.

I tell my kids that I wake up praying for them in the morning and repenting for myself at night...and that they forget that their mother is still learning and that she isn't perfect.....

but that she loves them more then anything else in the world, that she would walk on hot coals and lay her life down if necessary for them....because that is what imperfect and freak out mothers.....parents do.

I wish for them that when they become parents the learning curve won't be as steep as I the one I climbed...because...I showed them the way and kept the path lit and that I am not quite the freak out they thought I was.

But until then, I will just have to remind myself that as long as I do a little better each day, that that day was  a success. Much like learning to eat Traditional Foods or deal with cloth diapers, or return to the farm....a little can go a long way.

And hopefully the little things like Butter Sauce for Gingerbread waffles or German pancakes or like Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast...will erase my freak outs ...or that I make them eat oatmeal.
Butter Sauce is so easy but something that they will remember you took the time to make. Minutes to make and no preservatives or HFCS in it!

So love and hug and rock...even the 17 year old....little buggers while you can....they will remember...

Butter Sauce

1 cube butter
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (the thick stuff on top, not the water part)
1 Cup raw cane sugar

Combine in heavy pan and bring to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

{Minute Monday} Imperceptible Change

" We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more [Christlike], that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a life time pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible." President Ezra Taft Benson

Aaaahhhhh......doesn't that just make sense?! and make you feel better?

change is slow, almost imperceptible...

that's how I feel about the 8 babies' baby weight hanging around my middle, and butt...and legs....and arms...okay okay it is everywhere.....but I am working on it.

Imperceptible change is how it has felt as I work to change my family over to Real Food....and only hear complaints, moans and sighs....accompanied with the occasional , all the time eye rolling. but the more I do it and the more they eat purely delicious food, the more they like it. And let's remember that, almost four of them are young adults...even if they liked it...they most likely wouldn't let me know.

Imperceptible is a good word to describe our creep to find our own farm (homestead).....

..and....it is a good word to describe sometimes my feeling of lack of spiritual growth...because I am stubborn and forgetful and slow to remember...and stubborn...did I say that?

But I have learned a few GOOD things over that weekend.....that I will share quickly, before kiddos get off the bus....

1) Wintergreen Essential Oils work small miracles on teething babies.....along with putting it in my humidifier with Lavender and Eucalyptus.
2) Marinated and Bacon Wrapped Venison was a huge success, picky eater #2 and #3 asked for seconds and stated that I could make this each and every time we eat venison...thank you Jill at the The Prairie Homestead
3) It still snows in Utah
4) My #1 is a pretty amazing kid - almost adult - even if we are so much alike that we clash over everything.
5) I still get butterflies in my stomach when my mister looks across the room full of people and smiles.... just at me.
6) Potty training stinks...and I need a miracle...because  progress seems imperceptible.
7) And while we are potty talking...I bought cloth diapers...YEAH ME! so far so good.....even after the first diaper change.....was a big ole poop......but I will follow up with you on this subject.
8) And talking about yellow...I found an amazing recipe for homemade mustard! Can't wait to try it1

Until then......just remember that sometimes change....especially good change can be imperceptible. You can read the article here in The Ensign where I read the quote.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just a Little Deeper

 Just a beginning note...this picture has noting to do with this post...but one of these cute girls was insistent...

I am going to just come out and admit it......I didn't even make it 24 hours before I had bent (okay...broken) one of my goals for shopping and eating local, but I had good reasons.....

I was serving just beans last night...and I had already fed the husband oatmeal for breakfast...and now I was going to be serving him meatless tostadas..so I bought avocados....

Yes, I know avocados are good for us...and I could eat a whole one with just salt and pepper....

but they are neither in season or local.....

but it was the lesser of two evils (not really evil...until you have to listen to everyone complain about your dinner, yall know what I mean, after you have worked so hard)

.....Hear him complain......or give him something more tasty.....

and props for him...he didn't complain......but maybe it was the fresh lemonade that the girls made...sunshine is a glass!

SO....I worked even harder today to try and meet some of my goals.......

let's just say...it wasn't good.....but as Scarlett said....there is always tomorrow!

Instead of ruminating over my failures...I have been going through our 72 hour kits.....

again..not so good.....

let me paint a picture for you....

my six year old has size 2T pull ups in his pack...and the younger three.....don't even have packs....but hopefully by the end of this weekend, we will be well on our way to being prepared.

After all....we live in a earthquake prone area, a flood zone and just a month ago we watched our town ripped apart by 100 mph winds that left a wake of damage and our home without power for several hours.

This wind storm left us realizing that we needed to work a little harder in being prepared, not only or ourselves, but for our neighbors as well. Over the next three days as we started cleaning up on our street ad then through out the weekend as they cancelled church on Sunday so that we could extend service even further and help those that could not help themselves.

Storm Damage News

There were two take aways from this devastating storm.....1) We were prepared...but not as prepared as we need to be, and 2) the trees on the golf course seemed to take the worst hit.

Do you wanna know why? Well I will tell you why?

The trees o the golf courses do not have to work very hard to get water to their roots.  Their roots are surface dwellers, in my humble opinion.  Now many trees were lost on this storm and some seemed perfectly healthy with deep roots and all, and by the forceful power of the wind...they finally fell...but they held their ground for as long as they could.  Whereas the trees on the golf course wee the first to go....ad they took up all that was with them, whether it was grass roots, other trees, bushes...it all game up, roots and all.

I thought a lot about this through the weekend and then preceded to discuss it with my mckiddos....and we all came to the same conclusion....that we go through hard stuff to make us stronger.  That by having to sink our roots down deep in the and sometimes really look for water...aka....knowledge and the truth, and even sometimes going without water for a period of time and that really makes us stretch and look, we appreciate what we have so much more.

My kids got it! Until I reminded them a few days later and asked.....how deep do you want your roots? Not very deep at the moment....but I hope that through the coming years this story will burrow under their memories and they will be able to dig down deep and know that anything worth wanting or doing, takes something deep within ourselves.

So now I have to remember that myself, these things that are worth going the extra mile for, or that are hard and sometimes show our failings and shortcomings, like breaking a resolution less then 24 hours later...will take work and practice and searching....but it can be done and that after the storm (whatever the storm is and sometimes a mountain high pile of laundry can seem like that storm) you will still be standing and be even stronger.

So I will try a little harder the next day, sending my roots just a little deeper.

And to celebrate my roots...or rather my husbands....I leave you with a recipe from The Prairie Homestead Blog Marinated and Bacon wrapped venison.  It smells so good!! I didn't grow up hunting or eating venison, so this has been a learning curve for me, but as time goes on, I have realized that it is so much healthier for us and that I am excited to find wonderful recipes that even my kids will eat because even though they have grown up with it...obviously not enough!!  But they will, they will!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crossing Over


I have officially crossed over....

crossed over to the dark side....the side that is often misunderstood...the side that I thought was kooky...

the side my husband and family call....

wait for it......tree huggers...

the side that talks and thinks in terms of food...that side that I wished I had studied earlier....the side that is making daughter #1 call me a food nerd...which is better then a food nazi....which my husband has referred me too...remember soup nazi...yep....that long ago...

The side that believes in the sanctity of pure food... not processed cardboard junk...the side that sometimes looks a little wild eyed as they watch the latest government move to control food....

but I can't help it......I was already on the path to a better pattern of eating,  and thought I was making better choices.....then I watched this...

Food, Inc 

has altered my view of food, the big corporations that run these food monopolies and the government. I already questioned the government being my over all guardian...but this stamped it closed for me.

After feeling frustrated and helpless as I felt like my hands were tied because of the prohibitive cost of trying to feed a family of ten not only nutritiously but on Real Food and because...don't forget...I live in a town home  that plowed under our community garden so that they could build some ugly box homes (another story for another time)...but I picked up myself....and realized that even small changes are a start.

So here are a few....

  • Create a garden...even a small one...and work on starting another community garden.
  • Buy local and only in season, no more buying tomatoes in the winter because we are longing for that warm sunshine sweetness that is only an illusion in tomatoes form Mexico...or even California.
  • Purchase meat and eggs....even if it is only small quantities...from local resources....not from a grocery store, on a side note....I had felt better about myself for buying chicken that said minimally processed, nothing added, go me...and then my #3 suggested we go to their website...um...yeah....the chicken may be minimally processed but they are still bred in the same horrific conditions that have made farmers allergic to antibiotics and produced chickens that are nothing more then walking breasts...
  • Add a lot more veggies to our diet.
  • Sign up and support Farm to Legal Defense Fund.....even five bucks a month will make a difference.
  • Start writing letters on the school lunch program....I already hear my kids complain about it...but I am sure it is even worse then they or I imagine.
  • Continue to educate myself on food....and anyone else that will listen...or I can pin against a wall!!
Do you hear that groaning in the background?  That is the hubs at work thinking about his wife that has drank the koolaid...metaphorically.....I really don't drink that stuff.... and wondering what is next?  First the plastic is going and now the meat? NO, NO...I still believe in meat....I love a big ole steak, lamb chops...(yes even lamb chomps), almost any kind of fish or seafood, pork, venison.....and you name a couple of other meats and I have probably tried it....but they will be Real Food...meat that is grass fed, chicken that scratch for bugs and worms...and on and on...and yes, honey dear.....I will still have you eat less meat, and more veggies......

Please bear with me, yes, dear, I am talking to you and to you out there in blogosphere..as we continue our journey back to the farm...it may be longer then it like, I may be taking more detours then I want, but maybe that is all for the good, maybe, most definitely I will appreciate and be ever so grateful, when and if I make it to my goal...my dream.

To live on our own farm, to feed my family with pure God given materials because we work hard and we work together to make it work.  We don't go to the grocery store to just pick up a cellophaned Styrofoam package of grain and soybean fed meat product...but yet again..that is  story for another day...

Start small, but start somewhere....love ya are what ya eat guts....

Veggie Lasagna

12 whole wheat/whole grain lasagna noodles (I want the machine to start making my own...aaahem...hint hint)
1 carton whole ricotta cheese
1 cup whole cottage cheese
3 cups marinara sauce (I use my own bottled...or you could make it from scratch ..or you could buy a healthy one in a bottle..whatever works for you!)
1 egg
1 cup of mushrooms (I used canned)
1/2 onion
1 red or green pepper
1 small package of spinach
1 lb of colby cheese (and yes..I need a cow..because I know how these poor dairy cows are treated)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

and any other veggies you want to throw in there.  Cook noodles according to instructions. Lightly saute onions, peppers and mushrooms (I threw garlic in there too), thaw, rinse and then squeeze water out of spinach. Mix veggies with ricotta, cottage cheese, 2 cups of sauce and egg. (I did it all in the pan to dirty less dishes.) Pour a little sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 pan, layer 3 noodles, then veggie mixture and cheese, repeat three times. After laying the last of the noodles, cover with marinara sauce, remaining amount of colby cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Serve with warm french bread......

the hubs said it was restaurant quality....not anything that he would order....but restaurant quality...thank you I think....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I did something today...I just can't tell you what, but I know that I did something...I feel it in my bones.....though my house probably doesn't hold a clue of what I did....probably because the mckiddos came home - thank heavens - probably because I made dinner and #3 made (or started making and then she jetted off to Young Women's...and I was left holding the bag...or rather the cupcake pans and batter...which is okay because I will be partaking of some of the wholesome summer taste of key lime cupcakes)...and probably because we are only half way through January and we are already sick and tired of old man winter...who just arrived like yesterday.....and probably because I have dressed one little mctwin like 4000 times...and most likely, but probably because my baby girl has been cranky...which is such a rarity...and I do mean like this is the second time she has really been cranky....with the cotton pickin dad-gum teeth (why do they have to be so hard?)...but probably because I was up at 4 am with baby girl and when I tried to lay down on the couch after turning on the dastardly disney channel...naked mctwin #1 decided t climb mt Kilimanjaro aka  my kitchen cabinets....yep..that is probably why.....or maybe, probably that I tried to do too may things too late i the day with too many babes and dogs under foot

it was because I was in a rush to get home that I backed out of the bank drive thru to go through the ATM to do my business in such a rushed-hurry-get-out-of my-way kinda way...that the ATM refused to work.....

...and I can't tell you how many times I have told my kids to not be in a rush so that they won't have to do things a second time. SO something that should have taken 3 minutes took twenty minutes as I tried to explain to the bank teller that I wasn't pulling a fast one on them....really...I wasn't...

So the lesson learned today is that, probably, most likely....I 'm pretty sure...is take your time...the rest will come....

SO make you some cupcakes, sit down with a good book and then slowly eat every last bite and lck up all the crumbs....while disney channel rages on...(ok ok...I was really The Housewives of Beverly Hills......what can I say?!)

You can find the recipe here on Tasty Kitchen....

am pretty sure I will be eating the rest one the kids have hit the sack.......

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunshine in the Winter...and other things I learned this week: Tasting Heaven

Have you ever thought back on your youth....and hoped that no one will remember what you said or did?

Oh good, it's not only me that feels like I am still growing up or waiting for someone to tell me that I am a grown up!  I also hope that the ignorance of my youth (and yesterday) will be forgiven and forgotten.

However, I am amazed everyday at the things I still learn and wonder if I couldn't have learned so much more...if I had been open to it....and didn't think I knew it all......or at least pretended like I did.....

Sooooo...just to show you that I don't think I know it all...though my mister sometimes insists that I act like it....

Ahem......I do not.

But here is what I have learned just this week....

I cannot possibly ever get enough kisses from my baby baby, or enough hugs from my almost 18 year old....or hear my kiddos laugh.

That there is human hair in some commercial made bread...l-cysteine.....I don't think I want to buy bread anymore...

...and that your two year old cyclone can pummel your rising bread in 2 seconds flat...or at least the portion nearest the counter edge.....while you blog.......aaahhhhh....deep breath.

back to the hair in our bread.....GROSS......

18 year olds can and will eat anything.....including cellulose and l-cysteine....they just don't think about what it is as my oldest stated.

That the more I ask the above little cyclone to quit beating the drums with the cymbals......she'll just to it louder and harder.

That the said oldest will open up every cabinet, the fridge, freezer and pantry...and then declare there is nothing to eat in the house.

Teenagers do not think they need to wear coats in the dead of winter.....(this isn't new....it was just re-affirmed)

Homemade Hawaiian BBQ chicken pizza is the very best pizza there is...unless is Thai Chicken Pizza.

That you can put carrots in you bottled pickles in the place of Alum.....because Alum is not good for you.....but, um.....I won't be throwing out those bottles that contain Alum in them......that is blood, sweat and tears...okay...okay ..it wasn't that hard!

My oldest baby girl is the bomb at basketball....and life guarding and will jump in fully clothed without hesitation when she needs to save a dad and his little girl.

That mashed french bread will bounce back in the oven and only I will know what happened.

Cleaning dog poo off of shoes makes me gag...and not just a little.....I can deal with horse poop, cow poop. chicken poop, baby and twinner poop...but not dog poop.....time to change the dog food.

But most importantly, fresh lemonade tastes like sunshine in the winter.....

And thanks to the hub's sweet great uncle who brought some up from his great aunt in Arizona...we have been in Heaven...or at least tasting it.

It makes me crave warmer weather and a lemon tree in my back yard......the kids have wanted a pitcher of it every day....I had to hide some so that I can try and make some preserved lemons like they do in the middle east.

I am sure that I have learned a lot more this week, but I have already forgotten in my old age....so I will leave you with the best old fashioned lemonade recipe there is. Can be used or limeade as well, thank you Betty Crocker......my go to to book.....

2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cup sugar
finely shredded lemon or lime peel
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice

Make the simple syrup base by heating the sugar and water to almost a boil and then cool. When cool (or stick it in the freezer like I do, because we aren't very patient). Add to lemon juice and zest and then add equal parts water.

If you were all fancy and proper, you could add a rim of lemon sugar and a lemon wedge......

I also squeeze and freeze the juice of the lemons if we aren;t using them fast enough...but that usually isn't the case....

Happy Heaven tasting...love to all....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Desires in a Nutshell

Yesterday was one of those thinking days, it didn't start out that way, it started out as I have to get all this stuff done so that I could could blog about how I was going to save the world with the groundbeaking words I wrote..

I don't believe that either....

but still I was going to write something so I was poking about on other blogs, and I found an amazing blog...and I liked what she said and how she said it....

she said it better then I do.....and she gets to actually farm, or as she says homestead.....which is a perfect description of what I want to do...and she is beautiful.

You can read her blog, http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/our-homestead, I plan on making it a regular habit.

Either way, I felt myself near tears and frustrated with what I had or didn't have depending on how you look at it...and wondering why....

I've wondered why for many years.....

I have listened to many complain about living in a small town (either when we go back for the small town old fashioned fourth of July celebration, or over the internet thanks to modern technology.).... when my family and  would give our eye teeth to be back.

I have heard many complain about the pains of being  a homeowner and aren't we just glad that we don't have to bother with that (we are homeowners...just of a town home.)

I have taken it to the Lord and repetitiously asked for a way to sell our town home and live a simple "homestead" life......and  I am still here asking the same questions....

I don't have answers but I do know that thankfully the Lord is patient with my lack of faith and failing eyesight to see the bigger picture that he must have for our family.

This is more then apparent as in Sunday School we studied in church Lehi taking his family into the dessert at the command of God. (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 2) I have read these chapters many times, but never had it hit me before that Lehi had had to be prepared to just pick up and go into the wilderness with his family with little preparation time. First, he didn't question God, he just did it, so he knew by the Spirit that it was the right thing to do, second, he was already prepared. This must have meant a lifetime of doing what he was doing, unbeknownst to himself. When I put myself into his shoes, he must have thought that was just the way his life was and that he accepted it, going along and learning and training for what would be in his future, but he had no idea what was in his future. He just put his trust in God, that He knew best and that all would be well. When the time came and he was called...Lehi was ready...and he went.

Now for me, I need to be the same, I must have faith that my family of ten living in a town home and not the farm I want has its reasons. (and yes I fully realize, almost daily, that more then half, probably more then 80 percent of the world would give their eye teeth for my heated, air conditioned, installed clean running water, 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, swimming pool containing, maintenance free landscaping in the middle of the a great state that has skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing just to name a few things just minutes away, smack dab in the middle of a democracy loving republic.) Reasons that seem to be beyond my comprehension (or lack of it).  I must believe somewhere, somehow that the Lord has a plan for our family, one in which being where we are is the right thing.

And with that being said, I must be patient and go about m life and be prepared for....whatever comes along...

how do I prepare for that which I do not know will happen?

Good queston?

I think for me that I make Christ the priority in my life that I pray and listen for guidance and then act. I've known this, but it seemed to feel it with more clarity yesterday after reading the Prairie Homestead and then talking to my sister (who always buoys me up!) that all  can do or now is to not only dream of my little farm, but be prepared for it when (and if) it comes; and even though I felt like never blogging again after reading about such amazing women ...I can blog...I can....about how I do it...

how I keep sane with 8 kids and 2 dogs, trying to "homestead" in my little town home...and what  and how we do what we do....and really who said I was sane?

I hope that you will stay with me for the journey, I hope that many of you will send ideas and comments and thoughts on how to do it better...or just read to see if it really happens......I hope that you will help me keep it real and just blog about what I know and how I reconcile my desires and dreams with my reality.

It's alot to ask...but there it is.....

my sister said don't quit.....so I won't....since she is amazing...and I look up to her...

And there you have it, yesterday's momentary pity party in a nutshell.......

and since we are talking about nuts...the crazy kind that is..not the male form....

I will put this simple recipe out there...simple s always good, but just because it is simple doesn't mean it has to be plain. No way, I am all about good food from around the world...different recipes and such that it sometimes drives my man insane...see a theme here.......

nuts....and healthy.... and REAL food. Period.

Thai Peanut Noodles (in less then 15 minutes ad for pennies)

4 servings, double, triple as necessary if you are like my family

8 oz of thin spaghetti, prepared according to package

Reserving 1/2 cp of the pasta cooking liquid, mix with

5 T organic peanut butter
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 cup green onions.

Add to pasta, tossing to combine and topping with slivered scallion greens.
I also added a handful of peanuts, if you want to make it a meal instead of a side, just add chicken and sauted veggies.


A nut just trying not to crack....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Perplexing Ponderings

The hubs, my hubs...says that I think too much. Often telling me hush during movies, quite guessing the endings, don't jump to conclusions with the book, take it with a grain of salt..........but I don't, I can't. Like most women I know, I over analyze EVERYTHING! On one hand this makes me very good at reading between the lines, because I am watching, listening, feeling, tasting (just kidding) what goes around me so that I can lay in bed at night and ponder over everything that happened; why I didn't say this, why I should have said that, why did she do that, should I have done this, did I have something in my teeth, did my child really have to pick her nose at that moment ......and eat it, am I a good mom, am I my mother, do my kids know how much I love them, was dinner nutritionally sound, why did I eat those nuggets, how many more diapers will my almost 3 year olds poop.....get the picture? And I know it goes on in my sleep as my mister had told me that I have conversations with him at night.....and sometimes I can remember every vivid detail of a dream that has me wondering in the morning what I need to change that day to get me back on track.....

...on track...that's a whole other issue...

Thinking can get me in trouble, because I often I say what I am thinking...not always good....but I am learning...you would be surprised about how much I have learned not to say.

But often thinking can lead to good things...such as new year resolutions....or over thinking, whatever you want to all it. This year has been nothing knew.

I have pondered my regrets and list of things that I failed to get done, get through or ignored, depending on how you look at it and I have now been pondering what I want to do with this spankin brand new year. Here is my list

  1. Throw out what we don't use.
  2. Fit back into the clothes that are piled into a bin that you wore more then six years ago...the bin is taking up room in my closet, but
  3. Be happy in my skin, don't worry about the  tire hanging around my middle, until resolution #2 is met.
  4. Finish a half marathon, just t say I did so that I can fit in with the crowd.
  5. potty train the 7 month old since I am potty training twins
  6. See my oldest graduate and not be a blubbering mess as he heads into the world....without me...
  7. Watch my oldest daughter go to prom....and not bawl when I see her in her first formal dress which is just  precursor to an eventual wedding dress. (I am startin to tear up now!)
  8. Find a farmhouse...and be happy if I can't
  9. Make sure my kids know how much they are loved...even when I am yelling my head off
  10. Keep my house in order...or at least appearing to be so...when the mister walks in.
  11. get the stupid crumbs outta my computer so it will type decently!
  12. Grow closer to my Savior through more prayer, more pondering and more scripture reading.
  13. Touch my husband more...yaya, with eight kiddos you would think there had been a lot of that....but nope, ask the hubs, he's deprived he says
  14. Cook all of Julia Child's recipes in 365 days an blog about it.......jk, its already been done, and fairly well I might add.
  15. Get dressed in the morning in something other then lounge wear....aka....workout clothes
  16. Blog more consistently,like in the AM before anyone wakes up......
  17. Enjoy more Italian Cream Sodas
  18. Finish the 10 books I have either started writing (or have composed in my mind)...starting with "it's ok to hate your mother...but you will eventually have to get over it."
  19. Don't eat store bought bread...it has boiled down remnant of human hair in it......um, yuck.
Maybe this list would be better.....parts of mine is starting to bring me down....

"This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again."
- Howard W. Hunter
If I can do that then all will be well with my world......or better.
I am still seeking my "farm" but I am also trying to be happy with what the Lord has given to my care and let my ideas of what should be go......not easy, but worth a shot....and maybe to share it as I blog.
Finding time to blog and keeping my house in functioning order is where I struggle.  I blog because it makes me laugh...at myself...and hopefully y'all laugh at it too, because crying gives me a headache and I do more then enough during the happy times. and to help me see all the good in my life when I start to think too much. But I want to know how yall do it?

How do y' all do it?How do you blog and keep your daughters hair done, let alone our own? How do you blog and manage get cleaning, laundry and ironing done? How do you blog and put  dinner on the table? How do you blog and keep the crumbs form getting under your keys? How do you do it all....and be happy?

Because as of this  moment...while I blog...none of the above is done...I did brush my teeth....but all my hard work for the last few days looks for naught. Tell me how you do it?!

But maybe I can get me a farm this way or maybe you can....one of us should get it!!! It's worth a try!

Or at least get a chance at  winning cute free stuff here.  Cutest girly girl headbands ever......and heaven knows we could use some help with all the girly girls hair around here!!  Nothing like winning free stuff to perk up your day...


a dry hot cocoa mix that will melt your socks and make you feel all warm and cozy.....

I said I wanted to get healthier by eating more naturally and fit into my jeans....not give up chocolate! And by making hot cocoa mix, I can do that, there is no creamer made from soybean oil, or soy lecithin or preservatives......it's a start, along with a smaller mug!

Love your new years resolution makin guts!

Our Favorite Hot Cocoa

4 cups of sugar (or use powdered sugar)
1 cup cocoa
1/2 t natural sea salt
1 1/2 c dry milk
3 t vanilla powder

Mix all dry ingredients together and store in an airtight container. When ready mix 2 to 3 tablespoons in 8 oz of hot water. Top with real whip cream and heaven is almost right there!!! I love this hot cocoa...but my mister is still craving the ultra good ultra smooth ultra thick store brand mix.....it has hydrogenated oils in it...aka...creamer.....not good for you, so I will be trying to find a way to have that creamy goodness that my husband would probably pay money for.....I want to know! He wants to eat healthy...he just doesn't want to taste the difference! HA!
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