Monday, January 28, 2013

Soap and Soup

As much as I have wanted to stay on top of my blogging, I have not been able to do so.  Aside from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I have also been busy with schooling and trying to work on getting my little business off of the ground.  Planning and preparations take up a lot of time.

I have been soaping like a crazy woman, trying out different fats and fragrances all leading up to the launch of my line of soaps, lotions and salves.  I am hoping to be able to set up at the local farmer's market.  I have already set up my web page and will be gong live with it in a couple of months, but I want to be more active with my community.

I wanted to leave you with a new recipe.  I made this today after dental work so I would have soft food to eat.  I served it with broiled garlic bread.

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken)
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained and pureed in a blender

Melt butter and add all chopped veggies.  Cook until veggies are soft.  Add flour to veggies and mix.  Cook for about a minute.  Add broth and cook, bringing to a low boil, to thicken a bit.  Add sugar, spices, basil and milk.  Cook, again, to thicken, bringing back to simmer.  Add tomato puree and heat through.

Serve each bowl with Monteray Jack and/or Parmesan cheese.  Add crusty bread and raw broccoli as sides.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Long time, no write.

Dear readers, if you are still following me after all of this time, I thank you so much.  I have all but abandoned my blogs.  I have had little to no time for blogging.

Our home school has settled into a sweet little routine and the kids are doing beautifully.  Last I updated, we had just pulled the kids out of public school.  That was an adjustment and a half, but we got there.  It's been wonderful getting to know my babies all over again.  They are each so unique and interesting.  I feel lucky to have this time with them.

I am also working on getting my soaping business going.  I am building up a stock to take to the farmer's market in the spring.  We want to sell soap and our garden veggies.

Speaking of our garden, it did not do well this year.  Two summers worth of failure is starting to wear on us, but we will try again next year.  We think we know what the problem is.  We had no rain this summer, like much of the country.  We used the water hose and I am pretty sure that the water is killing our plants.  Our local municipalities add a lot of chlorine to our tap water.  We don't drink it for this reason.  I am hoping to get rain barrels put out next year so we do not have this problem again.  We did put in a fall garden and got a great yield of mustard, kale and collard greens.  We tried lettuce, kohlrabi, swiss chard, broccoli and cauliflower.  They did not do as well.

I have been working on our food stockpile this summer.  It's not anything like what I want right now, but it has us about a month ahead of the game.  I fear the food prices will increase soon because of the drought.  I don't want to be caught without enough food.  I have also been dehydrating some of the fruits I catch on sale.  I have dehydrated strawberries just waiting to dive into some tea.  

As a peace offering for my extended absence, I would like to share a recipe with you.  

Sausage Cheese Breakfast Biscuits

2 cups flour
¼ cup shortening
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp  baking powder
1 lb. sausage
2/3 C of milk
1 1/2 C of cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients until blended.  I put the ingredients into my food processor.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 18 minutes, until light golden brown.  These freeze very well, too.  Serve with eggs and fruit.  My kids love them.  The taste like sausage balls.  Mmmmm.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope to be back here soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kids Corner Time!!!

I have been working like a mad woman over the past couple of months. I have been looking for just the right way to educate my kids. So many people use so many different things that it can become hugely overwhelming. I did decide on a prepackaged curriculum. It is a wonderful package, but I am finding difficulty in using it because of it being spring and the syllabus starts with the fall. I may just put it away and go back to what I was using before I bought the curriculum.

The web is full of wonderful resources. One that I found was created by a homeschooling mom for her boys. She shares everything from her lesson plans in hopes that you can use it to meet your children's needs as well. In looking over it, I found that I could use several aspects of it, most of which was the literature and history/geography.

The books you can download from her site are now in free domains so you can download these books, print them, read them online, whatever you wish. I save them as PDF as often as possible and download them to my Kindle. Many of the books are formatted for Kindle. She uses Project Gutenberg for her books and a few of them are on blogs and other websites. I looked on Google books and found a few of them for free there. It's all in how much work you are willing to do.

Either way, if you are growing weary of the selection offered to today's youth, hop on over to Miss Maggie's site. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Old Fashioned Education

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wanting to start sewing again.

I really do enjoy sewing. I did a bit over the Christmas holidays, making gifts for my children. I find it difficult to get inspired. I don't want to only sew at the holidays, so I decided on something to do that will hone my skills and help out other people.

Locally, we have a pregnancy crisis center. They do great work making sure that low income women have the help they need to take care of their babies. We all know how expensive it is to raise children, especially just starting out with basics for babies. Diapers alone can cost a small fortune and with as quickly as they grow out of their clothes you can find yourself coming up short if you are without a job or not making much money.

I thought I would make burp cloths, bibs and blankets. Sewing a blanket is much easier than you might think. I made my youngest a security blanket for Christmas and it was very simple. I also crochet and have made a blanket. I don't do fancy, just functional, so while I think my work is still pretty, it definitely does the job. So, this is my plan and I hope to be able to share pictures with you in the future. Do you sew and donate your wares?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kids Corner Time!!!

In the spirit of trying to keep my promises, I am posting a link for another fantastic site.

Do you remember Highlights? I do, although most memories consist of my reading these magazines while at the doctor. I can remember the magazine pretty vividly and that one of my favorite things about it was the hidden picture puzzles. I remember looking for every Highlights I could find and "solving" all of those puzzles.

Well, Highlights now offers a bunch of the puzzles on a website free for the printing. These would be a great thing to have on a long car ride. You could make a whole book of them if you wanted and give it out when the kids start crying, "Are we there yet?". So, here you go. Enjoy!!!

Highlights Hidden Pictures Printables

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kids Corner Time!!!

As I have mentioned in the past, I am home schooling my kids. It is an endeavor that keeps me busy not only educating my children, but also researching for fun and/or educational resources that cost little to no money. I prefer the latter, especially in this economy.

I am also of the mindset that most of the entertainment geared toward children is simply too mature in content, especially if you have an advanced reader like my oldest child. I keep looking for old, classic reading material and activities that are appropriate for my children and sometimes that can prove to be difficult.

Yesterday, while doing one of my searches, I came across a site that offers recordings for children. Most of them date back to the 50s or before. I felt like I hit the jack pot for auditory entertainment. There are things the kids recognize (like Looney Tunes) and many things the kids (and I) have never heard of. Some come with pictures that are scannings of the book pages, some have words to the music and some just have the album cover picture. Look for the link at the end of this post.

I am going to try to post a new resource on Mondays so you can use them in your own home classroom through the week or with your babes in the evenings after dinner. Hopefully, you will find these resources as useful as I do.

Kiddie Records Weekly

Monday, March 7, 2011

I promised I'd write more, but...

My life has been a little crazy. Between the holidays that were so wonderful and starting our homeschooling, I have been running around like mad. Please accept my apologies for being absent.

I really don't have any tips or tricks for today's blog. My house has been neglected as of late. I need to kick it in gear and get cleaning. We pulled the kids out of school in January. I was going to give them a few weeks to decompress before I started with them and I needed the time to get an idea of what they needed. Well, the little munchkins decided they wanted to get started and between that and everyone gtting sick at different times, it threw my schedule off.

In the state of Indiana, you have to have 180 days of instruction. The days they were in public or private schools count toward that goal. The state doesn't really check, but I am an honest person, so I keep my day to day attendance log. I decided we would do a six week on two week off schedule. It will give us more than the state's requirement and the children and I will not experience the burnout that I so desperately want to avoid. Since they wanted to start early, I was able to end early and we get a month off. Yay!!!

I need this time to get my house spring cleaned and to get better aquainted with the new curriculum I purchased. I am very excited about both. For one, my house has been closed up all winter and I am ready to air it out. Second, the curriculum is so artsy and full of nature, it can't help but be enjoyable.

We have also started gearing up for spring, but you'll have to hop over to my other blog, The Good Little Housewife's Homesteading Adventures. There are many interesting things going on in our backyard.

I will be back soon. I am going to try (I really mean it this time) to keep one or both of my blogs updated. If you can't find me here, try the other one.

Talk to you soon!!!