Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Short and Sweet

I have fifteen minutes to kill..not enough time to go over Algebra with my son, but enough to jot down a few here goes.

I graduated from know the weight-loss group I have been with for the past six months...I have held my own for the last month and a half and feel secure that I can continue the journey without attending the classes.  I am still journalling and will continue that til I die.  However..I joined my brother's weight-loss group called Thrive.  I sat through his first class over the internet and feel like I am back in weight-loss boot camp.  Let's just say I think Thrive is harder to figure out than Prism.  Right now I am starving and have no clue what I should and should not eat.  It doesn't help that it is the end of the month and my cupboards are just about bare.  I decided to not journal with them this week because I can't bear to hear them tell me that I keep "blowing it" with my food choices.  (Thrive is all about portion control and pairing up your food so that you get the best metabolic burn.  I can handle portion control, but my pairing up food categories is not going so well.)  I have already lost another pound and I really don't want to lose anymore weight. 

Other than that, we are on the verge of Spring Break.  The boys are finishing up their courses for this week and I can actually see the end in sight with their studies.  Bonnie is applying for a job today.  A gal we know has applied to be the city pool manager and has requested that Bonnie apply to work in the concession stand.  This gal also manages the city pool in the next town, so Bonnie is applying to work there as well.  We are hoping she can work at both pools.  Next week, Bonnie will be taking the Compass test at Wenatchee Valley College.  If she passes then she can attend the community college next year.  Fingers crossed. 

Today we give our house plans over to our friend who is an architect to draw up the blue prints. Another step forward in the process of having our own home. 

That's it..short and sweet.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We Did It

We submitted the paper work to the bank on Monday to see if there is any way possible to buy the property on the Chumstick and build a house.  Now we wait.  I don't feel very hopeful, I feel very anxious, and trying hard...very hard...not to think too much about it which is almost impossible.  It's hard to wait. 

Add to the stress and anxiety over the property, I have been overwhelmed with homesickness.  Todd keeps encouraging me to buy a ticket and fly home, but there is no way I am going to do that.  I mean, what if we DO get approval.  We will need every penny avaiable to us.  During one of my very homesick moments I did find a very good deal to fly the whole family to TN in August.  Like $300 a ticket...unreal...but not very pratical.  That was one of the tradeoffs in moving here.  We were never able to visit the PNW when we lived in the East and now we can't visit my folks.  Thank goodness for modern technology that allows us to skype, chat, text, and talk.

On top of that I am feeling like a failure with our homeschool year.  Yeah, I know, this is a very depressing post.  Sorry about that.  I just need to vent it out right now.  Anyone reading?  Anyone?  I have definitely decided to do the virtual academy next year.  My one bright spot has been Bonnie.  She is blossoming, succeeding, thriving.  We didn't fail her as parents or as teachers.  Whew (wipe hankerchief across forehead)!  Her math teacher told her to tell us thank you for teaching her how to FOIL and factor.  She and one other student who had Todd as her math teacher for the past two years are the only students who know how to do those two functions.

So we wait, fret, pray, and rest in God's capable and faithful hands.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Little Brag Session

Is it wrong to brag?  If it is, don't tell me, because I want to brag just a little.  Bonnie is doing absolutely fabulous in the public high school.  Periodically, I check her grades online and saw that she is currently ranked #1 in her class out of 104 students.  Again, she is doing great.  She is also so busy.  She is starting to get a cold, but we are both "willing" it away with salt water, honey, and herbal teas.  She doesn't have time to be sick.  Yesterday's schedule was this - up at 5:30 for her Bible reading, 6:00 shower, 6:30 chores, 7:00 breakfast 7:45 out the door for school, 3:00-5:00 play practice, 5:15 - 6:00 piano lessons, 6:45 choir concert, and home for bed... I swore I would never over schedule my kids, but well, there comes a time when it is unavoidable.  Fortunatley, her weekend is looking pretty low key.  She is hoping to sleep most of tomorrow and I am going to let her.

Today I registered her to take the COMPASS exam for our local community college.  If she passes the test, she can register for their Running Start program and start earning college credit next year.  I have a lot of confidence in her.  She is a serious student and is tired of all the antics of those students who just want to "socialize." 

OK...I am done bragging.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day

If you don't get it, neither did I at first.  All I knew was that my daughter informed me as we were heading out the door for church last night that the next day was Pie day, and if she brought a pie to her math teacher she would receive extra credit.  So at nine o'clock last night I started making pies.  Fortunately, I had everthing on hand.  It wasn't until my husband came home that he enlightened me on "Pie Day."  Today, at that time-tomorrow, is March 14 i.e. 3.14...pi...Oh....I get it!

So....Happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Window Projects

My kitchen window is getting filled with all kinds of projects thanks to Pinterest.  Have you joined the Pinterest crowd?  It took me awhile before I got sucked into it and now I am obsessed with Pinterest.  There are so many cool ideas on it.  I have been inspired to make my own vanilla and my own vinegar.  I have projects planned out for our future home, color schemes, name it.  I also have tons of ideas for my summer garden.    How I am going to layout the veggies, fertilizer and nuturients to add to the soil, and decorative ways to fence it, prop up the veggies, ....I could go on.

One of my Pinterest inspirations was to regrow veggies that we use on a daily basis.  Anything to save a buck, right?!  Imagine my delight when I realized I could regrow my green onions.  I LOVE GREEN ONIONS.  They add great flavor to eggs, salsas, just about any dish.
The first time I tried to grow my onions, it was an absolute failure.  That is because I just looked at the picture on Pinterest and didn't read the article.  But now, look at all of that goodness.  Instead of throwing the white bulbs away when you cut off the green stalks, place them in a dish of water.  Every day drain out the water and replace it with fresh water.  Before long, you will see your onions growing again.  I took my first successful batch and placed them in a pot of soil,  but the the others I have left in water.  Now whenever I want some green onions for a recipe, I just grab my kitchen shears and cut off however much I need.  Best yet,  all of those onions are growing again.

Once I figured I could regrow onions I decided to try and grow another veggie we use regularly - celery.
You do pretty much the same thing.  Cut off your celery stalks and then place the bottom in a bowl of shallow water.  Change out the water every day and soon you will see fresh green leaves growing out the middle.  One gal had her celery growing in her window for 9 months.  The stalks are not as big and thick but they are good for your soups and stews.

My final Pinterest project has to do with eggs.  I have been told that your tomatoes need calcium to grow healthy and strong.  An excellent source of calcium is egg shells.  So every morning, when I make our omelets I rinse out the shells and place them in the window to dry.  They are then placed in a bucket.  When it is time to plant my tomatoes, I will crush the shells into a powder and will mix the shells with bone meal and crushed aspirin.  That mixture is supposed to help  your plants.  We'll see.

I have become so inspired to be resourceful with all that we have and not to be wasteful.  I also desire to leave as healthy as possible.  That is the best part of losing all of this weight.  I have a desire to not only eat healthy but to teach and train my children to eat right and be conscious of how they are using all of the awesome natural resources that God has blessed us with.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Name That Veggie

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  I even contemplated not showering.  Gross...right?!  I think not having any down time over the weekend finally caught up with me.  Besides that, it was just gorgeous outside.  I thought about packing the boys up and heading outside for a hike or something fun.  If it was a few degrees warmer we might have done it, but I decided that what I really needed was a good long talk with my mom.  So I told the boys that we would delay the start of school for an hour while I had a nice chat.  My hour turned into two but no one complained. ; )

We finally got started with our day.  Bryce fortunately, had an easy language and math day.  Brian took a good hour plus to do his algebra but finally finished by lunch. (He is just now finishing up with the rest by dinner)  While the boys worked I got busy in the kitchen, again, this time with some raw veggies that a friend from church gave me yesterday.  Again, not wanting to let something go to waste I researched recipes to find the perfect use for all the root vegetables I was given. 

My first task was to identify the vegetables.  ha ha.   Seriously folks, I didn't know what some of them were. 
A little nagging voice in the back of my head started whispering words like parsnip, turnip, and rutabaga, but I wasn't sure if it was right.  Thank goodness for google.

Here is what I came up with:
 PARSNIPS (Not white carrots...that was the boys' guess)

I also received five beets.  Two of the five are golden beets - that was a new one for me.  The beets were the easiest to figure out. 

 I boiled them in water for 40 minutes, peeled the skins, sliced them, pickled, and canned them.  After the initial boiling I had to taste the beets, and kept tasting them.  They were so yummy.  I managed to can 3 pints of pickled beets and have a cup left over to eat tonight for dinner.

For the rest of the veggies, I got a little more creative.  I took one of the sweet potatoes ( I think they are sweet potatoes, but they are not orange inside.) and the rutabaga and sliced them into fries. 

  I then coated them with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. 

Bake them in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes (the rutabaga fries took 45 minutes) until browned and crisp.  Talk about yummy.  Bryce and I devoured them.
We both like the sweet potato fries the best.  My favorite dipping sauce for sweet potato fries is 2 T ketchup, 1 T mayo, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp of dijon mustard.  Mix it all together and it is awesome.

I think I will use the parsnips and turnip in a lentil stew later this week.  That seems like a good use for them.  

So now I know and have eaten some new veggies.  I think I just might add them to my summer garden. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I just realized that I have spent the last eight hours in the same five foot by two foot area in the kitchen, except for the three quick runs to the grocery store to pick up one more thing that I forgot earlier today on my run to Wenatchee. Finally, I get to sit down and take a break while my last dish is in the oven. 

I am trying hard to plan out my month, buy as frugally as possible, and use everything that I have on hand as efficiently as possible.  Thursday I cooked a turkey that I had in the freezer since Thanksgiving.  I decided it was time to thaw it out and cook it up.  Last Thanksgiving I canned about 20 quarts of turkey broth and turkey bits for homemade turkey/vegetable soup.  I am down to my last quart and so it was time to stock up again.  While shopping this morning, I simmered the carcass from my turkey with a bunch of vegetables so that when I got home, it was ready for me to glean all the scraps of meat off the bones, and process all the yummy broth it made.  I managed to get 8 quarts out of it, and then I put away three quart bags of turkey meat.  On top of that I made a turkey casserole for lunch tomorrow.  I am also in charge of Sunday school refreshments so I pulled out some rhubarb  that was in the freezer from last fall and made rhubarb crumble.  I didn't feel like make the crumble "healthy" so I won't be enjoying any of it.  Yes, I am still being good with what I eat.  (I did eat a blueberry muffin Thursday night.  That was my first bite of sugar and white flour in five months.  Wow!  That is almost half a year! )  I have been remaking a lot of my recipes with whole wheat flour, etc.  It has been a lot of fun.  I am finding all kinds of new things to make, unfortunately, it isn't very economical since the healthier flours are more expensive.  I have been looking at using almond flour and coconut flour as alternatives for cookies and goodies, but they are about 5 to 7 dollars a pound.  Ouch!

My cooking isn't done for this week but I am taking a break for today.  It is almost nine o'clock at night.  Tomorrow, one of the gals has requested apple pie for our Bible study snack.  Fortunately, I have a few pie shells in the freezer and I canned apple pie filling last fall, so that won't be too labor intensive.  I also am running low on granola, so I will whip up a batch of that.  I found a great recipe on called Megan's granola.  I didn't use everything that it called for, just what I had on hand, but the granola is delicious.  It is great alone, mixed with yogurt, or with milk. 

Now, I just have to keep myself awake while the crumble is baking in the oven.  At least tomorrow morning will go smoothly with snack, lunch, and dinner all taken care of.  I might be able to relax a little.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Well, it's Friday again.  Prime blogging time.  This time I am at the church in the evening waiting for a concert to begin.  Todd had to take Bonnie up to Camas Meadows Bible Camp to work in the kitchen over the weekend, so I am "holding down the fort" to speak, while the Keepers of the Faith set up and get ready to perform. 

This week has been a week of weeping and wailing when it came to school.  Maybe it is because of the winter break, I don't know but there were a couple of times today and this week that I wanted to throw the towel in.  I have been totally frustrated with our schooling this year.  I have been doing a lot of thought for next year.  I had wanted to sign Brian up with Abeka online, the complete package, where we have to send everything in to them, they grade it, and keep a record of his work.  This would help with his high school transcript and make it easier for us when he moves over to the public school.  However, Abeka is not cheap.  Cheaper than a private school, but the most expensive we have ever invested in.  With us looking at buying property and building a house, I have to really tighten the hatches and so I have to re-evaluate our choices for school.  I have been looking at the Washington State Virtual Academy again and feeling more and more like this is going to be our Number One option.  They provide all the books, equipment, and materials.  We also have more freedom to choose what courses to take for his freshman year than if he were to attend the local school.  They give him his assignments, he fills them out, mails them back in, and checks in with his virtual teacher once a week.  I think it will be great.  I will let you know what we decide.

Isn't she beautiful?  This is my daughter after she got already for school, walked the two and half blocks to the building and then realized it was late start. lol   Well, at least she was ready for the day and got to spend the morning practicing her piano and playing Mario Kart before school started.  Oh...btw...she still has a 4.0!  

The pressure of being the female lead is starting to take full effect.  Pray for her!  It is hard enough being the lead, but when you have to sing on top of that .....well, you can imagine her nerves.  She told the directors that she could not kiss Blake on the lips for their "love" scene.  They weren't happy.  She told them that if she kissed Blake or if he kissed her on the lips then her dad would pull her out of the play.  They don't like us.   ha ha ha...The conceeded to let him kiss her on the cheek.  Really, would you want YOUR first kiss to be on stage.  She is too precious to spoil.