Sep 142014
 

These ebooks are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.  Before I had a Kindle I was able to read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.

After finding 11 free gardening ebooks, a few others caught my attention.  I love spending Sunday afternoons reading … okay, anytime really.  Reading a variety of different books helps me to enjoy them, rather than become overwhelmed with new information.  It also helps alleviate the feeling of having just wasted my time instead of learning something.

Macromazement

Enchanting Evanescence

Macro Moments Spring 2013

The Big Home Improvement Decision: Tear Down and Build New? Or Modify my Existing Home with an Addition or Remodel?

Bedroom Makeover and Decorating Ideas: How To Create Your ultimate Sleep Oasis (Decorating, Decorating Ideas, Interior Design Decorating, Bedroom Decor, Bedroom Design, Interior Design)

How to Crochet: 16 Quick and Easy Granny Square Patterns

Box Yourself – The Ultimate Cardboard Craft Activity Book!

25 Cool Things to Do with Wine Bottles

Plymouth Encore Worsted Colorspun Yarn Knitting Pattern F236C Fingerless Gloves (I Want To Knit)

Plymouth Encore Worsted Yarn Knitting Pattern F236S Fingerless Gloves (I Want To Knit)

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Boxer Hobo (The Hobo Chronicles Book 1)

Economic Crisis: World Food System – The Battle against Poverty, Pollution and Corruption

Goldenhood

The Art of Caregiving: How to Lend Support and Encouragement to Those with Cancer

Vet Tech Tales: The Early Years (Confessions of an Animal Junkie)

The Making of Tornado Chasers: Behind The Scenes Of The Groundbreaking Documentary Series

How to win at Mathematics: A guide to turn yourself from a poor math student into an outstanding one

Googling Earth: Using Google Earth to Explore Your World

The Measure of Katie Calloway,: A Novel

Is It Them Or Is It Me?: A Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Family

Prodigal’s Steps:: The True Story of a Family’s Desperate Flight Back Home

Raising Happy Healthy Children: A Nanny P Blueprint (Nanny Notes on Toddlers)

What We Should Know, and Should Be Teaching Our Kids

How to Home School Your Child Without Going Crazy

I Ain’t Staying

Penny to a Million: Junior Entrepreneur Guide

Homeschooling: The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Sep 142014
 

It isn’t always  possible to be outside in the garden.  The next best thing is looking at pictures of gardens or reading about them.  I find I can never learn enough about the things you love.  So, for those times when it is raining, you are stuck inside for a meeting or in a car going somewhere, here are a few books to add to your reading list.

These gardening ebooks are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.

Before I had a Kindle I was able to read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.

Gardening: 33 Easy and Effective Gardening Tips and Timesavers You Need to Know

Mint: The Miracle of Mint! Unlock All The Health, Beauty, & Healing Properties Of This Amazing Herb (Mint – Herbal Remedies – Healing – Natural Medicine – Essential Oils – Herbs)

Natural Pest Control – Simple Tips And Tricks To Keep Your Backyard And Plants Bug Free (Natural Pest Control, Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Pest, Natural Ways, … Ways To Keep Your Backyard Pest Free,)

Vegetable Gardening: 20 Drop Dead Simple Vegetable Gardening Techniques to Get the Most Out of Your Vegetable Garden Every Year

Organic Gardening For Beginners: Easily Start Your Own Healthy & Natural Garden: Backyard Organic Gardening, Raised Bed Gardening, Backyard Homestead (Urban Hillbilly Book 4)

Container Gardening Made Easy: The Essential Guide For the Beginning Gardener

Starting a New Garden (VOL. 2): How to Plant Seeds and Seedlings, Care for Your Plants, and Grow 12 Simple Vegetables, Plus Shade Gardening (Growing Organic Vegetables at Home)

Seed Starting: Beginners Guide To Seed Gardening!

Growing Berries: How To Grow & Preserve Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Gooseberries, Redcurrants,Blackcurrants & Whitecurrants

The Ultimate Vegetable Container Gardening Guide for Beginners: How to Grow Healthy Vegetable & Herb Gardens in Small Spaces & Containers (FREE BONUS): vegetable gardening, herb gardening

Patio Planters: & Vertical Gardening – Designs & Wood Working Plans Volume 2 (Patio Planters: & Vertical Gardening – Designs & Wood Working Plans)

Sep 112014
 

Bird feeder hanging from tree 2

After many tries, and threats of squirrel stew, I have decided that a bird feeder with seeds just is not for our family right now.  Birds have never shown up to eat from these feeders.  Our resident squirrels thank us for the buffet, though.

So, they were taken down earlier this summer.

On a day when I felt unusually optimistic, I took Jack and George with me to the hardware store with the promise that they could buy something with their money.  After I did my shopping (not finding what I was looking for) we spent the next HOUR looking for something for them, which they could get for under $5.

One of the items George was really interested in was a hummingbird feeder.  We had the “if you buy the feeder, you also need to buy the food” discussion.  Turns out he did not quite have enough and moved on to something else.  The seed was planted in my mind though: humming bird feeder = no seeds, no seeds = the squirrels won’t still the food.

The purchase of a feeder was not high on my list, so I decided to be patient and wait for an end of season sale.  That is exactly what I found last month.  The boys were very excited to mix up the ‘nectar’ and hang up the feeder.  My husband asked if I was becoming my mother.  :)  (She has about 10 feeders of various designs in her yard.)

bird feeders for gold finches

“It is close to the end of the season, boys.  We may not get any birds this year.  Just wanted to let you know there may not be any birds till next Spring.”  They were still okay with that, so the feeder was hung outside our dinning room window, awaiting a humming bird to bless.

George was been keeping an eye on the nectar level.  He was determined to see if a bird had visited while he was at school.  A few times he told me the level was going down.  Honestly, I was thinking it was evaporating.  As I did not know one way or the other, I agreed that it could have been a bird, which would have been “Awesome.”

Last week I kept seeing flashes of something out my window.  By the time I looked nothing was there.  “Maybe it was a car driving by?”  Then I caught sight of it … a humming bird!!

A few days later, while sitting down at supper, a humming bird landed on the shepherd’s hook that held the feeder.

“George,” I said calmly, “I want you to stand up and slowly go to the window.”  He was confused but complied.  As he was standing up I continued, “There is a humming bird sitting above the feeder.”

He almost jumped to the ceiling with excitement.  As we have 10 foot ceilings, that is saying a lot.  Jack almost hopped right from his chair to the window.

Of course, the bird flew away.

Smart bird.  I would have too.

As the days have passed, I have pointed out several times when a bird has flown to the feeder or away.  The boys have always missed it.

Last night, they got to see the bird!  Then they saw 2!  Then they saw them eating!  Then they saw them fighting!  Yes, that is a lot of exclamations points going on.

humming bird feeder

Changing over to a feeder that did not require a food source which the squirrels would  also eat was a great decision.  The main goal of having a feeder was for the boys/kids to get to see birds closer than just flying overhead.  They are learning to walk slowly towards the window to look, what birds eat and how to fill the feeders, as well as what does not work.

Do you have bird feeders at home?  I would be interested in hearing what you do to keep squirrels out, whether it be a certain design or other tip.

birdfeeder

Sep 112014
 

mason jars

I love the smell of produce cooking down or being made into a new dish to can up for the Winter/Year ahead.  The kitchen may be sticky and the dishes seem never ending, but the end result is worth it.  Beautifully fill jars of things my family loves.  Each year my husband questions my sanity, but I remind him that I love to do it and he loves to eat it.  :)

With squash in my future, I am looking to stock up on freezer bags.  This is one food I do not can, but freezer due to its density and danger in canning.  It is also quicker to do this way.  I will be keeping an eye on those freezer bags, once filled, to make sure none are leaking or turning the wrong color.  Just like canned produce, the items in our freezers need to be checked (and remembered) before they go bad or get freezer burn.

After spending all the time canning produce from your garden or elsewhere, the last thing you want to happen is to have jar go bad and not realize it till you “smell thing funky” when you go to your pantry.

Take a few minutes to look over the jars you have.

Are they all still sealed?

Do any need to be wiped down?  If so, do it now before you forget.

If any have gone bad, dump the contents and sanitize the jars.  Check for chips before storing them till they are needed again.

Remember to follow the “First In, First Out rule”.  It will save you from most of these issues.

Happy canning!

Sep 092014
 

Free E-Book of Superfood Breakfast Recipes

 

Good morning, my wonderful Readers!  I opened my inbox this morning to find this wonderful deal, a FREE ebook containing 10 Superfood Breakfast Recipes.  As you know, I love trying new recipes.  Breakfast is not often a meal I try new recipes for, as we have gotten into a groove.  For Raspeberry Coconut Quinoa, though, I will probably make an exception.  :)

  • Gluten-free
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Vegan-friendly

And delicious, too boot.  What more could you ask for?

To get these recipes, click 10 Superfood Breakfast Recipes and enter your email address.  That’s it. Simple and easy.

Have a great morning!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Sep 082014
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

Last week I took on the cleaning of the refrigerator and top freezer.  To put it lightly, this was a long overdue activity.  Once everything was taken out I was able to see the mess that was hiding under all the items.  Scary.  Many paper towels and sprays of cleaner later, I had a wonderfully crumb-free appliance.

clean freezer before and after collage

The amount of food that was in there, hidden under this or that, or back in the corners was amazing.

food from freezer collage

I also had this week’s meal plan put together using meals I had made ahead or parts of meals I found as I cleared items out. Even the sides are from the freezer or from my pantry.  As I did not want to take time to stop and type it all up on the computer, I grabbed a list pad from the freezer door and scribbled down what I had available.  By dividing them between up coming days and weeks I was able to assign a day to about 90% of the things in the freezer.  At a later time I sat down and input into my normal menu planner.

Hand Written Menu List

If all goes as planned, I hope to not do any more shopping this week.  Last week I made it all the way to Saturday before going to the grocery store.  And there we  only bought milk, fruit, and snacks for Jack’s class.  On Sunday we stopped by the bakery much earlier than usual, where my husband was able to pick up 4 loaves of the bread he likes.  These are not added to the freezer for future consumption.

Tempted as I was to pick up more items, I remembered what Grocery University encouraged – wait for a sale, preferably combined with a coupon, to stock up on items. Otherwise buy what you need. While I knew this, being encouraged to do it again helped be stick to that principle this week.  Once I bought just what we needed I spent just over $20.  It would have been half that, except for the bread.

Since we were so light on the needed groceries, we took the opportunity to restock on other items from the grocery supply store – salami, croutons, and pizza dough balls.  All of these should last us through the end of the year.

Here is my menu this week.  Remember, these are all items from the freezer or pantry, except for the milk and fruit.  That is a great feeling.

Breakfast:

  1. Eggs and hashbrowns/shake
  2. Cereal
  3. Cereal
  4. Blueberry muffins
  5. Shakes
  6. Oatmeal
  7. TBD

Lunch:

  1. Eat Out Leftovers/Sandwiches
  2. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies
  3. Steak, mixed veggies, beets
  4. Chocolate Chili, corn bread muffins
  5. Shepherd’s pie, steam carrots
  6. Lunch out with friend
  7. Pizza


Supper:

  1. Fruit, hard boiled eggs
  2. Shredded pork with spaghetti sauce, rice, corn
  3. Black Bean Soup, cornbread muffins
  4. Supper out (use coupons for free/cheap meal)
  5. TBD
  6. Curry beef and vegetables, rice
  7. TBD

 

Linked up with OrgJunkie.

For more ideas also check out This Week For Dinner.

Also check out Confessions of a Homeschooler’s September’s Monthly Meal Plan.

Sep 052014
 

Short story in my own translation:

Eve offered Adam fruit from the forbidden tree.  When God came into the garden looking for them, He found them hiding.  He asked Adam why he was hiding.

The Woman you gave me, she gave me fruit of the tree you told us not to eat from, and I ate it.” (emphasis added by me)

Story over.  Well sort of.  I have always wondered why Adam did not man up and tell his wife “No.”  Really, it is an easy word and he was the man.

Fast forward to today.  Actually a few days ago.  My husband and I were able to take a long weekend away, thanks to Grandparents willing to watch George and Jack.

roller coaster date

 

One of the activities was to visit a theme park.  This is something my husband loves.  I have found over the years that my love of them has waned.  Though I still like roller coasters, I no longer desire to seek them out and ride them repeatedly.  However, I love my husband, so off we went for a day of thrills and screaming and adrenaline rushes.

Husband: “We have done all the roller coasters that I have wanted to do.  What do you want to do next?”

Looking at the map I figured this was the chance to go back and do them all again, perhaps even picking up a few we missed.  “Lets go backwards through the park and do them all once more before we go.  Let’s do this one.”  I said as I pointed to a small ride we missed on the way.  This is one we had seen while higher up on another roller coaster and which looked daunting.  Even from a distance.  Even though it was not complicated.  Even though it was ‘small’.

Husband: “Are you sure you want to ride it?”

“Yes.”

“Are you positive?”

“Yes.”

“Once I reserve out place for the line, there is no backing out.  This is you last chance.”

“Yes.  We are here.  Let’s do it.”

You would think that his reluctance to ride this ride would have told me that maybe this was not such a good idea.  You would think, so, now wouldn’t you.  Alas, it didn’t.  And off we went.

The closer we got, the more I began to doubt my decision.

Then we were standing in line seeing it all up close.

Me: “Why did you let me do this?”

Husband: “I gave you a chance to back out.  You said you wanted to.”

Me: “But why did you agree?  You should have been firmer.”

Husband: “Didn’t I ask you repeatedly?  You had every opportunity to change you mind.  You said you wanted to ride it.”

Me: “But you are the man.  You are the husband.  You should have put your foot down, realizing I am the weaker sex and did not fully understand what I was committing to.”

Husband: “It will be okay.  No one has died on it … today.”  (To clarify, I don’t think anyone has died on this ride.  He was just teasing.)

Me: “Yes, Adam.”

There is nothing new under the sun.  (Ecclesiastics 1:9)

He did not buy the reasoning and we road the ride.  Since I was locked into doing this, I decided I best use some strategy to make it through.  After all, they shoot you out of the gate at 65 mph; no build up here.  My plan involved:

  • counting how many time it went each way … so I would know when the end was coming, in a positive way.
  • positioning us at the back of the ride.  The rows in front went up much higher on the one side, twisting as they did so.  If there is anything worse than going down a great distance backwards, it is going down a great distance backwards while twisting.
  • screaming.
  • oh, and saying “No, no, no, no” quietly and quickly before screaming when we would begin the steep drop when we were facing forward.

My plan worked.  I kept my eyes open (turns out my husband rode the ride with his closed, silly man) and knew when various ‘obstacles’ were coming.  I was prepared.  I knew how I was going to handle them.

Once off the ride I made the comment, “That was not nearly as bad as it looked.  I don’t want to go on it again, but it did look worse than it was.  Of course, we weren’t sitting in front.  No sure I would have said the same thing if we were.”

While looking back on this day and talking about it on the way to the hotel, we both agreed that while we like roller coasters and used to love them, perhaps that time has passed for us.  This will most likely be the last time we do it till George and Jack are old enough to enjoy it themselves.

The next day was spent at the coffee shop reading a book.  :)

Sep 042014
 

1407617428547

Some things in life seem like they should be fairly simple and straight forward.  After all, these are things that everyone does, so really how hard can it be?

Cutting onions falls into that category.  Onion + knife+ cutting board = diced onions.  The math if simple.  The application, though, is not always so simple.  Try giving a kid a knife and an onion with the instructions to “cut it up”.  Stand back and see what happens.  :)

During my time as an ‘adult’, I have learned a few tricks to make cutting up onions easier.  In this case I am talking about large onions, the kind you could slice to put on a sandwich, not the kind you add whole to a stew.

Depending on what you are wanting to use the onion for, some of these steps may not apply.

1. Peel the onion – I start by cutting off the ends, removing any roots and stem.

2. Cut onion in half vertically – I find that chopping up a round onion can be challenging.  It rolls around and you get pieces falling off here and there before you get a chance to cut it again at 90*.  To make it easier I slice the onion in half vertically, then lay it down on the now flat portion.

IMG_20140809_163626142[1]

 

3. Cut off rounded edges, if needed – when adding onions to the dehydrator I realized how much space was being taken up by the rounded edges.  By trimming this part off I saved room.  The parts that were trimmed off were diced and added to a container in the refrigerator to be used in upcoming meals. (*This is one time saving tip I have found to be very handy.)

If you do trim off the rounded edges, do so before cutting in half to save yourself a few strokes.  If you forget to do this before hand, no problem, it works either way.

IMG_20140809_165936400[1]

 

 

4. If you want sliced onions, slice horizontally and set aside.

If you want diced onions, make slices from top to bottom while holding the onion together with your hand.  Follow this up by making cuts from left to right. (see picture below)  The closer your lines the smaller the onion pieces will be.
Dicing an onion*Time saving tip – when cutting up an onion, cut up all of it in a way you know you may need soon.  I usually dice up the whole onion, even if I only need half of it.  The life and board are already out, thereby saving me time during a future meal.  If I know I’ll need sliced onion later, I’ll slice it up now.  Then later, if I do not use all of the slices, I will dice them up.

 

Sep 032014
 

Storynory has a free audio story available -Aponibolinayen and the Healing Oranges

As hard as it might be to harvest or gather fruit, I am pretty sure it has never been this hard for me.  Flies, mosquitoes, cranky kids, balancing on the bed of a truck … it all looks easy compared to what this husband did for his wife.  Not sure I have come across fruit that would be worth this much trouble to attain.