Jul 172014
 

At the beginning of July I set a personal challenge for myself - my current balance, as of July 29th is 2577  2639 Swagbucks. Only 1923 1861 Swagbucks left to go.

I updated it as I have been taking some time this afternoon to streamline some of my Swagbucks activities and explore new ones.

With just a few days left in the month I know I am not going to reach my goal.  I am not giving up though and will continue to earn through the end.

Are you close to reaching your goal?

Jul 312014
 

Weekly Goals collage May 2013

My goal for the week was to knock several outside chores off my list.  The list still contains most of the items, but a few have been completed.

One of the items on the list was to get new house numbers.  The ones we have blend in with the color of the house too much to be noticed.  Not being able to see the numbers has been an issue the whole time we have lived here.  I have been putting off getting new numbers because, honestly, I do not want to spend money to do so.

While thinking this over earlier this week I also remembered a can of black spray paint I recently saw in the garage.  ”I wonder ….”  A quick search online revealed the steps to paint the numbers a different color and save the cost of having to buy new ones.  I am not sure why it took me so long to think of doing this, as I have done it with other things around the house.  The important thing is I actually thought of it before going to buy new numbers.  Once I finish painting the porch trim I will removed the old numbers, paint them, and put them back up.  I am not sure I will put them in the same place.  We will see what they look like at that time.

Saving money in small ways adds up over time and is something my husband and I have made a habit of trying to do.  Even with our upcoming remodel my husband went through the expected expenditures and found that we would be able to save a couple hundred dollars by printing off documents ourselves rather than having the contractor do so.

kid shredding zucchini

Here are some items I have actually accomplished:

  • Wash the porch floor and railing
  • Painted the outside of the porch railings and most of the pillars
  • Moved random rocks, left by the previous owners, from our backyard to our front yard – these will be used as stepping stones … eventually.
  • Moved an old dehumidifier from the basement to my car’s trunk to recycle.
  • Threw out some old make-up, realizing I have stopped actively removing clutter back in May.  :( I need to start that again.
  • Made some DELICIOUS blueberry muffins.  The kids wanted to share these so we took them to several different neighbors.
  • Got eye exams for school taken care of.
  • Took the first step in working with our architect for drawing up plans for the changes we want to make with out house.
  • Realized I probably “weeded” most of my okra plants this past Spring when I tried to do work in the semi-dark.  Next year, they will go into one of the actual garden beds.
  • Requested some gift cards from Swagbucks
  • Found a solution to a problem we have been having with our bed
  • Shredded 46 cups of zucchini
  • Cut corn off of 3 dozen ears of corn and froze
  • Took a morning to go to the playground, and another one to go to an event at our library
  • Took the kids to the hardware store to purchase some items with their own money.  (Apparently being cute helpers at the stand has its perks.  3 different customers told them to either keep the change or intentionally gave them money.)  An hour later and I think the kids had fun and maybe, perhaps, hopefully learned a few financial lessons in the process.  Even if they didn’t, I had fun with them so I am counting it as a good time.
  • Gathered up more seeds from the marigold plants

There are still a few things left on the list:

  • Add netting to the blackberry bushes
  • Paint the inside of the railing on the porch and a missed spot on the ceiling
  • Give a second coat of paint to the outside of the railings
  • Paint the porch floor
  • Touch up missed spots
  • Figure out how to raise the netting over the strawberry plants
  • Purchase items to fix our bed

gathering marigold seeds unlabeled collage

Honestly, I was feeling as if I had not done anything this week.  Seeing it all written out makes me aware that taking things one at a time really did add up this week.

I am done with zucchini, or at least until someone offers me some for free.  Same with corn.  Actually I was just given another dozen today, so I think I’ll modify the menu plan to included grilled corn.

Our local hardware store had tiki torches half off today.  I could have waited for a yard sale, though that would have also meant more of the berries going to birds.  While I will still keep my eyes out for some at yard sales, I went ahead and bought several to get me started.  (If you are not sure what I am talking about, check out the Facebook page.)

 

Jul 302014
 

Kid Garden Helper

I was reminded last week of the importance of including your kids in your work.  How else will they learn a good work ethic and the importance of doing these jobs around the house.  Also, I hope to train them to be actual helpers and not just get them out of the way.  My attitude in this area needed to be renewed recently.  I could not believe my own self when I had the thought, “I can’t wait for school to begin  ….”  I knew right then my attitude was getting in the way of enjoying my kids and was partially to blame for the attitude issues we have been having around the house lately.

While George and Jack are helpers in certain areas, something I was very much aware of when Simon was here for a few weeks,  I have stopped training them to do more.  Why?  I am not sure.  I still try to teach them new skills, like cleaning the bathroom sink and toilet, but am not as purposeful about it as I used to be.  This is something I think I have talked about several times as of late.  If I haven’t, it is certainly something that has been going on in my brain.  So, imperfectly I have been making an effort to include them and have them focus on doing a better job at things I know they already have down. (Ex: making your bed with your sheet made up first and your cover not on sideways.)  I am also hoping this will help decrease the “you must do this for me NOW Mommy/Daddy because I want it NOW” attitude.

kid shredding zucchini

Monday afternoon I had a few dozen ears of corn to get into the freezer.  Sitting outside while the kids played, I took off the husks and silks.  George asked to help, but I declined.  I wanted to do this quickly and not worry about a bad job costing me more time.  Later, I realized that he probably would have lost interest after an ear or two, but I though of that too late.

While shredding up some zucchini Monday night, I thought about how nice it would be for the kids to be able to do this themselves some day.  {light bulb comes on}  Tuesday morning George woke up to find me shredding some more zucchini.  After he got dressed and came back out I asked if he would like to learn how to do this.  His eyes shone with this “new” responsibility and he quickly said, “Yes!”

I showed him how to hold the zucchini and the grater.  We also talked about what I was going to do with these and the fact that there were different sized holes he could grate with.  After I gave him the warning of not letting his fingers get too close to the grater, he took off.  Slowly, as every 10 seconds he had to stop and tell me something.

Move zucchini downward twice.

“Look.  It makes lines.”

4 strokes downward.

“Mom, did you know if I do it this way, the lines are different.”

2 strokes.

“See, Mom.  I’m doing good.  My fingers are not close to it.”

1 stoke and some staring.

“Did you know …”

(At this point I honestly stopped listening as I was labeling bags.)

“What do we use this for?  Is there such a thing as zucchini soup?”  (See my weekly meal plan and the “cauliflower soup” we had last week.)

children gathering marigold seeds

Okay, so perhaps he is not the quickest helper at this time but he helped and that is what matters.  As for his fingers, notice the large chunk of zucchini at the end of the pan?  Yeah, he wanted to make sure his fingers did not get anywhere near the grater.  :)

While I may still not be perfect at having the kids do everything they are capable of, I am trying to remember to offer them the opportunity to help with whatever it is I am doing.  Who knew that gathering the trash from the bathroom would cause sounds of elation and “I can get mine before you get yours!”  Ah, boys.  They can make a competition out of anything.

Jul 292014
 

4 year old mind

Need a little help deciphering? Try this …

4 year old mind clarified

Jul 272014
 

I love trying new recipes and finding new sources for them.  Often I look online, but every so often I find a cookbook I am interested in testing out.  There have been cookbooks where the recipes look good, but after a few I find they just do not work for our family.  There are other that I wondered how we ever got on without them.

When I was given the opportunity to review Kitchen Confidence by Kelsey Nixon, not only did  the possibility of finding recipes appeal to me, but also learning a few new cooking tips. 

Looking through Kitchen Confidence, I found 7 chapter focused on different food groups – breakfast, main course, desserts, etc.  There were also 3 chapters dedicated towards tips and techniques.  Once I started looking through all the recipes, making notes of ones I wanted to try, I found several pages scattered through the chapters giving additional tips.

One section I am going to revisit in the near future is Pantry Organization.  I have tried to organize our pantry since we moved in a few years ago.  While it is better than it was, there is still room for improvement.  Kelsey gave several tips, and lists, that will help make it even better and easier to use.  There were a few times I wondered why I had not thought of that item or idea.  There were likewise a few that I knew would not work for us.  Those items were ignored and life moved on.

The beautiful pictures made recipe selection this past week very difficult.  I really wanted to make everything.  Amazingly, most of the recipes called for items I normally would have on hand.  No need for a special trip to the stores in a larger town to find a unique ingredient.  This was a great start to reaching the goal of the book, as stated in the introduction, “(helping you) become a more confident home cook.”

Was it really possible for me to make some of these delicious recipes with things I already had?

After creating a list of several dishes, I did have to go to the store to pick up some fruit.  Still, these were items our Small Town grocer had in stock easily.  They are also in season right now and reasonably priced.

I am not a great bread maker, so was more than a bit hesitant to attempt the grilled bread recipe contained in the book.  It looked so good, though, that I decided to try once more.  With the page about “Working With Yeast Dough” in hand, to help me overcome some problems I had been having with dough, I attempted the recipe.  It turned out great, surprising my husband who came home for lunch with no idea what we were having that day.

Meal #1: Breaded Minute Steaks (not a recipe in Kitchen Confidence), Creamy Cauliflower Puree Cauliflower Soup, Grilled Flatbread, and Grilled Fruit Skewers with chili and lime

 grilled bread fruit cabobs cauliflower minute steak collage

That evening, I used the leftover grilled bread in place of croutons for the tomato soup recipe also found in Kitchen Confidence.  If all tomato soup recipes were this easy to make, there would be no need to can any up this fall.  Instead, I could focus on canning whole tomatoes and make it as needed.

Meal #2: Roasted Tomato Soup with pesto, Grilled Flatbread

 Tomato Soup and Grilled Bread

Kitchen Confidence is good for cooks who are just starting out, ones who know the basics but want to take it to the next step, and for those who may need to fill in spaces in their knowledge, like me and bread dough.  There are recipes for game day as well as family meals.  Oh, and in case you are afraid of failing, like I am at times, Kelsey reminds you that it is okay.  Learn from your mistake, then order a pizza, as she suggests in the book.  This week, I just changed the name from Creamy Cauliflower Puree to Cauliflower Soup; I added too much broth and not enough cauliflower.  :)

I enjoyed Kitchen Confidence and would recommend it to those starting out, or looking to begin learning new cooking skills.  In case this matters to you, the cover of the book is paper.  It is a sturdy stock of paper, but it is not a hardback.  I had no issues with it, but thought I would mention it in case someone might have an issue with that.  There are also ebook versions available.

This week, I will be trying 2 additional recipes, ribs and blueberry muffins.  I am getting hungry just thinking about them.

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

Last week, for the first time in months I attempted to go through the week without a meal plan.  Bad decision, though not disastrous like some previous attempts.  I had a rough idea of what I would be making, based on the schedule for the week – 1 day of babysitting meant pizza, 1 day of a friend visiting and the produce auction meant lunch out, 1 day of trying new recipes, Saturday in Big Town eating out, and the rest eating leftovers or from the freezer.

In some ways it turned out good, as I was able to use up bits of this and that as I found them.  In other ways, I missed having a defined plan for the week.  My husband also had no idea each day what he was going to be having for lunch.

Breakfasts:

  1. Shakes
  2. Cereal
  3. Cereal
  4. Blueberry Muffins
  5. Shakes
  6. Hot Rice Cereal with Nuts
  7. Eggs, fruit, biscuits, coffee/juice

Lunch:

  1. Eat Out
  2. Salad
  3. Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, steamed carrots
  4. Ribs, cucumber salad, potatoes
  5. Pizza
  6. Spaghetti with meat sauce
  7. Curry beef with rice and veggies

Supper:

  1. Watermelon, PB&J sandwiches
  2. Eggs, toast, grits, fruit
  3. Black bean soup, cornbread
  4. Harvest Medly soup, cornbread
  5. Spicy sirloin steak with noodles
  6. Leftovers
  7. Sandwiches, veggies, chips

meatloaf carrot salad peas beets

Linked up with OrgJunkie and Feeding Big.

For more ideas also check out This Week For Dinner.

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

This post contains affiliate links.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Jul 262014
 

Abe’s Market, one of my favorite online stores, is offering FREE shipping through July 27th.  This will automatically save you $4.99 on any order you might have been planning to make.

You can also save up to 40% off organic and natural favorites during Abe’s Summer Road Trip Sale! Featured products include: Miracle Noodles, I Heart Keenwah, Windy City Organics, Quinn Popcorn and many more! (Through July 27th.)

If you are not sure what to try but want to try out some of the products from Abe’s Market you are in luck.   Sample natural, organic products for only $2, includes free shipping! (Through July 31st.)

Here are some things that caught my attention:

Limegreen - Picnic/Backyard/Beach Candle

Picnic/Backyard/Beach Candle

GLOB - Keepsake, Gift Bag

Keepsake, Gift Bag

Viola's Gourmet Goodies - Mild and Sweet Jalapeno Jelly

Mild and Sweet Jalapeno Jelly

Jesben Slow Cooker Sauce Company - Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Sauce

Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Sauce

This post contains affiliate links, though I love this company so much I would share this sale with you anyway.  :)

Jul 262014
 

Garden Update 2014

This week I added cauliflower to the freezer.  Cauliflower is something I have never put up before and was amazed at how easy it was.  Blanch for 3 minutes, cool and freeze.  I will be freezing more if I am able to get them.  I may even added them to the garden now that I know how quickly it takes to put them up.

cauliflower blanched for freezer

I also gathered several dead-heads from my marigold plants.  The seeds in these will be saved for next year’s planting.  George and Jack were very willing to help with “harvesting” the seeds.  Once I showed them how to do it, they tried to be the one with the most seeds in their pile.  The seeds will be dried a bit and placed into an envelope and labeled.  I am keeping the colors separate, hoping to end up with ones that are not all the same color.  Marigolds are so easy to grow and propagate.  Okay, you do not have to actually do anything except harvest the seeds.  With about 5 minutes worth of work you will never have to purchase seeds for these from the store again.  I love plants like this, they are almost as good as perennials.

gathering marigold seeds unlabeled collage


 The freezer still holds over a gallon of blackberries from last year.  I need to find a recipe for blackberry syrup.  Any ideas?

Jul 252014
 

speed limit 30 sign morgue file

Yesterday I was outside talking with a friend/neighbor.  The kids were in the yard and some neighbor kids had come over to buy produce from our stand.  The neighbor kids (different neighbor than I was talking to) are older than my kids, so I wasn’t too concerned that they were standing right on the curb of our street.  The traffic was pretty light at that time and I was not paying 100% attention to them.

Suddenly, a car came speeding down our street.  Our nice tree-lined, brick street with a speed limit of 25-ish miles per hour.  Neither my friend or I hard the car coming until it was right there.  I barely caught site of it, they were going so fast – easily above 55 miles an hour.  Did I mention we live on a brick street?  They are not exactly known for being smooth sailing for cars to drive on.

My friend and I both walked closer to the street to see where the car was going. Even the middle-school kids riding their bikes down the sidewalks made comments about how fast it was going. I got my phone out to call the police, knowing the car would already be out of sight by the time anyone answered the phone.  The kids were a bit shaken up as it was going so fast they did not hear it until it covered them in dust as it drove by.

We both heard the LOUD squealing it made down the street.  Not knowing if it was in an accident or what, my friend got into her vehicle to follow the car and try to get it’s license plate number.

The call to the police was not exactly a lot of help, but I did want to make them aware of the erratic driver in case some of their patrols were in our part of Small Town at that moment.  They took my information and thanked me for my time.  I did think it was a bit odd that the country Sheriff’s office answered the phone instead of the town police, who I had called, but knew that was standard for after hours.

When I got off the phone, I used the still shaken up feeling the kids had to remind them that this was exactly why I tell them not to play in the street or run into the street for stray balls.  ”Always get an adult to do that for you.”  There is NO WAY this car could have stopped in time if one of my kids had decided to be “funny” and go into the street.  My day would have ended very differently.

After we had come back into the house and were preparing supper, my friend/neighbor called to update me.  She had found the car, parked in a yard about half a mile from us.

“The police were already there.  As was the ambulance and the coroner.  When I got there, the kids who were riding their bicycles were also there, so I asked them what was going on.”

Apparently there was an incident involving a teen and a gun.  I’m not fully sure of the details, as I really do not need to know.  It brought back the memories of my brother too clearly. I didn’t want to know any details.

“Ah, I understand.  No wonder,” was my reply.

The kids heard my response and asked why I said that, what my friend wanted and said.  So I told them a kid friendly version, “You know how fast the car was going and how dangerous it was to drive that fast?  Well, we should never drive that fast and it is against the rules.  However, it turns out this person had a friend who was hurt and they were going to see if they could help them.”  Now, between my tears which I was trying to not shed and a voice I was trying to keep level, it took me a bit longer to say this and with slower speech.  Thankfully, the kids accepted it and moved one.  They even told their Daddy about it when he came home.  He had to clarify with them that we should still never drive that fast.  Later I told him more details.

This also did clear up why no one at the local police station answered, they were all at the scene of the accident.  I also did not call them back to tell them where the car was.  Some times it is best to be thankful no one got hurt and leave it at that.  Doesn’t make it right, but I understand.  Oh, and the squeal of the tires … that was from them stopping at the one stop sign between our house and where they were going.  It is 4 or 5 blocks away from my house, not the 1 block it sounded like.

cemetery morgue file

So, why am I sharing this? Because: “For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.” and “There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.” (Source: Save.org)  Also, because in 2011 “someone in the country died by suicide every 13.3 minutes.” (Source: AFSP.org)  Still not convinced it is an issue in this country?  How about it being the 2nd – 10th leading cause of death, depending on your age group?

Before I was personally affected by suicide, I had no idea it was such a big issue.  Many of my close friends have dealt with depression at one point or another, but none had even expressed suicidal thoughts.  Not to me at least.  I had always assumed everyone knew that there were places to turn and people to talk to if this was something you were dealing with or contemplating.  Easier said than done it seems.

In a 2011 nationally-representative sample of youth in grades 9-12:  15.8% of students reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months preceding the survey; …12.8% of students reported that they made a plan about how they would attempt suicide during the 12 months preceding the survey; …”  (Source: CDC.org Suicide Datasheet)

I am not sure the incident yesterday was a suicide.  It could have been a true accident.  I am hoping it is not in the papers either way.  The family does not need publicity like that right now.  And in Small Town, it really is not needed.   Word gets around quick enough without it being front page for all to see.

But if it was a suicide, then yet another life has been stamped out too soon.  Yet another youth in our country was overcome by Satan and his lies, rather than the love of God and his promises.  Yet another family will be left ask “Why?!” and friends will be left wondering what else they could have done.

If you happen to be like those mentioned above who have contemplated suicide or even gone as far as to make a plan, know you are not alone.  It is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is also not something you should keep to yourself.  Tell someone.  Ask for help.  People are there who want to help.  Give them a call.  Send a text.  Whatever it takes.  Let someone know.

Jul 242014
 

castle toysWe have slowly been coming back to our “normal” after Simon left last week.  His bed is still up, though I should probably move it today.  We all miss him and hope things are going well where he is.  His arrival and departure were both so sudden, I think we were all shocked by the change.

Olaf has not been here this week, making it all very quiet at our house.  Or at least quiet-ER.  Perhaps this is why I am feeling able to take on a few of the household tasks that seem to have crept up on me.

Poppy flower

The produce auction went okay.  Between Jack testing boundaries, loudly, I was able to get candy onions, cauliflowers, zucchini and cucumbers.  I also learned that another, older, lady was not only a foster parent but also a parenting coach.  She was such a blessing as she calmed Jack down when I couldn’t get through to him.  Sometimes it takes someone besides Mom telling you exactly what Mom has been trying to tell you for you to get it.  {sigh}  I was also a bit self-focused and throwing an internal tantrum which didn’t help me handle the situation very well.

Update: I decided to remove the tantrum I was having in my head versus the nicer words I was using.  If you missed it, know that what I was thinking was not what I said.  It did have an effect on my patience and how much empathy I was having at that moment.

Over the years I have seen many of the same people weekly all summer long as I enjoy going to these auctions.  That doesn’t always mean we get to know each other on a deep personal level right away, but slowly it happens.  Who would have ever guessed that the majority of foster parents I know is because they go to the produce auction?!  Granted, it is still less than the fingers on one hand. And that includes myself.

green onions

Today I used some of the produce to try one of the recipes out of a cookbook I am going to write a review of this week.  Great timing.  I actually tried 3 recipes at lunch and will work on another one tonight for supper, but only needed the cauliflower from the auction for the one recipe.

 first cucumber blossom of the season 2 2013

This week I was able to take advantage of a deal a local store was running.  It was super easy and resulted in a free gift card.  Not too bad for about 10 minutes of my time and less than half a gallon of gas.  Not sure if I will save this to use for a gift or for someone in our household.  Living in Small Town has made it more difficult to take advantage of a lot of the savings found in Big Town.  More difficult, but not impossible.  I’m learning to look in unique places and outside the box.  Another example: friend’s husband helped a neighbor haul off sticks from the yard, but refused payment for helping.  The neighbor offered sweet corn instead.  Friend’s husband agreed.  :)

Also found out this week that a young man we have previously had help around the house, and whom I was about to call again, was no longer a good resource to call.  Seems he made a few bad choices recently.  These are ones that will have consequences and be difficult to overcome. Living in Small Town can give you a tight network of support, but can also at times lead to making bad choices out of perceived limited opportunities.  While these decisions and choices are not unique to Small Town, it can make them harder to come back from.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”  ~Psalms 3:5,6

I am not sure why this young made the decisions he did.  What I do know is that the road ahead of him will be difficult.  Unfortunately, I do not think he is a Christian, though he might believe in God.  Please pray for him if you think of it.

onion sets may 6 2014

While looking for skewers, to grill with, I found a bag of onion set from this spring which were not planted.  While I do NOT need more green onions, these will not go to waste.  Either I’ll plant them for a fall crop or give them to a friend.  I also found other seeds that I need to plant for a fall crop.  Cooler weather lately has made even more possible to still plant.  I took advantage this week of the cooler temperatures and planted several Bleeding Hearts in an area of the yard that does not grow grass due to shade.  My hope is that they will thrive here.

Farmer's Market Stand

With things calming down a bit here at home I decided to put the roadside produce stand back out.  The kids were a bit disappointed no one stopped yesterday.  My husband had to explain that people were not looking for it, “as Mommy has not been consistent in putting it out.”  It didn’t take long, though, as several people have stopped by today.  There is not a lot out there, but maybe people will begin looking for it again.  It does not take long for word to get around.

The picture above is from the farmer’s market a few years ago.  It was a season in life when this was possible, though it no longer is. I am glad I had the opportunity to do it when I did, as it was always something I wanted to try.  Perhaps again in the future, but not now.

baked apple muffins

Now, I am off to bake cupcakes with George and Jack.  My friend’s mom gave the boys a baking set with cupcake papers.  I have not heard the end of it since they received this gift.  So I’m going to be a “good mom” and ignore the housework while we go bake.  At least there will be sweet rewards at the end – ones with calories and ones of the heart.

Jul 222014
 

Garden Update 2014

  • I harvested and (finally) processed some of the green onions from the garden.  While almost half are still out there, I made room for some fall crops and got almost a gallon bag of onions for the freezer.  These will be used in stews and other dishes this fall/winter.
  • The strawberry plants are producing more, resulting in larger strawberries.  My plants are prolific producers of runners, which I think is keeping them from producing more.  Once I get a better set-up for my netting over them, I am going to start limiting the number of runners.
  • The blackberry plants are also producing, though I have not had the opportunity to cover them, so we have not actually gotten to eat any of the fruit yet.
  • My volunteer tomato turned out to be a roma tomato plant.  This is by far the best growing tomato plant in my garden this year.
  • The stevia plant in the herb garden is going to be removed this year.  It is a great growing plant, but not something I use.  The only reason it is still there was because my neighbor and friend was interested in it so I offered to let it grow.
  • My blueberry plant is making a comeback from being decimated by squirrels last year.  Still no blueberries, though I do not expect any for another year or two.Dicing an onion

Today, I am off to the produce auction for the first time in several months.  A friend is coming over for the day, from out of state, to join us.  Perhaps I should have titled this post “Onion Week”.  I am hoping to add some larger onions to my stores, dicing and freezing the majority for the upcoming  year.  Not having them in the freezer at the end of Spring made me realize exactly how much I use onion in my cooking.  It is cheaper to get them now to freeze than to buy them as I need them throughout the year.  

Last year I hung several bags in the basement toward the end of fall, hoping they would last through till this June/July.  They didn’t.  Somewhere around March and April several of them were starting to go bad and dripping dark juices onto the floor.  I had to throw away two bags worth because they were no longer usable.  They lasted about 6 months hanging from the ceiling in my dark, cool basement.  Not bad all things considered.  The plan for this year, then, was to buy throughout the growing season, using fresh as needed and freezing bags of pre-diced onions for the freezer.  As for the ones I will again store in the basement, if they even begin to look like they are going bad or growing tops, I will take them down and freeze them also.  Hopefully by not trying to process 60 lbs or so all at once I will not overburden myself and give up on doing something with them.

I have even thought about drying some of the onions and making either dried onion flakes or onion powder.  Anyone have experience doing this?  Any tips?

Jul 192014
 

babydoll handmade from Grandma collage labeledWhile looking in a bin in my closet, for toys for George and Jack, I came across a baby doll from when I was a kid.  I have had this doll so long I do not even remember when I got it.

The Grandmother it came from was great at knitting and other related activities, though it was my other Grandmother who did the crocheting and quilting.  While this doll may not have all the fancy functions the dolls in the stores do today, I remember loving the size and how it felt holding it.  It was the perfect size for my little hand and arms.  It also had a built in blanket that make it look like a baby snuggled down in your arms.

As I have gotten older, I am amazed by exactly what she was able to make.  They may not have had a lot of money, but if you gave her some yarn she could make some of the most beautiful things.

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