Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Roasted chicken and veggies

Lunch today was baked/roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots and onions. It is a simple, easy, yummy meal so I figured I'd share! I would live to do more recipes like this where I walk you through step by step on how to make a simple meal. Just to show that you can make a good, healthy whole foods meal without too much effort. In total the prep time is probably 30 minutes! Then you can just sit back and relax while it is cooking, all in one pan!

I washed the potatoes and peeled the carrots and then cut them into a little bigger than bite sized pieces. I did the same with the onion. Place all those in a 9X13 inch pan, drizzle with olive oil. I then sprinkled on dried oregano and rosemary and powdered garlic. But please feel free to use what ever tastes good to you! Put that in the oven to bake while you get the chicken ready.

Skin a whole chicken. You can leave the skin in if you like, I just don't like. :o) Then cut it up into 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts). By the time this is done, the veggies will have begun to cook nicely. (You could skip the step and use a pre-cut up chicken or your favorite chicken parts- chicken breasts, legs and thighs, etc.)

Pull the pan out of the oven and stir the veggies. Place the chicken on top of the veggies and sprinkle with the herbs and seasonings. Place back in the oven to cook till done. Should take between 30-45 minutes. Till the chicken temps between 165-180.

Mean while, place the chicken carcass in a large pot and cover with water. Put a lid on it and place on the stove. Add seasonings if you wish but it is not necessary. Allow to simmer on the stove for 2-how ever many hours! :o) When done, pull the chicken from the water and allow to cool on a plate for a bit then using your hands, pick off any bits of meat you can find. Add to the chicken broth and place in quart sized zip top baggies (I usually do about 2 cups per bag). Lay them down on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer over night to get solid.

Now you have a nice meal and chicken broth for later use!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This is me!

I am a house wife. A stay-at-home mom. A home maker. I stay at home because we (Zach and I) made that decision a long time ago. It was not a decision we made lightly. We thought long and hard about it. There were many nights spent talking about it into the wee hours of the morning. There still are. We knew that by making this choice we would never own a brand new car or house. We knew we wouldn't be able to buy things just because we wanted them. But we don't want that either. We have to think about making our purchases. We have to save up. We have to pinch pennies. But we find those things fun, challenging, exciting even.

I do not feel I need to justify my not having a job. I do things here and there to bring in a little extra money on occasion but not because I feel I should but because I want to. Not because I have to but because I choose to. My husband is able to support us. Would a second income be helpful, sure! But it is not necessary. We don't need it, nor do we want it. We would much rather I be here. Taking care of our home, our children, and ourselves. And I do work. I work hard. I do not sit on the couch watching soap operas all day eating bon bons while filing my nails. I cook, plan meals, grocery shop, clean, do dishes, do laundry, play with my girl, garden (veggies), and make as much as I can from scratch (pie dough, pizza, bread, yogurt, casseroles, granola, baking mix, cream of chicken soup, gravy, chicken broth, pasta, desserts, pie filling, laundry soap). Could I buy most of those things from a store, sure! But I save us a lot of money by making them from scratch and they are much healthier. Could I do those things and still have a job, sure but maybe not as well or with as much attention to detail.

Have we chosen the hard life? In some peoples eyes, sure. But not in ours. We live a simple existence. We don't go out to eat for our birthdays and anniversary. Instead I make a favortie meal and dessert. We don't go out to the movies. Instead we head the the library and borrow a movie for free. We don't buy new clothes. Instead we shop at Goodwill, consignment shops, thrift stores, and yard sales. We don't go to high dollar salons. Instead I cut my husbands hair and I get mine cut at a beauty college for about $5. We don't buy pricey diapers. Instead we cloth diaper and use store brand disposables. We don't go on big vacations. Instead we go camping or to local parks and historical sites and maybe once every 5 years or so take a bigger trip. Still costing us no more than $500 or so.We live a reusable life instead of a disposable one. We use rags instead of Swifer dusters, sponges, paper towels. We use cloth napkins, cloth diapers, and towels. I am looking into using handkerchiefs this winter instead of tissues. Heck, I even use cloth "female products." Sorry guys!

Are we happy? For the most part, yes. Do we want more? Sure! Who doesn't? We want a home of our own. Land. A place to raise our children. In the country. A place for goats, chickens, maybe even a couple sheep. A place to grow, run, learn, live, breath! But we are willing to wait for that to happen. To slowly build up our savings. Are we planning to buy a quarter of a million dollar home? NO! Not by any means. An old farm house with a couple out buildings and a couple few acres would be fine with us.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not knocking those that do work! Both those that choose to and have to. I am not saying that it makes you a lesser wife, mother, father, husband, person! Not by any means. I am just stating our decision and why and how we make this decision possible. I can not count the number of times I have been looked down on because I choose to stay home. How many people have told my husband that I should get off my lazy good for nothing butt and get a job. And it hurts me. That people cannot accept the decision we have made.

We both sacrifice to make this choice possible for us. Zach works hard! He works a hard, physical job and comes home tired every morning. He works third shift so he can earn an extra dollar an hour. And this means that he is on a different sleep schedule as "L" and I. He gets home from work at 7am and goes to bed. We get up at 8am. He then gets up at 1 or 1:30 pm (after only 6 or so hours of sleep) to spend time with us. He then leaves for work at 5pm. We don't even eat a meal together the days that he works.

And how do I sacrifice? I miss my husband! I see him a matter of 3-4 hours a day on the days he works. And those hours he is tired and half out of it. I don't always get to buy the things that I want or "need". I am tired. Mentally, physically and often times emotionally.

But we are happy. So why can't people just be happy for us? Because we don't want the same things you do? Because we don't want the same things you want? I am sorry if our life style offends you. But maybe yours offends me. But it is not my place to tell you how to live it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sorry I am so late getting this posted! We have had a busy week. Sunday we laid around the house and accomplished nothing. :o) We have to have one of these days every once in a great while. We spent the day listening to Morgan Spurlocks "Don't Eat This Book" on audio CDs. It has been great so far, we still have two disks to go. Monday we got up really early to beat the heat and took a long walk! We walked to the grocery store to pick up alum for the pickles and then two dollar stores to pick up invitations and paper plates/napkins/balloons/cups/forks/etc. for "L" up coming 1st birthday. Oh my, where did a year go? Then Monday evening we went to the library and listened to a group of steel drum players from Bloomington, Indiana play some wonderful music! "L" had a blast and was dancing to the music. Today (Tuesday) we have been out to eat at a small diner for breakfast (a rare treat!), been to the cell phone store to look at a new phone for me (yeah for upgrades!), and worked in the yard a bit. Zach got the mowing and weed eating done and I got the tomatoes re staked as the rain and muggy weather had made them a little droopy. The rest of the day, I don't know. I need to the the peppers re staked, wash dishes, do a load of laundry and then maybe I might get to sit down and enjoy a little quite time before starting dinner. Phew! I need a nap! :o)

CSA bag contents this week:
  • 3 medium cucumbers (added to the first ones from our garden, in the process of making them into sweet pickles, yum!)
  • 5 small hot peppers
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 purple bell pepper
  • 1 bunch of greens
  • 7 small onions
  • 1 large zucchini

Saturday dinner: grill out: chicken breasts, grilled onions and peppers, and potato salad

Sunday Lunch: Salads

Sunday dinner: Chicken noodle, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots

Monday Lunch: left over grilled chicken, potato salad, and Kenyan style greens and tomatoes

Monday Dinner: Spaghetti- no meat but LOTS of veggies!, salad, cheesy bread

Tuesday lunch: salads

Tuesday dinner: whole chicken in the crock pot, pan cooked squash,zucchini, tomato, thyme mix and sauteed green beans

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thankful Thrusday: Week #23

~ Fireworks
~ Wheat crackers
~ Library summer reading program
~ My baby's first steps
~ Create TV
~ Coconut oil
~ Favorite authors

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blogging Break

For some reason, over the last month or so, I have lost my interest in blogging. I am not finding the joy in it that I once was. I feel like maybe I need to take a break from it. I have so much on my plate right now. So many things that I want to be doing this summer. Knitting to do, toys I want to make, gardening to be done, walks to take, life to live. I feel like I've not been spending enough time with my little girl of late. I've been so tired. So over budgeted. I've been drinking soda, eating sugar, needing more energy boosters that are not good for my health in any way! I want to relax more. Read more. Smile more. And I think I need to unload somethings for a while in order to make that possible. Blogging is one of those things that I can cut back on. I will still get on and check up on things from time to time. I still want to get on and post my meal plan each week (if for no other reason than to keep me accountable for continuing to do one) and I want to continue my Thankful Thursday as well, to keep my mind in the right area of gratefulness. Other than that, it will be touch and go. Only doing what I feel like doing instead of feeling obligated to myself to write every day. I don't know how long this will last. How long of a break this will be. However long it takes me to get back to myself. My family. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for reading my blog so far! I really do hope to come back to it some day. Full time. But for now, I need to take care of me and mine full time. Thank you again! God bless you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

We hit the mother load! :o) And so begins the FULL bags of God's abundance from the CSA! I am so excited!

This weeks bag contained
  • 1 bunch of cauliflower
  • 3 small hot peppers
  • 1 medium bag of salad
  • 1 small bag of arugula
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • chives
  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 12 ears of corn!

We also still have a small amount of green onions and 1 bunch of broccoli left from last week since we were gone for a good part of the week.

We also got two quarts of raw goats milk this week as next week she is going to be busy at her county fair. But we (Zach and I) have also discussed it and we are going to start getting 2 quart from her every week and Zach is going to start drinking it as well. Raw milk and goats milk are just so packed with nutrition! And ours is hormone and antibiotic free and is from organically and pasture fed local goats. So why should only "L" and I be getting those benefits? It is more expensive ($2 a quart) but food (and our health, which is directly related to what we eat) isn't something we should scrimp and "save" on.

Anyway, onto the meal plans for this week...

Saturday dinner: Zach's week to work.

Sunday Lunch: Breakfast for lunch: scrambled eggs with green onion, minced hot pepper, cheese, and bacon

Sunday Dinner: Cook out! I found some yummy looking turkey sausages at the grocery store this week so we are having those with Cole slaw, grilled onion and roasted corn on the cob

Monday Lunch: Pasta arugula with chicken

Monday Dinner: Freezer meal- creamy broccoli casserole with corn on the cob, fresh bread with butter and jelly

Tuesday Lunch: Stir fry- broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, onion, corn? all over brown rice

Tuesday Dinner: Enchiladas (replacement freezer meal) with salad topped with cucumber

Snacks for the week: homemade granola bars and crackers with chive/garlic/cream cheese spread and cottage cheese with crushed pineapple

Friday, July 9, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Scrap/note paper

I am a list maker! I have lists of chores to do, leftovers in the fridge, things to buy, meal plans, things to pack for trips, etc. I am afraid I am going to have to start making lists of my lists just to remember them all. :o)

But in the process of making all these lists, I use a good bit of paper. So instead of buying note paper, I simply "make" my own. I use junk mail, printer mistakes, old fliers, (my Mom uses over printed school papers from the elementary school she works at). As long as the paper is only printed on one side, it is usable again! Maybe you can use "oops" prints from your job or church. I usually cut a regular sized sheet of paper into 4 pieces. These tend to be the perfect size for me.

You can also use the scrap papers for other things. Taking down a message for someone, leaving a loving note for your spouse or child in their lunch box, leaving a reminder for another family member on the bath room mirror, jotting down an address or name, or writing down something you want to look up on the Internet. Make flash cards for your child with simple words or memory cards for your teens upcoming test.

I keep some clipped to the fridge with a magnet and some in my purse. Keep a stack next to the home phone and in the console of your vehicle. Maybe even on your night stand for those middle of the night "Gotta remember to do that in the morning" things. Don't you hate those? :o)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thankful Thrusday: Week #22

~ Wool diaper covers (for those rash prone baby bums)
~ Brown paper bags (used to make a pattern)
~ High Fructose corn syrup free options (ketchup!)
~ Flat Rock Creek to play in with little babies (pictures to come)
~ Free yard sticks from the county fair
~ Pro-life bumper stickers (county fair again)
~ Fly strips (so gross but so helpful)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm back!

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend! We sure did. We played in the creek, watched fireworks, visited the county fair, ate home made ice cream and corn on the cob, had a cook out with my whole family, played croquet (hadn't done this in years,) picked wild flowers, played with babies and a sweet little girl, and had lots of great laughs with family. A perfect 4th of July weekend in my book!
But alas, we are now back to everyday life. We came home to nearly dead cucumber plants from needing watered so badly. But after about 3 gallons of water poured on them yesterday evening, this morning they are looking right as rain! We also came home to about 2 dozen baby bell peppers and lots of other lovelies growing quite well! Shouldn't be too long now before we will be harvesting our first veggies! I am very excited!
So anyway, I am back! I will be posting Thankful Thursday like normal tomorrow. Once again, hope you all had a wonderful holiday! God's blessings!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Feeling Bloggy Update

I'm just feeling "bloggy" right now so I figured I'd give you an update on how life in the Lance house is going...

  • "L" is napping right now, on my chest. This is where she usually sleeps. Most mother's I know use nap time as a chance to get things done. But "L" usually does fine when I am washing dishes, folding laundry or whatever so I use her nap times as my chance to relax as well. I will read, watch TV, get on here, knit, what ever I feel like doing. It is kinda nice to have peace and quiet for a little while. And who doesn't love holding a sleeping baby?
  • Our "garden" is looking amazing! We have about 2 dozen baby cherry tomatoes coming on. Half a dozen or so Roma and flowers all over the big tomatoes. There are three tiny cucumbers started. I mean tiny! Like 1/2 inch long little things. There are 3 yellow squash coming on. Once again, little! About 1 1/2 inches long. No zucchini yet but lots of blooms. And we have one peach seed sized bell pepper. It is so funny looking! Like a mini bell pepper. I could just eat it now, all in one bite! But I won't.
  • I have picked 12 leaves off our first ever basil. It smells wonderful! We have little parsley and thyme plants too and I just planted some chives as an after thought to the herb collection.
  • I have been dying yarn with kool-aid like crazy. Making some wonderful new colors. The past two days I've done dark red/purple, a wonderful bright blue and a variegated blue, green and white that is going to make a really cool boys diaper cover for my Etsy shop! I also picked up some new colors today- orange, pink lemonade, and regular lemonade. Looking forward to seeing how they turn now.
  • Don't you love the bullets? Makes my soo non professional information look so much better. :o)
  • I just finished crocheting a new kitchen rug as my other one died on me. Just fell apart in the wash. Oops.
  • I also just finished a watermelon kids rug that I am going to put in my shop. It is super cute and looks like a slice of pink watermelon. I just have to put some "seeds" on it.
  • I am all packed and ready for this weekend. We are heading home for the 4th. Planning to see the fireworks at the local park, have a cook out and go swimming and just spend some time with the families. It should be nice!
  • I made a test run of cinnamon roll bread yesterday and it turned out great! I will be posting the recipe later and I am planning on taking a couple loaves to the LLL meeting Tuesday as I am in charge of refreshments.
  • "L" has three teeth now and this last one did not come in as easily as the first two did. We have been using all natural teething tablets and eating ice popsicles but she is still grouchy which is making me grouchy. We have not been good company this week. It seems to be getting better now though. It is making nursing a little more interesting as she is still learning how do do it with this new thing in her mouth.
  • I have started a new book that I am looking forward to reviewing for you later. It is a book on marriage and how to be the best wife you can be. I am already seeing a change in Zach and I's relationship and in my general disposition. I am excited to see what the rest of the book has in store for us!

Ok, I suppose that is enough randomness for now. I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend! I will be standing proud for my country's anthem! I may not always agree with where our government is going but it was built on the backs of some strong Christian men and I have to hope that it will stay standing on those founding father's ideals! God bless the men and women who serve our country and those that have fought and died for it! Have a blessed weekend!

Frugal Tip Friday: Rags

Since I was a child, I remember my Mom cutting up old shirts and using them as dust rags. She'd use old wash rags and towels, in too bad a shape to wash dishes or bodies, to wash cars. My Grandma even used her and my Grandpa's old undies. And I have heard of lots of people using their now adult children's old cloth diapers.

Today we have Swiffer, disposable sponges, and Pledge wipes. All that get used and then tossed after just one, sometimes a few more, uses. We live in a "disposable" world. But these cost money and load our landfills with even more trash. While the old shirts, undies, towels and diapers cost nothing.

So the next time you have a old t-shirt that has gotten stained or have a wash rag with just one too many holes in it, cut up that shirt, don't toss that rag. Give them a second life! Use them, wash them and reuse them! I bet you'll find they work just as well as those expensive "replacements."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Etsy shop is now open!

My Etsy shop is up and running!!! I am so excited! I have all the wool diaper covers that I have finished posted and plan to start getting some of my jewelry posted soon as well. Hopefully I can get some things sold and start bringing in some extra cash flow to help with saving for a house. That is the plan at least! Go check it out and tell me what you think!

Thankful Thursday: Week #21

~ Four wonderful years with my high school sweetheart

~ Old videos that remind me of my childhood (Disney sing along songs found at Goodwill for $1, one that my Grandma owned)

~ Silly little girls

~ Children's laughter in a restaurant (it can bug other people if they like, but I enjoy hearing it!)

~ Good books. There are so many of them!

~ God's amazing grace

~ Hope