What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, March 28, 2013

{P.H.F.R} Disorderly

I am linking up for Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real but you aren't getting 'em in that order.  'Kay?  Kay.  There is just no way PRETTY could come first this week. 

This week has been a whopper.  I mean, the WORST possible week I have had in.....probably ever.

Let me tell you about Monday and you will see what I mean.

Monday I had some SERIOUS grocery shopping to do.  It had been WEEKS since I went for a REAL trip and since Easter is this Sunday and it was in the works for ME to HOST this year, I had some real shopping ahead of me.  I got the brilliant idea, that instead of going to my usual haunts, I would go to surprise my husband at work for lunch and then do the shopping afterward in that town...it had all the places I needed to go anyway.  So, I excitedly drove the hour trip (instead of the 35 minute trip) and happily anticipated surprising him.

Only- about 10 minutes from my arrival the car started acting funky.  I don't have a cellphone, one of the last remaining few- so my only option was to keep chugging along.  Five minute before my arrival, I was having a hard time steering it.  Then, at the light at the busy intersection two minutes before my arrival- the car wouldn't BRAKE.  I slowed enough by pumping the brakes and gliding slowly halfway through the intersection to stop before it was too late and we were all killed.  I finally made it to his work and barely got myself into a parking spot in the super-full parking lot (naturally) though without any good steering capabilities.  Turned off the car and buckets of smoke poured out of the front tire.

So much for a happy surprise.  He was happy to see me- for the minute of ignorant bliss that he didn't know what was happening.

Instead of enjoying one anothers' company during a peaceful and happy lunch break, we had to lurch our way into an auto place and pray that there was something that could be done.  They said, they could work on it but didn't know WHEN so we would have to leave the car all afternoon.  Would we?  Well, since we have no other option.

Matt went to work and I bundled up the children with random hats/scarves that were tucked in between seats and in the trunk and we walked to the nearest mall about 1/2 mile away and through crazy busy traffic/intersections.  And then we shopped.  I bought a cellphone so that Matt could call me to let me know when the car was ready to be picked up and a huge water so that we could all have something to sip on.  Then, we waited.  For SIX hours.  Four children who had to skip their rest time and a Mama who was constantly thinking about all the REAL shopping that needed to be done and that wasn't getting done...walked the mall, over and over and OVER.  For six hours.  (I hate malls.)

At one point, during a fit of inward stress and exhaustion, I sat down at the food court and the children bombed the empty arcade with pent up energy (but no money- sorry, arcade owner) while I sat at a table outside of the door and  I wrote this list.  (Yes, I carry around a clipboard in my car) I needed this list. After I started thinking about all the mercies that were shown to us that day, and started focusing on the wonderful providences of the day, I realized just how blessed a day it was.  Things could have been SO much worse.  What if I would have been stranded on the hill, 10 miles (all up hill) from ANYTHING?  What would have happened if the car hadn't finally stopped at that intersection?  What would have happened if it were freezing cold and my children, all with lingering coughs, had to walk for miles?  God is so good.

An exhausting, stressful, horrible day~ but still full to spilling of blessings.


Of course, NOT BEING KILLED would have been a good one to write as well-but my brain was pretty fried at this point. 

 We got home right at bedtime and ate a hurried dinner and then, after I was nearly zombie-like from an overwhelming day, I went straight to bed after tucking the children in bed. But in the middle of the night.... I was awakened by a torrent of puke.


Puke.  The cherry on top.

I was up all night, holding back hair and washing her face and scraping off blankets.  I won't lie- one of my first thoughts was of that huge cup of water we all shared during our shopping experience.

I think my PUKE-filled days are far from being over.

Which means, Easter partying is officially canceled.  And I even bought a pineapple for the occasion!


 Meanwhile~ Andrew gets mauled by a tiger.


round button chicken

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2 Weeks of Meals- because you asked.


When I posted about Squeezing the Grocery Budget 'til it squeaks, I was asked if I might share one of our two-week meal plans.  So here it is!  My menu plans are made so that I know I have ingredients in the house to prepare meals-but they are made casually.  What I mean to say is- if I don't feel like making a particular thing on a particular day, I change days around or even replace it with something else.  I decided before I posted the menu plan that I would wait until an actual two weeks had passed so you would know what we ACTUALLY ate, and not what we "planned" to eat.

After writing it all down and looking at it in one place, I realized just how much peanut butter we consume. Wow.  I am off to buy stocks in Peter Pan.  ;-) 

  Two things to keep in mind:  1) Because I am trying to lose weight, I usually eat differently than the children at lunch time.  My lunches usually involve salads or soups or couscous with veggies.  I didn't include these for simplicities' sake.  And 2) When you see *HG, it means HOMEGROWN.  In the case of fruits, however it is more home preserved than homegrown, since, sadly, we have no mature fruit-bearing trees yet.)

Oh, and I have tried to provide recipes where ever possible.

Week 1 (No payday this week so we have to eat what we HAVE, which isn't too much!)

Breakfast:  cereal and milk (our Sunday tradition-since I am too busy getting people 'fancied' to make anything.)
Lunch: peanut butter and pumpkin butter (*HG) sandwiches
Snack: pretzels, banana
Dinner:  Goulash (*HG sauce, beef, onions); bread and butter.
Dessert: peanut butter cookies (*HG eggs)

Breakfast: Huckleberry Scones (*HG huckleberries), vanilla yogurt
Lunch: peanut butter and pumpkin butter (*HG) sandwiches
Snack: pretzels, p.b. cookie, raisins
Dinner: Taco Salad (*HG beef, onions, salsa) and tortilla chips

Breakfast: cinnamon raisin oatmeal
Lunch:  peanut butter and apple butter (*HG) sandwiches
Snack: peanut butter and honey popcorn
Dinner: Zucchini Soup (*HG zucchini, onions), cheddar onion biscuits (*HG onion)

Breakfast: scrambled eggs (*HG), oranges
Lunch: peanut butter and apple butter (*HG) sandwiches
Snack: peanut butter and honey popcorn.  Slice of cheddar cheese.
Dinner: Turkey**, mashed potatoes, sweet cinnamon acorn squash (*HG), canned pears (*HG)

Breakfast: blueberry zucchini muffins (*HG blueberries, zucchini), cottage cheese
Lunch: cheese sandwiches
Snack: zucchini muffin (what can I say?  They like them.), orange
Dinner: Stuffing-topped turkey casserole (*HG onion, zucchini.  Used leftovers), green beans (*HG) and applesauce (*HG)

Breakfast: blueberry zucchini bread (*HG egg, blueberry, zucchini), HOMEMADE vanilla yogurt (I finally did it!!!)(*HG maple syrup), slice of cheddar
Lunch: zucchini soup (leftovers), tuna fish on crackers
Snack: banana, pretzels, marshmallows, piece of chocolate
Dinner: PIZZA night! (Tonights' options: Ham and Pineapple.  Onion and cheese), carrot sticks with ranch dressing.  (*HG egg, ham, onion, and pizza sauce)

Breakfast: dippy eggs (*HG), blueberry zucchini muffins (*HG egg, blueberries, zucchini), vanilla yogurt
Lunch: sandwiches.  Peanut Butter and apple butter (*HG)
Snack: last of the pb popcorn.  Bananas.

 Week 2 (Grocery week!)

Breakfast: cereal and milk
Lunch: sandwiches (peanut butter and honey)
Snack: McDonalds ice cream cones (the children were very good at a funeral viewing we attended so we treated them on the way home.)
Dinner: Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (using carcass) (*HG onion), parmesan breadsticks (*HG egg)

Breakfast: scrambled egg bagel toppers (*HG egg, bacon)
Lunch: cinnamon raisin bread
Snack: copycat OatsNHoney granola bars.  (I quadrupled the recipe.) 
Dinner: sub sandwiches, orange, pretzels

Breakfast: blueberry zucchini streusel muffins (*HG zucchini, egg, blueberry), cottage cheese
Lunch: cheese sandwiches
Snack: granola bars (from above)
Dinner: sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits, peas, peaches (*HG)

Breakfast: vanilla yogurt (*HG maple syrup), granola (from above) and huckleberries (*HG)
Lunch: peanut butter and banana sandwiches
Snack: air popped popcorn with salt/butter
Dinner: Potato Corn Chowder with Bacon, corn muffins.  (*HG onion, corn, bacon)

Breakfast: dippy eggs, toast, vanilla yogurt with huckleberries (*HG eggs, huckleberries, maple syrup)
Lunch: peanut butter and pumpkin butter (*HG) sandwiches
Snack: roasted red pepper hummus (*HG red peppers) and crackers
Dinner: Spaghetti (*HG beef, sauce, dehydrated green peppers), beet greens (*HG onions, beet greens, bacon grease), applesauce (*HG)

Breakfast: huckleberry scones (*HG huckleberries, egg), vanilla yogurt
Lunch: can 'o soup, crackers
Snack: pretzels with honey mustard dip, marshmellows
Dinner: Pizza Night! Tonights' options:  BBQ chicken pizza and Three cheese.  Carrot sticks and roasted red pepper hummus (*egg, pizza sauce, onion, roasted red peppers)

Breakfast: mini blueberry bagels
Lunch: leftover pizza (for those who stayed home from the baby shower)
Snack: leftover popcorn from shower
Dinner: Minestrone Soup  (*HG- onions, beef, zucchini, green peppers, green beans) and Parmesan rosemary foccacia wedges (*HG rosemary)
Foods taken to Baby Shower:
several batches of lemonade
Ready to POP white chocolate covered popcorn
Rye Dip with rye cubes
Lemon Fruit dip and bananas

**I forgot to mention in the grocery budgeting post another good tip for saving money.  Stocking up on "holiday" meats.  After holidays, the  meats are reduced heavily just to be rid of them.  At Thanskgiving or even before when there are 13cent per pound turkey sales, I buy several turkeys to stock the freezer. You can't beat 13 cents a pound for meat, my friends. Turkey feeds us at least two times-often three or four if I include a soup as well.

Hams also, are a great buy after Easter.  Which is coming up, as you know! ;-)

So there you have it.  All we ate for the last two weeks.  Plus or minus a few handfuls of 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips.  ;-)


Monday, March 25, 2013

Pepper Snitcher


What really makes me giggle is how offended he looks when I discover that he has been skeefing the red peppers bits.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}



 Isn't the golden morning light the best?

I had a beautiful stained glass lamp in this spot, one I had gotten at a yard sale and that matched my painting so perfectly.  Well, in all its' gorgeousness, it was a bit.... top-heavy.  And my house is a bit...busy.  Never a good combination.  It has plunked to the floor too many times to count- this last time being the last straw. 

What a sad, lonely spot that little table was.  It made me so sad.  I realized though, that my gargantuan orchid could fill the spot nicely.  And it does.  It is a balm to my one-less-stained-glass-lamp soul. 


I DID it!   After so many of you kindly pushed me to stop WISHING I could do it and instead, just DO it, I made myself some homemade yogurt!  And you were totally right!  It WAS easy!  And it IS delicious!  This makes me very, very, very happy.

(Thank you for the much-needed gentle nudge!) 


Judahbear is wearing big boy undies almost exclusively during the day and has been for a few weeks.  Not to bed and I am still not brave enough for him to wear them to church but hey, it is progress! 

This picture isn't so much funny- and changing the occasional accident is CERTAINLY not funny- but those adorable little thighs and button belly?  Well worth posting. 

PS.  When did his thigh rolls disappear?!?!  :-(



As many pictures as I take, you would THINK my house would be swarming with pictures.  Not so.  I post them here and then, kinda sorta forget about them.  I should try and do better at that.  In the meantime, I get my "photo" fix with the kitchen photo wall.  Well, it is more like a bulletin board than a wall at this point- but it makes me happy anyway. 

round button chicken

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It begins. (Seed Starting)

Several months ago, I was asked to do a post on starting seeds. I said I would when the time came, and so it has! Several varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers require longer growing seasons than I can produce outdoors and need to be started indoors. The Newman tradition has always been to start them on St. Patrick's Day but anytime right about now is good.  I have several more flats to do myself later this week.  I often do plenty of tomatoes, green/red peppers, broccoli, zinnias, cosmos and herbs.

You find out what plants require seed-starting by looking at the back of the seed envelope.  It will tell you just how far in advance you must plant.  Some also say you CAN start them earlier for an earlier harvest or bloom.  Meaning, if you want flowers earlier, start them inside!

Here is how I do it.

Get a bag of seed-starting soil.  Put it in a tub or bucket and add hot water.  Let it sit for a while so that all the soil absorbs the water.  You want it to be moist but NOT soupy. 

(If when you press down hard on the surface, some water pools around your finger- it is perfect. But you shouldn't see water otherwise.)

When you fill pots with dry soil, it is dusty, messy work.  When your seeds are planted and you add water, your seeds get displaced.  Water spills everywhere as the soil works to soak it up.  Then, the soil is compacted and you need to add more.  (I did it this way for many years.)

Moistened soil, on the other hand, is so much easier to work with when filling your pots.  The soil is already full of water so when you compact it in your pot, that is the level soil you will end up with.  And the soil doesn't require additional watering once you've plopped in your seeds, so no chance of seeds floating all over the place.

Fill your pots.

(Andrew is my go-to helper with all things garden.)

  I used to use those soil 'pellets' almost exclusively but found that they became root bound and unhealthy before I could get my plants into the ground.  They perked up well after they were in the garden, but I did a fair amount of worrying.  I opted for this size this year, hoping for a healthier plant to put in the garden.

I put my seeds in a shallow little bowl so I can see them well and pick them up easily.  Any extra go back in the packet when you are done.

Some people poke holes first and plop seeds down in the holes to cover.  I place the seeds on top and then push them down with my finger.   Either way, gently cover the hole with loose soil.  Usually it just required 1/4 inch or so.  (This too is on the package.)

It is good habit to plant two seeds in case one of your seeds is a dud.  Later, when the seedlings are up and have at least two leaves- you decide which looks the best and you cut the other one off (with scissors) at the base.

I always feel slightly guilty about this plant murdering, but it is necessary so that they do not compete for nutrients.

Mark your plants well!  Wooden popsicle sticks work well.  But you can use other things too.  I have seen plastic forks, stickers.  Even writing on the pots themselves with permanent marker works!  Just so you know what you have planted.  I only planted one variety of broccoli but when I plant different varieties, like with my tomatoes, I make sure to write that information too.

I think this year I am going to invest in a light for my seedlings (I think it is time) but I have never had a light before, so you don't NEED one.  If you don't have a light, place your seedlings near a window with lots of bright light but not DIRECT light.  You don't want the sun to burn and kill your baby plants.  It is important when seedlings are placed by a window that you turn them each day.  This will help them grow straight instead of leaning in one direction.

Never let your seedlings' soil dry out into dust.  They should always been moist.  I use a spray bottle filled with warm water to spritz them when they need it.

Now you just wait.

With gardening, as with many other things, it is often best to just DO it and learn as you go.  Every year I learn something new; often, through trial and error.  For many years I planted in dry soil and threw a hissy fit when my carefully placed seeds floated all over the place.  For several seasons I used 'pellets' because they were so cool to watch swell.  ;-)

There is no shame in learning through real experience.  

Are you starting seeds this year?  What'cha planting?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

 I am pretty sure I mixed up the categories, but ah well.  Such is my mixed up life.


OKay.  This one is kinda funny too.  hehehe

This winter has been the winter of the cough.  The horrible sounding, long-lingering, worry-inducing kind.  One particular night when Matt was out of town, I let Adele' sleep with me.  Boy, did she think she was pretty special then.   Even sick she is pretty.  Adele' has recovered entirely, the boys are pretty much done but now it is Corynn and Papa's turn.  Love-r-ly.


With warm sunshine and brown earth showing, we've been letting the chickens free range after a long winter indoors.  They are mighty.happy about that.


For such a small body, she sure can pack away the food.  She had FOURTHS last night.


I am happy to report, for the first winter EVER, we put up enough huckleberries to last us through the winter!  We've been eating at least one berry thing a week since January and I have two more prized bags in the freezer!  I can't believe it!

In honor of the four zucchini-blueberry streusel muffins I should not have eaten this morning (but did anyway), I give you four photos of the same. 


I know I have problems.

round button chicken

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

TOTAL Destruction?


In my last post, I said something like "my house is in a state of total destruction."  HA.

Well, let me just say, I had NO IDEA.

It got much, much worse. 

The absolute only good thing about it (well, besides the finished product) was getting to see the throbbing, bulging muscles this man can sport.

Whoooo-wee.  You can sand my ceiling any time.

Matt knew with all the mess he made, that he needed to butter me up- so he took me on a date.    With the muscles and the mess, I didn't need much coercing, let me tell ya.


I pretty much stink at bowling- but I sure do have fun.  (And isn't bowling WAY more fun now that there isn't any cigarette smoke clouds hovering over your head and making fuzzy the view of the pins?  Amen to that.)  Matt on the other hand- is awesome.  (Stinker.)  

BUT.  BUT.  By the third game, his arms were getting tired (hmmmm- I wonder why?) and mine were warming up.  I actually got a strike.

TWO strikes.  

I am so awesome.

 Never mind about that sixth round. M'kay?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

I shared with you a few bright and shiny pictures of a spiffy looking living room in my last blogpost.  I thought it only fair to share with you what the living room (and school room and dining room and laundry room) looks like today.

Matt happens to be on vacation this week and we all know what happens when Matt is on vacation.


With some money from our "Hopestead" envelope, we scrounged up enough money to fix the ceiling in our living room which has been an eye-sore since, well, we moved in.  (We also are changing the one light fixture in the center of a too-big-room into two light fixtures that will hopefully brighten things up a bit!  We already have the fixtures from our old house!)

But the "making it pretty" involves a whole lot of making things messy and the house is in a state of pandemonium until further notice (or until the spackle gets sanded).  I mean, total destruction, people.  I am going to have SO much work to do in a day or two, righting all the (oh-so)wrongs.

Needless to say, there are certain aspects of {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} that aren't going to be very easy to share this week.  Like, basically everything but REAL.  :-)

Try to use your imaginations, would you please?


{Happy}- I'll be happy when it is all done and things like this are a distant memory:

 {Funny}- Scientific Fact: When one is forbidden to enjoy something, said forbidden things have magnetic power pulling one to it.  True with all, the power is multiplied exponentially when children are subjects.


{Real}- pretty much all the pictures in this post.

MAN, I HOPE that this house will be better by Sunday.  The making-it-better will NOT be fun, but when it is done it, all this mess work will be worth it.

I hope.

round button chicken