Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Usually my brothers and their families come for Thanksgiving every year, but they had other obligations this year. We could have done Thanksgiving dinner in the evening with them, but frankly, I just didn't know if my family would be up to it. Hubby has to be at work at 5 a.m on Friday, and I always feel like I need time to rest and recuperate after the dinner. So my brothers and I will get together another time, and instead I invited some family friends over.
This morning my daughter and I sat down and came up with our Thanksgiving schedule. First, the menu (which I planned several weeks ago). Thankfully, many of the dishes can be made ahead of time.
- Broccoli supreme
- Zucchini casserole
- Mashed potatoes
- Green beans
- Pumpkin pie
Here's the schedule for the week:
SUNDAY: Put the turkey in the refrigerator to defrost. Quick trip to the store for butter, milk and other perishables.
MONDAY: Make desserts (pumpkin pies and fudge). Make decorations (napkin rings, place cards, centerpiece, etc.).
TUESDAY: I will be at volunteering at the church most of the day on Tuesday. But when I come home we will need to make the vegetable dishes. We will make the broccoli supreme and zucchini casserole. And I will put some our garden green beans in the slow cooker with some fatback and spices to simmer for the next couple of days.
WEDNESDAY: Bake yeast rolls, loaf bread, etc. (any breads we might need for the week).
THURSDAY: Put turkey in oven first thing in morning. An hour or so before dinner, start putting everything else in oven or on the stove top to cook. Decorate table and enjoy guests!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Although I have lived here in Nort Carolina for about 15 years now, I wasn't raised in the south. So I know some of you may be asking the question I asked years ago, "What the heck is fatback, and who would want to eat it?"
"Fatback is the layer of fat along the back of a pig, used as a cut of meat. It is often used to make lard. Fatback is a traditional part of southern U.S. cuisine and soul food. Fatback was extremely popular in the South during the Great Depression because it is an inexpensive piece of meat. This dish is also widely eaten in Ukraine, where it is called salo.
Here's what WiseGeek has to say about fatback:
Today much of the use of fatback in the US is confined to the southern states. Fatback plays an important role in many of the soul
As the US became more industrialized, particularly during the
So those of you who don't live in the south... you're out of luck. Just hope that you get to visit one day and taste the famous fat!
For those of you who do live in the south, or who grew up in the southern states, what do you eat fatback in?
Friday, November 21, 2008
This week I happened to be thumbing through the Food Lion ad when I saw they had Philadelphia Cream Cheese on sale for $1.25 a brick. Jackpot!
I had to pick up a few other things anyway, so out I went. I got 12 bricks of cream cheese for $3.00. Regular price would have cost me somewhere around $18. Several of the bricks will be used in holiday dishes, and any leftover bricks will be frozen. I have frozen cream cheese before with no problems, so this was a great deal!
One dish I made for Nancy's party (and will probably make for an appetizer for some holiday dinner or another) is Ranch Roll-ups. Simple, but tasty!
2 bricks cream cheese
1 16 oz. package powdered ranch dip mix
1 package flour tortillas
Soften cream cheese in microwave. Combine with ranch dip and mix well. Spread on tortillas, making sure to spread all the way to edges. You can spread it as thick or as thin as you like. Roll the tortillas up carefully. Use very sharp knife to cut into 1/2 pieces.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Poor Doe got picked on for the first few days in his new coop, but now Nancy said he is almost back to his old self. He is crowing all the time, and he attacked her yesterday when she entered her coop (which is how we knew he was back to his old self). Here he is wandering out to get to know some of Nancy's hens. Notice the guineas on top of the trash cans that are full of feed. The guineas keep a watchful eye on everything that goes on.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The topic centered around where Obama's children should go to school. Joy referred to homeschoolers as being "demented" and said they are "afraid of other children." This upset me and, like Candace, I am glad my children did not hear this.
We have only been homeschooling for about two years now, but I never imagined we would run into as much prejudice as we have from everyone from television personalities to friends and family members. A lot of people have talked about tolerance and individuality during the recent presidential elections, and it often ends with conservative Christians being accused of these things. Perhaps some people should take the plank out of their own eye first. I am really getting tired of being persecuted, but I will not let it sway my beliefs.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10:
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This is the e-mail I sent ABC.
I was shocked and upset to hear Joy on The View say that homeschoolers are "demented" and "afraid of other children." There were 1,700,000 to 2,100,000 homeschooled kids in the United States in 2003, and that rate is growing by 7 to 15% every year. What a prejudiced, intolerant, and "demented" way to group everyone together. ABC may very well have just lost viewers in the form of 2 million homeschooled families. You've certainly lost my family.
You can contact them here.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Tuesday – Chicken and rice casserole, green beans, rolls
Wednesday – Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Thursday – Crockpot vegetable soup, cornbread
Friday – Homemade pizza, salad
Saturday – Vegetable soup, cornbread
Sunday – Roasted chicken, peas, carrots, macaroni, rolls
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Yes, that is a tiger cub I am holding. I quit my job in print media about two and a half years ago to become a stay-at-home mom. One thing I really enjoyed about my job, though, was the various people, places and things I was able to experience.
I was forced (okay, so I actually begged) to meet this adorable tiger cub in order to write an article on which I was working. I met this fellow at a veterinarian's office, where he had been brought in by a small, local zoo for examination.
I really loved my job (most of the time) and the experiences I gained from it, but I am not sorry that I gave it up. My children, my husband, and even my home, needed me. My youngest child is five now, but I feel like I missed all those baby milestones. I went back to work when he was only six weeks old, and other people got to see his first step and hear his first word.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but at the time we felt like there was no way my family could survive without my paycheck. Today, our family is organized the way I believe God meant it to be organized. My husband works, and I am able to give my children the time and influence they were lacking.
I have watched my children grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally since I brought them out of public school into our home. Now I am the one who gets to watch their faces light up with excitement over some new thing they just learned. I am able to help my family grow vegetables in our own dirt and cook real meals instead of bringing home burgers or tacos. My husband and I are shaping our children's morals and ideals - not a teacher, babysitter or day care worker.
Yes, times are hard. Yes, we have to scrimp and pinch and often go without. The kids get fewer Christmas gifts, less convenience foods, and hardly any name-brand clothes anymore. But ask any member of our family, and they'll tell you. The decision to quit work and homeschool the children was one we wouldn't change.
I know from experience that everyone can not do this at certain times in their lives, but it's a lifestyle I believe in - and the one God is leading us to live.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
If you have never done filled wrapped shoe boxes before, this is a great ministry by Samaritan's Purse, and I highly recommend letting your children help. The boxes go to third world countries or parts of other countries where children are greatly suffering. Not only do the recipients of these boxes get toys and hygiene products, in each box will be placed a booklet with the story of Jesus in that child's own language.
What a great way to show the love of Christ! You can get more information about packing a shoebox here.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Lynn does gorgeous digital scrapbooking, and her header reflects that scrapbooking look. But I was specific in what I wanted and Lynn really had to draw from a different part of her creative brain to do this. I asked for something personal, but simple, that reflected our life here on Victoria Hill Farm. I think she did a great job!
Pictured in my header is Nugget, one of our hens. She is foraging for bugs in the garden. I think only the squash had started to grow at that time or she wouldn't have been allowed in, as chickens do wreck havoc on gardens!
Anyway, head on over to The Mathematician's Assistant and check out Lynn's beautiful scrapbooking pages. Lynn doesn't do headers or blogs commercially, but she said she might if anyone was interested. So just leave her a comment if you would like for her to consider doing a custom header for your blog.
Next week, if I get up the courage, I may try to change my blog template to three columns instead of two. That would make my header bigger, too. I am html challenged, so who knows if that will work!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Mentioning my mother the other day made me think about the boxes and boxes of photos and documents I had "inherited" when she passed away. I had stuck them in a closet and never looked at them again.
Yesterday, I decided it was time to sort and organize them all. I worked on it all day, sorting photos into groups - unknown relatives, mom's side of the family, dad's side of the family, photos of my siblings and I.
Many of the photos were old black and white ones, which I love. I love looking at the styles or automobiles, clothing and houses. I try to put stories with the photos and imagine what the subjects are saying to each other.
I have no idea where the picture above was taken, but that is definitely my mom with her children. (You an probably click on the photo to enlarge it.) If you look to the far left you can see my dad in his Navy uniform, toting yet another small child. There are seven of my parents' nine children in the photo (I am the next to the youngest, and so am not pictured). I don't know who the woman all the way to the right is - just a random stranger?
The family is obviously waiting on something or someone. The car has seen better days. Each parent has a child, and the rest of the kids must have been told to stay put on the hood of the car. Check out one of my sisters with her skirt pulled up around her waist. I'm pretty sure my very lady-lik mother didn't see that!
I wonder who took the photo? It must have been taken from atop a building or something, as it is looking down. And I am sure my parents didn't know the photo was being taken at the time (or my sister's skirt would not be up, lol). I don't know anything about cars, but maybe one of you could guess at the time period this was taken by using the automobiles as a guide.
Don't these kids look like they are about to break out into a snowball fight? The stamp on the back of this photo says, "Graf's Studio, Feb 7 1948, Bessemer, Ala." My mother would have been around 10 years old then, that may be her second from the left. I have no idea who the other kids are, but check out the boy on the far right. He is eyeing the others like he is trying to decide who to launch his snowball at the minute the photo is taken. If you look very closely, you can see two ladies on the left in the back. Undoubtedly a couple of mothers standing far enough away that they hope they are out of the photo, but close enough to keep an eye on their kids.
My mother wasn't raised by her real mother, but according to what she wrote on the back of this photo, that is the woman that raised her on the left. Her name was Florene, and on the right is her sister Wylena. Can't you imagine Wylena Daniels riding her bike over to see her married sister Florene for a chat?
And last but not least I will show you this dapper man. I have no idea who he is or what bridge he is standing on. All I know is that the back is stamped with "Jack Rabbit Co., Spartanburg, SC, Nov 1939."
Monday, November 10, 2008
I actually don't use my card in the store much. I buy all my toilet paper there, and occasionally another bulk item. But not enough to justify the $40 annual membership fee.
However, there is one thing that I get a lot of at Sam*s Club. Gasoline. Right now, for instance, the Exxon near my house is $2.39, the generic "Quality Mart" is $2.30, and Sam*s Club is $2.19. That's a big difference!
So, after some thought, I believe I will renew my membership just so I can continue to buy gas there. At those prices, I could recoup my $40 membership fee in just two fill-ups. Am I missing something here or is it really the most frugal way to buy gas?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was inspired and very happy to stumble across Cindy's Porch, which offers what she calls the "2008 Cash Christmas Headquarters." The idea is to buy everything with cash and not on credit. We always do this anyway, so I didn't think the site would be very helpful. But that's until I saw her lists!
Being a planner, I absolutely love lists! Cindy's Porch includes lists (in PDF files) titled
- The "Everything you MIGHT need for the holidays" List
- The Holiday Gift List
- The Holiday To-Do List.
The site also offers frugal gift ideas for kids, stocking stuffers, and grandparents. I got some great ideas!
I printed everything out and they will go in my household notebook under the "Christmas" heading. And this year, I will be prepared. I will be so prepared, that the actual "doing" won't be as hard as last year.
It's time to start planning!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The recipe made a 9 x 13 casserole. And because it was very filling, we still had half of it left that will become dinner tonight. That gives me an extra meal on the menu that I can save for next time.
Also, in her post, Kris indicated that the casserole freezes well. That means that I can make it ahead of time and take to a potluck dinner at church.
Bethany House (October 1, 2008)
Alice J. Wisler
Monday, November 3, 2008
The first thing I do is to see what we already have in the refrigerator and pantry. Sometimes I can put things together to make a meal without having to purchase anything new for that meal. That's hard to do if you only check your pantry once a month.
Anyway, here is our menu for the next two weeks. Each meal comes with a veggie. Please understand that we usually already have these veggies - either fresh, frozen or canned - as we get them from our garden. Depending on your situation you may have to buy vegetables. Canned or frozen is usually the cheapest way to go.
Most of our salad ingredients also come from the garden. And our eggs, for cooking and for breakfasts, come from our chickens.
A couple of other things to keep in mind: All breads are made from scratch, and occasionally you may see the same meal two days in a row. This is because I make enough of something to serve it two days. This comes in especially handy when I know we have to be somewhere the following evening and I need something I can just quickly reheat.
And don't forget you can substitute the cheaper ground turkey for ground beef in any of these recipes (I probably will).
Now that all that has been said, I should be able to get everything I need for these meals, as well as stuff for some very frugal breakfasts and lunches and a couple of personl hygiene items, for $75. I will be getting most of the items at Aldi's, but a few at either Target or WalMart. And I already have one whole chicken and four pounds of ground turkey/beef in the freezer I will use, so I may even have a few dollars left over this time.
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes, gherkin pickles, salad
Wednesday - Stroganoff, spinach casserole (also a new recipe I haven't tried yet), mashed potatoes, rolls
Thursday - Squash Casserole, rice, veggie, salad, rolls
Friday - Crockpot Vegetable Soup, cornbread
Saturday - Vegetable Soup, cornbread
Sunday - Whole roasted chicken (crockpot), 2 veggies, mashed potatoes, rolls
Monday - Chicken & Veggie Casserole (with leftover chicken from previoius and bread topping), macaroni
Tuesday - Homemade Pizza (This will be new for me, also. And for some reason, this one is making me a little nervous!), salad
Wednesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, salad, rolls
Thursday - Breakfast for dinner (I usually just see what everyone wants for this. Pancakes, eggs, livermush, biscuits, etc.)
Friday - Spaghetti, salad, rolls
Saturday - Bean Burritos, corn, salad
Sunday - Whole roasted chicken, 2 veggies, mashed potatoes, rolls
Sunday, November 2, 2008
There were several little lion cubs born at the zoo. They were so adorable - like big, fluffy kitties. I just wanted to hug them!
These two bears must have been siblings, because they were fighting and annoying each other.
This little meerkat was just enjoying the sun.
This vulture almost looks like he is stuffed, but I promise you he wasn't! He did enjoy posing for the camera, though.