“Labor” Day Weekend

Well, my weekend was filled with labor, in the truest sense of the word.  We had a lot of projects to finish and things around the property to take care of.  We’ve been so busy, that our weekends are taken up with getting all of the things done we can’t during the week, and that’s starting to get a bit old.  It would be nice to take some time to do something more diverting!

We had a few woodworking projects to finish, and Beloved worked on those, with a bit of help from myself and our oldest daughter.  General clean up around the property and some planning were taken care of.  We are finally ordering our metal carport this week.  We’ve been using portable ones from Costco for years, and are finally upgrading.  The dogs and some locked storage will be built into the rear of the carport.  It will also be used as a work out area, completed with heavy bag, etc.

I worked in the garden and took care of a bunch of preservation projects that needed to be done.  I had my boys pick tomatoes, which really needed to be done, and then I slow roasted them in the oven.  Next, I will puree them and can or freeze the result.

I finally roasted up all of the jalapeno peppers that have come out of the garden and made a puree with sea salt to add to salsas.  I’m just going to keep that in the frig with some olive oil on top to preserve it.

I  made more lacto-fermented pickles, including a half gallon for my Mom, but I am so done with pickles.  The lemon cucumbers keep coming, and I will be giving a bunch of them away this week.  I don’t think I’ll plant those next year.  If you like fresh eating cukes that are prolific, I would recommend them, though.

I made some grape jelly, putting me closer to my goal of 52 pints of jams/jellies for the year.  Current score:

16 Pints Peach Jam

4 Pints Blueberry Jam

4 Pints Mixed Berry Jam

8 Pints Grape Jelly

20 Left to go!  I will be making plum jam this week.

Today, I have red chilies to dehydrate in the oven.  I am dehydrating them whole, and then will store them in sealed, vacuum packed jars. Others I will grind up, first, before putting them in jars.  It’s been a good year for my garden, as I’ve put up hundreds of pounds of food.  After years of struggling with gardens, I am really enjoying my bumper crops!

I have some orders for dairy free pesto to fill this week, and then I might go ahead and harvest the rest of my basil and make more for myself to freeze and dry the rest of the leaves.

We did find some time to do some fun things this weekend.  I took my daughter to a formal dance, which required me to dress formally, as well.  That was a switch and I have to say I really am a jeans kind of gal.  But it’s nice to dress up every so often.

We took the whole family out to see Monsters University on Sunday and were quickly reminded why we only go to the movies once or twice a year -$52 admission!  CHA-CHING!  The movie was cute and baby sat on my lap the whole time.  She did get a fright and jumped out of her seat once.  Poor thing!

We had fun.

I ordered the rest of our school books, and now I’m really excited to receive them.  Books on my porch is like Christmas to me.  How about you?  I think I have a good plan of attack for schooling five children at once . . . I hope!

All in all, it was a good weekend.  We didn’t get everything on our list done, but we almost never do.  I have a few more weeks left before school starts, so I need to put my head down and get busy.  This week, we start some of our new routine with music lessons for my two middle children.  It looks like Wednesday is going to be music lesson day at our house.  This makes me think of a  friend, who has since passed away, who used to take her children to several music lessons on Wednesdays.  She put together packets of schoolwork for them to do in the car and called it Wednesday School.   I always remember her telling me about that.  She was a neat lady and is missed by many.

I also have a few sewing projects to complete this week: nightgown for the little one, curtains for her play kitchen (which is finally almost completed!), Judo pants hemming for my seven year old, and setting a waistband on a new skirt for me.  Lots to do!  September is always a busy time.

What’s keeping you busy this week?

Blessings today, Kris


Master Tonic

I finally got everything together to bottle my Master Tonic.  Master Tonic is used to help cure/fend off colds and flu, as it’s ingredients are antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitical.  I’ve been “brewing” it for about 6 weeks, now.   I finally got it bottled yesterday.  I think I mentioned before that I was making some, but I never posted how I did it.  So here it is, with photos!

Master Tonic Ingredients are Fresh: Jalapeno Peppers, Garlic, Onions, Ginger, Horseradish and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

The recipe calls for equal parts of the above ingredients.  I peeled the garlic, onions, ginger and horseradish and pulse each item in the food processor.  I then placed it all in a gallon glass jar to about 3/4s full and filled it up with the raw apple cider vinegar.

I just sat it on my kitchen shelves for several weeks and I shook it everyday.  I’m not sure if I shook it enough, but I think it’s okay.  The minimum is two weeks to steep it, but you can leave it there as long as you like.  It doesn’t spoil.

Here’s what it looked like just before bottling.

I purchased 16 ounce amber bottles from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I’ve heard many recommend the company, and since they are here in Oregon, I thought the shipping might be reasonable.  It was.  Oh, and they carry herbs, too.  They carry a lot, actually.  You should check them out.

I started to strain the liquid through a stainless steel strainer into the bottles.  But then I changed my mind and strained it all into a jar so I could mix it up before bottling it. 

So I ended up straining everything twice before bottling it.  In the colander is my pulp that I put into a cheesecloth bag so I could squeeze more liquid out of it.  Unfortunately, although the mixture had steeped for six weeks, my hands still felt the burn of the peppers afterward for a while.  Ouch!  It didn’t last long, though.

The finished product, six 16 oz. bottles of Master Tonic that will never spoil.  That’s right, it has an indefinite shelf life.  Take 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon at a time when ill or when you’ve been exposed to illness.  More information may be found here.  I labeled them with my handy dandy labeling machine.

And, if you’d like to see a video of someone making the tonic from start to finish, click here.

Menu Plan Monday April 12, 2010

Here we are again, another Monday and I have just managed to post my meal plans and nothing else.  I hope to get some more interesting things up here soon.  I haven’t had much free time lately and I am supposed to be working getting the new blog finished, but…..

Anyway, in the meantime, check out these fantastic Christian women who blog about their lives as wives and mothers.  I’ve been reading all of these regularly lately:

Laura at www.heavenlyhomemakers.com

Kimi at www.thenourishinggourmet.com

KimC at www.inashoe.com

And if you are the mother of a large family (or hope to be one day or are just curious), don’t miss the series KimC at In a Shoe and three other mothers are doing about life in a large family.  It’s called 4 mothers, 35 kids and they cover a whole lot of territory: budgeting, outings with littles, homeschooling, and more!  Check it out!

Here’s our plan for this week, always subject to change if we end up with leftovers and or I feel a "breakfast" night coming on.  Oh, and because I am trying to be more regular (not that kind of regular) about getting my kids cod liver oil down them, I am starting something new in the mornings tomorrow.


Granola & Milk


Beef Pitas with Sprouts, Veggies & Cucumber Dressing



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Muffins & Banana Peanut Butter Kefir Smoothies

Grilled Cheese, Carrots Sticks

Taco Salad with Everything



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Baked Eggs & Onions, Apricot Walnut Toast

Turkey & Veggie Wraps

Veggie Chowder, Sourdough



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Whole Wheat Pancakes, Milk

Tuna Sandwiches, Carrots Sticks

Spinach Cheddar Casserole (recipe below)



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Brown Rice Pudding

PBJ, Tortilla Chips, Carrots & Dip

Chinese Savory Beef, pg. 170 in the More with Less Cookbook



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Kefir Smoothies & Coffeecake


Homemade Pizza & Salad



Upon Rising: Juice or Green Drink with Cod Liver Oil

Menu to be Determined

Snacks on Hand: popcorn, chips & salsa, crackers & cheese, apples, oranges



Spinach Cheddar Casserole

This is from the March 1995 Bon Appetit Magazine and it was a regular in my repertoire before kids.  I have resurrected the dish and plan to use it this week.  Here’s the recipe for all to enjoy.  It’s a good vegetarian main dish or you can serve it as a side with chicken. Enjoy!


4 eggs

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 16-oz. container cottage cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 C. grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 C. all purpose flour (you could subsitute a gluten free flour)

3 T. chopped fresh dill (don’t skip this part -very  important)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 8x8x2 inch glass baking dish.  Beat eggs, salt and pepper to blend in large bowl.  Mix in spinach.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until blended.  Transfer to prepared dish and bake until firm and top is golden, about 45 minutes.



For more menu planning ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday at www.orgjunkie.com and follow all the links!



Menu Plan Monday April 4, 2010

Here is my menu plan for this week. Hope you all had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday!

Monday mornings are usually pretty hectic around here, as we try to get organized for the week amidst whatever damage to the house the weekend did.  I am usually planning the week and making phone calls on Monday mornings, and this menu plan is part of that.  I know I’d do better to set aside some time on Sundays to do some of this prep, but it just doesn’t always happen that way.

I think it;’s easier on me to ease into the week.  How about you?  Do you hit the ground running on Mondays, or do you take it slower?


Eggs, Bacon & Toast


Easter Dinner: Baby Back Ribs, Baked Beans, Buttered Corn & Mixed Greens with Oranges, Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Goat Cheese, Homemade Lemonade

Birds Nest Cupcakes



Free Form Apple Tart, Yogurt, Milk

Turkey & Veggie Wraps




Granola & Milk, Banana

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese, Apples

Baked Chicken, Potatoes & Green Beans



French Toast with Berries & Syrup

PBJ & Bananas

Shrimp Scampi, Salmon Filet, Steamed Buttered Broccoli, Fettucine (Son #2 Birthday dinner request- 6 years old today!), Cupcakes



Granola & Milk, Berries

Turkey Sandwiches, Oranges

Bean Enchiladas (never made them last week –ate leftovers instead), Mixed Greens


Fruit & Yogurt Smoothies

Grilled Cheese & Apples

Homemade Pizza & Salad



Whole Wheat Pancakes

Grilled Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Oranges

Crockpot Chili Beans Served with the Works, Tortillas and Coleslaw


Snacks on Hand: popcorn, chips & salsa, crackers & cream cheese, apples, bananas, oranges

For more menu plan inspiration, visit www.orgjunkie.com

Have a great week!

Menu Plan Monday, March 28, 2010

We’re trying to eat cheap this week, as we want to spend our money on the holiday menus this weekend.  Notice I am cooking rice on Tuesday?  I’ll cook enough Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday nights meal as well.  And the crockpot refried beans on Wednesday will roll into Thursday nights dinner as well.

I am hoping to take Wednesday afternoon and go to the food co-op about 40 minutes from my house to purchase grass fed meat for the weekend.  I don’t have my menu for Easter Sunday finished yet, but I am thinking Roast Beef.  Always open to suggestions, though.

Have a great week!


Eggs & Toast

Pizza Bread

Vegetable Chowder, Garlic Bread, Salad, Tropical Smoothies



Bagels & Cream Cheese, Hot Cocoa

Blueberry Smoothies + Leftovers

BBQ Drumsticks, Potato Salad, Tossed Salad, Biscuits



Pumpkin Muffins, Yogurt

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Pears

Veggie Fried Rice, Pineapple



Applesauce Coffeecake, Milk

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese, Apples

Crockpot Refried Beans, Tortilla, Rice & Cheese



Oatmeal with the Works

Tuna or PBJ Sandwiches, Pears

Refried Bean Enchiladas, Mexican Slaw


Fruit Smoothies

Veggie & Cheese Wraps

Passover Meal:

1st Course – Matzo Ball Chicken Soup

Main Course – Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Cornish Game Hens or Chicken, Pan Fried Asparagus, Sweet Potato Souffle, Chocolate Decadence Cake (flourless!)



Breakfast Burritos

Picnic Lunch at Park (not sure what I’m packing for this)

Something in the crock pot, as we’ll be gone all day…TBD


Snacks on Hand: popcorn, chips & salsa, crackers & cheese, homemade granola bars, pears, apples, bananas

Visit www.orgjunkie.com for more menu ideas!

Menu Plan Monday, Week of March 21, 2010

Typing one handed this morning, so briefly, here is our menu plan for this week.  Enjoy!


Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins, OJ


Cheese Quesadillas with Homemade Salsa & Guacamole, Sour Cream



Bagels & Cream Cheese

Grilled Cheese, Oranges, Blueberry Smoothies

Baked Chicken with Rice, Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower



Coffeecake, Milk

Lunch at Classical Conversations Open House

Baked Chicken, Macaroni Salad, Caesar Salad

(Everything make ahead as we are away from home 9-1 and then 3-5 – Busy Day!)



Eggs, Turkey Ham & Toast

Tuna Sandwiches, Kettle Chips, Apples

Spaghetti, Homemade French Bread, Caesar Salad



Fruit, Cottage Cheese, Peanut Butter Toast

Fried Egg Sandwiches, Oranges

Repeat Spaghetti, Bread & Salad



Granola, Milk

Fried Rice

Homemade Foccacia Pizza, Salad




Turkey Ham Sandwiches

Something in the Crockpot, TBD

Snacks on Hand: popcorn, chips & salsa, crackers & cheese, homemade granola bars, cookies, oranges, apples, bananas

For more menu plan inspiration, visit www.orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday March 8, 2010

Here’s our plan for this week.  It’s a really busy week for me, as I am in the midst of organizing our videos, cds, books and school supplies.  I am also getting ready for my daughters 11th birthday party this Saturday.

Have a wonderful week!


Waffles, Hard Boiled Eggs


Baked Chicken Breast, Steamed Broccoli with Butter, Baked Potato Halves, Tossed Salad, with Seeds & Croutons



Muffins, Blueberry Kefir Smoothies

Grilled Cheese, Oranges

Italian Sausage, Sundried Tomato Polenta with Creamy Spinach/Garlic Sauce, Tossed Salad



Eggs, Potatoes & OJ

Tuna Sandwiches, Carrots & Celery

Beef Stew with Dumplings, Tossed Salad



Coffee Cake, Hard Boiled Eggs

Leftover Stew or PBJ or Salami Sandwiches

Barley Vegetable Beef Soup, Coleslaw, Homemade French Bread



Kefir Smoothies, Peanut Butter Toast

Fried Egg Sandwiches, Oranges

Roasted Chicken, Curried Rice, Green Beans (Make broth & freeze it)



Granola & Milk

Salami Sandwiches

Vegetable Chowder, Biscuits, Salad



Omelets, OJ


Homemade Foccacia Pizza, Salad

(Daughter’s Birthday Party this afternoon.  We’re having cupcakes and snacks with friends!)

Snacks on Hand: popcorn, chips & salsa, homemade granola bars, oranges, celery & carrots with dip

For menu plan inspiration, visit the Organized Junkie.