Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lazy Man's Cabbage Rolls

By special request from a dear friend, I am going to attempt to tell you how I make this cheap and kid-pleasing supper.  It tastes like the old-fashioned pigs in the blanket that my mom used to make (I just discovered that they are actually called "galuskis" or "galumpkies"). My great grandma was from Czechoslovakia.  But that's sortof beside the point.

First I must warn you that I AM an artist.  Cooking is sortof improv for me, even though I usually start out with a recipe.  That way, if I don't have exactly the right ingredients, it's no big deal...usually something different and better results.  That's the case with this recipe.

Also, I have no pictures. I have my reasons...

1. I'm busy cooking.  I don't have the mental capacity to cook AND take good pictures.  The fact that several people are talking to me at the same time, and someone is usually playing drums or some other loud music and well, you get the idea.
2. My kitchen is dark.  It is evening when I make dinner, so there's no sunshine.  Boo. 
3. This is not a very attractive meal.  It looks like slop.  So, just use your imagination.
4. Most importantly....I'm pretty sure you can handle it without pictures.  You're smart and know how to chop things and brown meat and pour it in a pan.  That's my main reason.  : )

Here's a picture of a winking babushka, instead.  She's pretty cute.

So, here's the recipe:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

College Update

OK, I'm not freaking out anymore.  I'm more of a low-level panic.  We've got all of our paperwork submitted.  Financial Aid forms.  Applications.  Scholarship Applications.  Essays.  Transcripts. Etc.  I even beat the deadlines, by the mercy of God.  Now we're going to go tour a few different campuses.  Oh man, the word campus looks terrible as a plural.  I should say, "a campus or two." Or "campi." ?? Anyways,  since Jacob is interested in video game design and simulation,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Van Moments 3, The Disco Ball

After church we all stopped in at Goodwill.  Score!  Noah got his very own disco ball!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bargain Victory!

So, I already told you a little about how I afford to feed our rather large family on a rather small food budget.  Part of it is cheap dinner recipes.  Another part is cheap stores.  Literally, we call it "the cheap store."  I've been shopping there for a while and for some reason I thought that the owners were Amish. Now I think they're Mennonite.  Either way, I feel like a heathen when I go there.  I've considered buying a proper jumper to keep in the car for when I need to go serious bargain hunting.  But I can't bear the humiliation.  So, I'll just be friendly and hope they know that I love the Lord, too.
Not that it matters what they think, that's just my weirdness.

So, on to my awesome grocery haul.... Check this out!

Yep, that's what fifty bucks will get ya, if you're not too proud and you don't mind expiration dates being in the past.  : )

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sukey and Greg

No wonder there's never any birds at the feeder!
This is our second orphan kitty, Sukey.  She thinks she's a panther.  We got her at the 127 yard sale this past summer...  Apparently it's the world's longest yard sale.  I guess people come from all over America to find deals.  All I found was a half-starved kitten and some mucking boots.  That was a deal, right?  Then I stopped in at a hardware store and a guy there named her.   There was a raging debate in our family about whether to name her Sukey, like the guy said, or Lily.  Turns out that Sukey means lily in Hebrew...who knew?

She fits in with our family just fine.  She seems to prefer my favorite chair, especially since I made a new cushion for it.  Figures.
She likes Greg, our first orphan kitty who's all big and manly now. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cheap Eats for a Big Family

Has anyone else been trying to figure out how to make cheaper meals, lately?

I recently read an article where a mom of two little kids was bemoaning the fact that she had a food budget of $125 a week and wasn't sure how she was gonna make it work.  Are you stinkin' kidding me?  I feed my family of NINE on less than that!  And FOUR of them are teenagers!  Yep, it's true.  Maybe that's why they're all so skinny...nah, I do actually feed them.  : )

So, what do we all eat, you ask?  Well, I'll tell ya this much... it ain't deer.

I bake a lot of bread.  And bread related foods.  Lots and lots of bread.  Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.

So, what goes with the bread?  (besides butter, real butter, of course.)  Yeah, you can't just serve bread for supper and expect a happy family.  That's where soup comes in. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

What "Real" Teachers Think of Homeschoolers

OK, so here's another question from a mama getting ready to embark on homeschooling...

Question: How do you tell family you are actually homeschooling? My family seems to think its a faze and I will get over it. They keep asking me about pre school for my daughter and my aunt and mother-in-law work in schools and just think they are the best thing since sliced bread.

Oh Man.  I'm really on a roll here.  For some strange reason this topic keeps appearing lately.  Maybe I should just rant for a few minutes and get it over with.  I just got done reading a very heated discussion between certified public school teachers and their arch nemesis, homeschool moms here.  A mom wrote in with a simple enough question..."What advice can you credentialed teachers give me in order to help me homeschool better?"    One certified teacher wrote in stating that she didn't really learn anything in college that would be relevant to a home school scenario.  Well, that was just the pop to the top of the can of worms that everybody needed.   Look out!  The "teachers" came out in force.  Spouting lots of lingo like "classroom management" and "learning hooks" and "scaffolding."  Yeah, right, whatever!

 Here's a little sample of how some teachers think.  Obviously there's lots of differing opinions out there, but I was a little shocked by this one, and she's not the only one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mama's Secret Weapon; Intuition

A good friend of mine just recently decided to take her children out of public school and begin homeschooling.  I know that's not very uncommon, but what makes her situation unique is the fact that both parents are professional teachers in the public school.  Not only that, but they are both excellent teachers who have been at it for many years.  They have tons of experience teaching a classroom full of other people's kids.

It's funny how some friends of these teachers say that they wish they had the patience and education necessary to homeschool. Like "real" teachers are the only ones who can really handle it.  Huh?  I guess it seems logical that a professional teacher would somehow be more qualified for the task of home educating than a plain ol' mommy. But, not necessarily.

Mommies have a secret weapon....and it's not a college degree in education.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let It Snow!

I was starting to get a little worried that there wasn't gonna be enough snow here in Kentucky.  So far we've had a ton of rain and then some Spring-like days in between.  Noah's been begging for the snow.  The kid hardly ever even wears a coat.  So, needless to say, he's been pretty happy the past few days.  All the kids have been sledding all over the place.  It's nice to have so many hills.  We've only got a few inches of snow, but that seems to be enough to make everybody happy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Edible Art Lesson

OK, So yesterday at our homeschool co-op day I learned some very important lessons.  First off, I learned that if you attempt to teach the can-can to a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds until they are tired out, and you happen to be as old and out-of-shape as I am...you will pay for it later.  Ouch!

Secondly, classical music is considered very boring to 7 and 8 year olds unless it is accompanied by very silly lyrics.  In that case, it is considered highly entertaining.  Also, most 7 and 8 year olds think that Beethoven is a dog in a movie.  Well, who knew?

My third discovery yesterday was that edible art is more fun than non-edible art.  Color mixing is easier to teach with icing than paint.  Which leads to my project.  I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I found it somewhere on an art blog.  I'll tell you where if I find it again.  It was a keeper.

The Edible Color Wheel:

Here's what you need:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

College Is Upon Us!

O MY GOSH!  I was totally unprepared for this!

Yes, I remember saying that when I was in transition labor, too.

But this time involves thousands of dollars and my son's future success.

I'm not sure where the time has gone!  Seems like yesterday I was just embarking on the high school journey with him.  Now we're looking at college application deadlines.  Scholarships.  Financial Aid.  ACT scores.  My baby moving far away.  YIKES!  The really bad thing about it is that stressful things tend to bring out the ostrich in me.  I want to bury my head and ignore that it's actually happening.

Obviously, that's a bad idea.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lovin' My Girls... and the Rooster, Too

Have I told you lately how much I absolutely love my chickens?

I need to tell you so that if you are even remotely trying to decide if you want to try to raise your own, I might be able to tip the scale in favor of wonderful chickens.  So far, there is not one thing that I do not like about these birds.

Here's a few things that we've learned from our experience:

They are easier to care for than the dog. 

They make eggs.

They eat every bit of kitchen scraps and grody stuff out of my fridge and turn it into eggs.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Family Scheduling AKA Head 'Em Off At the Pass

So, I guess a lot of this motherhood job really boils down to "head 'em off at the pass."  I can just picture the sheriff and his trusty side-kick galloping to the mouth of the canyon to round up the bandits before they make their escape. You're sortof like the Lone Ranger on the home front!

Sounds funny, but lots of happy, unstressed mommies are actually just more pro-active than their frustrated, stressed-out counterparts.  It's not that they work any harder.  Sometimes it's just the opposite!  Both mommies are going to have to fix lunch, for example.  Stressed-out mom will wait until her children are hungry, grouchy and whining for food before she fixes it.  Then she'll be annoyed while she's trying to figure out what whiny-butt wants to eat because a hungry toddler doesn't really CARE...they just want food NOW!  Happy mom, on the other hand, knew that her children would be getting hungry around their normal lunch time, so she decided what to fix and had it ready before the kiddos even realized how hungry they were.  It's actually the same, exact amount of work involved.  Both ended up fixing lunch.  One was frustrated.  One was not.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pretty Farm Life Pics

I just wanted to share some of Graci's beautiful photography with you.  Enjoy!


Help For Mommies, Controlling Stuff

Getting Stuff Under Control
 Last post I talked about some unnecessary cleaning that might be sucking up your free time.  Obviously there's gonna be some chores that you just can't avoid.  You've got to deal with food and diapers and laundry, no matter how organized you are!  But, those aren't really the problem.  It's all that other stuff that seems to be constantly out of place and needing your attention.  If you want more time for the things that matter to you, like crafts and playing outside, it will help if you show your "stuff" who's boss. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Help For Mommies AKA Don't Kill Your Family

About a month ago I received this letter from a young mom, asking for advice.  She asked a very relevant question, bringing up a common problem.  I didn't intend to write a book, but as I've been mulling it over, well, there's a lot to her question!  I thought I'd share my response, just in case anyone else might be wondering about the same sort of things.  Here we go...

"Okay. I have a question for your blog. How do you run your household with order without killing your children and husband? I feel like I am constantly putting stuff away and cleaning up after everyone and never have the time to do things I actually want to do. I do enjoy cleaning, but there are other things I would like to do with my kids...like go exploring and crafts and have a scheduled school time. What are the first steps to managing a less-stress, fun home?"

Although I’ve been raising children for nearly 20 years, I think it was a bit of a blur back when they were all really young.  You know, it’s all about survival.  Especially when you’re outnumbered!  But never fear, I asked my trusty source of all information, my husband, who was there with me during those years, but had more of his brain functioning.  He helped remind me of  how I actually survived those years and live to tell about it.  Here’s what we came up with.  A few first steps to managing a less-stress, fun home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012, The Year of ????

Happy New Year!

I don't know about you, but I've been curious for quite a while about 2012.  I've heard that it was going to be "The Year of Woes."  Boy, that really makes you want to look forward to it.  There's been a massive amount of predictions and prophecies circulating for a few years now.  It's hard for me to be hopeful when I'm expecting the world to end.

But I'm not.

I'm definitely curious, though.  I'm glad that it's finally here so we can get on with it.  Remember Y2K?