Menu Plan Monday: January 14, 2013   Leave a comment

Hmm, it’s been a week. Normally I’m better at posting but, then, normally I’m bettter period. Been sick. Hope to catch up on homesteading stuff later this week.

OK, so here’s the Menu Plan for the week.

(All in the Crockpot, unless otherwise mentioned or obvious. :D)

Monday: BBQ Chicken

Tuesday: Chicken & Veggies

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

Friday: Thai Chicken

Saturday: Apple Brown Betty for breakfast…yeah, we’re so healthy. Pizza for dinner. I’m gonna get this pizza thing perfected this month, I can feel it. πŸ˜€ (PS this is the “obvious” I mentioned)

Sunday: Leftovers.

Well, I’m going to go back to freezing and y’all have a good week. ;D


Menu Plan Monday: January 7, 2013   2 comments

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday again.

First, a review of last week. It didn’t quite go as planned. NYE day ended up being crazy…including locked keys in cars. The latter is ironic because I haven’t done this in years *and* I just got rid of Β (temporarily) my cellphone. But it was very neat the way God worked it out. I was at Sprouts and asked one of the fellows in the front if I could use the phone (because there are no payphones to speak of anywhere). He was very, very nice, even checking out in the parking lot for AAA from time to time. He gave BabycakesΒ a pop, which made him happy, though it was grape and not his fave, but he played with it for a very long time. Sometimes it’s just nice to get help and be reminded that everyone in the world isn’t as self-consumed as we sometimes think. All that to say, we didn’t eat what we’d planned coz I still had to pick up Stan & the kids over at the yogurt shop.

The rest of the week was somewhat similar, but we did get pizza done on Thursday. It was The Teenager’s birthday so I was motivated. I also made a pie for him. It was pretty good stuff. We’re really enjoying all this home-cooked/non-processed eating (except Braniac) so it’s good motivation to at least make something instead of eating out or boxed. About the time I went to make the whipped cream for the pumpkin pie I got really, really tired. I thought it was from all the work I’ve been doing here and at the farm, but, alas, it was not. I’ve been sick since then. That kinda through everything else out coz Β I didn’t even get to the store. But, today is back to school so I have to get out. It’s also Spock’s birthday. Unfortunately, it’s a super busy day with music lessons for The Teenager and Cub Scouts for Mr. Great-heart, not to mention after school ASL class for the three middles, so we’ll have part of his stuff today and part tomorrow. He gets his presents today, and some pork, smothered with garlic. Tomorrow I’ll make cupcakes and take them to school for his birthday as well as for Mr. Great-heart, whose birthday is on Christmas Eve so we haven’t had a school party for him yet.

Alright, enough chit-chat, here’s my menu.

Monday: Porkloin with a garlic & herb rub. Carrots–from the farm. Mashed potatoes (cheating and going with TJ’s boxed). No salad. Totally forgot to pick it up at the farm today. We no longer eat that store bought paper green stuff they try to pass of as lettuces. ;D

Tuesday: Spaghetti. Possibly bread if I have time, otherwise we’ll use Udi’s with garlic butter. Plus, of course, I have to make cupcakes & decorate them (I’m cheating on that too and just using decos.)

Wednesday: Herbed Turkey Roast (in the crockpot) with veggies. Possibly salad, if I remember to pick some up.

Thursday: Leftovers.

Friday: Pork Pot Roast (also in the crockpot) and veggies.

Saturday: Pizza–We’re having Spock’s grandparents over for his birthday and The Teenager’s that day after the air show. Maybe I’ll try another pie if I have time on Friday.

Sunday: Leftovers.

We’ll see how things go this week. I rested all weekend but there is no more time to rest. Just have to pray I get better, and quick. There are no sick days for moms. πŸ˜€

Have a blessed week.

Posted January 7, 2013 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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Birthdays on a Money Diet   Leave a comment

As I previously wrote, we are participating in the Money Diet this month. We also have two birthdays this month. It’s actually turned out for the best since it’s forced us to get creative…and we didn’t have to take Babycakes to a restaurant. (I can’t be the only mother of a 3yo who doesn’t find that a relaxing time. :D)

So, yesterday was The Teenager’s birthday. Since he’s a teenager he likes pizza. He also doesn’t like traditional birthday cake (or anyone singing to him). For this reason, when I came home from the farm I was pleased to find that my order from Williams-Sonoma (yes, I’m that kind of snob) had arrived.


This is a pastry cloth and rolling-pin cover. Let me just say that this is probably the least expensive, best thing I’ve ever bought from WS. I love it. I can’t wait to use it for sugar cookies today. Β But I’m getting ahead of myself. πŸ™‚


First, the funny part. For prepping the cloth, it says to “spill a goodly amount of flour…” I’m not sure what a goodly amount is. It also used words like “hence.” It’s like reading a Jane Austen novel, only shorter. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I figured it out, I guess, coz it worked great.


In fact, maybe it worked too well. I’ve never had that much left over crust before.


Store everything around the pin. It claims that washing it is unnecessary if you scrape it properly after each use. Not sure how long I can take it though. Maybe as long as it takes me to find a “washboard” and figure out what a “Turkish towel” is. (Instruction words)


BraniacΒ helped me with the filling. Maybe that’s what went wrong? OK, I don’t think that’s it, but the pie didn’t come out the same. I was disappointed. I’m not sure if it’s because the crust was thinner, or if it was because I forgot to put the foil around the edge of the crust, or if it was because I didn’t have the light on the whole time inside the oven. These are the three things that were different than the one I made for Christmas Eve which came out perfectly.


A rare picture of me taken by Braniac. Yes, it’s a W-S apron. Hey, it’s very good quality. And, yes, my kitchen window (and all my windows) could do with a washing. πŸ™‚


Then it was time to get the pizza’s ready. We used the Bob’s Red Mill recipe for GF pizza crust (but used Gluten-Free Pantry flour).

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Yes, we need three pizzas. Cheese, with two slices with garlic; pepperoni, mushrooms, and half-pineapple; pepperoni, garlic, bell peppers, and pineapple.

It came out pretty good. The kids all liked it except for super-picky Braniac. I will add some seasonings to the crust next time though to give it a bit more flavor since the kids don’t like a lot of sauce coz it just makes the cheese fall off….come to think of it, I feel the same. πŸ™‚

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On to dessert. The pie was a disappointment. It was edible, fortunately, but the filling didn’t solidify like it should. The whipped cream was great though. I use regular sugar, and a lot less of it. 1 TBSP/cup heavy whipping cream. It makes it sweet without being grossly sweet. It’s baker’s sugar so maybe that’s why it’s not gritty like you would expect from regular sugar.

No pics of the teenager, he’s afraid of cameras. Maybe I’ll sneak in and get a pic of him sleeping. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, we got him The Weekend Homesteader by Anna Hess for his birthday. I wasn’t expecting such a fancy binding. It’s got huge margins too. Maybe to write notes in? Anyway, praying it will serve him well.

Posted January 4, 2013 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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Monday, December 31, 2012   Leave a comment


Took Braniac (my 4th) to the farm today.


Β Of all my kids, I think B looks the most like a farmer. πŸ™‚


He was a bit of a help. He mostly just asked a lot of questions, which is normal for him.


When we went to feed the beef cattle I forgot to take my camera. 😦 He really enjoyed that. I didn’t tell them why we fed them extra and he didn’t ask. See, Braniac is a self-proclaimed vegetarian. He’s serious too. Won’t even eat Jello. When we were looking at the other animals he “scolded” me twice for eating turkey. “You ate turkey on Thanksgiving. You shouldn’t eat turkeys, Mom.” Some parents might be annoyed, and if he was a teenager and had added vegetarianism to his list of ways he tries to annoy his parents I probably would be. πŸ˜€


Went to visit the horses before we left.



Not sure if I’ll get him to go back with me again before he goes back to school, but he did enjoy this day. I think he’d like to bring his class sometime. Will have to mention it.

Posted January 2, 2013 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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Menu Plan Monday: December 31, 2012   1 comment

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie to keep me honest. πŸ™‚


(Credit where credit is due…Menu plan page found at

Since we are still on Christmas break this menu will be far more elaborate than anything else I will do…ever again. πŸ˜‰

I found that writing in our calendar of events on my planner really helped. For example, I planned to make pizza with the kids on Friday afternoon, then I realized we would only be home in shifts so that won’t work. We’ll make it on Thursday instead.

I’m trying out my new cookbookΒ (which I got for less than 1/2 price in store–it’s apparently not a breach of etiquette to mention that sort of thing on a homesteading blog :D) while I have the opportunity. Once school starts back I’ll pretty much have only time for the Crockpot.

Monday: Chicken & Rice.

Tuesday: Happy New Year! Will be making donuts and visiting the USS Iowa. Dinner: Soup & Sandwiches

Wednesday: Pesto Pork Roast

Thursday: Pizza using Bob’s Red Mill recipe, though not their flour–I’ll use their xanthan gum, though, so it’s OK, right? πŸ˜‰

Friday: Breakfast: Ham & Eggs. Dinner: Left overs & odd n ends. πŸ™‚

Saturday: Herbed Roast Beef

Sunday: Leftovers

Posted December 31, 2012 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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Generosity   Leave a comment

This morning during the sermon I became convicted about a certain part of our homesteading plan that is mostly my doing, namely, not planting a lot of fruits and vegetables in the front yard because we live in an area where people, if we had no dogs, would unashamedly walk into our backyard and steal things right from our garden and trees. At least, that’s what I say my reason is. I suppose, at it’s most basic it truly is. No one likes to have people steal from them. Even the most pious people I know complain about this situation in their own neighborhoods and gardens. So I must be justified in my feelings. But during the sermon I had to examine what those feelings actually were. Am I angry because theft can dissolve the very fabric of our society, or am I angry because, at my core, I am an ungenerous person? I didn’t have to think long and hard to come to the conclusion that it’s the latter.

Over the past year, since we left our old church and way of life and got to know different Christians, I have become increasingly convicted of this fact. Not that there weren’t generous people in our old church, there were some, but it wasn’t something that you could easily see as an overarching principle in the behavior of most people my age. Older people, yes. My age, we could be generous to each other, within our church, but most of us couldn’t be bothered to do much more. Even with the generosity we gave to each other, there seemed to be an almost, well, greed to it. Almost like the “generosity” I was raised with. An “I’ll scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine.” My mother was oft to remind me that she helped me so that some day I would help her. This was her view of Christian charity. Unfortunately, most of my family, especially the one’s claiming Christ, on both sides, were very much like that. There was a certain “what’s in it for me?” attitude. This has long been my thinking. Even now, when someone gives me something, I wonder what strings are attached, what does that person want from me? I just simply cannot believe that anyone could just be kind.

But things don’t operate like that at our new church. I have been almost appalled at the generosity of the people I’ve met. They are generous with money, time, love, compassion. I have never seen this before in my life….and I have gone to church since birth.

Now, I suppose it was going on around me, but a child’s first impressions are always what is in the home. My home life was where I got my picture of Christianity and it made me greedy, unbendable, judgmental.

So, when it came time to start planning our gardens, I decided that we should just do root plants out front. They are harder to tell if they are ready to be picked if you are just walking by our yard.

God, being a creative fellow, likes to show me things in creative ways.

1) We did not plan on planting any trees in the front yard, and definitely not a fruit tree. As we walked to Sunday School after dropping the kids off in their classes, we noticed how beautiful the trees in front of our church’s administration building looked as the leaves are changing colors dramatically now. We discussed the possibility of planting a small tree (though not a fruit tree) in the front yard.

2) We had a guest speaker in our Sunday School class who spoke of a recent incident that provoked me. He shared that a couple had recently moved into his neighborhood who was incredibly difficult. They complained about everything not matter what. Before Christmas, our speaker takes gift baskets around to business customers & associates, friends, and neighbors. As he was out delivering, he felt the Spirit tell him to take a basket to these people. He didn’t want to but he couldn’t find a good reason not to except for the fact that they were such a source of annoyance to him. When he delivered it they were shocked and they asked him who sent it. He explained that he did, then was subsequently able to share the story of why he delivered these gifts and invite them to church. An invitation they gladly accepted.

3) Then there was the sermon. Now, the fellow who shared, could not have known what the sermon would contain, because it hadn’t been preached yet, and I’m fairly certain that the pastor didn’t run her sermon by him for review. πŸ˜‰ Basically the pastor spoke of how unfair God is to us…not treating us as we deserve. If you’ve not attended church this basically is a way we are reminded of the great work God did for us, sending His own Son to die for us while we were still in rebellion to Him. That He loved us, even though we were, well, complaining about everything. I’m not eloquent at repeating other’s words so I’ll post a link to the sermon on Vimeo when they post it later this week. Anyway, she went on to remind of of God’s generosity. Her words were “God is illogically generous.”

God is illogically generous. It is pretty illogical, however nice it might be to have more growing room, to plant anything passers-by can take from our front yard. Of course, most people probably won’t take a lot. Considering the size of our property, enormous by city standards, we will probably do just fine. It will give us more winter growing room since it gets full sun while the backyard will be in the shade a lot of winter making it too cold to grow things well.

Most importantly, what am I teaching my kids? Do I want to teach them to be generous like the people we’ve met the past year? I desire for them to see, in an obvious way, that we have been transformed by Christ. I don’t think it could get any more obvious to them, especially when all they hear from everyone else, the exact opposite. If we are truly going to be different than the rest of the world, I can’t imagine a more obvious place to start. Pretty Undignified.

Happy Sabbath. πŸ™‚

Posted December 30, 2012 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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Week before Christmas   Leave a comment



Got to work with onions which I love coz they smell so good.


One of the views from the farm we volunteer at.


This cat is so funny. It’s always trying to get into our van and check things out.


This is my current indoor project at home. I’m trying to turn the playroom into a room that is also a study room. This currently looks better than it did before I started boxing everything up.


Sunrise at our home.


Hey, Bass Pro’s kinda homestead-y. πŸ˜€

Posted December 28, 2012 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning