5 Things Friday

  1. We are still running our a/c with no end in sight. In fact next week, we are supposed to see temperatures reach 90*. I love summer and this warm weather is still extremely nice.  I know all good things must come to an end, but I am all about enjoying the last few weeks of warmth!
  2. We are starting to clean out the garden. I have been pulling a lot of dead plants and plan to go ahead and pull out the watermelon this weekend. I also have some lettuce cabbage and broccoli starting to grow as well.  I have been able to harvest green beans FINALLY!  Matt harvested 53 pears today as well. It appears that most have some bad spots, but I am hopefully to enjoy a couple and maybe even freeze a few.
  3. Lily has scheduled a couple of college visits over the next couple of months. I am excited but nervous as the expense of college is overwhelming for at least 3 more kids. I am currently encouraging her to stay at home and commute to college, but we shall see.
  4. Zach is enjoying playing football and all the kids have decided that high school football is a cool event. I am thankful that Zach is being allowed to play each game and so far a broken bracket is all the damage.
  5. After lots of research and debate, I have decided to purchase an electric/ digital canner. I am hopefully that this will take the scary part of canning away and allow me to preserve summer items for use all year long.  I also considered a dehydrator and freeze dryer but decided to try this first as it is a significantly less of an investment than the freeze dryer. Dehydrating is another option but I am currently using the green house to complete this on a small scale so purchasing equipment does not seem like the best thing to do right now!

Saving On Saturday

Today was a very rainy and dreary day.  The perfect time to catch up on some meal preparation and food preservation.

  • Matt and I took 2 packages of cube steak from our previous cow purchase, breaded and deep fried them. They will be used for steak biscuits for breakfast for the next 6 months or so.
  • I went ahead and meal prepped for the week. Stuffed green peppers, grilled chicken and bacon cheddar burgers are all ready to go.
  • Sorted through and combined items in the freezers in the house as well as the chest freezer. The plan is to purchase as little as possible over the next 8 months and use the food we have in our freezers and pantry.
  • Soaked and cooked a bag of black beans that Matt can use in his chill. (We have 2 cans of beans so this should last awhile.
  • Packaged up gravy from breakfast into can size bags for use with breakfast pizza. I purchased a single can of gravy to use and it was $2.09…. our breakfast left-overs saved us $5.

We debated but decided against turning off the a/c. The humidity is still really high, and it feels sticky outside.  I will continue to watch the weather and as soon as we are below 80 degrees consistently, we will open the windows.

The kids all caught up on laundry, which means less stress for me.

Remember it is the small things that add up!

This is the first full week of school for all the kids and my second week of work. Last week seemed to work well and we managed to eat at home every night!  So we are doing a repeat with different food. I am thinking that some of our weeks will start to look very similar due to use the food we already have on hand. I have even thought about going back a couple of years and doing repeat menu plan.  Just might be fun to see if our taste and preferences have changed.

Breakfast- Saturday-BLT. Sunday- Made to order omelets Monday- Homemade everything bagels Tuesday- Zucchini bread Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-leftovers Sunday-Christos   Monday-left-over Tuesday- chicken salad Wednesday- left-overs Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out.

Dinner- Saturday-Chips and dips Sunday- Youth group dinner Monday-country style steak, mashed potatoes, fried squash and green beans Tuesday Taco Pasta Wednesday- Chicken fried rice Thursday- Hamburgers and FF Friday- Genghis grill for Zach’s birthday

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. Things are busy and crazy, but I did manage to get a couple of things done. This is likely the last week of preservation as most things are slowing way done. The goal is to continue to harvest and use items as we can!
Tuesday August 23rd frozen bananas
Wednesday August 24th Salas
Thursday August 25th- shredded zucchini
Friday August 26th-
Saturday Augst 27th-
Sunday August 28th-Dinners prepared and tomato soup for lunches
Monday August 29th- Froze a gallon bag of tomatoes. .

5 Things Friday

  1. School officially starts Monday. Lily is a senior at Davie County High School and completed her second year at DDCC for her associates degree. Kendall is a freshman at Central Davidson High School and Zach is a 7th grader at CDMS.  3 kids at 3 different schools.  I am starting my 5th year at Davie County Schools.
  2. We have a couple of quick trips plan during the month of September. Both are going to be using the camper. This makes things much much easier as we can pack in advance!
  3. The first week back at work full time has been busy and stressful. I am hoping to establish a good routine over the next couple of weeks.
  4. Zach will be playing in his first football scrimmage tomorrow…not sure how I feel about it.
  5. We are finally getting green beans and cucumbers from our garden!!!! Been waiting all summer for these!

5 Things Friday

  1. I was able to plant my fall garden today. It consisted of 2 types of lettuce, broccoli and cabbage.  I am planning to plant a batch of carrots when the sweet potatoes are dug up. I think we are at the end of the tomato run but anticipate one to two tomatoes a week for until the end of September. I may have enough green beans to make a meal out of the third round of green beans I planted. We also are getting cucumbers and squash! This has probably been the best garden we have ever had.
  2. The chickens have learned to climb up and down the ramp to the coop independently after 2 days. We are still working on getting them to go up at night but hopefully this will happen in a couple of days. I did decide to add a water container to the coop at night. I just want to make sure that they can drink if they don’t realize it is time to be locked up.
  3. Zach is currently playing football at the middle school. Games will be on Wednesday.
  4. I survived my first day back at work. I know that I am going to be fairly busy this year but it is good to have a routine.
  5. We are hoping to finish up the new cabinet in the dining room this weekend. I will have to spend a chunk of time rearranging to make things appear less cluttered and more functional.

Thursday Thoughts

  • The chickens have officially moved outside!  We made the move yesterday. We did install a temporary door that has to be manually opened and closed. I actually went out at 6:28am this morning to open the door. Lily also went down and helped them exit the coop this morning.   We did decide to order and install an automatic door that should arrive in the next couple of weeks.  This will allow us to open and close the door remotely once the chickens have learned to go into the coop each night.  The expense of the chicken has finished increasing, I hope. I did use a gift card to order the outdoor chicken feeder. I spent $32 on a watering container and the door was $99.   Again, this confirms that these are pets.
  • Today is my last day of summer break.  I did a couple of errands, including having the Tahoe cleaned and attempted to mow the yard but managed to get the mower stuck. We all have haircuts this evening as well.
  • My plan is to make a couple of batches of stuffed peppers today. One for next week and one will be placed in the freezer for future use. I also want to try a batch of tomato soup just to see if it will turn out.  I also have a couple of new recipes for dinner as well. Sounds like a lot of cooking so we will see how it goes.  Yesterday after cooking most of the summer, I ordered pizza for the first time all summer.
  • I am actually kind of excited to go back to work and get in a regular routine again!

Monday Menu Planning and #Everybit counts Challenge

The back to work countdown is in the single digits… like 3 single days. This week I am focusing on keeping up with the garden and doing so heavy preserving each day. I also have to get the oil changed, cars washed, glasses ordered and a final grocery stock up as well.  In the area of menu planning. I decided to try a new to use recipe each day until Friday when sloppy joes are on the menu!

Breakfast- Saturday- BLTs Sunday- Steak, egg and cheese scramble. Monday- Steak egg and cheese burritos Tuesday- Homemade everything bagels.  Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-Tomato Sandwiches Sunday-Applebee’s Monday- Leftovers Tuesday- Sushi lunch treat for kids.  Wednesday- Left-overs or sandwich Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out as I am back at work.

Dinner- Saturday-Leftovers. Sunday- Left-overs Monday-Big Mac Salad Tuesday Peanut Chicken with rice Wednesday- Beef Lo mein  Thursday- Chicken Quesadilla Tex Mex squash and Friday-Sloppy Joes.

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. This will continue for at least this week if not the rest of August

Tuesday August 9th Nine Breakfast items
Wednesday August 10th Apple Butter
Thursday August 11- Stevia and Squash Casserole
Friday August 12- Diced Tomatos
Saturday Augst 13th- We worked on a new cabinet for the kitchen and repairs to the greenhouse
Sunday August 14th- 1 cup portions of Celery frozen
Monday August 8th- Diced Tomatoes and Salsa

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count:33
Spaghetti Sauce: 25
Salsa: 4 full batches (I would honestly like to make 2 more of these but we will need to wait until I get another batch of Wax Peppers in)
Tomato Sauce: 13 1/2 cup portions and 2 1 cup portions (I would like to have 12 cup portions before moving to diced tomatoes)
Diced Tomatoes- 16 cans- I would like to get 8 more to call it good!

5 Things Friday

  1.  This is my final week of Summer Break!  Lily actually starts college classes on Monday. I go back to work next Friday with Zach and Kendall actually returning to school on the 29th!  We do have a quick Disney trip plan so that makes things a little easier.
  2. The chickens have received an upgrade housing with total out of pocket expense of ZERO!  I am going to share pictures and plans Tomorow.
  3. I have been selling items on both Facebook marketplace and ebay. We currently need $14 to cover the cost of a new sunshade!
  4. We have a small list of things that I need to accomplish in the next week including, oil change for Tahoe, ordering glasses and contacts and a good stock up Costco trip.
  5. The garden is really slowing down.  I froze tomato sauce on Monday and will likely freeze some diced tomatoes today.  I am really excited to also pick several cucumebers!

Tuesday Thoughts- Updates

  • I am going to turn off the heat lamp on the chickens tonight. Last night, I heard them several times and they woke me up.  Today they have been sleeping most of the day.  They are around 3-4 weeks old today. I k now they will let me know if they are cold, but I enjoy my sleep way to much to have chickens wake me up!
  • Speaking of chickens, the current topic for discussion/ debate… should I go ahead and purchase 2-3 more older chickens they will begin to lay eggs in the next couple of weeks?  I can buy either a dozen eggs or a chicken at this point for the same price. I already have the everything to support the chickens so they would be the only expense.  I am concerned about everyone getting along up front…….
  • I have spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen today.  I used 2 pounds of sausage and a dozen eggs to make up additional 9 breakfast today. I made up 25 omelet bags and 16 breakfast “hot pockets”
  • We harvest enough apples from our apple tree to make a batch of apple butter!  First real harvest from these trees that we planted several years ago!
  • We have earned 3/4 the money we need to purchase a new sun shade for the beach next year by selling on Facebook marketplace.  I also have several items listed on ebay so hopefully we can easily meet this goal.
  • I have been sent several “free” offers this month. Including $20 at Belk’s, which I used Monday to purchase a sweater and holiday shirt. I have $20 for Lane Byrant which I am going to use either this week or next and $25 at Old Navy.  Hoping for a few more for my birthday!
  • I have been focusing on spending 15 minutes a day in the garden so that I don’t become so overwhelmed.  Between Kendall and myself we have cleared the blueberry bed of weeds again. The garden beds are staying weed free as well. I have pulled up several squash and bean plants in order to clear out space for some fall gardening, I also with the help of Matt added dirt to a couple of beds! My goal is to plant on August 15th which is 2 months before our expected first frost date.
  • Because the house has not had a good cleaning in several month. I told the kids that we are increasing the expectation to 8 chores a day for the next 2 weeks. The goal is to get everything super clean before heading back to school.
  • 9 days of summer break left!

Monday Menu Planning and #Everybitcounts

The return-to-work countdown is on!  I have less than 2 weeks.  I am going to focus on getting as much stored up as possible in the next 2 weeks. I also want to try several different recipes so that I can see if they work. I am also going to be trying to get ahead with several easy breakfasts.  We are putting away a couple of pancakes at a time when we make them. I am also planning to make omelet bags on Tuesday morning while making breakfast!

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes   Sunday- Cheddar cheese sausage balls and eggs. Monday- Homemade bagels Tuesday- Omelets   Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-BLTs Sunday-Don Juans Monday- Sumer lunch Tuesday- Summer lunch which included squash, zucchini, cantaloupe and strawberries.  Wednesday- Eat out as we will be back to school shopping.  Thursday- Leftovers or sandwiches, Friday-salad.

Dinner- Saturday-Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza. Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- KFC bowls   Tuesday Philly Cheese Steaks   Wednesday- PF Changs for my birthday Thursday- Cube Steak and lots of sides Friday-Sloppy Joes.

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related.

Friday August 5th-Salsa
Saturday August 6th- Pancakes and Sausage Balls
Sunday August 7th- Forzen bananas
Monday August 8th- Tomato Sauce

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count: 22
Spaghetti Sauce: 25
Salsa: 3 full batches (I would honestly like to make 2 more of these but we will need to wait until I get another batch of Wax Peppers in)
Tomato Sauce: 13 1/2 cup portions and 2 1 cup portions (I would like to have 12 cup portions before moving to diced tomatoes)