Monday, October 20, 2008

The October Challenge - Part 2

So far we have done fairly well. There was a bit of a misunderstanding of the goal - but that is still fine. My goals are always a lot higher than my ability to attain them. I had originally hoped to keep the whole month to a very low cost - but Dh thought the time frame was for a pay period (15 days). So we are already over what I had hoped we would spend -- but the good news is we are still saving a lot of money. We may continue through the first couple weeks of November - we will see when we get there.

The first two weeks were fairly easy - there was a lot on hand. We still have a lot of food, but it is not as "visible". In place of the boxes you go and grab, I have to actually make the food. The family sees flour and eggs and milk - not the good food it makes up into. And we all have to learn to see snacks as something more than a bucket of ice cream or a bag of chips.

We have lots of meat still in the freezer, and plenty of grains and beans. We have bought produce as needed, but do have a supply of frozen and canned vegetables. We have had:
*hamburgers, frozen corn on the cob (I had two partially used bags of this in the freezer and didn't realize it) and the rest of the frozen french fries.
*homemade beef, rice and vegetable soup with Jiffy corn muffins.
*spaghetti and meat sauce
*oven roasted sirloin steaks in stoneware with mashed potatoes, frozen corn, and canned green beans.
*for snacks I have made pineapple scones, bran muffins, a cake, cookies, fruit smoothies and brownies.

On the menu tomorrow is oatmeal for breakfast (I soak my rolled oats overnight and in the morning they cook up creamy and fast), leftover soup and/or grilled cheese for those home for lunch, and supper is the guys fixing up the last of the boxed stuff in the freezer since The Princess and I have a late night with music lessons and band practice. I will fix a snack for the guys before we leave the house - maybe some date bar cookies or chipless choclate chip cookies.

This has been fun and stretched my creativity in food preparation - and I am getting lots of space freed up and easy access to cleaning cupboards and the refridgerator.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pineapple Scones

I made these twice this past week. They are a delicious comfort food around here - each batch lasted under 24 hours! This is an old family recipe - I know it goes back at least to my maternal great grandmother. I have tweaked the recipe over the years. I like my version best (it is more cookie-like rather than scone), but I will include the original version (the way I received it) as well.
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Patti's Pineapple Scones
1 - 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (with all its juice)
4 c. flour (I freshly grind my own whole wheat flour)
5 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar (I use cane sugar)
1/2 c. oil (I usually use light olive oil)
2 eggs
I generally break and beat the eggs in the oil and then I just dump all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet (I use a Pampered Chef stoneware cookie sheet.) Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes - they will not get browned, but be firm to the touch. This is actually a doubled recipe - I get about 36-39 scones.
Let them cool and frost.
For frosting I just use a half stick of very soft butter, a box of 10X sugar, 1 t. of vanilla (I make my own) and enough water to make a smooth frosting.
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The Original Pineapple Scone Recipe
2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
add 1/4 c. shortening and mix with your fingers. (My mom used Crisco - I suspect that before that it called for lard.)
then -
Drain 1 small can of crushed pineapple (keep the juice) -
Break 1 egg in 1/4 c. of the drained pineapple juice and beat well.
Add to the batter, and then add the pineapple.
350/15 minutes
These are also frosted when cooled.

Monday, October 13, 2008

T-Shirt Dress

This is a little dress for Grammy's Other Angel. It is a thrifed size 4T tee-shirt that I cut off just above the waist. I used a piece of fabric I purchased in a bundle from e-bay to make the skirt portion. In order to stabilize the waist, a piece of leftover hem lace was first sewn along the raw edge of the tee-shirt. You don't have to do that, but I think it will keep it from stretching out along the waist area. I top-stitched the waistline on the bodice portion catching the seam allowance and hem lace in the top-stitching. The bottom hem is a decorative stitch in the same orange thread used in the top-stitching. It fit well and was declared A-OK by the recipient.

I have 3 more shirts ready for their transformation. I want to continue to do them for the granddaughters - and also make some for busy moms in my church that need extra play clothes for their little girls. There are many tutorials on how to do this on the web. I used this one: This is my first try, and I am a slow sewist - but I was able to do this up in about two hours. I think that after I do a couple more I will be able to get it to under an hour each. They are fun and instantly gratifying.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!!

As of Sunday, October 12, my sweetie, The Teacher, is 60 years old. (sigh) Somewhere there is a parade taking place today - some might think it is in honor of Chris Columbus - but we know it is really just for you :)

The Wife

*edit - I added a picture of the cupcakes the Princess made for her Daddy for his birthday. She is our cake decorator!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Cow Bag

Another recent sewing project for the Princess was this shoulder bag. The Princess delights in anything "cow", and found this fabric about a year ago at Walmart. I neglected sewing it up for a long while, but finally this past June it was finished in time for Camp Meeting in GA. I also wrote up a review on it at Pattern Review. You can read it here:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Deployment Update

The 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (Jacksonville, FL) deployed yesterday to go to Iraq. They left without our #2 son. He was scheduled to go with them right up to a few days before the Deployment Ceremony - instead he helped set up chairs and park cars for the other families sending off their loved ones. We aren't exactly sure why #2 was left on homefront detail, but we are happy he can stay here for now.

Every bus carrying our soldiers was escorted by members of this group - they were great.

(**The links were incorrectly done before - they should work now.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The October Challenge - Week 1

The first week has been pretty easy. We already had a lot of groceries on hand. Some of what I used includes the following:

From the freezer I used: a package of pork loins, chicken, pot pies, finished up two already opened boxes of sausages, and the kids used some frozen pizzas.

From the can foods shelf I used - yams to make a sweet potato casserole and corn nibblets.

From the boxed stuff on hand: Kraft mac and cheese, a cake mix, pancake mix, and some boxed cereal.

Snacks: We had homemade brownies and the cake that the Princess made. We were also using up items we had on hand (I think there were some pudding cups and granola bars around.)

Produce: potatoes and eggs.

We bought: bread (must make some!), milk, and canned crushed pineapple (I want to make pineapple scones.)

Next week should be pretty easy too - crunch time will come after the 15th!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Little Pink Dress

A very simple pattern that I managed to make quite complicated - but it is done, and loved by Grammy's Angel. (Note - the BBQ sauce was not a part of my original design. )

This is a pink striped seersucker fabric. I made it a bit too small around the chest - so added a 1 inch panel down both side seams. I flipped the vertical stripes to horizontal for that strip by using the cross grain - and have to admit that I like that little touch. The pockets have a bit of scrap vintage ribbon across the tops, but it was a great accent. The fabric was thinner than I realized at the first fitting - so I lined it, after the fact (think seam ripper!) That went better than I expected, but challenged me. Vintage Simplicity jiffy pattern #5291

Sewn with much love poured into it.

Homeschooling - Poured Out

*Sometimes people just ask the wrong question. They don't mean to. It is after all the obvious question - but it is still the wrong question. How do you teach the difficult subjects - you know, like algebra and physics? See, they are worried about subjects as if that was the hard part of home education. Well, first there are tutors and group learning and videos and so on. And then - not all students need to do all the "harder" subjects, or even any of the "harder" subjects depending on their life goals.
*But none of that is the really hard part of home education. The really hard part is that you (mom) have to give up yourself. You have to like your children (not just love them), and you have to like being with them - all the time. And then you have to take total responsibility for their education. The real question is, "Are you willing to give up all of yourself and walk a new path that has no mile markers, signposts, or rest stops ?"