What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Here's A Question For Ya

After a winter of only canned tomatoes, around April I got desperate for a fresh tomato on a salad.  So I got two packages from Aldi and put them on my windowsill.  (It has no direct light- just like putting it on the counter without using up counter space).  By the time I got to this one, it had sprouted!

I have been re-working our budget recently (it has been too long since the last time!) because money seemed to be slipping through the proverbial cracks.

Looking back- my grocery budget used to be $200-$250 a month which equals out to $50/$75 a week!  Well, I had gotten out of the habit of using cash to purchase the groceries and discovered ain't no way/no how I was spending just $50.00 a week on groceries and necessities (like diapers, dog food, etc.)  Heck, buying dog food would eat up HALF of that!

So then I started keeping track of receipts and discovered I have actually been spending between $100/$150.00 a week on grocery trips! (Without having budgeted for it, mind you.) But I don't buy name brand, I don't buy almost any convenience foods ( I do buy bread and I do buy tortilla chips), I don't buy 'treats' except for Ritz crackers.  I buy mostly ingredients.  Staples, if you will.  We have our own beef and I grow lots of things to eat/put up/freeze.  We do buy lots of cheese (which could be lessened) and lunch meat for Matt's lunches (which is expensive) so those are unnecessary expenses.

I know food has gotten more and more expensive and I have also noticed (have you?) that the same size packages have smaller weights now?  'Tis true!  So you believe you are buying what you always have been and maybe spending an extra dime or two- meanwhile there is less food!

All of this got me to thinking- how much do other people spend per week on food?  Is $150.00 a ludicrous amount of money to spend on this family or do I have some serious tightening up to do?  It seems an outrageous amount of money for us to give up every week- we could really use that elsewhere.  If I am wasting it, I wanna know.  And if I am not, I'd like to know that too.

So my question is...

How much money do you spend per week on groceries?  

Equally important:
How many people are in your family?
How many meals do you serve at home each day?  

So....yeah.... it's actually three questions.

I am not out to judge anyone's spending habits but my own!

This is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE, but if you are uncomfortable sharing such personal information, feel free to post anonymously!  

Thanks to all who comment!  I appreciate you taking the time!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Nautical Birthday

My Mother-in-Law had a special birthday this year.  I'm sworn to secrecy on the number but it was one of those decade birthdays that deserve some fan fare.  

So we hosted a little birthday bash for her at our place and a week or two beforehand, we worked on a special birthday surprise.  Since Linda loves lighthouses and has even traveled places for the sole purpose of seeing them, we thought a lighthouse/nautical theme would be fun.  She also loves the ocean and shell collecting so it seemed the perfect theme for her.

Here is the master carpenter at work on her birthday surprise:

Matt, skilled as he is, was able to build this lighthouse without a pattern...using just some photographs as inspiration.  He was the builder, I was the painter so the gift was from both of us.

You'll see the finished product in place at the end of this post.

In the meantime~ the party:

We happened to have the most perfect flowers for the party growing in our own backyard.  

Corynn made the sand dollar cookies

Everyone got a nautical chocolate pop~which I was making right up until the party has almost begun.  I never seem to give myself enough time to make those things.

Mental Note: It takes more than 30 minutes to make 16 chocolate pops using a single 4 pop mold.  

We raided our shell stash for decorations.
These have all been given to us as we have never actually been to the ocean!  

That's supposed the be a red octopus, by the way.
My mother-in-law isn't a cake person so my sister-in-law brought these beautiful pies for dessert.

Adele made her a starfish garland using salt dough and wooden beads which was beautiful.  I forgot to take a picture of it up close but you can kind of see it in the background here, decorating the entrance to the porch.

Spectators always blow when the birthday person blows.  It can't be helped, it can't be stopped.  Ever notice that?  

After July 4th, I went out and bought a few fireworks at half off which we lit off at the end of the party.
The birthday girl, surrounded by her grands.

I hope she felt loved.  She is.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Ineke gets very nervous about loud noises like blenders, lawn mowers and tractors.  This is her 'safe zone'.
Her love of Papa trumps her fear though.  "Look!  Papa!!"

One of the only thriving things in the garden this year

Zucchini Relish ~ my recipe here

 It occurred to me today that I haven't given a proper garden update this year.   Neither have I kept up with my monthly goals posts.  Whoops.  I should do that.

 In the meantime, I have been pickling and canning relish like a mad woman.  I have to reorganize my canning shelves to accommodate this years' new canned goods and put all of last years' in one place (to be used first.)  And now that I am canning in earnest, I am reminded every time I run down cellar to grab jars/the canner/rings/etc. that my cellar is slimy, disgusting and needs to be cleaned out in a major way.

It is the kind of basement that water runs freely through (an old stone foundation) making the floor always dank and slippery and mucky.  The ceilings are so low you must duck not to bang your head and even still, your head acts as a mophead for the million spiders that reside in their little webbed towns down there.  Cardboard boxes turn to mush, everything is coated in wet dust and the winter clothing that had at once been hung on pegs fell off their high towers and onto the floor right before the basement flooded with the large amounts of rain we've been having.  So I have a lot of laundry to do as well.  It is so unpleasant, when I ask the children to take something down there they plop it right at the foot of the stairs so they don't have to step one step further in then they have to.  (Who am I kidding?  I totally do that too.)  It's going to be an awful job.  But extremely necessary.  And the sooner, the better.  *sigh*

People are gearing up for school to begin and that isn't even on my radar.  Even though I had grand plans for summer 'relaxed learning' and even though I had grand plans to have next years' school year all planned/books ordered/mentally prepared for in April.  (Ha! That's hilarious.)

I have read books to the children and they have (occasionally) read to me.  The biggles are finishing up the math lessons in their books so they have their toes dipped in that every day.  And there is lots of time to explore and do.  And the children don't need encouragement to read books on their own.  (Well, the middles do...)  I am not stressing (too much) about all of this as I realize the great value there is in freedom and exploration and self-guided interests.  I just wish I didn't plan for these things in the first place because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have bits of guilt and failure running through the back of my mind like a gurgling Gollum saying "You didn't do what you wanted to do!  Failure!  Loser!  Liar!"

I do need to wrap my head around a new school year though and I really need to sit down and plan for it.  I'm not sure when that will be.  But it WILL be.  With Corynn in the 9th grade this year (what?!?! No!) we need to step things up a bit for a high school schedule.  And, with four very different learners, I need to make some adjustments to be sure everyone gets everything they need from me.  It's a new year- a fresh start.  A new chance.  Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you.  But it is totally worth it.

We have quite a few more places to go/things to do/fun to have plans for this summer.   I really want to take the children to the zoo before our free membership expires (a Christmas gift!), I want to meet Matt at a park for dinner and swimming after work some day.  I have quite a few baby gifts and birthday gifts to get crafting.  Matt and I are having our 15th anniversary and I'd like to do something special for that.  I plan to have a yard sale with all proceeds going to my little stash of funds I've been setting aside to fix up the girls' room (sloooooooooow going...), and I am trying to reorganize our budget and get on top of our finances to accommodate for some not-so-pleasant changes soon to come.

So- plenty of things to fill up these last few weeks of summer.   How is August shaping up for you?  Are things winding down or speeding up for you?

Monday, August 07, 2017


Summer is just whizzing right by as summers usually do- the days are poured out into brimming weeks and our life overflows with good things.

The other night, after supper, I actually came in to the house from the porch instead of lingering...it was just so chilly!  A Saturday morning breakfast happened just the same.  Summer's end draws closer, I know, but we are still very much in the midst of the merry-making that can only be done in the warm days of summer.  

We go out and about, explore and see, visit with friends and family, do things we don't ordinarily do, have time to do things we don't ordinarily have time for, eat feasts as picnicking kings and have days stretched wide before us without allotted moments for meals and stories and subjects and school lined up like tin soldiers, steadfast before us, waiting to be conquered or conquer.   In winter I tend to be such a homebody, all curled up and hibernating, it is summer days when I feel free as a bird and the children loose the chains of these four walls.

My head whirls, my hands grasp for some semblance of order, my brain tries tirelessly to order my list of priorities taking into account all things and I fall into bed exhausted each night.  But these summer days, I wouldn't change them.

And I may even wish to put off that inevitable chill in the air for just a *bit* longer...

Helping Papa with work

A fairy garden wagon which has since lost its sand due to a baby who loved to sprinkle the sand everywhere BUT the wagon.

This is her "I know I am doing something naughty-but does Mama know it?" look.  Whenever she freezes when I look at her and she has this expression, I know she is doing SOMETHING she isn't supposed to be doing.  
A Luna

The reward for painting the porch...doughnuts for SUPPER.  And for one night, I was the best Mama in the world.
The clothesline, over many soggy, hard worked years had loosened up and hunched over like an old man under the weight of his work.  Matt added supports to the side to get it upright once again and the cats thought that he did it just for them.  

It makes a perfect perch for attention seekers.
Awww!  I caught her snuggling with her birthday dolly!

The blueberry's were beautiful this year!  Some were the size of quarters!!  The children and I went picking at a local patch since we have no mature bushes of our own yet. (Can't wait for that day!)  They were .70 cents a pound, the cheapest price found around here but twice as much as they were when we started picking a few years ago.  11 gallons worth.  

The lemon meringue pie had to happen.  (And it was a success.)

We had company over to help us eat it...though I still wound up eating way more than I should have.
I love lemon meringue pie.  And now I know I can successfully make it.  (This is bad.)

Cousins had a movie party.  At a movie theater! Watching a Movie!  With POPCORN!  AND SODA!  AND CANDY! AT A MOVIE THEATER!!!!!

This girl begs to sew on a daily basis.  Usually her pleading is met with "I'm too busy to sit with you right now..." but when a friend has a birthday that just calls for a poptart pillow- Adele 's day is made. (I need to get her embroidering, I know.  That would scratch the itch without as much Mama intervention.) Knowing and DOING are two different things, my friend.

Homemade ice cream hasn't been made as often as last year when we had ample raw milk to make it with.  But this cookies and cream version made me regret that fact.

Girl with a golden halo

Homemade Garlic Dill Queso Blanco cheese

We love it fried at breakfast.

Friends of ours fly over the house in their hot air balloon!
They go where the winds blow them so it was a happy surprise to see them
right overhead.  We whooped and hollered something fierce.