Sunday, October 21, 2012

Laundry Can be fun

This weekend I decided to spruce up the dingy, messy laundry room.  A little face lift to make things a little more bright.  The room has been functional the last seven years we have lived here but not enjoyable.  As I am the one who spends the most time in the room I decided to make it a little more pleasant for me time spent there.  First it got a good clean out then a clean up.  Washing walls and getting cobwebs down.  Then a nice lavender paint job.  After the painting was finished the various bookshelves got relocated to balance the room better and maybe spread out the congestion.  Next up is a few more items on the walls.  I found two yellow metal trays that will be great on the walls to hold magnets and papers I need to keep track of.  I also plan to hang up a few aprons in a decorative fashion and a skirt for the laundry sink.  Last but certainly not least a new door of some kind.  The current door definatley leaves something to be desired.

I also moved forward with homemade safe cleaners and made a window cleaner that seems to work just great without a bunch of chemicals.  I also have now made ten feed bag totes and hope to make an even dozen to fulfill the final requirement for my going green shopping badge with Mary Jane's Farm.  I really do enjoy learning all the skills needed to complete these badges.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now for indoor work

I pulled the last of the carrots and onions this weekend. Today I am preparing the carrots for blanching and freezing. The onions for drying. The last of the tomatoes are red and ready to eat. I actually had someone track me down to have me make his wife some feedbag totes.  I have four bags I need to make up for me and some friends and his two.  I am planning on gifting them all and using the gifts for my reusable bag swap for a badge for Mary Jane's Farm.

My Christmas present for my family is really coming along.  It has taken quite a bit of effort but I think they will all enjoy it.  It is so nice to be able to make something for them to show my appreciation for them and our lives together.

I also plan on having a tea party on Saturday for my daughters and their friend. It will be our trial run and if they have lots of fun as I suspect they will we will start planning a larger affair.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The end of outdoor gardening for 2012

Two hard frosts in a row. We covered the tomatoes and a few other things but ultimately summer is ending.  The carrots and onions are fine but the beans and corn are done. I picked the last of the tomatoes today, lots of green ones to watch inside. The rosemary and lemon balm earned pots to try to winter in the living room. My blueberry bush has its first blueberry crop turning blue on the table in the living room as well.  It lived in a pot all summer so this week we will enjoy around twenty blueberries.  Hopefully it does a little better next summer. I am not sure where to put all these plants but they will all have a place somewhere.  I am thinking of starting some camomile to see if it can grow all winter indoors.

This weekend will hopefully be the time to make the last batch of salsa for the year and get heading into fall cleaning and sewing projects.  Christmas is coming and hopefully some gifts can be made.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The sound of Cans sealing... A wonderful sound

Today I am getting ready to can my second batch of salsa and maybe a few more green beans.  I find I love to hear the pop of my jars sealing. I usually pull my jars out the. Head for bed and I find I am listening for the pops.  This year so far we have 31 pints of green beans, 5 quarts of cherry pie filling, 8 half pints of red currant jelly, 9 half pints of strawberry rhubarb jam, and 9 half pints of  triple berry jam. I also have 12 pints of Dilly beans and 10 pints of zucchini salsa. Today I will prep for more zucchini salsa to make tomorrow and as I was picking beans this morning I was trying to decide what to do with them, more pints for us or more dilly beans for us and our friends.  The decisions can be so hard.

We have also been enjoying zucchini bread, rasberries, and strawberries.  My lettuce and herbs are doing great as well. The lettuce, growing happily in the shade doesn't seem to mind our heat and the herbs are nice and prolific for drying for later.  I also managed to pick and dry some red currants for scones or muffins later this year. Wow, those take awhile to dehydrate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canning

Last week had my first canning oops. I made cherry pie filling, five quarts of it. They looked great but as they started processing three of the quarts lost their bottoms. I had cherry pie filling all over the water bath. I managed to save two jars then made the call to my canning mentor. My dear mother in law saved me and the pie filling. After rinsing off the cherries, remakeing the filling and processing again I now have five beautiful quarts of cherry pie filling on my counter. They make me want to go pick ore cherries.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gardening

It cooled off enough to spend some time in the flower garden tonight. I managed two five pound pails of"weeds." it turns out, as it has through the spring too, that I pulled more plants than actual weeds. Thyme, lupine, coneflower, and pansies all went. I also pulled up some extra sedum and bachelor buttons. There was some clover and a few dandelions and some other little weeds but mostly it was volunteer plants from last years flowers. It is strange to pull them up but I really have plenty left. I also gave away literally 60 or so plants that looked great so I just found them new gardens to grow in. The carrots and onions look like they are doing great. The herbs are coming along well too. The second crop on beans is just peeking out of the soil between the corn rows and soon will reach up and climb. I also followed Mary Jane's Farm recipe for brandied cherries and made two quarts of them for later. Speaking of Mary Jane I also took the time to fill out the form to apply for two more badges and finally printed the badges I have earned out on fabric so I can start embroidering them for wherever they mat end up. All in all a good day. Farmers Market is tomorrow, how much trouble can I get myself into there? Guess we will see.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food storage

Last night I managed through 11.5 pints of strawberry rhubarb jam. It was 85F in house but the berries and rhubarb were all ready so it had to be done. That makes 26 pints of jam for awhile. Now I am on to planning for those cute little tomatoes that should be quite large soon enough. The bush beans are flowering well and the corn is still upright. The zucchini has a few blossoms on so hopefully salsa and Spaghetti sauce will be projects later this summer.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July already!

I can't believe I have skipped right over June. I have been busy I suppose. The garden is planted and growing well. This morning I counted 11 tomatoes on my plants and many more flowers excited to become tomatoes. The carrots and onions are looking good and the radishes are ready to come out. I have collected various herbs four times now. Mostly for drying for later but some to flavor dishes for the day. Brent has put in a wonderful fire pit just in time for a great Fourth of July party. We have had a little time for camping and hiking too. The girls and I have taken up the very fun pastime of letterboxing which is giving us some great adventures. Our next adventure is to make our own letterbox for others to find. Hopefully we will get a stamp carved this week and maybe even planted we will have to see. My thoughts are jumping to canning and making salsa and sauces for us this winter. How many tomatoes will grow for us? How many cans on things can we produce? How healthy can we live? Here is hoping July brings us a few hints at the answers.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sewing Time

Quite a domestic week for me so far. Monday I canned 18 1/2 pints of triple berry jam. Wednesday I made two feed bag totes. They turned out quite nice. I made them out of chicken scratch bags and they look great. I also got a fair bit of the garden weeded. I have also crocheted 4 dishcloths in the shape of flowers to give for the Relay for Life fundraiser this weekend. I also assembled a very nice barbecue grill for Brent today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rhody Run

Yesterday we sought to have some fun exercise. We ran in the Rhody Run. A 12K in Port Townsend, WA. What a feat family race to help show our girls how exercise is important and fun. The weather wasn't great but it stopped raining before the race. We were a little wet starting but it kept us cool which probably helped in the running part. Melanie took turns in the stroller and walking or running. She managed to get herself through about four miles of it. The first and fourth mile she did in entirety. She also did the last bit after the seven mile mark. She was so good and proud. She only complained once, about a stitch in her side. I love getting my girls to be active. I hope this will transform into lots of hiking this summer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gardening some more

Today Melanie and I planted Swiss chard, sweet peas, yellow cucumber, cosmos, and cilantro. The walls of water went up yesterday for the biggest of my tomato plants. The plants won't go out until Friday probably as tomorrow is supposed to be quite cold. I have now passed along flowers and herbs to four different gardens this year. I actually think I am removing more volunteer flowers and herbs than weeds this spring. I love that I can pass things along. The strawberries are blooming making me very excited for the happy little fruits to showup soon. The lettuce is peeky it's way out now too. I am not sure if I should have planted it weeks earlier or not but we will see. The pastures are greening up making the whole valley gorgeous. We have been talking of camping this weekend or maybe hitting the farmers' market. Both sound like a great way to spend time mother's day weekend. Teaching the girls about this wonderful place we live is so important and enjoyable that it is hard to decide to stay home or find the woods.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gardening

The gardens are ready. The first round of weeding is done. Lettuce, carrots, and onions are all in. Radishes should be going in this afternoon. The tomatoes are taking turns under the grow light now. I am getting very tempted to plant more but sofas logic is winning. There are a lot of volunteers in my garden this year so I am transplanting some, weeding some and finding good homes for a few others. Can't wait for the growing season to really be here although I am not sure where it will all grow yet. Just opened my last jar of canned jam today, a little early I am afraid but I am glad we all enjoyed it so much. We still have some apple pie filling and a few jars of green beans but we will definately be ready for more soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Irrigation Season has begun

Today was a busy day. Starting those irrigation pipes always takes forever. We survived it but it took a lot out of us. The girls helped get the house cleaned up in the morning leaving the afternoon for outside chores. The tomato plants coontinue to grow well. We started some zucchini seeds today that will hopefully get transplanted in a few weeks. Melanie is training to walk some of the Rhody Run. It feels so good to encourage her to exercise. She plays and runs so much I don't worry about her but instilling good habits is always good. She is really excited about all the gardening and planting we are preparing for. If only weeding were more fun. Gardening with Heirloom Seeds by Lynn Coulter is my next readin endeavor. It is an interesting book with lots of history and growing advice for heirlooms. So far it hasn't changed my plans for this summer but it is giving me ideas for the future to try.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Melanie and I just planted our second round of seeds. Today was green bell peppers, jalapeƱos, camomile, tarragon, summer savory, columbine, golden coneflower, Shasta daisies, and we are soaking some lupine seeds for tomorrow. Brent is getting worried about how much space we might need out in the garden. I also made our list of what to start outside when the time is right to make sure we don't forget anybody. Now I just have to plan out where all these little plants will go to grow and feed us.

We also got Melanie's birthday all planned out and invitations written. Party supplies are half bought. Tinker bell will be the theme with a flower cake for a little Tink figurine to sit on. The kids will all get a recycled hot cocoa container wrapped and filled with goodies.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade bread is pulling ahead of store bought finally. I had to concede to 50/50 white flour to wheat flour. Last night I added a bunch of cinnamon for some breakfast bread. The girls are crazy about it. They ate it warm last night and then toasted today. We are on a roll. Which is good since I was getting tired of the question "is this store bought" before now maybe they will actually decide homemade is better.

Crocheting is taking a back burner to garden starts but it is getting somewhere slowly.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just about finished with "Courageous." Such an inspiring book. I can't wait to read "Courageous Living" and see some tips on being a better example and parent to my girls. On the home front I started the tomato, basil, and stevia seeds two days ago. Now begins the waiting for tiny little sprouts to come up. In three days we begin to lose weight and get in shape to hopefully win some money for us and the school scholarship fund at preschool.

Homemade laundry soap is going well. The laundry smells wonderful and seems clean without using lots of soap and smelly stuff. I am also improving the storage in the house to make it more organized and easier to find our stuff. Anything to simplify is good for us.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yesterday was extremely productive. The girls went to preschool and I got a third of our house really clean. I also finished my first crocheted afghan. It was not perfect but it will be a pretty way to keep warm. Today the grocery store will get an expensive visit from us. Somehow we ran out of lots of staples all at once. I am hoping to make some laundry soap today. Then we can see how well the recipe works. If it is good we should save quite a bit of money and use less chemicals around the house.

Homeschooling this week is always a little odd since I work so much of it but E,e,5,and lighthouses are our topics today and probably a little on the weekend.

Trapper is getting used to her wobbly legs and although I am not sure they are getting a lot better she is tired of going slow and taking it easy so there is definitely more caution for us to keep her quiet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A very long week

Last week took the Race family by storm. Monday morning my 92 year old grandma passed away. She had a great life and had only a few days of discomfort at the end. We were sorry to see her leave us but it could have been so much worse for her. Consequently our week was a little hectic. Kirsten and I promptly left for Washington leaving Brent and Melanie on their own. We all slacked off on our simplifying and homemade life. Then our lovely and devoted dog Trapper slipped a disk. There has been a lot of laundry and cleaning associated with her medical care but we are coming back online. Bread was made yesterday, laundry is caught up finally, and the house is getting clean once again. I am enjoying a little crochet time today to relax and deco press from the week. The kids are getting back on track and I finally got to talk with Brent about something more than schedules and chores. Simply the Race family is coming back together after a week of chaos.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Almost green

Today I did four loads of wash and almost have run out of Tide. Once the Tide is gone that is it for non green cleaners in the house. I have been slowly changing them out as I run out of something I move us to the green alternative. So far no one has complained about anything but my family isn't really aware of the switch. I have all the parts to make my own laundry soap so as soon as I have a little time I will start trying it out. It seems to be very economic so hopefully it will work well. Between all the garden plans and the homemade cleaners I hope to have this house fairly low cost for upkeep by the end of the end of the year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today I hope to finish my new purple cowl. It is about halfway I think. We are also getting ready to see some dinosaurs in Bozeman so the girls and I will really have to try and learn some names of those big guys. I also am a little behind on my decluttering since I have worked the last five days. Our house did get some good cleaning done on Sunday. While Brent and the kids played I got a fair bit of stuff cleaned up. As much as Brent is still frustrated with our life I am in love with it. I love all the time I get for our family. I love the real dinners we get to eat. I love all the things the girls and I are learning. I am not sure how to make it better but there is always room for improvement I suppose.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Today will be attempt two at sourdough bread. Attempt one didn't really fail but sure didn't rise much. It tasted great but was pretty heavy. We will see what today brings. First there'd is more time to rise and second we will try more humidity while rising. This week in school we will work on cats, C, 3, diamond, and dinosaurs. My school will be about gardening and storing food to help me decide what we will try planting this year. Tomatoes are definatley on the list. I am working through a book on heirloom seeds. A storm is expected today and tomorrow so we are mist likely homebound which at least provides us will the knowledge we will be stuck and therefore we can do some longer projects instead of hoping to get outside or go to town to break up our day. I think a tea party is called for especially if the snow really starts up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Had a great weekend with friends and very little technology. Mostly just got to enjoy company while also enjoying winter. Got home and got started right away on unpacking, laundry, getting ready to start up with normal life tomorrow. I now find at 6:30pm I am pleasantly prepared for tomorrow. Which is good because a little cold is catching up with me and making me quite interested in my bed. This week the girls will work on C and 3 and dinosaurs in addition to whatever else we may decide to work on. In an effort to get valentines out my the holiday we may have to find some fun projects this week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working hard on simplifying. Yesterday's task was to pick five values to work on this year. Hmmm... I would say being happy with what I have, simplifying everything, enjoying family, taking care of myself, and loving God. Big tasks and maybe not all values but definately things I would like to work on. The first task is downsizing our garbage out which will save us with the garbage company then start working on decreasing garbage coming into our home. This will help simplify our lives a lot and hopefully save money. The girls are really getting on board with repurposing projects which definately helps not bring more stuff in our house.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finished the book about Bees two days ago now working on finishing "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." Also following mysimplerlife.com for some decluttering and cleaning above and beyond normal. Melanie and I spent over an hour exploring and racing around the yard today. It was a beautiful day today. Since the girls were in school todaywe didn't do any work at home. Tomorrow we will head to the Children's Museum for some fun learning and continue our lessons about A, 1, and cows.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day two of the new year had me working and the kids home with daddy. I got home to an almost ready dinner and a fairly clean house. So nice. After dinner a quick bath for the girls and some of our school work. Today we worked on recognizing the letter A for Kirsten. Melanie practiced writing A and a and spelling cow, her animal for the week. I am reading a fascinating book about bees and trying to finish a scarf for my sisterinlaw.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The plan for 2012

2012 will be a good learning year. The girls will have more fun but educational time at home and I will keep learning how to better keep my home. This morning my girls were amazingly interested in our school topic of cows. While they learned I cleaned out 13 kitchen drawers. I started reading a new book about bees this week and will make myself have some school time this afternoon. This year will be exciting for all of us.