Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I MADE IT !!! The beginning

Once again the start of a new year approaches, so that means time to reflect on what has worked in the past year and what has not. For me that means facing the fact that this year I have wasted a lot of time that could been used more wisely. While I can not reclaim the time that I have wasted in the last year I can try my best not to do the same this year.
Every Blog needs more pictures of chickens 

I view my day in 4 parts, morning from when I wake up to when I leave for work at about 10:30, afternoon is about 3 pm when I get home from work till dinner prep at 5. Dinner time is from 5 pm to 7 pm and Evening is 7pm to 9pm. Which spells MADE ( Morning, Afternoon, Dinner, Evening), and from there you get I MADE IT if I meet my goals for the day, week, month, year. But I think I will stick to just meeting the goals in a day for now.

 I have made my goals fit into these time frames, each week or so I will add to my goals. Some times goals will take longer and I will give myself more time as needed to meet them. The quickest way to stop trying at something is make goals unattainable. 

This upcoming week my goals are:

M- Make breakfast every day
                               A- Write a blog entry
                               D- Dinner on the table on time, per the menu
                               E- Sink empty before bed

So what are your goals for this year?

Re-allocating the Budget

Since I have been working for the last two years any money I have earned has mostly gone to the food budget, with some to gas, and children's needs like shoes, clothes etc. But our daughter is going to England this summer and the money has to come from somewhere. So for at least the next six months my goal is to cut the food budget and extra's by 200 a month, more if I can. The extra money will be forwarded to my daughters girl scout account. 

I am starting with this paycheck week:

Food- 119.55
Non-food- 18.66
Animal food/ supplies- 15.00
Clothing- 32.76

Shopping total- 185.97

Kat trip total- 80.00

Friday, August 16, 2013

Raising the Caboose

So what is a caboose, for this blog that would be a child born 5 or more years after the next older child with no more children close in age after him, more so if the older siblings are close in age. In our home the first set of children are 21,19,16,15,13 all born within eight years from oldest to youngest. 

Our Caboose

Then we have the caboose who is 7, raising him is a lot different then first five. Because it almost like raising an only child but you have older children to.

Aidan wants to do things that kids his age do like playgrounds, children's museums, play in the sand, and so on all the things that I loved doing with the older kids. We did those things as a family since with 5 kids under 10 I needed to go places to expel their energy and there was something that interested the 8 year old and yet kept the 1 year old happy to.

Making sure to have fun stuff for him and his friends to do.
The hard part is doing those things as a family, since really there is not much at a children's museum that is going to keep a 16 year old happy, and having a 6 ft man who might only be 15 playing on the playground can come across as a little creepy to the other adults.

So I have started to make a effort to do these things with just Aidan making it happen, yes it's not as a family but he needs to do kid things to. We do a lot as a family and most of these things are older kid activities that Aidan can enjoy.

For example yesterday after dropping of the 15 year old at Civil Air Patrol which is a meeting that takes 3 hours and is 45 minute's from home, I brought Aidan along for the trip . 

Side note that is one of the problems it is a lot easier to leave Aidan home with a older kid then take him with me shopping, trips to town and so on. Since I have built in sitters which I didn't have with the first set of kids, who went every where with me.

He can make it though a 3 course meal, and loves to wear suits

We headed to a playground that the older group of kids had enjoyed a lot when they were younger, we spent over 2 hours there. He rode his bike, and played forever on that playground, yes I could have left him home with the older kids and enjoyed 3 hours to myself. But taking him was the better , not easier choice.
You can learn to beat any game with a older brother around

Others things about raising the Caboose that I have noticed and am trying hard to correct are things like :

Chores the older set were doing a lot more at his age then he does, because it is so much easier to have a older kid do the dishwasher then to teach the youngest how. As I said earlier it is easier to leave him home with a older child then to take him shopping and teach him how to behave in a store. It's easier to send a older kid out to play with him then it is to do it myself. I see a theme here, easier, which sometimes is not a bad thing but in this case I think it is. I need to work on making the better choice not the easier one.

That doesn't mean the older ones don't get asked to play with Aidan ( my tennis playing could make you cry or die of laughter) , or that Aidan always gets to go to CAP ( if it's raining there really isn't much for him to do). But it does mean making the effort.

Pluses of being a Caboose, he is not shy, he can walk onto any playground and just join in with any group of kids. He is totally comfortable with older kids and adults. He is a great sous chef since I know that a 7 year old can use a knife to cut up veggies safely, I would say he started at 5.

Need a egg cracked, a carrot diced I am your man.

 He doesn't seem to get hurt as much as the older boys did at his age, not having close in age brothers telling you climb higher, ride faster, jump further might be the reason. He is great at pick up games of soccer, held behind the bleachers while his big brothers and sister are playing their games. 

Older brothers are great for adventures

Plus he has an older brother who buys him the cool clothes that mom won't and will fish with him, a older sister that will coach his soccer team and worries more about him getting hurt then his mom does.

Older sisters who love you lots and think you are the cutest thing
Another older brother who will play endless games of tennis with him.Another older brother who will show him how to beat that game on the Wii, and another older sister who shows him the best spots for finding frogs, turtles and which berries to eat. 
This is a old picture, those games of tennis have been going on for a long time
So while raising the Caboose is different that raising the main part of the train it is still a lot of fun.
Only a caboose could get his older brother and sister to play with capes in public

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Fun

Summer is about fun and routine, yes I said routine. Knowing what to expect helps to make summer fun and run more smoothly when you have children.

Our summer routine most weekday's goes like this :

I get up at 6 , make my husband's coffee and lunch made along with getting Conner up and also do the morning chicken chores and a little weeding in my garden.

Conner heads off to drivers ed, and summer school so he is gone from 7:15 to 2 when I pick him up after I get out of work.

The next three get up, eat breakfast, and get ready for swim lessons, if there is time Aidan works a bit on school work for the day.

Off to swim lessons for the younger three and Sarah is also there working.

Sarah teaching little ones to swim she is great at it.

After lessons I drop the younger three at home and head to work, while I am gone Aidan has more school to work on, usually I leave a craft, they also have chores to do, computer time and they have lunch.

When I get home if they have gotten their chores done we either go swimming in our pool, head back to the town pool, head to the beach, so something fun. 

On Fridays things are a bit different as my husband is home that day,he takes Nolan and Kat to a youth program at the library which runs from 12:30 to 4, then he helps Aidan pick out three more books to read for the week. I stop by and pick up Conner on the way home from work and head to the library with him for both of us to pick out our books for the week. 

I find that everyone having at least 3-4 books on hand to read helps with any I am bored problems.

Then it's home for dinner and then back to the pool for Friday Night Family Fun, sometimes they have pizza, this time they had ice cream , then the pool is open and they pull out all the toys that they use in swim lessons to play with.

Ice cream Sundae's yummy, thank you to the Bainbridge Teachers Association 

       Conner working hard at the pool on Friday Fun Night

This current routine will work until Aug 8th when summer school ends and so do lessons. 

So how do you keep your kids busy in the summer ?

Saturday, July 13, 2013


This is a time of waiting in the garden, the spring veggies have been eaten and yet the summer ones are not quite ready to eat. Soon so very soon but not for today's dinner, so what is a gardener to do but pull out the cook books or in this day in age search the web.

I have plans yummy plans that are just waiting on the garden.

These peppers will be eaten in stir fry's, on pizza, and cut up and frozen for winter.

This zucchini needs to grow faster, I have very yummy plans for this one.It will be cut up breaded,and fried as a treat. Then of course there is zucchini to freeze and to bake and oh so many things.

Tomatoes,so many tomatoes are growing in the garden. BLT's, salad's, canned for winter pizza's and pasta, dried into tomato powder oh so many things.

And there is more growing corn not enough for more then a dinner, plenty of green beans, cucumbers, melons, winter squash, potatoes, kale, rutabaga, and more.

And while we wait for all of this to grow mother nature has given us these growing wild along the long driveway to enjoy.

And this year for the first time all of these seeds are heirloom seeds, so we will see how the harvest goes. The radish, lettuces, and spinach this spring were all very yummy. Looking forward to replanting them in a few weeks to see if I can get a fall harvest.

So how does your garden grow?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 Spring/ Summer Menu

I like to plan a six week menu at a time I have one for the Fall/ Winter and one for the Summer/ Spring. 

The kids take turns helping to cook dinner. Monday's is my son Nolan, Tuesday's is Aidan, Wednesday's Pat, Thursday's Kathryn, Friday's Conner, and Saturday and Sunday me and Sarah. With work schedules this sometimes changes but we try to make it work.

The menu is only a guide if I have left overs that need to be used a meal may be bumped for the leftovers. If I find a great price on a different cut of meat I'll get it and fit it in somewhere. Most of our meals are chicken and ground beef based.

There is also a bit of a theme to the days

Sunday- is a meal that takes a lot of effort and time
Monday- is Mexican based
Tuesday- is crock pot and odd meals the kids like
Wednesday- is grill based meals
Thursday- is pasta
Friday - is pizza
Saturday - is soup, salad and bread. The soup and bread I make up in the morning before the day gets busy.

Week A

Sunday- Ham, veggie, potato

Monday- Taco's

Tuesday- Beef Stew

Wednesday- Spidie Chicken w/ rice and green veggie

Thursday- Ravioli w/ white and red sauce

Friday- Pizza, and fresh veggies

Saturday- Olive Garden Soup w bread and salad

Week B

Sunday- Chinese Chicken w/ fried rice and homemade egg rolls

Monday- Chicken Fajita

Tuesday- Sloppy Joes w/ French Fries

Wednesday- Grilled Chicken w/ rice and veggie

Thursday- Cheesy shells w/ tuna and peas

Friday- Pizza and fresh veggies

Week C

Sunday- Mini Meatloaf

Monday- Chicken Enclidia

Tuesday- Chicken and Biscuits

Wednesday- BBQ Chicken w/ sides

Thursday- Beef Risotto w/ green side

Friday- Pizza with veggies

Saturday- Chicken Noodle soup

Week D

Sunday- Chicken Parmesan

Monday- Taco Salad

Tuesday- Honey and Sesame Chicken

Wednesday- Hamburger w/ mac salad

Thursday- Tri color pasta w/ chicken

Friday- Pizza, and fresh veggies

Saturday- Potato soup w/ bread and salad

Week E

Sunday - Chicken Tenders w/ potato and green veggie

Monday- Cheesy Beef Mac w/ green veggie

Tuesday- Cranberry Chicken w/ rice and veggie

Wednesday- Hot dogs w/ mac and cheese and baked beans

Thursday- Pasta w/ meatballs and salad

Friday- Pizza and salad

Saturday- Navy Bean Soup bread and salad

Week F

Sunday- Turkey pot pie or chicken Cordon blue

Monday- Taco's

Tuesday- Tuna Casserole w/ green salad

Wednesday- Italian Sausage or Chicken Sausage w/ rice and green veggie

Thursday- Star pasta w/ salad

Friday- Pizza w/ salad

Saturday- Chili w/ bread and salad

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Grandma

Most of my posts have lots of pictures this one will but not today. Early this morning shortly after midnight my grandma passed away, for the last couple of years she has been declining both in mind and body but there were always moments when she knew who you were. While she lost her memories year by year we still had them and today I will share some of mine, most of which also include Grandpa  who has also been missing his wife more and more each year. But I am sure finds comfort in knowing that today she is with the Lord and remembers all.

May 2008

I remember camping with my grandpa and grandma they came along on many of our families camping trips, then they decided to settle down their camping and had a trailer placed in a campground not far from home but just far enough. The joys of being a kid at grandma and grandpas trailer new kids to meet, a pool to swim in, dinner outside under the awing  " Be careful with that zipper, make up your mind in or out" still echos through my head in Grandma's voice. Spending the night at grandma and grandpa's trailer was always a special thing. Listening to them tell the stories about their first trailer and taking my Uncle and Dad camping when they were little, singing songs to them and more. I think we all were a bit sad when the time came for the trailer to be sold.

Grandma loved to share her history with us kids. When asked about a picture hanging in the hall, " That's me and my sister we had to share those skates and my shoes had all those buttons" or how many of us has heard the story of how her sister Dorothy had a job and nice clothes and she would wait until her sister had left for work  and then she would ware her clothes to school and her sister would never know.

 She loved to pull out the old pictures kept in her night stand and tell you who was who and how we all got to America. Asking about the wedding picture hanging in the bedroom always lead to hearing about how she met grandpa, and their wedding, and the telegrams from grandpa during the war. And how she wondered why he couldn't remember that her middle initial was J, it kept changing from H to M. Turns out that was grandpa's way of letting her know where he was Hawaii or the Marshall Islands. The picture of the car loaded with all their belongings led to hearing about what it was like to be a young military wife the walk up apartment without hot water, the stove grandpa found and tried to rig up for his wife,learned from that story that one should not make a wood door for a stove. Their life after the war when they returned home, pulling into the LaSalle apartments asking for one of the apartments set aside for returning vets and being asked where to you live right now and pointing to that car laden with all their belongings. 

Buying their home, and how important it is to make just a bit more then your mortgage payment each month even 5 dollars makes a difference. How she worked at the Shredded Wheat Factory and other places that unforently I don't remember  The stories she told me about my dad, the broken arms two at once mind you, the case of the missing potato peelings,  the polio he shared with her as a baby, making diapers out of tea towels because that was all there was to be found. The stories about my uncle Ron as a baby and the work she did to help him along.

She taught me many things, some I learned , others not so much, and some I wish I had payed more attention to  there were kitting lessons, crocheting  and even tatting to learn, she taught me how to read and cut out a pattern. She even told me stories while teaching me these things  stories about learning to tat from her grandma Buck showing me the dollies she made, and the ribbon she won for a sewing contest. While my tatting may never had gotten very far and my crocheting ability was a chain that went around the house she never gave up on trying. The tax lessons were one's that stuck and today I still enjoy doing taxes.

There was her friendship with Mrs.Fix and how it showed my grandma's sense of humor  I believe at least some of my sisters and cousins were involved in planning April Fools jokes on Mrs. Fix under the guidance of grandma. I remember at least one year making mud pie cookies that Grandma helped us make and place into a nice tin and then delivered next door. How she looked forward to the yearly delivery of German goodies from Mrs Fix family, the pillow on the couch that was a gift and how it was a good thing the Mrs. Fix could make knit socks for all of us grand kids as Grandma did not like to knit socks. I learned that finding that good friend was important.

The kitchen floors, I think that the floor company started to cringe when grandma would walk in with the warranty in hand saying that her no wax floor, was  not shiny anymore. A new floor and after a while in she would walk again  I think the floor company was very happy when they installed the tile floor that is still there today. I think my husband wishes I had learned this lesson a lot better.

Me and my sister Bri lived with grandma and grandpa for awhile so that we wouldn't have to change schools 3 times in a year. I remember the PJ's grandma made us, the ice cream in bed, getting to pick out lunch meat at the counter. Grandma being challenged by the idea of girl hair, we were so spoiled but loved it.

Sitting next to grandma in church and trying on her rings, and afterwords hearing the stories behind them which granddaughter each ring belonged to , how she got the rings gifts from grandpa or inherited from her mom and so on. When it was your week to eat out after church she always let you pick the restaurant. 

The blanket that one always had to place on the floor before playing or watching TV, remembering to take your shoes off, for me the sears catalog that she always had in the closet that she would let me look at for ever. As even back when I was a child I was a planner I think I had all the kids and their future clothing and rooms planned out of that catalog. 

Learning to square dance so that Grandpa wouldn't be dancing with all those widows while Grandma was out with a broken hip. The sweaters she made for the new babies, and the scarfs and mittens for the older ones.

She was always generous and helpful, I am sure that at least some of my sisters experienced this too. Taking the great grand kids to visit grandma and grandpa and after the kids had eaten their spaghetti-os and having been sent to play downstairs or outside with grandpa.  She would slip you 20 dollars out of her pocket money and tell you that you needed to spend it on yourself, and if you were bad like me and not likely to spend on it yourself but the the kids she would make you come back and show her what you had bought. I believe grandma has paid for many a bra. 

All I have left today is the stories that grandma told and the things she has left behind that makes one remember those stories, the afghan that used to be on the couch and then was made into a floor blanket before being gifted to a grandchild. The picture of Grandma and Grandpa's wedding, the vase she won with Mrs. Fix, and all the pictures taken over the years. Her spirit will live on though us and today when I wash my floor I'll cry a bit.

I am thankful that she told her story while she could and hope that we all learn to share our story so that we may also live on in others.

I will have more to add later .

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday 1/21

This week's Dinner menu plan:

Sunday-  Chinese Chicken, white rice, fried rice, stir fry veggies, fresh veggies ( celery, carrots, broccoli) , and sweet and sour sauce.

Monday- Sloppy Joes, green beans, baked potatoes  sweet potatoes fries.

Tuesday- Baked Chicken, fresh veggies, rice, corn

Wednesday- Fridge Vegetable soup - made out of all the leftover veggies in the fridge. 

Thursday- Spaghetti and meatballs as we didn't get to eat it last week.

Friday- as always is pizza night, we use the frozen pizza crusts that you can buy from Sam's club bakery dept about 18 dollars for 16 full size pizza crust. The toppings each week vary based on the left overs in the fridge, some times there is ham or pepperoni or chicken. 

Saturday- This week is a bit busy so, sandwiches  leftovers, soup, etc.

This is linked up at menu-plan-monday

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chinese chicken

Well our kids only like one kind of Chinese food, and that would be sweet and sour chicken. This is not a real healthy meal, but it is a special treat that the kids and dh really enjoy. Since it is real expensive to order out all the time and we live in the middle of no where, I have learned to make it on my own. Here is the recipe for the batter :

1cup all-purpose flour
2tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon vegetable oil
1teaspoon sugar

And just enough water to make a smooth batter, I double this recipe for about 2 pounds of boneless chicken.

The first step is to cut up the chicken into bite size cubes

Then add the chicken and coat

Then fry, this picture is from awhile ago, today when I made it I used my fryer.

Then serve to the hungry hoards aka the family.

I serve this meal with fried rice, veggie tray, and sweet and sour sauce. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

This weeks Dinner Plan :

Sunday- Meatloaf, corn, baked sweet potatoes, baked potatoes.

Monday- spinach and ham quiche made with eggs from these lovey girls , fruit salad


Tuesday- baked chicken and rice with green beans

Wednesday-  chicken soup with dumplings

Thursday- spaghetti with meatballs, bread, fruit

Friday- Pizza night w/ salad

Saturday- Leftovers

This post is linked up at Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Chicken Story

We have tried a few times to have chickens since living here, but due to a lack of real planning on my part, including secure housing for chickens, we have fed the local carnivores a few times.
But this year, we inherited some ducks from my mom and dad which is a story of it's own. The short version is that someone in the city of Buffalo thinks it cute to get their child ducks for Easter but forgot that ducks grow. My mom saw a facebook message asking to rescue the ducks, she does, they rehab in a grassy Niagara Falls backyard, and then get transplanted to our place in the country before getting busted for being a duck harborer in a city.

Well my mom and dad wanted to make sure the ducks made it here in the country, so when they came to visit for a week it was time to construct the Fort Knox duck house, nothing is going to eat these ducks. 

Aidan was the helper and Grandpa was the builder.  Since we live on a hill anything we build involves leveling which is a pain on its own. We tried to find the most level spot to build on, which meant that the duck house was built in the front yard. It works for me as we don't have a normal front yard anyway since the garden is also there.

Well, then I had a great idea that this duck house looks safe and way to big for just two ducks, so I sent my daughter to buy 2 chickens from the farm stand. And since she listens about as well as I do, she came home with 3 chickens.

The chickens started as cute little yellow and black puffs, that were living in a cage in Kat's room. Then they soon grew into some pretty ugly looking teen age chickens and I was wondering, "Did we get some mutated chickens?"

But soon enough, they grew out of that awkward stage and became some pretty cute chickens.

Since our dogs and cats were afraid of the chickens, we began to let them free range the yard.

The downside was chicken poop everywhere, but the upside was less feed and fatter chickens. What I love most off all is for the first time ever, the snail population in our yard is down. I am hoping for a decent garden this year. They love to peck at the front door and if you don't answer they will go and peck at the windows until you give them a treat.

    Aidan wanted to paint the coop. One day I let him. Not bad for a 6 yo but it will need to be redone in the spring.

Then something amazing happened! Something we were not expecting to happen until spring. We have eggs! In all of our previous attempts at chickens, the chickens ended up as food to the local carnivorers before ever getting to this stage. There is one downside. On Christmas, one of the ducks did die. It was attacked by one of our dogs who had gotten loose and had a treat that the duck tried to sniff. He became protective of his treat and attacked the duck. We tried to save the duck, but the wounds were fatal. It died about an hour later. Now, we make sure that the dog is tied up and watched whenever the fowls are out, otherwise he remains inside when they are out of their coop. 

The best part is that so far, we have gotten about three eggs a day! Not bad for the middle of winter.

When I saw this egg, I felt for that chicken. If I were that chicken, laying that might make me think twice about ever laying another egg again.

All Aidan wanted after gathering his eggs was an omelet, but he caught the tummy bug before he got the chance. Instead, he spent a day on the couch with his buddy getting better.

But then it was time for the first omelet made out of the eggs from our chickens that finally grew so big. Of course, we had to use the big egg which had two yolks.

That was the best omelet he has ever had!