Photo Op Our Way

Quick post – The photo I picked for my card! Also a funny one. It was really hard to get everyone to smile at the same time. Or stop making funny faces. Or stop complaining. Hard to believe three out of the five are adults.

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The next picture has only 4 of them because he was ready to quit. Thankfully he came back in time for the good picture. I keep thinking back when we tried to take the three oldest boys to Sears for a photo. Crazy!

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I am thinking of moving the blog to a free hosting site. I have paid for this last year and I don’t see any differences other than I have much more spam than I ever did with blogspot. I will be in and out while I figure it all out. I know my look and theme will be different. Good timing for a new year anyway but I hope all my content will move over easily.

Thanks for reading!

 

Before December

So here we are, three weeks before the December and January holidays. Three weeks before I see all my boys again. It was a very fun, relaxing, loving visit with everyone. We didn’t go anywhere. We had one friend come over. A single man without family in the area. We ate well. Played Ticket to Ride and Dutch Blitz. There was singing and guitar playing. There was talking and discussing. There was some political/social talk that sneaked in but it was calm and cool. I am always educated when we all get together that is for sure.

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I requested a picture of all five of the kids for my New Year’s card. It got done on the morning everyone was leaving. Just in the nick of time. It took a while. It isn’t easy getting a good shot of five kids, even though three are adults. The sillies got started and then the tiffs and then finally we got a few good ones. I will share them after I go through them all. There are a lot.

For now, we are all cleaned up and back on track to finish our homeschool projects and then move right on to the gift making and decorating for the holiday season! I do have a menu to share!

Monday:  Pork chops, brussel sprouts and cubed yellow potatoes

Tuesday: Beef roast, red potatoes, and broccoli

Wednesday: Slow cooker beans and bread and veggie

Thursday: Oven baked chicken with brown rice and delicata squash

Friday:  Shaved veggies over pasta with teriyaki sauce

Saturday: Turkey Soup (of course!)and crusty bread

Sunday: Red curried vegetables with Jasmine rice

Have a nice week!

 

Thanksgiving Week

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Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am not posting a menu this week. We are pretty much grabbing what is available while I prepare for Thanksgiving. My two sons will arrive on Wednesday some time. One may not get her until the day of. One son is home already and of course the two girls, my husband and I.

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I will serve a turkey and all the fixings. Pretty traditional. Mashed potatoes, squash, chuck wagon carrots, apple cider, stuffing, rolls, and gravy. I plan to make two pies, apple and pumpkin. I have a strawberry-rhubarb in the freezer made in the summer. I may take it out, maybe I will save it for Christmas.

It isn’t all about the food though. There will be catching up with each other. There will be music, games, fun. I am sure there will be an occasional spat. Can’t avoid that when you put family together. There will be naps, and walks in the woods.

I know this is the season for being thankful and finding gratitude. I will enjoy my family and will as always be thankful I have one. I always stop and think at this time of year why we all don’t make a bigger deal about being thankful at other times of the year. We should always be thankful. We should always show gratitude. We should always think of others who are not as fortunate as ourselves.

I know I am fortunate. I am never hungry. I am never cold. I am never thirsty. At least not in the way that many people in this world are. I do not live in fear of anyone or anything. I am free to say or do pretty much anything I want. If you are reading this you are one of the fortunate ones too. People who are cold and hungry are not thinking about blogs or the internet.

Maybe Thanksgiving is the kick off for the rest of the year of thinking of how fortunate you really are and being thankful for that. I will try and carry it with me the whole year long.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

A Special Birthday

We celebrated my daughter’s 13th birthday yesterday. On Friday there will be bowling and pizza with some friends. One special friend cannot come because she lives too far away! You are missed Chloe! It is an extended birthday, as many of them are around here.

I remember the day I had an ultrasound and was told I was having a little girl. I was so happy. I love my boys. No question about that. I had not always dreamed of having a little girl and tried and tried until I finally had one. No, it wasn’t like that at all. Each and every one of my three boys was welcomed with love and thankfulness for their health and being. But, I do remember laying on the examination table and was so very happy that I would be having a little girl.

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I was 36 years old when I had her. Not really old but as far as the doctors and midwives I was in that age category that made things a little risky. I had a friend/midwife take care of me for my prenatal visits but had a doctor at a hospital deliver her. It was in a time where I couldn’t have her VBAC without a doctor. Weird the way the hospital rules are. One more year later and I would have had to have a C-section. Since then they changed that rule as well, thankfully. Anyway, I suffered from a lazy cervix and had to be induced. I had heard horror stories about that but really it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I had already had one C-section due to a breech baby, and two VBAC births. This induced one wasn’t worse than those. I am so thankful that I had a trained medical staff to be there to help.

Thirteen years later she is still my baby girl. She is a thoughtful person, smart, and talented in many things.  She is beautiful inside and out. She loves deeply. I love her dearly.

Happy Birthday my daughter.

 

We’ve Got the Uglies

I wonder how many people regret doing a home renovation project once it is started? I am regretting it right now. Not because it is turning out badly, because it isn’t. We are pulling up wall to wall carpet and putting in a wood laminate floor. It looks great. The side that is done anyway. We have furniture piled up on one side of the house. There is dust and grime everywhere from under the rugs and also from installing the floor. I am getting a little worried because Thanksgiving is next week! Yikes!

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The carpet that has been on the floors is over 20 years old. Maybe even 30. It has a pad and particle board under it. There are so many ugly stains on the floor from other spills and from me trying to spray the carpet clean. We also noticed that there may have been a leak from the upstairs bathroom at one time since all the water marks are all in one area.

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It is a slow process. My husband is doing all the work himself. My son helps when he is needed. It really isn’t anything that could be done by many people. I had a lofty goal of getting it done by Wednesday of this week but I am realizing that it cannot be. Maybe by the end of the weekend. Then I can clean and get ready for Thanksgiving.

It is going to look so good when it is done. I can already tell how beautiful it will be from the area that is done.

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It is exciting. Stressful for me. I am not one of those people that is good at waiting. But, it will be worth it.

Here is the weekly menu!

Monday:  Lentil Soup (Last Sunday we had Subway instead because of the flooring job)

Tuesday: Shrimp Jambalaya

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Meatballs over spaghetti

Thursday: Black Bean Quesadillas

Friday:  Haddock chowder and crusty bread

Saturday: Pork Tenderloin, onions, sweet potatoes, and green beans

Sunday: Stir Fry and rice

Four Years

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I voted on Tuesday, as many of you did. I was not happy with the results, as about half the nation also wasn’t. It was a hard decision. No person running, in my opinion, was a great choice.  I am trying to keep it all in perspective. In my own heart, and mind I feel not much will change for me personally. I don’t anticipate my life changing much in the next four years. I am fortunate. I am white. I am middle aged. I am a straight married woman. I am no longer of childbearing age. I won’t have to go to war. I am not disabled.  I do know that that isn’t so for many of the people in America. There are many people in our nation that could suffer greatly with this new president elect we have.

We cannot think of only ourselves though. I always wonder what can I really do to make changes or to help. I honestly don’t believe the little people like me really have an impact. I think it maybe makes us feel better to do something but is it really working? Is it really making an impact? Real change has to come from deep into the system. Corporations are really running and ruling our country. Money and the need and desire for more and more of it is at the root of the problem. I feel sometimes like just ignoring it all. It makes no sense to me and it makes me mad. For example, during the night on Tuesday as state and house results were coming in the reporters would say how much each candidate had spent on their campaign. Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The presidential hopefuls spent much, much more than that! The only thing I kept thinking about was how that money, even a small part of that money, could have helped so many people that don’t have homes, beds, medical care, medicines, food, clothing, and basic supplies to keep themselves clean. Do those candidates even think about that? Do they realize that all that money that they are sinking into ads and signs and social media could be used for actually helping someone. I know, they will help people once they get into office. Yea, right. The system is not only broken but it is rotted out and about to fall over. Sometimes I feel the only real way to have change is to start over. Unfortunately the only way to do that is for something catastrophic to happen.

I may be naive. I want to believe that there are checks and balances in our system of government that will protect us all from disaster. I want to believe that things will be alright. I want to think that this new president will not be as bad as a lot of us think. Half the people of this nation believe in him. Half the nation can’t all be uneducated and uninformed. I want to believe that our new president will do his best. I am not sure I can believe all that but I want to.

I am scared for my children. I have a daughter that in four years will be of childbearing age. I have sons that could be called up to fight in a war. I am scared that my young children will learn to hate people because they come from a different country or are of a different color or ability. I am afraid that this earth will be worse off for my grandchildren.

Then I start thinking that really I need to settle down. It could only be four years. Lets see what happens. In four years maybe things don’t go that badly. If they do then probably people will rethink who they want in office. In just four short years we could possibly have a different president elect. Maybe a woman. A different woman that most of us can stand next to and be proud. Four years is not that long. Hopefully.

Yes, many of us are mad, sad, and some are outraged. Most will forget about it in a few days. Some will still be fuming for a few months. Some will really attempt at a real change. As for me, and this may sound trivial, I feel that for now all I can do is love my family, my neighbors, my friends and myself. I can teach my children and I can try and raise awareness to the ones I love. I can counteract hate by love. I can hope. I really like this quote:

“My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds. I cannot marry all of them, or bear them all as children, or care for them all as I would my parents in illness or old age. Are not the here, the now, the individual and her relationships the casualties of modern life? The present is passed over in the race for the future, the here is neglected in favor of the there, and the individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass. America, which as the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future.

It may be our special function to emphasize again these neglected realities, not as a retreat from greater responsibilities, but as a first real step toward a deeper understanding and solution of them. When we start at the center of ourselves, we discover something worthwhile extending toward the periphery of the circle. We find again some of the joy in the now, some of the peace in the here, some of the love in me and thee which go to make up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

We are all humans. We are all in this life together, for better or worse. We are all the same in the end. Let’s make the most of it.

 

Little Disruptions

Sometimes I wish I was one of those people that could just stick to the plan no matter what. Sometimes. I know I am not that kind of person and usually it is a good thing. But sometimes I look back on my week and wish that I wouldn’t have let so many things get in the way of my plan or allow so many little disruptions to sway me. I actually don’t even like those types of people that never let anything get in their way. Maybe I feel they are a bit selfish. Well be that as it may I am feeling a bit behind on my normal routine. It isn’t laziness. It isn’t a lack of discipline. It is many little disruptions like a cold that slowed me down. It is the night out my husband and I had. It is the fact that the garlic needed to be planted. It is the car that needed to be inspected. It is the floor that is being redone. It is all these little things, and some big, that have shifted things for me.

I feel a little panicky about it right now because this is not the season to be losing control of ones schedule. The holiday’s are coming. Two birthdays are coming. I have gifts to make. I have food to bake.  I have an advent Calendar to put together. Parties to go to, and maybe plan. Oh dear can you feel the panic?

Deep breaths Vickie. It is only the beginning of November. Things will be okay. We are finishing up some of our homeschooling projects. A break will do us good. The garden is now finished. The floors will be done this weekend. You need to get a grip. Maybe start getting up earlier for a while. Write down things more often. You know, make those lists, check them twice. Meditate. Go on a long walk and clear your head.

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My daughter took this picture. It is what we see right outside our back yard. This helps calm me. I am hope you all are having a nice week.

Here is our menu for the week. (A day late)

Monday:  Hamburger tacos with tomato, avocado, onions, and cheese

Tuesday: Honey Mustard chicken, rice and broccoli

Wednesday: One Pot Lasagna

Thursday: Beans and dogs

Friday:  Pork chops, baked russets or sweet potatoes, and veggie

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Lentil Soup

Happy Halloween and This Week’s Menu

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Trick or Treat? It seems like Halloween, the ‘holiday’ gets longer and longer every year. We started celebrating on Saturday. With Halloween on a weeknight, a Monday no less, any parties needed to be planned for the weekend. And party we did. The girls and I, with a friend, went to a Halloween party and a dress up Contra dance. Tonight the girls are out with dad going house to house. Visiting with friends, knocking on doors, and going to a haunted house. I expect there will be some very tired girls tomorrow.

I am home with my son. He is playing music and I made a pie. My first apple pie of the season. I had a home made but frozen pie crust in the fridge so I decided to throw together a pie for the adults here that won’t have a big bag of candy.

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I dressed up this year. I usually don’t. Maybe it has something to do with having daughters. We did it together. Maybe it is because I am older now and don’t care what anyone thinks. What ever the reason, it was fun.

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I am the gypsy on the far right. Our friend is the squid.

Here is our menu for the week!

Monday:  Spaghetti and tomato sauce with salad

Tuesday: Pork Teriyaki with rice and brussel sprouts

Wednesday: Fried chicken, squash, and salad

Thursday: Vegetable Soup and rolls

Friday:  Noodles Romanoff and green beans

Saturday: Chili

Sunday: Whole chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots

Have a wonderful week!

Forcing Tomatoes to Ripen

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I realize the gardening season is pretty much over, at least here in the Northeast, so it might seem weird to be talking about tomatoes still. In the beginning of October I felt it was time to start finishing up with the plants that were not going to be covered up. It has been a warm fall (again) but I knew it wasn’t going to be warm forever and any day we could get warning of a frost and I didn’t want to be scrambling around outside in the dusk trying to pick all my sensitive vegetables.

Even though the tomatoes were not ripe yet I brought them in. Many of the tomatoes did ripen up. We made salsa, sauce, and froze some for future use. For some reason though, this year, many of the tomatoes did not ripen up. I had a lot of tomatoes. It was a very good year. It could have been the heat we had in September. I read that extreme heat can hinder the ripening of tomatoes. They like it between 75 and 80 degrees and the temps were up to 90 during some weeks in September.

I read on a gardening site that you could force ripen tomatoes. I was a bit skeptical. I was quite surprised though because it has worked wonderfully. So far I have only had to throw away 2 tomatoes. I had tons of tomatoes. To only loose 2 is amazing. They don’t ripen at the same time. That is very helpful. Halfway through I made a tomato soup. Enough to freeze! I am about ready to make some more or maybe another tomato sauce. Of course we have been eating them in salad and soups too.

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So this is what I did. Wrap each tomato individually in paper. Place them in a box. Add a few apples. Yes, apples. They emit a gas called ethylene and it makes fruit ripen. Cool, right! Anyway after you add the apples close the box and put in a warm, but not hot place. I kept my boxes right in my kitchen.

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See the difference already? This was after about four days. I took out the ripe tomatoes and put them on the counter. This minimizes rot.

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About a week and a half.

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I took this picture just a few days ago. I started out with four boxes and now I am down to one.

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And a huge bowl of nice ripe tomatoes is sitting on my counter. I guess that is another way to extend the season!

Now off to make some more soup!

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Menu and Quick Roasted Veggie Recipe

Did you ever have those weeks when you finally sit down and look back on it you get tired just from the memory? I have had a few weeks that have been like that. I am finally getting caught up. It wasn’t even anything big or thankfully serious. A combination of being away from home for a whole weekend and having visitors (including my three sons at different times) threw me out of kilter for a while. I have been mentally drained from the growing pains of young adult men. I have been physically tired from all the running around. It really doesn’t take much to get me all unorganized and overwhelmed. I am hoping I am back at it now though. I do have a menu and even a recipe to share.

Super Easy Roasted Vegetable Sauce for Pasta or Rice:

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This recipe is so easy I wish I could make it every week. I probably could except that most of my family would probably get sick of it. The ingredients are only what you want. I used onions, garlic, peppers, fresh tomatoes (not canned), zucchini, summer squash and basil leaves. I cut everything up in big chunks. I left the garlic cloves whole. Place all of the veggies on an oiled baking sheet. Set the oven on broil/low and placed the pan on the lower rack of the oven. Keep checking to make sure nothing is getting too cooked. When things look soft and there is some liquid on the bottom of the pan it is done. You could transfer it all into a pot and keep warm while your pasta or rice is cooking. You could just eat the veggies too. Add salt and pepper to your individual plate. So easy and so tasty!

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Here is our menu for the week:

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday: Indian Cauliflower Soup (Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday: Pork loin, mashed potatoes, squash, and broccoli

Thursday: Speghetti and clam sauce

Friday:  Beef Stew

Saturday: Chicken fahitas

Sunday: Hamburger patties, cubed sweet potatoes, and green beans

Enjoy your week!

 

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