Friday, July 29, 2011

God's Bounty from the garden!

I am always so excited when the garden actually starts to produce enough that when I pick something, I can actually make a meal!
Swiss chard,green onion tops, chives.
The yellow flowers are chinese broccoli, and the big green things ~ broccoli!

The pie on right is a regular large pie plate.
 I got some pie plates from LOTT and they are huge!
Left: Rhubarb, Saskatoon, 1 apple on bottom
Right: Peach pie

Trout we caught while paddle boating.
Broccoli-vegetable soup

Strawberries girls picked this morning.
God is so good to help us grow our food.  It doesn't look like much yet, but every little bit that goes into our stomachs and freezer helps.  It is so much healthier, no sprays, etc.  As soon as I pass the $50 I will be even...I spent that much on flower and veggie plants.
Oh the shopping update:  It's been 3 weeks.  I did go to LOTT camp for 8 1/2 days in that time frame. My hubby forgot I didn't want to buy anything, so he bought some 1/2 price organic yogurt.  Yummy with my homemade rhubarb-strawberry jam.  We are also buying fruit in season to freeze, etc.  So far nothing else.  Feels so good.
My sister in law sent me a link on how to not use shampoo ~ I am going to check that out.  Although we just got a big bottle of shampoo given to us.  I don't use that much right now, so we'll see how it goes.

Lake of the Trees Bible Camp

I was blessed to serve as a cooks assistant for Squirts Camp at LOTT Camp.  It was only 2 days and I had committed to this in the winter time.  Thought many of my friend's children would be attending as well as my own daughter, so maybe seeing my face would help them "feel at home".  I got many smiles and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
My home with three teenagers
 I had my choice to sleep all alone in a cabin or bunk in with three teenage girls.  "ZaZoo" was my cabin helper last week and she said I should come in with them.  Turns out she also lives not that far away from us!  Small world and she is a wonderful girl.  I had fun bunking with them.
The camp is right on the lake, see how close my cabin was.  The kids cabins are not (probably a safety thing) but I loved waking up to the lake!
Playground fun

Water fun...Mei is making a river
 The weather has been rainy and cold for weeks on end, so most children stayed pretty close to the shore.  The lake has a shallow and clear sandy beach where the kids can watch the fish swimming.   So cool!

A typical scene ~ the Directors wife and my friend J, little C in the carrier

Mei says swimming with her Crocs on makes her float

Lining up in Cabin groups

Hard working Mr. Rogers, head cook

Wild Tiger!

Making cinnamon buns...lots of good help 
 "Poppins", "ZaZoo" and "Mr. Rogers" in the kitchen.  We got to be a pretty good team!  The "Work crew" staff they have is wonderful to help newbies know the ropes.  The work crew program is great to teach general maintenance, multi tasking, cleaning, etc and I want my girls to go through it.  They also do lots of devotions and Bible teaching to grow these kids up for service for God...everywhere they go!
Yummy sticky cinnamon buns.  We fed 85 people and had 3 large trays left over!
 The last morning of camp, the kitchen always serves "breakfast in bed" to the campers.  Cinnamon buns, sausage, orange slices and chocolate or regular milk.  I was amazed at the reactions of campers to this.  So many had never had breakfast in bed and they felt so special.  
Purple shirts are staffers...ever present and involved with the children.
They truly are amazing!

More playground fun!
I will post more on my general feelings later, just wanted to get something into the blog!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've been a little busy ~

~ Getting dragged by "wild horses" and buried alive...

Filled in as "cabin leader" at LOTT for a week of pre-teen.  Had a cabin full of 9-11 year old girls.
Going back this week for only 2 days of "Squirts" camp ages 6-8 I believe.  This time I'm only in the kitchen.
I will blog more later, but appreciate your prayers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

God's Bounty ~ Straw babies!

Wild Strawberries
My littlest one and I went out on a wild strawberry hunt.  Our ranch yard is full of them, although not all seem to produce.  OR the little birdies got them first.  We picked 1 cup of berries before I could no longer stand the little black flies ... my neck is swollen and itchy with bites.  Hubby is now picking up baby oil and citronella oil for me so I can go pick some more.
The bigger berry on the right was from our tame strawberries.  I love how my littlest has always called them "strawbabies".
YUM YUM.  A special treat.

UPDATE: On my "NO shopping".  I did purchase some shampoo/conditioner and also some cherries and apricots from the fruit man.  I had already committed to that, but was very disappointed in the quality/quantity for my money.  I think we will make a trip to Ashcroft later and purchase our own from farmers there.  So far our meals have been excellent.  Made my own tortilla wraps, and frankly, anything tastes good in a wrap!
Tonight it is Moose Stew.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thiessen Take Out Pizza

I love my silly girls...notice the captions!

Sorry it's sideways, it keeps reverting to this

Girls made up a menu like a Take Out restaurant for my folks and the ranch managers/workers.  They did it all with a silly little computer program and it worked out nicely.  I love the sayings and pictures THEY chose.  Mom and Dad cashed their coupon in and Mom ended up with a heart shaped pizza, Dad's was a loaded meat pizza.  It was a lot of fun and the rest have decided to have a big pizza party!  I'll post those pictures after it actually happens!

Happily posing with their menu/coupon and pizzas!

Putting some muscle into it

He looks excited.

Having Nana and Papa just next door leads to so many great opportunities to share and learn.  They seemed to be enjoying their Thiessen Take Out experience.  Sure beats waking up with rubber snakes on your pillow or hanging from the ceiling. (other fun experiences when you live so close!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make your Own Laundry Soap or Detergents

This is the best site and article I have seen explaining how to and answering all questions involved with making your own laundry soap.  Make the dry powder or the liquid gel type.  So much cheaper and less abrasive on your clothes and skin.  I have been experimenting with my own and go between using Sunlight bar soap (the yellow bars) but because I have to special order that in around "these here parts", I have also used Ivory bar soap.  I also have put in SAE powder laundry soap in with mine.  (My sis in law was selling this) It gives it a nice boost!
I ran out of dryer fabric softener sheets awhile ago and have just never replaced them.  If you don't over dry your clothes, you don't really need it.  There are lots of recipes for vinegar type fabric softeners if you need to use some.  I can't imagine washing and drying "Fleecey" fabrics without it!

Hope you like it!  There's 10 options on this one!
Tipnuts Homemade Laundry Detergent

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes ~ Cheesecake Cupcakes

These are famous.  Famous for never having any left over.  Famous for their disappearing act.  Famous for sticking to your teeth and your ribs.  They are remarkably easy to make and soooo yummy.  I have made them much smaller for parties, etc.

I tried a different version today and will post it in brackets on the recipe.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

 Filling Mixture: Mix together and set aside
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar (1/4 cup)
1 egg (omitted egg)
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream cheese mixture

Cupcake Batter:  Mix dry ingredients, make a well in center and then pour in the wet ingredients.  Use the same beater and whip up the batter.  Saves time and washing.
1 1/2 cup flour (1 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar (1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 white)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup water
1 tbsp vinegar (lemon juice also works)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Cupcake batter
Pour or spoon batter into greased muffin tins, this is my stoneware.  I used to use the paper muffin cups, but don't have to with the stoneware.
Use a teaspoon and small spatula to scoop a good size amount of cream cheese mixture in the center of the batter.

 Bake 350F for approx. 20 minutes.  This recipe made 12 large cupcakes, other times I make 18 smaller ones and they don't take 20 minutes to cook.
Cool on a rack and then gently remove from your pan.  They are great when enjoyed HOT, but refrigerate the rest because of the cream cheese. 
NOTE:  Sprinkle some slivered almonds on top before cooking, but I forgot!
Black Bottom Cupcakes ~ Cheese Cake Cupcakes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good bye Roosters

A fox killed ALL our roosters...they were getting beautiful feathers and plump and juicy...14 weeks old.  They are all dead.  Fox is still alive...hope not for long.  We can't have chickens with a chicken-killing fox around.  He was skinny and his days are numbered.  Don't get me wrong, I love animals, and I love nature's balance.  BUT I refuse to feed them my chickens!  We figure it cost us almost $100 to feed them, build fence, etc and for what?  To learn a very hard lesson.  Foxes dig under fences.  Wish my Dad's dog could've broke his chain...that fox would have learned a lesson.  So happy our neighbor saw him and told us so our girls didn't have to see that gross surprise.

I think I'm going to take the girls for a 50 cent baby ice cream.

Sorry for the depressing, angry post.  I wanna cry.

UPDATE:  Guess the fox actually climbed a log fence, jumped over our wire fence, and into the pen.  Had a feast, took 2 with him/her and climbed out over the gate.  Sly ole' fox.

Well, we don't have to worry about feeding those ones or cleaning up after them...something positive.  We've also learned foxes can climb well.  Point taken.  Now that's enough.

Friday, July 08, 2011

I have decided

... to stop shopping.

What?  Jo do you ever go shopping now?  Well, we grocery shop.  I am not going to grocery shop.  I will make 1 exception...milk, butter, or if something unforeseen comes up...but it has to be pretty big.

I'm going to see how long I can go.  The Mastercard bill just came in, so what better time than now?

This site is partially responsible ~ ~ Great website.

Wish me luck or send a prayer my way.  I have not stocked up or prepared in any special way for this.  I am so tired of the expensive prices locally anyhow.

UPDATE:  I've got one brave soul joining me...trying 2 weeks to start off.  Anyone else?  I bet there's a lot of food in your pantry and lettuce should be growing in your gardens already....

A little change is a good thing

Do you have little areas in your home that drive you a little bonkers?  A little nutty?  Have they become an eye sore?  Do you avoid them?  Well, if NOT...then this post is not for you!  ha ha.  I have many areas like this in our home.  We were only going to be renting here for about 1 year, so it was really just glorified camping.  Well, it is now almost 3 years and some things have needed some work.

Sometimes my brain cannot handle big changes, so I started with little the post on the ole' bag drawer.  Here are some more little things that make me oh so happy!

BEFORE:  Lots of games spilling over on top.
"old" books on bottom

AFTER: The library book basket gets a new purpose.  Games stacked in.
We've had this done for awhile and it seems to be working. Other games went upstairs to a different bookshelf.  How often we rearrange something and then have it "not work".  So far, so good.  A little better to look at.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Hard work is only for the hard working

Are these gals hard workers?  Don't let these photos fool you ~ they can get a load of wood in about 2 hours.  While battling mosquitoes and giggles.  These are their photos, as I was at home organizing the home school room.

Seeing the beauty around them

Just because they are my children,
doesn't mean I know what they are doing!