Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs

We're getting almost 2 dozen a day most days. The bigger whitish one on the upper right is a duck egg. We got our first two duck eggs in months three days ago.

Time to get the "Farm Fresh Eggs For Sale" sign made.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sourdough: My Latest Obsession

Lately I have been obsessed with learning to use this:

It's sourdough starter. It's amazingly simple to make and maintain. What you can make with it stretches far beyond bread. How about sourdough pancakes?
Or maybe what we had for dinner tonight:
Hamburger Vegetable Stew topped with Sourdough Biscuits. You can find the biscuit recipe I used HERE. Here's my recipe for stew. This will feed my family for two or three days, depending on how many kids are having growth spurts.

1 pound ground chuck (it's what was on sale dirt cheap)
1/2 cup each frozen Corn, green beans, Peas & Carrots
1 medium onion chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. beef bullion
eight cups of water
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne powder to taste

Brown the ground chuck and rinse. Put everything else in a pot and cook until the liquid has reduced by about 1/3. If you want it thicker, make a slurry with either flour or cornstarch.

That's it. Really simple.

What I did for the biscuits and stew is just put the leftover stew in a baking dish, top it with the biscuits and baked it. It will take a little longer to bake the biscuits than it would normally, and I also recommend heating the stew a bit before putting the biscuits on top. Otherwise the bottoms of the biscuits may not get done.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Decluttering We Will Go

So far I've had no trouble finding things to get rid of in my home. We are a family of clutter bugs and we come from a long and proud line of clutter bugs on both sides. But I realize that I'm not doing my family any favors by holding on to so much stuff that we can't enjoy the things we truly love. So one step, one item, one day at a time the clutter has to go.

So far here is what I've boxed up to go in just one week of the new year:
3 strands of Christmas lights, approx. 2 dozen Christmas Ornaments, a trash can full of junk mail and other paper clutter, a box of old mismatched silverware (real silver too), a set of teddy bear place mats, 2 Halloween Costumes, t-shirt, 1 pair pants, five gold place mats, one curtain.

What do you have hanging around your house just because you haven't taken five minutes to remove it? It's so freeing to just let things go.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year Begins

It's hard to believe it's been more than a month since I last posted to this blog. Christmas was great. The kids got more than they needed, as did Rob and I. We have been truly blessed by our friends and family in the past year.

Sometimes I think the best part of New Year's Day is that it reminds us to stop and reflect on the year that we are leaving behind. What did we accomplish? What did we want to accomplish, but fell short of? And in all of that what blessings do we have to carry into a new year?

While they past is behind us, it's not to be forgotten. Each year is filled with joys and hardships. They don't always balance out, but we can always learn from them if we are willing.

One of my biggest lessons of 2009 has been something I should have learned years ago when I first became a fan of The Flylady. You can't organize clutter. But what have I spent the past year being frustrated over? My inability to organize my clutter.

I tend to hold on to things I shouldn't for many reasons. Sometimes I just worry that I will hurt the feelings of the person who gave me an item, even though that item doesn't really fit in my life or home anymore. Other times it was just easier to put an item in a box and shove it behind a closed door than to have to deal with the emotional baggage that goes along with it. Or any number of other reasons and excuses for not dealing with my clutter.

I have joined a challenge on a forum I belong to. It's called the 365 Days of Decluttering challenge. The object is to declutter one thing from your home every day for the whole year. It's not super strict. If you have to miss a day, and we all know that will happen, just declutter extra to make up for it then next time.

It's embarrassing to admit this, but I'm afraid that I have much more than 365 things to get rid of in my home. But I have a mission. I need to do as much as I can by fall. I need to have a space to teach my children.

I did get a good start today as we finally took down the Christmas tree. I went from two storage totes full of things (many that haven't been used in a few years at least) to one tote and one bakery box. I decluttered three strands of lights, and at lease two dozen ornaments that were overly cheap to begin with and out lived their usefulness long ago. Also some window clings that haven't worked in years due to being stored improperly and a candle holder that has only been used once since I got it.

I think the year is off to a good start. Anyone want to join me? Even if you don't think you have 365 things to declutter, think how much easier it will be to clean and organize your house if you get rid of your excess clutter however little or much that may be.
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