Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Friends on Limited Terms

We all have that one. That one "friend" that is only a friend on their terms, their time. This is the friend that is only there for you when it suits their needs. I don't understand these people. I don't understand how they can call themselves a friend, when it's obvious they don't understand the meaning of the word.

Webster: "a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection"; Hmmm...okay that's not very descriptive. Maybe it's just me. For years, I've always been the one that kept friendships going. I was always the one making the calls, the plans to get together, etc. As I've gotten older, I've changed that thought. I'm tired of always putting in the effort and not seeing a reciprocal effort. So I began to stop putting in the effort. What I found was that those around me who actually cared about me...called first. I was able to get rid of the "weeds" per se.

As much as I don't understand the type of people who call themselves "friends" when it's obvious they don't care, I appreciate those that I've discovered I can trust with my life, and those others...I don't need them. The loss of their friendship, although painful, extremely painful in some cases, is their loss. Maybe they needed change in their life and one of those changes was our friendship. All the more power to them then. And I wish them luck. To those that stuck around with me. I love you!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reflections

Last year around this time, an idea started forming in my head. One that was drastic and meant a huge change both mentally and physically. By April, this idea was a solid one. One that I acted upon. One that I needed to make a reality. I decided to leave a good paying job, one that I enjoyed getting up in the morning to go to, one where I enjoyed its challenges and saw its rewards. But in that job, I was alone. All of my friends and most importantly my mom were elsewhere, across the country. I exchanged that job for my family. I knew this was going to be a tough change. I knew that my challenges were going to be even more and I wouldn't see the rewards as much. I knew that I would struggle. But I would have my family. I would have the friends nearby that I had found over 10 years prior that had left a gaping hole when I moved away from them.

I don't regret that decision. I don't regret exchanging one for the other. But what I exchanged it for is not what I expected. Don't get me wrong, I expected difficulties, I knew it was going to be hard. But, not to this extent. I did not expect to be crying in a darkened classroom during my lunchtime so I could have some quiet time. I did not expect to feel like an inadequate teacher everyday. I did not expect to question why I am a teacher in the first place, when it feels like I am talking to a brick wall most of the time. I did not expect that we would not be allowed to just "teach", that the amount of things to do would outweigh the teaching process. I did not expect to feel so overwhelmed that I just want to throw my hands up and say "I'm done."

I am not allowed to be a teacher. I have to be everything else. I have to do everything else and most of the time, I don't have time to do that! I used to love to teach. I used to love to stay after and help students, but now I can't wait for that bell to ring, so I can get out of here.

I'm beginning to wonder if there is another change coming up for me. Maybe a profession change this time. Because, I really wonder if I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm meant to do.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 Bar Shaved Soap (Ivory or Fels Naptha)

1 cup of Borax

1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Directions:

Shave the soap into pieces...you can use your food processor to chop it fine...mix all ingredients together...1-2 tablespoons per load...

Crockpot Meals



I found this website the other day where the person claimed to have 6 crockpot meals and the grocery shopping list for these meals. I decided to try it. I will share the site, but I will go through each one because I made some changes for my own tastes...here is the original site and the inspiration. I also signed up for her newsletter and already received next weeks meals. But since it is just me, I figure each one of these meals will last 2-3 meals.


http://www.sidetrackedsarah.com/2011/10/once-week-cooking-from-freezer-to_17/


Meals:

Mexican Casserole
-what I changed:
-I didn't brown the meat
-I did not include the rice into the freezer bag. I will add that when I cook it.

Beef Stroganoff
-what I changed:
-I didn't brown the meat

Chicken and Rice
-what I changed:
-No rice in the bag
-I used frozen spinach, I am not a broccoli fan
-I used fresh chicken tenderloins (Fry's B1G2)

Taco Soup
-what I changed:
-I didn't brown the meat
-I couldn't find Rotel...so I used a small can of diced tomatoes and a small can of green chilies..

Tator Tot Casserole
-what I changed:
-I didn't brown the meat

Chicken Tacos
-what I changed:
-I used fresh chicken tenderloins (Fry's B1G2)
-Did the same thing for Rotel from taco soup recipe

**In regards to the grocery list...I had a lot of the items already on hand. I also used the ads to find the best deals. Safeway was 1.99 a pound for ground beef, I ended up with an almost 5 pound package which worked for me. I made sure that with the meat it was not frozen so I would be able to freeze the packages. I also doubled up the freezer bags...made them flat and put them flat into the freezer.

Have fun!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I'm Back!!!!

Hey all! Have you missed me???!!! I've actually been here...just not blogging like I should. Well, now it's one of my News Years Resolutions...to blog whats happening and any homemaking ideas I get the notion to doing. SOOOOO...Here's the low down for those of you who have been out of loop...I'm no longer in ND! Yup...I came back to AZ. Why you ask? Well...one very good reason...no it's not the weather...it was my family. Don't get me wrong, I have family in ND and SD and MN...(you all rock BTW)...but my mother is here in AZ and being in a town with no one to hang out with...although the job was fantastic and I loved the small town and even the winter...yes I said winter....without my mother and family...I was really depressed. So I made the decision to come back and I don't regret it. I'm still teaching, 6th grade self contained this year. It's a challenge and I will leave it at that. But, I'm really getting into the prepping and pseudo homesteading (as much as I can here in a city). I still can. I can alot actually and had a lot of fun this fall with some new recipes...ie..prickly pear jelly. I tried my hand at making lefse, krumkake, and sandbakkel baking...and I didn't do too badly for a first timer. I have the start of a small jungle in one of my living rooms. I have 2. I found an awesome manufactured home in a small out of the way community. Most times people don't even know its here, but that helps with having somewhat of a small town feel...sort of. HA. And one of my Aunts live in the same community. Back to the jungle. I am creating an indoor garden of sorts. I have a storage shed on my property and I've been thinking of converting it to a greenhouse in the summer. I have a small patch of grass in the backyard that I can do something with too. All kinds of ideas are flowing. I wish I had enough room for a small chicken coop, but alas...no. I've been trying very hard to stay away from processed foods and go more natural. There is something very satisfying in creating a meal from scratch...and that includes the bread. I especially like knowing all the ingredients that go into that meal, and that I can pronounce every one of them. Eventually, I wish to be completely or mostly completely self efficient. Yes, I am one of those that feels that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and I want to be prepared for that day. I make my own laundry detergent and cleaning products, lotions and other household items. I search the internet a lot for ideas and things I can make instead of buying. It's a work in progress and I share my findings with my mom and anyone else who wants it. On a different note...in November of 2012, Copper lost his battle and he died peacefully in my arms. In December of 2013, Goose and I welcomed Baby Girl into our hearts...well, more so me he's still dealing with it, but getting better. HA. Right now as I type she is draped over my arms, purring away. Well, I need to close for now, I have an entire week of crockpot meals to make today. I will post this and the links where I found them later on as well as pictures.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Freezers and Ants

Ok, whats the deal here??? Maybe you all remember that I am in a 3rd story apartment? So how in the world are there ants in the windows???? I can't open my windows because there are these HUGE ants...and they have WINGS!!! in between the window and the screen....HUH???!!!!!! I figured I contained the suckers in the window, since I can't call the maintenance man until tomorrow...but NOOOOOOOO!!!!!...here I am minding my own buisness....on the toilet....I know lovely picture huh?...and what do I see???!!!! Yeppers...two ants come crawling on the walls!!! Oh for Petes sake!!!! Sigh...I just cleaned the bathroom...there's nothing sweet in there...where the hell are they coming from??!!!

So, I attacked the kitchen...since I've been doing some canning in the past few days, I figured that it needed more than a cursory swipe to get all the sticky sweetness off counters and such...Well, since that was behind me...I walked into the pantry and stared at my nemesis....mom's freezer...

Here's the back story...I traded my BIG freezer...for mom's SMALLER freezer before moving up here because of space...BEFORE this trade occurred...I CLEANED the inside of MY freezer...it was spotless when we traded....hers....not so much....

It still had standing water in it that had started to mold and there was dirt caked on the bottom and sides...in a word it was DISGUSTING!!! Sorry mom, but it was...yeech... LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!!!

Fast forward to my ant infested night and subsequent cleaning frenzy....out comes the bleach...and other cleaners and I spend the next 30 minutes standing on my head..literally...to get to the bottom of this thing and now it sparkles like a vampire in the sunlight!

The only thing I really want to do now is vacuum and I can't....apartment remember...we have a policy that no vacuums will be used after 10 pm....so I have to wait until tomorrow morning to do that.

I can say this for this ant infestation....it ain't cockroaches...I'm ok with that...don't like it...but I can live with it...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DIY-Watermelon Jelly




Whew!...okay this was definately an adventure...and I learned a few things on the way..

For my first batch, I followed the recipe to a "T". Even after a consulting phone call to my mother, the canning guru. After pureeing the watermelon, there was a little over 2 cups and the recipe was approximate, so I figured I was ok there...it turned out beautifully. Gorgeous color, and it tastes fantastic!



So, since I didn't use all the watermelon, I decided to do another batch. Now, I had bought seedless watermelons......yeah right....and for the first batch I was able to harvest the watermelon meat without seeds, but this next batch, there were all those little white seeds...the ones that aren't quite seeds but are seeds nonetheless....the seed wannabes...I figured I would strain this batch. I dumped it into the blender and pureed away...I ended up with about 4 cups...twice the amount on the recipe..


Now, a smart person, or at least one who has canned more than two times in their lives, would say..hmmm...maybe I should break this into two seperate batches...but me...NAW...I'll double the recipe...its all good.....*shakes head in despair*....oops...I forgot that when you add sugar... the mix doubles in size...so overall...it didn't really set well, it boiled over and I have now lots of watermelon freezer jelly from that batch...lesson learned.Not to mention a lovely cleanup job on the stove to do.


What do I want to tackle next?....pickles!!!!