Not much progress

I have not made much progress on things around the house this week. I got a decent amount of posting done for work, though not as much as I would have hoped for. It seems to be that week of the month that I am just a slug overall. I got as much done as I could and the house isn’t a total disaster, so, it’s bearable. I need to get to bed early tonight so I can make some definite progress tomorrow.

We went to my nephew’s soccer game on Saturday morning. Actually, my Aunt and Uncle and the nephew stayed over on Friday night. My Aunt and Uncle had a conference locally Friday and Saturday so they went off to the conference and we took the kiddo to his game. We had a lot of fun watching and taking pictures. He’s the one in the middle in the grey jersey. He’s only 6 but really enjoys playing sports. This is his first season playing soccer.

After the game we ran some errands and came home and did an art project and some playing until my Aunt and Uncle were finished up and came to get him. Sometimes the three of us have a great time. Saturday I think Robert and I were frustrated by not having much time together all week and I think the boy was tired so, it wasn’t as much fun as it normally is. But, it was still a decent time together. He is usually a very good boy when he is with us so beyond some whining there is not usually a problem.

I should understand him better, after all, he is an only child, just like I was. I just think, while I didn’t enjoy it as much, I had better ability to play by myself. I guess different kids adapt differently though. Anyway, I should give the kid a break as I have been in his shoes myself.

I did some sewing this afternoon which was nice. It took a bit to get the space cleared in the hobby room but once that was done, I enjoyed myself. I may do some more now that Robert is off to the fire station for the evening. We’ll see how motivated I get.

Is it naptime yet?

So, my internet requests on freecycle finally paid off. Someone contacted me that had two boxes of pears and about 75 canning jars. Woo!

And, over the weekend Tom Thumb had apples for 88 cents per pound. So, I bought about 26 pounds. I picked up the pears on Monday afternoon and took them straight to my Aunt’s house, along with my canner, jars, the apples, cookbooks…. I had a full car!

It was all really good. The only bad part is we didn’t even get started in earnest until 5pm.

Round 1, three quarts of apple pie filling. Round two was 12 pints of applesauce. Round three was six pints of apple/pear butter and one pint of apple slices. Round four was eight half pints of ginger pear preserves. Round five was me going home and going to bed since it was 4am!

The thing was, there was still an entire box of pears left. Oh my!

Since these were nice, from the tree, home grown pears (and probably organic) they were seriously tough to peel. Wow. My knuckles were swollen from holding the peeler by the end of the night. I went to bed with an ice pack wrapped around my hand! But, my Aunt and I both agreed that while it was hard work, it was fun to be together and you really can’t beat free pears.

My Aunt is planning to use the remainder to can sliced pears, make carrot cake jam, some autumn fruit conserve or something and one other thing which I can’t remember at the moment. Robert doesn’t like pears so much and she and my Uncle really like them, so I was willing to leave the extra box in exchange for her help on the apples and such.

After all of that canning and being up til 4 am, yesterday got kind of wasted. I slept until noon. Got up, used a few pears to make some Pear Pecan bread (adapted from my Apple Walnut Bread recipe), took a shower and then headed out to a Stampin’ Up gathering at my friend Correna’s house.

Yummy Apple Walnut Bread (from Seventeen Magazine sometime in the early 90s…seriously!).

  • 1/4 cup butter or shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cups chopped apples
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and egg. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture then add fruit and nuts. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My Notes: For this batch, I used pears (shredded, not chopped, and liquid gently squeezed out) and pecans since that is what I had on hand. I omitted the cinnamon and nutmeg and used ground ginger. Delicious! I am pretty confident you could use applesauce (or pear puree or whatever), pumpkin or any other fruit or veggie that bakes well. Zucchini, of course. You can adapt the spices for whatever flavor you are looking for. Flaked coconut would probably be good too, but the bread wouldn’t be nearly as moist.

When baking, because of the moistness of the apples/pears/whatever I always have to bake this up to 15 minutes longer than the recipe suggests.

I am guessing this would make good muffins as well, you would just have to adjust the baking time. Enjoy!

Hmmm…

I’m thinking about switching to blogger…

check it out

what do you think?

Lots to do…

There are so many things on the to-do list right now I am not quite sure where to start. Robert worked on bread today. He makes a double batch, creating four loaves at once. This lasts 2 1/2 to 4 weeks depending on how much toast we have for breakfast or if we just use it for his lunch sandwiches.

I am so glad that he enjoys doing things like this. I think the two of us could be happy living many different types of lifestyles but it is enjoyable to us right now to work together to save money by doing things like baking our own bread, cooking from scratch and gardening. We make quite a good team and I’m glad Robert doesn’t think I’m nuts for wanting to do these kinds of things!

On Friday I finally found my sewing scissors and rotary cutter. I jumped in and started sewing right away. One of the first things I did was make a pillowcase for Robert. He is a volunteer firefighter and the station he is a part of has a schedule which requires the guys to stay over at least one night per week. Currently he stays two nights per week to take up some slack. Anyway, I had this great firetruck fabric and knew it would make a perfect pillowcase to take to the firehouse. I think he liked it a lot, so I was pretty happy. It was relatively simple to make as well, so even better. I may have to make a few for my nephew for Christmas. They are doing some actual attempts at decortating at the fire station and since Robert doesn’t have any type of fire memorabilia to take down there, he asked if I might make some curtains (after seeing the way cool fire truck fabric). I of course, said yes. We just need to measure the windows and find some equally cool fabric as the pillowcase fabric is several years old already.

We went to the library yesterday and got library cards which was kind of fun – for me at least. I wandered the stacks for quite awhile before Robert came to get me and ask if I was done yet. 🙂

Today I made a short trip to the grocery store to get apples for applesauce while they were still on sale for 88 cents per pound. I got about 25 pounds. I also got some ginger to go with some of the pear recipes. I just remembered that I forgot to b uy lemon juice. Oh well, I still have to go to Walmart ot buy more pectin so I will get it then I suppose.

I also spent some time cleaning out my car today. It was in rather rough shape after the school year and soccer season and such. Hopefully this evneing we can drive it a bit and see if it needs more work done or if I can finally drive it.

I think now, I will go sew some more. Or read some of my library books!

Score!

Too much to write and no time to do it.

My freecycle posts have paid off. I am getting a lot of canning jars tomorrow and Tuesday and, a few bushels (potentially) of pears. My Aunt is coming over Wednesday and we will make pear stuff and applesauce and all that. She is bringing herself to work and her tools.. apple peeler/corer/slicer thingie, food processor, etc. Also, she loves pears. Robert doesn’t so I will limit the amount of pear stuff I keep but, having her here will help me get the apple stuff all done so it’s all good.

More news, and photos, later.

Where am I and what happened to the heat?

Living in Texas for the past three and a half years I have gotten somewhat used to the seemingly unending heat. It’s just always hot here, or, it seems that way compared to where I grew up in Indiana with nice Lake Michigan breezes.

But lately…

I have had the windows open constantly. The air conditioning hasn’t been on since sometime last week. It IS like Indiana in the fall. Woo! The only unfortunately part is that Robert’s allergies are bad enough thatw e do have to close everything up when we go to bed. But, it still stays cool enough that we don’t need the air on. Awesomeness! I really get excited when we can save big chunks of electricity.

I am doing pretty well on posting this week and actually beginning to get my income on target for the budget that I would like to have. That is definitely a good feeling. And I think in my last post I mentioned that I would tell you my motivational secret this time around. It’s a bit odd I guess and probably won’t work for everyone, or even a lot of people.

My husband is my motivation. Not in the way you might think either. There is no pressure to make tons of money or anything coming from him. There are some clear targets that need to be hit as far as contributing to bills and all that  but honestly, they aren’t all that high. So, the motivation comes from him in a different way.

I was sitting at home one day last week, not feeling like doing much of anything at all. Then I thought about Robert and how much he would love to have the job I have. And then, I thought about him actually having a job like mine. And how he would be going 90 mph with his hair on fire to do the very best (and make the very most) that he could. And I realized how truly lucky I am that I have the opportunity to do this. And that I have him to support me (not in the financial sense, but in the emtional sense). I expressed an interest in this opportunity and did some of the ground work and he has been behind me 100% the whole time.

What an awesome gift. Why on earth would I waste it? Motivating? To me it was.

In other news… I made some amazing muffins this evening. I got the recipe over at Owlhaven for these Baked Apple Donuts. I didn’t have any apples on hand, but I had two pears, which was just the right amount. I didn’t bother chopping them, I just ran them over the cheese grater, peel and all. They are seriously good.

I think next time I will substitute applesauce for the butter in the actual batter and then just brush some melted butter over the tops instead of dipping them in butter (eek!) before dipping them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

At the same time, I baked some brown rice in the oven. It came out pretty well, same as when I make it on the stovetop, but, it was easy and got accomplished while the muffins were baking so that was nice. We had the brown rice with left over proteins from the week – chicken in sun dried tomato sauce and bbq brisket.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend. It will be nice to spend some time with my husband. It’s been a  really long week for him (starting on September 8th since he hasn’t had a day off since then!) so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to spend with him. I’m not complaining… it will just be nice to have some good quality time together. And, he has Monday off. Yay!

Still Here!

I wasn’t feeling too great yesterday and took a day off from my writing job to soak in the tub, read a book and generally loaf. It helped me feel a bit better, mentally and physically. So, today, I am trying to double my daily average of posts to make up for my day off.

So, I haven’t had time to write here… I have to kind of go with the money-making writing flow when it hits me. Some days it’s a struggle to get the ideas flowing and other days I get into a groove, find some good stuff and just really go to town. That’s they way it has been this evening.

How about tomorrow I come back with pictures and I will tell you about my recent breakthrough in motivation. I found a good way to get myself really well motivated in my paid writing and so far, it’s working!