Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Life as a Mommy and a Wife

I think I'll tell you a bit about me. I live in Alabama with my dh Henry and our seven children whom we have been blessed to make our own through the miracle of adoption. We have been married 26 years! I assure you he is the only man on earth who could live with me that long, he is amazing and the love of my life.Our children, and how they came to us, are miracles indeed.

Just briefly, they are
ds1 - 14 (joined our family at age 8)
ds2 - 13 (our first adoption and came as a 2 week old premie 5lb infant
ds3 - 9 (was 2 mos old when he arrived)
dd1 - 9 (birth sister to our other daughter, came at age7)
dd2 - 8 (came at age 6)ds4 - 5 (straight from the hospital at 2 days)
ds5 - 4 (birth brother to the girls and was 3 yrs old when he came)

I was born in Louisiana, lived primarily in Texas and Mississippi during my growing up years and then married and was imported to Alabama over 25 years ago.

Alabama has been good to us, my dh and dc were all born here. All of my family lives in Arkansas and the sensible thing to do would be to move there, but dreams aren't always sensible.

Three years ago we bought an older house on 5 acres of land and have been going about making it into a homestead.We have a pond, a creek, goats, chickens, dogs and a parrot. Recently Aslan, our Anatolian puppy joined the family.

If you know me at all, you know that I love the Lord. I'm doing my best to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to Him. I love the Word of God and use it as the Plumb Line, as a standard for all things Spiritual.

I have conquered my fear of pressure canning! I bought a Nubian milk goat and she delivered her baby right here on our little homestead. I'm enjoying my chickens immensely, they are wonderful homestead animals.

I home educate my children in a very Eclectic manner. That basically means I'll use any method or manner I can to help my children learn how to learn. That's my goal, I know I can never teach them everything, but if I have taught them the love of learning, to read, to investigate, to grow...I have done a good thing.

We're hoping to have a big garden this year and better success with it as we try some new techniques. This is an area I'm still trying to learn and grow in. With a famly our size, we need to be gardening! Well, just thought I'd tell you a bit about me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Convenience Redefined

I'm a busy mom, I get tired, overwhelmed and just outright pooped sometimes.

In the past, on a day like that, I'd ask dh to stop by and pick up something convenient. After all, hungry kids, a frustrated mom, lack of time, a small crisis of some manner, and etc... were the recipe for disaster. And so I excused it.

Now, while we still eat out (very occasionally), it is a planned event, not a matter of convenience. In my life, Convenience has been Redefined.

It started rather simply. I needed a well stocked pantry. I needed to have things on hand. I needed to have an extra loaf of bread in the freezer or even a gallon of milk, I needed to have the basics available to me.

Then, it went a step further. I had to increase my skills and be able to turn that flour into biscuits without a huge ordeal. I needed to be able to improvise, out of milk...no problem we have powdered. No bread, no problem, I can make a batch of flour tortillas fairly quickly. I also began to think ahead. No one wants to face seven hungry kids without some sort of plan.

I began to experiment with foods that I wanted to incorporated into our menus. I learned to try to have a big pot of some kind of soup available at practically any given time. Vegetable soup, Lentil Soup, Split Pea Soup, Potato Soup, Cabbage Soup, I could go on.

Then a huge step towards Redefining Convenience, I learned to home can. It was the meat canning that really changed my outlook. What a time saver!

Going to make chicken enchiladas? Just open a can of cooked, seasoned, tender and flavorful chicken. You could eat it right out of the jar if you wanted to.

Need a quick Spaghetti dinner, boil some noodles, open a can of your home canned ground beef, a jar of sauce...you're done!

Finally (and I'm skipping over a lot) I arrived at this newest project of mine. Learning to use dehydrated foods. I'm now amazed at how convenient these foods can make your life.

I ordered (some months ago) from Harmony House their Vegetable Pantry Stuffer http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/Vegetable...t41_p_1845.html I also ordered some things from Honeyville grains (Powdered Buttermilk, Powdered Sour Cream, etc).

The last week or so, I've finally begun to open up some of the sealed quarts and tried incorporating them. I took a day to cook only from preps. I am so TOTALLY won over. You can make a vegetable soup that is wonderful out of these dehydrated goods. I even tried the TVP beef bits in my soup which were wonderful in a soup form. I made a hominy casserole and added the powdered sour cream and the dehydrated assorted bellpeppers, wonderful. I made buttermilk biscuits with the powdered buttermilk, lovely!

This is how Convenience has been Redefined in my life. Quicker than I can run through a drive thru, faster than a speeding pizza delivery, I can have a wonderful meal, without chopping, dicing, peeling, processing, etc...

I haven't purchased a really nice dehydrator yet to do more of the dehydrating myself yet, but will one day. You do have to have a good source of water to rehydrate but that could be found in the liquid/broth/juice of your canned vegies. I can't imagine spending unplanned money on convenience food any more.

Convenience (for me) has been Redefined!