Sunday, May 29, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

First, I have good news to report (shocking I know!).  The new medication regime for my son appears to be working!  I have him up to three teaspoons of Zyrtec at night and two in the morning (I was actually supposed to do four at night, but I wanted to see how three would do and so far so good!) and we're on a higher steroid cream that really seems to take the itch out of the eczema on his feet and since we started him on the higher dose of Zyrtec at night, so FAR we haven't had to battle hives/welts once.  His skin is doing better (relatively speaking), he's sleeping better (four to five hours straight at night vs. two) and I'm relieved to see the nasty rash on his face finally starting to subside the longer he's on the Zyrtec.

My daughter has started a new summertime work schedule where she has to earn TV time by doing chores and things without complaining (that is a big one for her to learn).  She's up to earning her TV/computer/music (she really enjoys the background noise while she plays more than anything) to about 75%.  Not too shabby, although we have a lot of summer break left to go.  Bright side though is I'm finally getting help to do things like vacuum and other chores, which is wonderful as it's getting things done faster and is thus making me able to spend my time elsewhere on other chores that can get overlooked.

Anyway, onto how the goals went for last week.

Well, it's still a work in progress, but it is getting there.  The pantry is slowly coming together.  My goal, right now, is to empty both sets of wire shelves, resurface the wires surface with heavy cardboard (the grate on the shelves is so wide that jars will tip over on them without cardboard) and get as many commercially canned things OFF of said shelves as possible to give me extra room for home canned goods as I am hoping to need the space this year.

The shot of the one set of shelves is above.  Believe it or not ALL of those boxes in the den translated to what is on the shelves in the picture.  Kind of amazing how it doesn't look like much until it's all boxed up and spread out *laugh*.

I got the top shelf of the other set cleaned of commercially canned goods, but I still need to completely empty both of the shelves, resurface them with better cardboard and reset everything.  Like the canned grapes are just kind of floating on the bottom shelf right now.  I'm hoping to figure out that stuff this week.

I don't think that this was officially on my goals for last week, but I got it done anyway.  The trellis system I concocted is up and working.  I thought it came out looking pretty good myself.

My goals for this week are kind of all over the place.  First and foremost there's this little guy who needs to go into the ground...

There's cabbage to can (it's salt curing in the fridge right now), pantry work to do, sewing projects to get done, monthly plans to make for next month and other stuff.  So, let's get to it shall we?

Sewing Goals:
  • Get at least two projects accomplished.  

Gardening Goals:
  • Plant baby rhubarb plant.
  • Cut dead out of raspberry patch and try to control and save what raspberry plants are left (hoping to work on that tomorrow's hoping anyway).
  • Fertilize garden.

Pantry Goals:
  • Empty second set of shelves completely, reline shelves with better cardboard, reset shelves.
  • Stack commercially canned goods in pantry, probably in boxes by like type, so that everything is still accessible without use of wire shelves for commercially canned goods.

Canning Goals:
  • Can cabbage.

Freezer Goals:
  • Make lemon curd.  Freeze for future desserts.

Cleaning Goals:
  • Shampoo downstairs carpets.  
  • Empty part of pantry and start to scrub floor (more just to keep it as sanitary as possible in there).
  • Deep clean bathrooms.

General Goals:
  • Figure out monthly goals for June.
  • Figure out shopping plans for June.

And there you are folks.  What I was up to this last week and what I'm (hopefully) going to be up to this coming week.  You up to anything fun?


  1. I worked on my pantry yesterday too!! The one in the basement where it's nic and cool. I went through to canned goods and ditched the long expired ones. Then I went on to work on organizing the rest of the junk down there. I still have about half to go. I worked in the yard before and after church. Then when it got stinking hot I moved to the nice cool basement. My guys come home tonight so the plan is to work in the yard, rain permitting, this morning and then try to finish the basement. I do plan on taking some time for me today. I might bike down to our citiy's Artsfest for funnel cake later and just to look around. I did color my hair last night (long long over due!) and watch some episodes of a show I like on my iPad. I can get wifi outside so I sat on the porch to watch. Fun!

    1. I went through and got rid of a few cans too. I had some canned fruit that my husband had bought at one point years ago. He'd been at the store and they had carts of fruit for like .20 a can, so he grabbed TONS and we've been using them for years. Some of them though were canned in light grape juice and just weren't great fruit, so I kept putting off using them. They weren't super old, like five years, but what decided it for me to get rid of them was that I opened one last month of this older batch and had my first sputtering can (and the fruit from those cans wasn't great tasting to begin with). Not cool. So the rest went into the garbage (all five cans worth) after I had scrubbed down the kitchen with bleach to kill any botulism that might have sputtered all over my counters.

  2. Our rhubarb plant started at that size and now it's been divided into 14 plants that are several feet high. Don't harvest that baby one this year, but next year should be ok. The plant you get in the fall don't harvest in 2017. Both will get a good strong start.

    1. Thank you for the tips. I was kind of confused about time lines on harvesting, so that's good to know :).

  3. I am so happy to hear about your son!!!! I hope that keeps working, then he can get his allergy stuff done at the doctor!!! Poor kid, he's got it so rough. How awesome your daughter is (so far) helping out so much! I hope she keeps up that trend!!

    i made another batch of strawberry jam yesterday, I had some SEVERE moments of panic which really was only about 30 seconds, but when that jam was bubbling up and looked about to spill over, time seemed to slow in my panic!! Luckily it didn't, but that's because I slid it off the burner. As a result, I don't think it boiled enough and may be too soft, but oh well. We have a glass top stove so I can't have a proper canner, I have a huge stainless steel pot, but while it works for half pints, I learned yesterday that it doesn't do more than cover the tops of pint jars. They sealed, so I'm praying they are safe.

    So how long is jam and jelly good for in your experience? I've got some left over from last summer, and Ball says a year, but I wonder why it wouldn't be ok longer than that. I found some in the back of the pantry that we'd bought at a mennonite store, and it's got to be at least two years old. I'm hoping it's still good, my husband loves it, it's pepper jelly, which I'd like to try to make this summer.

    1. I've canned pint jars where the water barely covers and they were fine. You just need to make sure they are covered so the heat gets through to the food from all directions.

      If your jam comes out too soft from the jar just dump the contents of said jar in a small saucepan and boil it for a few minutes when you open each jar. Cool and restore in your jar in the fridge and voila! Set jam. It took me a while to figure out jam making too and I still occasionally get it wrong, but that I found is the easiest way to fix it :).

      Jam and jellies are really good indefinitely once sealed, so long as they were processed correctly and such. After a year Ball says that the quality of the canned goods starts to go down in flavor, but they are still good.

      Now on a personal level, I'll go two years on home canned goods without worry on my part. After two years I start to get nervous about tomato based items and things and be sure to use those up before the taste starts to go on them. But, I just used up the last of my strawberry rhubarb jam from three years ago that I dug out of the pantry and it was fine.

      Things like pickles and stuff I don't really worry about as the acid level is so high in them, but they can get chewy and not great texture-wise once they pass the one year mark, so I do try to use those up before they get too old.

      My personal "I don't want to push it" point on home canned goods is four years. If I find a jar that is that old, even if everything seems fine when I pop it open, I still dump the contents, stick the jar in a sink full of water with about 1 tbs of bleach to kill off any nasty things before putting the jar through the dishwasher to reuse it. Because I try to be careful about what I can and how much I can now a days, though, this doesn't happen often.

    2. Thanks so much! I won't worry then about 2 year old jams! And such a good idea on boiling, then rechilling! While I would love to can more, I tend to freeze, so not as experienced in the canning dept!

  4. You sound good Erika. May you get all the sleep you need soon. I am glad the doctor is figuring out how to help your son with his hives. My dh has a auto-immune disease and gets very itchy if he gets warm. Hopefully, this regime will continue to work and both of you will get some sleep.

  5. That is the cutest little rhubarb baby!

  6. I love looking at your canning on the shelf. It's so pretty! I'm glad your son is sleeping a little more. Neither you or him can go on like this forever--so I'm happy for you both!

  7. Hello Erika,

    I just found your blog from Rhonda's "If You Do Stuff, Stuff Gets Done".

    If your shelving is strong enough I have a tip for double stacking your home canned goods. I've done this for years and never had a seal pop. Leave the bands on the canning jars you plan to place on the bottom. I place a layer of cardboard or a shallow box on top of the bottom layer of canning jars, then I stack a second layer. This technique doubles my storage area for home canning.

    Looking forward to visiting your blog again,