Monday, June 6, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

Well, as week's go this last week was decently productive.  I got the cabbage canned and canned some peaches.  I also got the baby rhubarb plant put in the ground and it seems, so far, to be doing well.  I've even got new little leaves sprouting up from the middle (I would have taken a picture of it, but it's out and out raining today).  I fertilized the garden, got some more compost spread around to keep it fed well and got insecticidal soap sprayed on the leaves (which I'll have to do again as soon as it stops raining, I'm sure).  I even managed to rip out some dead bushes from the raspberry bank yesterday and started to stack them near by there.  I was hoping to spend another 1/2 an hour or so on that this morning, but luckily it rained as my son was up till 4 am and I REALLY didn't want to try and pull myself out of bed at six this morning to try and get that accomplished (if it had been nice, I probably would have though, so yay for rain).

I did get the pantry reset, kind of, last week too.  I took my commercially canned goods and moved them off the wire shelves and placed them in the slanted part of the pantry (I'll take pictures as soon as I come up with a BIT better organization in there as boxes are just kind of stacked right now) and I was able to start to really organize my home canned goods better. 

The nicest part is that I can still stack upwards on things like where the applesauce is (as we go through a lot of applesauce around here and I just can't see the amount I have lasting us all the way through winter...and now my daughter won't eat store bought applesauce because she realized how good home made is *laugh*).  I've still got cardboard and I have tons of rings, so it won't be too hard to put rings loosely on jars, place some cardboard and put another layer of jars up.  At least I'm happy with how the home canned goods are shaping up on the shelves.  I have left room for things that I still need to can (BBQ sauce, strawberry rhubarb pie filling, etc), but so far, so good!

So, onto the goals for this week!

Canning Goals:
  • Can golden syrup 
  • Can mustard

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on mending pile.
  • Start to work on dress or skirt.
  • Work on gift for niece (I need to make a sticky of this and just copy and paste it from week to week the way I'm going *laugh*).

Cleaning Goals:
  • Shampoo carpets (this is going to wait for another day.  I was planning on doing it today, but with how heavily it is raining the carpets would never dry, so it's out for the day).
  • Scrub down son's bedroom.
  • Fold laundry and keep on top of housework.

General Goals:
  • Work on getting den decluttered a bit.  
  • Work on Christmas gift list for family (I'm seriously wondering if I'm going to be dropping extended family on gifts this year just because I haven't had the money to buy materials to make gifts.  Normally due to yard sales and thrift stores I'm in a LOT better shape than I am this year...I've just had to prioritize where money goes and feeding my family over winter and things has definitely taken precedence over gift giving.  I've got to figure this one out soon or I am going to stress myself out come October).
  • Take better inventory of meat in freezer and figure out what is in desperate need to be filled.
  • Check and see if I have materials available in pantry to make husband some home made truffles (filled chocolates) as part of anniversary gift.
  • Figure out menu plan for week (I totally didn't do one last week and it was AWFUL trying to figure out what to have for dinner every night.  I need to be better organized this week.  I'm hoping to do two weeks at once.  HOPING anyway).
  • If there's time and weather permits, work on yard. 

And I'm sure there were some other things I had written down, but I can't find my list right now, so this will have to do.  What are your plans for this week? 


  1. Your pantry is looking good, Erika. Look at all those wonderful home canned products! Should be a good winter if you keep this up.

    As for Christmas gifts, do you think you could give food gifts to the extended family? Even young children would enjoy a box of yummy homemade treats. I give my teenage nephews and niece a mixed bag of homemade goodies every year and they love it! Remember, if they don't have food allergies, you could pick up some of the ingredients (like chocolate chips) when they are on sale for super cheap prices around the holidays and use those for the gift items you make. Most treats freeze well, so you can make them ahead of time (starting around September). A batch a week and you'd have lots by Christmas.

    1. Yeah, I might end up doing that. I can pick up flour and other items to make things like cookies cheap and then I can just freeze the batches to make some gift boxes right before Christmas. I always try to make a home made long staying gift vs. a consumable one for the kids, but I think this year consumable is going to be the way of things. I'm pretty low on fabric right now and haven't picked up anything cool at the used stores much at all, so I'm probably going to need the fabric and things to make my kids gifts for Christmas. I still have a few places to look and see if I stored fabric and things, but so far it's not looking good.

    2. Another place to look for fabric is in your own linen closet. Do you have any old sheets or blankets that could be repurposed for fabric? Old cloths, like dress shirts, t-shirts or jeans, could also be repurposed. Even those stained fabrics can be cut into fabric strips, sewn together to make fabric "yarn" and used to crochet something like a cute "rag rug" purse for your daughter and/or young niece.

    3. Thanks for the ideas. I'll have to see what I can dig up :).

    4. Oh, I had one more idea that you might be able to do for some of the children. If your husband can cut you some square pieces of wood, you could use them to make tic tac toe or checker boards. Just find some rocks to paint for the board pieces! Here is a link to samples on pinterest:|autocomplete|0&1=tic|autocomplete|0&2=tac|autocomplete|0&3=toe|autocomplete|0

  2. I was going to suggest homemade goodies too. And yes, you can cut down your list. If you feel the need to let people know ahead of time I'd do it asap and then if they choose to give you something just accept it and know they don't expect a return gift. Feeding your family is #1. I make logs of sugar cookie dough or chocolate chip cookies and freeze them. Some in logs to slice and bake and some in individual cookies freeze on a cookie sheet and then put in a zip top bag in the freezer. Heck, you don't even have to give them the cookies baked - just include directions. I know a lot of people who would like to have some cookies on hand after the holidays. Nice to just pull out a few and bake too. I've made peanut butter ones, double chocolate ones. Most freeze well to be baked later.

    1. I have been warning the family every year for the past three or so not to expect anything from us due to money and just being busy *laugh*. I just never have the heart to deny the kids in the family gifts. I finally gave up on doing the adults too a few years ago because I was just burned out. My husband is one of seven kids, all are married at this point and we're up to *counts on fingers* 15 kids on top of mine in the family (my brother-in-law ended up adopting a child after a family tragedy recently and my sister-in-law is about to give birth, so we'll be up to 15 at that point). And they all live nearby. So, yeah, gift giving becomes problematic sometimes.

      Do you have any idea how long sugar cookie dough is good for in the freezer? I have read three months, a year, six months...I'm confused *laugh*. I'd like to mix up a bunch and stick into the freezer for gift giving at a later date and also just to have to make some slice and bake cookies for desserts, but I don't want to make it up and put it in the freezer only for it to not last on me.

    2. I've kept it for 6 months with no problem. Then we usually eat the freezer down and start over. lol. When I make the logs or the drop or rolled cookies I freeze them good then put them into a zip top bag with the air squeezed out. Logs I sometimes roll up in plastic wrap or wax paper before putting them in bags. Pretty easy and tastes as good as if you just mixed them up. If you give them just write the baking directions on the bag - I always say to sprinkle a little sugar on the cookies before baking. Makes them taste so good.

  3. Hi Erika! Your canning looks gorgeous, what beautiful colors, kind of like having little jewels lined neatly on your shelves for the winter.

    1. Aw thanks :). I always aspire to be like the ladies who submitted their canned goods to the county fair back in PA. Man those jars were so beautiful they were literally works of art. And edible works of art at that! Can't beat consumable art ;).

  4. Your canning is wonderful! I know people who don't can really don't understand the feeling you get when you look at your jars. For me it is like looking at a flower arrangement. I like the beauty. I have even been known to sit jars in my kitchen window to enjoy the sun coming through. A big “no no” I know but it is only for a few days. It gives me a feeling of security. No matter what happens, my family will be fed.
    I have shelves just like you do. I get boxes from the grocery that have tops. I then cut them so that they will be the height of the jars. Then I stack the boxes on the shelves. I do that because my husband works in the basement and the light is on all the time. This helps to keep them in dark.
    I support your decision to perhaps not give token gifts to all the extended family. If they care about you, they would prefer you take care of your children. Realize you may get push back from people who are all wrapped up in the partying. You will recognize them by the frantic exhaustion in their eyes. Ignore them.
    Love your children first.

    1. I know exactly how you feel and I've been known to do the same thing, but I just end up leaving the jars on the counter for a few days to appreciate them before I stick them into the dark pantry :). There is definitely a feeling of security every time you hear the lid ping or know that the seal is solid on those jars, knowing that is one more thing your family can eat no matter how hard the times get.

      I tried stacking boxes on the shelves and it was terrible. The light in my pantry is really really bad (night light LED bad) as the only light bulb is right by the door so when I'd go into the boxes and try to read the top of the lids I half the time would grab the wrong jars and things. Jars got put into the wrong boxes because I couldn't read my writing in the dim light and then I'd get really confused. That's why I just decided to put them out in the open so I can just my portable push button LED disk and set it on top of the jars to read them better when I go in to get the jars. It works a lot better than trying to read them in a box :).

      I've gotten plenty of push back about Christmas over the years as have a couple of my sister-in-laws. Some of us would just like to do a Chinese type of auction where we draw lots on who gets who what gift and that way everyone would be responsible for a lot less people, but other members of the family threw a fit, so it got nixed fast. Other family members have just plain given up getting anyone anything for Christmas, which I really don't want to do, but at the same time Christmas for my family comes second, feeding them comes first. So, yeah, worse comes to worse the other family members will have to be dropped. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up on baking supplies in the pantry, though, so I can at least bake some treats for the other kids. We'll see how it goes :).

  5. Your pantry looks amazing! I totally understand how your daughter wouldn't want to eat store-bought applesauce when she could have yours. I was like that as a kid, but it was about pickles, LOL. The store ones never tasted good to me; the home-canned dill pickles were all I would eat!

    I have 15 nieces & nephews too, so I hear you on Christmas. I've noticed that for the kids, it's the fact that they got something from their aunt (an extended relative), not the "thing" at all. Sometimes I'll do the same gift for everyone (even though a baby not be able to play with it). One year I got/made everyone an ornament (takes very little fabric). Another idea is to embroider the name of each child (or just initials) on a fabric bookmark. Takes hardly any materials, but kids love things with their names. Teenagers can appreciate the work that goes into it. The parents of babies can save it for later. I also think they'd each like a gigantic cookie, just one, but made special and wrapped just for them.

    As for sewing materials, I'd suggest "spreading the word" and accepting ALL materials offered, even if you have to donate some that you don't want later. Once people know I sew, often I'll be asked if I want a friend-of-a-friend's (usually an older lady) fabric/notions/buttons/whatever who is scaling back. I think I get offered more because I let it be known I'll accept anything.

    Brandy also has many ideas (like printed bookmarks) and other gift ideas that you might have the materials on hand for on The Prudent Homemaker, just in case you haven't checked it out.