Monday, September 18, 2017

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

Right.  Menu plan.  Ummmm...we're eating!  Does that count?  The highlights of this week's menu are probably me throwing together some taco soup last night on the fly because I noticed that I had some black olives (our last in the house in fact...need to add a couple of cans of black olives to the shopping list) in the fridge that needed to be used up and some jars of taco sauce and salsa in the pantry that I wanted to use up and voila!  Taco soup was born.  It turned out pretty good and anything we don't eat in the next couple of days I'll freeze to eat later on when I need soup (read: when I have a terrible cold and I only want to eat soup).

So, yeah, I'll just post up the menu plan for the coming week here in the next couple of days and just say that I punted on dinner this last week.  Saturday I didn't even need to cook!  My daughter went to her friend's birthday party (and he knew what the sheep pillow was and did indeed like it!  Woohoo!) and came home with an extra pizza left over from the party so we had free pizza for dinner.

Which worked out perfectly, because I spent all weekend working my tail off canning (more on that in a minute) .  This week is already derailed and it's only Monday. Went out to take the kids to school this morning to have warning lights come on in my car telling me I had a super low tire.  Got the kids to school and managed to kick my poor husband out of bed (who subsequently could not get back to sleep most of the day) to show me how to fire up the air compressor so I could go and run my son to speech therapy and run some errands.  I thought the tire might just be low and would be okay, but as soon as I got home and let the car sit in the garage for a few hours (my husband filled it in the late morning) and the thing was down five pounds.  I saw how low it was getting going to pick up the kids and ended up picking them up from school 15 minutes early because I was worried the leak was getting worse on the tire.  My husband filled the tire before he went to work and will fill it again in the morning to keep it from settling too badly (we hope) and then tomorrow's schedule is my husband getting some sleep (I hope) while I run into town and wait while my winter tires get put on my car (thank goodness my tire waited to do this until after the 15th so I had that option) and hopefully they repair my leaky summer tire.  While there I'm hoping to get them to redo my tire sensors as they managed to reverse my front tire sensors on the last tire change over...AGAIN (third tire change over is the charm as they say).  More money I didn't want to spend right now!  Life sure is fun! 

So, yeah, onto what I managed to get done this last week.

Well, sewing goals didn't happen much.  I did work on the embroidered pillow case kit as I waited for my car to get it's oil changed and I worked a bit on my new pot holder for the kitchen while I was there too.  And I did manage to sew a few more pieces of velcro onto my second set of unpaper towels.  But, getting side tracked making a birthday gift kind of put a monkey wrench in the works for sewing goals, but hey at least I got that done and figured out!

I did, however, manage to kick some behind on canning goals this weekend!

1.  So first up is Saturday.  While my husband took my daughter to the birthday party, I got busy canning while they were gone (and surprisingly the son was in a good mood while they were gone as well!).  I first canned raspberry jam from the raspberries I had left in the freezer after making jelly earlier (seen up top).  I managed to can nine pints from the raspberries I had, which I was impressed and very happy with :). 

Side note:   I am REALLY glad I got the bulk pectin instead of buying boxes or something!  That stuff works TONS better than the pectin I normally use (which usually ends up being Sure Gel or Ball brands).  I have no idea why it's different, but it sure worked great in all of these recipes!

2.  Next up, I canned rose hip jelly Saturday afternoon.  I used a recipe that the Cooperative Extension Service had published and I ended up doubling it as I had more rose hips than I thought (woot!).  Instead of the consistency of two boxes of pectin, however, I added three. This really is the best way, I've found, to get a consistent set on jelly.  Otherwise, if your water content on something is too high in your fruit the jelly just doesn't set and you end up with syrup.  And I still have rose hip syrup.  I didn't need any more.   Twenty four hours later and the jelly had a decent soft set on it by the way it was sitting in the jars, so I know it'll set completely within a week (rose hip jelly can take that long to set completely).  I got eight and a half pints from the rose hips I foraged in the yard.  Not too shabby!  And while you can't see it in the pictures because I canned it in pints (makes the mixture denser in the jar or something) because I used so many really ripe rose hips the jelly came out a really pretty dark pink color.  Pretty cool.
3.   Yesterday I was pretty tired, but I did manage to grab the blueberries from the freezer to can and the cherries I wanted to turn into cherry pie filling from the freezer as well.  I read the recipe and realized that the cherries had to thaw for twenty four hours in the fridge first, so I threw those into a bowl and got to canning the blueberries.  I talked to my husband and discussed how best to can the blueberries (jam, pie filling, syrup, etc) and we finally both decided that neither one of us really liked blueberry jam (it's okay, just not a favorite of either one of us), pie filling could be made out of regular canned blueberries if we wanted to put some pie filling on top of something and syrup could be made from the liquid in just regular canned blueberries in syrup, so that's what I ended up making.  Just plain straight canned blueberries (in the recipe from Ball you macerate the blueberries in sugar and they make their own liquid to can in, so I can't really say that they are canned in their own juices or canned in heavy syrup or something...they are just canned blueberries to me *laugh*).  I ended up with twelve half pints of regular canned blueberries and then with the syrup that was left over I added some lemon juice to the pan and made a quick jar of blueberry syrup.  I'll thicken it when we use it on pancakes or something, but it tasted nice and blueberry-ish when I put it in the jar :).
4.  And then today in between car worries, wondering where our package drop off box went at our mail boxes (seriously, it's just gone!  I'm hoping they are upgrading to a bigger box system or something instead of the bad thought that someone decided to unbolt and steal it or something...people do WEIRD things when they steal up here) and then having to run to the post office because of that to pick up some packages and things, I managed to somehow can cherry pie filling!  The recipe was supposed to make about four quarts, I got three and about 3/4 of a pint jar full, which I'm going to cool, put into a freezer bag and freeze.  Then I'll just add it to a pie or topping on something later on.

I'm getting down to a point with the canning where I have sauerkraut to worry about jarring up here in about three weeks and I am hoping to have enough jars to get that done, but the peach jelly...well for now the peach juice is going to stay in the freezer until I can either afford more jars or empty some because I am pretty much out of anything that would work as a jelly jar.  Once I sure I have enough quart jars to can up apple pie filling (once I empty the fermenting jars in the pantry out, in other words) I'll buy some apples and make apple pie filling for the coming year and yeah...after that I'm pretty much done for a while! 

Oddly enough I didn't can half as much this year as last year, but at the same time I'm so much busier schedule wise this year that the canning I got done this year has been a LOT harder to get done.  Weird how life is like that.

And now onto this week's goals!  Now that the garden is pretty much done for the year (I am hoping to figure out a ground cover and start some seeds, but am not sure I'm going to make it the way things are shaping up) due to Bob and Ted, and now that canning is on hold until the sauerkraut is done doing it's voodoo, I have nothing stopping me (other than cars continuing to have problems *sigh*) to work on sewing projects and getting some cleaning and organizing done.  Yay!

Weekly Goals:
  • Prepare potato basket project and figure out liner
  • Cut out two pairs of sleep pants for son
  • Make two skirts for daughter
  • Work a bit on fall themed quilt
  • Continue to work on embroidery
  • Start work on reorganizing pantry and closets
  • Fix hole in daughter's pants
  •  Make out menu plan for week (there it's written down!  Now I have to do it!)
  • Recover house from canning weekend (the son had pretty much free reign as I was working this shows...poor house).
  • Clean fans
  • Continue to work on new pot holder for kitchen
  • Get tires changed over on car.  Get leaky tire fixed (hopefully).
And yeah, I'll call that good for goals for this week.  I'm sure I'll get sidelined the way things have been going, but well...hopefully I can get some of it done!

So, how about you?  Up to anything this week?


  1. You are doing an awesome job! Yes, it counts if all that happens is that you ate and that no one got hurt. Keep up the good work.

    1. Yup there are days when you go to bed realizing that everyone got fed, everyone is still alive and that's all you can do. If you get a shower in, double bonus!

      Thanks for the encouraging words :).

  2. You mentioned that you didn't can as much this year as last. I was lucky last year. The summer of 2015 I canned 800 jars (quarts, pints, half pints, 2 litre jars) of food items. My girls and I foraged many of the foods, like wild apples, crabapples, mulberries, black raspberries, and pears. And my garden produced very well. If I had to pay for all those extras, I certainly wouldn't have had canned so much. So, with all that extra canning, I didn't need to do any last year other than strawberry jam and red currant jelly because those 2 types of jams are my kids' favourites. And this year, I still didn't need to can most things other than tomato-based products, like salsa, and stewed tomatoes etc. Although I don't NEED any more items, I'm still canning some things like pineapple chunks, and sweet pickled cauliflower because I got a good deal on them and I wanted to save room in my freezer for items like carrots, celery, corn etc and of course meat that comes on sale.

    Your sewing products are always so lovely. If I sew anything, I do so out of desperation, not because I love to do it, simply because it's not my forte. You have much more well-rounded skills so you're very blessed that you can save money this way.

    Looking forward to your menu post.

    1. Wow! I wish I could forage some of that! Apples and pears especially! Glad to hear you are so well stocked :).

      I guess I should have said I haven't canned as much variety this year as last year. Last year I just ran into so many good deals super cheap on things like cherries and such that I still have plenty of those canned up in the pantry. I found the fireweed was pretty much shot this year by the time I had time to harvest it, but I also found some more jars of wildflower jelly in the pantry that I didn't realize I had (got stuck behind the sauerkraut), so I was happy to find that. I still have tons of strawberry jam and jelly from the great deal I got on strawberries last year, so you I can't complain. I'm happy to still have that stuff in the pantry, since I didn't have the money to invest in buying so much produce this year (at a deal or not). Between what I have canned myself and what was given to me by my sister-in-law before they moved, I am really feeling pretty good about being at least somewhat ready for winter. Yay for that :).

    2. Jam and preserves, not jam and jelly. I need more coffee ;).

  3. I knew the boy would love the pillow!

    Way to go on all of the canning. I thought you bought more canning jars this past year. Are you adding more canned foods to your pantry? I think I finally have enough jars after friends realized I really wanted them, they kept their eyes open and grabbed them as they found them. Now I am overloaded, it is wonderful.

    Jeannie @

    1. I did buy more jars. And I've used them all *laugh*. So, yeah, definitely adding some to the pantry this year. Not a bad thing by any means, until you run out of jars ;).

  4. You canning looks lovely! I wish you lived closer. I have more jars than I need right now. I just want to find someone to give some of them to that will really use them. My husband got a lot of them for me at garage sales and thrift stores. I didn't want to get rid of them when we moved, but the truth is that our family is much smaller than it used to be and I am moving to pints on a few things. I'm glad you got what you did. You will love having it.

    1. It's so funny. Now that the kids are getting older and my daughter will eat things like jelly (and SOME jam) I've found myself upgrading to pint jars versus the half pint jelly jars for things like jelly and jam. You're downgrading size-wise, I'm upgrading *laugh*.

      I probably could have found some canning supplies at yard sales over the summer, but we were so broke I just avoided yard sales all together to avoid temptation. It's kind of hurting now being so tight on jars, but I am getting there. I dug into all corners of the house to find my little stashes of empty jars (when you don't really have closets to store things like that have to get creative on where you put them) and I found a FEW more pint jars. I might have to raid the bathrooms and steal the jars that house things like dental flossers, but I'm sure my daughter will survive taking them out of another container for a while.

    2. That's a great idea if you are using jars other places--and you will be eating things up all the time, so you can re-fill some.

      For me, there was a time where I had to open 2 quarts of green beans for 1 meal. I remember that year. My mildly autistic son and I sat and snapped beans every morning for a week while the others went off to a Vacation Bible School (he wasn't young enough any more, and wasn't up to being a helper). I think that year I did over 150 quarts of beans! It might have been 175--I can't quite remember. Because we were feeding 11 at every meal (kids, parents, my grandmas, etc.) there was never a bad food decision! I tried any and all new recipes from magazines, etc., and they all got eaten. It was great! I still love cooking for a crowd, but don't really miss canning that many beans. I like canning, but........At least with such a crowd, there was always help when I did it.

    3. I am also changing jar sizes. When the boys lived here I canned everything in quart jars; now I put everything in pint jars and some things are going into half pints. I think I have about 400, maybe 500 jars? At one point they were all full except for one brand new box of quart jars. They are still in the original plastic wrap. I bought them in a panic because something was needing to be processed and I thought I was going to run out right in the middle of canning. Never opened them.
      This year I have canned way less than in years past. Well, anything less than a million would be less. I would like to transition over to canning more soups to save on time spent in the kitchen. But I need to find more recipes and work them out exactly for canning.

    4. Oops, forgot to sign my name so you will know which Jeannie.
      Jeannie @