Oct 22, 2012

Pumpkin Aftermath!

Ok so after all of the pumpkin carnage that took place yesterday, there were some leftovers! We roasted the pumpkin seeds with sea salt (I've been munching on them all day!) and with the flesh that we scraped out, I am making pumpkin soup!

First I had to boil some chicken to make some chicken stock for the base! I added 1 bay leaf, coriander. parsley, and thyme to the pot. I let that boil for about 1 1/2 hours. I pulled the chicken and bay leaf from the pot and added in the 8 cups of pumpkin flesh, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 diced Walla Walla onion, 3 tablespoons of seasoning salt, 1/2 stick of butter, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, and 2 teaspoons of ground white pepper. 1 hour later, once the pumpkin was soft, I pureed the soup with a handheld blender.

Then I took the chicken and sliced it into 1/2 inch pieces and put that in an oven safe cake pan. I then cored and sliced (into rings) 1 Honeycrisp apple and put a layer over the chicken. Covered in foil and will put in the oven until chicken is hot and the apple rings are tender.

These will be served with yummy yeast rolls, for dinner tonight!

Oct 21, 2012


We carved our pumpkins for Halloween today! 

  Both boys were very excited! Nicole just wanted to eat them!

 Jamie, Ramsey and I gutted the pumpkins into a clean bag. After we got them all scraped out, we outlined our patterns onto the pumpkins! 

 I finished mine and Nicole's first, so while Jonathon continued to work on his and Ramsey's, I helped Jamie work on his!

I selected something a little less traditional. For those unfamiliar with it, this is the symbol for "Om"

Jamie opted for Wreck-It Ralph
And Ramsey chose a spider and web!

Not a bad bunch if I say so myself!

Oct 10, 2012

I love the smell of cinnamon and apples!

So this week we processed about around 10 lbs of apples! The goal, to make applesauce and apple butter!
 First step: Wash ALL of the apples!
 Second Step: Peel!

 Third Step: Quarter and Core
 Fourth Step: Slice
 Fifth Step: Cook!

It took two full days to get through all of the apples, as they had to be done in stages.

After getting the first batch of applesauce completely cooked, I pureed it so as to get all of the lumps out. I filled a 5.5quart crock pot with the puree, added 2 cups of sugar, 6 tablespoons of cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of ground cloves, and cooked it on high for about an hour (to get it to boiling temp again). Then it cooked on low over night, for about 10 hours. I managed to fill 12 pint-sized jars with the apple butter (which turned out absolutely delicious)!

While the apple butter was cooking in the crock pot, I continued to process the rest of the apples and canned about 6 quarts of unsweetened apple sauce.

I am very pleased with how my first canning experience turned out! It definitely gave me some perspective as far as timing and ratios go! I'm definitely looking forward to canning in the future!

Oct 8, 2012

A Picking We Shall Go

The apples are ripe and ready here on the property, so when Jamie get's home from school, we're going to go out and pick them! Depending on how much we get, I'll make and can some applesauce and apple butter! It's been over 15 years since I canned anything so this should be fun! I'm really looking forward to  relearning the process! I foresee the need for another storage shed next year so we'll have somewhere to store all of the fruits and veggies that I'll be preserving!

Oct 7, 2012

Just Another Manic... Sunday?

Today has been very confusing for me! After over a year of working Monday through Friday shifts, I got into a routine. But Jon took a new position at work that doesn't have a set Monday through Friday, and he had to work today. And Jamie stayed at Grandma Pat's last night, which further added to my confusion of today (especially when he didn't come home from school on time!).

Today Ramsey helped me make blueberry muffins and cranberry orange muffins (and Nicole helped eat them). I love baking! It's something that calms me down, and cheers me up. As long as I can remember, I would bake anytime I would be upset or depressed. I think that plays a big part in my struggle with weight loss.

I don't really have a lot to share today, so I think I will leave it at this. :)

Oct 5, 2012

Finally Friday!

So for the last year or so, I've been having intermittent chest pain, complete with being light headed, left arm hurting, nausea, and a feeling of something not being quite right. I blew it off as an anxiety attack (even though my rescue medication didn't do anything for it) and Jon kept reminding me of a friend of ours that had a heart attack in her 20's.

Last night, I was having another one of those episodes. So Jon takes me into Urgent Care where I got to have a chest X-ray and an EKG performed by Batman (Not even joking!). Turns out I haven't been having heart attacks, thank goodness!

Apparently I have a rib that likes to screw with me! It's called Costochondritis (kos-toe-KHON-dri-tis) and it is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum) a junction known as the costosternal joint. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Most cases of costochondritis have no apparent cause and treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for costochondritis to improve on its own.
Well isn't that fun!? I bet you didn't think you would learn something here!

So anyhow, prior to telling me this stuff about my rib being a jerk, the doctor asks me if I had used any street drugs prior to coming in that could have elevated my heart rate. I laughed, and then informed her that I had been clean and sober since 2006 (that's a story for another day). She pushed further asking me if I was sure that I hadn't used any cocaine or heroin or if I had been drinking. I reiterated that I hadn't.

After convincing her that I wasn't high (and hadn't been in years, lol), and her prodding at my back and chest a bit, she told me that it was probably my rib causing the issues. I'm rather annoyed that it was my rib because there isn't anything that can be done really to prevent the issue from happening. But I am glad that it wasn't a heart attack!

We headed home where Jon's mom was watching the kidlets. She had gotten them all down to bed, including Nicole into her crib! Now that little girl has slept in bed with us since day 1 and we have been trying to crib break her for almost 2 months now, with no success. The instant we set her down, she starts crying and wakes up. But she was sound asleep in her crib! It only lasted about 2 hours after we got home, then she woke up for a midnight snack and wouldn't go back to the crib. But the fact that she was asleep in there for even a little bit gives me hope!

Oct 2, 2012

Our house...

... in the middle of our street! *snicker*  Ok so it's more in the middle of the field, but who's keeping track? So we actually live on a family compound. For those of you that don't know what that means, we share the property we live on with my husband's family.

Our ultimate goal is to buy the entire property from Jon's mom and grandmother and turn it into an intentional community. But for now, we are slowly working of converting the property from crab grass and weeds, into a farm with sustainable crops.

We started with a small plot this year and it did pretty good! We got quite a few peas, a few onions, and a few pounds of broccoli. I have to go harvest our 2 heads of cabbage still. Then I think that I will call my garden done for the season. My failed attempts from this season included corn, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, and spinach.

Our plans for next year include corn (we will be doing it in ground instead of a raised bed), peas, beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, potatoes, and lettuces. We will also be adding in blueberries, and strawberries. If funds allow, we will hopefully be getting some fruit bearing trees as well!

We are going to be working on getting the chicken coop ready and getting some chickens in the spring. We will probably start out with 5 chickens. We'll raise them for eggs, and then when they get past their egg laying years, they'll be used for meat.

Oct 1, 2012

In The Beginning...

 Hi! My name is Natasha! I am a wife and mother, with all the work that comes along with those titles. I am also self employed and work from home as an Independent Distributor for It Works. Allow me to introduce you to my family!
Jon ~ This is my husband. He works a 9-5 in the outside world. He was a department supervisor, but recently stepped down to a lower stress position. His hobbies include drumming, building stuff, and playing with fire!

Jamie Douglas ~ Our oldest son. He will be 9 in December and is in 3rd grade. He has some temper issues, but we're working on that. He loves animals, and can't wait until we start getting some of our own!

Ramsey Doodle ~ The middle child. He just turned 3. He still hasn't adjusted to not being the baby! He loves PBS Sprout (he's three, he knows all of his letters and his numbers up to 12 by site, don't judge!), dinosaurs, and playing outside with his brother.
Sissy  ~ This is Nicole. She's the baby. She just turned 1. Her hobbies include walking, crawling, and eating. She specializes in climbing furniture, clicking on the mouse while I'm working on the computer, and sitting on the keyboard to blow me kisses!

Ok so that's what I've got for now! I'll post more tomorrow!