Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

How many of you have already planned out your Thanksgiving menu?  Are you taking advantage of great sales prices to stock up.  Butter, cream cheese, turkey, ham, and cranberries are just a few of the items I have been finding at great prices right now.

This year my oldest daughter, Lauren, has decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at her home.  They also live out in the country and have a nice lake just out their back yard.  I'm sure some canoeing and shooting will be going on as well as eating lots of good food and chasing little ones.  I am so thankful that both of my married daughters live close enough for easy visits and we can still be together for one of our favorite holidays.

Our Thanksgiving menu rarely changes through the years.  I'll be baking a turkey and ham, a sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and a dessert that my food allergic boys can eat.  Devin will be making our sweet and sour beans and another dessert.  Lauren is going to try her hand at dressing this year.  She called yesterday wanting the recipe.  Does anyone really use a recipe?  Years spent watching my mamaw and my mama make dressing and being the taste-tester taught me how to make it.  I made a few changes here and there, but we love our dressing.  She'll have to get experience and make it her own.  She also mentioned a caramel apple cheesecake.  Oh, my!!  Grandmother will be bringing rolls and our traditional cranberry/apple casserole.  Here is a link to some of our favorite holiday recipes.  I would love for you to share some of yours with us!!

Chocolate chess pies, blueberry cream cheese pies, sweet and sour beans and cranberry apple casserole recipes are here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Menu for November 11-17

A little late, I know!!  I'm trying to reduce some of our meat consumption on a daily basis while adding in more vegetable dinners.  Some of my guys are not liking the changes....and I am not surprised.  I suppose I have been changing things up a lot with our foods, but for years I have cooked almost two seperate meals at times trying to make sure my food allergy kids had plenty to choose from.  Now I pretty much cook one main dish that all can eat and fill in with sides.  That means most of our dishes no longer have any dairy, egg or wheat products.  We still consume dairy and egg, but not in our main dishes for the most part.

Breakfasts this week are baked oatmeals (I do make two with no dairy or egg and one with)...this morning's has some blueberries added in.  GF DF EF pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs and grits.

Lunches are leftovers or soups....beef stew, French onion soup, potato soup, chicken soup.


Sunday-after our small group book study we headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant

Monday-lentil rice casserole, roasted root veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga and turnips), roasted red potatoes and onions, green beans and turnip greens

Tuesday-white bean chicken chili with tortilla chips and salad  (making a few variations with the recipe...using a whole shredded chicken, dry beans and homecanned chicken stock)

Wednesday-ground beef hash and green beans

Thursday-stir fry beef and broccoli with rice, egg drop soup

Friday-homemade pizzas and salad

Saturday-chicken pot pie, English peas and salad

Sunday-pinto beans topped with chopped onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, corn cakes and salad

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Few Wedding Snapshots

We are trying to get back into a normal routine with school and home.  Devin and Justin are back home from their honeymoon and both will resume teaching today.  Here are just a few snapshots from the wedding.  Hopefully we will have some more by the end of the week.  We had two great photographers taking pictures and are very pleased so far.

Mr. and Mrs. Justin Treadaway

Devin and the wedding ushers, Ben Riley, Jordan, Devin, Aaron and Nathan Bagget

bridesmaid bouquets made by Lori Corbin, my dear friend down-the-road

wedding cake made by a lovely church member, Sandy Morris

Jeff and Devin before the ceremony

Jordan giving Devin a good-bye hug after the wedding

Jordan, Aaron, Lauren, Jackson, new son-in-law Justin, Devin, Kaelan, Caedmon, me and Jeff

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan for October 29-November 4

Well, here we are in our final week before Devin's wedding.  As you can imagine we are finishing up final details,  putting on final touches to our wedding attire, hauling decorations, food and more to the church, decorating the sanctuary and cleaning the house.  I'm trying to make our meals as simple, but as nourishing as possible as I don't want anyone coming down sick.  I did buy a boxed cereal for our breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday morning.  My family couldn't believe it!  We needed something very quick for those two days, so there you go!!

b-sausage, eggs, grits
l-cheese pizzas and raw veggies
d-vegetable soup, flatbread and salad

b-baked oatmeal
l-cheese cubes, sliced meat, fruit and chips
d-baked chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions and butterbeans

b-cinnamon bread, sausage and eggs
l-leftovers and popcorn
d-baked potatoes with trimmings and salad

b-baked oatmeal
l-spaghetti and salad
d-pinto beans, sweet potatoes,  corn bread, raw veggies and apple crisp

b-pancakes and bacon
d-rehearsal dinner

Saturday (wedding day)
l-meat and cheese tray, raw veggies, crackers
d-ordering pizzas

Sunday (Jordan's 20th birthday)
l-garlic lime chicken, baked sweet and white potatoes, green beans, English peas, sauteed squash and onions, sweet potato and chocolate chess pies

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ramblings for October 23

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-Audio books are our friends.  Jackson teared up when we came to the end of My Side of the Mountain.  He didn't want it to end, so I put the CD back in!  ; )  I came across a free My Side of the Mountain Project Pack by Hands of a Child that I think we will work on next semester and we will read the two sequels together as well.  They are not as good as My Side of the Mountain, but this will definitely fit into our planned study of the KONOS Attentiveness unit.

-This morning the little boys were listening to Kipling's Just So Stories.  The reader has a strange voice and Caedmon was scared.

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-We have pumpkins....lots of them....80 large pumpkins to be exact.  Yes, we will use them to decorate for the wedding, but I am also putting some of them up.  One pumpkin made about 15 cups of pumpkin puree yesterday.  It's in the freezer now.

-We have become relaxed homeschoolers or maybe even unschoolers.  Why?

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-We've been getting very crafty lately.  Saturday three fall wreaths were made as well as 11 boutoneires.  This week we need to make sugar scrubs, salt baths, 7 bouquets and some other items as well.

-Our church is doing a study on Thomas Watson's All Things for Good.  Jeff is leading one of the small groups on Sunday evenings.  As we have a 30 minute drive to church on Sundays some of us redeem the time by reviewing the chapter on the way to church.  Daddy sometimes reminds the children to redeem this time.  This Sunday we were surprised when Jackson asked to read the book.  He is doing very well in his reading and will finish up level 2 and 2 1/2 of Explode the Code this week.  Thomas Watson was a Puritan.   It's a big stretch from Dr. Seuss to a Puritan writer!

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-I need breakfast help.  Some of my family members are not happy about our wheat free diet.  Some of them are out of the home every day and are NOT on a wheat free diet. at. all.  I need some ideas for wheat free breakfasts.  My very spoiled family is used to homemade biscuits, pancakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls...every day!  Help!!

-Please share some of your favorite bread free breakfasts and/or a favorite audio book or series for the under 10 crowd in the comments.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Plan for October 22-28

We made it through a crazy busy week!  I don't think we were all home for dinner at the same time last week and there were two nights that there were only four of us sitting down at the dinner table.  Praying that this week is a little slower as we relish Devin's final days at home with us.  Less than two weeks to go before her wedding.  We made some great progress in wedding prep last week and I hope to have pictures of some handmade items we will be using for the wedding soon.

Here is my menu plan for this week....minus lunch!  Lunch will be leftovers, homemade pizzas, popcorn, fruit and salads.

b-apple/cranberry crisp, bacon, eggs
d-little saucy meatballs, rice, roasted broccoli

b-corn meal mush with syrup and sausage
d-pork fajita nachos with sauteed peppers, refried beans and all the trimmings

b-baked oatmeal
d-homecanned chicken soup for Caedmon and chicken tortilla soup for the rest of us

b-apple oat muffins
d-fried steaks, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

b-corn meal mush with syrup, sausage
d-chicken pot pie, baked sweet potatoes, pinto beans and corn bread

b-breakfast in a bowl--country style potatoes with sausage, eggs and cheese
d-grilled chicken, rice pilaf, grilled corn and broccoli

b-baked oatmeal
d-vegetable beef soup and corn bread

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apples Apples Apples

We've been enjoying lots of apples around here lately.  I buy them by the forty pound case at our local fruit and vegetable market.  Last year we started making our applesauce in the crock pot and then canning it. We still love our applesauce muffins in that post, but now we are making them gluten free.  We've been experimenting with gluten-free baking and as two of the boys are deathly allergic to eggs our baking can be a challenge.

I have also been dehydating apples which I used to make fried apple pies before we went gluten free.  They were absolutely delicious.  We also snip the dried apples up and add them to our homemade granola.

For breakfast and dessert we are enjoying apple crisps.  Sometimes I toss in a cupful of frozen cranberries for a wonderful fruity combination.  For the breakfast version, I decrease the sugar.

I have also been making fruit leather with our applesauce and with pureed strawberries and peach butter.  All natural with no added sugar, Caedmon loves the apple fruit leathers while my grandsons and son-in-law are partial to the strawberry.  It's so rewarding to see them enjoy a good healthy snack that is so good for them!

Here are a few other apple recipes that we have enjoyed through the years.   Do you have a favorite apple recipe you wouldn't mind sharing?  I would love to add some more variation to our apple menu!

*words in bold print are links to recipes

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Menu Plan for October 14-20

It seems that we are back in order here at Busy Hands Busy Minds!  For the past few months I was not able to access the blog due to some changes our internet provider made, but we recently made a switch to a different provider and now we are back up!   I'll save the highlights of the last three months or so for another day.  If you have followed Busy Hands Busy Minds on FB (see the link in the right side-bar) you will know that our second daughter, Devin, will soon be married.  In fact, we have less than three weeks to finish all the wedding prep!  Yikes!!  More highlights another day!

This week seems to be like the rest of our weeks in this season....busy, busy, busy!  Wedding prep, wedding shower, shopping, music lessons, school and a visit from Jeff's out-of state brother and his family late in the week.  One thing that keeps me sane during our crazy busy days is having a menu and shopping list made out before the week starts.    Here is what we'll be cooking up this week:

b-baked oatmeal
l-at Grandmother's...taking apple cranberry crisps for dessert
d-chicken enchilada casserole, refried beans, chips and salsa

b-applesauce muffins, sausage and eggs
l-leftovers, popcorn, fruit
d-panfried chicken breasts topped with garlic creamed spinach, roasted carrots and broccoli and rice cooked in chicken broth

b-apple crisp, bacon and eggs
l-we'll pick up something in town
d-crockpot beef roast with potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions, roasted garlic

b-baked oatmeal
l-roast beef hash and green beans
d-taco soup or chicken soup

b-blueberry muffins, sausage, eggs
d-butter beans, stove top potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, corn, corn bread, deviled eggs

b-pancakes, bacon
l-chili with beans, shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream and tortilla chips, peach and blueberry cobblers, homemade ice cream
d-baked potatoes with toppings

b-breakfast in a bowl--crumbled sausage cooked with diced potatoes, eggs and shredded cheese
d-poppyseed chicken casserole,  English peas, green beans, carrots

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paper Dream Winner

Janelmartin, you are the winner of the Paper Dream DVD.  Please email me at with your full mailing address.  Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Busy Hands and Minds....Really!!

We've been keeping our hands busy by moving chicken tractors and constantly watering and feeding 90 Cornish Cross chickens several times a day.  These chicks eat! And with the temps in the 100s this week, watering is extremely important.

I wish watering the garden would insure a good crop, but it seems that our soil (even in the raised beds) and the heat are taking a toll on our garden. I think Jeff has decided that buying fresh produce from friends or farmers' markets would be cheaper for us in the long run.  Despite our meager yields we have been canning green beans, blueberries and making various jams and jellies.  I've dehydrated onions and made caramelized onions that I'll be canning today.  This brings us to the end of a 50 pound bag of onions that we purchased for only 5 bucks.  Yep!!  Good deal!!

We've also bagged up gallons of blueberries and strawberries for use throughout the year.  Today I'll be  making up cranberry applesauce in the crockpots to can later.  I recently bought 40 pounds of apples for about 16 dollars and have lots of cranberries in the freezer.  We love a combination of cranberries and apples, so I am going to use them up!  The cranberries have been in the freezer for 2 years when I found a great deal on them after Christmas and I am diligently trying to use up the frozen fruits and veggies in the freezer so we will have room for those 90 chickens that will be slaughtered in a couple of weeks.

In the dehydrator I've been drying sage, oregano, zucchini and blueberries.  I'll do some of those apples as well.  We love having dried apples on hand for granola and now a new favorite, fried dried apple pies...Oh, My!!

For school, we've been doing at least two days worth of math each day, working on grammar and studying Egypt which involves lots of reading, research and writing for my 15 and 13  year old children.  The 7 year old is working along at his math and phonics and has enjoyed a light bird study this summer.  He is excited about a family trip to the beach next month so he can see some sand pipers and other water birds.  We will also get to visit an Audobon bird sanctuary which is on the island we will be staying on.  We've been reading the Childhood of Famous Americans biography about Audobon for the last few weeks.

I'll stop with a link to a great post by Amy at Homestead Revival.  Some great information.
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