Monthly Archives: April 2012

Menu Plan / Baking Day

M: Ham & Cheese Macaroni Bake

T: Homemade Chicken Patty Sandwiches + Ranch rice

W: Beef Tacos

R: Pork Loin Cutlets + Roasted Potato Wedges

F: Pizza + breadsticks

S: Leftover Buffet

S: Potluck – take dish!

All meals include salad for me, a veggie or two for Kent, and usually a little fruit or yogurt at the end for him.

Every Monday is baking day for me.  Today I pulled a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread out of the freezer and made frosting to top it with.  I dished out 8 parfaits for snacking on and I made a double batch of Avocado Chocolate Pudding.  It sounds gross but that stuff is SO good and a little better for you than the regular kind.

What are you cooking and baking this week?



Money Story Update

I updated Our Money Story just now.  Check it out if you’re new here or have been following our progress.  We’re not quite debt free except the mortgage yet but we’re definitely on the right track.

Goal:  debt free except the mortgage by the end of 2012!

As it says in my little disclaimer at the top of the money page: we share this because we hope to inspire you and help you.  When you’re having a rough time look back at how far we’ve come.  You CAN do this, too!  If you have specific questions or need help we’ll be happy to assist you the best we can.

First Garden Picture and 2011 Archives

I updated the “Garden” page and hope/plan to do a better job keeping it updated this year.  So far I’ve started 3 flats of tomatoes in the house and planted peas in the garden.  I’ve copied and pasted all the old information from the 2011 Garden page here to archive it.

Here’s the garden as of February 2, 2012, long before anything was started.  Current pic to come!



2011 Garden Archive

Harvesting 2010

Various dates: Cucumbers approx. 3#
8/6/10: Potatoes 6.9 oz.
8/6/10: Tomatoes 3# 14.6 oz.
8/9/10: Tomatoes 5# 10.6 oz.
8/11/10: Tomatoes 13# 13.2 oz.
8/11/10: Cucumbers 7.9 oz.
8/12/10: Tomatoes 7# 12.1 oz.
8/14: Tomatoes 7# 2 oz.
8/15: Tomatoes 2# 14.8 oz.
8/16: Tomatoes 3# 6.4 oz.
8/17: Tomatoes 10# 5.5 oz.
8/18: Tomatoes 14# 5.4 oz.
8/19: Tomatoes 9# 11.3 oz.
8/20: Tomatoes 13# 3.3 oz.
8/22: Tomatoes 10# 9.5 oz.
8/24: Tomatoes 19# 10.6 oz.
8/25: Tomatoes 16# 13.5 oz.
Running totals: Cucumbers 3# 7.9 oz., Potatoes 6.9 oz., Tomatoes 108# 7.8 oz.

Planting 2010

6/20/10: Purple Podded Pole Beans – 1 package (east half)
Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans – 1 package (west half)

6/22/10: True Gold Sweet Corn – 1 package of minimum 125 seeds (far south)

Eggs 2010

8/11/10: 8  (7 – cracked one)
8/17/10: 4
8/18/10: 4
8/19/10: 7
8/20/10: 2
8/25/10: 4


Is your garden still in the planning stage?  If you’re already playing in the dirt what are you planting?

It All Starts With A Butter Knife


So… last week I asked my dear husband to haul our dishwasher out to the road.  He obliged.  I’m pretty sure someone took it before the garage men came.

It wasn’t broken.  Okay, it did have a hiccup where it didn’t always run water when the element got hot so I only used it when I was home, just in case it decided to go dry and start smoking.  That’s not why I wanted it gone though.

Truthfully, after being so happy to get that thing, I hardly used it.  I can say with confidence that it hadn’t been used more than half a dozen times since I went down to part-time at work… so for well over a year.  I found myself running it from time to time just so it didn’t start to smell, and we used it when we had guests for Thanksgiving.  Other than that it just sat there taking up valuable space.

So, do we have piles of dishes sitting everywhere?  Do we constantly bicker over who’s turn it is to wash them?  Nope and nope.  Our sink is usually shiny, clean, and empty!  Here’s a warning in case I never told you:  if you happen to drop in for a visit and there are dirty dishes in the sink – run!  It’s a sure sign of a bad or crazy day around here!

What do we do?  We use a dish wand.  It’s always loaded with soap and sits right behind the faucet.

Have a dirty dish or cup?  Run a bit of water over it.  Grab dish wand.  Scrub.  Flip.  Repeat.  Run a bit of water over it.  Place in drying rack.  Whoa, like 5 seconds went by.

Now I know what you’re thinking… what about hot water.  Our tap gets hot pretty fast so if we have a few dishes to wash in a row, even over several minutes, we still get some hot in there.  If it’s just one random cup the water is mostly cold.  It still cleans well and is not a big deal.  We soak anything that’s seriously stuck on anyway.

There is a trick to making this system work.  It all starts with a butter knife, thus the title.  It is very tempting to just drop that thing in the sink and walk away.  I’ll catch it the next time.  Riiiight.  Except guess what happens?  I come back with a cup and think, oh, there’s already a knife to wash and Kent is mad and I really don’t have time to wash two things so I’ll do it later.  Or, Brian comes along and sees the knife and figures I’ll be back to wash it so he’ll leave his cup there, too.

Really, it’s amazing.  I’ve tried it both ways.  No one wants to be the first one to put a dirty dish in a nice clean sink!  Usually for something as small as a knife the dish wand is wet enough to just scrub it and then use a little trickle of cold water to rinse it.

On baking day I make an exception and fill the sink with soapy water so I can drop the measuring cups and things in as I go and scrub them while things rise or bake.  Other than that we each just wash our plates and things as we go.

This is what works for us.  How do you handle dishes in your house?

This post is linked to:

Thankful Homemaker’s Weekly Link-Up

Homestead Barn Hop

DIY Accomplished Link-Up

Spring Tree Sale Order

For reference, and because tomorrow is the last day so if you’re local you might want to order! Access it at

Tuscola Conservation District Spring Tree Sale Order:

Concord Seedless Grapes – 5

Fameuse (Snowapple) Apple Tree – 1

Granny Smith Apple Tree – 1

Rubel Blueberry – 5

Heritage Everbearing Red Raspberry – 10

In a few years we’ll have so much yummy food! 🙂