Triple Clicks

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Summer Project Number 2

 I have a few summer projects on the list for this summer, I just have to wait for summer.

Number 1 is the garden.  Well out of the 20 something  tomatoes we planted-9 have survived so far...  We'll see if they make it another month.

Number 2 is the girl's room.  

This is the biggest project I think-even with the mess in the backyard.

When Dinah was born last year, we knew we would have some major rearranging done within the next 12 or so months.  

Honestly the first project is getting the toys out of the room.  Hubby is working on that-cleaning out an unused office room.  

I'm working on organizing the girl's room.  We've gone through toys a few times.  Now it's time for clothes... I've been reading blogs, watching vlogs, working my way through Pinterest.  Trying to get ideas. I finally decided to buy cube shelves-4 for each girl-that would hold everything but their dresses. I bought some for the boys and they are working great.


Plans are great-those plans did not work out. 

I should have bought the shelves before the lockdowns.  Because apparently being stuck in your house makes you organize... The price has not only shot up, but they are actually hard to find.

So now we have moved to plan number two...  I bought two wire utility shelves.  They are coming.  So here's my plan.  I'm going to make cardboard cube boxes from our excess boxes and make them pretty with excess fabric.  They will all be labeled and be able to be used as drawers to help keep them organized.

The shelves will be here next week, the second bunk bed will be down the road this summer.  But hubby and I sat down with a room plan to figure out where the new bunk bed will go-because I don't want to move the shelves if I don't have to. 😆

Now that I've gotten my plan laid out... that's all for now.

Have a great Easter!


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Learning To Garden


We're at it again. We are learning to garden.  

I've been researching on the best way to start seeds..  Two years ago when I planted a garden we almost lost half our tomatoes because of frost (I was able to salvage and finish ripening in the house.  So seedlings it is...  I also figure if I kill these-then I can sew straight in the ground.  Back up plans ya know. 

I have no idea what I'm doing.  So the kids are experimenting with me.  

We have 18 Eva Bell Tomatoes (like beefsteak, I get my seeds from Seed Saver), 18 cherry tomatoes and hopefully 18 bell peppers.  

Now.. I think I may have thinned out too soon-but I did it for two reasons.. From watching YouTube videos, it seemed that using toilet paper tubes were a great option.   Ummm no.. ours found mold... so I took them out, thinned and just replanted.. So hopefully I didn't shock the young seedlings-or seeds..   

I also found the past few days that once they sprout, I need to take the greenhouse part off.... So I took it off.  The plastic wrap is over the bell peppers that haven't sprouted-not sure why, but they haven't (this is week 3).  

So my little greenhouse thingy...  I wasn't thinking when I thinned out the tomatoes... and completely mixed up my Eva Bells and my cherries.  *face palm*. 

I also realized this morning that we are going to have issues if all of these survive because this year I have very little space in my one little raised garden bed....  If they all survive, I have to give some away... I can't tell anybody what they are getting lol.  Oops.  But we overplanted because my seeds are old.. like I don't remember when I bought them old.. 

On top of this experiment, we will be working with the yard to build up the soil into something useful this summer.  

I found this  really awesome book on my shelf by Better Homes and Gardens.  All about gardening... ok, more so about "pretty gardening" than "useful gardening" (veggies and the like).  But it had some useful tips-like how to revive your soil..  While my arthritis and back much agree with the raised gardening idea.... my budget is laughing at me-so we are going to work all year to revive our back yard soil.  Our back yard used to be a driveway... so from the top down we have crabgrass, top soil, rocks, more top soil and clay under that.  But I am determined and that's the best way to be when trying something new, right?  Plus, when I planted elderberry bushed last year 22 out of 25 survived and we were able to harvest.  So there's good there!

So here's the plan (I'd take a picture and show you...but it's all snow out there....)  Till up soil a foot down, let the kids have fun and get out as many rocks as they can, till it up again-probably two or three more times with the same process.   After we get out at least the majority of the rocks we are going to start fertilizing.  While we don't have fresh cow/chicken poop (and I've no desire to go find nor spread...), we do have a ton of kitchen compost, leaves and sticks to wood chip..and a dog.  So that's how we're are going to build up our soil... Apparently you make your garden patch your dumping ground for compost for a year-till it up every month or so and just let God do his job in fertilizing. 

So that's the plan...  Guess we'll see how it works.  Because I have no idea what I'm doing.  

This year, we'll be using my raised garden bed and probably a few food grade five gallon buckets-mostly for potatoes.   I'll keep you updated.  

Have a great week! (month? lol)


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Simplifying Homeschool

 Our homeschool journey the last 5 years has been an interesting one.  

I started off thinking I could completely school our children through high school for free.   

                    I still mostly agree with that,  but you have to accept whatever curriculum is out there for                             free.   There are some things I'm not willing to compromise on (like science).   

Then we heard a sermon that convinced us we needed to invest what we could in our kid's school.  Pick a curriculum and make it work for us.  

                        Again,  yes-partially,  The more we invest in their education the better it will be.  But not                         just monetarily-we (more me, because I'm mom and teacher, but hubby has been a                                     HUGE help this year with fractions and science).  We stopped Abeka after 1st grade                                 because the math drove our older son crazy with the spiral method.  We stopped Abeka                         with our oldest daughter in the middle of first grade because she wasn't understanding                           phonics and English.  They have both thrived in A.C.E. PACES for the past years.  

Last year I let our two oldest pick their sciences.. both of which subjects got us away from PACES a little bit.  Our son chose anatomy.. I went through Answers in Genesis and found an awesome study published by Master Books he is absolutely enjoying.  Our daughter chose animals.... Now, we wanted her to get a good foundation in animals, as Christians that means she needs to learn what evolution is and says and why God says it's wrong.  We went through Institute for Creation Research.  Now, these are awesome books, with great information-but they are definitely not written for any kind of textbook style-more like a parent read to children, or for teenagers or adults.   But that's ok, because we are making she understands it.  

Throughout the year, I have been blessed with mommas (and other homeschool parents) who take their hard work making workbooks for their kids and giving them away whether through their websites or as part of massive giveaways that happen a few times throughout the year.  

I have been realizing this year with the financial hardships that have come with the rest of the craziness, that we need to have school TEXTBOOKS that are more sustainable that the common workbooks.  Yes, workbooks are SO MUCH EASIER.  They can just write in them and be done.  I'm going to miss that.  But, we have 6 children.  Only 4 of which are in school... There are still two more that will need school.  We need something sustainable.  So, we are getting more sustainable school resources.  Whether it's through a digital file we can then reprint, through a textbook we can reuse, or through a workbook used as a textbook (yes, I understand it's frowned upon in the publisher world, I'm doing the best I can).  

So how are we simplifying?  

English.  McGuffey's Readers for English/Literature/Spelling/Cursive/Phonics-everything under the English label can be found in those wonderful old books.  We also have other novels and books we can use for literature and if we need help with reading comprehension, then I can read the book and make a study guide if there isn't one available.  I'm also saving ALL of the rules from the English PACES my son is doing so I have them-English rules are not my strong point.  

Math. We already have a ton of math books (what can I say? my husband and I are a bit on the nerdy side).   We just have to bridge a few gaps with awesome worksheets from Math Drills.  It's also great if somebody is having problems grasping a concept, then we can stop, print off some extra work until it's mastered.  

Science.  Honestly,  this was one of the hardest.  We have a ton of books-but they are all evolution based.. And while these books will be awesome once they get established in why God says evolution is wrong... For now, we can't use them.  But, we have an awesome basic anatomy study I have pieced together through so many different giveaways, I also have a coloring book I can print off to teach them the different organs and bones and such.  We now have a bit more advanced anatomy book that teaches in depth in the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.  I have discovered Science Shepherd this past year thanks to their generosity through a giveaway.   This can replace the books I purchased from ICR.  Also, if we like them (which I think we will), they have courses all the way through high school for a very affordable price.  

Bible Reading... For the kids (and me), I have been enjoying the PACE Bible workbooks.  My husband reminded me we have the ability to teach them the same thing-we just have to trust God to give us the words.... I don't know if I can do this-BUT GOD CAN!!!! 

Social Studies.... Alright... so Social Studies/history..  WHAT is it called now?  Well, for the older kids, we were, again, blessed with an entire 120 year span of modern history curriculum through a giveaway and the hard work of Bonnie Rose at Write Bonnie Rose.   Our 2nd grader will get state history and geography through worksheets and a book we have the shelf (garage sales are awesome).  I'm still debating a world geography study for the bigger kids.   Again-we have a book-and a globe for that!  And workbooks I can piece together through different giveaways.

Cursive.. This is one of those subjects we were adamant our kids would learn. We've been using Abeka..  but this year, I'm making my own worksheets and teaching our will be 5 year old.  (Pray for me).  I know there are a ton of cursive generators on the web and I might just end up doing that.  I haven't really decided.  But she is adamant she will learn to read and to write cursive next year.  😂😂  

I would ABSOLUTELY love to get fun books to go along with some of these from Dover Pulications or Critical Thinking Co..  But that honestly depends on the funds available.  (Critical Thinking does actually have their own curriculum sets if you are interested.) 

While that doesn't sound like much simplifying-especially since the majority of it means I get to print, laminate covers, and then bind... Not to mention come up with a way to keep track of grades and so on and so forth...  It will be simplifying for our budget.  And from what I've seen from what I bound today (some math, the history from Write Bonnie Rose and Introductory Science from Science Shepherd), the kids should be able to do the majority on their own...  The McGuffeys readers, to move on the next lesson, they need to master spelling and the reading of the lesson... in older grades part of the mastery is correct inflection and voice so all of that work is read aloud. They will all learn and be reinforced in taking turns. 

Again, I don't know if I can do this-but God can!!! 

So.. here's looking to next school year (2021-2022) with a 5th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader, K5er, 3 year old and 1 year old along for ride!!! 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

HomeSchool Organization

 With all the remote learning happening this year, there are a lot of seasoned homeschoolers posting what they do, to help the newbies and the parents thrown into remote learning figure it out.  

So I figured I'd throw in my two cents.  

First off, we don't have a homeschool room... We don't have a homeschool corner.  We have a homeschool shelf.  

Yep. That's it.  That's our home school stuff.  4 Kids learning, my teacher books and a few office things for my hubby and I.  

The kids have fold-able chairs that have desks on them (Think college chairs with the tiny desk... but the desks are a tiny bit bigger).  Or they can grab a clipboard and go sit on their beds or on the couch as long as I can read their writing-though they usually don't because the 2 year old thinks that's an invitation for help. 😁😂

So let's start at the bottom-a good place to start since that's the picture that loaded. LOL  Please keep your eyes focused on the shelf-not mess all around it.   

Years ago when we started with Abeka, I took to Pinterest and found this really awesome organizing idea for Abeka.  Now, Abeka writes their curriculum for their school in Florida-it's the same curriculum that homeschoolers utilize. It has 170 lessons.. Figuring you do one lesson a day-that's 170 days of school.  Pretty typical for at school study..Not so typical for homeschool unless you are in a state that requires a certain number of days or hours-thank the good Lord, we are not.   You see those two black crates?  The one on the left holds 1st grade Abeka for Grace, our 6 year old.  The one on the right holds preschool papers for our 4 year old who is insistent on learning to read just like everybody else.  (and I just realized I didn't proofread my last post. Oy vey.) So Abeka organization.  Each girl has their own milk crate (that's what we called them in the olden days lol).  Each crate has a bunch of hanging folders, no I don't know how many somewhere around 40.  With Grace's, each hanging folder holds enough for one week of work.  In Grace's case, we are starting the year off with two lessons a day of phonics and math.  She reads 3-4 stories in the readers a day (we'll get to that shelf in a minute), along with a page of cursive and reading with mom about community helpers, basic history and basic health.  Sometimes Hannah joins us for the reading, sometimes she doesn't-she doesn't have to at this point.  So when we start the morning all I have to do is grab two folders, take the papers out and get her started.  Hannah's preschool papers are in the other milk crate.  Like Grace's, each hanging folder has one week of work, in each folder, I already have days presorted so all I have to do is grab a paperclip full and I get Hannah started.  At the end of the day, I record any grades needed for Grace then the papers go in the back of one of the milk crates-we'll clean those out when we are done next year.   We keep tests, or any fun pictures they drew, the rest either go to the burn barrel, recycle bin.. or if the pages are blank on the back, they go to the color box and get colored on the back side.  Grandparents love seeing the pictures and the school work.

The second shelf up.  Starting on the left we have Elijah's coloring books-he knows which box is his and can get out his own coloring books.  He's getting used to losing his playmates almost all day right now-it's a rough adjustment for a two year old.  The rest of our boxes are extra PACEs for Andrew and Eva.  We have the whole year worth of school at home and ready to go.   The test and next PACE are easy to grab and Andrew and Eva know where to go if they have to get something without me available.   My sorters are cereal boxes.. I asked some friends to gather cereal boxes all summer for me to be able to organize everything and I'm short just a few, but we have a few cereal boxes we are working through..  I'm finding the family size boxes are a must, they fit the PACEs just perfect without needing to bend them at all.  That idea came from Andrea Mills-she uses plastic bins from Dollar Tree, but cereal boxes work great.  We've gotten fancy with boxes that have survived 4 or 5 years and covered them with shelf paper... But honestly, that's a luxury right now and needed-but it is fun. 

Ok, so we're going to focus on the top shelf in this picture-only halfway up the bookshelf right now.  On the left we have Grace's books.  If we are missing something in her box down below, we figure out what it is from these books.   This box also has her cursive book and the readers she does with me.  The next box is the readers she reads to me.   The next two "spots" are Eva's.  It has her PACEs, readers for literature, cursive, planner and her science workbook.  She knows where everything is and can get to everything herself.  The rest of the shelf is Andrew's.  His readers, PACEs, textbooks (science and math) and binders with worksheets (state study, math and science). He also managed to stuff his planner in there somewhere.   

As I'm sitting here looking at this arrangement I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to fit more PACEs on this shelf along with Elijah's preschool next year...  But, let's do one year at a time. 

Ok, Here's the last of the organization.  The top two shelves...that I'm going to show you anyway, we'll discuss the very top of the bookshelf...but I can't reach up there without a ladder.. because I'm short lol.  

All right, let's start on the bottom shelf in this picture.  On the left is a box that holds electronics... This is up a little higher because Andrew and Eva aren't allowed on their Kindles without permission... So that box keeps them hidden from sight, and in plain view of mom and dad so we can make sure everyone is behaving.  We have a little writing board that we keep track of memory verses on.  Flash card sets we use every day (more on that in a bit), the oatmeal box holds pencils (mechanical and normal), extra un-sharpened pencils, erasers, handheld pencil sharpeners (we have an electric one hidden from the two year old on a back part of the desk-he keeps trying to sharpen the super hero legs....).  On the right is an Osmo Kindle system... The kids got it last year for Christmas... I can't figure the fool thing out so there it sits.  In the gray case is a Robinson Curriculum set.  Back when I was homeschooled (late '90s), Robinson Curriculum came on CDs.  Well-that's the WHOLE set.   So if we ever need a 1828 dictionary or literature books to print off instead of buying, there it is.  Robinson is a very reading heavy curriculum, the CDs hold McGuffey Readers, cursive and hundreds of out of copyright books you can read on your computer or print off.  We didn't have that when we first started or we probably would have started with that stuff honestly.  Robinson also recommends using Saxon math from the beginning-so the CDs don't hold math.   That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  We have printed some books off the CDs before, but not many.  

The top shelf hold my stuff.  My teacher book-with Answer Key for Andrew's science.  The next binder over holds all of the first grade Abeka teacher things.. Honestly, I don't touch the teacher books unless I can't explain something using the papers... But when I bought the first grade readers second hand the lady had all the teacher's books there too.  So we have them.  The box (again, a cereal box) holds the teacher version of the first grade readers-they mostly have extra reading comprehension questions in them.  Then we have more answer keys.  The next binder is mom's planner.... Ummm more first grade teacher keys ( many teachers books do they need why can't they just put it ALL IN ONE PLACE?!!?).  Now, you see those juice containers? Well, those are what you buy frozen juice concentrate in-they make GREAT pencil holders.  The rest of that shelf is office things for hubby and I. 

Now the very top of our bookshelf is a little messy.  It's holding a broken laptop (loooooong story), extra spiral bound notebooks,  a big box holding a ton of flashcards we may or may not need, and a microscope.  

We pull down two things every school morning, the oatmeal box with pencils and the milk container with colored pencils-it's home is somewhere else. 

Honestly, this is working awesome.  All the kids know where to go for what they need.  Andrew and Eva had to get out tests and the next PACEs today and could find them easily.  It's easy for them to get to my books I need if I need them to get it for me.. I am loving this setup.  We might have to add another shelf next year-but we are definitely going to stick with this set up.  I can completely understand why Andrea Mills used this set up.  The only thing I'm missing is a certain box to put in that day's papers until I can sort them.  But we'll get that when I can clean some more-which depends on what needs baked/cooked and how Dinah is doing.  She is still having many grumpy days at 2 months old-but doing awesome.   

Thanks for reading!! I hope this helped if you needed the help.

Any questions?  Go ahead and ask. I'll answer as soon as I'm able!  Thanks for reading! 


Saturday, September 5, 2020

It's School Time Again!

 So much has been happening around here this year.   But hey, that's just sums up 2020 right?  A whole lot of nothing it seems.. Everybody is busy just trying to keep some sort of sanity about them.  

We ended up starting school later than I would have liked-but that's ok, plans change.  Honestly, the best way for me keep my sanity with homeschooling is to remember to be a little flexible... If I'm too flexible, then things fall apart and we don't get anything done.  So we still have to have our plan.

So what are we doing for school this year?  

Andrew is in 4th grade.. He's doing  a variety of Ace PACES, Answers in Genesis for science, Saxon for math and a homemade state study. 

He loves the PACES.  I love the PACES. I LOVE how there's pretty much no planning involved and it's mostly independent... But we needed some subjects that are a little more reusable for the rest of the kids-making it a little more affordable..  So we dropped ACE PACEs for science.  He really wanted to learn about the human body, so we shopped around online looking at reviews and found one that's Bible based and not teaching him about certain anatomy features he's not quite ready for.    The one we chose was Answers in Genesis.  God's Wondrous Machine. It teaches about the mind, respiratory and circulatory.  I am LOVING this.  Everything was all planned out and pretty much ready for us to start when we got it.  It's written for ages 8-12, and has different levels planned in-you just have look and decide which level is right for your child..  It also makes it easy to use a family study, or as a study more than one child can use the books for at a time.   The Saxon math.... Well, we're getting used to it.  Andrew is getting used to having more word problems and learning how to write and solve equations along with using a text book instead of a workbook.  The state study.. When I was in school, 4th graders learned about the state.. Apparently it's more traditional to wait a few more years around here.  Oh well...  I also found out that when it comes to homeschoolers and state studies, you are on your own.   So I grabbed a couple of our tourist books, found a few great websites and delved in.. We have a section on governors, a section on the history of the state and a section of each region.   I wrote it as an independent study and so far he's having some fun with it.. It will only last about 12 weeks, but that's ok.  I think Andrew's biggest problem this year will be the transition from workbooks to textbooks.

Eva is in 3rd grade.  She is mostly in PACEs, but her science is through Institute for Creation Research. Eva is also finishing up Abeka cursive.  Ok, the science I am regretting a bit... I did as soon as I saw the books..   But we are making the best of it and although it's a little difficult for her, she's doing her best and even enjoying it.  We bought the pack of Guide To Books but left out the Universe and the Human Body.  I had to go through and write a workbook and the tests to these books.  While I love the information given, these were NOT written as curriculum kind of book-at least not for independent study.  But I had spent my budget so we went with what we had.  Next year I'll probably buy something from AiG for an animsl study better fitted to how we do school.  

Grace is in 1st grade.  She is all Abeka and doing great in it.  Grace is learning independent study this year... and keeps having to redo something when she forgets to read instructions.  

Hannah is working her way through the alphabet.  She's insistent she needs to learn to read soon... So she has great motivation to learn her letters and their sounds.  Hannah is 4.

Two year old Elijah is along for the ride.  He has special coloring books just for school along with reusable stickers.  

Baby Dinah makes things interesting. LOL

My biggest fear with homeschooling is that we'll miss something.   That's mostly why we're using a curriculum for hte base subjects..  But even with that, we missed something.  Andrew and Eva do not have a good foundation with addition and subtraction.  Completely my fault as mom/teacher.  So, we are working on flashcards.  I'm fixing the issue with Grace as she starts in addition this year.  I think as an adult I have so much engrained in me (such as basic math) that I forget that it had to be taught to me.   Unfortunately for our older kids, they seem to be the "guinea pigs".   

But I'm just being truthful with them.... Yesterday went something like... Ok guys, we didn't do this right, we need to stop, take a step back and do it right.  I put our flashcards in order (we have Abeka sets for addition and subtraction... honestly debating ordering for multiplication-we have division flashcards) and paid attention to what problems we were on when they started have to pause for longer than a few seconds or started counting on their fingers.  We got pretty far in addition, subtraction wasn't so easy.  But we'll get it.  One day at a time.  I had a friend explain to me the importance of the speed drills-I didn't fully understand then, I understand now... They need to know those addition and subtraction problems without batting an eye to make it once they get to the harder stuff.  

As for me.. I'm learning some Anatomy right along with Andrew.   I am still searching for a planner I like that will fit all the kids-plus more.  I have yet to find it.  This year my planner is basically notebook papers with the days labeled, what week of school we are in.  Everybody is color coded.  Which is helping a lot as I can just glance real quick and see who has to do what.  I have a ton of blank notebook papers in my binder as well, for notes, grades or other miscellaneous things that pop into my head.  Once we're through this calendar year, I'll add my meal and life planner to the same notebook-though this is more monthly than daily.  That way it's all in the same notebook.  Merissa over at Little House Living just shared her planner and I think I need to go play on excel and see what I can make, I loved the layout of hers, but I much prefer a regular notebook size as my eyes aren't so great.  

Andrew and Eva also have planners this year instead of the goal cards like ACE uses.  I loved those goal cards the past few years, but I wanted something I didn't have to remember to print out every few weeks when I did school planning.  So we printed off a calendar.  Next year I will probably just do a full year calendar so they can dates they want to remember even for our days we don't have school-such as birthdays or events at church or whatever.  I'll do a post on our planners, too.  

I'm working on another post about how we are organizing things this year, this one seems to be a bit long as it is. 

I don't get much of a chance to sit down and type anymore...  For instance, this post took me 6 hours,  I'm sitting rocking Dinah in the bouncy chair as I finish typing this.. Supervising home ec (Eva's learning to bake cookies), and grading PACEs as Andrew gets them done... He didn't get done with his school this week so he gets to finish on Saturday...   

Anyway.. I don't get much of a chance anymore, but I'll be here when I can.  


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Starting Life At a "New Normal"

 It seems like everybody is using that phrase lately "new normal"....  

My brother picked up a phrase somewhere when we were growing up "normal is just a setting on a dryer".  Well, it's true.  Your normal is going to be vastly different from my normal.  My husband's normal is different from my normal-simply because his work and school is on the computer and out delivering mail, while my normal is very much attempting to keep up life around the house.   

We are still working on figuring out grocery shopping with the whole mask thing...  The kids can't really go in a grocery store with me, so we're doing what we can through grocery pickup, Schwans and local stores where I can shop more often, then getting big ticket items like baking and meat at Sam's or specialty stores in Sioux Falls so we can buy as much as we can in bulk... Aldi is very much a novelty right now.. I miss it so much, it's so hard to swallow the prices I have to pay at other stores when I know Aldi is cheaper-but I have to do what I can and priority is feeding us all.

We had the baby June 20th..  She came fast and early.  Little girl Dinah is already defying daddy lol.. He kept saying "you can't come on a Saturday, I have to work on Saturdays" (he's a rural mail carrier in the area, is normal days are Saturdays).  Well.. She came at 2:25 AM on a Saturday morning. Poor daddy was tired for work that day.   But she did wait until I had cinnamon rolls in the freezer! LOL  I didn't get many dinner freezer meals, but our church family is awesome and helped out with dinners.  We were able to get back TO church right before Dinah came, so that was a blessing also.  

Dinah is our first colicky baby, it's been a long 8 weeks, but I think we're finally getting the colic and tummy problems under control.  I'm still usually fixing something different for meals for me from everybody else, apparently dairy is a huge a trigger for colic.  Dinah usually lasts about half an hour sitting in the swing or the bouncy seat -or until somebody comes and starts messing with her. lol She doesn't like too much touching and isn't a fan of the baby carrier.  

We have been rearranging the house to try and give me a better pantry along with a shelf that just for school stuff... It's slow going, but we're getting there.  We're also gearing up to start school in a few weeks, just waiting on the rest of our books.  

Our biggest adjustment to this "new normal" is grocery shopping.   It's no longer a straight 4 weeks I can shop for anymore,  I can't take the kids in stores anymore as most of our area stores have a policy of one person per cart or/and masks... Have you tried to keep a mask on 4 kids for 45 minutes? Yeah...not happening...  Without the help of my big kids or my husband shopping for a month at a time isn't happening.  It's also pretty much impossible to soothe a newborn with a mask on.  So I go to Sam's every 8ish weeks,  get as much as my freezer or shelves can accommodate,and stop there.  A week or so later I go to the butcher and get 40 pounds of beef, 20 or so pounds of chicken, bacon out the wazoo-I think around 40 pounds.. and anything else we need.   I fill in with Walmart, Amazon pantry, Aldi and the local store as I'm able or need to.  Thankfully we have Dollar General in town so I can get MOST of my cleaning supplies there.  

My meal planning, baking and cooking has changed...  Before Dinah came I was making most everything from scratch, it was really fun learning new techniques and the food was amazing..  But let's face it, there's only so much time with a newborn... So I have to start slow again.  Cinnamon rolls are my first thing to get back into... Noodles will be the next, homemade spaghetti noodles are the best.  I had been frying our own tostadas and chips, but that's been difficult with the baby so I'll try baking them I saw instructions on Pinterest, I just have to find them again. 

This go round is really the first time since April I've been able to plan meals ahead of time..  Most of the summer was spent blindly shopping, then planning from what I bought. Because of the sporadic shopping I'm able to do, I'm planning for 7 weeks...  When I get low on flour, we'll go back to Sam's...  and fill in everywhere else as needed.  

Right now, it's super important I keep up with exactly what is in my pantry and freezers.. So making those detailed lists will come this week sometime.  

One thing at a time, one day at a time.  God will help us through.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1  To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.  


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Nachos are yummy. 

Homemade tortilla chips are yummy.

Nachos with homemade tortillas chips? Perfection. 

I don't know about y'all, but food is getting hard to find at our little grocery store and the stores in the city have a lot of social distancing rules going on making it near impossible for me at 29 weeks pregnant to get the food we need. 

So I'm getting inventive. 

I've tried homemade tostadas before and they just haven't turned out right.  But when I couldn't find tortilla chips but I could find corn tortillas, I decided to give it another try. 

I initially bought a package of 80 corn tortillas for $3.  Every time I made chips, I used 2 cups of coconut oil (we buy it in bulk from Bulk Apothecary), 20 tortillas and a bit of salt.  20 tortillas gave me about 160 chips. 

So how do you do it?  Pull out a skillet and put your oil in, heat your oil until it's sizzling... While it's heating, get your tortillas cut-I cut the stack in 6-8 pieces depending on how big you like your chips, I do 8.  Lay out a sheet pan with paper towels for draining the oil off.  Once your oil is hot enough, start adding your chips.  I put a few in at a time until I know the oil is hot enough, then I do enough at a time to fill up the pan. 
Now, I don't have a thermometer to keep the oil at the perfect temperature, so I just pay close attention, remember the longer your oil is on the hot burner, the hotter it's going to get, so you may need to adjust the burner temperature.  It takes me about 20 minutes to get through the batch.
Don't mind the dirty stove... It needs a good scrubbing again. 
I let the tortillas stay on one side until I can either see a bit of brown around the edges or until it stops sizzling as much-you'll hear the difference.. then flip them and do it over again.  How long you leave them in also depends on how done you like your chips.  I usually end up burning the last few pan fulls in the batch, but they still taste scrumptious. 
After I get a few batches on the sheet pan I'll put some salt on and just toss after they cool off enough to handle.  I was putting salt on each batch as they were fresh from the pan, but they were too salty for us. 

To make tostada shells, just do the same thing, except don't cut your tortillas, put them in the pan whole. 

That's it, you're done.  Easy peasy. 

Sit down and enjoy the chips of your labor... Unless of course your kids eat them all.. In which case, gobble them up while you can.