Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Specifically Summer Part 2

Hello, everyone! Hope the summer is going well so far for you.
I have been having a blast! My younger sister (17 years younger than I!!) is visiting from Taiwan. It has been so wonderful to have her home. She and I get along very well and laugh a lot. Each evening we are up until past midnight, talking and giggling. She'll be here for a few more weeks. Here is a photo of her and her boyfriend (who also lives in Taiwan).

That is why entries have been limited (grin).

Now that summer is in full-swing, we are in the throes of different activities and oddly-scheduled days. The calendar and planner are important items for me at this time especially. You can print free planners from all over the Internet (try Google). Also, Donna Young has some great planners (see sidebar for link).

To keep our house in decent (or semi-decent) order, we continue to use a morning and evening routine. Morning is for making beds, collecting dirty laundry, straightening rooms, putting clean clothes away, and reading our Bibles. Our children have morning & afternoon jobs in addition to the morning routine as follows:
  • Malcom (14) puts away clean dishes in kitchen. Sets table and assists breakfast prep. Makes coffee. Cleans upstairs bathroom after breakfast.

  • Noah (14) and Greyson (11) collect trash from all receptacles in the house and then get it to the outside dumpster. Dump dehumidifier water. Feed and water chickens. Noah cleans downstairs bathroom after breakfast. Greyson washes dishes.

  • Elijah (9) puts away clean silverware. Helps set table. Wipes table after breakfast.

  • Rachel (7) Helps set table for breakfast. Takes care of Sam and makes sure he stays out of trouble. Sweeps after breakfast.

  • John (5) helps momma make her bed and tidy living and dining rooms. Helps clear table after breakfast.

  • Sam (2) does the same as John.

Afternoon Jobs

  • Malcom cleans and tidies the entryway (he uses a list that splits up jobs for the week: Mon: wash door fingerprints Tues: Dust wainscot trim and baseboards Wed: Tidies closet. Thurs: Mops the floor.
  • Noah cleans and straightens the downstairs family room. Jobs are spread through the week just as Malcom's are.
  • Greyson maintains the living room w/ the same concept as the jobs above.
  • Elijah and Rachel set the dinner table and make sure the condiments are put on.
  • John helps a big brother with his jobs.
  • Sam helps a big brother as well.
That much will help things stay sane in the house. It is even better to have an evening routine, which we do, yet at times the long summer days will prevent us from adhering to our plans. We do our best.

A few summer raw foods and other staples in our house are the following:
  • plenty of fresh fruit and veggies
  • fresh salsa, not canned (homemade or Sam's Club fresh salsa). Dice up a tomato and 1/4 of an onion. Chop 1/2 of a jalapeno (or use canned for convenience). Add a dash of salt, some freshly chopped cilantro, and stir. This is delicious! I use salsa to top rice, burritos, salads, etc. This will last a few days in the refrigerator. If you add a tablespoon of lemon juice, it will last a week.
  • frozen fruit. We have picked and frozen almost 10 gallons of local strawberries so far. These are great for homemade smoothies and sorbets! We try to get in-season fruits into the freezer as much as possible.
  • Hot dogs & browned, ground beef. (for meal-prep ease). Browned ground beef can be turned into sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, spaghetti sauce, potpies, stews, etc.
  • Tortilla chips and tortillas (for quick wraps or burritos).
  • Yogurt by the gallon ( see homemade recipe blog entry. Quadruple it to get one gallon). Use the fruit recipe from previous posts to create flavor for the yogurt.
  • Styrofoam cooler (kept in our van at all times). I use this and a freezer pack for keeping a gallon jug of water or other perishable items when we are out and about. This is also used for take-along snacks. The cooler will stay in the van all summer.
  • Paper cups and paper plates. These are great for summer convenience. I like to keep some of these in the van as well along w/ plastic eating utensils. Don't forget the paper towels.
  • Cooked brown and white rice. Great for wraps. You can also blend cooked rice w/ a bit of water to make rice porridge for breakfast (our favorite!). After blending the rice, put in a pan and add more water until porridge is your preferred consistency.
  • Carrot sticks
  • Baby wipes for easy clean up.
Here is a recipe for the mashed beans that we put in our tortillas:
  • 4 cups cooked pinto or black beans
  • 3 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

I throw all of this into a food processor and whiz until a paste forms. We then place about 1/2 of paste in tortillas and wrap them up. If you don't have a food processor, just use your potato masher. You may have to add a bit of water to ease the mashing. It is nice to do a bunch of these and keep them in the refrigerator for quick or portable meals. Try warming them in a covered casserole w/ the oven set at 375 for about 1/2 hour. Serve w/ cheese, salsa, and other toppings. Rice makes a great side dish for the burritos. Yummy.

We have a busy weekend ahead, including our local festival's airshow. The Blue Angels are here this year! They are our favorite. More berry picking may be in store as well.

Enjoy the days!



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