Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cooking In Bulk

Are you sick of hearing that Husband's parents are visiting from Newfoundland this week? I hope not! While the weather is cool I have prepared some baking and meals to take the pressure off myself while we are touring and visiting in the next two weeks. This is something that I do when I know we will be busy, or when I know a friend might be needing some extra meals (ie a baby on the way or my parents during harvest, etc). So this is what I do:

The other day I purchased a few pounds of ground beef and last night I made half of that into meatballs which I baked and froze. I will throw those in the slow cooker with sweet and sour sauce before we leave the house on a busy day of sight-seeing.

Yesterday I made lasagna and chili. My basic meat sauce, chili and lasagna recipes all derive from the same few ingredients to begin with, so it speeds the process to brown the meat and add onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms and then split into batches. I almost always make these meals in large quantity and freeze into smaller portions to use later or give away.

I don't always want the whole can of each type of beans in my chili, so I freeze the remainder to use next time. Yesterday I used up frozen chick peas and kidney beans and added a can of six-bean medley to the chili mixture.

So now I have 3 meals frozen and ready to be thawed whenever I need a quick fix. I also have in the freezer two homemade loaves of bread, a coconut square, and a loaf of pumpkin bread. If I find the time I would like to add buns and a couple dozen cookies to the list but if the weather dries up the yard desperately needs my attention! 

Do you ever prepare meals ahead of time for when you are busy or have a large group to feed?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Basement bathroom

Now I've gone and done it...I've been fiddling around with how to get pictures onto the blog and for the moment they are in all sizes and all over the place. I apologize if things aren't appearing as they should. Unfortunately, this is how I roll!


At any rate, we have completed most of our list before the in-laws arrive in four days. We are excited to see them, and I am excited with how the basement, and its bathroom in particular, is coming together. I got the above "shabby chic" cabinet at my favorite antique and collectible shop. We got new bath sheets for them to use and, when they leave, we will use them in our master bathroom. I'd like Husband's parents to have a bit of luxury while they are here, after all it is the only vacation thay have had since they came to see us over two years ago!

Mirror from Winners (have I ever mentioned that I loooove Winners?)

Three postcards that I bought in Scotland almost....well....nearly twenty years ago. Gulp.

More recently, coat hook/towel hanger also from Winners. 

The bathroom now has a door and trim, although we did not get baseboards installed just yet. We opted to enjoy the summer weather at the lake and leave ourselves some winter projects. The in-laws are not fussy and I'm proud of the job we have done with a limited budget and very limited time and man-power.

Have you had any indoor projects to complete this summer? 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Figuring it Out as We Go

The technical side of blogging is as much fun for me as sorting papers and paying bills. Can't say I love it. All the same, if I'm to keep at this I must try to stay current and learn more about the nuts and bolts. 

This begonia is on my front door step to welcome company. I just took the picture with my new phone and inserted it straight to the blog. Is this how everyone does it?! I knew if I sat down and spent some time trying I could make this easier!

This was just a quick test to see what the  picture and post would look like. Bear with me as I figure this out :)

Summer R and R

Summer is flying by, for us, at a breakneck speed. My two boys and I are used to a casual pace--most days spent at home with a small radius of visits and local doings. It has been a busy, almost hectic, summer, and I've decided to put the brakes on before our next round of company arrives.

We had a wonderful time with my friend's three sons at the start of July. They are ten year old twins and an almost eight year old younger brother. They were helpful, listened well, were respectful of our things, and I daresay we bonded in a way that might have taken years if we hadn't had that time together. I look forward to hosting them for a week every summer if I am able. My own two children were entertained and well looked after with my main task being cooking and cleaning! There was barely a fight or disagreement between mine, which is sadly not our normal habit.

We left the day after our company did and traveled an hour and a half south to where Husband has our camper. He travels for work and we bought the camper years ago for that purpose. Although not as kid-friendly as some, our boys love sleeping in the camper and have had a wonderful time with neighboring children and some old friends they already knew. We have spent hot days at the beach building sand castles and catching (and releasing) minnows in nets and buckets. Playgrounds and fresh air have been top of the list, with a quick two-day return home to mow lawn and visit gramma.

photo from I'm
struggling with new methods to upload photos. It's on the to-do list now that we are home.

I hustled the kids back to the camper even though I knew they were exhausted. We did a few more beach days even though I could tell both boys were catching a cold. The voice in my head was saying "you will spend a long dreaded winter cooped up in your house...stay at the lake and make the most of this beautiful weather". And I listened to that voice for a day longer than I should have. The day we arrived home, 4 year old was tired and sick and I was watching him for swelling (having had protein in his urine for some time). In the night he repeatedly complained of pain in his ear and the next morning we were off to the doctor. Ear infection, as expected.

The four year old likes to have a plan made for tomorrow before he goes to sleep. I told him we are going to get our house clean and tidy for when Nanny and Poppy come from Newfoundland next week. We have our yard to care for and water, and a pond to finish. I would desperately like to do some baking but in this heat I think it will have to wait for a cooler time. He said "I just want to spend time with you and Gramma". So that is what we will be doing--resuming our routine at home and enjoying summer from here. As his ears get better we might venture to a local beach, but we are back to our old ways and I must admit it is a relief.

How is summer shaping up in your neck of the woods?