Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Family Grain Mill

I love my new grain mill. I used it for the first time on Saturday and made rolls with the flour. I see that I am going to have to tweak my bread recipes for the whole wheat, but I am ok with that. I am going to try and make a new bread each week to really get a feel for the wheat. It is definitely different, more rustic.

Here is the mill in action:


It's loud, but no louder than a vacuum cleaner and it didn't take very long to grind 7 cups of flour, maybe 5 minutes (which is probably too long of an estimate).

I took these wheat berries and I got...


This was neat. The flour can be ground straight into a measuring cup.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

About a year ago a friend gave me the starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I followed the directions perfectly and got the most yummy bread. It is along the lines of banana bread or zucchini bread or maybe a coffee cake.

Unfortunately, making two loaves of this high calorie bread every 10 days gets old, quickly. It is also easy to run out of people to give the starter to. So, the last time I made it, about 6 months ago, I froze the starter instead of passing it out and making more bread.

Last Monday, a co-worker of mine asked me if I knew how to make the starter because she wanted to make the bread. That was when I remembered I had the starters in the freezer. I gave her one and decided to make one for the family. So, watch out. I have starter to give away!

Here is how to do it if you receive a starter from a friend:
*Note: Do not use metal utensils or metal bowls. Do not refrigerate the starter.

Day 1: This is the day you receive the starter. Do nothing to the batter on this day.

Day 2: Squish the bag thoroughly. (If the bag starts to blow up on any of the days, just let the air out.)

(See the bubbles? Those are good. You want those.)

Day 3: Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 4: Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 5: Guess what? Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk to the bag. Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 7: Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 8: Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 9: Squish the bag thoroughly.
Day 10 (AKA baking day): Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk and squish it all up. Take out three cups of the starter out of the bag and put into individual gallon bags in one cup increments. In other words, put one cup of starter in each bag. You can give these bags away to people you know, or don't know. You can freeze* them and start them over at a later date.

It's over! You get to bake your bread today!

I found this new recipe for the starter and decided to try it. I decided to put some apples in the bread today because apples and fall go together.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil (you can substitute half the oil with some sort of fruit puree.)
1 tsp. vanilla

I also added in 2 tart apples (averaging one for each loaf), peeled, cored, and diced (you can also change the fruit or add no fruit at all).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Take the remaining starter and put it into a bowl.
2. Add all the wet ingredients to it, except the apples, and mix thoroughly.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Fold in the apples
6. Grease 2 loaf pans and sprinkle the bottom and sides generously with cinnamon sugar.

(Can you see the cinnamon sugar on the side of the bread? Kind of?)

7. Divide batter equally, as best you can, between the pans.
8. Bake for 50 minutes or until done. (use a toothpick or a clean knife.)

*Variations: Try pumpkin puree with some raisins or carrots and raisins. Substitute half the white flour for whole wheat. Use brown sugar instead of white or half and half. This is a base recipe, play with it.

*About freezing: if you freeze your starter, it won't freeze solid. It stays mushy. When you take it out of the freezer, let it sit out for an hour or two to come to room temperature. At this point, you can either use it immediately to bake with or you can let this be day one and start the 10 day process over.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I had two exams over the last week. I got one of the results back on Monday and the other back yesterday.

American History: B
Principles of Biology: C

I am really happy about the History grade. I almost dropped the class on Monday because of being so overwhelmed. Kind of glad I didn't.

The Biology grade is really ticking me off. I thought I did better than that. I don't know why I am having such a hard time with Biology.

If anyone has any good study techniques, PLEASE let me know.

Here is one for you: I found this site a couple of weeks ago and it is really neat. It is Quizlet.com. You can make flashcards on the site and then you can play games with those terms and it will generate practice tests. I am going to start using it a lot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Love Lucy

My new wheat grinder is supposed to be here today and it got me thinking about making everything from scratch, which is my dream. It got me thinking about an I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel decide to make a deal with their husbands and be "pioneer women." It is really funny.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The New Curriculum

This will be our first week using our new curriculum. I ordered the same curriculum L was using at school so the transition would be easy and he would already know what is expected. Hopefully, this won't backfire.

For math we are using Saxon Math. Saxon is a great program if you start with it from the beginning, or at least at a younger age. They teach things a little differently and use strange wording, which makes it hard helping the older kids because I don't have the saxon knowledge to help them. The teacher's manual is GREAT! It explains things very well, so far. I ordered the kit from Rainbow Resource. They had a great price and it came with the basics you need for the year. If you homeschool, you need to order the Rainbow Resource bible catalog. It's GIGANTIC and full of such wonderful information.

The teacher's manual is on the right. As you can see, they are both a good size.

For English we are going to give Shurley English a try. I have heard it is hard to use, which worries me and I know absolutely nothing about it. Luckily, even if I don't know how to use it, my eight year old does. He will be able to tell me how to do it, I hope.

Anybody else think it's weird the Teacher's Manual is 3 times the size of the
student workbook?!?

For everything else we are using Core Knowledge. I love Core Knowledge. I did order the teacher's books and worksheets from the company. With both the Hubby and I in school, I need this to be as easy as possible.

I will check back in soon and let you all know how it's going and what my thoughts are on the curriculum choices. Right now, the kid is still very excited to be home and that breaks my heart because it means school was not a good experience for him and I left him there for 2 years. He has not once asked to go back.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Grain Mills

I desperately want to grind my own wheat. I have for quite some time. Home ground flour is so much more nutritious for you than the stuff we buy at the store. So, I decided I am going to start looking at them and comparing. You know what I found? They are EXPENSIVE.

I have certain criteria for a grain mill.
1. I really want an electric one, but it needs to have manual capabilities because you never know what the future will hold. If my power EVER goes out for and extended amount of time, I want to be able to grind wheat.

2. I want it to do a good job. It doesn't have to be a top of the line great machine, but it does need to be a good one.

So, based on those two points these are the two I am leaning towards.

The Country Living Mill - This one is like the Mac Daddy of manual grinders. It grinds wheat super fine. It has electric capabilities. It's made here in the USA. It has a great warranty. Unfortunately, it has to be bolted down to something extremely solid. It also costs $400 and the electric capabilities? $425 for the motor kit. So, total $800 for this mill. OUCH! I can't even pretend this is in my price range.

The Family Grain Mill - This is the one I picked. For $259 it has an electric base and it has a manual base. I love that it does both. The reviews I have seen are good, not great, but good. For instance, it doesn't grind quite fine enough to make a cake. Oh well. I don't bake cakes very often. I bet if I ran the flour through it again it would make it fine enough. But, not a big deal.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Like you care.

I have been sick this week.

Sunday: it started with a scratchy throat.

Monday: my throat was still scratchy but now it was swollen and I was achy and tired.

Tuesday: I was feeling much better except my gums in the back of my mouth were really tender and swollen. I thought I had a tooth going bad or something. I made sure to buy a really expensive toothbrush because I must not be doing something right.

Wednesday: I noticed a canker type sore on the inside of my lip and a little swollen gland on my jaw line. It hurts when I touch it. I also started having panic attacks and worrying about cancer.

Thursday: Called the doctor and went in. He said there is an ulcer on the back of my gums and somewhere else I don't remember. It is most likely the reason my glands, two in my neck and the one on my jaw line, are extremely swollen. Oh, this is all on my right side. There is absolutely NOTHING on my left side. He said it is a virus that will have to run it's course. But, he did give my an antibiotic just in case. If it doesn't get better over the weekend or the sores start to get worse, I am supposed to take them.

Have I mentioned I am allergic to three types of antibiotics? This is a new one I get try and hope, REALLY HOPE, my body doesn't decide it is an intruder. I really hope I don't need it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

English Literature

One of the classes I am taking is English Literature. I thought I was going to find this class really boring and find it hard to want to read the stories. So far, I LOVE it. The stories are weird. The discussions in class are fun. The teacher is different.

We have read 6 stories up to now.

The two I have enjoyed the most because they got my brain juices flowing are:

The others are:

  • The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien (It's too new to give you the actual text. This an interesting one. No real brain juices flowing, nothing to really figure out.)
  • What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie (This was a fun quick read. But, again, it's all given to you. No real juices going.)
  • Araby by James Joyce (sorry to any literature experts, but this was lame. Supposedly, a great work of literature. Umm, ok.)
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Again, sorry to any literature people: Guy turns into a bug and dies. Woohoo. Yes, I know there is supposed to be more to it.
If any of you out there ready any of these, I would love to hear what you think of them. If you understand Araby, please explain it to me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had some bananas I HAD to use. You know the kind: almost, but not quite yet, oozing onto the counter. The kind that you look at and think "mmmm, banana bread." Except today I decided to get online and see if I could find something different to do with my bananas. Here is what I found: Low Fat Banana Oatmeal Cookies.

Only, my version are NOT low fat and I altered the recipe a bit. I really like these. They remind me of Fall and taste a bit like banana bread.

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Softened Butter
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a large bowl mix together sugars and butter until creamy.
3. Add in eggs, vanilla, and bananas.
4. In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients except the oats and chocolate chips.
5. Add dry ingredients into wet and mix well.
6. Fold in oats and chocolate chips.
7. Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet.
8. Bake for 10-14 minutes.
9. Let cool a few minutes before trying to take them off the pan or they will fall apart.

For more great recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A picture

My 12 year old took this picture and I thought it was eye catching. She loves taking pictures of people. I sure hope she takes that passion and really does something with it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Birthday Boy!

He is 8 years old today...

Saturday, September 5, 2009


After thinking long and hard, we have decided to homeschool our 8 year old, ADHD son. Things at school are not going well for him. He can't stop fidgeting, even on his meds, can't sit still, talks too much, can't focus, can't concentrate, etc. 

Last year, before we had him diagnosed, we had a HUGE problem with major tantrums (meltdowns) through out the day. Everyday, he would tell us he didn't want to go to school and from there it was a major battle for him to get ready. Usually it ended with him on the ground throwing a 2 year old type tantrum. 

Now that he is on meds, we don't have meltdowns very often anymore, Thank God. But, he is with a new teacher and I don't know if she is equipped to handle him (this is her first year teaching also). All I know is he no longer wants to be at school. It's become a major problem. 

Now don't get me wrong, this kid loves to learn! He isn't just sitting around not caring or not doing things. He is always excited when we learn stuff together. I think the classroom atmosphere is very difficult for him. I also think he is getting talked to a lot because of his Adhd behavior. He tries to do what he supposed to. He really does. I know what that was like as a kid and I do not want my children to have to experience being in trouble ALL the time. I don't want him to lose his spark.

The best part about all this: He is so excited that he will be doing school at home. He has been telling me all the things he wants to learn and do. It is so neat to see the excitement in him. I hope that all my children remember to love learning. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Youngest and My Oldest

I'm glad I have pictures like this. They help me remember that I like him and his 14 year old, argumentative, self. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Tuesday, as I was leaving school, I pissed off another driver. I had turned my blinker on and got in front of him. He proceeded to throw his hands up, honk, and then stared at me as he passed me. (I had gotten into the turn lane.) So, I flipped him off. I mean, what a jerk, to stare at me like that. Shit, I had my blinker on. 

Well, he turned around and followed me to the parking lot where I was meeting my husband. He then drove up to where our windows meet and proceeded to stare at me with his window still up. I stared back. After about 15 seconds of just staring, he signaled to me to roll my window down. I did. Why not? Luckily, my hubby was standing right with me, I just don't think the guy saw him.  

Him: "Why did you flip me off?"
Me: "Because you were throwing up your hands and staring at me all rudely."
Him: "Why did you cut me off?"
Me: "I didn't, I had my blinker on." 
Him: "No you didn't. (I think he was to busy staring at all the college girls.) Who do you work for?"

You see, I drive a 15 passenger van so I must work for someone because no one would CHOOSE to drive one. 

Me: "I don't work for anyone." 
Him: "I will find out who you work for. I have your license plate number."
Me: "Okay. Whatever."

As he was leaving, Hubby tried to ask him something but he just kept going. Chicken shit. He can harass a woman but can't answer a question from her husband. Unfortunately, I didn't think of getting his license plate number until it was to late. I would have reported him for harassment. 

Then today:
I was picking up my kids from school and the parking lot gets a little out of control. I pulled out in front of someone (this time on accident) and she honked and threw up her hands. (do we see a pattern here?) I didn't do anything back this time. I just kept going. I learned my lesson after the last one. 

She FOLLOWED me most of the way home. When we got to the only light by my house, she finally turned. My oldest said that her kid held a sign out the window, but we don't know what it said. I will remember her car. It is a really small school. I will see her everyday for the rest of the year. (She is probably thinking the same thing about me and my car. The only difference? I didn't act all psycho and follow her.)

It's probably my driving. Maybe I drive like my mother and grandmother. But, I have never had these problems before with driving. It makes me want to give up driving.