Blog Plans for Basic Adulting Posts

Over the years my husband and I have noticed that there are so many people that did not learn basic home and life skills growing up and are struggling to function as adults. Thankfully, I did have a great home economics teacher and I also tried to pay attention when around family members that had these skills.

Even with the skills that I did know before marrying and having a home of my own, I was unprepared in many areas. I did not understand what all it took to run a home as I moved from my parent’s home and care. Granted, I did have many responsibilities while living there, but I was not the one managing the home, money, bills, shopping, appointments, most of the cooking, and so on. It concerns me that there are so many people, like ourselves, going out into this world with little knowledge of how to take care of these things.

I did not have someone to teach me how to manage my own life and that was scary. My husband had been out on his own for a few years before we married, but he too was not prepared in many areas and struggled. He and I shared with each other what knowledge we did have and had to sink or swim from there. For many years we were sinking and just barely keeping our heads above water. We needed to figure out how to function more efficiently.

Sticking with my hearthmom theme I hope to share basic information to help people that are in a similar position that we were. Over the years I have learned how to cook, meal plan, budget money, pay bills, keep records, clean effectively, launder clothes, mend clothes, create beautiful things, fix things, teach myself, and enjoy life with out so much stress from not knowing how to do these things.

I am a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, and I take pride in what I do. These are skills that most people need to know, not just a homemaker like myself. They make life for me and my family more enjoyable. I plan to add posts on these topics and others that I think would be helpful.

Please leave a comment if there is an area of adulting that you would like me to write about. I am not saying that I know everything and that my ideas and methods are the only ways of doing things. I want to help ease the struggles. Blessings from my heart and hearth to yours.

 

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Things competing for space in my brain…(RANT)

I do want to write…. I have made a draft and deleted it… I have too many things in my mind competing for space. Between grading (not just saying complete or incomplete, actually giving a % grade), keeping up with this house, ending a school year, planning the next school year, trying to stay positive about a family health issue, going through legal documents for registrations that aren’t ours (ancient ones), way too many necessary big ticket purchases(because crap happens and things break), check book to balance, budget to plan, meal plan and shopping for 2 weeks, forgetting stuff, a sewing project to finish this week (and also start), taxes to pay, vehicle registration to acquire, cable box to return ASAP…….. AHHHHHHH! Brain overload!!!!

Ok, I think my rant is over….. so yep, there is a whole lot going on in this normally calm brain.  Did I mention that we forgot our housedog outside in the dark for about 6 hours….He’s ok at least it wasn’t in mid day with the sun beating down. We felt really bad.

Stove Top Pizza!!!!!! WHAT?!

Featured imageOk, so how is this possible?! This mini pizza was made on the stove top in a pan with a lid. Here’s how!!!!!

We found these flatbreads in the deli/bakery department of our local Wal-Mart and it shows on the package that they are also used to make pizza. I had a few odd ingredients to work with, but it was just a snack so no big deal!

Ingredients: flatbread, cheese (we used an Italian mixture), blackforest ham lunch meat, cherry/grape tomatoes, butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning

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DSCN4211    I used a small pan with a lid on the stove top. I used a medium/high to toast the bottom of the flat bread and then turned the heat down for the slower cooking portion.

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I let the pan get warm med/high heat and slightly toasted one side of the flatbread. Flipped it over hot side up and turned to med/low heat. I rubbed the top with a thin layer of butter, it melts right off the stick of butter onto the bread. Then I sprinkled it with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I topped the flatbread with cheese, sliced lunch meat, thin sliced tomatoes, and cheese again. I covered it with a lid and gave it enough time for the bottom to toast and the top to heat through and melt together.  I served it on a plate then sliced it into pieces. Even with the odd ingredients it was quite yummy, but you can add whatever toppings you like. It is a very quick snack. A big hit with my daughter who came up with most of the idea. I just decided to cook it on the stove top so it wouldn’t heat the house with the oven. My husband wanted some a few days later after we told him how good they were and they worked well in the oven too. Sadly my store has been sold out of the flatbreads since I made it last….. The package only $1.88 for several breads.

This was a great cooking lesson for my 8 year old. Homeschool homeEc!!!!! She has since made these on her own with little supervision.

Rice Cooking Droid

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It is amazing that something so simple can make me so giddy! I recently purchased a rice cooker/steamer/slow-cooker for my kitchen. I have cooked Asian style meals before, but having this little beauty just kicked it up to the next level!

In our home there is no Asian blood, but my hubby is 1/4 Colombian. Rice is cooked often with more of a Latin flair or just flavored to our taste; which is usually white rice with butter and salt. Anyway, we (more my hubby than me, I am not a BIG rice eater) have been wanting a rice cooker for a long time and a bread machine, but that is a different post.  I was doing a quick shopping trip one day around Mother’s Day weekend and saw a sale rack with some sort of Mother’s Day themed items. I circle the rack thinking ‘This stuff is pretty nice….’, ‘I like that clock!’…….still circling….and I see boxes! I saw a fondue kit and I say to Bug “We’ve been talking about getting one of those!”I look to the right and there was a really good sized rice cooker with steamer tray for (BIG RED STICKER) $20 saving $30! I didn’t even think twice! That sucker went in my cart lightning fast. IT IS MINE!!!! ***cue evil laugh***** and I scooted off down another aisle.

My new droid for the kitchen!!!!!

My new droid for the kitchen!!!!!

Ok so now I have this thing and I just set it aside not really knowing what to do with it. For quite a while it has been a flat surface to sit our miniatures on that we have painted for D&D. We have been watching many Youtube videos featuring Asian countries and/or mixed race couples (Asian and American). They are quite interesting and I saw on one video where the lady/wife/girl/super cool 20-something married female set her rice cooker to cook while she biked to the store to find something to go with it. This totally intrigued me! I mean really it is the same idea as using the slow cooker/crock-pot to cook but the cultural zest to the whole idea made me happy.  I remembered that I do have that rice cooker! So I planned a meal around using it. (Youtube channels specifically being watched “Eat your kimchi”,”Texan and Tokyo”, “Rachel and Jun”)

Thinking about the foods that had previously been purchased including a pretty large pork roast became the backbone of two meals. We decided to make a different kind of roast adding pears (we recently found our that the really hard pears are delicious when cooked on a grill). So in went all of these veggies and pears with more or less simple seasonings (salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes). We served this with rolls, pickles, cottage cheese, and the drippings of the roast and veg that we made into gravy for on top ( bit of apple cider vinegar made it taste perfect). I made sure to make enough to have leftovers. The leftovers then became stir-fry adding a packet of stir-fry seasoning (following directions), baby corn and water chestnuts. Egg rolls from the freezer section cooked about 15 minutes in the oven. I put frozen dumplings into the steamer tray in the rice cooker along with the jasmine rice (cook time about 25 minutes), and a couple of packs of precooked Asian style noodles in the microwave for about 90 seconds. It was ready to go! We served it all up and had to use our personal sets of chopsticks to make this meal even more awesome!

Our lovely meal round #1!

Our lovely meal round #1!

And believe it or not we still had leftovers! So we had more the next night adding a new side since we no longer had egg rolls. My hubby made rice balls. He mixed liquids and seasonings that was similar to what is used in sushi rice, mixed it all together, and then formed balls in cling wrap.

Meal made with leftovers, and rice balls.

Meal made with leftovers, and rice balls.

The making of the rice balls.

The making of the rice balls.

We are beyond thrilled of how this all turned out, so much so that I had to share it with you! I hope you enjoyed this! I am still so very giddy about my new little droid for the kitchen that I have cleaned of a special home for it on our china cabinet and will soon ditch the dishes drainer that takes up the whole counter so I can have a better place to use it.

Finally time with my loves…

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If you read my latest posts you will know that my hubby had worked a crazy amount of hours for two weeks and we had to squeeze in Mother’s Day. Well, it turned out that he worked so many hours that his boss let him take the next week off because the hours overlapped so much. The week that he was at home with me just happened to start off with our 12 year wedding anniversary. To say that I seriously enjoyed having my hubby home for more than a week is a complete understatement.

We did so much and chilled so much that the days ran into each other and I forget some of what we did. Hitting the highlights for you…We went for walks with our daughter (trying to not get caught in her webs of friends around each corner that were playing outside.) We went out to eat quite often because we were out doing things and frankly I needed the break from the kitchen. He also cooked a few times and grilled for us at the lake. Now that I have mentioned it we spent a whole day at “our spot” on the lake. We strung hammocks, read books, scootered around, walked, talked, played in the sand (It was so relaxing….)

There were many sessions of Dungeons and Dragons (4 nights I think) where we kicked some major butt and even started a war that saved a whole town from certain destruction by goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, trolls, and bugbears. I think only one person in our party had any loss of hit points (you  D&D’ers will know what I am talking about).

The plants were on their last leg (not my Mother’s Day plant, but that sad aloe vera (fyi my spell check keeps telling me every way that I spell this plant name is wrong). So we went and bought MANY bags of potting soil and quite a few pots to replant the aloe in. Also a huge pot because on one of our walks we found a giant wild rose plant that we got cuttings from. They did not take root so now we have to buy a plant for the huge pot and homemade trellis. There are now five pots of aloe vera, my Mother’s Day plants, and the sad rose cuttings. They look bad but we did clear out a nice spot in the existing garden for them to sit. It looks a whole lot better.

We decided to go to a near by town that is a national park and hang out. This is what we would do while dating. It was really the only place to go. Anyway, we thought it would be interesting to have an Anthony Bourdain kind of adventure. We walked around seeing the interesting things, eating at new places, snacking here and there when we got hungry. We went to a pub (family friendly, so don’t freak out) they do serve different types of beers and brews made in house, but they also serve foods, nonalcoholic drinks (rootbeer made in house), and gelato. It is a nice place to chill. It is open and airy with lots of windows to watch the tourist traffic. Later on we went to a new coffee shop that was just around the corner, Bug got a tea that was so delicious! My hubby and I got coffee, but it was not to our taste we were forcing ourselves to drink it. It was too strong and fancy for us, but the atmosphere was quite nice. We were jealous of her tea….

Oh, I almost forgot about these parts…We went walking though art galleries and found one that featured local artists. There they had jewelery that I was drooling over and it was priced really well. Seeing the good price for necklace, earrings, and bracelet my hubby bought it for me. Aww shucks! We also went to the hat shop that he likes to buy from. He knew that I have been looking for a great hat and suggested that I take a look in there. I did find one! I really didn’t want to pay a whole lot for a hat but after my Renfaire experience with the rain I figured that a good one would hold up better. I love my new beautiful straw fedora!!!!!! My hubby spoiled me!!!!

We never know what we are going to find in this area so it is usually a treat! We came across a musician in the park and sat there listening until Bug couldn’t be still anymore and our butts were numb.

We did do school work in the mornings all week. I did find some used curriculum while I was out one day, 7 books for $10 isn’t bad! I got stuff that I can use finishing up this school year (2 months left June and July), and also for next school year.  We had a great week and I know that I didn’t write about every detail. I hated sending my honey back to work yesterday…..He is my heart and I love when we actually get time to reconnect.

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While the hubby is away….

First off, I want to start by saying that I LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH MY FAMILY! Secondly, if I am constantly with them or needed by them I do not accomplish things like me time, cleaning, blogging without interruption, or reading more then a half paragraph in a “my” book.

Today my hubby had to get into work early so I saw this as a prime opportunity to DO!!!!!! I did not have “school” with Bug today. I told her no book work today and she smiled really big until she heard the word “but…”. She really thought she was off the hook! Nope! The “but” was followed by “you have to help me around the house. Let’s call it Home Ec day!” She was not pleased especially when I sent her off to take care of her own things and pick up all the carpeted floor areas. She was more than happy to help when I asked her to get the cleaning brush for the nooks and crannies to go behind me as I wiped cabinets down. Then she happily vacuumed (1st time ever completely on her own), and she even cleaned the couch cushions without being asked. I let her have at it while I did a serious mopping of the kitchen and bathroom. She put all of her areas back in order and I am still waiting for mine to dry…. soon I will put a load of towels in the washer and prep the kitchen for our snack later.

You see I have had a craving for real fruit and this does not usually happen! But since I started making smoothies I crave them. Earlier in the day I needed to go to the store anyway to pick up the forgotten items on my shopping list to round out dinner. I think I went a bit nuts on smoothy fixins….. I got vanilla yogurt, frozen: mixed berries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple, fresh:strawberries, bananas, and pineapple, also 3 types of almond milk: coconut, vanilla, and chocolate. Hmmmmmm I will not run out for a while and have plenty of flavors to choose from.

That’s right while my hubby was away I did my first bit of spring cleaning , blog,and create some amazing smoothies…. the infamous dusting will come next, but I don’t see that happening tonight. Now where’s a movie to watch?!

Quick Meals: Add flair with tortilla crisps!

Tortilla Crisps sweet/salty

**I usually use the broiler in my oven to crisp the tortillas once flavored, but if this is too hot pre-heat oven first, then slowly crisp them on a bake setting.)

All of these recipes use flour tortillas.

Shape them by either cutting the tortillas in 1 inch wide strips or cut rounds larger than the size of one cupcake (where it crinkles down like a bowl in each cupcake space.) Either making the tortillas flat or bowl like once cooked.

Sweet!!!

*Cinnamon and Sugar:Combine cinnamon and sugar together to season tortilla strips/bowls. Prep tortillas, lightly brush on melted butter, lay them on a baking sheet then sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar mixture. Crisp them by placing the baking sheet under the broiler for a short while. Let the crisps cool and serve with dessert. Possibly with ice cream.

*Cocoa and Sugar:Combine Cocoa powder and sugar together to season tortillas just as done in above recipe.

Salty!!!!

*Italian style tortilla crisps:In a small bowl combine olive oil, seasoning salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning. Prep tortillas then lightly brush mixture onto tortillas. Crisp in broiler until lightly browned. Let cool then serve with Italian style meals.

(Don’t be afraid to play with other seasonings to match your desserts, meals, and cooking style.)

Quick meals!:*** Saucy Dogs ***

Smoked sausages:

*Saucy dogs: (Make as much as you need)

smoked sausages- cut to the size of hot dog buns and split long ways down the middle

olive oil- just enough to lightly coat bottom of a deep sauce pan

bell pepper- julienne (cut into long thin strips)

onion- julienne

garlic- 2 cloves minced

Med. Black olives- 1 large can roughly chopped

mushroom pieces- 1 small can roughly chopped

tomato based pasta sauce- 1 large can (more if you need more sauce)

hot dog buns- have enough buns for ½ sausage per hot dog bun

grated cheese- topping

Prep sausage and veggies. Oil bottom of sauce pan with olive oil. Brown the sausage then push it to side of pan. Saute’ onion and bell pepper along side the sausage until softened and onion is see through. Add in minced garlic, sauce, mushrooms, and olives stir all together. Set it on low heat to simmer.

Plate it: Open hot dog bun on a plate, pick sausage out of sauce and place it on the bun, cover the sausage and bun with loaded sauce. Top with cheese and serve.

(If sauce doesn’t have enough flavor spice it up w/ italian seasonings like, thyme, oregano, rosemary, terragon, and basil)

Quick meals: Who has time for meal drama?

Ok, you all know by now that I am an at home mom.  Even this hearth-mom doesn’t like to slave over the stove, so I try my best to make the most tasty food in the least amount of time. I only care to cook one meal a day! My family eats but 2 meals are simple or get it yourself, and the third is cooked early (done by 3:00pm) so that I can spend the most amount of time with my family. I cook a large amount usually taking 20 minutes to an hour, that will stretch for many meals and possibly lunch the next day.  Dinner doesn’t have to be all drama drama.  You’ve got to think outside the box, or in my case I often spice up what’s inside the box. I learned how to make a few homemade things quite well then do the rest of the meal with food from a box, can, pre-cooked,and/or pre-prepped. There is no shame is tweaking the rules, especially when it comes to getting dinner on the table in record time. So I’m going to share my recipes with you. I was going to throw them all on here in a big wad, but as you can tell I’ve been working on it and not posting anything. So how about one recipe at a time…Ding dinner’s done!

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