Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cooking a Whole Chicken

So, as many families out there, we are trying to cut costs as much as we can around our home. The best and most awesome way I have recently run across is to cook whole chickens in the crockpot…and then make your own, homemade chicken stock (which can be frozen!!) in the same said crockpot. WOOOOHOOOO!!

Besides getting over actually touching the gross chicken & worrying that I will contaminate my kitchen and family with e-coli, it is an awesome time & money saver, and yummy, to boot!! It makes the kitchen smell heavenly, like Thanksgiving!!

There are several really great-sounding recipes out there, but the basic of the basic I found at The Happy Housewife. (and look in her comments for even more tips & tricks!)

Not only do we eat the chicken for dinner one night, after the chicken has cooled (TRUST ME), get the rest of the meat off that carcass, stick the bones back in the juices you left in the crockpot, along with some carrots, celery, and onion, and let it cook on low overnight. The next day, strain out the yuckies, and let your broth cool in the fridge. When you get done homeschooling/from work/the spa, you can scrape the layer of fat off that has settled on the top, and then freeze the broth for future use!! So, not only are you eating that chicken TWICE, you are also making delightful homemade stock that you don’t have to put on your shopping list!! Usually a chicken will go for about $4 for a 4-5lber.

I don’t know why, but this thrills my heart to heavenly places… Maybe because when I threw my casserole together tonight, all I had to do was literally throw ingredients together and put it in the oven… Time saver!!

Maybe you think this is a really lame post. But I {heart} saving money!!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Family Man... No, not the cartoon...

Last night, Steve & I had a very rare date night. We started with dinner at Grub Steakhouse (it.was.amazing.), then went to Fairhaven Church to hear one of our favorite homeschooling speaker & author, Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries. I will start by saying, even if you are NOT a homeschooling family, Mr. Todd has some very wise general parenting advice for all families there on his site, so don't let the "homeschooling" label scare you away or make you think it's not gonna be applicable for you!!

He spoke mainly about how we as parents {and this applies even if we're not homeschooling} can doubt our effectiveness on our children's hearts. We with smaller children, since we're in the thick of it, find ourselves in "the fog," forgetting "the most important things" we can teach our children. Worrying about this activity, that curriculum, socialization, manners, and the list goes on, we often forget about training the heart, teaching to trust God in EVERYTHING, not just through music or songs, but through our LIVING life.

I will never be able to express to you how important and pivotal that message was for me last night. We started back to school last week, and I mentioned it was a rough start. Monday & Tuesday were a bit better, but Wednesday was another stressful day.

Tuesday, we began school, using a Unit Study. A bit like pulling teeth to get Abbey into the swing of things, and most of all, the dreaded writing...

Wednesday, a little better, we finished what we were supposed to, and life went on... But, oh the drama... you would think that making her write was a criminal offense.

Thursday, we woke up to NO ELECTRICITY. No prob. I can roll with the punches. Let's go to Burger King & have breakfast kids! Then, ON TO TARGET!! Then, we went to Wegerzyn Gardens in Dayton & had a blast in the Discovery Garden. And, there was no blessed writing.

Friday, we woke up to A FLOODED TOILET. Awesome. Crazy kid mayhem. Crying Mommy cleaning the whole.blessed.mess. More frustration from Abbey because she didn't want to write. I even threatened not to take her to her cousin's birthday party. I know, I know, mean Mommy.

We had a lovely weekend, though. Relaxed, go with the flow, it felt more like summer... *Ahem* maybe because it still is.

Monday, not too bad. Electricity on. No flooding. Still being stubborn with the writing.

Tuesday, can't complain. No problems... except the writing.

Wednesday, tears, mayhem, chaos, more crying, pleading, bribing... It was not pretty, people. And, I'm not even talking about Abbey. She was out of control yesterday. I was out of control yesterday. Finally, we got through it, and she had to finish her work at Mammy's house, and Steve & I went to see Todd Wilson, and I literally had to hold in tears as he kept talking.

Somewhere along the line, I decided that the curriculum was more important than my children's hearts. Wrong purpose, people, whether we are homeschooling, private schooling, public schooling, and everything in between. Education is great, and obviously important... Yet, if we don't have love, what's it all for? (referencing I Cor. 13, very loosely ;) )

So, today, I didn't hurry, and I admit, almost lost it when I saw it was 12noon and we hadn't covered any of the unit study, yet, but Todd's voice was still fresh in my ears, "focus on the relationship first..." So, we did. And, you know what? We did get through all of school today, got everything done that needed to get done. But I enjoyed my kids more. I laughed with them. They laughed at me! (in a good way! lol)

So, now I'm on a quest to keep things (schooling, activities, hobbies) in perspective with my eternal eyes, not my "Get 'er done" Homeschool Mama eyes.

{please forgive me, I forget the source of this picture.}