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Everything posted by cjzimmer1

  1. I would love to share (I've had many requests over the years), however, it is a custom designed database that I designed and DH programmed for me (my programming skills were too rusty at that point to do it myself) and many of the parameters are hard coded for our family. So unfortunately, it's not really transferable to anyone else.
  2. We are suppose to start next Monday. I haven't even started lesson planning (I put all assignments for the year in a database before the year starts and then each week I simply assign dates to lesson and it prints a spreadsheet for each child with their work for the week). In fact my high schooler hasn't finish last years work yet. COVID derailed us so bad this spring (and she was already behind then) that she has spent the entire summer doing homework. The 13 year old just finished last week so she gets a whole week for summer break. But we will just keep plugging along. If I can't finish the lesson planning by Monday we'll just work with what I can get done. I figured no matter how bad we do, we aren't doing any worse than the public school fiasco so at least they are still on par with everyone else in the country. But yeah, I'm just not feeling it, no motivation to do school at all.
  3. Well I feel like we've hit full swing on production. I'm picking 3-5 quarts of cherry tomatoes and about 10 pounds of slicing tomatoes every day. The blight is getting pretty bad on some of the plants but some have been barely touched and are pushing ahead at full speed. I've gotten enough to keep up with all our fresh use. I've done one full load of them in the dehydrator. I've canned 23 pints of salsa and 14 quarts of plain. I have about 40-50 pounds on my counter that I will be doing another batch of plain ones this weekend. I want to get at least 50-60 quarts of plain done. I was worried I might still have to buy some but I'm getting more hopeful that I will actually be able to produce enough on my own. That would be a first but with staying home all summer, I've really been able to keep up on the care and picking and processing so that is working in my favor. We did have a storm come through last week and topple several of my potted tomatoes down my rock wall. We ended up going out and pulling them all down before the worst of the storm hit. We only lost a few branches but close to 20 pounds of green tomatoes fell off the plants. I have no idea what to do with them. I mean I know I can make fried green tomatoes but I did that once a long time ago and they just seemed like a lot of work for something that was just meh in taste. Zucchini, I'm averaging about 1 every other day. SInce there are only a couple of us who will eat zucchini this is the perfect rate. Cucumbers are much slower coming than last year and my family is very grateful about that (last year I picked 250 cucumbers in less than 2 months on the same number of plants). I made one jar of refrigerator pickles and several deemed them good enough that they want me to make a second jar. We've also had several large bowls of cucumbers and cream. Overall the rate feels perfect. The colored bell peppers are starting to ripen. The orange one is a new variety we tried in the greenhouse this year and they are running several weeks ahead of the other varieties. Not sure why since they weren't suppose to be an earlier but they look beautiful so I'll be lobbying for keeping that variety next year. In the next week or so I'm going to pull out some of the worst hit tomatoes and plant lettuce in their spots.
  4. My kids get a phone when it makes "my" life easier that they have one. Typically it's when they are doing a lot of things away from me and/or another family member and I want to be able to still connect with them. Even then, when they first get it, it's "my" phone that I allow them to use (even though it's obviously a line I'm setting up just for them). The point is, I'm paying the bill and I have the right to say how/when they will use it and if I feel they are abusing it, it will be stored in my possession when not needed for my ease. When they can afford their phone they can do whatever they like but when I'm paying for it they are stuck. This has been a wonderful choice because not once have I ever had a kid complain that their phone wasn't as good as so and so's phone. They've never once complained that their phone is too old/slow etc. They are happy to have something and accept that I have conditions. And funny enough, when they reach the point where they have to pay for. They all scoff at the idea of paying for $500+ phones. I specifically didn't mention age because for us we really look at the kid and circumstances and decide if it warrants a phone. The age will vary depending on the kid.
  5. Child Swinging on a swing and trying to kick the rings off their hook on the other side of the swingset. Miss the ring and embed the hook in my ankle and then "I" was swinging on the hook. Adult Moving a couch and getting a hernia, after the repair surgery, sleeping on the couch (that had a recliner) and break the recliner trying to move the foot rest. Aka, the couch broke me when I tried to move it and then I broke the couch trying to move it. Walking down stairs admiring the newly laid carpet. So engrossed in the carpet, I miss the bottom stairs and sprain my ankle.
  6. I'm sorry but this just totally made me laugh. I realize for a smaller family that is probably a lot of dishes so I can see where it would see overwhelming but from my side of things, 2-3 loads is a day where I didn't do any cooking and just told everyone to use up the leftovers. I happen to love cooking and one of the best things about Covid has meant very few outside activities which has left me more time to spend in the kitchen. A "typical" day for me these days is 4 dishwasher loads. I have managed to squeeze 5 in. But typically if it goes over that the dishes have to get caught up another day because with the cycle being so long, I really can't get more loads in during one day. But I don't wash anything by hand. EVERYTHING goes in my dishwasher. I love the cooking but washing dishes is probably my least favorite household chore (or maybe folding laundry, I really hate that one too).
  7. If she says something like that, just say, that's not a topic for class discussion and then mute her.
  8. That's how last year was for us. The drawer fronts came of the front of the bathroom cabinet leaving lots of ragged staple ends, the refrigerator died, the patio door had an undetected leak around the frame that resulted in the frame rooting out, the kitchen floor being damaged and the ceiling damaged in the room below. The sump pump died while I was on vacation for 2 weeks. The entire basement was carpeted, It ALL had to be replaced (which was 45% of our living space). There was black mold in an upstairs bedroom so we had to rip open the wall to find the source and while cleaning up the basement after the sump pump fiasco, we discovered a crack in the foundation. That was in a 5 month period. The only good news is that we did massive decluttering in the process and I have lots of nice new flooring and furniture. But the process was absolutely and completely sucky. I'm sorry you are having a streak like this and hope it is over shortly.
  9. I'd totally freeze too if I had the freezer space. But I don't have the freezer space even with 2 freezers. I buy a half a beef each year (and this year I bought pig too). So Feb/Mar, I'm about half way through the produce so the freezers get filled with the year's meat. July/Aug, i'm about half way through the meat and then the freezer gets stocked with fruits (strawberry, blueberry, grapes, peaches) and veggies (zucchini, kale, peppers). But that's about all the space I've got. I would love to get a 3rd freezer but just never had the space for it. This year when I finally figured out where I could squeeze another one in, is of course the year that freezers are pretty much unavailable. My mom taught me how to can but now she just freezes, WIth just her and my dad she doesn't have the need to store nearly as much food as I do. Blueberries are probably my most favorite fruit ever. My family used to sell produce and we would go to Michigan twice a week and bring back stuff to sell. My dad would laugh because I'd eat so many blueberries, they had to designate one box as "my" box each trip because it would never be full weight when we got home. My kids love to eat them frozen so I stock up as much as I can fit (but that is pretty much my criteria with everything - stock as much I can fit because in a few days, they kids will have already put a dent in it).
  10. We only get the $2.00 price when Aldi runs specials at Christmas time. I wouldn't need to buy so much at a time if we had regular sales. But to my knowledge there aren't any Krogers in my state. And the grocery store with the best prices, doesn't run advertised sales. Hyvee puts limits of 1 or 2 on everything and since their prices for everything else is so high, it's not worth a trip there when I can only buy a couple of sale items.
  11. I don't know if I should admit this publicly but when butter goes on sale I buy about 50 pounds at a time. We go through a couple of pounds a week. Butter can go rancid but what I really find when using long term storage in the fridge, is that is starts to pick up tastes/oders from the the fridge. So I only keep 4-6 pounds in the fridge at a time and the rest goes into the freezer. OP, there is so much you can preserve but it all comes down to how much effort you are willing to put into it. I don't find canning to be that difficult but I've been doing it for many years. For instance I can tomatoes, I need about 80-90 quarts to get through the year. That takes me 2 days to put up. THen I spend one more day doing the year's worth of salsa. Applesauce takes one more full day and pears takes me a half day. So I dedicate 4.5 days a year to canning and I've got my whole supply for the year done. But if you don't want to can, freezing, dehydrating, pickling and fermenting are pretty much your choices. Some things are very easy. I buy blueberries when they are on sale, rinse them off, spread them on a towel, sort through to remove bads ones and stems and then scoop them up into a ziplock bag and stick them in the freezer. I spend maybe 3 hours a year and freeze about 50 pounds. Refrigerator pickling is also pretty easy, I've done beans and onions. This year I might try cucumbers (usually we eat them all fresh so I don't have enough to preserve). But really there is so much that can be done, that really I think you'd do better doing some research on "ways to preserve x" because it's such a broad topic that you could learn far more than we could cover here.
  12. Here's the one I've got that for the moment is still active.
  13. I've gotten behind using up my produce so today I made a point to clear out some space in my fridge. I made taco meat for lunch and used up the 7 poblano peppers I had in it (of course later I found another one hidden in the drawer) as well as some fresh tomatoes. Then I sliced a huge bowl of cucumbers and salted them (for cucumbers and cream). I had about twice as many in the fridge as I thought so I went ahead and made a bowl of cucumbers and tomatoes as well. Then I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread. I'm taking a break now but after supper, I'm hoping to mix up a batch of pico de gallo and then load up the dehydrator with sliced tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. That should get me past the urgent needs to be dealt with now stuff. At the beginning of today I had about 3/4 of a bushel of tomatoes, 7 zucchini, 3 quarts of cherry tomatoes and about 20 cucumbers to deal with. That was all picked in the last 4-5 days plus what we used each day. The tomatoes are coming on strong but they've got blight pretty bad so I'm expecting an early end to them. I will probably have to buy some for canning but at least we are getting enough to make the foods where we value the better flavor of my home grown ones (fresh stuff plus the dehydrated ones, and ideally my homemade salsa that I can, the plain canned ones I don't care as much as if I use my own tomatoes since I don't notice the difference as much in things like chili and stuffed peppers). Normally I would be gone for the next 2 weeks but since everything is cancelled, at least I'm home to deal with all the produce.
  14. Since you pointed it out, yes I can fit a 16 inch pizza box flat on the shelves of my side by side. But I've only done it once or twice in my life because we don't really have leftovers to put away. I just leave it on the counter and it's gone before the night is over.
  15. Yes it is, although I can't tell you how many times, I've come close to overfilling it. My mom had a 3 gallon pot and that is how I learned to make soup. I have no idea how to make a "small" quantity of soup. As my family grew, I upgraded to the 4 gallon. I have an induction stove so my canner has a flat bottom so it can also double as a soup pot. It's 5 gallons. There are lots of stainless steel choices on amazon.
  16. I LOVE my side by side. I have a 28 cu foot model (before that I had a 31 cu and a 27 cu all side x side). I'm always confused when people say they can't fit big things in it because with any of mine I've never had problems fitting multiple half sheet pans (on one of mine they were a perfect fit so I could even create an extra shelf with the pans if I wanted), my soup pot is 4 gallons and that will fit. I regular store 3-4 gallons of milk in mine. Plus the produce drawers are so much bigger. I can fit between 1/2 and 3/4 of a bushel of produce in the 2 produce drawers. Plus with more smaller shelves I find it so much easier to keep things from getting shoved around and lost in the back of the shelf. I have a regular fridge as my basement fridge. The only reason I have it was because I needed a second fridge and it was a scratch and dent I got for a couple hundred dollars. But it's such a pain. It doesn't hold nearly what my side x side does, the produce drawers are awful but it holds my milk and extra produce so it gets to stay. I'd rather have a second side x side.
  17. My oldest DS is far more emotional than any of my girls. I would say the girls were quite easy compared to him. (but his brother was also very easy too so really it was just that particular child that was so hard).
  18. There are a few different approaches to meal planning so first I think you have to figure out which still is "you". 1) figure out what your meals are, plan your shopping list 2) check the sales flyers, plan your meals around the sales, make your shopping list 3) keep large stocks of food on hand, make a shopping list based on what you are low on, shop items on your list but stock up on things on sale, make your meal plan based on the food already in your house. Option 1 is probably easiest because you aren't relying on anything else for making your plans, Option 2 is great for the budget conscious, Option 3 is the biggest saver of money because you a mostly buying things in bulk and/or on sale however, it requires a fairly high degree of creativity/spontaneity in your cooking so that your meals don't get derailed because you are missing one ingredient but also gives you a lot of flexibility in your meals because you have everything you need for many meals at once. So first you need to figure out your approach and then you work on the meal planning. But I find I don't do well with #1 at all because things change from day to day (and sometimes even from morning to night) that trying to figure out what I will have time to make each day that far in advance doesn't work for me.
  19. We have lots of allergies here so opening windows is a no go. So yes pretty much all my painting has been done with the house closed up. It's never really been a problem. I just make sure not to keep the room closed up especially while I'm actively painting. But in general most paints are pretty low fumes these days but if you are really worried i do believe there are some paints that are marketed as have lower fumes.
  20. I'm confused. I'm assumed you are referring to Beatrice's dress but it comes to the top of her feet so I can't figure out how it is too short.
  21. My mom was/is not a morning person. I really don't remember her ever making us breakfast. By the time I was in mid grade school (4th-5th grade), I was waking her up to take me to school. So cinnamon toast was definitely a serve yourself breakfast that I had mastered by the time I was 6 or so. Plus my siblings weren't not nearly as enamored with cinnamon toast as I was so they made something else. Funny part about bread, my mom only bought white bread because that was what my dad liked. I LOVED whole wheat bread, brown rice, potatoes with skins (things we never got because my dad didn't like them). For me anything that wasn't white squishy bread was an absolute treat.
  22. That would explain it. I only owned a toaster oven for about 3 months as adult and I found it such a ridiculous pain that I quickly donated it (it was a used one that someone gave us so I thought I'd give it a try but I had several kids by that point and I would have to do multiple batches and it was a pain to clean so the oven was 10X easier to deal with at that point). Nowadays, even though I know toaster ovens are a thing, they are not something that would ever occur to me to use without someone pointing it out.
  23. Toasting first is totally the CORRECT way to do it! Once you put the stuff on it, how do you put it in the toaster? You can't, then you have to use the oven, which requires a pan and that more work. The whole point of cinnamon toast is that it's simple enough that the kids can get their own breakfast and using the oven kinda of defeats that point. At least that's how it worked in my house.
  24. I made it all the time as a kid. I actually didn't know it was a product you could buy. It's so basic it never would have occurred to me to even look for it in the store.
  25. Did you just use a landscaping tarp to line the inside? That looks like a much more economical way to build a raise bed than the solid wood sides that I usually see.
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