Tag Archives: cooking with kids

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 15, 2019

Rob was super blessed to hold not only 1 tiny baby, but 2 tiny babies today! I never stop marveling at tiny babies. So precious, and such a gift from God. This precious babe has been hanging around my sister’s house a lot while Mommy and Daddy crash on the couch for a little bit while everybody in the house takes turns holding her. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Her daddy is like a son to my sister and brother-in-law, but I just can’t wrap my brain around my sister as a….. grandma? But, I guess if I can be one, she can, too. I’m so glad she shares:). We feel blessed.

We canned chicken and broth. At 89c/lb, the price could not be beat. We canned more tuna than we needed last summer. We found that Rob likes canned chicken on his salads in addition to the tuna. We decided to just do a batch of chicken and use up the rest of the tuna, then can more tuna next summer. Tuna varies in price, but often is around $3.50/lb., so this a way to get him variety while saving money.

I bought approximately $13.50 of split chicken breasts and made broth and canned chicken. We got 17 or 18 little jars of assorted sized (most 1/2 pint) of chicken chunks, 7 quarts and 12 pints and a couple of tiny jars of broth.

Patsy decided to cook up a storm for the first time in a long time. I joined her. We made tamale pie.

She made Cashew Chicken with rice noodles. Twice. We made some blondies, and some chicken soup.

Then she went back to her regular favorites of tacos, quesadillas, and p.b.j. sandwiches with apples.

What brought this “cooking fit” on? Grandma and Auntie Jan were coming for lunch. She’s been waiting for years to be a part of the “make lunch for Grandma” team. I guess she thought Grandma and Auntie were starving:). The food came in handy. We did have a great lunch. They got to take little bits home for future meals. We had these things for our meals for a couple of days. I hauled little dishes over to my sister’s house for them to eat. Let’s hope she gets in a mood again:). She felt wonderful. All of our tummies felt wonderful! Win-Win!

Patsy is still plugging along on school, and finished week 6. We ran into some roadblocks due to information she had somehow missed over the years , but worked through a plan to correct the problem.

She joined the Christmas Choir at church and had her first practice. There is going to be a big program. This year, she felt confident enough to join in. Last year, she did not, but later confessed she had wanted to and helped with stage crew at the last minute. Grandma helped her work on her quilt block from the shop hop we took her on last winter/spring. None of these things cost money, but they all enrich all our lives and I have a great Christmas program to look forward to watching in December!

I was weeding during our sunny afternoon. Can you see what was under the weeds? I cleaned out all the old parsley and weeds, and propped the volunteer cherry tomato plant up on a wire cage–we may end up with a few more late cherry tomatoes. Not that we are out. I just hate to kill a plant with so much tenacity!

Can you see Alissa on the left? She is having the trip of a lifetime with her Daddy. They are in Israel, walking where Jesus walked, visiting Biblical places, and seeing for themselves what they have studied for years. In the meanwhile…..

Rob and I, my sister and older niece and Grandma and Auntie Jan and anyone else we can round up are all working together to keep the home fires burning for Jake and Michaela. It’s going well, but we will all welcome their return in a few days!

No Bake Mountain Bars


These are so easy to make.  Patsy and I whipped out a batch early Friday morning.  When I packaged them up for gift giving, I put a layer of waxed paper in-between the layers.

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cups cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

3 cups quick oats

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil sugar, cocoa, milk and butter in a large pan for 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients.  Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with waxed paper. Decorate with sprinkles or mini M and M’s according to the holiday it is, or the color scheme you want to match.  We often leave them plain if it is not a holiday.  Refrigerate until set.  Makes 1 cookie sheet full of cookies, if you put them pretty close together.

The amount you get actually varies according to how big you make them.  I’ve had the recipe for years.  It came from a home-school math book a long time ago.  They are gluten-free as long as you are sure to use gluten-free oats.  Some people cannot handle oats, anyway, no matter what, but I can, so enjoy these occasionally.  I’d check with the recipient if you are unsure if they tolerate oats.


November 4H Day

IMG_1692Today was a much quieter day at 4H than usual.  Due to sickness and some other issues, only about 1/2 of our 23 clubbers were able to attend.  That meant that only about 1/2 of our parents, who act as teachers and helpers were there as well.  It made for an interesting day!  I still had over 20 people running around my house all day, and that felt quiet, so imagine how it is when there are about 35 people there–kids and parents and teachers

A few of the missing members knew ahead of time that they couldn’t come.  Many called first thing this morning to let me know they were sick.  4H day usually runs like a well-oiled machine.  Today, we made it through like a dryer with a rock inside, but we did make it!

I am in charge of 3 cooking classes.  Rob is in charge of 1 outdoor cooking class and a class called, simply, Outdoors.  Heavy rain was in the forecast, so, after taking Lovana to work at 6:30, (1 hour round trip), he put up an awning and set up his Dutch oven table and a table for a work area near his Traeger barbecue.  It hardly ended up raining a drop, but it was a nice set-up just in case.  He made Dutch oven peach cobbler, Kielbasa foil packets on the grill, and barbecued steak with the kids in his cooking class.  For his Outdoors class, he had pre-made kits and the kids hammered them together to make suet holders for feeding birds.  They each got to make 2, one for a gift and one for themselves.  Of course, he had made enough kits for all the kids, so there are many left over.  He may connect with the families that were sick or gone and see if they still want to build them another day.


There are also other classes going on all morning.  There are craft classes for the youngest children, horticulture for many, sewing for those who want to, and Junior Leader class for the older ones.  They get to make decisions during that class about activities they want to promote to the club, parties we are having, and they do activities to build leadership skills.   We use upstairs, the garage, the front room, the kitchen and the shop.  Many times there are kids in almost every room in the house.  I love it.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Supplies for cooking were all in the house, purchased over the last few days.  I set the kids up in center, working with partners.  There is a mom or dad helping each group, especially on the classes with younger members.  The Cloverbuds (K-3’s) made a potato-Kielbasa skillet.  The Juniors (4th-6th) made an egg bake, and stuffed sweet potatoes.  They also made a pumpkin custard when one of the girls accidentally poured much too much brown sugar into the wrong bowl.  There were some eggs in there and so I thawed some squash quickly in the microwave and added it to the eggs and sugar and we baked it.  Another girl creatively added a few spices. It turned out yummy, although I realize there was no milk or cream in there.

The oldest group (7th grade and up) made a gluten free deep dish apple pie and gluten-free vegetarian stuffed shell pasta.

At noon, we eat the food the kids have made.  We have a meeting to discuss upcoming community service projects and activities for the club.  We give the kids a chance to give a presentation on any subject and bribe them with prizes to do so.  Today, a young lady brought her new puppy and told us all about the breed, the dog, etc.

After lunch, a few go upstairs to sew, but most go out to the shop with Rob and some of the moms.  A few moms stay inside to help clean up the huge mess.   They sweep, do dishes, and put things away in close to the right spots.  One time, it took me 6 months or more to find a salt shaker they had put away! We are so blessed to have such a network of people helping.  We have 2 teachers that don’t even have kids in the program anymore. Rob’s mom comes just to wash dishes.  What a gift! One dad is coming regularly to run a class, so Rob doesn’t have to feel like the only man around anymore!

After they had gone, the house settled back down into quietness.  The floor is swept, the rugs shaken. The fridge is stuffed with leftovers because the food had already been purchased and the kids cooked it all, but many of the hungry eaters were absent.  I think tomorrow I may take some of it to the family that is sick.  Right now, I’m just enjoying listening to the rain that finally showed up and is falling right outside my window and basking in the pleasantly tired feeling that comes after a day well spent.