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Yummy chicken, tender ham, Sweet Potato Bread, and "The Beards."

Does life ever slow down? We did the garage sale again and didn’t do very well, but I worked outside the whole day and put stucco on the new mailbox, moved plants from one garden to another, and cooked for Sunday.

Then a whole week went by again with home schooling my children, work, cleaning my mom’s room and feeding her, juggling activities, cooking, shopping, and sneaking in the reading of The Hunger Games series. (Yes, I read them all in the space of three days).

My two youngest, which are girls, were at their cousins the whole week, but two of the cousins plus a friend came here, which means I had 5 teenage boys the whole week.

Therefore, I had to cook big time this week…and actually…I thought all my children except Felipe (who’s in college) were going to stay in Dallas for the week.

I had made plans of using the whole week to write in my book, blog, work on my website, etc. Instead, I had to cook, make sure they did chores, ended up subbing at work, etc.

Life has a way of robbing our best laid plans…doesn’t it? Oh well. I finished 2 different trainings and only have an evening Spanish class the next 2 weeks. Thus I plan to write, write, write…so I am ordering everyone in my family to not get sick, to not need mom, to not make any messes… (Hey—I can dream can’t I).

Did I mention that a son at college just emailed me and on Monday wants my help to straighten out his Financial Aid mess?

With nine children…what do I expect? What did I expect?

But I would not trade or change anyone or anything. I love my busy life filled with unexpected events. I live a soap opera…maybe that’s why I never have watched them.

Today, I canned butter (I do it in a pressure canner so it will last for years without being refrigerated). Braum’s had it on sale this week for $1.99 per pound, and so I bought 20 boxes. I canned 13 pints and one quart of butter, 4 quarts of leftover Spanish turkey, and 3 quarts of leftover Chili.

That is the marvelous thing about canning. Instead of freezing the leftovers or giving them to the chickens, or worst of all-throwing them out; you simply put them in a jar, process it, and now you have a meal in case of an emergency or for one day when you do not have time to cook.

We are having a class at the college this month on canning. People are always asking me to teach them so I asked the Director of Community Education to try a class. It’s on a Saturday morning. We will see how well it goes.

I also made chicken today and Spanish rice. Both came out really well. For the chicken, I took a bag of frozen legs and put them on to boil in about 2 inches of water with some dehydrated onion (about 2 Tablespoons),

powdered garlic (2 teaspoons),

2 packages of Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote (Coriander and Annatto), and

some salt and pepper.

I did not add any Traditional Ragu this time and no bell pepper. It was different than I normally do it, but it was excellent. I guess I need to come up with a name for it.

I did not cook off the water, so there was a broth that I put on the rice when I served it…extra yummy.   

I also made 22 small loaves of Sweet Potato Bread. I used the Apple Coconut Bread Recipe, but did not add the coconut and instead of apples, added a can of cut sweet potatoes (but I squished them with my fingers). I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of all-spice. Wow! What yummy bread.

I took some to give away at choir practice, and brought some to give away to some individuals at a meeting tonight at our church. Having small loaves of bread ready makes for a quick gift…a nice thank you…a “I miss you”… a “I’m sorry”, etc. It has served me well though the years.

This week hams were on sale, as well as chocolate chips, so I stocked up on both. I made a ham on Thursday, and we had mashed potatoes, asparagus, pickled beets (I just added ½ cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a can of sliced beets…leave the juice on). Let them soak in the sugar and vinegar mixture for at least 30 min.—45 is better. Then, drain the juice, and serve them cold.  

We also took two cans of corn and mixed them with a can of peas, drained them, added butter salt, and pepper, and heated them up in the microwave.    

(Just a hint: When you bake a Ham or Turkey in the oven use a deep enough baking pan that you can add about one inch of water to the bottom of the pan. you can even add seasonings to the water like I do when I make Spanish Turkey.

I also use heavy duty foil and completely seal the top. then i do not even check on it for at least 4 hours or so has gone by. Adding water, and keeping a tight seal with make sure that the meat is juicy and tender.

I always add water when I cook meat...unless I am grilling it and then I marinate it...water? Yes...I use yes, I always add water when I cook meat. remember the words: tender and juicy.)


This was a really nice dinner, because we had had leftovers on Monday and made Goulash on Tuesday, ate the Goulash again on Wednesday, so we were ready for a nice meal on Thursday. I packed up a nice dinner for Felipe to take to the missionaries.

We had to work that night, and they had visits, so it didn’t make sense to go pick them up from another town, have them at home for a bit, and then have to take them back so quickly. But I don’t like to do that very often; because I know they like to be in homes where they feel welcomed and where they can relax.

I also made miniature M & M cookies...super yummy. (Use the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe and replace it with another chip...). Especially iced...but who knows how many calories. I have avoided them for three days now, but right now they are calling to me. hopefully, they will be gone when I get home...

Friday, Fito and I finally had some time together. He worked every night this week and besides that, he just signed us up to be in Amway. At first, I was so angry that he did so without talking to me, but then I realized that he has wanted to have “his own business” for years, and many of the things he has tried, have not done so well.

At least with this, he cannot lose a lot of money, and as I looked at their new product lines, books, gift cards, make up, nutritional supplements, and so forth; I was impressed with their products and their new marketing. Therefore, I will support him in this endeavor and we will go from there.

We went to Brass pro Shop today with the whole family and Maria, Travis, and Xander. I had not been in years and forgot how much fun and how interesting the store is. My son-in-law, Travis, is really pleased with me right now because this past week I told them one evening when they were at the house that one of my new favorite shows is “Duck Dynasty.”

It is a reality show about a family in Louisiana that have made their fortune selling duck calls, but it is more than a show about a successful family business. They are the type of family that makes America and the world great.

They are concerned about their children, who they are dating, where they are, who they are with, and so on. They worry about each other. Spouses work together. In-laws, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are all part to the family, have a say so, teach, help out, and enjoy life together. I love the beards.

I agree that children should spend most of their day outside. That they should grow up using guns, canning food, cutting firewood, being self-reliant, living off the land as much as possible, gardening, working hard, being pure, being a person of integrity.

I know all of us are struggling to raise righteous hard-working children. Each day seems like we are doing battle and some days, it seems, that we are losing the battle. But don’t give up. Do not give up. Keep praying, keep hoping, keep loving that child who has gone astray. I truly believe that if we have enough faith and if we keep our own covenants, that someday, in His own way; god will somehow bring them back to us.

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