My 2 Week Meal Plan {The August 21st Edition}

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Hey Friends! Today, I’m sharing my family’s meal plan for the next 2 weeks! My hope is that my ideas will inspire you in your own meal-planning adventure! You know from my previous posts that I am pretty passionate about meal-planning. It has made such a huge difference for our family. It brings so much peace and order to our evening routine and makes my life so much less stressful! And who doesn’t like less stress-I know I do!!

If you haven’t already, check out my methods and tips for meal-planning here!
What’s for Dinner? The Reason I started Meal Planning
Tips for Successful Meal Planning

Week 1
Sunday-Tacos, Creamed Corn
Monday-Tortellini, Asparagus
Tuesday-Sloppy Joe Sandwiches, Tossed Salad
Wednesday-Venison Hamburger Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Carrots
Thursday-Basil Pesto Pasta & Sausage (We’ve been eating lots of basil pesto because my herb garden is going crazy! I will be sharing my recipe for pesto.. on the blog soon!!)
Friday-Pizza, Tossed Salad
Saturday-Lasagna, Green Beans, Garlic Toast

Week 2
Sunday-Shrimp Kebabs, Roasted Red Potatoes
Monday-Breakfast
Tuesday-Asian Meatballs & Rice
Wednesday-Chicken Tenders, French Fries
Thursday-Grocery Night-We always grab something while we are out for $10 or less
Friday-Taco Salad
Saturday-Pierogi Casserole, Cooked Spinach

If there is a particular meal that you would like to see the recipe for on the blog, let me know! Also, if you have any questions about my meal plan or need advice on making your own, please feel free to comment below or send me an email! I always love to hear from my readers!

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Planning & Preparing our Vegetable Garden: Part 1

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Today I will begin sharing with you the process and steps we followed to ensure that we set ourselves up for gardening success! This is the first post in a series of four total, sharing our experience-From the planning stages through to the finished product, trouble-shooting throughout the season, and improvements we plan to make next year. So, make sure you continue to check back so you don’t miss any posts in this great gardening series!

This was the first summer that we planted a vegetable garden at our new house. Since we were starting from scratch, we had quite the undertaking in planning and preparing the garden. My husband and I have always enjoyed working on a vegetable garden together. We have had a garden every year since we got married in some form or another. We started out with pepper plants and tomato plants in pots on our porch. The following year, we invested in supplies to build a raised bed garden. The first bed measured 4 foot by 10 foot and the second, 2 foot by 4 foot. It may not have been much space, however, we fit a lot of vegetables in those little gardens!

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Planning the garden out was our first step. First things first-make sure that you think things through. There are quite a few factors that you need to take into consideration prior to jumping into action. You need to consider your environment. For example, we have a high volume of animals that frequent our yard. On a daily basis, we see deer, rabbits, and squirrels. On a less regular basis, we also have raccoons, opossums, groundhogs, and chipmunks. All of these little critters would love to have a little (or big) feast on our beautiful fresh produce, but I’m not interested in sharing 😉 So, we knew the first thing on our list would need to be a fence, and a fairly tall one to keep the deer away.

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The second thing to decide on is the location. The left side of our yard is very wet, especially in the spring. So we knew that wouldn’t be the best location for a garden. We also knew that we wanted it to be close to a source of water. We didn’t want to have to drag our hose a long distance to water the garden. We also knew that we wanted our garden to have some shade throughout the day.

We ended up choosing the far right hand corner of our property near our shed as our garden location. The first reason is, there is much better drainage on that side of yard. The second reason is that my hubby planned to run water lines out to our shed, so he would easily be able to add a hose connection as well. The third reason being, this part of the yard receives shade for a good portion of the morning and again in the evening. So it met all of our requirements for a great garden location.

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The next thing to consider is what supplies will you need to make your dream garden a reality. This is the overall list that we needed for our own garden. Yours will look much different than ours. You may need more or you may need less, depending on your current situation.

  • Supplies to run water out to the shed
  • Supplies to build the fence
  • Rototiller
  • Seeds and Vegetable plants

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So here is a recap of things to consider prior to starting your garden.

  1. Your Environment-animals especially
  2. The Location-Where in your yard do you want to plant your garden? Think about these things:
    A. Quality of your yard
    B. Proper Drainage
    C. Water Source
    D. Sunlight vs. Shade
  3. Supplies-What will you need to get your garden off to the right start?

I hope that this gives you a good idea of where to start when you are planning your own vegetable garden. Like all big projects, starting a new vegetable garden will have some trial and error. This is our first year with a garden at this house and we have already ran in to a handful of issues. Thankfully, none of the issues were too bad. But there will definitely be some things we will be tweaking next season.

Check back soon! Part 2 will cover how we got our garden plot ready, including building our fence and preparing the soil!

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What are your tips & tricks for planning & preparing your vegetable garden? Share your thoughts in the comments below-I love to hear from my readers!

My 2-Week Meal Plan {The August 7th Edition}

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Hey Friends! Today, I’m sharing my family’s meal plan for the next 2 weeks! My hope is that my ideas will inspire you in your own meal-planning adventure! You know from my previous posts that I am pretty passionate about meal-planning. It has made such a huge difference for our family. It brings so much peace and order to our evening routine and makes my life so much less stressful! And who doesn’t like less stress-I know I do!!

If you haven’t already, check out my methods and tips for meal-planning here!
What’s for Dinner? The Reason I started Meal Planning
Tips for Successful Meal Planning

Week 1
Sunday-Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Monday-Fish & French Fries
Tuesday-BBQ Pork Sandwiches & Tossed Salad
Wednesday-Tacos & Salsa Rice
Thursday-Shrimp Kebabs, Quinoa & Roasted Red Potatoes
Friday-Going Out!
Saturday-Family Picnic-Burgers, Hot dogs, potato salad, and more!

Week 2-Vacation Week
We are both on vacation from work this week! YAY!! We have a lot of different activities planned throughout the week, so it will not be a normal week for us. We will probably be eating a few meals away from home. So, I didn’t make a formal meal plan for this week. However, I do have a few meals in mind for the evenings we find ourselves at home.

If there is a particular meal that you would like to see the recipe for on the blog, let me know! Also, if you have any questions about my meal plan or need advice on making your own, please feel free to comment below or send me an email! I always love to hear from my readers!

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July 2016 Homestead Update

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It’s hard to believe that another month has come and gone and it’s already time for another update! July was definitely an exciting month on our little homestead!

The Vegetable Garden

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This was the month that we finally got to see the fruits of our labors starting to pay off. We’ve been enjoying fresh lettuce, kale and sugar snap peas! We also just harvested our first batch of jalapeno peppers that we will be pickling and canning soon. It is so wonderful to come in from the garden every few days with a basket full of goodies to enjoy!

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And the excitement has only just begun. Our tomato plants are full of green tomatoes. We have anywhere from 2-10 tomatoes on each plant! This is really exciting for us because in the past we have struggled with tomato plants. At our old house, we had issues with blight year after year. Last year, we had a tomato planted in a pot and it ended up with blossom end rot which was very disappointing.

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We just planted a fresh batch of seeds for fall harvest as well! Back in May, we had planted a bunch of seeds including carrots, beets, and turnips. However, they never came up? So we had a big patch of garden that had nothing in it. We had some leftover seeds, so we decided to plant a fresh batch and see how they do. So far, so good! All of the seeds came up and seem to be doing well. I just got finished up thinning the seedlings today. Hopefully they continue to do well and we will have a decent harvest of root vegetables this fall!

The Herb Garden

Our herb garden has also been doing exceptionally well this year. So well, in fact, that I’ve been having trouble keeping up with it. I have already cut them back multiple times this year and they just continue to grow! Which is a good thing, I’m not complaining! It seems like as soon as I get one batch dried and prepared for use, I’m out there cutting them back again. So far, I have 2 quarts of dried spearmint, 2 quarts of dried lemon balm and 1/2 quart of dried tarragon. And that is in addition to topping off my “working” supply of herbs in the kitchen. It definitely is exciting to be stocking up my pantry with lots of herbs to use over the winter!

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The Tractor

We have a small lawn tractor that my husband uses to mow our yard. We were lucky enough that a friend actually gave it to us for free! This is our second year using it and so far, it has been running like a dream. The only “repair” that we had to do was buying it a new battery back when we first got it.

Well that all changed about 2 weeks ago. My husband started his usual mowing routine and made it about half way around the house on his first pass when all of a sudden it stalled out. So, he started it back up, it ran for a few seconds, then-BANG!! The bang was the sound of the connecting rod shattering into a million (maybe a billion) pieces. So, he had to mow our acre with his push mower which took an hour or 2 longer than it typically takes on his tractor.

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Now, my hubby is pretty handy but he has never torn down an engine before. So, with a little research and help from his grandpa, he was able to tear down the engine, order the parts he needed and rebuild the engine!! Rather than spending thousands of dollars on buying a new lawn tractor, we were able to repair ours for about $150!! Now that’s definitely quite a savings! Now, thanks to my hubby we are back up and running! We will probably save up over the winter this year to buy a new one in the spring. We don’t want to push our luck with our freebie and end up without anything. We like to think ahead and make sure we are prepared before the need arises.

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What is keeping you busy this summer? Share your homesteading stories and excitement in the comments below! I love to hear from my readers!

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Ranch Oyster Crackers

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One of my favorite snacks of all time, are these delicious ranch seasoned oyster crackers. I think that part of the reason that they’re my favorite, is because one of my favorite people used to make them for me! As a child, I remember a jar sitting on my grandma’s counter that was always full of these tasty little crackers. I remember when I was very young, she would bring me a little tin tray full of these and other little snacks while I sat on her living room floor playing or watching t.v.! Such sweet memories of spending time at my grandma’s house.

Now, I can’t say that mine ever taste quite as good as hers did, however, they are pretty close. (I feel like that’s true of many of her recipes. Things just never taste as good when I make them.) But give them a try, you’re bound to love them as much as I do! They are simple to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already!

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Ranch Oyster Crackers

1 Bag of Oyster Crackers
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Powder (or 3 Tbsp bulk)
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
2 Tbsp Dill Weed

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Empty the crackers onto a baking sheet with edges.
In a bowl combine the oil, ranch powder, garlic salt and dill weed. Mix together well.
Pour the oil mixture over top of the crackers and toss with a spatula until all of the crackers are coated.
Let set for 2 hours. Stirring every 1/2 hour.
Enjoy this tasty little treat!

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**Beware, once you eat one cracker, you won’t be able to stop! Now, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!!**

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