Making Soup {but not excuses}

{Happy campers: group shot of our children at our recent family camp}

In my family, the term making soup means you’re making excuses and procrastinating on a job that needs to be done. For example, imagine a challenging, annoying chore needs to be done around the house. If I say, “Well, I’m not ready for tackling that chore” or “I’m doing something else first”, you will hear the reply, “Well, you’re just making soup.”

If there is any conversation and my dad asks why this job is not done around the house (because dad’s are dads and still notice when things need to be fixed or repaired), for example, and I give a lame excuse… he’ll say, “You’re just making soup.”

{Edited to add: here is the original “Making Soup” story, kindly sent to me by my mom:}

The story is told of a man whose neighbour had a habit of borrowing tools and not returning them.
One day the neighbour stopped by the man’s house and asked whether he could borrow his axe.
“No, you can’t,” replied the man.

“Why not?” the neighbour asked.

“I’m making soup,” the man replied.
Puzzled, the neighbour said, “I don’t see what making soup has to do with borrowing your axe.”
“That’s true,” said the man. “But when a fellow’s decided he’s not going to do something, one excuse is as good as the next.”


As you can see, there is no getting around it. Procrastination is just not acceptable in my family. 😉

Or  … stop putting off your work or chore and just get it done. [Do you see a theme lately? Getting things done? I come from a long line of get-it-done-family members so I suppose it has truly rubbed off on me.]

Take it as you please … but this week, we made a batch of tomato beef soup to can for winter. And by that, I mean, we actually made soup for canning. No excuses. I’ve mentioned it before but having canned soup or stews on hand is a HUGE blessing to me in the fall and winter. It’s an immediate healthy meal that can serve loads of people – just add rice or pasta and a nice loaf of homemade bread or buns. Top the soup with shredded cheese and serve dill pickles and grilled cheese on the side. It’s an excellent meal that is easy to use and pleasing to most.



{Don’t you love this big soup pot? I knew I needed a bigger pot but they are priced at about $40 at the local store.
I found this one last week at a thrift store for $4. It’s the little things that make me happy!}

Speaking of easy meals, my loving and great-chef mother brought over a trunk load of freezer meals for the family this weekend. These meals will be a true blessing after the baby is born and even the weeks leading up to the birth! I would say they are the best gift to give a mom of a new baby.  As my mother was putting the meals into my freezer, a pained look spread across her face. Yes, sadly, I must admit, my freezer is/was not very organized. And for my very organized, clean and tidy mother, well, I’m sure it was an eye sore (sorry, mom!). Hence, she has offered to come clean out my three freezers tomorrow and I am beyond excited. She is the MOST organized person in the world – I cannot wait to see her work her magic on my unorganized freezer space. I have a lot to learn from her! And quite frankly, I cannot even bend to get into the freezer right now – this is a chore that perhaps I made soup of …

But one thing – knowing that my mom spending a morning in my basement, cleaning out the freezers, meant that my basement needed cleaning! And quickly! Yes, it was another thing on the to-do list before baby arrives!

So after my mom left our home, I promptly waddled to the basement with my girls in tow and started throwing out junk – why do basements collect so much junk? Even when you clean them, in a few months, the junk re-appears.  Within a few hours, we had the back of Abby’s truck filled, a trip to the dump later and the basement appeared much tidier. This also led to organizing the Provision Room and collecting empty canning jars that will be needed as the tomatoes start ripening full time. So with that, I was able to scratch two more items off on my life – clean basement and organize Provision Room. With the cleaning of the freezers, that will be another huge blessing and a big check on the do list, as well. [However, this all comes with a price tag of terrible (Braxton Hicks) contractions and discomfort on my pregnant body. I definitely need to rest for a while after such big chores.]

Things are getting done around here and for that I am grateful. The closet in the nursery was cleaned and organized this week with the help of my gracious mother in law. She offered and I promised myself I would take up offers of help this time during pregnancy. It has proven to be more difficult to be pregnant this time around – I’m not sure if it is because I have a bigger workload or because this is the 8th baby or perhaps it was like this last time and I just forgot…? I am keeping my outside engagements minimized and have had to cancel some social calls just to have enough energy to tend to the household chores. I’m attempting to drink more water, raspberry leaf tea and double up on my iron pills for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Recently, more canning has happened (BBQ sauce and zuchinni), along with the soup batch. I was also able to get to the store early this week and purchase some lovely school supplies.  I worked on organized my herbal cupboard and preparing some tinctures for winter medicines (I shall save for another post). This coming week will hold more school planning, tomato canning as they ripen as well as canning 200 cobs of corn (or more?). Once glance at the calendar and I realize not much time before school begins, baby arrives and fall and winter set in!  Another load of wood was dropped off so there will be cleaning out freezers, braiding garlic, and stacking wood happening in any spare time this weekend.



Who says the days of summer are lazy? I think it must be the busiest season. In many way, I am looking forward to Autumn, a slower pace, cuddling a newborn and toddler and all the other children in front of a cozy fire and reading all those read-aloud books I had hoped we would get to during the summer. I am grateful for the change of seasons for this reason.

Even with discomforts and the ailments of being pregnant, I am SO grateful for this blessing to carry another baby. People ask all the time if we are “done” having children … that is another blog post, too … however, let me just say that each pregnancy, each chance to bring a new life into the world and to raise up a little one for God is an immense joy and responsibility. Children are truly blessings from God – the world does not see it this way, but our mindset is not to be of this world. We are to look at situations and life journeys with a Biblical mindset. That, my friends, changes everything. 


P.S. Here is the recipe for the yummy soup we canned. It is adapted from Canning Granny.
It is so lovely- you can thicken it into stew, if you wish, when it is time to serve.

Beef Vegetable Stew

6 pounds of stew meat
(truly, you can use what you have – if there is less meat, then add more vegetables –
just make sure each jar receives some meat or else your husband will not be happy)
1 cup of carrots per jar
1 cup of cubed potatoes per jar
1/2 cup of chopped celery

1/4 cup of onions in each jar

1 tsp minced garlic in each quart 

 1/2 tsp of canning salt to each jar
1/2 tsp per jar of Worcestershire Sauce
three or four jars of crushed or stewed tomatoes (home canned or store bought is just fine)
two litres of beef or vegetable broth (I mixed both – use what you have on hand, add more broth if you feel you need to stretch your soup)
Cook your meat and prep your vegetables. Boil your broth in a large pot. Once the broth is ready, add your beef chunks. You do not need to cook the vegetables – I scoop out each vegetable into the litre jars, all lined up, and ensure each jar receives the same amount of filling. Then I pour the broth and beef mixture overtop. 
Process in a pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure. 






August 21, 2017 - 3:34 pm

Gigi I was going to but I can’t figure out how to resize it.

August 21, 2017 - 3:07 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) Gillian, You should have posted a picture of Abby’s truckload 🙂
You are very industrious and I have yet to see you “make soup” xoxo

August 20, 2017 - 9:30 pm

Gigi Regina, that sounds like a productive week!

August 20, 2017 - 9:29 pm

Gigi Jen, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement No matter how big or small our families are, each child is a special gift from God!

August 20, 2017 - 9:28 pm

Gigi Tara, good question. Let me see if she will post some answers!

August 20, 2017 - 9:00 pm

Tara C Does your mom have a special system for organizing the freezer? Freezers drive me nuts because it just ends up being piles. lol! I would love to see pictures of how she organized it!

August 20, 2017 - 6:31 pm

Jen Heemskerk I love that you keep having children! Even though my heart longed for more children in our family,I am incredibly grateful for the ones we do have! I always look forward to your pregnancy announcements, and then of course the birth announcements along with fabulous new born photos! Your way of living is a testimony of your faith in Jesus! And it’s nice to see ‘stable’ Godly families see children as a blessing and continue to lead/raise their children in the Lord. Can’t wait to see what gift the Lord will be giving you soon!!

August 20, 2017 - 3:29 pm

Regina Shea You soup looks delicious! We canned a few quarts of ham and 13 bean soup last week but I want to can a few more jars. If I can get to the market I want to get some blueberries or strawberries to make jam. I haven’t done that in a few years.