Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A little early but "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

This will probably be my only post until after the new year.  With Christmas preps, planning a trip to Florida the next day, and my DH's birthday today, I am going to be a little crazy.  I am looking forward to the other side of the holidays.  Ya know how you can get kind of a food hangover?  Well I am there.  Should be really easy to go back to eating healthy for a while.
Speaking of eating healthy.  Anyone else looking forward to the spring planting time?  As soon as we are home I will be getting the stuff to make a mini green house/hot bed so I can start my seeds early.  My house isn't really made for good direct sunlight so my seedlings tend to be tall and weak.  SO!  I am putting together a mini greenhouse outside.  I am hopeful this will be a good investment.  Here's hoping.  Anyway, I am looking forward to getting some cool weather crops in the ground in Jan and Feb.
I did finally finish the gifts for my grandson and the Pj's for my boys.  I thought I would share some pics with you. These below are the PJ's I made for my grandson.

The next picture is of the curtains and pillows I made for his bed.  

Now Christmas at our house isn't complete without our cat, Nermal, chillin out under the Christmas tree.
I also made my grandson a little camo outfit and a superman cape, but didn't get a chance to get a pic before I had them wrapped.  maybe I can get a pic Christmas day.  I will also have a pic of my sons PJs when I post pics from our Christmas day.  Well, I hope everyone has a great holiday and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Everyone getting their Christmas stuff done?  I am making progress.  I should be making more progress, but for now here I sit typing away.  Its cloudy and cold outside, but I have my Christmas trees on and I have Pandora playing Christmas music on the computer while I type to keep me in the spirit of Christmas.  Once I am done here it is off to my sewing machine to finish up some things and start others.  So far I have completed the pjs for grandson and Einstien.  I almost have Rubic's done.  I just need to finish the top.  Dh says he doesn't want Pjs this year cause he has plenty, so for him I made a couple pair of scrub pants for work.  He already has them so not a gift.  My dh and I are gonna get into the kitchen and cook up some Christmas treats for his co workers.  My co workers are getting homemade bread which I will make on Friday.  I still need to get some gifts though.  My mom, my daughter and her husband, as well as one more gift for my sons should wrap everything up.  I tell you I am loving this internet shopping.  WHEW!  beats the crowds.  In away, in not going to the store I have not had to deal with all the junk placed in the holiday buy the world.  I haven't had to deal with nativities sitting next to jack o lanterns, or Christmas decorations put up in stores before Nov 1st. The only decor I have had to see has been my own and it wasn't put up until Thanksgiving.  I think that is one reason why my Christmas this year has so far been wonderful and I have to say relatively stress free.  With the exception of the stress put on me by sewing this close to the holiday.  I know I really should start things maybe in Jan, but I put it off.  You know what they say"why put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the next day".  Anyway, once I am done with everything and before I get them wrapped, I will take pics and post them here.

In honor of all of us scurrying around getting last minute things done, I thought I would post an old poem I wrote a few months ago.  I am like my mom in that I get creative when I am tired.  This poem was written at midnight one night over the summer after a very long day of canning etc.  Thought You guys would like it. SO without further adieu:

Ode to a house wife (by me)

Now I lay me down to sleep
Alas my house I could not keep
Kitchen, floors and laundry to do,
But distractions came and time flew.
I did accomplish a few things,
But many of them contained calories.
I find that on a cool rainy day
I am less apt to work and more apt to play
At cooking and baking in my kitchen
Making chocolate cookies and fired chicken.
So while my waist gets wider and my house is still cluttered,
I look to tomorrow to find another
Day in which to give a try
To keep my house as women gone by.

Thanks.  Have a great day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

Last Monday I finally got all of my Christmas decorations up and running.  I couldn't get my photos to load onto my computer last week, so, being somewhat late, here they finally are.  This first pic is of our den or I should say DH's "man cave".  This is where we will more than likely open gifts Christmas morning, or should I say our observed Christmas morning.  I have to work both Christmas eve and Christmas day, so we are having ours on the 26th.

Next in line is our living room aka "quiet room".  By quiet I mean it is a room in the house with no TV or video games.  It is an area where you can go to read or visit with someone who has come over, etc.  This is my favorite room in the house. It is "my room" so to speak.

A few years my Mother in law's cousin passed away from pancreatic cancer.  This is the same woman who's Shirley Temple dolls I inherited.  Well, I was also given this nativity scene.  If you will notice Baby Jesus isn't in the manger.  I adopted this tradition from my Mother in law from the first year I met her.  Her tradition is to put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas eve because he wasn't born until then.  So each Christmas eve the youngest child in the house puts the baby Jesus in his manger.  Now my boys are 16 and 18.  Last year my grandson was here and he did it, but this year both of my boys will have a nativity and so both will place a baby Jesus.  

Okay this is just for Christmas kicks.  This is my Wolly.  He is a beagle/Basset mix.  Don't you think he is sweet?

So anyway, our plan for Christmas is to celebrate on the 26th and then take off to Florida on the 27th to see  my husbands family.  We will come back probably on New years eve.  Then hopefully things will go back to normal.  Well for a bit anyway until it is time once again to start up my garden!  So everyone have a great day and do something festive!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It is that time of year!

Yesterday we had a cold rain/snow mix all day just about.  That kind of wet cold that just sinks into your bones.  Fortunately I had no where to go and so stayed put and finished decorating my house for Christmas.  Last night I put on some Christmas music (the old fashioned Perry Como stuff), and Christmas lights while I made beef stew and biscuits in the kitchen for dinner.  I was also able to finish the pajama pants for my grandson.  I have a long list of projects to complete and Dh asked me last night if I could make him some scrubs for work.  Hmmm I am thinking another Christmas gift for him.  Hopefully it is doable.  I needed some interfacing, super glue and navy blue thread to finish up some projects I currently have in the works.  So yours truly got up this morning and drove to Walmart at 4 am to get these items so I wouldn't have to go out today.  Now I am home and wanting coffee and sleep.  UGH!  sleep sleep.  Oh well maybe a nap later.  I have to get busy with sewing.  Can't put it off anymore.  I am slowly but surely getting Christmas gifts either bought or made.  I have my Dad and my sister taken care of.  MY grandson, and my children are still in progress as is my Dh.  I am still trying to figure out something for my mom.   On the list today is sewing and basic house up keep. I am trying to keep everything nice each day so I don't have to do these mammoth cleans.  Plus upkeep is quick and leaves more time for sewing.  So without further ado I need to get busy for the day or I am going to crawl back into bed and go to sleep.  See you guys later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 and more pics

So did everyone have a great Thanksgiving?  Did you eat too much?  We had an adventure.  Diva and her DH were moving the day before and couldn't get the power and water switched in time due to the holiday.  A problem  for them I know.  They have been coming to our house for showers, bottles of water, and laundry.  In addition to that their car broke down that evening.  Needless to say they were both in a dither and exhausted that night.  Still we managed to work things out the next day where they were able to come see everyone for Thanksgiving.  They were both more optimistic Thanksgiving day after some much needed sleep.   I did go to my moms and help cook and prepare for Thanksgiving day along with my sister.  I snapped quite a few pics.  You will notice many of my pics have my dad in them.  Many times at family get togethers my dad is on the other side of the camera and so not in many pictures.  My mom requested I get some of daddy this year.  This pic is of my parents.  They have been married for 53 years.  She was 18 when they married and he 19.  He entered the military the year before they married I believe.
You will find my dad 99% of the time in his office on the computer.  He is always sending me stuff in my email. I was able to snap a pic of him in his natural habitat along with my closest sister, "The Educator".  Watch out students!  "She'll be back!".  Not sure if they were shopping or what, but there they are.

Here we all are lined up to stuff our faces with good food and fill our hearts with plenty of family time.  Can you figure out what room of the house we are in?  Hmmm?  It is the garage.  Yes my parents have a chandelier in their garage.   Their garage is painted both walls and floor, has pictures on the wall, and even some flower arrangements.  I tell you the cars never had it so good.  My parents garage doubles as a banquet hall for family get togethers.

No family meal is complete without a fine wine and Georgia is know for its fine wines.  Take a gander at our wine list
This is "Uncle Bucks Turnip Blush".  Hey is was "voted best  wine at the tractor pull".

In case you can't read this , it is the "apple surprise now with prunes" created by our own "Bubba Jones winery and muffler shop.  It is great for degreasing engines, cleaning toilets, cleaning tires, etc.  Its not just for drinkin anymore.  ***Disclaimer*** I am hoping you guys figured out these were fake labels.  Actually the wine is from Chateau Elan.

Next on the pic list is my youngest brother and my dad chowing down on some good cooking

Sitting next to my brother is his girlfriend whom we like very much.  Okay last on the list is the picture explaining why my mom wanted me to get some snaps of dear ole dad.  This is what he normally does:

So once again we can say another successful Thanksgiving celebration.  We have an awful lot to be thankful for.  We got home that night and put up one of our two trees.  I will take pics when both are finished.  I have been putting out Christmas decorations since Thanksgiving night.  I had to work this weekend, so today is catch up on regular house work, laundry, and decorating.  Plus school is back in session for both boys.  I need to also make bread.  YAY!  So now I am off to the races...well kinda, I want to sneak on over to facebook and see what my friends are up to.  Then I will get to work.  Yea, that's the ticket.  So you guys have a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What am I thankful for?

I am always struggling to "in whatever circumstance to be content".  There is always one more thing I would like to have in my home, to look better, have more, etc.  I think it is human nature and I am human.  Sometimes, not only at Thanksgiving, I try to think of all the blessings I do have and focus on those.  So at the risk of boring everyone, can I share?

All of my 3 children are still alive.  My mother faced the loss of one child when that child was 3 days old and my mom was at the young age of 19.  She later on had to face the loss of my brother due to a motorcycle accident and he was only 26 at the time.  I can't even imagine.  I know there are parents who face this sort of thing every day.  I have no way of knowing how they feel, but my heart goes out to them as well as my prayers.  I also have a grandson who is three.  A cuter more rambunctious boy you will never find.  My family is ever growing with the advent of a son in law and my grandson.  Getting old aint so bad.  I am grateful for my family.

Speaking of family, I am thankful I was raised in a loving family.  My parents have been married for 53 years.  I was blessed to have a mom who stayed home for us kids.  I wouldn't have traded my childhood for the world.  I am one of  6 children.  4 are still living, and 2 are waiting for us to join them one day.  I am very close to my oldest sister.  She is the twin of the baby that died so young.  She is 8 years older, but we have a blast together.  I am the middle child with 2 brothers below me and two sisters above me(in age that is).

We have lived at this address for the past 15 years.  We live in a mobile home on a little more than 3/4 acre of land.  There are things that need repairing and things I want to do to make it like I want it everyday.  I do have my plans.  It is very easy to look at someone who has a nicer house and wish that was me.  Hey I freely admit that.  That is until I realize there are people in other countries and even in our own country that would look at our house and wish it were theirs.  There are those who have no home or live only in a house that isn't a home.  I am grateful for my home.

This marriage is my second and last.  I have been married to my knight in shining armor for 18 1/2 years or 94.5 Kardashions (smile).  I love him and he loves me.  He makes me feel safe and special.  He is funny. He keeps me laughing.  Now I will admit there are times when I shake my head and he dives me nuts, but I am sure he can say the same about me.  I am grateful to have a partner like him to share my life with.  I hope we can share it a very long time.

My Dh and I both are currently employed.  He full time and I am part time.  We both work for a hospital in our area.  I pray it stays that way, but for now I am thankful we have our jobs.  I am also thankful that my Dh has always tried to make it possible for me to either work part time or at home in order for me to be with our kids.

There are so many other blessings and were I to list them all this would be a very long post for sure.  The important thing is that I remember these blessings when I am tempted to ask for more.  I don't need anything more.  Instead my focus needs to be how can I share what I have with others.  I pray I do remember how blessed I am and should any of the blessings change, to remember I am still blessed in so many ways and that my relationship with God is my greatest blessing.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mornin guys!

It is a chilly morning here in Ga with our lows this morning in the 29 degree range.  I am toasty though in my winter jammies and the flannel robe my sister made me last year.  I love the jammies.  They are like brushed tricot on the inside of the fabric, but satiny on the outside.  They are great for keeping warm in flannel sheets cause when you turn over in the bed you don't make sparks.  LOL.  Without those jammies last night I would have been chilly indeed.
Anyone else getting ready for Thanksgiving?  I am in the way that I am getting ready to decorate for Christmas.  We have Thanksgiving at my mothers house each year, and each year my oldest sister and I go to my moms on "Thanksgiving Eve" and help her cook everything.  Then we spend the night, eat too much, etc.  We have a great time.  Thanksgiving night after all the festivities is when we put up the tree for Christmas.  I love Christmas, but I absolutely balk at stores opening on Thanksgiving or at midnight.  I am also opposed to stores putting out their decorations and other Christmas items in September.  My mother talks of when she was a child there wouldn't be the first decoration or mention of Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving and then it would seem like a winter wonderland.  I am 44 years old and I remember a time when the lighting of the Riches Christmas tree in Atlanta was the official start of the holidays in Ga.  It is sad to see all the commercialism.  I used to love Black Friday shopping, but this is too much.  I personally won't be shopping Black Friday in protest, but I am not so deluded as to think there still won't be people out there.  This is just my personal feeling.   I seem to have gotten off on a tangent.......anyway, We put our tree up on Thanksgiving night with good old fashioned Christmas music playing in the background.  We are usually munching on things leftover from Thanksgiving day and it is great fun.  One thing I am doing this year is not putting any presents under the tree until Christmas eve.  Instead I am putting my Christmas village under the tree. However we will have to keep our pit terrier mix from getting to it cause she chews.  I need to invest in a good baby gate.
So in preparation for Christmas decorating, I am "fall cleaning" the house and getting things organized.  I have the living room and dining room done.  I was a little disappointed yesterday because I have one of those wooden wick candles that is pumpkin pie scented.  I wanted to light it yesterday, but alas the wick has wicked out.  So I got out my liquid potporri pot and put some water in it then set the candle(in its glass) into the water. It heated it up melting the wax and scented the whole house with pumpkin pie.  YUMMMMM!  Since that is working, I am going to do the same thing with some other scented candles I have during the Christmas season. Yay!  So I need to get back to being busy.  Much to do, much to do; cleaning, baking, laundry, etc.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Walnut Pancakes

Apple Walnut Pancakes:

1 1/4 cups self rising flour
1 cup of skim milk or Almond breeze ( I used Almond Breeze)
1 egg white
2 TBS plain non fat yogurt (used as a fat substitute)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together just until well incorporated.  Fry in 1/4 cup measurements until done.  Makes 8 pancakes.

Nutritional info for each pancake: Calories=112, Fat = 3 gm, Carbs=21 gms, Protien=3 gms

The walnuts are great for adding fat but fat with the great omega 3's and protien that butter doesn't supply.  The apples add the sweetness that sugar would, but has more nutritional value.  I served these with sugar free syrup, but I think a light dusting of powdered sugar would be about the same in calories but without the artificial sweeteners, which I am trying to get away from. Hope you enjoy these.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to derail the weight gain train...

Yea.  Here I go again.  All of us here with the exception of Einstein need to lose weight.  Don't let them tell you it doesn't cost more to eat healthy.  They would be lying.  So in this endeavor it is with the knowledge that my grocery bill will go up.  My job is to keep it from going up too much.  Right now I am trying to reduce calories and fat in the items I normally make.  There are some good ways to do this.  I will share some things I have learned over the years of "dieting".
1)  You can reduce some of the fat in your bakes goods by substituting items like fruit /veggie purees or yogurt.  This only works in things like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, cakes, and corn bread.  I have tried to do it with cookies and you end up with cookies like muffins.  I have learned not to substitute all the fat.  I will usually leave a little bit, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of the fat called for in the recipe.  It helps with texture, taste and over all enjoyments of the product you are baking.  Total removal of the fat makes your end product a little tough.  If you are removing some of the fat, make sure you cut the eggs used in your recipe in half as well.  I will use applesauce or pumpkin puree in my quick breads like pumpkin bread.  I use pumpkin puree in chocolate cake. I use zucchini puree in yellow cake.  Corn bread gets yogurt.  Just go by your tastes.
2) Ever heard of the boiling water trick?  Well if you have to get the higher fat versions of ground beef, brown it well then put it in a strainer and pour boiling water over it.  It will remove the majority of the fat and leave you with lean ground beef.  Ta Da!
3)  Try to substitute lower fat alternatives in all of your cooking.  Use chicken breast in place of dark meat chicken, use shoulder roast, pork loin, or other types of lean meats in your recipes.  In addition to that, re trim your meats before cooking.  Other substitutes in cooking would be using skim milk, or leave out the butter when making sauces.  I thicken after everything is together and slowly boiling.  I will add milk to my flour and whisk it all together.  Then pour it into the stew etc that is slowing boiling on the stove.  Turn the heat down, and let it thicken.  If you miss that buttery taste in your pot pies etc, you can use low fat buttermilk instead of regular skim milk.

I am by no means an expert when it comes to eating healthy because I am not consistent.  That being said, throughout the years of dieting and gaining, I have become a semi expert at cooking healthy.  I just don't consistently use it.  Nothing is a good as sure nough unmessed around with home cookin.  Unfortunately that tends to settle on my waist line.  Not good for my wardrobe.  It is the age old question. Which costs more, groceries or clothing.  Hmmmmm everyone must answer that on their own.  So I hope that helps out someone today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank God for good samaritans

A cloudy day today with mild temps in the north Ga area.  We may get some rain ahead of a cold front so I am wanting to get out to the garden this morning and do a bit before it rains.  My wonderful dh and my sons cleaned up the back yard this weekend in prep for wintertime.  I was at work this weekend and so couldn't get to it.  Friday was my grocery shopping trip for the month.  Grocery shopping for a month is a long drawn out process, but well worth it in the end.   Anyway, I am finally finished getting groceries, my final stop being Sams warehouse club.  I am loading my groceries in the car, and to do so I had to remove an insulated bag out of the trunk to put something heavier in.  Weeeellllll, apparently I forgot the bag sitting on the bottom of the buggy.  I drove all the way home (18 miles one way).  I get all the groceries put away and then think "Where is that bag".  I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  That bag had about $50 worth of cold stuff in it.  I cried for a bit cause I figured it was long gone.  Then I took a chance and called Sams to see if someone had turned it in.  THEY DID!  I was so happy, and grateful for someone who did the right thing.  Yeah!  So my wonderful dh drove me down to town again, giving me a break from driving.  I picked it up and came home to put it away.  God bless whoever that was that brought my bag into the store.
Nothing earth shattering on the docket today, except making bread, housekeeping, laundry andhopefully getting in the garden.  Ds has kind of a study guide day today.  He has two tests tomorrow in math and science, plus he needs to finish a history paper on the Vikings.   I have to get the house ready for the holidays as well.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is only 10 days away!  I have done no christmas shopping.  YIKES!  Oh well.  I work better with a deadline.(smile)  So anyway, you guys have a great day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Garden prep for next year.

Every year I make plans in order to get the most from my garden.  This years endeavor is raised beds.  I am not going to put a frame around them ....yet.  First I want to see how they work.  Right now I have converted enough garden for 4 raised beds.  I am hopeful with the raised bed gardening, I can keep the soil premium without a premium price.  I need to still go to the hardware store and get some manure to put in each bed as well as lime.  I have figured this small investment will hopefully pay off big time.  This year I threw away more tomatoes than I canned.  Mainly due to pests and or drought.  No rain would fall for a spell and then lots of rain which then split my tomatoes.  I did get some Roma, but the slicing tomatoes were thrown out.  Broke my heart.  Fortunately the year before was a good year and I put up lots of sauce so I am good for the winter, but I will need a good harvest this next harvest.  Other things I am planning are flowers; mainly marigolds to help with pollination as well as pest control.  Marigolds interplanted with beans or tomatoes are beneficial to them.  Things I should have done, but didn't for whatever reason are.... spraying my fruit trees for fungus or pests, adequate fertilizer for everyone, adequate watering, weeding, etc.  These are all things I try to do, but get behind especially when I am canning so much.  I feel like I didn't can too much this year.  I did freeze a lot of squash, but I wish I had more to put on my shelves.  However I am grateful for what I did get.  I am pleased in the fact that I tried my hand at canning corn this year and was successful.  I tried canning green tomatoes for frying.  The jury is still out on that one in that I haven't opened a jar yet to see how they did.  I will let ya know when I do.  Successes this year were blueberries, peppers, squash, watermelon, lima beans, and roma (I just didn't plant enough of them).  Corn was average, as were green beans.  Loses were, sunflowers, cabbage, snow peas, cauliflower, peaches, and beets.  Navy beans did very well, but like a dope I didn't dry them adequately and so I just had to throw out 5 lbs of them.  Grrrr.  I did can up some of them at harvest, so not a total loss.  I think next year I am just going to can all of them.  That way I make sure they are safe.  It is also easier to open a jar of navy beans and just heat them through rather than soak and cook for a long while before you can eat them.  So anyway, this is what I do each fall and hopefully each spring my evaluation will pay off. Doesn't everyone do this?  (smile)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Man this week has flown!

I tell ya they are right those that say "when you get over the hill you pick up speed".  I can't believe it is Thursday already.  It is the perfect fall day, however, dark clouds with bits of blue sky, temps in the low 40s to mid sixties, and the dark clouds just make the colored leaves pop!
This is my view this morning from the back of my deck.  I love, love, love days like this.  It is suppposed to rain this evening and then turn off cooler again.  On the docket today is bread and granola making and I am hopeful I can get back to sewing.  I worked on a camo jackets for my son yesterday and I would say it is about 1/2 to 2/3rds done.  I hope he likes it.  He's not much of a clothes horse.  Monday Diva came over with her dh and my grandson.  They were about to take him trick or treating.  Here is a pick of the little monster as a little monster.  LOL.
Holding the little monster is the most current Diva.  Little grandson wasn't so sure of this mask until he learned he could put it on and "scare" everyone including the dogs.  Smile.  Disclaimer: Grandson is not really a little monster. He's a cutie pie, but like every toddler or preschooler, he has his moments.  Monday night he was just fun.  It was good to see them.  This is what my grandson really looks like
Look at those blond, cornsilk lockes!  Isn't he the cutest!  I can't believe he just turned three.  It seems only yesterday I was with Diva in the labor room while she brought him into this world.  The foot to the left belongs to my SIL. 
So then Tuesday was homeschooling(as was the rest of the week) and gardening.  I am forming raised beds for part of the garden next year to see how it goes.  I have two finished.  I want to see how they do and if it is good I will make more.  I need to get out there and do more, but that will have to wait until next week.  Yesterday was sewing and church last night.  We had a great time going out to Wendys after church with a large group from the church.  It is a time for the youth to be able to hang out together and the older folks (us) get to talk.  Today is just the baking, maybe sewing, always housekeeping.  Tomorrow I am not sure what it will hold.  But for now I am just going to enjoy this day that the Lord has made.  He does an awesome job with days.  So see everyone on the flip side.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mornin all!

Here I am again with my coffee.  This is becomming a habit. Hmmmm.  Well I am happy to say my coffee has been brought to me by a new (to me) coffee pot procured at the thrift store.  It is a 12 cup Mr Coffee automatic drip coffee pot that looks like it has never been used and I got it for $4!  Good find I think.  I am also trolling for a new lamp shade, but couldn't find one of those.   Thrift stores are awesome places if you know what you are looking for.  My sister has one near her and this past summer when we were "sewing"(wink, wink) we would go shop there.  I don't get to see her much thru the school year because she is a teacher and I work weekends, but over the summer we have a day each week where we would get together.  I have gotten more stuff at that thrift store. I got all of the bedding for my sons(both of them) rooms, a yogurt maker, denim jacket for me (I couldn't have made it that cheap), other clothes for me, glasses, cannisters, jars, baskets, shoes, jeans for the year for both boys,pans, etc.  Let someone else pay the original retail price thank you very much, I will pay the depreciated price.  Thrift sales, yard sales, garage sales, estates sale.  There is an endless supply of ways to get an item on the cheap.  My main way now that I work weekends is thrift stores and of course Ebay.  Not ebay as much, but a little. 
I was gonna sew yesterday, but I forgot I need navy thread.  Hopefully I can get that today.  My youngest is still asleep (funny how teenagers do that).  I ususally wake him up @ 7am, but I am letting him be lazy cause I need to cut out a jacket for him.  One of the draw backs to homeschooling is they are home when you are trying to make christmas gifts.  I am having to get creative, so once I am done here for the day, I will get out the stuff to make his camo jacket.  Christmas is on a big time budget this year with us trying to travel to Florida to see relatives.  I am making items for thier stockings as well.  You know candy goodies and stuff.  The rest of the stocking is going to have things they need like mens gloves, hat, axe body wash(teenagers love that stuff)etc.  So anyway, my day will be busy I assure you.  In fact I am sure I will be busy until after the holidays.  That isn't unusual.  So everyone have a great day!      

Monday, October 31, 2011

Still here.....

It is a frosty cool morning or as my mama would say "the frost in on the punkin!".  I am enjoying my second cup of coffee while Rubic reads his literature book.  Had a bit of a scare this past weekend on two fronts.  The first was waking up Saturday morning and finding the heater blowing like crazy but the house still 56 degrees.  Really thought the heater was broken.  Grrr, but wonderful hubby found out it was just on the wrong setting (fan)so relief there.  The second scare was wondering what the future held for me at my job this past weekend, but that has all been resolved and I worried for nothing.  WHEW!  I have always had a heart for home.  Always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but the best I could do was part time, but I am blessed.  There are many women not as fortunate as I .  My dh and I made a decision long ago to forgo monetary gains and focus on our family.  The time for making more money will come later.  Still we have always been comfortable.  I wouldn't trade the time I was able to be home for anything.  I can't get those years back.  So I am glad I was able to make the most of them.  I feel old and proud.  I have children that are now ages 18, 16, and 22.  Well they at least will be in a matter of weeks.  My 18 year old is officially 18, my 16 year old will be 16 in a week and my 22 year old will be official in Dec.   I am really getting in the Christmas/holiday frame of mind.  I looooove christmas.  Always have.  I am hopeful that I will be able to celebrate for years to come.  This year I am hoping will be extra homey in that I will be making many of my gifts.  Love making gifts.  Such fun!  Not really much to write about today.  Just some housekeeping and a doctors appt for Einstien.  I am hopful I will have more to write on tomorrow.  Maybe I can post some crafty pics soon.  You guys have a great day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blackbelt grocery savings part 4

S-T-R-E-T-C-H  what you have.  I was born in 1967 and so was old enough to remember the high inflation, prices, and misery index of the late seventies.  I remember bits and pieces of news reports about the oil embargo and pictures of cars lined up to get gas, the odd /even system in order to get gas, but I didn't have a concept of how that affected my parents until I was grown.  I have spoken to my mom about it over the years.  She once told me she was really scared at that time.  She was a SAHM to 5 children in ages from 17 o 4.  My dad worked for IBM but take that salary and spread it across 5 kids and it is thin indeed.  My mom tells me that grocery prices went up over night.  On day she says she could get ground beef for .25 (I think that was it) a lb and over night it went up to .99lb.  Now you and I might look longingly at .99lb for ground beef, but that was alot back then.  There were other things that jumped in price such as sugar, oil, etc.  As a result of a rise in price like that my mom, in order to make ends meet, mastered the creative art of stretching what they did have.  She used to make meat patties and gravy with chopped onion and slices of bread torn to bits.  I loved it when she would make those.  What I didn't know was it was a way to take a pound of ground beef and make enough to feed seven people.  She tells me now that ground beef had more bread and onion than beef.  That is one example of the type of things she did and we can do.  Research WWII recipies and you will see how families got by with certain items being rationed.  It is the same rational.  Now I know you want to do right by your family nutritionally, and that can still be done, but to save money in really tight times you need to stretch what you have.  Tonight the plan for our dinner is to make chicken pot pie, and I will stretch 1 chicken breast to make it.  When my dd and her family were living with us, I had to make dinners that fed 6 adults and 1 toddler well. Money was an objet though and so I had to get creative.  I learned to make a pot pie with very little chicken.  That night I took 2 4 oz chicken breasts and made 2 9X13 full pans of chicken pot pie.  I just doubled everything else; the potatoes, peas, carrots, onion, celery, broth/gravy.  I made a 2 crust pie crust recipe and put one on the top of each pie.  Now there were no left overs when I was done, mainly due to the fact that 4 of the adults in this conversation were full grown men.  However, each  ate their fill and I only used 8 oz of meat for 6.5 people.  Meat is always going to be your most expensive ingredient.  The great thing about meat though is it is easy to stretch.  I have also taken 3 chicken breasts, cut them in half, pounded them flat, and double breaded them for fried chicken.  Adding potatoes, green beans from the garden, and rolls and everyone had pleanty to eat and no one the wiser.  I rarely fry chicken, although it is popular here.  It is not the healthiest choice, but fine for a treat once in a while.  Soups, casseroles, stews, and spaggetti sauces are great things to make to try and stretch the amount of meat you put in it. 
Also along the lines of stretching what you have, is to not waste anything.  If I make french toast for example, I will take the leftover egg/milk mixture and make up a batch of muffins.  I may need to add a little extra milk, but usually not much and with the price of eggs being what they are, I get double duty out of that egg.  Once the muffins are finished I put them in a freezer bag for a quick breakfast item or to eat along with a soup for dinner.  Left over mashed potatoes are used to make potato soup.  I just add some chicken broth, celery, and onion, cook it til the veggies are soft and then blend it up.  Once blended up I will put it back in the pan and add some sour cream maybe, or chives, a little cheese  Maybe a combination.  Leftover veggies from dinners get put in a large container in the freeer to be made into veggies soup later.
As you can see there are ways to make each doller work its hardest for you at the grocery store.  Yes it takes some creative juices, and maybe some elbow grease, but it is well worth it especially if you are having to make the most of what you have on hand.  The past posts deal with ways to save when money is tight, and these do help, but these tips are good for when money isn't tight as well.  They are just good money/home management. I hope these have helped in some small way.  If I think of anything else I will certainly share.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blackbelt grocery savings part 3

Today is my favorite type of weather.  The sky is crystal clear but for low clouds from yesterdays rain scurrying across the sky.  The wind is very breezy and the temps are in the 40s with a high today of just around 57 degrees.  I love love love this type of weather.  I will go and stand on the back deck and just feel the breeze on my face or take a walk.  Maybe I will do both!  I accomplished some of my final garden wrap up day before yesterday.  Basically I pulled up my tomato plants because I knew they weren't going to be producing anymore.  It is now just a matter of letting the ones on the vine ripen, so I pulled them up and hung them upside down to let the tomatoes ripen.  I also turned under some of the rows, pulled up some weeds, and also picked squash and beans for about the last time this season.  The tomato plants were covered with unripe roma tomatoes and I am hopeful if they ripen I will be able to cann up a few more jars of my spaggetti sauce.  Speaking of canning........

LEARN TO CAN- Okay, so you aren't to the point yet where you are willing to take on pressure canning.  I realize that.  It will come in time.  There are so many things you can put up in jars with just a deep pot, jars lids, rings, and water!  You can make jams, jellies, fruit butters, salsa, tomatoes, tomatoes sauces(without meats), pickles of many types, peppers, apples sauce, or canned fruit.  That is an awesome beginning.  The sound of the little "ping" as a jar seals successfully is music to my ears.  My kids laugh at me cause they can hear me through out the house as I count off each jar as it pings.  Canning frees up freezer space for other items like meats and dairy on sale.  If you grown your own tomatoes and peppers then salsa is cheap cheap to make.  It is also awesome.  I will include my recipe here:


10 CUPS CHOPPED, SEEDED ROMA TOMATOES about 6 lbs(I like Romas cause they have less water and seeds and are a little sweeter.  I also don't peel my tomatoes cause you lose alot of the nutrients that way)
5 CUPS CHOPPED ONIONS  about 1 1/2 lbs (use the food processor you will thank me)

*when chopping hot peppers be sure to wear gloves.  You will regret it if you don't especially if you touch your eyes.  Trust me on this.  I have had this happen before.  Fun!

So guys you will forgive me please if I use all caps to post my recipes.  I am lazy and hate to have to use my grammer tabs more than I have to.  My dh is worse than me he posts in all caps all the time.  At least I only do it when I am posting a recipe. Plus I find all caps helps me in reading a recipe cause my eyesite tends to be going.  Either that or my arms are shrinking.  Anybody get that joke?   Anyone, anyone? 

Anyway, back to canning.  I know to buy jars tends to be costly, but first of all you can look at it as an investment because you will use these jars every season.  In addition, there are ways of saving on jars.  1) buy at the end of the season if you find them on clearence.  This does happen periodically but not consistently. 2) whenever you are at a thrift store or yard sale,  look around for these.  You can usually find one or two.  I am always on the lookout for jars.  Estate sales are a great resource for canning jars.  I got jars for .25 a piece this summer at an estate sale; about 48 pint size jars. 3)  Let your needs be known.  Let people around you know you are wanting to start canning and need jars.  Someone who no longer can do it may have the jars you need.    Rings can be used more than once as well so save them when you remove them from a jar when you store it.  Lids however have to be bought each time.  I have tried to reuse lids, but only on items that are water bath canned.  I do not reuse lids that were previously on meat jars.  I do not reccommend reusing lids for anyone else.  I chose to try this for my own needs, but it is a personal decision.  Most county extension offices will tell you DO NOT REUSE LIDS.  Okay there is my disclaimer.  So there is my wrap up of part three in black belt grocery savings.  I hope this is helpful.  Have a great day guys!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Black belt grocery savings part 2

Good morning!  So money is tight for you?  It is here.  This morning we had a surprise in that all of the sudden we are informed that it is time to buy cap and gown for my oldest son's graduation.  I was expecting that little surprise in the beginning of the year not now.  $60 deposit and the part remaining will be another $200.  YIKES!  It is bitter sweet though.  I am happy that my son is able to graduate.  He is my child on the autism spectrum.  For a while there we weren't sure he would be able to make it.  While my youngest is being homeschooled because he fell thru the cracks of the public school system, my oldest son had the benefit of an I.E.P and as such had co-taught classes, timely intervention, tutors, etc because the school system wanted to make sure his scores were high.  I hold his teachers in high regard.  The system not so much.  So I am proud that he will be able to graduate, but the timing of said payment is not good.  But if you think about no time is good to make a $250ish payment.  In addition to that surprise, I finally got my groceries Monday and I am sad to say I went about $80 over.  Had I not restocked my pantry I would have been right on target, but I am concerned that if I don't keep it restocked, then when  I do restock it will be so much more expensive.  What I added to my list were flour, sugar, tea, coffee, oil, canned fruit, and canned peas.  I was totally out of peas and the canned fruit is hopefully temporay until my fruit trees start to produce. While my grocery list did go over in order to keep my pantry stocked, the items I stocked were staple items.  In fact the vast majority of my grocery shopping is primarily staples.  Speaking of fruit trees, that brings me to my next blackbelt grocery tip:
Grow Your Own - Grass seems like such a waste of space.  LOL.  I am sure my dh would have no problem with me using the entire yard for my garden so he wouldn't need to cut grass.(smile) In my back yard I have blackberries(thornless yay), blueberries, peach and apple trees.  I also have my garden in my backyard.  In mygarden I grow tomatoes, corn, green beans, lima beans, navy beans, squash, pumpkin, spinach, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, beets, and cucmbers.  I will not lie to you.  Forget the picture of the cute, clean, lady with her pretty gloves on, her floppy hat, long sleeved shirt, and unsoiled jeans.  Gardening is a hot sweaty dirty business, but satisfying ohhh so satisfying.  I live in Ga and we have the red clay in our dirt.  I have good dirt, and properly prepared isn't too hard to work with.  However I don't use hand gardening tools.  I use full size hoes, cultivators, shovels, tiller, etc.  I will go out to the garden wearing my sunscreen and a sleeveless top and shorts(I know don't try to think of it too hard).  I take my radio to listen too, and am out there for a few hours.  When I come in I am a hot sweaty mess. You haven't felt a better shower than when you have just come in from a garden.  Oh yea, there are bugs.  Yea I know ewwwww, but there are bugs.  Just remember you are bigger than they are.(smile).  SO I think I have portrayed the garden sufficiently.  Now for the good part.  There is nothing better han veggies or fruit fresh from the garden or tree.  The savings is awesome as well.  My blueberry bushes put out over 35lbs of blueberries just this year alone.  I have six bushes that cost me about $10 each years ago.  Each year the bushes put out blueberries, lots of blueberries.  Those bushes have paid for themselves over and over.   The same gy garden.  It makes the produce pennies on the dollar compared to  bought and might I remind you, the taste and nutrition is so much better.  Work hard in the garden and few hours and skip the gym membership.  For those who may not have a yard to plant, look into container gardening, or raise bed gardening.  It is so satisfying to be able to walk past the canned veggie  produce because I dont need anything.  So all things considered gardening is hard work, but well worth the effort.  Trrry it you'll like it! 
Okay so since you went thru all the hulabaloo of listening to me wax on interminably, I will reward you with another recipe:




3 1/2 CUPS MIX


Monday, October 17, 2011

Black belt grocery savings Part 1

I have been without a computer monitor since friday before last.  We finally got a monitor Friday, but I had to work this past weekend and  so was unable to post anything.  So finally it is monday, I have 2 loaves of bread rising and the dishes are somewhat done(can't wash my bread bowl yet) so I am on here catching up.  Not much to tell I guess.  Last week was grocery gettin week and so I spent a lot of time oranizing my fridge, pantry, and freezer.  I tried using up as much stuff as possible so nothing would be wasted and I believe I was successful.  I have to tell ya, I have sticker shock everythime I go to the store.  Even at Aldi I was rethinking just about every purchase.  I still need to go to Sams today, but even that I am having to pare down my list to stay in budget.  Pretty soon my tricks won't work as well and I will have to increase my grocery budget again.  While at Kroger Thursday I saw a lady with about 8 kroger all natural peanutbutter she had purchased.  I said something about she must like peanutbutter or something to that effect, and she said she had heard that peanutbutter and peanuts (and pretty much anything that has peanuts in it) is about to spike due to a bad harvest this past season so she thought she should get some extra.  Very prudent I must say.  I am thinking I might grab a few extra.  I use alot of peanutbutter and I also buy the all natural.  Not cause I am a food snob, but I have one child allergic to HFCS and another that is on the autisim spectrum.  I want to be careful with what they eat.  Can't do it all the time, but I can do it with what is feasible for us.  Can I share some money saving tips on groceries?  I hate those magazine articles that say they can cut $100 from your grocery bill.  I laugh at thier tips: buy generic, don't shop hungry, shop with a list, stuff like that.  Those are fine for someone that has never tried to save on their grocery budget ,but what do you do when you have done all you can and still the ends aren't meeting.  These are the blackbelt grocery saving tips.  These are tips for when you are willing to put the time and energy into saving money.  Your abilities and your willingness to put effort towards providing food for your family are free to you.  It is what you do when you have nothing left to spend. 

MAKE YOUR OWN-  Alot of the items we buy at the store we can make ourselves.  The resources to learn are abundant and easy to find.  It is much more cost effective to buy a 5 lb bag of flour at the grocery store, and a 1lb bag of yeast at a warehouse store (keep it in your fridge or freezer it lasts longer) to make about 6-8 loaves of bread per 5 lb bag of flour as opposed to spending the same amount of money for 1 loaf of bread.  The pay off is awesome tasting bread(storebought can't compare) for pennies, strong arms (from kneading), and you know what things are going into your families body.  Things like bread I understand are labor intensive and you need to aquire a knack for making bread.  If you are nervous about making your own bread, go to a thrift store and aquire a bread machine to start with.  I used to use mine for making pizza crust, but when it finally died I just went to making the crust by hand.  Breads I make are: sandwich, french, quick breads, dinner rolls(cinnamen, hamburger and hot dog, donuts, etc, ), as well as my pizza crusts.  The easiest way to begin making your own breads is to start with something easy like white bread and /or a pizza crust.  Here is my recipe for pizza crust:



You can put everything into a bread machine on the dough setting or you can do it like I do.  Take your water and put into a large mixing bowl.  Add your dry milk, sugar, oil, and salt.  Sprinkle your yeast over the top and let it bubble a second or two.  Add about 2 cups of flour and whick it really well, then stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a spoon.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead a couple of minutes using just enough flour to keep your dough from being sticky.  Pour a little bit of oil back into your mixing bowl.  Take you dough and put it back into the bowl turning a few times to make sure you cover the dough well with oil.  Let rise in the bowl for about 25 min.  It won't rise too much, but punch it down and knead it a little more.  Cut into two crusts.  Press the crusts into the pizza pans.  This will take a bit cause you will press a few minutes and then let it rest a few minutes, then press some more til the pan is covered with the crust.  Put your sauce and toppings on and bake at about 425 for about 10 minutes or util the cheese is good and bubbly.  This is even more economical if you use your own homemade tomato sauce.  I will include mine in the next post. 

Other items I make are pancake syrup, choc cyrup, granola, ready to bake biscuits, spaggetti sauce, salsa, wheat thin crackers, doggie treats, english muffins, as well as the normal things most people would make like pancake and biscuit mix, muffins, and white sauce mix (use it in place of cream soups).  Aside from the bread which I will say takes a litte more time, but I haven't noticed a problem on my end, these other items take literally seconds to minutes to make and I believe well worth my investment of time and energy.  It is because I do these things that I have been able to keep my grocery budget as low as I do and still  maintain a pantry; which is another tip I will go into at a later date. This is becomming a long post so I will continue this in my next post and include more recipes for those interested.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yay I finished it! and pics

Well here it is the baby blanket and hat I have been working on for a coworker. 

I am so glad to have finally finished it. It will be ready to give to her on Saturday.  I have also been working on the christmas jammies for the family.  I have both my ds and my grandsons pj pants ready to put in the waist band which is the last thing.  Then I will have the matching tops to sew.  Can I share a bit of advice for those wanting cheap fabirc to make sewing worthwhile?  Have I disclosed this before?  I might have, but look in thrift stores for solid color flat sheets.  From one king sized flat sheet I got 1 tablecloth for a decorative table round, 4 christmas napkins (at least they will be) and three cute little winter coats and matching hats for my doll clothes inventory.  In another king size sheet I got  3 pair of mes pajamma pants.  In a twin sized knit sheet I got a mans pajamma shirt and a toddler pajamma shirt.  The cost of the flat sheets was like 1-2 bucks.  Way cheaper than buying fabric by the yard.  Another advantage is that I used the hem of the sheets for the hem of the pants and or tops if possible.  Not the big hem at the top of the sheet, the smaller one on the bottom or sides of the sheet.  Yay saves me a step. 
While I am thinking about it I said earlier that I would post a more recent pic of my daughter.  Although this is more recent, it is still 3 years old.  I really need to get on her to get more pics made.

Grr I hate it when the computer soed this to me.  I post a pic and all of the sudden I am writing in the middle
of the screen.  Very aggravating.  So I am gonna end this post and post more later. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ever been in "the zone"?

The zone in regards to any topic that is.  I get in the zone usually close to grocery day.  I am usually having to get creative, having to use up stuff and cook from scratch.  I actually love this time.  It becomes a challange for me to see how much I can accomplish while watching my refridgerator get emptier and emptier.  My mind works sharper.  I come up with great ideas for casseroles, soups, etc. Then when it is time to get groceries I can easily clean out my fridge.  I always defrost my freezer right before grocery day as well.  I am right now down to my last loaf of store bought bread.  As a family we don't like store bought bread as much as homemade, but last month Dh wanted to count calories so I bought store bought bread.  I think we are all in agreement that we are going back to homemade bread.  It just tastes better and really  is more substancial than store bought.  I am so tired of trying to make a PB and J and the bread keeps tearing.  Grrr.  I am looking forward to making more homemade bread.  Maybe tomorrow. 
I am happy to report that I finished the baby blanket and once I am done with the matching hat I will take a pic of both to show everyone.  I was also able to not only do some housecleaning yesterday, but I began to sew as well.  I started on a pair of pajamma pants for my grandson.  I will little by little knock out the pants first then turn to the tops.  I think that will go faster since I will be doing like seems for the pants.  You know kinda like assembly line style.  I will take a pic of the finished produst when the time comes. 
I am looking forward to tonight at church.  We are starting a new series by John Brevere called "the fear of the Lord".  I love to hear John Brevere preach.  The whole series deals with having a more intimate relationship with God.  That is something I need to hear.  It is something I have always wanted, a closer relationship with God, just haven't been sure of how to go about it. 
Well that is my update for today.  If I think of anything frugal I will surly post away.  You guys have a great day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm a baking and i'm a thinking.....

Yep, I was wanting to be so productive yesterday.  I had plans to sew and crochet, teach, clean, and bake.  Well I taught, crochet, an baked.  I did a little house cleaning but not much to write home about.  Mainly dishes and a bit of straightening.  I also did no sewing.  This is a problem cause I have to get these jammies made.  I am hoping to get some done today.  What I did do was make butter toffee crunch.  Here is the recipe.  Believe me you want to make this!


1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 tbs water

1tbs corn syrup

1/2 cup chopped nuts

3/4 cup semi sweet choc chips

butter a 9X13 pan really well and sprinkle the nuts on the bottom. I tend to keep them clustered in the center of the pan some cause the toffee you put over them wont make it to the edges. Anyway, melt your butter in a pan (I use my iron skillett) and add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stirring constantly bring to soft crack stage (290) keep careful watch after the temp get to 280 cause it will a)rise the rest of the way pretty quickly and b) could burn if you aren't careful. Once it reaches the soft crack stage, immediatly pour over the nuts in you 9X13 pan. Sprinkle the choc chips over all, wait a second then spread them out will a spoon or knife. let cool completly. Break into bite size pieces. This is the most wonderful stuff in the world! I usually make it for christmas, but made it yesterday I guess a little early. (smile)
I am also in use up mode and so I used up some leftover hamburger buns and roast beef for BBQ sandwiches and oven fries made from cut taters.  I used an eggplant I needed to use and made eggplant lasagna for my ds and my lunch, and today I am using up some fresh mushrooms for stuffed mushrooms.  I am hoping to get some sewing done as well as house keeping.  I won't do any baking except to make dinner. 
Okay, heres what I am thinking.  One day I am hoping to be able to open my own little store called "Time for Tea".  The whole premise is a little girls tea party.  In the back of the store I will sell coffee, tea, pastries etc, but the front of the store will house doll clothes made by me as well as other vendors of the same doll theme.  I already have the front window planned out with dolls at a tea party.  I will also do doll repairs of all types of dolls, new and antique.   In order to do this thing I need to get more training in doll repair.  That will cost me about $4000.  The class is two weeks long, cost $1750 and is in Ilinois.  The rest of the money is for living expenses for two weeks.  The advantage is once I complete the class I will know everything I need to know to open a doll hospital.  I am thinking of getting going on making the doll clothes and selling them online.  I can save up the money to eventually do this class .  I recognize it will be a few years before I am able to do this.  Any thoughts?  Anyone ever done any selling online not counting EBAY?  Tips would be very useful.  I already have some outfits cut out, I just need to make them.  Well, I guess that is my update for the day. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pullin out my frugal blackbelt

Ya, I tell ya in this day and age I really need to keep my frugal black belt out on the counter.  Money has gotten tighter in our neck of the woods.  At mine and Dhs employment, we probably won't be getting a merit raise this year, and they are hoping not to lay anyone off.  To get that info from a hospital is a little unnerving.  That puts us no where near someone without a job, but it does mean we will have to tighten the belt to offset rising prices in all areas.  Add to that medical bills, needed home repairs, Christmas, helping family, and a needed trip to see family at the end of the year, and we are in a tight little area.  We have suspended our YMCA membership for now and maybe permanently, as well as selling some things.  I have thi funny tendency to work on the home when I can't do anything else to rasie money.  The other day I repaired a sofa cushion one of our dogs ate.  Amazing what duc tape can do.(smile).  I also repaired a sugar coffeecreamer set that was broken.  Add to that general cleaning for the house,laundry, and ironing.  It also changes your focus when it comes to cooking.  I am looking in the fridge and saying what can I do with this more often than not.  Really these are all things I should do on a regular basis.  I should repair items in a timely manner, I should make good use of leftovers, use less meat, less sugar, etc.  I have always tried to be frugal as a general rule.  I keep a garden, grow fruit trees and berry bushes, make alot from scratch, keep the power use down etc, but when the belt needs a little tightening, you always find other things you could be doing.   Yesterday while working in the garden I picked my first zucchinni of the season, Sounds funny to be saying that in the fall, but these are late planted squash.  Makes for a pretty zucchinni I guess cause it is cooler.  Anyway, I have this zuchinni so this morning I took my zuchinni and made a crustless quiche for breakfast.  Yay, way to get a veggie for breakfast!

Christmas is coming and this year is going to have lots and lots of homemade gifts. A christmas tradition I started with my kids is PJs for a christmas eve gift.  When the kids were young their PJs were made by me.  Mainly cause we had no money to buy Pjs.  Each child had a custom designed set of pjs.  They get their jammie on christmas eve and we would watch "a Christmas story" before going to bed.  That tradition holds today.  Even my dd who is grown still believes she gets Pjs on Christmas eve.  They know it is Pjs, but they always look forward to what kind of PJs each year.  Over the last few years I have opted to buy said PJs, but this year I believe I am going back to the old way of making said jammies.  I am also going to make goodie bags for coworkers, both mine and Dhs.  Extended family will be getting ornaments for trees.  So I am in the process of starting my christmas list.  There are many other things you can do to let someone know you care during the holidays.  This site has some great ideas for christmas on a zero budget.  She is the Prudent homemaker.  Her story is awesome as well.  Take some time and look around her site.  Anyway, I am real big into Christmas.  I love that time of year.  It is the celebration of the birth of My Lord and Savior.  I hope I can always do it up big, but that doesn't mean I have to go into debt or stress myself out over it.  It shouldn't be a burden that you look forward to being over.  Make this Christmas an blessing to observe, and serve  the one who deserves all Glory and Honor.

Monday, September 26, 2011

We are running out of wiggle room

Being in the healthcare industry, my husband and I have only felt the economy thru the higher prices at the pump and the grocery store, as well as thru the struggles to keep a job and food on the table of our daughter and her family.  They lived with us for about 8 months until her Dh was able to find a job.  She found a job as well except had trouble with her hours being cut again and again until she told the manager she needed to find a job with more hours.  At that point the manager cut her hours completely.  Nice.  She has since found another job, but won't get her first check for another three weeks.  So they have enough to just cover rent but nothing else like gas and groceries.  Needless to say she came over last night to "shop" from our pantry.  There is a reason to have a pantry.  No conspiracy theory needed, no "end of the word" scenario, no economic collapse except a personal one.  More than likely the use of a pantry comes in a personal way not a global one.  Yes, it is needed for things like a snow storm and you need things for if the power goes out, but more often than not your pantry will see you thru things like a layoff, either of yourself, spouse, or a member of your family.  You may be asked to give help in the form of food or money to a family in need in your community or church.  That is the more reasonable, practical reason for pantries.  I am glad that as a mother I can help my daughter in this way and she knows that maybe one day she will provide this kind of help to her children or someone in need.  While I am glad to help in anyway I can, it does take more money to replace these items now and I am rapidly running out of wiggle room in my current budgeted amount to refill said pantry.  In addition we have received a letter from the hospital we are employed with that has told us there is a chance we won't get our merit raises and they hope to not have to lay anyone off.  Those raises don't even make up for the increase rise in prices across the board, but they are some help.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt there are others worse off than we are, but this seriously curtails help we can give to other including family. This is something to pray about.  Jesus says not to worry about the things we will eat or wear.  The Father knows we have need of these, and if He will provide for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field how much more will he provide for us.  So this is something I will lay at His feet.  It is all I can do.  I will admit to feeling a little safer in this great recession due to the fact that we are in healthcare.  Our hospital serves 18 counties and is the anchor employer of our area.  For this hospital to now be affected gives me concern for this recession.  I will lay it at the Lords feet.  That is my first line of defense so to speak.  I will cut the corners I can, but in actuality, I am limited in what I can do.  That all being said, for those of you in similar or worse situations, there is a great website call http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/.  Her family lives in Nevada and her husband is a real estate agent.  Their income has dropped over %70 since 2007.  They have 6 kids.  She has wonderful recipes, tips, etc on how to fill a pntry and how to live out of one.  She also has tips on homeschooling, crafts, christmas ideas on a zero budget, sewing, etc.  Thses are all things she does to provide for her family with little or no money.  Hers is an amazing story.  Check it out. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For Cary Ann and Teresa, and anyone else interested

Apparently I am unable at this time to comment on my own blog.  How wrong is that!  Anyway, Cary I wanted to thank you for being my first commenter.  YAY!  Now you will live on in infammy(smile).  Teresa, my recipe for cream soup mix is as follows:

Cream soup mix

1 1/2 cups dry milk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 ts salt

mix all together then cut in

1 stick of margarine or butter.  store in an airtight container in the fridge.  To use for plain white sauce just use 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup of water.  If you want cream of chicken, use chicken broth, cream of muchroom: open a can of muchroom, s and drain, add water to the muchroom liquid to equal 1 cup fluid. Then follow the rest of the recipe.  You can also add 1 cup of cheese and 1 ts yellow mustard to make cheese sauce. 

One of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 139

To know that God knows my every thought, move, feeling, is an amazing an humbling thing.  He has known me since before I was born.  His thoughts of me are many and are wonderful.  This is a verse I love and yet somehow I have had a hard time grasping this kind of love.  But when you think of it, how deep is the love that would have sent His only son to die for us, and how deep would the love be of the one willing to go.  Even for me alone.  Even for you alone.  Read on and see that this verse isn't just for me, but it is to each of us.  All we have to do is accept Him.  His love is never ending, His faithfulness no no bounds.  His mercies are new every morning.  Can I  give him the same love?  Can I put him first in my life?  I am not perfect, and I will fall, But I will also try.

Psalm 139 vs 1-18

1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mothers womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
They would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just a little conversation and PICS!

It is a cool raineyhere in Ga.  On the roster for today is school for youngest, more housecleaning and organization, and making a batch of cookies.  Technically they are for DHs lunches, but they end up eaten by everyone eventually.  It is a good day to .  Highs in the 70s and a 50% chance of rain.  Nice. 
I thought I might show off my family while I am here.  This pic above shows off my men.  Not boys anymore.  From left to right is my DH, my youngest son (well call him rubic cause he loves solving a rubics cube), and then my oldest son(we will call him "Einsten").  This pic was taken on a walk up Anna Ruby falls.  If you have never seen it and you come to Ga, try to.  It is about a half mile walk to it and it is beautiful. 

This is my oldest.  This pic is a couple of years old.  She is 21 now, going to college, married and mother to my grandson who is three.  I have a more recent pic, but will post it at a later date.  She is my diva so we will call her Diva.  Isn't she pretty?  I think so.  A combination of beauty and brains.
So that is my family.  I couldn't be prouder.  We have had our ups and downs, but I love them all and Iam so blessed to have them in my life.  We are also the proud owners of three dogs and two cats.  I guess you could say I am a herder (smile).   I always joke that I am a true redneck.  When you come to my house you are greeted by the hound dogs and the cats are always jumping down from something.  I decorate in home canned goods and all things country.  Well I don't have any velvet Elvis, light up "Last Suppers", or collections of beer glasses.  I would say I go for the more "norman rockwell type look.  Here is a pic of my recent redo of my livingroom and dining room.

S0 there is a beginning of my life in pics.  I am hoping I can begin to post many more.  I am still learning all of this bloggin stuff. 
Not much to tell about my week so far.  I worked this weekend, but with the garden slowing down I don't have much to write about.  WIth the holiday season starting up I am hopeful I can get some crafty things going.  I want to make PJ for my kids, but that will be difficult with my youngest home all the time.  Humm.  Need to think on this.  I really do need to get to sewing.  So anywy, I hope to have more to post later.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting ready for fall

I already feel the dryer air and we have actually had some days in the 80s.  Today will be in the low ninties, but after today it looks like at least a week long stretch in the low to mid seventies for highs.  I love, love this time of year.  Cool weather means baking (not good for my waistline), but fun none the less.  Two days ago I made my first ever batch of english muffins.  In the middle of the process I had a light bulb (or should I say Duh) moment and thought I should take pictures to post on my blog!  So next go around I will do two things.  First is take pictures of the process so those of you that want  to know how can, and second, make the muffins larger.  The recipe was supposed to make 18.  Mine made 22.  I used a biscuit cutter to cut them out.  Next time I am going to just divide the dough into 18 pieces to make a decent sized muffin.  However, this batch did turn out really good.  I will use half wheat and harlf white next time as well.  Since this was my first try I wanted to make sure they had the best chance possible of succeeding.  Using white flour is easier to me anyay.  I know they reccommend using white flour to learn how to make bread so I just extended that to cover english muffins. 

Grocery day is Friday and I have plans today to get my fridge cleaned out and organized.  I also want to organize my refridge freezer.  I need to make my list and check it twice.  It is harder to get the good deals out there right now.  Hence the reason I am making our bread products.  Whatever I can make from scratch saves money to be used to buy other things that are still rising in price right now.  Items I make from scratch include: loaf bread, french bread, pizza crust, hamburger and hotdog buns, english muffins, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, Cream soup mix (aka white sauce mix), chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, salsa, wheat thin type crackers, spaggetti sauce, cake mix, frozen biscuits, season salt, granola, yogurt and shake &bake mix.  There are other items I have recipes for, but these are the ones I make consistently.  It is an amazing savings to be able to make these things as opposed to buying them.  The ingredients are much less than the premade item.  Plus I know what is in it and that makes me feel good giving it to my family.  And dont think I dont have conveinence.  It takes seconds or minutes to make these things up and then I have them on hand.  I get the benefits of conveinence, but cost savings as well. 
I will be waking the youngest offspring momentarily so he can get breakfast and be ready to begin school.  This is the first normal school day we have had this week.  He had a mild asthma attack Sunday night, which kept him up, so I let him sleep in and we had a light day on Monday.  Yesterday was test taking and we had school at my mothers.  So today is back to the routine. I hope everyone has a great day. 

Psalms 104 vs 33-35

"I will sing to the Lord all my life;
 I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 as I rejoice in the Lord.
But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord O my soul.
Paise the Lord"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting anew and with a new focus.

Wow!  It has been over a year since I updated my blog. Since then I have grown more beets!  LOL.  I have had a whole new garden.  Well, I have neglected this blog, but I am here to say I am here to stay.  I am changing the focus of this blog from previous ones.  For too long I have focused on prepping and self reliance.  Instead this blog will focus on God first.  Now I will still have the recipes, daily musings, etc, but my focus needs to be on God first.  In an economy and world that seems to be ever spiraling out of control, God is my rock.  I have neglected Him as well and I am here to say that is changing.  I have let fear guide me while still espousing Gods provision.  For that Father I ask forgivness.  I am instead going to rely on Him alone.  I still carry links to a few sites that deal with prepping. These are awesome ladies who not only teach preparedness, but also a strong faith in God, homesteading, child rearing, etc.  Check them out at http://www.ruralrevolution/ @blogspot.com and http://www.paretusfamila/ @blogspot.com.  Hello ladies!  Dont get me wrong.  I am not against preparedness, but in my case it is an idol that needs to be removed.  One day when I am ready God will guide me in what I am to do.  Until then my job is to focus on Him.  He has been on the back burner for way to long. 
Instead of rehashing the past year let me just say I still garden, have fruit trees now (yay), bake, and now homeschool our youngest.  My one regret in this is that I should have started homeschooling much earlier.  I let it intimidate me and I shouldn't have.  I was finally able to bring myself to recondition my shirley Temple dolls.  Here is my 18 in doll.  She was made in 1935.  The dress, hat, shoes and pin are original.  I had to purchase the socks.  Her face was painted, she was cleaned and restrung.  I inherited her as well as a 17 in doll from my MILs cousin who regretfully passed from pancreatic cancer. 
Next on my list is the 1940 all composition doll I reconditioned for my mothers christmas gift.  She was purchased on Ebay.  I made her outfit, had to totally repaint her face, restring her and clean her.  She has since been given shoes.  I love composition dolls.  Their faces are so sweet.

So that is my update.  I hope in a crazy world this blog will be a moment of peace to others.  I hope I am able to use this blog to uplift.  Sometimes we just need something positive to keep going.  I want to be positive.                                                                                

Psalm 71 vs 14-16

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of yoursalvation all day long,
though I know not its measure
I will come an proclaim your mighty acts,
O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.