Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th

my sweet grandson from a 4th past
Wishing you a safe, fun filled Independence Day!
Our weather forecast is for rain, rain and more RAIN! Honestly though, I personally don't mind, as I love rain.  I do feel badly for those who were hoping for a sunshine-y 4th though.  I would never want to rain on other folks' parade (pun intended). We had planned on doing some grilling for the holiday, but that can be done another day.

I will content myself with cozy-ing up with a good book in a favorite reading spot...


and maybe plan an indoor, oven bbq dinner.  Or maybe not.  There are some delicious leftovers in the fridge. 😎

How will you be spending your day?  Sending happy sunshine rays, and sparkly fireworks your way! ~TJ



Saturday, June 30, 2018

Summer Mornings

We all have morning routines.  Whether carefully thought out, or organically created from what feels natural.  Mine is a little of both.  My usual morning routine goes a little something like this:
COFFEE!!! *ahem*
Then I have, what I call, my quiet time.  Time to greet my Lord in prayer and read His word.  I've found this helps me ease myself into the day, since I make no bones about the fact that I am not a morning person.
After that, and a second cup of coffee I turn my sites to the great outdoors.  This particular sunny, summer morn, I observed many wonderful things going on in my little microclimate.
The sun was shining!

The birds were praisin'!
(and scavenging stray bird food that dropped while loading their feeder!)
The lizards were leaping!
A butterfly was fluttering! 

And a dragonfly was dancing along to the cicada's song! (You can hear the cicadas over at my @TJsSweetHome Instagram June 5th post!)



Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! 
(See what a little quiet time does for this morning grouch?!😉)

I hope you are having a beautiful day! 
I would love to hear what your morning routine is like!

Thanks for stopping by! I always enjoy your sweet comments and encouragement ~ thank you! It means more than you know ~TJ










Friday, June 22, 2018

Five Frugal Things ~ 6/22/18


 
We have been enjoying this Summer season!  A little gardening  or grilling  during the cooler parts of the day.  Y'know, outside  stuff.  But when the sun is at its highest and the humidity is at its thickest, I busy myself indoors, fluffing our nest.  It's a nice ebb and flow of my days that has allowed me to welcome the season in all of it's sunshine-y glory as I never have before!
two girls a-grillin'

And as always, in (almost) all things, I'm still flexing my money saving muscles. Here's a few things I've done lately:

•  picked up a free package of organic celery from Randalls, and a free package of a Knorr meal starter from Kroger.

•  since the weather has warmed up, I have resumed taking "navy style" showers to        help conserve water.

•  contacted Chewy.com when a tub of wet dog food was improperly sealed when we      received it, causing leakage and safety concerns about feeding it to our dog.  They        were gracious enough to send us a whole new case of food, without requiring me to    send back the case that arrived with only one damaged tub.

•  placed a pitcher in our kitchen sink to catch water from hand washing, etc., and use     the water to water potted plants.  I also used the water from boiling eggs to water         potted plants after it had cooled.

•  I have cut back from two teaspoons of cream in my coffee to one teaspoon.

Yes, more drops in the bucket, but before you know it, that bucket is 
overflowing!
lemon balm tea & lemon balm plant (outside the window)

Cheers to summertime savings y'all!

Please share your frugal victories, I love learning new ideas!

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ 




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My "Money Diet" Meals

No, not diet meals for us!  I am putting our grocery money on a diet!  I heard the term "money diet" from one of my Avon clients years ago, and have used the catchy moniker ever since, when I want to tighten up on our expenditures.

Because I am in an ongoing struggle to tighten the grocery budget, aiming for $200 a month (for 2+ adults), I have really been sticking to my guns and using pantry and freezer items already on hand these past couple of weeks.

I thought I would share the meals I have been serving for those two weeks. There aren't fourteen listed since most meals made enough for us to eat more than once. And I only list breakfasts, dinners and a few sweets/treats, since that's basically what we eat each day. Breakfast and dinner.  And a sweet/treat or two.  That is way more than enough for us each day.  Drinks are normally water, tea or coffee.

Included in the grocery budget was the meal we ate out to celebrate our daughters' 23rd birthday and a special, bakery bought birthday cake with ice cream.

Breakfasts 
•  cream of wheat and bagel**
•  fried eggs, grits and toast
•  oatmeal with blueberries and bagel**
•  ham*** and scrambled eggs breakfast burritos**
•  scrambled eggs & cheese breakfast quesadillas
•  scrambled eggs with cheese and English muffin**
•  french toast made from homemade bread that I sliced extra thick  (about one inch)****

*  Some of these breakfasts were served more than once over a two week period.    
**   These are typical breakfasts that I serve regularly.
***  the ham had been stored in the freezer leftover from our Christmas dinner.
****  french toast, grits, quesadillas and burritos are just a way to "mix things up" and           keep breakfast interesting occasionally.

Dinners

•  Cold tuna pasta salad (made with frozen peas, grated carrot, homemade ranch              dressing and sliced green onions from the garden), whole wheat saltines
•  hot dogs and baked beans (Memorial Day)


•  homemade pepperoni pizza (I used this no knead pizza dough recipe, some leftover     marinara I had in the freezer, and pepperoni that was left over from another meal.     I used mozzarella that I keep on hand.)
•  Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad (I used plain pasta twirls, not tri color.  Two 12 oz             bags of frozen broccoli florets, and replaced the red onion with green onions from       the garden since that's what I had on hand.)

•  Mushroom Chicken Parmesan Pasta (I used penne pasta, two 4 oz cans of                        mushroom slices drained, three cooked boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I              diced into small pieces.  I didn't use chives, as I didn't have any.)
•  pintos & ham, rice, and homemade cornbread  (I had the pintos and ham in           the freezer, leftover from another meal.  I used rice and cornmeal that I had in the       pantry.)
•  one meal out for our daughters' birthday

Sweets and Treats

•  Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (I had all the ingredients on hand)
•  Cherry Dump Cake
•  brownies (from a boxed mix that I had in the pantry. I added mini marshmallows        and chocolate chips to the batter and sprinkled a few chopped pecans on top                before baking.)
•  birthday cake & ice cream

I hope that if you find yourself wanting or needing to tighten your grocery budget, or you're just in a "I-don't-know-what-to-make-for-dinner" rut, these meals might spark some encouragement to dig around in your pantry, fridge and freezer.  There, you just might find the fixins' that will spark your creativity, and make for some yummy meals and snacks!

What are some of your favorite "throw together what I have on hand" recipes?

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ





Monday, June 4, 2018

Bookworm

Since I am known to be a bookworm, and because that is such a big part of who I am,  I thought I would share the latest books I am reading on occasion.  I used to visit the local library on a regular basis, taking home stacks of books that I could just barely get to the car with without them falling from my greedy grasp.  Although it's been a while since I've been to the library, I still always find myself with plenty of books to peruse that I've unearthed at our local thrift shops.  I would like to say that I should get back in the habit of visiting my old friend, the library, but I have to be completely honest with myself in that, it just isn't convenient in this season of my life.
Since hubby's stroke a few years back, I try to stay closer to home, and not spend an exorbitant amount of time away when I do have to go out.  Although after plenty of physical therapy, he is pretty self sufficient and able to take care of many of his own needs, there are still things he can't, or shouldn't do.  So, I try to go out for only as long as necessary to run my errands.  (For days when I have to be gone longer, I am sure to arrange with our daughter to be home with him, bless her!)  It's our new normal so, some things have to go. Spending stretches of time at the library is one of them.  Thankfully, I still find ways to get my reading material fix!

I tend to usually have several books that I read from at any given time and mostly, I read non fiction on whatever happens to be my latest interest at the time.  Right now, I am enjoying anything and everything I can on gardening and nutrition.  Actually, those are pretty much always interests of mine, along with books on health in general.


I just finished A Householder's Guide to the Universe, which I believe I mentioned recently in another post.  I enjoyed the way it was presented in month by month fashion.  It was like reading a diary of gardening and homemaking notes, which was so fun!  This is one I will keep in my library for future perusal.


A book that I was SO excited to find at the thrift store, Nourishing Traditions by author Sally Fallon, was on my wish list for a lonnng time.  I would regularly stalk it on Amazon but couldn't bring myself to pay the prices that were being asked.  Even though it is a popular, beloved by many, book, I wasn't sure that I would like it.  So the day I spied a practically new version on the shelf at Goodwill,  I was thrilled!  It is a heavy, thick book.  I'm finding that I read it in spurts, so it could take a while for me to get through.  From what I have read though, it is full of great information on fermented foods and traditional foods!

For now, these two have kept me busy on the reading front, as I try to fit reading into all my other daily "to-do's".

Have you read either of these excellent books?  I would love to hear any book recommendations that you might have!

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ



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Friday, June 1, 2018

Five Frugal Things ~ June 1, 2018

so excited that these have finally bloomed!
Wow, I'm having a hard time believing that it's June already!  I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!  We did!  It was relaxing.  We enjoyed a simple, and rare, dinner of hot dogs with baked beans and I puttered around in the garden and house. *my happy place*
very long lasting as a cut flower~I couldn't wait to bring a few inside...ohhh, and the fragrance! subtle but delightful!

Since it's been a while that I've posted a Five Frugal Things post, I thought I would do just that to usher in the weekend!  So, without further ado, I present to you, Five Frugal Things I did this past week:

•  we had several days with some decent rain showers, which allowed me to not have to water the garden every day, but all that rain brings out the mosquitoes en masse. Soooo, I whipped up my favorite DIY mosquito repellant and sprayed the yard, front and back and all around the doors and windows.  I only make 1/3 of the recipe at a time, which is normally plenty, with a bit left over after spraying down our entire (city lot sized) property.  I do have another batch in the making to have at the ready for the next time I need to spray.  Typically, one full recipe lasts the entire season.  I really don't know how much this saves us since we have never had to call out an exterminator for mosquitoes. In the past, I have always bought citronella candles and used repellents, (which I don't have to spend money on anymore either) swatted and suffered.  Or just stayed inside during the worst parts of the day.  Now, we get to enjoy our yard!

•  I made another batch of DIY laundry stain remover.

•  We're still being mindful of turning off all lights when we leave rooms, and keeping the front and back doors closed when we go in and out for short periods of time, so we don't air condition the outdoors.

•  We upped our thermostat by one degree.  We have to run our air conditioner continuously throughout the summer and so far, no one seems to be able to tell the difference in comfort level.

•  I took advantage of the coupons I received for free items at Randall's before their Monopoly game ended.  We were able to choose a couple of donuts from the bakery, three packets of gravy mix, and a bottle of 100 count aspirin.

And in keeping with my new tradition of sharing my favorite bloggers, I couldn't resist in mentioning a lady I have followed since the mid 90's when her "blogging" was done in the form of books, lol!  I believe she is one of a couple of people that I can credit for making me fall in love with gardening way back then (Martha Stewart being the other), and still inspires me today! Rosalind Creasy grows luscious, decadent, beautiful, edible gardens and I am now, and have always been, helplessly, hopelessly and completely in love with her aesthetic! *gush*

If you have never seen her gardens, I encourage you to rush over to her website and d̶r̶o̶o̶l̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶  see what you've been missing.  I would love to know know what you think!

And here is one of my favorite videos/interviews of her! Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ






Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Dancing Orchid?!

Before my hubby suffered his health issues, he took great pride, and spent many happy moments tending his collection of orchids.  He had different sizes, colors and varieties.  It became an easy, no fail winner when it came to buying him a little gift. Sadly, after he became disabled, he was no longer able to care for his beloved orchids as he once did, and they slowly, one by one, all withered away.  Oh, I tried to help him with them, but I don't think they "felt the love" from me.  They simply did not flourish under my care.

I really miss the sight of his happy little orchid family that used to live on the table in our family room that was dedicated solely to those stately, graceful plants.

Enter Commercial Palm Trees, offering to send me one of their beautiful, life like, faux plants in exchange for a neutral review.  I went straight to their website to see what they offered and was immediately bowled over by the wide array of faux plants that even I couldn't kill!  So much to choose from!  But when I spotted this sweet beauty, I felt I had to give it a shot, and see if it would come close to the living, breathing orchids that used to inhabit our abode.

From the moment it arrived at our front door, securely packaged and presented so no damage would occur while in transit...



to the moment when, after unswaddling it and showing it to my husband without any sort of forwarning or explanation, (I had not mentioned any of it to him beforehand) and his face lighting up because he thought it was real,


and even before zhushing it,



this beauty has brought life back to the "orchid table" and smiles to our faces!

I soon set about arranging the tiny blossoms' stems and leaves since they are easily manipulated and hold whatever position you desire, and stood back to admire the delicate shape.  Coming in at a little over 2 pounds 6 ounces, (yes, I weighed it, lol!) it is a good weight that will not topple easily.  How big is it you may be asking?  The company's official measurements are: 19" X 15" X 12".

I am enthralled with the pure white flowers that are tinged with the most eye catching chartreuse-y green, and how the plant is nestled in pebbles and realistic looking "water" inside a real glass container!  The glass container, pebbles and "water" are what give this arrangement it's substantial weight.

I can in all honesty say I would recommend this wonderful company if you are in the market for faux greenery and/or flowers.  From beginning to end, I have had the best experience with Commercial Palm Trees!  Even if you aren't looking to bring any new plants into your home or office right now, may I gently suggest you at least do some browsing on their website?  After all, it's a "no sweat" experience, unlike traipsing the rows upon rows of plants at the local nursery in the blazing sun.  And BONUS!  You won't have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind saying, "yeah, it's pretty and I know just where to put it, but will it live once I get it home?"  (Maybe that's just what goes on in my mind...?)

A special thanks to Commercial Palm Trees for reaching out to me and sending us this gorgeous Dancing Orchid!  Our "orchid table" is no longer a barren, sad reminder of what once was!

Have you had a personal experience with Commercial Palm Trees?  I would love to know what plant(s) you brought home and all about your experience!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ


*Disclosure: this product was received as a sample in exchange for my neutral, honest opinion and review.  I did not receive monetary compensation for this review and I was not required to give a positive review in exchange for receiving the sample.











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