Monday, December 19, 2011

"Just One Thing" Update for the Weekend

While my pot of ham & navy beans simmers away in our heavy cast iron dutch oven on this cloudy, blustery day, I thought I would pop on here to give an account for myself over the weekend.
Saturday- I didn't do any exercise. If I were to offer up an excuse, it would be that I had to work Saturday and Sunday so...that's why. But really, I don't want to make excuses, I just didn't do it.
Ditto for Scrapbooking/Crafting
Sunday- I did a mere 8 minutes of exercise.
No Scrapbooking/Crafting.
Today, Monday- I went for 22 minutes on the treadmill (7 extra to make up for the lack of over the weekend).
So far today no Scrapbooking/Crafting. But I'm hoping to change that before the day is over.
I still haven't decided what my third "Just One Thing" I want to work on that is not already an established habit in my daily rituals. I do want it to be something that constantly nags at my innermost core with the ever present question, "if I want to do it so bad, then why aren't I doing it?". And unfortunately, there are a few of those so I want to pick my battle wisely. Among those are (just to name a few):
1. writing.
2. purging the material things that just don't serve me well anymore.
3. break my lifelong habit of comfort food eating at night. Bad, very bad.
4. get those items on ebay that I want to sell.
I wont go on. But I could. Because those things pile up on me because I'm a big ole' procrastinator (I like to use the term "creative diversions" ;) Oh yes, I'm great at creative diversion!).
In other news, school is officially out for the Christmas break and today Ari & I did some Christmas related shopping & errands. And were back at home, cozy & content after a brief siesta.
Now it's time to go catch up on all the little things that keep my busy around here...

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm making a list...

I have, for a long time now, used a "just one thing" principle to keep things in my life from getting behind or building up, whatever the case may be. For instance, when I walk into a room, I do "just one thing" that needs to be done. In the kitchen it may be to take out the trash or as trivial as putting away a lone clothespin (that we use to clip bags shut) lying on the counter. Sometimes, if I have time, I may do more than one thing but ONE THING is my minimum. It helps to keep clutter down so that it doesn't slowly overtake us like so much quicksand.
In the spirit of this principle, I have decided to work on different areas of my life that need improvement and attention, (such as exercise) in the same fashion. So, I've begun to examine what those areas should be and so far my list is very short:



1. Exercise-for just 15 minutes a day. Every day. I can do that. It's a start. (After two foot surgeries recently, I became very complacent about exercise. So now, I'm going to get back into it with baby steps.) Just one exercise session, fifteen minutes a day.






As I add to my list, (and it will not be more than three things~don't wanna overwhelm myself!) I will post them here. I just want to do things that will make the most impact or things that I always wanna do but just never get around to...



Ding, ding, ding! I've got it!






2. Scrapbooking/crafting!!! (it just came to me as I was typing!) I can give that fifteen minutes a day as well. Every day.



Now, what will number three be? Hmmm...



Progress/Update:



I have done 15 minutes on the treadmill today!


I did not scrapbook but did finish some mending work on my very first quilt so I could finally, after months, give it to my grandson! So, since I've procrastinated on it for so long, I'm gonna let that count.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Unexpected Parade






Lots of loot!
















Last Thursday, I headed out with my oldest son, my daughter and my grandson to see the festival of lights in a neighboring town. Just after we turned the corner to the street that the park is on where the light display is held, police officers were directing people to go down a side street.



"What is going on?!" We wondered aloud.




A quick glimpse told us that there was going to be a parade!




We began to head in the direction that the parade would be going and soon found a spot to park less than a block away. And just as we got to the parade route, we could see the parade would soon be passing by. And we were going to see it from beginning to end! We couldn't have planned it better if we had tried. I whispered a thankful prayer and began to record the parade on my little camera.




We encouraged Jesse to wave at the people in the parade since they were throwing lots & lots of candy! He seemed to enjoy the sights & sounds but soon asked when the parade would be over, lol! I guess to a five year old it seemed to go on forever!




As the parade ended and we were walking back to the car, we all agreed that we were glad our light show got preempted by an unexpected Christmas parade and made plans to go back the next week to see the lights.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fennel Scented Chicken

My new Misto found for $7.99 at TJ Maxx! I've been wanting one of these for so long now! LOVE it!



Last night, when faced with the dinner hour, and knowing I had some fennel fronds and stalks left over from this, I did a bit of online research. I came up with this plan:

I took a whole frozen chicken from our freezer and did a quick thaw (this was around 1 o'clock. I filled the sink with water and put the chicken, still in it's wrapper, in. A couple of hours later, I took the chicken from its plastic wrapper and put it to soak in a big bowl filled with water. It was thawed & ready to go by 4:30!)

I peeled some taters & cut into 1/2-3/4" rounds. I sprayed my roasting pan with olive oil, set the potatoes in a single layer on the pan and began to deal with the fennel fronds & stalks. I just rough chopped some of the fronds & a stalk or two (I put the rest in a freezer bag to make a veggie stock out of later). I sprinkled the potato rounds with some fennel fronds, sprayed them down with some olive oil & then tackled the chicken.




I took the neck out of the cavity of the chicken, dried the bird off with one of my beloved flour sack towels (of course it was clean!) and sprayed it with olive oil, sprinkled & rubbed some garlic powder, turmeric, salt & pepper all over him, placed him on the bed of fennely potatoes and then threw a handful of chopped fennel stalk inside the cavity.

I had preheated the oven to 360 degrees so it was ready and waiting to welcome Mr. Bird with waiting arms. I set the time for 1 hour & 30 minutes & walked away.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product but it was delicious!


In retrospect:

1) I could have probably used more fennel but didn't want to overwhelm the chicken with it.

2)We had to cook the bird a bit longer than the hour & a half since hubby came home and pulled out his handy dandy meat thermometer to be sure it had reached a safe temp. Probably closer to 2 hours I would say, though I didn't really pay attention once he set the thermometer to beep when the chicken was at the right temp.

3)The potatoes under the chicken had to be put back in the oven for another 30 minutes because they weren't quite done. There were enough cooked through though so that we were able to enjoy some with our meal.

4)A little green salad completed the meal!

5)I fly by the seat of my pants wayyy too often at dinner time but, somehow, it always works out ;) .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Haute SHOCK-ol-ahhhhhhh!

Last Friday, I set out to make up some hot chocolate mix gifts. Ya know, just a little something to give to co-workers, acquaintances, etc.
I got off to a really good, organized start. I assembled the ingredients...
began dumping and mixing...

and then it happened. A powdered sugar explosion...

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? It got all over my britches. Me, the apron maker. Did. Not. Have. An. Apron. On.
Well, I learned my lesson and scurried over to grab one of my most Christmasy aprons...

and got back to work...


I used some Christmasy fabric and traced around a saucer on it to get "perfect" rounds to top off the jars with. I used pinking shears to cut the fabric~helps keep it from fraying and just looks pretty.
The little snowmen tags are from a Christmas past that I bought at Walmart. They are stickers so I just used some scrapbooking scissors to give scrapbooking paper a pretty edge, stuck on a snowman, punched a hole in the top corner and strung the ribbon through to tie on the jar.
The green tag peeking out from under the snowman gift tag? It's a sheet of scrapbook paper that I printed the recipe on, cut with a pretty border, puched a hole in the corner and tied it on with the ribbon. The ribbon? Its from my stash. I save just about everything.
Where did I find this most delicious recipe you might ask?

From Miss Tammy, the most hospitable woman I can think of.

Go ahead, make someones day. Give 'em some of this lip lickin' hot chocolate for their very own.

Resources:

You can get FREE cute gift tags (not pictured here) by going here. Just pull out some cardstock from your scrapbooking/crafting supplies to print them on. So cute.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crock Pot Potpourri



I had some ground cinnamon vanilla nut coffee on hand that was left over from an event and, try as I may, couldn't give it away & it's not something I could foresee us drinking. Every time I went into the pantry and saw that bag sitting there I would try to think of what I could do with it.

Lightbulb!

I remembered walking into a quaint little shop in our historic district that sells teas and coffees and. It. Smelled. DEVINE! Like snickerdoodles or somethin'! So I thought, hmmmm....

And dug out our little crock pot/slow cooker, added some water and sprinkled in some of those thar coffee grounds...

Yeah, I know, it doesn't look pretty but it fills the house with some deeeliscious smellin' fragrance. Ari came home from school that day and commented on how yummy it smelled.

It reminded me how much it means to our families to come home to HOME: great smells, warm lighting, a bit of order, soft music (or hubby's favorite news or game show already playing on the tv; sound down low-for my benefit, lol! ). It is a big ol' hug that greets 'em before you are able to. And if you work outside the home? Put that slow cooker to use. Either with a little potpourri that's been simmering all day or, better yet, a meal that greets everyone with a yummy, lip lickin' aroma. (And dinners done so it's one less thing we ladies have to do!)

Yes, since that day, my little slow cooker has been settin' out on the counter top, working overtime. Simmering orange peels, apple peels & spices for fragrance (I save all those peels in ziplocs in the freezer). Or maybe some more ugly cinnamon vanilla nut coffee grounds. In the mornings I put our oatmeal in it on warm so it's ready to eat when we are~everyone is on a wee bit different schedule for breakfast.

And, it has inspired me to keep at least ONE scented candle burning somewhere (the bathroom is a good place ;P ) when we're at home at all times, just to add another layer of "smell good".

*A side bonus: these natural fragrances can be tolerated by most people, even folks like me, who are sensitive to certain scents and fragrances!

Simple.

Homey.

Welcoming.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FREE Gooseberry Patch Downloadable Gift Tags!!!

Do you make gifts from your kitchen to give to friends, co-workers and loved ones? Well Gooseberry Patch has these AdOrAbLe! downloadable gift tags for us to use!

Keepin' it merry 'round here!~TJ

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Hearty Root Veggie Soup...

(this pic was taken after the soup had been in the fridge so probably not the most appetizing looking)



Perfect for this cold snap we're experiencing down here y'all!




It's a warm, filling, comfort type soup that even my 16 year old loved! Served along with some gluten free, multi grained crackers...Deeelicious!




Stay warm & toasty!




Monday, December 5, 2011

A Mexican Inspired Breakfast from Things I Had on Hand...


"Migas" (basically scrambled eggs, crispy tortilla chips, cheddar, sour cream & salsa)
Green salad (iceberg & spinach)

Pretty.
Delicious.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FREE! Burger King Fries!

Candied Sweet Potato Bread

I'm still using the GE hand mixer my Granny got me when I was 18! It's been a real workhorse and still going strong!







Wednesday I set out to make use of the candied sweet potatoes my hubby pours himself into each Thanksgiving. I hate waste so after a little internet search, I found this nifty recipe , it sounded delish & I had just enough leftover yams to make a double batch soooo....fire up the oven!


I even got frisky and full of myself & decided to try to make a gluten free loaf for Ari...AND SHE LOVED IT!!! (I'm scared of me~could I be a little wicked in the kitchen or what?! Not braggin'~I won't discuss a little mishap involving cayenne pepper & sugar.) Moving on...


I followed the recipe with a few exceptions:

(keep in mind, I doubled the recipe)


1)There were still a couple of marshmallows on the yams so I just measured them right with the yams. No harm done.

2)I weighed out 1 pound of the wet mixture before adding the dry ingredients and set aside for making the gluten free loaf.

3)I used about a scant 2/3 of a tablespoon of homemade pumpkin pie spice (smells divine) to "our" batter and a scant 1/3 tablespoon to "Ari's" batter. I eyeballed it.


4)for the "flour" for the gluten free loaf, I used some Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix that I had on hand. I still added the baking soda and salt (doubled then divided by three then use one-third of those measurements for the gluten free batter. two thirds for "our" batter. Confused? So am I. Just do the math. I'm not a math whiz...if I can do it...yada yada yada)



That's all there was to it.








fresh from the oven





And they turned out great.
























































Now that wasn't so hard was it?




























Thursday, December 1, 2011

Succulent Succulents

After strolling the streets of Austin, I was inspired to begin a succulent collection. This is the beginning:




from left ro right: unknown/no marker info, echeveria 'black prince', elkhorns


Oh, and I picked up a few Christmas cacti too.

Austin, TX Getaway






The Omni was nice but we'll be staying here next time!










Beginning the week of Thanksgiving, we took a little trip to Austin. Capitol of Texas. I'd never been there before. I'd heard it was "weird". And it was. A little. But I'm a little weird. So I fit right in.















Rain was predicted for those days but it only rained during times that we weren't going to be out & about. (TYF) It rained just as we arrived but cleared up by that evening when we ventured out for dinner. We had our doghter in tow so we had to find places that were puppy friendly. That wasn't a problem at all. Austin is very dog friendly. We ate at a little place called Maudie's, al fresco of course, and they brought a doggy dish of water when they delivered our drinks. (Actually all the restaurants we ate at had the same practice~serving out girl water when we arrived!). Yummy Mexican food! (Our FaVoRiTe!) We drove around to check out the sights before heading back to the hotel. The nightlife is hoppin' there!
















It rained while we slept that night and the temperatures cooled so the next day was beautiful! We spent the day eating and shopping and strolling and eating some more. The grande finale of the day was watching the bats take their flight at dusk to find their dinner. Awe-mazing! TYF










Sadly, we never made it to check out 6th Street. NEXT TIME!!!
















Here's just a few pictures of our fun times:







DF having a drink at The Snack Bar (a must if you like fresh, fab food!)

exploring the town on her own terms

Dollface asked me " mama, what's a yard dog?" (okaaayyy not really)



cool shop with all kindza costumez~or so I heard from Ari (DF & I were busy people watching. Verrry interesting.)







Parking in Austin? Well that's another story.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Thanksgiving Resolution (and why not?)

I haven't been "tending" my blog in the past months. Life, children, illnesses, birthdays, surgeries, holidays, "procedures", highs & lows, I have all let get in the way. And the whole point of it ever was to "journal" those things that are my life. How, why and when do I let things fall through the cracks? I don't know. But I made a Thanksgiving resolution to challenge myself to tend my "cyber accounts" daily. Even if in just some small way.

Life.

I can live it & still (squeeze in a minute to )write about it.

Hope you & yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~TJ

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day!

Hope you are enjoying wonderful weather!
We had some cable issues and after five days, the cable guy came out to get us back up & running! Thank goodness, my teenager was on the verge of a meltdown what with no internet and all, lol!
We've kept our usual routine going for the most part this past week. Last night we had a yummy meal out at a nearby Mexican restaurant and today I will be back at trying to figure out "what's for dinner". Always a daunting task! We've started our back to school shopping which has been fun. We don't really like thinking about school in the midst of summer but, the clothes are already out there and it's best to buy while there's lots to choose from instead of picking over the remains and getting caught in the crush of last minute shopping.
After a few days of much needed rain, we have sunshine again. I am going to try to get out and enjoy as much of it as possible.
I hope you enjoy YOUR day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tea For Health, Beauty & Weight Management

I thought I'd share my tea-votion with y'all...
We have an entire shelf in our pantry devoted to our tea collection. They are the regular kind you can buy in most grocery stores so, true tea aficionados might turn their noses up, but it's our tea, done our way. (Although I do enjoy visiting tea shops for a treat! The fragrances, the textures, the colors, oh my! Buy a little or alot~so much fun!)
I tend to have a couple of cups of coffee to start my day but then I will brew up any of a number of combinations that suit my fancy. Today its Guayake yerbe mate', loose from my health food store, a bag of Stash double bergamot Earl Gray, and a bag of plain ol' green tea. It's steeping right now. I'm fixin' to go pour it over ice to enjoy as I go about getting ready for my day. I don't drink sweet tea but, (shhh...please don't ell anyone...I could kicked outta TX for that!) I do like it iced to keep me cool on these sweltering days.
I use the Keurig to fill a small cup with hot water, plop my tea bags in the cup & walk away for a few. Today I'm using the reusable filter thingy & filled it with the loose yerbe mate'. After I pour my tea over the ice, I refill the cup with the same tea bags and will add that weaker brew to my glass as needed.
I know, I know, not a proper tea ceremony but it works for me!
I will be honest, I don't LOooooVE tea, I mostly drink it for the health benefits. (You get to a certain age & eat/drink things for health sometimes over the siren call of the tastebuds.) And I can't deny, on these hot, steamy summer days, iced tea is mighty refreshing~without sugar that is (; .

And on the subject of tea, one of my favorite quotes is:

"Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water."~Eleanor Roosevelt

Stay cool. Be strong. And have a great day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Typical Tuesday



It's Tuesday!
Yesterday Ari & I went to the mall for a little browsing. We actually left having only bought (and I promptly ate) a cinnamon sugar pretzel from Auntie Anne's! We paid a visit to Marshall's and Ross right across the road. I found a few cute things that I just had to bring home.



Acute top, jean shorts, boyfriend pants and a little eyebrow kit that Ari spotted. She knew I had been looking for eyebrow gel and for $2.99, I got that and a whole lot more! I don't use the brow templates but the gel, powder and brush are being put to work! I haven't tried the tweezers yet. All this for less than $37!

Today my baby girl isn't feeling well so she is in bed with Dollface keeping her company while I run a few quick errands. Post office, Walgreens for some new fingernail polish, and Target to grab some SoBe Pure's before they are all gone (they are at Target for a limited time and don't know if they will add them to the line. We fell in love with them though because they are so lightly flavored and sweetened with stevia instead of aspartame! A while back, they were giving a $5 Target gift card for every 10 bottles of SoBe Pure that you bought so I was able to pay for most of my order with the $15 worth of Target gift cards I had on hand! Plus they have electrolytes added!) I also grabbed a Sonia Kashuk eye liner brush that I've had my eye on~I prefer to use powder shadows for eyeliner since I tend to make a big mess with the liquid liners. Maybe I'll experiment with liquid liners again someday...I just like the softer line powder eyeshadow gives me. I'm at an age where "harsh" makeup doesn't serve me well, lol! Oh, and if you like those Special K cereal bars, they are on sale right now for $2.50 a box (at my Target)! Mike likes to take one everyday in his lunch since they are only 90 calories for a sweet treat~he loves the vanilla.
Today, I attempted a new recipe for dinner:
Easy Vegetarian Black Beans & Rice Casserole
corn tortillas
Tortilla chips (for those of us who like crunch)
salad
The recipe was a little more "involved" than I cared for (I'm all about simpifying these days and cooking as little as possible!) but it ended up being tasty enough that I'd do it again. I used my crockpot to cook the beans and then warm the whole mixture rather than baking it in the oven. I am trying to not turn on the oven this summer to keep from heating up the house~my crockpot and Wolfgang Puck multicooker have been getting quite the workout!
Speaking of workouts, I've forced myself to do a bit of working out the last couple of nights. Nothing extreme but at this point, while dealing with this chronic pain, I consider any exercise a victory. A little stretching, a little weight bearing and a little cardi on the rebounder~it all adds up to good!
BTW, yesterday's Bean Cassoulet recipe was delicious. I preferred it served over brown rice more than over the mashed potatoes, but both ways are yummy and filling! AND I tried the lime margarita drink mix I wrote about yesterday. With three lime wedges squeezed in and an ounce of silver tequila, it was pretty good. And a lot quicker & simpler than the sugar free recipe I was making in summers past.
Well I'm off to make it a great day~you do the same!
Thanks for sharing YOUR day with me!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Summertime!

Sparklers!





Smoke Bombs!
























Well, it has been sooo long since I've posted. So much going on within the family and for me, family always comes first.


First of all, I hope summertime is treating everyone well. We've had a drought going on around here, as so many are. Mandatory water rationing-our poor lawn! It was struggling before the drought for some unknown reason, and this has surely not helped!


For the fourth of July, my sweet DD went to a friends for a sleepover and to go watch the fireworks with them. Hubby and I stayed home, ordered a pizza and just enjoyed a quiet evening together. We're starting to feel little snippets of an empty nest. Not sure how that will be when it hits full force.


DD has experienced her first attempts at job hunting! So far, no luck but I don't think it's breaking her heart too badly, lol!


Speaking of DD, I think we have finally figured out that she does not tolerate wheat products well and that may be the cause of all her tummy woes. The g.i. testing she had done showed no physical cause for all her intestinal distress. And for all her assuming that she was lactose intolerant, when she finally bit the bullet and decided to cut out wheat products to see if that could be the culprit, lo and behold she began feeling better. And seems to tolerate dairy just fine. Thank the Lord! This has been so hard on her and us, watching her suffer and not knowing what to do for her. And such a long road to finally finding some relief for her!


About a month ago, we took dear hubby to the emergency room one evening because he wasn't feeling quite right. They ended up keeping him and determined he had had a minor heart attack, found he had 95% blockage in one of his arteries and had to put a stent in. Once home, he said he actually felt better than before in general. He is back at work and doing well now and we are so relieved!


I finally had the last of my four foot surgeries! Yay!!! (oh...no, I don't have four feet~two surgeries on each foot (: ). So happy with the results! Dr. Webb, I salute you and your staff and the surgery center for jobs well done!!!


And my niece Breezi's graduation! We can't forget that! Congratulations BZ!!!


Today, we plan on making a quick trip to the mall, and just enjoying the day and each others company. Of course there's laundry, ironing and a bit of housecleaning to do as well /: .


I thought I'd keep record here of what's for dinner so I can refer back on those days when I just can't come up with any ideas on what to prepare. Because of hubby's heart health scare, and Ari's dietary needs, I have begun to make more meatless meals. Trying to unearth tasty, filling recipes that don't contain meat for a family of carnivores has been quite a challenge! Our breakfasts, snacks and lunches vary from person to person. Mike usually takes basically the same lunch to work each day and Ari & I tend to fend for ourselves or stop in somewhere if we are out & about for a quick lunch. We aren't vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination but every little bit helps.




So, what's for dinner today?:


Three Bean Cassoulet served over mashed potatoes


tossed green salad




Other happenings in the kitchen:


I found this GV Lime Margarita drink mix while searching for the Crystal Light drink mixes that sound like they would make delicious low cal mixed or virgin cocktails that would be perfect for summer sippin' on the patio. So I mixed up a batch and will give it a test run. I like my margaritas frozen with salt. You?


And I'll be slow simmering a fat free veggie broth while I'm out running errands in my new Wolfgang Puck 10 cup cooker. Oh...and ewww...deep cleaning in the fridge.




Off to get ready for the day! Thanks for sharing your time with me!






































































































Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Cookbook Collection

Recently, I rearranged and did a (much needed) cleanout of our pantry. I'm blessed with a large, roomy pantry that got wayyy out of hand. It had begun to look like some of those homes on the tv show Hoarders where there is only enough room to take a few (dangerous) steps in order to get what you need. Seriously. It was bad. I set out to reorder things in a way that made much more sense for the way we use the kitchen. While it's still a work in progress, one thing I did was put my cookbooks on a shelf in the pantry so they are easier to see and to reach for. Bonus: I found a cookbook that, for the life of me, couldn't figure out where it had gone. I had begun to think maybe I had given it to the thrift store. Kinda sad. (my memory and my organizational skills, lol!)Recently, my very first hard copy Gooseberry Patch Cookbook arrived from an eBay auction I won. It's brand new and I think I'm in love...I think this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship!
This little ragamuffin is at least thirty years old and contains handwritten recipe cards of collected recipes that were the beginning of my love affair with cooking (but not with food ); ~THAT came years before (= )

I traded out my old, plastic, funky recipe box for this like-new one I found at the thrift store for probably .50. It holds more beloved recipes that were clipped from newspapers, magazines, boxes & bags and handwritten on index and recipe cards. Some I've had for years and have never tried. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will. Oh well, I'll keep dreamin' & hopin' that I haven't held onto them in vain... I like its little ledge that I can set the recipes on while I prepare them.
I will bequeath them to my lucky children and hope they can figure out how to prepare the recipes (they love and request time and time again) that only contain my notes on the ingredients needed and not the actual prep instructions. Mama loves y'all! ;D










I still have a stack of magazines that hold recipes I can't part with, recipes printed from websites, pages ripped from magazines and other various sources that I need to go through and organize into my three ring binder. It'll happen. One of these days.



Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my cookbook collection!







































Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happenin's 'round Here

This week has been a little busier than normal. We've had workers here replacing our home's siding. The noise level has been "interesting". Mostly from hubby dealing with the insurance company over it, (; bless his heart. I'm thankful I have a man that handles that sort of thing. (Although, I'm up for the task if need be. Grrr, grrr.)

Yesterday, Ari & I went to the Dermatologist for a checkup on a few spots of concern. We got a good report for the most part, thank the Lord. There's a spot she wants to keep an eye on on my face but other than that, we're good. And from that, and the prescription I picked up last night, I'm so thankful for good insurance. (How can they in all good conscience charge SO much for medications?) But if you feel you might need to have your skin screened and don't have insurance, you can go to The American Academy of Dermatology to see about a free skin cancer screening and/or learn more about skin self exam. It's sooo important that we take care of ourselves~so many people love us and depend on us...if you don't do it for yourself, do it for them. Speaking of, there's a mammogram I've been putting off...ugh.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with my podiatrist. Yet another follow up visit and hopefully to schedule the remaining surgery to have the pins removed from my toes. Also, my ankle has been acting up so I'm going to see if he thinks I might need another steroid shot in it. The last one was over five years ago. I was limping so badly because of it, he thought it would be a good thing to do. And it really helped. I'm not limping right now because of it but it sure "talks to me" when I've been walking alot. (A girl can't properly walk the mall if her ankle hurts.)

Well, I have a bread pudding (to use up those bits and pieces of leftover bread and the three apples that had begun to frown at me whenever I walked by) that's needing the final touches put to it and a loaf of bread that's needs checking so, until next time...

thank's for stopping by!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

10 Money Saving Tidbits

As being unemployed from a full time job drags on, I am finding new ways, in addition to tried and true ways, of saving money here and there. Yes, some ideas, tips and tricks may only save a penny or few, but as I always say when picking up a penny, "if you have enough pennies, you can be a millionaire!".

So, here's a few favorite things I do to save towards being a millionaire (= ...


1) I use a pea sized dollop of toothpaste to brush my teeth. Years ago I read that the toothpaste companies show a full toothpaste head of toothpaste to make you think thats the amount you need thereby using more toothpaste and buying more. Now, if I accidentally put more toothpaste on my brush, I find I don't like that big glob of toothpaste feel in my mouth.


2) When I see veggies in my veggie crisper threatening to go bad, I wash 'em and throw them in the freezer into my "soup pot veggies" container. When I have enough of those veggies, I either throw them in the slow cooker to flavor some yummy chicken, beef or veggie stock, or depending on the veggies in my "collection" I just may put them into a steaming pot of turkey, chicken or beef soup!

3) I do the same as #2 with fruit. Any and all fruits. And then I make sweet, healthy fruit smoothies with any combination of what I have shivering in my freezer. Sometimes I might add ground flax seed, bee pollen, yogurt, stevia, honey, spinach (yes, a handful of spinach! The taste is practically nonexistant.) or anything else I have on hand and feel the spirit to add! Be adventurous in the kitchen!!!


4) I clip coupons! I've given coupon clipping a go in the past but never with any real heart or strategy. But since I challenged myself back in September to see if I could go a full year without spending full price for anything (or as reality set in... MOST things ;D ), I have picked it up again. And I am really enjoying the thrill of the chase (of bargains and saving that is)! Who knew? I get them from a Sunday paper of course but also find them in other places: magazines (All You is a great one~{get two free issues here} but they are in other magazines too, online in various places ~{side bonus: earn Swagbucks by printing coupons from the Swagbuck site}, some grocery stores are offering e-coupons now that you can load onto you shopper saving card, those blinkie things on the grocer's shelves that you pull the coupon from (you can tell I've got the coupon lingo down can't you? (; ), you can buy 'em & trade 'em, (I feel like that scene in the movie Forrest Gump right now where Bubba is talking about all the ways you can fix & eat shrimp). They are everywhere! Start using them and you'll see...THEY will find YOU!


5) I grow my own fruits, herbs and veggies. I give this a go every year but so far, the only real success I've seemed to have is with herbs. So I faithfully sow herb seeds regularly (those are very expensive in the store, fresh or dried, and we use a lot of herbs and spices in our cooking~savings!). I grow basil, dill, rosemary and chives with ease. Other herbs test my patience, (I dunno, maybe they are too delicate for me and my "survival of the fittest" gardening ways) like thyme, tarragon, lavender and parsley. We also have a fig tree and a couple of pear trees that came with the property that produce well. I just wish and pray I could grow big, fat, juicy tomatoes and tiny, pop-in-your-mouth-straight-off-the-vine, cherry tomatoes. So far, nada, but I WILL keep trying! Oh yes, I will!


6) I use way less dishwasher/laundry detergent and fabric softener than the recommended amounts on the containers (unless our clothes are particularly dirty, which doesn't happen often) and they come clean just fine. And I have tried the homemade recipes for dishwasher detergent with awful results (don't know why). I do use vinegar as a fabric softener frequently~it also helps get rid of bad odors, which is a bonus!

7) I send off for free samples. I regularly get free stuff in the mail for things we use: toothpaste, laundry detergents, feminine products, pet food & treats and even stuff we don't normally use~it's fun to try new stuff, is it not? Ohhh the variety is endless! All You has a Daily Free Sample Calendar~try it!

8) I fill out surveys (when I have the time-they CAN be time consuming). Which helps me build credit towards free stuff). One of my all time favorite survey sites is e-Rewards. You earn a Partial Credit Amount even if you don't qualify for the survey!

9) I use services, money saving blogs and websites such as TheGroceryGame.com to help me get the best value for my family's money. Right now I'm trying out The Grocery Game for free with their four week trial to see if it's something I think (every family and it's circumstances are different!) worth paying for. If I do, it's very reasonable in price!

10) (Which should ALWAYS be #1: PRAY. I pray over everything in my life, right down to the little things. The Lord cares about everything having to do with us and our lives (big and small) and doesn't want us worryin' & frettin'. He wants us to live a joy filled life. And if we are trying to be better stewards of our money, I believe He will honor that and our endeavors attempting to do so.

Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7



Thanks for stopping by!






Sunday, April 24, 2011

Meals From Our Stockpile

In an effort to use things I have on hand, instead of going out to buy more groceries (when I have my own little grocery store filled with food that threatens to go bad eventually if I don't use it), I have come up with a few meals this past couple of weeks that used only what we had in the pantry or freezer. I will admit, it feels easier to come up with new recipes and meal ideas (and go to the grocery store & buy the ingredients) than to come up with creative meal solutions using ingredients in our stockpile~already bought & paid for. Silly me, that kinda equates to me taking my already paid for car and letting it sit & rust in the driveway while I go out & buy a new car because I don't want to deal with the maintenance of the blessing I already have. Spending more time, gas & money to aquire more.

I know everyone has different foods, and amounts of food, on hand but with a little creativity and effort (thumbing through your cookbooks, going online and googling recipes that contain key ingredients that you already have) we could probably eat for days or even weeks with items we already have socked away.

Here's a few dishes I came up with using leftovers, pantry items and meals that were previously cooked and then frozen for later use:

1) Italian sausage stew - going through the freezer unearthed some italian sausage that hubby had cooked previously and with a little rifleing through my recipe box for a faintly remembered recipe, I was able to make a yummy stew with ingredients on hand that everyone loved.

2) Banana bread - what I made with my favorite, often used banana bread recipe and a freckled bunch of bananas that no one seemed interested in eating when they were in the prime of their life. Again, I had everything on hand that I needed to make a few loaves.

3) Peanut butter cookies - another old faithful recipe made with stuff I already had.

4) Beans and ham & cornbread - hubby takes pride in the hams he makes around the holidays! And we love 'em but can't always eat all of it before it threatens to end up in the garbage, so I freeze one pound portions and the ham bone by itself for future meals. Yes, I had everything I needed for this meal too!

5) Yankee noodles - I ran across this recipe in a newsletter I got from Living on a Dime and happily realized I had everything I needed to make it, substituting ground turkey for beef. WINNER!!! (Thanks for sharing Tawra!)

Those are a few meals and sweets that I've come up with lately and am enjoying being creative and using what I have on hand more often these days. I'm also trying to eat the leftovers from dinner the day before for breakfasts or lunches or trying to remember to freeze them for a future meal, rather than letting them go to waste. I'm getting better at it. And that's a start.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks Mom...


for bringing me into this world



and being such a great influence and role model in my life!


Thanks Daddy, for doing your best to raise me right! Love, Tommie Jo

















































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