Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Petals EQUAL Goodness

Spring is here and the world is coming back to life.  There are so many flowers and blossoms that happen only during this time. 
Trees bloom their beautiful flowers, tulips and daffodils happen only in spring, peonies only bloom once all season, and so on.
It's sad to me that we look so forward to these beauties, and then they are gone in a blink of an eye.

Some of our springtime petals can be used for other things.  I love finding new ways to use unusual or different items for something that will last and last.
Here are a few ideas!

You will need to pick 2 CUPS of violets.  Place the violets in a container that can be sealed.  Cover the petals with boiling water and cover them 1/2" over top of flowers.  Cover and seal and let them sit in a sunny place for 4-6 hours (overnight is ok too).

Strain out flowers.  You will end up with about 2 CUPS of infused water.  You can add a bit if you need to.
The water should be a light violet color.
ADD 1/4 CUP LEMON JUICE (color will change to bright pink)
ADD 4 CUPS SUGAR, heat to dissolve.  Bring to a rapid boil and ADD one package of PECTIN.  Follow directions (each brand is a little different).

Pour into sterilized jars seal, and water bath for 5 minutes.
This can be purchased at some specialty shops and it is very expensive - 6.50 - 8.00 per 2 oz. jar!

DANDELION JELLY (I have made this)
4 C dandelion flowers (no stems or green parts - those are bitter)
3 1/4 C water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 pkg. pectin
1 drop yellow food coloring
4 1/2 C sugar

Heat water to simmer and add 2 CUPS of flowers (petals) and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon and remove flowers (squeeze out liquid) and ADD other 2 CUPS of petals and repeat process.
Measure out 3 CUPS of infused water (can add a bit if nec.), lemon juice, pectin, and food coloring and bring to a boil.  Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute.

Place in sterilized jars and water bath 5 - 7 minutes.
**Has a lemony taste.  Very good.

PEONY JELLY (I  have made this)
Gather a QUART of peony petals (chemical free and no stems or brown petals)
Boil enough water to cover the petals (5 - 6 cups water).
At this point you will second guess yourself as it neither smells good or looks pretty!  Let this set for 6 hours.

Drain liquid - don't press flowers.  You should have about 4 - 4 1/2 C liquid.
Add the JUICE OF ONE LEMON  (or equivalent).  Color will change to pinkish/orange.  Bring to a boil and then add PECTIN.
Bring back to a boil and add 3 CUPS SUGAR and go till a hard boil for 1 full minute.

Ladle into jars, seal and process in water bath 5 - 10 minutes.

**Slightly sweet, slightly tart, and a bit flowery in taste.

Always make sure any petals or greens used from your yard are chemical free (and pet do-do free!).
There are so many things in our yards that we can turn into yummy goodness that can be used or gifted all year round.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Frugal Happenings 3/26

Good morning everyone.  WOW, it is hard to believe that another month is almost gone!
I think it is finally spring here!
We had a lot of cold temps earlier in the week - now we have evened out with much warmer temperatures and rain!
I have slept the last 2 nights with the window next to the bed open and the ceiling fan on.  It sure made for good sleeping!
Our highs are to stay in the 60's this week, with lows in upper 40's and low 50's.  Spring is definitely in the air!  YAY

We have enjoyed watching all the wildlife this week.  I saw the squirrels do something I have never noticed before.  They were preening each other, much like you see monkeys doing.  It was so cute.
I found a dead squirrel in the yard this week.  Not sure what happened.  It had not one mark on it, so it wasn't cats (my kitties don't bother them).  It could have fallen out of a tree - but usually that just winds them.  I did notice that he had a lump on his belly in an area close to its' privates.  Looked like a hernia to me.  Poor guy.

I had a really good week.
Here is my week:

  • I ran to the Dollar Tree one day.  I found peach pie filling.  I have always found apple and cherry - but had never seen peach.  I got several cans.  I can't get peaches and other ingredients that cheap ($1).  I know it's not the same as fresh - but t will come in handy in a pinch.
  • FYI - I noticed Dollar Tree is starting to have more and more brands names (in food section) - I was amazed at all the brand names I saw.
  • Checked out a new discount department store that opened a week ago - was NOT impressed at all.  So they won't get any of my money!  LOL
  • I did an in between trim on my hair and root touch up at home
  • We had a local area grocery store that closed on Saturday (part of a local chain).  I ran up there Thursday  - not much left, but I did get some bargains.  This were drastically reduced.  I spent a total of $29 and saved $97!!!!   WOOHOO!
I got these 4 very nice sturdy baskets for $4 each.  They were originally marked $16 ea..  I could not fit all 4 in a row on the love seat (gives you an idea of size).  These will be goody baskets at Christmas!

I also got 3 - gourmet hot chocolate mixes for 1.25 ea., 2 - powdered buttermilk for 1.25 ea., and to Crystal Light for $1 ea. (G likes that as a treat once in a while - not something I usually buy)

Got a couple dozen Russell Stover individually wrapped candies for .08 each!       
I ALSO got 16 HALLMARK assorted cards for .25 each!!!!!!!

  • I stopped at an ethnic store right across from the above store and looked around.  WOW, there was so many things I had never even heard of.  I did buy a 25 lb. box of par-boiled rice for 11.99.  I have been reading about it - it has almost all the minerals of brown rice, lasts for ages, and is quicker to cook.  I have bought this type before in a smaller package and really liked it.    I also bought 2 lbs. of barley for $1/lb.
We eat a lot of rice - and I like to have bunches on hand.

  • Stopped at Kroger and got 1/2 gallon of milk (still had some) for .69.  I found an 8 pack of thin cut center cut chops for $4.  I beat out into tenderloins.  Not bad, .50 per tenderloin! 
  • Got to hang laundry on the outside line on Friday
  • Heat is off - and windows have been open.
  • Cut a bunch of wild onions/chives from the yard to dry
  • Mowed the front yard for the first time this season!!!!!!  Used gas from last season - mower started first pull!  YAY
  • All my shopping took place on two days - only times I left the house.
  • I went through my candles and put away all my winter scent ones.  I came across one called Egyptian Cotton - lit it and the whole house smells like laundry out on the line!  Love it!!
Meals this week:
Rueben sandwich and a salad (used last of Rueben ingredients)
Veggie, meat/cheese roll-ups
Rice and veggies with steak burger and gravy
Chicken dumplings, drumsticks and Brussel sprouts
Loaded baked potatoes
Breakfast - veggie/sausage/egg scramble, bacon, and oven diced potatoes
Tuna patties, mac n cheese and asparagus
ALL leftovers were used for lunches or breakfast

SNACKS: Finished up homemade cheesecake, cheese dip and crackers, mandarin oranges

Yummy roll-ups - these were so good and filling. Cheap and easy to fix - just use whatever you have in the frig!

All in all I had a very satisfying week.  I added to my long term food pantry and my gift pantry and spent very little money doing it!  I absolutely LOVE those kind of weeks!

Did you get any bargains?  Find any way to stretch your dollars?  Create any new crafts?
Look forward to hearing from everyone!

May your week be blessed in every way.
Prayers and blessings for all.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


How many of you use coconut oil?
We love the stuff.
Oil is almost misleading, as most you buy is solid (like shortening), but melts easily.

It has many beneficial fats which can help in digestion.
It has natural antioxidant properties (which makes it great for skin)
Helps support mental function
Helps natural hormone production
It has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties - which help the immune system
It is basically  SUPERFOOD!

There are two basic types, which most places sell.
UNREFINED - offers the most benefits.  This type has the highest antioxidant levels.
REFINED - is basically tasteless and has no smell.  It has many of the same benefits, just not quite as many as unrefined.

  • Cooking - has a high smoke point
  • Baking - a great non-dairy replacement for butter in recipes
  • Emulsify in coffee - (G does this every day)  OR emulsify in hot chocolate
  • Add to smoothies
  • Anti aging for facial/skin moisturizing (all I use)
  • Can be mixed with other oils to make lotion bars.
  • Plain or mixed with baking soda for deodorant AND for tooth paste
  • Great for dry feet
  • Super lip balm
  • Small amounts rubbed in, can recondition leather
  • Use in home made pet treats to help their digestion and to help those with skin conditions (can add to their daily food as well)
  • Rub inside the nose to help alleviate  allergy symptoms
  • Topically can help kill yeast infections
  • Soothes psoriasis or eczema
  • Soothes the itch from bug bites and from poison ivy
  • Can help improve cholesterol ratios
  • Helps fight infections and flu symptoms
  • Helps sooth sunburn pain
  • Calms the frizz of a bad hair day - a tiny bit rubbed  into hair is a great conditioner (I have done this)
  • Use on babies bum for diaper rash

The list of health benefits goes on and on (there are literally hundreds of uses).  Google it and read for yourself.

We have been using both internally and externally for well over a year now.  I use it in baking and for frying as well. 
We have neither one had a sniffle since we started using.  I had a big eczema patch on my leg and after using coconut oil for about 2 weeks - it is totally gone.  I notice fine lines have disappeared around my eyes, and skin irritations clear almost over night.
All I can do is sing praises!!!!!!!!!!!

I am not a medical expert by any means, but sometimes simple things can make a huge difference in our lives.  When I find something that works - I feel it is my duty to pass on that information.
NOTE:  Do NOT use if you are allergic to coconut!!!!!!

I hope everyone gives this wonderful oil a chance.  It literally can change many aspects of your (and your pets) lives.
Stay healthy the natural way!!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Love of Vintage

The other day I made mention that I like vintage utensils.  I like most things vintage - I guess that is good, since I am probably now considered vintage!

It just seems to me that when I get my hands on something old and it still works as well as the day it was made - well, that says a whole lot.  Most stuff today is made to be disposable.  If it breaks - you don't fix it - you trash it.
There is just something wrong with that way of thinking in my opinion.
I realize that there are some things that we have little choice but to buy new - but when I can I want what has worked for years and years.
Much of my vintage items came from my Mom.

These are items I use all the time.  The sifter on the right I use for dry herbs and the one on left is for flour.  The item in front with green handle is a jar opener (from Moms) - it's an oldie but a goody.

Love the meat tenderizer at top.  I DO use the hand mixer a lot.  My ladle is used every time I make soup.

Do you know what the item top right is?

This sits in my sink to catch any food from dirty dishes.  It gets emptied into the compost.  I found this at a yard sale for .50 at couple years ago.  I love it.

We don't eat bacon a lot - but love the press.  The drainer bowl is used whenever I blanch veggies.

You see anything up there that you may have or remember from the past?  The big bowl, pitcher and glasses are my favorites.

Do you know what all the objects in the pictures are?  Do you have any of them?
What vintage  (old) items do you use regularly?
This stuff is USED at my house - it isn't just for keepsake.

I have lots more - so maybe another day! 
I don't need new and fancy to get a job done - simple and proven works just fine for me.
Just a simple girl here.

Have a great day!

WOW - just noticed my ceiling really needs painted!  That looks awful!  LOL

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Frugal Happenings 3/19

Good morning.
I hope you all had a lovely and frugal week.

It has been a quiet week here.  It got very cold again, but it looks like this coming week is going to be more spring like again.  Tomorrow is the official calendar first day of spring!  YAY.  It won't be long and we will be out and about in our yards working - and we will all be complaining about hard work and hot temps again!  We are never happy!!

I have been enjoying watching lot's of red-winged black birds, blue jays, and tons of doves.  We had doves all winter - but there is an abundance of then now.  Bright gold finches are enjoying the bird bath and the cardinals are everywhere.  Robins galore have been bathing in the bird bath - they are so much fun to watch.
The squirrels are getting 'frisky' if you know what I mean!  LOL.  They have no shame!

We have been having a lot of new  (to our yard) cats showing up.  Since we lost Teegy a few weeks ago, others kitties are coming to visit.  He was the "keeper of the yard" and NO other cats were allowed.  Momma and Fluffy seem to enjoy the visits from others - which surprises me.

My week:
  • Made individual fruit pies with the sandwich maker, bread and pie filling - YUM
  • Used all frig leftovers in a pot of soup
  • Made a cheese spread from cream cheese I had on hand and a mix we were gifted at Christmas
  • Made a cheese cake with supplies on hand
  • Did lots of laundry in cold water
  • Been watching You Tube videos. 
  • I made a run to Fresh Thyme (haven't been in ages).  I got some fresh veggies and fruit and really, really splurged and bought deli corned beef (I could have bought a whole brisket for the price I paid)!  Mine were frozen - so I got deli beef.
  • Been doing all the regular stuff
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Only left the house one day this week.
  • All leftovers got used for lunches  and/or breakfasts this week 
Smoked sausage, fried potatoes/onions
Hamburger stew - it literally came out stew like -  2X
Mexican tator tot casserole
Fried chicken and fried chicken livers - salad
Homemade Rueben sandwiches
Pork cubes steaks, asparagus and mashed potatoes

Snacks - Indiv. fruit pies, sundaes, cheesecake, and cheese dip and crackers

I am glad so many of you seemed to enjoy the journey back in time this week with me and my pictures.  I guess that gave us all a little free entertainment!!!!

What have you all been up to this past week? Any great frugal finds?
I look forward to hearing from you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in His protective arms this week.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Days Gone By..........

Lately I have been thinking a lot about family and friends that have gone on to their great reward in heaven.
It seems like lately there have been so many to leave.  Family, distant family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, school chums.............  you name it.

I think back on the times when I was a child with such fond memories.  I know life was hard for my folks, as we didn't have much money - but we never went hungry, always had clean nice clothes and a warm bed, and LOTS of love!!!!!  So basically in my eyes, we had everything.

Do you ever wonder how hard it was for generations before your parents?  I do.  I would love to be able to go back and experience for a 'short' while, as I know I don't have what it takes to go through all they did.

Today I am going to post pictures of days gone by.  Kind of my throw back Thursday!  They won't mean a thing to you, but I thought you might enjoy taking a walk through history with me.

The most recent picture I'll post is of me at about age 3.  Look at the cupboards and the old mixer.  we had one of those grey/yellow Formica tables with matching chairs!

Momma and I - again in the kitchen.  I love the old frig - I actually used that same one for several years after I got married in the 70's.  Momma baked beautiful cakes - mine had a little dolly on it.

These were my paternal great grandparents.  One of those little ones was my grandpa.  Insanely enough, I have that wooden chair!  They look so stoic.

More paternal grandparents.  The ones in the center are my great grandparents.  He is the ancestor that has Amish roots.  My Dad's mom is the stern looking one on the left in white blouse.  Geesh, she looked stern even as a teen!  Notice how old even the teens (all standing in back row) look.  Life was hard. 
I love this picture - 9 kids and the dog!  In the area they lived you either farmed or worked in the coal mines.

This was my grandpa - Daddies' dad.  Check out the gun and holster!  What a character - I would have loved to known him.  He died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic as did my dad's baby brother.  Grandpa was only in his 20's and worked in the coal mines.  I can't imagine how hard life was for Grandma being left to raise 2 children alone.
Maternal grandma.  Isn't she just dapper looking?  She came from a family with money - but OOPS she married someone who didn't.  I am told she always tried to give the appearance of wealth and she was never happy.  So sad - as it sounds like she missed out on so much.  Hopefully, this is why I could care less how people perceive me!!!!!  She died when I was about 3.  My mom looked like her, as do I. 

Great Uncle Edwin.  The brother of the grandma pictured above.  He was a jeweler.  Had his own business.  I have a couple pieces he actually made.  I have found many patents listed in his name (how cool).  I also have a real estate folder from his family home that he built, that sold again several years ago.  Mom, told stories of him living in a mansion, which we thought were fanciful tales - but once I saw the home and it's interior I can understand why she said that.  From a girl who had nothing - he sort of lived in a mansion!  The family crest is still on the front of the home to this day.
I would have loved to have known this man, as he sounded like quite a kind soul.  Mom learned later in life that he always made sure 'Santa' came for her and her siblings.  'Santa' delivered a tree and gifts on Christmas Eve, above and beyond what Grandma and Grandpa could ever do. 

Ok, so much for my time travel today.  It seems I had both laborers and wealth in my past.  Humble beginnings and high society.
I guess my upbringing, leads me more to the humble side of things. 
I am thankful for what I have, I have enough, and I have a colorful history.  I love that.

Thanks for taking a stroll through history with me.  I think it's fun to see old pictures, whether I know the people or not.  I hope you enjoyed it.
Maybe I'll do some more someday. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fun Easter/Spring Recipes

We all like to find fun new things to fix around the holidays.  Of course we all have our family favorites, but I have always liked to try new recipes too.  They can become some of those family favorites!

Here are a few yummy recipes.  I have made them all and YES they are good!

1 box orange cake mix
large can of mandarin oranges (15-16 oz.)
1 C sour cream
Pint of whipping cream or 16 oz. container Cool Whip
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Drain juice from oranges and use it for part of the water in cake mix.
Pat half of the oranges dry - then put them in the cake mix.
Bake as a sheet cake or 2 layer cake according to the directions of cake mix box.
Beat whip cream till stiff (or thaw Cool Whip) and stir in sour cream and powdered sugar.
After cake has cooled "ice" with the whipped cream mixture and then top with the other half of oranges.
Keep refrigerated!  This is soooooo light and refreshing.  It is wonderful.  One of my favorite cakes.

2 C white chocolate chips
1 - 16 oz. container vanilla frosting
2 C assorted jelly beans  (I like to use the mini ones)
Butter a 9" pan.  Melt chips - stir till smooth, then add the frosting.  Cool slightly and add the jelly beans.
Spread into pan and cool at room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

1 1/2 sticks butter
2/3 C  cream
3 C sugar
7 oz. marshmallow creme
12 oz. white chips
9 drops red food coloring
12 drops yellow food color
1 Tbsp. orange extract

Mix butter,  cream, sugar and bring to a rolling boil for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and add marshmallow crème and chips.
Take out 1 1/2 C and set aside - put food coloring and extract in the balance.
Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered pan.  Pour on the plain (white) mix and swirl it through the orange with a knife.

6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C marshmallow crème
1 3/4 C confectioner sugar
3/4 pound milk chocolate candy coating
2 tsp. shortening or coconut oil

In a small mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and marshmallow crème till smooth.  Gradually beat in the confectioner sugar.  Drop by level tablespoons onto wax paper and form into egg shapes.  Freeze for 10 minutes
In a microwave, melt the candy and shortening together, stir until smooth.  Dip eggs into candy coating: allow excess to drip off.
Return to baking sheet. (Decorate with sprinkles if desired).
Let them set till firm and store in an airtight container.
About 1 1/2 doz.

Maybe you can try something new for your family this Easter and start a new family tradition!
I love trying new recipes.  How about you?