Sunday, May 31, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/31

Happy Sunday to you all.  Hope you have had a great week.
Memorial Day weekend was pretty uneventful.  I just worked in the yard and garden.  The neighborhood was pretty darn quiet as well.
It is crazy to think today is the end of May.  My goodness.
The weekly weather has been pretty darn good.  We had many warm/hot days.  Rain.  And now super pleasant days for a while.  It is in the 70's and going to stay that way for a couple days until warming up again and more rain/storms and humidity by mid week.

My week:
  • Monday I went out back and got all the bushes trimmed up - 5 big ones
  • My first peonies of the season started opening last weekend.  I have picked many bouquets for the house this week.  Oh how I love the smell.
  • Dog sat 2 days this week
  • Got all the garden planted!!  2 kinds of cukes, 3 kinds of tomatoes (well 4 counting cherry), zucchini and bell peppers.  I already had onion, lettuce and spinach growing.  I planted cucumber seeds on Wednesday and Saturday they were already above ground!!!
  • Haven't had to water anything this week - as we have had enough rain
  • Got to turn AC off and I am enjoying cool breezes coming in windows
  • My neighbor bought me 3 tomatoes at the farm market - my they are tasty
  • I had to change out lightbulb in kitchen ceiling light.  WHY do I mention this???  Well, if you have a light attached to a fan - you know.  Take down the globe and clean inside and out.  Then all the fan blades need thoroughly cleaned.  Then you have to clean the base as there are cobwebs.  Then you see cobwebs on the ceiling.  Changing a light bulb was a 45 minute job!!!!!!!  LOL
  • Used dehumidifier water in the laundry again
  • UGH - dropped my cell phone in the toilet!!!!! (It WAS clean).  I grabbed it quickly, dried off all I could and then covered it in a bowl of rice.  Thank goodness it all worked.  Saved it!
  • I ran to Kroger on Friday - mainly just because I wanted to do something other than work in the yard!  I got more bananas and some oranges,  and cat food and I found a few deals.
Cauliflower was .99 markdown.  Seasoned mixed greens were .89 a can (big cans) I got 4.  Fire roasted corn - .99 each I got 2.  Bounce  (80 count free & clear) 1.99.  These will work great for over the winter and will last ages.  I cut in thirds WHEN I use them.  ALL items were in clearance section and I got what was left.

Green beans "chips" on clearance for .99 and nacho flavored corn nuts clearance at .49!  Make for tasty snacks.
  • Mowed the grass front to back and did a huge trim job out back.  I really worked on trimming all areas - some hadn't been done this spring.  Still need to do a big trim out front - I need to edge the walks and drive
My meals this week:
Cheeseburger and cauliflower salad (both leftover from night before)
Fried tuna patties and salad
Small pizza (freezer) loaded with everything I had on hand!  
Made myself a plated chef salad
Goulash (from freezer) over corn chips and topped with cheese
Club sandwich and chips
Chopped steak and broc./caul./carrot salad
Plated chef salad - tasty!

How is everyone doing?  What have you been up to?  It seems yard and garden work are on many peoples agendas.  
Do you have big plans for the coming week?

I pray you are all SAFE and HEALTHY.  May your upcoming week be blessed beyond measure.
Go out and smile and be kind - and make someone's day.  YOU can make a difference.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Come Roam with Me

I have been having a very nostalgic time of it lately.  Missing Glen and so much of my family.  I started going through pictures and they brought back so many memories.

Years ago Glen and I used to 'wonder' Indiana.  We would go camping with our friends and then we would always take a day or two to just wonder the back roads.  We loved going out and driving and seeing what nature had to offer.
There would be weekends when we didn't camp - that we would just get in the car and take a day trip.  Usually we went south of the city - we just loved the sights.

I have to say another thing we did was go to cemeteries all over the place!  I was doing family research a lot then, but I am just fascinated by cemeteries.  I love the old markers/headstones and all the beautiful sculptures.  I have a thing for angels and would take pictures of lots of angel sculptures.  Back then we didn't have digital cameras and I always figured the people who developed my pics probably thought "what a weird person"!  LOL
Maybe I got this LOVE from my maternal grandma - she would only have her picture taken in a cemetary!!  OK, no I am not that bad.

So today, grab yourself a glass or cup of tea and take a road trip with me.  Just a few pretty pictures.

Fields of gold on the way to Lyons, Indiana (where family lived)
My 'bloomer' shot.  This picture always makes me giggle.  Just driving down the highway and I see these large bloomers blowing in the breeze!  I just had to stop.  I love this pic!!!! (call me crazy)  Such confidence this lady had!
Enlarged and close up.  What an amazing specimen of a bird.
Vulture seen in the tree at Crown Hill Cemetery here in Indianapolis.  Crown Hill is just the most beautiful place.  It is around 555 acres and full of protected nature, trees and plants.  It is basically a place of beauty right in the middle of the city.  So many famous people buried here (Pres. Benjamin Harrison, Dillinger, James Whitcomb Riley....)  There are tons of You Tube videos about the cemetery - if you ever get a chance - check them out.  The history and the nature are just wonderful

Banks of the Muscatatuck River where we camped for years
The inside of the conservatory at Garfield Park - just up the street from our home.  We loved walking through the conservatory looking at all the fantastic exotic plants

A headstone like no other!  Not hard to figure  out what this person did for a living.  This is near Butlerville, IN.  Isn't that just amazing?  The detail was incredable
A very old stone at Crown Hill.  What a beautiful piece of work.  I just love how artistic and personal many of the old stones were
This is an angel at Crown Hill.  This reminds me of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  It just looks like something that would have been represented in that book/movie based in Savannah, Georgia.  I really love this picture.

Beautiful fall picture of trees in Columbus, Indiana.  They are gorgeous in the fall - the picture doesn't do them justice
This one makes me laugh too.  Little no where - Butlerville, IN.  It appears the locals have a 'group'!! LOL.  Just a small little village along the highway that probably has only a handful of people left - blink and you miss it.  Got to have some fun!!!!!

The view directly across the river from our campsite.  It was just so serene there.

OK that is enough for today.  I used to love the roaming we did.  I need to get more pictures transferred from Glen's old computer to mine.  My goodness, he had 1000's of my pictures saved.
I sure do miss those days.  We had such fun.  Gas was pretty cheap and most times we would take some lunch and drinks with us.  Once in a while we would stop in some little general store in a little burg somewhere and get a loaf of bread and some lunch meat and pickles.  We would go park somewhere along the way with a pretty view and have lunch.
It sure didn't take a lot to make us happy.  No fancy trips - no hotels - no planes - no big money spent.
Just time together looking at all our state had to offer - "wondering" Indiana.  (That used to be our state motto).

Hope you enjoyed some of the sites.  I know they mean nothing to anyone else - but they are pretty and whimsical.
Click on the pictures to enlarge

Thanks for allowing me to reminisce with you!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Quit Buying It - MAKE IT!!!!!

We are definitely a people of convenience.  We like things easy.  We seem to be spoiled!
When did this happen?  I guess  everyone got busy with family, work, and life in general and BOOM - the advertisers and manufacturers caught on.

They inundate with these simple and easy products - makes life better!  Not really.  There are so many "ingredients" in many of these items that you can not even pronounce - let alone know what it is.  They cost more.  They aren't that healthy.
You know our ancestors were surely of the notion that if you can't pronounce it or know what it is - DON'T eat it!!!!!  Yep, smart!

There are just so many things that we can make at home - for pennies.  Not only does it save money, it also helps the environment (no packaging), it is healthier, and just tastes better.  It may take a few minutes - but we should all go for it.

Things to MAKE at home and NOT buy:
  • Shredded cheese - so super easy to do ourselves.  The stuff you buy already shredded has anti-clumping agents added and that stuff isn't natural.  You can shred and freeze for cooking later.  (freeze on a pan then package).
  • Cookies, cakes, brownies, sweet breads and all other sweet snacks.  So easy and costs little.  No preservatives or mystery ingredients
  • Jams - make freezer jam or refrigerator jam.  You can make with no pectin - fruit and sugar - boil till thickened.  No need for canning
  • Pancakes, waffles, and as Diana mentioned in yesterdays replies to post - French toast.  You can add nuts, berries, wheat, granola, anything extra you want.  They are so much tastier.  Great for stocking the freezer.  You can still pop in a toaster to reheat. 
  • Biscuits (or scones depending where you are!)  So easy and cheap to make and there is just nothing like the taste of a fresh warm homemade biscuit.
  • Soups (all kinds), chili, stews, etc.  Throw whatever you have together and make a tasty hearty soup.  No preservatives like store bought.
  • Lettuce, cabbage, carrots, all veggies - chop your own!!!!  It costs more for those bags of pre-chopped items.  It seems to go bad quicker as well
  • Hard boiled eggs - I have seen these at the grocery and just shake my head!!!  They are like 2/$3!!  Crazy
  • NO take-out coffee.  Make your own at home.  Make it weak, strong  - however you like it.  You can add extras and flavorings.  Soooooo much cheaper from home
  • Ice cream sandwiches - use homemade cookies and ice cream.  You can use any flavor ice cream and any type cookie.  Chocolate chip, oatmeal, M&M, chocolate, etc.  Roll in sprinkles or nuts if you want to fancy them up.  Kids and adults alike will LOVE these.
  • Flavored water - add fruit juice, herbs (mint or lemon balm), squeeze of lemon, lime or orange, etc.
  • Popcorn - easy and just yummy to pop your own (not microwave stuff).  Super cheap to buy a bag of popcorn kernals
  • Bread crumbs or croutons - use your own bread or stale bread.  Grind bread or crackers (plain or flavored) for crumbs.  Remember you can also slightly grind oats as well.  Leftover crumbs from chip bags, oh so many ideas.
  • Homemade breakfast biscuits or breakfast burritos.  Make up and wrap and freeze.  Pull them out as needed and quickly warm up in microwave (or in a pan or oven).  You can add whatever you want  - eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, cheese - whatever you have.  Sure is cheaper and better for you than McD's.
  • Cut your own fruit - those little packs of pre-cut fruit are so stinking expensive.  Last time I looked I saw a small box of watermelon chunks (cut) for 8.99 (there wasn't even a pound)!  I can buy a couple whole watermelons for that (when in season).  Just take a little time and cut your own.
  • Do it yourself with meat.  Cut up a whole chicken, buy a loin and cut in chops/roast yourself, cut up your own stew meat, etc.  It is almost always more expensive to buy pre-cut or deboned or skinless.  It isn't that hard to do - it does take practice.  Heck it is your house - it doesn't have to be pretty until you get the hang of it.
  • Dressings - so easy to make.  A little oil and a little vinegar (balsamic is good), sugar, herbs, or your own ingredients and milk or buttermilk (make your own).  Add some mustard or flavored mustards, ketchup, pickle juice, mayo - mix stuff together and make your own.    ALSO think about making your own BBQ sauces - ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire, chili sauce, grape jelly (or any flavor), soy sauce...... there is no limit to making a great BBQ
I know not everyone has extra frig or freezer room - but some things are just so much cheaper to make and store for the future.  They taste so much better.

There is just no limit to what we can make ourselves.  Yogurt, brown sugar, tortillas, spice mixes, baking mixes, salsa, guacamole, any types pasta sauces, hummus, powdered sugar...… the list goes on and on.
This doesn't just include food - think cleaning products, soap, crafty items - explore other possibilities.

So get creative and make your own.  Save your money for something you want or for the future instead of spending on expensive and unhealthy items. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cool Yummy Refreshments - For Now and Later

With the weather changing, here in the U.S. - gardens, farm markets and road side stands will be starting up.  It will be a time to get lots of fresh and wonderful produce.  You can also watch for specials at the grocery to get some fun and easy treats - for now and later!!!

Berries of all types are so good and healthy.  They make for wonderful desserts and special treats.
Wash your berries and then lay them out on a rimmed cookie sheet (so they don't fall off).  I like to put a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on the bottom first.  Place a layer of berries on the sheet and freeze.  Then add them to freezer bags or food saver bags.
A good way to freeze is in 2 cup increments.  You can munch on the berries frozen, add to smoothies or milkshakes, or thaw and use for pies, cobblers, crisps, etc.

Did you know you can freeze for later?  Yes you can.  You may find a great deal on avocado - but can't possibly eat them fast enough.  Remove the seed and peel.  Smash up (can use a potato masher) or cube or dice and mix with some lime juice (to prevent browning).  You can use bottled or fresh lime juice.
Add to bags and remove as much air as possible - this is essential!  You can also freeze in ice cube trays and then place in airtight bags as soon as possible.
Great for making quacamole,  or spreading on toast or making any kind of spread.

GRAPES (seedless)
Nothing better than frozen grapes!  They are so refreshing and an absolute treat on a hot day.
I wash my grapes and de-stem.  Dry and freeze on cookie sheets and then add to freezer bags.  Freezing grapes seems to enrich the flavor of them.  Just a tip - these are good to add to a glass of wine for a pretty effect!

We all know that you can freeze bananas that are getting too ripe to use later in sweet bread and for smoothies.  They can be used to make a quick ice cream like dessert as well.
You can also dip bananas in chocolate and lay on a cookie sheet and freeze.  I like to cut the banana into 2 pieces and then add an old popsicle stick first.  Makes eating this frozen treat easier.
The kids will love it!

NOT Freezing - but pasta salad is a great summer treat!
Pasta salads are cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.  You can actually make it into an entire meal.  Add any types of veggies you want (chopped into bite size pieces).  You can add meat as well.  Bite size pieces of chicken, ham, tuna, bacon, etc..
Use your favorite dressings.  I have used ranch, Italian, a combo of the two, thousand island, etc.  You can some blue cheese or whatever you like and have.
There is absolutely no right or wrong way to make pasta salad.  Add anything and everything and have fun with it.  It is some good eating.
Fix a big bowl and you have a cool side or dinner for a few days!

So this summer as your fruit starts ripening or you find a great deal at the store - don't feel you can only get enough for the week.  Stock up and you will be able to enjoy the sweet and lovely taste of summer all year!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/24

Good morning everyone.  This is the unofficial start of summer here in the U.S..  Memorial Day weekend.
I ask that each of you - whether in America or abroad - take a moment to say a prayer and be thankful for all the men and women who have given ALL for your freedoms.  So many have unselfishly given the ultimate sacrifice.  Just a prayer for them and their families.

Well the temps have finally hit the unofficial summer as well!!  We have had a full range of weather this week.  It went from feeling like March to feeling like July in a couple days!  Crazy.  Yesterday we had an afternoon storm come through here and it was awful!  You could not see the house across the road it was raining so hard and wind, wind, wind.  I have a lake in the backyard again!

I have had a gazillion of those whirly gigs that fall off the maples every where.  You can mow and then the yard is covered in a hour or so.  Finally they have about run their course and now the tulip tree is releasing it's flowers all over the place!  They are every where.
At least they are pretty!  Between stuff falling from the trees and the pollen count being so high - all I can say is ACHOO!
It sure feels like anything but a holiday weekend in our area.  My county (the state capital) still is not fully open.  Can't go in a restaurant (outside only), no getting your hair done yet, many small businesses still closed, limited church, and not much going in the way of family gatherings.
NO 500 MILE RACE!  First time in my life - that it isn't happening on the holiday weekend.  Yes, it has been rained on before and stretched over a few days - but not since WWII has it not happened.  It is rescheduled for August.   So no parades,  no special town parties, no running relays, nothing special.  It sure is different.
We each make our days special.  Make your day or weekend what you want it to be.  We woke up today - so the day is indeed special.

My week:
  • Well, I have 110 gallons of water in the rain barrels - IF I ever need it!!!!  LOL  Chances of rain every day for the next week!  Good grief I could have had 5X that if I had more barrels.
  • I have used the dehumidifier water in the laundry twice this week
  • Cut my hair
  • I made a run to the drive up at the bank this week and then went to the greenhouse for plants
  • I got some veggie plants and flowers.  
  • I made up planters and hanging pots with flowers.  I did a total of 12 and only used about $35 worth of flowers.  Planters and hanging baskets at the greenhouse were selling for $25 and $30+ each - so I saved a small fortune!!!!!
  • I have pulled so many stinking weeds.  They just keep growing!!!!!  All the rain sure isn't helping my efforts.  I pulled and pulled and pulled some more!  (oh my aching back)
  • I got the garden area all mowed off again and tilled.  It hasn't been tilled since 2018 spring - so it was a JOB!  I worked tilling and tilling one day and then raked and tilled more.  Next day I added all the wood ash I had and then tilled and raked again.  It looks good - just can't get to it to plant!!!!!!!!!!!  It is flooded all around it at the moment.   SIGH!!!
                                My little Mantis tiller.  Works like a charm and just my size!
  • I am dog sitting the neighbors dog again this weekend.  He stays home - I just go let him out and feed, water and play with him.
  • Made up a bowl a cauliflower salad using what I had on hand.  Enough for a few days
  • My brother brought me 2 cherry tomato plants he grew in his greenhouse. (The first I saw any family in person since 2/29!)
  • I have made smoothies/shakes a few times this week as a treat 
  • Replaced my garden flag and mailbox cover with summer and patriotic ones
  • No grocery shopping at all this week
  • Did get all the yard mowed and partially trimmed before the downpour yesterday
  • No AC yet!  Will probably happen later today for a bit - it will be hot and humid later.  Used heat one morning this week.
  • Windows open and ceilings fans  - loving the fresh air (except for the sneezing/allergies)
My menu this past week:
Cube steak, steamed cauliflower/carrots with cheese sauce
Tamale pie (from freezer) and leftover veggies and cheese sauce
Parmesan pasta with peas and chicken tenders
Chicken and fresh veggie roll-up  (used extra chicken tenders)
Tortilla chips with melted cheese and salsa   --  I was too tired to cook anything
Egg/veg/meat omelet round on bagel
Cheeseburger and cauliflower salad

                                            Parmesan pasta with peas and chicken tenders
My omelet round on bagel.  It sure was yummy.  Egg, bell pepper, onion, diced jalapeno beef stick.  It was bigger than the bagel - so I cut to fit and then just ate the rest as is.

How was your week?  Were you able to save any money?  I think it is easier to do now that most people are staying close to home! (Unless shopping on-line - EEK).
Do you have big plans for the coming week?
Stop by and say hello and let us know what is going on around your home.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy.  If you are getting with family for a special day/celebration - stay safe BUT have fun!!!!
Blessings to you all from my humble little home to yours.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Keeping Clean - Alternatives

No matter what the conditions of the world - we tend to be a CLEAN society.  We want to keep clean, feel clean and look clean.
There are many alternatives using what you have on hand at home - and they can save you money.  We all like to save $!
CLEAN can cost almost nothing.

The other day in a post I told about how I make foaming hand soap.  It is frugal and uses up all the liquid odds and ends of body wash and hand soap that you have around.  So many times we are gifted (free) body washes that we may not use - this is a great way of toning them down and saving at the time.

You can make your own LIQUID SOAP from bar soap.  It is very easy!!
I have kept dozens of bars of soap around for years.  The only bar soaps I tend to use are the antibacterial/medicated for my face and coal tar soap - which I keep for rashes and poison on the skin (it nips it in the bud!).
So why do I have so much bar soap?  IN CASE!  Once I run out of liquid I can make my own for pennies.  I am NOT adding to the plastic rubbish overload of the world and  I am saving and using what I have.

1 - 4 oz. bar of soap
1/2 gallon water
a big pan
wooden spoon
Vit. E oil (for skin care)
Essential oil (fragrance)
Glycerin (for moisturizing)

Grate or chop your soap.  The smaller the pieces the better.
Boil the water and then add the grated soap.  Stir until melted.  Let it cool and congeal - it can take 12 - 24 hours to congeal.  Stir well and add any extras you want and stir again.  Then use a funnel to fill your own pump bottles.  Leave about an 1" of space and add a bit of water to top off (for consistency).
Store extra in a glass jar in a cool dark place.  That is IT!!!!!!
Here's a bit that I keep on hand, as well as the body washes I receive as gifts.  No excuses to not stay clean here!!!!!  I have gotten all of these on clearance or with coupons for little money or FREE.

BAR soap can be added to a small mesh bag (like a produce bag) and tied to the outside faucet for easy outdoor hand/nail clean-up!
You can do the same thing in the shower for a soap on a rope.  The mesh is good for cleaning and exfoliating as well.
You can use BAR soap for washing dishes in a pinch (as well as the homemade liquid).  This liquid could be used in the laundry as well - just don't add too much.  Years ago I even added a bit of grated soap to my laundry - when out of laundry detergent.
Use as shampoo in a pinch.

Self explanatory!  Not always.  Mouthwash is great for the purpose it was made - BUT it is antiseptic.  It can be used over small skin abrasions, bites and cuts.  Fantastic to have in your medical cabinet!!!!
I sometimes add to my shampoo mixture - it stops any scalp itching and helps heal dry scalp.
I also keep a bottle of salt water in the bathroom.  It is a great gargle for a sore throat or a sore in the mouth - very healing (I like to use Himalayan pink salt, but any is fine). I just use as a mouth rinse.
Salt water is healing in so many matters, as Rose recently reminded me.  In a PINCH you can brush your teeth with salt water as well - if out of toothpaste.
I had a patch of  itchy bumpy skin on my elbow for years (nothing helped) - and after Rose's reminder, I tried the salt water as a rinse.  2X is all it took and that patch is gone and hasn't come back!!!!!
I use it as a rinse on blemishes - basically heals over night.

Peroxide is so cleansing.  If you get a cut or scrape use a bit and it truly helps clean and heal.  Mix with water and use as a gargle for a sore throat or strep throat.  My doctor prescribed that for years when I used to get strep.  DON'T swallow (and yes, it tastes nasty) - but it sure works.

Can be used as toothpaste.  I do this at least once a week as a whitening agent.  You can make a paste of it and peroxide and get real whitening action.
Baking soda can be used to clean your hair once in a while as well.  
Make a paste of baking soda and water and put on a bee/wasp sting - it relieves the itching and swelling.
Throw some in a cool bath to help relieve sunburn pain.

I truly do not remember where I bought these - but it for body cleansing without water.  Nice alternative (especially if sick in bed)

I buy baby wipes whenever I get a deal.  Not only do I have them if family need them for babies or I can give with a shower gift - but I can use them as well.  We never know when there may a no water situation in our lives - it is nice to have choices!

Just a few more choices and ideas to bounce around.  There are so many alternatives to things we use daily - we just all need to be reminded once in a while.
Lack of money - stock is low - no worries!  Use something else.

I just think back to Grandma and Mom and all the "swaps" they made in everyday life and it all makes sense now.
Nice to know we have options!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Ordinary and Humble

Living an ordinary and humble life is wonderful in my opinion.  Ordinary and humble has meaning!  Many people think that life has to be over the top.  Some people think that you have to do BIG things to be special.  They feel like they aren't doing their part - especially in this 'different' time, that perhaps they should do more.
EVERY life is important - as is every action.

You can journal or blog, you can sit quietly and listen to nature, you can cook good meals, you can care for pets and nature, you can garden, you can be a good neighbor, you can be a kind hearted person...…………..and you know what?  THAT'S ENOUGH!
You don't have to find a cure, or run into a burning building to be ENOUGH. You are special just the way you are.
We tend to be our own worst enemy.  We are more critical of ourselves than any one.  STOP IT!

There is good and bad in life - that is what it is all about.
There are weeds and sticker bushes and there are roses and pansies.
There are days that are a breeze and there are those that are a bi*ch.
Stuff happens.
Stop the drama and remove those that are full of drama from your every day life.  Some people seem to not be happy unless there is drama.  OH MY, we all know them.  That drama is just a waste of time and energy.  We can all do without that!
Life is a gift and it is special - enjoy it.

There will be bad days.  There will be days of crying and heartbreak.  There will be days that we hurt inside and out.  We all have them.  Yet here we are - we woke up this morning!  We have to go forward and keep moving.  Remember the sun will rise and the birds will sing again tomorrow.
You can't change yesterday - there are days that we would all love to change (trust me) - but that is impossible.  So onward and forward.

I think living ordinary and humbly is blissful.  It is healthy and it is normal!!!!
I know some people are afraid.  Be courageous and keep faith.  FAITH IS PEACE.
Remember:   Courage is not the absence of fear - it is about having the fear and doing it any way.

I just wanted to reassure everyone that living an ordinary and humble life is good enough!!
Do the little things.  Live the 'right' life.  Be kind.  Be patient.  Be neighborly.  Be happy.  Be humble and be a faithful servant.

Being YOU is enough.  Someone much greater has this covered!
Have faith my friends.
Blessings to all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

More Cheryl Tips!

Today I am going to share a few more tips and tricks I use around the house.  Many are very simple and probably known and some might be just crazy old me!!!!  Hope someone finds a tip they can use and maybe save a bit of money or time.

WRAP CELERY in foil before storing in the veggie bin of the frig.  YES, it does make the celery last a lot longer.  If you are like me - it takes quite a while to use a whole bunch of celery.  I know this is an oldy - but it DOES work!

FOAMING hand soap is easy to make at home.  If you have an old foaming soap dispenser  - fill it about 1/3 full with any liquid soap/bodywash, etc. and then add water to fill.  Shake for a bit and wahla you have foaming hand soap.  I tend to shake/rock  the bottle about once a week to keep things mixed.   So easy and you can use up all those bottles of soap/body wash you may have received as gifts.  It foams just a great as the stuff you buy.

Keep all those squirt bottle LIDS!  No need to keep all the bottles (unless you need them).  The lids fit almost all individual water/pop bottles (I reuse those as well).  They make for great fun for kids to play and cool off in the heat - think squirt gun/bottles!  Fill with colored water in winter to draw in the snow!!!!!
They are great when our walking or running or working in the yard - keep your cold water in them and pop the top and take a squirt of water!  Many store purchased re-usable drink bottles have squirt tops - make your own and save a fortune. (Those can be expensive).  Keeps water from spilling and keeps bugs out.  I find flipping the top is much easier than un-screwing a top (can do it one handed!)

BANANAS tend to get over ripe in a hurry - especially in warm weather.  I find that if I wrap them in an old grocery bag and rubber band around the stem end (to keep out air) that they last a long time.
Air is what causes them to ripen so quickly.  I can keep bananas for well over a week or two without them getting covered in brown spots or getting mushy.  **(Greener bananas will still ripen in the bag - but not get over ripe)

I have some T-SHIRTS that have gotten a bit tight across the shoulder/breast area.  Some have shrunk over time (OR I have grown!!).  They can still be made comfy and used around the house/yard.    I carefully cut the "banding" off that is around the neck area.  You can just cut it right under the band or even larger if you like.  I then make a cut/slit in front that is 2" - 3" (in center).  You will be amazed at how freeing and unrestrictive this make the t-shirt.  I wear theses over a tank top or sports bra.  No need to sew a thing - as t-shirt material does not fray.  I have a few I have done for working around here.  
They become really comfy.  It is just another way to use what you have and get some extended use.

Use WHAT YOU HAVE to decorate.  Get creative and use things that may have been thrown away.
I use old things a lot in the yard as you know.  Bits and pieces make cute accents in flower gardens.
Time to get your creative juices flowing!

On the front walk I have a big metal flower (glass globe in center) the rod it used to stand on - rusted and broke, so I placed amongst the flowers till I get a new rod.  The red spoke wheel is from an old cart that my Uncle made when I was a little girl.  The cart has been long gone for years - but I kept the little wheel.  I re-paint it every few years.  Just a piece of the past that I like to remember.  I remember Uncle Ed every time I see that wheel.
An old wagon (bought at a yard sale years ago) filled with my fossil rocks (that I found years ago) and a big old flower pot that is now growing squirrel planted sunflowers.  The little church was a birdhouse and the post rotted over the years.  Now it is just a cute decoration in the pot. (birds could still use) but it is pretty close to the ground and kitties!

I like lots of old things, things that have memories, and things that are just whimsical.  I realize not everyone does.  I hate to spend money on things when I can re-use something I have.  It is all about using your imagination.

I hope this gives someone a tip or two they can use.  What do you do that re-uses and saves?????

On another day - I will show some decorating ideas I have done using old things in a new way.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/17

Good Sunday morning all.  Hope you are all well and happy.  I can not believe these weeks go by so fast.  Sunday rolls around before you know it.

We started out chilly and have warmed up a lot.  Rain and stormy days and even got hail.  I have taken advantage of dry days to get out and work outside.
I think my hummingbirds I saw last weekend were scouts - they were here for a few days then gone.  Usually my regulars show up around June 1st.  There are no real flowers around at the moment for them to enjoy - so once I get flowers around that will help as well.

My poppies did start blooming a couple days ago.  There are fewer each year.  These plants are still from the old plants from my parents house and they were there before I was even born!  Poppies are so pretty and fragile - sure wish they lasted more than a day or two.
I may have a new 'house guest'.  Blackie cat - a neighborhood stray - seems to think this place is pretty nice to hangout! Momma and Fluffy are tolerating (better each day) and he thinks they are great.  He has finally gotten to the point I can pet him.  He is a big cat, but sounds like a kitten!  That cry is so sweet.  He eats here and hangs out most of the time.  I even found him napping in the greenhouse one day!  He likes hanging out on the deck where the greenhouse is.  Yep, I do believe he has a new home!!

I ran out this week to the grocery.  Everything was pretty much back to normal as far as stock.  They had lots of everything.  I did not go down the paper aisle (didn't need anything) - so I didn't even notice that stock.  Plenty of fresh fruit and veggies - meat - milk - eggs - cheese - frozen goods, etc.   The only thing that seemed a bit low was dry cat food and boxed mac n cheese!  Plenty of pasta - just not a lot of the mixes.  I don't buy - it just seemed odd to see.

My week:
  • No heat or AC most of the week.  Windows open and ceiling fans going
  • I received 2 bonus coupon GC's from our local hardware.  One is for $5 off $5 purchase and one for $5 off $25. Might be a good time to get some more furnace filters!!!!
  • Both rain barrels are about full
  • Started washing the cat's warm bedding from the greenhouse - they don't need the warm stuff now
  • Mowed and trimmed the entire yard
  • Have pulled LOTS of weeds from flower beds and from between pavers down the back walk.
  • Did a really good vacuum.  I have to admit the past few months I have not done that weekly.  It is me and kitty - he stays in and I don't wear shoes in the house.  No company - so I just don't vacuum as often.  Bad me!!!
  • Saved a square gallon ice cream tub (to use for storage) and an empty spice jar
  • Got some deals at the store - Fresh head of cauliflower and 2 big bell peppers for .99 (clearance), a dozen jumbo eggs for .79, 6 large bagels $1 and a 10 oz. bag of stir fry veggies for $1.   I also got some strawberries on sale for 1.88 for 2lb., bananas, more cat food (always add), milk, cheese (always add) orange juice and ice cream.  I got my neighbor some strawberries as well.
There are still deals that can be had.  You just have to pay attention.  I am now good with fresh groceries for a while again.
I did purchase 2 cans of pre-made taco meat on clearance as well.  I had never seen that before.  It says a can makes 7 tacos.  2 cans was all they had and was 1.49 each.  Figured it was worth having another canned meat item on the shelf.  Can always mix with something!

I noticed everyone stayed their distance at the store and most had on masks.  Not much need to wear make up when going out - no one sees your face!  SO I made up my eyes and put on earrings to fill a bit dressier!!!!  LOL

Meals this past week:
Fried chicken tenders and mac n cheese with broccoli added
Roasted potatoes, smoked sausage and coleslaw
Tuna salad sandwich and side salad
Fried cabbage with diced potatoes and smoked sausage  (I made a pig of myself!)
Quesadilla - beef, rice, cheese and salsa
Stir fry veggies with chicken over rice
Bologna sandwich with cheese, tomato and lettuce and ranch chips (a favorite summer sandwich)

One potato diced and fried, added about 1/3 of a small head of cabbage  (found in frig from March) and one individual size sausage cut up.  OH MY GOODNESS this was so good!  I ate ever bit of it!!!!  I seasoned with a bit of soy sauce.

So how has your week been?  Are you getting warmer weather and being able to plant?  
Has anyone ventured into the stores yet (we are still on partial shut-down in my city).  Only certain places are open here until at least next week or later.
Did you do anything frugal this week?
Give us a shout out.

Stay safe and healthy.  Appreciate each and every day and moment to the fullest.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Keeper of The Old Ways

I think it is time to make a shift in the balance of things.  We need to become keeper's of the old!
Life has sped forward, technology has grown in leaps and bounds, the rat race has pretty much taken over - and I for one am sick of much of it.
I want to keep the old ways alive!  I want to teach them to younger people.  There may come a day (SOON) that we will most definitely need them!

Sure, I still want some tech - it is how we communicate with our people!  Family, friends, old friends, and new friends (you all).  I like having reference info at my fingertips.  BUT I still have all my books of information on gardening, homesteading, organic gardening, health/medical info., herbs and natural living and so on.  I will NEVER get rid of those - they may come in very handy at some point.

Let us keep alive the old ways -

Home cooking, homemade, sewing, crafting, etc.
Keeping family first ALWAYS
Herbs and foraging - there are so many wild plants that are helpful for healing, for food, there are nuts, berries, wild grapes, abandoned fruit trees, mushrooms and even what we call WEEDS that are so helpful and healthy.
Porch and yard sitting - slow down a little
Use 'snail mail' - send a card or note to someone
We all have stories and pictures about the past - pass them on.  Log these stories  and copy pictures for future generations - they may well love to know about their ancestors.  I know I sure enjoy looking back.  Pass on grandma's best recipes or yours or any families.
Recycle - everything that you can.  Find new uses for anything and everything.
Make a goal of having a simpler life
Forgo  big box stores if at all possible.  Use farm markets, small shops, farmers (if possible), grown your own if at all possible.  Stay LOCAL

Growing herbs and salad greens can be done in your window seals - you don't have to have a big garden.
Slowly start eliminating things from your life - we don't need all the garbage we keep or buy.  No plastic, no pop, raise the temp of house, open windows, less car traveling and more walking or biking, and so on.  Save water - both rain and inside water for watering the gardens and flushing and whatever you need.
Keep that dehumidifier water - use it for plants, add to laundry, use for canning, etc.

Watch for clearance and mark downs.  Go to garage sales or thrift stores if possible - that is the best of recycling.
Barter with family, friends and neighbors.  Maybe you have tomatoes and they have eggs.  You can plow a garden and they lend you a canner.  You mow grass and they pay you with veggies or fruits.
TAKE ANYTHING someone wants to give you - even if you have to get rid of it!  Someday you will need something and if you have said no over and over - they may not check with you.  I had a wise elderly man give me this advice years ago.

Most of us will never be self sufficient - that is understandable.  Maybe if you live out in the country and off the grid you will be self sufficient.
Let us TRY to be COMMUNITY sufficient!!!!!!  That is a great goal.  Keeping it local, sharing, bartering, growing, foraging, shopping small, learning, sharing...………...what a goal!

Keepers of the old ways!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lessons We All Should Follow

Good morning.  It is a beautiful day here - sun is shining and we may get into the 60's.  The birds are singing, the squirrels are scampering around and my kitties (and the strays) were happy to see me this morning!!   Heat and rain and storms coming in the next few days.
I am so grateful for these lovely mornings - all seems right,  at least for a while.

First, isn't this a lovely picture?  It is not mine - but it just makes me smile.  I love sunflowers and I love old barns - just a quiet place out in the country.  I would love to be sitting there and just breathing in life!
I think the simplicity of the picture is what touches me.

I recently came across a post about 10 lessons we should all teach our children.  It is wonderful - but it isn't just for children in my opinion.   Not by a long shot.

 These lessons should be a mandate for all of us in every moment of our lives.  We need to be more open with our feelings and ourselves.  We need to be there for others.  We need to teach others.  We need to listen.  We need to learn that we will stumble (and sometimes fall flat on our faces) - but we have to get up and try again.
We are never too old to learn.  We all need to be big enough to forgive (it helps us more than anyone).
We need to stand up for what we believe.  The world can be evil - keep your heart and goodness and faith.  Never bend.

If every single person followed these simple rules - my goodness the world would be lovely.
May you be the light someone needs today.

Keep your words kind - your actions gentle - and have patience with yourself and others.
Today is a precious gift.
God bless.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Random Tips From Me to You

Just some odd and ends today.  Going to talk about things I do that just make my life a little easier and saves a little money along the way.
I hope that maybe you find a tip or two that you can use!

Like a lot of people, my washer and drier are downstairs in the basement.  Nothing worse than lugging a basket of clothes down to launder.  Coming back up is a bit easier, as I have things on hangers and bring up smaller piles!

FIRST - I use a big pillow case and stuff all the laundry in it (from my hamper upstairs).  I then drop/toss it down the stairs!!!!  YES, I do.  It sure makes life easier and it is less dangerous than walking down those steps with a big basket, and not being able to see the steps.
My theory is work smarter not harder!!!!!!  Got to take care of these older bones!!!!!!  LOL

**I only use HALF or less of the detergent called for.  It works quite well and saves money and saves from build up on clothes.
**I use vinegar in the rinse water for softening.  It really does work.  It helps remove all the build-up of detergent left on clothing and it helps with static.  NO it doesn't smell after clothes are dry.
**I use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach for whitening.  It is natural and I don't have extra chemicals in the laundry or the house.
**In my closet - I always return empty hangers (after getting my daily clothes) to the closet and I place them in one spot and they are all facing the same direction.  I can just grab them up and take them downstairs when ready to do laundry.

Need croutons and you are out?  No stale bread to make any?  I like to pan roast some chickpeas/garbanzo beans.  A little butter in a pan, a can of drained beans and some seasoning - makes for some delightful and healthy salad toppers!  I like to add them to Chinese dishes as well for a bit of crunch (when no water chestnuts are on hand).
They are also a fantastic snack when roasted in the oven (dehydrated) until super crunchy.  I can't stop eating them when I do this.
Chow mein noodles are also good on top of salad.
Great way to keep things healthy!!!
Little alternatives can be fun and cost saving.

Paint can brighten up anything and just refresh it.  I think we all get into a mood for something different or brighter.  A little paint can do the trick.  It doesn't cost a fortune and the result pays big dividends.
Paint the front door a new color.  Paint an accent wall in the house.  Paint some picture frames - the same or contrasting colors.  Paint up flower boxes or pots.  Paint shutters a different color.  Paint the glider or porch swing or those lawn chairs.  Paint your yard art.  Have fun - and get whimsical - make yourself SMILE!
The 'rock' has been around here for years - so I just got out the spray paint.  I could have done the lettering a bit better - but most people don't see it up close but at a distance.  
The wrought iron chair was brought home years ago (by hubs) from the trash.  It was white at the time and stayed that way for ages.  Then I painted and finally it was peeling again.  I sanded and metal brush scrubbed it to get all peeling paint off - then I made it a chair of many colors!!!!  I love spray paint!  The picture doesn't really show the brightness of it.  I did it to brighten the back yard and just for fun.  (see the squirrel eating underneath it?)
This just makes me smile when I look out back (especially if there is a squirrel or a cat sitting on it).  It may not be for everyone - but I LOVE IT!
You can PAINT anything and change it up!

You all know I make up bottles of shampoo and water.  I squeeze shampoo from the store bottle into an old dish soap squirt bottle (smaller) and then add water to dilute.  I love it that way - as I get better suds and I use less detergent on my hair.  I do this with dish soap, hand soap - you name it.
Well, I buy Suave and the bottles of shampoo are not easy to get the lids off of.  When I have squirted all I can out - I squeeze I on  the bottle and turn it upside down (open) in some water in the sink and then release the squeeze.  The bottle sucks up water!!!!  I shake it well and then empty it back into the new bottle.  That is a great way to get out all that extra soap/shampoo without cutting the bottle or prying off the lid.
I hope that description makes sense!!!!!

Ever open a jar of pickles - especially home canned ones - that are limp and soggy?  I have.  I don't like to waste anything.  I will squeeze as much excess juice from the pickle and then soak up any dampness left with a towel and then dehydrate them!  Once dry I place them in the blender or grinder and pulverize into a powder.  That powder is great for seasoning sour cream or cream cheese and making a great dip.  It is also good to add a bit to salads to brighten them up.

The JUICE - well I drink the dill juice.  I love it and it is also good for Restless Leg and believe it or not it helps with heartburn.
I love mixing dill pickle juice with tomato juice - it really makes it zippy and tasty!  Used to add to Bloody Mary's (when I drank them) as well as a dill pickle spear.  Oh my!!!!
Sweet or dill juice can be used in salads or added to dressing, can be used as a meat marinade (vinegar really tenderizes), make pickled eggs or refrigerator pickles or veggies.  I like to fill an empty jar with cut up cucumbers or cauliflower pieces, radish, baby carrots, etc.  I heat the brine/juice till scalding and then pour over the veggies.  Once cool - refrigerate for a week or so and BOOM you have pickled veggies!

I believe some of you may grow okra.  It can go from a perfect size to pick to HUGE over night.  Once it has gotten too big it is tough.  Again, not wanting to waste anything - I cut up those big ones and dehydrate them.  Then I grind them up.  This makes the best soup/stew thickener and it is 100% natural.  (no - no slime).  Keep in an airtight jar.

So there you have a few tips for your day.  Maybe this will give you an idea of how to stretch things just a little.  No one likes to throw out anything or waste money (especially in these days) and we all like to find news ways.
ENJOY and have a good day!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/10

Happy Mother's Day to all Momma and Grandma's - whether children or fur babies.
Sending each of you hugs and well wishes.  Those who may be sad today - hold your memories tight and count the blessings of each day together.  God bless.

This week has been another roller coaster weather week.  Warm, sun, clouds, rain, and cold!  We set a record one night for registering the coldest night EVER recorded for a May date!!!  It got to 27*F one night - brrrrr.
The only thing that seemed to take a hit was my grape arbor.  It's new growth is all wilted and looking bad.  I sure hope it regrows and sprouts.
I have nothing planted - garden or annuals - so all else ok.  I took in my pots of lettuce seeds and onion sets to the garage that night.
This week we are going to warm again and more rain.  I want to PLANT my garden!!!!!!!  I am ready for cold weather to be gone for a while!  Geesh!

My hummingbirds showed up on Thursday!  YAY!!!  That is the night it got so cold - poor babies.  They were back on Friday and they are eating a bunch.  I sure love seeing them back.

Sing praises!!!!
My week:
  • Got out the hummingbird feeders first part of week and made lots of nectar (have some ready in frig).  They are now back!
  • I have a bunch of sunflowers coming up in a pot out back that the squirrels or birds planted - free flowers!
  • Made a batch of brownies - have munched on those all week
  • Cleaned out more pots to ready for planting
  • Mowed the entire yard
  • Stayed home again - no grocery stores!!!
  • Used ALL leftovers up in new ways
  • Cleaned up more yard waste and put it out for trash pick-up
  • Did have to buy a new car battery sadly.  My neighbor helped me remove old one and install new one - when asked what I owed - he said "make us some sweets".  I can do that!
  • Re-arranged some of the 'yard art' just to make things different.
  • Made more Kool-Aid
  • Using the pantry and freezer for groceries
  • Just doing all the 'regular' stuff we all do.  Nothing exciting here!!
My menu this past week:
Chicken breast, mashed potatoes and green beans
Turkey rice soup (from freezer) and biscuits w/apple butter
Beef and bean tacos (Tuesday)
Chili soup (from freezer) with added leftover taco stuff and leftover green beans  - made a good bowl of soup  and grilled cheese
Red beans and rice and cukes/tomato salad (topped w/Italian dressing)
Burrito (using leftover beans/rice) topped with salad & ranch
Pasta Marinara over beef patty and side of fresh veggies

How are you all doing?  Staying frugal?  Using what you have on hand?  Having fun with your food?
I sure envy those who have gardens planted and pretty things blooming!  I can't wait!

I pray this post finds each of you safe and healthy as well as your families.  Keep good thoughts in your mind and faith in your hearts.
I hope you each have a wonderful week.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.