Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Make it - Don't Buy it!!!!

 There are so many things that we people buy at the store (I have been guilty) that can simply be made at home and for much less money.  When we make things at home - we not only save some money, but we know exactly what is in our food!!!!  That is huge.  No fillers, no chemicals, no ingredients you CAN'T pronounce!!!!!
People love the convenience and the stores take advantage of it.  They charge you a small fortune for basic and simple eating.  Take a few minutes and do your preparations and you too can have tasty and healthier foods at home.  I bet in most cases, we all have the ingredients on hand - we just don't want to spend the extra time!

  • French fries - so easy.  Just peel (or not) and cut clean potatoes.  Season and go!  Can fry, bake or air fry - super easy and super tasty.
  • Chicken nuggets - easy-peasy.  Cut you chicken into bite size pieces or even strips, coat with egg or buttermilk - coat with your favorite coating (flour, bread crumbs, cornmeal, etc.).  Fry, bake or air fry.   YUM
  • Brown sugar - plain old sugar with molasses added.  Light to dark - depends on amount of molasses.
  • Seasoning mixes - you can make just about any flavor combination that you can think off.  You can add salt or go salt free
  • Shredded cheese - oh my goodness, DO IT yourself!!!!  When you buy already shredded cheese you are also consuming wood pulp and goodness knows what else - to prevent clumping.  Shred it as you need it
  • Croutons - is simply dry and seasoned bread.  Use older bread (day old) and make up a bunch if you eat salads regularly.  Cut or tear bread - drizzle with a bit of oil or butter - add your seasoning and dry.  Can oven dry or dry in the microwave.  You can air dry easily if you didn't use oil.
  • Drinks - tea and lemonade - super easy and tasty to make at home.  Of course there is water too - add a slice of lemon or a squirt of lemon juice to jazz it up for a fresh taste
  • Lunches - whether eating at home or taking it to work.  Think about leftovers - use them.  Make simple items that are filling and easy.  Think about roll-ups - you can put absolutely anything in them and have a meal.  Soups or casseroles.  Sandwiches - there is no limit to having an inexpensive lunch
  • Tartar sauce - super easy.  Mayo, relish and maybe a bit of lemon juice and horseradish (if you choose).  Make it as you need it.
  • Hummus - super easy.  Chickpeas, a dab of oil  and flavorings of your choice.  Healthy and tasty - no need to keep dip on hand all the time.  Open a can of chickpeas and GO!
  • Fancy coffees - stay out of the shops!!!!!!!  Make your own.  You may need to experiment a little - but it is so easy to make your own.  Saves a small fortune!!!!!!  Those fancy coffees are expensive.  There are recipes all over the internet for making your own
                                  You could make this chocolate or whatever flavor you want!
  • Sweets and snacks - so easy and so much variety.  Make cookies, muffins, pies or cakes.  You can make super easy homemade ice cream or freezes.  Smoothies, homemade chips - fry, oven or air fry.  Have fresh fruit or fresh veggies with some hummus!  Popsicles (made with Kool-Aid or fruit juice).  Yogurt or frozen yogurt.  Pizza bites.  Dip, cheeseballs, spreads.  Ice cream sandwiches - use cookies and ice cream - so much variety!  Use your imagination.  SAVE $$$$
  • Breakfast foods - make batches of pancakes or waffles and freeze.  Can heat in the toaster or microwave.  Breakfast burritos - add whatever you want.  Wrap and freeze.  Breakfast biscuits or bagels.  Add egg, sausage, ham, bacon, cheese or whatever you want.  These are easy to grab, heat and go!!!!!  So tasty, inexpensive and tastes much better than fast food.
                                LOVE this idea - bacon and pancakes all in one!  Grab and go.

We can save so much money by just doing things at home.  Stop going out to eat and going out for snacks.  Make your own.  You will be amazed at how much better homemade tastes than store bought.  
THURSDAY I will list a few quick and easy recipes for those "make it instead of buy it" ideas.  Mixes, soups and drinks, misc.

                      *******************  NOTICE TO ALL:********************
On a different note - here is a heads up.  Blogger and Google  are changing things up again.  UGH!  We all know I hate change.  I will show you  the notice I got.  For those of you who get EMAIL notices of the blog - not sure - but those may stop for a bit.  My notice (when expanded) says I may not have to do anything - but who knows!!!!  If you stop getting notices for a bit - please remember I post EVERY Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - so check another way!!!!  I literally haven't figured out how to fix this - their directions are as clear as mud!  
PLEASE let me know if email notices STOP as of July - so I can try to figure this out.  Hopefully all just goes on as normal!!!!!!!
Click on picture to enlarge for better reading.  If you have done this - let me know how you did it!!!!!
Hopefully all just keeps going like it is. Fingers crossed!!!!

Have a great day - see you tomorrow.  Stay cool and safe my friends!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Dehydrating - Making Powders

Dehydrating - it really is easy!!!  Most people think about herbs and things like onion - but you can dehydrate about anything.  There are many types of dehydrators out there - from non-expensive models to super expensive.  You can also use your oven (lowest temp), air,  or sun.  Many, many ways to do it.  I have a very inexpensive dehydrator I got  a few years ago and it works fine.  No timer (except me checking!).  It does what I need it to do.  I have also used the air method (hanging herbs) and the oven.

 I love making powders of all sorts.  They are fantastic for seasoning and flavoring things.  I have done a lot of items that people just don't think about.  It really is fun to experiment.
TIP - if things dry small and fall through racks - think about using parchment cut to size of your racks.  I do this for many, many things.  Center is open - but racks are covered!!!
  • You can dehydrate frozen veggies and fruit you buy.  It is shelf stable and frees up space in the freezer (could powder - but just mentioning you can dehydrate these)
  • I dehydrate mushrooms when I find a super deal.  They are great in any dish or I can re-hydrate in no time and just sautee'  I do powder some of them as well - to add to homemade cream of mushroom soup jar recipes
  • You might want to 'measure' as you dehydrate - as things drastically shrink!!!!!!  I place a slice zucchini per rack and then when done - I bag ONE zucchini.  A whole stalk of celery measures out to about 1/2 of a half pint when dry!!!!  Know your measures, so you don't add too much to a recipe.  *** Just basic dehydrating fact you should remember!
  • My first powder I ever made was tomato powder from scraps and skins of tomatoes that I was canning - thus using everything.  It adds great flavor and color to soups and other dishes.  
Dehydrated items should be jarred or vacuum sealed to keep moisture out. You can also (should) add absorbers of some sort.  Desiccant packs, silica packs, dry grains of rice or arrowroot powder (about a teaspoon to a pint jar - mixed in).  I keep the little desiccant packs that come in vitamins and re-use them. SO far so good.  Above is a pint jar with pouring spout.  That is the top of a salt container cut to fit.  RECYCLE!  You can also use old spice jars, and don't forget to save those lids from parmesan cheese jars.  Many lids fit your canning jars - like peanut butter, mayo, etc.  

IDEAS for powders
  • Fruit - powders are great to use in smoothies.  Also add for extra flavor to Jello and puddings.  Fruit dip is wonderful - add to sour cream or cream cheese.  Top you yogurt or oatmeal with fruit powder and get extra vitamins
  • Home canned pickles that have gone soggy (not crisp).  Pat dry and then dehydrate.  Great for making dips and adding to salads and salad dressings
  • If doing garlic or onions - it is advisable to set your dehydrator outside (under cover, so it doesn't get wet).  Those items are very aromatic!!!!!!!!
  • Dry herbs, onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes, etc. to make your own seasonings.  I love homemade seasonings.  I make up my own mixes.  Sometimes I add salt - other times not.  There is no right or wrong mix - GET CREATIVE
  • Peppers, squash, celery  broccoli leaves and scraps, cabbage leaves, asparagus ends....... can all be dried and powdered.  Add to soups, casseroles or any where you want to secretly add veggies!!!!
  • If you grow okra - you know they can get big and woody over night!  Don't throw those out.  Dry and grind and use for a thickening agent in soups and stews!!!  It is natural, has vitamins, doesn't really add any taste and NO it isn't slimy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Dried fruit makes great snack for kids and adults alike.  It lasts and it gives great vitamins.  Many kids like dried fruit over fresh.  You can also dehydrate fruit leathers!!!!!!

Dried tomato skins (these were done in oven on lowest temp).  Cool and grind - I have coffee grinders that get used for this (found them for $1 at yard sales).  Jar up and ready to use!  So much flavor added to things

I love drying tomatoes, peppers, celery, mushrooms and SCRAPS!!!!!  Scraps from ends of broccoli, cabbage, peppers bits, asparagus ends, apple skins, peach skins (after fuzz washed off)........ you name it!
I use in soups and recipes.  I make lots of dips and spreads.  Great to add to cheese balls. So many uses.
Don't waste what can be used in another way!  Groceries are expensive.  Seasonings are expensive.  Vitamins are expensive.  Add you own and make your own from what nature gives us.

Waste NOT and want NOT!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/27

 Happy Sunday to all.  Well, here we are again at the end of another month - we are now half way through this year.   Times sure does fly by quickly.  It will be Christmas before you know it!

My friends from the west coast got to come for one more visit before heading on their journey.  It was so nice.  Bless their hearts, they brought all the goodies to make a spaghetti dinner, green beans, Texas toast and dessert to the house.  I threw together a salad.  We just sat and visited here in the comfort of the house and ate and talked.  They got a "tour" of the yard!  LOL
It sure was nice to have this opportunity to get together again.  I hope it happens again someday!  I miss you guys already!!!!!

We had some nice temperatures for a few days then it decided to get all hot and juicy again!!  My, the air is thick.  We have had rain off and on.  Some northern areas of the state had tornadoes this week.  At least with clouds and windy conditions it has been bearable here.
My plants are really growing.  I have lots of blooms, baby zucchini and cukes and peppers - it is starting!!!!!
                                                      Baby zucchini and lots of buds
                           Looking UP from under the grape arbor.  LOT's of grapes hanging!

My week:
  • Mowed and trimmed a little
  • Raked leaves 2X - yep - that darned old tulip tree!  At least we had so much wind yesterday that the latest bunch of leaves are all kind of blown together in one spot!!
  • Stayed away from the grocery and  all other stores (been home all week)
  • Been doing some de-cluttering again.  I have 2 boxes ready to go.  I will continue to work on this for a bigger donation
  • Using up all leftovers in new ways (had a lot of spaghetti left - used in 2 meals and froze balance)
  • Used rain barrels when I needed to water
  • Laundry - used portable dehumidifier water in a load
  • Worked on getting the tomatoes contained in cages and tied (they have grown tremendously this week)
  • Got to air house for about 3 days - no AC
  • Drinking tea, water and fruit flavored Soda Stream water
  • Working on rearranging and cleaning the over stock area of pantry.  (I have a lot more canned meat than I thought!)  It is coming along.  More work to do - that whole room needs a make-over!!
  • Just doing all the normal stuff we all do
  • Watched a few You Tube videos this week for diversion!  LOL

Meals this week:
Salsa/cheese goulash
Fried chicken (leftover) and salad
Spaghetti, green beans, toast, salad and dessert (with friends)
Leftover spaghetti (with cheese) and salad and toast
Smoked sausage on hotdog buns and green beans
Chicken/veggie stir fry with spaghetti noodles (kind of like Lo-mein)
Dirty rice with meat and beans added and side of fresh veggies
Finished up watermelon I bought last week - IT WAS GREAT!! (I got lucky)

How was your week?  Any deals or values?  How are those gardens coming along?
Are you managing to stay cool?  Some areas are really getting extreme heat.  I feel so sorry for them.  Keep yourselves hydrated, eat popsicles, frozen grapes, ice chips and cool meals.  
If you are in those extreme heat areas - please take a moment to check on elderly or handicapped neighbors.

I hope you have a safe and healthy week.  Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.  God bless and comfort you.

                                                    God hears you wherever you are!

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Refresher #2 - More Saving on Things we Can

 More ideas on things we can take control of and save a little of our hard to come by funds.  Whether you are employed or retired - you want your money to stretch as far as possible.  There is absolutely no sense in wasting things or money.  We all need to be the best stewards of what we have - and be the best we can be!!!!!

  • Keep track of where your funds go.  Pay attention to bills and frivolous spending.  A notebook and pen will work - just keep track for a while and you may be amazed at how much you waste
  • Unplug appliances that are not being used.  I never leave small appliances plugged in - I guess that comes from the many stories I have heard over the years of sudden fires.  It may not save a ton of money on electric - but it all adds up.  If it saves you from a fire - well that could be a savings of life!
  • Stop using so many paper products.  Use rags for cleaning.  Use cloth napkins instead of paper.  Only use paper plates when having outdoor meals.  Paper costs a lot and then you just throw it away!
  • Turn off lights when not using or not in a room.  It all adds up
  • DECLUTTER - how does that save?  Well, you can sell your stuff and make extra money.  OR you can donate and get a receipt for taxes.  OR you can give away stuff - just having less clutter makes for a calmer home - this a calmer you!  That can be worth a lot!!!
  • Make your own cleaners or use natural products.  I mainly use alcohol, peroxide, vinegar, (not all at once) and baking soda and of course HOT WATER.  Keep it natural.  Soak your citrus peels in vinegar to make a great citrus cleaner.  Not only does it save - it is better for the earth
  • Make your own bread crumbs.  Stale bread/crackers/chips - use them all.  You can grind up stuffing type bread and make your own.  I never buy bread crumbs any more.  I use what I have.  Can mix in corn meal or flour as well when breading items
  • Line dry laundry when possible.  I know not everyone can hang clothes outdoors (not allowed).  You can hang up in the basement over a tub or on a rack.  Hang in the garage.  IF there is a will there is a way!  Dryers use a lot of energy
  • Make extra meals to freeze for another day.  Leftovers? Or just cook ahead.  There will always be a day that you don't feel like cooking - so resist temptation of eating out by having meals frozen ahead.  It can be as simple as soup or casseroles - precooked meat - you name it.
  • Contact companies whether you love or hate their products.  You may get free product or coupons if you LOVE something.  You could possibly get a replacement or a refund if you HATE something.  It is worth a try.  Most products have a phone number or email listed on the package
  • Keep nice jars (from store bought stuff) to use for dry storage.  Many items last a lot longer is stored in glass - it prevents moisture and buggers!
  • Water things down.  Use less.  You can water just about anything down and it will still be effective or taste good.  I always add an extra can of water to frozen OJ.  I water all soap products down - shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, body wash, etc.  No one need all that detergent to clean something.
  • Keep up on vehicle maintenance.  A good running vehicle is a cheaper vehicle.  Maintenance is very important.
  • Take care of yourself - good HEALTH saves a fortune!!!!!!  Eating right and taking vitamins and herbs is a lot cheaper than tons of doctor visits and hospital stays!!
  • Grow and dry your own herbs.  Use them for seasoning or for teas
  • Keep old clothes for rags or for remaking into something new.  Remake into a new clothing item, craft items, quilts, etc.  
  • Check around on pricing.  Call your utilities like cable and internet or cell phone call your insurance companies to see if you can get a lower rate.  All the can say is no - but they may say YES
  • Learn to make your own seasoning mixes - they are so easy to do and no extra chemicals.  You can make to reflect your tastes.
  • Take care of your home and do maintenance when necessary.  If you take care of things - hopefully you won't have a major expense down the road.  Maintenance is so important in ALL areas of our lives!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Think about alternative places to shop.  There are lots of places that sell groceries now.  Grocery stores, ethnic stores and even home improvement stores!  Yep they literally do sell anything from soup to nuts and bolts!  Goodness, if you have a place like Menard's near you - they often have the greatest deals on grocery items.  They also have good deals on t-shirts, hats, socks, gloves, etc.  great deals on animal/critter feed.  Look at Big Lots/Odd Lots, Ollies, discount groceries, Amish stores, The Christmas Tree Shoppe, Rural King or other farm stores, bulk stores............................many, many choices.
  • Have an extended pantry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, this is probably one of the most important money savers.  Buy cheap, sales, clearance and stock-up.  Buying at a cheaper price now is truly 100% money in the bank!!!!  WHY pay more when you can spend less now and be prepared for anything that comes your way?
  • Keep cash on hand at home.  You never know what may happen in this old world - so always be prepared with cash on hand.  At least you are able to maybe make purchases or you can barter or buy second hand.  Keep it - hide it -  and be prepared.
I know most of these things just sound like common sense - but little things DO add up.  Get creative and RETHINK everything.  
There are just so many things we can do to save our dollars.  As prices go up on may things - we need to be more vigil on how we spend.   No one thing will probably save you a fortune - but small changes can end up making us all save more.

I am not trying to say you need to have a huge amount of money in the bank - I mean you do have a life to live.  BUT you need a good emergency fund, you need to be prepared for losses in life that can affect income and you need to save in one area so that maybe you can enjoy a little more in another area.

Live your life and enjoy - just be SMART!  
Be prepared for whatever may come your way.  You never know what can happen in a flash.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Fun and Interesting Charts

 I love seeing things about food - I mean who doesn't??  LOL
I came across some charts that I thought were pretty neat.  Many things I have never heard of and others I am quite familiar with.
I hope you can read most.  You might try CLICKING on the pictures to enlarge - so maybe it will be more readable.

Enjoy - maybe you will see something new as well.

So many options!!!!
These are just fun to look at and as many goodies as they list - it isn't even HALF of the options that are actually out there.

We have so many things to choose from - some areas have different species and choices.   YET, we get bored with food.  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??????
We need to look around and just try new things and experiment with all the wonderful blessings that have been put on this earth.

I will do fruits and nuts and other items at some point.
I just thought it was pretty neat to see so many colors, textures and tastes available to us.
Think OUTSIDE the box a little!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Refresher #1 - Saving Where we Can

 I think we all need reminders now and then to get us back on track with our finances.  It is easy to get out of the habit of watching our pennies.  I have a bunch of tips written down - so this will be a 2 part refresher!  
Hope you find something to use or remember to use!

  • Freeze those charge cards - literally!  If you tend to over use - just hide in the freezer.  Make it difficult to get to and use.  Now you can be responsible with CC's - pay off each month and do not pay interest.  Have a card that gives you points for purchases and use those points to get goods or Gift Cards.  That is responsible.
  • Garden when and if you can.  Even if it is a little bit in a pot on the patio.  Everything you grow is cheaper and better for you.  Think about a fall garden as your summer garden starts to come to an end.  There are lots of cool weather crops that can be planted later on.
  • Go meatless on meals one or two days a week.  Meat is probably our most expensive grocery item.  It isn't necessary every day.  Also eat smaller portions.  Use as a side - not a main course!!!
  • Turn down the heat or turn up the AC.  Put on or wear less clothes.  Energy can be a budget buster
  • Pay ALL bills on time!!!!  Avoid extra fees at all costs
  • Ask for gifts or give gifts that are practical.  Gift cards or food.  People can buy what they need - not what you THINK they need!  I love getting cards to grocery stores or food places.  Homemade foods and goodies are great.  Everyone has to eat!  
  • Have NO SPEND weeks.  Just stay home and don't spend.  It is not mandatory that you shop weekly!
  • If you live in a dry area or drought area or just need to save on water - use bath water for the garden!  Keep a bucket in the shower and use that water that would just go down the drain.  Bath water is still water and it will work perfectly on your plants of all kinds!!!!!
  • Cook from home and eat simply and use basic ingredients.  Stop the morning coffee runs or lunches and dinners out.  You would be amazed how much you end up spending over a year.  Simple ingredients can make wonderful meals  and you don't have to be a master chef to eat good meal at home 

  • Drink water or make tea or Kool-Aid.  No need for store bought drinks
  • Don't pay full price for anything.  Go to cheaper stores like Aldi, look for clearance and markdowns, buy in season.  Barter with others.  Shop yard sales.  Look for deals wherever you can find them!!
  • Plan your trips and errands to make the most of your fuel.  Don't just go driving around all willy-nilly - PLAN
  • Do not buy on impulse!!!!  Think things over, especially before spending a lot of money or purchasing a large item.  Odds are you will talk yourself out of the purchase.  Always sleep on it!!!
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle - this is essential to saving funds.  Find new uses for things.  We all have too much and we all have things we don't need.  Many items can be used for a bunch of things - just in a different way.  GET CREATIVE
  • If out running errands - take your own drinks or snacks.  That can save a lot of funds
  • Use leftovers!!!!!!  Use for breakfast or lunch or make into something new.  Just don't waste.  Have a meal that is a 'clean out the frig' meal - use up all those bits and bobs.  Make soup with all those odds and ends or a casserole.  So many ways to extend your food.  Every time I have to throw something out - I stop and think about others who are hungry!!!!  It sure makes you re-evaluate your waste.
I will do part 2 on Thursday.  We all need to be reminded of how we waste time, money and goods from time to time.  We are ALL guilty of it!  
We all have hard earned funds or limited incomes and need to make the most of our dollars.  We need to really think before spending.

Take time to rethink your habits.  Do whatever you can to conserve.  That my friends is simply being a GOOD STEWARD of what you have.
What have you done this week to NOT waste?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/20

 Happy Sunday to all.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there (American Father's Day).  This evening summer becomes official in the northern hemisphere.  To think all this hotness has been spring!!  LOL
Lightening bugs (fireflies) and hummingbirds are visiting a lot.  I love seeing lightening bugs!

We had about 4 really nice days and I got a lot done outdoors.  Then heat and humidity returned.  There was quite a storm front that came through on Friday night.  Luckily here, I only had rain and some downed branches.  We got almost 3" of rain over night.  Some areas got up to 7"!  There was a lot of nasty stuff going on around the state - just thankful to have missed that.
Now the tulip tree leaves have started falling just in the past few days.  They fall like it is fall for about a month!  UGH - it sure makes a mess.

My west coast friends came in town and we got to visit on 2 different days and hopefully we get to get together again this coming week before they head out on their journey again.  It was like sitting down and having conversation with friends I had sat with a million times.  They came baring gifts - what a surprise.  She made me a lovely afghan and other lovelies, home canned salmon and other surprises!  We also went out to eat one evening. It was lovely.
                                       Lilies and more lilies - they are going crazy!
My week:
  • Cut a lot of mint
  • Finally got 'most' of the big flowerbed weeded.  Oh my - what a job.  
  • Mowed and trimmed - front to back
  • Power washed and power washed some more!!!!!  Did the back of the house and the back of garage (both face N).  The garage was awful - but now both are nice and white.  It had been almost 3 years since I did it the last time.  Power washing is addictive - you keep finding things to clean!!!!!  I did a lot - still more to do.  And YES - I did it all by myself!!!!!!!  My arms and back were sure tired and I have been having hand cramps all week!  LOL - but worth it.
  • Did a couple small repair projects outdoors
  • Had to wash windows after power washing
  • I went to the feed store and got some bird seed and squirrel corn.  I also got a new watering can - which has been needed for a while
                              I don't know about you - but I think I bought an alien!!!!!!!
  • I started a butt end of Romain lettuce in water - it has grown and starting to get roots
  • Ran to Kroger for salad supplies.  I broke my rule and bought a watermelon already (seedless, nice size - 2.99).  I lucked out  - it is sweet and tasty
  • I fried up a bunch of chicken pieces.  I kept out enough for a couple of meals and the rest went into the freezer for homemade 'heat ad eat' chicken!
  • Basics - cleaning, making tea, doing laundry - even fresh air some mornings
Meals this past week:
Corn on cob, grilled zucchini and fresh veggies
Cheese and crackers and fresh fruit (busy day)
Ham sandwich and bowl of soup beans (from freezer)
Double cheese burger (homemade) and chips
Cheese and tomato quesadilla
Mexican food and margarita (evening out)
Fried chicken and mixed fresh veggies with dressing

                                     Isn't this beautiful?  My new afghan - I love it!!!!!

How was your week?  Did you get any projects done?  Any deals?  What is happening in your area?
My garden has a grown a lot in the past few weeks - just starting to get some buds for things!  How are your gardens doing?

I hope you all have a lovely, safe and healthy week.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and be glad.  O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!
Psalms 34:1-3

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Day Off

 Hey y'all.  I have had a busy week so far and today I am kind of taking off.  I have some friends coming through town and they will be stopping by.  I haven't had much time to decide on a new post - so I will catch up everyone on Sunday.

I am actually getting to MEET an old friend.  We got acquainted years ago on a chat forum and became fast friends.  She and her husband are making a long road trip for vacation and they are coming here!!  We actually get to meet in person.  I am excited.

They are coming from the west coast - so quite a trip for them.  They have many stops and people to see, and I honored they are coming here as well.

Have a great day full of love and peace!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Many Uses for a Blender

 I used to hardly ever use my blender, except to maybe make a milkshake.  That is about all I can remember Mom using one for too.   Then I had a food chopper, my stick blender and a blender.  They all had a set purpose for me.  THEN I was gifted a Ninja - and my world changed.  I love it and use it so often (every day actually),

A blender with a pulse button can be used for so many things.  You can blend, chop and grind!

This is what I have - I use it every morning to make my morning drink!  There are so many uses.
  • Smoothies, malts, shakes
  • Great for making refried beans - they smoosh up in a moment
  • Make pancake, waffle or muffin batter in a moment
  • Hummus - is so easy to make - chickpeas and whatever seasoning you choose
  • Sauces of all types, dressings
  • After dehydrating greens, peels,, etc. - blend into powders to use in cooking 
  • Dry herbs can become powder in a moment - great for making spice blends
  • Homemade mayo in a snap
  • Faux ice cream - using frozen fruit and dab of milk (only)
  • You can even blend cream to make butter
  • Turn sugar into powdered sugar
I have this attachment as well - it good for all kinds of wonders.  Great for chopping  relish and salsa.  It is a canning aid for me!
  • On pulse you can chop veggies needed for making relish to correct consistency
  • I chop tomatoes, onions, etc. for salsa
  • I can make the best bread/cracker crumbs - as coarse or fine as you choose
  • Peanut or other nut butters
  • Apple or fruit sauce - in a snap
  • Great to turn rolled oats into flour
  • Making up dry mixes (biscuit, pancake, etc.) - do a quick pulse to mix all ingredients thoroughly
There are such a multitude of uses.  I love my TOY and it sure makes things easier in my life.  One tool and many, many uses.

If you don't use your blender for many different things - YOU are MISSING OUT!!!!!
What do you use your blender for?  Do you have any tips or tricks we all need to know?
I need new ideas!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Not to Worry - Be Happy and BE Yourself

 OK  who is singing that quirky little song now???   LOL
Just a small post about just being you.  It seems today so many people seem to think they need to empress others.  Not me!!  I could care less.  You like me, fine - you don't, well that is fine too.  Life is just too short to be worried about what others think or trying to 'keep up with the Jones'.  I may have done that in the past - NO MORE!

I spent a lot of years trying to please others and live like I thought they expected me to (not talking of my hubby).  Not any more.  It sure did nothing to make me happy.  It did nothing for my self confidence.  It did nothing for my LOVE of myself.  Today - you get what you get.  Take it or leave it.  I really don't care.
Maybe age has made me a little wiser - I would like to think so.
I have also realized that that everything can change in an instant - and BOOM - the reality you had, just changed.  You have to make a new reality (as hard as that is).

Now if you are married, I realize there is some give and take.  We all made allowances for our mate.  That is what you do.  Marriage is compromise. That is wonderful.
IF you are single - well kiddos - things change.

If you want to wear PJ's all day - that is OK
If you want to leave stuff on the counter - that is OK
If you don't want to make the bed - that is OK
If you want to eat junk for dinner - that is OK
If you want to go to bed early or sleep late - that is OK
If you don't feel like cleaning house today - that is OK
If you want to turn up the music crazy loud and dance - that is OK
If you want to keep a stack of books next to your chair - that is OK
If you want to watch stuff nobody else watches - that is OK
If you want to have a cocktail - that is OK
If you want to sing in the car (and really can't!) - that is OK
If you want to splurge now and then - that is OK
If you want to cry and yell - that is OK

If you just want to be YOU - that is 100%  A - OK!!!!!!!!!!!

                                               So true - nobody gets out here alive! 

Quit worrying about what others think.  You have a life to live and you and your creator are the only ones that need to  be pleased with your life.
Live a good life.  Live a fun life.  Live a life of giving.  Live a spiritual life.  Live a life that does you proud.

Just maybe some day 'they' will say - "She sure knew how to live and gave it her all".
That would be a nice legacy.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/13

 Happy Sunday to all.  My goodness here we are almost half way through June.  This year is about half over - seems crazy.
It sure has been HOT & HUMID here.    We did get rain at the first of week.  Not getting as much done outside as I would wish.  I spend about an hour - less than two - outside each morning, just trying to do stuff.  I come in red as a beet and melted.  It is way too hot.  Hopefully we have a little cool down coming this next week and the humidity is dropping today.  YAY

We had a heck of a storm come through last night - they were very spotty - but we got the edge of a fierce one.  There was lightening and thunder NON stop for over an hour.  It looked like a strobe light going off outdoors and the thunder - oh my.  It really sounded kind of scary.  It was just a loud rumble that never stopped.  Huge winds came through quickly and then rain.
Each new day brings new hope and a new vision.
This morning the sun is shining, the birds are singing, my babies and all the other animals are here and well, it is a BIT cooler.  LOVELY!!

We all have these days - do not fret if you do.  There are days and maybe weeks - that life needs to slow down and naps need to be taken.

My week:
  • Worked outside as I could.  Pulled weeds and more weeds.  Working in various areas - avoiding the big bed out back!  LOL  Oh what a mess it is.  Here's hoping I get to work on it this coming week
  • Cut a bouquet of roses
  • Washed all the summer bedding for kitties
  • Planted a few more flowers and onion sets
  • My neighbor cut my front grass with his riding mower so I wouldn't have to push mow in the heat.  The back did NOT get mowed this week!!
  • Made a big batch of hummingbird nectar and clean and refilled feeders.  Refrigerated the remainder 
  • Ran to the store again this week.  Did a good buy on canned cat food.  It is finally starting to fill the shelves again.  I also got Kroger brand olive oil on Manager's Markdown for 3.49/25 oz. bottle.  They said they are redoing all the labeling, so marking down current product. Win for me!
  • I used the air fryer this week.  I give it an  A on chicken strips and maybe a C+ on fries.  They were pretty darn crispy - I need to adjust my times.  I guess this will be a trial and error type thing!
  • Ran to the library.  Returned a couple books and found nothing new to bring home.  I did get a book put on my wish list and they will let me know when it comes in.
  • Had to run the AC quite a bit this week.  Keeping blinds shut as the sun moved around the house.  Looking forward to cooler days this week!

Meals this past week:
Taco salad
Small pizza and salad
Cream cheese/chipped beef spread on toasted bread and topped with veggies
Chicken strips and fries
Chopped steak, corn on cob and lima beans
Made an ice cream float one afternoon as a treat and eating fruit as snacks

Have you been having hot weather?  Staying cool?  Did you get any deals or bargains this week?  Look forward to hearing from you all.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.
Please take care and praying for health and safety for all.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for ever-more.
Psalm 121: 7-8

Lay your problems and worries in God's hands - He has us all in His protective and loving arms.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Boy and His Toys

 Today is just a cute story about my Coogy.  He is so funny and so loving.  He sure gives his Mommy lots of love and laughs.
He loves to play.  He also misses his Mom when he can't see her for a while.  Silly kitty.

Coogy has a fishy attached to a stick - his fish and fishing pole.  Oh how he loves that thing.  EVERY single night, while I am laying in the bed watching TV - I hear this scratchy noise.  Sure enough, here comes Coogy with the fish in his mouth, dragging the pole behind him and crying all at the same time.  He brings in the bedroom and drops it beside the bed and then sits and stares at me!!!!!  "Um, it's playtime Mom".
                                   His fish and pole with holiday ribbons attached!

Now if I go to the store or go out and work in the yard for a while - I come back in and there it lays in the kitchen!  He brings it in there, because he knows I come in that door.
He is so silly.
              He is one lucky boy, as he has a whole basket full of play things.  Big to little.
These are generally his choices.  His fishing pole, the purple squishy ball, his Wubba (the name on it) and the fuzzy white thing!!!  Wubba (pink) has been a favorite of every indoor kitty for years.  They all played with it and loved on it.  That white piece of fuzz used to be a snowman head.  Now it just is a mess and it sheds all over.  He loves it!  

Each night he comes to get his lovin'.  He has a pillow on the bed next to mine (covered w/a towel) - he sits and stares at it.  I lay my hand on it, palm up, then he comes and lays down with his head in my palm.  He gets his neck and head scratched and rubbed and he is sooooooo content and happy!!  
It is amazing the little routines that they get into.  (they sure have us trained)

Oh our kiddos - they sure are a hoot.  I am so glad I have my fur babies - they have ALL really saved me over the past couple years.
They give me love and purpose each and every day.

Those outdoor babies - well mice is Fluffy's favorite toy.  She finds them and plays with them.  I have saved a few - but usually find them when it is too late.  She likes little birdies too (bad kitty).  Momma will play with either - but usually after Fluff has caught it.  Blackie - he could care less!!!!!!! Eating and sleeping are his favorite backyard activities.
I can't tell you how many times I have opened the greenhouse door and had a bird fly out!!!  It is amazing how gentle she  CAN be - will catch them and take them in (there is a cat door).  They are still alive and trying to stay away from her on higher perches.  Door opens and FREEDOM!

Oh our crazy babies.  They give us such joy and happiness. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Even the Cheapest Foods can be JAZZED Up

 I know there are many people who simply need to live on mini mart foods.  They live in food deserts with no decent grocery facilities.  Most food marts carry cheap items and junk food.  BUT even cheap items can be jazzed up if you have the desire and means to do it.
Any of us can get in a spot where money is tight and options are few.  It is nice to be able to have options to jazz things up (or ideas).

We all know dry beans and rice is a fugal option - but that may get old if you eat it every day.  I could do it, if it meant going hungry otherwise!

I decided to try an experiment.  I do not like frozen pizza - never have.  But I noticed Kroger had these little individual microwave pizza for $1 - so I thought lets see what I can do!!!!
Doesn't even sound appetizing!  The actual pizza was about the size of my hand - tips of fingers to wrist.  The picture on the box looks more appealing than the actual item did!  LOL
Well I decided to do some magic.  I used things I had in frig.  I sliced a few pieces of summer sausage, added black and green olives, cut up a mini pepper, a few spoons of salsa, some seasoning and a little extra cheese.  BOOM - a tasty little pizza.  About the same as 2 pieces.
                               It was actually pretty tasty!  Also had a side salad with it.

You can get those store brand boxes of mac n cheese for much less than a dollar.  Add a can of tuna and maybe some frozen peas or broccoli and you have cheesy tuna mac.  Add a little cooked hamburger or sausage and anything else you have needing to be  used (veggies).  Tasty burger mac.
Cut up a couple hotdogs into mac and you have a tasty treat.  Feeds more than one - maybe add a salad.

Yep, many of us always have some on hand.  I actually like it (I know). 
Make Ramen stew - add any veggies you may have, whatever leftover meat there might be or stir in some gravy or make a gravy (rue) and enjoy.  You don't HAVE to use the seasoning packet if you are staying away from salt.  

Cook the noodles and use as lo-mein.  Use noodles under any type of stir fry using whatever leftovers you have on hand.
I even have a recipe around here for making a cold salad using packages of Ramen with cabbage. 
Someone mentioned the other day about making Ramen and adding a easy over egg on top.  Just no limits.
 Generally a pack sells for pennies - it can be jazzed up and tasty.

Jiffy cornbread mix probably isn't the best cornbread - but it is easy and inexpensive (and really not bad).  You can do a lot of things to jazz it up.  Throw in some chopped jalapenos.  Spicy cornbread.  Throw in some shredded cheese - Mmmmm.  Add a bit of sugar if you like sweet cornbread.  You can add garlic powder, onion, just about anything.
Bake in muffin tins and place a piece of hotdog in the center of each muffin before baking.  Kind of like have a corndog.
Many people add some cream corn and make a corn casserole.  There are many, many options to upcycle a box of Jiffy mix!

I see baking mixes all the time for a dollar or less (if on sale).  They can be turned into other things.  Muffins mixes can become small loaves of sweet breads (throw in whatever extra you may have - chips, nuts, candy).  Make a mini cake.  Make cookies.
A fun up-do is pancakes - easy and tasty and enough to maybe fill a couple of people.  Just add syrup or heated jelly!!!
You can do this with those Jiffy boxes of mixes as well.

So if things get rough, funds get low, and shelves get bare - just remember that you can improve ANY food item.  It doesn't have to cost much.

I know most of us have all kinds of recipes for inexpensive eating or know ways to stretch leftovers and things like rice, pasta, beans and potatoes.  We know how to cook.  Not everyone really does.
Maybe you know someone who needs a little help.  You can pass on these money saving ideas and perhaps help them have a nicer dinner.
I think it would be neat if food pantries - who give many of these items - could also handout  recipe ideas for increasing nutrition and taste.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

I am so Tired of all the Panic

 Good morning.  I know I can't be the only one who is so over the 'panic' syndrome that seems to have hit the people of the world.  People panic and get manic about everything today.  I am done with the YouTube channels and the groups that only promote chaos.  Seriously - they are helping no one!!!  They may think they are - but they are not.

I try so hard to not follow the 'norm' today and do panic posts.  My opinion is not your opinion.  I will ALWAYS continue to stress stocking and staying stocked - but not to cause mayhem and panic.  I will stress that idea BECAUSE it is the smart thing to do.  ANYTHING can happen at ANY TIME.
You stock now and you are prepared for whatever life throws at you and your family.  
You stock now and it is saving you money. (we all know things go up in price).
You stock now because you are a prudent women.
You stock now because you love your family and want to provide.
You stock now because you are smart.

I realize that in some countries things are worse.  I hate that.  I realize that it depends on where you live in America - some places things are worse than others (and more expensive).
I feel blessed to live in mid America as things still are pretty well stocked and prices are pretty reasonable.  

Last year should have been a HUGE wake-up call to people.  The public got all caught up in panic and we had the great TP fiasco!!!!  Oh my goodness, people had no clue to what to do if they couldn't buy TP.  Others hoarded it.  Good grief - it was the most ridiculous and stupid thing I have ever seen in my life.  Seriously.  No one seemed to be able to think and use logic.

Funny?  Not really - it is an option!  I have received some tool catalogs that hubs used to get and they have pages that are tissue thin.  I keep them!!!!  My goodness there are so many options - cloth TP, wash cloths, tissue........

We all know that there are options and substitutes for about everything.  I have listed many charts over the years of substitutes in case you run out of something.  We can sub other things for eggs in recipes.  We can sub things for oil.  We can mix and match all kinds of food items to make tasty meals.  We can glean things from our own yards (if you were hungry you would be grateful).
We can use old clothes and rags to clean messes or to use for bathroom functions.
We can use a clothesline to dry our laundry (or rack or hangers outside or in basement).  We CAN wash clothes in a tub if needed.
We can simplify our eating habits and eat well.
We can truly do without a lot of the things that we THINK we have to have!  

                                                 Click on picture to enlarge to read.
I have a big pot of this on my porch - yes I do.  It is tasty in salads.  Kind of a peppery taste.  It grows all over the place around here and it is so good for you.  Dandelion greens, roots, and even blossoms can be used.  Folks use plantain, wild onion, thistle, chives, balms and mints.... the list goes on and on.  This is all FREE.  Walnut trees are a good source of protein (if you can beat the squirrels).  There are many a tree in public places and on roadways.  There are fruit trees and wild berry vines all along country roads and maybe on empty lots.  FIND THEM.  USE THEM.

We can survive people.  We do not need to panic.  If the supply chain is disrupted do to shutdown, drought, transportation, flooding - whatever - know you can survive.

Do NOT stop on your stocking.  Keep plugging along, just do it with thought and be mindful of what you and your family really use.  Don't buy stuff you don't need.  
Always be prepared for an extended period of time (only you know your plan).  
Life changes every day.  It will continue to change every day.  That is the one constant in this world - CHANGE!

I think back to my family that lived through the depression.  I think back to my family that lived during the civil war days.  I think about my family that started out with nothing and moved westward and survived.  They used what they found to eat and survive.   They physically cut trees, moved them, and built their homes.  They physically had to cut trees to make roads and pathways to get through the dense woods.  They lived through dust storms.  They lived through floods.  They lived through many a pandemic (or we wouldn't be here).  They cleared land to make gardens and fields.  They had no real medicine.  They used herbs and nature.  They had absolutely NO technology.  They lived off brut strength and common sense.

Had not at least part of them survived and prospered WE wouldn't be here today.  Think about that!  We can be better and stronger if put to task.  We CAN survive.
If you don't know about living off the land or simple survival techniques - read.  The library is a wealth of knowledge and wonder.

Get busy and do what is needed to help your family.  BUT don't spread panic and doom and gloom.  Don't go out of your way to spread bad.  If you want to spread something - spread helpful knowledge of survival.  Spread goodwill and happy thoughts and wishes.  (this is my goal)
Spread the joy of knowing there is something after all this life on earth.  IF we truly believe in a supreme creator and the Word like we say we do - well we know it is all in His hands.

PLEASE stock and prepare but do NOT PANIC nor cause panic.
Be happy and enjoy each and every day you get. 
Spread joy and goodness.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/6

 Happy Sunday to all.  Hope you all had a good week and that this finds you well.
I had a pretty good week.  I got to see a friend (my former boss) that I haven't physically seen in 2 years this week.  They moved to CO. after retiring and visits are not frequent.  It was so good to get to visit for a while.

Woke Thursday to another surprise in the back yard.  Looked out after getting dressed and lo and behold there was a Momma and 4 young racoons!!  Racoons make me nervous around my cats - but I have to admit they sure are cute.  Those young ones were running and frolicking around - up and down the trees - acting like kids!  The Mom just kept trying to collect them to move on - and they kept running away from her!  It was funny.  I waited till they moved on before taking the kitties food out.  Momma and Fluff were at my kitchen door and Blackie slept through it - so all were safe.  I swear this is a flipping wild animal habitat in the city!!!  My fault I guess!

We had a day or two with a lot of rain and now we are hot.  It looks like temps will be more normal this next week with highs in the lower 80's but we have a chance of rain everyday.

My week:
  • I did get the garden all planted on Sunday.  Pots and ground.  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers.  Green onions also planted - may do some other stuff - still have some room.
  • The last important fix has been done to the Blazer.  No more snap, crackle & pop (stabilizer bars) this week.  No more trouble getting gas. No more hot car.  No more car not starting.  Sigh of relief.  My neighbor probably saved me over $1,500 is shop fees over the past few weeks.
  • I de-flowered the front walk and steps!  LOL.  I got it manageable to walk up the sidewalk again!
  • I have 2 rain barrels full - 110 gallons of God's water!  Been using it to water plants
  • Mowed and trimmed the entire yard
  • I cut bouquets of peonies until I couldn't.  They are done for this year.  I still have roses and other flowers looking pretty.  The lilies are getting covered with buds
  • Made a plan for repairing the shed front - it really needs a lot of work on the west side.  Checked the stash of things in the garage and thankfully I have more than enough lumber to fix it!!!  So glad I don't have to buy wood at this time.
  • I washed down the front of the house & (porch) and took apart the security door and cleaned it and washed the window.  You would think the porch would stay clean but being under a roof it just collects dust and grime
  • I finally ran to the grocery.  My area stores seem to be fully stocked.  I got some really good deals.  3 - 2lb. packs of ground beef/pork combo  for 2.99 ea. (1.50 lb!).  Got a small pork loin for 2.69.  2 - 5 lb. bags of s/r flour for .89 ea.   2- sliced loaves of Italian bread for .79 ea.  YAY!  All was on clearance.

  • I then saw a sign as I left the grocery for a BIG yard sale.  I decided to stop - first yard sale in almost 2 years for me.  I got 4 small cookbooks for .25 ea. and I got a NuWave 10 qt. air fryer (used once) with rotisserie for $10!!!!  It has the book with it and looks like it was never used.  I guess some of the Covid 'shopping' items will be cheap this year!!!!!!  I have been wanting to try an air fryer - but in no way wanted to spend a lot unless I liked it.  Now I can try it for next to nothing and if I don't like it - I will pass it on.

Meals this past week:
Fried cabbage with smoked sausage and mac n cheese
Chicken and dumplings (small Sweet Sue) and fried corn/with onion
Baked potato and grilled small zucchini
BBQ pork/pepper/onion/swiss cheese sandwiches
Breakfast - silver dollar pancakes (freezer), scrambled eggs, pork chop (precooked freezer)
Veggie/cheese squares (my version) - no oven needed
Tamales and tortilla chips

I hope to pull weeds this week from my big perennial bed - it is a huge mess!!  Maybe with rain off and on they will be easier.  I need to do some painting as well - we will see.  I need to clean out the shed - ugh!
So many things need done.  I need to light my fire again!!!!

How was your week?  How are your plants doing?  Did you get any deals or do anything frugal?  I like hearing what everyone is up to.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.  
May you all stay safe and well this coming week.

Behold, God is my salvation;  I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.
Isaiah 12:2