Thursday, July 29, 2021

Fresh Produce and Gardens

 For many of us it is that time of the year!  Fresh produce and gardens are every where.  I love it.  Things seem to be moving a little slower than normal here - but they are moving in the right direction.
I have zucchini out the wazoo - but that is OK.  I could sure have worse problem!  LOL.  I won't go hungry and I am working on gifting and using.

I know many can not have gardens.  That doesn't mean you can't enjoy fresh goodies.  Weekend farm markets seem to abound.  There are farm stands and farmers that can be visited.  Think about your local orchards - they most often carry all kinds of garden produce as well.  I know ours does.
We also have a place that is big and not far from my home called Waterman's Farm Market.  They grow fields of goodies and buy from others and they have a nice stand (building) that you can visit most of the year.  They also sell jams, jellies, salsa, and other goodies.  Check your area for different options.
Fresh is so good and yummy.
IF you possible can - put some back for the winter months.  Can or freeze anything and everything you can find.  

Start watching around your neighborhoods for fruit trees, wild grapes and walnut trees.  There is one in our alley and it is loaded!  Barter with others or just say a little prayer that family and friends SHARE with you!

These charts have been printed here before, but I think they may help someone again.  Always good info to know.

Click on pictures to enlarge.  I copied from previous posts.

These charts help figure out how much you need for your family.  How much for canning.
I hope this helps someone.
I love this time of the year and all the options we have.

I have heard a lot about shortages and such because of weather.  SHOP LOCAL when possible.  I just heard on our local news yesterday that corn and soy bean crops in our area at producing at 90%+.  This is being considered an excellent year here, despite the cool weather we had, the rain and now the heat.  We are fortunate - I know not all areas are.

Get what you can fresh and local.  It is by far the best!!!
Enjoy your garden yummies!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sharing a Bit and Offering Love & Hope

 I know each and every person that comes to visit here has had some heartaches in their life.  We have had good and bad.  Unfortunately it is part of life - not a nice part - but part of it.  All our ups and downs have made us the people we are today 100%.
Think about that - every single experience has shaped you into the human you are today.

I remember as a young person, being tall (taller than the boys in grade school) and skinny and clumsy.  I have never had an athletic bone in my body!  I was sickly as a little - but out grew that.  I never had a lot of store bought clothes or name brands.  Home made was what I had and I loved them.  I was not super popular at all - I kind of hung with the less desirables!  They seemed like a good fit and we all had fun.
I pretty much did the same in high school.  I made all my clothes by then, so I had a lot of them.  I worked and had my own money for material and shoes.  We had to wear dresses up till my junior year.  I continued to wear dresses even when pants were the thing (at school).  LOL - I have had many a male classmate (at reunions) say they remember me because of my long legs, long hair and short skirts!  Yep those were the 70's!!!  I guess I could be remembered for worse things!!!!!

I got married young - knew I shouldn't marry him - but I did.  He had cheated and saw nothing wrong with it (how he grew up).  Plans were made - so I got married.  No it wasn't all bad, not at first.  Then the cheating started again and became more and more.  I was made to feel like I wasn't worthy and no one else would want me.  I acted out some and probably partied a little too much back in the day.  I scared myself at a point and didn't pick up another drink for several years.
I did finally forgive him and we remained friendly (sort of).  He passed away a few years ago and that made me sad - so yes I cared about him.
Swore I would never marry again.  HA!  I met Glen, my life partner, my love.  It took him a good while to get me over my insecurities, but he did it.  At the time of his passing I had spent over half of my life with him.  I wish it could have been more - that is for sure.  I am so terribly happy I got to have those years and knew that kind of love.
Suddenly I was alone - for basically the first time in my life.  I had people ask - what does Cheryl want to do now?  My answer was "I was doing it!"  I still really have no idea what my future holds or what I want to be when I 'grow' up.  I just know now, after much prayer and reflection, that I can face whatever God throws at me.  
He is my rock.  I have to move forward not just for me, but for Glen too - he would want that.

Now I am not trying to get a pity party started here.
I know there is someone who needs to read this today!  It came to my heart last night.

This picture is a good representation of life to me.  Ups and downs, crooks and bends, haggard and lonely looking, trip hazards, not knowing where the path goes..................yet it is beautiful at the same time.

I know there are many reading that have lost spouses, maybe children or grandchildren.  Many of us have lost parents and siblings and oh so many friends.
Some have endured abuse as children and others as adults.
Some have lived in poverty and maybe still do.
Some have made bad choices in life.  Many may have had addictions.  Some may have gone to jail.  
Whatever it is that has happened in life and for whatever reason - you are here today for a reason!

Not one of us  has been 100% pure and without sin or troubles.  We have all made mistakes.  We also know NOW, that life can change.  It can get better.
We are blessed and should feel blessed.  I know that is hard to understand sometimes.  But it is true.
God sees to it, if we are alive and so choose, we get extra chances!  We get to improve!  How great is that?  We can maybe teach someone else in a bad spot that all is not hopeless.

I love this!!!  Be YOU!  Don't change for anyone other than yourself.  You know who you are and you will learn where you should be eventually.  We have to learn that ourselves.  We need to be happy with ourselves before we can ever make someone else happy.
PLEASE be forgiving to yourself!!!!!!!  Forgive yourself of you past and move forward.  Sure we all have regrets - we wouldn't be human if we didn't, but we can't let them define us.
The past is a story already told - the future is a new chapter we write each day!

Forgive others as much as humanly possible.  It is important for YOU not for them.  Forgiveness is freeing.  It takes time, I understand that - but it is so freeing.
Holding in all the anger and hate and nastiness of the past can only HURT you.   It can literally make you sick, give you headaches, ulcers, anxiety attacks, and much more.  You deserve better.

I want each person reading this to know that you are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are a child of God - He doesn't make mistakes!
You are loved.

Life is full of change - that is our one constant.  We have to grow and spread our wings and fly!  We need to learn to soar!
So forgive others, but most importantly forgive yourself.

YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!  Never let anyone tell you or treat you differently.
I pray you get to live your best life and that  you DO it to the fullest.
Blessings to each of you!

If you know someone having a rough time or feeling less about themselves - PLEASE reach out and tell them they are enough!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Only You Can Decide

 I see so many people on FB asking questions about stocking and being prepared for whatever may come our way.  So many are new to the idea of not just having a weeks worth of groceries on hand.  That really amazes me every time I see it.  As long as I can remember, my folks and myself always had plenty of extra on hand.  Even when I was little and my folks didn't have much money, they had food.  Yes, there was a garden and Mom canned and froze - but even back then, things in the world were sketchy.  
It has been prudent to have EXTRA for decades.  You just never know what could happen.

You can go slow - you don't have to spend a fortune all at once.  Most of us that have been stocking up, spend a little extra every week.  We look for sales and deals.  I understand that when getting started it isn't logical to go out and spend $1,000 or even a $100 all at once.   Buy some extra every time you go to the store - EVERY TIME!

You buy what you use!!!!!!  What your family uses!!!!!  Don't be buying things you wouldn't ever buy for normal day to day living (unless for barter purposes).  Only you know what your family eats and uses - no one else can tell you what to get.
Make sure you think about things other than food.  Health and beauty items, paper products, OTC medicines, first aid, pet products, cleaning, laundry, etc.

That depends on how long you want to be prepared for.  The best way to decide - is pick your time frame.  A month, 2 months, 6 months, a year or more.  Look at what you use per week - then multiply that amount by the time frame you are stocking for.
EXAMPLE - Use 2 lbs. of pasta a week - for 2 months you would want 16 lbs. on hand.

Always remember - first in first out.  Rotate your pantry stock.  Keep the older products to the front for quickest use - place new items to the back.  Always rotate items.
REMEMBER - "best if used by" dates are NOT expiration dates!!!!!!  If kept cool and dry most items are good for waaaayyyyy past that date.

Most items can be kept for quite long periods of time.  If you have dry goods to stock - think seriously about storing items in glass jars.  You can use canning jars or get gallon size glass jars - nothing can get into them.  Tins are great for keeping things like sugars, pasta, flour, etc. (like big popcorn tins).  Food storage buckets can also be used.  Place items in totes - just keep things protected.
Use bay leaves in your dry goods - they help keep pests away.  Keep things dry and cool.

Do whatever works for you.  I personally keep an inventory list of what is in the freezer (sort of).  Yes I clean and straighten and make a wonderful list - then it kind of goes by the wayside!  I'm bad!!  But I have an idea of what I have.
I sort the freezer by types of meat or food.  A shelf for frozen veggies, an area for pork, chicken, beef, etc.  That makes it easier to find things.
In the pantry you can keep a running inventory as well.  A pencil and paper will work - just change totals as you buy or use.  Hang a clip board in or by your pantry with a list.  Keep a notebook in pantry - make a spread sheet - what ever you want.
I like to keep the pantry organized in some way as well.  Baking goods together, fruits, veggies, soups, pasta and rice, etc.  I have things grouped together - make life easier. 
I do this in my 'deep' pantry as well.  
What is a deep pantry?  Well, that is my extra - my grocery store at home.  A place I can go and get stock to replace my daily pantry items that have been used.

You also need to know how to SUBSTITUTE.  Don't have bread or can't buy it - make biscuits or tortillas.  Can't get sugar - use honey.  Not enough meat - look to and use other proteins.  Know what you can use - just in case.  Use your imagination and get creative.  That is ever so IMPORTANT in stocking.
Life is all about getting creative and using what you have.

Every little thing you do makes a difference.  I have said so many times that buying cheaply today is basically like money in the bank tomorrow!
Inflation happens - it will continue to happen, no doubt about it.  There will be shortages at times.  There will be tough times ahead.  It may be illness, loss of job, weather emergency, age restrictions, economic problems, etc.  There is a world of things that we prepare for.

Watch those sales.  Watch for deals.  Get things as cheaply as possible.  Stock what you use.  Use what you stock!  Continue to add to your stock every time you go to store.  Set you time schedule that you want to be prepared for.  Keep your items safe from pests.

As my hubby used to say - PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOU PLAN!!!!!!!!
Your future may depend on it!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/25

 Happy Sunday everyone.  My goodness, this is the last Sunday of the month.  This year is going so quickly.  I hope this finds you all well and safe.

It is getting hot again!  We had a brief respite from the heat and now it is coming back for most of the coming week.  Humidity is what makes it feel so nasty out.  Hey, on a side note about the heat - 5 months from today is Christmas Eve!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LOL
I hope all those in fire areas, flood areas and drought areas get relief.  Stay SAFE!
We had a dry week this week.  We needed that after the rain of the past week.  I have sure enjoyed the big old moon a couple nights this week.  I wish I had tried to take a picture.  Huge, and full and orange!  I think the color might have something to do with the smoke in the atmosphere - but it sure was beautiful.

Captured and removed groundhog number 6 of the summer.  UGH.  This is just crazy for the suburbs/city.
Yesterday the generator came on - we had a power outage for some reason.  It only lasted about a half hour and wouldn't have been a big deal - but it sure is comforting to know that  it works and would when it really counts.

Spent a long while cleaning up comments on here - so many Spam and stupid posts.  I don't know if you  all see ALL of them or not - but I apologize for the nuisance.  I know it happens else where, but it is aggravating.  I wish people had better things to do - if is amazing to think that they actually think they are going to get business from these obnoxious ads.  SMH

My week:
  • After we dried out - I got to mow and do a good trim.  Everything sure looked nice afterward
  • I went with my brother and sil to my gr. nieces on Sunday for a first birthday party!  It was great to see them all - hadn't seen them since Christmas.  Got caught up on lot's of baby hugs and kisses - one was 1 and one is 2!  Had a nice meal of a taco bar as well
  • Been harvesting more garden goodies.  Zucchini coming out my ears!!!  I love it - sure could have worse problems
  • Trimmed the back yard bushes
  • Dropped off library book at the outside drop off when in area
  • Been pulling weeds and dead headed a lot of flowers.  The lilies sure looked haggard after blooming - and I got those all cleaned out
  • Cooked up a couple pounds of bacon to have on hand for various meals
  • Just doing all the normal stuff - cooking at home, laundry in cold, changed out bedding, drinking water and tea, etc.
  • Finally had to water containers this week and used my rain water 
  • Other than my one shopping day outing - I stayed home
  • I did make a grocery run.  I went to Kroger for fresh goodies (got very little).  Did find a couple deals.  I got 3 packs of 4 ea. of beef burgers for 1.99 pack.  That is .50 per meal for meat = 12 meals!!  I also got 2 family size boxes of Frosted Flakes (best by end of 2022) for 1.99 ea. I don't eat breakfast - but it will be good for future snacks!  Donut holes for .99.   Also bought a few cherries to munch on for fruit snack.

Also made the WalMart stop and got a lot of canned cat food.  They are the one place that has had good stock lately.  I also got the night driving glasses there as well and I did get more canning lids.

Meals this past week:
Taco bar at nieces
Burger with zucchini/onion/salsa/cheese
Smoked sausage - chopped potatoes - kraut (home canned) mixed together
Pizza style zucchini boats
Dbl. burger, baked beans and salad
Fried green tomatoes and fried okra (oh yum - it was so GOOD)
Snacks - cherries, donut holes and nacho chips w/melted cheese

Pizza topping zucchini boat - made on the stove top and didn't use oven!  Steamed zucchini - then added topping and cheese and covered on low heat till cheese melted.  This was a smaller zucchini and it was soooooo good and an entire meal.

So how was your week?  How are those gardens doing?  Any canning or preserving yet?  No canning here yet - plan on working on zucchini this week to freeze and maybe dehydrate.
Did you get any good deals this week?
Look forward to hearing from you all!

Hope you all have a wonderful week and stay safe and healthy.  
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Thursday, July 22, 2021

It's the Little Things!!!

 It doesn't take a lot to make me happy or get me excited.  I found a new THING today!
I made a run to Wal-Mart (UGH) to check on supplies of canned cat food.  They had it and I stocked up.  First little happy.  Secondly I checked their canning supplies - they had more lids (flats).  I got some more (2.74 a box) - even though I don't need.  They will keep till next year or whenever I DO need them.

Thirdly - I found something that will now make life better each day!  As I have mentioned, I have cataracts.  Those who have gone through this or have them now - know that different types of lighting affects how you see.  I have always had trouble at night (night blindness) but that is even worse with cataracts.  Computers can be a problem, different  times of the day vision is affected. 
For me - the WORST is store lighting.  It is awful and makes seeing clearly really difficult.  All that over head lighting and florescent lighting is a pain.  There is always such a glare.

I found a help aid!
I wear sunglasses outside - but they seemed too dark for inside.  This is my solution!!!

             Note - the sticker says "wear over your glasses". The lenses are a golden color                           No it doesn't bother me to wear them over glasses - I'd rather see than be vain!
They are designed for night driving - but I tried them while in the store and oh my goodness - everything in the store was clear and bright!!!  The glare was gone!
The price was $19.67.  So for a $20 bill I can now see clearly IN the stores and I have something that will also help IF I have to drive at night.
I was thrilled.

I am sure they can probably be found else where as they are Foster Grants.  I just happened to see them in my unexpected visit at WM.

Like I said - it's the little things in life.  Simple fix for now and I am happy.
I thought I would share this, as I know I can't be the only one who has this problem.  Those funs things we start to experience as we get older!!!!  UGH

Hope this helps someone else.
Enjoy and feel blessed with the little things - they can be huge!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Cleaning Trick

 Just a quick post today.  I recently saw an idea on removing pet fur from furniture.  Coogy loves to lay on the arm of the love seat - so I have to remove fur all the time.  
There is the vacuum when I have it out.  Then I have always used a damp dense sponge or a damp wash cloth.  I will rub the area in one direction - collect fur and then do another direction.

Well this new 'hack' to me works like a charm.  Use a pumice stone!!!!  Now mind you I would only do this on heavy duty materials - nothing thin or satiny.  I rubbed the arm of the love seat with the stone and LOTS of fur came up!  Let's say - way more than I could see!!!!!!

I always have several stones around as they comes in many gift baskets.  This one is the perfect size to work with.  They are not expensive and it sure does work - not only on feet but my couch!!!!!
I used it  dry.

It is amazing to me the things we can learn to make life easier - no matter what age we are.  I guess I always wonder who tried that the first time and why?  LOL

Here's a fun picture to end today.  I guess all nature gets tired and needs a quick nap now and then.
The squirrel must be so tired from playing and eating peanuts!!!  Blackie found a bit of shade to lay in until he gets lunch!  They don't mind or bother each other.  All my kitties leave the squirrels alone.
(As you can see they use the rails as scratching posts!!!)

Have a good day!  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Stretching Food - Like in the Old Days

 Howdy all.  Our Moms and G'mas all knew how to stretch the food budget.  NOTHING went to waste.  If it got to the point that there was something left that wasn't edible it went into the compost pile or to the chickens - which in turn became more food down the road.  My Mom could come up with all kinds of tasty items from leftovers (bits and bobs) and knew how to make goodies out of things most would throw away.
Going to share a few stretching ideas and cheap eats that we had back in the day - and some I still have!  Not everything from back in the day should be forgotten.  I love doing something different now and then.  You never know when money and food will be tight and you may have to get creative.   SO here are a few 'crazy' ideas to try.

Leftover mashed potatoes - they were never wasted!   May be for another meal or they could be used in a cream of soup - to help thicken or flavor.
My favorite was & is:

Potato Pancakes
About 2 C mashed
1 egg
1/2 C or so of flour - just enough to stiffen potatoes
1/2 - 1 tsp. baking powder
Anything else you want to add!!!!
Mix together and place in a greased skillet and fry - until both sides are golden brown.
I have added chopped onion, bacon bits, cheese, peppers......... whatever you want
So tasty
Potato cakes with a dab of butter and a salad.  Quite a tasty and filling meal.  Nothing wasted!!!!!

Pie Dough
Mom never let pie dough go to waste.  She may make 'hand pies' if there was enough left.  Small circles with a bit of jelly or fruit in center and folded and baked.  Most often she rolled it out in strips and added cinnamon & sugar on top and baked till crisp!  What a yummy treat that was.

Apple/Peach Peels & Cores
Never wasted.  Apple peels & cores and peach peels were turned into jelly.  Yes indeed.  Now this recipe takes quite a bit of sugar (which was so much cheaper back in the day), but it sure was tasty.  Actually sugar today isn't that expensive - it is just something anyone that cans much has on hand all summer.
Usually need the peels of about 15 pcs. of fruit or more. (Optimum flavor).  You can add a drop or 2 of red food color to apple to give it a pretty pink color.  One drop red, one drop yellow to give peach a pretty peach color.  No wasting!  Either the chickens or compost get leftovers.
Mom also took apple peels and laid them out on a pan and sprinkled them with cinnamon and a dab of sugar and stuck in the oven when baking.  Another fun and easy treat that I just loved.  Kind of like fruit leathers of today! (she did this if NOT making jelly)

Corn Cob Jelly
Yep - she even did that.  I have done this myself and it is very tasty.  Kind of honey tasting.

Johnny Cakes - Corn Cakes - Hoe Cakes
Whatever you want to call them.  Many southern gals made these - but we had them often.  Nice for breakfast if running low on breakfast food - a nice addition to any meal (instead of bread).
Most recipes were as simple as cornmeal, water and salt - and a hot skillet!
I like them with a bit more added - but you can do them any way you like.

1 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder  (for volume)*
1 - 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or honey) - I like a little sweetness*
1/2 C HOT water - or you can add some kind of milk (1/4 C milk and 1/4 C HOT water)
1 egg -  (adds volume as well)*
Mix altogether and drop into a hot skillet with bacon grease or butter melted.  Brown on each side like you would a pancake!
**Gluten free
* these items optional
 Corn cakes - great side or used instead of cornbread (no oven required) or used as breakfast.  Topped with a bit of butter - Yummo!!

Peanut Butter Treat
We often had peanut better and some syrup or honey mixed together and we would eat that on bread or crackers - whatever was available.  That was such a tasty treat!  My goodness that was a favorite treat.  I remember most often it was served on saltine cracker.  YUM

Hamburger Soup
We had this often.  Hamburger was super cheap to buy and Mom always made a pot of soup with all the veggie leftovers we had or just with garden pickin's.  Nothing like it.  I still make it today and it is one of my favorite soups.  Never fixed the same way twice.
Nothing went to waste!!!!!

Another favorite from back in the day.  My Mom often made it with elbow macaroni - stretched it further.   I make it  without, but often serve over pasta and top with cheese.  It can be served over rice!  Also super yummy over a baked potato!!!!
Chili is still one of my favorite cool day meals!  Basically ground meat, beans and tomatoes (of some sort) - doesn't get much easier.

Made gravy from all the different pan drippings.  None of it was wasted.  My goodness gravy was made from anything and everything.  Sausage, hamburger, drippings from baking ham or bacon or roast - just about anything.  Gravy over bread was and still is a meal!  Pan drippings, a little flour and water or milk and BOOM you have a cheap meal.

Just a few ideas for old time food ideas.  Nothing wasted and everything was tasty.  People back in the day sure could come up with yummy goodies from just about nothing.
We need to take some lessons!
I love old time cooking.  I still do and try some of these things.
I have MORE recipes for making goodies with lesser ingredients (they used to have to make do with eggs, milk and butter at times).  I will share more recipes in the near future.

It sure is fun learning some of the ways of days gone by.  Good food and no waste - what is better?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/18

 Happy Sunday to all!  I hope this finds everyone safe, healthy and happy.  
We have finally had the rain stop!!!!  Oh my, did we have rain and more rain.  Everyday this past week.  I had a lake out back for over 2 days.  It really took a while to recede as the ground was so saturated.  This morning there are just lots of dead worms laying about and it smells very 'wormy'!!!  Is that a word?  LOL
I sure wish we could have sent that rain else where.  SOOOOOO many need it.

This was a family week for me.  Sometimes I go weeks without seeing or hearing from anyone other than neighbors - this week was an exception.  I went to sis's for dinner one evening and brother/sil were there too.  A niece I hadn't seen in about 5 years was there as well.  In town from Arkansas.  Later in week I saw another niece I had seen since Glen's funeral (2 1/2 yrs.).  She was in town and came by for a visit.  I went to lunch with Glen's aunt & uncle (hadn't seen in a year) and G's nephew came by Saturday for a visit.  We always have great talks.
Today I am going with bro/sil to another nieces house for a family get together with her growing family.

I am not feeding birds like normal - but have so many showing up.  Birds that never even came before.  The squirrels are a blast to watch - they love to play.  Had 4 young racoons the other night - boy those things can run fast.  They were chasing each other and playing.  Stayed for just a few minutes and left - nothing to see here kids!!!!!!

My week:
  • Cut and colored hair at home
  • No need to water anything this week.  Barrels are full and still haven't used hose for plants
  • Picking lots of goodies - zucchini, peppers, cukes, and onion
  • I got a new cell phone at no cost.  They are upgrading the system and sent me a new one - a SMART flip-phone!  Who knew?  I will not use it for anything other than a phone - but it does stuff!!
  • Renewed library book online until I get back to library
  • I did drop off paid bills at P.O. and I bought 100 Forever stamps before they go up in price
  • Sis sent me home with leftovers.  I got spaghetti, sauce & meatballs I froze for another dinner.  Extra meatballs I used this week.  Garlic bread I used.  Brownies - you know I ate those!!!!
  • My printer/scanner seems to have finally bit the dust.  I have been able to fix in the past - but I think it died this time.  I have options at library and a shop down the street and my neighbor has one - so I have time to look around and decide.    Lucky to have options in case.
  • I did a feed store run after I met aunt & uncle.  Stocked up.
  • NO grocery store
  • Eating from garden and home - just doing all the normal stuff
  • NO yard work this week - too wet.  I sure can't wait to get out there tomorrow - it needs help!!!
Meals this past week:
Tuna patty, leftover pasta/veg salad corn on cob
Dinner at sis's
Meatball & cheese 'sub' - using hotdog buns from frig
Burger on garlic bread (instead of bun) and salad
Ate out with aunt & uncle (Taco Bell)
Fried zucchini strips and cheesy mashed potatoes
Cheesy potato cakes and salad (used leftover mashed pots)
Ate brownies, fruit for snacks
                                 Fried zucchini and cheesy mashed - super tasty and filling!

How has your week been?  How are those gardens doing?  Anyone get any good deals this week?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!  LOL

I sure hope all are well.  Praying for rain for the dry and scorched areas.  Those in fire areas - prayers for safety.  Flooding, drought, fires, hunger....... so much going on in the world.  Please keep all in your prayers.
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life, he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."
John 6:35

Lord, we pray for all the people of the world and for their safety.  Help us each to be better humans, each and every day.  Thank you for our many blessings - big and small.  Thank you for each new day.  We are blessed indeed.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Grocery Shopping

 Howdy everyone!  Yesterday and today are grocery ad days.  I usually get a copy on Wednesday (as sales start then), and another copy on Thursday.  I look at them every week - but many weeks I don't go shopping.
There is no need to for me - as I have plenty here.  If I see a great deal, I will go and try to participate.  Of course there are the clearance aisles - I love to look there.

There are a lot of little tips that can save you some money if you just take the time to plan.

The front page of the ad is probably the best deals of the ad.  It has all the items that are marked really low trying to draw you in, and it is often fresh items. (Loss leaders).  The stores don't make much money on those items - but they are used to bring you in and thus you buy those and MANY MORE items!
The remainder of most ads is junk and non-healthy items.  Highly processed foods, junk food, and non food items make up remainder of ad.

Think about sales and stock-up accordingly.  There are a couple ways to save.

Seasonal sales - the things we all buy at certain times of the year.  Hotdogs, condiments, turkey, ham, cream soups, baked beans, fresh citrus, apples, etc.
Cyclical sales  - sales that hit every so many weeks.  Kind of watch and keep track.  Usually these happen every 6, 9 or 12 weeks.  You can usually figure out the schedule.  Keep at least enough of those items to last until the next time.
Clearance - ALWAYS check the clearance sections.  Items are not necessarily about to become dated (best by) - they are most often over stock.  Crazy as that sounds - it is what happens at a lot of stores.  You would think they would like having extra stock - but no.  I was told by my grocer that once they fill the regular aisle up - all extra gets marked down and put in clearance.  So the same item can cost 2 different prices at the same time.  They want nothing in their back rooms.  This is something we all need to remember - as it means that WHAT YOU SEE IS ALL THERE IS!!!!!!!  This is why a grocery can be wiped out of stock in an emergency in no time.  Kind of scary.
Check produce, bakery, dairy, meat sections as well for markdowns.  Those areas generally have markdowns when getting close to sell by or best by dates.  Get it and can or freeze it!!!!

Shop the perimeter of the store for the healthiest products.  Think about it - produce, deli, meat, and dairy are all on the perimeter.  These are the REAL foods!   Highly processed foods are in the middle of the store.

Look high and low - for better prices.  Generally the most expensive items are at eye level - that is where you look first and they know it.  Off brands and store brands are usually up or down.  Most times the quality is the same of better.  You would be amazed at how many different brands are processed at the same facility and just labeled differently!!!!
End caps are highly visual displays made to catch your attention.  They are not necessarily sales!  Chips, pop, processed food - it's all there.  Not usually real food or special prices.  Don't be fooled.

Coupons used to be a great way to save - not so much any more.  Most coupons are for high priced items or highly processed goods.  I remember the days of double and triple coupons and the days of .40 and .50+ coupons.  Those are unheard of today.  I used to go crazy with coupons - and get tons of items for almost nothing.  I could have a deep cart over flowing and maybe spend $10.  Not possible today.  I very seldom use a coupon - maybe for cat food or hair dye - not much else.
If you can find a good coupon for a good product - use it.  That is free money.

Now that gardens are starting to produce - I won't be going to the store much at all.  I would rather spend my dollars at a produce stand if need be.  Our produce stands are mainly local people selling their goods - and I like supporting local.

Take time and watch ads and really study them.  When you find a super sale - stock up!!!  Prices will positively keep going up - no doubt about it.  It is called inflation and supply and demand.  Whatever you can get cheaply now is a dollar saved in the future.  Try to keep yourself stoked up WELL.
REMEMBER last year!!!!!!!  Think about those things that disappeared on the shelves - it could happen again.  Be prepared.
No one knows what the future holds for us.  We have to be able to depend on ourselves.  You and you alone are responsible for making sure you and your families are supplied and prepared.
Be prepared NOT scared or frightened of the future.

So watch your ads and know how they work.  Watch for un-advertised markdowns, clearance and local deals. Check out farm stands and local farmers and growers (you are helping your community). Stock as much as you possibly can and never be stuck without.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

All in a Day

 Sometimes life isn't real exciting.  It is just the normal stuff day after day.  You all know what I mean.  New day - same old stuff!  Well, I guess we all see and hear different things each day - so today I will just share a little of what I see on a normal day.  Maybe the scenery will be a little different than yours!!!

                                          So welcome to my yard.  Let's do a look about!

Coreopsis is blooming - and the bees love it.  Not the prettiest flower - but they are bright and cheery.

Old fashioned phlox.  This came from my parents home.  I have it in several places.  Finally starting to bloom - as that darned old ground hog in the spring 'pruned' all my plants!  I guess he loved it.  I love the purple color and it smells so sweet.

Picking some kind of produce almost daily now.  I have gotten a couple cucumbers as well as zucchini and peppers.  Tomatoes not nearly ripe yet!
My plants are getting so big and full.  The tomato plants are glorious looking and have lots of little toms and tons of blooms.  Loving the fact that I have lots of bees around.

Lot's of peppers hanging out there.  Didn't plant traditional bell peppers this year - these are sweet green banana like peppers.  They don't get yellow.  I forget the name of them.  They are tasty!

If you look closely at the centers of the echinacea you will see the finches are already starting to eat the seeds!  I have been doing less food for the birds - as they are telling us NOT to feed right now - there is some disease going around with wild birds.  I have seen none that look sick.  I do keep the bird baths full (not supposed to do that either) - but I clean well every day.  I do put out peanuts for the jays and cardinals and woodpeckers and of course they eat everything that falls on the ground from squirrels.  Robins - well they stay on the ground and eat worms and buggers.
Suddenly, there are tons more birds in the back yard than I have ever seen.  More and more variety.  Not sure I understand why!

Blackie looking all handsome sitting out there looking like a Halloween cat amongst the leaves!  First the tulip poplar flowers fell - then the leaves - now it is still leaves and some darned old pods falling.  Messiest tree ever!  Blackie makes sure the yard stays safe for the girls - he has become quite the protector.
Momma just hanging out in her house!  She sleeps most of the day (and eats) - and catches mice at night!  She is so fuzzy and soft.  Such a sweet old gal.
Fluffy actually posing for me!  Looking at me  as if to say "what?"!!!!  LOL  She is such a sweet pea. 

A few 'mators hiding.  They are really hard to find as there is so much plant!  Can't wait to get the first taste of a fresh one.  YUM.

Garden dinner.  One of my zucchini cooked up with some leftover taco meat and salsa.  Starting to gift to others now!  Such a versatile veggie.

Well, there you go.  Just a little look around.  Not a lot happening - cleaning inside a lot and decluttering.  Rain MAY leave us alone today and tomorrow - then back again.  It has been hard to get outside to do stuff.  It is either heat and humidity or rain - it's always something!!!!!  LOL  
So many are having such a horrible time with heat and dryness and FIRES.  Prayers for all.

Just glad to have another day - so trying not to complain too much here.
Have a great day!!!!!  Stay safe!


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Thinking About Christmas in July - YIKES

 I know!  I know!  I know!
Gardens are coming on and flowers are blooming.  The heat is on and rains are falling.  BUT, yes now is the time to think about some items for our Christmas gift boxes.
Some gifts have to be thought of during the summer months - because that is when ingredients are plentiful!

2 quarts crushed/finely chopped pineapple (about 2 whole pineapples)
2 1/2 C white sugar
2 1/2 C brown sugar
1 lemon - pulp and juice
2 C water
1 - 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries (chopped and rinsed)
1 tsp. almond extract
Makes 8 - 1/2 pints

Combine all ingredients except cherry and extract.  Bring to a slow boil and stir until sugar is all dissolved. Cook rapidly to a gel phase - stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in cherries and almond extract.  Place in hot jars and leave 1/4" head space.  Process for 15 minutes in a water bath.
YUM!!!!  How wonderful on biscuits over ice cream or oatmeal.  So many uses.

                                                              Enchilada Sauce

                                       Click on picture to enlarge and better be able to read

Pull your lemon balm or mint and remove leaves.  Crush a little or bruise the leaves.  Place leaves in a jar - lightly packing about 3/4 full.  Top with vodka or rum.  Lid and place in a cool dark place - for around 4 months.  Shake every now and then.
Strain and place in nice bottle or jar and use as you would store bought.

                                                                        Lemon balm

This is the one I use - as per Martha Stewart recipe.  There are many out there!
2 split vanilla beans per 1 cup of vodka.  Let it set 3 - 4 months before using.

Place crushed or bruised leaves of any herbs - basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc. in a jar and cover with cider vinegar.  Let it set for a few months to absorb herb flavors.  Great to use over Italian foods or as a salad topping.  Many uses.

Think about spaghetti sauces, pizza sauce, pickles, relishes, peppers, Cowboy candy (jalapenos), jellies and jams - anything you can prepare from fresh and can.  These things make wonderful gifts!

Watch the thrift stores and yard sales for fancy little bottles and jars to place vinegars or extracts in.  You can get them for next to nothing.  Dollar Tree is another place to look for cute little bottles.
You can make up pretty labels and copy at home to really make your items look special.
These items can be purchased at high end specialty stores for a LOT of money.  Make it yourself for little.

So even though you may be sweating your bum off - it is time to start looking around for all these wonderful fresh goodies to turn into beautiful and thoughtful special gifts.

PS ** You might want to keep watch for garden seeds on markdown.  They would make a nice addition to gift baskets with maybe some garden gloves or grow pots.  
Let's get CREATIVE!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/11

 Happy Sunday everyone.  It is a gloomy and wet morning here.  Rain and more rain - I sure wish I could send some of it to you who need it so badly.  We have a chance of rain for every single day this coming week.  Temps here have cooled a bit, which is lovely, it is just muggy feeling.  I feel so sorry for those living out West where the temps are so incredibly dangerous.  Please take care.
                            Squirrel planted and approved!  It is going to be a double bloomer

The week started with the 4th of July and it was horrible here.  That night was like being in the epicenter of a war zone for hours on end.  It didn't stop until 1AM.  I was totally surrounded with idiots who had let loose of too many of their dollars!!!!!  UGH! (I can't begin to describe the noise)

Thursday we had a major downpour and storms.  Friday cooled so much and was just perfect.  I got a lot done outside and was so tired at the end of the day.  I sat out on the porch at the end of the day and watched others sitting out, the littles across the street being so sweet, listened to birds and had a kitty at my feet.  It was a perfect end to a busy day.  More rain came in yesterday and it rained during the entire overnight.
I got proficient with my ladder this week!!!  A couple big outdoor jobs checked off the list.  Boy did I use muscle I had forgotten about!!!!

My week:
  • Pruned the lower limbs of my big old trees (over 50+ years old).  Got the limbs that were hanging over the roof and gutter, over the greenhouse, over the power lines and just general trimming.  The limbs are all out back to dry for burning at a later date
  • I used the air fryer again this week.  Slowly learning
  • I cleaned up leaves 2X this week.  Raked once and blew them once.  It looks so nice when they are clean.  Doesn't last long - but it looks nice!
  • I did a small repair on a pair of jeans.  I managed a super glue spot about the size of a thumbprint on them and it discolored.  Didn't come out after washing.  I used a dark blue permanent marker (which turned kind of purple blue) and then used a gray marker.  You can NOT see the spot at all now!!!!!
  • I am HARVESTING!!!!!  I got 9 zucchini this week and several peppers.  I have a pepper called Holy Mole' - supposed to be milder than jalapeno but the same flavor.  Holy Mole' were they wrong - it was hot!  LOL  That is OK - I 'll use them.
                                     This is what a Holy Mole' looks like - super long and skinny
  • I did make a grocery run finally.  Not much - mainly fresh stuff.  Did get a good deal on cat litter - 20 lb. bags for 2.99 - got the last 2 on the shelves.  Found purple cauliflower in .99 bin.  Got 2 cantaloupes 2/$5.  So super sweet and juicy.  One is already gone!!!
  • I cleaned the gutters and the downspouts on Friday.  I noticed on Thursday's rain they looked full!  Gutters were messy, especially out back - but the downspouts had gotten plugged up.  Took them apart and cleaned out.  All clean and ready for more rain!  That was quite a tiring job!
  • Cut more basil
  • Just doing all the normal stuff.  Cooking from home, using leftovers, basic cleaning, drinking tea and water, laundry in cold and used dehumidifier water in laundry.
Meals this past week:
Various fish, chicken and potato bites (in air fryer) and salad - (all cut in pieces and breaded)
Broccoli/rice/cheese and salad
Club sandwich and chips
Zucchini/pepper/chicken/pasta mix up - (pasta from freezer)
Hard shell tacos
Sauteed zucchini with leftover taco meat and salsa added (so good)
Pasta and veggie salad (mainly veggies)

OJ and cantaloupe for fruit this week.
                                Colorful pasta and veggie salad.  So tasty and made plenty

How was your week?  Are your gardens producing?  SO many yummies to be had now - whether home grown or farm markets!  Any good bargains this week?

I wish you all a safe and healthy week.  Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.  
Galatians 5:13

Lord help us be good neighbors and love others with our whole hearts.  Prayers for peace and kindness in the world.  May all people love one another and have peace.  AMEN

Thursday, July 8, 2021

How I Live on Little $$$$$

 I know I live on less money than many people believe possible.  My past and my way of life for years has enabled me to do this.  I do have a decent income with SS and PERF (hub's retirement).  I have really started saving more - which was truly surprising to me.
I don't necessarily save to just have it - but to live in case of emergencies or need for spending on big projects.  I also like having extra to donate at times.
I pretty much live on less than one of these checks per month.

My biggest save is  the house!  It is PAID for.  We bought a very inexpensive home, smaller than most might want and worked hard to pay it off as soon as possible.  That is a blessing now.  My property taxes are very reasonable.  Homeowner's insurance costs far more than anything else I pay - as I cover myself for for any problem that may arise. (called an Umbrella).  I pay that insurance once a year and it is NOT included in my monthly budget $.  It comes from savings.

Next I stay home and do NOT shop very often.  I know people who feel the need to go to stores of some sort every day!!!!  Not me.  Staying home and not spending is a huge money saver.
I often make plans to go out shopping and then talk myself our of it!!!!  I really need nothing.  Why should I go out and tempt myself?

I don't grocery shop every week.  No need.  I have a very ample pantry and deep pantry.  If not for pets and animals I wouldn't need to spend much of anything for a LONG, LONG time.  
I can eat a very varied diet for a long while and not shop.  If I would run out of fresh - I can canned and frozen.  I could survive quite well.
I grow a garden - not huge - but ample.  It could be more if I so desired.

I USE up everything.  I use all leftovers in some way - whether another meal, re-inventing into something new, or freezing for the future.
I wear my clothes for a long time - I don't dress fancy, so no need for fancy clothes.  I spend most of my life barefoot or in flip-flops!  I do have good shoes!!  LOL

I do NOT shop online.  Nope!!!  I just don't.  I want to see what I am buying.

I have lowered my basic bills as low as I can.  I am now in the process of lowering a couple of bills that will add up to about another $100 a month that I don't have to spend.  You can call places and ask for lower rates - many times they say yes (especially if you threaten to leave!)

I don't buy a lot of gifts. I give homemade items and gift cards for most.  Little kids get stuff - but I watch for deals and  sales.

I use what I have.  I cook from home and don't go out to eat (unless it is with a gift card).  I experiment with food - so have variety.  I can make things.  I am handy around the house and yard.  I can repair many things myself.  IF I can in any way do it myself, I will.  I have and know many family, friends, and neighbors that are in various trades - and I would rather help them with my business than strangers.

My monthly budget DOES include all utilities, Medicare and supplemental insurance, life insurance and household expenses.
I do vehicle insurance 2X a year, car registration 1X, property taxes 1X (I pay all at once) and homeowner's insurance 1X a year.  These all come from savings (part of why I save).

Mainly, I have ENOUGH!!!!!  I don't need big and fancy.  I don't need new and improved.  I don't need gadgets out the wazoo.  I can make do with what I have and that is MY choice.  I am blessed in so many ways.  There are so many people in the world who would feel rich with what I have.  Many would feel rich with what you have.  Sure others would feel poor - but I do feel sorry for those people.  
People have become accustomed to having SO much - to excess.  It isn't needed and doesn't make you any happier (some may argue that).
Now I realize that there are many who have medical problems and need to spend funds on supplies and medications.  Those can be huge.  

I am content with my life and with what I have.  I could have more and bigger - and maybe I will at some point - but I don't have to.  I have enough.
Learn to live BENEATH your means and you can live well.  Don't fall for the temptations of others and for the need of stuff.  You really need very little to live a happy life.

I hope this makes someone feel OK that they don't have big, new, expensive and fancy stuff.  It is OK.  You live you!  I live me!  We don't have to be the same.  We don't have to agree.  
We just need to be true to ourselves and plan a little bit for the future.  Things happen and come up.  We DO need to be prepared for those.

Be happy with what you have - you are far "richer" than most!
Remember "rich" really has nothing to do with $$$$$$.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Summer Reminders - Lot's of Harvest & YUM

 It is that time of the year that the gardens are really starting to produce.  So much fresh and wonderful food being produced.  REAL FOOD!  NUTRITIOUS FOOD!
I just love this time of the year.  You can walk out to your yard and get groceries!  How wonderful is that?  I love that friends, family and neighbors share with each other.
There is nothing better than good fresh veggies.  So many things we can do with them.  It doesn't need to be boring.
Just a reminder - a few ideas and yummy looking pictures!
                                                 Tomatoes aren't just for salad!

                                                      Green beans - hot or cold

                                    My summer favorite!!!!  Love fried green tomatoes!!!

                                        Pizza on zucchini - more than one way to eat pizza!~

Stuffed squash - zucchini or yellow.  Can stuff with rice, tomatoes sauce, meat, dressing, etc.  YUM

                                                               Another favorite!!

Grilled or oven baked stuffed peppers.  You can stuff with anything and you can stuff ALL kinds of peppers.

This says it all!!!  You don't have to be fancy.  Eat as much of this summer produce as possible.  Enjoy those fresh ingredients while you can get them.  Can or freeze what is left over.  Spread the wonder of summer all through the year.

Each fresh, eat the yumminess of summer, eat good whole REAL food.  You will be better for it!!!!