Tuesday, November 30, 2021

O Pantry Shelves...O Pantry Shelves...

 OK sing it with me.  O pantry shelves, O pantry shelves - O how I love my pantry shelves!  Were you singing to the tune of O Tannenbaum?  I was!!!!  LOL!  (yep, now it is in your head all day).

Yes, I love my deep pantry.  It sure does comes in handy and it truly does save money.  So much of what I have was purchased cheaply!  That is a huge savings in itself.  Money in the bank.  It also saves that I can do whatever meals or treats or snacks or whatever - without going shopping.  
Most of us tend to spend MORE than we plan when we go to the store.  It is pretty much a given.
Now that can be good - if you find super-duper deals - but it can also be a catalyst to just buy.

Over Thanksgiving I had a nice dinner and did not spend a penny!  Sure, I did buy a cheap turkey the week before - but that is for later on.  I did not need it, as I already had one.
I had everything - for dinner and dessert.  Nice feeling.
Had I not had turkey - well it could have been ham, brisket, pork roast, meatloaf, anything.

Over the weekend I decided to use some of my turkey to make turkey salad.  Well, I look in frig and the jar of Mayo was about empty and it was pretty old and just smelled funky.  It got tossed.  I walked in and got a new jar from the pantry.  No relish in the frig.  Went downstairs and got a jar of home canned sweet relish.  I cannot begin to tell you the last time I bought relish.  I have been using homemade for years.
I grab a couple little onions (from garden) on my way back up the stairs.
I used the last two biscuits in sandwiches and I still had bread and snack crackers as well.

Grabbed the last roll of TP from the basket in the bathroom.  Well, I replenished the basket with what I have in stock.  
Chewable Vit. C bottle was very low - so I went in the medical cabinet and got another bottle.  Good to go.
Filled dry cat food containers with supplies on hand and filled the bin with squirrel corn and bird seed with what I have on hand.  Cleaned the cat litter pan - yep, you guessed it, with new litter I have on hand.

I have everything I need to make Christmas cookies, candy and breads.  Trail Mix supplies on hand - I use whatever I have and make up my own as I go.
I have all kinds of foods I can make when the kids come up for Christmas.  I can make BBQ baby wienies (cut up reg. ones) or BBQ meatballs.  I can make pulled pork or Mexican chicken.  I have cheeses of all sorts and crackers - pickles, olives, snacks.  I have paper plates and napkins I can use to make the day a no 'dishes' day.  I make tea and ice ahead of time.  I will have cookie, candy and breads to munch on.

It is nice to be prepared.  I love having "my own grocery" right here under my roof!!!!
It is more than groceries - many people don't think about other stuff.

Pet supplies of all types - food, litter, flea meds, heartworm meds
Wild critter supplies - birdseed, corn, suet (I make that), etc. **Use those empty feed bags for trash
Medical supplies of different sorts
Body and bath items
Cleaning supplies - I keep that simple.  Vinegar, baking soda, magic erasers, cleanser, etc.
Outdoors & vehicles - ice melt, windshield washer fluids, antifreeze, Heat for gas tank, shovels, etc.
Laundry supplies - again I simplify.  Laundry soap (use way less than it says), vinegar for softening, baking soda  and peroxide for whitening.
Holidays - have tons of paper, bags, boxes and ribbons from past sales and I re-use over and over.  Bought no cards this year - I have tons left from many years back.
Postage - I always have many, many stamps on hand
EXTRA socks, undies, clothes, etc.  Make sure you are supplied - buy on sale and keep them till needed.  **Also learn to mend
CASH - yes, always have cash on hand!  You may not be able to get to the bank or use the bank.  Having cash on hand would not solve all problems - but it sure can be helpful.

You all know the list goes on and on.  Everything you use on a regular basis is what you need to have on hand.  Things you need occasionally, yes have those as well.  
We never know what can happen and we may need to rely solely on our pantries.

I am NOT worried about world events or supply chains - I am prepared.
I am NOT worried about bad weather and staying home - I am prepared.
I am NOT worried about illness that may keep me home - I am prepared.
If working I would NOT be worried about loss of income - I am prepared.
Someone needs help - I am NOT going to run short when I help.

The world can throw all kinds of curve balls our way - we need to be prepared.
So go and sing...........
O pantry shelves, O pantry shelves. O how I love my pantry shelves!!!!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Weekly Wrap Up 11/28

 Happy Sunday to all.  Last weekend of November - wow - time is flying.  
We have had rain and cold and wind part of week.  This coming week is supposed to stay in the 40's and up.  I can handle that!!!
The past few nights we have had the most incredible sunsets.  The brightest pinks and oranges - just beautiful.  There are no Christmas lights that can come close to matching God's lights!

I found out yesterday that my sister (who's 90) is in the hospital.  She fell going out to her garage (while going out to take leftovers to a neighbor) and fell on her left shoulder.  She broke/fractured her shoulder.  No surgery to be done, can't cast - so she is being braced and having to do LOTS of therapy.  That may be ongoing for a bit.  Doubtful she goes home for a little bit.  She is such a little bitty gal (5') and she is most definitely "her" Mom.  LOL!  Just like Momma she is the most stubborn thing!  I sure hope she mends quickly.

My little tree!
 My quiet week:
  • Did a lot of cleaning - vacuuming, dusting, mopping, etc.
  • Did my little bit of Christmas decorating
  • Early in week - more raking of leaves
  • First half of week, I made easy and simple meals leading up to turkey day!
  • Did a little sewing
  • I made tea this week.  It has been a while.  Tea gets boring to me - so I changed up flavors each day by adding different flavorings to each glass (orange, lemon, strawberry)
  • My neighbor who came for Tday dinner brought several sampler pieces of cheesecake he purchased.  I made a cherry cheesecake - so have had plenty.  He got half of cherry to take home.  My balance is going in freezer today - I love frozen cheesecake
  • I put the turkey carcass in the freezer to make stock later
  • I have been getting lots of premium channels on cable this week and weekend.  Not sure how long it will last - but recording some movies for later
  • I did a knock off of my favorite restaurant dinner - using turkey instead of chicken.  Alice Springs Chicken from Outback.  I sauteed mushrooms and onion in gravy/butter.  Heated turkey and topped with Swiss cheese then added mushrooms.  Oh my goodness, I think it was the best bite that I have ever made (seriously good).  Had it with fries - as I always got fries at Outback as well.
  • Paid everything I had here for the month
  • Stayed home all week - never leaving the property
Meals this past week:
Burrito made with leftovers and topped with slaw mix
Dinty Moore beef stew (had it in pantry)
Waffles from freezer
Pizza slices from freezer
Thanksgiving - turkey, baked mac n cheese, biscuits, gravy, green beans & dessert (small dinner)
Thanksgiving leftovers
'Alice Springs' turkey & fries
SNACKS - cereal, small salad, bologna  & crackers, cheesecake, turkey biscuits
                                                            Alice Springs turkey

How did your week go?  Did you get to have or be with others for Thanksgiving?   Still eating leftovers?  Did you do any shopping this week?  Deals?  Inquiring minds need to know!!!!  LOL
I always look forward to hearing from each of you.

Stay safe, stay warm, stay healthy. 
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Every day.  We have all had those times in life that our faith is shaken - but we continue on.  God has a plan - someday we will understand.  Never stop believing.  Healing blessings to all.  

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask.  Pray then like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven .......
Matthew 6: 8-10

Friday, November 26, 2021

So it Begins!!!

 Yes indeed.  Thanksgiving is over.  Messes cleaned up.  Leftovers put away.  Plenty to eat for the weekend.  
Black Friday has started here in U.S.  Crazy crowds and shopping.  
Decorating.  Winter scents.  Cold weather.  Wrapping.  Lights.  Movies. ..........

ALSO it is a time for depression, sadness, loneliness, and feelings of dread.  Be aware and watch for these things in people you know.  Many people do not do well during the holiday season.  Check on shut-ins and people you know who live alone.  No one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors.  Be aware and reach out.  Maybe just a caring word or act of kindness can change a day, week, month or season for someone.

I am not shopping at all this weekend - I will be staying home in this warm safe place.  I saw on the news this morning that there were long lines as early as 4AM, huge lines, lots of people, and hardly a mask to be seen!!!  Yep, I will stay home.
I talked to a niece yesterday and she has 2 teenagers I buy for.  Well, she did something right, as they are very easy and not needy kids.  Of course they like $$$ and GC's - but they also just like simple things like warm socks, PJ's and goodies and yummies.  I can do that!

                                                           Aint this the truth?

So today I stay in, eat leftovers, sew, and maybe watch a movie and maybe even nap.  I have recorded a few movies over the past week or so that just seem to be fun for the holidays (not necessarily holiday movies).

So it is time to get busy and get ready for the NEXT special day.  Hoping many of you are done and just get to enjoy your time.
29 DAYS!!!!!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Holiday Blessings

 Good morning to all.  Tomorrow is the big turkey day here in the U.S..  I am sure many of you are already working on your meals, especially if you have many people coming.
My plans changed.  I was going to my nieces for dinner (bro's daughter) - but they (her immed. family) have been 'exposed' and it appears maybe her husband has IT!  So, we are all going to stay away and stay safe.
I am making a turkey here.  I had plans to do that anyway - I like leftover turkey!  A cold turkey sandwich the day after is always a favorite thing to look forward to!!  
This happens to be the time of the year that you can eat for a good week for next to nothing!  Cheap turkeys and leftovers lead to many different meal options for pennies!!  

Any way I do believe that either Thursday or Friday my neighbor/friend may come over for lunch.  When depends on whether his eldest bothers to invite him for dinner. :(
No problem for me - I am comfortable staying home and it is supposed to rain a lot tomorrow and then get cold again on Friday.  I can be thankful here as well as elsewhere.  I will be in my cozy home and tending my kitties and I will be watching a movie or two - and who knows what else!!

We hear so much bad going on in this world and it truly saddens the heart and soul.  Please remember that no matter what - we have been blessed.  Even if you only have a loaf of bread or a can of soup - be thankful.  God has given you another day - be thankful.

I hope you spend the day with loved ones, friends, neighbors or serving those who have no one or nothing.  We can all tend to others in some way.  
Maybe watch the parade, or football, or a holiday movie - spend time contemplating and praying - spend a day out of doors enjoying the nature God has blessed us with - decorate - just do something that brings joy to your heart and to others.

I will see you all Friday.  Praying you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and Thursday.

                                  HAPPY THANSGIVING AND BLESSINGS TO ALL

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Crazy Dates! (and a sad side note)

 Ok, we have had this discussion so many times and yet I always feel it needs to be repeated.
There are NO expiration dates!!  NO expiration dates!!!!  NO expiration dates!!!!
(except baby formula)

Now that being said - there are just some people who are determined the dates on food mean everything.  SOMEHOW the food in that can or box or bag - magically knows what the date is - and it magically goes bad!!!!!  REALLY?
Those dates are not mandated by the government and manufacturers use them - in my opinion - just to get you to buy more!  Yep, they are some sneaky snakes for sure.

Dates mean nothing to me.  I know for a fact that things last a long. long time from the dates.
MOST dates are "sell by" or "best if used by" - NOT EXPIRES!  Can you tell this just drives me crazy?

Let me show you an example of how stinking misleading this can be.
I got a turkey out of the freezer that I bought LAST fall.  (I see people ask on FB all the time - "should I throw it away?")  YIKES!!!  How much food and money was wasted before they had a brain cell that said ASK!
Any way - let me show you something.

This is the front of the sale tag.  As you see I got it for $5 and change.  Top right of tag - says  SELL by 2/9/21.  Now as I was moving it, the tag flipped over and what did I see on the back of the tag??
It says sell by 12/31/21!!!!!!!  That date hasn't even happened yet!  Purchased last fall.  So almost a year's difference in the SELL BY date.  No way does that mean - use by or expires on.
Yet, there are people who would simply throw this away.  It just makes me sick the food waste that we have in this country and others.  SO many hungry people - and so many 'igits' in this world that just waste and waste some more.

PLEASE if I get nothing else across to all my readers - I implore you to not throw food away. Don't waste things because you are relying on a date.  Please refrain from using the word expires - it DOESN'T!!!!!!
I hope you all have big plans for leftovers from this upcoming holiday food.  Use it, remake it, freeze it, can it, donate it, send it home with others - just DON'T waste it.

If you are the praying type - please say a prayer for Kim's family over at Out My Window (see & click on my side bar).  Her family has just received the most horrific news any family could possibly receive. Two small children were murdered by someone they trusted.  So tragic and so evil.  My heart goes out to her entire family, especially her dear nephew.
I do not understand these things, except to think God needed innocent, precious angels.
Lift them in prayer or good thoughts to whatever higher power you follow.
They were just little lambs of God - so innocent and trusting and precious.

God please help this family cope and understand that these babies are now with You and in Your arms. Let them be special angels to others.  Amen 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 11/21

 Good morning my friends.  Here we are just a few short days away from Thanksgiving and a few short weeks from Christmas!
I have much to do for Christmas.  This girl just hasn't had any giddy up and go at all this week.  Not sure if it is the weather or just me.  I need to get my bum a bobbing this week and really accomplish more.
I have plans for today - but as I sit here and look out my window - well, who knows.  It is raining and dark and dreary - just blah.
BUT, I need to remind myself I have been given this day as a gift from the Lord and I need to make good use of it!!

I will probably be going to my niece's home for Thanksgiving (brother's dau.).  I will bake a small turkey on Friday for here and then maybe have a neighbor over sometime on the weekend for dinner.  I have no real plans to go out shopping on Black Friday - what a mess it can be.  I think I may go instead to the orchard, as they sent me a message about fresh grapefruit and oranges and of course they have apples and cider.  Sounds tasty to me.

             I will probably post on Tuesday and Wednesday and then again on Friday this week.  

My quiet week:
  • I finally started sewing a little bit at the very end of the week on the blankets.  I just can't get myself motivated to sew!!!  I have much to do and need to get busy.  Wish me luck!
  • I cleaned the deck around the greenhouse of leaves one morning - HA - you can't tell it now!
  • I have raked leaves in the back twice this week and got them on the garden spot.  So many more leaves now due to wind and rain
  • I got my cards out and ready to address
  • Refilled all the animal bins with feed I have on hand
  • Trimmed my hair
  • I got to air the house on two days early in week, as it warmed a little - the kitties sure enjoyed some decent days!
  • Just doing all the normal things - using what I have, eating from home, cleaning this and that, staying out of stores and not spending, etc.
  • NO grocery store this week
My meals for this past week:
Taco pasta bowl (used leftover taco meat/beans)
Chili over Spanish rice (both from freezer)
Cheeseburger and fries
Fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and smoked sausage link
Deconstructed egg roll over rice
Chili cheese dogs over fries
Different version of goulash skillet - meat, chili beans, diced potatoes, salsa & cheese
SNACKS - cookies, fruit, cinnamon/sugar toast, juice

Deconstructed eggroll over rice.  I had NO hard oriental noodles - so I used bits of Triscuts from the bottom of the bag for crunch!  Quite tasty.  I used ham instead of sausage this time
                                 Chili cheese dog smothered fries.  That filled the belly well!

I have had a quiet week.  My main accomplishment was napping!!!!  LOL.  I guess I needed some extra rest as I am not really a big napper.
I sure do need to light a fire under me for the upcoming weeks.  How has your week been? You keeping busy?  Finding any deals or freebies?

I hope you all have a lovely week.  I know many will be entertaining family and friends and have much cooking to do.  Don't over do it!  ENJOY your time and efforts and your families.
Stay safe and healthy.  Travel mercies to all who are on the go this week.
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you."
Isaiah 41:13

Saturday, November 20, 2021

HEADS UP - Charlie Brown Fans

 Thought I would put this put there for all those people who still like a little nostalgia around the holidays.   SUNDAY - Nov. 21 at 7:30/6:30C on PBS - The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  One time only this year.

I know we are all adults - but I still like looking at these fun and wholesome short videos around the holidays.  It takes me back to a much simpler time in life.  There is always a good story and moral to them.
So plan ahead and watch sweet Charlie and gang this Sunday or set to record.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Who Got Chocolate in my Peanut Butter?

 Remember the commercials?  Who got chocolate in my peanut butter?  Who got peanut butter on my chocolate?  LOL  Well it does seem to be a tasty treat that many like.
Candy bars can be very expensive.  If you pay the same price as the old days  - you get a smaller candy.  Just like most things.

A neighbor brought me a package of cookies back from the grocery.  Thought I may like them.
YES PLEASE!!!!!  There are 18 cookies in this package and I was told they cost 1.38.  Now 2 or 3 of these would probably be a good replacement for a regular Reese's Cup candy bar.  So that is like 6-9 candy bars !!! (IF you can stop at 2 or 3)  For 1.38!!!!!

These are good!!!!!  Oh yes.  I will say they are NOT quite as sickening sweet as a candy bar - but still sweet.  Quite a tasty treat.

Homemade goodies with what you have on hand can be a good substitute for a candy bar as well.  I have made Buckeye candy for years.  It really is easy - I usually have everything needed on hand - and well, there is that peanut/chocolate thing again!!  For those who don't know - a Buckeye is a type of nut that is dark brown with a tan spot on it (grows prolifically in OH).  When finished the candy balls look like the nut.
                                                                          The nut
**Just a side note:  These nuts were named so, because they look like deer's eyes!  They are edible ONLY IF shelled and roasted - otherwise they are toxic to humans.  They are used in a lot of crafts.

As easy as it is to make - making the balls and dipping them is time consuming.  I decided to skip that step and make in a pan and now I have Buckeye bites! (OK - they don't don't look the same - but the taste is there)

                                                  (click on recipe to enlarge and see better)

I was going through the freezer the other day (making room for that turkey) and I came across chips that were peanut butter/chocolate.  Hmmmm - good in cookies, or placed on a hot pan of brownies.  They melt - then I spread around and that is the icing!  My brownies are always a hit (chips are always the icing).  Put some in chocolate muffins - oh yes there are many ways to use those chips!  They will get used this holiday season for sure.

So if you like your peanut butter and your chocolate - here are a couple options!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Ideas for Easy, Fun and Inexpensive Little Gifts

 We all have those groups we like to give gifts to that we don't have to spend a fortune on.  Office coworkers, neighbors, the mailman, teachers, or just little things to have on hand IN CASE!
We all know the common denominator with all humans is eating!!!!  We need to - we like to - we want to....  
I am a huge contributor of food to many.  Whether it is the goodie basket/bags or just fixing sweets and goodies on a plate.  I like to make jar recipes as well.  Most any baking recipe can be turned into a jar or baggie recipe.  Place all dry ingredients in jar or bag - give instructions on what wet ingredients recipient will need and how to bake.  Easy peasy!!

So homemade sweet or savory breads are wonderful, cookies, muffins, candies, brownies, trail mix, you name it.  All tasty and fun.
You can get foil pans at the dollar store or you can use thrifted plates for cookies, etc.  The recipient can keep it.  Wrap a bread in plastic wrap - then wrap a dish towel around it with a ribbon.  Many neat ways to present.
A great way to present cookies.  Clean and wrap old Pringle cans.  Cookies can't be huge, but this makes a nice gift idea.  I have seen people gift cookies in a tall straight glass as well.  You get cookies and a milk glass all in one!
How cute?  I love this.  Just a sweet token gift for the cook.  Something they can use in the kitchen and something yummy to snack on.
Anything in a jar is a hit!  You can decorate the jars in any way you want.  Or just add a bit of ribbon or jute twine and some greenery and you have a sweet gift.  Instead of you don't want to give away your canning jars - you can buy jars at the dollar tree for $1 ea.  Think M & M's, hard candies, pretzels, chocolates, anything.  You can also make jar mixes.  Cut a pretty circle out of fabric or holiday paper t fit over the flat on top then add the band. 
Plain old lunch bags make great wrapping for all kinds of things.  Goodness, you can get 50 or 100 for little money.  You can leave them plain and simply add a ribbon, yarn, or twine to the top.  You can decorate any way you like.  You can use for all kinds of gifts - bags with mixes, wrapped candies, baggies of cookies, a simple Dollar Tree pretty ornament (they do have some pretty ones) - whatever you want to add.  You can make up several and have them on hand for those 'drop by' guests!
TP tubes!  I have done this many times for all kinds of small gifts.  To keep things simple and inexpensive - fill with some kind of wrapped candies and then wrap like above (looks like an old fashioned taffy)/  I have used for jewelry and I even used for wrapping a pocket knife. 
YEP - toilet paper.  How cute and what a funny (yet useful) gift.  In this past year or so - everyone can appreciate the thought of TP.  Wrap in plastic - draw a snowman face, or any decoration.  You can make a saying to attach (for the person who has everything!) or draw some decor on paper and tape or glue to the front.  It sure is something everyone can use, they will laugh, and it doesn't cost a fortune.
How cute is this?  $2 from the dollar store!  I did something very similar a couple years ago - got an oven mitt, added a spatula and a bag of cookie mix - cost $3 from Dollar Tree.  You can add your own jar or bag of cookie, muffin, brownie mix to an oven mitt as well.
A bag of soup mix and a ladle, pancake mix and a turner, get creative and come up with your own ideas.
For a couple dollars you have a useful gift.

How about a mug and some flavored tea bags or hot chocolate mix?  A mug, warm footies and a small tube of lotion or lip balm.  A pretty candle holder and some votives (dollar store).  A homemade cheeseball and a box of crackers.  Small box of Velveeta & can of chili (to make easy dip) and pretzels or chips.  Hand warmers for the mailman (dollar store).  No end to the ideas.

Gifts don't have to be complicated nor do they have to cost a lot.  There are so many fun ideas that can be given.
More will be coming up in the coming days.
Look around your home and get that thinking cap on - have fun with this.  Isn't that what it should be all about?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Chilly Morning Ramblings

 My mornings have been very chilly the past few days.  Sunday gave way to the first measurable snow and WIND!  The outdoor kitties didn't come out of the greenhouse Sunday, except to potty, and then I think they held it in!!!!  Smart kitties - stayed in the warmer spot and out of the weather.
My going out consisted of only feeding them.  It was yuck and it was really nothing considering what is yet to come.
Oh I am a spring, summer and fall person!
View from the porch on Sunday!  It was gone by evening - it rained and warmed a tiny bit.  We only had about 1/2".

Not the best picture (taken through window) of the back this AM.  Leaves, leaves, every where leaves. 

I have been pulling together fabric for little girl quilted nap blankies.  I think I have it all laid out - so hopefully I will start sewing this week.  I plan on using an old mattress cover for a filler.  It is in very good shape, I don't use any longer - so I will cut and use to make the quilts a little warmer.  I have 3 to make and then baby doll blankies for 2 of them as well.
I am using fabric & pieces that I have had for years.  There will be no money spent on these at all.  3 special presents - cost ZERO.
I went through my supplies and I have everything for making a blended snack mix for the 3 older nephews.  I will include their favorite brownies (they love my brownies) and maybe some fudge or cookies.  Have everything for soup mixes I will be making for baskets as well.  
I do NEED to make my jelly!!!!  

I showed you my egg,  ham and cheese biscuits I made last week.  I thought I might show you how I get my egg nice and round.  I use an old wide mouth canning ring!  Yep,  grease it well and drop egg in (I broke yoke with fork) and fry - then flip entire thing and do other side.  
Slide a knife around edges and out pops a nice round egg just like restaurants serve.
You could use any item you have that is metal and round and open on both sides.  I like the rings as there are no sharp edges like there might be from using a can.

My biggest decisions each day is what am I going to eat!!!  Such problems - LOL.  That is how slow and laid back my days are.  No schedule to meet, no leaving if I so desire - heck I can eat junk for a meal if I want.  Normally I don't - but I could.  Feeding kitties is my one schedule item.
Yep - life in the slow lane - there is much to be said for it.

We are to get more rain this week and a couple decent days - then back to chilly days.  I will get the leaves all gathered at some point and they will be put on the garden area for the winter.  Heck more leaves will be falling - so no rush. 
My house stays pretty neat - I am not a messy person.  Just dust and vacuuming most of the time, and then only when I feel like it!   (not like I have a lot of company).  Dust/fur bunnies seem to move in VERY often!  I continue to slowly declutter.
I will be crafting more in the weeks to come - and a little decorating for the holidays.

Just quiet and slow days around here.  How is it going in your home?  What does your week have in store for you?

TOMORROW - Inexpensive small gifts ideas and simple wrapping - using what you have or spending next to nothing!  Simple ideas for those co-workers and neighbors.

See you tomorrow.  Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Weekly Wrap Up 11/14

 Hello and happy Sunday to all.  Here we are at another new week.  The month is half over - good grief!  This month is all going so fast.

We started the week with some lovey weather - which let me get outside and do some work.  Then the rain and wind came and Brrrrrr.  The wind has been crazy for now 3 days - I am over it!  Woke this morning to a thin layer of WHITE stuff on the car!!!!!!!  YUK!
My tulip tree is now void of leaves - it was a mess out there.  Now, after the wind they have blown away from upper part of yard to the mid point!  That is helpful - as it will make it easier to get them to the garden. The maple has barely started turning color.

The days seem sooooooo long since the time change.  I get up an hour earlier (according to the clock) and it sure makes a difference.  Nights seem to last forever as well.  Dark at 6PM and not even remotely close to time for bed.  UGH.  I guess it did help me get a lot done this week - but the past 2 days have been so cold and yucky I have just kind vegged out in the house!!!  LOL - I have felt like a slug.

My week:
  • I got the balance of the garden cleared out and disposed of
  • I actually got to air the house for a couple days
  • Checked and serviced the whole house generator.  My neighbor and I did it and all looked good.  I cleaned out the spider webs.
  • Drained and put away the 2nd rain barrel
  • I cleaned the entire stove - like it has never been cleaned before!  LOL.  Yes, I clean it, but this was so thorough and it looks like a brand new stove (I worked most of the day on it)
  • I had a burner that would not light  - so I did a trouble shoot on it.  Checked out computer info and watched You Tube.  It now works and saved me an expensive service call and probably a BIG charge for something that I didn't need.
  • Wanted something sweet - so I made banana pudding.  I found banana & cheesecake flavored instant pudding mix in pantry (mixed together) - had cookies and banana.  Tasty stuff
  • Had the balance of a jug of milk that was "real close" to being off - so I froze 6 trays of cubes, made pudding and made biscuits to use it.  The cubes are being used in my morning drink
  • Made a small batch of homemade biscuits
  • Worked on straightening and sorting the over flow pantry area.  Found a few things I forgot about and will use soon.  More to do - but it is looking much better
  • Washed all the throw rugs and changed out 3 just to mix things up a bit
  • Ran to Big Lots and got a couple of new cat beds to put in the greenhouse to help make it be more warm and comfy.  I found a couple small gifts as well and items for goodie baskets
  • Same day ran to Kroger (2 blocks away) - and I did buy a .49/lb. turkey (13 lb,) and managed to get it in the freezer.  Had to spend $25 for that price - I got milk, cat food and some pears.  Heck I can't buy lunch meat that cheap.
  • Had a no meat day
  • Took a large soft basket I have and started putting all the goodie basket stuff I have in it - as well as things for my mixes I will be making
  • Just doing all the normal stuff - cooking from home - laundry in cold and air drying most, using Soda Stream, using leftovers, etc.
Meals this past week:
2 slices pizza from freezer and slaw
Cheesy tuna mac w/peas
Leftover mac and fish fillets
Chicken tamales over rice
Ham, egg, cheese biscuits
Stir fry veggies over rice 
Taco salad
SNACKS:  apple, nuts, banana smoothie, banana pudding, pears, biscuits and jelly

                                      Yummy egg, ham, cheese on biscuit sandwiches! COMFORT
           Taco salad (emphasis on salad) lots of lettuce and sill using my garden tomatoes!

How was your week?  Did you get any winter projects done?  Any deals or bargains?  Give us a shout out and let us know what is happening in your part of the world!

Wishing you a wonderful and blessed week in all ways.  Stay safe and healthy.  Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
Colossians 1:3

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Decluttering - It's MORE Than Stuff

 We all talk about decluttering our homes - our stuff.  That is something most of us work on a lot.  I mean, how much do we really NEED?  It is an ongoing project here.  35 years of accumulation of 2 people takes up a lot of room.

Did you ever consider the fact that you probably need to declutter in other ways?  I can almost guarantee you that we all need to downsize in other areas as well!!!

1.  STUFF - that we work on regularly.  It is nice to free up space in the home and it is nice to donate items to bless others.    Make sure you keep things that will help your life, make you happy, and that you really want.  Otherwise bless someone else.

2.  People are always on the go.  Busy, busy, busy.  If you work I can understand how life becomes complicated.  If you are home - quit saying "yes" all the time.  Many of us have established and confirmed we are now homebodies - and there is much positive to say about that.
I know often, when I make plans - I end thinking to myself  "I wish I could stay here and just curl up on the couch".  I have heard many people say this.
Your time is precious - it is OK to say no.  It is OK to stay home.  It is OK to do just what YOU want.
Slow down and enjoy all the gifts that God has given us.

3.  EXPECTATIONS - this is a hard one.  We all expect certain things of people and things.  Letting those expectations go/down feels like letting go of deep seated ways.  Today things have changed from when we were coming up in this world.  People do not perform the same, things do not last, and ideas have changed.  If we do not want to be continually disappointed - maybe we just shouldn't expect as much from others.
In NO way am I saying to downsize your morals or beliefs.  Do NOT let go of common sense.  YOU keep doing what you feel is right - just realize others may not live as you expect today.  They are the ones that have to survive and look to eternity for their actions.  You keep doing what is right - just realize that others may not.  

4.  NEGATIVE THOUGHTS - push them away!!!!  All they do is rob you of peace and joy.  They serve no one.  I see people every day who do nothing but complain.  Prices too high, stuff isn't available, I can't do this or that, the weather is going to be bad, traffic was slow, I don't have time, woah as me.................  
You all know people who just complain and moan about everything.  All it does is make you and others miserable.  
Instead think - I got it at on sale, I can substitute this, the snow is pretty or I will stay home, at least I have a car, I woke up this morning, the sun is shining.................
Negativity breeds negativity!!!!!!!!  Smiles and good attitudes breed happiness,
I will take the latter thank you!

So as you declutter your home and stuff - do it at your own pace, realize it may take a while (nothing happens overnight) and do it with a happy heart and attitude.
Wishing you all PEACE and JOY in your everyday lives!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Comfort Food - A Couple New Ones!

 Comfort food - it is just good for the soul!  We think of soups and casseroles, chili, spaghetti, noodles, roast, mashed potatoes....oh the list goes on and on. 

Today I will give you a couple new recipes that I consider comfort and they are quite simple.  Who doesn't like simple?  
When I think of comfort food I think of yummies that warm my insides on a cool or cold day.  Those days when we just want to nest at home and feel warm and cozy.

1 lb. of ground meat - browned
1 onion - chopped
15 oz. or pint of pizza sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs
1 C milk
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

Brown meat and onion, drain.  Stir in sauce, garlic salt and oregano - spread into a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, set aside.  Mix eggs, milk, flour, salt, oil  - pour over meat mixtures - top with parmesan cheese.  Bake 350* for 30  minutes.
Super easy and so yummy.
*You can add whatever pizza ingredients you want to the meat mixture.

1 lb. ground meat
 1 onion - chopped
reg. can cream of mushroom soup
reg. can of tomato soup
10 oz. of enchilada sauce
1 taco seasoning pack (or equivalent)
12 - 10 inch flour tortillas
2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat and onion - set aside.  Mix soups, enchilada sauce and taco seasoning together - set aside. 
Spoon meat mix evenly into the tortillas - roll - place seam down in an ungreased 13 x 9 pan.  Tope with soup mixtures and bake at 350* for 30-40  minutes - then sprinkle with cheese and bake till melted.
Can top with chopped tomato, olives, sour cream, etc.

2 C self rising flour
1/2 Tsp. baking soda
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 C milk
1/2 C cooked ham - chopped (I have used deli ham as well)
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese or your favorite
Combine flour and baking soda and set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients - add to flour mix.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake 425* for 16-18 minutes.
Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.  easy on the go bites!  Tope with sour cream if desired.

There you go - and few more easy recipes that are filling and yummy and will will warm a belly on a chilly day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Holiday Dinner - It Doesn't Have to Cost a Fortune

 It is time for those holiday dinners again.  Big family meals.  Lots of cooking and spending!  It really doesn't need to cost a fortune to feed your family or friends for holidays.
Right now I could do it with what I have here and not spend an extra cent.  I can almost guarantee there are many others on here that could do the same.

For weeks all I heard was NO turkeys!!!  It wasn't time.  They started showing up here a couple weeks ago and yes the price was higher.  We started at about 1.39/lb. - now they are in abundance in my area with one store selling for .33/lb.  I feel confident many other stores will have lower prices this week and next to follow suit.
All the other stuff for dinners is pretty darn cheap.

Last week Kroger had this add for those pre-cooked dinners.  It still seems pretty costly to me - but then again, it is all ready to eat!  No cooking.
Bone in turkey or ham to feed 6-8 with sides is $75.  Boneless turkey or ham to feed 4-6 with sides is $60.  I guess you are paying for the convenience.

In my opinion there is NOTHING that says one has to have turkey or ham for Thanksgiving or any other holiday.  
Shouldn't we be grateful for what we have and what we can find and not be angry because something isn't available?  I can  almost bet the pilgrims did not have turkey or ham at their first celebration.  LOL - If they had meat at all it was probably, fish or venison or rabbit.
The day (should be every day) is all about being thankful - not complaining.

Think outside the box if you can't afford to go out shopping, or you can't find something.  Fish, beef or pork or venison roasts, chicken - fried or baked, chops, Cornish hens........  There are so many choices and they can all be fancied up.

Sides - well they are cheap.  Green beans or green bean casserole - doesn't cost much.  Mashed potatoes - potatoes are pretty cheap or you can jazz up packaged potatoes if desired (no shame).  Gravy is basically free - drippings and a little thickening and water or milk.  Sweet potatoes will be on sale.  Corn fixed in any way - super inexpensive.  Dressing/stuffing - dried bread, drippings and a few seasonings - pretty simple and cheap.  Noodles - flour and eggs - pretty darn cheap.
Dessert - well, use what you have.  It doesn't have to be all fancy.  Most people are full of the main event - so dessert is just "icing on the cake" so to speak.

This is yummy and so stinking easy!  Doesn't cost much and odds are many have all ingredients on hand.

Love pecan pie - but the cost of pecans  is prohibitive?  Give this a try.  It is really, really good and tastes so much like pecan pie.

If you can't afford to shop - no need for fancy rolls.  Make your own or make biscuits or serve bread.  Look through those cabinets and pantries and see WHAT you DO have.  Use that and be thankful you can have a hot meal.
If you like turkey - well they are getting cheaper each day.  You can also get turkey breast or little turkey roasts.  
I saw a neat idea for making something easy and not too expensive the other day. 
Use deli turkey slices - spoon dressing over each slice, roll it up (like a jelly roll) and place in a pan and smother with gravy!  Heat/bake till heated through.  YUM.
How about something like homemade chicken Cordon Bleu?  Doesn't have to be difficult.  Think sliced chicken - deli ham or even Buddig ham - cheese - coat with melted butter or egg wash and seasoned crumbs - bake!

Use your imagination and get creative.  They holidays don't have to break the bank.  On the contrary  - it is wrong for it to do that.  It is supposed to be about being thankful for what we DO HAVE.
We are so truly blessed folks.  Please spread the positive vibe to all you know.

If you have no family to spend the day with - maybe have some neighbors or friends get together.  Others are alone as well.  It doesn't have to be a full fledged dinner - maybe coffee and dessert or a nice luncheon.  Just a nice visit is worth a lot.
OR go and help serve dinner and commune with those less fortunate.  That is a wonderful way to spend any day.  Not only are you making others feel special/loved/nourished - but you are reaching into your self and helping.  That is wonderful.

Hope this gives you a few ideas on saving a few dollars this holiday season.  No need to go nuts at the grocery stores.  YOU GOT THIS!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 11/7

 Happy Sunday to all - where ever you may be!  
Did you change your clocks?  UGH!  I sure didn't get that extra hour sleep that "they" keep telling us about.  If you have pets - odds are you didn't either!!!  Amazing how they can't read a clock - breakfast time is breakfast time!  My internal clock works that way too.  I wake up at the same time (even if Coogy didn't pat my face & give kisses) - and according to the clock it was an hour earlier!
My biggest gripe is that it will now get dark at an earlier hour.  Not a fan!!!

We have had some pretty chilly temps this past week.  Got that heavy frost and first freeze of the year.  They trees are turning.  That is many of them are - I still see so much green.  I have one tree that has colored leaves and my maple is as green as can be.  All the pretty flowers are now gone.
It does appear that there will be warmer temps this coming week.  Doesn't look like any lows in the 30's for a week or so.  That is fine with me - every day that we put off winter is one less in my book!!!

The tulip poplar tree out back.  The picture does not do it justice.  It just glows when the sun is on it.

Another quiet week here for the most part.
  • I did go out the first of week (warmer) and got all the heat stuff hooked up for the cats.  Also got the water bowls plugged in - so no freezing.
  • Worked on clearing more of the garden stuff out
  • Got one rain barrel  emptied and put away for the winter,  I will do the 2nd one this week.  It is up against the house so nothing froze
  • I did run to feed store and got bird seed and squirrel corn for the next while
  • While out, I stopped at the bank and got enough allowance and holiday money to last me into the new year
  • Across from feed store is a super Kroger - ran in to get OTC meds.  They had a B1G1 on herbs and vitamins.  I also got a couple bottles of artificial tears eye drops, my Restful Legs (for RLS) , and got 1,000 count of Tylenol and Ibuprofen each for 9.99.  I think I am good with all OTC stuff for quite a while.  I didn't buy groceries, but looked and they had a boatload of turkeys.  MEIJER has turkeys this week for .33/lb. (limit 2).  I sure wish I had more room.  Can't buy lunchmeat that cheap.
  • Froze 2 meals of chili for another time
  • My neighbor mowed my front yard and outback for probably last time.  He only mowed to mulch leaves.  I will do my back this week probably
  • Started pulling out fabrics to use for kids quilts/blankies
  • No groceries purchased
  • Kept seeing a Popeye's ad all week - was in the mood.  Made my own less the biscuits.  I am sure it was better than store bought!
  • All the normal stuff - laundry in cold, hanging most clothes to air dry, minimal heat, cooking from home, using Soda Stream & juice, using leftovers......
Meals this past week:
Chili mac with cheese
Sauteed Brussel sprouts with bacon/onion and a salad
Chili and crackers & butter
Fish stick and fresh veggie soft tacos (used lettuce, toms, and sliced radish, cheese and cocktail sauce)
Baked chicken, red beans & rice and home canned slaw
Beans & rice, sausage patties and sliced toms & radish
Mex. chicken & spaghetti (from freezer), garlic toast and salad
SNACKS:  Fruit, banana smoothie, cheese slices & crackers

How was your week?  Love hearing what everyone has been doing.
I hope you all have a lovely and safe and healthy week ahead.  Keep preparing, playing and praying.
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours!

Please Lord help us to be the best people we can be and help us to each lend a helping hand to others.  Curb vile and nasty behavior that so many have become accustomed to, and help each and everyone to be more positive.  We give this to You.  AMEN

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Nesting - Home Body - What Say You?

 I am a big homebody.  I got used to being home a lot when G was here.  I wanted to be close by in case he needed me or something.  I took care of the home and yard - so I stayed busy.
I have gotten even more of a homebody since he has been gone.  Crazy sounding.  First I just didn't feel like leaving, then 2020 happened and now I am just comfy staying home.
I had a niece ask me what do I do for a social life.   Huh? - What is this thing you speak of???  LOL
I do go out now and then with others for a meal - I talk with neighbors - I see family now and then - that is about it.  I miss nothing really.  Am I a hermit now?  Maybe - I call myself a homebody!

Nesting is what many call it.  Taking care of our homes, our pets, our families, ourselves, and doing whatever makes us feel comforted and safe.
Yep that is me.  NOW I worry about my kitties being fed and comfortable - my energies go to them now that I have no one else here to take care of.

                 NOT my pic.  This just looks like a lovely place to read or just sit and think or crochet.
Cozy and simple

Having a warm house, food to nourish my body, comfy blankets and books to read, and my pets to love - seems like bliss to me.  It doesn't take much to make me happy.

The weather has changed a lot the past few days.  It is COLD in the dark mornings when I go out to feed the cats.  It is even chilly with the sun out.  Fall has fallen!!!!!!  The leaves are changing and falling now.  Tuesday I had huge beautiful pots of flowers blooming, now they are just limp pieces of yuck!  
I am now in the mood to eat comfort food, wear sweatshirts and slippers and I think I am ready to craft some.
I don't do much crafting when it is warm out.  I think I will start the small quilts (for littles) this weekend for their gifts.  They get so much and need nothing.  They love naps and they love their baby dolls.  So each will get a nap quilt and one for baby as well!

I have several (dozens) of books that I can read.  Many I have purchased over the past few years and been gifted some as well.  I have antique books that I inherited many, many years ago that have never been read.  No problem finding reading materials at my house.
I have many old classic movies recorded - that need to be watched.
I have craft supplies.  I have enough items to get most if not all of the homemade holiday goodies made.
Yep, I think I am pretty good!

I do want to take a few hours one day soon and go to the little burg up the road.  Main Street has lots of little businesses that sell all kinds of used/antique/craft items.  Might need to get a few specialty items.
I think I may go to a couple ethnic groceries as well - and find some unique things for goody bags!  
That will be fun.

So, what do you call this time of year?  
Are you a nester or homebody?   
What things do you look forward to doing during the dark, cooler and icky days of winter?
I know I can't be the only one who feels the most comfortable staying home and being in my own little bubble.
I am so thankful for my warm home - my sanctuary and for contentment.

Fun is all in the eye of the beholder!!!!!!  DO what makes YOU happy!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

IF - The Bare Necessities

 We all talk about IF IT all goes south.  Well some people have gone through those moments in their lives over the years and they know about what IF.  You do with what you have.  You make do.  You get creative.

I got to thinking about the pantry possibilities.  I have a great variety of food on hand as well as a full freezer.  IF something happened and my stock got to the bare necessities - could I still do OK?  YES!
You could too - if you have certain items.

I know people are thinking - ugh - beans and rice.  That would get old.  It doesn't have to.  Get creative.
I figure if I have beans and rice, pasta, and maybe potatoes (fresh, dried and powdered) and a couple basic needs like flour, cornmeal, sugar and spices - I can eat well.
Remember beans are protein - a great replacement for meat.

I have dozens of kinds of dried beans and peas.
First thought - soup beans - you can season or just add bits of any meat or jazz up with tomatoes or veggies
I can serve with rice or even potatoes or pasta, cornbread or biscuits
Add salsa or any tomato products
Can strain beans or lentils and make burgers
Frijoles (refried beans)
Baked beans
Add any veggie and make different soups

Serve with beans
Use instead of pasta or potatoes
Fried rice - great used with bits of leftovers
Add salsa and make a Spanish type rice
Add to soups or casseroles to extend
Make rice patties (like potato patties) and fry
Make a pizza crust
Add to quiche

Fried, baked, mashed, fries, hash browns, scalloped, Au Gratin........
Potato cakes - can add bits of meat or other veggies or bits of cheese
Potato soup
Potato salad
Add to soup or casseroles - another great extender
Instant (powdered) potatoes are not everyone's favorite - but they can really be jazzed up.  First they make a great thickener for soups or stews, while adding nutrition.  You can use to top other veggies (& meat if had) to make a Shepherd's Pie.
When making instant think outside the box.  Use sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing, butter, seasonings - whatever that may flavor them up - that you have on hand.
You can make bread with mashed potatoes
Using other potatoes - think of frying alone in bacon grease or with any other veg or bits of meat.  Maybe make smothered fries (chili - cheese - thick stew - whatever)
There are sweet potatoes as well - and that adds a whole other bunch of variety.

Potato soup - you can use fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or instant potatoes.  No milk or cream, use broth, water and boullioun, dry milk, canned milk......
A cheap and filling meal!

Salads of all kinds - hot or cold - add whatever you have
Add to soups and casseroles - another extender
With any and all veggies and tomato sauces/cream sauces or cheese
All pasta is interchangeable - use what you have
I have lots of tomato products - so chili, lasagna (in some form), pasta and sauce, any baked casserole or dish

Flour, sugar, seasoning, cornmeal
I can do a lot with these items.
Cornbread, ho cakes, fry bread, polenta, biscuits, tortillas, gravy, various breads
I think I could probably come up with a 'changed' version of pancakes or waffles. 
If you are blessed to have oatmeal as well, my goodness, the possibilities are endless! 

I am fortunate to have tons of tomato products (all sorts) - many home canned.  I have jams and jellies (home canned) - that could be used as sweeteners or watered down for syrups.  I have home canned relishes and pickles that could be used in may ways - think different salads and flavorings.

IF you have basics - you can survive and survive well.  It is all about be creative and thinking outside the proverbial box.
Make sure you have plenty of basics around and you will not be hungry.

Do you have any OTHER ideas on stretching the basics?  Ideas are welcome and could save someone else from going hungry!!!!!!
WE  GOT  THIS!!!!!!!