Thursday, August 31, 2023

Endings, Beginnings, and a Holiday

 Good golly Miss Molly it is the last day of August!  It has flown by.
Here in the U.S. this coming weekend is Labor Day - celebrated on Monday.  It is usually looked at as the last hoorah of summer.  People go camping, boating swimming, do cookouts, etc.  Generally, the public pools shut down right after the holiday for the year.  
THEN comes all things fall - everywhere!  Festivals, craft shows, pumpkin patches, hayrides, apples, you name it.
So as one 'party' ends another starts!!!!!!

I am not sure what I plan to do today and tomorrow.  We are still having just fantastic weather - so I have done MUCH outside this week.  It has been wonderful.
The moon this morning was glorious to say the least.  Huge, bright and full.
I have no plans for the holiday at all - it is just another day in my book.  I get '7' day weekends now - so those '3' day ones mean little!!!!!!!  LOL

It will be warming up again by the weekend.  Back in the 90's much of next week.  Summer isn't letting go quite yet.  No rain at all this week, and none projected for next week.  Just sun!  Rain barrels will be used - which is good - this late in the season, I hate to see that water just get dumped before freezing time.

Still getting produce from the garden, but not nearly as much.  Many of the plants are winding down.  Tomatoes may go on for a long while - other stuff not as much.  I have surely enjoyed it all though.

I know the hummingbirds will be departing sometime soon.  Usually when one is drinking another flies up and runs it off, so #2 can drink.  This morning at stood at the kitchen window and watched 2 eat together.  The feeder is right outside the window - I can almost touch them!  Finally, a third flew up and chased those two away.  What an absolute joy to watch.  My little flying jewels.

As a new month starts, I wish you only good things.  I hope you all get to have a lovely weekend with family or friends or just enjoying nature.  May it be peaceful and safe.
Hoping the new month brings you great joys and good health.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Using the Food and a Couple New Recipes

 I try my darndest not to waste things.  I use things up as leftovers or as something new.  Once in a while it gets a bit 'creative' to say the least.  I don't mind - as I like new things and well, in my humble opinion - it all goes to the same place!!!!!!!  I have never been one of those that mind if my food is touching or mixed.  I think that is why I like casseroles and soup a lot.

I mentioned I had been using all the bits and bobs left in some way.  One dish was one of the tastiest I had made in a while and it was lots of bits!!!!!!!
I had a tiny package of corned beef in the freezer - a bag with chunks of potato and carrot from a previous roast in the freezer, and a smallish zucchini.  I cooked it all up in a bit of garlic seasoned olive oil and I must say it was delish!  I ate every bite!!!!!!

Pulled out a cup of frozen rice, used the bits of a jar of cheese dip and a handful of frozen broccoli for some yummy rice.  Had 2 single smoked sausages left and cut up fresh tomato - it was one fine meal!

Baked potato topped some of that cheese dip and little sour cream leftover and the crumbs from the bottom of a taco chip bag.  Zucchini sauteed in a little salsa (already opened in frig).  Simple and easy and good and filling.

Here is my zucchini relish I made.  It really is green, the picture doesn't represent well.  Again, I just kind of winged it.  I had some big zucchini, which got grated in the Ninja.  I used about 4 bell peppers from the garden (nice size), threw in a couple mis-shaped smaller cukes (grated), and 3 onions grated.  I had a pkt. of Mrs. Wages bread & butter pickle mix - so I used half of the mix and half of the other ingredients called for and made my relish.  It tastes so good.  Just using up what I have.


1 - 12 oz. can whole kernel corn - drained (or use about 2 cups of your fresh)
1 - 15 oz. can black beans - drained (I have used kidney beans too - about 2 cups)
1/3 C Italian dressing
1 - 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa (I use home canned)
Mix it all together and chill.  Serve with tortilla chips.  You can also warm a tortilla up and fill with about a 1/4 cup for a yummy burrito.  Maybe toss some onto your favorite salad.
It is a good source of protein and it is very tasty.  Super easy to make and uses what you have.

2 C grated zucchini (drain liquid)
1 C seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. grated onion
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 eggs
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
In a bowl mix everything together and shape into little cakes or patties.  Fry in a little oil until browned on both sides!   Serves about 6 cakes.
How fun and great use of using that zucchini and a great veggie dish!!!!

So that is today's version of use it up!!!!!! 
Use what you have and get creative.  There are no hard and set rules in cooking - I think that is why I like it so much.  Experiment and maybe come up with a new family favorite.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Luxury on a Budget?

 Luxury can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  Indulgence comes to mind.  Comfort, pleasure, or an abundance of things that are NOT essential but desirable.  What is a luxurious thing to one can be something totally different for another.
We all know some believe that huge McMansions are the indulgence of some, or fancy cars, expensive clothes or jewelry, etc. - things that show wealth.  
For me, it is about the simple things.  I don't have 'luxuries' per se, but I do feel some things are just plain luxurious.  I am a simple girl who loves simple things.  Just some of those simple things seem fancy or wonderful to me.
I am curious what you all will have to say.

*A spa night is a special thing for me.  A nice hot soaking bath, a candle, soft lights, soft music and maybe a glass of wine.  It is just so stinking relaxing.
*A fresh made bed - with clean crisp linens
*A fancy homemade coffee drink - my homemade mocha frappe every morning.  It is an indulgence like drinking a milkshake each morning first thing!!!!  
*Nice candles for a soft glow and a soft scent of the season.  I also love the ambiance of my salt lamps - a warm soft glow while helping the air
*Books - especially older books.  The world is at my fingertips, knowledge abounds, and my mind can soar.
                                                  Not my picture - although I wish it were!
*I do enjoy a leisurely breakfast (3-4 hours) with an old friend.  Just chatting one on one
*Growing my own food and sharing it with others
*I love old quilts and feel wrapped in love when under one
                                                                     Not my picture
*Sitting out on the porch and watching the sunrise or sunset - a natural painting in progress
*My pantry and my freezers are luxuries to me
*Lovely cut flowers - whether from the yard or from the store.  My sis is about the frugalist person I have ever met - yet every week at the grocery she buys herself a bouquet of flowers to make her house cheery and lovely.  It brings her joy!
                                                                          Not my picture
*A chilly fall/winter day - laying on the sofa with a soft throw, a good book and a hot beverage
*A soft fluffy robe and socks or slippers on a cold day
*Listening to whatever music lifts my mood at any given time

These are all luxuries to me.  There are so many more - but you can see where I am going.  MY luxuries, cost me nothing and they aren't grand, nor do they make a huge statement.  They are simple and personal - they are the little pleasures I enjoy.

Many people will have many different views on this. Each person has their own things that just bring them happiness.  Things that will make them feel a bit decadent or frivolous or just special.

                                                                 Click on pic to enlarge
This poem says so much to me - I just love it.  The grand and elegant will not be what makes a person happy or to feel special - it is the simple and everyday things that bring joy.
These are the luxuries of my life.

Yes, family and friends and pets and nature bring great joy to our worlds - but the little extras that we enjoy are the icing on the cake - the luxuries - and they need not cost a dime!

I am curious what others do to feel luxurious or frivolous or indulgent. 
Maybe it is traveling, or a pedicure, or donating things/money, or buying new instead of used - it can be anything.

This should be fun!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Weekly Wrap Up 8/27

 Happy Sunday!  Here we are at the end of another month.  It seems like I just said that!!!!  Geesh!
You realize that in 4 months - Christmas will be over!!!

It is a lovely morning here at the little place I call home.  It is cool - in the 60's - and somewhat cloudy at the moment.  After a horridly hot week, it looks like we will have an utterly pleasing one - with much cooler temps.  0% of rain all week - so it looks like rain barrels will get used.  My windows are open and fresh air is coming in.  Loving it!!!!!

There have been gnats or fruit flies or whatever galore for over a week or two.  Driving my nuts!  Nothing much is working - other than just swatting them and killing them.  UGH
I have butterflies galore - they are just wonderful this year.  So many and different types, all over the flowers.
Refilled both hummy feeders this AM as they were about empty again!  They zoomed right up for fresh eating!  Love watching them, and they have been so active at the flowers as well.

My week:
  • As stated earlier in the week - I paid all bills I had - and dropped at the P.O. up the road
  • Stopped that day at Dollar Tree - got a 2024 calendar, a couple pair of readers, and a nut bar!  Haven't had any candy in a long while
  • I have been trying to use up all the odds and ends that accumulate so easily.  I used up a bit of corned beef from freezer, some chunks of potato and carrot from freezer. a handful of broccoli, a little of cheese dip in a jar, a couple straggler pieces of lunchmeat, 2 indiv. smoked sausage pcs. - just making sure things get used, and using up in new and old ways.
  • Neighbor gave me a bowl of cut up watermelon and cantaloupe - she wanted to thank me for zucchini and bell peppers!
  • Another neighbor brought over zucchini bread - for zucchini she received.  Can't beat that - I get fresh zucchini bread (still warm) and didn't have to heat my oven or house up!!!!!
  • Watered pots with rainwater from barrels
  • CANNING!!!!  Finally got to it!  I did 6 pints of salsa, 6 -1/2 pints and 2 pints of crushed tomatoes and garlic, 6 pints sweet zucchini relish, and 7 pints of pizza sauce.  I also froze 2 quart bags of chunked zucchini for soup this winter and a baggy of crushed tomatoes (not enough for a jar).  I still have tomatoes on the table!!!!!!!  Many green ones in the garden.
  • Glen's Aunt emailed to ask me a question about a place we made a purchase long ago - so I went looking for the info.  Now mind you - my husband kept every business card ever handed to him, and kept paperwork on every important thing we purchased (and unimportant)!!!!!  Well, I still have that stuff!!!!  Hmmm - guess I am not much different.  Anyway, I digress!!!!  I did NOT find what she asked for - BUT I found $1,600 cash he had tucked away!!!!!  I also found the CD of all my family groups of pictures he put together in 2010 (been looking for it).  This has more pics than the zip drive by far.  Family groups, past family ancestry, copies of death certificates and newspaper articles - you name it!!!!!!!!!   All this tucked in amongst paperwork and warranty info!!!!!!!!!   What wonderful surprises - kind of like a BIG OLD hug from Glen.  You just never know - so be careful before throwing things away!!!!!!!!
  • I cut and have more basil drying
  • I did run up to Kroger for one reason this week.  TP stock-up.  They had a digital coupon for 12/dbl. rolls of TP for 3.99  (limit 5).  Kind of like the old days!
  • Just doing all the normal stuff
Meals this past week:
Potato/carrots/corned beef (all from freezer) and zucchini skillet dinner
Cold cut sandwich and fruit
Loaded cheeseburger and a few chips
Sausage/egg on toasted bagel 
Broccoli/cheese/rice, sliced toms, and smoked sausage
Ham sandwich and chips
Chef salad

How was your week?  Are you busy preparing for those days of fall/winter that will be here sooner than later?  Did you get any good deals?  I hope those in excessive heat areas are getting a little cool, and those that are dry - get some rain.  
The birdies were sure loving the swimming hole this week!  They need refreshed and cooled too!!!!

I pray you are well and healthy and safe.  May your week ahead be blessed above and beyond.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home!

Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:25-26

Dear Lord, please help us cope with and understand and accept the mysteries of hardship, suffering and misfortune.  Let us put our trust and faith in You, as bad things happen in our lives.  As You, together with our faith, can get us through.  The power of Your love is everlasting.  Amen

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Can we Make it?

 Yes we can!!!!!  This is about our pantries and our freezers.  I know there are many things in this world, that the average person can't or isn't capable of making.  Most of us don't have farms with meat animals, or chickens, or dairy cows.  Many can't even garden much, except a few things in some pots.  We can't grow the supplies needed for sugar, flour, leavening agents, rice, etc.
BUT that doesn't mean we can't make a lot of what we use around our home.  The cost is lighter, and the items are just so much better for us and the environment.

First and foremost, meals and drinks come to mind.  Meals cooked at home are so much cheaper, healthier, and more varied than anything purchased at a restaurant.  Don't even get me started on cleaner and more sanitary!!!!!!!  Making your own coffee and tea or other drinks at home - is easy and cheaper - so much cheaper.
I read an article the other day stating that a meal at a restaurant is about 5X as expensive as one cooked at home!!!!!!! WOW!

A meal can be simple or complicated.  You can easily throw veggies and some meat (or not) in a pan and sauté - add a biscuit or bread and boom you have a one pot meal.  You can sauté green beans, corn, onion, peppers, potato, carrots, peas, Brussel sprouts, just about any veggie you can think of together.  It makes for a healthy and tasty bite!

Next comes to mind is cleaning supplies.  I rarely buy anything stated that it is for cleaning, except laundry detergent and Dawn.  I use many regular household items, that can be used in many ways to clean.  Things get clean and it doesn't add a lot of chemicals to my household.
I most often use washable rags - seldom paper.  

Adding scent to the house is kind of the same way.  I do like scented candles and I am careful about what I use.  I also (especially fall/winter) just set a pot of water on the stove with some apple, oranges, cinnamon, etc. and simmer.  The smell is incredible.  Fresh air is also FREE and a lovely way to 'air' the house.

Using scraps for things is fun.  Those apple peels or citrus rinds can be used in the 'scent' pots, or they can be added to other things to make new products.  You can make apple cider vinegar with peels and cores, a little sugar and water.  Citrus peels and vinegar is a great cleaner.  Apple cores and peels can make pectin.  You can use remnants of peaches, etc. for jelly making.  One can also compost.

I love growing herbs and mints to dry for seasonings or for teas.  Super easy to do.
Making waffles, pancakes, eggs and oats is a great replacement for expensive cereal.  We all know kids can go through a box of cereal in no time.   These items can be made ahead and frozen for easy morning breakfasts.  Think breakfast sandwiches and burritos too!

I know many of you make your own bread.  I need to get back to that.  I do love homemade biscuits.  Also tortillas are wonderful when made fresh.  Crackers are pretty easy to do.
THEN there is the garden or fresh produce.  Home canned, frozen or dehydrated is so much better tasting that stuff in cans!  
You can do relishes, salsas, sauces, mustards, any type of veggie or fruit.  Make your own broth or stock.  Jams, jellies, and syrups.

Oh, the list goes on and on.  There truly isn't a lot that can't be made at home.  
With the price of everything going up - it pays to educate ourselves on what we have to make these products ourselves.
I remember the old saying - that if grandma had never heard of an ingredient and probably couldn't pronounce it - then we shouldn't be using it or eating it!!!!!  TRUE

Just take a moment and read the labels of the things you eat and use every day.  From ice cream to mixes, to cleaners.  So many words that we can't pronounce - and those words generally mean chemicals!!!!!!
Use fresh and do for yourself.  We never know when times will get super tough, and these ideas will seem so brilliant then!!!!!

Keep yourself surrounded by good old-fashioned cookbooks and how to books (the kind you can put in your hands).  The internet could go down and computers could be useless and then what?  You still need good old-fashioned books!

Be smart.  Safe some dollars.  Stay healthy.
Do yourself a favor and MAKE IT YOURSELF!

What ideas do you have to share?

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

New Day - the Change is Yours

 Happy midweek to all!  Today is just a little reminder (again I know) that we are OK!!!!  Life is an uphill battle and many are getting tired.  It happens to each of us at some point in time.  Today is a little reminder, that you got this!  Whatever you are facing, you can get through it.

Start new today, if you screwed up yesterday, try to correct it.    Accept help and kindness - that is not a weakness.  Be kind to others.  Stand up for what is right - don't just cower in the background.  Talk to someone at the store, or on the sidewalk, or next door - it may be the boost they need today.  If you need help - it truly is OK to ask.  Share the positive with someone.  Be the kind of person who truly listens to another - and offer a shoulder.  Do good things.  Love with all you have to offer.  Do something positive in this big old word. 
You may not change the world today - but you may change someone's day AND your own!!!!!!

(click on pic to enlarge for easy reading)

I spent some time yesterday going back and reading some things I posted quite a while ago.  I was in a very different place at this point in time.  I still have those crappy moments - but things are improving in my attitude each day. 
 I copied this from a post I did almost exactly 4 years ago.  That was not a good summer or year for me - but I was trying to work through things, as I know my hubby would have expected.
Since this point in time, many of you have gone through so much.  Maybe, just maybe, these words can help you get through some big thing in life or help you understand someone else.

Life takes a lot of turns and we all go down a lot of roads and paths on this journey of life.  There is good and there is bad.  YET, here we are!

Just letting you know that you are not alone.  If you need a kind word or a virtual hug - yep, we are here.  One step at a time is all we can expect from ourselves or anyone else.  This old world throws some crazy stuff at us - every day.  Get up, wash your face, put on your big girl panties and start fresh and new today!  We get another chance my friends!!!!!!!!

I wish you all peace and a blissful day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Ramblings of my Mind!

 Oh my gosh - my brain can sure wonder.  I have many things popping in and out this morning!!!
It feels pretty darn nice out this morning - considering.  It is already in the mid 70's early, but the humidity has dropped ever so slightly from yesterday and there is a breeze - and it is good!
We will be over 90+ for the next few days and may set some records.  But you know what?  This isn't our hottest summer for here.  Last year at this time we had over 20 - 90+ days - this year only 10 so far.  So yep, it has been hotter here.

This makes me laugh.  Gosh, if it were that easy!!  I always seem to forget year to year - how tiring canning can be.  It is satisfying but tiring.  It really gets to my back with all the standing and lifting.  But yes, it is worth it!

Sunday, I ran up the street to the post office to mail all the monthly stuff.  There is a newish Dollar Tree across the street from it.  I have only been in it a couple times, and thought why not?  Looky what I got.  I got a cute kitty calendar for the wall for 2024!  $1.25.  They had such pretty ones - kitties, doggies, landscapes, flowers etc.  I don't seem to get free ones anymore, so this is perfect.  I just happen to see them - so there was plenty to choose from.  Now is the time to get them before they get gone!
I also got a couple more pair of 'readers' to have around the house.  You just can't beat the price.  
It sometimes pays to just take a moment and go someplace you haven't been in a while and look around.

Here is some of what I was working with yesterday.  I didn't put much of a dent in them - much more to do.  I have been blessed with lovely tomatoes this year.  Honestly, not a blemish or a crack in even one!  They have been perfect.  The ripening has really slowed to a trickle - but there are so many green ones out there.  They are small at the moment - but I will most definitely get another great round from them.

Anyone have one of these?  No, it isn't just a spoon - it is a grapefruit spoon.  This one is old.  I found it many years ago (with another) at a yard sale for like .25 each.  It works perfectly for getting those sections of grapefruit loose.  I have found other uses for it as well.
It works great on Kiwi too.  I have also used to deseed tomatoes and to remove the center heart of a tomato for stuffing.  I am sure there are other uses too.  Have you ever used one and what ideas do you have?

The birdies and squirrels have been loving the birdbath the past few days.  Drinking and staying hydrated.  The birds are a hoot (no pun) to watch.  They drink and drink - then walk right in an splash around - getting cool and preening.  It is such fun to watch them.  I know they appreciate the water.

Well, I am off to tend to garden duties before the heat of the day hits.  Probably not a lot to pick - but it all counts!  Then maybe canning or resting or cleaning or who knows today!!!!!
You all take care and stay cool and safe.  Hoping you are all in safe zones!
Have a great Tuesday - and I will chat at you later!!!

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Weekly Wrap Up 8/20

 Good morning to one and all.  Hope you are well and safe of this Sunday!
It is a lovely morning here, but the heat moves back in starting later today.  By the end of the week we are supposed to be close to 100 - and dry.  High humidity too.  Well, YUCK!  We deal with what we are thrown.  It will last the week and then getting a bit cooler again.  Summer isn't over until it decides to be over!!!!!
The cicadas are almost deafening some evenings.  Boy those little buggers make some noise.  Once they hush, the crickets start and they are lovely to listen too.
We had rain several times this past week and lovely temperatures for most of the week.  It does tend to spoil one!!!!!

My week:
  • Last Sunday morning I went to breakfast with one of my bestest high school friends.  We had a leisurely 3 1/2 hour breakfast!!!! (Yes, we left our waitress a good tip)
  • HARVEST - a couple cukes, more zucchini, peppers and tomatoes
  • Got all my stuff out and ready to start my canning sessions!
  • Washed all the throw rugs in the house
  • Deep cleaned the floors and the area rugs and the carpet (bdrm.) with the old and powerful Rainbow vacuum cleaner (water filtration).  I don't use it often, but boy does it work.  No matter how clean you think your floors are - it will PROVE you wrong!!!!!!!  LOL
  • Spot cleaned the bedroom carpet - it looks nice
  • Washed many windows inside and a few outside
  • Doing a lot of cleaning - starting some of the fall stuff
  • Made a gallon if tea
  • Piddled outside some when I could - pulling and trimming
  • Mowed the entire yard and trimmed
  • Had a neighbor call to see if I had zucchini she could have.  She needed to make something for a funeral.  Had plenty - love that she feels comfortable enough to call!
  • Made another double batch of nectar for the hummies.  Those babies are sure drinking.  I so enjoy watching them
  • I did make a run to the store - finally!  Needed milk, bread and stock up on cat food.  I also got eggs super cheap, fresh fruit - bananas, grapefruit (2/.99), grapes and mandarins and furnace filters for the rest of year/winter
  • Fried a big bunch of chicken from freezer.  Most was frozen for a quick meal later on
Meals this past week:
Breakfast out - then ate a sandwich later in the day
Mac n cheese, sauteed zucchini and sliced tomato
Leftover mac, fried breaded pork chop, tomato
Egg salad sandwich, tomato/cuke/radish salad
Fried chicken and salad
BLT !!!!!!! - Mmmmmmmm
Cheesy baked potato and sauteed zucchini in salsa
Snacking on cherry tomatoes and fruit

I have plans to do a lot of canning this week.  It will be hot outside - so I need to keep busy in the house.
How was your week?  Deals?  Gardens and harvests?  Canning, freezing, dehydrating?
Love hearing from each of you.

I pray you are all well, safe and healthy this week.  I hope your families are well also.  Stay safe wherever you are - there is so much 'bad' weather happening.  Fires, hurricane, tornadoes, heat, excessive rain, etc.  BE SAFE!
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9

Help us Lord, to forgive our offenders, one by one, name by name and offense by offense.  Help us to free our hearts, so that we may flourish and live our best lives.  We pray for those who are so angry and hard and bitter in this world, that they cannot see.  May we have peace amongst ourselves, and amongst countries and nations.  Amen

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Good Days are out There - Grab them when you can

Good day to all.  Here we are again, ready to close another week.  It is just flying by.  Snow will be flying before we know it (ick), and we will be longing for these summer days.
As of late, I have noticed so many have been having some hard days and some hard decisions in life to make.  It seems there is a lot of angst in this world.
When you get a moment to ENJOY - please DO IT!!!!  Reach out and grab that joy and appreciate every little moment.

I have noticed many of you have been going through a lot lately.

*New jobs or expanded duties of the job
*Illness or surgeries
*Life changing events - and yes, your life will change - a NEW normal will be at hand
*Selling, moving, buying
*Planning for vacations 'of a life time'
*Harvesting and preserving
*Loss of incomes
*Dealing with parents in a reverse role of care giver - it is bewildering I know
*Stocking and preparing for 'whatever' may be in the future
*Worry of extended family matters
*Struggling in this crazy world and just trying to cope
The list goes on and on.
Yep - we all have so many things that keep our minds cluttered and worried.  And no matter how we fret - things will be what they will be.  Physically, we can maybe make changes to our world.  Mentally we can prepare ourselves for things.  But all that worry and fret - does nothing.
Spiritually - you need to do what helps you.

I love this - it is so true.  We keep our minds so cluttered with garbage that will not matter next week or next month.  We worry about silly things.  We listen to and watch garbage - when we need to be more present.  

So as this weekend comes around - take a little time to enjoy what life offers.  Be more MINDFUL instead of mind full.

When getting stressed and worried:
Go look at a sunrise or sunset
Listen to the rain
Feel a gentle breeze
Watch and listen to nature
Snuggle with a pet or take a nap
Eat something fresh and wonderful and really TASTE it!
Fix a meal that is for a special occasion - today is special - you woke up and are here
Listen to some older and beloved music - whatever type you like
Dance - seriously!!!!!  Just dance and be a little crazy
Try to "just listen" to an older person and not judge.  You know they are probably scared too!!!!!
Love those little ones and enjoy the smiles and hugs and laughs
Be joyful you have ENOUGH

Just take time to be in the moment!!!!!!!!  That is so important.  Life is full of changes - good and bad - and our lives change every day.  Each day we must make a new normal - as the old 'normal' is just that.
We don't have to like it - but we need to accept that things change and move forward.

So please take some time for yourself and enjoy life.  LIVE - you have no idea about the future - so make today a great one.  Experience things with your family and loved ones.
SMILE, and be ever so MINDFUL (not mind full)!

Many blessings to each of you!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Harvests - Figuring What You Need

Good morning and midweek to all.  It is a very cool and refreshing morning in my neighborhood.  Coolest morning in a couple months.  Enjoying it for a couple days - then it gets back to hot, hot, hot!!!  They say some of the hottest of the year to come!

Let's talk a bit about harvests.  We all need to put goods back while we can.  Some grow their gardens and others buy from farmers direct, or get things from CSA's or farm markets.  Conversion is often hard to figure out.  So today I am showing a few charts that may help.

AS ALWAYS if you can't easily read them - please click on each picture to enlarge.  I copy them and it always looks bigger & clearer when I copy, than when I publish!!!!

FOR CANNING OR FREEZING - Preparing for fall/winter

Here are some charts to aid you in the kitchen:

These last 3 were photo'd from the back of one of my favorite cookbooks.  Great charts and handy to have the info on hand.

Again, sorry they aren't clearer just looking at the screen.  They do brighten and clear when looking at each one separately.

I always like knowing how much what I have harvested will get me.  Whether canning, freezing, or just cooking.
I hope these help someone to know what to buy or what their harvest will supply.
Tis the season for harvesting all the fresh goodness you can!!!!!!!  Winter will soon be upon us!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

'Tips'ter Tuesday

 Haven't done a tips or hints post in a while.  You probably all know or do these things - but sometimes we all need a little reminder.  So many ways to change things up or re-use what we have.  It all counts, tastes good, and maybe saves a little along the way.
Just an idea or three!

Use your bell peppers as serving dishes for salads.  Can be any type of salad - tuna, chicken, ham, or pasta or quinoa - whatever you like.  You can eat the serving dish as well!!!!!!  Makes for a great lunch or a side for dinner.
ALSO - you can fill bell peppers with leftover spaghetti and sauce, top with a little cheese and bake until cheese is golden and pepper done. (I often steam the peppers a little before filling).  This uses up leftovers and also give a new dish - stuffed peppers!!!!!!
Peppers also make a cute presentation on the table for serving various types of fresh dips!!!!!

Have leftover mashed potatoes?  We all know about potato cakes - here is a little different way to serve.  Add some minced onion and cheese - throw into a buttered 8" round pan and bake until the top is golden.  Tastes like a twice baked potato.  

Don't forget with all the fresh veggies that are plentiful now - make kabobs and grill!!!  Veggies kabobs are so good.  Rub with a little oil and season and boom you have a great side.  You could also broil if you wanted to.

My favorite salad of all time during the summer.  You can use Italian dressing or mix oil & vinegar with seasonings, or vinegar & sugar - use whatever dressing you love.  This is so refreshing and delightful.  Sometimes I have just cukes and onions together.  It's ALL GOOD!!!!!!

When you make soup - save some of the broth.  Freeze it in ice cube trays.  This enables you to throw a cube into rice or veggies later on adding a lot more flavor!!!!

Beans add flavor to hearty dishes.  Mash up some kidney, black, cannelloni or whatever you have and use in place of or with ground beef.

Don't forget that there are pasta options for those who cannot have wheat.  Look around at your favorite stores for different options and flavors.  I love spinach or tomato pasta a lot.

Tip to remember for after the holidays!  You can buy those bags of herbal flavored bread cubes for dressing making.  I have seen them marked down to .50 or so per bag.  Get a few and grind them in your food processor and make seasoned breadcrumbs.  Super easy and you don't have to dry the bread yourself!

1/3 C red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh basil - chopped
2 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Whisk together and serve over your favorite salad.
* Truthfully, I would think you could make any flavor you want - depending on what fresh herbs you have available.

There you have todays tips and hints!  LOL!!
Food is so much fun - as there are no hard and steadfast rules that need to be followed.  I love playing with my food and trying new things.  Give some of these a try.
Got any fun tips to share?  We'd love to hear them.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Weekly Wrap - Up 8/13

 Happy Sunday to all - a new week in the making!  Hope this finds everyone well and safe.
It has been warm the past few days.   We have had some rain just about every day, except maybe Friday.
The hummingbirds are eating so much.  It is hard to keep the feeders filled for them.  I keep watching them at the phlox, the butterfly bush and the surprise lilies too.  I know I have 2 and the sure do chase each other and fly around a lot.  It is just so neat to see.

This week there have been hawks around a lot.  Grrrr.  I know they are part of nature, but I wish they would go elsewhere.  There were 3 down the alley way earlier this week.  The birds and the squirrels don't come to feed when they are in the area.  Smart babies!

This week:
  • Went to a 1st birthday party at my nieces on Sunday.  Nice visit with family
  • Harvesting - LOTS!  So many tomatoes, still getting squash, peppers and cukes
  • Cut basil to dry
  • Saw the first signs of squash bugs this year - using soapy water and DE and it seems to be helping A LOT!
  • Letting in fresh air when possible
  • Made a batch of cukes & onions in leftover brine from last week.
  • Rain barrels are both full again
  • Mowed front to back - and trimmed on Friday
  • Had 2 more big limbs blown down from the tree this week.  They were broken and up in the tree from that big storm a month or so ago.  Glad they are now down - a couple more to go.
  • Made hard boiled eggs for snacks.
  • Neighbor brought me brownies made with zucchini I gave her!  YUM
  • NO grocery store - stayed home all week (except party)
  • Pulling weeds and stuff as often as possible - so much
  • Doing all the regulars - cleaning, laundry, cooking, using what I have
Meals this past week.
Pizza at nieces
Beef burger, corn on cob, tomatoes
Veggie frittata (of sorts)
Unstuffed pepper skillet
Leftover pepper skillet, fried zucchini, tomatoes
Homemade Rice a Roni type rice, fried green tomato
Taco salad

Kind of quiet here.  Not a lot going on - just working yard and garden when possible.
How has your week been?  What is going on with your gardens?  Are you preserving anything yet?
Give us a shout out.  Love hearing what everyone is up too.  It is a busy time of the year!

I wish you all a great week ahead.  May you all stay safe and healthy and have lots of good things happen.
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

A son who gathers in summer is prudent, but a son who sleeps in harvest brings shame.
Proverbs 10:5

Lord, I pray for all the farmers and the home gardeners.  May the harvests be good, so all can nourish their bodies and feed their families.  Food and water are necessary for life, and we pray that all people around the world have both.  Please be with us all.  Amen

Holding all being affected by fires in prayer.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Chitty Chat Kind of Day!

 Let us make this a chat day.  Many may have something they need to get off their chest.  Maybe you need prayer.  Maybe you need advice.  Maybe you need a recipe.  Maybe you just need to complain.
Somedays we just need to unload and have a listening ear.  It is normal and we all have those days!

You all know I have a pretty good bunch of neighbors.  This year has been the year we have all gotten closer and just relate better as a little community.  Friendly folks, talking, helping, and visiting when possible.  It is pretty good.

Then there is THE neighbor!!!  I just shake my head.
No new shenanigans since THE talk with the landlord.  That is good.  But I sure ticked someone off - even though the landlord told him he had 'lots' of complaints from various people.  
He talks to NO ONE - especially me.  He will not even look at me!  Seriously.  If I walk outside when he is out - he goes in.  Oh my, could I make life miserable if I chose to!  I could just sit outside all day. LOL
Anyway - I tried to offer an olive branch of sorts.  Since he won't speak or look my way - I walked over the other day after he left, and put a baggy of fresh tomatoes on his patio table.  He loves tomatoes.
I have a security light at night, that shows part of the fence between our yards.  I get up to potty - I look out.  Sometime between 2AM and 6AM - he hangs the baggy of tomatoes on my fence!  REALLY??
Had it been me, I probably would have eaten them and maybe texted 'thanks'.  If nothing else - just thrown them away if I was that cold hearted.
He obviously felt he needed to make a statement of some sort.  Geesh!  No good deed..........
Guess I won't try to be nice again.
His attitude and heart are so cold.  I pray for him every day - he needs it so.  Not sure exactly what changed with him (have ideas) - but something did.  I pray for his spiritual, mental and physical well-being.  He needs it.  He has alienated his siblings (years ago), his boys only show up now when they need something, and he has no friends AT ALL!  He has turned into a worse version of his father (that he hated).  He believes in nothing other than himself!!!!!  What a miserable life it must be - and I now believe something physical might be wrong.  Just a notion from things I notice.
We just never know what goes on in someone's life.  

I am so blessed to have my family and friends, my health and my spiritual life.
Count your blessings!!!!!  
(I think we all have a 'someone' in our lives)

OK - that is my 'let it out' for the week!!!!  LOL!  It isn't important - it just amazed me.

What do you need to talk about???????
Shout out my friends.
We are here to listen and offer kindness.  Maybe it will help someone!

Be blessed!

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

A Good Steward? It is more than money!

 Lately I have read, seen and heard so many things that make me think about what makes a good steward.  I am still amazed every day (not sure why) at the things some people do.  Truly, nothing should surprise me anymore - but it does.
 I think being a good steward involves EVERYTHING in life.  How we manage and take care of all aspects of life.
Sunday, SAM responded with the question - what is frugal?  I think Sam is very overwhelmed at this moment in life, and she asked that question in an exasperated way!  Sometimes, we get into a season of life where we are spending a lot for one reason or another.  Well, that happens.  We are trying to rectify our lives and get things in order and make a new way - and spending happens.  It is OK!  Life happens.
Other times in life we are overwhelmed with stuff (I think many can relate) and we feel the urgent need to get rid of it.  Even that is being a good steward.  We are maintaining our home and our sanity and donating and gifting to others!  That is good.

Many of us are getting a bounty from the land - and we need to use it up in some form.  We may share with others, or just eat it now, or preserve for later.  It all needs to be used and not wasted.  Putting back our bounty for another time, is ever so wise.  We truly do not know what the future holds for any of us, and this wonderful food may be what saves us!

I saw a story on the computer about an actor, who is an Emmy winner, and has an estimated net worth of 5 million.  He is an actor, singer, producer, writer, etc.  (By the way I had never heard of him before).  Anyway, he was complaining that he now has to sell his home, because of the strike going on in the industry.  4 months in and a millionaire has to sell.  Hmmmmm, sounds like not good planning to me.  Maybe living above ones means?  There was talk of the strike for ages - yet he didn't prepare.  Now I know I shouldn't judge - but this just sounds like "poor me" and an attention getter.  Sorry, but I don't feel sorry for him.  Yes, there are people in that industry that do make normal wages like most of us - them I have compassion for.  We have all had situations arise that we were aware of in advance, and we planned and did our due diligence!  We go and do something else if necessary to make ends meet.

Another story was about a lady in OH, who is 101 and is still working part time for JoAnn Fabric.  Why?  Because it keeps her young and active!  She doesn't NEED the money - but she is using her mind and body in a proactive way!  She still works and drives.  That is a good steward!  BRAVO

Friday, when I was at the grade school girls luncheon - one of the gals jokingly said - "should we all go back to work"?  Oh, we all chuckled, and her response was, "well at least there would be help in the stores if we did".  Good point!  Just think if all the retired folks got a part time job, the work force would be fuller - of course, then someone would say they were taking jobs from others!!!  There is no making some happy!  You know what I mean.
It just seems so many do not want to work today.  It does boggle my mind.  I started at 15 and worked for everything I had or have.  It is just what you did.  But that is another story.

I keep seeing the "use it up" or "every bit counts" challenge on sites and You Tube.  Really - you have to make that a challenge?  That is everyday life for many of us.  We use everything we have, in some way or form, so as not to waste.
Many of us just do it!  It is like for many of us, we know how much we have - so let us be responsible and use it and not waste it - before we get more.  It is just smart and being a good steward.

Taking care of our clothes and our possessions, taking care of our pets, taking care of our families and friends, helping nature, saving money, it is ALL being a good steward.  The earth is our home, we are a part of it, let us take care of all we can.

Go out there today and do the best you can.  Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.  Recycle what can be - donate what you will, mend things and help others and yourself.  Make those pantries and freezers count and fully enjoy your wonderful bounties!!!

Be blessed!
Continue being the good stewards you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

A Little Weekly Reassurance

 I have not done a good motivational post in a bit.  Today let us talk about change and things that make us happy.
Change happens in unexpected ways for many.  Family, jobs, losses, loves, health - some things happen when do not seem prepared and they cause us to move in new directions.  It happens at some point in time for everyone.  It surely doesn't seem good at the time.  I do believe all things happen in God's time, and we may not understand why (at the moment or ever) - but we do survive through the change.  Here we are this day, awake and going, that is testimony to survival.

A lot of change happens from within!!!!!  Yes it does.  Things happen - yet the external change is only part of it.  We grow and change within ourselves.  It is very scary - but we need to move forward.
It becomes about choices, reducing wants, realizing needs, and moving forward.

Hunt for the little hidden treasures in life.  They are everywhere, all the time.  You just have to have eyes wide open to see and appreciate.  Elise said it very nicely in a comment this week.  I have copied her comment and will repost here.  It was lovely and it was very true.  Thank you Elise.
Click on it - to brighten for easy reading.

We need to remember the little things.  Life is not about all the big events - memories are usually the tiniest of things.  The simple things.  You know it is kind of like looking back at childhood - I don't remember many gifts I got at Christmas, but I do remember the family being there or funny moments that happened.
Silly things like recording daddy snoring after a big dinner - because he said he wasn't sleeping, just resting his eyes.  Or my brother giving my SIL a kitten - it was in a stocking, and it poked its little head out and started crying - thus ending the surprise!  Helping mom make all the cookies and the smells in the house.  Summer picnics on the porch swing with my little friends.  Playing jacks on the porch.  NOT the things - the memories of others.

I take great joy each morning as I go out to feed Blackie and the birds and squirrels - listening.  I sit out there on a chair while he eats, praying and listening to all the different birds.  Watching them interact.  Seeing the blue jays get excited about peanuts. Feeling the cool crisp air.  Having a happy and full kitty jump on my lap.  Watching the squirrels chase each other around the yard.  Looking out at the garden, knowing I will be out there picking fresh veggies in a while.  Even hearing the traffic - I know so many are starting their days - what lies ahead for them?  I know I am blessed in so many ways.
I have good people in my life - what a treasure that is.  
I try to look at the blessings instead of the depressing stuff.  SURE I get depressed too - we all do.  We have those rotten days, that is normal.  But I know in my heart that God has much instore for me.
I am still here because I still have things to do.

I have realized over the years - that money sure does not buy happiness!!!  It does buy stuff!!!!!!!  Oh boy, does it buy stuff.  Let us just make sure that it buys us stuff that we can use and that will be helpful in this stage of life and in our future.  Choices!  Like is full of choices.

Check out this couple!  First time I had seen them both out there together.  It is usually one or the other - and they spent the afternoon out there together.  It was lovely to see their interactions.  These are the little things that can bring joy!

I hope you each and every one open your eyes to seeing all the wonders in life.  They are there - all the time.  Hear the baby laughing or crying at the store.  Someone saying please or thank you.  Children playing.  The birds chirping.  A pet hug.  A people hug.  A smile. A task over and successful.  A dollar saved or earned.  A meal for your belly.
These and more are the precious things in life.

Have a fantastic and blessed day my friends.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Weekly Wrap Up 8/6

 Happy Sunday to you all.  I hope this finds you all well and safe.  Hoping that many in the hot, hot areas are cooling - if only a tab bit!  Hoping those that need rain, get it.
We had quite a rain come through the area about midnight last night.  I was asleep and heard this loud noise, jumped up and it was just pouring like crazy.  It sure was loud - not thunder or wind causing the noise - just the rain!
When I woke, it kind of sounded like a faucet on full blast right next to my head!!!!!  It took a moment to get my bearings.  All good this morning.  No need to water today!!!  Storms coming in overnight here again, tonight.  I really don't like the overnight things!

                           This happened this week!!!!  D'Oro lilies started blooming - round 2 as well!

It is supposed to be a cooler week here.  Predicting low 80's for most of the week.  That will be nice.  The 90's and the humidity are icky!  It feels so cool out this morning - breezy and upper 60's.

My week:
  • My car alarm went off early in the week.  Weird!!!  Luckily I had a new battery on hand that fit it.  It hasn't worked to LOCK the doors in ages, it just works to unluck (it is 22 yrs. old).  That had nothing to do with the battery.  So I took it all apart (completely) and cleaned everything with a dry toothbrush.  I figured what harm could it do.  I will be darn, but it works perfectly now - even locks!
  • Cut grass - front to back and trimmed
  • I caught ground hog #3 - it was a much bigger one! (Momma or daddy) - neighbor took it to rehome.  THEN the night he took it, for some reason he set the cage (in my yard) when he brought it back.  Well little Rocky racoon got trapped that night!  So stinking cute.  But it has a new home now.  I kept my neighbor busy this week!  LOL
  • Did a big trim on my bushes
  • Working on weeding and doing things around the yard, when cooler in mornings.  So much to do - so behind because of heat.
  • Harvesting - tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cukes, and lots of bell peppers!
  • Got my August coupon book from Kroger
  • Paid all the bills on hand
  • Had lunch with a bunch of gals I met in grade school.  Over 60+ years for most of us - and yet we have remained friendly - and keep in touch.  So many stories!!!!  Fun day!
  • Came across a quart jar of dehydrated mushrooms I put back last year.  I rehydrated some for a meal this week - perfect.
  • Neighbor brought me 3 fresh ears of corn
  • Had a smallish green tomato fall off the vine - so used it all chopped up in a stir fry dish. It really added a sweet taste
  • Just doing the regular stuff
                                                        My 'candy' dish - such sweet juicy bites
My meals this week:
Taco style zucchini boats
Cream cheese/veggie wraps
Canned - beans with bacon soup over rice, cukes and onions
Zucchini fritters and salad
Smoked sausage sandwich and salad
Lunch out -giant tenderloin sandwich and fries (Bubba's)
Veggie stir fry served over pasta

How was your week?  I hope you are getting lots of yummy veggies, herbs, and fruits from gardens or farm markets.  Did you do anything super frugal this week?  Any good deals?
I know many are trying to use everything up - no waste.  That is my life most of the time, but it pays to really concentrate on that, and use up things in new and creative ways.

I hope you all have a lovely week.  May you all stay safe, healthy, and COOL this week.
Blessings to you and yours from me at my humble little home.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night my heart also instructs me.  I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; and my body also dwells secure.
Psalms 16:7-9

Lord, again we come to You and give praise for our lives and all parts of our lives.  No matter what we face, You are there with us, if we just listen and even when we don't.  You never stop.  Help us each one, to count our blessings, big and small, as we have so much in our lives to be thankful for.  We are truly blessed.  Amen

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Easy and Inexpensive Meals - Using Garden and Things on Hand

 Happy Thursday all.  I am so enjoying the garden and I am sure you are as well.  I mentioned the other day, I eat little meat during these months, well, because I so enjoy the freshness of the veggies.  I know several of you are vegetarians, so this post will offer some goodies for you.  Everyone else, can maybe add some meatless nights to the repertoire!  Not only is it good for us to use less meat, but it also saves money.
I may have shown some of the pics before, but this post is all about eating the goodness, so enjoy.

I have tomatoes and cucumbers probably at every meal now.  The bowl of cherry tomatoes is my 'candy' dish!  I grab a handful every time I walk past it.  Little pops of juicy goodness in each bite!

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS - I made these in an unconventional way.  I found a box of cornbread dressing mix in the pantry when cleaning it out.  Not sure why it was there, not something I would normally eat.  SO, I used it with a cup of hot water - blended together.  Then I added grated zucchini (prob. a cup or more) - added 3 eggs and mixed it all up.  It made about 8 nice size fritters - which I grilled.  You could use the waffle iron as well.  These were so tasty topped with butter.  You can also use ranch or whatever other topping you like.  This and a salad was dinner!  Using what I had!!!

MEXICAN CONCOCTION - Ground beef (1/2 lb.), taco seasoning, can of corn drained, can of red beans drained, zucchini cut up, salsa (homemade) and rice.  I ate this in several ways over time.  When I make a big pan of something - I try to get creative in ways to serve it.  Also some will go in the freezer for a later date.  Below are the ways I served it.
                        In a bowl - topped with shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips
                                    In a burrito - added cheese and grilled and topped with sour cream
            In the latest zucchini boats - topped with lots of cheese and cooked in the air fryer
Lots of different ways to eat the same things.  You just need to think about it and get a little creative.  It is all good!!!!!  (you could make without the meat)
Tuna salad (many do eat fish) with the last hard-boiled egg (and frozen peas) added to it - served with crackers and fresh veggies.
Grilled zucchini and sauteed beans with peppers and onions - oh my this was soooooo good.
Veggie fried rice. Added broccoli, green peas, onion, peppers, zucchini to the rice - topped with hard noodles.
Dirty rice and what I call - zucchini fries.  YUM!  I used the remainder of the rice in another dish later.  That was a pack of dirty rice mix from Aldi that was in the pantry.
Veggie wraps on a hot day!  Tortilla wraps, cream cheese, sliced cukes, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, radishes, all wrapped up and yummy.  These were smaller tortillas so I couldn't exactly wrap - so ate them like soft tacos.  Add any seasonings or herbs you like OR any veggies!!!!!

I know many people think these may seem like lunches and not conventional dinners.  Well, let us just say I am not a conventional gal!  I eat what I like, and it is good, and I get full!  
Is that not the definition of a good meal?????  
I eat one 'meal' a day - usually late afternoon.  I may snack on a bowl of cut up veggies and dressing or I may eat cheese and crackers or popcorn or fruit or a handful of chips - nothing special or nothing large.

I stay healthy and maintain my weight.  Actually, in the summer I lose some weight - which is fine, since I tend to gain over the winter.
I just love to get inventive with fresh items from the garden.  I now have peppers coming on - so there is a whole new game for me!!!!!!!!
I hope I have inspired or given you a new idea or two.

Remember dinner is whatever you chose it to be.  There are NO rules!!!!!!!