Thursday, May 30, 2024

FREE Fun for all Ages!

 Good morning to all.  I sure hope this finds you all well and safe.  It is a beautiful morning here and looks to be a perfect day!  There is always much to do, but a day like this makes it all better!

Today I want to talk about a few FREE things you can do at home to entertain those kiddos.   Many children are on summer break now and instead of allowing them to just sit in the house on their electronic contraptions - have some fun.  It may be your children, grands, or neighbors - you may babysit as well.  It is always fun to do things for free and also that are creative.  I LIKE that too!!!

Get those button boxes out and get creative with them.  There are so many neat things that can be done with buttons!!!!  I love the top pic of flowers made from buttons/wire - the vase is an old salt shaker too!  The hair clips remind me of ice cream cones!  I would wear those.  Love the brochette.  You could also make pretty picture frames or Christmas decorations.  No end to the creative things that could be made. (have them make gifts for others)

Find smooth rocks and paint them.  That is a neat thing now.  Use in flowerbeds, by the entry or in flowerpots.  Small ones can be turned into magnets.  Anything that can be imagined can be painted.  Make animals, bugs, sayings, flowers, etc.
                 Easy-peasy homemade play dough!  Non-toxic and you can make any color.
Of course, don't forget no-bake cookies - that can be made for pennies at home.  These are a hit with kiddos and grown-ups alike!!!!
Make sure the littles help!

Get a book from the library about birds, and then sit outside and see how many different birds you can identify.
Go for a walk.
Make a picnic in the backyard.
Teach them about flowers or have them help in the garden.
Just sit and be together!

There are so many things that can be done and that get the creative juices flowing.  Children don't need to be on electronics all the time - they need fresh air and FUN!  So do adults!!!!!!

Have fun and enjoy some creative, free, down time this summer.
Have a fantastic day!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Surround Yourself & Do You

 Happy midweek to all.  I hope this finds you well and safe.  It is a chilly morning here.  I put on a sweater when going out to feed, and I still have it on!  It got noisy for a while last night and there seemed to be a light show - but no rain here.  It looks to be a nice weather week in my area.  I sure hope you are experiencing good weather as well.

Just a word or two today about doing what YOU need to do for yourself.  You have to be true to yourself.  Don't let others intimidate you into doing things you think aren't right.  SO many people tend to be crowd followers- and in the world of paying off debt and living a simpler life that doesn't necessarily work!

                                            We are your tribe - we will counsel where we can
Keep things simple.  Keep trying.  If you fall - get back up and start again.  We have all fallen away from watching our dollars in our lives - but you can start over - ALWAYS.
Be careful who you take advise from.  Watch people and how the treat their funds.  If they can't manage a dollar, they surely can't manage ten!!!!!  
You have to start small.  Think about little things that tend to eat your dollars - they don't seem like much by themselves - but they do add up.
You know - the coffee out each day, lunch out a few times a week, buying the junk food at the grocery, cigarettes, going to the store every day, etc.
We recently had a post about how $27.40 a day = $10,000 a year!!!!  YES.  Doing that LITTLE stuff over time adds up.  Ten years of living like that is $100,000!!!!!!  That is a lot of money.
Money that could buy a house, money that could be saved, money that could pay off all your bills, money that could be invested - money that IS YOUR FUTURE.

Saving pennies - is saving dollars.  Just start small and make simple changes - use that 'extra' money to pay off things or save.  Start that emergency fund - they can be lifesavers.
Make little changes each and every week.  Don't give up and just keep trying.

Stop blaming others for what you DON'T have - take your control back and do what is needed for YOU!
It is easy to blame others, it is harder to do the right thing.  That is basically a fact in all parts of our life.  No one is responsible for you but you.

Start small, it is where we all started.  You got this - and know we are your tribe.  We are here to help.
Have a wonderful and simple day!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Yummies Made From Home

 Happy Tuesday everyone.  I hope you are all well and safe.  I know I keep mentioning it, but I am worried about many of our contributors/family.  It sure seems the spring storm season has been extra turbulent this year and very devastating. Check in if possible.

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  It has messed me up again!!  I have my days mixed up again - makes no sense, because I do not work, but it happens every holiday!  I keep thinking today is Monday.
I spent 2 days relaxing a lot, porch sitting, and talking with neighbors.  Today it is back to work for me here on the home front.
It looks to be a lovely weather week here - very mild.  Good week to work outside.

I want to share a couple of goodies I mentioned in my Sunday post that I made last week.  SO easy using what I had here at home - and very tasty as well!

Not my picture (I forgot because I was hungry!) - but mine looked just like this.  A little fatter than what you buy in the freezer section.
I had everything here. I used the air fryer as well - so no grease.

I used 6" tortillas.  I made up some taco meat and used shredded cheese and homemade/canned salsa.
You could use bigger or smaller tortillas - depending on what you have.

In an open flat tortilla, I placed a line of taco meat, cheese and salsa.  Then I rolled them as tightly as possible.  I put in a warmed air fryer at 365* for 15 minutes (solid side up).  They came out nice and crunchy.  SO yummy.
You could put anything you like in them.  Chicken, taco meat, cheese, cream cheese, salsa, enchilada sauce, beans, rice, etc.
DO NOT over fill!  You put a small amount so as to be able to roll up small and tightly.

I also made SORBET using what I had on hand.
I used a banana I had getting ripe, and about 5 or 6 strawberries I had left and the scrapings from the watermelon to get it all.  I also used the juice from the watermelon.
I know it may sound like a strange combo - but it sure is tasty.

I put all the fruit in the Ninja added the watermelon juice, then a good splash of lemon juice, and 2 packets of Stevia - blended until smooth.  That is it!

You can use any kind of fruit you have, add any type of juice (water can even be used), and a good splash of lemon juice and a bit of sweetener.  Pour into a container and freeze.
I let it set out a few minutes before eating, so it can be scooped out easily.  As you can see by above picture - I have eaten some (2X) from this container.
It is cold and frosty and refreshing AND EASY! And HEALTHY!!
**Not ice cream like - but a cold somewhat crunchy treat.

It is so easy to use up what you have and make new things.  Just take a moment and think about something you like, but don't usually buy - then make it yourself!
Get creative.  Life is boring if we don't try new things.
This was my first time on both of these items, and I was super pleased with the outcome both times.

Have fun, get creative, use what you have, and save some $$$.
Have a wonderful day all!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/26

 Hello to all.  Here it is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., and the unofficial start to summer.  It looks like we have 2 very strong waves of storms that may come through today - not a good thing for the race or for race fans!  Guess we will see what happens.
The first part of the week was hot, hot!  The past couple days have been nice, and next week looks cooler as well.
I hope this finds everyone SAFE!  PLEASE check in.  There are several of you that haven't posted in the past couple weeks - it makes me worry!

Prayers and thanks to all those families who have lost loved ones in the name of war and conflict!  Always remember.

It has been a very busy week for me.  I think I have actually accomplished more this week than I have all year!!!  LOL!  It has felt good, and well, today is a resting day!
I got to see the Thunderbirds fly over the house 2 times and hope it happens again today before the race.  They are awesome to see.  There have been many old type biplanes going over pulling advertisements!  It reminds me of back in the day! (even their sound)
I have D'Oro lilies just starting to bloom and there will be hundreds of Tiger lilies blooming soon!  Things are growing and greening and blooming.  Love it.
It smells like rain this morning!

This past week (it was busy):
  • I got all the annual flowers planted
  • Garden - finished weeding, hand turned the dirt, weed fabric down, soaker hoses down, and garden planted!  I planted 8 reg. tomatoes (2 types), 4 cherry toms, 4 green bell peppers, 1 candy cane bell pepper, zucchini & yellow crook neck squash, 8 cabbage, basil, lettuce and onions
  • Dead headed poppies
  • Mowed and trimmed yard
  • Moved around seating and created a couple new seating areas for myself - a little more private
  • I moved my 2 faux whisky barrels (rubber/plastic) and worked on the pallet area where they had set
  • Cut back a bunch of the TALL weeds growing in the back part of neighbors yard - UGH
  • Cleared a ton of poison that was growing in the perennial bed - and then just killed that specific area (strong salt & vinegar)
  • I repaired the hose and added new fittings and a quick release
  • Ran to the hardware up the road and got a spicket for the handmade rain barrel.  I am tired of getting water out with a bucket (it is heavy!).  I drilled the barrel and got the spicket put in and sealed.  That was a real sight to see!!  Barrel on its side and me headfirst inside it on my back!!  But now I have 2 rain barrels again and easy pour spouts!
  • Washed plastic baggies, made new bottles up of dish soap and shampoo
  • Ran to the library while out for hardware (a few buildings apart).  First visit there in a while
  • Did some cleaning, sweeping and trashing in the garage yesterday
  • Porch set a bit and visited with neighbors
  • Made a small batch of sorbet with some fruit that needed used - YUM
  • I did run to Kroger and got a watermelon (very good), corn on cob and some buns - that is it
  • Had a strawberry/banana milkshake one day - no sugar added - Mmmmm
  • Received a small thank you basket from neighbors for letting them use the water hose when they had problems
  • Got to air the house quite a bit
  • Doing all the regular stuff
Meals this past week:
Burritos (homemade)
Loaded baked potato
Ham & veggie sandwich
Tuna mac n cheese with added peas
Homemade (fat!) taquitos
Chicken breast fillet, corn on cob and cuke/tom/onion salad
Cheeseburger, baked beans and cut-up fresh veggies

That is pretty much my week in a nutshell - I kept busy.  I feel accomplished.  Things are in and growing!  Now to maintain.
How was your week?  Any good holiday deals?  Graduations?  Gardening?  I hope those up north that have been experiencing colder weather are warming.
I hope all are safe from the many storms that have been going through.  There are several of you that may be vacationing as well - I just miss hearing from so many, here and overseas!  Stop by and say HELLO!

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

He who tills the land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
Proverbs 28:19

Dear Lord, Guide us each one as we try to grow and harvest some of our food, and please bless the farmers.  We need the farmers in our lives everyday.  Bless all who are involved in providing food sources to each of us.  May the crops be fruitful.  Thank You for all our blessings.  AMEN  

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Life, Summer and Liberty

 Howdy all.  Boy oh boy is this a weird weather year or what?  Some of you gals are having super cold and frost still.  The mid-section of the U.S. is stormy!!!  From Texas to the north.  I read this morning there are 'winter storm warnings' in parts of Montana and Wyoming - they may get 1'-2' of snow in higher elevations!!!!!!  WHAT???  Crazy stuff.

We are absolutely lovely right now. 
It looks like rain is holding off until Sunday - 500 Mile Race Day!  Will it rain early or late or all day - that is the question. That will surely perturb tens of thousands of visitors to the city!!!!

Monday is considered a holiday here with Memorial Day.  Long weekend for you working folks - regular weekend for us retirees!
This is considered the official beginning of summer for most here.  Swimming pools open, picnics, BBQ's, graduation parties, cookouts, camping, celebrations of all sorts.

It should be a somber day as well - a day of remembering the ultimate sacrifice that so ever many men and women have made for us to all be FREE!
Remember them and thank them in your hearts and remember their families - they have all sacrificed as well.

My weekend will be a bit of what I do every weekend or day - same old stuff.  No plans here.
It sure is amazing how fast this month, well, and the year have flown by.  Another week and the month of May is done.

What are your plans this weekend?  I remember looking forward to big camping get-togethers.  We sure did enjoy that.  Good memories.
Are you doing anything special?  Just relaxing?  Gardening?

Sending prayers for all that have been in the path of storms and destruction lately.
May you and yours have a wonderful weekend, no matter where you live or what you do.

Love you guys - thanks for being here!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

"Grow"ceries - the Waiting Begins!

 Happy Wednesday to all.  I sure hope you are all OK.  There were some more fierce storms yesterday - so sad.  Iowa sure got hit badly!  Lets us know you are OK.  DEBBY are you OK?  Haven't heard from you in a bit - and I know there has been bad weather in the past week or so in your area.


It is going to be a bit cooler from today onward.  It was hot for a few days - but that is to be expected.  Less humid today as well - sounds lovely.
I am pooped!  I got the garden in, and all the plantings done.  I have more I want to do - funny how I just keep making work!
This year my garden is sort of a square foot garden - (maybe a little larger).  I have planted more variety than past few years.  Why not?  I have the area to use, might as well use it.  I planted several big pots as well.  It will become very good and healthy food for me and others.
I have a good 'farmer's tan' going on! LOL.  I need to work on a bit more after I get stuff I want done!

Well, this was after removing weeds.  My Mantis tiller was leaking gasoline, so I need to get that repaired.  SOOOOO, I did this all by hand!  I pulled weeds like crazy - about a foot tall and the garden was covered with all sorts of viny stuff.  Then I worked the ground by hand.  See why I am pooped?

My two favorite tools for the garden.  So, this year is a no-till year, but everything got turned and loosened up.  It was a lot of work, but I got it done.
My neighbor has these tools at the moment, as he is planting a tiny little garden of things in his yard.

It seems the work never ends.  I still have a big section of the big perennial bed to work on.  There is a lot of weeds that need to come out as well as poison ivy!  UGH - I hate that stuff.  I have sure pulled a lot already - so far so good - not many spots.  I do take precautions.
I have other areas to work on as well.  PLUS - I have set up a couple 'new' sitting areas for myself.  It seems when I go out on the porch in the evenings, some think it means "conversation".  Sometimes I just want to sit and reflect and listen and see.  So I set up a couple areas that are somewhat secluded for ME time!

Not sure what today brings.  I am tired, yet I slept pretty good last night.  I still ache in spots I didn't remember having!  BUT at least I am still going!  I am sure there will be some project tackled today.
What are you all up to this Wednesday?

Gals in the stormy mid-section please check in if possible.  I sure hope you are all ok.
Have a wonderful day to all.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Make it, Eat it, Save Money!

 Good morning to all.  Here we are on Tuesday again.  I am already tired this week!  LOL
Just trying to get outside stuff done and let me tell you, it hasn't been fun as it is HOT!  Today will get close to 90F, so I will be going outside here in a few to get things done early.
Mind you I am not complaining about the heat - it sure beats ice and snow, just trying to stay cooler and hydrated.
Hope you are all having a good week so far.

It is now picnic time, BBQ time, grilling out time - and we all like to eat, yet keeping things simple and easy.  Saving a buck or two doesn't hurt either.  So today is about a few ideas to use and make from what you have at home, instead of buying at the grocery.

Here we go.
I keep seeing lots of posts about the size of everything is getting smaller - yep, shrinkflation is upon us.  Well, my advice is just make your own. Things have been shrinking in size (not cost) for a few years.  Manufacturers think they are being sneaky - so let's just beat them at their game!!  DON'T buy it!!!!

Make your own mixes instead of buying cake mix - yes, they have shrunk in size.  You can mix up these dry ingredients and store in quart jars or airtight baggies and keep them on your shelves.  You can adjust accordingly to make flavors.  Above is yellow cake mix - the difference in this and white cake mix is to use just eggs whites when making it white cake!
I have read that if you have a cake mix that is smaller than it used to be - add a 1/4 C flour and it will be back to the original!  Not sure if that is true - but worth a try if you have some to use.

Corn and bean salsa - a fun twist on a yummy.  This is great for cookouts and such, as it has no mayonnaise to spoil.  It really is tasty.

Don't think something is ruined and trash it - just because it is too........... whatever!

Fun condiments for chicken or burgers or fries!
HONEY MUSTARD - make at home


An easy alternative to burgers.  Great served on buns, over fries (loaded fries), or on hotdogs!
I always add a splash of Worcestershire sauce as well - gives a little zing.  Super easy to make and yummy to eat.

There ya go!  A few more alternatives to make with what you have at home.  They not only taste better but are easy and cheaper for the most part.
I imagine a lot of cookouts happening this coming weekend here in the U.S. with Memorial Day.  Maybe you can have fun with some new recipes.

Make what you can, stay out of stores for extras, save a little money.
Have a wonderful day!!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/19

 Howdy!  Happy Sunday to all.  Hope this finds everyone well and safe.  Missing some of y'all.  You need to check in and lets us know you are good!
It is sunny here this morning and very dewy!  The grass is so wet - but I bet it dries quickly today as it will be getting hot.  I have so much to do outside yet in the next few days, so hopefully it doesn't get TOO hot!  Time to get my sun hat out!

Everything is so green and growing.  I got flooded out back 2 times this week.  Early in the week and again over Thursday night - - lots of water.
I saw my first bunny of the season.  I have seen it twice a few doors down.
The ice cream truck has started coming around on the weekend - yep, it is almost summer!

                             We all need to do this more often.  Something we tend to forget!

My frugal week:
  • I told you about the 10th birthday party - that was a nice family event
  • I made a huge pasta/veggie salad that I took to the party.  It was a hit.  I had enough left for Monday meal - otherwise it was all gone!
  • Mowed and trimmed the yard - took several hours to do it right.  Heck, it needs it again
  • Did my feet and gave myself a pedi!  (tis the season for pretty feet)
  • I had metal rings from the whiskey barrel I took apart - placed them out back and the scrap guy had them within the hour.  I couldn't think of a use, or I would have kept
  • Washed and kept 3 freezer bags for future use
  • Basic cleaning inside on rain days.  We had a couple crazy wet days.
  • I got 90%+ of the garden cleaned out of weeds - oh what a job.  I had 2 huge black bags full of stuff.  Then it rained & rained and flooded out there again.  Hoping to finish it all today!  I hand pulled all those weeds - the rest will be with hoe
  • I have brushed and brushed Blackie this week - dang that kitty has thick hair, and he sheds!  He is like a little bear - so thick and fluffy
  • I received a 2 lb. pack of huge, beautiful strawberries from the neighbor across the street - they always share stuff.  Boy have they been tasty.
  • NO grocery shopping this week
  • Using what I have and keeping meals simple
  • Laundry and used dehumidifier water in laundry
  • Made a new batch dbl. of hummingbird nectar
  • Many days of windows open and enjoying fresh air - using ceiling fans (kitties love the open windows)
  • Went to a surprise 80th birthday celebration for my nephew-in-law's mom
  • Got to talk with out-of-town relatives this week
  • Just doing all the basic things
Meals this past week:
Dinner at the party - KFC chicken and homemade goodies
Chicken & corn (sent home from party) and leftover pasta salad
Beef hotdogs and side salad
Chef salad
Cold sandwich and fresh veggies
Eggroll bowl
Chicken thighs (pre-cooked from freezer) and fruit salad
As you can see - most were easy meals.  When doing yard work, simple meals are the order of hand for me.

So much work to do out in the yard and garden yet.  Yesterday, while talking to my brother he said he isn't planted yet either.  He always has a huge garden.  It has just been so wet - (he floods too).
I will work outside the next couple days, until it gets too hot.  We are expected to hit upper 80's the next 2 or 3 days then cool a bit before the Memorial Day weekend.  I still have close to 2 weeks before the month is over - daddy always said "plant close to end of May" - for best warmth in the ground.  So, I guess I am OK!

How has your week been?  Is your garden in?  Thinking about it?  Any holiday plans in motion?
Did you get any great deals this week?  Check in and let us know how you are doing!!  PLEASE
You are all worried about and cared for.

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

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Dear Lord, please continue to watch over and protect us.  Help to find joy in all things and to laugh and have a joyful heart.  Hoping that our smiles and laughter can add happiness to another who is sad.  May we lift one another in ways of caring and love.  Prayers for peace and love for this world.  AMEN

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Inflation - Can You Beat It?

 Happy Thursday - hope this finds you well.  Missing some of you!  Check in so we know you are A-OK!
This morning is sunshine here, a little fog and nice temperatures.  Most of all NO rain!

Well, yes - we still have to do it.  We still have to live and shop!  But can we fudge a little?  Sure.

Can you beat inflation?  Well, I don't know about beating it - but we can play the game too!  I realize that everything is up in cost and that makes goods cost more.  BUT not all of it is cost of living - some is just greed.

Not much we can do about gasoline prices, except be mindful of our trips and makes them as useful as can be.  Do your errands all at once in one day, instead of going out driving more than necessary.  If you work, well you can maybe carpool or take public transportation (if available), but otherwise you are kind of stuck.  Do any errands on the way home and not extra trips if necessary. Take care of your vehicle so it is as efficient as possible.

Your home - just stay where you are if you can.  Housing is so expensive now - it is for sure a seller's market and rent can be so expensive.  If your home is sound, safe and stable - stay there and improve little things as you can afford.  Love what you have!!!!  Embrace it. 
We don't have to have the fanciest or the biggest or the newest or the best address - we just need to love what we have and take care of it.

Groceries - well, play the game!  Buy only those lost leaders in ads.  Look for the clearance goods.  Shop the cheaper stores.  USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  Stay home more often and be ever so mindful of what you buy and what you spend.  Grow some things if you can.  Cook from scratch.  We give ideas all the time on ways to save on food - so use them.  Go back and read posts and learn as much as you can.  Use alternatives if you are out of something.  Use your leftovers.  We can make a difference in our spending - so we can play the game too.

Utilities - well they cost what they cost.  We can use less.  Use less water - don't leave faucets run needlessly.  Wet and soap up - shower off - wash your body - the rinse off.  Catch that extra water from faucets to water plants or mop the floors or flush the toilet.  Catch rainwater if you are permitted to in your area.  It is great for plants and animals.
Turn off lights when not in need.  During this time of the year, I do not even turn on house lights.  I have a small night light for over night, and I have a dusk to dawn light outside for safely.  That is it.  You can use your TV for light or light a candle or use those battery candles. 
Turn heat down or AC up. Use fresh air if possible and maybe a ceiling fan or small fan.
Rethink cable, internet, phones etc.  Check prices for cheaper versions.  If you have $ troubles - just get rid of something.  It isn't a HAVE to have.

Insurances - shop around.  If you are paying super high prices, look around for a better price.  Insurance encompasses all areas of life - they get us coming and going.  House, health, car, other vehicles, etc.  Do your research.

Clothes - try to get by with what you have.  Repair and mend.  If you need new - shop thrift stores or yard sales.  You can get brand new items at times for pennies on the dollar.  Watch your freecycle groups for all things you may need.

FUN - have staycations. If you are having money troubles - just figure out ways to have fun at home.  Parks, local free events, walking festivals, having picnics, sprinklers, music in the parks, games at home.  Maybe make it a neighborhood thing - families all pitch-in.  You can still have fun and not spend.

There are ways to fight inflation and the cost of living.  You just have to think a little.  Do a little research and footwork and you can stay ahead of the game.
Most of all remember the HUGE difference between wants and needs.

You can do this - just put in a little effort.
Have a lovely day everyone!
I am off to enjoy this beautiful day.

** I understand not everyone can do all of these - but we can all try something.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Happy Midweek/Month

 Happy Wednesday to all.  Here we are again in the middle of another week and here we are at the midpoint of the month!  Good golly Miss Molly time is sure flying by.
There is a lot of water in my area. A LOT OF WATER!  In the past 12 hours or so my area has received about 3.3" of rain!  There will be no weed pulling in the garden today as there is a lake out there!!
It should make it easy - WHEN I can get out there!

There have been many cars that have been flooded on roads around the area.  It always amazes me what people actually think they can drive through!  If you are going to work, you are familiar with the area - so one would think they would know the flooding potential of some areas.  Silly people.
Stay safe out there folks!  
I hope this makes you smile like it did me when I saw it!!!  Life can't always be all serious - it can be fun too!

I spent much of yesterday cleaning inside as the weather was not conducive to working outside.  Looks like today will be much the same.
It sure was a good sleeping night.  I woke about 2:45 to hearing thunder - otherwise I slept pretty good.  The kitties must have too.  They didn't come in with me last night - they stayed side by side of the couch all evening.  They sure are friends - until Bitsy wants to play!  He is very exuberant!

I went out this morning to feed the critters and heard the most beautiful bird song.  I had not heard that particular song before and was trying hard to see what it was.  I wish I had had a recorder with me.

I want to relate a little story about the birthday gathering this past weekend.  The birthday boy has two younger siblings 1 and 3.  The 3 year old is very shy, and she usually stays away from most of us.  The one year old is just quiet.  Well, Layla decided this weekend that I was OK.  She came and set next to me on the picnic table chatting up a storm.  Then I walked in the house and she was playing alone - and I asked if I could play.  We made a fort and had a ball - her chatting the whole time.  Then 1 year old Miles, was sitting next to my brother (his gr. grandpa).  He was loving his mashed potatoes, and brother started doing "airplane" with the spoons of potatoes.  Miles was just belly laughing like crazy.  He thought that was hysterical.  He and I played 'bubbles' after dinner and he laughed and laughed.
It sure made the day & weekend fun.  Those littles can bring a smile and it sure warms the heart when they interact with us adults.
They have no idea how special those moments are for us big people.

I thought I would show you a fun pic of Bitsy.  I have an afghan rolled up and all neat at the back of a chair seat every morning.  I fix it every morning - by afternoon this is what happens.
Bits gets it all bunched up and curls up inside it!!!!  Every day!  He is such a hoot.  I guess it is a comfy thing - he loves crawling under covers of all sorts.  If he sees someone on the porch or inside or hears someone else talking - he runs and hides under my bed covers.  Yesterday I had the vacuum going and he was hiding under my covers.  Blackie just sits there and looks at it!  He could not care less.  Plus if someone comes to visit, Blackie wants his pets and head rubs!  They are so different in personality.
Bitsy loves being with Blackie and me.  He follows us all over the place and talks the whole time.

What are you up to today?  Any fun weekend stories to tell from your part of the world?  I know many graduations and parties have started already and last weekend was Mother's Day.

Make today about smiles!
Have a great midweek.  Smile - it is something that we can share and costs nothing!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

A Helping Hand - Just Doing Something

 Happy Tuesday all.  Hope this finds you well.  It is a nice but cloudy morn here.  We are expecting rain today.  It is only going to be in the 60's today, but that will change come the weekend - it is supposed to get in mid 80's.

Today I want to talk about helping others.  I know we have had people on here talk about wanting to start support programs over time, and well, it is something we can all do.  We can volunteer or start something new in our communities.  

First you need to find a need.
Think about your abilities - your hours, talents, financial obligations.
Choose your project.
Develop a plan - what are you hoping to accomplish - is it practical - is it safe and legal.
Recruit volunteers if necessary.
I am sure there can be much more involved with more complicated projects.  Today let's just talk about SIMPLE things we can do and help someone.

Many things just take time and your talents.  
Maybe you can offer FREE music lessons to a child, like piano lessons.
Teach the basics in gardening or foraging.
Teach someone or many the basics behind canning.
Tutor kids or adults
If you have computer knowledge - maybe help someone get the basics - it could help with getting a job or with their education.
Perhaps get people to donate baby items and keep a supply on hand for new moms in need.
Maybe teach a class on living with basic food items, how to shop for simple foods and how to prepare them.  Recipes.
Teach a basic budgeting/financial class
Donate your extra garden produce - provide fresh goodies for neighbors (or donate to elderly neighbors)
Adopt a 'grand'friend from a nursing home - visit or write cards - brighten a day
Volunteer to help an elderly neighbor with yard, cleaning, transportation, or just being a friend

You can start a FREE mini pantry to help those in need.

These can be made from old cabinets, an old hutch, or just a covered table.  I love the idea of these - but I see some concerns as well.  In my neighborhood, I don't see it being a help to many - as I would think there would be someone that would take everything.  I worry about heat and cold.  I think they may work best in front of a small business (where there is lots of foot traffic) or in front of a community center.  People take and people give.  The premise is lovely - you just need to know your area.

Start a community garden.  If living in the city, there are many empty lots.  FIRST find & check with the property owner and the city to make sure this can be done without liability.  Neighbors help and eat.
Nice when all work together.  We have a youngster that started doing this is his needy neighborhood a few years back.  He got everyone involved and people had good fresh produce in a very dry food desert.  It was very inspirational.

Check with your local libraries or churches or community centers to see if you can teach a class or start a group.

Think about starting a blog and share it on neighborhood free groups online or post on your personal FB, so your friends can share.  It is one way to get your lessons and word out there.
Start a You Tube channel and give direction on whatever you want.  You Tube can be a valuable tool.  I know I have looked up all kinds of things, to learn how to do them.  Use key words that attract people in your titles!!!!  That is important.

Maybe make goody bags for the homeless in your area.  I used to make gallon bags up with all kinds of things to pass out.  Toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, soap, wet wipes, washcloth, cheese crackers, etc.  I passed out hundreds of these over a couple years.  It always brought a smile from those in need, and it made me feel good to help.  I worked with the local soup kitchen, and they let me pass them out there - a safe environment!!!!
(I bought all items at $ stores or discount groceries back then - most in multi-packs)

Have work clothes you no longer need? - maybe gift to a woman's shelter.  Any nice clothes for that matter.  Many women leave with what they have on and nothing more.

Help at a local pet shelter.  It isn't just people in need, animals as well need help.  Help clean pens, donate newspapers, food, just pet and visit the animals.
Or you can feed feral animals in your neighborhood.  Provide shelter and water.

There truly is NO LIMIT to ways to volunteer at something!!!!!
Volunteer, donate, teach, just give in some way.  Never think that there is nothing that you can do.  Even the smallest thing or amount helps.
The world would be so much nicer if we all did just a little!!!!!

Look forward to hearing your ideas or what you have done.  Please don't be disparaging - be encouraging!
Have a wonderful day to all.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 5/12

 Happy Sunday to all. Happy Mother's Day to all moms - whether your babes are human or fur!!!
Hope this finds everyone well and safe.  I know some of you have been in the areas so affected by the storms this week.  Hope all of you, your families and your properties are safe.  There has been so much devastation.

It has been cooler here this past week.  Not the heat we had last week.  Next week looks to be nice as well.  We had some rain, nothing like the storms in other areas.
We lost power last Sunday for a while - not storm related.  It appears someone hit a pole - the sirens were almost deafening.  It is nice to know that my generator kicks on when needed!

The dandelions are now gone, and the clover has started up.  It really does smell good.  Mr. G Hog was sighted strolling down the alley this week!!  LOL.  I sure hope he stays out of my yard.  I think that is why I had a bumper crop of poppies this year - no g-hog in the yard (last year he ate the buds).
The poppies and the peonies are just about done.  They came on fast and fierce and then done!
The climbing roses are all blooming and my oldest bush rose (at least 40 years old) had 10 blooms at once open this week!  The clematis is blooming - things are sure alive.
NO the garden is not yet in - but hopefully by next weekend.  This old chick is slowing down!!!!!

My week:
  • Mowed and trimmed - of course it is in need again
  • Picked many, many bouquets of peonies and roses (gosh they smell good)
  • Paid everything I had come in (including property taxes for the year)
  • Tons of laundry
  • Lot's more weeding and yard clean up.  I have 2 wooden whiskey barrels out back (yrs. old) and one was done!  I removed all the dirt and took it apart and cleared that area.  Whew!!!
  • I washed down the front porch and the side covered area - they both collect dust
  • Got the glass storm doors all cleaned - they look so nice!
  • Went out one day to do errands.  Got gas in the can for summer mowing.  I took some coupons to my niece's house for her birthday event today (nephew wants KFC).  Stopped by Kroger for specials.
  • I got Eggland Best lg. eggs for 1.99 doz.  1/2 gallons of milk were 1.29.  Vidalia onions 3 lbs. 2.99 - some of the sweetest I have had in years!  I got fresh veggies galore - using many in today's pasta/veg salad I am taking to nieces.  AND by walking the store (I know!!) - I found 3 types of cat food shreds I have a hard time finding anywhere.  One that I haven't found in 2-3 years!!!  Kitties happy!
  • Hard boiled some eggs
  • Aired the house - no A/C or heat at all this week (no need for lights either)
  • Cleaned the hummingbird feeders and refilled with homemade nectar
  • Helped the side neighbor with water this week (1 1/2 days).  They had their water turned off (SMH) and I ran the hose over the fence for them to fill buckets with.  He was talking about going out to buy gallons of water - I mean come on - you haven't paid the bills, and you want to buy water??  Some people amaze me.  Anyhow they seemed appreciative.
  • Dug a huge lamb's ear plant and potted for a neighbor who loves them
  • Got some neighbor visits in with people I haven't talked with much this spring
  • Just all the normal stuff
Meals this past week:
Blk. bean/beef combo nachos/taco salad
Mexican style rice bowl
Potato cakes (freezer), pan seared fish, veggie salad
Beef/potato/cheese bowl and salad
Grilled ham/cheese sandwich, onion rings, fresh vegs
Burger and salad
Dirty rice w/sausage and side salad

Well, that sums up my week.  Nothing exciting.  I need to get my bum a bobbing of getting the garden in - it is just a lot of work!  LOL
How was your week?  Please let us know you are OK from storms.  Did you get stuff planted?  Any good deals this week?
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day, however you desire to spend the day!!!!
I am going to another birthday celebration this afternoon for a 10-year-old gr. nephew, and I need to get busy making my side I am taking!!

Stay safe and healthy.  Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home!

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:30-31

Lord, we thank You for all the strong women in our lives, both past and present.  May we all work together and learn from one another.  Guide each and every woman in her daily life and journey in this world.  We give thanks for all blessings.  AMEN

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Keep Urgency At Bay

 Happy Thursday to all.  It is hard to believe that we are coming to the end of another week.
I hope you are all safe.  There sure were some more terrible storms going through the south and south eastern parts of the country.  Sad to hear this morning that there were deaths with this system.
We are cloudy and damp this A.M. - nothing bad here.
The tulip poplar tree is now releasing its flowers and sap all over the place!  That makes for lots of little ants on things.  The tree is always pretty in bloom, but what a messy tree it is.  Sure glad I got that dead wood out of it.

Today let's just touch on keeping the 'urgency' out of shopping!  When there is an urgency for things needed - it is very easy and probable that you will overspend!!!  Yep!
If you keep a decently stocked pantry of basics - you can avoid the 'urgency' of making those extra trips to the store.
Extra trips mean extra money - which means more spending on groceries and less on other things.
Again, as we have talked before, you don't have to spend a fortune to stock your pantry.  A few dollars here and there makes a huge difference.

Things to remember:
Keep yourself acquainted with all the stores in your area - but try to shop one for your basic needs.  Yes, watch for the lost leaders at the other places and get what you need and use.  BUT the trick is - ONLY get those specials when you go!!  It is sooooooo easy to wonder and pick up this and that and then that special deal isn't so special anymore!  You have easily shot the budget on other stuff or wants - and that is not good.
Keep your eyes open for discount stores.  I have always been so envious of people that can shop those places.  We have just recently gotten a new discount store that has Friday and Saturday deals that can't be beat at all!!!!  They sell closeouts of fresh food (produce) for pennies on the dollar.  Every week is different.  It is a great way for those with little money to get somewhat fresh goods.

Remember that if you run out - you can substitute something else.  No spaghetti noodles?  No problem, use a different kind of pasta - it will be fine.  No eggs for baking - use applesauce or mayo or other subs.  There are many things you can use.  No - meat?  Well, beans are protein and eggs and cheese and peanut butter........
No meat for spaghetti sauce - use mushrooms or other veggies in your sauce.  It is OK!!!!!
Use what you have.

Don't buy sales if they are things you don't regularly use!!!  Buy what you eat and eat what you buy!!!!  This is essential.  If you buy things that you will not eat (probably) it is not a deal at all.  If money is tight - it isn't time to try (buy) things you have never had.  Wait to try those things when finances are better.

IF you need help - don't be ashamed.  City/county food pantries are there to help those in need.  Get what you can.  Maybe this will fill in your empty spots or maybe you only have to buy a little to fill in those empty spots.  Many organizations (including churches) have food giveaways.  Do what you need to provide for your family.

Cook at hope and stop eating out.  I have heard basically every excuse and reason - and I still believe it is cheaper to cook from home!  Fast food is super expensive!
Cook basic foods most of the time and make having homemade fries and burgers (made at home) a fun treat!!  Make pizza a treat  - so easy to make and use what you have.  Make eating Mexican a treat - super easy and inexpensive.  Anything can be made special at home - so stay out of the restaurants.

SHOP your pantry and freezer and use up what you have.  Get creative.  There are many sites that give you great food ideas using up what you have.  You type in your pantry supplies and the site will give you ideas and recipes using them.
My favorite is My FridgeFood site -  There are others.

I really can't remember the last time I felt the urgent need to go to the store.  I try to keep all the basics on hand and have enough to last a bit.  I have no problem using different ingredients and I eat pretty darn simple.  It is amazing what you can get by on if necessary.  I eat well and varied.
Recently I bought 2-12 packs of dbl. roll TP for 3.99 each.  With what I have on hand and that - I am good for months!  It pays to keep track of how much you use per week/month, etc.  That way you can add enough to last you and no emergency runs!
I may get a food idea in my head (TV does that!), but I will try to make something similar.  IF I don't have the stuff on hand - well it gets put on my future 'wants' list.  I refuse to run out for special ingredients.
The last couple months I have really purchased very little food, except some fresh items.
I can't wait for all the garden and market freshness that will be coming soon.

I know I talk about this subject a lot - but it is so important for those starting out.  It is also a good reminder for those of us, that maybe get complacent!
We always get new ideas in the comments that can help other too.  You guys rock!!!

Just remember to use what you have and get creative.  There are ways to enjoy your food and to not spend a fortune!

Have a great day and weekend!!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The Quiet Many Don't Realize

 Good morning all.  I sure hope you are all safe.  There have been some very nasty storms in the past day or so.  We got a lot of rain and noise, but that is it in my area.  I keep reading about tornadoes, hail, and blinding rain elsewhere.  
It seems every year just as the peonies start blooming, we get a pounding rain!  Every year.  LOL
That is OK, at least we are safe and if that is the only damage - well all is good.
I noticed this morning when I went out to feed critters that the shed had steam coming from its roof.  It kind of startled me, then I looked around - all garages and sheds and shorter trees were doing the same.  The sun was shining on them, and they were wet and cool and steam appeared.  Just kind of foggy looking.
Poppies always represent the many service members lost.  Memorial Day is coming soon and we remember.  I always think about the saying 'freedom isn't free'.

We have all had loss in our lives.  Not only service members - but spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, dear friends and yes even precious pets.
Today I want to share a poem I recently saw that is just so fitting for all.  In those quiet moments of every day - life is affected forever.

Please click on poem to enlarge to read easily.

I just felt this poem said it all.  Each of us go on each day and do LIFE.  We all seem normal and happy.  Yes, we are - but we are still sad and lonely.
Life changes in an instant and it changes forever.  That doesn't mean it can't be joyful again or laugh again and that we can't get back into the swing of things - it just means we all have something in common.  Those QUIET moments.

Please know that it is normal to have those moments.  Hugs to all who are quietly 'missing' that special someone or those special times.

Wishing a safe and lovely day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Make It, Use What You Have and Save

 Happy Tuesday all.  It is primary election day here in my city.  It looks to be a weather day for sure.  There are a couple rounds of nastiness that will be coming through.  Hope all those west of me are safe - the nasty weather is on the move.  
                                                    Picture from "Little House Living" site

Today I am going to list a few recipes that may save you a few dollars, taste fresh and better, and keeps you from running out to the stores if you run out of something.  REMEMBER to click on the recipes or pictures to enlarge for easier reading.  ENJOY!

Dry mix

Super good with chicken strips - I like on fries as well!!!

There are different types of sauces in the store and different types you can make at home!

This is a version of LONG JOHN SILVER'S FISH batter
Looks complicated - but it isn't.  I love the flavor of Long John's Fish batter - but hate all the grease and the aftertaste.  Yes, this uses oil - but you can use your favorite type and you control the ingredients.
You could use this on chicken strips as well.
Shoot you could use on about anything!!!

HOMEMADE BUTTER (using powdered milk)
Yep, you can use powdered milk to make butter.  Super easy, and it may save you a trip away from the grocery.  Make it, spread it, eat it.

The more we can stay out of the stores today, the better.  Things are getting pricey and if there is a way to save - do it!!!! 
You can use what you have and make a version of your favorite store brands.  Often it is tastier and healthier and cheaper.  How is that not a win????
Remember - no recipe is etched in stone!!  You can tweak a recipe and make it to your specific liking.

I hope to do more posts in the near future about making homemade version of popular items.  It helps us all out.
I love knowing 'most' of the ingredients in my food.  It isn't always possible - but we can try.
I hope these help someone out.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 5/5

 First Sunday of May - you know this month will just fly by!  Hope this finds you all well and safe.
Cinco de Mayo!!  Today is a celebration to many.  Yesterday was the Kentucky Derby - that is always quite a spectacle.  Just so much going on in the month pf May.

Farm markets started here yesterday - I did not go to the one closest by.  Let's see - I saw the Grosbeak a second time this week.  I had my first hummingbird of the season at the feeder!  The bright yellow goldfinches were back.
The bright pink house sold and is getting a makeover.  They have been dismantling the inside and putting in new windows - it's still pink at the moment!  
"The" neighbor and his U-Haul left at 6:30 AM on May 1!  Guess he was anxious to get out of 'Dodge'!  LOL.  His son and DIL are staying there right now with their dog.  He has more to get and do over there this month.
I have all kinds of things starting to bloom now.  The poppies are glorious, the peonies are starting to pop and the clematis started blooming.  The roses are covered in buds.
What a lovely time of the year!!!!!!

I have been working on losing a little weight this month.  Eating a lot of veggies and a little meat mainly.  Working outside helps with exercise - I am seeing a little difference already.
Allergies are in full blown mode! ICK!

My week:
  • Went to the birthday party last Sunday and saw lots of family and met new people
  • Got the hummingbird feeders out and filled with homemade nectar
  • My sugar canister was emptied, so went down to get sugar from the overstock - LOL - it was dated 2021!  Still perfect.
  • Mowed and trimmed the yard - worked hard on the 2 fence rows shared with neighbors (who don't seem to trim)
  • Trimmed the 4 big forsythia out back and cut all the pampas grass back
  • Cleared out the weeds and leaves the entire way down the drive (between drive and fence) about 6" wide.
  • Tree guy came by and gave an estimate - brought his equipment in case.  Had him clear out about 4 good size dead limbs (about 4-5" girth) and lots of small stuff.  Cut, cleaned it up, took with him and only cost me $100.  I was happy.  He was going to charge less, and I told him it wasn't enough!!  LOL
  • I cleaned a side flowerbed of weeds and added mulch I had on hand
  • Bought many flowers and veggies this week
  • Fill gas tank - 3.29 after discount
  • Did run to Kroger on Friday and got salad veggies.  24 double rolls of TP - 3.99/12.  I got a pack of b/s chicken thighs on clearance for 2.45.  6 pieces - even if I eat 2 for a meal - that is about .86 a meal.  I cooked it all when I got home and froze for future meals.
  • Stopped at the Vet while out and got meds for both kitties.  Flea meds with parasite control included.
  • I went to brunch with brother and his family on Friday for his birthday!
  • Got to air the house a lot & even porch sit a little!
Seems like an accomplished week for me.  I even got to talk with a lot of neighbors this week - seemed to be a visit kind of week.  SO much stuff needs done this time of the year - no end in sight.
Haven't even started the garden yet.  Sure won't run out of things to keep busy!  Lots of free exercise - yeah, my back doesn't agree!

Meals this past week:
At nieces - taco bar
Steamed veggies over rice
Hamburger and fresh veggies
Smoked sausage and fried cabbage
Tuna patty, spinach and fresh veggies
Brunch out - biscuits and gravy & hash browns  -  salad later at home
Chicken and a salad

How was your week?  Are you all getting into yard/garden mode?  Tis the season!
Finding any deals?  Doing spring cleaning?  What's up??  Love hearing from you all.  Missing several who need to check in PLEASE!

I think I will mow again today - as it looks like we have a chance for rain just about every day this week - sun and rain.  Need to get things done while it is possible.
Bitsy is a real chatterbox this morning.  That boy hasn't shut up all morning!  He is just carrying on and Blackie just looks at him like "I'm trying to sleep here"!

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.  Hope you will all be safe and healthy this week.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

And let us not grow weary in welldoing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:9-10

Lord, help us all to reach out and do good deeds for others and to share our wealth and goods with others who are in need.  Let us all realize that we have different opinions and that is fine, as we can still get along.  We don't have to always agree.  May we all look out for others and be kind and keep peace amongst us.  Thank you for our many blessings each day.