Sunday, August 31, 2014

Menu and Meal Plans: Sept 1 -7

Time just clips right on, doesn't it?  I don't know about you but I'm ready for September, much as I regret seeing summer die out.  A fresh new month, with a fresh new season in it, is really just the kickstart I need to energize me right now.

I got busy this morning and tackled the iris and had the bed nearly cleared out within a half hour. I took advantage of the damp moist ground and last night's rain to get things cleared out this morning.  The garden wagon is piled high with the things I pulled up.  There's a bucket of iris sitting by that bed, too, which must be replanted somewhere.  I'd meant to replant a few iris right back there, but I don't know.  You see there is a water and electric line that runs under that bed and deep digging is not allowed hence the iris with a ground cover of Bouncing Bett, or Soapwort as it's better known went into that spot.  However, some other invasive things haven't heeded the need to keep that bed free of deep rooted things.  There's a bit of privet and spiderwort, and day lily that decided to move in and moving them out is not proving as easy as the iris removal.  I'm thinking the best idea now is to put down some good weed mat and mulch it and use it as an area for potted things. I have pinned a few ideas on Pinterest that I think would be just the thing.

Now let's talk about meals.  It's hot.  It's supposed to stay hot.  Nevertheless my body says it's time for some nice slow simmered dishes.  I suspect I'd better plan lighter meals much as I might want those rich autumn dishes.  Cooler weather will be here shortly, I feel sure.

Meatball Mini Subs, Chips, Pineapple Sherbert
My meal  was a remake of leftovers from yesterday.  I put a quart of spaghetti sauce in the freezer, but saved out the meatballs and put them on a bit of French bread and topped with cheese for my dinner.

Polska Kielbasa, Coleslaw, Hash Brown Casserole
I will make up a full recipe of the hash brown casserole and put half in the freezer for a  future Saturday brunch.  I'll add browned ground cooked sausage to the portion I put aside for that.  If John is very hungry I'll add some garden peas to the menu.

Mushroom Omelets, Pub Fries, Toast with fruit preserves
We ate out twice last week.  Three times for me because I ate out with Mama!  I think I won't eat out this week. I think we'll just come home and make a quick meal.  I might add sliced tomatoes to the menu if I see pretty ones.

Tuna Salad Nicoise, Muffins, Pineapple Ginger Fizz
This is another idea for a quick menu after a day out if I leave the vegetables prepped and in the fridge.  It's just a matter of plating it up prettily.  Of course, the muffins would take time to make but I could alter the menu and serve with a variety of crackers.  Pineapple Sherbert with gingerale poured over makes a very cool and refreshing drink that serves as dessert, too.

Beef Burritos, Green Salad with Ranch Dressing, Cinnamon Graham Ice Cream Sandwiches
This will use up some leftovers from our fajita meal this past week, so likely this will present early in the week.

On my own

Fried Chicken Legs, Rice, Gravy, 24 hour layered Salad, Banana Cream Pie
I don't mind frying chicken when I can do it in the electric skillet.  I set the legs aside when we bought cut up chickens at the meat market.  This should net enough for our meal and for John's work lunch one day as well.

Jobs This Week

We'll just start fresh this week and forget all those jobs I kept saying I'd do.  Gracious!  Here we are with a new month and I reckon fresh tasks are called for instead of dragging last month into this one.

I hope to:
Do a freezer/pantry inventory.
Work on fourth quarter budget sheet.
Clean all the ceiling fans and dust each room.
Mop kitchen and baths.
Get groceries and other errands tended to.
Bake cookies for the cookie jar.
Shop for a gift for a baby shower this next weekend.

That should be quite enough in addition to the usual things, don't you think?

My Frugal Week: August 23 -30

Had to change to this photo of dish towels blowing in the breeze.  It's been breezy here and clothes dry in under 2 hours on the line!  We frugal folks call it the solar dryer...

Saturday:  Our dinner was pretty much prepped for the day, so little work required from me.  I sliced potatoes, covered in water and put in the fridge yesterday.  I should have drained and refilled the pot with lukewarm to take less time to heat up, but I didn't think about the savings that would have made.  I will next time.

I kept coming across a recipe in my vintage magazines that I had made a few times quite a few years ago, Fancy Pants Burgers.  I made that for dinner today. I made the patties up yesterday. I thawed a pound of ground beef and made four thin patties. I didn't need quite all of the pound, so I browned the rest in the skillet I meant to cook the burgers in.  I mixed that meat with some taco meat that I had in the freezer.  I'll use that later to make burritos or soup or something.

We didn't have any cookies or dessert for the day.  My homemade brownies are not cheap to make from scratch but they do taste better than any boxed mix.  I made a half recipe.  These will last us several days as snacks/desserts.

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I've been utilizing my dishwasher more and more of late and not hand-washing as many dishes.  I'm convinced there's a savings in this for us.

Made sandwiches for John's lunch and gathered things in a basket in the fridge so I could find them quickly in the morning.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch.  Made him breakfast.

I skipped eating this morning.  Every now and then I do, though not often.  I find it just clears my system so to speak and it makes me feel better.

I stripped the bed and washed a full load of laundry: sheets and towels and cloths.  Hung all to dry on the line.  I didn't have quite enough clothes to make a full load so I left them for Monday when John came in from work.

It might not sound frugal but I shopped this afternoon.  I have no shoes for winter wear.  Mine split at the seams late last winter and I never replaced.  Today I went out with the purpose of buying shoes, several pairs of shoes.  I found a pair of pretty sandals on sale.  I got a dressy pair of black shoes and a casual pair of black ones. I spent good money on those shoes and this is one area where I don't mind spending bigger. My shoe size is common and  that makes it very hard to find good comfortable shoes in my size range, so when I find shoes I think look nice, fit well, and are pretty I pay whatever price is asked.  I received a $20 off $20 purchase coupon on this purchase.  I will go back and use that on something else to enhance my wardrobe, a purse, scarf or nice piece of costume jewelry that I can use several seasons.

I stopped at the grocery to buy something for my supper before heading home.  I also wanted to get a few items on my list for pantry that I use occasionally.  As I got out of my car the woman next to me was unloading her cart.  I offered to take it back into the store for her.  She thanked me then offered me a coupon good for $10 off $50 grocery/beverage purchase.  I spent a little more than $50 so that $10 coupon was a real blessing for us.

I had intended to pick up a couple more packages of the Kosher hot dogs that were on sale as a BOGO.  These have only 7 hot dogs in a package.  I noted that a very good organic brand of beef hot dogs were also on sale, same price with 10 in the package.  I chose to purchase those.

I bought the Sunday paper while in the store.  The coupons will pay for it, but we like the entertainment value of the paper, too.  I also found another $10 off coupon from the same store where I'd bought my shoes which I can use when I go back.  That makes $30 in savings.

I saved half the sandwich I bought for my supper.

I did not turn on the television until nearly 9pm when a program I look forward to  came on.  This NEVER happens when my husband is home though he now cuts the television off more often...just doesn't leave it off ALL DAY, as I often do.

Ordered a new battery for my computer using Swagbucks to earn extra bucks, getting free shipping on the purchase and using PayPal earnings from Swag to cover more than half the cost.

Monday:  I forgot to reset the timer on the coffeepot so it made coffee at 5am.  We didn't make a new pot when John came in from work.  We just reheated what was in the pot.  Since this coffeepot also automatically cuts off after 1 1/2 hours it doesn't burn and get bitter tasting.

Made breakfast from scratch after John came in.  I used the last of the Lemon Poppy Seed muffins as our bread for the meal.

Spent another morning in the kitchen, though it wasn't quite what I'd planned for the day.  I made 1 dozen egg rolls, as well as Chicken Fried Rice for our meal. I steamed half a package of  Snow Peas as a side dish and made Ambrosia from frozen orange slices.  I put several egg rolls in the freezer after they'd cooled.  I bake mine in the oven so they do not require oil to fry.

I put the chicken carcass and a back from another chicken in to make broth for soup this week. I added a tbsp of vinegar to leach calcium from the chicken bones.  I picked over the bones and got another 2 cups of meat from them.  I saved the skin and soft grizzles for Misu and Maddie.

I mixed up Banana Poundcake using three bananas that got fully ripened very quickly.  I made in loaf pans instead of a tube pan and put one in the freezer.  I'd meant to put both in the freezer but underestimated my husband's like of freshly made Banana Poundcake, lol.    

Washed another full load of dishes.

Tuesday:  We had plans to travel to a favorite nearby destination today.  I made breakfast for us here at home.

I packed water bottles to take with us.

We had dinner out.  We ate late so supper tonight was cheese and fruit for me.  John chose to eat some of the egg salad I'd made.

I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow and put in the fridge.

I had the coffee pot ready to make coffee when we walked in the door this afternoon.

Wednesday:  Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.

Yesterday morning when we left home, John cut off every ceiling fan in the house, fans we normally leave running.   I couldn't help but think he might have hit upon an unseen savings window.  Today when I left home I did the same.  I was gone several hours, as we were yesterday.

I had a list of what I meant to purchase at the craft store today.  I found all but one item on my list today.

Found a pair of shoes, 50% off.  I save $32.

Mama bought lunch today.  I paid the tip and bought our dessert from my allowance.

Spent a few minutes doing housework after I got in.  I am grateful that we are fairly neat people in this household.

Skipped supper since we'd had such a late lunch.  I did have a graham cracker and peanut butter with my milk this evening.

Thursday:  Up early this morning to have coffee and do Bible study before John came in from work.

I made French toast for breakfast.  The last few times I've made french toast, John has insisted I scramble the egg and milk mixture.  I usually add nutmeg and vanilla to my egg/milk for the toast and I just didn't think it would make good scrambled eggs.  This morning I decided that since he was likely to want the scrambled egg, I'd skip the vanilla and nutmeg.  Yes, I missed it but French toast is still good toast without it.  Besides, I can always sprinkle cinnamon sugar on my toast which is pretty awesome.  Hint: I always add a smidge of freshly grated nutmeg to my cinnamon sugar.  It adds a bit of something extra that is very nice.

After breakfast was cleared away and the pets were fed, I washed out water buckets and watered the outdoor plants. I do not understand pets in the least.  Fresh beautiful clear water in the buckets and pails and what do they want to drink?  The green cruddy water running across the patio...sigh.  Never fear, the plants appreciated the green cruddy water, too.

Another kitchen morning.  Savings galore!  First I skimmed fat off the pot of broth, then added in chicken and fresh vegetables to simmer.  I'll thicken later and add noodles and we'll call it supper instead of dinner tomorrow as planned.  I don't know.  Maybe it will still be dinner tomorrow.  Anyway, it's all simmered up and reduced a bit.  later note: we didn't have for supper as I got involved in a discussion with a dear friend online and missed the supper hour.  We had something  we could make quickly instead.

Made meatballs and stretched the half pound of meat with some bread crumbs, an egg, chopped onion, garli and finely minced baby portabella mushrooms. I also added 2 patties worth of the turkey breakfast sausage we like which extended the meat a little further. I managed a dozen meatballs from the meat with the extenders.  I browned the meatballs in olive oil.

Made spaghetti sauce.  I added my chopped fresh vegetables which included several Roma tomatoes that wanted to go spotty on me.  I cut away the bad parts and chopped the good ones.  I browned the vegetables (not the tomatoes) in the oil I'd cooked the meatballs in, scraping the pan well so all those lovely bits came up.  I simmered the sauce  for two hours or so, then added in the meatballs and removed from heat.  I don't intend to have this meal until Saturday.  All the components should have great flavor after sitting together for a couple of days.

I made potato pierogi from leftover mashed potatoes and leftover egg roll wrappers.  I put 16 in the freezer.
I had a few false starts but I think they will be all right.

I put a portion of our fajita mixture aside for another meal.  I'll mix with rice and black beans to stretch and fill tortillas and make burritos for the freezer.  These will make quick and easy suppers and work lunches.

I cut the fan on in the kitchen sitting area each morning to keep that area cooler as the sun heats thru the windows.  In the afternoon I've found I can cut the fan off, saving that energy.

Friday:  John was vague about plans for today but clear about his desire to leave home.  I brought along bottles of water.  Next time I'll bring along snacks, too!  We didn't stop to purchase snacks but we did get rather hungry before we finally found our way to a favorite restaurant.

Two days this week we've gone off on long drives and had dinner out.  We won't do this every week by any means, and certainly not every time John is off, but as he pointed out to me there are times when he just gets weary of forever saving and making do.   I get that.  There are times I get weary of it as well.  It's nice to remember that we CHOOSE to be frugal and CHOOSE to live debt free.  It's nice as well to just have fun now and then.  The bulk of our money that day was gasoline usage.  We traveled a good ways, saw a lot of the countryside and had some great conversations.   We laughed and joked.  We had some deep serious conversations, too.  We enjoyed ourselves.  And when we came in we were ready to buckle down once more and SAVE.

Supper tonight: Chicken noodle soup.  I set 1 quart of broth aside.  I had enough meat/veg/broth to make TWO batches of Chicken Noodle soup, so one portion went into the freezer.

Living Well

This weekend, this last weekend in August, has been sort of bittersweet.  It's the last holiday weekend of summer...Football games began in earnest.  I've listened to the roar of crowds all afternoon...And outdoors leaves have fluttered to the ground all day long, drifting slowly but relentlessly down.  It's made me a little sad to watch the end of the end of another season, another summer.

Each year there are a few regrets.  This year I'm sorry that I never experienced the joyous thrill of splashing cool water on sun soaked skin.  I regret not eating even one single bit of sticky sweet, chilled watermelon.  I  regret that I bought peaches only twice and that I failed to buy corn to put up for the winter months as I did last year.  I regret we didn't make it to the beach.  I regret not having a frozen Coke.

But there are things I indulged in...I had peach ice cream.  I sat outdoors and listened to the drying wind blow and enjoyed the warmth of a summer's day.  I had pretty flowers in pots and in the flower beds.  I may not have eaten my fill of peaches but I did buy some and enjoyed every juicy mouthful.  I've appreciated the aroma of fresh mown grass at least right up to that moment when I began to sneeze, lol.  And I've appreciated the wonderful scent of laundry brought in from the line, freshened by sun and wind in a way that no dryer sheet or detergent is ever going to impart.  

I've appreciated iced tea mid afternoon after working hard and getting hot. We made it to the mountain for the first time ever in summer.  (I didn't see any more leaves changing color than we've had here.)  I've enjoyed having iced water along with me when I had to run errands.  I relished this season and it's offerings.  That's what I meant to do.  It's what I want to do with every season.

So here's to a pleasant summer just leaving us quietly and gently.  And here's to Autumn and all it's pleasures.  Bring on the football and the rustle of leaves, the pumpkins and crisp cool air.  Bring on the wonderful tart apples, fresh cider, boiled green peanuts and the other nuts and spices we associate with this season.  Bring on the sweaters and the quilts and the first slow simmering stews.  It is time to move on once again.  Let it begin.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Afternoon Refresher: Winding Down

Come in, come in!  There's Banana Poundcake today to go with our tea...I don't mind telling you that this may well be the last of the Afternoon Refreshers.  We'll be reverting back to the Coffee Chats with September.  I found this lovely image in one of the August vintage magazines.  I thought it was unique with that little shell and sea horse plate and the glass embellished with what looks like a silver rope.  Too cute, isn't it?

I've been wanting to have another chat for the past few days but have stayed quite busy in the kitchen.  Of all the places in the household that can generate savings, I think the kitchen is the most time consuming of all. Mind you it's paid off this go round.  I spent a lot of money on groceries this month, but both freezers are full, the pantry is almost back to burgeoning.  In fact, this next week when we shop for groceries, it's my plan to stock up on flour and sugar, buy bread, dairy and produce and exit the store!  I'm thinking September is the perfect time to begin a pantry challenge.

September...Oh gracious, September already!  Why it's right around the corner!  It's time to look over my budget for the coming quarter and make any adjustments needed.  I don't think we have such big changes to note this go round.   I do have a list of things we mean to check to see if we can generate further savings. I am ready for this next phase I think and feeling confident about it since we've done so well repaying this personal loan we took from ourselves in the Spring to build the back porch.  Barring major setbacks I should make the last payment in December.   It has meant some sacrifice.  John has worked a bit of overtime, we've nipped and tucked here and there and it's paying off.

So there's budget work, a pantry challenge, a new list of goals, books already pulled for the coming month despite the fact I've read only ONE of the August books and am still reading Gone With the Wind.  I know.  I just wasn't aware that this book would absorb me so.  I keep taking breaks from it to research some of the historical facts that Mitchell mentions.  Not sorry that I do because almost every single time I discover how it relates to my own ancestors.  So that has added an element to the reading of the novel I hadn't expected.  Truly I never once thought of my relationship to the Civil War and Reconstruction of the States.  I I don't mean to bore you with the genealogy but it truly is a great deal like finding yourself running down a rabbit trail and discovering that the tangle of roots you're caught in are your own, so it's fascinating and confusing and exciting as you find personalities emerging and discover families entwined like roots, too.

But that's old history and we have new futures don't we?  The new baby boy is smiling.  His Mama has been playing Peek A Boo with him and his face is a wonder when his eyes meet hers.  The new little girl has chubby cheeks and the sweetest doll face you could ever hope to see surrounded by a wreath of dark thick hair.  Just like her Mama!  The oldest grandson had a birthday this week and went back to school on the same day.  Amie says it seems mighty unfair to the other kids that each year school starts on his birthday and he comes home to cake and ice cream.  I told her it can't hurt that every body in the house gets cake and ice cream on the first day of school so why worry?  

John and I made a trip over to the mountain this week.  Summers are one season when we've never been and it was awfully near not being summer when we went this week.  So many of our trees are changing already and golden rod blooming and there was a chill in the air though it was out of the south and not the north that just added to the feeling there was a seasonal change afoot.  We got lost...but you knew that didn't you?  We always seem to manage somehow to get lost and then we find ourselves once more but tensions do build while we're lost.  And I cannot blame anyone but myself for being lost, it rests fully upon my head.

You see, the way we've always gone to the mountain involves crossing a highway with limited sight. We've narrowly missed accidents three of the four times we've been there.  It becomes rather unnerving, you know? So I suggested we could go a different route.  All well and good, but I guessed at it and didn't check a map.  We saw some lovely land and a few tiny communities that used to be but we were unaware of where we were exactly.  John held his tongue and wisely I bit hard on mine and prayed a lot, lol.  I finally decided after we came to a proper small town to look in the dash pocket and hope we had a map.  We did and happily I recognized a road that led us back to the mountain but truly we were about 40 minutes later arriving than we might have been had we just chanced crossing that highway one more time.

We went to sit on the edge of the stone wall which, sun warmed as it was,  felt heavenly on my aching hip.  John started to pray and barely got started when we were interrupted by a couple of a motorcycle arriving.  No harm mind you, we seldom have the place to ourselves and we don't mind a bit sharing that beautiful, peaceful place with others.  There's an almost profound atmosphere there that extends far beyond the era of the President who enjoyed that place.  Well another couple arrived and the departed and then another and we just sat and gazed and spoke quietly of the views before us.  Then everyone left except the couple who'd arrived just after we did.

They came down near us to take photos and I offered to move if they wanted to shoot from a different angle...and then we all began to talk, first of the spot.  They had traveled from Alabama, about an hour away as we were and came as often as they could because they loved the place so.  We understood that.  Then it was shared that their youngest had just begun kindergarten and she was feeling a bit lost.  I understood perfectly and spoke of how when Katie left home at 18, even though I was looking forward to that next step in our lives I'd struggled, a far deeper one than I'd expected.  And the conversation just went on and on, all four of us speaking and sharing and identifying with where the other had been in their journey...I suppose we talked a half hour or possibly an hour, words tumbling out of us all, heads nodding in agreement as we compared experiences that were similar.  Do you know we shared some rather personal details about our lives but we never exchanged names.  I know their home town.  They know ours.  As time passed she looked regretfully at her watch and said to her husband, "We really have to go..."  I thought of them going home in time to meet the school bus and pick up their children and thought of Amie doing the same today and even of the time the bus arrives at the stop sign on the hill here at home.

After they left John prayed "Thank you God for bringing us here when  you did, the way you did, just at the right time to speak with these lovely people..." and there was a sense of rightness about the prayer, just as there had been about the way we'd come.

We never did get real prayer time there this time.  More people arrived and we felt we surely were keeping others from coming down to sit and enjoy the place as we had, so we left.  It was only disappointing in a very small way mind you.  I think perhaps we didn't need to pray that we'd already been there for God's purpose.  I don't know what was imparted between us and the other couple that was important but something was, some seed of something that will grow and bloom over time.

Following the trip to the mountain we went to The Bulloch House  to eat.  It's just good Southern food, not fancy though it is a nice dining experience all the same.    I had a spoonful of a broccoli casserole that was so good.  I asked for the recipe.  Now I was forewarned that the amounts wouldn't be shared, since they make up huge batches at one time but I was given a list of the ingredients.  I figured that would be enough to help me find the recipe online.  Well after hours of searching, I can tell you quite sincerely, "Nope that is not enough."  I even asked friends on facebook for help with none forthcoming.  The ingredients list were as follows: cheese, salt, pepper, eggs, croutons, boiled broccoli, blue cheese dressing and 'a little ranch dressing'.  Do you have a similar recipe you'd be willing to share?  The blue cheese dressing was a surprise to me because it doesn't stand out at all.  The dish did taste cheesy but was not gooey with cheese at all.  It was soooo good!

This past weekend I took advantage of some of  my alone time to go visit a department store, seeking shoes.  I had fairly good luck, coming away with three pair.  I don't buy shoes often at all but this year I found myself admiring the lovely sandals so many women are wearing.  Not a particular style but just pretty shoes.  I've stuck pretty much to good solid shoes.  I'm not in the least interested in having my feet hurt.  They hurt enough  over the years I waited to heal from the damage they suffered in the car accident and there's nothing worse than feet that hurt already being crammed into shoes that make them hurt worse.  But here of late I was just longing for pretty shoes.

The shoes I'd worn the past two winters split a seam.  They were not pretty.  They were, in fact, fairly ugly, but oh they were comfortable!  However, shoes that were split, torn in such a way that repair isn't possible...and ugly...certainly warranted new shoes before winter's arrival.  I found a cute pair of flats that will do as a dressier pair in a pinch that were comfortable.  I know they are comfortable because as I hunted shoes I wore these about the shoe section for quite  long time as I looked for more shoes.  I found a pair of pretty sandals in a teal blue color, not something I'd normally indulge in but they were so cute! And fit perfectly.  And are comfortable. I know because I wore them all afternoon shopping with Mama Wednesday.  I also got a pair of Sketchers athletic type shoes in black.  I felt almost guilty walking out of the store with three pairs of shoes at once, even as I pondered where to look for two more pair!   Yes, really, because you see, I felt brown shoes was also important and of course, I wanted a dressy pair and a casual pair.  And I did find a dressy pair that are pretty and feminine looking and blessing upon blessing were on sale for 50% off.  I thought I'd found a casual loafer type of shoe but they were, alas, too big; they fit Mama perfectly, so she bought them.

Isn't it odd the way the heart and mind work?  Katie left home 4 years ago and I was blindsided by the feeling that I had lost my real purpose in life.  Well, I had in a way.  But 4 years later I confess I have yet to find a secure foothold.  Did her recent marriage shake me further?  No...Not really.  But it did bring home the fact that here I am still looking for my place in life.   I have asked God repeatedly to show me where he'd have me be.  The answer seems to be 'at home' though there seems to be little need of my being here.  There are no children and no grandchildren near by.  My mother is still independent and doesn't need me.  

Being as it's a fairly lonely place...and I mean that only in the sense that I am often alone, I seldom feel lonely...I wonder if I can possibly be of benefit to anyone?  And then I remember, yet again, the evening I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes many years ago and God shared that mine was a kitchen sink ministry.  Well there's still a kitchen and still a sink and still me here facing it.

As you know, that sink seems to constantly be in the process of being filled up and emptied out again.  It's a never ending process, isn't it?  I walk away and a couple of hours later return to find it filled with a coffee cup, a pot or pan, a bowl, a plate, a few pieces of silverware.  I empty it out and walk away and return and there's a few pieces more.  I find, often, as I am standing there filling the dishwasher or hand washing a few items, that my thoughts turn to family or friends, and I start to pray.  Every single time.

It's the same when I dust furniture or water plants or vacuum.  Those are needed tasks I do to keep our home clean and neat, but prayers  go up constantly all through the day.  I make a meal and I pray.  I mop the floors and I pray.   My physical body might well be here in this lonely place, but my heart and mind are in the world well beyond my little home. I should learn not to question God's ability to reach the world even through a homemaker who seldom ventures more than 40 miles from home.  I have no idea how often someone has been reached or a miracle has been worked simply because I, a home maker, stood my ground in my kitchen and did what God asked me to do.  I don't want to know, not here on earth, how often that has happened, nor how often I might have failed, because I was too caught up in my search for finding my purpose, to do my part.

I've let go of many things over the past three years as we've walked this journey.  Each time I think I've given up all I can give up and then God asks me to give up something more.  It is the parable of the rich young man all over again.  What do I have to do?  What He asks me to do.  How much do I have to leave behind?  All that He asks me to leave.  Today I want to let go of my desire to question God about where He wants me to be.  He knows where I am.  I am here.

Well my dears, it's been a lovely chat time.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you have as well.  Next time we shall have coffee.  The season is changing.  There is a whole lovely season coming to enjoy.  I've bought a few new pieces for a Fall wreath that I want to work on.  There are Chrysanthemums and leaves and burlap to work with...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meal and Job Plans for August 24 - 30

This is it...the last week of August?  Gosh but this month went even faster than all the months before it I think!  And another season is ending as well.  My goodness!  I think we should put the brakes on this year, don't you?

Don't you just love the new post topper?  I think it was a Magic Chef Oven advertisement from the 1950s.  I think that weather vane with the utensils hanging from it is too nice!  I'd take that in a heartbeat for my own wall decor.

Shabat Thoughts: Addicted

I know all about addiction and how it affects a home.  I grew up in a household where addictive personalities reigned.   As an adult I found myself caught in a repeat pattern.  I have fought addiction three different times.  No, four.  That's why I'm writing this post now.

First let me share with you what addiction is: a behavior that controls YOU.  You can't stop drinking, eating, using drugs, seeking out porn sites, indulging in sexual misconduct, shopping, stealing, gossiping, complaining. Obsessive Compulsive disorders are generally addictive behavior as well.  So you see addiction may be physical or it might be mental/emotional/spiritual.  Yes spiritual.  When you deal with any issue that breaks a commandment or affects your walk as a Christian, it is also a spiritual battle as much as it is a mental one.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Frugal Week/Living Well August 16 - 22

Saturday:  Kept breakfast simple: bagels and cream cheese.  I knew we'd be eating a big Shabat meal later and figured we'd go light for at least one meal.

I had no idea what to make as a second side dish today.  Bess suggested Mac and Cheese.  I don't have any of the boxed mac and cheese on hand but I'm pretty sure my homemade didn't cost any more than on sale boxed mac n' cheese does.  I made cheese sauce and had enough for a second pan of Macaroni to put in the freezer.  I made the cheese sauce  from scratch in the same amount of time it took to cook the pasta.

My entire dinner ended baking in the oven at the same time.  I'm always pleased when I get to spend time with guests and not tending to something on the stove.

Glad I filled the cookie jar.  My son snacks and he enjoyed the oatmeal cookies.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Afternoon Refresher: Summer, Shopping and Surprise Thunderstorms

Gracious goodness!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I didn't mean to let time slide past.  Truthfully I've been ready to have you over for tea for quite some time now, but somehow, I could never get my time to meet my desire.  And yet, I promise you that precious little shows around here for all the time I've spent!  Come in, come in.  Or better yet, let's stay on the porch.  Iced tea coming right up.

It's just possible these afternoon refreshers are going to turn into coffee chats shortly.  You may laugh but I've been warning you all that we'd have an early autumn.  On our way to Athens area we saw many trees that were just beginning to get tinges of color.  Last week I discovered blooming golden rod and mallow flowers.   The Sweet Gum tree in the front yard is laden with gold stars amongst the green leaves.  Yesterday the water from the faucet ran so cold that I didn't need ice in my glass to have a cool drink.  Katie contacted me and shared her 'signs'.  I went to sit on the back porch about 7pm one evening and then another sign made itself known.  A sweet elusive scent that had me lifting my head and sniffing trying to remember just what it was.  It was tea olive wafting across the field from Granny's house.