Thursday, September 4, 2014
Afternoon Refresher: One More Time....
Hello there. Sugar cookies and Iced Tea? It's terribly warm outside so come on in. The promised cooling down spell hasn't arrived yet. The horse flies were out in force this morning. Nothing meaner than a horse fly!
Aren't the cookies good? It's a new to me recipe that I made this week. I wrote it down some time ago, so I think I must have copied it from one of the vintage magazines, but I failed to notate the source. I really like this sugar cookie. It reminds me of Granny's 'Tea Cakes' as she called the simple vanilla and butter flavored cookies she used to make. Her recipe was oral and started with 'take a piece of butter the size of an egg'...ack! I never did get it down on paper, so it's lost to me.
I have discovered that I much prefer homemade things over store bought. Not to say store bought cookies aren't good. Those chocolate covered grahams that saw us through the mid summer months were tasty as could be. But I do eat less of homemade cookie, finding I feel far more satisfied, than I do with a store bought sweet. The more I cook from scratch once again, the more particular I am about how things taste and that includes eating out, as well. If I do find something that seems to taste especially good, that's the meal I'll eat next time I go out to eat. Like that lovely Tomato Basil soup served at the steakhouse. Mama and I ate there last week, that was my choice and it was every bit as delicious as the other two times I ate it.
I hadn't planned at all to sit here and write this afternoon. I confess I was sidelined entirely today. Despite getting up early I had a hard time getting started. I began the day with a headache which moved to migraine and then reduced down to headache once more. I pushed through despite the pain and nausea to make dinner but it took twice the time and concentration to pull that off. Bible study, two light housekeeping chores, dinner, clearing up...I felt done in when I was finished. Now the headache is all gone, thankfully, but I've no desire to go tackle the big task I'd planned to do today. I'll push it back as work for tomorrow. I'll be up extra early in the morning to see John off to work and won't have to work midday at making a meal.
I say that as though it's a have to task, making that meal midday but it's my have to, not something that John expects of me. We are of differing minds where food is concerned. My husband likes food well enough mind you but it's of little import to him if I put sandwiches on the table 7 days out of 7 or cook a big meal. He likes my cooking, he likes eating, he likes good food. But it is not, for him, the big thing that it is to me. Our way of eating is our compromise and on the days I feel less than stellar I can and do serve sandwiches or salads and call it done.
So you see, I sometimes use that big midday meal as my excuse for not getting other things done. I could/should plan all this better. I do find that taking time at least once a week to thaw and prep food cuts down considerably on how much work a midday meal is. I could also lighten up on the morning meals somewhat, reserving big breakfasts for John's after work day mornings when he's likely to be hungriest after working all night long. I keep telling myself I need to write these thoughts down because I do tend to forget them rather than implement them; routine being the road I follow all too often rather than forming new routines. There. I've taken my clip board and written those things down under September Inspirations. My inspiration pages are where I normally jot down design/craft/garden project ideas. May as well use it for savings ideas too, be it time or money savers, right?
I wrote out my Questions, Answers, Comments, Oh My! post last night and noted there that I had enjoyed the Nothing Extra month for July, had been spendy in August and was thinking of a Nothing Extra for September. Well, I need to hush! I also promised myself back towards the end of July I'd not jump feet first into that challenge again unless I had items to work on certain projects with...and I do have a number of projects I want to tend to this month which require items to finish. There's the flower bed by the back porch steps. I wanted to get it cleared, put down weed mat, mulch and set it up with potted seasonal plants. I showed the idea photo on my Pinterest board to John who approved the look. No point in planning a no spend when I have no mulch or plants! That's one project. I have three more in the yard that I want to work on as well. I want to buy cooler weather plants, as soon as the weather starts to cooperate, for the porch and patio.
Then there's my desire to get my guest/craft room prettied up...I have nothing much to work with in that room, desperately need 'new' items. I use the term 'new' loosely, meaning new to me, but still no point in planning if I'm going to cut the spending. Obviously what I need is to determine my budgets for these projects and plan to spend nothing more than that. I am, honestly, amazingly good at working things out on a budget. Just a minute...yep, wrote that down on my Inspirations list as well. Ha! I shall have a good record for this visit with you! I want a headboard of some sort, need new curtains and bedding (at least a duvet cover), should hang artwork on the walls, need lighting...and that's just the guest side of the room. I would love to make the craft side look nice, too. I think I need to start pinning some inspiration photos.
I've shared about changing trees and slant of sun, etc. Dear Deanna, of Tea With Dee, posted her regrets to summer passing. I so understand that, though I admittedly have less reason than she to dislike the coming cold months. We seldom get snow or ice in our winters, but it does happen now and then. And I certainly do not mean to rub salt in her wounds by any means. However, I cannot help but share that two days ago I looked out the kitchen window and noted the yellow stars were moving down the Sweet Gum by the driveway. And this afternoon I looked out and called to John's attention the line of color marching down the drive, and the markedly changing Sweet gum studded with lots of yellow stars all over, not just at the uppermost part of the tree. It always shocks me how rapidly the changes can occur. I won't say anything more about that now, as it really should be like salt in wounds. And do go by Dee's blog and read her post about the passage of summer. She shared a poem another friend, Melanie, had shared. It pretty much is awesome!
John and I went grocery shopping yesterday. I left my list at home. That list was an important reminder of what all I didn't mean to buy. Result: I overspent. Not over budget, but spent more than I'd meant to overall. I hope to keep the grocery budget fairly low this month simply because I want to bring it back into balance after last month's meat purchases. I hope to do that completely this month. That will mean being extra especially careful the rest of this month. It's not impossible, but it will be challenging. So I'll say YES to a pantry freezer challenge for the rest of this month and try to keep purchases minimal to zero. There's a balance to the spendy August.
I wanted to tell you which books I've chosen for September...No I haven't quite finished Gone With The Wind yet. Just a few pages left of that. And I didn't read but one of the August books, another Nancy Drew, The Case of the Old Clock. I started the Elizabeth Taylor autobiography but I didn't get far with it. Not sure I'll continue with that one. For September I chose The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Choices and Changes by Joni Earckson Tada. And the books from August I never got to, I think. I have enjoyed reading once again and find time to spend reading each day, even though I do seem to be slow at it these days.
I haven't shared our journey last Friday. John had assured me Thursday that we were 'getting out of the house' on Friday. He had no plans, no direction, no idea of what he'd like to do. We left home and headed west. It was a lovely day, and a pleasant drive. We crossed the state line (just 60 miles from here) and drove into Alabama. "Let's have lunch at Lake Eufala..." he said and I happily agreed and we headed south. And 15 minutes later we found ourselves three lanes over from the exit to the highway we needed and zip! right back into Georgia. Well...
He made another suggestion, refusing to head back to Alabama, as he was feeling miffed at the rapidity with which we'd arced back into Georgia once more. I agreed to this suggestion and he declined to do that either, suggested something else, and we found it was a lot further away than we'd thought. So we headed back homeward. I was disappointed, and kept trying to convince myself it was still a nice drive (and it was, truly). All of a sudden John said, "Oh that road looks interesting..." and off he went down it. The sign said the next town was 17 miles away. And after five or ten miles we came to another sign that said the town was 17 miles away. Well! Some one's measuring stick had obviously been broken! We laughed and chuckled and talked and enjoyed that ride.
There was nothing much to see really, a few little communities that appeared to be rather nice with little old fashioned stores all boarded up and sweeping fields of pasture or lots of piney woods and then in the middle of nowhere an IGA store and honey, I do mean the middle of nowhere. Not another house, business or anything within two miles sight in any other direction. Not one road sign indicating another town within ten miles, nothing. Just a grocery store.
We finally made it to the town. And immediately left and went to a far, far out of the way restaurant we like. It's basically a glorified burger place but what a burger! It's in the middle of nowhere too...see the theme? We'd come within 10 miles of being back in the town we'd crossed the state line from twice! It and the restaurant are near the Army base and the main number one seller at the restaurant is called The Ranger Burger. It's HUGE. Perfect for a batch of guys coming in from the field. The Junior Ranger is just about too much burger for either of us. Boy, is it good.
Well after that, there really was nowhere to go but home. And that was okay. Long rides under sunny blue skies, going in circles as we'd done, fresh warm air... It was a long drive home and we took another route which made another big circle. Honestly, I'd had all sorts of afternoon plans to accomplish at home but I was just flat sleepy when we got in. Fresh air and sunshine and sultry end of summer afternoons do that to me, especially if you're going to feed me a good burger. It made the weekend feeling start a little early, which was kinda nice too, since John had to work Sunday and it put us out of holiday weekend fun, but we've gotten pretty good at compensating for missing a holiday.
I saw fresh pictures of the Kingsland grands this week. They have grown so much in just seven weeks! And the new baby girl smiled her first smile at her daddy. He took a photo and posted it on Facebook. It's her eyes that smile the most at present but her mouth curved a bit, enough to tell it was a real smile. That's one of the nice things about Facebook and blogs, getting to share immediately in another's life. It's also one of the things that leaves us vulnerable to those who don't agree with what we might have to post. And it's not always the political or faith based viewpoint that draws criticism.
Here of late I've come across women who blog about their family meals, their coupon hauls, show you what they purchase, or simply share what items fit their budget and their family. Nothing offensive in that, right? Or is there? Because it's happened to me before (quite awhile back), I know how blindsiding it can be to read a comment that not only is critical, but is occasionally downright condemning. While I agree any form or social media puts you in a public forum, I disagree, too. If we were listening to a speaker in public we'd hardly criticize or feel we had to voice our opinion.
Here's the real deal about what goes on in blog land, from my viewpoint: It's my space. I'm telling you about my life. If you're offended because I buy this product or choose to eat that item or make a choice about a purchase that you don't agree with, that's on you and you should keep it to yourself.
In honesty, I think there's a great deal that people should just keep to themselves, period.
Well truth is, sometimes people don't think the same way about bloggers. If you're publishing a blog, they believe they have the right to criticize. It ain't so. It just isn't. If you have an honest question about why something works for that blogger, then ask it. But to tell someone, simply because they blog, that they should subscribe to your point of view or your way of thinking or buy a certain product or not buy another because you have determined it's the best for your family is just plain wrong. Odds are the blogger knows the information you're just dying to impart and has already made a choice, their choice, about why they will or won't follow that path, same as you did when you gathered the information.
Please don't get the impression that I've been blasted lately. I'm sure I'm about due once again, but I haven't been. Blogging takes time, real time, that most assuredly could be used elsewhere. I'm not writing my blog in the hopes I'm going to be a big name in blog land. I'm not making any money from this blog (and please don't let's go into that because I promise you, I've tried, it has to do with an incompatible operating system and certain entities insisting I have an account on another blog that I don't have). I don't write just because I like to write, even though I do. I truly believe that God has given me a ministry here, wherein I share my life because I promise you it correlates in some part with someone else's life. If I've learned nothing else over the years I've learned that as unique as I may be, at least one of my experiences aligns perfectly with that of another individual somewhere.
You might be feeling the grief of an empty nest or the loss of a dearly loved mentor. You might have had a previous marriage and wonder if there is any thing like happiness as a possibility for you as an older woman and mom. You might just need to hear that God loves you, right where you are, in the midst of an addictive behavior, right in that pit of sin that you're wallowing in, just as he loved me in mine. You might need the experience I've gained living below poverty level for years on end and yet managing to find my way to debt free existence.
You might need to hear about how we'll manage retirement without a retirement fund, because those days are coming and for heaven's sake don't call me irresponsible because we don't have one. We've been told that too. It was a matter of winter coats and shoes and burying a child on an income that was stupidly low while raising a family. We worked hard to get debt free and we've lost money we could ill afford in rock solid, slow growth investment forums that came highly recommended by sound financial advisers. We've settled upon saving all we can and we know it's not nearly enough.
You might just need to hear that life is do-able on a daily basis on a budget. You might need to know that the tiny steps and little amounts add up to big ones that can lead you out of debt. You might just need a break from your life for a little while, so you come here to read about mine. That's why I blog.
Now all that said, I have been thinking more and more about my guest room. I've determined that moving a few pieces of furniture about will net me a rather well dressed room, create a much desired reading/sitting area in my bedroom and declutter the living room slightly. I moved some things in the room today and I think I have it set up now to clearly be a guest/craft room without the two spilling into one another. Now to make it all neat and organized and pretty. There's the money part. I don't have a big budget but then I don't really need much at the moment anyway.
After I'd worked in the spare room for about an hour or so, I got a few things tagged for the booth, dressed for town and went off to do a few errands. It was so hot and muggy out and here and there I got spattered by rain but nothing major. It took longer than I'd planned to run the last errand but it's done and I was happy to head home. I forgot to eat lunch this afternoon because I was so focused on work. I stopped on my way back and ate a very very late meal, so that will serve for both lunch and supper.
Well, I've run on long enough once again. Now I'm going to work a bit more and then I'm going to Pinterest and see what ideas I can scratch up for the yard, the craft area, and the guest room area. Thanks so much for coming by!