In My Home This Week: True or False Spring?

In my home this week I...

...have been busy as a spring bee this morning.  Is it Spring?  You'd think so by the blooms and weather!  But I am admittedly cautious.  It IS still February.  It is 3 weeks until Spring is officially here.  But yeah.  80 degree days with a green lawn and blooming plants all over is pretty much looking like "Hi honey!  It's SPRING!" to me.

John and I visited the DIY store yesterday and oh how my heart soared.  Flowers and patio furniture and lovely gas grills and seed packets galore!  I could have dropped a cool $1000 and never yet gotten all I longed to have.  In the end I came away with nothing at all and it was pure practicality that made it so.  I do not have ground broken for planting nor pots ready for new plants nor porches cleaned and cleared for furniture.  In the end I satisfied myself with pictures of the golden Ranunculus and gorgeous tulips and determined to come home and get to work right away on my place and make what I have ready for something fresh even if that something fresh is a seed packet of seeds and a can of spray paint to touch up my furnishings.

It is spring in that I am ready for that fresh touch and perfectly willing to work to get it!  Today I've spent time cleaning the master bath and bed...and then I determined that I could manage a few fresh touches if I cleared away clutter and printed out some fresh pictures and painted the frames a nice gray and recovered the bench with some fabric on hand.   I swapped votive holders between the living room and bedroom.  I have plans to purchase a  pale pink paint for a ginger jar lamp that is currently living in the shed that will go in the bedroom.   I started cleaning the front porch railings, a tedious job but one that reaps big rewards in that an hour of labor nets me 1/3 of the porch looking spruce.  So far I've bought $1.50 worth of seed packets to go into the one flower bed that needs only a little work.

So let it be Spring whenever it chooses.  I'm happily making my home ready!


Typically on Sunday mornings I strip my beds and change out the towels in the baths.  Samuel was only here one day this past week so I won't be changing those out this week but ours got done.   I do this load of clothes myself, though John typically tends to all of our laundry needs.

Gave myself a fresh mani.  This is a work related one.  I have a party this week and spent Sunday working on the party format, etc.

Packed John's work lunches.  Set up breakfasts.  Made late evening snacks for my hard working husband.

Began decorating the house for Spring.

Started a list of things to try and get done BEFORE family moves in with us.  Began doing some of it right away i.e. making room in the freezer for their foodstuffs, setting up a Bible study and work area in my room trying to make room for John to have a place to play guitar...There's an awful lot to figure out.

Deep cleaned our shower.  I really enjoy using that  simple vinegar and Dawn cleaner it works so very well and makes the job a little easier as it's awesome for breaking down the soap scum.

Cleaned the blinds in the kitchen and kitchen sitting on Wednesday.  This is one of those tasks that is pesky in that it takes more time than anything, so I'll do a window or two at a time over the next couple of weeks.

Cleaned a portion of the front porch.

I left that dirty post in the photo for contrast on how just a little bleach and dawn and some hand scrubbing can make a HUGE difference in how the railings look.

Deep cleaned our bath and bedroom.

Did a pretty heavy cleaning of house overall.  I'm worn slap out but it's nice to know it's had a good tidy.

Ran a very successful 3 day Jamberry party.  

...made meals:

McDonald's burger and a cup of coffee.  We were on our way home from Isaac's birthday party.

Rojo Chicken Enchiladas...Call me beyond hungry and lazy and upset.  I picked this up as I dashed through the grocery and heated in microwave.  Must say it was quite good!

Broccoli, Rice, Chicken and Cheese casserole, Green Salad, Caramel Pudding

Nachos.  This was mine and Sam's plan and I made the chili that topped the chips.  I have a quart of chili left.

Hamburgers and Chips.  We ate a later than usual breakfast and John wanted me to 'keep it simple'.

John took me out for Mexican.  I had a Chili Relleno Quesadilla, he chose a burrito dinner.

Chicken Pot Stickers and Stir fried Vegetables

...saved money:

John took on an extra half shift today and will work another tomorrow.   We were just talking on Saturday about his desire to go to the beach.  Sam, Bess and boys will be moving in with us come March as they do some minor reno work on their new home.  I expect they will be with us about six weeks.  I am going to start planning now for John and I to take a bit of time away from home in the latter part of April.  This extra money will be put into a vacation fund for just that purpose.

I've been mooning about the house looking for something 'new' for the décor.  I've gotten tired of the winter look and am ready to see a bit of fresh spring in the house. Truthfully at the moment I'm not happy with a thing, not even what little new I'd already purchased.  I took the time to shorten a stem of lily of the valley I'd purchased and fluffed it a bit and that added to a blue vase made a rather pretty arrangement for the mantel along with a ceramic chick and a porcelain rabbit.   It's not all of the fresh look I want in the house but it's a start and it cost me $0 at the moment which is kind of awesome as well!

The casserole I made for lunch was really just a combination of leftovers plus homemade cheese sauce that turned into a very tasty entrée.  I realized as I made that simple white sauce and added in grated cheddar that making cheese sauce really doesn't take much longer than stirring up a packet of the stuff from the boxed mac n cheese.

Signed up for an essential oil class.  It's something Bess and I have been talking about and I know that Katie and Amie both have been dabbling in.  I'm hoping this is a good class.  I'll let you all know it.  I listened to Lesson 1 on Wednesday and printed out the workbook.  I'm really liking this class thus far and will certainly recommend it if it proves to be as good as it promises at this time.

Found a hummingbird feeder for $4.50 at the DIY store.  John was pleased as could be over that.

Went into the dollar store and bought pet foods and 3 packets of cosmos, zinnia, and wildflower seeds.  I plan to prepare the bed at the end of the porch for these seeds.

Went to Macon and bought the sale priced chicken breasts and hamburger.  What I didn't buy was the ridiculously priced 'chili': one quart jar of 'fixin's' minus the pound of meat required for $8 and the can of organic vegetarian for $5.  I decided that my $2.99/pound ground meat and my $.49 each cans of tomatoes and kidney beans from Aldi were sufficient.  I had a quart of chili leftover after we made our nachos.

John has been lugging his computer to work but it's become more of a burden to haul it there and back.  He talked with Katie and ordered a far more easily portable Kindle to use.  I ordered it using Swagbucks and got 10xs the purchase price.

Went to CVS and picked up several items that we were completely out of.   Not the most frugal thing but time is at a premium just now and I had waited too long.  I did find the best price I could on each item and while the cost was hefty it was all necessary.  I'm comforted by the fact I shall not have to repurchase several of these items for 4 months.  The one or two that will need to be replaced in a couple of months time are already on my list of things to watch for sales on.

Painted thrift store frames for the third time since I've owned them.  It's easy and cheap to make something look fresh and new with little effort.

Printed out fresh pictures to put in the frames.  These will go into the bathroom and that will be a small but fresh touch for that room.

...took my leisure:

Watched the final episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel and I warn you all the language was disgraceful and there was some nudity which was not gratuitous but truly part of the story line and in context but yeah...  The story took a big twist at this point and I don't know just what the 2nd season will be like.  I've recommended this program to you all and I surely do not want any of you saying you weren't warned about language and such.

Continued with the Jane Austen at Home book, still fascinated and there at least there is no disgraceful language nor nudity to worry over.

Read the March issues of my vintage magazines.  I won't likely leave these out once the little boys have moved in so I want to really enjoy them just now.

Louise, here is the bread recipe from last week:

Katy and Amy's One Hour Bread


3-4 cups all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tbsps. dry yeast
2 tbsps. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups hot water (120F-130F)
2-4 tbsps. melted butter

Mix 3 c all purpose flour and 1 c whole wheat with yeast, salt and sugar.  Pour in hot water.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Stir in remaining flour until no longer sticky.   Knead until smooth and elastic.
Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot with a damp cloth over top for 15 minutes.

Punch down.  Divide dough into 2 round loaves.  Score an 'X' on top.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with seeds of cornmeal if desired.

Place in a COLD oven.  On bottom rack have an oven safe dish that is partially filled with water.  Set temperature to 400F.  Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

MY NOTES:  Two weeks ago, I divided the dough and put into two greased loaf pans, not flattening it to fit the pan but simple fitting it in.  There were corners that were not filled.   I noted that I started smelling fully baked bread at about 35 minutes and when tested found it was indeed done at that point.  I cooled on racks.   This is a nice rough coated bread that is dense enough to use for toast or sandwiches without it falling apart.

This week's bread topped the bowl when it had sat 20 minutes.  I divided and put into the two new round cake pans.  These turned out flatter.  Next time I'll do the loaf pans again because that was a size better suited to sandwiches.  I let the bread cook exactly 40 minutes.   I wish you could smell my home just now.  Good thing Shabat isn't far away because a piece of that bread has gotta have some butter slathered on it real soon!

In My Home This Week: Back In The Saddle Again

In my home this week...

...I shared on Facebook about something very thoughtful John did for me on Sunday of this week.  He was leaving for work and went out to his car as he was leaving.   It was raining.   He backed his car out, parked it near the porch and walked back to the carport.  What he did next brought tears to my eyes.  He got in my car and moved it to the dryer side of the carport.  You see the area where I park is a little lower than the side where he parks.  Over time the ground has rutted so there is a big puddle that forms under the driver side of the car whenever it rains.  No fun stepping into it on a summer's day forget on a chilly cold morning!   He knew I would be going out to church that morning and so he moved my car.  He walked back out into the rain to get into his car and said quietly, "Just so you don't get your feet wet this morning."  I couldn't say a word because I was swallowing the tears back.  

On Valentine's Day there was no card, candy, flowers or jewelry,  but I didn't need such reminders of how he loved and cherished me.  He'd shown it in his deep thoughtfulness on Sunday morning.   I often chuckle over how unromantic he and I are when it comes to the time chosen gestures of love.  I mean, we seldom remember our wedding anniversary until it's completely passed, nor can we tell you how long we've been married without first figuring out how old Katie is and subtracting two years.  Yet, everyone who knows us often comments on our unity and obvious love.

I don't say any of this to brag.  I say this to make the point that often it's not living up to the world's standard that proves love.  It's not the outward material proof of love that lasts.   An earring can be lost, a ring go down a drain.  Flowers wilt, cards are tossed to the bottom of a drawer and candy gets eaten.  No harm in having any of those things, but if that's my only standard for judging how loved I am it's a mighty empty lot to go on isn't it?  I'll take this man who, when I say my feet are cold goes to my dresser and pulls out a pair of socks and puts them on my feet.  I'll take this man who has stood beside me in the midst of my personal ruins when he's got no clue what the heck is going on but he's determined to just be there all the same.  I'll take this man who makes me laugh every single day.


Just as the rain pours outside our windows it poured outside our own several days this week.  I'm sitting here with the windows open just now but the wind is very restless at present and the sun is being hidden behind scuttling clouds.

Did two loads of laundry on Sunday.  John did two loads on Monday, mostly his work bedding and spare change of clothes plus his work clothes from Sunday.   We didn't do anymore until Friday.

Washed full loads of clothes and dishes.  I air dried all that I could.

Basic home care.  That takes more time and energy than typing it all out, but you know...

Got the bills ready to pay this week.  Did banking and errands.

We did a grocery shop.  Just Aldi today but it was a big buggy of food by the time we were done.  It's been a little over one month since our last trip.

Fought ants.   I will call pest control when it's dry enough for him to spray in and OUT both.   The yard is filled with ant hills just now.

In my quiet hours, when not working on Jamberry related things, I've been reading Laine's letters, especially those which reference her homemaking and savings and recipes.  It is my own version of doing a refresher course.  Next up I plan to read Jess' Strangers and Pilgrims blog.

Checked off several items of random things on a list of to do's.  Phone calls, visits I needed to make, mail I needed to send out, items needed to be gathered for others.  None of it took loads of time but it did take a chunk when all combined.

Ran errands one morning.

...made meals:

Polska Kielbasa, Cabbage, Red Potatoes, and Cornbread

Italian Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Green Peas, Homemade Bread, cupcakes

on my own (Deli roasted chicken with leftover vegetables)

Pizza we picked up after getting John's check, doing banking and dropping off mail.

Beef Stroganoff, Noodles, Salad with Beets and Crumbled Egg Yolks, Wacky Cake

Roasted Chicken, Wild Rice, Broccoli with Cheese

Chicken Nuggets and Tater Tots.  I was feeling mighty lazy this morning after doing housework.

...saved time and money:

Ordered stainless steel cake pans.  I am slowly replacing and replenishing my pots and pans in my kitchen with better quality items.  I used Amazon credit earned from Swagbucks to purchase two square and two round cake pans.   I have a prime account which gave me a better price on the pans.  After my gift cards my balance for four pans was $8 and that works out to $2 a pan, 1/3 the price of the cheap ones we priced at Walmart last week. 
They are so shiny you can see my reflection in them, lol!

Took advantage of another direct sales operator going out of business and selling off her stock to add a matte red lipstick to my cosmetics.  I've been crushing on the Olympic skaters lovely matte red lips this week and knew I just needed to have same in my cosmetic bag.

Gave myself a Valentine's Day mani.

Received a new book from Blogging for Books to review.

John did our taxes here at home.  This year we had to pay federal government quite a lot.  Fortunately our state return will balance that out but yuck and ick and all that good stuff.  It didn't feel like savings to have to pay out of pocket but there are a couple of things we did last year that we knew would bite.  We were just shocked it bit so hard!

Totted up the checkbook.  I'd failed to note some cash set aside for the credit card bill and so that will push over to next month's payment.

Last month was a 3 pay period month.  Because I pay bills every two weeks it sometimes takes two or three cycles before my payments fall in a month where I can separate them into 3.  This week it was my health insurance half payment.  I added that to my other sub account funds and now have all the cash needed for renewing my car insurance in July.  Next I'm going to start saving for vacation.

Went to get a haircut.  I stuck with a Pixie cut but went shorter than I've gone in the recent past.  I love it.  I purchased hair product today that is not like anything I've seen to date, a texture powder.  It gives my hair lift and allows me to make it look piecey but it stays soft and pliable.  Well worth the haircut to just discover this product.

Treated myself to a coffee while I was in the vicinity of Starbucks.  One last Gingerbread Latte to see winter out.  Used my gift card to purchase.

Went to the grocery to pick up bread and paper and prescription on Sunday.  I stuck hard to my list but did grab mushrooms needed to make dinner for Mama on Tuesday.  Also purchased flowers.  The $4 group of mums was especially lush and large this week, enough for two bouquets of flowers for the living/dining room.  I suppose because they expected roses to be the big seller this week with Valentine's Day .

Booked another  party for February.

Used some older apples to shred and put into the Wacky Cake I made.  I sent some of the cake home with Mama.

I made egg salad for sandwiches.  John especially likes egg salad.  I can take or leave it unless it's just made.

I cooked too much steak for the stroganoff.  Yes, I could have just tossed it in but we would likely have eaten every bite and really there is no savings in that at all.  So I cooked it and put it in the freezer to save for another meal.   Then I proceeded to make the other half into Stroganoff.

Had  one serving of Stroganoff leftover.  I put it in the fridge to have as a single serve entrée later this week.

Combined leftover broccoli, rice and baked chicken.  I'll make a cheese sauce to go into the pan with this and we'll have a casserole for dinner Friday or Sunday.

Used the last of the loaf of homemade bread.  The recipe I used this past week was for a one hour bread and it made two rustic looking loaves.  The bread is a little more dense but not tough than the Challah I typically make for Shabbat.  It slices nicely and holds together well for toast and sandwiches.  John has raved over it all week  and it's super easy.  I'll dig out the recipe and share it with you all before I close out this post.

John stopped and bought us a sandwich and coffee on our way home from grocery.  He paid for the sandwich  and  I paid for the coffee.  We shared the sandwich which was generous.  It was lovely little car picnic for our Valentine's Day.

Went to CVS to pick up some needed items and half-priced Valentine's day candy.  

Changed banks where we keep a security box.   This was a very small savings of cash but does save us gasoline if we need to retrieve anything.

...had my leisure

Gave myself a manicure. Or two.

Watched Ice Skating, Snowboarding and other Olympic Sportscasts.

Read.  I continued on with Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsely.

Got my hair cut.  I've had a pixie cut for years, but I decided to go with a slightly different style pixie which is a little shorter and has no part.  It's a fresh take and I feel revitalized with it.

Auto Pilot OFF

Twice of late, I've read of normally thrifty women who said they were spending far more than they had intended in certain areas.  Not completely off their thrifty ways, but they'd noted an increase in spending in areas where they'd not had a problem before.  Both confessed it began as a one time thing and gradually they found they were continually spending that amount of money every time they went into stores.  For one girl, it was in the area of her grocery budget.  She'd had more visitors than usual and was hurried more often than not.  She found herself shopping less frequently and grabbing more convenience foods when she did go to the store.   For the other lady, it was her gift giving budget that had begun to prove problematic.  She'd had several 'extra' gift giving occasions and she found herself giving a higher priced item than she'd meant to give.  It began with one occasion and then the feeling took over that she'd given one person such a nice gift that she couldn't possibly give another something that was obviously of lesser value.  Her intentions had been kindness but before the month was over she'd given nicer gifts to people who didn't even know one another and would never be likely to compare them.

Coffee Chat: All Winter Long

Hello there.  Come in and have something hot and comforting, won't you?

I've been busy.  Not with my new business, much as I'd like to have been, but with life.  Wednesday Katie texted that Taylor had flu.  Before I left home on Thursday to go up to her house, Bess texted that Isaac had flu as well and Josh was sick with a virus.  I knew Sam was heading home that night and so I went on to Katie's.  She has just started her job and can't miss work and that was where it seemed the most need of my services lay.  So I spent two nights there with them, leaving to come home on Saturday morning.

This Week In My Home: Light At the End of The Tunnel

This week in my home, I...

...can see light at the end of the tunnel.  This week Bess and Sam accepted an offer on their home.  With a projected move in six weeks time, we all put our heads together and they finally determined that they would live in one of the houses on the property until they could build one of their own.  This was not a lightly reached decision.  John and I discussed the price difference in a manufactured home and a house and we agreed that for us, we'd choose manufactured housing all over again.  However, the kids have not been able to find all the elements they desire in any floor plan to date and the additional items bring the price point far closer to that of traditional stick built housing than to a manufactured home price.

A Prairie Girl's Faith by Steven Hines: Book Review

I've had this book for several months now because I've been so busy, but oh my goodness, I'm glad I added it to my collection of books by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

No surprise that she grew up with a faith filled life.   Pioneer life was not for the faint of heart, nor for the child, man or woman, who grew up in such a place.  It was a matter of more than sheer stamina for hard work and hardship.  It was more than just a blind faith.  It took a practical faith, one that knew how to make do and do without and one that understood that in all things there are seasons.

While the title of the book would lead one to believe it is merely about Laura's Christian leanings, it is not.  There are historical references to the church, to hymns likely sung, to family life and timelines of important life events.  There are recipes and gleanings from relatives and personal acquaintances.  As always Stephen Hines has been most thorough in his research and in his sharing and that is deeply appreciated in this book.

I leave you with Laura's own words:  "Let us with humble hearts, give thanks for the revelation to us and our better understanding of the greatness and goodness of God."

This Week In My Home: Rainy Days, Sunny Days, Winter Days

In my home this week, I...

...have been in a very relaxed mood overall, but now that the end of the week is nearing, I'm in a hurry.   Katie called to say that Taylor has flu.  Katie can't miss work and Matt is too swamped to take off, so Grandmamas to the rescue.  I'm picking up the baton in this relay for Friday.  Hence my hurry today to post this and get out of the house.  I'm all packed.  Just need to finish up lunch, which is taking forever to thaw in the oven naturally, and then head out.  John is already missing me, lol.  Very sweet but Gramma knows she must go where she is needed most.

Bess texted a few minutes ago and Isaac has the flu as well, while Josh is also sick but not with flu.   Jd contacted us early this week and all three children were ill there.  Fortunately he's off and able to care for them.   Then Amie called....Yep, it's been through their home twice now, but she said they have all survived it.

In My Home This Week: True or False Spring?

In my home this week I... ... have been busy as a spring bee this morning.  Is it Spring?  You'd think so by the blooms and weat...