In My Home This Week: Sprinting Into March

This week in my home... looking very much like any other week with the added bonus that I've pretty much taken my living room apart (the gallery wall specifically) and am desperately trying to rework it and the mantel with just what I have on hand.  AND I've taken down the wall of pictures in the bedroom and am stacking things against the wall there trying to see how they might look together.  I'm minus two frames at the moment and have one picture I'm still debating but it desperately needs to be updated with a new frame and mat if I do want to use it.

Yes, it's a mess here just now and I'm not even apologizing for it exactly because I do love to switch things up to usher in a new season.  We've certainly not had a horrid winter weather wise but what with our losses this month, and an anxious period of strained waiting for what's surely meant to be good news...well I'm about ready to pass this season off and begin a new one!  And as always when I can't control changes elsewhere in my life, I take it out on my home and force it to change.

One of my current troubles is that I get ideas.  They start small and sort of bloom into bigger ones.  I start out in one direction and end up taking an unexpected turn in another.  As I plundered my things Friday looking for stuff to use, I came to a conclusion I've been uneasily acknowledging subconsciously: I have a number of things but not quite enough of any one thing to carry out a full theme.  So I end up with a lot of stuff overall and hardly anything I can use.  It's the whole overstuffed closet syndrome all over only it's shed and drawers and stashes here and there.  All of the things I have were gotten cheaply and are nice-ish but I change directions before I've finished up collecting to fulfill one idea and that is to my detriment.

Assigning Value to What I Do: A Corsage for Me

Feb. 20:  We traveled up to see Katie and family.  I packed a supper for us of sandwiches, granola bars and fruit.  John stopped to buy coffees for us on our way home.  Savings:  $12 the cost of burgers, fries and drinks...Not to mention a few extra calories.

I don't purchase sandwich bags any more.  I wanted the sandwiches to stay together and the sandwich filling had no stickiness to it.  I wrapped them in waxed paper squares and placed all of our lunch in a bread sack.  I have plenty of quart and gallon zippered bags on hand but it was kind of fun to figure out a different way of doing things.

Katie did it again...she pulled things she had tired of from her closet and gifted me a stack of new to me clothing.  A blazer and a short cardigan, several tops, a bra and a pair of pants.  She has a knack for realizing when I'm smaller again and these items are a size smaller for me, even the bra..and they fit!  I'd just told John on the way up that I am, sadly, down to one blouse that fit really well and a lot that were just a bit too large or a bit too small.  I think I'd best pull out those 'bit too small' ones and try them on, as I've apparently lost a little more weight.

Coffee Chat: Fair Weather or Foul

Hello dears.  Come in, come in.  I'm afraid I've nothing baked but there are graham crackers and peanut butter and if you're feeling adventurous there's marshmallow cream (real stuff not the vegan recipe I posted, lol).  If you're feeling a bit more sophisticated there's Chocolate Hazelnut spread.  All are delicious and yummy on a graham. And sort of homey and comfortable, too, which is what I need at the moment.

Because so many of you keep asking, I'll tell you straight away there is no sign of Blossom.  She had on a collar with a name tag and phone number on and there've been no calls.  I don't believe anyone picked her up.  She wasn't prone to going for car rides.  With a tag and collar she's not likely to have been mistook for a lost dog.  The nearest dog shelters are 30 or more miles away... No, I expect that Blossom went where all good country dogs go eventually and it breaks me to say so but there you are.  It's now pushing a week since I last saw her or heard her bark in the fields.  I cannot deny the obvious.

Yet, I keep her bed on the front porch awaiting her return and turn on the porch light just in case she's wandering back again.  I listen to every barking dog to be sure it isn't her unique beagle bark I hear.  My heart leaped in my chest Monday when I came home.  As I drove up the driveway I saw something sitting in Blossom's favorite chair.  It was Misu, but for just a moment, I thought it was Blossom. They were the exact same size, right down to weight.

Do You Know Beans?

While I looked through my vintage magazines and on Pinterest this weekend, I came across quite a few recipes that had beans.  Not the usual bean recipes at all, let me assure you.

I know that many of us who are frugal are too well aware of how they are a great budget booster. They are a wonderful source of many vitamins and minerals, fiber, proteins.  They are terrific for extending meals and if both beans and rice are combined in a meal you have a complete protein source without having to serve meat.

I thought I'd share these with you:

From February 1948 American Home magazine:

Bean Sausage

4 cups cooked pinto, navy, or black-eyed peas
1/2 tsp sage
Dash of red pepper or Tabasco
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt

Drain and mash beans.  Mix with the remaining ingredients.  Shape into flat cakes and fry in bacon fat until well browned.  Makes 12 cakes.  224 calories per cake.

In My Home This Week: Count It All As Joy

In my home this week:  I look for joy...

We're just in from a visit to Katie.  I realized after I got home that I never once took a photo of that dear baby of hers who has changed and grown since last I saw her.  It was so sweet to listen to her chatter and talk and plainly at one point, she looked at her Mama and said "Katie"!  I promise it was not just me who thought it.  Her other grandmother was visiting at the time and she heard it, too!

It was a lovely day...Gray and overcast and not at all the spring warmth promised.  It rained and that not forecast for days.  The traffic was heavier than it was the last time we were out...but it was a lovely day.  I enjoyed the time with my girl and her girl and her husband.  I enjoyed the company of my grandchild's Mimi and the big silly German Shepherd who would randomly come to me, nudge me gently and then grin when I turned to see what she wanted.  I enjoyed the conversation with my husband while we traveled.   

I anticipated coming home and finding my pets all waiting upon us. Blossom has wandered and she wasn't waiting.  She's been absent for 24 hours.  It's amazing how empty the space about this house feels without her barking to fill the air. I have stood on the porch and listened for her beagle voice.  Not a peep.  I've contacted my niece and my brother.  Their pronouncement that they hadn't seen or 'heard her' testifies to her unique beagle-y sort of bark.  And feels a bit ominous as well. There are hundreds of acres here between roadways upon which she might have wandered while chasing down rabbit trails and deer trails.  I hope her instincts will lead her back here.  I've scanned the roadsides hard and looked deep into yards trying to see her short little self within five miles of home.   Once upon a time the animal shelter called this little dog "Joy".  That's what she's brought to us and I want her home!  Prayers will be appreciated for the dog and I mean that just as deeply and sincerely as I ever mean it when I ask for prayer.  

I Wonder As I Wander...In The Wind

I am particularly fond of the high winds that bluster and blow and push in the winter time.  They rattle the branches of trees and scurry leaves along so that raking isn't necessary.  If your flag pole is tall, the flag wraps tightly around the pole and hangs on.

I like to walk, the wind at my back, pushing me along.  I admire the colors of the land which look sun bleached and sere.  Beige and grey and blonds against a brilliant blue or steely grey sky.  It's beautiful in a take your breath sort of way.  Even the shadows that fall across the grass have a grey depth that makes me want to weep for the beauty of them.

Funny thing, winter.  So many describe it as death, but really it's beauty, stripped bare and scaled down to the basics, beautiful.


One of these windy days  I heard the geese honking overhead, hundreds of them.  I went out on the back porch and looked up in the sky and one long straggling vee flew past and then there were hundreds more circling away on an air current.  They flapped their wings and struggled and for all that, they stayed in a circle that spun them right back from where they'd just come.  How exhausting it must have been to them, fighting to move ahead and being caught up in the endless draft that swirled them around and around, further and further away from the vee of fellow travelers.  Every now and then, with what appeared to be a huge amount of determination and mighty effort, one would break free and fly away from the dreaded current.

Assigning Value to What We Do: Sweet Savings

Feb 13:  Really nothing much to this day.  We stayed in our pajamas all day long, which was luxury, ate leftovers for dinner and supper, had bagels for breakfast.  We went nowhere and didn't do anything either.  All in all, a very easy relaxing and low cost day.

I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow.

Feb 14:  I bought Valentine's M&Ms at CVS a couple of weeks ago (with an extra cash bucks/coupon/sales combo I think I spent $1.50) and that was our big treat this holiday.  I sent a small jar to work with John to snack upon during the day.

Made John's breakfast and packed up his lunch.

Inventoried the fridge freezer and the meats in the big deep freeze.  By my estimation we have just enough meats to last us until March begins.  That is not a conservative estimate either, but based on what we'd normally eat and how many servings we can expect from each.

I know that I will need to buy meats this month to restock but it is a creative process to figure out where the money will come from. At present I've set aside a small portion of a small check we get each month savings $87.  This brings my current total set aside for beef purchase at $139.

In My Home This Week: Sweet Days

In My Home This Week:

...I sent out sweet memories...
We always call February the 'Sweet Month' in our family.  With four birthdays and Valentines (and once upon a time three more birthdays of Grandparents), it seemed to be the month of perpetually eating something sweet.  Our home seemed to always smell of sugar and butter in this month.  These days, not so much and it's not just due to the change in diets.  No it's as much to do with two of our birthday children being a great long distance away.

I sent Amie a package last week, wanting to make sure she received it in time.  And she did.  I got a very sweet message from her telling me that I'd 'made her cry'.  Well then.  That made me cry.  What did I send her?  A vintage replica Strawberry Shortcake doll that I found in the toy department at Target.  A bag of her favorite candy, Lemon Sours (Sourheads).  A handmade card that espoused our love of her.  And a big envelope that was proved to be the tear worthy part of the gift.  That envelope contained a variety of things I'd saved through her growing years: grade sheets, her first poem, class pictures, Girl Scout badges, a letter to Santa, the first picture she drew, handmade Christmas items from elementary years and a variety of other such things. You know, the stuff that Mamas save and cherish.

Assigning Value to What We Do: Mid-February Savings

 I   first used this image to introduce this post this year and I've decided to keep using it for this one.  John is always telling me how proud he is of me for what I do here in our home and how much he appreciates it all.  I'm not assigning value this year to remind him but to remind me that what I do makes an impact financially, as well as having an emotional and marital impact.

February 6:  I teasingly suggested to John yesterday when we were in town that he could just pick out a card, I'd read it and we'd put it back and not bother with the buying.  He'd have none of that!  No indeed the man gave me two cards for my birthday and a toy shelf recorder, which is something I've never in my life had and I've enjoyed tootling about the house (very badly) upon it.  We've homemade cupcakes and I've discovered that mine, which were frosted with lemon curd are neither too sweet nor too tart, but very pleasing.   I made 11 cupcakes and frosting for half and I don't think all the ingredients together came to much over $1.50...Which beats the heck out of the recent 'sales price' at the grocery of $3.99 for four.  At that rate, I saved $9.50...

 By the way, one year when we were very broke, we did that card trick at the store.  It was rather satisfying to know that we'd each chosen something that brought either tears or genuine laughter and it were all the wealthier for having shared that silly moment.

It was quite cold this morning, so I lit the propane heater to take the burden off the electric heat pump.  I also turned on a kettle of water to add much needed moisture to the air and we opened windows on the sunny sides of the house, which all made the houe feel quite nice rather quickly.
About noon the temperature indoors was sufficiently high to cut off the propane and let the heat pump run now and then.

Coffee Chat: Oh How the Wind Did Blow!

Come on in dears.  If you'd been here in the past two days I'd have urged you to shut the door quick behind you.  Monday  I was sitting here earlier listening to the seed pods being blown off the tree around back.  The pods would hit the roof and then roll down the ridges on the front side to the ground.  It amused me that the house was quiet enough to hear such  small thing rolling about on the roof.  It isn't often that quiet here when John is home.  It was, honestly,  nice.

I walked down to the mailbox earlier and the dogs were glad to see me.  I've been trying to do this more often of late.  I did it on Saturday but then John came down in the car to fetch me.  He was certain I'd find it a hard slog to come back uphill.  I humored him and got in for a ride back but Monday afternoon I slipped out while he was napping and walked down and back.  As I said the girls were awfully glad to have me walking with them.  Blossom kept running up to me as though to say how happy she was, but a bit later, when she'd already rushed down hill, I saw her peeking around a bush to see if I were really meaning to walk down hill.  I assured her I was on my way

As I walked down hill, I lifted my nose into the air and sniffed hard at the freshness.  I found a beautiful bit of lichen on the ground that looked as though it had bloomed.  I scooped it up, accepting the treasure tossed at my feet by the wild cold wind.

In My Home This Week: Brrrrr!

This week in my home...

Lord love February in Georgia! This past week it's been 80F and sunny, cloudy and humid, rainy, and blustery and frosty cold.  Yes, the whole gamut of weather in a week's time. Yet signs of spring will surface here and there.  My own daffodils have been diligent in trying to bloom since December but I saw my first official February bunch growing roadside Friday as we returned home.

We survived the first week of February rather well.  We are now down by two birthdays (just two more to go and one of those is well on its way). We have paid property and car taxes and prepared our tax returns, so all the big heavy stuff is behind us and we start fresh.  I'm ready for a lot of freshness in my life...aren't you?

Assigning Value To Our Days, Frugal Friday: Ushering in February

A few of the daffodils have bloomed...I think Perennials are well worth the money and should be the bulk of any gardeners purchase until the landscape is established.

January 30:  Made biscuits from scratch today.  A can runs $1.59 on sale.  Frozen are $2.99 for a dozen and they are closer to my homemade version.  I'll call my savings $2.59 for my batch.  I've split it between today's meal and tomorrow's.

I had leftovers of dinner today.  I decided that was sufficient for supper tonight, no need to make an extra meal when I wasn't feeling up to par.

I had a bit of leftover cooked cabbage.  I set it aside to go into tomorrow's dinner of Chicken Stirfry.

Although we typically do not wash laundry on Shabat, I discovered the cat used Blossom's bed as a litter box.  In getting the bed into the washer, I got some of the mess on my clothes.  So we did two loads of laundry today.  All were hung outdoors in the wonderful warm sunshine.

I told you I'd do this so...I gave myself an acrylic gel manicure.  I used the bought on sale kit and the bought on clearance polish. Savings $45.00.

Book Review: A Fifty-Year Silence

I was intrigued reading the copy for A Fifty-Year Silence, Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot and the book  did not disappoint.  Truthfully I hated to put the book down at any moment because I found the story intriguing and well written.

Ms. Mouillot describes the very passionate relationship between her grandparents who were divoced for fifty years and the impact their lives had on her live, both as Holocaust survivors and as lovers.  Ms. Mouillot researched diligently to try and piece together what drove the two apart and what caused the fifty-year silence that kept them tied irrevocably to one another and led them to live continents apart alone, never again entering into marriage.

As the writer explores the history of those early days of courtship, marriage and Holocaust she unravels a world of memories that both of her grandparents prefer to forget.

In a way, it's also a coming of age story for the author as she sorts out the intricacies of a relationship she neither understands nor can ignore.  This true story is mystery, romance and tension all rolled up into one.

I highly recommend this book.  I was not compensated for this review but did receive a copy of this book from

Coffee Chat: Groundhogs and Geese

Hello dears, do come in.   I've been thinking all day of some sweet treat I might make that is low sugar and tasty but haven't come up with a thing thus far.  I really  must buy myself some more Splenda.  I'd gotten quite good at substituting with it once I figured out that adding 2 tablespoons of sour cream would offset the dryness that resulted in subbing Splenda for sugar.  Now I think I might substitute nonfat yogurt for the sour cream and have the same results.  Ah well...I can always make us a piece of cinnamon toast which is quite welcome this time of year, agreed?

Our weather has been all over the place, typical of this season.  Warmer and muggy as it is today , cold and breezy, rainy, snowy...Yes, snowy, though ours could have been measured by the 1/4 cup  measure per acre. A little further north there was several inches and then beyond that it was half again as much as we had.

In My Home This Week: All Routine