In My Home This Week: Planning for the Unknown

In my home this week:
The roses look much like this this year, but the lantana is already growing and the spider wort is no longer there.

I knew this time was coming, so it's not unexpected.  We are prepared for it as much as one can be and cautiously looking forward:  our home will bulge a little at the seams as my son and his family move in with us as they sell a home, buy a home, transfer job, etc.  He is already here with us and his family will be here next weekend to visit and then later in the month come to stay with us while they are in transition.

It is not my first time having a child return home.  Only my boys have come back thus far, both when leaving the service and getting established in their civilian life (or transition to another branch of service) and now.  It's never too hard, nor easy as you'd hope.  It is always a bit of a challenge and a bit of a fruit basket turn over but it works out.

One way I cope is to accept a small room and board fee.  Keeping our budget in line is foremost and if that sounds mercenary, I will say in my defense that it's a nominal fee that literally covers the extra cost of food.  My sons have always appreciated the fact of paying their way and at the same time of having home comforts.  I try to strike the balance between the two. 

My Frugal Week: Out and About

Saturday:  No prep work done yesterday for today's meal but I wasn't much worried about it.  I knew I had several frozen homemade entrees in the freezer, there was produce to use up prior to leaving home.  I came home from the Strawberry Festival and popped a meal in the oven, made us an appetizer plate of cheese and crackers (by the way anyone else like Stilton as much as I do?) and put on a pot of coffee.  In honor of what we're terming 'the start of vacation' we had an adult beverage with our cheese and crackers.  Lovely.

Yes, we went to the local Strawberry Festival. Not sure what John spent but I'd guess less than $1.50.  My own stack of books was $2.20 and I donated the rest of the third dollar to the Womens Club Building Refurbishing Fund.  It's a good cause since the Women's Club is in an 1830s home and a project that is near and dear to me is historical preservation.  Happily will I donate to any group that is trying to maintain one of our few remaining historical homes.

We did not buy a thing to eat or drink at the festival.  Yes, we could have and likely would have enjoyed it, but with food waiting at home it was unnecessary.

I spent $5 on a cute handmade cottage-y unpainted bird house.  That will go on the front porch and is one of my upcoming UFO projects (the front porch).

I bought two new pillows for the living room back in late winter and like them fine but not quite...This past week when Bess was visiting she used the quilt I keep on the back of the wing back chair.  Remember it's a patterned quilt I had reversed to the white backing .  Well when Bess put the quilt away, she folded it pattern side out and I was smitten.  The colors are not garish bright but they are bright and clear and I realized that what my living room has been missing is that additional pop of color.  I left the quilt as it was and have been really liking how it looks with the small patterned pillow in front of it.  Well this morning I saw an ad on Facebook for a company that sells pillow covers and one in the ad caught my eye.  I went to the site and looked and found two pillow covers I loved for $7 each.  I think the two covers will be just the pop of color the room needs and just enough pattern to add interest.  And thankfully so very affordable.

Budget Recipes to Share

Sorry for the blurry image but the image I saved was rather small.  I enlarged it so you could better see the cover.  This book was printed in 1971.  The book is listed on Amazon for prices ranging from $.01 to $12.  There were several listings on eBay ranging from $1 to $15. 

In April, I decided to cook my way through this cookbook, which I purchased at a thrift store.  I confess I am a soft touch for any title with the words 'budget', 'thrift', or 'frugal' and if it's a cookbook as well, just go on and mark it 'Sold'! 

That said, I'll tell you what I like about the book.  It's set up initially with menus and the recipes to go along with the menus.  I like to READ menus, y'all, almost as much as I like to cook.  It's just one of those things that almost always wins me over to a cookbook and I can assure you that almost all of my most favorite cookbooks have menus.

There are pictures for the main menu pages, some photos of recipes that are listed without menus, and on nearly every page either an Economy Tip or a sidebar of just plain good information.  Even the inside covers have handy charts for figuring cost per serving or listing how much of an item is needed to feed 1-4 people, all good useful information.

In My Home This Week: A Spring Frame of Mind

In my home this week:

We've been infected with Spring fever.  I suppose it's the smell of honeysuckle and privet in the air and the soft sunrises with birds screeching.  It could be the sweet serenade of the mockingbird who sits on the porch railing each day or the leaves fluttering on the trees.  It could be the long shadows that stretch across the lawn or the clear blue skies or the roses blooming with abandon.  It could be the rabbits that dance on the lawn in the early morning and late evenings or the bird nest on the cabinet shelf on the back porch.  The endless sun, gorgeous blue sky, the green trees...It could be just about anything that IS right at the moment.

It makes me restless, has my feet tapping impatiently, wanting to be off and away.  Shall I leave home for a bit or take flight in a book?  There's the question.  One I shall ponder over this weekend as I look at the week ahead.  For certain, this weather is not meant for working long and hard or dwelling inside of a home.  No, it is outdoors weather, fresh air thinking weather, dreaming weather.

Weekend Reading List

I hope you all will take time to relax today and peruse some of these items I'm sharing.  I think they are sweet, funny, useful...Just a good old fashioned mixed lot of nice little things to explore.  Enjoy!

I'll start with TV news.  A new program on HGTV...I saw a pilot show today called 'Good Bones' but apparently it's also billed under "Two Chicks and a Hammer".  You can read up on the program here.  I liked the pilot right well.  Not quite a Rehab addict but it's a renovation type program with a mother and daughter team and they house was really pretty if overpriced on the renovation part.  Frankly I'm so tired of marathon showings of each week that it's nice and refreshing to see a new program on the horizon.

My Frugal Week: Adjusting and Readjusting

The yellow knock out rose bloomed this weekend.  I really do mean to try to get a cutting from this to root.  I think a row of yellow knockout roses would be pretty in front of my back porch, in between the chairs I mean to plant the seats of...Spring dreams!

Saturday:  We had a quiet day at home, which is not at all unusual for us.  We really do like to 'keep' Shabat what it's meant to be, a day of peaceful rest where we try to put our focus on God.  What does that have to do with being frugal?  We very rarely will do any shopping on a Sabbath.  I encourage myself to forgo housework as much as possible. I generally only make our bed.  I plan meals ahead and do as much prep work and cooking as I can on Fridays.  Dishes are put away before Shabat begins on Friday evenings so I can simply rinse and stack dishes all day long on Saturday.  It becomes the restful day it is because I work hard on Fridays to make sure that its that way.

Made pizza for lunch today.  I didn't chop vegetables yesterday so I kept it simple today with just olives and onions and the hamburger I made yesterday.  I made the dough from scratch.  One thing about a rising yeast dough is that it's quick to mix and then walk away from it and let it do it's stuff.  I made our dough half whole wheat flour so it had a nice texture and added fiber. 

We opened windows and so the AC didn't come on until nearly 5pm.  I recalled we'd set it a little lower than usual the night before because the house hadn't gotten stuffy so I reset it to our more usual temperature.  This allowed us another 45 minutes of no AC.  When the AC came on the second time we shut all the windows.  The AC ran only two full cycles and never came on again that evening.

I did load the dishwasher after dinner, as we had a full load of dishes.  I set it to wash on a short cycle.   Dishes air dried after the cycle was done.

Retirement Remedies: What I'm Wearing This Spring, Working With a Limited Wardrobe

I have new pieces this year, but not a huge number. Fortunately many of my accessories are weight change friendly and so they have moved into this new season with me.  Some of the photos are reproduced from last year's photo log but either pieces are the same or so similar that it really oughtn't change how they will look overall. 

What I've bought this spring is four t-shirts in pink, baby blue, aqua and beige, an olive green top, a new scarf, a black maxi, a navy blue tunic with long sleeves and a pair of white jeans.  I guesstimate I have spent about $70 this year for my spring/summer clothing and I don't plan to buy any more this season.  I have a few pieces I'm recycling from last year: a chevron striped taupe and white maxi skirt and a blue gauze shirt, a white tank and a gray tank top.. I have a shirt I picked up over winter at TJMaxx for $10 that will do nicely for spring as well that is a coral 3/4 sleeve top.  I have a pair of blue jeans and an orange t-shirt Katie gave me.  These few outfits shown here incorporate several of  these pieces.  I am not limited to just these pairings pictured, however.  I   I can create many more outfits using the pieces mentioned.  What you see here are just a few of my current ideas and I've yet to try several pieces (such as the navy tunic), not to mention several pieces Katie and Virginia have given me that I haven't even worked into outfits yet.  For all that my wardrobe is very modest many of the pieces I have will do (and have done) for many seasons.  I notate under the photos below other possible outfits I can make using the main pieces.

Book Review: The Book of Joan

This month I've read, The Book of Joan, written by Melissa Rivers in honor of her mother's memory.  I liked Joan Rivers in her early days and really enjoy watching reruns of her old talk show on JLTV.  I wanted to 'find' that Joan Rivers once more in the pages of her daughter's book...

Melissa's book is not so much a memory of her mother as a compilation of Joan's one liners and a plethora of her own.  The humor in it is harsh at times and the language is sometimes questionable.  What I found was that Melissa's 'voice' is much the same as Joan in the latter years.  I find it difficult to believe that some of the supposed conversations took place at the young ages Melissa suggests they might have. 

If you are looking for sweet memories of a loving mom, or a history of Joan's early years, then look elsewhere.  The book becomes an unrelenting and never ending 'routine' and isn't really anything more than overly long script for a final appearance. 

This book provided for review by Blogging for Books

In My Home This Week: Sunshine and Shadows

In my home this week...

It's lovely out this evening but for the first time in days.  It's been cool out there as well.  Nothing unseasonal, mind, but today has been one of those heat in the morning, air conditioner in the afternoon sorts of days.  I was glad to see the sun come out this morning.  Glad to find myself up early with time to pray and have coffee long before John rose.  Glad too, that it was Shabbat.  I love the pace of our Sabbath day.

I was 'reading behind' this afternoon, going back to read of other Mays on the blog and suddenly was bitten by the nostalgia bug, so I went over to Yahoogroups and pulled up the old back issues of Penny Ann Poundwise newsletter.  I think I got back to 2012 and there I stopped.  Looking back at that May, at that year, was painful.  I was just beginning to be aware of some boundaries in my life I was never going to cross over, right in the midst of a frustrating realization that old dreams were dead and gone and never were to be anymore.  I think I spent the next three years crying off and on.  Can I just say that the new season that is upon us, the one that isn't a season of nature but of life, is most welcome?  And looking back, I'm glad for NOW, this place.

My Weekend Reading Spot



I'm so glad you all enjoyed last week's reading post. I haven't had as much time as I thought I might to peruse items but I have a few to share with you.

Dee shared the link to this item on her Facebook page.  I thought it lovely.  I guess really it doesn't matter what country, I like the look of country d├ęcor.
This room was my favorite.  I'd like to see it a tiny bit more yellow.  I swooned over the fabric on the chair.

Coffee/Iced Tea Chat: The Itching Season

Now isn't that pretty?  Well, you'll not have fancy cookies with me here, but we've banana bread and peanut butter and crackers and some lovely chilled slices of orange to snack upon.  You can take your choice of coffee or tea in  this weather, which is middling cool and a tiny bit muggy.  Pull up a chair, take a bite to eat and let's talk, okay?

Pardon my odd blotchy appearance.  Poison Ivy.  I get one spot to settle down and stop itching and another starts up.  I have it from chin to mid-thigh and heaven help me I really don't know how that is possible since it was the most covered parts of me.  None on my hands or arms which were completely exposed.  I'd love to say I got it during my weeding, but the lack of poison on my arms and hands belies that.  I'm kind of laying odds it came off doggy paws, as he was steadily putting his paws all over my chest while I was trying to pet his great big self.  That is a 'grand' puppy, belonging to my son and his family.  He's part pit bull and has a lovely black and white tuxedo and white spats.  He's a little intimidating but really was just longing for love and wanting to climb into my lap where he didn't fit, not in the least.  But in the meantime, I was thoroughly pawed and so I suppose it was he who gave me poison, though I can't say for sure.  I told Samuel that my skin really burned and itched after petting him and we were putting it down to my pet allergies.

Anyway, regardless of the original source, it's misery and I mean that sincerely.  Adding to the overall misery is the need to be terribly careful that John doesn't get exposed to it, as my allergy is mild despite the current appearance and when he is exposed, his allergy requires weeks of steroids.  So no hugs or little kisses and no snuggling in bed!  I've only allowed him to kiss my forehead this week which isn't very satisfactory.

Tried and True: Recipes To Share II

There was a nice amount of participation last month in the Tried and True post.  I hope that you will participate this month and if you didn't join us last month, please do this time around.  If you'd like to see last month's recipes, just check in the archives file in March 2016.

For my part,  I made two old favorites I haven't made in  quite a long while and I tried a couple of new recipes as well.  I'll share all four of them.

I used a turkey breast roast, and greatly decreased the ingredients for the size of my turkey.  I forgot the rosemary entirely and look forward to adding that to my next try at this recipe.  Even though I had a bit of a disaster with the turkey roast falling apart when I removed the binding to stuff and rub.  If I use the Aldi turkey breast roast again, I'll be sure to have cooking twine on hand.  All in all, despite difficulties in executing the stuffing and despite over cooking, the roast was delicious.  It is going into my files to be used again and again.

This recipe is easy enough.  Surprisingly I found a block of Horseradish Cheddar at Aldi for just under $3.  It is, in my opinion, even better than that from the deli.  I made these using regular bakery dinner rolls.  I baked just enough for John and but put the rest in the freezer for a future meal.  I think they will reheat very well, much like the Marinated Sandwiches we like so well.

I shared Rhonda's Enchilada sauce on the lead post for this month's recipe which is one of my long time Tried and True recipes.  The other I made came from a 1980 Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I tore it out that year, shortly after Amie was born and I've made it at least twice a year ever since.  I really liked it then and I really like it today.

Corn Moussaka

1 17-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 pounds ground beef  *I've never used more than a pound in this recipe
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt *I use 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 1 /2 cups cottage cheese with chives, drained *I have never noticed the part where it says to drain the cottage cheese!  I add 1 tablespoon dried chives to plain cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
slivered almonds (optional)

Spread corn in an ungreased shallow casserole, 10 x 7.  In medium skillet, brown ground beef.  Drain fat if necessary.  Add flour; cook and stir for 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce, garlic, and cinnamon.  Pour over corn in dish.  Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. 

Mix cottage cheese and eggs.  Spread over warm meat mixture.  Top with cheeses.  Sprinkle almonds on top of the cheese.  Bake 10-15 minutes more. *I usually end up baking a little longer.  The cottage cheese topping should be just soft set.  If it is a little wobblier than you feel comfortable with, cook up to 1/2 hour, but check every five minutes.  The point is not to cook the cheese dry and hard atop the meat mixture.

Lake Livin'  shared this:

Hello, I'm new! I'll introduce myself on the next post, but I have many recipes to share. I'll start with just one for now. I only make this during the holidays but it is a HUGE hit. My former coworkers almost threw a mutiny the year I didn't bring it to the Thanksgiving potluck. :) I don't know where I obtained the original recipe - it was typed on a small sheet of paper.

Sweet Potato Souffle

3 cup mashed sweet potatoes (baked) - ~3 large (I cook them in the microwave until soft, let them cool, then peel off the skin with my hand)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup condensed milk (I use fat-free)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased baking dish. Cover with topping.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1/3 stick melted butter

Mix thoroughly and sprinkle over souffle.

Bake 35 minutes at 350.

Lana shared:   I can't remember what I shared last month so I hope these are not duplicates.

This is the best dip for veggies I have ever had. The herbs in the recipe are dried herbs even though it sounds like it calls for fresh. herbs.

I absolutely love this salad. You can add chicken to make it a main dish.

We love this chicken. I bake it in a dish in the oven.

An finally the egg salad recipe I tried recently. It does not get watery and change flavors in the fridge which has been something I hate about egg salad.

Looking forward to everyone's recipes! How do we find last month recipes?

This one sounds good to me, but like Colleen I shall change up the herbs.  I'm allergic to marjoram...

The sauce sounds good, I will try .I am sharing a recipe for a crowd, a brunch or maybe. It could be cut down & other meats substituted. I also added carrots, & celery & onions to my meat as I was making soup & had extra. I also used different spices since we don't like dill.
Beef Quiche in Cookie Sheet
• 2-crust pie crust recipe
• 1 pound ground beef.1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup flour, S&P
• 5 eggs, beaten,2 cups half and half cream or evaporated milk
• 1 teaspoon dried dill weed, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
• 2 cups shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese
• 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese,1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Line a 15x10" jelly roll pan with the pie crust, including up sides. I drop pieces of the pie dough around the pan and press until it covers the bottom and sides. Place in refrigerator while preparing the filling.Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic in a heavy skillet. Drain off any excess fat.
Beat together flour, salt, pepper, eggs, half and half, dill weed, and marjoram., Sprinkle ground beef mixture
into crust lined pan. Sprinkle with Cheddar and Havarti cheeses. Carefully and slowly pour egg mixture over cheese so it fills the pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese., until filling is puffed and beginning to brown. Cut into squares to serve. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes


From Tammy comes this Blue Cheese Dressing.   I love homemade blue cheese dressing! 
I make our salad dressings as much as possible, and Greg loves blue cheese dressing. Here's the recipe I use. It calls for Maytag blue cheese, but I use much less expensive crumbles and it's still very tasty.

“Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing”
Place in mixing bowl:
1 C sour cream (I actually used part light sour cream and part homemade yogurt)
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. black pepper (fresh ground would be best)
scant 1/3 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Blend two minutes at low speed (I used a hand mixer).
Add 1 1/3 C mayonnaise (NOT SALAD DRESSING); blend 30 seconds at low speed to mix, then blend two minutes at medium speed. Crumble 8 ounces Maytag Blue Cheese; add half to blended mixture; blend well at low speed. Add rest of crumbles, stir in by hand. Refrigerate 24 hours before using. Yield: 3 Cups

Kathy:  I tried the enchilada sauce, and it is so good. Much better than store brand. Thanks!
*We really like this too!  I made beef enchiladas for family this week while they were in and they raved over Rhonda's sauce. Now I must make more so I can put some in the freezer for future meals.*
Kathy also share this link and note: We like Taste of Home recipes...another one of our favorites...
Sesame ribs

What I've Read This Week

Over the past few weeks I've come across some really interesting articles, items, blog posts, etc.  Each time I've thought, "Oh I'd love to share that with my readers..."  Well having, thoroughly enjoyed Dee's weekly newsletter and blog, and Rhonda at Down to Earth 'Weekend Reading' post, I  thought I'd start archiving these things for you all to check out, as well.

I've been following Rhonda's blog If You Do Stuff for a number of years.  In the past two weeks, she's shared several great posts but these two really stand out.  If you don't know Rhonda's blog, then please check it out, not just the two posts I'll be highlighting.  She's something of a CVS aficionado and really works the deals there.  This week she shared her most recent haul and her stockpile in this post:
She loves to have a great manicure and has found, for her, press on nails work best.  She shared her favorite tips for applying and favored products in this post:

Kroger stores is featuring Spain this month and set up an entire website of recipes, travel highlights and such.  It was a fun spot to spend a half hour or so and the recipes sound delicious.  You can look about the site here:

Dee shared this item in her Facebook feed.  I enjoyed reading this article and am amazed at the dedication and professionalism of this young journalist who is following her passion at a tender age.  Frankly, after reading her article I thought about one I read last week in our local paper.  I asked John what ever happened to the old standard of 'Who, What, Where, Why, When' as I struggled to find all these answers in the article...  I think this article is proof that Pro is Pro...

This Week In My Home...

This week in my home:
...I expect I'll be seeking out a quiet spot.  Family in this weekend.  Family coming in next weekend.  I'm looking forward to having my dear family back in the state but they are house hunting and trying to a sell a home and dragging about the baby and dog and frankly it's a little stressful for them and a little stressful for us.  So in order to keep stress levels as low as possible, I mean to relax, rest and plan for the coming weekend.  I'll not be pushing myself hard to accomplish a whole lot of stuff.  I've done plenty of that in the past week or two anyway, which my 'to do' list this past week reflects.

I reminded myself when overwhelm threatened me this weekend to enjoy this as part of my 'new season' and if that means decreased project work and resting up to spend time with family, then I'm going to do just that.  It's times like this I recall my promise to myself to grab hold of the things I cherish and enjoy them.  

...I plan meals

John works a 36 hour shift Sunday and Monday and will work again on Thursday.  I'll be on my own those three days which means I will try to rely on leftovers.  So a brief meal plan this week.  I'm still using the cookbook I chose from my bookshelf last week.  Recipes with an * are from that book.

Speedy Beef Burgers*, Onion Fries*, Pear Salad, Cherry Crisp

Foil Baked Chicken*,  Black Eyed Peas, Coleslaw

Taco Salad, Whole Grain Chips,  Banana Coconut Bake*

We're certain to eat out while getting groceries.  It's John's choice that day.

...I plan my work
I'd love to plan for NO work but we all know that won't happen in an average run home and mine is average just like your own. 

Change sheets on our bed.  I won't change guest sheets since they will just be back next week anyway, unless some one shows up on spur of the moment.

Harvest Week,  bills, groceries, errands

Finish weeding the privet from under the back yard trees.  I've grown very cautious after reading about copper head snakes and it being mating season...shivers.  Likely I shall rake away the leaves I've been digging about in and then weed.

It is my wild hopes to get mulch, which isn't so hard to put out as it is to load and unload.  However, John is never cooperative in that task as he loathes hauling mulch in the car...Not that we have any other option, mind you.  So I'm on my own with this one.  And since I'm hoping to get mulch, I'll hope to get a big bag of soil as well, so I can get more plants so I can pot more flowers and herbs, so I can...uh huh, work!

Booth...I must get some new items into the booth. 

Books:  I didn't deliver after all this last week.  I got the days confused on which afternoon the library was closed and that was the only afternoon I could get into town.

Just normal routine chores.  And really if I do any of the rest of the above list that's more than plenty.

...I RELAX...

My Frugal Week

                        Our porch will see more and more use now the weather is warming.

Saturday:  Our morning started out a little cool but it soon warmed up outdoors.  I opened windows to warm the inside.  We had them open all day long and didn't need AC at all come late afternoon.

I'm consciously trying to use up items that I typically 'forget' are in the freezer.  I prefer fresh produce and that's what I typically use but we've quite a stock of frozen and canned stuff on hand that will expire unused if I don't start to use it up.  I have a secret desire to retire the small freezer and just have the larger one, but emptying out all the unused stuff first means eating what we have on hand.  I cooked Italian flat beans from the freezer today.  I have just one more meal's worth of those to use up.  I need to plan my week's menu again to incorporate more of those things.

Pulled a thrift store find cookbook from my shelf and used it to plan meals this week.  I am determined to cook my way through this book this month.  If the recipes are good, and as economical as they suggest, then it's a keeper for my shelf.

Saved a bread sack from a loaf of bread.   I use these to put chicken pieces into the freezer.

We shopped online for some tools John needs to do yardwork.  Both items came with a free battery pack which more than paid for one of the tools.  We opted to pick these items up at the store, which meant no shipping. The store called to say that they had the two items, but not the two free battery packs.  I told them to order them and I'd pick up all the items at one time, but not before the battery packs were also available. 

Sunday:  John worked today.  I made his sandwiches Friday evening.  Packed his lunch this morning and made him breakfast.

Opened windows.  It got quite warm this afternoon and I knew come evening it was going to be beyond stuffy.  I waited until about 7pm to shut the windows and turn on the AC.  It ran a long cycle bringing the house down to temperature but did not come back on after that.

I have a new recipe to try and some tortillas I want to make into enchiladas.  I also planned to roast chicken this week.  I started to take two whole chickens from the freezer to thaw but found a bag of backs I'd saved when I cut several chickens into parts.  I put the backs onto boil this morning.  That netted me enough meat for the new recipe and enchiladas, plus four quarts of broth to go into the freezer.  Because I bought whole chickens and cut them up there is no monetary savings in cost per pound in using back meat over using a whole roasted bird, but six backs produced 3 cups of chicken meat and the skins went to the cat and dog to supplement their foods.

Washed a full load of clothes.  Hung the heavy items to dry on the line. 

Cleaned the dryer lint trap.  We've changed vent lines and vacuumed the inside of the dryer, etc. for lint.  We very seldom use a dryer sheet and then only 1/4 of one (my last box of dryer sheets lasted ten years and I am on year 3 of the current box), so I didn't think our lint could be clogged but when I held it up to the light I could plainly see that several of the little holes on the screen were clogged.  I used a toothbrush and dawn soap as suggested by another blogger.  I noted that this lint trap is made up of two or three layers of screening so I made sure to use my toothbrush on the front and the back of the trap and rinsed really well with hot water.  I noted the screen appeared to be clog free and then blew the screen dry with my hair dryer.  This was recommended to keep the screen from rusting.  Since my dryer is 19 years old the lint trap does have a few dots of rust on it and I wasn't wanting to promote further deterioration.

I had three frames from my gallery wall in the living room which contained a set of keys, a set of skeleton keys and an antique iron lock plate and a funky old lock pad.  I hung these in my entryway because I really like the pieces and didn't want to put them away.  It nicely filled a piece of wall that has been bare for some time now.

I ate leftovers for both my dinner and supper meals today.

I cleaned the under hood area of my stove vent.  I used some of the 'can't use it in my machine' dishwasher liquid which swept right thru the greasy build up and left the inside of the vent hood looking like new.  It even removed some of the gooey built up grease film on the fan motor housing.

Ate the last strawberries.  They really do keep very well in glass jars in the fridge.

Needed lemon juice in a recipe.  I'd forgotten my lot of lemons that I packed in water to keep.  I used one of those and it was as juicy and pliable as when fresh bought.

Monday:  I made French toast using smaller ends of the whole grain loaf we buy at the bakery.  These are pieces usually too small for a sandwich.

After bragging that I'd not thrown away any food I've had a round of tossing mandarins and oranges and bread.  The last few slices of a loaf of bread molded overnight. I'd been using it as quickly as I could.  I won't use any bread if even one slice has a spot of mold on it since John is allergic to penicillin.  I'd had the bread in the house for just less than a week and I wonder if it was an older loaf.  These loaves don't have sell by dates on them.  As for the oranges and mandarins, I can't accept blame for those going bad.  I suspect they were exposed to other fruits that had molded while at the store.  I have noted it spreads from one fruit to another rather easily and none of them were exposed to it here at my home.  Thankfully I've caught each one as it was just about to bloom with the mold spores and tossed it.

Made a really good soup today.  Because it was a new to me recipe and I wanted to see if it was a true test recipe, I made it exactly as the recipe said to make it, carefully measuring my ingredients, etc.  I have enough leftovers for a supper one evening.

Did a freezer and pantry inventory of the foods in the back closet.  I am glad John likes beets.  I've five cans of expired beets we'll be eating over the next month or so...I am sure the beets are still good but they have been on my shelves for sometime now and really do need to be used up and replaced with more that have a longer life.

I saved myself a small amount of time today.  I didn't load the dishwasher nor wash dishes after each meal.  I cleared up breakfast dishes this morning and did wash and dry two frying pans, but our dinner dishes were simply rinsed and stacked neatly in my dishpan.  I waited until after supper this evening then rinsed our supper dishes and loaded all into the dishwasher at once.  I find I don't mind stacked dishes if they look neat and my hands appreciate the decreased exposure to soap.

John washed and hung a load of clothes to dry.

Because the dishwasher is not quite full, I'll wait until tomorrow to run a load of dishes.

Not sure how I did it, but Swag bucks credited me with the shopping done online Saturday.  Since I no longer have a Swag button and could not get the store page to open from their site, I'm astonished and terribly pleased. I earned over 1000 in pending swag bucks!

Tuesday  Oatmeal for breakfast is always inexpensive and filling. 

Began packing John's lunch with the non-perishables and set the cold items in one spot in the fridge for easy packing in the morning.  I'll make his sandwiches while I make our supper sandwiches this evening. 

I didn't have a key ingredient for my stuffed chicken.  I altered my menu but used several of the elements.  It was yummy. 

Put half the chicken into the fridge.  We'll likely use it for sandwiches.

Decided the one bag of mulch would make the most impact in the galvanized buckets bed.  I moved them out of the bed and spread the bag of mulch.  It was just perfect for refreshing that bed.  I'll try to get enough bags to do the rose bed next. which already needs to be weeded again, sigh.  I managed to pull several feet of weeds this afternoon from that bed.  Noted I had a tiny new rose bush that I'd like to try to dig up and give to Katie or Ashley since the mother plant was from Granny.

Pulled up about half the privet and cedar under the persimmon and sweet gum trees.  I don't know if I'll walk straight tonight or if I'll be able to bend tomorrow, after today!

Emptied the galvanized buckets of established  plants.  I transplanted them to the pots on the front patio.

John drilled drainage holes in my huge pot.  I put aluminum cans and Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot and then we poured in an entire 40 pound bag of soil (gasp!). I planted it with dahlias (already sprouting!) and a variety of seeds: tithonia, aster, rose campion and what I think might have been sunflowers.  Since all these seeds are old we'll see how well they  will sprout.

Sprinkled some coleus seeds I'd saved about another planter to fill in the blanks around the larkspur plants I transplanted.  I filled the strawberry pot with petunias and then shoved my hydrangea (leaf buds on it) stick into the top of the pot.  Fingers crossed to see how well that grows.

In the galvanized buckets I transplanted two rosemary that overwintered, and basil and parsley seeds.  I'd meant to go buy established herb plants but I'll see how the seeds do.  They were purchased this spring and should be fine.

Scanned several new to blog illustrations to use.  I scanned from my lot of vintage magazines.

Wednesday:   Packed John's lunch.  He made his own breakfast.  Apparently I slapped the alarm off and didn't even know it.

I had a day planned out with Mama but needed to do a couple of errands first.  I jotted two quick notes to go into packages to two of my girls and then gathered books, trash and packages/letters to go.

Made sure to get a bottle of water and put in my purse.

Followed John's habit of turning off the ceiling fans when I was ready to leave the house.

Worked out my options for doing a second errand this morning, making a bank deposit.  I was pretty sure of going in one of four directions, depending upon what Mama wanted to do and there was a bank in each direction that I'd pass.  Instead of doing that errand before going to Mama's I decided it could be done while we were out.

Technically I was looking for two things: a second pair of pants and a white t-shirt.  I went into Cato while out today and found a pair of white pants...I also purchased a new scarf and two shirts off the clearance rack neither of which were white.  I am calling myself done for Spring and first part of summer except for a pair of sandals in either calf or another neutral color.

My day to buy dinner.  I paid from my allowance. Brought home leftovers to have for supper.

Stopped for mail and to run one other errand on my way home.  Neither of those things required me to spend any money.

Mama passed along gently read magazines, a container of cut cantaloupe and a small bunch of red grapes.  I gratefully accepted all.

Back at home I spent an hour weeding.  I'm roughly half done with the big task of weeding under the trees in the back yard.  I didn't want to do the task to be honest, but I read a comment on the Prudent Homemaker in which the commenter said that she had a basket she filled daily with weeding and if she did just one a day she could keep up with it.  Measuring a task I don't like by what I discard was easy enough.  I used a bucket and filled it with yesterday's weeding.  I dumped that and then filled it again for today's portion.  Thankfully the ground is soft enough to make weeding very easy at the moment and we've had a shower of rain this evening, too.

Scanned more illustrations and pictures from vintage magazines.

Thursday:  I feel terribly foolish.  I completely got my head all turned about and thought I was having company next week.  I am having company tonight.  Fortunately for me I had the guest room all sorted out over the weekend, and was already thawing and planning a small marathon kitchen cooking day.  I have a banana bread in the freezer I can take out to thaw.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.

I made enchilada sauce, chicken pie filling and potato salad meant for our dinner today.  John asked for fried chicken for dinner today.  I needed to tend to a few errands in town and pick up bread and fruit anyway, so we combined those things with picking up the chicken.  I ordered extra so there would be leftovers if family wanted a warm meal when they got in.  If not, it's fine.  I've frozen the leftovers before and they reheat just fine.

In town, I went by to pay booth rent.  I paid the electric bill.  John went by the package store and bought beer.  We picked up chicken (John paid for this and the beer out of his pocket).  I went into local grocery.  I still prefer bakery bread but 've found a mass market bread that is whole wheat and sugar free (Nature's Harvest) that is passably good and saved me driving 60 miles round trip.  I purchased fruit and eggs which I knew we needed for ourselves, as well. I really under calculated on all those this past pay period even thinking of just John and I.  I purchased chocolate bars in a 6 pack, and ice cream for us adults and for the grandson, I bought cheese puffs and gummy bears.  I had $10 of the former grocery budget left which offset the overage I've spent.

After we'd eaten dinner today, I cleared up the bulk of the kitchen.  I still need to make the crust for that and I'm waiting on the ground meat to thaw to make the beef enchiladas (all my chicken went into the pie filling so no chicken enchiladas).  I found the chicken pie filling made a lot more than I'd anticipated even measuring and following recipe exactly.  I put a pie plate of filling into the freezer for a future meal for John and I.   I still had plenty to fill a larger pie plate for dinner for four of us.

When I made the Red Enchilada Sauce this morning, I opened a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to season the sauce.  I had LOTS leftover. I used an ice cube tray that I'd sprayed with cooking spray and portioned the rest of the can of peppers and sauce into the dozen compartments.  When they are solidly frozen I'll put into a baggie and keep in the freezer for future needs.

Boxed up the leftover chicken, put the rest of the potato salad into a container.

While cooking potatoes today, I did as Mama used to do and put the eggs into the same pot to boil right along with the potatoes.  I put in extra eggs and will make egg salad for sandwiches.  I also have a whole chicken breast from the roasted chicken and lots of cheese so sandwich fillings are covered for weekend.

It's much cooler today than it's been.  Open windows keep indoors from being too stuffy.

Friday:  Briefly here as I've a not quite two year old grandson with me today.  Made meals of leftovers and used what was on hand.  There was plenty of sunlight to fill the house and it was a little cooler.  All in all a really good day.

Tried and True: Recipes To Share

There was a nice amount of participation last month in the Tried and True post.  I hope that you will participate this month and if you didn't join us last month, please do this time around.

For my part,  I made two old favorites I haven't made in  quite a long while and I tried a couple of new recipes as well.  I'll share all four of them next week. 

The same request as last time.  Enter your recipe or link in the comments.  I'll move to a second post and delete the comment.

In the meantime, I'll share an old favorite that I  made this week. It is not entirely my recipe.  It's a recipe I got from Rhonda which I altered just slightly, and I mean only slightly.  I've made it as she wrote it and liked it very well, too.  I wanted to link to her original recipe, but can't find  Here's my version, made this morning.

Rhonda's Red Enchilada Sauce: My Slightly Altered Version

1 small onion very finely diced (2 1/2 ounces per Rhonda's recipe, I used about 1/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used 3 teaspoons of minced garlic)
3 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder (I used 2 tbsp. and 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce chopped very very finely)
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup water (I think this was my addition to the recipe long ago) {Rhonda, help me out in comments with your original or a link to it, please}

In oil (I used fat skimmed from top of chicken broth) cook onion and garlic until just softened.  Add spices and cook about 30 seconds or so until fragrant.  Add tomato sauce, chicken broth and water.  Heat over medium heat until it comes to a soft simmering boil and let cook about two minutes.  I bottle this for freezing and it does very well. It's a lovely rich sauce and nothing at all like the anemic stuff you buy in a can.  I taste tested the sauce and the chipotle pepper added a nice warmth that sort of hits the back of the throat but it's not hot nor spicy, just a really lovely warmth.

Okay, everyone.  Please join in and share your recipes or links!

A Season of Prayer

Recently I've been told here on the blog how much some of you appreciate my prayers on your behalf and I've watched with a happy heart as more and more of you openly ask for prayer from myself and other commenters.  This is one of my main ministry areas, teaching others how to live well and thriftily and to use what they have to enhance and better their lives.  Prayer is also a huge ministry area in my life and has been for sometime.  To combine the two here has been unexpected and awesome.

Prayer ministry is something God laid on my heart years ago,  but it took me a little while to 'get into' it.  First of all, I had to learn how to pray,  for myself and others.  I know most people have been taught that prayer is what we do for others but they never ever pray for themselves and will apologize for asking for prayer over themselves as well.  I was taught that prayers for personal needs was selfish and somehow wrong and that we ought to wait upon others to see a need and pray over it.   It felt very awkward  to pray for myself.  It took a long time to shake that feeling off and just tell God of a need and let it rest with him.   Honestly, it's the very best testing ground for prayers and I mean that.  Once you understand how to rightly pray for yourself you can be a far better warrior for others.

About 9 or 10 years ago, I was watching a ministry program that was aired 5 evenings a week.  One night the evangelist said they wanted people who needed prayer for themselves or  family members to send in a photo and they would put them on a wall in the studio and would pray over them.  I was shocked that week by the number of photos that went up on that wall.  In about three days time it was covered from floor to ceiling.  In five days they'd begun to layer photos over the ones already on the wall.  It really broke my heart to think of the desperate need people felt to have someone pray.  I thought over the people I knew and was pretty sure a few of them had no one at all praying for them, including themselves.   When God breaks your heart over something, it's a sign you need to be doing something about it.  It was then I was certain I was being called to prayer.

I went to the pastor at the church we attended and asked if we could begin a prayer wall.  It wasn't a big congregation but we soon had a substantial number of photos on that wall and each time I went into church I went over to that wall, looked at each photo and said a prayer over each one.  Soon other church members were doing the same thing.  I prayed every day at home as well.  Some pictures came down as prayers were answered and new ones went up.  It was an amazing ministry that just took off and confirmed my conviction that people were literally thirsting for prayer.

About three years ago the pastor's wife told me they'd continued the prayer wall long after I left the church where I first answered the call to prayer.  It did my heart good to know that the ministry of prayer was continued by that church for as long as they were in that building.

When we left that church and moved on to our next leg of this journey, I found that often I'd be asked to pray over someone in the synagogue and soon people were coming to ask if I'd pray for someone they knew.  I kept a list in my Bible and went over it every day.    A little over two years ago, I felt God wanted me to keep a prayer journal.  There's where I put my list, updated as needed each month.  I make notes on progress or full answers given.  If you want to watch God at work, keep a prayer journal and and update it!  It's awesome to watch a prayer list change!    So here I am still praying for people after all this time, carrying needs daily before God, asking him to help, to heal, to guide. 

Over the years I've learned a few things.  I'd like to share them with you.

I've  learned to be cautious about stepping into prayers I know nothing about.

Several years ago there was a man in front of my pew at a church who was just weeping and praying and praying and crying.  I was so moved by his excess of emotion that I began to pray, too.  I told God I wanted to come into agreement with that man.  Well!  God quickly moved and I heard plainly in my mind, "Terri, you shouldn't be so quick to pray in agreement with someone when you've no idea what they are praying for...You can get entangled in things you really don't want to be involved with."  Wow.  It never occurred to me that I might be praying in agreement for something that wasn't right or which might cause harm to someone.   And that's another reason why I seldom will pray for 'unspoken requests'.

I've learned to be specific in what I pray.

I'm not much into the 'unspoken' prayer requests.  That's all right for a private matter when you're asking for public prayer but if you're just asking ME to pray then I like to have some knowledge of what the situation is and for whom I'm praying.   It's not being nosy.  It's so that I can be specific with God about what situation is generating the call to prayer.   If someone comes to me privately over and over again and asks for 'unspoken' requests then I ask them to be specific.  If they refuse then I tell them, I'm so sorry, but I simply can't pray that way for you.

A pastor shared an example years ago about his child who was mighty sick and wouldn't eat.  The parents did all they could to get the boy to eat and he refused every thing offered.  Finally the pastor asked his son, "If you could have anything at all to eat, what would you want?"  "I think I want a popsicle," the child replied.  So dad went off to town and bought popsicles.  But when he got home the boy refused to take a popsicle.  His dad was beyond frustrated.  "But why?  You asked for popsicles, I bought you popsicles!"  The child began to cry. "But Daddy I wanted a PURPLE popsicle!"  From that sermon I learned it's sometimes necessary to be very specific in what we're asking to be provided.  That's why I want others to be specific when they ask me to pray.

I've learned to be careful in what I pray.

Later my understanding of this was expanded to presumptive prayer: that's where one might pray for a specific thing to happen or essentially tell God how a situation should be resolved without understanding the full consequences if that prayer is answered.

I did that once.  I prayed a certain prayer and  God quickly reprimanded me.  He impressed hard on me the consequences if my prayer were answered and pointed out all sorts of hurts and failures and wrongs that would be dealt a number of people I loved deeply.  Now in my mind, I was just certain that removing one person from the equation would improve every one's life in a wonderful way.  So real were all the things God pointed out would go awry if this happened that I sobbed for the hurt I'd very nearly caused my family.  I sincerely and deeply felt the conviction that I was wrong and begged forgiveness.   I had not seen the true consequences of that prayer being answered.  And do you know that years later that same individual was instrumental in trying to lead several of my family to Christ?  Praise God he halted me in my prayer and reprimanded me!  As difficult as people can be at times, I am very careful about what I'll pray over another since that day.

I've learned I mustn't impose what I think into my prayer request.

If it's just an obstinate opinion that starts up when I start to pray and will come up over and over again in my mind distracting me from focusing on a situation, then I'll just say, "Lord, you know what I think...but I want your answer for this, because I know it's the very best thing.  YOU know better than I do and I know that.  I just need to shut this voice off in my mind.  Help me with this Lord, so I can better pray."

I've learned to ask for understanding in an area where I pray.

I don't always know what the root of a  situation is when I'm moved to pray for someone.  I ask God to reveal what needs to be known so I can pray rightly for that person.  This is not always pleasant in because sometimes what gets revealed can be painful (for me and my family), as was the case this past spring and summer when I could feel something was off with someone close to us.  Oh my!  What was revealed later was shocking and left me stunned and shaking...but it showed me most clearly that my prayers needed to be for a resolution of the situation and  forgiveness towards that individual and then to move out of God's way and let him work in that situation.  It's not always an unhappy reveal that occurs, however.  Many times, God has opened my understanding of a situation and enabled me to pray better prayers for the individuals concerned.

Sometimes when I'm praying for a situation the answer isn't what I'd have wanted but I know that ALWAYS God's wisdom is greater than my own.  Last year when I was praying for Bess and Sam's new home, I had no idea that God's plan was to take them to the south end of Florida!  That one hurt. I recall how I was cleaning the bathroom at the time the call came from Sam telling me the news of his move.  Bess and I had just talked two days before, speaking of a home within an hour and a half of us.  I was so happy thinking of having them move closer.  As Sam told me how excited he was over this move,  I withheld my hurt from him as we talked, because who wants to rain on someone's happy parade?  When the call was done however, I lay my head down right where I was cleaning the toilet and sobbed and sobbed, repeating over and over, "But I trust you, God, to know what's best."  It hurt me so to have yet another grandchild living far away.  And now God is moving them back towards us.  I didn't pray that over them but only prayed for what was best for them, as I do for all my children.  This time away is part of His plan for their lives.

Prayer is sometimes a long term journey that requires  resting places.

My former pastor's wife called me to ask me if I'd 'carry' her father in prayer.  She told me that she needed to let go of the situation and felt she'd been getting nowhere at all.  I immediately realized that she'd passed the baton to me in what was meant to be a marathon of sorts and so I accepted and carried her father for many months on my prayer list, until she came to me one day and said the situation had been resolved. 

18 months ago I was so worn down by an ongoing prayer concern that I asked a pastor friend to carry my baton and explained to him why.  He was kind and thoughtful and took up my prayer concern for several months while I recuperated from the bitterness and hurt that the situation for which I'd been in prayer had rooted into my life.  Every time I was even tempted to pick up that concern, I'd remember, "Ryan is covering that for me." and I'd change to another thought.  One morning I awoke and knew I was restored and rested enough to pick it up once again and I carried it forward until the situation broke.

Sometimes the prayer  list I keep dwindles.  I have learned that in time God will fill it back up again.  A typical list these days has 30 or so individuals or items that I am praying for.  I have been down to just my family members sometimes for a month or two at a time but I see now that God 'rests' me before he rebuilds the list.  Eventually it will fill up and I'll find my page is filled once more.

Prayer is not a solo journey. 

The Bible assures us that a three fold cord is not easily broken.  Any time we can stand with another in prayer we are creating a strong cord.  The more people who stand with us in prayer the greater the strength of that cord becomes.

I have learned to recognize Prayer Warriors.

I don't always know someone well when I'm praying in agreement with them, but I generally know enough about them to know their prayers are genuine and constant. 

How do I know this?  Because I see the fruit of their efforts.  I see how God is working in their lives.  I listen to what they say.  I see how they respond to the request for prayer.    It's not that their children are perfect and they appear moral and upright in their personal lives or how professional they are in their career life.  It's the way they proclaim God, and how they willingly approach prayer without telling me their advice for fixing a problem or saying "Well...if it's God's will..." about a situation that looks mighty impossible. 

No, they get down on their knees and they pound on the doors of heaven and they cry out to God and they will do it again and again.  Had it not been for willing prayer warriors on May 28, 2015, I do not know if I'd be sitting here April 3, 2016 writing this post on prayer!!  I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms and had been having breathing problems for four days.  I should have died within seconds of hitting the floor in my kitchen.  I could have died at any point between home and the first ER some 25 minutes away or while in that ER, or on the 30 minute ride to the second hospital cath lab.  That's how dire the situation was.  Seconds counted.  I was passing in and out all that time.    I truly believe what changed the final outcome  was turning to John  at the cath lab when they said it would be an hour before they could do surgery and saying "Tell Katie to go on my Facebook page and put out a call for every prayer warrior to pray for me now."   Every second that ticked by was counted against me until that moment.  After that call went out every second that passed was another victory of prayer. 

If someone is quick to try and offer up solutions to 'fix' a situation, without first going before God, I know they won't pray in agreement with me.  They can't get out of their own way long enough to even go before God.  If someone tells me they meant to pray but 'forgot' and it happens on more than one occasion, I'm not likely to include them in my inner prayer circle of warriors.  A warrior responds to the call for service.  He doesn't wait around to see what else is coming along or dawdle on his way to the battle field.  I am fierce and I mean that.  I don't have time or patience with those who are half hearted.  Prayer is serious and very necessary and when a call for prayer arises it wants a ready response.

I set aside time for prayer every day.

Specifically, I pray each morning over my prayer list.  I prefer to do this immediately upon arising, as I sip my first coffee.  Given a choice of my daily study time or prayer time, I opt for prayer.  I can always find a moment later to study but that prayer time is specifically set aside for the purpose of my prayer ministry.  

John and I pray each night before we go to sleep.  I may not mention every item on my prayer list at that prayer time but the list as a whole is often prayed over.

And all through the day...Anytime I've taken time to pray first thing in the morning, I will have specific prays that pop up all through the day.  Homemaking is not such a mind occupying task that it pushes all other thoughts out of my mind.  The Bible says that we should pray all of the time, over every thing, and so I do.  Over the list of prayer needs, over shopping, over bills, over little annoyances and big concerns and people who aren't on my prayer list but who rest on my heart for a bit.  Prayer is an ongoing thing in my life and while I won't tell you it's constant in every minute, it is something that is ongoing, all through the waking hours and often in the night when I waken as well.

I've learned a great deal in my times of prayer.

Do you feel a call for prayer on your life?  
 Start with the Lord's Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13.  Most of us know it by heart already but if you don't it's easily memorized.  It is an all encompassing prayer, covering your every need for the day.  Think about the words and what the prayer says.  Ask God to show you the fullness of that simple prayer and what each line means.  Dwell on that prayer for as long as you need to.  It teaches well how to pray for ourselves and for others.

Another prayer I found helpful is the Jabez prayer in 1 Chronicles 4:10.  It too is an awesome prayer.

Gradually, as you become comfortable in prayer, talk to God about needs in your life or in the lives of others.  Mention them by name, be specific about the area you want to cover in prayer.  Keep a list and notate answers and changes that occur.  Be prepared to be changed.

How has prayer changed me?  It's enabled me see that God is active today.  He moves. He moves all the time but prayer has allowed me to watch Him move in specific and wonderful ways.  It's also made me understand that not every outcome is peaches and sunshine.  Sometimes hard things happen.  Babies are lost.  Loved ones die.  Healings don't happen.  I've learned that no matter what happens when I pray,  to respond continuously with "God, I know you are good.  I trust you.  I don't always understand, but I trust you."  And in that trust I've learned to find peace.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My! March 2016

Well! March flew right past didn't it?  Actually it went no quicker than usual and there were indeed days when I thought it dragging along mighty slow like any other month.    Busy days helped time fly a little faster and having John home for two long weeks at a time with extra days off meant it felt a bit like vacation even if we didn't go anywhere.  I look back over March and am amazed I got as much done as I did, even if no 'to do' list was ever completely tended to.  April here started with a roar of thunder, lightning and enough rain to wash everything good and clean and then sparkle it up, too.  I know there was rough weather all about us, but we didn't even have a stiff breeze here through it all, and for that we're grateful.

Now let me get busy replying to all of your comments over the past month.

At least two posts for March were reposts.  They weren't meant to be reposts.  I was merely going in adding jump breaks to older posts and for some reason, after I've done that to several posts, one will suddenly decide it's all brand new and there it is right on the month's line up.  A 2012 post Menu plan was one such post which generated fresh comments from several of you.  Apparently it appeared as fresh to you as it felt itself to be. 

On the Q&A post March 1, I spoke of Bess and Sam's loss.  Thank you all for your condolences and sympathy and prayers.  They are doing very well.  Bess decided to make a memory box for the baby and put in the first sonogram and a few other items that were special to her.  I think it was a lovely way to commemorate her baby's brief time of life and yes, I do consider a baby living from the moment it forms a heart beat.  There were some tough moments for her but I am certain that prayers helped her along the rougher places and brought her to a place where she can move forward.

Now for some unknown reason, I apparently posted a second Q&A!  Who knows where my head was. I thought it a duplicate post but it reads as though it were current.  I don't know.  But since I did post it, I shall address those comments and ask Lana how are your parents doing?  Have any decisions been made yet?  I have you upon my prayer list...

Gramma D posted that she'd been reading a post from November of 2011 here on the blog and what a lot of water under the bridge since then.  You are so right!  Major changes in my life since then and likely to be plenty more. 

It was on this post that Lana and Kathy both sent a thank you to those of you who had been praying for their situations.  Kathy's husband found a new job and you all who prayed had a hand in the answer to their situation!

Assigning Value #1 Beckyathome commented on her liking to have a stocked freezer and pantry.  Me too!  And it's a love Katie has as well though I think she's not as heavily stocked as she was once upon a time.  She was helping me unload and put away groceries here one day after a big shop with a lot of good sales.  She commented as she surveyed our one cabinet pantry at the time that she was sure it gave me a lot of comfort to see all that food, lol.  I think my pantry love goes back to the harvests we put up in the freezer and pantry shelves when I was growing up.  Having grown our own vegetables and foraged for berries and plums and such, Mama turned them into jams and jellies and preserves, home canned vegetables, and froze a load of things as well.  Both my grandmothers kept well stocked pantries and so it just seems natural to me to have several months worth of food on hand at once.

I've always said my stocked pantry/freezer is a great emergency fund.  I've good reason to say this having had to rely on those two more than once in my adult life and it fed my family well during some mighty tough days.

Karla, when we moved into this house, we had a 25cu.ft. fridge and the one that came with the house, a mere 14cu.ft.  It was our intent at the time to use the smaller fridge for beverages and additional freezer space and to use the larger fridge for our food fridge.  Ha.  Within two months the larger fridge died dead and would not be revived.  I crept along with that tinky 14cu.ft. freezer for another 14 years.  I cursed the lack of space, the way things tumbled out of it onto the floor anytime an item was needed, the lack of light (who makes a fridge without a light bulb inside?!).  At one point, John had told me I could get a new fridge and I danced about the kitchen with joy until he spoiled it all by commenting it would be worth just to not hear my constant complaints over the little fridge.  I was so ashamed I refused to go buy the much wanted new refrigerator and limped along with the apparently extremely well built little one.  I have a nice big refrigerator now because my son bought it for us as an anniversary gift after he got out of the Navy, using some of his separation pay to purchase it.  I was never so grateful or happy for a gift in my life, but I learned a lot about biting my tongue in the years between John's saying I could purchase a new fridge and the actual coming of a new fridge into my kitchen.  And by the way, that little fridge was given to a friend whose husband used it to store deer meat and fish after hunting and fishing trips.  It's still running...

After I related my loathing for the cost of checks, this was shared in the comments.  If only our credit union had checking or if only our bank allowed a free box of checks!  Actually if our credit union even offered checking we'd likely do business more of our business with them,  but alas, they don't.

Nancy said...
This is a little late now, but maybe someone else can use the tip. Our credit union gives 1 box of checks free to any members who are senior citizens, and I think they define sr. citizens as anyone over 55. They don't offer, you have to ask. Anyway, even if I don't need them right then, I ask each year and get a free box. Worst they can do is say no and laugh. That doesn't hurt my feelings.

Loyda shared that she has a Facebook group called On the road to retirement...I went over to join today and my membership is pending at the moment.  It's a closed group  but I'm sure if you want to go by and try the group out, she'll be appreciative of the membership.

Assigning post #2  I related my internet woes with the satellite company.  Well the story goes on.   The first month of the 'new and improved, greater gigabyte' service gave me a nasty nasty shock when the first billing arrived.  It was prorated for a partial month credit for the former service and prorated for a half month of the new service plus the next month's charges and zowie kapowie it hit hard, coming in at roughly double what we'd been paying for the lesser service.  I called right away and discovered that the next two months will be lower, the fourth month of service only a little higher than the coming two months.  Is it worth it?  John would tell you indeed it is, since he now enjoys videos without any buffering at all.  I have not yet braved the familiar Swagbucks routine due to other complications which have nothing to do with internet services.    I told John I'll just call it a massive entertainment fund I reckon, but I did strongly suggest that we seriously reconsider our satellite TV costs in August (or September)when the current contract ends because those costs are slowly amping up once more, now that all the discounts are expiring.

Tammy, Susie @ persimmon moon cottage, and Judy all commented on the galvanized garden.  I love that look overall.  I have several more pieces of galvanized metal and am thinking I'd like to use them all along the back of the house.  I keep hoping to get to the grocery to buy herbs to plant in my pots which are currently a mishmash of plants that returned from last year's plantings.  I need more variety in height in the bed but I like my version well enough.  The milk container is a new addition (formerly kept inside my home) and I don't care for the watering can sitting atop it.  I'll work something else out with that in the near future.

Sarah I don't have a Joanne store nearby.  I am wary of 'cheap' thread as I had a really difficult time with my machine not too long ago after buying inexpensive thread, nevertheless I shall keep my eyes open for notions at the thrift stores.  I am sure there must be some newer threads that come in from time to time, just as with any other hobby items.  I thought perhaps someone might have a mail order source.  I'll check Prudent Homemaker for any suggestions she might have since she does a lot of sewing for her girls.

Heat wraps or heating pad for my ankles is one thing I have not thought to try.  I shall do that and see if I can get some relief when I overdo next time.  I am no fan of ice packs, I know that for sure!

Pam I love the look of painted tires as planters, flower bed edging, etc.  I recall a great aunt whom I dearly loved.  Her house was a white cottage with red trim and she had two tires in her front yard that were split at the top into points and planted with red petunias.  She also had a huge weeping willow tree on the kitchen side of her house where the washing machine hose ran water.  It was lush and wonderful.  Anytime I see pictures of the tire planters I think of Aunt Johnny, lol!

Assigning Value #3  Sparkiedoll (Rose), I know Charis  answered you but thought I'd explain why I refer to it as Harvest Day.  It's the end result of John's sowing of 'labor' into his job.  It is our harvest for the work he's done, and it allows us not only to pay our bills but to 'store it up' as we would any other harvest we might make.

Charis how are you getting along with the leg healing?  You are still on my prayer list for this injury. I am praying little pain and fast healing for you.

Lana  I wish my mind could grasp that I don't have to spend my grocery money just because it's there to spend, but it won't.   I generally will stock up in some area where we are low or in an area I've meant to increase but never have.  But yes, there are times when more groceries are just not necessary.  So hello to pet food, toiletries, paper items, etc. and much longed for pleasantries, like green Verde sauce or cooking sherry or cherry preserves.

Judy so glad you enjoyed the strawberry cobbler.  It is a different flavor than uncooked berries.  I mean to make myself a strawberry cake this year.  Haven't had one in ages upon ages.

Laurie, Lana, Anonymous, Debbie all mentioned Swagbucks.  I know they change up how you can earn about once every three months or so and sometimes it's easier to find the pattern of higher earnings.  John and I tried to use Shop and Earn today and I could not get the page to open to the store for love or fussing.  We finally just went directly to the store site.  I've had computer woes and no longer have Chrome so no Swagbutton any more either.  That meant not even a default Shop and Earn this time.  I think it's just time for me to take a season off and return later and see how it goes then.

Lana so terribly sorry about the young police officer in your community.  I kept that prayer request on my list for weeks.

I shared this recipe with Gramma D privately but the pimento cheese I mention is easy:  Just grate 2 cups cheese, add 1 2ounce jar of diced pimentos (or roasted red peppers but I prefer pimentos) juice and all and enough mayonnaise to moisten and make a paste you can spread on sandwich bread.  This is good stuffed into celery, or on bread and toasted as well as a sandwich filling.  Karla you asked for this recipe so pay attention here.

Assigning Value #4 Sarah  shared this tip:  "We got ants in our sugar container and dog food too when we were first married. Grandmother told us to put the container , undisturbed in the sun outside. Do not shake or move the contents at all. When the heat hit the canister the ants started running out without us doing a thing. I would not leave the crunchy dog food out long though as it contains oils I think. Out in the sun the ants left and no new ones got in during the process either. It surprised us that it worked so well."      I will certainly be trying this in the future!!

Sparkiedoll shared this:

Leftover mashed potatoes and cabbage can only mean 'Bubble and Squeak' Yum, yum, yum! Best wishes, Rose (Kent UK)

beckyathome too often the savings is more a matter of shifting money from here to there, but it's nice to have real savings that we can actually add to the savings account!

In My Home This Week, post #1 or This Week in My home.  Apparently I need to really watch that title post as I keep switching the words up.  Pam, I love the image of you with arms raised welcoming the honking geese as they flew over!

Karla, I hope you do use your Grandpa's wheelbarrow as a flower planter.  You are perfectly right in that it's just sitting there anyway.  Use it, enjoy it and be glad you took the time to put it to good use!

Post #2  in which I reverse the words in the post title...Karla I do have the wallboards with vinyl wallpaper on them.  As for holes, we spackle them and sand down.  Mostly I try to reuse nail holes if I possibly can but sometimes I can't.   John does not complain, but he then again he doesn't feel the walls need painting so it's all one and the same in the end. 

Sparky136 I have that first of the morning reading with my Bible study and it's a sweet time each day.  I did make real time to read this month, usually about 9pm, and I have enjoyed that time.

Lana shared this:  There are printable botanicals suitable for framing here-

Post #3  I love reading the comments and learning new phrases from varying regions.  Sparky136 speaks of 'Dogwood winter' and Lana mentions the 'blackberry cold snap'...All to say that the weather is undecided in Spring, lol, but I do love these two phrases...

Rhonda, I know what you mean about the new recipes.  I really do want to make new recipes (and did try two new ones in March that were very good and I will happily share.

Georgene/ Living On Less Money blog asked about my schedule for running errands.  I shared my answer on the comments but will reprint here:
I TRY to do errands just one day a week. It's not a set day of the week due to John's rotating schedule and I don't always succeed in having it just one day if he's home. It is inevitable that if I have something that wants doing he's going to give in to perhaps half and I've half left undone. I just try hard to batch errands as often as I can and stay home as much as I can because after all, if I'm at home I get a lot more done than when I'm gadding about!

Post #4  Joann Baker I hope your hand is doing just great by now.  I've had you on my prayer list as well.

Karla your daughter has been on the prayer list as well.

Miriam thank you for stopping in to read!

Coffee and Tea chat posts were used this month depending upon weather at the time.  First post was coffee   I mentioned my frustrations with Facebook.  I was prompted by the revelation that we were using data every time we logged onto Facebook to severely edit my list of friends.  This did not entirely fix my woes.  I was still getting posts from people whom I 'liked' but had chosen not to 'follow'.  Well in the end, I had to unfriend a few.  I usually end up unfriending a few I never meant to as well but it was very refreshing to find how lightened I felt with some of the aggravation gone.

I think we are all of one mind about Facebook and photos of abused/killed animals and political leanings.  Janell, I unfollowed people multiple times and facebook would continue to show me their posts.  Unfriending sometimes helped...sigh.  But as I said, my woes are currently reduced.

Chat Post #2  Angela  I am on a good sleep pattern at the moment.  I think the sound machine has helped  for the most part.  It was bad enough at one point in March that John prayed over me one night reminding God we had a guest in the guest bed and I'd have nowhere to retreat for sleep if I had to get up, lol.  I think the Turkey curry and the Squash casserole both sound really good!  Please do share them next Tried and True, which is coming up this week.

Shell Abuse of any substance or any thing causes an unnatural balance in a relationship. 

Kathy Yes!  The stick on the mantel is the one I used in going up and down the side of the mountain on our vacation a couple  of years ago.

Tammy My own father, when my mother finally told him she'd had enough and wanted a divorce if he didn't give up his beer drinking, told my mom she'd never leave...and he'd never quit beer.  She did leave and divorce him, but still never addressed the issues that kept her in the marriage for years too long.  My dad did eventually stop drinking, but only after cancer prevented his leaving the house.

The last comment on this post was left anonymously and I have great sympathy for what you must have been through.  However, I have to share this.  The point of forgiveness is not for the sake of those who abused and harmed you.  It is for the purpose of healing YOU, because it allows you to at last lay down the bitterness and hurt and hate that keeps you forever tied to the ones who hurt you something that 'forgetting' alone can't do. 

Coffee Chat #3  Sparky136 A belated happy birthday wish.  And how fortuitous it was that we had birthday cake on your birthday!

Kip You reminded me that at one point I'd thought to try and match the chain that attaches the straps.  I have looked for twill straps to match with no luck.  BUT if all else fails perhaps I can find some sturdy print fabric to cover the straps.  The purse is perfectly good, except for those ratty straps.

Rhonda I too get tired of reading about 'side hustles' aka the young bloggers speak of earning something extra on the side.  I suspect you are quite right.  Being frugal is my strength and while the $35 or so a month is nice I can probably 'find' that too within my budget by doing some sort of savings.

Sarah My favorite was a pale green velvet bodice and dotted Swiss skirt with the same green.  Really lovely.

Joanne Baker  Thank you.  I feel better since I'm not the only Gramma who didn't do anything, lol.

Tammy  I imagine a basket of fruit was a great temptation to you all.  Aren't children funny about wanting what isn't theirs?

Lana shared this.  I don't have a Kmart anywhere near me, but some of you might:
Just saw this on Ball quart jars 12 pack at K Mart for $5.99! I remember you saying that you need jars. What a deal!

The Tried and True Recipes to Share post was so successful this past month I'm going to repeat it this month.  I have tried a new recipe and pulled out a couple of old ones that I hadn't made in awhile that are worthy of sharing.  I hope you all will join in as you did last time.  If you haven't checked out the recipes do so.  I'm pinning a few to try this coming month for my own menu plans.

That wraps up another Q&A!  Looking forward to comments for April.

Diary for July: Week Two

July 7, Shabat Saturday:   So very much I want to chatter over today and perhaps I will...I don't typically write on Shabat, having al...