Showing posts from May, 2016

Book Review: Braving It by James Campbell

I have this thing about books about Alaska.  I've read dozens and dozens.  I was sure I'd enjoy reading this one and I was not disappointed. 
The book opens with Mr. Campbell taking his daughter to spend a summer in Alaska to help build a new cabin for friends who frontier.  He knew that his daughter was naturally athletic and competitive.  He felt sure she would enjoy the experience, though it involved physically taxing work.   He was well aware of the dangers he was exposing her to, having previously lived there.   Mr. Campbell observes his daughter's mental and emotional growth as she pushes her limits physically, enduring hardship and hard work.
A second visit  occurs in late Fall to the same cabin and friends.  This time his daughter learns to hunt, trap and survive a typical Alaskan winter, with all the dangers of freezing, falling through thinning ice, as well as the experiences.  His daughter's relationship with Edna and Heimo  deepens as does her love of the…

My Spring Projects Round Up: Outdoor Version

The start of it all...
This spring I wanted to make the most of what I have.  So much of my previous work had disintegrated over time, which happens, especially in the yard, if it is not maintained.  It really does require an almost daily upkeep of some sort and I'd not given that attention to my yard over the past year.   I had gotten very frustrated with my lack of ability and lack of finances, too.  So in this year of "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can," I decided to do what I could.  If that meant I could only work 15 minutes a day then I would get it done in 15 minute increments.  If it meant I could only spend $5, then I'd spend $5 now and $5 the next time I had it.  As things worked out, I've had a little more energy and money than I'd thought I'd might.  Happily, Mother's Day fell in this time frame and my son's gift was 10 bags of mulch plus he had a leftover bag from work he'd done on his own yard.which made for…

Crock Pot General Tso Chicken

I don't have a photo of the chicken in the crock pot, just of the leftovers.  The recipe is essentially the one that Dee shared a couple of weeks ago for Sweet Chili Pineapple Chicken from the Brendid blog.  I could not find Sweet Chili Sauce.  Bess and I looked at two or three stores with no luck.  I opted to get the Archer Farms General Tso Sauce instead.  I was very pleased with the way the dish turned out.

In My Home This Week: Let's Celebrate!

In my home this week...

...we've had a lovely start to summer, if you like the theory that summer 'starts' with Memorial Day weekend.  We drove up today to celebrate Taylor's first birthday.  My Katie had outdone herself in showing her sentimental side.  Taylor's shirt was made from the shirt Katie wore to her baby shower 14 months ago.  Katie made the banner, the fringe about the high chair from the tissue papers she'd saved from baby shower gifts.  Josh was good as gold and spent his time charming the women.  I'll share just a few photos...
....a few of you got the sneak preview without the promised photos...So sorry!  It was late...

It was a lovely afternoon with family and babies, sigh.  And a beautiful day, too.

A Very Quick Iced Tea Chat

Well hello!  It's a beautiful summery sort of day outdoors.  Perfect for an iced tea and a fan and a chat.  We can sit by the pool if you'd like...If you don't mind having your feet in a kiddy pool as you sip your tea.  Or we can sit indoors and gaze over the yard.  I've just this morning potted up the last of the flowers I'd purchased over the past two weeks.  Not one went to waste, not a single one!  I wasn't that diligent last year but this year I've been very mindful of the need to USE what I purchase and make my expenditures impactful. 
The birds have finally been drinking  at the bird bath which I think is rather fun.  Not many flock there yet, but I've seen a mocking bird and a blue jay over the past few days and that's just when the blinds were open.  I love to watch them drink.  This morning I added potted plants to the steps, which I skipped painting for now because frankly I'm a little done in with projects and plans and changes.  I…

My Frugal Week: Present Savings

One of my many projects this past week...

Saturday:  John worked a 24 hour shift through 7am this morning.  I knew he'd be good and hungry but hadn't gone to the store as I ought to have done.  I had four eggs and a family of five to feed.  I decided to make a breakfast of toast, grits and sausage.  Not quite a full breakfast but it did well enough.

The family came in overnight.  I had a boneless turkey breast out.  I made the mayonnaise roasted turkey breast roast I've made before.  A big pan of Italian roasted vegetables went with the meal and filled us up without a lot of work on my part.  I used potatoes, zucchini, onion, peppers and mushrooms.

The kids asked for a cobbler.  I had canned peaches in the kitchen cupboard and made up one of the easy cobbler recipes that uses equal measures of butter, flour, milk, sugar and fruit.

We tried hard to be restful, but the truth is more people equals more work and I planned poorly all around.  I washed a full load of dishes in th…

In My Home This Week: New Beginnings

In my home this week:

The little bird that nested on the back porch last year is back.  John mentioned we had a bird nest on the cupboard shelf next to an extension cord.  I noted the nest but didn't think too much of it until this week when I was working outdoors potting plants and I realized I was keeping Mama bird from her business.  I hurriedly cleared up my mess and came indoors.  She flew in and out while I worked about the porch Friday morning and even this morning as I rocked on the porch before the family woke, she went about her business feeding her family.  It made me mindful that I needed a breakfast plan.
The family came in last night in the wee hours of the morning.  This morning we attempted to talk but there's so much going on at once there's little time to get a full sentence out of our mouths.  Nevertheless, I did gather that we're probably looking at about 6-8 weeks.  It will be roughly a month before either of the house sells will close.  There wil…

My Frugal Week: A Challenge to Save

My Granny's old wash pot is a valued treasure Mama recently gave to me.  I didn't plant the fern in it since I don't want to rust out the wash pot, but I did put the fern in on a drip pan.  I think it's rather neat to use it on the back porch.  And yes, I did say 'wash' pot.  This pot was placed over a wood fire and water heated in it.  Then the clothes were put into the hot water and stirred about with a paddle of sorts.  "Boiled clothes", as an older woman once told me, "always smell the freshest."  It also served a second purpose in my childhood when Granny used this one and a mate to water cows each day.  I suspect she'd be mighty surprised to see it sitting on my back porch now and called a 'treasure'.

Saturday:  I made several meals from my menu plan last week but also skipped a few.  Today I had chicken breasts in the fridge along with a variety of vegetables.  I decided to make an easy Peanut Chicken Stir fry for lunch.  M…

Tried and True: Recipes to Share III

Kathy:  Definitely going to have to try that lava cake recipe!
I have been making this roast sticky chicken for close to 20 years, I think. I originally got the recipe from a frugal living board on ivillage from Tawra Kellam who has the Living on a Dime website now.
I no longer roast it for 4 hours, since that is a Long time to leave your oven on, plus expensive electricity use. I roast for 20 min/pound and we still like it.

Dawn:  I also love that lava cake recipe. It is so easy but very good. I shared a recipe for spinach dip that was a hit at a bridal shower this past weekend: 

Lana:  This chocolate pound cake is so, so good and it turned out perfectly which is not always the case with pound cake recipes. I baked it in a tube pan and it almost overflowed so next time I will put it in two loaf pans.…

Loving My Home: The Great Outdoors

One of the chairs where I set a planted basket
Mama went to the dentist today.  I stayed in the car while she went in but I have to say it was no hardship at all to wait.  Her dentist has created a little haven of tranquility.  His office is built to look like a colonial home which he's landscaped all about with flowers and trees.  In the 'back yard' of the house there are bird feeders and bird baths and flowers.  Bird songs resonated about me the whole time, sitting there in the spring sunshine with a cool breeze blowing through the windows.  It was so peaceful and lovely I had to wonder how much more calm his patients must be than the average dental patient.  Just walking from the car into the office was enough of an experience to soothe you. 

I watched the dentist as he filled the bird feeder, dead headed a few flowers, filled the bird bath, watered a basket.  I couldn't help but think how restorative that must be for him each day to slip outdoors and tend to thin…

Tried and True: Recipes to Share for May

I'm a little late getting around to this, this month but better late than never right?  We've had two great months of offerings of favorite recipes.  You can find them here and here

Rules are the same as usual.  You can post link/links or recipes to the comments.  I'll save and delete from the comments as they come in.  I'll give 1 week to get your recipes linked up and then repost here. 

Here are two recipes I've found this past week.

Did this taste like a chocolate chip cookie?  No, not really but it was good and it was sweet and it was single serve all of which were bonuses in my book.  I'm going to try more of the mug recipes and try using sugar substitutes in them.  This was a good starter recipe for me.

Oregon cottage shared this recipe in 2012.  I've been making it at least that long and it's always a huge treat.…

This Week In My Home: Ch-Ch-Changes

This week in my home....
...I've been busy of late.  John asked me Friday, "Is there someone timing you?  You've been acting as though you have a deadline to meet!"  Well...No.  But I'm so excited about all the creative thoughts flowing through my mind that I am determined to get busy and start making my visions reality.  Fortunately the greater portion of my inspirations are do-able, and affordable.
My big source of inspiration has been that quote I found earlier in the year: Start where you are, Use what you have, Do what you can. 
Take my work on Friday.  I've purchased paint a little at a time, a can here and a can there for various projects.  There's almost always leftover paint isn't there?  So I'm using up leftovers and have painted the three ladder back chairs I want to use in my back porch flower bed.  I will be painting the old set of steps under the pecan tree too.  I saw a photo in Pottery Barn of a plant stand that was a set of steps.…

Weekend Reading

Dee shared this on her Facebook page and being a history buff I thought it was so cool to see historical photos superimposed over modern day photos of the same area.  This was well done and gave a sense of timelessness to the Paris street scenes.  I really enjoyed viewing these photographs.

Years ago I did a full tutorial on Vanilla for Penny Ann Poundwise newsletter readers.  This contains much of the same information.  I'll have to start digging up a few of those old informational things from my old newsletter items to share, but in the meantime why not make reading a learning experience as well, right.  I came across this on Vanilla this past week. 

Being clothes minded I read Bridgette Rae's weekly blog posts.  I liked her post on the well dressed woman.  I'm not yet up to 'investing' in quality pieces but I do believe in 'asking for help' in the form of Pinterest, Polyvore and Rae's outfit posts.

This post on Passover was thought provoking.  It i…

My Frugal Week: Balancing Acts

My little herb garden.  Rosemary, parsley and basil thus far.  I plan to add sage, dill, Thai basil and mint.  I'll be adding pots to the area and moving out the decorative things to use elsewhere.  You can see the basil is already growing well.  The parsley is up in the far back left bucket.

Saturday:  This day is always simple, and today was simpler than usual.  Bagels and choice of fruit and toppings (butter, jam, cream cheese and nut butters).  Cost to me was the bag of bagels I picked up at the grocery on Thursday, so less than $2 and we had an ample breakfast.
Samuel treated us to lunch out today. 
Supper is always wanted.  I had leftover fajita chicken and plenty of vegetables on hand.  I asked Samuel if he'd like to make pizzas for supper.  We decided to do a chicken Bbq pizza and a vegetable pepperoni one.  My task was to prep vegetables and cheese.  Sam made the crust which was awesome.  We all had a slice of each and there were two slices left to go into John's …

Iced Tea Chat: If You Can't Say Something Nice...

I kid you not...I've been trying to write up an iced tea chat for four days.  So far I've had to strike every single one and start over again and why?  Because each one has been a litany of whines and complaints over something that upset or hurt or frustrated me.   As I cleared off the page once again this afternoon, I realized that Granny's old adage was quite right and one I must do my best to follow: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."  Only a blank page and a photo of happy girl with her iced tea hardly a blog post makes.  So we'll try again and hope that things go better.  I will recapture the two weeks for you in a few brief words and say nothing much about it and then we'll move on, okay?

Well first let us begin with tea.  No sweets nor bakery items this week.  I keep thinking I shall make something and then I went to the doctor and weighed two pounds less and I changed my mind about baking after all, lol.  N…

Weekend Reading

I have a little longer reading list this week.  I took time to scroll around pages and found some interesting things. 
This post was on Hometalk this week, which features blog posts and instagrams that are put on Pinterest each week.  I am always looking for a new creative outlet.  One of the links this week led to a whole series of lessons:  Learn to Watercolor Paint
Often enough I get a request for more meatless meals.  Dee archived all of her vegetarian recipes into one spot this past week.  I know that Rhonda has made Lentil Tacos several times and she always mentions how good they are.  I don't know if their recipes are the same but Dee has one for them and it sounds good to me.  Click on that link or click here for all of her archived recipes.
This was a fun stumble upon this week.  I recall when the first Publix grocery in our area opened up.  We went in to the grand opening of it after church.  John, Katie and I strolled the aisles and looked at everything on the shelves…

In My Home This Week: No Pain No Gain?

In my home this week:

...I don't know if it's really just that this spring is truly that beautiful or that I am just deeply appreciating it.  I don't think it's just me though.  John mentioned on the way home today how much he's enjoyed the beautiful days we've had this spring.  And then he added "But I think it's because I am sharing them with you."  It has seemed the days have been sweeter and somehow special of late and I mean that.

I had a bit of a struggle last week.  I never did get time to plan meals and I'll say right now that making up meals as I go has not been the most frugal way to tend to them at all.  I did a wee bit better today in using ingredients on hand which Sam used to make pizzas. 

My other struggles were of my own making.  I overdid it in the yard Wednesday morning and on Thursday spent the whole of the day in recovery groaning every single time I had to move.  Friday morning I was right back at work at the very same jo…

My Frugal Week: May I?

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.

My son offered to buy breakfast out for he and I.  This was in exchange for taking him to pick up his car.

I picked up two birthday gifts for two of the smallest grandchildren at the clearance table in a store we visited.

After dropping off my son, I contemplated going to the town where I normally shop.  Just a few miles away however were the same two stores.  I was reluctant only because I am not familiar with these particular stores.  Yes, they were set up completely different than I'm accustomed to but in a way, it proved to be  a help, because I was so focused on finding what I knew I needed that I managed to avoid 'just looking'.

Purchased another trellis at Aldi.  It was much needed in the rose bed. 

Kroger is across the parking lot from this particular Aldi.  I'd reviewed my 'free' items last night and knew which I needed to look for today.  I looked for three items, was able to find two of t…

Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh MY!

I started out April posting my final tally for the first quarter of the year in the "Assigning Value to My Days" post.  I was shocked at how well I'd done and glad too to see it come up to such a nice sum.  It gave me a much needed boost of confidence that I truly do make a difference with what I do in my home.
Rhonda commented on how much she likes her black maxi skirts and I have to share that I finally had weather to wear mine and really enjoyed the comfort of it.  I wore it to church on Sunday and on our trip down to St. Augustine on Monday.  It was comfortable, cool (it was 90F that day) and didn't wrinkle, all great bonuses.  The olive green top I'd purchased to go with it bit the dust early.  John nor I thought to look at the label and it shrank badly in the wash.  I seldom have clothing that shrinks to a smaller size.  It just seems to get shorter and wider which is what the olive shirt did.  I'm trying to determine if I want to try to reuse the fabri…

My Frugal Week

This is one of those mystery updates...I added a jump break and the post jumped it's spot and decided to act as though it's new.  The actual date of this post is April 15, 2016...
A home done manicure.  The accent nail is done with a Jamberry sample Bess brought to me to try.  I used the acrylic gel transformer polish to make a regular polish have the durability of gel.  I'm pleased with my pretty manicure.

Saturday:  Saturday means bagels at our house, and fruit.  This morning we shared that meal with our littlest grandson.  Gramma never forces food at him but he watched me eating a whole strawberry while I held on to the green leaves at the top.  He soon reached over to my plate and took a whole strawberry to nibble upon as he delicately held the green top.  I simply reached over to his plate and ate the sliced berry that we'd prepared for him, which made him quite happy.  No waste and a little experience he'd never had before.
I made a chicken pie from meat I'…

I Wander as I Wonder: Random Musings

Sometimes these posts have a common theme...sometimes they are just what I say they are, Random Musings with no real connection other than they were all in my mind in a given set of hours.  I never know myself how these posts will turn out but I enjoy the free flow thinking that goes into them.  I hope you do, too.


Spring.  I think I've absorbed spring this year.  I mean that it seems I can't get enough of the blue, so blue!,  skies, the wonder of pale green leaves in fifty shades of green (and wouldn't that make a lovely book?), blooms and scents and just the glory of it all.  I was out early this morning picking up the last of the weeds and began weeding about a clump of iris that barely bloomed...but only they know why not because they have the loveliest healthiest leaves I've seen in many years.  Weeding is not a hard task when the dew is wet upon the grass, a mockingbird insist…

Weekend Reading

Brenda posts a new spiritual post each Sunday.  These words spoke to me from her post this last Sunday "What I learned is that sometimes there is a winter in our life when we can't see ahead at all.  The winds of adversity are sharp and bitterly cold and we can have hope only because we know His character.  We may think we are falling apart but instead He is just molding us and shaping us into even stronger vessels, shining us up in the process for the Father."

I confess it's been a long week and I'm not sure just who shared this post, but I think it might have been Anita at Far Above Rubies.  Or perhaps it was Dee at Life With Dee.  However, it's good information and whoever shared is certainly deserving of thanks.  How to properly set a table.

And my dear Virginia share these two videos for Qijong (pronounced Chi-gong), a gentler form of exercise.  I plan to try this myself.  Find the videos here: and https://ww…