Weekend Reading: Fall Fun

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals.  I like to go out for breakfast best of all meals.  I thought this slide show interesting on what other countries eat for breakfast.

I don't know why I feel compelled to build up my ready prepared foods in the freezer.  I know it's convenient to have a few casseroles tucked away.  This slide show had some ideas.

Since I seem to be all about slide shows this week (and food!) how about desserts you can make in your slow cooker?

I like these fantasy retirement locations...I love to watch International House Hunters, too.  I have this dream of being foot loose and fancy free and live abroad in Europe.  Then I think of my grandchildren and children and settle myself right in my own home, an arm chair traveler at best.  Still, of these particular choices, Valencia seems like a great place!

Frugal Friday: Wishing and Hoping and DOing

   I've  been enjoying sunrises and sunsets of late.  While this is an old photo, they are still one of the best 'shows' I get to see.  Each day's viewing is different and lovely and full of marvel. 

Saturday:  I didn't have a real meal plan today.  I took out a roast to thaw and planned to put it in the crock pot and there my brain stopped.  John suggested I make sandwiches, something I typically would not do twice in a single day but today we did.  We lived.  I have a good bit of roast leftover.  Enough to have sandwiches and another meal or two.

We had leftover chicken rice soup for supper.

Made John's work lunch for tomorrow.

Pulled grapes out of fridge and sat them down next to John and I.  This meant we ate them instead of letting them languish in the fridge.

Washed a full load of dishes.  I used a shorter cycle.

Sunday:  Sent John off to work with a good breakfast and his packed work lunch.

There's a reason why we set the manual clock alarm...because sometimes John's phone alarm and the clock radio alarm fail to go off.  No clue why.  The clock radio has become a useless piece of equipment in our room really and I should just toss it.  However, we needed that manual alarm clock this morning and so we were up on time, since nothing else was on the job this morning.

Washed a full load of laundry on short cycle.  Hung  all to dry.

October Goals


I did very well with my September goals and so I thought I'd share my October ones.  The incentive to finish up September goals was so strong courtesy sharing my list last month that I feel it's very worthwhile to share.

It should be cooler this month.  I hope to get quite a bit of work done outdoors:  No to every item on this list.  I cleared the pots of dead plants, trimmed some roses.  It's been hot and not in the least cool.

Purchase more block and finish up the one flower bed I couldn't quite finish for September.  I had all the mulch needed but I fell woefully short on the landscape edging blocks. Should be able to buy blocks this week to finish that up.

Start next area (South end of the house).  I'm working my way around the house at present.  At the very least I want to buy some materials.  Not this month!

Move the iris next to my shed to another spot now that John needs that area cleared.  It's too dry to move the iris and all the other plants I'd hope to move.

Move the lantana from the rose bed.  If no one volunteers to help me, I'll likely just cut it back and try to kill it off.  I usually can uproot enough to move elsewhere and establish it.  We'll see.

Take cuttings of the forsythia to try and root.

Try to root cuttings of the New Dawn rose.

Plant pots about house for fall/winter months.  There are plants that do very well here in the cooler months: parsley, pansies, evergreens, mums, snapdragons.  Also if it's mild enough I can plant lettuces but it's supposed to go into the 40's twice this weekend.  That's November temps for us...

Plant the bulbs I bought: grape hyacinth and daffodils.

Indoors: I hope to get the house settled once more after the flooring is done.

Paint wainscoting and cabinetry in bathroom. 1 cabinet to go in the bathroom...will do this one this week

Find paint for that fourth dining chair and get a proper coat on it.

Paint inside back door...Preferable to do this before new flooring goes in.  too late...but John says I must have a roller with a deeper nap on it to do the door properly.  Will try to pick one up this week.

Start painting kitchen cabinets.

Refinish the table currently between mine and John's chairs.

Get Pantry and freezer cleaned, organized and inventoried.  Hopefully this last week of October.

Other:
Pay off medical bill that came in late September. Paid 1/3 of it.  Plan to pay rest this next pay period.  I don't have quite enough to pay it off this pay period and it's due now so I'll send what I have, but I'll only owe $15 on it next pay period and will pay it off then.

Get John's Christmas ordered.

Plan all upcoming holidays from table settings to menus to decorations.  Start gathering things to make it happen. Planned Thanksgiving for two.  Need to do trial run of table setting.  No...realized I'd donated the plates I'd meant to use.  I'll have to rethink that Thanksgiving table.

Plan fall outfits starting with what I have.

Purchase pajamas, robe, underthings, slippers. And 1 bra...I have money set aside to shop with.

Do all I can to try to pay off house insurance in full when it renews next month. So far I've about 1/3 of the money needed to pay in full.  I don't know if I'll make this goal or not but I'll pay all I can on it.

Eat Health Part II Carbohydrates: Energy Powerhouse Foods

 

Carbohydrates are necessary foods in any diet.  That is why you've never heard of a NO carb diet.  No, you might well eat lower carb foods but you will eat some form of carbohydrate.  When it comes to carbohydrates it's what you eat and when that is key to sound nutrition. 

Carbohydrates produce energy.  The body does this by converting carbohydrates food into one of two forms: starch or sugars.  Starch is produced when you eat grains, cereal, pasta, rice, bread and some vegetables such as potatoes and winter squash.   Sugars are produced from the natural sugar content of the foods you eat: most leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, fruits and dairy and from those items which contain additional sugars such as baked goods or soda.  Even meat products have a low carbohydrate count.  Nearly all the food we eat does.

 Many of the carbohydrate rich food items also contain something else that is of major importance in a healthy diet: fiber.  Fiber can be found in raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains and to a lower extent in canned or cooked fruits and vegetables.   Fiber not only helps make us feel full when we eat, it also promote healthy intestines and flushes out unnecessary fats.  It soothes systemic inflammation, balances levels of healthy bacteria  to aid in digestion, removes toxins and excess estrogen to thin bile from the liver and will slow the absorption of glucose, controlling blood sugar spikes and decreasing the risk of diabetes.

Recommended daily allowances  of carbohydrates in a healthy eating plan varies.  It depends upon many factors: activity level, how often you eat, medications, blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.   Most people require between 30-75 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 -30 grams per snacks.   There are no rock hard guidelines.  It is a balance each individual must find for himself.  A good place to start is with 45-60 grams per meal and 15 grams per two snacks daily.  Some people find it easier to count carb choices.  The right number of choices can be between 2 and 5 servings of carbs per meal and 1-2 servings per snack.    Either method works just fine. The key is to find the right number of carbohydrates for you.  The right number of carbohydrates will result in better blood sugar balance and neither weight gain nor loss.  Obviously if you must gain or lose weight then you'd adjust your caloric intake overall and increase or decrease carbohydrates and proteins.

Briefly the recommended foods required for proper carbohydrate intake are: 2-3 servings of fruits per day and  3-6 servings of vegetables daily. 

Eat Health: Why We Need the Foods We Eat




One of the things I've learned over the past year or so of studying nutrition and dietary needs is that all foods act together for a healthy body.  You can't cut out a whole food group and remain healthy.  All parts of the food groups are as necessary as all parts of the body working together.

A nutritionally sound diet consists of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.  Over time, our vision of a nutritionally sound diet has changed.  Look at the following images, in the order they are given and just see the changes from one to the other.  Both are US Government recommendations, one based on what our parents were told was a healthy diet and one based on what the government studies reveal is now healthy?  Why the change?  For one thing, the availability of foods overall has changed.  For another, we've moved from a nation that was formerly one in which people worked long hours at hard physical labor.  With industrialization and the elimination of manufacturing and agricultural jobs, our calorie requirements changed considerably.   

You may left click and open any of these images in a new tab.  They will appear slightly larger there and be more easily read.

You'll note this first chart relies heavily on carbohydrate rich foods.  Those were very necessary for energy and endurance.   And from my readings of 1930's and 1940's magazines I can tell you honestly that often those 2 servings of protein daily were sketchy ones.  Look at the current recommended dietary needs as portrayed by myplate.gov

Seed Faith, A Penny Ann Poundwise re-post

I had  this post from September 2009 up to post in mid-August.  I decided to hold it until September and so here it sat, waiting for edit.  In the last few weeks, we have again had reason to study 'seed' and the principles of  seed faith.  As we learned this time, John requested that I 'name our seed' when I wrote out our usual tithe check.  I did.  I named it 'New Flooring'.  That was during this last pay period.  Three days later we were informed we would be receiving a  monetary gift..  I don't consider it coincidence.  God is the provider of all we have and I love how often he likes to 'remind' us of how he can and will do so.

There was a little frame of time when we could have doubted we'd get new flooring after all.  The first quote we received was roughly double what we'd been given!  We went right on packing up boxes and someone at John's work recommended a guy who lives in our county.  He came out and measured and gave us a quote that was well within our range and we're getting better products.  As always, we're overwhelmed how God blesses us.

From September 2009, Penny Ann Poundwise


                                              photo source: lunaticpoet

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were given a wonderful gift of a few days in a cabin in the mountains.  Each morning  we went out on the big screened porch to eat our breakfast and spend time in study and prayer. Each day we spoke of the blessing we'd been given and prayed for the woman who gave it.

One morning as I prayed, my attention was captured by the trees surrounding the cabin.  I noticed first the huge old pine tree that stood just inches from the screened porch.  Then I saw at the foot of the pine tree lots of smaller pines, some only 6-8 inches high.  I found myself completely absorbed in the wonder of those trees.  I felt in my spirit that God was trying to reveal something to me, some essential that I'd missed, but I never quite captured the thought.  I looked at the pinecones on the larger tree and wondered how old the small trees would have to be before they too bore pinecones.

In my mind, I saw the young pines on a piece of farmland near my home, trees no taller than I with their spires of  blooms.  Were they of age to bear pinecones?  I pondered the trees for quite a while  but still I felt I was missing  what God wanted me to understand.   I took a scrap of paper and wrote down "Pine tree" and tucked the paper into my Bible.  I even took  a picture of one of the tiny pine trees.  I wanted very much to know what God was trying to impart and so I tried to make sure I had reminders of what he'd tried to teach me that morning on the porch. 

In My Home This Week: Dreaming of Things to Come

In my home this week...

I am contemplating the changes new flooring will bring.  I've been looking at pillow covers today on Amazon (hard not to consider them when they will cover existing pillows for under $5), that will bring more colors into the room.  I am discussing a custom piece of artwork with Katie for the gallery wall.  Changes, changes, changes.   Gracious there's an air of change here!

I didn't get much done in the house this past week. It is staying so very clean of late.  I am pretty sure it's because it's simply hot here still.  I am so looking forward to cooler air! I don't want to move too much indoors and haven't done a thing outdoors.   But it's more than that hot weather.  We are not messing the house up very much at all.  I'm not sure quite what that is all about.  It may be because John keeps moving things away from the wall and cleaning under them.  He bought more of those handy furniture gliders this week. Now every big hulking big piece of furniture we have has them permanently under their feet.  We have spare sets to put under the smaller pieces we can easily lift.  These things are so very handy!

Anyway, the need to not do housework left me plenty of time to finish up some posts last week.  Hopefully this means I'll have a bit more content up for the next few  weeks.  I stayed busy enough  just the same.  I don't seem to have gotten very much done in the leisure department, but I did get a haircut.  I spent a lot longer than anticipated in a new salon getting my hair done.  Oh the joy of having your hair come out exactly right!  I told John it was so fun to hand the stylist the photo I wanted my hair to look like and then I watched it take shape on me.  I felt as though I could have floated out of the door.  I managed to finish another creative project, a short table runner that is fall inspired.  I am waiting until we're done with all the moving before I put it out.

Weekend Reading


Isn't it lovely?  The picture, I mean.  Because so far autumn doesn't even begin to describe the appearance of our landscape.  The trees look a little thinner, the lawn looks terribly dry, the flowers look scrappy and the golden rod just can't seem to make that final push and really bloom.  But hey, I've got a picture full of fall beauty right there.

I saw this on MSN last week.  I love big piles of fall leaves and this series of videos captures the joy they can be for kids and pets.

I plan menus here on the blog.  I then forget all about them and have to have the computer up and running in order to see what my plan was.  Nine times out of ten I won't bother.  I thought menu plan sheets might change all that.  I haven't printed any out just yet.  I had to buy new ink cartridges just in case I ran us completely dry, since the warning sign keeps coming up.  Perhaps tomorrow I can choose something pretty and print it out for my home notebook.  Here's a post I found on Pinterest with loads to choose from.

Frugal Friday: Working Steadily On





Saturday:  Made up John's work sandwiches yesterday evening.

Sat on the back porch last night and watched the Harvest Moon rise.  It was lovely.

I made three apple pies yesterday.  I think I failed to mention that I saved the peels and cores from the apples in the freezer.  It is my hope to make a small batch of apple jelly from them in the week ahead. 

This morning I made my first batch of Soft Baked Pretzels.  They were easier than I'd imagined (though there is definitely a misprint in my cookbook) and went far quicker than I'd thought they would.  In retrospect, I could have baked them much later in the morning.

I made German potato salad, and Cheddar Beer Dip.  I was not too fond of either one.  The potato salad was not as flavorful as I'd hoped it might be and the Cheese dip was bitter.  There were plenty of both leftover, naturally.  Haven't you ever noticed how often things we least like, even when others pronounce them delicious are always leftover?

I packed up food for Katie's husband and an extra apple pie (I know she'll share that with her next door neighbor) and sent Bess and Sam home with extra items as well.  I had enough leftovers for our supper tonight and some for one day next.

Ran a very full load of dishes in the dishwasher and hand washed a copious amount of dishes as well.  I chuckle now when I think how using the paper plates were going to save me working so...but in the end I suppose it did.  If I'd had to pack those in the dishwasher I'd have hand washed a lot more...or run two loads!  Made sure to turn off the heat dry.  Tiny little fingers do love to push buttons and turn knobs.

Washed a small load of clothes for Katie this morning.  She added in our few things to increase load size.

Had a rather awesome day with my family and enjoyed my two little grandbabies.

Put all of John's work lunch items in one spot in the fridge so I'd have an easier time packing them tomorrow morning.

Iced Tea Chat: The Last for the Year?



Come in...I hope that soon we will be in autumn mode and able to share a coffee chat once more.  For now, it's hot so have some more iced tea.  Blech.   I am well over my sorrow that summer is ending and ready for the next season.  Mama amused me no end when we were out the other day and I mentioned that it was meant to be hot through next week.  "I'm ready for WINTER!" she said.  Well good luck with that since we can't seem to get autumn off the ground just yet!   I'm always impressed with how nature will hold on until the proper season is evident to do something major.  Like last Easter when it was so very cold and early, too and the dogwoods looked absolutely bereft of life and yet two or three days before Easter they suddenly bloomed out, just as they do every year.  How do they know?  Well now it's the golden rod.  It's almost but not quite at bloom, just tipped with color and that's the state it's been in for the past few weeks.  What is it that tells golden rod when to burst into riotous bloom? 

I've been toying with an idea of something, an Etsy shop, for a number of years now.  Well Katie actually went ahead and started one and she's got the cutest things!  For her birthday in June she'd asked for art supplies and special pens and I knew she'd been practicing scripts and such.  She told me Saturday that she'd set it up and she officially opened her shop on Monday.  I think I can share the link:  Katie's Etsy.   I'm so proud of her!  Please have a look about Katie's shop.

I didn't have much time to spend with Katie this past weekend when she visited.  She came down early on Friday and I was in the midst of making pies and slicing potatoes and generally trying to get things ready for our family day on Saturday.  However, she had saved Taylor's bath time for Friday evening at my home.  Katie was sure it would help Taylor sleep better and she knew I'd get a kick out of bath time.  I love changing diapers and bathing babies!   I got to see how long Taylor's hair really is (middle of her back) and how tightly it will curl up when just washed (all the way up to the base of her head) and to watch that little girl in her sleepy time routine.  She goes to bed awfully early, just as her mama did when she was an infant and like her mama it doesn't matter where she is, when it's bedtime it is most definitely bedtime.  Period. She went right off to sleep and slept all night long.

A, B, C, D, E Building Blocks for the Body



I am not a nutritionist...Let me make that clear right from the start.  I am not a nutritionist but I've been studying nutrition in some manner over the past four years because of a general desire to improve my health.  Last year, after being diagnosed as a diabetic during an emergency hospitalization for pulmonary embolisms, I began to review what I'd been learning and amped up my studies.  I knew that the lung problem was serious enough on its own but one that was taken care of by a surgical procedure.  Diabetes is a lifelong condition.  I'd been taking some vitamin supplements and somewhat changed my eating habits  over the past four years and had considerably improved my overall health, but I could tell from about February of last year that something was off.  Once my blood sugars were lowered and more balanced, I felt considerably better.  I was given insulin among other drugs while in the hospital and the endocrinologist gave me a plethora of prescription diabetic drugs to take when I left the hospital.  I was convinced however, partly through the Diabetic Education Counselor's teaching and the endocrinologist's Nurse Practitioner's cautious advice that I could EAT my way to better health and so I began to look at the tie-ins to good health and the nutritional values of foods.  For myself this proved to be the key.

I've only just begun my study of nutrition all over again this year.  I overwhelmed myself last summer with an overload of information.  I wanted to get on top of the diabetic diagnosis and bring my elevated sugars within normal ranges.   Today I take only Metformin and two or three supplements recommended by my Doctor of Osteopathy and my blood sugars are well within normal range.  My doctor urged me to add a few vitamins and supplements to my diet which are known anti-inflammatories, like cinnamon, D3, Vitamin C.

While all vitamins and nutrients are important to our bodies we must remember that nutritionally speaking it's not possible to get all vitamins and nutrients from one food or one food group.  We must eat a variety of foods and each food we eat adds to the values of the others. Think of it like those A,B,C blocks we all provided for the children to play with.  Remember how they'd stack them, one on top of the other?  That's how vitamins work:  together.   We don't just get A, B, C, and D vitamins but also E and K, and we also get selenium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and so much more when we eat across the whole spectrum of available foods.

The Household of the Ant


                                          photo source: www.photographyblogger.net



I was recently reading through the book of Proverbs and was, as always, intrigued by the references made to the ant.   As a child, I often lay upon the ground and watched ants as they worked busily.  I loved to watch them on their self-made super highways traveling from job site to ant mound and back again, often in as many as six lanes, three headed out and three headed in. Considering how frequently we battle them here, I was curious as to why the Bible mentioned them at all.  Well with good reason, as it turns out.  Here's what I read and what I learned in research.

Solomon mentions the ant in Proverbs 6:6-8  Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy fellow!  Learn from their ways and be wise!  For though they have no king to make them work, yet they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.  (TLB)  Other versions say, "having no king, or overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in summer and gathers her food in the harvest."

And Agur, in Proverbs 30:24-25:  There are four things that are small but unusually wise:  The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer. (NASB)

In My Home This Week: The Great Unknown


In my home this week, I...


have altered two of our main living areas.  I don't know...I just plain don't know.  The truth is that I was perfectly happy with the arrangement of things and the house felt peaceful and calm.  People obviously felt at home here.  All we wanted to do was put down new flooring.  When that first quote was so extremely high over what we had planned to pay, we were caught up in this cycle of change that just keeps on going.  This past week, I emptied the living room of most of the things that gave it some sort of personality.  I emptied the bookcases and when we vacuumed under them and went to put them back, they wouldn't go back exactly as they had been.  Not mind you because they didn't fit but they no longer looked right.  We ended up spacing the three evenly along the wall.  And that meant moving the toy box and John was enamored with the new placement of it and said that was where he really wanted it to stay.  Friday, Mama came by for coffee and I sat in the dining room looking at the toy box on the entry way wall and you know what?  It's perfect.  It needs to be right there.  Darn it.  It doesn't fit in with my plans at all but it's so obviously right that I won't be moving it.

I brought home a quilt from Mama's last week.  Not an antique but a pretty new cotton one.  I put it on the guest bed and then found myself changing out curtains.  Now I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose at least one piece of furniture in that room;  perhaps I'll swap it with one in an another room...Changes just keep presenting themselves.

Frugal Friday: Determined



Saturday:  John worked last night so a big breakfast was in order this morning.  I made hash browns from scratch, cooked with a bit of Polska Kielbasa on top.  We didn't need a whole package of the sausage so I cut into two pieces, one larger to set aside for another meal and one smaller to have for breakfast.  I also beat three eggs to make scrambled eggs.  If seen on the counter, it might be said that three eggs weren't much, but beaten ready to scramble no one but myself is aware that it's 'only' three eggs and yet it's plenty. 

Put a turkey breast in the oven to roast slowly over the morning.

Made succotash using leftover butter beans. Georgene asked how I make my succotash.  I keep it pretty simple.  I prefer fresh cooked butter beans, which I rinsed this morning, then add a can of drained whole kernel corn to the beans.  You'll want about 2 cups of each.  I chopped some red bell peppers only for added color and had perhaps 2-3 tablespoons of that.  1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of butter and simmer until the milk is evaporated and thick.  Salt, pepper and thyme to taste. 

I had four peaches left from the half peck of Autumn Blaze I purchased just before Labor Day weekend.  I pared those and made a fresh peach crisp to have as our dessert.  We had about 1/2 cup of ice cream left and that was shared between us on the warm crisp.  Yum!

I reworked my Home Keeping binder this morning using cardstock, scrapbooking paper I had on hand.  It's quite pretty.  I'll post a picture of it a bit later.  I want to make up a pretty new box for our bills and do something fresh with the notebook where I keep our check register.  Truth is now that I've removed the bookcase from the top of my desk I'm trying to make up a pretty work station for blogging and work related to home making.  I want to print off some sheets but need to get new ink cartridges this week before I can do that.  I'm really pleased with the new Home Keeping binder!

Progress on September Goals



I said I would be accountable to you all this month, so I thought I'd share what I have and haven't done and why on my goals for the month.

Week 1: Kitchen
Clear and clean, declutter and organize the casserole/appliances cupboard.

No...I haven't had time to even think of working in this area, much as I am sure it really does need it.  You see, we thought we'd be getting new flooring this month and that necessitated a lot of other jobs to prep for floor work.  Now we're up in the air, but since all this removal has begun we can't seem to stop.

Sort out the chiffarobe in the kitchen.  This means deciding once and for all where to store the odds and ends in one drawer and matching lids to containers and jars in the other two drawers.  I might do a little re-organizing of that space altogether.  It's better than it's been but not all it could be.
Yes...In fact the chiffarobe is empty save a single drawer of vitamins and plastics needed to use in the kitchen for leftovers and such.  All the other stuff is somewhere...and I'm not altogether sure if it's in the house or in the shed!  All the glass jars have moved into the cabinet where I'd been storing quart jars anyway.   I am seriously considering moving this piece out of the kitchen and into the guest room where it will be far more useful to me.  BUT I have to figure out what I'll use in it's place.  We will still want a spot for plastics, medicines and such.  It requires some thinking.  I think I might swap it and the little armoire from the guest room but that remains to be seen at the moment.  In the meantime it's empty enough that we can move it should we find we're getting flooring anytime soon.

In Memory of Grandmama C

I was digging through archives of Penny Ann Poundwise this week and discovered a newsletter devoted to the memory of Grandmama C.  I thought I'd share two or three portions of that old newsletter with you. 

September 5, 2003
PennyAnn Poundwise Newsletter

Dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Elizabeth Crowley 1918-2003

A Note from Penny

This past week we buried my grandmother. She was active right up to the last moment, and as I entered her house, it was, as usual, spotless. Grandmother had grown up poor, the oldest of six, five of whom she raised while her mother worked in the cotton mill.   Her upbringing made her especially careful of her possessions. 30 year old living room furniture looked brand new. Appliances were
polished until they gleamed. To the end, her life was personified by the great care she took to preserve her home and make it attractive. 

I've written often of Grandmother and her frugal ways. She was my inspiration when I first married and began keeping house. It has taken me many years to transform my life in such a way that my home was able to reflect the calm and peace that hers did. And I sincerely believe it was the tranquil peace within her that shone out in her home. It was attractive, clean, and well arranged. No one ever entered her door without being offered something from her plentiful pantry. She gardened and preserved foods, she sewed, and she renovated her home. Grandmother never walked anywhere without trotting a little as she went. She was forever about the business of homemaking and rushing to get it all done, but the moment company came in, she sat right down and enjoyed them.

In My Home This Week: Un-Doing

In my home this week:





...I've been busy in-doing.  Taking down pictures and removing books, emptying cabinets and bookshelves.  Even though we have not yet received a quote on the flooring work we want to have done, I have been removing things from the three rooms.  It is an act of faith on my part to do this.  It's been a little unsettling; a bit like packing up to move without knowing just where we're headed.  And a little exciting;  a bit like clearing the decks so that something fresh and wonderful can take it's place.  It is my hopes it's new flooring but at the very least a new and more artful arrangement of things perhaps?

I have been editing things as I remove them.  I've said I was all done with the decluttering but I think I was wrong.  Very wrong.  I've looked long and hard at things I've removed, at empty pieces of furniture even and asked myself "Do I want this any longer?  Does this serve the purpose it's meant to serve?  Is it necessary?  Is it what I want?"  Some pieces have been with me for almost 40 years but maybe it's time to let them go.  Or at least to change where and how I've utilized them.  It's unsettling.  It's exciting.  It's hard. 

Our home here has been a transient thing.  We moved in here with three children and it does seem we've had more than the usual leave takings and home comings.  Amie moved out.  JD moved in.  JD moved out.  Sam moved out.  Sam moved in.   Sam moved out.  Katie moved out. Most recently Sam and family moved in and out again about 8 weeks later.  John's job has been the same job but he's changed shifts four times over the 20 years we've been here.  We've added family members and lost some of them.  In essence:  we've lived perfectly normal lives in our home but each change has changed us and therefore our home has changed with it.  And yet...

And yet, there were many things that didn't change.  Books remained upon shelves, things inside cabinets and drawers might have shifted places but they've been in this house since the beginning days.  Now they are being moved out and that makes this all feel a bit different.  I've noted that once you move things you've held onto for a long time you seldom return them to their former place, if you return them at all.  Letting go, even partially, often means letting go entirely when it's all said and done.

Weekend Reading



Interesting reads this week.  The FDA determined that hand sanitizers weren't all they were meant to be.  In fact, some of them were proven to be harmful!  The first link has a video and article:
 http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/no-more-antibacterial-soap-for-you-fda-says/ar-AAipUOW?ocid=spartandhp

And then this on electric hand dryers.

Revolutionary idea:  We should actually EAT our vitamins instead of taking supplements.  Also includes a video/slideshow.  http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/stop-taking-expensive-vitamins-and-eat-these-foods-instead/ss-AAig2fH?ocid=spartandhp

Frugal Friday: Getting On Top of the Business of Home

My Home Keeping Notebook is about to be revamped as part of my quiet work this month.  This is where I keep track of home goals, my monthly calendar, necessary information that I like to have a hard copy of, quarterly budget sheets and lists of needs, etc.  I'm going to make this notebook still more functional this month with address sheets, and a few other items that will make it far more useful to me and eliminate a few of the other notebooks on my desk.

Saturday:  I heard from quite a few of you other ladies about Target's abysmal Plus Women's sections which apparently is a problem nation wide!  Well, I want to share with you all that after I completed that service survey (on my receipt from Thursday's shopping) I actually heard from the store's team leader.  She told me that they had already begun to revamp the space thanks to the concerns I voiced.  I've been invited back to view the improvements in the near future.    By all means ladies, be sure you all take the few minutes to go online with your Target receipt and voice your own complaints.  In my reply to the Store Leader today I did tell her of the feedback I'd had from you all and suggested that she address the issue with corporate leaders.  Your voice will help push that effort.  I think it's a doggone shame that the plus women's department is where junk is allowed to accumulate when Target keeps such a neat, orderly and clean store in all other departments, so speak up!!  Let them know that it's unacceptable to you.  Be courteous, explain your view point, tell them how much you like the store and products overall.   And be sure to thank store leaders who do take time to reply to you and follow up on visiting the store. 

That said, I earned a $5 gift card from Swag bucks this past week.  I went to Target's site to add to my card total and discovered I'd let a My Coke Rewards card for $10 slip through my fingers.  I'd saved the web address but never actually took the trouble to put it on my account at Target.  Without the certification number I can't retrieve it to upload.   I've contacted My Coke Rewards, admitted it was my fault and asked if there is any way they can re-issue the card so I can do what I ought to have done at first.  Here's hoping this works out for me...Better to take some action than assume it's all for naught, right?

We took coffee on the back porch this morning.  It was in the low 70's and a light breeze made it triply refreshing.  Maddie was ecstatic over the cool weather and treated us to a few leaps and bounds to show how appreciative she was of it.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

                                 

Gracious!  I very nearly forgot this post this month!  I only do this post because I so long to address comments and questions asked during the month.  Truth, I can't quite keep up with all the replies and too there is great wealth in things you all share or say that I think all could benefit from, and so I like to share them.

I do wish you could see outside my window.  The leaves are steadily drifting from the pecan tree, and the little Gingko did it's usual sneaky performance of stripping bare in the night and so we'll see no wealth of gold from that one yet again.  Silly shy little tree...It's not idea how lovely it's leaves are when they change or it would be in no hurry to shed them.  For all that leaves are tumbling to the ground, the AC is most welcome.  Mornings are lovely (and I've worked hard out there this morning, scrubbing down the porch railings and roof rafters and flooring and emptying bins in the shed so I can refill them and carry out more of the little accessories and things that must be put away in order to move the furniture, in order to put down new flooring.  I've plenty of time to work on this task apparently, at least two and half weeks once we approve the quote...sigh.  I do wish they'd hurry and get that quote to us.

On to 'talking back' at you all.  August saw me still working hard at Frugal Boot Camp and I did share a few of your good replies with the group during the month so I won't address those again.

Coffee Chat: Waning Summer, Waxing Autumn Days



It might be a little bit early to have a coffee chat...I mean we might as well have iced tea on hand as well since it is still a little warm, but the three cooler days we had over the weekend really inspired me...and so it's coffee chat season in theory if not yet in fact.  I'll offer you your choice, okay?

Years ago, I had a Family Circle cookbook, one of those special edition magazine type things and therein was a recipe for an apple cake.  It began with a bundt pan that was greased and then dusted with bread crumbs.  The apple cake had finely diced apples in it.

The apple cake is the main idea but you see I've rabbit trailed just so quickly down many lanes of memory.  The cake was tender and delicious with moist bits of apple and wasn't iced but might have had a drizzle glaze.  It wasn't loaded with oil either which is mostly what I find online.  I am pretty sure it must have had either shortening or butter since I loathe cakes with vegetable oil.  But I don't remember anything else much except that it was delicious and a favorite recipe and I long to have it once more.

I can tell you nothing else about it except that I've searched high and low for years for an apple cake recipe that appeared even a tiny bit similar and with absolutely no luck whatsoever.  I've even looked for the magazine which must have been published sometime between 1979-1982.  I say this because Amie was just two and a half during the time I made that cake the first time and we were living in the historic little town of Andersonville, Georgia.  I don't know what happened to the recipe magazine (though I do recall two or three other recipes I made during that same time frame, one of which involved spare ribs and a pressure cooker).  Did I lose it the winter of that year when we moved to another town into the house I loved best?  Was it lost in a purge at some point in time?  No clue. 

Small Economies in a Big Economy World

                                                              image source: karensperspective

This morning as I stood at the kitchen sink washing zippered baggies in hot soapy water, I mused to myself about my savings.   A 75count box of name brand quart sized zippered bags is advertised at Walmart for $6.88.   For the sake of this post I'll use that as my example.  That works out to about 9cents per bag.  I know some who think that washing baggies is a waste of time.  In a month's time they might well toss the contents of the box after a single use.  That's fine.  No harm no foul for me.  But if I wash those baggies and find another source to store meat products (bread bags or cereal bags come to mind) and get only one more use from them, I've saved the cost of a box of bags.  If I can reuse the bags say 8 times, I've saved $48.16 ($55.04 - $6.88 my initial cost).  It is a small economy but it is an economy.

I asked myself this morning, just why I think this is a savings.  At best, I'm saving less than $10 every month.  At the end of a year my average savings would be just $6.03 a month...a bit less than the cost of that box of baggies.  So why do I do it?

This Week In My Home: Clearing Out

This week in my home...



...I laughed to myself as I surveyed my to do list for this month, having started planning to add in fall decorating thanks to Katie's photos the other day and then we added an upcoming task that involves a lot of work.  I've got a whole lot of packing up and moving stuff to do so my September goals list might well become mostly October's Goals list.  We are going to be doing some work in the main living areas of the house this month, or at least so we've planned.  We are waiting on a quote which will be done this week, but I'm pretty sure we're going to move ahead this month with the work. We will definitely pay the men to move the big heavy and bulky pieces of furniture but all the books and decorative items are on me, myself and I. 

Oy. 

It shall be quite the task and I mean to go ahead and start it this week.  I figure if it all goes kaplooey and we can't do the work, then I'll just have cleared surfaces for a fresh start for myself.  It's impetus to get some things moved that I'd meant to move anyway like that dresser from the living room to the guest bedroom, happily already moved into place.  I'm filled with both excitement and dread to be honest with you, a mixture of negative mixed in with the positive.  That's the way life generally works, isn't it? 

My mind boggles; it does.  It's like having a baby.  I remember how excited I was each time to find I was pregnant, but somewhere towards the end with the birthing ahead, dread just sort of settled down heavy upon my chest as much as I wanted that baby out.  That's exactly how I feel now as I survey the hundreds of books, the innumerable little things set here and there, the furnishings that all must be moved out and into somewhere and how on earth will that happen? 

Again: OY.

Book Review: Jefferson's America by Julie M. Fenster



I got this book late this past May, perhaps early June.  I set it aside at that time due to the family we had staying with us for an extended time and only recently have I picked it up once more.

The book interested me because I am slightly enamored with Thomas Jefferson as a gardener, architect and naturalist of sorts and I enjoy history.  The idea of reading how lands were surveyed, added to the U.S. territories and such seemed to me worthwhile.

Unfortunately, I found the author's delivery of such information as the book contains was dry.  It's not done in a logical manner so that theinformation about exploration and addition of this land or that is not all together but scattered and mixed up with information about other lands and explorations.  It becomes confusing unless one can back track to discover just what the current subject matter pertains to. 

I was disappointed in the book overall.

This book was provided in exchange for my view by bloggingforbooks.com  

Weekend Reading




I've only recently discovered this site and I must say she has some awesome sounding recipes.  I've even tried on or two of them and they stand well on the quick and easy side of things as well as being delicious.  I thought this article about whether or not one might freeze meat again a good one.

Frugal Friday: Ushering in a New Month





Saturday:  We generally stop for breakfast on our way up to Katie's but I told John there was no need this weekend.  We'd just have our usual bagel and coffee breakfast and call it well enough. 

I packed a supper for John and I to eat on our way home.

We filled the car with gasoline.  I don't worry about this 'extra' usage as I have a travel fund set up in our checking account.  The money to cover gas for visits is covered already.

Gratefully accepted a super cute peplum cut orange shirt from Katie.

Katie and Matt saved Coke points for me.  I'll enter them later this week.

Sunday:  We slept a little later than usual but breakfast was an easy one.  I took frozen French Toast from the freezer to reheat in the oven.  It shaved a little time off my morning and insured we got out of the house on time for church.

In the Good Ol' Summertime - Porches

I seriously cannot remember a summer with any of my grandparents where the porch didn't figure prominently in memory. Granny's f...