This Week In My Home: A New Season

This week in my home...

...I have just hung out a load of clothes in the breezy autumn afternoon and almost too warm sun.  It's late to be hanging out a load of clothes but if they are not dry come sunset I can leave these on the line all night long and start the day with them there tomorrow.   That's our second load this afternoon and the dishes are running in the dishwasher now.  The bed has recently been made afresh with clean linens for the start of this fresh week and fresh season in our home...

Our family day event yesterday was lovely with lots of laughter and good cheer.  I went into the kitchen for a few minutes after dinner and heard the children laughing together in the living room teasing the kiddos, and the older adults at the table chatting happily away about this and that.  I put away food and stacked dishes and just enjoyed that brief spell of alone time to enjoy the living that was going on all around me.  I knew in my heart of hearts that all were at peace together and the dinner prep had meant ease for me, so I was harried or hurried when all began to show up.  The food had been good and I was complimented by those great tall men going back to the kitchen for seconds.  I'd enjoyed watching the adults and children and little children all grab up handfuls of cookies and munch away happily upon them.  Such a simple dessert and yet all demanded "More, please!"  It was good, all around good.

Everyone left at near the same time to make their return journeys homeward.  I felt I'd had a nice bit of time with all the children and the grandchildren and with Mama and my real guest, Katie's mom in law, and was happy.

John ran the vacuum, I loaded the dishwasher and we both collapsed into our chairs.  John turned up the roar of football games and I followed his lead and promptly drifted off to sleep and still went to bed early and slept hard last night.

Today has been busy enough with all of the above named tasks taking place and going off to church this morning, too...And now I come to the part of the week where I must plan the week ahead.  I am ready for slow simmering soups and stews.  The thermometer is NOT at that point just yet, so finding the in between sorts of recipes is going to take a bit of thought.

I am also in a bit of a dilemma at the moment: do I start a fall cleaning now while it's a bit warm, or do I start new projects?  Or a bit of both?  I pretty much finished all but one task on last week's to do list, and I haven't currently got any 'in progress' projects to attend to.   I confess my mind is a bit fuzzy for thinking at present.

...I reluctantly plan my work...

I say that quite earnestly.  I am reluctant to plan work and yet I know I must.  I know better than to go into any week without a plan because I will either do nothing at all or bite off way more than I can reasonably accomplish.  I'm a danger to myself that way,  all or nothing sort of girl that I am.

I carry over two tasks from last week.  Neither or tedious work and one job is really suited to quiet work hours:

1. Cull books from the bookshelves, sigh.  I put this off last week because I felt I couldn't bear to start the task and have the mess here at the end of the week but it's truly time to be serious once more.  I have nearly a whole shelf of books I mean to send to my oldest daughter.  I have many books piled in front of other books that require a resting place.  I have unread books that have languished for years on the shelves and it really is time to let them go and to fill places with books I mean to keep and re-read.

2. I will start this month to cull out the really badly preserved old vintage magazines.  I've a stack by my chair and I noted yesterday that most are looking mighty rough.  Best to start culling them now and then come this time next year I can perhaps order some better copies of new to me issues.

3. I have plants that I really ought to put into pots.  I have existing pots for them all, and soil enough to manage the plantings.  I also have some bulbs that need to go into the ground.

4. Wiping down kitchen walls has been on my mind for a few weeks now.  High time to start that most especially about the stove area where walls tend to get tacky feeling and turn slightly yellow.

5.  Mail off a box of things to Amie.

6.  Spend a day with Mama.  I haven't had the twice monthly visits with her in some months now due to various weathers, holidays, vacation days and doctor appointments.  I know she misses that opportunity to get out of the house since she seldom does more than grocery shop of late.  I've planned a day with her this week.

7.  Go over the pantry and plan the items I mean to restock and try to do so in a quantity that will give us a full six months worth of goods on hand for each item I list.  This is a daunting task but I am well aware of about how often we use something and should be able to manage if I think about it.  Then I'll watch for good sales on those items and do my stocking up in those cycles.

8.  Mopping floors.  I purposely didn't do this last week because in the past the moment I did the grandchildren visited and the floors were sticky with messes all over again.  Of course, no one spilled a single thing on them yesterday while visiting, but they need to be done all the same.

9.  Start looking at the other projects I'd meant to do this year and determine which I have all materials required to finish and which I need to purchase a few things for and plan accordingly.  I must buy mulch and more blocks before I continue with my work about the front of the house for instance.   Now that we're at end of season is also a good time to watch for substantial sized plant containers to be on sale, as well.

10.  Bills, errands, groceries.

And all the regular routine stuff of cleaning and meals and living in general.

...I plan meals...

The Greek chicken I tried last week was good...but we didn't finish it all.  I have leftovers to try to transform in some way.  Not sure what I shall do with them at this point but it's a meal we'll be having in some fashion.  I have zucchini and broccoli both which need to be used....I'm trying to plan to use all these things this week.  I do not feel inspired this week.  I hope the menus sound better to you than they do to me!

In the meantime,  we had leftover Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo today (Sunday). 

...and as an aside I just took a nap while menu planning  and woke to find a spider tap dancing across my arm...That will get your heart beat going and bring you back to task in about a second....

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole, Green Salad, Green Beans

Meatloaf Muffins, Zucchini Au Gratin, Wedge Salads

on my own

out with Mama

Beef Stew with Corn Muffins, Coleslaw

Mac and Cheese (ran out of cheese last week so didn't make), Steamed Broccoli, Tossed Salad

...I plan my leisure:

Now that my favorite History channel programming is done for the season, I hope to watch 'Hazel' and 'Leave it To Beaver' at least twice this week.  Try to catch an episode of 'The Kitchen' and 'The Pioneer Woman' at least once this week.

I have a stack of documents that I need to insert into my genealogy notebook.  It's a good time to refresh my interest in that hobby and jot down gaps of information I need to address.

Plan ahead for October.  I haven't really set up a month's worth of goals in a little while now.  This might not sound leisurely but I love nothing more than to sit down and plan ahead.  It makes me feel I have a grip on my life, lol.

Enough planning...the spider has dared to show it's face to me once again...I guess I shall have to rehome it!

Living Frugally and Well: It's AUTUMN!!!

                        One of my revamped summer wreaths dressed  for early autumn

Saturday:  John said that we simply HAD to get out of the house after our week of coping with evacuees and no power.  He said we deserved a special day, so we went out for breakfast.

We followed up the breakfast with a stop at Lowe's.  I eyed the mums that I saw displayed but didn't get out of the car.  John went in and purchased one item, a container of poison to go on the many anthills we've got here.

We stopped at Aldi.  I bought stuff just for the upcoming family day and very little for our own use this week.  I did double up on milk since I wanted to make yogurt but I didn't have plain yogurt to use as starter.  I knew I'd be going to Publix tomorrow to pick up a newspaper.  Remember those mums I saw at Lowe's.  I knew full well the ones at Aldi displayed by the front door would be a much better buy and they were.  I picked two to bring home.

We stopped at a  Kitchen/Restaurant supply store as we drove to the Publix Pharmacy drive thru window.  John insisted we stop.  He 'treated' me to stainless steel dry measure cups, and two fry/saute pans.  He said I'd been a trooper and deserved something special.  He knows that quality cookware is to me what quality guitar accessories and strings are to him.  I didn't protest a bit when he insisted on treating me.

Afternoon Coffee Chat: Weathering the Storm

Hello dears...Do come in.  I've a fresh pot of coffee and though it's hot outdoors, I confess that after my day in the kitchen this coffee is hitting the spot.  It is my signal that, except for completing the soup that we'll be having for supper, I am DONE for the day.

Do have some coffee and a cookie, too, if you'd like and come and sit here near me and have a good old fashioned chat of  this and that and nothing much.

September has proven to be a very busy month.  Far more busy than I'd anticipated when it was not quite here.  Oh I had plans made, I generally do, but then there were so many things I hadn't planned upon.  Those things took me by surprise and yet they were right and purposeful.  I do love how I can have my plans and then God has his plans for me.

This Week In My Home: Ending and Beginning

In my home this week...

...I hit the floor running this morning.  The first load of clothes is on the line, our bed stripped, and all but the dishes from our breakfast already loaded into the dishwasher.  I have had multiple things on my mind this morning.  I sat right down before 6am and planned out this week as nearly as I can plan it.  

It is my plans to attend church this morning.  I missed it last week.  When I return home, I will be busy trying to finish laundry, calling for Air Conditioner repair, sigh, and getting a head start on next weekend's meal which I mean to prep and put in the freezer.  Yes, it is promising to be a busy day and I confess I'm a bit weary of this day already.  I am praying to be fully refreshed by church service this morning!

I shall not delay further but go right on and type out my plans for the week.

Living Frugally and Well: Oh What a Week!

Hello all,
This week's posts were impossible due to a power outage.  You'll recall I left off my last Living Frugally and Well post with the note that I had people coming in to ride out the hurricane.  How ironic they all went home and soon had power but mine stayed out until past noon today.  I've made some notes of what worked well for me and what I'd wished we'd had or someone else suggested would have been a help.  All in all, we had little damage.  There was a mess of leaves and twigs to clear up and a few already dead but too high to reach branches fell from the trees.  Our biggest problem was downed power lines.   I thought I'd hit the highlights of this week's savings, because there were savings despite it all!

I really wanted to share a photo of the grandkids...I had 5 of mine with me during the hurricane/tropical storm and enjoyed them mightily.  Oh how they have grown!!  However, blogger is refusing to work with me on loading photos again, sigh...I'll try to upload later in the weekend and add in...

Living Frugally and Well: Autumn Savings Ahead

Saturday:  We drove up to Katie's this morning.  I made breakfast at home, urged John to pour the last of the coffee into his thermal mug and managed to prevent us making any stops along the way.  This was merely a savings a time.  We did pull off at the gas station on the corner of the final road near Katie's home.  I sent John into the store to buy Taylor a bag of M&M's.  I claim Gramma privileges in bringing her candy.

John stopped at the roadside stand in the gas station parking lot.  I bought some apples.  I asked if they were local and I didn't really get a reply but I bought four apples just the same.  I'll see if they taste fresh and local and if so then we'll stop by there in the future.  I also bought HOT boiled peanuts which was not what I got at the end of last month, though they were fresh.  They were cold.  Big difference in my opinion.

Coffee Chat: Nearly Autumn

Hello dears.  I've just taken cookies from the oven.  They are chocolate chip and quite warm so you must quickly take one up...I think as good as chocolate chip cookies are, there's nothing like a warm one filled with melt-y chips.  I almost always choose the largest one on the pan first, but then I think better of it and put it back, opting instead for the one with the most chocolate chips showing.  Does anyone else do that?  Have some coffee and a seat and let's talk for a bit.  It's too  full of gnats outdoors to be pleasant to sit outside on the porch as I'd like.  I've been out three times already trying and without a breeze to shoo the gnats away it's a botheration to be out there. 

And there goes the second reason I've no desire to outdoors...John is mowing the lawn.  It's slowed it's growth finally but not to the point of waiting more than 10 days to cut again.  You see his funny hat to keep sun off his ears and neck and the sunglasses?  Maddie runs and hides when she sees him.  We thought it was the mower that upset her but it seems it's John in his mowing garb.  Such a silly doggy!

Stockpile on a Budget

From my earliest memory, each summer the women of my family were busy  "Putting something by" as my Grandmama always called the annual summer activity of canning and freezing foods.   We pretty much lived off the produce for nine months or more from what they put up each year from the gardens and I can seriously not recall one family member who didn't have a garden.

After I mentioned my personal desire to have a year's supply of food on hand in my home, Jessica asked how one went about building a stockpile, especially if you were on a tight budget.

In My Home This Week: In September...

In my home this week...

...I am looking forward to cooler temperatures, especially at night, and crisp fall leaves, apple desserts and the smell of wood smoke drifting on the evening air...and I'm waiting impatiently for such a time to come as we finish up summer.  

My anticipation is enhanced by the appearance of trees about the place and in the woods in areas where we drove over the past week and this weekend.  The leaves are changing, some are noticeably changed, others are more subtle.  Outside the living room window a single stem of leaves on the pecan tree has gone solid gold.  I don't recall ever seeing the pecan tree change this early in the season.

In many ways, even though the season has two weeks more before appearing, this weekend signifies the unofficial end of summer for many folks.  From here we are leaning hard towards autumn, getting short timer's disease much as though leaving an old job for a new one.    

Living Frugally and Well: End of Summer Savings

Saturday:  Turned up the AC as soon as I got up this morning.  I've been lowering the temperature at night in an effort to get a little better sleep but remembering to turn it back up to 78F has taken a lot of effort.  I wish it were an automatic thought, but at least this morning it was!

Put the pot roast on to cook in the slow cooker.  I had all the vegetables prepared ahead and in a plastic bag in the refrigerator just waiting to go into the crockpot.

I didn't have wine.  Tracey McBride recommended in Frugal Luxuries to use grape juice and add a teaspoon or so of vinegar to the juice and once cooked it would taste much as wine tastes.  I had only cranberry juice to use and felt it needed even less vinegar since it was particularly tart.  It sure did make a rich broth!

Getting Things Done

It's a lot of fun to go out and buy something brand spanking new but, somehow, the thrill and novelty soon wears away and it's just another possession.  But when you use your wits and abilities to make something out of otherwise useless materials, the pleasure and pride lasts a long time.  At least that  is the way it affects me---Dorothy Blake, Woman's Day Magazine, August 194-

new, thrifted, repurposed and family pieces at my desk...

In My Home This Week: Planning Ahead

In my home this week...

...I started planning for Fall.  I wandered about Hobby Lobby looking for autumn floral picks to use in my home.  I tried to choose seasonal things in soft golds and well worn greens and colors similar to what we have most often in autumn here.  I went back to the fabric department to look for velvets to use to make those cute pumpkins on Pinterest.  No pumpkin-ish colors were to be had, but I found two lovely pieces of heavy material that I think will be pretty to use instead.  We'll see how they turn out!

Am I getting ahead of myself in planning for a season that is roughly a month away?  Am I hurrying summer away?  Not at all!  I'm just tired of waiting until Autumn is well underway before I start looking for things to use to decorate my home.  Then I'm stuck with the garish stuff in the dollar stores or what I've got leftover from umpteen years ago.  This year, I'll have something fresh and new.  I'm going to start looking for stuff to do wreaths with, too. I'd thought cotton bolls...but guess what?  NO cotton left at Hobby Lobby and yet I saw just loads of it three weeks or so ago.  And that is why I was out buying autumn floral picks a month early...So I could choose what I wanted instead of returning and finding it was down to the leftovers!

Living Frugally and Well: Over One More Mind Hurdle

Saturday:  Made a Dutch Baby Pancake for our breakfast this morning.  It is not the recipe I used the first time I made this.  I couldn't find that one and so I pulled one from one of my cookbooks.  It tasted just fine.  It did not, however, turn out as it ought to have done.  I shall read through several recipes and try and determine what went amiss.  I did this after I made an Armenian Nutmeg Cake last week and one cook had within her recipe a hint that no others mentioned.  Having looked at all the recipes I am certain it was not mixing nor ingredients that were at fault, but was instead in assembling the cake.  I am sure I can figure out this Dutch Baby failure and will make notes in the book about it.

Cooked a corned beef in the crock pot this morning.  I opted to leave out the pickling spices, rinsed it and then put in the crockpot with water enough to almost cover it.  This resulted in a milder flavored corned beef that I quite liked.  It shrank a great deal in cooking, but I guess I'll have enough for sandwiches off it.

In My Home This Week: Push Push Push

In my home this week...

...We attended a memorial service for nephew Jason this weekend.  It was a quiet, calm, peaceful service.  Though it was a private service meant for close family and friends, the church was filled.  Jason's likeability came across in the wide range of people who were there:  Bikers, cops, business men and their wives, people who were very casual in dress and people who weren't.  There were only a few tears.  Oh he shall be missed!  There is no doubt of that.  But I think by the time the service came around, everyone of us, save his widow and mother, stepfather and brother were beyond that deep shock that shook us all and grateful...YES...Grateful we'd had the opportunity to know him, to be touched in our lives by him.  

It's funny, too, how one views one's own family.  My brother's ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend,  ex-wife's new husband, step-children...Well family just sort of extends into a lot of areas in the end.  Whether we mean to or not, we embrace people in our lives and when they move into a new life often we are still attached in some way.  So Jason's family was part of ours, and Ashley's step dad and his mother, and Phoebe's children from a previous marriage are ours, as well.   We were united through marriage and birth and death and say what we like, they are family and will be.

Living Frugally and Well: Change of Perspective

Saturday:  I made up a batch of beef fajitas for our dinner today.  I used bell pepper strips from the freezer, some thin sliced sirloin I'd cut into strips and an onion.  My seasonings were all from the spice/herb cabinet.  It was tasty and filling.

I made 'yellow' rice, using some ground turmeric.

I used a free can of refried beans as a second side dish.

A Quick Note...

It was brought to my attention yesterday evening that sometimes the ads showing up here on the blog were questionable.  Fortunately Iris had taken a screen shot and could show me just what she meant.  I too found it objectionable.

I want to apologize to any of you who might have seen such ads.  I am not able to see the ads when I'm signed into my account, which is about all the time.  I can't click on any ads with my computer because of the user agreement I have with AdSense.

I would like very much to receive some sort of earnings from the ads, so I won't be cutting them out.  I put a lot of my time into this work and I would like to see some sort of monetary return on it.  That said, until Iris brought it to my attention I was unaware that this sort of thing was showing up on this blog.  I very much believed that the ads reflected content and there was NOTHING in any post to suggest that the content would generate such an ad.

I was able to refine the settings and hopefully this will work to discontinue any such ads showing up.  However, I am going to enlist your aid.  If you see an ad that contains nudity or is suggestive would you please jot down the URL and message it to me?  I can then block that particular seller's ads and prevent further problems and embarrassment.

Thank you ahead of time for helping me in this.

Iced Tea Chat - Eclipse

Hello dears.  Come in and have a glass of tea with me, won't you?  I'd offer to sit outdoors but, sugar, it is like a steam sauna.  I'm not a fan of sauna and cannot imagine ever willingly entering one.  I think it's quite enough to experience the Georgia summers!

So much on my mind and heart these days.  I'd meant to take time out to sort out my head and then was thrown a complete horseshoe curve with Jason's death.  That opened another whole set of thoughts.   My head feels crammed full of unopened mail, all just stuffed in and crumpled and too tight to fit another thing.

In My Home This Week: We Go On

In my home this week:

...Sometimes the hardest thing is to go on.  We had a tragic loss in our family last week.  My niece's husband died.  He turned 26 the same day and leaves a 3 and 4 year old daughter.  The disbelief melted into shock, the shock into grief for such a young life lost and as the weekend went on, acceptance slowly sank in.  This morning, I woke with gratitude that I'd been allowed to be a tiny part of a brief life.  It will be a longer time before his mother and dad, his brother and sister in law, his wife and family, can come to that place.  

I don't normally share this sort of thing but if you're on Facebook there is a Go Fund Me set up for Ashley and the girls.  This I is a young mom and the family had no insurance for final expenses, nothing set aside for the future.  Katie set up the fund to benefit the little girls really and I would so appreciate it if you'd contribute to it.  Just message me on Facebook (Terri Cheney) and I'll send you the information link, if you'd like to contribute. 

Living Frugally and Well: Rainy Day Savings

Saturday:  Katie texted that she'd be down to visit today and I wracked my brain trying to decide what to have for dinner.  I took some things from the deep freeze last night.  I finally decided on a new to us recipe and sending the frozen Pineapple Sweet Chili Chicken home with her for her supper.

My dinner was from Pinterest and now I can't find the recipe anywhere.  It was breaded chicken breasts that were pan fried and then a lemon and cream sauce was made and served over pasta.  It was pretty good!  The chicken breasts were thick  heavy things, so I filleted them and set some aside for later in the week.  We just didn't need that much meat...Though after watching Taylor reach over and take her mom's I might have served that little eater a bit more.

Made up a big bowl of salad and put toppings in smaller covered bowls.  We should be good for a couple or three salads.  I took a hint from Rhonda at If You Do Stuff with making the salad and toppings ahead.  I have found I will eat a salad when I'm on my own if the lettuce and toppings are all ready in the fridge.

August: Slowing Down for a Bit

I may slow down with posts for a little while.  I am just not bouncing back after I get tired these days and I am sure it's a combination of being busy in home, busy with family and the new schedule.  I hate to admit that it's knocked me for a loop this getting up twice a week early but combined with poor sleep, it's just hard and that's truth.   I find the older I get the less able to sleep I am especially if I know that an alarm is going to sound off.  As well, the lack of proper time alone to restore has been of consequence.  I am grasping at family times as often as I can because I know this is a very short season.  After all, I have three children starting school this year and two starting school next year.  Childhood is a fleeting time anyway, and when it comes to grandchildren it seems to go four times as fast.

In My Home This Week: Wet Dog Days

In my home this week:
...I have finally gotten near the finish line for July goals.  I haven't forgotten all about August, though.  I did make some headway on the next area of the yard this past week, since I hadn't materials to finish off the Faith tree bed.  What is my next area?  It's two areas actually. 

One is the long bed in front of the back porch.  Maddie dug quite a deep hole at one end which is filling with rain water like nobody's business. It's muddy and mucky and some of the bordering rocks and iris that were there fell into the hole.  I noted last week that weeds were taking over that bed rapidly.  I didn't put down a thick layer of mulch last year.  I got all of the weeds up and next I plan to plant the iris I took up from the Faith tree bed at one end.  This will mirror the opposite end of the bed.  

Living Frugally and Well:

Saturday:  Bess brought in a bag of peaches the other evening when she returned which she wanted to share with us.  This morning they were nicely ripe for eating. I made peach pancakes for breakfast.  That is a summertime treat for us.

Bess and boys left later than planned.  I had never done anything about dinner yesterday and didn't feel at all up to going into town to purchase food.  John was too tired, as well.  Fortunately I had those pre-formed burgers in the freezer which thawed quickly.  I cooked German potatoes to go with the burgers.  It was simple and easy and required little clearing up.

Both beds got stripped and linens were washed.  We used the dryer today.  We had a crazy weather day with lots of heavy rain, then sun, then more rain and more sun and heat and then more rain.  It was less stressful to use the dryer!

Closed curtains on the sunny side of the house to keep heat outdoors as much as possible.

Iced Tea Chat: Just Peachy

Hello dears.  There's peaches.  Try a few slices in your tea.  I think you'll find it very refreshing!

That's my second gift of peaches in two weeks.  God knew I just needed some sweet nearly  local Georgia peaches.   Bess brought in a bag last week from Dickey Farms in Musella and Mama purchased these to give me on Monday when I took her to her favorite farm stand in Montezuma.  Both places are within 30 miles of home, so I think that qualifies as 'local' peaches.  I sure do mis my own Taylor County peaches though...Anybody interested in buying a peach shed and orchards?  It's up for sale...

I had a cup of peach ice cream at Brown's and I must say I don't really care who makes it, peach ice cream is GOOD.  This one had tiny little chunks of peaches and the cup from Dickie's had peach puree mixed in the cream base.

Ten Things I've Learned Shopping At Aldi

About five years ago I began experimenting with shopping at Aldi.  It was a brand new store to my usual shopping area and all I knew of it was what I'd read online at other money saving blogs.  The reviews were all positive.  I'd been struggling to pull down our grocery budget but simply couldn't manage it even when shopping at multiple stores, purchasing in bulk and buying loss leaders, discounted meats, reduced price produce, etc.  I felt like I kept getting a lesser quality of food and was spending as much as ever.

So I gave Aldi a try.  I was aware from my reading that I'd need to rent a shopping cart for 25c and bring my own bags and cash to pay for my purchase.  I was fine with that.  The parking lot was neat and clean and the carts are undamaged because people want to get that 25c back!  So carts are less likely to be everywhere but in the cart bay at the front of the store.

In My Home This Week: The Next Step

In my home this week, I...

... am ready for the next step.  What do I mean?  I'm ready to do the next thing that will lead me to the life I want to have.  My brain has been ticking along at 90 miles per hour here this weekend thinking along these lines and I'll be writing more about it in the days ahead.   I've been feeling restless and a little dissatisfied for a few months now.  I wrote earlier in the year about my frustration in finding new ideas to increase my thriftiness in my home and I noted that at this stage of my life, what I need to do is look long and hard at what I want to accomplish and learn new skill sets in order to bring about those changes which will increase savings.  Well,  ditto that for every area of my life.  I want to move on to the next level of learning in diet and wardrobe and decorating and yard/garden work and even here in writing the blog.

Living Frugally and Well

Saturday:  When the work was all done at last yesterday and I was more recovered from shopping in the deep heat, I went out to check the compost pile.  John said I had a squash plant out there and he was quite right.  One squash and four more blooms.  I don't know just what sort of squash it is, but it's a squash.

Nosed around the flower bed in the back yard and discovered a Star Gazer lily had bloomed in the shade of the lantana.  I clipped it and brought indoors.  I pinched back some petunias that have returned to their original cultivar and set them to root in water.


I had every intention of posting something this week, but between all the comings and goings, I got ill.  UGH.  I'm still recovering and still have coming and going to deal with.  I'll see you all next week.

In My Home This Week: Last Week of July!

In my home this week:

...It will be an 'in and out' sort of week.  I  have just sent John off to visit his brother in Texas. In the meantime, Bess will be in and out with the boys as she treks northward to see her family.  John comes in and then heads out to work.  Bess comes in and out again on her way back home.  It will be a busy week and a good balance for me with alone time and companion times well mixed.

It is the last week of July.  It does seem I have done more this month and certainly I am pleased with what's been accomplished if all of  my goals aren't finished they've at least been worked at.  It's so hot just now that being outdoors is a misery.  Nevertheless, as soon as John can mow about my Faith tree I shall get to work and finish off that project.  I'm not sure it will be done this week but I've done what I can until he does his part.

August Favorite Things

Here it is August and time to do another of my Favorite Things posts...It does seem I just did one for July!  Each month I wonder if I shall have anything to share with you the next month but then someone asks a question or I become aware of how often I use a product and I know that for at least one more month, I've got something to post!

Remember these posts are strictly my personal choices.  I am not being sponsored by any of these products nor am I receiving any compensation.  I'm not even an Amazon affiliate yet, though I have used all Amazon images and links this go round, simply because it was convenient and I've had a very busy morning.  So let's see what products I'm sharing this month as my favorites.

Living Frugally and Well: Sizzling Savings

Saturday:  I didn't prep food ahead yesterday for today's meal because it wasn't necessary.  I put meat in the crockpot early this morning to cook.  I needed only to chop a few vegetables for stir fry as a side dish.

I put leftover meat right into the fridge.  We didn't have the option of going back for seconds.

John offered to make pancakes for supper.  That's why we keep the mix on hand.  I have the instructions written a chalk board tag that is tied around the neck of the jar I store the mix in.  They were delicious.

Iced Tea Chat - Goal Oriented

I have lemon and mint today if you'd prefer those to go into your tea...  Oh and Orange and basil.   And why not a cool but so tasty little appetizer of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus on Whole Wheat crackers topped with a slice of cucumber?  It's my new favorite munch mid-afternoon.  Cool and crisp and full of fiber and protein and low carb, too.

I've been busy trying to accomplish my month's goals and so far, I'm on target with them.  My desk area is as complete as I can make it at the moment.  I am still searching the house for artwork and frames to finish off the wall space. I've also worked on that flower bed beneath the Faith Tree. I'm not done, but I've plodded on.  It's slow progress but it's progress.

In the Good Ol' Summertime...Outdoor seating

In summer in my childhood, we seldom visited indoors.  Oh no!  Visits took place outdoors, usually under the shade of a big old tree.  It wasn't at all uncommon, nor is it to this day in the South, to see a grouping of chairs or table and chairs under a big shady tree someplace in a yard.  Perhaps they are the sort who like to see and be seen, so they set up their seating in the front yard.  Perhaps they are more private people but don't have fences and you catch a glimpse, as you drive past, of the seating in the back yard.  

And just possibly, you might see someone with a sitting area arranged under an open carport or on a deeply shaded front porch, but mostly, most assuredly, company was entertained in the yard in summer months, where shade was plentiful, breezes were all about and the views expanded across flower beds and fields and you were serenaded by drowsy buzzing bees and birds.

Summer Eating: The Best Homemade Salad Dressings

Salads are delicious aren't they?  Let's face it though...A salad without a dressing is not going to cut it.   Plain lettuce?  Blech.  That said, despite the variety of dressings one may buy at a store, homemade dressings can be incredibly good, far better than anything you might buy.    I have a small repertoire of recipes that I use.  Given the opportunity, I'd make my own 100% of the time.  My husband however, seems to feel deprived if certain items are not bought.  That said, he's happily eaten the following salad dressings when I do make them, so I know they must be tasty or he'd completely refuse.

A Few of My Favorite Things - July

I've had good reviews from you all about sharing my favorites the past few months and I still find there are a few items that I just think are well worth the money spent on them.  Remember these are items I like and use routinely and I do not get any compensation from anyone for promotion.

I love to hang platters and trays and such on my walls.  We just hung a trio of Tole painted Nashco trays on the wall in the kitchen.

In My Home This Week: Summer Sizzles

This week in my home...

...the weather has decided to be summer-like.  I have every intent of continuing to work on that flower bed  around the Faith Tree, but I'm sure not going to push myself on doing much more than watering and sweeping porches unless I can go out very early.  Goals tend to somewhat lose importance when the temperatures soar into the 100f range for days which is what they are meant to do this week.   Gracious, I don't even want to do so much as think  when it's this hot.  When Summer sizzles, work fizzles! 

Hot weather is the best time to plan, though.  For one thing it's time to bring out my August magazines which is fun to contemplate.   I'll bet hey have plenty of hot weather recipes in those magazines.  And it's time to dig around and look for as many good crockpot and frying pan meals as I can conjure up because it's too hot to even think of turning on that oven.

Living Frugally and Well: Summer Breezes

Saturday:  Played it smart this morning: baked a cake, cooked biscuits and started a chicken roasting in the oven early this morning.  The cake went in first and the biscuits and chicken went in as the cake came out.  Cakes like dry heat in an oven, while pies and muffins and breads don't mind moist heat at all and can be baked all at once if need be.

Wish I had remember to start the zucchini while the oven was going.  I didn't and so I heated it up again nearer midday and boy was that a mistake.  It warmed the house up, made the AC run harder than it would have done and necessitated turning on room fans as well as upping the speed on our ceiling fans.  Sigh...Noted and will be sure to pay attention to that in the future!

In the Good Ol' Summertime: Water Play

As a child, summertime was hardly summer if water wasn't involved in some way.  My father was a little afraid of water.  I've no idea why but he was, so we were banned from going down river with Granddaddy when he fished in the river swamp.  He also wasn't keen on our going into the swimming pool, either.  Since I've pretty much spent all my life in the country not going to the swimming pool was far more common than going.

There were other substitutes for the elusive pools in our lives like getting wet under the water hose or running through the sprinkler, all of which suited us admirably.  Not something we got to do nearly often enough because when you live in the country the pump runs on electricity and wells have a nasty habit of running dry.  Water was to be conserved...But I must say that aside from Granny I've never known but one other who had a well run dry.  Granny's wells were generally near the surface hence the running dry (you pay per foot for the drilling).  As well, she watered the cows daily so there was already a tax upon her well and electric bill that most didn't have to worry over. 

COP and What I Did...

Hello all.  I had plans yesterday...I had a heavy duty sort of day planned.  I started well and was just about to wind things up and walk out of the door when my plans were suddenly cancelled. That's the COP part of the title.  Change of Plan.  I wasn't upset about the cancellation.  The truth is, I saw it as a gift.

A few weeks ago, our music leader pastored for the day.  He gave a rousing good sermon about sacrifices and what we're willing to give God and what we aren't.  I was convicted twice already in telling others that I really needed alone time and so I generally stayed home on the Sundays John was at work.  The people with whom I shared this didn't say a word, nor even look at me hard.  It was a conviction I felt deep down in my spirit that something was wrong with that statement.  And then I heard Pastor Jason's sermon.  It wasn't that he stepped on my toes...but he surely opened up my heart and revealed to me why I had been wrong.

Summer Eating: Vegetable Salads

Yesterday for dinner, I served a 3 Bean Salad.  My salad was from a can but it was quite good and nice and cool.  It made me think of other salads that have no lettuce.  It seemed a category worth exploring for cool summer eating.

I have a recipe I haven't made in quite a few years.  It is made up of fresh green beans steamed but still quite crisp.  One the beans are cooled, add diced tomato and make up a vinaigrette to dress the salad.  Chill.

This Week In My Home: July Showers

This week in my home...

...I am amazed but the weather men have been on a roll of late in predicting the weather rightly.  There is a chance of showers every day.  Every day it rains just enough to soak plants.  The flowers are so appreciative they are just overflowing with blooms.  April showers may bring May flowers but July showers bring a frenzy of summer blooms and I'm loving it!  Who knew what a mild summer with rain could be like?  I'd gotten so accustomed to last summer's hot dry wind and lack of rain where everything curls up and turns brown right away.  Our temperatures are not meant to get much above the high  80s  (the 'feels like' temperatures are much higher) which is unheard of for this time of year.

Living Frugally and Well

Friday:  I have many address labels that are very specific to a season or simply not to my taste.  I found I could cut off the design on the labels and they were simply plain address labels, which suited me very well.  As well, I have myriad labels with MY name on them but none with our name.  Really all that is needed as a return address is the address.  So I clipped the name portion off nd now have plenty of address labels.

Set up bill box and wrote out checks.  Nothing will go in the mail until we're paid on Monday, but I am so pleased that I was able to pay the renewal for the car insurance two weeks ahead of time, and refill the sub account that I borrowed from two weeks ago.

In the Good Ol' Summertime: Firefly Summer

Fourth of July when the fireworks were going off in the neighborhood, I'd slipped out on the porches to see if I could spy any of them over the trees.  Not a single flare did I see but I did see a load of fireflies gently lighting the brush along the sides of the yard.  I stood there in the semi-darkness watching them as they flashed on and off like a slow turn signal and smiled at the memory they brought.

Iced Tea Chat - Better Things to Come

Hello all.  Come on in and let's settle right down with a glass of iced tea.  I've had a busy day today and a busy one tomorrow and heavens, then there's Friday and the week will be done and where did it go?!  Well it's still mid-week and while it's true it's flying past, I'll not rush it on.  However, I am ready to take a bit of a break and hope you're ready for one, as well.

What on earth have you been up to?  I can tell you what I've been up to and what I haven't rather quickly I'm afraid.  What I've been up to is trying to pinpoint what I want to change in my home and life.  I've started with my desk/work space.  It's not suited me for a long time and irritates me no end because I can't push it flush up against the wall without interfering with the blinds and curtain to the window.  If the desk were but 4 inches less wide it would be perfect, but it's not 4 inches less and there's no real way to manage to make it so without messing it up entirely.  I could, if my wood working son were at home tell him what I want and he could alter what I have or build me something fresh.  Alas the Coast Guard insists upon his staying in the line of duty so I do without, lol.   So I'm looking for an affordable alternative.  In the meantime....I make the best of what I've got.

Have a Terrific Fourth of July!

Isn't this a lovely image?  I love the way the flags and her dress both are moving in the breeze.

Have a happy Fourth of July!

Setting Better Goals

I mentioned earlier last week that I was thinking of revamping how I go about setting goals.  I have been studying this all week long and have learned a few things about how I might improve my goals. 

 I am on target in one way: I set goals in focused areas of my life. I focus on seven areas of my life: Spirit, Marriage, Family, Self, Home, Blog, Finances.  You can certainly choose any focus areas you like and be even more specific than I've been if you'd like.  These are the areas I have chosen to focus on for the past few years.

In My Home This Week: Refocus

In my home this week...

...I am writing this on Friday, the day before the 'great reveal' at John's workplace.  We had a brief discussion of it this morning at breakfast and we're of the mind that whatever the outcome tomorrow morning...We go on.  Whether he has a job, whether he hasn't, we go on.  Whether it's with the county or a new entity, we go on. All we're certain of is change.  Period.

Regardless of what is ahead we must refocus a little this month.  There are changes ahead and we must face them.  That means we change, too.  We change what we can where we can and as we can.  

Living Frugally and Well

I just love this photo of the petunias on the windowsill.  I could just sit and look at it all day long.

Oh dear!  I've been replying to comments with my new email at gmail for the last few weeks.  Well...It's not posting my replies on the blog itself.  So for those of you who are wondering why I'm not answering questions or replying to comments, I am! I have been anyway, it's just now showing up where you can see it. I will, however, be sure to answer them online in the comment forum from now on instead of via my email.  I really thought they would post directly to the blog comments and I've gone a month without one of them coming up as I thought.  

Summer Chicken Salad

                                                            Photo credit: Southern Living

Well!  I couldn't have been more surprised, but the new to me chicken salad idea was a big hit with my husband.   Yes, it really was and I very nearly had NO leftovers, at all.    It was simple enough to make and didn't involve heating the kitchen up, so a big score on that side, as well.

I'm calling the dish Summer Chicken Salad.

Book Review: As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene H. Peterson

I wanted a book to make me think a little more deeply about God and this book has certainly done that.  It's a series of sermons that Peterson preached over the years after he'd found a deeper personal  relationship God.  He longed to impart that feeling of personal relationship to his parishioners and I think he succeeded well.

I'm pleased to say that while there are many insights I'd have been sadder for missing, the book is not written in a complicated theological language.  It's written in laymen's terms, easy to understand, but with all the depth that an experienced pastor would bring to a hungry congregation.

This book is lovely and well worth the time to read.  Because it's set up in sections you can easily read scriptures consecutively that tell the story Peterson is aptly retelling.  It's set up in chapters, with breaks, so that one might easily pause in reading and take it up a little later when a point requires further pondering.

I'm very pleased with this book and think it will become a well loved 'friend' upon my bookshelf, referred to again and again through the years.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending  the book as a consideration for review purposes.

This Week In My Home: A New Season

This week in my home... ...I have just hung out a load of clothes in the breezy autumn afternoon and almost too warm sun.  It's lat...