My Favorite Purchases of 2018

Tammy asked about  the hermetically sealing bins I'd bought.  I thought I'd included a link, but I failed.  I haven't done one of my favorite purchases posts in quite a long while.  I did purchase a few things I think you might find useful or helpful, every single one for the kitchen.

New Year Changes Ahead

I've spent the past week thinking about what I want  in the year ahead.  For all my whining at changes, I do like change when it's of my own making and I like it well enough to bring it about in my life on a fairly regular basis.  I see everything as a progressive step towards the ideal that I hope one day to achieve...and I find that the ideal changes ever so slightly as I take each step.  I'm never off course.  I just get a clearer picture with each change of where I want to head and why.

This Week: Ending and Beginning

I don't know about you all but I am ready for the holidays to be done.  We don't do much for New Year's Eve nor New Year's Day in our home...and this year it will be even less since John is working.  I don't mind at all.  I've set my mind for the year ahead and that's the way I like to celebrate.

In My Home: New Year Resolutions

I wanted to share my frugal and living well doings though I was taking a blog break. I kept up with what I'd done on a daily basis.

Saturday:  Quick prep of fruits and vegetables this morning and got them laid out in containers.  I came very close to buying cheap plastic serving pieces yesterday and I brought myself up short.  Hadn't I just thrown out loads of such things at Mama's and groused at the idea of how many really nice pieces she had that she'd never used while accumulating all those cheap plastic bits?     Well I'm glad I didn't buy a thing.  I found my usual daily serving pieces looked quite nice.  I've upgraded a good bit of those over the past year.  A big aqua pasta bowl was gorgeous with rows of fruits in it and I think the color of the bowl just made the colors of the fruit stand out even more.  A large French White corning baking dish (9 x 13) stood well for a cake platter with cookies laid out in rows by type.   A rectangular cake carrier worked well for the vegetable plate.  Various bowls and pretty plates from the cupboards served up cheese and crackers, sausage balls, chips.  Had I felt like squishing across the yard to the shed, I could have brought in milk glass, plates, serving platters, etc. to add to the wealth of items I had inside the house.  So take that! Dollar store cheap plastic pieces.

This Week In My Home: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Saturday:  Sam stopped by this evening to show us the deer he'd gotten.  I reminded him I wanted some shanks for stews.  I am so proud he was able to get a second deer.  He insisted that the dogs had to have a biscuit each as they had flushed five deer out of the weeds where they'd been hiding themselves.  I've told John before that the dogs are actually barking at something, not just nothing as he insists.  I expect they smell the deer and know when they are nearby.  Proud for my son to have more meat for his family.

Coffee Chat: Rainy Day At Home

Hello dears.  Coffee will be ready in a moment.  Did you get too wet outdoors?  Mind you it's been raining for about 12 hours and has only just slowed down a bit.  John asked me to stay home today since there was so much rain and I honored his request.  Traffic was bad enough yesterday when he and I were out that I wasn't too keen on going to Perry with wet roads and diving in and out of places getting soaked through and chilled, too.  Mama said she knew when it began to rain so heavily in the early hours that I'd be cancelling if it didn't let up.  She was none too keen to go out in it herself.

Date Nut Balls and other Christmas treats

Clockwise from back left: Raspberry Thumbprints, Sugar Cookies, Date Nut Balls, Magic Cookie Bars and Stove Top Cookies

Years ago I gave up making hundreds of dozens of cookies and culled my recipes down to the five essentials, per my husband and the children  requests.   What I failed to plan was to incorporate a favorite cookie for myself.  Each year I enjoyed the baked fare but always felt reminiscent over the things I recalled from my childhood and first marriage years that I had made and enjoyed.   This year, I decided to remove one of John's favorites which I make through out the year anyway, and add in one for me.  I chose to make Date Nut Balls.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Here's a recipe for a cake I made for the second time in 40 odd years.  I don't know why I waited so long.  I liked it quite well when I made it the first time but since I'm a recipe enthusiast I sometimes don't cycle back around to a recipe that I liked.

This is a good recipe following a 'rich' season of eating and shall go on my menu cycle for post holiday eats.   The berries are tart but not terribly and the cake is not too sweet.  I cut my cake into 12 pieces.  Whipped cream is nice but even plain with black coffee it's a nice treat.

I bought a new bag of fresh cranberries so I can make this again after Christmas.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Bake at 350F 40-50 minutes

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

This Week In My Home: Ding Dong, Ding Dong

Santa Claus photos were taken on Friday afternoon.  Josh balked at first but the idea of Isaac getting a candy cane while he got none was too much.  He went to sit on Santa's lap and the photo was gotten.  We walked through Bass Pro with only a few 4 year old incidents.  At one point, going through the women's department next to the big fish tanks, Josh spied hats.   "Look!  I wanna cowboy hat!" he said and put one on his head and Isaac's and then gave one to me.

In My Home: Jingle All The Way

Saturday:  John had to run down to work to pick up something, so I went along.  It was gray and brown and overcast outdoors.  All the glory of autumn leaves drifted to the ground this weekend, turning brown on their way.  It was cold out there but the car has a great heater and so on our way home we took the long way, literally over hills and dales and forested roads.  It was lovely to do something out of the ordinary on our Shabat and yet not really 'do' anything at the same time.   We held hands for most of the drive and chattered away, which is also lovely.

Coffee Chat: Christmas is Near

Hello dears.  Come in, come in.  I've those lovely spicy and crisp Spekulatis cookies from Aldi to go with our hot cups of coffee or tea or cocoa.  Take your choice and come sit with me here in the living room near the softly glowing tree.

I confess ever since I put it up, I keep it lit pretty much all the time if I'm home.  Josh came in yesterday afternoon after school and insisted I had another tree.  I assured him it was truly the same tree, just a few ornaments more added on but no, it must be another tree and this one was 'even prettier than the other!'    Isaac pronounced it "itty" which is his word for 'pretty' at the moment.

In My Home This Week: Fa La La La La

We're just in from church and have had our Sunday dinner.  It's been wet and cold all weekend long and we've been snug and warm in the house.  In my book, this is a perfect winter weekend, albeit that it's late fall.  It's been a cozy sort of weekend though I have yet to pick up a book.  There's just something about the glow of a Christmas tree on a grayish day and the lighting of the candles for Chanukah come evening to soothe the spirit.

In My Home This Week: Planning and Working and Working

Saturday:  Easy meal day.  Beef Stew and a cake were made yesterday.  All I had to do today was make a salad and cornbread.  That was one good pot of stew.  I almost think it's worthwhile to make it a day ahead and reheat slowly in the crockpot every time.

In My Home This Week: December to Dream and Plan

In my home this week...

Katie and Taylor were here for a good part of the afternoon.  What a great time John had!  Today, after three years of patiently waiting on his part, was the day that Taylor suddenly decided that Grampa was more than all right.  Today she followed him about, sat near him to play, chattered at him non-stop and referred to him as Grampa and willingly gave him a good hug when it came time to say "Goodbye".   I have become "Gramma Gramma", always doubled.

In My Home This Week: All Routine