Sunday, October 20, 2019

Preparing for the Week Ahead

An Autumn eve.


The beautiful weather is about to leave us as the clouds push in and the rains are expected.  I'm watching the birdfeeders outside the window and it's a busy place as the seasonal birds fly through our area on to their next stop in preparing for winter.  We just read that the red-headed woodpecker is near extinction so seeing one feasting at the suet right now is wonderful.  Then, just below the feeders, the squirrels are getting every parcel of seed that drops to the ground.  Everything is just busy, busy, busy.  : )  

We have our own busy-ness don't we?  There is always that Sunday feeling whether we work outside the home or in.  Instead of thinking of Sunday as the beginning of the week, we tend to think of it as the end.  And the end of the week reminds us that we need to change gears and get back in to work mode whether we're ready or not.  Some ways to ease into Monday might be:

*using this evening to make your daily lists - write down everything you want/need to accomplish throughout the week - write down all the appointments - remind yourself of the responsibilities you have.
*using this evening to prepare everything for the morning - set the breakfast table, think of what you're going to wear and get the whole outfit together, throw a load of laundry in to get a start on it, do you need to defrost anything for tomorrow's meal?
*giving yourself a facial and bath so you feel good, clean, and relaxed.
*going to bed early and take a good book with you - an uplifting one so that you can get sleepy AND have good thoughts.
*praying - be thankful first for the day that has past - pray for those you know and love - pray for protection through the night.

Then when Monday does come:

*get up early and read the Bible - meditate on it, write notes about the passage, really think about it.
*pray again - this time for gratitude that you made it through the night - again for those you love and care about - for the day ahead.
*care about yourself - put your best forward - care about how you look - be pretty - be feminine and dress accordingly.
*care for the people under your care - help them to become the best they can be - exhibit the fruit of the Spirit with them whether that's in your home or your co-workers outside the home.
*take care of everything God has given you - don't get discouraged, be content, and just do your best.

The days, weeks, and months fly by so as women in our homes we need to seize the time.  We need to be organized and ready.  We need to keep the home-fires burning whether it's for a large growing family, or empty-nesters, or you!

God bless you as you get ready for another week!!!!  : )

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Middle of the Month Already!!!

More "up north" Autumn beauty.  : )


Again, as I sit and look out the window it's nothing but darkness.  The one thing I don't like about this time of year is waking up to darkness compared with Summer where by 5:00 a.m. the sun is already starting to come up!  But there is nothing to be done about it so we just take what we get!!!  : )  The weather has been SO very nice and today will be no exception - sunny and warm - a good day to get back outside and finish up the yard work (hopefully).

This past week has been a little different - I don't do different very well, but different doesn't mean it wasn't good.  I guess when I have moments of not being very productive I feel like I've wasted time.  I didn't get to all the baking I wanted to do - so that means no morning cinnamon rolls for us today!!!!  Which also means that along with working outdoors, I have to/want to get the baking that didn't get done yesterday done today!  I will definitely have to plan this day so it can all work.

It IS fun to work through a list though.  All those things that you have good intentions of doing and then one by one crossing them off - what a feeling of accomplishment!  On days when I feel that I've not done much I look back on my list and see that that isn't true.  It's just that there are things that take more time, thought, and effort so maybe that one or two things you do get to is all you have time for.  There are only so many hours in the day and we can't do it all (but I admit that I especially like it when I see that several things were crossed off that list instead of just a couple!).  : )

Anyway........the plan for this day:

*a load of laundry
*baking for the freezer - pumpkin molasses cookies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin donuts, and those cinnamon rolls!!!!!
*outdoor work - clean out planters, take hanging baskets down, clean up more leaves (a never-ending job this time of year!).  Our poor neighbor worked really hard the other day in cleaning up and bagging all the leaves on the lawn only to see that yesterday it didn't look like they did anything!  That's the way it is right now - you want to keep up with it but you'd have to be out every day and you just can't do that.  So we will be out for the next few weeks "cleaning up" but that's okay too.  : )
*cooking - putting a slow-oven meal of beef stew in for our supper tonight which cooks all afternoon - looking forward to the homey smell of that!

I THINK that's about it!  In reality I KNOW that I won't get all of that baking done, but at least a couple of things would be nice.  So...........instead of sitting here I should get a move on!  Thank you SO much for dropping by - I wish I had more for you (like some awesome recipes) but hopefully later.  : )  I sincerely hope you enjoy your day and your home and that you can make up some lists of your own and start checking things off!    God bless.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Pumpkin Goodies and Saving Money

When we go to Aldi's we try to pick up a pumpkin for Autumn decor.  : )

Well, it's quite chilly outside and cloudy but looking out the window next to me is a tree with vivid yellow/orange leaves.  It doesn't need any sunshine - it glows all on it's own!  : )  When we were out and about with our shopping this morning, my husband and I both made a big deal out of all these beautiful leaves and my thought was - with everyone SO busy and SO hurried, does anyone take the time to appreciate the beauty?  Does everyone just rush off to work and rush back home again and not notice?  I hope not.

The house is smelling really good right now.   I have my Harvest Bread baking (recipe to follow).  One of the topics of this post is how one can of pumpkin is so thrifty.  I paid .89 cents for a can of pumpkin and I made pumpkin coffee creamer (another recipe to follow), the aforesaid quick bread, and pumpkin molasses cookies (recipe on Saturday morning).  : )

This weekend I will take another .89 cent can of pumpkin and make some more coffee creamer, pumpkin scones, and pumpkin donuts!  Seriously.  That's a LOT of goodies for the freezer with just two cans of pumpkin that come to less than $2.00 for both.  I REALLY like that kind of thing.  I won't make pumpkin pie until Thanksgiving though.  THAT is a once a year treat especially for that day alone.  : )

The other thing I was thinking of is how easy it can be to save money.  I may have mentioned this in past posts and/or you probably have heard of this idea already, but it works SO well for us that I want to mention it because I do this every time we come home from shopping.

First, get two large canisters or jars - one is for coins, the other is for dollar bills.
Next, only pay for things with cash - yes, cash.  Most businesses still take cash!  LOL  
Then, when checking out give them more than the total amount.  Don't give the exact change.

For example - if your purchases comes to $65.89 give them $70.00.  Put the change into a separate area of your purse until you get home.  After putting all your items away at home and you have time, take your purse and take all the change you got back out of your purse.  Separate the dollar bills and coins and put them into their respective jars/containers.  Do this every single time you go out and pay for something.  You will not believe how quickly those jars fill up!!!!!!!!!

You now have money to put into a savings account.  Start at the beginning of the year and by the time summer vacations roll around, you will probably have enough!  Or maybe not touch it until next Christmas or whatever it is that you would like to save money for.   It's interesting that we feel we can't save money - that we spend every dime we have on bills, payments, extras, etc.   With this system, it shows us that there really is money available but with everyone using debit cards for their purchases we've lost sight of actual cash!  Do you know that people spend SO much more than they normally would by using their debit card?  I love the old adage that says "if we can't pay cash for it, we won't buy it".   I'm a big believer in having cash envelopes - one for groceries, one for entertainment, one for clothes, and so on.  When that envelope is empty, you stop spending until you can set money aside in those envelopes again.  I hope you can give this a try!  It really does work.  : )

Now, for those recipes:

HARVEST BREAD

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup raisins

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together.  Fold in flour, salt, baking soda, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.  Add walnuts and raisins.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.  Cool in tin for 10 minutes and cool completely on a rack.  Enjoy!!!

The thing I like about recipes like this and the cookies, and scones, and the donuts is that when you celebrate something in the Fall (like our yearly pumpkin carving party), it's SO fun to have all these different goodies in the freezer to take out and make a big platter out them!  A variety of things of which to choose from instead of one dessert.  All of these goodies go great with hot tea, hot coffee, hot chocolate.........really fun.  : )

I also tried this coffee creamer and I truly enjoy it:

PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup half-and-half

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk everything together (except the half-and-half).  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Allow to cool a bit.  Add the half-and-half and combine thoroughly.  Pour into a container and refrigerate.

What I like about this creamer is that it is only a bit sweet and not so rich.  Last year I made pumpkin coffee creamer that used condensed milk and even though it was thick and rich and sweet and creamy, it was almost TOO much.  This one is light but you still get the pumpkin flavor and a bit of sweetness and not too dairy using the half-and-half.  I hope you like it too.  : )

I know I've mentioned my mom before and I've mentioned lately to look back at your growing up years and what brought good feelings - one of those things was Mom's cinnamon rolls during the Fall/Winter months.  They were so good so I've decided to use that as one thing that I can bring into our home this weekend as a little nostalgic touch.  I found a cinnamon roll dough that I can use our bread machine with - make them Friday evening, pop them into the fridge overnight, and then bring them out on Saturday morning to bake and frost.  I'm getting excited about trying this - I don't do cinnamon rolls mainly because it always makes a big pan of them and we can't possibly eat them all (well, maybe I should re-word that - we COULD eat them all, but shouldn't!).  It will be another goodie to freeze after we've had our share.  : )  I'll let you know how they went.

Well, I think that's all for today!!!!  Thank you again for stopping by for a visit - I appreciate it.  God bless.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Serene Sunday

Beautiful.


It's still unseasonably cold outside but it's getting VERY pretty.  Every year I can't decide which tree I like best as far as color goes.  There are the vibrant yellows.  Then come the vivid reds.  Then there are actually pinks.  And the burgundy colors that are understated.  And how about those oranges?!  I can't help but be a leaf collector.  If I see a beautiful leaf on the ground, my hand automatically goes to it - I take it home, press it, and it becomes decor.  : )

Yesterday was a fine day.  For a bit of the day, there were snowflakes in the air and with the dark clouds and the pretty leaves it made me very nostalgic.  Growing up I was left at home by myself even at a very young age so I would spend most of my time outdoors.  Fortunately we lived across the street from our town's picnic/park area.  I would swing for hours but mostly (even then) I would make a pretend house out of the shrubbery they had on one side of the park.  I would clear out the underbrush and take whatever I could find to make "shelves" with.  I had an old broom in which to sweep the "floor".   So, especially in the Fall, it was a magical time for me.  I breathed in the earthy air, smelled the leaves, watched the clouds go by.............  It was a sad day when I had to start school and have a routine and schedule and be with other little people that I didn't know.   I'm sure it was a great day for my mom though.  She HAD to work outside the home so I'm sure that my being in school was one less thing for her to worry about as far as my being taken care of by SOMEONE.

But yesterday whenever I would look out at what the weather was like, it all came back to me.  There was a part of me that wanted to get my big girl coat on and go in search of shrubbery that I could climb into and make pretend all over again.  : )  There is still that little part of me who longs for the simple and carefree.  Now I have a real home to take care of with real shelves and a real floor to sweep.  : )

Whenever I was at school, I longed to be at home and then later when out of school and working at a job, I STILL longed to be at home.  The houses I grew up in were so plain - they took care of our needs but that's about it.  My mom and dad couldn't afford pretty and stylish but I had so much fun as I got older in showing them that they didn't need money to make our houses look nice.  Just moving furniture around made all the difference, or adding a room divider, or taking something from one room and bringing it out to another brought a little interest.  On Saturdays I'd (once again) be home by myself and I would dust and vacuum and clean and took pride in how I made our VERY humble houses (2 of which were mobile homes) something that our family could feel good in.

I'm not saying all of this to pat myself on the back and be prideful, but I am saying that I wish I could say all of this to others who wonders why a woman would want to be home all day - what joy could possibly come by taking care of a house? - what good feelings could come out of not getting any recognition for what you do? - what benefit would there be in not getting paid?  But there is never enough time to explain.  There is just a quick answer to the "so what do you do"? question.  And that's okay.  Like anything else that women do, I've always felt that being a homemaker was a "calling" just like being a teacher or a nurse or an office manager.  I went to college for 1 1/2 years only to find that I wasted my time and money because I wanted to do what everyone else was doing knowing in my heart that I was chasing after things that wasn't going to be me. 

Getting back to yesterday - I cleaned out a cupboard in the bathroom and organized four bins in there as well.  I did a load of laundry.  I baked.  We moved the living room furniture around and I had fun decorating in a couple of new ways.  And you know what?  I enjoyed every. single. minute. of it.  The Lord has given me the desire of my heart - He has instilled within me this WANTING to do what others would call mundane.  And I'm SO glad He did.  

I encourage you to enjoy the moments of being able to care for what you have.  As in my growing up, you can be poor yet still make a decent home that is clean and comfortable.  Be creative, be thrifty.  I know I've said this before (surprise, surprise) but think back to when you were young and write down ideas that you remember that gave you peace and joy and a "wanting" to come home because you knew it was going to lift your spirits or at least make you feel at home.  Leave the not-so-good memories (we all have them!) behind and focus on the good.  Work on them today and the upcoming week.  In this crazy world we live in we need some of that old-fashioned goodness.  It takes work though!  And I pray that you will be willing to put in the effort.  

God bless.  : )

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A VERY Cold Saturday!

Autumnal beauty.  : )


Last Saturday I was sitting here and writing and looking out at black skies and listening to the rain.  This Saturday while I am sitting here and writing, I'm looking out at black skies and feeling the cold!  I just looked at the radar and there is snow coming in soon.

I called my sister in South Dakota and they were looking out at 12 inches of snow!!!!  So, the calendar tells us it's Autumn, but it definitely feels Winter-y right now.  So good to be in a warm home, another cup of coffee off to the side, and writing this post to you.  : )

I hope you have had a good week in your homes.  It's been very good here.  For quite a while now I have been itching at getting to certain cupboards and closets that needed a good clean-out and tidying up.

In the little pantry that we have upstairs, I once again went through all the odds and ends that are put in there and came up with a few meals that I need to make from them soon - using up a variety of noodles, the last of the barley, crackers before they go stale, etc. - I wrote all of it down and can now work on getting them made.  I went through all the jars and storage containers and put them in some kind of order.  The electric cords and batteries are in order, the kitchen items we use infrequently are on the top shelf.  So......that feels really good.

On the other side of the pantry is a little area that we store our vacuum cleaner, rags and cleaning supplies and that was totally getting out of order, so I took everything out and cleaned the shelves and went through what we have and what we need to keep.  Even though I try to make our cleaners, there are still some that I do like to buy:


This glass cleaner is THE best!!  It beats my homemade cleaner hands down.  When it says "no streaking" it means it.  Love it.


We have old leather couches and we all know that the dry air in the house can really dry leather out so we need to consistently wipe them down with wipes.  So, in watching a video the other day, I found out that we can use baby wipes instead of buying the expensive leather wipes that we used to buy!  I bought this 3-pack of baby wipes at Aldi for $5.97 and there are 72 wipes in each pack compared to spending almost $5.00 on the other which only has 30 wipes.  I used to try different "recipes" for cleaning leather but it just didn't seem right, so this is a good alternative.  : )

I also brought my handy-dandy cleaning tote back out.  I was using it for stuffing a whole bunch of rags in it, but I really wanted to use it again as I go back and forth to different rooms and then downstairs.


It is now wonderfully holding all the things I need again - cleaning gloves, the wipes, dusters and cleaning cloths, paper towels, the glass cleaner, the furniture polish, the spot cleaner for rugs, and even a couple of hand lotions.  I am ready to go!!!!!!  : )

We have accumulated SO many rags that I was about to toss a bunch out, but a cleaning article came to my mind that said that professional cleaners have tons of rags with them - they clean a little area and toss the rag in a corner, clean another little area and toss the rag in the corner - they go around the house and do this and use up a lot of rags and then just wash them at the end of the day.  So that's what I'm doing.  I just went through the rags and stacked them by size and put them back in a tidy way on the shelves.  That felt good.

I don't know about you, but when I start projects like this, one thing leads to another and soon I find myself in other rooms of the house.  I started to think about a certain storage unit that I had in the bathroom and thought it would work better in the kitchen to free up space.  Then I started to think about the bathroom and moved some things in there.  Then I looked at my Fall decorations and decided I'm beginning to be a "less is more" kind of person, so I took things out for that.  It's been great!!!!  I love working.  I love this kind of work.  I really think as homemakers we should never become complacent.  We should consistently look around and work on ways in getting our homes to work better and feel better and look better.  Again.........not perfection!  We don't want a stiff and rigid environment in which to live but it should look, feel, and smell nice.  : )

Today there are two, possibly three, areas that need tending to and since it's a cold day it will be perfect to work on them.  One is a bathroom cabinet - it's getting WAY too cluttered with odds and ends that should/could be somewhere else.  The other is two stair-baskets that tend to accumulate things that we don't want to put away "just yet" so they definitely need to be cleaned out.  And then our storage area where our main pantry is is another area (since it has a door on it) where we just drop things off because we're not sure WHERE they should go!  Which tells me that they could very well be things that we don't NEED and they need to go bye-bye.  : )

So, along with a few normal Saturday things to do, this ought to keep me busy (which I like).  I am hoping to also get to baking a couple loaves of Pumpkin bread using a blog-friend's recipe.  It would taste wonderful with a batch of homemade chicken soup on this cold day.  : )  A couple days ago, I made a big batch of the Russian tea and put it into jars for the upcoming months - it's such a deep flavored, warm drink that is suppose to ward off colds - I'm certainly hoping that's the case!

Before I go, I would like to share my slow cooker chicken stock with you:

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN STOCK

4-5 lbs. chicken parts (legs and thighs are inexpensive) OR what I usually do is after I make a whole chicken, I will take the meat off and then just use the bones (with a little meat still on) and the skin instead of the parts which is great because it's a "bone broth" and very good for us!
1 medium yellow onion (washed well, but keep the skin on), quartered
1 clove of garlic (but I use at least 3!!!!), quartered
2 celery ribs (cleaned thoroughly), cut into large pieces
2 carrots (cleaned thoroughly), cut into large pieces
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper (I use less)
fresh water

Place all ingredients into the Crockpot and cover with water.  Cover and cook 4 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low (which I prefer).  Remove chicken from broth and remove the meat, or if using bones remove the bones.  Strain into a large container, toss the rest, and refrigerate.  The next day, lift the hardened fat off and put the broth into freezer jars.

This isn't a deep colored broth, but it IS good (we think so anyway).  I will tell you that if you roast a chicken and try different seasonings and spices while baking and you use the skin in your broth, the broth will, of course, take on some of that seasoning and spice, so the broth can taste different from batch to batch.  Whereas, if you just use the legs and thighs to begin with they will not have that advantage of seasoning - so it's up to you!  : )  I hope you can try it, I hope you like it.   Just let me know!

Well, I think that is about it for today.  Thank you SO much for stopping by and visiting with me because I really do appreciate it.  And, if you can, I would love to hear from you too!!!!  I'm always interested in how other women "keep house" because we can all learn from each other.  I hope you have a good day in your home today and have a wonderful rest of the weekend.  God bless.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunshine Sunday

Blue skies. 


Yea!!!  The sun is out!!!  We've been eating our breakfasts pretty much in the dark lately but this morning the sunshine was streaming in.  It felt good again.  : )

Yesterday, we went to a friend's house where she and her sister have a sweet country home with out-buildings turned into craft shops.  The weather was heavy with mist and low clouds - a perfect day to go drive out in the country with the changing leaves and beautiful fields of corn.  Unfortunately while driving we came upon a head-on collision on the highway with police and tow-trucks around.  It didn't look like anyone got hurt but it's always a lesson to learn - we can get up in the morning and go about our day and never know what, really, is going to happen.  A good reason, before going to bed at night, that we give thanks to the Lord for protecting us through the day!!!

We always enjoy our visit with our friend who lives with her sister.  They always lift my spirits - they have such a good sense of humor and they work very hard and they have such wonderful ideas with these little country shops of theirs.  We really love to see what they are doing next.  : )  In the Winter of this year our friend had a stroke and has had LOTS of therapy/doctor appointments throughout the Spring/Summer and is now done with all of them so they wanted to have a one-day craft sale to celebrate.  They usually have sales every weekend in October but that would have been too much for her.  

A few days before this sale, our friend sent such a wonderful, meaningful card to us and expressed her thankfulness for the friendship that we've been able to keep all of these years so yesterday I had to give her a BIG hug and thanked her for sending that card to us because, as we know, timing is everything!!!!  It made my day and she truly meant every word that the card said so our thankfulness to each other was mutual and that's important, isn't it?  People come and go in our lives and that's just the way it is.  But to have "a friend who sticks closer than a brother" - that is a blessing.  : )

Our pastor had such a good sermon this morning.  Kind of along the same lines.......we need each other.  We aren't meant to be alone.  We can accomplish so much if we do life together.  The fellowship in the church is a good place to start.  In church there is such a vast array of people who are fellow strugglers.  I think we tend to think that if someone is in church they must have their lives together, they must have lots of friends, they must have family that loves and cares for them and about them, but that is not the case.  We all need to know that there is no person that doesn't have something going on in their lives: 

*a terrible job
*an abusive relationship
*loss of spouse
*loneliness
*despair
*sadness
*financial problems
*singleness when wanting to be married
*childless when wanting a family
*shyness mistaken for not caring
*physical/health problems
*strained family relationships
*
*
...........and we could add to the list.  Every single day we need to try to remember that we aren't the only one who is going through something difficult.  I think we've been taught to just not talk about it because others don't want to know.  That's not the case.  If you talk about it and receive a blank stare it's not that that person doesn't care, it's just that they haven't been through what you've been through and isn't quite sure what to say.  And then we can feel upset towards them for not meeting our need for them to say something!!!  I think it's important that we be honest with each other and give grace to each other and show mercy.  Because if it's us who wants to be understood and accepted, I think we need to remember that we don't always understand and accept someone either.  It has to be mutual!  Believe me, this is way easier said than done.  A good place to start is with prayer.  Give all to the Lord.  He has brought people into our lives at just the right time - when we've felt sadness or loneliness or discouragement, God has provided someone to lift us up and what a blessing it has been.  

Give it all to the Lord and see what He does!  He loves you and cares about you and sometimes that comes in the form of a friend.  : )  God bless your day.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

A VERY Fall-ish Saturday

Autumn Beauty.  : )

As I write, it is VERY dark and VERY rainy.  A cozy morning with my cup of coffee next to me, my Bible reading and prayer time done, and (Lord willing) a new day stretched out before us.  

I'm SO glad that I got outdoors a bit yesterday afternoon and cleaned up some areas and pots.  I didn't get to everything, however, which is always nice.  I'm strange in that I like it when there is always something to tend to.  : )  So not getting to everything yesterday means that there will be something to do on another day!!!

The past couple of days have found me finishing up the dress that I was making and while I sit and sew I enjoy watching things on my little IPad and I've been doing a marathon of watching P. Allen Smith who is an expert in gardening, decorating, and a little cooking.  Actually, he's the one who motivated me to put my sewing down yesterday and get outside!  : )  I really enjoy watching his program - he's very down to earth and personable and explains everything so very well.  What motivated me was to go and cut a lot of spent (and dried) blossoms off a few flowers in the garden to save the seeds for next year.  He's a big believer in saving seeds and I enjoy that process as well.  So while cleaning up, I had my clippers and cut off the heads of our Echinacea, marigolds, geraniums, zinnias, and then a hedge of a yellow flower that grows profusely in the Summer but unfortunately I don't know the name!!!  It's really pretty and it does spread and I wanted to keep that going.

It was fun.  They are all spread out on a table downstairs drying and then I will pull the seeds off the heads, store them in marked plastic bags, and put them in the freezer to keep.  I only did this with marigolds last year and then just sowed them into the ground this past year and they came up beautifully.  It's not only fun but frugal - think of the cost of seeds and how we can start these plants on our own without having to buy them. 

It was also good to get out on a cool and cloudy day.  Working and enjoying nature and working out in it and getting my "fresh" air.  : )  I'm a pale-skin person so I like it when I come in and have some color in my cheeks and nose.   A very good thing.  : )

I also know that the seasons have turned when our breakfast granola turns to hot oatmeal instead!  Tastes so good and it's kind of a comfort food.  I'm trying to healthy-up our oatmeal by adding a little coconut oil to it along with milled flaxseed, chia seeds, and cinnamon.  Yum.  : )

And then the other evening I had such a feeling of home when it was another chilly day and I took meatloaf out of the oven.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it smelled so good, the oven was so warm, the baked potatoes smelled so good that it warmed my heart - again, that comfort food.  It makes a house instantly turn into a home.  : )

One thing that I'm trying to do is when I write out my menu for the week, I type it so that it is more read-able.  As I get older my hand writing is not very good (especially if I'm hurrying through it) so the typing of the menu just looks so much neater and easier to read.  Here it is for this week:


I like it SO much better.  I feel even more organized.  : )

And, then, just as a reminder - when planning a meal try to cook a whole chicken from time to time.

First cook it in a Crockpot (those things sticking out are not feathers, it's rosemary - LOL).

Which gives you the bones..........

which then helps you to make bone broth!

Then you have ALL this wonderful meat for all kinds of things!

So, one chicken (that cost just under $7.00) is a VERY frugal thing to do.  Remember to buy the best chicken you can.  SO good.  : )

Lastly, I love the Fall smells and I love bringing them into the house and one way that I especially enjoy is having a pot simmering on the stovetop.  It just wafts through the house, adds humidity from the steam, and has a nice warming affect.

This varies from time to time - sometimes I use apples that need to be used up, but this time I had oranges - this is sliced oranges, whole cloves, a bit of ground nutmeg, a bit of ground cinnamon, and a chunk of fresh gingerroot.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down and let it simmer for hours.  You will need to add water from time to time so just watch it - don't forget it and leave the house!!!!!  But this really does smell nice.  Hope you can try it.

I think that's about it for today.  SO happy you stopped by for a visit because I appreciate it when you do.  I hope you can enjoy your homes today and spend time in all the little things that make a home.  Like I try to say - enjoy the process!  It's totally okay if you don't get everything done.  God bless your efforts!!!  : )

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Last Sunday in September

Again, another North Shore photo - can you tell we like this area?  : )

As I look back on the week, the one thing that sticks out most is humility.  I have mentioned this in a past post (like I do sometimes) about how opportunities to bless someone goes right over my head at the moment.  And then a couple of hours later I'm convicted as to what I DIDN'T do (or say) and then it's a "slap my forehead" moment and wonder why it's so hard for me to recognize the opportunities right away.

It happened a couple of times this week with my husband - he was very excited and proud about what he accomplished (and it really was a big deal), but because I was thinking of other things and busy with my stuff, I didn't give him the recognition I should have at the time.  When I DID think about it after finally pausing with my own work, I tried to make it right by asking him more questions about it and congratulated him on a job well done.  So, I did try to make it right (he didn't complain or anything like that), but what I'm learning is that I have to put "self" away more often and focus on what others need at the time.  He worked at doing a good job and I looked past it being more interested in my work.  So..............another life lesson.  Less self, more others.   In a past post I had said that my husband isn't very good at giving compliments.  Hmmmmm............I wonder why?

I could say that this was just a little thing but it's not.  Not really.  In our homes we cannot save our best selves for company.  We can't save our best selves for the outside world to see.  We need to try to be our best for those we live with.  Build them up, make them feel special and loved and appreciated.  It's not always easy because those we live with are the ones who can wound us as well and we constantly have to get over one ill feeling when another comes along.  But when we know that we are all imperfect people trying to do the right thing at the right time and sometimes fail at it (but then try to make it right) it's a grace-giving time and that speaks volumes.  So, this is an area that I need to work at and hopefully I can get it right more often.  : )

The second thing (which is TOTALLY different than what I just wrote) is that last evening I was watching a cooking show with Nigella (I hope I'm spelling this correctly).  I believe she is British and I don't watch her program often because I guess I just don't think about it.  But when I do I find I really like her style.  She is very relaxed in her kitchen and while she works she always smiles.  This certain program had her at home on a rainy day and she had said how important it is to slow down on days like that (which we are experiencing here at this time) and that when we go into the kitchen use it as an excuse to take our time with our cooking.

Well she motivated me.  After church this morning, when in the kitchen, I first made a pot of coffee.  And while it brewed and filled the house with that wonderful aroma, I got to work on our Sunday meal.  Slowly.  Cutting things up, working with my hands, cooking everything from scratch in a very relaxing way trying to enjoy everything about it.  My kitchen is small but I had everything I needed.  It was (is) a cloudy day, but our kitchen is bright.  Sipping on my coffee felt special.  

I think we are so determined nowadays to get in, get it done, and on to the next thing.  And with some things I suppose that's a good thing, but it doesn't have to be with everything.  I think we've lost the ability to enjoy the moment.  The doing can be very enjoyable and meaningful.

So, I guess two take-away's from this past week for me are:

*look for ways to bless our loved ones - let them know that you see the work THEY do 
*slow down and cherish the little moments that are given to you - make them special 

I pray that you will have a wonderful upcoming week ahead.  Let the Lord speak to you and learn from it (even if it hurts).  And make the time to be the calming influence in your home.  God bless.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Last Saturday of September

The October picture on our calendar - doesn't this look like Anne (with an "e") of Green Gables?  : )


Well, here we are!  The ending of another month.  This past week I was thinking that in 3 months we will be celebrating Christmas!!!  How can that be?  But it is what it is and we move forward and enjoy the the months as they come (and go!).  : )

I'm sitting here looking out the window at a new sunrise coming up.  The squirrels are already busy and the birds are at the feeders.  We have been cleaning cobwebs off of everything every day, the trees are full of fruit and seedpods - according to all these things, it does seem like the winter is going to be harsh again this year.  We need to use the upcoming month or two to prepare and "squirrel" away provisions to be ready for the "come what may."

I think those of us who live in towns and cities tend to think that it's not a big deal because there are stores so close by that we can just go to in our time of need but that is not necessarily the case sometimes.  There is still a thing called being stranded in our homes until we are plowed out and there are still power outages that can last for quite a while and there is still a possibility of trucks not being able to get to the stores to restock, so even though we can feel relatively secure in our needs being met, there is great wisdom in being prepared for the unthinkable.

Again, make sure your pantry is well-stocked with things that you can't do without - soap to wash clothes, drinking water, toilet paper, food items that are shelf-stable and that you can actually make meals out of.  If the electricity goes out for several days make sure you have a way of washing clothes and hanging them up.  Stock up on batteries for a radio and flashlights.  Have candles available along with lanterns, and matches.  Have a lot of blankets.  If you have pets stock up on litter and food.  Just take the time for a while to go through your daily routine and think and write down everything that you use and/or need on a daily basis and work from there.  

There are so many people who don't take this seriously and I'm not a panic person but we do need to be wise and organized and prepared.  If nothing happens, that's wonderful!  You'll still have all of things around which we need anyway but if something does happen then you won't have to worry about how you're going to get through it.  It's also a great way of being able to support a neighbor as well.

So, I encourage you to begin to think about this and take the time to prepare ahead.  : )

Now, on to the October to-do' (it's a long list, but not everything applies to everyone, so pick and choose what you need to to - also, some of these things won't need to be done until the end of October since this month is pretty mild and we don't put things away until the end):

*clean your lawn mower and garden tools - it's good to put things away clean
*turn off the outdoor water 
*bring those snowshovels out and the snowblower
*replace your furnace filter
*again, keep going through stuff - every closet, every drawer, every shelf, every cupboard
*store your summer clothes someplace else and bring out the Fall/Winter
*make a list of what you need for clothing - coats? boots? new gloves/mittens?
*rake the leaves as needed - either bag, compost, or use as a winter mulch to protect your plants
*clean the gutters -those leaves clog them up - it's good to invest in gutter-guards!
*make emergency kits for the car(s) and house - make sure everything is up-to-date
*stock up on Vitamin C and healthy teas and raw honey for the cold/flu season
*empty the planters of dead/dying flowers/plants - fill them with pretty branches, pumpkins, gourds, grasses for the upcoming Fall months
*winterize what needs to be winterized - water pipes, the lawn mower, the shrubs, etc.
*start making gift baskets or at least plan them out!
*I know this sounds early but think about your Christmas cards - a LOT of people send photo cards so if you do that, take photos of your family for this!
*wash the walls in your home - start Fall/Winter fresh!
*clean your upholstery/shampoo carpet for the upcoming months/holidays
*again, start thinking Christmas and slowly add to your gift pantry little (or big) items that you know you will be giving this year - this takes a lot of stress out out last-minute shopping  : )
*start making/baking for the freezer - a good time saver

There.  That's it.  It's a lot but not everything is for everyone - it gets us thinking about things that could be done now.  Delegate help if you need it.  There is something fun about doing things with others - family or friends can come over and help one day and then another day you can go and help them!  We have turned into such a self-reliant people nowadays - it's become so difficult to ask for help - but people long ago used to always get together and help each other out.  Besides........it's more fun that way!!!!!  Laugh over things, talk while you work, sit down to a meal together and enjoy the fruits of your labor together.  No one has to be a lone ranger.

Now for the October tea party theme.  October can be a bit fickle - warm one day and downright chilly the next so this is for either in your home or outdoors:

*decorate with pressed leaves, bittersweet branches, lots of apples and a variety of nuts, beautiful mums and marigolds, and LOTS of candles
*serve pumpkin loaves and/or muffins, toffee bars, and ginger spice cake along with strong coffee and cozy teas and/or apple cider
*play Chopin in the background

Beautiful.  : )  Make sure to take LOTS of pictures.  I was thinking about this and how fun it would be to take pictures of each monthly tea party and then make up calendars for everyone - each month would have it's own pictures.  Great memory-making idea!!!!!!  : )

This past week has been exceptionally nice.  Every morning I pray for strength, energy, and motivation for my homekeeping and I really felt the answers - I got SO much done that today, looking back, feels very comforting.  Going by my Household notebook helps me tremendously.  I find that, for me, Mondays through Wednesdays are my busiest days.  Those are the days that I get a lot done.  By Thursday it's lighter and then by Friday it's hardly anything at all except for preparing things for the weekend - Thursdays and Fridays can be those "gift" days of doing special things either out and about or within the home or with someone that happens to be available.

Yesterday I made a batch of my homemade dry laundry detergent:



This literally lasts me a year, so it is well worth it!!!  I use it only for hot-water washes (linens, sheets, rags, etc.).  I usually don't need the cup for measuring out (but I think it looks pretty) because a spoonful or two does the trick.  And it smells really fresh.  I found this old canner at the thrift store for next to nothing and it's perfect to sit on the floor next to the washer.  Here is the "recipe" if you are so inclined to try it (it really is a good thing to have on hand along with your liquid detergent):

4 lb. box of super washing soda
4 lb. box of baking soda
4 lb. box of Borax
3 bars of Zote 

All of which can be found at the grocery store/Walmart, etc.

Just grate the Zote bars, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix thoroughly.  I really think you'll like it.  : )

That's it for this day!  When I first started writing this post, it was still a little on the dark side of the morning - now the sun is up so I had better stop!!!!!  Thank you for dropping by - have a wonderful weekend ahead.  God bless.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Another No-Churn Ice Cream

Storm clouds over our house last evening.  Isn't that awesome?!


I'm still looking for no-churn ice creams as you can tell.  I really like walking past the ice cream aisle at the grocery store and know that I can make something just as yummy without any ingredients that I can't pronounce.  : )

I had 1 pound of strawberries in the fridge that I needed to use so I did some looking around and found this:

STRAWBERRY NO-CHURN ICE CREAM

2 lb. strawberries, halved (I know......I only had 1 lb. but we still liked it!  But I CAN see how 2 lb. would make it even more fruity!!!!)
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 325 (yes, we're going to partly make the ice cream with the oven).  Put all of your yummy, red, halved strawberries in the middle of a baking tray.  Sprinkle with the sugar and toss all around until coated.  Now spread the strawberries out.  Roast them in your oven for about 45 minutes, rotating the tray half way through.  Toss the strawberries again and bake for another 15 minutes but keep an eye on it - the strawberries get nice and juicy so you don't want that juice to turn into gum.

Remove from the oven and scrape all that wonderful-looking, red, juicy, fragrant strawberry goodness into a food processor.  Process until the strawberries are as smooth as possible.  Let this cool a bit while you whip your cream.

In a standing mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form (again, don't overbeat!).  This doesn't take very long.

In another bowl, pour the condensed milk and vanilla in along with your pureed strawberries and beat well  on High until well incorporated and creamy.  Now fold this into your whipped cream and gently fold until it's a uniform color.

Pour this into a freezer-proof container with lid putting a cover of plastic or parchment on top of the ice cream before you put the lid on.  Pop it into the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!!!

***What I have noticed is that ice cream made with fruit forms ice crystals faster than your chocolate or caramel ice creams.  I have also noticed that even though I always take the ice cream out of the freezer and put it into the fridge before serving, fruited ice creams take even longer to soften so you'll have to experiment a little with it.

But we really enjoyed this one even though it wasn't as fruity as it should have been.  Just having that little hint of strawberry was very good.  I'll have to try it with more strawberries the next time around!

I made a black cherry ice cream a few weeks ago and we did not like it so I didn't post that.  It just didn't have any flavor to it and it also made my throat feel funny so I'm now wondering if I have a food sensitivity to cherries?  Anyway, I won't make it again.  But I do hope you try the one above and let me know what you think.  : )


Today is the most lovely of days.  The weather turned around last night after storms in our area (not here though).  The wind shifted to the north and it's nice and cool and the windows are open and the sun is shining.  : )

I'm happily getting my daily to-do list items finished according to my trusty notebook and yesterday I spent quite a bit of time figuring out a few Fall/Winter make-aheads for the freezer.  Just like I did last Spring (which seems like yesterday), I wrote down things that I'd like to have around for cozy meals.  Each shopping trip I'm trying to buy a couple of meat items for the freezer along with pantry ingredients.  I'm stocking up on pumpkin for the muffins and breads.  Buying chicken to cook for meals and then use the bones for stock.  Last week I bought reusable meal-prep containers so that I can cook on the weekend as the holidays get closer and put the food into the containers (meat, grain, vegetable) to cover and just re-heat throughout the week.  Most last 3-4 days in the fridge so it'll be fun to just have everything ready and it would be great to share/give to someone too.  

I just heard that we will have our 3rd annual pumpkin carving party at the beginning of November so I'm REALLY looking forward to that and already planning the particulars.  Something to look forward to!!!!!  : )  There is something SO very nice when you do something for others and they want to do it again.  It really warms my heart.

Well, that is it for this middle of the week.  SO glad you dropped by for a visit.  Now off to get the last thing done on my list before I start to think of our supper.  God bless!!!!  : )

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

A little Autumnal decor.  : )


Well, tomorrow is the 1st day of Autumn.  I love the changing of the seasons.  Around here it doesn't look too much like Fall yet - we've had so much rain that everything is green and blooming still.

The weekend (so far) has been nice.  Friday evening we went over to our son and "daughter"'s house for supper and games.  It's fun to see the life that they are building together taking on the responsibility of fixing up a REAL fixer upper and doing a good job with that!  Sitting together at the table and eating and chatting and sitting at the same table laughing over games.  I SO cherish the family time together and am often sad when the evening is over - (I'm one of those moms who could have her family live under the same roof together).

Yesterday I DID have my crafting day - a couple of paper crafts and a fabric craft (which I'm still working on).  So that was nice.

Today the message at church was so good again - a thought-provoking message from the Bible (which I definitely need for the upcoming week).  

For me it will definitely be "homemaking thoughts and doings" -  getting my lists ready for what should be done and what needs to be done and working towards those goals.   During this time of year I always think of my mother-in-law.  She taught me so much not by words but by the way she did things in her home.  I appreciate homemaking books written by women who love their homes and think it's important enough to write about.  I'm grateful that the Lord put within me a love for homemaking even though there are times when I struggle with feeling whether or not it's important enough.

I have often stressed in other posts the importance of learning and how we all should be learning while we're here at home.  Learn how to cook better, learn how to bake better, learn how to garden, learn how to clean healthier, learn how to get rid of clutter, learn how to organize, learn how to take care of yourselves.........because by learning we grow.  By learning we become interested and interesting and we enjoy our homes rather than getting frustrated with it.  

One thing about my mother-in-law is that she had a way of looking at something and make it pretty.  You would open a kitchen drawer and she made her own dividers covered with pretty wallpaper or something and everything had a place.  I like that.  She was very motivating.

Now with the onset of Autumn I get that motivation again.  Our homes get cozy and homey and inviting.  The soup is on and the casseroles are in the oven.  The bread and the cookies are baking.  The holiday list-making starts to stir in our minds as we write down ideas (whether or not they all come to pass we know it's okay to at least think about it).  The hot chocolate with marshmallows and the hot apple cider fill our cups.  We have books to curl up with.  We have Fall cleaning to accomplish (both inside and out).  It makes me feel like I'm young again like when, as a child, you're looking forward to something.  You know it's important to bring out those traditions that brings family and friends together so you go through all the effort.  It's called LOVE.  Love for home.  Love for family.  Love for friends.   And a homemaker has a very important role to play in all of that.

So, this week, I encourage you to be motivated!  Live the life God has put you in and live it to it's fullest.  Get creative.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  Write down as many ideas as you can think of to put some fun into your home.  Let the Autumn days bring about a welcome change.  Go back to when you were a child and remember what brought you comfort and joy and try to recreate that in your home.   Was that:

*good smells from kitchen?
*decorating?
*helping others?
*outdoor fun?
*crafting?
*canning and preserving?

Write everything down that you can think of and then begin taking the steps to fulfill those wonderful memories.  It may not be exactly the same and you may not be able to do it all but you'll be amazed at how wonderful it is once you start.  

What special things do you do this time of year?  I'd love to hear about it!!!!  : )

Thank you for the time you've spent with me today.  God bless your week.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday Morning

Sunrise over Lake Superior.


There wasn't a lot of domesticity going on here this past week.  Last Sunday after church, my husband I took off to go up north for a few days to one of our favorite places - the north shore of Minnesota.  We hadn't gone anywhere all year and we were just itching to get out of town so it just worked out and we had such a nice time.  Here it is in pictures:

You'll see lots of foliage photos - I love all the trees, flowers, and bushes.

In a park along the shoreline.

Waking up to a very foggy morning on our first day, but it burned off and we had a beautiful afternoon.

Getting better!  This is right outside of our room - lovely.  

On one of our walks.

Little spots of color amongst the green.

The beginning of Fall beauty.

The perfect afternoon for viewing Split Rock Lighthouse.

Beautiful.

I love vegetation growing out of rocks.

Pretty little daisies all around.

Stormy skies.

We must have a thousand pictures of Gooseberry Falls but I always have to take one more!

Another view from our room.

Woke up to really thick fog the next morning too so I never expected it to go away in time to see this gorgeous sunrise.  : )  Amazing.

Before a day of heavy rain set in we were able to view this freighter come in.

Getting closer to it's destination.

Almost there.

Made it. 

After a whole day of rain it cleared up towards evening so we had a chance to go out again and do some walking after resting and relaxing.  The fresh smell was wonderful.

We are always amazed at how just 2 1/2 days of getting away is just what we need.  It doesn't have to  be a long stretch of time in order to feel rejuvenated.  We left on a Sunday and returned on Wednesday and it really was just right.  We walked a lot.  Climbed rocks.  Sat on driftwood.  Looked for special rocks.  Took pictures.  Ate lunches by tailgating.  Saw beauty.  Smelled the clean, fresh air.  Soaked in the sun.   So grateful to the Lord for this time away.  : )

Upon arriving home, though, we quickly get back into the swing of things - laundry has to be done, the grocery list has to be made, shopping needs to be done, the yard needs to be mowed.............but that IS home ownership and I'm grateful for that too.

It has been unseasonably warm (hot and humid) around here and today looks like it will be rainy so I'm actually looking forward to a day of crafting and sewing.  I have craft ideas to try out and a dress that is almost done and a rainy day is perfect for that kind of thing.

Well, I think that is about it for today!  Thank you SO much for dropping by again for a visit - I appreciate it when you do.  God bless.