Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Back To A New Week

The peony - a favorite flower.  : )

Well, I hope you enjoyed the long, holiday weekend.  Our neighborhood was pretty quiet as people left to go out of town.  We like staying put.  We rested a lot but also got a lot done.  We visited with friends and family but also had time to ourselves.  It rained off and on except for Sunday afternoon and all day Monday and now it's back to raining a little again.  One of those good days to be indoors after a holiday.

As I mentioned before, I am working my way around the house in trying to get the weeds under control, putting mulch down and planting new flowers.  Here is what we've accomplished so far:

This is the front yard -

The glass stand I made a few weeks ago with a potted plant sitting on our little front porch.

This s a corner that we can't see but I wanted a little something for our neighbors to enjoy when they drive up in their driveway.  From the picture, I can see that I need either a couple more plates or possibly something larger.  The plate looks a little tiny amongst everything else.

This is under a maple tree that we planted about 8 years ago.

This is under a birch tree.

This is what I worked on yesterday.  It is the north side of the house and that, of course, means shade.  We found this cute little girl at a store (I love rusty things).

More along the north side.  I bought two coral bells plants only later to find out that rabbits like coral bells!  As you can see, our hostas got a good munching on.  I sprinkled some crushed red pepper around them hoping that will help.  I do have to get some spray though.  In the back are Lilies-of-the Valley and then I dug out some ferns we had and put them in as fillers (which the rabbits DON'T like).  Yeah!

It always amazes me as to how long these "little" projects take.  The pulling of weeds, the digging out plants, the planting, the mulching, the watering.  But it's done and now I move on and around to the back where more flowers are needed.  I'm so glad that I'm motivated this year.  It hasn't always been the case.

Now, back to Tuesday and the work that comes with that:

*pay bills
*menu/grocery list
*dusting
*pork roast in the oven for tonight's meal
*blogging!  : )

Since tomorrow is June (what?!) here are the June to-do's:

*weatherstrip doors/windows to keep the hot air out and the cool air in
*patch concrete sidewalks
*regrade foundation for any heavy summer rains
*refinish/paint furniture (outside where there are no fumes)
*restock 1st aid for the car/home
*clean gutters
*let the fresh air in (I love air conditioning, but I also love the cool air in the mornings and evenings)
*change the furnace filter
*check outdoor caulking
*weed regularly
*make Father's Day plans
*flip the mattress and wash ALL the bedding

This seems do-able.  : )  Remember to delegate!

I hope this helps you in your quest to make a comfortable, cozy, organized, pretty, home.  God bless you today and throughout the week in your work.  Thanks for stopping by - you are ALWAYS welcome.  : )








Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend


We are waking up to a nice gentle rain this morning and, from what I hear, it's going to be a pretty typical Memorial Day weekend with rain off and on through Monday.  I always feel that it goes along with the somber mood of what this weekend is about.  Remembering those who have gone before us - family, friends, and especially those who gave their lives so that we still have the freedoms we do.

Every year we try to go to our National Cemetery.  I have an uncle buried there who earned a purple heart in his service during World War II.  As I look across the vast sea of graves, emotions rise up as I look at families huddled over the grave of a loved one they lost to wars past and present.  Some taken too soon from this life and some who have lived a long life with hardly anyone knowing what part they played in keeping us safe.

My mom's first husband was killed over in France in World War II and is buried over there.  He left behind 4 small children.  Three out of four of those children were blessed to be able to fly over to France a few years ago and find the grave of the dad they did not get to know.  My own dad, who died 13 years ago, fought in northern Africa during World War II and came back home not quite the same as when he left.  There are thousands upon thousands of stories that can be told of the sacrifice and bravery that these young men showed.  And still, today, we find them sacrificing for us.

I hope you will try to instill within your children or grandchildren, a sense of gratitude for these people and help them to understand why this is a weekend of not just a long holiday weekend, not just picnics and playing, but a time to remember and give thanks.  A time to pray for our country and for those who serve.  A time to take a few flowers to an unknown soldier (known only to God).

God bless you and your families.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What I Did Today


The title of the post today sounds like an elementary school essay assignment.   : )   

I can't quite believe we're looking at the last full week of May and that Memorial Day weekend is coming up.  We always feel it's the beginning of summer when that happens.  Are you ready for it?

Today is a bit on the hot side and we have to check each other here at home whenever the temperature gets above our comfort level.  We come through a long, cold, winter and then a cool, rainy, spring and we find ourselves complaining it's too hot!  So, we try to stop ourselves before the words get out of our mouths.  

Here is "what I did today" -

*wrote out the menu and grocery list
*ironed
*made lemonade
*made tartar sauce 
*boiled eggs
*diced a green pepper for the freezer
*put a set of pillowcases in my Etsy shop (these are them) -


*now I'm blogging  : )

Our menu for the week is -

Baked Tilapia, homemade rice-a-roni, dinner salad
Italian meat sauce over ravioli, stir fried green beans, jello parfaits
Hot dogs (healthy ones with no nitrates!), potato salad, corn-on-cob
Tuna melts, chips, pickles, fresh fruit
Leftovers day
And, a meal out
Memorial Day meal of sloppy joes, hot dogs, macaroni salad, watermelon, cookies and ice cream
Pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, fresh fruit

The idea of going through my grocery list a second time before I go shopping has really been helpful.  There are often items that I can make rather than buy.  The tartar sauce I just made was a dollop of Miracle Whip type salad dressing and a couple dollops of pickle relish.  The lemonade I made was from bottled lemon juice, water, and sugar.  Things like that.  So, the next time you write out your list, go through it again and see what you can make from scratch instead of buying!  : )

Well, again, that's it!  I hope you are enjoying your day.  God bless.







Monday, May 23, 2016

Keeping Busy


The weather has been so very nice.  Too nice to let the outside work go.  Both Friday and Saturday afternoons found us outdoors working on the front yard.  I pulled three bags of weeds under a big area and then we spread the mulch out.  It looks so much better and so "finished."  Flowers are in the half barrel under the birch tree along with my little troll house with tiny troll (rake in hand) standing beside it.  Flowers are in a planter in another part of the yard where we are slowly adding things for interest.  Flowers are also on top of a homemade glass stand sitting on our tiny front porch area. And, to top it off, a pot of geraniums on a shelf under the outside window.  A lot of work, but the end result is worth it.  It's not fancy by any means but it's just a little something to pretty up our surroundings.  Just a couple more things to be done (painting the front porch, and pavers along the sidewalk) and that will be the front yard for this year.

I am going to work my way around the house so this week I will be working on the north side where it gets a lot of shade and it's next to the driveway so it's not very pretty.  My job is to try to change that somehow.  : )

Well, it's Monday and I'm back indoors.  I tweaked a few things in the living room and dining area along with cleaning and laundry.  I continue to have a room that everything gets put in and then it gets out of control so I just finished that and then it will be on to the bathroom and putting the laundry away.  That will take me up to getting into the kitchen to prepare tonight's meal:

Little Cheddar Meatloaves
Oven baked sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and carrots
Fresh apple slices

When I prepared our after church meal yesterday, I remembered that we were out of ketchup.  I had used it all up in doubling a Sloppy Joe recipe I made on Thursday for the freezer.  And yesterday I wanted to make a homemade salad dressing for our main dish salad and it calls for ketchup.  I have had a recipe for homemade ketchup for quite a while now and it gave me a good excuse to try it.  I really didn't think it would taste like the ketchup we're used to but lo, and behold, it was really good! Here is the recipe:

HOMEMADE KETCHUP

1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Put in blender and blend well, add a dash of salt.  That's it!  So easy, so good.  : )

I will buy a bottle of ketchup for the pantry, but from now on I'm making this.

That is about it for today.  I hope you are enjoying your home and have a good rest of the day and upcoming evening.  God bless your homemaking efforts - it's important work!



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Morning


For my Bible reading, I read the Old Testament in the morning and then the New Testament before bed and right now I'm in the Book of Acts.  I've always liked the passage in Acts 16: 16-34.  I hope you will read it today.  It is when Paul and Silas are flogged, thrown into prison, and their feet are in chains.  You would think, that under these circumstances, the last thing they would be doing is praying and singing to God.  Praying I can understand, but sing?  "........and the other prisoners were listening to them." (v. 25)

Under difficult circumstances, there might be someone who is watching us.  Watching how we handle things.  Are we known to fly off the handle?  Do we sulk?  Do we become afraid?  Or are we caught praying?  Do they hear us singing?  What a testimony to the fact that our joy and strength is in the Lord.

The other thing about this passage is when the prison was shaken by a violent earthquake and the prison doors were opened and everybody's chains came loose.  The jailer was in charge of his prisoners and he knew that if anyone escaped he would lose his life so he tried to kill himself.  But Paul shouted not to do that. All the prisoners were accounted for.  This whole event frightened the jailer so much that he fell trembling before Paul and Silas and asked "what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved........."  At that hour, he was.  This jailer saw and heard how Paul and Silas reacted to being beaten, thrown into jail, and chained.  He knew there was something different about these men.  He heard them pray to God and sing songs of praise.  Who wouldn't want to have that?

The jailer asked THE most important question there is - "what must I do to be saved?"  And Paul and Silas answered with THE most important answer - "Believe in the Lord Jesus......."

"My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior
Has rescued me."

Amazing Grace.  I hope you have a wonderful Sabbath.  : )

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Couple More Things from the Kitchen Notebook


I'm between jobs right now, so I'll chat with you again!

It is a beautiful day.  The green all around is such a treat.  And the allergies (for me anyway) are becoming a thing of the past.  : )  I hope you are enjoying the day wherever you happen to be.

I'm SO glad I keep a kitchen notebook.  I take it off the shelf often to either peruse it or add more information to it.  I love learning about nutrition and cooking healthy and what foods work together and all of that.  Whenever I make the menu for the week and the subsequent grocery list from it (which was yesterday) I flip through the notebook pages and re-read the notes I've taken or articles cut out of magazines.  I hope you can begin one for yourselves!  Either a three-ring binder with paper or a spiral notebook that you can "pretty-up" on the outside would be lovely.  I consider it a big help when trying to think of what to serve and how to serve it.  In it I have menu ideas, healthy eating ideas, food gift basket ideas, freezer meal ideas, what important vitamins are in what foods, weight-reducing ideas,  frugality ideas, the names of cookbooks and what page a recipe is on that I might want to try, etc.  All of these things are important to me as a homemaker.  I think some people would roll their eyes at why I would go through the effort and think I might have too much time on my hands, but I feel that all of this information is helpful in taking care of my health and the health of my family while saving money as well.

So, I'm going to give you another little tidbit from my notebook.  We've all heard of "Super Foods" - the foods we should all include in our diet on a regular basis for the health benefits we get from them. Well, here is what I have written down:

Blueberries
Broccoli
Flaxseed
Legumes
Lowfat Yogurt
Nuts
Red grapes
Tomatoes
Oatmeal
Oily Fish
Olive Oil
Oranges
Peppers
Quinoa
Spinach

I must admit that we try to have all of these on a regular basis as part of our meals.  The only two we don't have are legumes (because of allergies) and Quinoa (even though I have some in the pantry!). Now, having said that, I have an article that I cut out of a magazine a long time ago that gives the "Clean 15" and the "Dirty 12."  The "Clean 15" are foods that you can buy in a supermarket as is without worrying too much about pesticides, etc., and the "Dirty 12" are foods that you may want to buy as organic.  Here are the lists:

The "Clean 15" -
*Onions
*Avocado
*Sweet corn
*Pineapple
*Mangoes
*Sweet peas
*Asparagus
*Kiwifruit
*Cabbage
*Eggplant
*Cantaloupe
*Watermelon
*Grapefruit
*Sweet potato
*Honeydew Melon

The "Dirty 12" -

*Celery
*Peaches
*Strawberries
*Apples
*Blueberries
*Nectarines
*Bell peppers
*Spinach
*Kale
*Cherries
*Potatoes
*Imported grapes

So, in trying to incorporate the Super Foods from above into your meals, these lists also help in knowing what to buy that is good for you.  What's even better yet, is if you are a gardener!  Then you know if your food is clean or not.  But, of course, not everyone has that option.  If you can begin to use less meat in your meals, buying healthy fruits and vegetables shouldn't break the bank.  Careful planning is key.  With the high cost of food today, I've been able to keep the same food budget that I've had five years ago!  And I DO buy some organic foods with that budget so it can be done.  But I must admit that I cook a LOT more from scratch than I ever have, so I'm sure that has something to do with keeping costs down.  : )

That is all I have for today.  Have fun with planning your meals and cooking good food.  I hope this helps a little.

Before I leave, I want to share something I read this morning in the Bible with you.  I'm now in the book of Joshua.  I'm at the point where the Israelites have crossed the Jordan and are now in the land God has promised to them.  The Canaanite kings heard how God helped them cross over and:

"......their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites."

I loved the words "their hearts melted."  After the Bible reading, I thought what a wonderful prayer that would be every morning.  To pray that the hearts of every man, woman, and child in this world would melt when they hear about the greatness of God so that they would fall into submission, repent, and be saved.  

Have a good rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Theme Picnics


While a cake is in the oven, I will chat with you a bit.  : )

One of the things I loved when homeschooling is we made theme dinners.  You name it, we did it. National pancake day?  Okay, pancakes it is.  National ice cream day?  No problem.  When I went through my kitchen notebook yesterday, I ran across some notes I had taken a while back on theme picnics and since picnic season is upon us, I thought I'd share them with you.

1.  Hawaiian Luau picnic -
 Glazed Chicken Wings
 Pineapple rice pilaf
 Mixed greens salad

2.  Vermont Snow picnic - (this is meant for a winter picnic, but on a cool evening it would be just as good)

Beef Stew
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Cupcakes for dessert

3.  Crab picnic - (this is a bit extravagant, but buying a package of crab legs once in a while to put in the freezer would about do it!)

Crab Legs w/melted butter
Chopped Salad
French Bread

4.  Summer brunch picnic -

Salmon fillets w/Honey Mustard Sauce and Tartar Sauce
Mixed green salad
Fresh fruit
Variety of quick breads

5.  Mexican picnic -

Hard and soft shell tacos (take the cooked meat separately along with all the fixins')
Variety of tortilla chips with salsa
Fresh fruit
Lemonade

6.  All American picnic -

Fried Chicken
Biscuits and honey
Potato salad (be careful with potato salad - keep it on ice!)
Watermelon slices
Apple Pie

7.  Picnic-on-the-road -

Variety of sandwiches all wrapped in wax paper (put a pretty sticker on each one)
Potato chips
Fresh fruit (put this in individual plastic containers or one large and scoop out)
Iced tea and Lemonade to drink

8.  Progressive picnic - (this is a picnic where you go from house to house with friends and/or family - each house is responsible for a certain part of the menu and you'll need to plan ahead of time for this)

One house is responsible for an appetizer with beverage
Another house is responsible for a salad and bread
The other house is responsible for the main entree' which could be something as simple as hot dogs or hamburgers but that's up to them!
And the last house would be responsible for a dessert and coffee or tea

Don't those just wet your appetite to get out this summer and have some picnic fun?!  I'm going to throw one more out there that you would do on the 1st day of summer in June.  It's called "A Midsummer's Eve Picnic."  I did this a few summers ago and it can be quite enchanting.  The flowers are pretty by this time, you can hang pretty lights all over the yard and light a lot of candles, put on some beautiful music and just linger into the night.  Serve -

Fresh Fruit tray
Meat and cheese tray along with mini buns to make sandwiches (you will want butter and mustard as well)
Fresh vegetable tray (with a couple of dips)
Small cakes and cookies served on plate stands
Iced tea and lemonade or sparkling cider

It's very pretty.  : )

Well, that's it!  I do hope you will try one (or all!) of these this summer.  Life gets so serious that we need to step back a bit and allow ourselves to have fun.  Have a good evening!!!  God bless you.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Thinking About Summer


When we first moved here our electricity used to go out a lot during the summer.  And it usually wasn't weather related, it was because squirrels used to get into the transformer and, poof!  No electricity and, well, no more squirrel.  : o  

It would, sometimes, be days before they got around to fixing it.  That doesn't happen anymore now that they put some squirrel-proof guards around them so they can't get in. But we do still have summer storms that can leave us without power just as fast.  

A couple of years ago, I went through my vintage cookbooks and looked for all the recipes I could find that required no cooking.  And it wasn't just for a "no electricity" day, it was also for those dog days of summer when you just don't feel like cooking or you don't want to heat up the kitchen.  Of course, having a BBQ grill outside under a shade tree is a good idea too, but not everyone can even have a grill.

When the electricity goes off, we all know that it's a good idea to limit the times you go in and out of the fridge and freezer to keep the cold air contained.  But it's also a good idea to use things up in the fridge and freezer if you don't have any idea how long it's going to be.  So that food should be eaten first.  But it's wise to build a summer pantry on convenience foods that will last at least a week.  I know these kinds of food aren't exactly healthy and some are quite high in sugar and sodium, but we have to eat and, again, it's expensive to rely on restaurants and the grocery stores may run out of items as well.

So here is a list to get you started thinking on things you can buy and put away for those times you might need them:

*canned tuna
*peanut butter
*canned luncheon meat
*canned chicken
*canned salmon

All of these can be used for cold sandwiches and then if the bread runs out, it would be wise to have:

*whole grain crackers or saltines (or both!) to put them on

(Note:  make sure you have a couple of hand-held can openers!  Canned food is of no use without them.)

*assorted relishes - pickles, olives, pickled beets, etc.
*canned fruit
*canned frosting to spread on -
*graham crackers
*assorted jelly and jam
*granola bars
*individual canned juices 
*ready made pie crusts such as graham cracker crusts, etc.
*canned pie fillings
*pre-packaged puddings
*assorted chips
*bottled water (lots) - having flavor packets (like lemonade) is also very nice to have around
*boxes of dried milk to reconstitute with water
*ready-to-eat breakfast cereal
*sugar, honey
*whatever else you can think of!  : )

Just with these food items on your shelves, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner without having to go out.  Like I said before, it isn't exactly health food, but it will sustain your family.  I always feel that if you have a plan, chances are you won't need it, but it's so nice when you do.

I hope you have fun with this.  It's a wonderful feeling to not have to worry about things like this when the time comes.   And how impressed will your family be when you say "Not to worry.  Bring out the candles, set the table, and let's prepare something to eat!"  : )

Enjoy the rest of this day.  Thank you SO MUCH for dropping by.




Sunday, May 15, 2016

Be Strong and Courageous


"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9


The world seems like an upside down, scary place at times.  Decisions are made for us that we don't want anything to do with and it can keep us from focusing on the Lord.  We aren't promised an easy time of it while we are here on earth, but we are promised that God will be with us in it and through it.  

On this Sabbath day, let us re-focus our attention.  Let us praise God, our Father, and thank Him for how He provides and gives so generously.   Let us pray for direction and strength to get through the days ahead.  Let's continue to go forward with courage and look ahead to the upcoming day and week.  We can do that because God is already there and "will be with you wherever you go."  : ) 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Food Preparation


Because I have a tiny kitchen, I have learned the process of making as much food ahead of time, when having company over, as possible.  With limited countertop space, I can't have dirty pots and pans or utensils and bowls all over or even in the sink.  I need to have everything washed, dried, and put away before company shows up for ease of serving and having the kitchen look clean and organized.  That's not an easy thing and it requires organizational skills and thoughtful preparation ahead of time.

For example - I had company last evening and the menu was:

BBQ ribs
Pasta Vegetable Salad
Corn-on-the-cob
Cake and coffee for dessert

What can be made early in the day or even early in the afternoon?

I knew that the pasta vegetable salad needs to sit in the fridge for a while before serving so I made that first.  It is a salad that requires a bit of cutting things up and cooking pasta and making the sauce to pour over it so it's something that takes time.  I made that first right after lunch.  This is one salad that everyone in our family loves so here is the recipe:

PASTA VEGETABLE SALAD

1, 7 oz. pkg. macaroni rings
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
1/2 cup finely diced green pepper
1 Tbsp. finely diced onion
2 c. finely chopped cabbage (I use a bit more and I use bagged with carrots in it)
1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar (if this seems to be a lot, you can certainly cut back)
1 c. Miracle Whip (or like me, use the generic brand)

Prepare macaroni rings.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.  Add diced vegetables.  Combine sugar, vinegar, and Miracle Whip.  Pour over macaroni and vegetables.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy!  : )


This is what it looks like when done.   Wonderful for summer potlucks.

The cake could have been made days ago and put in the freezer, but I didn't think that far ahead so, after the pasta salad was made, the cake was going to be next.  Now this cake recipe is from my friend, Violet, and is my go-to cake because it is so quick to put together and like I said it can be frozen and it is SO good.  Another family favorite.

It is called LAZY DAISY CAKE:

1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat milk and butter.  Beat eggs lightly, add sugar and beat.  Add flour and baking powder alternating with hot milk and butter.  Add vanilla.  Bake in greased 8 x 8 pan for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. butter and spread carefully over hot cake.  Put back in oven a few minutes to melt.

This is such a tasty, moist cake.  I know you'll love it.  : )

So, now for the corn-on-cob.  Last year I looked up as many things as I could to make ahead and found this one for the corn.  This is a real time-saver -

CROCKPOT CORN-ON-COB

6 - 8 ears of corn, husked
4 Tbsp. of butter
seasoning to taste

*Place corn on foil.  Rub about 1/2 Tbsp. butter on corn cob.
*Sprinkle with seasonings
*Wrap corn in foil and place in crockpot.
*Cook on Low for 4 - 5 hours or 2 - 2 1/2 hours on High.

That's it!!  Again, this is something that doesn't require a big pot of water on the stovetop at the last minute before everyone comes and then having to find room for the pot after draining.  The ONLY thing I would say about this is that all crockpots are different.  Some run hotter than others so I found it's good to check the corn occasionally to see how it's coming along.

OK.  Three things out of the four are done.  The dishes are all cleaned up and put away and now the kitchen is back to normal.  What I have left are the BBQ Ribs which is kind of a last minute thing but doesn't have to be.  

BBQ RIBS

*I use country ribs which are larger and meatier so I put all of them in a big pot, cover with water, and sit on stovetop with High heat and bring to a boil.  Boil them for 1 hour.  Drain.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Put the ribs on a rack over a foil-lined pan and slather with BBQ Sauce and put in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Take them out, turn them over and slather them again.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Take them out, turn them over and slather them again and bake again for another 10 minutes.  I do this one or two more times until they are luscious and thick with sauce.  (This, of course, can also be done on the grill)
*Now the time saver - transfer these delectable ribs to a large crockpot and put on Low.  I have kept these ribs in the crockpot up to 2 hours before a party begins and it's just fine.  This gives me time to clean up the pan they were boiled in and the rack they were baked on.  Perfect.  : )

Here is the recipe for the wonderful BBQ Sauce that I made last week:

BBQ SAUCE

1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 tsps. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp. liquid smoke (it really does need this)

Heat oil over medium heat; add onion and saute for about 3 minutes then add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add in chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper; stir for 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients; bring to boil stirring to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer UNCOVERED for 1 hour.  Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 24 or more hours before using.  Seriously.  This is SOOOOOO good.  : )

So, there you have it.  A lot of food to prepare in a tiny kitchen.  All it requires is some time management and thinking things through so that you aren't washing dishes when your company arrives and the kitchen is clean and organized.  You can actually sit back and relax a while.  What are your favorite time-and-space saving ideas?

I hope you enjoy this Saturday.  Thank you for stopping by.  Again, you are ALWAYS welcome.  : )

May God bless your efforts in making good food and providing hospitality to those who mean a lot to you.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Short and Sweet

Bizarre-looking tree in the north woods.

For me, today is Wednesday so that meant marketing day.  Then bringing it home and putting it away and cleaning out the fridge.  I'm trying to keep better track of things in the fridge so I don't end up throwing a lot out.  For example, last week I made BBQ sauce for a certain recipe, but the recipe only called for a little but the BBQ sauce made quite a bit, so I wrote a note-to-self that this week I would need to make something that required use of the sauce and that's where the BBQ ribs come in.  Also last week I made Honey Mustard Sauce for our salmon but, again, it makes quite a bit of sauce so another note-to-self that I would need to make something to use the rest of the sauce with and that's where the chicken strips idea came about.  That way these things don't end up getting pushed towards the back and never get used and then thrown.  I always feel bad when good food gets tucked away and then it spoils.  NOT good stewardship.

I've done a couple of tiny loads of laundry to keep up, cleaned the bathroom, and made chocolate chip cookies for tonight's Bible study.  That has been my day!  Short and sweet.  : )

Before I leave, I wanted to share a verse from my Bible reading this morning that just jumped out at me.  It is one of the last things Moses told the Israelites before crossing the Jordan into the promised land and we could benefit from hearing this too:

"They are not just idle words for you - they are your life."  Deuteronomy 32:47

Isn't that just wonderful?  When we read God's word, they are not just words on paper, they give life to us.  God loved us so much that He put things down in a book to be read by us so that we can learn from Him, learn of Him, know what He wants us to do, how to act, how to live, etc.  Have you picked up your Bible today?  - "They are not just idle words for you - they are your life."  : )



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Two Days In One

Our backyard Azalea

Since we returned home yesterday, today has been Monday AND Tuesday for me as far as work goes and getting things done:

*Laundry and Ironing
*Light housecleaning
*Menu/grocery list for tomorrow's shopping
*A few miscellaneous things in the kitchen
*Picked this -

rhubarb for this

rhubarb crisp for supper tonight.

I do believe that is the earliest I've ever picked rhubarb.  I don't have a big patch, but usually just enough for one pie or dessert (I chose dessert).  Rhubarb is not a favorite around here (except for me) so once kind of does it.  : )  In a little while I will go and whip up some cream for it - that seems to make quite a few things better.  LOL

And then I wanted to show you this:


I buy organic onions and there are times when I can't use up the bag in my weekly cooking so I end up with a couple that I can't use, BUT I have found out that if you just peel away the outer layers and get to the middle where the growth is coming from, you can do this:


They look like green onions, but if you just put these into a jar or drinking glass with water, they will sprout roots and you can plant them in the garden!  They will form more onions.  And you can do that all growing season.  Really looking forward to this.  : )  No waste.  I have a few potatoes also that have sprouted and need to get in the ground.  A little experimentation this year - I'm not an avid gardener so I'm still learning, but it's fun.

My menu for the week:

Tonight - Tuna Casserole (and instead of the canned french fried onions on top, I just slice up a couple of onions, coat them with flour, fry them quickly, and salt them.  Y - U - M) Serving a side salad, and pear slices.

Thursday - Homemade pizza with dough in the freezer, sliced oranges

Friday - (company coming) - Oven Swiss Steak, baked potatoes and carrots, dinner rolls, apple pie

Saturday - Spinach salad w/tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted cauliflower, drizzle w/olive oil and sliced boiled eggs on top

Sunday - Ribs w/homemade BBQ sauce, coleslaw, corn-on-cob, ice cream for dessert

Monday - Scrambled egg burritos, fresh fruit

Tuesday - Chicken strips w/homemade honey mustard sauce, rice pilaf, glazed carrots

I have a snack cake, cookies, and bread to make for the freezer.

So that has been my day!  Now I'd better head into the kitchen to get supper going.  Thanks SO much for dropping by.  God bless you.







Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Back Home!


Back home.  I was whisked away to northern Minnesota for a couple of days of time off. Whenever we do this, it is definitely not a time of rest and relaxation.  We pack a LOT into a couple of days! Because of that we come back to where we are staying feeling hungry and tired so you will usually find us eating something we picked up on the way back, our feet up, and watching something on TV. But the deep sleep we experience from being out in the fresh air and all that walking around cannot be beat.  We awaken in the mornings feeling so refreshed and ready to do it all again.

The first day up and out was Mother's Day afternoon so there were quite a few people who had the same idea.  When we left our house in the morning for the drive up it was 68 degrees and by the time we got up north it was 48 degrees with 25-30 mph winds.  But that was not going to stop us.  We used a gift card for picnic food, found a spot along Lake Superior and sat in the car eating and enjoying the view. We then proceeded to go to where we would spend a couple of nights, checked in, brought our luggage in and quickly went out again.  Yes, it was cold and windy, but the sun was out and it looked beautiful.  

We began our stop at Split Rock Lighthouse where we actually had the place to ourselves!

Old photo from last year.

Then made our way to Gooseberry Falls, where we did NOT have the place to ourselves!  : o

Again, this is an old photo.  This spring, these falls were thundering with tons of water flowing over them.

After viewing the falls, we headed out to a rocky area about a mile away where the wind was so strong it was hard to walk and so cold our hands were numb, but to see the waves of Lake Superior splash against the rocks was wonderful.  It was there that we, once again, had the place to ourselves. Wonderful photo opportunities!  I hope to show these as soon as I get them downloaded (or is it uploaded?).  LOL

By this time we were tired from the drive and from the walking around and from fighting the wind so we went back to our place and settled in the for the night.

The next day we started out early and drove all the way to the end of the Gunflint Trail.  It is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and is one of our favorite drives.  Coniferous and deciduous forests dotted with lakes and it truly is a wilderness area.  You can feel the hard edges melt away as you drive and once we got to the end of the trail, we parked our car and just walked around.  My sense of adventuring out isn't as strong as it is for my son and husband.  I'm VERY fearful of black bears and I'm always thinking we'll meet one on one of these walks (especially now that it's spring and they're coming out of hibernation!).  Now that we were 60 miles away from Lake Superior, the temperature went up to 64 degrees, the sun was out, and it wasn't as windy, so to say that is was almost perfect is an understatement.  We stayed for a long time just taking in the natural beauty and listening to the water and the birds.  Besides us, there was only one other person that we saw, so again, we had the place to ourselves which gave us lots of room for more photo opportunities.  By the way - we DID end up seeing a black bear about 10 minutes into our drive back down the trail - see......I KNEW there was a bear around somewhere!!!!   That was really exciting (I can say that now because we were in the car going 40 mph and he was in the ditch alongside the road).  : )

When we left this morning, it was cloudy, rainy, and the winds were even stronger so we felt the Lord gave us two gorgeous days of being out and about before we had to come back.  Now we are home and it's back to work tomorrow, but feeling so grateful for the time off.

I hope you have been having some good days as well.  Thank you for stopping by!





Friday, May 6, 2016

A Little of This, A Little of That

Badlands of South Dakota

Wow.  It was downright hot today.  I think we hit 91 degrees!  The average for this time of year is 67 degrees.  Instant summertime weather.  I'm not a 91-degree person - I'm the 67-degree person so I wasn't all that thrilled with today.  : o  

I'm so glad I worked outside yesterday.  It was warm-ish, but nice.  I cleaned out three areas of the front yard from weeds, rearranged some rocks, and moved things around a little.  Now I just need to plant some flowers and those areas will be known only as maintenance areas from now until Fall.  I have, however, one big area of the front yard yet that needs to be tended to but that is for another day hopefully next week.  It is such an instant gratification thing when I work on something like that.  It goes from being pretty ugly to something pretty (or at least will be) in a matter of a couple of hours.

I've been spending a good deal of my late afternoon hours in the kitchen.  Cooking from scratch is something that I want to do and am doing the best I know how, but it does require a bit of time.  It takes time to read through a recipe for a certain dish and then look at the menu for the day and think how much time you will need to carry it off.  Cooking from scratch sometimes requires using more dishes and utensils as well so I feel I'm constantly at the sink cleaning everything up.  But I do feel the food is better for us and the taste is real.

Yesterday was also a day of keeping up with laundry and ironing so it doesn't pile up.  Light housecleaning before the weekend needed to be done.  Having a pad of paper and pencil nearby always helps me jot ideas and notes down of what I think of while doing my chores (send a card for the graduate next week, buy a certain ingredient for next week's meal, check out a certain product for the garden, make the salad dressing today for the salad tomorrow, etc.).   As I cross them off on one sheet, I tear it off and transfer any leftover notes to the next sheet.  I could never in a million years remember everything I think about throughout the day so this is a real help to me.  And it's ALWAYS by the calendar!  I can't believe how quickly time goes by and that certain thing on that certain date just creeps up on you.  

Tomorrow promises to be a nice day (less heat) so hopefully a little more work outdoors will happen. And then a visit to see father-in-law with dessert in hand after supper.  That will be the weekend!  

 I want to wish all you moms out there a very "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY."  At this time of year I always think of the two babies I lost in miscarriage and wish I could have mothered them but know that I will meet them in heaven some day and then am VERY grateful that I had the privilege of being mom to our (now adult) son who was and still is a joy in our life.  And then I think of my own mom who died three years ago this month and how much I miss her.  So, as some of you know, it can be such a bittersweet time. I truly hope you can enjoy your day on Sunday.  God bless each one of you. 

See you soon!  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

National Day of Prayer

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

As followers of Christ and citizens of the United States, I am asking each one of you to join in praying for our country.  Here is a list to get you started:

*Pray for the President and the upcoming election of a new President
*Pray for Congress
*Pray for our Economy
*Pray for the Supreme Court Justices
*Pray for our Law Enforcement Officers
*Pray for Christians to Vote
*Pray for Foreign Relations
*Pray for safety of Diplomats
*Pray for the Social Welfare of our Nation
*Pray for National Morality!!!!! (emphasis mine)
*Pray for our Schools
*Pray for the Educational System
*Pray for our Educators
*Pray for Racial Harmony
*Pray for National Patriotism
*Pray for the Media
*Pray for the safety of our Nation
*Pray for the Protection for the Body of Christ
*Pray for Protection from Nuclear and Chemical Weapons
*Pray for Peace
*Pray for Military
*Pray for the Families of the Military
*Pray for Veterans
*Pray for POW's
*Pray for MIA's
*Pray for Protection from Terrorism
*Pray for the Peace of Israel
*Pray for National Revival!!!! (again, emphasis mine)
*Pray for the strengthening of Families
*Pray for Church Leadership
*Pray against Deception
*Pray for Repentance
*Prayer for the Salvation of Others
*Prayer for Personal Salvation

As you can see, there is a LOT to be prayed for!  It almost should be called National Week of Prayer.  But, please, pray.  We need it.

"......if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14