Saturday, July 30, 2016

Letting Go and Holding On

I'm writing my Sunday post tonight since it is on my mind.  : ) The title of this post kind of hit me today - the whole thought of how life is in the letting go and the holding on.

Letting go of:

*unforgiveness (in yourself and in others)
*the past
*comments made by others
*painful memories

And holding on to:

*God's truth
*God's protection
*God's forgiveness
*God's love
*God's healing
*God's care
*God's peace
*Our future with the Lord
*What God says about us

Oh how I wish I could say that this comes easy for me.  I'm getting better over the years at the "holding on to" list, but the "letting go" list is still a little difficult. Quite often that still small voice says "you of little faith."  I don't mean for it to be that way.  I don't wake up in the morning just wondering how I can make my life miserable. That's why I utter prayers for God's help and protection.  He is constantly teaching me to depend on Him instead of myself.  My self will usually let me down.  He never does.  If you can relate to this in any way, I hope you will join me in:

*Continuing to read God's Word (every day)
*Continuing in prayer (every day and throughout the day)
*Continuing to be others-centered instead of self-centered

God's Word shows us that we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings.  So many others before us have had the same fears and worries.  Prayer keeps our focus on God.  Sometimes my prayers seem so small and unimportant compared to what others are going through, but God is there.  He is listening.  He cares.  C.S. Lewis once said - "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me."  How true.  And, lastly, thinking about others keeps our minds off of ourselves.  There are a lot of needs to be met.

I hope you have a wonderful Sabbath.  A day that is focused on Jesus.  Let's try to let go and hold on to Him.  : )

Friday, July 29, 2016


I'm posting early.  Husband is at work for a while today (he usually has Fridays off) and this afternoon will be spent in pantry shopping.  I have saved up to buy toiletry items that can be put away hoping that it will last us into winter so it is a major shopping trip.  I have found that when you finally get to the point of having enough money saved up for things like this, you need to do it or either it won't get done or the money saved will go to other places.  I think the motivation was being at my brother's house last weekend.  He lives out in the country and quite a few miles from the nearest store.  I noticed in their closets that they had lots of paper products stored (toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, etc.) and thought that to be very wise.  Sometimes you won't be able to get out when that last roll of toilet paper is gone!

After I finish posting, I will need to get downstairs into our our little storage area and start clearing off shelves so that we have room.  The nice thing about doing this is that it will be good to not have to think about these items for quite a while and just concentrate on building up the food storage for winter.  : )

Yesterday morning started out making small batches of jam.

Two pints of strawberry and one pint of blueberry with a little leftover for everyone to try at supper last night.  They are freezer jams in which you can look up any recipe on-line and find one that suits you.  The strawberry jam consisted of strawberries (of course), sugar, and strawberry jello.  The blueberry jam consisted of blueberries (again, of course!), sugar, and fresh lemon juice.

I'm not a canner, so these small batch recipes are for me.  From beginning to end, it only took a couple of hours instead of the all-day canning my mom used to do. I kept thinking that there isn't anything that screams old-fashioned homemaking like canning.  It evoked memories of the steamy kitchen and the smells of fruit cooking and the pretty jars all lined up to be enjoyed later.  I'm definitely going to do more - maybe pickles?  : )

The rest of the day was just cleaning the house for the weekend and today is getting the laundry done for the weekend as well.  I'm finding that I pull out the ironing board every time I do the laundry now.  Some clothes can just be hung up straight from the dryer but there are many that need ironing so I just figured why not press them and get it out of the way instead of having a day devoted just to ironing?  It works very well for me.  I also pulled weeds yesterday which are, once again, getting out of control.  The hot spell we had last week (along with all the rain) just sprouted weeds all over the place.  So because we are enjoying a time of cool weather I had better get out there again.

Can you believe it is the end of July?!  Really.  Here is the list of the August to-do's coming up:

*Check your water heater.  Any leaks?
*Clean the BBQ grill - we haven't done a lot of grilling this summer, but it still gets pretty gross.
*Clean out the outdoor garbage containers - again, really gross.
*Clean out the garage - it's a nice gesture to put unwanted (but still good) things out on the curb for others to take and use.
*Shop for school supplies and clothes - if you don't have children in school anymore it's a very good thing to buy these for the kids in your community that can't afford these items.
*Maintain your car - a good washing prevents rust, a good vacuuming provides comfort, air in your tires is for safety, changing the oil prevents engine damage, etc.
*Change your air filters in your home - with windows open or pets around it sucks in a lot of dirt.
*Keep decluttering - shelves, closets, cabinets, drawers in every room - this sounds overwhelming but just concentrate on one room at a time.
*Flip your mattress/wash all the bedding.

There you have it!  This seems like a lot, but if you make a plan and do a little something every day it does get done.  Sometimes work like this can be very good therapy.  We need to strive to be good stewards of the things God gave to us.  So, I hope you enjoy the work in your home.  : )

Thank you for stopping by!  God bless you in your efforts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I guess you could say that the past couple of days have been just the domestic type of days.  I shouldn't say "just" - domesticity is important.  It's how we get our work done here at home!  : )  The usual:

*pay bills
*menu/grocery list
*keeping up with laundry
*light housecleaning 
*grocery shopping
*keeping up with correspondence

Again, a lot of the work has been in the kitchen.  I took longer than usual yesterday in my planning as I wanted to make sure that I include:

*making a freezer meal this week - which I've decided to make a double batch of Sloppy Joes to be able to thaw out when needed.
*cutting up a bag of onions and garlic to dehydrate this weekend for the pantry.
*making a bagged brownie mix to add to the pantry.
*buying fruit (strawberries and blueberries) now that they are on sale to make small batch jams for the freezer.  They can be frozen up to a year, so won't that taste good in the middle of winter?  : )
*I just boiled eggs - I love having hard-boiled eggs on hand at all times.

So far, that's it.  What I have left to do:

*make a couple of loaves of oatmeal bread.
*bake some summery lemon cookies for the freezer - a good, light dessert.
*make beef broth for the freezer - I've had the bones for months now.

Then I should be finished for this week's kitchen duty.  : )  

Our menu for this week includes:

*Last night - Cheesy Beef Taco Hamburger Helper (from the mix I had in the pantry - recipe to follow because we really enjoyed it), fresh fruit

*Tonight - Pannekuken, bacon, fresh fruit
*Thursday - Main dish salad, toasted bagels w/jam
*Friday - Peel and eat shrimp, rice pilaf, strawberries w/yogurt
*Saturday - take out meal
*Sunday - Beef pot roast w/carrots, potatoes, & yams, corn-on-cob, melon slices
*Monday - Cheese pizza, side salad, fresh fruit
*Tuesday - Chipotle chicken & rice bowls, tortilla chips & salsa, fruit

Here is the recipe for Cheesy Beef Taco Hamburger Helper:

To make the mix:  In a quart size ziplock bag, add 1 cup rice.  In a separate sandwich style bag, add 1 Tblsp. cornstarch, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. sugar.  Put this bag into quart size bag. Keep this bag in your pantry until needed.

To use:  Brown 1 lb. of hamburger, drain.  Add 2 1/4 cups hot water and 1/2 cup milk and 1 can of either stewed tomatoes (which I used) or 1 can diced tomatoes. Stir.  Add rice and seasoning packet.  Stir.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and lower heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or till rice is tender.  Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, near the end of cooking and then add another 1/2 cup shredded cheddar on top along with 1 cup of Fritos during the 5 minute standing period.

I also put some sour cream on the side to add on top if desired.  This really was quite good.  Since I used this mix up, I will need to make another one and put it back on the shelf for another time.  I can see where these homemade mixes are going to come in very handy.  It takes no time at all and supper is on the table!  It also makes a large batch so there are wonderful leftovers for the next day.  : )

Well, I'm running out of things to talk about so that is my cue to end this post and get back into the kitchen.  It is raining as I write so it's a cozy day (although quite warm and humid).  Thank you for stopping by - you are always welcome.  Enjoy your home.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Back Home

Back home from our family get-together.  Such a hot drive out there, but very fortunate for an air-conditioned vehicle.  : )  I went back to my hometown.  Visited the new school.  Saw what the three properties looked like from when I was a child.  On two properties, different houses stand.  My mother took pride in her gardens (flowers and vegetables).  Now, nothing.  The lawns needed mowing, the trees needed trimming.  No remnant whatsoever that we once lived there.  The other property now has a city garage built on it.  No houses.  So stark.  You would never know that families once called it home.  The downtown main street was all but closed down.  No prettiness at all.  While driving around so many buildings were torn down leaving permanent empty spots all around.  

While growing up in this now shrinking community, it was a wonderful place to live.  Still small, but people took pride in how things looked.  Everyone seemed to be on the same page as far as trying to make it look nice and providing services to those of us who lived there.  What happened?  It made me want to cry to see the decline.  We kept asking everyone.  I guess what it boils down to is that kids grow up.   They go off to college.  They don't come back.  They build their lives some place other than where they grew up.  I did.  And when kids don't come back, the older townspeople grow old.  The ones who had those businesses that provided the services retire, grow old, and die.  And then there is no one interested anymore to keep the drug store open or the downtown cafe going, or the hardware store up and running, or the mercantile in business.  You end up with ghost towns that dry up.  It's a bedroom community now.  Oh, yes, there are still new houses going up. And I mean some really big, fancy houses.  But that's only because it's cheap to live there.  We have a generation of people who don't care anymore about driving 25 miles (one way) to go to work as long as they don't have to live there.  They don't care about the convenience of having their own downtown and services to sustain them.  It's so sad.  What happened to pride?  Not the sinful pride, but the pride that motivates a person to keep things looking nice and kept up not just for themselves but for others to look at?  

The family get-together was nice however.  We're all getting older.  Thank goodness there were little ones and even a baby to make us laugh and smile (although we had a lot of laughs just reminiscing about a lot of things).  And good food as we all bring a "dish to pass."  We stayed at the house of one of my brothers out in the country.  Now, being out in the country is true joy to me. Since we live in a metropolitan area, being in the country is wonderful!  So dark and so quiet at night - I don't remember the last time when my head hit the pillow and I didn't wake up until the morning light peaked through.  But then it happened - the day came when we had to pack up and leave.  It was so difficult.  I know all the "bloom where you're planted" slogans and I try to live that out but my heart wants to be planted somewhere else where there are no jet planes flying over at all hours.  Where the car traffic on our street continues to grow.  Where I look out any window and constantly see another house right next to ours.  Where the bus traffic is just down the street.  Where there are literally a million people in the area.  

I think it's because I'm growing older.  None of the above mentioned things bothered me when I first moved here.  It was actually exciting.  Me.  A small town girl moving to the big city.  Wow.  That was a bold move.  I don't feel that way anymore.  My lure is, once again, small town America.  Or, the countryside would be better.  Open spaces.  Gardens.  Quiet.  A place where you can see the stars at night.  But, I have to be careful.  I truly believe in the "God places you where you are at the time" principle.  If I wouldn't have moved here all those years ago, I wouldn't have the friends I do right now.  I wouldn't have my husband and I wouldn't have my son.  And they all mean a great deal to me.  So, all I can do is trust that God will continue to put me where He wants me to be.  Who knows, maybe He will surprise me some day and put me where my heart desires to be. Until then, I need to pray for contentment and look for the good in the here and now.   : )  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hot, Hot, Hot

I'm not suggesting that I want it to look like this, but it has a bit of a cooling effect that we need right now.  I'm SO grateful for air conditioning.  It's not fit for man nor beast as we could have a heat index of 110 degrees this afternoon.  We enjoyed a thunder shower very early this morning with another rainfall.  Very grateful for that too.  

I'm in the comfort of home getting things ready for an out-of-state family gathering.  All the laundry is done, put away, and ironed so that we can quickly pack in the morning.  The house has been dusted and vacuumed leaving the bathroom for tomorrow before we leave.  (Ever since I can remember, I have always cleaned the house before we leave on a trip of any kind - so much nicer to come home, usually tired, knowing that all I have to do is unpack, throw some laundry in, and relax).  Food will be eaten on the road (well, not ON the road, but hopefully in a cute little small town cafe somewhere) so I know I won't have to cook a meal.  : )

It's been a while since I've been home.  Not since my mom's funeral.  It's a strange feeling to not have anyone to call Mom (or Dad) anymore.  I'm still not used to it. But I have brothers and sisters and I miss them terribly so it's wonderful that this works for (almost) everyone.  With the busy-ness of life, it's sad that it becomes difficult to find time to be together.  But that's the way it is and we just make it work when we can.  

Tonight's meal consists of:

Oven baked French Toast - this is a dish that you can make the night before and then put into the oven for a wonderful breakfast, or you can do what I did and that's making it in the morning so that I can put it into the oven for supper.

I made my homemade maple syrup to go with it.  And I forgot to buy bacon yesterday at the market, but because I stock my pantry, I have canned luncheon meat (which is delicious fried) and that will go wonderfully with the sweet French Toast.  That's what I mean about stocking a pantry.  Just because I forgot to buy bacon, I had a back-up meat that works just as well.  I didn't have to make another run to the market.  : )

I sliced up some fresh organic strawberries and whipped up my whipping cream to go on top and that will be our meal for this evening.  Yummo.  

Here is the recipe for the Oven French Toast:

Coat a 9 x 13 pan (baking dish) with 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon evenly over melted butter. Arrange 12 slices of bread (I always use cinnamon/raisin bread for this) in 2 layers over brown sugar mixture.  Beat 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and a pinch of salt in a bowl; pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for about 8 hours). Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  

This is SO good.  I hope you give it a try.  : )

That is all I have for the day.  I will continue to get things ready for tomorrow's trip.  I will see you next week!  May God bless the rest of your day and the upcoming weekend.  Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It's The Little Things

Oh, it is a scorcher out there.  And it's supposed to be worse tomorrow!  We had a little rain this morning (which was nice) but it only made it more humid.  We are a country who loves its corn.  We eat it, we made "gasoline" out of it, we add it to many of our products, and they can talk climate change all they want, but the corn we grow (in place of other grains that we used to grow - wheat for instance) is what adds to the rise in humidity.  Corn creates water inside those husks and when the temperatures rise it literally steams the air.  I always wonder why, growing up in South Dakota, I hardly remember a steamy day.  Hot, yes.  Steamy, no. Well, I also remember wheat fields.  Lots of wheat fields.  And those are being replaced with corn.  Makes sense now!  : o  

Another day spent indoors, so I have been - once again, thinking food.  The price of it, the cooking of it, the planning it, etc.  If there is one thing I would love to get across to homemakers is the fact that you can be frugal with food and still serve wonderful, tasty meals.  Even if we were all millionaires, eating the expensive lobster, prime rib, crab legs, etc. would get old and I think would actually be quite boring.  It's when a homemaker takes the time to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary that our meals can be fun and enjoyed.

I've been taking notes from my recipe box and writing down all the things I've learned how to make myself to save on money.  Economizing where food is concerned is very important.  And what goes into the food we eat is even more important.  When I first became a homemaker I literally knew nothing about cooking.  I've always been pretty good at baking (but we can't eat cookies and cakes all the time!) so THE goal was to get serious about cooking and believe me, it took a long time.  I grew up with a mom who didn't want company in the kitchen so the only place I learned how to cook was in Home Economics in high school (which doesn't say much because I was in high school in the 1970's when they were more bent on teaching the girls feminism than life skills).  And then a little in 4-H.  Other than that, I was pretty much on my own.  And then came the cooking-with-convenience-food.  You know, a packet of white sauce (filled with sodium), canned soups, packaged mac & cheese.  Wow.  I thought I was really cooking (I guess it was better than nothing).  But then I started getting into the movement that is going on about becoming more self-sustainable.  Learning to do things like our grandmothers or great-grandmothers did them.  Using real food in the most affordable ways possible.  And I'm loving it.  Yes, it does take more time and yes, it does take more thought, but the feeling of pulling a meal together with fresh ingredients far surpasses the energy spent.

I know I've touched on this before, but it's so important to teach our homemakers that making things from scratch saves so much money.  You don't have to complain about the high price of things.  You don't have to worry about ingredients that aren't healthy.  You can take control of all of that in your very own home and kitchen.  The list I'm about to write are actually foods that I make instead of buy.  They are pretty much ingredients that you would put into a recipe. For example, I can't make macaroni, but I CAN make a cheese sauce from scratch to pour over it.  No buying expensive cheese sauces in a jar!  No unwanted ingredients.  Just cheese, milk, flour, and a little seasoning - there you have it.  : )

Here are a few things I make instead of buy:

Salad dressings - I have a couple right now that my family likes and am constantly on the look-out for more.

French fried onions - the kind you top that green bean casserole with - I just slice an onion, flour the rings and fry them for about a minute, salt them (if you want) and YUM!

Whipped cream - PLEASE - nothing in a tub or box - this is way too easy to not do it yourself.  Just heavy whipping cream, a little sugar and vanilla.  Whip.  That's it!

Brown sugar - just add molasses to granulated sugar and combine well.  

Buttermilk - this can be expensive - just add a little vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for a while.  Ready to use in your baking.

Maple syrup - why buy the expensive stuff that is just flavored corn syrup (which we should limit in our diets) when you can heat brown sugar, water, and vanilla on the stove?

Lemonade - squeeze fresh lemons, add a little sugar and water.  Easy peasy.

Gravy mix - which is really just flour and salt and you add to the pan juices.  No funny ingredients.

Brownies and cookies - this is a no-brainer.  Unless you are short on time, why would you not make your home smell fantastic and bake?  

Coffee creamer - I know - I love flavored coffee creamers too, but if you are really serious about saving money at the store, heavy whipping cream and a touch of sugar is VERY satisfying.  I can buy a small carton of heavy whipping cream for just a little over a dollar and it lasts for over a week.

Cream-of-soup mixes - I know I gave the recipe for this and I really prefer the flavor over the canned.  You can make mushroom, celery, and chicken and use them in all of your recipes with ease.  

Ketchup - tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, cloves - done.  : )

Frosting - again, why buy it in the tubs?  So easy to do on your own and better for you (if frosting can be good for you - it's a stretch, but it's better than ready-made).

Pizza seasoning mix, dill dip seasoning mix, taco seasoning mix - all of these can be so easily made if you just keep the spices on hand.

Pizza dough - flour, salt, water, yeast, sugar - do it!!  

Pizza sauce - tomato sauce and homemade pizza seasoning mix - that's it.

These are a few of what I make.  I have yet to make homemade pasta noodles but want to start, I've tried peanut butter but it was too dry so I'll need to try adding a bit of oil to it, and I just found recipes for cream cheese and sour cream so I want to try those as well.  The one thing I've tried over and over again is yogurt.  There was only one time that I came close to the consistency we like so I gave up on that one.  We really enjoy the Greek yogurt from the store with the variety of flavors and healthy ingredients that I think I'll just continue to buy it.  

I believe in strengthening the pantry and buying "convenience" foods to put on the shelf for times of giving/sharing or emergencies. I do keep peanut butter on the shelves, along with applesauce, salsa, cream soups, even though I do make these from scratch.  I don't touch those pantry items unless I really need to.  In order to make the above ingredients I need to also stock the pantry with items that fulfills the make-from-scratch recipes.  It's always smart to have the following on your shelves at all times:

Onions and potatoes
Whipping cream
Sugar (granulated) to make powdered sugar, just put granulated into food processor and process until powdered!  : )
Vanilla and other flavorings (maple for "maple syrup")
Baking powder
Cream of tartar
Baking soda
Cornstarch (non-GMO)
Lemon juice (bottled and try to have real lemons too) 
Cocoa powder
Milk (dry to reconstitute in recipes)
Sweetened condensed milk (I know you can make your own, I haven't tried it yet)
Evaporated milk
Various spices (as you cook and bake your favorites, make note of what spices you use the most)
Rice and various pastas
Variety of oils (vegetable, olive, coconut)
Tomato products (sauces, pastes, canned)

With this list, you are well on your way to economical and healthy eating.  : )

Last night while making taco meat for our Baked Taco Pizzas, I had a partial red, orange, and a whole yellow bell pepper so I diced them up and sauteed them along with an onion and added it all to the taco meat.  Very good and nutritious.  When I've had to stretch the taco meat on other occasions, adding cooked rice to it almost doubled it with no loss in flavor.  Just little things like that make cooking a little more enjoyable.  Using your head and using things up is important.  I hope you can give it all a try!

Stay cool if you're in the heat and thanks you for stopping by.  : )

Monday, July 18, 2016


When life hands you lemons:

Make lemon curd!  : )

This is SO delicious.  I had leftover vanilla cupcakes in the freezer that I thawed.  I had leftover heavy whipping cream in the fridge that I whipped up.  I brought out some tall glasses, broke one cupcake up in the bottom of the glass, scooped a layer of this lemon curd on top, broke up another cupcake on top of that and then topped it all with the homemade whipped cream.  Oh, my.  Very summery.  : )

The nice thing about the recipe for lemon curd is that it calls for four egg yolks, so today I found a coconut macaroon cookie recipe that called for four egg whites.  I whipped that up, put it in the fridge overnight, and tomorrow morning I will bake the cookies and drizzle them with a little chocolate.

I've never made lemon curd nor coconut macaroons before so this was fun.  Something new, something different.  : )

A pretty typical Monday here but took a little more time in the cleaning part of every room.  Lots of laundry today.  Lots of dusting.  Didn't get to the bathroom so that goes on tomorrow's list.

Right now Chow Mein is simmering away on the stovetop and will be served with rice and fresh watermelon slices.

Hoping to work on this tonight:

My crocheted rug.  : )

Again, homemaking is important!  What we liked about grandma's house can be what other's like about our house too.  The fresh baked goods, the comfy chair, the sewing projects, the homecooked meals.  Let's try to get our homes back to that.  A place that evokes good memories.  God bless you in your homemaking efforts.  Thank you for stopping by - you are ALWAYS welcome.  : )

Sunday, July 17, 2016


"In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

This song was sung at church today.  One of my favorites.  I love the whole song, but there are a couple of verses that I especially love -

*"Then bursting forth in glorious Day, up from the grave he rose again!"

*"No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand ....."

I believe that Jesus defeated the grave.  I believe that He rose again.  I believe He will come back.

No powers here on earth can take me away from Him.  No evil men can devise any plan that can out-do God.  It looks as if they are getting away with something, but they are not.  They forget that there is much more than today.  There is eternity.  One day EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Are we praying as we should?  In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us.

Are we believing as we should?   In John Chapter 3, we are told that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life.

Are we secure in the Father's hand?  And in John Chapter 14, Jesus tells us that He is preparing a place for us so that we will always be with Him.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and have a blessed Sabbath!!!!!

Friday, July 15, 2016


Friday is the day we have no alarm clock to awaken us.  Although we are so used to getting up early during the week, and we don't really sleep in (maybe half an hour or so) it's the knowing that it can be at a more leisurely pace is what makes it so nice.  We stay in our jammies longer and I sip my coffee instead of hurrying it along.  I check my e-mails and look at a few blog posts and then begin to get ready for the day.  Breakfast is eaten without looking at the clock and the to-do list sits on the counter a bit longer than usual.  It's just nice to have a different routine from the usual.  : )

The morning was an out-and-about morning.  Picking up prescriptions, banking, getting my pinking shears sharpened, and visiting father-in-law.  The afternoon was a variety.  I needed to make a call to a sister, and write out a couple of cards.  I went into the kitchen and made four more Hamburger Helper type meals - a Chili Macaroni one, a Beef Stroganoff one, a Cheesy Beef Taco one, and a Lasagne one.  Every week I buy more hamburger for the freezer and I always have block cheese on hand for shredding and that's about all I need for these.  They are shelf-stable for quite a long time so it's fun to look at the pantry and seeing all of these sitting there just waiting to be used.  : )

I ironed to be caught up for the weekend.  And then that was about it.   So a different kind of day but it was good.  Now my favorite time of day.  The neighborhood gets quiet(er), the lighting is soft, sitting outside in the cool breeze, listening to the birds as one by one they call it a day.  As I will now.  Good night.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Correspondence, Planning, and More Time in the Kitchen

It is a pleasantly cool and cloudy day.  A very nice break from heat and humidity. The day began with a Dr.'s appointment and then came home to quite a bit of correspondence.  I'm not a technology person, but I do like e-mail.  For some reason it's difficult getting in touch with someone by phone, but e-mail seems to work.  We are planning a family gathering for next weekend so there is always a lot of detail that goes into such a thing - where, when, what time, who, who brings what, etc.  It takes time and "talking" back and forth so it took up the better part of the morning.  We're all so looking forward to it.  : )

After lunch was a bit of time in the kitchen:

*Made pizza dough for tonight's cheese pizza with homemade cream of broccoli soup and watermelon

*Made two crockpot freezer meals - Honey BBQ Chicken and Pork Carnitas - here are the recipes:

Honey BBQ Chicken

In a large freezer bag add fresh or frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  In a medium bowl mix together 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp. honey, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1 c. BBQ sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over chicken in bag.  Shmush (not a real word) around and lay flat.  Freeze.  To use:  thaw overnight in fridge.  Add to crockpot in morning on Low for 6 - 8 hours.  Shred the chicken and mix with sauce.  Serve on buns.  And, in my opinion, this needs to have coleslaw as a side dish or better yet, in the bun!!!  Yum.  : )

Pork Carnitas

In a large freezer bag add fresh or frozen boneless pork chops, diced onion and minced garlic.  Pour taco sauce over all.  Combine 1 tsp. cumin and 1 Tbsp. chili powder and add that to mixture.  Zip up.  Again, shmush around to blend.  Freeze flat.  To use: thaw in fridge overnight.  Pour into crockpot in the morning and cook on Low for 6 - 8 hours.  Shred the meat and mix with sauce.  Serve in warm tortilla shells.  

I know there aren't exact measurements in some areas of these two recipes, but really, you just make what's good for you and your family.  I used 6 breasts in the chicken recipe and used four pork chops in the Carnitas along with about a cup and half of taco sauce.  You'll know.

That's it.  I will now go and crochet my rug for a while (because it is a pleasantly cool and cloudy day).  : )  May God bless the rest of this day and into the evening.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Late Afternoon

The day is almost over and evening with it's soft light filtering in is almost here. The day's work is coming to a close, the supper is simmering away and a time of rest from it all is welcome.  After enjoying a meal together and cleaning up the kitchen for the last time, there is a chance to read a favorite book or look at a pretty magazine or maybe work on a craft.  It feels like winning a prize for the efforts of the day.  A chance to look back on the day and make mental notes of what got done, what goes on tomorrow's to-do list, what I could have done better or, at least, differently.  What a gift.  : )

My list of "what I did today" wouldn't thrill many people, but to a homemaker it means a lot.  Sometimes I get to wondering whether or not what I do at home really matters.  So many women make it feel like it doesn't so I, unfortunately, get sucked into that mindset.  But I heard something on Christian radio the other day that got me back to thinking that homemaking still does matter.  No one sees what I do here at home (and that's okay), but God sees it.  He sees me cleaning the bathroom when He knows that for some reason it's not my favorite room to clean. He sees me spend time on a grocery list and menu working hard to make healthy meals on a budget.  He sees me do the laundry (over and over again).  He sees me clean the house so that we have a safe and nice environment in which to live and relax in.  It's never perfect, but it fills the days with a purpose that is hard to explain especially when asked "what could you possibly do all day at home?"  I always want to ask "how much time do you have?"  : )

So here was my homemaking day:

*went grocery shopping and then you know how all that works - load the cart with food, unload it to be scanned, bag it, put it into the car, drive home, take it out of the car, unload the bags, and put everything away!  LOL  
*I made another dry mix for the pantry - this one was called "Chili Cheese Hamburger Helper" - if it's good I'll post the recipe : )
*did a load of laundry

I also brought out all the ideas I had written down after Christmas about how to keep the spirit of giving alive throughout the year.  I have to admit that I haven't been very good at it.  So bringing it all out again has given me the much-needed nudge I need to begin to once again think of others.  Now that it's July and school is right around the corner, I guess school supplies and backpacks would be a good place to begin.  Or to giving food to food shelves for the kids who don't have much to eat outside of school.   When we begin to get comfortable in our own circumstances, it's very easy to forget that there are true needs out there to be met.

I'm very excited that the dehydrator we bought came today.  That's just another step in long-term food storage for the pantry.  Really looking forward to trying it out!  

That's it for now!  Thank you for taking the time to stop by.  God bless you in your homemaking efforts.  : )     

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Back to Work

I'm finally feeling better today.  Good enough to get back to work around here. Even yesterday I felt so tired and thought that the whole healing thing was going to take longer, but I woke up rested and kept at it all day.  : )

The normal Tuesday work was done:

*paid the bills
*menu/grocery list
*kitchen work up until time for preparing supper (which I guess is still kitchen work)

Since I didn't cook for a couple of nights a couple of menu items was put back on this week's - here it is:

Tonight:  we had Brunch Burritos (recipe to follow), chips & salsa, watermelon
Wednesday:  Braised pork chops, baked potatoes w/sour cream & cheese, fruit
Thursday:  Cheese pizza, green salad, fruit
Friday:  Fish fillets, pasta w/fresh tomato sauce, crockpot green beans
Saturday:  either a leftovers night or take-out, then dessert to father-in-law
Sunday:  Chow mein, rice, fruit, lemon trifle for dessert
Monday:  Main dish salad (which includes greens, sliced tomatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds, chopped ham, chopped eggs, and raisins), toast triangles, fruit
Tuesday:  Baked taco pizzas, chips & salsa, fruit

I wanted to share the "Brunch Burritos" because it's not often that I try a new recipe and get two thumbs up.  We enjoy having breakfast/brunch food for our supper meal and this one was very good.

Brunch Burritos

10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tblsp. butter, divided
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 red pepper (total about 1 cup)
10, 7-inch flour tortillas
2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until well combined; set aside.
3.  In a large skillet, melt 1 Tblsp. butter over medium heat.  Add onions and bell peppers and saute' 6 to 8 minutes until softened.  Reduce heat to medium-low; add remaining 1 Tblsp. butter then egg mixture.  Cook eggs until scrambled but still moist.
4.  Evenly spoon egg mixture into center of each tortilla and top each with 1 Tblsp. salsa.  Roll up and place in prepared pan.
5.  Spoon 2 - 3 Tblsp. salsa over top of each tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with foil that has been sprayed as well.
6.  Bake 25 minutes or till cheese in melted and bubbly.

I served this with sour cream and sliced green onions.

*NOTE:  The above recipe calls for 10 eggs and 10 flour tortillas.  Because there are only 3 of us, I pared it down to only 6 eggs and 6 tortillas so that each of us could have two if we wanted.  But in doing this, you can see how easy it is to make less or more than the recipes suggests.  This would be a wonderful have-the-friends-over-for-Sunday-brunch meal!  I hope you can try it.  : )

The "kitchen work" of my afternoon consisted of cleaning out cupboards and drawers, rearranging glass jars, filling canisters that were getting low, checking spices, and making a couple of shelf-stable mixes for the pantry.  I can't remember if I've shared this mix with you yet, but it's one that I keep making over and over again because it is so easy and it's really very good.  I really should have had this available when I was ill so that someone could have just browned the hamburger, poured the mix in, and it would have been done 20 minutes later.  I guess being sick sometimes allows me to stop and think what things around here I need to work on and this is one of them.  So, here is the mix recipe:

Italian Style Hamburger Helper

In a jar or plastic bag add:

8 oz. of egg noodles
1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt

Label and put on your pantry shelf!

When it's time to cook:

Lightly brown 1 lb. of hamburger.  Add 3 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Add your noodle mix and an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.  Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.  So easy, a very inexpensive meal, and it really is quite good.

*NOTE:  This recipe does not say, but in making this I noticed that it is watery, so I need to tell you that I mix a little cornstarch with water and add at the end to thicken it up.  Again, I hope you can give it a try.  : )

Well, I won't take up any more of your time.  Thank you so much for dropping by - I do appreciate it.  God bless.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Well, I'm getting over the flu.  My goodness.  It's been so long since I've had the stomach flu that I really had forgotten how awful it is.  : (  Whenever I'm sick I need to sleep on the living room couch.  I've been that way since a young child.  There is something comfortable about the couch with it's back that I can press into and feel wrapped up in.  Kind of strange, I know.  But it helps.  : )

I feel the same way with everything that is going on in our country.  I have the NEED to press into God our Father and feel Him wrapping me up in His truth. It's really the ONLY thing we have you know.  People will disappoint, God doesn't.

What we HAVE to remember is that there is a force in this world (Satan) that is trying very hard to stir things up.  And we're seeing it. There has always been trouble, but it's gearing up.  The Bible warns us about this and we should not be surprised.  My heart goes out to all the families of the victims from just this past weekend alone.  

There will be an end to this world and to those who are in Christ Jesus we can trust the words of Revelation 21:4 - "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Again, if you haven't trusted Christ as your personal Savior today is the day.  Confess your sin to Him and repent, ask Him into your heart and He will come.

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."  Revelation 3: 19-20

Open the door.  Jesus is waiting.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Beginning of a Weekend

Well, it's been a different kind of week beginning with a holiday and then my husband at home and it being hot and humid and rainy in the evenings.  I didn't get a lot of domestic things done other than the necessary-for-our-comfort things (cleaning up, laundry, meals, etc.).  I'm kind of thinking of this week as a little "time off" for myself too so I've been reading a little more than I usually do and have been continuing to cut squares out of fabric for my "quilt" and continuing to crochet my rug which is turning out rather nicely.  I ran out of strips of fabric for the rug so today I will have to tear the last sheet up into strips.  Now that I know how to do this, I can see myself making more of these.  I really like projects that I can pick up and mindlessly do while rocking away in the chair and watching episodes of "The Walton's."  : )

We've been getting some much needed rain and everything looks good again. Today is supposed to be dryer and cooler so I will need to get back outside and continue with the outdoor work.  The ironing, as always, needs to be done for the weekend, along with the cleaning of the bathroom.  I'll need to get to making pizza dough for the freezer.  So, not an exciting day but the homey, comfortable kind of day.

Our meal tonight will be:

*Grilled salmon
*rice pilaf
*steamed broccoli 
*fresh fruit (we're loving the wonderful summer fruit!)

That's about it!  I hope you have a wonderful upcoming weekend and find time to do a few things that you really enjoy.  I'm slowly learning that being at home doesn't always have to mean clean, clean, clean.  It means to take the time and do something pleasant and fun (unless clean, clean, clean, is your idea of pleasant and fun of course).  : )

Thanks for dropping by - you are ALWAYS welcome.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday Evening

The sky is kind of looking like this outside my window right now, only it has a green tinge to it.  Hoping we don't get the hail they've been talking about.  We already got the wind and some much needed rain, but hopefully no hail.

The above picture was taken on a time-off trip up in northern Minnesota along Lake Superior.  It was so wonderfully stormy.  (I can say that because we were snuggled in our hotel room)  The lightning over Lake Superior was so cool to watch.  The kind that spreads out across the night sky.  Now for me to say that this was fun to watch is amazing because I DON'T like storms!  But somehow, that night, I felt safe and comfortable and instead of being frightened, I was fascinated. The same fascination gets me when we're up north standing beside this massive lake and I look up into the sky and see all those millions of stars.  Have you ever thought how God was so thoughtful in making everything He made?  Made for our enjoyment?  The beauty of the flowers, the sound of the crashing waves, the awesome night sky?  It's amazing.  : )

My husband has the week off so it's kind of a different week for me.  Today was so hot and humid (the reason for storms tonight) so it was a day of staying indoors other than watering plants and sweeping the steps and sidewalks.  I wrote out the menu for the week:

Tonight:  Crockpot Cashew chicken and broccoli over rice, watermelon slices
Wednesday:  Tuna Stroganoff over noodles, fresh red grapes
Thursday:  Cheese Pizza, salad, fresh fruit
Friday:  Grilled Salmon, rice pilaf, broccoli, fruit
Saturday:  Summer chef salad w/dinner rolls - taking dessert to father-in-law in the evening
Sunday:  Baked pork chops and potatoes, glazed carrots, fresh fruit
Monday:  Brunch burritos, chips and salsa, fruit
Tuesday:  Swiss steak, crockpot green beans, fruit

Again, after writing my marketing list out, I doubled-checked it to see if there was anything that I could make rather than buy and there wasn't anything!  I now KNOW what I need to buy and what I can easily make here at home.  : )

I will also be making a freezer meal this week, along with frying up a couple pounds of seasoned hamburger for tacos and taco salads. I'm excited about the freezer meals but I have to be careful with this.  I don't have a large freezer so my space is limited, but I want to get started on some of them.  

I'm also doing research (and talking to my friend, Violet) about dehydrators.  I SO want to do this.  To take food and dehydrate it to use in the future is so very practical, time-saving, and frugal.  

Well, as of this writing, the storm has hit - the rain is pouring down, the sky looks ominous, so I think I'd better stop writing.  : o

Thank you for stopping by!!!  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone.  Even with all the changes that our country is going through, we should pause and thank God for sustaining us for over 200 years. The freedom we enjoy in this country has come at a great price and that same freedom we enjoy is what's getting us into trouble.  Somehow, somewhere, we have mistaken freedom for doing whatever we feel like doing no matter what. Unfortunately, there are consequences to that and we're starting to feel it.   What's right is now wrong and what's wrong is now right.  This can go on for only so long.  I have a feeling God's patience is running out.

So, this 4th of July - enjoy your time with family and friends.  Have the picnics and watch the fireworks.  But, mostly, PRAY.  God is still listening to those who lift up His Name.  Pray for mercy.  Pray for grace.  Pray for wisdom.  Pray for courage.  Pray for boldness.  Pray for protection.  Pray for a Christian revival. Pray for the Holy Spirit to pour out over all the men, women, and children.  Pray for direction.  Pray for our confused youth.  Pray for biblical teaching.  

We need God.  We need Jesus.  We need the Holy Spirit.  We need Him individually.  We need Him for our families.  We need Him in our communities. We need Him in our states.  We need Him in our nation.  We need Him around this world that He created.   

We need to become prayer warriors.  The battle has begun.  Are we ready?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Morning

As with the shocking advent of it already being July, I'm trying to get used to the shock of turning 57 today.  Inside, I feel 27!  The dreaded mirror image tells me differently - "yes, you ARE 57."  There's nothing I can do about it, so I have to accept it.  : )  There are many pluses to growing older, but lately all I feel are the achy shoulders after weeding, the sciatic nerve that's pinched making my lower back and right leg hurt.  My eyes get tired more easily and my hair is thinning.
But, other than that, I feel great!  LOL

Our pastor had such a good sermon this morning.  So timely with everything that is going on in the world.  

*We need to begin to be bold as followers of Christ.
*We need to speak the name of Jesus in the public square.
*We need to pray as we've never prayed before.

God reigns.  He knows everything that is going on.  He's sees everything that is going on.  He is in control, but He also wants us to exercise our rights as Christians.  God did not give us a spirit of timidity yet most of us don't take the time to write letters (or e-mails) to those "in charge" of our radio stations, television stations, politicians, etc. voicing our concern with what we read or listen to or see.  We don't have to roll over and play dead or throw our hands up in the air thinking we can't do anything.  But it takes being active.  It takes time.  It takes effort.  It's so much easier to just "let someone else do it" than it is for us to do it. But look what's happened because of that.  

So, let this Independence Day weekend be the beginning of renewed energy for us who know that our Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ.  It's time to stop being passive and start voicing our concern in a loving and respectful way.

May God bless you today and may you ask Him for the boldness and courage it takes in this day and age to stand up and speak up.  And pray!!!!!  : )

Friday, July 1, 2016

July To-Do's

I'll try not to get into how shocked I am that it's July already.  : o

Here is what my Household Notebook says to do for the month of July:

*Wax the car(s).  Thoroughly clean the inside.
*Sealcoat the driveway.
*Dispose of old paint/flammables (properly).
*Replace washing machine hoses (has anyone done this? We have yet to do this.)
*Rotate tires.
*Spot check the house for any mildew and take necessary action.
*Paint indoors.

Not too bad.

Have a great upcoming weekend!!!  : )