Tuesday, February 28, 2017

March To-Do's

Tomorrow is March already.  Inching closer to warmer weather (yet around here we've been known to have some pretty major snowfalls in both March and April).  March is kind of a difficult month because it's still not time yet to go out and do anything in the yard, still too early to plant, etc.  It's an in between time, but I look at it as another month to keep going on indoor work and get to some chores and projects that need to be done so that when the nice warm weather does get here, we'll be able to spend it outdoors and everything that includes.  I looked ahead at the April to-do's and the list is a mile long!!!!  So, I have gone around the house and wrote down the things that need to be taken care of and for the next four weeks I can plug away at them.

It was a day that was spent mostly in paperwork, so there really isn't anything new cooking (just leftovers tonight) or anything worth posting about.  I'll just get to my March to do list (which is VERY short and one of the things I've already mentioned):

*Start cleaning your garden equipment - it's pretty chilly here yet so I'm thinking this will probably have to wait until the middle or end of the month.  I'm not very good in the Fall in cleaning our equipment before putting it away for the winter, so this cleaning would include the rakes and the trowels and sharpening the lawn mower blades and anything else you will need for your gardening and lawn needs.

*Make homemade cleaning products for the pantry.  Anything from laundry detergent to all-purpose sprays, etc.  You can look these up on-line and you'll find LOTS of "recipes" to try.  Sometimes this can be a little trial and error to see which ones work and which ones you like, but you're bound to find something.  This can be a money saver.

*And, this is what I've said before - keep up with indoor projects before the nicer weather sets in.

Just three things this month!!!!!  : )  But, for me, I will need this whole month to tackle these three things.  So we can look at March as a do-nothing month, or we can change gears and really apply ourselves and get our house in order so we won't have anything hanging over our heads when we'd rather be outside.

Have fun with this and keep a good attitude as you bring order and organization to that wonderful place we call home.  : )  God bless your homemaking efforts!!

Monday, February 27, 2017


Old South Dakota schoolhouse.  I love the shape.

It was a good Monday to get things done:

*Cleaned Bathroom
*Made pulled pork for tonight's sandwiches
*Made coleslaw to go with tonight's sandwiches
*Made jello parfaits to go with tonight's sandwiches and coleslaw  : )
*Froze 6 pints of homemade chicken broth:

I can't quite remember where I got the Create-a-Casserole recipe, but every time I read it, it seems like something I got out of one of the "Tightwad Gazette" books.

We all have leftovers from time to time.  Leftover meat, leftover vegetables, etc.  This is a quick, easy, and fun way to combine what you have to make a new casserole.  I've tried this a few times now, and each combination (and there are several you can make) tastes really good.  What a frugal idea!  Here it is: (you can double, triple, whatever amounts you have and/or need)


1st - the main ingredient - 1 cup seafood, cubed chicken, turkey, or ham
2nd - the vegetable - 1 cup celery, mushrooms, peas, or any cooked vegetable you have
3rd - the starchy ingredient - 1 - 2 cups thinly sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, or cooked rice
4th - the binder - 1 1/2 cups cream sauce, sour cream, or can of soup
5th - the "goodie" - 1/4 cup pimiento, sliced olives, or water chestnuts
6th - the seasoning - usually just salt and pepper does it, but whatever seasoning you'd like
7th - the topping - handful of crushed potato chips, crushed saltines, dried bread crumbs, grated cheese

Pick and choose an ingredient from each step (except #7) and thoroughly mix to combine.  (If you are finding it a bit on the dry side, adding 1/2 cup milk or stock really helps).  Pour into a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with your topping of choice.

 Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.

For our casserole, I chose chicken, pulled a can of mushrooms out of the pantry, added cooked noodles, poured in a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of water chestnuts for some crunch.  Added salt and pepper to taste and topped it with shredded cheddar.  : )  This really works!!!  Hope you can try it.

That's it for today!  I hope you had a good beginning of the week and will enjoy the rest of the week as well.  God bless and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Gooseberry Falls in northern Minnesota.

My husband, after not feeling well for almost three weeks, turned the corner and started feeling better by Tuesday.  Wednesday we watched the airplane take off that carried our son and three of his friends as they flew off to France.  My husband and I love to go to the airport and watch planes take off and land, but we both agreed that when you actually know four of those people and one of them is your own flesh and blood, it feels totally different.  I actually could feel myself holding my breath and my heart flutter a bit when the plane took off and started gaining altitude and then totally disappear into darkness.  On Friday, having a couple of friends over for lunch and talking about how difficult things are for so many people right now just reminds me of how fragile life really is and how without Christ it could be hopeless.

It is JESUS CHRIST who changes everything.  HE is THE ONE we put our future and our hope in. Everything.  When the plane took off, I could hear inside of me "now, you put your trust not in the pilot, not in the plane, not in the air traffic controllers, but in God."

I hope, today, that if you haven't put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will.  It's important that you don't put it off.  Today could be our last day, then what?  Do you KNOW where you will spend eternity?  "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."  2 Corinthians 6:2

Saturday, February 25, 2017


While going through things in the basement, I came across a paper sack full of old cards and letters, pictures that I tore out of magazines for future ideas in decorating, notes that I took to put into a notebook someday, and newspaper articles about family members that were of interest.  And one of the the items I pulled out was a piece of paper that I had typed a long time ago of how important it is to try something in our homes that maybe we have never tried before or bring back something that we've tried and liked but just got out of the habit of doing.  

There are so many people who feel like being a homemaker is such boring work.  But I think being a homemaker can be whatever you make it to be.  There are SO many things for the homemaker to do and try that can bring frugality, or beauty, or fun, or creativity, or necessity to life in the home.  If we look at homemaking with fresh eyes it can and will be very satisfying.

First, we need to look at our homes as a place that God has given us to dwell in.  And why wouldn't we want to clean and organize and pretty-up a place that we live in day in and day out?  A place where, when we walk through the door, we feel safe and comfortable?  I think it's very important to find what it is that we really enjoy doing and the only way to do that is to try to do different things.  

Here is a list of things for the homemaker to try, if she hasn't already:

1.  Plan a herb, vegetable, and/or flower garden.  I do understand that not everyone has the space for gardens, but you can plan for a pot of herbs in the kitchen or on your patio.  It's so important to grow something, anything.  So that it doesn't become overwhelming, start with just one thing.  Look it up as to how you should you begin.  Learn about it.  Actually plant it.  Take care of it.  And just see if it doesn't motivate you to do more.

2.  Sew.  I know it's so much easier to go out and buy what you need, but I think every woman should know how to sew, to follow a pattern, make things for yourself.  Again, if you could just find a very simple pattern (a simple skirt perhaps), cut it out and sew it, I think you would be motivated to try something else.  

3.  Drawing or sketching.  I can't believe how this used to be such a big deal for women a long time ago.  Women used to always go out on nature walks with a sketch pad in hand and would sit to sketch an animal or a tree or a flower of some kind.  This is something that is very satisfying to do if we don't expect perfection.  Most of us haven't been gifted with the ability to just sit down and sketch something that is perfect, but I think some of the fun in the this is to keep trying.

4.  Making home products.  This can be anything from homemade laundry detergent, to homemade hand cream and lotions, to cleaning products.  Just go around your home and take note of what you use every day and see if you can't save a little money by making them yourself.  

5.  Canning, freezing, dehydrating.  With the high cost of food, this is something that the homemaker can learn how to do in order to stock up for those lean times.  Again, if you've never tried this before, there are so many good resources to teach you.  Just start with something simple like a quick freezer jam with fruit that you get on sale.  If it works out, try something else.

6.  Cook and bake.  We all have to eat so why not challenge yourself to become a good cook and baker.  It's a very homey thing to do and the homemaker can be a blessing to her family and others by providing good food.  Read up on nutrition and how to get the most with less money.  

These are just a few things the homemaker can do on a daily basis.  Homemaking doesn't have to be boring when we have so many opportunities to learn and grow in so many areas.  Just taking one thing at a time until you feel proficient in it and then going on to the next thing will keep your body and your mind active and interesting.  

I have been out in shops where I have often heard the person at the check-out talking about how they couldn't possibly be home all day and that they would be so bored.  It doesn't have to be that way if you don't allow it to be that way.  I truly believe homemaking is important and we get out of it what we put into it (just like everything else).  

So, I hope you will do one thing today that will make you feel good about being at home.  You can use the weekend to bake a beautiful cake, or sew something for yourself or your home, or go to the store and buy a couple of plants and repot them.  Whatever you find interesting, just do it!!!  : )

God bless your weekend and thank you for your time.  I always appreciate your visit.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Viola's Swedish Apple Pie

This recipe came from my late mother-in-law's friend, Viola.  It's so good and so easy, I make it in place of an apple pie.  I hope you can try it and enjoy it for yourself.  : )


Line an 8" pie plate with 4 cups of sliced apples.

Combine 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.

Mix together in medium bowl, 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1 cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt, 1 egg, lightly beaten, and 1 cup flour.  Spread over the top of the apples.

What I do is take bits and pieces of the dough and just scatter throughout the top.  Then smooth it all out with a knife.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

This makes the house smell lovely.   : )  It was made for the dessert part of a lunch that I hosted for a couple of friends.  One of the friends is a missionary with her husband and in town for a short visit so it was nice to catch up.

A cold and windy day - but no snow!!!!!  Yippee!!!!

Have a good upcoming weekend.  God bless you.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mashed Potato Casserole

This mashed potato casserole always makes me think of Easter.  Probably because I do make it to go with the Easter ham.  But I also make it with meatloaf and the pork chops I made the other night.  It's a classic and I know everyone has a version of the recipe but, in case you don't, here is mine:


1, 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. potatoes
2 Tbsp. butter

In a bowl, stir together cream cheese, garlic salt, pepper, and sour cream till smooth; set aside. 

Not sure why half of this picture looks yellow.  Sorry.

 Prepare and boil potatoes; drain.  Beat until fine lumps.

Add sour cream mixture and continue beating until smooth.  

Spoon into well-buttered 2 qt. casserole dish; dot w/butter and sprinkle with paprika.  

Bake, covered, in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or till top is golden.  

*This can be made ahead of time, which I try to always do - in that case, you will need to bake it for 50 minutes, covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered.  Also, this recipe makes a small casserole, for a group, you'd want to double the recipe.  Enjoy!!!!

It was a chilly day, so it was a day of cleaning the basement and continuing to go through stuff - going through stuff makes me want to never go shopping again!!!!  I keep taking bags to the thrift store and it still looks like I haven't gotten rid of anything!!!  A little laundry (which I try to do every day - a wonderful tip from my friend, Violet), and a little ironing.  It was all good.  : )

The best news is that we are NOT going to get a major snowfall as predicted yesterday - just a light dusting to an inch.  SO grateful for that.  

And, that is it for today.  Thank you for your visit.  I appreciate you stopping by.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mushroom Baked Pork Chops

The gorgeous sunset we enjoyed last night.

Like I always say - "this is a good one!"  But I guess I wouldn't post anything that I didn't feel was good.  I baked these last night for supper and I had one leftover for my lunch today.  I think bone-in pork chops have the most flavor, but you can certainly use boneless if you'd like (although they do tend to dry out more).  And the "gravy" this makes is so good with the mashed potatoes I recommend you make to go along side.  : )

Without further ado, here is the recipe:


6 center cut bone-in pork chops
1 Tbsp. oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms (because I didn't have time, nor did I have fresh mushrooms, I used one small canned of sliced mushrooms for this and it worked out fine)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can of mushroom soup (again, because of time I did use the mushroom soup from the can, but I usually make my own)
3/4 cup canned (evaporated) milk
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Heat either one large fry pan or two (in order to brown all the chops at once) over medium high heat.  Add oil and heat for half a minute.  Sear pork chops on both sides and put into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In one of the skillets, add the butter, onions, and mushrooms to saute' to a golden color, stirring occasionally.

One of my favorite smells - fried onions!

Add the soup, milk, and thyme and mix thoroughly.

Pour this mixture over the chops in the baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees (which the oven should have been preheated at - the importance of reading a recipe through before beginning!) for one hour.

All golden brown and yummy.  Enjoy!!!  : )

It's been so warm and mild here lately that I've been enjoying just going out and sitting in the sweet sunshine for about half an hour every afternoon to soak up the Vitamin D.  It sounds, though, that our boasting of nice weather will soon come to an end with the forecast of a major winter storm Thursday night into Friday.  Right now, all the snow is gone, the grass is greening up, and even the poor animals are coming out of hibernation early (which, I've heard will kill a lot of them because they don't go back into hibernation nor will they be ready for all snow and cold coming).  So, I guess it's nothing to make light of.  

Pretty much just grocery shopping this morning and still picking out a few things here and there to keep stocking the pantry with.  I hope you are continuing to stock a pantry for your home or at least starting one.  It's a very important thing to do!!!!

That is it for today.  Thank you for your visit.  God bless you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Favorite Hamburger Soup

Sunset on the prairie.

This soup recipe is one from the Pioneer Woman.  We really like it - but like most soups, it really does taste better the next day.  Yesterday was so rainy and cloudy, it just felt like a soup day.  So here it is:


1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1, 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock, beef broth, or beef bouillon (I used broth)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper

In a large pot over medium high heat, brown meat with onion, celery, and garlic.  Remove pot from heat and drain off as much fat as you can.

Quite a bit of fat!

Return pot to heat and add rest of ingredients.  Stir to combine, bring to boil.  Reduce heat, then cover pot and simmer for 1 hour.

*If the soup is too thick and you want it soupy, just add more broth and adjust seasonings.

Again, this is good right away, but if you have the time I really think making this day before is best.

It was served with 12-grain bread, butter, and jam and fresh orange slices on the side.  : )

I hope you give it a try!

It was another day of getting things done around the house:

*Paid bills
*Menu/grocery list
*Cleaned the bathroom
*Went out to buy some green plants for the house (it's amazing how plants can transform a space)
*Made supper which is in the oven now and smelling pretty good - more recipes to come!  
*Bible study tonight

Thank you so much for your visit - you are ALWAYS welcome!!!  : )

Monday, February 20, 2017

Spicy Beef with Noodles

It's Monday and I got to a lot of different things today:

*Laundry/Ironing (this isn't different, but I got to it and it's done).  : )
*Cleaned and organized our storage room (this has been on my list for the past 2 weeks!) so far I have 4 bags of stuff to take to the thrift store.
*Did about an hour of paperwork (upcoming birthday cards and thank you cards, dr. appts.).
*Cleaned an area of a bedroom that had become a catch-all area.
*Did some sewing on my "quilt."
*Made homemade vegetable beef soup which is now simmering on top of the stove for supper.
*Now I'm talking to you.  : )

I'm not sure where I got this recipe, but it's a good one and I've had it for years.  It was our Sunday meal yesterday after church.  I hope you can give it a try!  (Again, I doubled it for us - so this is the original recipe:


Heat skillet until hot and add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil.  Add 2 tsp. minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp. minced gingerroot, and 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper.  Saute' for about 5 seconds.

Add 1 1/2 cups chopped onion and stir-fry till transparent.

Add 1 pound ground beef and stir-fry until light brown (when I doubled the recipe for us, I kept the meat at 1 pound - I didn't use 2 lbs. - in case you wanted to know).   : )

I took this photo before it got light brown - I did not keep it pink like you see.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1/3 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup beef broth and stir into meat mixture.  

Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for about 1/2 hour stirring once or twice during cooking.  Dissolve 2 Tbsp. cornstarch into 1/4 cup chicken broth and slowly stir into meat mixture; cook and stir until sauce is thickened.

Sorry this is SO blurry!!!!!

Serve over vermicelli noodles that have been cooked and drained.  Top (if you'd like) with sliced green onions.

This really is good.  Thick, rich, and spicy.  (and yummy)

That is it for my day.  It's cloudy, it's rainy, it's mild, it's cozy.  A good evening for soup (which will probably be tomorrow's post).  : )  

I hope this finds you doing okay and ready for the upcoming week.  Thank you for stopping by for a visit - I do appreciate you taking the time.  God bless.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What Do I Need To Work On?

In Galatians 5: 22 and 23 it says - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."  When I am reminded of this, I look at this list and ask myself what it is from this past week that I would need to pray about and work on and then I get frustrated because it came down to everything!

First of all, I lost my patience which then leads to lack of self-control, which takes away the love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.  So, at first, I thought I only needed to work on patience, but it looks like I need lots of help in all the other characteristics as well.  Just when I feel I'm doing okay, the sinful nature rears it's ugly head and then it's like having to start all over again.  

Fortunately, we serve a patient God, who is willing and able to give us the grace and mercy and help that we need.  Thanks be to God!

Have a wonderful Sabbath.  : )

Friday, February 17, 2017

Taking Care of Home

For years I was SO discontented with my home.  Especially when we would have a lot of people over.  I just felt sorry for everyone having to squeeze in somewhere. I would go over to other people's houses and see all the room and come home so discouraged.  But over the years and especially now, I feel happiness and gratefulness.  I have truly come to the place where every morning when I go out and turn the early morning lights on and make that first cup of coffee, I thank God for my home.  It hasn't grown one inch, but there is a sense that it's home and it's ours and it's comfortable and cozy.  I have learned to take small spaces and have them do double duty.  So today, as I was cleaning and organizing, I just felt the urge to take pictures of this tiny space we call home and share it with you as well.  : )

Do you see what I mean when I've said that my kitchen is the size of some people's walk-in closets?  But even with that, I have been able to (over 25 years) give multiple family gatherings.  The one nice thing about a tiny kitchen is that it forces me to be organized and keep ONLY what I actually use.

Potted geraniums on a shelf in the kitchen.  I love these here.  I brought them up from our sunny south windows in the basement and they add a little summertime cheer.  : )

Taken from our front door - our living/family/dining room.  Can you believe that 14 people can sit in this small space?  We decided a while ago, to put our dining room table in the middle of  the room.  It acts like a room divider.

And this is our dining room turned into an extra seating space, but is cozy enough for a reading nook. When we have a large group over for a meal, we just put the leaves into the table at the window,  turn the other table we use as the room divider and put the two together, it seats (once again) 14 people!

Maybe next week I will get pictures taken of our tiny bathroom and other rooms in the house.  : ) With the new tiny house movement going on, I feel so with it, so hip. I had the whole tiny house thing going on for years now!  LOL

Well, I hope this is finding you enjoying YOUR home and having fun taking care of it.  Have a wonderful upcoming weekend - thank you for stopping by and visiting me.  I do appreciate it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicken Cacciatore'

I received this recipe over 30 years ago from a friend/co-worker when I worked outside the home.  I wanted a Chicken Cacciatore' recipe that didn't use bone-in chicken parts.  Since she was known to be an excellent cook, I knew that this recipe (that used boneless, skinless chicken breasts) was probably a winner.  And it's true.  While going through my recipe cards I came across it and realized that it's been a long time since I made it, so tonight was the night.  : )  It's one of those recipes where I usually have everything I need in the pantry to make it, so it's also very convenient.  This is also one of those recipes where you will need to get everything ready ahead of time which takes a bit of prep work in the beginning but once everything is ready, it's a dish that goes together quickly and then a long simmering time for wonderful tender chicken.  Yum.  : )  

Here it goes:


Mix together in a small bowl - 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper

Cut up 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put into a ziploc bag, add flour mixture and shake to coat.

Heat a couple of tablespoons oil in a pan and brown the chicken.  As chicken browns, remove from pan.  You'll need to do this in several batches so you don't crowd the pan and the chicken browns evenly.  This took about 20 - 25 minutes, so you'll need to plan accordingly.

After you remove the chicken from the pan, saute' 1 medium onion, chopped, and 1 clove of garlic, minced, lightly in the same pan.

Add 1, 8 oz. tomato sauce, 1, 16 oz. tomatoes, 1 tsp. each salt and sugar, and 1/4 tsp. oregano.

Return the chicken to the pan and place green pepper slices and sliced black olives (to your liking) over the top.

Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Serve over egg noodles.

Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.  Serve.  Enjoy.  : )

*Note:  I doubled the recipe (except for the chicken breasts, I didn't use 6, I just used 4) tonight since we want to enjoy leftovers tomorrow for lunch.  The original recipe probably serves 4.

I also served fresh organic blueberries with fresh whipping cream to round out the meal.

Again, this is one of our favorite meals and I hope you can give it a try.  Let me know what you think!  : )

God bless your homemaking efforts.  It's important work to keep the home looking and smelling good and to make it as comfortable as possible for your family and friends.  Thanks for dropping by.