Sunday, June 30, 2019

Last Sunday in June!

The July picture on our calendar.   A totally different time.

Very hot and humid yesterday.  Storms this morning and still a little threat of more.  It's Summer alright!  Not so sure I want this to be the last Sunday in June though - with the 4th of July this week it seems like Summer flies by after that.  Not much I can do about it though, can I?  LOL  : )

It has been another fine Sunday.  Pastor's sermon at church this morning was particularly good.  It's a calm, relaxing day - good meal, summer reading, planning the upcoming week, and now chatting with you.  : )  We'll have ice cream sundaes later while watching another episode of "When Calls The Heart" (yes, I'm definitely a Hearties fan!).  And then preparing for another week ahead.  I know some people would think how totally boring but it perfectly suits us today.   : )

My "Homemaker's Thoughts" this week was how much fortitude we need for this life.  The changes are so quick that it's hard to catch up and keep up and how much energy it takes to deal with everything.  Life is exhausting nowadays.  Hearing about what's happening in the news (which I don't even listen to but, unfortunately, my husband likes to tell me) makes me sad and discouraged about the path our society is taking and it feels like I'm on the outside looking in and not liking what I see and there's no where to run!  We were talking about this at the table the other day and I know that if there are groups of people who do not believe in God and have no moral compass then why should I expect anything different from them?  I know that.  But it's almost like grief.  We've lost something - we've lost conviction, we've lost right from wrong, we've lost sanity, we've lost decency.  And we can't get it back.  We can never go back to the picture above.

I thought about how I need to ask God for wisdom, courage, strength, and energy on a daily basis.  I see SO many people who are wise in their own eyes and I never want to be like that.  People who discuss so many things without making any sense - it's all talk and they don't know it, but they look and sound totally foolish.  I'm seeing SO many people just folding instead of speaking up and that's where the courage comes in.  Courage to speak up and speak out.  We were sitting with a group of people a while back and everyone was complaining how bad it's getting but nobody is willing to do anything - it's so easy to complain, not so easy (or popular) to do something about it.  And the strength I've already mentioned (fortitude) is what we need to just get through the days because just going out on errand day (around here anyway) is enough to test your Fruits of the Spirit!!!!!!  You, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Some days I do okay, others not so much (especially the patience and self-control).  I declare, I think some people want to test you and push you to the point to see how far they can go before you show your not-so-good side.  If you pass the test, they're bummed.  If you fail the test, they love it.

I know that this world is not our home - I do know that.  Really.  Being a homemaker (and we all are if you live anywhere) just brings about those feelings of working even harder at making where you live different from the way the world is living.  It's a huge responsibility and a hard task but it's something that we're called to do.  It's a challenge. isn't it?  I know of so many people who were once following the Lord and are now not.  Satan is working overtime - he's trying to gather as many people as he can and lead them to destruction and society is falling for it hook, line, and sinker.   I think the nice word for it is tolerance.  I'm sorry, but it's sin - no getting around it.  Sin.  And, yes, I'm definitely intolerant of sin.

But then there is Jesus.  He defeated sin on the cross and is willing and able to lift the burden of sin from every shoulder of every man, woman, and child if only they would come to Him.  I did.  Almost 30 years ago.  Me.  A VERY sinful woman.  Now changed.  Now saved.  And every person can experience that salvation no matter where you are right now, now matter what you are doing now or what you've done in the past.  Don't let society tell you what you should do, think, be, or believe.  Let Jesus.  He can really transform lives but that transformation is for good.  There is a line in a Toby Mac song that says "I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul" - because that is what this fight against good and evil is all about.  If you die today, what is most important - that you got your way and lived the way you wanted to live or that you lived the way God wanted you to live no matter how unpopular it was to the world?  Or, if Jesus came back today to take all believers up to Heaven with him while everyone else is left behind, would you be the one to go and live with the Lord or would you be left behind to suffer the consequences?  Think very carefully what this all means for your life here on earth but most importantly the life that is to come.  

I think it's come to the point where we should be singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" because like it or not we are in a battle for hearts, souls, and minds.  Fortunately, we have God on our side and He is The Mighty Warrior standing and fighting with us and for us.  Let's take the week ahead and be brave.  Let's be who Jesus would want us to be for our homes.  Don't give in and don't give up.  Dare to be different.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Last Saturday in June!

Summer.  : )

The end of June.  My goodness.  Just a few things to share with you today.  Some things are from what I was thinking about since Wednesday (my last post) and then the July to-do's along with the July tea party theme.  So, let's get started!  

*If you are a composter, I find that when I go into the kitchen every morning, it's a good reminder to set a bowl out somewhere that you will use throughout the day to put things in that can be composted.  You may have to walk this bowl out and dump the contents in a couple of times a day (if not more depending on how much you have).  But it's just a good reminder that all those scraps of fresh fruits and vegetables, all those coffee grounds, all those used paper towels, etc. can go into that bowl and be composted into lovely dirt that you can use in your garden beds.

*Try to keep cold beverages in the fridge to offer to others and to drink yourself!  Of course, water is always the best for us, but sometimes we enjoy things like iced coffee or tea or lemonade.  I know I've posted this recipe before but since it's summer I'll post it again.  It is one of our favorites and it is so very tasty.


Bring to a boil:  2 cups sugar and 4 cups water

Pour over: 2 cups packed mint leaves and 2 sliced lemons

Let stand overnight.  Strain and put into a container and fill with water.  Serve over ice.

This makes a gallon so what I do is after I strain it, I divide this mixture up - the first half I put into a serving container (with water added) and use it.  The other half I put into a jar (since at this point it's just sugar syrup for making the tea).  It is such a refreshing drink in the summertime.  And, again, if you can grow your own mint it's so fun to go out and cut your own for this drink.  Hope you can try it!

This is what it looks like before straining.  And please forgive me - I'm SO terrible at taking "after" photos!  I'll try to get better at that.  But doesn't this look pretty?  And it smells wonderful.  : )

*Also during the summer months, it's a good idea to keep some ice cream treats in the freezer.  We always make sure to have frozen yogurt around.  Just like the humble cookie for dessert, there's something about a scoop of ice cream too.  You can keep a few toppings around as well.  I usually try to have my homemade fudge sauce on hand and then I always keep some heaving whipping cream around to whip up at a moments notice.  In about 15 minutes you can offer a wonderful summertime treat!

Now on to the July to-do's:

*Wax your cars and clean the inside.
*Sealcoat your driveway if you have asphalt.
*Dispose of old paint and flammables.
*Replace the washing machine hoses.
*Rotate your tires.
*Spot check your home for any mildew growing.
*I know this sounds crazy.............but start looking for good deals on gift gifting items to begin putting away on your gift shelf for Christmas!
*Paint indoors.

That's it!!!!  Not bad.  : )

I guess the other thing for July is the 4th of July and it's coming up fast!  So if you are ones that do it up for the 4th, I guess you should begin the planning - what are you going to do? where are you going? if you are hosting, who are you having? what are you going to serve? what games will you play? do you go to parades? do you go to the fireworks display?  A good idea to get paper and pen out and begin writing ideas down this weekend.  

July Tea Party Theme:

*Decorate the outdoors with red, white, and blue stars hanging all over from the limbs of the trees
*Cover tables with quilts
*Have wildflowers in watering cans
*Serve cold drinks from a wheelbarrow
*Serve blueberry muffins, thumbprint cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and a coconut cake
*Play Sousa music along with any Americana music you can find

Sounds fun and beautiful.  : )

I think that is it for today.  I hope you can get working on the to-do's, I hope you can begin planning some fun, and I hope you can enjoy taking some time in making your home a place of comfort, good smells, good tastes, and a little relaxation.   Enjoy the day and be grateful!!!!!!  God bless.  : )

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday Drop-in

Look at all that beautiful blue..............

Well, it's midweek again and I have just a few things to share with you.

*The "bug-off bars" that I posted about really do work!  I rubbed it on my arms on Saturday while working outdoors and not one bite.  This is sad though - we had to go somewhere in the evening so I went in to clean up, came back out (the repellent now washed off) and a mosquito got me.  So, I think that's proof enough the bars work.  Outside with it on - no bites - outside with it not on - bitten.  : )

*Like I've said before, I like to do a load of laundry every day because I don't like to devote one day to it and I like to be caught up on it in case something happens.  So, on Sunday before church I threw a load in, turned around and looked at the floor in back of me which happens to be where our hot water heater and furnace is.  Oh my goodness, what a surprise (and not a good surprise either!).  The floor was covered with tons of dead ants and quite a few live ones scurrying around and get this.........there were three ant hills! On the basement floor! They somehow found openings in our floor where the furnace is and decided that our laundry room was their new home.  It was gross (I do not like ants).  So out came the vacuum to clean them all up and out came the caulking to caulk every area we could see that they were coming in.  And this is the part I really wanted to share with you - Clove essential oil - it repels ants beautifully.  I used to just sprinkle whole cloves all over but I don't like the way they just lay there.  I tried the oil while there were still a couple of ants walking around and they got out of the way quickly when the oil was applied (and it actually killed one).  So, if you have a problem with ants, find out how they are getting in, take care of that first, and then go out and buy the Clove oil and sprinkle it around.  I also don't like chemicals so this is a wonderful natural remedy.  The side benefit is that our laundry area has never smelled so good!!!!  : )

*The other thing is how I realized that when I go into the kitchen and I know I'm going to be in there for quite a while, I light a candle in the kitchen.  It's a very calming and pretty way to make me feel like I can now slow down, enjoy what I'm doing, and create a serene atmosphere.  You probably already do this but it's just something I wanted to share so that you might think of trying it yourself - it really does set a mood for kitchen time.  Yesterday was so beautiful.  We had all the windows open and it was quite breezy but it was a dry breeze so the house felt so comfortable even while working and baking.  It was one of those days where you wish it could always feel that way.  : )

*Sometimes I like days where I do a little bit of everything in order to feel like I've accomplished something - a little cleaning, a little cooking, a little outdoor work, etc......., but I also like to have theme days and I've been doing that a lot lately finding that it's rather calming.  For instance, I'm setting days aside just to work outside.  Yesterday I set the whole day aside for baking (especially when the weather was so nice).  Tomorrow I need to get to some areas of the house that need deep cleaning and organizing.  Maybe it's something you'd like to try too!  (If you haven't already)   : )

*A couple of nights ago, I tried a bread machine garlic bread pizza dough that we very much liked and I wanted to share it with you:


Fill your machine in the order given:

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Push the "dough" cycle on your machine and look at the dough after a little while to see if the dough is too dry - if so, just add about a Tbsp. more water - you don't want it too sticky though.  The cycle will take about 1 1/2 hours.  

Remove dough from pan when finished and knead a few times to make it workable.  Divide the dough in half and shape into a ball.  Roll out on a floured surface.  Shape into a pizza, put your favorite toppings on and bake in 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes (but watch for doneness).

Look how much this grew in the bread machine pan!  Beautiful.  If felt so wonderful.  : )

I almost forgot to take a final photo so a few pieces are already missing.  : )  We just made this pizza with tomato sauce on top, cut some fresh basil, and grated Mozarella cheese over it.  Yum.

*Lastly if you haven't experienced the pleasure of going out and cutting your own herbs, I would encourage you to grow some just for that experience alone.  There is something SO satisfying and homey to use fresh home-grown products in what you cook.

I think that is it for today!  Nothing too earth shaking but just a few things that have been keeping me busy and happy.  : )  Thanks for stopping by and God bless you and yours.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Morning in June

"And the Glory of the Lord shone about them..............."  - I don't know about you but sunrises and sunsets seem to bring the Glory of the Lord to my mind.  So VERY beautiful.  : )

In looking back on the week, it was good.  Things got done, food was prepared, projects were finished, new things tried, appointments that turned out well, and enjoying the summer weather.  Yesterday in particular was nice - a morning walk, breakfast on the patio, working in the yard for hours, cleaning up, went to a Christian coffee shop for fellowship and music, and then ate our evening meal outdoors again.  It was a day in which we felt we made the most out of every moment and that is so satisfying.

And then getting back from church today which spoke the Word of God in truth to us - something that we could hear and put into our hearts and souls and minds.  Music that uplifted and praised God.  Talking with other brothers and sisters in Christ afterwards knowing that when this life is over we will all be together with Jesus someday.  Also, coming home to the smells of a Sunday meal (pork roast in the oven) knowing that our son will join us while his wife is out of town just gives that down-home, old-fashioned Sunday feel.  

Life isn't all roses though, is it?  Even though the above things that happened through the week sound wonderful there are also those times that we don't want to talk about or we don't want other people to know because we want to try to give them a feeling that all is well.  But I think we do a disservice to others by always painting a beautiful picture.  We can make others feel envious of what we have and they might not.  We might make others feel like life is always good for us when in reality we go through the difficult times as well.  We might make others feel lonely when we constantly talk about all the friends we have and all the get-togethers we go to when in reality those times are very far and few between times.  Real life isn't a Normal Rockwell painting (but I wish it was).

The week was good, indeed, but it also included a disagreement between my husband and me which made it a little frosty for a time.  The week was good, but sadness inched into my heart over several things - severed relationships, worry over a loved one, knowing that someone is dealing with health issues and loss......and the list could go on.   The week was good, but the feelings of inadequacies crept in - why can't I be a good conversationalist? why can't I feel okay about myself? why do I feel like I'm being judged on the outward appearance instead of people taking the time to know me?  You know, those high school feelings?

So, lest you think that I live a charmed life know that I struggle too.  I struggle right along with you in so many areas.  There are times when I come to the Lord in the morning and feel so inadequate and so unworthy to be at the feet of Christ.  Yet that is exactly what I have to do.  He is the source of strength when I'm weak.  He is the source of life when I feel emotionally drained.  He speaks Truth when others are telling me that I'm not enough.  And that is what makes it a good day as well.  : )

May you take this day and give it to the Lord - I hope you went to church or that you will go next week.  I hope you take the time to read the Bible.  May you take this week and give it to the Lord - I hope you take the time to pray.  I hope you remember that you are not alone in the days that are ahead.  And I hope you can say - "it's been good".  

God bless.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Morning

More Peonies!  : )

Here we are again.  Saturday.  It really does roll around quickly, doesn't it?  Like I said before, I like the feel of Saturdays.  Quite laid back and a take-your-time kind of day.  A calm cup of coffee, a sitting around before popping into the shower and today, since it's going to be such a pretty morning, I think I will serve breakfast outside.

Once again, getting outdoors and pulling weeds is on the agenda which is fine with me.  I'm kind of a detail person - I like to bring some kind of order out disorder - it feels like I've accomplished something.  The yard just looks a bit better when those pesky weeds are somewhat gone (for now).  

It's been a good week.  Tried a couple of new things that I want to share with you.  On Wednesday, I had mentioned a Crockpot meal (Greek chicken) and it DID turn out fine.  It certainly made the house smell good in the process of cooking all day.  (I posted the "before" photo on Wednesday, but I totally forgot to take an "after" photo - sorry).  Here it is for you if you'd like to give it a try:


6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 chicken, cut up and skin removed (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead)
2 large onions, quartered
1 whole garlic bulb, separated and peeled
3 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. cornstarch

Place potatoes in the slow cooker.  Add chicken, onions and garlic; sprinkle with seasonings.  Pour 1/2 cup water over top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cook, covered, on low for 6 - 8 hours (I did 8).

In a bowl, mix cornstarch with remaining water until smooth.  Remove the chicken and vegetables from slow cooker; keep warm.  Strain the cooking juices into a small saucepan; skim fat.  Bring the juices to a boil and stir in the cornstarch mixture - stir until thickened and serve with the chicken and vegetables.

*For me, it was the sauce that you make at the end of cooking that made all the difference.  I'm not sure it would have been as good without it - I think it would have been just an ordinary chicken recipe - but the pouring of the yummy sauce over it was what it needed.  Hope you can try it and let me know what you think!  : )

And I really have tried to bake a least one thing in the coolness of the mornings to put into the freezer.  Yesterday is was Applesauce Muffins.  I think I may have posted this one in the past, but I'll give it to you again, just in case.  ; )  It's a actually a mix first that you can put into your pantry (and then make sure you have a jar of applesauce in your pantry as well) so it comes together very quickly and it's one of our favorites to have with soup or a salad or even on their own as a good snack with a cup of coffee or tea.


Mix and put into jar:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

For the muffins:  place the above mix in a bowl and add 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 1 tsp. vanilla

Fill greased (or lined) muffin tins 3/4 full.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake @ 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes and invert on to a wire rack.  Enjoy!!!!!!!

The recipe says it makes 9, but I think it could be stretched to 12.

The other thing that I've been wanting to make for a long time and finally got around to it was to make bug repellant  bars.  I got the ingredients on Wednesday, made them Thursday, and will try them out today while pulling weeds.  : )  


3 oz. beeswax 
1 1/2 cups cocoa butter
2 oz. sweet almond oil
3 drops of vitamin E (taken from the capsules)
10 drops of bug repellant essential oils which include - cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, and sandalwood

Melt beeswax, cocoa butter, and almond oil in the top of a double boiler.  Remove from heat and stir in Vitamin E and the essential oils.  Pour contents into molds and let the bars cool completely.  When wanting to use them, just rub the bars over your skin.  The ingredients in these bars are good for you and will nourish your skin and keep it soft too.

I already had the beeswax (if you buy a big chunk of beeswax, it's hard to use it up!).  I've had this chunk for a long time and have used it for various things so the cost up front might be a lot, but a little goes a long way.  I also had the almond oil and the Vitamin E capsules so all I had to buy was the cocoa butter and the appropriate essential oil.  I chose the lemongrass, sandalwood, and citronella oils, but for this particular batch I used the lemongrass.

All melted and poured.

When I make something for the first time, I don't have patience - these were still pretty soft when I took them out of the mold, but it was okay.  : )  I'm putting them in a plastic storage bag and keeping them in the fridge until it's time to use them.  I hope they work!!!!!!

Well, I think that's about it for today.  I hope that whatever you find to do, you will enjoy it - I sometimes hurry through my to-do's that I really do need to stop and remind myself to remember to enjoy the process.  Whether it's baking or cooking or crafting or gardening, it doesn't have to be this mad dash to get it all done.  Slow down, enjoy what your doing, and if you don't get everything done, it's not the end of the world.  : )  God bless and thank you SO much for dropping by.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Midweek Check-in

Our other Peony - I finally took some cuttings to take into the house to enjoy - every now and then we get this waft of fragrance.   Mmmmmm........... : )

The weather has been absolutely beautiful lately that it truly is difficult to stay indoors.  We made our last trip to the garden center this afternoon where prices are being cut so we thought a few more perennials to add to the bare spots would be nice.  Last evening, I took a notebook and pen outside and just walked around the yard and took notes about what we planted, how it's doing, and what I would do differently next year.  I encourage you to do this.  I don't know about you, but I can't seem to remember year to year what worked, what we liked, etc. so writing it all down is a good thing to do.  It makes you feel like a "real" gardener.  : )  I take LOTS of photos (like above) of all the plantings, have the nice ones developed, and make note cards out of them with the cardstock I already have in my craft area.  Another frugal thing to do!!!!

Now, on to food.  : )  One of the best vegetables you can buy at the market is a head of cauliflower.  I know, I know, cauliflower is not on everyone's list of favorite foods but if you can acquire a taste for it it's a really good buy.  First of all, it lasts a VERY long time in the bin of your refrigerator.  I read that it lasts a week, but I have them stay good for over two weeks.  Since the heads are large, one head lasts us a long time since all I need to do is cut the little florets off for raw salads and there's still a lot left.  The next thing is that they are so good for us - Vitamin C, K, and E, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc, Omega 3 and high in Fiber.

The ONLY thing about his vegetable is that it is a cruciferous vegetable so you don't want to pig out on it (not that you would want to) because it can form gas in your tummy.  So, go slow and just incorporate into your diet little by little.  It can be steamed, baked, roasted, and grilled.  

Also, I'm on my baked donut kick again.  : )  I baked Key Lime Donuts yesterday and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  I've had this recipe for a long time and wanted to wait for "Summer" to try it.  I want to share it with you too!


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh key lime juice
1 tsp. fresh key lime zest
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your donut pan well and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.  In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, key lime juice, key lime zest, melted butter, egg, and vanilla until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon the batter into donut cavities (this makes 8 donuts so if you only have a 6-donut pan, you'll have to do the other two after the 6 come out of the oven).  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 5 minutes.  Remove donuts from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

When cool, make a glaze out of 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 Tbsp. fresh key lime juice.  Dip each donut into glaze and let set until hard.  Then dip again to put the final coating on.  Sooooooo good!  Hope you can try these.  A donut pan is a good investment - mine has paid for itself over and over again by now.  : )

I put some colored sprinkles on top for fun.

Last night in bed I was reading a magazine and in an article a woman was writing about the kitchens in her life and how she loved the small kitchens the best (which made me feel good because like I have written before, my kitchen is the size of a walk-in closet).  I totally agreed with her for so many reasons.  It doesn't matter the size of your kitchen what matters is the love you put into your food for yourself, your family, your friends, and others that could benefit from a meal or two.  I remember when I was young and going into some kitchens and they had all the room in the world and then going back home and just being so upset that I couldn't have that (hmm........covetousness?).  And then I began reading organizational books and how to set up even the smallest of spaces so that it worked and made sense and then all of a sudden I fell in love with my tiny space.  It all works and it all feels so right that I wouldn't want to change a thing.

So, if the reason you don't enjoy cooking is because of your kitchen, keep working at it.  Try things out in different ways until it works for you.  You won't regret it because then you will WANT to cook and create in the kitchen and be a blessing for others.

This is what's in the Crockpot for tonight's meal:

it's a Greek chicken meal (look at all those garlic cloves - a whole head!) - if we like this meal I will certainly share it with you.  If you haven't heard anything about it by my Saturday post, chances are it wasn't all that great.  LOL  : )

And here is that little "quilt" for our garden that I finally put together a couple of days ago:

just gives a little color in a drab corner.  : )

That's it for today!  Thank you SO much for dropping by - I appreciate that you do.  God bless.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Thinking More About Frugality

Our Peony bush - my favorite flower - not only does it look beautiful, but the smell..........

This past week SO made up for the last week!  I had energy and motivation and I got outdoors to get a lot of work done.  VERY grateful for that.  : )

While working inside and out, my thoughts turned toward frugality again and how MANY different ways we can be frugal if we really set our hearts and minds to that.  I think that even if you are one who has a lot of extra money lying around (lucky you!) the idea of frugality should become a way of living just because it makes sense and it's a good and proper way to live.  I mean, why should we SPEND money instead of SAVING it?

The ideas that I'm going to give you may not seem like much, but a little here and there all add up - it can be money in your piggy bank to use in better ways (like paying down or paying off debt!).  For instance:

*I've been trying to use the cool mornings to do some baking -

chocolate chip cookies

some to snack on right from the oven, but the others go into the freezer.  Don't underestimate, when you are hosting a party or casual dinner for friends or family, the humble cookie as a dessert.  After a full meal, sometimes a plate of cookies offered with coffee and/or tea is just right.  We sometimes feel like we always have to go all out for hospitality, but try to be humble - a delicious cookie (or two) might very well be the perfect touch.  : )

*Paper towels - we love paper towels for the messy and germy cleaning in our home so we do spend money in that area but I'm so glad that they have finally made paper towels in half-sheets now!  Sometimes that's all you need instead of pulling that big whole sheet off.  So, if you can, look for those half-sheet rolls. Having said that, try to use as many cloth rags as you can when cleaning other things.  Old sheets, t-shirts, towels, etc. can easily be torn up for this use - this limits the amount of paper towels you will need to buy.

*A while back I posted about using a plastic wash tub in your kitchen sink for washing dishes and then when you're finished you throw the dish water out on any trees, shrubs, or plants in your yard.  But I have a friend who keeps the tub in the sink all day and then whenever she washes her hands or rinses something, all that lovely water goes into the tub and can be poured out throughout the whole day not just after dishes are done.  Brilliant!  : )

*If you love books, look for garage sales, thrift stores, or book sales:

found this for .50 cents at a book sale - I love Jane Austen, haven't read "Emma" yet, so it's a win!  : )

Remember to always have a book in your hand!!  Be discerning though - there are books out there that should be best left alone.

*If you sew anything I know you have lots of fabric scraps on hand and being frugal is to find ways to use them up.  This should be something that will be fun for you.  If you can't think of anything, just go on-line and you will be sure to find something.  I had pieces of fabric that I'm putting together to make kind of a quilt top to go outside in the garden to replace the one from last year:

you don't have to be an experienced seamstress to put something together - just cut the blocks, sew them together, finish (hem) the edges, and there you have it!  It could be made into pillows, wall hangings, or could be framed for an interesting piece of art on your wall.  Again, using what you have in a different way.

*When working outside I noticed all the plants that could be divided or that cuttings could be taken from.  This is VERY frugal!!!!  Plants are expensive and I did spend money on plants and plantings this year, but I also transplanted what I already had in order to fill in areas that were a little sparse.  My neighbor brought over a Jack-in-the-pulpit (something that I've never seen before) which was so nice of her because she had an excess in her own garden - which is another way of obtaining plants - do you have a friend or neighbor that would consider thinning their own plants out?  Maybe you can trade plants one for the another?  It's a wonderful way to bond with other gardeners and get plantings that you never even thought of before.

*Another frugal thing to do is clean your house and yard.  Cleaning costs nothing.  We think we need to buy cleaners in order to clean, but most of the time, simple soap and water does the job.  Cleaning and maintaining makes a HUGE difference in and around our homes.  Like I said last week, the weeds are a really non-stop thing to do:

I keep a little box next to me when I go out and I pulled boxes and boxes of weeds this past week.  This cost me nothing yet the end result is wonderful.  : )

So, maintaining and cleaning what you already have is good stewardship and we should delight in it.

*An obvious frugal thing to do is to simply STAY HOME.  I know this is really difficult for a lot of people (especially women).  I think the Lord forgot to hand out the "shopping gene" to me because I'm a woman who does NOT like to shop.  : o  But, really, the less we go out and about and are tempted with everything there is to buy out there, the more we save money!  It's kind of an obvious point to make, but sometimes it's easy to forget.  Which leads me to the next point:

*Be content with what you have.  This can also be difficult - we can constantly be comparing ourselves to others which can lead us to purchasing things that we really don't need and then we feel guilty for purchasing those things and they will eventually go into those bags of things to get rid of because the purchase didn't satisfy that need for something more that those other people had!!!!!!  So, learn how to be content with what you have.

*Use things up.  I'm a strong believer in building up a pantry for emergencies and for those times that it will be useful in other ways (sickness, times of hurry, blessing others), but if you have items that need to be used up, use them before they can't be used anymore!  It's a waste of money to let things sit in the fridge, freezer, or pantry and throwing them out.  You already paid money for them, don't let it be thrown.  One cool thing is that if you see something that you have and aren't sure how you can use it up or just want a different way of using it, go on-line, type in "what can I do with.........." and you will find recipes for that very thing.  If you keep a well-stocked pantry, you should find that you already have ingredients to pull something together.

*Write down family favorites that you would tend to order if you went out to eat.  Ours is -
-Applebee's riblets
-fish tacos
-egg foo yung
-lo mein
When you know what you and your family likes, try to find recipes to fulfill those likes in your own home!  I know it's a treat to go out to eat or even do a take-out night once in a while, but if you're serious about being frugal, saving money, or just eating healthier, it really is best to cook and eat at home.  When I was thinking about this, I was trying to think of what makes going out to eat so nice and I was thinking about what makes going on a vacation so nice.  You might want to think about it too.  We really can emulate those things at home with a little thought and creativity.  One thing that I like when on vacation is eating outdoors.  There is something about sitting on a patio in the outdoors that gives a special feeling.  The birds are singing, the lovely plants all around, the fresh air - it's just special.  So when the weather is nice begin taking your meals outdoors - your friends and family will love it.  Even when the weather isn't so nice (rain), back your car out of the garage and set up a table in there - listen to the rain!  : )  Begin to look for recipes for the food that you listed as favorites in restaurants and try to prepare them at home.

*Use less of everything - you don't have to fill your toothbrush with toothpaste, a tiny dot at the end will do.  Don't pour dishsoap in the dishwater, a little will do.  Don't put a lot of laundry detergent into the wash, a little will do.   You will find that all these things last a lot longer and you won't have to buy them as often.

*If you find you don't have room, maybe you have too much?  Regularly go through what you have and give things away.  Chances are we don't use half of what we have and maybe someone else can!

Those are just a few ways we can all be frugal and save for those things that really do matter.  It's actually
quite fun and enjoyable to come up with all the different ways to save.  If you're a list maker like me, use today to write down as much as you can think of to start this way of living.  Throughout the day, let your mind think while you're doing things of how you can do it differently.  I really do encourage you in this!!!!!  Give it a try.  : )
Thank you for dropping by - I do enjoy your visit.  God bless.

A few other photos from this past week:

Delicious strawberries - not from our garden - but aren't they pretty?

 Iris all over the yard!!!!

My tiny herb garden - mint, lavender, rosemary - it smells really, really, good!

A bit of basil growing by the backdoor - another favorite!

A couple of raised beds filled with flowers.  : )

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sunday Afternoon in June

Summer beauty.  : )

It's rather nice that today is a cloudy day.  And a bit cool.  I'm kind of strange about that.  I love warm, sunny days but when there are a lot of them it gets a bit tiresome.  I need a cool, cloudy day tucked in there somewhere and today is it.  : )  It feels cozy.  It feels like a reading day.  It feels like a crafty day.  It feels like an afternoon nap day.  ; )

I thought about the importance of keeping a journal and/or writing things down and I encourage you to take this important step to start your new upcoming week.  So grab some paper and write these questions down and begin to think through them and see how you can come up with answers that will motivate you to make this upcoming week one of your best.  Sometimes the answers will come quickly and easily and sometimes they will require some extra thought but since the year is almost half over, think of it as a mid-year follow-up to New Year's Day resolutions.  : )  Don't look back and dwell on what you DIDN'T get done, but let this revive you and give you a new spark of motivation.  

*Will I start each day in God's Word?  Will I begin at the beginning or is there another book of the Bible that I want to learn more about?  What would that be?  Will I take notes as I read so that I can see how God is trying to speak specifically to me?

*Will I start each day in prayer?  What specific prayers do I need?  What specific prayers do my family/friends need?  Write each person's name down along with how you are praying for them and remember to write down the answers to those prayers along with the dates.

*Will I begin to take care of myself?  What does that look like?  Do I have health goals in mind?  What do you want to see changed about yourself - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?  Write everything down that you can think of - we're not setting unobtainable goals here - just small changes add up.

*Will I begin to take care of others?  What can you do for those around you?  Again, write everything down that you can think of.  Family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, those at church - what are their needs?  Are there organizations that you can contribute to in order that they can take care of others?

*Will you begin to take care of what the Lord has given you?  Your home, your car(s), your food, your clothes, your yard/property?  Write a list of what needs to be done and dig in.  What areas do you need help in?  What areas are difficult for you to stay on top of and how can you change that?  How can you simplify so that you CAN keep up?

There is kind of a pyramid thing going on here:

*putting God first
*taking care of yourself so that you can.............
*take care of others
*taking care of what you have/own

You might want to divide your journal/notebook up in these four areas so that you give yourself plenty of room for your thoughts.  Remember not to overthink.  Just jot everything down as they come to you.  Remember to have fun with this.  It's meant to be an exercise to help you, not stress you out.  : )  Each one of us is SO very different and we're all at different stages in our lives - some of us are empty nesters, some of us are retired, some of us are just starting out, some of us are middle age, some of us are single, some of us have children at home, some of us have grandchildren, some of us work inside the home, some of us work outside the home - so the answers to all of these questions are going to vary greatly according to where you are but I think it's important to take the time to think about it especially if you feel you can do better or if you feel there might be some needed changes in order to meet certain goals.  Just give it a try!   : )

May God bless your day and upcoming week!!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Saturday Morning

Summer skies.  : )

As far as anything homemaking goes, this week has not seen much going on.  On Monday, I had a back molar tooth pulled (an old root canal gone bad), so I've been pretty much laying low and resting so that I don't undo what the surgery did.  I feel like I was very fortunate that I did not experience pain or get the sickies that sometimes come with a tooth removal and, for that, I'm VERY grateful!!!  But I am tired, and it's true that the sedation stays with you for a while - yesterday I STILL felt a little lightheaded.   Last month when I found out that this tooth needed to come out, I actually cried.  Not a lot, but that combined with the fact that next month I'll turn 60 just kind of made me sad.  I kept hearing over and over again - "it's just a tooth" and I KNOW that, but it made me feel old all of a sudden and there has always been a part of me that still feels young.  Taking the tooth took a little part of that feeling away for some reason.  Maybe a little silly, but that's how it made me feel.  And it didn't help matters any when I went downstairs to sit in a rocking chair to watch a DVD and my husband brought me a blanket and wrapped it around me.   At that moment I felt I felt like I was 90 years old!!!!  It was thoughtful of him of though.  : )

So, with that, what I DID learn this past week was the importance of keeping things in the house that will be a help and benefit for those times when a special diet needs to be adhered to.  And it reiterated the fact of keeping on top of things as far as housekeeping goes too.  

This week (maybe longer) I need to be on a soft-food diet so it helped to have things like canned soups, canned fruit, and canned vegetables in the pantry, eggs in the fridge along with kefir and yogurt and frozen yogurt in the freezer.  It helped to have bananas around and watermelon.  Foods that are soft, easy to prepare, and healthy as well.  Bottled water and a variety of tea was nice.  When preparing a grocery list, remember to keep a pantry stocked in your home.  There is no way we can prepare for absolutely everything that might come up but try to think of days of not feeling well (we all have them) and then make a list of what foods you can put aside for those days.  

As far as housekeeping goes, it's really important to keep on top of the laundry (every day!).  Even though I was able to continue with laundry this week I was awfully glad that, before this, I didn't let the laundry pile up.  Keep up with the dusting as well.  When recovering from anything, it's nice to sit in rooms that have been kept up.  The last thing you want when you aren't feeling well is to look at dusty furniture.  You just know that it's not good for you.

The other thing that I thought was important was to have comfortable places to go to when not feeling well.  Other than having a really bad cold or flu, I do NOT want to be confined in one place so it's good to know that there are chairs in the home that you can just sit and be comfortable while recuperating.  Places where you can just sit and watch a video or two or places that have books around or magazines to peruse.  Chairs that you can nod off if you need to.

All of these things - having good food around, having a well-kept home, and having comfortable spots within the home, are great for our health and well-being.  It makes it more manageable to tend for ourselves and speeds up the healing.

The ONLY thing that has been bothering me is that when I take a walk out in our yard, I see that the weeds haven't stopped just because I have!!!!  With the rain and warm weather, they are thriving.  So, hopefully I can get out today and at least do an area or two.  : )

So, I encourage all of you in this.  Keep a well-stocked pantry for times of need.  Keep up with the basic housekeeping so when you don't feel well, it won't be a problem.  And make your home comfortable so that your mind and body can get the adequate rest it needs to heal.

Thank you for dropping by for this short visit - I appreciate all of you!!!!!  : )  God bless. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Pretty bush on the side of the road.  : )

A beautiful Sunday here in Minnesota.  : )  Prayers have been lifted up, we worshiped the Lord in song, we listened to God's Word spoken through our pastor.  We are blessed today for transportation to get us to and from church.  We put on clean clothes today.  We'll have more than enough food to eat today.  We're having our son over to share lunch with while our daughter-in-law is out of town.  We have a home to eat this lunch in and we have a yard to sit in and/or work in.  Things like this are truly gifts from God and I encourage you to give thanks to the Lord for your blessings as well.  : )  It all comes from Him.

I also encourage you today to pray for President Trump.  Franklin Graham and the Samaritan's Purse organization set this day aside for all Christians to pray for our President no matter your feelings toward him.  He is still our President.  I read a quote from John Wayne the other day when John F. Kennedy was elected President in the 60's - "I didn't vote for him, but I hope he does a good job."  

In my opinion, that's what's wrong these days.  If we don't win, we want to destroy the opposition.  We speak evil of them.  We want them to fail.  We want to do everything in our power to make sure they don't succeed.   Instead of taking it like a good sport and remember that someone always wins and someone always loses, we get angry and take revenge if we aren't the ones that win.  

We need to bring back civility.  We need to look upon the office of the President as an honored position no matter who is in office and we need to pray for him and show respect.   Pray for his being able to face the onslaught of attacks on him and his family.  Pray for the protection from the enemy within this country - those who want to go against what this country was founded on - God.  Pray for his health and well being that he will be able carry out his duties.  Pray for protection from those who want to harm him or any members of his family.  Pray for courage and strength to do the "unpopular" according to some people.  Pray that he will get wise council.  Pray that he will give his life to Christ and live accordingly.  Pray that he will hang in there when it seems so difficult.  

God can change this country.  We know that these are terrible days but God can, in his Mercy, restore our country again.  He has done this time and time again - God has been heavy on the Mercy.  There are laws in our country that go against God's laws but I'm seeing, little by little, that there are good changes happening.

So, PLEASE pray!!!!!!  It WILL make a HUGE difference.  God is waiting.  He is listening.  He will honor those prayers!!!!!!!  God bless.