Tuesday, October 29, 2019

No-Churn Ice Cream, SAD, Halloween

The squirrels have really been at work in trying to get to the seeds inside the pumpkins - as you can see, this one made it!!!!  LOL  : )

Hello!  Welcome to my blog - so glad you decided to drop in for a while because I appreciate it when you do.  I have three things for you today - another no-churn ice cream (this time - Oreo - oh my goodness), SAD (seasonal affect disorder), and what to do about Halloween.

Okay - the recipe.  Out of all the no-churn ice creams I've made, this is our favorite (so far).  Here it is:


2 cups heavy whipping cream
1, 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed

In a large mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  In another bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Add to the whipped cream (fold in until well mixed).  Gently fold the crushed Oreo cookies in with a spatula and pour into a freezer-safe container.  Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  : )

I'll say it again - we are just loving these ice creams.  SO EASY to make and everyone we've served these to can't believe how good they are.  I encourage you to make these for your family and friends - if you have company over some time soon, whip some up.  You'll be glad you did.

Now for the SAD.  For those of us who live in the northern part of the country where the sun goes down early and comes up late and it's cold and we just find ourselves in our homes more, this seasonal disorder can be a real thing.  Some ways to combat it are:

*Be okay with spending a little more on lighting your homes throughout the winter - a dark house is not a good thing.  You may think that you're saving on the electric bill, but your mental/emotional health is more important.  When it begins to get dark in the late afternoon begin turning lights on.  In the summer this is not an issue.  We don't begin to turn the lights on until well into the evening because our house mostly faces west so we get the setting sun, but at this time of year the porch light goes on earlier, and the living room lamps go on, the kitchen light is always on because I feel it's more cheery and inviting.  Of course we leave the bathroom light off until we need it and the two out of three bedroom lights are off because we aren't using those for any specific use.  But allow your home to be bright and cheery on the inside and out.  While driving at night, I just don't like to see how from the outside the houses are so dark on the inside.  All you see is the glow of the big screen television!!!!  What a contrast to driving by a house that has the lights on and immediately it feels welcoming and you begin to think that happy people live there.  : )

*If you can (even when it's cold outside), get outdoors and sit in the sun.  I bundle up, take a blanket to cover my legs, pour a hot cup of coffee or tea, grab my sunglasses and book or magazine and I will sit in the fresh air and sunshine for at least half an hour.  I find that it really does improve my mood and gets me ready to start on something else when I do go back into the house.

*Buy a special lamp especially made for this - I don't have one and have never used one so I can't write about what I don't know - but I do know people who do use these and they seem to help them.

*Make a list of projects during these long nights - while sitting and working on projects you HAVE to have the lights on and your hands will be busy doing something instead of sitting in the dark watching TV.  It's good for our mental health to work on something - it keeps our spirits up.

*Get out once a week - whether that be grocery shopping, other shopping that you need, or just browsing in a favorite store.  Just being out and about for a while helps our mood.

I hope you can try these things to help combat the lows while surviving the winter!!!!

And, lastly, what do Christians do about Halloween?  When our son was young, we did Halloween - there were lots of kids in our neighborhood and they all planned their costumes (that's when costumes weren't vulgar and ugly), they went out together, and then they came back here for a fun movie (eating some of the candy they got) and had a sleepover.  There wasn't anything occult about it back then - it was just fun - the way I remember it when I was a kid.

But, nowadays, I understand the hesitation.  As Christians we really don't want to support all the nasty stuff but still want to be salt and light to our neighbors.  For years after our son was too old and then out of the house, of course, we didn't do anything.  We just turned the porch light off, closed the door and that was that.  Last year was the first year we participated in it again.  We set up a table with a slow cooker full of apple cider for the parents and then a big bowl of candy for the kids.  People would stop and chat and it was surprisingly a fun evening for my husband and me.

This year, I still went back and forth on what to do until I received an e-mail from the Billy Graham Association which addressed this issue.  They really wanted to hit the point home about all the evil connected to our modern-day Halloween.  And how we should be careful with it and I totally agree.  Having said that they also mentioned how we can actually "do" Halloween with grace and I totally agreed with their idea as well.  It was pretty much the same as what we did last year.  Be neighborly.  Show your neighbors that you can join in without agreeing with the way Halloween has become.  You can be nice.  You can share.  You can smile.  You can show them that your home is a safe environment and that you can be trusted.  We can also hand out tracts that present the Gospel along with the candy we're giving out.

So, this is what we are choosing to do.  And I don't expect everyone to agree with this.  We all have to figure out how we handle certain things and until we absolutely do not feel comfortable with it, we'll continue to be welcoming to our neighbors.  

Well, again, thank you for stopping by!!!  I've enjoyed writing this post and I hope you can get some ideas to help you.  : )  God bless.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Thoughts This Sunday Afternoon

Pretty pictures from Victoria magazine.  Don't you love this time of year?

It's been one of those weeks where if someone asked "how was your week" we'd pretty much just say "fine".  But it's been more than that as I think through the week - all the "little" things that unless you really take a look at them they would pass through time.  But those little things all add up.

*At the beginning of this week while doing my morning Bible reading I was hoping to think of a favorite Bible verse from the Old Testament because of what I was thinking of at the time and how it fit how I was feeling.  I flipped back to the Old Testament (because I'm in the New right now) and the verse was right there - underlined and starred already from past readings.  I began to cry because at that point I felt the Lord's presence.  I mean, really, out of all the pages and passages of the Old Testament, what are the chances that a verse comes to mind and I'm able to turn right to it?  The verse, once again, brought peace.  God cares.  He helps.  He truly is Emmanuel (God with us).

*I've been experiencing foot, knee, and hip pain since the end of June and my last chiropractic appointment was on Tuesday because the insurance company said that I have only so many visits and that's it (aren't they wonderful - all that money every month that we pay..............I could go on and on about that!).  Anyway, I've been feeling better in answer to prayer.  Not completely great but I'll definitely take better.  : )  Again, God cares about this too.

*Our first Bible study with friends that we haven't gotten together with since May was on Thursday night.  Learning together and studying together is a wonderful thing to do.  We want to understand and do our best for the Lord so these get-togethers are meaningful.

*Having friends over last night for a fire and supper and talk was another way in which the Lord provides.   He knows that times of fellowship is important for our well-being and bringing friends into our lives at this time is total blessing.  The last two to three years has been such an emotional time for us that He is now bringing friends that actually want to be with us and do things together and it fills that void.  We can talk openly and honestly about past hurts and hear theirs as well and the comfort we can bring to each other is so wonderful.

*And then there are just those daily things such as having enough money to pay for what we need.  Enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear, our own transportation, a church home.........

At church this morning we were reminded that the Lord is Lord over the good times and the bad.  This past week just happened to have been good but we have no idea what the upcoming week will hold.  But we need to trust and we need to be ready for whatever comes.  

May God bless this upcoming week for you.  I haven't said this in a while but if you haven't made that decision to invite Jesus into your heart and take over your life, please make today be the day.  Repent of your sins and you will be forgiven.  God loves you with an everlasting love - don't waste another day in floundering.  Be certain.  : )

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Homemaking With Class

My table next to the window - a place to have a cup of tea, write letters, and read.  : )

As I look out my window this morning, the sun is just barely coming up and since the leaves having been falling from the trees I see the beautiful black silhouettes against the sky.  A sliver of a moon can be seen through the branches creating a calmness.  What a nice way to begin a new day.  : )

Today I wanted to talk about women being classy again.  Think back to the Hollywood actresses - the feminine, well-fitted clothes.  The beautiful makeup.  The well-styled hair.  I know they had to present themselves a certain way while on camera, and I'm sure while they were at home they relaxed a bit, but somehow I can't see Loretta Young in sweatpants and a T-shirt!!

How we present ourselves - no matter if it's in public or private quarters - is how we're going to feel about ourselves.  It seems we've lost the wonderful feeling of being women!  It really is okay (in a world that says it is not) to care about how you look and how you present yourself.  Let the guys be guys and let us, as women, present ourselves to be the softer, prettier, sex.

Beginning in the morning:

*take a shower and be clean - there is something wonderful about the clean water hitting your skin and cleansing your hair that makes the day begin - it's healthy and healing.
*take care of your skin - moisturize your face, your legs, yours arms.
*put on makeup - yes, put on makeup!!!!!  I know there is such an aversion to this with a lot of women.  You don't have to put full makeup on but you will notice that when you even put a bit on you will feel better about yourself.  There is a camp of women who feel this is being fake and phony - that it's a mask - I disagree.  Yes, there are some naturally beautiful women out there who don't need any makeup - they look great from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed.  But, if you're like me, I'm not a natural beauty.  Never have been.  I need to bring out areas of my face that need a little help.  I'm naturally pale and my skin isn't perfect so I need the color that foundation and blush and a little lipstick has to offer.  I have small-ish eyes so highlighting the brows and putting mascara brings them out.  It's not sinful to wear makeup.  The only thing the Bible has to say is that we should not count on that as our hope to being a better person - not to adorn ourselves and then be rotten people on the inside (my paraphrase).  We are to take care every day to look our best, but then BE our best as well.
*dress with style - find clothes that you know you look good in.  Believe me, shopping nowadays with all the not-so-great styles, it can be difficult to find these clothes.  But as I've been shopping for the last couple of days, there still are places that you can find decent clothing (it will just take a little longer).  AND......you might have to break down and spend a bit more for them - begin a clothing budget, set money aside - but try to find clothes that are flattering.  Save those sweats for working out!  Don't let them become the norm.  
*watch your attitudes - being a nice woman goes a long way.  It's another way to being feminine - put away (stop completely) any potty mouth.  Watch yourself carefully in how you handle yourself - don't let the ugly stuff of this world enter your mind.  Be on guard against anything that will take your femininity away.
*be classy in your home - yesterday while cleaning I had classical music going in the background and it felt so warm and so calming.  It just changes the atmosphere.  Classing-up your days helps you to feel womanly whether you have others around or it's just yourself.   
*look at yourself throughout the day - and I'm not talking about being narcissistic - what I am talking about is looking in the mirror once in a while to see how you're doing.  I pause to comb out my hair especially if I've been working all morning on something.  Or, I reapply my lipstick or I "powder my nose" (I have a feeling some women right now are rolling their eyes at this!).  But I feel it's important to care.  For instance, I have teeth that are close together so that when I eat certain things it gets caught in my teeth.  After I eat I have to go and see if I'm carrying around the food that I just ate!!!! LOL  Usually I need to stop and floss so that I'm not smiling at someone and find out later that some of those chia seeds that I put in our morning oatmeal aren't showing.  : )
*keep learning - I've mentioned this in past posts but it's SO very important.  We get stuck in ruts in our lives.  Sometimes it's due to laziness - we don't want to invest the time it takes to learn something new especially when our lives seem so busy the way it is.  But I think that for the homemaker it's especially important to keep learning because there are many people out there who think that a homemaker doesn't know anything else!  We have to keep our minds sharp.  Here is a wonderful quotation from Tasha Tudor that I just heard:

"When you're stirring the jam, you can read Shakespeare".

She hit it right on the button.  When we're cleaning our rooms, we can still listen to sermons or books on our devices.  When we have spare moments, instead of sitting and watching another program on TV, pull out something to work on.  You can go on-line now and take a class in whatever you have an interest in.  As women who work to be feminine in our not-so-feminine culture, we can cultivate our minds to be in line with how we want to present ourselves.
*put the devices away - again, I learned a new-to-me term yesterday - it's an acronym, FOMO.  "Fear of missing out".  That's the mode everyone is in today.  We NEED our phones, our devices, our computers, because we are SO afraid that we're going to miss a call, miss an e-mail, miss something that someone posted on Facebook or Instagram.  When did this happen?  I've mentioned this before but remember the days when all you had was the home phone and if you happened to be out while someone called they called back?  People today are actually having panic attacks if they feel they are missing out.  Now........THAT is what I call a problem.

So, those are just a few ideas to keep us women classy.  God created us as women - a feminine touch in a hard and harsh world.   Think soft, think nice, think thoughtful.....my assignment for you today is to take one area in the above list and begin.  Do you need a little makeup?  Start small - use the foundation to even out your skin tone and maybe a little mascara to bring out those beautiful eyes - you don't have to do it all.  Do you need to dress better?  Are you a little harsh around the edges?  What would it be today to change?  

Have fun with this!!!!!  Let me know what you do to keep your femininity, what you do to "class-up" your days.  God bless!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Midweek Chat

The Birch tree outside our front window.  So pretty.  : )

Hello!  Glad you can join me for another post.  I hope this is finding you doing well and enjoying your homes and Autumn!  Not a great deal to share but just some "thoughts" on what I've been doing lately.

It's been a gorgeous day today - sunny and the trees continue to be amazing.  This really has to be the most colorful of Autumns that we've seen which is such a gift at this time of year when things are starting to prepare for the next season ahead (I'm not going to say what season that is!).  LOL  : )

It was marketing day today and I'm continuing to build up the pantry with ingredients that I need in order to bake more for the freezer and for the upcoming holidays.  I'm beginning to buy more "convenience" foods such as canned fruits and vegetables, pastas, rice, condiments like pickles and olives, etc.  Everything I buy now will definitely help for the holidays.  

What I'm also trying to do is buy family packs of meats - today was pork chops (both bone-in and boneless) - I take them home and wrap each chop separately and then put them all in a large freezer bag.  That way I can take out any amount that we need instead of putting the whole family pack in the freezer and then having to thaw all of them at the same time - because you know that if you do that, it's VERY difficult to pull them apart while frozen!  So packing them individually helps with that.  

I like to make my own flour tortillas but for "convenience" I bought a pack of 10 at Aldi's today and then when I got home I divided those up as well into 2's and 4's and then put them in a large freezer bag to be able to pull out what we would need later.

I'm also trying to buy more frozen vegetable bags.  They are a quick way of getting some vegetables in our meals without having to buy fresh and then worrying about whether or not I'll be able to use them before they become bad.  I DO prefer fresh over frozen but I do think that having a few bags of frozen fruit and vegetables is a time-saver in the long run.

The other day I made a lot of dry mixes for the pantry - LOTS of "hamburger helper" type mixes along with a scalloped potato dry mix to use with our dehydrated potatoes and then a Spanish rice dry mix.   I have nine mixes all together which is another time saver for those nights when you just want to put together a quick meal yet know that the ingredients are all fresh and nothing that you can't pronounce.

I made two no-churn ice creams today for our Bible study tomorrow evening.  One is chocolate and the other is Oreo.  Again, after pouring the "ice cream" into the separate containers, I just had to take a taste before popping them into the freezer.  All I can say is "yum".  I know I've posted the chocolate and I'll have to post the Oreo one later.  SO good.  : )

I have all the ingredients in the fridge that I need to make a freezer lasagne that I'm hoping to actually get to this evening.  My energy level towards evening usually wanes so I'll have to see about that.  : o

So..........it's pretty much been about the food this week - freezing, buying, preparing.  When we do this there is a feeling of being ready for  different things - company, busy nights, sharing, etc.  I have plans of doing more slow cooker meals - the kind that you just put together in a large freezer bag, freeze, thaw, and just pour into the slow cooker for a meal that takes care of itself.  It certainly is the time of year to do all of this.  There's nothing more motivating than these cool days when you have hot tea off to the side (or coffee, or cider, or hot chocolate) and you want to warm the house up with the oven.

Speaking of ovens - I have a story for you.  Some of you may already know this but I learned something yesterday.  Okay - so, I went into the kitchen to put my kettle on the back burner to get some humidity into the house and when I turned the stovetop on the flames weren't the pretty blue but they were yellow-orange-ish which I've seen before but never really paid much attention to them.  But yesterday it was more than usual and I have heard that if you see that it means that either there is something wrong with your appliance or there could be something wrong in the gas line (which I'm always afraid of).  So I called the gas company and explained and they treated it as if it were an emergency which made me even more nervous and asked that we leave the house (which we did not). When the gas man came (in about 5 minutes - they took this VERY seriously) he checked everything in the house and it was all good.  This is where I learned something and maybe you will too - he asked if I was using a diffuser with essential oils in it.  I was.  It was on and right around the corner from the kitchen.  He said that when the essential oils get into the air and you have gas on, it will change the color of the flames on your stove!  Did you know that?   It's not dangerous or anything (he told us his wife has a diffuser in every room of their house) but that homeowner's need to be aware that when we use any kind of humidifier or diffuser that we need to change the furnace filter more often because it leaves a residue on the filter so that air can't pass through as efficiently.  So another lesson learned!!!!  Too bad that it had take an unnecessary gas emergency to learn it.  He was very nice about the whole thing so that was good.  : )

The other thing before I end was to remind you to work hard at keeping yourself and your family healthy now that the cold/flu season is upon us.  Things such as:

*drink LOTS of water - staying hydrated is healthy
*get a good dose of Vitamin C  - we eat lots of oranges, drink lots of orange juice, and take a supplement as well
*open your windows in the morning no matter how chilly it is - get that icky night air out and bring in the cold morning air (I'll admit - my husband does NOT like this tip)
*humidify your air - it keeps your nose, mouth, and sinuses moist
*wash your hands ALL the time!  Buy lots of hand lotions to keep from getting dry.
*use a diffuser to combat germs in your house - my recipe is 3 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of lavender oil, and 2 drops of peppermint.  It really smells good while destroying some of those germs!  Remember to not let your diffuser run constantly - it really IS too much of a good thing.  I'm reading that we should run it at 20-minute intervals.
*buy a spray (I use Lysol) and wipes that are meant for cleaning germs off things and use them daily.  I spray doorknobs especially the bathroom and the front and back doors.  I spray the toilet flusher handle thingy.  Whatever your hands come in contact with.  I'm SO thankful for stores who now have the wipes right when you come into the door so that you can wipe off the carts.
*exercise - staying somewhat fit will help you to fight off colds
*eat well - lots of fruits and vegetables, homemade soups, etc.
*bathe - bathing is healthy and it helps to eliminate some stress and we all know that stress brings on lots of illness and sickness!!!

There.  I think that is it for today!  Thank you so much for dropping in midweek and visiting.  Now I will see what I can get done before settling in for the evening.  : )  Bye!  God bless.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Preparing for the Week Ahead

An Autumn eve.

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

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

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

Then when Monday does come:

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

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

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

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Middle of the Month Already!!!

More "up north" Autumn beauty.  : )

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Pumpkin Goodies and Saving Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, for those recipes:


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Serene Sunday


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless.  : )

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A VERY Cold Saturday!

Autumnal beauty.  : )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunshine Sunday

Blue skies. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 5, 2019

A VERY Fall-ish Saturday

Autumn Beauty.  : )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

which then helps you to make bone broth!

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

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

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

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

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