Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Short Greeting

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers.  I so appreciate you all.  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Can Get as Excited as a Child or Once an Adult, Twice a Child! (As the Saying Goes)

The week has seemed to fly by. Monday was get it (almost) free day, so I motored up to the mall to get three free (almost free) items.  There was a spot close to the door I normally enter the mall from.  I try to stay around the same area when I park because I have been known to spend a few minutes searching for my car when I'm leaving the mall.

The first stop was to grab a pair of undies from Victoria's Secret.  Since they were not the ones I wear, they'll  go into a stocking as a Christmas gift.  Those days, for me, are gone.  The cotton high rise are now my speed! 

I went into Bath and Body Works to pick up the full size body wash  with the intent of purchasing a one dollar emery board.  This strategy changed the minute I focused in on a new Christmas fragrance With the word peppermint on the tube.  So a $5.00 purchase grabbed me an 8.00 free item. The free item is also going in (another) stocking as a Christmas gift. 

My last stop was at Penney's with a $10.00 off $10.00 coupon in hand.  I was not going to waste this one, even if I had to pay out of pocket a few dollars.  I found the most whimsical snow man night light for the powder room.  This is the facility the grandkids use when they come to visit.  I though it would bring a bit of joy to the small room. The original price was 24.99, but it was fifty percent off.  So about $12.50.  I had the $10.00 off $10.00 coupon so I paid $2.50 out of pocket plus tax.

It was a satisfying trip.  And, I easily located my vehicle when I was ready to leave.

I also received my free 10 pounds of flour and 1 pound of baking soda in the mail on Monday.

Also satisfying.  I didn't even have to locate my vehicle as it was in the drive way when the package arrived,

My almost freebies I got with coupons sent in the mail.  Don't you just love the bobble head snowman?

I currently use unbleached flour, so I need to see if this brand creates better tasting desserts.  I'll let you know when I begin to use it.

Yesterday I started making some of the food that is my responsibility for the Thanksgiving dinner.  We don't get fancy, but we like plenty of variety on the Thanksgiving table.  Like most people we have appetizers, the main meal, then dessert.  The food I'll bring is an apple pie made in a 9x13 pan, mashed potatoes, home made cheese ball, and jello for the kids.  The cheese ball is done and keeping well in the refrigerator.  The jello will be made tonight so it's firm by morning.  The pie will be made first thing in the morning so it's on the warm side when it's ready to be eaten,  I also purchased a couple of items from my grandson's school project so they will be added to the feast.

This is when I wish we could all be together, but that's impossible so I'll wait for the phone calls from my Northern family.

This morning was spent at one of the local military facilities renewing my military ID.  I'm the widow of a Navy man so I am compensated with being able to shop for items without paying tax on them.  I don't think I have to say that I preferred  my husband was with me to this benefit.

However, this is the first year since his passing that I have been truly excited for the holidays, mostly Christmas.  I feel like a little girl when I see so many things I think my grandchildren would like.  As an example, (It may be just me) I found a huge square box of Crayola crayons -with a sharpener- For two of the older grandkids.  The excitement was infectious as my daughter (who drove me to the facility) started laughing at me.  Our Christmas gifts are humble as we tend to focus on the reason for the season, but I can get excited even for the humble things. 

Have you started shopping yet?  Do you go to Black Friday sales?  What excites you about Christmas?

I hope that all my readers have a blessed Thanksgiving, where ever you may be.  God bless and stay safe.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Christmas Table Will See Food From My Garden

When I wake up in the morning my first line of business is getting cleaned up then sitting with my ISOTONIX vitamin drink ( )  and checking out the yoo toob videos of my favorite posters.  This morning was a bit different because I slept until after nine and the pup had to go out.  Can you imagine my surprise when the door opened and it was in the mid seventies?  The pup was so happy she's laying in the rocks soaking in the heat.

I was happy because my first thought was my winter garden plants and the question of their survival.  My happiness quickly turned into excitement as I raked the protective layer of leaves off the tiny seedlings.  Oh my God!  Thank you for protecting my efforts.  Every type of plant, including the garlic, survived the freezing temperatures.  Even the garlic has begun to break it's way through the soil.  The spinach, carrots, lettuce, beets, and radishes - along with the strawberries and even the rose bush - survived.

Radishes happily searching for sun light.

There are only three beets out so far.  This is encouraging to me to look for the rest of them each morning.

Not too many carrots are up yet.

The spinach has the largest yield so far.  Two nice rows of my favorite veggie.

The garlic is from the crop I grew last year.  This is the crop that is most exciting to me.  My efforts are being rewarded.

The parsley is also from seed from a plant I grew during the summer.

You may remember that the rose bush was from a small plant my daughter gave me for Mother's Day.  Oh baby, how you've grown.

The strawberries have quadrupled in size from the small five plants that went in the ground in the late spring.

Can you see why I'm so excited?  The food won't be ready for Thanksgiving, but I'm counting on some of it for Christmas dinner.  After four years of research and failure, I am growing a garden with a 100% success rate.   What a terrific Christmas gift this is.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Heart of Sqish

Should I let you in on a little secret?  I have a squishy heart.  It gets warmed by so many things these days.  Cute puppies and kittens, children's awe, a veteran's homecoming, a mention of Christmas, prayers said in earnest, and the list goes on.  I guess you could call me a sucker.  I have come to the conclusion I no longer care if I'm a sucker for these things.  They are part of my life - my good life.

I melt when my cousin writes on FB that she loves me.  I melt when a friend supports me or anyone else for that matter.  When my grandson plugged up the toilet and was told that 4 sheets was enough to use.  I smiled when I heard him counting out four sheets.

I melted when another grandson told me I could keep one of his stuffed animals that he gave me to comfort me.  I had to explain that he wouldn't see the animal if I took it home which was far away.  He changed his mind then, but the offer was endearing.

If you see a smile grow out of what seems like no where, it is because one of my children did something just like their dad.  A cool reminder that I was married to a great fellow.

Do you know how good it feels when my grand daughter wants to play American Girl with me?  That no one else can look at the catalogue but her and I.  Or the rush of 'La la' when the little ones see me come in the front door.  Even the 12 year old hugs me first thing when he sees me.

How can a heart stay stony when there is so much love surrounding it?  It's impossible.  Thank God!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Big Business and Local Business

There's a social effect traveling through our country in specific groups.  Many people are tired of big box stores and are beginning to support small and local businesses.  Which is a good thing for local economies.  It's my opinion that both big box stores and local businesses have something to offer shoppers.

This is about why people went to big box stores way back when they were just beginning.  Please keep in mind I'm from a small town in the North, so I could witness things more clearly.

I grew up in Greece, NY.  Living in the next suburb over was a teen who's dad started a well known grocery chain in the NY area.  I believe it's still family owned and thriving with him at the helm.  He was my first exposure to affluent families.  Now he won't remember this, but it affected me so much that I went into a lack of self confidence for years.  He validated what my mother told me.  I was ugly.  I couldn't see a hint of beauty after his blatant refusal to acknowledge me, even though I was in the same room as he was.  Even though we had the same friends.  Even though we were together a number of times.

When I married we moved to a small area.  We didn't have a lot of money, although we made a good living.  The money went to medical bills and supporting our four children the best we could.

Again, the people in our town who owned small businesses were down right snobby, with the exception of Aunt Kay.

Aunt Kay was a delightful lady who owned a children's dress shop.  I found out years later that my BBF was her niece.  Whenever I went in there she was having an unannounced sale.  Keep in mind there was no Wal Mart or Target back then.  Only Kay's Tot Shop.  Because of Aunt Kay our daughter's communion dress was beautiful.  It wasn't until I was much older that I realized the 'sales' were non existent, she knew I was broke.  My life was enhanced by her love for those around her.

Everyone else in town snubbed their noses at us.  I didn't mind so much because I'm rather exclusive when I choose friends.  The problem was my children and how sad they became when the hoity toity snubbed them.

So when they all went out of business because WM came to town, I was not sad - in the least.  I was reminded that the wheel of life comes around.  It can't be stopped, it's pure basic physics.

Today I see the wisdom in both big box stores and small business.  I would just like to remind the small business owners to keep a check on their attitudes.  It's customers that make you what you become.  It doesn't matter if you have the best products in the world, if you treat people (all are potential customers) badly, it will be reflected in your business.

With that said, I wish good luck to those who are giving it a try.  God bless.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Had a Visitor on Tuesday

Since is impossible not to admit winter is here I've changed out my clothes to long sleeve and warm.  There were a few items I don't wear so the Purple Heart thrift shop will have some more items to tag. 

I also went through my books.  I've had a love affair with books ever since I picked up Winnie the Pooh in third grade.  Needless to say, I had to read every AA Milne book the school library held.  It is because of this fondness that I have to be careful with books over taking my home.  I'm donating books I've read and know I will never read again.  Most of the books I keep these days are reference books like cookbooks and gardening books.  Among them I have a healing herb book that I forgot I had.  This will be my next look through project. Tuesday my 2 year old grand came to visit me for an hour.  She likes clothes with style and found just the thing she wanted to wear - the pup's sweater.  Then it was to the back door and the request to go outside.  How could I say no?  I figured a few minutes in the cold air would be good for her, even if her arms were bare.

Here is the little miss in all her glory.  Rather fashionable, don't you think?

After she left, I made a chicken pot pie.  I made the broth then added a can of mixed veggies that I got on sale for .50.  The chicken was white meat and it was tender.  This is where I am learning I no longer need to purchase a whole chicken because the price is less.  It's not very frugal when I have to pitch chicken in the trash because it's freezer burned.  For the  first time I bought a small package of organic skinned and boned chicken breasts.  To my delight each breast was individually wrapped in food saver bags.  Although it was difficult to make that first move away from whole chickens, I'm glad I did.  The freezer is not jammed with foods I'll end up forgetting for way too long.

The filling was good, but the topping was not.  I went to make biscuits to top it off when I noticed a recipe on the Bisquick box for chicken pot pie.  I used the recipe.  After all mix, milk, and an egg has to be yummy.  Wrong.  The texture is flat and the taste is too.  I have three more meals to finish the pot pie up.  Next time I'll stick to my own ideas.

The filling of the pot pie ready to be topped off with the loose mixture.

The end results of the bland topping.  It's flat and uninteresting.

After a rough night not being able to sleep, I'm off and running today.  Loosing sleep and lamenting about it is a waste of energy.  I'll keep on moving until I fall - around two o clock.

Have a blessed day and stay safe.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winging It

I haven't been inspired to post anything today, so I guess I'll wing it.

The weather has been dismal which is most uncommon for this area.  The sun normally shows it's face at least a few hours each day.  Not today.  It looked cold and drizzly today.  When I opened the door to check on a package on the porch I was surprised at how warm it was out.  Dark, drizzly, and warm.  Who'd have thought.  The weather man said not to be too encouraged, that there is a front of warm air from the south passing through.  Tonight will be colder than it has been these past few nights.  I'm glad my daughter told me that because I was about to rake the leaves off of the spinach and radishes.

I went through all the junk mail that has been piling up these past couple of weeks.  I know I should take care of it when it comes in the house, but there's no fun in doing it the right way.  I discovered I had a $10.00 off $10.00 coupon for Penney's, a free pair of undies from VS, and a free travel size body wash from Bath and Body Works. 

I also went through 3 catalogs and a number of invitations to grab a credit card for 'low' interest rates.  No thank you. (Translation:  You've got to be kidding me.)

Two loads of laundry found it's way through the wash and dryer.  All are put away with the exception of the socks.  Some of them are still a bit damp.

I ate very badly today, as well.  The morning started out well with oatmeal and milk, followed by half a cup of coffee.  It was downhill from there.  Let's just say having a sticky bun for dinner is not the best choice.  I should most likely add a glass of milk to that for posterity.

I sometimes spend an hour or so watching yoo yoob videos.  After I watched my favorites I found a few that were entertaining.  As in, "People really believe this stuff?' entertaining.  When I find one of those I love to read the comments.  The top winning comment today talked about shape shifters and reptilians.  Huh?  What the hey?  That's a new one to me.  As the saying goes, "To each his own said the old lady as she kissed the cow".

It  was free and entertaining, so I accomplished something. 

What did you do today?  Make sure you get a bit of silliness in your day.  It's good for your spirit.

Stay safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

January Give Away

My daughter's suspense romance novel, Witness Protection,  is currently available for pre order on  The print version will be available at the end of January 2015.  I feel a give away coming on at Angie's House in January.  I'm so excited about my readers growing in numbers that I wish to show my gratitude. 

I bet, if the winners asked, I could grab an autographed copy for each of you.  Would five winners be good?  Yes, I think there will be five winners.

You can check out an exert from the book here:

She has been asked by her publisher to create a series and is currently working on the second book.

Wrapping Gifts for Christmas, The Simple Life Way

Since we raised four children money had to be spent wisely.  There was also chronic illness for years that took a pretty good chunk of our income.  So that was an extra incentive to use our funds as frugal as possible.  To this day my daughter (#3) tells people her mom can make a penny scream.  Christmas was no different in our house.  I had to pick and choose what was priority when it came to wrapping and presentation.  There were years I used brown grocery bags decorated with a Christmas sticker and hand drawn pictures.  Not the best pictures, but pictures non the less.  There were no dollar stores back then.

Today, (yea!) we have multiple dollar stores to choose from.  They have the best wrapping paper and party supplies for - you guessed it - $1.00.  It's where most people go for wrapping items and I'm no different.  I still have paper left from last year, but I did buy one roll this year that matches the ones I had in the stockpile.

I'm happy to say that with a ball of twine (I can't remember where I got it), two rolls of 3M brand tape from the dollar store, and a few rolls of paper, I'm off to a good start.  I'm also using tags I got free from a coupon Hallmark sent me.  I wouldn't use tags unless they are free or under .25.  The normal procedure is to hand write the recipient's name right on the package.  So for a total of $5.00 I will wrap gifts for eighteen people.  The grandkids will get more than one gift under the tree at my house, which makes it about twenty five gifts for a cost of .21 cents a gift.  I like the primitive American look which is enhanced with using twine to replace ribbon.

The first two gifts of the season wrapped and ready to be sent to the North.  Both of these wraps came from the Dollar Tree. 

The little Christmas trees came from Michael's with a 40% off coupon.  The set included 21 trees of different sizes.  They will be used to create a forest around the Nativity set.

Have you started shopping yet?  What do you use to keep costs simple when wrapping gifts?  I'm excited that Christmas is so near!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dollar Tree Haul

I was so wound up yesterday after our shopping haul at CVS that I sat down to watch a couple of my favorite yoo toob people to relax.  I love to watch young moms who are finding ways to stretch their budgets.  One way of doing that is utilizing the Dollar Tree. 

As I watched one mom said to go to the Dollar Store the month before a holiday so you can have the best selection of holiday items.  That stuck with me.  Forget about the calming down.

After enjoying a great dinner at my daughter's I asked if she wanted to go to the Dollar Tree.  So at 7:15 we took the short ride.  We stayed nearly two hours!  We checked out every new item they had, except food.  We were there for fun.

My daughter found a wrapping paper cover for her front door.  Along with that she found ribbon to make a big bow on the door so it looked like a present.  She also snagged quite a few stocking stuffers.

I hit pay dirt.  My son who got married this summer now has an eight year old daughter.  Since we have not had much time to get to know each other yet, I have been thinking about what she woud want for Christmas.  I did get her something from a Thirty One party I had, but it just didn't seem exciting enough.  Then I remembered what I would have loved as an eight year old girl.  Stuff!  Colorful and gaudy stuff!  New things for school too.  Silly things like fancy pencils, and note pads, and pencil sharpeners with a theme.  I bought every thing I thought would produce glee from an eight year old girl, including colorful socks and hair elastics.  I had so much fun that you'd think I was an eight year old.

Then on to Christmas for my home.  I bought sparkled ice cycles for the tree and a small LED candle for entertainment purposes.  If I told you it was for the grandchildren, I'd be lying.  It's for me.  The lights turn colors and the 'flame' flickers. The wrapping paper I found is made in America and matches the paper I have left over from last year.  Total cost for these items was 5.00.

I also bought Spic and Span wipes for the vehicle and Tootsie Roll miniatures for me.  A card for a friend, and stickers to seal Christmas cards.

And what looks like cupcakes, but aren't!

The cupcakes are really candles!! How cool is that?

Since my hands are like ice cubes, even in the house,  these light gloves will be comfortable around the house.  Pink is cool, too.
This calculator has numbers big enough for anyone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CVS Shopping Spree

CVS has two sales and a free item this week.

1.  A coupon for free paper towels from the coupon machine.  Slide your CVS Extra Care Bucks card under the scanner to receive this one.  Along with this free coupon I received a .50 coupon off any purchase.  The more you shop there, the higher your coupon.  Mine was a small one.

2. Purchase one Purex laundry detergent for $6.29 (at my location) and get two (2) free.  You can do this scenario twice on a card.

3.  Many items in the store have a small sign under the shelf that says if you buy $30.00 you can choose a $10.00 gift card.  There were a number of choices for the gift card, but I only noticed the CVS one because I wanted to use it towards the Purex.

I bought Christmas stocking items at CVS rather than at the Dollar Tree.  Adding in 2 boxes of Klennix tissues and I reached the $30.00 rather quickly.

I did two transactions.  The first paying for the Christmas items to receive the 10.00 gift card (GC), then the laundry soap and paper towel.  After using the gift card and .50 coupon, as well as the free paper towel coupon, I paid 1.47 out of pocket.

Why did this make sense to me?  I would have purchased the Christmas items at the Dollar Tree with no $10.00 gift card given to me.  We* also need laundry soap.  Four free soaps and free paper towels made quite a bit of sense to me.

Christmas items
All of the items were on sale.  30.00 plus tax (1.80)
I can't take a picture of the entire haul because the recipients read this blog.

Regular price $37.74 for six
I bought six at a cost of $12.58
After using the GC and .50 coupon I paid $1.47 out of pocket

Paper towel
Free with .79 coupon

Total spent, including tax

*I don't have pictures of the other items because I did the detergent scenario for my daughter.  She ordered Scency items for me and I paid her with the detergent.  After all of her shopping she ended up with 21 bottles of detergent.  Keeping it all in the family!

Here's some of the items I got.  The Kleenix was .99 a box, the gum and Russell Stover santas were .88 each. The pez dispensers cost the most at 1.59 each.  

CVS website

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We Are What We Eat, We Are What We Think. Thankful Things

I'm  old enough to have lived through some good times and some rough times.  It's the rough times that have taught me to be thankful for the little things.  I feel a lifetime of seeing my personal 'glass' half full rather than half empty has many rewards to it.  The most important (to me) is a relatively healthy mental and emotional makeup. 

The saying goes 'We are what we eat'.  I say we are what we think, as well.  Healthy food, healthy thoughts.

Today I'm thankful for:

The men and women of the military, both past and present.  Without the sacrifices they and their families make freedom might be only a word we learn from the dictionary.   My father and husband were in this brave group who fought in wars to protect freedom.  Both passed from diseases they obtained from fighting in those wars.  My dad was 28, my husband was 62.  Sixty two sounds old, but when you are 62 it is young.

That the sun rises each morning to provide us with health and wellness feeding our gardens and our bodies.

That we don't have to take on the pain and suffering of the world.  Someone Devine has been chosen to do that for us.  We only need to care for our little worlds and do the best we can while offering a prayer for all others.

I would also like to add thanksgiving for my readers.  You are all a part of my 'little world'.  Actually you have expanded my world beyond what I ever thought it would be.


This is a picture I found on the internet.  Imagine my surprise when I recognized the third soldier from the right as my dad.  I'm not interested in the caption, it just happen to come with the photo.

My husband as a young soldier in Viet Nam.  We married when he returned home from completing his service.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Verbal Wanderings of an Elder

The weekend went quickly, even for a granny with not much responsibility to others.  I normally stay home on the weekends, but that doesn't mean I can't have company.

The youngest daughter had to work Saturday night so her husband and children joined my eldest daughter's family for dinner at my house.  I made a loaf of bread, a beautiful salad filled with mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers and summer sausage - all over a bed of Romaine lettuce.  A simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar pored over it and all was well.

The main dish was spaghetti with sausage and meat balls.  I had the sauce in the freezer from when I made the big pot a few weeks back.  It was the best I've ever made.  (I forgot to take pictures.)

The kiddos were sent up in the loft to play, and play they did.  We heard quite a bit of giggling and car crashes from the living area.  Best not to 'check' on things as no one was crying or injured.  Just good old independent play.  Children need to play from time to time without mother correcting every thing they do.  There's plenty of time for that at other times.  Once in a while, independent play is good because things can come up that a child needs to work out to develop their skills in problem solving.

The sun is shining today, but it's deceiving.  It looks warm out, but the ocean air is cool.  So dressed in 2 tops and knee socks under my jeans my son in law and I went to a store to solve a problem about a broken item.  I was only gone a short time, but the pup thought it was forever.  It's so nice to have her welcome me with a wiggly butt and excitement. 

A nice rump roast went into the crock pot this morning for dinner tonight.  My daughter and her family are coming over to share a meal with me.  It's good to have loved ones around a table with good food and laughter.  If the truth be known I miss eating with others and laughing over a good meal.  Eating dinner alone just isn't all that much of a big deal.  Mostly I'll grab some raw veggies and fruit to eat with cheese and a slice of toast.  Then sit in front of the computer to watch a video. 

Well, it is what it is and no use crying over what can't be changed.  I make the best of life because I'm thankful for life itself.

What's cooking in your house tonight?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bring it on Wal Mart!

I live in a small community that is off a main road.  The community is protected (from the road and noise) by numerous plantings and a pretty brick wall.  But, just across the road is a new Wal Mart grocery store.

OMGosh!  What a great store to call 'local'.  It has a fresh produce department that rivals any of the other stores that include local and organic foods.  Most items are very fresh, but like anywhere you have to check the freshness.  The grapes were mushy, but the Romaine lettuce was fresh and only .99 cents for a huge package.  The mushrooms were pure white, with no spots, and unlike the other stores in my area, are still 1.59 a pack.

The best part about this store is it follows the same price match policy as any WM super store does.  If it's in a flyer, they will price match.  All you do is tell them the price at the register and it's done.  The only thing they don't match is if an item is 'buy one, get one' (BOGO) with no price in the ad, then they can't honor the item.  If the ad says BOGO, regular price $...., then they can honor the price match.

How great is that?  I spend no money putting gas in my vehicle and get good pricing on my grocery bill.  Plus coupons are honored on top of the price match.  Tee hee.  I'm giddy as a school girl about this policy.

In the same lot is a new WaWa.  For those of you who are not familiar with this convenience store, it has good pricing and the cheapest gas in an area and provides wholesome foods.  They have their own farms so the dairy is premium.  To bring this to the next level, there is another convenience store across the street from it that sells gas, too.  Let the wars begin!  The price of gas at these two stations lowers twice a day.  Friday we were at 2.57 a gallon. 

I price matched a few things at the WM grocery store.  Cake mixes were .49 as was condensed milk.  I bought two boxes of Cheerios for 1.99 a box and a brand name veggie (can) for .49 a can.

I think I'm a happy girl today.  Do you have a new WM grocery store in your area?  I'd be interested in knowing if you live in an urban or rural area and the prices you pay for some of the basic food items.  Have you price matched at any WM store?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thankful Things

The I'm so Thankful List for today is:

For the weather that is great for growing the winter garden.  I see spinach popping up in both rows.

For a Facebook page I joined that is called 'Pray the Rosary'.  I've gotten two prayers from it in just a few weeks that I forgot about.  They have been added to my daily prayer routine.  I do sit to say my morning prayers, but I often pray while I'm working.  As a friend once told me, "A Catholic girl can work and pray at the same time!'  Oh so true.

For the crisp fall air that is currently blowing throughout my house.

Add to these things the obvious things like God, heaven, friends, and family and you have one thankful girl.

Them There Carrots Look Pretty Silly!

Thursday was a no spend stay at home day.  The day was an easy one with a couple of things getting accomplished.

If you read yesterday's post you know I cleaned out the refrigerator, finding 5 pounds of carrots I forgot I had.  Today was the day I took care of those carrots.  A few I washed and dried then put back in the refrigerator.  Those will be for carrot bread, Thanksgiving dinner, and/ or carrot and raisin salad.  I know carrot and raisin salad is from the 80's, but it is one of my favorites.  You could say I'm not all that progressive when it comes to that side dish.

I took ten of the largest carrots and washed them well.  After they were peeled and the ends cut off they went into the processor to be thinly sliced.  A short 3 minute bath in boiling water followed by an ice bath and they were ready to be pat dry and go into the dehydrator.

They reside in there as we speak.  An hour or a little more and they will be ready to be corralled in a glass jar with the air pumped out.  They will be fast food during the winter months for goodies like cream of carrot soup or frosted carrot bread.

The carrots started out like this...

And ended up like this!   Five  trays of squiggly little things.

To a pint jar filled with goodness.  I used the Food Saver to remove air.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, When Will I Get This Right?

This morning's small project is cleaning out the refrigerator.  I thought this won't take too much time.  I'll wipe down the drawers and shelves and pitch the small amount of sour cream that has been sitting in there without a thought from me as how to use it up.  Truth be told I think I was being lazy about that one.

There are a number of things I've figured out about my food purchases and use.  I thought I finally figured out that I purchase larger quantities than I use.  That was a good start.  I figured out even if something is a great price, such as a five pound bag of carrots for 1.99, I need to pass them up. (More about the carrots in a minute.) 

What I figured out this morning is if I buy that 5 pound bag of carrots to dry - do it right away.  If not, I seem to forget the drying was on the agenda when I bought them.  Gladly, the carrots are still in great condition so another project today will be to dehydrate them.

A couple days ago I bought a few pounds of apples.  This was a conscious decision because I know the apples will keep for quite a while.  Long enough to make pies for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  At .99 cents a pound rather than 1.89 a pound, there is a nice size savings there.  So I am comfortable with the decision.  However purchasing an entire loaf of bread for a couple sandwiches during the month is not a wise decision, even if it came from the Dollar Tree.  Instead of making bread as a special project, I need to make a loaf a week because the loaves are smaller and I can use most of it up for toast or a sandwich.  What is not used can be turned into dressing or bread crumbs.  Or maybe I'll learn how to make bread pudding.

I have little room in the freezer to pack in slices of bread.  Which brings me to another problem I seem to have.  Remember I talked about hoarding food?  Not just any food, the food I grow and freeze.  My freezer is packed with this kind of food.  I like to know I have it for 'someday'.  This has got to stop.  Today, somehow, needs to become 'someday'.

The refrigerator is cleaned, with more waste than I would ever want to admit to.  Even though I shop every other week, it's still too much.  I Know the process of change takes a while to fully accomplish, but I can't help getting irritated along the way when there is waste.  Every time this happens a vision resurfaces from Home Economics class when Mrs. Whitney was fuming at me because I put salt into egg whites instead of sugar in the recipe that was suppose to be economical.  Not a pretty sight!

The refrigerator cleaned out.  Left over chili my daughter made, eggs, milk, butter, pickles, bread, and olives are left.  ( Along with a couple of other items,)

I had to pitch 2 tomatoes, half a head of lettuce, and some celery from the veggie drawer.  Into the compost it will go.

The stalks in the background are the ones that went bad.  I also had to pitch a container of blue cheese, that - believe it or not - went bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This Grandma Had a Productive Day AND Enjoyed Some Alone Time With Grandson

Good morning to my readers.  The sun is trying to peek out this morning.  Since I live in the South, I'm expecting it to be a full shine in an hour or so.  Very few people have low vitamin D counts here - as opposed to where I lived in the North.  It was a good chance that everyone you met in the area I lived in the North was on some sort of vitamin D routine. 

I went off to vote early in the morning.  The pup voted as well.  Ha ha.  Once back home I did my morning routine and wrote a blog post.  This is when the restlessness crept in.  So I took the pup to my daughter's and asked if my 4 year old grandson could have a few minutes with grandma while I picked up some apples at the grocery store. 

The apples were on sale for .99 a pound which couldn't be passed up.  We counted apples and picked some green ones and red ones while he learned what a good apple looks like.  He was such a good helper, we had to go to the bakery section and pick up a box of cookies.   Mission accomplished.

Since the Goodwill is across the street from the grocery I asked him if wanted to go to another store.  His answer was Yes, especially if they have toys there.  And they did.  Lots of them.  My intention was to look around, but he was glued to the toy section.  The idea of looking around fell to the wayside when he exhibited such joy in checking out the toys.  I looked on for 20 minutes while he played.  At one point he didn't want to put things back on the shelf, he would 'do it later'.  Nope.  That doesn't set well with grandma.  So he learned something about putting things away when he was done with them.  I give him kudos because he did this while excitement was at a peak.

We had such fun.  It was time to go home and enjoy the cookies with a glass of milk.

In the late afternoon a friend called and we talked for quite a while.  At the end of the conversation I mentioned it had been so cold I never finished putting seeds in the garden.  Her reply got me moving, even if it was cold. (My hands felt like blocks of ice.)  She said beets like the cold.  Dang it!  She was right.  So I raked the leaves off of the soil dug 6 treches and planted seed.  Two rows of lettuce, 2 of radishes, and 2 of beets.

I also found out how to check seeds for viability yesterday.  When I came in from the garden I washed up and got out the seeds I saved from the summer crop.  Here's what I learned:

Lightly dampen paper towel and place 10 seeds on it.  Fold the seeds up into the toweling and place them in a plastic bag.  The bag goes into an area that is warm and should sprout within their appointed time. (As if they were in the ground.)  If 6 seeds sprout - out of the ten -  then there should be a 60% success rate of the seeds growing in the ground. 

I 'planted' cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes.  I'll begin looking at the results in seven days for viability.

I had a good day yesterday.  I hope yours was good, as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our State Has Added a New Article to Vote On

Today is the day that - hopefully - the true voice of American citizens can be heard.  Yup, I voted.  I got up early and dressed to go straight to the polls.  There were only three categories for our state.  The third one made me proud to be an American.  It was to add an article to the state constitution that relieves all surviving spouses of military who have died in combat of paying real estate tax on the property they reside in.  How cool is that.  Thankfully no one in our family is in this category.  I'm proud to say I voted yes on this topic.  If, in any way, I can do something to make this a better and more compassion state, I'm all for it.

Since it appears our country is in need of ethical assistance these days I encourage you to go the polls to have your voice heard.  I know quite a few people ask why bother.  I don't know if elections are rigged or not.  There's so much garbage out there that it's difficult to believe what is truth.  I just know, as it stands right now, we have the choice to vote for whom we feel will best represent us.

Stay safe.


Monday, November 3, 2014

I Hoard Two Things, Is There Hope For Me?

Ever since I've watched the first episode of a hoarder's show I have been in awe.  I genuinely wish to know what possesses people to live in such squalid conditions.  Not judging them, just really, really want to understand.  One thing is for certain, if I feel lazy I watch an episode on my laptop to motivate me into action. 

I think in there somewhere I am doing some sort of judging that I don't feel.   I have made it a personal mission to understand hoarders.  It's taken me years to get even a small glimpse of what brings on this behavior.  This is where I should tell you I don't believe all the hype about it being a form of OCD.  I do believe, however, that a person who becomes a hoarder has been emotionally traumatized beyond their belief in overcoming the trauma.  They shut down, emotionally.  The stacks of things protect them from outside pain.

When we shut down emotionally there appears to be a down spiral in everything in life.  The  every day projects of cleaning, maintaining our hygiene, or even eating healthy are cast aside for the emotions that protect us from an unbelievable truth.

That's as far as I've gotten in a couple years trying to understand hoarding.  Not very far.  I hope this never happens to me because I know all too well how unhealthy  behaviors can sneak up on a person.  It may be safe to say everyone has experienced this phenomenon.

Then I cleaned out drawers and pantries.  I have a problem that I didn't recognize in the past.  I hoard two items.  Food and beauty creams.  Not just any creams, but the ones that come as a gift with purchase.  I dealt with the food when I cleaned out my pantry and saw my shopping was for a family, not a single person.  I try to remember in the grocery store that I don't need an item, it's just me now.  I'm moving along in that area, but I just recognized my problem with the free creams when I organized the bathroom drawers.  I don't use them, I 'collect' them.

How will I overcome this weakness?  Well, first I am giving away some of them.  They were never used so someone can appreciate them.  Next I'm having my daughters take a look at them and choose a few they would like.  Next I am beginning to use them.  On my hands and feet.  Just because they say face cream doesn't mean my hands wouldn't benefit from the contents of the sample size jars.  The last step will be the most difficult.  Pass by the offer of free gift with purchase when I don't need the purchase.  I won't pass it up when I can get my blush as a back up because I use that up rather quickly.

So there you have it.  I found weakness in myself when I was questioning the behavior of others.  As the saying goes; 'When you point one finger at someone else, four are pointing back at you".

I count 14 jars.  Do you have something you hoard, but don't use?  Please tell me I'm not the only one?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

This Week's Acomplishments

This week's accomplishments were mostly around the house, once the weather turned cold.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday have been very windy and so cold for this old body to handle.  It was so cold Friday night I didn't join a little neighborhood get together with my family.

This week's accomplishments:

I found 2 Christmas gifts at Target - on sale - for one of my sons in law.

There was a hoodie at Target that I knew would look terrific on my eldest grandchild.  I picked that up, as well.

I baked a cake with home made frosting to send to the get together.  The four year old (I'm told) had a couple pieces, then decided it was the frosting he liked best and scooped up some frosting while announcing that he may as well because it was what he really liked!  The frosting was made with all organic items with my home made vanilla.  It was pretty good. (I have no problem with confidence - as you can see.)

All of the bedding got washed, dried, and put back on the bed.  I only have one set so if I don't follow through, I have to sleep on the mattress pad.  I make sure I follow through!

I took down the bird feeder and bird bath.  Washed them and stored them for the winter.

I ate cut up carrot sticks and the last pepper from the garden for snacks.

The Christmas gifts I have been accumulating all year were sorted.  I bought tape and scissors from the dollar store to keep upstairs where the gifts are stored. 

I re arranged a few things to add a new environment to the house.  My daughter gave me a basket that I put in the bedroom - on top of the cabinet.  I like it.  She got it at Michael's when they had their grab bag days for 2.29.  What a find. 

I went through my magazines and donated some of them.  I'm not very fond of Martha Stewart since she allowed her CEO to let go of staff just before Christmas last year, so her magazines don't mean anything to me anymore.  I know it had something to do with the fiscal year. (My employer use to do the same thing until we told him the harm lay offs did to families around Christmas, so he changed his way of thinking.)  Fiscal years should be second to families' well being.  I will never desire to buy any of her products again.  They've lost their luster.

I scrubbed the powder room.

The hardwood floors received a good steam clean.

A loaf of bread went in the bread maker, but didn't mix well.  The loaf was cut up for bread crumbs with the unmixed portion cut away.

I paid 2 bills.

I made caramel sauce from heating up a can of sweetened condensed milk in the crockpot.

The can of milk after it spent 8 hours in the crockpot.  I made it for the grands when they have ice cream with grandma.

I guess I had a busy week.  What did you accomplish this week?
I cut the butter for the frosting in small chunks so it would come to room temperature quickly.

My contribution before the white frosting was slathered on.


It may be a bit difficult to see the basket because it's a shade of white.  There it is, in front on the right.  She also got me the wreath on sale for 2.50 last year.  I think she smells a bargain and is led right to one in the store.