Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Oven

Our lovely oven!

Check this baby out. 32 inches of pure heat! I love this oven. When my dad built this house mom asked for a larger than normal oven and she got it. With four kids she needed it! And look, it is stainless steel before it was 'cool' to have stainless steel! It is a great little oven and has served us well for 54 years and is going strong! Here is to 54 more years! Oh if this oven could talk...

I love this dish towel too.
My little sis got it in NC (I think) while she was on vacation and gave it to my mom. It is so true...

Have a happy week!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I did it!

I started the baby's quilt and FINISHED it Sunday! I can't believe that I actually got this done! Me.
I have never sewn anything in my life before last Tuesday. It is by no means perfect but I hope little Kai will love it anyway.

My daughter is coming to see it today and I really hope she likes it!
What do you think?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday Frugal Fun - cancelled

So I don't hink I really have enough readers to do a blog hop yet. :) It is ok though. I will save it for another time when I have people interested. Or maybe I can come up with something more interesting. :) I may still do financial tips, just maybe not on Friday and as a blog hop. If there is something you would like to read about you can always leave it in my comments section too.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!
Thanks. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday Frugal Fun #1

Since I love to cook I thought I would start off with some frugal cooking tips! I hope you enjoy them. Add to them in the comments or write a blog post with your frugal tips!

#1 – If you cook at home, you are already ahead on saving money. For $10-$20 you can feed a whole family vs. one entrĂ©e at a restaurant.
#2 – Grow your own food. Everyone needs vegetables and they are just getting too expensive in the grocery store for good quality organic veggies. So just grow your own! You’ll have the initial costs of seeds, dirt, tools and other things, but what an investment!

#3 – Buy spices and herb in whole & in bulk (or again, grow what you can). You can always chop or grind them up yourself and save, save, save.
#4 – Buy or make your own cheese. Buy it on sale and plan meals around using it in your meals.
#5 – Cut down on the amount of meat you cook each week. We usually have at least one veggie night. It is fun to create new casseroles with the fresh vegetables we get out of the garden or from the market.
#6 - Eat leftovers. This is an easy one for us. We usually cook enough for 2 meals and either we eat the leftovers for lunch or the following night’s dinner. Fridays are usually fend for yourself night or throw it in the pot night.
#7 – Shop Latin or Asian markets. They usually have deals on exotic spices and veggies. I bought a pound and a half of white mushrooms in an Asian market one time for $1.29. In the local grocery store they were $2.59 for 8 oz!
#8 – If you are buying local try to buy straight from the farmer. We have lots of strawberry, tomato and blueberry farms around here that gladly let you come in and pick your own (for a minimal fee) or they will have them picked and ready to go for a little bit more.

Those are just a few tips to help save money when you are cooking. Of course use coupons if you want and plan your weekly menus around the sale flyers too. What other tips do you have? How do you feed your families & save money in this economy?
Thanks for joining me today!

Remember to link up your post via Linky tools below.

Guidelines for posts:

1. Provide a link back to the Frugal Friday Fun in the post that you share. & be sure to grab the FFF button and link it back here so others can join in.
2. Use Linky tools & link to a specific post, not your blog’s home page.
3. If you don’t have a blog, share your financial tips in a comment on this post!
Have fun, get to know some new friends, and be sure to join us every Friday

I reserve the right to remove any link that I think inappropriate or offensive. I will err on the side of caution.
Thanks for your understanding.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barn Hop #25

Barn Hop time again! Click the button below to join in the fun!

For the Barn Hop this week mom & I are getting the fall garden planted. We live in Florida so we have a long growing season. Now, if I could only learn to grow something, lol. I didn't have a very good 'crop'
for the spring.

This fall we're planting Snow Peas, leeks, Onions, carrots, lettuces, spinach, radishes, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes and pole beans. Possibly some celery. I am going to "renew" some herbs too. The heat really tore everything up badly so I need to start those over.

This week we are planting:
Lettuces, spinach, pole beans, cauliflower & broccoli.

More will go in next month and even in October. I am going to try my hand at garlic again too. It grew, but we had a lot of rain and it got real waterlogged and never really made a bulb. I did use the green tops and parts of the little bulbs in cooking though and they were tasty. "Waste not want not" is a regular saying around here.

I hope everyone has a good week and your gardens are doing well!


With financial times still uncertain, a new school year starting (or started) & the Holidays coming up, I thought it might be fun to start a Friday Frugal Fun day. Write a post or a tip about finances, food savings, kid savings or saving in general. That is it. It can be serious, fun, weird, whatever you like. We can start Friday, the 26th of August. Want to join in? The rules are below. Meet me back here 
Friday & link up!
Guidelines for posts:

1. Provide a link back to the Frugal Friday Fun in the post that you share. & be sure to grab the FFF button and link it back here so others can join in.
2. Use Mr. Linky & link to a specific post, not your blog’s home page.
3. If you don’t have a blog, share your financial tips in a comment on this post!
Have fun, get to know some new friends, and be sure to join us every Friday

I reserve the right to remove any link that I think inappropriate or offensive. I will err on the side of caution.
Thanks for your understanding.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #22

Click the button to Join in the PC!

This week we were a little busy because had out of town company. I did get my hand crank emergency radio. This thing is very cool. It will charge cell phones, is an emergency radio (and was set on the emergency channel already), is a flashlight and it is solar powered. However, I had to get a converter to charge the cell phone. :) I just added it to my list, found one online and got it ordered it too.

I also went to Sams Club and stocked up on some of our rotated items; toilet paper, paper towels, etc. I also bought some bottle water (you can never have too much as far as I am concerned).

That is about it for this week though. Kind of slow, but steady is the course. :) Not all of my "roomates" (family members) are on board yet so sometimes I have to do a little sneaking. I do buy things that we will use though so it isn't like I am throwing away money. :) In these hard times, it is importnat not to get overwhelmed and just go slow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shells and Vegetable Italiano

The following recipe is a favorite around this house. Well except for my brother, who doesn't care much for tomatoes, (I think he was adopted). Anyhow, it is simple and pretty good and can be eaten hot, warm or cold. I found this recipe a looooong time ago in a magazine. It has served me pretty well over the years and when I was writing this post, I lost the original recipe (or so I thought). I did find it and as you can see, the picture is a little worn.

Here it is...

1 Velveeta shells and Cheese (box)
3 c blanched sm. broccoli florets 
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 3oz can pitted black olives, halved
1/2 c Italian dressing
1/2 c sour cream

Prepare the boxed macaroni and cheese per instructions. Cut up the broccoli into bite size florets and blanch. Cut tomatoes & olives in half lengthwise. Toss all ingredients. Serves 8-10 and you can serve immediately or chill. Enjoy as a salad or a side dish.

This is pretty filling and a pretty good staple around here. 

 Side Note: I am really hoping to solve my camera issue soon. I never realized how much I missed it until the last couple of weeks. I keep seeing or making things I want to blog about and take pictures. Hopefully, I will find a new camera soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Ever since I found out we are going to have a little one around here soon, I have been interested in learning to quilt. I remember growing up that my sister had a beautiful Cathedral Window quilt and I remember lying on the bed looking at all the individual ‘windows’. We would try to figure out what some of them were as they were just scraps of material or we would just lay there and talk about them. I don’t remember now what was said, but the memory of doing this is fresh in my mind. I would love to be able to make one of those…someday. I have to learn how to sew first. J
There is a group of women at church that do quilting every third Tuesday. That is today so I went over to check it out. They don’t really give lessons, but they do make quilts. The quilts they make are for babies that are born with special needs. Some have cancer, some are preemies and some are born with addictions. It is heartbreaking to think about it, but what they are doing is so special and kind.

I have decided to join this group and will be going over to learn and enjoy their fellowship. My initial intent was to learn all about quilting, but after spending some time with the ladies, I want to learn from them. Just learn whatever I can because a lot of their knowledge gets lost down the line. I am sure these women have lots of stories to tell. I was there for a while this morning and have already observed so many different personalities! It was wonderful! I can’t wait to jump back in.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Barn Hop #24

This week for the Barn hop, I did some freezing. I froze some corn on the cob and yellow squash. The squash has been so yummy right now that I couldn't resist; and I just have to have some for the 'winter'!

I also canned some peaches! Not a whole lot but about 4 quarts of whole peaches. I am so excited to be able to do this. I don’t have pictures because my daughter is using my camera to take “baby bump” pictures, lol. We have been looking at cameras to replace the one I have and for baby pictures when he gets here. Any suggestions?

My spring/summer garden is kaput for this year, but we are getting the beds ready for fall. I will be planting broccoli, cauliflower, pole beans and lettuces this week and next week from seeds. These need to go in now according to my planting guide. J I want to replace some of my herbs & put them into pots. I think they will do much better individually rather than in a bed. I know some have noticed a change in the air with fall coming, but not here in FL., lol. It seems to be just as hot as always. It is fine though, it can always be worse (Texas) and I feel blessed by just being able to do what I am doing. Success or fail. It is all a learning experience.

Head over to the Barn Hop by clicking the button above. Happy Homesteading!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Preparedness Challenge 21 - Sanitation

This week on the Preparedness Challenge I made a jar of refrigerator pickles! :) It may not seem like much, but I did it and now I know I can do it. The recipe is for the fridge or I can can them. I am going to give a try at preserving this month too. I have been reading all of your canning blogs and I am so inspired to get something done. I only have a water bath right now but I can preserve using other methods too. We are going to the market tomorrow to get some squash. It has been crazy delish lately so I am going to freeze as much as my freezer will allow.

I wanted to touch on Sanitation in an emergency situation so to help write this post, I Googled the subject. Luckily, my computer knows I am in Florida and brought up a document from my local County Extension office. After reading this, it is probably only good for a short to midterm sanitation problem. Here is what they say…
·         A medium sized plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid
·         Plastic garbage bags
·         Chlorine Bleach
·         Soap or liquid detergent
·         Toilet paper
To build a temporary toilet…
Place a garbage bag inside the toilet bowl. If the toilet is backed up then use the bucket to make your own. Line the bucket with the garbage bag and then place 2 pieces of (smooth) wood parallel to each other to make the seat. If you have an old toilet seat you could use that, but I always throw mine out.
To sanitize the waste…
After each use, pour some bleach into the container. It doesn’t say how much exactly, so use your own judgment. This prevents infection and stops the spread of diseases. Cover tightly when you are not using it. Side note: add bleach to your list of storage supplies if you haven’t already.
Dispose of waste…
Bury the bag of human waste to avoid rats and insects getting into it and spreading disease. Dig a pit 2 or 3 feet deep and about 50 feet from your water source. If the garbage bag can’t be buried soon strain any liquid into the emergency toilet and wrap the residue in several layers of newspaper. Store this away from the home and close up tightly in a can with a tight fitting lid until it can be buried.

Water substitutes for cleansing
Water should be reserved for drinking so you should have some back up methods for cleaning yourself. Following is their list.
·         Rubbing alcohol
·         Lotions containing alcohol
·         Shaving lotion
·         Face creams and lotions
·         Towelettes
·         Wet wash cloth – use to clean your teeth, wash your face, clean your hair and wash your body.
·         Makeshift shower – use a spray bottle to shower.
From all I have read the best choice is going to be one part bleach and 10 parts water. Other commercial choices could be HTH (calcium Hypochlorite; available at swimming pool supply stores) and powdered chlorinated lime, which is available at big building supply stores.
Stomach Ailments
Eating or drinking contaminated food or water can cause diarrhea, poisoning and stomach diseases.
·         Keep your body, hands and utensils clean
·         Use paper plates or eat from original food containers if there is limited water for dishes
·         Wash & peel all fruits and veggies
·         Keep all food in covered containers
·         Prepare only enough food for each meal that you will eat.

Controlling Rodents and Insects
·         Keep your living area clear of all garbage and waste
·         Repair any holes to keep rodents out of your living area
·         Household pesticides will work in small and enclosed areas.
I know this is a subject that we don’t think about daily but you need to have some options in case you have this issue. We are on a well and would probably have a lot of these issues. I think if this was long term you would definitely have to think of something else; but in an emergency you will have to make that call.
Be prepared and link up to the Homestead Revivals Preparedness Challenge.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on this subject. Check on your county's extension website and see what recommendations they have for you & your area.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Goals for the week and month

Well last week (or the week before) I blogged about Goals. Well, I am having a hard time getting started on them so I thought I would post them for accountability.  Here they are:
  1. Daily prayers. I have been slacking a little on this lately. I am in need of some guidance on a few things and so I need to concentrate on this harder.
  2. Read three books this month. I have a stack of books by my bedside and I want to get them all read and passed on to other people. I used to be such an avid reader. I don't understand where my motivation has gone. Hopefully, I can get my love of books kick started again by finishing this goal.
  3. Some smaller goals are to keep a list and stick to it. It doesn't matter if it is for the grocery store or just a “things to do list”, get them done.
  4. I am going to journal faithfully for myself. I journal to my little grandson, but this will be for just me. I think it might help wind me down and get rid of these crazy dreams I have, lol.

Those ought to keep me going for now (since August is almost gone). See what I mean about keeping goals going? I am terrible at it and need some inspiration.
Wish me luck! J

Do you make goals? What motivates you to keep them going?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Good reads from around the web...

I subscribe to a few blogs and I like to share them with you when I can. Here are a few from this week that are actually pretty good posts. I hope you enjoy them.

Money Crashers has some great tips for coffee grounds. I have heard of most of them, but there are a few new ones in there as well.

From Wild Sage and eye opener on fast foods and how much sugar and just plain junk is in the food. I plan on finding this video and watching it as soon as I can.

Water kefir! I haven't tried this one yet, but I like Kefir so I may have to soon. This is a new blog for me too and so far I like all the content. :)

Black Bottom Cheesecake, need I say more? It doesn't seem to matter what these women cook, everything looks awesome! Check them out.


Monday, August 8, 2011


I am the cook in the house. But sometimes I get so tired of cooking and eating meat; so I decided to cook some veggies for dinner! It was so simple too. I made a Cauliflower casserole, baked tomatoes & mom had made a broccoli casserole. I didn't get pictures because it was gone in a flash, but yummy, it was! I have the Cauliflower recipe on my recipe page, but the baked tomatoes recipe is below. Enjoy.

Baked tomatoes
6-8 Medium tomatoes, washed and sliced about 1/2 " thick
Bread crumbs, about 1/2 c
Shredded parmesan cheese, same, 1/2 c or so
Olive oil, 1/4 c ?
Oregano, 1 Tblsp

All you do it slice the tomatoes about 1/2 inches thick. I got 3 slices per tomato, if that helps. Then you mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese & oregano in a bowl. Place some of the bread crumb mixture on top of each tomato and then drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven about 10 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

Of course, you can change this up any way you want. Use basil instead of oregano or use some Asiago cheese instead. Use more cheese and less bread crumbs, etc.

It is really yummy and your family will love it! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #20

This week on the Preparedness Challenge I have been working on more food Storage. There are plenty of reasons to worry about the future and they don't necessarily have to be about 'doom and gloom' scenarios. The employment market still isn’t recovering very well and the threat of unemployment & job loss is still very real. I have been unemployed for over a year & I can tell you, it is bleak. One of the best ways to prepare for shaky times is to create a long-term home food storage system.

Why Should You Consider Home Food Storage?
Having non-perishables on hand for use in a variety of situations makes sense. You are providing a safety net for your family in case of circumstances out of your control. Here are three reasons to consider storing food in your home:
·         Emergency food supply. It’s conceivable that you might find yourself stranded in your own home, unable to get to the store and buy food. If you have food storage, you can easily feed yourself and your family for a few days in a pinch.
·         Financial preparedness. Lose your job, or have your hours cut? Stocking up now will let you to prepare meals for your family without needing to buy as much at the grocery store each week. I try to stock food that is only on sale at the store and then buy what we need for the week. It is really taking forever to get the food storage done to my satisfaction, but slow and steady wins the race, right?  Food storage can help you stretch your emergency fund further as you look to replace your income.
·         Combat food price inflation. You can reduce your spending to rising food prices by buying food now at lower prices. You can also grow & can your food and save costs there.

Where Should You Store Your Food?
Hopefully you will have decided to start food storage for your household; so now you need to decide where you’re going to put it. If you’re tight for space, you might only have enough room to store two weeks or a month’s worth of extra food, but every little bit helps. This is one of my issues. Non-perishables are easy, but food is another matter.
For best results, you want to store your food in an area that receives limited light and stays between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very hard to do in Florida so there may be some limits depending on the weather in your area. Cupboards or pantries are great or basements work too as long as there isn’t a lot of moisture. I have some non perishables put out of sight in my bedroom.

What Foods Should You Store?
ONLY STORE WHAT YOU WILL EAT. One of the keys to successful food storage is to stock up on foods you will eat, since you will need to rotate your food storage anyway. My food storage includes items to make chili, spaghetti, and canned (and frozen) vegetables & I am still looking for a dehydrator for fruit & veggies. You will also need extra baking supplies (flour and sugar), as well as rice.
Here are some basic food staples you can start with based on your own families needs.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables. Be sure and check expiration dates and rotate them out.
  • Dehydrated fruits and vegetables. There are lots of foods you can dry. Fruits veggies and you can even make beef jerky.
  • Beans/legumes. Lots of beans can have a shelf life of up to 20 years and they’re a great source of protein. You can cook them and eat them plain, or use them in stews & soup.
  • Wheat. Properly stored, wheat can last decades. You can make your own flour from wheat. You will also need a grinder, and use it regularly in your cooking so that your body is used to it.
  • Baking staples. You should definitely store baking staples, such as all-purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda & baking powder. Stored them in airtight containers in a cool, dry location, many baking supplies can last up to five years. Again, check expiration dates & rotate out.
  • Rice. Properly stored, rice can have a shelf life of 8 to 10 years. It’s a great staple to have on hand. It’s also reasonable priced and is a great source of energy.
  • Powdered milk. Powdered milk will need to be stored in a cool no-moisture area. Some can be stored for up to 18 to 24 months; check dates! J We use ‘shelf-milk’ in our house but I will be adding powdered milk soon.
  • Iodized salt. You need the iodine in this salt to survive. Stores well.
  • Water. It’s a good idea to have some sort of water storage. You should figure one gallon per person per day at least. Keep it in an unlit place in food grade containers.
Some other foods you might want to add are powdered eggs, canned meat, granola bars, and some chocolate. Meal Ready-To-Eats (MREs) from military surplus and food storage sellers are also popular items to include in home food storage. Although you need to taste test them before you buy (in bulk) so you know you will eat them.
As you build your home food storage, it is important to know that you don’t need to stock up all at once. Start by calculating the amount needed to have on hand for a month; work on storing that amount. Then you can move up to three months and then a year (if you want). Your home food storage can make you feel relief at not having to do any crazy last minute shopping. We see that every time a hurricane is going to hit.
Have you begun building your home food storage? Do you have any additional food storage tips to add?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Banana Bread

I have a friend in the hospital that absolutely loves my banana bread. So in his honor, I am posting my coveted recipe.  It is very moist & I hope you will try it sometime. Feel better Troy!

Banana Bread

1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
¼-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup oil (not olive)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 oz buttermilk
4 bananas (ripe & mashed)
4 oz pecans (chopped) – optional

Mix all dry ingredients together well. Add eggs, oil & buttermilk, mix all together well. Fold in mashed bananas and pecans. Pour in loaf pans or muffins tins after spraying with Pam or other spray. Bake 350 for 45min. to an hour. Bananas must be ripe or overripe.

Recipe makes 2 loaves or lots of muffins. (I don’t know how many muffins, I just pour until it’s gone. Makes awesome mini muffins too! J

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


School supplies are going on sale around here now. I. Love. School/office supplies. I could be the head of a support group. I bought myself some crayons and notebooks but honestly, I could have really gone crazy. I truly cannot step foot in an office supply store. Nope. No way. However, I restrained myself  because the whole reason for the supplies is to help me get more organized and to make some goals.

I have never really been one to make goals. Never made them before. I think though, at this time in my life, it is high time I do so. You see, I have so many 'things' I want to do. I make lists and I can (for the most part) get things done on those lists, but I need goals to help me through a long term period of time or my mind will just wander and it will just 'google' on to something else.

So Sunday night I made a goal list. :)

I set goals for the Month of August and will set monthly goals from here on out. I made a few "6 month" goals and a few "one year from today" goals. I know it is probably not much to some of you, but for me, it is huge. I'm not sure if I will publish the goals here or not. This is all so new to me. Do you think it would help me keep them? I want to be accountable, but if I can't be accountable to myself, then who? How do you handle goal making/keeping? Any suggestions on how to stay on track?

Wish me luck & have a great week.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Barn Hop #22

Time for the Barn Hop!

I really don’t have much to report on the garden front. I do have one green bean plant that is plugging away.

…and some beautiful Hunan peppers. These were done with seed and I am very proud of them. J

An assortment of veggies. The little tomato and potatoes are all mine.

And last, but not least, my little kitty keeping cool in the nice porcelain sink.

Mom & I are going out today to replant the Marigolds in boxes by the front door and move the garden dirt (bags) over to the new area to prepare for the fall garden. I am counting on the ‘animals’ not coming that close to the house (fingers crossed). Also moving the Rain barrel. It isn’t too full so it can be done fairly easy. It makes the most sense anyway; the compost pile is over there, lol.

The watermelon plant is still growing and has blooms, but no watermelons as of yet. Pumpkin is doing the same, but no fruit. The rest of the potatoes will be dug this week and I am going to replant the tomatoes. So I am going to move it all over to the new area. I am hoping they perk up and make me some fruit, lolol.

Click on the Barn Hop button above to join in the fun!

Happy Homesteading! Have a wonderful week.


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