Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First Test Of the new Start

 If you read my last blog post you already know that I am trying not to spend or waste money.  I am turning over a new leaf as they say.  Today was the first of many test.  Yes I did spend money at Joan's, but not for fabrics or crafts. I bought a dollar pair of gloves. Yes I need them ( I pledged to buy only what I really need.)  my hand were freezing.  Normally I would of bought a pair for around 10 dollars. 
 It was really tough being in the store today because every thing was on sale ( after Christmas sales)  I saw some fabric I would love to have for  $16.99 but walked away. OK maybe I did carry it around a little bit before putting it back. But I did put it back.  They   also had needle work patterns on sale for half off.  I didn't even go near them. That was a temptation I know I couldn't win.  There was also this cute Christmas throw with kitties on it. I love Kitties! But with a forlorn look I walked away.
 I walked out of the store head held high.  Only to have to return, because my one dollar gloves had a
hole in them.   

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shockers and Changes

My husband pays the bills so I really didn't know what we spend our money on. Boy did I get a wake up call. I happen to see our Bright House bill. ( home phone, cable, and internet ) Lets just say it was up there near the two hundred mark. And the bad thing is we don't watch a lot of TV. Maybe a hand full of shows. We also haven't used our home phone in forever. The only time it's used is when someone calls us on it when they can't get us on our cell.
My husband keep a log on what we spend and where. This was my next shocker! We eat out way to much! Then you add in the things we buy that we really don't need. It's amazing how much we waste.

I spend a lot of time looking at blogs that talk about living a simpler life ,not to mention you tube videos. I love all the homesteading shows like Alaska the last frontier, Ricking it all ( off grid living ) and Pioneers . I have 3 garden spots , chickens and I even raised a pig. But somewhere down the line I am still not getting the whole idea of a simpler life style.
 No, I don't want to live with out water or lights. I do how ever need to get away from the idea of consumerism. I love cooking ( hate washing dishes ) so why not just stay home and cook.
 I have so much fabric for quilting ,yet if I see a fabric I like I buy it.  Then  I turned around and sold 3 big tubs of fabric at a yard sell this summer. What's wrong with this picture? I can't remember half the stuff I bought last month, so I really didn't need it.

I am making a goal for my self. I am starting out small and going from there. First thing is to get rid of cable. We have Net flix and Hulu Plus ( which we also rarely watch) that total 16 dollars a month. I will keep them. They do have some of the shows I watch. Second, now that Christmas is over, I will not buy anything I don't REALLY need. I am going to write down what I normally would of spent eating out or shopping and see just how much I have saved. I may shock my self.

The next step is my food bill. I will buy something planning to make it only to have it go bad in the frig.  Or I will buy meat ( on sale) and stick it in the freezer in the garage. Only to forget about it and it get freezer burned. It's time to think about a weekly  menu. Using up all the food I have stored in my two freezer. The small one does have a lot of veggies from the garden in it.  See I am not all bad LOL.
 The first part of my journey begins. Don't worry ladies I will be posting my bragging and complaining and even ratting along the way for your enjoyment. Be warned you will hear my pain.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas House tour.

I won't bore you with a lot of words.  Ok, maybe a few. I never was one to keep my mouth shut. You can always skip over the words and just look at the picture.

 My old girl Dusty loves to sit and lay on the Christmas throw.
 This was a Christmas gift from my friend Penny. I love this quilt.
 The nativity usually stays here in front of the fireplace. But since I had a fire going I put it in front of the TV 

 I love all the bubble lights.

 Dinning room
 The deer head is one I made my husband. He wanted to get a deer head for over the fireplace. This was the compromise so far. I am sure I will lose this battle and we will end up with a real one.


Hope you enjoyed the tour. May you have a blessed Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Homemade dog treats

Even our dogs need a gift under the tree at Christmas.

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe
  • 2 cups boiled and pureed carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
Combine pureed carrots & eggs, mixing until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly – dough will be sticky. Place dough on floured 12×16 cookie sheet, sprinkle dough lightly with flour & roll out, adding a sprinkling of flour if it gets too sticky. (dough will be about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick) Cut into desired treat sizes. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or to desired crunchiness. (They continue to harden as they cool)  As with any shelf-stable dehydrating, make sure these treats are completely dry before storing or they will mold.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New dog and family member

Had to take my old girl Dusty to the vet due to an eye infection.She is fine ,but not happy about the drops we have to put in her eyes nor the dog that came home with us.
 Since I had to wait on Dusty to finish with the vet and the pet lodge was right up the street I decided to walk over and get Sabrina a new tag.  While waiting on her tags I over heard a guy talking about  the puppy that a neighbor just thru out to fend for it's self. He had called Marley's mutts unfortunately  they were full.  I turned to look at the puppy and heard my self saying That I would take the dog if my husband was on board with it. I don't know who took over my brain or mouth. But there it was out there.  Eric ( the gentleman's name ) said he had a co- worker that might have someone who will take the dog. But hadn't heard back. He then went on to say how much he would of liked to keep the dog but couldn't. He gave me his number and let me take a picture of him holding the dog. When I showed my husband the picture he wanted to meet the dog.
I called Eric and got his address. On arriving my husband instantly fell for the puppy. Eric was telling us how much he liked the dog and how his other dogs had fallen in love with her. When we said we would take the dog he informed us that he had to wait on the other guy to call him. That he would get a hold of us tomorrow. So we left empty handed. My husband was sure he had decided to keep the dog for him self. I could tell he was really disappointed. Then later that afternoon I got a phone call that they would like to bring us the dog. When they arrived I told him how my husband was sure he would keep the dog. Eric said he would like to but couldn't. At the same time his wife interjected that they were NOT keeping the dog. I have a funny feeling she was the tipping point to us getting the puppy.
I so enjoyed seeing my husband face when he came home to find the puppy sleeping with Sabrina.  Sabrina and her get along  really good together. Sabrina does get on to her when she gos after the cats. As far as Sabrina is concerned the cats are part of her family and therefore under her protection. But Tasha ( that's what we named her )  will learn the rules. She does  follow Sabrina's lead not to mention following her  every where. Luckily Sabrina has no problem acting as her mom. We now have 3 cats ,2 dogs, and 9 chickens. I think we are now a full house. No more animals.  At least that's my story and I am sticking to it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

10 tip for surviving Christmas

How to get what you want for Christmas. Make your husband a list with what you want,where it is, and how much it is. Things work much better with men if they don't have to think. It  also doesn't hurt to add a love note. Example: Honey, I know you will do great and this will be a great Christmas. Please remember I have a credit card and know how to use it. Love ya.

The house will not burn down if you don't unplug all the Christmas lights. If it does you can officially say I told you so.

 Not everything has to be on timers. Bending down to turn the tree lights on and off may be the only time  we get to see our toes.

 Do not drink wine while making out your Christmas cards. The last thing you want to do is send your co-worker that sexually suggestive  Christmas card.

How to survive Christmas dinner. Just order that 40 dollar meal from the store. Then plaster them with wine. They will never remember if they eat or not.

If you get that ugly sweater or outfit don't sweat it. Just return it and tell them your saving it for a special occasion. If they brings it up at a future date just say you loved it. But unfortunately you have gained a few pounds and it no longer fits.  Not only are you off the hook but you have made they day. Everyone loves to hear that somebody besides them has gained weight.

Want to get rid of your in laws quickly. Just get out the slide show of you in high school  . Old vacation slid work well also. One very important thing to remember. No slides of grand kids. You will never get rid of them if you make this mistake.

Being called a tree Nazi  is not a good thing. You will survive if the tree looks lopsided due to the ornaments being place mostly on one side. Just set back and smile as you see the tree get better with each past year and your loved children turn into their own little tree Nazi.

For all of you that have that one relative that talks with they mouth full. Invite your self over. Accidentally pick up their cell  making sure to be in another room so they don't hear it ring.  Then text them that dinner is an hour earlier. That way when they show up after dinner. You can always ask " Didn't you get my text."

When it gets to the point you want to kill someone.: Grab a glass of wine . No make that a bottle. Head up stairs to the bedroom ,lock the door and put in ear plugs.  The last thing you need is to be arrested. And I can guaranty no cop wants to be filing out a report on a crazed women when he can be home with his family.

Now you have an insight to how my brain works. Scary isn't it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Times change and so does Christmas

It's that time of year again. Time for gifts,cookie, candies, and calories. I love this time of year only this year is a little different. I am trying to transition from the Christmas when my kids were young to Christmas with adult children.
When I was a child my mother made Christmas a big deal. During the year we didn't get toys just to get toys. We got them for our birthday and Christmas only.  With 6 kids you would go broke trying to buy gifts thru out the year.  Money was always tight yet Mom and Dad would save thru out the year so we could have a big Christmas.  They made sure at least one thing on our list was under the tree
The thing I remember most was the excitement of trying to figure out  what we got more then the gift  itself.   We treasured everything we got be it large or small.
I don't know if it was because we knew it would be another year till we got new toys. Or the fact that back then we were taught to appreciate everything we got. Something most kids are sadly missing now a days.
I did the same thing with my girls. ( I guess our mothers do wear off on us ). But now that they are adults with family and boyfriends of their own, things have changed.
No more toys or bedtime stories . Traditions we use to share have slowly faded away. I am now decorating the tree on my own. No more going out on Christmas eve for pizza and looking at Christmas lights. Then coming home for coco and cookies as we watch The Christmas Story.   There's no longer any reason to get up early on Christmas day. The kids show up around noon to open presents and have dinner, then it off to their significant others  homes for Christmas with their families.  Which is only fair,but still doesn't make it any easier seeing them walk out the door.

   Life changes and no matter how hard we want to hold on, it will keep moving. One day they will have kids of their own even move out of the area. I guess what I am trying to say in a long draw out way is that I need to let life move on. And learn not to hold on so tightly to past Christmas. Maybe it's time for Rick and I to start new traditions of our own.     My one hope is that my girls hold on to some of our family traditions as they start their own families. Yes I know by saying that I am still trying to hold on to a little bit of past Christmases .( Baby Steps, Baby steps )

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I can't believe I found them.

I have had two strings of these bubble lights for years and I love them. . The liquid is heated up from the light which cause them to bubble. Mine are from the 50's, these are reproductions . I would of loved to find original one ( that work) but they are really hard to find.  Truth be told, I am happy to even find these. We bought three boxes, there are 7 bubble lights on each string.  I know I will probably end up buying more. Can't help myself.

 I was also excited to find the C9 Christmas string lights.

These are also reproductions of  The original 50 style of Christmas lights. They are softer then modern lights and have a light frosted look to them.  If your interested in them or other 50's style lights they are at  True Value. I am so looking forward to putting up my tree and hanging my new lights on it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jan's Turkey Brine Recipe.

Last year my friend Jan gave me a great brine recipe to try. The turkey turned out so awesome  I had to share. It's one of those recipes you just can't keep to yourself.

1/2 cup salt and sugar to every gallon of water.
3 apples quartered
4 oranges quartered
sage leaves
thyme leaves
I don't measure the herds. I just cover the floor of the cooler with a thin cover of them .
Half a bottle of apple juice
Half a bottle of orange juice.
None of theses amounts are written in stone.  ( Jan added mint to her's ,I didn't. ) It's all up to you and what you like.
I add all this to a clean cooler ,then add the bird. If it's a small bird you can use a 5 gallon bucket. Make sure to add enough ice to keep it cool . I brine mine the day before ( 24 to 30 hours ). Re add ice as needed.
When it was time to cook I added oranges and onions to the cavity and rubbed butter  on the flesh . I then mix butter with chopped rosemary and rubbed it all over the skin.. Throw it in a turkey baking bag and baked. Family loved it and asked for it again this year. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Decedent Mint Hot Choclate

 I have been looking for a great hot chocolate recipe for a while now. I found one that was really good, but with a few tweaks it made a very delicious and decedent  Mint Hot Chocolate.  
4 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1 c. sugar
 1 c. non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 c. cocoa powder
4 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
1 bag of Ande's mint chips.
Directions : mix well . Add 1/4 cup mix to 1 cup hot water or milk.
 Give on it's own or add to a basket with mini marshmallows and homemade cookies .  It would make a great gift for a friend.

The glass jar was $1 from the dollar store. The bells came as a set of two also from the dollar store . The ribbon I already had.
Or you can buy a plastic jar for just $1 add mini marshmallow ( in a plastic bag) on top of the Hot chocolate and you have a great little gift. Sorry picture is a little blurry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veterans Day Parade

Rick was asked to drive his vintage 1964 ford truck in the Veterans Day Parade. He said that gave him an excuse to spruce up the truck. Like he needed one. LOL
The truck camper shell was painted and the truck was given a good cleaning. Rick and Bob did a great job decorating the truck for the parade.
 I am very proud of my husband for his 21 years of service . My daughter severed 6 years  before she was hurt in Baghdad. She still serves by volunteering  at the VA. I am one proud mother.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Christmas gift from the kitchen

 Last year I was helping my girls pack to move into their own apartment. That when I notice that they had keep all the gifts that I made for them for Christmas over the years.  Yet I could find little left that had been bought. When talking to friends they seem to remember the stuff people made rather then thing that were purchased.
So this year I decide to make homemade gifts instead of buying them. They seem to mean more to the person receiving them then something bought from the store.

 This one is a cheap yet wonderful Christmas gift for a friend who loves soup. The cup was $1.50 and the whisk was $2 at the General dollar store.The ribbon was $1 for 9 feet from the Dollar store.
Recipe for the soup:
4 cups instant milk
4 tbs dried minced onion
8 tbs corn starch
8 tbs low sodium  chicken bullion granules
3 tsp dry basil
3 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup dehydrated broccoli
3 tbs cheddar cheese powder
Mix well
 Cooking directions:
 Add 1 cup mix with 2 1/2 cups water. Cook over med heat for 7 minutes . If it is to thick for you just add a little more water.
 To wrap it up as a gift place 1 cup  of mix in a plastic bag  and put in cup of your choice . Add a card with  directions on it.   Tie your whisk on with a little ribbon.

Short cut: If you don't want  or have the stuff to make the soup ,just buy a package of any dry Bear Creek soup ( any dry soup will work) and place in the plastic bag with their directions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemade Potato Chip that look and taste just like store bought.

These turned out AWESOME !
 I have tried many times before to make potato chips only to be disappointed. They tasted more like fried potatoes then chips. Since I was already making dehydrated potato slices I decided to try again. But this time I went along the  same bases as a dehydrated chip. Meaning I did the same prep for these as a dehydrated chip. WHO KNOW ! 

Yukon gold potatoes or yellow potatoes ( as they are sometimes called)  These are the potatoes used by the chip companies.
 paper towels

Wash and scrub your potatoes well. Do Not Peel . Slice paper thin . Don't do them so thin that you can see thru them . You want them thin but still be able to hold their shape without tearing. I used a mandolin they come out perfect. Place your slices in a bowl full of cold water and a big teaspoon of salt for 3 min. This gives it time to draw out the starch and keeps them from turning dark..  Have a pan of boiling water with a little salt ready on the stove. Place your slices one at a time.( Quickly) in the boiling water. Don't over crowd the pan . You don't want it to stop boiling. Boil for three min. Then scoop out slices and place in another bowl of clean cold water. This is to stop the cooking process.  Place on paper towels in single layers to dry. They don't have to be completely dry but you do want them fairly dry. No one likes hot oil popped on them.

If you don't have a fry daddy heat your oil to 375 . You will need at least 2 inch to 3 inch of oil . Add your potato slice one at a time. Once again making sure not to over crowd the pan. When you no longer hear the oil popping they are done. ( all the moisture has been removed ). If you like them a little darker then leave in a little long. But keep a close watch they cook fast. Remove to a plate covered in paper towels and salt. This is one time you don't want to use Kosher salt. Table salt works best.  After you have salted the batch, move to a clean paper lined plate. Salt each batch separately, this stop you from over salting the chips.
 See that potato on the spoon. It made all these chips plus the ones I snacked on while cooking." I couldn't help myself they were so good."
These end up looking and tasting just like the ones I buy with out the high cost.
One draw back to some , these won't last 6 months in your pantry since they have no add chemicals.
No problem for me since mine didn't last pass lunch. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls



  • Dough
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 cup (additional) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Filling
  • 1 stick 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 1/2 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • Dash Of Salt
  • Extra Flour, For Rolling
  • Extra Milk, For Thinning
  • Extra Butter, For The Baking Pans

Preparation Instructions

In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/2 vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup sugar. Heat until hot but not boiling, then remove the pan from the stove and allow it to cool until the mixture is warm to the touch but not too hot. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree until combined.
Combine 4 cups of flour with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. Sprinkle it into the saucepan and stir until it just comes together. Cover the saucepan with a dish towel and set in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, the mixture should be very puffy and at least doubled in size. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until totally combined.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle butter into 3 pie pans (or a larger baking dish) and smear it all over the bottom of the pans.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and press it into a rectangular shape. If it is overly sticky, sprinkle generously with flour and handle it/flour it until it's easier to handle. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle about 10 inches by 30 inches.
Drizzle the melted 1 stick of butter over the dough and smear it all over the surface with your fingers. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Sprinkle this all over the surface of the dough, covering all the melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chopped pecans.
Starting at the top, use a "typewriter" motion to roll the dough toward you into a large log. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls with be nice and neat. When it's all rolled, pinch the seam closed and turn the roll over so that the seam is facing down.
Slice 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices and place them in the buttered pan(s). Allow them to rise for 20 minutes, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until nice and golden brown around the edges.
While the rolls are baking, making the frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy, adding more milk if you'd like a thinner icing. Add maple flavoring if using and beat until combined.
Ice rolls the second they come out of the oven. Sprinkle extra nuts over the frosting, then allow them to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
This a recipe from The Pioneer Women cooking show . It looked so good that I had to share. I will be making this tomorrow. Will let you know how it turned out.

Here is the link if you would like to see how she made it.   Note: the recipe is at the end of the link.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zuchini and Sausage pie

 I was looking for new ways to use up zucchini that was taking over my kitchen counter. It was either that or start stalking unlocked car and throwing zucchini in the front seat when no one was looking. Coming up with a recipe sounded a lot better then a life of crime.

When I made this I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I am happy to say it turned out awesome. I did cheat and use a refrigerated pie crust.( Sometimes you just have to take short cuts.)

3 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 to 1 cup of cooked sausage ( depends how much sausage you would like )
2cups mozzarella cheese
4 beaten eggs with a little milk
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix your zucchini,mozzarella cheese, and sausage together. In a separate beat your eggs, milk and pepper together. Place your pie crust in a pie pan. Pour your zucchini mixture in your pie crust then add your egg mixture. Bake at 375 for 45 minute. Depending on your oven it may take longer. Insert a toothpick or knife in the middle  to test for doneness. It should come out clean of egg,but you could have a little cheese on your knife.  You can also touch the top to check .

 This is definitely  something I will make again. It freezes really well too. Sabrina wasn't happy about that part, since it left her without table scraps. But don't feel sorry for her ,she has some doggy weight she needs to lose. Hey I am only helping here. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bear is out again.

 Every year around this time ( the time she would of given birth ) Sabrina pulls out her little bear and treats it like a new puppy. Before we got her she had two litters of pups before the age of two. Which was way to early for a dog. We think this is why she does this every year. That or it may have been security for her since her old owner was very abusive to her.
She will put it up to her belly like she is feeding it. It gets at least two baths a day. Then when it's time to wing it, she will leave it on the dog bed downstairs on it's own for a while before getting it again. Then when it's time for the pup to be on it's own she will hide it. We won't see it again till next time. We have yet to find it after she has hidden it. 
 The only problem is she get very protective of it. We can handle the bear (even though she doesn't like it.) but if the cats get to close she goes after them. She has never hurt them ,just scares them off. But it is still a worry. She also doesn't like anyone not in the family near her or her pup ( bear). So just to be safe we warn everyone not to go near her, to let Sabrina come to them.  We have had her for 4 years now and still think it's cute every time she does it. She is a great little mother.