Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It Came

We were really excited when it did snow here on Friday ~  the first 15 or 20 minutes were huge, wet beautiful snowflakes and they instantly stuck to whatever they hit.  Then they became little tiny snowflakes and continued off and on (probably mostly off) overnight.  But, it doesn't take much to get us Southerners excited about snow ~ no matter how small the amount.  And it certainly was beautiful coming down.  On the other hand, Gregs sister and cousin live outside of DC & my nephew is up there at Marine Officer Candidate School.....they got 29+ inches ~ show offs!

She was just a little excited!

And because Pinterest is so much fun & this is what really happens when the word Snow is in the forecast.....
Woohooo!! I love snow days :.....only in the south ❤️:

Thankful for ~

our little bit of beautiful snow
quilts & our propane heater
mugs full of hot chocolate & spice tea
Gregs omelets for breakfast

Friday, January 22, 2016

Creative Week

We've been staying inside and warm this week.  So leads to lots of creative time fillers.  I've been busy at the embroidery machine and getting some goodies made ~ well, they are getting embroidered but not put together yet. 
I made 3 rice heating bags & am making flannel pillow bag covers for them

This Martha Pullen design is on a baby bib ~ I am going to add a big round button to it.
I did 2 of these ~ one with red thread and one with hot pink

dressed up some of our bathroom towels ~ this is a Bunnycup Embroidery design from their
Quilt blocks set

little scraps of flannel to make rice bag hand warmers with
Another Bunnycup Embroidery design from their Farm Faces set
this is on a baby bib but I am thinking of stitching out each face in the set
and making a table runner for me.  These faces are adorable.
There will be more stitching done today with everyone at work and the wintry weather outside.  The big question is....will it snow?  Its supposed to but time will tell!  If it does ~ there will be lots of snowflake watching and picture taking going on! 

Thankful for ~

cute embroidery designs
ideas to use the designs on
time to be creative
not having to drive to work in this nasty weather every day
4 seasons
the anticipation of snow
warm drinks
cozy nights with everyone home

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pieces if the Past ~ A cookbook Review

Not long after Thanksgiving, I was approached about receiving and reviewing a cookbook on the blog.  I love cookbooks!  This request was immediately answered and I received the online copy of the cookbook.  And then the holidays happened ~ lots of holidays!  So here is the review ~

If one word can sum up a cookbook ~ it would be AWESOME.  Pieces of The Past is written by real women, using wholesome, common ingredients and contains many recipes my family will love.  It is along the same lines as a church cookbook ~ where you know the cooks, you've tasted the food, and know this is what they serve to their families daily.

With all the busyness, I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but we have quite a few bookmarked for the future ~  our "want to trys" are ~

Cream Cheese Herb Spread
Salsa Mix
Amish Breakfast Casserole
Easy Egg Bake
Sausage and Grits Quiche
Sausage Casserole ~ I've eaten this before, now I have the recipe!
Potato Soup Mix ~ this would be great for gifts
Basic Flavored Rice
Broccoli & Cheese Casserole ~ my family would like this!
Hashbrown Casserole
Spanish Rice
Cheeseburger Quiche
Chicken Alfredo
Hamburger Bake
Taco Casserole
Underground Ham Casserole
Pie Crust (diabetic ~ made with almond flour)
2 minute fudge
Basic Brownie Mix
French Silk Pie
Miniature Turtle Brownie Bites

The above is by no means an exhaustive list ~ this book is packed full of recipes.  Some are foods we have tried over the years but never gotten the recipes for ~ now we have them! 

There are several added bonuses in the book ~  first would be the beautiful pictures of homestead life, second are the handy tips and charts to aid you on your cooking adventures, third would be the notes from the contributors, fourth is the contributors of the recipes ~ I love knowing that someones Aunt or Grandma passed down these recipes and now they are being shared. 

I am excited to try these recipes and add them to our family favorites list.  Time to make a grocery list!

The link to the cookbook is


In exchange for reviewing this cookbook, I received an online copy! 

Happy cooking! 

I am thankful for ~
homemakers sharing their family recipes
recipes using regular ingredients (not exotic, expensive ing.)
beautiful, old timey photos
being asked to review this book
time spent reading the cookbook
being a Keeper at Home

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Extravagant/Frugal Purchase

Sometimes I can make a purchase that seems extravagant at the time but in the long run, turns out to be quite frugal.  In June 2013, I bought a huge roll of really good quality aluminum foil for around $20.  Just to see how long it would last, I wrote the date on the top of the box in sharpie marker.  The roll came to an end this past Sunday.  If you have bought aluminum foil lately, you know I got a great deal!  About a year ago, I remember thinking it should run out soon and I bought another one for about the same got opened on Sunday.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Loads of people went crazy over the lottery this week in Georgia ~ the prize was $1 billion +.  I saw lots of posts of facebook ~ if you like this post and share it, and I win, I will split the money with everyone...or give everyone $10,000 or whatever amount.

In my mind, this is silly.  Someone is going to win eventually ~ actually I think 3 people in different states won and now I heard complaints about the money having to be split 3 ways.  Its over a billion $$ folks.  What is there to complain about.

Well here are some complaints I can think of concerning the purchase of lottery tickets ~

*spending the money on the off chance you might possibly win
*spending hard earned money on a gamble
*spending money that could have put groceries on the table or diapers on the baby
*spending money on gas to drive to another state if your state didn't sell lottery tickets plus all of the above reasons
*spending money on little slips of paper instead of paying your bills or settling your debts
*actually thinking that every dollar you spend on lottery tickets actually benefits schools (they don't get $1, maybe closer to a quarter)
*letting the grand prize consume so much of your thoughts & days

So instead of gambling why don't you ~

*use the money for groceries or gas for the car
*donate any cash you would have spent to your local schools to help them ~ If every parent with children in the school gave $5 or $10, the school would be ecstatic.
*straighten up your household finances
*pay your credit cards off monthly instead of giving Visa, MasterCard, etc. interest money
*spend less than you make & save the difference
*stay off online sites, craigslist, and yard sale sites for stuff you don't need but have to have if you see it ~ unless you budget for some splurge money each month
*take that money and put it towards paying off your home or car

So if you hit it big ~

*use wisely
*take care of your own home & then bless others
*don't spend it all
*realize taxes are going to eat a big chunk of it
*remember where your blessings actually come from (its not the lottery)

Rant over!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

I took some pictures yesterday of a few of my favorite things around the house. ..
my vinyl cling from dollar store

Minnie and Mickey S & P from Amy

new shutters for the front of our house~ thanks to Will, Greg and James for getting them installed

my chicken from Brenda

my toilet planter....just because I can!

new back deck off the sunroom for Greg's grilling ~ thanks Greg, Bryant & Katie

chicken napkin holder gift from Tammy~I love it!
Goofy girls in onesie pjs ~ Bethany & Amy
my sweet Tapley buddies ~ what a fun visit!

my red chicken mug full of hot chocolate!
little reminders that my grandsons were here!

PaPa and MaMa with 4 grandsons ~ 1st picture with all 4 boys!  Love these little guys~

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stocking Up

Several times a year, I like to go to our local Restaurant Supply grocery to stock up....last week was one of those times.  At this one, you do have to show proof of a business license to get the pass to get in.  We got a business license several years ago when we were doing some catering at church, family reunions, weddings etc. 

Amy and I braved the store by ourselves this time ~ first time without Greg along.  We bought lots of goodies ~ boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1.13 a pound!), 1/2 is frozen and 1/2 will be canned: small red kidney beans, that will be canned; large box of sweet potatoes to be canned; #10 cans of tomato sauce for spaghetti dinners, large rolls of ground beef that were split into 2 pound packs and frozen, large bags of cocoa and powdered milk for my hot chocolate mix; blocks of butter for our butter dishes, we cut them into sticks); large blocks of gouda, mozzarella and Mexican melty cheese, the gouda per pound was less than 1/2 what the grocery store would be; a gigantic bag of pepperoni slices to be split into packs and frozen for pizzas; a deli ham to be sliced for dinner pieces, pizza fixings, sandwiches & omelets; a pork loin that can serve use at least 3 dinners and leftovers; and Amy got cupcake boxes and inserts for the boxes. 

I opened the bag of kidney beans and have filled 2 1/2 large plastic juice bottles with them ~ awaiting the time they will be canned.  I read years ago that you can put dried bay leaves in the bottles, add the beans and screw the tops on.  Bugs or rodents won't get into them because of the bay leaves.  I've done this for 7 or 8 years and never had a problem with pests in them, so the bay leaves are working!  I used to soak the beans overnight and then can them....but I read on my pantry site on facebook how folks are canning them without soaking first.  They are putting 1 cup of dried beans in a quart jar or 1/2 cup in a pint jar and then filling the jars with boiling water, then canning.  I've tried it once and it worked great.  That's what I am going to do again today ~ this time I am pushing the limits a little and canning 1 1/4 cups per quart jar to, I'll report on how that works later.

The cheese will be sliced into pound packages and frozen till needed.  One pound of mozzarella will  be used per "make your own" pizza nights.  The melty cheese will get sliced into thick slices and frozen 4 or 5 slices to a pack.  This is great for enchiladas, quesidillas, nacho's, etc.  The gouda is all for Greg, I much prefer to snack on cheddar but he likes to be adventurous with cheese snacking.  It was a good deal, he has a lot to snack on!

The #10 can of tomato sauce = 1 gallon.  I usually make spaghetti sauce a gallon at a time.  We love spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce to use at other times.  It can be put in a casserole or used for pizza sauce or whatever you can think of. 

The sweet potatoes will be peeled and cut into chunks and canned.  Greg, Will and I love them and not a potato will go to waste....and if it does, the chickens will eat them!

Happy Canning!

Thanksful for ~
a business license
stocking up
Jars, lids and rings for canning
a friend who taught me how to pressure can (Thanks Marie)
great advice online

My favorite canning book was published by University of Georgia ~ "So Easy to Preserve" ~ its very detailed and explains thoroughly the processes.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Gift of Love

Last summer, Amy and I found a quilt pattern  for that would be awesome for her young man, Austin.  He loves anchors.  The quilt pattern was in a stack of magazines my mother in law gave me and we knew it would be perfect for him and a great gift for her to make for either his birthday or Christmas.

We shopped for fabric, didnt buy enough and had to go back and match it to the original colors bought.  She also wanted to cover the back in an anchor fabric which is not real easy to a reasonable price.  

I will admit, this quilt is made with blood, sweat and frustration, unkind thoughts toward the magazine, and sometimes a spirit of giving up.  But she persevered and it is gorgeous!  I lost track of how many times he called as she was working on it and asked what she was doing.....her response, "working on an old quilting project that Mom wanted finished. "  Technically the truth.

Heres some pictures -

the top is finished!

The finished quilt
She was so excited to give it to him~

He loved it!  She found the canvas Anchor bag at JoAnns to use as her gift bag.
And what will happen to the magazine?  She is going to start our next bonfire with it.  This is and always will be a one of a kind quilt. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016


2 of my favorite blogs to read are written by Annabell and written by Patsi.  These ladies have excellent tips and advice about building up your pantry items.  And its particularly interesting because Annabell lives in Austrailia, its summertime down under as opposed to our wintertime in the States.  Patsi also has a facebook page dedicated to pantries and is on Pinterest.

But why build up your pantry ~ it really just makes good common sense to buy items when they are at their cheapest prices and if your budget allows, buy as many as you can to last till the next really good sale.  The months of November and December are excellent for buying baking goods, hams, turkeys, etc.  All of these can be frozen or stored in airtight (critter proof) containers.  Since Amy bakes, we bought bags of sugar, plain flour, chocolate chips, and pounds of butter for .99 at our local Kroger over several weeks on their sales.  The flour came in 5 pound bags and we bought 10 ~ 5 got stored in her big bucket (an old icing bucket from Walmart) and the other 5 are in the freezer waiting till she needs them.  $10 for 50 pounds of flour that will last us for months ~ its a good deal. 

When we bought our house, I was thrilled with the "utility" type room off the sewing room that I could use for my pantry ~ it houses all my canned goods, canning supplies, extra spices, Amy's baking supplies, our upright freezer and a 2nd refrigerator.  While the extra fridge is not totally necessary, it is awesome at holidays and family get togethers to have the extra space.  We can make up salads or casseroles ahead of time and store them in the fridge & not take up valuable space in the kitchen fridge.  The walls of the room are lines with stainless steel shelves that Greg bought me at Home Depot.  Last week, at Target, I found some cute heavy plastic folder boxes with a chalkboard label on one end, they are working great to store our evaporated milk, rotel tomatoes, campbells soup size cans etc.  I bought 4 of them.  With the cans laying down, each box will hold more than 1 dozen.  Now I need to find something similar to hold slightly larger cans ~ like progresso soup cans and tomato sauce cans.  Since the shelves were wire, it cans tilt just the right way, there can be an avalanche ~ with the folder boxes, this doesn't happen.  I try to store my full canning jars in the boxes they came in ~ those work great on the shelves.

I decided several years ago, that the late fall and winter time is excellent for canning.  Its much more pleasant to heat up the house on cold days than in the summertime on hot days!  These past several months I have been canning ~ ground beef, chicken, small kidney beans, black eyed peas.  I've read with the ground beef that you can process it in the jars without browning ahead of time ~ but that its harder to get out of the jars because its a lump ~ I brown mine ahead of time and add onions, salt and pepper.  Then fill the quart jars and fill with boiling water, follow your pressure canner directions for canning meats.  The chicken, I cut into strips, fill the jars, add a teaspoon of canning salt and fill with boiling water, then follow the pressure canning directions.  Both take 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.  And why can meat?  Its easy to open a can of ground beef for tacos, or spaghetti sauce or chili and not worry about browning the meat each meal needed.  The chicken we use for chicken pot pie or enchiladas or chicken salad.  And if the power goes out ~ I have some meat preserved that won't spoil.

On A Working Pantry ~ Patsi has great challenges each week for encouragement and inspiration.  She also discusses different types of pantry's ~ your freezer is your frozen pantry, canned goods in your regular pantry, a gift pantry of either a drawer or closet or Rubbermaid type container for gifts you find throughout the year, etc.  She has broadened my understanding of pantries.  Excellent advice, fun to read and learn.

On Bluebirds are Nesting ~ Annabell is starting a gift challenge (besides all her pantry posts) to encourage everyone to make gifts throughout the year for holidays, birthdays, and especially Christmas.  Make more, buy less.  I am excited to see what everyone posts and to glean some new ideas and inspiration.

You will be inspired and blessed reading & following these 2 blogs,  You will learn lots and be better prepared in your own home for unexpected company, storms, sickness, etc. 

At the end of Proverbs 31 ~ women are advised/inspired to willingly work with our hands (v13), provide food for our household (v15), plant a vineyard (or garden) (v16), extend our hand to the poor and needy (v20), and most importantly, watch over the ways of our household (v27).  May we all be diligent over caring for our families.

I am thankful for ~

sales to stock up on items we use
advice and inspiration shared by others
shelves full of canned goods
available resources to take advantage of the sales
books to walk your through the canning process

Here are some pictures of my pantry....
These work great ~ very sturdy!

Quart jars of chicken I canned yesterday ~ 3 family packs filled 7 quart jars.

Greg and I went to Kroger the day after Christmas ~ the family size packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts were marked down to $1.39 a pound ~ I bought 5.  One was cooked and made into lots of chicken pot pie filling, one is frozen and will be barbeque chicken for several meals and the other 3 were canned.  I love sales!

Oh, if anyone knows of any containers that work great for the larger cans, I would love to know about them!  I've looked on Amazon but a $35+ can rotator system isn't real frugal! 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 in Review

2015 was an exciting year ~

We were blessed with our 4th grandson ~ Alvin.  He is a cuddly, cute, blue eyed bundle of joy.  His brothers and cousin all have beautiful brown eyes ~ so gazing into blue eyes is quite a treat.

Our Mission Trips included a week in Honduras for Greg, Amy and I, Will spent a week in Haiti, then the 4 of us along with my niece and nephew spent a week in Albion, New York.  It is a great joy to see friends from previous trips that live in these far away places and to see our children serve the Lord and His children on these trips.

On New Years Eve 2014, Greg and I made the decision for him to retire and us to move to Georgia.  It was a 6 month in the making move and we are still sorting and unpacking and rearranging.  We are thrilled to be closer to my family and 7 hours closer to Gregs family (they are in Virginia).  We've hosted many family dinners and are enjoying living on our little farm.  Andy & AmyKate also moved to GA and live about 45 minutes away.

2015 was a great year for finding jobs ~ Greg, Rob, James, Will, Amy, Amy Kate, Andy and Allen all found new jobs or got promotions in jobs.  Katie got a new "job" too as she went from a mom of 2 to a mom of 3 ~ she is blessed to be a stay at home mommy to her little boys.  We are thrilled with jobs that offer benefits.

Our menagerie of animals includes 14 chickens, 5 dogs, and 3 rabbits.  Amy has shaved her angora rabbits once and they need it again.  The chickens provide us with a wealth eggs ~ sometimes 11 or 12 a day. 

Last year also brought a young man into Amy's life ~ well, they met 3 years ago and have served on 3 New York Mission Trips together.  He and his parents joined us for Thanksgiving weekend and she was surprised with a beautiful Promise ring.  This week Amy and I met them in Birmingham for a couple of days of fun.  And as the Lord has an awesome sense of humor ~ this young man lives in Mississippi.

2016 finds us looking for a new church home, watching love blossom, playing with grandboys, planning our spring/summer garden, and committing our ways to the Lord.

Thankful for ~

blessings, no matter how small or large
quiet times
leading from the Lord
improvements on our farmhouse
help with projects (thanks Bryant)