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I'm delighted you've come to call! Have a cup of tea or coffee & rest with me a few minutes. There is always time to spend with a good friend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looks like I'm thinking about Christmas, doesn't it?? It seems after Thanksgiving, time just hurls along & what doesn't get done sooner often doesn't get done at all. I've been busy making cards & tags. The card in the middle is for Landon's first birthday, Nov. 30th. I'm using a circus set for all the kids birthdays coming up-fun.

Christmas cooking & baking going on here-makes me happy!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After Dan picked me up at the Airport, I needed dinner & a date.McDonald's & this sweet little public garden met the need completely!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saving money????

To "save" money this year, I thought it was time to resurrect my clothesline. The former clothesline served our family very well, but broke in numerous places due to old age. Hmm, sounds like me somedays. The children had all left home, I was battling some health issues & it was just easier to pop the clothes in the dryer. After all, how much laundry can two medium sized people generate?
This worked well for quite some time. It would/ is still working well if I choose to use it. But, no, this year, I have convinced myself I am a healthy,strong woman with literal interpretations of the Proverbs 31 woman who "looketh well to the ways of her household".
What with the ever rising cost of fuel & groceries & taxes & co- pays & gasoline & . . . you get my drift, I feel a huge need to get back to my ultra frugal ways. Thus, the clothesline.
I've used a clothesline all my life till these last few years where I've engaged in riotous living & -gasp- have been using the dryer. Shocking, I know. And I stopped washing out plastic baggies. And even use , just sometimes, mind you, I've not gone completely extravagant, Charmin toilet tissue-but only when it was on sale.Okay. Whew. I confessed. Now you know all my dark secrets.
Ahh, but I digress. Back to my superbly economical solar powered clothesline. Dries clothes with just the power of the sun & a nice breeze is an even bigger help-you know, kinda like the cotton/heavy duty cycle on the dryer.

Well, said clothesline, is over 90 feet one way. It's a pulley system, so I'm going to need over 180 ft. of non-stretching clothesline. I forget the price of this at my local hardware store but I thought I'd shop around for the best price. Lowe's has 200 ft. of "durable, non-stretch line for just $20.00 ! Less than our hardware store. Great! Just what I'm looking for! Thankfully, the pulleys are still in place & my darlin' husband put the line in place for me. Hmm, the no- stretch line stretches. Probably should have got the more expensive one. . .
I am eager to start hanging the clothes out. . . oh, I gave away most of my clothespins & all my clothesline stretchers. Okay. I can hang up approximately 8 things. Hmm. Go to the hardware store again, they are the only ones that sell metal ( read that-"lasting") stretchers. I buy 3. At about $9.00 each. I don't care for wooden clothespins because of the marks they leave on the clothes. The hardware store only carries wooden. I decide to order them from Amazon. Make my purchase of $27.00 for clothesline stretchers. I'm now at $47.00 to save some money.
Get on Amazon. Order $10.00 worth of clothespins & add $15.00 worth of other stuff . . . to get FREE shipping. I'm now at a total of $57.oo, so I can be frugal.
Once I have everything I need, a NY monsoon season begins. I figure I've got about 10 loads of clothes hung out by now & it's nearly July. The first load cost me $ 57.00, but by the time I got up to 10 loads, the cost per load is only about $5.70! Oh, and I find I need some more clothespins & another stretcher. By 2015 I figure this is all going to pay for itself-if the line doesn't break!!
Laundry tips: Need a cheap, safe fabric softener? Try white vinegar. Just don't add too much-you don't want to smell & feel like a soft pickle!
Hope your day holds a smile!!! God bless! And may it not rain on the clothes you hung out, like it is on mine right now!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Butter Spread

Ahhh, the old glitchy thing with my pictures. Obviously, should be upright. Oh well. One of the things that makes me happy- fresh flowers from the lawn. The lilies smell especially sweet.

We are repainting the living room. It's needed it badly now for about 5 years, with the dining room painted last summer, it really made it look dismal! After much discussion, we finally decided to go with same color as the kitchen. We've had it bone white for 13 years & I really wanted COLOR!!!

Now, onto making your own butterspread. See the ingredients. Just one. Can you guess what this is??? Right, it's canola oil.
You'll need 1/2 cup.

Try guessing this one, too. It's salted butter.

You'll need 1/2 cup ( 1 stick). Let this sotfen for awhile before you're ready to make the spread.

Okay! Now for the biggie- can you guess that this one is sold as "food"?? How many of those "ingredients" do you keep on hand & actually eat?!!!

I'm going to show you how to make a healthy & economical alternative to a soft bread spread!

Here's what you need : A stick of butter, a 1/2 cup of canola oil, a storage container & a spatula.

You're also going to need something to mix the butter & oil together. I'm using the mini bowl
of my food processor. A mixer or blender would also work. I' ve tried to mix by hand, but I guess my butter would need to be quite softer than mine was. In my fp, it whizzed up like nobody's business!!

After it's all blended, put into your storage container & store in your fridge. It will stay soft & spreadable. Best of all, it still tastes like butter & doesn't contain all those other "ingredients".
Let me know if you try it & what you think.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Homesteading leanings with Zeal!

Oh, dear. I'm laid up with a lame back, which gives me plenty of time to read & think & scheme. I read & think & scheme of all the things I'd like to do the very second I'm mobile again! I still have not been able to till up ground for my potato planting. Rain, rain, rain has been our lot this Spring. When it finally dried up enough to till, I got one bed partially tilled before my tiller ran out of fuel. Now, we have more rain & I am laid up. It will yet be done, I have plans, after all!
We have regularly been enjoying a variety of fresh lettuces' from the garden. I have been serving it plain with just a dressing, that I can enjoy the taste of the lettuce coming through. I've also been using lots of fresh herbs, Chives, parsley, lemon balm have been making regular appearances on our table. Chervil has started to show up in dishes also. To my traditional potato salad I've added chives, chervil, parsley & lemon balm, along with some chopped celery, delicious! For making a small amount for just Dan & I, I microwaved a few red potatoes & diced them up with their peels. Fast! It feels so good to eat what your hands have planted & harvested!

Another recipe I made that was fabulous was an iced tea I made with my own fresh chopped lemon balm, some mint & black tea along with some lemon & orange juice sweetened with a little sugar. I had originally made for company that later had to bow out. I've drunk it all!! Very refreshing, crisp & light.

Furure plans include- corn & potato plantings. If I get another raised bed built by my darling, I'd like to plant a tomato or 2 ( or 3, 4 . . .10!) & a pepper for a little salsa garden.

I dream of having chickens for fresh eggs, blueberry bushes, a rhubarb patch & perhaps, a strawberry bed for the future.

I am reading homesteading/ gardening/ self-suffiency books & magazines lately & planting dreams while I wait to be up & about again. Life is very good on my little corner of the earth! I hope you can take the time to enjoy something fresh & good, something newly grown from God's green earth & enjoy the simple pleasures of June.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On my little Homestead

Strawberry-Rhubarb jam, the quintessential Spring time flavor. My Mom used to make this jam for us when we were kids. We had a large row of rhubarb plants on our side lawn. There was enough to supply My Grandma's household, as well as our family of six. All the rhubarb you could want. Rhubarb sauce, sweet- tart bubbling on the stove, served in my Grandma's black square bowls. Mom's strawberry- rhubarb pie with a flaky crust melting in your mouth. Plenty of jam & plenty of rhubarb for the freezer.
I've never grown my own rhubarb though I've gardened plenty & grown unusuals like currant bushes & gooseberry, but no rhubarb. I tried it once, down here, but I bought the root too early & they were mostly dead by the time I could get them in the ground. (I think I might have put them in upside down also!) Maybe next year it's time to try again!
In the meantime, I get rhubarb from Bainbridge's very own Frog Pond. We had pie for dessert tonight. My jam is all made & there is even some rhubarb in my freezer. Some things are timeless!
Fresh chives & parsley & the tiniest new onion from the garden.

The first lettuce of the Spring.

Got to do some gardening today.

What's growing in my garden? Lemon balm, Peppermint, bee balm, dianthus,Parsley, Chives, Lavender, alyssum, Sedum, Oregano, Butterfly Bush, Stella D'oro daylily, Coral Bells, Chamomile, snapdragons,sunflowers & a persistent Comfrey,Lamb's Ear & Liatris are in this small garden.

Memorial Day/ F-i-L Birthday

My sweet sister-in -law Gwen. Who worked hard to provide Grandpa Ray a lovely birthday party & Memorial day Celebration for all of us. Thanks Gwen for yummy food! And a great visit-I miss you!

Brother-in-law Jeff. I'd have to say a very calm,cool, collected fellow in all the years I've known him. He Enjoys Gwen's cooking. Works hard for a living. Oh, & plays golf.

Dan's Dad Ray, my Father-in-law. With my M-i-L ,they did a pretty fine job of raising 3 sons. Ray has worked hard all his life to provide for his family. He & Bette have provided some wonderful memories for their children, grand children & now, great grandchildren. He enjoys Bette's cooking. And Gwen's.

My M-i-L Bette, who has been a friend as well, through the years. She has a zest for life that has not been diminished. Her interests are wide & varied. Right now, her time is devoted to caring for Ray, which she has faithfully done for some time now, as he has suffered with the world of Alzheimer's. I'm so proud to have you as my mother-in-law, Bette. I really lucked out when I got you along with Dan-you are one of my treasured blessings. Bette cooks. And has cooked for Quite a few (heehee) years. She enjoys Gwen's cooking also. And possibly anyone's cooking who wants to do that for her!

My other brother-in-law is Ron. The "baby" of the boys! He is the fun one,up for adventure, a steady worker & a car nut like my Dan. He enjoys Allison's, his wife's cooking. And Bette's. . . . and Gwen's cooking too!

Ahh, here's the guy I fell in love with over 31 years ago! I still think he's got the cutest smile of any guy I've ever seen. Adorable. Cute. Smart. Funny. Giving. Mechanical. Cute. Can fix anything. Sweet Daddy & Grandpa. And, oh, did I mention cute?! And he's all mine!!!!! He's made me laugh & yes, at times, he's made me cry,but our commitment to dust ourselves off & get busy loving one another has seen us through this far. He LOVES my cooking. He LOVES my baking. He LOVES me. And now, if he would only love the chicks I would like to get & take care of them while I'm gone. . . He also enjoys Bette's cooking. And he enjoys Summer's, Travis's & Ashley's cooking. He also enjoys Gwen's cooking.

Hope you enjoyed meeting the family. - By the way, they are ALL great cooks & I enjoy everyone's cooking, but especially Gwen's cooking on Memorial Day Weekend!!! God bless you all, so nice to see everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Easter Greetings,friends!

These cards are made by my friend Kathleen, who graciously allowed me to photograph them.
Aren't they adorable??!
She used vintage images from crafty . They remind me of the Easter postcards my Grandmother Jenkins had in an oak dresser. I loved to look at them & read the backs, to see messages from people now, no longer living. The cards usually had some affecionate little greeting. Somehow, it seems like a gentler & simpler time that I still try to emulate in my own life. To take time to visit, to share a little of my heart & to hear from your's. Those little greetings were important-they were just a reminder that someone loved you & thought of you. Perhaps today you need to let someone you care... so pick up that phone or better yet, maybe send off a card, like these beautiful one's. God bless your day, dear loved one's! May it be a day full of reminders to others that you love them!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Got a little bit of snow here this week!! I love it!!
My friend came over today & we sewed on our different projects together. Lovely day. So grateful for the wonderful friends in my life!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Photo Shoot

Maybe you didn't know this about me but I have a daughter who has just happened to work as a professional photographer. How handy. She's got this super duper camera & lighting things & edits and.... she didn't use any of that in these photos. Hmm, so what are the benefits of having said daughter take photos of me with my very un-pro Canon Power Shot A540??? She can make me look pretty good even with that.
Photo above-My thoughtful, serious pose. You know, the one you wear when your husband comes home starving & you have no idea what you are making for his dinner.

My normal look when not laughing, eating or talking. Also known as the pose where my daughter askes me "has my smile always been that crooked?" !! Yes, Summer & I have one squinty; shifty eye also-thanks for pointing that out sweetie. It's very handy when the sun is only shining in my right eye. Where Summer makes, ahem, extra sagging facial areas disappear. The pro knowledge really shows up in this photo. I'm now feeling much better about my lopsided grin & squinty eye.
Well, golly, I'm feeling pretty glam here-for a woman of my age, of course! It is hard to walk around like this-oh, shoot! This is my favorite. The one I wish my license photo looked like! And that I would wake up looking like!
She's good.
I think she should always take my pictures, don't you?
Don't worry, I'm coaching her to not tell her subjects about their very,very,very subtle flaws. Love you, Sum, thanks for the great job you did!!!

Jill Bakes

How does "Tiny lemon Gem Tarts sound to you?? Yeah, me too. I think we need a pop of bright fresh citrus to go with our sunny winter day. How about you & I & the Pilsbury doughboy meet in the kitchen??! You can get the recipe here: Wow! That ought to take you right there! I decided to use my nifty-nifty Kitchen Aid food processor to whip up the recipe. You can add your butter & sugar first & process till they are creamed, then add your flour. . . or do like me, dump it all in together & process till the dough has formed.
This is where my talent really shows up or in other words how to make sure you have 24 dough balls for each mini muffin cup. Divide your dough in half, each half would be enough for 12 muffin cups. Are you following me?? Then take each half & halve again. Now, each piece will have dough for 6 muffin cups. Divide these in half again. You should have 8 semi- equal amount pieces. Now divide each of those into 3 pieces each. Roll into a little dough ball & you should have enough for each cup of your 24 mini muffin pan.
You place a dough ball in each cup. With your scrupulously
clean hands, you press the dough into each cup to cover the sides & bottom. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes- in my oven anyways. Yours might be different-Hey,read the recipe!! I'm here to just help you, not do it for you. You, know the great American spirit and all that!
While the tart shells were catching a tan you were making the filling, right? You industrious little baker,you! I, again, threw all the yummy ingredients into the food processor bowl & whizzed it around till done. The filling has fresh lemon juice, grated lemon peel,sugar, eggs, baking powder & salt in it. It is very good. It smells incredibly lemon-y. Mmh! Fill your little tart shells.
Bake those till the lemon filling is set. And let them cool 15 minutes in the pan. . .
Did I read that right? Because in my bloggy world of truth only 2 of the little gems came out easily. I had to figure out which tool to use to get my gems out of the pan with the least damage to pan & tart! ( The bandage came from grating me while grating the lovely lemon). Yes, it ended up being the mini rubber spatula.

I placed the cooling rack on top of the pan to shake my confectioner's sugar over. I will save a little mess from my counter top.
All done!! Aren't they lovely? What? What's the space for? Don't you eat the ugly one's too? I think it is an unwritten food rule somewhere...They are luscious & lemony & melt in your mouth. I hope you'll give them a try. I'm glad I did!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Card Party!

I love the creative process! A little glue, a few bits of paper, a stamp or two & viola'- a unique treasure in a short time.
This will be for my very special Valentine. . .
I love how this came out! It was a really fun challenge to throw in the green on a Valentines card! Isn't the little girl image just adorable?!
I still like a very clean look with lots of white background- classy & classic.
This card pops with texture though, it doesn't show up very well on here. Mmhhh, makes me think of dark chocolate & strawberry cream!
Another very simple design. I would use this design over & over, you really can work this one up fast also.
What's your favorite??!