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Archive for July, 2015

Out and About

July 31st, 2015 at 08:48 pm

DH and I went to the Amana Colonies on Monday. It is about 4 hours away from our home here in Illinois. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast and enjoyed two meals in Amana. Breakfast the following morning included two different types of quiche, toast made from homemade bread, oatmeal, muffins, and fruit. They had two different juices available: mango and orange. DH cannot drink orange juice because of his acid reflux so he tried the mango and really liked it. We were back home Tuesday in time to have supper. It was a nice getaway and we had saved the money to go and fortunately gas prices weren't too expensive. Here is a photo of our room:


Since being back, I told a friend that I wish I could make some mango juice. The next day she messaged me that Kroger had mangoes on sale for 99 cents. I bought some and made two quarts...DH said it was just like what he had and was delighted.

DH harvest our garlic and I cleaned and minced it last night and packed it with some olive oil. A friend gave us some a few years ago to plant and we've been doing it ever since. I keep the minced stuff in the fridge.

I decided to try and make some more pickles and followed the recipe for bread and butter ones. It said to wait for a few weeks before eating them so they can get the full flavor. I canned 5 pints and one half pint.

I also canned two more quarts of tomato juice this week. Unfortunately with the lack of rain and the heat, our tomatoes are starting to slow down. Hope we get some more before this fall because I'd like to have a few more to can and have on hand.

Yesterday I pulled up the remainder of the radishes. DH had tried a second planting and we got a few, but the excessive heat kept them from growing like they should. We have had a bunny eating the lettuce so there isn't too much left. I did pick some yesterday and wash and put it in the fridge before he got the rest.

One of our local stores (it is a chain around here) sends out a coupon book at the first of every month. Usually it is for things we don't buy, but this month they had potatoes as part of the coupon. I used quite a few coupons this time for things we normally use...the prices are really cheap. I bought two boxes of tissue for 69 cents each. I need it for school because I leave it out on my desk so at that reasonable price, it isn't too expensive. Our grocery bills continue to be lower since we are using so much produce either DH has grown or has been given to us.

The friend I wrote about early did a nice surprise...she took some of the bell peppers we have been sharing with her and stuffed them and gave them back so we could have them for supper. There was enough for a couple of meals.

Another hot weekend scheduled. I don't think we will be going too far. I'm happy to be home and read a library book.

Meow Tomatoes and other Vegetables

July 26th, 2015 at 06:46 pm

No, I haven't found a new hybrid of tomatoes...it comes from that mixed blessing auto-correct.

My friend has a garden and DH has a garden. Her tomatoes aren't doing very well due to her gardening flooding in June, but she has been sharing green beans with us. So, we've been sharing tomatoes and bell peppers with her. I emailed her the other day to ask if she needed some more tomatoes, but auto-correct changed it to meow tomatoes so that has been the joke around here lately.

Speaking of produce, I've canned 2 quarts and 1 pint of tomato juice and 2 quarts of tomatoes. A friend gave us some sweet corn and I canned it and have 2 quarts. My before mentioned friend gave us some green beans and I canned 3 pints of them in addition to having some for the table.

There's a small town near us called Arthur that is well known for having many Amish residents. There is a bulk food store called Beachy's. We go there and purchase sausage patties, spices, and when needed different types of flour. They had a container of small cucumbers that looked ideal for pickles. Mind you, I've never made pickles, but the cost of the cucumbers was 75 cents and I had salt, vinegar and sugar at home as well as mustard and celery seed. I found a recipe in all recipes for sweet pickles, followed it and wound up with almost a quart in the fridge and 3 pints canned of sweet pickles. I'm a little bit proud of myself for this because I've never made them before. My mom, when I asked her to let me help or show me how to can, told me I was too stupid to do it. I taught myself to can last summer with tomatoes, applesauce, and green beans. So, I'm venturing out.

Another friend gifted us with a large yellow squash and zucchini. I sliced and roasted the squash with some onions and extra virgin olive oil. I made zucchini patties out of the large zucchini. The recipe is simple -- grate the zucchini, grate a small onion and piece of bell pepper with it. Add an egg and bread crumbs to make patties and saute in hot oil, browning both sides. I added a little cumin and tumeric to the patties while I was mixing it, but I'm sure you can add whatever you want. DH loves them and I hadn't made them in quite awhile and he asked for them again tonight. Good thing that was a large zucchini!

With all the garden stuff, our grocery bill was pretty reasonable -- less than $50 which is pretty low since we eat a lot of meals at home.

Looking over our treasures

July 19th, 2015 at 08:48 pm

I've been looking over my treasures...our garden and our canning jars. I'm anticipating the thrill of putting stuff up. Our weather lately has been so wet that our garden has been suffering. We had two very hot sunshiny days so I hope that helps. I like having canned tomatoes to use throughout the year.

This summer has been a busy one...we closed our booth at the antique mall. We never anticipated making a profit, but had hoped to make booth rent and a little to pay for the stuff, but most months that was not a reality. I inventoried what we had and boxed it up and sent it to a thrift store for a tax deduction. They were happy to get the stuff. One woman told me she was delighted to find clean, usable merchandise and then said how they hate plastic garbage bags of clothes because they have found people throw stuff they have worn in and not laundered it (think dirty unmentionables!). Yuck. Anyway, the booth was fun, but a lot of work and not a lot to show for it. One of the volunteers whom we know showed us a weed whacker someone donated...it was filthy dirty and in pieces...very disappointing to the shop, but I'm sure this person took a big tax write off for it. So, this one less "treasure" to worry with.

Our menu this week includes some treasures:

Brunch - scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, toast, fruit

Baby back ribs (in Crockpot) with barbecue sauce, potato patties made from leftover mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes

Pork chops, sweet potatoes, salad, sliced tomatoes

Baked chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes

Pork chops (left over), mac and cheese, corn on the cob

Lunches will include left over pork roast from Saturday night, and probably a frittata with leftover sausage, as well as leftover chicken


I really like the curtains I purchased cheaply for the sun room. They are up and the sun room is clean. We spent some time this afternoon reading and enjoying nature until it got steamy when the sun came out. Our sun room is a treasure because it means I can sit and read and not get bitten by mosquitoes.

Another treasure: I did something today I haven't done for awhile -- I crocheted. I found my hooks and some thread and thought I'd try to crochet. The last time I did, my hands went numb (I had surgery on both of them a number of years ago for carpal tunnel) and I was sad I couldn't crochet. But I made a small Christmas ornament and my hands did OK. Maybe if I start slow and a little at a time I can do this again. I miss it because it was a way to relax. I use to crochet, embroider, and do counted cross stitch.

My final treasure to share is about my husband. I have written about the bunnies and his garden. Well, he has been nothing if not entertaining...even the neighbors agree. He chases the bunnies out of the yard. He doesn't want to hurt them, just keep them out of the garden. All the neighbors smile seeing him clapping his hands and running after them. He is a treasure in an of himself, but he does entertain me too!

Catching Up on This and That

July 15th, 2015 at 08:51 pm

I haven't blogged lately because I haven't had too much to say. Life is going well and I'm staying busy. There have been a few snags here and there, but just little bumps, not major pot holes.

A few posts back I think I mentioned a friend who spent $1500 on custom made curtains for the kitchen...two windows and they were cottage sets. I'm still pondering that expense for them, but glad it isn't my expense. We replaced the valances in our sun room and found some reasonable ones at K-Mart. They were originally $6.99 each, but with the $10 off and points from Shop Your Way, they were far less. I needed 10 of them, could only order 9 because that's all the warehouse had, but got free shipping. We found the tenth at our local K-Mart -- it was the sole one they had and it was marked down. I spent less than $70, tax included, on 7 windows (some are double wide, that's why I needed 3 more than 7), so I didn't think that was bad. I didn't want to spend big bucks because these will get faded soon from the sun, but liked having something new and bright.

DH is still battling the bunny. Big Bunny Big Ears was out munching on his lettuce and even when I shouted at him, he sat there chomping as big as you please. DH went out and chased him with a stick and sprayed some stuff that smells like rotten eggs around the garden. He had sprayed it many times before, but we had so much rain, it kept washing away. Hopefully this will keep BBBE out for awhile. We are enjoying the tomatoes, radishes, onions, lettuce, and herbs from the garden. A friend gave us some green beans she picked; we've been sharing some of our garden with her, so we've been eating pretty healthy.

I've finished book 45 so far this year. I usually read mysteries and so many of my books are fiction, but I do have some that are nonfiction. All but two of these books are checked out from our library. One is mine that I inherited years ago from my aunt and the other one I bought at a thrift shop for 59 cents. I'm planning on donating it back.

The little blip on the screen is I'm still fussing with the city. I have a half brother who owned some property. He died over a year ago. We did not associate with each other. His grass wasn't mowed so the city mowed it and sent a bill to me. I've been calling and talking to people and was told the property is associated with me. It isn't -- the city worker who claimed that found my dad's will with my name on it, not my half brother's. I thought I had this cleared up, but I received a letter today stating I not only owe for the mowing, but now an additional fee since I haven't paid it. I have called the city's legal department and the lawyer who said he dismissed it, said it should have been fixed and he would take care of it. I hope he does. This is getting to be a nuisance. I don't own the property, never stepped foot on it, and had nothing to do with it. The original city employee wouldn't own up to the fact she was in error so it has been a pain to get this figured out because when I call to talk to people at the city, they act like I'm a deadbeat. DH says if I get another letter I should just contact my lawyer. I'm thinking of contacting the city council members first...maybe that would get a fire lit under some of these people.

Cool and dreary Tuesday

July 7th, 2015 at 07:53 pm

Here in Central Illinois it is cool and dreary. Overnight we received 1.6 inches of rain. Instead of receiving April showers, we've been getting them pretty heavily in June and now. It was warm and muggy yesterday but it is in the low 60s today. Just the perfect weather for a cup of hot tea which I am enjoying as I type. Friends often gift me with tea and that is a delight!

It was a busy morning at our home -- we were donating some things to a thrift store and they brought a truck which was helpful since we couldn't get a table in our vehicles. Then we had the air conditioner checked for the season. I learned a number of years ago it was far cheaper to do this than to wait and then have the silly thing break down on a very hot night or weekend.

We seem to watch quite a bit of home improvement shows and there seems to be a lot of people out there who always say they are looking for a new home for entertainment space or their yard needs to be fixed up so they can entertain. I'm curious. Are we the only ones out there who are not constantly entertaining people? When we bought our home 17 years ago, we weren't looking for some place to entertain. We wanted a nice living space for ourselves within our budget. We don't do lavish dinner parties or big cook outs. Maybe we are the few in the U.S. who don't entertain a lot. Thoughts?

Sunny Sunday

July 5th, 2015 at 06:51 pm

Here in Central Illinois, we were wondering if we had suddenly hit Monsoon season, but fortunately not. We also have had hazy days due to the smoke from Canada, but yesterday and today seem nice and bright.

Lots of odd jobs have been taking up a lot of my free time. It seems a lot of things need a coat of paint. I used up a small can of paint the other day and wanted to buy another small can as well as a small can of blue paint. Sheesh, what an ordeal. Went to one place and they didn't have anything in small cans except paint for metal...this was wood, so I didn't need it. And blue apparently isn't a big color to ask for because I had to resort in getting a sample bottle mixed. But, that part of painting is completed and so that is good.

We mulched around our sun room and it looks far better.

The garden has been producing. DH has a small garden because we don't have a large area. He has what I call a one hit wonder for a bell pepper plant -- the bell pepper growing on it is almost as tall as the small plant. No other blooms, so it is the little plant that could.

Hope to get out and pick some lettuce and radishes...nothing like a crisp salad with fresh veggies and a lovely day to enjoy it in.