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July 30th, 2023 at 07:10 pm
My grandmother has been gone almost 40 years. Like most dysfunctional families, my mom and my grandmother were on the outs and I didn't really get to see her very much. I feel like I was robbed of the one lone grandparent who was alive when I was younger.
I'm not really sure how I inherited my grandmother's rolling pin and recipe box, but I did. A few years ago I tried using the rolling pin and found it was larger than I anticipated and found it unweidly. But I put it away because it was hers and I didn't want to part with it.
I have been baking things for church and was making cinnamon buns and decided to try and use her rolling pin. It is interesting how since I've gotten more practice using a rolling pin (not an expert by any means) how much easier it was to use it. And I enjoyed using it, thinking of my grandmother and wondering what kinds of things she used it for. It made me happy.
The other day I was with a friend and he asked me to take some photos of him to use for his conference calls on his computer. I was playing around with the photo and on my iPhone, I noticed when I had my finger on his picture, it did a white running line around him. I wondered what that was all about and later, I played with it. Seems it "cuts" around the person and the background becomes white. I had a good time playing with that and told him about it and sent him some of the results. We had a fine time just sending photos back and forth after I told him what I had found. We laughed that we were easily amused and it wasn't anything we had to purchase since we already had the phones. Learning something new and using what we had, we agreed this resulted in simple happiness.
June 18th, 2023 at 09:52 pm
I haven't blogged for a bit because I really haven't had much to write about. Life is going along and I'm not complaining, but my days seem full and busy.
I am continuing to work on ways to decrease the church mortgage. I'm not taking credit for all of this, but we have reduced the mortgage by $50,000 in 6 months. Granted, this isn't sustainable due to some large gifts, but it is pretty amazing and we have knocked off quite a few months since this was applied just to the principal. There have been other cost cutting ways applied to also just help with the regular budget. It's nice that so many of the people of our congregation want to help by saving money.
I have donated a few things to the local thift shop. Someone wasn't happy when I said I didn't want to go every week to shop; it's easier to resist temptation when you aren't shopping. I wasn't going crazy and buying stuff every time, but honestly, I don't need to be tempted. I think I'm getting to that stage in my life where I realize less is truly more.
Just thought I'd check in. Hope everyone is having a grand day.
April 23rd, 2023 at 09:00 pm
It's been some time since I've blogged. I guess it is because I haven't had anything to really say. Just working around here trying to keep things going as well as working on the church mortgage reduction opportunity. Since we started in January, we have paid down $44K already saving us $18K in interest. So, that's good news. It isn't sustainable because this came from some larger gifts, but figure whatever we do pay down is that much more than what we had. I continue to bake and then ask people for free will offering for whatever they think it is worth to them.
State Farm offered this free thing to plug in your home outlet to check if you have wiring issues. I sent away for it and did do it. The company is called Ting. It's kind of neat they send a report each week.
A friend told me about the newest Facebook settlement claim and I applied for that. Don't know what it will bring, but figure it is more than what I had.
I have also worked a little on getting rid of a few things. DH isn't a big help on this; I've concluded he might have a little hoarder tendencies. LOL But if I haven't used something, I don't need it, right?
Just a quick catch up.
March 19th, 2023 at 11:57 pm
Fortunately I am blessed to have many friends who have many talents. One dear friend is quite brilliant and he shares insights with me on many things whether it is finance or technology. I admire his many abilities because he is humble about them and is willing to share his knowledge. I feel like I'm constantly learning things that I would not have had the chance to do so before, but this person does it in a way that is gentle and encouraging.
Another good friend is quite the woodworker. I'm amazed at how he can take a piece of wood and craft something. Again, he is very generous with his knowledge as well as his projects. He teases me that no one could afford his prices if he charged for his pieces and we laugh.
Some talents aren't as visible. One friend is the kind you'd want if you want something done. She sees what needs to be done, does it, and doesn't complain. Always busy, always friendly, and what a joy!
One lady at church is quite excellent at crocheting. She can really make beautiful pieces and is happy to share her handiwork which enriches many lives.
We have quite a few people at our church who have vast talents. It is impressive that such a small congregration is so blessed. Two people are very good with technology and working with our pastor have made it so our church can stream our services as well as provide tech support during the service. We have some ladies who are amazing at organizing the bazaar and annual rummage sale and it always comes together well. Some of these same ladies oversee the funeral dinners which I'm sure are a comfort to the families who receive them. Then there are the grand cooks who provide so much of the food, all willing, all ready, wanting to help where needed at a time where food is often love.
One lady is very good with our children and has really turned our children's ministry into a success. It is great to see these children excited about coming to church and being involved.
We have some people who are the unsung heros who serve on the church council or the board of elders, make the tough decisions, and look for ways to assist in the mission of our church. These meetings and duties are time consuming so it shows a great commitment on their part.
Our pastor is talented not only as a minister, but as a musician. But it is his love for the people that I would consider a talent. He listens, truly listens, and cares. His sermons are folksy and easy to learn from.
We are fortunate to have an amazing vicar. A vicar in our denomination is like a student teacher who learns the ropes by doing. He is talented in technology as well as caring.
One man always has something positive to say about everyone. He always looks for the good.
Although probably not considered a real talent, there are those whose dedication to our congregation is heart warming. They are willing to do those things many wouldn't.
I know we often think about using our talent to make money, and there is, of course, nothing wrong with that. But it is enlightening to see people using their talent to better the world around them and the people they associate with. And sometimes that is a talent in and of itself.
March 5th, 2023 at 09:45 pm
Not a whole lot to report. I realize it has been a while. I've stayed busy working on the church fundraising and doing stuff around the house as well as crocheting. I baked last week and raised $72 for the church mortgage. Not a huge amount, but it all adds up.
We have to wait for a document before we can get our taxes done. I need to organize what we do have, but that won't take long since I already have it in an accordian file.
We had quite the rain and wind gusts Friday with some damage to our house. At least we didn't lose power, but so many did and so many had far more damage. We feel fortunate, especially seeing so many of the natural disasters others are suffering.
A dear friend is teaching me coding. Not sure what I will do with it, but it is fun to learn something new and he's a patient teacher. My Papa always told me that if someone offers to teach you something, learn it, you never know when it will come in handy!
January 15th, 2023 at 09:43 pm
I'm going to own up to it...
I did it.
I ate part of a dog biscuit.
Shocked? Well, here's, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story...
I have a friend who has two wonderful dogs. I also have a love of baking. I ran across a recipe for making simple dog biscuits and I had all the ingredients. In fact, I had just opened a jar of chicken broth I had canned last summer and there was a little left. I was planning on baking some other stuff so the oven would be on, and well, I'm open to new things. The recipe was easy. I used a heart cookie cutter. Baked them and let them cool. I sort of wondered how they would taste too.
Years ago when I lived in the Chicago area, I rescued a dog from a shelter. My father, upon meeting my dog, informed me I needed to get some name brand biscuits to help with the dog's bad breath. So, I bought some, and offered one to my pup. Except he didn't know what to do with it. So, I bit off a little bit to show him it was a treat, and there was no going back after that. He was sold! I remember the biscuit as being quite salty and a little savory.
So, enter yesterday. The heart shaped biscuits were cooling and I wondered...so I bit part of one and chewed it. It was very savory (tasted like chicken) and wasn't too bad.
Today at church I gave the bag of biscuits to my friend for his dogs, he teased me and asked if I tasted one and was surprised when I said yes. Another friend, after learning my gastric adventure, messaged me and asked if things were so dire with the grocery budget that I had resorted to eating dog biscuits and if so, he might be able to float me a loan.
I await to learn if the dogs like the biscuits. I, on the other hand, have taken quite a bit of good natured teasing which is fine. Nothing like some amusement in our lives!
December 23rd, 2022 at 07:15 pm
Like many, we were inflicted with a Polar Vortex yesterday and today. Fortunately we didn't get a lot of snow, but that wind was horrific. I went out and shoveled the little bit of snow that had drifted here and there.
Three of us play Wordle each morning and all of us had the same thing to say -- how thankful we are that our power didn't go out and that we have a nice home that is warm and safe. Hopefully that continues to be the case.
Other than a few presents to wrap for DH, I'm ready for Christmas. Cards have been sent, gifts have been given to others, baking done, fudge made and given out. I'm hoping we can make it to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
Hope all of you have a lovely Christmas and stay safe if you are effected by winter storm Elliott.
December 18th, 2022 at 07:11 pm
Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? There are loads of them out there, that's for sure!
My favorite is "It's A Wonderful Life." It just has such a sweetness to it, that one person can make such a difference. I only hope that I make a difference in people's lives. But it also had the financial aspect to it...money played a part, but George Bailey realized life and living was more important than money, even if it makes things more comfortable.
We usually watch the same Christmas movies each year. There's something comforting about them. I always like a movie with a happy ending, though, don't you?
October 30th, 2022 at 09:30 pm
It's been a bit dry around Central Illinois, but the farmers have been pleased so they can harvest their crops. However, this dryness means the Mississippi River is low which can cause shipping problems as they send their crops down the river. We received a bit of rain today, but nothing to raise the river. It is just a deary fall day. But after the many beautiful fall days we've had recently, I am not complaining. We have actually had fall this year. In the past we seem to have lots of hot days, one fall day, and then bam...winter!
We had our confirmation class have their first communion today and the ladies' guild provided cake and tea and coffee after church. It's nice to see young people wanting to be a part of our church. We had a nice turnout for church so that was a bonus.
One of the things I've been enjoying is continuing to work with the sourdough and the discard. I find new recipes. I am sharing the discard with some friends as well so they can make stuff. It's kind of nice to drop some off (yes, I ask first, not foist it on them) and then get a chance to visit for a few minutes. It's these simple things that make a heart happy.
Terri77 (Firefly) mentioned in a blog wanting the election to be over. I'm in total agreement. I'm tired of the backbiting, hateful ads from both sides. There's one guy in Illinois who is running for secretary of state and imagine this -- he talks about what he wants to do and why. How refreshing!
I think in today's society of negativity in order for me to keep healthy, I need to focus on these simple things like the good people I know and the sweet things people are doing. I hate to say this, but I'm getting farther and farther away from watching a lot of news because it seems to be all doom and gloom. I know a part of life is pretty depressing, but unless it is bad, it seems the news isn't wanting to carry it.
So, looking forward to a quiet evening watching a DVD of a cozy mystery, a cup of tea, and a little crocheting are on the docket. What simple things do you do to cope?
October 19th, 2022 at 09:11 pm
Y'all are probably wondering who Simon is and why this person would be proud...
When I was a little girl, I loved Alvin and the Chipmunks. We are talking early 1960s. We had just moved to this building where my parents were opening a furniture store and we would live in the apartment above. We didn't know any of the people there, and the story the neighbor told me I was standing in the back calling, "Simon! Simon!" She said she waited to see if I had a little brother. When it appeared I didn't, she answered. Any my neighbor became Simon for the rest of her life to me. Her husband was then named Alvin and the lady who lived in the apartment above them became Theodore.
Simon was like a mother to me. I spent an awful lot of time from when I was 3 until I was 12 with her. She was an amazing cook and very talented in being frugal. Her husband had diabetes and she would fix certain things that wouldn't throw off his blood sugar. It seems archaic now when I remember the sterilizer for his needles and how he had to give himself a shot each morning and night. But she was good about planning good meals, and keeping him healthy.
One thing she did every week was bake bread. It was a certain bread that supposedly wouldn't set off his blood sugar too badly. I remember sitting with her as she would put the dough together, let it rise, and eventually bake it. And what a treat it was when she would thinly slice the "heel" and put some butter on it and cut it in half so we could enjoy it while it was still warm.
I learned a lot about baking and cooking from her. I really believe God put her in my life because my childhood was not a very happy one, but she loved me unconditionally, and always was kind to me. I picked up her habits of trying to make do with stuff, find a more reasonable solution, and I believe my love of baking comes from her.
There's a Facebook page called Bread Club 20 and it was started by a Brit. I have learned a lot from the folks on this page. I never realized sour dough loaves could be such works of art. I learned about making sourdough starter and decided to try it. It means feeding the starter each day and also dealing with the discard. The discard is the stuff you take away because you only keep 1/2 up and feed that. Not wanting to waste stuff, I have kept the discard in the fridge and looked up recipes to use it.
Years ago I was given a bread machine for Christmas. I so enjoyed using it. In fact, like most of the kitchen appliances I have, I use them and they wear out. After a number of years and going through 3 bread machines, I decided to just do it by hand and have baked loaves that way ever since. I like to experiment, but never thought I could accomplish sourdough. But hopefully that isn't the case.
My oven is at work -- I just pulled a cinnamon coffee cake out of the oven made from the discard. I have biscuits ready to bake for tonight's supper. And tomorrow, if all goes well, I hope to bake my first loaf of sourdough bread.
I truly believe Simon would be proud.
October 2nd, 2022 at 07:36 pm
Fall is here and this past week has been nothing but glorious as far as weather. I doubt if I will be saying that when winter comes, but right now, it has been so nice seeing the lovely skies and the mild weather. So often we don't truly have a fall season...it's blazing hot, we have a couple of cooler days, and then bam! It's winter. So, I'm appreciating the sunny, lovely days.
The end of the week may result in a frost so DH and I are working on getting the garden taken care of. I have been cutting and drying herbs. It's nice to have them through the winter and spring. We pulled up a few plants yesterday after taking off the bell peppers and tomatoes off of them. We still have a few to go. I have chopped and frozen some peppers, but need to do more as I get a chance. I don't think I will be canning any more tomatoes which is sad, but we sure have enjoyed the fresh ones and I did can some earlier. I know my pantry is looking pretty good with them. A young lady I know was telling me her husband decided to plant 28 tomato plants this summer and they have a lot of tomatoes. A friend had given me a juicer that makes fast work of juicing tomatoes if you have a lot. It's a crank type. I dropped it off for them to use. They did their first attempt at canning tomatoes too, so we talked about that and also preparing the soil for next year. I'm delighted to see another young family growing a garden and taking up preserving.
I'm already dreading our monthly statement on our investments; I don't think it will be good news.
Some of the news stories keep saying prices are going down, but I'd like to know where. I keep trying to cut back on stuff, but it seems like our grocery bills remain about the same, much higher than a year ago. Sadly, most of the companies that offer coupons are for things we don't buy. Same with Ibotta -- so many of the things they offer cash for, we don't buy. I'm not going to buy anything just to "save" money. Seems a bit ridiculous to me.
We did take some things to the thrift store to donate. I need to go through more stuff, but sometimes getting DH to agree to giving up things is a challenge.
Watching the news reports on the hurricane, it breaks ones heart to see the devastation and the loss of life. Life can change in just an instant. Prayers for all involved.
For now, I will enjoy what we have and enjoy this fall weather.
September 4th, 2022 at 07:34 pm
Hope y'all are having a good Labor Day weekend if you live in the states.
Most of my week was spent working with things around here. Our CSA box afforded us a few cucumbers and I made sweet relish and canned it. My husband's cherry tomato plant has been prolific so I juiced them with a couple of larger tomatoes and canned a pint of tomato juice and had a little over half of a pint in the fridge which we enjoyed with our brunch this morning. I decided to try a new recipe and made root beer jelly. I found the recipe on Pinterest and the recipe was spot on -- it came together perfectly and it is very yummy. This summer I made a variety of jellies. I will give some of it away as Christmas gifts this year so I guess I'm sort of starting my Christmas shopping already. I used all of my jelly jars and most of my half pint jars this year. With just the two of us, the quart jars are often too big for some items. I use them for apple sauce and apple juice and green beans and regular canning tomatoes, but are way too big for spaghetti sauce and tomato juice.
Also on Pinterest was a recipe for Basil salt. I made some of that and I have some for us and a couple small jars to also give away. It was easy and since we had the Basil, I figured why not. I have started drying some of our herbs so I'll have them this winter and spring.
I hated to spend the money, but I bought some things to make handles for the bags I'm sewing using up the material I already have. I have made handles with the extra material, but they just don't seem to hold up as well as the the commercially made stuff. I was fortunate to find it on sale though.
Not a lot planned for the holiday weekend. We are eating from the freezer as much as we can so I can use up some of the items we have, as well as eating from the pantry and supplementing from our garden and CSA box.
August 14th, 2022 at 08:01 pm
Sandi Patty has a Christmas song titled "The Gift Goes On" and it talks about how God doing stuff and how it is paid forward.
Today was a non Christmas gift, but truly a gift begetting another gift.
I've written before about the group at church that loom knits hats as well as knits and crochets scarves, cancer hats, and dish cloths which we donate to different places in our community. In the past few years, we have been very fortunate in receiving some monetary donations as well as donations of yarn from people, many not members of our church. We welcome nonchurch members to join us and we have had some who have joined us to help us with this ministry. Last Christmas we were given a sizeable gift from someone who had noticed my posts on the church Facebook page and those groups who received hats and scarves and dish cloths.
Today was another sweet surprise!
A church member told me someone he worked with gave him and his wife a handmade quilt. Knowing full well that quilts are expensive and very labor intensive, he said he felt she should receive something in return. She apparently said no, but then finally said she wanted two things. She wanted whatever change he had in his pocket, and he and his wife could then give a monetary gift to his church.
This gentleman gave it some thought. Yes, he could do both. He reached into his pocket and was sad he only had 38 cents, but he gave it to her. But, he and his wife decided that they would write a generous check to our church and earmark it to our group, Stitches of Love, honoring the lady and her quilting and knitting talents.
An unknown lady was responsible for our group getting money because of her kindness. And hopefully the items we make and donate will cause the gift to continue to go on. My heart is joyful because of this!
July 24th, 2022 at 07:13 pm
There's a slogan about not letting stuff go to waste, something to the effect "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" or something like that. That is my go to slogan lately.
My mom died a number of years ago. She was a quilter and she had all this material she had purchased and never used. I gave it away since I don't quilt. But there are lots of jokes about people with yarn, material, etc. and how much they have stashed. Or hoarded.
I have purchased some material at thrift stores and estate sales. Not huge quantities, but some. My new goal is to use it up before I buy anymore. I believe I blogged about recovering some of my hot pads. I had enough to make a new table cloth for our dining room table. I have sewn cloth bags to use for shopping as well as one for my stuff for my knitting/crocheting group for church. I had looked at bags when we were in England and the cheapest price on a bag was over 30 pounds which was even more in American dollars. I had found some new material at a thrift store that had English symbols like the red telephone booth, and the double decker bus printed on it, and it was $1.99 for it and I paid $3 to make some handles for it. A far cry from what I would have paid, and if it gets worn out by my using it, well, I don't have to regret it.
I have also purchased some other things craft wise like towels to do counted cross stitch on. I like doing that, and I have a couple of friends who like them, so I usually work on them and give them as gifts. But, I am not allowing myself to buy anymore until I use what I have.
The only thing I'm allowing myself to buy is yarn for the hats, scarves, and dish cloths we make in the Stitches of Love group at church. I have used all the yarn I bought originally, so I bought a little more, and am almost through with it. I have been crocheting mostly scarves since we have so many who make hats. I can't make as many scarves as they do hats, but we promised hats and scarves to our Lutheran High School's Student Council for the number of kids they are adopting for CASA. The leftover yarn I make dish cloths and we are donating them to a local food pantry to put in the Christmas baskets. Nothing goes to waste when it comes to the yarn.
I did a small canning yesterday since we had some extra tomatoes. I made lavender jelly earlier since our lavender was really blooming. Some of this is for us, but I use some of it for Christmas gifts. Same with grapes...made some jelly. Some for us, some for gifts. I hate to see food go to waste.
So, are you using stuff up or wearing it out?
July 4th, 2022 at 09:21 pm
Apparently I'm into books about struggle. I blogged about a Depression Era book the last time. My next book was on the Dust Bowl which was Depression Times as well. The book was "The Worst Hard Time" and it was based on interviews of people who lived during the Depression and a bit of their lives before and then during and a little after the Dust Bowl. I have a lot of respect for these people for not giving up although they sufferered considerable losses and I look at our drought brown grass realizing how fortunate we are to have what we have, even if we haven't had much rain.
Another book I read was "The Kitchen Front" and it is fiction, but based on true events in England during WWII. I had watched a series a year or so ago where two archeologists and a historian go to a farm that was operational during WWII and explain what England had to do to try and raise food since before the war, they imported so much. The premise of the story for the book was the rations and how 4 cooks vied in a contest using rations and what they could grow or forage in order to win the contest, but also provide recipes for other people in England. It was an interesting book and I really enjoyed reading it. Again, I feel so fortunate that I am not living under those conditions. A friend of mine was teasing me that I was trying to get in the mindset since some of the farmers interviewed around here are predicting food shortages this fall. I don't know if I am or not. I hope we don't have food shortages, but ever since the Pandemic, who knows what can happen. I never would have thought we would have had all the problems that came about with Covid.
We had the first of our homegrown tomatoes. Mostly cherry ones, but one larger one and another one is almost ready. I've been using herbs and we've had two purple bell peppers as well as some green onions. I am frustrated because I have planted lettuce 3 times and it has not even tried to come up. DH had some problems with carrots. Some came up and others did not. I'm wondering if the quality of seed might be a factor; they were not cheap seeds so who knows. I may be writing the company to complain. It won't give us lettuce or carrots, but maybe they had an issue and can resolve it.
Anyway, going back to the books I've read, although many may think we have hard times, I'm thankful our times are not as difficult as during the Depression or Dust Bowl or World War II.
June 19th, 2022 at 07:42 pm
I will admit it, I like Pinterest. Too much. It seems to be my go to site some days when I'm not sure.
As a result, I've tried new recipes, tried new crochet patterns, and even found some cool genealogy templates. I like blue willow dishes and I have one very big "board" of all sorts of blue willow. Peter Davison is one of my favorite British actors and I have a board with stuff about him.
I have even searched frugal living on Pinterest. There seem to be quite a few things to pin there as well, but I've noticed there are a lot of repeats.
I can't decide if Pinterest is valuable or a time waster. Hopefully valuable since I tend to get some good info from it.
My latest project was to make an apron using men's ties. It took me two days since I sewed everything by hand. My machine is not heavy duty and sewing through ties would be too much for it. It's kind of cute. I found the ties for 10 cents each so I have 90 cents worth of ties and used some other stuff around here. I was pleased the way it turned out and plan to give it as a Christmas gift for a man who likes to cook, but hates those "girly" aprons.
I will admit Pinterest often tempts to try new things and get involved in stuff that hopefully has some value. It just makes it way too easy to find things. That's a good thing, right?
April 15th, 2022 at 09:20 pm
It's been a while since I've posted. Some is because I didn't have much to say, but the biggest reason is I couldn't do anything besides call up the page -- I couldn't comment on anyone else's posts either. It is very frustrating.
Things are just going along here. DH's ornamental pear bloomed and it is a thing of beauty. It's too cold to plant anything yet, but he's eager and I'm eager to start having home grown stuff.
I continue to work with our church's looming group. Most loom knit hats and I used to, but now I crochet scarves since we give hats and scarves to our preschool and then give scarves with the hats as we have them. We are working to have 110 hats and scarves for CASA for our Lutheran High School's Student Council to distribute. We have 70 so far. We are also making dish cloths for a local food pantry to put in the Christmas baskets. Last year we had 200 made, but I think we may surpass that this year. We already have 124 made. I did make some and put in the Easter baskets for a woman's shelter we gave "Easter baskets" to last week and we usually give some for Christmas too. One lady knits those and I crochet mine. We figure getting something new and colorful is nice in the Christmas baskets.
It should be a quiet Easter for us, but that's fine. At least this year we can have services and attend which is a blessing.
February 13th, 2022 at 10:30 pm
This is going to be a mish mash of topics. I apologize in advance.
I don't know if I'm the only one, but the news about Russia and Ukraine is unsettling me. I know like there's not much I can do to even resolve this, but pray which I have been doing, but when I feel out of control I do something to give me control and that is bake. DH always knew when I had a bad day at work because I would bake sweet muffins of some sort when I was fixing supper. I explained that although I could not control what happened in my life, I knew putting certain ingredients together following the recipe would result in the same product: muffins. There was a comfort to that.
A friend gave me 5 books in a tearoom mystery series and the last one talked about tea breads. I researched them since there was no recipe in the book and discovered one that you make with Earl Grey tea. I like that type of tea so I was delighted to try it. Instead of one big loaf, I made 3 small ones and gave two away. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I also made some applesauce bread and gave those away with some cards. Here is the recipe I used and it came from the Food and Wine website:
Earl Grey Tea Bread
2 single serving Earl Grey tea bags
1 1/4 cup boilng water
2 cups prunes, diced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 t orange zest
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 1/2 t baking poweder
1/4 t salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brew tea with tea bags and hot water. Add prunes until some tea is absorbed and prunes are softened. Pull out and discard tea bags and let cool.
Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and orange zest. Stir in the tea and prunes. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold in until there are no flour streaks. Pour into buttered loaf pan. Bake until skewer comes out clean approximately 1 hour to 1 hour, ten minutes). Let sit on wire rack for ten minutes and then remove from pan and let the bread cool on wire rack. Serve with softened butter.
Optional, but I did do this suggestion and was to toast it lightly. It was amazing!
Besides the bread baking, I did some frugal stuff around here. I still had some material left from the last hot pad I covered, so I sewed a cover for another one. I will say it did brighten up the drawer I keep them in; they look so much nicer and newer. I have been saving and washing bread bags and using them to store things as well as marinate meat. I'm also one of those folks who will wash and reuse foil? Are you?
Our newspaper comes in an orange plastic bag when the weather is bad and a few years ago I made a windsock out of them using an old yogurt container. I still have the old one and it is pretty beat up, so I have been saving the bags and plan to make another one for this year. I have also been looking for sites on reusing things as much as I can. We already use cloth bags for the grocery when we can. For awhile during the worst of Covid, they wouldn't let us bring them in. I wash mine frequently, but I understand, because you never know what kind of homes they come from. And I believe I've mentioned my love affair with glass jars, especially Mason jars. I am sorry so many places use plastic jars because I really don't like them. I'm sure it is cheaper, except I won't reuse them for food stuff.
I also spent an afternoon clearing out some papers in my desk. It was long past the time I should have done that. I figured if I hadn't used or needed them in the past year, I didn't need to keep them. Many will go into the shred pile, but most went to recycling. Kind of sad how I like to hold on to silly things. But I did feel better doing some decluttering, even if it was a small space.
This was my mish mash of the week. I kept busy as you can tell.
February 6th, 2022 at 08:51 pm
This week was not a fun one as far as the weather. Here in Central Illinois we started with a lot of rain Tuesday afternoon, which then became ice, then it started snowing. We received over 11 inches of snow from Wednesday through Thursday and then we had high winds which meant we had huge drifts. Then, as if this wasn't enough, the temperature dropped. Sadly our city road crews did not keep up with things and we were snowbound for three days. Fortunately we did not lose power. I had already slipped to the store Monday morning when they started talking multiple inches because I wanted to avoid the panic shopping. I didn't think we'd be able to do our usual Wednesday morning grocery shopping. I didn't get fresh fruit other than bananas and tangerines since we still had some, but I did pick up a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk as well as some yogurt.
Because of the extreme cold and the ice under the snow, I did not even try to shovel. On Friday a kind neighbor came and used his snow blower and cleaned out our driveway. DH and I did the sidewalk from the driveway to the front door. The city snow plow didn't come until Saturday morning around 6 a.m. Our streets were so deep, we couldn't have gotten out even with our driveway cleared.
I spent some of the time doing genealogy, but I also spent some time sewing. I am hard on pot holders. I cook a lot and I use them a lot and although I try to keep them clean, I still spill or touch something and therefore I wash them a lot. I had two that I've kept for sentimental reasons. They weren't really pretty or anything, but my mom had given them to me years and years ago. But, even after many washings, they looked kind of icky and they were getting thinner and thinner. The stuffing inside had compressed. I looked at them and being frugal, I decided I didn't want to throw them away. So, I sewed them together and then made a cover to recover them of some leftover material. I did it all by hand because I didn't want to get the sewing machine out. It kept me busy Thursday afternoon and I felt like I had made something out of nothing so I counted it as a win.
We were able to get out yesterday and to be honest, after being homebound for over 3 days, it wore me out. We did hit the store for some fresh fruit and kitty litter. We use the kitty litter on our driveway since salt is so corrosive. People were shopping like crazy and fortunately we didn't need any bread because there wasn't any on the shelf. I guess Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday during the start of the snow, the shelves were bare at most stores so it made me feel good I have canned what I did this last summer, plus I buy extra things when it is on sale.
We have a Facebook page for our subdivision and a dad said his son wanted some money and he said this was the perfect time to go out and make some. He offered a deal for his 12 year old to come and shovel the snow at the end of our driveways for $10 that the snow plow had left. We jumped at that offer! It was darn cold out there so it was a pleasure to give this kid some work and some money. DH gave him a little more since he came on time and was police and respectful.
I'm ready for winter to end!
January 30th, 2022 at 07:35 pm
Handwritten notes, button sewing, and leftovers -- what do they all have in common?
I believe they are old fashioned skills.
A week or so ago, a friend and I were talking about writing thank you notes and how we still like to send and receive those thank you notes in the mail. Recently I read an opinion column where a man said writing thank you letters as well as letters to companies have resulted in some grand things for him. He complained to a CEO of a company that he had had the repair people out over and over and eventually had to fix something himself. He said he didn't get nasty or threatening, but wondered if the CEO would at least reimburse him for his doing his own repair. The CEO apologized and went a step further and not only paid what it cost the man for the parts, but gave him some of the money back he had paid them initially.
I think we can agree with the cost of food going up due to inflation, we are trying to squeeze more and more meals out of what we buy and make. I've always used leftovers either for lunches or what I tease DH as our buffet dinners. Some of the meals you get when you out are so huge, so not bringing the leftovers home is almost wasteful. I see lots of recipes for making use of stuff and I know that is going to be the case for us tonight. I made a huge pot of vegetable soup this week. We have had one meal already. We plan to have another tonight. A couple of days ago I fixed spaghetti and I don't put the sauce with the spaghetti, but serve them separately. We didn't eat all the spaghetti so I will chop it into small pieces and will add it to the soup as well as the little bit of leftover sauce. It will make the soup a little different than what we initially had. I am predicting we will have enough soup to freeze for another meal as well. I know I keep a bag in the freezer for leftover vegetables, you know a spoonfull of cooked carrots, or a few green beans, and I often use that to make vegetable soup with the other stuff.
I recently ran across an article about sewing on buttons. Here is the url if you want to read it:
Anyway, I just can't imagine taking it to someone and paying them to sew on a button. I cut off buttons of stuff that is no longer wearable and keep them in case we lose a button so I can hopefully find one that will work. A few years ago a woman I worked with popped the button off her slacks. She said she would be throwing them out and buying new. I told her to bring the slacks and the button and I would sew them on, but she refused. I thought it was wasteful. Before teachers were required to do all the state testing and basically regimented on what they had to teach and when, I used to do an art project where we would "decorate" felt Christmas trees by sewing on buttons. I figured that was a sneaky way of teaching a life skill. I would ask my friends for any stray buttons they had and I would teach the kids how to thread a needle and sew on buttons. I had to stop doing that since administrators felt since it wasn't on the state test, it wasn't a worthwhile thing to teach.
I like reading articles on different skills and what people used to do. So many were to save money and make do with what one had.
January 2nd, 2022 at 08:57 pm
Hope y'all had a grand New Year. We didn't do much as far as celebrating, but that was fine. We had a good dinner and then watched a DVD and headed to bed at our normal time. We aren't party people, I guess.
I've been catching up on the blogs and I must admit most who have their resolutions or goals stated have some good ones.
It seems a big chunk of my time is spent in the kitchen, trying to stretch our food budget as much as possible and still eat healthy. A friend gave us a fruit basket for Christmas and I used some of it to make other things. We ate some of the fancier apples outright, but I used the other apples to make applesauce and apple juice. The oranges were huge and juicy and used them and some leftover tangerines we had purchased and made orange marmalade. Some of our friends made party mix so that's been a great snack and each one is a little different. Besides cooking, I washed the cabinet doors and then used orange oil on them (we have oak cabinets that aren't painted) to revitalize them. I then cleaned off the counters and washed them and the back splash and it made everything seem so fresh. We really need to think about replacing the ceiling fan and light in the kitchen. They will be 24 years old and although they both still work, I just know it will die and we'll be hard pressed to get a replacement and someone to install it. That is the major source of light in our kitchen; our home was built in 1979 and although we replaced the light over the sink, we don't have many other lights for the kitchen.
Yesterday the financial person from church called. I couldn't imagine why should we would be calling me on New Year's Day. She was at church working on some things and it seems that our Stitches of Love group was sent a check by a local couple as a gift to their daughter. I guess every year they have her pick out a group or charity she thinks would benefit and she chose us. I was gobsmacked to say the least. I don't know her and she doesn't attend our church. It was a sizeable check too. What a blessing!
I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I am struggling with getting rid of something. When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a pillow made of down. I quit using it years and years ago because due to allergy testing, it was found I'm allergic to it. But, I've held on to it. I was cleaning out a closet the other day and there it sat and I pulled it out and told myself I needed to get rid of it. How ridiculous is it that I struggle to get rid of it? I decided to research and it is decades past its prime so hopefully I can get it to the garbage can. I feel so foolish!
December 25th, 2021 at 10:03 pm
Today is Christmas and I find it hard to believe it is almost over. All the excitement and planning and now it is almost over. It kind of makes me melancholy.
DH and I went overboard on Christmas presents this year. Everything is paid for, so no outstanding debt there. We open a Christmas Club each year and I put money in when we get out pension checks. But, it was nice not to scrimp. We plan to spend money on some remodeling and hopefully if Covid ever settles down, some traveling.
We had Christmas Eve Candlelight Service last night and it was so sweet and moving. It was nice sitting with friends (masked of course) and getting to enjoy some sort of normalcy. We still socially distance, but at least we were close enough we could see each other and not do the Facebook virtual stuff.
Today was quiet for us. We invited a man from church to join us for dinner. I know he's been vaccinated and also the booster since I'm the one who set up the appointments and filled out the paperwork for him. He is careful and wears a mask when he goes out as well. Our friend was in an automobile accident years ago and as a result, he often has short term memory issues. His parents go to Florida over the winter, so he is basically home alone and although he can take care of himself, we know it gets lonely for him. He joined us for the meal and left and I guess called his parents. His father just called to thank us for being so nice to their son and how much they appreciate us for doing so. That made my day!
Hope your Christmas is a blessed and joyful one!
December 19th, 2021 at 10:18 pm
It's hard to fathom that Christmas is less than a week away! This year has flown by!
Our British dinner a week ago was a success. We all made new recipes and realized there was a certain thrill to trying the unknown. We liked everything and I ordered those Christmas crackers and those were an absolute hoot. The other two couples are good sports about being willing to try new things. Although the dinner wasn't cheap, I'm sure it was still far cheaper than going out to a fancy restaurant. We all provided different things. And with this being the second year of Covid, it was just nice to have a little normalcy.
Christmas shopping has been finished and paid for so no January surprises there. I spent a lot in postage, both for Christmas cards and packages. Last year I sent two packages that took over a month to get to their destinations. This year things went better. Seems the place I mailed them last year has a worker (it's a post office annex, not the post office) who apparently doesn't know what she is doing, and puts something on them that sends them all over. One was to go to San Francisco and it went to LA, then SF, then came all the way back to Kentucky, then back to Springfield, Illinois, then finally back to San Francisco. The other one was to go to Terre Haute which is two hours away and it sat in Springfield for almost a month. I take them to a small town post office near us now and so far, have had no issues which is a blessing after last year's debacle.
Unless things get locked down, 2022 may be a very spendy year for us. We have some trips planned as well as a bathroom remodel. We have the money in savings so it isn't like we have to go get loans, but we are both retired, and we figure if we can travel, we should before we get too handicapped to do so.
We visited with a couple the other day and it's interesting that when you think people are the same as you are, then realize they are not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing. But, they were talking about some issues they have. They are always looking for a deal. Seems she saw some ad on Facebook for some shoes that she thought were name brand, but seems they were a knock off and the name on them was similar, but not the same, but only discovered it after she received the two pairs she ordered -- not well made and the soles are slick, not treaded. Apparently they cannot be returned and they were less than half of what the name brand would have cost. The other thing was they received a notice from a company that claimed since they were good customers, they could pick a prize and only pay postage of $5.95 or something like that. So, they picked something, and gave their credit card number to pay the postage. Well, besides the postage, another charge of over $70 was added. These are not stupid people, but we believe they have gotten scammed. It is just scary!
Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and let's hope 2022 is a successful year for all of us!
December 7th, 2021 at 08:36 pm
Sadly I'm a bit behind in keeping up with blogs. The past couple of weeks have been a bit busy, but I'm not complaining one bit. I'm trying to catch up!
We delivered hats and dish cloths after Thanksgiving that our Stitches of Love group made. I am working on researching who we may be making hats for in 2022. We delivered a bunch to our local CASA as well as a women's homeless shelter and to a school.
Our church had its Christmas bazaar. Some things were changed due to Covid, but it was still pretty successful. I baked 26 dozen cookies in addition to some sweet breads and a pan of fudge that was cut and packaged. I also made some things for the craft section.
I believe we sent over 75 Christmas cards. Yes, I know that people don't think that is economical, but honestly, I like doing it and my husband who calls himself a Ludite when it comes to technology so enjoys when we receive Christmas cards back. I'm anal enough that I draw lines on the envelopes because I cannot write straight to save my life.
Fortunately my shopping is finished and we had saved money throughout the year so everything is paid for. Yay!
Two other couples are getting together and we are going to create a British Christmas dinner for Saturday. I looked for a cookbook in the thrift stores with recipes and eventually found one, but between that and doing research online, I found some recipes I thought we could use. I ordered some Christmas crackers which should be fun. I've already told everyone we all have to wear the crowns that come with the crackers.
A friend from church nicely loaned me the newest John Grisham novel after he finished reading it. I read it in two days and was pleased. I had put my name on the reserve list at the library. I read a lot of books but honestly cannot see purchasing a book that I'll read once. That was just a joy to get it so much sooner!
A man at church does not have any techy skills, so I signed him up for his Covid booster. I had gotten him his original two vaccines. Honestly, it is a shame that so many places make it so hard for people to do stuff who cannot use technology. He was in an auto accident a number of years ago and just cannot do the technology due to a brain injury. I did the same for a lady at church too.
Like many, it has been a spendy few weeks, but we have saved the money and figure we might as well enjoy ourselves a little bit. We aren't going into debt.
Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy.
November 21st, 2021 at 07:51 pm
I find it hard to believe Thanksgiving is almost here. But then again, I saw the crazy grocery shopping start this week, so that should have been a been indication. We got to the stores early for our weekly trip and by the time we left the second store, the parking lot was getting quite full.
I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of those of you who earned free turkeys! Sadly our stores did not have any of those great offers. I remember growing up, my father would be given a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas. I wonder if many employers do that anymore.
I invited a friend from church to join us for Thanksgiving. I had invited some others, but they had better offers. No, I'm kidding. They were already invited so that was fine. I just don't want to see someone spend the holiday alone.
Our church Christmas bazaar is coming up. I'm not sure how they are going to do it with the Covid requirements, but knowing these ladies, they will work something out. We wear masks at church and for any activities, and they wear gloves during the bazaar, so I imagine that will continue to be a part of it. They are not having a luncheon like they used to.
I hope you have many things to be grateful for this year. I know I do.
October 24th, 2021 at 08:38 pm
Lots of rain today -- woke up to a storm and could just hear the rain pelting down. I guess we have a chance of bad storms tonight. Certainly hope that doesn't come to pass.
I went out and picked a few things from the little bit that remains of our garden. I want to make some soup for this week and use up some vegetables I have in the bin. I waited until it stopped raining for a bit.
We had purchased a bus trip in 2019 for 2020 and of course could not go. We did get to go this year and went to the Laurel Highlands to see two of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes: Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. Both were really amazing in their own way. Kentuck Knob is supposed to be Usonian which supposedly is for the average man -- but with the final cost, I don't think it was for the average man, but cool nonetheless to visit. Fallingwater was, of course, amazing. We had budgeted money to eat out and buy a few things. My purchases were basically postcards. DH did find a shirt he wanted. But, we used money we had saved so we aren't in debt. Of course the trip was totally paid for in 2019 and to be honest, I was a little worried we might lose that money if the travel business went under. Fortunately we did not. We enjoy our time away and got to see a part of the country we had not been to so that was really cool. But, I can tell you, it was mighty nice to sleep in our own bed when we returned.
I have tried to finish my Christmas shopping. I thought I had succeeded, but one item did not fit DH so I will have to return it and see if I can get something that does. But, other than buying stamps for the Christmas cards we send, I believe I am finished. I know they have said there might be problems getting things, but hopefully people will have planned ahead if they planned on shopping.
June 29th, 2021 at 04:09 pm
I made my husband cry.
It wasn’t planned. I wasn’t attempting to do that at all.
Last week a friend died. She had a good long life, although as humans we often crave to live longer and wish our loved ones do as well. When her daughter called to tell me of her passing, there was a catch in her throat and my heart went out to her.
This friend was the person I wished I had had as a mother. I know you can’t always know what really goes on in people’s homes behind closed doors, but her treatment of me had always been nothing but kind. She seemed wise. I met her and her family at church and she was the one who struck up the friendship. I was kind of shy to begin with and due to never feeling like I’m good enough, suffered poor self esteem. She was just nice to me. She would seek me out to speak to me. When I was in college she wrote me letters. When I student taught and lived out of town, she said if the weather was bad, don’t drive in bad conditions, but come stay at her house because she had an extra bedroom. When I came back after college and lived here, we kept up with each other and after her husband died, we would sometimes go out to eat or I would go and visit her.
Last week when I stopped in to see her family, it about broke my heart. One son was in tears. The other two sons as caretakers were wan. They were exhausted. What they did, they did for love and they were kind and respected her wishes.
I held things together talking to the daughter on the phone, and even afterwards. I didn’t break down seeing the sons. Even at the visitation I was OK. But near the end of the funeral, I broke down and cried. And as a result, my husband cried with me because he said when I hurt, he hurts. As I said, I didn’t plan to make him cry.
My friend was ready to go; she was 98 ½ and her health was declining. As Christians, we believe we will go to heaven. It’s just that I will miss her kindness. I wonder if she knew how she touched my life and made me dream of what it would be like to have a “normal” family life.
I just hope that somehow I’m showing an equal amount of kindness to people so that maybe, just maybe they’ll miss me too when I die.
June 7th, 2021 at 04:39 pm
Apparently I'm one of the few people who still writes letters and sends cards through snail mail. I have a couple of older friends who I know enjoy it, and although the majority of the people I know have email or Facebook, I still will sit down and write a letter or send a card.
As I look at some genealogy stuff, I think, we will have a generation of people who will not have those letters or cards to leave behind. My great aunt and her husband would write letters to each other since he traveled a lot. Some were sweet and tender. Others were desperate -- one had him writing he hadn't heard from her and he was upset and sorry if he had done something to upset her. I never met him, but I feel like I've gotten to know him through some of the letters he wrote.
During the Pandemic, and even now, I am still writing and sending cards. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but I sent a fan letter to a British actor I like just to say I enjoyed his work. I'm 60 years old and I wondered if I was acting like a teenager. But maybe he just needed to receive a handwritten note. At least that is my hope.
I have a friend who is fighting cancer. I've mailed cards and packages to her in hopes of keeping her spirits up. She responds through email to thank me and that is sweet, knowing how she is struggling.
A few years ago the local sports director of the local station made a comment about taking up knitting. I challenged him to come to our group at church and he did and did a sweet story. We became friends. The funny thing is I don't care for sports, but I cared for him. Every so often I would send him a note or letter and sometimes I would hear from him and sometimes I wouldn't. I didn't care. I just felt the need to write him. He left last fall to go somewhere else and he said that he may not have always told me, but those notes or cards always came at a time when he needed them most. I was truly touched.
Hopefully you have someone in your life touching you in a way whether it is a note, card, email, phone call, or conversation.
April 7th, 2021 at 08:56 pm
Yesterday was a very spendy day for me. A couple of years ago when I renewed my driver's license, it was just the same way as always. A couple of months later, the state decided to institute the "real id" and it was to be done by October 2020 if you wanted to fly and didn't have a passport. Well, Covid struck, DMVs were shuttered, and so we waited for things to open up. Last fall, the DMVs opened up, and DH had to renew his license, and so we got the documents together and he got the real id. I was waiting for things to calm down since there was so much catch up, but then our governor shut down the state again and so I waited. Yesterday I decided it was time. I had a free afternoon. Darn good thing, because it took the whole dang afternoon.
I had read online what I needed and I headed to the county clerk's office to get a certified birth certificate. Cha ching...$23. So, went to the DMV to stand outside for over an hour and then 20 minutes inside before I was getting to see a clerk. I laid out all my paperwork only to be told that I needed a certified marriage license. So back to the county clerk's office and another $23 plus parking. Then back to the DMV to wait in line again. I guess I sort of understand why we need all this stuff, but to be honest, $46 for two pieces of paper to prove I am who I say I am, and it kind of makes me wonder if someone is getting a kick back or something. Oh, well. That's done and I await my new license coming in the mail.
We had a quiet Easter. We did attend Easter service and DH told me what he wanted for Easter dinner. We were fortunate to find a very small ham, and I mean very small. That being said, it still made for 4 meals, the last was today. DH likes ham a whole lot more than I do. It is OK, but I think from years before my gall bladder surgery of ham and pork making me sick, it kind of reminds me of that. Anyway, we finished up the last of the Easter leftovers today. We did our grocery shopping this morning and other than the normal stuff we buy each week like eggs, dairy, bread, and fruit, we did not need much. That is always good.
I continue to work on making scarves for our church's knitting group. I am about out of yarn and will need to get some. I have some leftover pieces of skeins that I plan to use to crochet dish cloths. Last year we donated over 200 dish cloths for Christmas baskets for a food pantry.
For my last birthday, a friend was generous to make us breakfast. That was better than any other gift I could think of because I certainly don't need anymore "things." So, I have a friend who is having a birthday tomorrow and I'm baking him a cake. He is helping take care of his mother so I doubt if anyone will think of a cake. I already checked with him and he said that would be great.
March 8th, 2021 at 08:54 pm
Yesterday was frustrating. I read many of the blogs, but the site would not allow me to comment, told me try later, only after going through what seemed like a zillion of those recaptcha images. Egad.
The weekend wasn't an adventurous one by any means. Basically stayed around home. DH is a clothes horse. I noticed he has been wearing the same few pairs of slacks over and over and I know he has quite a stack. Well, he said he didn't want to disturb the pile by getting them down off the shelf. But, he has two shelves in his closet and he's tall enough he could be putting stuff on the top shelf. So, I suggested we go through his slacks and then put some on the top shelf. He tried on every pair. He found some don't fit or he doesn't like the way they fit. I will wash them and we will donate them. He had a bunch of balled up shirts he uses for his yard work, so I washed them all and folded them. His closet looked so much nicer and he can now wear other slacks because he can get to them. Of course that made me look at my closet. I went through it and pulled some things to wash so I can donate them too. I threw away three blouses because I had been using them to work around the house and they were just plain nasty. I think straightening the closet always makes me feel like I accomplished something.
We had our first small salad with our Aerogarden lettuce on Friday. I teased my husband it couldn't get mush fresher -- I picked it, washed it, dried, and tore it in smaller pieces for the salad and we ate it.
I have been working on a small quilt project. A few months ago I bought a quilt top that had to be hand embroidered. I finished that and have been working on hand quilting it. I have not quilted before so it was a learning experience. It is a throw, so it isn't huge. I finished it and even with the mistakes, I'm a little proud of it. But, I'm glad it is finished because I want to go back to making hats and scarves for the knitting group at church.