If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A little yard stuff, a bit of cooking and lots of grands

Hello everyone 
We had another round of peppers ready to pick.  These grandsons had a big time helping Grandpa pick them.  
Then (again) we roasted, peeled and chopped the chilis and sliced all the bell peppers.  They’ve all been frozen to enjoy later. 
There are still jalapeños in the fridge that I plan to pickle.  

Two of our grandsons live on a small farm and raise Guernsey Show cows.  They showed one at the Tulsa State Fair and a local tv channel did a feature story on them which turned out so cute.  

My husband has been making some decorative knives.  He gets fancy wood scraps from a friend with a high end cabinet business. 
The knife parts are blanks he mail orders.  

We grow zinnias most every year.  It is really easy to harvest their seeds.  
I just trim off the flowers when they’ve turned brown.  
Then I leave them to dry for a few weeks.  
After that,  I’ll just take them apart, keep the seeds to plant next year and then throw away all the non-seed parts. 
There will be thousands of seeds once I separate.  

There could be bugs so I’m leaving the sack of zinnia heads in our tornado room to dry out.  

We mowed and edged the yard this week and we hope it’s the last mowing of 2017.  
I keep an old pair of shoes that are just for yard work.  I’ll wash them and then they’ll be ready for more yard work in the spring.  

It’s been feeling more summer like than fall like but that changed yesterday when a cold front moved into our state yesterday. 
I think it’s amazing that it was 41 in one part of Oklahoma and 94 in another at the exact same time.  

Our daughter in law is a hair stylist.  This is a recent photo shoot at her salon where her 2 daughters posed as customers.  
Both little girls have lots of long dark thick hair. 

I think these photos turned out so cute.  
I’m wondering who had the most fun,  Charlie and Andie or their momma, Sheena?  
I think it was an afternoon to remember for all of them.  ❤️

I just put our supper in the crockpot- Cowboy Casserole from Cheryl’s frugals corner
I think it will taste especially good on this cool fall day 🍁 I’m a big fan of simple recipes like that this that just use basic pantry ingredients. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Blogging via Blogspot on an iPad

iPads update every few months.  When mine updated this week, I could no longer use the Blogger app that was barely limping along anyway. 

My blogs are all on Blogspot and I hear Wordpress is great but I don’t want to change right now. 
I looked online for help but didn’t find much. 
First I bought the BlogPress app but it was complete waste of money and time. I couldn’t even log into my blogs through it,mart alone post. 

Then I saw the Blog Touch Pro in the AppStore.  I bought it and it works perfectly for the kind of blogging I do. 
I can add 5 photos at a time, do links and bold or italics with ease. 
It also edits photos but I haven’t spent enough time on it to figure that out.

The only weird thing is it posts my photos so big. I had to change the margins so they would fit.  
But I like the big photos so it’s ok with me. 

The Blog Touch Pro app is $5.99 right now.  I think it was $4.99 when I bought mine last week. 🤔 

Anyway, for using Blogspot on an IPad, Blog Touch Pro is the solution I needed. 

In the Kitchen - Hello Fresh review and some homecooking

Subscription meals are very popular but I had never tried them.  
In September, I loosely followed a plan called “ShelfTember” and my goal was to use up ingredients that we’ve had for awhile.  I used up lots of oddball ingredients and freezer leftovers. I also did very little grocery shop in September. 
Near the end of September, I saw a coupon code to get your first Hello Fresh shipment at a big discount.  So, I thought we’d try it.  
Above is my 2 year old grandson sitting beside our delivery- it came by USPS.  

Near the top of the shopping crate is where these 3 bags were.  They contain the ingredients needed for each recipe.  

The shipping box was very insulated with several ice packs.  
The fresh meat was in the bottom. 
All the cold ingredients were very cold when delivered and they stayed fresh in our fridge until I cooked them.  

Hello Fresh sends very easy to follow recipe cards and nutritional information.  
Inside the brown paper bags, are the exact ingredients needed for a recipe. 
(At home, you will need to have basic cooking tools with salt, pepper and cooking oil) 
Below is the ingredients is for Sesame Beef Tacos.  

This plat contains 2 of the sesame beef tacos and we added Homemade refried beans from our freezer.  
This was our favorite of the 3 meals ( but we truly enjoyed all of them) 
We’d never cooked cabbage with our taco meat or had pickled vegetables on tacos. The Korean Red pepper flakes were a new spice to us, it is hot but mostly just spicy and delicious, 

This is our Sizzling Hoisin shrimp.  
My husband said “fabulous, absolutely fabulous” will he was eating,  

Our last meal was Creamy Dill Chicken,  the sauce was so good! 
We won’t be regular Hello Fresh customers but we did enjoy these 3 meals.  
I may order again we have a staycation or if we take a vacation and stay in a condo.  
The food is restaurant quality,  the meals are easy to prepare.  
I do plan on sending a gift certificate as a wedding gift for a couple of med school students that getting married this fall.  

This week, I baked 2 batches of sandwich buns and 2 loaves of pecan raisin bread.  
I also made some spreadable butter for the first time.  
I beat together 1/2 pound softened butter with 1/2 cooking oil in the mixer and then stored it in little Pyrex containers.  
So far, it’s great.  It is easy to spread on our morning toast.  

We cut what it probably our last watermelon of 2017.  
It was a really good one! ,

Have a wonderful weekend everyone ❤️

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Slipcovers for potholders - and fresh peppers and watermelon in October

My first sewing project this week was to redo some much used potholders.  I made these years ago and have used them often but they are really getting worn out. 
First I laundered them all. 
Then I found some cute Debbie Mumm fabric in my stash to recover them.  

The potholders are similar but not the exact same size.  
So I cut fabric a little bigger and then drew around the old potholder.  

The drawn line is my stitching line, except I left the top open.  
I machine stitched the line and then turned the slip cover right sides out, inserted the old potholder and then turned under the top edge and stitched all the way closed.  

Now I have 6 “new” potholders for just a half hour of my time.  
Then I cleaned out my potholder drawer (where do all those drawer crumbs come from anyway)
and put them back in their place.  

My husband picked another peck of peppers -not really a peck but quite a few.  
Some of the bell peppers are purple, they taste just like the green ones. 

A real treat right now is watermelon in October. 
Watermelon is my favorite fruit and I thought we had ate our last one.  But we found huge watermelons at an Oklahoma City grocery store. They looked good so we bought 2.  My husband cut up the first one Monday night and it is sooooo good, 

The drink dispensers were bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  We use them when we have a big family meal.  
They are also nice for holding the Crystal Light drink mix we’ve been enjoying since I gave up diet soda.  I’m mostly drinking water and plain black tea but a sweet glass of sugar free lemonade and fruit punch taste really good too.  

I prefer to blog on my IPad but it just updated and the app I was using doesn’t work with the new IOS version.  I did research and didn’t find much help but I ended up buying a new app and so far, this draft has been very easy.  I hope it looks this good when it’s published.  
We will see!
Anyone else do blogging via Blogspot on an iPad and have any advice for me? 

Monday, October 2, 2017

lots of lists and sewing plans

Hello everyone,
I'm going to try my old way of list making as I have a lot of plans floating in my head and just one sheet of paper wasn't going to hold them all.
I am using a plain spiral notebook
On 1 page I wrote ideas for main dishes and desserts that we have the ingredients for.
I won't cook them in any particular order but this is what I plan to cook in October
this page is the tasks I hope to accomplish this week - I just put an X beside it when it's done

I have not been keeping close track of our grocery/household spending and I want to start.  
Our financial month does not run exactly with the calendar months, so even though this only the 2nd of October,  I have already done the majority of this month's shopping.  
I'll continue to keep track as the month goes on.  
The Aldi in our town has been remodeling and enlarging and it's really nice.
They will have a Grand Reopening this week and they mailed out $5/30 coupons for this Aldi.
We got a coupon in our mail and our daughter gave me hers.
So will go twice and spend as close to $30 on each transaction before the coupon is deducted.
I started this list of Aldi staples that I am hoping to stock up on.  I won't plan the list out exactly as Aldi sometimes runs out of things but this way I have a basic game plan.

On the dining table, is a stack of fabric and some patterns.
"Cut Out" on my to do list refers to cutting out things to sew.  Since taking this photo, I've cut out 2 tops for me and drew off a kimono pattern for my daughter.
I am hoping to sew several tops and 2 kimono tops and maybe a dress soon.  They may not all get done this week but I hope to get them soon.

It's hard to be cheerful after the dreadful story from Las Vegas. 
There must be thousands of people with broken hearts as the news of their loved ones is reaching them. 
I can't fix that situation but I can take care of my family and home.   So I am choosing to stay busy at home and not watch the news.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

taco seasoning, some cooking, grands and what's slowed me down

Taco Seasoning  I've been making this for at least 10 years and have blogged about it a number of times but it is good enough to keep talking about it.  And some of you sweet readers asked about it.
This recipe is from AllRecipes.Com and its called Taco Seasoning 1.   The original link is at the beginning in blue.
My spices are quite an assortment, aren't they?  Some are from Aldi, some from Dollar Tree and some from the military commissary.  About most things,  I am not too brand picky.  

I make the taco seasoning just like the recipe except I use a lot less black pepper.
On AllRecipes,  the recipe is just for one batch, like 1 pouch from the store.  You can multiple the recipe on their site to however many servings you like.  Mine is multiplied to 10 I think.  
I use about 1 heaping Tablespoon for each pound of meat

This funnel belonged to my husband's granddad and I use it every time I put ingredients in jars.  
I made a double batch (20 pouches worth for our pantry) and I made a batch for our daughter while I had the ingredients out  
It looks like a sand painting before the jar gets shook to mix it all up.  

Several years ago, I put this taco seasoning in little jars and gave it to our local friends as Christmas gifts.  It was very popular.  

There is nothing left growing in my husband's garden except an assortment of pepper plants.  
I didn't take a before picture but he filled up a small bucket with jalapenos, green chilis and bell peppers Monday. 
I sliced the jalapenos (wearing gloves) and put them in a jar with vinegar and sugar cooked together to make candied jalapenos.  I like them on top of a cracker spread with cream cheese. 
My husband roasted the chilis on the grill, then I peeled and seeded them and I put them cups in the freezer for Mexican dishes. 
The bell peppers were sliced, frozen on a cookie sheet and then put in a freezer bag for fajitas.  
It was a lot of work but I'm glad its done and I know will enjoy this batch of peppers all winter.  

We helped with a cookout at our church on Sunday.  I made a couple desserts and this potato salad based on this recipe from Tammys Kitchen Moms Potato Salad
I did use change it a bit and just used 1 T sugar and I topped it with deviled eggs,  like I saw somewhere else online.  We really liked this recipe,  it has mustard, mayo, vinegar and the sugar in the dressing and its tangy but just a little sweet.
Next time, I'll make enough eggs to completely cover the top.

I don't make a to do list every week but I did last week - I put to make an eye checkup appointment for me at the very top.  I even got a quick appointment and have had my checkup and ordered new glasses already.  

I'm still working on the 100 day sewing challenge from Patsy's A Working Pantry 
I'm wearing my first attempt at the Cadence top from LoveNotions.com.
It is made just like a traditional tshirt except it is sized for woven fabric that doesn't stretch as opposed the stretchy knit fabric like other tops.
Mine is a little big but I still like it and plan to sew more with this pattern.

Grandchildren fun
We were gifted a big batch of moon sand and accessories from another family that had outgrown it.
We put it in a water table and keep it on the patio.
It's a lot of fun and all the accessories are fun to have.
See the ground?  That's why the moon sand is staying on the patio....

I'm still shopping at Dollar General with their digital coupons.  Last week,  the summer things were on clearance half off and buy 1 get 2 free.  These giant bubble kits were originally $6 but the sale marked 3 sets down to just $3 total.
They work amazingly well too!
One night the 3 oldest grandsons had a boys night sleepover here.  
They all still prefer to sleep on our  living room floor. 
The 3rd boy is not too visible in the photo but he's on the right under the black/red blanket.  

I have drank lots of diet soda most all my adult life but I frankly just got tired of lugging the stuff home from the store.
So, the last time I ran out,  I didn't buy more.
Its been 10 days and to say I've felt sluggish with diet soda is an understatement.  Apparently,  all that caffeine is what has mainly fueled me.
But as of today,  my 10th day diet soda free, I think I've finally turned a corner and felt more like myself.
I do drink hot tea in the morning and unsweet iced tea at some meals but my homemade tea must have a lot less caffeine that sodas.  I also put Crystal Light lemonade and fruit punch in some drink dispensers and I've enjoyed that when I wanted something sweet.  My husband likes it too.
I'm drinking lots of plain ice water too.
So,  I'm not perfect in my drink choices and but better than I was.

Now that I'm not feeling so sluggish,  I hope to get back to getting things done!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Freezers and closets and the stuff inside them

Hello everyone,
Our new upright freezer was delivered last week and it's so nice.  It really holds a lot and it's so easy to see what is inside.
But this photo doesn't show the top shelf -

See all that orange juice?  I bought a bunch with coupons a few months ago.  I'm thankful to have a little stockpile of it because Irma pretty much wiped out Florida's orange crop and many orange trees.  

The door has lots of storage too. 

I've been freezer cooking for years- not full meals but ingredients to go in meals.  One ingredient we like is cooked pinto beans.   I had pintos stored in the pantry in a gallon jar and I ended up cooking every single one of them this week.  
I started out making a big batch of homemade refried beans and cooked pinto beans.  I prefer to cook dry beans in crock pots.  

How I make Refried Beans
we think they are  are Delicious and much cheaper than canned refried beans.

The cooked pintos will be used in chili or Mexican

They are all stored in plastic containers and labeled- ready to make quick meals 

I also cooked up almost 4 pounds of ground beef and seasoned it with my homemade taco seasoning.  This will be for tacos or rice bowls kind of like the Chipotle restaurant serves.
And I cooked about 3 pounds of plain chicken breasts to have for recipes like chicken pillows or chicken salad.
all these new containers are in the freezer part of our fridge.
Yes, we like and use lots of ice.  I think we are kind of in the minority on this though.  On blogs,  I've noticed when other homemakers show their freezers, they don't seem to use nearly as much ice as we do.
I even make homemade ice since the automatic maker broke for the 4th time.  I say that as a joke because I saw a Pinterest pin on how to make your own ice to get ready for hurricane Irma.  I had no idea that how to make ice could be a mystery.

At the Dollar Tree, I bought this little set of microwave egg cookers.  They are nice for cooking just 1 or 2 eggs.  for sure worth $1.

My biggest project this week was cleaning out and organizing my side of our closet.  
We have a big walk in closet and its actually our dressing room.  We don't have or need dressers in our bedroom as this closet is more than ample space for our clothes.  
I took out a big pile of clothes that I was pretty sure I hadn't worn one day.
Then the next day,  I folded and bagged them and reconsidered each one.
I kept back this top and did some sewing to make it over.  It had elastic at the bottom that I didn't like and ties on the sleeves that just got in the way.  So I spent an hour cutting off the ties and the elastic,  Then I rehemmed the bottom and sewed up the sleeve bottoms.  Now I like it a lot and I think I will wear it often.
This skirt is strange,  it is shorter on one side.  It has 2 layers and the top layer is sheer.
I don't know if it will work but I've cut apart the skirt and hope to sew up a sheer kimono from the fabric.  I kept out a lace overlay tank style top and hope to use that lace for the sleeves.  I'll let you all know if it works.

When the closet was straight,  I took 4 brown grocery bags full of clothes to the Goodwill.

I found 2 older pair of blue jeans that fit in the back of the closet.  When I first saw them,  I thought they looked too faded to wear.  So I looked up ways to make jeans dark again.
I read that using 1/2 a box of black dye mixed with a full box of navy dye would give a dark navy color to denim as long as the denim was woven with white threads mixed in.
My jeans seem to fit that description so I got the dye.
Then when I started dying them, they didn't look all that faded to begin with but I went ahead and dyed them anyway.
The post said if you use just navy dye,  your jeans may look purple afterward
I don't have an after photo because I finished them late last night and it was too dark to get a decent photo but both pair do look dark in a shade I like afterward.

Re-doing clothes you already own is a no-lose project.  If you don't like the clothes before you make them over,  you haven't lost anything but a little time if they don't work out.
New jeans and a new top would of cost at least $50.  I spent an hour in time and about $3.50 on the dye.  And now I have 2 pair of wearable jeans when I need jeans and a cute top.

My husband has been out of town all week and he just got home.  So I am going to sign off here and go visit with him.
Have a good weekend, homemakers

Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda