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

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

First day of Spring

Happy Spring everyone.  For you readers in the southern hemisphere,  is this your first day of Fall? 

I usually start Monday off with a to do list.  This was taken early this morning and I've checked off several and added a few more tasks.  It won't all get done this week but a list will keep me track to get as much done as possible. 

I put on a new manicure last night- I like Impress press on nails.  A set has 30 assorted size nails and because my nails are pretty average size,  I can usually get 2 manicures from one set.  This is my second from this set.   


My husband does some frugal things.  The Lowes in our town sells their ripped or busted bags of all garden materials for $1 a bag.  He went this morning and got 17 bags of assorted soils and mulch. 
Our Oklahoma dirt is hard packed red clay and it won't grow much but weeds without some improvements added to it. 
Lowes even loaded it in his truck and gave him a 10% military discount on it all. 
view from the front of his pickup bed above and from the rear is below. 


I had planned to bake a Mexican casserole for supper but it was almost 90 degrees today- way too hot to have on the oven in the heat of the day. 
So I improvised and used most of  the ingredients that would of been in the casserole and we had make your own taco bowls. 
I cooked rice in a rice cooker,  heated up a can of jalapeno pinto beans and some frozen corn and also a container of my homemade taco meat that I keep in the freezer.  Toppings were cheese, salsa, jalapenos and diced tomatoes mixed with onion.
It was delicious and made me think of how Wendi needed to improvise meal prep at her home while their oven was out of commission. 


this evening I put out some Easter decorations.  I was tired of the green tree and we had this small white one in storage so I think it looks a bit more spring like 
The quilt was my baby quilt,  sewn by my great grandmother. 


Bunnies are lined up on the mantle. 
and the egg wreath is back on the front door- but this might be it's last season.  It has been re-glued many times and I think it has more hot glue on it than eggs now 

One of the projects we worked on last week was lightening up our home for warm weather.  You may of noticed the heavy curtains in the living room were switched back to the muslin ones edge with ball fringe. 
In the breakfast room,  we got rid of the white armoire that was on its last leg and moved the smaller refrigerator out to my husbands workshop.
The chest freezer is still in the nook but there was room to add back our old dining table.  I'm liking it so much!  there is a high chair at the end and its much more convenient to have meals here when a few kiddos are here instead of  in the formal dining room   We can also do crafts at this table with no danger of marring it. 
The heavy curtains on this bay window were switched back to pink toile ones. 

the pieces of "art" don't really match the room but they are things I know my grands will like seeing.  One is a cross stitch sampler of all 50 states made by Aunt Evelyn. 
The other is a calendar from the Holy City of the Wichitas.
I like seeing them too. 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Break week

Hello everyone.  We are just finishing up Spring Break,  meaning all the grands that are in school and our daughter and son in law that work for schools,  were all off for a week. 
So,  that meant my husband and I didn't have our regular childcare schedule this week. 
We stayed busy all week and also had some fun. 

We worked in our yard and raised beds.  This giant clover was growing in one of our raised beds.  It was very pretty but its been dug up and the bed has been tilled. 
We are in such a string of warm weather,  we decided to live dangerously and planted several tomato and pepper plants outside.  If we do end up having freezing weather,  we will cover them up but we are hoping that by planting early,  we will harvest early.
We will see.......

The very first night of spring break was a 5 cousin sleepover at our home.  I didn't intend on bathing all 3 of these little guys in this little tub at the same time but I started with the youngest and he didn't want to get out once he was clean.  So his brother got in and then he didn't want to get out once he was clean either.  So their cousin joined them. 
3 little guys in 1 little tub- having so much fun! 
My husband and I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary this month.  We took a short trip during spring break as it was easier to go now than to try to rearrange schedules when school is in session. 
We went to south western  Oklahoma- not a long drive. 
Medicine Park is just the most unique little town.  It is on the edge of the Wichita Mountains and is very rocky.  They are blessed with an abundance of naturally occurring round granite rocks.  They call them "cobblestones"  and the early settlers used cobblestones to build their homes and businesses. 
Many of the homes are still lived in and some have been renovated and are turned into guest cottages that tourists can rent. 
This beautiful stream and waterfall run right through the middle of Medicine Park. 
I've heard of settlers building with logs and sod but I never knew about cobblestones. 
We were just fascinated with all the cobblestone buildings and cobblestones everywhere you look.  We wanted  our own cobblestone but it is illegal to remove them from Medicine Park punishable with a $500 fine.  So we will just be content with our photos of cobblestones. 

We drove to the top of Mount Scott,  the tallest peak in Oklahoma. 

We toured the Holy City of the Wichitas. 
It was built in the 1930s as a WPA work project and is supposed to be like Jerusalem during Bible times.  We enjoyed it very much. 


No shortage of rocks! 


On the drive back home,  we stopped to see these 3 grands that live about an hour away. 
Andie just turned 5, Charlie is 20 months and baby RJ is 8 months. 
I think the professional photographer did a great job and her backdrop is really cute too- just lengths of tulle netting to make the rainbow. 


At our daughter's home- this is their dining room before.  My husband built the 2 bar height benches I showed in a previous post. 
Before
After- my husband did some more ........
The chairs and table legs got a coat of white paint and distressing, and the table got a new, bigger top.  I think its about 5 feet by 6 feet now. 
Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor
their family should have lots of happy meals and games and craft projects at this huge table with lots of seating now. 

Their front door is really cute too-
Their bunny wreath is from Hobby Lobby.  She said she bought it on sale and got it for about $10.  To hang it on the metal door,  she used a Command Hook. 

I don't have any Easter decorations up yet but I plan to do that next week.  I've also been doing some warmer weather changes inside our home like switching out the heavy drapes for lighter curtains.  I'll show photos soon! 

and if you're still reading (this turned into a loooong post)
Thank You All for the sweet compliments on my last post.
  I was not online much during the week and just never got around to replies. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kitchen prep, supper, sewing and my husband's DIY

Hello everyone,  I had some questions on how I make our sandwich box.
Since I made another one today,  I took photos of just the divider dishes I use.






The clear glass bowl holds 1 cup and works fine for the tomatoes in the salad box. 
The Apple green double dish is something I got from my daughter when she decluttered her home
And the dark green oval bowls are old Tupperware.  
I think this shows the dishes aren't anything special.  They are shallow enough to fit inside the bigger boxes but other containers would work fine.  





Today's sandwich box and salad for tomorrow night. 


For supper, I made Dutch Farmers Supper with baked carrots and blackberry crisp.  











I prepped the vegetables by peeling and cutting them when I made the salad and sandwich box. 
The main dish is potatoes and onion,  simmered in water or broth until almost done. Then add green beans and diced sausage until heated through.  Season with salt and plenty of black pepper as desired. 
I used turkey sausage.  We think it tastes great and is much lower in fat than traditional sausage.  Turkey sausage does not seem to hold up to long cooking though, so I just simmer it until it's heated. 



dessert was Blackberry Crisp.  My daughter bought the locally grown berries in the summer and we still have several containers in the freezer.  I better use them soon as the new crop will be ready before we know it. 
I used a recipe from AllRecipes.com but I adjusted it a bit.  I did use 4 cups of berries as specified, 
but I cut the crisp part in half.  The 1 cup of sugar sounded way too sweet.  We like desserts like 
cherry pie to have some tartness. After we ate it,  I'm really glad I did cut half the topping,  the blackberries were really the star of this dessert. 




A little sewing project was patching knees on jeans that belong to our 3 year old grandson.  

My husband has been working on bar height benches for our daughter's home.  I found the plans for them on a blog called Simply Keirste






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eggs - First in, first out

some months we run out of eggs but sometimes we have a few left when I buy more.
I take our eggs out of the cartons and store then in the fridge in a plastic container.
I like to use the oldest eggs first so I take them out of the plastic container and put the new eggs on the bottom,
Then I mark the old eggs with a tiny dot and put them on top.
The dots make it easy to see the older eggs and use them first.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Commissary Haul

Do any of you ever watch Haul videos on YouTube, where people video and describe everything they just bought from a grocery store or Dollar Tree or similar store?  I have no idea why they are so popular but they are popular.  I must confess that I've watched quite a few myself.

I have no plans to start making videos but I did take photos of our trip to the commissary on Friday.

Commissaries are grocery stores aboard a US military base.  They sell name brand and some commissary brand items.  Most of them are very nice and have great prices.
We have to drive an hour to get to either of the 2 commissaries closest to us.  We usually go about  1 time a month and we usually buy quite a bit.

My husband shops with me and he likes meat, which will be evident in the photos.
We are empty nesters but we feed company often and we sometimes share purchases with our family.


We budget $600 a month for all grocery and household items.  Occasionally we go over that amount but the last 2 months we have been significantly under.
I'm sure our budget sounds so high to many of you.  For most of our married life, our budget was much lower.  But at this stage, we can afford that much and it's what works for us.

So, here is what $378 bought this week -  I expect most of this will last close to 2 months. 



Lots of dairy- we like cheese and this should last much longer than a month. 
The Cooper brand cheese is only sold at commissaries, I believe.  
The Tillamook is slices for sandwiches.
The flavored Philadelphia cream cheese is nice in celery and on crackers. 
The yogurt drinks are not something we always buy 2 of the grands asked for them but in some areas,  I do try to spoil them. 



Produce - 3 pounds onions, celery, 5 pounds carrots, bananas, tomatoes on the vine


4 pounds of really nice strawberries, red grapes and my favorite kinds of yogurt.  
And eggs as always 


Donald Duck orange juice - hopefully a months worth 



A sack with 5 packs of yesterday's 93% ground beef. They packs are almost 2 pounds, frozen, and marked down about 20%.  I left them all tied up in a bag and put them in the bottom of the  freezer.  I think I already had a few packs bought before Christmas in the freezer and will use them first.  


Melanie at Comfy House asked what kind of roast beef I buy.  We like lean roasts and we really these Top Round cuts.  Sometimes we buy similar ones called Eye of Round.  
We bought 2 because they looked so nice.  Roast makes a good meal to feed a crowd too.   


Above is a pack of 4 strips steak that my husband will grill sometime,   3 packs of cube steaks to make chicken fried steaks, a pack of apple chicken sausage, and not shown is pack of Cajun chicken sausage.

We bought 3 big jugs of Snuggle fabric softener, 2 canisters of gravy mix, hamburger pickles, 
6 pounds of breakfast sausage, a big Cure 81 ham that my husband will slice and then freeze for lots of sandwiches, and some jalapeño beef sausages.



We have learned to keep some convenience foods in the freezer.  
We really like the Tyson chicken strips.  We bake them and they are a crowd pleaser.  We also like Marie Callander pot pies and some of Marie's dinners.  Another shopper told us the French bread pizzas were very good so we got a couple to try. 
The cheese sticks were free as my coupons exceeded their value.  I would of got more but there were only 2 in the freezer.  

Assorted canned goods and condiments 

Some baking mixes, more condiments, a huge bag of raisins,  squeeze fruit packs, drink mix and a big pack of tortillas.
I don't usually buy brownie mix but our son in law was recently craving brownies and was looking in our pantry for a brownie mix but there wasn't any.  I planned to just buy 1 brownie mix but they were all on sale and looked so good so I ended up buying 4. 



My  favorite crackers - they are not always in stock so I got 4 because they had a good supply of them. 
Most all of these health and beauty things were bought with coupons and cost very little. 
I like these Presto gallon size food bags to store produce in the fridge inside,  with the air squeezed out, of course. 
and an assortment of light bulbs. 
Not shown are 3 50 count Hefty plates,  2 of the bottles of fabric softener and a giant case of 48 packs of Ramen noodles for our oldest son.  

I didn't buy many canned foods, dry goods or baking goods as there are plenty still in our pantry.
I get most of our household cleaners and papergoods at CVS. 
I buy milk in shelf stable cartons at Dollar Tree. 
We eat chicken often but I got so much chicken on sale at the commissary right before Christmas that we didn't need to buy any more yet. 
We will need more fresh produce in a week or 2 and I will probably shop for it at Aldi or Sprouts, depending on what they have on sale. 


Pascal's Pancakes

Four of the grands stayed with us Friday night.  Their favorite breakfast is pancakes so I tried a new recipe from Afternoon Coffee & Evening Tea

what makes the recipe different is it uses maple syrup instead of sugar.
I tripled the recipe for the 6 of us.  Two of the kiddos had seconds and there were about 6 pancakes leftover that went in the freezer. 

for a triple batch, I  used 3 eggs, 3 T maple syrup, 6 T cooking oil,  2 1/4 C milk (I added a little extra as our batter seemed too thick) 3 C flour, 6 t baking powder and about 1 t salt

Its a very  nice pancake recipe and I'm glad so glad Billie Jo shared it. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Getting ready for the weekend..........With a wee helper

hello everyone,  since we still had so much fresh produce, I decided to use while it was still usable.

I made a big salad to eat as we want to over the weekend.
I also made a sandwich topping box and added the last 3  pickle spears in one jar and some olives from another big jar because I know my husband likes them.

I think my little "helper" likes olives too 😍

We drink a lot of iced tea, always unsweetened.  I make it in a coffee machine.  
I put one gallon of water in a pitcher, then fill up the coffee maker tank with part of it. 
I put 6 small tea bags in the machine and brew it one cycle.  
Then pour the brewed tea into the gallon pitcher.  It keeps stored in the fridge for 3 days before I think it goes bitter.  






I also made some peanut butter and jelly "uncrustables" sandwiches for the freezer.  

I prefer to use a thin layer of smooth PB of each slice of bread, then jelly on one side and after the sandwiches are assembled, I cut off the crusts.  That's just a preference, not a necessity.
Each sandwich is sealed in a sandwich bag and then I corral all of them in a big zipper bag before I put them in the freezer.



Our little Jackson likes them. 
And some days with an almost two year old along, even making a sandwich can sound like a daunting task.  

Hope you all have a great weekend.  

I'm already planning my next post - a big commissary grocery haul.  

Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda