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

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting ready for a new decade

well, actually, I am just getting ready for the new month. I don't have a crystal ball to know what will happen in the new decade, but I am pretty sure that in January, I will be feeding my family.
I've been reading about the Eat from your pantry challenge and I think it is a good idea. I will be on a plan that works for us, just like Money Saving Mom says.
My goal will not be to just eat from the pantry, I like keeping a pantry stocked and hope I don't empty it. But I will be trying to stick to a $100 a week budget - yes, that is higher than some families spend but it works with our income and saving goals just fine.

So, I spent some time this week cleaning out, inventorying and rearranging the pantry.
One area I do plan to use down is our frozen food. We don't have a big freezer, just the freezer space on top of a normal size fridge and a small extra fridge. I made a list of everything frozen and was amazed at how much is in them.

I think we have plenty of nuts and dried fruits....

Aren't these old-fashioned jars nice? I got 8 of them from my son that likes to thrift-store shop.

My eat from the pantry guidelines
use up the frozen items
eat from the pantry as much as possible
continue eating our normal amounts of fresh produce and dairy
stock up if a great sale comes along
$100 a week budget

So, who is else is doing their version of the pantry challenge?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Giveaway - free cereal from General Mills

This contest is closed and the winner is Dawn!
Thank you all for entering and congrats to Dawn.

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that is epecially true for children. General Mills has improved the nutrition on some of their childrens cereals by lowering the sugar content.
General Mills, through MyBlogSpark, provided me with 4 coupons for boxes of their cereal, they are good on any GM cereal up to $6. They don't expire for a long time.

I am passing these coupons on to YOU - so just enter by leaving your name and I will pick a winner New Years Day. One reader will win all 4 coupons.
If you don't have a blog where I can contact you, then please leave your email in your comment.
To print a $1 coupon on GM cereals, use this link to do that. If you want to know more about GM cereals and children, read here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

getting ready for Christmas 2010

This pretty Christmas card was made by Susan and sent to me in 2008. Nina declared it "the cutest card ever" and it has been on my craft room bulletin board since it came.
Susan used a circle punch to cut out the pictures from old Christmas cards, then she glued them onto a solid bigger circle.
this is the card as I scanned it, it is so much prettier in real life - this scan just does not do it justice.

I am not taking down all our Christmas decorations today but I did take down a few things, including our 2009 cards that were hanging on ribbons in the hall.
I remembered how cute that card from Susan was, so I got out a punch, mine is square with raggedy edges, and punched out lots of squares to make Christmas cards to send next year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas.....not a dream though

Oklahoma got a record snowfall yesterday - 14.1 inches. First there was sleet and then all the blowing snow.
We are under a state of emergency with all interstates and major highways closed.

Jeff, Jimmy and Theo and me are all here safe and warm - It is not looking like the rest of the children will make it here for Christmas. So, we will just celebrate what we can now and then as a big group when the weather improves.

Theo was very hesitant to go out but once he did, he had fun and got his business done.

24 inch drift built up by the garage side door

entry way sidewalk

looking out our front door

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps j ust a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door j ust to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my father’s before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the j ungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile..
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."

" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My husband gets stuff done

Jimmy, our son, is in his last year of law school and is home for Christmas break. He was coming home from his waiter job Thursday night and had a minor run-in with a deer. He was not hurt and was able to drive home but the accident left his car with too damage to keep driving. His car was already in less than perfect condition but he is hoping to keep it running until he is full-time employed after graduation.
My husband, Jeff, is trained as a mechanic even though he is not employed exactly as one right now. Body work was never his specialty but he got right to work fixing Jimmy's Saturn.

We went to Certifit on Friday and got these 3 parts - front bumper, side fender and head light kit.

Jeff spent several hours Friday night and Saturday morning getting all the parts attached and he did say he had to use a little baling wire and a few zip ties as one of the brackets was bent and all the holes weren't exactly matching up.
It needs a paint job but the old Saturn is fixed and running and will hopefully hold out for another year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My 5th birthday....

My birthday is this week so I am going to show you a picture of my 5th birthday party. Don't all us little girls look so cute in our pretty dresses?
I'm not sure why those boys are there though, probably for the cake.
My brothers are the 1st and 3rd boys. The last boy is named Scooter. The second boy is Chuck and he is now a pastor at Methodist Church in Mt Pleasant TX. My mom sent me a link to a great talk he recently gave on angels. So if you are interested in angels, you might like to read what Rev.Chuck had to say here

and see that big braided wool rug we are sitting on? my mom made it!

Winter Bulbs

I am not a gardening expert but I do like winter bulbs.
I really like amaryllis bulbs. They grow so fast and when they bloom, have big showy red flowers.
This year, I got 2 bulb kits at Lowes.
One is amaryllis and the other is paper whites or narcissus.

The paper white kit had 4 bulbs in it. One of the bulbs started growing right away and is already blooming. But the other 3 waited awhile before they decided to grow. Frankly, the paper white is very pretty but it has a very strong sweet scent that I just don't care for at all.
Next year, I will just buy amaryllis bulbs, not a kit, and use my own pots and soil.

Vintage Amaryllis
Nina - I think she is about 4 in this picture , posing with an amaryllis and several other doo-dads. She has always been a big smiler!

We were at Lowes yesterday and they have their bulb kits on clearance 25% off. I expect after Christmas they will be 50% or more off. So if you are looking for bargain flowers, this might be the way to go.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas cookies now and then

I baked our first batch of cookies for Christmas 2009 yesterday - one batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies - you might call them Russian Tea Cakes or Sand Tarts.
But whatever you call them, they are really good!

I also mixed up 3 other batches of cookie dough to chill for baking later.
One is sugar cookie dough to make cut outs with, the others are oatmeal and chocolate chip. Those last 2 are really just everyday recipes for a big tray of cookies that will go to Jeff's work. Those guys can really eat cookies and they would just as soon have the everyday ones as the fancy ones.

This is after a cookie baking session - 1989 I think, judging by the deployment countdown calendar on the wall behind Nina. We were living aboard Camp Pendleton and Jeff left for an unaccompanied tour to Okinawa right after Christmas that year.
Those gingerbread cookies look pretty and tasty, don't they?

Friday, December 11, 2009

PIe Fixes Everything.....

Well, that is what a sign says in the Sugar Pie Farmhouse, I thought it was so cute, I made one for my kitchen too.

The rest of our Christmas decorating

Nativity set
lots of stockings - anyone want to help "Santa" fill them all :)

I ended up making 15 pinecone elves. They are having fun climbing a tree and playing on the tractors.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winner Winner

The winner of the first giveaway is Tracy at Seaside Enchantement.

A big thank you to everyone to has visited here and an even bigger thank you to all who left such nice comments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The mess was worth it....

I've finished all the Christmas decorating except for hanging the stockings on the mantel. But first, I have to finish painting the holders and putting the names on each one.
The trees are decorated, cute things set out and arranged and even the storage boxes and mess have been dealt with.

Red, white and green tree in the front window

dining room

The art work did not seem to Christmas-y so I just taped wrapping paper and tissue bells to the glass of each frame. I really like how they turned out

my favorite silver tree with vintage ornaments from a thrift store

Bird Tree

My made the Wise Men and Tree hanging sometime in the 60's.

How about you? how is your home decorating for Christmas coming? I love to look at everyone's decorations so tell me if you've put your pictures up.

Christmas at my grandparents farm in 1955, before I was born. The kids are my cousins, the 2 cute boys in checked vests are my brothers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

the mess gets worse...

before the decorating gets done. YIKES!

My trees are up and looking pretty, my goal today is to put up the rest of the decorations, then to ruthlessly go through what I don't use and box it up to donate.

John 16:33 (New American Standard Bible)
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Very Yummy Coffee Cake

Very Yummy Crumb Cake

9 by 13 cake
2 tablespoons oil,
4 cups all-purpose flour,
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled

Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.
Transfer pan to oven, and bake 20 -25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Serve warm or cool in generous size squares.

"You can't keep trouble from coming, but you don't have to give it a chair to sit on." -New England Proverb
quoted from New England Girls blog

Friday, December 4, 2009

Giveaway for the start of this blog, my next big project and a gift idea

First I want to thank you all who have visited my new blog and left such nice comments. I promised some giveaways in my first post so here is the first one.
I love to enter other blog giveaways but I don't like to jump through a bunch of hoops to do it, so all I ask is that for an entry, just leave a comment on any post and every comment is an entry. And if you are a follower or talk about this blog anywhere, just tell me so and and each will get you another entry.
I'll draw a winner on Tuesday night, Dec. 8th.
And if you don't have a blog, please leave me a good way to get in contact with if you win.

the prizes are a small Pampered Chef bar board size cutting board
a set of Paula Deen chicken measuring spoons
and a knee-length apron sewn my me - red calico with 2 pockets

Here is my next project to conquer - I got down all the Christmas decorations from the attic and the craft room closet. I've been thinking about how I want to decorate this year and I have some ideas floating around. I prefer to think about a big job for a bit before I jump right in. Usually if I think it through, I can come up with a good way to do it and sometimes save some steps.

Last week, there was a free book offer at PhotoWorks.
The freebie blogs were saying it was taking a long to make them but I tried it with some old black and white photos of my parents and grandparents. It took me about an hour and was totally free with that offer - they are not free anymore but they are 25% off.
The UPS lady brought my book yesterday and it is so nice. The black and white photos look great in the mostly black book I selected. The original pictures were all tiny - less than 3 inch squares for most of them - so it is great to see them enlarged.
So if you are needing a gift for a grandparent this Christmas, a photo book from old black and whites would probably be really appreciated by them.

this is the cover of my book - my grandparents all dressed up

This is Uncle Bill, Grandma and my mom sitting on her lap.