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

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Small gifts from the heart

Life seems to get more elaborate everyday, our houses are bigger, stores are huge,  parties and weddings are bigger and many gifts are big.
But some of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received are small, made with love gifts. 

This cross stitch book mark - I've kept it in my Bible since 1987.  Aunt Evelyn stitched patchwork hearts on one side and our names on the other. Isn't it so sweet? 
Son Bobby made this hanging heart from a wire clothes hanger- probably around 1992. 
Son Jimmy made this cross bookmark with variegated yarn and plastic canvas, free hand, probably around the same time his brother made the wire heart.
My Aunt Ann painted this light switch plate for me about 50 years ago - the plate is metal and I am pretty sure she used oil paints as they have been durable.

My mom made this little book for son Bobby when he was 1-2 years old. This was before fancy scrap book supplies.  It is just 3 large index cards folded in half and stapled together. She decorated it with stickers and cut out photos from my dad's farm magazines.  
It was one of Bobby's favorite possessions and was looked at and read so many times, I am not sure how it is still intact.

Gift giving season is starting- Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, weddings, spring birthdays and spring babies-  I think heart-felt little gifts can be wonderful. 

Do you have any  tiny love-filled gifts like mine?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Slow down week

It's been a very busy 4 weeks here with a big birthday party, Easter celebrating and house guests 4 weekends in a row.
The house was in pretty good shape Monday morning, and I was feeling a little tired, so I did not make my usual weekly to-do list. I plan to just do the upkeep that really needs done and in my free time, I will just do things I want to. 
Not that I am sitting around and just eating bonbons.....grands will here 4 days, I did laundry and changed sheets yesterday and cleaned the tile floors this morning.  

But I am not making a list and scratching things off, so I just feel more relaxed.  I am sure next week, I will be back happily working my to do list.

I sewed  a quick hack project this morning.
grand daughter Elizabeth had a queen size comforter that she wanted cut down to fit her toddler bed. 

so, I just cut off the size that would fit- I used the edge so there were just sides that needed to be finished off.  
a few weeks go, Elizabeth saw this Minnie Mouse blanket binding in my sewing room and asked if I would make her something with it.  It was perfect to finish off those edges - so I killed 2 birds with 1 stone. 
there was enough binding to go around 3 sides, which makes it look more balanced, and less of a hack job.  
That scrap of the binding is all that was left.  

hopefully she will have sweet dreams with this cozy comforter,  now just her size

we went to our favorite  thrift store Saturday.  
I found more spoons and knives and these are really nice,  Community Stainless. They were 2/25 cents.
Now we have more than enough flatware for big meals.  
2 dresses for me $3.50 each
and would you believe one more Ethan Allen piece? a tall hutch,  all maple and birch for $140!  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday doings

No little grands here today so I am doing stuff that I can't really do when they are here.

In the crockpot, a big batch of pinto beans are cooking with jalapeños, cumin, chili powder and garlic. 
When they are cooked, I will make them smooth in the food processor for the most delicious Refried beans. We will have bean burritos and a big salad for supper, the rest of the beans will go in the freezer.
here is how I do them 
Yard work - first I mowed the back, then I planted the onion sets my brother brought. 
I put them in big pots, and enriched the soil with homemade compost.
While I was planting onions, I brought over the rest of the posts and planted them too. 
More tomatoes in 2, dill in 1 and flowers in the others.
For now, the pots with new seeds are under the pergola roof. They will still get quite a bit of sun but the roof should protect them from heavy rainfall we may get soon.
if you look close, you can see some of the cherry tomatoes I started from see are doing great and I put the support cages on them today. 
A close up of the katawpa tree- I think it is funny and looks like a drawing from a Dr Suess book.
in the yard, I found some eggs that the grands did not find Saturday - one egg was hanging from  our clothesline, I wonder which of my clever children or brothers hid it there? 

My list for the week is almost done!  :)
I am going to clean our bathroom, have some hot tea, and then I plan to sew all afternoon on 2 dresses and 2 tops for me. 

hope you are getting stuff done this week too!  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

List update, today's shopping, and my 5 little ones

I posted my list yesterday and you all had some nice comments and some funny comments too- thank you!
I worked hard yesterday and surprised myself getting so much of the list done.
One year old JJ was here but he was so tired from the busy weekend that he took 2 long naps. That gave me lots of work time. He sat happily in his stroller with some toys while I worked in the front yard. 

Grandson Braeden is with me today. 
We did just a couple errands this morning. 
We stopped at Dollar Tree and got these
The Airborne is their item of the week. I don't like to swallow pills, especially big vitamin pills. This Airborne has lots of vitamins in it and will be easier to swallow. 

The next stop was my favorite  thrift store. Sorry, no amazing furniture finds today........
There were 19 of us here Easter Eve. I decided we needed to add some forks to our kitchen and was happy to find these - All 11 for $1.
Shorts for the youngest grandsons. Some were 50 cents, some were $1.

Little boy shirts
A 3 yard length of a heavy cotton knit for $3 - I think it could sew up to a great summer top

We had a very fun Easter Eve. The grands like hunting and dyeing eggs but after supper, they seemed to like playing with play dough the best.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday morning list

Good morning everyone

I like lists, they keep me on track. Here is what I need to get done and hope to get done this week. 
I could write more but my paper is full and realistically, I don't think I could get more done anyway. 

Hope you all have a good week and gets lots done. 

Anyone else writing out their to-do list this morning?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 51 years ago......

The first little girl in this photo is me. The boys are my older brothers. 
We were all outside playing that Sunday afternoon.

Happy Easter everyone. 
Take some photos to remember it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finances on Friday

Blueberry muffins made with low priced Aldi blueberries.
actually baked these last week but I never got around to posting then 

my neighborhood has an addition-wide yard sale every spring.  My children have been cleaning out their homes and bringing their cast-offs here to get ready for it.  I don't need most of their junk but I was interested in this red plastic crate that one of them brought over. 

it fits perfectly on a shelf in our fridge and is so useful to hold all those extra condiments that tend to get lost in the very back.
it can be slide in and out, almost like a drawer. 

Our recent electric bill was the smallest ever in this house.  I think the switch from an electric range to a gas range has a lot to do with it. But I am not sure why it just showed up now, as we got the new range in December.  

Cashed out Swagbucks for $25 in Paypal and almost have enough to do it again.  

JJ's birthday quilt was sewn up completely with fabric, thread and batting from my sewing stash.  

not much shopping to blog about because all our recent groceries have come from Aldi but I do have a stack of coupons ready for Walmart and CVS that I hope will net some bargains.  You never know though....

Cut my husbands hair- I should say buzzed his hair. It is not my favorite thing to do but it is thrifty and quick and it makes him happy. 

Baked up a batch of banana nut muffins with some very ripe bananas and also a pan of cinnamon rolls. Both are in the freezer for Easter morning breakfast.  

Extra cooking this week as I get ready for Easter.- I made 4 pie shells and they are waiting in the freezer.  I also made a tray full of twice baked potatoes that are waiting in the fridge to be reheated.  

continued to bake all our bread in 2014.

Found these 2 Ethan Allen vintage nutmeg maple pieces at my favorite thrift store. The end table was $30 and the bigger piece was $45. I am thrilled with both of them and so is my husband. I will not be refinishing them and plan to keep them.
 My parents have Ethan Allen furniture pieces similar to these and so did my some of my aunts and uncles.  They just look and feel like home to me.
inside the drawers are the Ethan Allen stamp

We will be having our family egg hunting and coloring and a big meal to celebrate Easter on Saturday.
There will be at least 16 and possibly 19 here. 
To add extra seating for dining, I used a folding table that is same size as our dining table and put them end to end. Counting high chairs and the 2 chairs in the sewing room I have not moved yet, there is seating for 16 now.
The tables needed covered and I thought about buying fabric or vinyl table cloths but went with a thriftier and easier option. In that garage sale pile, I pulled out a full size flat sheet, off white with an tan stripe. It was the perfect size to cover both tables after I cut it lengthwise down the middle and machine hemmed those 2 raw edges. I think it was probably quicker to do that little bit of sewing than it was to go shopping. 
The brown doilies were all crocheted by my mom.
The white bunnies are thrift store treasures and the brown ones were made by a friend many years ago.

just using what I had makes for a natural neutral table and I am happy with it.

I hope you all are having a pleasant and thrifty week too.  

Linking up with Rebecca at Renaissance 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

another I Spy quilt

This I Spy quilt is for grandson JJ who just turned 1.  I finished it about 2 weeks ago but am a bit behind with my blogging.  Anyone notice?  it seems a lot of my favorite blogs are not posting too often -I think everyone is busy.  

so, here it is.   I think this is my 4th quilt finish for 2014.
 I tried to use prints that had some meaning to JJ and his family.  The sewing mouse on the spool is because I sew.  The tractors for his tractor loving cousins.
 JJ's family visits the beach most every summer so the little beach boy and seashells really suit them.
the funny chicken fabric came from my Aunt Evelyn's scrap box.  
 these last 3 are all turned wrong but I am on the big PC instead of my Ipad and can't get them to turn.  
a golfer because his daddy is a golf coach
a dinosaur because of his 1st party's theme

cowboys and a coyote because we live in Oklahoma
The church sort of resembles our church

JJ had a very fun dinosaur 1st birthday party and enjoyed his cake about as much as anyone could.  
He ate a little of the cake but it was mostly a wonderful plaything. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

some grow, some don't

another picture of another batch of celery and romaine ends- trying to be regrown in saucers of water
there were all started within a few days of each other.  
One Romaine took off growing and looks great,  it has been planted outdoors and continues to grow. 
But the other 4 didn't grow a bit

the celery is trying to grow in the center- but I have no guess on whether or not it will

in the background,  I was making  a big salad for Saturday supper.   
Yes, I saved those romaine ends too

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thrift store dining room table found ........

Our dining room has the strangest shape but it still needs to seat a big group.

See how the window wall is on an angle and the back wall closes off the space with a curve, I would change both of those if I could. 

I got this old heavy handmade trestle table at my favorite thrift store this morning.

Before I found this one, i thought I wanted a longer table than this 6 footer. 
But once I got it home and set up, I could see our 9 dining chairs fit around it just right. A longer table would just take up more room than we really have to spare anyway. 

The price of this one was really good too - $70

I would prefer a different table cloth but none of mine were long enough so I will be on the lookout for a pretty floral length of fabric to sew one up. 

I am really thankful for good thrift stores! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Swagbucks - how I do them

I have been a member of Swagbucks for years and I used to do just a few searches and their dailies and that was it. But Swagbucks has added so many ways to earn, it looks complicated but is usually pretty easy.

First let me say, this probably looks like lunacy to people who have never done online earning programs. If you think this is crazy,   fine,    just come back later when I blog about something else. 
But I like doing Swagbucks and I like what I earn from them.   Some of you sweet readers have asked for advice on them.  

So here goes! 

Swagbucks can be earned on a PC or iPad or tablet or smart phone or Kindle Fire. It is ok with Swagbucks to use multiple devices simultaneously.  I mostly use a laptop and Kindle Fire.

This is how I start my day. In the kitchen, while I fix my husbands lunch, unload yesterday's clean dishes, and get ready for the day - I start Swagbucks.  See the 2 devices on the right? 

There are 2 apps for the Kindle Fire that pretty much run un-attended. They do take a couple hours to do them all the way but the SwagBucksTV apps will earn 50 and the EntertaiNow will do 30 every day. 

On the laptop, I start out by going to Swagbucks and looking at the homepage. Sometimes there are new quick offers there.  If nothing looks quick and easy, I click at the top on Discover and then Encrave on the drop down menu. 
Encraves changes a little every so often. I like to do the auto run ones, they have an arrow in a circle in each one. I click on an auto run square and wait for the screen to come up. Then on the new screen, in the top left, click on the X until to switches to a green check and discovery mode. Now, you can go about your other business but keep an eye on the screen. When the cycle finishes, a pop up box in the right corner will announce your earnings. Now, click on another video, be sure to check the discovery mode and just do as many as you want to. 
They may change around during the day and go away if you play a lot of them. 

Back to the homepage, 
In the top left you will see a box with your daily goal. If you make goal for a week straight or the entire month, you will earn a bonus that will be paid on the 5th day of the next month. 
They will also give you a second bonus after you complete the first and second goals. 
The goal sizes depend on your past scores. Mine are about 100 for the first and 250 for the second. I try to make both goals everyday but if I am really busy or won't be home much, I just concentrate on getting the first one. 

Under the goals are the To Do List
Toolbar - if you put this on your PC, you will get 1 SB for logging on everyday - I don't use the toolbar 
Poll- I do this everyday, 
NOSO - I do this everyday 

Searches - search wins are random and you can search anytime you want but the winnings seem to spaced out though the day. I hope to get 3 wins a day but have gotten more than. Searches may award 6 up to 50, but 7 or 10 or 14 is most common. 

Sign ups - there are a thousand or so of these but I don't do many of them. 

 Contests - I will enter these when SBs are rewarded 

Coupons - I do look at their coupons and use ones that help us. Each one you use at a store will earn 10 SBs sometime in the future. 

Shop and Earn - when you make purchases at merchants through Swagbucks, you will earn so much per dollar spent. It takes about 6 weeks or more to get credit but it can be really. I have used it a few times when I bought things at our local Walmart and Bestbuy. I shopped online but then picked up the items at local stores and earned SBs for doing so. 
Swagbucks has dozens of stores in their network. 

There are many other ways to earn but I mainly play videos on the Kindle Fire apps and Encrave videos. 

I look on the Swagbucks Facebook  page and see want others are talking about. I've got good hints about easy opportunities and snags here. 

Special days- Swagbucks has special days when they offer lots of codes and contests and giveaways. I do pay attention to these and check often on Facebook on those days, especially for codes. 

Codes - short phrases with time limits offered randomly and on special days.  At the top right on a Swagbucks page is a circle that kind of looks like a wheel. When you click on it, a drop down box appears and that is where the codes are entered. When I find a code, I cut and paste it as spelling counts and they be odd. 

iPad - I do have a swagbucks app there and use  it mainly for special offers. They offer a lot of game apps but once I get credit for them, I usually delete them afterward. 

Surveys- you can earn a lot of SBs at once doing surveys and I have friends that do well with them but I rarely do them unless Swagbucks send me an email asking me to take one and I have time to sit- surveys can take 5 minutes to an hour I think. 

Smart phones-  I've read that SBTV can be watched on a smart phone but I've never done it. 

Swagbucks TV on about any device- you can earn a lot from and their are lots of video catagories,  I don't do it much because it requires to viewer to click after each video to advance to the next one.

there are even more ways than to this to earn but what I listed are the ways to score.  But if you want to really put a lot of time into it,  you can find more.  

Yesterday was a special day at Swagbucks with everyone divided into 4 teams and the higher your team scored , the bigger the bonus.  I earned about 300 SBs and contributed 172 points to my team. If you look just under that, you can see the high point earners on my team, they REALLy earned a lot. 
So with Swagbucks, if you have time and multiple devices, you can earn about as much as you want to Swagbucks. 

If you have read this far and want to try earning with Swagbucks,  I hope you will sign up with my referral link
referrals are another way to earn Swagbucks. 

Comment if you have any questions or if you do Swagbucks and have any advice or anything to add. 

this link will take you to a site if you have a Kindle Fire and want to try the EntertaiNow app. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Asian Noodle Stirfry

I made this delicious and thrifty recipe Friday night, again!
The original recipe is here at Heavenly Homemaker

It is flexible - I started by looking in our fridge for vegetables that especially needed  cooking. The big head of broccoli is what I started with. I also added onion, celery, and carrots and a little fresh garlic.
This is big batch- I wanted to have leftovers.
So, there is a big pot of water coming to a boil on the right, out of the picture. It will cook that pound bag of penne pasta.

I sauté the veggies, in Olive oil, one or two at a time, just cooking them a little and leaving a little crunch.
The veggies usually finish cooking about the same time as the pasta.

Drain the pasta when done, then the cooked veggies and soy sauce and pepper to taste are added. Stir a little and feed to your family.  I add salt to the pasta water and use low salt soy sauce - for our taste buds, it is plenty salty without adding more salt.

I've made this with spaghetti noodles and with frozen stirfry noodles. 
Cabbage and water chestnuts are good too. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

CVS deals this week

I stocked up this week on laundry detergent and diapers. 
The 6 packs of CVS diapers were $5 each. I used a $3 scanner coupon and got back a $10 ECB. I think 6 packs of diapers for $17 is a super bargain. 
I used a $2 scanner coupon on any Kleenex item to get the 2 tissues free. 
All detergent was $3.50 each. I used 2 $2/2 coupons on this deal. I also got diet Pepsi for my guests with this deal.  All, Pepsi and some other products were in a deal where you spend $20, you earn a $5 ECB.
Venus razor - used a $4 coupon and a $3 scanner coupon, and got back a $5 ECB. 

I won't be buying anymore diapers or detergent soon, I already had 10 packs of mostly Huggies from previous CVS deals. In the laundry room, there are 15 bags of laundry tabs and 12 assorted bottles of liquid. 
But I will use the $20 in ECBs on other bargains in the weeks to come. 

Can you all tell I am a CVS fan? I have built up some great stockpiles with CVS deals with not much effort. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Finances on Friday

I found out late Tuesday afternoon that there would be 12 here for supper on Wednesday. I did not want to add shopping to my list of things to do so I planned a menu of easy to make dishes made with groceries on hand. This is what we ate

Chicken cooked on the grill by my husband-thawed and trimmed up Tuesday night.
Twice baked potatoes and baked beans - prepared Tuesday night and then reheated
A big green salad
A big loaf of bread baked in our bread machine
Banana bread and Pecan Pie Squares - both baked early Wednesday when I only had baby JJ to care for, and thankfully he sat happily in his high chair and played with some mini tongs and an empty paper towel tube the entire time I was mixing them up. 

The twice baked potatoes were a big hit. I knew my sons liked them a lot and we were all tickled to see the grand daughter who is a bit opinionated about her food liked them so much, she was picking hers up and eating it like a muffin. She ate 2 small ones and her uncle's empty peel as well.  Twice bakeds require a little effort when making them, but they go together fast and then are easy to reheat. 
Mine are nothing fancy, just baked and scooped out potatoes, mashed with some butter, milk and yellow cheese, S & P to taste. No sour cream or cream cheese are needed for how we like them. I use a small scoop to refill the shells and top each one with a little more grated cheddar.  My family liked them so much,  I really need to make them more often. 

Saturday morning, there were 10 here for breakfast. That menu was

Oven baked bacon- I stockpiled bacon several months ago when the Oscar Mayer was $1.99 a pound but my stockpile is getting low
Scrambled eggs
Freezer biscuits   I like to multiply this recipe by 4 or 6 and keep several dozen in the freezer for meals like this
Cream gravy - that's how we do big breakfasts in Oklahoma 
Bananas, orange juice, coffee and hot tea

What do you all cook or serve when you feed a big group? I am always looking for new menus that are easy and crowd pleasing. 

Paid off the last of my husbands surgery bills. In our experience with these last 3 surgeries, the doctors, physical therapy, home health, etc seem to be happy to take just what our insurance company offered them.  But not the hospitals- they want 100% of what they bill.  Thankfully, husbands work insurance paid about 90% or so, less deductibles. 

As always, we use the free online billpay our credit union offers - it is easy and quick too!

My gardening and second hand purchases have been thrifty so far. 

We are having mild, thrifty weather- not much need to run the heat or air conditioner. 

Have baked all our bread in 2014

Cashed in a few weeks of Swagbucks points for $50 Paypal
if you don't do Swagbucks and want to join,  I would love for you to sign up with my referal link.  My daughter said I should do a post about how I earn them and I will if anyone wants to know.  

We are having a vegetarian supper -This vegetable pasta stirfry. It is so good and we like it so much, we have had it every week, except last week, since I first found the recipe. it is very thrift too- any pasta will work, and just about whatever vegetables you have, especially the ones that need to be used soon- and some garlic and oil.

Walgreens is having 7 days of Egg-Cellent photo deals this week.  I got a free 8by10 collage on Monday and 10 free 4by6 prints yesterday.  

Linking up with Rebecca at Renaissance 

Some of our family and recent guests
Notice what a helper our grand daughter is, stirring the scrambled eggs. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thrift store and church rummage sale finds

April has already been a good month for thrift shopping.
I went to my favorite store yesterday, looking for warm weather clothing for the grands, 
I found lots for the youngest grandsons
4 shirts and 8 shorts $1 and 50 cents each
Cute rompers - the orange one was $2 and the gray one was 50 cents
Little big Jammies, a swimsuit for the oldest grandson and a swimsuit for the youngest grand daughter.  
I am a sucker for polka dots. 

Rummage sale finds
These toys were 25 cents each. Both grand daughters are fans of Mickie and Minnie.
When you push the button on the side of the truck, it makes a sound like a truck or animal- I think all the grandsons will like it. 

Free magazines- old Country Living, from 1984 and  2002
Books were 25 cents each,  The Fox is a song my grandmother sang to all her grandchildren.
Cross stitch booklet
I think these are potholders as they are double sided. They are crocheted of cotton yarn and very pretty, 25 cents each. 
A really BIG spoon rest. Maybe it is a ladle rest.
And a mystery box- it was not an old Santa........
But these treasures
Look at all these pins! And I need new pins. 
Old needles- I think they cost a lot more than 15 cents now
A bunch of gold and pearl beads, and silver chenille stems
So much glitter- I've never seen glitter in bags. 
Lots of good crafting supplies. 
And this pretty tatted piece. I think it was made to go around the neckline of a top or dress. I hope to do something with it for me. 

Spring thrifting is fun!