Monday, October 20, 2014

Reading and Eating

I started re-reading Little House In The Big Woods this past weekend and am almost finished. It is such a cozy read--charming and simple. One of my favorites! 

My plan is to read through the whole Little House series this fall/winter. It's been a long time since I read them. 

I've had a bag of butterscotch chips languishing in the freezer for some time now. They were given to us.  If they were chocolate or peanut butter chips, they would be long gone! I saw this recipe for Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies at Living Well Spending Less and decided to bake some cookies just for the fun of it. They are really yummy!

I love fall!

**I will continue my vacation posts once we get all 200+ photos edited and organized!!!**

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Trip to Williamsburg, VA: Day 1

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on October 2 by spending the week in Williamsburg, VA.

We honeymooned in Williamsburg ten years ago and have talked since then of going back for our 10th anniversary. About two years ago, we began actively planning and saving for our trip. The whole vacation was paid for with cash in hand-- no coming home to a credit card bill! I will share more about how we were able to do this vacation debt-free in a later post. 

I will note that this was the first time since our honeymoon that we have been away for a week by ourselves. Our longer trips over the years have been with or to visit family. 

Ok, now for the details of Day 1: 

We left for Williamsburg on Sunday, September 28. Our first stop was at Cracker Barrel a couple minutes from home. We ate at Cracker Barrel for breakfast the first morning of our honeymoon. In the spirit of recreating a memory, we both ordered Uncle Herschel platters just like we did 10 years ago. The only difference was that I couldn't completely finish my meal this time! 

Our next stop was the Virginia Welcome Center on I-85. 

We took our daily selfie here. 

The little lady at the information desk was adorable and helpful. "Have you ever taken the ferry to Williamsburg?" She asked. "Why no, we haven't," we replied. She then gave us directions to get to the ferry, explaining that it would take us across the James River and dock at Jamestown, giving us just a short trip into Williamsburg. Going this way was the same in mileage as the route we had planned and much more direct, so we went that way. 

So we drove a nice drive through the VA countryside and arrived at the ferry. The ferry ride is free and runs 7 days a week.  

If you enlarge the last two photos, you should be able to see the replicas of the ships that originally came to Jamestown. 

I will share closer shots of the ships in another post since we toured them another day. 

The ferry ride was fun and gave a unique perspective to arriving in Jamestown. 

After we docked at Jamestown, we made the short drive into Williamsburg, checked into our hotel, and then found a quick dinner before getting some rest. 

We were greeted by an anniversary card and local goodies left in our room by hotel staff. 

We needed to be rested to start our first day of sight seeing the next morning! 

To be continued...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Frugal Five

 Some frugal things we've done recently to save cash!

1) My athletic shoes were starting to come apart on the soles. My husband glued them back together so they will last a bit longer.

2) I bought a big box of dishwasher detergent in the spring and stored it under the sink. Early summer, we had a leak and water pooled under the sink. The cardboard box of detergent got very wet of course. The soap in the bottom clumped up because of getting wet. Well, I was not about to waste it! When we got to the bottom of the box, I emptied the big clumps into a recycled plastic jar and have been breaking the clumps up and using them anyways. We're getting a few more weeks out of the dishwasher detergent this way.

Note: It's a good idea to store detergent in an airtight container from now on!

3) I've been packing my lunch to take to work everyday. It's usually leftovers so saves on waste too!

4) I found a really cute knit skirt at a yard sale this summer for 50 cents. The only downside was that the skirt was a size 2X when I am more of a size large. Before putting it down, I quickly realized that I could take it in on the sides and it would fit just fine. (The elastic waist was very smooth; some are very bulky and hard to take in this way but this one was easy!) Brought it home, took the skirt in several inches on each side and I had a really comfy skirt for 50 cents! I wear it several times a week; I like it so much!

5) Instead of buying more beef ($3.49 lb.) the last few weeks, I purchased whole chickens at 95 cents per pound. Buying the cheaper meat stretches the budget just a little further. In addition, bone-in chicken means I can make my own chicken broth! I still bought some beef just not as much.

And a bonus:
We got our grass-fed/pastured meat order last week packaged in 2 big green plastic bags. These bags are about the same size as our kitchen trash bags so I saved them to use for trash. One is being used now!
How have you saved money recently? Please share in the comments so we can all learn from each other!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

5 Things

This summer has been a fun and happy blur. We've been busy living life--I think about blogging but haven't done much of it in a couple of months!

So here's a quick post: 5 things going on in our lives!

  1. My husband turned 40 on Saturday. We had a big party that was really fun. This was a huge celebration because when he was born, he wasn't supposed to live very long. After a few years, they said he might live until his 20's. Well, we are so happy he is 40 and lives a healthy and full life. No over the hill black doom and gloom junk here!
  2. A yellow jacket stung me on the playground at work today. Ouch! It hurt for a while--just a little tender now. Thankfully, I'm not allergic. 
  3. Rock, the Cherished Dog, has learned to open the door from the outside. It's a door that needs to be really pushed shut to latch completely. So we put Rock out and a little while later, he is back in the house and the door is standing open. He has his own doggy door. LOL
  4. Melon--we've been eating a lot of it this summer. It is so good. I'm convinced that a  bowl of chilled cantaloupe or watermelon is the perfect accompaniment to almost any summer meal. 
  5. When we bought our house 2 years ago, there was a big above ground pool in the backyard. We did not want the pool. As far as we are concerned, pools are way too much work and a liability. So we took it out immediately. Which left a big hole in the yard. (The pool was partially dug in to the ground as well so the hole was much deeper on one side than the other.)  Then we priced dirt. Whoever said, "Cheap as dirt" hasn't had to fill a pool hole recently. We finally found someone to bring us dirt and do the work for a reasonable price. It was still more than we wanted to pay but the job got done. Our "pool hole" was a great conversation piece for 2 years. "What are you going to put in that hole?"  "Wouldn't that make a good fire pit?" "You should make an herb garden." You could just plant a garden in there!" "Are you ever going to fill that hole?" Well. Now it's filled with dirt and we stand at the window admiring it! It just looks so much nicer. LOL
Before the hole was filled....
And after! Much better! Once the deck is rebuilt, which is next on the list, this dirt area will probably be made into a simple patio area as well as maybe a flower and herb garden.

What's going on in your life this summer? 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Refashion: Men's Shirt to a Ruffly Peasant Top

I'm really getting in to refashioning and reviving clothing to make something new and useable.

My latest refashioning project is turning one of my husband's tshirts into a ruffly peasant top for me. 

Usually by the time he gets rid of shirts, they are only fit for the rag bag. This one just didn't fit right and still was in pretty good condition. 

An advantage to this shirt was that it's a nice shade of light blue. Score for me! I snatched that thing right up and hauled it off to the sewing room! 

I used this tutorial that I had pinned a long time ago. It was pretty easy to follow and the shirt didn't take that long to make. 

I can't really tell you exactly how long it took me because I worked on it in small snippets of time--maybe about 1 hour and 15 minutes total? Longer if you count the phone call to my sister to figure out how to do the lettuce hem on my machine!



Why go shopping for new clothes when you can make something fun at home?!? 

Monday, June 23, 2014

What I Did Today

I always enjoy homemaking posts that detail what that person did in her home that day. These are not boring at all to me. In fact I often learn something new that I can put to use in my own home.

So this post is one of those-- what I did today. 

I went shopping late last week so there was meat in the refrigerator that needed to be dealt with before it went bad. I like to go ahead  and prep most meats ahead of time and then freeze them. 

So today was definitely a cooking day! 

First off, we were out of granola so I made a double batch. We don't eat much cereal-- we don't really care that much for it and it takes several bowls to fill us up! We do like homemade granola though and it's been nice to keep on hand this summer for a cooler breakfast with yogurt and fruit. We've been eating it once or twice a week for a change of pace. 

While the granola was baking, I quickly made a freezer crockpot meal-- Italian Sausages with Peppers and Onions. This meal takes just minutes to put together. It's so nice to pull out on a busy day and throw into the crockpot. 

We prefer pork sausage but Aldi only had turkey when I was shopping last week so we'll use turkey sausage this time! 

Next up was some ground beef to take care of! I made 8 hamburger patties to freeze. We'll be grilling half of these this weekend and then will have enough ready for another meal later. 

Hamburger patties are super easy to make so it may seem silly to make them  ahead. But to me it makes sense to go ahead and quickly make them up so they're ready when I need them. 

We like to eat supper within about 30 minutes of me returning home from work so any prep work I can do ahead makes supper prep and the evening go that much smoother. 

I do a load of laundry pretty much every day plus other routine homemaking tasks so those things were also completed this morning.

I also was able to hard-boil a dozen eggs and then run the dishwasher before leaving for work this afternoon.

When I made dinner tonight-- Pork and Veggies-- I doubled the recipe and froze one portion for dinner one night next week. 

Andy is working the run-off election tomorrow so after dinner, I packed a lunch for him.  

In a nutshell, that's what I did today. 

What did you do today?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Watch Dog

As I pulled into the parking space, I could sense I was being watched. 

I turned to the left and this sweet face was what I saw! 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this pretty much sums up what Rock does all day:
Then he'll go out for a few minutes:
Then back in for maybe a little of this:

But definitely more of this:
It's good to be a dog these days!

How are you spending these early "dog days" of summer?