Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sleeping Late

My alarm went off at 6 o'clock this morning. I woke up and decided to lie there for a moment and "collect my thoughts" which is always a bad idea for me. Next thing I knew I was waking up in the midst of a disturbing dream and seeing that it was 20 minutes after 7. Yikes!!

Fortunately, I did not need to be anywhere early today and I am not babysitting today, so I quickly made egg sandwiches for breakfast while my husband rushed through the shower. The idea was that he could eat it on the go if he needed to.:-) I was glad that I had chicken and rice from last night's dinner already packed for his lunch.

He got out the door on time, barely, but on time, and now I need to go shower and get on with my day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Things I Love

In the last week or so, my sister Kathryn from Kathryn's Reliquary and Emma from Diary of a Young Wife have posted lists of things they love and enjoy. They have inspired me to form my own list. Like my sister, I love lists!

Things I Love:
-my quiet time with God every morning
-praise and worship music
-my sweet and loving husband
-productive early mornings
-playing in the dirt(gardening)
-the accomplishment of finishing a sewing project
-fabric stores
-yard sales and thrift stores
-classic children's books
-spending time with small children
-a clean house
-going on walks
-picnics(especially with my husband)
-scented candles
-the quilts my grandmas made for me
-the smell of clothes hung out to dry
-trying new recipes
-cooking a yummy meal using leftovers and bits of what I have on hand
-the smell of my house when I bake a special treat
-my Bosch mixer
-April Cornell stores
-trips to the library
-using pretty stationary and cards
-Mary Engelbreit's artwork
-inviting people over for a meal
-our cozy little cottage
-a well-stocked pantry and freezer
-old linens
-wearing clogs
-vintage items and decor
-Bath and Body Works sun-ripened raspberry scented products
-fun ceramic and pottery serving dishes and tableware
-drinking tea
-my church family

I don't know if this is a complete work or not. I'm sure something is missing.:-) What are your favorite things?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mom Will Be Proud

I have finally updated my profile. My mom will especially be proud of me, as she has given several subtle hints as to my previous skeleton of a profile. So feel free to take a look. Who knows? You might find something out about me that you didn't know before!:-)

Savory Apple Roast

This is an interesting side dish. I made it one day last week and we loved it. I was very surprised how the flavors really complimented each other. It made a great fall meal with Honey Mustard Pork.
So here's the recipe:
Savory Apple Roast

2 baking apples
2 sweet potatoes
2 Vidalia onions
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease roasting pan or line pan with aluminum foil. Core and cut apples into quarters. Cut sweet potatoes into 6 to 8 large pieces. Cut onions into small wedges. Combine apples, veggies, olive oil and garlic in pan. Roast in prepared pan for 40 to 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar before serving. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe from the Dec.2004/Jan. 2005 issue of Easy Home Cooking magazine.

Note: The apples do turn rather mushy or almost applesauce-like. If you are one who has a problem with textures or mushy foods, you might want to adjust the baking time for apples so they are firmer.

I haven't tried it but thought a variation of this recipe would be delicious baked with a pork roast.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Great Yard Sale Day

My husband and I were up bright and early this morning to go yard saling at a prominent and well-to-do neighborhood in a nearby town. They were having their annual neighborhood sales today. It ended up being fairly profitable. We enjoyed looking at the quaint houses and beautiful flowerbeds even more than the yard sales. It was a great cool morning for walking too!

I did find some very nice books and small toys for the babies that I keep here at my house each week. Also found a nice highchair for my little nephew. He had asked for one. LOL Actually, his mommy asked me to be on the lookout for one as they had not gotten one for him yet and many highchairs are quite expensive brand-new. I didn't find any clothing for me today, although many sales had very nice clothing items with almost all of them being very good brand names, such as J.Jill, Land's End, Hanna Anderson(for small girls), etc. Some still had tags attached, but unfortunately I don't fit into a size zero or a two.:-)I found a set of three cute planters for $1. We also found a lot of things we didn't need, so we didn't buy them. It is a wonderful thing to be discerning while yard saling.:-)

It was a nice fall morning spent with my husband and didn't involve much spending with money!

The Year Of The Pecan

The pecan tree in our backyard is full of nuts this year. Our landlord told us last year that pecan trees bear every other year, so obviously this is the year of the pecan. The ground is literally covered with nuts. We got a 5 gallon bucket full in just a few minutes of gathering this afternoon. There are still lots on the tree and I'm sure there are more on the ground. They have a way of hiding and then showing up in groups of twelve or more.:-) We need to stay ahead of the squirrels though!

This experience brings me back to my childhood in Oregon, when we would spend an afternoon or two after school picking up walnuts. Then there would be the many fall and winter evenings spent cracking nuts around the table and seeing who could eat the fewest.

From the research I have done, I believe that I need to lay them out to dry before storing. I am very excited about these free nuts for baking! There will be a lot of cracking for these two nuts.:-)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Little Things

Why is it that most of the things that I put off doing are little things that could be done in a few minutes or less? Instead, I procrastinate and spend a lot more time dreading doing these chores than the time spent actually doing them.

I came up with a small list of chores I always put off doing and am trying to do them as soon as they come up. Most of them are so simple, too!(Note: I don't dread all these things, but some of them really bother me when they are not done!)

-making the bed as soon as we get up in the morning
-filling the water bottles and putting them in the fridge as soon as they are cleaned instead of leaving them on the counter to roll around, get knocked over and annoy me
-putting clothes away right after they are folded or hung on hangers
-put dishes in dishwasher as soon as they are dirty instead of having the dirty dishes take over the kitchen
-clip coupons right away and throw away the rest of the sales papers
-empty trashcans as soon as they start filling up
-putting clean pots, pans and cookie sheets away in the cabinet instead of leaving them on top of the stove
-putting my shoes away at night versus leaving them strewn throughout the house to trip over and hunt for the next day
-separate large packages of meat into meal-size portions for the freezer when I first come home from the grocery store
-do extra food prep when preparing a meal, such as shredding extra cheese, browning extra ground beef, cutting up extra veggies. Some of these can be frozen for later use or keep in fridge if you know you need it for the next day or so.

Flylady has deemed one day a week as Anti-Procrastination Day.( For more info on Flylady, you can visit I have also heard of the one-minute rule. If it can be done in a minute or less-do it right away! I am attempting to make every day anti-procrastination day in keeping up with these little things!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Apple Butter

I made apple butter yesterday. I am very pleased with myself as this was my first attempt at canning completely by myself. When my sister and I lived together, we would can tomatoes, beans, pickles, peaches,applesauce, salsa and jams. I might add that this was much to our married friends' amusement. While we both have always enjoyed cooking and engaging ourselves in "domestic" tasks, it seems a lot of them had the idea that single women would live on cold cereal alone!

Anyways, to come back to the subject at hand. I made 10 pints of apple butter and it seemed to come out fairly well. My house smells wonderful. It's even better than burning apple-cinnamon candles which I love.

We drove out to a local orchard a couple of weeks ago and bought a bushel of Mutzus. They are a cross between a Granny Smith and a Golden Delicious. We have really enjoyed eating them in their natural state-simply delicious! I still have enough apples left to maybe make a pie or two.

Now that my canning is done I need to go deep-clean my kitchen. There are splatters everywhere and the floor is sticky.:-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

66 Days Until Christmas!

I know some of you are thinking, "How can she even think about Christmas before Halloween or Thanksgiving?" But after several years of rushing around a day or two before Christmas, trying to find great gifts and spending way too much money in the process, fighting the crowds of not-so-merry Christmas shoppers, and being exhausted and not even doing half of the fun holiday stuff that I would like, I determined in my heart that I was going to get my shopping done early this year. I tend to procrastinate especially where shopping is concerned-its not my favorite task- so my deadline for shopping this year was August 31. OOPS!!! I kept putting it off, so now I hope to have it all done by October 31. That still is far enough in advance to enjoy the Christmas holidays!

I made a general list early in the year and added a few things to my Christmas box from clearance racks, dollar stores and yard sales. (If it looks really good, kids especially will not care if it is used!) But yesterday afternoon, I finally had some spare time and decided to be productive and go Christmas shopping. Two hours later, I had bags of cool gifts to show off to my husband when I got home. I still have a few items to get yet, but the bulk of shopping is done.

My first stop was at the good old Dollar Tree and they had many great items to choose from. I have found that when I wait until later in the season, the selection is very limited. I really racked up at the dollar store yesterday. I try to give non-clutter or consumable gifts. In other words, I try to give gifts that will be used instead of something to set around and dust. I often give food gifts(fresh-baked, homemade jams, or even homemade cooking mixes) and I also like making theme baskets. The dollar store is wonderful for finding little items to coordinate with these kinds of gifts!

My imagination is running more freely now than it will be the week before Christmas. I can also plan ahead for any gifts I want to make. This helps me to save money as well as enjoy the season! I even wrapped a few gifts last night while I was still in the mood!:-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bread Baking

I baked several batches of bread this morning. I made 4 loaves whole wheat and 2 loaves of French bread. I love baking bread. I think it can be sort of a stress reliever or therapeutic, even though I don't feel stressed or in need of therapy at the moment. (Thought I would clarify that.:-) It also makes the house smell wonderful. That is probably a big reason why I like to bake- the house smells so homey and seems so cozy with the yummy smells wafting out of the kitchen. Anyways, the bread is now in the freezer waiting to be eaten. :-) That much bread should last us several weeks.
I do have a question for all of you bread bakers out there. Where do you get bread bags that are big enough for large homemade loaves? The gallon ziploc bags are too small and I would rather have plain bags that twist-tie. I know some Winn-Dixie stores used to carry them but mine here didn't have them and now they have gone out of business anyways. I did try to plastic wrap the loaves but found the wrap would still come loose and the bread would get all nasty. So for now I have resorted to reusing bread bags from the store. I don't normally wash and re-use bags; that is not one of my favorite frugal tips, but it does work for this until I can find something that works better. I also think that for giving bread away, the brand-new clear bread bags look much nicer.("What? You don't think the bread looks like hot dog buns? Can't imagine why it wouldn't!") :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rainy Day

This is a dreary rainy day. But we really needed the rain. It has been so dry. And I am glad I don't need to go anywhere today. It's a perfect day to stay inside and clean my house. Oh joy!
I have had a fairly productive week even though I've had children here most of the time.(I know- good practice for me.:-) My husband and I worked in the yard yesterday. He trimmed hedges and I picked up the loose branches and added them to Mount Brushmore beside the road. We still need to mow the grass by the road as it is quite tall. But that will have to wait for another dry day. I also got a good start on cleaning the cars out. I stopped when our car vac didn't seem to be doing too well suction-wise and I thought I could assist my husband with the hedges. I do have some spring bulbs I want to plant very soon too. The mums I planted a year ago are quite pretty now!
I finished sewing two skirts for me this week. Both were yard sale fabrics so I was able to make them for about $1 each. One is a nice denim with a bit of stretch and the other is a navy blue rayon floral print. I used a super easy pattern that I like. It's Simplicity's New Look #6953. On the denim skirt I added a flowered fabric border and some ribbon. I have been in a sewing mood lately and I always feel accomplished once I complete a project.
Tomorrow is my grocery shopping day so I have been running low on most of my staples this week. We have been eating lots of rice, since I have plenty of that! For dinner tonight is pizza burgers(using bits of leftovers) and chocolate cake. I think I will scrounge up some carrot sticks and pickles to go with it. I am out of eggs so I made an egg-less chocolate cake today. I know it as Crazy Cake and in my opinion it is one of the best chocolate cakes ever.
I need to get back to my house-cleaning now!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Things I Have Learned In One Year of Marriage

I was planning to post this list last week before we left for the mountains. But I ran out of time between running errands, getting ready to go and taking care of my little charges that come several days a week.
So here it is... a rambling list of my personal thoughts about what I have learned in our first year.(It is not generally listed in the order of importance.)

In our first year I have learned...
...that marriage gets you right in the heart and is a very bonding and personal experience.
...that I have a big mouth that says anything that pops into my brain.
...that it will not kill me to say "I'm sorry", but that those two little words will actually help to restore health to our relationship.
...that husbands have sensitive feelings too.
...that even though women can skip meals, husbands rarely want to skip eating.
...that a meal of Ramen noodles is much better than going out for a meal we can't afford.
...that making do or doing without is better than buying on credit.
...that a 50 cent Uno game and sharing the last can of orange soda makes for a memorable date night.
...the wedding lasted for one day; the marriage for a lifetime.
...that being a wife is a noble calling.
...that comparing my marriage to someone else's marriage can contribute greatly to discontent and disillusionment.
...that it is ok to do something different than our parents would do.
...that honest and loving communication in the proper timing has more positive effects than clamming up and refusing to speak.
...that regardless of my husband's IQ, he does not and probably will never be able to read my mind.
...that I am generally a stubborn and inflexible person. (Ok, I was aware of this before, but marriage has definitely helped to show it up!)
...that praying for my husband and marriage does wonders for my attitude.
...that after God, my husband needs to be my first priority.
...that differences in our personalities can give numerous opportunities for personal growth and character building.
...that the healthiest and most productive marriage is one where Jesus Christ is at the center.

Our First Anniversary

We spent the weekend in Boone, NC up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some friend's parents have a mountain cabin up there and they let us use it for the weekend. It is beautiful and the view is outstanding. We were a couple of weeks ahead of major leaf peeping, but we did manage to spot a few colors here and there. The weather was sunny but cool and fall-like. We picnicked on the Parkway and took a short hike down to the falls there. I thought it was a short hike, husband thought it was longer.:-) We spent Saturday poking around in little shops down in Boone. That was fun. I only bought a few small harder-to-find kitchen tools at Mast General Store. It was actually the first time since our honeymoon to Williamsburg a year ago that we went somewhere by ourselves and not to visit family and friends. The weekend was very relaxing with time to reflect on the past year and go ahead and sign up for another year.:-) Who knows what this year will hold for us?
I was very excited that my husband decided to sing me the original song that he wrote for me and sang to me when he proposed and also at our wedding.To me that is more precious than flowers or an expensive gift. We watched our wedding video again and felt all cozy and sweet. And come to think of it- I just remembered the top of our wedding cake! It is still bundled away in the freezer. Do people really eat them? I wonder if it is still good.:-)