Sunday, December 20, 2009

the weekend

This weekend we had Cmas with my side of the family. Rich cooked gumbo, my sister made potatoe salad and my mom made desserts. I cooked the rice and a veggie tray. Yum yum.

We had a great time... always do. I was so happy to have everything done early! yah me!

Today we lounged. I heard from too many friends how crazy the stores and traffic were. I'm glad I was able to stay home and just lounge.

the girls made cookies and we iced some. Good times :) I love my kitchaid! It is great for making cookies. It does the work and you get the fun of baking.

It's cold, but at least it is not raining.

I do have a few things to buy, nothing major, just candy for the stockings. I cannot buy it early or we eat it! The kids want normal stuff - candy bars and beef jerky. They do not like Cmas foiled things. I am glad! Foil all over the floor is not my kinda fun.

I'm tird.. off to bed. The countdown is on!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Whew.

I'm trying. I really am.

Yesterday I started my shopping. Today I wrapped. WRAPPED. Can you believe it? Things are wrapped.

in case you are wondering... i always put off wrapping until the last minute.

I am trying to improve :) Slowly, babysteps. It helps that the kids are older.

I have my purchase list going and my envelope with my receipts.

Now.. to just get the grocery shopping done for the week. ack!

Friday, December 04, 2009

snow

It snowed here! Really, it did. Big flakes. Puffy flakes. Flakes that fell fast. Flakes that fell in a swirl.

It was beautiful. It was magical. It was special.

My youngest and I walked around outside watching it, enjoying it and building small snow people and tossing snowballs. How special a memory.

Then I remembered it would have been my Grandmother's Bday today. She loved the snow. :) Warmed my heart.

I hope she saw how much we loved her Bday gift :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tgiving Festivities

My brother and his family came in this past weekend, so we did our Feast on Saturday. I worked Tgiving, which was super slow, so it really worked out great. I sent my husband and the kids for lunch at his aunts. No reason for them to sit home just cause mom is working, right? They had a great time visiting and I was happy they were able to relax and visit with family. They brought me back a yummy plate of food.. who can complain?

Friday was even slower at work. Friday evening my friends and I went to the Casino. I think we played all of 2 hours and were back home! Blah! Not a good night.

Saturday morning I got the sweet potatoe casserole and green beans going. We headed to my sister's and spent the day laughing til we cried, being silly, teasing kids, eating good food and making more memories.

Saturday night the girls borrowed scary movies from the neighbor and I made a platter of grapes, celery, carrots, pea pods, cheese, apple slices, dip, 7 layer dip, crackers and fried cheese. Then we had drinks of every kind...chips, dip, gummy bears, oreos and candy bars! They were begging for bed by 10pm hahahaha

Sunday it was lounging and laundry and ... I cooked our turkey. I think we are gonna turn into turkeys. We like our own leftovers, and I have always cooked a Tgiving dinner every year for us. MMMM.. I'm thinking turkey pot pie is on the menu soon! Or turkey salad sandwhiches. MMM

It was hard going back to work today.. I enjoyed the time off!

who dat!?

My GIRLS and I are watching the game :)

Good memories.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Homecoming 2009 - done frugally!

Sarah attended homecoming this year. She's in the 9th grade. They grow way too fast. We hit the mall right after she was asked to find the perfect dress. We found it at Dillards. I know! DILLARDS! Her date shopped with us, so he get coordinated. I was so proud when she told me she found his tie for 34.00 at Penny's and refused to let him buy it until after they checked around. They hopped over to Kohls and found the same name-brand tie for 15.00. He already had the pants and shirt.















My sister popped over to snap some photos. She has an awesome camera, loves to take pictures and it really good at it!

We found the perfect accessories. Not too gawdy, and her older sister has already claimed them to wear for her Cmas party at work so they must be cute.














Her older sister did her hair.... cause you know.. it's means so much more.











Here is our baby girl .....













All smiles!

Dress at Dillards was first marked down to 80.00, then 23.00, and then I got an additional 30% off... so I paid 16.83 for her dress!!!! I got the accessories buy one get one free for 20.00. Her sister did her hair 0.00. She borrowed her sister's shoes 0.00. His boutonniere was 8.00. Total = 44.83.

She did draw the line at using a coupon for the dinner HAHA. He paid for that... so maybe I should have asked him directly.

They had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I am a mean mother.

I love butter. REAL. BUTTER. My kids, well, they want the spreadable kind. Let's face it, real butter is hard. yummy, but hard.

I love to make things from scratch. I had a friend who asked me once why I liked doing things the "hard way". Needless to say, that girl is not someone I keep in touch with anymore. Hard? It's BETTER. As my husband says, "It is made with love." :)

I have butter and I want to make it spreadable. What to do? Hit the internet of course. Who better than Heather?? It works. It really works. Until it came to the taste testers.

My oldest said it didn't even LOOK like butter. It was pale. It should be YELLOW. She claimed it didn't have much of a taste. It should TASTE buttery. What's a mom to do to feed her kids right?

Bring out the immitation butter extract flavoring and yellow food color! HAHAHAHA

I have to admit.. it really is much more eye pleasing and it does give that hint of buttery flavor. I have refilled the butter container.. let's see if they notice!

Yes.. I am a mean mom who is about to fool her kids, but they will thank me for it later!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

shopping

I made a dash to the grocery store before the sales changed. I found a lot of things on sale for Tgiving. Great!

Lots of coupons. A grocery cart FULL.

Great. The only checkout line is the 15 or less ... and the self check. I do not do the self check.

Sorry for the one's behind me.. Kroger needs to get more checkers. :)

I saved 70.00 in coupons and store savings.

I was happy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Preparing for Tday!

My brother and his family are coming in this year for Tgiving. Today, my sister, mom and myself got together to decide the Tgiving menu. I was glancing thru the grocery ads and noticed a few things on sale to use for Tgiving, and I have coupons :) Great!

Today we celebrated my grandmother's 89th Birthday! Whoohooo! We gave her a snuggie and she loved it hahaha. It's a big joke in our family because my oldest hates them and we keep telling her we are all getting her one. Everyone else loves them.

Are you getting ready for Tgiving too? what's on the menu?

Turkey
Corn casserole
yams
green beans
rice dressing
rolls
cranberry sauce
desserts

Seems like I'm missing a few things.... i'm debating on doing the carrot souffle. We shall see!

time to meet some friends !

Sunday, November 08, 2009

another day in the life....

Time just seems to fly when you are busy and we are super busy these days. Work has picked up for me and for Richard. When he isn't here, that means all the daily duties fall on me. Hauling kids, overseeing things, gathering things, fixing things, cleaning things. Yikes!

The kids are busy with school. Daniel graduates this year. I just ordered his grad stuff. For Pete's sake! 12 dollars for shipping and handling? for a cap and gown?? AND 80.00 for said cap and gown?? it's flimsy nylon and will never be worn again. 17.00+ for taxes... and lets get to the invitations... cmon people! He didn't want a ring.. so I shouldn't complain, but still. Portriats, senior fees...graduation.. it adds up quickly. Good thing I'm frugal and can put some money aside for things like this.

Sarah is doing great at her school. I'm so happy I made the decision to move her and have never regretted it. :) She's was asked to homecoming by a senior! I know, i know.. but it's a very small school.. so every knows everyone. We got her dress at a STEAL. Yesterday, we bought the jewelry. My frugal daughter suggested she wear her sisters black flats and saved me some $ . She also found her date's tie ON SALE and I think even HE was impressed with her savvy shopping skills.

Jessica is working and busy with friends on the weekends. I love watching her grow, mature and enjoy life. Such a smart, beautiful, young adult. :)

I have been enjoying weedends OFF. This Saturday we went G'ing (garaging saling). 5 crazy women on a mission to find good stuff.

I was able to get:
1 nightshirt from Nordstrom
1 tie dye nightshirt (jokes between us 5 friends)
1 very nice gown
1 heart print tote bag - i have a slight "thing" for totes
1 wall hanging decorative thingie.. fruit-themed for my kitchen
1 pair of flip flops... they are made of hard rubber-like material. maybe generic cros? I'll have to ask the kids. They know those kinds of things.
1 eyelash curler

2 Aladdin kids 8 oz travel mug. Perfect for sarah and I to have our hot cocoa/coffee/tea/water on the drive to school in the mornings or while zipping around town. Love those things and the 8 oz size is perfect for me.

1 pr of Christmas socks - sarah loves socks and fuzzy socks even more.

1 pill dispenser with the 7 days' compartments. I have been searching for this for weeks at the grocery store and never could find them. I take vits and meds every day. Since Prilosec is now over-the-counter, it comes in foil packets that are so hard to open. Now, I can pop the lid and be done! For a week.. I know.. kinda silly, but it's the small things that make me happy :) Paying 5 cents is even better.

Not a big haul.. but stuff we needed and will enjoy.

Time to get another load in the washer... and find and make speadable butter! post.









1 coin purse - given to Jessica

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where does the time go?

I had a few weeks of sleep troubles. I think i have that ironed out.

I am super busy with work.. it's a mess. I have never seen such unorganized people! In every way possible! I dunno who they have stayed in business. Seriously.

Rich has been at the land every weekend.. seeing deer.. :) Not hunting season yet.. close tho.

The kids are busy in school. Rich is busy with work.

Busy Bees!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stopping by...

Work has been stressful to say the least. I'm giving it my best shot. We will see. It's tough. I won't lie.

I spent the weekend relaxing at home. It rained most of the time and days like that I love to be in the kitchen. I whipped up some coffee mixes. YUM! It's like having Starbucks IN my house. MMMM

I also mixed up some more detergent. This time I used Castile bar soap. So far so good. I did the math and it equals to .09 a load. The cheapest I can find detergent is .14, and that's usually with a coupon. Next time I'm making a double or triple batch. The hardest thing is pushing the bar of soap thru the processor lol. Since I'll have everything out, it just makes sense to make a few batches at once.

I am not the only one who lives to be in the kitchen when it rains. Richard cooked chicken and sausage gumbo Saturday afternoon. I made the potatoe salad. MMM Good eating.

Today, he bought me a deep fryer and we had homemade fries, salad and wings! I have been so hungry for wings. They were so good and eating them at home was so much better than trying to get everyone dressed and happy and to the place, which is usually so loud with the tvs and music. I think we will be very happy with the fryer. Next up is shrimp! I have been wanting to cook them but Rich's frying stuff has been at his uncles. They fry fish for clients and keep it all at the shop. We don't each much fried stuff, but sometimes it is a nice treat.

Time to go put the food up and run the dishwasher... hopefully work will go better this week.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

it's the weekend

I am still around, just trying to get a schedule going. New job means revamping of all things and getting a new flow going.

The weekend is here and what are we doing? We are at the library so the kids can get some computer time and mom can get some coupon time. i love coming here to clip my coupons, file them and make my grocery list. I don't let the kids use the computer at home anymore because of arguing about who gets to use it, time spent online, where they are going, and viruses! Egads, the viruses. Even with a good virus program they were still picking them up. now, i let the library worry about that. plus, it really limits their time spent online, which is a good thing. It really helps with the attitudes. They actually cleaned the kitchen this morning without complaint because they knew as soon as it was done we would leave for the library. magic! I love it.

I have recently switched jobs and it's in that love-it-hate-it stage. some days i am loving it.. and others.. not so much. i'm trying to be patient.. trying to leave it in God's hands. So, if you are wondering why my typing is so horrific.. i am just so use to the software making caps, etc, that it's now a habit and i cannot get out of it lol I do love working from home, and i do loving transcribing.. i just wish the transition was easier. i'm not good with change, so this is really hard for me.

I can say that having weekends off is the best thing about the job. I get so much done, i am more at ease, i am happier and i just enjoy my family and life again. Now.. to work on the other stuff.

i did manage to meal plan, shop and cook the meals planned this past week. It was great to do this. So much stress was lifted. I even put 2 meals in the freezer for quick meals when I'm too busy or tired to cook. I am waiting for cooler weather so my sister and i can get together and do some more freezer meals. We love doing that! Makes life so much easier. We recently ran out of deer sausage... store-bought is okay.. but i am spoiled :)

Time to go look for a good book. Take care everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

getting into a pattern

I'm trying to get into a pattern with the new job and now that the kids are in school. hopefully by next week i'll have things ironed out and can spend some time updating! It's been a whirlwind around here. But i know as soon as I sit down to post about it, my mind will go blank and it will either be too much to write or I won't be able to remember.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, August 10, 2009

flopping around like a fish out of water

I am still here. Things have been very hectic. End of one job, start of another. Parents left for vacation. Grandmother in Assisted Living Facility. She fell and they brought her to the ER - which meant a very long night and next day for me! Every day I spend time visiting her and seeing about things. Round and round with the Director who claims NOBODY piI'mcked up my grandmother and put her back in the bed. okay! Somebody did. that somebody is too afraid they will get fired for not documenting it, so they are doing the he said/she said thing. GRRR Mom comes back Friday, we'll have a meeting with them after that.

Getting the kids ready for school - the count down is on!!

I am relaxing now. Spoke to soon. The clothes are ready to go in the dryer.

A man works from sun up til sun down.
A woman's work is never done.

Friday, July 17, 2009

a day of running

Daniel has a form of epilepsy called partial complex seizures. He takes medication daily. As he grows (and he's 6feet+), he needs more medication - it's based on his height and weight. He had a breakthru seizure the other day. That means a call to the doctor to get meds adjusted. Doc says he needs bloodwork done to see the levels in his system. Yup, need to get orders for that. Rich goes to get them and the office is closed. HELLO? Why didn't you say you were closing early today when I askedto pick them up? ARGH.

the plan this morning was to get the orders, get the blood work done, hit a few stores, eat lunch at our fav chinese place.. and then come home to lounge. I had the day off. :)

Just as we were about to leave, Daniel's toe started bleeding. Flashbacks to the day after surgery. Pressure.. elevation.. it's good, but it set us back. Off and running after that.

After lunch we were so tired. It's nice to lounge.

Now, Richard is on his way to the doctor for a physical. He hasn't been feeling good lately and there is rare. I'm sure he will need blood work too. I offered to go with him, but he said he could go by himself because he knew how tired I was.

My neice goes back tomorrow to Georgia...i'm taking her and my girls to meet my sister at our "drop off point" in the morning. My sister will take the neice to Baton Rouge to a friend of their family. Neice will go to the friend's house and her mom will pick her up a day later. Great way to save gas! :0) We will sure miss her when she's gone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just knowing how is the neat part

I have been super busy with work, kids, my neice is here, and with Daniel's surgery and appointments afterwards. Life is good.

I have been wanting to make homemade mayo. You know, egg yolks, oil, salt, mustard and the food processor.

It worked!

At first I thought I was gonna end up with a watery mess of yolks and oil... but it came together just fine. I have it in a cool whip bowl in the icebox (fridge) - see, we recycle around here. I plan on marking tuna salad or chicken salad in the next day or so, and the homemade mayo will be perfect it in! I'll see if the family notices any difference.

My mind is racing of all the varieties to make! It's not something I plan on making as a staple in our house. But it is nice to know I can whip some up for meals such as chicken or tuna salad or deviled eggs and we won't use up all my Miracle Whip - that stuff is not cheap.

Most folks think it's strange to make your own stuff from scratch. I don't. Knowing how to do and being able to do it if the need arises is really neat. Kinda, empowering, if I may be so bold.

Once the weather cools off.. I'd like to make a cake from scratch. We like doing taste tests around here. We did brownies before, and my kids like the packaged brownies better. We make homemade cool whip in a pinch for a dollop on our Jello. We like homemade pizza better than frozen stuff.

Time to go stir in my homemade taco seasoning into the ground meat. Rich took the girls swimming to a spring-fed lake. They've been gone all day, and I'm sure they will be STARVING when they get home.

Life is good!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

1-wk postop

We had an appt on Thursday. Everything seems to be healing okay. Looks painful. He said it's just that his toes don't wanna bend LOL

Soaking them 2 times a day... peroxide, air dry, band-aids.

Next appt in 2 wks. We are seeing improvement tho :)

Work is keeping me super busy. My neice is here ,and we are enjoying her company.

I'm off this weekend, so hopefully we can do something fun!

Friday, July 03, 2009

nurse Rachel

Ugh, I don't like it when my kids are sick or hurt. Daniel took the bandages off his toes tonight and was to soak them. One toe bled a little. Then stopped.. then it started again hours later and would not stop. We soaked them and it kept on bleeding. I called the ER and they said apply pressure for 15 mins, hard pressure, and elevate foot. It will stop.

Get the gauze and the timer. Prep baby boy (who is now 17) of what I MUST do. Begin to cry. Start timer and apply pressure. By this time I"m sobbing. He said it didn't hurt. 15 mins is an eternity. Take off pressure. Bleeding again. 2 more rounds. Each time it hurts a bit more.

Finally it stopped. I don't think i'm gonna get much sleep tonight. He's fine.. I'm a wreck.

Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

surgery

Yes, Susan, it is very stressful. I tend to clam up and get very anxious. Everything seems very ... uptight?

And my baby boy??? Ain't nothing like a mamma and her boy! Girls have their dads wrapped.. but boy have their moms' hearts!

He napped, ate, popped another pain pill. He's happily sitting with ice packs on his toes while sitting in the recliner and playing his video game LOL


Kill the roots, the nail shouldn't grow back.. so you have just toughened skin on the top of your toe... My neighbor's sister had it done yrs ago and she paints her skin LOLOL

update on surgery

Daniel did fine. Everything went quick.

After we got him settled at home, I ran to pick up his pain meds. When I got home, the icebag had slid to the side and the tie was across his toe and the icebag was suspended from that tie!!!!!! His bandage was soaked.

A quick trip to the doctor's office and they rewrapped both toes. :) Back home and refilled the bags, tied them differently, and tucked him in bed. He had taken a pain pill before heading out to the doctor.

I'm exhausted!

Say a little prayer

Please say a little prayer for my son, Daniel. He is having surgery this morning. He has been battling ingrown toenails, and today he will have them removed and they will kill the roots so the nail never grows back. He'll never have to worry about them again!

I'll let you know how things went as soon as I can!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's June and we are melting

Good grief. It's JUNE, people, and we are reaching 98+ degrees!!! It's JUNE. We still have July, August and September to go. Even October is hot for us. I dunno what we are gonna do. Swimming pools feel like bathtubs. The hurricanes stripped lots of trees of the upper branches and simply uprooted others. Those trees sure helped keep the ground a bit cooler. It's bad when you wake up at 7am and it's already in the 80s.

And there is my husband, working out in the heat all day. :( What a wonderful man to do all her does to provide for his family. We are blessed.

With all this heat, I tend to keep the shades closed and the curtains drawn; no reason to heat up the house anymore than it needs to be, right? The heat puts a damper on cooking. I want cool meals to cook. I'd eat pasta salads and egg salad and chicken salad.. and salads.. but sometimes you just want some FOOD. Naturally, I want all the foods that require long cooking time.. and oven cooking. Not gonna happen. When summer hits, I try to use the crockpot more and the roaster instead of the oven. Crockpots are not just for soups and stews! They cook all kinds of scrumptious things. Check out http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ She gives reviews of the foods she cooks AND has pictures. I love pictures on a blog. :)

I am off this weekend. The kids wanted to go shopping. I knew a day of shopping was going to leave us very hungry. Hmm... I know! Baked potatoes in the crockpot! I started them before we left - sprinkled with salt and garlic powder, wrapped in foil. I checked them when we got home and moved the knob to low. We stopped at the store on the way home for potatoe fixings. I must remember to do this more often. I have also been so hungry for potatoe soup.

The kids hit good sales at Old Navy and Rue 21. Then we popped over to the library so they could get on the computers. Yes, i know i have a computer at home but it's my work computer, and everytime the kids got online they picked up a virus. MYspace is horrible for viruses. So, I take them to the library for their computer time. It has worked great so far. Once a week of an hour computer time... and they can check out books and videos, cds and even books on players ... works for us. No more squabbles about the computer or worries about viruses messing up my computer. :)

Richard found the radio tuner for my ipod in the truck! Yeah! Now can jam to the songs WE like. No more commercials or music i don't approve.

Time to stretch out and watch some tv until supper. It's been a great day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ipod, it's magically working again.

My oldest got an Ipod for Christmas one year. She loved it and loaded it with songs. Then she discovered transmittors to play the Ipod thru the car speakers. There she was zipping along to her favorites with no commercials. 100% sweet jamming!

That came to screeching halt when the Ipod suddenly stopped working. Thankfully, I bought the 3-yr service plan. She finally called for them to send her paperwork to ship it off. She was so hoping for a new Ipod with more memory if they could not fix hers.

She has yet to ship it off. Last night we were "geeking" (sitting in the recliners with our laptops while online and listening to music) And yes, she would send me the occasional message via internet LOL Shes so commical! She wanted her Ipod since she has her own laptop and was fussing herself for not sending it off yet. She wanted to try and plug it in to see if it worked.

HELLO! Ipod working! She was so happy. This morning she texted on her way to work that she was jamming and it was working. I'm thinking she left it in the car and it got too hot.. or it was totally drained. Either way, it's working now and she is so happy.

My computer at home is used for work. Works' software conflicts with Itunes. Therefore, no Itunes for us. GRRR. I was so happy to hear soon I would get a computer from work and my computer would be mine again! Whoohoo. Itunes was first on the list. My son now has an Ipod and wanted to put some CDs on his Ipod. He used friends' Itunes and synced his Ipod to them. Smart!

I went to my sister's awhile back and took my Ipod along. She has a very N.I.C.E. one and has been loading it up with music for a good while now. I synced mine with hers. Instant music. We have very similar taste and I have not been disappointed with any song I have heard so far. Oldies, new, pop, rock, Christian - She's got it covered. I'm in business. Now to get the care transmitter. That's next on my list.

Once I got my lap top fixed I was practically running out the door from the store to get home and load itunes. I could now fill that Ipod UP! I have put a few CDs on there. I'm also working on listening to all the current songs and deleting the ones I don't want. 1161 songs! That's enough for 3 days worth of listening. I'm trying to save a little room so i can have a Christmas section!

I love putting the headphones (yes my headphones!) on and dancing around the room. There are just some songs that you cannot sit still while listening to them. Isn't technology wonderful?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Monday

Menu for the week in no particular order:

Monday cheeseburger pie; veggie on the side or hamburger patties cooked in a brown gravy

Tuesday Pepper steak; rice; veggie

Wednesday Spag or lasagna; garlic bread; salad

Thursday Meeting at school - leftovers

Friday I'm OFF - I may put red beans cooking in the slow cooker so I don't have to worry about supper.

Summer is HERE and it's hot. I need meals that are cool! Any ideas?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How i have missed my laptop!

My daughter bought a laptop last week. I asked about having my old one fixed. YES!

I picked it up and took it home after 3 days in the shop. Why did I wait this long to see about getting it fixed?

I got it home and it did not work. I returned to the store.

They kept it for a few days. I picked it up tonight. It was doing the same thing. They fixed it. Software conflict!!

My laptop is humming away and I"m soo happy to be able to sit in my chair or take it to the kichen (for recipes!) or lie in the bed and surf. Ahhh.. I forgot how nice it was to sit outside or take it with me places.

I work on my PC all day. I hate sitting there at night on my off time to get online. Now, I don't have to! I am soo happy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

So much pride!

Richard and I are busting at the seams! Jessica got the news she wanted. She'll start training as a hystology technician in 2 weeks. We are so very proud of her.

WTG, Jessica!! You are on your way in the adult world. Daddy and I are so happy for you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taxes

A reminder - second quarter taxes are due on Monday. Use this the next few days wisely to get your papers/checks/money/envelopes/stamps in order.

And it doesn't hurt to mail them earlier either!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Routines

My MIL stopped by the other day. Her husband passed away in 2005 - right after the hurricane. I cannot image going through all that alone. She still has rough spots, and here lately is one. I try to do what I can. Having never been through that, I'm kinda at a loss. I figured just listening is best.

We got on the topic of routines and depression. EVERYONE has highs and lows. Hormones? Life? Whatever it is, we all go through it. I was very depressed after the hurricane - and rightly so. I did not see it at the time. Why not? Well, because I was depressed. Plain and simple.

Back to routines. I have found that even when I don't want to get out of the bed in the morning, or cook, or go anywhere, or talk to anyone.. if I continue with my daily routines - you know, Flylady - that I will pull out of my slump faster than if I do nothing. It's just too easy to say "I'll get back to that." That lends to more talk of "I'll get back to that." And it never happens. The clutter spreads and just makes you feel worse. Something about going through the motions of my daily routine and not having to think about them is comforting. It may be bare minimum.. but something is getting done!

I can see my MILs face get brighter. Routines! Yes! She's smiling now. Routines let you know what to expect, what to prepare, what to do. 24 hours is a long time to do nothing when you are alone in a house. At least a routine would give you something to busy youself, your house would be picked up, and you would FEEL BETTER.

My husband sat there looking at us like we were crazy HAHA. I have the BEST MIL in the whole world. I'd do anything to take her pain away. I want her to be happy. On this day.. listening and sharing seemed to do the trick.

Time to start my routine!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My homemade yogurt

I tried following Ms. Maggi's recipe for homemade yogurt. The first batch was wonderful. AFter that ... ehh.. it never came out right. Then I tried the crockpot version, thinking it would stay the same temperature evenly. Hmm.. it was runny and looked like clumpy, sour milk.

So, I combined the 2 recipes. This is how I made mine:

8 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup yogurt with live cultures - room temp
crockpot
thermometer
wisk
bathtowel

Place 8 cups milk into the crockpot. Stir in the powdered milk with wisk. Put on low, checking temp. often. It must reach 180 degrees! It took MY crockpot 4 1/2 hours on low to reach 180 degrees. Turn off crockpot and allow to cool down to 110 degrees. This took my crockpot 2 1/4 hours - again, check the temp. Wisk in the yogurt. Cover with bath towel and let sit for 6 hours. Spoon into containers and place in fridge. It should last 7 - 10 days.

You will then have plain yogurt. It will be thick and creamy. You can add sugar, honey, etc., and fruits for flavoring. I add mine in as I go. Most of the time, I don't sweeten it and put it on top of 1 cup of cheerios. mix and eat. MMMM

Things to remember:
Temp is very important. Use a thermometer. The milk must reach 180 degrees to "prepare" the milk (that's the best way to put it).

I add the powdered milk to thicken up the final product. You can play with that amount until you get it how you like it.

The milk must cool down to 110-115 degrees before you add the yogurt, too hot and it will kill the good stuff in the yogurt you are adding to the mix.

It's really thick and much better than the store-bought stuff. I buy a large container of yogurt (Dannon with live cultures) and freeze 1/2 cup portions to use as starters later on.

You can also strain some yogurt to get the whey. I'm still looking up uses for whey. The thickened yogurt will now be like.. sour cream to me. Most sites say it is like cream cheese. I find it still very tart for cream cheese. It's very thick but creamy. I'm sure you could sweeten it with a little bit of jelly.. MMMM

If you make yogurt in the crockpot, tell me how it worked for you.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's a date!

Tonight we are headed to a friends' house. A couple of her family members play music and they are gathering at their house to have a jam session. There will be French music, country music and gospel music.

I cannot think of a better way to spend the evening - good friends, good time, good food, and good music.

I"ll dance one for you!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Homemade - yogurt and kefir

I just got some homemade yogurt started in the crockpot. Hopefully all goes well. The first time I made yogurt it came out soo good. Since then.. ehh.. it's okay. I'm sure I had beginners luck. I have tried making yogurt at night, but I had to stay up so late because I started it so late. Last night while contemplating staying up late, it dawned on me - hello? Make it during the day, first thing in the morning.

I also tried my hand at making homemade kefir. I used some store-bought kefir and added it to some whole milk and let it sit on the counter. It seemed to firm up more after I put it in the icebox (fridge for those of you not in Louisiana). It tastes very much like the one from the store, but I"m afraid to drink it LOL I know yogurt and buttermilk and even kefir can be made from a "starter". My store-bought kefir says live on it. I want to get some freeze-dried kefir from the health food store and compare it to that. Even from the freeze-dried starter I can make a few batches using a starter from the previous batch.

I really like homemade yogurt. It's soo much better than the ones in the store. Summer is here and the kids will be wanting to make shakes and have snacks. This should help some with the cost. Most importantly - it tastes soo much better.

I also plan to make some cream cheese from the yogurt. We use a lot of cream cheese around here. I'm curious as to how the homemade one compares to the cream cheese in the store.

Now, to do some research on the whey that will separate from the yogurt to make the cream cheese.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

May spending

I'm sure there were some other purchases here and there during the month. May was a busy month. I decided to keep a tally of my savings along with my spending. I like being able to see how much we are spending/saving on food. It's an eye opener. I also need to update my pricebook.

The kids are out of school for the summer. I anticipate my grocery bill to increase a tad. :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Busy weekend.

I had a nonstop weekend even though I was off.

Friday afternoon, my friends and I decided to go garage saling Saturday morning. We hadn't been in a good while and wanted to spend time together and have some fun. Never a dull moment with us. I picked up a few things. Nothing major, well, except for Sarah's "crunches". Better known as crutches.

Oh yes. She gave me a hard time for not buying her some "crunches" to play with and has never let me live it down. So, when I saw some more for sale I scooped them up. She has had the best time with those silly thing LOL She loves to "ride them" as she refers to using them to walk. Silly girl! Best 3.00 I spent.

Jessica bought a computer on Saturday. She's really growing up! She discovered that owning a computer is much more than plunking down the money in the add. There are virus protectors and wireless cable and routers.. and of course - fun in being able to get online when she wants to.

Sunday was spent cleaning. Egads! I am so glad I follow Flylady, even if it is very loosely. Our vanity top was ... just filthy! Now it sparkles and I love going in there. Laundry was done, bathroom cleaned, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, picked up and put up, and the kitchen cleaned! Daniel mowed the lawn. I feel like I got so much accomplished.

Rich grilled burgers on Sunday, so that freed up a lot of time on my part.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday - I have bonco - the family is eating leftover burgers and salads and mac n cheese. (we tend to eat our burgers without buns, so salad on the side instead of ON the burger.)

Tuesday - Baked chicken, carrots, potatoes, rice and gravy.

Wednesday - Fajitas with the timmings.

Thursday - chicken pot pie using up leftover chicken.

Friday - Cheeseburger pie or homemade pizzza - depends on who is home :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ahh, bologna!

And bologna it is! I hit a great sale on bologna once and wondered how I could stock up and keep it from going bag before we had a chance to eat it. We go through phases around here. We will eat bologna every day for 2 weeks and then hit a dry spell.

Think, Pooh, think. How can you save bologna?

In the freezer, that's how. And it works, really. You can do the same with hotdogs. My upright freezer in the laundry room.. the door is filled with hotdog and bologna. Seriously. I buy at least 6 packs when it goes on sale - according to my pricebook. Sometimes we eat them regularly, sometimes not. This way, we rarely run out.

To defrost, I put a pack of bologna or hotdogs in the fridge and ... that's it. I usually forget I did this and remember a few days later when I see the pack. By this time it's thawed and ready to be eaten. You cannot tell the difference either.

So stock up on that bologna and hotdogs. Dogs on the grill and fresh tomatoes on a bologna sandwich. Bring on Summer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shrimping season is OPEN

I live somewhat near the Gulf Of Mexico. I also leave near some huge lakes. Shrimping season opened Monday. And you know that that means?

My Wonderfully Amazing Husband went shrimpin with his awesome baby brother and they loaded up! Once their icechests were full they headed home. You know how my husband got paid for his help? He brought me home an icechest full of fresh shrimp. Shrimp that were HUGE. We left them on ice and went to bed. It was a long day in the sun and we were both pooped.
Richard and I headed them Tuesay - and got soaked in a rain storm while sitting on the front porch. The wind was howling and whipping the trees around. Not my favorite thing. Naturally, when we were done heading, the rain stopped. I was drenched. I rinsed the shrimp in the kitchen sink and doubled bagged them in freezer bags. Their spikes have a way of puncturing the bags. Not good to have your freezing smelling all shrimpy. I put up 8 bags with 5 dozen shrimp in each of them. I'm set for a little while at least.

Then I peeled some, cause who can be all around shrimp and not have their mouth water? Richard fried the shrimp, onion rings, potatoe wedges and.. dill pickles.
Leftovers today. Cold fried shrimp MMMMM

I love living in the south, especially in Louisiana!

This was after we had all eaten. Click to enjoy the yumminess up close.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tax-free weekend

Saturday and Sunday were tax-free. That means we pay no sales tax - a savings of 4%. While it may not seem like very much, we are taxed so heavily here in Louisiana that ANY savings is appreciated.

After we left the Farmer's Market on Saturday we headed to Stines. Once all the little things for "honey-do's" were found we headed outside for the plants. Richard picked up some more veggie plants - he so misses his huge garden, but we just don't have the time to devote to it. I picked up some stones to make a wall for the flower bed. I have some bulbs I need to dig up and move to the new flower bed. I'll snap some pictures once everything is in place. We had a lot of rain here on Sunday - 2 inches. It may be a few days before we can get it completed.

Coming along nicely!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Farmer's market

The local farmer's market in our town is held every Saturday morning from 7 - 12. Local farmers are out there with their goods that are in season. There are also people selling plants, homemade goodies, and woodwork.

We popped over on Saturday and scored 2 huge tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, a sweet potatoe pie, 2 dwarf gardenia bushes and a cantelope. MMMMM It was all soo yummy. WAS? Yes, was. We love fresh veggies and it was gobbled up over the weekend. Nothing better than fresh tomatoe slices with a sprinkling of black pepper and salt to go with fresh cucumber slices with the same and a sprinkling of vinegar.

We planted the gardenias along the front of the house. They are soo fragrant. I noticed it also has many buds still waiting to bloom.

I am still waiting on my tomatoes and noticed more coming out. I have some bell pepper that will be ready soon too. I love reaping the rewards of gardening.

Click the image to enlarge.













Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oh no, we are out!

This morning was Breakfast Sunday - the rare occasion that we are all home (and probably the kids have company). Richard loves to cook. He loves to cook breakfast, and his scrambled eggs are THE best. Cooked with LOVE, as he calls it.

This morning we decided to cook up some grub. Who could resist eggs from your own chickens, breakfast sausage, bacon, milk, and OJ? My kids like syrup on their sausage.

Great. No syrup. Then I remembered:

HILLBILLY SYRUP

I learned long ago that Ms. Maggi will not disappointment me. I usually check the hillbilly site first. I started making syrup years ago. To be honest, I didn't tell the kids at first. They never noticed. Well, really they did. They thought it was BETTER than store-bought syrup. And thus, the love of making it ourselves was born. Sometimes I do pick up a jug of sugar-free syrup for the occasions daughter wants Atkins pancakes. It kinda kills the point of eating low carb if all you have is sugary syrup.

I got the syrup cooking while hubby was busy with the bacon and sausage. I ladled the syrup from the pot only because it was still too warm to pour into the awaiting empty ketchup bottle (see, recycling!) It was still kinda thin, but they gobbled it up.

Once, I had a friend look at me with a twisted face wanting to know why on earth we would make syrup when you can buy it in the store for pennies? Pennies? Really? Guess I am shopping at the wrong places.

I'll share with you why I love making syrup:

1. It's neat to be able to make it. Face it, how many people do you know who make their own syrup? Or make anything from scratch for that matter? It's neat to have that knowledge.

2. No running to the store in the middle of cooking to get the much desired syrup.

3. I can control the sugar!!!

4. I like being frugal.

The best reason? What makes my heart all warm and a smile sweep across my face??

When my son comes to me and says, "Mom? When can we have those GOOD pancakes (meaning from scratch) and use your syrup? That would be an awesome supper. Your syrup is reeeeally good."

I rest my case.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doctor appointments

My mom and grandmother both had followup appointments on Tuesday. They are on the mend. They still need lots of rest and my mom has to have a followup CT scan of her sinuses to make sure she is improving. I do hope my mom has learned that rest and saying NO to people is okay. She often meets herself coming and going (read to say she does waaay too much).

Last night I watched all my DVRd programs from last week. I also watched the season finale of LOST. Hurry up next season!!

I am eagerly awaiting my weekend off... but it's already filling up with to-dos. Ack!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

whirlwind of a week!

Thanks, Heather. I have been praying for you too :)

Let's see. My 88-year-old grandmother has been with us since Wednesday after being released from the hospital. She is weak, as to be expected. A nurse comes two times a week to check her vitals and well being. She will also start checking her incision after the bandage comes off today. This gives me a huge relief. I'm afraid we will overlook something really important.

The nurse showed up for the first visit and I knew her from many, many years ago at my very first job! I'm STILL in the medical field after all those years.

My grandmother was afraid she was going to be a bother to us; disrupt our household. Hardly! The kids have enjoyed having her here. How many kids can say they remember their great grandmother? Yes, her care takes up a huge amount of my time. BUT, the kids are self-sufficient and my husband is not in the least worried he is missing out on my attention. He fully understands my need to be there. My grandmother is 88 years old. She is sharp as a tack. She will not be here forever. I am blessed to have this chance to see about her.

Each day, I see an improvement. She sees it as slow going. Everyone reminds her it will be slow going. She had a major surgery and it's to be expected.

We've formed a pretty good routine with meals, medications, seeing about her drainage tubes, getting dressed, exercising, napping, lunch, medications, chatting, exercising, napping, reading, chatting more, supper, cleanup/change, exercising, watching tv and then bedtime.

My sister calls nightly to see how "the baby" is doing. When my sister brought her to my house she seemed to be hanging around an awful long time. Then she spoke up saying it was like leaving her baby at a new sitter. While she knew I could handle taking care of our grandmother, she was still worried.

I now know what she means. The original plan was for my grandmother to return to my mom's house on Sunday afternoon. Too much going on. Then it was supposed to be Monday afternoon. Nah. Let her stay another day. My mom has an appointment this morning with her doctor for a followup. It's just too much hassle of moving my grandmother there and then turn around and worry about her being alone while my mom races to the doctor and then races home again. My grandmother has an appointment today at 2. My mom will pick her up then and take her to the doctor. Afterwards, they will go back to my moms. This way, my mom can rest this morning and after her appointment and the doctor can give her the okay that is getting better and can be around my grandmother. My mom landed herself in the hospital the same day as my grandmother's surgery. She had pneumonia and severe sinus infection. She has been very slow to recover too. They both have followup appointments today.

The bags are packed, her clothes are all washed, her paperwork is in order. We stayed in our night clothes today until it's time to get her dressed for her appointment. She was too worried of dirtying some extra clothes and making my mom wash them! She knows my mom is still recooping and wants to do everything to help. Last night we all bathed and got in gowns early so I would have time to wash and dry her clothes. She's silly.

Now she is down for her morning nap and I"m trying to catch up on email and blogs.

I'm sure it will break my heart when I see my mom drive off with my grandmother.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Full circle

You are taken care of when you are young. Then you care for yourself. Sometimes, you need others to care for you when you are older. It's a circle.

My mom is a wonderful nurse. Not so much a good patient. She loves doting on people. Rarely does she rest or just relax. Which is what probably landed her in the hospital - too many irons in the fire.

My grandmother is being released today. My sister works at the hospital my mom and grandmother are in, so she will bring my grandmother to my house this afternoon when she gets off work. My grandmother will stay with us until .. well.. until need be. I'm so glad I have my big house now!! She is doing wonderful and you'd never know she had surgery.

My mom? She's finally starting to come around after steroids, Mucinex, breathing treatments, Tylenol, and IV fluids. She may be able to go home on Friday. Maybe. Even then, she will be so weak that there is no way she can tend to my grandmother. I keep telling them she is no bother and she is more than welcome to stay at our house. I am off on Friday, so I can spend the day chatting and maybe catching up on my sleep!

My list has been made for my To-Do's. I'm making progress. I may have to start grocery shopping and menu for every 2 weeks. I cannot seem to get to the grocery store every weekend.

Time to do more laundry. Keep us in your prayers.

Monday, May 04, 2009

grandmother update

My grandmother's surgery went well! She walks to the bathroom pulling her IV pole, gets in and out of bed (assisted), does her breathing exercises, eating, drinking, arm exercises...She looks amazing.

My mom? Landed herself in the Emergency Room. She has pneumonia with a severe sinus infection and is on an IV. She has been admitted to the hospital, two floors up from my grandmother.

Thanks for the prayers, they are working!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Time to pause

Life has been really rough here lately. Lots of stress. Lots of strain. Tension is high.

Today I am pausing. I am picking up my grandmother and taking her to my sisters house so we can visit. My sister's patio is complete and we want to see it. I'm sure we will spend a few hours giggling and sharing memories.

Tomorrow my grandmother is having surgery because her cancer has returned. Mastectomy. She is almost 90. NINETY!

The first round she was optimistic. This time she seems tired and depressed. She has every right to be. Hopefully this visit will cheer her up.

Keep her in your prayers tomorrow please.

Many thanks.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Errands

Today is errand day! We always say we are gonna get a head start. Yeah, right. We'd like ONE day to at least sleep late.

Home Depot
Library
Walmart
Lunch
Mall
Marshalls
Haircuts!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Totally slacking

This week has been super busy. Wait, it started gaining momentum LAST week and hasn't stopped.

Menus this week have been using what we have on hand. Tonight is especially good, so I thought I would post.

Baked chicken, steamed frozen green beans, homemade rice a roni, and cauliflower mashed potatoes YUM!

Last night was fried egg sandwiches.

Night before that was chocochip pancakes. It's time to make some more missouri mix.

Before that it was leftovers.

I cannot think before that.

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to get my coupons sorted, cut and a menu made and so some grocery shopping.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

the day after

The wedding was VERY nice. The bride was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The decorations, music, food, drinks, dancing, laughing, friends reconnecting... was wonderful! I saw people I had not seen in some time. I saw people I see every day cut loose and have some fun. I saw young and old coming together to celebrate and have fun.

Today I'm tired. I rolled up last night after midnight. Of course, I stayed to help pick up and clean up. I didn't want the bride's parents, my friends, to have to worry about all that. It was their daughter's wedding day.

And what a day it was!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Almost time.

Most of my friends are older than me. That's puts me about half-way between them and their kids. Their kids are really like my nieces and nephews. I am blessed to witness the wonderful relationships between mothers and daughters and sons. To see how important it is to have a good relationship. And to see the work it involves. It ain't easy. My friends are also able to comfort me as I go thru the same trials and tribulations they went thru with their own children. My support group is wonderful.

That said. My "niece" is getting married on Friday. She is a beautiful girl inside and out. She is strong and confident. She has a tender and forgiving heart. She is a worrywart and a mother hen to her own nieces and nephew. She is going to be a beautiful bride and a wonderful wife and mother. I hope I am able to give her the support system she needs as her married life takes twists and turns and ups and downs. May she also have the strong bond with her own children that she and her mother have.

Congratulations, Teeka! May this be the first of many wonderful memories of your life with your husband.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Paper day

Wednesday's are what I call paper day. It's the day I pay bills, file things, toss papers, sort papers. Anything dealing with paper gets done on Wednesdays. When I say toss, I mean to toss in recycling bin.

Paper can take over quickly. Here are some things that I try and do. I'm only human, but I give it my best shot.

Open mail at desk and make two piles - keep and toss. Toss the extra papers that comes with bills, like the return envelopes and all those extra sheets in there. And toss the junk mail. File the important things for Paper Day on Wednesday.

Every Wednesday make a pass thru the house and toss the old newspapers, ads, magazines, scrap papers, and receipts not needed. If you are like me, those stray papers that have now formed piles here and there. Sort and toss. File/put away the important stuff.

Sort thru the papers on the desk. Write the important things in my desk notebook or calendar and toss the rest.

Check over the calendar for upcoming things. Start making list of things needed - presents for showers/parties, special foods, etc.

Check grocery ads on line and match to coupons. Start making grocery list with coupons. I start now so I can use the coupons in my binder. On Sunday new coupons come out. I check the ads online again and go thru the new coupons. It's easier to set them aside before I file them in the binder.

Pay bills! If you get in the habit of paying your bills on the same day each week there is less chance you will miss them.

Best book I read about dealing with paper is Taming the Paper Tiger. Check out your local library for a copy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finally, FOOD!

I finally broke down and went to the grocery store on Saturday after not shopping in over 2+ weeks. It took Sarah and I over 2 hours, but we managed to restock the house and save some major cash using coupons! Kroger had some awesome sales. Gotta love it! Don't forget to to update your price book.

Total rounded off - 315.00

Using Kroger card 268.00

After coupons! 230.00 for 85.00 in savings!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday - Chicken strips, white gravy, kids pick veggie

Tuesday - porkupine meatballs in a tomato gravy, mashed potatoes, kids pick veggie

Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas; salad/slaw

Thursday - Nacho casserole

Friday - Leftovers!

Things run so much better when I plan ahead. Mondays and Thursdays are busy days at work. I usually plan leftovers or quick meals. I ask for input from the family as to what they are hungry for. They tend to eat better if they have some say-so in the meal. Daniel ALWAYS asks for Heather's chicken enchiladas. I think he could eat them every day. I have some packs of ground meat that are rather large. I'll defrost one and make the meatballs, then cook the other portion to make the nacho casserole. Leftovers means clean out the fridge of whatever is left. Around here, I eat the leftovers the next day for lunch and the kids eat it after school as snack. They are starving, ya know!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Aww honey, honey.

There has been much talk in the news about honey bees disappearing. Bees are very important for pollination. There are a lot of farmers around where I live - rice, beans and sugar cane. In the "off season" they use their pastures for grazing cattle. You can see the white bee hives they set out for the bees to occupy. When the crops are planted, this ensure pollination.

Richard and I often run the dogs early in the morning down the country roads running between the pastures. You can see those white boxes in the fields for honey bees to make a comb. Lately, those boxes have been empty.

Seems the hurricane wiped out more than just the lives of people. It damaged crops too. It took a full year before things started blooming again. Slowly it has increased since the hurricane. I dunno if it will ever be like it was before. We planted a garden after the hurrice and nothing really grew. Flowers were not blooming. Nothing was being pollinated. The BEES were gone.

The other day Richard was running the dogs and saw this. It seems even the bees prefer country living by making their house on a fence post instead of the stark white "houses" people put out for them. I'll have do some research on bees and honey around here. It would be neat to see it up close - without the bees, of course.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bucket gardening

Have you planted anything yet? What did you plant? How is it doing?

No room? No time? Do what we did!

Here is my original post on bucket gardening. Check out the end of this post to see pictures one month apart.
My plants are doing better than I expected. Have lots of clusters of flowers - which will eventually turn into tomatoes and bell peppers. It's neat to have them close by on the porch so I can see them change day by day. No weeding! I have only had to water them once because the rain has done the rest of the watering.

If things keeping going this well, we'll do bucket gardening every year from now on. That will free up some room in the big garden for potatoes, carrots, corn, and peas.
Can you see the tee-tiny tomatoe starting? I know, the flash kinda blinds you, but that's as good as I could get. I'll try again once it gets bigger.


March 14 - bellpepper



April 15th - bell pepper is all the way to the right. The plant is so long now that it has curled up to reach for the sun and is under the bottom part of the bucket. I try to keep it on the outside of the bucket so it has room to grow.








Friday, April 17, 2009

The winner is!

And the winner is:

Melanie!

Please leave your mailing address in the comments so I can get these out to you. Your address will not be published.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whooo, I won!

Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. I now can connect to other people who have the same likes This includes COUPONS!

Cheap by choice had a give away and... I won!

I went thru the coupons and took the ones I wanted. I have a small stack left and want to pass those on to someone else. Diapers, gogurt, glade refills, glade starter, eggs, pledge, lady speed stick, scrubbing bubbles, skippy, mustard, country crock, crest coupons... There are still some good ones!

Leave a comment and I'll put the names in a hat and draw. I'll announce the winner in the morning - so check back and see if you won. I'd like to get these in the mail ASAP for others to enjoy. The deadline is midnight!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today or BUST

It's April 15th folks! Get that check in the mail, pronto.

I normally do not wait this late to do taxes. I do not like that rushed feeling. I am also a perfectionist. Which means, if I cannot do it correctly I will not attempt it. That being said, hubby has to withhold his own taxes. HUH? I was totally in the dark. Thus the reason for being late.

Our tax lady is fabulous at explaining things. And now I feel very confident in what I'm doing. I have the vouchers printed. Tonight I'll predate the checks, address and stuff the envelopes, and mark the mail off dates on my calendar. I love being organized.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lotion review

I haved used the lotion all weekend. I am sold! I think I'll be making my own from here on out. This is the first lotion that I can apply twice a day on my elbows - morning and night - and it take care of the problem. I have extremely dry elbows. EXTREMELY. This stuff took care of that after 2 applications.

The older I get the drier my skin seems to get. I slather myself up after the shower at night and the next morning my skin is soo soft. I also started applying it to my face at night. Now to concentrate on my cuticles.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Homemade Lotion

My mom called asking me to look on "The Internet" for a lotion recipe. Every recipe I found was not the one she was looking for - though I think she just forgot what was in her original recipe. Today she let me try hers. Hmm. It looked like it had separated, but wow it works. I read over and over again on the internet that everyone who made the lotion loved it. They all had dry skin. People, if you could SEE my elbows. Yikes. I have tried every lotion under the sun trying to find something not too greasy that will last, AND smell good. I noticed the main ingredient to all the lotion recipes was the vaseline and Jergens. Then you basically chose whatever type of lotions you wanted to add to it. The lotion made the vaseline spreadable by thinning it out. The vaseline helped make a barrier for your dry skin, keeping the moisture in. Hmm.

I stopped at the Dollar Store and picked up the items below. There were many different lotions. In place of the Vitamin E lotion you can use coco butter, baby lotion, shea butter. Just pick whatever lotion YOU like.





I then put them all in a bowl. I used my hand-held mixer to whip it all together. Then I put the new concoction in an empty cottage cheese container - cause I"m frugal like that! I also put some back in the Vitamin E jar so I could keep it in my bathroom to use after getting out of the shower. The bigger tub I'll keep in the living room near my chair for daily use. I couldn't get a good shot of the whipped lotion. The flash would white out the white lotion. I snapped the beater so you could kinda see the finished product. I'll run the dirty stuff through the dishwasher to make sure everything gets cleaned really well.


How does it work? Great! Now.. just to remember to use it daily! Let me know if you make some of your own and how you like it.


Friday, April 10, 2009

He'll be coming round the corner when he comes...

While Richard is away, I try and leave him texts and voice mail so that when he gets in range for a signal he will be "greeted". Yes, I'm sappy. It works. He loves it.

The boat that was expected to pick him up this morning run aground on shore and bent the propellors. Helicoptor to the rescue. 15 minutes versus 3 -4 hours! Who hooo. He said it was neat to see things from the sky.

He's on his way home and has to stop in Lafayette to drop some stuff off. I expect him home around 3. That gives me enough time to spend time at my moms and then come home and take a nap.

So far I have had a very productive day. Coffee at the neighbors, laundry, bathroom, dishes, boiled eggs, packed stuff for moms, swept, mopped.

Time to enjoy the day! Fried fish, french fries, macaroni salad, green salad and homemade cookies.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Full steam ahead

It just never seems to stop around here. My husbands job is 24/7 and in a matter of minutes his destination can change. I'm running on fumes. A full-time job and hauling the kids around is wearing me down.

I'll be glad for the break on Friday. Unfortunately, that means I have to work this weekend. Oh well.. it should be really slow!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Stain Out




Have you ever heard of Stain Out? It's a grit cloth; like really stiff screen with some grit to it like sandpaper. I bought it at the grocery store near the mops and brooms. We have a lot of iron in our water. A LOT. Scale builds up quickly. Even though I do my Flylady Morning Routine of swish & swipe, that darn scale eventually starts creeping in. My toilet had lines where the water ran down into the bowl and the ring around the water line was getting darker and dark. Yuck. Then the scale starting attacking my bathroom sinks around the drain. Unsightly!
That was until I attacked it with Stain Out! Just a few minutes of light rubbing and all the scale was gone. Now the toilet nearly blinds you when you open the lid. It just makes me WANT to do the swish and swipe in the mornings. I know that scale will eventually return. But I'll be armed and ready.




Tuesday, April 07, 2009

These are a few of our favorite dips....

The first dip is my son's favorite. Thank's to Sheri, who taught me the secret to keeping to the cheese soft!

The next dip is a new dip I found on the internet. I have a sneaky feeling I will be making LOTS of it from now on. ALL the teens gave them both thumbs up. They said the bean dip was actually better than the store bought stuff. wow! What I love most about making things homemade, you can tweak them to your own taste.

VELVETA CHEESE DIP

1 small block of Velveta cheese
1 can of rotal (tomatoes and green chilis)
1 tube of breakfast sausage, cooked
Jalopenos (optional)

Cube velveta and put in a bowl. Pour Rotel on top and let sit. The acid starts to soften the cheese and keeps it from hardening up. Brown breakfast sausage and drain off grease. Add the cheese/rotal mixture to breakfast sausage. Optional - jalopenos. Medium to low heat until cheese is thoroughly melted. Stir often. Serve warm. You can keep it warm on a dip crockpot or just on low on the stove.

Copy Cat Fritoe Lay Dip

1 (15 ounce) can refried beans
5 slices bottled jalapenos (nacho slices)
1 tablespoon brine, from bottled jalapeno slices
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Combine refried beans with the other ingredients in a food processor.
2. Puree ingredients on high speed until smooth.
3. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Bean dip around here costs 1.69 a can. I paid .57 for a can of refried beans. I had the other ingredients on hand - so pennies for those. Even if we up the total to .70 for the cost to make the homemade version, it's still .99 cents cheaper to make it.. AND the homemade recipe makes 3 times the amount!!

Store version 3 cans x 1.69 = 5.07

Homemade .70

Savings 4.37

Amazing!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Menu Monday

Something along these lines:

Monday - Oven Toasted Sandwiches with the fixings - chips

Tuesday - Roast, rice & gravy, carrots

Wednesday - Homemade Pizza

Thursday - Leftovers!

Friday - Lunch at my parents - fried fish and chips.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday catchup

My brother's family is leaving in the morning to go back to Georgia. The boys went to bed at.. ahh, 6am this morning? They had a good time, though.

Today I made my CVS, Walgreens and Kroger run. I don't want to be running to the store Friday night trying to find Easter stuff. I do need to swing by Walgreens again and pick up something for my sister's kids; just a lil something for when we get together on Good Friday.

I forgot to tally my final tickets in March, and they are long gone. Let's just say I went over the 500.00 mark. Not by too much, but still. 500.00!!?? Geeze. Of course, April is not starting out too well. I made a run to the store to pick up some snacks for the weekend since my house would be full of teens - 91.00 on junk! yikes! That's almost an entire week of food for us. I did manage to only spend 60.00+ today when I went shopping, so I guess it equals out. They gobbled up the goodies and had a great time -isn't that what it's all about?

The wind has been blowing all afternoon. I took advantage of it and pulled my Tahoe on the side of the house near the outlet. I vacuumed and then Bisselled my truck - minus the back (I'll have to climb in there and go through some stuff). It looks fantastic!

Off to rest some before the work week!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Saturday - reconnecting

It was Monday. And then I blinked. Now it's Saturday. Yikes.

Last week was really hard. Rich was gone most of the week and all the kidlet running was left up to me. And it's a lot of running.

My brother's family came in from Georgia. He had to stay behind for work. But it's been a blast to have my niece and nephews here! I was also off this weekend. That's been EXTRA helpful.

The "girls" came here on Friday. The boys came to visit for a few hours, but Daniel had to be to work early on Saturday so they didn't stay late.

Today we all met at my moms. MMM. Food, family and laughter. The "kids" are all older now and it's nice to sit around and hang out with them. To TALK to them.

Now the boys are here for the night and I'm about to bring the girls back to mom's house. I gave mom a little rest.

Tomorrow I'll post the recipes for the dips I made. The kids loved them and gave them both thumbs up. I'll try to snap some photos too. I know I like being able to SEE things.

I'm sitting at the computer and the boys are playing video games.. it's really nice to see cousins connecting. Warms my heart. How I miss my brother and his family living so far away.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Say it Forward



My husband and I are firm believers in Pay it Forward. We truly believe if you are able to help someone, then you should. It's that simple. Why wouldn't you??

You can imagine how touched I was to open Jennifer's blog and find this. Thanks, Jennifer. I really enjoy reading your blog.







Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stimulating my Mind

Heather recommended this book for the worriers out there. It's not easy to change, but I'm willing to try things to lessen the anxiety. I checked it out from the public library.

http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Without-Being-Perfect-Perfection/dp/0307354318


Why would I need this book?

My sister was a part of a study. A free study. You know, where they pay you to go to the appointments, you take the medications, report back, etc. It was an anxiety study. But not just anxiety. Like, EXTREME anxiety.

This is an example of her thought process: She gives her daughter a cough drop on the way to school. As her daughter get out of the car and walks to the school the thoughts begin:

What is she chokes? Will anyone see her? Help her? She goes directly to the classroom and nobody is in there. The teacher across the hall peeks in on them. What if another kid pushes her and it lodges the cough drop in her throat? What if the teacher doesn't discover my child until she's on the floor and blue with a cough drop lodged in her throat. Will a kid run and get help if she chokes?? How are they gonna know it's a cough drop stuck in her throat??

And it goes on and on until she works herself up into a worry frenzy.

She said the medications help - so she knows she was not getting a placebo LOL She continued to see the doctor after the study and still takes medications. She said it really helps.

My brother has this to, but a different version. Ever leave your desk in a hurry at the end of the day? CAn you just slip in the next morning and start work? Probably not. You will want to tidy up so you can find things and start with a clean slate.

Most people are like this. My brother? Well.. his pencil/pens have to be in a certain spot. The papers have to go here. The phone there.. not here, THERE. The scratch paper here and the stapler there. Oh yah. He cannot work until everything is in it's place. It's PROPER place. He cannot get the brain fluids going until it's all orderly. Pretty much his whole life is like that. He has an palm pilot that has alarms set for all kinds of things. He has to check it to see what the heck it's reminding him to do! YIKES. He takes medications too. He said they work.

Where do I fall?

I"m the middle kid; the peacemaker. So, it's only natural I fall in the middle.

I can relate to my brother with the desk thing. I just cannot concentrate on work if things are not lined out properly.

I can sympathize with my sister. As a mom, we want to protect our kids. My thoughts can get to the extreme too. I once told Rich I had to worry for him because he wasn't worrying enough!! HUH?

It doesn't help that I'm an extrovert. I have to say the same things over and over. I have to hear them outloud. Then I can start to process things. I'm sure I drive my family crazy. If it don't do this, I'll be the one going crazy.

I know I worry more than the average person. I tend to go overboard often. My sane husband tries his best to keep me in line. I don't feel it's bad enough for medication, but I know now that it runs in the familayer and I need to keep an eye on things.

I don't know if it is a learned behavior - my dad will constantly line things up or straighten things up around him - he cannot just be still. He also loved torturing us as kids. A sleep over? In the yard? No tent? Ick. What about bugs? A dew? Enjoy your sleepover! Uhm, kinda hard now, Dad! My parents also reminded us time and time again, "And what will happen next?" I know they were teaching us about consequences.. but geeze.. I STILL fret over things and plan things for all scenarios that COULD POSSIBLY happen. ack!! Oh, it's great to be prepared and plan ahead.. but they kinda went overboard. It's engrained in me.

I don't want the same for my kids. That's why I'm reading the book. I need to lead by example.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday - ads

I get as excited on Wednesday's when the grocery ads come out as I do when Sunday's paper arrives with the coupons LOL Yah, I'm nerdy like that.

I think a lot more people are getting excited about coupons. The economy is forcing them to. It really is a shame that people live so far above their means. It's time for a reality check, world. It's time to take control of your spending. Become aware of what you are making, saving and spending.

Time to check out the ads online and line up my coupons.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bonko

Last night was Bonko. I won 3rd place. Whoo hooo me!

We had a great time, as always. It was nice to get away and escape for an evening.

Rich cooked burgers in the skillet for the kids. I wanted burgers wrapped in bacon cooked in brown gravy. He ran out of time. Hmm, ya think?? I keep telling him he cannot wait until the last minute and throw something together. It takes TIME and prepping takes TIME. I remember when the kids were young it seemed just as I cleaned up from one meal it was time to start another. It was very frustrating.

So, tonight I used the leftover ground meat to cook the burgers that I wanted last night. I also tried a new recipe - crockpot scalloped potatoes. Ehhh.. it's okay, but I think I prefer it in the oven.

Rich is offshore again and should get back later this evening. Sweeet!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Monday, oops

I was off this weekend and didn't do a lick of shopping. Work and life has me so stressed, my wonderful husband decided it was time for some re-lax-ation!

We loaded up 4-wheelers and headed to our hideaway - 20 acres of land about an hour away from here. My sister and her family met us there. We had a great time riding, walking, exploring, roasting hot dogs for lunch and just relaxing. It was very much needed.

Tonight is Bonco. I'll have to fix the family something quick.

Needless to say, I never made it to the grocery store. Hopefully I will get there before Wednesday, because I'm seeing some great items on sale.

Hope you made time for yourself this weekend too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Almost busted!

Yikes. I recently updated my spending on the blog for the month of March. Yikes! And we still have another 2 weeks to go.

I know I made several Walgreens and CVS runs. This is a big eye opener for me. Am I saving money by shopping at Walgreens and CVS? It's FREE. What can be cheaper than free??

I got the free soap and toothpaste. Now I have to hold in to the ECBs until next week to see what is on sale/free again.

Vicious cycle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Princess!

Today our oldest turns TWENTY!! Can you believe it? I was induced on March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - The day of GREEN, which is my favorite color. She did make her grand entrance into the world until March 18 at 5:53. She weighed in at 9 lb 9 oz and was 22 inches long! She's turned into a beautiful woman. We are so very proud of her.












Tuesday, March 17, 2009

7 things that make me disproportionately happy

Heather tagged everyone who reads her blog for this meme. So I thought I'd play along. Here are my 7 little things....

1. My husband. From the sound of his voice, the silly nickname he has for me to the way he just always has to touch me when he walks by. He makes me feel loved, desired, special, secure, and happy.

2. When my oldest pulls up the stool in the dining room so we can "chat". When any of them share openly with me. I know they feel secure in just talking.

3. When the kids are all together and interacting. They can be sooo very silly. They often leave messages for each other on the dry erase board along with a picture or two.

4. My rosary. It brings me a great deal of peace.

5. Saving money!

6. Painted toenails. There is just something so cheerful about it.

7. Sewing. It is very relaxing and fulfilling.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu this week

Our menus are off. Rich is home and he likes to cook. Usually on the weekends we eat leftovers or eat light because we are out and about. The rain kept us in, plus I had to work. (blah!)

Friday - tilapia drudged in fish fry & skillet fried; tater tot casserole

Saturday - Mexican Cornbread

Sunday - Leftovers

Monday - Chicken pot pie

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - homemade pizza

Thursday - Hominy, bacon, little sizzlers. (family recipe)

Friday - fish sticks; veggies

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hominy supper!





Rich made his Hominy supper. If you have never tried hominy, you must! This was a traditional breakfast at his grandparents. You know, like, big Sunday breakfast. We always have it Christmas morning. Now and again on the weekend when Rich is home he will cook it. The kids love it. It's really simple. Unfortunately, I was busy while he was cooking and I didn't get snapshots. But, I did manage to snap a photo before anyone ate. You don't know how lucky you are! We have had to increase the amounts over the years. We use the HUGE can of hominy now.

Hominy Breakfast

1/2 pack little sizzlers sausages, cut in rings
1/2 pack bacon, chopped in pieces, reserved 1 - 2 tablespoons grease
2 cans hominy, white, drained
salt
pepper

Cook the sausages in an iron pot until browned. Remove sausages and set aside.. Cook bacon in iron pot until crisp. Remove bacon grease, reserving 1 - 2 tablespoons of the grease. Put the sausages back to the pot with the bacon. Stir. Add the drained hominy. Add salt and pepper. Stir well until thoroughly mixed. Let the hominy soak up some of that bacon grease. Then simmer for a few minutes while you gather the plates, cups, forks, napkins.

Dish up and enjoy!












Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bucket of tomatoes

Richard loves to garden. And I knew he would love this. It is still raining and he cannot stand to be trapped inside the house. Perfect project for him to do on the porch.

By the time I caught up with him, he had already drilled the hole in the bottom of the bucket and put the tomatoe plant through.
















Then I filled it with dirt while he held it up.

















Then he drilled the hole and put the hanger in.
















And here is the finished product! Hopefully this will produce lots. We also did 2 bell pepper plants this way.

Happenings *updated*

Friday I was off. WOOOHOOO. First stop, Berina store in town. EGADS! Have you ever looked at the prices??? I learned a lot, met new friends, and will be headed back for fabric. She has the BEST stuff. I wish I had known what amounts I needed. Oh well. I have enough fabric now and really need to use it up.

After that, it was time to get to the grocery store. Coupon binder in hand, I was off and running. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making my list according to the isles. I know it sounds anal, but there is usually no backtracking (If I stick strickly to my list). I was in the dairy section when a woman toting a binder stopped and looked at me. She walks over to me and asked where I picked up my baseball card dividers, and then tells me she really needs to get her coupons organized. We chatted a moment about always taking your binder in so you don't miss sales and then she says, "I read on the internet to lay out your coupons like the store isles and your coupons too. That way you don't miss anything." HAHHA See! I wasn't being anal, I was being effecient. We parted ways but I so wanted to give her my number and tell her if she had any questions to call me - heck, even if we formed a coupon swap it would be nice. I could tell she was just getting started and was excited about it. Maybe I'll see her again. I do know more and more people are wising up to coupons.

Then I lugged everything home, unloaded the bags onto the kitchen floor, put the cold stuff away and dashed to get Sarah. It is raining and cold and I don't want to do much. We all took naps yesterday afternoon. Then we lounged around the rest of the night. Felt good just to relax.

Now I have to put away the rest of the groceries - I know, I know! But I was just too tired yesterday. Off to make my day productive.

*Once again, it's chilly/cold/damp/rainy here in the South. Two days ago we were sporting shorts. Now? You better bring a jacket. And an umbrella. Blah!

Hubby installed our fan that goes on the wood burning stove. That thing WORKS. I was sewing in the dining room and got really hot. LOL And it wasn't from the iron. I'm glad it works way better than we expected.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mini snag & CVS Value Book

Work was slow so I planned my Walgreen and CVS trips for when I dropped Daniel off at work. We pay 9% State tax and 5% city tax. I may not get my stuff as cheap as others, but it's as cheap as I can get it around here.








Walgreens:
Sarah needed a new hamper and they are on sale 2/5.00!
Colgate was .99 using Easy Saver.
Cadbury eggs were 2.00 each after Easy Saver - I am building up my Easter candy.
Bowl fresh were .50 each using Wag Coupon
3 Orbit gum - already snagged up by Sarah - .66 each with Easy Saver

Total paid 11.54
Savings 8.35








CVS:
I made 2 transactions. The first one used everything that had an Extra Buck return. Then I did another transaction so I could use those bucks on my next purchase. I have a bad habit of not returning in time to use them. Now I use them up before leaving the store.
Total paid: 9.13
Savings: 19.31
** The CVS Flyer does not show that the Herbal Essence Shampoo/condition that is on sale for 2.88 will give you a 1.00 Extra Buck for each one you buy. I had a coupon for 2, so I bought them and then noticed that I got a 2.00 Extra Buck. Whoo hooo! There was a booklet by the CVS flyers when I walked in the store called Extra Value Book. It lists things that will generate ECBs. The shampoo is limit 5 per household with card. Check out the book to see what else you could be saving on.


The Time Change

The time change has everyone here in a funk. Everyone except ME, that is. I love getting up before the sun. I feel like I get a jumpstart on my day. I feel like I get a lot more accomplished during the day too.

Sarah has slept late both school days this week. Highly unusual for her. She was ready in no time, but I know she was rushing. Not a good way to start the day.

Everyone is sluggish in the mornings. They end up staying up waaay later than they should, making them tired in the mornings. A vicious cycle.

Even Rich slept late. I know, I know. I had to make note of that on my calendar. First time in 20+ years that *I* had to wake HIM up! He's normally awake at the butt-crack of dawn every day, all cheerful and energized by the time I crawl out of bed. It's highly annoying and he loves to tease me in my sleepy state of brain not functioning yet.

Yesterday he left to go off shore. He had to be to the docks by 5. That meant he had to leave last night, drive all night, get a hotel around midnight, sleep a few hours, go to docks to catch the boat. All was fine with the trip, finding a place, settling in and saying goodnight (how I LOVE cell phones!!) This morning I called at 6 hoping to speak to him before he got out of range. When he answered with that deep, husky morning voice I knew something was wrong. He never got his wakeup call from the front desk. He was not happy. He missed the boat and doesn't know when the next one is to catch. That pushes his return home that much later. Darn it, I miss him already. It's just not the same with him gone. I'm patiently waiting for him to call and tell me the game plan.

But as for me? I am soo enjoying the time change. I love it dark in the morning and staying light longer in the evenings. Maybe I"ll have time to work in the yard some. I thought by now I'd have had some flowers planted or at least some shrubs. I may have to dig up some bulbs that were in a flower bed. We got rid of the bed, but the bulbs are still down in there. If the grass gets long enough, sometimes you can see the small leaves coming up.

What I do not look forward to is the HOT miserable summer.