December 9, 2012

Found a New Home

Hello Everyone....

     I've had problems uploading pictures to my blog over the past couple of weeks.  The system has told me that I have run out of space and that I can buy some more if I choose to. After deleting some of the older posts and trying re-using that space, I decided to move to a new location.
     My forwarding address is:
       Come over for a visit! I'm hoping to get something posted soon!

November 20, 2012


I'm not sure where I saw it first...
but it caught my eye immediately!!

Who would have even guessed that the tops of
the round, cardboard, salt containers fit
PERFECTLY into a wide mouth lid?!!
I tried a pint sized jar first,
but it was too small to hold all the salt.
The wide mouth quart jar was JUST RIGHT!
(It would have more salt, but the
container was already partially used!)

And here you have it... 
another perfectly good reason to
keep extra canning jars on hand!

November 18, 2012


Legos are an ageless 'toy' from way back...
my brother, cousins and I LOVED our Legos!
Did you know they've been around since 1958
and were introduced in the United States in 1973.
Neither did I!
We had our family Thanksgiving over the weekend
and had 23 of us gathered, for the first time in
a very long time!!
I pulled a few games out to bring with us for after dinner, 
and then Audrey went looking for something specific!!
She found "THE TUB"!
What a treasure trove of memories!!
Some of the kid's creations were still in tact after all
these years!! In my mind I could hear the little voices
playing and yelling, laughing and bartering for pieces!!
Here they are now... ages 14 to 25!!
Ahhh, more memories in the making!
I love my family!

November 15, 2012

Sausage - Sweet Potato Bake

I tried a new recipe tonight! I was looking through some of the postings on the Simple Lives Thursday and saw this one....  I was intrigued as the post writer said she found it in one of the cookbooks that I have right here on my bookshelf! Kinda funny how we all see different things when when we are looking at the very same thing!!

Well, I made the casserole and it was pretty good!! Naturally, there are things I'd change next time... like, I'd probably cook up 1/4-1/2 of a sliced Vidalia onion in with the sausage, and I'd cut down the added sugar even more then I already did!! :)

Actually, I would only add a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar to the top... and nothing more! The flavor was quite good and everyone said they liked it! Pete suggested using a more sour apple, it would help to balance the naturally sweet flavors. I may have to do that next time too!

November 6, 2012

Cold Storage Closet

Last year some of the squash went bad because I just couldn't use them up fast enough. The air wasn't moving around in the basement space, it was damp with a dirt floor and they simply spoiled! We didn't want to have that happen again, so after brainstorming, watching some 'you tube' videos and reading about how other people made their cold storage units we came up with a pretty cool plan!! Pete really is the 'mastermind' to this whole project! I just kept finding more information to show him and gave him some of my ideas, but he's the one who made it all happen!!

Pete had quite a bit of the materials already! Check this out! He bought some plywood and PVC pipe, we had leftover paint from the 'ooops' section of Home Depot from a few years ago, a patio door that would have been taken the dump from an old job, some 1X1 scrap for the shelves, and he found the black tubing at the dump!! (The men that work at the dump love to see him come and swap ideas with him!)

Here's the finished cold storage closet!!
It's kind of hard to see the size... but it
is roughly 35 inches deep and about
85 inches wide and tall enough for my
'TALL' family members to stand with extra
space over head so, it's probably 7' tall.

The venting system allows for the air exchange!
The long black hose/tubing is bringing in the cold
air from the outside and the PVC pipe allows
for the exchange of warmer air to escape!
(He is also adding a small fan to keep the air moving...
photo to follow when it is installed!)

I'm taking pictures from standing in the doorway...
Here's a look to the right. The shelving is not totally
finished, but enough for our produce this year.
The back wall is cinder block and we're hoping
this will work to our advantage.
There is lots of space to add shelving for
apples, carrots, beets, potatoes etc.

Here's a look to the left....
spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes,
butternut squash and potatoes in bins and ready to eat!

Now I'm standing outside of the 'closet'. You can see
the black tubing going straight to the right... that
will lead to the outside to draw in the colder air!
The short white tube is the PVC pipe for the warmer
air to rise and escape!

And, this is the outside view where the
cold air will enter the PVC/black tubing!!
FYI: Yes, there will be some screen added
to the outside of this PVC to prevent
the little furry friends from find the
'banquet hall' that we call our cold storage closet!
Next on the docket... 
 Doing some research to find out if
certain fresh foods really do cause other foods
to spoil faster! It seems to me, that years ago,
I read 'something' about NOT keeping apples and
squash or apples and potatoes or potatoes and something
in the same area... but, I don't remember the conclusion!
I'll keep you posted!
I've shared this on Simple Lives Thursday!
Please take some time to look at some of the
other blogger's ideas.

October 30, 2012


They've arrived!!

Our dear friend Petra told us about
elderberries this summer. After doing
some research, and discovering that
they are easy to grow and should grow
quite well around here, we ordered
some, four to be exact!
(Two each of two varieties!)
They arrived and are bigger then
I thought they'd be! I CAN'T WAIT!
I'll keep you posted!

I wish you were going to be here
this coming summer!

Coughing at Night?

I HATE it when I can't
sleep because of coughing!
My good friend Anne told me a few years ago
 to try this. I listened and laughed at the idea
but NEVER did try it
UNTIL this past month! 
She swears by it, and now I
have to admit, SHE WAS RIGHT!!
(Your Welcome!)
Ok, here it is:
Vick's VapoRub

Take a generous amount and rub it onto
your bare feet....

Then, put on a pair of socks and
You shouldn't cough!!
(at least not 'til morning!)
REPEAT each night
until you are feeling better!

Passing this good info. on at
Simple Lives Thursday!
Check out the other
blogs!! It's lots of fun!

October 25, 2012

It's Only Two Months Away!

Christmas is only two months away!
I need all the help I can get when it
comes to getting organized!
This is the 3rd year that I've made
myself an organizer and it really has
been a tremendous help!!
all your lists, receipts,

recipes, grocery lists,
and calenders ALL TOGETHER!
It's EASY to find in your purse for that
planned or UNPLANNED
trip to the store!
After Last year I knew I needed to add
a copy of November & December calendar
pages to help keep organized!
I decorated the outside of the folded page so
I could tell November's page from December!
personalize and print your own calendar pages!
Before I printed, I added the main events from
our home calendar onto each page. Now, I can
keep track of where I need to be and when I can
plan a shopping trip, craft day or baking day! 
I added lots of writing pages for my
many lists and a few envelopes for
receipts, coupons, recipe cards and
one for miscellaneous!
Check back to  my first year of making these if you want to follow
links back to my original source & measurements!
one sheet of card stock tri-folded,
decorative paper
bell punch
maple leaf & oak leaf punch
snowman & snowflake punch
10-12 pages from a writingtablet (cut down)
a few envelopes
double sided tape
and my imagination

Shared on Simply Lives Thursday!

Home Grown Sweet 'Taters

Check out this crop of sweet potatoes!
 Pete dug these up last week and
was thrilled at the size and quantity!
The garden is not really this wet!
He sprayed the dirt off the potatoes so
he could take better pictures of them!
 .... not to mention the flavor!!
You can see the roots & the top of
what was the plant growing on top
of the ground!
These are a definite re-do for next season!
I couldn't get this picture to turn no
matter what I tried!!
Hopefully, you can still read the
scale: 9 POUNDS
Finishing up building a cold storage
that is MOUSE proof and cool enough
to keep potatoes & squash!

October 16, 2012

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

My dear childhood friend's husband Dwight
explains it very well....
take a listen.
To read learn more
check out his blog at

October 3, 2012


How long to your bananas last before they start to turn brown? For years I've had bananas turn brown within just a few days. I always look for the green ones, but it never fails, I buy bananas over the weekend for that week of lunchboxes... but before we even get to midweek, they are starting to turn! I read somewhere... not to store the bananas still all attached in a bunch. No, I don't remember where I read this, but I thought I'd try it, I mean, why not?!

The last 3 times I bought bananas, I took them all apart. I kepr them in a bowl on the hutch, and sure enough, all three times... THEY STAYED YELLOW and each one made it into the lunch boxes!! YIPPIE!!! I wish I discovered this little piece of information YEARS AGO!

Check out Simply Lives Thursdays for more awesome ideas & recipes!!

September 15, 2012


I wanted to try something different this year with the tomatoes! I started out making spaghetti sauce, but looking at the quantity that I'd have to can it was not all that much... maybe one quart and one pint. So after thinking about what to do, I decided to turn it into pizza sauce. I froze it in quantities for ONE pizza each! So many times now there are just two of us at home for dinner on the weekends, so why open a full quart or pint of sauce? I froze 10 containers approx 1 1/4 cups each! (We made pizza that night.... it was pretty good and quantity was perfect!)

Our next adventure was when Audrey wanted to dehydrate some tomatoes! She cut them up and lightly salted them then put them on the racks...  (since I've tried this before, I knew to suggest that she spray the racks with an oil to keep the dried tomatoes from sticking!) She set the heat to 140* and let them go!! She also sprinkled them with some basil for yummy flavoring!! This took maybe 8 hours since some of the pieces were of good size! After it was all said and done...  they fit in a small freezer container! Yikes.... hard to imagine three racks of tomato pieces all fit in here... but they did!! And, I added some oil to it for storage.... not needed, but an experiment on our part! We'll use these in our favorite pesto chicken recipe! YUMMY!

Then on to making tomato soup!! I've never attempted anything but store bought canned tomato soup for some reason. I searched for a good recipe online and found one called "Mom's Best Tomato Soup Canning Recipe". I can't go wrong with that kind of a name, right?!

After reading some of the comments (a few times) I started....  Of course, if you know me at all, you know I almost NEVER make a recipe exactly as it is written. And, you won't be disappointed to know, the same holds true for this one! The recipe called for 6 onions, chopped... well, onions aren't always a favorite around here, so I opted for 1 VERY big Vidalia onion and instead of a whole bunch of celery, I cut up about 3/4 of a bunch! (Keep in mind... the goal is for flavor and a bunch depending on where you live will vary in size. And as for the onions, I think the author must use regular yellow onions which would be way to strong for my family.) I cooked this all down in a little bit of oil and then added the tomatoes and they cooked over low heat for a while! I used my immersion blender since I really didn't want to lose the onions and celery  only the skins & seeds of the tomatoes. I added a few more cut up tomatoes, allowed it to simmer and then used my Foley food mill to rid the pot of seeds & skins!! It worked like a charm!!

Here's where the next change comes...  I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of a full cup and I did NOT add the flour/butter (rue) to thicken the soup. Instead, I decided to wait as some of the comments suggested, for when I actually heat the soup up to eat! A few of the comments were similar in saying:

"If you're following current USDA/NCHFP (US National Center for Home Food Preservation) recommendations for shelf-stable food storage safety (updated in 2009), they no longer recommend canning things with flour as a thickener. Likewise, butter and dairy products."

The remedy is to use a pressure canner for 30 minutes at 10 pounds for pints... that would have worked fine for me too, but being in a time crunch, I opted to use the water bath method and thicken later! 14 pints of tomato soup all ready for the shelf! I can't wait to try it! Next year...  I just may try it with the thickener in!

Next up, diced and canned tomatoes... 10 pints! They're awesome to add to soups, chili and to beef up the spaghetti sauce!! The tomatoes are still turning red out in the garden! I'll probably do up some more of the diced tomatoes when there are enough ripened.
Go look for other awesome ideas!

September 8, 2012

Wine Cap Mushrooms

Look at what Pete found last night!!
He was walking out past the asparagus -
mushroom bed and they caught his eye!
Can you say
'Holy mushrooms Batman?!' 
In the spring we started inoculating logs to
begin our adventures in mushrooming. What I
didn't tell you is that he also 'planted' some
wine cap mushrooms (spread the spores?) in
the asparagus bed in with wood shaving/sawdust.
Check out the above link to Field & Forest!
 Scientific name: Stropharia rugosa-annulata

We weren't sure how long it would be before
we'd see any results!

He went back out this morning and quickly
came back for the camera!
It's pretty amazing ...
Check out this cluster of mushrooms!
Myself, not a lover of fungus... still, I'm
finding this pretty cool!!
I've looked up different ways to preserve...
methods are simple!
1) Cut them up and freeze on a cookie sheet then
put them in a freezer container.
These should be used within 3 months.
2) Cut them up, blanch for 1-2 minutes, cool then freeze...
will last for up to 1 year. Add them to your soup
recipes in the last 20 minutes of cooking! (Add frozen)
3) Cut them up and saute in 2 TBsp of olive oil
or butter. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes,
cool and put into freezer containers.
Use within 9 months.
4) Cut them up and steam them. They are suppose
to hold their flavor & texture the best using this method!
They will keep up to a year!
For more info. check out
Now I need to find some good recipes...
I'm thinking cream of mushroom soup
or a veggie soup will
allow the flavor to be appreciated!
I'll be looking around and keep you posted
as to what I find!!
Check out this Gi-Normous Grouping!
Yup.... I see mushroom farming
in our future!! (OK, right NOW!)

This post was shared on
Simple Lives Thursday!
Go check out what other awesome
ideas were shared this week!

August 30, 2012

My Kindle

Confession time...  

I LOVE to read.
Yet, I swore I would NOT like a Kindle.
I love the feel of a good book and turning pages.
I enjoy everything about the library...
shelves filled with books and seeing the bindings all lined up...
the smell of 'books', yes, there is such a thing... I wonder if "they" could
make a candle with the relaxing scent of 'books'.  

So, my kids asked me if I would like a Kindle....
I debated it long and hard.
I did my research.
I asked book-loving friends their opinions.
I compared Kindle VS. Nook.

I decided to try it....
I got my Kindle on Mother's Day.
All I can say is.... I LOVE IT!

From Mother's Day (May 13th to today August 30th)
I have 214 books on my Kindle!
The BEST part... I haven't paid for one single book yet!
I found a couple of cool websites on FB that post
free books on a daily basis! (Yes, I'll share the sites!)
I like carrying a library of choices with me wherever I go!
I actually bought a 'book-like' cover... so I OPEN a
to start reading my Kindle!

I do miss seeing the cover & reminding myself of the
title & author each time I pick it up.
It is harder to keep track and remember when I can't see it regularly.

I had a hard time with the page turning for a while
and easily got lost if I touched the wrong spot and the
pages turned without me wanting them too.

It was hard at first NOT to be able to 'dog-ear' the page(s) for a later
date to re-read something or to keep my place.

BUT... I've learned that you can teach an old(er) dog new tricks!

Now to learn to pace myself so I don't deal with book-hangovers!

Free Books from Ereader

You're the BEST of the BEST!