Thursday, November 27, 2008

Free eBook

Tawra Kellam at Living on a Dime is offering a free eBook: Gifts in a Jar. This is a 30-page book filled with great recipes and ideas. Click here to get it. While you are there, check out the rest of their's great...and you can even sign up for an e-newsletter.

Thankful Today

I've kind of been feeling in the dumps lately. I decided in honor of Thanksgiving, I would start a list of things for which I am thankful....

  1. My Heavenly Father, who loves me even when I'm unlovable.
  2. My sweet husband, who puts up with my craziness on a daily basis.
  3. My amazing children: BK with her funny ways and hugs that melt my heart...and J with his quirky sense of humor.
  4. My precious grandsons, who love their Gran D no matter what.
  5. My extended family: sisters, nieces & nephews, in-laws and out-laws...we enjoy each other's company and share a love of good food.
  6. My wonderful friends, who surround me with their love and encouragement, sharing our journey together.
  7. Our church family.
  8. Our jobs that provide what we need.
  9. Our home and vehicle.
  10. My blog readers, with whom I get to share a little of myself.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Thank you all for the blessings that you are to me.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving...and don't forget to count your blessings too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nearly Instant Biscuits

I found this recipe on the Hillbilly Housewife website. (There are many wonderful recipes on this website...check it out.) These biscuits make a frugal and tasty alternative to canned biscuits...and even those store-bought frozen ones, without sacrificing convenience. I made some this morning. I cooked some and have a pan in the freezer.

Nearly Instant Biscuits

6 cups self-rising flour (or 6 cups plain flour, plus 3 tablespoons baking powder & 1 Tablespoon salt)
1 cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk (or regular milk with 2 tablespoons vinegar added - let sit for about 10 minutes)

In a large mixing bowl, measure in the self rising flour (or flour, baking powder and salt). Add the firmly packed shortening and mash it into the flour with your fingers or a fork. Do not over-mix. The shortening should be casually combined with the flour, and small chunks the size of dried beans should remain. This is what makes the biscuits flaky.

Now stir in the buttermilk. Stir it up until you have a nice soft dough. Knead the dough about 10 or 12 times. No more, no less. This activates the gluten in the flour just enough to make good biscuits.

Roll the dough out into a nice thick slab (use a rolling pin or any sturdy jar or glass). Cut the dough into biscuit shapes. Use a clean can or glass rim, if you don't have a biscuit cutter. Tuna cans are just the right size for big breakfast biscuits. Continue rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up.

Lay waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Arrange the shaped biscuit dough on the waxed paper. Freeze overnight. The next morning the biscuits can be gathered up and stashed in plastic freezer bag.

When you want to cook them, just take out the specific number you want and place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake in a preheated 450° oven until lightly browned (check after about 10-15 minutes).

These biscuits are better tasting, and much cheaper than canned whack-'em-on-the-counter-biscuits. The whole recipe makes between 30 and 35 medium sized biscuits, or about 20 big breakfast size biscuits (grand-sized).

On Being Rich

My post today has more questions than answers.

I receive a daily email from Mountain Wings. There was a quote referenced in today's issue:

"Being rich is not determined by how much you have, but by how little you need."

I have been thinking a lot about that quote.

How much do we really need? I think that living in the "land of plenty" makes it difficult to answer that question honestly.

Above the basic necessities of food, clothing (basic) and shelter, how much do we really need? Are all the "stuff and things" that we think we must have worth what they actually cost? I'm not talking about the price tags on the stuff in the store.

What I'm speaking of is the real cost.

The stress that's created when the credit card bill arrives and we see in black and white what our choices are doing to us financially.

The toll it takes on our families when both parents are working outside the make more money, to buy more things.

Relationships are strained. Health is compromised. Peace of mind is often non-existent.

Our closets and cabinets and drawers and shelves are full...often to overflowing...but so many feel empty inside.

Is it really worth it?

As the economy declines, we may have to make some hard decisions about what is really important to us.

Read the quote again. How rich are you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Credit Reports

By law, we are entitled to a free credit report annually from each of three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). These free reports can be accessed from

According to Mary Hunt (from Everyday Cheapskate and Debt-Proof Living), the best way to get these reports is to stagger them throughout the year, so that you get one every four months. This enables you to keep an eye out for incorrect information all during the year.

When I get a new calendar for the year, I write myself a reminder in January, May and September to order one report from each of the three credit bureaus so I can set a schedule. This is very helpful because I don't have to try to remember when and where I last ordered.

For more great tips and ideas, check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Craigslist Rocks

In an effort to de-clutter my house and life, I have been selling some things. The most effective way to do this, I have found, is to use Craigslist.

If you have never used Craigslist, you can go to the website and chose a city close to you. Then you can look at the online ads and even post some yourself. There is no charge and listing is very easy and user friendly.

For any of you who live close to me, here are a few items that I listed this morning:

Prayer of Jabez Framed Print - $10

Northern Nights Queen Sheet Set - NEW - $20

Ladies 3X Long-Sleeve Shirts - Blue & Black - $15

New Weight Watchers Cookbook - $5

Cookbook Lot of 4 - $10

New Battery - $20

Tasty Fruit Salad

My friend Joyce made the First Place class a wonderful dessert last week. I went right out the next day to buy the ingredients and made it for a family get-together over the weekend. The consensus was that it is absolutely delicious. The fact that it is a low calorie treat is an added bonus.

Tasty Fruit Salad

1 can pineapple chunks (in juice)
1 large can fruit cocktail (drained)
1 box sugar-free/fat-free Jello pudding mix, White Chocolate flavor
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Carb Master)
3 -4 tablespoons sugar-free Cool Whip

Pour the pineapples (with juice) and fruit cocktail in a bowl. Sprinkle the pudding mix over and stir well. Stir in the yogurt and Cool Whip. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

For more great recipes, go to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Birthday Boy #2

Today is my #2 grandson's birthday. Eight years ago, he burst into our world and life has never been the same.

This boy is a bundle of energy...he just never stops. He is friendly and never meets a stranger. He is incredibly smart and he's in advanced classes at school. He can always make me laugh. He is creative and loves to draw. He tells me that he wants to be an art teacher when he grows up.

I cannot imagine not having him in my life. His hugs make me smile every time.

Happy birthday young un'...Gran D loves you!

Talkin' Turkey

I have never really cooked with ground turkey. I know all the health benefits of turkey over ground beef. What I didn't really realize until this weekend was how incredibly frugal it is as well. Kroger has 1 pound rolls of ground turkey for $1.00. I picked up a few rolls for the freezer. Yesterday I wanted to cook taco soup in the crockpot, so I decided to use a roll of the turkey. Instead of browning the turkey, I boiled and then drained it.

I was amazed. We absolutely could not tell the difference.

I imagine everyone has a recipe for taco soup, but in case you don't, here you go:

Talkin' Turkey Taco Soup

1 lb. roll ground turkey (cooked)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dressing mix

Combine all (with juice from cans) in a crockpot and cook on low for about 4 - 6 hours. Serve with tortilla chips and cheese.

P.S. Tonight we used some of the leftovers to make taco salad. I cooked some rice, warmed the soup and mixed them with grape tomatoes, lettuce, crushed tortilla chips and cheese. We topped with ranch dressing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Someone I know sent out an email yesterday that spoke in very negative and ominous terms about the election results and the direction that our country will be taking as a result.

A couple of local school employees got highlighted on the news for apparently censoring some students for just saying Obama's name.

These are two incidents that I encountered yesterday that I would consider post-election "fallout." I expect many more to come. So far, what I'm hearing could be considered "sour grapes" from those whose candidate did not win. But I believe in time, even those who voted for Obama will become disillusioned when he cannot deliver on all that he promised.

What I find disturbing in all this is how many people who get caught up in all the mud-slinging and name-calling profess to be Christians. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But how helpful is it to send out mass emails warning everyone of the dire consequences of a poor decision at the polls?

In these days of economic uncertainty, there is enough fear to go around. Do we really need to be sowing seeds of resentment and worry over what may or may not be the result of our new president's regime?

God's Word tells us to pray for those who lead us. In fact, we are told that even though we live in a democracy and vote for our leader, God is ultimately in charge of who is elected. Don't believe me? Check out Romans 13:1.

We are also told that He will judge every idle word that comes from our mouths (or our keyboards). Before we forward on that email, or repeat something we've heard at the hair salon, we probably should test it by the scriptures to see if it is something that we want on our ledger of things that we have said. I'm just saying.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Birthday Boy #1

Today is my oldest grandson's birthday. Ten years ago today my world changed in ways that I could never imagine when I became a grandmother...or as my grandkids call me...Grand D.

He is the responsible one of the four...making sure that his little brothers are all okay. I guess that's an older sibling thing. He is smart (makes all A's most of the time) and so funny. He is so much like his Daddy that it often takes me by surprise. His smile can light up a room. His insight can take my breath away.

He loves his Gran D...and I love him more than he will ever know.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Toys Worth Buying

Today is Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer and the theme today is Toys Worth Buying. So far there are over 200 links from folks recommending toys. Check it out here.

BK will be four years old in a few months. In her short little life, we have inundated her with toys. What can I say? The girl is spoiled.

Many toys never get played with. The ones that do, often get played with over and over. Here are a few of her favorites:

Balls - What kid doesn't like balls? Big or little, fancy or plain, she just likes balls.

Baby dolls - She absolutely LOVES her babies. She has a few that she likes more than others, but her favorite is one that says "Mama" when you push her tummy. This doll probably cost $5 at it's not about how much they cost or what they can do.

Twin Time Dollhouse - We got her this for Christmas last year and she really likes to play with it. I'm not sure that they make them anymore...but you can always find them on eBay.

Doug and Melissa wooden toys - BK has several things from Doug and Melissa. They are sturdy, well made and will last forever. She has a set of wooden food for her kitchen and some puzzles.

Discovery Toys boxes of Board Books ABCs & Numbers - She will sit and play with these for hours. They are great for teaching letters and numbers. They are sturdy and just the right size for little hands.

Keeper of the Home

I had dinner with a good friend this week. Whenever I spend time with this special lady, I always walk away with much to think about.

One of the questions she asked me was "What is it that you want?" do you answer that one over pizza?

I have thought about that question a lot in the last few days. It occurs to me that in this age of advancement for women...when we can do and be anything we want to be...what I want most to be is a good wife, mother, grandmother and keeper of my home.

The world tells us that we need and deserve more, but from where I'm perched in my little corner of the world, I can't imagine anything more fulfilling than to realize the full potential of what God created me to be. As a society...and even as the Church...we have somehow we have lost value that we once had for godly women using their gifts and talents to bless their families at home.

I have to admit that since I left my full-time job, I have floundered quite a bit in my new role as a stay-home mom. Without the routine and schedule of working every day, things have had a tendency to get a little out of control with my house. As of yesterday, I have implemented a 42 day plan to get things in order. This plan includes a systematic overhaul of my house, room by room, not only to clean, but de-clutter and organize as well. At the end of this six weeks, my home will be in much better shape, which I'm sure will help my outlook on life.

I'm also planning to start a project to sew my daughter and grandsons rag quilts for Christmas. I found a great website that has instructions and photos. Click here to see. I don't really sew...and I've never quilted...but this looks so easy that I really think I can do it.

Another thing that I am doing is getting back to menu planning. I have found that if I don't do this, it is just way too easy to pick something up for dinner instead of having a nutritional, home-cooked meal.

So, it looks like I have my work cut out for me in the days ahead. I know that it will be worth it...especially with the holidays coming up soon. I want to be able to enjoy my family during this time instead of fretting about things that need to be done around my house.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall In The Park

Mike and I took BK and the boys to a local park yesterday to play and have a picnic. The weather was unbelievably perfect. After our picnic, we walked on the nature trails for a while. I was surprised that the leaves were so pretty. Usually they aren't that vivid in our neck of the woods. Here are some photos so you can share the day with us.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Of Mice And Men

I've been MIA all week from my semi-regular blog posts. What can I's been one of "those" weeks. You know the kind.

First of all, I've been sick for a month now. Even after a trip to the doctor and several meds, I just can't seem to shake this cough. When someone is sick and tired, everything in the world seems to look a little gloomy.

Then, a week ago we realized that we had an unwelcome guest in our home...a mouse. Now, to fully understand the ramifications of that statement, you must know that I have rodent phobia. Not just the normal aversion to creepy-crawlies, but a full-fledged phobia that developed years ago.

When faced with the object of my phobia, I just lose it...totally. Wikipedia defines a specific phobia as: "...a generic term for any kind of anxiety disorder that amounts to an unreasonable or irrational fear related to exposure to specific objects or situations."

You cannot reason with a phobia. You cannot talk yourself out of the fear. You cannot shame yourself into acting like a grown up.

It is what it is...and it's not pretty.

So, to say that I've been a little "out of sorts" this week is an understatement.

Thankfully (hopefully) the problem has been resolved now and life goes on, even though I'm still a little skittish...and I'm wearing slippers these days instead of going barefooted around the house.

Maybe things will settle down now and I can get back to posting more often.