Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pictures of Christmas Gifts

As promised once the gifts were opened by the kids and Mom and Grandma I would post pictures.  Here we go!

This is the end of one of the table runners, each of the ladies got one of these, you can see all four of them below!

  Middle son wanted a 'Bronco' pillowcase so I sewed one up and am very proud that I did 'french' seams in it - it turned out very well I thought.

The daughters in law got these homemade sewing kits that match the purses and wallets I made for them last year.  These were easier than I thought and I put stuff in them I need on a regular basis - like safety pins and stick pins.

 I forgot to take pictures of the scarves I did with the Red Heart Boutique Sashay yarn that does up so frilly but they turned out well each of the females got one of those and the oldest and youngest boys who work security got black knit scarves (not frilly!).  Hubby has saved patches for years and decided to give them to the boys on hats this year so we sewed them on plain hats we found.  Altogether we had a lot of fun thinking up ideas and putting things together and we hope they all enjoyed them (they are polite enough not to complain anyway!)

I did take pics of the table runners during the process and am going to try my first tutorial for those who are interested.  (soon!)

I am making project lists and grocery lists and trying to get all things organized to begin the hibernation fun!  I love having lists and checking things off them.  The weather is cooperating by remaining frigid, several days in a row not over freezing!  This is project time!  I'm even trying to get a handle on next years Christmas gifts so as to get ahead of the curve.  I am going to go now and practice my new crochet skills some more as I discovered the baby yarn!!!!  It is sooo awesome that I simply must do a baby blanket but I have to get better first - so I am doing dish cloths - with frilly edges!  At least no one will know how silly I am being!  (smile)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hope your Christmas was Merry!

The company is gone and the leftovers in the fridge, the kids all got a phone call and we are both showered and ready for bed - Here's hoping you all had as lovely a day as we did!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Slow Living Essentials - November/December

December always goes by so quickly and I seem to have issues slowing down and enjoying it!  I love the Christmas season and hate missing it in all the hustle bustle of the getting ready.  Today I braved the Post Office (could have been worse) and mailed all my packages for family, now I breathe a great sigh of relief and relax and enjoy!  This monthly review has become a really pleasant activity, so I am starting here.

Nourish -  It is cold and soups and stews are de rigueur, I am enjoying using the product of the garden in the kitchen now that the garden is covered in snow!  Homemade bread and rolls are a wonderful way to help heat the house!  (OK that may be an excuse for homemade bread which I love) Those onions that I cried over in August are in little baggies and are wonderful soup seasonings and no crying now!  :)  I froze them in ziploc bags and made them thin so I work out of a bag and break off a chunk and throw in the pan - hubby's idea actually and a good one.

Prepare -  We are preparing for a long hard winter now, the cold started a whole month earlier than usual and seems to be settled in, the wood is loaded on to the back porch so that we don't have to walk to the shed but about once a week, the quilted curtains for the kitchen are making a difference and it just feels warmer when it looks warmer!  (playing head games with yourself and  Door curtains are in the works now that Christmas crafting is done.  Oh and we leave the water running just a trickle to keep it from freezing!
The scotch broom covered in hoar frost!

Green -   This year we felt we made real strides in keeping down the waste - our compost pile is happily steaming in the back yard and we very rarely fill our trash barrel.  Our wood stove is so efficient that we hardly get any smoke at all and there is no smell of smoke in our house.  We hardly use paper towels and paper plates and plastic water bottles at all these days - they are saved for trips and the like. 

Grow -  Still no actual growing but seed catalogs are out and garden planning is getting done.  I picked up the complete set of "gardening made easy" binders and all the cards that went with them at a yard sale (these were about $60 new and I bought them both for $2!) and am having too much fun reading all the good advice and clever ideas.

Reduce - I almost spent more on shipping my Christmas gifts than I did on purchasing materials!  I knew shipping would be about $50, I planned accordingly and using coupons and material from my stash I did all my Christmas gifts for about $100!  That's 3 sons, 2 daughters in law, one husband and my Mom and Grandmother.  I am very pleased.

Create -  All of the family got homemade gifts this year and there were days here recently that I did nothing but craft to get it all done.  Pictures of projects cannot be shown til after Christmas!  (family members do read the blog!)

Enhance -  Another year here in our community and deepening of friendships has taken place.  I look back on the quality of  and criterion for friendships over the years and am amused and interested in the differences as I age - there were the friends who all had kids the same age, the work friends, and now the friends who are done with children, enjoying grandchildren, getting together for quilting circles and I am blessed by the strength of these friendships - mostly through the church - which gives us all a deeper connection I think.

Enjoy -  At the tail end of my Christmas prepping my friend and I went to the mall (Sees candy store and Hickory farms!) It was fun to see the decorations and hear the music, and now that my preps are done I am enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of the season.  We will have company for Christmas - others like us who have no family in the area and are not traveling - everyone is bringing a dish and a board game!

I have also enjoyed this blog activity and am grateful to Christine at Slow Living Essentials for the forum!

Hoar frost on the big pine tree by the house!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

I have really fallen behind in my posts here in the last few days.  Once Christmas gifts are finished I will be better I hope.  Since we are not going to visit the kids and my Mom is with her Mom I have to ship my gifts - but first I have to finish them!  I am nearly done and will post pics after Christmas so as not to ruin the surprise.  Of course there are the choir practices for the church program/drama, the parties for the groups and clubs (quilt club tomorrow),  having friends who will be gone for the holidays over for dinner and getting ready for our company on Christmas added to the handmade Christmas gifts that have become a tradition.  I am not complaining!  The bustle is kind of fun and we really don't do much that we don't want to any more!  We have added one more activity that I am really looking forward to this year - hubby is a new deacon at our church and this year we will be going out and delivering food and gifts to families in our community for the church.  I guess it is tradition for the board members to do this and they say it is very cool!

The handmade gift tradition has been fun for hubby and myself.  We spend a lot of time thinking about something that we can do for each that will be appreciated and used.  Making things by hand has sort of eliminated the tendency to give a lot of 'junk' - don't have that much time!  It has also eliminated our horrible tendency to over spend on Christmas gifts - good intentions, lovely motives, bad thing to do!  We actually plan our gifts and then make lists of things we need to get, we shop early for supplies, and enjoy the whole process - except for the one thing that always gets left for the last minute!  This year I had planned a gift for the girls that is breakable and when we decided not to travel to see them I had to scramble for a replacement!

So a big thank you to those who continue to read this even when I fall behind and I will be posting more as I finish things up and have time to breathe and enjoy the season.  We re definitely enjoying our "White Christmas" as well - it looks like the 8" of snow may not melt before Christmas day. (yes it has been that cold!)  Okay - back to work - making cookies for tomorrows quilt club party!

Our flamingos don't seem to mind the snow!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Been Expecting This!

The weather channel app said it would snow about midnight and there it is!  Temperatures around 10 degrees or -12 for the Celsius group!  There is wood on the back porch, the wood stove is cheery and warm and there are 2 warm quilts on my bed - where I really should be.  I was doing Christmas gifts in front of my computer and got hooked on another BBC History program.  This one was Neil Oliver and the history of Scotland, which is where part of my genealogy on moms side comes from.  I must admit the BBC History you tube channel really sucks me in!  They do a lot of awesome documentaries. (if you are into that sort of thing and obviously I am)



There is a strange quiet with falling snow!

We love our little stove!

I will go to bed now, will say a prayer for those in areas harder hit than we are, there have already been fatalities from the cold and ice.  Grateful that we are ready and don't need to go out, we will stay home and be safe!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2014

I am Thankful!   I am of course thankful for my home, husband, children (soon to be grandchild), God, country etc.  This year I have been trying to be thankful "when you suffer divers temptations".  In other words - when things are not going so great.  There are more lessons to be learned from hardships and struggles than from clear sailing and ease!  While I am aware of this I have struggled with being thankful for it!  :)

So...this year I am listing several things I am thankful for and how they turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

- The second coldest January on record this year, the frozen water pipes and the high electric bill really 'lit a fire under our feet' (pun intended) to get our winter wood stockpile this year.  It is a very comforting feeling to look at the woodpile!

- The late frost that doomed our cherries and apples last spring also toughened our tomatoes and other things in the garden that proceeded to produce a real bumper crop this year.  Not having apples of my own also gave me the joy of spending an afternoon with a friend picking windfalls and 'left behinds'.

- I don't have a dishwasher and at one point in my life I would have complained bitterly.  I am thankful for the time I spend in front of my kitchen window watching the birds and the seasons pass.  It is calming and relaxing - and the view is lovely!

- Money has remained tight, we have neither one been able to find that part time job that would give us a little cushion, and without the cushion we are forced to evaluate and weigh the importance of everything we do.  We are a team in this (this is good), we have become so very aware of the abundance we possess and the things that we really don't need.  Our lives are richer because we only deal with important or satisfying activities that benefit our family or others, we don't waste a lot of time on things that don't provide a blessing to us or others.   (please read that last as being humble and grateful not arrogant and insufferable!  smile)

-  Family troubles sometimes seem insurmountable and then it all works out....our youngest son was divorced at the ripe old age of 22, now he and the wonderful little girl he married are expecting our first grandchild.  Our middle son struggled with drug addiction and poor lifestyle choices, he had been in rehab and jail about the same number of times...his last jail stint he rededicated his life to the Lord and has now finished his first year of Discipleship school, he is a changed young man.  Our oldest and his wife split up for a year, they have since reunited and are doing very well.  the things that appeared tragic have been turned into blessings.

I hope that more than just reminding me of my blessings and to be thankful even in times of trouble - that my litany has reminded you all as well of the many blessings in your life...sometimes we have to look for them and then wait a little but they are there!

First photos of the grand baby!  (looks like it's dad!)
Happy Thanksgiving!  May God Bless you and Keep you!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Checking Things off the Lists

I love lists, I love checking things off the lists, I love checking the lists and enjoying the check marks! I have been known to leave the list at home, or forget to look at it but it doesn't diminish my love of lists!  (I am blaming my mother who is an inveterate list maker for this little OCD in my personality!) At any one point in time I could have multiple lists going - currently I have a list for Christmas gifts to make, housekeeping chores and projects for church and clubs.  One of the lists has gone missing - oddly enough the one with the housekeeping chores on it - making me wonder whether if I had completed more tasks on the list I would now know where the list was!  :)  Yes I really do think about this sort of thing.  I should probably talk to a professional about this but it just doesn't bother me enough!  

The reason 'lists' are on my mind today is that I was able to check off TWO things on my lists.  THE DRATTED CURTAINS ARE FINALLY DONE AND HANGING!  Pardon the shouting but I really was on the verge of hating them if they hadn't gotten finished fairly soon!  Seemed like I kept running into problems and then the sewing machine would need work and I really was a little frustrated!  I started them in September!

The set over the laundry window

The ones over the kitchen sink 

I am fairly pleased with them - if you look up close you can see mistakes but I am the only one who really gets that close and I am not telling!  The batting that I used was one I had on hand and was a 'high loft', frugality said to just use it as I already had it, doing it again I probably would have spent the extra money for the stuff that would have been a little easier to work with and might have hung a little more even but this will definitely keep out the cold, and it is getting cold, it was 27 degrees a couple of nights ago (about minus 3 C)!  Doing it again I might not have used a pattern with so many obvious lines that should match up and I am pleased that it seems to match up fairly well.  I bought extra of the dark print so maybe placemats or toaster covers are in the future!  When I get over the curtains that is!  :)

The second thing to come off the list is the Apples - it took me two weeks but I finally put up the last of the apples and have applesauce and pie filling and slices for the near future.  Final tally - 21 jars of apples are now in the cupboard and I celebrated by mopping the floor 2 times!  (I really have made a mess the last couple of times and had spots of sticky all over the place that I couldn't seem to find until I stepped in them!)  

Curtains are up, apples are down and the floor no longer makes those awful noises when I walk on it!!  Feet are up, coffee is hot, chocolate chip cookies (only two) in hand and the new novel from Anne Hillerman.  (I loved her dads work and her first foray is very good so far.)  

Life is good!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


So my friend Ginger says "Hey you want to go and pick up windfall apples?"  She lives out near some orchards and they let people go through after the picking is done and get the ones that fell on the ground. We were a little concerned as there had been a couple of frosts already and we might have waited too long.  It was a beautiful day with huge storm clouds over the mountains and rain in the forecast.  When we got to the orchard we were surprised to find that there were a lot of apples still on the tree and we got very few off the ground.  Some were small and they were not very pretty but they were free!  It is much easier to see the apples when the leaves have fallen off already!  :)  We picked 15 bags, each bag between 10 and 15 lbs of apples.  Ginger was sharing with neighbors so she had 9 bags and I had 6.  The rain chased me home!  Here is my 'haul' washed and ready
Some are uglier than others - but they were free!

I made apple crisp that night.  Then I started on the applesauce and pie apples.  I boiled the apples with the peels on and then pureed them in the blender and it tastes awesome and you get to keep the vitamins in the skin, this was so easy!  (I hate peeling things!)  Think I will try for apple butter as well

Love the sound of those lids popping!
And of course it was my day for treats at Sunday School guessed it Spiced Apple Bread!  I took a chance on a recipe from the internet and wow was it good!  Click here for the recipe - it was moist and chock full of flavor.  I have learned to always read the reviews on these recipes and the reviews on this were good!  Now I agree with them!

A little butter and - heaven!

I am a little over a third of the way through my apples and already have 9 pints of applesauce and one and a half quarts of sliced apples in medium syrup.  Hubby and I will be eating applesauce with our pork chops this year.  What is traditional with applesauce at your house?

And the best part of course, for my frugal soul (cheap may be more accurate) all this bounty for the price of a half a gallon of gas and an hour and a half of my time spent with a good friend in beautiful country!  Can't beat that with a stick!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I'm having a few issues with the blog (no nav bar at the top and no followers or button for following) and in the process of trying to figure out the problem I got sucked into playing with backgrounds and fonts.  Please let me know if this is easier or more difficult to read etc., constructive criticism is being solicited here!  I should know better than to try to remedy these things myself but I just keep thinking I'm a reasonably intelligent woman - I can do this - there are instructions!  We'll see if it works out and in the meantime let me know what you think of the "furniture moving"!  I will also take any and all suggestions - did I just hit the wrong button at some point or are the computer gremlins after me?  I swear I didn't touch the government's Obamacare website - it's just a glitch!  If I get it fixed maybe I'll offer them my services (for a nominal fee of course). Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Slow Living October Review

Nourish – Colder weather signals comfort food time for me, we eat a lot more soups and fresh breads from the oven instead of the bread machine. What a nice feeling to use the harvest we put up when it was warm now that it is cold!  (note to self - comfort food has more calories - Watch it!)

Prepare – We have been checking the caulking around the windows and the rubber strips under the doors. Also working on 'door snakes' to keep out a draft!

Green – Hubby is raking the leaves now full time, we are trying to keep in mind how nice it was last spring to open up the compost bin and have lovely soil from all those leaves. Does it still count if I make him warm treats after he rakes? :)

Grow – No actual growing going on but we are growing our emergency food supplies a little at a time, we could currently survive a blizzard that keeps us housebound for a while or the more likely earthquake that knocks out power and leaves us on our own for a few days.
My partner in storage - I find his peanuts all summer long!

Create – My friend Anita and I spent a day making up instructions and an example of the Christmas ornament that the quilting circle will be doing at the November meeting. Lots of fun and lovely results. It was something I remember doing years ago and had forgotten, thank goodness for the internet!

Discover – Three of my friends from our Tuesday afternoon Bible study and I went exploring in Boise on a Saturday and wound up in Hyde Park (yes really) and had a lovely time at the bookstore, estate and garage sales, and then a picnic. The trees were glorious and the company was fabulous.
Picnic at the Old Penitentiary grounds - 'The Bishops House'

Enjoy – I am enjoying getting out the knifty knitter looms again, now that it is cold it is much more pleasant to have knitted things all over your legs!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finishing Up For The Season

Frost on the ground two days running definitely says the garden is done!  This week I finished up some things from the garden - dehydrating the last of the herbs and green tomato pickles.  Thought I might get the curtains done for the kitchen as well but the sewing machine is taking a holiday and left behind a great blob of thread in the bobbin compartment, I'm pretty sure it is not coming back till I clean it out and maybe oil - so that is on the list for tomorrow.

I think I figured out my love of fall.  Spring is nice but spring is the harbinger of more work to come.  As I consider myself to be naturally lazy (My dream job is still book reviewer!  Somebody pay me to read all day!) fall then is better - all the good - cooler temps, pretty scenery and fall is the precursor of winter - projects, reading near the fire, warm bread and hearty soups and stews.  Oh yes I love fall!

Green Tomato Pickles is something I don't make all the time, I don't always have enough green tomatoes, just depends on how fast it gets cold and how many don't ripen on the vine - some years it stays warm long enough I have hardly any.  I found this recipe in an old  'Doubleday Cookbook Complete Contemporary Cooking Volume 2' from 1975.  This was one of the cookbooks my MIL shared with me years ago when hubby and I first got married and I needed the help!  :)  Around 2000 she and Dad were in Mississippi on a trip when she got deathly ill and was in the hospital for a month, their garden at home suffered and hubby and I went up to clean it out before they got home - there were tons of green tomatoes and I just couldn't throw them out, so some went in newspaper and ripened and then I went searching for recipes for green tomatoes.  I discovered I do not like 'fried green tomatoes' don't care what Jessica Tandy said in the movie.  But this looked interesting and I tried it.  We opened jars to rave reviews and most have said they sort of taste like 'bread and butter' pickles.  Here's the recipe:
Green Tomato Pickles - makes about 5 pints
2 quarts sliced unpeeled green tomatoes
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 pint cider vinegar
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
2 bay leaves crumbled
   (I used equivalent amount of pickling spices)

2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced thin
   (I used frozen diced onions)    
2 large sweet green peppers cored seeded and
1 large sweet red pepper or 1 small hot chilli pepper
 cored seeded and minced  (I do not put this in)
green peppers

Mix tomatoes and salt, cover and refrigerate overnight; drain well.  Wash and sterilize 5 pint jars and lids, stand on a baking sheet and keep hot in a 250 degree oven until needed.  Mix sugars, vinegar, spices and onions in a very large enamel or stainless steel kettle, cover and boil slowly 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and peppers and simmer, uncovered stirring now and then for 5 minutes.  Ladle boiling hot into jars filling to within 1/8 inch of top (I leave more space than this) and making sure liquid covers vegetables.  Wipe rims and seal; cool, check seals, label and store in a cool, dark, dry place 4-6 weeks before using.

Jars in the oven - let me say here this is not a method I recommend, I suspect modern regulations would say to water bath or something similar - do this way at your own risk!
I'm comfortable with the amount of vinegar killing most germs but you are on your own!

boiling  the vinegars and sugar - this is the part where hubby walks out and says "whew the whole house smells relishy!" 

boiling for another 5 minutes after adding peppers and tomatoes.

I had almost double the green tomatoes so ended up with almost double the jars - 8 pints total.

The little bits of pinky red you see are the couple of almost pink tomatoes I decided to leave in the mix for the color!
Hope you enjoy -

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jots and Tittles

Jots are small markings in writing - the dot over the 'i' for instance, the anglicized Greek word iota.  Tittles are a combination of tiny and little, the words appeared in the Tyndale and then the King James version of the Bible.  Just in case you were probably weren't.

It is blustery and cold, I am thinking of stews and homemade bread.  I was terribly proud of myself for not turning on my oven all summer and keeping the house cool.  Now I am thinking of excuses to turn on the oven but we won't turn on the electric heaters or build a fire til we really have to.  I have gotten back to working on the curtains that will hopefully keep the cold out and the warm in this winter and then vice versa (a Latin phrase meaning the other way around) in the summer.

The garden is done for - we had thought that we would get a fall crop but the weather turned wet and then cold, evenings are about 34 or 35 degrees F (1 to 2 degrees C).  The woodpile has grown and we are enjoying the fall colors on the trees, but we know at some point all those lovely leaves will be on the ground and we will have to pick them up.  Here is an idea - the government could stop funding research into whether or not teenage girls are more likely to have sex if they drink alcohol (I kid you not!  They could have saved money and just asked the teenage boys!) and start funding research on how to get the leaves to fall in easy to pick up clumps-maybe using static electricity!  It really can't be any more useless!

I really wanted to belong to a quilting circle like my grandmothers belonged to years ago - so I talked to a lot of ladies in the church and thought I was doing well and we had our first meeting and they appointed me benevolent dictator.  This was not the plan - the plan was to get someone else to start something I wanted to be a part of!  Note to self -stick with straight forward -finagling (obtaining by trickery) is not your strong suit. (a term from card games)

Hubby and I went for a drive to the mountains today - don't know how many more really pretty days are left in the fall season and we wanted to see the color.  Very fun drive to the local ski area and a road we had not taken before - picnic lunch, beautiful views, and then we came back through Harrison Rd in Boise which is a historic district and the trees were just beautiful.  A lovely day.
Bogus Basin Ski Resort

Wandering thoughts -I'm feeling a little disorganized the last couple of days, hopefully this passes!  I also hope you enjoyed all the fun words - there are words that just shouldn't be allowed to leave the regular usage!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Privy Pantry

Does everyone work better with a deadline?  I certainly do.  So we knew the kids were coming and we only had one working bathroom, this is not going to end well!  When we bought the house it had an obviously added on, not very well done room off the kitchen that has the hot water heater, a toilet, a sink and a door space that is now covered with 2 sheets of plywood and nailed shut.  We did not make it a priority last summer and winter and even this summer, I moved a rack in and started storing some food extras and large pots etc. in it and started calling it the 'privy pantry'!  Now that we were going to have overnight company it needed to be a priority!  So Hubby did his part and got the toilet to flush (had to rebuild the whole tank assembly), poor Hubby he really hates plumbing work!  So then it was my turn to get to work and make it look just a little less accidental!  I bought one gallon of cheap paint and used the half gallon I had left over from last year, and I used the blue that is the highlight color in the kitchen for the highlight color in this bathroom.  (trying for that 'tied together' look)  The color on the walls was the same color as the walls in the rest of the house and it was amazingly hard to cover (2 coats everywhere) and the trim was that horrible old barn red that was on one wall in the kitchen.  The whole job took 3 days and we are pretty pleased with it.

That thing that has two doors and looks like a cupboard - isn't!  It is a big box hanging off the back of the house and we have no idea what it was supposed to be (spider home is my guess)!  I painted it shut for now.

The shelf, like our fences, was made from an old wooden pallet that the previous owner got for free.  Just a little too rough looking for my taste.

We still are calling it the 'Privy Pantry' but at least it looks intentional!  Maybe someday we can replace the toilet with a white one (what is this color anyway?) and I wouldn't mind eventually replacing the vanity.  For now it is fine and it accomplished what we wanted it to do - provide an extra bathroom!  The walls are white and the trim is blue - my camera seems to have adjusted the color for me.  Hot water heater is behind the door.

So there is one more major project checked off the list!  I just need a little push on some things - especially since our least favorite things to do are plumbing and painting!  Glad it's done!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Slow Living September Review

I am late doing this for September. The kids were here and then I rode along with them to my Moms house so my September went by really fast!  Slow living Essentials is the link to follow if you are interested in participating, it's kind of fun to look back and organize your thoughts and memories!

Nourish – sent some of my canned stuff home with Son #2, he lives in a house/dorm with 10 guys and he is a foody, he said all the pickles were awesome and the sauerkraut is so good he has just been eating it out of the jar. So satisfying for me to hear!
Took the kids to the mountains - Son #2

Prepare – Hubby stayed home and cut up all the wood from the trees the boys helped him fell while they were here. Pretty sure they just wanted to play with the chainsaw! (BOYS!) Good start on next years woodpile!
I never let them do this when they lived at home!

Green – I'm thinking taking the bus instead of driving or flying counts – yes?

Grow – Came home to some serious cold and the growing season is over – for now we will go over what did well this year, what we need more of or want to do differently next year.

Create – Started another cross stitch, and am almost done with my idea for cold weather curtains, quilted, to try to help keep the house warm.

Discover – Since our youngest (Son #3) and his wife found out they are expecting my first grandchild due in May I have been pouring over baby craft ideas – this is so much fun!
This is the only time your hubby lets you touch him with a stick you peed on! :)

Enjoy – Truly enjoyed spending time with all three boys together and each separately, loved having the time to visit with my Mom, I think I had way more fun in September than hubby! I will have to make chocolate chip cookies here pretty soon!

   Behind this giant root is a giant tree in the fog!

 Mom and I took a day trip to the closest Giant Sequoias to her house, it was foggy and eerie and beautiful!

Son #1 and DIL #1  Cute couple!

 I had a wonderful September - and knowing the kids were coming motivated Hubby and I to get a couple of things done that we had been putting off (the other bathroom - pics next time!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'm Home Again!

Just a quick post to say hi I'm home, after my 27 and a half hour bus ride with 3 transfers and 3 hours in layovers - I'm home, showered, brushed my teeth, washed my hair and feel pretty human again!

Had a wonderful time with the kids and my Mom - so many times I go to visit her and we have an 'EVENT' going on and the event takes up a lot of time and energy (weddings and the like).  This time it was just me wanting to see her and it was lovely to just hang out and visit a lot.  I will post more I'm sure but for now I'm getting to 'must lay down' stage, so will share my favorite bus station from the trip, it is in Pocatello, Idaho and surrounded by cool buildings and it just made me go back in time in my mind.  I'm sure the folks who work there might like an upgrade (noticed the doors were a little drafty) but oh it was cool looking. The old train station and the Yellowstone Hotel (I think every good sized city and some not so large in the Rocky Mountain West has a Yellowstone Hotel!  It's like a rule or something!)

Union Pacific Railway Station

Yellowstone Hotel

Isn't this just a cool looking old station?!

So good night and when I eventually wake up again I will show a few more photos!  And tell how much money I saved by taking the "long way"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quick Note

Well the kids have been here for a week and it seems like they haven't had nearly enough time.  They are headed to their homes tomorrow by way of Portland Oregon.  I will ride along with them so as to see my Mom in California.  Handy Hubby will stay home and hold down the fort!  (He really just can't conceive of a trip where the goal is to just visit!)  I will ride the bus home and see how that is.  I will be home in two weeks and may or may not be able to post anything from mom's computer. 

On Friday the youngest and his wife took a pregnancy test and it was positive, fun for us to be with them at this very special moment.  This will be our first grandchild and we are suitably excited.  Hope everyone is doing well and at worst I will be back online October 4th!

The drive through Oregon and northern California should be beautiful this time of year - we are hoping to see some beginnings of leaf turnings.  Enjoy the rest of the month!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slow Living August Look Back

Slow living August -

I've been reading 'Slow Living Essentials' for quite some time now and decided to take the plunge and see if I could figure this out! It's such a nice idea to stop and take stock.

Nourish – August has been peak harvest month in the garden. We had two weeks of corn on the cob with our meals, we are still eating tomatoes, the freezer is full of zucchini and summer squash, lettuce, onions, peppers, radishes and cabbage, now we are getting more and more green beans. Love eating food we know is raised healthy. We didn't plant enough this year (experimenting) to get us through the winter, but we will enjoy some things all winter long and that will help.

Prepare – Canning and freezing and my new foray into fermentation (hooray!) the harvest is better than we thought it would be and so we prepare for the cold that will be here before we know it.

Green – We have worked on composting this year more than last year, our kitchen trash has been greatly reduced.  We have been doing our own tree trimming this year and will be able to cut back on the electricity we use in the winter from the small heaters since the wood stove is so much more efficient.

Grow – Just putting in the peas and garlic, one for fall the other for next year

Create – Have begun a 'throw' out of monks cloth that I am doing counted cross stitch flowers on.  I have also been working on quilted curtains for the kitchen (to start) that will hopefully keep out the cold and heat in their seasons, help the wood stove in the winter and keep the fans adequate in the summer.  We nearly caved on buying an air conditioning unit for the bedroom this summer but managed to stay strong

Enhance – This coming Saturday will be the first meeting of the new quilting club that another lady and I have begun in our church. We are calling it 'home arts' club and hope that some of us older ladies can teach our skills to some of the younger ones!

Discover – I have had a surplus of zucchini this year (doesn't everyone?) and have had a lot of fun surfing the inter-webs and trying new recipes, I have new jam, bread and relish recipes in my cupboard and freezer,
ready for winter enjoyment!

Enjoy – I have been having a lot of fun with my genealogy work this month as I have found 2 more cousins (2 or 3 times removed) and have been sharing family tree stuff with people who don't start looking for excuses to get away from me. (like my kids!)

 This is the road to Grandmas farm.  I am thinking of using it as the cover for my genealogy binder for this side of the family.  So many memories.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fall is here - I think.

You can feel it in the air, the coolness in the breeze, the need for a little extra on the bed at night - I think fall is here or at least close.  Why aren't I sure?  Because every year about the time I predict the demise of summer it comes roaring back for a week or so and I am depressed.  I love fall!  I am ready for fall, I want the trees to start turning, I want to break out light jackets, use my oven again, watch football and work on my winter hobbies.  I have enjoyed my summer and I think we have accomplished a lot this year on the property, but I am done. 

I have celebrated this Labor day weekend by contracting some kind of gastrointestinal bug, so we didn't get to church this morning (limits to things we try to share!) and I just have no energy this afternoon so I'm working on cleaning out my computer files.  This involves me going through every folder one at a time and organizing the files, making new files for things that have built up, separating folders if they have become overused or unwieldy.  I do this fairly often and have really been pleased over the past 2 years with the results. (saving time spent looking and searching through files and folders) Instead of a 'recipe' folder with a lot of saved documents or a bookmark folder with a lot of blogs and web pages that I can't remember why, I made internal folders so I have the equivalent of tabs like the recipe books.  Divided my Genealogy files on the computer into ever smaller family units (this one grows by leaps and bounds sometimes!)  I have been scanning over 30 years of photos (mine), and 50+ years of photos (relatives, in-laws, grandmas) onto my computer so I went through and grouped them by activity, so I have a file of 'Christmas' and within the folder are the years and whose house we were at.  This has helped keep it in control and made it easier to find things.  When someone asks for pictures of some event (like my cousin did for Grandmas 100th birthday party) I can go to the file labeled 'trips to Missouri' and then go through the individual years, rather than having to ask (or remember) what year it happened!  This is an ongoing project but at the end of it (hopefully this winter) I will have handed each of the kids a set of CD's with all the family photos on them and not have to worry about being fair (who got that picture - I wanted one of those!) or how much it will cost.  It will make a nice gift in a notebook with CD sleeves!  This also insures that they won't end up with a box of photos of folks they don't know or remember, labeling on the computer is a snap.  I have a few photos of Hubby's family that I don't know, he doesn't remember and his folks have passed away!

The other plus to this will be the 'what do I grab' issue, I will have all my photos and genealogy information (which I think is Terribly important!) on a set of CD's in my emergency bag that includes birth certificates, passports, insurance policy copies etc.  I also  have a CD in that bag with pictures of everything in my house including pictures of my drawers!  From an insurance standpoint it is a great thing to have in case of fire or flood or hurricane, you can prove you had all that stuff and there is no arguing about it!  Insurance adjusters love people who can prove their stuff existed, it makes the job so much easier!  I cannot tell you how many claims interviews I did where I would have to remind someone "of course you owned underwear?"  It is hard to remember things after a disaster - as you read this try to do a mental inventory of one of your kitchen drawers, then go an check - how many things did you forget were there?  If you can't remember/list them you won't get compensated after a fire etc.

This organizing chore takes several hours about once a year and I divide it up usually into smaller bits by doing 'bookmarks' one night and 'documents' another, but since my office is near the bathroom and I don't feel like moving around much I may get the whole thing done today!

This is also allowing me to stay inactive and not be too bored!!!
The kids will be here a week from tomorrow - I'm so excited!  I have so much to do!

Somehow this turned into a sort of 'brag and nag' thing - sorry, blame it on the stomach ache! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hooray for Tuesdays!

Tuesday is not a work day for me.  It is the day that most typifies the life I was hoping for in retirement!  Hubby and I start our Tuesday by going to the library.  Nothing screams old folks like going to the library the same day every week!  We come home and have a light lunch and then I go to my women's Bible study.  This truly is just a wonderful two or three hours.  Our little group has become very close and we pray for each other during the rest of the week, then we come together and visit and study and share our prayer requests and then we go back to our own homes, refreshed and strengthened.  I keep a prayer journal and it is amazing the wonderful and special answers to prayer.  If you have a thought that your prayers are not being answered I highly recommend a journal for them.  I was feeling just a little unheard a couple of years ago and was encouraged by an older saint to keep a journal of my prayers, what an eye opener!  Now I can look back through the journal and encourage myself when I feel a little down.  I see the things I was praying for a year or two ago and am so blessed to be able to put the answer in the journal as it occurs, of course some of the answers were not what I expected but they were answers!  Also having friends praying for you is such a comfort, I am sure that sometimes I can feel a warmth in the midst of a trial and know a friend is praying for me, sometimes a friend will call and ask if I or a family member are ok as she was moved to pray for me, and it will be the same time I was going through a trial.  We pray for our church, our country and our leaders - and the world needs more prayer! 

I look at the things that are going on in the world and am so saddened.  I have always followed politics - my Dad taught political science and government - and enjoyed the debate and the back and forth.  It really is no longer about politics, I almost can't watch the news.  There are so many examples recently of people who have no moral compass!  The three boys in Oklahoma who shot the Australian student because "they were bored" - my parents never let me be bored!   The two guys who beat the WWII vet to death because he "fought back against the attack and angered them"!   With all that is going on in the world today is Miley Cyrus really the top story?  Is no one paying attention?  Where are the adults, what are the parents doing out there?  Has anyone wondered what the world will look like in ten years when these uneducated, thrill seeking, youtube posting punks are old enough to vote? 

So on Tuesdays I go to my friends house, sit down with my spiritual sisters and pray for the world.  It helps me remember that I don't have to worry - God is in control, everything has a purpose, even if I don't understand it.  It reminds me that I need to do my part, to help and mentor, and work with young people who might not know that this behavior is wrong.  I have a responsibility to share my faith and live my faith. I remember to be thankful for the blessings that I have received and I am reminded again how fortunate I am - it isn't about money it is about joy! It reminds me that I have read the end of the book and God wins!

I feel better - I thought I'd share.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Playing Catch Up

Egad!  Somehow a whole week has gone by without a blog post - and I had been doing so well.  There really is no excuse - I have been busy and tired and I have 2 books to finish before Tuesday library day and ....did I really say no excuses?  I seem to have a ton of them! 

Here is how the week looked....
An old Hidden Valley cruet makes a lovely home for the 'sun' dried tomatoes and sprigs of fresh oregano and rosemary in olive oil.

Several more jars of zucchini jam (raspberry flavor this time) along with tomato sauce and pickles in the background.

Dehydrated herbs in pretty jars plus more tomatoes this time diced.

Since I couldn't grow my own dill this year, I had searched for it at the stores and kept 'just missing' it - finally stopped at the the Farmers Market in the next town over and found they have a contract for dill during canning season and it was beautiful and smelled wonderful.  I will make dill pickles until it starts looking limp and then I will dehydrate the 'leaves'.

 I now have 240 squares for the centers of my curtains in the kitchen. (decided on a rail fence pattern) I am going to go ahead and use regular batting as none of the double knit I have on hand is light enough in color to use.  I think the batting will still give it the ability to keep out the cold/heat that would normally come in through the windows and hopefully hang nicely as well.

I have read every Terry Brooks fantasy novel written and so was very excited to find the conclusion to the last trilogy at the library on the 'new book' cart.  When I looked for the second book in the series - I had already read the first - the library didn't have it, I had to put it on order, it finally came in but the last book has to go back on Tuesday, no renewal since it is a 'new book', so I must force myself to read rather than to do housework and stuff.  Yeah Hubby laughs when I say that sort of thing too!

Last but not least, since this will eventually ruin my eyesight, the monks cloth throw is getting its first flower (imagine a pink carnation with green leaves) I am thinking of ways to scan the pattern and blow it up for my bifocal requiring eyes!  :)  This project will become more fun as the weather cools off and I quit looking for ways to put the bulk of the material somewhere other than my lap or legs!

The youngest son and wife, and middle son  (single) are coming to visit in September so I am feeling a little pressure to finish a few niggling projects like the curtains, painting the 'privy pantry' and finishing the bathroom flooring.  They have not been up here yet so we will have fun whether I finish projects or not and they are not coming to inspect my painting skills.  I will still try to get it all done.

Resolving once again to do better and keep up.....!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another Disillusion!

My hubby grows the tomatoes.  He has for years, even when we had a container garden, and he is expanding now to the raised bed.  He just does it better than me.  He started his tomato growing with the hot pepper growing and you guessed it he LOVES salsa.  I apparently have something known as a "girl" mouth and cannot take even a whiff of heat without complaining and my tongue will burn for hours after a trip to a Mexican food restaurant.  When the tomato harvest gets going he will make his salsa and then I get all the tomatoes that are leftover for eating, canning and cooking.  I have sauce to can on the stove currently and I have the dehydrator going with tomato wedges on it.  This last is the source of my latest disillusionment.

I thought to myself  "what other interesting thing can I do reasonably easily with tomatoes?"  Sun dried tomatoes popped into my head - I love these in a little olive oil on a flatbread with feta cheese, or on my fake pizzas with pesto sauce and -  well, you get the picture.  So I turned to my favorite cookbook - Google - looking for recipes for sun dried tomatoes and there it was.....The United States Department of Agriculture which is responsible for food safety and the nutritional labels and making sure that if it says sugar free it is sugar free, these same people do not require 'sun dried tomatoes' to be sun dried, they are dehydrated in huge plants!   I understand there are bugs and rain and such but really! They shouldn't be allowed to put pictures in my head of Italian hillsides and Mediterranean sunshine and rows of tomatoes slowly shriveling up while soaking up the....... it's just wrong somehow.  I should have known I suppose but I guess I thought that was why they were so expensive.  HA!  Now I feel even better about the little wedges in the dehydrator (just like the expensive store bought brand!)  slowly turning into 'sun dried' tomatoes - I did keep the dehydrator outside on the porch during the hottest part of the afternoon.  One more step in my ongoing war against processed foods!   Steps toward more honest eating!  (mildly dramatic yes?) I'm thinking I may just call them sun dried tomatoes so people won't be confused!  :) 
I will post pics when they are done as well - so far this is really easy, I left the skins on and cut into wedges, mostly romas but some of the slicers, squeezed out the extra juice - into the sauce pot - and put them on the trays about an inch or two apart.  This photo is at 7 hrs in.

My cousin sent me a photo of the weekend corn fest at my Aunts house, my Mom and Grandma went to help and between the weekend and yesterday they froze 201 quarts of sweet corn and gave away bags of ears to anyone who would take it!  They plant several rows of sweet corn since they have a large acreage that they have farmed for years - these days they rent out the arable land but still have a huge garden.  They really are very self sufficient with the deer and the turkeys on the place and several ponds they can fish from.
Lord willing Grandma will be 101 in September!

Cousin Kailey says even if you're 100 they still make you work here!

The camp stoves are set up for blanching and the boys just keep picking!

It looked and sounded like a good time was had by all and proved that anything goes quicker if you can laugh and visit!  I sure miss my Mom!