Thursday, June 21, 2018

Penny Smart #5

This a place where I share how I've stretched a penny, saved a penny and in many cases spent no pennies.

While on vacation we paid the teenage daughter of a friend to water my flowers.  The first time Chuck turned on the hose water sprayed all over him.  Oops!  The hose burst while we were gone and it had been taped where it split.  At first Chuck was going to remove the hose so we could purchase a new one.  On second thought he said that he could cut off the section that was broken and buy a new connector.  
For $6.00 Chuck was able to repair the hose.  We lost about 10 feet of hose.  No big deal, especially when you consider it would have been close to $100 to replace our 200 feet hose.  Good job, Chuck!

The day after we arrived home my laptop died.  I was not a happy girl.  Especially since I had uploaded all of my pictures from our trip.
When we went to look at laptops there were several on clearance.  This new laptop cost less then $200! Did I want to spent $200? No, but it was much better than full price. 

Patsy at A Working Pantry has a $5 or less pantry challenge.  She will take five dollars a week and add to her pantry.  This is separate from her regular grocery spending.  Since adding to my pantry is a goal of mine I decided to take up this challenge.  
Kroger had a Saturday deal where ketchup was 99 cents each when you downloaded their coupon.  The limit just happened to be 5!  This is a huge score on two counts #1 we go through a ton of ketchup and #2 I haven't been able to find my target price of $1.99 in a long time. 

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Proverbs 13:11  

It's a great reminder to tackle our financial goals bit by bit. So there you go. I hope this encourages you to do things to save money. The old adage that every penny counts seems to apply more and more these days. I find it's much harder to stretch my pennies into nickles. *smile* I find it encouraging to hear about other frugal adventures and I hope you do also.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Strawberry Season

We arrived home just in time to catch the end of strawberry season. When we arrived we were told that it had been a busy season and we'd need to be exuberant for u-pick.   
Megan dove right into the berries.  Well, that is until she found a stink bug in her box! We had quite a chuckle from her reaction. 
There is nothing quite like local, fresh strawberries.  
They were eaten plain and sugared over angel food cake. 
Of course, I had to make jam. 
We have already had a sample and it's delicious!
If you are new to home canning or want to give it a try for the first time I recommend that you start with strawberry jam.  It's super easy! We prefer the cooked method.  I follow the direction that are provided in the Sure Jell package.  I know that many like the freezer version.  So roll your sleeves up, put on an apron and get in the kitchen!  No matter which version you choose I know you won't be disappointed.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Vacation was the best, but home is even better! Once home I started unpacking suitcases while Chuck was still emptying the van.  I'm weird about that.  I start laundry, put things away, and am not ready to settle back into home life until the suitcases are ready to return to the attic.  That's just how I tick!
After that I finished up my grocery list. Unless we wanted to live on pickles with your choice of condiment sauce and a sprinkle of yeast a grocery run was a must.  I had been shopping light, and eating out of the pantry for a couple of month.  We had no fresh foods and were out of chicken.  That wouldn't fly since we eat chicken often.

I had let Chuck know that I needed to do a big shop once we returned home.  I scanned grocery ads, had my list in hand and we headed out bright and early.  First stop was for a quick bite for breakfast and then the fun began.  I hit four stores and we are now super stocked!

I feel like I have been on the move since we arrived home. There was a ton of outside work to catch up on.  The garden is looking well and thankfully the weeds weren't too bad.
I jumped right back into homemaking and there have been some things to pull me from home.  It looks like things will start to settle down.  I don't like to keep a crazy schedule and am working to get it back under control.  I want to be able to enjoy home, summer and have lots of time to visit my parents' pool.

Once I get back into my groove I will share about our trip and a unique stop we were able to make on our way home.  As great as it is to go on vacation it is even better to be home sweet home!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Beach Bound

We are hitting the road for a much need, loooong vacation.  We'll relax, play in sand, visit family, and make new memories.  I'll see you back here the end of June or the first part of July.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Homemade Funnel Cakes

A fair time favorite of ours is funnel cake.  We can't go to the fair or a festival without ordering one.  Who says that they have to be limited to the fair?  A couple times a year I will make a homemade version.  It makes my family happy plus we avoid the long lines and especially the expense.  

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbs. sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg

Whisk together.  Pour into a squeezable bottle.  Many use the mustard and ketchup bottles from the dollar store.  Being the thrifty person that I am, I pulled an old ketchup bottle from the recycle bin to wash and use.  

Heat about an inch of oil in a medium sauce to 375*.   Squeeze into hot oil in a swirl pattern.  Once the bottom browns flip and brown the other side.  Drain on a paper towel and serve with your favorite topping.  

We prefer powdered sugar, but  some other popular toppings are ice cream and a strawberry or blueberry sauce.  No matter your choice of topping I know you'll enjoy this treat!

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Monday, May 14, 2018

In the Garden

First off, let me say, that I know I haven't been a good blogger lately.  I don't know if it's busyness, laziness, or lack of interest.  Maybe a combination of all.  I have loved this space for a long, long time and I'm not quite sure I'm ready to let it go yet.  So bear with me as I go through this season.

As I previously said the weather has turned.  That means that we have entered my favorite season of all.... gardening season!  The garden is planted and so are the flowers.  Let me give you a tour of my favorite spaces.

I was super happy to see my lilac bloom this year.  I wasn't sure it would happen since many spring plants didn't.  I guess the wet and cold early spring didn't affect them.  Yeah! 
My dad came over to till the garden and Megan and I got busy.  
We planted green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, and bell peppers.  My mouth is watering already! 
I also have all of the annuals planted.  Megan took this close up.  She captured the beauty perfectly. 
One of my favorite things is the hanging basket plopped into the bucket we salvaged from my grandparents farm in Virginia.  
Have you seen the drop in planters?  I found them at Home Depot and love the variety. 
My mom and I found a new to us greenhouse this year.  I purchased two of these gorgeous baskets.  Not only are they beautiful, but for a basket this size they were inexpensive.  I enjoy finding new local places to support. 
All of the plants I put into this planter last year came back up.  Yes! I can't wait for the clematis to bloom. Although I don't want to rush the season. 
There are two window boxes on the west side of the garage.  
A couple of years ago we had to cut out part of the sidewalk that runs along the garage.  It made a perfect spot to plant flowers.  
I always plant impatiens in the window boxes out front.  
For Mother's Day Chuck and Megan gave me the gift of labor.  Together we trimmed bushes, planted flowers, pulled weeds, and the Chuck went to get fresh mulch for all of the flower beds.  The labor of love is one of the best gifts!
Since I took this picture the peonies are about the burst.  I can't wait to cut a bouquet for my table. I just need to remember to shake the ants off. Ha!
After years of the east side of our home looking horrible we added this bed last year.  I like the simplicity of it. 
Several years ago Chuck got this bell from a cousin of mine.  We have been trying to decide where to put it.  I suggested we mount it on the clothesline.  That made Chuck happy as he didn't have to dig a hole for a new post.  Plus there isn't another thing to mow around. Win, win!
I've been spending most of my days outside.  I enjoy this time of year where there is grass to mow, flowers to tend, and I wait patiently for the garden to produce.  

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Around My Home

After the coldest, wettest April in 35 years the weather had finally turned. I am one happy girl! My first lined dried items were our sheets.  There is nothing like sleeping on bedding that has been kissed by the sun. 
In March we had a dead tree removed.  To cut the expense we had them to leave a large portion of the tree.  We might have asked ourselves a time or two while we were cleaning up what we were thinking!  The last load was taken away this week.  Chuck has a buddy that took most of it. 
We had a hard time getting anyone to give us estimates.  We weren't happy with the tree company.  Chuck built our fence and is kind of partial to it.  He asked the guys several times if he should remove more panels.  They said no even after he let them know he wouldn't be happy if they hit the fence.  

I bet you can guess what happened.  Yup. they hit the fence.  Thankfully it went between the two post and only damaged one panel.  I spent time painting one side of the pickets.  
Chuck got them installed.  Notice how the pickets aren't even?  We have a very uneven yard.  Once the pickets were up Chuck cut the signature swoop and now you can't tell how up and down our yard is.  
Hopefully I will get the rest of the pickets painted this week.  

For the second year a Carolina Wren family is nesting on our back porch.  It is fun to watch them fly in and out taking care of their new babies. 
The change in the weather makes Megan a very happy girl.  She has a great imagination and loves being outside.  Her latest thing is mixing dirt and water.  When the mud seems like too much I keep reminding myself that soon she will outgrow this type of play.  Please, not too soon!
It felt sooooo good to get my hands in the dirt.  If things go as planned I hope to have the main garden in by the weekend.  
I have most of my goodies ready to go.  
I'm going to run out in the morning and get some dirt so I can plant the impatiences in my window boxes.  

I picked up a rotisserie chicken while at Sam's Club this week.  After we ate a meal off of it I put it into the pot to make stock.  I will pick off the remaining meat (there is a ton still on it) and hope to make chicken & noodles and have enough to freeze for another meal.  
As always there is plenty to keep me busy around my home.

May your day be filled with joy in the journey!