Thursday, December 27, 2007
Look at my cute new apron! I was out with my best friend (retrohousewife) doing some last minute Christmas shopping and we found these in the dollar spot at Target. We each bought one. They were $2.50. I thought that was quite a bargain. I wore mine while I was getting our Christmas Eve dinner ready. The hearts are little pockets. I especially love the ball fringe.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We had such a nice time. The food and the company couldn't have been better.
I didn't take pictures of the kids' table, but here are some pictures of the adult table, the food table, and my impromptu fruit centerpiece on the snack bar. I trimmed the greenery off of one of my trees in the front yard. My sweet mom told me the house looked like a page out of Southern Living. I think she's a little biased, but I did appreciate the compliment! :)
Mike goes back to work tomorrow and Peter flies back to his base. I'm dreading seeing him off. It's so hard to say goodbye. He's very good to keep in touch and I know I'll get to talk to him on the phone often. It's just hard to see him leave and not know for sure when I'll get to see him again. It will probably be months and months. I'm trying to put off the being sad until after he leaves so that I can enjoy this last day with him.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
A Joyful Christmas, Angel with Tree
We are going to watch It's A Wonderful Life tonight and then after church tomorrow we'll have friends over. I'll also be getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner with the extended family at my house. Things are busy, but I'm enjoying every minute! Hope you are too.
I wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas! I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit and I'll see you back here next week!
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!
Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:8 ¶ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tonight we had pot roast with potatoes and carrots, homemade bread, and dutch apple pie for dessert. The pot roast recipe is from one of my back issues of Martha Stewart Everyday Food and it's my favorite way to make pot roast.
By the way, the table wasn't completely set when I took the picture. We DO have drinks and napkins with our dinner. ;)
Inexpensive chuck is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef. Simmering it slowly and gently in the oven makes the beef wonderfully tender.
Note: Browning the meat makes the whole dish tastier and gives the pan juices an appetizing deep brown color.
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 4 hours 25 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 5-pound beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
2 cups beef stock or reduced sodium canned beef broth
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
3 onions, cut into large wedges
4 cloves garlic , chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pan, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Turn meat fat side up. Add stock, wine, if using, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, cover; put in the oven, and roast for 3 hours. Add carrots and potatoes, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer the roast, carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Cut the roast into thick slices, and serve with the vegetables. Pass the pan juices separately.
When I have enough leftovers (I think I'll just have enough this time), I make Pot Roast Ragu from the February 2002 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Pot Roast Ragu
This recipe can be doubled depending on how much pot roast and vegetable are left over. Cooled completely, it can be frozen for up to one month.
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (I sometimes just use an onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (or substitute an extra 1/2 cup of beef stock)
2 cups finely chopped leftover roast and vegetables
1/2 cup leftover gravy or homemade or low-sodium canned beef stock
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, with juice
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme (I usually use dried)
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cooked pappardelle or other pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Crushed red pepper flakes for garnish (you can leave this out, but it really makes this dish for us)
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until softenend, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add chopped pot roast, vegetables, gravy or beef stock, tomatoes, and thyme.
2. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook 30 minutes for flavors to blend and for sauce to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve hot over cooked pasta, garnished with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
And here's the pie. Wal-Mart had them on sale for $2.50. I don't think I could make one homemade any cheaper. Plus it was nice to have a special dessert even though I've been out nearly all day helping Peter get his Christmas shopping done. We even braved the mall!
Mike needs to take a little gift to the secretaries at work. Our budget is very small for this sort of thing. I found the cute mugs at Walgreen's 2 for $1. I filled little treat bags (leftover from last year)with a couple of packets of instant cocoa, some Hershey's kisses, mini marshmallows, and a candy cane and tied them up with curly ribbon. I made tags with the following poem and snowman stickers.
Was told you've been real good this year.
Always glad to hear it.
With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit.
So here's a little snowman soup
complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow,
It's sure to do the trick!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I love to bake cookies year round, but I especially love them at Christmas time. Snickerdoodles are always a favorite.
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
In another bowl, mix together:
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients. Chill dough for one hour.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture, covering completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
And be sure to go over to The Sparrow's Nest and check out Mrs. Wilt's Cyber Christmas Cookie Exchange.
Friday, December 14, 2007
This is one of my favorite everyday aprons. I've been wearing it while I work on the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. It's a yellow and white gingham with cross stitch and a cute little pocket. It's homemade and belonged to my grandmother. Maybe this apron collecting thing is genetic! ;)
Saturday, December 1, 2007
I normally post these on Fridays, but I was so busy yesterday getting ready for company that I didn't get it done.
This apron is obviously a man's BBQ apron. It looks to me like it's from the 50s (how appropriate)! It has a few small stains, but otherwise it's in very good condition. I think it's SO cute!
Friday, November 30, 2007
This is a very easy recipe and is so good on a cold day like today.
6 Cups potatoes, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 Cups cooked, chopped ham
1 Cup American cheese, shredded
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 tsp. thyme
In your crockpot, layer half each of potatoes, onion, ham and cheese; repeat layers. In a small bowl, combine soup, milk and thyme; pour over top. Cover, cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
X mas ornament on tree
It's cold and blustery around here, we have a fire crackling away in the fireplace and the kids are wanting hot chocolate. I can't believe Thanksgiving is already over!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my mom's house. We all ate too much (as usual) and had lots of yummy leftovers to bring home for supper. Neither of my military sons were able to be home, but they were both able to call. They each got to have turkey and trimmings,but neither had pecan pie which is a favorite around here. I wonder if I could figure out a way to ship a pie? That will definitely be on my list of things to bake when they finally get to come home.
Did you all go shopping yesterday? I went for the 6th year in a row with my mom, although we didn't get out quite as early as we did last year. We enjoy spending the day together and finding bargains. Plus she always treats me to Starbucks which I love. I almost never go because it's hard to justify spending more than $3 for a cup of coffee. I got my favorite non-fat, sugar free vanilla latte. Delicious!
I got some GREAT deals at CVS (and walked Mom through a few good deals too), but I'll have to post about that later. There are some things I bought that the kids can't see and I want to have pictures of everything. Maybe I can take some pictures after they go to bed tonight. I will just say that in 3 separate transactions I bought about $130 worth of goodies and only spent about $9 out of pocket, plus I have a fair amount of ECBs to spend next time (can't remember right off hand exactly how many). I also got some pretty good deals at Wal-Mart. I have a few more little odds and ends to pick up (and some more baking to do for the home baked gifts), but I'm nearly done!
We are thinking of putting the Christmas tree up today because we have several things planned for next weekend, but it's SO cold my husband doesn't really want to get up in our unheated attic. We southerners don't do well with cold! :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Mayflower, Plymouth, Massachusetts
The MayFlower Compact
We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.
Source: William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 (Samuel Eliot Morison, ed., 1952), 75-76.
Come, Ye Thankful People Come
Come ye thankful people come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of the harvest! grant that we Wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take his harvest home;
From his field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Give his angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In his garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring thy final harvest home;
Gather thou thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
Come, with all thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I'll admit it...it's fun to try out new cleaners and cleaning wipes. They aren't always too easy on the budget though and they don't always work as well as I think they will. Both of my bathtubs have texture in the bottom. It's nice to keep us from slipping, but VERY hard to clean. I tried everything, and scrubbed like crazy, but there was always some grime in the texture that I couldn't get rid of. I finally found the best way to clean my bathtubs and it's so cheap!
I use lemon juice and baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda around the bathtub then pour some lemon juice over it. It will fizz up and smell nice too. Just scrub like you normally would. It is the only way I have found to make my bathtubs look as white and clean as new.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Tea Cups & Sunflowers
This is a recipe that I think every Southern woman has. It tastes just like Christmas to me. I sometimes put it in cute little treat bags inside a Christmas mug for teacher gifts.
2 C. Tang
1 C. sweetened lemonade mix
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. instant tea
1 pkg. (small) apricot jello
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. red hots
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Pour all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Stir, stir and stir! Pour into small decorative containers to give as gifts. Attach directions for use: Stir 2 heaping teaspoons into 1 cup hot water.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Today I'm sharing another of my aprons and once again you'll have to excuse my picture taking skills. I was trying to get a full length picture in a not so full length mirror. At first I was going to lay it out on the floor and take the picture, but I thought you might not get the full effect.
This apron, like last Friday's apron, was made by my grandmother. I don't remember her wearing this one. I'm sure she must have used it for entertaining and from the fabric I'm guessing it's from the 70s. It's the only full length apron I have. I haven't worn it other than to "model" to show my daughters (and now for the blog).
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Jenny's comment on my Why 50s Housewife? post got me to thinking about priorities. She mentioned all her volunteer activities. I too am a "chronic over-volunteerer" (like my new word?). Is there such a thing as volunteers anonymous? :)
I volunteer at my children's schools, my church , and with several troop support organizations. None of these are bad things. In fact, they are ALL very good things. But are they the things that God wants me to be doing?
I recently re-read Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and one of those lies is "I don't have time to do everything I'm supposed to do." I have felt this way many, many times when my volunteer activities start to clash with my responsibilities at home. How can I decorate for the church Thanksgiving Dinner, cook 2 dishes for that dinner, help with the science fair at school, help with the military care pack donations, and buy items for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes all this week along with taking care of my home and family, let alone spend any time in the Word? I have (yet again) let my priorities get out of whack. I have been called to be a wife, mom and homemaker and that is more important than any of these.
The fact is that I have taken on responsibilities that are not on God's "to do list" for me, they are on MY "to do list". I have been believing that lie this month. I have believed that just because I saw something that needed to be done and no one else volunteered to do it that I had to do it. Much to my dismay, it is all too easy for me to let volunteer activities come before my Lord, my husband, my children, and my home. I'm not quite to that point yet, but I will be if I continue on this path. I don't want to neglect the most important mission field that is right under my nose. That doesn't mean I won't volunteer at all, but I will pray AND talk to my husband before I agree to take on anything else.
Lord, help me do what is pleasing to You and seek Your plans for my life, not my own. Show me how to weed out unnecessary activities and seek You first. Make my home a home that glorifies You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
"But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I love to make muffins for breakfast and these are really good. If you are going to be in a hurry in the morning, make the batter up the night before and store in the refrigerator.
1 3/4 C. Flour
1/4 C. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 C. milk
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1 C. chopped apple
Stir just until moistened and pour into paper lined muffin pans. Sprinkle with a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Here's what I got this week at CVS. The Ameal BP is free after ECBs all month, but this is the first time that my store has had any. I would have bought more, but there was only one. I bought that first and with the ECBs I already had and the $2 off $10 coupon I spent $10.51 and got $29.99 in ECBs. I then bought 2 Garnier Nutritioniste detoxifying gel cleansers, Head & Shoulders Shampoo (that Hubby has been asking for), an 8 pack of toothbrushes, 2 bags of Christmas chocolate (that I put up in my "Christmas closet"), a Gillette Fusion razor that came with an extra cartridge and a free shaving cream, and Mennen Speed Stick 24/7. I had a $5 off any $25 beauty purchase coupon, a $2 off Head & Shoulders, and $2 off the Fusion razor. I used my $29.99 in ECBs and spent 36 cents out of pocket. I have $22 in ECBs for next week.
I recently bought a Gillette Fusion razor for my husband so I don't know if I will go ahead and give it to him, or send it in a carepack to my son. Any extra hygiene items that I get I like to set aside to send to either my son or my adopted Soldiers' Angels soldier.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Merry Christmas, Santa, Snowman, Etc.
The next step in my Christmas plans is to get my cards done. I'm usually last minute with this and last year we didn't get them sent AT ALL! I felt terrible every time we got a sweet card in the mail knowing we didn't send any out. My only excuse is that both my older sons were coming home and I was just too excited to think about anything else.
In trying to have a frugal Christmas this year, I have decided I am going to use all those leftover cards from past years. None of them match, but I doubt the recipients will be asking each other what kind of card they got from us. My only problem now is what kind of picture to include. Some years we have professional pictures made (not gonna happen this year) and some years I take a picture with my digital camera and have prints made. That's not the problem. The problem is that every year our picture has included all 7 of us. This year, the older two won't be here to be in the picture. I don't know if I should just take a picture of the 3 kids at home, the 5 of us, or try to do some sort of montage with pictures of all of us. I don't want to overload people with pictures, or myself with work. I'm trying to keep things simple. I'm sure I'm making this more complicated than it should be. I have a tendency to do that unfortunately.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
This is the apron that I wear every day. It belonged to my dad's mother and she wore it as her "everyday" apron. I love the cute green fabric and the fact that my grandmother made it herself. I also love how it covers so well. Some of my other aprons are really pretty, but don't cover my shirt. They are more for looks than actual use. This one is the same front and back (and reversible too). It slips over my head and ties on each side. I keep it hanging on a hook in my pantry so that's it's handy when I start cooking.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
This is my latest knitting project. Don't look too closely or you'll see all the flaws. I am most definitely a novice knitter. I've been teaching myself with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting and I can finally at least figure out a basic pattern. So far I've made several scarves (they make nice Christmas gifts), some cotton dish cloths, and now this blanket. It's going to be for my older daughter and she picked out the yarn. She loves purple. I wanted to finish it by Christmas, but I just don't think it's going to happen. I never seem to have time to do more than one or two rows before I have to put it up. At least it's portable and I can take it with me if I have to wait somewhere. I thought about taking it to the next PTA or church committee meeting. :)
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I love soup when the weather starts to get cooler! I made this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for supper tonight and it was so good. I don't like canned tomato soup, but I love this.
Chunky Tomato Soup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried dill
2 cans (28 OZ)diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 small bunch basil, thinly sliced
In a soup pot heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft and just golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste, then dill. Add tomatoes and chicken broth, bring to a boil over high heat.Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, you can either transfer about a third of the soup at a time to the blender or use a stick blender directly in the pot like I do. Leave slightly chunky. Serve hot, garnished with basil. If you like your soup creamy, it's good with about 1/2 cup of heavy cream added while blending. Tomatoes are a good source of potassium, B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin C, so in addition to being very tasty, this soup is good for you too!
Friday, November 2, 2007
I love linens of all types. When I go to an estate sale the first things I look for are aprons, kitchen linens and handkerchiefs. Yes, I even love to carry a handkerchief in my purse. They really do come in handy! Every Friday I'll post either one of my handkerchiefs or one of my aprons. This particular handkerchief belonged to my dad's mother. It's machine stitched around the outline of the roses and my guess is that it's from the 60s.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
I love new shoes, don't you? Mrs. Wilt has been talking about her Mary Janes and how versatile they are. They are even featured in her week of dresses. Wouldn't you know it...while "window shopping" at Kohl's today I came across this really cute pair. I've been needing a good pair of all purpose, go with anything shoes for Fall and these are perfect! They are sooo comfortable and were on sale for $24.99. They have a brown suede upper, a bronze metallic strap and a rubber, non-slip sole. The inside lining is pink. I love pink and brown together. I'm sure I will be wearing them almost every day.
I forgot to turn off the flash, so the picture didn't turn out too well, but you get the idea. Oh, and the skirt is one of my recent thrift shop finds. It's Ralph Lauren and I only paid $3 for it!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This recipe is for Church Cookies. The note at the end of the recipe says "The Amish used to, and I think in some places still do, make these cookies to pass during church services to keep the children quiet" It is a HUGE recipe and makes 12 dozen cookies!
5 Cups Sugar
3 Cups lard or shortening
2 Tbsp. baking powder
3 Cups sweet milk
3 tsp. soda
lemon or vanilla flavoring
enough flour to make a stiff dough
I use 16 cups flour and just drop them, then flatten with a damp cloth stretched over the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass. A little more flour may be needed to make them manageable to cut out, but the more flour you use,the drier they tend to be. Chilling the dough before rolling it would help.
Cream sugar and shortening, then add eggs and beat. Add baking powder. Put the soda in the milk, adding it next, along with the flavoring, then the flour. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
These cookies are delicious plain or may be decorated with colored sugar, red hots, chocolate chips, nut halves, etc. before baking.
After posting this, I'm tempted to make them again. I just don't know what I would do with 12 dozen cookies! I know I don't need to eat more than one or two and with that many laying around I might eat more than I should. We still have lots of kids around, but not quite as many hungry teenage boys.