Friday, November 30, 2007

Au Gratin Ham and Potatoes in the crockpot

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

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

X mas ornament on tree by Mike Robinson
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

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Mayflower, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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

Frugal Cleaning

Lemon by Susie Mccaffrey

I'll admit'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

Spiced Tea Mix

Tea Cups & Sunflowers by Helen Paul
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

Friday Favorites

Update: My friend told me the picture looks like a headless ghost. Woops! Sorry about that. Next time I'll wait until someone is home to take my picture.

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."
Proverbs 31:30b

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Apple Muffins

Apple Gatherers by Frederick Morgan
Apple Gatherers

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
1 egg
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

This Week at CVS

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

Planning Christmas Part II

Merry Christmas, Santa, Snowman, Etc.
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

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - I Won't Dance

Fantastic piano playing at the beginning. Is there anything Fred can't do?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday's Favorite Things

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

My latest project

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

Chunky Tomato Soup

Tomatoes by Diane Pedersen

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

Friday Handkerchief

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

New Shoes

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!