Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Freezer Clean Up - Week #2 1/2

The week of Thanksgiving made for a short week for me as I had a four day weekend, working Monday through Wednesday.  Seemed like a good reason to keep on going with this freezer cleanup project I had going on.  So that is exactly what we did.  But it didn't include just dinner preparations.

Sunday - I baked my youngest daughter's birthday cake.  I had frozen some eggs last year so I pulled some of those out and allowed them to thaw and used them in the cake.  Worked great!  Although my recommendation is to freeze beaten eggs rather than whole eggs.  The texture is better.  Little FYI for you.  I also put together my oldest's Grasshopper Pie for her birthday on Monday.

Then I made the most delicious Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  Oh my gosh was it good!

Monday - was my oldest's birthday and she wanted Ravioli.  I had bought her favorite cheese filled ravioli and just made a quick marinara sauce to go with it.  It was quite good.

Tuesday - we had leftover bean soup with cornbread.

Wednesday - we pulled out frozen turkey burger patties and a leftover bag of onion rings and curly fries.  We used the turkey patties to make Mushroom Swiss burgers and served that up with the leftover rings and fries.

Thursday - it was Thanksgiving and we enjoyed the full on preparing and cooking of our meal.  We roasted the turkey breast I had bought last month at Albertson's, made mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, roasted carrots and green beans, homemade dinner rolls and a relish dish of pickles and olives.  It was also my youngest's birthday and I made her a Jello-O Poke Cake per her request.  Lots of food and lots of fun preparing it all together as a family.

Yeah, it was that good!

Friday - You guessed it!  Leftovers!  Yum!

Saturday - You guessed it!  More leftovers!  Yum!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How I Spent My Thanksgiving

I had not taken any time off from work since our trip to the Oregon Coast in June so I was ready for a nice long four day weekend.  I told myself that there would be no horrendous projects around the house this "vacation".  Only enjoyable tasks and time spent with my girls.  To begin with I hand nowhere I had to be and nothing I had to do so that was perfect!  Also, it was just us girls this year and we got stay home.  Our favorite place to be.

Polishing the silver

I left work at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon and parked my car in the driveway, collected my mail on the way in and was greeted by my darling girls busy cleaning up and mulching leaves into the neighbor's compost bins.  I had actually contemplated doing that when I got home so I could start my "vacation" Thursday morning, but I got to start it early!  Thank you ladies!

So while they finished up I went inside, hung up my coat and purse, emptied out my lunch box and made myself a martini.  Yep, you heard me right, I was ready to get started.  Then with martini in hand I headed into my sewing area (in my bedroom) and started going through a banker box of scraps I had collected and my stash of holiday fabrics.  I started a project I'd had in my head for a few weeks now but you have to wait to find out what that project is.  As I mentioned yesterday it is part of a new series I'll be debuting in 2018.  I spent the rest of Wednesday sipping martinis and sewing.  I was in heaven!

Homemade wheat rolls and an old fashioned pumpkin pie

Thursday morning I was up at my usual time (darn that internal alarm clock!) making a fresh pot of coffee and deciding what I wanted to do with my day.  I began with a little more sewing and then switched gears once the girls were up.  We baked a pumpkin pie and I polished my great grandmother's silverware.  Then I got out the lace tablecloth and set the table with the good china, glassware, silver and my handmade cloth napkins.  I had heirloom pieces on my table from four different grandmothers and great grandmothers.  I was feeling tremendously blessed, not only to have these items, but to have also known these wonderful women.

Veggies dolled up and ready for the oven

In my kitchen I placed my seven pound turkey breast into yet another great grandmother's dutch oven and proceeded to cook our Thanksgiving feast with her pots and pans.  My youngest peeled potatoes and made the mashed potatoes as well as the relish plate and the stuffing.  I made homemade rolls and put veggies into a baking dish to bake in the oven.  We started the actual cooking at noon and dinner was on the table just before 4:00 and it was wonderful!  We had everything we had planned on our menu, including birthday cake for the youngest.  The girls just loved this meal.  I spent the remainder of the evening cleaning up and sewing.

Going through my fabric stash and box of scraps

Friday morning I was back at the sewing.  When I was finished I had found myself sorting through so much stuff I was inspired to go through all of my sewing supplies.  And I mean everything!  And I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I sorted, purged and reorganized all of my stuff and then put it all away except for the big JC Penny bag I filled up with stuff I know longer want or need and a small bag of trash.  I also cleaned and dusted as I worked.  The bag of donations as well as a grocery bag I had already filled a couple weeks ago went into the trunk of my car and the trash went into the bin.  Aside from a pile of Christmas gifts on my sewing table my whole area fills much lighter and nicer.

Jell-O Poke Cake for my daughter's birthday

Saturday morning the girls wanted me to take them to the Grocery Outlet (they had jerky for $1.99 a package, go figure) so we made that trip and then went next door to the Mexican restaurant for lunch.  We needed something other than turkey at this point.  Then home again where I pulled out the unfinished scrap quilt I'd started quite some time ago and I got busy putting it together.  It is now ready for the batting and backing and then some quilting action.  I was still full from our lunch so my supper consisted of tea and piece of pumpkin pie.

Great grandma's silver next to my grandma's china
So pretty

Sunday morning found me relaxing with a cup of coffee watching Youtube videos after I slept in until 7:30!  Yeah, that's right - 7:30!  I had a really good night's sleep which helped immensely.  Then a breakfast of blue smoothies and scrambled eggs with my oldest and then the youngest and I took off for a nice long walk.  Felt good to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and stretch the legs.  When we got home I started meal prepping for the week ahead and put the turkey bones into the slow cooker to make a big pot of broth for the freezer.

I cut up a bunch of my scraps to make jelly jar lid covers
I have all I'll need for next year, for sure

I vacuumed and did two loads of laundry, then poured myself a nice glass of Merlot and grabbed the laptop to write until it was time to put dinner into the oven.  Dinner, dishes, put the sheets back on the beds, a long hot shower and I was ready to rest my head and go back to work in the morning.

This is what I am most thankful for - my beautiful girls

With much to be thankful for and feeling blessed beyond measure I can declare this was truly a wonderful little "vacation".  How was your holiday?  Any Black Friday shoppers out there?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

It turned out to be a quiet week for us leading up to and including the Thanksgiving holiday.  The girls were off school and I had a four day weekend with not much planned, which made for a very nice break for all of us.

I had received another one of those $10 off a $10 Purchase coupons for JC Penney in the mail so the oldest and I dashed in and I picked up a new pair of pajama pants to replace a pair I have that are worn out.  The plain black top is still in good shape so I just matched up a new pair of bottoms.  They were on sale for $12 so after my coupon I spent a whopping $2!

I did a little grocery shopping at Dollar Tree.  I had taken my youngest there so she could do some shopping and found quite a few good grocery items to add to our pantry.

I also did some loss leader shopping at Albertson's.  12 cans of corn and beans for 33¢ each is hard to beat and we are now very well stock for canned veggies.  I mostly use them when I make soup so I am very happy to be well stocked.

Along with the Thanksgiving holiday it was birthday central around our house.  My oldest was on Monday and the youngest on Thursday.  Every so often hers lands on Thanksgiving and this year was the year.  I made homemade birthday desserts of their choosing - Grasshopper Pie and Jell-O Poke Cake.  My oldest and I made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

We did not join the crowds for any shopping, including Black Friday.  I'm just not a big fan of that and prefer to stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet instead.  However, holding out for an online sale proved to be the right choice as I was able to pick up my final gift and save $20 off the price.  Whoo hooo!

We washed and reused several Ziploc bags and shower hats.

We fed the chickens lots of good kitchen scraps.  We also composted coffee grounds, tea bags, onion skins, the hard core out of a head of lettuce, pepper seeds, banana peels and egg shells.

The girls raked up and mulched a bunch more leaves filling up our old blue trash can again.  We also added more of the mulched leaves to the chicken's pen area.

I trimmed my oldest daughter's bangs.

Sneak peek

I started a new sewing project for a new series I plan to start on the blog next year and I am super excited to share that with all of you.  Something fun to look forward to in 2018!  It is going to be great!

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Christmas Prep 2017 - Only 1 Month To Go!

Yes, really!  Only one more month to go!

In the past month I have kicked some serious Christmas butt!  How is that for getting into the spirit?!  Butt kicking?  Well, perhaps not, but I did kick it into high gear and I finished A LOT of things on my gift list.  Unfortunately you will need to wait until after the holidays for me to share what all that butt kicking has been about so I don't give away any secrets.

I finished plotting and planning our Christmas menus and am thrilled beyond belief that darn near everything I need to make those meals is already in the house.  Aside from some fresh milk and produce we've got this handled.

I'm excited to start baking cookies!

Our Christmas decor will consist of what we already have on hand.  I do not plan to purchase anything new (knock on wood).  In fact, I'm actually hoping to purge some of the stuff I have and condense it down.  We'll see how well that goes.

In the past month I purchased a package of gift boxes and a package of colored tissue paper for less than $5 at Walmart.  I have to admit, I could have gone nuts in that store if I was of a mind to.  They had a phenomenal and very affordable selection of crap I don't need.  Aisles, upon aisles of it.

I still have plenty of wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, bows, ribbon, tissue and tape from last year.  S0 I'll be making a concerted effort to use what I already have.  No matter how pretty, cute, darling, whatever, happens to be on the store shelves right now.

Isn't this gift wrapping idea cute?

I did my big Amazon order to pretty much finish up my list.  Only one thing remains and whether I purchase it depends on what Amazon has planned for holiday sales today and on cyber Monday.  I will admit that online shopping has been a godsend for me.  I get to take my time, no one is rushing me, I put stuff in my cart and can leave it for weeks adding and removing items until I'm certain I'm ready to purchase.  Very nice.

I've wrapped most of my gifts and plan to finish up the gift wrapping this weekend.  The only thing left is some stocking stuffers which I'll be picking up here and there throughout the next month.  I love that part of Christmas shopping because I get to enjoy the season without any pressure.

This weekend I'll be finishing up our annual Christmas letter and addressing Christmas cards.  I'm looking forward to that.  I really do enjoy sending cards and letters, especially at the holidays.

Tell me where you are at and share some of your plans and ideas for the holidays.  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


With a grateful heart and much to be thankful for we celebrate all that we have been blessed with.

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Freezer Clean Up - Week #2

Sunday I pulled out all kinds of odds and ends from the freezer as well as a quiche I'd made as an extra when I first started meal prepping.  I put that in the refrigerator to thaw.  Since I went to a friend's for dinner that night the girls stayed home to do homework and polished off the leftovers from the previous week.  They had plenty to choose from and made a mini smorgasbord for themselves to reheat in the microwave.

Sausage, mushrooms & Swiss cheese

Monday - Baked the quiche and made a salad to go with it.

Tuesday - We had an open package of hotdogs in the refrigerator so I pan fried those and served them with boxed macaroni and cheese from the pantry and leftover salad.  Not really my favorite meal but it filled the void and the girls enjoyed it.

Wednesday - We found a really interesting pasta recipe on Facebook (I shared the post) and decided to give it a try.  We had the ingredients on hand to make a chipotle red pepper pasta and boy was it good!  It was a great way to use up the leftover cream I had in the fridge.  We served that with another green salad.

Thursday - I pulled out a frozen pizza crust I had in the deep freezer and made a quick pizza with spaghetti sauce, canadian bacon and  turkey sausage I had in the kitchen freezer and some leftover pizza blend cheese and leftover black olives.  We made another salad to go with it.

Friday - We went out to dinner at Red Robin to use the girl's free birthday meal coupons.  Yuuum!

Saturday - I took a container of ham broth and a container of pork dripping (fat removed) out of the freezer and made a delicious white bean soup.  Another big salad to go with our soup and we were all set.

Super easy week and I was happy to use up all those odds and ends of things that might otherwise have gone to waste.  Plenty of leftovers to keep us in lunches too.  Leftover leftovers.

Still looks to me like there is a lot of stuff still in there!

This week is Thanksgiving and since the girls are off from school I didn't need to do any real meal prepping for the week.  However, we'll be right back in the swing of things the next week so I'll start meal prepping again on Sunday.  I am actually really looking forward to it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday tomorrow!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Grasshopper Pie

My darling oldest daughter turned seventeen yesterday.  She is such a fine young lady and I could not be any prouder.  I'm just having a hard time believing she is seventeen already.  My goodness.

This year for her birthday she asked me to make her a Grasshopper Pie.  It is a super easy and very yummy mint and chocolate ice cream dessert.  I thought I would share it in case you might like to make one yourself.

You start out making the crust by crushing up a package of chocolate graham crackers.  Melt half a stick of butter (1/4 cup) and add it to the cracker crumbs.  Mix well and then press them into a pie pan.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Set out a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream to soften, about 20 minutes should do the trick.  Set out a carton of Cool Whip to thaw too.

In the bottom of the pie crust drizzle some chocolate syrup.  Press the ice cream into the crust, drizzle with more syrup.  Cover the top of the pie in whipped topping.  Drizzle with more syrup and, if you have them, sprinkle on some mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.  Why not?  Just go crazy.

Put the pie in the freezer overnight.  When you are ready to serve set it out about 10 minutes before you plan to cut it.  Pretty easy, huh?  Pretty darn good too!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Another week zoomed right on by.  I thought for sure this week was going to be quieter, but that simply was not the case.  Busy, busy, busy once again!

Sunday morning the girls and I grabbed the rakes and the blower and headed outside to clean up leaves.  We worked mostly at the next door neighbor's house.  I mulched 8 bags of leaves filling up her city compost bin to the top and our old blue trash can.  The city bin will hold five bags of leaves and our trash can holds three.

I ended up spreading half of the can of mulch in the chicken coop pen area and with all the rain we had last week I was really glad I did that.  It sure helps to keep the mud under control making it much nicer for the hens.  Plus they have new stuff to scratch around in.

Sunday afternoon I pulled some more odds and ends out of the freezer to use up throughout the week.  Looks like I'll be sharing another freezer clean up week with all of you on Wednesday as expected.

Monday I stopped on the way home from picking up the girls from their activities to do a small grocery shop at Albertson's.  I picked up loss leader items that were on sale, a lot of things for holiday and birthday baking.  The cake mixes were 79¢ each and I had two 50¢ coupons to use as well.  Yay!  An extra bag of sugar, four packages of cream cheese and some butter too.

Winco shopping

Wednesday I finished my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and the girl's birthdays.  I picked up my youngest from cheerleader practice and we headed to Trader Joes first and then finished up down the street at Winco.  I had carefully crafted my list so I knew exactly what I needed and which store I needed to by each item at.  It worked out perfectly.  And amazingly it is the middle of the month and my grocery total so far is just under $50!  Yes!

Trader Joes haul

I treated myself to a potted chrysanthemum at Trader Joes for $3.49.  I'd been looking all over for them and finally found one there.  The clerk told me they had just got them in that day.  I was so excited.

I received birthday coupons for the girls to receive a free meal at Red Robin.  On Friday I took them to dinner and we used those and a I only had to pay for my meal plus the tip.  FREE food is AWESOME!

How was your thrifty week?

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