Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feeling a little Southern

Have any of you seen this new, up and coming, somewhat "hidden" show on the CW entitled 'Hart of Dixie'?
I have to admit, I didn't watch it from it's inception, but I catch it, usually by accident, every week. With our schedule, I just can't remember, and I usually see only it when I'm flipping channels.

Well, flipping through our 13 channels.  Our 13 non-cable channels.  Our amish cable as you will.

It stars the hunky from my old favorite, Friday Night Lights.
Jason Street. (That was his TV name on FNL.  I don't know his real name...)

 The show is a  little edgy, a lot Southern, and I guess you could say it satisfies all my tendencies toward the Southern half of the country.  (Except for the heat and humidity that is!)

It's a little Margaret Mitchell, a little Sweet Home Alabama (one of my favorite movies.)

I'm a little hooked.  Course, I really don't have time to watch TV, but how else am I gonna unwind at the end of the day?

Then again, maybe I shouldn't get hooked.  It seems all my favorite shows experience a very early death after just a couple seasons.  Why TV executives does this have to be so?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Can you even pronounce it?

I've been reading some books by Chris Bohajalian.  That's right.  I can't pronounce it either.

But let me go back.  I finished reading one of his books last week.  It was our next read for book club.
It was very good.  I would recommend it.  I realized after I read it, that I had read it years ago.  It's about a wintery night where a baby is born at home, with the help of a midwife, and things go very wrong.  It's set in Vermont, a place I've always wanted to visit.

When I was at the library picking up this book, there was also another by the same author, and so I grabbed that too. 

I'm in the midst of reading it now, and I'm 75% FREAKED OUT, 25% engrossed, and well, just plain intrigued.  I'm 3/4th of the way through, and even though I have an idea what might happen, I'm still not sure.
I love it.  Makes me a little scared to go to sleep some nights, but it's GREAT.  I'm warped, I know.

This mystery-unpronounceable named author has several more books I'd like to try.

These depressingly gray, rainy days have been great ones for reading.  Join me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food can be a struggle

If you're like me, finding a menu that isn't repetative each week is a struggle sometimes. 

With practices/games/church/PTO meetings/4H meetings/etc. to work around, sometimes finding a healthy meal and a QUICK preparation is difficult.  I'm also trying hard to work in fruits and vegetables that are in season, or from my freezer.

So, I just wanted to let you know...I hear you moms!  I feel your pain!

Here are some tried and true things I've made that are pretty good.  Some take a little longer to prepare, so sometimes I mix them up and put them in the fridge the night before to bake the next day.

Tator Tot Casserole (recipe found here)

When I whipped this one up, my kids told me it looked a little like dog food, but they both had seconds.  It's good.  It's comfort food.  What more could you ask for?

Chicken Alfredo Bake (recipe here)  If this link doesn't work, click on my Pinterest button on the sidebar and go to my Yumminess board.
This is good.  Although it has ALOT of ingredients.  It's pretty much a glorified homemade white macaroni and cheese with chicken.  It is good, though.

Baked Zucchini (recipe here)
These are simple, and delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were.  Especially when dipped in a little ranch dressing.  I'm always looking for recipes for the zucchini I have that seems to multiply in my garden.

Indoor Smores (recipe here)
This is just one recipe for these.  Another is on the side of the Golden Grahams box.  My kids love these as a special treat.  They ROCK!

These are some things I haven't had the time to try, but would like to.

Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups (recipe here)  If you can't connect here, click on my Pinterest button on the sidebar and go to my yumminess board.
Baked Asparagus (no recipe...season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 min.)

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate (recipe here)
I love strawberries, (already have them in the garden...), dig lemonade, so why not mix it.  You could freeze this and have the yumminess all winter. 

Hope this gives you all a little inspiration.  Goodness knows I need some each week. 
Send me some of yours if you have some good ones.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's time

I feel guilty.  And hypocritical, let's be honest.

I really do.

You see, each time I let a couple days go past without posting, I feel bad.

I'm also, truth be told, a little irritated when those blogs I follow don't post something new for me to look at everyday.

I know this is wrong.

And I know I'm a hypocrite.

I realize we all have busy lives.  Good grief don't I know it.

We are all human, too.

I know that.

So I'm feeling remorseful.  Wicked.  Lazy.  Bummed.

So I'm posting today about what I did yesterday after an all afternoon club volleyball tournament.

I got ready for summer, in a small kinda way.

The sun yesterday put me in the mood.

To plant things that is.

I first had to get all my supplies in order, and then I checked a website that told me exactly what I needed to start indoors when.

I found an old enamel box that I repainted.
I painted it my favorite color of pistachio.
Once it was dry, I lined it with paper towels to catch the water that would come out of the bottom of my pots.
Each year, when I purchase vegetables plants from the nearby greenhouse, I save the little pots for the next year.  6 of them fit perfectly in the enamel box.
I filled each one with seed starter...
wet it down a little and then added some seeds.  Tomatoes and peppers should be started indoors NOW.
These tomatoes are the size of your pinkie nail and can just be thrown into salads, tacos, etc. and not cut up, so they aren't mushy!

Then I put more soil over the top of the seeds, and watered some more.

They fit just right in my kitchen windowsill where the sun was streaming in.

All ready to grow.  I'll have to find another place to get other seeds started.  For now, this is enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's the small things...

Wednesdays, for some minor reasons, are NOT my favorite day of the week. 

Sure, I mean, it's halfway through the work week...that makes it somewhat good...

and Wednesdays are also the day my great husband takes the kids to church.  He has Bible Study, and the kids each have their youth meetings, and I get my night out....TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING!  Gee, isn't that the most glamorous thing you've ever heard of?  (Brent thinks going to the grocery store is what I so desire....brother.)

Yeah, whatever.

Tonight, though, at the grocery store/superstore, I picked up some great things that made my Wednesday night ritual, not so bad.

The best purchase...along with the groceries that is....was the latest issue of Flea Market Magazine.
The next in line...a new purse calendar...on sale for 99cents, which I will be recovering and sprucing up a little.  I needed a smaller one that weighs, oh, less than the 5 pound one I've been carrying around!
And lastly, a great green long-sleeve men's T on clearance for $6.  I will be making another infinity scarf like the one here, and using the arms to make some more t-shirt flower pins.
So, Wednesday this week, was alright.  I even made it home before Brent and the kids, so I got to eat and read my book in silence for awhile.

What do you do on Wednesdays?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When did life get so complicated?

When exactly do you think life got so complicated?
Wait a minute, let me rephrase that...when exactly do you think we stopped caring about how things were made/or just got too lazy/busy/crazy to make them ourselves?

I think I remember when it happened.  For me, at least.  It happened twice in my life.  Twice since I had kids.

The first time was when my daughter was 3 months old and I went back to work.  I thought we could make it work, and I LOVED my job.  I was good at it, and it was fun.  I had good babysitters, and I was making good money.

we ate out A LOT, and we spent a lot on gas (driving to work 1/2 hour each way, and also driving to the babysitter)  I made convenience meals because I didn't have time to make good ones.

Then I found out I was pregnant again when Grace was only 4 1/2 mo. old, and I decided I was quitting work.  We worked it out and I could stay home if we saved money in some areas.

I started making my own baby food, grew a garden, and started freezing and canning.  I made my own baby wipes and pinched pennies by trying to make things myself.

This worked out great until the kids went to school, and I went back to work.

I still had a garden, and canned and froze my own food (still do), but my time to do the other things got harder and harder.

However, things started to feel more important to me again.  I got  am tired of paying SO MUCH for things in the store.  I care about what is going into our bodies with all the processed food out there, and I want to change it, so I'm starting small.

I've talked about some of these things before, but they are SO EASY, I'm sharing them again.  And then I found something new.

I'm trying this because the grates on my burners are disgusting.
The solution with no scrubbing is here.  It's on my list.

The other products I've cut back my costs on are...Homemade fabric softener. ( I've been using this solution for months now, with the same result as the expensive softeners I used to buy. )
 I've tried different smells of conditioner with this recipe, but my new favorite is the Suave Lilac/Lavender scent.  It's great!  The recipe for the above is here.  This total solution costs me about $2.00 and it makes 1 1/2 bottles of fabric softener.  FULL bottles, not the half full ones you buy for $4.99 and more.  This recipe is a KEEPER.

The next recipe I've wanted to try since before Christmas, but I haven't needed to use it yet, so I haven't tried it.  My bar of soap is waiting for me.  Lilac scented.  I can't wait.  Hand Soap refill.  It cost me all of $5 for the ingredients and it'll make me a GALLON of refill soap.  That's a lot of soap.
The recipe is here.
Now, I'm not making this post to be preachy...far from it.  I just wanted to share some things that have worked for me (or that I'm willing to try) to save money at the grocery store.  It makes me feel better, also, knowing the ingredients I'm putting into something my whole family uses.  Who knew these things could be made with so few ingredients.

Same with the canning and freezing I do.   I know what's in the food because I'm the one putting it in there.  I'm starting small.

You can too.  Ask me anything.  I'm grateful to share!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm a lover

I'm a big lover of books.

I'm also a big lover of movies.

I'm a big lover of books that are turned into movies...some of the time.

I'm always curious to see if the movie either follows the book, or goes way off track.

So, for Truth Thursday, which I'm bringing back today, on Thursday, after many, many months, I'll give you my run-down on some of my favorite books that were turned into movies.

You know I love my lists.

1.  Possession by A.S. Byatt.
I actually watched the movie first.  It was a good movie. 

I loved it from the start.  A little bit of mystery, a little scandal, sucked me right in.  I'm reading the book now because I haven't been to the library for a week and my current stash of books from my own "library" have been read so many times, they are old to me right now...so I'm reading this.  It's ok.  A lot of things in the book as far as poetry, etc. were left out of the movie, and that's a good thing.  I'm skipping over lots of that in the book.  The storyline in the movie does follow the book pretty well, so I'd recommend this. 

2.  I'm embarrassed by my number 2 choice.  I am only sharing it, because the books were so much better than the movies, and because my book club read every one of the series, and we've went together to see every movie.
Please don't judge me.  The books were easy to read, and I liked how the author, a Mormon, advocated no premarital sex.  That was good.  Then we went to see the movies.
What a bad idea.  What terrible acting!  Now, the group of us just goes to get a good laugh at the "constipated" expressions on some of the actors who are trying to look so serious!  I would stick with just the books.

3.  The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
Great book.  One of the first of his I ever read.  Great story.  Sad, romantic.  All around good. 
Then there was the movie.
It was a GREAT movie.  Great actors.  Great following the storyline of the book.  I would totally recommend both.

4.  The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

I read the book first, and I liked it, but it was so hard to follow with all the jumping around/time traveling.  It made it a little hard to read, not because of the length, but because of the having to concentrate so hard to stay on track.  I did like it, though, but I was glad when the movie came out.
It was another Rachel McAdams movie.  I like her.  The movie was a little easier to understand than the book, which I liked.  It made it more real.  It was sad, and romantic, and perplexing.  I would probably watch it again.  I would recommend the movie over the book.

5.  Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.
This is a THICK book.  No joke, you won't be able to hold it with one hand while you drink your coffee and eat your breakfast.  (not that I've tried that or anything....)  It, however, was a wonderful book.  I really liked it.  There are parts to pass over a little, but overall, it's a great story.
Then, I saw that Netflix had the series, and I decided to watch it.
Wow.  It was GREAT too.  Good storyline, good actors, great drama.  I would recommend both.

Last on my list.  (I promise...I mean, are you really taking my opinions to heart?)

6.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

I read this series in 4th grade people.  That's 28 years ago.  And they have stuck with me since then.  I remember reading them.  I even remember where the librarian had them placed in the library.  I gravitated towards them.  At the time, they were a little "scandalous."  (Maybe that was just my 4th grade imagination.)  They were a little science-fictiony, and a little fantastic.  I LOVED reading them. 
When my kids came of age, I tried to get them to read them.  They didn't feel quite so strongly as I did about them.  Evan is starting to read them now.  He got interested because we started watching the movies as a family.
They are all (all 4 of them) excellent movies.  With a great moral to them.  The lion represents God/Jesus.  Our kids have asked so many questions after we've watched these together.  I think Disney did a great job with them all.  I would recommend both the books and the movie.

Well, now that I'm done with my little list...I hope you've found something to take away from it.  Maybe you can get one at the library this weekend and enjoy some time with it.
Have a relaxing weekend!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Well, not really a chicken dinner...but a winner yes!

I can't believe...3 posts in 3 days.  This has got to be a new record for me.  I know, you're just as excited as me!

So, back to the giveaway!
Remember the winner is getting this little modified bag I bought as a market tote last year at Target...
I cut the bottom off, and made it shorter, and then added pockets inside and a removable flower pin on the front.
Because some of you follow me through email link, and some of you commented on my facebook page since your comments won't post here for some reason, and then some of you commented on the actual post, I just put everyone's name into the cute little pewter cup my grandma gave me when I was a little girl,

and had Grace draw a name out.
And the winner of the above purse is....Da Da Da DA!   Chris at Red Gate Farm!  I love you Chris, you know I do.  I follow you right back.

So, email me your address to blyoder@bnin.net and I'll send you your little goodie.

What should I give away next?  Are there any projects I've made in the past that would be small enough to ship that you like especially well?  Check out the project/craft labels on the side of the blog, and let me know...and maybe I'll get one made and have another giveaway.

But for now...Congrats Chris, and everyone else...have a great week!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Boys and their toys

We woke up to snow this morning. 
I wasn't expecting that.  We've had unseasonably warm temps again for Feb.  and we haven't seen snow for days.

Brent went out to do chores, or so I thought, and the next thing I knew he was pushing a HUGE snowball around the side of the house and into the backyard.

He had a smile from ear to ear. 

So, I thought, "Ok, he's gonna make a snowman..."

I was wrong.

It started out as this...
There was a lot of contemplating...
and lifting...and sculpting.  (This was when I began to wonder what he was building.)

A tractor?  Really.  He was SO proud of himself.

He even asked me..."Are you gonna put this on the blog?"
Sure honey.  Whatever you want.

He came in and said, "Evan, did you see what I built?" 
"Sure Dad," Evan said,   "Although I would've cut a hole out of the cab and put a person in it."

Modifications, modifications...
Just hours later, the snow was totally melted off the ground, except for the pile of snow in the shape of tractor in the backyard.
When the kids went out to do chores, Evan disappeared.
A little while later, I saw him using the chicken scoops to shovel snow out of the cab. 
I couldn't help but laugh.  Snow was flying here and there, and sure enough, he was making room for a person in the cab!

I guess it just goes to prove...boys will be boys, and you don't get in the way of their toys.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for my purse.  It ends tomorrow!  Click here to enter.