Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eyes That Really See

Pin It
I have been battling an eye infection this week.

Red, swollen eyes that itch and burn. Not from allergies that I know of. Eyes that looked into a blurred world, like you are looking through a mist, even with my glasses on. Not a blessing.

I had some eye drops that I was using and every time I used them, I would agonize afterwards because of the extra burning and itching. I was scrunching up my whole face with a giant blink to make my mind think that I was really digging in and scratching the itch away. After using the drops for about 3 days, I decided to look up the ingredients. What do you know, they had Sulfa in them.... and I am allergic to sulfa...duh!

 Well, I haven't used them for about a day, and there is a marked improvement. Mr says my eyes look 100% better. Rather than encourage me, that remark makes me really wonder what he had to look at!

I had told one of my daughters that they looked like I had been crying a lot... well, now they look that way, I guess I was just kidding myself with that report.

All this to say that I have had time to reflect on some blessings I have.

I have a very supportive husband of 40 years.

Our marriage has been blessed with six wonderful children who love him and me too!

I have friends that care about me. I have had phone calls, and one dear friend who brought us dinner. (I don't blame anyone for not coming over, I would probably have sent them home with an eye infection too, even with me wearing disposable gloves when I cooked and wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant)

I live in a very comfortable home that more than meets our needs.

We enjoy our hobby/job of antiquing and reselling.

But, most importantly, I have been blessed to have been bought with the precious blood of my Savior. He loves me no matter what I look like. I have been brought to the realization of just how precious eyesight is.

I want to use this lesson to really, really see what is important in life. Not just the surface, but deeply looking beyond to see people and their needs, their joys, their sorrows. That is my prayer.

You Could Be Saving $$ on Energy - Thrifty Tip

Pin It
Our Utility company offered a program years ago to save on our energy bill.

This is the way it worked...

Our energy was on a meter that clocked when we used it. Any energy used during "peak" hours (which were from noon to 6 pm) was charged an amount that was almost 4 times what it would be if we used the same energy during "off peak" hours (from 6pm until noon).  Wow, I hope that made sense to you, I'm still wondering.

So, since we pump our water from a well, and it uses 220, I made sure that any laundry I did was done before noon, or after 6 pm. With a family of six children and two adults, it took a little adjusting, but we made it just fine. We had an electric stove at that point also, and I adjusted my peak cooking hours to be before noon, not that I didn't cook, I just didn't use a lot during those 6 hours. (We since that time have changed to a natural gas stove/range, and a gas dryer) Our energy bills, on an average, run around $100 a month. Now, granted, we don't have snow here in Northern/Central California, but you get the idea.

Check your utility company and see if they offer programs that will adjust your bill if you use less energy during their peak hours. It can't hurt to ask, and you may save some money to boot.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday's Thrifty Tip ~Buttermilk~

Pin It
Welcome to Thursday's Thrifty Tips

Feel free to add your own or comment on these tips

Today let's look at Buttermilk

Traditionally, buttermilk was the leftover liquid after butter was made from cream. After the cream was agitated, butter would form and the liquid was poured off and either used in recipes or drank.

Today, when we buy "Buttermilk", it is not the same product, unless, of course, you purchased the real deal. What we buy is called Cultured Buttermilk. It works the same as the real stuff, but you can make your own if you want. Perhaps you want to make your own "Ranch Style Dressing" without the MSG, or you need enough for "Angel Biscuits". Whatever the need, here is how:

Take a scant 1 Cup of milk (it doesn't matter if it is whole, 2%, or low-fat)
Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar

Let it sit for about 5 minutes. It will curdle and it will have the same properties as real buttermilk. You can take about a 1/4 Cup of "cultured buttermilk" purchased from the store and add it to a quart of milk that you have and let it sit out overnight and you will get the same results.

Now you can make that Ranch dressing, biscuits that are light as air, banana bread that calls for buttermilk and hundreds of other recipes.

What do you have for today?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ramblings about Hankies

Pin It

When I was a child, long, long ago. It was common to receive a pretty hankie in an envelope along with a card. Being raised sorta on 'the other side of the tracks' (meaning that I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth), I thought, what in the world was I supposed to do with this? Not actually wipe my nose... It was too pretty and it would lose it's starchy stiffness, and besides, it scratched. As a kid, my sleeve was just too handy. On special days - like 'hot lunch' day at school, my mother always put my quarter in the corner of a hankie, tied it up and then pinned it to the inside of my pocket. I must have not been too trust-worthy...

Now, in contrast, or whatever, my aunts always carried about -- disclaimer if you are faint...are you prepared for this?  a "snot rag". They were small fabric squares, just the size of a hankie, and they had a stack of them in their laundry closet! I remember folding them as they were often laundered...hmm, they would be over 100 years old now (my aunts, not the hankies) ... now, I want to make it clear that they had proper hankies when they went out in polite society.


My grandmother had a 'hankie' tucked into her sleeve. But, these were days when a trip to the store meant you wore a hat, you dressed up to 'run to the bank'. (Do you remember when there were 'banking hours'?) Men wore a hat and 'doffed' it at lady's presence. And they always carried not one, but two hankies, one to use and one to give to a needy young lady or spread on a bench for them to sit on. Oh, the days, no jeans and T-shirts then.

How about the crime being solved because of the monogram in the corner of the hankie that was left at the scene of the crime?

I think that hankies were part of the 'well-dressed' young lady's wardrobe.

Now, we have advanced - we use disposable tissues. I'm sure they cut back on passing along colds, coughs and viruses. But, they are certainly not as pretty. Can you imagine a young man retrieving a dropped 'kleenex'? Or, saving it in his "handkerchief drawer" to remind him of his lost love?

Well, along my finds, I got a whole lot of hankies. I gave them a good soak in a fabric bleach for a day or so and then laundered them. I am now in the process of ironing them pretty. I have ironed 21 now and I am about half done. They have turned out really nice and I hope to sell them, if I can just come up with an idea of how to market them in a society that doesn't use hankies.

A Giveaway from the "Last Frontier"

Pin It
In my wandering around, looking at quilts and just random stuff, I ran across this blog

Sew Dutch

It chronicles the adventures of two sisters who live in Alaska.
They are having a giveaway, celebrating 100 posts. Be sure to go over there and enter and see some of their lifestyle, projects and stuff.

We visited Alaska last September, you can read about it here

Now, I don't know if I ever posted pictures of some of the awesome quilts I saw there in some quilt shops. I can spot a quilt/fabric store from quite a distance. My long-suffering husband allowed me to roam the aisles and admire the wares. It we had more room, some of these treasures would have returned with me, but, you only have so much room in a suitcase...

I wish I knew who made the ones I have pictures of, I am probably breaking some law by posting their pictures, but I still admire them and I want you to see them.

This shop was in Skagaway

Here is a beautiful table runner.It was hanging from the ceiling

Can you see the bolts of fabric? The squares in this one are scenes of bears, deer and other Alaska type wildlife.

I really liked this one that has panels, it looks like you are looking out a window

This one was in Ketchican (wow, I hope that is spelled right)
There was a fabric shop and next door was a quilt shop.
Our neighbors in this far state have some real talent and they put it to good use during those cold winter months.

Anyway, head on over to

Sew Dutch and view their blog and enter their giveaway.

You will be glad you did.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday's Thrifty Tips ~Out #*!+ Spot~

Pin It
If you haven't seen the recipes for saving money $$$  on laundry soap, please see a previous post here.

My friend Zizi shares some tips and recipes.

Now, onto today's tip.

Have you ever been to  a yard sale and seen a beautiful tablecloth, or some tea towels, or doilies, but were turned off by the stains? Well, here is a recipe for take those stains away, or at least make them livable.

Equal parts of:

1. Dishwasher powder (must be powder)
2. Baking soda (just the plain old stuff you use all the time for other things)
3. Biz or its equivalent laundry powder if you can't find Biz

Mix these all up and store the mixture in an airtight container. When you get a real find, make a paste of the mixture and put it on wet fabric. Rub it in and let it dry in the sun. After it has dried (it will be sorta crumbly) brush it off (or not) and wash it as usual.

 I have used this on lace tablecloths with impossible looking stains, on linens, on tea towels (now there are some hard stains) and it most of the time, works for me.

The best part is that it makes a ton. You can probably use it on other things, but I have mostly stuck to whites or very light colored fabric.

Let me know how it turns out for you.

What do you have to share today?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Phone Interview

Pin It
I had a phone call for an interview. 
Who knows what will come of it, but it involves something we did last year in Moss Landing.

The sale this year will be held on the last Sunday in July.
Perfect weather.
Get out of the valley heat and come to the coast where it is always fine.
(OK, so I'm prejudice)

If you remember we got this
Rather a surprise for me, as I don't consider myself a great marketer,
 but, I will take it all.

Stay tuned for more information about my interview.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday's Thrifty Tips ~Rice is Nice~

Pin It
The Math Concerning Rice

I have heard many that just cannot figure out how to cook rice.

I have a formula:

1 = Rice - This works for white or brown

2 = Double the first measurement to equal your liquid

3 = Your resulting amount of finished product

For example, if you start with 1 cup of dry white rice, you add 2 cups of liquid (water, chicken broth, or tomato sauce if you are making Spanish rice), and you will end up with 3 cups of cooked rice. This makes it easy to figure out how much you need for dinner, a salad, fried rice, etc.

Bring your water to a boil, add any seasoning (salt, bouillon, etc) add your rice, cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer for around 20 minutes for white rice and a little longer for brown rice.

Now, for Spanish Rice. Heat oil in a skillet large enough to stir. Add dry rice and toss it until all of the kernels turn white. At first they will be translucent, then they will turn an opaque white. Add your liquid with some tomato sauce, maybe some chopped onion, some chili powder, cover and wait until the liquid is absorbed. Then enjoy.


What do you have for us today?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday's Thrifty Tip #2 ~Show Us Those Legs~

Pin It
Welcome to Thursday's Thrifty Tips

First of all, I want to introduce you to Elaine from over at Sunny Simple Life

I have recently been introduced myself to her blog and she gave an idea for making bananas last longer. Be sure to visit her blog and check it out. I don't know about you, but I am always looking for frugal thrifty tips to make my dollars go farther. So say hey to Elaine and let her know you found about about her here...

Delicious Turkey, Gravy and Rice

You can make a wonderful Turkey meal with turkey drumsticks. They are very affordable and easy to cook.

I use an electric skillet to braise them. You put them into the skillet, or you can use a stove top method, turn it on to brown them with some seasonings, and then add water as needed. Braising meat is a way to use cheaper cuts and still get delicious results. Watch for lack of water during the cooking process. It may take several hours to get the meat to literally 'fall off of the bones'.

When this happens, remove the meat from the pot, and carefully remove the meat from the many bones you will find. Shred or chop it up and put it back into the juices. Add a can of cream of chicken soup and let it simmer (you may want more water, depending on how thick it is). Cook some rice, add a salad and you have a meal that will feed around 6 people.

What do you have for us today on Thrifty Thursday?