Monday, August 29, 2011

Flea Market Junkie

I LOVE all things vintage.
Old things have such charm & character.
Each layer of paint tells a story.
Every chip & scratch is a detail.
How easily I can flashback to an era gone by.

What history is on display & I love to imagine the old items in use.
Who's table did this dish sit on ... or who sat at this table?

I've found some neat old things though down through the years.
In fact, I'd say some of my most favorite pieces came from a flea market.
If we are visiting a new town, or even just passing through, I'll find the flea market.
It's almost like a magnetic pull that I just can't resist.
And what's great about it, my whole family loves to go just as much as I do!
Our twins sons say they'd love to be 'pickers' like Mike & Frank {we love their show!}.

Here's my latest find.
I'm pretty much in love with this old trunk!
You can't get this kind of character from anything bought off the shelf!
Oh yea, this was a good find.
I only wish I knew it's history ... where it came from ... what was stored in it.

Although I could use this in any room of our house, but it seemed to fit best
in our dining room ... for now anyway.
Not sure if I'll keep this flower arrangement on it, but until I find just the right thing,
it'll work.

I have alot of work to do this week ... fall cleaning, fall decorating, & painting
3 rooms in the house {2 bedrooms & the office}.
My lil' treat for the end of the week when all my work is finished, I'm going flea marketing!
My hubs & sons found a new one when they were on a recent trip & they said that
I'm ganna love it!
I can't wait to go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Celebrating 20 years

If you had told me on July 13, 1991 that 20 years would zip by at break-neck speed,
I would have concentrated harder on sloooowing down.
I'd have taken a bit more time to smell the roses, so to speak.

Isn't that how life goes though, especially in the beginning years?
At last, I was finally living & loving every day with this person that God had perfectly
designed just for me.
All my dreams had come true with the 2 simple words 'I do'.

James & I wasted no time getting right to the necessaries of life, like finding a home{s}, making a home, & making a living.
After all, there's no option to wait on anything of those things.
The real task was finding a way to keep it all in balance.
We were learning.

3 years later, God gave us twin sons  ... & when they were a few months shy of turning 3,
along came another blessing, one more bouncing baby boy.
What a new wild ride ... parenting!
We put our best foot forward, determined to train & raise them in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord.
We were learning.
We knew this was no time to mess up ... we had three little gifts who were depending on us.
We had the opportunity to do things right ... to raise God-honoring sons to be
honest, caring, dependable, hard-working, full of character & integrity.
This is not to say we were perfect at this, not by a long shot.
We made our share of mistakes in the process, but by earnestly seeking God's direction,
He liberally given us grace & wisdom, sufficient for the task.

And ...

all along the way, we were learning how to dance.

It was often fast & furious dancing, all day long, til you fall into the bed, exhausted.
You know, that 'here, there, & everywhere - pulled in 20 different directions' kind of dancing.

Other times, we learned how to hold on tight to each other, leaning on arms that
were strong & supportive.

Sometimes it was a slow dance, savoring the intimate moments & never wanting 
them to end.

But it was always about knowing when to take the lead ... & learning when to follow.

We've stepped on each other's toes plenty of times, but not once have we thrown
in the towel.
And while we've never quite fully mastered any of the moves, we've had a wonderful time dancing this far  ... and have no desire to stop now.

And after 20 wonderful years ~ July 13, 2011, we're still learning how to dance.
I cannot wait to experience another 20{+} years with the best partner ever!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Anybody seen my creativity?
If you find it, please return it ...
and quickly!

I've decided to completely re-do the main wall in our living room & let me tell ya,
a little creativity would go a long way right about now.

Knowing what you'd like it to look like & getting it that way ...
well, that's two whole different ballgames.

In my mind, it's perfect ... & gorgeous!
{Also in my mind, I'm 120 lbs & live in a beach house in South Carolina ...
& we all know that's not true!!}

Ahhhh ... giggles.

Anyhoo ...
I'm going for more of a collage look this time around, using a few of my favorite pieces ...
& thanks to good ol' google, I'm getting the creative juices flowing.

Here's a few looks that I'm liking.

This one if verrry close to my wall color.

Found this one over at the Urban Daisies blog.  SO cute!

This one is from lepapier.blogspot

This one ... I'm realllly liking!

This one came from Embellish!  She's good!

Oh yea, I'm getting some inspiration.

Here are the two pieces I'm starting with.
Not sure if they'll stay in this position, but this is where I've got them for now.

How I love my chippy old window pane & my antique mirror that I bought
at a barn sale.

I've got 3 other pieces that I want to rob from our bedroom but my conscience
just won't let me.
That would create another project ... having to re-do the decor on that wall.

All I know for sure is that I want to use these 2 existing pieces, a letter 'P' somewhere
or another ... & I want to use mostly creams, blacks, & browns.

We shall see how it comes out.
I'm giving myself 2 weeks.

I'll post pics of the final look ... then you can be the judge if my creativity came back!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Where are the recipes for ALL this zucchini?

If you're like me, sticking to fried zucchini &/or zucchini bread is nooo problem at all ;)
I guess it's nice to branch out every now & again though, huh?!

I've tried a few new zucchini recipes lately  ... & of course, have used several
of my 'tried & true' favorites.
Since we're in the height of zucchini season {if there is such a thing}, I thought I'd pass
some of the deliciousness along to you.
Course, if you grate some of it up & stick it in the freezer like I did, these recipes will
taste mighty fine come fall time.

Here the ingredient that reigns supreme in all the following recipes:

                                                                    Miss ZuQueenie

The recipe I tried most recently was Zucchini Oatmeal Bread ...
{& it was very good - kinda heavy, like a pound cake}.

I found the recipe in one of my most favorite cookbooks.
My hubs surprised me with it ... bought in Amish country, Shipshewana, IN.
See how tricky he is ... buy a cookbook full of yummy recipes = wife in the kitchen
trying out all the new recipes!
It's a win-win situation!

You need these ingredients for 2 loaves:

3 eggs                                            1 tsp. salt
1 c. cooking oil                              1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar                                       1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 c. grated zucchini                      3 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. quick oats                               1/2 c. raisins, optional
2 c. flour                                        1/2 c. chopped nuts

Beat eggs til foamy.  Add oil, sugar, zucchini, oats, & vanilla. Mix slightly, but well.
Sift together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, & cinnamon.
Add to batter & mix til blended.  Fold in raisins & nuts.
Spoon batter into greased & floured loaf pans & bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Here's what it looks like right before you pour into the loaf pans.
I know, not too appetizing.
But hey, not everything can look like a cream puff!

Funny thing is, I forgot to take a picture after it baked!
You'll have to bake one to see what it looks like.

The second recipe I'll share if from James' Granny Freda.
Is she ever an excellent cook!
And as strange as it may seem, this recipe is for a SWEET zucchini pie!
I was a bit skeptical at first, but after one bit, I was convinced ...
another great use for this very versatile veggie called zucchini.

Here's the recipe ... it's as easy as, well, pie!

1 c. peeled, cooked and drained zucchini
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. flour
1 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
1 unbaked pastry pie shell

Puree cooked zucchini in a blender.
Add sugar, egg, flour, milk, butter, vanilla and salt & process until blended.
Place mixture in pie shell & sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 300.
Continue baking for 20 minutes or until done.

Look how pretty it is!
Riley said this one ranks right up there with his favorite pies.
He described it as tasting like a sugar cream pie, only not as sweet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I think I was born 100 years too late...

Sometimes I really wonder.

Maybe it's just that I'm an old soul.

I've always been drawn to things with chipping paint & a warm patina.
I can't pick up an old sturdy bowl or a piece of vintage silverware without wondering
who it belonged to or upon who's table it sat.

And as much as I love my modern conveniences {heat/air conditioning, running water},
I still find myself longing for a simpler life without all the 'trappings'
of which most all of us have too much & too many.

I can easily envision myself in the kitchen of a smallish cabin ... cooking.
{ok, so the only thing that's different about that vision is the smallish cabin ...
I'm always in the kitchen cooking!}

I'd be delighted with one that looked just like this.

James & Riley by little perfect little cabin in Spring Mill State Park {'09}

We would start each morning by gathering the family around the table for breakfast
& family worship ... yes, ALL of us, including James.

No getting up late, hurriedly running here & there to get ready, dashing out the door to jobs,
school, errands ... all going in different directions, sometimes not seeing one another again
til the end of the day.
No, there would be none of that.

How delightful it would be to spend the day all together from start to finish.

We'd tend to the land & tend to the animals ...
earning our living by the sweat of our brow, using the gifts & abilities
given to us by God Almighty.
Ahhh, it sounds idealic.


I'd have a clothesline ...

I took this in Orleans, IN at an Amish home we stopped at to buy fresh milk & baked goods.

And there would have to be a rope swing, or two .... and a creek for the boys to play & fish in.

But dream as I may, every now & again, I know God placed me exactly where I am.
Not only the time of my birth, but also the family I was born into was perfectly ordained by God.

Although my heart may yearn for the days gone by & the simplicity of life that it represents,
I am content with the blessings of today, for they are plentiful.

I have a beautiful home that meets all our needs.

It is full of love, life, health, & happiness.

We have meals & family worship around this table every evening.
It's not at all uncommon to find us here laughing, talking, & enjoying each other's company
for 2 hours or longer.
I look forward to this part of the day.

Our dining room, although I've painted the walls another color now.

God has given me a wonderful husband with a heart after God.
He is a strong leader, a hard worker & an excellent example to our 3 sons.

And speaking of our 3 sons, they are truly a blessing in our home.
They love the Lord & are honorable & respectful to us as their parents.
We are so thankful that God entrusted us with them.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
Psalm 139: 13-18

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD.
They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

We do have a plan to move to the country someday ...
& when we do, some of these 'dreams' may become a reality ...
the rope swing, clothes line, & a farm animal or two.

Who knows, I may even learn how to knit, quilt & churn butter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stocking Up {part 2} VLOG

article 9 in Stretching Your Dollar series

WOW!  I am super stocked in the health & beauty department!
This is my largest stash ever!
This was the result from one of our local grocery stores running a triple coupon event!
You never hear of that around here anymore.
{Thank you, Marsh!}
While I did well on the grocery side too, I hit the jackpot in the HBA isle!
Check out this video to see my stash.

If you are wondering where I fit this abundance of shampoo & body wash,
here's where it's at.
It's on a couple shelves in our master bathroom closet.
The storage basket is the key to holding lots of products.
The extra {which I normally don't have}, is on the shelf above.
And from the looks of it, this bathroom closet needs a makeover!
Boy, I was brave to show you this picture ... don't judge me too harshly ;)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stocking Up

article 8 in 'Stretching Your Dollars' series

The buzz word these days seems to be stockpile!
I really don't like using stockpile too much though.
Conjures up an image of a person frantically gathering piles & piles of stuff
due to some impending doom.
The term stocking up tends to more accurately represent my way of shopping.
When the deals are great ... AND I have coupons, that's the time I buy several of
those particular items.
OR, in the case of realllly great deals + coupons, often times, I am getting items
for FREE!
Yep, that's when my pantry shelves overflow.

That was actually my strategy a few months back ... & I am pleased to say,
it worked masterfully!
While I enjoy couponing to save money {not because I'm addicted/bored/like scissors},
I do get tired of it!
While I don't mind going to the grocery, I get tired of that too!
During the summer, our regular routine goes out the window ...
so, I thought this would be a good time to stock up during May & June,
then take a couple months off!
With July being our most busy month, not having to take the time to make
out a big grocery list & match the coupons to the sales saved me lots of time
{& brain power! ... yes, couponing requires both thinking & planning!}

So, as shocking as this may seem to those of you that know I'm a couponer,
I have not used a single coupon for about 7 weeks!
I was able to pull that off by stocking up on plenty of meat, staples, snacks,
paper & hygiene products.
That way, I'd only have to make quick trips to the grocery for fresh fruit & veggies,
bread, & milk.

Here are some of the items I stocked up on:

pork chops $1.47/lb.
ground chuck $1.88/lb.
b/s chicken tenders $1.77/lb.
spaghetti sauce $1 per jar
pasta 24 boxes FREE
canned veggies .39 can
Campbell's chicken noodle soup .25 can

Carnation evaporated milk .29 can
these were scratch 'n dent cans from the markdown cart
6 bags tortilla chips .49 bag

Fiber One bars $1.50 box
goldfish crackers 8-10 bags FREE
6 boxes Triscuits FREE
mayonnaise (32 oz) $1.29
ranch dressing ~ 6-8 bottles FREE
toilet paper 5/12 double roll pks. $2.50
warehouse box of foam plates (640 plates for $9.99)

Now, this is where it gets pretty impressive, if I say so myself ;)
I was stocked pretty well in the hygiene products already when Marsh decided to
have a triple coupon event.
'Bless them' is all I've got to say!
I totally scooped up in the health & beauty department, getting LOTS of items
totally for FREE!
Here's a sneak peek pic of the products, but be sure & stop back tomorrow!
I'll be posting a video telling you all about these deals!