Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to skin a tomato!

I'm just getting around to sharing this little tip, but if you put this one in your memory bank,
when gardening time rolls around & your tomatoes are coming on, this will be a handy bit of info.

I used this technique all summer {& into the fall} to quickly skin our many tomatoes.
It's a simple & quick process.

Step 1:  After washing your tomatoes, score an 'x' on the bottom of each.
Step 2:  Place all tomatoes in a pan of boiling water & let them sit for 2-4 minutes.
Step 3:  Pour off all the hot water & refill with cold water.
Step 4:  After tomatoes have cooled {enough to touch - a couple of minutes}, the skin will slide right off!
             Slice off stem & core.  They are now ready to use in any recipe!

I used most of our garden tomatoes throughout the summer to make homemade salsa.
Remember when I shared the recipe for salsa that I found on Pinterest?
Let me tell you, I have made that SOO many times!
We almost won't eat any other salsa cause it's so good.
If you missed the recipe, check it out HERE.
Make it!
Don't delay!

Tomorrow, I'll share a delicious crock pot recipe for Spaghetti Sauce, given to me by a friend.
It was another recipe where I put the garden tomatoes to good use!
Be sure & check back.


Didn't cost me a dime for all this!
The 5 toothpastes & 4 toothbrushes were all from Kroger.
They were on sale for $1 each ... & I matched e-coupons & manufacture coupons to get them free!

With a $5 off any purchase coupon from Ace Hardware, I picked up the Scrubbing Bubbles.

These kinds of deals help me stretch my dollars!

Monday, October 29, 2012

My SUPER savings this week {& last}!

I've been raking in the deals lately ... & I'm SO grateful for each & every one.
I'm going to share a couple of them with you today.

Here is an exceptionally crazy-good deal from last week ... & all the thanks goes to my sweet friend, Jody!
Every now & again, Aldi {one of my very favorite places to shop}
will have some ridiculously low markdowns.
It's all a matter of timing ... being there when they've just been marked down to scoop 'em up quick.

Last week when Jody stopped in, they said due to getting in lots & lots of seasonal stock,
they were doing some major markdowns just to clear shelf space.
In the front of the store was several carts, shelves, & tables filled with all sorts of goodies
marked down to .45!
Yep...you read that right 45 cents!!
Oh my.

Here's what I bought:

With the exception of the pies, turkey, & cheese, everything else was .45 each!
I am not joking.

The turkey was marked down to $1 ... the cheese was $1.29.

Couldn't believe this chocolate covered cherries & cranberries ... originally $3.99 for .45 each!!

 The fruit pies were clearanced to $1.99.

This pumpkin cheesecake was $8 marked to half price to $4.

And for all the Mississippi Potatoes I make during the holiday season, these mayos were a great find.
With all the lunches I pack, we use plenty of it ... plus, it has a long shelf life.

And cashews ... 45 cents ... I think yes!

40 ounce jars of peanut butter {yes, .45} just in time for holiday baking!
Course, I bought a few extra to share with family ...
at these prices, I can't pass up the opportunity to share with others.

Thank you, Jody for texting me about this deal!

Now, for my CVS deals for this week ... I made 2 transactions.
My first one was pretty good, so I'll show you that one.
Here is #1:  My total was $50 + change ... & I paid $2 OOP!!
Plus, I got back $18.49 in ECBs for next time!

Now, very best deals last week came from Kroger, but I didn't take pics of those.
I just didn't have time to set them all out.
I made several transactions throughout the week, doing the Buy 5, Get $5 back promotion.
I got lots {LOTS} of freebies & I lost count of the $5 coupons that I got back.

All in all, it was a good week.
I'm glad to be stocking up now, because with the holidays coming, I'll be awfully busy.
I probably won't have as much time to seriously coupon til after the first of the year.

Hope you are finding some bargains & stretching your dollars =)

Friday, October 26, 2012

$1 Pillow Treatment!

Boy, it's been nice having all of you stop by for a visit!
Hope you've enjoyed seeing my fall PANTLE & the LIVING ROOM =)

I confessed my weakness for pillows yesterday & I am excited about this new find ...
especially since it only cost me one whole dollar ... that's right $1!

I was looking for pillow shams for our bedroom when I stumbled across this one.
I loved the soft flannel material & the buttons on the back.
Although I knew it wasn't what I needed for the bedroom, the fabric alone was worth $1 ...
so my plan was to buy the sham & use it to recover an existing pillow.
You all know I don't sew ... so it would be a cheap experiment if I failed ;)

boy ... someone should've ironed this before taking a pic, huh?!

However, after I got it home, I remembered that I had just packed away a pillow
{the pretty green stripe floor pillow that I bought this spring}
& that maybe, just maybe would be the same size as the new sham!

 Sure enough, it was a perfect fit!!

I am super pleased with the look ... it's such a warm & cozy fallish/winterish pillow now.
Here it is with my cream chenille blanket & my super textured tan pillow.

As I mentioned, I'm experimenting with some additional updates with a few other pillows.
I'll show you the finished product soon.

In the meantime, remember the burlap rosettes that I used to update a lamp shade?
Well, a friend of mine placed an order for one to add to a pillow ...
& let me tell you, it is darling!
Check it out!

Life: it's all in the details.

Autumn Blessings~

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Home Tour ~ Living Room

On Monday, I debuted my pantle.
Isn't that a silly name?!
That's precisely why I like it.
In case you missed it, click HERE to see it.

Today, I'll finish showing you the living room, all decked out for fall.
Here's a look at most of the room ... it's rather longish & a bit tough
for an amature photographer like me to shoot.
So overlook any problem areas in my pics, okay?

My furniture is definitely a bit monochromatic & matchy.
{We have 2 identical leather couches & 2 identical arm chairs.}
We've only had it about 6 years, & while it still looks lovely,  it's not the most comfortable ever.
{If I'd barely agree, James would replace it all!
And if he had his way, the whole house living room would be outfitted with recliners!}
But I'm holding out.
Furniture is expensive ... & shopping for it is exhausting.
I'll be ready for a change though, whenever that time rolls around.

I've been contemplating recovering and/or painting these chairs for a more shabby look,
but I just can't seem to get up enough nerve to do it ... yet ;)

I read a blog a while back, several actually, where the ladies had decided that for a time,
they would spend $0 on home decor.
They were reusing & repurposing they items they already had.
I do this a lot already, as most of my decor works from room to room,
but I decided I would take the same challenge, using the things I already have,
maybe just using them in a different room or in a different way.

For the most part, I've done just that ... with a few 'small' exceptions along the way.
This is one of them.
I caved over this 'We are Blessed'  ... it just had to come home with me.
I fell in love with it & it was glad it was only $6.99.

This basket is sitting on the table between the arm chairs.
I've had it for a long time & have used it a gazillion different ways.
This fall, it's filled with mini pumpkins & gourds.
I tied a twine bow on the rim for an added touch.

Doesn't nature's harvest provides the most color & character?
It's simplistic beauty at it's best.

The idea continued here only using corn kernels.
I have them displayed in three places in my living room & once in my dining room.
After filling my little crock with the kernels, I placed the most divinely smelling fall candle ever!
Glad I have three of those, as well.

The coffee table is topped with my antique mirror & old burlap bag, along with the wooden candle holder.

One thing I love about my coffee table, the lid raises & the whole thing is a giant storage area!
Not only that, underneath is additional storage.
I've added my old Pepsi crate & a lined basket for photo albums & magazines.

The 2 end tables are outfitted like this:

I keep the framed pic of Riley just as it is & set it out each fall.
It was taken in SC & I adore it.

Here is another use of the corn kernels.

I was recently given this little fall basket by my friend, Tammy ...
it fits in so perfectly that I had to add it to my table.

I love this wall hanging ~ it sums us up ... We will serve the Lord!

Here is the armoire wall ~ it's an alcove in the living room, perfect for this large piece of furniture.

The top is a great display area & I switch it out from season to season.

The antique basket was part of our anniversary gift from our church
& sitting on top is one of my favorite ironstone pitchers.

James' rocking chair sits here {when it's not carried out to the porch or patio}.

This is what you see when you come in the front door, looking all the way into the kitchen.
See those little furry black legs sticking out?!

According to the floor plan, the space between the second couch & the piano was to be the dining room.
That's how it was set up when we bought the house, but that made no sense to us.
There is another room at the far end of the kitchen {a family room} that was the perfect dining room!
We decided right away to set up the house in the way that it would be best suited to us.
Now, this makes for a large, long room & it works just right for us.

Cooper decided to really get in this shot.

And this is what you see from the opposite direction ... looking in from the kitchen.

I've used these curtains in the fall & winter for a few years now...
but I've got my eye on these to-die-for curtains.
I just need to find someone to sew them for me.
{Oh how I wish I knew how to sew!!}

I'd also like to replace the little half-table with a shabby looking chest of drawers,
but until I find the right one, this one will stay put.

One of my weaknesses is pillows.
Seems like I am forever on the hunt for the perfect ones.
But good grief, pillows are expensive too!
So, I am currently working on some DIY pillow treatments ... I'll have to show them to you soon.
Tomorrow, I'll show you how I updated one for $1!!

Oh, one last thing, how can I not mention The Studio Photography.
These treasured family photos you see on the walls & tables were taken there.
Not only do they take fantabulous pictures, they are precious friends of ours & we highly recommend them.

Hope you've enjoyed looking into the living room.
I'm sure glad you stopped by.

~Autumn Blessings

{Sharing over at Savvy Southern Style}

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn Home Tour ~ My Pantle

This folks, is my PANTLE.
It's not a mantle ...nope, don't have one of those to decorate.
It's not a 'fantle', a shelf acting as a faux mantle.
This is my piano acting as a mantle ... thus, we have my pantle.
My purty pantle ;)

And just let me tell you about my piano.
James had it delivered to our front door on my 27th birthday, a complete & total surprise.
He had the delivery fella to call him as he was pulling in our neighborhood.
James then quickly called me, acting as if he was just calling to tell me 'happy birthday'.
What he really wanted to do was hear my reaction to this huge birthday surprise over the phone.
I said, "Oh my word ...someone's ringing the doorbell at 9 a.m. & I'm still in my pjs!"
He responded that I better go answer the door ... & I thought that maybe I was getting a flower delivery.
When I opened the door, the fella didn't have any flowers in his hand,
but he said he was indeed making a delivery.
He said, "Ma'am, I'm bringing you a piano!"
I literally thought I was going to jump out of my skin with excitement!
We hadn't talked about getting a piano & we certainly didn't have the extra money to buy one,
but James wanted me to have a piano.
He got it at the same place that my Dad bought my Mom's piano many years ago, & from the same fella.

Shortly after getting the piano, I began giving lessons & did so for several years.
Some of my students drove nearly 2 hours for lessons.
I also taught all three of our sons how to play on this piano.
To this day, this birthday surprise is one of my very favorite memories & needless to say,
this piano means so much to me.

Now, back to decorating.
Because of the height, it's easy for my piano to act as a mantle & I always decorate it accordingly.
Here's the look I've gone with for this fall season.

I used one of my favorite pieces ever as the jumping off point:  my old window.
I draped a piece of burlap, trimmed out with 3 buttons, over the top edge.
{The burlap was a basket liner in our anniversary basket from our church ...
my very talented friend, Tammy, made it.}
On top, I added my 'Be Thankful' ...it's another of my favorites.
I stapled the grapevine wreath to the other corner to complete the window look.

On the piano, the star attraction is the scale.
I had been wanting one for several months & on our anniversary trip {in July}, I found two!
This one came from an antique barn in Berlin, Ohio.

Here it is before I decided on where I wanted it & what I wanted on top.

This is the label that is on each side.

It was priced at $15 & I was pleased as punch to get it.
It works & is in great shape ... with just enough nicks & scratches to give it character.

I decided this old crayon box was right at home on top.
Can't remember where I got it, but I've had it for years.
I like that it says 'Liberty' because that's my husband's hometown.


 This country star completes the look.

This pile of old books is on the opposite end of the 'pantle' ... aren't these fabulous?
The top two & the bottom one are books I picked up at yard sales through the years.

The second one from the bottom was a gift from my sweet friend, Carissa {Garrett's girlfriend}.
Here it is ... I'll treasure this always.

The great big book is an very old Bible that James bought for himself on our anniversary trip.
{We have a nice collection of old Bibles.}
He bought it in an antique store outside of Berlin
{the same place I bought my other scale ~pics to come later}.

There is not a single date in the whole Bible, so we are unsure of it's exact age.

The pumpkin topping the books was burnt orange ... until last year when I spray painted it heirloom white.

This glass globe/candle holder filled with corn kernels is the perfect spot for this round candle.

I bought it to use for the boys' graduation open house & then, it was a candy jar.
Check out this versatile piece all filled with pixie stix  here.

I added a strand of Christmas lights to the grapevine spiral tree & it's the perfect warm glow in the evening.
On the other side of the piano is a wooden country church, attempting to hide my stacks of songbooks.
Since it doesn't do such a great job, I didn't take a close-up.
There's quite a stash back there.

Hope you enjoyed part 1 of our living room.
I'll show you the rest tomorrow since this post about the 'pantle' has gotten quite long.


lamps ~ Christmas Tree Shoppe
runner, country star, &  fleur de lis ~ Old Time Pottery
globe/candle holder ~ Goodwill

{Sharing over at Savvy Southern Style}