Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours
Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Short Road Trip

Our locksmith work has slowed down and this was the only job we've had this month so far. The call was from a lady who had just bought a home in Nuevo (pronounced new-way-vo) This is her views of the area, Nuevo is a rural area, much open space and with great views.

 Below is the dirt road we came in on. Her front door had a key broken off in the lock. She'd had two other locksmiths out to her home and neither of them could get it out. Alan got it out in less than 15 seconds. He took the key home and had new keys made for her.
Not all of California is concrete and beaches, most of Southern California is as you see it here. And its why we love it. Open spaces and mountain views, great weather also. We really like Nuevo as it has a very small town feel, with a cute downtown right out of the 1950s. Its only about 20 minutes from where we live too.
Our weather now is fairly cool at night, in the 40s most nights, and 70 during the day. I've been pulling Christmas decorations out slowly, considering the two year old in the house. No collection of snow globes on the coffee table this year!

Here is a nice little Christmas video to enjoy....Christmas Peace to you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our late departed Christmas tree and some vintage postcards

I tried so hard yesterday and today to share a slideshow I made of our old Christmas tree before our fire. Sadly, it just wouldn't work but did want to share the tree again.

After the fire, we couldn't find another one any where like it. I'm sure glad we have photos of it to look back on.

Here are a few vintage Christmas postcards from my collection

Its getting very cold here at night. As I write this, its 39 degrees at 11 in the evening. Very still outside too, although today was a windy one. Our front yard has about 3 ft of leaves on it as they blow down from the entire street into our yard.  A neighbor has volunteered to come and help us rake them on Saturday. By that time, there may be 6 ft of leaves the way things are going. Of course, Jayden loves them!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Music

We've put away the Thanksgiving decor and are working slowing on Christmas. Our weather like much of the country is colder and rainy. I'm sharing the lovely video from the Piano Guys. Hope you enjoy it on this Sunday. There is some advertisement at the end so you can just stop it after the music, if you so desire.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Sale!

I'm having a Christmas sale this month, 20% off everything in my Etsy shop..just use coupon code Christmas2013 when ordering. I have alot of pink Depression glass, including 4 Cherry Blossom plates
I collected these way back in the early 70s and having checked them thoroughly, I believe they are the originals and not copies. They are selling for $12.00 each..They'd be a nice gift for a Cherry Blossom collector or to start a collection. Cherry Blossom is a beautiful pattern.

I fell heir to many pretty pieces of cut glass, Depression glass, etc. way too much for us to use and now that we're getting older, we want to lighten our China cabinet.

This is another example, a very pretty candy dish, cut crystal and the photo doesn't do it justice as it sparkles beautifully.
Just thought I'd let everyone know, please check out my little store and see if anything interests you.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

What We've Been doing and an Apology

Hope everyone had a nice and thankful holiday. I didn't know if we'd be able to have a big Thanksgiving dinner and the Lord supplied our needs overflowing with good things! Friends dropped by unexpectedly with a turkey, and trimmings and we got checks on Thanksgiving eve. It was a wonderful experience and for which we are so thankful.
Now it will be the Christmas season, some of you are decorating this weekend, others are thinking about it. I will have changed my blog template for a holiday theme by the time you read this. Its hard to decide which one to use but hopefully I made the right choice. I already decorated my
Sweet Home Stitchery blog with a Christmas background... I also shared on there with photos of the stitched cards I've been making.

We usually wait until the second week of December or so to do the house and then keep everything up until New Years. If you'd like a good site for recipes, ideas for inexpensive food gifts, etc. I recommend Razzle Dazzle Recipes

I want to apologize if you came to my blog in the last day and seen ads..some of which were not appropriate. Evidently, I downloaded something in the last day and with that app, comes tons of garbage programs in which I have no interest. Beware,, especially if you click express downloading, there are pages of hidden apps on it. Be careful what you download. It took my husband who knows computers several hours to figure out what had happened. I was going to name the download site but don't want to get into trouble!But it had to do with music and tunes.

Our weather has been very nice and why so many come during the winter months. Days are in the high 60s, low 70s with cool nights in the 40s. We've had some rain which I personally hope continues through the winter. The onions and squash I planted are all doing good and with the rain we've had, I've now got 90 onions coming up!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Getting ready for Thanksgiving, Blessings and Funnies

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it..only a week away. I plan on going through my cupboards to see what I already have before going to the store. Everyone here likes the traditional turkey dinner so I'm hoping we get some needed checks (payments) so that will happen.

We always wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. Being thankful is important. I read on Facebook some comments saying they wouldn't celebrate because of the oppression of the native peoples. But that is short sighted. In our house, we celebrate the day by considering the past years blessings.
I'm thankful for two beautiful healthy grandchildren. Our little Emma was born this year!

Emma Grace will be walking any day now! She's  9 months old. 

And our Jayden has grown so much and is talking up a storm. He tries so hard to be helpful.
 Only 2 1/2 too! 

I'm thankful for my wonderful husband of 40 years (Dec. 1st) and what a good grandpa he is.

He looks alot like Santa, doesn't he? Many other things to be thankful for, health, a warm and safe home, food, and a loving family. We are truly blest. God has been very good to us.

My other blog, Sweet Home Stitchery is up and running again. Last night I found out how to find my passwords on this new computer and was able to do a post. After the first of the year, if things go right, I will start doing monthly giveaways on that blog, Etsy shop of the week plus more and also be opening my second Etsy shop by the same name. I have it on vacation right now.  Its taken some time to recover my moxie having a little one in the house!

 and finally, I thought I'd post a few more cute animal photos!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Road Trip and an Etsy Shop

Yesterday we had a lock out job in Lakeside, California. We both like Lakeside, its a rural town southeast of San Diego. A horse and rodeo town. I snapped this marker as we stopped for a break before going on to the property.
Of course, Lakeside has a lake and its a very nice one. We had to wait for the sheriff and other people to arrive (we always seem to get to places early) so walked around the lake and I took a few photos.

There were many people walking around the trails and fishing. There were quite a few birds around including these pelicans!

Lots of ducks too...some of them were Pekin ducks like our Mrs. Quack whom we lost several years ago. They were all sleeping together as a flock.

There was incredible traffic driving down to the town and coming back but the town itself was very nice indeed. 

I always wanted to share an Etsy shop that I think is the bomb...wow

If  this ornament isn't the cutest!
The shop is called RockPaperScissors


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Waffles and Random Thoughts

I decided the other day to make some waffles. I usually use the old standby, Bisquick and it does make a good waffle but decided this time to make them from scratch..I will say I think they're a tad better. Lighter and fluffy inside. Here's the recipe in case you want to try them...

 Waffles (The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, 1970)
 1 3/4 cup flour
 1 T. baking powder
 2 egg yolks
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. cooking oil or melted shortening, cooled.
2 egg whites
 In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 t. salt. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with a fork.
 Beat in milk and oil or melted shortening. Add to flour mixture all at once. Stir mixture til blended but still slightly lumpy. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into flour mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg whites. Do not over mix! over mixing will make them tough.
 Pour batter onto grids of a preheated waffle iron. And bake as directed. Makes 3 9 inch waffles.
 We love waffles and sometimes have them for dinner. Just have to balance the carbs for the day.

 Thanks for the kind comments on my last post. Like many, we fell on hard times about 8 years ago now, my husband lost his job of 25+ years and with it, his health insurance. We both tried for a year to find work to no avail. Evidently no one wants to hire older workers, even with much experience. So we started our own locksmith company which was very successful for over 5 years, but has since been going down hill. Thankfully, it lasted until we were old enough for SSI. We're still in business and it does  help supplement our income. We figure we make about what we did when we first got married 40 years ago. Sigh. It was fine then as prices were alot less than they are now. Our first little place was a guest house and we paid a whopping $110 a month. Later, we rented a beach cabin and paid  $200 a month. Groceries for the week were about $25. Gas was .39 cents a gal. A first class stamp was 8 cents! Those were the days! In many ways, it was a better time. No internet, no cell phones, no digital anything. People actually talked to each other. Wow, imagine that!

I'm very thankful I learned how to live frugally as I was born into a military family. My parents and grandparents lived during the Depression. I learned how to make do, do without, and live happily. I had to save for anything I wanted. No charge cards, ever. I did eventually get a charge card and learned how to use it wisely. But that was later, when I had a part time job. I set my own personal limit and paid it off monthly. Hence, I've always appreciated everything I bought and took care of it.

We tried to raise our children like that also.  When the other kids were getting fabulous expensive gifts and the latest electronic gadget. We gave our kids our time.  They went on train trips with us and played Little League with Dad being the coach and Mom working in the snack bar. They only got presents on their birthday and Christmas. If they wanted something, they had to save for it, both the boys started working early. From coaching soccer to mowing lawns, they found things to do to earn $. They're both in their 20s now and are excellent employees. They've always been able to find work.

So I guess God was preparing me for this time in our lives, less is more!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cold days, the Hospital and Insurance.

Its been getting rather chilly here in the mornings. We haven't turned our furnace on yet for the year but usually we don't need to until after the holidays. January and February are our coldest (and wettest) months. Brrrr! I'm wondering how the winter garden will do as we have two squash plants and about 20 onions growing. I put 60 onions in the ground so more should be coming up too. Of course, us Southern Californians have thin blood and 60 degrees feels really cold to me. We're used to 90 degree temps most days!

 Some of the mountains have some snow on them, not quite as snowy as this photo which was taken this last January but close.
We spent the last two days up at the hospital getting Alan's needed diabetic meds and supplies. We figured it would take about two hours but ended up taking 8. Four hours on Monday and four yesterday. Two of his prescriptions were expired so we had to go to our doctors office and request refills which took time. Then had to go back and get in line (for the second time) to turn the prescriptions in. They use a number system but people kept going up to the front ahead of us out of turn and it took twice as long. While we were waiting at the doctors office, her nurse came out and asked Alan when was the last time he'd had a blood test and as it had been last Feb. the doctor required another one with a 14 hr. fast. That was the first day. So yesterday we went up for the blood test and to pick up the prescriptions. In order to get the lab work done, he had to wait in another line and get out a patient registration blue plastic card. Then go to the lab with all the paperwork and wait again.

Afterwords we went to the hospital cafeteria for lunch. The food there is a mixed bag, sometimes its really good, other times not so much. Yesterday was one of the good days, I got chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. It was very yummy. He got vegetarian lasagna and stir-fried vegetables. He eats fairly well on the diabetic diet and watches his carbs. I usually do too but splurged yesterday. Hadn't had any breakfast and just had salad for dinner.

We're always thankful though to have this insurance as before we spent several scary nights in the emergency room with his blood sugar sky rocketing.
 My insurance is changing as I got a letter saying they're putting me into Medicaid this next year. I believe I can still go to the same doctor, hope so. I like having a woman doctor! I feel comfortable with her and safe. I haven't felt the same since our old doctor we had for years and years retired. She is a godsend for sure!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pie Crusts

As someone mentioned, making pie crust is for most people difficult. I know, as I struggled for years, looking for a good pie crust recipe. My mom made the most wonderful tasty crusts and I watched her for years but never could get the knack. She never used a recipe, just threw things together. I resorted to cracker crusts and bought ones as mine always were tough, broke into pieces, and were terrible.
Then I found several great recipes, and shared them on my blog recipe page but will share it again.

Fool Proof Pie Crust ala Alan Carter

 In a very large bowl, combine 3 3/4 c. flour, 1 T. sugar, 1/2 to 1 T. salt (I didn't use that much, he likes a salty crust), 1/2 t. baking powder. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in 1 1/4 c. unsalted butter leaving chunks the size of peas. Combine 2/3 c. very cold water, 2 T.  sour cream, and 1 t. vinegar. Add liquid all at once to the flour mixture. Quickly stir to distribute, do not over mix. The dough should be slightly crumbly. let rest on the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight. Divide into 3 portions, shape into disks and use right away or can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator to use.

The above one is very good, if you remember to make the crust dough early. Like for Thanksgiving which is rushing up before we know it.

The second pie crust recipe, which is the one I used for the pie I posted about yesterday is from Pioneer Woman...

Perfect Pie Crust... 

          1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening) 

          3 cups All-purpose Flour 

          1 whole Egg 

          5 Tablespoons Cold Water 

          1 Tablespoon White Vinegar 

          1 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

With both of these recipes, you should be successful in making crusts and its also wonderful to have a few of these in the freezer whenever the pie making urge comes along!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Apple Pie and Etsy Offerings

I made a apple pie the other day, so much better than anything you can buy. Sugar free, of course. Its just the normal pie recipe, nothing special really but I added Splenda to it. We haven't been able to go to our favorite apple country place as we just haven't been busy enough with work but the grocery store had apples on sale so that's what I used. I used Jona Gold apples which  turned out well. The crust turned out ok, I think I'll add less Crisco next time though as it was a little short and broke when I put on the top crust. Still tasted yummy though!

I also added a few things to my Etsy shop, these nice carved votive candle holders

These two handmade wooden kitties made in Thailand,

and lastly, this darling woolen Welsh sheep I bought when we visited Wales back in the 1980s. SOLD!
The name of my shop is Inspiration Memories  

Hope everyone gets adjusted to the time change!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day Light Savings

Remember to set your clocks back tonight!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Printables and Embroidery

This is the time of year, I start thinking about the holidays, and Christmas of course. As we are on a limited budget, I've had to put my thinking cap on. One thing I decided to do was include a small gift in my cards. I don't plan on sending very many but I want the ones I send to be special. I'm thinking of making some stitched cards but don't know if I'll have time but I do have time to make these which are super easy to do. Actually, someone else has already made them up and all you have to do is cut them out.
The website is Ewe-N-Me Printables   Right now they have a sale going on, and for only a small fee, you can download cocoa-treat envelopes..all you do is print them, fold them according to the directions and insert a cocoa pack or other little treat. Slip this in with your card and you're done.

They also have tea envelopes, popcorn envelopes, calendars, bookmarks, candy bar wrappers and many more paper items. I hope you will check it out as I'm sure you'll find something you can use. I ordered some tea bag envelopes and got the download super fast. I highly recommend this site.

I'm working on a cheater quilt top with vintage farm animals. I'm doing all in blue. Jayden loves it already and can name all the animals on the quilt. Here is a sneak peek...

I'm planning on quilting it when its finished. There are 12 animals total. It was sent to me and it sat quite a while in my sewing cabinet but finally I thought I'd better get it done! One of those UFO projects, thinking this next year should be my year to get everything that has been half done finished!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Fall!

These are the pumpkins we grew this past summer, they're decorating in the front for fall right now. The largest one weighs over 20 lbs. It was sure fun wondering what they were from the mystery plant.!
we found this cute little wash board at a foreclosed house, its small and as you can see, it was made for the kitchen sink. I'm planning on listing it on Etsy and hope someone will love it. I sure like the one we inherited from my MIL, which is below. Alan made a box for the bottom and I decorate it seasonally.
I also have a few other things I'm going to list. Some wooden carved tea light candle holders which are really cool, a Welsh sheep that is handmade that we got when we visited Wales, and a few other things.Plus whatever else I can dig up.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Strawberry Bed and a Little Helper

Alan's been working on a second strawberry raised bed and our grandson Jayden is helping out. Alan had made it larger and then realized it was too big so today we redid it. It was so big before it would be very difficult to harvest the berries and also to cover from the hot sun so it was back to the drawing board.  Jayden loves to be outside and he wants so much to be a good helper! He has his own set of 2 year old tools, that's his little rake.
I also planted in one of the other beds, about 90 onion starts. It will be nice in the spring to harvest red onions for salads and sandwiches. I'm planning on planting some potato starts too, I think I'll probably have to order them online as I'm really trying to stay away from GMO and go organic.

Our weather has been in the 80s during the day and in the 40s at night, nice and cool!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Frugal and Delicious Dish

The kids had brought home a marinated pork shoulder roast, I guess they were on sale and although it was all gone by the time I discovered they'd cooked it, the little I tasted was so good, I thought the next day, I'd go to the grocery store and pick one up for us. Well, to make a long story short, the marinated roasts were no longer on sale, boo! and the price was way out of our budget. The smallest one was way over $15.00.
 I looked around and found pork shoulder picnic roast on sale, remembering that the .99 cent chef did a post on them, I bought it and was pleasantly surprised on how good it was..so thought I'd share the link for the recipe, BBQ Pulled Pork. 
I boiled the roast with chopped onion for about 5 hours, and then put it in a 350 oven for an hour with more of the dry rub. Its so yummy, falls apart good and great for burritos, tacos, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and anything else you can think of. I have a large bowl of shredded pork in the fridge and figure we had enough for about 4 meals (!) which is great as the roast itself was only $5.00. The rub isn't overly spicy, just right. This photo is from the .99 Chef website.

 If you haven't visited his website, you will find many yummy recipes that are very frugal indeed. We're getting a .99 Cent store within walking distance which is great for us. Yes, you can eat well on a minimum budget if you look for specials and sales, and cook from scratch. Growing our own vegetables helps too, and I love looking at our canned tomatoes, beets, vegetables, soups and such in the outdoor cupboard.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Little More

Thanks for all the comments. I sure am praying for our country. Having done alot of genealogy, my family ancestors would be appalled at where our country is today as would be yours, I'm sure. We go to many veterans graves for Find A Grave and remember the sacrifices they gave, only to have our own President shut off benefits, close commissaries, forbid Catholic clergy for celebrating mass  and elderly veterans from seeing their own monuments.

Lets pray that the Lord softens the Presidents heart and he will be willing to bend a bit. The republicans have sent a bill affirming everything in the budget, even health care, just setting back the individual mandate for one year. This seems prudent to me, as its not up and running well at this time anyway. If people want to sign up early, they can. The bill hasn't made it to the Senate floor and sits on Harry Reid's desk. This would probably end the stalemate. Although I have heard the President threatened to veto the bill.
We desperately need our Congress to live within their means, get our deficit down, and quit spending money we don't have. I know we need to stop increasing our credit limit but I don't think this will work at the current time. Not when they close the WWII Memorial and give Sesame Street $450,000,000.
Enough said.

On the home front, we've been working on Find A Grave projects,and  going through old photos, trying to get things organized. Alan's got boxes and boxes of photos he's take over the years. He's been an avid photographer.

Our weather has cooled off and most days are in the 70s now..very nice weather. Beautiful really and its nice with all the turmoil you hear on the news, and online, to enjoy ones home and backyard, cuddle with your grandchildren and count your blessings.

Here are a few cute cat graphics, enjoy!