Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Daybook

FOR TODAY (Simple Woman's Daybook)

Outside my window...
Unbelievable weather!  Is this January?

I am thinking...
That I really need to get my garden seeds ordered and started very, very soon.

I am thankful...
Last week I was able to see an eye specialist.    It was truly a "God" thing.  I requested the appointment and was in to see him the very next afternoon. I really expected a two month wait.....He gave me some encouragement and the information I needed for moving forward.  I feel much more informed about all of my options. The news was positive and I am relieved.

In the kitchen...
Lately I've been trying recipes out from "Family Feasts for $75.00 a Week" by Mary Ostyn of owlhaven.net . So far, I love it.  I already practice many of her money saving techniques, but there is room to improve.  I've made her Crunchy Baked Chimichangas, Refried Beans (I really don't like pinto beans but these were amazing!), and Sausage Sandwich Braid.  All have been very good.

Last week I found a lot of good prices on beef, chicken, pork  and poultry. I was able to cook and freeze a lot of small portions for future quick meals.

 I am wearing...
An absolutely wonderful pair of pants from Mountain Hardwear...Sajama Jenes.  These are pricey, but tough....almost indestructible.  They dress up or down and have just the right amount of stretch.

I am creating...
This is 24 years of video tapes and dvds.  I gathered them all together in one place. This doesn't include the videos on our computer and camera that have never been burned to disc.

Last week I ordered 100 dvds and storage binders to organize this mess.  I started with the computer and have been burning 2 copies at a time.  I plan to keep one and give one to a family member for safekeeping.

I started this project when John was in Iraq when I purchased a vhs/dvd recorder. I sorted all the videos chronologically and then decided I couldn't do it along with stripping all the wallpaper in our house. This year, I'm not stopping until it's finished! No more procrastination.....

I am going...
For a walk with John as soon as he gets home from work.

I am wondering...
How the time has passed by so quickly....I feel like I got married yesterday.  Life is good.

I am reading...
Still working on "The Gift of the Sea" (I've been sidetracked), a few different cook books, a garden book, and some light reading.

I'm waiting for ....
 Lent.  I am so anxious to get started on my 40 Trash Bag Challenge!

I am hoping...
This one stumped me....what am I hoping for?  I'm looking forward to many things....but is that the same as hoping?  And does hoping for something have to be specific? I'll have to think about this one.

I am looking forward to...
Lent. I know I already said that, but I'm really looking forward to the personal growth.  Lent has been spotty for me the past few years.  I feel focused and ready for the season for the first time in a very long time.

I am hearing...

Around the house...
My mom and dad gave me two wing back recliners...I'm so excited...now I face the challenge of rearranging to make them work. The plan is to set them up in the dining room to create a warm space.

I am pondering...
This post from Father Joseph.  Thank you Elizabeth for linking to it.

One of my favorite things...
In his younger days, John worked as a disc jockey at the local radio station.  Now he operates as the family disc jockey.  He can always find just the right music for us to listen to while I'm cooking dinner.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Video Tape Project! (and keeping up with everything else while I do it!)

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

It seems I've noticed the sky a lot lately.  This is an evening picture out the back door. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today's Outing

After a rare January storm complete with thunder, lightening and hail in the middle of the night caused some lost sleep, today seemed like a day to stay home and rest.  But as the afternoon progressed, Ben, John and I decided to get out of the house. We didn't really have a destination in mind until I remembered a neat little overstock store we found over the Christmas holidays.  I've been looking for a chicken roaster or basic oven roaster and thought it might be the place to find one. 

Along the way we took a side road for scenic views, and stopped to take a picture of this very old billboard.  It's advertising Asheville, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. I think it's so interesting to see along the old north/south Highway 25, especially since that destination is close to two hundred miles away.  At the time this sign was in its prime, the destination would have been at least a hard day's journey away. It's been in place since before the interstate system was built in the 1950's.  It's a relic that won't last long as development is encroaching rapidly.  John is planning to stop later this week to try for a better picture.

We stopped at an antique store just to look around.

Look at this neat fish trap!

The perfect place for a good book!

This "Regal Picnic Pack" almost came home with me until I remembered my decluttering goal. It was in new/mint condition from the 1960's.  I've seen this same item revived in catalogs recently...

At the end of the day I found exactly what I was looking for in a chicken roaster. 

As a bonus, on the way out the door, I found this cast iron stove top/oven roaster/grill. 

A little bargaining and I walked away with both for $30!
We stopped to visit my dad for a while and headed home. We had dinner at the "Country Village" restaurant.
Now we're settling in for an evening of "Downton Abbey". 
Lovely day.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This is what happens when....

You forget to order flowers for your son's date to the Snowball.....

Thank goodness for Kroger, a little felt and ribbon to match her dress, and a sewing machine! 

Ten minutes later and he's out the door to meet everyone....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The New Year Begins....

 I love the New Year. 

I miss the Christmas decorations, but there is nothing like the crisp clean feeling when everything is put away.  It's the sense of simplicity that I love.
I like to reflect on what I've accomplished in the past year and what I'd like to do in the future. 

Last year's goals included all sorts of things......better budgeting, major improvements on the outside of the house, progress in my garden, steps toward simplicity and self-sufficiency, earning my National Teacher's Certification, and several other personal projects. 
For the most part, I've made progress on all of my goals.  
To be honest, some more than others, but I'm really fine with that.

The most important thing I accomplished this year was that I didn't beat myself up for not getting things done.  I just found a better rhythm to help me accomplish what had to be done. In finding that rhythm, I actually seem to be reaching more of my goals. And added bonus was that I've enjoyed each moment so much more.

This year I want to continue working toward several specific projects:
  • I have decided that I can no longer procrastinate on cleaning out the mounds of pictures, papers, and mementos in 1/4 of our basement (I cleaned the other 3/4 last year). 
  • Our video tapes need to be copied to DVDs.
  • I'd like to hang our pictures on the walls (we've only lived here seven years now)!
  • I want to improve my garden even more with the ultimate goal of being able to harvest produce for our meals 10 months out of the year.  That won't happen all at once, but I want to make progress.
  • I'd like to make time to learn more about herbs and their uses.
  • If time permits, I'd love to learn to make crocheted scrubbies like these:
  • Our house needs to be deep cleaned....rooms emptied and floors waxed...not sure whether this will happen or not.
  • I want to read more.
  • Finally, I would like to work toward completing this quilt that I started when my sister and I still lived at home.  

1982!!!!! It doesn't seem that long ago!!!!
My mother cross-stitched half for each of us and we completed the other half. My sister has never finished hers either.

I quilted the center during the first year of marriage and put it aside after children started coming along. 
I think it's time to finish it!

  If I can refine the rhythm I worked on last year, add a little more discipline, and have fun along the way....it will be a great year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holiday Update

It's been a busy and beautiful holiday season with children home from college and siblings visiting from far away. Here are just a few pictures....
 Christmas cooking...

Family fun...cousins of all ages searching for the hidden pickle in Granny's angel trees!

The Reason for the Season...our children are too old for the Children's Mass, but we had a wonderful evening celebrating and sharing a potluck dinner with our church family.

My nephew.....

Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, we had our traditional overnight camping trip with friends from down the street.
No tent camping this time...here is the cabin retreat at Blanton Forest....

Work schedules and skiing kept the girls from joining us, but we still had a great time.  

It was cold, but refreshing! A wonderful time of reflection and quiet thankfulness.

On New Year's Day, we discovered an unexpected harvest of pecans in our neighbor's back yard.  It hasn't produced since we've lived here, and she welcomed us to pick up as many as we'd like.
I absolutely love the feeling I get when I harvest a crop!  Especially an unexpected windfall like these pecans or when a friend calls and says, "Would you like to come harvest the plums from my tree?" Such joy!!!!

  It's such an overwhelming feeling of the goodness of God. 

I imagine life for those who came before me and how a harvest of this nature would mean life saving nutrition.

I wish I could think of a more poetic way to say that it is just COOL!

We left plenty for the squirrels...but wow! What a bounty!

Now it's on to New Year's Resolutions....