Friday, June 28, 2013

First Grader and 5 weeks to go

We attended my grandson's kindergarten graduation yesterday.  What a sweet age this is!  Its amazing how much a group of children can learn and mature in one year. 

Two Grandsons!
Our newest grandson will be here in 5 weeks.... or less.  He seems to want to come early.

First grader getting hugs.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recycling a Potato Chip Bag into a Baby Toy

We've all seen how much babies love to get hold of a newspaper or other crinkly paper. Of course, we run over and take it away from them immediately!  There are several tutorials on line for how to make a crinkly tag toy for babies.  Here are pictures of how I made one for my grandson using a recycled potato chip bag.

I retrieved an empty bbq potato chip bag from the trash.

I cut it open and washed the inside with a soapy dishcloth,rinsed it well and dried it.

Then I layered two pieces of flannel, right sides together with the ribbon loops laid between and a piece of the potato chip bag cut the same size on top.  I sewed a 1/2 inch seam all around, leaving an opening for turning.  Then you clip the corners and VERY CAREFULLY turn the toy right side out.  This was a very delicate process and you have to take your time, because the paper wants to tear at the opening.

Once I got it turned right side out I stitched around the edge, double stitching each ribbon loop.  The bag is safely enclosed inside the toy and neither the bag or the loops can come off. 

You can make this any size you want.  I made mine from scraps and the size was determined by the size of the scraps.

It turned out really cute and baby Walt can safely make that crinkly paper sound all he wants!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tobacco Stories

Having tobacco planted behind and beside our house this Summer has brought back many memories of my childhood and it occurred to me that many of the people in this world have no idea how tobacco is harvested and especially how it was done back in the day when I was young, in the 1960s and 1970s.  Of course my elders tell me about more primitive ways of harvesting tobacco that make the way we did it look modern!

There was a whole language associated with tobacco in the South during those days. When young people hear me use some of these terms, they do not understand.  Here are some that I remember.

1.  Barnin baccer:  The entire process of harvesting and putting the tobacco into the barns to be cured.

3.  Settin out baccer:  The process of pulling the plants from a bed and then sitting on a "setter" pulled behind a tractor.  You lay the plant in a little hopper thing as it turns by you and it puts the plant in the ground.  You have to be quick and ready for it every time it comes back up.

3.  Toppin and succering baccer:  The tobacco plants get flowers on top and little side shoots that have to be picked off.  You "top" the flowers and "succer" the side leaves. 

4.  Croppin baccer:  The process of picking the leaves off the stalks.  The leaves were cropped starting with the bottom leaves.  Each tobacco plant was cropped several times over the summer, going up the stalk until all the leaves were gone.

5.  Sand lugs:  The bottom leaves that start turning slightly yellow first and are cropped first.  They are full of sand because they are near the ground.  These aren't as valuable as the leaves higher up on the stalk.

6.  Tyin baccer:  The process of sitting on the harvester and tying handfuls of tobacco on a  tobacco stick.  There was an art to this and I became pretty good at it.  My tobacco leaves did not fall of the stick after I tied them on there.  On the other hand, it had to be put on there in such a way that it was easy to take off the sticks as well.

7.  The baccer harvester.  This was way more labor intensive than it sounds.  The harvester was a contraption that was pulled by a tractor, had a shelter over it and pulled a baccer trailer behind.  The tobacco was planted with 4 rows on each side of a "middle".  the workers sat on the harvester as it slowly crept down the rows.  There were 4 pairs of workers, usually 4 teenage or adult guys who sat down near the ground in a seat and as they cropped the leaves off the plant, they would hand the handfuls of leaves up to the tyers, who sat up above them and who were usually girls.

There was also a person driving the tractor.  I was doing this at 8 years old with no umbrella over me in the hot North Carolina Summer sun.  Sun screen did not exist.  I had to know what to do when they said "whoa!", "slow down", or "speed up".  I stopped when I got to the end of the row and let an adult turn the thing into the next row.

The work crew was rounded out by another guy, who took the sticks of tobacco when they were full and tied off and layed them on a trailer that was being pulled behind the tractor.  Another job that a young child would do is to walk behind the whole thing and pick up any dropped leaves.

On the harvester there was usually a water cooler which was filled with a big chunk of ice and water each morning.  It was very important to have this water for the workers so that they could keep hydrated during the hot weather. 

Humid and hot does not even begin to describe what it felt like down there in the middle of those rows where no air could get to you.

8.  Baccer gum:  This is a nasty thick black coating that would get all over your hands by the end of the day.  Most of us didn't wear gloves because it was too hot.  At the end of the day it was nearly impossible to get this gum off your hands.  The only thing that would take it off easily was bleach!  I am assuming that this is what a smoker's lungs look like from smoking!

9.  Handing up the sticks.:  At the end of the day all those sticks of baccer loaded on the trailers had to be put into the barns.  The barns were very tall and had what were called tier poles in the top to hang the sticks on.  On the dirt floor were gas burners that would be lit to cure the leaves.  An assembly line was set up that ran from the trailers parked outside the barn, all the way to the top of the barns.  The teenage guys were usually up in the top of the barns, since they were usually strong and agile and could stand the heat.  and I mean HEAT!  Not to mention snakes....

This is an old tobacco barn.  There are many of these old relics all over the countryside in rural areas of the South.  Most are falling down and are covered with vines.  Some have been fixed up into nice storage buildings or even apartment type homes.

10.  Taking out baccer:  After the leaves had cured out enough they had to be taken out of the barn.  The assembly line was then done in reverse order.  The barns had to be emptied regularly to make room for more green tobacco.  This was often done before day on the same day that more tobbacco was to be harvested.  This means that many days started at 4:00 A.M. so that the barns would be ready.  The cured sticks of leaves were piled on trailers and taken to another barn or old deserted house called pack houses. 

11.  Taking off baccer:  This usually took place on rainy days when harvesting could not take place or in the fall. The leaves had to be taken off the sticks, sorted and put into baccer sheets, which are made of burlap.  These big sheets full of tobacco were taken to a tobacco warehouse where they were auctioned off. 

Taking off baccer was a much more pleasant job than barnin baccer!

12.  Getting the baccer in order:  Sometimes the tobacco leaves would get too dry in the barns and would be brittle and crumbly.  I have seen my Daddy have us lay all the sticks of tobacco all over the yard over night so that the dew would moisten them some and get them into "order".    That was a sight to see.

This only scratches the surface of the whole Southern Tobacco Society.  These days there are machines that crop the tobacco and they are put into bulk barns.  Its way less labor intensive, as far as I can tell.  I left those days behind over 35 years ago and don't really know the details of how it is done anymore.

13.  Choppin baccer and standin up baccer:  Chopping the grass and weeds.  Standing it back up after a storm.  These jobs took several workers all taking a row at the time.

Tobacco Barn in Winter

Here are a couple of interesting memories from my baccer barnin days:

1.  My Daddy would catch snakes and chase some of the workers with them.  I. am. not. kidding.....  They were not poisonous, and he was just playing around.    He never did that to me.  I remember at least one teenage guy who never came back after one of those episodes.

2.  One of the tractors had to be cranked with a hand crank.  Daddy tried to crank it one day and didn't have the tractor out of gear.  It nearly ran over him and did in fact run into a barn and did some serious damage.

3.  Tobacco harvesting was so dependent upon the local children and teenagers, that the first day of school was often delayed by 2 or 3 weeks to allow the last of the tobacco to be harvested, without interfering with school.  I think this may be where my love of Fall comes from.  I was so glad that summer and tobacco harvesting was over each year.


A lot of people had good memories of their baccer barnin days and had good times.  Most of mine were not good.  But, it was part of my life and I learned a lot from it.  It taught me how to work and how to persevere.   To this day I have a good work ethic and know how blessed I am to have an office job with A/C!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Plan of Attack for CVS Deals This Week

I'm really doing well with coupons and sales, both at CVS, Food Lion and Dollar General lately.  Those are the three stores that I visit most often.

I have been receiving a coupon by email from CVS almost every Thursday around noon, so I have been waiting until toward the end of the week to make my trip.  Its great when the coupon is for $5.00 of a $25 or $30 dollar order.  Other times it will be a percentage like 25 or 30 off the order.  This isn't as good because the percentage off will only apply to non-sale items and I don't buy too much at CVS that isn't on sale!  It does apply to some items that aren't on sale, but generate extra bucks, so I still benefit from it sometimes.  The email gives you the option to send the coupon to your card and so I do that, even if I don't use it.  It will automatically come off at the register, when the cashier scans your card.

Here is my plan of attack for this week:

First transaction:


2 Colgate Max toothpaste at $2.99
2 Crest  ProHealth toothpaste at $2.99
2 Crest ProHealth Rinse at $4.99

Spent:  $21.94

Use Coupons:

2 $1.10 off the rinse
1 $2.00 off 2 Colgate toothpaste
2  $.50 off  Crest toothpaste
$15.00 EBs from last week
Total $20.20 in coupons

$1.74 out of pocket

Get back $16.00 extra bucks

Second transaction:

Diaper Deal:  Buy $30 and get $12 Extra Bucks

3 packs of Huggies at $9.49 ea.
1 Huggies Wipes at $3.00

Less $16,00 extra bucks from first transaction
Less 3 $3.00 coupons on Huggies diapers ($9.)
Less $5.00 coupon on huggies purchase of $20 that printed at kiosk last week
(Am looking for a coupon for the wipes)

$31.47 cost less $30.00 in coupons, equals $1.47 out of pocket.

Get back $12.00 Extra bucks for next week or other deals that I may do this week.

The coupon CVS sends to my email Thursday may sweeten these deals even further, hopefully.

More details later.... got to go to work!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Baby Sewing! Crinkly Tag Toys, Burp Cloths and a Quilt....

Some really cute baby sewing has been going on at the farmhouse!

For Grandson Walt, a crinkly taggie blankie toy.  I used scraps of flannel from a blanket I remember making over 5 years ago for a nephew.  I have lots of ribbon in my stash for the tags  The crinkle noise comes from a piece  of a potato chip bag on the inside!  I'll show you how I did that in a later post this week.

This one doesn't have the crinkle on the inside, but is soft and has the ribbon tags for him to play and cuddle with.

For Grandson Eli, the "best ever burp cloths".

This one is really big, but that's the size piece of flannel I found in the remnant bin at Joann's and I saw no reason to cut it smaller.  These burp cloths are so soft and feel nice on your shoulder, against your neck and for the baby's face.

I tried to get a little fancy and quilted a star in this "I love grandma" one.

I finished the Pinwheels and Prairie Points quilt for my Etsy Shop.

And these monkey burp cloths are for sale also.

Its back to work for me after a wonderful weekend of sewing. Have a great Monday.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My deals of the week.

I have gotten so many great deals this week at CVS and Walgreens that I thought I would share them with you.  Its so nice to stock up on often used items at a very low cost or even free.  Its also a blessing to be able to share them with family members.


Bought 1 Purex and got 2 free deal.  Used 3 $1.00 off coupons.  Final cost $2.29 for all three.

Bought 2 packages of Butterball Turkey Bacon for $1.29 each.  Used 2 $1.00 off coupons.  Final Cost 58 cents for both.  These are smaller size packages than you would get at the grocery store, but still a great deal!  We love BLTs made using turkey bacon.  Fresh tomatoes this time of year will make this a wonderful meal.


2  Revlon Nail Polish
1 Almay Eye Shadow
3 Purex Laundry Detergent (buy 1, get 2 free)
3 Colgate Total Toothpastes
1 (4) pk travel size Total Toothpaste.

Coupons used:

$5.00 off $30.00 order (cvs email)
$2.00 off 2 Colgate
.75 off 1 Colgate
$3.00 off Revlon product (cvs Beauty Club email)
3 $1.00 off Purex
Used $19.00 Extra Bucks from last week.

Final Cost $2.59  for everything and got $15.00 Extra Bucks for next week.

Next week is looking like a spectacular week for lots of free stuff.  I have $15.00 extra bucks and some great high dollar coupons for things that are on sale and that generate Extra Bucks.  I'll be buying diapers for the grand babies, more toothpaste, mouth rinse, razors, shampoo and more.  I hope to share these deals with you.

Just remember to scan your card at the CVS kiosk machine.   I scan mine at least twice each visit.  Some of them don't seem that great at the time, but the following week or the next there will often be a sale that you can use them toward.

I am being careful in my use of the Extra Bucks I have on hand so that they generate more each week.  I AM NOT buying something just because its a great deal.  Only buy it if you would actually use it or a family member would.

I recently read about a girl who asked her elderly grandparents for a list of items they would use from a drugstore.  Then when she can get these items free or at a good deal, she gets them and then gives them to her grandparents. Think "Polident, Fiber One, etc."  I love that idea!  We do this with the diaper deals, since we have one 5 month old grandson and a new grandson coming in the next few weeks.  The moms love it when we hand them a package of diapers.  Bought at regular price this saves them about $10.00 a package on their grocery bill.  Its like money in the bank for them and we get to experience the joy of doing something nice for our grandchildren and their parents.  I plan to put my stash of grocery store items in a box and when the children visit, they can go "shopping" in the box if they wish.

At the rate we are spending money at the doctor, dentist and eye doctor, we need to save everywhere we can!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kitchen Frugalness

I've been on a mission to use up what we have on hand. Grocery prices are so high and I'm tired of spending big bucks there and still not feeling like there's anything to eat.  I've decided this is my own fault! The fridge, freezer and pantry are full, but it takes some thought and work to get it on the table. Especially after working away from home all day!

So, this is my current menu planning method.  Number 435th try. (grin)  I made a list of all the possible main dishes and all the possible side dishes that were available in the kitchen.  The list is left laying out on the kitchen counter.  There are so many possibilities when you open those  pantry and fridge doors and stare.  ESPECIALLY those that need to be eaten soon before they disintegrate.  My list included some squash and cucumbers that were given to us.  Much too tasty to let go to waste.

Then the night before, or in the morning if I forget, we check to see what we want or need to eat the next night.  Frozen meat can be put in the fridge to thaw and will be ready to cook by the next afternoon.  An on going grocery list can be made when I realize we are out of something or that some item is needed to complete a particular dish. 

Its helpful that Hubby can look at the list and help with the decisions!  In fact while I was typing this post, he was looking at the list and asking what we are having tonight.  I stopped what I was doing, joined him in the kitchen and we made the decision together.  Tonight we will have leftover pork chops, banana sandwiches, and pasta salad.  The bananas are getting ripe and there are a couple of tomatoes that need to be eaten and would be good chopped up in the pasta salad.  It is so good to stop the waste and save money at the same time!  I won't even get started on how frugal it is to take leftovers for lunches while at work.

This time of year we start to get lots of fresh vegetables and nothing is better!  Here is my first picking of green beans.

I stocked up on potatoes recently at the grocery store that were on the produce manager's sale.  They are delicious, but as you know, you have to be on a mission to eat them because they will start to deteriorate quickly.  I combined some of them with the green beans and some onions, cooked in chicken broth.  It was delicious and made a great side for several meals.

In the fridge were a couple of cucumbers and some fresh broccoli that I had left from making some pasta salad last week.  So these became our fresh vegetable appetisers to munch on while the real food was cooking.  Not only did it keep them from going to waste, they were delicious and helped to curb our appetite some so as to not eat as many calories.

I added a few sunflowers cut from the yard in a vase and that completed our frugal and delicious meal.

We have already put to good and delicious use some items from the freezer that seemed to sink to the bottom of the abyss.  My grocery bill was about half what it had been the week before and this week is looking very frugal too. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mama's Vintage Treasures -Teapots

These two teapots have been a part of my Mama's home for a very long time. They doubled as decoration and as a storage place for receipts. She would stick store receipts, especially at Christmas time, in there in case they were needed later on.   We never drank hot tea at our house and to this day I don't care for it at all!  But sweet iced tea is always welcome.

The white one with the blue flower is the oldest.  I remember it as a child and I know anything I remember as a child is old (grinning).  The other one must have came later.  I'm not sure where either of them came from.  The doily they are sitting on was made by my Grandmother.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Heard and Seen This Weekend....

It was a beautiful weekend in our neck of the woods, after a stormy week.  Father's day was enjoyed by my hubby.  My only regret is that I broke off part of a tooth while we were eating lunch out at a restaurant.  It doesn't make sense that I was eating salad and  not something hard.  Oh well, at least it isn't hurting, but I'm sure it will hurt my pocketbook when I get to the dentist's office!

I am enjoying the summer very much this year.  The super hot weather hasn't arrived as it usually does by this time in June.

Looking out my kitchen window you can see how tall the corn has gotten that is growing on this side of the house. Hubby remarked that it is already tasseling out.

While looking out the window with my camera in hand, I saw some hummers getting their breakfast and zoomed in for a quick picture.  And you do have to be quick!

Peter Rabbit was seen out the sewing room window and I zoomed in on him too.

Weekend sewing... my first attempt at prairie points.  They turned out cute, but they'll be much easier the next time now that I figured out some things.

The lasagna garden with a fresh "layer" of kitchen scraps.  There are potatoes growing in there from potato peelings.  I hope this will be a nice little bed next summer with rich soil after all the layers decompose.

Seen outside the Dollar General Store while waiting for Hubby to pick up a couple of things.

Heard early Sunday morning:  Hubby singing in his beautiful deep voice, "You'll Never Walk Alone", while shaving.  Click HERE to hear this song and I promise it'll take you away from any problems you may have for 2 or 3 minutes!  PS:  hubby sounded every bit as good or even better than Elvis.... not kidding.

Are you enjoying the sights and sounds of summer?

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I guess its time for me to get on the band wagon, so I'm claiming Bloglovin as my blog reader.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vintage and Antique Suitcases

These suitcases were found in the deep, dark recesses of Mama's attic. 

The middle one is really old, no telling what history it would tell if it could.  Did my Mama use it when she left home after getting married?  Did Daddy use it when he went away to WWII?  I will never know. 

I can just see her with this suitcase going off to the other side of the county with my Daddy after they got married in that simple ceremony.


The top and bottom two belonged to my sister, almost 50 years ago.

My first inclination was to throw them away, but I remembered seeing old suitcases used in home decor in magazines and on blogs.  These may be in too bad of a condition for this.    I could possibly paint or do decoupage on the top and bottom ones.  I have seen old suitcases in antique shops that have been painted purple or some other color.  I would not want to do anything to the middle one.  I  like it the way it is.

Look at these examples:

I guess its all in how they are displayed!

Glimpses of Home - A Little Bit of Fall

I've been enjoying Fall.  I love this time of year. Having a hubby who is retired is great.  He does so many things around the house. ...