Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fall Yard Work

Friday was a beautiful day and certainly looks like the best weather day of the Thanksgiving long Weekend. Our weather forecast shows rain moving in this afternoon and continuing through tomorrow. So I finished working on the front flower bed that I started working on last weekend. Knowing that God is going to water my newly planted pansies saved me some extra work!

This is the before picture which shows that I have definitely neglected the bed all summer! There are lots of perennials in there and it is full of blooms and plants all summer and the early part of the fall. But, if I'm not careful, our centipede grass will slowly take it over. Most of the perennials have gone dormant for winter and need cleaning out. There are daylillies, irises, monkey grasses and gladioli in the warmer times of the year.



There was a big fire ant hill in the left back corner beside the tree. Last weekend when I was working in this bed it was very cold. I chopped and dug all around in it and didn't see any ants, so I thought they were gone. WRONG!!! Yesterday it was a very warm day, in the sixties. Have you ever seen a fire ant bed that has been disturbed? It looks like they are boiling! Since I thought the fire ants were gone, I proceeded to dig in that spot to plant a little pansy and you can guess what happened! I had on pink gardening gloves, thank the Lord. I felt something stinging me on my wrists up under the edge of my sleeves and when I looked down, my pink gloves were covered with fire ants!!!! Yikes! Boy did I move fast! I quickly pulled off the gloves and threw them down. I had lots of them on my sleeves and made quick work of killing them. Thankfully, I am not very allergic to fire ants, but I do have some red bumps on my wrists this morning.

This is the after picture: If you look really close you can see the purple pansies I planted peeking out from the pine straw. The straw is fluffy right now, but will settle down and after the pansies grow a little, there will be lots of color all winter and spring.



Today I plan to pick up a few more pansies to plant in the small bed around our mailbox and in one planter. I also plan to buy some fire ant killer!!!

This is another view of the bed from the back which shows smoke from burning leaves. When I see leaves burning in the fall, it reminds me of a children's poem I read to my daughter once. It was something about "Flowers in Springtime, Fires in Fall".

Friday, November 28, 2008

This and That

I haven't done any actual sewing this week, but as usual those wheels in my head are always turning, especially at 3 in the morning.

This is a picture of some of the fabrics I want to use in my Cozy Cabins quilt that I'm "planning". I like the combination of pink and brown. I just had a light bulb moment. The pattern in the magazine used black squares in the center of the blocks, but of course I'll probably need to use dark brown squares.




This is one napkin from a set I am making. The fabric is red, white and green plaid homespun that I bought on sale after Christmas last year for 50 cents a yard. I plan to use them year round, but they will be especially nice for Christmas. I've made three, but plan to make a couple every day or so until I get as many as I can make from the fabric I have. I bought all that was left on the bolt, about a yard and a half.




We've been using the 3 I've gotten done and I like them the best of any I've made so far. The homespun fabric is very absorbent.

I went to Family Christian Stores the day before Thanksgiving and purchased some of their "door busters". One of these that I especially like are baskets that have a fabric lining. On the outer edge of the lining is embroidered "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread". These baskets were only $5.00. The sales catalog said limit of 5 per person, so I bought 5. The clerk told me I could get as many as I wanted and now I'm wishing I had bought more.

I can think of so many ideas to use these baskets for gifts. I could fill them with different themed items. Some ideas are: Homemade bread, cookies, etc.; handmade napkins and coasters; grocery items; spiritual books; journals; roasted pecans; items that represent whatever the recipient's hobbies are, etc.

Here's what the baskets look like. The quilt this basket is sitting on is a wolf/log cabin one I made a few years ago.



This sale is still going on, so if you are near a Family Christian Book Store, maybe you could grab some too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I've been up to lately

My blog posting has been a little sparse lately so I thought I'd catch you up on what's going on in my life lately. My hubby and I returned from our annual Tennessee Mountains trip on Wednesday of last week and I've been very busy since then catching up at work and at home.

1. Last weekend I did no sewing whatsoever!!! While we were gone on our trip my daughter was surprised with the opportunity to have her piano moved from our house to her house and to have it tuned. It turns out that a good friend's father moves and tunes pianos for a living and was going to be in my area on Tuesday of last week. My son was home that day and could be here to let him in. It all worked out beautifully.

So now I have a spot in my sewing room for a cutting table. I am excited about this and am looking forward to hubby helping me to come up with a plan for this. I would love one that has storage underneath. We also plan to put shelves on the wall above the cutting table.

One thing I had to get done last Saturday was to clean up the sewing room because moving the piano left a mess. My son had moved the things on and under the piano out of the way and of course there was dirt on the floor where the piano had been, as well as the rest of the floor.

2. While I was in Sevierville, Tennessee I visited The Cherry Pit Quilt store. I love this store. I can't afford most of what is in there, but its so much fun to browse around and get ideas. I did purchase some Fat Quarters that I hope to use in the Cozy Cabins Quilt I posted about recently. I've decided to use pink/rose and browns as the main colors. I'm going to the fabric department at Walmart soon to purchase some more matching colors. I need some solids, checks, etc. I already have some solid black fabric to use for the center square of the blocks.

3. We've already had snow flurries twice!!! The winter is looking like it might be severe just like the Farmer's Almanac predicted. So I guess it doesn't make sense that I have waited until now to get in the mood to work in the yard. Last Saturday I spent about an hour and a half working in a flower bed in my front yard that has been neglected this whole summer. I had to wear a coat and gloves since it was very cold that day. I made a lot of progress and have already purchased purple pansies to plant this weekend when I get time. During the work week its dark when I get home, so I need to do this when I'm off work. I'll have a 4 day weekend this weekend so I hope to finish getting this flower bed in shape. I'll post before and after pictures later this weekend.

4. CVS and Walgreens. I've gotten some great deals this week. The problem I usually have is that by the time I get to the stores the good stuff is gone. This week I went to Walgreens before work on Monday and to CVS at lunch time on Monday and was able to find all of the items I planned to buy. At CVS I had $30.00 in extra bucks to spend. I only spent 80 cents our of pocket on the first order after coupons and extra bucks. This means I had about 35 dollars worth of merchandise for 80 cents! Then another $25.00 worth of extra bucks printed out and I used them toward my second transaction. I only spent 37 cents on that one and had to grab a candy bar to fill in enough to use the extra bucks. AND I still got $26.00 worth of more extra bucks that printed out after the second transaction. I hope to roll these over again this weekend because CVS is offering a BUNCH of free after extra bucks items Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Well, that's all I've got time for this morning!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - Reflection

This week my husband and I went on our annual anniversary trip to the mountains of Tennessee. We enjoyed a night spent with family who live in Wilkesboro, NC, which is on the way. We then proceeded on through Boone, NC, Appalachian State University, The Mast General Store and on to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN.

I've been seeing the "Saturday Photo Hunt" over at Ms. Ann's Blog (Ancient One) for a while and thought I'd participate this week.

As you may know, I'm a very nervous car rider and driving through the mountains on I-40 with various and sundry TRANSFER TRUCKS riding our bumper on all sides of the car is quite a scary experience for me. My husband is such a good driver and takes my fears into account when we are driving. He remained in the right hand lane most of the time, because that's less scary for me.

I took these pictures which show our progress going through a tunnel. A LARGE truck was right on our bumper! If you look closely at the first picture you'll see signs on each side that say "tunnel".




This picture really is the best one for today's reflection photo hunt. This is the reflection of the tunnel lights on our car window.




This picture is a more clear version showing the inside of the tunnel.



Finally, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!



Photo Hunt

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sisters' Shoebox Swap "Harvest"

I recently participated in my second Sisters' Shoebox Swap. The first one was about a year ago and my partner was Ms. Ruth, the sisters' mom! Ms. Ruth sent me a wonderful box that I treasure. It was so much fun and such a good experience, I wanted to participate again. Carrie and Monica do a really good job with this swap. They make sure everything goes smoothly! The theme of this swap was "Harvest".

This time my partner was Kim. As soon as I saw who my partner was I recognised her as being the person who made a pocketbook from my pocketbook tutorial! I even posted a picture of her finished pocketbook! Click here to see it.

I received an email from Kim asking me what some of my favorite Bible verses are and so I emailed her with my list.

This is one of the items in the box:



This touched me so much because this verse was handwritten by my uncle (also a church pastor) in a sympathy card he sent to me in 1986 when my son, Josh, died. I have never forgotten that verse and now I have it in this beautifully cross stitched, framed picture.

This is a picture of the other items. I can't begin to tell you how special each of these items are. The mat in the middle is hand made by Kim and has other favorite Bible verses written on there. She uses these to help her children memorize Bible verses. I love it. It looks so pretty sitting on my table with a candle or pumpkin sitting on it!



Kim attached a tag to each item telling what it is. The funniest one was attached to the chocolate. It said: "Chocolate... enough said".

I am so excited about the Gooseberry Patch cookbook!!! I have been wanting one forever! She has definitely been reading my blog to know so much about me. She gave me a grandmother's book, a candle, goat's milk soap, lotion, a handmade fabric pumpkin, a handmade "harvest" garland, a brag book, hand knit dishcloths, flavored coffee creamer, a Country Home magazine and spiced pecans.

Kim, thank you so much!

I tried to put together a special package for Kim too. Here is a picture of her items:




It contains: A "Not Just Beans" cook book, a Pie cookbook, a handmade totebag in her favorite colors, a handmade clothespin bag, harvest dish towels, a leaf shaped cookie cutter, book marks, a prayer journal, two books, a handmade mini wallet, a harvest colored spatula, silicone trivet and some Thimbleberries fabric squares.

I wrapped the items within the shoebox in some Fall themed fabric that she can use for another purpose if she wishes:



I think that Kim and I agree that God was at work when we were putting together our boxes.

Also, thanks to the sisters who sponsored the swap! I posted my pictures early because I'll be away from the computer for a few days, but if you'll go to Carrie's Blog Wednesday, the 19th, you can see all the other shoeboxes in this swap.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Husband Rocks - Happy Anniversary to Frugal Husband


Its "My Husband Rocks Friday" and as usual, my husband really rocks! Our anniversary is November 18th and I am still so in love with this guy!

He is my safe haven, my coupon clipper, my resident dishwasher, my chauffeur, my soulmate, my pookie, my best friend, my coffee drinking in the morning companion, my protector, the love of my life, my provider, and so much more......... He's just mine, all mine!

Thanks for all the years and Happy Anniversary WBJ!!!

Click HERE for more "My Husband Rocks" posts at the Great Adventure Blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lunch Time Walgreens Results

I finally got time to go to Walgreens today at lunch and these are my deals:

2 boxes Kelloggs Raisin Bran cereal
2 boxes Kelloggs Smart Start Cereal
4 cans of Progresso Light Soups
2 bottles Coffee Mate Flavored refrigerated creamers
2 cans of Clabber Girl Baking Powder

I had $10.47 Walgreens savings, $6.00 Walgreens advertised savings, $8.20 MFG coupons. After mfg coupons and Walgreens coupons, I spent out of Pocket $10.66.

I received $2.00 Register Rewards for my next shopping trip. This will be good to apply toward items that can generate more register rewards or rebate items.

I could have done better except: 1. The store was out of Frosted Mini Wheats, so I couldn't use one more $1.00 coupon; 2. The store was out of the cake frostings that were on sale, so I didn't do that deal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Sandra Lee Cookbook Offer



Yesterday I visited my local Food Lion and purchased two 1 pound packages of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage. They were on sale for buy one get one free and I had two 75 cents coupons. So each package of sausage was $1.40.

When I got home I went to the Johnsonville website to look for recipes and discovered that I can order a Free Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cookbook if I send in three UPC codes and receipts for the sausage. I have 2 more $1.00 coupons good for the Johnsonville link sausage. This sausage is a little expensive, but If I wait for them to go on sale and use my coupons, I can get the remaining UPC code that I need and order this nice cookbook.

Click here to download the free cook book form.

I thought I'd pass that along just in case any of you have these coupons and see a good sale!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Banana Sandwiches and Fried Cornbread

UPDATE:

***** Kitchen Tip Tuesday is up!********* For more tips go to Tammy's Recipes.

***************************

Its Kitchen Tip Tuesday, but I'm not sure if Tammy will be able to host it today. She and her husband have packed up their entire household within an eight day span and are moving across several states to a new home and job. So, good luck Tammy! We are thinking of you and hope to hear from you.

I've had a few people ask me about banana sandwiches and fried cornbread. These are a couple of typically Southern foods I guess. I grew up eating banana sandwiches on Sunday night. They are delicious and nutritious. We now eat them for the main part of a meal or as a side to fried chicken or pork chops. They are also excellent for picnics or tailgating.

They are easy to make! These are the ingredients:



If you've never had a banana sandwich before, I urge you to use good old fashioned very fresh, soft white bread and real mayo the first time, so you can get the real deal. After that, if you want to, you can use the more healthy whole wheat bread and low fat mayo.

All you do is put mayo on your two pieces of bread, slice the bananas on there and eat! Another variation I love is to put peanut butter on one of the slices! Yum!



Now, as to cornbread, I'm fairly new at making that. My mother made it all my life, but I never really cared for it when I was younger. My husband would mention it now and then and wish for it. Since I have been spending a lot of time with my mother this summer and cooking for her, I learned how to make it. It is so easy and very inexpensive to make. Its a great bread to be used with lots of meals, especially fish.

I think any cornmeal would be fine, but this is the one I currently have. We have lots of cornmeal brands made right here in North Carolina and some are made just down the road. You can use yellow or white corn meal.




For six pieces of cornbread I used one cup of corn meal and about 1 cup of water. Just put the cornmeal in a bowl and add the water until its a little soupy, but not too soupy. Keep stirring it with a fork. My mother uses her hand to smoosh it up. If you think its too soupy, let it sit a couple of minutes and it will thicken up or just add a tiny bit more cornmeal until its just right.



Put some oil in a frying pan, just enough to cover the bottom well, not too deep. Heat the oil on medium high heat and then spoon a couple of spoonfuls into the pan. Push it flat with your spoon so it spreads out some. The thinner, crispier and browner the bread is the better. Just so its not burned. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the cornbread as it is cooking. When that side is brown, dark brown is best, turn it, sprinkle salt and pepper on the other side and when the remaining side is brown enough, remove and drain on paper towels. Its best eaten right out of the frying pan so its crispy, but we eat left over cornbread too.







Another variation I like is to put just a little chopped onion in the batter. It gives a similar flavor to onion rings, but is not overwhelmingly oniony.

Both of these foods are very inexpensive. I honestly don't remember how much this bag of corn meal cost, but it wasn't more than a couple of dollars. In rural North Carolina, from the depression on, fried cornbread was a staple.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lunch time CVSing

For the last couple of weeks I've been going to CVS and Walgreens to start building up my supply of sale priced items such as toothpaste, deodorant and shampoos.

Week before last I bought 2 packages of Playschool diapers for a shower gift and got $5.00 EBs. Last week I went back and bought my daughter 2 packages of Pampers, used a $1.50 mfg coupon, used a $5.00 off $25.00 order (I picked up $5.00 worth of needed items to make my order $25.) and the $5.00 eb from the week before. I received another $5.00 extra buck and another $5.00 of a $25 order.

This week I bought:

5 bottles Palmolive dish washing liquid
1 bottle Fructis shampoo
2 bottles Listerine (code blue for kids)
2 boxes Electrosol dishwasher tablets (25 count)
4 bottles St. Ives Body Wash
1 box of Kelloggs cereal
2 tubes Colgate toothpaste

I used 5 $1.00 coupons, 1 $5.00 EB and 1 $5.00 off $25.00 order. I paid $29.53 out of pocket and received $30.00 Extra bucks for my next order.

I plan to buy the Crest Pro Health toothpaste that is free after EB all month, as soon as my store gets some in, assuming they do get some in before the end of November. I can roll some of my EBs from today.

Also, if I could go back before the end of the day I'll buy the L'oreal anti wrinke cream that is free after EB. I can roll one of the EBs I got today at lunch and spend no money out of pocket. Its only on sale through today.

TOMORROW, WALGREENS!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Roasted Pecans



We have 4 small pecan trees on our property, but haven't had any pecans to speak of for 3 or 4 years. Finally, this looks like its going to be a good pecan year! My husband has been picking up the ones at home as well as the ones near his office.

Being the frugal husband that he is, he noticed that pecans were falling from the huge old trees in the yard of his office and that people were just driving on them and ruining them. So he asked the owner if he could pick them up "on halves". In the country that means that the land owner lets him pick them up and she gets half of what he picks up. We have a pecan pick up tool and he has been leaving for work a few mintues early to get the nuts before they are driven over.

In the grocery store pecans are about $8.00 a pound, if they are already shelled. The picture above shows some pecans my husband has cracked and will now pick out of the shells while watching football.

If you have access to some inexpensive or free pecans, this is a recipe for roasted pecans that is one of the best things I ever make, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we have a good pecan year I like to roast them and give them as gifts. One year I bought pint jars with ring lids. I cut Christmas fabric into circles which fits under the lid and makes a pretty and tasty gift. These were a hit with the people who received them.

ROASTED PECANS

Melt one stick of butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add one pound (3 or 4 cups) of shelled pecan halves and swirl them until they are well coated. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes or until the nuts begin to toast through and turn a darker shade of brown. Drain on paper towels. When they have cooled a bit sprinkle with salt to taste and when thoroughly cooled, store in tightly covered jars or tins.

I have plenty of pint jars and have saved some pretty Christmas tins from years gone by to store my roasted pecans in. Can't wait to get that first batch done!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cozy Cabins Quilt


I received my January, 2009 issue of Quick Quilts yesterday and immediately fell in love with this quilt:



I love scrap quilts and this one uses 1 1/2 inch strips of all colors and
2 1/4 inch black squares. I think what makes the quilt in the magazine so pretty is that is has a common color running throughout. The color is kind of a "tangerine" color. Each block has a little tangerine in it. I need to choose the color I want to accentuate and then start collecting 1 1/2 inch strips.

The name of the quilt block is White House Steps, a variation of the log cabin design. It looks very easy.

I have so many scraps that I'm sure I'll have no trouble coming up with plenty of fabric. I love those little scraps and can't bring myself to throw away even the tiniest one! BUT they are not very organized. I've got them in ziplock bags, here, there and everwhere.

I also already have quilt batting, but will probably need to purchase the backing fabric. Unless I decide to piece the backing fabric too!

I don't know when I'll make this quilt, but its the next quilt I'm going to make. Maybe in January, 2009!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday Update

Tuesday I posted about stocking up for Winter. For me stocking up in winter is all about convenience, not necessity. I wanted to share some comments I received:

From Peggy in Alaska:

"Saw your post via Tammy's Tuesday tips and couldn't pass it up. We live in Alaska so stocking up for Winter is imperative. We had our first snow of the season back in September (28th to be exact) and have had snow on the ground every since. Our days haven't gotten too cold yet, we have been staying around 10 so far. We heat with a wood stove during the winter so we can still cook if the electricity goes out. Right now I think we have about 20 cases of canned fruit (8 cans per case), powdered milk, 150#wheat berries (hard and soft), 15# white sugar, 50# raw sugar, 1 gallon honey, 10 # white flour,8 cases-corn & 12-cases green beans (12 per case), 80# spaghetti, 24# macaroni, 5# dried apples, 5# dried bananas, and 5# dried cranberries. We also have numerous 1 gallon bags of wild blueberries. Our winters are long (7 to 8) months so as you can see we have to really stock up in order to avoid driving to town which is an hour away! We have three boys between the ages of 9 and 14 so you can also see how our food disappears so quickly!!

From Sonshine:

With living in the upper midwest, stocking up is essential for me! Once the snow starts to fall around here I am going to either clean milk jugs or get a couple of jugs of water to have on hand for the just in case a water pipe breaks and the water gets shut off for several hours! My pantry is stocked year around but the winter months I make sure that I have a few more things where I can do meals out of cans if necessary.

Thanks for all my commenters for shedding a new perspective on this post! I really enjoyed hearing how different people need to prepare for their family in winter.

This week has been typical fall weather for our area. We've had a few drizzly cool days, but today promises to be bright, shiny and the high will be in the low seventies. Its currently 52 degrees outside at 6:00 A.M. Our leaf color is at its peak right now. I am loving the beautiful sight of leaves flying all over the place as I'm driving around and when looking out my windows at home.

Monday night I made a new recipe that I wanted to share with you. Its a combination of a recipe I found online and my own ideas. I know a lot of people frown upon using cream soups. Sorry, but it tastes good to me! You can always substitute a home made version of the soup if you wish. I was looking for something that would use some boneless chicken breasts and a large container of sour cream that I wanted to start using. So this is what I came up with:

Chicken Crunch Bake

3 boneless chicken breasts (about 2 or 2 1/2 lbs)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream (mine is low fat)
1/2 regular size can or 1 small can of sweet peas (aka garden peas here in NC)
1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 stick margarine or butter, melted
Small amount of cooking oil
8 oz of pasta (we used shells)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and cook them in a frying pan in a small amount of cooking oil just until done. I sprinkled a little salt and pepper around. Remove and place in a baking dish. Combine the soup, sour cream and garden peas in a bowl and then pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Crush the sleeve of crackers and swirl them around in the melted margarine. Scatter this all over the top of the dish. Bake in the oven, uncovered, 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Serve the chicken crunch bake over the pasta.





As always, you can make this recipe more healthy by using low fat versions of the sour cream and soup.

Monday morning before work I browned up 2 pounds of ground beef with onions and put this in two separate containers in the fridge. It was very convenient to come home from work Tuesday night, simply add a jar of spaghetti sauce to the meat and cook a pot of spaghetti noodles. We had lettuce and all the salad fixins to go with it.

Last night I had one more package of boneless chicken breasts in the fridge. I cut these into strips, dredged them in flour and made fried chicken strips. With this I served baked beans and salad. I also made some fried cornbread.

Tonight I will make something using the other bowl of pre-browned ground beef and onion. Maybe chili!

I posted last week about Laundry in my home. I stated that it aggravates me to have laundry going all the time and I had just as soon wait until Saturday and do it all..... well, that didn't work too well this past weekend. I was doing laundry til the cows come home, Saturday, Sunday and finally finished up Monday morning.

My plan this week is to do 2 or 3 loads of laundry during the week from start to finish in one work session. This morning as soon as I got up (5:30 A.M.) I gathered up a large load of light colors and started them. While I was posting here and doing other things, they washed. I have already placed them in the dryer and am going to fold them AND put them away before I leave for work. That way I don't feel like laundry is going on nonstop. Usually I would wash the clothes in the morning, dry them at night and get them out of the dryer the next day and keep that cycle going. I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow morning with a large load of darks. When Saturday comes I'll still have laundry, but not be overwhelmed, I hope!

Also placing the drying rack in the out of the way place in our bedroom (outside the bathroom door) is working great! We are able to dry our towels for our own personal re-use. They dry better there and stay fresher. The only problem is Hubby keeps forgetting to grab his before going into the shower!!! LOL

HEY tomorrow's Friday! TA, RA, RA, BOOM DE A!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stocking up for Winter 2008


Stocking up for Winter can mean different things for different people. If you live in a very cold and snowy area, its serious business for you! If you live in a more moderate weather area, you might not even consider it.

There are two things that have reminded me that I need to get more serious about stocking up for our winter. First of all, Coleen left a comment on a previous post asking if I was planning to stock up for winter. Here and here are some posts from last year showing my winter stock up.

Secondly, this past weekend our time returned to standard time and I realized that when I get off work in the afternoon, its nearly dark, especially if its a cloudy, rainy or snowy day! I definitely don't want to have to worry about running to a grocery store in those conditions. I need to go straight home.

I already have a good start as you can see from this picture. My little "pie safe" is full. It definitely needs to be organized and some of these cans were purchased for my Church's food pantry. I'm sorry to say I forgot to take them for the past two Sundays.

I have already stocked up on lots of canned items, such as beans, corn, green beans, tomato products, spaghetti sauce, soups, rice, pasta and peanut butter. There have been unbeatable deals on canned items recently and we bought lots. This is the most economical way to stock your pantry. Only buy what's on sale and when its on sale, buy several.

My plan for this week is to organize the pie safe and figure out how many more of the items I've already bought that I need more of.

Also, what would I want to have on hand if we were snowed in or just had some bad weather, such as a Nor'easter? Snow is not too common here, but when it comes, trust me, you do not want to be in a North Carolina grocery store when its supposed to snow or if we are having a hurricane!

So with that being said, I would want to have a couple of gallons of milk and a couple of loaves of bread in the freezer. We would like to have some of our favorite canned foods and some snacks. I would want to make sure we aren't ever close to running out of something we really need or want, such as coffee, creamer, medications, gas in the car, etc. There are also those emergency items, such as bottled water, batteries, candles, matches and a hand held can opener.

Putting this post on paper (well on the computer screen) has helped me to start thinking about these things and to get them done. I hope you have been motivated a little too! Stocking up for winter, or any season, is a great way to save money, stress and time in the kitchen!

For more kitchen tips, please visit Tammy's Recipes!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Handmade Gift Ideas

This week I used some of my sewing projects for gifts and hope you can use these two ideas. I guess you could call them "semi-handmade". They are a combination of a handmade item and a purchased item or cash!

1. I was invited to a baby shower given for my cousin who recently gave birth to premature twin girls. The girls now weigh 3 pounds and will be in the hospital for a while longer. I made these two Strawberry Shortcake tote bags and purchased two large packages of diapers.





I didn't realize diapers had gotten so expensive! I wanted to buy a large package of name brand diapers since it was for a gift and was floored! I had coupons and my plan was to buy them at Walmart. I did get a pretty good deal, I think, at CVS. Its hard to tell what's a good deal since there are so many different size packages, baby sizes and brands. Some say Mega pack, etc.

The diapers I bought at CVS were 60 count Playschool, size 1 and 2, which fit babies 8 to 18 pounds. They were on sale for $10.99 and I had a CVS coupon for $2.00 off. In addition, if you spent $20.00 on Playschool items, you received $5.00 Extra Bucks for a future shopping trip. If only I had some extra bucks on hand to apply to this purchase, it would have been a really good deal. I'm anxious to see this week's CVS sales paper to see if I can "roll" this $5.00 extra bucks coupon on some more good deals this week.

I think these will be greatly appreciated gifts. You can never have too many diapers, especially with twins! And the tote bags can be used for lots of things while the babies are small and the girls can use them when they are larger to carry around their stuff in.

2. I also made this denim wallet for my daughter. On the inside it has a place for credit cards, gift cards, etc. It was a little surprise for her to receive in the mail this week. I put a 5 dollar bill in there with a note that said "Lori's Dunkin Donuts Coffee Money". She loves to go through the drive through and get an iced coffee, but tries to limit these treats, so I thought she'd appreciate a little bonus in the mail!





You could place a Walmart, other gift card or good old fashioned cash in a wallet and make a very nice gift. Its much more personal than just giving a gift card or money. It shows the recipient that you put some thought into the gift.

I have a very busy weekend ahead of me. Today I have some Etsy Shop sewing to do, house cleaning and laundry. Tonight I'll be spending the night at my mother's. Tomorrow I'll be home by 11:30 A.M. or so and will be having my daughter and her family over for lunch. I will get aome grandbaby sugar!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogra...