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4/30/11

Sentimental Saturday

A pictures worth a thousand words...or in this case a thousand tears. My cousin recently posted some old pictures on Facebook and there were some I had never seen before. When I opened the folder and saw this one, I bawled like a baby.

 A million memories flashed back. This was the back porch at what we all called "The Old House". Memories of summers spent playing under the weeping willow (yes, that is where my love of willows comes from). Memories of chicken frying in the kitchen, sweet tea in the pitcher, and Mamaw making us Inky Binky Boos from Papaw's work socks (they are now known as sock monkeys, but Mamaw had her own version and every grandchild had one. That's my Papaw on the left. He died when I was only 5, but I do have memories of him but nobody has very many pictures so this one just took me by surprise. That's my two aunts up in the chairs. Frances on the left and Mary (Dee Dee) on the right. The woman setting beside Papaw is my precious mother. Of course, if you would look close at her feet, you can tell we are related.....FLIP FLOPS. How funny is that? I forgot about her love of "floppies" until I saw this.
I can imagine this day in my mind. I bet they had been inside doing dishes after a big family meal. To escape the heat, they went out to the back porch. Notice Mom still has her sweet ice tea with her. Us grandkids (would have been 9 of us at that time) were probably out in the yard running and playing or on the front porch, playing house and pretending we were the "Rimmer Girls". They were neighbors of Mamaw's that were in high school and we adored them. I always had to be Mary Jane because she was so beautiful and cool. I still see the Rimmer Girls when I go back to West Virgina on visits. And we always laugh about growing up. Oh, such precious memories.

This next picture is Grandma & Grandpa Adkins in their early years. They were Mamaw's parents. My first thought when I saw this was that Grandpa looked a lot like Matthew McConaughey. :)


She posted many more and they all brought a tear or a smile to my face. But Blogger is being tempermental today and won't let me post. It keeps locking up. So I'll save more for another day. In the meantime, I'm going to spend the day today making memories for my grandbabies. We are taking all five of them to the Deer Farm and Petting Zoo in Sevierville. They will be able to get right in the pen with the deer and feed them from their hands. They can also get in the goat pen and play with the baby goats. I just have to remember to pull the girls' hair up on their head. First time we went there, Alexis had two pony tails and when she bent down to pet the goats, I noticed one was chewing on her hair. We had to wrap the pony tails up like Princess Leah buns on side her head. Don't worry I'm armed with bobby pins today for her and Shelby. Then after the zoo trip, my son's three will be spending the night. It's the first time all three have spent the night since Colby was born. He will be 7 months old tomorrow. It will be the very first time that all 5 of my grandchildren will get to go to Sunday School and church with me. I am so excited about showing off all my beautiful babies at one time. I'm pretty sure that singing in the choir in the morning is not going to be an option. :)

I hope everybody has a blessed and wonderful weekend.





4/29/11

Does God Still Perform Miracles?


I'm linking to Jeremiah 29:11for Fantastic Friday

Does God still perform miracles? If you have any doubt, sit down and have a conversation with my dear friend Norma. She is a walking, talking, BREATHING example of just how powerful our God is. On April 26, Norma celebrated her anniversary as a lung transplant recipient. At the time of her operation, the doctors encouraged her by telling her, that with proper care, the transplant might add another 5 years to her life. That was 8 years ago and she is still going strong.

Norma has shared her story with me and I would like to kick off my new series of Faith Filled Friday blog posts by letting you know a little about her story.
In November of 1992, Norma’s lungs completely quit working right. She had gotten a headache like nothing she had ever experienced. After being hospitalized for a week, she was released to come home on oxygen 24/7. She had been diagnosed with Emphysema/COPD. Years of working in jobs with dust, chemicals, cleaning supplies and gas/diesel fumes in addition to her years of smoking had damaged her lung beyond repair. Her smoking stopped that day. In 1994, she had a transtracheal system installed to take oxygen directly to her lung and in 1995 had to undergo lung reduction surgery. As an independent person who would spend the last 3 years out of 11 years on oxygen seldom leaving home, this was a huge adjustment for Norma. Friends helped when they could. Her life was confined to the walls of her home, only leaving long enough for the necessary trips to the doctor.

In October 2002, Norma was evaluated at Vanderbilt Transplant Clinic in Nashville, TN to see if the rest of her organs could withstand the necessary lung transplant that was needed to save her life. On November 12, 2002 she was listed on the national registry for one lung transplant. In December 2002 and February 2003, she had two dry runs for transplant, but neither lung was viable. But on April 26, 2003, she received her brand new lung. The Learning Channel was filming the “Resident Life” series at the hospital and they broadcast her transplant. She was able to later watch the removal of her old, dead lung (mostly black in color) and watch the miracle of her new lung turn a beautiful shade of pink as the air was put into it. After around 15 days in the hospital, she was released to a local apartment with no oxygen, breathing on her own and holding an oxygen saturation of 95% and better. She laughingly recalls that “I couldn’t wait till I got home and called the oxygen supply people to ‘come and get these tanks!” She had one mild rejection, which was common, but they got everything straightened out. She did so well with her transplant that on July 15, 2003 (less than 2 months after her transplant) she was allowed to return home to her own house with no care or assistance.

When she was finally released to drive, her very first trip was to church on Sunday morning. In her own words, “I thank God everyday for giving the doctors the knowledge to do this life saving transplant, my donor family the desire to donate, and me the willingness to accept this great gift and the desire to honor my donor’s memory. It is beyond my understanding why one person lives, and another passes. But I have faith in God's perfect plan, and I agree; Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. I have faith that there is a reason. Please pray for me to see the plan that God is wanting fulfilled. Maybe it is just to let everyone know that transplants work to save lives. Maybe it is just to give my testimony before you. I feel that without all the prayers that went up for my successful surgery and recovery, I could not have done as well as I have. I am living proof that transplants work. God has been so good to me.”

So here we are eight years later and three years longer than the doctors predicted. Norma still lives alone. She cleans her house, does her grocery shopping and drives wherever she needs to go. She runs the library at our church and is an active member of the WMU at church. Her great faith in God and His healing powers have guided her through some tough times, but she will be the first to tell you that no matter what curve life throws you, God is STILL God and you must always place your faith and trust in His hands. He is STILL in the miracle business.

You can learn more about Norma’s story by visiting her website on Angel Fire.

Thank you Ms. Norma for stopping by today and letting us tell your story. You are a real inspiration to every who knows you.

(NOTE: This is the launch of my new "Faith Filled Friday" posts. If you are anyone you know has a story of faith to share, please email me at mamawsplace@gmail.com. I would love to tell the world of the miracles God brings to our lives every day.)

4/28/11

Things that make me smile.....

"Grandchildren fill a space in your heart that you never knew was empty."

That is so true. When I think of my grandchildren, my heart swells with so much love and joy that I feel like I could burst. Each one is special in their own way and each one owns my heart.

Garret is my oldest. He turned 12 last month and he is growing up so fast. He loves to hunt and fish. It always makes me so proud when he gets a deer or catches a fish. They always eat what they get. He caught this one over the weekend. He has a deep abiding love and knowledge of animals. I never argue with his animal facts, no matter how far fetched they sound. If I question him, he makes me look it up on the Internet and he is ALWAYS right. I've learned never to doubt what this child says. I can't count how many times over his younger years we have played "zoo" with his plastic animals when he visits. He has said for many years that he is going to be a zookeeper when he grows up. He even spends time with his buddies at school drawing out the design and layout of his own zoo.  I worry that as he gets older, he won't want to spend time with Mamaw. But the last time he was over, he said he couldn't wait to get his license and get a car (in just four short years, he can). He said then he can come to my house any time he wants.

Caleb was the next one to come along. He will be 8 in May. He is our analytical grandchild. He is a semi-truck nut. His daddy drives a Peterbilt so he is obsessed with them. He can give you every detail you ever wanted to know about trucks, trailers and equipment. Those are his favorite toys to get and he has tons of trucks/trailers. He is one of those children who can sit down and play with their toys for hours on end. It's really cute because he always has a theme. He may play haul scrap or zinc. He may use pencils or popsicle sticks for logs. Or he may be fighting fires with his firetrucks (his daddy is also a volunteer firefighter.) He has many trucks in the 1/32" scale and many in the 1/64" scale. He is so detail oriented that he will only play with matching sizes at a time. He told me one day I didn't understand depth perception. (How a 7 year old even knows what that is blows my mind.) Then he proceeded to show me why something didn't match up because of the size and depth of the one truck compared to the other. He is so precise when it comes to matching up the trucks for his play time that it just amazes me.

Our middle grandchild was our first granddaughter, our first little princess, Alexis Caroline. She will be 7 in September and is still so tiny and petite. She was our 2 month preemie who weighed a little over one pound. She is one of the most loving, sweet little girls you will ever meet. She gets so upset if she hurts one of the other kids feelings or anything and then she gets even more upset if they won't accept her apology. She is so kindhearted and precious. She is also one of our little talkers. She never runs out of anything to say. It doesn't even matter if there is no one in the room to talk to, she will talk to her toys. My son told me one time they had over a 9 hour drive from Panama City back home and he thinks Alexis talked 8 hours and 45 minutes of it. She loves to play with little toys she can hold in her hands like Dora, My little Pet Shop, Tinkerbell, things like that. She loves her Princess stuff. This past year I took the two granddaughters to the Disney Princesses on Ice and I don't think Alexis blinked for two hours. She was so spellbound, I got more wrapped up in watching her than I did the show. She always has such a big hug for me and jumps up in my arms whenever or where ever I see her.

Our next grandchild was our other little princess, Shelby Rayne. She'll be 3 in July. As you can tell by this look, she is pure "you know what" on wheels. Her mommy started her out on her princess route by decorating the nursery in the Disney princess theme and buying her frilly, lacy dresses. She went so overboard with the princess theme in year one that Shelby is turning into, what a lady at church calls, a little diva in year two. She will put on her sunglasses, place her hand back behind her head and say "Look at me. I a mobie (movie) star." She can look so sweet and innocent, but can also get into quite a bit of mischief with her big brother Caleb. Her mommy bought her a beautiful lavender frilly dress for Easter with all the tulle layers underneath. The moment she got her dressed, Shelby turned around in a couple of pirouettes and then bowed down and did a little curtsy. At church on Easter, she kept walking up to every one, doing a couple of twirls, then her little curtsy. Can we all say DIVA? She is all girl. She loves baby dolls, dishes and strollers. She plays "mommy" all the time.

Oh, what pride and joy we take in our newest addition, Colby James. He was our unexpected gift from God. We thought both our children were through. They had both told us repeatedly no more grandchildren. You can imagine how excited we were to find out one last blessing was on the way. When my son called to tell me, I cried after I hung up the phone. I love my grandchildren so much and to know we were getting another one brought me such joy. He was born with a beautiful head full of hair and never lost it. He is so cuddly and snugly. I'm so excited that he'll get to stay all night with us this Saturday along with his siblings, Garret and Alexis. This will be the first time I will be taking all 5 of my grandchildren to church at the same time with me on Sunday (my son and his wife live across the county so them and their 3 belong to a different church than my daughter and I do.) It will be interesting to see what his interests will be as he gets older.

Yes, my grandchildren are one of the best gifts from God and they can always bring a smile to my face.








4/27/11

A little piece of paradise....

Some of my fondest memories of my early childhood days was playing under the weeping willow tree at Mamaw Eden's when she lived in what we call the old house. I wrote this post early in the morning on Tuesday, but later that day, my cousin was posting pictures on Facebook and she posted this one. It's my mom (in the white dress on the front of the porch with her glass of ice tea), her two sisters and Papaw. I have never seen this picture and the day I write about the old house, it gets posted by a cousin. God works in mysterious ways. In the top of the picture, she can see some of the weeping willow leaves hanging down.


Those early days of my childhood fill me with such longing for the peaceful days of summers filled with laughter, playing with cousins, spending the days with family.


I can't go back in time, but I can pull out those old memories and think of them. I can see us all gathered around that old kitchen table as Mamaw rattled around the kitchen preparing us something to eat. There was always ice tea no matter if it was breakfast, lunch, supper or a snack before bedtime. A pitcher of sweet ice tea was always in the refrigerator.


 I can sit out back and watching the branches of our willows as they move slowly in the breeze and I can remember with fondness those old days. I can hear the sounds of the birds as they sing their sweet song of peace. I watch as the river flows along at a peaceful, slow pace. Nothing gets in a hurry on our river. The eagles that live in the woods across the river will spread their wings, gliding slowly and gracefully up and down the river. The water is so still on some days that it looks like a sea of glass.


In these early morning hours when the day is just beginning, I can sit on the patio in the swing, gently swaying to and fro. You don't hear any traffic as we are so far from the main roads. The neighbors are all quietly inside their homes preparing for their work day. And me? I'm just sitting here in my swing enjoying my little piece of paradise.

4/26/11

The ABC's to a contented life....

THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ON THIS POST ARE MINE AND ARE NOT MEANT TO OFFEND. BUT I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. THESE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE KEPT ME SANE AND HAPPY FOR MANY YEARS. HOPE YOU ENJOY.


Keep a happy, positive ATTITUDE

BELIEVE in yourself

Be CARING and concerned about others

DARE to be you. God gave you your own mind for a reason. Be true to yourself.

Provide spiritual ENLIGHTENMENT to others

Keep the FAITH

Believe in the one and only GOD

Find HOPE in whatever situation you are facing

Explore your IDEAS

Believe that JESUS is the Son of God

Cherish every moment with your KINFOLK

Keep a heart full of LOVE

Spend every day making MEMORIES

Never let the NEWNESS of anything wear off

Be OVERJOYED for the little things life brings your way

PRIORITIZE the important things in your life

Take daily QUIZZES to keep your mind sharp

Be RESOURCEFUL to get through a problem

Take some time every day to be SILLY

Always make TIME for your family and friends

Sometimes, you need to wear your girlie UNDERWEAR, not always your old lady panties

Rejoice and savor each VICTORY that comes your way

Always remember you are a WINNER because you are a child of the King

Be sure and be XENODOCHIAL to everyone you meet (it means friendly to strangers, I had to search for this one)

Keep a YOUTHFUL outlook on life and don’t grow old before your time. There is nothing worse than being with people your own age and you are the only one who feels like an old fuddy dud.

Maintain your ZEST for life. Do not hit the end of your journey with regrets. End it on a the downside of a roller coaster thinking “Wow, what a ride!”

4/25/11

How's your piggy bank looking? (Part 2)

I thought I'd share some more of my money saving tips. It may not save a lot, but it will add up over a period of time. 
 For over a year now, I've been getting All You magazine monthly. It is full of savings ideas and coupons. As with anything that offers coupons, it is not always something I will use. But there are always enough that I can use to make it worth the monthly cost of the magazine. At Walmart, it is under $2.50 per issue. If you subscribe it is under $2.00 per issue. The May issue has $85.32 worth of coupons. After I read the magazine, I went through each page and cut out my coupons for items I use. I ended up with $31.80 worth of savings. Not to mention, if I need any new clothes this summer I have a coupon for 30% off at Fashion Bug.

 Check your local stores for any cash back, coupons or special offers. If you register to receive Kohl's ads by email, they will send you a $5.00 off coupon that is good on any item, even sale items. I waited until flip flops were on sale. I found a pair for $22.00 on sale for $9.99 that I loved. I used my $5.00 off and got the $22.00 shoes for only $4.99. If you get on JC Penny's mailing list, about 4 or 5 times a year, they will send you a $10.00 off coupon on anything in the store that costs $10 or more. Again, I wait until sale time and use it. I have bought several pieces of clothing there that were on sale for $10.00 so all I had to pay was the tax.


One thing we have been doing that not only saves money, but saves time in meal preparation. Hamburger meat has so many uses and it freezes very well. If you will watch your local meat section, it is one item that usually comes in a family pack at a less expensive per pound cost. It doesn't have to be ground beef...you can get ground turkey, ground round, ground chuck, whatever your preference. There are just the two of us so we will buy the family size and make about 4 hamburger patties and freeze them so we can have two meals there. Then we take enough of it to make a small meatloaf and freeze it. Then we make spaghetti sauce with the rest and it usually makes enough sauce to split into 2 containers for two meals. So out of one package of hamburger, we can get get 5 or 6 meals. We have also found with just the 2 of us, we eat our hamburgers on toast. It is delicious and saves almost $3.00 for buns. Buns will only keep for about 4 days so with 8 in the package, we end up with 6 going to waste. If we really want the hamburgers on buns, we will buy buns then have four nights of sandwiches using the buns....hamburger one night, BLT's one night, hot ham & cheese one night, and Bar-B-Que one night (which we make in bulk in the pressure cooker and freeze it in small containers for future meals.) We have found that the following items freeze very well and stay good long enough that you can usually get 3-4 meals out of them:  chili, spaghetti, homemade hot dog sauce, Bar-B-Que, hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs. We like most of our meals with homemade items. Store bought just doesn't compare.

Of course, coupons are a wonderful way to save money. Just don't fall into the trap of buying two of something to be able to use the coupon, if the item is something that will go bad or out of date, before you use the second one. Same goes for bulk items. If you are living on a weekly budget, spending $15.00 for laundry detergent that will last 6 months may not be a big help if you can buy it for $4 and it will last 3 or 4 weeks. Always be careful when looking at sale items. Tomato Sauce and Pork-n-Beans are notorious for being on sale for the 32 oz can, when two 16 oz cans would cost a little less. We get all caught up in the "ON SALE" sign, that we forget to see if it is really a good deal.  Coupons.com is a wonderful resource for those of you clip coupons. I do have a word of advice on coupon clipping. It is wise to look at your weekly store ads. Sometimes, Walgreen's has personal care and cleaning products on sale when they know there will be a coupon in the paper (they receive advance notice from suppliers.) Many times, if you will make the trip to Walgreen's you can use your coupon on sale items and get them for next to nothing or in some cases the coupon is exactly for the price of the item so you only need to pay tax.

My last tip for savings involves actually saving your cash for those little extra special somethings on down the road. I love decorative tins and have several scattered around the house. Every week, I receive and allowance to be used for whatever I want. I take that to go shopping on Saturday. However, if I dont' spend it all, I put what is leftover in one of my tins and let it accumulate until there is something special I want or I save it up and then go on a big shopping spree without feeling any guilt since it was already allotted in our budget weeks earlier. Another thing we do is change. My husband refuses to carry change in his pocket. He says he doesn't want to "jingle like an old man." So he hands me his change when we go to the store, out to eat or shopping. I just drop it in my purse. When I come home I put it in one of my tins and start a collection. About once a month, I roll it and cash it in and put the dollars in my our Vacation Fund Savings Account. He is also one of those people who doesn't ever pay in exact change so he ends up with a lot of ones in his billfold. Any time he has more than five $1's, he puts anything over five in a little zipper pouch. At the end of the week, if we have not had to use what was in the pouch, we deposit it in our Vacation Fund Savings Account. We are very careful to budget and do very well with sticking to it. A lot of times, we have a little left over at the end of the week in our grocery money (thanks to coupons). We take that and put it in the Vacation Fund (do you see a plan here). As a result, come September, we usually have enough in our Vacation Fund to cover gas and the hotel for one week. Which was a blessing or we would not have been able to afford a vacation.

I hope these tips have helped. Some may not work for you and some you may need to modify to fit your own particular budget and needs. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


4/24/11

HE IS RISEN!

A few weeks ago, I did a poll on Facebook to determine which bible version was the most popular. Here are the top three that won the poll. I compared Luke 24:5 - 6a in each version. While some verses vary greatly in language and terminology, I find it comforting that the most profound and joyous passages are pretty much the same:

3rd Place: New International Version

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!

2nd Place: New King James Version

Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!

1st Place and still most popular: King James Version

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:

Thank God, yes, He IS risen. We sing how Christ arose. We sing My Redeemer lives. We know we serve a risen Saviour. Death could not keep Him, the grave could not hold him. Praise God, HE AROSE!

May you all enjoy a blessed day as you enjoy the beautiful Easter Sunday and celebrate the fact that "He is not here, He is risen! 

Happy Easter!
4/23/11

The Upside Down Day.....




Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives, with her cat Pat, her dog Wag, and her pig, Lester, in the house her husband built her — the UPSIDE DOWN house her husband built her, with the attic in the basement and the basement in the attic, and the chandelier on the floor (perfect for pretending it's a bonfire!) and everything is topsy turvy. These were some of my favorite books as a child. Well, today, I have felt like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, like I was living in a topsy turvy world upside down and inside out from what it was supposed to be.

It started off with me getting up TOO early for a Saturday and I didn't have much to do until time to leave for errands and shopping. Yet, when it came time to leave, I realized I still had jammies on and had not eaten breakfast. Mad rush to get ready and a quick stop at the little store by the lake for a Pepsi for the road (needed that shot of caffeine).

We had our day all planned around meeting my niece in West Knoxville later in the morning. But after my daughter realized her glasses were hanging by a thread and she hadn't had an eye exam in 3 years, we had to change gears and head to East Knoxville for a trip to Dr. Bizer's.

Now on a Saturday morning, at Dr. Bizer's, you can be sure you will have a crowd. I volunteered to take the children with me so they would not get bored. I expected to hear cries of "We want to go to the play area." "Can we get a bubble gum?" "I'm thirsty." "I'm hungry." But instead, my grandson pushed his 2 year old sister in her stroller and walked quietly with me as we stopped in some of the stores I wanted to visit and I was allowed to look at what I wanted. Shelby was content to be in her stroller and take in the sights in the stores. (Who were these Stepford Children?).

We had been to only three stores (each one briefly) when my cell phone rang. It was my daughter. She was done. Thirty minutes flat. Had her exam, picked out glasses and sunglasses and placed her order and she was ready to go. (Did aliens with organizational skills take possession of Dr. Bizer's employees?)

Then we went to a store and I got two wonderful bargains. One was a new pair of flip flops for myself. My flip flops were $22.00 on sales for $9.98 and I had a coupon off for $10.00 on my purchase, which made my flip flops negative .02 cents. I guess I got my .02 cents worth today. (Was the bargain fairy riding in the stroller, too?)

Then we met my niece at the mall for a quick bite and to see her new Jeep she came to Knoxville to pick up (it is gorgeous, by the way). The mall is normally a mad house at lunch time, Even though the mall was packed, we were served in about 10 minutes. (do you see a pattern here...nothing was as it normally was).

I had the whole day planned as to where to go and where I would be at certain times, but thanks to the glasses situation, we had to regroup and come up with a Plan B at the last minutes. At least I'm adaptable....even if it does make me feel like I've had a topsy turvy, upside down, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle type day.
4/22/11
I'm linking to Jeremiah 29:11for Fantastic Friday

Happy Good Friday! I was going to work today, but I've changed my mind and I'm taking the day off. I have a couple of nieces arriving for a visit tomorrow or late tonight so I thought I'd play hooky today.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. I have several things for my post today.

First, I want to give a shout to Deb & Jack over at Jeremiah 29:11 and wish them a very happy, happy anniversary. My prayer for you today is that you have a day filled with wonderful surprises and heavenly blessings. 

Since it is Easter weekend, baking and cooking will be in full swing at our place these next few days. Hubby will prep all the veggies and eggs for the potatoe salad and macaroni salad tomorrow. I'll make my angel eggs tomorrow night so they will be good and cold come Sunday. But today, is for baking. It is not a holiday unless I bake something or several somethings (I like change so I need lots of choices for junk food!)

I have already been up and at 'em this morning so I could use the oven before the day gets too warm. 

One of my weaknesses is Hershey kisses. Pillsbury has a "break and bake" cookie that is Big Chocolate Chip cookies with mini Hershey kisses in it. So I ripped open the package.
 Placed them on the cookie sheet (so big it only makes 12, which is perfect for me and hubby. Two for him, 10 for me. Just kidding...I think)
 Then after 16 minutes, took them out to let them cool just a little bit.
 Then had 2 of them for breakfast with a glass of ice cold whole milk. It doesn't get any better than that.

Hubby has discovered Ghiradelli chocolates. It is his newest addiction. Yesterday at Food City, we found this box of Ghiradelli iced brownies on sale so I grabbed a box to make for him for Easter.
 While the cookies were baking, I gathered my ingredients per the box instructions.
 Poured it in a greased 8 x 8 pan
Took it out of the oven and warmed the icing pack like the instructions said

And frosted the brownies. This will be dessert tonight with vanilla ice cream. As usual, I have the dessert planned before I even know what's for supper. :)
Tomorrow I'm going to make an orange cake with orange icing. It's one of those semi-homemade desserts.

Purchase a Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix. You can make the cake mix per the instructions on the box or you can substitute fresh squeezed orange juice instead of the water on the instructions. I also put about 1-2 teaspoons of grated rind in the cake mix. Bake as per directions and cool. For the icing, use one box Confectioners 10X Sugar, the juice from 2-3 oranges (mix to desired consistancy) and the grated rind from two oranges. This makes a nice thick icing. The amount of juice you need for the icing will vary due to how thin or thick you want the icing. I'm not making this until Saturday so I'll post a pic of the finished product later.

Tomorrow, I'll offer some more tips on fattening up your piggy bank with various ways of saving. So stay tuned.....
4/21/11

How's your piggy bank looking?

Everyone is feeling the crunch these days. It's hard to save when it takes every dime you make just to keep a roof over your head and food on your table, not to mention gas in your car.

Growing up in a family with four kids, you learn to stretch every penny. Over the years, I have found ways to make my dollars go farther. I thought I would share some of those tips today.
Many of you know I love to read. I can read one, sometimes 2 books a week. With a paperback book now costing $7.99 and up, it is too expensive to buy new books. I keep a running list of new releases so I don't forget what I want to read. Every few months, I take a trip to a local used book store, McKay's. I'll take all my old books & trade them in for McKay Money. I normally earn anywhere from $20 - $40 dollars that I can spend on more books. The key is to look closely at the used books for sale. If one is in mint condition, you could pay $3.95 for it. However, if you look at all the copies, there may be one that has a bent corner or a slight mar on the cover and they have those marked anywhere from .75 - $1.25.  Once you read them, you can take them back and get more money to get more books. Don't have a lot of used books setting around? Go to yard sales and buy some off the 10 books for $1.00 shelf to get yourself started. They don't even have to be books you'll read, they just give you a chance to have something to swap.
Does your local grocery store have a value card? I love my Food City card. I don't even purchase a newspaper without scanning my card. Many items are heavily discounted if you have a store card. Just about every time I shop at Food City, I have at least $2-$3 savings at the bottom of my receipt. When we get "weekly" groceries, I have saved in excess of $20 - $30 in some cases....without counting any coupons I used.

Visit Shortcuts.com
This is a neat site. It has electronic coupons that you can add right to your stores card (such as Kroger). That way you have no need to carry a ton of coupons. Just click an item and add it to your store card. When you purchase the item and use your card, the savings will automatically be deducted. The site also has printable and electronic coupons. Be sure and watch for double coupon stores.

I hate utility bills. We decided to see what we could do to save on our water and electric. These are things we used to do back in our younger days, but over the years have gotten a little relaxed about it. We have cut the amount of time we spend in the shower by about 5 minutes. When I take my bubble bath, I run about 1/2" less water for my soak. We don't use our dishwasher. With just the two of us, we can hand wash faster and use less water. We now do laundry one day a week (I have a zillion towels and wash cloths, so this is very doable). We place the maximum amount of clothes in each load. Since cutting out those little 1/2 loads mid week, we have been saving as well on the electricity for the dryer. Bottom line? Our water bill averages $55 - $59 per month. Since we have made those changes these past three months, our bill is running between $34 - $37.

Same thing with the electric. We make sure we do not leave the lights on when we are done in a room (a bad habit of mine). As I stated before, the laundry being done once a week has kept the electric dryer down. I have a fax machine for my work. I used to leave it on 24/7, but realized that most of my faxes were outgoing and I always know beforehand if someone is going to be faxing me anything. So now I turn it on at 8 and off at 5. I replaced two electric clocks with two battery powered clocks in the bedroom. We each have our own alarm clock. But you are only in your bedroom at night, so why should a clock be using electric all day. We have been using our toaster oven for small things like biscuits, pizza's, fish sticks...little things that take just about 10 minutes in the toaster oven. It heats up faster than a conventional oven, saving time and electricity. We also keep my little coffee pot unplugged (again, clock is being powered) unless I'm going to use it. It is only used for hot water for my hot chocolate, which I don't drink daily. I don't leave my printer on. I turn it on if I'm going to be doing any work that will require me to print anything. Bottom line? In the past few years, our electric bill for Feb - Mar averages around $156. Since making these changes, Feb was $115 and Mar was $110.

Check back tomorrow for more savings tips......

 

4/20/11

Little Quack


I remember one spring, Daddy got us a little baby duck. Mom doesn't remember why or how we got her. She was so cute and yellow and fuzzy. We named her Little Quack. I don't remember a whole lot about her and she grew up fast and we had to get rid of her. But none of that seems to matter. It just mattered that we got a duck.

Sometimes there are small moments in our life that make for lasting memories. I remember with fondness the sound she would make. After she was gone, I can remember Jack walking through the kitchen in tennis shoes and it made a squeaky sound on the linoleum and I remember us saying he sounded like Little Quack.

Isn't it strange the things we remember that don't have any particular meaning other than they were of a happy time in our lives. We should always cherish our memories. Our moments are numbered and we need to make each one count.

I will forever be grateful for having loving parents who devoted their whole lives to making us happy.
4/19/11


I was visiting Faith at Simplicity. Her blog on Monday was What are you cooking for Easter?

I really enjoyed it so I thought I would answer her question and post what we are having. The photos were found on various websites.


 Virginia tavern ham with orange marmalade glaze

Baked beans

 Mashed potatoes with brown gravy

Mustard style potatoe salad

Macaroni Salad

Deviled Eggs (Maybe I should call them Angel Eggs)

Candied Sweet Potatoes (Yes, I know, that is 3 potato dishes, but we love our taters)

Sweet yellow corn in lots of butter

Graham Cracker Pie

Texas Sheet Cake

I will make the chocolate Texas sheet cake, but my hubby loves to cook. He has finally gotten his appetite back after a bad 3 weeks of flu. He is looking forward to a wonderful meal on Easter Sunday. He made out the menu and the grocery list. He's raring and ready to go.

We cook a small amount of everything, but it's enough for leftovers for a few days. The kids don't come over on Easter Sunday. My son-in-laws Grandmother is 80 and has been having the family over every year. I couldn't take that away from her so my daughter and her family go there with my blessing. My daughter-in-laws family always goes out to the lake house for the weekend and the entire family goes. They go fishing out on the lake and have a great time, so my son and his family go there with my blessing. We try to get together the weekend before or the weekend after for a casual Easter gathering.

So what do I do while he is making all this delicious food? He always sends me outside to relax in the sun (if it's warm enough). So I pile up either outside on the swing or in the house on the couch with a good book. He doesn't like extra hands in the kitchen when he's cooking. I got a gem when I married him. Not only does he love to cook and is SOOO good at it, he is one of those "clean as you go" cooks so there is not a mess when it's time to eat. Then after we eat, we both pitch in to store the left overs and he does the dishes. (He says he can wash them faster than it takes to load them in the dishwasher.)

What will your Easter bring? I'd love to hear what your plans are and what your menu will be.