Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
As I shared on Monday our grandson made his arrival! Last week we had a wonderful week in Sacramento with my daughter, her husband, his family and the birth of our new grandson, Raylan. Next blog post on Friday will be his birth story.

After getting home it has been all about regrouping and getting into the flow of things again. Laundry and grocery shopping were done and of course getting ready now to think ahead to Christmas. The tree is up and will be decorated this weekend. It is feeling very festive in my home.

On My To-Do List
Menu planning! :) I've kind of been working “on the fly” as they say. At these times I so appreciate my Instant Pot. Last minute meal ideas and frozen meats are no problem, ha, ha!!

Projects I'm Working On
The only projects I've been working on since I came home was getting reorganized and thinking about Christmas.  Gifts to purchase and the menu to plan for the family celebration.  I'm not sure if I'll really have time to make gifts this year, but I'd like to, we will see how the rest of the month goes.

One project I'd like to try is some Vietnamese pickled carrots & radishes. While visiting my daughter we had the best Vietnamese sandwiches I've ever had.  They had the pickled carrots in them and they tasted so good.  I found a recipe online and want to try it out.

Today's Weather
High of 50 today, clouds and rain.  Typical :)  but cooler temps are coming and snow levels are dropping.  We'll see if there is any white stuff in our future! 

The View from my Deck (or window)
It's a rainy morning here! Yesterday was dry and that was a nice break.  I guess we are back to the rain today.

What I'm Reading
I did not make any progress on my reading this last week while I was gone. I'm getting back in my groove and looking forward to making progress through the Bible and my current book, The Count of Monte Cristo

What I'm Listening To
This:    Tis the Season!  :)

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
It's about a 12 hour drive down to my daughters. I packed food and took it with us to avoid having to stop at fast food restaurants to eat. I like a treat like that now and again but food on the road is expensive and not that healthy and it is easy to tire of it very quickly.

Fitness for the Week
I had good days and not so good days which is to be expected when I'm out of my routine. However we did spend one day walking around downtown Sacramento (trying to get labor started ;) and lots of walking the halls of the hospital while she was in labor. Now that I'm back home, my inside walking (with Leslie Sansone DVD's) is what I've started doing. We are in our rainy season and I'm just not a fan of getting drenched while walking outside. I love the fact that with the DVD's I don't have to give up my fitness plans and goals due to the weather.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu Monday!!

Well here it is folks.. I have NO idea what we are eating this week!! Ha, ha!! :D .. Seriously.

We got home last night from a week in California and I have a beautiful new grandbaby boy and we are so in love!!!

I can not wait to post all about our trip and her birth. It was an experience and it was amazing to watch God's plan. I told my daughter.. This is your birth story, and God is in control. We live in a society that wants to take control of situations like this. We don't like this open ended, we don't know where this ends, or how this goes, type situations. We want to see the end, be comforted in the future.

The Bible says.. there is a time to be born. Not often today, if you go beyond the doctors and hospitals dates, you are able to experience this.

But this is just a preview of the story I'll share later this week. So stay tuned.

In the meantime today I'm going grocery shopping to see what kind of deals I can find and what I can pull together for the week.

So stay tuned...


Monday, November 21, 2016

On a Baby Break :)

We are heading to my daughter's and awaiting the arrival of baby boy grandson.  I'll be back to blogging soon!  :)  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Frugal & Easy: Homemade Liquid and Foaming Hand Soap

I love this stuff. So easy to make and what a great way to stretch my homemade soaps. You can make this with homemade soap or store bought soap. Either way it is a great money saver.

You know those slivers of soap that you either smoosh into the new bar of soap or toss because they are just to small to use? Well now you can save them and get extra miles from them.
The measurements for making liquid soap are simple..  1oz of soap to 1 cup of water.  You will have to weigh your soap bits or you can buy a bar of soap and the weight will be on it and add the water accordingly. 

I started by making liquid hand soap. I took the slivers of soap I had and chopped them into bits...

Added water and heated it up on the stove until the soap bits melted.

I had purchased a liquid soap bottle because I did not have any. This one I got at IKEA for $2.99. If you use liquid hand soap you can just save the bottle and reuse it.

I poured my soap into the bottle... and that was it! All done. I poured what did not fit into my bottle into a canning jar.

The soap thickens up a bit over the next day or so...

Then it was time to try the foaming soap. I bought a small bottle of foaming hand soap at the store so I could have the bottle. It was a cheaper way to go. I looked on Amazon to see if I could buy and empty bottle but the cost was more than buying one at the store, so that worked for me and I did not have to wait for the bottle to be delivered. If you use foaming hand soap you can just save your bottle and reuse it.

I filled the bottle almost to the top with water.

Then I added a couple tablespoons of my liquid soap to it. The measurements are not that specific. My bottle was a 10oz bottle and these measurements worked just fine.

Make sure to add the water and then the soap otherwise you will have a soapy sudsy mess. :) Stir it up.. I used a chopstick to gently stir it.

And it is ready to go.. perfect foaming hand soap..

I'm excited about this because it stretches out my homemade soap for a very long time. An amazing cost savings. If you buy your soap.. same thing.. it will stretch out your soap, assuring you get every bit of benefit from your soap.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
I spent an enjoyable weekend at home. Got a few things done around here but mostly visited with my kids. My son came up for a visit as well and that is always great. Love to get caught up on his busy life.

Hubby and I went and got hay for the goats for the winter. Feels good to have that taken care of. I was almost out of last years hay. The two things that must happen on our little homestead before winter sets in... firewood and hay! :) Firewood has been in for a while now so we are ready for winter.

Still waiting for baby boy grandson to make his arrival. Due date has passed but we tend to be a family that runs late so we are all practicing our skills in being patient, especially my daughter..

On My To-Do List
Today is my oldest son's birthday so hubby and I will heading over to see him this afternoon/evening and wish him a happy birthday. He is 34 today. It kind of shocks me to know I'm old enough to have a 34 year old son!! Ha, ha!! :) He is an incredible man and we are so proud of him.

I won't get a whole lot more done today and that is fine! :)

Projects I'm Working On
A friend of mine sent me an apron pattern. I'm thinking of pulling out the sewing machine and making one. Looks like a super easy pattern to make and I'm in need of a new apron. Could be promising Christmas gifts depending on how it goes (and how my time goes over the next month or so).

Today's Weather

High of 52 for today with heavy showers later on.  I'll enjoy the little bit of sun for now! 

The View from my Deck (or window)
The sun is trying to peek through a bit!!  :)

What I'm Reading
I'm now in the book of Numbers. It is an interesting book with a lot to learn about God. And a lot to learn about human nature. I love the fact that the book shows in a very real way that God is always with us. He was with the Israelites day and night, a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. Yet the people doubted and complained. How often can we be like that was one of my thoughts. It also showed how God was to be worshiped and that He is a holy God. So much to learn from these first 5 books of the Bible!

I'm about halfway through The Count of Monte Cristo. I don't think I realized what a big book this is!! I'm reading it on my Kindle so I did not have a visual of the size. I looked it up, the paperback version has over 1000 pages. I'm enjoying it so much! There is a reason classic books are considered classics, amazing story telling and writing.

What I'm Listening To

The dishwasher and my ticking clock...  quiet morning..  my favorite..

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I took my liquid hand soap that I made last week and took it one step farther. I used some of it to make foaming hand soap. It only takes a couple tablespoons of the liquid soap to make the foaming soap. What a way to stretch out my homemade soaps. I'm very happy with it.

Fitness for the Week
I did good this week, got my steps in 5 days this week. Had a couple days well over 10,000 steps. I can feel the difference in my day when I exercise. Walking is amazing!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Menu Monday!

I ended up not making the turkey breast that I had planned on last week and instead made some bbq pork over the weekend. So tonight is the turkey breast and a few side dishes to go along with it. I also found cranberries are in the store when I went shopping and will make a batch of cranberry sauce as well.

The rest of my week is looking like this...

Not sure yet if they will be hamburger or chicken. But will be served with the typical trimmings.

Round Steak Subs
I have a smallish size package of round steak in my freezer. I'm planning on cooking it in my Instant Pot with some seasonings and then cutting/shredding it up. I'll serve this on sub sandwich rolls with sauteed onions & peppers. I'll also make a pot of tomato soup and a salad to go with this.

Lemon Butter Chicken
I made this a while back and it was very good. It is in Instant Pot recipe. You can find the recipe HERE. I'll serve this with rice and a veggie of some sort.. maybe broccoli or sautéed kale.

That should do it for the week!! How is your menu planning coming along?


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

So Far This Week
Hubby and I took a trip into town to run errands. On the way home I snapped a a couple pictures while driving. It was a beautiful fall afternoon.

Mt. Hood in the background...

Fall in the Columbia River Gorge

The days are getting closer for my daughter in California to deliver. We are keeping in regular contact and she is doing well and feeling excited about the birth of little baby boy.

I gave my bathroom a good fall cleaning. Cleaned out the drawers that seem to accumulate so much junk over time. And gave it all a good scrubbing. I'm thinking I might be pretty much done with my fall cleaning.

On My To-Do List
I need to do a little cleaning in my guest rooms. Sheets need to be changed and the rooms dusted and vacuumed.

~Cook up a couple meals today. I often will cook 2 meals at once to give us leftovers to eat for a few days. I like having days I don't have to think about cooking and can focus on other things. I'm going to make meatloaf and chicken soup.  I'll cook the meatloaf in my oven and the chicken soup in my IP. 

~sweep & mop the kitchen floor when I finish cooking
~go through my pile of junk mail and toss what I don't need, which will most likely be all of it.. ha, ha..
~rake out my goat barn (probably will not get done today but it is on my list)

Projects I'm Working On
Doing a little preliminary packing for our trip to Sacramento. Want to be ready to go as quickly as possible when my daughter gives the word! If I suddenly go "off the air"..  be assured I'm in California..  and will be back soon. 

Christmas – I'm still working my way through my Christmas lists. I made a trip to IKEA and picked up a few things.  But I've purchased more things online. I find I do a lot of my shopping online nowadays. Just so much easier and it all gets delivered to me. Most years I do a few more homemade gifts than I seem to being doing this year. I guess with the grandbaby coming and our upcoming trip I've not had a lot of time to be creative enough to think of something to make. But I still have time so we'll see what I come up with.

What about you.. do you make gifts? Do you shop online for Christmas gifts?

Today's Weather
Light rain this morning and high of 62 for today.  Cloudy this morning and sunshine by afternoon. 

The View from my Deck (or window)
This picture looks pretty similar to the ones from the last couple of weeks.  We do have sunny days here!  Ha, ha..  It is not uncommon to start out cloudy and then the sun breaks out in the afternoon.

What I'm Reading
I'm still in the book of Leviticus. I've taken some extra time to do a little studying on all the sacrifices mentioned in the book. And the tabernacle and some of the other laws. I've read the book many times and studied some of it in the past. I always seem to learn something new, or expand what I did know. I find the book fascinating really. So many of the Old Testament books are not as read by Christians it seems but they are full of so much!!

I'm also still reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Classic books have a hurdle, the beginning of the books can be slow and tedious sometimes. Once you get past that part and the story unfolds they become hard to put down. I'm now getting to the 'hard to put down' part. :)

What I'm Listening To
My dishwasher running, the clock in my living room ticking away and the distant sound of the bathroom fan..  it's a quiet peaceful morning in my home. 

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I decided to make some liquid hand soap from soap scraps.  Typically I smoosh the sliver of used soap into the new bar or if it still has enough life I put it on the soap dish by the sink in the bathroom.  But I thought how great it would be if I could get even more mileage from my homemade soap bits and pieces.  So I'd saved those bits, melted the soap with water and poured them into a pump bottle I bought for $2 at IKEA.  Success!!  I'll share a blog post on the details soon. 

Fitness for the Week
I've done much better this week getting my walking done. Hit 10,000 steps or more 6 times in the last 7 days!! I'm back on track and feeling so much better!  My days just don't feel right anymore if I don't get some type of walking in.

How is your week going?


Monday, November 7, 2016

Menu Monday!

I had lasagna on my menu last week. I made sure I had the noodles and cottage cheese, the spaghetti sauce and meat. I planned to make it Saturday. It was not until Saturday morning that I realized I had completely forgot to purchase the cheese.. sigh.. Living in the country means I don't just hop in the car and head to store for one item. So lasagna is on my menu again this week, after grocery shopping day! :)

I will not be having Thanksgiving dinner at my home this year. Feels very strange not to be planning this! But honestly the break is nice. The main reason is I'm not sure if I'll be here or in California. My daughter Hannah told me not to worry about it, she will do it at her house. The family can meet together at her home and if we are here, we, of course, will just join in.

The thoughts of Thanksgiving and turkey prompted me to buy a turkey breast, again. We had one a few weeks ago. This time I bought some stuffing as well. I think I do a little mini Thanksgiving dinner this week.

Here is what my menu for the week is looking like...

Turkey Dinner
Turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad.. all in small amounts.

My basic recipe, but I'm still planning on trying to cook one in the Instant Pot, just to see how that goes. The other in the oven. I suspect that it is probably just as easy to do it in the oven, unless one small lasagna is all that is needed. The one in IP would be perfect for 2 people.

It will be as simple meal of meatloaf, rice pilaf, and a veggie of some sort.

Chicken Soup
I love my Instant Pot for making soup. I have some bone in chicken legs that I'll use to make the broth and maybe add a little more chicken meat to the pot (boneless skinless thighs), plus lots of veggies. French bread and a salad will be served on the side.

That should do it for the week! How's your menu planning going?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Clam Chowder - Perfect for Fall!

Is it feeling like fall in your area? Are you ready for a hot bowl of yummy chowder? This is clam chowder might be the answer!

This recipe makes a big pot of chowder. It does freeze pretty well. I often freeze portions of it for my hubby to take to work.

I buy my clams from Costco. The cans are large and come two in a pack. The size of the can is 51 ounces. If you can't find this or something similar you can use small cans to get as close to the size as possible. 


Open the can of clams and drain, saving the clam juice. The big can of clams gives me about 4 cups of reserved clam juice.

To begin with I peel and chop 4#'s of potatoes into approximately 1 to 2 inch cubes. Then cover with water and add a couple teaspoons of salt and put them on the stove to cook. 

While they are cooking melt a cube of butter...

Add a chopped onion and a cup of sliced celery and cook until soft...

When the veggies are soft add a couple tablespoons of flour and stir that in and let it cook for a minute or so and remove from heat. 


When the potatoes have finished cooking (approximately 10 minutes of boiling) drain them and return them to the stock pot...

Add the cooked veggies, 2 cans of corn, and the juice from the clams and 2 cups of milk..

Bring this to a low simmer and let simmer until it thickens up. Add the can of clams. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your desire.

Stir it up and serve! 

So simple and so good!!

Clam Chowder
Crystal Miller

4#'s potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
1 cube/stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
2T flour
2 cans of corn, drained
1 large can of clams (51oz or equivalent of smaller cans), drained and reserve the juice
2 cups milk
Salt & pepper, to taste

Put cut up potatoes into a large (6 to 8qt) stock pot. Cover with water and add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add onions and celery and cook until soft. Add flour and stir and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.

When potatoes are done cooking drain them and return to the pot. Add cooked veggies and corn. Add reserved clam juice (approx 4 cups) and milk. Stir and simmer for a few minutes to thicken up. Add clams and taste to adjust salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

So Far This Week
It's been a bit of an eventful week. My daughter had a bag stolen from her that had her keys in it. So it was a rescue trip to take her the spare set of keys and we are in the process of rekeying locks. It happened in the city and the city can teach you some unpleasant lessons, that is for sure. Thankfully she had her phone with her when it happened so she could call home for help.

Spent a morning with my daughter and daughter in law.. lots of grandbabies, coffee, hot apple cider, doughnuts..  and good times..  Love my family!

I've made some more steps on my fall cleaning. The kitchen windows are washed. I washed, ironed and got the curtains back up. The floor is scrubbed clean. It was needing a good scrub (hands and knees type of scrub). And I finally got the refrigerator cleaned out.  The kitchen is feeling very fresh right now. :) 

I think I'll move on to the bathroom now.  It could use a good cleaning.

On My To-Do List
Laundry mostly. I took the summer bedspread off the bed and it needs to be washed. Towels and sheets are on the list with our regular weekday laundry as well.

~Vacuum living room
~Deal with clutter piles

Projects I'm Working On
Fall Cleaning, as I mentioned :) 

Soap making.. I've made a few batches and have a few more to finish up. I like giving homemade soap for Christmas gifts but I still need to have enough for our own personal use as well. We have not purchased soap in years and I love my own soap to much to let us run out!

Today's Weather
Mostly cloudy, high of 61 and rain will be back this evening..

The View from my Deck (or window)
A gray morning, but at least it is not raining right now!  And the fall colors are pretty...

What I'm Reading
The Bible, which I'm still listening to it on YouTube. I'm now in the book of Leviticus

What I'm Listening To
The sound of the fire crackling in the wood furnace, the coffee pot brewing and my daughter puttering around upstairs (it is her day off)

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
Cleaned my house with Basic H2!

I realized it is almost time for me to order more Basic H2 from Shaklee. I just looked up the price and one bottle of their cleaner costs about $12. Trust me this is a huge frugal good deal. You only use a few drops of it in a spray bottle and fill with water. This bottle will last me a year or more (I think my current bottle is going on about a year and half). I love that I can use it in the kitchen and bathroom and know that it is safe and I won't be leaving behind chemicals on my counters. If you are like me and you like your cleaners to have a little scent to them you can do what I do.. add a drop or two of essential oil to the spray bottle when you fill it up with water. I love lemon or orange.

My friend sells it (this is not an affiliate link, just a link for you to find it if you are interested)  

Fitness for the Week
With all the rain I've done more walking inside than out. I use Leslie Sansone dvd's or her YouTube channel. But I will say this has not been one of my best weeks for steps. I've done a lot of things this week, but they don't necessarily add up to a lot of steps! So I'm jumping back on track!!

Let me know how your week is going!!