Friday, August 28, 2009


I went to Goodwill today and they were full to overflowing with everything. Workers were placing garments on the racks, kitchen items were stacked everywhere, and furniture was crowding the aisles. The place was full of college kids buying everything. We have a rather upscale Goodwill not far from our house but it is right by student housing, so today they evidently were catering to the college crowd there.

I often look through the clothes because they feature name brands such as Chico's, Coldwater Creek and other stores in our Mall. I would much rather patronize our Goodwill store than the Mall stores and the bargains I find are 1/10th the cost of the store prices.

Today I did not find anything to my liking, but I did find my husband a denim shirt that he likes to wear when he is working on the car. It was a real bargain and I was glad to avoid the back-to-school crowd at the Mall. Besides Goodwill provides education, training, and career services for the disadvantaged and those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. I feel like I contributed something to that in my purchase today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The blog, Little House in the Suburbs has a wonderful list of 5 ways to simplify your calendar. I have been struggling with ways to cut back on the amount of things I schedule each day and she has provided me with some marvelous ways to clean up and clean out my calendar.

As September rolls around it seems like the activity level picks up even though my children are grown and gone. Groups begin meeting again, new things pop up, new classes and opportunities arise and I am always tempted to say "why not!" The suggestions for simplifying my calendar just might cure me of overload--a thing I am very guilty of many times. By the end of some days I feel like I started the day on a treadmill and just stayed there until bedtime. Maybe I can be reformed???

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We took our 3-year-old granddaughter, Miss Ella Bella, home Thursday evening and it really has been quiet around here! I miss her as I put away the toys until the next visit! Here are some of my favorite pictures that I took while she was here.

She loved playing with our dog, Daisy. And I believe Daisy loved all the treats that she got from Miss Ella Bella! She also enjoyed playing with the neighbor's dog across the street.

We made brownies for her dad and she licked the bowl clean!

We visited Great-Gram on Pet Pals day and she got to pet all the dogs that came to visit. Here she is petting Foxy as she sat in Great-Gram's lap.

Granddaddy read her a book each night. She insisted he lie down on the floor beside her little cot and read to her and Granddaddy obliged.

We did lots of artistic activities. She loved to water color and create animals with her Play Dough.

She spent a great deal of time in the backyard "preparing meals" for Daisy and me, using pond water, tadpoles and other "tasty items." She then washed her dishes in her "dishpan."

We went to the playground fairly early one morning before it got too hot. I noticed that our car thermometer said it was 91 degrees when we got there. We did not stay too long before we headed to the store for a cool drink!

The day we took her home we went to the photo store and got prints of all the pictures we took while she was here. As we drove her home, I put them in an album for her to take with her to help tell about her adventures while she was visiting us.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This week I read a delightful blog post on saving money on grocery shopping. Please go over to and check out their suggestions for ways to lower your grocery bill. Just reading it made me grin and there are some really great ideas that I have posted before.

I tried to go to the Supercook link that she suggests and it did not work, so I just typed it into my search engine and it came up. It really does give some wonderful suggestions for recipes using the ingredients you happen to have on hand. For instance, I just bought a large bag of fresh okra (I LOVE okra!) and was looking for some new ways to use it. I typed in okra, diced tomatoes and ground meat (ingredients I had on hand). They gave me a recipe for Chile Gumbo that sounds just delicious. I can hardly wait to try it.

Monday, August 17, 2009


We are keeping our 3-year-old granddaughter, Miss Ella Bella, this week. She is a ball of energy and has such an active imagination. This afternoon I told her that we (meaning ME!) needed to rest and she asked me to set the timer for "2 minutes." I actually set the oven timer for 20 minutes and let her choose her place to rest. She chose the living room couch and my husband sat down in the den next to the kitchen. Soon he saw a movement to his right and in tip-toed a blanket covered figure. The figure went up to the oven, raised the blanket, looked for a minute, lowered the blanket and returned to the couch in the living room where she fell asleep and is taking a good nap. He told me about Miss Ella Bella's antics and we both laughed until we hurt. I guess she figured that if she could not see him, then it stands to reason that he could not see her either.
Here are a few pictures from our activities so far. She loves to use my computer to do her Starfall ABC program--and does it very well, I might add!

We have had a couple of Play Dough sessions. Maybe it is time to make real cookies with cookie cutters?

Helping Granddaddy in the yard.

And "washing dishes" after "cooking dinner" for her imaginary family this morning. She got her water from my pond and was fascinated by the tadpoles that she scooped up with her water. She decided she needed to take some tadpoles home to show her mother so we have a plastic container full of water and a few tadpoles to take home with her.

I will include more pictures as time (and energy??) permits. Meanwhile, we continue having fun. I believe we have a playground on our list of activities for this evening.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Today I picked up the newspaper and saw the ads geared toward the end-of-summer sales, the back-to-school sales and just general all-around sales. Some of the sales offered 85% off sale merchandise and an extra 20% off just today. With math being my weak spot, I was wondering if that meant I would get paid 5% for taking the item out of the store. My math-minded husband explained to me that they took 85% off the item and then 20% off of the remaining price. Sounded good to me!

Next, I went to my already crowded closet and wondered what I really needed--maybe a new top for the last few weeks of summer?? Or a new pair of pants?? Maybe I could find something really wonderful, but as I thought of all those long racks crowded with clothes that are put on sale this time of year, my enthusiasm waned. I really dislike pawing through racks and racks of discounted items on the slight chance that I might find the buy of the year. I also dislike being elbowed by diligent sale-shoppers pulling things from the racks, standing in line to try my choices on, and waiting in another line to pay for my bargain.

This evening I have no new clothes in my closet, but I did have a delightful afternoon to paint and enjoy the peace and solitude of my own home. To me that was a real bargain!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Thanks to all who offered suggestions to my travel computer dilemma. Evidently my plea was heard because last week one of my sweet sons arrived on our doorstep with a new Dell Inspiron Mini--a wonderful surprise! I believe my husband was behind the hinting, but I was excited
and surprised.
The little computer is so cute and easy to use. It has a nice-sized keyboard and only weighs 2.4 pounds! Just my size for traveling and I (or my husband) won't yank our arms out of the socket lugging it through the airport. I am excited!! Now I need a trip to test it out!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Today I made a meatloaf for dinner in my new slow cooker that my husband gave me for my birthday. I mixed up the ingredients and put it on about 11:00 a.m., went out to lunch with friends, went shopping, came home and read a book and at 5:30 pulled this absolutely delicious meatloaf out of my slow cooker, fixed some green beans and a fruit salad and had supper ready in just a few minutes! Here is the recipe:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 C. green bell pepper (I also added some red bell pepper)
1/2 C. cracker crumbs
1/2 C. red salsa
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
Red salsa for topping.

First, make foil "handles." Fold a long piece of foil in half lengthwise. Place in bottom of slow cooker with both ends hanging over top edge of cooker. The foil strip will make it much easier to remove meatloaf when done. Also put piece of crumpled foil or rack in bottom to keep meatloaf out of fat.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients except salsa for topping. Shape into round loaf and place on foil in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until juices run clear. Top with salsa about 1/2 hour before done. Remove from slow cooker using foil "handles." Serves 6 to 8.


Friday, August 7, 2009


This morning I heard a news story about a woman they call the Coupon Queen. It seems that she went to the grocery store and bought $220 worth of groceries but only paid $20 for all that she took home. THAT is really making use of coupons.

She suggests that one should first clip newspaper and magazine coupons. She also suggest going online to find coupons that can be printed out. Next she reads the grocery store flier and notes items that are on sale. An example she used was for a particular brand of frozen vegetables that were marked down one dollar--to $1.99. She had a coupon for $1 off on that brand of vegetables, so they only cost her 1/3 the usual cost. She said that her usual savings run 50 to 60% each week.

I clip newspaper coupons and also read the sales at the grocery store to obtain the best possible prices for the things that I buy. When I go shopping and use my coupons I usually save about $5 to $6 each week. I am always very proud of myself for that bit of frugality. I do not match the Coupon Queen's shopping skills and am thinking that I might need to pay more attention to online coupons. For me it is just a matter of time--how much computer time do I want to use searching for those coupons??

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We have had family visiting, we went on a short trip and we went to help our youngest grandson celebrate his 1st birthday. Now I seem to be having trouble getting back into the routine around here.

I thought I might share some pictures of the grandchildren and our travels with you. First our daughter-in-law, Kara, brought her three girls for the weekend and we had a great time for a couple of days. We gave them a bit of introduction to the heat before she headed farther south in Texas. Here I am with the three girls:

The girls also had a nice visit with Great-Gram.

And I had time to read a story or two.

After the girls from the Panhandle left, my husband and I packed up and went to South Padre Island for several days so he could attend a conference and I could wander on the beach and watch the waves from our marvelous room overlooking the water.
I LOVED getting up each morning and walking on the beach while I watched the sunrise. It was beautiful and serene with only a few other people walking along at the same time. It was wonderful to let the water lap over my feet as I walked.

We went on a Dolphin Watch/Ecology ride one afternoon and it was most interesting as one of the crew showed us some of the many creatures from the bay and told us how they live, what they eat and even showed us a couple that were dangerous. My favorites were the starfish. I don't think I have ever been that close to a starfish!

We came home from the beach, dumped the sand out of our suitcases and drove to Son #4's home to help celebrate our #2 grandson's FIRST birthday. He found that the balloons were fun to play with as Son #2 looks on.

Son #2 and Son #4 visited in the shade while the cousins enjoyed some pool time. I believe the thermometer behind Son #2 was registering 104 in the shade!!

And then it was time for cake. The individual cake for the birthday boy was a small fire truck and the rest of the guests got cupcakes with dog prints, fire hoses or fire ladders on top.

The guests and cousins helped test out the new toys as they were unwrapped.

Finally, before everyone headed home that evening, Miss Ella Bella insisted that she and her cousins take a ride in her little pink jeep. It was a wild ride with Miss Ella Bella at the wheel, but Little One was having a wonderful time--watch out for the tree!!

What a wild and wonderful clan we have!