Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Happy Birthday To....ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 27, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me--THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!!!

Yep, I had a great day. I got up and started piling all my scrap metal and cans into the back of the truck and went to the scrap yard to sell it. I even had a very nice man back my truck onto the scales for me, because I was too short to see over the back of the truck!

We got paid, and then we head over to the library. I got a few Beverly Lewis books and a Michael Connelly novel on CD.

Since I had some extra cash, we stopped to check the clearance aisles at Brookshires. I found 2 cans of canned dog food for 25 cents each, a bag of lime and ghost pepper salsa potato chips for a $1.00 (I have a small addiction to these), and 4 bags of hearts of palm for 50 cents each. I also found the Tony Chachere's dinner mixes on sale for $1.00 each, so I grabbed 4 of them. I got a bottle of creamer that was the same size as the regular brand I buy, but about 60 cents cheaper. I don't drink coffee, but I like creamer with my roasted dandelion tea in the mornings.

Also, while I was shopping, I noticed little signs throughout the store announcing that Brookshires is now giving a 5% discount on Tuesday to folks 60 and over. Well, butter my butt and call me darlin'--guess who is 61 on a Tuesday?  So between my clearance, sale shopping, my discount card and the discount, my bill only came to $10.01. Yet another birthday present for moi!

I used the hearts of palm to make vegan crab cakes for my birthday dinner tonight. I'm not vegan, but I love crab cakes (but not the price of crab), so I tried these a few weeks ago, and they are pretty good, but they don't taste like crab. I learned about them from my blogging buddy Kate Singh (www.katesinghsite.com), and here is the video of the original lady who inspired Kate to try them.

I baked chocolate chip cookies for the Redneck's lunches, and began decluttering my bedroom closet. Seriously, I am too embarrassed to post the 'before' photo yet!

My big plans after I post this will be to clean up the cookie making pans, and take a nice long bath with a good book, and maybe stay up to watch a little Hamish Macbeth.

Now, I know y'all are wondering why my birthday was so uneventful. Trust me, I have a good weekend coming. The Redneck is taking us to Weatherford to eat out at our favorite Chinese place, and then we will be shopping at Kohl's for my gift--new undies! Hey, laugh if you want, but I am tired of underwear that has more holes than the waist and leg openings!

Well, I still have chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Experiment--Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

February 26, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

Dinner with the in-laws last night was nice. We got to hang out and catch up, plus we got to lose any self discipline we have over the chips and salsa at Spicy Mexico! Best. Salsa. Ever.

We are starting our fourth week of night shift, and things are going well, even with the schedule going a bit wonky with the Redneck staying home due to bad weather last week.

As you recall, when my friend Eleanor moved, I got a lot of goodies she didn't want to move. One of the things I got was a canister of Vitamin C powder. I prefer to get my C through my food, so when I found a recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent, I decided to use the powder as the citric acid.

I had everything the recipe called for;

Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1 cup citric acid
1/2 cup salt

Combine, pour into an air tight jar. Use 1 Tablespoon in each load.

The citric acid will cause the powder to turn rock hard, so you need to drop 1 or 2 silica packets into the jar to keep it powdery. I had a couple of packets from some parts I had ordered. I keep any extras in a jar. They come in handy.

The mixture made enough to fill a large jar. I made it and began to use it on January 21, just over a month ago. I still have about half a jar, so it seems to last a decent time.

How does it clean dishes?

Pretty darned good! I put a Tablespoon or the powder in the compartment, and I add about a cup of white vinegar in the bottom of the unit, just as I would with store bought powder. My dishes and glasses come out clean and shiny, no residue. Silverware too.

I am doing research for a good price on citric acid. The canister I got from Eleanor made one batch. I always have the other ingredients on hand for other projects, so I just need a good price for the citric acid, to make the price worth the homemade product. I figured out that the homemade product has no chemicals that I feel uneasy with, so even if it's a bit more than store bought, it would be worth it.

Has anyone else ever made this? Did you like it? Any advice where to buy the citric acid at a good price? Please let me in the comments.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

February 25, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

Hard to believe we had an ice storm last week, until you notice the gigantic pools of water all over the yard and pastures. Today the temperature is 65, and the sun is shining. We had a marvelous service at church this morning, and it was wonderful to see all the folks who have been sick back today. We even had an elder who had heart surgery and a lady who had broken her leg! God is so good. Tonight we are taking the Redneck's folks out for dinner--their 48th anniversary. It should be fun.

Okay, on to the money saving adventures.

I checked the clearance shelves at Brookhires and found boxes of Shake and Bake BBQ for chicken priced at 50 cents. They each make 2 meals, so I decided to stock up. I don't buy any convenience mixes, but I like S&B.

When the weather was good, I turned off the heater and flung open the windows. Let me tell you, no Air Freshener or Scentsy can make a house smell as good as fresh air wafting through the rooms.

Brookshires had canned veggies on sale for 49 cents a can, so I did a small stock up on green beans. I passed on the corn however, it had sugar in the ingredients. Always check!

The dairy aisle had gallons of milk (organic!!!!) marked down to $1.00. I snagged about 3, and tossed them into the freezer. Don't forget to pour out about a cup before freezing, to keep it from blowing up.

I found a package of Chili's Chipotle Honey Chili mix for a $1.00. It made a nice pot of chili for lunch, with my ground beef, canned tomatoes, and some of the ranch style beans left over from last Sunday's church lunch. I will try to get more of this.

When the power went out, we used our propane heater (a Big Buddy) with canisters of propane we had purchased earlier. We stayed warm and comfy, and the many candles I have collected from yard sales and thrift stored provided light. I was excited when my friend Barbara told me she was going to a candle making supply shop soon, and I will go with her. Then we will spend the day making candles, using the wax left over from all my candles--I save the wax for reuse.

Another use for scented candles--sometimes my free candles may have a wonderful scent, but the wicks are shot, or the candle is burned down too much to use safely.

I chop them into chunks, store them in a baggie (washed and reused, of course!), then use the pieces in my little wax warmer. No, it is not a Scentsy, so please don't comment on how I am voiding the warranty. I save the wax when the scent is gone, so I can add it to my candle making supplies. Anyone know of a type of string I can use for wicks? Please let me know in the comments.

I deconstructed 2 pillows for the bandannas they were made from. I will use them to cover my hair this summer when working outside. I mended my comforter where it was torn. 

I started making my liqueur bases for Christmas. This is black cherry. I will start a blueberry, a blackberry, and if I can get some, a peach. I will let them all marinate for a month or so, then add the vodka, and let it all sit in the fridge until December, and strain it, put the flavored liquid into jars, and the fruit will go into a jam I will make. 

We ate a lot of leftovers, or as I like to call them, planned overs. There was a good amount of the chili leftover, so I used it, tortillas, cheese, and a chili-tomato sauce I made from a recipe in the Less With More Cookbook to make enchiladas. It made enough so I could also make a freezer meal for Obie and I to enjoy later.

I dropped my blusher last week, and it busted all to bits. I wasn't too upset, the blush was pretty old, but it still had a lot of uses left in it. I used my blusher brush, and very carefully dabbed it into one of the eye shadow colors in my LA Colors palette, and brushed it on. The soft rose brown worked just fine, and it will get me through until I can find a new blush.

Okay, I think that's all for this week. 

What did y'all do to save money this week? I would love to hear from you.

I gotta go finish getting ready to take the in laws to dinner. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

...And Then I Stepped On The Cat's Tail--Memoirs Of Two Dark And Stormy Nights

February 23, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

It's been a tad hectic this week, we had an ice storm (In Texas. In February. That ain't right.) on Wednesday, which caused a 7 hour power outage, then on Friday, the temperatures rose so all that ice was melting and turning my pastures and yards into lakes, and THAT caused a 6 hour power outage. Yay for Texas weather!

Wednesday the Redneck had called his work to say he wasn't driving through all the freezing sleet that was covering everything. About 3 pm, I had finished most of the big chores, and was settling down to watch my DVDs of Hamish Macbeth for a while before starting supper. The first strains of Scottish bagpipes were just beginning, and *POOF*! The electricity went out. Well, fuddle. The Redneck used his cell to call it in, and then we waited.

And waited.

Aaaaaaaaaaand waited.

Around 5:30 I realized that I wasn't able to cook anything (we only have an electric stove, and I haven't replaced my old Coleman cooker yet), so we had to drive to the store and get sandwich fixings.

When we got back, the Redneck had set up our Big Buddy Propane heater in the dining room, and it was already bringing the temps up to normal. I placed a large comforter over the door to the hallway, and out came my collection of candles. I pick them up at yard sales, thrift stores, and I have a lot of folks who give me their old candles. I tell folks to check those 'free' boxes at sales, I get a lot of candles that way. I wish I could have gotten the photos without the flash--it was so cozy looking.

Soon we had a decent amount of light, and I set out the sandwiches and chips. We said grace, thanking God that we had the means to heat and light our home, and asking Him to please keep the electric company workers safe in the bad weather. We also thanked Him that we knew He had our well house under control, because without electricity, the heat lamp wouldn't be keeping it from freezing.

After supper, we lit the candles in the living room, and simply enjoyed a quiet evening. There really wasn't a lot to do, so the guys just enjoyed the flicker of candles and dozed, while I played Solitaire by candle light in the dining room. About 10:30, I had decided we could turn in, and Obie would sleep on the living room couch. Then viola! The lights came back on. We all went to bed, thankful that we made it through with little discomfort.

All was well, until around noon today, when the lights went out again. We had to go and get some more sandwich stuff, but everything else was still set up for this situation. The Redneck went on to work, and I set the heater on low, put the blanket over the doorway, and made sure I had the candles and flashlights at the ready. Then Obie took a nap on the couch, and I took my mystery novel into the bedroom where there was light coming in the window and read for a couple of hours. Then I got up and lit the candles. Obie just hung out, and I lost several hands of Solitaire by candle light. 

At 2 minutes to 6, the lights came back on. I turned off the heater, blew out the candles, and was about to put the card deck away, when I stepped backwards, and 


I had stepped on Stormy's tail. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been wearing my heavy work boots. That little ball of attitude came unglued. Actually, it's a good thing I had the boots on, cause she would have laid my leg open with her claws otherwise. She seems to have forgiven me.

So both days went pretty well. The only casualty today was a huge crock pot of beans, ham shanks and onions I had going when the power went out. It will be poured out in the far pasture for any wild critters who may wander through. If that's the worst that happens--I'm good, cause beans are cheap, I got the ham shanks for free, and the onions were gonna go bad if I hadn't used them.

Well, I gotta feed my kid, take a long hot bath, and cuddle up with Hamish Macbeth (we still have to solve a few mysteries.). Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

February 18, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

I realized it has been a while since I did a money saving adventures post, so figured I needed to get back in the swing of things. The Redneck said I could use his laptop to upload my photos, but I had to take a solemn oath that I will delete them as soon as I am done. He's cute, but fussy!

I had already posted a few things last week--my buying groceries with a tiny budget, but I wanted to give y'all a few more things.

My favorite deal was when I was in Brookshires and checked the clearance racks. I always do this, because you never know what you will find. Sometimes the prices are still too high, but if you look close you can find some real good deals. This week I found 30 cans of grain free canned dog food for 50 cents a can. My dog Punky is 20 years old, and she started losing weight because she can't really digest the dry food as well as she used to. I buy her cans of Alpo, but I wanted more nutrition for her, so this stuff fit the bill. She is already putting weight on, and she loves this stuff.

Today was 'grub Sunday' at church, and we had potluck. There were some leftovers as usual, so the volunteers and I split them up and I got some good food to stretch my budget a bit (plus, I don't have to cook tonight...BONUS!!!!). We got Ranch Beans, corn, green beans, mac and cheese, salsa, and taco casserole. Yep, tonight is heat and eat!

Our church provides coffee and donuts before church. So many folks are out sick or caring for those who are ill, that we had a boatload left over. We got to bring them home, and the guys will enjoy some of them with coffee in the morning. I will freeze any leftovers--if there are any. Earlier I watched Obie stroll past the box, ease it open, and snag a donut. He skipped off, chowing down. I think I need to put these in the higher cabinet...

I checked the church freezer, and found a bag of smoked turkey legs left over from several weeks ago. They were past the 'people food' stage, but after they thaw, I will take the meat off the bones and my pups will be delighted with treats. The bones can be put in the crock pot with water, and simmered overnight to make a broth that can be poured over dry food for them. The bones will be discarded, since I don't have a burning barrel yet. 

I made a vegetarian 'rice' dish for today's lunch, along with a taco casserole. I found this recipe over 7 years ago when I was doing some dietary 'tweaks', and I love it. I take it to church lunch, funerals, etc, and everyone enjoys it. I thought I would share the recipe with y'all. It's not expensive, and the ingredients can be used in other dishes. This is the web site, http://rawfoodrecipes.com/recipes/priscillas-mexican-rice-and-spicy-mandarin-sauce/  The funniest thing about this dish is when folks asked what was in it, and I tell them cauliflower. They either swear there's quinoa in it, or as one guy said, "Wow, you really chop it fine!" I tell them my secret is the 'S' blade on my food processor! I hope you try this, it makes a great salad or side dish. It calls for a jicama, but if I can't find it I just add more cauliflower, and it still tastes great. I just make the rice, not the sauce, but I would like to hear if any of you try it, and how it tastes.

Well, I got chores. later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

$10 Challenge???

February 16, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

We are ending the second week of being back on the night shift, and we LOVE IT! We have seen more of the Redneck in the past two weeks and had more actual conversations with him than we have in the past 6 months. Obie and I have gotten more errands done during the mornings, and our evenings are far more relaxing, now that we don't have to tiptoe around from 5 pm onward, so the Redneck can sleep. We need to be quiet in the mornings of course, but that's a lot easier for us, especially since we can be outside doing projects or running errands in the truck. I honestly believe that I began to get well once our schedule changed, because now my sleep is long enough and uninterrupted, so I am actually resting. Amazing how much you can accomplish is you have energy! He leaves for work around 2 pm, and if Obie and I need to be in town for the afternoon, he just drops us off and we can easily walk back home. 

This morning we ran to the store for a few items that we were low on, since my being sick for so long kept us from being able to do any major grocery shopping for almost a month. The fact that we only needed to pick up milk, produce and a few other things when they ran out for that month is a testament to my regular shopping methods. Our freezer and pantry were stocked, so I could simply 'shop' my food supplies in my own kitchen. This weekend will be our first regular shopping trip since I have been ill. Prepping isn't just for the zombie apocalypse!

Anyway, I was in the store, and I realized I only had $6.25 to spend, plus I had one pound of ground beef at home, along with onions, potatoes, rice, seasonings, etc. I had to come up with a recipe for our noon meal, which is now our main family meal together during the week, plus the Redneck's lunch for work later that night. How would I do that with only $6.25?

Easy! I pulled out my trusty pen and little notebook, and began to add, subtract and LOOK. I found a can of generic cream of mushroom soup for 79 cents, a can of Campbell's nacho cheese soup for $1.69, 2 cans of generic french sliced green beans for 49 cents each, 2 cans of canned diced tomatoes for a buy one, get one free deal (made them each 50 cents), and a half gallon of milk in the dairy clearance section marked down to $1.00. For $5.46, I got a few different ingredients to choose how I wanted to fix lunch today, with a bit of stocking up for other meals.

As we got in the truck, I looked around the shopping center at the different stores there. There is a Dollar General, a Brookshires, a Family Dollar, Tractor Supply Company, and a smoke shop (weird to think of a smoke shop as a good place to shop, but just hang on). Across the road is a CVS pharmacy, and further down the road is a small gas station. Because of my having to shop today with a really limited budget, my brain was gnawing on an idea for a series of posts.

Suppose, just suppose, I were to go into each of these and other stores in Bowie and see exactly how much I could purchase for only $10?

I'm not talking about just buying a bunch of stuff because it's cheap--anyone can do that. No, I'm talking about anything I buy has to meet a certain criteria. While I will use generic and store brands of food, I read the ingredients to make sure they are okay for our family. I won't buy flimsy stuff--it doesn't last. It will have to meet a need, or be so awesome that I know it will enrich our lives in some way. Clothing (new or used) will have to be well fitting and in good shape. Also, if I go to a store and there is honestly nothing I can use or truly want--I won't spend anything.

I have heard folks say that you have to go to the big box stores to get any bargains, that small towns are too expensive, etc. I know for a fact that's not true, and I want to prove it. Several years ago on my old channel, I did a video of how couponing and bargain shopping could be done, without a vehicle, with just my son and I wearing backpacks and perhaps carrying a couple of bags each, but nothing too heavy. Here is that video.

I did another video at the local Family Dollar.

I'm not sure yet if I will do videos of my $10 challenge, but I will post photos of my finds at least. 

Oh, and about going into the smoke shop? I checked it out last year, and found that they sell Himalayan Pink Salt! It's $5 a bag. I could buy it cheaper elsewhere, but we use it so it lasts a while, and we don't have to drive long distances. I do stock up when I get a chance for a better deal, but this little store meets my needs, and it supports a local business.

So, now I just have to decide where to start. I think one challenge a week should be good--I can take my time easier, and not get burned out on the project. 

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.

© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

How, In The Name Of Martha Stewart, Did This Happen?

February 12, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

The best thing about being sick is when you begin to get well. Your mind starts to clear from the misery of the aches and pains that you have endured for days or even weeks, your energy begins to return, and you realize that you are getting back to normal.

The WORST thing about getting well is when you look around at your home and think, "Hey--who broke in here and trashed the place?"

Even while I was ill, I tried to keep up with things--the dishes and laundry got done and things were picked up and put back in place...mostly.

However, today I noticed that the bathrooms need cleaning, the floors needs sweeping and mopping, furniture needs dusting, the fridge needs purging of foods that didn't get used up while I was sick, and there is a pile of dog hair in the corner of my living room that could probably be spun into enough yarn to knit sweaters for the population of Greenland.

Yet here I am, in my pajamas, with absolutely NO desire to tackle anything that needs doing. A month spent coughing, sleeping, and crying with aches and pains will take all the 'oomph' out of a person. I'm also aware that if I go hell bent for leather, with a take no prisoners attitude, I may get a little of the mess cleared, but I will also probably wear myself down enough to the point I can get sick again.

Soooo...here I sit, trying to psyche myself up enough to do SOMETHING. If all I get done is one load of laundry, dishes in the washer, the counters wiped down and that pile dog hair swept up--it will be enough for my first day back on the job. I will watch a 'power hour' cleaning video or two on YouTube to inspire myself. I find it funny that cleaning videos are some of the most popular ones.

Okay, hold my poodle, I'm going in.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018

More Catchup--Dave's Killer Bread-Buh Bye, Facebook

February 9, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

I'm happy to announce that I am so much better, hardly coughing at all now. I have been able to get out and do a few things in the morning while the Redneck sleeps. Today Obie and I ran to the library, checked out a garage sale down the road (nothing worth buying), and picked up a few things at the grocery store.

One of the things I got at the store was a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread. I had heard about this bread on Kate Singh's blog and video channel a few times, so when I had a chance, I got a loaf of the White Done Right a week or so ago. Wow, $5 a loaf! And yet, it is some of the BEST bread I have ever tasted. The white has 5 super grains, quinoa, spelt, rye, millet and barley. It's non GMO, organic, and it just. tastes. GREAT. I can toast a slice, and with a little nut butter and a bit of jelly or jam, it's great for a quick breakfast or snack. Don't even get me started on sandwiches made with this bread--they are fabulous. Bread is usually just the way I hold the sandwich stuff together--THIS bread is like the perfect frame to a work of art, it not only frames it, it COMPLETES it.

Today I got a loaf of the 21 Grain bread. I can't believe it's even BETTER. I toasted a slice, and spread half a ripe avocado over it. I can't believe I am willing to pay $5 a loaf, but this is worth the cost to me. I don't eat a ton of bread, and this is satisfying, so it lasts. I also like the story behind the company, and how it helps people get second chances in life. Visit the website www.daveskillerbread.com, I hope to find their raisin bread, and I think they carry bagels and a few other products. Hmmm....I wonder how French toast made with this will turn out...?

We have almost completed our family's first week back on the night shift. It's going to take a little time to re adjust, but it's going well. Since I am finally getting over my illness, I will be taking the Redneck out for his birthday dinner this Sunday. He wants the Sunday lunch buffet at Southern Comfort out in Sunset, Texas. The food there is soooooooo freaking gooooooood. He serves meatloaf, catfish, chicken, etc. He even makes this broccoli salad that is awesome. A week or so later, the Redneck will be taking me out for my birthday dinner. I am not sure if I want to try the Indian restaurant out in Alvord, or if I want to drive to Weatherford for the Chinese buffet.

Last year around this time, I got rid of my cell phone, deciding to just use the home phone that came with the Internet service. I was curious to see if folks would take the trouble to CALL instead of just text. Turns out only a few are willing to take the time to do so. I have a friend who called to check on me while I was sick. A lot of people just switched to private messaging me on Facebook. I will be honest, I got tired of Facebook--all the drama and politics, fake news and hoaxes. So last night I completely deleted my account. I haven't told anyone--I am waiting to see if anyone notices. While I was sick, I never logged on, so I was slowly disappearing from there already, and when I finally DID check in--no one said anything.

I find it interesting that I seemed to have more time now that Facebook wasn't a part of my day last month, and I am able to watch a lot more videos to learn DIYs and cooking. I never realized how much data the social network took up each month. I'll let y'all know how this latest social experiment goes.

Tonight I have plans to take a hot bath and get 'gussied up' for the weekend. Dinner will be simple--I'm reheating beef and dumpling stew from lunch. Then I will watch The Hit Man's Bodyguard and go to bed.

Well, I still have a few chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Quick Catchup

February 7, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me.

My laptop is still awaiting service, but the Redneck is allowing me to post this from his, just so I can catch y'all up.

As I said before, I caught whatever Obie had, and while he is completely recovered, I am still working my way back to health slowly. I had honestly thought I was well after a few days, then I was hit by a fever and chills, knocking me off my feet again. After I got through that, I still had to contend with a spastic cough for days. I am getting over that very slowly. I feel better, yet I can't get too active, or I start coughing again.

We went to our family chiropractor Monday, and he helped me a lot. I had actually gotten this pasty gray color to my skin, and my face was drawn and sunken. I was coughing so much I couldn't get a lot of oxygen, and I was all 'crumpled' in a ball, just trying to avoid coughing. After the doc got done with me, I was standing up straight again and able to take a deep breath. It's nice to see color in my face.Seriously, ever hear the phrase "Death chewing on a cracker?" Yeah, I didn't look THAT good. But I am getting better.

I do have excellent news, however. The Redneck has gone back to the night shift! We have always done well as a family on the night shift, and we were hating the day shift. The Redneck would come in at 4 pm, we would eat supper, and then while I cleaned the kitchen, he took a shower and went to bed. You know about how I was getting up at 1 am each morning to help him get to work, then going back to bed after 2 am. The interrupted sleep cycle was giving me fits. Well, now he leaves at 2 pm, gets back home at 3:45 am, and we see a LOT more of each other. Plus I am now getting to sleep for 8 hours straight--much more restful. Also, once I am completely well, Obie and I will be able to run errands during the mornings while the Redneck is sleeping, because we will have access to the truck. That will help a lot.

It's been a year since we have had this shift, and I am working out a routine for it. I can do quiet chores and cleaning in the morning, then do any vacuuming or other noisy chores after he leaves for work.

I will try to post a little more this week. Later y'all
© Evelyn Edgett 2018