Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thrifting Again

I had few minutes after an appointment so I stopped in my favorite thrift store and look what I found! This P. Buckley Moss Christmas plate was only $4. It goes perfectly on my shelf that holds an iron that belonged to my Grandmother, a mini quilt, also thrifted, and a little Amish doll I bought in Lancaster Pa.

I can't remember where the little bowl came from but it was probably a yard sale or thrift store. I think I'll leave the plate out all year because it isn't really obvious that it is a Christmas plate unless you look closely. I love a great find!

Monday, May 28, 2007

And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave. ~Joseph Drake

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Musings

Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have. Doris Mortman

Bear Wallow Church near Bat Cave N.C.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


While reading WFMW post over at Shannon's Blog I read this post by Heather about Post it Notes for your computer. I've used these and they are great.

The post reminded me about other online tools I use. One of my favorites are the Flickr Toys. There are lots of neat, very easy to use, tools to create fun pictures. One of my fave, that works well with the Post it notes, is the calendar.

I'm not a person who has ever gotten the swing of using a planner. So I have recently started making a calendar with my fave pic of the moment and using it as a wallpaper on my computer. I find this, used along with the post it notes, a great way to keep up with important dates.

There are other fun toys over there to make things like a Magazine cover, CD covers, special effects for pictures and other goodies. Check it out and check out Rocks in my Dryer for other tips.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

What I Saw

Pepper the Wonder Dog

Friday, May 18, 2007

Frugal Friday- Cast Iron Cookware

Sometimes old fashioned things are the best things. Cast Iron cookware is one of those old fashioned good things.

When I first got married I wanted a fancy new set of T-Fal cookware. I was so excited when I got the set I wanted and started using them. I was also given a couple of cast iron skillets that sat in the back of my cabinet unused and dusty.

I knew my grandmother and mom used cast iron cookware but I thought that the cast iron was something old fashioned and wouldn't be nearly as nice as my modern cookware.

I sure had a lot to learn back then! My fancy cookware bit the dust long ago but my cast iron skillets are still going strong. As a matter of fact, so are my mom's and grandmother's after almost 70 years of use!

Cast iron cookware is still the cookware of choice of many professional chefs because it heats evenly and consistently with no hot spots and it is inexpensive. When seasoned properly, food slides out as easy as Teflon coated cookware.

There are a few rules to remember with cast iron:

1. Don't ever put cool water into a hot cast iron pan. It could result in a nasty crack in the pan.

2. Don't store food in cast iron. The acids and moisture aren't good for the finish.

3. Never put cast iron in the dishwasher. Always dry throughly before storing. I put a couple of paper towels in my dutch oven when I store it to absorb any moisture.

4. Heat cast iron cookware up slowly if you use an electric stove and keep heat to medium and lower. Cast iron can't be used on some of the flat glass topped stoves.

It is very easy to pick up cast iron pieces at yard sales or flea markets for just a few dollars. Don't worry what they look like if the price is right. Unless a piece is cracked, with proper treatment you can salvage almost any piece regardless of condition.

I got the Dutch oven pictured below for only $8. The after picture is a little dark but you can tell the difference. This is now one of my favorite pieces of cookware.

So if you don't own any cast iron , keep an eye out at the thrift store and yard sales or beg a piece off your mom or grandmother. I was lucky to have inherited a couple of my grandmother's skillets and a corn dodger pan that my grandmother used most of her adult life. With proper care they will be something I can pass on down to my children.

Before seasoning

After seasoning

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Favorite Family Recipe: Tomato Gravy

Sometimes you just want something comforting to eat. Something that reminds you of when you were a little kid and your mom, or in my case grandmother, used to make you something yummy to eat that was filled with not only good taste but lots of love.

One of my very favorite meals growing up was also one of the easiest to prepare. Old fashioned tomato gravy.

I didn't realize growing up that tomato gravy must be a regional food, at least the way we ate it. All the tomato gravy I ate growing up was served over homemade buttermilk biscuits fresh and hot from the oven. Another peculiarity in our family was sprinkling a teaspoon of sugar over the gravy. My husband, who also ate tomato gravy growing up, would never do that. He just doesn't know what's good!

Before posting this recipe I did a quick Google search to check other recipes. I found many different recipes that included items such as garlic, onions and herbs or spices.

Those recipes are better suited to being served over a meat or pasta. This recipe I'm posting could be served over grits or maybe mashed potatoes, but my serving suggestion is the traditional way we served it, over biscuits.

Carrie's Tomato Gravy.


3-4 tablespoons oil (butter, cooking oil of choice, or bacon fat, which is what Grannie used).

About 4 tablespoons flour.

One 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (no spices added, plain tomatoes).

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time until all is mixed in. Lower heat until mixture is just simmering. This forms a roux that you cook, stirring constantly, until it is the color of milk chocolate.

If you haven't made a roux before the main thing to remember is watch it very carefully so it doesn't burn. Stir constantly and as soon as it reaches the correct color remove from the heat.

Add your can of tomatoes to the roux and stir well. Return the mixture to heat and continuing to stir well, cook until thickened. About 3-5 minutes. At this point taste for seasoning. I usually add about a half teaspoon of salt. It really depends on your tomatoes. Also a small amount of sugar(also about a half teaspoon) added compliments the tomatoes well.

This gravy served over biscuits can be served for any meal. We have had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but most often serve it as an evening meal. If you try it be sure to let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

All I want for Mother's Day

We are all together. A perfect Mother's Day. Wishing all you Moms a Happy Mother's Day too.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Close Encounters

Even though I include lots of pictures of nature on my blog we don't live in the country. We live in a fairly busy part of town, not far from a main highway. I am constantly amazed with the amount of wildlife we see here. I suppose that with the development of subdivisions in their natural habitat they have to adjust and find new living quarters. This is a benefit for people like me who love watching them.

One thing I would have never expected to see, at least not up close, was a large bird of prey. A while back my husband and son returned from the store to find a young Coopers Hawk sitting on our front steps rail. My son grabbed this picture of it. Sorry it is a little grainy.

It was very exciting to see this majestic bird up close. It was an impressive sight when he took off. He spread those powerful wings and took off like a rocket. Undoubtedly after some unlucky prey.

I assumed that seeing this bird was a anomaly . Yesterday I was in the backyard ,pulling a few weeds, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. I looked up to see a hawk (this one?) fly right by me about 3 feet off the ground. Amazing. Looks like our friend may have moved in for good.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Pic 1 and 2: Oconalufee visitor center, Cherokee N.C.
Pic 3 and 4: Applachian Museum, Norris Tennessee

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The More You Ruv Someone

I love the lyrics from this song from the musical Avenue Q. It is much more funny with the music but it is so how I'm feeling this morning.

Song: The More You Ruv Someone (Copyright Avenue Q)

Kate Monster: Why can’t people get along and love each other, Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve:

You think getting along same as loving? Sometimes love right where you hating most, Kate Monster.

Kate Monster: Huh?

Christmas Eve: The more you love someone, The more you want to kill ‘em. The more you love someone, The more he make you cry

Though you are try For making peace With them and loving, That’s why you love so strong You like to make him die!

The more you love someone, The more he make you crazy. The more you love someone, The more you wishing him dead!

Sometime you look at him And only see fat and lazy, And wanting baseball bat For hitting him on his head!

Kate Monster: Love

Christmas Eve: And hate

Kate Monster: And hate?

Christmas Eve: They like two brothers

Kate Monster: Brothers

Christmas Eve: Who go on a date

Kate Monster: Who....what?

Christmas Eve: Where one of them goes, Other one follows You inviting love He also bringing sorrows

Kate Monster: Ah, yes.

Christmas Eve: The more you love someone, The more you want to kill ‘em. Loving and killing Fit like hand in glove!

Kate Monster: Hand in glove.

Christmas Eve: So if there someone You are wanting so To kill ‘em. You go and find him. And you get him. And you no kill him. ‘Cause chances good

Both: He is your love.

Pioneer Homestead

Just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina , in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park,is the Oconalufee visitor center.

They have preserved a pioneer homestead there. I believe that the home was moved there and restored. It was built by John E.Davis and his two oldest sons.

The boys, who were very young at the time gathered all the stones used in the chimney and fireplace. The other 3 children were born in the house. .

The homestead there is in a very peaceful setting near an Elk crossing. People often come there in the evenings watching for the Elk to come out and feed. There is a Ranger on duty there to answer any questions. They have activities there and a list can be obtained by contacting the Park Service. .

John E. Davis and family.



How would you like to cook in this kitchen?

Monday, May 07, 2007

What I Saw...

Peacocks at Applachian Museum in Norris, Tennessee.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Prayer Requests

Patty over at Morning Ramble requested prayer for her new granddaughter, Mei-Ling.

So I am posting her request and adding a request for my new great-nephew Miles. He was born 7 weeks early and needs to gain weight and keep his body weight up so he can go home.

So when you say your prayers please include these two little ones. Thanks so much.



Saturday, May 05, 2007

Our Empty Nest Isn't Empty Anymore.

Our baby birds flew away. They perched on the side of the nest flapping their wings, hesitated for a moment and flew. Just like that. They were gone. I missed them for a couple of days. Then this morning as I took my coffee out on our porch I noticed Mama bird sitting in the nest. She took one look at me, flew up in a near by tree and proceeded to raise quite a ruckus. I knew something was up, so I took a look into the nest. Low and behold, another egg! I had no idea that birds would lay additional eggs so soon after raising a brood. It is only one lonely little egg. So if it isn't a dud I guess we will have another little baby bird to watch. Edit: I checked the nest again today and now there are 4 eggs total. So we will have a nest full again soon and we have baby bluebirds in the back yard.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Yard Sale Haul

Got in a few yard sales today before the rain set in. I think I got some really good deals.

This cute little wallet/purse with a shoulder strap still had the tags on with a price of $49.00! I got it for $2. The little plate is a Fitz and Floyd with the tag, priced at $35. I can't believe they actually paid that much for it. I don't much about their line and what it normally sells for. I need to look up the price. Anyway I paid $1.

Other things I picked up were these pretty embroidered tea towels for 25 cents each. A teapot and tea ball (diffuser?) with a snowflake fob for $3. A really pretty teacup and sugar dish for 50 cents each. A milk glass vase for $1 and a pretty glass dish with a glass serving spoon for 10 cents each.

So everything was $8.20. Not bad. I look forward to using the teapot. I have wanted one for quite a long time and I love this one. Sounds like a good excuse for a tea party to me!

Frugal Fridays

I keep a few homemade mixes on hand. These mixes are inexpensive to make and keep well. To save time, or make it a little easier for any little helpers, you could prepackage these in the correct measurment size. I put mine in a sealed container with the directions taped to the top.

Chicken Flavored Rice Mix (makes about 4 cups of mix)

4 cups uncooked long-grain rice

4 tablesppons instant chicken bouillon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon white pepper.

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

Store in airtight containers in a cool dry place. Keeps 6-8 months.

To use: Combine 1 1/3 cup of mix, 2 cups cold water and 1 tablespoon butter or maragine. Bring to a boil and cook 15-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed makes 4-6 servings.

Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix 1 batch

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

1 teaspoon green pepper flakes ( I use my own dried green pepper crushed)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon garlic

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard ( I have used regular in a pinch. It takes about 1 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4/ teaspoon chili powder

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

To use: Combine:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 batch seasonig mix

1/2 c water

1 8oz can tomato sauce

Brown beef in a skillet. Drain excess grease. Add mix, water and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Free Hugs: I Like This Video

Scroll down and stop my music before you start the video.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What I Saw...

If you think she got in trouble you would be right. I just realized that this is my 100th post. Woo Hoo!

Works for Me

Today is the birthday edition of Works For Me Wednesday. Check it out for great ideas.

One inexpensive and fun idea we have used with our 4 kids was a birthday present hunt. We would hide the presents in places around our home and make up clues leading to the location.

There was usually anywhere from 3 to 10 stops depending on the age of the child, each with a clue to the next, leading to their presents.

This made for a lot of fun and some really good memories.