Sunday, August 30, 2009

When God Opens A Door I Say Walk Through It.

Finding a job came out of the blue sky like lightening before a storm. It has been like a storm because things around here have changed and have been blown in new directions. What started out as a part time job very quickly became full time and is now possibly going to take another turn into something with much heavier responsibilities.

All this means just one thing here, and that is that I just don't have the time to keep this blog up and running right now. I don't think this will be a great loss to anyone except maybe my mom.

When I have time to post here I will.

It has been fun and I have enjoyed making a few friends here. Life is strange and the seasons of it change quickly. Maybe I'll be back someday or maybe not. I don't know right now. God bless and keep all of you and may you receive blessings abundantly from him.

With much love,

Picture: Doorway in Cataloochee Cove home taken by Carrie J. 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Barbeque Baked Beans

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. We went to a cookout at a friend's house. Good food and good friends make for a wonderfull afternoon!

I signed up to bring the baked beans. I thought that I would share the recipe. There will be plenty more opportunities this summer to use this recipe. I will admit that I don't make my everyday baked beans as rich as these are. This is my "party hearty" recipe.

A long time ago I decided that the short cut of using canned pork and beans as a base for these worked just fine. It cuts down on the work and time.

Barbeque Baked Beans

1 2lb can pork and beans. I use whatever is the cheapest. When I'm cooking for a big crowd I use the 7 lb can of Showboat beans and increase the other ingredients accordingly.

1 cup brown sugar ( more or less to taste. More in my case! )

1 cup ketchup

1-2 tablespoons mustard

1 onion chopped

optional: bacon, at least 3 pieces, fried and chopped, or pieces of ham.

molasses, to drizzle over the top. I have used maple syrup with very good results.

Mix all ingredients, except molasses. Place in a pan, drizzle molasses over the top and bake 325 degrees for 1 and 1/2 - 2 hours. I usually cook mine in a 9x13 glass or metal pan which I have lined with foil to make the clean up easier.

I haven't met anybody yet who doesn't love these beans. They taste like you put lots of effort into them but they are really very easy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Roads. Changing Attitudes.

My part time job has turned into a full time position. Starting last week I'm full time working 3:30pm-Midnight. I'm still working in our family business as well. My husband and son make most of our signs and I do the finishing work.

Getting back to working in an office has been interesting. I'd dreaded the office drama that always seems to be going on. It doesn't matter if you work for the best company in the world, there is always at least one, and usually more, person that just can't help but cause a little drama.

I've heard the typical "Just between you and me..." statements. I'm pretty good at tuning those out. I like to know who I can trust and who is trouble, but I want to find that out for myself. I don't like gossip and won't believe anything until I see it for myself.

When I was younger I always got betrayed or used because I trusted everyone much too quickly. That is one great thing that aging does for you; if you pay attention you can learn to read people and prevent a lot of personal disappointment.

But sometimes you just don't see it coming. Sometimes the people are so good at it that you would never believe that they would ever take a swipe at you.

Sigh...maybe I'm not as good at reading people as I thought I was.

To my credit, I did kind of have a suspicion, but I didn't want to believe it. Today I found out. During a meeting a lady who has treated me wonderfully since I have been here hit me with a left jab. I had forgotten to do something that I am supposed to do. Something that is important, but not earth shaking. But even so, I should have remembered.

She had seen it a few days ago but waited until she got in the meeting with our supervisor until she bothered to point it out. I guess to make herself look good to our supervisor. I think it is because our supervisor was praising some of my ideas earlier this week and I think it may have made her feel a little threatened. I don't know.

Twenty years ago I would have been very upset by it all. I'm surprised by the fact that all I feel is sorry for her. I'm sorry that she has so much fear that she would find comfort at another's expense and such a need to build her own self up.

I have to examine my own work, not in respect to what she has to say, or even my supervisor, but how I feel about it. The only person that I can blame is myself if things don't meet the standards that I set for myself. No one can make me a failure. Only I can do that.

Tennessee road nighttime and in the rain

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Times, They Are A Changing.

This week I went on my first job interview since 1984. I got the job! It is a part time job as a receptionist and doing paperwork for an Senior citizen home care provider/assisted living facility.

It feels good to get back out into the "real" working world again. I've worked for myself for the past 25 years, and will continue to work in our business during the week.

The biggest challenge right now is to find a frugal way to build a professional wardrobe. Working at home and doing the type of work we do, my wardrobe consist of mainly blue jeans and tee shirts.

I've managed to find quite a few items on clearance at stores like Catos and have enough to get started with a basic mix and match black based wardrobe.

I haven't been around here much because we have been busy with so many things. My daughter has been here for 2 months. She leaves tomorrow.

My son was injured (dislocated knee, torn ligaments) while moving out of state and it has been very stressful for us to figure out how we can best help him. He is over 14 hours driving time from here and flying back and forth is out of the question. He is an adult and capable of handling most of the details himself but needs help getting around and finishing his move. I'm waiting for the details about his surgery to be finalized.

One thing is for certain: Life is always going to be a challenge. Sometimes it is very difficult to find something to be grateful for in the middle of the chaos. But it truly makes all the difference between living life or just merely existing and enduring to the end.

Pic: Roses in a small bowl. Special effects done in Photoscape.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What I Found Surfing: The Right Way To Package Bake Sale Goodies!

Take a look at the FANTASTIC packaging that Lisa at Celebrating Creativity did on Banana bread for a bake sale. I would want to buy them all if I had been there. Lisa's blog is a really fun place full of great ideas. Tell her Carrie sent you.

Pic: Property of Lisa at Celebrating Creativity

Monday, April 27, 2009

Economic Times

"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the small men by tearing down the big men.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling down the wage payer.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.

You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves"

attributed to Abraham Lincoln

Pic: Small town America. Hot Springs, NC.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Still Here

I'm still around, barely. I've been battling bronchitis for a few weeks now. I think I'm almost over it. My daughter is here for a couple of months before she starts her summer job. We went out of town for a few days at Easter. We have been having some repairs done to our house and I've been trying to finish some projects around here.

I haven't completely abandoned blogs. I try to check on the regulars as often as possible.

Here is a link to a wonderful post from Crafty Crow. She has links to some wonderful recycling projects that would keep the kids busy for hours. Hmmm....and maybe the adults too!

Pic: Navarre Beach Easter 2009, It was rainy and windy. I loved it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

AccuWeather: Arthritis Index

I'm getting old. Shhhh....don't tell. One of the things that I'm having to deal with is stiffness and soreness in joints and muscles. I've noticed that the weather has a direct impact on how I'm going to wake up feeling. Something that I have found that is a wonderful help is the Arthritis Index that is part of the AccuWeather site.

I have the AccuWeather tool bar on my desktop. If we have any bad weather alerts there is a pop up that will alert me. I love it. I don't always have the TV or radio on but I usually check my mail a couple of times a day.

The Arthritis Index is something that I have just recently noticed. Below you can see a close up of the index on the AccuWeather site. and below you can read their description of the index.

From the AccuWeather site: The fact that weather has an effect on how arthritis is felt by its sufferers is well documented, with surveys showing as many as 93% of arthritis sufferers believing that weather affects their pain level, and 68% believing that weather severely affects their pain level.

Patients with arthritis often claim they can predict the weather, based upon their pain level, and a number of studies have been conducted to test this hypothesis. While these studies show that the effects of weather can vary from person to person, many show that arthritis pain is increased by a variety of weather factors, which may swell inflamed arthritic joints, stretching the inflamed joint lining and capsule, thereby increasing the pain of arthritis.

Among the types of weather that may increase joint sensitivity and arthritic pain are:

1. Changes in atmospheric pressure, especially falling pressure

2. Changes in temperature, especially lowering temperature

3. High or increasing relative or absolute humidity

4. Relatively low atmospheric pressure

5. Low temperatures

6. Precipitation

Arthritic pain can be especially severe when these conditions are combined, such as during chilly, damp weather when pressure is low and falling.

Now, AccuWeather has developed an index that combines all of the weather factors that may affect arthritis sufferers, and summarizes the most likely severity of weather-related arthritis pain in one easy-to-understand scale, from Low to Extreme. Available exclusively on, the AccuWeather Arthritis Index forecasts this level for each of the next several days, so arthritis sufferers can have advanced notice of when they are most likely to have increased pain, allowing them to take appropriate medication and to better plan activities.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What I Found Surfing: One Semester Spanish Love Song

We are in the middle of a Spanish course at our house. It has been a struggle. I found this video that just cracked me up and thought I would share it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What I Found Surfing: Online Pedometer

Keep track of your miles as you walk across your state, or across America; and keep track of how many calories you burn

Picture: The road home on a foggy evening.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recipes: Camp Stew and Country Eggplant Casserole

I've been very scarce around here lately. I think I needed a break from blogging. But I'm back for now and I thought I would share a couple of recipes. They are simple to prepare and some of our favorites; just plain and simple down-home cooking.

Randy and I had lunch with his mother many years ago and she served this dish. We both loved it and she was gracious enough to share the recipe with me. Delicious.

Eggplant: Country Supper Style

1 medium or large eggplant, pared and cubed

butter or oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Bread crumbs

Grated Cheese

Saute eggplant in butter (preferred) or oil for around 5 minutes or until it begins to look transparent.

Pour the eggplant into a buttered 9X13 casserole dish.

Saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter until it begins to turn yellow, add can diced tomatoes, parsley, sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Sir and let come to a boil Pour over eggplant. Top with crumbs, dot with butter, and sprinkle cheese over all.

Bake 350 for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Good served with a salad in the summer or with rolls or cornbread in the winter but either way, you need a gallon or so of Sweet Tea. Hmmmm...good.

Another favorite is Camp Stew. It is a dish that I believe originated in the south.

When I was growing up some of the churches in our area would sell Camp Stew as a fund raiser.

Brunswick Stew is a name I have heard used interchangeably but there are some differences. I think the main difference may be the addition of butter beans (Baby Limas) in some cases barbecue sauce is used instead of catsup.

The original recipes that I have found included such meats as rabbit, squirrel or even bear. Even though the recipe calls for beef and chicken.

I have substituted ground pork,turkey and even vegetarian meat substitutes. All have been well received. It is also just as good with only one type of meat instead of two.

We eat this several times a month during the winter. It is best served with a pan of hot cornbread.

Crock Pot Camp Stew

1 lb. ground beef

1 c. boiled or baked chicken, chopped.

1 medium chopped onion

2 cans cream style corn. ( I often just substitute a bag of frozen corn)

2 cans tomatoes, diced

1 can Baby Lima beans, optional

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 cup catsup

1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional

Brown and drain ground meat. Put everything in crock pot.

Stir and cook : High for 3 hours or Low for 6 hours

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Use It Up.....And Make Something New

I love the unique. I love something recycled to be useful. I love originality. I absolutely love this dress made out of the selvedges of fabric!

Jodie at Ric Rac makes the most awesome things out of the selvedges of fabric. She has a whole array of projects she has made. Wonderful inspiration for thinking outside the box when we attempt any project.

If you are looking for a new project, or just some inspiration to get started, Ellen at The Long Thread has put up a wonderful list of the top 100 tutorials of 2008 to help inspire you in 2009.

Photo property of Jodi at Ric Rac.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What I Saw: Monday Morning

Woke up to this. Wind blowing. Snow flying. Mr. Weatherman, I want a refund on that forecast.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Musings: Life Outside Our Own

I have nothing profound to say these days. Most days are filled with the mundane minutia that makes up our lives. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and let myself start to think "poor me".

When I get that way, and if I'm lucky enough, someone will say something, or I will read something, that makes me hang my head realize how totally embarrassed I should be for being so ungrateful for the life I have. How very lucky I am to get up everyday and have things that I need to do, things that I do with very little effort on my part and no real discomfort.

Through Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer I got lucky. , She shared the story of Alicia at Posy Gets Cozy and the story of a horrific accident that she endured and the lessons she learned while she recovered:

"I had a vision about the world when I was there. It came to me one night as if a little door opened and I looked through and eavesdropped on the truth. I saw that the world was constantly falling apart, it was always in a state of little things always falling apart, and then there were these brigades of individual human angels, with kind eyes, apples and stitches, repairing, fixing, mending, patting, bandaging the wounds of the world, and putting it back together, piece by tiny piece."

The rest of her account can be read here.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What I Saw: How To Cross A Creek

We have been in North Carolina on a business trip. Near Hot Springs I saw this cabin and an ingenious way that they have created to cross the creek to their house. They park near where I took this picture and board this little cart to cross over to where their house is located.

It was extremely cold yesterday and this morning. The wind was the problem. It was blowing incredibly hard and since we were around 4000 elevation it was much colder than the valley we live in. I was not quite prepared for how cold it would be. We went up to Blowing Rock attraction for just a few minutes this morning and after only about 10 minutes I felt like the ends of my fingers were frozen!

This is a picture of a mill near Banner Elk, just over the state line, in a little place called Trade.

I know these pictures are nothing compared to what others in the country have been dealing with this winter so far. I hate when we get ice in Tennessee. We don't get much and no one seems ready when we do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Living On What You Make

I read this post at that I thought I would share. How often do we think that making more money would be the answer to all our financial problems?

But if you can't manage your money when you make $40,000 a year, you won't be able to at $400,000 a year. The principles are the same.

This is my favorite part of the post: "Luxuries get sampled and become necessities. And while the pleasures you get from the finer things in life are nice, the pain that you experience if you ever have to give them up becomes huge. It wasn't any one thing, it was a train of connected "upgrades" to our lifestyle. And if you let the upgrade train get away from you, you all of the sudden realize that you're struggling to pay for the ticket."

How true is that? Here is the beginning of the post and there is a link to the rest at the end. Enjoy.

"I didn't always make a lot of money. Nor did I come from a wealthy family. Nope, I started on the bottom rung, worked hard, waited patiently, and finally one day, I woke up, and all of the sudden realized I was finally making some decenet money. Not big shot, second-home, his-and-her-7-series driving money, but better than most of the population, and certainly better than any of my friends or family. Combine that with being married to a fellow college grad with her own professional job, and between the two of us, we pull in around $200k per year. And we're living paycheck to paycheck. Although this is an alternate name I created to hide the personal details from my usual login, I've been a regular FWF contributor for as long as I can remember. I've posted quite a bit here (I'm not one of the "biggies", but I have a good number of posts to my name, all with their fair share of green). I know all the conventional wisdom. I follow the Boglehead philosophy, know about how to allocate money, know all about the wonders of compound interest, and have read all the books. Tobias' Only Financial Guide You'll Ever Need? Check. Random Walk, check. Millionare Next Door, Your Money or Your Life, and even (sigh) Rich Dad Poor Dad, check check and check. How I got to where I am was both sobering and humbling, and I figured I'd tell the story just in case it might help anyone else. No sob story about medical expenses, divorce, or some scam business opportunity. Nope, my wife and I just let ourselves spend too much. No one to blame but us..."

The rest of this post and responses can be read here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Elf Slipper Tutorial

Check out this great tutorial at Maya Made for really cute Elf slippers. She does a great job explaining every step and the results are just too cute.

Pictures property of Maya Made

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free Cell Phone Directory Assistance

I've been so busy this week, and because it is a money saving tip, I decided to let my Wednesday post double as my Frugal Friday tip. Works for me!

Most cell phone providers charge from $1.50 and up for directory assistance. Why pay that when Google has a service that provides the same information you get when dialing 411. At NO cost (except for any general calling fees associated with your phone). Simply dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (or 1-800-4664-411) from your phone. Here is a short video that describes the service.

Works for me! For more great tips check out Rocks in my Dryer. And for great money saving tips check out Crystal for her Frugal Friday tips.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Lunch Date Blouse GIVEAWAY!!!!

Kathleen at Grosgrain makes the most adorable clothes. She also gives some of them away. This week it is an adorable top that my daughter would SO wear. It is worth the trip to her blog just to oooohhhh and ahhhh over the way cute clothes. If you happen to win one, all the better! The Lunch Date Blouse GIVEAWAY!!!!

Picture is property of Kathleen at Grosgrain

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lazy Beyond Belief

Maybe it is the weather. Maybe I'm getting old. I don't know. What I do know is that all I want to do is sleep. I want to curl up in my warmest, coziest pajamas and hibernate like a grizzly bear.

My family would have a very poor opinion of Mama bear sleeping the day away. I beat the mattress monster off and drag myself out of bed everyday. I really need to get some things done around here.

We are past our 39 days of H-E-double toothpicks. Counting cousins and Grandmas we have 7 birthdays and our anniversary between December 1 and January 8 and then my sister on the Jan 13. We even managed to survive Christmas and New Years.

Now it is time to settle back down to schoolwork, get the taxes done, go back to work in our business and get my house clean. I haven't even taken down the Christmas tree yet. Sigh.

The days already seem to be rushing past like a fast moving stream. 2008 was gone before I knew it and 2009 seems to be moving at the same speed.

I'll be posting soon. I've got some great new pictures to share. Thanks for all the sweet comments on my older post. I appreciate them all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

True Love

Thirty years ago today these two young people got married.

Her family didn't want her to marry him.

His family didn't want him to marry her.

They didn't care.

They did it anyway.

I think they made the right choice. *******Carrie and Randy at Cades Cove*******

Thursday, January 01, 2009