Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Tip that is Truly Life Changing...

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You’re  probably thinking, oh come on Jan, aren’t you being overly dramatic.  NO, I’M NOT!!!!  Quit rolling your eyes, this is the best tip EVER, trust me on this, especially with the holiday season coming.

Okay, here’s what all of us do.  We buy something, we stuff the receipt in our purse, we stuff it in the shopping bag, we put it in our pocket and oops, when we need to return the item or check the price, we can’t find that receipt!  We spend forever searching our purse, the trash, even in desperation, pockets of clothes we haven’t worn in years becauae we paid a chunka change for something that just isn’t going to work and we’re frantic that we are going to be stuck with it.  You know the drill, we’ve all been there.

Well, search no more, I started doing this a few years ago and it’s truly WONDERFUL.  Buy this inexpensive little cancelled check file, then when the clerk gives you a receipt, don't put it in the bag, don’t put it in your purse or your pocket, just clutch it in your fist and as soon as you get to the car, immediately retrieve your cancelled check file and file that receipt alphabetically under the store you purchased it from.  I store mine in the side pocket in the door and never again do I have to search for those missing receipts, many of which for me used to be gone forever. I can’t tell you how many arguments hubby and I have had in the past over missing receipts.  We were experts at playing the blame game, he would swear I had it, I would swear he had it, we would both be so frustrated.  So this is just one hassle in life you can eliminate!

Is the light dawning?  Are you remembering the frustration of not being able to find that damn receipt?  Life Changing, yep, it really is...

Here’s the link, go for it!  And think of me and smile when you need a receipt and you can actually find it… ~ Jan

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Autumns of my Childhood...

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I changed my Facebook Cover photo today using the photo above, and the childhood memories just started flooding back.  We had so many trees in our yard and it was a huge job, raking those leaves into the road and burning them.  Oh, what fun though, burrowing in the piles, and the smell of those burning leaves was magic.  Since I was an only child and we lived in the country there were no kids to play with, so my playmates were dogs and cats.  The dogs would run through the leaves with me, I can still see it all in my mind.

Fall was such a busy time at our house.  I’ve blogged before how mother and I would trudge through the muddy popcorn fields in our rubber “galoshes," dragging a tow sack which we would fill with popcorn that was left in the field after the combine had picked the corn.  Sometimes the mud was so deep it would suck the boots right off my feet and I would be left with wet socks to stuff back in them.  We would spend evenings in front of a coal stove, shucking that corn and emptying it into quart Ball jars to store for the winter.

Late in the fall we would go to the pecan groves, where tractors would bump the trees so the pecans would fall and we would gather coal buckets full of nuts to be weighed and paid for.  We also gathered black walnuts, messy nuts whose hulls would stain our hands and my favorite hickory nuts.  Hickory nuts were so hard to crack, and it took many hours to pick the nuts from the shells.  We would gather sticky persimmons to make persimmon pudding, always picked after the first frost, they were bitter if you didn’t wait and we would crack open the kernels because we believed persimmons predicted the winter weather.

If the kernel was spoon-shaped, you could expect plenty of snow to shovel.  If it was fork-shaped, plan on a mild winter with powdery, light snow.  If the kernel was knife-shaped, expect frigid winds that “cut” like a blade.

By mid-November the temperatures were cold in Southern Illinois and my uncles would butcher hogs.  Sometimes we had our own pig that we raised to butcher, other times they would give us hams and bacon.  Mother would sugar cure them with salt, brown sugar, spices and pepper, and hang them in a gunny sack from the rafters of our outbuilding.  We hung them so that the mice wouldn’t get to them.   I never cared for the cured meat, the flavor was too salty and strong for a little girl, but I spent many nights, racing to the outbuilding in the dark to retrieve those hams for mother to slice off pieces with a butcher knife and fry in an iron skillet for dinner..

At Thanksgiving she would make a hickory nut cake.  I have so many of her recipes but that one escaped me.  She also made black walnut divinity, always on a dry sunny day, for Christmas and she would store it in tins that she saved year after year.

She always made a fruitcake the week after Thanksgiving, chocked full of candied fruits and our pecans that we had shelled.  She baked it in an angel food pan and would put it in a tin with a wine soaked dishtowel surrounding it and a brandy soaked towel in the center so it could age for Christmas.  I never liked them as a child, and she would only give me small very thin slices because they did have alcohol after all and I never liked the taste. I probably would think they were wonderful now.

Fall always brought a new load of coal to be stored in the coal house for our winter heat.  I wish I still had her old receipts, it would be interesting to see how much it cost.  Coal was sold by the ton and we would get a couple of tons to last us through the winter.  The delivery man would dump it in the driveway and we had to carry bucket after bucket to the back coal shed. The house was always cold when we got home in the evening, mother would fill the coal buckets to build a fire and It was always my job to empty the ashes in the driveway ruts to help us keep from getting the car stuck.  We lived on a road that wasn’t graveled, so getting our car stuck in the mud was something that occurred on a regular basis.

We always put plastic on our windows to keep out the winter cold, usually nailing it on the windows on a cold blustery Saturday and it was a big job to unroll the plastic and cut it to fit the windows. The walls of our house weren’t insulated, only the attic, so it was always really hard to keep it warm.   She always made me new flannel pajamas with big buttons in the fall and I slept on a feather bed piled high with quilts.  Looking back I wonder how she managed to do all of that.  She worked from 8-5 at the drug store five days a week, Daddy didn’t live with us, he worked in Northern Illinois, so it was just a woman and a little girl, doing the best they could with absolutely no luxuries at all and nobody to help them.  No bathroom or running water, for years we didn’t have a pump, just a well and a bucket, but we managed and I have happy memories of my childhood.

I didn’t have a mother that played with me, I don’t ever remember her playing board games or reading to me.  She had no time, she was always working because she had to do all of the chores herself.  There was no television in our house until I was twelve years old, I listened to the radio in the evenings and played the piano (badly).  I was always an avid reader, probably more so because there wasn’t that much to do in the country in the cold weather.  No neighbors to talk to, no kids to play with, but if it’s all I knew, and it was okay.  I’ve always admired mother for all the hard work she did.  She didn’t complain or feel sorry for herself, and she worked from early morning until bedtime to make a home and put food on the table.  She really was a strong woman.

The older I get the more nostalgic I am.  My childhood stories are of a difficult life, but it wasn’t a sad life, I was a happy child, I was fed, clothed and loved and I was grateful for the things I had and proud of the accomplishments of daily living.   I miss those days and go back often in my mind.  Some of this you may have read some of this before, as I’ve talked about my childhood in my blog quite a bit through the years, but it’s always good to reminisce, to once again remember the way it was and to be reminded of how lucky I am to have the life that I have now...

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hamburger Press

 

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So you all know I’m the gadget queen, right?  So, when I saw this hamburger press, I was all over it like mayo on white.  It’s such a simple thing, but oh I do love this.  I use two sheets of wax paper sheets that I buy in a pack, one under the patty, one on top so it keeps the press clean, and you have perfectly formed patties every time.

Quit rolling your eyes, this thing is a game changer.  I make multiple patties at once to freeze or put in the fridge for another meal, it’s quick, fast and with the waxed paper, cleanup is easy breezy.  Don’t cheap out and not use the waxed paper, it would be a pain in the patootie to clean without them.

It’s not expensive, $20 and change, you spend that much for one meal at a fast food joint.  Just buy the darn thing, trust me, it’s so worth it.  ~ Jan

Here’s the link, go for it...

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And here are the squares, it’s a big pack, they last a long time.  

Here’s the link for the squares

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Parchment Paper Liners for Muffins

 

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 I love all things to do with cooking, and I have a feeling I’m a little late to this parchment paper game, but last month when we were visiting Ryan and family, we went every morning for breakfast at The Dixie Diner, a great little restaurant not far from their house and every morning I had a Jumbo Blueberry Muffin (don’t judge me) in a parchment paper liner like this one above.  I was intrigued, the muffin didn’t adhere to the paper like it does with a regular muffin liner and it was so darn cute.  It’s all about the presentation for this old(er) girl.

So I did a little research and it’s a pretty simple thing to do.  For jumbo muffins or cupcakes you need 6” parchment paper squares and for regular sized muffins or cupcakes you need 5” squares. Now you could cut your own, but seriously, who wants to do that when you can buy them precut already.

If you want the tulip effect like the one above, it does take a little work, but they look so good they are totally worth it.

Muffin liner

It’s pretty simple really, just pleat the muffin around an overturned glass the same size as the muffin tin and then plop them in the tins.  I suppose you could just pleat them inside the tin itself, but this is much easier.

You can buy these liners, bleached or unbleached.  I’ll do easy links for you below.  AND since yours truly, who buys everything kitchen related just realized that I don’t have jumbo muffin tins, I’m going to remedy that today by ordering them.  Oh, I am a sucker for Amazon Prime, but aren’t we all.

So, here are the links, happy baking, and now your muffins will look just like the ones in the bake shops. 😋
 

Brown

 

The ones I ate were in these unbleached liners, which looked great.  Here’s the link for the 5” ones

And the 6” ones, are actually marketed to use as squares between hamburger patties, which brings up a whole other subject that I will address in another post.

Here’s the link for the 6” ones

And now for those jumbo muffin pans, Wilton sells them on Amazon for $11.99 Prime.  Here’s the click

 

Pan

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Not your typical "Grannie Panties"

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Thongs, bikini panties, boy briefs, well those days are long gone, thank goodness.  So what’s an old(er) girl to do.  

I’ve tried a lot of panties over the years and I haven’t found any that I like better than these.  They’re really comfortable, they aren’t ugly, they’re not hot, they wash well and don’t give you muffin top, it’s a total win-win. They have just enough spandex to give you light control and they are made of silky fabric, so your clothes glide on smoothly.  If you don’t like the neutrals they also come in brights.

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These are a super everyday panty, trust me on this one.  ~ Jan

Here’s the link, check them out for yourself...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

DIY Dry Dog Shampoo that WORKS!

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Boy, do I have a great tip for you.  This recipe is floating all over the net so on a whim I gave it a try.  It’s all natural, non-irritating and I pinkie swear, it will make your furry friend smell amazing.  

It takes 5 minutes to make, put it in a shaker jar and you’re done!

1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Cornstarch
3-5 drops of Essential Oil, I used 4 drops of lavender

Whisk all together, I put mine in a spice jar, sprinkle it on Maggie, brush her and she smells so good.  The smell doesn’t dissipate quickly either, it lingers on her  fur for a couple of days …  What a find!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pioneer Woman's Daughter Leaves for College

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What a powerful picture, and one that mothers of children who are leaving the nest can certainly relate to.  Every time I look at this I get teary eyed, remembering when my sons left for college.  Its a brutal reminder that our children are only loaned to us for a few short years, once they leave on this journey, even though they come home, it’s never the same.

That ship has long sailed for me but in some ways it seems like yesterday.,  Whew, I need to quit looking at this picture...

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Big Crash

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Ugh, what a mess we had!  Apparently the pins in one of our cabinets were shorter than the other cabinets and it all came crashing down.

We heard a noise, couldn’t find anything wrong in the house, but when hubby started to open the cabinet, the shelf had collapsed and it all came tumbling down.  Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, and none of my appliances or the granite counter were damaged.

And the dishes?  Well, if I could have picked a shelf to fall, it would have been this one.  It was serving pieces, a collection of Chantal that I’ve had for years.  I was tired of it anyway.  The brown covered casserole, however is another story.  I’ve had that since John was a baby.  But I can replace it on eBay and I will, and then I will just replace all of the serving pieces with Pioneer Woman.  I feel a shopping spree coming on.

Check your cabinets ladies, if this would have been a cabinet shelf filled with Fiestaware, I would have been really upset.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Between You and Me, what a book!

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Oh, this is a good one!  I’ve had so much fun with summer reading, I’ve read most of Dorothea Benton Franks Lowcountry Series, and decided it was time for a change.  I started this and couldn’t put it down.  I’m a big fan of Susan Wiggs and this book did not disappoint!

Deep within the peaceful heart of Amish country, a life-or-death emergency shatters a quiet world to its core. Number-one New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs delivers a riveting story that challenges our deepest-held beliefs.

Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith—and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.

Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows—and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.

Then one impulsive act brings about a clash of cultures in a tug-of-war that plays out in a courtroom, challenging the very nature of justice and reverberating through generations, straining the fragile threads of faith and family.

Deeply moving and unforgettable, Between You and Me is an emotionally complex story of love and loss, family and friendship, and the arduous road to discovering the heart’s true path.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The BEST Summer Reads...

 

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I’ve spent many afternoons and evenings in my rocking chair on the front porch with my nose in my Kindle this summer.  Our porch is covered and it’s shady, so here I sit with Maggie by my side and a glass of something icy cold in my Yeti Cup.  I listen to the birds, smell the summer air and I’m lovin’ life.  I’ve always been an avid reader and nothing is better than beach reads in the summertime.

I’m reading, and in some cases rereading about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a whole series of books, brought to life by the wonderful author, Dorothea Benton Frank.  I love series, they drift from one book to the next and if they’re well written the characters have time to develop and come alive.

I started with Sullivan’s Island (a reread) as it was the first of the series and I’m reading them in order.  I’m getting ready to start Lowcountry Summer and each book is wonderful.  She describes island life so well, it makes you want to immediately rent a little beach house on an island near Charleston for the summer.

Here’s a link to this series, they're so good, I can hardly wait to finish one and start another.

Dorothea Benton Frank Books

Enjoy each day and happy reading.  ~ Jan

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