Family Vacations, Frugal Living/ Budgeting, General, Homesteading

Here We Go Again!

I’m back!

Well, to be truthful, I wasn’t really gone! I had taken a hiatus from blogworld, but I am back and ready for BIG things to come!

I have made big changes in my life, one being I left my job as a school nurse to become a full time business owner. I had started my kennel 8 years ago part time, but I was to a point I needed to be here full time, so I made the plunge!

It was a bit scary going from a full time, regular income to irregular pay schedules and managing it on my own. But I have been so blessed with great success, and I give all the glory to God! He provides for me so richly!

I will be updating you all with a link to my new Kennel blog site (under works as we speak!) so you can check out my sweet baby puppies and their mommas and dads.

I will also be adding some awesome projects I am working on around the homestead! (including a cute new Chicken Coup up-cycled from an old swing set!) Garden season is upon me and I am so ready to get into harvesting and preserving mode!

So I hope you’ll continue to follow me in my homesteading journey!

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This pic was taken a month or so back- I hiked up to Hawks’ Bill Crag with my son and his friend.I am very afraid of heights and had decided I wasn’t even going onto the crag. Thankfully my son convinced me to get out there,that’s me with my hands in the air, that was as far as I was going. It felt to exhilarating to conquer something that big! It was a beautiful piece of my state I really enjoyed seeing.

Here’s a link to info, if you’re ever in the area, I really suggest going. Just a few notes from one gal to all of you:

  1. There are no bathrooms at the trail head, plan accordingly. (I drank a pot of coffee and 2 bottles of water, oops! I had to squat!)
  2.  It is beautiful, but the hike for this fat girl was a bit rough. Coming back up out of the holler was a doozy! If you have any type of handicap, be careful please!
  3. I would go in spring or fall, we went in late winter and it wasn’t as pretty.
  4. The road in is rough! You’ll think you’re lost and picture a scene from a scary movie (think, Wrong Turn!) but nope- that’s the right road!
  5. Leave it the way you found it! Nature is best without your empty bottles and cig butts! I always hate to see junk messing up natures beauty!

http://www.buffaloriver.com/pages/whitaker-point-trail-hawksbill-crag/

I hope all have a wonderful week ahead! I am about to head out and get my broccoli and cabbage plants in the ground and put some lettuce seeds out. God Bless!

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Frugal Living/ Budgeting

New Year- New Goals!!

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Happy New Year! Time to re-evaluate my goals and get ready for the new year!!

So last year I set some goals for 2015- accomplished some- still gotta work on some. We did take on a little new debt (our son needed braces) and we also were able to pay cash for a few new expenses (our daughters wedding and a newer vehicle for me). We also paid off a larger credit card (big ole yeah!!) but have a few more to work on.

So- Financial Goals for 2016:

  • Pay off 2 remaining credit cards
  • Pay down my student loans
  • Pay off sons’ braces
  • Pay cash for summer vacation
  • Start using the envelope/cash only system for weekly budgeting!!!!
  • Stick to a budget better!!!

So, as you can see- some of these things have been on my list for a few years!! I am determined to get it down eventually!

Health Goals for 2016:

*Continue adding healthy habits to my diet

* Try using new herbals and essential oils (doing research on this, love keeping things all natural when I can)

 

Other Goals for 2016:

*Keep in touch with friends better (sorry I am not better at this guys!!!)

* Get more organized!!

* Get back to meal planning (to help stay on track health wise and also to help with budgeting!!)

 

 

So- there you have it! There are my yearly goals!

I hope that all have a very blessed year!! I feel like such a blessed gal!!

 

Remember to thank God for your good times as well as your bad times: the bad times help you appreciate the good times more and and the good times give you hope when your in the midst of the bad times.

God bless y’all!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Wellness

Mental Health Awareness- Taking Care of Yourself!

Now I know that May is officially Mental Health Awareness month- I just wanted to talk about it now! November and December can be hard for folks with depression and anxiety- heck it’s supposed to be the happiest time of year- right?  Well, it can also be the most depressing time of year for some.

Now when we start talking about mental health, we are talking about a wide range of things- from situational depression (you know- depression caused by a life changing event be it a happy change or a bad change) anxiety/stress, as well as bi-polar, schizophrenia and personality disorders. We all suffer from mental health issues at some point in our lives, some more than others, some less.

Now just to state, I am not a mental health professional, I am a school nurse with a clinical setting background. I have however come in contact with a lot of folks over the years with mental health issues. It is something I am passionate about- we as a nation need to stop sticking our heads in the sand when the phrase “mental health” is brought up. Mental health issues are a medical problem- let’s start treating it that way!

I hate hearing people who suffer from mental health issues say things like, “I hate to take a pill everyday, I just want to feel normal” or “people will think I’m crazy”. Folks- if your family member had a heart condition, would you berate them for taking heart medication? Well of coarse you wouldn’t! What about diabetes? You’d tell them “you don’t need that diabetes medication- it’s all in your head!”. No- because that’d be just plain silly! Well, so is telling a family member or friend that their anxiety/depression is all in their head, or that they just need to pray harder, or that they need to just “get over it” . I have heard from folks with depression and /or anxiety that they’ve been told all those things and much more. Makes me so sad for them- when you’re suffering from depression or anxiety hearing these things makes it so much worse.

Now there are non-medication therapy ideas that work for some people- like nature walks, meditation, talking to a therapist or friend, listening to relaxing music, or trying yoga or a new exercise. But for many taking a medication is what works the best, and there is not a thing wrong with that!

I am on a mission- let’s all decide that we will not stand for our friends and family to be bullied like that. If you hear someone say something negative, let them know that mental health is a medical diagnoses, that it’s treated with medication just like high blood pressure or diabetes is. Let’s spread the word and help each other out. If you have a friend or family member who suffers from mental health issues, let them know they’re not alone and you’re there for them.

Go to nami.org (this is the National Alliance for Mental Illness website) and take the pledge to be Stigma Free. #IAmStigmafree

Also- keep the national suicide prevention hotline in your phone- you never know when you may need to call, even for advice if you have a friend you feel may be suicidal. 1-800-273-8255.

I hope all have a blessed rest of the week and a weekend!! The weather has been lovely here- hopefully that continues! God Bless ya’ll!!

Eating Real Food, Recipes/ How To

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner???

So I had some chicken and wanted to try something new- turned to trusty old Pinterest for some inspiration. I saw a one dish chicken and veggies that took just about an hour to bake, didn’t call for crazy weird ingredients and could be easily modified.

So here is my gathering of the ingredients:

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I decided to go with potatoes and broccoli for the two side veggies. I seasoned all well with a season salt type seasoning, some onion flakes and some jarred garlic. I mixed all this in a small bowl with a few TBSP melted butter and a few TBSP olive oil. I placed my chicken and veggies in the pan and drizzled with the season mixture. Topped with foil and baked for 30 minutes like that.

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Here’s what it looked like going into the oven. After 30 minutes I added a small pkg of bacon pieces and about 4oz shredded cheddar. Covered with foil and baked another 30 minutes. (and yes- I know those fake bacon pieces are terrible for you-it’s all about balance! This dinner is mostly “real” and healthy. You could omit the bacon and cheese if you wanted)

So, I didn’t get an “after” pic- hubby dug into it! He liked this much better than I did. It was just an “okay” for me.

The chicken wasn’t flavored as much as I would’ve liked and was a bit dry. The broccoli was mushy and the potatoes were really good.

So, I will be playing with this concept- just changing it up a bit! I am going to attempt it again- only next time I will marinate my chicken overnight in Italian dressing, I will use fresh chopped onions, and will only bake the potato chunks on the side (I will just steam my broccoli like I usually do).

So- trial and error! The story of my life! Stay tuned for a much better (fingers crossed) version of this bake!

In life we all have some ups and downs, some great successes and some super flops! Learning from our flops is the key! I hope all have a super Blessed week! It’s a cool rainy day here- feels like fall! God Bless!

Uncategorized

Junkin it Up!! DIY Coat Rack from an Old Door

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So I had an old door- I love old doors, oh heck- I love almost anything old! I just love to find new purpose for old things. I love that they have a story to tell- I hate to see things discarded and considered useless.

So the old door here is laying across a wooden pen with lattice sides (pay no mind to my crazy work space!) This door was in an old house that has been torn down. It’s solid wood with a glass pane window. I decided this would make a lovely coat rack for near my back entryway. This is where we pile into with coats and hats and boots- so it’ll be of good use seeing as that area has no  closet. (Living in old houses does have a few drawbacks!)

I started by using heavy grit sandpaper and sanding it down.

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Once I had it nice and smooth, I cleaned the window well with alcohol and let it air dry. I then taped off around it (I added a width of newspaper to avoid getting the chalkboard paint onto the wood) and added chalkboard paint to the window area. (I used a spray chalkboard paint- bought at Home Depot)

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Once the chalkboard paint was good and dry (I waited til the next day) I used a can of flat interior paint, I then placed about a cup of paint into a red solo cup, stirred in 1Tbsp  of Pottery Plaster (from Hobby Lobby) and about 1/4c water. Stirred really well until smooth. Brushed onto my door.

I then let this dry well (waited til the next day) I then sanded lightly with fine grit sandpaper in a few spots, to give it some character. I then used a small foam brush and added a bit of dark color stain to the sanded areas, wiping off excess. It turned out really cute!

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Finally I added 5 cast iron hooks to the door. I found these while checking out a store for wedding stuff for my daughters’ wedding. They are very heavy made (neat, although they are not antique- just made to look it)

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So there you have it! I was happy with the results! I think it’s going to look great on my wall- just gotta get that area redone now! Another project!!

I hope all are having a blessed year thus far! Mine is going great, just really fast! We will be counting down to Christmas before long!

Have a Blessed Day!

Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Thrifty Fashion

It’s Back!! Frugal Fashion Friday- 8/21/15

Okay so with back to school I will try to get back into the swing of things! So here goes another round of Frugal Fashion Friday!!

My daughter started working at a local bank, so she needed some dressier clothing. She went and bought a pair of dress pants (for like $30) but still needed more.

Leave it to cheap-o mom to the rescue!! We took a hundred bucks and came home with tons of great “new” clothing! She loves thrift shopping as much as her momma!!

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Here we have this adorable outfit- total cost? A whopping $5.50!

She found this top at Goodwill for $3.50, what a deal! But wait- those super awesome pants were a find at Salvation Army and they were half price to boot (normally $4, sale $2).

I will share more of our shopping trips in the weeks to come! We are just a frugal, thrift loving family!!

I hope all are having a marvelous week, I know I am! My baby boy turns 17 today, wow! I am truly a very blessed lady and I give all the glory to God! He blesses me much more than I ever deserve and I thank Him daily for it.

Have a wonderful weekend- God Bless!!

Eating Real Food, Recipes/ How To

Healthy Black Bean Burritos with Quinoa

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Looking for a filling, healthy, yet still super yummy supper? Look no further! You’ll get a whopping 2 big burritos per serving for around 500 calories.

These burritos are packed with protein, they’re filled with ground turkey, black beans, quinoa,salsa, and a bit of shredded cheddar.

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I started with cooking and crumbling 8oz  lean ground turkey,added some dry onion flakes, minced garlic and a dash of fajita seasoning.Then I drained and rinsed a can of black beans and added to the skillet. I then added about 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and about 1/2 cup salsa.This mixture was heated through.

I used whole wheat tortillas, filled each with about 1/4 cup filling and added 1 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese. These were so filling!!

Hope all are having a super summer- it’s winding down!! I go back to work tomorrow- then school starts next week. My daughters’ wedding is also just 6 weeks away, so it’s getting hectic around here!! May all have a blessed week!!

Eating Real Food, Homesteading, Recipes/ How To

Home Canned Salsa- Eating Real Food

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So it is that time of year- all those luscious fruits and veggies are coming off by the bushel! Time to do some preserving. Time to tromp out to the storage building and dig out my canning stuff. Time to heat up the kitchen for a good cause. Time to make some real, yummy foods!

Now this day I made homemade salsa to can. I am planning to can diced tomatoes later this week. Then some peaches later in the summer.

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Look at all that yumminess! Around here we go through a lot of salsa, and homemade is always better! My bunch had to have a bowl fresh before I started to can it up!

Now we all have an old standby when it comes to canning or even just salsa making, here’s mine:

Ripe tomatoes, blanched/peeled/chopped

Fresh Jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds removed)

Bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Yellow onions, finely chopped

Juice of a lime or two

Salt

I start by blanching (just dropping into boiling water/followed by a dunk into ice water) my fresh tomatoes, then slip the skin off, core and chop into very small dices. Wash and chop all other ingredients. I use about 8c chopped tomatoes to every 3 small/medium peppers, 2 medium onion and a bunch of cilantro. I mix in a large bowl and taste. Now it seems a bit bland- but I add my salt to each jar so I know they each have the exact right amount needed to preserve them. I use 1/2 tsp salt per pint jar, added right before placing the hot band/lid on top.

They then go into my pressure cooker to be pressure cooked for 25 minutes. Let cool on the counter on a towel.

Don’t let a pressure cooker intimidate you- just read the instructions carefully when using one. I do not use mine for cooking- although I know people that do. I bought mine strictly for canning.

Hope all have a Blessed week! I am finishing up a few wedding projects this week and getting ready to go back to school!

Eating Real Food

Cheesy Quinoa Bites- A Great High Protein Meal or Snack!

Okay, so still on the quest to eat better- still struggle- but marching on! I really need to stop eating out so much, because when I say “I’ll just get a salad” , what I mean is when I walk in the door and see steak and a loaded baked potato, the salad idea goes right out the window!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (how did we cook/organize/raise children/ sew/craft/ ANYTHING before Pinterest? Not sure, but I find some great stuff on there. )

I found these yummy little bites here: http://www.southerninlaw.com/2013/03/cheesy-quinoa-bakes-recipe.html

Now her pics look much better than mine, but you get the idea!

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I tweaked the recipe just a bit, these are very versatile and could be flavored any way you like. I added a few ounces of diced smoked ham and cheddar cheese.

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I baked mine in this fluted mini bundt pan sprayed well with cooking spray. I had no problem getting mine out. The recipe made 12 of these, which I serve 3 per serving at around 220 calories and a whopping 18g protein per 3.

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This was a great breakfast that is super filling and yummy. I love finding higher protein real food recipes that I love.

Here’s the recipe adapted my way:

3/4 c cooked quinoa

2/3 c egg whies (about 5 to 6 large)

1c shredded zuchini squash (could use other veggie- thinking broccoli would be great finely chopped)

2/3c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2oz smoked deli ham (could use any meat- smoked turkey, sausage,etc)

1tsp Mrs Dash Onion Herb seasoning

1tsp dried onion flakes

dash salt/pepper

Mix all together, spoon into muffin tin or mini bundt that’s been well sprayed with cooking spray (or use some coconut oil and oil well). Bake at 350* for around 20 minutes (I did mine for like 18, but in the future would cook a bit longer, maybe 20-22 min) Remove from pan to plate. Enjoy!!

These will be a great make ahead breakfast for the work week. Would even be good for lunch or a mid-morning snack.

I hope all are having a fabulous summer- it’s been hectic here! I am getting ready to be back at school- missing my awesome co-workers! Planning to make and can some salsa later today- we just love salsa and my garden (should say hubbys’ garden- he does all the hard work!) is producing gaggles of delicious tomatoes.

Have a blessed day!!!

Frugal Living/ Budgeting

Time for some Mid-Year Updates!

Okay so we are about halfway through 2015 already, so time to re-evaluate my yearly goals and see where I am at. As I said back in December, I try to shy away from “resolutions” and instead make myself a yearly goal list along with “mapping out” how to attain those goals.

In the eating more healthy part of my yearly goals: I have achieved a few small changes this year and although haven’t lost a ton of weight, I am establishing new healthier habits, so I feel good about that. A few changes I have made: not drinking soda on a daily basis, drinking my coffee black in the morning (no more creamer and sugar), I am eating at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies on at least 4 days a week, and I am trying different foods more often. Baby steps!!

In the financial part, where I had set more goals for this year, I am head above water, so to speak. I have paid off 2 small credit cards and am in the process of re-financing my home to a lower interest rate and consolidating the 2 major credit cards that have been a huge hurdle for me. I will be very happy to have this done and to cancel those accounts out for good! I try to stress to both my children, no credit cards! Once you have a bigger amount of debt, it becomes a burden and is very hard to ever get paid off. I have also taken on more financial debt as my son needed braces. We are also in the midst of wedding planning with our daughter, we will be gaining an awesome new son-in-law and are very happy for them.

So far this year I have been unable to switch back to the “cash only” or envelope budget method, and haven’t really been focused on it. I would still like to re-focus and get it down, because our weekly spending is just crazy! We don’t really follow a weekly “budget” per se, and it is really burning money up quick! I am not going to lie, July is looking quite busy with running- so I am going to plan for August to be the month I get back on board with the cash only weekly budget system. Fingers crossed I can get my hubby on board and we can really focus and get on track with it! I know it would work- it’s just a matter of sticking with it. It’s breaking a bad habit, which is just spending without really knowing how much until it’s too late.

I know that come the end of this year I will be able to cross off most of my list, and that makes it all worth it! I am not a money guru, I just have to take it step-by-step and try to get better with financial decisions.

How about you, how are you doing with goals you may have set for the year? I would love to hear from you! I hope all have a very blessed weekend! Happy Independence Day to you and yours!