Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's Been a Long Time

WOW!  It's been SO long since I posted here.  I think about it a lot and then give up before I start.  It's overwhelming, to say the least.  I did say that, after my precious Jim passed away last June, I'd keep this up.  So... here we are.

It's been a  difficult 10 months.  My loss is tremendous.  I miss my husband in ways I can't even put into words.  We were so close and shared everything.  I'm a talker, and he was the best listener -- mostly because he loved me so much.  I'd have to say that I miss talking with him the most. 

The boys are doing okay.  They don't think about it nearly as much as I do -- which is completely normal.  They stay busy playing video games, railfanning and following train stuff, and watching MeTV with me!  I told them in the beginning that they'd feel the loss more as they reached milestones in their lives, and their dad wasn't there to share them with them. 

We are hoping to move in the next couple of months -- to start the farm (or homestead) that Jim and I dreamed of for so long.  I'll keep you posted how that's coming along.  The latest one we're considering has had a lot of snow that hasn't been cleared -- so we haven't been able to look at the barns and the property.  We were able to get into the house a couple of weeks ago, but we're eager to see more before making any decisions.  If the temperatures stay in the 40's, perhaps we'll be able to go out there again in a week or so.  It's been a long, difficult winter for me.  The boys are eager to get the farm started as well!  We've all had serious 'cabin fever'! 

Here's our last family picture with Jim -- Christmas 2012.

Until next time...



Sunday, July 14, 2013


testing, testing, 123  Just trying to see how the "new" blog looks.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Enjoy the Christmas music on the blog!

Happy New Year! I hope to put together a year-end blog post (another name for a Christmas letter).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Please add yourself as a "follower" of my blog. I love to see new followers.
And PLEASE, PLEASE share a comment! We bloggers LOVE comments! They inspire us to continue blogging!

I save EVERYTHING! Well, a LOT of stuff. I figure I can use "it" for something! Some of my favorite things to save are jars and other containers. Here are just a few containers that I recycle/reuse!

These are glass peanut butter jars. I use these a LOT! Here I have pan drippings from Teriyaki Chicken. FYI, I refrigerate it, and the fat solidifies at the top. Then I just scoop it off and throw it out. What's left, I put in a plastic cottage cheese container--that I recycled-- and add more chicken pan drippings when I get more! Then I use it for soup stock! The second jar has Italian salad dressing in it
. These jars are also great for storing gifts like hot fudge sauce, flavored coffees, etc.!

pan drippings, Italian salad dressings

These brown bottles are a fairly new find. One of the supermarkets carries their soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce in these brown glass bottles! Hey! PERFECT for my homemade VANILLA!

homemade vanilla

Next up we have recycled plastic Folger's coffee buckets. The crude labels (on blue painter's tape) are self explanatory! Since then we now get Maxwell House coffee because my husband prefers it. However, their containers are squarish. I don't like them nearly as much as these! It takes several times to clean the coffee smell out of these.

tea bags and oyster crackers (they are in a plastic bag)

Now for my favorite find! We seem to go through a lot of grated cheese! Nathan likes it on his popcorn; and, of course, we use it every time we have spaghetti and meat sauce/meatballs. Love that the lid has two sides--one with a few large holes it in, and the other side has a large open section--kind of like a spice bottle lid, except it's a larger lid with larger holes. I've used them for Grape Nuts cereal (to sprinkle on yogurt, ice cream), Panko bread crumbs, sugar, coarse salt, corn starch, cornmeal (since I use it every time I make artisan bread. I sprinkle it on the wooden peel) and cinnamon/sugar! I can think of even more things! I want to get herbs in bulk from the local co-op, and they're perfect for that--dill, parsley, etc.

Panko bread crumbs, coarse salt, cinnamon/sugar, sugar

We LOVE to grind our own peppercorns. When we got married, we got an expensive set of salt and pepper grinder shakers. Well after several years, they fell apart. Then I discovered that you can find these in the grocery stores. BUT some of them are NOT refillable! Who wants that?! I think one that I bought was $4.50! Then I found this one at Big Lots for $1.00! It IS refillable! So I decided to soak the label off and now it's a nice, refillable pepper shaker!

I hope you found some of these recycling/reusing ideas helpful! Until next time...

blessings, joie

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Please add yourself as a "follower" of my blog. I love to see new followers.
And PLEASE, PLEASE share a comment! We bloggers LOVE comments--even just short ones! They inspire us to continue blogging!

Lately we've been motivated to try new things. I want to be more "homemade". Excited about my vanilla adventure! It's hard to wait 5-6 weeks! Since then, I learned that there are other ways to make vanilla. Another person uses less vanilla beans and let's it "steep" for several months longer. So I did that too--yesterday! I also saw a video last night where a guy was taste testing several vanillas he made with different liquors. He decided the vanilla extra made with gin was his favorite. Hmmm... wonder which is cheaper gin or vodka.

I had recently used up soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce--in brown glass 10 oz. bottles. So needless to say I was tickled to save them and use them for more vanilla! I cleaned them and then I cleaned them again! They have snap-up caps too!

Recycled bottles--from soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce

I bought some more vanilla beans from Vanilla Products USA Ebay store. They need to be in an airtight container--resealable plastic bags don't seem to work well enough. So I wanted to put them in a quart canning jar. But they didn't fit, and I was bummed until I remembered my green glass canister set--I can put elbow macaroni in any other container. The vanilla beans altogether in their package were perfect for this taller jar! I get excited over the simplist things sometimes!

I kept them in their original plastic bag and then bagged them in a
resealable gallon storage bag before putting in them in this canister. Now that I notice, I didn't have them in the resealable bag until after this photo was taken.

Nathan found another "soft bread" recipe and tried this the other day. This is the one he made for friends of ours which we delivered that afternoon. Always a delightful visit!


with melted butter basted on the top

We're still LOVIN' our artisan bread. It's so easy to make!

I also decided to make up Bisquick-type biscuit mix. It can be used for other things besides biscuits. Last night, I made up what is called "Impossible Cheeseburger Pie". I call mine just plain old "Cheeseburger Casserole". I like making it in a wider area-- in a 9 x 11 baking dish. I just add all the things we like on cheeseburgers (ketchup, mustard, pickle relish and onions) to 3-4 cups of already browned ground beef. I buy big packages of ground beef and brown the the same day. Then I store them in 2 cup portions in quart-sized freezer bags until I need them. That's what I used for the recipe. After spreading that in the pan, I place slices of American cheese across the top. I only remembered to take one picture of that. If forgot to take pictures after that! After making up the biscuit recipe, I drop small dollops of biscuit dough all over the top of the meat mixture. It's hard to spread the dough--so do what you can to cover the top. then bake for 1/2 hour--until biscuit topping is golden brown, like you would for biscuits!

Cheeseburger Casserole

Bisquick-type Biscuit Mix

I week or so ago, I finally got around to making a recipe that I had for a while--Almost Almond Joys. The recipe comes from one of my favorite websites called Mommy's Kitchen. Tina is so nice and she has wonderful, well photographed recipes--with great tutorials. I'm sure I've said it many times before, but I'm a very visual person! I love photos!

I mixed the ingredients together and pressed the mix into a baking pan. After letting it chill, I cut them up into rectangles.

I toasted the almonds in the oven. WOW! What a difference in the taste! I loved them--just to munch on too!

Melted milk chocolate chips for dipping!

Finished product--Almost Almond Joys!

They were DELICIOUS! I will be making them again! NEXT time I will cut them into 1" squares for bite sized pieces. They were hard to dip. Smaller will make it easier. AND they're very rich (I think)!

More things to share, but I'll wait until next time!



Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Please add yourself as a "follower" of my blog. I love to see new followers.
And PLEASE, PLEASE share a comment! We bloggers LOVE comments--even just short ones! They inspire us to continue blogging!

It's been a snowy winter for us thus far. It's already February! Our biggest snow fall was about 15 inches, but it hasn't melted very much; and we keep getting a few more inches (or 12) here and there! Here are some pictures of this winter's snow AND ice!

Snow play early in the season

Jared and Owen cleaning the car

Nathan using the "new" snow blower that Nana gave us--she had it for years,
but it's a John Deere!

Nathan and Jared working on snow removal

Thankfully, Jim came home early and was able to help the boys out with snow removal. I can't remember what we got that time--last week--I think 10+ inches...?

Our latest few inches from this morning (Tues. 2/8/11)

We've had a lot of ice build up this year as well. EVERYONE has. I don't think you go past a house that doesn't have icicles! Our neighbor has one that is probably 10' long.

This is what it does as it slowly slides down the roof!

Pretty wild, huh!

I've been trying to be more of a creative, "from-scratch" homemaker. I've been wanting to make my own vanilla extract for a long time now. Finally I found a place on Ebay to get the vanilla beans , called Vanilla Products USA, at a reasonable price, so I ordered them last week and got them in a few days. Yesterday I ordered more, because the day before I made up my first jar of vanilla extract! Jim got more vodka today, so I made up another 4 jars.
I watched a Youtube video with instructions on this. I really like this woman, and I can't wait to watch more of her videos!

First you cut up 6 vanilla beans per 8 oz. jar

Fill the jar with vodka--this will NOT be 8 oz. of vodka

Close jars tightly and shake a little. Store in cool dark place. I put ours in the back of our pantry--behind the cereal. (the "pantry" has doors, so it stays dark) I will shake the jars every 3 days for 5 or 6 weeks! I even marked the calendar this morning when I should shake the jars and when they'll be read! I can't wait!

I will be adding more pictures of foods we've made and things we've done in the past few months (I hope soon). I'm also wanting to change the name of my blog. But I have no idea of a creative name to give it. Still waiting for my creativity to come back! ALSO, I want to make a more craft, creative title. I don't do digital scrapbooking, so I don't know how to do it...then again, I should talk to my friend, Sunflower! She's always doing that kind of stuff on her blogs!

Until next time....

blessings, joie

Thursday, January 13, 2011


New Year blessings to everyone!