Friday, August 26, 2011


Jill and Tawra messed up and YOU benefit! Hurry over to LIVING ON A DIME to get your FREE copy of MONEY SAVING MEATS today!

Growing Older

As previously mentioned, I recently celebrated my 50th birthday. I am interested in hearing from women around my age, and beyond, who are dealing with, or have already dealt with, the physiological changes that take place as women age...especially from those who have chosen to deal with it naturally. If anyone has any advice or cares to share their experience with me, please, email me at Any input that you have would be greatly appreciated.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good SATURDAY Morning! - 8/20/11

Magnificent Double Rainbow Photographed 8/7/11

Good Morning, Dear Friends!

I can't believe that it's been over a week since I've been with you all. I've been so busy with life that I haven't even had time to sit down and post. Since it's quiet this morning, and nothing is going on (at the moment), I thought I'd grab a quick cup of tea and see if I couldn't catch up with you all. I've missed you!

This past week has been one of the most busiest (and one of the most blessed) that I've ever had. A week ago today I celebrated my 50th birthday. It's been a milestone that I've both looked forward to, and dreaded, at the same time, but, now that it's come and gone...I'm ready to move on full-steam ahead! I didn't want a big to-do made about big party or anything like that, and, respectfully, my family adhered to my wishes. They did, however, honor me with lots of calls, cards, visits, and tokens of their love. I am, indeed, blessed to have such a beautiful and wonderful family! And friends, too! I am blessed with so many beautiful friends and I am truly thankful for each and every one of them. Thank you to each and everyone of you who helped to make my 50th birthday so special! I will never forget it!

As of Monday school is back in session for Tony and I. It's going to be a long, intense, but enjoyable, year for us. For Tony, if he does as well as his dad and I think he's going to, it will be his last year of  formal education at home; for me it is the last year, by law, that I have to keep school records and I am ecstatic! I can hardly believe that at the end of this year...after keeping school records for in accordance with Missouri State Law...for nearly a quarter-of-a-century...I will be done! Unfathomable!!! Anyway, we put in a great first week! Definitely intense, but definitely great at the same time! I think we both came away very pleased with the direction that we're heading!

Also, this week, John got the Mediterranean diet unit study sample packets done and I got them out in the mail for him yesterday. They went out a few days later than we had planned, but, nevertheless, go out they did! For those of you who are waiting on them, they should arrive within a few days. This is something that John's wanted to do for a long time and, finally, it is in the works. After he gets feedback back on these, then he can start work on the final product. At least that's the plan at this time and I wish him well with it. :)

Well, alas, I am out of time already. It's been good to sit down and chat with you a bit. I hope to get on a better posting schedule this fall and winter, but, until then, I'll just keep posting bits and pieces as I can. I love and miss you all!

Until Next Time...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Green Grape Jelly

A few days ago I posted that, due to the fact that our grapes were shriveling up on the vine, there would be no grape jelly this year...and had the triple digit temperatures continued without rain...that would have been the case, but, praise the Lord! Just a day or two after that the heat broke and the rains came. I noticed yesterday that, even though it was true that most of our grapes were, indeed, gone, there were a few bunches here and there that survived under the shriveling leaves of one plant. They weren't completely ripe, but they were ripe enough, and, since they were, literally, falling off the vine, I decided to salvage what I could. I checked on-line and found that some recipes for grape jelly actually call for unripe grapes! On the way back from doctor appointments today I stopped in Lamar and got pectin and sugar. When I got home I picked what grapes I could salvage and, although it's not what we would usually end up with at the end of the summer, I was still able to put up a double batch of green grape jelly (green as in 'unripe'...not color...the jelly is still purple) and it tastes delicious! I am very thankful to the Lord for enabling me to at least get up a small amount of jelly for my family after all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reprint - HEARTH AND HOME - August 4, 2004

What a blessing it was to re-read this past issue of HEARTH AND rainy days, fun, fellowship, home-grown watermelon, cantaloupe, and oh! My beautiful grapes being ready to turn into jelly! How I've missed all of these this summer! And, my how I've grown and changed in some areas, and how I wish I had a garden full of zucchini just about now! LOL! Anyway...I thought that I would do a reprint and share it with all of you. I've even posed a question for those who are willing to answer it. Enjoy!

All My Love,


Welcome to the August 2004 edition of HEARTH AND HOME! How good it is to be with you all again!

Are you enjoying the summer? We've had a nice summer so far...some really hot, steamy days, some really cool, rainy days...lots of fun and fellowship...good times with old friends and new.

I've been busy canning, freezing, and drying. We picked our first ripe watermelon last week, our first cantaloupe this morning, and I just noticed that our grapes are ripe and ready to be made into jelly. How I love the summer bounty!!!

Well, dear friends, I hope that you enjoy this issue of HEARTH AND HOME. And I pray that you and yours are having a very happy, healthy summer season. God bless and all!


*Recently, on one of the Yahoo groups that I own I asked:

"...with the skyrocketing prices of food and gasoline what, if anything, are you doing differently to make ends meet in your household? What money saving measures do you and your family practice on a regular basis in order to combat high utility bills?"

Below is one of the responses that I received. I asked Evon's permission to pass it on in hopes that some of Evon's ideas might be of use to you. Here's what she had to say:

" answer to your question... it is really tough to make ends meet. I am sure most of you do a lot to help make up the difference like I saw canning discussed here. I am in the process of really purging the food
in my cabinets before buying new. This is because money is really tight at present and it is the only thing I can do! It seems that for two in my household, we can sometimes eat cheaper by eating off Wendy's 99 cent menu too. For instance, to make a plain meat loaf I need hamburger, crackers, eggs, catsup, spices, and mustard. Then I would need a couple vegetables to go with it and desert for my husband who thinks he can't do dinner without sweets. So even a modest meal begins to cost $8 and up to put together. We can eat 3 items each
off the 99 cent menu for $6.00. Isn't it sad? I also make sure that if we are not happy with a product we have spent good money on, I call the manufacturer or take it back for a refund or exchange. I also learned while we were traveling for a week at a time I can feed my fish once or twice weekly (I was feeding twice a day!) and they do just fine. The lady who cares for fish at Pet Smart told me we did not need to worry about them eating while we were gone for a week. Shocked me! But they did just fine each week we went out. I am probably
not eating as cheaply as we can and would also like ideas. I use bleach and water to clean most things instead of buying other cleaning products. I do have a few products however that I can't do without such as a spray foam for the bathroom. I use baking soda with bay leaves and cloves to freshen carpet. I have made my own laundry detergent but find generic brands really are cheap too. I prefer Tide though and buy it whenever I can. As sad as it may sound I also dumpster dive occasionally. Just yesterday I saw a lidded wicker basket in a box
on top where my neighbor had just moved out. It has a liner and is heart shaped and the size of a good hat box. A good soak in the tub with bleach-water cleaned the basket right up and the liner went in the wash. As for keeping utility bills down, I turn the air off as much as I can when my husband is gone because he runs it all the time when he's home and keeps it very cool. We also don't buy cable anymore but rather bought an antenna box at Wal-Mart for $14.00 and get 5 stations. It's a sacrifice, but it makes us feel better about our cell phone bill which we splurge on."

NOTE - I would like to pose this same question to you here that I did to those readers that were reading back in August of 2004...because now it seems even more important that it did back then!

"With the skyrocketing prices of food and gasoline what, if anything, are you doing differently 
to make ends meet in your household? What money saving measures do you and your 
family practice on a regular basis in order to combat high utility bills?"

If you don't mind me sharing your answer in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME, please, send your answers in an e-mail to: and put HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION on the subject line. Thanks so much!

*As you already know, I've been learning how to use baking soda as my main cleaning agent lately and I've even been making my own fabric softner with it. I was very skeptical, at first, but it really works! The clothes come out very soft and fresh...very clean-smelling...and it costs just pennies to make. I told my youngest know when I was a kid I can remember all of the ads saying some new cleaning product made everything "baking-soda clean" or "baking-soda fresh!" Now, I know why! LOL! Baking soda DOES make everything clean and fresh...without high costs, without fancy packaging, and without CHEMICALS! I'm sold on it! Here are some ways that baking soda can be used around the house:

*Add baking soda to the toe of old pantyhose or nylon knee-highs, tie, and cut off excess stocking. Hang around pipes under the sink for ongoing odor control.

*Adding baking soda to bathwater will reduce ring-around-the-tub and soften your skin. Use 2 tablespoons for an average tubful of water.

*To remove rust stains and mineral deposits from teapots, fill the pot with water, and add 2 tablespoons baking soda and the juice of half a lemon. Boil gently for 15 minutes, and rinse.

*Basic Wall Cleaner

Keep this mixture on hand for cleaning walls or other painted surfaces.

1 cup ammonia
1 cup baking soda
1 gallon water

Mix thoroughly, then apply with sponge. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the ammonia. Scrub marks gently. Rinsing is unnecessary.


Remove mineral buildup and improver performance of your showerhead with this remedy.

1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar

Mix in a sturdy plastic bag, then secure the bag around the showerhead with a rubberband so that the showerhead is submerged in solution. Keep on, and soak for one hour. Remove, and run very hot water through the showerhead for several minutes.

*Add a perpetual air freshener to the toilet area by keeping baking soda in a pretty dish on the back of the tank. Add your favorite scented bath salts to the mix, as well. Change every three months.

(By the way, I posted the recipe for fabric softener in the July 2004 issue of HEARTH AND HOME.)


Here are a few ways of using up zucchini that my family REALLY likes:


Make a box of Stove-top Chicken Stuffing according to the package directions. After it's done, cut however many zucchinis you will need (one zucchini makes two servings) in half that they look like canoes. Using a teaspoon, hollow out the middle of each half, reserving the scooped out part. Grate the zucchini that you scooped out using the large-hole side of a grater. Add the grated zucchini to the pan of already made stuffing and mix thoroughly. Spoon stuffing mixture back into hollowed-out zucchini boats, heaping it up, nice and full on top. Bake on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until zucchini is tender.


Wash and peel zucchini. Slice into 1/4 inches slices, roll in flour, and fry in skillet of hot oil. Salt and pepper, turn when browned on one side. Let cook until browned on the other, remove from skillet, and layer in a warm casserole dish. Cover zucchini slices with slices of American cheese. Continue to fry zucchini, adding oil as needed, then layer zucchini, cheese, zucchini, cheese, until you have as much as desired. Make the final layer cheese. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.


1 package (16-oz.) thin spaghetti, halved
3 medium tomatoes, diced
3 small zucchini, diced
1 large cucumber, halved, seeded and diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium sweet pepper, diced
1 bottle (8 oz.) Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a large bowl; add tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and peppers. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Yield: 16 servings.


4 eggs, beaten
6 cups zucchini, unpeeled, grated
1 medium onion, chipped
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (I use the Kraft 2 % kind.)

Mix everything together, then bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.


Blend together thoroughly with wire whisk in large mixing bowl:

2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini

Blend dry ingredients together in separate bowl:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/4 teaspoon black walnut extract.)

Blend dry and wet ingredients just until mixed. Fill muffin cups almost full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. DELICIOUS!!!


Enjoy this frittata-type crust made with summer squash. Smother this crust with your favorite pizza toppings: tomato sauce or pesto and vegetables galore! Enjoy and be creative! Try sprinkling feta cheese or adding artichoke hearts for a Mediterranean flair. Servings: 4

4 cups finely shredded zucchini or yellow summer squash
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Once zucchini or summer squash has been shredded (I recommend a food processor) lightly salt the squash and transfer it to a strainer. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes and press all remaining liquid out of squash.
3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine squash, flour, Parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese, eggs, pepper and salt. Mix well.
4. Spread the mixture into a greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Remove the crust from the oven and change the oven's temperature to broil. Brush the top of the crust with oil, and then broil the crust for 3 to 5 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
6. Allow the crust to cool slightly and slide spatula underneath all edges and under the middle. Place a large baking sheet over the top of the crust and gently flip the crust over so that the bottom of the crust is now facing
upwards. Because it can be difficult to flip the crust smoothly, it may be necessary to cut the crust in half to facilitate the flipping of the crust.
7. Brush the top of the crust with oil and broil for another 3 to 5 minutes until the top is browned. Cover with toppings as desired.


Well, dear friends, that's it for this time! May the rest of your summer be full of every good thing. Until next time...

All My Love,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There'll Be No Grape Jelly This Year

Grapes This Year - Summer of 2011
The grapes are gone. They're dried to hard, little, purple raisins on the vine and even they don't taste good. It makes me sad, but I've got a feeling that there's going to be a lot of that this year.
Grapes Last Year - Summer of 2010

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good TUESDAY Morning! - 8/2/11 - Heat, Garden, 2011-2012 Homeschool Schedule

Good Morning, Dear Friends!

Just thought I'd pop in early and share a bit. I'm trying to get a jump on the day while it's as cool as it's going to be. Today is supposed to be our hottest yet with temps falling somewhere between 109 to 112 degrees. Please pray for all those that have to be out working in this, as well as for all the animals that have to endure it. It's going to be terribly hot today.

Our garden is just about gone. The only things left are tomatoes and peppers. I put up another 6 quarts of tomatoes yesterday and will work on peppers today. They are small, compared to usual, but they're big enough to work with and they're flavorful. My husband still holds out hope for a nice fall garden, but we'll just have to wait and see. According to our weatherman these excessive temperatures are supposed to continue through August. I pray that he's wrong.

I can hardly believe that we've been at it for 23 years now, but today I start planning our 2011-2012 school schedule. Tony and I are both excited about the subjects that we will be covering this year. They include Kings of the Old Testament, Literary Lessons From Lord of the Rings,  Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, biology, and World History and Cultures. Today my plan is to lay out a tentative schedule for the first month or so of lesson plans, so...bring on the tea! It's going to be a long day!

Well, Sweet Sisters, I suppose I should get busy. You all have a wonderful day and I will talk with you again soon. God bless all here! And, for those of you in the drought and excessive heat areas, stay cool! I love you all!

Love and Hugs,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good MONDAY Morning! - 8/1/11 - Current Projects, Heat, Weight-loss Update

Good Morning, Dear Friends!

Life is just whizzing by and it seems like such a long time since I've had a chance to just sit down and visit with you. I thought I'd take advantage of my morning teatime and share it with YOU!

How are you? And how is life in your corner of world?

Here in southwest Missouri we've been busy with several projects...inside and out. My husband has been working for a friend of ours, writing his new Mediterranean Diet homeschool curriculum, and taking care of the garden, while I've been busy deep-cleaning certain areas of our home, preparing for the coming 2011-2012 school year, and canning. Our son is getting ready to help out with VBS at his sister and brother-in-law's church in Minden.

Due to extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions, I think that's canning season is about over with for me. Temps have been in the triple digits as is for weeks, but now things are really getting ready to heat up! Temperatures this week are supposed to be between 105 and 110 every day. Hot! Hot! Hot! And getting hotter! Arrghh!

A while back I shared with you all about my struggles with weight-loss. At that time I had lost 10 pounds and was 8/10 of a pound from reaching my first goal of 247.0 pounds. As of today I am down by 20 pounds, am about ready to go into a size clothing that I've not been in since John and I got married, and am 3 lbs. away of reaching my second goal of 234 pounds by my birthday. I've got almost 2 weeks in which to lose them. Please pray with me that I do it. It's very important to me and, with the Lord's help, I know I can do it! Since the 6th of June I have lost a total of 18 inches.

Well, I would love to share more, but my tea is gone and the day is getting away from me. It's time to go hang sheets on the line and can tomatoes. You all have an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day in the Lord and I will talk to you again soon. God bless all here!

All My Love and Big (((HUGS))),