Friday, August 31, 2018

A Low-Spend September and Dollar-Stretching Food Challenge

Good morning! Happy Friday and Happy Last Day of August! 🌞

I've spent the past week-and-a-half preparing for a low-spend September and dollar-stretching food challenge. 

I started by doing a complete food-inventory last week. I did this by writing down every can, bottle, piece, or package of food on-hand in the house (deep-freeze, refrigerator, refrigerator-freezer, and cabinets) and organizing the list into categories (meat, dry beans, canned beans, vegetables, grains, etc.) 

Next I started putting the listed foods into possible meal combinations. For example, I've got plenty of whole wheat flour and cracked wheat in the deep-freeze, and in the cabinet there are two cans of whole-kernel corn and two cans of cream-style corn that really need to be used. By adding a few basic ingredients I can turn these few items into a warm, filling, and nutritious meal (Corn Chowder served with Rustic Oat and Wheat Bread) that will actually do John and I for several meals or feed a houseful of company. 


Rustic Oat and Wheat Bread
After coming up with a list of possible meal ideas that used items already on-hand, I started working them into a five-and-a-half-week menu plan that covers breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks (the five-and-a-half-week plan started August 22nd and runs through the month of September).

After that, I went through and wrote out a grocery list of items needed to round out the meals on plan. This list included everything but the fresh items that will be needed as we get a little further down the road. John and I ran to town to pick that list of items up after I got off work Sunday evening. 

Even though tomorrow is only first day of September, we've been on this plan now for ten days and, thus far, things are going really well. At this point we are really focusing on fresh garden produce and things that have been in the cabinets and freezer for the longest period of time. 

Our overall plan is to do a low-spend September (this will, not only include not spending much for food, but for anything else during the month, as well), then restocking and doing our winter stock-up in October. In November we hope to finally get around to taking that 1940's WWII Rationing Challenge that I put on my Eighteen Things That I Want To Do In 2018 bucket list, but we shall see! 😊

Okay...so...that's what's going on here concerning our low-spend September and dollar-stretching food challenge. What about you? Are you challenging yourself in any area this month? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to share in the comments section below. 

Until next time...
~Rebecca

P.S. - There are just a few days left to get in on the drawing for Sue Hooley's Homemaker's Friend 2019 Daily Planner! To find out more, click HERE

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

30 Days of Summer - Post #27 - Starry, Starry Summer Nights


Happy Homemaker Monday - August 27, 2018


2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner' Free Giveaway





Thursday, August 30, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #27 - Starry, Starry Summer Nights

Stargazing is one of my favorite summer nighttime activities! 

The night before my birthday my husband, John, and I, and my cousin, Dave, went out to Prairie State Park to watch the Perseid's meteor shower

The Perseid Meteor Shower 2018
Photo Credit
I arrived with the Perseid's meteor shower back in 1961 and they've always been special to me. It's an event that I look forward to annually. 🌠🌟🌠

When stargazing I usually try to locate the North Star, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and any other constellations that I am familiar with in the night sky, which, in truth, aren't very many, but I'm learning.

I discovered this book when doing research prior to the total eclipse of the sun last summer:


Photo Credit
Night Sky With the Naked Eye: How to Find Planets, Constellations, Satellites, and Other Night Sky Wonders Without a Telescope by Bob King is, without a doubt, THE best book on stargazing that I've found and, with the addition of nighttime sky maps for every season, it has helped a lot! 

My favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh, apparently was a stargazer, too. The Starry Night is his most famous (and my most favorite) painting of all time...


Photo Credit
Don McLean immortalized Van Gogh in his song, Starry, Starry Night...



How about you? Are you a stargazer? If so, what's your favorite thing in the summer nighttime sky? 🌙⭐🌠

Until next time...
~Rebecca

P.S. - There are just a few days left to get in on the drawing for Sue Hooley's Homemaker's Friend 2019 Daily Planner! To find out more, click HERE

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 27, 2018





Monday, August 27, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 27, 2018

Good morning, Sweet Ladies! Happy Monday! 💗 


Can you believe that it's the last Monday of August already and that September is upon us? Not that I'm complaining, you understand, because I'm not. Autumn is my time to thrive, but, for goodness sake! Where has summer 2018 gone? 😲 (Not that autumn is here yet, by any means! But, still, it is forthcoming and very soon! To be honest...I CAN'T WAIT!!!) 😊


I've got a lot going on here this morning, so I'm going to get right on this post. I wish you all a beautiful Monday and a great week ahead!

Today I'm joining Sandra and the other lovely ladies for Happy Homemaker Monday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and
all of the wonderful ladies of 
Happy Homemaker Monday!
Right now I am...

... eating breakfast, enjoying my morning cup of tea, doing laundry, and dealing with plumbing issues. 

Am thinking...

... about the week ahead and making out my to-do list.

On the breakfast plate...
... sauteed zucchini topped with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar and fried eggs

The weather...

Unfortunately, the heat has returned with a vengeance. It's been in the mid-90's for a few days now and the 10-day forecast promises more of the same (upper 80's to mid-90's all the way through) So...for now...hot, but not nearly so dry. We've gotten several really nice rains here lately, for which we are extremely thankful, but chances ahead in the 10-day are slim to none.


On my reading pile...

In addition to daily scripture reading, I am still reading The Name of Jesus by Kenneth E. Hagin and Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor.

On the menu this week...

Monday -sauteed zucchini with sauce, meatballs, and homemade bread 
Tuesday - butter and garlic pasta with steamed broccoli
Wednesday - Guatemalan Red Beans and Rice
Thursday - turkey dogs and saukraut
Friday - breakfast for supper (turkey bacon, eggs, buckwheat pancakes)
Saturday - salmon patties, potatoes au gratin, green beans
Sunday - leftovers

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, do my weekly "home blessing", do laundry, deep clean the hallway (this includes finally breaking down and cleaning the area where my dad kept his household tools and stuff...this will be hard and I'm not sure that I'm ready to do this yet...we shall see)
- Tuesday - Take a friend and family member grocery shopping
- Wednesday - Work on the blog, deep clean the kitchen
- Thursday - Check another thing or two off the summer bucket list

-Friday - Work
- Saturday - Work
- Sunday - Attend the Brown/Murry family reunion


(Note: Last Thursday's program at Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site - Order No. 11 - 155 Years Ago was cancelled due to rain and will be rescheduled at some point in future.)

In the craft basket...


Am still working on paper beads and will be doing so throughout the month of September at every available opportunity. In fact, we're opening our home up to anyone locally who is willing to come help make beads every Tuesday evening in September. If you are local, read this, and are interested, get a hold of me! 😊

Am working on paper beads for a table about Native
American trade beads at Prairie Jubilee this year.
The beads will be put into kits that
children can turn into a necklace.
Looking forward to this week...

Getting some more deep-cleaning done and visiting with family.

Something interesting I watched...

River Monsters! I'm hooked! 😆 Get it??? River Monsters? 😃 Hooked? 😆 No?😰 Okay...never mind. 😕 Seriously though...our oldest daughter turned us to River Monsters (it's on our Amazon Prime) and we are SERIOUSLY hooked! Absolutely LOVE watching it! 💗

From the camera...


In my little corner of the world, sometimes
things can be pretty black and white!
Scripture passage...



Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 
Be sure to visit our 30 Days of Summer blog series. To find out more check out this post on Jean's site and this one on mine. Jean and I hope you'll join us in our summertime adventure! 🌞



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

HELP! TROUBLE WITH BLOG COMMENTS!


It seems that people are having trouble leaving comments on my blog AND I've discovered notifications from Google+ of comments being left on my blog from there that are not showing up anywhere. I can see the messages, but they're not on the blog and I can't reply to the senders from Google+. This might explain why I'm not getting  many comments on my blog.

I'm curious...how many of you have tried leaving comments on my blog and were unable to do so? What was your experience? Please leave feedback so I can figure out what's going on here. If you can't leave a comment below, please, email me at [email protected] or [email protected] or send me a message on Facebook (Rebecca Brown Knox). 

Also, if you want in on the 2019 HOMEMAKER'S FRIEND DAILY PLANNER GIVEAWAY and cannot leave comments on this blog, you are welcome to leave your comments on Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME Facebook Page

Thanks! And my apologies for whatever is happening here. 

Blessings,
~Rebecca

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...


'2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner' Free Giveaway





2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner' Free Giveaway

I first became acquainted with Sue Hooley's Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner when my husband bought the 2015 edition for me for my birthday. After familiarizing myself with the planner, it became my closest friend. It went with me everywhere! (Still does! Only it's whatever year's planner we happen to be in at the moment!) 😉

I have used the planners for four years now and what a blessing they have been! I not only buy a copy for myself, but I usually buy two or three extra copies to give away. 

Speaking of giving copies away, I am so excited to announce that Sue Hooley, herself, has very graciously donated a copy of her 2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner to be given away right here on this blog! (Thanks, Sue!) 

That's right! I will be giving away a FREE copy of Sue Hooley's 2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner to one of my precious readers. Will it be you? 



Sue has also invited me to be an affiliate for her product! I'm excited about that, too, because this is a product that I am very familiar with, use on a daily basis, and absolutely love! 

The giveaway will run for two weeks. It will start today (Wednesday, August 22, 2018) and will run through Wednesday, September 5, 2018. One winner will be selected on Thursday, September 6, 2018 and the planner will be mailed to them no later than Monday, September 10, 2018. To enter for your chance to win choose any or all of the following:

1) Leave a comment in the comments section below (or Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME's Facebook page) telling me why you would like to win a copy of Sue Hooley's 2019 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner.
2) Share the link to this post on Facebook.
3) Share the link to this post on Twitter.
4) Share the link to this post on Google+.
5) Share the link to this post on Instagram.
6) Become a public follower of Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Blogspot or comment letting me know that you already are one.
7) LIKE Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Facebook.
8) Follow me on Twitter (jkswife).
9) Write a post linking this giveaway to your own blog. (This is worth 3 entries. Please leave three separate comments.)
10) Subscribe to Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME by e-mail.

Please leave one comment in the comments section below for each entry (and if you're having trouble leaving comments on this blog please email me at [email protected] or contact me on Google+). One winner will be selected by drawing on Thursday, September 6, 2018. If I am unable to reach the winner within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected and contacted. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you. 


Until next time...
~Rebecca

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

30 Days of Summer - Post #26 - Summer Vacations...Or The Lack Thereof



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #26 - Summer Vacations...Or The Lack Thereof

Ely, Minnesota is my second home. From the time I was 7-years-old, on up until I was well into my 20's, my parents and I would vacation there once...sometimes twice...a year. 


Shagawa Lake is the lake I 'grew up' on. The little white cabin, there
in the background, that overlooks the lake, is the cabin that our
family most generally stayed in while vacationing there.

My dad enjoyed fishing on the lakes and would catch, and freeze, enough northern pike and walleye to last us from one year to the next. My mother and I would spend our days visiting local places of interest and exploring the vast beauty of Superior National Forest.


One of the many lakes along the Echo Trail.

Many happy memories occurred on our trips to Ely. It was there that I saw my first black bear in the wild (a mama bear with twin cubs crossing Number 1 Highway on our way to Duluth), saw my first moose (a mama with twin calves down in a swamp along Fernberg Road), saw my first wolf, my first porcupine, and my first grouse, fed chipmunks out of my hand, listened to the chilling and, sometimes, crazy calls of the common loon, heard the call of a lone wolf, and picked daisies to wear in my hair. 

It was also the place where my oldest daughter decided to throw her bottle away...literally! She threw it out of the window of our moving vehicle while going down Sheridan Street in Ely! I said, "Okay, Girl! That's it! You're not getting it back!" She didn't care! She was done and she knew it! 😆


Sheridan Street
It's also the place where our youngest daughter lost her jelly shoes in the Kawishiwi River and I lost my cell phone at Big Lake on the Echo Trail! (I got it back though! Someone found it, called our daughter-in-law, whose number was in the phone, and mailed it back to me. What the heck??? My phone stayed in Minnesota longer than I did!!! 😆

My husband, all six of our children, and two of our grandchildren, as well as various other family members and friends, have been to Ely and our oldest daughter and her husband chose to spend their honeymoon there. The last time we visited there was in August of 2010.


Coming Up on Lake Superior From Number One Highway
Okay...so what's the deal here? What's with all these Minnesota memories and no current vacation stories to share?

Well...the truth is...we COULD HAVE been in Minnesota RIGHT NOW (I was already scheduled off and we would have left Sunday morning the 19th and been gone this whole week)...but...(and I can't believe that I'm saying this)...we turned the opportunity down. 

ARE WE NUTS??? 😲

I'm think, sometimes, that we must be, but then again... 😰

Okay...so here's what happened...

A girl I went to school with...she and her husband...are good friends of ours. We stay in touch online, they've come down to see us a time or two, we've stopped in to see them a time or two and, when we can, we meet for a meal in the middle when one, or the other of us, are coming or going between here and home (home meaning Blue Springs...where we lived before moving to Liberal).

Anyway, my friend and her husband love the north country, too, and have spent time at Duluth and upwards along North Shore Drive towards the Canadian border. They were planning a trip there for her husband's birthday and, very generously, invited us to come along...sort of...and even offered to let us use their extra vehicle to make the trip in. 😲

Now, I say "sort of" because, the deal was, they would be leaving on a different day than we would have been (coming home on a different day, too) and we would have been going in two different directions (us - Ely; them - North Shore), so we really wouldn't have been vacationing together, but the plan was to meet up the last day and do something together down along the north shore of Lake Superior...either at Two Harbors or Duluth...before heading home. 

The Breakwater @ Two Harbors
BUT...then we got to thinking about it. We easily could have gone IF we put our debt-reduction plan aside for a few months and stopped paying the extra that we are paying each month to get that last credit card off our back before debt freedom...and, in thinking about that...we couldn't do it. 😭

Split Rock Lighthouse @ Two Harbors
This was one of the hardest choices we've ever had to make...to stay on target with debt-reduction? Or throw caution to the wind and take a Minnesota vacation? In reality, by paying the minimum amount due on the credit card and using the extra that we are paying to take the vacation would have only set us back a couple of months...BUT...hard as it was, we feel we made the right decision. 

Lake Superior From Split Rock
The truth is...once we are living in debt freedom, we can take that vacation and really enjoy it without throwing ourselves in a bind and feeling guilty over it. My hope is that in 2019 or 2020 we'll be able to make that vacation and really, REALLY enjoy it! 💗

Until next time...
~Rebecca

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...




Monday, August 20, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 20, 2018

Good morning, Dear Friends! Happy Monday! 💗

After a very rainy Sunday the showers have tapered off and, although still dark and cloudy, the chances of rain today remain low. Regardless, the cloudy, cooler weather will make for a great posting, cleaning, and laundry day!

How goes things in your neck of the woods?

The past week and weekend were good here. I celebrated my 57th birthday on Monday and my oldest daughter and her children took Papa and I out of town for the day on a surprise birthday adventure (you can read about that here). I wrote last week's HHM post on Sunday and saved the weekly home blessing that I normally do on Monday for Tuesday.

Sunday evening (the night before my birthday) my husband, my cousin, Dave, and I went out to the park and watched the Perseid's meteor shower. That is always a thrill for me! I arrived with the Perseid's back in 1961 and they've always been special to me. It's an event that I look forward to annually. 🌠🌟🌠

Two granddaughter's celebrated birthdays this past week, as well. They both share the same birth-date and, beings as how I had to work on the actual day of, we celebrated a bit early. On Thursday, Elizabeth and I went out for lunch and ended up getting that Dairy Queen, birthday banana split after all! That's something that we both enjoy!


In the evening, 11-year-old, Gianna, and I went out and shared supper and an ice cream together, too. (NOT another banana split though! LOL!) 😆


On the way home we came back through the park and, there, we discovered a brand new, late-born, baby bison! Most of the calves at the park are born in late-April into May, but we have this one cow that consistently has her babies late.

Newborn Baby Bison at Prairie State Park

Most of the other calves are old enough to have lost their pumpkin-orange, newborn coloring and have turned brown like the adults (this normally happens at about three-months of age), but this little guy was just as fresh and pumpkin-y as any newborn bison calf I've ever seen. My guess is that it had been born within the previous 24 to 48 hours or so. So cute!!! 💗

My boss took this picture of the newborn calf nursing on Saturday and, with his permission, I am sharing it here.

Newborn Calf @ Prairie State Park - Born August 2018

That's enough about last week. Let's move on into this week's post, shall we? And, since you're here, won't you join me in visiting Sandra and the other lovely ladies for Happy Homemaker Monday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom? It's a real blessing! 

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and
all of the wonderful ladies of 
Happy Homemaker Monday!
Right now I am...

... finishing up my breakfast and enjoying a cup of tea while I work on this post. I am also enjoying the cool morning breeze that flows through my office window this morning as the birds twitter and sing nearby.

Am thinking...

... about all the things that I hope to accomplish this week. I have a HUGE to-do list (this includes both have-to's and want-to's), but we'll see how far I get in reality. 😏 AND I'm thinking about an upcoming give-away that I'm going to be doing soon, so be watching for that! 😉

On the breakfast plate...

... buckwheat pancakes (made from the organic mix that we got at War Eagle Mill on my birthday) served with Smart Balance and sugar-free syrup and a piping hot cup of Twining's Irish Breakfast tea (actually, I'm on my second cup now)

Buckwheat Pancakes
The weather...

A cool 73 degrees under partly cloudy skies with a slight breeze blowing. It's really very nice! The next few days promise to be in the low 80's for daytime highs with nights in the upper 50's to low 60's. I can handle it! 💗

On my reading pile...

In addition to daily scripture reading, I am still reading The Name of Jesus by Kenneth E. Hagin and Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor.

On the menu this week...


Monday - taco soup
Tuesday - burgers on the grill with zucchini fries
Wednesday - stuffed peppers with black beans and corn on the cob
Thursday - out
Friday - broiled salmon on a bed of sauteed zucchini with steamed broccoli
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - leftovers

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, d
o my weekly "home blessing", do laundry, take a food inventory, start a list of home repairs that need to be made, and a list of jobs that need done before winter
- Tuesday - Work on the blog and deep clean our bedroom
- Wednesday - Work on the blog, deep clean the bathroom
- Thursday - Have lunch with and say good-bye to a friend that is moving away, attend program at Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site - Order No. 11 - 155 Years Ago 

-Friday - Work
- Saturday - Work (Sunflowers a la Petit Prairie program...I'm really excited about presenting this one!!! 🌻🎨🌟)
- Sunday - Church, work in the afternoon


In the craft basket...

Am working on paper beads for a table about Native
American trade beads at Prairie Jubilee this year.
The beads will be put into kits that
children can turn into a necklace.
Looking forward to this week...

Having several days off in a row with nothing pressing on any on front. Am hoping to get a lot of extra work done at home. Am also looking forward to the Order No. 11 program at Battle of Island Mound.

Something interesting I watched...

I wanted to share a video of a bear playing in water that my husband sent me on Facebook, but I can't find it on Youtube. Here is the link to it if anyone is interested:

https://www.facebook.com/coy.lindsey.5/videos/673589526334908/

From the camera...

My husband and I decided to go for a walk in the rain yesterday at the Lester R. Davis Memorial Forest near our home. A variety of lichens and fungi were quite showy with all the dampness. Here are a few of the things that we experienced while there..

John and I on the Forest Trail

Tall pines towered above us along the trail. Mr. Davis
planted over 100,000 trees and shrubs (over 300 species) over
a 15-year time period before turning the property over to the
Missouri Department of Conservation in 1968.
(How many times did I use the word "over" in that once sentence??? 😲)

I'm not sure what kind of shrub this is, but it was sure pretty!

This was cool! This leaf appeared to be suspended in mid-air, but
was actually held there by invisible strands of spider webbing.

This shelf fungus was so pretty! Look at the variety of colors in it!

Loved this bright orange fungus!

The leaf-strewn path seemed to foreshadow
the coming autumn. Made me happy! 
Lichens (part algae; part fungus) are a great indicator of air quality. The air quality here is
obviously very good because lichens of every kind and color grow here unabated. 
Scripture passage...


Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 

Be sure to visit our 30 Days of Summer blog series. To find out more check out this post on Jean's site and this one on mine. Jean and I hope you'll join us in our summertime adventure! 🌞