Thursday, November 27, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.  Computer is now home and I was blessed that all my files are intact.  I will start updating on Monday.  Having 14 people over for the Thanksgiving meal today and family in for the weekend.  Sunday to recuperate and awaaaayyyyyy we go.  LOL!

Youngest son begged to get up and help me cook this morning and the little fella is helping me with Bisquick Balls as I type this.  Put the twenty-three pound turkey in a 6 am, a fifteen pound ham in the roster at the same time, boiling ten pounds of potatoes, frying and baking at least that in sweet potatoes, a half-bushel of green beans ... and on and one.  I will post pictures later for any that are interested.  It will be a table-full.

I hope and pray that all who read this are as blessed as I am today.  May God watch over you and keep you and remember:

Blessings that are lightly regarded are easily discarded and lost.

A thankful heart will quench an entitled mind every time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Today's Update - 10 Nov 2014

Monkey swinging in my trees and dust bunnies getting the boot.  That's what I've been doing if you've been wondering why I fell off the face of the planet again.  The weather has been too nice not to take advantage of and I've been Fall Cleaning.  Notice the capital letters.  I prefer fall cleaning to spring cleaning and it shows in the my family's faces as the start counting down the days with dread.  They know it will be over by Thanksgiving but between now and then they never dare look like they are less than busy ... or I will surely put them to work.  <strike the evil momma pose, bwahahahaha>

I've had the house opened up every day - not exactly conducive to dusting but oh well and my house just about quivers in fear when it sees me coming with my broom, dust pan, and bucket of cleaning products.  Spiders move back out doors as they know building webs inside will be useless for a good, long while.  And the evil, procreating dust bunnies start humming a dirge and giving up the ghost.

The screened lanai was the first thing that needed a serious cleaning.  The pavers needed to be bleached and resealed, the outdoor furniture needed to have the cushions washed, and my outdoor kitchen space needed some serious scrubbing.  All spit spot now.

Moved on to the living room ... only thing left in there is to burn a creosote log in the fireplace and that isn't happening until it gets significantly cooler.  But I did manage to convince the birds in the chimney to take themselves off to a new nesting location.  Thank goodness.  My oldest son has his bedroom on that end of the house and they would wake him up at all hours as they were night time swallows.  Didn't do much for Darth Molly's nerves either. 

The kitchen and pantry were reorganized a while back but I decided to reseal the counter tops and polish the wood cabinets again since I'm about to head into my holiday cooking and baking.  I still need to clean the ovens ... I have a dual oven set up because I do so much baking ... and recondition the ceramic burner top, but all of the stainless has been cleaned and polished with Sheila Shine.  Geez that stuff has been around forever.  It's what I used when I worked at Busch Gardens in the restaurants there; we used it on the stainless steel surfaces at the end of the day to protect them.  The frig and freezers have also been taken down to the racks and sanitized.  I had to replace one of the glass shelves in my frig when my daughter thought "remove from stove top and cool quickly" meant she should put the pan in the frig.  Lesson learned and while she was willing to pay for her mistake hubby was able to fix it himself by cutting some tempered glass he had on hand ... it's not like I didn't make some pretty dumb moves when I was learning to cook at her age.

Next up was reorganizing all of our office supplies.  That was so much fun ... especially after I dropped the plastic container that holds the gazillion and three paper clips and the one that holds all the staples.  I think kids are great ... great for those types of tedious jobs that you reeeealllly don't want to do.  LOL.  I told the ten year old monkey that if he helped is poor ol' mom out of the mess I'd made that he'd earn himself a Lego.  He was all over that so it worked out to everyone's satisfaction in the end.  I tell you, running our business out of our home gets a little too interesting at times.  I've got over two decades of files out in the barn that I'm working on scanning.  I'm about ready to call a temp agency it is so mind numbing.

I've dusted all of the furniture in the house with lemon oil and cleaned the inside of all of the windows.  I even took the blinds down and took them outside and cleaned them.  Did you know you can take one of those soap dispensers that you screw onto a garden hose (supposed to be for washing your car) and it works great for cleaning horizontal blinds?  I've steam cleaned all of the cushions and washed and pressed all of the curtains.  Let the kids have any change they found in the sofa and while I can't imagine anyone in this family doing it, some of our guests must have lost a pocketful because by the time they counted it all up there was over ten bucks worth.  Seriously.   

I'm feeling very accomplished.  Humph.  I get any more accomplished and hubby has threatened to send me off on a nice, quiet vacation so he can actually get some of his work done.  LOL.  I still have the bathrooms to scrub this week, bathroom cabinets to reorganize, and the closet I share with hubby looks like I am in serious need of a yard sale; I don't even want to contemplate the garage for at least another day, but I'm girding my loins to go on the attack again starting tomorrow.  After the house comes to yard, including the outside of the windows.  I've got some trimming and weed extraction that needs to be finished before Thanksgiving week so that right after that I can start setting up the Christmas light display we have every year.  In particular the area that I set up the manger scene is looking pretty raggedy and I need to mulch my flower beds before honestly cold weather sets in ... well, cold by Florida standards.

But never fear, I did manage to get quite a bit of writing done.  It was either sit at night or I heard from my knees that my feet were going to swear out a complaint against me.  Each of the stories listed - except for Winx's story - has several new chapters.  Winx only has the one because I'm still trying to find out where Winx wants to take me.  She's kinda flighty and ornery.

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Enduring On The Lake

Life Is A Fractured Fairytale

Up On Hartford Ridge

When All Doors Close

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

I forgot to mention that I've already started one of my yearly gift giving projects ... homemade liqueurs.  I'll put the recipes on the recipe blog.  Now personally I'm not a big alcohol drinker.  In fact you could probably put everything I've drank over the last five years in one large tea glass but the reason for this isn't some moral quandary but because I have diabetes in both sides of my family as does my husband and alcohol has a lot of sugar in it.  Better safe than sorry for our family.  I do like to cook with it though hence the liqueurs, cordials, etc.  My fruit cakes get wrapped in brandy soaked cheese cloth.  I make a rum cake for my brother every year from the recipe that my grandmother used when we were kids ... you had to reach double digits before you were allowed to eat a slice so it was a real right of passage sort of thing.  I make beer bread all the time.  And here at the holidays and for other special occasions I make candies with special fillings for a few select friends.

Also tried something I've always wanted to try.  Rabbit jerky.  Yeah, I really did.  Local butcher shop had rabbit on sale for $3.49 a pound and I decided what the heck.  I already had everything else I needed which included a jerky gun (I normally use it to make ground beef jerky), the seasonings, and my Excalibur dehydrator.  Pretty much followed the directions on the following YouTube video.

For Christmas I am going to make my dad some buffalo jerky but boy howdy is ground buffalo expensive.  I can get it for $12.99/lb but since I can get ground beef from the same shop for two bucks a pound it just breaks my frugal little heart to have to part with that much money.  But it's for my dad, you know?
If you are in the Tampa area the place I'm talking about is called Foodtown Meat Market and it is on Busch Blvd.  Not the best part of town but certainly not the worst, and they run a very clean store.  They also sell oxtails and goat meat for better than reasonable prices compared to any place else I've found.  Their other exotic meats currently available are gator, frog legs, duck, quail, and cooked whole crawfish.  Each one gives me way too much scope for my imagination so I'm careful only to bring as much money as I intend to spend when I walk in there.
Well, I'm going to go give my poor tootsies a good Epsom salt soak so they don't complain so much in the morning.  I may not be on every day until after I can get this Fall cleaning finished but then again I might ... depends on how I feel at the end of the night and how much soothing hubby's nerves require.  LOL!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Today's Update. - 2 Nov 2014

Darth Molly running full tilt.  If her ears were flapping
any more she would need clearance to land.

Don't laugh. I fell in the pond. Not our pond but a friend's. I was in the middle of my daily trek of errands when I got a call. "Better hurry. We only have 2 hours before the road crew sprays the pond with Aquaherbicide."

"What?!"  I actually pulled over I was so frazzled and trying to decipher what my friend had just told me.

"They aren't spraying our side but Mr. XXX has given the road repair crew permission to spray his side where it runs into the drainage canal."

Blah, blippity, blah.

So basically what I find out was that the pond where I get the majority of my cat tails is about to be contaminated. Grrrr.  Rubber baby buggy bumpers.  I stop what I'm doing, a pain in and of itself as I'm running behind, and take off to my friends house.  But I was ill prepared.  No galoshes, no waders, nothing but the latex gloves, clippers. and trowel I always keep in my van for unexpected foraging opportunities (like the bamboo sprouts I dug out at one of our rental units after the landscape crew finally cleaned out the back corner of the lot).  Still, everything starts to go smoothly. We're even having fun.  I have almost a bushel of beautiful cattails to take home and process. Then disaster strikes.  

If anybody has ever been around a pond they know that where the water meets the land there is always some algae or other slimy junk growing.  In this case there was a lot of slimy junk growing. And I found a really nice place to skid.  I almost catch my balance. Almost.  But here is where I failed to give one very pertinent piece of information.  I had Darth Molly with me.

The lunatic dog thought I was playing a game and thought she would help by grabbing the cattails that I was using to keep my balance with.  I was after all swinging them around like pom poms in the hopes they would act like wings and give me enough lift to keep my ... er ... buggy bumper ... out of the mud.  Obviously too much temptation or my guardian angel thought I was due some pay back or something.   

So I no longer have my balance and not only did I go down I went under.  As in I came up covered in muck, duck weed, a frog under my shirt collar and a little soft shell turtle in my pocket.  And every time I try to get out Darth Molly thinks I wanted to go back in. No, I did not.  

Yes, now you can laugh. I was quite a sight that's for sure.  I even laughed ... eventually ... after I divested myself of the other frog that got caught up in my hair.  Nasty.

I would have kept on laughing if it hadn't been for the fact that when I get home to take a shower all the hot water was gone.  I didn't think a lot of it at the time. It is just one of those things you deal with when you have a large family ... someone has to be low man on the totem pole and this time it just happened to be me. The problem is that by the next day I experienced a relapse of a cold that I had had. So that is my excuse for missing two days of updates. 

Seriously, you can laugh. I did as soon as my sinuses unclogged and I wasn't in danger of choking. And since Molly had to take a cold shower too when she got home I figure fair is fair.  It took both of us most of the day to get rid of the last of the duck weed from our ears.

In the meantime I have managed to get some updates completed. You'll see that the one I added today is one of the ones that I had to drop off for a while because I got too busy. Winx is a pretty cool character but she's a little hard to keep up with as she tends to run in all different directions in my head.  Which is pretty much the way everything has been running lately so she was right at home.

Here are today's updates:

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Enduring on the Lake

Life Is A Fractured Fairytale

Up On Hartford Ridge

When All Doors Close

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

For the rest of what I've been doing?  I don't know about you all but I am enjoying the lower gas prices. It is allowing me to refill all the fuel cans that we have used all summer along on landscaping equipment and other stuff.  I paid $2.82 per gallon today and that was before the discount I had from using my points from Winn-Dixie (local grocery store).  With my points I got 20 gallons for about seven cents per gallon.  Not too shabby.

My other frugal tip is that all of the holloween candy is on 50% off sale, but you better hop to it they are going fast from what I can tell.  The chocolates I will use by freezing them and then crushing them to be used in my Christmas cookies. Or I'll use them in hot chocolate.  I can use the hard candies the same way.  And when you're melting marshmallows it doesn't matter what shape they are so even the fall shaped and colored ones work when you're baking them on top of your Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole.  It may seem like pennies in difference but I have learned that the penny you don't spend today is the penny you will have when you need it. 

Speaking of sweet potatoes I need to keep an eye out for when they come on sale. I need to pick up a bunch of them - a couple of bushels anyway - so that I can can them and also so that I can make sweet potato butter. I also plan on making a bunch of sweet potato pies and freezing them this year. Before I forget there is something else that I've saved money on. Several fruit stands in stores are selling their pumpkins at a discounted price. So I have been picking up a lot of them - even the local Walgreens have some for about two dollars a piece - but boy is that going to leave me with a lot of work to do in a short period of time. But you do what you have to do.  Make hay while the sun shines.  Early bird catches the worm.  Yada, yada.

Just two videos today, both on sweet potatoes.  I included the direct links for those that can't see the embedded videos.  Enjoy!