Sunday, June 25, 2017
 

Morning or Snack Milkshake

I’ve been in the mornings making an Orange Dreamsicle shake type thing for me while I fix the kids’ breakfast. It’s so good and filling, with tons of protein in it.
This can be a snack or breakfast. Tastes like an orange dreamsicle popsicle! You can vary the flavors anyway you want…lemon with a little lemon zest, strawberry koolaid with strawberry extract….be creative! Add a scoop of protein powder for even more nutrition. Only about 150 calories as shown below!! Who can beat that?

1/3 C ff cottage cheese
1/4 C plain ff yogurt
1 tsp orange koolaid mix
1/2 capful vanilla extract
1 capful orange extract~ I don’t use this as it makes it too orange tasting
2/3 C sugarfree soymilk~ I use regular milk
ice

Crush the ice, blend all ingredients, enjoy!!!

 

Simple Meals

One I like to make is a casserole….
You can use chopped up pork or chicken, or sausage.
Anyway in a bowl mix a package of frozen hash browns, one can of cream of chicken, half a bag of frozen corn, about 2 cups of sour cream and about 2 cups of shredded cheese. Add the spices you like, I use chives, salt n pepper and cavenders*.
Add the already cooked meat to the hash brown mix and stir it all together well. Spread in a 9×13 pan…
Topping…
Prepare a box of stove top stuffing and then spread over the top of your casserole.
Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.
It’s soooooo good! Super filling and totally fattening! Also great left over! I make it all the time, I prefer it with pork. If you use sausage then don’t add any salt :-)
*Cavenders is a spice blend. You can get it anywhere. It’s fantastic on fried potatoes or just about anything. It’s in a yellow container, look for it with the other spices at the store :-) I use it on everything! We also use a lot of garlic, Bella Loves garlic! :-)

Also a really easy,really yummy dip…
Two packages cream cheese
One pound of sausage
Two cans of rotel
Fry up the sausage and set aside
On low heat melt the cream cheese while stirring constantly.
Once it’s all melted add the rotel and sausage. It’s done! Serve with tortilla chips! We LOVE this dip around here!
Note: I buy the original rotel and it’s pretty spicy! If you’re brave then you can get mild or hot. But just a warning the original is defiantly spicy enough :-)
This dip is great for an easy fix for a get together. Enjoy :-)
 

Simple Meals

the other day i made the best squash casserole ever… i had 4 sortof elderly pieces of bread which i diced up… turned some mayonnaise and some grated sharp cheddar into that… poured over that some stewed squash and onions… stirred it and topped it with a whole pack of crushed saltine crackers and a little handful of grated cheddar..

THEN i remembered that i was gonna add egg… so i cracked 2 eggie right on top and whisked them under the topping … i ened up just whisking that under the topping in every direction and then folded the topping over and in a few times.. it was pretty much all mixed up and i didn’t top it again…

it was HEAVENLY… i was impressed with myself

also.. same week i made some chicken salad… canned chicken was on sale… i drained it and added to it one lemon yogurt and some dill and pepper…. (i’ve had it like that it’s wonderful) but this time i added a little spoonful of cream chz i had that needed using up and i matched that with one tblspn of mayo…. ate it on salad… with buttery crackers…. its so good..

…….

sometimes i just layer a casserole dish with hamburger meat,smashed in there… then slice thin rings of potato over that… then rings of onion over the potato… butter salt and pepper on top and bake

yum

……

can’t beat chicken in a crock pot either add cream of mushroom soup and nuthing but it’s own juices… over rice… YUM

 

Simple Meal

I just saw this reciepe and thought it sounded really good and EASY !!!  You dump a 3lb. bag of frozen chicken breast into a slow cooker, add a bottle of either buffalo sauce or your favorite barbque sauce, a packet of ranch dressing.  Let cook on low for 6-7 hours…………..take two forks and pull apart until shredded , put back into crock pot and add 2tbs. butter, cook another hour.  Sounds absolutely divine, so, I havent tried it, but, am going to.  sooo easy

 

Simple Supper

Pasta Carbonara w/Parmesan or whatever cheese you want if you even want cheese!

I love this dish. The main thing is the pasta and eggs and seasonings.  You can skip the meat and veggies and even the cheese.  We don’t skip those things, but it will still be hearty and good if you do.  And cheap.

We make it a lot because w/chickens, we have extra eggs and this dish takes 6 or so eggs.

Vegies are optional and are your choice.  We use chopped and sauteed onions, garlic, broccoli, usually.  Often we toss in fresh spinach during the last couple minutes of cooking.  Tonight I sliced and sauteed leeks to add in.

Bacon is optional but delicious.  We keep it on the side because we have vegetarians here as well as some who just don’t eat bacon.  Crazy folk! Fry up your bacon.  How much do you want?  I usually do about the equivalent of 2 slices per person.  Now I buy bits and pieces — 3 lb for $6.50 at Wal-mart and use about 1/4 of the package per six servings.  Drain it and if you’re going to mix it in the pasta, you can crumble it now or crumble it over the top of the serving dish of pasta

Prepare your vegetables — chopped, sauteed, etc., and set them aside.

Whip up six eggs

Boil enough pasta for six or more, drain and set aside

Measure 1/2 cup or so of cheese — you can use as much or little as you like

1 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Each person can add what they need once it’s served, of course.

In a BIG skillet or 6 quart pot, either heat up the bacon grease or use butter or oil (I use olive oil and butter) over medium heat, dump in the cooked drained pasta, the sauteed or fresh veggies, the bacon if you want to add it now.  Mix it up, pour in the eggs and start stirring the stuff.  Keep it up as the eggs cook and sprinkle in the cheese, salt and pepper.  Keep stirring until it’s done — the eggs aren’t supposed to be set, but we cook it until it’s more pasta with scrambled eggs rather than pasta with egg sauce.    Add some pepper flakes at some point if you like a little heat, too.

Lots of instructs., but a super easy meal and so inexpensive!

 

How I Do Meals

For meal planning I figure out what we would like to eat for the week, and I try to come up with cheaper meals for most of it.  This can be based on what is on sale that week, and what may be left in your pantry or freezer.  A google or Pinterest search often serves as my inspiration.  Some of the meals will be favorites we eat again and again, Korean beef being one of them.  I write out on a sheet of paper 7 breakfasts (often it is the same 2 or 3 just repeated), 7 lunches, and 7 dinners.  I also figure on snacks.  For snacks I like to have fresh apples available, bananas for as long as they last (couple days at most usually).  Sometimes peanut butter on celery.
Once I have the meals figured out, I go ahead and make the shopping list for whatever I need that I do not already have in my pantry or freezer, listing all the ingredients I will need to buy to make the meals.  Then I am armed for the grocery store and for the week ahead!
Here are a few cheap meal ideas that we like:

PBJ Protein Oats from Fitness magazine

Ingredients
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup water
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon natural jam or jelly
Directions
1. Combine oats and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and let oatmeal simmer until 90% of the water is absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and whisk in protein powder and vanilla.
4. Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with peanut butter and jelly/jam.
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A new recipe I want to try from GreenLiteBites:

Flour free banana muffins
Banana Oatmeal Cups with Chocolate Chips

  • 3 mashed bananas (the more ripe the better!)
  • 1 cup vanilla Almond milk (you could use skim but you may want to add a little sweetener)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 3 cups (240g) Old Fashion or Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (42g) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin pans.

Spray a muffin pan and/or liners with with non-stick spray.

Stir the chocolate chips into the oatmeal batter.

Divide batter into 15 muffin cups. They should be just about filled.

Bake 20-30 minutes, you’ll see the edges just starting to brown and they will be firm to the touch.

The muffins may stick when hot but are removed easily when cooled for a bit.

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Mini frittatas from Spoonful.com

For a fun and easy morning meal, try these small-scale egg dishes. Baked in individual muffin cups, they ensure that everyone gets the mix-ins they like.

What you’ll need

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Assorted mix-ins (such as shredded cheese, diced vegetables, and cooked and chopped bacon, ham, or sausage)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

How to make it

  1. Mini Frittatas - Step 1

    Heat your oven to 350º F and coat a 6-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Mini Frittatas - Step 2Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt in a medium bowl, then evenly distribute the egg mixture among the muffin cups.
  3. Mini Frittatas - Step 3

    Add about 2 tablespoons of mix-ins to each cup, then sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese, if you like.

  4. Bake the frittatas until they are puffy and the edges are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. (If necessary, run a butter knife around the edge of each one to loosen them before removing them from the pan.) Makes 6 mini frittatas.

     

     

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Cheap Korean Beef
Note: you definitely want to use as lean of beef as you can get for this dish or it will be oily and gross. On that note . . .
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (I like it sweet so I usually do closer to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (see note)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to desired spiciness)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced (don’t skip this!)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.
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Quesadillas

 
Whole wheat torillas

black beans

cheese
 
Fry in a skillet until browned and cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa and/or sour cream and/or guacamole.
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Another meal I like is either sloppy joe mixture or chili or like burrito mixture stuffed into a hollow green pepper and baked until pepper is tender and filling is hot. Can be topped with a bit of shredded cheese to make it luxurious.  
 
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Here is a soup that looks yummy and convenient:
 
This dish might sound slightly nutty as well – whoever thought to turn hamburgers into soup.  John was skeptical but even he had to admit how DELICIOUS it was!  We, of course, lightened up by using less salt, low-sodium chicken stock (over beef), and less cheese.  But, no matter.  It was still delightful…just like me!
Hamburger Soup (adapted from A Family Feast)
Serves:  6
6 ounces ditalini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 pound ground turkey
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock (or beef)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 ounces baby spinach
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese*
Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the onions and celery for 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent.  Then, add turkey and brown.  Transfer to the slow cooker.  Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, stock, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce.  Let cook over low heat for 4-6 hours.  Stir in the spinach, reserved pasta, salt, and pepper.  Stir 3-5 minutes, until spinach is wilted.  Pour into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
*We used the cheese as a garnish instead of stirring more of it into the soup like the original recipe to cut calories.  Sprinkling it on top still gave us that nice taste!
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Engagement Chicken from 100 recipes every woman should know cookbook (cheap)

1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons—including 1 sliced for garnish
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)

Directions:

1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fi tted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

3. Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.)

4. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

 

A Schedule

When I had so many small ones — at one time four children 6 and under — we had to be pretty scheduled just to keep up with cooking, laundry, etc., and accomplish school.

I recall perhaps not perfectly, but close:

Up, dressed, chores done and then breakfast served by 8:30.  Breakfast was always something good, so there was an added incentive to do what you needed to do by 8:30. Chores were vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, dusting, putting out the trash, straightening bookshelves, picking up kindling or trash in the yard, working in the garden. I’d switch them up sometimes.  Add in cleaning out the fridge, folding the laundry and putting it away or any special chores that only needed doing occasionally — cleaning the car!

After breakfast, everyone to the living room for Bible together, then I would read to them.  Usually from the classics:  Silas Marner, The Scarlet Letter, The Count of Montie Christo, etc.  Often lighter stuff like the Hobbit or something by Mark Twain.  I LOVED this time!  I got to read good books and get school credits at the same time.

Then each dispersed to their own school work and I took care of whoever wasn’t school age yet and did my own work.  That depended on the time of year .  Summer held no school, but lots of gardening, and the kids had added chores.  They would help in the garden for up to 1/2 hour at a time, but most of the day was their own.  We were busy with camp and they helped with that.  We lived on a 500 acre campground, so believe me, when there was no camp and chores were done, my kids kept busy, active and healthy and had a blast!

But during the school year . . . they went to do their own subjects, then broke for lunch.  Everyone washed their own breakfast and lunch dishes PLUS two more.  If they forgot to do their own dishes, I would call them back and they would do their own PLUS six more!  That cut down on my dish doing :-)   I loved it when they forgot!

I would often have one or two of the kids who were old enough either watch the baby/toddler so I could make meals or help me in the kitchen with meal prep.  We enjoyed this time together.  I think :-)   I know I did, anyway.

When each child’s school was completed and checked and corrected, their time was their own unless I needed help with something.  They didn’t have the option not to help and were trained to obey from a very young age, so I didn’t have to deal with stinky attitudes about helping out with extra stuff.  I taught them that everyone had to pull their weight, that I was not a servant though I did most of the home keeping of course, but that we were in this together. This early training made a huge difference in making things more peaceful.

If a child occasionally experimented and tried to argue with me, I would tell them, “I don’t have to argue with you about this.”  Or “I’ve told you the answer, so I’m done talking about it.”  or “Begging won’t change a no to a yes.”  Always calmly, and then I’d turn my attention to something else.  This worked well to quell arguing.  I suppose it sounds disrespectful?  Not sure.  My tone was not snotty, just matter of fact.

So far, if it sounds like we had everything under control always, we didn’t.  None of us being perfect, you now.  But it was peaceful a lot of the time, and people would comment that my kids were polite and well behaved even in our home.  We treated them respectfully and make them treat us that way, too.

We had a blast, though.  Lots of fun and kidding around.  I loved their pretend and encouraged it.  Loved the tents and forts.  Love playing store even if it turned my living room and pantry area upside down for a while.  I loved to help them set up tea parties for each other and cook with them.

We provided lots of creative stuff, but few toys.  They had Legos, books by the 100′s, craft supplies — paper, glue, paints, construction paper, etc., modeling clay, material, and more.  Some things could be gotten out whenever, some had to be asked for.  That was so I knew who had the stuff out and could follow up on clean up if I needed to.  Some times one child would make quite a lego mess, and in the last couple minutes another would come to play too, then the one who made the biggest mess and got the stuff out would say the other child was responsible or something.  See?  Not perfect :-) .  So I would make the other child help a bit, then the main messer would do the rest.

Clay and messy supplies were played with only at the kitchen table or outside.

Christmas time brought masses of cheap toys from extended family.  I would let the kids have the main ones, but spirit away the little junk stuff.  I would remind them that it would be all over their bedroom floors, they wouldn’t really want to play with it, but would get it out and then have to clean it up.  I asked them to REALLY think about whether they wanted something or not, and then we’d get rid of a lot of it.  I was respectful of their decisions if they decided to keep something.

Off and on I had a $.50 basket in the living room.  If they left toys out, they went in the $.50 basket.  If they wanted them back, they had to pay for them or work for them.  That made them see whether they valued a toy or not.  We got rid of stuff this way, too.

The older kids did the supper dishes.  The smaller ones might play outside or I would read to them or they would play indoor games.  We didn’t watch tv much.   We did have one and my dh watched it a LOT untl 1993.  Then we just watched news and special things like the Olympics.  (Back to the present — we still don’t watch any weekly network fictional shows, but pbs is on a LOT.  And we still watch the news, special stuff and . . . . WHEEL OF FORTUNE!  And Biggest Loser :-) )

The kids and I would often take walks in the evening — if it was getting dark out and we could see the moon — so much the better.  I would sing a spooky song, we would tell jokes, stories about the day, whatever.  Loved those times so much.  Training would take place.  Someone would say, “Wait while I . . . . “  I never wanted them to make people wait unless it was for a good reason.  Not just on our walks, but in everything.  If they NEEDED us to wait — tripped, lost a shoe, no problem.  And if anyone wanted to wait for them, they could.  But they learned that it’s not polite to keep people waiting for a frivolous thing, and we still had a blast.  They could and did always catch up and no feelings hurt along the way.

I saw just about everything as an opportunity for training.  Didn’t always do it right, often screwed up and had to apologize, wish I could redo some stuff, but I’m just telling mainly the things that worked.  :-)   I really wanted our children to A.  Be thoughtful of others and respectful and B. Keep the inside of home calm.  No yelling or running inside — but outside — to your hearts content!   And so our home was quite peaceful USUALLY for a family of 9.  Then there were the times when Jake showed me tricks on the skateboard in the livingroom, Zeke jumped over a chair and bit through is tongue, Miranda fell over the back of a chair and split the corner of her eye open . . . etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.   But those times made great stories!  Right?

My dh cared for us well financially, loved us to death, but didn’t spend much time with me raising children.  He worked full time and made knives all evening and weekend and watched tv.  A good man, and I don’t wish any to disrespect him for this.  I think this is probably normal, though I fought it inside until finally I realized that he didn’t have to meet my expectations and frankly COULDN’T meet all my needs, and I let him be himself and I let me be myself, and that was AWESOMELY freeing :-) !  I just say this because I pretty much raised our children except I had not worries financially for anything.  We lived on little, but I could squeeze a penny until Lincoln screamed!   So we lived very, very well, I think.  And had fun.

BUT Again — not to paint too rosy of a pix.  When I was pregnant each time I was a worn out rag doll and things would go downhill.  I would drag myself off the couch to do bare minimums.  Sometimes I would just feel like giving up, but thankfully, I could tell the kids to do whatever I needed them to do and they would do it.  And daily chores were still done every day by the kids.  It just didn’t cover it all or last all day.  One time I remember our house being a pigsty and I didn’t feel like I could do a thing about it.  I had lain around for days w/no energy.  And then company dropped in.  A man my father’s age and his son who had lived in our house before us many years ago.  I was completely ashamed and so sad that they had seen our home in shambles.  This lit a fire under my tired butt and I found out I could move it even when I felt like I couldn’t :-) .  A good lesson.  But I went through bad times like this and thinking my dh only wanted me for sex and to make him meals and do his laundry and raise the kids, blah blah blah.  I had teenage rebellion BAD with two sons, not with any of the other five children, thank you, Lord.  The last ones at home are soon to be 14 and 18, one is 20 and one 22.   So I could still eek out a little teen rebellion, but it doesn’t look like there will be any?  We’ll see.

 

Housewifery Schedules

I by no means have things down pat, and my home is nowhere near perfect, but this is how I manage.  Getting up early is helpful when possible (I have trouble with this in the dark months of the year, much easier in Spring and Summer for me), so that I can have a bit of time to wake up and gather myself first of all, and then get things set up and moving before the children are up.  This way when they are up I am ready to get moving with our routine and they don’t start getting into playing while I’m “getting it together” which then will make it difficult to pull them away and get into school mode.

Anyway, I like to start with morning chores, and get the kids involved with certain things assigned to them within their ability.  It’s good for them to have good habits established and it also helps the household.   With some basic and needed chores accomplished, I can now fix my mind on school without moving all about the house.  The boys need my presence to keep them on track and make sure learning is moving along so that it doesn’t end up taking all day.

We do our learning together at the dining table until lunch time.  I will cook while they finish up the current assignment or go play if they are finished.  After lunch is eaten and cleaned up after, we will finish up any learning that is still left, or if they are done they are rewarded with free play time.

I have the boys tidy up the living room before daddy gets home, and I am doing the same in the kitchen while cooking dinner.  Before relaxing in the evening, there is a 10 minute tidy in which all need to pitch in.   This way we can enjoy some quiet time and have a smooth  morning.

Another thing I do is avoid the phone during the day.  I have a hard time to get off once I accept a friendly call.  Actually I pretty much avoid the phone all around, but there is this one friend that calls often and I do talk with her pretty often, because, well, she does most of the talking.  LOL  I end up on way too long so I just avoid answering in the early part of the day so that it is not an issue.

 

My Restored Marriage

Alfred & I married young. I was 2 months shy of turning 18 & he had just turned 20. We were engaged after 3 weeks of dating and married 4 months after that in June of ’92.

Being so young and naive, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. Alfred was an alcoholic and lived the party life while I stayed home with our children – heartbroken that the man I loved didn’t seem to care about us because the alcohol came first. I threatened, nagged, questioned, and pleaded with him to stop drinking – all to no avail.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. I even went to a divorce lawyer once for a consultation to see what my options were. But no matter how bad he hurt me emotionally, I just couldn’t do the same to him.

Then he was sent to Iraq for 14 months – they weren’t allowed to drink. We had the best conversations and I felt things would be different when he returned home. That only lasted a month, then he went right back to drinking and coming home late.

I gave up then. I was tired of being hurt. I stopped asking anything of him. Then his best friend was in a horrible car accident due to drunk driving and falling asleep at the wheel. He is lucky to be alive today. He had to spend months in the hospital & Alfred saw first hand what drinking can do.

After 13 years, he made up his mind to quit drinking once ad for all and he did!! I was still very guarded. After all, I had heard this a million times if I had heard it once. But as time went on, I began to trust him again and our love was renewed.

Now our life is so sweet! Perfect, no…..but he is home every night and I know he loves me. The drinking was never about me like I thought it was. He was running away from the problems of his childhood, trying to kill the pain. We are able to talk about things so much easier now. In June ’09 will be married 17 years.

With God, there is always hope. Give up if you have to, but don’t walk away. Let God put the broken pieces of your life & marriage back together and create something new.

Dear Annette,

I know things are hard for you right now & you want to give up on your
marriage, but God still performs miracles and there is hope yet for
your marriage.

Alfred & I married young. I was 2 months shy of turning 18 & he had
just turned 20. We were engaged after 3 weeks of dating and married 4
months after that in June of ’92.

Being so young and naive, I had no idea what I was getting myself in
to. Alfred was an alcoholic and lived the party life while I stayed
home with our children – heartbroken that the man I loved didn’t seem
to care about us because the alcohol came first. I threatened, nagged,
questioned, and pleaded with him to stop drinking – all to no avail.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. I even went to a
divorce lawyer once for a consultation to see what my options were.
But no matter how bad he hurt me emotionally, I just couldn’t do the
same to him.

Then he was sent to Iraq for 14 months – they weren’t allowed to
drink. We had the best conversations and I felt things would be
different when he returned home. That only lasted a month, then he
went right back to drinking and coming home late.

I gave up then. I was tired of being hurt. I stopped asking anything
of him. Then his best friend was in a horrible car accident due to
drunk driving and falling asleep at the wheel. He is lucky to be alive
today. He had to spend months in the hospital & Alfred saw first hand
what drinking can do.

After 13 years, he made up his mind to quit drinking once ad for all
and he did!! I was still very guarded. After all, I had heard this a
million times if I had heard it once. But as time went on, I began to
trust him again and our love was renewed.

Now our life is so sweet! Perfect, no…..but he is home every night
and I know he loves me. The drinking was never about me like I thought
it was. He was running away from the problems of his childhood, trying
to kill the pain. We are able to talk about things so much easier now.
In June ’09 will be married 17 years.

Sorry this is so long, but I just wanted to share my story with you.
With God, there is always hope. Give up if you have to, but don’t walk
away. Let God put the broken pieces of your life & marriage back
together and create something new.

Love & prayers,

~Tracy in south AL

 

New Grow Light

I have a grow light as of yesterday :-) . I have some trays and 8 packs from clearance sales a coupld of years ago, and I have some purchased seed starting mix and potting soil. I’m ready to roll.

If I had not bought these things on clearance (the trays and 8-packs) I would not buy them. They can be pretty costly.

You know already that you can start seedlings in egg cartons. I don’t really like to do that because they are so shallow. You can start seedlings in egg shells. Just crack them close to the top so most of the shell is intact. Rinse well. Poke a drainage hole in the other end. Fill with planting medium, plant your seed, and when it’s ready to transplant, the shell can easily be broken away.

If you do buy yogurt in single serve cups, there is a very cool way to use them as seedling starters. Keep the lid. Take a sharp knife and cut away the very bottom of the container. Put the lid on. The lid end now is the bottom of the container. Plant it, and when read to transplant, take off the lid. The whole thing will slide out into your hand, ready to put in the ground.

You can make seed pots w/brown paper bags or newspaper. Cut a rectangle, or several thicknesses of the rectangle if using newsprint (because it’s so thin it will not hold up to watering if using a single thickness) as tall as you want your pot to be PLUS enough to fold under at the bottom — like a penny roll. Tape the side and the bottom. Set in a container to help them stand upright, and plant. When it’s time to transplant, rip them open on the bottom and plant the pot.

If you buy soft drinks or water out, save the cups and cut them down to the size of the pots you want. Cut a draining hole in the bottom. You can do this with water bottles or coke bottles, as well.

Always watch for bargains at the end of the greenhouse season — usually mid- to late-June. I’ve gotten the huge bales of peat moss for as little as $2 a bale. Also, look for planting things at garage sales, though you will need to sterilize used things. Pour boiling water or bleach water over them — carefully so it doesn’t splash up and ruin your clothes. That kind of cancels out the savings from the pots :-)

Look on ebay for wholesale seed lots. I’ve gotten some amazingly cheap lettuce, mesclun, and basil seeds that way. Smaller growers can’t afford to create and send catalogs or do a lot of advertising, so ebay is a good way for them to go.

That’s my gardening bit for the day :-) I’ll let you know how my grow light works.

 
 
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