Fast Packing for Lunch.. the Snack Drawer and how it saves us money

We really don't want to make and pack lunches every morning from scratch...
As in get out the bag of chips, get a baggie, put some chips in a baggie, zip it up, get out the fruit, get another baggie.. and on and on.. you get the idea. :0)

In the past we didn't want to make lunches in the morning due to whatever reason we had, so
there were several instances of just not taking a lunch at all, and then of course having to buy lunch somewhere.

So I came up with 'snack drawer' a long time ago, and it has served us well.

Basically, I chose a drawer in our refrigerator to be used for Lunch stuff.  During the weekend, or as soon as I get home from grocery shopping, I bag up the food that will be needed for lunches for the week.
 Such as a bag of chips..  Yep, the entire bag gets divided into lots of individual baggies.  This way no one sits and eats half a bag of chips, :o)  plus the lunch drawer is stocked up and ready to go.
 I also wash and bag up the fruit, and whatever else is going to be used for the week at this time.  I like to get it done right when I get home.. it just works out easier that way, and then I know it is done.

So when the morning rolls around..  especially those feel like you are running late kind of mornings, or feeling like you could sleep in kind of mornings.. then basically you grab n go for the most part.  
I don't usually make sandwiches ahead of time, unless it is the night before.. those are usually made in the morning.  No one likes soggy bread that soaked up the mayo overnight... well, no one I know anyway. :0)

So when morning has arrived and lunches need packed up.. it is a relatively easy process, just add a sandwich or 2, and you are good to go.

Besides making the morning a little less hectic by having items bagged up and ready to go.. it also makes the morning a little less stressful by knowing lunch is taken care of for the week.
You don't have to dig through cabinets looking for chips to bag up, or snacks etc.., and you save money by not having to buy lunch somewhere unnecessarily.    If you think about it, you can easily spend $6.00 - $7.00 or more on a single lunch.. that can certainly add up rather quickly.

Something else I discovered while searching online.. is that you can freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches..  who knew?
I got that tip at: and they work out really well, and they stay cooler longer in your lunch bag than with a regular freezer pack. (Plus, they are good right out of the freezer too.) :0)

Friday Favorites.. (7/26/13)

Yay for Friday..

Here are a few of my favorite things from the week..

~  I made a new recipe that I saw on a cooking show.. It has 2 ingredients! That's it, 2.
    I really didn't think it would be very good, but decided to give it a try because what
    could be easier than 2 ingredients.. Ha.    
    I had my family guess what they thought was in it, which was quite hilarious what they came up with.
    The ingredients you ask?   Devils Food cake mix, and a can of pure pumpkin.  That's it!
     I was surprised that you can't really tell it is pumpkin.. (unless you know it is in it)  I used the small
     can of pumpkin when I made them, so that may be why it wasn't that noticeable.. I am not sure if that is
    the size the recipe calls for or not, but it worked.
     I think I would add a few chopped nuts or chocolate chips next time.. but overall, it is pretty good!
    (I searched their website and found the recipe for ya: HERE)

~  I have been giving my entryway storage a makeover.. gave it a new color,
    and have added to it.. stay tuned!

~ My birthday was this week.. my family made it the best birthday ever.  Yep, they are definitely the best.

~ My free Side Table Makeover.. have I mentioned how much i like this color? :0)

~ Packing, definitely not my favorite thing this week, cuz it means my son is moving off  for college        tomorrow..  :(    It has become much more 'real' this week.
   However, I have absolutely loved every minute spending time with him during the process. Big day tomorrow!

Have a wonderful weekend!

linking up at:
High five for Friday

Oh What a busy week.. and tomatoes!

It has been such a busy time here.
I have been helping my son finish packing up, and getting all the last minute
"to do" items finished up..
such as his yearly eye exam, and taking his dog for his vet check/booster shots,
so he will be all ready to go for the next year as well..
Yep, his dog is also moving off to college. :0)

( his dog had an allergic reaction to his shots... Oh my, it was a little scary to say the least.
 but Thankfully all is OK...  Thank you Jesus!)

During all of these extremely busy days..  our garden has been producing lots
of tomatoes, So I have been busy trying to keep up with them along with everything else.

So in my free time.. (what is that? ha, ha!)
I have been roasting tomatoes, and freezing roasted tomatoes. (Yum!)

In fact I have another batch roasting in the oven right now. :0)

We really like them in place of tomato sauce, or to use for making salsa, pizza sauce, and so on.
I haven't had time to get tomatoes canned yet this year.. but I don't mind, the taste is
still amazing, and freezing sure is faster!

(the recipe I almost always use for tomatoes my sister found it and sent it to me.. it is good! 
and if you'd like to check it out, it is found: HERE)

However, I did get the grape jelly canned and ready to go for the next year..

I also got our Apple Jelly done.. so I am happy that I was able to find time to get the Jelly done.
I am looking forward to seeing this again.. awe, isn't it pretty?

I have a list about a mile long of things to get done, so I had better get with it.
Have a great day.

Trash to Treasure.. Towel Rack Makeover

I was asked if I wanted some old towel racks that were hanging out in a garage and needed a little TLC..
and of course I took them home with me..  gotta love a great DIY project.
(and free, well that is certainly a bonus!)

So I took them home, lightly sanded them up, and gave them a couple coats of spray paint.
I chose glossy black for one, and a mix of gray/white on the other one.

I hung the black one our master bathroom.. 

I am still deciding what I want to do with the second one..
the guest bathroom doesn't really need extra storage.
I am considering hanging it outdoors on our privacy fence and placing some logs on it.  I may have to try that.. :0)
Until then..
Have a great day! 

Peacock Blue.. a side table makeover

Ok, I found a color that I find myself wanting to paint more and more..
Peacock Blue.

It started when I was given a side table a few days ago, that needed a little TLC.

My daughter and I went through paint colors and I chose to go with a pop of color..
Peacock Blue.  

So we went home, and I sanded it all down.

Next, I wiped it down to get the dust off it, and then I painted it with 2 coats of Peacock Blue.
Lastly, I wanted to "distress" it. So I used black paint and a fairly dry sponge brush to
give it more detail and a distressed look.

I also gave it a coat of poly to seal/protect it.. because my initial plans were to modify it and use it for shoe storage in my entryway where it would get a lot of use.

This color above is off.. it was evening and hard to get a good photo of the actual color.
It is much closer to this:

I mentioned before that my initial plans for this piece were to change it up, and use it as
entryway storage for shoes etc..
Well, I am still deciding exactly how I want to do this project, or what I want to use for it.
Lots of idea's.. just need to make up my mind. :0)

So while I am deciding what I want to do for sure to change our entryway storage.

I also went ahead and gave my current entryway storage an update:

Really liking the Peacock Blue color.. :0)

linking up at:
Inspire Me Tuesday,
The Scoop , Time to Shine PArty ,
Clever Crafty and Creative Party ,
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,
Transformation Thursday
DIY By Design

Friday Favorites (7/19/13)

Is it me or did this week go by quickly.. really quickly.

I have been extremely busy this week, so that may be why it went so fast.

Lots of projects, and working on some last minute things that need to be done in preparation
for our son moving off to college.  Just a few days to go.. sniff sniff  :o(

I am so proud of him and the young man that He is.. and I am excited for him too..
However, it will be hard getting use to him living a couple of hours away.
 (but at least it is only a couple hours)  :0)

On to the Friday Favorites.

#1).   My DIY Dog (or cat) Bed that I made using a old drawer..  So adorable!
#2).   My Garden is giving us a lot of tomatoes.. Yay!
#3).   My DIY Welcome Post that I made using items we had.. love.
#4).   Home made pizza.. yum!
#5).   I also made Home made Cinnamon rolls.. double yum. :0)
Have a great weekend all..
linking up at:
High Five for Friday

DIY an Old Drawer into a Dog or Cat Bed

I had a small old wooden drawer that I wanted to make something out of..
and I decided to make my daughters dog a fancy little pet bed, as she is small
enough that it would be a perfect fit for her.              

DIY Welcome Post Sign

I was able to stop in a flea market for a quick look around last Friday afternoon and I saw
the cutest decorated Welcome Post signs..  one had puppies on it scattered here and there with a fire hydrant at the base of it, another one was painted in cow print, complete with a cowboy hat birdhouse on top, boots with plants coming out of them, and hay, as well as a 'cow pie' at the base among many other details.. they were very elaborate to say the least!  (not sure why I didn't take a photo - my bad! maybe next time..)

I have also seen some pretty basic ones before, which I kind of prefer..  besides that, I have no idea where they found all those adorable accent pieces they had on their posts.. such amazing detail.

Well, I had been wanting to make one to place near our deck.. and after seeing those,
I decided to see what we could come up with.

From our scrap wood pile of course..   Yep, this project is going to be a no cost project.

So my husband helped me out and he cut a 4x4 post for me at 3 1/2 feet,  as well as a board for the base.

Then we attached them together..

Then I gave it a coat of white paint..

 I wanted to add some color, so I mixed some aqua with white and lightly brushed it on here and there..  (yep, I mixed them on the back of a pizza box) :0)

I also added some black along the edges and lightly in different area's to give it a slight distressed look.

I had this old wooden plaque laying around that use to hang outdoors, but the picture had faded off of it.. so I gave it a makeover by painting it aqua to use as my sign. 

However, I wasn't sure what I wanted to put on the sign.. so I debated a few things..
Such as our house number, or last name, or Welcome..

I ultimately chose "Welcome" and using a sharpie.. I wrote it on.

I am really pleased with how it turned out.

I actually intended to buy a fence post cap or topper to add to it, and to look for a decorative metal hook to place on it.

However, I decided to keep this project a zero dollar project.. yep.. No cost!

So in my craft supplies I came across a small piece of wood, that I used for the top and painted it to match, added a white cup hook to the front, and since I am giving an old drawer a makeover right now for another project.. I used the drawer knob for the top.

I also got out a couple of antique glass insulators and they fit perfect over my drawer knob.

I kinda like the unique touch of the antique glass.

Total cost for this project, because we used only what we had on hand - Zero..
Yep, Those are good kind of projects.. :0)

linking up at:
Inspire me Tuesday,
Motivate Me Monday,
Craft O Maniac Monday,
 Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboardcottage,
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,
Sizzle into summer,
transformation Thursday,
Pinterest Power Party,
Flaunt it Friday, I Heart Organizing

Friday Favorites (7/12/13)

Time for my Friday Five.. Favorites that is.

Let's get to it, shall we?

 I talked about attending College Orientation and a lesson I learned from going.. this photo is the actual dinner we were served while there. (Yum!)  I had never had spinach lasagna before. I must say that I do eat spinach in my salads a lot.. but the sound of 'spinach lasagna' well.. didn't seem so appealing to me.. but it was good!    Now I am on the search for a good spinach lasagna recipe.. so to all my blog friends - do you have a good spinach lasagna recipe? 

 Yay for craigslist.. we were able to reunite doorstop to her family, and we sold our older table/chairs set.

 Pallet signs are all over these days.. and I have been making a few here and there.. I made this Coffee sign for my kitchen this week. 

 Strawberry Shortcake.. I made homemade Angel Food cake this week, and turned it into a strawberry shortcake masterpiece.. (ok, so maybe it wasn't a masterpiece - but it was gooood!)  :0)


Updated my Flower shaped Mirrors.. again.. yep, for a 3rd time.  Is there no end to updating these mirrors?  Well, maybe when there is so much paint on them you can no longer tell it started out as a flower, but then I could always take the mirror out of the flower frame and turn it into a whole new project.. or bust out a chisel to chip away all the layers of paint, or... well,  it is safe to say that it could go on and on.. and on.  

Have a great weekend all..

linking up at:
High Five for Friday

Out of my comfort zone.. and a lesson learned

We recently went to my son's College for orientation, which lasted 2 days.

I think I was more nervous than He was, but if He was.. it didn't show.

We had an itinerary to follow and choices on which seminars to go to.. and there were a lot of people
there.. did I mention a LOT of people. :0)

Our son had a different Itinerary than ours, so we saw Him on and off when they matched up, and of course we were together for dinner.

Beforehand, I had joked about how I would need a brown paper bag to get through it before we actually got there..  but I was feeling nervous about it, and when I made that statement.. Well, I was probably more serious than they realized.

However, isn't it funny how we can work ourselves up over some situation.. already have our mind made up that it is going to be difficult, or hard, or________ (fill in the blank)... but then it isn't so awful when you actually are in the middle of it, whatever it was..

I am glad we went with Him.
I think it kind of taught me a lesson, on not letting myself get overwhelmed with something, that I have no real idea of what it will be like when it comes down to it.
But because I saw the amount of people, size of buildings, etc..  it really was overwhelming to me. 
We are from a small town, and when I say small.. I am talking SMALL.  There were more people at orientation, than people that live in this town kind of small.  :0)

Even though I was nervous, I really don't think anyone could tell that I was.. I simply prayed about it, and just took it a step at a time..  and in all honesty, less than a minute after walking through the doors.. I was fine.  Yep, I was nervous for no reason..  just because it looked completely different from what I am use to, and because I knew it was way outside of my comfort zone, I had let it 'get to me' in a way.

Seems ridiculous now.. 

We had dinner at orientation in the evening, and I do believe that God has a sense of humor.. because guess where we were seated.. right smack dab in the middle.  Of course.. :0)

So just wanted to share that even though something may look a certain way, or feel like it is completely out of your comfort zone..  that doesn't mean it is worth the effort and stress of worrying about it, or being nervous about it... it may be just fine after all, so why not wait and see before letting it 'get to you', and who knows.. you may learn something about yourself in the process.

Weekend review.. a home for doorstop

OK, so the title is kind of.. well, I will just say it - strange!
Let me explain if I can.

So around 2 weeks ago, I looked out my kitchen window to find
a very large dog on my deck... laying on my deck, in a shady spot underneath a patio chair, and panting.

My daughter and I got the dog some water.. being cautious of course, because ya never know and certainly want to be careful around unknown animals.. but it was obvious immediately that she was extremely friendly.  

We live in the country so it isn't completely a new thing for us to have dogs randomly show up.. we have had lost dogs show up several times.   Usually a neighbor's dog, or one with an i.d. tag so we are able to find the owners rather quickly.

This particular dog had a collar, seemed to be in good health, friendly & loves attention, and knew how to "sit" (sort of) :0), so we were fairly sure she had an owner out there.  So the journey to find her owners began.   However, there was no identification.. so we called the neighbors, no one knew where she belonged.   I put an ad on the local radio station, as well as on craigslist, searched all the lost dog listings I could find for our area, and we also added her into our prayers.  We prayed that the dog's owner would find her, or that we would be able to find her a good home if we needed to..  time kept going by, I would renew the listing on craigslist and I kept looking to see if someone posted a lost dog listing.. but didn't find anything.  Days kept going by.. and the journey continued.

OK, so back to the title.. Why doorstop in the title..?
Well, she loved to sleep in front of our door.. so I just kind of jokingly nick named her 'doorstop'.

We are outside a lot, so we tossed balls for her to play with, her favorite was our big jolly ball that is actually made for horses to play with.  She liked carrying it around and chewing on it the best.
On Saturday we were outside riding horses, and 'doorstop' was following us around.
(she followed us everywhere) :0)
I told my family that we were going to have to think about coming up with a real name for her soon... as I was beginning to think that maybe no one was looking for her after all.    (which by this time about 2 weeks had passed and we were getting use to her being here, and she seemed to fit in with our other animals just fine and so on..)

Sunday morning we got the phone call.. isn't it funny how things work out sometimes?
They saw our ad on craigslist that morning, and they were sooo excited to find their dog.
She had followed one of them off when they were hauling hay, and they
hadn't seen her since.. it had been 3 weeks, and they hadn't been able to find her.
The owner arrived shortly after the phone call.
'Doorstop' as I refer to her, was very excited to see her owner as well. 
What a wonderful, happy reunion it was.

I had gotten so use to her being here, playing ball with her, and having her follow me everywhere that I must admit I did miss her a little after she left..  My husband even mentioned that maybe one of these days we would get a dog like her since we got to see what she was like.
So I guess I am not the only one that didn't mind her being around.. :0) ha!

So our journey to find 'doorstop' a home came to an end over the weekend, and what a Happy Ending it was.  I am so Thankful she found her family and got to go back home.

Friday Favorites... (7/5/13)

Happy Friday to you,
Time to share a few favorites from the week.

1).  My new to me dining room set, you can see more about it Here.

2).  Kittens..  funny, adorable, curious..  

3).  Went to a park and saw some big beautiful Eagles, among other animals that we don't see often, or at all around here.

4).  Took a trip for College orientation.. enrollment is done. The summer is sure going by quickly.

5). Of course the 4th of July, Cooking out.. S'mores.. and fireworks at home with my family.

It has been a busy whirlwind kind of week, from packing and getting everything taken care of around the house, to going on a trip to college orientation and spending a couple days there, and then coming back home in time for the 4th.

It was a wonderful, and wonderfully busy week.
I am certainly looking forward to the weekend.
Getting the laundry caught up, and just hanging out around the house.

That sounds good to me!

Since google reader is no more.. Follow my blog with Bloglovin, I have added a link at the sidebar as well.

linking up at:
High Five for Friday

Happy Fourth of July 2013..

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful 4th of July with
your family & friends...

God Bless.

Decorative Touches for the fourth of July

We have been spending so much time outdoors that I really haven't gotten
a lot of indoor projects done recently..

(You can see a breakdown of our outdoor projects in June Here)

However, I wanted to share a few photo's of my extremely simple d├ęcor for the 4th.

I purchased some bandanna's in red and blue to use for a festive touch.
Simply by folding them, flipping them over, and layering them.
(and using my iron on them)

The difference a Tablecloth can make..

It is true.. you can change the entire look of a room with one or two items.
Sometimes it is the little things that can make a really big difference.

I was trying to decide what tablecloth I wanted to use in my kitchen, and
tried a couple different ones.. amazing that one piece of fabric can change the look
within a minute.

Here is my new to me dining room set..

I thought I would share how a simple thing like a tablecloth can change the look..
I didn't change the tabletop decoration, just the tablecloth itself.

Here is choice number one.. which I really like the warm tones and how
they bring out the orange. (paint color: "Cinnamon stick")
To me this one makes the furniture
the focus.

accidental craigslist find.. a new to me dining room set

If you have followed my blog for long then you know I have been on the search for
a China Hutch for my kitchen.. because I really wanted some extra storage due to not having a Pantry, and I just really like the look of them.   I have been on the hunt for one for quite some time.

Well, I was searching again.. and couldn't find 'the one'.. or if I did find one I kind of liked, they were
so high priced that it was a definite no.   I was really searching for one that needed
a makeover.  I had even started saving pictures for idea's/inspiration of how I wanted to re-do my hutch when I got it.   I was thinking of painting it white done shabby style, or possibly a bright aqua, distressed with a deep dark color as an accent.  

However, I wasn't finding my hutch out there.
So I decided to search for a large dresser, because I could do the same thing with it, and use it as a buffet instead..  No problem.

Then it happened.. 
There it was..

I found a listing called "Furniture for Sale"... which came up when I was searching for a large dresser in the search title & description, so I opened it up and Yep.. An entire Dining room set, was the first couple of photo's, among other furniture that they had listed.  (Extremely nice, actual wood,  high quality furniture)

This listing never came up when I searched using the words "China Hutch",  "China Cabinet", "buffet".. because their listing only said: Dining room set.

Can I just say - we hit the Jackpot with this stunning set.
(The price was amazing - you wouldn't believe me if I told you...
Ok, so if you still want to know? Well, it was under 200.00 for it all.. I told you it was amazing!)

It is an Ethan Allen dining set, complete with China Hutch, Table/chairs with 3 extension leaves, Table protector, and a buffet/server.
The family selling it was moving due to a job change, her mother had bought it when she was 6 years old.  So that made this set close to 50 years old, and it is in extremely well taken care of condition.  We didn't actually get to meet the family.  My in-laws lived a lot closer to the items, and they kindly went and picked it up for us, and then later we got it from them.  They relayed the story behind the furniture to us, and I appreciate knowing the story behind it. 

I now have a place to display my great grandma's dishes, and other favorite items and decorative pieces..
but let me just say...
Talk about Storage issue solved!  Wahoo..

My plan changed on my Hutch Makeover..  because it is beautiful just the way it is, so  I will focus on adding touches of color elsewhere, and to me the server and table/chairs were a bonus!

So just goes to show, that you might want to change up your search words when you are looking for something, and not to give up! :o)