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Archive for November, 2011

This hot summer and drought has really affected the natural cycle of things.  Some of my Rubylite Pink Ice Calla Lilies came up recently and bloomed, normally they don’t even begin popping their heads out of the ground until Spring.  As we’re dealing with frosts at night and still have a long winter ahead of us, I decided to dig them up, replant them in pots and enjoy them inside this Holiday Season.  I will return them to the ground this spring after the leaves die down and they go dormant once more.

Calla Lilies are one of my favorite flowers. I just find them truly beautiful. Following such a harsh summer these little blooms are a pleasant gift for the end of the year.

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One more item added to the shop this week.

057CQ11 – “Safari Babies” Quilt.

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Three new necklaces for “Little Princess’s” for the shop.

159LPJ11 – “Glitz & Pearls” Child’s Necklace.

 

 

160LPJ11 – “Black Beauty” Child’s Necklace.

 

161LPJ11 – Multi-Colored “Stars, Hearts & Daisies” Child’s Necklace.

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So I mentioned I had some beautiful blue hydrangea’s which bloomed this fall for me from cuttings, now the second batch of transplants I did are offering me a beautiful showing of purple flowers.  I’m still not holding my breath that they won’t end up going pink in the future like the mother bushes did, but I’m hoping I have the right soil mix now to keep them these beautiful shades.

If you are lucky enough to have your own hydrangea’s, or can get cuttings from friends they are fairly easy to propagate yourself.   My prefered method is to take a branch during the plants active growing season, and bend it down so it makes contact with the soil.  I then put a plank or rock on top to hold it in place and wait.  This is the same method used to propogate roses.  Once the roots have set the new plant can be cut away from the Mother and transplanted.

Another method that I have used in past when it comes to cuttings, is to cut a branch from the Mother plant just slightly below the leaf nodes.  Strip off the bottom sets of leaves leaving only a few leaves at the top of the cutting.  Dip the bottom of the cutting into rooting hormone and poke it in moistened soil.  Cover with a plastic bag and mist well.  These cuttings take six to eight weeks to root and you will be able to tell when roots set by the new growth forming.

One thing I have determined about Hydrangea’s is that they are indeed a “Horse of Many Colors” flower.  Just because the mother is one color, does not mean the offspring’s will carry it over.  Soil, even just moderate alterations in acid, texture and such can produce entirely different color flowers depending on where in the yard planted.  Perhaps that is why I adore these beautiful blooms so.

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My kitchen island was in need of serious replacement.  I wanted something heavy, durable, with storage room, a place for my daughter to sit while I was busy in kitchen, and most of all…inexpensive.  When I came upon this at the local Goodwill store on one of my trips I was certain it would work well. It was heavy, sturdy, had plenty of storage space and a place for a child to sit  and with a price tag of $20.00 the deal was sealed.

The left side has three shelves, perfect for holding my baking supplies while the right side has three drawer bins for storing fresh fruits, onions and potatoes.  The sweet part of this all is the top of the three seconds are counter-top material so I don’t need to worry about replacing that.

I had to put on new knobs, reattach the center drawer front panel and replace a slider for a drawer…oh and remove about a year of dust and grime thus the mess on the floor and dust cloth.  I was just so excited when all put back together and clean  I couldn’t wait to snap the picture.  I promise, the floor is all clean now…though still ugly. I truly do not like that flooring and it’s on my list to be rid of.

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Sound delicious? They are!  In addition they are incredibly easy to make.

2 cups pancake mix (homemade OR your favorite store brand.)

1 1/2 cups coffee mate vanilla-caramel creamer (liquid usually found with milks).

1 egg

2 tsp butter, melted

2 tbsp sugar

1 jar red raspberry jam (or strawberry, peach)

Cupcake/Muffin pan and liners.

Add your pancake batter to bowl, add egg, creamer, butter, sugar and mix well.  If it seems to thick, add a little regular milk to thin, you want pancake batter consistency.

Fill your muffin liners 1/2 full,  add a tbsp of preserve to center and cover with remaining batter until liners are 3/4 fill.

Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.

That’s it…and they are sooo delicious.

 

 

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One nice thing Mother Nature provided with moving here is a thicket of wild persimmon trees. These little golden gifts have been a tasty blessing to food preserves ever since.  Though I will admit, the older I’m getting the more difficult the climb to gather the fruits is becoming, I need to rig up a new method.

I’ve made persimmon jelly and preserves, persimmon pudding, dried them and put them in muffins and cakes, yet there is one element of persimmons wild or not which is often forgotten.  The large seeds of these little fruits can be roasted, ground and used as a caffeine free coffee substitute.  Just one more reason for me to look forward to the fall of the year and the ripening of the persimmons in the thicket, I savor the bold, robust taste of persimmon “coffee”.

After cooking down the pulp to make you jams or puddings, remove the seeds from the  scrap and wash well.  Place them on a cookie sheet in oven at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes to roast.  Stir a few times during this process and test them occasionally. You want them still “tender in center”.  Remove and grind as you would coffee beans.  I find a food processor works well for this process.

Use as you would any traditional coffee grounds.

Just one more piece of lore about the persimmon seed.  According to the old-timers. Persimmon seeds can predict the severity of winter.  By cutting the persimmon into two pieces, the seeds inside display one of three symbols.  A knife indicates cold, wind cutting like knife, icy winter.  A fork shape shows a mild winter and a spoon shape is said to show the shovel needed to dig out of the abundant snow.

If all those I cut were right, those down here in the south better bundle up.

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I am NOT an extreme coupon user by a long shot.  I do collect coupons however, just for those “in-case” situations…like today.

Here is the breakdown to how I got paid for my shopping trip.  Yeah I’m smiling a bit being able to say that.

Kroger’s had several items on sale I had in store on card coupon and paper coupons for.

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent – 2 / $7.00.  or $3.50 each.   I had 2 coupons for $1.50 off 1.  So $3.00 off both.   Leaving me $4.00 out of pocket.

Del Monte Vegetables were on sale for .39 each if I bought 10.  10x.39 = $3.90.  I had coupons for .50 off 2.  Doubled this is $1.00 off 2. $1.00 x 5 = $5.00.  I made a $1.10 profit.

Crest Toothpaste was $1.29.  I had a $1.00 off in store coupon plus a .50 cent printed coupon.  $1.29 – $1.50 = .39 cents profit.

Colgate Kids tooth paste was $1.49.  I had a in store coupon for .50 off, and a printed coupon for .50 cents off.  Doubled the printed becomes $1.00 off.  $1.49 – $1.50 = .01 profit.

Oscar Meyer Ham was marked down to $1.50 x 2 = $3.00.  I had printed coupons for .50 off 1.  That’s $1.00 each when doubled so…$3.00 – $2.00 = $1.00 out of pocket.

10lbs flour was marked down to $1.00 due to knife rip (taped up) from opening their stock.

Rice was marked down to $1.00 due to rip in bag (taped up) from opening stock bad.

Campbell Cream of Mushroom Soup on sale 10 for $5.00.  Printed coupon for $.50 off 2…doubled it’s $1.00 off 2….$5.00 off 10.   My cost $0.

But then they have a special where if you buy one of their “10 for” specials, you get $5.00 automatically back.  So…$5.00 x 2 (2 specials) = $10.00 in pocket.

Now…the Halloween decorations were on sale for 75% off…the lot cost me $4.68 after rebate….which means they paid me from till $3.82 to cart the stuff out the door.

I wish all my shopping trips were like that.

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There are times and situations which demand things need to be cooked in bulk.  I am so thankful for my crock pot for these occasions.  Being able to cook in bulk also makes for quick meal fixing as often it can be stored in smaller containers in freezer to be reheated later.  Here is my recipe for this time saving meal.

Crock Pot Taco Mac & Cheese

1 pkg elbow maccaroni

1 lb ground beef or turkey

1/4 stick velvetta cheese (or generic substitute) cubed.

1/2 packet taco seasoning mix

2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

In pot on stove, prepare your pasta and ground your meat.  Place both in crock pot and set to high.  Add cheese, milk and seasoning…stir well until cheese is melted.  Turn crock pot to low and let simmer 2 hours or longer until ready to eat.  You can add bread crumbs to top if you desire.

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