BLOGTOBER – DAY 31 – HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS

We don’t do a ton of Halloween decorating, but we do get enough kids to do enough.  The neighborhood does quite a bit too. This is our front porch decorations.  

This is George and Elmer right after we assembled them. 

This is George and Elmer after it started getting dark.  The are on a timer, but are also motion activated so it was hard to get a picture.

This is Wilbur my pumpkin totem.  He’s unique that on the back side is Frosty the Snowman making him the perfect fall decoration – Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all in a single decoration – just turn him around!

 

 

BLOGTOBER – DAY 30 – CREEPY READS

Today’s prompt is “CREEPY READS”.  I love Stephen King novels, but I’m more of a watch his movies than read his books type.  There is an author I love to read, Jana DeLeon, and while her books can be creepy, some of them are just eerie or mysterious bordering on creepy!  But, they are also fun.

  • The Miss Fortune series (16 books) is the most fun with titles like Louisiana Longshot, Lethal Bayou Beauty, Swamp Sniper, Swamp Team 3, Gator Bait, Soldiers of Fortune, Hurricane Force, Force Hunter, Later Gator, Hook – Line & Blinker, Change of Fortune, Reel of Fortune, Swamp Spook, Fortune Furlough, Cajun Fried Felony and Swamp Santa which just came out.
  • The Ghost-in-Law Mysteries (8 books) are actually funny with titles like Trouble in Mudbug, The Helena Diaries, Mischief in Mudbug, Showdown in Mudbug, Resurrection in Mudbug, Missing in Mudbug, Chaos in Mudbug and Rose and Helena Save Christmas.
  • The Happily Ever After series (7 books) are eerie and funny too with titles like Dead Man Talking, Once Hunted  Twice Shy, Fooled Around and Spelled Love, Witchful Thinking, Total Eclipse of the Hunt, Curses and Cupcakes, and An Everlasting Christmas.
  • The Shaye Archer series (7 books) is the most creepy with titles like Malevolent, Sinister, Diabolical, Wicked, Unseen, Dreadful and Damned, but always leans towards positive outcomes.

BLOGTOBER – DAY 29 – FAVORITE SYFY type of SHOWS

For some Halloween means SCARY, HORROR type shows and movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Me, I prefer the science fiction type shows.  The SYFY channel used to be one of our favorite places for many types of series and a go to on Saturday nights for a good movie.  In recent years, NOT so much.  But we do have some favorite series from years gone by.  Many of these fall into several categories, including comedy.

  • Z NATIONZ Nation begins three years into a zombie apocalypse caused by a virus that has already killed most humans. In the days just before society fell apart, Murphy was one of three inmates who were unwilling participants in a government-approved experiment. Each inmate was given a different test vaccine. Murphy was the only one to survive the vaccine injection. He is the only known survivor of a zombie bite who did not turn into a zombie, and his blood contains antibodies that are mankind’s last and best hope for a vaccine. The series revolves around his travels with a small group of survivors being led through the apocalypse by Simon “Citizen Z” Cruller, who watches the world from his multiple computers. The group is looking to use him to solve the zombie pandemic.
  • EUREKA – A year prior to the season five premiere, at the time production for that season was nearly done, the series was originally going to be renewed for a sixth and final season but was instead cancelled. In addition, Syfy ordered an extra episode to wrap up the series.
  • HAVEN – Loosely based on The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. The third-person narrative concerns the investigation of the body of an unidentified man found on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. Lacking any identification or obvious clues, the case reaches nothing but repeated dead ends. Over a year later the man is identified, but all further important questions remain unanswered. The two-person staff of the island newspaper maintain a longstanding fascination with the case, and twenty-five years later use the mysterious tale to ply the friendship and test the investigative mettle of a post-graduate intern rookie reporter.
  • SLIDERS – The series followed a group of travelers as they used a wormhole to “slide” between different parallel universes.
  • WAREHOUSE 13 – The series follows two U.S. Secret Service Agents when they are assigned to the secretive Warehouse 13 for supernatural artifacts. 
  • SANCTUARY – A doctor and her team study and protect the strange creatures living in their world.
  • STARGATE SG1 – The story of Stargate SG-1 begins about a year after the events of the feature film, when the United States government learns that an ancient alien device called the Stargate can access a network of such devices on a multitude of planets. SG-1 is an elite United States Air Force special operations team, one of about 20 teams from Earth who explore the galaxy and defend against alien threats such as the Goa’uld, the Replicators and the Ori. The series draws upon Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, Norse mythology and Arthurian legend.
  • STARGATE UNIVERSE – A group of people form the crew of the ancient ship Destiny, which travels through the universe looking for evidence of an intelligence from before time itself.
  • STARGATE ATLANTIS – Universal Stargate teams explore the city of Atlantis in far away galaxy. This was a spin-off from the  Stargate SG-1 series.
  • THE LIBRARIANS – A group of librarians sets off on adventures in an effort to save mysterious, ancient artifacts. 

BLOGTOBER – DAY 15 – MEAL PLANNING

Today’s topic is meal planning which is a topic near and dear to my everyday way of life, but the fall is especially a fun time for meal planning with all the holidays, parties and family get togethers.

Meal planning for me can be a rather in depth process as we don’t do fast food 99% of the time and I cook MOST of the time.  Cooking for me is from scratch – no boxes, no cans to speak of.  When I meal plan I try really hard to arrange my recipes back to back to make the most of my fresh ingredients especially when I need expensive fresh herbs or veggies.

For the past couple of years I had tried MANY of the more reliable and popular Dinner Home Delivery services out there – Blue Apron, Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Gobble… At first it seemed like a great idea while we were still working on A House From Hell.  I had an offer emailed from a friend for a nice discount to give Blue Apron a try…  Long story short the recipes started to repeat themselves, the selection of recipes dwindled to where I was skipping more weeks than I was ordering and the issues that required customer service became more and more while the service became slower and slower while also less accommodating.  I even encountered a customer service line that was outsourced to somewhere that English was not their first language and the communication barrier was unbelievable!

Well, all I can say after this last box is NO MORE!!! Gobble is the last one we tried and I was SORELY DISAPPOINTED!  There was a HUGE discount to give them a try and I STILL overpaid for what arrived.  NOT only were many of the ingredients NOT fresh, many were also pre-prepared and not well at that! The original goal was to save time and money while trying some new and innovative recipes, but since that is NOT the end result I’ve cancelled all the services and will be back to doing my own planning and shopping.

This seemed like a good time to re-run this section on how I menu plan and save money while doing it.

There is more to menu planning than just deciding what to make for dinner, at least for the average family. We’re a military family used to getting paid once a month and trying to make it last. So for me, menu planning also encompasses recipe scouring, coupon clipping (we love to read the Sunday papers and have coffee. One of the things I always go for first is the coupons to see what I can save for us – hubby always laughs when I get excited at a large coupon for something already on the list – LOL), sale ad reading and logical common sense planning. I do participate in Menu Plan Monday, but I actually prepare my menu for the entire month all at once and then just break it up for posting. A little organization goes a long way.

I start the last week of the previous month with checking out what I already have in the freezer inventory and then the ads for my local markets for the upcoming week. I see what meats will be going on sale and then scour my recipe file for recipes to match. One of the biggest things I do to help not only with cost of ingredients, but also waste is to make sure that I back recipes up to each other that use similar ingredients that I can buy in bulk.

For example if a recipe calls for half an onion for Monday night’s recipe, I make sure Tuesday night’s recipe uses the other half. I also know which meals we’ll probably have leftovers for so I plan to either freeze part of it for a future meal or plan a C.O.R.N. (clean out refrigerator night) within my plan if there is only going to be a little of this and that leftover. I write my list and then I match up the coupons for whatever staples (flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc…) I need and then the luxuries if there is room within the budget. If there is a really good sale I buy in super bulk for the following month also. Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process takes less than an hour and then it’s done for the month.

It seems I have every scrap of a recipe I have ever saved as well as many of my grandma’s too. It’s like an obsession with me. If a recipe sounds good in a magazine, I figure I can make it better based on my family’s likes and dislikes and tuck it away to try and manipulate at a later date. I recently decided it was time to clean-up this mess.

I found an old metal LP file box at a garage sale for 50 cents and dressed it up a bit so it didn’t look like a trash bin on my kitchen counter. (it was a beat up lime green with stickers everywhere). I have written 2 family reunion cook books in the past which helped some with eliminating the scraps of paper and I’m also in the midst of writing a Tastebook to use as family Christmas gifts that is helping to clean up this mess on a permanent basis.

I have a perpetual list on the counter and every time we use something or run out of something, everyone is trained (finally) to list whatever they used or ran out of on an ongoing basis.

We keep a pretty concise calendar with everyone’s activities, appointments, meetings and such on it. I also write what we will be eating on each day so they’ll know what to expect. If for some reason we have to cancel a night I will rearrange the week so that the meal actually canceled is one using something from the freezer, not the fresh ingredients I’ve already purchased. When I do the shopping I buy in bulk to cut the cost and since I have my menu planned ahead of time, I break down the bulk package into meal appropriate sizes before freezing when I get home.

I originally wrote this post years ago, but nothing has changed – I still do things exactly the same.

I start with LARGE bulk packs of meat.  I then break them down by size and meat right down to cutting certain recipes into bite sized pieces.  Then I wrap them in freezer paper because I really hate freezer burn!  And I package them into pre-labeled ziploc bags for the freezer.

BLOGTOBER – DAY 14 – FALL CLOTHING

Today’s prompt was fall clothing.  I absolutely adore fall and I especially love it when we’re living in the north and the weather has a REAL season.  I pretty much wear Levis year round, but come fall it’s all about what you put with the Levis that counts!  Lots and lots of layers and comfy sweaters and comfier shoes!  Here are a few pictures from Pinterest of some of my favorite fall styles.  Under those sweaters are soft and simple camis or lightweight cotton shirts.  I love going barefoot as often as possible, but come fall whenever I go outside I have to have seriously comfy and warm footwear!

BLOGTOBER – DAY 13 – CURRENT CRAFT PROJECT

I started doing Blogtober with Sandra, but needed a bit more structure.  I found some old prompt lists and made my own compilation of those prompts.  I will start following it for the remainder of the month and try to backtrack to catch the earlier prompts too.

Today’s prompt is CURRENT CRAFT PROJECTS which is fitting as I did a tutorial on making these cute little guys.  You can find the “HOW TO” here for making your own Pumpkin family.

 

BLOGTOBER – DAY 11 – Golden Light

I’ve joined Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Blogtober 2019.  I’m joining a bit late, but catching up as I can. 

Her prompt today is “Golden Light“.  I find myself laughing at this prompt.  This is a NO can do for me up here in the Pacific North West.  Where we are is literally a “MORNING FOG” area.  The good news is that when the fog does burn off we usually end up with gorgeous golden afternoons and evenings.

UPDATE:  I was able to get a couple AM photos that despite the fog have a golden light 😀

BLOGTOBER – DAY 10 – A FALL LOOK BACK THROUGH THE BLOG

Today’s prompt of ‘A LOOK BACK THROUGH THE BLOG‘ brought me a lot of memories, especially of more recent years past when we have lived in some more colorful places.  Fall is TRULY my favorite season and always has been.  Fall is the season where we truly welcome in all the cozy traditions, family holidays, comfort food recipes and cute clothes too!  Fall is also the season I do 80% of my canning in.

Here are a few fall pictures from recent years past. 



And here’s a recipe for one of my ALL time favorite fall recipes – Chicken Chili.

BLOGTOBER 2019 day 9

I’m joining Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Blogtober 2019.  I’m joining a bit late, but I’ll try to catch up as I can.  Her prompt today is “IN THE KITCHEN.

Joining in today is a bit ironic as Sandra described the kitchen as her favorite room of the house which is mine too! Ever since I was old enough to read I have had a fascination with recipes and cooking.  When I was young the kitchen was where my family always gathered for meals, but also to catch up with each other, celebrate or play board games.  Whether it was grams cooking Sunday dinner or my dad preparing Thanksgiving dinner, the kitchen is a place that holds a lot of GREAT memories for me.

The kitchen above is one of the designs in my head that I love to dream about having someday.  The kitchen no matter the house we’re in is where I brainstorm for new recipes, read cookbooks cover to cover and tag the pages I want to try, plan most of my blog posts and enjoy myself the most!  I’m a strange woman – I actually like to do dishes and clean!  So the kitchen is really my favorite room!  I LOVE all the aromas of simmering sauces or baking breads and sweets.  Each one gives me a sense of accomplishment or brings back a tender memory of a family recipe.

I really LOVE the antique recipes I have come across over the years and recreating them to the best of my ability or seeing one of the recipes written by my grams and the memories of making it again brings.  But, I also love technology, new gadgets and bringing those same recipes into the 21st century.