Thursday, August 28, 2014

Savoring the summer

Howdy everyone! 

I hope you're all doing well and are enjoying the last bit of summer. 

My husband and I have been quite busy this summer, and have really been enjoying all the fun things that summer has to offer. 

We went camping in the Adirondacks a few weeks ago and had a really nice time.  I got sick, so I wasn't able to camp the whole time like we planned, but we made it work. 
At the Adirondack Museum-  Blue Mountain Lake in the background 
The Adirondack museum was really neat.  It is a huge set of buildings that cover everything from logging, ice production, furniture, camps, fishing, boating, you name it!  It is well worth the admission price to go and see all the amazing exhibits.  Plus you can sit in a huge adirondack style chair and get your picture taken! 

Getting out of that chair wasn't easy!  

How would you like to stay in an turn of the century "fishing camp" for millionaires? 

A wealthy man's fishing retreat from days gone by
There were so many displays to enjoy we nearly stayed there the whole day!  Our friends Josh and Renee accompanied us to the museum and it was nice being able to go check out the sites with friends. 

My husband pulled our boat up with us and he did get to fish a few times, although probably not as much as he would have liked.  He loves to fish! 

Our boat at Lake Durant
We also made a visit to the Wild center in Tupper Lake, New York.  It was really neat , although it was incredibly busy.  The staff said that we came on the busiest day they've ever had! 

The Wild Center
We enjoyed great times together since there were 9 of us total who went.  I had issues with my asthma as well as with my allergies from the cold, damp, and humid conditions.  It was difficult having to tell my husband we'd need to get a motel room, but I truly didn't want to chance ending up in the hospital.  My hubby was wonderful and told me it wasn't my fault and we got our own little motel room, about 8 miles from where we were camping.  It was clean and nice and I spent a good amount of time resting in bed.  I was feeling much better by the time we left on Friday- still not well, but I could breathe without using my inhaler every couple hours, which was nice. 

Buttermilk Falls
Anywhoo, we made it up and back safely and despite the illness, we did manage to have a nice time together. 

Now that fall is on the way, I will really try to do a better job of keeping my posts more regular. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Preparing your car for a trip

So, I had a thought this morning- I am willing to wager that you and your family have planned a vacation for the summer.  Perhaps you have already gone…perhaps you haven’t!   I know a lot of folks fly to their destination, but others (myself included) prefer traveling by car.  

Here are a few tips to ensure a car that is ready to hit the road! 

Take the time to clean the inside of the windshield before your trip.  Sometimes at night the glare of a dirty windshield is about blinding and can make traveling downright dangerous.  This only takes a few moments and is easy to do. 
Be sure to refill your windshield washer fluid and keep a bottle in the trunk.  Bugs, mud, rain spray from the road, and heaven knows what else pelt your windshield.  To keep your visibility up, be sure to fill up the reserve tank before you go! 
Check tire pressure.  Okay, so I know cars after 2008 or 2009 or something like that all have to have tire pressure monitors in the vehicle, but for those of you who are driving an older vehicle, take the time to run over to the gas station and make sure your tires are pumped up.  You can buy a tire gauge at any auto parts store, Walmart, and probably even places like Dollar General.  Just unscrew the cap on the valve stem and stick it on there.  Your tire pressure will read on the stick.  Then inflate/deflate as necessary.   There’s actually a sticker on the inside of the door that tells you the best pressure to fill the tires to.  You really don’t want to over or under inflate them.  Gas mileage will go down and excessive tire wear will happen.  No one wants to buy tires more often than they have to…or fill up the tank, for that matter. 
Check fluids.  Pull out the oil dipstick, wipe it down, stick it back in there, and pull it out again.  Make sure that the oil level is where it should be.  Do the same for brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.  If you are unsure, you can always take your car to a mechanic for a quick “check-up” to make sure it’s ready to hit the road, but it’s really easy to do any of these items.  You, your hubby, probably even your kids could do any of them. 
Check life of oil.  Do you need an oil change?  If you do, take it into the shop, or go buy yourself a filter and some oil.  My car lists what type of oil is best for the engine right on the engine cover.  Check your owner’s manual if you don’t know.  Most vehicles take 5W-30 or 10W-30, but I know our older vans used to take straight 30W, so it’s best to check.  You don’t want to risk ruining your engine.  (Of course, if you take it to the Jiffy Lube, they’ll know what type of oil you need anyway, so you won’t have to worry about it at all!)
This isn’t a safety tip as much as it is just a nicety, but clean out your vehicle before a long trip.  Take a bag out with you and get rid of any soda bottles, wrappers, leftover cheerios, used tissues, etc.  Wipe off the dash with a dust rag. 
Finally, use common sense.  If you have a vehicle that isn’t up for the trip, don’t take it.  If the transmission slips, it leaks oil like a sieve, if it overheats daily on your trip to the office…you should probably think about either renting a vehicle or just not going.  It’s not going to be worth the headache of making it halfway and having the engine blow or the transmission completely fail. 
Well, that’s about it.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer and I hope that someone is actually helped by some of these steps.  Most are just common sense things, but a refresher never hurts. 
We are planning on driving up to the Adirondacks in 2 weeks for our vacation, so I know we will be doing some of these things to our truck.  Hopefully we’ll be in for a hassle-free trip. 

Have a great day and thanks for reading! 

Feel free to comment below!  (You should be able to do it now without having to sign into the most confusing thing I’ve ever encountered- just choose anonymous from the drop down menu.) 

God bless you! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Warm and Humid

Hello everyone! 

The weather here is starting to turn warmer- we're up in the 80's most days, and a few days in the 90's, too. 

If you are like me, and don't have central air conditioning, cooking can be a rather daunting task when it's already 82 in the house.  I try to rely on skillet meals, crock pot meals, and cold suppers when the thermometer climbs. 

I thought today I'd share a few of my favorite recipes that do not require you to turn on the oven. 

Skillet Meals

Ground Beef Stroganoff
1 lb ground beef
1 med. onion, diced
4 slices crisp bacon, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cooked pasta of your choice (I usually use rotini)

Brown ground beef and onion, drain.  Add in salt, paprika and cream of mushroom soup.  Cook on low for 10 minutes.  Stir in bacon.  When ready to serve, add in sour cream.  Heat through, but don't allow the mixture to come to a boil.  Serve over pasta.   Serves 4

I served this last night with mixed vegetables, pickled beets, and bread and butter. 

Santa Fe Chicken Skillet

1 onion, chopped
1 T butter
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. salsa
1 c. uncooked rice (regular rice, not the instant kind)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( 6 oz each)
1 cup cheddar cheese

Saute onion in butter until tender.  Add in broth and salsa.  Bring to a boil then stir in rice. Place chicken over rice.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Turn chicken and cook 10-15 minutes longer till chicken is cooked and rice is tender.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Serves 4

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
4-6 chicken tenderloins
Wing Sauce
Blue Cheese Crumbles
2 Sandwich Rolls
Optional- ranch or blue cheese dressing

 Over medium heat, cook chicken tenderloins in a skillet until cooked through.  Chop roughly and place in a bowl.  Add in as much wing sauce as you would like.  Stir to coat.  Add in 2-3 Tablespoons of blue cheese crumbles.  Allow cheese to warm/melt then place chicken onto sandwich roll.  Top with lettuce and tomato.  Use blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side, if you'd like to dip your sandwich.  Serves 2

Other easy meals that can be cooked on the stove top:

* Sloppy Joe sandwiches (hubby likes a slice of cheddar cheese on his- try it!)
* Tacos
* Eggs and Bacon (most everyone likes a 'breakfast for supper' night now and again)
* Stir Fry

Next time, I'll give you some crockpot meal ideas! 

This time of the year, I have a bigger problem with dust than I seem to in the winter time.  (If you have forced air heat, you may have the opposite problem!) I find it easiest to dust on a specific schedule instead of doing it "whenever it needs it"...cause if I were to do that, it likely wouldn't get done at all.  Truly, to just do a quick touch up job, it takes me about 15 minutes and I tend to watch TV while I'm doing it.  I always use a dry cloth (such as swiffer) or a feather duster and just give everything a quick wipe.  When the pollen is out and the windows are open, it tends to accumulate pretty quickly.  I recommend a once a week dusting to keep things looking neat and tidy. 

I've been listening to both of these CD's recently and I recommend them to you.  Joey + Rory are a country duo and both my husband and myself really like their music.  The latest CD they released is a collection of classic country hits that they grew up listening to.  They are down-to-earth people who really love what they do, and really love each other.  They have their own TV show on RFD-TV.  We went to see them in concert a couple years ago, and they were truly wonderful- they signed CD's for us, took pictures with us, and were so friendly and nice. 

The Wow Worship Deluxe edition double CD is great!  I actually won this by calling into a radio contest at WGRC- I couldn't believe I actually got through, and couldn't believe that I had the first correct response.  Woohoo!  Who doesn't love free music?  :)

I suppose that's all for today, friends.  I hope you are doing well.  Thank you for taking the time to read my little blog.  May God bless you!  :) 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Book Recommendation or Two...

Howdy there, friends!  

How are you all doing today?  I hope you are well and that you are enjoying a great morning, day, or evening, depending on when you're reading this. 

I thought today's post might be a bit shorter- I've wanted to do a recommendation post for awhile now, but wasn't quite sure exactly what you might be interested in...then I got an idea. 

Are you looking for a book filled with wonderful memories, happy nostalgic photos, and happy snippets of people's lives?  There are quite a few books that were put out by Reiman publications back in the late 1990's/early 2000's that I recommend for anyone. 

These books are easy to find on Amazon- I bought them all for 1 penny each (plus 3.99 shipping) with the exception of the School Days book.  I won that one in a "find Hattie's Hatpin" contest sponsored by Reminsce back in 2000!  I don't have all of the books, but here are the titles in case you aren't able to read them from the picture:

"When Families Made Memories Together"
"We Had Everything But Money"
"School Days"
"We Pulled Together...and Won!"

Other titles that I'll purchase as space on the bookshelf allows:

"We Made Our Own Fun"
"When the Banks Closed, We Opened Our Hearts"
"The Christmases We Used to Know"
"Motorin' Along"
"Tough Times, Strong Women"

These books are nicely printed on glossy paper, have lots of black and white pictures with captions, and are jam packed with stories sent in by readers of Reminisce magazine.   

 I would recommend sticking with the older titles.  Reiman Publications was bought out by Reader's Digest in 2005 or so and things have really gone downhill since then.  I no longer subscribe to Taste of Home, Reminisce, or Country Woman because the magazines (in my opinion) have been VERY commercialized and have lost so much of the essence of what made them special. 

Here is a peek at what you can expect to read in these wonderful, homey, wholesome books: 

"When I was 14 or 15 years old, I saw a cedar hope chest in the Sears catalog and knew that's waht I wanted for Christmas. But we didn't have much money that year and Dad was working at odd jobs just to feed us all.  I put the hope chest out of my mind. 

When Dad finished doing some work for a neighbor, she offered him an old clothes closet she no longer needed.  Dad remembered my wish, took that closet apart, and made a cedar chest for me for Christmas!  He also used the wood to make a jewelry box for my sister. 

That chest is still my prized piece- a reminder of a young girl's wish, and all her dad did to make it come true."  From When Families Made Memories Together

And here's another:

"After three days at an invasion site in Salerno, Italy, our assault transport, the USS Samuel Chase, started back to Algeria.  That night the Luftwaffe found us and we underwent an intense raid.  Just as the attack subsided, one of the 40 mm guns malfunctioned.  At daybreak, the gunner's mates discovered a broken part. 

There was no replacement part to be found in Algeria; we'd have to wait until we got back to the States.  In Bayonne, New Jersey we were surprised we still couldn't locate the part. 

The word went out all along the East Coast, but we kept getting the same response: No part.
Finally, a seaman who had observed this fiasco said, "I think I can find that part."  In a most unmilitary way, he was given cash, a car, and a driver.  Her returned within in the hour.

"Did you find one?" he was asked.


"How much was it?"

"Five bucks," the sailor said, "so I bought four."

"Where on earth did you find them?"

"Montgomery Ward." 

From We Pulled Together...and Won!"

I hope that you enjoyed these two little snippets from some books that I consider warm, comforting, and a nice slice of life from back in the day. 

God bless you, reader.  Have a wonderful evening. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my little blog.  I do appreciate it.  :) 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer is on its way!

Are you shocked to see a new post? 

Frankly, I am a little shocked that it took me so long to get on the ball and write a new one. 

It was a long, cold, kind of miserable winter in Pennsylvania, and after shoveling snow, driving on slippery roads, and bundling up, I am so so glad that it's nearly summertime! 

The leaves are on the trees, the pollen is flying through the air, and Loratadine is my bestest friend!  lol

Since posting last, here's what we have been up to...


Visiting family


And naturally, fishing

Most all of these things are possible because...*drumroll, please* we got a new car in February! 

The poor Lumina was having a lot of problems.  We put 900 dollars into the engine in January and I was not confident of it's ability to keep on keeping on like I needed it to.  We decided to use some of the money from our income tax return and purchase a newer vehicle. 

Meet our new (to us) 2013 Impala: 

Uh, clearly this picture was taken in the winter.  We had the snowiest winter on record that was a lot of fun.  We worked literally for a few hours on clearing this space to park the new car once we got it.  lol  The snow was piled in big heaps all around the house! 

I love my new car.  It is comfortable, reliable, and it's got a 3.6 which equals a lot of peppy acceleration.  Not that I'm a fast, but still, if I needed it, it's there to use! 

So, that's sort of a quick catch up of what the husband and myself have been up to.  In addition, I've learned to crochet, which is pretty fun.  I'm working on making a blanket to keep us toasty this winter.  

The weekend after Easter, hubby and I were baptized in our church.  It was a wonderful and amazing experience that neither of us will forget.  Praise God!!  :) 

Tomorrow is my hubby's 40th birthday, so I am looking forward to giving him a few little things and spending the day fishing with him on Rose Valley Lake (his birthday request.).

I will try to post with quite a bit more regularity!



Monday, October 14, 2013

Squirreling things away for winter

It's that time of year!  Time to get that pantry stocked up and in order.

Is it a fun task?  Well, it depends on how you look at it. 

While I don't particularly like organizing and cleaning, I do like thinking about all the yummy treats and fun things I'll be baking in the next few months. 

I like to keep a basic stock of things on hand for the chilly and cold autumn and winter months.  I don't keep as much of this around during the summer, because it's too warm to want to use the oven very much. 

Take a look in your cupboards and clean out the foods that are either expired (toss those) or things that you probably won't eat but still have a good date (give to family or a food bank). 

Each family should keep things on hand that they find useful and based on meals that they like to eat.

Here is a partial list of canned/dry items that I like to keep around this time of the year:

"Cream of" soups (I try to keep 2 each of mushroom, chicken, celery, and 1 broccoli in the house)
Evaporated Milk
Condensed Milk
Tomato Soup
Dry Onion Soup Mix
Green beans
Black Olives
Spaghetti Sauce
Crushed tomatoes
Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Dried Spaghetti
Rice/Noodle mixes
Mashed potato mix

And then:
Vegetable Oil
Olive Oil
Baking Soda
Brown Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Chocolate Chips

Again, that is just a partial list.  I think it's nice to keep it in the house during the colder months.  If the roads are bad, I don't like going to the grocery store if  I don't have to.

Another thing that I like to do this time of the year is get rid of the regular sheets and dig out the comfy-cozy flannel sheets!

I learned on a website a few years ago that you can easily fold all your sheets and put them into a pillow case for storage.  It is so much easier to pull a pillowcase off the shelf than it was to try and pull out everything individually.  We have a queen sized mattress and the sheets and pillow cases really do fold up small enough to tuck them right inside.  Give it a try!

I really wanted a nice soft cotton blanket to add a layer of warmth to the bed this year.  Our blankets are an older felt-style and although they are okay, I love how much warmth those cotton blankets hold in.  I went to Walmart and wasn't able to find anything but fleece there.  At Kmart, however, I found exactly what I was looking for.  It's not time for the heavy quilt my mom made us yet, but it does get chilly some nights and I love the cozy warmth that comes from a combination of flannel sheets and soft cotton blankets.  :)  

I think that's about all for now, friends. 

  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalms 37:11

Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn tidings of cheer

Hello and a happy day to you, reader!

I hope you are enjoying the autumn season so far.

Fall leaves along Route 6, McKean County, PA

Up until today, we've recently been having some very summer-like weather.  For the past week and a half it has been in the low 80's and rather humid.  

I love fall and I've been kind disappointed with the reluctance of summer to give up its hold on our area.  A cold front blew through today with some much needed rain, and we're going to be in the mid 60's for the rest of the week.  Woohoo! 

I've been enjoying Orange and Spice tea (Bigelow brand) lately, just because it's the right time of the year to start enjoying it.  I haven't always been a tea drinker, but I do enjoy many of the herbal varieties.  I love iced tea, as well, but I consider that more of a spring/summer beverage, so come fall/winter, I start breaking out the tea. 

We went on a vacation last week and enjoyed our time in Western Pennsylvania.  I didn't take a ton of photos, but here are a few that we did take.  

Chapman State Park was our first stop.  While there, we came across (and hiked) a rail trail.

I wish we could have watched the old puffing, chuffing locomotives roll through the area!

The mist of the early morning greeted us on our hike! 

Sadly, when these were railroads, it meant that the timber from the land was taken- typically stripped till there were no trees left at all.  Thankfully, responsible forestry has been integrated so that logging no longer entails stripping the land down to nothing.  

We stayed in a cute little camping cottage.  
Camping Cottage 3
 Chapman State Park had some really nice hikes.  We went on a few, but I wished we could have gone on more.  The scenery was beautiful.  
Nature Trail

A few days later, we took the boat out to Lake Erie and went fishing on Presque Isle bay.  

On our way out, we saw these turtles hanging out on a log!   

 Map turtles

We putted out into Misery Bay where we saw the Perry Monument

 There's a boat tour company that is right in Misery Bay, too.  You can pay to take a ride on the Lady Kate and see scenic Lake Erie and learn about the history of the area.  Since we were here in mid-September, the tours were done for the year.  

The Lady Kate

Scott heard that the steel head were running up from the lake.  I believe they are a cross between a trout and a salmon.  They stay in Lake Erie until fall, and then migrate up into the tributary steams and spawn in the springtime.  These fish are a huge draw to the area.  In the late fall and winter, you'll see men lined up elbow to elbow trying to take one of these trophies home.  

Steel Head Trout in Walnut Creek
 Sometimes I feel like all we ever do on our vacations is fish, but then I remember how much my hubby loves it.  It really relaxes him and puts him in a great mood- whether he catches fish or not.  (And he usually does catch fish.) 

We were at Pymatuning later on that night and I captured this photo that I really liked. 

 It was dark enough that my camera couldn't quite capture anything but the outline of these plants.  I thought it was kind of pretty. 

We took a tour of Ohio Amish country and stopped at Heini's Cheese Chalet.  That place was huge.  They had around 50 different kinds of cheese that you could sample and purchase.  It was an interesting place, to say the least.  
 Heini's Cheese Chalet

We drove past this display, which I thought was really amazing!  
Someone had taken the time to fill the entire bed of this pick up truck with pumpkins and gourds!  I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a good picture- this is the best out of the 3 that I took, and it's still a little blurry, but you can kind of get the idea.  

After a long day of shopping and sampling, we stopped at Der Dutchman for supper.  No joke, I ate the best chicken I've ever had in my life there.  It was superb.  

It was a very fun (and long) day.  We both had a wonderful time.  

We drove home after staying at my parent's house for a few days, and then a couple days at the camp.  
 After a quick stop at the Kinzua Dam to use the facilities and check out the visitor center, we were on our way home.  
Kinzua Dam

We were treated to beautiful (early) leaf foliage while driving across Route 6.  

That was our vacation.  It wasn't a thrill a minute, but it was relaxing and fun!  :)  

Upon coming home, I've finally cleaned and decorated the place for autumn.  We bought a couple beautiful mums and some festive pumpkins and gourds to set on the front porch.  I'll have to post a picture of those some other day, since it is pitch dark outside right now.  

I bought a kit earlier this year to make 2 gallons of root beer.  I finally made it tonight.  It needs to ferment for a few days and then we can drink it!  I'm excited to see how it turned out.  Here's a picture of the finished bottles!
I'll be sure and let you know how it turned out.  :) 

I think that's about all for tonight, folks.  I pray that you have a great week and are enjoying the weather wherever you are.  Keep the home fires burning!  

Blessing to you my friend,