Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Friday

I'm hoping that everyone survived the Thanksgiving Holiday and are probably by now back in to the routine of everyday life. Did you join the throngs of people who got out in the cold to take part in the Black Friday specials? I didn't I stayed home and enjoyed the nice warm fire and cozy bed, but I did not get much sleep...Why? You might ask, since I was all cozy and warm. Well, I have 2 teenagers (soon to be 16 & 18) they wanted to go to the sales (starting at midnight no less...), so after much discussion persuasion on their part. I gave in to them going to the sales on their own, with an older guy friend along. The only conditions were that:
1. They called or texted me every time they arrived at or departed from a store.
2. They carried wallets in front pockets or purses zipped and on arm at all times.
3. They stuck together and NO ONE was to be by themselves.
4. They were NOT to stand out in the cold; they must wait in car for store to open then go in.
5. If there was a period of time in between stores opening, they were to go to get a Taco Bell (open in the wee hours) get a snack and wait there.
6. If any of the above requirements were neglected, ignored or abused....there would be dire consequences in the form of some serious groundings from computer time, cell phones, and car privileges.

So, what did I do on Thanksgiving Evening and Black Friday morning.....I WORRIED (like any normal mother) and waited patiently anxiously on Text messages and phone calls all night long...Growing Up is Hard To Do, especially for the Parents.

How did it go? Well, they survived...they got to spend their saved allowances...and learned a few lessons; like how people become so crazily obsessed with STUFF when they think that they are going to get it Cheap??? and don't care about any one else around them or how RUDE and Careless people can be. They learned that it really wasn't worth staying up all night long freezing in the winter cold all for a $7 Tee Shirt...

All in all, we all made it through and they got to grow up a little more, gained some knowledge and realized that next year they will listen to their Mom and get all their deals on the Internet...and have a group of friends over instead for a night of games, hot chocolate, and good food.

Oh, the Lessons we learn as we GROW into adults.....if only, I could have learned some lessons early on in life........:-)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Praying that you enjoy this wonderful holiday with family and friends.
That you will be surrounded by Love and Peace and the knowledge that God Loves You!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Life, Weight Loss and Car Shopping

Greetings my Friends,

I am still here....Life at Red Bud Cottage has been extremely utterly crazy busy, to say the least.

We have been car shopping...This alone can make life really turned upside down for awhile. It is not a process that I look forward to. Although every now and again it is necessary. All looking, researching, inquiring, driving, taking to mechanic, haggling over price, etc. is just time consuming and sometimes frustrating. 
pic from ridelust.com

We finally decided on a 2008 Toyota Yaris. Since, I drive quite a bit for my work this was an excellent choice as it is rated to get 37 MPG City and 40 MPG Hwy. Thus this little car will help with the gas bill. I was beginning to worry a lot about our Jeep breaking down on me somewhere, so I am thankful that God has given us this vehicle.

During our research on this vehicle we found that many people can get more mpg hwy mileage. Well, I tested that theory the other day when I made a trip to Ft. Smith and back. They are right in the fact that you can get more mpg. Our car is a standard 5 speed, thus we have a little more control of the car with consideration to being able to coast, shift down, etc. Plus, I am not a "lead-foot" when it comes to driving. In fact, my Knight would like it if I would drive a little more like others. But, I am not one to take risk or drive above the speed limit so I take it easy....Well, it paid off...I got 51 MPG on that little trip all Hwy miles. AWESOME! Then when I filled up again this week I got 40.3 MPG with a combination of Hwy and City miles...

Besides car shopping, the kids have been studying for semester tests, we have been listing and selling items on Craigs List, we are preparing my Knight's music room for a make-over, and everyone is getting anxious for Thanksgiving holiday...I think we are just really excited for a few days off to just relax, enjoy family, eat lots of yummy food, and sleep in late (even though I know that won't happen).

Oh, I wanted to update my weight loss. As some of you know I have been on a diet with my Knight since summer. I have officially lost 40 pounds since August 2010. I am feeling so much better, lighter and healthier. I am having to shop every few weeks for clothes, especially slacks. I am thankful that I have found something that works for me and that I can do. Currently, I am off the diet because I want to enjoy the holidays, but I will start up again after the first of the year. I still have about 30 pounds that I would like to lose. This is a total of 77 pounds since October of 2008.

I would like to say a big "Thank You" to my Knight who was also doing this diet with me (until he reached his goal weight), his love and support mean the world to me. Also, "Thank You" to all the others who have encouraged me, complimented me and just kept me focused on the process. It is much appreciated. It kept me uplifted to keep on track.

So there you have it, some of the happenings in my little corner of the world.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holidays Fast Approaching

Before we all know it Thanksgiving will have come and gone and Christmas and New Year's will be fast approaching like a speeding bullet.....I don't know about you but I like to enjoy my Holidays....spending time with family and friends, not chasing around crowded stores and streets looking for presents.

For several years now, I have completed most if not all my Christmas shopping before Dec. 1st. Last year I didn't even step foot into a store. I did all my shopping online, taking advantage of sales. I used all FREE Shipping sites, so that I didn't incur shipping costs. It was fun for 8 weeks leading up to Christmas, because we were getting packages nearly everyday delivered at the house. I had to inform everyone that they were NOT to open a single package since it might be their gift. The suspense almost did them all in.

Well, we got started this week doing our shopping. I have ordered a few online and will await their arrival. But we also did some store shopping this evening. We draw names on 2 of the 4 Family Christmas' we have. Each are "themed" gifts, one is Books (get a book or books for your name) and the other is Flowers (gift must contain a flower of some sort). The flower one has me a little stubbed as we have a $10 - $15 price limit. That is why I am store shopping.

I told my Knight tonight that I am determined to have my presents all bought and wrapped by Dec. 1...He agreed so now you know where all my focus will be for the next couple of weeks.

Are you a Christmas shopper all year long? Do you have a strategy? Do you enjoy the hunt of that one special gift? Do you like the hustle and bustle of shopping from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve? Or do you like to get it done before the crowds begin?

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homemade Jerky

My Knight running the meat strips onto the dehydrator tray.
See the Meat & Sauce mixture on the left.
 If you like store bought Jerky or Slim Jims then you need to try you hand at making your own Jerky. We make jerky from venison, but you could also use beef. It is really not a hard process at all.

We first ground up the venison to the texture of hamburger meat. This makes the jerky more tender. Then we mixed brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper together until we had a Teriyaki kinda of flavor. Please, don't ask me how much....it was all a guess. But there are lots of recipes on the Internet or recipe books, if you are looking for a specific flavor or guide.

Meat in the dehydrator ready for drying.
No to appetizing yet ~ But will soon be.
We then mixed the meat with the sauce and let it marinate covered overnight in the refrigerator. Then this evening we took this Caulk Gun type contraption that is made for jerky and filled it with the meat mixture. We then squeezed out long strips of meat onto the dehydrator trays.

We placed in the dehydrator at 145 degrees for 4 hours. This will protect it from spoiling. After drying for 4 hours the temperature is lowered to 130 degrees for slower drying and a higher quality of jerky. Which will take another 4 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of your strips.

End result, delicious ~ NO Preservatives ~ Venison Jerky.  Which will not last very long in this house.

Happy Dehydrating!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Boys

This past Sunday Afternoon was a rare occassion around our home. All "My Boys" were together. This rarely happens due to everyone's busy schedules.....What brought them together?  Well, it is this crazy thing called "Deer Hunting" . From the oldest (50 something) to the youngest (just 2 years old), they all enjoy the sport.

This past weekend was the State Youth Hunt. Which means that anyone under the age of 16 can hunt (with adult supervision) and without a license. So early Saturday morning off they went, the older ones teaching the younger ones the skills of this "Hunt and Gather" need that most all men have. Their mission was successful. These are pics of them doing the hard part of the "suscessful hunt"...cutting, cleaning and packaging.

My Knight

Kendall & Drew
Titus & Isaac (Drew's boys)
 Happy Hunting,

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homemade Ham Chowder

Our Cell Group Bible Study was at our home this past week. We always have a meal and fellowship before we do our study and prayer time. So, for the main dish I made a Homemade Ham & Cheese Chowder. The group "licked" the pot clean...

They ate it ALL GONE!
So, I thought I would my recipe here. Now, I very rarely ever use a written recipe. I am one of those cook's that just use what I have, taste and add until I get something I like.  There have been many a times that my family or friends have really enjoyed something and asked me to make it again...I always tell them I will try, but I didn't write anything down so it might be just a little different that the last....Well, this time I made myself write it down because everyone kept complimenting it...so, here it is

Serina's Homemade Ham Chowder

Serves 20

1 lb. bacon, diced
2 large onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
6 tablespoons all-purposed flour
3 cups heavy cream (can use milk, I just didn't have any on hand)
3 cups water
2 cups carrots, I used 1 quart home canned, drained and diced
2 cups potatoes, I used 1 quart home canned, drained
1 pint or can(15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
Pepper to taste
3 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese, softened
1 lb. thinly sliced fully cooked ham, cut into cubes

In large heavy bottom pot, cook the bacon until crisp. I used medium heat. Scoop out the bacon onto paper towels to drain. In the drippings, saute the celery, onion, and pepper until tender. (If you use fresh carrots, add them at this time). Stir in the flour until well blended. Then add the milk and water slowly. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for several minutes or until soup begins to thicken. (If too thick add a little more water. If too thin add a little more flour that has been mixed with a few teaspoons of water, this is so it won't lump up in the soup) Next, add the potatoes, carrots (if you didn't add the earlier) and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until everything is heated through and potatoes and carrots are tender. Add shredded cheese. Stir in until melted. Now add cream cheese a little at a time, stirring until all is melted and incorporated within the soup. Finally, add the ham and the bacon to the mixture. This serves approximately 20.

This is a very yummy and satisfying soup on a chilly night....


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learning New Skills

Dear Ones....This last week has been CRAZY...

Between the normal days of life then all the extras that get thrown in along the way...I just couldn't keep up. But, during the course of this last week our 15 yo son Kendall did get a lesson on how to change the oil in our Jeep.  He also learned how to rotate tires that same day.

Just love the Suns Rays showing in this pic.

Oh, the joys of children growing up....
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