Yea – I’m boring.

It’s true.  I have nothing exciting to say but had the urge to write.

Anyway….

This week I start another school term.  It’s hard for me to believe that I have approximately one more year and then I’m done.  Does that make me a college senior?  I don’t know??  This term is “Business Plan Prep” and “Leadership”.  I think the Business Planning course sounds rather interesting but I don’t know about Leadership.  We shall see.

Still hanging onto the same cold that DH and I have had since before the New Year.  Quite annoying by now.  Antibiotics are on the menu but I’m still hacking and coughing like a 100 year old smoker.

Since I didn’t make it into work yesterday, I was able to catch up on some sleep and also do a little work on my business.  See labels and some research and I listed a few things in my Etsy shop.  Not a lot but it felt good to work on something that I’ve been neglecting for almost a year.  Yes, a year.  Shameful.

And let me mention… the weather today just sucks!  Yesterday it was hovering around 30-something.  Today, 1.  That’s it. 1 degree.  At least I have a little time to sit by the fire before I go to work.

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I don’t shop at Wal-mart anymore….

I don’t shop at Wal-mart anymore.  OK…once a month we do go there so my DH can get a prescription filled and we might pick up a thing or two but since we moved, the nearest Wal-mart is now about 40 minutes away.    And that’s ok with me.

Actually, it is one of the best things that could have happened to us.  Wal-mart may be cheap and convenient but it also a place that “invites” you to spend way too much money.  Since it is so convenient, having just about everything you need under one roof, I believe that it also entices you to spend foolishly on things you probably don’t need but end up buying just cuz it’s “a great deal”.  Think about it.  How many times have to “run to Wal-mart” to pick up TP and end up leaving with 6 bags full of STUFF, while scratching your head wondering what happened.

Considering food at Wal-mart  (and this is probably the BIGGEST thing that we’ve learned since moving)…..the quality sucks!  Really, it does.  I would never have believed it either because it looks good but, it does.  Since we moved we found a small-town grocery store.  They don’t have all the conveniences of the bigger chain stores and the prices are a little higher  but what they do have is QUALITY food.  The fruits and veggies are great and more local items are available.  Fresh sweet corn from a farm right down the road is pretty hard to beat.  Produce at the local store or even a farmer’s market….more of it is organic and you’re also supporting your community.  Produce at Wal-mart…well, who knows WHERE that stuff comes from?!   The biggest difference that we’ve noticed, though, is the meat.  The quality of the meat is so, SO much better than the stuff you buy at Wal-mart.  Less greasy, better taste and it’s actually from the U.S.   I don’t care what the % of  fat is on the Wal-mart packages…..it can say the same % as the stuff on the local grocery store but the proof is in the cooking.    I can cook up 1 # of ground beef from the local store and 1# of ground beef from WallyWorld (same percentage of fat, keep in mind) and that one frying pan will hold 2x the amount of grease when the cooking is done.  Go figure.   My family and I have noticed a huge difference in the way we physically feel simply because we don’t buy food from Wal-mart anymore.   We’re all healthier, feel better with more energy and have actually lost weight.  (I’m fitting into shorts that I haven’t worn in over a year LOL)

Lunch With Friends and New Discoveries

Today we were invited to have a simple lunch with Mike’s friends, Phil and Deb.  They have a beautiful home outside of Mauston (way outside of town)….surrounded by woods and farmland.  Lunch was simple, grilled burgers, brats and pork chops with a couple of fresh salad sides.  I think my favorite was a simple salad of tomatoes, cukes, sliced onions and Italian dressing.   But, everything was delish.

Deb showed me around as it was my first time visiting their house up here and she pointed out the coolest birch bark wall switch plates that she had made.  This creative idea of course got me to thinking.  We have a nice sized birch that just fell near our driveway in our yard.  OH the things I can create!!!  I am currently doing some research to get some ideas but my first thought was to make some planters, photo frames and canisters out of the bark.  The ideas are practically endless!!!   One of my goals in moving here was to work on creating items from nature and not rely on so many “commercial” products for creativity.  Of course, many items I create are also from re-purposed or upcycled goodies.

While in Mauston today, we discovered a really cool little store.  The majority of it is craft supplies (scrapbooking taking up a major portion of the store), dishes, home decor, toiletries, tools and toys. Really a cute little store and the prices are really reasonable.  I got some adorable rubber stamps and it is someplace I will be visiting again and again. 

We recently enjoyed 4 days with no air-conditioning needed, great breezes and cool nights.  Unfortunately, the heat and humidity have returned.  And, after about a week with no rain, I watered all of my plants yesterday.  In return, Mother Nature decided that we needed approx 2″ of rain early this morning.  Oh well, now everything should be good for awhile again.  My tomatoes are really starting to get some color and I harves my 2nd mater yesterday.  The Serano peppers are getting bigger and bigger and there are a multitude of them!  I won’t be canning any more peppers this year, but I will be freezing them so I can make pepper bread this winter.

One of the best finds this week…. a FRIDGE!  The one we had had a little leaking problem inside and was pretty small.  Saw this one along the road with a For Sale sign on it yesterday so Mike did a quick turn-around and we went to check it out.  Nice size, clean, works great and the price could not be beat!  

Still working on listing new items in my Etsy shop.  I haven’t been a diligent in listing as I should be but with all the stuff to do around here, it’s sometimes hard to have the energy to keep up with my crafting.  Wood needs to be cut and stacked (Mike and the girls got 2 trees cut and stacked yesterday) but we still have a way to go in order to have enough wood for the winter.  Luckily we have a lot of fallen trees in our yard.

Thunderstorms and Spicy Dilly Beans

The past week has been both frustrating and fun.  Starting with last Tuesday night….my family sat through one of the worst thunderstorms that we’ve ever been in.  There was almost non-stop lightening for hours.  Just when you thought it was going to quiet down and the storm was over, the next line of storms would come rolling in.  Just after putting the kids to bed, CRACK and out went the lights.  So bedtime was put on hold as we sat in the living room, surrounded by candles until about 3AM.  During that time we ate cookies, talked a whole bunch and watched the storm.  There was one more slam of lightening that hit something on the house which unfortunately knocked out our TV (was new…now junk) our cable and internet.  Big disappointment…..”Oh Cable Guy!”  Fortunately by 3AM the power was back on so we all headed to bed.  (oh yeah, all this plus the leak in the hallway ceiling which is hopefully fixed for good now).

Next day kids went with Grandmas to the Dells for their first ever Duck ride.  They both had a great time and it was nice for them to be able to get out and do something fun for awhile.  It was also nice for us to be able to get away from the kids too. LOL 

The next couple of days were filled with trying to fix that leak, cleaning up the construction debris around the yard and more unpacking and sorting.  I am still amazed at all the stuff that you accumulate that you don’t realize you have until you move.  Our pile of “get rid of stuff” is continuing to grow which is a good thing so when we finally do make it to the flea market or have that rummage sale, we’ll have a good variety of stuff to sell.

The end of the week and weekend were pretty calm around here.  Hot weather with a few trips to the lake and nice cool evenings.  Mike got a new job (YEAH!!!) and started this morning.  Working on cars and tearing stuff up so it can be hauled for scrap metal.  I am grateful that he finally found something.  Yesterday my in-laws dropped off about a bushel of green beans and I got 6 quarts and 8 pints of dilly beans canned last night.  Have to wait 2 long weeks before we can taste them which is going to drive us crazy!  Recipe is posted below.  It’s pretty simple.

Couple of weeks ago we put about 6 birdfeeders in back of the house so I could watch birds through the kitchen window.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any visitors for a long time….until, I got my first visitor.  Now we get lots of birds, especially in the mornings.    I think the squirrel visiting first reassured the birds that is was a good place to eat?  At least that is our theory. 

SPICY DILLY BEANS

Green or wax beans are best in this recipe.

4 lbs green beans
6 TB salt
3 C. distilled white vinegar
3 C. water
1 tsp. dried dill weed (or 1 fresh dill head) per pint
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3 whole peppercorns
1 clove garlic (peeled)
1 slice fresh jalapeno(or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes)

Trim and wash beans well.

Combine salt, vinegar and water.  Bring to a boil.

Add seasonings to each clean hot jar.  Pack beans tightly in jars; cover with boiling liquid, leaving 1/2” head-space; seal.  Beans must be completely covered with liquid.

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields approx 6 pints.

Let’s get started…..

Let’s get this blog started.  Ok, well I’ve imported all my posts from by two blogger blogs into wordpress (glad that’s done) and now it’s time to start this new blog rolling…..

Last night was our first official night in our new house.  It was good to be back in my own bed but strange to be in a new house overnight.  Fortunately, I slept pretty good.  Lots of unpacking to get done yet and there is still some work to be done on the house but we are officially moved in (finally).   It’s also been nice to take a couple of days and just relax and slowly put things away since we’ve been constantly on the move for the past month.  Lots of driving, packing, unpacking, hauling things, remodeling etc.  Get’s pretty taxing after awhile.  Took the kids to a nearby lake yesterday and hubby went swimming with them for awhile. (I didn’t swim cuz I’ve also been sick with bronchitis for about the last 3 weeks YUK)  Anyway, it was nice to just ‘hang out’ for awhile.

Planted some Roma tomatoes here earlier in the year and they’ve got a few nice sized maters on them.  Still waiting to see signs of the peppers bearing fruit…..but I’m hopeful.  Dogs and cats seem to be adjusting OK to the new environment too. 

Country living is going to be a little hard to get used to again since we lived in town for the past three years.  I lived in the country as a kid so I’m not totally baffled by the rural setting but I’ve been a little spoiled by “city living” where there are fewer critters running amuck. 🙂  So far I’ve spotted a couple snakes in the yard, mice (EEK) and some of the biggest bugs I’ve seen in a long time.  There is an elusive mouse in the house that I’ve yet to outsmart as well as some very persistant sugar ants that will likely send me to the looney bin if I don’t get rid of them soon. 

All in all, it’s good living in the woods.  So, SO very quiet (well, except for hubby…he’s driving me a little crazy cuz he doesn’t quite yet know what to do with himself) but it’s good.

Hanging out by the stream….


Spent a good part of the day hanging out with the family by a local stream. Very, very peaceful there and it was nice to sit in the sunshine and just ‘BE’ for awhile. Took a couple of pics while I was there (of course…couldn’t resist) and also plopped myself down on the bridge with a handful or two of young, flexible willow branches from a nearby fallen tree. As it turns out….I created a pretty neat little ‘nest’ or basket out of the branches on my 2nd attempt. Who knows if it will actually hold up or if it’ll just crack and fall apart when it dries but it was a wonderful, relaxing project. I might just put it on a windowsill or set it in a planter with some houseplants. A large basket or a woven place-mat /centerpiece might be fun to make too.