Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can I Just Say,

I was pretty disgusted when I cleaned out the storage room and found the ridiculous amount of Dollar Tree items I had bought and put away for "later".  By the time "later" came around, I didn't want the stuff anymore.

I remember when Dollar Tree opened and it was such a novelty, and all the neat toys and home decor and kitchenwares and everything was just.a.dollar!
If I had all those just a dollar's back, I think we'd be rich.

I was sickened when I realized the amount of toys around here. Because I rarely got rid of any of their toys, I'm confronted with the years and years of ridiculousness. Not the ridiculousness of me saving everything, which was pretty ridiculous, but how much there was to save.
Everytime we went to the store they had to have something. Birthdays, Easter, and Christmas were always big Toy events.
What the hell was I thinking?

But I am straight up horrified by my Beanie Baby and Pez collections.
I knew I had a good bit of a collection, but in reality I had no idea of the true extent of it.

No wonder J isn't able to drive around in a brand new truck with upgrades even though he works three jobs.

Ughhhh. I'm so sick of myself.

Well. The good news is, they are in plastic tubs and stored - hopefully safely - out of the way in the attic.
And maybe one day their value will come back, since - sadly - that is about the extent of our kids' inheritance.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


or Torture?
So as some of you know, I have a bit of a hoarding problem that I've been working on. The other night, during one of the periods the internet was down and I didn't feel like reading (!) I turned on the tv and - yay - found Hoarding: Buried Alive was on.  That show gives me hope, lights a fire under my fanny.

The past few days I've been walking around here at loose ends. I want to do something, but just don't really know where to start.
Eventually I decided a good place to start would be to work on my Collections. It's a long story, but basically I have several Collections of Stuff that I can't (won't, same difference) get rid of.
My Collections take up a lot of room around here, so I decided the best place for them would be in the attic.

We have a Hip roof, with a large gas furnace right in the center, so our attic doesn't have a whole lot of storage room. And, the last time I stored some things up there, squirrels got in and chewed and poo'ed and messed stuff up. But, I had that stuff stored in cardboard boxes and plastic bags. It occurred to me if I store stuff up there in plastic storage containers, maybe they'd be safe against pesky intruders.

I have several of the plastic storage containers around here, just filled with other stuff, so first I had to sort through some of those.

There were four of them upstairs that I knew were filled with "Memories": old t-shirts, school papers, vacation souvineers, personalized doo-dads, and so on and so on.

One of things I kept was the boys' old ball caps, mostly from their Little League years. There was a couple of caps that were Ryan's because he was more of a cap wearer (like his Dad) when he was little. But he's not sentimentally attached to his old caps, especially the baseball ones, because they never were that interested in baseball and only played because I encouraged it.
So, no problem, I think, I can get rid of the ball caps without remorse.

But then I see these. Personalized. My kid's names.
Ok, I tell myself. That's ok. There's other boys out there named Kevin and Ryan that would probably enjoy having a cap with their name on it. It'll be ok.

Then I see these! Our family name!

Then I found this Frog costume that my sister made for Kevin about a million years ago.
Had it been anything but a frog, I think I would be okay with it, even though she made it, but frogs are, like, our thing. (Croaker - frog - get it?)

Then I found Ryan's old "Goin' to Grandma's" bag. This came after he got too old for a diaper bag, but still had stuff to carry: drink box, snacks, clean outfit, small toys, paper and crayons. He carried that thing all.the.time. 
Then there's the bag he made at one of his Vacation Bible Schools. I keep thinking I'm not that sentimentally attached to it, but then I'll see his name wrote inside, or I'll think, but that's still a good, useful bag, I could use it for something, and it was his.

Then I came across a bag of my kids' old (like nearly 30 years old) baby blankets and crib sheets.
Sweet as they are, I decided any DILs I ever have will probably want New stuff, in whatever Matching Set they choose, and not my old, used, mis-matched stuff, so I might as well give to someone who might could use it, right.
I no sooner thought it, that the very next things I came across included MY pink baby blanket. And it is precious to me, and I'm glad to have it, and here I am standing there contemplating getting rid of my kid's baby blankets!

So, yeah, I'm having a pretty hard time with dealing with this this un-Hoarding thing.

You know what doesn't help at.all? J looking in the box of stuff I was able to get rid of and start asking "Why you gettin' rid of this?", or saying "I wanna keep that".
I was like, "I WANT TO KEEP ALL OF IT!!!!! BUT I CAN'T, CAN I??????"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


is the reason I can't get 95% of the stuff I want to do done.

J and R primering the dresser I bought for $8 bucks at a thrift store with Zinsser primer. Thing is, I still can't decide what color I want to paint it.

I also can't decide if I want to keep it, or sell it.  Me & J could really use a dresser. All we have is an antique chiffarobe with a small closet and 4 really small drawers, but we don't have room in our bedroom for a dresser.  Both of the boys already have dressers so they don't need one. So it seems like the most logical thing would be to sell it.  But me & J could really use a dresser, and I only paid $8 for this one...
But I have no place to put it.

But I would have a place to put it if I could get rid of some of (a lot of)(most of) the junk around here.
I just can't decide what to do with it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Poptarts

Today I decided to try making some Homemade Poptarts.
I've seen a few Pins on Pinterest, and checked them out, and basically, they were recipes for making crust, with some jelly/jam for filling.

Well, I had crust, and some homemade Peach jam my Mom made. I don't think it can get much easier than this.

The filling recipe calls for mixing the jam with some cornstarch and water, but I didn't have any cornstarch, so I googled "cornstarch substitute" and discovered I could use twice the amount of all-purpose flour instead.

I halved the recipe from the internet, so I used about 1/3 cup of jam, 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 Tsp. water. Mixed it all and put it in a pan and brought it to a boil for a minute or so.

I rolled the crust out by folding wax paper in half over it, then cut into retangles -ish.

The recipe calls for brushing an egg/milk wash on the bottom crust before putting on the filling. I don't know why you do that. (I'm out of eggs, so I used some egg substitute.) (I don't have a cooking brush, either, so I spread with the back of a spoon.)

Spoon on the filling and spread around to about a quarter inch from the edges, then put the top crust on and seal the edges with a fork. You can poke vent holes with a fork or a toothpick.

In some of them I used chocolate chips for the filling.

To make a glaze frosting, mix confectioners sugar and milk. (I used 1/2 c.sugar and 1 Tbsp milk.)

Bake at 350* for about 15-20 minutes until golden. Let cool on racks for awhile, then brush on the sugar glaze.

The boys said they were good, especially the chocolate ones, haha.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunday Dinner

This morning I fixed a bigger-than-usual breakfast, with bacon, grits, eggs and toast (for the boys).  I got out the homemade apple butter and jellies Mom had canned in previous years, and needed a new jar for saving my bacon grease because my other jar is full (because I forget to use it instead of shortening or oil).

As I was pouring the bacon grease, I was wondering if it needed to be kept in the refrigerator. I keep mine in the fridge, but Grannie never did. She had a metal cannister thing that had GREASE stamped on it, with a strainer inside, that sat on her stove she poured her bacon grease in to.  She also used it a whole lot more than I do, though.

As I was thinking about Grannie and her stove, I started feeling nostalgic for Sunday Dinners at Grannie's we used to have when I was a kid.
It wasn't every Sunday, though it sometimes seems like it in my memories, but probably more like once a month or so, everyone would go to Grannie's house for Sunday Dinner. Sometimes it would just be us and my Mom's sisters and brother, but more often several of Grannie's brothers and/or sisters and their families would show up, too.
Grannie would always fry chicken in her big iron skillet. She'd make green beans in her pressure cooker, tater salad, creamed corn and corn on the cob, fried okra, biscuits, gravy, and cornbread. And chocolate cake, with fudge icing that no one in the family has been able to replicate since.

Nor, apparently, her fried chicken. Mom is the only one of her sister's that can even remotely fry chicken, and (sorry, Mom!) her's just ain't that good.  I've tried a few times over the years, but so far, no good.
I refuse to give up trying. I couldn't make gravy for a long time, or biscuits for even longer, but I just kept trying and trying, and finally, I got it!
I know how Grannie told me to fry chicken, but I thought maybe I'm missing something, or over-complicating the issue.  I've gotten lots of helpful hints from the internet about all kinds of things in the past, so I figured I'd look around and see if I could find any "magic tricks" for making southern fried chicken.

Not really, but I ended up coming across a really, really easy recipe for "Unfried Chicken" at the Kraft foods site.
Basically, you marinate chicken parts (it called for whole cut up chicken but I only had boneless/skinless breasts) in a 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing (called for Kraft Lite but I only had Wishbone) in the fridge for 30 minutes, then coat in Shake-n-Bake, and bake in the oven on 400* for 40-45 minutes.

But, I didn't have any Shake'n'Bake.  I thought to myself, 'There's a recipe for 'homemade' everything else on the internet, I bet there's one for homemade Shake-n-Bake, too'.
I have no idea what is in Shake-n-Bake, but I found a recipe at Allrecipes I thought I could handle. It involved a lot of spices, several of which I didn't have, but was able to find at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each. Except Celery Salt, which I found at a local grocery store for $1.09. (Walmart only had a big +$4 bottle.)

Got the supplies for the Shake-n-Bake gathered up.
Put the chicken parts in a 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing to
marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour (or so).
When I started making my Shake-n-Bake, I ended up not having enough breadcrumbs. I already knew I didn't, and could have bought a cannister of them at the Dollar Tree, but I said, 'You know, I think I can make home made bread crumbs.'

Put pieces of bread in single layer on a cookie
sheet and put in oven on about 300*. I turned mine over
several times so they'd dry evenly on both sides.
Took about 15 to 20 minutes.
Break up dried bread into food processor and chop.
Voila'. Homemade bread crumbs.
Mixed up the Shake-n-Bake in a ziplock bag.
 Made at least two or three batches, maybe more.
I stored the rest in the freezer. Don't know if I
needed to, though.
"Unfried" Chicken, field peas & snaps,
and garlic roasted mashed potatoes.
It was pretty good!
Eventually I realized today was Saturday, not Sunday, haha!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Good thing I'm Not OCD

Why did I think bedsheets had to match anyway?

I inherited the flat/top sheet and pillow cases from my Mom and/or Grannie. The fitted sheet I bought at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago for 54¢.   These sheets are much better quality than the past two $40.00+ sets I've bought!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Political Post

I have spent the past 40-something years with the "Head Buried in the Sand" Political Party. I don't understand politics, I don't follow politics, I make decisions based on things like whose looks are pleasing to my eye, or spousal cheating, or Past Actions rather than What They're Saying While Campaigning.

We learned...or rather, they taught us about Government and Presidential elections and brought in voting machines to teach us about in high school. (Some of us just didn't care enough to learn.)

The first time I was old enough to vote was in 1988. I was 21 years old, had a baby to support with sporadic help from an ex-husband, and could care less about what was going on in the world outside of my own. My parents voted Republican, so I did, too.

Four years later I had another husband, another kid, and we were busy working on our "pursuit of happiness" and the American Dream. Once again I wasn't really all that interested in all the political rigamarore, until I saw the interview the Clinton's did on "60 Minutes" after he was accused of cheating.
I'm not the type of person that automatically believes everything I hear. He's running for President, it's not illogical, or surprising, that some one would pay a chick to try to discredit the man. I would need more proof.
And turned out, he himself gave it to me. He couldn't straight out, unequivocally say, "No, I have not had an affair with anyone during my marriage".   He tried to dance around the truth, sort of saying no, but yeah.
To me, that's the same as straight up lying. People lie, okay, but this guy was running for PRESIDENT. That is not okay.  Our President should be open and forthright and honest!
My parents didn't even have to tell me to vote Republican that year.

I had no idea what the Clinton's did politically during their first term as President, but I remember thinking no way he would be elected again, and for the second time finding myself surprised when he was!

Four years later, I was back to being apathetic about politics and the Presidency, and voted Republican because my parents did.

9/11 scared me. I didn't really understand what was going on in the aftermath, with the Iraq attack and all. But my parents still voted Republican and I trust my Dad, who's smarter and understands things better than I do, to know what's best.

For the 2008 election year, the Democrats had a candidate named Barack Hussein Obama.  Really. After Muslims hijacked planes and crashed them into the twin towers and killed over 3,000 Americans. After we attacked Iraq to hunt and kill the Dictator, Saddam HUSSEIN. After a terrorist named OSAMA BIn laDEN claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attack.

Seriously, I laughed. I figured hell, the Dems must want the Repubs to win, because no way, NO WAY, is someone named Barack Hussein Obama is going to be elected President of the UNITED STATES.

I could not believe it. Flabbergasted doesn't even come close. There was no way. I was certain the election had to have been fixed.  To be honest, I'm still kind of floored that people would have voted for him....even if he did promise everyone free health insurance.

In 2004 my oldest son was old enough to vote, but like me he's not very politically minded and doesn't understand most of the issues, foreign policy, taxes and such, so he asked me who I was voting for, and I told him Pawpaw votes for the Republican so I do, too.

Same thing in 2008, we all voted Republican, except my middle son. He did ask me who I voted for, and I told him who and why. He decided he would research the candidates and see if he could figure out for himself what candidate he liked.

He came to me later and told me that Ron Paul was the candidate that he was most in agreement with.
I had never even heard of Ron Paul. Once I did, I pretty much wrote him off as a disposable candidate, like the Independent, Green, Liberty and other parties that would never win. Sure enough, he dropped out of the race early. I didn't bother to look him up or find out anything about him.

I joined Facebook in 2009, hooked back up with a lot of old friends from school, new friends from different online groups I'd participated in, and family. Over the next little while, I would see people's posts, and some of them were political in nature.
I don't involve myself in political discussions because I don't feel anywhere near qualified to offer any sort of helpful or worthy opinion, but I started paying attention to what they were saying. Maybe because I could understand it better than the Politico websites or news media with their "Big" words.

And what I learned from paying attention to these conversations is that I'm neither Democrat nor Republican, nor Liberal or Conservative.  So, I set out to find out what it is that I am.

Apparently I am a Libertarian (which I previously, mistakenly, confused with Liberals). I believe in Personal Freedom, and Minimal Government.

I checked out the Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson, and I have to say, on the face of it, I'm in almost complete agreement with his stance on the Issues.

While I was checking out the list of candidates looking for the Libertarian nominee, I saw that Ron Paul was running as one of the Republican party. Hmm.

I went and read up on his stance on the Issues, and I find that I agree with most of his platform, too. He is a bit more Conservative than I am, but I think I could deal with that for the main reason that, as near as I can tell, he has all through his political career voted consistently in accordance with the Constitution of the US. Despite his personal beliefs, I believe he feels strongly in leading in accordance with the Constitution, which deems that the Federal Government is there for the protection of the citizens (protect the Country), to establish a currency system, to protect individual rights, and not much else.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cheater Chicken-n-Dumplins

Since J and me went on our no (low) gluten diet, chicken-n-dumplins was, sadly, one of the foods we had to cut from our menu.

The boys aren't on an anti-gluten diet but they are okay with most of the changes I've made in my cooking.
Except Ryan's been wanting chicken-n-dumplins since back in the winter, which is when I mostly cooked them, when it was chilly/cold out.

Some things I will cook for them anyway, like homemade biscuits, gravy, french toast, etc. But homemade chicken-n-dumplins are kind of an effort, and if I make that kind of effort, then I know I'm going to be eating me some chicken-n-dumplins.
And suffering for it later.

Yesterday Ryan said again he wanted chicken-n-dumplins, and as I was standing there telling him no, a thought occurred to me, from out of the blue. I have no idea where it came from.
I told him the idea, and he agreed it sounded legit, and we decided well, we could try it. All it could do it turn out gross, right.

I used a can of chicken broth because I had some, but I don't think it was absolutely necessary, I believe plain water probably would have done just as well.
Poured the can of chicken broth and another 2 cans of water in a pot (I actually started with 1 can of water, but it wasn't enough). Bring to boil.

I had a can of refrigerator biscuts in the fridge, no particular name brand, whatever was cheapest at where ever I got them.  I pulled each biscuit into about 4 pieces and drops the blobs into the boiling broth/water.

Boiled them for awhile, until the dough blobs were dumplin-y (sorry, this is the way southerners cook...'til it's done, you just know...).

Then I added a can of chunk white meat chicken, like Hormel but some other name brand, and salt & pepper.

It took maybe 20 minutes, and the boys declared it a success. (Still not as good as homemade, though.)

Then I made them a batch of chocolate chip cookies because, Yum.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Good Day's Work

It started when J's partner at the station was given some cabinets from a motel renovation, and he decided he didn't want to use them in his garage, so he gave them J, and J decided he wanted to put at least some of them in the Outdoor Building (The Shed) we built to house our trailer, lawnmower, yard tools, ladders, etc.

Over the Winter and when we were cleaning around the back porch and carport for Kevin's graduation party, a lot of stuff got piled into (hidden in) the shed, and it looked like a good day to me to drag it all out and sort it and re-organize the whole thing.

This is the front of the shed, facing the road. It's supposed to look like a little old house, but we still need to trim out the "door" and I have some old doorknob hardware to replace the plain handle with, mirror-tint the windows (recycled from our house) and put a cupola or faux chimney on top. And the wood needs more aging.

I read on a website somewhere that hanging mirrors or mirrored windows on a garden shed or outdoor building reflects the surrounding scenery and fools the mind/eye into seeing..something, I forget now how it went.
Anyway, it seemed like a good idea, and fake windows are better here for two reasons: potential thieves can't see into the shed, plus that whole entire wall behind there is free space for hanging/organizing. I specifically planned it for hanging our really long ladders that had been living on the carport.

The inside wall behind the front. Got the ladders hung, and even had room for the trailer tailgate to hang up.

He brought home four of these cabinets but we decided to only put two of them up in that shed for things like  weed-eater string, small engine gas mix/oil, lawnmower repair/tune-up parts, stuff like that. The auto and home repair stuff like power tools and nuts/bolts/nails still live in the Tool shed off the carport. 
He's going to add some shelves in the space between the cabinets, too.

This shed wasn't really intended to house scrap wood and building materials, but right now it's the only place for it.  Ryan suggested we use the scrap wood to build a scrap wood shed, lol. I actually think that's a good idea!

When we do something or get somewhere else to put the tin roofing and scrap wood, that section there to the left is reserved for hanging garden tools like rakes, hoe, shovel, pitchfork, and such. 

Looks a hundred times better than it did before. I'm happy with it even if I did have to act like a fishwife and fight tooth and nail to get it done right. Argh.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Snowman Hat Winter Gift

Because, you know, who's not thinking about keeping warm right now? Haha!

But seriously, I ran across this idea some time ago, and although the original is made from card stock or something like from the craft store, my first thought was that it was a paint chip project. An easy paint chip project. I like easy.
My Paper Paradise
So I found these paint chips...uhhh, in my purse. Yeah, they were just in my purse, because you know I like to always be prepared with Paint Chips when I'm hungry and on the go...

The original instructions said to "chomp the corners", but I wasn't hungry at the moment so I just cut them.  (lol, I'm assuming it meant some paper crafting tool and machine that I don't have.)

I had a white chip, but no snow flake paper punching thing, and no way I could have free-hand cut one good enough, so I went digging in my craft-stuff-stash to see what else I had.

I had these little plastic snow flake ornaments:

Or sparkly pom-poms:

But mostly I have a bowl of holly/berry glitter/confetti that I bought some years back for another craft, and I swear the things keep multiplying, like rabbits.
Actually, that tells you how long ago I bought the things - when you actually got your money's worth of something.

I just used Elmer's school glue to glue it all together.

All I had was ziplock baggies, which were too big at the top so I cut the zip part off, and folded the baggie over and stapled it.

I didn't have any mini marshmellows. I'll get some if I actually decide to make any more of these around Christmas.

I think a snow flake embellishment would really better fit the theme of it being a snow man's hat, and the hot chocolate being for keeping warm on a snowy/cold day.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Photo Walk

My kid has (finally) picked up an interest in Photography. Of course, as usual with him, it can't just be something simple, lol.  He doesn't like my little "Point & Shoot" digital camera, but rather than upgrading to a DSLR (my understanding of that is: a digital camera with changeable lenses), he went backwards, to a SLR, or a camera that uses film.

He found himself an SLR camera at a thrift store, some film at another thrift store, and started haunting the Fo-tog groups of Flickr.
As I was looking at some pictures he'd uploaded, I was telling him how I used to go Flickr and type in our town name in the search just to see what came up, for crafty/scrapbooking purposes.  As I was telling him, I typed in our town name and ended up finding where a group had gotten together and had gone a Photo Walk around here.

He liked that idea, so the other day we went on our own Photo Walk around town. I followed along with my little P&S camera, so we could compare shots later.

Up until just recently this was the city Police Department building. I don't know if it was always the PD building, or if it was a City Hall or anything previously. Years ago, I think the city FD also ran out of this building.

Now the Chamber of Commerce and a City Museum is housed here.

Standing in front of the old PD building, looking to the right is part of old Downtown.

100* outside, and one of the local thrift stores has a Christmas in July display. Gorgeous!

Funny sign; there's not a crosswalk, and really no where to cross to.

This little church is interesting on closer inspection; the brighter red "brick" fillings at the top are actually painted plywood,

And so are the "windows"! lol.  Somebody is a really good painter.

The Veterans Memorial.

1st Methodist Church

I want to own this building sooooo bad! I would turn it into a vintage fire hall/restaurant.
It's killing me that who ever owns it is just letting it rot down/be destroyed by squatters.

 I also want this extremely old slate rock building. I'd make it into a place like I've been seeing lately, renting spaces to dealers/people for an antique/flea market/thrift/re-sell kind of place in most of the building. But there on the back side where those french doors are, I think I'd put in a little concession/snack lunch type diner.
This building is close to the Silver Comet bike/walking Trail that runs 60+ miles from Mableton to the GA/AL line. The next closest towns before are both 30 miles away, and there's no convenience store or any place to be able to grab a bottle of water or pack of peanut crackers for energy. There's an Italian restaurant, Pizza/Hot Wings place, Bakery, and BBQ restaurant.  Maybe I'm stupid, but none of that sounds like anything I'd want if I was riding a bicycle any kind of a distance.

Here's Ryan looking for some perspective and taking his shot.

A nice alley way between a couple of the building in town. The rest of them are grown up, or piled up with junk and crap, so this one was a delight to see.