Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fair Trade Friday: March Earring of the Month

I had been on the fence about the Earring of the Month shipments for some time.  Several stories, as well as the fact that I had extra funds in my personal money, pushed me over the edge.  I signed up for the 6 month subscription which drops the price per month slightly.  I signed up in time to get my earrings for March.

At first I thought they would not be my style since I rarely wear such large earrings.  I tried them on and fell in love.  They are lightweight and super cute.  These earrings are Mafie earrings from 2nd Story Goods.  If you order directly from 2nd Story Goods, you have your choice of three colors.

I loved getting a pair of surprise earrings from Fair Trade Friday.  Are you worried that a pair of earrings might not be your style?  No problem.  Each pair of earrings comes with a lovely bag and a card for gift giving.

If earrings are not your style, you can sign up for the Bracelet of the Month subscription.  With any of the Fair Trade Friday subscriptions, your purchase supports women artisans around the world.  You will also be introduced to wonderful fair trade companies that you can buy from directly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Goals Week 13

1.  Completely Finish the New House & Update Property
I am saying we made progress on the update property portion of this goal.  We worked on the rabbit condo last week.  It got a remodel to make it better for the rabbits.  We are not done yet and will work on it over the next few weeks.  This week we plan to knock out a few quick projects on the new house too.

2.  Plan Ahead for Birthday and Holiday Gifts
No pressing matters on this goal.  Next up is to choose a wedding shower gift though.

3.  Use the Garden to Be More Self-Sufficient
I have one raised bed left to weed this week and will pick the last of the garden peas for next year's seed.  It is still a bit early for planting, but I might stop into the garden center to see what plants are available.  I can always store them in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks.

4.  Take One Class a Month
I am continuing on the French bread class.  It involves much more than I imagined.  I will be carrying this class over into the first part of April.

5.  Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes on a Budget
I divided out stickers which means I have everything to put together the school supply bags.  I continued to work on the wash cloths.

6.  Boost Savings
This week I cancelled my subscription to Mighty Nest.  I did enjoy the shipments, but this was an easy way to save $10 a month.  I will look this week for another little thing or two to cut back on.

Have you made any goals yet?  How are they coming along?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekend Book Review: Murder is No Accident

Murder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart is book three in the Hidden Springs Mystery series.  Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is in charge of Hidden Springs while the sheriff is on vacation.  He looks forward to a weekend of fishing until a body is discovered in an empty mansion.  What looks like an accident become more mysterious when a second body is discovered in the same house.  I had not read any of the previous books in this series.  The first few chapters were slow as worked to get the characters straight in my mind.  This book easily stands on its own.  The mystery was very good and kept me guessing until near the end.  My favorite part of the book was definitely the characters.  They were the perfect small town citizens.  I look forward to more visits to Hidden Springs!

disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

The Cheltenham Square Murders by John Bude was originally published in 1937.  It has been re-released as part of the British Library Crime Classics series.  While some of the terms used then are no longer used, the book is still wonderful.  Superintendent Meredith is visiting a friend in Cheltenham Square when a puzzling murder is committed.  He extends his visit to help solve the crime.  I enjoyed the setting and characters of this book which reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie.  This is an excellent example of a classic British crime novel!

I am already a fan of Marty Wingate's books.  Her latest Every Trick in the Rook, part of the Birds of a Feather Mystery series, makes me love her writing more.  Julia works as the manager of a tourist center for a British estate.  She is happy with her job and her boyfriend, Michael.  Things begin to fall apart when her ex-husband is found dead on the estate.  The mystery was interesting, but my favorite part of the book was the characters.  Alfie the rook is the best character of all.  This is a wonderful cozy mystery especially for bird and nature lovers.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Frugal Friday

Friday:  This was a normal day here.  Meals were eaten at home.  Laundry was hung to dry.  I picked lettuce from the garden for the rabbits.  I honestly do not know anything special that I did.  Some days are like that though.

Saturday:  I baked baguettes and sandwiches bread.  Both recipes are basic - flour, salt, yeast, water, and a bit of oil for the latter.  Both are delicious and inexpensive to make.  I normally make some type of bread once a week.  I have no idea how much bread costs, but I can guess that homemade is cheaper.  W and I both ate leftovers.  I packed his lunch.

Sunday:  Sundays are always quieter days.  Aside from going to church, I spend this day resting as much as possible.  I answer letter or read.

Monday:  I hung sheets out to dry on the line.  I transplanted seedlings into recycled pots.  I spent some time organizing the pantry and made a plan to use up some items.

Tuesday:  I worked in the yard part of the day.  I planted herbs into some cement blocks left from building the house.  The idea is that the roots can go out the bottom while the top will keep the chickens from scratching up the plants.  I used bags of potting mix purchased last year on clearance.  I hung clothes out to dry.  I cooked our meal using ingredients already on hand.

Wednesday:  W and I ran our errands together.  I stuck to my list at the grocery store.  We bought in season produce which was on sale.  We had meal plans at home which kept us from being tempted to eat out.  We gave my uncle some leftover paint to use on a project.  This might not seem thrifty for us, but we often trade needed items back and forth.  It was nice to have something on hand that we no longer needed but he did.

Thursday:  Another quiet day spent at home.  It was cooler so I stayed in for the most part. I did hang a load of clothes outside as well as some on drying racks inside.  We had leftovers for our main meal.  W bought parts to fix my car - something to do with the battery cables - for $20.  I am thankful he is able to do things like that as it definitely saves money!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

52 New Recipes: Weeks 11 and 12

This week has me caught up on new recipes.  Hopefully I can stay on track now.

The first recipe is Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken.  As usual I made a minor change to the recipe.  I left out the spinach this time and used chicken tenders.  I already had the chicken tenders in the freezer.  I loved how quickly the dish came together.  It had three steps:  cooking the chicken, cooking the mushrooms, and making the sauce.  I opted to serve this with mashed potatoes as I had some that needed to be used.  W said that he would rather have it with potatoes.  He loved the dish and was happy to learn that it had cheese.  At first he thought I had made lumpy gravy.  This will definitely go into our regular rotation.  I neglected to take a picture of the finished dish so hope over to The Recipe Critic to see her lovely photos.

Keeping with the forgetful theme - I did not take photos of the Seasoned Rice Pilaf from Good Cheap Eats.  I was pressed for time the day I made this.  I ended up just tossing everything in the rice cooker.  At first I thought it was going to be bland, but it turned out really good.  I might up the amount of chicken broth next time.  It was better than the boxed variety as it was not overwhelmed by salt.  This is definitely a budget friendly recipe.  It made a large amount with inexpensive ingredients especially if you make your own chicken broth.  I will absolutely make this again

I am planning to make wheat thins next week.  I know stores sell them, but I am trying to get away from processed foods.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In the Garden

Brrr!  Last week we had a low one night of 25 degrees.  That is a January low and not a March low especially when the highs in February were in the 80s.  I knew we would have damage from the frost, but it was not as bad as I expected.  Here is the fig tree.

This is the same fig tree.

That seems to be the way the frost damage went.  It was hit and miss.  I think the only thing it got completely was the mulberry tree.  It is a male tree so we never have fruit, but it might affect our neighbor's tree which is a female and does fruit.

The temperatures are warm once again.  I have been very busy in the garden so far this week.

I am planting herbs around parts of the chicken house.  I have mints, oregano, thyme, and lemon balm.  The chickens do not seem to be bothering them - yet.

I weeded all of the raspberry beds.

I planted pineapple sage.  These are pieces cut from my mom's plants.  Her's sprouted back out and spread from last year.

I also set the bee hive back up.  I cleaned it out well and am hoping some bees looking for a home will move in.  I plan to buy some bees once we have more bee -friendly plants spread around the property.  In the meantime I will not turn down a swarm of homeless bees.

I still have so much left to do, but I am making progress.  I would love to plant more, but I do not trust the weather until closer to Easter.