Welcome! I am glad you are here. Join me with a cup of your favorite beverage and see what is going on in my life and what is on my mind. I would love to have you join my site and you can do that on the left side where it says 'followers'. And please leave a comment! Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Down Memory Lane - BOO!

My kids getting ready for Halloween. I think the year was probably 1969. 
Thank you to my youngest daughter for putting this picture on FB. Brings back memories!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

And save the chocolate candy for me. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


I will be 'Absent With Out Leave' for a bit as I am busy digging for ancestor information during my 14 day free access, and I am finding a lot! And this is just the first day!

I am not sure if I will find time to write a post here during these 14 days, but you never know what will happen.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wedding Pictures

My first wedding with the father of my children
September 2, 1961

These are wedding photos of my parents, grandparents and great grandparents on my mother's side. I haven't found any wedding photo for Dad's parents yet, thought I do have some of them years later. One of the reasons may be that my dad was the second youngest of 7 in the family.
I know that Mom's wedding dress was blue, because I used to play dress-up in it. Notice the difference in wedding attire through the generations.

Mom and Dad
February 10, 1932

Mom's Parents
Grandma Ada and Grandpa William
July 28, 1907
Great Grandparents
Parents of Grandma Ada
date unknown

Great Grandparents
Parents of Grandpa William
July 19, 1883

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall - a Bountiful Harvest

A trunk full plus 3 baskets of pumpkins and squash of all kinds. I just noticed the full gunny sack at the side of the car. I wonder if it is full of gourds.
I think I even see the spare tire among the squash. That was our new car, too! A two-tone blue 1952 Chevrolet. It is the car I learned to drive, and drove it many miles as a teenager. Dad refused to get a new car until AFTER I got married and left home. Hmm. I wonder why?

I can remember this was the year that Dad planted all those pumpkin and squash seeds among the sweet corn rows at the edge of the field of regular corn.  I don't remember what they did with them all. I only remember them doing it this one year. I am wondering if Mom had read about doing that in a farm magazine or newspaper. Every year she seemed to try something new. One year it was raising a couple of white turkeys that were allowed to run loose on the yard. They could get mean and chase you. And another year it was white geese, and for a few years we had a few Mallard ducks roaming around. I hated those geese because they would chase you, too, and take a bite out of your leg! I did love the ducks, especially the baby ducks. And drakes are so pretty. I can remember a few of the ducks, turkeys and geese made it to our dinner table for holidays.

Monday, October 21, 2013

This 'n' That - Finger comfort

Here is a tip for you crocheters. Recently I was checking some tutorials to see if I am doing some crochet stitches right, and I wasn't! After all the decades I have been crocheting, I guess I interpreted the written directions a little wrong. But that isn't exactly my tip today.

Do you know what these are?
Do you know what they are used for?

Some people call them pencil cozies. The name on the package says they are gel grips - for pens and pencils. They are found in the pen/pencil section of the store, and there are many in a package.

Here is how crocheters use them -

When I crochet large projects like afghans, my thumb  always got sore from gripping the hook at the flat part where the brand is stamped, and raised. These gel grips keeps that from happening, and it keeps me from holding the hook so tightly and therefore getting cramped. They would not stay in place as I worked so I wound a small rubber band at the top of the grip and now they stay in the proper place and I can crochet away without a sore thumb or cramped hands! Don't you like my color coordinating? I even found a little red rubber band for the red hook. I know you can buy hooks with the thicker shaft, but I have all the hooks I need so am not going to spend money on more. That's because I am a cheapskate frugal.

It took a little time getting used to them but I wouldn't want to be without them now. If this picture looks a little odd, it is because I am a lefty. I realize some of you hold the hook different than I do, so the grip may not be as important to you. You probably hold it more like I would hold a knife instead of a pencil like I do. The first time I saw someone crochet that way I thought it was really odd, but since then I have discovered many others do it that way also. And I found out that either way is correct. It is just a matter of how you learned and what you are comfortable with. I have tried it the other way and I had a hard time keeping my tension even, but I suppose if I kept at it I would eventually get it to work. But I don't need to change, and I have done it this way for maybe 60 years and it has served me well. But I will be using the grips from now on!

(rereading this I see I used a lot of 'buts' here, BUT taking them out didn't seem right either! This is the way I talk, so this is what you get.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Faith Friday - Who's Afraid of the Dark?



For you are all children of light, children of the day.
(1 Thessalonians 5:5)

Read 1Thessalonians 5:1-11

One of the most important sets of lights in a theater are the emergency lights. While these are legally required to be in good working order, an experienced stage manager will have them checked regularly, just for peace of mind. After all, should the electricity fail during a show, hundreds of people would be stuck in the dark; in that darkness lives a stage manager's worst fear -- panic.

Groups of people panic in the dark because they fear the unknown. In a strange place, surrounded by unfamiliar people, we fear the worst will happen, and that it will catch us by surprise.

This is what Paul is getting at in this passage. He describes Christ's second coming and God's just judgment as being something that will catch the unbeliever off guard. It will come unexpectedly, "like a thief in the night." For the Christian, however, there is no surprise. While we do not know when judgment day will come, we rest easy knowing that Christ took our punishment on the cross so that we could be declared "not guilty" before God. It is the radiance of this truth that makes us "children of light, children of the day" who have nothing to panic about.
-- Rob Matthews

Prayer: Father God, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ, whose death paid the penalty for our sins and whose resurrection gives us the hope of a world reconciled to you. Amen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fear of the unknown - isn't that what we all fear the most? As a child we are afraid of what might be lurking under the bed. It is dark under there, and most anything could be in that darkness, ready to grab our feet and pull us under with them. I would run and jump into bed and pull my feet up and under the covers as quickly as possible. Even though I knew there really wasn't anything under the bed, there was always a chance that I could be wrong.

But when we live in the midst of God's light, there is no need to fear what is in the darkness outside of the light, because that light is our protection. If we leave a nightlight on when we go to bed, whatever is hiding in the darkness cannot come out and expose itself.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Down Memory Lane - Artist in the Family

This is an old ink drawing done by Esther R. I think she is my mother's cousin from St. Louis. She has the same name as Grandma Ada's maiden name, and Ada originally came from St. Louis. I know I have some post cards that she had done somewhere, but I have not been able to find them again now that I want them. If I should run across them before this is published, I will update either in this post or one in the future. Maybe this is where my youngest grand daughter gets her talent.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Cooking. . . . Old Favorites - Tuna Casserole (5 ingredient)

Old Favorites

Last week I told you about the old community cookbook from the 1960's that I have used often, and has many family favorites. When I try a recipe and like it, I write 'good' or 'very good' next to it. If we did not like a recipe at all, I X'd it out. That way I know I have tried it and not to make it again.

Today's recipe is a very simple one and only 5 ingredients.


1 can tuna, drained (note: a can of tuna had more ounces in it in the 1960's, so     may need 2 today)
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 soup can milk
3/4 package chow mein noodles

Place layer of tuna, layer of noodles, layer of veg-all, one half of soup in baking dish. Repeat. Pour milk over all. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Do not add salt.

On the same page is another tuna casserole recipe that is slightly different. It is one that I have not tried yet, but could be a very good way to use up some left over potato chips (who would have those? Once the bag is open, the chips are eaten until gone around here.) I find potato chips quite expensive these days, but when there is a sale at 1/2 price, I will buy a couple bags.  This is another 5 ingredient recipe.


1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can drained flaked tuna or 1 small can chicken
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups crushed potato chips
1 cup unsalted cooked peas, drained (frozen peas taste best, but canned peas       will do)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Empty soup into quart casserole. Add milk and mix thoroughly. Add tuna or chicken, peas and 1 cup potato chips to the soup, stir only until mixed. Sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

'Tis Home, Sweet Home - Former living room

I have been looking through photos trying to find some pictures of the house my husband and I lived in, before I had to move to the small rental I am in now. I am not finding very many so far, but here a couple of the living room.

Yes, that is the same couch as I have now. . . still. I love the old Tiffany style lamp in the corner, and the lovely old table it is on. His daughter now has those. I know the lamp is worth quite a bit. I don't know that it is actually Tiffany as it has solid pieces of curved glass behind the metal filigree. But it is old.

I also love the curves of the coffee table. It is one I found years ago at a rummage sale for $5. A one-time friend who collected antiques really wanted that table! I don't remember what she offered me anymore, but I didn't want to get rid of it. It was not real sturdy, and the original glass on the top had been replaced with cheap window glass, but that didn't matter to me. I didn't buy it for the antique factor, but just because I liked it.

The square glass table is one of a set of three tables of different shapes that my husband and his first wife had received as a wedding present over 40 years before I met my husband. A smaller one shaped like a half circle was just to the right of the couch. The third one was taken apart and the pieces wrapped in a blanket in the basement. One of the shelves was broken and they never replaced it, but they kept the parts. I like it because it made the room look bigger since you could see through it.
This is the other corner. The custom drapes are quite old but were in pretty good shape except for the valance, which was fabric glued to window shade material and it was starting to curl at the bottom. My husband finally agreed to put new drapes in a few years after we were married. That ended up being the most I have ever paid for curtains/drapes! I will try to find a later picture with the new ones up. When I moved here I had them remade to fit the two windows in the living room here, so I still have them.

That was an interesting way to do the drapes as they covered the whole wall. On the left in this picture is an exterior door with 8 small square windows that go to the bottom of those blinds. The only time it was ever used while I lived there was to move the upright piano in and out again. On the far right was a tall window, and just solid wall in between the two.

Above, the valance is nailed to a plain board shelf which had fluorescent lights shining upward through long holes in that board. It really looked nice when they were lit. It was a dark room with just that door and one window in it, and the opposite wall was dark paneling.

On the left side of the picture is a fireplace. Unfortunately it was fake. It looked real except at the bottom was the carpet.  A real fire doesn't work very well on top of carpet. :) They had a real grate with fake logs and a flickering light behind them so it looked sort of real. My husband said some people would come and sit in the chair beside it and say that it felt nice and warm, as they assumed it was real. I wanted to get a piece of vinyl flooring that looks like stone or brick to put there so that it would look more real but that never got done.

I wish I had aimed the camera just a little higher to show the antique light pendant. You can barely see the bottom of it above the drapes in the bottom picture. There were two hanging from the ceiling.

This house didn't look like much from the outside but it had lots of old charm on the inside. That house was built to stay. As old as it was, there was not a single crack in the plaster walls, and all the real oak woodwork door frames were screwed together, not nailed. They still all hung straight and true. It was really a shame when the building was demolished a few years ago.

Monday, October 14, 2013

This 'n' That - Fun Quiz Answers

Here are the answers to the Dutch Medical Terminology Quiz.

1. The study of paintings --  ARTERY

2. What you do when CPR fails -- BARIUM

3. A district in Rome -- CESAREAN SECTION

4. A sheep dog -- COLIC

5. A punctuation mark -- COMA

6. Friendly -- CONGENITAL

7. To live longer --DILATE

8. Quicker -- FESTER

9. Baseball games between teams of soldiers -- G.I. SERIES

10. A suitcase --GRIPPE

11. A coat hook -- HANGNAIL

12. A doctor's can -- MEDICAL STAFF

13. A higher offer -- MORBID

14. Lower than the day rate -- NITRATE

15. Was aware of -- NODE

16. A person who has fainted -- OUTPATIENT

17. A letter carrier -- POST OPERATIVE

18. In favor of young people -- PROTEIN

19. Hiding anything -- SECRETION

20. Study of English Knighthood -- SEROLOGY

21. A small table -- TABLET

22. An extra pair --TUMOR

23. Opposite of you're out -- URINE

24. Veins that are close together -- VARICOSE VEINS

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How did you do? Tell me in the comment section!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Faith Friday - Walking in the Light



"The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light."  (John 12:35)

Walking backstage in a theater can be dangerous. Lots of scenery, props, and people are scattered about. During an onstage blackout, the only illumination comes from small blue running lights strategically placed throughout the backstage areas. Even with these lights, seasoned stagehands will avoid moving backstage during scene change blackouts in which they are not involved. As the ambient stage light fades, the carefully choreographed dance of people, props, and scenery begins; and out of step outside is hazardous to all. 

The crowd to which Jesus was speaking desired to know if he was the promised Messiah. They were confused because he did not fit their picture of the Christ. His response to them was "walk while you have the light." While Jesus walked the earth, he urged those around him to seek and follow him, before the scene went dark. "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." (v. 36)

On Good Friday, the light of the world was crucified on a cross and died. However, after three days of darkness, the Son rose from the dead! Once again, we are free to move in the light. As when he walked this earth, Jesus calls us to seek and follow him, lest we be fooled by the Prince of Darkness and stumble on the lies of the devil. 

~ Rob Matthews

Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, light of the world, in whose name we pray. Amen.


I have appreciated all the comparisons of the theater lighting to the Light of the world - Jesus - and how both affect our lives and what we need to do. The only acting experience I have had is in high school plays. Back then our stage was at one end of the gym and so there was no theater lighting, no spotlight, etc. But I have been to several summer theater productions done by college drama students and some professional actors. I always enjoy seeing the set designs - and some of them have been very well done. And I like to watch the scene changes done on the darkened stage while the curtains remain open. It is all done very quietly and quickly, each person assigned to the props they are to change. Those jobs are very important to the play because it could create a big problem if they forget a major prop - either removing or placing it.

Maybe the next time you get to see a play you will think about these devotions and pay attention to the lighting, and watch how the spotlight leads the actor to their next spot.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Down Memory Lane - Antique Fan

Isn't she lovely?

This is the front of an old paper hand fan that must have been handed out at some event during the summer. My mom had it among some other old keepsakes in a drawer. 
On the back is advertising for the local bank. Mom had written Dad's name on the back. Maybe she wanted to be sure she got it back? I wish there was a date on it somewhere but there is none.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's Cooking. . . . Old Favorites - Spanish Rice (5 ingredients)

Old Favorites

I love Spanish rice. Today I often have boxes of  Rice-A-Roni Spanish rice on hand. I try to buy them at a good sale price. Of all the Spanish rice mixes out there, that is probably my favorite, maybe because of the small pieces of pasta in with the rice? I don't know. When I make it I usually make it into a full meal dish by adding some kind of cooked meat. I do like to use coin sliced Polish sausages or kielbasa, but will use hot dogs, bologna, leftover cooked chicken, and then a vegetable - usually corn 'cuz I just love it - but could be anything you like. Here is the original recipe that we liked ~


1 pound hamburger
1 diced onion
3/4 cup dry rice
1 can tomatoes
1 cup chopped celery

Brown hamburger and onion. At the same time boil rice in double boiler. Combine and add tomatoes and celery. Bake in covered casserole until heated and blended, about 3/4 hour, at 350 degrees. Or simmer at low heat in electric frying pan, stirring occasionally.

** I no longer have an electric frying pan, but it can also be done on top of the stove in a heavy pan with a lid.

** Today I would probably just add some water to the pan with the rest of the ingredients and use dry instant rice instead of cooking it first. Or you can cook a large batch of rice at one time and freeze in portions. So this would be a quick dish using a bag of frozen browned hamburger and frozen rice. I haven't tried it yet, but I think this whole dish would freeze well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reasons I love fall

6 very good reasons to love Fall!! :-)

I love fall, and I love pie! I love pie anytime!If there is a pie on the table among other desserts, pie is always my first choice. I have a hard time deciding what my favorite pie is since I love any and every kind. What is your favorite dessert? What is your favorite pie?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pictures.. . I've Got Pictures!


I spent a good share of this morning looking through pictures in albums and in shoe box size photo boxes. I found many that I did not realize I had of some ancestors - I think they are great grandparents and others. They will be in future "Down Memory Lane" posts as well as many others that I sorted out. But. . . I did not find some post size ink drawings made by a relative. I am not sure but I think she was my mother's cousin in St. Louis. I wanted to include them with another picture that I have ready to post here. I know that I had seen those post cards not that long ago. I can even remember reading what she said on the back of at least one of them so I know it was recent. But after going through drawers and albums that I know I had been in not long ago, plus many more, I have not found them back. I will keep searching, but for now I have more than enough to scan and write about. I have so many that I may have to post some on other days of the week. They might even show up on "What's Cooking. . " I sure hope you all don't get bored with all the pictures of people you don't know. Some I may show you just because of the style of clothing at the time the pictures were taken.
I just love this picture of my dad.

This 'n' That - Have some fun


Here is a fun quiz for you.

Several years ago my husband and I went on a bus tour. They often play games while riding to our next destination and this was one of them. Since this is a predominately Dutch community, this is called:


Fill in the blank with a word from the list below that you think best fits the definition.

1. The study of paintings ___________

2. What you do when CPR fails ____________

3. A district in Rome _____________

4. A sheep dog ____________

5. A punctuation mark _____________

6. Friendly _________________

7. To live longer _______________

8. Quicker ______________)

9. Baseball games between teams of soldiers _______________

10. A suitcase ______________

11. A coat hook ______________

12. A doctor's cane ______________

13. A higher offer _____________

14. Lower than the day rate ______________

15. Was aware of ___________________

16. A person who has fainted ________________

17. A letter carrier ___________________

18. In favor of young people _______________

19. Hiding anything ____________________

20. Study of English Knighthood _________________

21 A small table ________________

22. An extra pair _______________

23. Opposite of you're out ___________________

24. Veins that are close together ____________________

varicose veins  -- medical staff -- urine -- morbid -- tumor -- nitrate -- tablet -- node -- serology -- outpatient -- secretion -- post operative -- protein -- artery -- hangnail -- barium -- grippe -- cesarean section -- G.I. series -- colic -- fester -- coma -- congenital -- dilate

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How are you doing? Having fun yet?
Answers will be posted next week!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Faith Friday - Light of Discovery



'The LORD. . . gives the sun for light by day and moon and the stars for light by night (Jeremiah 31:35)

The whole Scripture reference to be read with this devotion is Jeremiah 32:33-35.

33.  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
35.This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is his name:

Whether by day or night, light fuels human discovery. Visual perception, our eyesight, is based on processing information conveyed by visual light. If you can see anything at all, even the faintest blur in a dark room, it is because your eye is receiving light. What we call light and dark are relative terms, considering there are virtually no natural places on the surface of the earth that do not have some form of visible light present.

So it is with spiritual discovery. In this passage the Lord speaks through Jeremiah about a day in which God's people will know him so intimately that his law will be written on their hearts. They will no longer need to teach one another about who God is, because they will all know him, every last one. With the coming of Jesus Christ, who called himself the light of the world, God fulfilled this promise. Jesus taught us what it means to follow the law; he took our sins upon himself and reconciled us to God.

Jesus Christ is more than just spiritual light for Christians; he is the light of the world. Even those who do not believe can see dim blurs of spiritual truth because of the light of Jesus. Let us walk in this light, discovering who God is and who we are called to be.

-- Rob Matthews

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the light of your Son, by whom we see and are reconciled to you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Down Memory Lane - Old Photo Album/ My Dad

Oldest photo album I have

I remember looking at this album as a child. The pictures were put in there by a Myrtle V.C. of Ocheyedan, IA, which is where I and my parents grew up. I do not know who she is, but I think I remember an aunt saying she was my dad's old girlfriend. I don't know why we had it, but as I look through it now, I see pictures of several of Dad's brothers and sisters when they were kids and young adults, as well as my dad. Some of the pictures are dated from 1922 - 26, but I think some of them have to be older than that. It seems this Myrtle went to the same country school as my dad and siblings went to.

I have scanned several pictures that have my relatives in them and will post them in groups. The first group is of my dad, and my dad and his girlfriend Myrtle, the one that put these pictures in the album.

Quite handsome I would say! He reminds me a little of my cousin Gene. I think Dad was the tallest one in his family, even at 5'11". If this was taken around 1924-25, then Dad is about 18 or 19 years old. He married Mom in Feb. 1932. I wonder what happened in those years in between.

Dad and his automobile. I believe it is a Model T Ford Coupe. The Model A didn't come out until later.

Dad and Myrtle, as far as I can tell. The picture is not labeled.

Dad and Myrtle at Silver Lake (Iowa). She even wore the appropriate sailor top. It has been fun to look at all the clothing and hair styles of the early to mid 1920's!

Is it just me, or does Dad resemble Sean Penn in this picture?! He has quite the attitude here. As I look at this picture again, I see where I get my big hands from!

Myrtle wrote "SWEET HEARTS" under this picture.

It looks like Dad has a hat on here. And he always loved dogs. I have no idea who the other girl is in this picture. I wish she had labeled all the pictures in the album, but thankful for some that are labeled or I would not have know they were my relatives.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's Cooking. . . . . Cowboy Casserole

I saw this recipe on Pinterest recently and actually tried it! This was posted by Lisa at http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com in this post,  She titled it "Cowboy Casserole-that-looks-like-dog-food"! She adapted this recipe from Taste of Home.

This is how mine looked. Does it look like dog food? 

I also adapted mine to fit what I had on hand. I added the changes below the recipe, as well as my comments on the result. It is a hearty dish and good for chilly days. I think it would also go well at pot-lucks. Men and boys always seem to like anything with potatoes and corn in it.


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons sour cream 
1 bag (30 oz) frozen tater tots 

In a large skillet cook the onion until tender and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the beef and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain the mixture and place into a large bowl and set side.
In a small bowl combine the soup, milk and sour cream. Whisk until smooth. Add to hamburger mixture and stir to combine. Add corn and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Gently mix to combine.

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer half of the tater tots on the bottom, pour the hamburger mixture over the top and then layer with the other half of the tater tots. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 (?) cheese and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy.

Notes: I only had 1/2 a bag of tater tots in the freezer, but I also had a bag of shredded hash browns, so I used about 1/2 of the hash browns on the bottom layer. Since I had browned hamburger in 1 pound packages in the freezer, that is all I put in, and I thought it was enough. That also makes the dish a little cheaper to make. Lisa used 80/20 mix and I think mine was 85/15, so I had less fat to drain off which was done before freezing) and more meat.

I don't always stock canned corn but always have bags of frozen corn on hand, so that is what I used, just poured some in, guessing about equal to a can, maybe more. I like corn! I had chopped garlic in a jar that had just enough to equal 3 cloves. Since I was out of fresh milk, I used some powdered milk in 1/2 cup of water. The rest of the ingredients were the same.

Lisa said she allowed the potatoes to thaw first. I did not, plus the corn was still frozen. I did add the frozen hamburger to the pan when I had cooked the onions and garlic so that it was warm. The directions say to bake 25-30 minutes, but it took mine closer to an hour to get the top tater tots browned and crispy. She did mention that the second time she made this she assembled it the night before and put in fridge, then took it out an hour before she baked it so it could come to room temperature a bit. She thought it was better than the first one. In my mind, I am thinking why not have it baking and finished in that hour instead of taking another 1/2 hour or more to bake it? But then, I am the one that always forgets to take things out ahead of time!

I thought this was a little dry and not as creamy as I expected it to be. Using the hash browns might be the reason for that. I also thought it could use more cheese even though it already has 2 cups in it. And the hash browns needed some seasoning, especially salt, and the frozen corn is also salt free. I added seasoned salt and seasoned pepper to my dish and that helped. The tater tots maybe come seasoned? I did not check the bag for that.

All in all, I thought it was good enough to make again, only next time I will use all tater tots.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'Tis Home Sweet Home - Dish Cupboard Decluttering

This is my small dish cupboard in the kitchen. I got tired of reaching to the top shelf every morning to get my coffee mug. I am 5'8" but it is still a stretch for me and even more of a stretch to reach the ones toward the back. So with my current decluttering mode, I took a look at this cupboard as I knew there were a few things I never use in there, and some that I just needed to stop using. And I need things convenient to me in order to use them at all. One day I was mulling it over in my mind as to what I could do with this, and it finally dawned on me. Move those coffee mugs to the bottom shelf! I rarely use the fragile drinking glasses so why are they the handiest? A major shift was in order.

I see I didn't get a very good picture since I cut off half the right side, but this gives you an idea of how I changed things. Now the coffee mugs are closest to the sink. My morning coffee is a mug of water heated in the microwave and then flavored instant coffee powder added to the hot water. Fast and easy and oh - so - good!

The Christmas mugs are still on the top shelf since they are seasonal and not used every day. I wish I had enough room to have the luncheon plates in a separate space from the dinner plates, but I haven't found that space yet. Maybe some day.

This is what has been removed from that cupboard and will be donated. I never use the small juice glasses so why should they take up precious space? Does anyone use juice glasses anymore? The yellow glasses are cheap plastic. The white mug in front of them is a Care Bears plastic mug. Maybe they are worth something to collectors today, so someone will get a lucky find. The two mugs that are dark green outside and white inside are free ones that came with a Gevalia coffee maker my kids gave to me several years ago. They have gold on them so can't be used in the microwave, so I never use them. Then there are two clear plastic glasses, and behind them is a water bottle minus its lid. I think that might be in a drawer so need to check that out before it is donated. The dark cup is a single that I got on clearance once, thinking I would use it at the sink for quick drinks of water or to take pills instead of the ugly plastic one I have used for a long time. But this mug shows all the water spots from our hard water and I really didn't like to use it either. The three blue cups are Melamine that we had in our camper trailer. For some reason I thought I had to keep them when the trailer was sold. Don't need them. The mug in front with the picture on is a souvenir mug that was given to my husband by his daughter when they went to Washington DC. It means nothing to me, and it now has a small chip on the edge. Out it goes. And the three cups on the right are plastic travel cups from a quick stop. My husband always had to have a cup of coffee on the road so they were used a lot. I even like drinking out of them, but they are so ugly with half the printing worn off, and I don't need them. I love my large capacity green mugs from the dollar store, and I have 8 of them, so that is enough for company, and enough for me to use between dish washings. All those things are now packed in a box and ready to take to the thrift store.

These are ice cube trays that make long, skinny 'cubes' to put in water bottles. I used them when I was still going to Curves and took water along to exercise sessions. I don't go there anymore, and so don't need these. I did use them this summer for extra ice cubes, but they did not come out very well and were more of a nuisance. So I found some regular cube trays and these are going out. They were not in the dish cupboard, but are part of my general decluttering.