Sunday, August 29, 2010


Can it be?

I know the calendar still says it's summer.

And the forecasted temperatures
- in the low to mid 90's! -
for the upcoming week certainly say it's still summer.

Scenes from The Towers State Park located just south of Dewey Beach, Delaware.
That look-out tower you see there to the right is one of many along the Delaware coastline. They were erected to enable the Army to watch for enemy, German, ships during WWII.

That's my house in the middle, there - psych!!! I wish ;o)

Son and a friend cooling off in the water at the beach on one of our day trips.

But in some ways, many signs that summer's drawing to close are evident.

Son No. 3 starts back to school tomorrow. He'll be starting the 8th (7th!) grade. Seems like just yesterday he was in kindergarten!
edited to add: now i know i'm loosing it! dear son is starting the 7th grade. Geez!!!

The crickets have taken over the outside "serenades" from the birds.

A few early mornings having been a bit on the chilly side - in the low 50's.

Usually, by this time, I'm ready and welcoming fall. Fall is my favorite time of year. This year, I'm just not ready. I want to hang on to summer a little longer.

Maybe it's because we had such a cold, snowy winter this past year that I'm wanting to hang on to summer for as long as possible.

Oooo . . . remember all this . . .

I know, though, that by the time the calendar hits September 23, I'll get in gear and start embracing that summer really is over and fall has taken over.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


That's what I'm on right now . . . a canning craze!

I "put-up" another batch of Hot Pepper Relish this morning,

Aren't these lids and seals just the cutest?

And this past Sunday I jarred some homemade salsa.
I did do a water bath on the salsa. Because tomatoes are so acidic, it's highly recommended to do so.

Now, I'm not usually a big fan of cooked salsa. I much prefer freshly prepared pico de gallo. All those fresh, crisp, crunchy tomatoes, onions and peppers with a hint of refreshing lime . . . mmmmm . . . But in the winter months, when a lot of those veges are not in season, a good jarred salsa will do. This winter, I'll have MY own jarred salsa to fall back on!

X marks the spot!
Cut an x on the bottom of the tomatoes before dropping them into boiling water.

It'll be easier to pull the skin off after you've dunked them in the ice water bath to stop the cooking and cool them 'maters down!

I just love these new seals and rings that Ball's doing now. At least they're new to me. The silver tone is so cheerful, and reminiscent of the old fashioned canning jars. I like them tons better than the gold tone ones.

But I have soooo many tomatoes ripening in my garden, I had to do something. If I get another ginormous harvest of tomatoes, I'll have to either make more salsa or just jar up some tomatoes.

Oh, did you realize that plum/roma tomatoes freeze especially well? I think the romas do best because they're so meaty and have less seeds than other varieties. I just wash and dry them, remove the stems, and place them in heavy duty freezer bags. When you remove them from the freezer, as they thaw, the skins slip right off. Give them a squeeze to drain the seeds and juice and use them in stews, chilis, soups, etc.
Easy Peasy!!!

Next on the list - Pesto! My basil plants are out of control. Just have to grab some more garlic and pine nuts at the store today, and me and my food processor will be whirling away!

What a weather treat we're having here today. Not very sunny - overcast actually. But the temps are so cool. Breezy and highs in the low 70's. We were able to turn off the AC last night and throw open the windows. I have all my windows wide open today getting some fresh air into this house that's been closed up all summer do to the oppressive heat.

The lack of sunshine isn't deterring the bumble bees one bit from their pollen collection today!
Fall baseball starts tonight for Son No. 3. I may have to dig out a jacket!

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Monday, August 23, 2010


Getting a great deal on anything is always such a rewarding feeling!
This past weekend, I think we made out purdy darn good.

I had been eyeballing this particular patio dining set at Lowe's for several months. Just lookin' . . . .

Photo from Lowe's "Life Outside" 2010 Catalog

Photo from Lowe's "Life Outside" 2010 Catalog

We've been planning to do a patio right off the deck for, well, years now. And as is the way with most big projects we want to do, something else takes priority, either in time-sense or finances.

Our original plan was to to do a modest brick-paver patio ourselves. However, Hubby's leaning more toward doing a stamped concrete patio. So, because of the greater expense of this type of patio, I'm still waiting . . . hoping by the end of this season we'll git 'er done.

If you've never seen stamped concrete, below are some image examples I found on the web.
web-found photo

web-found photo

web-found photo

Anywho, back to the patio set. I figured when, and if, we ever get that patio in, we will absolutely need a new set. Or I'll move the lounge set on the patio and have the dining set on the deck. Haven't quite worked out the particulars on all that just yet.

Well, the set I had been watching went on sale. Yes!!! I wish I could remember the full, regular price of the whole set. I do remember just the table alone was $200.

The sale price of the table went down to $112, and the sale price for the set of four chairs was now $261.
Not bad!
We could justify paying that price - $373 for a nice table and chairs with cushions.

This past Saturday we decided was the day we'd run to Lowe's to get it. As we're walking in, there's a woman loading up that very set in her truck. The table was unassembled in a box, but she had the four chairs already put together. Of course, I'm thinking, "Oh no! She's buying the last set of chairs off the floor".
I was panicking!

We walked, quite quickly mind you, to the outdoor furniture section, I see the table sitting there, all alone, no chairs. My heart about sunk. Could it be we were literally minutes too late from buying the perfect patio set I'd been looking at for weeks now?

Once we reached the outdoor furniture area, and started looking around, low and behold (hear the choir of angels singing???) there was another one of the sets all set-up as a second floor display. I quickly plopped myself down in one of the chairs to stake my claim while Hubby looked around for another one of the sets maybe still boxed up.
That was possibly THE last one. I then went on the search for a sales associate. I wanted that set!!!

The sales associate, nice guy, told us that was the last set of chairs. They had a few more tables unassembled and boxed, but that was it for the chairs. We asked if we could just load up that whole set . . . table, chairs and all . . . no need to leave another assembled table on the sales floor with no chairs, right? "Absolutely", says the sales guy.

After we loaded everything up and are wheeling our way to the register, the nice sales guy stops us and quietly tells Hubby, "Ya know, if you tell them at the check-out that this was the last set and a floor model, they may just knock some more off the price". WooHoo!!!
Thanks for that reminder, sales guy. That's one of those "practices" for getting discounts on items, like open bags of mulch/soil . . . dented, slightly damaged appliances . . . garments missing buttons . . . etc.

Hubby was not so sure he wanted to do that.
What'ya ka-ra-zee??? I'm thinking.
What's the worst that can happen? They can say "Sorry, we don't discount sale items".

Well, guess he got his nerve up - tee hee - and just happened to mentioned to the register lady that it was the last set and the floor model, and would there be a chance of any additional discount. And, in all honesty, there were a few teeny tiny miniscule nicks in the paint, and I can't even imagine how many different butts have plopped on those cushions. "Oh . . . okay, let me ask my manager", replied the register lady.

Now, I'm thinking any additional discount would be nice. Even 10 percent, right? She gets off the phone and says, "Manager said to discount the set an additional 25 percent".
Twenty-five percent???!!!!
WOO HOO!!! A huge score for us! That was a savings of 94 MORE dollars, bringing the cost of the set to $279.75. Remember, I don't remember the full, original price of the set except the table was $200 before being marked down.

My purtiful, new patio set . . . TAA DAA . . .

The moral of the story, do whatever you can to save a buck. Don't be afraid to ask. Now, I'm hoping if we wait until the very end of the season, maybe we can get a little better price on the patio.
We'll see! ;o)

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Sunday, August 22, 2010


I'm going to try and heed my new coffee mug's advice.
- or bucket as Hubby refers to it -

Live The Simple Life

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Saturday, August 21, 2010


What to do with that great harvest of jalpeno peppers? Well, one way to use them up is to make pepper jelly/relish!

If you've never attempted to make any kind of jelly or jam due to intimidation, don't be scerred. It's really very easy.

The recipe/directions for many kinds of jams and jellies are right on the instruction sheet inside the box of Sure-Jell, including the recipe for Hot Pepper Relish.

I've got all the necessary items ready to go.

10 large jalepeno peppers
3 medium red peppers
2 medium green peppers

Also needed:
1 cup cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter - optional
1 package Suer-Jell

I usually don't wear a rubber glove when I'm handling jalepenos to make pico or poppers or in any other recipe, but when I'm cutting this many peppers, it's usually a good idea to "glove up"!

The colors of the chopped peppers look so pretty. Like Christmas!

Empty the chopped peppers in a large saucepan adding the 1 cup of cider vinegar and the package of Sure-Jell.

Adding the optional 1/2 tsp. butter will prevent foaming when the mixture starts to boil, and it won't affect the taste one bit.

Bring the mixture to a full boil. At this time add the sugar all at once.

Stirring constantly, bring the mixture back up to a full, rolling boil for one full minute.

After one minute, remove the pot from the heat. Wearing an oven mitt, carefully ladle the hot mixture into jars to within 1/8" of the top. Wipe any drips from the rim of the jars and place on seals and rings and screw down tightly.

At this point, you could process the jars in a water bath. That's submerging the jars in a large pot of water covering them with 1 to 2 inches of water, and bringing to a boil for at least 5 minutes - 10 minutes for jam.

I actually skip this step. I read somewhere that if you turn the jars upside down while they cool, they will seal. It's worked for me every time. Just make sure once you flip the jars upright, the dimple in the center of the seal part of the lid is pushed inward and doesn't pop up when you press on it.

Pepper Relish/Jelly has that spicy sweet combo going on.

It's especially yummy as an hors de'ouvre when drizzled over cream cheese and spread on buttery crackers.

Or, for me, makes my Thomas' Bagel Thin super yummy.
- Have you tried these? They're great! And only 100 calories for the whole bagel! -
A strawberry smoothie helps cool down that little bit of spiciness.

A few more batches of this jelly/relish, and I'll have some Christmas gifts done!

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Friday, August 20, 2010


Hey everyone! Had a bit of catching up to do around the house since returning from moving Son No. 1 into school. Also had to work a few days . . . sheesh . . . work gets in the way of all the fun! :o)

The move-in went very smoothly. The worst part was the traffic on the way down. OYE!!! An already unbearable - for me anyway - trip of 8 hours turned into 10 long, excruciating hours. But it's done. My oldest baby's moved in, and I won't see him until Christmas break :o(

A quick share . . .
if you like
products, today's the day to order online.
Today, and
with any order $25 and over, you can have your order shipped for $1.00.

Yes . . . for you . . . one dollah!!!

Just the enter the promo code SHIP1 at check-out.

Being the sucker I am for yummy smelling hand soaps, and a HUGE lover of Halloween, I couldn't resist ordering one of each of these

At 5 for $15, how could I resist???

And to get that total up to $25, two delicious-smelling fall candles on sale for $5.00 each. Couldn't pass that up!
Hurry over to take advantage of your $1.00 shipping day at

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