Ground Turkey Stir-Fry

Cooking, food, Frugal living, Home, recipes

This recipe has fast become a favorite go to recipe on busy nights.  It is very easy to substitute veggies based on what you have on hand, either fresh or frozen.  It has been made even healthier by using ground turkey instead of red meat.


  • 1 lb ground turkey  (I look for these to be marked down every time I shop.  When I get lucky, I stock up)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 garlic gloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 16 oz of any vegetables you have on hand.  I typically use bell peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, but you can also use frozen bagged vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower.  Like I said–use what you have.
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce (regular or lite)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Heat olive and sesame oil over medium/high heat.  Add ground turkey, garlic and ground ginger.  Saute until turkey is fully cooked.  Add the vegetables and cook until crisp/tender.  Add soy sauce and vinegar.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Season with additional vinegar and soy sauce as needed.  Serve over rice.


Fast and Easy Homemade Bread


Here is a super easy bread recipe that can be made even faster than a in a bread machine.


  • 5 cups of bread flour  (all purpose flour will work fine as well)
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups warm water (120 degrees)

Mix 4 cups of bread flour with yeast, sugar and salt.  Add warm water and beat or 3 minutes using the dough hook of your mixer.  (or by hand about 120 strokes).  Add additional 1 cup flour (or more if needed) until the dough is no longer sticky.  The dough will pull away from the sides of the mixture when you have enough flour.  Knead dough in mixer or by hand for 8 minutes.  Place dough ball in greased bowl and cover with a damp paper towel.  Let in rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.  Punch the dough down and form into two loaves.  Place in loaf pans.  Place a metal cake pan with water on bottom rack of oven and place loaf pans with dough in the middle of oven–before turning on the oven.  Set the oven at 400 degrees and bake 45 minutes or until golden brown and bread is done in the middle.

Easy, peasy!   No proofing the yeast, very few ingredients and can be made in just minutes for less than $0,50/loaf.  Less if you buy your flour and yeast in bulk.

I hope you will try this quick and easy recipe.  I find it super satisfying to make bread at home.

Menu Plan Monday–Kroger Click List Edition

Cooking, food, Frugal living, Organization, recipes

I am really working to stick to my $300/month grocery budget goal for 2017 and I am also trying to use up things that I have on hand.  Make-up, lotions, cleaning supplies AND all of those items that tend to get pushed back in the pantry and forgotten.

This week, I really worked to create a menu plan using items I had on hand in my pantry, freezer and fridge.  Once I had my plan, I decided to try the new Kroger Clicklist Program.  Yippee!  Where has this been all my life?  I went online, order only what I needed to complete the meals I planned, scheduled a pick-up time and then went to the parking lot and in 5 minutes, the nice Kroger associate what at my car and loading my trunk with my order.  Since I only bought exactly what I needed, I only spent $28.12!  Yay, me!!  If your Kroger has the new Clicklist program, I highly recommend it.

Here is our menu plan for this week:

Monday–Ground turkey stir-fry and rice

Tuesday–Pork roast, broccoli, rice and gravy

Wednesday–Chili, hot dogs baked in cornbread

Thursday–Grilled chicken Cobb salad

Friday–Breakfast for dinner:  eggs, bacon, toast,

Saturday–Loaded nachos–chips, re-fried beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, salsa

Sunday–Spaghetti sauce, noodles, salad and homemade bread

Breakfasts will be smoothies, yogurt with berries and homemade granola, cereal with milk, and toast from homemade bread.

Lunches will be leftovers from dinners and sandwiches using my homemade bread.

See more menu ideas at I’m an Organizing Junkie‘s Menu Plan Monday.




My 12 Goals for 2017: Week 3 of 52


Two weeks down, 50 more to go!  Here is my progress this week:

1. Pay Down Our Mortgage

We paid an extra $500 in principle when we made our January payment.  I already have an additional $500 set aside to go with next month’s payment.  It occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t wait to pay the extra $500.  Wouldn’t paying it now save some interest?  I think so…I am going to go make that payment RIGHT NOW!!

Total extra paid towards principle in 2017:  $1000

2. Frugal Gift Giving

No progress on this goal.  My son is turning 29 next Thursday.  Better get crackin’.

3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.

I used a gift card I won from work to buy three Ikea shelves.  My total out of pocket after the gift card was $10.  Not too bad and I used money out of my budgeted spending money.

4.  Plan and install Edible Landscaping

I am considering how I want to plan my garden.  I was originally thinking of installing raised beds, but now I am thinking of  just planting some edibles in our existing flower beds.  Since is only mid-January, I have more time to consider….

5. Look for new ways to cut spending

I discovered Kroger Clicklist and tried it this week.  I really think using this service will save me money, because I won’t be tempted to impulse buy at the grocery store.  I really loved Clicklist.  I made a menu plan based on what I had on hand, and then went to and shopped using Clicklist.  My order was ready the same day, I drove up to the store, made a quick call to the posted number and in 5 minutes my groceries were brought to my car.  Oh yea!!  I saved time and money!

Savings in the kitchen–I baked my own bread and made homemade granola.  Yum!

6.  Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000

$28 so far this year.  Nothing extra this week.

7.  Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.

I am still organizing in my sewing room, and I didn’t have much time to declutter.  I did find a shirt and a pair of pants to put in the donation pile.

Total items for the year: 20

8.  10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding

We spent nothing towards the wedding this week.

Total spent so far on Wedding:

  • $1000 deposit on venue
  • $1150 on dress
  • $62 on Shutterfly Save the Date cards
  • $125 on Engagement photo session.

Total so far:  $2337

9.  Lose 50 pounds

Uhhh… the 4 pounds I lost last week.  Found ’em in Dallas this week…..

10.  Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care

I had a really great week.  I practiced yoga three days, went on a 2.5 mile walk one day and spent time in my sewing room.  Toby the doxie was good company, too!

11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries

I spent $28.12 at Kroger.

Total for January:  $186.12

12.  Finish 12 sewing projects

No sewing this week, but I did work on organizing my fabric stash.  My husband made me a new cutting table using the Ikea shelves and my old cutting table top.  I am still wrapping my fabric on magazine board.  I love how it is looking and it will be helpful to easily find fabrics that I need for my projects.

So how did you do?  Did you make any 2017 goals?  How are you progressing?


My 12 Goals for 2017: Week 2 of 52

Cooking, Crafts, DIY, Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, Organization, Sewing

1. Pay Down Our Mortgage

We paid an extra $500 in principle when we made our January payment.  If we only do this every month, we will pay an extra $6000 towards the mortgage principle this year.  That doesn’t meet my goal of $7000 extra and it doesn’t get us anywhere near paying off our mortgage soon enough to be debt free by retirement.  My husband is working on gathering everything to start our 2016 tax return.  I expect we will get a refund, but I don’t know how much.  Whatever it is, I will use some of it to go toward an extra principle payment on the mortgage. 

2. Frugal Gift Giving

I didn’t work at all this week towards this goal.  Its January 8th.  Enough said.

3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.

I have spent $158.14 on groceries so far for January, and I used Discover cashback bonus (so nothing out of pocket) to purchase some staples from Amazon–arrowroot, dishwasher detergent, and trash bags.

4.  Plan and install Edible Landscaping

Brrrrr!!  With the rare occurrence of snow this week in Georgia and really low temperatures, you can imagine that nothing happened towards this goal!

5. Look for new ways to cut spending

This week we didn’t really find new ways to cut spending, but I we cooked every meal at home and have menus planned for the next week.  We kept our thermostat at 68 during the day and 64 at night.

6.  Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000

My husband sold a book on Amazon and brought in an extra $28.  Woohoo.

7.  Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.

This week I cleaned out from under my kitchen sink and found 10 items to throw away.  I am also working on reorganizing my sewing room and found 8 books to donate.

Total items: 18.

8.  10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding

Last weekend, my daughter and I went to look at dresses.  We didn’t expect to buy on the first shopping trip, but the 2nd dress my daughter tried on was perfect.  It was $45o.  We also bought the veil, slip, bra/corset,  tiara/headband, processing for the dress after the wedding and a garment bag.  After all of the add-ons, the bill came to $1150.  Wow!  But, since my daughter originally wanted a dress that was $1500 along, I would say we did ok.  We also bought the Save the Date cards and got a great deal from Shutterfly .  They were running 50% off plus we found a $20 coupon on sandwich meat at the grocery store.  Go figure….

Total spent so far on Wedding:

  • $1000 deposit on venue
  • $1150 on dress
  • $62 on Shutterfly Save the Date cards
  • $125 on Engagement photo session.

Total so far:  $2337

9.  Lose 50 pounds

This week I lost 4 lbs on the Fast Metabolism Diet.  It really works,  but I find it very difficult due to all of the planning and preparation time that goes into the diet and food.  This coming week I am on a business trip and it will be a real challenge not to gain that 4 lbs back!

10.  Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care

This week I worked late two days.  Not great, but not as bad as most of December. Plus, we had a frank discussion about dividing the late days at work, so I am hopeful I will be getting off later most days.  I spend some time in my sewing room this weekend, so I am counting that as self care.

11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries

I mentioned earlier in the post that I have spent $158 on groceries so far.  Not that great seeing that it is only January 8th, but I easily have several days worth of meals already cooked and supplies to make more meals.  We will see if I can’t actually stay within budget….

12.  Finish 12 sewing projects

I didn’t work on any projects this week, but I did set foot in my sewing studio for the first time since September.  I know that because the calendar I had hanging in the room was still on September.  I worked on organizing and rearranging in the room.  My husband hung my thread holders and I did use some of my spending money to order magazine backer boards to organize my fabric.  (more on this later) I look forward to working on some projects in the next couple of weeks in a much nicer, organized room.

So how did you do?  Did you make any 2017 goals?  How are you progressing?


My 12 Goals for 2017: Week 1 of 52

Crafts, Debt Reduction, Finances, Frugal living, Garden, Home, living, Money, Sewing, Uncategorized

Don’t you just love New Year’s?  And making lists?   I feel like I get so much more done if I can write out a list.  I have been inspired by other bloggers to publicly post my 2017 Goals.  Be sure to check back for weekly posts to for updates on my progress.

I am really excited to see how well I do at making these goals a reality!

Here it goes…

1. Pay Down Our Mortgage

We moved into our current house in August, 2016.  This has been a whirlwind year that you can read about HERE, but long story short, there were some MAJOR life changes.  Things happened really fast with a job change for my husband and then in the middle of trying to find a new home in our new area, my husband had open heart surgery.  He is well, but, in hindsight, we may have made a different purchasing decision if the heart surgery had happened before putting a contract on our current house.  At this point, we want to see how fast we can pay down the mortgage and make a decision in a couple of years about staying or downsizing.   So for 2017, our goal is to pay an extra $7000 in principle payments on our mortgage.


2. Frugal Gift Giving

I really enjoyed making the Italian Food Gift Baskets for Christmas gifts this year.  For 2017, I would like to do more of the same–but take it to the next level.  I will use  any reward dollars (Discover, Ibotta, Checkout 51, Ebates) towards gift cards.    I also plan on making as many gifts as I can.  Goal:  Spend less than $100 out of pocket for gifts in 2017.  Zero would be even better.


3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.

I almost made a goal of buying nothing new.  But, there is this kinda big event in 2017–my daughter is getting married.  I am going to want some new items for that occasion.  So, I will, whenever possible, choose to buy used items.  Generally, I am going to try to avoid stores.  I have lots of makeup, cleaning supplies, sewing supplies, food and personal care items to use up.  I plan on trying Kroger Clicklist so that I can avoid walking through the grocery store and picking up items I really don’t need.  Amazon will be useful for purchasing staples like laundry detergent and bath tissue.  Save on gas and stay out of the stores.  .


4.  Plan and install Edible Landscaping

Our new home has a really sloped  backyard, so my hubby is going to try and build a couple of terraced raised beds.  I am also going to look for dwarf fruit trees and plant a few that are appropriate for our climate.  You might say “why invest in trees and beds if you may sell your house in a couple of years?”.  I consider it paying it forward.  We had done the same in the last two houses we sold and both buyers really liked the raised beds we had installed.


5. Look for new ways to cut spending

We are pretty good at the frugal thing, but I want to try to go to the next level.  We have relaxed since we paid off our consumer debt back in 2010.  It is time to get intense again.  Back to basics.  We will really be examining our budget categories to see where we can cut.


6.  Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000

This goal has me a little worried.  I already work a lot of hours and I am salaried.  So, I can’t earn extra at my job, and I have no time to work another job.  I am leaving this mostly to my hubby (he is a teacher and gets a lot more time off than I do).  We need to declutter, so selling stuff can be a big part reaching this goal.  See goal # 7.


7.  Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.

I am taking a page from Mavis over at One Hundred Dollars a month for this goal.  Quite honestly, I think we could unload many thousands of items and still have too much stuff.  I will have to show you my basement storage area sometime….  If we do downsize in a couple of years, we need to be ready by getting rid of A LOT of possessions.


8.  10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding

The venue has been booked and the $1000 deposit paid.  It is all inclusive so we won’t have to worry about paying for food, flowers, decorations or DJ separately.  We are responsible for invitations, wedding dress and any other extras.  We chose to go outside the venue for a photographer, so we will be paying for a photography package as well.  My daughter is making the save the date cards and is designing her own invitations.  Budget:  We figure we will be spending around $12K for the wedding.  Ouch!


9.  Lose 50 pounds

I know, I know.  Weight loss goals are cliche.  But, really, for health reasons, and because of #8, I really need to lose the weight.


10.  Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care

I am really bad about working too much.  Leave the house in the dark and return home in the dark.  Therefore, my goal is to try to scale back and to see the daylight more.  Other ideas for this goal:  take walks, do a yoga video a few times a week, spend time in devotional, read for pleasure, go on dates with hubby.


11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries

This will be interesting considering we spent an average of $550/month in 2016


12.  Finish 12 sewing projects

I have a sewing studio.  It is very neglected.  I need to finish projects I have started.  Hey, this will also help with #2, #7 and #10!


So that’s it.  Let me know what you think.  I hope you will follow along and help keep me accountable.

What goals do you have for 2017?



Frugal Christmas Gift–From the Grocery Store!

Crafts, food, Frugal living, Holidays, Home, Money

We made a decision as an extended family to change our gift giving.  On my husband’s side of the family, we decided not to exchange gifts and to meet at a restaurant for Christmas Eve luncheon.  On my side of the family, we decided to give one gift to each family instead of drawing names for each person.  The little kids will still get small gifts from everyone.

I had been considering what family gift would be nice when I walked into my usual grocery store right after Thanksgiving.  I notice that the manager was at the front of the store marking down items from a recent promotion.  I stopped to look closely and noticed that he was marking large bottles of nice olive oil down to $2.49!  Wow.  That alone would be a nice gift as this bottle runs easily $12-$15 regular price.  However, the manager mentioned that he was marking down everything on this display—pasta ($0.29), boxed breadsticks($0.49), balsamic vinegar ($0.39), lady finger cookies ($0.29), as well as the olive oil.  I got an idea.  I picked up 6 of every item (and some for my self)!  I also picked up 6 jars of pasta sauce that were BOGO.

When I got home, I started assembling an Italian Gift Set for all the families.  I used some shrink wrap bags that I have had for 20 years (I used to make gift baskets) and some rolls of pull-tie bows that I already had on hand.

Here are pictures of the items and the finished product:

I am so pleased with the results and I think it will be a great gift for all the families.  For around $6 a family I got a wonderful gift worth much more!  I find it so much more fun to find nice gifts a a great price.

Have you ever bought gifts at a grocery store?

I would love to hear about your frugal gift giving ideas.



December Grocery Shopping and Meal Plan

Cooking, Debt Reduction, Finances, food, Frugal living, Holidays, Home, Money


We made plans for December grocery shopping this weekend.  I looked back at November’s grocery spending and was shocked to realized we had spent $736 for groceries!  It was a real wake-up call.  Granted, we stocked up on some things and bought a bunch of items to make Christmas gift baskets (I am planning on posting about what we made) and we hosted for Thanksgiving, but $736 is way too much.  We are setting a grocery budget of around $200 for December.

We went to Aldi and Kroger yesterday and spent a total of $136.  We found good deals at Aldi, including eggs for $0.29/dozen.  At Kroger, we found some markdown meats.  We planned our menu for most of December before we went to the store and mostly bought items to fill in based on what we have on hand.

Here are the meals we have planned:

hot dogs, sauerkraut, homemade potato chips  (we will have hot dogs later in month with roasted potatoes–had several packages on-hand)

spaghetti (made with ground turkey), salad with homemade dressing  (we will have this meal twice this month)

fettuccine Alfredo, green beans

ground turkey stir-fry, rice

broccoli soup/cornbread

taco soup/cornbread

chili/tortilla chips

chicken thighs, rice or quinoa, peas

hamburger stroganoff, rice or noodles, broccoli

breakfast for dinner–eggs/bacon/toast

chicken and rice casserole, peas

soft tacos

bean and rice burritos

pork roast, roasted potatoes, green beans  (we will have pork roast again as we found two marked down at Kroger)

Christmas dinner:  chicken and dumplings, stuffed mushrooms, green beans, salad, deviled eggs, cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies, french   breakfast puffs.

We will be using leftovers for taking our lunches to work.  Even with doing that, I believe that there will be a couple of leftover nights from these meals–maybe more.  So, we should easily have enough on hand for the rest of the month.  I may need to supplement with some produce and perhaps milk and bread.

We will see how it goes!  I hope you stop by for update.



Life Update–Thankful

Faith, Home, living

Life has happened and the blog posts did not….

Here is an update.

#1 Life Change

Shortly after my last post, Tom (the handsome husband) and I were relaxing on the couch one Sunday afternoon.  Tom was doing some computer work.  Now to preface what happened next, we have always dreamed of moving to the mountains, but we have noticed that teaching positions (Tom is a teacher) don’t come up that often–especially the position that Tom has enjoyed for the last several years.  Tom is certified in math, science, reading and engineering/technology.  The math and science–easy to find jobs, but Tom has loved teaching middle school engineering and has had a sweet gig in a middle school with lots of resources. Anyhoo, Tom was looking at the state site for job openings and says “Hey, honey, there is a middle school engineering position open in Pickens County.” Pickens county is located in North Georgia and is basically, the area where the Smokey mountains start in Georgia.    I say, “What the heck, just apply.”  Little did I know that two days later, Tom would get a call from the principal of said middle school and asked if he could come for an interview.  The. Very. Next. Day.  To make a long story short, he nailed the interview and within the next few weeks we got the official word.  Tom accepted the position for the next school year.  Tom called me when I was out-of-town and said  “We are moving!”

So, the preparations began to sell our most loved home that we had only lived in for 3 years.  And, of course, the big decision of exactly where we were going to move.  In the end, I was not ready to give up my job in Atlanta, but we narrowed down an area to live that is right in between our two jobs.  It actually worked out to be a much better commute for me, and Tom’s commute isn’t bad since he travels away from Atlanta.  We put our house on the market on June 1st.  By June 30th, we had found the new house near the new job and a week later we had a contract on our house we were selling.  Working perfect, right?

#2 Life Change

Back in February, Tom and I went in for our annual physicals with our internist.  Both of us were doing fine.  We had even lost a few pounds.  My labs were perfect.  Tom’s were okay.  His cholesterol was even down a few points, but still borderline as usual.  When the doc asked Tom if there had been any changes in his family history, he said, “Oh, yea, my 55 year old sister (3 years older than Tom) had a very mind heart attack last summer and ended up with a stent.”   The doc said “OK, Tom, I think it’s time we sent you for a test.  I want you to have a cardiac calcium CT scoring.  Schedule that as soon as you have time.”  Which, of course, Tom promptly did not and didn’t even tell me anything about the doctor telling him to do so.

During the spring, Tom got an upper respiratory infection/sinus infection and went to the local family practice for antibiotics/steroids.  This scenario has been all to familiar.  It seems that two or three times a year Tom has this happen and in 2015 he had pneumonia.  In the past, he has had pleurisy two different times.  So, we thought–more of the same.  For whatever reason, Tom has this weakness with his lungs.  He had asthma as a kid… blah, blah, blah.  Only, this time, he didn’t seem to bounce back.  He kinda kept mentioning that he continued to have “lung tightness” or “chest tightness”.  Like his breathing just wasn’t normal.  I finally said, “Tom, you can’t keep messing with the family practice place.  Call the internist.”  Tom called him and described what was going on and the doc said “Well, Tom, if you had had that test I wanted you to get, we might be able to at least rule out anything cardiac.”  Right!  Now, during this time, I am just hearing about this test for the first time.  Ok, so Tom gets the test scheduled (by this time it’s May and we are prepping the house to get it on the market).  The test literally is 20 minutes and you are done.  “Your doctor will call you with the results in a week or so.”   Fast forward to the second week of June.  Tom had just dropped me off at the airport for another business trip and on the way home gets the news–your Cardiac calcium score is through the roof.  “You are now a cardiac patient, Tom.  I am starting you on a statin and a baby aspirin a day and we have to get you in to see a cardiologist.”

The earliest cardiologist appointment was July 5th.  The cardiologist says, “Yea, we really need to do further testing.  It’s a hard case, because you aren’t really having symptoms.”  The vague “lung tightness/chest tightness” was inconsistent and Tom never had chest pain.  But, with the super abnormally high calcium score, we had to look further.  Nuclear stress test vs. cardiac catheterization.   The cardiologist felt comfortable with either.  Tom voted stress test.  I voted catheterization.  I won.

The catheterization got scheduled for one week later, July 11.  We had wrapped our minds around the fact that Tom would likely end up with a stent like his sister and that these vague chest tightness symptoms were really related to his heart (funny how Tom started admitting to more symptoms in that week).  On July 11th, Tom went in for the catheterization and I waited in the waiting room accompanied by my Pastor.  In about 90 minutes, we were taken back to the room and they rolled Tom in–pretty much awake.  We were told he didn’t have any stents placed, and for a moment the thought was “yay, its not so bad, maybe he just needs to be on the statin and that is it.”.  Nope.  The cardiologist came in and she says “Good new and bad news.  Good news–Tom’s heart muscle is completely healthy and he has had no damage.  Bad news–he has two significant blockages in places that we can not stent.  He needs open heart surgery.”

Well, a lot of decisions happened over the next hour.  While the cardiologist said this was not an emergency, she also said we couldn’t wait until next summer when he was out of school.  Tom suggested Christmas break.  The doc said–why would you ever want to recover during Christmas.  She was right.  I now could not imagine us waiting to have the surgery–months of a ticking time bomb inside of his chest.  In the end, Tom had a quadruple by-pass by the one of the top heart surgeons in Atlanta (who just happened to have had a cancellation) two days later–July 13.  Tom did great.  He didn’t get to start his new job on time, but the principal was great and said Tom’s j0b was waiting on him.  Two weeks after the surgery, I drove Tom to the open house at his new school.  He at least got to meet his students.  He was so stubborn, that he got the cardiac surgeon to let him return to work part-time on August 22.  Just 5 weeks after surgery.  He went back to work full-time on September 6th.  Tom continues to recover and is in cardiac rehab until the end of the year.  He looks and feels great most of the time.  To look at him, you probably would never know he had open heart surgery–except that 7 inch scar down his chest.   Most of our friends and family thought Tom would be the LAST person to ever have cardiac disease.  Goes to show–you can’t do much about your DNA.  I have told Tom’s sister “I am sorry you had your mild heart attack and I am so happy you are doing well.  I am also grateful that you had your heart attack, because it saved your brother’s life.”   She says that messes with her head…

Tom’s blockages were in the left main artery and the LAD–translation “the widow-maker”.  Tom likely would have been out jogging or mowing the lawn and just dropped dead of a massive heart attack.  Many times you just don’t get warning with his type of blockages.

Oh and about the whole selling house, buying house and moving….yep, we did that on August 12/13.  Exactly 1 month after Tom’s surgery.  We hired a moving company and were blessed by help from family and we moved 75 miles north towards the mountains.  Still in suburbs of Atlanta, but closer to the mountains.  I sometimes wonder why we just didn’t throw caution to the wind and make the move all the way…oh yea–I didn’t want to leave my job.

So, you can kind of understand why this blog has been neglected.  I hope I can change that and make regular posts going forward.

Here are some upcoming posts:

  1. New House Tour
  2. Frugal Christmas Gift Baskets (ever Christmas shop at grocery store?)
  3.  2017 Goals
  4. Wedding planning (daughter getting married 10/7/17!)
  5. Real life budget

Maybe listing some topics will help keep me accountable.

Here is Tom today:


Here is Tom on July 13th:


If you or someone you know and love has a family history of cardiac disease, please take the time and the $100 to have a quick easy test.  Read more about it HERE.  It could save your life.

Go HERE to read about Tom’s experience in his own words.

Thanks for stopping by!!





Raised Bed Gardening

DIY, food, Frugal living, Garden, living, Money

I have been interested in gardening since I was a kid.  I remember going with my grandfather to his garden to pick vegetables.  I loved picking the fresh vegetables and eating them as part of our lunch.

As an adult, I have tried to have a vegetable garden.  I had a small house with probably only 1/8 of an acre of land.  I planted tomatoes and peppers around the perimeter of the house and I had more tomatoes than my family could eat.  I gave them to neighbors, friends and family.  When frost threatened the abundance of green tomatoes on the vine, I picked them and canned green tomato relish, or “Chow Chow”.  It was delicious.

Fast forward.  I moved into a home with almost an acre of land.  Finally!  I could have a large garden and grow a real abundance of many different vegetables.  NOPE!  The ground at my new house was Rock. Hard. Georgia. Clay.  Nothing grew.  I invested a lot of money and got very little in return.  Imagine my disappointment.  What was I to do?  I decided that I had to accept the fact that I would not be able to have a garden.

Then I discovered Mel Bartholomew’s book, “Square Foot Gardening”.   I had to try it.  My husband built our raised beds at our previous home.  We did well with the raised beds, so we decided to build more here.  Our first beds were built with scrap lumber from our deck (my husband basically rebuilt our deck).


The beds on the far right in the picture below were built with the old deck scraps.



The beds in the middle and left are pre-fab kits that we found at Sam’s Club.  They were around $40 and were very quick and easy to assemble.  They are not as deep as our DIY version, but I love the ease of building them.  You can find them on HERE.  For the dirt mixture, you can follow the recipe in the Square Foot Gardening book.  We ended up just making a mix of peat moss, composted manure, mushroom compost, and top soil.  It is also a good idea to work in some perlite or vermiculite to lighten the soil.


I have planted lettuce, onion, potatoes, beets and swiss chard.  They are already starting to sprout.  The green that you see in the middle bed above is Greek Oregano–it was planted last Spring and survived over the winter!  WooHoo!IMG_4078