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Good Morning/Afternoon!!


As much as I wanted to get this post out yesterday, it didn't happen. I was up super early and out the door and had a very busy day. So today it is!

I shopped this week at both Winco and Costco. I had a some restocking of pantry items in this weeks haul. 

From Winco...

 
I only needed a few salad veggies and a few pieces of fruit. I still had both at home but wanted to make sure I could make it thru the week. so I picked up a couple bags of lettuce mixes, a cucumber and a red cabbage. For fruit it was apples, oranges and bananas. 


 

 
My pantry items were lasagna noodles, cream of mushroom soup, grape jelly, spaghetti sauce (on sale for .86 cents a can), chicken bullion cubes, brown jasmine rice and I bought 2 boxes of mac & cheese with the thought that I would use them for my grandson, but in the end they weren't used. I'm not a fan of boxed mac & cheese so I'll have to think of something clever to do with them :).  And of course Hubby's cookies. His favorites are chocolate chip, but they didn't have any so the next runner up was peanut butter. 






The rest of this Winco haul was half & half, frozen pizza (the grandson :), frozen corn on the cob, 2 packages of frozen hash browns and 1 of the store brand of tater tots. I also got us some sushi for a treat. 


 


 Total from Winco this week was $47




My next stop was Costco...


 I needed both regular and decaf coffee, mixed nuts, feta cheese, salsa, turkey breast lunch meat and I needed to replenish my hot dogs as my family had eaten all I had while they were visiting. Plus Hubby got his bag of mini chocolate bars. 

You wouldn't think such a small haul would amount to so much, but it did..



Total for Costco this week: $82



Grand Total for this weeks groceries:
 
$129






That's all for this weeks Grocery Haul for Two!

Crystal :)

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Good Morning!

Happy Wednesday friends!  We're in the countdown of days left with my grandson. He's been here almost a month and we've loved it. He's got to see lots of uncles, aunts, cousins and of course grandma & grandpa. It's been fun having him here. 

This last week he spent a lot of time with my youngest son, his uncle Isaac, and it's so great that they have formed such a nice bond together.  I'm certain he'll go home with lots of fun summer memories. 

Yesterday Grandpa taught him how to drive the tractor and he had a good time with that..

 


My little kitties are growing up and ready to leave the nest and I'm ready for them to go! I need to get some more pictures today of them and see if I can find them homes. They are super cute, but, I'm done with it now :) Time for me to get mama cat fixed so we don't have this happen again. 

I was able to get pics of 2 of them, the third one hid behind the washing machine and I couldn't get him to come out :)

 






Goals
My only goals today are time spent with my daughter and her children. They're coming over to say 'good bye' to my grandson and we may head head out for a walk, if it doesn't rain. 




For the Love of Books!

I had a few free evenings and was able to finish up David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I really loved the book. It was a great story to follow David Copperfield's life. It was a long book, but worth the read for me. 

I started a quick read, Call of the Wild by Jack London. It was one of my children's favorite books but I never did read it, so now is my chance. 

 

Projects
All projects are on hold until my grandson heads home. I'll spend my last few days with him



Fitness and Health
I have managed to get out and walk a few times, not as far or as often as I was doing but it feels good that I'm getting out when I can. 
 



View from my Deck
While we have had some nice sunny days that have been warm enough to swim in the pond, the cooler, cloudy days are still making their appearance.  Today is one of those days. They say it may even rain this afternoon. 

 



Today's weather: High: 69  Low: 58



That's all for this week my friends,
Crystal
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Good Morning!

I was still getting into the swing of things this last week and didn't take pics of all my meals. But I got enough to do this post! :)

Last week I started off by making some pork chops in the crockpot. I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, a packet of brown gravy mix and about a cup and a half of chicken broth. I served these over brown rice and had a salad on the side. I did not, however get a picture of this yummy meal.  We enjoyed this for 2 nights.

After that Hubby was ready for a BBQ again. We bbq'd some burgers. My grandson was at my daughter's house so it was only the 2 of us eating. I also was finishing up the last of the leftovers from our family get together, which included some potato salad, green salad and corn. 




The next meal was a BBQ again. This time it was a steak BBQ. I served baked potatoes with this meal. My grandson does not like steak so he got a little frozen pizza and happy with that! :)

 

 And as if hamburgers once that week weren't enough Hubby wanted them again. I seriously won't complain as I don't have to cook! :D We also BBQ'd some more corn on the cob. 




Finally on Sunday I made lasagna. It was delish! 



I also made some buttery garlic bread to go with it. 

I don't have an official recipe for this bread. But here is how I make it..  

I slice the bread across into slices but don't cut it all the way through. Then I cut it once down the long way. After that I melt a stick of butter and add 2t of granulated garlic. I generously butter the bread making sure I get some between all the slices. I then butter the top with whatever I have leftover. I wrap it in foil (leaving the top exposed) and put it in a 350 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes to crisp up. 

 
 This is always a big hit. My youngest son was over visiting and both he and my grandson gave it a big thumbs up. :) 

I served a salad with this as well. The picture below shows the salad mix which I served on lettuce and topped with grape tomatoes and cucumber slices.




Well that does it for this week, I hope to do better getting all the pictures for this coming week! 

Crystal :)

 


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When I take a break from blogging the hardest post to catch up on are the grocery hauls. I'm going to only give totals for the 2 weeks that I missed and this will also include my weekly average as of the end of June.  I had so much going on that I didn't take the time to take the pictures of those weeks. For this current week I am back at it with pictures! :)

Also these 2 weeks of trips are a bit higher than my normal because I was preparing for my family get together. 



My grocery haul for the last week of June was: $180

I spent $373 for groceries in June. From the beginning of the year until the end of June I have spent $2465 on all groceries, and shopped (to that date) 26 times. 

My weekly average on groceries as of the end of June is: $95



************************

Now for last weeks grocery haul. I went to Costco for most all of my groceries. I also took a quick trip to Fred Meyers because they had steak on sale. 

I spent $121 at Costco and $44 at Fred Meyer. 

My grand total for the first grocery trip in July was:
$165 

*************************

Now for this weeks haul :) I still had leftovers hanging around even after several days. So I only needed to make a quick trip to Winco to pick up my weekly basics and a few deals along the way.



I still had a bit of fruit and a few veggies so I only picked up some salad and a salad mix, onions, cucumbers, grape and roma tomatoes. And I got a few apples and bananas I also picked up an 8# bag of oranges that my hubby at set in the other room and I didn't see them, so they are not in the pic. 



I also picked up milk, eggs, a can biscuits, a couple orange juices, tortillas and a couple pizzas that my grandson had requested. 

 
The tortillas ended up in 2 pictures.. :D .. oh well.. I picked up a box of pancake mix (for the grandson :) and I got 2 packages of rib eye steaks (our steak supply was pretty much depleted with the big steak bbq for the family). I also found some thin sliced pork chops at a good deal and grabbed those as well. 



My receipt shows a total of $80.15, but this also included a bag of cat littler for $8.12. That goes under animal supplies and is not part of my grocery budget. So $80.15 - 8.12 = 72.03

Total from Winco and 
grand total for this week:

$72




I'm all caught up now! 

That's all for this week's Grocery Haul for Two 
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Good Morning!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me. My normally quiet little life has been anything but that! :) But it's also been so enjoyable and full of fun. 

I had family that started rolling in last week on Wednesday. My daughter and her boyfriend from California and their cute little fur babies were the first to arrive. My son from Ohio was next in line. My other daughters in California could not make it and my daughter in Kentucky could not be here. This year we had 5 out of our 8 children here with their families.  One of these years everyone's schedule will be able to line up and they can all make it to our yearly family get together. 

We also had friends and my niece here as well making for a very full house.  I loved every minute of it. 

Here are some pics from our time together (we also had an evening of fireworks but I didn't get any pics of that as I was helping with kids and taking pics in the dark is not that easy)..





 We had a couple nights of BBQ's, some cooked by family and the last one cooked by my hubby. The one thing everyone was looking forward to was Dad's BBQ'd steaks. And he did not disappoint.. :D


 
We also had corn on the cob but I didn't get a picture of it. We pulled out a second BBQ grill and filled it full of corn. It was all amazing. 

There's always this vacuum after my family all leaves that can feel a bit empty but that was eased some by the fact that my grandson is still here. Life has almost gone back to normal for me. My grandson will be here until the end of next week. 

He's having a great time. He was completely spoiled by all his aunts and uncles while everyone was here.


Goals
Today my daughter is coming to pick my grandson up so he can spend a few days with his aunt, uncle and cousins. I'll be visiting with them this afternoon and after that, not sure what my goals are. I have 3 sets of washed and folded sheets ready to remake the guest rooms so that will be on my list. After that, maybe a walk if it's not to late.



For the Love of Books!
The one thing I have not had time to do is read! I like to read in the evenings but I've been spending my evenings with my grandson. It's good to know my book will be waiting for me when life goes back to normal.


Projects
The projects on my list are soap making (never got it done before family arrived like I had hoped I would) and continuing my campaign to reduce and minimize my things. 

I have been working to move toward a more minimalist lifestyle. Not in a crazy way, but reevaluating my possessions and asking the simple question, "does it serve a purpose?".  The purpose can be that I use it frequently, it makes me happy (pictures, decorations, etc), will I use it on a regular basis? As I've gotten older I've realized that I would rather enjoy life and experiences and people then things. Things take to much time, to much space, to much clutter for my brain. So simplicity is my new goal.  

To this end I've randomly picked cupboards, drawers, storage bins, etc and started making choices to toss and give. I get a good amount each week for the garbage and for donation. Slowly, I'll get there! :)



Fitness and Health
This is another area that has not been what it normally is due to family and busyness. I've struggled to get out and walk, but it's one of those times that I'm refocusing my priorities and know I'll return to walking and hiking as soon as life settles down again. 

Yesterday I did take my grandson out for a little local hike. It was so nice to get out in nature and enjoy the walk. 

 

View from my Deck
You may have noticed one common theme in the above pictures. That theme is: HOODIES! :D  Yes indeed it's almost the middle of July and we are still in hoodies often. We are all still waiting for summer to begin. Today is no different, the clouds are thick and the forecast says it 'might' clear up, we 'might' get some sun and we 'might' be somewhat warm or it 'might' just rain all day! Who knows :D  

 



Today's weather: High: 74   Low: 62



That's all for this week my friends,
Crystal
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My original plan was to take last week off of blogging to spend time with my grandson and it's been wonderful :). 


 It's been wonderful and busy! :D

I thought I'd share a few pictures...

Having fun with Legos and some cousin fun time..


He helped Grandpa pull some weeds and earned a little money (to buy more Legos :D )



And he's enjoyed spending time at his cousins house....



He also likes to cook and has helped me in the kitchen, and we've played card games, worked together on home things (helping me prep for family coming), and gone on walks.

All in all the whole family is having a great time with him.

************

As for this update..

I have several family members arriving this week and a family get together planned for Saturday and a list of things to get done to prepare for it all.

SO, I will be taking this week off as well. Most of my family will be leaving on Monday (except for my grandson who will be here for a couple more weeks). 

My goal at this point is to be back to blogging  by next week. :)


Crystal :)

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Hello Friends!

I wanted to give you a blog update. My 12 year old grandson arrived on Friday night and we've been so enjoying our time with him.

I've decided to take the week off of my regular blogging so I can continue to focus on him. I may pop in with some other blog posts, but I'll get back to my regular weekly blogs next week. 

He says he doesn't like to smile for pictures :D and doesn't like his picture taken, but he did let grandpa take this one of the two of us. Despite his face, he is having a great time here! 

 

Crystal :)
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Good Morning!!

This week was a one stop, one store, easy haul. I seem to be in a pattern lately. Every week I shop at Winco and every other week I also stop at Costco. The Winco only weeks are typically small and help balance out the larger Winco/Costco weeks.

With that, here is my haul..



 I picked up the basic fruits and veggies. I only needed a few apples and oranges because we still had some at home and I only needed to make sure we made it through the week. 

The veggies were also my typical salad veggies.  A bag of lettuce mix, red cabbage, green cabbage, mushrooms, kale, grape tomatoes and a sweet potato. 






Dairy only included milk and half & half. I picked up a couple cans of olives for the pantry, flour tortillas and corn tortillas. The frozen corn was on sale for $1.88 for 8 little half ears. I could have gotten some fresh corn but the fresh corn was expensive and not really looking all that great to me. I'll wait until later in the season for the fresh. This was the corn we BBQ'd and it turned out really good (I love BBQ'd corn).  I may pick up some more on my next shopping trip. 


 

Total from Winco and total for the week:
$34





I have a question for you all!

Grocery Bags..  what do you use? 

In some areas that I shop they have gotten rid of plastic bags and the only option is paper. Some places it's still a choice.. paper or plastic..

When we're in California I noticed that you either have to bring your own bags or pay for bags. 

I'm curious what you do for this or what your stores do.. 

Winco will give you a .06 cent bag refund for each bag  you bring with you. I bring my own cloth bags when I shop. 

 

That's all for this weeks Grocery Haul for Two!

Crystal :)

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Good Morning!

How are things going for you this morning?  I hope all is well. 

I woke up to a very cool feeling house. I had a couple windows open and shut them and then went and started a little fire. Yep, it's June 19th and I'm still needing to make fires to heat up the house now and then. I know the real summer will come eventually and there will be a nice break in the fire making. Which is good as we are close to being out of wood.

This last week was good and busy. I had a couple trips to town, went on a hike with my oldest son, chatted with my oldest daughter to see how her 2 weeks of duty had gone (she's Army Reserves) and had a visit with my youngest son, a doctors appointment and other bits. 

Hubby has been working on our barn doing some repairs. We don't have animals anymore but the barn needs to be maintained and mice and moles were having a great time in there.  He's repaired the foundation in areas and is putting down a new wood floor. The process has required 16 foot boards for the floor. I've gone to do a few early morning Home Depot runs with him. He likes to get there when they open up because he can get in and out quickly and we can get on with our day. But 16 feet is a lot to bring home! We have a full size (12 passenger) 1 ton van that use to be the family car. He's taken the seats out and uses it for whatever our needs might be. This time it has been for bringing home long and heavy lumber. He can fit 12 feet of the boards inside the van but the other 4 feet sticks out the end..

 
Believe me, it's a long and slow drive home through all the curvy roads. He pulls over often to let faster moving traffic go by. 

I finally purchased my grandson's return flight ticket. My oldest grandson, who is 12, will be flying here at the end of this week to spend a month with Grandma and Grandpa. We are really looking forward to his visit. It's been a long time since we've seen him in person.  I postponed the return flight ticket for a lot of reasons and I had some specific questions I needed to ask my daughter but she was away on her 2 week duty. I finally got in touch with her and got my questions answered and was able to make the reservation. 

I'm lining up things to do with him while he is here. It will be a pretty easy going visit and there are uncles and his aunt and cousins to reconnect with and walks and hikes with grandma, time spent around the homestead with grandpa (he's looking forward to teaching him how to drive the tractor).  Over the weekend after the 4th we'll be having a small(ish) family get together and there will be more family here. I think it will be a lot of fun! :)

The best news I have to share this week is that I had my 9 month follow up appointment for my eyes.  I'm thankful to report that my eyes have not drifted or moved any since my surgery. Thank you Lord! He said everything looked great and I didn't need any more follow up appointments. So grateful to be moving on from this. 


Goals
Yesterday was my housekeeping day. My goals to clean, vacuum, mop, pick up clutter, etc.. were all accomplished with the exception of my hallway. 

My entry from my backdoor into the hallway always tracks in a lot of dust. I need to shake the rugs, sweep & mop the floor. 

Other then that this is what my list looks like:

~make a couple of phone calls
~make soap
~take a nice long walk

I haven't had to cook dinner in the last couple of nights. I sent Hubby to work with meals from my freezer stash and I had big salads and a half sandwich each night for dinner. But now, I need to cook something today. My plan right now is to make a pan of hamburger enchiladas. 




For the Love of Books!
I'm now about 2/3rds of the way through David Copperfield. I'm hoping to get it done this week but we will see. Since my grandson will be here I may not have as much reading time as I typically do.


Projects
My hope and plan is get some soap made today. We are getting low on it and I need to restock. Plus I like having extra bars around. Several of my kids will be here in a couple weeks and they always look forward to taking home some homemade soap.


Fitness and Health
I had another fantastic hike with my oldest son over the weekend! It was a beautiful day and a beautiful hiking area. It was close to where we had hiked previously, just in a different direction.  We hiked about 6 miles according to my GPS hiking app. I've loved this app so much. I'll even use it to take walks to see how far I've walked. I highly recommend it if you like to hike (and walk, but I know there are apps specifically meant for walking). The app is GAIA GPS.  You can find it HERE. Or you can search for it in the Google Play Store.

We got an earlier start to our day, but still had trouble finding a place to park. We ended up parking about 1/4 of a mile away, which was ok.. just added to the hike! :) This trail was part of another section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

We were hiking to a group of rock formations called Pinnacles. They were pointed rock that jutted up out of the ground. The trail had a little more elevation than the last hike we took. In all I think we had about 1200 feet of elevation. It was a bit challenging at times for me, but I did pretty good and it made me feel that my strength is improving. I like to challenge myself to the next level when it comes to hiking. Considering the area I live in there are only so many 5 or more mile hikes on flat ground. Lots of simpler 1 mile hikes that have little to no elevation gain, but if you want to have a longer hike, you have to take on the elevation. So it was a good push for me.



The area was simply gorgeous! Beautiful trails, a creek with a bridge for crossing. As my son and I crossed the creek we had to stop and just take it in. The sound of the rushing water, birds, the peace, the filtered sunshine coming in through the trees.. For that split second I didn't think there could be anything better in life! :)


 At one point we came out of the woods somewhat and there was a hillside of rock with the trail cut out of it. It's challenging to walk over lots of rock... well at least for me it is :D My son seems to do much better. But the view out over the Gorge was breathtaking!


 Finally, about 3 miles in we found the pinnacles. 

 
At that point we sat down on a couple big boulders and drank water, ate a granola bar and then headed back for another 3 miles. It was a great day and reminded me again that I have found a love for hiking!




View from my Deck
I waited until the last minute to take the picture hoping the clouds would part (as the weather forecast says they will), but the clouds are still there. This has been the story of the last several days, clouds in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon with temps in the upper 60's & low 70's. 



Today's weather: High: 67 Low: 50



That's all for this week my friends,
Crystal
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Good Morning!

My weekly post of cooking and meal planning inspiration for you! :)


Monday was leftovers so I didn't need to cook anything until Tuesday. On Tuesday I cooked up a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage and added lots of  veggies with it.  While that was going I started some brown Jasmine rice in my Instant Pot..


When the rice had finished cooking I added it (about 3 cups) to the sausage and veggies.  I added some extra seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic. This was simple and tasted so good!


I made a salad and baked a package of Jiffy Corn Muffins to go with the meal


We had this for a couple of nights before moving on to BBQ burgers. I've had a lot of fun trying out different things with my burgers. Last week I shared how I added feta cheese to them.  This week I tried something new. 


I made bacon swiss burgers. I started by cooking up some bacon. I did it in the oven because it's pretty quick this way and easy clean up. I cooked the whole pound so I could have use it later in the week. 

I line my tray with parchment paper and lay out the bacon. Heat the oven to 400 and bake it for about 45 minutes. The time really depends on how crisp you  want your bacon. For this I wanted crispy.








I took 3 slices and crumbled it up. I also took one slice of swiss cheese and cut it up into small pieces. Grated swiss would work too, but I had the slices. I cut up a little bit of onion as well..




To 1 pound of hamburger I added salt, pepper, season salt, a little Montreal Steak Seasoning and garlic. Then I added my bacon, cheese and onions..



Mixed this well and formed it into 3 patties for the grill..




The end result was wonderful! We really enjoyed these burgers. I still think the feta cheese were better but hubby said he liked these better. 



The following night my hubby said pizza sounded good. He told me this later in the day and I didn't really want to hassle with making pizza dough. Instead I pulled out a loaf of french bread from the freezer to make them.



I didn't want to end up with soggy bread so here is what I did to prevent that...

I melted 4T of butter and added a couple teaspoons of granulated garlic and a shake or two of Italian Seasoning..


I brushed the bread with the butter/garlic mix and put it in the oven at 400 for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the bread was golden brown..



Then I put a layer of salami on first thing. I still had some salami and pepperoni leftover from the last time I made pizza. Then I put the sauce on top of the salami. Now there was no sauce soaking into the bread making it soggy.



I added the rest of my toppings on (including the rest of the bacon that I had from the bacon burgers) and put it back in the oven to get hot and melt the cheese..





I could not believe how quick and how easy this was to make. I will definitely do this again soon.



The next night we BBQ's steak. I had been shopping and found some frozen corn on sale so we put that on the grill too. I think corn cooked this way is the best way to do. The BBQ-ing makes all the sweet flavor of the corn come out. So good!


I made up a package of instant mashed potatoes and a salad to go with this meal..



Yesterday was a super busy day and we put hotdogs on the BBQ. It was simple and quick. 


We added to this meal some of the leftover sausage and rice, a salad, and the rest of the corn on the cob. I was so tired by that point in my day I forgot to take a picture of the finished plated up meal. 


That is all for this weeks cooking inspiration! 
Crystal :)

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