Friday, November 30, 2007

Homemade taco seasoning

I found this recipe several years ago and use it almost exclusively when we have Mexican food. I use it for tacos, taco soup and chili. It has a great flavor and has way less salt than the purchased kind. It also is MSG free, MSG puts me to sleep and so many packaged mixes have loads of it them.

I multiply this recipe times 8 so you use 1/2 cup of chili powder and it makes all the measuring easy. Just layer the ingredients into a container and shake to mix. I use about 1 heaping tablespoon for a pound of meat.
Taco Seasoning 1 (from

1/2 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup ground cumin
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons sea salt (I just use regular salt)
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons black pepper (I just use about 1 tablespoon)

I buy most all spices at Dollar Tree, Big Lots and Walmart. I have tried the expensive name-brand ones and the only ones expensive one I think is better is cinnamon.

Living room trees

I like to put up multiple trees each with its own scheme. This one has clear lights with mostly pink and green vintage ornaments and beaded icicles I made. At the top you can see a rhinestone tiara that Nina got when she was queen of something in high school, I think it was a harvest festival maybe.
This tree has "fancy" ornaments and clear lights. The tree skirt did not photograph well but it is sparkly white felt edged with silver sequined fabric from one of Nina's old formals.
This tree has the sentimental ornaments.
Santa, now we just need some presents!

Christmas decorating so far

I bought this little silver tree last year half price with birthday money from my in laws. I think it is perfect in our breakfast area.
The ornaments are all vintage from various thrift stores.
Formal dining table, just Jeff and I don't eat too many meals here but the candy bought at Walgreens for $1 a bag does get eaten frequently :)
The stockings are hung. I sewed all of them over the years.
I think our family has the most fun with the little goodies we find in our stockings.

quilt for Baby Kitelyn

Baby Kitelyn is scheduled to be born Monday as her momma, Kristina is being induced then.
This little quilt turned out so bright! I am happy I was able to make it with supplies and fabric all on hand. You may not be able to tell but I machine quilted it and used a zig-zag stitch. One of the fabrics seemed to ravel a bit more than I would prefer so I thought the zig-zag stitch would help it last through multiple washings.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Black Friday Shopping & Soup for Thanksgiving Sunday

This shows a few things I got at the thrift store in my hometown. I am one of the few people who did no Black Friday retail shopping.
I really like the little vintage angel ornanments and the jingle bells. Nina might want the turtle pencil holder, she used to have a thing for turtles, but she might just think it is really silly.
I was especially happy to find the jars, they are the 2 quart size and very nice for food storage in the pantry.

We had a great time Thanksgiving. Jeff and I traveled to the Texarkana area to visit our families. Texarkana is a twin city and Jeff's parents live on the Arkansas side. My family lives in a small town in Texas just 20 miles from his parents. Our children all traveled in their own vehicles and they all had safe trips getting there and then back to their homes.
Silly me, I never once got out my camera to take pictures!
We had lots of wonderful food, visited lots and watched some good football games.
When we got home, we were ready for something lighter to eat. So I made vegetable beef soup that cooked in the crockpot while we were at church.
Simple crockpot soup

a very scant pound of stew meat, cut into small pieces and browned
3 chopped potatoes
1/2 small onion diced
2 carrots, diced
about 1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 cup of corn
15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 cans of beef broth

just stir together in the crockpot, add a little salt and pepper and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
I also baked a pan of cornbread and it was a very tasty lunch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frugal faucet protection

Here in Oklahoma, we are just this week having cold weather. In fact, today is the first day we have even turned on the heater. So it is time to protect those outdoor faucets from freezing. Styrofoam covers can be purchased but I choose to use what we already save and save the time spent driving and money spent shopping.
I used rags cut from Jeff's old work t-shirts, (they look pinkish but they are really dark red - my husband and the men he works with would never wear pink )pieces of a large trash bag and electrical tape.
First I wrapped each faucet with several pieces of fabric, then covered it all with trash bag and wrapped it up good with tape.
I have used Duct Tape before but the only roll we have now it bright yellow and that would not look too nice.
The back faucet with no covering.
Front faucet, covered and snug for winter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This week's projects

I've been sewing on a baby quilt for Kristina. She is scheduled to be induced Dec. 2 so I better keep sewing! The orange is really bright but I think they will like.
Birthday and Christmas gifts for both sides of our extended family are purchased, wrapped and bagged up ready for delivery.
My family will eat all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes including pumpkin and pecan pie this week but they also think that any family gathering also requires cookies. So I baked 4 batches this afternoon and have them boxed up and ready for travel.
I baked cinnamon pecan cookies, apricot chip cookies, chewy oatmeal cookies and Shaker spice cookies. These 2 little dishes are for the newlyweds to eat in the car as they travel.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Prairie dresses finished!

I am so happy that these dresses are done~ and I think they turned out pretty cute. To me, they look more like hippie pioneer dresses though instead of Caroline Ingalls dresses.

Weekend doings

I bought a few pansies at Lowes. After I cleaned out all the outdoor pots, I planted them in pots but the front and back doors. They survived the re-planting and are doing great. I love to have pansies because they usually bloom until spring, even if we get have ice and snow.
I found this neat kit for just under $6 at Lowes. I contained the pots, soil and 4 healthy paperwhites bulbs and 1 amaryllis bulbs
Made a quadruple batch of salad crackers for home and cookies for a church activity.
Started Christmas shopping! These gifts are all for parents and siblings that we will see Thanksgiving, but not on Christmas.
So on my to-do list for this week is to wrap and tag all those gifts.
The prairie dresses are finished too! They just need to be checked for threads and pressed. YEA!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Aunt Bernice

Bernice A. Mauk, still beautiful in body and spirit at 89, glided gracefully into the arms of Jesus on Tuesday.......... A stroke almost 19 years ago robbed Bernice of many of the basic life functions, but she was carefully cared for by her devoted husband and caregiver, Clarence, during these past two decades. Maintaining her position as the center of the family, Bernice was surrounded at the end by those who knew and loved her best.
Bernice was born Oct. 17, 1918, on a farm near Breckinridge, Okla., daughter of the late Charles and Fay Campbell. She attended junior college in Oklahoma for two years and married Clarence C. Mauk, the young man who teased her unmercifully in grade school but many years later became the love of her life.
While Bernice did not pursue a career after marriage, her life was spent creating a loving home that was filled with meaningful moments. She stayed busy with volunteering at her church, playing bridge, entertaining her grandchildren, and feeding everyone in sight. A magnificent cook, she continuously created many excellent meals that were lovingly prepared and gratefully consumed by the lucky recipients.
Her purpose in life was to pour out to others.
Bernice will be remembered as a loving wife, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend and devoted Christian. Her home was always open to others, and her guest books are filled with warm entries from thankful visitors.
She never met a stranger or an enemy; every new acquaintance became an opportunity for a lasting friendship.
Her life was a living testimony of God's love.Survivors: Her beloved husband of 59 years,.........................................
This is portions of my Aunt Bernice's obituary, she passed away this week after a very long illness. She was one of my favorite people and a truly perfect role model.
God bless you, Aunt B. You have always served the Lord and I am so glad you are with Him now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Newest project

My state, Oklahoma will be celebrating it's 100th birthday next week.

I don't plan on dressing in period clothing but my friend, Jimmie Sue and her daughter, Abigail, want prairie dresses to wear. Jimmie Sue is a public school music teacher and she says the entire elementary school will be dressing up on Nov. 16th. Jimmie Sue is so sweet and a really good friend but she does not plan ahead. She called me last night about making the dresses so I met her at Wal-mart and we got the fabric, patterns and notions.

They are not complicated but they have to be finished in 8 days!

Update - I cut them out Wednesday and got started with the sewing on the aprons this morning. I am feeling a bit more confident they will be completed.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend doings

My parents are here visiting for a few days and we had a pretty full and fun weekend.
Saturday evening, 12 family members met at Garber Dinner Theater for a play and dinner. Garber is a very small town on the Oklahoma prairie and they have an amazing group of people who produce the dinner theater. They have 3- 4 different plays each year, each play gets 6 showings and they are all sell-outs.

I baked a turkey while we were at church Sunday morning and when we returned home, we were surprised to find Jimmy and John here. I quickly made some instant potatoes (my kids love instant potatoes, go figure) and gravy, baked the rolls that rose while we were gone, and cooked some corn and broccoli in the microwave.
Bobby, Bridgette and their dog, Fletch, got here just after we started eating. But I did not get their picture at the table.
Right after lunch, I left to go to a baby shower that Nina co-hosted for one of her best friends. Kristina was Nina's matron of honor. The shower was all pink and brown, with pink baby things hung on a clothes line (really cute!)

Kristina has always been so tiny and seeing her turned side-ways at 8 months in her pregnancy is quite a sight!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No sewing, no thrift shopping, but..........

I have been really busy with my job this week. I live in a college town and I don't work for the university, but my job revolves around the university. I work for a staffing company that provides the university with some of the workers they need to run their ticketed events. I work in the office and never work the actual events ( crowds give me the creeps)
And this week has been crazy-busy! We are staffing 2 football games, a big soccer game, a wrestling match and 3 double-header basketball games in a 10 day span.
Most of our workers are great. They like the university and just want to be involved in the programs. Many are students, retirees or working people who just need some extra cash. We also hire groups who are doing fund-raising.
My thrifty advice is if you need some extra income and you live anywhere near a town with a college or big sporting events, you might want to look into how they run their events. Most big arenas hire workers as needed. The work is not hard, but if you like to talk to people and don't mind standing up for long shifts, event staffing might be a great fit for you.