Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baby Chicks

This year I decided to add more chickens to our dwindling flock; a decision that was hard to make because the price for new chicks in today's market starts at 3-dollars each.
We purchased two different batches of chicks just 3-weeks apart in age. It's amazing how quickly chicks grow. I'm hoping they all live to adulthood so we can recoup some of our investment.
I really love raising chickens, they have a way of bringing a smile to your face each time you look at them. Not to mention the wonderful eggs they produce each day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Small Organizing Project

There is a drawback to bargain shopping...clutter! It seems that each time I find a good deal on food or paper goods I always end up having trouble finding a place to store it as well as keeping it all organized. Nothing is a bargain if you forget to use it up before your item expires.
Our water heater is located in a very small closet like room. There is plenty of extra space in this room which works well as a second pantry....but I needed to find a better way to use this space without it looking cluttered.
My solution was to invest in a small shelf unit. It's nothing fancy, and it's made of plastic, but the large spacious shelves are perfect for keeping my pantry items separated and organized.
It always amazes me how an organized home has such a calming effect on everyone, especially me :O)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Our Travels on an Amtrak Train

 Last month Elizabeth and I took a trip which included a full day and night on an Amtrak train! It was an amazing train ride and one I hope to repeat in the future.
We originally planned to ride coach but decided at the last minute to get a private room. Goodness, it was the size of a closet but so very, very cute.
 We each had our own chair and a double window to look through.
Here is a view of the hallway with rooms on both sides. Just to the left of this photo is a shelf used for extra luggage.
On the other side of our train car were bathrooms and showers.
 Each bathroom was very tiny but very functional. It reminded me of an RV.
 The shower was small too but there was enough room to wash and move around freely.
 Here is Elizabeth in the top bunk; the straps you see are there to keep people from falling off the bunk.
 Here is the bottom bunk. The seats pulled together and a mattress was placed on top. All this was done for us by a man who works on the train.
 We had a door that closed and locked and then curtains that covered it all. Once the beds were ready we had very little space, only enough to put our legs on the floor; here you can see how my knees almost touched the door. But we were still very comfortable. I was able to stretch out on the bed without feeling cramped.
 The train had a dinning car and our meals were included in the price of our room.
 We had pancakes for breakfast;
 Burgers and chicken strips for lunch;
And a full course meal of herb chicken, potatoes or rice, green beans and bread for supper. 
 During part of our ride we went to the observation car to watch the scenery go by.
The observation car even had tables on one end for eating or playing cards or games.
I had always wanted to ride a train; and it was everything I ever imagined it to be. We had such a wonderful time; all the Amtrak employees went out of their way to make us comfortable.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bargain Hunting

My favorite pastime is bargain hunting. It's so addicting and often I have to restrain myself in order to keep from buying too much; which isn't always easy.
All winter I have been watching our local Craig's List for a folding screen to use in front of the fireplace. Most of the local screens were either the wrong style or the price was too high. Recently, while visiting my sister, I checked out the Austin area Craig's List. And just look at what I found; not only the screen but a complete tool set as well. All this for the bargain price of $20 buck!  
 As Elizabeth gets older our stash of school books just keep growing. In order to keep everything in one central location I started looking for a desk that was larger than a typical school desk. Again using our local Craig's List I located a heavy table that at one time was used by the local college. I paid $10 buck and it has been worth every penny.
 This next bargain was found by Jonathan. At a recent book sale Jonathan purchased this paperback book for 50-cents.
A couple of weeks later, when he started reading the book, he found two twenty dollar bills tucked into the back of the book. He takes after me, such a natural bargain hunter!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chalupas or Tostadas

Whether you call them Chalupas or Tostadas we love them! While recently visiting my sister we dined on her version of this tasty and easy to make dish; which I have made before but often forget to prepare this way.
  Our favorite shell is Mission, they are absolutely the best!
 Start by spreading refried beans onto your shells. I used my home canned beans for these.
Next top with seasoned taco meat.
 And then cheese.
 Place in a hot oven or toaster oven until the cheese melts.
Top with lettuce and tomatoes; serve with rice for a complete meal. We often add salsa or ketchup to these. Yum, what a simple and very satisfying meal these make.

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