Listening to….

Mike Scott of The Waterboys performing ‘The Lake Isle Of Innisfree’ on The Ronan Collins Show.

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Pastrami Pinwheels

2014-11-20 17.14.00I got this great idea for lunchmeat and cream cheese pinwheels here.  I’m not going to duplicate her terrific instructions here, click through to see what she says to do, I’m just going to share a couple tips I found when I took the recipe for a test run – I used the results in my husband’s lunch this week and for extra snacks.

Here are some things I did differently, or will do differently next time:

I used pastrami because some of our guests won’t eat salami (beef instead of pork).

I didn’t spread the cream cheese evenly enough.  I think what would work better for me is to line a larger pan- like a jelly roll pan, or even 9X13,  with the plastic wrap, put in the cream cheese and other saran wrap, and then use a slightly smaller pan and press the cream cheese down so it’s an even depth.  Or Put to wooden spoons, one on each end of the cream cheese rectangle-t0-be, and roll that way so that the layer will be even.

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I sprinkled the cream cheese with green onions and olives- we liked that.

I sprinkled one half with chopped pickles.  Pickles are too wet.  Won’t do that again.

I think a dusting of some goodies from the spices and herbs collection between the cream cheese and saran wrap would be good and might help with sticking- maybe garlic powder and poppy seeds, or chives, smoked paprika…. hmmm.

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I did not overlap the layers of pastrami enough- this is important. It looked okay as a roll, but because the overlapping was minimal, when I sliced, my pinwheels kept coming undone.


I’m glad I took the recipe for a test drive.  It still turned out really, really well and was ridiculously simply insofar as ingredients and process.



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Vintage Thanksgiving Colouring Page

Printable Thanksgiving page from School Education, Volume 26, 1907, tinyI made a couple adaptations to this free printable- you could use the lined portion to have a child write a short note to a grandparent, neighbor, or Bible class teacher.  Your child might prefer to tell a story, write a narration, copy a Bible verse or a line of poetry.

The blank square can be filled with… another picture, perhaps a Thanksgiving scene- modern or historical- or  some calligraphy, a photograph, some writing of your child’s choice. Have fun!

The original comes from School Education, Volume 26, published by the School Education Company, 1907



Printable Thanksgiving page from School Education, Volume 26, 1907

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Religion in American Public Education, 1898

school education june 1898 cover

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My Funky Coat- FOUND!!

I was so glum about not being able to find this coat.  I was particularly glum because I had this sinking sensation that possibly in some misguided ‘let’s minimize’ moment I had told somebody to take it to Goodwill.

Possibly, I did, but it only made it as far as the back of the van.  Jenny is taking about a dozen people to the movies tonight so she was cleaning out the van and she found it, my lovely, crazy, Dr. Seussian-beast-hide coat:

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My model’s comment on the coat: “I hope you know you can’t expect me to speak to you for at least a year after this.”

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Essence of Good Health

vintage poster on health

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Pictures are all in a jumble, but I went to pay our property taxes today (OUCH) and thought I’d take pictures of the courthouse.

This is just some of the molding in the treasurer’s office. 2014-11-19 15.16.49


This is a very confused display in one of the central rooms of the courthouse- we have all three of the major fall/winter holidays represented- Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

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I really like these stained glass windows in the interior.

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I like the stately old clock as well- and get a kick out of the fact that is’ right next to the ladder- utility juxtaposed with beauty.



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Exterior windows:
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Brick road- the entire block around the Courthouse is still paved with brick road.  As a child when we came here to visit my grandparents (my grandmother worked at teh courthouse), I always found it very exciting to drive on this square block of brick road.

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Everybody at the courthouse was exceedingly friendly and some of them quite charming.  From the security guard who had to try to look through my purse, poor man, to the clerk who received my taxes, even to the random employee whose office I poked my head in just to ask about which exit to use, they all wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and wished I would keep warm.

I wished that for myself- it was snowing when I went in.  Fortunately, it stopped, but the wind did not, and it was rather bitter out there.

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pumpkins to make for a table decoration

I think the pies are silly, but the vines are pretty. From an old Good Housekeeping

Amelia Beard pumpkin craft 1

Amelia Beard pumpkin craft 2

pumpkin vine

Adelia Beard was Daniel Beard’s sister (he wrote the American Boy’s Handybook). She wrote the following books as well:

7.99 for Kindle The American Girl’s Handy Book: Turn-of-the-Century Classic of Crafts and Activities (Dover Children’s Activity Books)

10.99 for paperback; American Girls Handy Book: How to Amuse Yourself and Others (Nonpareil Books)

Free for Kindle; On the Trail An Outdoor Book for Girls

2.99 for kindle; Mother Nature’s Toy-Shop by Lina Beard and Adelia B. Beard : (full image Illustrated)

1.99 for kindle; Mother Nature’s Toy-Shop (illustrated)

Free!! Little Folks’ Handy Book

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1917, How Illness Spreads

Dr. Evans “How to Keep Well: A Health Book for the Home” (Google eBook)

Front Cover
William Augustus Evans
Sears, Roebuck & Company, 1917

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Assumptions That Come Between Frugality and You

assumptions lead to defaultsA while ago I was reading a financial blog that promised to save me 120 dollars a month in just minutes.  Here’s how:

Switch from a cell phone postpaid to prepaid

Change the cable plan from all-inclusive cable to basic cable

Cancel Blockbuster and move to  Netflicks

I appreciate that such basic advice is out there for newbies, but doesn’t it seem to aim too low?

Cell phone- I know they are handy, but sometimes you might reevaluate whether you need one at all.  I did not have one for years.

This is how it worked for a while in my family (your circumstances may differ):

My mother has a family cell phone plan.  She can get up to five cell phones on her plan.  She has one, one of our married daughters has one, two of our single girls in their early 20s each have one, and my husband has the fifth. It used to be mine, but when he lost his job, he lost his cell phone, too, and it was obvious he needed it more than I did.  I am seldom away from home alone, and usually whoever I am with has a cell phone of their own for emergencies.  We split the bill five ways, and that makes it cheaper than prepaid phone.

A little bit ago Granny Tea said she didn’t want to do that anymore.  Now that there are just five of us at home, really (Jenny is here, but only until the wedding)- we canceled the landline.  The two teens bought their own phones and paid for their own plans. We went with Republic.

Cable- you can eliminate Cable altogether.  We have never had it in 30 years of marriage, except for a six month period when the trailer park we lived in then provided it.  I tell people this and you know what their first response is?  “That’s a good idea, but where we live, we don’t get reception without Cable.”  Um.  Us, too.  We have almost always lived in places where no cable meant no television.  So that’s what we did, or rather what we didn’t do.  We played games, read, and worked on projects during the time other people typically watch television.  For a few special occasions we went to a friend’s house to watch something special- the elections, the Olympics, the Superbowl.  One memorable election year we had just moved to a new state and we knew nobody.  We looked into getting Cable turned on for one month only in our new home.  We discovered that it was cheaper to rent a local hotel room (in a hotel with a pool) and watch the election results there than it was to get cable, so that’s what we did.  One way of looking at it is certainly that the cost per night would have been cheaper with cable, but since we had no intention of using more than one night of the service, it wasn’t cost effective to buy that much more than we wanted.

Cancel Blockbuster?  We never had a monthly membership to Blockbuster. In fact, we did not even rent movies ever until about ten years ago, and it was still a rare treat.  If we wanted to watch a movie, we checked it out from the library, or watched one we had picked up inexpensively for a birthday present.  We watch more movies now than we used to- and I don’t think that is a good thing.  But we still do not have Netflix, Blockbuster, or Cable.  We still check them out from the library.  Sometimes we watch movies  or TV shows on  Well, that’s how it was when I wrote this. Now one of the kids pays for Netflix, and they all love Redbox.

It’s not that any of the above solutions the one true and right way to be frugal.  Each family has its own dynamics and logistics that need to be worked out – most of our friends had canceled their landline long before we did, but that wasn’t feasible for us because there were often minor children at home alone who didn’t have cell phones- and we live in the country.  So the best frugal choice for you won’t be the best choice for somebody else.  On truth that is universal though is that we all need to check our assumptions.

I’ve often blogged about the concept of ‘what do you have in your hand,’ the idea being it’s better to make do with what you have than to run to the store for something.  It’s usually better to repurpose what you have, or at least what you can get for free or very, very cheap, than to spend three times as much for something new.  Often our assumptions prevent us from really discovering those ‘what’s in your hand’ moments.

It’s hard to test your assumptions though, because they are assumptions. They aren’t decisions you consciously, deliberately, and thoughtfully made. They are default positions you haven’t  even noticed you accepted.

One way to check them is to listen carefully to others and yourself- what you’re listening for is anything at all said in a somewhat incredulous tone with words like this:

Well, you can’t…..

Obviously, you have to…..

Everybody needs….

You can’t get by without….

Times have changed…..

Nobody does that anymore….

Whenever you hear (or think) something like one of the above statements, perk up your ears and start thinking.  Think:

Why can’t I?

Why do I have to?

Needs?  Have people always needed whatever that is, or did they get by without it in the past? If so, how?

Why couldn’t I?

Why shouldn’t I?

If times have changed, they can change again?  Am I a follower or an independent thinker?

Nobody? Really?  And if this is true, why couldn’t I start?

So what?

Now it might be that once you have asked yourself all those questions, you still won’t see a reason to change what you’ve done.  That’s fine.

Here are a few examples of things I have been told could not be done that we have, in fact, done:

Lived through midwestern summers with no air conditioning

use cloth pads

Travel cross country with small children and no DVD player

Provide our children with fun and meaningful cultural experiences on a single income.

And so much more.  What are things you do that other people assume just can’t be done?  What assumptions have you learned to overturn?

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