Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Is What I'm Thinking

That it is good to be stuck in my little fifth wheel day in and day out.

LizzieBelle and I took CountryBoy to work yesterday.  An hour and a half round trip.  Three hours total of my day gone.

Since I have no vehicle (I'm STILL very upset that an idiot totaled my Jeep and STILL trying very hard to forgive him) I decided I would take Hubby to work so that I could take some packages to the post office and to also do the weekend chores allowing CountryBoy a nice long weekend at home staying off his feet.

Although I dreaded all the driving I thought I would enjoy my day running errands and being able to casually browse if I wanted.

But, no, I did not.

The current town we shop in is the largest town we've been near since we've been on the road.  It is crowded with shops and lots and lots of traffic and people.  I don't like it.

By the end of the day I found myself literally saying that I couldn't wait for the day when I never had to go to town again to shop. Or at least, to grocery shop.

The day when we will be eating whatever we grow and put up for the winter and doing without if we don't have it.

And, when I do have to go to town?  I want it to be a small town.  I might survive that. *wink*  Big cities?  I can't handle them anymore.  I don't want to handle them.  The congestion.  The fast-pace.  "Makes my insides jump" as my dear Mother used to say.

Yep. I'm thinking that after 50 years of life here on this earth that I have completely lost my city born roots.  And I'm OK with that.  Really OK.  In fact, I am excited about our future.  Excited to find a farm, plant a garden, raise chickens, goats & a dairy cow, keep bees, spend the summer harvesting our crops and canning.   I know it sounds crazy and is a lot of work.  It's not something most people seek when they retire but, hey, we aren't like most people. And, no wise-crack comments from those of you who know us, ha!

I'm also thinking that I may retire this blog for the time being.

Our lives have drastically changed since I wrote my first blog post.  I am no longer able to blog about happenings at our old homestead or take pictures of our garden and chickens, etc.

I've been trying to plug away at it while on the road but it's just not working out.

Hours spent preparing a post only to have minimal views and/or comments.

I'm thinking it's time to move on.

Maybe one day I can resurrect this ol' blog.  One day when we're back on country roads.

For now?  I'm considering a new blog about my latest projects whether it be sewing, crocheting, quilting, crafting, a project in the fifth wheel, etc.  The new blog will also help me get connected with other bloggers who craft and will help me build a network of individuals interested in things handmade and hopefully some potential customers.

These projects are how I fill the long hours of being stuck in the fifth wheel. I'm good with that.  Remember the whole 'going to town' thing I mentioned earlier?  Yea, I like being home.  In order to keep making stuff I need to sell some of them which also provides a tiny bit of income. Not a lot of income since I like to use quality supplies which can be costly but enough for me to buy more supplies and add a small amount towards our future farm.

These projects take a lot of time to make.  Marketing takes a lot of time.  The same person trying to do both?  Almost impossible especially with the normal day-to-day responsibilities that must be done as well.

A new blog will also allow only the people that want to read about my projects to do so rather than those that wanted to read about farm life being subjected to yet another post about a project.

I currently have a page on Facebook where I post my projects so the next step would be a blog.  (Oh, if you're on Facebook and want to follow me on there here's the link Gone Country Creations.  Don't forget to hit the Like button on the page while you're there! And a Share would be appreciated too!)

It's still a thought in process but if you're interested in the new blog just leave me a comment and I will email you the link when it is up and running. Make sure I have your email address and that 'Do Not Reply' is not checked in your settings.

I'm thinking that this post is long enough already and I've yet to share very many photos to help break it up, so, I will leave you with a photo I shared on Facebook of my sweet LizzieBelle plum tuckered out!

Thanks to those of you who have stuck by me these past few years through all the changes.  Y'all are awesome and I hope to see you at GoneCountryCreations!


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Yummy Snack

Or dessert.  Which is how we like to eat this yumminess!

I'm talking about a Banana Wrap.

These days, anything can be put in a wrap (flour tortilla) and fruit is no exception.

I saw the idea on Pinterest and came up with my own version.  Here it is...

Take a smaller size flour tortilla and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on it...

Then, sprinkle some granola on it...

Next, put some chocolate bits on there...

Now, it's time to pop it in the toaster oven for a few minutes to soften the bits...

Let it cool for a couple of minutes then drizzle some honey all over...

Add a banana...

And wrap it all up!...

That's it!

This has become one of our favorite desserts.  So satisfying and good for you.

Here's what I use to make these:

Banana Wrap

flour tortilla (fajita size)
homemade peanut butter (16 oz. honey roasted peanuts in food processor for five minutes, put in mason jar and store in fridge)
Vanilla Almond Agave Granola
43% Cacao Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
raw honey
1 banana

1.  Spread thin layer of peanut butter on tortilla.
2.  Sprinkle granola over peanut butter.
3.  Place chocolate chips on tortilla.
4.  Bake at 300 degrees for three to four minutes or until chips are soft.
5.  Let cool for a few minutes (otherwise the honey melts)
6.  Drizzle honey over all.
7.  Put banana on tortilla, wrap and serve.

You'll notice in the photos that I used the ingredients sparingly.  When the banana is wrapped there are more than enough ingredients to satisfy in every bite. And this combination of ingredients? So perfect!

You can use any ingredients that appeal to you or coincide with your dietary needs.

CountryBoy and I split one of these for dessert.  It has helped me eat more fruit and satisfies my sweet tooth and chocolate cravings.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Till next time my friends...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Snowball Effect

I'm not sure about y'all but round here it seems that adding or changing one thing always leads to something else needing to be done.

The latest change was getting rid of the heavy sleeper sofa in the fifth wheel.

Good riddance!

Now I have an empty spot to fill...

My intentions were to find a futon which would allow for overnight guests to sleep and would also allow for extra storage underneath.

Do you know how difficult it is to find futons these days?

At least the last few places we've lived haven't had any. They used to be everywhere.  Now when I'm looking for one I couldn't find one.  Oh, I could special order one but who wants to special order a piece of furniture without trying it out first?!  Not me.

I continued to stop in any furniture store I came across and finally found one, yay!  (Hee, hee, I made CountryBoy stop at this one store we've been driving by for weeks.  Seeing as none of the previous stores had any futons in stock I told him he could stay in the truck while I went in to look and that if they had one I would motion for him to come in.  He said after I'd been in there a while he figured uh-oh, they must have one, hahaha!  He was right!)

So, over the weekend we loaded up the sofa to make way for the new futon.

We spent hours trying to get rid of this sofa.  Had to get rid of the old one before we could get a new one.  After all, we don't have a garage or any place to store something that large.

Can I just say that I now understand why there are sofas on the side of the roads!

No, we did not dump the sofa on the side of the road but after a couple of hours searching we finally found a large dumpster.  Whew.

And no, Goodwill didn't want it either, ha!

Anyhoo, I'm finally able to get my futon!  Yay!  So off to the furniture store we go that same day.

It sits higher than the old sofa (which is nice for this half-a-century year old lady to get up and down out of!) and the back is higher as well.

Which, ends up being a problem.

Did you notice the window treatments in the above photo perhaps?

If not, here's the problem...

Those side window treatment panels stick out about three and a half inches and are below the back of the futon so I'm losing precious inches of living space.

To complicate matters even more, the strings to the day/night shades are attached to them as well and help to hide the strings.

Decision time.

I never cared for those panels anyway and the colors are definitely NOT my choice of colors when it comes to decorating, so, I decided I would rather have the extra few inches and live with seeing strings then look at those panels any longer.

Problem is, if I remove the side panels from these two windows then I have to remove them from three more windows since they are all in the same area.


But, my dislike of those side panels won out over the work involved so I rolled up my sleeves (oh wait, I was wearing a tank top - but you get the point!) and got to work on figuring out the easiest way to remove them.  Let me tell ya, it got real messy and real cramped pretty quick in the fifth wheel once I got started, ha!  Good thing CountryBoy was at work cuz there would've been no room for him!

About the third window I had figured out the easiest way to get it done so the pace picked up a bit even though it took me all day.  (Good thing it was Sushi night last night and I didn't have to cook!)

I'm really liking the results.

 It's a much cleaner and simpler look.

I also gained several inches in my sewing corner as well.  Now, I can sew while CountryBoy is home and he can still get around since I will no longer be blocking the path from the living room to the kitchen.  Happy, happy!

Eventually, I might make some curtains but, for now, I'm kinda liking this look.

I think by removing the sleeper sofa and the wood side panels we got rid of approximately 125 lbs. of weight in the fifth wheel.  Less weight is always good when traveling.

After a steady day of work LizzieBelle portrays how I felt... wore slap out!

She must've gotten tired just from watching me.  Actually, I think she was a little concerned at first since furniture was getting moved around, the vacuum cleaner was out and there was stuff everywhere, ha!  But, we both survived!

I think this particular snowball has stopped.  For now (wink!).

Till next time folks...

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Summer Salad

For many years CountryBoy and I would spend one week of our vacation going on mission trips to Honduras and Nicaragua.  We went with a group from our church where we spent the week building a church in remote villages in those countries.  The villagers worked alongside us with all ages pitching in to help; men hammering nails, children carrying lumber and cleaning up scrap pieces, women cooking for the workers.

The accommodations were primitive at best.  A tent with an army cot, the local latrine (which was built by the missionaries we were working with and provided for these remote villages and were thoroughly cleaned and limed by our team upon arrival), and baths were taken in the river.  The same river where we got our drinking water and the villagers washed their clothes. No worries.  You bathed down river from where you got your drinking water, wink!  (Just don't think too hard about the village up river that is bathing down river, well, you know where I'm going with that! You just hope that the water has been purified by nature by the time it gets to the next village!)

Even with the best luxury item being the latrine it was always a wonderful week and always difficult to leave.

Before heading home our team is treated to a nice meal in one of the restaurants in the more modernized parts of these countries.

One restaurant was outdoors in a very tropical setting.  It was so lush with plants that I felt as though I was eating in the midst of a rainforest.  It was awesome!

I can't remember what I ate for the main course but I remember eating a corn salad of sorts that was on the salad bar.

Seeing all the beautiful corn on the cob at the grocery stores this summer reminded me of that salad and I wanted to see if I could recreate it.

Here's what I came up with...

Crunchy Corn & Veggie Salad

3 ears fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed from cob
5 stalks of celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, sliced
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
handful of cilantro, chopped
4ish tsp. olive oil
2ish tsp. garlic infused red wine vinegar
1ish tsp. sugar
1ish tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2ish tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

Combine corn kernels, celery, red pepper, green onions, goat cheese and cilantro in large bowl.

Whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together then pour over vegetable mixture and stir until combined.

That's it!  The crunchy, raw goodness of summer, yum!

There are many ways you can make this salad.  Use what you have.  Add more veggies or different veggies. For those of you that like some heat you can add a diced jalapeno.

Some things I might do differently next time would be to add the cheese last.  Goat cheese is very soft and ended up breaking down making the salad creamier as I mixed all the ingredients.  Same taste you just don't have the nice bits of crumbled cheese.  You could also use a different cheese; blue cheese or feta would be nice. Or you could use a firmer cheese.  Don't like cheese?  Leave it out.  Don't care for cilantro?  Basil would be nice.  I also didn't mix the wet ingredients separately, that's why the measurements are approximate amounts, but that would help cut back on the mixing and stirring so next time I will do that.

There ya have it!  I'd love to hear what ingredients you would use or not use if you made this salad.  Just keep the main ingredient of raw corn then go from there.

Till next time folks...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What? Half The Year Is Gone Already?

Hey folks!

Can you believe that half the year is already behind us?

Mercy, where DOES the time go?!

I thought since we've made it through half the year 2014 that it would be a good time to reflect on those list of goals we made at the beginning of this year.  To find out what we have accomplished and what still needs some attention.

As a recap, here is a brief list of my goals for this year...

- finish works-in-progress and minimizing my many crafts/hobbies down to two ongoing projects at a time
- consolidate my recipes into one or two cookbooks
- create a personalized pantry/staples list
- continue the pursuit of simplicity
- start a home apothecary
- save money and pay off debt
- improve photography skills
- find a way to make money from home doing what I enjoy

If you'd like to read the original post you can find it HERE.

So, let's see how I'm doing so far on accomplishing my goals for the year...

 - minimizing my crafts...

I set this goal mainly because of my lack of space issue while living in the fifth wheel.  At the time I set my goals I had five projects in the works.  I am happy to report that ALL five of those projects have been completed, woohoo!

I currently have one project in the works...

a gender-neutral baby blanket that will be for sale in my Etsy site once I reopen it (hopefully in a week or two).

I am on the last skein of yarn for the body then it's on to the border which shouldn't take too long to finish.

Since I am so close to finishing this project I am concentrating on it and not starting any others till this one is done.

That being said, not only did I finish all five projects I had in the works at the beginning of the year, I am sticking to my goal of only two projects in the works at any given time.  yay!

- consolidate recipes
ugh.  I am still working on that one.  Probably not as diligently as I should but I have started going through my cookbooks, one at a time, and typing up recipes.  If it's a recipe I haven't tried but sounds good then it gets saved in a Folder  titled 'Recipes to Try'.  If it's a tried & true recipe we like then it gets saved in the appropriate Folder.  Eventually, I want to print them out so that I have access to my recipes if/when I have no Internet access or my computer goes kaput.

I have managed to purge and donate a few cookbooks already but, I still have a long ways to go.

Note to self:  be more diligent in going through my cookbooks

- create a personalized pantry/staple list

I have not spent much time doing this.  Although I have mentally added several items to this list I have not written them down so that it's easier to remember come shopping day.

I also found that I was picking up the pantry/staple items on a regular basis when we were in one location but after moving to another location many of those items were not available at the stores in our new town/area.  It's kinda frustrating.  For example, I found many types of frozen beans at our last location and I always bought a bag or two to have on hand to add to many dishes since they are good sources of protein and have many beneficial nutrients in them.  The fact that they were frozen and NOT in a can made them even better.  But, I can not find them at any of the stores in our new location.  Frustrating I tell ya!

So, needless to say, I still need to create that list and just roll with the punches if I can't find an item or two on my list.

- continue the pursuit of simplicity

This has been going fairly well especially the last couple of months since I finished work and am home all the time (literally, wink!). 

I filled the back seat of the truck up last week with items to be donated and CountryBoy and I dropped it off at the thrift store the other day.  yay!

There is a ways to go in the declutter department but I'm heading in the right direction.

Another thing I simplified was paperwork.  I created a Home Binder making it easier to see what's due when, pay bills, file them, check things off the proverbial To Do list, plan projects, etc., etc.,  You can read more about that HERE.

- start a home apothecary

I have to admit that I have not spent as much time as I would like in researching herbs and home remedies but I have made a few things so, technically, I guess I've started it!  I've made a warming oil for joint aches & pain and I have a headache tincture in the works.

It has to continue to 'brew' for at least another week to three weeks.

(I showed it to CountryBoy and he said "maggots?"  I told him yes but really it's lavender.  Silly man!  I eventually told him what it was but I don't think he believed me, heehee!)

I still need to research remedies for a few of the more common ailments such as allergies, cold & flu, etc., then order the necessary herbs and make the remedy so that it will be ready should we need it.

- save money and pay off debt

We've managed to save some money and we've paid off the debt we had at the beginning of the year but, we had to buy a new truck so now we have that debt to pay off.

We have an aggressive plan to pay off the truck loan in two years yet still continue to save money for our future farm!

- improve photography skills

Pshaw.  I am sad to say that THAT hasn't happened.  Hasn't even been attempted yet.  I've not even taken very many photos this year.  Hopefully that will change.

- find a way to make money at home doing what I enjoy

I've recently come up with an idea.  I'm in the process of designing it and trying to mentally figure out the logistics as to how to make this idea come to fruition in a simple manner.  If so, then I may be on to something, wink!

It involves this...

and a few other items that I still need to purchase.

You'll have to stay tuned.  Oh, and cross your fingers for me!  I'm really hoping I can make this happen fairly easily and if so, then this may be my marketable item for making money at home.

So, there ya have it.  An update of my goals for 2014.

I'm satisfied with what I've accomplished so far.  If I continue to steadily pursue my goals throughout the rest of the year then I think I'll be in good shape.

How bout you?  How are your goals for this year coming along?  We're halfway through the year so now is a good time to ponder, reflect and maybe even update your goals.

Till next time my friends...

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