Saying Goodbye to My Friend

cochin chicken

As you can see by the photos, this was my buddy.  He met me everyday when I came home from work.  I would pull into the driveway and he would be there waiting for me to pick him up.

Now when I pull into the driveway, there is no one there to greet me.  My little buddy was killed by a raccoon while I  was a work.  It hasn’t been that long ago that I lost 17 of my 32 chickens to a pack of coyotes that came up during the day while I was at work. Sometimes It’s days like this that make me want to move into town.

 I don’t want to leave my chickens in the pen all day since the reason I wanted them (outside of the fact that they just make you smile) was to help control bugs around the yard.   Plus I just can’t stand not letting them free range.  I enjoy watching them out my kitchen window and love the way they come running toward me when I walk outside and then  race me back to the feed bin.  It’s just not he same without me having to toss my buddy as he made a game of  jumping in and out of the feed bucket.

Cochin Chicken

I also miss the sweet little noises he made while sleeping in my arms as I carried him around the yard.

Free Craftsy Online Cake Decorating Classes


Craftsy is offering Free Online Cake Decorating Classes. There are four mini classes to choose from that you can watch anytime, along with printable instructions and step-by-step directions.

Not a Craftsy member? Sign up here today!

Here are the classes you can choose from:

~ The Wilton Method: Creative Cake Pops
~ Basic Fondant Techniques
~ The Hand-Painted Cake
~ Modern Buttercream


Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the link

My Walgreens Deals 8/23/14 ~ They paid me $1.02 to take this out of the store!

My good deals at Walgreens

I had 10 Almay coupons to use by this weekend so my daughter and I headed to Walgreens.  Here is what I was able to get and they paid me $1.02 to take it out of the store !

Almay Lip or Eye Cosmetics and Eye Makeup Removers (select varieties) $5.99 = $3 RR (29.95)
Use the $4/1 Almay Cosmetics regional coupon found in the 8/10 SS
Pay $1.99
Get back a $3 RR
And earn 250 Bonus Beauty Points (= $0.25 reward) when you scan the beauty points coupon found in the weekly ad
Final cost FREE, plus a $1.26 Money Maker!

Free Ebooks: Fruit Infused Water Recipes, How To Go Paleo, Detox Tea, and more

NOTE: The price of these ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time. Be sure to verify before checking out that it is still free.

Unless otherwise noted, these ebooks are specifically for Kindles, but you can go here to download a free application that enables you to read Kindle ebooks on your PC.


Download a free copy of The Ultimate Tea Guide.

finfusedDownload a free copy of Fruit Infused Water: 101 Recipes: Your Natural Vitamin Water.

lowcarbDownload a free copy of The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Diet.

organicdietDownload a free copy of The Green Gourmet Organic Diet Book: Your Guide To Healthy, Natural Weight Loss.

My “Under the Tuscan Sun” Moment

Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun

I have seen this movie more times than I care to admit.  It is one of my favorite movies and I live vicariously through Diane Lane every time I watch the movie.  Maybe it’s because I can relate with her movie character.  A woman who divorces her cheating husband, travels to Italy, falls in love with an abandoned villa, and decides to buy it.  Her life undergoes its own restoration as she restores her new home.

How many others have wanted to follow her footsteps?  Find that place where one goes to heal, the place that restores your soul.  A villa in Italy sounds like the perfect place for this life change.

I have been back from Italy for a few weeks and the urge to follow in Diane Lane’s character is even stronger.  Would you believe that I’m on a tour bus in Italy and as we pass this villa, I get  the urge to jump up and yell “STOP – I’m supposed to get off the bus here and purchase this place.”  It’s true, it really happened !

under the tuscan sun- my version  _ Italy

I’m sitting by my daughter on the bus and she is the one sitting next to the window with the camera in her hand.  I remember spotting this villa and telling her to get a picture of it.  Well, that sounds a little calm doesn’t it?  It was more like “get a picture, get a picture, get a picture, that’s my house !”  Simultaneously, I’m thinking I should tell the driver to “stop”  “this is my Under the Tuscan Sun house.”

Realistically, I know I have to come back home and go to work.  I don’t have the money to buy a villa in Italy so I think I will print this picture, frame it, and hang in on my wall.  I will look at it and think about my travels through Italy.  I will close my eyes and pretend that I did get off that bus.  That I purchased the villa, that I’m renovating it, and that I’m enjoying wonderful Italian food in my dining room with my new friends.  I will dream that my friends from the US come to visit me all of the time, that my daughter stays with me for months (sorry DJ) as we practice our Italian and that the rest of my life is filled with laughter and joy in my new villa in Italy.


Strawberry ~ Banana Jam

Strawberry / banana jam

Here is my strawberry/banana jam.  It’s probably been 20 years since I last made this combo and after tasting it I’m wondering what took so long.  It is soooo delicious.  I just finished this batch and I am sitting here with a piece toast slathered in the still warm jam as I type this.  My fingers are sticking to the keys as I type (I tend to be a little messy).

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

I ended up with a  lot of strawberries this year (I’m a lucky girl) so I have been making Strawberry Jam and jelly, strawberry/banana jam, strawberry syrup, and canning just the strawberries.   As you can tell by all of the canning recipes this summer, I have been canning A LOT !  That’s ok because this winter I will pull those warm biscuits out of the oven, slather on some butter, and spread on my fresh jelly.

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try…..

Positano, Italy

Postano, Italy

From the moment I arrived in Positano, I was in love.  I read that it is the most photographed fishing village in the world and I can see why.  There is something magical about the intricate winding roads, and we enjoyed exploring each alcove or shop as we traveled down to the sea.

Like most of these small fishing villages we traveled to, I find myself unable to find words to describe their endless beauty and enchantment.  I found myself standing on this lovely beach looking back at rows of vertical houses, tourist dining al fresco, and an artist trying to capture the beauty of his surrounding on canvas.  I felt like I was on a movie set or having a wonderful dream that I never wanted to awake from.


Canning Pineapple and Pineapple Jam

pineapple jam

I love pineapple and usually just freeze it when I end up with more than I can use quickly.  This time I decided to try my hand at canning some of the fruit and also making pineapple jam.  I’m thinking I may use the jam for coconut cake filling.  I have an awesome coconut cake  recipe from Martha Stewart that I have been making for over twenty years that uses pineapple filling.

Canning fruit is easy but I think pineapple is one of the easiest.  There is no tedious peeling of each fruit, no seeding, and no pitting and pulling off stems.

1 pineapple made 1 pint of canned pineapple and 1 half pint jelly jar.

Cherry Jam & Jelly Recipe

Cherry Jam & Jelly Recipe

I was never excited about making cherry jam or jelly because it took so long to cut the cherries in half and remove the pit.  This all changed when I purchased a cherry pitter.  Now I wash the cherries,  pit them and am ready to can in no time.  They cost about $13 at your local Walmart or Target and will save you hours of work.


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