Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday, Birthday Edition

Today is my daughter's birthday. She was born on a blustery cold day in Kansas - it snowed or sleeted or some such frozen precipitation, as I recall. I really didn't care too much about the weather that day. Delivering a healthy baby was the only thing on my mind!

Min was born nearly five weeks before her due date, and yet she was 6 lbs 15 oz, 19 inches long. She was slightly jaundiced, so spent a few hours under the lights, but it was nothing to be concerned over. The biggest issue we had was that she did not nurse right away; a baby must begin suckling within 24 hours of birth or extra measures must be taken. Min has always done things on her own time table, and she ate when she decided it was time - about an hour before the "deadline". That's my girl!

Now my baby girl is all grown up, a mother herself. The turbulent teen years are over; she and I now enjoy a great friendship. She comes to me for advice occasionally,  and I hope my advice is good, but most of the time we just chat about what's going on in our lives. Like girlfriends do! Having a daughter is like growing your own best friend.

I love you, Min, daughter of mine!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I'm Reading and What Came Out of my Oven

Today's weather is fabulous. Not just fabulous for January - it's fabulous for almost any month of the year! The sun has been out most of the time, although milky clouds are beginning to filter the sunbeams now. We've got a stiff south wind going, but that only serves to raise the temperature a tad higher. It's sitting at 70 beautiful degrees right now, folks!

Things will be a lot different tomorrow, so I've been popping outside as often as possible today, and I even ate lunch out on the porch. My old lady cat Butterball hobbled her way out of the barn this morning and has been sitting in the sunshine:

I have a difficult time sitting down to eat lunch without a book in front of me, and today was no exception. Our book club recently read Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister, which I enjoyed enough that I picked up a couple more of her books at the library. Right now, I'm reading The School of Essential Ingredients

Ms. Bauermeister has a way of writing about food and can practically smell it and taste it. "She felt about her zester the way some women do about a pair of spiky red shoes - a frivolous splurge, good only for parties, but oh so lovely." "Antonia raised a bite to her mouth. A quick crunch of hazelnut, and then the pasta gave way easily to her teeth, the pumpkin melting across her tongue, warm and dense, with soft, spicy undercurrents of nutmeg. It felt like going home, and she relaxed into her chair with a sigh of happiness." As I nibbled my peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich, flipping pages, what I read made me think that I ought to forgo reading while I eat and place more attention on what I'm putting in my mouth. Perhaps I'd be more mindful and eat only what I truly enjoy. Food for thought...

Earlier this morning, I baked a pie type concoction for Some Postman's dessert tonight. (He insists upon having dessert at every meal except breakfast. Is it any wonder I've got a pillowy middle?) I call it a pie type dessert, because it's not exactly a pie. I'm calling it "Cherry Crisp Pie". Last fall, when we bought a new deep freeze, I discovered eight or ten quart bags of cherries from our long-dead cherry tree, buried in the depths of the old chest freezer. It's been a joy to use them over the winter. Today I turned the cherries into pie filling...

...lined a pie plate with a leftover store-bought crust (from the busy holidays), poured in the filling, topped it with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon, then folded the edges of the crust over toward the center of the pie (because I used a too-large plate, oops). A little less than an hour in the oven, and this is what emerged:

Something must be wrong with my sniffer, because instead of pastry and fruit, the scent I'm getting is bacon. Bacon??? 

And now I am headed back into the kitchen, after having taken Pooka for a walk with Some Postman after he returned home from work rather early. To go with our Cherry Crisp Pie, I'm making a Spaghetti Pie, which has absolutely no pie crust in it. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sunday Style 1-25

This Sunday's outfit should be placed in the "not so great" category. It's not an "epic fail", but I made too many frowny faces at the mirror and when I looked at the photos, so it can't be a "like".

Outfit details:  Christopher & Banks sweater - thrifted; Appraisal skirt - thrifted; 
earrings - JC Penney's; belt - umm...I don't remember; tights - Walmart; 
Life Stride shoes - thrifted.

Let's be positive first....this is what I do like about the outfit:  the color of the sweater, the belt, the fullness of the skirt, and the color of the shoes. What caused the frowny faces? The fit of the sweater (too big, sleeves more like 7/8 instead of 3/4 - I rolled them up so it wouldn't be quite so obvious), the length of the skirt (too long for my short frame), the fit and look of the shoes, and the overall too-voluminous-ness of the outfit. I keep forgetting that even though I feel large and fluffy most of the time, if I wear large and/or fluffy clothing, it only serves to make me appear dumpy.  Clothing that fits well is far more flattering.

And so I will bid farewell to the sweater and the skirt. Sweaters are impossible for me to alter, and shortening the skirt would alter the design too much. The shoes are just hopeless. Bleh!

We can't end this post on a low note, so let me tell you about my most recent online shoe shopping experience. A friend told me about Orthaheel shoes, which are supposed to be the best for people dealing with Plantar Fasciitis. I checked out the website and nearly fell off my chair at the prices. Ebay's prices were no better. A few days later, what should appear in my inbox but an email from Zulily, featuring Vionic shoes with Orthaheel technology - at about 1/3 the retail price! Woo-hoo! Of course, I went shopping. I can hardly wait for these to arrive in my mailbox:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - What's On My Mind

I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (nothing unusual about that) and began thinking of what I might write about today. As I crawled back under the blankets, I forced myself to abandon those thoughts, because if I didn't, I'd never get back to sleep and would be too sleepy to think coherently enough to write. As a result, I'm writing off the top of my head this morning. I had a cuppa Darjeeling, though, so I'm wide awake. Let's see what's going on in this housewife's brain!

First of all, let me give you a follow up on last week's Thoughtful Thursday post. While I was out grocery shopping on Tuesday, I purchased a pack of Subway gift cards to keep in my purse, in case I saw someone holding a sign asking for help. As I made my way from Dillons to Walmart, guess what I saw on the corner? Sure enough, a young lady holding a sign - she has four kids and any help is appreciated. It felt SO good to be able to pull up next to her and hand her one of the Subway cards! Thank you, God, for giving me an opportunity so quickly, and that I followed through on my plans so I would be ready to help.

Facebook asks "What's on your mind?" in the status update box. What's been on my mind lately? My little old lady dog, Abby. I watched a few You Tube videos of Dachshunds the other day and it made me want to post some of my own puppy dog videos. Unfortunately, this computer is new enough that I've only got very recent videos of Etta uploaded onto it, none of the videos of Abby. So I went to my Facebook videos to figure out if I could send them to You Tube somehow. It turns out that I'm not smart enough to do that, but I did enjoy watching all those old videos. Sure brought back some happy memories! And it made me miss my little old lady dog.

While I couldn't upload any of those old videos, I did figure out how to get a link to them. If I did it correctly, you should be able to view the one of Abby singing and dancing for her breakfast. Photos are easy! Here's one of my favorite pics of both dogs:

Etta is on the left, Abby on the right, looking down. She wasn't sure she liked being up in the mailbox, so I had to be quick with the camera!

The kids have suggested that we get another Dachshund, a pet for Etta, but she is quite happy being the only Princess Dachshund in the house since Abby went to dog heaven. I'm not certain it would be safe for a new puppy to occupy the same space as Etta Pooka. She used to snap at poor old Abby once in a while, so I can only imagine how she would treat a new dog. I think it's best if we remain a one-dog-at-a-time household. Besides, she has her kitty friends outside to play with.

Will I get another dog after Etta joins Abby in heaven? We talked about not getting another dog after Etta, so that we would be able to travel easier. But we don't travel often, and I do enjoy Etta's company as I putter around the house. So maybe I will want another Dachshund. Let's hope I don't need to decide on that for a good long time yet. Etta will be 10 years old in March; she should have at least another 5 years of snuggles and silliness to share with me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This Week's Thrifting Ventures

This past Saturday was the monthly thrift sale at a nearby town's Catholic church. I fixed myself a to-go mug of coffee, put two homemade Cranberry Maple Scones in a container and picked up my daughter bright and early. We made a quick stop by the bank, then to the Short Stop so she could get a to-go cuppa and we zoomed off to the sale. Well, we didn't really zoom per car was quite low on gas, so I took it easy on the ol' girl.

The sale is a very popular one, and people line up well before the door opens at 8:30 am, even when it's cold and blustery in the winter. We were blessed to have very mild weather on Saturday, so we were barely chilled after standing outside for 10 minutes. Sis and I each had a huge fabric shopping bag slung over one arm, ready to fill it with treasures. We took our time, cruising each aisle, scanning and rummaging among books, jeans, toys, dishes, all kinds of stuff. I was the "Big Spender", loading my bag for a mere $3.25. Sis spent a dollar less. We were both quite pleased with our finds, and made our way back to her house to warm up those scones. (They didn't warm up enough, even being placed directly in front of the heater vent.) I didn't think to ask her to snap a quick pic of her stash to show you, sorry about that. Here's part of what I purchased:

Not pictured are a couple of items destined for eBay. The black jeans fit me, but not the way I like (too low waisted, gap in the back) so they went in the eBay stash as well. The khaki pants and black jacket both fit perfectly, which always amazes me that it's even possible, given there isn't any way to try things on. The books were 25¢ each; I love to add to my reading selection for so little!

Some Postman had the day off Monday for MLK Day, so we had a "date day" in Topeka, where we perused all our favorite antique stores and had lunch at Red Robin (one of the few places I can get a veggie burger - and sweet potato fries, YUM!). We popped in the Goodwill store, too, where I found two cotton skirts and Some Postman got a sun shade for the car. It's been a long time since we'd been in that store, and I'd forgotten how dirty it is. Washing our hands thoroughly was the first thing we did once we arrived at Red Robin!

Because two thrifting sessions in a matter of days just isn't enough, yesterday I stopped in at our local Goodwill while out grocery shopping. Oh my...our store is SO much cleaner! I really ought to tell them how much I appreciate that. Anyway, finding those cotton skirts in Topeka reminded me that I'm still hunting for more 100% cotton clothing to replace the polyester I've purged from my closet. Did I ever hit the jackpot! My cart was loaded with TONS of things, but after trying on, much of it was left behind. I'm thrilled with what I did get, though:

The two skirts on the left (plaid, tan floral) were purchased in Topeka. The travel-print skirt was made in Italy - fun! The solid color skirts are Merona basic jersey skirts, which I like to wear instead of shorts in summer. The green shirt will need the sleeves altered; normally I don't buy anything at Goodwill if it needs to be altered, but since this top was half price, I decided it was worth it. I love the trim on the tomato-red shirt and the fact that it's cap sleeved (I don't care for sleeveless). Now the red print dress is sleeveless, but I can put a tee underneath or a light-weight shrug over it. I'll need to alter the dress a bit also, but it was also half price, making the effort worthwhile. When I laundered the dress today, I didn't notice until I was tossing everything in the dryer that the tag, which had fallen off in the washer, said to dry clean only. Really? For cotton? Going through a cold water regular cycle didn't seem to hurt it any, but I let it air dry to be on the safe side. Don't want to shrink it before I get a chance to wear it!

Ahh...three sessions of thrifting therapy in a row...feels pretty good! I could have another session this weekend, if I felt like going back into town. I saw on Facebook that all the Kansas Goodwill stores are having a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" sale this Friday thru Sunday (clothing items only). I doubt I'll go, but thought I'd make sure to spread the word to my Kansas ladies who thrift shop!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday Style 1-18

Sweater dresses have always alluded me. Not that I can't find them in shops and thrift stores; they are abundant. Rather, it's that the sweater dresses I find are so very cute on the hanger, but on me, they transform me into a lumpy, pudgy knitted pillow. The typical sweater dress clings better than Saran Wrap in ALL the wrong places. GRRR!!!

Enter eBay:  Every so often, I'll enter "fit and flare sweater dress" into the search box and see what happens. Lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago, several lovely options presented themselves, and one particular dress was available in a few different colors and in petites! I placed a bit on the navy one and lost the auction. The forest green version was somewhat more expensive as a Buy It Now, but it included both the belt and matching scarf, unlike the navy one. Since it's exactly what I've been searching for in a sweater dress, I clicked the button and bought it. And I'm very happy with it!

Outfit details:  Signature by Robbie Bee sweater dress - eBay; Fitzwell boots - eBay; 
artisan bracelet - antique show; earrings - so old I have no idea.

Honestly, I completely forgot about the belt that came with the dress, but I do prefer how it looks without the belt. It flows smoothly and creates a slightly longer look without the belt cutting me in half. I've not felt friendly towards belts lately, anyway, so it's best that we not see one another for the time being.

Perhaps a chunky cuff bracelet isn't the most flattering choice for a stubby arm such as mine, but this bracelet speaks to me in a powerful way and I think it's wonderful. It makes me happy to see it on my arm when it compliments an outfit well, as it does here. Fashion rules can stuff it! Wear what brings you joy, people.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday 1-15

My quiet time this morning focused on kindness. The passage for today in Our Daily Bread was Mark 10:13-16, where Jesus welcomed little children, wrapped them in His arms and blessed them. The disciples tried to shoo the kids away, thinking Jesus ought not to be bothered with sticky fingers and snotty noses. But Jesus cares about ALL people, whatever their age, in whatever state of messiness. He calls me to do the same - to be kind and considerate, even of those who appear undesirable.

Are my eyes always open to the opportunities I am given to be kind, to extend compassion, to offer a simple touch or smile? Sadly, many times, I'm wrapped up in my own little world, eyes on the sidewalk directly in front of me, oblivious to anything or anyone around me. One particular incident haunts me still...

Last February, when Some Postman and I visited Seattle, the last day of our trip as we were walking to the train to take us to the airport, we were approached by a homeless couple. They asked for 75¢, all they needed to get each of them a cup of coffee on that cool rainy day. I wanted to give them three quarters, really I did...but my money was stashed away deep in my carry-on bag. The walk signal was lit up, and so I shook my head and walked on by. How I wish that I had taken the time to dig for those quarters! An opportunity missed to share a kindness.

Back at home, I don't have many meetings with homeless people. They are here, I just don't see them very often. Once in a while, a man with a cardboard sign will stand by the corner near Walmart. Yes, our community does have assistance available for folks in need, but sometimes that isn't enough, or they are only allowed aid once a month. And so I should stop...and do what I can.

Next time I travel, I'll be sure to keep some change in my jeans pocket. Next time I'm out grocery shopping, if I see someone standing at the corner, I'll stop to offer some food or a five dollar bill. And today, while I'm out running errands, I will look up from the sidewalk, offer a smile and a nod, hold open a door, say hello to a stranger. Open my eyes to the opportunities to be kind, Jesus!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thrifty Saturday, January Version

(Housekeeping note: I have reverted back to using the old flinthillshausfrau web address for this blog, so that links on old posts and elsewhere on the web can still be found. The blog name remains Peace and Crumbs.)

In spring, summer and fall, most of my Saturday mornings are reserved for treasure hunting at yard sales. Since there are very few yard sales in winter around here, I get my bargain finding fix at thrift stores and clearance racks. Post-Christmas sales yield items like cards, wrapping paper and holiday themed muffin liners for 75% off original prices. This year, all I bought were cards, though, because I have enough snowflake muffin liners to use all year 'round and I'm STILL using the same roll of wrapping paper that I've used to cover gifts the past three Christmases.

January can also be a great time to stock up on other items, as stores are clearing out last year's remaining merchandise to make way for new spring stock. Last Friday, our 14 year old microwave fried itself for the very last time; Some Postman declared it to be dead and we should go buy a new one the next morning. Although I despise shopping at Walmart on the weekend, especially on Saturday, they had the microwave we needed, so we arrived early before too many folks jammed the aisles. An added bonus: Nestle Toll House winter morsels on clearance for half price!

While we were in town, we checked out a couple of vintage stores and a thrift store I rarely manage to catch during their open hours. I didn't find any goodies, but Some Postman found a mini crock for 50¢. Before heading home, we stopped for lunch at HuHot, our favorite restaurant, and then walked around the mall for a bit.

I'd seen the ads on tv for Victoria's Secret's semi-annual sale, so that was my first stop. Happily, that day they were also offering an additional 25% off already reduced prices. Since it was early in the sale's time frame, I was able to find four bras in my size - and paid only slightly more for them than ONE would have cost at original price!

Next stop was Bath & Body Works, where they had all the winter merchandise on sale, much of it 75% off. I'm always drawn to yummy candle scents like Red Velvet Cupcake and Vanilla Chai.  I stocked up on my favorites, plus something for my daughter's upcoming birthday.

JC Penney's was the final store I wished to visit, although I haven't been finding much there that I truly like lately. I did manage to get another gift for my daughter and a top for myself, both deeply discounted.

This coming Saturday is the once-monthly thrift sale at the Catholic church in a nearby town. I'm hoping to find some deliciously cheap treasures then!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sunday Style: SIA Young Woman Watering a Shrub

Normally, I won't do two Sunday Style entries in a row, but today's post is an exception for Style Imitating Art. SIA is a style challenge hosted by a trio of bloggers (Jen, Salazar and Jess), in which bloggers and non-bloggers alike are encouraged to find outfit inspiration from a particular piece of art chosen by one of the three ladies. This week's selection is Young Woman Watering a Shrub by Berthe Morisot, chosen by Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey:

It has been quite some time since I have participated in the SIA challenge, but I am determined to do so more often. This painting called to me; it speaks of summer, romance, and the everyday all at once. And I was pleasantly surprised to find some pieces in my closet that drew upon the colors in the painting:

Outfit details:  
Christopher & Banks top and skirt; Next Era sweater; Nurture shoes; necklace - all thrifted.
Earrings - Premier Designs; George tights - Walmart.
Grane coat - thrifted; gloves - Walmart.

This was the first opportunity I've had to wear my winter white coat, and I discovered it is missing the top button when I put on the coat for the above photo. That must be why the lady sold it for $1 at her yard sale...good for me! I've got plenty of spare buttons; surely there will be one that is a close match.

Since the necklace is rather short, I extended its length by linking in a simple chain bracelet. That made the necklace the perfect length.

For some reason, I found it hilarious that the name of the color of these tights on the package was "shittake".  Are they really a mushroom shade? Some Postman despises mushrooms - he calls them a "nasty fungus" - so I told him I was wearing fungus on my legs. He he he!

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Sunday Style of the Year

Last Sunday we celebrated Epiphany at church, so I thought it was appropriate to wear my red dress. It wasn't warm enough to wear regular shoes with it, however, so I dressed it down a bit with boots and brown denim. This jacket is too big for me, and I plan to replace it eventually, but it looks OK belted. I haven't worn a belt in a LONG time! Not sure why...perhaps I've fallen back into the habit of hiding my waist instead of admitting I have one.

 Outfit details: Merona dress - Target; Christopher & Banks jacket - thrifted; belt - thrifted;
 Fitzwell boots - eBay; earrings - JC Penney's; vintage elephant pin - local shop.

I fell in love with this little red elephant pin the instant I saw it! The lady who owns the local shop where I purchased the pin has a wonderful selection of vintage pins. It was difficult to limit myself to three pins! Her prices are quite reasonable, so buying more really wouldn't have been a problem, but my jewelry box can only hold so many.

Earlier this season, I decided to sell my cognac boots (seen here) on eBay. The color was the only thing about them that I truly liked; they just didn't fit well at all. Back to eBay I went for a replacement pair, only this time I researched brands to find some that would deliver the kind of fit I wanted. This pair of Fitzwell lined leather boots are wonderful! I'll be wearing them until they fall apart, which hopefully won't happen for a very long time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Big Reveal!

After kicking around a lot of ideas for a new name for this blog, and bouncing them off my sisters, then checking to be sure they weren't already in use by others, I finally made a choice. Flint Hills Hausfrau will henceforth be known as....

Peace and Crumbs

The name is derived from one of my favorite verses in the book of Proverbs:  Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. This saying is my life mantra. I strive to be content with and thankful for what I have, be it ever so humble, and to be a positive peacemaker. God has blessed me with many riches - not necessarily tangible riches, although I certainly have much more in that area than the vast majority of this world's population. I am rich in faith, family, love, good health, and happiness. These are the simple "things" that bring me joy, contentment, peace...and my hope is for this blog to reflect exactly that.

I'll be changing the title and web address in the next day or two, so if you have the blog bookmarked, please make a note. Being nearly tech-dumb, I'm not entirely certain how things work, but suppose that if you follow the blog via Blogger, Google or WordPress, the change won't cause you to lose track of it. If you do, though, just search for the new name; surely it will pop up. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Musings

Some Postman had the day off yesterday, so rather than sit at my computer writing, I spent the day hanging out with him. We took down the Christmas decorations, napped, and marathon-watched The Cafe on PBS. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day.

And so this morning, as I pushed the vacuum cleaner around the house, sucking up fake tree needles (we don't do real trees due to the fire hazard when we have the wood stove running), my thoughts turned to this blog and what goals I might implement for it. I contemplated the purpose of this blog, how it has evolved, and what I hope to achieve with it.

First of all, this blog's purpose:  From the beginning, it was meant to help me find my fashion style. I had fallen into the bad habit of wearing primarily sweats and baggy shirts - comfortable, but not flattering, nor did it show any care for myself or reflect well on my loved ones. I sampled a few trends, tried some fun but completely ridiculous outfits, and stepped outside my comfort zone a couple of times. Over time, I have come to find that my fashion style is mostly classic and simple, with a bit of eclectic tossed in.

The evolution of Flint Hills Hausfrau:  While fashion posts dominate, my writing interests have come to include food/recipes, thrifting adventures, a few crafty projects, a bit about family, and a few other topics. The blog has undergone a name change once, from "The Frumpy Hausfrau" to "Flint Hills Hausfrau", to reflect a desire to improve my self image. I'm contemplating yet another name change.

That leads me to what I hope to achieve with this blog:  My motivation for blogging has never been fame or fortune, nor have I sought to gain a large readership. I'm thrilled to gain a new reader, don't get me wrong! I'll never turn away a new friend. But I don't need or desire thousands of readers. Nor am I seeking to use the blog to earn money. My motivation for keeping this blog going is for me to have a creative outlet. A friend once told me that she believes that being creative is essential to a woman's good health. I've found that to be quite true. Whether it is writing here, or baking in my kitchen, or sewing up a seam, doing something creative keeps me feeling positive and productive.

As for the name change, I'll be honest and admit that I've never really loved the current name for my blog. It was the best I could come up with at the time, because I didn't want to change it too much. For the past several months, I've felt a pull to rename the blog to reflect my desire to keep life simple and enjoy creativity. Actually, I considered quitting this blog and going back to the other blog I started more than four years ago, one in which I wrote more personal thoughts and on subjects that brought me joy. Now that I've pretty much figured out a clothing style that suits me, I find myself not wanting to do outfit posts very often anymore. However, after hearing from a couple of friends who said they enjoy this blog and wouldn't like to see it go away, I began thinking instead of combining the two blogs. And so I believe that is what I shall do. The new name will be revealed soon!