If you read my newsletter you know that I’ve decided to change it up and make it more personal. Kind of like chatting across the back fence. I think many of us these days long for that sort of connection. I know I do. When I asked for feedback I was astounded by how many loved the idea so it occurred to me that I could bring a bit of that feeling here to the blog.
I started this blog as Tea With Dee many years ago and it was just a chatty, personal blog about whatever happened to be on my mind. When I decided to take blogging more seriously and rebranded as Life With Dee I tried to emulate the big, professional bloggers. I created more informational type posts and made everything less personal. But the truth is I miss sharing what’s going on in my life or whatever I happen to be interested in.
So I’m going to try a new feature called Tea With Dee like my old blog name. It’s likely going to take a bit of time to settle on a format so I hope you’ll bear with me. Let’s give it a whirl!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
Tea With Dee
January 19, 2018
First up, if you aren’t already subscribed to my newsletter, here is the link. It will be similar in tone to these Tea With Dee posts but contain different, exclusive content. My goal is to send it out every Saturday but you know how those things go.
Life on Apple Tree Farm
Let’s start with what’s been going on in our neck of the woods. Literally. For those who are new here, we live in the middle of 40 acres of mostly wooded land. We jokingly refer to our property as Apple Tree Farm. There were a couple of apple trees on the property when we bought it but we managed to kill them within a few years. I keep talking about planting a small orchard but that’s really all it is – talk.
It has been stupidly cold here this past week. I don’t like winter under the best of circumstances but when overnight temperatures dip into the single digit range I consider that beyond reasonable. Our kitchen pipes froze one night but David thawed them with my hair dryer without incident.
Normally I would have started receiving seed catalogs about now but so far…nothing. Maybe the seed companies decided it would be cruel to send them right now. Or maybe it’s because I never order anything from them. Still, a girl likes to dream, right?
Speaking of dreaming, each year when the Back to Basics Bundle is released, my old homesteading interests flair. I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about this back-to-the-land dream of mine.
Back to Basics on Apple Tree Farm (an older post I republished this week):
I know I’m not really cut out to be a true homesteader. I’m more of a “stay indoors and read about it” type. But I’ve had gardens and raised chickens in the past. We even had horses, but that’s not something I want to do again! But chickens and a vegetable garden? Yes, to both! Stay tuned to find out if I actually pull off one or both of those dreams this spring.
No Spend Challenge Update
I’ve done pretty well on this. I’ve been to Aldi once, just before our son’s birthday. My “rules” say I can spend $25 a week on dairy and fresh produce. I will have to check the receipt when I do the official update at the end of the month but I think I spent about $27 dollars. Aside from the “allowed” items, I bought a can of cherry pie filling to make a cherry cobbler for Chris’ birthday. And I also bought a container of fresh mango salsa to go with our dinner that night.
David picked up a few things at Aldi this evening for me. I’m battling a cold so he picked up milk, half and half, frozen orange juice, fresh garlic, and raisin bread for me. No, the raisin bread doesn’t adhere to my rules but I want some toast and tea and am using my cold as an excuse. He also went to the health food store to get more Emergen-C and elderberry syrup. I’ll share my new and improved version of “The Potion” tomorrow in my newsletter.
Otherwise I haven’t bought anything this month. I have a few things saved on Amazon and I’ll be purchasing a few organizational items for the kitchen at some point. Speaking of which…
Home Organization Challenge update
Week three of this challenge begins tomorrow. I’m still working on the kitchen from week one. I have a long way to go on that because I have a lot of cabinets in my kitchen and I’m a bit of a kitchen item hoarder. Not really, but I *do* have a lot of stuff. So far I’ve done four cabinets and three drawers. Not very impressive progress but it’s more than I would have done otherwise so I’m counting it a success. The official challenge lasts 14 weeks but I’m planning to spend the whole year on this project. I’m taking my time and giving each area a lot of thought. I’d like to end the year with my entire house as organized as those 4 cabinets are now.
What I’m Reading
I’ve just about finished When the English Fall by David Williams. It’s a story about an Amish community and what happens when a major solar storm brings about a collapse of modern civilization. It’s an excellent read and brings back memories of those pre-Y2K day concerns. So far I’m resisting the urge to stock up on dried foods but my old dream of solar power has reared its head. Poor David. All he ever wanted was a modern home on a golf course and somehow ended up on a fake farm in the woods with a wife who thinks she’s a pioneer.
The other night I made a delicious topping for our hamburgers. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat I put in half a stick of butter (1/4 would have been plenty but hey – butter!). When melted and bubbly I added half a thinly sliced onion and cooked until translucent. I added about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and continued to cook until the onions were almost caramelized. I then added about a cup of grape tomatoes cut in halves and reduced the heat to low, cooking another ten minutes or so. Oh, my goodness! This was delicious. I will definitely be doing this again.
I don’t generally watch much television but David gave me the complete Keeping Up Appearances series on DVD for Christmas and I’ve been watching one or two episodes each night. I love that show!
He also gave me season 5 of The Waltons and I watched three episodes yesterday while nursing this stupid cold.
I just found out today that season 4 of Grace and Frankie premiers tonight. David and I both love that show so we’ll likely watch it later tonight or tomorrow.
Around the Internet
30 Ways to Save on Groceries by my lovely daughter, Retro Housewife Goes Green. This is an excellent collection of money saving strategies and she mentions our monthly grocery shopping trips, too.
I’ve recently discovered a new tea company, Plum Deluxe, and I’m smitten. I’ve been loving their Strawberry Earl Grey. And I love that it’s called “Gratitude Blend”. Not only is the tea delicious but the company is pretty special, too. More and more, I’ve been trying to purchase from companies who embody my values. When I read the owner’s story about his mom and his vision for the company, as well as their philanthropic efforts, I knew I’d found a tea company I could buy from and feel really good about.
Drooling Over This
Just today I ran across this site and I see several things I’m pretty sure I need. For instance:
Isn’t that adorable? Or take a look at these notecards:
If only they offered them with my signature perfume, Shalimar.
And that wraps up this first Tea With Dee post. I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which parts did you enjoy? Are there other topics you’d like me to add? Any suggestions for better topic headings? I’m not thinking very clearly with this stuffy head.