Monday, June 30, 2008

What's for Dinner

Homemade Ketchup

Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 3 hr (includes chilling)
Makes about 2 cups.

1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Purée tomatoes (with purée from can) in a blender until smooth.

Cook onion in oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour (stir more frequently toward end of cooking to prevent scorching).

Purée ketchup in 2 batches in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vinegar instead of Fabric Softner

Fabric Softener

1 cup vinegar

Add to rinse cycle.
(I use my Downey Ball up to the fill line.)

I am now using this instead of Fabric Softener. I was a little skeptical but it works!!
I was worried about a vinegar smell on the clothing but there is none.

Try it!

My Enemy

Meet my Enemy. The Common Grackle.

There is a Bird that has been stealing all my Strawberries! I catch him on my Strawberry Plant all the time. He has eaten all my berries!! Yesterday I scared him away and he went to the roof of the house and made all kinds of noise at me until I went inside.

This is War!! I moved the Strawberry Plant up onto the deck hoping the proximity to the house will keep him away. So far so good! But I can feel my enemy laying in wait........

This is what I have learned about my enemy

Common Grackle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) is a large icterid.

The 32 cm long adult has a long dark bill, a pale yellowish eye and a long tail; its plumage is an iridescent black, or purple on the head. The adult female is slightly smaller and less glossy.
The breeding habitat is open and semi-open areas across North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The nest is a well-concealed cup in dense trees (particularly pine) or shrubs, usually near water; sometimes, the Common Grackle will nest in cavities or in man-made structures. It often nests in colonies, some being quite large.

This bird is a permanent resident in much of its range. Northern birds migrate in flocks to the southeastern United States.

The Common Grackle forages on the ground, in shallow water or in shrubs; it will steal food from other birds. It is omnivorous, eating insects, minnows, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, grain and even small birds.

This bird's song is particularly harsh, especially when these birds, in a flock, are calling.

The range of this bird expanded west as forests were cleared. In some areas, it is now considered a pest by farmers because of their large numbers and fondness for grain.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

House History

Amanda at This Reluctant Soil wrote about her refurbished home's history. What a great story. Such history.

But I suppose I know the history of my house too. The Family that built it lost the house in foreclosure. A "Flipper" bought it and spruced it up a bit and we bought it from him. Not quite as interesting but history just the same.

Do you know your houses history?

Thanks for sharing your story, Amanda. You are my Blog of the Week!

Friday, June 27, 2008

How to make Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns with Bread Machine

1 ¼ skim milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
3 ¾ cups Flour
2 ¼ teaspoon bread machine yeast

1. Place all ingredients into Bread Machine per manufacturer’s directions
2. Select dough setting and start Machine
3. Preheat Oven to 100 Degrees then turn off
4. When dough cycle is complete remove from machine and proceed
5. Roll into a long log and cut into 12 pieces for Hot Dog Buns or 9 pieces for Hamburger Buns

6. For Hot Dog Buns, Roll out into long skinny wiener shape
7. For Hamburger Buns, flatten dough pieces until they are the thickness of a pancake
8. Put on parchment lined sheet so sides are almost touching
9. You can brush with melted butter if you so desire

10. Cover sheet with cloth and a put the sheet in the warm oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled.

11. Remove from Oven

12. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
13. When you put the Oven turn the heat to 375 degrees and bake Hot Dog Buns for 15 minutes and Hamburger Buns for 17 minutes.

Hubs loved them. He said they were the best Hamburger Buns he ever had. I have to's true!

Doreen and Kylie

My Best Friend Doreen and her Granddaughter, Kylie
Aren't they cute??

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Garden at 32 Days

This is a picture of the Garden at 32 Days. If you would like to see more pictures, please visit:

Product Review- Sugar in the Raw

Sugar In The Raw/Unrefined, 32-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) 

"Sugar In The Raw natural cane turbinado sugar is grown and cut exclusively on a 37,000 acre plantation in central Maui, Hawaii. There, nature’s own sweetener is gently converted into the natural crystals that make Sugar In The Raw. The secret lies in the fact that Sugar In The Raw is never bleached or over processed. It is the result of slow boiling layer upon layer of high colored cane— allowing the golden crystals to retain their natural molasses and bringing the extra flavor and richness that nature intended. You’ll immediately recognize the difference in our large crystals and deep golden hue. Sugar In The Raw adds rich taste to coffee and tea drinks and a robust flavor to baked goods. Its distinct luster and depth of its crystals distinguish Sugar In The Raw from all other natural sugars."

Sugar In The Raw

Turbinado sugar is raw sugar that has been refined to a light tan color by washing in a centrifuge under sanitary conditions. Surface molasses is removed in the washing process. In total sugar content turbinado is closer to refined sugar than to raw sugar.

I have read that Sugar in the Raw is a little better for you than bleached, processed refined sugar. So I thought I would give it a try.

I will let you know what I think........then what Hubs thinks.....LOL


Sugar in the Raw / Raw Sugar Natural Cane Turbinado from Hawaii / Box of 500 packets  Sugar In The Raw/Unrefined, 32-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What I am reading

If you are interested in this or any of the other books featured in the What I am reading posts, Please see the sidebar for my Favorites. You can purchase a copy of the book there!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Increasing my Authority

1. Copy The List Below into a blog post of yours.
2. Add Your Link To The List
3. Comment On This Post ( ) So That We Can Update The List With Your Link
4. Watch Your Authority Sky-Rocket.

*–Copy Here - Technorati Authority–*1. Brad - Daily Blog Tips For The Masses
2. Daily Blogging Tips At The Daily Rambler
3. Blog Chews - Blog About Anything
4. Steve v4.6 - Big Made Small
6. Indo - Find the Latest Contest Here
7. POTPOLITICS-We Smoke the Competition
8. ATA -
9. Dolly’s Daily Diary
10. The Tech Juice - Tech Tips And More
11. Wendy’s OBA, Blog Tips & Tricks
12. Wendy’s Reel - Fact And Fancy
13. A Grateful Heart
14. 50+Whatever..Just some Ramblings in Life
16. The Blog for DesignCreatology
17. Contest Whiz - The Blog Contest Expert
18. About Blog Contests
19. Esmeraldasblog - Como aumentar la Authority de Technorati
20. Best Widgets for free - Blog Widgets
21. New life by Pitonizza
22. Todo Seiya - Como aumentar la Authority de Technorati
23. Blog for Spanish Readers
24. The Blogger And The Blog
25. Hero Help
26. Makmalcyber
27. Forex Study
28. Techyplus
29. 8
30. Darn Good Reviews
31. Blogger Tips - DotBlogger
32. Lilyruths This and That
33. That Blog 4 Me
34. Pinoytek - Make Money Online and SEO Blog
35. Snigit(blogspot)
36. Snigit(.com)
37. Best Of The Web
38. Swat the Fly
39. Area3000
40. Shut Up And Eat
41. Find Torrent Blog
42. Cebu in the World
43. Web Design
44. Trestin Adventures
45. Ask Trestin
46. Trestin Autobiography
47. Trestin Ideas
48. Trestin Gallery
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55. Trestin Sports
56. Trestin Store - Yep, Each One Of These Are Different Blogs.
57. The Ordinary Agung
58. Il blog di Luca Marchi
59. What About Brazil?
60. Shri Rada Blog
61. Hawaiian Travel Blog
62. Hawaii Cruise Superstore
63. GadgetHeat!
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66. I Travel to Work do you?
67. The Home Page of Tony Smith, Writer of Comic Books, Articles & Screenplays
68. Ultimate Credit Online
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103. The Small Business Marketing Blog
104. TheSuburbanFarmer
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108. gd labs gianfranco davide reppucci Blog
109. insidetheworld Italian Linux and Security Blog team
110. Benefit everyone on this list. Join Today! - We Update The Daily

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Nice Surprise

I got a nice surprise in the mail today!
My Father in Law and his Wife Genny are readers of my Blog. (Hi Guys!) So they know about my little project of getting Back to the Basics. Being the nice folks that they are, they sent me a bunch of books about just that subject.
About the Books:
In the late 1960s, Eliot Wigginton and his students created the magazine Foxfire in an effort to record and preserve the traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians. This is the original book compilation of Foxfire material which introduces Aunt Arie and her contemporaries and includes log cabin building, hog dressing, snake lore, mountain crafts and food, and "other affairs of plain living."
I can't wait to read them.
Thanks Mike and Genny!

Spinning Out of Control

Everything seemingly is spinning out of control
By ALAN FRAM and EILEEN PUTMAN, Associated Press Writers

Is everything spinning out of control? Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.

The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order — and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, "Yes, we can."

Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003.

An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood.

"It is pretty scary," said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. "People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven't been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change."

Recent natural disasters around the world dwarf anything afflicting the U.S. Consider that more than 69,000 people died in the China earthquake, and that 78,000 were killed and 56,000 missing from the Myanmar cyclone.

Americans need do no more than check the weather, look in their wallets or turn on the news for their daily reality check on a world gone haywire.

Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet's weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge?
It hardly matters to those in the path. Just ask the people of New Orleans who survived Hurricane Katrina. They are living in a city where, 1,000 days after the storm, entire neighborhoods remain abandoned, a national embarrassment that evokes disbelief from visitors.
Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs — turning corn into fuel — is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple.

Residents of the nation's capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.

Want to get away from it all? The weak U.S. dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage.

Want to escape on the couch? A writers' strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.

But there's always sports, right? The moorings seem to be coming loose here, too.
Baseball stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens stand accused of enhancing their heroics with drugs. Basketball referees are suspected of cheating. Stay tuned for less than pristine tales from the drug-addled Tour de France and who knows what from the Summer Olympics.

It's not the first time Americans have felt a loss of control.
Alger, the dime-novel author whose heroes overcame adversity to gain riches and fame, played to similar anxieties when the U.S. was becoming an industrial society in the late 1800s.
American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s.

"All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored," he said. "Of course, that doesn't mean it will happen again."
Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House.
This period has seen intense interest in the presidential primaries, especially the Democrats' five-month duel between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Records were shattered by voters showing up at polling places, yearning for a voice in who will next guide the country as it confronts the uncontrollable.

Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington's inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it's even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.
Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now.

Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.

Do you agree?

I Do!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why do I bother?

Hubs decided to have some Homemade Bread with the Amish Butter today. Afterwards I asked what he thought of the Butter. He said he didn't like it because it wasn't as easy to spread as margarine. I explained he could wait for it to soften a bit or put a hunk in the microwave to soften it. But he said he prefers the margarine over the REAL Butter!?!?!

He also didn't like the bread because I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour. (Trying to get a few whole grains into his diet). He said he would like it better if it was just plain white bread!

I can tell this is gonna be a fight to get him to eat real, whole, good for you foods. Makes me wonder if it is even worth the bother of finding and cooking the good food if he isn't going eat it.

But I guess he will it anything if he gets hungry enough.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Farmer's Market- Bowman and Landes

I am supporting Bowman and Landes, a local Turkey Farm, Farm Market and Deli.

This is my haul from Bowman and Landes. Local Turkey Breast, local Cheddar Cheese and real honest to goodness Amish Butter (made locally of course).

If you would like more information on Bowman and Landes, please visit their website:

Bowman and Landes
6490 E. Ross Road
New Carlisle, Ohio 45344

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Muesli Recipe

Muesli Recipe

2 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Cups Wheat or Bran Flakes
½ cup dried Blueberries
½ cup dried Cranberries
½ cup Dates or Raisins
½ Cup Sliced Almonds

Serve with Milk or Yogurt.
Store in Air Tight Container.

What is Muesli?
Muesli is a popular breakfast cereal based on uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts. It was developed around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital.

Health benefits
All the main ingredients of muesli are considered important elements of a healthy diet:

A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer and other age-related diseases, and a serving of muesli can contain one or two servings of fresh fruit.

Oat products have been shown to help lower high blood cholesterol concentration (hypercholesterolemia) and thereby reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis.

Products made from whole oat and wheat grains are rich in fiber and essential trace elements.

Some types of nuts (especially walnuts) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with many health benefits, including the development of the nervous system.

Milk products, often served with muesli, are a rich source of calcium and protein.

The low glycemic index of muesli without added sugar or honey helps with diabetes control.

Dayton Area Locovores

My new Yahoo Group:

Locavores try to eat as much as possible from local farmers and producers. If you've found a great source for locally-grown and locally produced foods, post it here! If you're looking for a local source, here's the place to ask. We share information about local foods – sources, methods of food preservation, community supported agriculture (CSA), co-ops, u-picks, farmers' markets, herdshares, sustainable agriculture, winter markets, family farms, farmstands, roadside markets, local vineyards and wineries, foraging, and more. We're for anyone who wants to get more local foods into local diets. Chefs, growers, producers, consumers, food writers, educators and students are all welcome. Farmers and producers, please join us. Our members want to hear about your local food products and how to get them, winter or summer.

Garden at 24 Days

Garden at 24 Days

See the baby Pepper!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Farmers Market- Fulton Farms

As part of My Summer Project of getting back to basics, I decided to get all my fruits and vegetables either from our Garden or buy it at a local Farm or Farmer's Market.

I am supporting Fulton Farms by buying my Produce there.

Here is my haul for today. 3 Quarts of Strawberries, Lettuce and Broccoli. All picked this morning at the Farm! And 3 Tomatos that traveled from Tennessee. I couldn't resist. Hubs has been begging for Tomatos
If you would like more infomation on the Farm, please visit their website:
Fulton Farms
2393 State Route 202
Troy, Ohio 45373


Hubs is a patriotic dude. Since we moved into this house he has wanted a Flagpole in the front yard.

We found a cool collapsible Flagpole at a home show recently and we brought it home.

We had a weekend project last weekend and now we have a Flagpole in the front yard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Make your own Laundry Soap

Liquid Laundry Soap

½ cup Borax
½ cup washing soda (NOT Baking Soda)
1 cup soap flakes or a grated bar soap
2 gallons water
20 drops essential oil (optional)

Combine borax, washing soda and most of the water. Boil soap flakes in remaining water and add to first mixture (you can also melt grated bar soap in the microwave). The soap will gel the mixture. If your water is hard, add more washing soda. Use about ½ cup per load. Works in cold water!

Powdered Laundry Soap

1 cup soap flakes or grated bar soap
½ cup Borax
½ cup washing soda (NOT Baking Soda)

Use 1 T for light loads and 2 T for heavier loads.

I'm canning!

I tried out my new water bath yesterday!!

I made Concord Grape Jelly yesterday and I will be making Orange Marmalade today!

What I am reading

If you are interested in this or any of the other books featured in the What I am reading posts, Please see the sidebar for my Favorites. You can purchase a copy of the book there!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Because of the Garden and our Homesteading ways, I am going to try canning this year. I am taking a canning class and my Mom is going to show me how too. I am excited! I have memories of canning with my Mom and Grandma but don't remember enough to feel good about doing it all by myself.

Beginner's Home Canning Kit
A good start for the beginner
Our Beginner's Home Canning Kit is a great way to get a start in this delightful summer ritual. Our kit includes a jar lifter, stainless steel jar funnel, black granny-ware canner with rack, 12 regular 1-quart canning jars with lids and bands, plus, the famous Ball Blue Book canning guide.

Lehman's is a great site!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What's for Dinner


1/2 c. olive oil
2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp. dry parsley
Several slice of day old bread or buns

Mix the last 4 ingredients together. Using pastry brush, brush both sides of slices with oil mix. Cut into small squares.
Place single layers on cookie sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Cool; keep in sealed container.
Keeps 4-6 weeks.

My Project

The world is ending, or so they say. Could be from a variety of reasons. But any way, we got to get ready.

Hubs and I have were all ready interested in crisis preparedness, survival and frugal living. Now we have added homesteading to the list. We are going back to the basics. Trying to do things the way our Grandparents did it before all of this modern technology. My project is to find old time ways for everything we do. I will either change our day to day ways of doing things or put the solutions into my "Doomsday Notebook".

We aren't going crazy and going totally off grid. But educating ourselves on how to survive long term when (if) the world as we know it ends.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Frugal Stuff- Cleaning

I recently got the Rubbermaid Commercial Grade Microfiber Floor Care Kit at Home Depot.
The set includes the quick swivel head Handle, a pad for dry sweeping and a pad for damp mopping.

This will replace all my Swiffer Products. I have the Swiffer Sweeper and the Wet Jet Swiffer. While the Swiffer stuff is great, It is basically throwing out money. You use a pad and then you throw it away. The Rubbermaid pads are washable and are good for HUNDREDS of uses. With the product being commercial grade it should be tough and last for years.

I am also going to replace my Swiffer Dusters with good old fashioned dusting.....rags and furniture polish. It may be a little more time consuming but in the long run it will save money.

Garden at 17 Days

Here is our Garden at 17 days of Growth.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to make Strawberry Jam

What you need:
3 Quarts Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar
1 box of Fruit Pectin

Before you begin:
Make sure your jars are clean

Wash the Strawberries

Remove the Hull with Knife or Hull Puller as seen in the pic

Strawberries ready to go........

Crush 1 cup of Strawberries at a time until you have 6 cups of mashed Strawberries

Mix 1/4 cup of Sugar and the box of Fruit Pectin in a small bowl

Add sugar and pectin mix to the mashed Strawberries and mix

Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter or margarine

Bring Mixture to a Rolling Boil. Stirring Constantly. Add remaining Sugar and boil for 1 minute.

While waiting for the mixture to boil, Place lids in the boiling water. Turn heat down to a simmer. Keep lids hot until ready for use.

Remove from heat and skim any foam that forms on the mixture.

We are ready to can........

Ladle Jam into prepared jars. Wipe Jar rims and threads.

Place lid and screw band on tightly.

This recipe yeilded Nine 1/2 pint Jars.

Invert Jars for 5 minutes. This helps the jar seal.

Cool completly. If the jar did not seal, the product must be refrigerated and used immedietly

The finished Product.

Thanks Mom for teaching how to make your famous Strawberry Jam!

And for being my hand model!

* I know there are different feelings and theories as to if inversion canning is safe.

But this is the way my Mom has done it and for years and years and the way she taught me to do it. I made Strawberry Jam this year and and processed it for recommended amount of time in a water bath canner.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What I am reading

If you are interested in this or any of the other books featured in the What I am reading posts, Please see the sidebar for my Favorites. You can purchase a copy of the book there!

Home Sweet Home

Like I said we had a great trip. My MIL and I talked and talked and talked on the 8 hour drive there and back. I learned lots about Hubs and his family. It was great.

Matt's Sister has a lovely home. It was really nice visiting them. But being around a 5 year old and a 3 year old is enough to wear you out.....or at least it did me in anyway. There has got to be a way to bottle that energy and that much imagination. They are both so smart is amazing!!

We didn't do a lot of site seeing because it was just too dang hot. It was in the upper 90's and even hit 100 degrees while we were there. But I got the tour of the area by car. I liked the landscaping of the area. It was not so structured and planned looking as so much landscaping in this area is. It was very natural and wild looking but not overgrown. Thinking about maybe doing something like that in our back yard.

So I am home. Hubs made it thru without me. Not looking forward to it but ..... I got a ton of laundry to do today.

I am also going up to the Garden to take some pictures and water.

My Mom and I will be making strawberry jam tomorrow.................Yummy!! I also have to go to a local farm and pick up some locally grown strawberries.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm back

I'm back. We had a great time on the trip.

I will post more when I have time. Just got to get caught up around here.

My Mom and I are making Jam on Wednesday. Expect Pictures!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dog Models

Matt's Sister Sara is a Professional Photographer. She needed some pictures of Dogs eating organic Dog Treats for a Catalog. So she used our Super Star Dogs for the photo shoot.




Jack......showing off!

Now... I am headed out of town. Just wanted to share the pics before I go!

Out of Town

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will be out of town (Out of Blogland) until June 10.

My Mother in Law and I are going to visit Matt's Sister in North Carolina.

See you soon!