Paid off our Mortgage

Our Financial Success – Paying off our Mortgage

This past month, Donny and I accomplished a major financial achievement in our marriage. We paid off our mortgage 14 years and 9 months early. It is a feeling I cannot begin to describe.

We started this journey of home ownership back in 2001, two years after we got married. Our income at that time was nowhere what we are making today. The house we purchased was 20 years old and a starter home. When we purchased our home, we knew what we could afford for a mortgage note with our salary.

Fast forward to Tropical Storm Allison that hit the Houston area with massive flooding in June 2001. We had only made a couple of house payments, which we were able to handle in our budget. But were we in for a surprise. After the flooding on Allison, our homeowner’s insurance skyrocketed when it was up for renewal. The reason for that was the all the flood claims during TS Allison. This one event increased our escrow payment to increase by $400 a month due to the additional cost of homeowner’s insurance. We struggled with making our mortgage payment and paying all the other expenses we had in our budget. This event made us realize we wanted one goal and one goal only, and that was to pay off our mortgage early.

Each year, we tried to pay one additional house note to pay down the mortgage more quickly. But year after year, life seemed to get in the way of our making any headway with this goal.

Fast forward to 2014. Our daughter had graduated high school and was out on her own. My husband and I were empty-nesters, so we focused all our extra funds to pay off the house.

We paid down the principal to within a reasonable amount where we felt we were making progress. Then, this year, we received some extra funds due to severance pay from my being laid off and we combined it with money I had been saving for this one goal. July 2016 was the month we paid off our house.

Mortgage Picture (2)

This is a feeling that we still have a hard time wrapping our heads around, but it is true. We received confirmation from our mortgage company that our account was paid off in full and our account was closed. It does feel different living, eating, and sleeping in a paid‑off house. It is our home.

With this achievement, we are making adjustments to our budget, because we no longer have a mortgage payment. First and foremost is putting funds aside for taxes and insurance that were paid by our escrow with our mortgage. This is an automatic deduction from our checking account that goes into a savings account we will not use except for payment of taxes and homeowner’s and wind insurance. The rest of the amount we used to send to the mortgage company will be used for savings mostly; some will be used to make improvements to our thirty-year‑old house that we own now.

Chalkboard Paint Project

I recently decided to change up my kitchen decor and wanted to paint my cupboard/pantry with chalkboard paint.  I got the cupboard for a steal a few years ago when I was helping a friend do some work at her resale shop.  The person who was going to buy it decided they didn’t really want it, so I was at the right place at the right time and I snatched it up.  I have a very small pantry and knew it would be perfect.

This was an easy project that only took a couple of days.  I had all the necessary materials, so I jumped in and did it!   I figured if I didn’t like it, I would just paint over it.  But, I am glad that I liked the way it turned out – I really didn’t want to have to paint the whole thing.  As for the rest of the kitchen, I still haven’t decided on what I am going to do, so that will be another blog post.

DSC_0344I used basic acrylic chalkboard paint and a regular bristle paintbrush found at any craft store.



DSC_0330I taped off the edges of the doors on the pantry.  After that, I lightly sanded the area I wanted to paint.  It does make a difference – so I recommend not skipping this step.  Then, I wiped down the area with a damp cloth and let it dry before painting the first coat.  I let it dry completely and applied a second coat.


I let it sit for 24 hours to completely cure.   After that, I peeled off the tape.


To prepare the chalkboard for use,  I used a piece chalk and completely covered the board. (Follow the directions found on the bottle of chalkboard paint)  Then I wiped it off with a damp cloth.DSC_0354

With that done, the chalkboard was ready to use!  I am not much of an artist, but I gave it my best shot.  I am working on my lettering and hope to get better at it.   I plan on putting scriptures on one side and our daily dinner menu on the other side.


Tell me what you think about the project in the comments below.  If you try a chalkboard paint project, share a picture with us – we would love to see it!



My 8 Frugal Tips for the Not-So-Frugal

I grew up in a household where my parents were frugal. As I grew older and got married, I tried to incorporate frugal tips into my lifestyle to help us save money. I worked full time in a corporate atmosphere, which means I was on the road and at work for 12 plus hours a day earning a paycheck. During the course of our marriage, I succeeded at some of the tips and failed at others. This list is 8 of my top tips that saved us money while not living the fully frugal life.

brown bagging lunches (2)

8. Brown-Bagging Lunches: I did this most of the time while working because I didn’t want to pay $10-15 for a lunch five days a week. I would, most of the time, take leftovers and heat them up in the microwave at work. Other times I would eat sandwiches or make a salad. This tip can add up over the course of just a month, saving $180-$260.

7. Shopping with a Grocery List and By Yourself: This is an important tip because I will usually only purchase the items on my list and save anywhere from $20 to $100 unless my husband comes along and puts what he wants in the shopping cart. I have gone grocery shopping without my list and end up buying items that I do not need or even use just because I didn’t have a plan and purpose. Save money, shop with a grocery list and go by yourself.

6. Dry Cleaning Clothes: I used to spend $20-$50 dollars a week on dry cleaning my business work wardrobe. Included in this were my husband’s Wrangler jeans and shirts. All it took was one time with my budget being stretched to the max and not having funds to take my dry cleaning to be done that I tried washing several of the articles of clothing myself.  I used the delicate cycle of my washing machine and just hung them to dry. I realized what a savings this was to our budget, so I gave away or sold several of my clothing items that could not be washed and replaced them with machine washable pieces. Another frugal tip that adds up over time.

5. Late Fees on Bill Payments: When we first were married 17 years ago, the internet was just becoming a household item and there was no online bill pay or even banking. I would pay all our bills the old fashioned way, by U.S. Mail. But I was one who couldn’t remember and incurred late charges. I have forgotten to pay the electric bill and it was disconnected. Yes, I only did it once and it hasn’t happened again. Then along came the internet and bill paying with online banking. This has saved me anywhere from $40–$80 a month because I have all my bills on auto pay. Yes, I routinely look at all my bills/statements online to review my charges and make sure I am not paying unexpected charges. It saves money, but it also gives me peace of mind.

4. Using Cash: I am a strong believer in using cash to pay for purchases. This has helped keep me from purchasing extra stuff knowing I only had “X” amount of dollars for this purchase. I notice using the debit card or credit card that those little extras sneak in on the purchase and can be a budget buster.

homecooked meal 2

3. Home Cooked Meals: I will be the first to say after working 12 plus hours a day, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook a meal. Being tired, not having prepared for the meal, we would routinely take the easy route and order out, go through the drive-thru, or have pizza delivered. At $20 a meal ($60 for families), this can quickly add up and break your budget. Kathryn (friend and blog partner) and I prepared a week’s worth of slow cooker meals for each of our household freezers. Take the meal out the night before and let it thaw and the next morning, put it in the slow cooker and let it cook all day. Once home, dinner was done and we could eat and enjoy a home cooked meal. In upcoming blog posts, we will be sharing our recipes and freezer meals.

2. Homemade Laundry Detergent: In the Herman household, laundry is something I do every day and the cost of laundry detergent is high on the name brands that I use. I found several recipes to make my own detergent. I experimented with the recipes and made it for our household use. I will share my recipe in an upcoming blog post.

1. Overdraft Banking Fees: This is the number one frugal tip for the Herman household. No matter how diligent I was about checking our account balance online, we would have overdraft fees. This, over the period of several months, could be very expensive. My frugal tip is to put an extra $1000 in the account and do not ever spend that money. I took the money from our emergency fund and padded our checking account. I never used that amount for my budget. It was always excluded. This tip has saved me so much money that I suggest everyone use it. If you spend any amount of this $1000, immediately replace it when funds are available.

These are just a few of my frugal tips for the not-so-frugal household. They can save money in your budget and do not take a lot of time to implement. As I am unemployed, I am tweaking these tips to get more savings in our budget. I will be adding more tips to our blog posts in the future.

Please share with me some of your frugal tips that are successful in your house.


Coffee Cup Bird Feeder

I have had numerous bird feeders over the years and when I saw a few teacup bird feeders on Pinterest, I just had to try it for myself. I had a coffee cup and saucer that I didn’t mind parting with, so I gathered up the supplies and gave it a shot. It turned out cute, so now I am on the lookout for some cute teacups and saucers to make more. The only problem I have with the coffee cup birdfeeder is actually catching a bird on it when I have my phone or camera ready!

These are super easy to make and would make a great gift, along with a little package of bird seed, of course!

Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 8First, find a cup and saucer – coffee cups or teacups – and gather up your supplies – rubbing alcohol, ceramic/glass glue, masking tape and twine.

Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 5
Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 4



Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 7

Wipe down your cup and saucer with rubbing alcohol to clean it.  This will help the glue adhere.

Position your cup so the handle is straight up.
Place a good amount of glue on the saucer where the cup makes contact. I used E6000.

Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 6I used masking tape to secure the cup and saucer while the glue dries.  Let it dry for 24 hours for the best results.

Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 3After it is dry, place the twine (or other string/ribbon) to the handle.  Measure where you are hanging it so you have enough length.


Add your birdseed and let the birds enjoy your crafty handiwork!

Coffee Cup Bird Feeder 1

I put my bird feeder right outside my front window.  The curtain stays open when I am home so I can enjoy seeing the birds.  There is a birdbath close by and another bird feeder.  I can’t wait to see if the birds really like it.  I am thinking about adding a larger plate to this to give them more room.  If I do, I will post an update.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.  If you make one, make sure to post the picture along with your comments.






Funny Things My Husband Does……

I have to start off by saying my husband loves to make me laugh. And I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine out there. Donny has a great sense of humor and that was one of the things that attracted me to him when we started dating twenty years ago.
As we prepare for our upcoming vacation, I start making my list of things I need to pack. My list is constantly changing and I will ask Donny, “What do you want me to add for you to take?” and of course he says beer and himself. He does not worry about the details; he says that is my expertise.

My husband does not like my driving, so, needless to say, he is my chauffeur. My role is the navigator to get him where he wants to go without missing turns, passing up exits, or backtracking. Which, by the way, we have all done on our trips. Once we were turned around so he got on his iPhone and asked “Siri” how to get where we were going. It was comical because I had the map in front of me, but he wanted to see if “Siri” could give him better directions.

Laughing Together
Laughing Together

How does your husband amuse riders while driving on long trips? My husband will sing along with the radio but instead of singing the words to the song, he will make up his own words and will have me cracking up with laughter. I ask him where do these made-up lyrics come from? He laughs, “The words just come out.” Sometimes, you just have to be there to realize how funny he gets with his made-up lyrics.
Donny is a great outdoor cook and he can make some awesome bar-b-que, boiled shrimp and crab, and whatever else he decides to cook. He is very hard-headed about how he cooks and you have to follow his instructions to the detail. How can one man cook such a simple meal and dirty every pan and dish in the house while cooking—and guess what? He doesn’t like doing dishes and I usually have to do them all. He tells me, “Woman, never question an awesome cook and his methods.”

The final thing that Donny does that always makes me giggle is to tell me what I said in my sleep. I warned him twenty years ago that I talked in my sleep but I never remember what I say. He loves to give me a play by play of what I said while sleeping. I swear he adds the dramatics to it and I say, “I would never to do that in my sleep.” He has me laughing all the time when he tells me the things I said. Sometimes I wonder if they are true or if he is just telling me that to make me laugh.

I love having a husband who has a sense of humor and makes me laugh. There are times when laughter has made a bad day good and put a smile on my face. I am thankful for this gift he has and uses.

What makes you laugh? Is laughter good medicine for you?


Tacky Trash Can Transformation

We have a cat. She stays indoors. Therefore, we have cat litter containers that I just can’t stand to throw away because I know they could be used for something else. So far, most of the containers have ended up in my husband’s “Man Cave” for whatever he does out there with his tools and oil and various car parts.

A few days ago I mentioned I needed a trash can for the living room where I put our computer and printer. My husband said, “Why don’t you use the cat litter container?” First, I called him crazy – I didn’t want an ugly yellow and blue container in the living room for all to see. But, as I thought about it for a moment, I saw the error in my ways and said, “I could transform it from an ugly yellow container to something beautiful!” What you will see below is what I have dubbed the “Tacky Trash Can Transformation”…

This is the original container. Just lovely, right?        01

I took the container apart … separating the lid and the handle. I did throw away the handle since I was not going to use it for this project.


03    I found some spray paint I had for a different project.

I ru04mmaged around in my sewing/craft room for some material. I wanted something that would match the living room, which is mostly brown, but add a little color.



I attached the fabric to the container with Mod Podge and a sponge brush.  Make sure to flatten the material as you go so you don’t get any air pockets.

08Put more Mod Podge on the trimmed edge seam – you won’t be able to tell there is a seam when it dries.

Once it was attached all the way around, I cut the fabric so it hung over the bottom a bit.


I snipped the edges so I could glue it down relatively flat.

10      11




I cut a piece to cover the bottom.


More Mod Podge around the edges to seal it and let it dry completely.



I talked my husband into spray painting the lid for me. He is much more patient with the spray paint than I am.

15 16





While he was spraying, I cut a piece of material to cover the top of the container.


I wanted to edge of it to look nice, so I went to my sewing machine and made a nice hem.18




I used Mod Podge to attach the material to the inside of the container. I found out after everything was finished that it didn’t adhere like I thought it would so21 I had to find a stronger glue.


This is what it looked like after attaching the top piece.22



I thought that adding a ribbon would add a nice contrast. I have a small, varied selection of ribbon and was lucky enough to find one to match.23

I let the lid dry overnight since it was humid out the day we painted. It was still a little tacky the next morning, so I brought it inside and let it sit for the rest of the day. That did the trick!

I wanted to cover up the logo on the lid so I decided to add another piece of fabric.


I cut out a piece a little larger than the area and used the Mod Podge to attach it.  I used a craft knife to trim it to fit.


I added another coat of Mod Podge to the top to make sure the material stayed attached.


After that dried, I reattached the lid. I closed the lid completely and when I reopened it, this is when I found out the Mod Podge didn’t work so well on this spot. Thankfully I had a few other choices of glue and found one that worked – Loctite Indoor Glue.DSC_0163_edited-1 DSC_0162_edited-1



I wanted to use a plastic bag inside the container so it would be easy to dispose of the trash. I had some adhesive hooks, so I placed 4 of them inside to hang the bag from.DSC_0205_edited-1

I was very pleased with the result. So much so, that I am probably going to make another one for my sewing/craft room, and maybe another to take back to work in August. The best part is, it didn’t cost me anything to make. Everything I used I already had on hand. My husband was happy about that, too! I have a few other ideas for the containers popping up in my head, but that will be another blog post.

Let me know what you think and what you might like to see in the future in the comments below.



Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Are you wondering what to pack for a beach vacation?  We thought a fun “Top 10” list would be a great way to share our ideas of what we like to bring on a vacation to the beach.  We both came up with ideas so you really get a “Top 20” …  so, here it is in our best David Letterman voice and background music…

“Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation”

*****Patricia’s List*****

As our trip to Galveston, Texas, is fast approaching, I am making a list of all I need to pack and take with us. If you asked my husband Donny, he will tell you I always pack too much when going on trips. But I am one who hates to run to the store and buy things I forgot and have at home. So, without any further ado, I share with you, my Top 10 Things to Pack for a Beach Vacation…

Image courtesy of artur84 at
Image courtesy of artur84 at

#10. Beach Towels. A beach towel is something I use a lot on the beach. I use them to sunbathe when working on that tan. Usually, this lasts only 10-20 minutes before I get bored or get hot and sweaty. Also, I use beach towels to cover my chair from getting too hot from direct sunlight and finally to dry off when getting out of the water either at the beach or the swimming pool.

#9. Sunscreen. This is important as I get older I want to protect my skin. I use 80 SPF or above. Remembering to apply it frequently while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico or the swimming pool is important and sometimes I easily forget. It is nice to have friends who will remind you that you are getting sunburned and to apply. (Thanks, Kathryn)!

#8. Floatation devices. I enjoy going in the water and riding the waves with an inflatable float. Usually, this provides comical episodes for my husband and friends as I try to stay on while riding the waves and dealing with the undercurrent that is always noticeable in Galveston.

#7. Fishing Pole and Tackle. Fishing is something I have always loved to do but don’t get to do often enough. I hope to be able to fish later in the evening with Kathryn, Roger and my husband Donny. Even if I don’t catch anything it is just a relaxing activity to do while on vacation.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at
Image courtesy of phanlop88 at

#6. Drinking water. Yes, it is extremely important to stay hydrated while out on the beach in the sun, even when it is cloudy.

#5. Swimming shoes. Another must if you swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I have sensitive feet and don’t like stepping on anything. Wearing swim shoes makes it a lot easier to swim and walk. I have tried old tennis shoes and flip flops and all those were unsuccessful due to not being able to move freely once in the water.

#4. Waterproof camera. I enjoy taking pictures of the waves and recording memories of our time on the beach. I usually take 10-20 pictures during our beach time to save the memories. Wave action pictures are my favorite to try and get, but it takes a lot of practice and being very quick. Kathryn is an excellent photographer and takes awesome wave pictures.

Image courtesy of adamr at
Image courtesy of adamr at

#3. Reading material. A good book for that down time on the beach when you are under the canopy out of the sun and enjoying down time just sitting and reading on the beach.

#2. Sunglasses. The sun and the glare can hurt your eyes. Sunglasses are a necessity so make sure you take a pair and, as I do, keep them attached around your neck with a lanyard.

#1. Bathing Suit. I love getting in the water whether it is the Gulf of Mexico or the resort swimming pool. This is a way to cool off, get some exercise and make memories for your vacation. I left mine at home before and we were a distance from shopping so I tried to swim in shorts and a t-shirt, it was not a fun time for me. Make sure you pack your bathing suits and have fun.

*****Kathryn’s List*****

Packing for a vacation is so much easier with a list.  Get a piece of paper and start writing things down a few weeks in advance.  Put down everything that comes to your mind.  You don’t have to take everything – pare it down once you get ready to pack based on where you are going, what activities you will be doing, and how long you will be gone.  I came up with a few things that are great to have for a day, or a week, at the beach…

Image courtesy of winnond at
Image courtesy of winnond at

#10.  Hat.  Having a hat on the beach is a must.  Go find a big floppy hat to keep the sun off of your face, chest, and shoulders.  At least wear a ball cap or sun visor, anything really, to save your face from burning and future wrinkles.

#9.  Cover-Up.  It is always nice to have a cute swimsuit cover-up.  There are so many styles to choose from.  I have a terry cloth cover up that I love because it is easy to slip on and off and it is a wonderful bright green color.  I also got to embroider a cute butterfly on the pocket when we were visiting our aunt in Maine a few years ago.  I also have a large colorful tie-dyed scarf that makes a great wrap-around cover-up.

Image courtesy of khumthong at
Image courtesy of khumthong at

#8.  Ice Chest.  Nothing is worse than hot water!  Get a decent ice chest, ice, and pack a lot of water and any snacks (see #7) you want to keep cool.  Another good trick is to freeze some of the water bottles to help keep things cold.

#7.  Snacks.  If you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, you will definitely need snacks.  Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, pre-cut apples, baby carrots, granola bars, Goldfish, lunchmeat, cubed or sliced cheese – these are all easy snacks that don’t take up a lot of room and are easy to handle on the beach.  Put snacks in containers with an easy open lid to cut down on trash and waste.

Image courtesy of zemicon at
Image courtesy of zemicon at

#6.  Canopy/Umbrella.  These are lifesavers for an entire day at the beach.  Make sure there are not any restrictions on these items and make sure you have properly secured them in the sand to avoid any mishaps.  We have a large canopy and enjoy using it because it is easy to set up and several people can sit under it.

#5.  First Aid Kit.  It is always nice to be prepared for the unexpected.  Have some tummy relief tablets, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, aloe vera gel or lotion, rash/allergy cream or spray, meat tenderizer (for jellyfish stings), gauze and bandaids.

#4.  Beach Bag.  Put your essentials (towels, water shoes, camera, etc…) in your beach bag so you don’t lose anything along the way.  Purchase one that is functional and fun – lots of pockets, a waterproof liner, bright, bold colors, or have it monogrammed.

Image courtesy of fantasista at
Image courtesy of fantasista at

#3.  Clothing for Other Activities.  If you are staying at the beach for more than a day, your activities may include more than just going the beach.  You don’t have to bring a lot, but versatile and matching pieces will go a long way.  T-shirts, shorts, pj’s, undergarments, bathing suits, casual sandals, and flip-flops are good for everyday use.  A nice sundress and embellished sandals make a great outfit for sightseeing or an evening in town at a restaurant.

#2.  Toiletries.  You don’t want to forget your basic essentials while on vacation.  Shampoo and conditioner, brush or comb, hair ties or clips, toothbrush and toothpaste, lotions, shaving gear, medication, contacts and glasses, lip balm, sunscreen, aloe vera gel or lotion, bug spray, nail clippers, and make-up.  Also, please remember to bring any regular daily medications that you may take.  That is something that may be hard to replace while on vacation.

Image courtesy of radnatt at
Image courtesy of radnatt at

#1.  Care-Free Attitude.  You are on vacation!  Enjoy every minute of it!  Get out and enjoy God’s creation.  Turn off your electronics.  Leave your worries behind.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  If you forgot something, you will probably get by just fine without it.  If something doesn’t go as planned, be flexible and go with the flow.  Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family and have a wonderful vacation!

So, these are on our packing lists for our beach vacation.  What other items do you pack that we have not listed?  Share with us your top 10 items for a beach vacation in the comment section.


Patricia & Kathryn

Personal Budgeting

What is one of the most difficult things to handle regarding day to day life? Is it money? Is it budgeting? Is it overall personal finance? As it was with me I could always accomplish meal planning and daily chores but when it came to our own personal finances, I would use the least amount of time to make sure bills were paid and when paychecks hit the bank and hope that we had enough money until the next paycheck. Procrastination was my method. During our nearly 18 years of marriage, I was the nerd in our family who handled all the bills, banking, and budgeting. Sometimes it is a stressful and overwhelming job.

As time went by I knew I had to develop a plan and method that I would stick to and be successful. I read numerous books and read various blogs to motivate myself to change this undesirable habit I had. One of those books that got me to make changes was Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I read that book several times from front to back. I worked the “baby steps”. Snowballing debt was a major step for getting out of financial chaos as I called it. But there was one step that I could not accomplish and that was doing a budget.

Doing a budget to this day is still a challenge for me. I have tried so many different online budgets such as @YNAB, Calendar based budgets, Mint and various iPhone/iPad budget apps but the one that I have the most success at is using an Excel spreadsheet and manually putting my information in the spreadsheet based on monthly spending. Sometimes simple is what works for me and this is the method that I have been most successful with while trying to achieve our financial goals. I input all monthly payments we pay each week and month. Usually, I do a column for each week and total all payments and then subtract that from the paycheck that was deposited in the bank. This method has worked the best for me the last few years. But I still have issues with unexpected items and those usually come out of our emergency or contingency fund. I continue to research and look for the budget that would be perfect for our finances.

So, as we launch our blog, look for more posts discussing the various personal finance options and ideas we use for each of our families. We both have different dynamics with husbands, children, grandchildren, jobs and life situations so we have to find what works for us. Living and loving our lives is what is important and we try to find as many ways as possible to make it easier and more fun.

Do you budget?  If so, what system to do you use?  If not, what is holding you back?  What do you need help with?  Let us know in the comments below.


Leftover Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

Leftovers…we always have leftovers after a holiday weekend.  It never fails.  We cook a little too much or not as many people as we planned for show up.  Though, I would rather have too much than not enough.  I couldn’t bear for someone to leave the house hungry after we promised to feed them!  And, the leftovers don’t last long.  The next day it goes to work for lunch and then is transformed into something altogether different for dinner.

Such was the case for Father’s Day and 4th of July.  Father’s Day, we cooked a little too much.  4th of July, a few people had last minute change of plans.  So it goes, but we don’t let the food go to waste!  My husband is amazing with the grill and he loves any excuse to fire it up.  Grilled chicken, sausage, ribs and pork roast – it was WONDERFUL!  Of course, we had the obligatory side dishes – potato salad, camp potatoes, green beans, black beans, veggies, and watermelon.  We sent a to-go plate home for those who wanted one, had lunch the next day and, for dinner, I whipped up some quesadillas with the leftover chicken and beans.

Quesadillas are a quick and easy lunch or dinner.  I always keep tortillas on hand around our house.  They come in handy for easy breakfast tacos and for dinner recipes every now and then.  Cheese is always in the fridge in some form and flavor, block or shredded, cheddar, colby jack or mozzarella.  I kept this one simple – just beans, meat, and cheese.  I made a side dish of Spanish rice to go along with it.

Below are the ingredients and directions:

  • Leftover chicken: deboned and shredded
  • Beans: refried, whole or smashed (a good way to use leftover beans)
  • Cheese: shredded
  • Tortillas: flour or corn – 2 for each quesadilla
  • Optional ingredients: corn, avocado, lettuce, tomato, peppers, sour cream


  1. Spread the beans on the tortillas if they are refried or smashed; if they are whole, add them after adding the chicken.Tortilla and Beans
  2. Place the tortilla on a skillet or griddle pan on your stove on medium-low to medium heat.Quesadilla B
  3. Add a layer of cheese.Quesadilla CB
  4. Add the shredded chicken.Quesadilla MC
  5. Add another layer of cheese and any other optional ingredients.Quesadilla MCB
  6. Place another tortilla on top and flatten with a spatula.Quesadilla Side One
  7. Once the bottom is browned and the cheese starts to melt, carefully flip the quesadilla over and brown the other side.Quesadilla Flipped
  8. Serve immediately or keep covered and warm as you make more.Quesadilla and Rice




Do you transform your leftovers?  What is your favorite thing to make?  Let us know in the comments below!



Summer Vacation Planning

This is Patricia with a little background on our friendship with Kathryn and Roger. Donny and I met Kathryn and Roger through the ERKULD Volkswagen club that they run in their local hometown. We knew each other from attending meetings and local VW events. Several years ago we got together in Fredericksburg, Texas, where we were attending the Texas VW Classic car show. Donny and I rented a house and Kathryn, Roger and their son stopped by and we talked outside by the fire pit until 1:00 a.m. Realizing we had a lot in common, especially a love for travel, that kicked off our friendship. We became good friends with Kathryn and Roger and for the last 3 years, we have been taking vacations together.

Last winter we discussed going on a beach vacation. In January it was decided we wanted to go on a beach vacation during the summer of 2016. At first, we were looking at beach houses along the Florida and Alabama coast but, we decided on going to Galveston, Texas, and renting a house which was cheaper and better fit our budget.

I am the planner of our trips. It is what I enjoy doing. I usually use or to search for houses that are pet-friendly as we have an 11-year-old Black Lab named Stevie who goes with us on all our vacations. I usually find two or three houses that meet our criteria and show them to Kathryn and Roger for their approval. As soon as I can I will contact the owner or the manager of the property and inquire about the dates we want to stay. Then my next step is finding out the cost of the vacation along with deposits and payment terms. In all cases where I have used, I have had to put a deposit down and/or pay half the cost. With this rental in Galveston, we had to pay the remainder of the cost 30 days before our vacation date. With all rentals, I have found that you have to sign an agreement and this must be returned before the reservation is valid. I have found that keeping copies of all my documentation and emails, helps if there are any issues or questions that arise in the booking or reservation. Last week, I paid the balance owed and the management company sent documents on all the specifics of check-in, our stay at the rental and what time we have to check-out.

Beach Vacation 5_edited-1

This year we are going to be at the beach so we are not planning many activities. Plans are to cook all of our meals at the house. Kathryn and I will make a meal plan for each day so we can budget the food purchases and not overspend on vacation. Our husbands, Donny and Roger, plan on doing some fishing and lots of relaxing while we are at the beach.

Beach Vacation 4_edited-1

With the date fast approaching, Kathryn and I are planning on sharing several posts with our readers about our vacation.

Who does the vacation planning in your family? How far in advance to you plan your trips? Would love to hear everyone’s comments on vacations, weekend trips or day trips!