Sunday, December 30, 2007

Josh's Angels

This is a heart strings post that pulls at my heart strings more than any other could. I wanted to show you the Christmas ornaments that we have been collecting for 20 years in memory of my son, Josh, who died at the age of 2. This is Josh, our little one in heaven.





We bought the first ornament without realizing there would be another one each year. The ornament was from Hallmark and was called Mary's Angels. We actually started collecting them the second year they were being offered. My daughter, who was 5 when her brother died, found the first one on EBay as a special Christmas gift to me many years later. So we have the complete collection so far. My daughter buys me the ornament each year. So far there are 20 and I'm not sure how long Hallmark will continue this series.

What better ornament to remember our precious son than an ornament called Mary's Angels?

Here are just a few of the ornaments.



Josh died in 1986 from a birth defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. At the time there was nothing that could be done for him and it was a miracle that he lived for 2 years. I have seen on the internet that the babies born with this birth defect now are being saved by surgery.

We love you Josh!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Frugal Friday

Hi everyone! Hope you have enjoyed your Christmas week. I was off from work 4 work days, which when combined with the weekend gave me six days off in a row! It was great!

My frugal Friday tip for today is:

Now that Christmas is over, step back and look at how it went. What part of Christmas was most special to you and your family? What foods were a hit? Which kinds of presents were the best? What would you change? How could you have saved money now that you think back on it and it is still fresh on your mind? Write that down in your planner for November, 2008 to remind you.

Now is the time to take notes on these things so that you will remember how to best celebrate Christmas at your house next year.

These are the things I would like to do differently next year:

1. I will have things more organized. This means no last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping, cooking or card sending. I was sick during the week before Christmas and am still on the mend, so that combined with waiting til the last minute was really hard. I would like to work on hand made gifts starting now! I hope to do some things ahead of time like addressing Christmas cards.


2. We cut back on what we spent on each person by half this year, but still had a pile of presents. It was so much fun!!! I really enjoyed giving the few handmade gifts I was able to get done and I think the recipients enjoyed them too. So I will remember next year, it isn't how much you spend that makes Christmas special.

3. I want to write "to do" items in my planner for each month of the year to spread out some of the work associated with Christmas.

4. I made too many different kinds of foods. Every one is so busy and excited on Christmas day they don't need as much food as I made anyway. I must remember that next year.

5. The key for next year for me will be to simplify. I need to be kinder to myself. Working full time simply does not give me the time to do large scale decorating, etc. I need to accept that and do what is comfortable for me.

Happy Friday!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!




I hope that all of you are having a joyous Christmas Eve!

This is an ornament I put together for my grandbaby's first Christmas for our tree. The frame is a cookie cutter, tied with a bow. I also cross stitched his name on regular cross stitch fabric and sewed it onto a store bought stocking I purchased at Cracker Barrel's after Christmas clearance last year. I had just found out my daughter was expecting. The baby has been really good all of his 4 months of life so Santa is going to fill his stocking with all kinds of baby goodies!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Frugal Husband

Does your husband support you in your frugal quest? Or vice/versa... Do you support him in his frugal quest? As you know financial disagreements are one of the major causes of domestic conflict.

My husband and I have set a limit on our Christmas presents to each other. When I got home from work earlier this week I had three presents under the tree, all wrapped up and ready for Christmas! Here is how they were wrapped:



I said, "But Honey, we have plenty of Christmas paper bought at after Christmas clearance sales!". He said, "I was being frugal!". I said, "Good job Honey!".

Luckily my husband and I are on the same page in this area. Why do we feel the need to be frugal? Because the future is so uncertain! Here are some reasons:

1. The American economy is not looking good;

2. Gas and food prices are pretty much doomed to go higher and higher as time goes on because of the shortage of gas. Nearly all of the American infrastructure is dependent on gas... Where would your food come from if a truck couldn't bring it to your store? How would you or your spouse get to work?

3. There could be economic collapse;

4. There could be a weather related crisis;

5. What if one of us became disabled?;

6. I don't even want to talk about terrorist related problems.

I don't mean to be a doomsday predictor, but we should be prepared for the future. It would be so much better to be out of debt and have some money put aside, if some kind of crisis occurred, either in your private life or in our country.

If your spouse is not supporting you in this area, here are some ideas taken from the Tightwad Gazette:

1. Accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you can.

2. Agree that purchases of over x-amount must be discussed.

3. Post your income and outgo in a place where it can be seen.

4. Take care of necessities first, before discretionary funds are distributed. (Needs before wants)

5. If you know a major expense is coming up, let them know well in advance there will be less discretionary funds available and ask for cooperation.

6. Explain that a savings account is not a discretionary fund and should be paid like a bill.

7. When there has been a spending binge do not retaliate with one of your own.

8. Be patient. You don't want to divorce over this!!!

9. Set a good example. If your spouse sees that you can buy a used item for a fraction of the cost of a new item that is just as good as the new item, he or she will begin to realize the advantages of being frugal.

Pray and remember to seek guidance from Scripture. I love to read about the Proverbs 31 Woman. It inspires me so much because I am far from having all the characteristics of a "Wife of Noble Character". This morning I re-read Proverbs 31 as I often do. This is the verse that stood out today:

Proverbs 31, verse 25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Meanderings

I have a very bad cold, the first one in a long time. Its the kind of cold that gives you a very bad sore throat and then you are hoarse for a few days. Part of my job is to answer the phone at work, so this isn't good. We are already short handed, so staying home is a last resort. This morning I googled "sore throat remedy" and found that gargling with apple cider vinegar is supposed to help. So I tried it. I have to admit that my throat is feeling much better after only one dose, but its not a pleasant experience. I'll try it once an hour though. I don't have any honey to mix it with, so its straight vinegar for me!

Does anyone have any experience with using Apple cider vinegar for home remedies?

Getting sick this close to Christmas has given me a new appreciation for not procrastinating and getting every thing done early. If I was to get too sick, some members of my family would be very short changed in the gift area. I hope to have everything done really early next year!!!!

Things seen recently that made me grin:

1. A Walmart employee working really hard while singing very loudly along with the Christmas music playing in the store. The song was "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do". He was oblivious to anyone around him.

2. A car dressed up like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. This consisted of two large furry stuffed antlers. One was attached to the top of the car on each of the back seat passenger windows. The nose was a HUGE red stuffed thing attached to the front of the car.

3. Last week we had several 80 degree days and the Santa who sits in his little house in the downtown area of the town I work in was still dressed to the hilt in all that fur!!! He had to be roasting.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last Minute Gift Ideas

I saw this gift idea in our newspaper yesterday and thought it was so cute, I just had to share it with you.

Take a whisk, fill it with candy and attach a tag that says: "We whisk you a Merry Christmas!". You could tie a pretty ribbon around it too. This would make a great gift by itself, but could also be combined with other kitchen items to make an even bigger gift. It would also be very cute in a Christmas stocking along with other kitchen items.

Today at my office we will have a little Christmas party. We only have 6 employees. 3 bosses and 3 underlings! LOL. Just kidding! Us 3 girls exchange little gifts and we will have food to eat all day!

My gifts to my two coworkers include: A glade battery operated candle, a 2 year Dayspring planner, a magnetic notepad, and a handmade cosmetic bag containing tissue, chapstick, travel size lint roller and hand lotion. Here is my post showing the cosmetic bags.

I wrapped all these separately in homespun type Christmas paper and tied jute twine around each one in a bow. Each girl's gifts are in a basket, except the candle which wouldn't fit.

I am thinking seriously about stopping at Walmart on the way to work and putting together a Whisk gift to stick in the basket too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Cookie Tips

In the past I haven't had very good luck with cookie baking, but finally am successful with this chocolate chip cookie recipe. I now realize that this is a pretty basic recipe. In fact its the exact same recipe that is on the back of the "Sams" brand chocolate chips!

Anyway, these are the tips that help me:

1. Use cool pans. This means having 2 or 3 pans on hand to rotate with when baking several pans full.

2. Use chilled dough. The cookies don't spread out so much if you use chilled dough and cool pans.

3. Remove the cookies from the oven when they just start to brown around the edges. Even though they don't look completely done, they are perfect.

4. Remove the cookies as soon as they are out of the oven and have cooled for about a minute.

5. Use a metal edge spatula to remove the cookies. The thinner the edge the better. This is an old spatula that I have. The edge is worn down very thin and it works really well.



6. Let the cookies cool on some kind of rack. I use the broiler/baking racks that came inside some pans. As soon as they are cool enough put them in containers that can be sealed up in. This helps them to stay moist.

7. The cookie dough in the above recipe freezes really well. Freeze as much as you would want to cook at one time in separate containers and you'll always have oven baked cookies at a moment's notice. I have two containers in the freezer right now. They can be baked on a Sunday afternoon or on a week night. This will really impress your family!

For more kitchen tips go to Tammys Recipes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baby's very first Christmas Gift!!!



Our grandbaby is only three and one half months old, but he loved opening his first Christmas present!

Our Christmas celebration at my Mama's house was yesterday and we had lots of fun. There was lots of food and lots of family! The house won't hold them all, but we squeeze in somehow!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday

Whew!!!

I was up early and started a big pot of vegetable soup. I placed a bag of home-frozen tomatoes, peas and corn in the crock pot to thaw. After they thawed, I threw in some browned hamburger, a can of mixed vegetables, a small can of tomato paste and some spices. Right before we ate, I peeled and diced some potatoes and boiled them in a separate pot on the stove. I added these to the soup. I also made some grilled cheese sandwiches using old-timey hoop cheese my husband brought home.

The weather is chilly and damp today after a week of way above normal temperatures, so the soup is good for a day like today. My husband has a fire going in the wood heater insert in the fireplace.

I closed up my sewing machine earlier this week and moved it to make room for the Christmas tree. My intention was to not sew until after Christmas, but I got so much done toward Christmas preparations and cleaning this week, that I drug the machine out into the middle of the room, put the ironing board up in the laundry room and went at it again!

I made some cosmetic-type bags and another wallet. My daughter loves blue so I purchased 1/2 yard of the blue print for the outside and 1/2 yard of a matching solid blue for the lining. From the blue I have made 3 bags and 1 wallet. One of the blue bags needs a closure and isn't pictured here. Then I made a large bag from the black and white polka dot and red and white pin dot fabric I bought earlier to make tote bags from. I cut out another black, red and white one, but will have to finish it later.




I purchased some inexpensive items to go in the cosmetic bags such as chapstick, hand lotion, pocket size tissue and a travel lint roller. Each bag will cost less than $5.00 and will make a cute gift, I think.

I want to experiment with some different kinds of closures for the bags. The snap closures don't seem strong enough to me. I think velcro or a button and loop closure would be neat.

I made two batches of Chocolate Chip Cookies today too! I baked one batch and froze the other batch in 2 containers. The ones I baked today are for my family and also to put a few into zip lock bags for little gifts. I found some Christmas zip lock bags at Dollar Tree for this purpose.

The cookie dough that I froze will be baked between now and Christmas for more gift bags and also for my family.

I am planning on making some white chocolate chip, macadamia nut cookies soon. I saw Paula Deen making these today on her T.V. show, except she also put in candied cherries. YUM!!! I might just have to try that.

Our family's Christmas celebration at my Mama's house is tomorrow. We always have it the Sunday before Christmas, but since the Sunday before Christmas this year is the 23rd, we are having it tomorrow. I can taste that good food already!!!

We will have a guest in addition to family on Christmas Day at our house this year who is a new "boyfriend" of my stepdaughter. I discovered that he played football at Appalachian State University and is a high school football coach now. Since Appalachian State just won its third national football championship in its division, I think it would be nice to make him a small "ASU - 3 PEAT" Pillow. We will see if time allows!

ATTENTION: THE NEWEST MOVIE IN THE LOVE COMES SOFTLY SERIES PREMIERS TONIGHT AT 9:00 P.M.!!!!! ON THE HALLMARK CHANNEL!!!!! I don't think I have seen the one that came out before it either. All of the movies are playing from the first one through the last one right now!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday

I have been posting about the progress on a quilt I was making for someone who requested a "boyish" quilt for her four year old grandson. This is the finished product.



I really love the fabric used for the outside border and the backing. It was one of the fabrics featured in the "quilt of the month" at the Walmart fabric department for December. It is designed to use in quilts, is 100% cotton and is only $2.00 per yard. When I pre-washed it I was really surprised at how soft it turned out. I think it will feel so good for a little boy to cuddle with!

Here is the link for the pattern again: Patches for Chris.

For more Sew Crafty Friday posts, go to the Waiting For Him Blog!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Busy Days

I have been getting up even earlier than usual and getting so much done at home! Yesterday I was awake at 2:00 A.M. and finally just got on up at 3:00 A.M. I did the majority of my Christmas decorating before going to work. This morning I was up at 4:30. I made lasagna for tonight's supper, finished one load of laundry and completed another load. I also did a little bit more decorating.

I worked on a little surprise for my husband that falls under making your home a haven category. I have seen lots of posts lately about making your home a haven and also making it a place of peace for your husband and family. He might read this blog today so I won't go into details. (grin)

My son had another set of twin goats born yesterday so that makes 3 sets of twins in a few days time! They were cavorting about this morning when I took our dog out. They are so funny! How can something only about a foot tall play around like that?They are only a few days old.

Sunday I made a recipe for dinner rolls using my bread machine that turned out really good. I will be making this recipe lots of times, especially for Sunday dinners. I let the bread machine do its work and then placed the dough in the refrigerator while we were at church. When I got back from church I rolled it out, let it rise, etc. as the recipe says. Here is a link for the recipe: Annie's Dinner Rolls.

Our menu was an old standby: BBQ chicken, chicken and pastry, field peas, corn, sweet potato souffle, and the rolls. We love Carolina Treet BBQ sauce. If you don't live around here, you might not be able to find it. It is made in North Carolina and is so good. It has a unique flavor, not like the regular manufacturer's brands.

I wanted to post pictures of the baby goats and the finished baseball quilt, but will have to do that later!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Heart Strings




My sweet husband, ever the bargain hunter, found this quilt rack at an antique/used furniture store located out in the country about 25 miles from our home. He only paid $10.00 for it! The second picture shows wheat designs carved into the wood on each side. The quilt is a Wolf quilt I made for him a few years ago. He folded the quilt and placed it on the rack for a surprise.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Happy Tuesday!

One thing about cooking that I learned from my husband is to slow down. I never noticed, but I always cooked "fast". The burner on the stove was always turned up high... I needed to get things going quick...!!!

Now I approach cooking in a much more relaxed manner. On Sunday mornings, early, I'll put on my vegetables from the freezer. I put them in the pot with a lid on a low/medium setting and let them gradually come to a boil, then reduce the heat even more. They cook gently while our Sunday morning routines are taking place.

I am even reluctant to turn the burner on high to bring water to a boil for pasta now! That is only reserved for those rush suppers when we have to be somewhere quick!!!

This also saves a lot of boil overs and stove top clean up! I can't tell you the mess a pot of boiled over chicken makes!!! I speak from experience, plenty of experience!

So my tip for this week's Kitchen Tip Tuesday is to slow down and enjoy the cooking process. If you have gotten into that rushed, gotta get it done right now, mode, step back and smell the bread!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seasons

Lately, almost every sentence that comes out of my mouth ends with , "but I don't have time". I have really been struggling with lack of time to do the things I HAVE to do and the things I REALLY WANT to do!

This morning when I was reading in my Women's Devotional Bible, a Christmas gift from my husband in 2006, I came across a devotion that really struck home with me. This Bible has a topical index and one of the topics listed is "Time Management". This particular devotion is based on Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8. We've all read this or heard it many times before, even in the oldie song "Turn, Turn, Turn" (The Byrds). This devotion talks about how right now might not be the season for a certain thing, but the season may come later.

Well, I've got to discern what the season of my life is right now and what will have to wait. The first thing I've got to do is close up the sewing machine for at least two weeks. As much as I would love to make some home made gifts for loved ones, It just "ain't" going to happen. I will simply have to plan better for next year. Maybe I can write down all my ideas in my nifty little planner for 2008!

Celebrating Christmas in Peace is more important than worrying about things that aren't my "season" right now.

"Seasons change and so must we. Turn, turn, turn.......

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekend Happenings

Here in our little corner of the world, life is quite hectic! So much to do and time is so limited!

Yesterday I decided to finish the Baseball Quilt if that's all I got done. I just needed to get it done so I could concentrate on other things. I started on it at 6:30 A.M. and worked on it almost constantly until 9:00 P.M. I am so happy to be almost finished with it. This morning I have already machine quilted two places that needed some more attention and the quilt is spread out on my kitchen table. The only thing left is to remove the blue markings used for quilting lines! This will only take a few minutes and I'll work on that while cooking our Sunday dinner. I will post a picture of it when finished!

I learned this lesson: I will never commit to making a quilt for someone to give as a Christmas gift unless I start on it in the Summer time!

My son has goats and 3 of them are large with kid!!! (LOL) Well, yesterday he announced that one of them had twins and as soon as they weren't so "slimy" he'd show us. I was sewing on the quilt and I heard the loudest bleats you have ever heard and saw that he had brought one of them inside. It was so cute!!!!! I rubbed his/her head and she stopped making any noise. I guess even baby goats know a mother's touch!

I am already working on our Sunday dinner this morning before church. I'll be putting some things in the crockpot, etc.

Have a great 2nd Sunday of Advent. I would like to post some pictures later on of some of the goings on here!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday

For Sew Crafty Friday this week, I cross stitched another "NCSU WOLFPACK" panel.


I am planning to make a tote bag using the black and white/red and white fabric. One will be the outside and one the lining. I plan to use the cross stitch on the outside pocket.


The inside pockets will be made from the outside coordinating fabric.


Maybe after Christmas I can show you the finished product!!!



More more Sew Crafty posts go to Waiting For Him!

Frugal Friday/On-Line Sales

I've always wanted to venture into selling things on E-Bay or other ways on the Internet, but wasn't sure where to begin. I've been dipping my foot into those waters a little bit lately and here's what happened:

1. Amazon: I listed several books on Amazon. They have a pretty good system, but if your book is one of hundreds listed on there the lowest price is 1 cent. Even with the shipping allowance they give you ($3.99) you will lose money by the time they take out their commission and you pay to ship the book, even using media mail.

I have sold 3 books! One book sold for $5.00, one for $.79 and one for $12.99. Needless to say I didn't make any money on the one that sold for $.79! But hopefully the recipient of the book will give me a good rating! The other two were definitely worth the trouble. Amazon just deposits your earnings into your bank account, a nice little surprise.

I will only list books that are at least $5.00 from now on and will be on the look out for saleable books at yard sales, etc.

2. E-Bay: I listed 2 items on E-Bay.

I have seen the infomercial that supposedly shows you how to make thousands on E-Bay. There is no way I would purchase that system!

I don't think there is too much in that system I couldn't figure out on my own.

With that being said.... I was a total failure at selling my 2 items. No one even bid on them. I had 2 questions and 1 watcher on one of the items. One of the people with the questions just wanted to correct me on how I listed the item....:0( The nerve!!! LOL

Anyway, I'm not giving up on making my thousands on E-Bay. But, it ain't that easy!!!! This is how E-Bay works for me: If I'm a buyer, the prices are high. If I'm a seller, the prices are low. Murphy's Law, I suppose.

I've just got to find items that someone actually wants!

Just in case you are curious, the items I was selling were a new still in the box praying doll and a 67 year old Bible. I bought the Bible at a Library Book Sale. The cover is in poor condition, but the contents are wonderful. Its a King James Version Teacher's Edition, with all kinds of study helps such as a concordance, 5,000 questions that coincide with each chapter in the Bible, maps, etc. It also has a hand written family record. The Doll prays "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" when you hold her hands together and her name is "Sweet Faith".

Evidently if you are not selling Barbie Dolls or BRATZ dolls, no one is interested! LOL.

3. Etsy Shop: I have set up an Etsy Shop which I am going to link to my blog eventually. I just haven't had time to really stock it properly. After Christmas I plan to sew some items that I hope someone will want. I'll also have more time to process orders and take care of the shop properly.


So there you have it!!! My first steps into on-line sales.

I hope your sales are more successful than mine have been!

For more Frugal Friday Tips go to Biblical Womanhood!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Little Minutes

Do you ever have a big job to do that just seems overwhelming? I do!

The way I deal with these is to do them in little, sometimes teenie, steps.

One example: At my office we needed to declutter and organize our huge file room. It had been accumulating stuff for years, so it didn't have to be done in a hurry. I decided that every time I got up to go to the bathroom, which is in the file room area, I would throw away one thing or organize one little thing. One of my co-workers got in on the fun too. Before long the file room was all straightened out. This also works for filing. We sometimes accumulate 2 or 3 boxes of files to be filed. So instead of spending an hour or two on this, every time I get up to go to the bathroom I will file a handful of maybe 5 files. Before you know its done or kept up to date if I do it consistently.

At home this could be done this way: If you are watching tv, every time there is a commercial, get up and do as much of a certain job as you can and then run back in just in time for the show to start back. I have cleaned my bathroom this way before. Spray down the shower with cleaner during one commercial, scrub part of it during another commercial, scrub another part during another commercial, rinse it during another commercial, clean the..... you get the idea!

You can break down lots of jobs into small jobs and put them on your to do list.

I am trying to do some Christmas decorating this way. My to do list for this week is something like this:

1. take down fall wreath.
2. give pumpkins to goats.
3. remove all fall-like decorations in house
4. Get down Christmas wreath from attic
5. Get down Christmas tree from attic

Just doing these things, one or two a day, will make such a difference this weekend when I start decorating!

More examples, clean out your junk drawer while talking on the phone. Organize your purse while waiting for a family member to get ready to go out the door.

It would also be a good idea to have a list of jobs that only take a minute or 5 minutes that you can do when the available time arises!

So use those little minutes that we all have available to get some jobs accomplished. It works for me!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

I love my bread machine! I especially like to let the bread machine do the kneading and then to bake the bread in the oven. This works well for pizza dough, dinner rolls, Challah bread, french bread and more.

If you can find a bread machine at a yard sale or thrift shop, all the better.

This is a recipe I made this weekend that turned out really good. The crust was very chewy. We ate it right out of the oven.... some with butter.... some with jelly. I used regular yeast because I didn't have any bread machine yeast and it didn't make any difference that I could tell.

(You may need to click on the recipe to make it bigger:o)





There are usually some good Bread Machine Cookbooks at the library. This recipe came from a Betty Crocker's Bread Machine Cookbook that I borrowed from the library.

For more kitchen tips please go to Tammy's Recipes.

Monday Update!

Its been such a busy weekend!

We attended a rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception for my nephew. Christmas time weddings are so beautiful and this one was no exception. The bridesmaid's dresses were apple red and the church was decorated with holly berries. The reception was held at a nice hotel nearby and there was dancing, so we got to cut the rug a little bit. We danced to "Carolina Girls" and "Brick House". I know you are shocked!!!

I did get the six inch borders for the baseball quilt cut and two of them sewed on. I'm going to work on the other two this morning.... if there's time!

My goal is to do special daily Bible readings from now until Christmas. Yesterday was the first day of Advent and I want to make this a special time of remembering the real meaning of Christmas. I also realize that I am always short of time for the things I must do and the things I want to do. I want to give the Lord some time first and then what's left, is well... left.

I checked out some new books from the library that, time allowing, I think I will enjoy! They are:

1. What Queen Esther Knew, Business Strategies From a Biblical Sage.
2. The Father of Love, Spiritual Insights from the characters and scenes of the Love Comes Softy Series, by Janette Oke.
3. Ready For Anything, 52 productivity principles for work & Life.
4. The 4-Hour Workweek.
5. Stories of the Heart and Home by Dr. James Dobson
6. The Decorated Bag, embellishing handbags, purses and totes
7. Creative Sewing Ideas (singer)

Yesterday I made some french bread (baguettes) and it was really good! I prepared the dough in the bread machine, took it out and let it rise two times and then baked it in the oven. My husband says he wants me to make a batch of this every weekend from now on!!!! We'll see about that.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT UPDATE: I posted about buying 10 containers of Purex laundry detergent at a great price with great coupons in October here. I opened the first one on October 20th. So far I have used 2 of the containers. I estimate that I do 8 loads of laundry a week. I'm still only using the least amount of detergent I can based on the laundry's dirtiness. I'm also still using 1/2 a fabric softener sheet per load. I haven't been hanging out clothes on the clothesline since the days are so short and the weather is cooler. I do need to hang a couple of loads a week on the clothes drying rack! So, the bottom line is I'm right on schedule with making the great laundry detergent stock up last 9 months.

Well, I'm off to get ready for work and maybe sew on a border.... probably not!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday



I have continued to work on the baseball quilt this week that I first posted progress on last Saturday.

So far I have sewn a one inch navy blue border around the initial quilt squares. This morning I cut the five yards of backing fabric in half and sewed the two strips together lengthwise to make the large piece of fabric needed for the backing. It is shown in the picture as the beige/brownish fabric.

This weekend I plan to sew another border on the quilt in the same fabric as the backing, get the quilt sandwich made and start machine quilting. The binding will be the same fabric as the navy one inch border. My goal is to finish it by next weekend.

My weekend is going to be really busy. We have a family wedding that will require our presence tonight at the rehearsal dinner and tomorrow for the wedding and reception. The wedding is in a town about 1 1/2 hours away.

I need to do some house cleaning as well..... yes, I will be extremely busy!!!

For more Sew Crafty Friday posts, please go to Waiting for him .

Frugal Friday

Can you tell the difference?

I bought these 4 baby outfits at various shops. Three came from thrift shops. One came from a retail store. Can you pick which one is brand new?



















Especially once the retail baby outfit is washed and dried a few times, I don't think you could tell the difference.

So my Frugal Friday tip for this week is this:

There are lots of ways to be frugal without sacrificing your quality of life. In fact many of the things considered frugal make your quality of life better. And it can actually be fun!

When I go to thrift shops, there are lots of things there I wouldn't buy no matter how cheap they were. But if you are patient and look carefully, you can get some really cute items. You do have to be selective!

For more Frugal Friday Tips, go to Biblical Womanhood!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seven Things About Me Tag

I've been tagged by Mrs. Warmth to list 7 things about me.

1. I'm a little obsessive/compulsive in that I have to check behind myself over and over in certain areas. I check, recheck and double check the stove, coffee pot, iron, curling iron to make sure they are turned off and unplugged. I check the doors to be sure they are locked over and over. At work I check behind my work over and over. This comes from having a mother who worries over everything and it has rubbed off on me. Hope I don't pass this along to my daughter, but I'm afraid its too late!!! LOL. Also I don't want to repeat mistakes of the past and I'd rather check the stove 3 times than to worry about it all day!!!

2. I love piano music, especially when my daughter plays. I guess I just love music. It moves me to another place in time. I can play piano just a little. I took lessons for 2 years when I was really young.

3. I like cats, but I don't want one in the house ever again. I buy a cat or kitten calendar for my office every year and have outside cats that I really like alot. I have a kitten now whose motor runs if you just look at him straight.

4. I love to dance. My husband is a great dancer and we get to go somewhere where there is dancing about once or twice a year. We do a kind of free-style shagging. We never took lessons, just improvise. If I'm alone at home I will dance and sing all over the place.

5. I love things like sewing, cooking and gardening. I guess I'm just a homebody.

6. I love the library. I could spend hours there. I bring home stacks of books to look at while watching tv or eating. I always have to take them back before I am through with them. Its amazing because you can get all the books you want anytime for free!

7. People who don't know me think I'm quiet, but my family knows better!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dollar Tree Update

In my last post I mentioned some items I purchased at Dollar Tree that I really liked. I want to report back on the "Angels" CD. It is wonderful! I am excited that I just accidentally found it. Some of my VERY favorite songs are on there and I didn't even realize it.

Here are my favorites: You Lift Me Up, In the arms of the angel, Tears in Heaven, Over the Rainbow, Angels Among Us, Heaven, Fur Elise, The Wind Beneath My Wings. There are several classical songs on there that are good too.

The bad news is that the Dollar Tree I was at yesterday was in another town. I was working at another location yesterday on the job. Today I went to my regular Dollar Tree, and no Angel CD, No Dayspring planners and No, 5 X 7 notebooks with elastic band and pocket. :o(

I will be on the look out at other Dollar Trees if I am near one because I have some good ideas for these purchases.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Simple Organizing Tools

I pulled out an old composition book from my son's high school days and started jotting down some things I wanted to start thinking about in connection with Christmas planning. The book is kind of ragged and too big to fit in my pocketbook easily so I decided to actually buy one!!!

So today at lunch I ventured into the Dollar Tree for my first Christmas shopping of the year. I even listened to some Christmas music on the way! I love Dollar Tree and Dollar General. You can really find some neat things there. Usually, its not what you were looking for, but something totally unexpected that you'll run across.

Today I was in the market for a small notebook and a new personal planner/calendar for 2008.

I found these.



They would make cute "little something" Christmas gifts. I plan to go back to Dollar Tree, purchase more and make little sets. I have some homespun type twine to tie around them. Other ideas to add to the gift could be a pen, magnetic memo pad or one of the $1.00 cds they have at Dollar Tree. I purchased one yesterday called "Angels". I haven't tried it out yet, but if its good, I'll purchase a few of those too. This cd has some of my favorite songs on it, such as "Angels Amoung Us", "Over the Rainbow", etc. I'll listen to it on the way to work this morning and report back!

The planner is made by Dayspring, which is a company that distributes Christian items usually found at Christian Book stores. They had several to choose from and they were only a dollar. There are scripture verses throughout, with a place for prayer requests, addresses and phone numbers, what the bible says about .... all kinds of things, as well as a calender for September, 2007 through December, 2009.

The notebook is 5 X 7 with an elastic band to hold it together. It also has an inside pocket which the planner fits into perfectly like this:



I have a permanent address book that I usually keep in my vehicle. I don't like to carry big notebooks around with me. Usually where ever my vehicle is, I am, so the address book is readily accessable. I also don't see the need to re-write the addresses into a new planner each year.

These are my plans for the notebook:

For Christmas I plan to have a page for each of the elephant bites I need to eat.

1. A list of all the people who I want to give a gift to, family, friends, neighbors and the mail lady. Beside each name I'll write the things I plan to purchase as well as ideas, if I'm not sure.

2. A chart showing all the people I have purchased gifts for, what the gift is, how much it cost and if its wrapped yet.

3. A list of stocking stuffers purchased for all my immediate family, who the stocking stuffer is for and the cost.

4. A list of decorations I would like to have and what I need to purchase or make. I'm pretty sure we need new tree lights. :o)

5. A list of things to do, such as writing Christmas cards and mailing them, purchasing food for the Church's food pantry, getting new sweet grandbaby's stocking ready :o), etc.

6. A list of the foods I want to cook during the holidays. This would include cookie baking and the menu for Christmas meals. There will also be a grocery list of items needed, after checking my pantry first.

After Christmas I'll just tear the Christmas planning pages out and save them to help me in planning Christmas for next year. Then this notebook will be used for "to do" lists, grocery lists, price lists, menus, you name it.

As to the planner, I'll spend a few minutes writing in dates such as birthdays, vacation days, holidays and appointments.

I like to keep these two things in my pocketbook all the time. I make appointments while at home, the office or at the doctor's office, so its good to keep it with me at all times.

I've tried all kinds of planners including notebooks and expensive leather-like planners, but I've discovered that a simple $1.00 planner and 5 X 7 notebook WORK FOR ME.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, please visit : Rocks in My Dryer

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I'm planning to do a series of posts about getting organized for Christmas. So for Kitchen Tip Tuesday I'd like to give some reminders and tips about planning ahead in the kitchen. These ideas could be used for other holidays or functions. These tips are from an old book I have called "76 Ways to Get Organized For Christmas". Its a little bitty paperback book, but it has inspired me at Christmas time for years now.

1. In your mind review last Christmas's baking and cooking. Did you do too much or too little. What was a hit with your family and friends and what just wasn't worth the effort? Ask your family what they would love to have at Christmas. My husband misses the icebox fruit cake his mother used to make, so I acquired the recipe from his sister and made this for him every year for a few years. It turned out that he would just as soon have an endless supply of chocolate chip cookies and they are much easier and cheaper to make. Each member of my family has a favorite. One always asks for banana pudding and one always asks for cheesecake.

Here is the chocolate chip cookie recipe I use.

Now is the time to eliminate those foods you don't have time for and concentrate of the items you really want to make.

2. Make a list of the foods you plan to make for your family's use and/or for gifts this year. Note the food, the quantity you plan to make, its purpose and where the recipe can be found. Also the time period that you plan to make the item is helpful because some things can be made ahead and frozen. But, some things need to be made the day they are eaten. Cookie dough can be made way ahead and frozen. Some fruitcakes are better if they are aged. But, banana pudding needs to be made right before its eaten.

3. Make a shopping list of the items you'll need for Christmas baking and for your Christmas meal (or meals). Inventory your pantry to see what you already have on hand. Its a little late, but you can spread out your grocery shopping budget over a period of time to avoid that one huge shopping trip.

4. It would be really nice to have some extra meals in the freezer for those days during the Christmas season that get so hectic.

5. If you are entertaining, make a time schedule, plan the menu ahead, and post it so you don't forget to prepare or purchase any of the necessary items. Make a time line of each thing you need to do... from laundering the table cloth to putting the turkey in the oven.

6. Now is the time to get your kitchen straightened out. The best tip I know is to declutter our kitchen counters. The less we have on there the nicer it looks. Store any item you don't use everyday out of sight, until at least after the holidays.

Happy Tuesday!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting Organized For Christmas

I've been trying to ignore all the early Christmas decorations, commercials, 24 hour Christmas carols on the radio and people asking me if I'm ready for Christmas yet for a while now. I've always loved Christmas, but I've got a new motto: SIMPLIFY!

With that in mind the first day of December is this Saturday and I do need to do some planning and organizing.

In the past I tried a couple of different kinds of Christmas organizing ideas.

I really like the way Flylady has helped others prepare for Christmas. She advises her readers to get ready for Christmas in baby steps. Pretend you are going on a cruise in December and you have to get everything ready by then! I love that concept. She even has a downloadable Holiday Control Journal.

I also have a book I bought at a library discard sale several years ago called "76 Ways to Get Organized For Christmas". The authors of this book say that getting ready for Christmas is like eating an elephant. Its better to eat the elephant in bites. Christmas isn't a surprise. Its the same day every year and we know about it 365 days ahead of time.

These are the elephant bites listed in the book:

1st bite: Getting organized.
2nd bite: Cutting housework time in half
3rd bite: Gifts and Giving
4th bite: Baking and preparing food
5th bite: Decorating the house and the tree
6th bite: Christmas is for kids, too!
7th bite: Spreading goodwill toward men.
8th bite: Memorable traditions
9th bite: Its over! Now What?

I'll be working on the first bite for a couple of days. I've dug out a leftover composition book from my son's high school days for making my lists. I'll need to mark down certain things on my calendar.

My friends, I think I've become a procrastinator when it comes to Christmas! But, I have purchased a few stocking stuffers during the year. Also I purchased Christmas cards, wrapping paper, tags and bows at the after Christmas sales last year. I do have a few things in my Gift stash. That's a start!

What happened to Fall anyway? All my wonderful Fall decorations are starting to look dull. The pumpkins are melting! LOL. But nature is still in the Fall mode. There are leaves every where. ..... and I love it. Am I the only person who isn't ready to give up the Fall season?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Sewing

I've enjoyed the days off from work and feel almost like a full time homemaker!!!

A month or so ago some one requested that I make a quilt for her 4 year old grandson. I tried to get specifics from her, but all she would say was to make it for a 4 year and to make it boyish. Its getting close to Christmas and I also want to make some hand made gifts for my family, so I decided to get most of it done this weekend if possible. With that in mind the quilt needed to be a simple pattern.

I decided to use another McCall's pattern. Its called "Patches for Chris", is for a twin size bed and is very easy. Click here for the pattern and a picture. I purchased two yards of "baseball" fabric that has blues, red and beige in it. Earlier this week I pre-washed the new fabric and several different blue fabrics that I already had.

Early (I mean 5:00 A.M.) this morning I started cutting out the squares and sewing them all together. It went really fast. Here's what I got done today:



I have to purchase coordinating fabrics for the borders and the backing and also a twin size quilt batting.

I also finished one hand made gift for a special family member this week. I cross stitched all the way to and from Tennessee last weekend and put the finishing touches on a pillow earlier this week. I can't post a picture of it here because said special person might see it, so I'm taking a picture and will post after Christmas. Its for a man, so if someone would like to see it privately to get gift ideas, I could email it to you if you email me your email address! LOL

I can't find my pattern book for the pocket book I made about a month ago. It turned out so good and I was going to make a Christmas pocket book and some for gifts. I have looked every where and its no where to be found! I hope it turns up. :o(

Friday, November 23, 2007

Frugal Friday - A Thrifty Wardrobe

Well the weather here in North Carolina has been anything but normal this year and it seems like the warm weather is just going to keep coming back sandwiched in between cooler days. We've been in the upper 70s off and on for the last 3 weeks. But, I think its going to finally become more seasonable eventually!

So its time to get my closet straightened out and ready for winter. Right now there's a strange combination of summer and winter clothes in there. I'm going to try to get all the summer things out and into storage and then get the fall and winter things organized in there!

I have been extremely inspired by the section in the book "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman" about the author's wardrobe. I pulled my book out this morning to re-read this part. If I could summarise this in one phrase, it would be, "Eliminate and concentrate". Having a few outfits that coordinate and are the colors you love and look good in makes getting dressed so much easier. The author, Anne Ortlund, even lists her outfits, complete with jewelry, shoes and other accessories, in her notebook. She can get dressed in the morning in a flash because she doesn't have to worry about matching up things or pulling one outfit from a closet crammed full of all kinds of things. She doesn't spend much time shopping and she is generous to the needy or friends with the things she "eliminates".

I think most women, and I am as guilty as anyone, have too many clothes. I don't plan or organize my wardrobe well. I'll go into a store and pick something up without realizing that I already have something similar at home. I want to have in mind what I need when I go shopping so as not to get swept away with how "cute" something is, or the fact that a sales clerk says it looks good on me. I would like to have my outfits organized and ready to go at all times.

Every body's wardrobe needs are different. I need semi-dressy clothes for work and church. I wear the same clothes to both work and church most of the time. I need some comfortable weekend clothes like jeans and tops. I need something very dressy occasionally for weddings, funerals or holiday parties. (I don't go to many of these 3, thank goodness!). I need some casual wear that's kind of in between work clothes and jeans.

With that in mind one of my long Thanksgiving weekend plans is to organize my closet.

I purchased a sweater last weekend at a thrift store that I think I can make into at least 4 outfits by combining it with what I already have. This sweater has black, red, camel and cream colors in it. I washed it as soon as I got it home and it washed wonderfully!

Here is the sweater with black pants:



Here is the sweater with a long black skirt and a red blazer:




Here is the sweater with a long red skirt and black blazer:


Here is the sweater with jeans:



I I were going to go shopping for clothes I would be on the look out for some camel colored winter pants and I would then have another outfit!

I think the investment of $2.00 for the sweater is going to pay off, don't you!!!???

Well, I'm off to eliminate and concentrate in my closet!

For more Frugal Friday tips please go to www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Small Town America

Seen recently in a small town in America:






1. We were in a small thrift shop recently with this sign in the window: If there is any thing in the store you need, but are unable to pay for, there will be no charge. God Bless You!

It was touching to see the kindness of strangers. In fact while we were in the store a young mother came in stating that she only had $3.00 and her little girl really needed some pants. The thrift store clerk simply said, "Go get what you need". The young mother was able to leave with a bag full of jeans for her daughter. This is a church thrift shop and the clerk asked no questions and there were no strings attached.

2. There is a small country store in the small town I work in that sells fresh vegetables and meat. Its reputation is for selling a lot of Southern type foods. I drove by yesterday and there was a big trailer load of collards with at least 30 people frantically trying to get their Thanksgiving collards. It reminded me of a bunch of ladies around a sale table at a big Christmas sale! I was expecting to see collards flying up in the air any minute!

Now, if you didn't know, collards are huge leafy green things before they are cooked. I'm also told that they are best after it has frosted on them or if we have had a freeze. These people were serious about their Thanksgiving collards. I also saw some turnips.

I am a Southern girl through and through, but I do not like collards or turnips. Just so you know....

3. On our weekend trip to the Smokey Mountains we stayed in a hotel that was touching a town on one side and a cow pasture on the other side. The hotel had a continental breakfast each morning for its patrons.

There was a man eating breakfast one morning that was almost certainly homeless. It was really cold in the mountains last weekend and I was glad to see that he was inside getting a warm breakfast. He ate a lot! Finally, he got up and looked just one more time at the little cheese omelets and turned and went out the front door. He didn't even have on a very substantial coat!

No one who worked at the hotel questioned this and I'm not sure what they would have done if they had known. I would like to think they would let him eat and go on his way.

4. It can be tough getting home from work around here sometimes. Yesterday I couldn't go home my usual route because of a wreck that appeared to involve a large horse trailer being run into! So I took an alternate, even more rural than usual, route home. I got behind two different farming vehicles at different times. It was at the edge of dark and one of them was a tractor with no lights, etc. Farmers do dangerous things sometimes. I followed him for a while and was finally able to pass. Just a few minutes later I got behind a HUGE tractor pulling a HUGE cotton trailer. It took up most of the highway, so there was nothing to do but slowly follow. Oh well, just a part of country living! I'll take it any time over that rush hour traffic in big cities! I like seeing my usual 2 or 3 vehicles a day or 2 or 3 tractors! LOL.

5. The farm vehicle story reminded me of this. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my brother who was 5 years older, and I would drive the Massey Ferguson tractor down the highway to a little country store. I would sit on the fender which had nothing but air between me and the pavement! The tractor would go really fast if it was in high gear! No one thought anything about it! I would never in a million years have let my children do that! But it was fun and I remember holding on really tight!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

We have a few recipes that we enjoy which use skinless, boneless chicken breasts. However, the price of these is high, even on sale. When they are on sale for a good price, I usually purchase some and freeze them.

But, sometimes the split chicken breasts are on sale for 89 or 99 cents a pound in our area. They are usually huge and work well boiled and used in casseroles.

One good way to stretch the chicken breasts is to very carefully slice the good boneless breast meat from the bone, remove the skin, and cut the white meat into the size you want.

Then boil the bony pieces you have left, which will still contain a lot of white meat. After the bony pieces have cooked, remove them and pick off all the remaining chicken and return to the broth.

You could make some delicious chicken noodle soup, or freeze the broth for future recipes. My Mama will use chicken broth in her dressing on Thanksgiving. Also here in the South, I could use this broth to make Chicken N Pastry! Yum!

This is one good way to eliminate waste and still get the best cut of meat.

I have several packages of the split chicken breasts in my freezer bought on sale. Yesterday before work I placed 3 breasts on a plate on the counter to thaw. I wouldn't normally thaw them on the counter, but they are so big I knew they would not completely thaw before I got home. When I got home they were still partially frozen, but thawed enough to handle. I sliced away the good white meat and cut the pieces into chicken tenders.

Our supper was fried chicken tenders, rice with gravy and green beans. While the other food was cooking I boiled the bony pieces left over and it is in my fridge waiting to be used later this week!

I know, I know! There are many healthier recipes that use boneless chicken!

For more kitchen tips, be sure to visit http://www.tammysrecipes.com/

Monday, November 19, 2007

Road Trip to the Smokeys

We had a wonderful time on our annual Smokey Mountain anniversary road trip! I wanted to share some of the highlights with you.

The trip began early Thursday morning with packing. Yes, I waited until the morning we were leaving to do this. My nature is to do things as simply as possible. I only wanted to take necessary items and I didn't want to spend all week worrying about it. We wake up EVERY morning EXTREMELY early anyway so I just got up at my usual time, packed and we got on the road.

The first stop was to take Dave, our sheltie, to the doggie vacation spot. Its a very nice place out in the country run by people we know. Each little doggie has his own indoor sleeping area with a doggie door that goes outside to his own little fenced in yard. He was way overdue for a thorough grooming and he was scheduled to have that done while there. Normally when we go somewhere over night, my son takes care of Dave, but this time he was out of town as well.

After taking care of a couple of other errands, we were on our way! We left the area we live in by 9:00 A.M. I have always enjoyed going on road trips with my husband and one of the best parts is the trip itself.

This year we really enjoyed the scenery because as best I can tell the fall foliage was late this year in North Carolina. We have been going to the mountains this same weekend for several years and I've never seen such brilliant colors. Usually by this time of year the leaves in the mountains are gone, but even in the mountains there was still a lot of color. The most beautiful colors were in the Piedmont area. I tried to take pictures, but the pictures just don't show the beauty!

This is a picture of some of the foliage as we were traveling down I-40.



Then the most exciting thing happened!!! It started snowing!!! I absolutely love snow, although I'm not fond at all of driving in it! This snow was not sticking to the ground, but was coming down really hard. Driving beside tractor trailers on I-40 going up or down the mountain near Asheville is kind of scary, but throw some snow into the mix and it really gets scary!!! The snow lasted about an hour and was even coming down on the guys mowing grass on the side of the highway. Here is a picture of the snow, but again the picture just doesn't show it all that well.



We spent Thursday night in Newport, Tennessee and on Friday we traveled the rest of the way to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, Tennessee area. We couldn't check into our hotel until 3:00 so we headed over to the Gatlinburg area and made the rounds on the Craftsmans Road. All kinds of craftsmen and women have shops on Glade Road, a country road in the mountains. We love to browse in many of the shops and each year discover a new one or an old one we didn't know existed. I have to be honest in saying that we don't buy too much in these stores because the prices are pretty high, but always come away inspired.

We returned to the Glade Lebanon Baptist Church thrift shop which is located on this road and found a few more treasures that will be in a future post. I got out the phone book in our hotel room and looked up all the thrift shops in the area and we visited quite a few. We went to the Goodwill Store, Salvation Army Store, a hospital thrift store, as well as the Lebanon Baptist Church thrift store. Would you believe we also went to a yard sale right in the edge of Pigeon Forge? There were 2 other thrift shops that looked great, but we just didn't have time to get there. They are on my list for next year however! These were my favorite shopping experiences on the trip!

We visited two amazing quilt shops! I was in awe at all the beautiful fabric and quilts on display. One of the quilt shops is "The Cherry Pit" located in downtown Sevierville, Tennessee, right across from the Courthouse. Its a big store, packed with fabric and ideas and they teach quilt lessons there.

One highlight of our trip each year is to eat lunch at "The Wild Plum Tea Room" which is located on the Glade Craftsman Road. Its a unique restaurant with interesting food. The lady who originally opened it started out using her own china there. Like most of the stores and restaurants in the area, she set up shop in an old rustic building. Here are pictures of The Wild Plum Tearoom.





We were also able to spend some time with my brother in law and sister in law who attend a square dancing convention, "The Turkey Strut", the same weekend as our anniversary each year. We stayed in the same hotel and shared a couple of meals together.

I got a kick out of the fact that our hotel is located right across the street from some beautiful hills with a fenced in pasture for cows. I felt right at home!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

God's Bounty

Bless us oh Lord,

And these thy gifts,

Which we are about to receive,

From thy bounty,

Through Christ our Lord,

Amen


My Frugal Friday tip (yes I know its only Thursday), is to pray when shopping. If we are trying our best to live up to the Proverbs 31 Woman our Lord will help us. When we go shopping we should ask Him to help us. This is a prayer I might say:

"Lord, you know I've got $_____ to spend today and I don't know how I'm going to feed my family on that amount, but You do. Please help me to find the foods and sales that you would have me buy."

Then be on the lookout for the things that He has put there for you!!! You might see something on sale or marked down that you have a coupon on, that you wouldn't have even noticed before.

If we make sure we take the Lord with us to the grocery store we will also be more aware of shopping with integrity. He will provide for us. We don't need to be greedy, just smart! We need to be polite to the other shoppers and the cashiers. We need to put our shopping carts back where they belong. We need to be patient with the other people in the parking lot.

If you are not familiar with "Laine's Letters", please visit her website some time when you've got time to browse. I could spend the whole day there if I had time. But HERE is one letter she wrote about "Fearless Food Shopping" in which she states that she prays before shopping, while shopping and after shopping!

Here are a couple of pictures of God's bounty at my house. My husband picked all these green tomatoes before the first frost we had last week. They are spread out on newspaper in our garage to ripen. There were at least 100 other tiny green tomatoes that were given to our goats. There are also green peppers. We had a bumper crop of green peppers this year!



These are sweet potatoes my husband brought home this week. There are red one and white ones. They are also being stored in the garage.



Yes, God has provided well for my family. My pantry is full and the grocery stores are stocked to the top with all kinds of wonderful foods. There are also local farmers, vegetable stands and generous neighbors.

Thank you Lord!

For more Frugal Friday Tips go to: www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amazon Explained

I received the last volume of the Tightwad Gazette series (Tightwad Gazette II) that I was missing yesterday! I'm very happy with it because it is a hardback copy in perfect condition. Its much nicer than the 2 other volumes that I purchased in paperback in the early 1990s.

Another great thing is the price. It was only one cent! Amazon sets the shipping rate for books at $3.99 so that's a given when ordering any book. The seller makes a couple of dollars on the shipping and that's how they can sell books for a penny.

So I ended up actually paying $4.00 for the book.

Here's my complete set!




I considered purchasing the Tightwad Gazette book which contains all 3 volumes, as well as some additional tightwaddery information, but they weren't that cheap. Since I only needed one it was better for me to just buy it. If you wanted to buy all 3, you would end up spending $12.00 if purchased individually. So in my opinion, you'd be better off to buy the 3 in 1 volume. However, you could compare the prices and do the math to make that decision if you are in the market for these books.

I am a big believer in using my county library system instead of buying books, but there are some that I like to have on hand for reference that I go back to again and again. The Tightwad Gazettes have saved me mucho denaros over the years!

I had been wanting to buy a book recommended on some homesteading blogs called, "The Encyclopedia of Country Living". The library branch located near me didn't have this book, but a branch located in a nearby town did. So my branch obtained it for me and called me when it was in.

My plan was to read the book and see if I thought it was a book I needed to own. I had checked on Amazon for the book and it was expensive. After reading the book I decided I didn't need to own it. Its a very good book, but I don't think I'd go back to it over and over. If we were living off the land like my family did when I was growing up, this book would be absolutely necessary! But at this point in my life I don't plan on raising chickens for food, etc, but some day you never know...... with the way the food system in this country is going, I might.

I hope you've noticed the Amazon Widget located on my left side bar. If my understanding is correct, this is how it works. If you go to the Amazon website through the link on this blog and buy anything, I would get a small credit for it. You don't have to buy the books I recommend. So, if you are planning to buy something from Amazon, I'd appreciate your letting my blog refer you to their site.

I have had good luck with the things I've ordered from Amazon. I've bought several books for a penny, plus the $3.99 shipping and have been very happy with the books.

One of my favorite books purchased from Amazon was a copy of "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman". The copy I bought has a beautiful blue suede hard cover and is in perfect condition. Its a great reference book.

The bottom line is though, if you can get a book from the library for free, I'd go that route to make sure I needed to own a book first. That's the frugal thing to do!

You may have noticed that the "Google Ad Sense Ads" that I had a while back are gone. I noticed some ads that I wasn't comfortable with on the blog and wondered if there were ads showing up when I wasn't looking that I wouldn't approve of too. So I just got rid of it. I don't want to offend anyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

I have been making lots of cloth napkins and so my kitchen tip for today is to give cloth napkins a try!

The napkins are very easy to make from fabric you already have in your stash or can be purchased inexpensively.

Even if you don't use the napkins exclusively, they are so nice to have in your kitchen. Sunday I had company for dinner and had the ones I made in a basket on the table. Each person used one. The only problem is the cloth napkins I had weren't that cute because I had been experimenting with scraps and sizes, etc.

So yesterday I started making some "cute" napkins. These are also made from scraps. I like to make them 12 or 13 inches square in a double layer, but they can be made in single layers and in many sizes. In fact the ones I cut out yesterday are in different sizes because the fabric I had was in different sizes!

Here is one with a farm theme I finished yesterday. I like to make each side different, but coordinating. One side of this one has cows and the other side has cows, chickens and other farm things. I folded it so you could see both sides, but its 12 1/2 inches square.



Here is a Fall/Thanksgiving theme one that has been cut out, but not yet sewed.





I was able to cut out several new cute napkins and will be sewing on them all along this week until they are finished. Some of the trimming, clipping threads and turning can be done while watching tv.

For more Kitchen Tips, please go to: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/.

New and Improved Diaper

I made 2 fitted cloth diapers for my daughter in newborn size shown here. The baby has outgrown them and I wanted to experiment a little with the pattern to hopefully make it more adjustable for his growth and also to fit better. This is why I didn't make a whole bunch of them before the baby was born and I also wanted to make sure she was really going to use cloth diapers!

Well, she is using cloth diapers and doing a great job at it! She has 2 posts on her blog recently explaining all about her cloth diapering experience here and here. These posts are also featured on a website called: http://www.clothdiapernews.com/.

Yesterday I was able to do a little sewing since I had a day off from work for Veteran's Day. So I made one more diaper to try on sweet grandbaby.

This is the outside.




This is the inside.



This is how it will look on the baby.



If I can get the pattern right, I plan to make several for my sweet grandbaby. I used a wash cloth folded into thirds for the soaker pad in this one. My intention is to find some microfiber towels to use for soaker pads because they hold a lot of liquid.

Maybe I can make some from other fabric that doesn't have frogs on it! Actually it doesn't matter what the fabric is because the cute part will be covered up with waterproof pants anyway, but the frogs are kind of cute! I thought it was interesting that the camouflage frogs part is on the inside where it can camouflage any stains. But, so far my daughter says her diapers aren't getting any stains on them. How cool is that?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend's almost over..... and a couple of frugal things

The weekend is almost over again.... No wait, I forgot tomorrow's a holiday at my office. I'm off! Its a 3 day weekend! Whew!!! That was close!


Yesterday was another busy Saturday, aren't they all?


I was up really early and had laundry going by 5:00 A.M. I spent part of the morning listing some books I had laying around on Amazon. That's the first time I've tried to sell any books online, so we'll see how that comes out. I have nothing to lose and maybe can get rid of some books.


I also worked on setting up an ETSY Shop. I've seen these linked to on other blogs and thought I'd enjoy having one. I need to work on some more items to sell there, but lack of time is a problem. Anyway, soon I'll have a "Homemaking Dreams Store" for home made items.


Yesterday's lunch was clam chowder. We usually have some kind of soup, stew, chili or chowder for lunch on Saturdays during cold weather followed by a football game on TV, preferably one that our team wins. Our team started out badly this year, but has won the last 4 games. If they keep this up they might even go to a bowl game. Who da thunk it? :o)


The football game yesterday was a big rivalry game between N. C. State and UNC Chapel Hill and was a nail biter. I kept my mind off it by working on the deer place mats I needed to finish, while my husband kept yelling at the TV. It must have worked because our team won!


I did finish the place mats, so now the set is complete. (napkins, place mats and coasters)

Today has been busy as well. I was up early again! I cooked most of my Sunday dinner before going to church. I made crock pot roast. The way I cooked it was to place peeled and cut up onions, potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot. I then placed the roast on top of the veggies. I sprinkled a package of dry onion soup mix on top of the roast. I sprinkled just a little salt and pepper through out . I added about 1 cup of water and cooked on high for about 1 1/2 hours and then turned it to low while at church. Before serving the roast I removed the meat and veggies and placed them in serving dishes covered with foil on the stove to keep them warm. I placed cornstarch (about 1 1/2 tablespoons per cup of liquid) dissolved in cold water in the juices left in the crock pot and let it cook until thick and bubbly. This gravy was delicious on the roast!


I also made a chocolate cake before church and left it to cool while I was gone. When I got back from church I iced the cake with cream cheese frosting and placed it in my pretty covered cake plate. I also peeled some sweet potatoes and made Sweet Potato souffle. I needed something green, so I just opened a couple of cans of green beans and potatoes seasoned with ham.


We had some of our children over to eat. All together we had me, my husband, my daughter, my son in law, my stepdaughter and sweet grandbaby.


I took care of the baby so my daughter and son in law could eat without getting up and down. I remember how it was when I was a young mother. When we went to family dinners, I never got to eat with everybody else, because the baby needed attention. So I usually wait to eat if the baby is awake. I enjoy taking care of him anyway! He is growing so fast and is getting so sweet. He smiles and coos all the time.


It is so nice not to be thinking about preparing to go to work tomorrow. Maybe I'll be able to sew some. I also need to be preparing for a road trip we are going on later this week. You see, I'll only work 2 days this week. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday My husband and I will be away on our annual anniversary trip. We'll be in the mountains of Tennessee. My favorite thing is to visit all the MANY craft shops there. But I'm especially looking forward to going to the little church thrift shop we discovered last year. I hope the shop has as many little treasures as it had last time.

I want to get some sort of hand work ready to work on while we are driving. Its about 7 hours to where we are going and I'd like to work on a Christmas gift. I've been thinking that I'd like to give my children, stepchildren, son in law, husband and grandbaby something home made this year. I've already got some ideas in mind.


Now for the frugal things:


1. The cake I made today cost a total of about $1.90. I got the cake mix at Food Lion last week on sale for buy one get one free. This made it $.75. I had a coupon for $.75 off one cake mix with the purchase of frosting. The frosting was on sale for $1.29. So the cake mix was free and the only cost of the cake was the frosting, butter and eggs. It was a hit with my family too.


2. I have a brown blazer that I wear all the time in the winter and last weekend my sweet grandbaby spit up on the sleeve. The tag says "dry clean only". Well I only paid $12.00 for the blazer about 2 years ago and it irritates me to pay the dry cleaners what they charge to clean clothing that I paid very little for to begin with.


So I checked the fiber content and this is what it was made of: 62% polyester, 33% Rayon, 5% spandex, Lining 100% polyester. Well I knew none of these fabrics would shrink and I've washed many slacks and tops made from these fabrics.


So I decided to take a chance on washing the blazer at home, ONLY because the blazer wasn't an expensive piece of clothing (None of mine are :o).


I washed it on the "hand washables" cycle on my washing machine with just a little detergent with a low water level. I took it out, hung it on a hanger to dry outside and it turned out perfect. I might touch it up with a lint brush just a little bit and press it just a little bit, but it really isn't necessary.


I have read somewhere that clothing manufacturers will put the "dry clean only" label in their clothes to protect themselves if there is any question that the article might not launder well.


NOW I DO NOT WANT TO RECOMMEND THAT YOU HAND WASH A DRY CLEAN ONLY item of clothing if its a nice piece of clothing that you paid a lot for or if its obviously not a washable item like something made of wool, silk or cotton that would shrink, be hard to iron or would stretch out of shape. But it might be something you could do with an old piece of clothing or something you purchased from a yard sale that's made from polyester, rayon or spandex.


This is the blazer after being washed and air dried.


I would be very careful about washing "dry clean only" clothing at home, but it worked well on this particular item.

Hope your weekend is going well!

Friday, November 9, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

Bethany Sue, CFO, tagged me to list 8 Random Things About me, so here you go:



1. I was raised on a tobacco farm in the South. I was driving the tractor that pulled the tobacco harvester when I was 8 and wore no hat, had no umbrella and nobody ever heard of sunscreen. I graduated to working on the harvester when I was about 12, not as boring and shielded from the sun at least!


2. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was growing up. That was before I found out I was afraid of big dogs!


3. I was born on George Washington's birthday and when my Mama asked the doctor if I was a boy or girl, he said, "Well, you sure can't name her George!".


4. My first job after the farm was the refund and exchange clerk/telephone answer person at Woolco Department Store. I was supposed to answer the phone by saying, "Thank you for calling Woolco Department Store, we want to be your favorite store, can I help you." By the time I said all that, the customer forgot what they were calling for!


5. Riding in cars makes me nervous. I don't like to drive in unfamilar places or in the rain. My least favorite thing about being a parent was ridng with teenagers learning how to drive!


6. I'm a carb addict. Not sweets, but salty stuff. I could eat Doritos and potato chips 3 times a day! My very, very favorite food is spaghetti. Love it!


7. My middle name is Louise and I was named after my Mama's sister, Louise, the oldest of 11 children.


8. My favorite thing to do is simply to be at home. I especially like to be home in Fall and Winter and being snowed in is wonderful!


I tag Super Mommie and Penny.

Frugal Friday

My Frugal Friday tip for today is don't rush out to replace things. You can repair or make do with many items before rushing out to replace them. We live in a disposable society, but it doesn't have to be that way in your home.

In the early 1990s, I remember reading in the Tightwad Gazette(the first one) about how Amy repaired her cracked laundry basket with paper clips. She went on to describe a whole list of things that can be repaired with paper clips. I actually did repair a laundry basket with paper clips after reading that!

You can use your own ingenuity to come up with ways to repair items in your home. If you've got some basic tools, wood glue, paper clips, duct tape :o), sewing supplies, and access to the hardware section at walmart, you can fix most anything.

My husband is really good at fixing things and we always try to do this before buying new. He has repaired many water hoses, the runners on wooden drawers, his eye glasses, simple repairs on lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, etc.

He recently found a nice cooler that had been thrown away by someone. The only thing wrong with it was one hinge was broken. He bought a hinge and repaired it. This cooler would have been worth about $20.00 new, and for a couple of dollars he repaired it and saved it from going to the land fill too.

Since the weather is now getting cold, I've been pulling out some of my winter clothes. I love to wear tights in the winter time and have several pairs left from last year. But, wouldn't you know it, my favorite black cable design ones have a hole in the toe. They are in perfect condition other wise. So this weekend I'll repair them. I think I can do a good job on the sewing machine, but if you don't have a sewing machine, many repairs can be done with good old fashioned needle and thread!

Can you wait a little while before replacing it? It is smart to wait a little while before buying that new item. A recent example of this is my broken baking dish. You can read about the lasagna disaster we recently had here. I immediately went out the next morning to try to replace the baking dish. It was a large, very nice baking dish and I had owned it for years. I had no idea how expensive it is to buy a new one until I started looking at them. Well, you can't repair a broken baking dish, but I decided to just wait to find the best price before I purchased one. Well its been about a month and I haven't replaced it and have gotten along just fine using the metal pans and other glass baking dishes that I already have, thank you very much!

Another example: I wanted to buy plastic shoe boxes to put my "Operation Christmas Child" items in. I went to the dollar store and they were sold out, so I was going to go to another store today. When I got home yesterday I noticed that I had some of these at home that were not serving a very important purpose, so I'll just use the ones I have. This saved a little money and helped me to declutter some too!

Do you really need to replace the entire item? Once we had a broken glass coffee decanter. You can find these in thrift shops and Walmart. There's no need to replace the whole thing if you can just replace the part that's broken cheaply.

The most important thing to remember is to take your time and examine all your options before just assuming that you "have" to make a shopping trip to replace something! If after doing this you decide a new one is the best option, then go for it!

For more frugal friday tips go to: www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm

A Tiny Frugal Tip #1

Welcome to a new series of posts that I plan to do, called "A Tiny Frugal Tip". They'll be short and sweet, but hopefully you...