Sunday, September 30, 2007

FIRST SATURDAY OF AUTUMN IN MY HOME



My husband got into the act on the Fall decorating! He brought home these corn stalks and pumpkins today and made this arrangement. This is a bird feeder he gave me last Christmas. I think it needs a big Fall colored bow and it will be perfect!

Today, like all Saturdays, was very busy!

I started off with laundry. Its an all day Saturday thing usually and today was no exception. I don't think I washed a single load this past week, so there was a lot to do. My son did do some of his own laundry earlier in the week, so that helped. It was a beautiful, cool, breezy day. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to hang out clothes, so I filled up three lines, a drying rack and about 15 hangers. I also dried three loads in the dryer! I know its hard to believe, but I actually get the laundry done faster and easier when I hang as much as I can. Its so cozy to climb into a bed with freshly line dried sheets, when you are so tired and sleepy!! :o).

Early in the morning I started some homemade vegetable soup. I was supposed to cook this on Thursday night according to the menu I posted last Sunday, but I had so much food on hand, I waited until today. It turned out really good. It contained browned hamburger, onion, garlic, green and yellow sweet bell pepper from the garden, zucchini, field peas, corn, string beans, potatoes, diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime, a bay leaf and tomato paste. I added about 2 1/2 cups water and let it simmer all morning.





I squeezed a little sewing in also. These are the finished chicken napkins and coasters.




I started on a Wolf wall hanging. First I put the backing for the quilt on the floor right side down(after vacuuming really well) and taped it down.


Then I laid the quilt batting on top of the backing.

Then I laid the quilt top face up on top of the batting. I use quilt basting safety pins to pin the quilt sandwich together at regular intervals all over. I usually do this a few minutes at a time. A small quilt like this wall hanging or a baby quilt doesn't take that long, but a full size bed quilt can take quite a while. Crawling around on the floor is very tiring, but I've found this to be the easiest way since I don't have access to a large table. Now that I think about it, I could have done this small wall hanging on my kitchen table!










I started machine quilting the wall hanging, but honestly am not satisfied with the way it is turning out. I've machine quilted several pieced quilts before and it went really well, but this whole piece quilt top is not quilting smoothly with my old Singer Sewing Machine, even using a quilting foot. I plan to finish it anyway and possibly sell it at a yard sale. I don't have too much money in the project, so its ok.

The day was completed by going to a special service at my church for the anointing of the sick. My Mama is 82 years old and has quite a few health problems. She has back pain continuously and must take pain medicine to be able to bear it. So I wanted to make sure she went to this service. Hopefully she will be strengthened both spiritually and physically by the anointing.

I hope that your Saturday was as full and satisfying as mine and that the rest of your weekend is great!

Debbie J.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Frugal Friday

My Frugal Friday tip for this week is to use what God furnishes to us in Nature for decorating our homes. There are plenty of ideas to use in all the seasons, especially in the fall.

I went to the library in search of ideas for nature crafts and decorating for Fall from nature and was amazed at the number of books available on that subject, even in my small town library.

These are just 3 of the several I checked out from the library.



Some ideas would be:

1. Press colorful leaves and fill a box with them to mail to someone who lives where there aren't any colorful leaves. Some one in Iraq or other military site comes to my mind.

2. If you live near a wheat field, there are lots of things to do with the seed heads.

3. Use tiny pine cones, sweet gum balls, etc. to make place cards, for decorations on wrapped gifts or to decorate with in other ways.

4. Dry the end of summer flowers and make wreaths from them.

5. Corn stalks and corn husks make great fall decorations.

I went in my yard in search of ideas and found there were plenty of acorns right now from several oak trees. These pictures show a couple of ideas for using acorns.










This is one small grape vine wreath I made from grape vines. Over the years I have made several of these in all sizes. Just decorate them with whatever is available in the season you are celebrating. If you don't have grape vines available to you the wreaths can be purchased inexpensively and then you can decorate them from nature.




I would think that no matter where you live there are opportunities available to you to gather nature's bounty. I live in the country and have corn fields, wheat fields and woods all around me. If you live in town you probably have a yard or can go to a park.

I'm not the most creative person in the world, but I'm sure all of you could come up with some beautiful nature decorations and crafts!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A LITTLE MORE AUTUMN IN MY HOME



A Little Pot of sunshine on the railing of the front porch.





One end of the mantle.





A Fall Quilt. I posted more about this quilt here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

HEART STRINGS

Sometimes people do things that are so nice they just touch my heart.

We have the nicest rural mail lady ever! She always gets the mail in the right mailbox and she always waves to us if we are out in the yard when she delivers the mail. If we have a package too big for the box and aren't home, she will put the package on the front porch and leave a post it note in the mailbox letting us know where it is. The other day I received a really large envelope that wouldn't fit in the mailbox and it was a windy day. She put the envelope on the porch and sat a couple of flower pots on the corners to keep it safe. She just goes beyond the call of duty for a mail person.

When our new grandson was born we put a blue bow on the mailbox and I posted a picture of it here:

Yesterday when I checked our mailbox for mail there was a baby gift in there. The tag said, "For the new arrival. I know he is precious". And it was signed by our mail lady! Well, this is one mail lady that is definitely getting a Christmas gift from us.

Sometimes when I think the whole world is just going bad, someone will rekindle my hope in the human race!

The only question I have is this. Do you think she thinks "I" had the baby? Surely she knows I'm a little old for that!!!

Have a great day!

Debbie J.

MORE AUTUMN IN MY HOME

Hey, its Wednesday!!! Only 2 more days til the weekend!!! Our weather is supposed to be cooler this weekend and I am looking forward to cooking some soup, stew or beans.


This is the flag that we have had on the front of the house in the Fall for 2 or 3 years. We alternate it with the NC State Flag this time of year. Our football team isn't doing very well right now, so the Fall flag won out for the time being!




This wreath on my back door was given to me, or should I say I saved it from the garbage. Its not one of my favorite fall decorations, but its ok for now.




I have been enjoying seeing the touches of fall in everyone's home on so many different blogs.

We better enjoy this season while we can. In case you haven't noticed, exactly 3 months from yesterday will be Christmas Day of 2007.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

AUTUMN IN MY HOME




In this little corner of my sewing room, there is a quart size canning jar filled with potpourri with a candle holder sitting in the top of it. I have tied a scrap of fall colored fabric around the neck of the jar. I had this candle holder and the one below last year, but added the Fall colored ties this year. Also, these are a few of my quilting books and some yard sale baskets waiting to be filled with home made napkins.




This is in the bathroom. It is a pint size canning jar containing Fall potpourri with a green candle in the holder. I made the bow with some Fall colored fabric. It is sitting on a homespun plaid coaster that I made.

There are some really cute Fall canning jar candle holders as well as other Fall decorating ideas on Monica's blog at http://thehomespunheart.blogspot.com/







Even Dave, our dog, has his own little bit of Autumn. The placemat his dog dish sits on has Fall leaves on it. He is a 15 year old black and white Sheltie. Dave is very feeble and deaf. He sleeps most of the time and needs help going up and down the steps when he goes outside. He actually belongs to my daughter. She got him as a puppy when she was 12. When she went away to college he became mine and my son, Jacob's. He usually sleeps in Jacob's room but sometimes he sleeps outside the door to our bedroom. This morning when I opened the door he was fast asleep there. We just stepped over him and he never woke up. (You have to be careful or you will fall over him!) About an hour later he came out looking at us as if to say, "How'd you guys get out here?". LOL. When I get home in the afternoon, its usually about an hour before he realizes anybody's home. Poor thing can't hear a lick!

I hope you are enjoying your first week of Fall. That North Carolina summer heat is hanging on, but there's cooler weather in sight. I guess you'd call it an Indian Summer.

Monday, September 24, 2007

HEART STRINGS and AUTUMN IN MY HOME


As promised I am posting pictures of touches of fall in my home every day this week in celebration of the long awaited arrival of my favorite season.

This post is also a "Heart Strings" post.

I love sunflowers, daisies and brown eyed susans! I have been seeing some beautiful wreaths with fall flowers on them on the front doors of many homes and had commented to my husband how much I liked them and that I was going to try to make one of my own. I had a small fall wreath on our front door that wasn't very pretty.

Saturday when he was on the way home from work I called him to ask him to bring something from the grocery store and he told me he had a surprise for me and he hoped I would like it. Well, he came in with this beautiful fall wreath with sunflowers on it!!! I absolutely love it and will always treasure it because he remembered me making that one little comment and went to the trouble to go to a florist and get it for me.

Thank you Honey!!! You are the best!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Menus for the first week of Fall




Happy First Day of Fall!!!!!! This is my very favorite time of year and I plan to post a different touch of Fall found in my home every day this week. The post for Monday will also be a "Heart Strings" post.

I'm planning my meals for this week. I have to admit that I haven't been planning my meals ahead of time and this past week I became very stressed out about it. My son had to work 4 days in a row night shift Monday through Thursday of last week. This meant that he was going to be leaving for work at 6:20 P.M. I get home from work at 5:20 P.M. CRUNCH TIME!!! I have to get organized for these days. He only works this schedule once a month, but I don't intend to be so unprepared again! We have not been buying the frozen and canned fast food he usually fills up on and he hadn't had time to go shopping for his own food since he was working all night and sleeping most of the day, so he was extremely hungry by the time I got home each day. He was so hungry in fact that he called me on my cell phone on the way home from work 2 days to see "what are we having to eat, I'm starving!".

Menus for 9/22/07 through 9/28/07:

Saturday: Clam Chowder and saltine crackers. (lunch)
Lasagna: (supper)

Sunday: Crock pot roast with potatoes, onions and green pepper strips, Broccoli and cheese and Challah Bread. The bread kneads and rises in the bread machine and then I take it out, braid it and bake in the oven. The second picture above is a challah bread that I made last Christmas. The first picture was our Sunday dinner today. It was a pretty big roast, so there will be plenty of planned overs for later this week. I enjoy the bread machine, especially for pizza crusts and this Challah Bread.


For supper there is planned over lasagna or clam chowder. It will be "fend for yourself"


Monday: Crock Pot BBQ Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, corn from the freezer.

Tuesday: "Planned over" roast, homemade mashed potatoes and peas, planned over corn.

Wednesday:Hotdogs with fixins, baked beans.

Thursday: Vegetable soup using left over peas and corn, ground beef, etc.

Friday: Hubby's night to cook!!! (I think it'll be pork chops)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday Sewing



I hope everybody has had a great Saturday! We have been really busy. It was the last day of the summer of 2007!!! Good bye old friend. See you next June!

We had visitors from out of state today and I was able to get some grandbaby sugar!!!

These pictures are of some simple projects I have been working on.

The first one is a a body pillow case. We have been needing a pillow case for this body pillow and I found this fabric on sale for $1.00 per yard. I really like it. Its called barn red plaid.

I bought 2 yards of the fabric and cut it to the length I needed which was 60 inches. First I pre-washed and dried the fabric. Then on one end I turned under 1/4 inch and pressed and then turned it under again 3/4 inch, pressed and stitched. Then I turned right sides together and sewed down the side and end. The fold made the other seam. This fabric was almost exactly the width I needed after being folded in half. I added the 12 inches I had left over to my scrap stash. It will be cute in a quilt or other sewing project someday.

The second picture is a chicken napkin and coaster. I have several of these cut out and am in the process of getting them all sewn together.

Friday, September 21, 2007

FRUGAL FRIDAY

Can you believe its already Friday again?!!! I am so glad its here. We here in Eastern North Carolina finally have had a few "rainy" days. Its been so long, I forgot what it was like!!! We didn't get a huge amount of rain in inches, but it rained lightly all day long yesterday and looks like it might do that for part of today too. Its wonderful!!! I can't hang out clothes to save on the electric bill, but the AC isn't running as much because its cloudy, so that's a fair trade off!!!

Now for some frugal food tips:

1. Declare a "We're not going to the grocery store week" (or month :o)!). Most people have enough food in their pantry, kitchen cabinets, fridge or freezer that they could eat for a week or more without even setting foot in the grocery store. There are leftovers, staple items and that marked down meat you froze in the freezer. If you go look, I bet you could come up with some delicious meals. We just need to get organized and "make do". This strategy comes in handy when an unexpected expense comes up or you just want to made do until pay day. Also, if we use up some of that food, we'll avoid wasting it.



My daughter and her husband recently did this. They decided to try to use what they had and put off going to the grocery store. They were invited to our house for Sunday dinner and we sent home the leftovers with them. We also picked some produce from the garden. We have green peppers and eggplants right now. She made veggie lasagna with them which turned out good. She even served this to out of town guests!!! They were very resourceful and this became a game for them!

2. Avoid eating out as much as possible: We have saved a lot of money by avoiding eating out. Of course, we eat out occasionally as a special treat and we love to eat out. Our recent strategies for this have been:

Eat out for lunch at Wendy's during the week instead of a date night on Friday night. This also saves gas because we are already in town at work. My husband and I can eat for less than $10.00 as compared to $30 to $50 on Friday night at most restaurants. Last week my husband bought BBQ plate tickets for a church harvest day. We went to the church and got to eat with old friends. We enjoyed looking at the crafts they had for sale, bought some quilt raffle tickets and even discovered an antique store in the area we didn't know existed. It turned out to be a great place with lots of second hand stuff. We didn't buy anything, but will definitely keep this store in mind for the future. But, my point is we had a fun date without spending a lot of money.


Bring food from home. When we visited our daughter, son in law and new grandbaby at their home, we didn't want to ask them to cook for us. We also didn't want to spend the money to take us all out to eat. So we cooked food at home and took it. I made my signature potluck dish, Mountain Bean Pot (in a crock pot), took a package of hotdogs, buns, and store brand tortilla "scoops". When we got there we plugged in the crock pot to keep the beans hot, heated up the hotdogs and buns and had a delicious meal. The kids had leftovers (I mean planned overs) for the week as well.

3. Planned Overs: Plan the use of your leftovers. If you are serving something that nobody will want to eat as a leftover, make sure to cook only enough for that meal. If its a good food for another meal, then plan accordingly. I like to use leftover vegetables in vegetable soup. I also like to cook pasta in the chicken broth after boiling chicken for a casserole. If I add a little of the boiled chicken it makes a great lunch at work for a couple of days. Leftover chicken can be used for chicken salad sandwhiches or in a burrito. My son will eat leftover spaghetti or lasagna, no matter HOW MUCH I MAKE. It never goes to waste.

My sweet sister-in-law taught me to call them "planned overs"!!! That's a great frugal concept!!!

4. It goes without saying to always buy all food at the lowest price possible. I seldom buy anything that is not on sale and/or with a coupon. Meat has to be on sale or marked down. The only exception is when I plan poorly and run out of a necessary item and have to pay full price. ARGH! When its on sale at an unbeatable price, of course, STOCK UP.


This is the Mountain Bean Pot recipe. I always take this to church or family potluck dinners.

Mountain Bean Pot

3 cans of beans (mix or match Pork N Beans, pinto beans, light red kidney beans, navy beans, etc.) (you can add more or less beans depending on how much you need)
1 pound of browned and drained hamburger
1 package of bacon, cut into bite size pieces, fried, and drained
3/4 cup catsup
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)


Throw everything together in a pot on the stove or crock pot and heat until bubbly. If I am taking it somewhere away from home, I put it in a crockpot and plug it in on low when we get to our destination. Its always a hit.



If I wanted to make it more frugal I would leave out the bacon, but the bacon in it is pretty good!!!



Please go to www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm for more frugal tips!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Yellow and Blue Quilt




These are larger pictures of the yellow and blue quilt that has been on my side bar for a couple of weeks. I made this quilt 3 or 4 years ago. I need to do a better job of documenting my quilts. I started a little photo album with some of them in it, but need to do a record with the date and pattern, etc.

When I was looking for a pattern for this quilt, I wanted to do a yellow and blue quilt. I found this pattern on line: http://mccallsquilting.com/golden/mg13_pattern/




It seemed to be exactly what I had in mind and is one of my favorite quilts. Even though it looks like a summer or spring quilt, we use it in the winter because it is heavier than some of the quilts I have made.

I also made matching pillow cases from the left over fabric that you can see in the picture of the bed. I still have a good amount of leftover scraps from this quilt. These scraps have shown up in some baby quilts that I have made since then. One of them was the "String X Baby Quilt that I have posted about earlier here: http://homemakingdreams.blogspot.com/2007/08/string-x-baby-quilt.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A RIOT OF COLOR




This is one corner of my yard that has beautiful blooming plants right now, but boy do these colors clash!!! The rose bush was given to me by my husband when we first met and the name of it is "Don Juan"! The crape myrtle tree was just a sprout I dug up at the family graveyard near my house. If you look carefully in the crape myrtle tree you will see one red rose blooming way up high. It looks like the tree has a rose growing from its branches. We keep Don Juan trimmed, so don't ask me how that one branch got that tall. The hibiscus bush grows right under the tree and was given to me by my Mama this year. She ordered it from a catalog.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

HEART STRINGS




I'm starting a new category on my blog called "Heart Strings". These posts will be about things that touch my heart. This is the first one, though I may go back and re-categorize some previous posts that should go under this title.

A GIFT OF LOVE:

This is a Raggedy Andy that my good friend and co-worker's mother made for Dylan. She just calls them "Raggedys". I was amazed at how detailed the hand work was in the doll. All of the yarn hair is hand sewn on the head. The face is hand embroidered and there's even a heart on the chest that says "I Love You", which is hidden under his clothes. His little outfit is hand made too.

This is the story behind this doll: My friend (Ann), bought the pattern for the doll in 1972 when she was just 14. It was a Simplicity pattern. She wanted to make the doll for a baby gift for someone she knew and worked on it the entire summer that year. She never made another one, but gave the pattern to her mother, who has made lots of them since then.

Ann forwarded a picture of Dylan to her mother and she thought he was so cute that she made him a "Raggedy". She's never even met my daughter or Dylan. Isn't that the sweetest thing? A gift from the heart with no strings attached!!!

Ann's mom is also the person who regularly gives me bags of scraps, which I love!!!

When I give this Raggedy to Dylan I'm going to take a picture of him with it and send it to Ann's Mom with a big thank you and I'm sure Lori will send her a written thank you note too.

This inspires me to make more baby gifts for people that don't expect it. There is a home for unwed mothers in one of the tiny towns near me that accepts donations of baby items. I've often thought of making baby quilts to donate there. I understand that the home requires the mothers to do jobs around the house to earn the gifts and are required to go to school and be responsible for their babies after they are born. I've seen the girls getting on the school bus and they went to school with my daughter at the local high school. Its a great program. My church donates to them at Christmas because this type of thing is pro-life and encourages girls to have their babies and not to get abortions. Each Christmas we are given baby bottles to fill up with change. We turn them in and the bottles and the money are donated to the home.

I hope you have a great Saturday! I want to do some sewing and I "have" to do some cleaning and laundry. I bought some Winnie The Pooh fabric that you make a baby book from that was marked down to $1.00 yesterday. All you have to do is add quilt batting, which I have plenty of. I think I could make more using the same size fabric squares and rectangles, especially picture books. I suppose you could use a fabric pen to write words to go with the pictures.

We escaped any storm damage last night, but there were several tornadoes and severe thunder storms not too far away. Tornadoes were spotted and touched down just a couple of miles from my daughter's house, but she didn't have any problems. It just scared me half to death... I called her and told her to make sure they were prepared to get into the center of the house and put something over their heads. Thank goodness, it wasn't necessary.

Thanks to the Lord, we did get 2.3 inches of rain according to our rain gauge!!! But, its too late for most of the poor farmers I fear!!! They certainly are at the mercy of the weather.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Frugal Friday



Now that Autumn is almost here, I'm enjoying my morning coffee even more than usual. These are my favorite coffee cups. The one that is beige with fall leaf imprints on it was bought at Walmart when their fall items were placed on clearance 2 years ago. The one with the rooster on it was bought at a church thrift shop. It is part of a stoneware dinnerware set, but 2 cups was all they had of the set. The last one was bought at Myrtle Beach, SC many years ago. It just seems that coffee is good only in a certain type of cup and these are the cups I like.

These are some frugal ways to enjoy your coffee:


1. I've bought all my coffee for the past couple of years at chain drug stores like CVS, Walgreens and Eckerds (now Rite Aid!). If you watch the Sunday sales papers, you will notice that one or the other of these stores has coffee on sale about every week. They seem to have the best prices and if you combine the sale prices with CVS's Extra Bucks program, or use your rebate money from Walgreens or Rite Aid, and/or coupons, you can save some money on this item. Of course you have to know what the best price is in your area. Recently CVS had a "buy $20 of these products and get $20 Extra Bucks" deal and Maxwell House coffee was one of the items. I bought 2 really large cans during that promotion. Also Chase and Sanborn small cans are on sale occasionally for 2 for $3.00.

2. I love the flavored creamers this time of year. If I do buy these I get the store brand at Walmart or Dollar General. The small one is about $1.00.
However, these creamers are not good for your cholesterol, so I try to limit them. A good substitute is to use a few drops of vanilla flavoring, a little sugar (if you must have it) and a little skim milk or nonfat dry milk powder.

In addition there are many recipes for homemade coffee mixes available. Most of them use instant coffee in the recipes and make great gifts when placed in a pretty container. I haven't personally made any of them, but here are two from the Tightwad Gazette:

Swiss Mocha

1/2 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk solids
2 Tbsp cocoa



Stir ingredients together. Process in a blender until powder. Use 2 tablespoons for each 4 oz cup of hot water. 40 calories each.

Cafe Vienna


1/2 cup instant coffee
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk solids
1/2 tsp cinnamon


Stir ingredients together. Process in a blender until powdered. Use 2 teaspons to one cup of hot water. 35 calories each.


There are also similar recipes on the Hillbilly Housewife website.

3. Use less coffee. If you are making more than one pot of coffee, place 1/2 the usual amount you use on top of the grounds already in the basket. This works for me, but I don't think the second pot is as strong. So you need to experiment to find the amount of coffee to use for the second pot that suits your taste. It is definitely a way to use less coffee and therefore, save money.

I don't like coffee that has been sitting on the element too long, so pouring the hot coffee into a thermos is a way to make the coffee last longer.

4. To summarize the Tightwad Gazette money saving strategies for coffee: 1. Switch brands, purchase with a coupon and on sale; 2. Make the coffee go further by reusing your grounds with half as much fresh grounds added to the old ones; and 3. drink less coffee.


5. And last but not least, spread your used coffee grounds around slug or snail infested areas. Another one I haven't tried, but this seems to be a universal remedy, worth a try, and won't cost you anything but your time!

6. UPDATE! THANKS STEPHANIE, I forgot how good used coffee grounds are for your garden and compost pile!!!! Another frugal thing to do!!!

Enjoy the upcoming Fall coffee drinking season!!!

Please visit www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm for more frugal friday ideas!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lucky the Cat



This is Lucky, the tomcat. I don't think we need a paternity test to decide who these kittens belong to!!!
As you can see Lucky is holding up a sore paw. He injured it in his latest tomcat fight. He will take on any cat, any time, anywhere. I saw him and another cat going round and round, kicking up a dust tornado yesterday, so I guess that's when he got his sore paw.
You may ask why his name is lucky. Its not what you think...lol. My husband cranked up his truck one winter and a little black and white kitten came flying out from the motor. The truck had to go to the repair shop, but Lucky was fine. He came walking up a few minutes later.
You also might ask why we don't have Lucky neutered. Well, the picture above shows you how close you can get to Lucky, no closer. He talks to me and follows me around, but no touching!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sisters' Shoebox Swap



These are the goodies my sisters' swap partner sent to me! The top picture is the shoebox crammed full, wrapped in tissue paper in my (and her) favorite color, blue. The second picture shows the items spread out on my kitchen table.



This was the first swap I've participated in. My partner was Ms. Ruth. She obviously put lots of time and thought into the goodies she packed for me. We were supposed to pack a shoebox with items that would "refresh". I can tell that Ms. Ruth is special because she has individually wrapped many of the items and placed little notes on many of them too! She has been visiting my blog and knew all about the things I like and she included lots of them! The book in the picture is a cookbook written by quilters. It has quilting tips, sewing projects and lots of great recipes from quilt shop owners and quilters. She gave me a Debbie Mumm magnetic notepad who anybody who quilts knows. There are many "refreshing things and lots of special touches and treasures for me to savor!!!

These are the blogs of the two sisters who sponsored this swap:

Monica: www.thehomespunheart.blogspot.com

Carrie: www.watibg.blogspot.com

Thanks again, Ms. Ruth!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rice Filled Heating Pads


Thanks Coleen for the question. Here are a few of the rice filled heating pads (we call them cuddle buddies) I've made lately.

I got started making these heating pads 2 Christmases ago. At my church everybody who wanted to participate was given $10.00. We could keep the money or use it to make more money to give back to the church. Our scripture reading that Sunday was about the servants and the talents. See Matthew 25, verses 14-30 and Luke 19, verses 11- 27.

I thought and thought of a way to invest the $10. Since I like to sew, I looked for something on line and I found the instructions for these here:


http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/ricefilledpad.htm

I used the initial $10 to buy rice, lavender buds and gallon size storage bags. I had plenty of fabric scraps on hand, so I didn't need to buy that. I made a lot of them from Christmas fabric. My husband is a great salesman and we decided to sell them for just $3.00, so they would be easy to sell. I kept reinvesting the money we earned and we ended up making almost $200.00 from that original $10.00. All of the money the people of the church earned was sent to El Salvador to an orphanage.

So now I am making more of them for gifts. I've already given away 6. They are really nice when the weather gets cooler. In really cold weather I like to heat mine up and put my feet on it or put it in the bed before bedtime. My husband likes his on his knee. My good friend and co-worker uses it at work on her neck. It molds around whatever body part you need to soothe. I've been told they are good to freeze and use for an ice pack or to put on a sinus headache.

Sample Menus For My Family

Thank you Melinda for visiting my blog and requesting sample menus that my family uses.

Sometimes, my husband calls me at work about 3:00 P.M. and says, "Do I need to bring anything home from the grocery store?", and that's when the decision of what we are having for supper is made! When I am really organized I have my meals planned ahead based on what's on sale and what we have on hand.

These are some of the meals we had this weekend:

Saturday: Homemade Chili with corn muffins.

The corn muffins are made with Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix which are 3 for $1.00 at Dollar General. All you add is one egg and 1/3 cup of milk. I bake mine in an 8 X 8 pan. Here's how I made my chili yesterday.

Chili

1 lb of hamburger
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 or 4 cans of your favorite types of beans.(Navy, pork n beans, kidney beans, etc.)
(Mix or match the beans)
1 can of tomatoes with mild green chiles
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
About 1 cup of water
2 T chili powder

Brown the meat and chopped veggies together and drain. Throw it and everything else into a crock pot and cook until bubbly hot.

I have bell peppers coming from the garden, but if I didn't have one on hand, I'd just leave that out.

I also made a big pot of spagetti. My son doesn't like chili beans, so he ate spagetti and has 2 bowls in the fridge for later.

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie, noodles, apple fritters

My sister gave me the chicken pot pie recipe and it is very easy and very delicious. If you boil your chicken ahead, it's quick to put together too. I boiled some noodles in the chicken broth I used for the chicken pot pie. There are plenty of veggies in the chicken pot pie and also bread in the crust.

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

4-5 chicken breast boiled. (Iuse what ever chicken I have or what's on sale. It all works well in the recipe as well as leftover turkey.)
1 can drained mixed vegetables
1 can drained English peas (we call them garden peas here in the South)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth (use the broth the chicken was boiled in or make it using bullion cubes)


1 stick margarine
1 cup of Milk (skim or whatever you have)
1 cup self rising flour
1 T baking powder (must use along with self rising flour)

Using a 9X13 dish, debone chicken, tear into pieces and line bottom of dish with chicken pieces. Mix the next 5 ingredients (veggies, peas, soups and broth) and pour over chicken. Next in a medium bowl melt margarine and mix with flour, baking powder and milk. Beat with a wisk or spoon (It will be thin and a little lumpy). Pour evenly over the top and bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until browned on top. In my oven it was ready at about 40 minutes.

These are some of the main dishes we might have on week nights: tacos, lasagna, vegetable soup, pork chops, Mexican Chicken, Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, banana sandwhiches, Hamburger Stroganoff, fried chicken tenders, bbq chicken, hamburgers, pizza and hotdogs.

Weekend meals might include Crock Pot Roast, White Bean Soup, Stew Beef, clam chowder and other meals that might take too long to cook on a week night.

Side dishes are usually macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, string beans cooked with potatoes, corn, broccoli and cheese, baked potatoes, veg-all casserole, sweet potato casserole, butter beans, or peas.

This week I have hamburger and chicken in the freezer and some leftovers in the fridge, so we have a pretty good start!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday Sewing



These are some Christmas sewing projects I have been working on today. The snowman fabric was a treasure I found in one of the bags of scraps my co-worker's Mom brings to me. There was just enough to make two 12 inch pillows and 3 rice filled heating pads. The candy cane red stripe to match was another treasure found at a church thrift shop in a small town near my home. It goes together so well!!! I used the striped fabric on the back of the pillows and the pads. The pillows have an envelope back so the inner pillows can be removed after Christmas and the cover can be switched. I made one of the inner pillow forms from scrap white fabric and poly-fil and the other came from a church yard sale still in the wrapper for .25. I love snow scenes!!!

I also made my son 2 camoflage coasters for his bedside table and several more rice filled heating pads, including some from chicken fabric and camoflage fabric. I've made about 35 and have bought 40 pounds of the cheap Walmart rice. I'll post a picture as soon as I get the rest of rice into the inner bags.

Also pictured are some baskets I found at a yard sale today. I got these baskets and some other easter type baskets and plastic containers for $2.50. They are perfect for putting homemade napkins in!

What a wonderful day this has been!!! The only hitch is that NC State is losing badly to Boston College!!!! :o(

Debbie J.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Frugal Friday

I've got that Frugal Feeling.... (sung to the tune of I've got that Lovin Feeling) :o) Can't get that song out of my head.

These are the frugal things I've been trying to do this week.

1. Gas savings: Gas is really eating into our budget. We have to have it to get to work, church and to see the grandbaby :o)! So this week I've been making more efforts to save in that area.

I've been careful to combine trips. Such as going to Walmart on the way home from work, instead of making a special trip at lunch. My church is about 1/2 way to my daughter's house, so I made sure that my last Sunday trip was done in that order. First church and then on to my daughter's house. I could reverse that and go to my daughter's house and then to church. On any trip I make I should think of where else in that area I need to go.

I've been trying to drive "easy". No jack rabbit starts and stops. I've been trying to coast up to the stoplights, stopsigns or the intersection I am turning into.

I've been using only the fan in the mornings on the way to work. Its slightly cooler now in the mornings, so the fan is sufficient. I make sure I leave windows slightly open and park in the shade if possible to limit the AC use.

Just stay home. I live out in the country and its just not worth the gas to make a special trip into town. I'm going every day to work, so I need to take care of everything while I'm there!

Also staying home saves money in many other areas. If you aren't in the store, you can't buy. This is one of "Laine's Letters" money saving hints.

2. Electricity.

I've been using my clothes line and clothes drying rack. Once I got into the swing of this, its really no big deal. In fact I seem to get through faster than before. The weather's so hot, the clothes dry really fast. I use the rack for small items and unmentionables, placed over an AC vent. I also hang shirts and blouses on hangers straight out of the dryer. I do dry towels and jeans, because they get so stiff. I'm down to drying only 2 or 3 loads a week, as compared to about 10 before.

I'm going to see what other ways I can cut down on the electric bill, other than the obvious ones like turning off lights, etc. I am also thinking of other drastic measures like unplugging the extra older model refrigerator we keep in the garage for drinks, etc. I would like to know how much energy it uses. Its pretty old. Its avacada green, if that tells you anthing.

Joy over at A Joyful Keeper (see my side bar) is doing an experiment this week. They read their electric meter before and after a normal week and then before and after a week of cutting out as much electricity as possible. She isn't even blogging this week to save electricity. I'm interested in seeing her results.

Pay the bill on time!!! My electric company changed my due date from the 15th of the month to the 7th of the month. Well, its been the 15th of the month all my life and I paid it late the last two months. After closer inspection I discovered they had charged me $7.50 late fee both months. That's $15.00. YIKES!!!!

3. Coupons: Thanks to my sweetie, I now know that September is National Coupon Month! I'm usually a coupon queen, but have to get mine organized. I've gotten behind on this lately. This Sunday afternoon, I'm going to get caught up on this enjoyable frugal activity!


4. Food: I have cut down on convenience foods quite a bit. My son says there is nothing to eat in the house!!! So, he made a trip to Sam's Club to stock up on his own favorite frozen foods. We have also cut down on eating out. However, convenience foods are cheaper than eating out, so when in a pinch that's the preferred option. Most of the time I am going to cook from scratch, though.

Go to http://www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog.htm for more of that "FRUGAL FEELING"!

Have a frugal Friday and weekend!!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Froggie Sewing


Today I made some more rice filled heating pads and these froggie baby items for little Dylan. There is a matching receiving blanket, burp cloth/changing pad, and fitted diaper.

Dylan likes to be swaddled and so I made this single layer receiving blanket from flannel. It is 36 inches square. I cut the fabric 38 inches square and hemed all four sides by turning under the edge 1/4 inch, pressing and then turning that under 3/4 more inch and pressing. Then I sewed that all the way around and topstiched close to the edge. He already has some receiving blankets, but could use more. The thinner blankets are best for swaddling, so if this one works, I could make a couple more easily.

The Burp cloth could be used for many purposes. I got the idea from Lines From the Vine Blog. (on my side bar). It is 3 layers. Make the top and bottom layer in the style you want with trim, cute fabric, etc. Then cut a piece of quilt batting the same size. This one is 13 by 17 inches. Place the fabric pieces right sides together on top of the quilt batting. Stitch all the away around leaving an opening for turning. Then clip the corners and turn. Turn to the inside the edges of the opening and topstich all the way around sewing the opening together as you go. Then made 2 seams at 1/3 intervals across the top long ways. They would be 4 inches apart.

The fitted diaper came from The Family Homestead's web site (Quiverful on my side bar). The hardest thing is making the pattern. I made a couple of diapers that would fit a bigger baby. Then I got the pattern right for a new born. Just like disposables, you can adjust the waist and leg openings. This is the 2nd one I've made in this size and I have enough fabric and supplies left to make one more. I'm probably going to wait and see if Lori wants some more when the baby gets bigger, and then make about a dozen to fit him with room to grow.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I know, I know, this is not an example of "eating right" like I listed in the sidebar!!! But I had this half bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet that needed to be used up, so I made these cookies!!!

This is the best chocolate cookie recipe I have found. It freezes really well. I had some in the freezer that I forgot were in there. I took them out and cooked them and they were great. I got this recipe from Flylady's website. A flybaby in Texas sent it in a couple of years ago.

I only had 1/2 bag chips so I halved everything else too. I don't usually use pecans unless out tree produces at Christmas time. Too expensive and the cookies are good without them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspons vanilla
1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips or chunks.
1 1/4 cup coursely chopped pecans (optional)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees
2. Combine flour, soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.
3. Beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until blended. Stir in the flour mixture until blended and dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks and pecans if using.
4. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake in 325 oven 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown around edges and lightly colored on top.

Helpful hints: I used spreadable margarine sticks. If using regular margarine or butter, it would be good to let them soften ahead of time. I used a hand held mixer for the whole thing. Just be careful not to sling chocolate chips all over the place like I did! (I get to eat any slinged chocolate chip:o)) I can make 20 cookies on a cookie sheet if I make 5 rows with 4 cookies on each row. As soon as they start to turn brown, get them out. After about 1 minute use a metal edge spatula to lift them off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack. I only made 1/2 recipe today and had enough for 2 cookie sheets. I cooked one cookie sheet full this morning and put the rest in the fridge for later today or this week.

My oven doesn't cook true to the temperature it says. It cooks hotter, so I have to cook mine at 300 degrees and take them out a minute or 2 faster. You know your oven, so cook accordingly!!!

September is here and we have slightly cooler weather for a few days, so Fall can't be far away!

I plan to make the most of my favorite time of year with lots of fall-type things. Are you ready for Fall? If so what will you being doing to enjoy it?

Debbie J.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday Sewing




Coasters:

This is an easy sewing project I worked on today. I used up a lot Christmas scraps I had. I used 2 five inch squares of fabric and 1 five inch square of leftover quilt batting. Place the fabric right sides together on top of the batting. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam around the edge leaving a 2 to 3 inch opening for turning. Clip the corners. Turn the square right sides out. I used a knitting needle to get the corners turned. Turn to the inside the edges of the opening left for turning. Top stitch along the edge all the away around, which sews the opening together as you go over that section. I already had several five inch squares left over from a previous project.

I have Monday off so I plan to stay home and work on Christmas napkins and rice filled heating pads as well as some other projects.

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