Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Morning Meanderings

What a whirlwind weekend I had!

As you can tell from my previous post the baby shower was a huge success! The games and food were great and the mom to be was showered with gifts. Preparing for the shower has been taking up my free time for about a week and the shower and travel time took up the whole day on Saturday. When I got home I crashed!

But Sunday morning I felt well rested and was able to get some things accomplished. The first thing I did was call Mama at 7:00 A.M. to check her status as to going to church. She wasn't able to go the week before, but she was feeling better this week and so we went. She has given in to my pleadings to please go in the church via the handicap ramp instead of climbing the steep steps. We are both happier now because its much less stressful for me and easier for her. I don't have to worry about her falling backwards, etc. The handicap ramp is very nice. It has a very gradual incline and has hand rails on both sides. Not only does it serve its purpose, its pretty. Its made of brick and there is beautiful landscaping on each side of it. There are rosebushes blooming now on one side called "Knock Out" roses.

Our church service was very uplifting through scripture and music. What a blessing for me to be able to attend with my mother.

After church I cooked Mama her favorite lunch of fried chicken, rice with gravy, cornbread and cut green beans. My hubby was at home cooking our lunch. He made pan fried chopped steak, gravy, baked freshly dug sweet potatoes, vegetable medley and when I got home I made some rice. I showed him how to make the rice so next time he can do that too!

I was really in the mood to sew, so after lunch I made two reusable grocery bags for my Etsy Shop. Its been so long since I made any that I had to read my own tutorial (on the right side bar) to remember how to make them!

Here's how they turned out. They both have a very autumn-like feeling to them:




Since I now have a new camera after my old one died, I'd like to start sewing more for the Etsy Shop and selling things on Ebay.

I plan to make more clothespin bags and shopping bags this week, as I have had some requests for more of these.

Does any one have any suggestions for things that I could make that would be successful in the Etsy Shop? I know its a tall order, but there must be some things I could make inexpensively and in the limited amount of time that I have available that there is a demand for!

A Little Boy and a Day Lily



There's a great blog that offers bloggers the chance to show what is blooming in their yard that week. Mrs. Green Thumb Jean calls it "Bloomin' Tuesday.

So I've got a little boy AND day lillies blooming in my yard!



Visit Ms. Green Thumb Jean to see what's bloomin all over the place!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Easy Baby Shower Games


The baby shower I helped host yesterday was lots of fun. I was in charge of the games and found a free printable Baby Bingo Game online. Click here for the site: Baby Bingo

I printed three sets of the 15 bingo sheets, cut them out and put them on pastel colored cardstock that I already had on hand. The cardstock gave the pages a little stiffness so the player could easily mark her card. We wanted to play more than one bingo game, but it was easier to just continue calling out words while each player kept the card she was already working on. We continued on until we had three winners. Each winner took home a prize.

Another cute game we played was "guess how many jelly beans are in the baby bottles". I filled up two baby bottles with jelly beans and counted the number of jelly beans. As each person came in the door of the shower we wrote down their names on a name tag for them and also on a sheet of paper with their jelly bean guess. The winner was the person who came the closest, even if they went over the amount. Our winner was only one jelly bean off!

Of course, there was lots of food and presents for the new baby, too!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - Choo Choo Train Baby Quilt



This is a little boy's baby quilt I have been working on this month. I did most of it Labor Day Weekend and finished it up last night. My nephew and his wife are expecting a new baby boy December 1st and my sister and I are hosting a baby shower for them tomorrow.

On this close up of the fabric you can see that the train fabric has little touches of the matching fabric. There are red bandanna, red and white dotted and black and white checked designs and I was able to find the exact matching fabrics in those three designs. The back of the quilt is red with tiny white dots just like the one used on the front.



I was looking for a simple pattern that wouldn't require a complicated pattern because I was really short of time. I got the idea for my choo choo train quilt from the Sew Chic Blog. Click Here for a picture. I really love the colors Jessica used in her quilt!

Please go to the Waiting For Him Blog to see other Sew Crafty Friday posts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grandma's Needlepoint - Heart Strings

My maternal grandmother was all that I would like to be. She was a very spiritual woman, first and foremost. She also was excellent at all things "Home". She sewed, quilted, did needlepoint, gardened, cooked and raised eleven children, all of whom turned out to be very special people. The flowers in her yard were so beautiful in the summer time that people passing on the road would stop to walk through it. My own yard is full of plants from her yard: A camelia bush, a rose bush, many nandina bushes and many yellow irises.

My mother says that as soon as she got every one fed breakfast she would retreat to her chair for her "prayers". Then if there was time, especially in the winter time, she would start stitching. She had a wood stove for heat and I can just see her sitting by the heater sewing in my mind's eye. What a way to be remembered by her children. Praying and sewing... I hope mine remember me that way.

I ran across these pieces that she made in my mother's linen closet and borrowed them to take pictures of and try to copy. I'm sure they are at least 50 years old, if not older and they have been washed many, many times. I'm not so sure my own handwork will hold up like this! And how she learned to do this, I don't know.

This is a pillowcase. You can't see it too well in this picture, but there are white birds on there. Probably doves.




This is one corner of a table cloth. The other three corners have identical stitching. See the edging on there? That's a very delicate crochet thread edging. She had to go around this piece of cloth at least 4 times to achieve this edging.





I have been doing some crochet edge flannel baby blankets, but to be honest, I'm not pleased with the outcome. I think I'll stick to quilting! I have one of my grandmother's quilt tops that she made from feed sacks, and what ever fabric she had on hand. It was never quilted. Some day when I have more time, I hope to finish the quilt and to show a picture of the quilt top on this blog.

We're having a NOR'EASTER! The next three days look rainy and very windy. In fact its been very windy all week! Hubby is supposed to be playing in a golf tournament sponsored by his work place today at a fancy golf course. Does not sound like fun to me! Good Luck to Hubby!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In my kitchen recently

Please visit Tammy's Recipes for lots of Kitchen Tips!

For my kitchen tip this week I thought I would share what has been going on in my kitchen recently.

1. As everyone knows the use of a crockpot can made meal preparation much easier, but I haven't been able to utilize mine as much as I'd like to because I'm away from home from 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 P.M. each work day and that's simply too long for anything to cook without it being cooked to death!

The job my hubby has now is near our home so he goes home to eat lunch most days. I have found that if I put the recipe together in the lift out portion of the crockpot and leave it in the refrigerator, when he comes home at lunch he can take it out, put it in the crock pot and turn it on. The food is perfect when we get home at the end of the day.

The easiest thing ever is BBQ chicken in the crock pot. Before I left for work this morning, I simply put the chicken in the pot, very lightly salted and peppered it, covered it with bottled BBQ sauce and added a little water in the bottom. When I get home the chicken will be tender and easy to pull off the bone. I have in the refrigerator a medium size bowl of left over rice. I'll remove the chicken from the bones and serve it over the warmed up rice.

Saturday I purchased a package containing 3 large split chicken breasts (about 3 lbs) at my local Food Lion Store for 88 cents a pound. This is a very inexpensive meal to feed 4 hungry people. I also intend to served baked beans with this meal and there is salad available if anyone wants that too.

2. I often get in a rut with my menu ideas and we seem to eat the same thing over and over. Last week I made three different meals that we've never had at my house before. They were chicken fajitas, hot Buffalo wings and dilled salmon pasta salad. All three were good and will be repeats at my house.

Here is the dilled salmon pasta salad recipe

Dilled Salmon Pasta Salad

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ingredients
1.5 cup tricolored spiral pasta
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dill weed
7.1 oz. Chicken of the Sea® Premium Skinless & Boneless Pink Salmon Pouch
Mixed salad greens


Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, green peppers, red peppers, onions and fresh dill in a bowl. Drain and rinse pasta in cold water; add to sour cream mixture. Stir in salmon. Cover and refrigerate. Serve over salad greens.

Preparation Time: 10

1.5 cups of the pasta didn't seem like enough to me so I used 2 and it was perfect. I think even 2.5 would work. Also, I didn't have fresh dill, so I used the bottled dill weed, which I already had on hand. We are still getting some green pepper from our plants, so I used all green pepper. I also used light sour cream. You could also use light mayo, but we use regular old fashioned "Dukes" Mayo.

This dish was even better left over the next day and very good for you.

3. We are having just a taste of fall in our area and early Saturday morning it was cooler outside than it was inside with the AC running. It was so nice to open the window over the kitchen sink and let the fresh air and sounds from outside come inside. I even lit a fall candle that burned all day Saturday.

4. Sunday we had a delicious and easy cake. I just used a store bought carrot cake mix and store bought cream cheese icing. I threw it together after church and it was cool, frosted and ready to eat by 1:00.

Our Sunday Dinner menu was: Crock pot roast, Rice with gravy, potato salad, green beans, biscuits and carrot cake.

The potato salad was made from the last of the garden potatos from my Mama's garden. Some of them were really tiny and should have been boiled and eaten when first dug. I didn't let any of them go to waste however. I peeled even the bite size ones and ended up with just enough potatoe salad to feed our crowd!

5. Now that the change of seasons is taking place I plan to make more soups, stews and chillis. This weekend I hope to make a nice big pot of my homemade chilli! Can't wait!

Have a great Tuesday and don't forget to check out the other tips at Tammy's Recipes!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall! AND six new things

Its finally here! My sweet grandbaby says Happy Fall to everyone!



I was also tagged by the sweet Melinda of The Nest Egg to list six things about myself that you might not already know:

1. I may have alluded to this before, but its become more of a problem since I had the wreck this summer! I'm afraid of being in an automobile. Well not just being in an automobile, but one that's going down a street, road or highway. I do pretty good driving on familiar roads, but will not drive in the "big city". I don't know what I'm going to do about this, because the time will come when I HAVE to in order to get to a hospital or other emergency, etc. I have the sweetest hubby who drives me to these places now. I think I need to have him take me for driving lessons so I can get used to those big old highways. Today at lunch I went down the street my accident happened on and I'm still feeling shaky! LOL I may need to have some counseling on this issue....

2. I love music. I only took two years of piano lessons when I was 8 and 9 years old, but this gave me just enough information that I can sit down to the piano and play "easy" music. As in real easy! I bought some teach yourself to play the piano books and progressed a little. The piano in my house is in my sewing room and it actually belongs to my daughter, who took piano for 5 years. She will be getting the piano when we are able to get it moved to her home. So, no more piano for me. I love to hear my daughter play a piece called "Hymn". It moves me to another place in time.

3. I love to dance! I always wanted to dance and my husband is a good dancer. In our area of the South everybody does a dance called "the shag". It was invented in Myrtle Beach, SC, I believe. Anyway I printed out the basic steps from the Internet and practiced while holding onto a door knob. I'm no Ginger Rogers, but its so much fun. My hubby just throws me all over the place and spins me every which way. He's a lot of fun. We only get to dance in public once or twice a year, though.

4. I once exercised with Denise Austin's morning exercise program for 3 years without stopping (during the work week) For some reason I stopped and would love to do it again. She doesn't have her shows on Lifetime TV any more. I saw where she was going to have another show this fall, but haven't checked to see where. I try to walk during my lunch break when the weather is nice. That's my exercise routine for the moment!

5. Jobs I've done: Teenage farm worker, Woolco Department Store (exchange and refund clerk), N. C. Dept of Revenue (Inheritance and Gift Tax Division), Office worker in sewing factory, Accounting office worker, Office worker in a glass plant, and my present job (20 years).

6. I love to read self-improvement/self-help books. My favorites are: time management, cooking, sewing, health, spiritual, marriage, gardening, etc.

Thanks Melinda!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An Abandoned Mailbox


I live in a very rural area and live next door to an unoccupied home. It was once the home of my children's grandparents. Sadly their grandmother died in a car accident in January of 2000 and their grandfather died three years after that. Their heir owns it now and has done a great job of keeping the home and yard in good condition. It was rented out for a short time, but is now vacant.

For some reason the owner hasn't thought about or gotten around to cleaning up around the mailbox. For a while I would drive by and think it was an eyesore, but in God's own time it has become a thing of beauty! I love this wild vine with the tiny red flowers. The same vine is growing on the fence of the little Episcopal church I walk by almost every day during my work week. Its also growing on the corn in the background of the mailbox picture I took the day after my grandson was born shown here. I don't know if its a weed or a plant that you could buy at the plant store.

I took this picture a little too early this cool almost-autumn morning for the flowers to be completely open, but its still gorgeous to me.

PS: I got a new camera! Let the blogging, Etsy Shop Sales and Ebay Sales resume!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to Hang Out Clothes



I haven't had much time for hanging out clothes lately, but enjoy doing so when I can. There's also the benefit of saving on the electric bill and helping to save the earth. I thought you might enjoy looking at the "Cleaning Cents" blog which has a great series on how to hang out clothes.

Click here to read more: How to Hang Out Clothes

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday

Hello Friends!

My thoughts and prayers are with those in the area where Hurricane Ike hit today. I am so thankful there wasn't too much loss of life, but sorry that the residents are going to have to go through so much to get back to normal.

I'm extremely thankful that we don't have to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane here in my home today! We still have a little debris left from Tropical Storm Hanna, but that's nothing compared to the damage Ike caused.

This week has been an unproductive one in regards to my Fall cleaning, but that's ok too. We got Mama's pacemaker surgery behind us and she seems to be doing well. I have been sick with a nasty head cold and haven't been able to do much except go to work. Out of town siblings have been taking care of Mama since her surgery, but my turn is tonight. We plan to go to church in the morning and then to eat out with extended family afterwards. Sounds like a little much to me for an 83 year old who just had a pacemaker put in, but Mama says she can and wants to do it. We'll see how this goes.

Today I got the weekly grocery shopping done at our local Food Lion. There are some really good deals there this week, especially if you combine them with coupons. These are some good deals I bought:

1. 3 twelve packs of Scott Extra Soft Tissue on sale for $4.99. I had one 75 cents coupon and 2 50 cents coupons. This is the absolute cheapest I've seen this product in a while. I may go back to get 2 more packs and will not need TP for a long time! LOL

2. 2 Purex Laundry Detergents. Buy One, Get one Free. This worked out to be $2.35 each and I had a 50 cent coupon for each for a total of $1.85 each.

3. Ken's 16 ounce dressings on sale, buy one, get one free. I had coupons for $1.00 off 2. I bought four bottles which ended up being 99.5 cents each.

4. 2 packages Ball Park Fat Free Beef Franks. Buy one, get one free. I had a coupon for $1.00 of two. Each pack ended up costing $1.42.

5. Sara Lee Whole Wheat White Soft Bread. Buy one, get one free. At Food Lion if you buy one item that is BOGO, you get it for half price. I just bought one for $1.30.

I haven't done ANY of my Fall Kitchen Fall Cleaning planned for this week. Therefore, I will pick myself up and start over this week. So, this afternoon I started on one end of the "u" shape of my kitchen and accomplished just enough to inspire me to continue on this week.

This week's TIME MANAGEMENT LESSON is "Just Do Something". When I feel overwhelmed, am tired or just don't feel good, I've found that if I get up and go in there and just do something, it helps me to get going. I have to make myself sometimes, but it does work!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Update

Hi everyone!

MAMA'S PACEMAKER UPDATE:

Mama's procedure to have the pacemaker put in went well. The only hitch was that she was running a fever of 102 last night and her blood pressure was high. It was looking like she might have to stay longer than one night, but this morning the temperature was normal and the blood pressure was good. So, unless the hospital thinks she needs further monitering, she'll probably come home today. We are so glad its over and she is especially glad. She was really dreading it.

Her pulse was running about 70 yesterday after the procedure which is much better than it has been for a long time. Hopefully she can get back to her pre-procedure self and much better soon.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers! Please remember her and her family in the upcoming days too!

BOOK GIVE AWAY UPDATEThe winner I drew out of the hat for the "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman", Diane from England, is missing in action, so I have drawn another name.

THE WINNER IS "JANEL"!

Janel, I will also email you, but if you see this first, please email me with your mailing address.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman Book Winner

Thanks to everyone who wanted to be entered in the drawing for the book "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman". I wrote down all the names on paper, cut them apart and drew one out. The winner is:

Diane from England!

I will be emailing Diane to get her mailing address so I can get this book in the mail to her.

Thanks Diane!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This Week's Plans

The most important thing going on with me this week is that My Mama is going to have surgery to have a pacemaker put in. We hope this will help her quality of life and is medically necessary to allow her to change blood pressure medications. The one she is taking now has the side effect of making her potassium level go extremely high, which makes it necessary to have it tested every few days and if its high, take this yucky bottle of medicine which has very unpleasant side effects. The medicine does work, but she can't keep going through this much longer. She has a problem tolerating blood pressure medicine. The one she will be taking after the pacemaker is put in slows down her heart rate too much, so the pacemaker will keep her heart rate at the right speed. Hopefully it will also make her feel better because her pulse rate is a little low, even without taking the new blood pressure medicine.

My understanding of the procedure for having a pacemaker put in is that its very low risk, involves only a local anesthetic and one night in the hospital. But, since my mother is 83 years old, I'm not taking anything for granted. I will be with her in the hospital. My siblings and I will be giving her some extra time and attention for a few days afterward also to make sure everything is ok.

So say a little prayer for her well being! She's not happy about going back into the hospital. :o(

On the home front, last week I planned to deep clean in my zone (front entrance, dining area and front porch) and made much progress! I am very pleased. I didn't complete everything on the list but did complete most of it.

This week I am working in the kitchen and hope to accomplish the following:

1. Clean oven
2. Clean burner pans and top of stove
3. Declutter cabinets and organize them. Especially the cabinet that I keep plastic containers and lids in, the pots and pans cabinet and underneath the sink.
4. Detail clean the floor
5. Clean any cobwebs
6. Wipe down the fronts of the cabinets
7. Wipe down the fronts of all appliances
8. Clean out and wipe down the inside and outside of the refrigerator. (top!)
9. Clean inside and outside of microwave oven
10. Dust everything hanging on the wall and the shelf, running items through the dishwasher that aren't used very often, like cups on display.

Question? Do any of you have a system for storing plastic bowls and lids used for leftovers, etc. Ours drive us crazy. I can never find the lid that goes to the bowl I want to use, and vice versa. I am tempted to throw all of them away and start over!

Menus for this week:

Saturday: Roasted Chicken, rice, string beans, pasta salad and sliced tomatoes.

Sunday: Crock Pot Roast, "Planned Over" rice, string beans, pasta salad and sliced tomatoes.

Monday: Tacos with ground beef mixture, shredded lettuce, sour cream and cheese

Tuesday: Spaghetti, Salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: Will be away at the hospital. My family will probably have pizzas.

Thursday: (If I'm home) Chicken Fajitas using boneless chicken breast strips, and bell pepper strips with fajita seasoning.

Friday: Pork chops, roasted potatoes, broccoli and cheese.

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hello Hanna!

We've already got rain and blustery conditions and it looks like the eye of Tropical Storm Hanna (maybe hurricane strength by now) will pass through here tonight. Our winds are expected to be 40 to 50 mph. Shouldn't be too much of a problem, as long as we stay in and have no tornadoes! I'm sure the yard will be a mess tomorrow!

I stopped at the grocery store yesterday afternoon to pick up a couple of things and the place was packed! Most of the bread was gone. People really get excited around here when you mention the "h" word (hurricane) or the "s" word (snow).

My children and I slept on the floor of the living room in 1996 during Hurricane Fran. Now that was a storm to remember!

Hope Hurricane Ike doesn't come through here or affect anybody in the US, especially the gulf coast!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman" Book Give Away

This week my local library has been conducting its discarded and donated book sale. I found some real treasures and couldn't resist purchasing an additional copy of one of my most favorite books, "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman", by Anne Ortlund. Its just a simple thin paperback, originally printed in the 70s, but it has made such a difference in my life, that I would like to share this with someone else.

If you would like to enter a drawing for this copy, please leave me a comment on this post and I'll draw a name out of a hat on Monday, the 8th.

If you are an anonymous commenter, please be sure to let me know how to contact you in case you win, or be sure to check back with my blog on Monday to see if you won. I'll post the winner on Monday and then the winner can email me with her mailing address.

Thanks!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Keep a Frontlog, Not a Backlog

TIME MANAGEMENT

I am summarizing the book I am reading called "How to Have a 48 Hour Day", by Don Aslett. The chapter that has been the most inspiration to me is called BE EARLY.

Another topic in the chapter, "BE EARLY", is called "Keep a Frontlog, Not a Backlog". The author states that "High Producers don't have backlogs. When you work from behind you never really catch up enough to be able to go back and pick up. Producers maintain a frontlog, a list of things to do ahead. When you're always working ahead of yourself, pushing things ahead of you rather than pulling them along behind you, you have twice the control."

I love the illustration on this page of an elephant pushing some logs ahead of him. I keep remembering this image as I go about my day. So, what can we do to create a front log?

1. Make a list of the things you can do ahead of time.
2. Carry the list with you at all times.
3. Work on the list in the little snippets of time or larger chunks of time you may have.
4. BE EARLY!

These are some examples I'm applying the front log to:

1. Working on Christmas Cards
2. Paying Bills
3. Cooking meals
4. Buying gifts for occasions in the future
5. Sewing projects
6. Blog Posts

There are lots of ways to use a front log!

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...