Friday, October 30, 2009

October Dreams

Its time to say good bye to another October, my favorite month. For me, October is that wonderful month that ushers in the Fall season, colorful landscapes, pumpkins, fragrant candles, crisp mornings and that first chance to put on a warm and comfy sweater. My coffee tastes so much better in October, even with the sugar free creamer I am using. There is a slight chill in the air inside the house this morning which makes cradling my hot mug of coffee in my hands so nice.

October, I'll be here waiting for you next year......

So where does the path lead now?

To November..... my second most favorite month!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken

I recently took advantage of an offer for the All You magazine - a 2 year subscription for $18.00. If you aren't familiar with this magazine, it is sold at Walmart and is loaded with coupons.

My first experience with buying it was when I was waiting in line to check out at Walmart and picked one up to leaf through to pass the time. I noticed a coupon in the magazine for an item I already had on the conveyor belt at the cash register. The amount of the coupon paid for the magazine, so I quickly tore out the coupon and bought the magazine.

My first issue came this past week and it really is full of coupons. Now, If I can just find time to clip them and organize them!!!

Last night I made oven fried chicken using a recipe from the magazine. It was actually in an ad for French's french fried onions. There was a 55 cents coupon for the french fried onions also.

This picture was from the magazine. Mine didn't turn out this pretty!

I recently stocked up on boneless chicken breasts when they were on sale at a good price at Food Lion. Each pack of chicken that I bought was about $3.00 and I was feeding three people, so that's not too bad. The pack of chicken had 3 large pieces, so I cut each one in half.

It turned out very tasty, was quick to make and the cost was reasonable.

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Onion Chicken

2 cups (4 oz) French's French Fried Onions
2 tbsp Flour
4 (5 oz) boneless chicken breasts
1 egg beaten

Crush french fried onions with flour in plastic bag. Dip chicken into egg; then coat in onion crumbs. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees until cooked through. (My chicken was thick and not quite thawed out completely, so I cooked mine for 30 minutes)

Taking into account the fact that I bought the chicken on sale and had a coupon for the french fried onions, this is a fairly frugal dish. Also, I utilized several leftovers from the fridge to go with it. These leftovers were chicken pot pie, corn, rice with gravy and sweet potatoes. Not a bad meal!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Organization

1. My light eating plan progress:

This was on the "Launch Pad", also known as the washing machine, yesterday morning as I was going out the door to work. According to this picture I should be smart, slim, fit and light!

At first glance you might think my food for the work day was full of processed food. You would be partially right, but you must put it into perspective. The Slimfast shake that I had for breakfast is absolutely full of vitamins and minerals and supplied 50% of my daily needs for calcium. For 190 calories I was satisfied until lunch time.

The Smart Ones lasagna contained 300 calories and satisfied my carb addiction. Besides that, it was way cheaper and definitely better for me than going through the drive through at McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King or the like.

The yogurt for an afternoon snack isn't too bad nutritionally for 80 calories. I can use all the calcium I can get, because I cannot remember to take my calcium supplement.

Today my food for work will be a Slimfast shake for breakfast, a homemade chicken sandwich made from baked chicken, whole wheat bread and light mayo and broccoli with light ranch dip for lunch and peach yogurt for an afternoon snack.

2. Fall Clothing Organization:

Last night I spent some time organizing my side of the closet. We are in that time of the fall season when the temperatures fluctuate wildly. I still need some short sleeve tops, but definitely need some long sleeve tops and jackets on other days. However, the cooler days are slowly taking over the warmer ones, so some closet organization was definitely in order. Besides, everything in there had gotten all mixed up.

I enjoy getting dressed much more if the pants are together, the skirts are together, the long sleeve tops are together, the jackets are together and each category needs to be grouped by color. It also makes getting dressed much faster and I can use all the extra time in the mornings I can get.

3. Fall and Winter Planning:

November, December and January are going to be very busy months for me, as I'm sure it will be for all of you too. Before November 1st, I plan to sit down with my calendar/planner and get organized. I need to make a list of all the things I need to do in advance. I think now is the time to do this to reduce some stress in the coming months.

Example 1: My Step-daughter is getting married in January. For my to-do list in connection with this I need to: purchase shoes to go with my dress, make sure my undergarments are in order (hosiery, etc), purchase wedding gifts, put together outfits for bridesmaid's luncheon and rehearsal dinner, work on quilt that I hope to have ready by the wedding day.

Example 2: My husband and I are going on our annual anniversary trip in November. I need to pull out my packing list and start working on this. Arrangements need to be made for responsibilities at home and work. I need a to-do list for this trip.

Example 3: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enough said!

Example 4: Menu planning. Planning menus and grocery lists ahead of time will be helpful to help me move through these upcoming busy months smoothly.

I think a separate section in my notebook for each of these examples would be helpful to me. I can place in there all my to-do lists and notes and have everything all organized and in one place!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Plans

Happy Friday!

I am looking forward to a quiet weekend, with no commitments that I know of. Saturday is forecast to be rainy, just my kind of Saturday. I must plan my soup/stew/chili that will be simmering on the stove or in the crockpot. Lets see... what sounds good. Maybe some white bean soup? With cornbread? I should be able to eat this on my light eating plan, if I watch my portions!

My hubby is craving baked sweet potatoes and old timey dried link country sausage. The sweet potato must be cold. Something about his having eaten this in his childhood.... sounds easy and good to me. I will send him on an errand to a country store that sells the sausage. We already have sweet potatoes that he brought home a couple of weeks ago.

I need to be vigilant about cooking our regular potatoes on a regular basis to make sure we use these, bought at Food Lion at $1.99 for 10 pounds, before they start going bad. The bags they were bought in have air holes in them, so we have stored them as they came. A potato dish of some kind is in order over the weekend.

I have about 4 quilts in progress, but plan to concentrate on two of them. I plan to prepare "Early Autumn" for quilting, which is the part where I tape the backing on the floor, then put down the quilt batting, then the quilt top, and pin baste the quilt sandwich. Of course there is plenty of ironing to be done to both the backing and the quilt top before they can be basted!

I need to finish "Sweet Savannah" and also pin baste it in preparation for machine quilting. It is baby size, so it can be done on the kitchen table.

Hopefully, I can begin machine quilting at least one of them!


Debbie J.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Whole Lot of Healthy

These are a couple of my "on the run" meals during my current attempt to eat less and move more.

You can get a whole lot of healthy for about 200 calories with a cup of cheerios, 1/2cup low fat milk and 1/2 a sliced banana. Doesn't that look yummy?

This is one lunch I ate at work recently for about 300 calories. The can of soup is big, but its mostly liquid, which is why there aren't many calories in there!

The weather has been wonderful this week for walking during my lunch break, so I've gotten in 20 minutes of brisk walking before eating my light lunch each day.

The scale isn't showing a huge drop, my clothes are definitely looser. I am loving that! I really want to drop a size and am almost there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easy Removable Pillow Cover Tutorial

Today is Whatcha Working on Wednesday at Leslie's blog, My Country Home.

I have been thinking of some handmade gift ideas for Christmas that are quick, easy and frugal. We do still have two months in which to put together handmade Christmas gifts, but its time to get busy if we are going to get them done.

I made this pillow for my grandson this past weekend and thought I would write a tutorial on how to make this simple pillow cover with an overlapping back.

The ideas you could come up with for these pillows for gifts for your family and friends are endless. You could do sports themes, feminine themes, kids themes, needlepoint, applique, you name it!

I often make this type removable pillow cover because it can be replaced so easily. You can change the cover with the seasons, or remove it for laundering. I have Christmas pillow covers that I place on our regular throw pillows in the living room. After Christmas, I just remove the Christmas covers and store them until the following year.

You can purchase pillows to cover very frugally. Just look for decorator pillows of all sizes that are on clearance at places like Walmart or at regular price at places like Dollar General. It doesn't matter what color they are, since you will be covering them. Another venue for finding pillows is the thrift store or a yard sale. I often find decorator pillows, remove the covers that come on them and make new covers.

My grandson likes the "Cars" children's movie, so when I saw this fabric on the remnant table at Walmart, I decided to make him a pillow. I purchased this pillow form at Walmart in the craft section. I plan to make more covers for this pillow as his interests change. For a little over a half yard, I can cover an 18 inch pillow.

These are the directions to make a cover for an 18" pillow form:

Cut a piece of fabric into an 18 1/2" square to be the top of the pillow.

Then cut two pieces of 18 1/2" by 12" fabric to be used for the overlapping back of the pillow.

On one long side of each piece press a 1/4 inch hem, fold this over another 1/4 inch and press well. Then sew along the edge of these folded over hems on both pieces.

Lay the right sides of the backing pieces on the right side of the pillow top so that the hemmed edges face center and overlap one another.

Align the raw edges of the backing pieces with the raw edges of the pillow top, pin well all the way around the square, and machine stitch along all four sides with a 1/4 " seam allowance.

Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert the pillow form.

The back of the pillow cover:

You can easily adjust the size of the cover to fit what ever size pillow form you want to cover. Cut the top piece of fabric 1/2" larger than the size of the pillow form. The two rectangular pieces for the back of the pillow should be the size of the pillow front on one side and wide enough to over lap on the other side.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Country Corduroy Christmas Stocking

In keeping with my goal of making one new Christmas Stocking each week, I made this one this past weekend. My plan for it was a "country" look. Hence, the corduroy fabric and plaid cuff and lining.

I need to read my own tutorial HERE, because I forgot to add the seam allowance!!!!! I decided to finish it as it was by sewing very narrow seams to make up for the lack of seam allowance. It did turn out a little smaller, but will be ok.

Here are the three I've made so far:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Etsy Shop Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the drawing for the Apron and Fabric Bag!

I really appreciate each and every person who reads my blogs and wish that I could send the prize to each one.

Here is the stack of names who entered:

The names in a pot:

Hubby drawing out a name:

The winner is CARAPACE!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Slice of My Life

Good Morning! Happy Friday!

Here's what's going on in my life:

1. I'm so happy that I've finally been able to lose a little weight. Since passing over that birthday, that shall remain un-named, it has been a whole different ballgame when it comes to losing weight. When I was younger, I lost weight easily. Now its very hard, but I'm doing good this time. My goal is to lose 10 more pounds by November 13th and then to never gain it back! I'll keep you posted.

2. My new quilting blog, ANGEL SCRAPS QUILTING, is taking off! I entered a quilt in the Fall Quilt Festival being held by PARK CITY GIRL last week and have had several hundred views of that post. In addition, I joined some quilting groups on line and have received some interest through those. I love this new blog!

A peek from a recent quilting post:

3. I have been to two different malls within the last 2 weeks! EEEEEKKKK! I needed to find a dress to wear to a function and as usual, had a hard time finding the right thing. Well, yesterday, I finally found it. Now hopefully I won't be visiting any malls for a while. The dress is beautiful! It has a long and flowing skirt with a cute little jacket.

4. Fall has really arrived here. Its was only 49 degrees outside at lunch time yesterday, which is very coolish for this time of year in this area. Its very hard to know how to dress when one day its in the 80s and the next day its in the 50s. I tend to dress on the cooler side so as to avoid too many "hot episodes". :o)

5. I didn't get a Christmas stocking made this past week. My plan is to make one a week, but I just plain old forgot to work on it last weekend. I was so into working on my quilts, it never entered my mind. I hope to complete at least one stocking this coming weekend.

6. I want to make some Christmas gifts. One idea is to make some of the velcro wallets that I made earlier this year. This would be a great gift for my co-worker/ friends. It would also be nice to put a small gift card inside the wallet. These go together pretty quickly, so I might be able to find time to get these done before Christmas.

I'm thinking about doing a tutorial for these wallets, if anyone is interested. The way I make them is a combination of other tutorials that I've seen and my own ideas.

7. Don't forget to sign up for my give away in the previous post. The drawing is first thing Monday morning!

I hope you have great plans for your weekend. I'm really looking forward to another Fall weekend

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Etsy Shop Give Away

Its time for a give away! I previously listed these two hand made items in my Etsy Shop, but the listings expired before they were sold.

The first item is a ruffled half apron made from chocolate covered strawberries fabric. The second item is a pink and white calico reusable fabric grocery/storage bag.

You can enter the drawing for these items by leaving comments on either or both of my blogs, Homemaking Dreams or Angel Scraps Quilting until Monday Morning, October 19th. Each comment will place your name in the pot, so comment each day to improve your chances of winning. Signing up as a follower is another way to put your name in the pot. Just leave me a comment letting me know that you are already a follower or that you have just signed up as a follower.

If you don't have a blog or if I don't know you, you can still enter, just be sure to leave your email address so I can let you know if you win.

I will announce the winner Monday Morning, October 19th. Both these items will be sent to the lucky winner.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Peek Into a Frugal Fridge

You didn't think I was going to let you see the whole thing, did you? It really needs to be cleaned out!

My good blogger friend, Lyn, of Essential Thrift posted a list of what is in her refrigerator yesterday. If you've read the Tightwad Gazettes you will remember the article about what's inside a frugal person's refrigerator. The author, Amy Dacyczyn's, fridge was full of frugal things like a half-eaten apple, homemade foods and upside down bottles of ketchup.

Mine is not as frugal as it should be, but here's a list of what is in there this morning:

Apples, thanks to my sister in law who brought them to us from the mountains.
A bottle of water that was a freebie at the bank's customer appreciation day.
A partially eaten jar of salsa
Leftover canned mixed fruit in a covered plastic container
Light Sour Cream
A half eaten jar of my Mama's homemade sweet pickles
A jar of yeast
Tub and stick margarine
One full store brand gallon of 2% milk and a smidgen of milk left in another gallon jug.
Fat free Hazelnut creamer (yum! thanks to dh) Not frugal, but worth it.
An almost empty gallon pitcher of homemade sweet tea
A 2 liter Diet Coke
In the veggie drawer: home grown or free - squash, zucchini, bell pepper and okra
A bag of corn meal
A bag of self-rising flour
2 bags of shredded mozzarella cheese
A nearly empty container of light pimento cheese
Leftovers from Sunday Lunch: Pork chops, homemade mashed potatoes and a squash/zucchini/onion dish
1 dozen and a half eggs

And yes... way too many condiments. But there are always frugal bottles turned upside down in order to get it all out! And most of them were bought with coupons or were the store brand.

What's in your fridge?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Winter Planning

Today our weather will be very summer-like.... Almost 90 degrees! But don't let that fool you. Winter WILL come eventually, even to eastern North Carolina! While, I'll admit that being prepared for winter in our area isn't as important as it would be in .... Alaska, The Northeast or some other colder place, it is still a good idea.

A few ideas:

1. Stock the pantry and freezer. I do this year round, but its very nice on a cold day when I get off work and its already DARK to not have to go to the grocery store. I like to be able to say what my Mama always says, "I can always knock something up to eat from what I've got in the cabinets". Its also good to have canned foods that can be used if the power goes out. We already have manual can openers and most canned foods come with a pop top lid nowadays.

2. Plan cool weather meals like soup, stew, chili, beans, etc. We tend to avoid these foods during the warmer months, but now is the time to start utilizing these delicious, comfort foods. I like to have one of them in the crockpot or on the stove every Saturday during the Fall and Winter months.

3. Be ready in case the power goes out. We get our water from a well and if the electricity goes out, there's no water. Now is the time to store water and buy water so that we can at least get by until those wonderful linemen from the local electric co-op come by and fix it. If its apparent that the power is definitely going to go out, its nice to fill up the bathtubs with water so that can be used to help flush the toilets.

4. Of course, we will need flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, battery operated radios, etc.

5. A back up heat source is a great idea. We have a fireplace that has a wood burning insert in it. We don't use it too much, but we like to have enough wood on hand for emergency heat situations. You could also use a kerosene heater.

6. We need to make sure that we have plenty of blankets, quilts and warm clothing. Its time to go through our clothing to make sure we are ready for those frigid days!

One last note: There is an old wife's tale that I think originated in the mountains of North Carolina. The winter can be predicted by the shape of the seeds of a persimmon. My friend's mother has a persimmon tree and checked to see what our winter forecast will be. If the seed is shaped like a spoon it represents a shovel and there will be lots of snow. If the seed is shaped like a knife, it means we will have very cold weather that will cut through you. If the seed is shaped like a fork, it means there will be plenty to eat, so I guess that means the winter will be mild.

Well the verdict for our winter is: SNOW!!! The seeds are shaped like a shovel this year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On My Sewing Table This Morning.....

58 blocks done on the "Early Autumn" quilt ..... 14 more to go!!!!

In case you missed the sneak peek on my quilting blog:

If you are interested, I am posting my quilting dreams on my new quilting blog: ANGEL SCRAPS QUILTING. Please visit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Healthy Chicken and Potato Recipes

Yesterday at lunch I went to Food Lion and was shocked to see that 10 pound bags of potatoes were on sale for $1.99. I purchased one bag thinking the sign might be wrong, as well as some boneless chicken breasts that were on sale. Later I saw on Mary Ann's blog that she had also hit this sale and purchased 4 bags of potatoes to store, as well as the boneless chicken breasts that were on sale for $1.79 a pound. Not being one to pass up a great deal, I went back to Food Lion this morning on the way to work and stocked up on both the potatoes and chicken. If you are interested in stocking up on these items while they are on sale, you must go today because the sale ends tonight at midnight!

Now I need to find some healthy recipes as my hubby and I are cutting back on our calories in an effort to shed a few pounds.

Some ideas are: Oven fried potatoes, BBQed chicken and potatoes, baked potatoes with low calorie toppings, grilled chicken in a green salad and I found this recipe on BellyBytes.Com. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like what I am looking for, since there is no added fat, but a great flavor is promised.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Healthy Potato Recipe

No added fat or salt is used or needed in this tasty potato dish.

1 pound (about 2 large) potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups skim milk
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Cook potatoes, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Drain and recover.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, cook garlic in milk until garlic is soft, about 30 minutes. Add milk-garlic mixture and white pepper to potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed or mash with a potato masher until smooth.

Microwave Directions:
Scrub potatoes, pat dry, and prick with a fork. On a plate, cook potatoes, uncovered, on 100% power (high) until tender, about 12 minutes, turning potatoes over once. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel and quarter. Meanwhile, in a 4-cup glass measuring cup, combine milk and garlic. Cook, uncovered, on 50% power (medium) until garlic is soft, about 4 minutes. Continue as directed above.

Recipe yields 4 servings of Garlic Mashed Potatoes; serving size is 3/4 cup.

Each serving provides: Calories: 141, Total fat: less than 1g, Saturated fat: less than 1g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 70mg

Do you have any ideas for making healthy, low-calorie dishes using potatoes and chicken?

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm trying to think positively on this drizzly, cool Monday morning, so instead of saying Arrgghh... I'm saying Aaaah... isn't it nice that Autumn is here and the weather will be cool? I must say that I would enjoy the day much better if I could stay home and sew. But that's not going to happen, so I will make the best of it! :o)

I didn't get the Christmas Stocking made that I planned or much progress done on the Early Autumn Quilt this weekend.

I did make this totebag as a birthday gift for one of my brothers who turned 60 on Friday. He is a true-blue UNC Tarheel fan, and my hubby and I are NOT. I had some left over fabric from a special order pocketbook that I made a while back and was more than happy to get this fabric out of the house. LOL

Even with my dislike of the fabric, I am pleased with how it turned out. I lined it with quilt batting, doubled the fabric in the handle and placed a covered double piece of cardboard in the bottom. Its very sturdy.

As I stated, he's a big UNC Tarheel fan and loves to watch them and other teams play football, so I put football snacks in the bag. There are packages of popcorn, potato chips, peanuts and cookies in there.

Sometimes its very hard to choose gifts for men, especially if they already have everything they want and you don't know what else they would like. In that case, remember FOOD IS ALWAYS A WINNER!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Pantry Principle - Re-run

This is one of my most popular posts originally posted almost exactly 2 years ago. I'm amazed that I've been blogging for over two years now! I wanted to read this post myself in order to get inspired to start preparing for the winter of 2009/2010 and thought you might like to read it again too.


The name of this Frugal Friday post is straight out of the Tightwad Gazette, II and is updated in the Tightwad Gazette III. The lesson is "to save the most money and time when buying food, you should shop to replenish your pantry, not to make specific meals". In the Tightwad Gazette III there is a list of what the author keeps in her pantry. I have also seen Pantry Lists on other blogs. My plan is to read several of these pantry lists and include the things I would use in my pantry.

One point that I'd like to make is that you don't have to have a special room or closet for your pantry. You can make a pantry anywhere that you can put up some shelves or use a closet or even under a bed! I have made my pantry in a corner of the laundry room in an old pie safe that was on the way to the landfill, but was rescued many years ago. This is a picture of the outside of it. As you can see there are baskets on top and underneath is a wicker picnic basket, plastic bin and beside it is a potato and onion storage box. It is full of buy one get one free potatoes and waiting for the sweet potatoes that are being harvested around here this time of year. In the picnic basket I sometimes "hide" items I don't want my family to find and go through too fast! LOL. The plastic bin is great for produce items, etc. There are also hooks on a shelf on an adjacent wall that has a recycle bag for plastic grocery bags. I am planning on making some cloth bags to hang on some of the other hooks to store food items.

My pantry had gotten bare and so I started working on restocking it in preparation for fall and winter at lunch yesterday and these are the things I've gotten so far:

4 cans of mixed vegetables
2 cans of cut green beans with whole potatoes
4 cans of cut green beans
2 cans of cheddar cheese soup
2 cans of light red kidney beans
3 2lb bags of rice
2 cans of spaghetti sauce
1 can of sweet peas
1 large can of Folgers Coffee

That's a pretty good start, don't you think! Next week I plan to stock up items other than canned goods, such as flour, sugar, teabags, etc.

This is a picture of the inside of the pie safe with some of the products I purchased already stored there. There still room in there and definitely in the baskets, etc.

All of the national brand items were purchased on sale and/or with a coupon. Some of the store brand items are tried and true favorites. I'm not brand loyal. But, if a store brand isn't of good quality, I definitely won't buy it just because its cheaper. I have experimented with some store brands and have found some good ones.

Please visit Life as Mom for more Frugal Friday ideas!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October, 2009!

Its finally here! I can't believe its October 1st. This is my favorite month of the entire year.

I hope you like the new picture at the top of my blog. The tractor is almost identical to the one I used to drive when I was eight years old. If you didn't read it already, See this POST which tells my tractor driving story.

I also hope you will read my quilting blog, ANGEL SCRAPS QUILTING. Today there is a sneak peek and name reveal of the quilt I have been working on.

And again, happy October!

She's Here! Victoria!

Its been an exciting week! Victoria arrived on Monday and I kept her brother for 3 days. Only bad thing is that today I am home from work ...