Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Decluttering and Farmhouse Gardening Magic

Happy New Year! I've already started decluttering! I also have some miniature yellow roses that are blooming due to our unusually warm weather. So this post has some decluttering ideas, as well as some pictures of our Christmas roses.

I included a Christmas tree in the background for future proof that the roses were blooming on Christmas.

When we put away the holiday decorations this year and any new gifts, it seems like the perfect time to get started on getting organized and doing some decluttering for 2016.

HERE is a great article on doing just that.  This gives me some ideas for getting some things done and also some motivation.

For speed decluttering, HERE'S another great one.

Here's what I have in mind for my home:

1.  I'll be going through the Christmas closet where I store gift wrap, Christmas decorations, gift bags and boxes.  I'll be throwing away any unused, unloved items.  Some things stay in there year after year, never being used.  They need to go!

Is it a bad idea to donate Christmas decorations after Christmas is over since there is no demand at that time? I have heard that Goodwill has room to store them until next year, but I'm not sure about my small home town thrift store. 

2.  I have several boxes of all sizes that internet orders came in.  I always like to hold on to these a while in case I need to return something.  I could make a goal to fill all of them with items from all over the house to be donated before the end of the year.

3.  For every one new item that comes into the house, get rid of at least two.  That would include new gifts.  I received one new item of clothing, so two need to go out.  I received a new cookbook, so 2 need to go out. And so on.

4.  Set a timer for thirty minutes, or 15 minutes, and declutter as fast as I can, filling up the boxes mentiooned up above in number 2.

I hope your New Years Day and the entire year of 2016 is great!  I'll be back next week with some pictures of my Christmas decluttering.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas and Blog Plans for 2016!

Please join me in 2016 on my blog, where I plan lots of posts about getting organized, decluttering, and motivation for getting our homes under control.  I am tired of feeling overwhelmed by it all, how about you?

Also there will be more Trim Healthy Mama Posts, which I hope will be helpful to you, and will help me to stay motivated.  I do not want to gain the weight I have lost back in 2016.

I am planning on lots of POSITIVE THINKING.  So, lets make 2016 the best year ever! 

Meanwhile, I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!  Here are a  few pictures from around our home, past and present.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday's Trim Healthy Mama Tidbit

I'm always on the look out for easy and healthy side dishes that aren't too fattening!  I really need to limit many of the normal "easy" ones, like baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, other pastas and bread.

I've already done a post about one that we like and eat often: Cheesy California Blend Vegetables HERE.

Another one we like is Three Bean Salad.  I remember this as being really popular in the past and really the only change to make it Trim Healthy Mama approved is to substitute Stevia sweetener for the sugar.

Here's how I make it.:

Drain a can of green beans and a can of wax beans. 

Drain a can of Great Northern Beans and rinse in a colander.  I like white beans, but kidney beans would work great if you like them better.

Combine in a bowl that has a lid the following:  All three of the cans of beans, about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, about three tablespoons of Stevia sweetener, about a tablespoon of finely diced onion, and a shake or two of celery seed.

Don't you love how all my ingredients are in estimates of "about" this or that?  The reason for that is that you can put the amount that suits your taste.  Also, look up other Three Bean Salad recipes and make it the way you like it.  Just use Stevia instead of sugar and you are good to go!

Stir the ingredients up and then cover and refrigerate. I like to put mine in this Tupperware bowl that has a tightly fitting seal, so I can turn it upside down and shake it to make sure everything is mixed up well.

The great thing about this dish, besides it being good for weight loss and being healthy, is that it keeps in the refrigerator all week and anyone who wants a little side dish can take out what they want.

As I've said in the past, the Walmart brand Stevia isn't strictly on the plan because it contains a couple of extra ingredients.  I didn't realize this until I'd been buying them for several months and since I successfully lost weight white using it, I'm not too worried about it!  We are currently well stocked up with it, but when this is gone, I will investigate other options.

The lasagna noodles behind the Stevia have been there for months!  I haven't eaten any lasagna for quite a while!

If you are interested in the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle,  HERE is a link to the original Trim Healthy Mama book and the two new books are HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Little Christmas Wreath DIY

Several years ago I made lots of grapevine wreaths.  Since then, I have used them year round, by just changing out the decorations and bows. 

This is the way I decorated one of them for Christmas last year.  I still like it, but it didn't show up too well on our front door, which is painted brown.

So I took off the decorations and using a cheap can of spray paint from Dollar General, I painted it white.

Then I used several rolls of Christmas ribbon that I also bought at Dollar General, along with some of the same decorations and some red shiny balls to decorate the wreath like this.

I'm a little rusty at making bows! I regret not buying nicer ribbon, but it is what it is.  In about three weeks, I'll be taking it down.  Maybe I can find some nicer ribbon on sale after Christmas for use next year!

This is a tutorial that I used for inspiration to make these bows:  SOUTHERN CHARMS WREATHS.

And I also LOVE this wreath HERE.

Maybe I can make a new wreath for Spring along those lines.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday's Trim Healthy Mama Tidbit

One of the recipes that we have enjoyed from the original Trim Healthy Mama Book is the Pizza Casserole.  

Basically this recipe includes all the usual pizza ingredients, except the crust.  Not shown in the picture is the browned hamburger that I used.  Just layer what ever ingredients you like and bake!  I usually start with the hamburger, then the pizza sauce, mushrooms/onion/bell pepper/whatever you like, followed by the cheese and last would be the pepperoni.  There are usually two layers.

For those family members who want their crust, I would suggest serving some garlic bread or french bread with it.  A nice green salad would also be great with it.

Starting to do the layers in this picture.
I think I baked mine for about 30 minutes on 350 and then turned the oven up to 400 for the last 10 minutes to brown the top better.

Ready to go in the oven.

Brown and yummy!

Moments away from my mouth!

If you are interested in the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle,  HERE is a link to the original Trim Healthy Mama book and the two new books are HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Pantry - Sweet Potatoes

These are some sweet potatoes that we picked up in the field behind our house after the harvesters had finished. 

This picture shows how large the field is.

Here is a picture of some of the sweet potatoes that were not deemed good enough and were left behind.  There's nothing wrong with them, except they aren't the perfect size and therefore would not sell well at the grocery store. 

The field is covered in piles of these imperfect sweet potatoes.  They will soon be disced up and will become part of the soil again.  I have noticed many fields in the area that have lots of potatoes left behind.

We probably should have picked up lots more for the pantry.  Sweet potatoes keep well, they are a healthy carb and are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan as an "E" meal.

Its that time of year when I feel the need to stock the pantry for winter.  Thank goodness we can go to the grocery store any time we want.  We are so blessed.

Monday, November 30, 2015

True Confession!

I'll be sharing more Trim Healthy Mama tips and recipes soon..... but I must confess that I ate this over the weekend.  I VERY rarely eat this kind of food, but sometimes you just need a burger and fries!  I only ate about a third of those fries and not all of the burger either.  Those first few bites were so good.

And we mustn't forget Thanksgiving at Cracker Barrel....

Seated by the fire.

Even though I'm at goal weight, I won't let this become a regular part of my diet.  Today its back to work after a wonderful long weekend.  I'm ready to eat my Trim Healthy Mama Muffin in a Mug this morning!

I already have ideas and pictures of plan approved foods waiting to be shared with you soon!

( HERE is a link to the original Trim Healthy Mama book and the two new books are HERE and HERE)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Sewing Machines

I have had some emails asking what kind of sewing machines I use.  I have two Brother machines that I am very pleased with.

First there is my basic machine that sews and is great for quilting, which is the Brother CS6000i.  This machine has a lot of features, but the part I like most is that I can quilt on it.

Quilting a large quilt.

Its a very inexpensive machine and is currently $144.99 on Amazon HERE.  But, last week when I checked, it was $137.00!  The prices on Amazon change constantly.

At that price, if in the future the machine needed servicing, it would make sense to just buy a new one.   I recently checked to see what it costs to have a machine serviced and the minimum is anywhere from $65.00 to $100.00, plus the cost of any parts.

In addition, it comes with 60 built in stitches and several extra feet.

These are close up pictures of some of the free motion quilting I have done with this machine:

The second Brother machine that I really enjoy is the SE400 Combination Sewing and Embroidery machine. The current price for this one is $299.97.  In my opinion, for all you can do with it, that's not a bad price.

I love to use it to make lots of things like these:

This machine is a little more expensive, but is much sturdier than the first machine I described above.  I love that its multipurpose.  It sews beautifully!  I haven't quilted with it, but feel sure I could.  I feel like free motion quilting is a heavy duty sewing, and so I have reserved that for the less expensive machine.

So, those are my two most used machines.  I also have two old Singer machines from the 1970s that are built into cabinets.  Both of them are in need of servicing, and so I haven't used them lately.

Talking about these machines is really making me want to get in the sewing room and get busy!

(This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on a link and order an item, I may receive a small fee)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Update from the Farmhouse

We have five grandsons. Isn't his little Mouse cute?

My stepdaughter is expecting again. She will have three children age three and under! (Bless her heart) This is the color of the icing when the cake was cut.

Yes, that's right.  Its pink, so we will soon be able to say that we have five grandsons and a granddaughter.   If she's half as sweet as our grandsons, she'll  be pretty darn sweet!

I'm hoping your Monday is wonderful and blessed!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Church Lady and the Turkey Deal at Food Lion

Beware of little old Church Ladies who stalk you at Food Lion.  Not kidding......

I went to Food Lion after work Friday just to get my weekly groceries.  I met this petite older lady pushing one of the small carts on one isle and I smiled as we met.  Then in a few minutes, a few isles over, I was looking at toilet paper to see how many sheets were on  the rolls of different brands.  Yes, I know I have an exciting life....and there will be a toilet paper post soon.

She came up to me and asked if I thought I was going to spend $35.00, while eyeing my half full cart.  I thought to myself, its kind of hard to get out of here and spend less than that, but I told her I wasn't sure. She wanted to know if I would buy a turkey with my order and let her pay me for it.  I wondered if this was some kind of scam.  I don't usually buy turkeys for strangers, but I couldn't say no to this sweet little lady.

She said she was helping her church and they were going to cook 20 turkeys for Thanksgiving and you have to spend $35.00 to get the turkeys at 37 cents a pound.  I said OK, but its going to be a few minutes.  She said she would go get the turkey and meet me at the front.  I thought to myself, what have I gotten myself into?

So she went and got the turkey and put it into my cart and gave me $6.00 to cover the cost of the turkey.  I didn't want to take her money, but she insisted.  She said I could give it to my church if I wanted to.

Sure enough the turkey would have been over $25.00, but with my MVP card and since I spent over $35.00, the turkey was only $5.82.   Who knew?  Not me.  She then said she wanted to thank me from the bottom of her heart and told me to have a blessed day. 

So the moral of this story is:  Go to Food Lion and buy $35.00 worth of groceries, (not hard to do) and get yourself a turkey for 37 cents a pound.  Even if you don't need one for Thanksgiving, they would be great to have in the freezer at such a low price.  Or you could give it to the little old church lady in line behind you.

The End.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Quilt Finish!

An actual quilt finish!  This is Zoology Quilt #2.  My Zoology Quilt # 1 can be seen HERE.  The fabric line is by Michael Miller.  

I had the fabric left over from the first Zoology quilt I made in 2012, and improvised with what I had to come up with the design. 

The blocks are 9 inches (finished)

I love the matching aqua blue binding.

This quilt will be for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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 ...