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.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday's Trim Healthy Mama Tidbits

Here is an easy meal that I like to eat and which helped me to lose weight on the Trim Healthy Mama plan as described in the books.   HERE is a link to the original Trim Healthy Mama book and the two new books are HERE and HERE.

The main dish is Crispy Onion Pork Chops with a side dish of Veggies and Cheese.  This is an "S" Meal.   If I switched over to boneless chicken breasts, I could add some brown rice to the meal and it would become an "E" meal.

These pork chops turn out so tender and delicious!

I do have to mention that the authors of the book do not include pork or shrimp in the their recipes because of Biblical prohibitions in the Old Testament.  So use your own judgment as to whether or not you want to include them.

The French Fried Onions would qualify as a "Franken Food" in the book!

This recipe is similar to the chicken recipe that's on the back of the French's French Fried Onions box, but much simpler and lower carb.  Just don't add the flour.  There are only three ingredients.  Put about a cup of the onions in a small zip lock bag and crush them.  I use an inexpensive sandwich bag.

Then spread the crushed onions on top of the pork chops.  Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth around the edges.  Bake uncovered on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until done.

There are 3 grams of carbs in a serving of the french fried onions.  In an S meal, the carbs should stay under 10 grams.  You don't have to include the carbs in non starchy vegetables.  This meal should be well under the limit.

These veggies couldn't be easier!  I buy the Food Lion store brand of the microwave steam in the bag California Blend vegetables.  Cook them according to the instructions and then pour into a dish.  Then sprinkle grated cheese on top. 

I am in no way an expert on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, and as I've said before, I follow it very loosely and am not strict with myself at all.  But, you will notice that in this meal there are no high carb foods, such as rice, potatoes, bread or pasta.  That's a hard habit to break, after all these years of eating them as a side dish for EVERY SINGLE MEAL.

Luckily, there are ways around this, which are described in detail in the books,  HERE (original Trim Healthy Mama book),  HERE and HERE. (new books).

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Oh Yeah... laundry detergent for almost two years!

I ventured over to CVS at lunch yesterday to check on the Purex laundry detergent deal I told you about yesterday.

They did have plenty of the 100 load bottles at $5.99.  Here's my cart with my deal.

I used $4.00 in coupons and this also qualifies for a $4.00 cash back through Savings Star!

So the bottom line for these three huge bottles was $9.97.  My estimate is that 300 loads of laundry detergent will last me 1 and 3/4ths years.

The way I find coupons on line is to check the coupon data base at Southern Savers HERE.   The $3.00 coupon is HERE.  The $1.00 coupon is HERE

If you decide to do this deal, don't forget to sign up for the $4.00 cash back deal at Savings Star HERE.  You need to register your CVS card with them and then click on the "I Want This" link underneath the Purex deal.  You have to spend $15.00 on Purex and this is good until December 9th.

I also have to tell you my experience at CVS.  I printed out two $3.00 off 2 coupons and three $1.00 off 1 coupons, just in case I decided to buy more of the detergent.  So I gave the cashier one of the $3.00 coupons and one of the $1.00 coupons.  At least that's what I thought!  Evidently I accidentally gave her two of the $3.00 coupons and one of the $1.00 coupons.  They were stuck together.  She scanned then all and they all worked.  I tried to tell the cashier what happened and that she should void one of the $3.00 coupons, but she insisted that if they scanned it was no problem.

 I am always honest when using coupons and felt bad about it.  Then I remembered all the times when my coupons and deals didn't work when I got to the cash register, when they were supposed to.  Or the cashier didn't scan them right, etc.  This has happened to me a lot!  So I think I was probably owed more than the $3.00 any way. 

After deducting another $3.00 from the total, the cost of the bottles comes down to $6.97.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Laundry at our house....

Laundry is not such a big deal at our house any more since we have an empty nest and I only do about three to four loads a week. The household hint that says do a load a day doesn't work for me.  That's too much trouble!  Its just easier for me to wait until Saturday morning and do my laundry while I'm doing other things. 

But, I still like to save money where I can, so I buy my laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets on sale and use coupons.  I cut my fabric softener sheets in half and they work just fine that way. 

I spent a little time this week searching Amazon's subscribe and save program to figure out the best deal on laundry detergent, since I am getting a little low.  I was on a mission to find the cheapest "per load" price.  The cheapest I found was 12 1/2 cents per load and figured that was a pretty good price.  But, I wasn't sure, so I didn't place my order. 

I am not brand loyal and our clothes don't get very dirty, so most any brand is fine with me. I can always use a more expensive brand if I have a load of dirtier than usual clothes.

Then I looked through my weekly CVS sales paper and saw that the 100 load bottles of Purex are on sale for $5.99.  I do believe that would be a pretty good deal at 6 cents per load!  A little coupon search yielded $1.00 coupons.  Also on Savingstar there is an e-coupon of $4.00 if you buy $15.00 of Purex.  But, I'd have to buy 3 bottles to get that e-coupon.  Let's see:  300 loads divided by 3 per week would be 100 weeks, which is about 2 years.... hmmm...

The problem would be if CVS has them in stock?  I can get a rain check!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Sunday Nugget

I took this picture while on a trip to the mountains and added the Bible verse to it. Its one of my favorites.
  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Follow Up on How I Lost Twenty Pounds

Here are a few more tips and some links to help any of those who are interested in learning more about the Trim Healthy Mama plan that I posted about on Monday.

This Mexican omelet is the breakfast I made myself recently, when I was wanting something a little different than my usual chocolate muffin in a mug.  This is an S meal, which stands for Satisfying.  Its low carb, easy and fast to make.

Just mix up two eggs in a small bowl with a fork and add a little salt and pepper.  Heat about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a non stick small frying pan.  Pour the eggs into the pan and then add 3 or 4 tablespoons of jarred salsa on one half.  You might want more or less than that, depending on the spiciness of your salsa!  Its best to use salsa with no sugar added, but if you don't have it, I don't think there's enough to worry about.

Then add what ever other things you like in an omelet, such as deli meat ham, precooked sausage or bacon, cheese, chopped onions, bell peppers and mushrooms.  After it has cooked a little, flip the empty half over onto the other half and let it cook just a little longer.

Here are some of my favorite links that have inspired and helped me to learn about Trim Healthy Mama.

Jamerill Stewart's video with tips for getting started HERE.

Gwen's Nest:  A quick start guide HERE.

A Home With a Purpose:  A blog with great recipes and tips HERE

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

One thing I really want to stress is that  to succeed on this plan, or any plan, is that you shouldn't give up.  Just keep plugging away on it.  If you eat an off plan meal, its ok.  Just go back to the plan at your next meal.  Losing weight slowly over time is so much better than quick weight loss that you gain right back.  Sometimes when the scale didn't seem to budge for me, I thought about giving up, but I stuck to it and slowly, but surely, it worked.  This would be true of any weight loss plan.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Little Sewing

These are some burp cloths I recently made for a baby shower gift.  There's another baby boy in the family!

I love these burp cloths that I usually make for every baby in the family.  Once the edges are clipped, like you see in the picture, the cloths are washed and dried.  I forgot to take a picture after that step!

I have plans to make a baby quilt for Bryce soon.

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, November 9, 2015

How I lost over 20 pounds and kept it off (so far)

The one thing that really helped me lose weight?  THIS!!!

That is a chocolate muffin in a mug with strawberries and whipped topping.  That's my appetite depressant.  Yes, really!  But most mornings I eat it plain without the berries and cream because I'm in a hurry on work day mornings.  The berries and cream are usually reserved for weekends.  This muffin is healthy, low carb and sugar free.  Its sweetened with Stevia.

I can't promise that this will have the same effect on everybody though!  

I've been struggling with some extra weight for a while and I seemed to be gaining and losing the same 15 or 20 pounds regularly.  As January 1, 2015 dawned, I was at my heaviest and was barely fitting into my clothes.  I was really needing to go to a bigger size, a size I've never worn!

I knew that with diabetes and high blood pressure running in my family, it was very important that I get this under control.  My blood pressure was elevated and most of the weight I was gaining was accumulating in my abdomen area.

So in January I started counting calories and pretty much stayed hungry all the time.  I mean really hungry.  Nonetheless I stuck with it for about 4 months and did manage to lose 13 pounds.  At that point, I began to eat what I wanted again and quickly gained back 4 or 5 pounds and I knew I was going around that weight gain mountain once again.

I had heard a little about a diet plan called Trim Healthy Mama, but didn't really pay too much attention.  I decided to check into it further and to try it. The original book is a big, thick book and costs $32.00 and I didn't want to spend that much money for something I knew nothing about, so I found it at my local public library and renewed it up to the limited number of times.

By that time I was ready to invest in my own copy and bought it from Amazon. I used Amazon gift cards I earned with Swagbucks!   That may seem like a lot of money, but the book is full of all kinds of information, including lots of recipes and health information that included things besides diet including sex (for the married woman).  Yes I said it.  I don't think I've ever used that word on my blog before!  

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

Links to these books can also be found on my side bar, if you are interested.  But, you may be able to find them at the library.

The authors of the book have recently released a new Trim Healthy Mama book and a new cookbook.  But, I haven't even scratched the surface of the original book, so I'm sticking to that.  I did order the cookbook, but still prefer my original big, thick book.

A simple description of Trim Healthy Mama is that it is a carb conscious plan.  Its not low carb but I really have cut down on them.  Also a big part of the diet is to separate fuels.  A meal is typically either mostly carbs or mostly fats.  The foods are very healthy.

I started following the plan in May, very loosely.   I've never been very strict about it.   But, I pretty much changed the way I eat, I hope forever.  I lost weight very slowly, but steadily.  I got down to my goal weight and not only fit into the too tight clothes from January, but I dropped a size.

Since I only follow the plan loosely, I have to tell you the things I do that have resulted in my weight loss:

1.  As I said up above, the thing that was the very most help to me in losing weight was the chocolate muffin in a mug.  I can't post the recipe because of copyright laws, but some of the ingredients are coconut oil, golden flax seed meal, an egg, cocoa powder, and stevia for the sweetener.  It only takes a minute in the microwave. I make one of these every single work day and lots of weekend mornings for breakfast.

There are also brownies in a mug and many other variations.  Here is a Pinterest link with lots of them!!!! HERE

This is the plain chocolate muffin in a mug that I bring to work every day.  I cook it for a minute and 5 seconds right before I go out the door and when I get to work its still warm.  Its easy to eat at my desk while I'm getting the computer going and getting my day started.

The thing about this muffin, and pretty much anything that contains coconut oil, is that it satisfies my appetite for quite a while!  I DO NOT get hungry until lunch time, whereas before I'd be hungry within 1 to 2 hours of eating breakfast, and then I would eat constantly the rest of the day.

So I don't know if coconut oil is an appetite suppressant for other people like it is for me.  But as opposed to diet pills, coconut oil is healthy and good for you. This has been a life changer for me.

I was able to find all the ingredients locally except for the golden flax seed meal, which I found on Amazon through the Subscribe and Save program found HERE.

I keep a little muffin in a mug supply area on the kitchen counter with the different size measuring spoons that I need and the ingredients.  I have planned to make little baggies with the dry ingredients already measured out, but I never seem to get around to it.

2.  Skinny Chocolate and other treats that are on the plan.  Skinny chocolate has coconut oil in it so it helps with my appetite.  The peanut butter fudge is so good too.  There are many, many dessert recipes that are on the plan.

3.  I stopped using store bought flavored coffee creamers altogether.   I slowly switched over to half and half and the Walmart brand stevia that is their brand of Truvia.  The Walmart brand is not strictly on plan, but it has worked well for me.  I have used it in the chocolate muffin in a mug and the skinny chocolate with no problems as well.

4.  I eat little to no bread. That's a miracle for me, but I really do not miss it that much.  I take the bun off any fast food sandwiches and avoid it in other situations.  I will occasionally have some, but its not on my daily menu any more.

This is a typical fast food lunch that I enjoy on work days and have lost weight eating.  A large chili from Wendy's and a Cheeseburger Deluxe from the value menu.  When I throw away the bread and cut up the contents of the burger, its like eating a mini hamburger salad.  This meal also is a good one for keeping my appetite under control.

5.  The Trim Healthy Mama Facebook Group.  This gives me so much motivation seeing before and after pictures, recipes and other information.  There are the NSVs (non scale victories) and Trimaversaries (1 year, 2 year or 6 month anniversary of starting the diet with before and after pictures).  You can join the group HERE.  You could lurk on there for a while to learn more about the plan.

6.  Good Girl Moonshine!  I make my own version of this with a True Lemon Peach Lemonade powder stick on crushed ice with a teaspoon of vinegar in it.  The real recipe is ok, but mine works for me and is easy to throw together to take to work.  HERE is a link to the original recipe. 

7.  I rarely eat potatoes, pasta or white rice.  I do eat more brown rice and beans. I also like California Blend frozen vegetables in the microwave steam bag.  Just cook them, pour in a bowl and sprinkle some cheese on top.

8.  I carry packets of stevia sweetener in my purse to use for sweetening tea in restaurants or from the drive through.  I really love my southern sweet tea and with the stevia packets, I can still partake.  I just order it unsweetened and then put a packet or two of the sweetener in it.

For anyone who wants to go on the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, please know that you can do it without spending money on strange ingredients.  On the other hand, you can spend a lot of money buying some of them.  I think for someone who needs to lose weight, it might be worth it to them to buy some of the more unusual and expensive ingredients, especially if their health is on the line.

The ingredients I buy that I've never bought before are coconut oil, golden flax seed meal and stevia.  You can buy all kinds of other things that the Trim Healthy Mama authors sell on their website, like their baking blend, sweet blend and more.  I haven't done that, but I may in the future.

Finally, in closing, I'd like to report that all of my lab work and my blood pressure were great at my last check up about a month ago.  My blood pressure went from being on the verge of my needing to go on medication to being perfect.   AND when I weighed this morning I had lost another pound and have now lost a total of 23 pounds.  I love wearing my clothes now because they are not tight any more.

(This post contains affiliate links and if you click on a link and order something, I may receive a small fee. Thanks!)

Friday, November 6, 2015

My November Amazon Deals

I really love Amazon!  I am shopping on Amazon more and more as time goes along and as I find more ways to get the best deals.

Here are the contents of my November Subscribe and Save Box.  With Subscribe and Save, if your box contains 5 or more items you save an additional 15%.  If you order less than 5 items you save 5%.  Any Subscribe and Save eligible item will count toward the 5 items, no matter the price.  Keep in mind that the prices can change at any time, but these are the prices I paid.  Remember to click on any coupons!  Once you add the item to your order, the price is guaranteed for that month. 

1.  Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo 16 ounce size for only $8.42.  This is a great deal for the large size bottle. My husband needs to use T-Gel Shampoo and its a fairly expensive shampoo.  So I am always on the look out for a good deal.  I often buy it at CVS with coupons and/or Extra Bucks.  I have also bought the store brand at Dollar General, which is a very good deal.   However, he really prefers the name brand T-Gel.  I was very happy to find that its now available for Subscribe and Save!

2.  Kraft Easy Mac pack of 18 individual size macaroni and cheese.  These were $5.46 after the 15% Subscribe and Save discount and the coupon that you just click on.  I thought these would be nice for our grandchildren or to donate to the food pantry.  I think this price has gone up already!

3.  Maxwell House Decaf 29.3 ounce Canister of coffee for $6.72 after the discount and the 25% available coupon.  That's a great deal! I just checked and this price is still good.

4.  Folgers Decaf Hazel Nut 11.5 ounces for $4.03.  That's not bad and I just wanted to give this coffee a try.  I like it!

5.  True Lemon Peach Lemonade sticks 10 count for $2.29.   I love these which I use with a teaspoon of vinegar to aid in weight control.

6.  Kleenex 120 count, 8 boxes for $7.94.  We use a lot of kleenex at our house and this is a pretty good price.  Just noticed that this isn't available for this price any more.  Ratz!

I buy all of our toilet paper through Subscribe and Save, but skipped this month because we were a little overstocked on it!

I have scheduled my Subscribe and Save box to be delivered by the 10th of the month, so I make sure I review my order by the first of the month.  Sometimes I skip some items for the month or cancel them altogether.  I never just let an item come every month without checking the current price and checking to see if I need and want it.

A couple of benefits of Subscribe and Save are that you don't have to have a Prime membership and there are no shipping charges.  Also, you can cancel any item at any time. 

Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa  While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over t...