Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Not Ready!



I'm just not ready to start getting ready for Christmas!

Can I please have at least one more week of Autumn?!!!

I was looking at this Fall arrangement on my kitchen table and felt anxious about the fact that I should be storing away the Autumn decorations and putting out the Christmas decorations and suddenly I read the scripture on the bottom of the table topper. That's what I want.... peace.

If you look closely on the table topper in this picture you will see this scripture: You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You, Isiah 26:3.



Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How I make my daily "To Do List"

I am trying to make a daily "To Do List" each night for the next day's use. After recently reading a couple of books by Elizabeth George and also based on some other books already in my homemaking reference book stack, I have become really motivated to be a better manager of my time. This is an on going struggle for me, because there is so much I need and want to get done!

I use three steps to make my to do list:

1. Prioritize by categories

The first thing I need to do when making the to do list is to remember what is most important in my life. Here they are:

1. God
2. Husband
3. Children and Grandchild
4. Mother/Family
5. Home
6. Job
7. Friends
8. Everything else

So when making my to do list, I need to make sure I take care of what is most important. Sometimes they overlap but this is a good guide to go by.

2. Choose from a master list

After reminding myself of my priorities, I made a list of responsibilities, events, "wants" and "needs". I just scribbled out a bunch of items that I brainstormed. I'm sure I will add to or take away from it from time to time.

Here's my list in no particular order:

Thanksgiving
Christmas
Quilts/Sewing
Menus/Cooking
Housework/Cleaning
Yard work/Gardening
Bible Study/Prayer/Church/Ministry
Blogs
My Job
Financial/Pay Bills/Balance Check Book/Banking
Diet/Exercise
Husband
Children/Grandchild
Laundry/Ironing
My Mother
Friends/Sick/Shut ins

When making my To Do List, I scan this list to see what needs attention that day, again remembering my priorities listed above. This helps to jog my memory.

3. Check my calendar. I write every thing I can think of down in a smaller planner/calendar. Any appointments, days off work, or what ever. This is essential in making sure I don't miss a dentist's appointment or forget some other important date.

Just for an example, here's what is on my to do list for today:

Bible Study
Mail Bills
Answer E-Mails
Cut out quilt squares
Iron hubby's shirts
Blog Post
Upcoming birthdays
Mail card to Ms. B.
Thank you card
Supper is Tortilla Chicken Bake (Page 41 in Country Casseroles cook book)
Talk to daughter
Five Minute Jobs

Some items on my list have a multi-function. For instance, ironing shirts and cooking supper will make Number Two on my priority list happy.... Husband! But these also fall under the category of cooking/menu planning and housework. Working on a quilt could fall under the category of a ministry and family, since the ones I am working on are gifts to family members. I want to pursue making baby quilts for needy mothers-to-be, so this would definitely fall under a ministry. Even a blog post could fall under the category of ministry.

If you are wondering about 5 minute jobs, here's an explanation. Its hard to do a big cleaning job on weekdays before or after work, but 5 minute jobs can be done which add up to make a big difference. While the coffee was brewing this morning, I did a detailed job of cleaning the kitchen sinks. It looked so nice afterwards and gave me such a sense of accomplishment!

I hope this post has given you some ideas for getting more organized with your time management. I would love to hear any ideas that you may have. I am always seeking to learn more about time management and homemaking.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Planning



Yes, the above is a picture of a plate of food I attempted to eat last week. I wasn't able to eat all of it, but I sure did try. Well.... every now and then you have to eat what you want. I am already back on my light eating plan.

Here are some dishes I plan to prepare this week. They might not all seem like "light" food, but I watch my portion sizes, don't go back for seconds and don't eat many snacks. I didn't include Thanksgiving Day's meal, which I will help my mother prepare at her house.

Main Dishes:

Pizza Hot Dish Casserole
Tortilla Chicken Bake
Hot dogs
Chili Beans
Spaghetti
Baked Chicken

Side Dishes:

Corn
Salad
Cornbread
Pear Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Mixed Fruit in Jello

I will be posting more this week about the things I am doing to get my home, yard and life in order.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homemaking Dreams.......




......on break until November 23, 2009....

Please feel free to browse through the many older posts listed on the sidebar.

Have a great November week!

Debbie J.

My "Big" Crescent Rolls


The mood hit me this week to make some homemade bread so Wednesday afternoon while I was off work for Veteran's Day I made these big crescent rolls.

I guess I'm used to the size of the Pillsbury canned crescent rolls, but these ARE a little big, don't you think? :o) Next time I will cut the triangle shaped pieces of dough smaller!

Here is the recipe I used:

Dinner Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup butter or margarine softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour (I used bread machine flour)
1 pack yeast
1/4 cup butter or margarine softened.

Put all of the ingredients except the last item (1/4 cup butter softened) into the bread machine bucket and set the machine on the dough cycle.

After the cycle finishes, put the dough on a floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Roll each piece into about a 12 inch circle and brush the remaining 1/4 cup butter all over each circle. Then cut the circle into wedges just like you do when cutting a pizza.

The recipe calls for 8 rolls from each circle for a total of 16 rolls. If you want your rolls to be smaller than the ones in the picture above, cut the wedges smaller.

If you've ever made crescent rolls that come in a can, you already know how to roll this dough so that it is in a crescent shape. If not, all you do is roll the dough starting with the wide end of each triangle/wedge. Place the rolled rolls on a greased baking sheet with the point on the bottom. Then bend the sides in slightly to make more of a crescent shape.

Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and place in a warm place to rise for one more hour. I didn't wait the entire hour since my supper was almost ready and I wanted the rolls to be ready at the same time. They turned out fine and as you can see they didn't need to get any BIGGER!

Bake at 350 to 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

I made one pan of 8 crescent rolls, a small pan of biscuit shaped dinner rolls and froze enough dough to make another pan of rolls for a future meal.

Of course, you can make these dinner rolls in whatever shape you like. My bread machine Magic cookbook gives instructions for making all kinds of shapes. I might do a future post showing some of these other shapes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It Ain't Over Til Its Over

I think all touches of Summer are finally gone!

Here is the last Zinnia from the summer and the first Camellia blossom of the Fall and Winter:



We were still getting tomatoes and green peppers from the summer garden, but when we had our first real "frost and freeze warning" last week, my hubby went outside and picked the rest of them. There were many green tomatoes which will ripen eventually. I will either use the green peppers fresh or freeze them.





Yesterday's wind and rain storm have blown almost all the leaves, pine straw and STICKS from our trees. The yard is a carpet of nature!

So, yes, I think summer is really over in my neck of the woods.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fear!

A RAINY VETERAN'S DAY



Yesterday I made a little confession about how I procrastinate. While I'm on the subject of my frailties, today I will talk about one of my fears.... riding in a car.... especially in the rain or at night (or in the daytime, come to think of it).

It doesn't matter if I am driving or am a passenger, when I am riding in a car in the rain, my stomach gets tied up in knots. I have tried to figure out exactly why I am like this and there are several things that have contributed to it. The first rung in this ladder of fear was when I was about 20 years old, driving my little red 1977 Chevette. Anybody remember those? :o). Anyway, I was driving to work in Raleigh at the time in the rain. I came up to a stoplight that turned yellow just as I came to it. The safest thing would have been to keep on going, but I slammed on brakes and the car skidded out of control. I didn't hit anybody or flip over, but it was VERY close.

Over the years my fear of riding in cars in the rain has gotten worse. And to tell you the truth, driving on a sunny, clear day isn't a picnic for me. The latest rung on the ladder of fear was when I was involved in a fairly serious wreck two summers ago. Also, I was once hit by two big ole cows and never go through that section of my route to work without watching out for more!!!!!

The reason I am telling you all of this today is that we are experiencing some very rainy, blustery days here in North Carolina. The combination of the remnants of a tropical storm and a low that has formed of the coast are making for some bad weather conditions, including flooding. Today I am off work for Veteran's Day, but have an appointment that is very important for me to get to.

So, you guessed it!!! I have to drive in the rain today!!!!

It is very important for me to remember that during all the accidents I have been in and the near misses, I was never seriously hurt... and that's no accident! At those times I have always remembered this Scripture verse:

Psalm 91:11-12: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. This is also the scripture verse that is the theme of my Angel Scraps Quilting Blog.

This morning while reading the Bible, I was looking for verses on fear and have memorized this one for comfort today:

Joshua Chapter 1, Verse 9: I hereby command you; Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Notice that God COMMANDED the Israelites not to be afraid and to trust Him! Now fear is a God given human emotion that serves its purpose in the right situations. Think of running from a bear for example. So fear is not a sin.

So how do we handle situations where we are afraid? Lots of prayer, trust and repeating scriptures like the two above!

Since we are all human and all experience fear, I would be interested to know what kinds of things you are afraid of and how you handle these fears. Please leave a comment if you would like to share.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Procrastination!

Just in case anyone thinks I am some kind of wonder woman getting all kinds of things done, here are just a couple of examples of how I am badly lacking in the "get it done" department.

THE MENDING PILE:



The items in this lowly little pile of clothes have been stacked on the couch in our living room, near my chair, for months. I am not kidding! In fact one item has been there for a couple of years. There is a pair of my husband's pants that need a button sewn on that have been there since last Spring. There is a lady's top that I bought on the clearance rack that needed the spare button that came with it sewn on where one is missing. There are two pairs of pants I bought my mother last Christmas, that need to be hemmed. There is a pair of shorts that need to be hemmed, but at least this one item has only been there a couple of weeks.

EXERCISE/WALKING VIDEO:



This wonderful video has 5 one mile walks on it. Each walk only takes 14 minutes. I've had the video for 3 or 4 months and have only done one of the one mile walks once!

So there you have it, just a small glimpse into how I procrastinate.

I am happy to report that after I took the picture of the "mending pile", I went to work on it and have finished a few of the items. After I sewed the button on my husband's pants, I wondered why I had put it off, since it only took about 5 minutes!

Do any of you procrastinate like I do sometimes?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Fall Comfort Food - Oven Beef Stew



I have an old cookbook that I really enjoy which was published in 1979 and is called Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Recipes. I bought it at a library discard sale for $1.00. This cookbook has everything you could think of in it and I've cooked many dishes based on its recipes. Often I will find several versions of the same dish which allows me to choose the one that I already have the ingredients on hand for. There are 1007 recipes in there!

Saturday I made Oven Beef Stew that I adapted from a recipe in this cookbook, since I had a large pack of marked down stew beef that I grabbed Friday afternoon at Food Lion. I hardly ever purchase any meat that isn't on a good sale or has been marked down. The marked down meat goes home and is either immediately cooked or frozen. The stew beef I bought Friday had a couple of days left on the "sell by date" so I waited until Saturday to use it.

This recipe make 4 to 6 servings, so be sure to adjust the amounts if you don't need this much. Three of us at my house ate this Saturday at lunch and there was a big bowl of left overs.

Oven Beef Stew

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt or salt to taste.
2 Dashes of pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed tomato soup
2 soup cans water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
4 to 6 medium potatoes, depending on size, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup water

Combine flour, salt, and pepper; coat meat cubes with the seasoned flour. In a small dutch oven brown meat in hot oil. I used a frying pan and then transferred the meat to a roasting pan. It took two batches, since I had a large amount of meat. Add the two tomato soups, the soup cans of water, chopped onion and basil.

Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Add potatoes, carrots, and 1/2 cup water; cover and bake until meat and vegetables are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

This turned out really good and is a great Fall comfort food!

Friday, November 6, 2009

On My Sewing Table This Morning....



There she waits.... my Early Autumn quilt.... My sewing project for quite a while now.... Ready to be quilted....

I plan to begin free motion quilting this queen size quilt this weekend. Even if I only do a small section, I want to START!

I started out small, free motion machine quilting two baby quilts:

Sweet Savannah



Eliza Rose



I need even more surfaces around my sewing machine to do a large quilt. Here's how it looked when I was quilting Sweet Savannah last weekend:



I also plan to do lots of other things like housework, cooking, yard work....

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beside My Chair This Morning.....



A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. Little PenPen recommended this book to me and I saw on some one's blog that this is a life changing book. Ever the frugal homemaker, I looked at the library and saw that it was out. I put my name on the waiting list, but evidently the person who checked it out likes it a lot, because she never returned it! I finally gave up and went to the Family Christian Store and bought my own copy. I did have a coupon!

The first thing I did was go straight to the part about getting organized, loving your husband and that kind of thing. I love it! So now I have started at the beginning on Page One and plan to read it in its entirety.

Thinking of You and Thank You cards that need to be sent out. My elderly neighbor lady, Ms. B., has finally been placed in a nursing home on Labor Day. We were outside in the yard when we saw the ambulance slowly transporting her away from her "Homeplace". Probably forever. She has lived there her entire life, from birth. She never married, got a driver's license or went away to school. Her story is HERE and HERE. I miss seeing her watching us from her front porch! I want to send her a card once every week or so.

I also need to send Ms. Georgia Bonesteel, a famous quilter and author, a thank you card for the book she sent me. See THIS POST on my Angel Scraps Quilting Blog.



Just can't seem to get my coupons organized anymore! I must do this tonight!!!



Books from the library... probably need to be returned too!


The things beside your chair or on your bedside table can tell a lot about you. What's beside your chair?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's Cookin' At Our House?

1. Saturday's lunch was roast chicken, oven fried french fries and green beans with zesty Italian dressing, onions and bacon.



Canned green beans are good for you, low in calories and cheap to buy, but just opening a can of beans isn't that appetising to me. The bean recipe I used Saturday is in an old microwave cookbook that came with my first Sears microwave. Remember when microwaves were big enough to cook a turkey in, if one wanted to do such an insane thing? Well that's the microwave I had that the cookbook came with.

You could make these in the microwave, but I made mine on the stove. It goes something like this:

2 regular size cans of green beans
1/2 bottle Italian Salad Dressing
1 small onion sliced into rings
a few slices of bacon fried in a frying pan

After opening the beans, drain one of them. Then empty the drained one and the undrained one into a medium sauce pan. Pour the 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing in. Separate the onion rings and put those in. Then bring the beans to a slow boil, reduce the heat and cook gently just long enough to cook the onions until they are tender. Pour this mixture into an attractive serving bowl. Break the cooked pieces of bacon into bite size pieces and arrange on top of the beans.

2. As for the oven baked fries, I just toss about 2 pounds of peeled or scrubbed unpeeled sliced potatoes in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and season with what ever I am in the mood for. Just use salt or you can get creative by using things like cayenne pepper, paprika, Italian seasonings, etc. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at about 400 degrees until done, which is about 30 minutes. The trick to it is to keep flipping them over with a spatula every few minutes to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the cookie sheet.

3. Sunday's lunch was even better than Saturday's:

Baked Pork chops with Cream of Celery Soup and Onions
Sweet Potato Souffle
Broccoli and Cheese
Noodles cooked in chicken broth
Left over beans from Saturday

4. I made the roast chicken from Saturday go even further by doing the following:

A. I removed any remaining large pieces of meat from the chicken bones and my son and I both had chicken sandwiches for lunch.


B. I was about to throw out the rest of the chicken bones, but remembered that you could make soup from these. I threw it in a pot with a little water and let it boil a few minutes. Then I drained the broth through a colander and returned that to the pot. Then I removed the rest of the tiny pieces of chicken meat left on the bones. I put this meat back into the broth and added egg noodles. Voila! Chicken Noodle Soup!

5. And if you are wondering... yes, I have stuck to my light eating plan even with all this food. I watched my portions and only ate very reasonably. This is a record for me to be on a diet. This is my 5th week and I am happy to report that my clothes fit so much better and I feel better. Once I am able to dependably wear the one size smaller clothes I was shooting for, I'll go back to eating a little more. I guess that would be called maintenance eating. Just in time for the holidays!

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogra...