Saturday, November 30, 2013

Starting tomorrow: December Daily!


Yes, as impossible as it seems, tomorrow is December 1st!  Having Thanksgiving come so late in November really sped up December's arrival, or at least it seems that way to me.  My friend Susan, over at By Grace, is beginning a feature called December Daily 2013</>.  She's planning to post daily in December -- about all sorts of things from Scripture to recipes to daily happenings -- and has asked others to join her.  So far two of us have taken up the challenge. 

For me, it's going to be a double challenge because I plan, Lord willing, to post every day in both blogs -- this one and my Christmas blog.  (There's a link in the sidebar.)  We'll see how it goes!  I'll look forward to seeing you all then!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Blessed Thanksgiving to All!


Mr. T and I would like to wish all of our friends and readers a very blessed Thanksgiving!  We hope that each of you has been able to gather around a festive table surrounded by family, friends, or some of each.  We were blessed with both around our table this afternoon -- and with a sumptuous variety of wonderful food.  Recently I remembered how my grandmother always pronounced the name of this holiday as THANKSgiving, and when you think about it, that's probably correct.  We have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Goals for week beginning 11/25/2013


A day late again!  Yesterday was busy.  So here are my tentative goals for the week:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study
* Finish Sunday School lesson 13
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook
*  Review Psalm 100
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas
 *  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 5, the living room
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family
*  Continue with a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews
* Enjoy Thanksgiving Day with friends and family!

And here's how last week went:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study -- DONE!
* Work on Sunday School lesson 13 -- DONE!
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook -- DONE!
*  Memorize Colossians 3:12 -- DONE!
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows -- not done
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas -- DONE!
 *  Keep up a good water intake -- not done
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- managed this a few times
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows -- DONE!
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 4, the bedroom -- DONE!
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time -- not done
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do -- DONE!
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list -- not done
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
*  Continue with a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking -- DONE!
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews -- not done
* Plan meal and table decor for Thanksgiving -- DONE!

Not sure what I'm going to do about that recipe project ... maybe table it until the new year.  Hoping for a productive week, but want to thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving, too!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tried and true Thanksgiving favorites!

The lace accent on the right is from Little Birdie Blessings.  Recipe and photo are family heirlooms.
 With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I thought I would share a few links to some of my older posts which are filled with recipes and tips for Thanksgiving dinner.  Here goes!

I posted this last year, and it includes a lot of the same links I'm sharing today, but it might be helpful to someone:  A Gathering of Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes.

For pies, which are the most intimidating part of the meal for many people, I offer these Helpful Tips for Thanksgiving Pies.  If pie crust intimidates you (as it does many others), then don't stress about it.  I give you a recipe for an easy oil pastry, but if you don't want to go that route, then the sheets of refrigerated pie crust one can buy (I've even seen them in store brands!) work very well.  You can even buy frozen pie shells that aren't half bad.  Or if you just don't want to make pies, you can buy some very nice pies from bakeries that specialize in them.

Some of our Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes are included in this post.  Maybe you will find a new family favorite!

But what if you are avoiding wheat, or a family member who'll be at your table is eating gluten free?  No worries.  This Gluten Free Pie Crust is easy to make and very good.

Probably the next most intimidating part of the meal is the turkey itself.  If you have, or are buying a frozen turkey, the rule of thumb for thawing it is to allow 24 hours in the fridge for each 5 pounds of the turkey's weight.  I find this not quite enough, so allowing an extra day would be my advice.  Invariably if I follow that rule of thumb, the giblets are still frozen in place.  I'm putting my frozen turkey into the fridge on Saturday.

Cooking it in an oven bag is my best advice on roasting a turkey.  It shortens the time considerably and produces tender, juicy meat.

For years, I stressed about gravy.  People love it and expect it, but making it at the last minute can be very stressful.  Usually there are other people in the kitchen, helping out with other things, and that doesn't help.  So I then turned to canned or jarred gravy, transferring it to a saucepan and removing the evidence of the cans and jars well ahead of the guests' arrival.  That was great, but I found the gravy packets made even better gravy.  And then I found this recipe:  Easy Turkey Gravy.  It truly is easy and it makes lots and lots of gravy.  If you are feeding people who think there is never enough gravy, try this.  For once they will be satisfied and there may even be some gravy left to serve with the leftovers or to make hot turkey sandwiches.


 Stuffing, too, can be a source of discouragement.  I usually use a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, prepared with celery and onion as the package instructions suggest, and also add dried cranberries.  In my tips and recipes post (link at top) I detail how I cook it in a slow cooker.  Just don't leave it in there for too long, as it will burn and dry out.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes are my go-to recipe for making mashed potatoes for a lot of people.  This year I'm trying a variation of the recipe which substitutes onion dip for sour cream.  I'm making that for our church harvest dinner on Sunday, and if it comes out well I'll use the same recipe for Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato Casserole is our family's favorite sweet potato recipe.  I've made it with canned sweet potatoes and it comes out just fine.

Broccoli Casserole is another great side dish that always goes over well.

I tend to skip serving rolls when there is so much other good food on the table, but if your family won't let you, then try these: Homemade Dinner Rolls.  They're a homemade crescent roll and are really delicious.

If your family insists on creamed onions (as mine does), here's the recipe I use:  Scalloped Onions.  Which reminds me, I forgot to buy the frozen small onions.  Life is far too short to peel those little pearl onions.  I always buy the frozen (unsauced) ones and make my own sauce.


Cranberry sauce or relish can be purchased and is just fine.  If you want to make your own, try the Taste of Home site for some good recipes, or you may be able to find one here.


For a memory of my childhood Thanksgivings, you might like to read A Thanksgiving Memory for a little nostalgia.

And if you enjoy vintage things, you might like to take a peek at this Children's Book of Thanksgiving Prayers.  This was actually sold as a greeting card, I believe. 


For more Thanksgiving posts, click on the "Thanksgiving" label in the word cloud of labels in the right sidebar.  You may find some surprises I've forgotten about!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Days 1-6 ~ back-on-track homemaking challenge


I guess it's high time I updated on this challenge.  It started out great.

Week 1, you may recall, had only 2 days in it; November 8-9.  That was in Zone 3, the bathroom.  I made great progress in that zone -- scrubbing the tub, washing the shower curtain and tub mat, washing the light globes, cleaning toilet and sink, and even washing the laundry sorter compartments -- a task I try to do every couple of months as they can look dusty after awhile.  I also decluttered a little bit in that zone.

Now I'm in Week 2 of the challenge -- this is in Zone 4, the bedroom. 
Day 4 went great.  I always change sheets on Mondays (part of the weekly home blessing) but this week I went a step further and washed the mattress pad too.  I also cleaned and reorganized the top shelf of my closet and reorganized the hanging clothes.

On Day 5 I did some dusting and also changed the paper treasures under the glass top of my little crafting desk.  I changed them to a Christmas theme.  Yes, it's early, but no one will notice up here.  (No one but me, and it's helping my enthusiasm for Christmas crafting!)  I also decluttered the top of a bookcase where I keep greeting cards, journals, and the like.

On Day 6 I vacuumed this room.  Today (Day 7) I had big plans for cleaning the floors of both closets and reorganizing the items that are kept there.  That didn't happen, but I'm hopeful about tomorrow!

All in all, the challenge is going well so far.  I'm encouraged!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A moment to catch my breath


Image from Photos Public Domain
Some days my life is really, really busy.  Most days, I have far more on my to-do list than I will ever get done.  So it's really nice when the Lord gives me a moment (or more) to catch my breath.

Last week I took my dad to a dental appointment.  Actually, I had taken him to one a couple of weeks previously, too.  Both times, the appointment took a lot longer than I was expecting.  The most recent one was scheduled to take two hours and took nearly three.  I could have said that it took three hours right out of my day.  Or wait a minute ... did it add some time to my day?

It really felt like a gift of time.  This dental practice does a very nice thing for people who have brought someone to an appointment.  They serve you coffee while you wait.  That's right ... you get to pick your K-cup of choice and they bring the freshly brewed coffee out to you on a little tray with cream, stirrers, and whatever else you need.  The coffee is in a lidded mug.

And while I sipped my Green Mountain Eggnog Spice coffee, here's what I got done:
* Planned my menus for the week
* Made my shopping list for the week
* Perused the Market Basket flyer for price matching items at Wal*Mart
* Worked on crocheting a scarf for a Christmas gift
* Thought about my Christmas list
* Thought about our Thanksgiving menu
* And even browsed through a couple of magazines.

Yes, a gift of time for sure.  God truly provides all of our needs ... even a little extra time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Goals for week beginning 11/18/2013


This beautiful image is from CrossCards.com</>
Better late than never, right?  Yesterday, with my hubby at home and the construction going on, I just didn't get around to posting.  So now, a day late, here are my goals for the week:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study
* Work on Sunday School lesson 13
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook
*  Memorize Colossians 3:12
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas
 *  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 4, the bedroom
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family
*  Continue with a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews
* Plan meal and table decor for Thanksgiving


And here's how last week went:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study -- not done
* Finish Sunday School lesson 12 -- DONE!
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook -- DONE!
*  Memorize Hebrews 13:15 -- DONE!
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows -- not done
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas -- DONE!
 *  Keep up a good water intake -- DONE!
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- not done
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows -- not done
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 3, the bathroom -- DONE!
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time -- not done
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do -- done only through Friday
*  Take my dad to an appointment -- DONE!
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list -- not done
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
*  Design and begin a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking -- DONE!
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews -- not done
* Begin making plans for Thanksgiving -- DONE!

So, needless to say, I'm hoping to accomplish a lot with what's left of the week, especially with my back-on-track challenge and the Christmas crafting.  We shall see!

A construction update


Image from classroomclipart.com
I'm happy to report construction progress!! 

My handy hubby got the car problem solved in an hour or so (which included a quick parts run).  If he had taken it to a garage, the rest of his day could have been, as my Nevada son-in-law might say, "toast".  But since he is so handy, he was able to fix it himself very quickly and get back to his window trim project.

He actually got all of the window trim made and installed.  Not urethaned, but that's not a problem for now. 

We still have, in time, to figure out stage 2 of the project -- how to cover the ugly, stained dormer walls.  It will be wood, we know that much.  Both of us are thoroughly sick of wallpaper and we're not too keen on paint either, but we do like the look of natural wood.  We were talking about that yesterday, in the "if I had known then what I know now" vein.  I grew up with paint, but my grandmother always had wallpaper and I liked the look of it.  I was thoroughly smitten with the inexpensive, beautiful wallpapers in a catalog recommended by a relative and had just the best time selecting them.  I overlooked the fact that the person recommending them enjoyed the process of wallpapering and would be the sort who re-papered every year or so.  And that is not the case with me or my hubby.  As little maintenance as possible is what we prefer.  I wish we had thought of it back then, but as Mr. T so wisely points out, we could not have afforded wood when we built our house.  It would have been sheetrock no matter what, so it had to be either paint or wallpaper.

Anyway, the task of figuring out stage 2 is still ahead, but for how the window trim looks great and I am sooooo thankful he managed to finish it all in one day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life in a construction zone


Image from ClassroomClipArt.com
Yes, that's where we're currently living.  The roof is finished (and looks beautiful) and I'm loving the new dormer windows.  Most of the construction debris has been hauled to the dump (other than a few pallets which I've been eyeing as raw material for projects!). 

Now, the construction zone living really begins.  My dear hubby ended up with the day off from work today, due to wet weather.  He decided that tackling the window trim would be the best use of his day.  And I had to agree.  After all, he had promised me that he would have the window trim in place, at least in our bedroom, in plenty of time for Christmas decorating.

His plan had been to refinish the existing trim which had been removed to get the old windows out.  It was a good plan, a practical plan.  The same plan he used when we replaced our living room windows awhile ago. 

However, there are a few things different about this time around.  For one, in the living room we were also changing the walls by paneling them with gorgeous wide pine boards.  Any slight differences in window size (between old and new) wouldn't really matter because everything was going to be covered by boards. and the old trim would work just fine after refinishing.  And it did.  It looks wonderful.

But upstairs ... well, we do hope to panel these walls with pine boards too, some day, but for now it is wallpaper.  Existing, old wallpaper.  And the windows are just slightly different, enough so that there's maybe an inch of ugly sheetrock showing around a couple of them.  Not only that, but because of our old and leaky roof (now no longer an issue, with the new roof), said wallpaper is streaked and discolored due to many years of water damage. 

He's going to have to make new window frames.  And somehow we are going to have to figure out something to do with those dormer walls to make them look better, at least temporarily.  We're working on it, brainstorming, and we think we've come up with a solution.

However.  After  having squirted foam insulation around every window (and anyone who has ever lived with that for long knows how nasty it looks), he went to a local lumber yard for supplies.  When he drove away from there, he noticed a problem with the brakes on our car.  So --  and rightfully so, the plan for the day has taken a U-turn.

We may be living in a construction zone for longer than I'd like.  But I was reminded during my quiet time this morning how I'm still under construction.  As an old song says, "He's still workin' on me, to make me what I ought to be."  God is endlessly patient with me!  I can surely put up with a little more mess around here -- but only in His strength.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Finally! A back-on-track homemaking challenge


It took me awhile to get it together, but finally I arrived at a promising plan for the back-on-track challenge I've been wanting to do in the area of homemaking.  Generally, I do pretty well with just writing something out, but in this case, where it involved a holiday and the busy months of November and December, I needed to see it in graphic form.  So I printed out 2 blank calendars, one for each month, and began charting out my challenge.

And here is what I came up with:
The challenge will run from today, November 15, to Saturday, December 14.  I am not including Sundays in my challenge, but could use an hour or two on Sunday if something very important needs doing.  I'm using FlyLady's basic zones** with a couple of tweaks of my own.

And here's what the challenge looks like broken down by weeks:
Week 1 -- November 15-16 -- Zone 3, the bathrooms
Week 2 -- November 18-23 -- Zone 4, the bedroom
Week 3 -- November 25-30 -- Zone 3, the living room (and the computer/craft room)
Week 4 -- December 2-7 -- Zone 1, the front porch, entry and dining room (plus hallways and stairs)
Week 5 -- December 9-14 -- Zone 2, the kitchen

Here's what I plan to do:
* Do the weekly home blessing** each week, even if it is spread out over several days.
* Declutter 15 minutes daily in the zone for each week.
* Do Kelly's missions** daily in the zone for each week.
* During the last three weeks of the challenge, decorate for Christmas in the zone for the week (this will be done after Thanksgiving in week 1).

In general, I have no trouble keeping up with tasks like dishes, menu planning, meal preparation, laundry, or bathrooms.  But in other areas I tend to not keep up as well as I'd like.  So, I am hoping that this challenge will get me back on track and help me prepare for the holidays at the same time.  Anyone care to join me?

I hope to check in every few days and update my progress on the challenge.  I think it's fairly realistic.

** If you are interested in taking part in these challenges and are unfamiliar with these terms, check out FlyLady.net for help.  You'll find a link to FlyLady at right in the sidebar under Links.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Goals for week beginning 11/11/2013


Monday got by me again!  It was a crazy, busy weekend, but here we are (more or less) at the start of another week, with fresh goals to be set.  Here are my tentative goals for the week:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study
* Finish Sunday School lesson 12
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook
*  Memorize Hebrews 13:15
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas
 *  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 3, the bathroom
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do
*  Take my dad to an appointment
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family
*  Design and begin a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews
* Begin making plans for Thanksgiving

And here is how last week went:
 *  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study -- not done
* Work on Sunday School lesson 12 -- DONE!
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook -- DONE!
*  Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:18 -- DONE!
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows -- not as much as I'd hoped
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas -- DONE!
 *  Keep up a good water intake -- DONE!
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- not done consistently
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows -- DONE!
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 2, the kitchen -- not done
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time -- not done
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do -- -- DONE! (but not on the weekend)
* Cut out and sew some fall curtains -- DONE!
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list -- not done
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
*  Design and begin a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking -- not done
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews -- not done
* Begin making plans for Thanksgiving -- not done

I am thankful for all that did get done last week, but am certainly hoping to be more productive this week.  It's off to a very busy start with not a lot of time in the house, so we will see.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Gluten free pumpkin scones


Photo by The Baking Beauties
Can you stand one more pumpkin recipe?  I don't promise it will be the last!  I have been looking for a good gluten free pumpkin scone recipe,  and this one -- Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones from The Baking Beauties (now called Faithfully Gluten Free) --  is a real keeper.  I tried it out this morning and the scones are absolutely delicious.  Not overly sweet, but just right.

I actually doubled the recipe to suit the amount of pumpkin I had left over from another recipe.  It came out perfectly.  I did not double the glaze recipe, and there was just enough glaze for the 16 scones.  These will be a wonderful fall treat with coffee or tea!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Goals for week beginning 11/4/2013


Not only is it a new week, it's a new month.  And I'm a day late posting these goals.  It's looking like somewhat of a disjointed week with work being done on our roof.  Not that I mind; it has needed doing for some time.  But we are replacing 3 dormer windows at the same time (again, something that has badly needed doing) and so this evening, Mr. T will need to pull off the inside window trim.  Needless to say, I am NOT looking forward to this.  My crafting desk is in front of one of those windows, and I have totes full of fabric tucked in the dormer nook of another.  So things are going to be a bit discombobulated as I get these things temporarily moved while still needing to keep them very accessible for Christmas gift crafting.  In addition, I'm concerned that the window trim may remain off for some time; he wants to sand and refinish it before replacing it,  and I'm all for that, but it takes time.  And his window trim track record is somewhat spotty ...

All that to say that one of my main goals this week is going to be trying to maintain a good attitude and a somewhat neat house in the midst of all this, and remaining very, very thankful that we have a home (when so many are homeless) and that we can afford to have this old roof and inefficient windows replaced.  My other tentative goals for this week include:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study
* Work on Sunday School lesson 12
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook
*  Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:18
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows
*  Keep up with crafting goals for Christmas
 *  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows
*  Zero in on homemaking tasks in Zone 2, the kitchen
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do
* Cut out and sew some fall curtains
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family
*  Design and begin a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews
* Begin making plans for Thanksgiving

And here is how last week went:
*  Spend time in 2 Samuel Bible study -- DONE!
* Finish Sunday School lesson 11 -- DONE!
 *  Make 1 or 2 pages for "What Do I Know About My God"?  notebook -- DONE!
*  Memorize Psalm 145:1-5.  Not done.  I am going to zero in on thankfulness verses this month.
*  Read 1 or 2 chapters in  Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
*  Exercise or go for walks as often as time allows -- DONE!
*  Keep up with crafting goals for birthdays, Christmas, and finishing UFOs -- DONE!
*  Keep up a good water intake -- DONE!
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- not done
*  Post at least four times in my regular blog, and in my Christmas blog as time allows -- DONE!
*  Get a lot of basic homemaking tasks done in various zones of the house, especially zones 4-5 -- I wouldn't say I got "a lot" done; I was out of the house a lot, but did accomplish some things.
*  Spend at least 15 minutes a day reorganizing the many piles, stacks, notebooks and containers full of recipes I've collected over time -- not done
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do-- DONE!
* Cut out and sew some fall curtains -- not done
* Find or make a better weekly to-do list -- not done
*  Write several encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
*  Finish up a back-on-track challenge in the area of health and energy -- DONE!
* Post some TripAdvisor reviews -- not done
* Do assorted errands -- DONE!
* Send a birthday package off to a birthday boy in Nevada who is turning 4 -- DONE!
There you have it!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Sew Classic Clothes for Girls book release & giveaway

Image from The Graphics Fairy
 How I loved sewing for my daughters while they were growing up!  I didn't get the best start with sewing; I had tried learning to sew in 7th grade home ec, but just couldn't master it.  Many years later, after I was married and had kids, my mother-in-law encouraged me to start sewing for my girls while they were small.  She knew that when they got older, sewing was going to be a good way to provide some of the nice clothes they would need at more reasonable prices, and that I wouldn't always be able to find what we wanted in stores.

So I took up her challenge and took the girls to a local department store that sold fabric and patterns.  I think they were around 3 and 4 at the time.  I found an easy summer dress pattern (with NO zipper --  very important!) that they both liked, and then had them each pick out their own fabric.  Then I sewed the dresses at my mother's on her [non-portable] sewing machine,  just so I could see if I was going to be able to do this before I invested in a machine of my own.

Well, the dresses came out cute, they fit, the girls loved them, and the whole process was a lot more fun than I expected.  So I bought a sewing machine (I'm on my second one now!) and never looked back.  I continued sewing for the girls right up into their college years.  They both learned to sew as well and became proficient seamstresses.

Now I have grandchildren to sew for and, although I usually just make fun projects like felt food and superhero capes, I have also done some sewing of clothes for my granddaughters.  And that brings me to the point of this post -- a gorgeous new book called Sew Classic Clothes for Girls, by Lindsay Wilkes of  The Cottage Mama.  If you have little girls to sew for, then I think you would love this book.  There are 17 garment patterns and 3 accessory patterns, plus ideas for putting outfits together, for size 12 months right up through size 10.  A special feature of this book is that all of the patterns and all sizes are contained in a disk at the back of the book.  You can just put the disk in your computer, select the pattern and size you need, and print!  You will need to tape the pattern together in places, but they are well marked and taping is an easy process compared to tracing, enlarging, and so on.  

I would love to own a copy of this book -- how about you?  You can find it on Amazon, Walmart.com or at  The Cottage Mama.  It will soon be available at craft stores as well.  The best part is that Lindsay is giving away two copies of this fabulous book!  Head on over to Sew Classic Clothes for Girls book release and giveaway and check it out.  She shares many photos and much more info about the book than I can share here.  I hope one of us wins!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Gluten-free Buttermilk Corn Muffins


Photo by The Baking Beauties
A month or so after I stopped eating wheat, someone gave me a used gluten-free cookbook.  Most of the recipes were pretty good, and for a long time it was my go-to source for gluten free recipes.  One of them was a cornbread recipe which I baked often.

After finding The Baking Beauties , I entered a whole new world of gluten-free baking.  As I've said before, Jeanine just seems to have a gift for developing recipes that are gluten free but don't taste like it.  One day I wanted to make cornbread but just didn't want to take the time, so I took a moment to do a search and see if Jeanine had a corn muffin recipe.  She did, and this is it: gluten free buttermilk cornbread muffins</>.

I tried the recipe and have not gone back to cornbread.  These muffins are simply delicious.  I have served them to company who never knew they were gluten free.  I do change a couple of things which makes them a wee bit healthier and does not affect the taste.  Instead of 1/2 cup butter, I use 1/3 cup canola oil.  And I use only 1/3 cup sugar rather than 2/3.  I keep these in a plastic bag in the freezer.  When I need a quick muffin to accompany soup, I just heat one in the microwave for 25 seconds and it tastes fresh baked!

Days 23-25 ~ back-on-track health & energy challenge

 So here is how the challenge finished up:

Day 23 (Tuesday)
* Drinking enough water -- done!
* Getting to bed at a reasonable hour -- not done
* Eating more fruits and vegetables -- done!
* Getting more exercise -- done!
* Eating less sugar -- done!
* Keeping track of the above each day - done!
* Doing something creative every day (mental health!) -- done!  Finished up felt food for a birthday gift.
 * Drinking some green tea daily --done!
Day 24 (Wednesday)
* Drinking enough water -- done!
* Getting to bed at a reasonable hour -- not done
* Eating more fruits and vegetables -- done!
* Getting more exercise -- done!
* Eating less sugar -- done!
* Keeping track of the above each day - done!
* Doing something creative every day (mental health!) -- done!  Worked on a crocheted scarf and some felt food.
 * Drinking some green tea daily --done! 
Day 25 (Thursday)
* Drinking enough water -- done!
* Getting to bed at a reasonable hour -- not done
* Eating more fruits and vegetables -- done!
* Getting more exercise -- done!
* Eating less sugar -- done!
* Keeping track of the above each day - done!
* Doing something creative every day (mental health!) -- done!  Worked on some felt food.
 * Drinking some green tea daily --done! 

All in all, I'm pleased with how well this challenge went.  I'm hoping now that I can more or less keep up the good work in the health and energy department (though this has been seriously threatened by Mr. T spending $$ on half-price Halloween candy)!

With a new month, I plan to begin a new back-on- track challenge, this one in the area of homemaking.  I thought it would be a good way to get things all spiffed up and ready for the holidays.  One little complication: we're having our roof re-done beginning Monday and replacing three windows in the same time frame.  Think there'll be a bit of construction/demolition debris to cope with?



Friday, November 01, 2013

November goals


Lovely graphic is from Prairie Flower Farm
A new month has arrived ... so it's time for a new set of monthly goals.  Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish in November:
* Continue reading through the book of Proverbs, journaling as I go.
* Continue reading Following God with All Your Heart
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses.
* Continue study of 2 Samuel
* Exercise at least 15 times; walk as often as possible
* Get to bed by 9:30 pm each night.
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family.
* Post several times weekly in one or both of my blogs
* Finish some UFO craft projects
* Make most of the remaining Christmas gifts on my list
* Declutter several closets
* Work on crafts for gifts or sale
* Complete a back-on-track challenge in the area of homemaking
* Plan and host Thanksgiving dinner
* Make some fall curtains and other home decor items
* Start my Christmas baking

And here is how I did with October's goals:
* Continue reading through the book of Proverbs, journaling as I go -- DONE!
* Continue reading Following God with All Your Heart - DONE!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses - DONE!
* Continue study of 2 Samuel - DONE!
* Exercise at least 15 times; walk as often as possible - DONE!
* Get to bed by 9:30 pm each night -- not done
* Limit sugar - DONE!
* Drink enough water each day - DONE!
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- not done
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family - DONE!
* Post several times weekly in one or both of my blogs - DONE!
* Finish some UFO craft projects -- not done
* Make several birthday gifts and Christmas gifts - DONE!
* Declutter several closets -- not done
* Work on crafts for gifts or sale - DONE!
* Complete a back-on-track challenge - DONE!
* Go on a getaway with my husband - DONE!
* Attend a couples' retreat with my husband - DONE!
* Finish decorating my house for fall - DONE!
* Make some fall curtains and other home decor items -- not done.

I'm pretty pleased with all of the - DONE!s and am hoping for a productive November!