Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back-on-Track Challenge, Day 12

Day 12 (Sunday)

* Health & energy -- went for an early morning walk, ate healthy all day (despite major chocolate cravings), kept up with BCI

* Devotional life -- kept up with Bible reading and study, brief prayer time

* Homemaking -- planned my week, vacuumed upstairs and down, spiffed up bathroom, dusted some kitchen shelves that badly needed it.

* Creativity -- designed and printed out some small notes (like post-its only not sticky) to use for verses for my Sunday School class; looked through a craft book for gift ideas

Back-on-Track Challenge, Days 10-11

Since we're back, I've managed to keep up fairly well with the challenge.

Friday (Day 10)
* Health & energy: exercised, kept up with Body Clutter Investigator

* Devotional life: good quiet time, also studying for Sunday School lesson

* Homemaking: got most of the stuff put away from our trip; made up a batch of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal to have on hand

* Creativity: not too much creative got done on this day

Saturday (Day 11)
* Health & energy: went for a walk, ate healthy, drank plenty of water, kept up with BCI; planned what to grow in our garden; shopped for seeds and plants

* Devotional life: good quiet time

* Homemaking: made a schedule, did three loads of laundry and got them all dried (outdoors on the line) and put away

* Creativity: worked on a crocheted dishcloth

And that's how the challenge is going!

Back-on-Track Challenge, Days 6 - 9

During the time we were away, I managed to still stay on track in a few areas of each category:

* Health & energy -- went for a walk every day; sometimes several walks a day.

* Devotional life -- had a good quiet time each day and spent some extra time in Bible study besides.

* Homemaking -- I even managed to work in this category, by planning menus and making my grocery list while relaxing on the dock!

* Creativity -- got a good amount of cross stitch done on the "Snow Angels" project, also worked on a cross-stitched Christmas ornament. I finished crocheting one dishcloth and started another.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A spring getaway

This week, we were able to take just a few days away at our favorite lake up in northern New Hampshire. We arrived on Monday afternoon and left on Thursday morning, so it was a quick trip. Here I must admit, sadly, that we forgot to take the camera. So any photos in this post will be from last fall.

Monday and Tuesday were beautiful days, while Wednesday was rainy, and it was raining when we got home on Thursday. We did manage to get out for a walk each morning. Even on the rainy days, since the rain didn't start early on, we were able to go for a nice walk. On Tuesday we walked on the other side of the lake. There isn't a road that goes all around the lake, so we drove to the other side, parked at a boat launch, and just walked from there. One lovely sight we saw was wild forget-me-nots in the woods and along the roadsides. Also on this walk we saw two baby foxes playing while the mother fox dozed in the sun.

We decided that spring is a couple of weeks behind up there, compared to here. The leaves aren't out as fully, and there are different flowers in bloom. For instance, the flowering crab apple trees are blooming up there, while that is pretty much over in our area.

But the pansies are blooming in the rustic stone steps leading down to the dock.

One of our favorite things to do is go out for breakfast, so we planned that into our getaway.

The first morning we went to Tall Timber, a fabulous classic sporting lodge. The breakfast was delicious, the ambience amazing, and the prices very reasonable. The second morning we ate at Happy Corner Cafe, which has a wonderful breakfast menu with some really unique omelet, French toast, and pancake choices. Mr. T had a Philly cheese steak omelet and I had what was called a Montreal omelet, filled generously with Canadian bacon, sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese. These came with home fries and homemade toast. The third morning we ate breakfast at the cabin so we could get an early start heading home.

Tuesday, I spent almost every minute sitting on the dock.

Mr. T went kayaking around half of the lake, came back for lunch (which we also ate on the dock), and then paddled around the other half. I got a lot accomplished sitting there in the sun -- wrote letters, planned menus, made the grocery list, worked on my Sunday School lesson, did some reading, cross-stitching, and journaling. Totally relaxing. And then to hear the call of the loons... well, it was nearly a perfect day. As perfect as anything gets in this life!

On the rainy day, we enjoyed relaxing by the fireplace in our cozy cabin.

To be able to look directly out on the lake while eating lunch or supper or while having morning devotions by the fire was just wonderful. The loons were out and about each day -- we saw as many as three at one time -- and came quite close to shore. On Tuesday we also saw a moose swimming across the lake! During this trip we saw 3 moose, 5 deer, 3 foxes and a porcupine.

All in all, it was a wonderful getaway and we are so thankful that God allowed us to have this special time away.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Show & Tell Friday for May 29

For show & tell today, here are a few little things... just a potpourri of special little items.

I was given this bluebird dish years ago. Sorry the photo does not do it justice. This little dish (the top lifts off) usually sits on my dresser, but is currently on my hutch to celebrate spring.

Continuing on a blue theme, here is a dear little aqua blue glass dish I was given some time ago. The edge is a soft milky white.

Here is a side view of the same dish.

These old salt & pepper shakers came from my great-aunt's collection.

This little kids' cocoa tin is so cute.

This little liver extract bottle was found in in an old house.

This pretty little glass dish is decorated with colorful poppies.

I always thought of this little dish as a maple leaf. Now I think it's an ivy leaf.

Last but not least, here is a lovely sugar bowl from my mother-in-law. I love the soft green trim. This is eventually going to my daughter out west who loves roses. We just need to wait until we're flying out there sometime and have room to carry it safely.

That is my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home.

Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for May 25

A cool sunny morning here in northern New England. We will be away on a little getaway for the first few days, but are taking food along. Some of my other meals didn't get used last week, so will be used this week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Hamburgers, French Fries, Coleslaw

TUESDAY: Smoked Sausage Potato Salad w/Green Beans, Rolls & Butter

WEDNESDAY: Zesty Chicken Cheese Soup, Wholegrain Rolls & Butter

THURSDAY: Pork Stir-Fry, Hot Rice, Fruit Salad

FRIDAY: Crabmeat Quiche, Breakfast Potatoes, Fruit Salad

SATURDAY: Hot Dogs, Homemade Baked Beans, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Italian Wedding Soup, Bread or Rolls

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Often, well over 300 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back-on-Track Challenge, Day 3-4

Here's how the past couple of days have gone for this challenge:

Friday (Day 3)

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day, drank plenty of water,exercised, walked to do errands, went for an evening walk

* Devotional life -- good time of Bible reading, prayer, and study

* Homemaking -- decluttered some fabric, clothing, and books; dropped off at thrift store. Did a bit of dusting in Zone 4.

* Creativity -- made a title page for the devotional book; took book to printer

Saturday (Day 4)

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day, went for walk morning & evening

* Devotional life -- good time of prayer, Bible reading, and study.

* Homemaking -- thoroughly dusted in Zone 4

* Creativity -- spent a little time on cross stitch projects in the evening

Friday, May 22, 2009

Back-on-Track Challenge, Day 2

I guess I had better post about Day 2 of this challenge before I forget how it went!

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day (except for half a small order of Burger King fries at supper); exercised; drank plenty of water, filled out the BC investigator. Planned ahead by making some sun tea, which I will drink unsweetened.

* Devotional life -- good time of prayer and Bible reading, worked on Bible study for my Sunday School lesson.

* Homemaking -- kept up with basic routines pretty well and also with planning and scheduling. Planned all the food and menus for our little getaway. Didn't get as much done in Zone 4 as I'd have liked, but did accomplish a few small things.

* Creativity -- not much time for creativity today. In the evening after grocery shopping, I did spend a few minutes browsing through some craft books for ideas.

Show & Tell Friday for May 22

I am rather late getting a show & tell post up, but wanted to show some of my small collection of vintage linens. I acquired most of these at yard sales and the like, so I have no idea who the needleworkers were. I do apologize in advance for the creases in many of the items. I didn't have time to press them, since they were only going right back in the linen closet.

This red & white doily is right at home in my strawberry-themed kitchen.

So is this flowery red doily.

This is a crochet-covered hot mat. I have two of these, just alike. The crocheted piece is elasticized so that it can be removed for washing.

This linen dish towel is a favorite of mine. I like the touches of blue in the strawberry print. I am fortunate enough to have three of these.

This dainty tea towel is one of two, just alike, that I bought at a wonderful shop in Lamoille, Nevada.

This dish towel is one I found at a yard sale. I love the print of peaches.

This is actually a curtain valance, I think. I like the print of dots and yellow apples, so I use it as a runner sometimes. I think this was my mother's.

This mammy-themed dish towel came from my grandmother. I have two of them.

This cross-stitched table cloth is small, but isn't it beautiful?

Here is a detail of the corner.

My great-aunt gave me these pillowcases, embroidered many years ago. She made me promise to use them, so I did.

A closer look at the exquisite white on white embroidery.

I love this colorful colonial lady. Notice the hand-crocheted pink edging.

And that is my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home.

Happy Show & Tell Friday!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back-on-Track Challenge, Day 1

Well, here's how my first day went for the Back-on-Track Challenge:

* Health & energy -- ate healthy all day (except ate 2 cookies before supper -- this was a new recipe for Double Ginger Shortbread I tried for a gift, so I "had" to test them out -- but one would have been plenty!); filled out the body clutter investigator; exercised; drank enough water for the first day in a long time.

* Devotional life -- good time of prayer, Bible reading, Bible study (for my Sunday School lesson, as I'm trying to work ahead. Soon I want to get back into my study of the Psalms).

* Homemaking -- did okay with basic routines, laundry and meal preparation; also got back to planning and scheduling. Did not get any decluttering/cleaning done in Zone 4 as I had planned to.

* Creativity -- still working on proofreading and printing the devotional book project, so no crafting got done today. I did, however, plan some creative surprises for a birthday gift, prepared some of these (they are kitchen gifts) and created a label for one of them.

So -- not the ideal day, but it's a good start!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time for yet another Back-on-Track Challenge!

Once again, I feel woefully out of step with my routines that had been working so well for me. The gigantic writing project I undertake every spring is nearly finished -- only proofing and printing remain -- and as usual, my routines got messed up. So it’s time for another Back on Track challenge!

Oh, I kept up with my daily devotions and with basic homekeeping tasks. I've managed to fit in a little exercise most every day. But my routines and scheduling, my Bible study (other than to prepare my Sunday School lessons and the devotional pages, good eating habits, and my crafting time have all taken quite a hit.

Again, I'm working on the theory that it takes 21 days to build a habit, but during this time we are going on a little getaway and so I know I'll be off track in some areas then. But I know I need to get started on this, and don't want to wait until after our trip. So, I am going to factor in approximately 21 days after our getaway, in addition to the time prior to it, and allow myself 30 days for this challenge. I’m starting today, with the goal of being completely back on track by June 22.

Here are the areas I'll be working on:

* Health & energy

* Devotional life

* Homemaking

* Creativity

I will try and check in every day and post about how I'm doing.

If anyone else is feeling as sidetracked as I am, feel free to join me in this challenge!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A cupcake caper

Here are a couple of fun crocheted cupcake pincushions I recently finished. This is the first one I made. It is made with baby or sport yarn for the cupcake part, and worsted weight for the "frosting". This one did not have you joining the rounds. I really didn't care for this pattern, but I made two of them and gave one away.

I do like the size of this cupcake and the way it is weighted with beans, though, and also the way the "frosting" looks as if it is sort of dripping down. Here's the link if anyone wants to try this one:

crocheted cupcake pincushion

And then I went in search of a different pattern. There are a surprising number of them out there. I like this pattern much better; it was far more user-friendly in spite of the fact that the first one was apparently geared to children. This pattern does have you joining rounds, and it uses worsted-weight yarn for the entire cupcake.

Notice the cute little swirly peak at the center top of the "frosting". It does come out quite large, however. Here's the link for this one if you'd like to try it.

another crocheted cupcake pincushion

(The above site also has a crocheted pincushion which resembles a chocolate donut with white frosting and sprinkles. Cute!)

The upshot of my cupcake experiment is that I wasn't totally pleased with either one. My thought had been to crochet a few of these to keep on hand for little gifts, but I abandoned that plan. The cupcakes are going to my little granddaughter to add to her play food collection, so it isn't a wasted effort. Meanwhile I will continue my search for the perfect crocheted cupcake "recipe"!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for May 18

A cool cloudy morning here in northern New England. A few of my meals this week are repeat ones because we ate more leftovers than usual and the ones I planned didn't get used. That's fine; it saves me thinking up new menus. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Smoked Sausage Gumbo, Cornbread

TUESDAY: Pork Stir-Fry, Hot Rice, Fruit Salad

WEDNESDAY: Roasted Vegetable Subs, either Pasta Salad OR Soup (depending on the weather)

THURSDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Potato Salad, Green Beans

FRIDAY: Crabmeat Quiche, Breakfast Potatoes, Fruit Salad

SATURDAY: Hot Dogs, Homemade Baked Beans, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Italian Wedding Soup, Bread or Rolls

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Often, well over 300 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Homemade Life, May 16

I have been saving up a few things for this Homemade Life post... things that I've done in the past couple of weeks.

Homemade cookies are one of my favorite things. I love baking cookies! When my kids were in boarding school, I made sure they had cookies to take back to get them and their friends through the week. Sadly, I don't bake cookies as often as I used to, because if I did, we would eat them. But every few weeks I will bake a batch, give some away, and freeze the rest. These are the ones I made most recently.

This particular recipe is a favorite of mine because it is a homemade knock-off of a favorite bakery cookie I loved as a child. These crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies had little veins of toffee in them. Over the years I tried to find a similar recipe but had no success. This one, which I improvised from another recipe I found, comes pretty close.


1 cup butter-flavor Crisco®
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee baking bits*
Sugar for dipping

In mixing bowl,cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and extracts. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to the creamed mixture, mixing thoroughly. Add the toffee bits, mixing with hands if necessary. Preheat oven to 350º.
Shape dough into 1” balls; dip tops in sugar. Place on parchment or teflon-lined sheets.

Bake at 350º for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

* When I made these most recently, I only had about a half cup of toffee bits on hand. So I chopped up some butterscotch chips to add to them. It worked out very well.

In other homemade goodness, I also finished a lavender beaded bracelet

and embellished a lavender T-shirt with matching beads

for my 6-year-old granddaughter. Sadly, the bracelet wasn't quite big enough and I have to remake it. But I can do that, especially now that (as of today) I have finished my gigantic writing project! (Still need to proofread and print, but all the writing is DONE!)

Another thing I did was trim this doll blanket for another granddaughter. A friend had given me the crocheted piece that forms the basic blanket. It was something she had just done as crocheting practice and she thought if I added a pretty edging it could be a doll blanket. So I did.

And then, last but not least are some homemade cards which I sent out for Mother's Day. I had these blank cards with a "bath shoppe" theme

as part of an assortment, but had never used them. An idea came to me for the perfect saying to make these into Mother's Day cards, so I printed it out 2 to a page, cut them out and glued into the blank cards.

I was very pleased with how they came out.

If you would like to see other homemade ideas, be sure and check out Life on a Back Road. You will find lots of inspiration there!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Show & Tell Friday for May 15

For show & tell today, I thought I would share a few photos of spring in bloom (at last!) around our yard. Most of these are wildflowers.

This clintonia, also called blue bead lily for the blue berries that will come later, grows in one particular spot in our yard.

These wood anemones are in the wildflower garden.

These teensy white violets are all over what passes for our lawn.

Another group of white violets, these with a few dandelions sprinkled in.

Some purple violets in the back yard.

More purple violets with some dandelions mixed in.

Apple blossoms on our wild tree.

And my favorite, painted trilliums at the edge of the woods.

That is my simple Show & Tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home.

Happy Show & Tell Friday!