Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It is that time of year!

Yesterday we had a cold rain/snow mix all day just about.  That kind of wet cold that just sinks into your bones.  Fortunately I had no where to go and so stayed put and finished decorating my house for Christmas.  Last night I put on some Christmas music (the old fashioned Perry Como stuff), and Christmas lights while I made beef stew and biscuits in the kitchen for dinner.  I was also able to finish the pajama pants for my grandson.  I have a long list of projects to complete and Dh asked me last night if I could make him some scrubs for work.  Hmmm I am thinking another Christmas gift for him.  Hopefully it is doable.  I needed some interfacing, super glue and navy blue thread to finish up some projects I currently have in the works.  So yours truly got up this morning and drove to Walmart at 4 am to get these items so I wouldn't have to go out today.  Now I am home and wanting coffee and sleep.  UGH!  sleep sleep.  Oh well maybe a nap later.  I have to get busy with sewing.  Can't put it off anymore.  I am slowly but surely getting Christmas gifts either bought or made.  I have my Dad and my sister taken care of.  MY grandson, and my children are still in progress as is my Dh.  I am still trying to figure out something for my mom.   On the list today is sewing and basic house up keep. I am trying to keep everything nice each day so I don't have to do these mammoth cleans.  Plus upkeep is quick and leaves more time for sewing.  So without further ado I need to get busy for the day or I am going to crawl back into bed and go to sleep.  See you guys later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 and more pics

So did everyone have a great Thanksgiving?  Did you eat too much?  We had an adventure.  Diva and her DH were moving the day before and couldn't get the power and water switched in time due to the holiday.  A problem  for them I know.  They have been coming to our house for showers, bottles of water, and laundry.  In addition to that their car broke down that evening.  Needless to say they were both in a dither and exhausted that night.  Still we managed to work things out the next day where they were able to come see everyone for Thanksgiving.  They were both more optimistic Thanksgiving day after some much needed sleep.   I did go to my moms and help cook and prepare for Thanksgiving day along with my sister.  I snapped quite a few pics.  You will notice many of my pics have my dad in them.  Many times at family get togethers my dad is on the other side of the camera and so not in many pictures.  My mom requested I get some of daddy this year.  This pic is of my parents.  They have been married for 53 years.  She was 18 when they married and he 19.  He entered the military the year before they married I believe.
You will find my dad 99% of the time in his office on the computer.  He is always sending me stuff in my email. I was able to snap a pic of him in his natural habitat along with my closest sister, "The Educator".  Watch out students!  "She'll be back!".  Not sure if they were shopping or what, but there they are.

Here we all are lined up to stuff our faces with good food and fill our hearts with plenty of family time.  Can you figure out what room of the house we are in?  Hmmm?  It is the garage.  Yes my parents have a chandelier in their garage.   Their garage is painted both walls and floor, has pictures on the wall, and even some flower arrangements.  I tell you the cars never had it so good.  My parents garage doubles as a banquet hall for family get togethers.

No family meal is complete without a fine wine and Georgia is know for its fine wines.  Take a gander at our wine list
This is "Uncle Bucks Turnip Blush".  Hey is was "voted best  wine at the tractor pull".

In case you can't read this , it is the "apple surprise now with prunes" created by our own "Bubba Jones winery and muffler shop.  It is great for degreasing engines, cleaning toilets, cleaning tires, etc.  Its not just for drinkin anymore.  ***Disclaimer*** I am hoping you guys figured out these were fake labels.  Actually the wine is from Chateau Elan.

Next on the pic list is my youngest brother and my dad chowing down on some good cooking

Sitting next to my brother is his girlfriend whom we like very much.  Okay last on the list is the picture explaining why my mom wanted me to get some snaps of dear ole dad.  This is what he normally does:

So once again we can say another successful Thanksgiving celebration.  We have an awful lot to be thankful for.  We got home that night and put up one of our two trees.  I will take pics when both are finished.  I have been putting out Christmas decorations since Thanksgiving night.  I had to work this weekend, so today is catch up on regular house work, laundry, and decorating.  Plus school is back in session for both boys.  I need to also make bread.  YAY!  So now I am off to the races...well kinda, I want to sneak on over to facebook and see what my friends are up to.  Then I will get to work.  Yea, that's the ticket.  So you guys have a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What am I thankful for?

I am always struggling to "in whatever circumstance to be content".  There is always one more thing I would like to have in my home, to look better, have more, etc.  I think it is human nature and I am human.  Sometimes, not only at Thanksgiving, I try to think of all the blessings I do have and focus on those.  So at the risk of boring everyone, can I share?

All of my 3 children are still alive.  My mother faced the loss of one child when that child was 3 days old and my mom was at the young age of 19.  She later on had to face the loss of my brother due to a motorcycle accident and he was only 26 at the time.  I can't even imagine.  I know there are parents who face this sort of thing every day.  I have no way of knowing how they feel, but my heart goes out to them as well as my prayers.  I also have a grandson who is three.  A cuter more rambunctious boy you will never find.  My family is ever growing with the advent of a son in law and my grandson.  Getting old aint so bad.  I am grateful for my family.

Speaking of family, I am thankful I was raised in a loving family.  My parents have been married for 53 years.  I was blessed to have a mom who stayed home for us kids.  I wouldn't have traded my childhood for the world.  I am one of  6 children.  4 are still living, and 2 are waiting for us to join them one day.  I am very close to my oldest sister.  She is the twin of the baby that died so young.  She is 8 years older, but we have a blast together.  I am the middle child with 2 brothers below me and two sisters above me(in age that is).

We have lived at this address for the past 15 years.  We live in a mobile home on a little more than 3/4 acre of land.  There are things that need repairing and things I want to do to make it like I want it everyday.  I do have my plans.  It is very easy to look at someone who has a nicer house and wish that was me.  Hey I freely admit that.  That is until I realize there are people in other countries and even in our own country that would look at our house and wish it were theirs.  There are those who have no home or live only in a house that isn't a home.  I am grateful for my home.

This marriage is my second and last.  I have been married to my knight in shining armor for 18 1/2 years or 94.5 Kardashions (smile).  I love him and he loves me.  He makes me feel safe and special.  He is funny. He keeps me laughing.  Now I will admit there are times when I shake my head and he dives me nuts, but I am sure he can say the same about me.  I am grateful to have a partner like him to share my life with.  I hope we can share it a very long time.

My Dh and I both are currently employed.  He full time and I am part time.  We both work for a hospital in our area.  I pray it stays that way, but for now I am thankful we have our jobs.  I am also thankful that my Dh has always tried to make it possible for me to either work part time or at home in order for me to be with our kids.

There are so many other blessings and were I to list them all this would be a very long post for sure.  The important thing is that I remember these blessings when I am tempted to ask for more.  I don't need anything more.  Instead my focus needs to be how can I share what I have with others.  I pray I do remember how blessed I am and should any of the blessings change, to remember I am still blessed in so many ways and that my relationship with God is my greatest blessing.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mornin guys!

It is a chilly morning here in Ga with our lows this morning in the 29 degree range.  I am toasty though in my winter jammies and the flannel robe my sister made me last year.  I love the jammies.  They are like brushed tricot on the inside of the fabric, but satiny on the outside.  They are great for keeping warm in flannel sheets cause when you turn over in the bed you don't make sparks.  LOL.  Without those jammies last night I would have been chilly indeed.
Anyone else getting ready for Thanksgiving?  I am in the way that I am getting ready to decorate for Christmas.  We have Thanksgiving at my mothers house each year, and each year my oldest sister and I go to my moms on "Thanksgiving Eve" and help her cook everything.  Then we spend the night, eat too much, etc.  We have a great time.  Thanksgiving night after all the festivities is when we put up the tree for Christmas.  I love Christmas, but I absolutely balk at stores opening on Thanksgiving or at midnight.  I am also opposed to stores putting out their decorations and other Christmas items in September.  My mother talks of when she was a child there wouldn't be the first decoration or mention of Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving and then it would seem like a winter wonderland.  I am 44 years old and I remember a time when the lighting of the Riches Christmas tree in Atlanta was the official start of the holidays in Ga.  It is sad to see all the commercialism.  I used to love Black Friday shopping, but this is too much.  I personally won't be shopping Black Friday in protest, but I am not so deluded as to think there still won't be people out there.  This is just my personal feeling.   I seem to have gotten off on a tangent.......anyway, We put our tree up on Thanksgiving night with good old fashioned Christmas music playing in the background.  We are usually munching on things leftover from Thanksgiving day and it is great fun.  One thing I am doing this year is not putting any presents under the tree until Christmas eve.  Instead I am putting my Christmas village under the tree. However we will have to keep our pit terrier mix from getting to it cause she chews.  I need to invest in a good baby gate.
So in preparation for Christmas decorating, I am "fall cleaning" the house and getting things organized.  I have the living room and dining room done.  I was a little disappointed yesterday because I have one of those wooden wick candles that is pumpkin pie scented.  I wanted to light it yesterday, but alas the wick has wicked out.  So I got out my liquid potporri pot and put some water in it then set the candle(in its glass) into the water. It heated it up melting the wax and scented the whole house with pumpkin pie.  YUMMMMM!  Since that is working, I am going to do the same thing with some other scented candles I have during the Christmas season. Yay!  So I need to get back to being busy.  Much to do, much to do; cleaning, baking, laundry, etc.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Walnut Pancakes

Apple Walnut Pancakes:

1 1/4 cups self rising flour
1 cup of skim milk or Almond breeze ( I used Almond Breeze)
1 egg white
2 TBS plain non fat yogurt (used as a fat substitute)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together just until well incorporated.  Fry in 1/4 cup measurements until done.  Makes 8 pancakes.

Nutritional info for each pancake: Calories=112, Fat = 3 gm, Carbs=21 gms, Protien=3 gms

The walnuts are great for adding fat but fat with the great omega 3's and protien that butter doesn't supply.  The apples add the sweetness that sugar would, but has more nutritional value.  I served these with sugar free syrup, but I think a light dusting of powdered sugar would be about the same in calories but without the artificial sweeteners, which I am trying to get away from. Hope you enjoy these.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to derail the weight gain train...

Yea.  Here I go again.  All of us here with the exception of Einstein need to lose weight.  Don't let them tell you it doesn't cost more to eat healthy.  They would be lying.  So in this endeavor it is with the knowledge that my grocery bill will go up.  My job is to keep it from going up too much.  Right now I am trying to reduce calories and fat in the items I normally make.  There are some good ways to do this.  I will share some things I have learned over the years of "dieting".
1)  You can reduce some of the fat in your bakes goods by substituting items like fruit /veggie purees or yogurt.  This only works in things like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, cakes, and corn bread.  I have tried to do it with cookies and you end up with cookies like muffins.  I have learned not to substitute all the fat.  I will usually leave a little bit, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of the fat called for in the recipe.  It helps with texture, taste and over all enjoyments of the product you are baking.  Total removal of the fat makes your end product a little tough.  If you are removing some of the fat, make sure you cut the eggs used in your recipe in half as well.  I will use applesauce or pumpkin puree in my quick breads like pumpkin bread.  I use pumpkin puree in chocolate cake. I use zucchini puree in yellow cake.  Corn bread gets yogurt.  Just go by your tastes.
2) Ever heard of the boiling water trick?  Well if you have to get the higher fat versions of ground beef, brown it well then put it in a strainer and pour boiling water over it.  It will remove the majority of the fat and leave you with lean ground beef.  Ta Da!
3)  Try to substitute lower fat alternatives in all of your cooking.  Use chicken breast in place of dark meat chicken, use shoulder roast, pork loin, or other types of lean meats in your recipes.  In addition to that, re trim your meats before cooking.  Other substitutes in cooking would be using skim milk, or leave out the butter when making sauces.  I thicken after everything is together and slowly boiling.  I will add milk to my flour and whisk it all together.  Then pour it into the stew etc that is slowing boiling on the stove.  Turn the heat down, and let it thicken.  If you miss that buttery taste in your pot pies etc, you can use low fat buttermilk instead of regular skim milk.

I am by no means an expert when it comes to eating healthy because I am not consistent.  That being said, throughout the years of dieting and gaining, I have become a semi expert at cooking healthy.  I just don't consistently use it.  Nothing is a good as sure nough unmessed around with home cookin.  Unfortunately that tends to settle on my waist line.  Not good for my wardrobe.  It is the age old question. Which costs more, groceries or clothing.  Hmmmmm everyone must answer that on their own.  So I hope that helps out someone today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank God for good samaritans

A cloudy day today with mild temps in the north Ga area.  We may get some rain ahead of a cold front so I am wanting to get out to the garden this morning and do a bit before it rains.  My wonderful dh and my sons cleaned up the back yard this weekend in prep for wintertime.  I was at work this weekend and so couldn't get to it.  Friday was my grocery shopping trip for the month.  Grocery shopping for a month is a long drawn out process, but well worth it in the end.   Anyway, I am finally finished getting groceries, my final stop being Sams warehouse club.  I am loading my groceries in the car, and to do so I had to remove an insulated bag out of the trunk to put something heavier in.  Weeeellllll, apparently I forgot the bag sitting on the bottom of the buggy.  I drove all the way home (18 miles one way).  I get all the groceries put away and then think "Where is that bag".  I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  That bag had about $50 worth of cold stuff in it.  I cried for a bit cause I figured it was long gone.  Then I took a chance and called Sams to see if someone had turned it in.  THEY DID!  I was so happy, and grateful for someone who did the right thing.  Yeah!  So my wonderful dh drove me down to town again, giving me a break from driving.  I picked it up and came home to put it away.  God bless whoever that was that brought my bag into the store.
Nothing earth shattering on the docket today, except making bread, housekeeping, laundry andhopefully getting in the garden.  Ds has kind of a study guide day today.  He has two tests tomorrow in math and science, plus he needs to finish a history paper on the Vikings.   I have to get the house ready for the holidays as well.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is only 10 days away!  I have done no christmas shopping.  YIKES!  Oh well.  I work better with a deadline.(smile)  So anyway, you guys have a great day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Garden prep for next year.

Every year I make plans in order to get the most from my garden.  This years endeavor is raised beds.  I am not going to put a frame around them ....yet.  First I want to see how they work.  Right now I have converted enough garden for 4 raised beds.  I am hopeful with the raised bed gardening, I can keep the soil premium without a premium price.  I need to still go to the hardware store and get some manure to put in each bed as well as lime.  I have figured this small investment will hopefully pay off big time.  This year I threw away more tomatoes than I canned.  Mainly due to pests and or drought.  No rain would fall for a spell and then lots of rain which then split my tomatoes.  I did get some Roma, but the slicing tomatoes were thrown out.  Broke my heart.  Fortunately the year before was a good year and I put up lots of sauce so I am good for the winter, but I will need a good harvest this next harvest.  Other things I am planning are flowers; mainly marigolds to help with pollination as well as pest control.  Marigolds interplanted with beans or tomatoes are beneficial to them.  Things I should have done, but didn't for whatever reason are.... spraying my fruit trees for fungus or pests, adequate fertilizer for everyone, adequate watering, weeding, etc.  These are all things I try to do, but get behind especially when I am canning so much.  I feel like I didn't can too much this year.  I did freeze a lot of squash, but I wish I had more to put on my shelves.  However I am grateful for what I did get.  I am pleased in the fact that I tried my hand at canning corn this year and was successful.  I tried canning green tomatoes for frying.  The jury is still out on that one in that I haven't opened a jar yet to see how they did.  I will let ya know when I do.  Successes this year were blueberries, peppers, squash, watermelon, lima beans, and roma (I just didn't plant enough of them).  Corn was average, as were green beans.  Loses were, sunflowers, cabbage, snow peas, cauliflower, peaches, and beets.  Navy beans did very well, but like a dope I didn't dry them adequately and so I just had to throw out 5 lbs of them.  Grrrr.  I did can up some of them at harvest, so not a total loss.  I think next year I am just going to can all of them.  That way I make sure they are safe.  It is also easier to open a jar of navy beans and just heat them through rather than soak and cook for a long while before you can eat them.  So anyway, this is what I do each fall and hopefully each spring my evaluation will pay off. Doesn't everyone do this?  (smile)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Man this week has flown!

I tell ya they are right those that say "when you get over the hill you pick up speed".  I can't believe it is Thursday already.  It is the perfect fall day, however, dark clouds with bits of blue sky, temps in the low 40s to mid sixties, and the dark clouds just make the colored leaves pop!
This is my view this morning from the back of my deck.  I love, love, love days like this.  It is suppposed to rain this evening and then turn off cooler again.  On the docket today is bread and granola making and I am hopeful I can get back to sewing.  I worked on a camo jackets for my son yesterday and I would say it is about 1/2 to 2/3rds done.  I hope he likes it.  He's not much of a clothes horse.  Monday Diva came over with her dh and my grandson.  They were about to take him trick or treating.  Here is a pick of the little monster as a little monster.  LOL.
Holding the little monster is the most current Diva.  Little grandson wasn't so sure of this mask until he learned he could put it on and "scare" everyone including the dogs.  Smile.  Disclaimer: Grandson is not really a little monster. He's a cutie pie, but like every toddler or preschooler, he has his moments.  Monday night he was just fun.  It was good to see them.  This is what my grandson really looks like
Look at those blond, cornsilk lockes!  Isn't he the cutest!  I can't believe he just turned three.  It seems only yesterday I was with Diva in the labor room while she brought him into this world.  The foot to the left belongs to my SIL. 
So then Tuesday was homeschooling(as was the rest of the week) and gardening.  I am forming raised beds for part of the garden next year to see how it goes.  I have two finished.  I want to see how they do and if it is good I will make more.  I need to get out there and do more, but that will have to wait until next week.  Yesterday was sewing and church last night.  We had a great time going out to Wendys after church with a large group from the church.  It is a time for the youth to be able to hang out together and the older folks (us) get to talk.  Today is just the baking, maybe sewing, always housekeeping.  Tomorrow I am not sure what it will hold.  But for now I am just going to enjoy this day that the Lord has made.  He does an awesome job with days.  So see everyone on the flip side.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mornin all!

Here I am again with my coffee.  This is becomming a habit. Hmmmm.  Well I am happy to say my coffee has been brought to me by a new (to me) coffee pot procured at the thrift store.  It is a 12 cup Mr Coffee automatic drip coffee pot that looks like it has never been used and I got it for $4!  Good find I think.  I am also trolling for a new lamp shade, but couldn't find one of those.   Thrift stores are awesome places if you know what you are looking for.  My sister has one near her and this past summer when we were "sewing"(wink, wink) we would go shop there.  I don't get to see her much thru the school year because she is a teacher and I work weekends, but over the summer we have a day each week where we would get together.  I have gotten more stuff at that thrift store. I got all of the bedding for my sons(both of them) rooms, a yogurt maker, denim jacket for me (I couldn't have made it that cheap), other clothes for me, glasses, cannisters, jars, baskets, shoes, jeans for the year for both boys,pans, etc.  Let someone else pay the original retail price thank you very much, I will pay the depreciated price.  Thrift sales, yard sales, garage sales, estates sale.  There is an endless supply of ways to get an item on the cheap.  My main way now that I work weekends is thrift stores and of course Ebay.  Not ebay as much, but a little. 
I was gonna sew yesterday, but I forgot I need navy thread.  Hopefully I can get that today.  My youngest is still asleep (funny how teenagers do that).  I ususally wake him up @ 7am, but I am letting him be lazy cause I need to cut out a jacket for him.  One of the draw backs to homeschooling is they are home when you are trying to make christmas gifts.  I am having to get creative, so once I am done here for the day, I will get out the stuff to make his camo jacket.  Christmas is on a big time budget this year with us trying to travel to Florida to see relatives.  I am making items for thier stockings as well.  You know candy goodies and stuff.  The rest of the stocking is going to have things they need like mens gloves, hat, axe body wash(teenagers love that stuff)etc.  So anyway, my day will be busy I assure you.  In fact I am sure I will be busy until after the holidays.  That isn't unusual.  So everyone have a great day!