“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

Weight loss myths & other misc. mumbo jumbo

If you haven’t already read my previous post, you may want to make a trip there before reading this one: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/02/a-combination-of-factors-aka-what-a-lack-of-monitoring-will-do/

Suffice it to say it’s been a good week! My first week back at embracing a healthy (not perfect) lifestyle has rewarded me with a 4.4 lb. weight loss! Yay, Me!! I’ve proven once again that taking care of grandsons, having a work from home job, eating out 2-3 times a week, having a hubby that won’t eat healthy (even though he needs to), having too many sedentary hobbies blah, blah, blah are all EXCUSES! When a person makes up their mind to eat healthy and become more fit – they can! Plain and simple! We want to make dieting so complicated! (I don’t even like using the word “diet” but it’s everywhere go nowadays, so I’ll use it.) That’s why you see so many diet plans out there! Some folks are so convinced that you should go “low carb”. Others think you should go “low fat”. Others say you need to banish all the white from your life, white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc;

As a former Weight Watchers leader I can tell you first hand that the majority of your success will not come from the weight loss plan you are on (I couldn’t really say that when I worked for them); but it will come from your determination to do the work!! How bad do you want it? Let’s just talk about this week: do you want to lose weight bad enough in this next 7 days to make better food choices and to go to the gym and work out each day? Take it one day at a time!! After you have one successful day under your belt (if you are choosing wisely), you will say to yourself, “hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad”. “I think I might be able to do that again tomorrow”. But you have to have a plan! You have to be prepared! Your frig and pantry has to be stocked with good healthy foods. If all you have in the house is cakes, cookies, pies and chips guess what you will eat?

But, I digress…remember the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own – take em or leave em, but I admit I do feel very strongly about them ūüôā

Weight loss myth #1) You can gain weight from diet colas!! I laughed so hard when I first heard some one say “she’s gaining weight because she’s drinking too much diet coke” that I almost wet my pants! Diet coke does not have any calories! If you aren’t consuming calories you aren’t going to gain weight from it! She meant it in the LITERAL SENSE… Let me clarify: Yes, diet colas & the artificial sweeteners in them, can cause you to crave other sweet things, thus you eat those other sweet things and gain weight – that I will agree with. But it’s the other things, not the diet coke per say that is causing the weight gain! That’s why I decided in the new year, to cut back on diet coke and limit myself to one small glass per day. (I really think it helped, because I wasn’t craving refined sugar like I normally do.) Sugar free gum can create the same cravings.

Weight loss myth #2) You won’t lose weight if you are a late night snacker or eat after 7 pm, 8 pm or some other designated time. It has absolutely nothing to do with what time you eat! It has to do with how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning each day. You’ve got to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight – it’s that simple! Thursday night (day seven of my first week) I was eating tortilla chips and Salsa at 9:30 pm. I was hungry for a little snack before bed (I went to bed at 10 pm). The scale still said I’d lost 4.4 at 6:30 am Friday morning. What’s up with that? Oh, and by the way, those were FULL FAT corn chips (not baked, or fat free)…for those of you who think everything needs to be fat free or low fat. (It’s good to watch your fat intake, but your body needs some fat for energy and other body functions).

Weight loss myth #3) Muscle weighs more than fat. Not true! While at the gym this morning I had this conversation with my friend, Maria. We were working out on the weights and she had been told and was worried about “bulking up”. Don’t take it from me, instead hear it from a trainer that works for Weight Watchers: “Muscle does not weigh more than fat, any more than lead weighs more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more. That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.

If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you will also experience an increase in lean body mass and loss of body fat. But the results on the scale will probably be more dramatic.” William R. Sukala M.S. C.S.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching. That’s not my intention. But, that being said, the best job I ever had that I enjoyed the most was working for Weight Watchers! After losing 55 lbs on their program I was a believer! Don’t misunderstand me! I’m not promoting Weight Watchers in this blog although it is a good program, it’s not for everyone. And their “points system” can be highly misunderstood and misinterpreted! It’s not all about points! It’s about making healthy, wise choices.

Some of the healthy habits that I developed as a result of being a WW leader were to choose 1) whole wheat bread over white bread 2) brown rice over white rice 3) limit my intake of saturated fats 4) drinks 4-5 16 oz bottles of water per day 5) eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes 6) hold myself accountable by writing down everything I put in my mouth 7) limit my intake of red meat BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

There are so many more that come to mind but of those listed when I “backslid” during the holidays the only thing I was still doing faithfully was drinking plenty of water! LOL

So, in closing I’d like to leave you with a healthy meat sauce recipe I made yesterday. I was in the mood for some pasta and garlic toast and so here’s what I made:

Meat Sauce:

Brown one pound of ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef in skillet. Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to meat. IMG_20150109_105006212

Dice about 1/2 an onion and add it to skillet as well, continuing to saute with meat. (I always season my meat, but that’s just personal preference). IMG_20150109_105350499

While pasta is cooking in a separate pot, I add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture in skillet. I season with some sweet basil, oregano, garlic powder etc; You can use, fresh or dried. Turn heat to low and & cover. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes so all your flavors will blend together. The shredded carrots give you a serving of vegetables and sweetens your sauce without using sugar. IMG_20150109_111259916

I chose whole wheat Ziti for the pasta. Remember, portion control is crucial! Look up the portion size, calories or points you can have prior to serving yourself! I made a nice fresh lettuce salad to go with my pasta & meat sauce and chose fat free Ranch dressing for my salad. If pasta and meat sauce is a RED LIGHT food for you, it’s better not to fix it at all!! Red Light means you can’t exercise portion control!! And, yes – I made garlic toast with REAL white french bread and used 1 T. of Land o Lakes light butter. I season my garlic toast with garlic powder, garlic salt and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese. I only made myself one slice therefore I wasn’t tempted to eat more. (Hubby had 5 slices made with REAL BUTTER!!)

I have a very healthy appetite and can put away a lot of food especially Italian food! So, I was quite proud of myself for having measured out my pasta and meat sauce and adding the salad and 1 slice of garlic toast. I felt empowered and satisfied! That is key! It’s not about deprivation or starvation and if you are hungry or feeling deprived you are doing something wrong.

I am entering a new week with new hope and determination and trying to stay focused on treating myself as a priority. That’s also why I have to make it to the gym first thing in the morning because the rest of the day I am sitting on the floor playing with this little one IMG_20150106_102504002

or in the evening sitting at the sewing machine working on cord covers, pillow shams and quilts…Baby Zoo animals PQ closeup

IMG_20141128_172011654_HDR

IMG_20150101_202949552

Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

An old wive’s tale….

My now deceased mother-in-law used to say that “whatever you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long”. Well, I think about that every Jan. 1 and wonder if I’ve done what I want to be doing all year long. Hmmmmm…since moving to Texas I also have heard that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s day. Blecckkk!! I don’t like black eyed peas and not being the superstitious type it’s gonna take more than the promise of good luck to get me to eat them! But, I digress…

So, let’s see what did I do today? Well, I made my bed. That’s a good habit to have all year long, I guess. I washed my face and brushed my teeth more than once so I guess that’s another good thing I can manage all year long. Hubby started a new novel today. He loves to read and I guess that’s not a bad thing either. Hmmmm…let’s see, BUT did I do anything of real significance or importance, that is the question…Well, I began my day with devotions; talking to the Lord aka praying, and reading some scriptures – I could definitely get better at that and make sure that it is not a neglected task this year!!

I had a very restless night and didn’t sleep well, therefore I slept in this morning not waking up until about 8:30 (having only fallen asleep at 4:30 am). Ugh! That is not something I want to continue in the New year! I didn’t eat “healthy” today, but plan to the rest of the year!! I didn’t exercise today, but plan to the rest of the year. So, I guess if the old wive’s tale is true I am going to have challenges in the “healthy lifestyle” area this year. That being said, I do have a plan to meet my girlfriend at the gym first thing in the morning and I do also plan to start tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) again!!

I did quite a bit of sewing today (cord covers, pillow shams and quilts). Since, I love to sew, that would be something that I would love to continue all year long. I also made a trip to the fabric store today to take advantage of their awesome New Year’s Day sale. Taking advantage of sale prices can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It rained all day today. Does that mean it’s going to rain all year long? Hope not. Hubby napped most of the afternoon. Oops!! Not so sure about that one! But, he does have a business appointment first thing Monday morning which means he will be writing some business and making some money! A good way to start the New year.

So, as I continued to ponder what Granny used to say about today, I took it to the next level. Did I say a kind word or kiss my hubby? Yep, many times! Did I show kindness to a stranger? Yep, at the fabric store! Did I speak kind things to myself? Not easy, but yep I did. How about friends and loved ones besides hubby? Did I tell or show them that I care in some way? Yes, (primarily via text) but that counts nowadays, doesn’t it?

Those are all things that I definitely want to continue all year long. I also want to add blogging to my year long “to do” list. I want to be more consistent with posting a blog at least once a week (I admire those that can blog every day) – not this girl, not gonna happen; but once a week, I think I can do that. So, as I end this first day of 2015 – I look forward to what lies ahead and appreciate the simple things in life.

Stay tuned and I will be posting in a few days the little “excursion” hubby and I just returned from. Happy New Year, friends!

A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

Miscellaneous musings & memories

Some days this month it has been totally awesome and joyful and at other times it has been extremely stressful, but suffice it to say – I’ve not found it within my power to post anything of importance or anything I felt anyone would be interested in reading about! That hasn’t changed!! But, I’ve decided to re-trace my November steps and just share some miscellaneous thoughts, meanderings, activities and memories (in no particular order)!! I just hope I don’t bore you to tears! LOL

Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings we have had in several years. We were blessed to have four of our seven adult children present. Their spouses & kids were also present and I had the pleasure & responsibility of doing all the cooking!

After we had pigged out!

After we had pigged out!

Preparing for an event like this takes a zillion times longer than actually eating what’s been prepared! Isn’t that a funny realization that many of us have had? Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures when the table was set and we had just sat down to eat…I remembered when we were sitting around visiting with dirty plates in front of us! IMG_20141127_134621665_HDR

We have a large dining room so there was plenty of room for our large dining table as well as another 6 ft table and card table. This is not my hubby’s comfort zone, preferring small gatherings to large ones and he really relishes his solitude. He was a good sport about it all, considering the holidays are difficult for us both. We both lost our dads in December many years ago, so December is still quite challenging emotionally for us and as Thanksgiving and holiday traffic and shopping start approaching we have a tendency to get a little “funky, sad” feeling. He’s having a more difficult time this year than I am because we lost his mother and brother last year.

We had some pretty stressful days taking care of the two grandsons this month. Once they would leave in the evening, we would chat about it and try to figure out what was making it so stressful for us. I think the conclusion we came to ..was NOT that it was taking care of either ONE, Kash, the 3 yr. old, or Jackson, the 9 mo. old….but the combination of taking care of BOTH. You see, now, in the last couple weeks, Jackson has become much more active. He has gone from the famous “commando or crab crawl” to the normal “on all four” crawl to pulling himself up on the furniture and trying to walk! Adventuresome jackson 5

One evening when we were out at Applebee’s eating a greasy burger (great for a stressful day…especially if french fries are included! LOL) I was reminiscing as to why taking care of these two very active boys was so stressful for me. I realized that #1) when my now 45 yr. old son was a little tyke he was very laid back. He would play for hours and entertain himself with his Fischer Price little people and his Matchbox cars! I didn’t have to sit on the floor and play with him as much as I find myself doing nowadays with grandsons! #2) I only had ONE little boy so when he did require my attention – he got ALL of it. I feel quite torn sometimes when I take care of Kash and Jackson because I have to watch Jackson like a hawk, and thus feel like I’m neglecting Kash!! Adventuresome Jackson

Here’s both boys on a trip to the park/playground…Dble stroller close up

I have so much fun with the boys, but some days I feel like I just can’t do enough and I’m emotionally exhausted and drained when they leave!! Kash and I have awesome conversations and talk non-stop about everything! He’s so smart and so curious about everything! Jackson is such a joy to watch when he “explores” new territory all over the house and observes Kash. They both love the other even though they share NO BLOOD relation and light up like Christmas trees when the other shows up! I think the reason Jackson is coming on so quickly is because he watches everything that Kash does!

My evenings all month have been spent sewing. I was busy finishing up my grandaughter, Hannah’s quilt for her 17th birthday. Hannah's quilt finished

Hannah's quilt back

She & I were happy with the way it turned out and it will keep her very warm during these chilly Texas nights. She was the last of her siblings (5) to get a quilt from Maw Maw. I monogrammed her name on it and backed it in the zebra print.

I had several custom orders for baby quilts this month also that I had to work on and get shipped out. Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up
This one has been a hot seller. I usually make these little pillow quilts 30″ x 36″ but I had a request to make a 40″ X 48″ for someone. This is a close up. Check out my listing on eBay @

Another baby quilt I made this month was made of flannel…IMG_20141122_161706325 in a CHUBBY BLUE OWL PRINT. Have you noticed how popular OWLS are? I collected owls before owls were popular back in the 70’s. Most of them I have since gotten rid of, but at one time I think I had over 200 owls in my house!

A sweet friend from church had her second baby girl this month and so I also made her an adorable “girly girl” pillow quilt…IMG_20141115_221447558 This one is my favorite! It has machine embroidered rosebuds on it and is very feminine, don’t you think? You can also check me out on Etsy @

My cord covers were actually more popular than my quilts this month, so when I wasn’t working on quilts, I was making and shipping out cord covers. IMG_20141128_172011654_HDR

The holidays really snuck up on me this year!! I had intentions to list a lot more Christmas items on both Etsy and Ebay …some that I had made too late last year to list 20141126_143758 like these cute quilted pillow shams!

I like changing out all my stuff for the holidays. I take down a lot of the knicknacks and pictures I have up throughout the year and replace with Christmas candles, knicknacks etc; Unfortunately, due to a little varmint that crawls everywhere and pulls himself up on everything, we won’t be putting a big tree up this year! Instead, I made several of these adorable ribbon trees and sold a ton of them to my realtor, daughter for her clients. IMG_20141119_230215820_HDR

IMG_20141123_083520858

These ribbon trees are a lot of fun to make and very relaxing to work on in the evening after a long day with the boys. My daughter (Kash’s mommy) made a job change 6 weeks ago and so now Kash is with me from 7:30 til 5:30, while my daughter-in-law, Ava (Jackson’s mommy) has had to stay at the school later each day for tutoring and working extra before the holiday break. It definitely makes for a long day. I’m thankful for nap times!

When I was reminiscing (I do that a lot, especially during the holidays) I was remembering the BIG WHEEL, my son used to entertain himself with outside when he was little. I think he had two or three of them, before he had his first bike, because he wore them out cruising around the neighborhood!! Do you remember these?
bigwheel_small

Do they still make them? I know Kash doesn’t really like pedaling anything!! He has a battery operated four wheeler at home that all he has to do is push the gas pedal on. It makes pushing the little razor scooter that I bought him seem like too much work!! LOL He’s also inherited his older brother’s bike that he rides when he is at Maw Maw’s house, but that’s also WORK for him!! LOL

My baby girl & her hubby arrived from Wichita Falls, TX on Tuesday evening to spend a quick holiday with us. They left early Friday morning. Tanya always has great ideas for some quality time spent with family. Before arriving she had texted her sister, niece and I to see if we were interested in her signing us up for a Painting class Wed. evening prior to Thanksgiving here in our town. She goes to one in her home town and has really enjoyed it. Being the creative types that we are – we were all game for a fun 2 hr “girl get-together”. 2014112695210642_2

I don’t know if the reason she suggested it was because the “boys” were going fishing 2014112795072656 but regardless, a great time was had by all!!

2014112695205910

We didn’t enjoy the loud music they played thru the entire class…and for Tanya and I, at least, it would have been much more peaceful & relaxing without the music. She really wants us all to attend her class in her town now, because in her opinion the comparison would be glaring. We kept a positive attitude though, and didn’t gripe or complain until we got in the car!! LOL Still just getting together with both my girls and my granddaughter was a nice way to spend a pre-Thanksgiving.

The boys were happy to enjoy a pot of stew I’d prepared and left on the stove when they returned from a chilly night of fishing! It’s a good thing, because the one fish you see in the picture was their only catch – about a 5 lb. Channel Cat. (catfish).

I also spent some time this month re-organizing my thoughts on my “little sewing business” and trying to figure out ways I could market/promote myself to increase my sales. I haven’t been on Facebook for 2-3 years, but realized that I needed more Social Media exposure if my business was going to grow. It’s the future. So, while my daughter was in town she helped me get my business page set up for Custom Creations. My page is not complete but it’s a start and by the first of the year I hope to have it completed.

Rob & Tanya decided to have Christmas while they were here with their niece & nephews and so after Thanksgiving dinner was all cleaned up the kids got to open presents! IMG_20141127_151309193 This is the only picture I took (someone else was taking all the pictures) of Kash sitting in his little Ninja Turtle beanbag chair. Uncle Rob and Auntie Tanya outdid themselves and spoiled their niece and nephews to the MAX! Uncle Rob went out (all on his own) and bought his niece, Hannah a Northface jacket! Wow! Was she ever surprised!

Most of our family will be all spread out over Christmas and it will be impossible to get together, so it was nice to enjoy this little gift opening session with the kids. Paw Paw and I will be going away the week between Christmas and New Years just for some quiet time and reflection. We are looking forward to it and know that it will be just what the doctored ordered. 2014112795122147 Here he is with my two girls. I’m thankful that they love and appreciate their step-dad.

A bird’s eye view of Wichita Falls, Tx

I am currently grandkitty sitting in Wichita Falls, Tx while my daughter and son-in-law enjoy a little downtime at their cabin in the New Mexico mountains.

IMG_20141009_171637597

Samantha is such a sweet girl and no trouble to take care of. She sleeps most of the day and entertains herself a lot, but when she wants to be brushed, given a treat etc; she meows sweetly until I comply.

Hubby and I are enjoying the break from taking care of grandsons and have been pretty lazy while here. While he’s been watching Fox News I’ve been taking advantage of not being chained to my sewing machine and enjoying
some other activities that I’ve not had time for. I’ve updated my eBay page http://www.ebay.com/usr/bittygirl51, updated my Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/shop/LindasLikes?ref=hdr_shop_menu, viewed some of the Cratsy classes I’ve signed up for http://www.craftsy.com/quilting?_ct=wberqbdql-sqjuweho&_ctp=quilting and spent some time practicing hand embroidery stitches for the Crazy Quilt that I plan to make for myself.

In addition to the above I’ve enjoyed exploring the neighborhood here…IMG_20141009_090150982

going for morning walks…
IMG_20141010_075226813

There are some beautiful homes in the neighborhood!! The first morning I walked I was worried I’d get lost so after I had walked for about 30 min. I started my GPS on my phone to find my way back home…thinking that I would still get my 1 hour walk in…LOL..NADA! I must have walked in a complete circle because I was just around the corner from the house and was home in about 5 minutes!!

IMG_20141009_090145558

So the next day I went the opposite direction…didn’t turn as many times…hoping that I would get farther away from the house…(I like to walk at least 3 miles or an hour) and I waited until I had walked about 40 min. before I turned my GPS on…

IMG_20141010_074349278

and I was still only 8 minutes away from the house and had only walked 2.3 miles! Geez! But I saw a ton of geese at the park..and of course there were plenty of signs of the season..

IMG_20141010_074914862

After my walk yesterday, hubby and I went out and about…we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, checked out an Antique Mall in a town about 15 miles from here http://www.antiquemalls.com/stores/13435.aspx

IMG_20141010_100942228

Great place! Off the beaten path and reasonable prices! Then we went to Hobby Lobby so I could pick up some fabric and a few craft supplies while hubby browsed in Hastings. Since we’d had a Cracker Barrel breakfast we decided to go the the movie and then eat a late lunch…so we went to the 12:40 matinee of “The Judge”…I highly recommend. It was right up my alley. I love “dysfunctional family” “relationship” type movies..and it was excellent.

We made a stop back at the house to check on kitty and then went to Red Lobster for dinner. Two more stops and Hancock’s and Michael’s and we back at the house in plenty of time to watch Shark Tank. Love that show!

Today it’s off to do a little more antiquing and out for a burger…

I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday. ¬†My birthday was back in January. ¬†But, I am 63. ¬†And, I am a “young” 63. ¬†I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart. ¬†My friends are usually younger than me. ¬†Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me! ¬†My mindset is not that of someone who is 63! ¬†As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!! ¬†I don’t understand that! ¬†When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am. ¬†I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen! ¬†Nope, not this girl! ¬†I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”. ¬†Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare. ¬†In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately! ¬†The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy. ¬†So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt ¬† (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here. ¬†I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here. ¬†We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats! ¬†It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store. ¬†On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms. ¬†I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.” ¬†Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any. ¬†Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing. ¬†He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?” ¬†We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also. ¬†Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”. ¬†Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go. ¬†So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game. ¬†(It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris. ¬†Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed! ¬†We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them! ¬†We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!! ¬†But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved! ¬†These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving. ¬†Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week! ¬†We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon. ¬†I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back. ¬†Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”. ¬†So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch. ¬†When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening. ¬†Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health! ¬†LOL ¬†But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good. ¬†So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit. ¬†I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

IMG_20140806_082749963

 

 

 

Do you really think I’m that stupid?

It’s no secret that I try to earn additional income to supplement my SSI by sewing. I sew mostly home decor and quilts. I’m not much on sewing clothing. I market my custom creations on e-Bay, Etsy, and to my friends and acquaintances here locally as well.

Well, recently my hubby sold his other vehicle on Craig’s List. It was sold within 6 hours of listing it! We had also helped his sister list a vehicle and a boat this past year on there and she sold it quickly and got what she wanted for it! In the past, I had failed miserably at trying to sell stuff on there. I offered quilting classes, handmade cord covers, collectables and memorabilia, just to name a few with absolutely no luck whatsoever!

After the success my husband experienced with selling his vehicle, I thought I’d give it one more college try!! I listed more than a dozen pictures of my adorable pillow quilts:
Pink + zebra stripe pillow quilt front 2

and said that I took “Custom orders” in whatever fabric or designed requested. The price was $30 and that payment had to be made thru Pay Pal prior to quilt being made. Pick up or Delivery, but delivery charge was $7.00 anywhere in the US. I also listed my mobile phone number and stated that they could call or text me their requests.

So, long story – short, that was 4 days ago. I have gotten two texts from the same person (out of state area code)…

Aug. 12: “Custom, ONE OF A KIND-Baby Quilts!! – $30, Still up for sale?”

(I was immediately suspicious)…but, I replied, “Yes, These are custom orders. What would you like?”

August 13th: “I’ll pay with Money Order & U’ll receive in 4days. So text me your name and address. I’m out of town for a job so my Assistant will mail your payment & Pickup will be after U receive & cash the MO. Ted”

Yeah, right!! Do you really think I’m that stupid? Scammer, ya think? Or if you are a rapist or ax murderer, do you really think I’m gonna give you my name and address??

So, I text back one more time…”Call me to place your order ie; color, fabric etc;”

I’ve heard nothing more out of them…hmmmm…what’s up with that? And what’s up with Craig’s List? I can’t sell anything on there!! All I get is this type of inquiry.

There’s more I could say on the subject, but I’d really like to hear your take on this.
Let me know what you think.

No matter where I roam, there’s no place like home!!

And that is as it should be! ¬†Your home should be a sanctuary, a place where you can feel relaxed, calm, loved, safe etc; ¬†There was a time in my life when I didn’t feel that way when I went home. ¬†In fact, whether I was at work, or somewhere else I often dreaded going home. ¬†That has not been the case for a very long time and I’m thankful for that!! But, I digress…

I just thought that was such an appropriate title for my post, since I love going on vacation but also love returning home. ¬†What is it about vacations? ¬†You always get so excited about going and look so forward to it, but by the time it’s over, you look so forward to getting home!??

Compliments of my youngest daughter and her husband, Rob, hubby and I journeyed to Ruidoso, NM for a few days of relaxation for our 16th wedding anniversary. ¬†The view NM 073014It’s a long trip from our house, so we broke it up into two days. ¬†We stopped the first night just 70 miles away from our destination in Roswell, NM. ¬†Remember, the UFO sighting in 1947?¬†http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record.html¬† I wanted to be sure I got a little exercise while on this trip, so I walked around the parking lot of the motel a few times (since the walking trail/park was already closed for the day) and then hubby and I drove over to Whataburger for a quick supper. ¬†We were tired from all the driving.

We slept late and arrived in Ruidoso about 11 am, but not before going past a serious car/truck accident with survivors sitting on the edge of the road. ¬†It was awful and if everyone survived what we saw, it was an absolute miracle! ¬†We said a prayer as we were directed around the crash site and counted our blessings for sleeping late. ¬†Our goal our first day was to pick up some groceries to take to the cabin with us and get settled in. ¬†We did just that! ¬†Thank God for Walmart! LOL ¬†While hubby was unpacking the car, I made us each a sandwich for our anniversary lunch! ¬†Ahhh…the simple pleasures of life. ¬†I had been to the cabin once before with my daughter, but this was Jerry’s first trip. ¬†I overdid it on my first day the last time I went and got pretty sick from the higher altitude, so we were determined to take it easy and not do too much our first day – especially, since my hubby isn’t the walking picture of health and fitness! Ha!

Here’s Jerry eating his sandwich and gazing out the kitchen window of my daughter & son-in-law’s modest mountain cabin. ¬†The view was amazing, and Jerry loved seeing all the wildlife.Jerry - Cabin 072914We spent some down time just enjoying the relaxing environment, the peace and quiet and communing with our Creator. ¬†It was awesome! ¬†Our life at home can get quite hectic with taking care of grandbabies so we also seized the opportunity to “re-connect” as a couple. ¬†No cable, no high speed internet etc; It was great!

That evening after we felt refreshed and rejuvinated we went to Cattle Baron Steakhouse in town at the bottom of the mountain to enjoy an Anniversary dinner. ¬†They have a phenomenal salad bar. ¬†I had been there before with my daughter (but because of overdoing it) had to get a doggie bag and leave early. ¬†This time was much more positive and I even enjoyed what I wouldn’t normally eat (Rib Eye steak!). ¬†I had the waitress take a picture of us, but if I showed you, you wouldn’t believe we were having a good time and that this post was all a lie!! ¬†I look like I had been sucking on lemons all day! ¬†OMG! ¬†Terrible picture!! ¬†In fact, if you saw it – you would ask, “16 years huh? Are you sure you are gonna make it to 17?”

Anyway, we capped off the night with watching a movie in the cabin. ¬†What we found most humorous was most mornings we were up early (5:30 or 6:00 am), but that was OUR TIME! New Mexico time was an hour earlier…so that meant it was only 4:30 am!! ¬†None of the stores, shops etc; open until 10 am!! ¬†Our lifestyle at home starts early too, and so by 11 am we are ready for lunch & a nap and the stores were just getting started! ¬†LOL. ¬†Our goal the second day was to start looking for some antique stores to peruse. ¬†We had looked them up ahead of time and we found a list of five of them. ¬†Well, we found TWO! ¬†The first one wasn’t anything to write home about, but this is the second one we found…NM Antique store 2014My husband “collects” Gillette double edged safety razors. ¬†He really doesn’t collect them, but if he can find a great buy on one, he will re-sell it on e-Bay. ¬†I on the other hand, just love looking at junk! ¬†LOL ¬†It is such a trip down memory lane for me when I go thru Antique stores and see old radio flyer wagons, or an old toy box that looks just like one I used to have! ¬†I love looking at all the “vintage” stuff. ¬†I have acquired a few possessions when we’ve gone but mostly it is just for the “sport”. ¬†Antiquing 2014 quiltI wish I could have opened this up so you could really see it. It is a KING SIZE Texas star quilt that is completely hand quilted!! ¬†It was amazing and in excellent condition! ¬†

I loved the “vintage” fabrics used in this “log cabin” pattern.Antiquing 2014 log cabin quiltAlthough I had spend lots of time going through all the shops and boutiques with my daughter on the last trip to Ruidoso, my hubby was a good sport and went with me this time while I looked at all the cute (overly priced) clothing. ¬†I had encouraged him to consider getting a massage while we were away and low and behold we discovered a place where an hour long massage was only $69. ¬†Well worth it if they were any good. ¬†And they were!! While hubby was enjoying his massage I continued shopping. ¬†:-{ Sad face….all I found was a t-shirt! I was looking for a church skirt and even tried a few on – but no luck!

We had lunch that day at Schlotzky’s and it was delicious! ¬†They have a Schlotzky’s, TCBY and Cinnabon all under one roof….OMG!! The smell of Cinnabon was amazing! ¬†I resisted because I am still trying to watch my diet. ¬†Oh, before going to town – I almost forgot, I did go for a 1 mile walk on the trail nearby…Hiking trail NM 073014At the cabin we were at 7000 feet altitude, and in our home town we are only at 371 ft altitude, so to say it was an adjustment for us would be an understatement. ¬†You can get used to it, but having 20% less oxygen can make a big difference when you are overweight and out of shape!

That night we sat on the front porch of the cabin…Cabin - front yard 072914This was our view from the front porch. ¬†We popped some popcorn and watched a movie. ¬†Once again, relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.

While sitting on the porch that evening we discussed leaving a day early. ¬†Not because we weren’t having fun but because there wasn’t a lot for us to do or see. ¬†We had planned to go to Ruidoso Downs and watch the horse races but found out they were only open on the weekend. We had planned to do more antiquing but when we discovered only two local shops of five open we knew that would involve some driving. ¬†We discussed driving home and making an overnight stop in Abilene on the way back for some Antiquing. ¬†When we told my daughter and son-in-law (via text) that we were considering leaving early they suggested we come their way to Wichita Falls, Tx thus avoiding another night in a motel and checking out the Antique stores in Lubbock on the way. ¬†We decided on Lubbock and Wichita Falls instead of Abilene.

So, the next day we got up, packed, cleaned up the cabin ¬†Porch sweep cabin 073014and headed to my daughter and son-in-law’s home in Wichita Falls, TX.

It was probably the best part of the trip! They have a beautiful, relaxing home Tanya's living room 073114
We didn’t arrive until 7 pm and were in bed by 10 pm after enjoying some beef brisket sandwiches and a brief visit. We hung around and enjoyed Tanya and Rob’s company until after lunch the next day and then drove the 5 1/2 hours home.

We had all day Saturday to unpack, take care of any business that came in while we were away and rest up for a full Sunday of Apostolic praise, worship and word.

Then bright and early Monday morning the four grandsons arrived and it was back to work for Maw Maw and Paw Paw with only weekends to do as we please. Since we returned home, hubby has been battling some health issues, I’ve been trying to get walks and workouts in each morning before the boys arrive (threw my back out in the process), and been sewing feverishly on a T-shirt quilt that has to be delivered by Labor Day.

Been crazy busy (this post has been a “draft” for two weeks!!)..

Scrapbooking, recipes & more!

Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have. ¬†I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday). ¬†But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally. ¬†I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter). ¬†Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.

If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well. ¬†That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….Pink & Green PQ closeupand in July so far, I’ve sold 7!! ¬†I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy! ¬†That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with. ¬†But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.

A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking.  She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any.  We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared.  I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done.  I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more Рand we still barely put a dent in it!  Theresa scrapbookingI have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!

I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad. ¬†Yum! ¬†Linda Scrapbooking 2I love the creative endeavors!! ¬†I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm. ¬†I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred! ¬†Here’s a sample of my work: ¬†Christian's graduationAnother:

 

Ethan & Kashand another…..

Hannah's scrapbook pageIf you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren. ¬†Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren. ¬†Jackson's scrapbook page 2I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”. ¬†If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!! ¬†Jackson scrapbook pageTheresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way. ¬†We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc; ¬†My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way. ¬†She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums. ¬†It just personal preference. ¬†The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.

So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot.   But, enough about scrapbooking!  

So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”. ¬†Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor. ¬†There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking. ¬†We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale. ¬†I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot. ¬†It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.) ¬†I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:

MEATBALL MINESTRONE

Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot). ¬†Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs. ¬†(Melon ball size) ¬†I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison. ¬†(lean and delicious!) ¬†Season how you prefer. ¬†I used Montreal Steak Seasoning. ¬†Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot. ¬†Just get a good sear on them in the skillet. ¬†If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):

Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).

I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.

I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup. ¬†I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc; ¬† This again is about personal preference. ¬†Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it. ¬†Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers. ¬†This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time. ¬†The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta!¬† I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles. ¬†If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart. ¬†Don’t like overcooked pasta!!

About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough. ¬†So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers. ¬†At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving. ¬†I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based. ¬†

And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!! ¬†My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away. ¬†She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling) ¬†LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners. ¬†I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around. ¬†My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together. ¬†The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning. ¬†It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling. ¬†Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me. ¬†I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning. ¬†First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged. ¬†I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t ¬†help matters. ¬†4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby! ¬†I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here! ¬†When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!

In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:  

WW Cake

For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points

24 cupcakes = 2 points each

Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:

Cake mix (your choice)

I can of diet soda (your choice)

2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.

POPULAR COMBOS:

Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist

Banana cake mix with diet root beer

Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up

Chocolate cake mix with diet coke

Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale

Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew

Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda

Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero

Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist

White cake mix with diet peach

Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red

Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer

Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke

Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke

Marble cake mix with diet cream soda

White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero

Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper

Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt

Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above. ¬†I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value). ¬†Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.

I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE.  (No more points added.)

Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.

Previous Older Entries

Follow dancingthruyears on WordPress.com