“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

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Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

Sometimes, we just don’t want to listen!!

As many of you already know, I am a big proponent of healthy eating and living. ¬†That doesn’t mean that I always DO what I support and believe in! ¬†LOL ¬†But, I TRY. ¬†I don’t try to force “my way” on others…knowing that I can only change one person (that being ME)…that others have to find their own way and don’t need to hear me harping on them. ¬†(My hubby would be the first that comes to mind).

Many of you also know that I was once a Weight Watchers leader! ¬†I lead large and small meetings alike throughout E. Texas for five years and LOVED my job!! ¬†One of the things I used to say to my members at my meetings was “Your body talks to you if you will listen”…

See the IF in that sentence? ¬†IF you will listen. ¬†Unfortunately, many of us (including myself sometimes), JUST DON’T WANT TO LISTEN!!!

I often compare our bodies to an automobile. ¬†Our bodies require care and maintenance just like our cars do. ¬†Our cars run more efficiently when we take better care of them. ¬†If you’ve been driving a clunker your entire life, you may not even be aware of how bad it is, until you start driving a newer car. ¬†But once you trade in that clunker for something nicer …OMG!! You realize what you’ve been missing!! Our bodies work much the same!! ¬†When you are unhealthy and overweight, you get used to being unhealthy and overweight…feeling crappy is your “normal”. ¬†But, once you start trying to change your ways and eat differently and exercise regularly (if you stick with it for more than a day or two), you will begin to notice how much more efficiently your body works and how much better you feel.

That’s where the listening comes into play! ¬†Got gas? ¬†That’s your body talking to you! ¬†Got a headache? ¬†Uh huh – that’s your body speaking up! ¬†Indigestion? ¬†Uh oh – you might have eaten something you shouldn’t have! ¬†How about stiff achy joints? ¬†Either you worked out too much, or you slacked off and stiffened up in the process!!

Now, I’m not trying to say there aren’t medical reasons for some of your maladies or that you may have a true medical condition that might need to be addressed. ¬†But, many times our body will speak very loudly and clearly and all we have to do is change up what we are doing to feel better. ¬†We don’t want it to be that simple because then we have no excuse to not do something about it!! ¬†We often want the doctor to say we have a thyroid problem or that our metabolism is out of whack! ¬†It’s easier and takes less work to just pop a pill.

When I first joined Weight Watchers back in 2006 I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. I had acid reflux, GERD, high blood pressure…was menopausal and miserable. ¬†All my symptoms went away as I began to live and eat a healthier way. ¬†When I would have a bad day or week (and “fall off the wagon”), my body would speak to me loud and clear! ¬†I would hear, “Linda, I know you love onion rings, but you shouldn’t have eaten them.” ¬†or when I would weigh – the scale would speak to me!! It would say things like, “Linda, I know you love cake & cookies, but you knew when you ate them this week that my number was going to be higher!” ¬†Or, after skipping two of my walks and one trip to the gym my body would ache all over when I would try to get back to it. ¬†It was screaming “See, how I stiffen up when you neglect me?” ¬†Just like our cars – our bodies need some loving attention. ¬†And when they don’t get it they resist moving!!

So, I guess what got me off on this tangent this week, was the fact that as a Lifetime member of WW, I lost 55 lbs. ¬†You’ll recall tho that in the previous paragraph I said I was 40 lbs. heavier in 2006. ¬†That’s because I still have 15 lbs to lose to get to my lifetime goal weight again! ¬†I quit doing what my body needed me to do. ¬†So, I’ve been back at it for about 2 months now and have good and bad days. ¬†But, I’m listening. ¬†It was worse – I’m down 8 lbs since I began. ¬†Key for me is to LISTEN! ¬†But, not just listen – learn from it! ¬†Just knowing that greasy french fries are bad for you, may not be enough! ¬†Go ahead, eat them! ¬†If you’ve been eating healthy and avoiding them, eat them one time – all of them. ¬†I guarantee, your body will speak to you loud and clear!! ¬†I was up all night one night with indigestion after eating an order of greasy french fries!! I learned from it!! I won’t eat them again!!

All that being said – my weigh in this week wasn’t great! ¬†I gained 1 lb. ¬†So, it’s back to tracking consistently, exercising consistently, being accountable for what I’m doing and planning my eating better. ¬†To jump start my new week I made a revised version of WW 0 Point soup. This makes a large soup kettle full for all week. ¬†I call it:

PIG OUT SOUP

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup diced onions

8 sm. cloves of garlic

3 quarts of chicken broth

8 cups chopped cabbage

4 cups fresh spinach

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 t. dried basil

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a large soup kettle with non-stick cooking spray. ¬†Heat. Saute’ the carrot, onion and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min. ¬†Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, seasonings and bring to boil. ¬†Reduce heat, simmer covered until carrots & cabbage is tender.

There are no WW points in all these fresh vegetables.  Just remember, if you add meat, potatoes, corn, peas etc; it is no longer a PIG OUT soup!  Now, you have to count and track every BLT (bite, lick or taste), but if you eat it like this Рyou can pig out and lose weight!!

Ah, the joy of victory!

 

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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.

If all else fails, call Betty Crocker!

I know I’ve been AWOL for quite awhile, but I haven’t been idle. Anyone who knows me, knows I struggle to be “still”. (My laid back hubby thinks anyone who struggles to be still has ADHD. I don’t buy it.) Blogging just hasn’t been high on my priority list. I’m more “addicted” to quilting right now then I am to blogging, I guess. I’ve been a real busy beaver with my sewing this past month…

1st Sat. Fellowship

1st Sat. Fellowship

Although Granny has passed and I no longer have the responsibility of her care, I am still taking care of my 2 yr. old grandson, Kash.

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

This week it’s been kinda quiet, because Kash has been with his daddy all week. He returns to my house tomorrow. So, I’ve tried to take advantage of the time he’s away by working on the quilts I’m making for Christmas presents…

Country Lace

Country Lace


and catching up on the “domestic arts”.

That’s what got me to thinking about Betty Crocker and how the world has changed in the past 30 years. OMG!! How life has changed!! I can say, without a doubt that one way blogging has benefited me is by “restoring my faith in mankind” or more specifically in our “young women”. Prior to blogging, my experience with the young women around me was one of disappointment. Most (not all) of them were not good housekeepers, didn’t know how to cook or sew and if they didn’t work outside the home, were generally pretty lazy!! I know how that sounds and I’m not judging just making an observation. I have always been very “domestic” and loved cooking, cleaning, taking care of a home and would go as far as to say, I’m still very old fashioned. My daughters are domestic and love the same, but I can’t or won’t take any credit because I’ve seen the reverse to be true. Some were raised by very domestic mothers, but still have no desire to cook, clean, sew etc; Since I’ve been blogging though, I’ve discovered many young women (mother’s too) that are very domestic! In fact, I often wonder how they do it all with small children. I can still keep my house picked up, dishes done etc with Kash here – but I don’t even attempt to sew, read a book, blog etc; unless he’s napping. He has my full and undivided attention when he’s awake. In fact, he’s quite to little housekeeper!

Washing dishes

Washing dishes

As I pondered the “domestic arts” this week, I remembered the first wedding gift my mother gave me back in 1969. It was a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have owned a newer, updated version of that original one for several years now, but where would my life be without Betty Crocker? She, not my mother, taught me how to cook. In fact, just today, Betty Crocker and I made a chocolate cake together, (one I promised my sister-in-law for her 70th birthday). She requested chocolate cake with white icing. Is it true that nowadays most women would go buy a box mix and some canned frosting or is that just my bias and narrow minded thinking? I love to cook and bake from scratch!!

Which reminds me of a delicious soup my youngest daughter made once recently when we were visiting. It was made with pre-made, store bought frozen meatballs and pre-made, store bought tortelloni, a modern convenience we once couldn’t take advantage of “back in the day”. We are having chillier weather than usual and I was in the mood for some soup when I awoke this morning. Well, although my daughter gave me the inspiration, Betty Crocker gave me an idea of where to begin. As I type this I am enjoying the scent of Meatball/Tortelloni Soup simmering on the stove top. mmmmmmmmm…

So, what’s your take on how our world has changed? Back in 1995, I didn’t even have a cell phone yet!! It was the early 90’s before I ever used a computer!! Now there are few handwritten letters or thank you notes, few home phones, (remember the old “party line”?) way too much Reality TV, Facebook and Twitter – what’s up with all this busy, hectic, craziness? I was on FB, but no longer am. Have actually pondered getting back on to increase my blog readership and possibly to market a new business I’m pondering – but, still very hesitant – cause it steals all my time. I know we control that – but it gets to where you feel like you are missing something if you aren’t on Facebook!!

Nowadays we can look up any recipe we need online. (Not always as reliable as our cookbooks are). We can Google any question we may have. I read recently on one of the blogs I subscribe to that a young person being home-schooled did not know how to use a dictionary thanks to Google!! That is very sad to me. If ya wanna get technical about things…even my quilting (I’m a novice) is machine sewn – not hand sewn as in the old days…

Jackson Dane

Jackson Dane

And to get even more technical, I’ve learned all the quilting basics online!! Quilting tutorials, where have you been all my life?? We no longer have to leave our homes for most things. We can buy postage & groceries from our easy chair, if we prefer. What’s up with that? Are we becoming MORE SOCIAL with all these electronic conveniences, or LESS SOCIAL? It seems LESS social, to me? Texting, communicating thru social media seems so impersonal to me. It requires LESS commitment to having a true & meaningful RELATIONSHIP. I don’t know…I’m sure there are two sides to every dilemma – I’d love to hear yours. Thanks to social media, my son’s and my relationship is more strained then it’s ever been. I’m not sure why he’s mad at me because he’s not speaking to me. (Thus he hasn’t told me directly). I just know he’s mad at me for something I’ve obviously said through the written word. I can be SO MISUNDERSTOOD and have been on many occasions, but most of the time it has been through something I said thru e-mail, social media or blogging. I just don’t know if it’s all worth it! My son lives far away. I love him and miss him. But, he just doesn’t seem to what a relationship with me right now. But, I digress.

Fortunately, at this state in life, I get to enjoy the fruit of my lifetime labor by collecting Social Security (by no means enough to live on) and partake of all the domestic arts that I’ve enjoyed my entire life, but often had to put on the back burner while bringing home a paycheck. I’m still seeking God’s direction as we enter into the holiday season and a new year because as I said, social security income isn’t adequate. With the passing of his mother, my hubby is also seeking new direction. We love being home with each other and are best friends. We are content, but not complacent. The scripture says, “to be content in whatever state you are in”. That doesn’t mean I don’t want more or want to do more. It just means I won’t gripe or complain or dwell on what I don’t have. That being said, if all else fails, I can call Betty Crocker and if she doesn’t answer, I can call on God. ūüôā

Easy, Peasy, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Rape a rotisserie chicken of it’s skin and bones. Tear dark and white meat into bite size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 can of rotel, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, and 1 can of Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup. Stir and combine with chicken thoroughly until well blended.

Lay out 12-15 corn or flour tortillas and add one ice cream scoop size of mixture to each. Roll up and place seam side down in a cake pan. There should be enough mixture to place some on top of cake pan as well. If not, you could pour some enchilada sauce of them.

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese (I use a Mexican blend) and cover with foil. I bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve with chips, salsa, guacamole & sour cream if you like.

Linda

Shame on you, Food Network!

http://dancingthruyears.com/2013/06/23/come-on-now-food-network-really/

If you have been following my blog for awhile you will remember my disappointment with the handling of the discrimination lawsuit against Paula Deen. I have kept my word and not watched any of my favorite shows on Food Network since I received news of this suit.

You will also note that this lawsuit has been dropped! http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/08/23/lawyers-agree-to-drop-paula-deen-discrimination-lawsuit/

How sad that Paula Deen had to go through all of this hurt, pain and disappointment and that her employer would not stand by her (as honest as she was), but instead chose to drop her like a hot potato (excuse the pun).

I’m praying and seeking the right attitude regarding you, Food Network. I know I must forgive you. But, right now I hope you are hanging your heads in shame!

Sick Day – “sick” food…

I took a sick day – today. Unfortunately, my sick day doesn’t look like anyone else’s because my “job” is right here at home taking care of my 92 yr. old bedfast MIL. My sweet hubby is the sound technician at our church of over 400 members and so Sunday is his big “work” day with two services and choir practices. Yesterday he napped off and on all day with a nasty summer cold and this morning, yours truly woke up with it! I had a volunteer coming this morning so I could go to church, but upon awakening realized I needed to call the volunteer.

So, around 7:30 after getting Granny awake and fed, I took some medicine and went back to bed. Hubby said I was snoring soundly when he left for church before 9. I awoke feeling light headed but a tad better at 10 so I began prepping some material for the next two quilts I will be making. “Prepping” means to sew all the raw edges together in a continuous loop before placing in the washing machine (so all the loose threads from washing don’t tangle), then cutting all the raw edges away, all the salvages away and pressing and starching fabric. With new fabric this is all done before beginning to cut your quilt pieces out.

Hubby had already agreed to eat sandwiches for lunch since I wasn’t feeling much like cooking. I had planned to make chicken stew for lunch but instead we ate the agreed upon sandwiches and at Noon I threw the stew together for us to eat in the evening. Myself for supper and for hubby when he returned from evening service. Hubby and I ate our sandwiches around 12:30 and all the ingredients for the stew were in the crock pot. With all the fabric I was prepping washed and dried, I cooked and fed Granny her lunch. Then, I laid back down around 1:30 for a nap, while hubby watched his favorite Brit Coms that he’d recorded from previous night.

Hubby woke me up before leaving at 4 for Choir practice so we could check and turn Granny. I then began trimming, starching and ironing about 20 yards of fabric. My goal was to have Granny fed supper and have fabric all prepped before I sat down to watch Design Star on HGTV and eat a little stew. Goal accomplished! I’ve kept the cold medicine going every four hours and am although a little hoarse, I am feeling better than I did when I got up this morning.

So here’s my Chicken Stew recipe – great sick food…especially when battling a cold!!

Chicken Stew Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced
3 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 – 12 oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
1 clove garlic
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of water
1 T. chicken base or = buillion cubes
1 t. cayenne pepper

I began by throwing 3 frozen chicken thighs in the crock pot. Don’t need to thaw. Add the diced onion on top. Peel and dice the potatoes and place on top of that. Pour the frozen vegetables on top. Add 1 whole clove of garlic, all the seasonings (Paula Deen’s house seasoning is salt/pepper/garlic combined), 1 can of water and chicken base. I combine the other can of water with the soup on top of stove and blend real good. Pour it over the top of everything. Sprinkle cayenne last. Put lid on crock pot and little simmer on low for 6-8 hours, stirring every couple hours. As chicken thighs cook, they will break up. Not too spicy hot, but you can leave cayenne off, if you prefer.

You could also use chicken breasts, if you prefer. Thighs was all I had in the house.

Looking forward to having a better day tomorrow, but feel like I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished for a sick day. It’s off to bed now as I will be greeted by a rambunctious 21 mo. old at 7:30 in the morning!

Come on now FOOD NETWORK…REALLY?

Without a doubt this will not be a popular blog for many because I have a very STRONG opinion regarding the Paula Deen/Food Network fiasco. Suffice it to say, I’ve written to Food Network, Paula Deen and some of my favorite shows on Food Network since I will no longer be enjoying the shows they employ.

I am appalled at Food Network’s behavior (NOT Paula Deen’s) and an SHOCKED that they would not support their employee during this very difficult time for her. The use of the “n” word or racial discrimination (which this is reported to be – NADA!) is not to be tolerated at all – I do agree. But, REALLY? The sins of the past? Is this something that happened just recently? No! Does that make it any less serious? No!

But, I ask you – What has become of a world where we can no longer tell a joke or have a good laugh, or even use a racial/gender slur in the spirit it was intended?? There’s been no mean spirit, or racial discrimination behind these events or comments that MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE OCCURRED. I wonder how many blonde jokes Paula Deen has had to endure thru the years?

I’m sure you are wondering why I, (as a Bible believing Christian) would feel so passionate about such a topic? #1) Because I’m human and have a fallen nature! I’ve fallen short, many times! I’ve screwed up, said things I shouldn’t have, made huge mistakes, told stupid jokes in the company of people that may have been offended and was inconsiderate. #2)I’ve been sued as she is being (for sexual harrassment and gender discrimination). I WON, my petitioners DID NOT! And another key factor in all this – MY EMPLOYER NOT ONLY SUPPORTED ME, but PAID ALL THE COURT COSTS etc; never expecting one dime to be reimbursed.

This is about a DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE that was fired! I’ve been there and done that! I was sued by three young men who were passed up for promotion (beat out by a woman), and eventually FIRED for various reasons. I was their boss – and their charges were eventually found to be unfounded, but it cost my company thousands of dollars to defend the case.

In the old days (let me remind you Paula Deen is OLD) racial slurs were more common & tolerated, even expected. (That doesn’t make it right, I add). I’m not giving Paula a “pass”, but I am extending forgiveness. REALLY? Have you ever said anything UGLY or STUPID, that you regretted later? At Paula’s own admission, racial comments did occur, but “not in recent years”. Did Food Network do a thorough investigation before deciding to fire Paula? She’s a big money maker for them – but are all the other programs bigger money makers? Were they worried about jeopardizing the greater good (the entire Network)? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions…but I am still very upset mostly over the “politically correct” society we now live in!!

We have become a very touchy, sensitive society that preaches “tolerance” but doesn’t practice it. If Paula Deen is to be punished for the sins of the past then we all should be in front of the firing squad! I wouldn’t stand a chance! But, I’ve made amends to those I’ve offended and moved forward. Paula is trying to do the same. Give a girl a break! Especially one that was raised & always lived in the South! I know, I know “she of all others should know better”, right? Not necessarily – I’m from up North and the culture in the South and the use of the “n” word is more prevalent here in Texas that it ever was up North where I grew up. What does that tell you?

What’s really ironic about all this is that I’ve not watched alot of Paula Deen’s shows on Food Network. I’m not a big fan of her show as much as I’m a big fan of her. I like her funny flirtatious personality! As they say in the South – she’s a HOOT! She’s funny! She does a stand-up, live show that tops most stand-up comedians. I don’t believe for ONE SECOND that anything she said or did (which still has yet to be revealed), was ill intended, mean spirited or intended to harm in anyway. That being said, be on notice – FOOD NETWORK – you are off my viewing schedule and are being BOYCOTTED as of this posting! You are obviously going the direction of DC with your liberal agenda and it’s unfortunate for many who don’t care to buy what you are selling.

Been busy sewing, instead of blogging

Been busy sewing, instead of blogging

Sometimes I get on a track…and I have a hard time getting off. This week I was on one of those tracks. It was the sewing/quilting track. As much as there were other things to do and other things I wanted to do, I wanted to sew MORE.

In fact, yesterday I decided to have a little “crafting fellowship” with a few ladies from church. It was a spur of the moment decision – (those usually work out the best) with very little planning.

What I told the three ladies that attended was that “my motivation was quite selfish”. I told them that I was lonely for good Christian fellowship since I rarely get to go to church and see all my sisters in Christ. I also was motivated because of a conversation I recently had with one of the ladies about making quilts. She really wanted to get started on one, and was looking for “inspiration”. I suggested she come over so I could give her some tips to get started. So, that’s where it all began.

We had one 9 yr. old granddaughter of one of the ladies attend as well, and I don’t know about my 4 guests – but I had a great time! We spent about 4 hours (2 of which was all about quilting) laughing, eating and enjoying each other’s company. I’m so glad I decided to do it. It was just what the doctored ordered! (I wish I had taken some pics of all of us)…but the only pic I took was of this block I created right before their very eyes!!

I am so excited about this block because it’s from a class I am taking online called “Traditional blocks Made Simple”. It is so easy and comes together like “magic”. This is the second quilt I will be making from this pattern, having just finished my first one. Check out craftsy.com if you are interested. They are great and have some FREE classes too!

One of the ladies that attended is not a “craft type person” – it was all so “overwhelming” to her. I find it quite humorous and interesting at how different people and their interests can be. She was such a good sport at sitting though my little “class” that was mainly for the benefit of one lady. I told her the story of my closest friend, Karen – who I share very little in common with – and yet we are closest friends. Karen isn’t “crafty” either. I think most crafts just FRUSTRATE her. She doesn’t consider herself creative at all. She’s attended a couple “scrapbook socials” I’ve had and did most of the talking while the rest of us did the creating! LOL

The things I find relaxing, calming, and give my heart great joy are:

Crafts of all kinds
Reading
Writing
DIY & Organization (home improvements and renovation)
Re-purposing of an old item into something new

Shall I go on? No, some of you I am probably boring to tears. Suffice it to say, I had lots of topics I wanted to blog about this past week, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the sewing machine!! That is, when I wasn’t tending to grandsons, hubby or Granny. (I don’t sew during the day when boys are here. I like to give them quality time at the park, in the pool, playing games or reading and learning). I also love to feed them! Ethan says, “Mmmmm, Maw Maw this is good”…music to my ears.

Speaking of food…I made a yummy chicken salad for the ladies yesterday that I thought you might enjoy:

CHICKEN SALAD

12 oz. rotisserie chicken, chopped
1 c. grapes halved (red or green)
1 c. finely chopped celery
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/3 c. slivered almonds
1 c. light mayonnaise

Mix well and chill. I like to serve on sandwich thins. Also great served with crackers or on a lettuce leaf.

Stay tuned – I will try to get back to more important topics soon. School is out and I will have 4 granchildren to care for in June. Phew!

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