Saturday, December 30, 2006

~I'm B-aaaaack!~

Hello, everyone! I'm back to blogging! I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas!

(Warning: L-o-n-g post ahead!)

Aaaah! What a lovely vacation I have had! When I commenced my blogging vacation, I had a few days left in which to get ready for our trip. It seemed as though everything was screaming for my attention. I buckled down and got everything done that needed doing, and we had a fantastic vacation!

We winged our way over to the West coast:


We stayed with Kevin's mom and her husband, and had a great time with them.

I got to MIRL (Meet In Real Life) a dear friend of mine, Susan. We have been friends for about two years now, I believe. She and I first met on a message board, and then we started instant messaging each other. When I realized it might be possible to meet up with her this Christmas, I was so excited!

Here we are:


We got coffee at Starbucks, and talked like...old friends! We had a great time together! Susan has been an incredible blessing to me this past year, and I'm extremely grateful for her friendship!

Later on that same day, we went over to Annecourager's house for dinner. Her husband was my husband's youth pastor when he was a teenager. We had a delightful (albeit short) visit with their family. Click over to Annecourager's to see a picture of me with my eyes closed. LOL



Then we made our way from Washington on down to California to see my family.

California has something that Michigan does not:

Sadly, they have discontinued the one item I wanted to order! (Sigh)

I couldn't believe how close I got to this hummingbird:

It was twilight, and I had to use the flash...but still...I was so close to the hummingbird! I haven't seen hummingbirds since last September! I guess they all made their way to warmer weather (I can't blame them!).

Sunday morning (Christmas Eve), we received the sad news that my great-grandmother had passed away. The last time I saw her was last Christmas:


We had planned on seeing her on Tuesday, but God called her home before then. I'm happy that she was a devout Christian, believing in the Lord as her Savior, and she is with Him. I will miss my Grandma Lydia!

Christmas morning tradition: all gifts opened at my mom's parent's house. Everyone typically gets a gift for everyone, so the tree room is bulging with gifts.


These are some of the gifts that appeared under the tree:


I made a scarf for most of my sisters. Not pictured is the hat that I made for my brother. I have previously blogged about some of these scarves, but I stopped blogging about them, because I didn't want my sisters to get suspicious. =)

Tuesday Kevin and I took off for some time for the two of us. We stayed at the coast.



The last picture is one of our favorite spots to visit, near Big Sur. This waterfall is the only waterfall in North America to flow directly into the ocean. It takes a little hike, and then you're there. Just gorgeous!

We also drove to San Francisco, and I had the nerve-shattering privilege fun of driving into the city. Kevin had been extremely sleepy while driving, so I had taken the wheel for him. I got to drive down Lombard Street. That was totally cool. Otherwise, I would have been happy to let Kevin drive! =)

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jog...our vacation time is used up, and Tuesday it's life back to normal!

Since I downloaded over 300 pictures from our trip, I'm sure I'll have a few more to share! I think this is enough for the time being though (especially for those of you with dial up! Sorry!).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

~A little holiday~

I've decided to do something I've never (officially, anyhow) done: take a holiday from blogging.

I love blogging, and I love reading blogs. However, I've been unusually busy, and in order to fully enjoy the Christmas season, I have decided to take a little break. I will be back!

I wish you a Merry Christmas! See you all in the New Year!

~Bugging You~

I just wanted to bug all my blog readers today...make sure your speakers are turned up.

*Grin*

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

~Hurrah!~

We have all the trim installed in our living room and dining room!

This picture will allow you to see every type of trim that was installed:



In a nutshell, the crown molding was removed, painted, and put back on, the trim around the doors was made "groovy" (*giggles*) with bottom pieces and top pieces added (sorry, at this late hour I can't think of the terms for any of the pieces!), the plank substituting as trim work was taken off, sanded, painted, and put back on. BUT a decorative top piece and quarter round were added, making it look like real trim work!

The difference to the rooms is amazing! We praise the Lord for the help that our friend from church has given us for this huge job!

We still have some painting left, hardly anything compared to all the work that has gone into our house these past few months!

~Drip, drip, drip~

Last week we had beautiful snow, bitterly cold weather, and no precipation (after the initial snow, that is!). The cold front made way for the "warm" front, and by Sunday afternoon, I heard the continual dripping of the melting snow running off our roof. Now it is raining, and washing all our snow away. I've heard that we probably won't have a white Christmas this year.

I forgot to mention, but the white stuff under my yarn was snow. *Grin*

I also took a few more pictures.

Some icicles...don't worry, I was being careful.



The hill in our back yard.



As you can see, it was dusk when I took the pictures. We now leave for work before the sun rises, and return as it is setting. That means no good picture taking opportunities! LOL

~Lace Scarf~


With part of my birthday money, I bought this beautiful yarn to make a scarf with. It had a little bit of a rough start (two trips back to the yarn store for needles and advice!). However, all is proceeding well. It is a slower knit because of the thin yarn. I’m looking forward to the day it’s finished. The only thing is, I shudder to think of all the work I’m putting into it, and the thought of it getting snagged on something! I guess I shouldn’t borrow trouble, should I?

~Jealousy~

People who knit super fast make me jealous! =)

I guess knitting fast just takes a lot of practice! I’ve found that my knitting is getting a little faster. Just not fast enough to whip out sweaters and afghans left and right!

~Comments on 101 Things in 1001 Days~

While I was making my 101 Things list, I did a google search so I could read other people's lists to get ideas for my list. There are many, many 101 lists, and I only read a few of them. It tickled me though, how some of the things people put on their list were irrelevant to actually completing goals. For instance, a list of 30 things with "Finish making this list" at the top of a several month old list. Obviously, they hadn't yet. At the bottom of several lists: "Finish this list" and "Make another list to complete after this list". I found a high school girl's list with such high ambitions as "try some more drugs" and "do something illegal besides drugs". Interestingly enough, "finish high school" was on her list, but if she continues down the path of drugs and illegal behavior, she's going to have a hard time accomplishing that goal! Some of the 101 goals were impossible, including goals to do something once a day for the whole duration of the 1001 days.

I contemplated the fact that I had seen very few lists from Christians. I pondered about goals and making goals. I determined that as long as I had the right attitude ("Lord willing, and should the Lord tarry, these are things I want to accomplish"), it would be something very beneficial for me to endeavor. I usually write New Years resolutions, and I've heard several great sermons on making resolutions and goals. My objective is to use this list as a tool. Tools are always beneficial to the user, if used correctly, and that is what I desire of my list!

Lately, I've been able to cross off quite a few of my goals. It's exciting to cross something off that I've been needing or wanting to do! Some of the things I listed were things to purchase--big and little purchases. While purchasing something might not really be a "goal", the things I listed to purchase are things that I've been wanting to buy for quite a while. For some, I just need to save money for; others, I just need to spend the time looking for exactly what I want (and stop procrastinating!).

I'm looking forward to the New Year. I'm going to pick a few of my goals and really work hard on them. Some of them will take a while to accomplish.

This list is a great motivator to get things done!

Monday, December 11, 2006

~Indian Dinner~

When my sister Holly was visiting me, we prepared an authentic Asian Indian dinner. We had fun making it, and it was very good! Some of the dishes came out a little differently then we were expecting, but all was edible! LOL When Holly and I were teenagers, we had next door neighbors who had come from India. They would bring food over for us to sample, and once we were invited over for the teenage daughter’s birthday, and were served a complete meal.

We both cook the same: messy. So combine two messy cooks and the kitchen was a sight to behold after dinner!

I found my recipes online here. The spices were probably the most expensive part of the meal, because I had to buy almost every spice. However, I did it as inexpensively as possible, and most were right around a dollar per spice packet.

We started the meal with soup, called rasam. It calls for curry leaves, as did another of the recipes we made. If I were to make either recipe again, I would leave out the curry leaves. Not only did it necessitate a special trip to a store which sells Asian foods, I didn’t care for the flavor (especially the next day for leftovers).

The soup:


Then we had bhatura, a flat bread, and chana masala, a spicy sauce that had garbanzo beans in it. Very yummy, much like we remembered our next door neighbors making.

Chana Masala:


Then on to the main course: carrot rice and chicken do pyaza. The carrot rice was fantastic! I would make this again (leaving out the curry leaves). The chicken was good, not exactly what we were expecting, but still good.

Carrot Rice:


Chicken:


We were too full to eat dessert, rice pudding.

And we never made tea! That was the part I was looking forward to the most, but by the time we finished dinner, it was too late to start brewing black tea. This tea is just like our neighbors used to make! I made it a few weeks ago to test out the recipe. All it has in it is tea (black), sugar (the more the merrier! LOL), milk, and cardamom seeds (ground). Mmmm…mmmm!

We started cooking around 6 p.m., and didn’t serve dinner until 9:30! We laughingly said it was for sure an authentic Indian meal, because they always eat so late!

We had a great time together, and guess what? Another item off my 101 List! *Grin*

The Gifts of Madge and Guy

One of my favorite Adventures in Odyssey episodes is The Gifts of Madge and Guy. It's a twist on an old story, and fun for the whole family to listen to! A perfect Christmas story!

~Christmas~

Christmas is just around the corner! It seems like every blog I visit and every person I talk to, have set up all their Christmas decorations and their tree. This year we are right in the middle of our renovation project, so it seemed pointless to get the decorations out and then have to work around them.

But I still feel left out! I miss having the sparkling, cheery decorations out; the soft lights of the Christmas tree, and the pretty clutter around the house. Next year, no excuses, it's all going up!

Have you noticed the new trend of those nylon air-filled yard decorations? There is someone near our neighborhood who has a whole yard full of them. Now, perhaps they got them all on clearance last year, but I still think they each represent a lot of money. One or two may look cute, but a whole yard full? Their nativity scene is very dilapidated compared to the rest of their yard "art". Well, end of rant. *Giggle* I don't even have a wreath on my door, so who am I to criticize? *Smiles*

I finally bought our Christmas cards on Saturday. Now I just need to get them in the mail!

So, how are your holiday preparations going? Isn't the month of December just whizzing by?!?!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bbbbbbbbbbb

Blogger is being bad. Bizarre. Behaving Badly. A brat? (Bobbing head up and down! A bodacious brat aBsolutely!) The basis of this belief? I need want to blog a beautiful picture. And Blogger is not loading pictures right now.

Bouncing off to brood…

Friday, December 08, 2006

~Yarn, yarn, yarn~

Holly gave me this gorgeous, soft, absolutely fab yarn for my birthday. It’s baby alpaca. I don’t know what I’ll be making with it yet, but something special for sure! She also bought the other yarn to go with it. It’s made of rayon. I just love both of them!

And then while we were at Marr Haven, I purchased this yarn for socks. The thinner-weight yarn is normally sold on a 1-lb. cone. The owner said that if I had called ahead, she could have wound some in smaller skeins for me. Well, since I didn’t know what she sold, how could I have done that? LOL Anyhow, she went into her house to look at her stash, and came out with two partially used cones. She said that both she and her husband must have both been knitting with it, because there were two cones in their house. Well, we figured that the one that had the most on it would be the best one for socks. I didn’t want to take chances. I’m going to have to be careful with these socks, and wash them by hand, because the yarn is 100% wool. Now I just need to find a pattern! It’s a perfect yarn for making a patterned sock out of, unlike the self-striping yarns that I have used in the past.

I bought this yarn just because I liked it so much (so this is how a stash is started…). This qualifies for another 101 item! I really have no idea what I want to make with this yarn. It just told me to buy it! *Grin*

~Christmas card?~

The office where I work recieved the following card:

However you celebrate the season...
We celebrate your right to do so.
Enjoy a safe and happy holiday.


Naturally, it was from a lawyer's office. I suppose they don't want to be sued over their "holiday" cards. LOL

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

~Popular Searches~

It's fun to have a site meter that records what searches landed people on your page! Sometimes there's an odd one that makes me wonder why in the world how my blog ended up as a search result.

Here are a few popular searches that land people on my blog, time and time again (with links to the posts that have the search item in them):
flower washcloth
flower pin cushion
raw potatoes
Joe Zechertman

If you have a site meter on your blog, do you notice any searches that repeatedly bring people to your blog? The "raw potatoes" search amuses me. In each example above, it is only referenced on my blog once, at the most twice. It's not as though my blog were named, "The Life and Times of a Flower Wash Cloth". And yet, I get nearly daily hits from that one search alone!

Monday, December 04, 2006

~A peek into my sewing room~

With part of my birthday money, I bought a print of my favorite painting. Can you guess what it might be?

Oh, just look around my blog a bit...

On Saturday I got it framed at Hobby Lobby. They are quite reasonable when it comes to their labor costs. I was very pleased. They initially framed it without doing anything to the print, because they thought the print was on heavy enough paper. However, it did buckle a little in the frame. So I had them dry mount it. I'm not sure excatly what is involved with dry mounting, but it bonds the entire print to a poster board, and it won't ripple under the frame. I highly recommend it if you're getting a nice print framed!

Now hanging in my sewing room, "A Special Moment" by Emile Munier:



Now it will be the first thing I see when I go in my sewing room. This print just makes me smile. I absolutely love it! (Maybe it will make ironing go by a little faster? Maybe it will help me keep my sewing room picked up? Hmmm...)

Oh, and another exciting thing about this print? I get to cross off yet another item from my 101 List! My list says "frame prints", but with the size of this one, I've determined one is enough for such a small room.

~A box full of goodies~

Dawn over at (4:53) had a contest celebrating her one year blogging anniversary. She drew my name! I was so excited to see that I won, because I knew everything would just be so adorable!

My box came in today's mail. When we came home and checked the mail, we didn't have mail. However, our neighbor brought us over all our mail. I guess the mail lady got confused today? Hmmm.

Even the outside was adorable:


Everything all wrapped up so darling:




All my goodies:



Thank you, Dawn!!!

~Working and Meal Prep~

Awhile back, Trixie asked me for some tips on meal preparation for those who work outside the home. I don’t feel in any way qualified to answer, because a good many nights, I'm still muddling along.

However, here are some things I’ve learned over the last year that I’ve been working full time (and if I’d fully utilize them, I’d do much better at this meal prep thing!):

*Make a menu plan that has easily prepared dinners on it
*Make enough at dinner for lunch the next day
*Go shopping only once a week
*Buy healthy "easy" items: prepared vegetables (frozen or fresh, but not from the deli--too expensive!), pre-washed salad (note to self: serve the salad!), and easy to prepare veggies/fruits.
*Resist the urge to “grab” something instead of making dinner
*Utilize your crock pot
*Get the dishes done early in the evening

I try to keep my meals simple. Indeed, if I put something on my menu that takes a lot of time in the kitchen, chances are, I’ll look at the menu, look in the refrigerator and decide to make something else. After I’ve been gone all day long, I really don’t feel like being a gourmet chef!

I typically do my shopping on Saturday. I make sure to get everything I’ll need for the coming week. It really kills dinner time if I have to go out to the store first, and then make dinner!

I do not use my crock pot often enough. There are so many good crock pot meals out there! One cookbook that I highly recommend is Fix it and Forget it. It’s a wonderful cookbook full of delicious meals! One thing that I do from time to time is prepare the crock pot meal the night before. I put everything in the crock pot, and put it in the refrigerator. When I get up in the morning, all I have to do is put the pot in the heater, and make sure to turn it on. The turning on part is very important! Yes, I’ve gone to all the work of making a meal, and then walked out of the house without turning it on. Needless to say, it’s very disappointing to come home to a cold crock pot.

Another way I use my crock pot (and again, not often enough!) is to cook parts of my meal in it. If I need cooked chicken for a recipe, it is so very nice to come home and have the chicken cooked and ready to go! It's amazing how quickly you can get the meal on the table if you have even a few ingredients ready to go. I’ve baked potatoes in the crock pot too-—very handy.

And then, if the dishes don’t get done (guilty here) it takes way longer to fix dinner the next day.

Now, for something that I would love to do: freezer meals. I’ve done some freezer meals in the past, and I’m telling you, it’s so awesome to have meals in the freezer. It takes extra effort, but it’s worth it when you pull out a meal to defrost and all you have to do for dinner is heat it, make a salad/vegetable.

I think these are tips that anyone, working or not, can utilize! Happy cooking!

Friday, December 01, 2006

~Saturday's Fun~

Last Saturday, Holly and I worked outside from about 11:30 to 5 p.m. We didn't think to take a before picture, and the "during" pictures feature two hobo-looking gals. LOL We were quite a sight!

There is a hill in the back of our yard. The yard is flat up to the barrier, and then it juts up to the neighbor's back yard. Actually, our neighbor owns halfway down. Since there are no barrier lines, we did clean out a lot of their property. I'm sure they won't mind! =)

Here's the after picture:


Imagine, if you will, three whole truckfuls of leaves, branches, and vines. It was such a huge job, and I'm so thankful for my sister's help! We were planning on planting daffodils, but we ran out of steam (and daylight). So unless the weather suddenly turns spring-like again, I'll wait till next year to plant the daffs! (I haven't purchased them yet.)

There are lilacs planted along the barrier, which hide the hill from view during spring and summer.

Incidentally, this is another item I get to cross off my 101 list!

~South Haven~

On Tuesday while my sister Holly was here, I took the day off work, and we went to South Haven. It was a good bit away, but well worth the drive.

On the way there, we passed through some rain clouds and a few raindrops spluttered on the windshield. But the weather in South Haven was just gorgeous! The first thing we did upon arriving was to walk out to the lighthouse. Lighthouses always fascinate me!



Holly took this picture of us:



Since we were hungry, we then went to a cafĂ© called Captain Nemo’s and had lunch. Nothing fancy, but the food was good! We split a plate of fish and french fries. I would have preferred fish and chips, but both the fish and the fries were delicious!

Then we set out to visit the shops. Here’s a note if you’re ever inclined to visit South Haven: every day but Tuesday is a good day to go browsing through stores! A good portion of the shops were closed on Tuesdays. However, we did find plenty of shops to look through. We enjoyed our time very much.

I picked up a brochure for a B&B in South Haven. It seems like the perfect vacation spot!

After Holly and I left South Haven, we headed out to Marr Haven, a wool shop. While the South Haven web site posted it as a shop to visit, it wasn’t very near South Haven. We had a nice drive through the country though! While I was in looking at the wool, Holly was out looking at the sheep. =) Here are a few pictures she took:







I'll post pictures of the yarn I bought in a separate post.

We had a lovely day together! Perfect weather, company, and town!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

~All of a Kind Family~

I am a reader, and a rereader. If a book is good, it deserves to be read over and over! As an adult, I have enjoyed rereading books that I read throughout my childhood. I will discover things that I missed when I was younger, and enjoy the book all over again.

The All of a Kind series is such a set of books that I read as a child. I recently checked out the whole series, and have enjoyed rereading them! According to the dust jacket, the author Sydney Taylor wrote the first story for her own daughter, to tell about her experience in a larger family, growing up on the East side of New York in the 1900's. The first book was such a success, that she went on to write the rest of the series.

The first book, All of a Kind Family, follows five sisters through various activities and their Jewish customs. It's as if you can jump in the book and join Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie in their adventures! All the books are a fun read - a quick read for a fast reader. Girls of all ages would enjoy these books!

The other books in the series are:
All of a Kind Family Downtown
More All of a Kind Family
All of a Kind Family Uptown
Ella of All of a Kind Family


Image from Amazon.com.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

~Sigh~

That's a contented sigh and a sad sigh all at once! My sister is off to California now. We had a wonderful time together! Just absolutely wonderful! I feel sorry for people who don't have sisters. My brother is so lucky, he has eight sisters! ;-)

Let's see, to sum up her visit...
talking
late nights
talking
coffee
talking
more coffee
talking
shopping
talking
bookstore browsing
talking
cooking

oh yeah, and talking!

Maybe a word of encouragement to mothers of children who fight and argue all the time? Holly and I argued up a storm all through our childhood. But then somewhere along the way, we became fast friends.

*Sigh* Having a sister as a friend is one of the best things in the world!

~Oh ddddddear~


Apparently when one does not post on one's blog, one does not get very many hits to one's blog. *Grin*

I'm back now!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

~Blogger Burped?~

If you tried checking my blog sometime today and it was "gone"...well, I saw nothing too! Very odd! I republished my blog, and thankfully it all came back! Whew!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

~I'm having too much fun...~

...to blog!

*Grin*

My sister and I are having a wonderful time together. It's so nice to have her here!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

~Happy Thanksgiving!~

I hope you all have/had a wonderful day today!

Because my sister is coming (tonight!!!!) we are having our traditional Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Today? We had grilled steak and twice baked potato casserole...all made by my husband! Woohoo! =)

This morning I completed the household chores that were begging to be done, and then this afternoon I snuck in a nap on the couch. We went for a walk, and enjoyed the beauty of the late afternoon. I've done some knitting, but not as much as I thought I would.

And now, I'm heading into the kitchen to don my apron, and make some rolls and pumpkin pies!

God's blessings to you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

~10 Random Facts Meme~

This meme is ten random knitterly facts about me, found at Keeping Me in Stitches.

1. The first project I ever followed a pattern on was a pair of socks. I didn't know that double pointed needles were "hard" to use. I just knew that I wanted to make a pair of socks! Well, I knew they were "hard" once I started in on my project, but I was so determined, that I didn't let that bother me!
2. I made a pair of socks before I realized that knitting socks was the "in" thing to knit. I had no idea that people were spending $20 and upward on sock yarn, or that whole blogs were dedicated to knitting!
3. I learned to knit, and continue to knit, English style. That means that the yarn stays in my right hand the whole time. I've tried knitting Continental style (yarn held in left hand) but I can't get the hang of it, and it makes purling (in my humble opinion) harder.
4. I don't have a yarn stash, and I don't really desire to have one. I like to pick out yarn based on the project I'll be doing. At least, that's what I say at this point! I guess I haven't come across any great sales yet!
5. I just figured out that stitch markers are a knitter's best friend. Now I need some fancy ones!
6. When I was 16 years old, I was taught how to cast on, knit, and purl by an older lady in my church. I went over to her house for several weeks in a row, and she taught me.
7. I never knew how to follow a knit pattern until I in my 20's. Even then, I still didn't follow a pattern, but I theoretically knew how to follow a pattern.
8. It took me three years to knit a scarf for my husband. For all that knitting, he doesn't wear it that often! *Grin*
9. I like to watch tv while I knit, especially if it's a simple knit. I often sit in the living room while Kevin watches football. I'm not watching the football, it's just nice to have the company.
10. I read through and imagine how the pattern is going to work out before I start on it. I'm that way with any project--if I know how it's supposed to go, I feel much better starting it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

~Vitameatavegamin~

One of the things to accomplish on my 101 list was to take vitamins for one month. I have never faithfully taken vitamins, and I know that my health would benefit from regularly taking them!

In August or so, I bought vitamins. And they sat in my cupboard! Well, sometime last month, I decided that I was going to start taking them. It's been a month now, so I can cross it off my list. I do believe it's developed into a habit! I put them in the glass cupboard, and remember to take them sometime in the evening.

And no, they aren't intoxicating. ;-) They're just plain old vitamins!

Image source: Wikipedia

Monday, November 20, 2006

~Ideas?~

Elizabeth asked in a comment:

Hi Tammy,
I'm in a dilemma right now that you or some of your readers might have some solutions for. I would like to prepare nourishing and cost-saaving meals for my dear hubby. But, DH co-owns his own small company and has to be available to distributors and customers at all times. He is constantly bombarded by phone calls, emails, crises to solve, etc. So, he really needs to get out of the office for lunch in order to have any kind of breathing room at all (and even then, he has to carry his cell phone/pocket computer with him. The building where his company is housed doesn't have a nice quiet room or a picnic area where he could get away for a few moments. So, he ends up eating out most days -- which isn't so good for his health or our budget. Any ideas about how I can help him cut costs and eat better, yet provide a way for him to get out of the office. In warmer weather, I can always carry a picnic down to his office a few times a week and we can go over to a park. But, in inclement weather, I'm a little stumped for ideas.


So, my dear readers, do you have any ideas? This is a tricky balancing situation. For myself, I often leave the office during my lunch break and visit the library or take a walk. But, if one has to leave a cell phone on, the librarians would frown at that. *Grin*

Elisabeth, one possibility is that he eats a packed lunch at the office, and then takes a walk or stops in to a library or place where he can have a few moments quiet--maybe at a coffee shop where he buys a cup of tea or some such drink (I realize that suggestion means buying something, but it would be much less than lunch out!). If one bundles up enough, even frigid weather isn't that bad for a short walk! I often took walks during my lunch break last winter. Another suggestion is that he and the other co-owner implement a lunch break. ;-) As his helpmeet, I hope that you are able to help him have a less stressful lunch break!

~Freecycle~

Do you have some things to get rid of before the holiday season? You know, to make room for company? or perhaps you have a whole bunch of toys and you know that your child's grandparents will give them a whole bunch more for Christmas? Perhaps you might sell them in a yard sale, but you really don't want to wait all the way to next summer?

May I suggest Freecyle? I belong to our area's Freecycle group. The way Freecyle works is quite simple. To learn more about it, just click on the link, to see if there is a group in your area. Their rules are quite easy: everything must be free. If you offer something, it has to be free. You can't buy, sell, barter, or trade. It has to be honest-to-goodness free.

We have used Freecycle to our best advantage: by giving. I rarely look through and see what is being offered. It has been an easy way to get rid of things that would otherwise cost us money to take to the dump. Some examples of things we've given away: the sandbox that "came" with our house (thankyouverymuch), wire closet shelving (I can't tell you how many people begged for one section of closet shelving!), an old set of encyclopedias, fabric scraps, miscellaneous craft supplies, curtains, and a few other odds and ends. Chances are, if you want to get rid of it, someone will want it! Our most recent give-away was the couch and loveseat set that I had such a hard time with.

If you have a lot of things to give away, you might consider donating to a thrift store, because it does take a bit of time to sort through the e-mails and decide who to give your item to, and then arrange for them to pick it up.

Anyhow, Freecycle is a great tool to use! It has worked very well for getting clutter out of our house, and giving the items to someone who will (hopefully) put them to good use!

Friday, November 17, 2006

~Frugal Friday: The High Cost of Habits~

I came across this interesting article here.

It is quite a different spin on why one should quit smoking. Now, sometime last summer I made a comment in a post regarding cigarette smoke, and I got berated by an anonymous commenter for what I said. I honestly do not know any non-smoker who enjoys cigarette smoke. But, this post is not about smoking at all. If you want to attack anyone, write to MSN regarding their article, not me. *Smiles*

Basically this online article got me to thinking about habits and how much they cost us. Surely, smoking is an expensive habit. It gave the example of a pack-a-day habit costing roughly $4.20.
A large latte costs about the same! There are many people who get their one or two coffees from their favorite coffee shop on a daily basis.

What are some other expensive habits or indulgences? Soda on a daily basis. Eating lunch out instead of packing your own lunch/your husband's lunch. Buying produce and not using it. Purchasing magazines/newspapers at newstand price versus having a subscription. Buying "snack size" packages versus a larger package of the same product. I'm sure I could come up with many more!

One of the best ways to be frugal is to look at your current spending style and re-think it. Many times the word frugal is a dirty word to people because they think it will mean eating beans and rice and reusing envelopes, or going around begging for freebies instead of buying things at the store. But really, small behavior modifications can make a world of difference in your budget! Every thing adds up!

For more great ideas, visit Crystal's post here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

~Whistle While You Work~


Do you know that tune? It's from Snow White.

My husband gave me this music box a few years ago for Christmas, and it plays "Whistle While You Work." That's what I'm doing tonight!

In one week I'm having company! My sister is coming all the way from California to visit us for a week. I'm cleaning and dusting, and guess what? I can see my sewing room floor! My sewing room has been holding our curio cabinet, china, and other odds and ends. We have moved them back into the living room, and now I'm cleaning up the sewing room, which will also function as our guest room. I have a lot of work to get done tonight, but I'm whistling all the while!

~Too Funny~

My sister sent me this via e-mail, and I just thought it was so funny.



Proverbs 17:22a A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

~Tulip Time~

Last Saturday I planted my bulbs that I have been waiting to plant. I was waiting for: a) warmer weather (hahaha--as if that was going to happen!), and b) time.

I finally got "b" last Saturday. "A" didn't happen! *Smiles*

I planted quite a few tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. I'm looking forward to next spring when they come up!

It gets even better though! My next door neighbor got hundreds of bulbs from her work, and she offered me some. Now, how could I turn an offer like that down? I'll be donning my coat and gloves and digging more holes this Saturday!

Do you plant bulbs? I think it greatly depends on what your climate is. Now, there are many people who plant bulbs in warm climates, but I would say a greater percentage of people in colder climates plant bulbs. Why? Because we want to see color as soon as possible after a looooong winter!

Image courtesy of Tesselaar Bulbs.

~My New 'Do~

Susie at Bluebird Blogs had a contest awhile back for a free blog re-do, and I was one of the winners!

I just love the new look! I need to get a few links up in the sidebar, but other than that, I'm all set. Isn't the new template just lovely? I adore the painting so much, and was ecstatic when Susie said she could incorporate it into my blog design!

Monday, November 13, 2006

~When I grow up...~

...I do not want to:

clean furniture for a living
~or~
move furniture for a living.

Many kudos to those who make their living that way. But count me out of those professions!

Several months ago, I stopped by a thrift store and saw a love seat/couch set in pretty decent condition. My idea was to buy them and get them reupholstered. They didn't have a price on them, and the gal at the counter told me I could have them both for $50, which sounded more than reasonable to me!

We brought them home and they have been residing in our garage ever since.

I decided to clean them, and use them "as is" for the time being. We got one of those handy-dandy carpet/upholstery cleaners tonight. I didn't count on the stains not budging, nor the fabric repelling water. It made for a mess, and frustration on my part.

So instead I cleaned our current couch and recliner. The difference is quite remarkable! They will suffice until we save the money to buy a different set.

Where did the furniture moving come in? Well, we moved the couch out of the kitchen into the living room, carried the love seat from the garage all the way around to the front door and through the living room, dining room and into the kitchen. Then, when the cleaning process wasn't going so well, we moved the love seat from the kitchen to the living room, and the couch came back into the kitchen! And then our final moving project was to get the love seat onto the front porch. Each piece of furniture had to be lifted above the kitchen counter in order to pass from room to room.

Not fun.

What is wonderfully fun is the fact that my kitchen no longer has a couch in it. I can move about in my kitchen!!! Hurrah!

Oh yes, and we bought felt pads for every single piece of furniture in the living room and dining room! We don't want our floors getting scratched!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

~Finished Floor~



The picture hardly does the floor justice. Every time I see the floor, I am just so pleased with how it turned out!

The beauty of these floors was absolutely hidden underneath a bad, bad sanding job and a thick, ugly coat of varnish! I had no idea how gorgeous these floors could be!

As a point of contrast, following is a picture that I took previously this year. It shows the condition of the floor before we refinished it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

~Miscellany~

~I have decided to open up the comments to everyone. My comment policy is: keep it nice! If you disagree with something I say, that's fine. But please, no snarky comments. I will delete rude comments. Also, please leave your name if you don't have a blogger identity. It is nice to associate a name with your comments!

~Our floors are finished! We've spent the last two nights at a so-so motel, so that our floors could dry. Hopefully the smell from the varnish will have abated quite a bit by tonight, and we'll be able to sleep in our own bed again! We won't be able to move the furniture back into the living room for a few more days. I just *love* having my couch in the kitchen. (A bit of sarcasm there!)

~I have a new knitting project. I'm still trying to get it started, and trying to figure out if I've bitten off more than I can handle. I'll post pictures soon. I bought the project with some of my birthday money.

~Christmas is just around the corner, or so every store would like you to believe! The difference at Meijer from October 28 to November 4 was amazing! Halloween merchandise was gone, and in its place everything Christmas.

~Speaking of Christmas, do you know what you want for Christmas? I have posted before about my Froogle list. I'll repeat it again: I'm not greedy. I'm really not! *Grin* When I found out about the Froogle wish list, I thought it would be a great way for me to give ideas to my family. Each year before Christmas, I have family members asking me what I want for Christmas. "I don't know", "I'm not hard to please", and "Whatever" do not work for my family! (I wonder why???) So I'd think and think and think and then tell them an idea. It would be too expensive, not expensive enough, not to their liking, etc. So this year they have a list. They can look at it and get ideas from it. Good idea, hmm? What do I have on my list? You can see it here.

~Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

~Dusting off my Flute~

About a month ago, I pulled out my flute so that I could take a picture of it. My flute is a beautiful instrument that has been relegated to the closet for quite a long time. I played it a bit the evening that I pulled it out, and thought about practicing it, but I didn't pick it up again.

Last week, I found out about a lady giving adult flute lessons in a group setting, and I signed up! She's already gone three weeks, but she urged me to come anyhow. So last night I pulled out my flute and joined the group. It's a small group: just four students and the teacher. The funny thing is that three out of the five of us are named Tammy! Tammy isn't that popular of a name, so it's quite unusual to get three of us together all at once! =)

Anyhow, I had a great time last night, and learned how to hold my flute better. Ahhhh...scales! I never did practice those, and what do you think the instructor started the lesson with? You guessed it! Scales! I'll be practicing them this week for sure and certain!

My parents gave me my flute for my high school graduation, and I think they would be pleased that I'm pulling it out again! Even though my schedule is busy, this is definitely something I want to fit in!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

~Football and Knitting~

As funny a combination these may sound, they actually go hand-in-hand. Kevin watches football, and I knit. I do not watch the game, and Kevin does not knit. *Grin* But we’re both sitting in the living room, usually on the couch together.

Something that has carried over from my big-sister days, is the fact that I can tune most anything out. That fact has its good points and bad points. The good thing about it is that I can create my own little world in a room full of noise. The bad thing about it is that I might tune out stuff I need to listen to: like a sermon in church, for instance. (Not that I do that, I'm just saying it's possible! *Smiles*) As I’m sitting in the living room merrily knitting away, Kevin thinks I’m watching the game, or at least following along. I’m not. The only thing I remotely pay attention to is the advertisements. (hehe) When he makes a remark about something that has just happened, well, he has to tell me about it (or rewind it, since we have DVR now).

It's quite nice to have each other's company in the evenings, even if we are not enjoying the same things!

I realize that quite possibly there are knitters who enjoy watching football while knitting. But not I. =)

Football image from www.gracecollection.com
knitting image from www.readjulia.com/uk.htm

Saturday, November 04, 2006

~Thank you!~

Thank you so much for all the warm birthday greetings! It was so sweet of you all to leave a comment for me! =) I had a very nice birthday, though a bit busy!

My parents gave me this adorable, most-cutest-pie-plate-ever-made:


I made an apple crisp in it today. I think it tasted better because of the dish! *grin*

Other gifts were: California raisins from my brother, some $$$ from grandparents and my in-laws, and a watch and sweater from Kevin.

Again, thank you for your part in brightening my day!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

~Happy Birthday to Me~

Today is my 30th birthday. Thirty random things about me...
1. I learned to drive on a stick shift. My dad lived to tell about it, and did he ever talk!
2. My shoe size is 7 1/2.
3. I don't bound out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face. It's just not happening, folks. I've been trying (and trying the patience of those who are waking me up in the morning) for 30 years now.
4. I've been snorkeling in Hawaii. Very fun, as long as the fish food was no where near me. I couldn't handle the fish swarming around me!
5. Roller coasters and I are not friends. In fact, if a ride entails a shoulder harness, count me out!
6. I have a bit of a southern accent, just every great once in a while. It came from having two southern friends in the same period of time. Those "ings" got shortened to "n"; you know: makin, fixin, shoppin, etc. Funny how friends can influence you, isn't it? (My family is all saying right now, "she does NOT have a southern accent!" LOL)
7. My first job was working as a church secretary. I absolutely loved that job! The only reason I left it was to marry my husband. (Well worth it, of course!)
8. I have had several jobs since then that I have hated as much as I loved my first job.
9. The only time I've been out of the USA is a short little jaunt over the Canadian border last spring.
10. I've never dyed my hair.
11. I've never gotten a ticket, though I'm sure I have deserved more than one!
12. I like my coffee with two sugars and some creamer. I go back and forth from not drinking any coffee, to drinking it every morning.
13. I'm totally addicted to knitting. When I go out, I end up staring at people because I'm trying to figure out how their sweater was made!
14. I used to mow my grandpa's lawns every week when I was a teenager. When my dad told my grandpa that he was giving me the same amount that my dad's grandma had given him for mowing lawns, my pay got upped. Cool. *Grin*
15. My favorite fast food is Taco Bell. My order is usually for a bean burrito, no onions, and a hard shell taco. I always use a whole packet of mild hot sauce for the hard shell taco.
16. I'd rather be hot than cold. My husband would rather be cold than hot. As you can imagine, this will sometimes cause problems.
17. My sisters and I had pet ducks when we were younger. Ducks are fun and have personalities. We played for hours with our feathered friends.
18. When I was younger, I almost always turned my chores into a game or make believe. I wasn't cleaning my room, I was the fairy straightening up someone else's room. Or I was the storekeeper, or I was the maid. If my sisters were helping, we pretended that we were orphans and the head of the orphanage was mean. We'd sing, "I wish I had a mother" to a tune all our own. (As our mom, who wasn't mean, and who was our mother, worked out in the kitchen and heard everything!)
19. I was 21 years old when my baby sister was born.
20. I taught 2nd and 3rd grade (a combined class) at a Christian school, for one year.
21. I love traditional, old fashioned Christian music. I like to hunt through old records at thrift stores and buy them to listen to. (Yes, I have a record player!)
22. I don't store stuff under my bed.
23. I have four siblings who were also born in November, but none of us landed on the same day. There are three of us right in a row though!
24. I do not like shopping for shoes. Or purses. Or clothes.
25. My favorite ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough. Yummmmmy!
26. Whenever anyone sees a picture of my family, they always tell me how much I look like my dad.
27. I'm terrible at returning e-mails! I do try though!
28. I'm a night owl. Maybe that's why I have problems getting up in the morning!
29. When other bloggers post lists like this, I just scan through them--I don't read every word. So don't worry, if you don't read them all you're not hurting my feelings. LOL
30. Today's my 30th birthday. Oh wait, you already knew that, didn't you? *Smiles*

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

~Five Minutes~

Five minutes till the 2nd. Oh, wow, I'm up late tonight!

Tomorrow is my birthday. My 30th birthday. Ooh, I'm getting old! (LOL)

A few months ago, my husband and I were going through the drive through at Burger King, and the gal at the window had a bunch of one dollar bills pinned to her shirt. My husband asked her why she had the money pinned to her shirt, and she grinned and said:

"It's my birfday."

Do you think I should pin $1 bills to my shirt? Maybe I could get some extra presents that way???

Now I'm going to go to bed and get my "beauty rest" so I can open all presents in the morning! =)

~Finished!~




I finished my socks tonight!

They're nice and comfy. What's next? Hmmm...I have two books by Nancy Bush checked out of the library, and they are chock-full of wonderful sock patterns!