Monday, April 30, 2007

~Sugar, sugar, sugar~

I completed my challenge of no sugar for a month today! This was not so hard to accomplish!

I recently read that the average American consumes 23 teaspoons of sugar daily. That's a lot of sugar. I would say that my consumption was not even close to that amount.

I can't imagine eating that much in one day, let alone every day year in and year out! But if you think about it, sugar is in most every processed food. We are programmed to think that if something isn't sweet, it doesn't taste good.
Since I had already been trying to accomplish this goal, and since I had already cut out coffee (I don't like coffee without sugar!), I didn't have a hard time with this at all!

In fact, I'll continue along just fine without eating sugar. It isn't good for your body, you know! I did slip one time...we were at a bowling alley, and there were people all around us smoking. Smoke always makes me nauseated, so I got a Sprite to alleviate the nausea. That's the only soda I've had in over two months!

I did NOT replace sugar with sugar substitutes. I feel like there is enough evidence that those are just as bad or worse for you than sugar. Even animals know that sugar is better than sugar substitutes. ;-) On our honeymoon, we went to a restaurant that had tables outside, and birds kept swooping down and stealing sugar packets. The waitress told us that they only took the sugar - they left the Equal and Sweet 'n Low on the tables, only stealing them if they were the only thing left!

I did not try to cut out every single thing that has sugar in it either - like bread (regular bread), ketchup, salad dressings, etc. For cereal, I either ate a low or no sugar cereal (Cheerios or Grape Nuts). My brother gave me a bottle of maple syrup for Christmas, and I did sweeten a few things with that.

I wish I could say that I lost a whole bunch of weight...but I didn't! Hmmm. Well, anyhow, I feel healthier for this challenge, and that's what counts!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

~Another tulip~




I was so happy to see this one in bloom! It's quite different than the others I have planted about.

~Joining the Ripple Crowd~

A friend and I met today at a yarn shop, and we spent three delicious hours in the store. Gorgeous yarn, decisions, and talking...what a pleasant morning!

I came home with Rowan 100% wool DK to make a ripple afghan!



I am so very happy with the colors, and can't wait to see it worked up! I'll be using the pattern "Soft Waves" from 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns by Jan Eaton. Since the book doesn't give any indication at all of how much yarn to purchase, I don't know if the 11 skeins I've purchased will be sufficient. (I bought two additional skeins in duplicate colors.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

~Organizing~

Tonight I'm working on an organizing project. My pictures! Each time I download pictures, the program I use creates a folder for each and every day. So I have gobs, yes, "gobs" of folders. Finding a picture is a nightmare! I have all of 2007 finished! It only took me an hour or so! I think I'll pick up this project another day!

~Sherbet Socks~



Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, in Sherbet
Pattern: Child's First Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Needles: size 2
Pattern variations: The only thing I did differently was a few less pattern repeats for the cuff. I don't like socks to be super long!

I loved knitting this pair of socks! I was almost sad to finish them tonight. But now I'm totally happy because I've been wearing them all evening! They are so comfortable and the fit is incredible! Better than any of my other socks! I'm looking forward to trying more patterns from this book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

~In Bloom~


Monday, April 23, 2007

~Pet Peeves in the Pew~

Sunday night found me sitting somewhere in the vicinity of a finger-nail clipper. While a special being sung. *Shudder*

And then someone's cell phone started ringing during the preaching. Can't people turn their cell phones off during a church service?!?!?! Wait a minute. That sounds like my ring tone. Never mind. That was my cell phone. *Blush*

~Menu Plan Monday~



This week I have a few interesting titled recipes, which I will probably share if I get the time! *Smiles*

Sunday: Roast, garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables
Monday: Chicken Spaghetti
Tuesday: Cherokee Casserole
Wednesday: 10-Layered Casserole
Thursday: Chicken Stir-fry
Friday: Date night

Saturday, April 21, 2007

~One more post~


***Bare feet***
***Light-weight skirt***
***Dandelions***
***Green, green grass***

Ah, spring is finally here!

~My Etsy Shop~

I am pleased to announce the official opening of my Etsy shop, "Treasures by Tammy"! Please click here to view my shop. Right now I am offering three bookmarks, but I will periodically be adding to my shop!

~Saturday Salutations!~


We watched Charlotte's Web last night. Click the link for a film review and the picture source.

It was an adorable movie. The animals did a fantastic job in their roles. ;-)

***
I have a jump start on my laundry today, since I started it on Thursday. I have a load of sheets in the wash, and then I have two loads to follow and I'll be done!

I brought up all my summer clothes from the basement. Even if it snows, I don't want to wear my heavy, dark clothing any longer! I started packing away my winter clothes, leaving out a few lighter colored sweaters. Now I need to get the summer clothes ironed and in the closet!

I have a few errands I need to run today, along with my grocery shopping. On Monday I'll post my menu. I haven't done that for several weeks, but I still have been planning my menu. This week I didn't stick to it very well. I changed everything all around!

I hope everyone has a great Saturday!

I'll be keeping this verse in mind today as I go about my errands and chores:
Ecclesiastes 9:10a Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.

~Making my Bed~

I'm so excited! Today marks a three-month anniversary for me! I've been making my bed every morning for three whole months!

Now, maybe you already have the habit of making your bed every morning, but I had fallen out of the habit of making my bed. I listed this goal on my 101 List so that I could reestablish this habit.

Can I tell you, it's been so wonderful! I used to "make" the bed each night before getting in bed, and often had to "make" the bed over my husband who was already in bed. Kind of like the old adage, "You made your bed now lie in it". I know that's not what it means, but that's what I was doing!!

When I work on one thing at a time, I am prone to do better at it then if I try to improve my whole life! Plugging away at one thing at a time is so much easier on yourself!

Do you have a simple daily task that you put off too? Surely I’m not the only one out there! *Grin*

Thursday, April 19, 2007

~Our Car~

We got our car back from the shop today! I am so, so glad to have it again!

Here's what happened:



Ugh. I think it looked worse in person, than the pictures showed.

We were so glad that a friend of a friend has a body shop at his house, and that he charges quite reasonably.

I didn't take pictures of the repaired car, but just imagine a normal-looking car, and there ya go! ;-) It looks great now!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

~For a Friend~

A half apron, edged in eyelet.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

~Happy Saturday~

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

Hello! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

I dilly-dallied through my shopping this afternoon, and then my husband and I took our car to the shop. Work will begin on Monday. I'd show you a picture, but it's not very beautiful, it wouldn't go with the above picture at all. ;-) Maybe later.

We had company last night, and had a lot of fun. My menu was very, very simple: sloppy joes, chips, and soda. We had two couples over from church, one brought a fruit salad, and the other brought chocolate chip cookies. I normally don't do such simple meals when having company, but I have to tell you, it was so much easier, and less stressful on my part!

We played two games: the Last Word (I got mine at Meijer for only $14), and Balderdash. I won Balderdash by a landslide, but was way behind in the Last Word. Both are word games, but I'm far better at making up definitions than blurting out words!

There are still patches of snow about, but thankfully most of it has melted. My tulips are still growing! I'm waiting to see what one of the bulbs I planted looks like, because I thought I was getting the same thing my next door neighbor has, and they don't look anything alike! I'm so ready for warmer weather! I sincerely hope it doesn't snow any more this spring!

I think I'm going to go get some sewing done! I have several projects that I've been putting off, and tonight seems like a good time to get cracking on them!

Have a great day, and a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

~Breakfast Ideas~

From The Science and Art of Homemaking by Mary W. Cauley, 1935


Two Course Breakfasts

orange juice
cream toast
coffee
***
strawberries and cream
dropped egg on toast
coffee
***
prunes
muffins
scrambled eggs
cocoa shells
***
oatmeal
omelet
toast
milk
***
corn flakes
bacon and eggs
rolls
coffee
***
melon
creamed dried beef on toast
cocoa shells
***
stewed apricots
broiled liver
bacon
toast
coffee

Three Course Breakfasts

baked apple
Wheatena
ham omelet
coffee
***
grapefruit
puffed wheat
lamb chop
rolls
tea
***
bananas and cream
corn flakes
creamed salt fish
toast
cocoa
***
stewed figs
Cream of Wheat
fried eggs
popovers
coffee
***
pineapple juice
oatmeal
broiled steak
potato
griddle cakes
sirup (spelling as appeared in the book)
coffee



I had never heard of cocoa shells, and the book doesn't have the recipe for it. I googled "cocoa shells" and came up with links to modern-day mulch tips. Another search, this time "cocoa shells drink" came up with the link I provided above. It must have been the more frugal way to drink hot cocoa!

If I were served some of these breakfasts, I think my stomach would turn! Broiled liver for breakfast?

This book is a high school text book, and it is quite interesting to page through!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

~My sewing room closet~

Hurrah! It's all done! Everything fits just like I planned!



What I am most excited about is that by thinking through my plan, and adding two shelves, I was able to make a very small closet contain even more than before. Or less, depending on how you look at it, since I did get rid of quite a bit!

These three things have been under my "desk" area in the sewing room ever since I set up my sewing room:



Now there is room in the closet for them, so I'll have room for a chair!

And I usually keep my ironing basket in my sewing room as well. There definitely wasn't room in the closet for my ironing basket before! I did put a smaller basket in here than what I usually use, but that will also help me keep my ironing done (theoretically, anyhow)!

The closet is not completely finished, as I am still sorting through other things in the room, and I will be on the lookout for some containers and baskets that fit my needs exactly!

~Pressing Onward~

My sewing room, though still a disaster, is progressing well!

Last night I went through things and pared down. I took some pictures to show my sorting procedures. Basically, instead of looking at something and deciding whether or not I would use it in the next ten years, I gave myself some parameters.

Take, for example, my crochet thread. This is what I started with (and I found more as I was cleaning other things out):


I decided that since I haven't been such an avid crocheter since I took up knitting, I would keep only what would fit in the large container. This will definitely be enough variety to choose from should the urge to crochet hit!

And this is what I ended up keeping:



Giving yourself parameters definitely works. Otherwise, I could have kept it all. I did, after all, have containers for it all! There is nothing wrong with any of the thread. It's just taking up space!!! And I'm trying to give myself a closet that works for me! If, in the future, I *need* that particular shade of green thread that I donated to Goodwill, I can go buy it for $2. But until then (which may *never, ever* happen), I have more space in my closet!

I did the same thing with my fabric. It's kind of hard to tell, but I did get rid of a good sized stack.

Before:



After:



I do have a piece of fabric that I put in the donate pile that I still may pull out. I don't know. We'll see how I'm feeling! I do have room for it!

I've learned that having a clean space is far more valuable than hanging on to valuable things.

And so I've been quite ruthless as I go through my sewing room. I got rid of quite a bit just a year ago, but apparently, it wasn't enough! It is so freeing to organize and purge!

Monday, April 09, 2007

~Sewing Room Closet~

Would you like to see what I've been up to all evening?

My sewing room closet looked like this:



No matter how artistically (ha!) I arranged it, whenever I needed something from that closet, it was usually at the bottom of a pile. A grand plan for disaster!

When I signed up for the spring organizing challenge hosted by Laura, I knew that I was going to have to do something with this closet, or nothing was going to change. I figured that a shelf or two would solve a few problems. I like to have my plans on paper before beginning, so this evening I played around on Word, and drew this up. Thankfully the architectural firm that I work at does not need me to do their drafting. ;-)



It's not to scale, but guess what? When all was measured, it was determined that everything would work out just like I envisioned!

Here's the closet with everything all cleared out:



And after my wonderfully magnificent husband gamely went to the hardware store with me, and came home and immediately installed two shelves, here is what we have:



You can see the holes with putty in them, and a closet in obvious need of painting. I painted one coat tonight, and expect to paint the second coat tomorrow night. The shelving that we bought is just that - it has a finished edge and finished sides. This was a relatively inexpensive project: I spent $38 and that included an African violet! (No, that wasn't an impulse purchase at all. LOL)

More updates later...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

~Easter Blessings~

I hope that you have a blessed Easter this year! I pray that the Lord will bless you this day, and that if any of my readers do not know Jesus as their own Lord and Savior, that they would seek Him. My mother wrote an excellent post on the Gift of Salvation a few months back. Accepting Christ as my Savior is the most important decision I have ever made!

When I stop and think of Jesus dying for me, it just boggles my mind! That someone loved me so much... And Easter is just one day we can pause and remember that Jesus is not buried still, but "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Matthew 28:6 Truly, I ought to pause and thank the Lord far more often than I do, for His sacrificial gift!

Blessings!

~Smart Habits Saturday~

Please stop by Lara's blog to see other SHS participants.

I'm going to keep working on:
***Bedmaking (doing great on this one!)
***Only water and herbal teas (Even though my challenge is up, I'm continuing with this habit!)
***No Sugar (I made it this week with no sugar!)
***Dishes and sweep floor after dinner (I still have much work to do on this one; I'm about 50% on this one.)
***Practice my flute. I hope to practice at least 4 times a week. (I practiced 3 times this last week.)

~Spicy Peanut Chicken~

1/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS white vinegar
1/4 tsp white vinegar
~~~
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger root
~~~
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
~~~
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts
2 green onions, sliced

Mix first six ingredients, set aside.
Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Add oil, coat wok. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger root; stir-fry about three minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Add bell pepper to wok; stir-fry 1 minute.
Add cornstarch mixture to wok. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Stir in peanuts. Garnish with onions.

Recipe from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook.

I use chicken breasts most of the time, and only use red bell pepper if it is on sale. I have added green onions, but I like it better without.

Friday, April 06, 2007

~Another Funny~



LOL I enjoy the comments I get here on my blog, and I don't really worry when I post something and it doesn't have any comments. I don't comment on every post of every blog I read!

~Online Metronome~

How cool is this? I need a metronome for practicing my flute, and in between the time I actually buy one, I figured that surely someone had one online that I could use. Well, sure enough, I googled "online metronome" and came up with quite a few. This was the first in the list.

So far this week I've practiced three times. Not too bad. Now when I practice, I won't have to tap my foot and bob my head. ;-)

~FREE Grill!~

It's time to get ready for that all important cooking technique of the summer---outdoor grilling!

I have found several stores where you can get one of these FREE Bar-B-Q Grills!

You can get a free BBQ grill from any of the following stores:

Hannaford

Shaw's

Costco

Sam's Club

Sears

Demolas

Wal-Mart

I especially like the higher rack - which can be used for keeping things warm! Just make sure to get a metal one...the plastic ones don't do so well.



One of my sisters sent this to me via e-mail. I thought it was cute. Of course, I would never do this. ;-)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

~Sock Update and my next project~


My sherbet socks are coming along swimmingly. I almost got the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome. But thankfully, I didn't! *Grin*

I googled "Child's First Sock" and came upon many bloggers who have made up this same pattern. It definitely does not look nice in self-striping yarns, and most knitters have used solid colors. I think that my yarn is just perfect for this pattern. The yellow pops up occasionally, but doesn't dominate the pink, and so far, it hasn't pooled. I am just having so much fun with this pattern! The needles are a different story...I should have gotten sock needles, but oh well. These work. I didn't want to switch between socks either. Oh, that would have been awful if they ended up different sizes!

I think this will be my next pair of socks:



I have literally looked at this pattern scores of times. I think they would be perfect for self-striping yarn, because they have a bit of detail, but just down the back. I have some beautiful yarn for another pair of socks, but I would also like to do some crocheting. I suppose I could have more than one project at the same time... We'll see what happens.

~More snow~

See this:


It's snow. S-N-O-W. From last night. Realistically, I was still expecting snow this spring. We're in Michigan, after all. So it's not much of a surprise. I liked the warm weather we had for an interlude though!

Since we've been in Michigan, we've driven by many accidents, and narrowly escaped accidents ourselves, that have been caused by the snow and ice. Well, last night, Kevin was in a minor accident on his way home from church. I had stayed home sick, and was beginning to get worried about him since he was quite late. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The damage isn't pretty, but he was able to drive home. He could have gotten a ticket, but wasn't written up for one, which was another blessing.

Now we need to get everything taken care of with our insurance agent, and hopefully get our car fixed soon! Another blessing is that we have two vehicles, so we still have a means to get around.

Today Dawn posted an old saying about snow and springtime. I'm hoping that isn't true!!!

Whether snow or sunshine, hoping you're having a wonderful day! *Smiles*

ETA: the insurance doesn't cover our damages. *Sniff* We'll see what happens from here!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

~Spaghetti~

Spaghetti is a quick meal, one that I often fix on Wednesdays (today included!). I need something super fast that won’t take too much thought.

My husband prefers Prego sauce, and I have to agree that it is good too. But Prego can be expensive. I like to buy cheap sauce and add a few of my own spices to it. This takes the spaghetti to a new level. *Smiles*

I add:
Fennel seeds
Crushed red pepper
Oregano
and any other spice I think sounds good!

These spices give it a little “kick”. I don't add a lot of each, probably a teaspoon or two of everything combined. The fennel seeds definitely give it a great taste! I have made spaghetti sauce from scratch, but my husband prefers canned sauce. And on Wednesdays, it certainly is easier to open a can then to chop up tomatoes and simmer sauce!

~Water and Herb Tea only Challenge~

Started: March 5
Goofed up: coffee on March 9
Reason for challenge: to stop drinking caffeinated and sugary beverages

My 101 Things challenge was to drink only water and tea for three weeks. I reached my three week goal, and have continued on (with the exception of a mocha at Starbucks last Saturday). I feel much better without caffeine in my system! I didn’t drink juice during this time, but I will probably drink juice from time to time now that the challenge is up.

So from my normal schedule of events, what did I miss out on?

***My Saturday Starbucks.

My routine had been to get a Starbucks coffee, and sit in the café and make out my shopping list. I like the routine aspect of it, so perhaps I'll make myself a big cup of tea and make my menu at home. It would certainly cost less!

***My workday morning coffee.

This one I really missed to start with, because I’ve developed a liking for the taste of coffee and my bedtime habits have dictated something to “wake” me up. But I’m fine without it now! Now to develop a better sleep pattern!

***The occasional soda at restaurants.

I do not buy soda unless we are having company, so it isn’t in the house to tempt me. We went out several times during my challenge, and I had water each time. It saves on the bill, anyhow!

I realize there are many viewpoints on caffeine, but all I can say is that for me, I know that I feel much better without it. Caffeine is, after all, addictive. I had a whopping headache the day after I started this challenge, so I know that I had been aversely affected by the caffeine.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

~Organizing Challenge~



I've decided to participate in Laura's organizing challenge this time around. Last fall, she had her first challenge, and I wasn't able to participate because I literally had my living room furniture in my kitchen, due to work we were doing on the house! Since the dust from our project has long settled, I'm excited to join in on the spring challenge.

The room I have chosen to work on is my sewing room. I have shown pictures of my sewing room before:



It's all cleaned up and pretty there. But what I don't show is that it gets messy incredibly fast! Here's a picture I just took:




It gets worse, it gets cleaned up. Repeat process over and over. It just seems like this room is always in a downward spiral until I can spend time in there to get it back up to par.

This room has a lot of functions besides just being my sewing room. I do all my ironing in it, my closet is in it, I have all my books, magazines and CDs/tapes stored in it. I purged a lot from this room about a year ago, but there is still more to go, and I need a different approach to organizing.

I will share what I'm doing throughout this month, and I look forward to seeing what others are doing in their organizing projects!

Happy spring cleaning/organizing! *Smiles*

~Sing a Happy Song~

I grew up with Children's Bible Hour--both the radio program and their story and song records. I was so happy ecstatic to find this record at the thrift store:



I had one just like it growing up. The songs are so bubbly and happy. Sometimes when I'm doing my housework, I'll play this record and a few others I have to get me motivated to clean the house. How can you not move around quickly to such cheerful music?

And guess what? I recently got to meet Uncle Charlie!!! I was probably more excited about it then the children he was at our church to speak to! Guess what? His voice sounds just like it does on the radio! ;-)

I went up to him before the service and said, "I was so excited to hear you were coming. I used to listen to Children's Bible Hour all the time..."

"When you were a little girl!" interrupted Uncle Charlie, in his deep booming voice.

God certainly gave him a gift for working with children. It was so fun to watch him with his puppet, dummy, and object lessons he had brought along. His life has been full of service to the Lord!

Monday, April 02, 2007

~Ever feel this way?~

~Menu Plan Monday~


Wow, last week just flew by! I kept to my menu plan very well last week! I love it when a week goes like that. =)

Saturday: Baked fish and oven fries
Sunday: Roast Chicken, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberry relish, corn
Monday: Sweet and Sour meatballs with rice
Tuesday: Zucchini dish (a stir fry of my own concoction) *smiles*
Wednesday: Spaghetti with turkey sausage, Caesar salad
Thursday: Spicy Peanut Chicken over rice
Friday: Date night

Thanks for stopping by!