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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leftovers: chips and crackers

What do you do with the little bits of chips and crackers that no one wants to eat because they are the last in the bag(s)? I hate throwing food away, even little bits, so if I can think of a good use for them, I just save them for just the right occasion.  Process these little bits and make crumbs for baked pork chops or chicken, rather than frying. This takes about 2 minutes and tastes great.  I do this with leftover homemade bread as well.

By the way, these are Aldi boneless pork chops. Reasonably priced and just enough for a meal for 3-4.

Dinner: pork chops, sweet potato, sautéed peppers and onions, avocado,  fruit salad

January 31 = Proverbs 31

No woman is perfect but these are qualities we can all strive for.  I have  never met a woman who is like this ALL the time.   These are not intended to be a  "guilt trip", but they are God's Word of encouragement to us...

Prov. 31:1 The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him. 

Prov. 31:2  What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? 

Prov. 31:3 Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. 

Prov. 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 

Prov. 31:5 Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 

Prov. 31:6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. 

Prov. 31:7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his trouble no more. 

Prov. 31:8 Open your mouth for the dumb, For the rights of all the unfortunate. 

Prov. 31:9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. 

Prov. 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. 

Prov. 31:12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 

Prov. 31:13 She looks for wool and flax, And works with her hands in delight. 

Prov. 31:14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 

Prov. 31:15 She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens. 

Prov. 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. 

Prov. 31:17 She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong. 

Prov. 31:18 She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. 

Prov. 31:19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. 

Prov. 31:20 She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 

Prov. 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. 

Prov. 31:22 She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 

Prov. 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 

Prov. 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen. 

Prov. 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. 

Prov. 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Prov. 31:28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 

Prov. 31:29 “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” 

Prov. 31:31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. 

Scriptures:  New American Standard Bible

Friday, January 27, 2012

Project 52 P52 / Week 4 / Self Portrait

I'm sticking with the Project 52  photography "assignment"  that I began the first week of January.  If you want to see the other photos I have submitted, click HERE.   This week's theme is Self-Portrait [I am #35].  I love the freedom Darcy gives us in using our imagination to come up with a photo that defines whatever the theme is.  The following photos you could say, define me...who I am, what/whom I love the most.

One is a true self-portrait which was harder to take than it looks.   Have you ever tried  taking a photo of yourself  with your  camera, holding it level, then smiling into a MIRROR at the same time--without covering your face with the camera? :)   By the way, this is the pocket camera  (a Sony Cybershot, 14.1 MP) that I use to take all of my photos. It is possible to take good ones with the little guys...  :)  One day maybe I'll own a nice digital SLR but for now, it's not in the budget... I'm perfectly happy with this one and carry it everywhere with me.  [If anyone has one that works that they no longer use [either giving away or selling very inexpensively], please let me know!]

Next, are the people and activities I spend most of my time with / on:
  • my sweet family--I've been married almost 25 years; two sons ages 22 and 17.
  • music-- I play the piano for enjoyment, weddings and other family events and teach at home.  I have owned this Baldwin piano since I was 10 years old.
  • my other home business --My Ebay / Amazon internet stores keep me on the computer quite a bit but I am thankful for a pleasant home office from which to work (designed by my husband).

Lastly are three things I love and enjoy:
  • my 25-year-old Bible with notes and thoughts from my married life and motherhood...things I have studied and learned over the years
  • color, the more brilliant the better. This is a Murano glass perfume bottle, a gift from my husband.  I love the way it reflects light.  I keep it on top of my piano where I can see it often.
  • a good cup of coffee, preferably homemade.   :)  Not a huge fan of Starbucks (too strong, but I do drink it occasionally).  Last year I  discovered Dunkin Donuts coffee on an airplane flight and LOVE it!

NOTES:  I photographed all of these with my little camera (someone else used it to take the family portrait), edited with iPhoto just a bit and "framed" the last two photos using the PicFrame app on my iPod Touch. 

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Facebook LIKE Button

I am attempting to build up my Ebay Store and Piano Business presence on Facebook, so if you don't mind, would you please LIKE My Ebay Store on FB? The tab is located in the righthand sidebar. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Orlando February 2012 ArtsFest

I'm not sure if you saw the insert in Sunday's paper [Feb. 22] about the upcoming ArtsFest during the month of  February here in  the Orlando area--both ticketed and non-ticketed events.. There are LOTS of  venues in the various performing arts in our community and they are all  FREE.  Check them out and try to attend at least a couple during this special event.

Used Curriculum Books For Sale / Happy Housewife Connection

Today I am linking up with The Happy Housewife in listing used homeschool books and curriculum that I have in my Ebay store under the category EDUCATION / HOMESCHOOL.   Here is what is available.  If you would like to purchase, go to THIS LINK.

  • Pilgrim's Progress Study Manual with Original Text
  • Pilgrim's Progress in Pictures
  • TruthQuest History / Ancient Egypt & Greece
  • TruthQuest History / Ancient Rome
  • Vintage Gregg Shorthand simplified for colleges
  • God's Gift of Language B / A Beka
  • Engineering Drawing & Graphic Technology, 12th Edition
  • Adventurous Girl's Handbook
  • Italic Letters  Calligraphy Handwriting
  • Student Works Glencoe Florida Edition Mathematics CD
  • A Time for Anger, Franky Schaeffer
  • A+ Education, Choosing the Best School Option
  • Digital Video Tutor College Algebra 2nd ed.
  • Everything You Need to Know about English Homework
  • Lakeshore Counting Match-ups 2 Pc Puzzles
  • Scholastic  Children's Thesaurus & Dictionary

Also, in my Amazon store, I have:

  • Analytical Concordance of the Greek New Testament
  • College English and Commmunication 8th edition, with student workbook
  • The Homeschooling Family, audio cassette
  • Math Connects, Chapter 0 Start Smart, Teacher's Edition
  • Math Connects, Chapter 5, Add & Subtract, Teacher's Edition

My younger son is in his senior year of high school and is also dual enrolling at a community college.  My older son is about to graduate college.   We have used many of these items over the years and they are in very good condition, most are like new.

Thank you for shopping with me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aldi Product Review: Blueberry Muffin and Chocolate Chip Cookie Mixes

We tried Aldi's blueberry muffin and chocolate chip cookie mixes and they were both delicious. I believe they were each about $1.29 each as opposed to $2.79+ for Pillsbury blueberry muffin mix and $1.79+ for cookie mix. Everyone enjoyed them so much that I didn't even have a chance to take a photo of the cookies!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Project 52 / Week 3 / I Dreamed A Dream

These photos are my submission for this week's Project 52 on Friday [I am photo #54] , but I thought it was appropriate to post them today since it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I took them when my sons and I were in Washington, DC in March over Spring Break last year.

I was reading the plaques in the American History Museum and studying the scene below when three young  girls walked up together and stood for quite awhile in deep thought over this exhibit.  It was a rather poignant moment.   I can only imagine what they were thinking  but I'm sure that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been glad to know these young girls will grow up in a world so different from his own with many more rights and privileges than he had. As he dreamed a dream, perhaps they do as well.

My dream and prayer is that one day the human trafficking / slavery that still continues in our world today will be brought more into the light and abolished as well.

For the text and audio of that great speech given on August 28, 1963, go HERE.

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Using Leftovers: Homemade Pot Pie

I seldom clip recipes but when I do, it has to be good.  This one really is and over the years I have made a few changes to this one for Quick Beef Pot Pie which is dated February 1990 from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Here is the original.

Enlarge by clicking on the photo, but in case you still can't read it... My changes are in italics.

  • 1/2 recipe beef  vegetable stew [or pot roast, bbq beef, cooked veggies, whatever you have]
  • 3 tbsp. margarine or butter [butter makes everything taste better]
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. loose-pack frozen peas  [1/2 bag of peas]
  • 1  4-oz. can whole mushrooms, drained [I used fresh mushrooms and added onions and sautéed them together, layering the flavors]
  • 1 pkg. refrigerated biscuits [flaky are my favorite, but any will do, or homemade bread dough]
1.  If frozen, thaw the beef and vegetable stew
2.  Melt margarine or butter in a large saucepan / pot
3. Stir in flour and the rosemary.  Stir continually until you get little lumps of flour mixed with the butter.
4.  Add milk all at once. Cook and stir regularly till thickened and bubbly.

[sauté mushrooms and onions--I also added more corn-- in a different skillet]

5.  Stir in the stew, peas and mushrooms. Cook til bubbly.

6. Pour into 2-quart casserole dish. 
7.  Halve biscuits crosswise.  Arrange them in two rings around outside edge of casserole.

8. Sprinkle with rosemary, if desired.  The rosemary really does add a nice flavor.
9.  Bake in 450 degree oven 8-10 minutes or until biscuit crust is golden brown. [I made this up ahead of time and had it in the refrigerator for a few hours until closer to dinnertime.  When ready to cook, I baked it at 300 degrees for 45 minutes and it was fine.]

This recipe made enough for one larger pot pie plus two individual pies.   My family loved it.  Layering the flavors by sauté-ing the veggies and having already cooked the beef in another meal makes all the difference in taste.  Enjoy!

10 minute hot breakfast

10 min hot whole-grain fiber breakfast: 2 cups oats (real oats, not instant), 1 apple, handful of raisins, sprinkle of ground cinnamon, a dash of honey ... Mmmm...

TIP: Don't waste your money on the "instant" oatmeals or the "quick-cooking" oatmeal.   They're loaded with sugar and who knows what else and the whole grain for the most part, has been eliminated.   Unfortunately, Quaker makes both.   Once kids get used to the sugar cereals, it's hard to get them readjusted to unsweetened or sweetened naturally cereals.

The "quick" oatmeal takes 5 minutes instead of 10, so you're not saving much time and you're buying a LOT less for your money.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas Decor: Taking It All Down

Probably most of you have already done this, but if not, or if you want to streamline it for next year...

I do it in stages.  The previous year as I am taking things down, I weed through and donate, give away or throw away things that we no longer use or want.  Last year I tossed about 3 large boxes worth of items.  This year I emptied one entire storage bin and donated a small bag of ornaments and decor.  The simpler the better... less real is more.

Step 1:   Have men in the household gather all the storage bins and put them in one room.  I have them do this the night before I start taking everything down. [15 minutes.  We did this at 9:00 p.m.]

Step 2:  Empty a large flat surface.  I cleared off our dining room table.  Then run, don't walk, around the house and just gather up everything setting out that is Christmas related and lay it on the table where you can see it.  [30 minutes.  I did this at 7:00 a.m.]

Step 3:   Open up all the bins and pull out boxes for ornaments, tissue paper for wrapping/packing, so that each bin is completely empty.   Be sure to have a trash can nearby and a basket for putting things in that you want to donate or give to someone else but not use next year. [20 minutes.  1:00 p.m.]

Step 4:  Empty Christmas dishes from kitchen cabinets and move to china cabinet.  Replace with everyday dishes.

Step 5:  Wash Christmas linens so they can go into the bin also.  We had used Christmas dishes and linens the night before so there were still some to be washed.

Step. 6:  Take all the ornaments off of the tree(s) and put in boxes.  [45 minutes.  1:30 p.m.]

Step 7:  Go to the dining room table and start grouping items together that go in the same box. Begin wrapping/packing to protect from breakage.  Linens together, snow globes together, breakables in the same box, stockings, nativity scenes, etc.  Wrap carefully and put in the boxes/bins.   Put the lid on each bin when it is full.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment to walk through and see closed bins.  :)   [1 hour]

Step 8:  We have 3 small trees and one large tree.  We leave the lights on the small ones as we store them and take them off the big tree.  Pack the lights, wrap the small trees and box them.  Wind the lights or layer them in sections so they do not get tangled.   My younger son has this job.  [30 minutes]

Step 9:   We have an artificial 8 foot tree.  My son also disassembles it (I helped) and boxes it up.   [30 minutes]

Step 10:  Stack all the boxes in one place to be moved into the garage when husband comes home.  [5 minutes]

Step 11:   Redecorate back to normal life.  [1 hour]

We started early but took long breaks and had this all done basically in one afternoon.  Bins were back on the shelves (my goal is to have nothing in our attic) and house redecorated for dinner.  It was so much easier having streamlined and weeded through everything last year.  There was less to put out but it still looked very Christmas-y and cozy.

So another year, closing the door on Christmas, but always anticipating the next one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Project 52 / Week 2 / Made With Love Handmade Gifts from the Heart

Continuing on with Week 2 of Project 52--this week's theme was "Made With Love" [I am #128 if you visit the site].    When I was a taking down the Christmas decorations I found many items in this category.  I'm sure you did, too!  I was amazed at how many decorations carried me back to a specific person, time or season of life.  I pack these treasures carefully and lovingly put them away this week.

I found this cross-stitch pattern in a magazine.  I used to do this when I was pregnant and when my children were quite young.  These are two of the few things I actually kept for our house!  Most have been given away.

Still in my cross-stitch phase... I made ornaments for our sons each year for several years.  What makes this one and its mate extra special is that the backing is made from parts of flannel feet pajamas that they both wore when they were babies.   I can still picture them wearing them.   :)  They get a new ornament each year through age 18, so that when they are out on their own they have "starter" set of memory ornaments for their own Christmas trees.  Many families have this tradition.

These two monkeys are very special.  My grandmother had them made for our two sons when they were very young while she was still living.  They never knew her since she lived so far away and did not travel in her 90s when they were born.   I still remember my older son sitting inside the large box with the monkey when it arrived for him!

My sister-in-law quilted this for us one year.   
She sews beautifully and now does gorgeous machine embroidery.

When money was tighter, the kids and I made these ornaments from felt, glitter and favorite photos...

My older son is a graphic designer and made this 3D glass project as a birthday gift for me.  I love that it is so unique but most of all because he made it just for me.  :)

I had been after my husband to draw a picture of our home, but he was too busy.   What a surprise one birthday when my son surprised me with this drawing that he had done.  :) My neighbor and 2 piano student parents saw it and hired him to do theirs, too! 

My husband drew this for me when we first dated-- 5 years before we married!  LONG story...  :)

Kindergarten Christmas angel from a paper plate...

 I sewed new napkins for Christmas gifts one year and kept two sets + matching tablecloths for us.

A dear friend made this for me when my first son was born.  When our younger son was born, I added the second baby in the cross-stitch.  

I did the same thing with the 4th stocking.  A friend had made the first three when my older son was born.  I went to JoAnn's and found the SAME fabric to do a 4th stocking.  The saleswoman could not believe they had it!

One of my last cross-stitch pieces for our home... something I hope we always remember...  :)

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge
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