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Monday, November 26, 2012

Electric Carving Knife to Slice Turkey or Ham

Just a tidbit here... if you are trying to carve a turkey or ham by hand, you're fighting a losing battle.  Break down and spend $20 ($15 if you use a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon) and get an electric carving knife.  As my husband started carving our turkey the other night, the knife was working properly.     My parents had bought it for us when we were married 25 years ago so it had had a useful life.  It even came with a large serving fork.  We only use it maybe 4-5x a year but it's certainly having one to make the carving easier. Try it... you'll appreciate this little helper in your kitchen.

Electric Carving Knife

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Publix Salt & Pepper Shakers

Had to post this photo I took of Mr. & Mrs. Pilgrim in the changing of the holiday guard with Mr. & Mrs. Claus. :)  I've sold many of these pilgrim salt & pepper shakers in my Ebay store; a sweet piano student gave me Mr. & Mrs. Santa several years ago. 

Publix Salt Pepper Pilgrim Couple & Santa

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Easy Preparation of a Turkey

With Thanksgiving just behind us, here is a tip for future preparation of a turkey.  This was my first year to prepare a frozen turkey. I have always paid a little more and purchased a fresh one.  I'll definitely do that next year.  I bought a 20-lb. turkey and the second day in the frig it was still as hard as a rock.  I called the Butterball hotline and got some advice.   If I had not soaked it in water for 4 hours one day and 2 hours the next, we would not have had turkey on our Thanksgiving table this year.  It took four days to thaw even with this process and I still had to yank some of the giblets out that were frozen in the center.

How to Roast a Turkey

My usual method is to bake it the day before we eat it (I use the Reynolds' Oven Bags), and have my husband carve it that day as well.  I save the drippings in a ziplock bag and put everything in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day I skim off the fat and then put the congealed drippings on top of the sliced turkey.  Be sure to save 2-3 tbsp. of drippings to add to your gravy!  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for one hour.  It tastes just like you baked it that day and there's not a huge mess all over your kitchen OR your dining table.  This simple process sure saves me on Thanksgiving or the day of the actual meal so I can relax a bit, too.  Try it.  I think you'll like it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mr & Mrs Publix Pilgrim Salt & Pepper Shakers

One familiar site in our house that I put out September 1 is this cute little pair of Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers by Publix.   They are getting stored back in the china cabinet as we decorate for Christmas today.  Do you use them in your home during the fall and Thanksgiving?

Publix Pilgrim Salt Pepper Shakers

How to Make Almost Homemade Gravy

I make gravy for the turkey every year generally just for holiday meals like the one we had yesterday for Thanksgiving.   My husband absolutely loves it and I have to admit, it does taste pretty good.  My mother used to make it totally from scratch using just pan drippings and flour with seasonings.  I have never mastered that ... always turns out lumpy and unflavorful for me.   Here is my doctored up recipe which uses this as a base...

To this, I add:
  • the fresh giblets (insides of the turkey that come in the little bags), boiled and chopped 
  • one sliced, hard-boiled egg
  • 2 tbsp. pan drippings from the turkey

I boil the giblets and the egg (separately) the day before and let them cool, then chop them all up and keep in the frig until needed.  Be sure to save a bit of the drippings (more on those tomorrow) to add to this gravy.

Stir together with the jar of gravy and heat slowly on the stove for about 20 minutes on a low setting.  Pour into a gravy boat to serve.  This gravy has texture and  is delicious.

How to Make Homemade Gravy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

What's on your Thanksgiving Day menu?  Here is ours...all are time-tested favorites which everyone loves.  Some years I add a dish or two new (raspberry sweet potatoes, fresh green beans), but the traditional favorites are always here.  I usually have a pineapple/cherry ambrosia fruit salad but I happen to have a lot of fresh strawberries right now, so we're having those with homemade whipped cream.  No matter what you serve during this special meal with your family,  it's the people that make the time at the table a delight and the food just adds to the pleasure of being with your loved ones.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and/or family!

Thanksgiving Day Give Thanks
 Thanksgiving Day Menu 2012

Sparkling grape juice

Baby corn
Sliced strawberries with homemade whipped cream


Thanksgiving Day Menu

Thanksgiving Day Menu

1 Chr 16:34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; 
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stampin' Up Card Making Party

I had a fun time this past weekend for a few hours creating these beautiful cards  with Stampin' Up products with a small group of women.  I had made a few note cards several years ago but this time, I made Christmas cards... some easy, one of them very detailed.  The teacher was the mother of a young friend from church.  Her daughter was my personal "coach".   All of the pre-cut pieces, equipment and frills  for twelve cards were provided for a reasonable fee ($18.00,  $1.50 per card).   What a pleasant morning.  I went on a whim and was glad that I did.  Not being particularly crafty, I was delighted with these beautiful results.

I'll have to be on the lookout for Stampin' Up products when I am out buying inventory.  I have a few in my Ebay store at this time.

Stampin' Up Christmas

Stampin' Up Christmas

Stampin' Up Christmas

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Operation Christmas Child Deadline November 19, 2012

If you have seen the posts around Facebook or the signs around town and at the YMCA or local churches, remember that the deadline for turning in the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is Monday, November 19.  This is a simple project, especially for children, to participate in the joy of giving to  those less fortunate than themselves.

If you have not heard of this and have time today or tomorrow to shop for a few small items, THIS LINK (designed by my son), has all of the details.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday Art Contest

Just in case you don't receive our local newspaper, there is a Holiday Art Contest coming up for children in kindergarten through 5th grade.  My own children entered this and received awards when they were younger.  For homeschoolers, it's a nice incentive to create some special Christmas artwork and share your faith at the same time.

Holiday Art Contest

The deadline for entries is Monday, December 3.

More details HERE.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Inexpensive Birthday Christmas Gifts

I love giving and receiving fresh flowers, especially those that grow before my eyes.   This is the time of year when boxed amaryllis and narcissus plants start showing up in Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot.  They are very reasonably priced and make lovely gifts.




After they bloom and die down, you can plant them in the yard.  Be sure to NOT cut the green stems even though they start to look ugly.  The plant needs the stem for nourishment in its dormant stage.  If you have more than one plant of the same type in the yard, the next time they bloom you will have a few more than that.  :)

Check for sales even after the holidays if you want to get some just for your garden. I love watching these flowers bloom in the house. Click HERE for a previous post about these flowers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Keeping Your Produce Fresh with Microfiber Cloths

One of my friends (thanks, Patty) told me this great tip for keeping produce fresh--keep a microfiber cloth in the container or wrap the produce in it.  I purchase these large boxes of mixed greens from Sam's Club regularly.  I was finding that it would often spoil before it was sometimes only half finished.

You put a microfiber cloth on top of the greens and then flip the box over so that the vegetables are not touching the plastic box on all sides where it can't "breathe".  

Using Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber Cloths
Microfiber Cloths
I was amazed at how long the greens stayed fresh without any excess water to spoil them.   These strawberries lasted more than one week.    Try it and make your produce last longer.  :)

Sam's Club Mixed Greens

I was in Sam's Club last weekend and bought a package of 24 microfiber cloths for less than $10.00. They are so useful around the house as a previous post explains.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Aldi: Product Review Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix

With the craze for anything pumpkin these days, I found a wonderful cookie mix at Aldi a few weeks ago.  Our family has really enjoyed these simple-to-make cookies.  Just add water, butter and an egg.  Each package makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.  $1.49 per package.  My son made a batch last week and sprinkled fresh ground cinnamon on top while they were warm.  Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies Aldi

Aldi Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Monday, November 5, 2012

Logging Your Hours Time Sheets TSheets

Now that I'm back in the working world, I have to keep track of my hours.  I haven't done this since I was a bank auditor.  Since I have an iPod Touch I searched and found this handy dandy little app that I love.  It's call TSheets.


You just clock in when you start and clock out when you're done.  No paper logs or notebooks, no trying to remember what / when you worked.  You can even keep track of specific jobs if  you need to.   You can also log time manually in case you forget to clock in.



37.72Total Hours

It's especially handy since I work from home and start and stop often throughout the day.

I can clock in and out from my iPod Touch  or from my computers.  All of them are synched together in a WiFi area.   Check it out if you have need of something like this.  It's free for a single person but has a price if a company uses it for its employees.  A+ recommendation from me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Homeschool Mom Goes Back to Work

It feels like this should be a headline in the newspaper.   It's been 23+ years since I have worked for anyone other than myself.  My husband really wanted me to get a part-time job now that our younger son has graduated high school and is in college.  I was opposed to this idea at first but to please my husband primarily, I decided to just go step by step and look  for a job that would be suited to me. I would not have imagined that I would actually get a good one in such a short time!

My professional life before children was in the banking industry but I really did not want to go back into the corporate world. I teach piano from home and have an Ebay store as you know [more details in  the two tabs above],  and am involved in the worship and Titus 2 Moms ministries at church.   I didn't want something that would take every single spare minute that I had.  I prayed and prayed and asked several of my close friends to do the same.  I mentioned that I was looking for a job to 3-4 of my friends who are in business  in case they had any openings.  In June I prepared  my resumé  and posted it to LinkedIn and sent it to five places--three Christian schools, an accountant and a Bible software company.

About 3 weeks ago the software company contacted me about a job.  I had two interviews for two  different positions that were being created within the company.  I was thrilled to hear that they wanted me  because of my character in addition to my skills and background.  They had been talking about me for a few months (while we were all praying, the Lord was already working).   I started two weeks ago as an accounting assistant and my first assignment was to pick out a new MacBook Pro [as He would have it, it was the day after my birthday... what a sweet birthday gift!] .

In fact, on my birthday my family got Chinese from our favorite takeout. This was in my fortune cookie.  :)

Another perk:  I was given  the latest version of the Bible software...another GREAT gift.   Wow!  I have used this Bible software for many years and so, was very familiar with it already.  In fact, my husband bought me the software for my birthday in 1999!   :)

God has blessed me abundantly beyond what I asked or thought He would do. Almost forgot to mention that the hours are flexible (20 per week, more if I want, although I prefer to keep it around 20 hours) and  I can work from HOME! This is what I SO wanted to be able to do but did not expect it to come to pass.   And the pay is great--far more than the average for working part-time.   I like the people I've met so far in the company very much, including my immediate boss which is a very good thing,; the work is detailed yet interesting with a godly purpose--behind-the-scenes in a company that produces a product designed to help laymen and scholars study, learn and teach accurately from the Bible.

Working From Home

The week after I got this job I was offered another job at one of the Christian schools where I had sent my resumé. What an incredible turn of events.  I was approached to be a pianist there about 4 years ago but could not accept the job since I was still homeschooling.

If you are headed back into the working world after a long hiatus like me, don't give up. Pray, pray, pray and just take that next step...  you may be surprised at what lies ahead.   :)

P.S.  Be sure to brush up on your organizational and time management skills while at home.  And start streamlining your life to omit things that are really not important.   When there is a time crunch, the less stress already removed, the better.

For all of you who prayed for me, thank you so very much.

Click HERE to see other posts about Home Businesses.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 
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