Monday, April 30, 2012

1 Year to an Organized Life - Catch up #2

Here again with an extra Monday, is a perfect time to play catch up.  Use this week to get anything done that you missed out on.  Maybe that's painting somewhere, maybe that's installing some organizational tools somewhere, etc.

In May we begin the "other" areas of the house, like the guest room, sewing room, etc.  If you are anything like me, this is where you put stuff to deal with later.

Well, kids, the time has come!  And we can do it!!

Until Next Time....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I am worn out!

Yep, that's me.....oh no it isn't....who's got time to paint their nails??!

So I've got some family stuff going on that I need to deal with as well as church business including teaching and making meals for people who are ill or taking care of people who are ill.  Can I just say I hate cancer?!  I cannot believe how many people have been diagnosed within the last couple months in my small circle alone!!  We really need to pray against this horrible disease!

I just wanted to let you know that for a little while I will be cutting back on my posts.  I will continue Monday's series 1 Year to an organized life because I AM GOING to finish that book and my house!  I will also continue Wednesday's series about the Proverbs 31 wife.  Again, that one is very important to me and to some of my readers, and no matter what is going on in my life, God needs to come first.  Other than that, I will be pretty sporadic with the recipes, tools, and treasures.

I didn't want to do this, but there is a time and season and a purpose for everything under Heaven.  In this season, I need to make more time for other people for a while.

Please stay tuned.....I will get on here when I can, and hopefully soon will be back to full time!

Thanks to all of you for making this more than I ever thought it could be so far!

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beef Brisket Dinner

3 lb beef brisket
1 lb potatoes cut into chunks
1/2 lb carrots cut into chunks
3/4 C water
1 envelope onion soup mix

preheat oven to 325
in roasting pan, add soup mixed with water
add brisket and turn to coat
cover with foil or lid and bake 1 hour
add potatoes and carrots and toss to coat, also basting brisket
cover again and bake 2 hours or until vegetables are tender

If I make larger chunks, I will put veggies in at the start

Until Next Time.....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crock Pot Cavatini

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
12-16oz pasta (thicker is better, like wheels, penne, etc. great time to use a little of everything if you have leftovers from different boxes)
2 C shredded mozzarella
pepperoni, as much or little as you like
28-32oz jar pasta sauce (I like Prego traditional flavor)
4oz can mushrooms, or equiv sauteed fresh
1 Tblsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

cook ground beef with onions and garlic
meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for  A LITTLE LESS THAN AL DENTE, should still be a little stiff
rinse immediately in cold water to stop cooking process, drain well
stir together meat mixture, sauce, seasonings and mushrooms
spray a 3-4 qt crock pot with non-stick spray
layer 1/3 meat sauce, then 1/2 pasta
add 1 C cheese
place 1/2 pepperoni on top of cheese
repeat layers, ending with meat sauce then cheese and pepperoni
cover and cook on low 2-4 hours (start checking at 2 hours, then write down how long your crock takes as each one is a little different)

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crock Pot Sunday Chicken for Noodles

3-4 lbs cut up chicken or any kind (bone in for more flavor)
1 can cream of celery soup (or really any other cream of)
1/2 C chicken broth
paprika, salt and pepper to taste

sprinkle chicken with seasonings
combine soup and broth in small bowl
place 1/2 of the chicken in 4-5 qt crock pot
pour in 1/2 soup combo
repeat layers
cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4 hours

cook noodles just before serving

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty One

Question #31: What causes you to feel completely overwhelmed?  How do you respond?  What tools do you use to stay organized?

I tend to feel the most overwhelmed when there is a kink in my schedule or unexpected things come up disturbing my routine.  I am, if there is such a thing, maybe a little too organized.  I have a small calendar that I can carry with me.  For each month it has a month at a glance and then behind that, 2 pages for each day of the week.  My calendar is color coded.  I won't bore you with the whole color scheme, but it is very useful to me because if I am looking for when my next dentist appointment is, I can just skim for a light blue entry instead of reading everything written down.  Then on the pages for the week, I list out all my chores for the day.  Again, this is color coded.  With my condition, I need to have physical movement, but I have to be careful that it's not too much.  So I try to do one "red" thing, a housekeeping chore, then one "green" thing, either Bible study or any paper/desk/computer related chore.  This way I'm alternating movement and sitting.  When I run out of Reds, I'll move on to "purple" which is exercise...recumbent bike, treadmill, strength circuit, etc.

I also have a desk calendar.  On this I have planned out blog entries, plus when bills need to be paid or when I need to record any automatic payments.  Of course I have a ton of other ways I organize different things, but we don't need to go there.  No sense in you thinking I'm weirder than you already do! (teasing)

So, needless to say, when something pops up that can't get color coded, or wouldn't exactly fit into my schedule for the day, at first I'm a little taken aback.  Let me say that I have gotten much better at this.  I used to panic if it was a big enough disruption.  Now, I just stop and figure out how to rearrange things to accommodate the new thing.  Or what to take out of the day altogether.  

Spending time in the Word and working on my relationship with God is what has made me able to do a better job at this.  Usually if something is disrupting my day anymore it is a sudden need.  For example, I do a lot of meals for people who are ill or taking care of someone who is ill.  Or someone has a need of me to take something somewhere or do some shopping.  Where I live vs. where other people and shopping are, just the driving takes time out of my day.  BUT I love doing this for people, so I had to learn to be a little more flexible.  After all, does it really matter if my floor is mopped when someone needs something?  Darn right that's the first chore that gets crossed off!!

Occasionally, all the "doing for" other people can get overwhelming.  I have been known to snap at my husband if I'm already stressed out over trying to get everything done and he interrupts me with something else.  Not good!  And every now and then, being that overwhelmed can actually physically hurt me and cause a painful flair up.  Which leads me back to the start.  The more organized I am about my day, the less likely I will end up in pain.  

What I really like, is how a day might start out overwhelming, and I'm rushing to get my things done as well as something for someone else, then at the end of the day I'm so happy that I was able to do to make someone else's burden light, that I actually end up thanking God for messing up my day.

Ironic, isn't it?

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Treasure Tuesday - Revitalift

How many of you out there have tried a ton of different face products?  I know, me too!  If I had all the money I've wasted trying different things.....

I finally found something I love.  Revitalift by Loreal.  I use the cream cleanser daily.  The moisturizer on the left is a daily one to use after cleansing, and the small one on the right is more intense moisturizer.  I usually only use that one through the winter when my skin is more dry.

I have sensitive, and weird, skin.  In the summer I have more combination skin where it is partly oily, and in the winter it's pretty dry.  I've been able to use this year round.  I also have rather large pores around my nose and chin and this cleans them right out.  Sometimes when using other cleansers I didn't feel like my face was clean because I could still see or feel stuff in these areas.  

Added benefit:  I really wasn't going for the anti-aging thing, but after a few weeks I did notice that my frown lines were considerably less noticeable, especially on my forehead and between my brows as well as those parentheses you get around your mouth.

Everyone's skin is slightly different and everyone will see different results, but if you've been trying to find something for awhile, give this a shot.  In my opinion, it is worth it!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

1 year to an Organized Life - April Week 4

This week you can:
  • have fellow Zen organizers over to swap products
  • put newly purchased organizing tools to work
  • create a home spa for yourself
Regina suggests on page 114 to start with the small interior areas first like drawers, cabinets and under the sink.  Always good advice.  When you are tackling a whole room it's always good to start small.  As soon as you have success in a small area, it energizes you to go on to the next.

I didn't add any organizing tools since I was lucky enough to have the built in shelves with pull out drawers, so all I did was clean out, straighten and organize.  When I got that done I decided to dream....thus the picture.

I told you that in one bathroom it is shaped kind of funny with some wasted space.  Well, if you treated that space as a small hallway, since it runs parallel to the shower/tub, and then cut out the wall in the shape of a door way, it could lead to an addition onto the house where my new swim spa would be installed!  Now, THAT'S a spa!!

I used a smaller version of this one in physical therapy and LOVED it!!  The warm water is awesome for arthritis and Fibromyalgia, plus you can get a total body toning workout when you swim.  AND, you don't have to drive over 10 miles one way to the gym get dressed, undressed, dressed again, have a wet head, etc and go back home.  You can do it all at home, then get right in the shower on the other side of the door and move on with your day.  How awesome would that be?!?!?

Yep, just a couple problems with that.  The heating and air unit is on the other side of that wall.  Oh and yeah, I'd have to win the lottery.  But it's fun to dream sometimes!  Just so long as you don't try to live in your dreamworld, it's ok. ;)

Ready to move on to the next area?  How are you doing so far?  We have gotten some major areas done by now.  I'm feeling pretty good about it!

Until Next Time.....

Chocolate Pudding Pizza

pic from Taste of Home
I think that is where this recipe originally came from

1 pkg (17.5oz) peanut butter cookie mix (plus ingredients to make)
12oz cream cheese softened
1-3/4 C cold milk
1 pkg (3.9oz) instant chocolate pudding
1 tub (8oz) cool whip, thawed
1/4 C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 375
prepare cookie mix according to package directions
press into greased 12 inch pizza pan
bake for 15 min or until set, then let cool
beat cream cheese until smooth
spread over crust
beat milk and pudding on medium speed for 2 minutes
spread over cream cheese layer
refrigerate 20 minutes or until set
spread with cool whip
sprinkle with chocolate chips
chill 1-2 hours before serving

*try combining the pudding and cream cheese together for one layer and a richer taste

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chicken Fingers

2/3 C Bisquick
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1-1/2 Lbs chicken breast tenders
3 chicken breasts cut into strips
1 egg, beaten
3 Tblsp melted butter

heat oven to 450
line cookie sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray
mix dry ingredients together and place in zip top bag
dip chicken strips in egg, then place in bag
shake to coat
place on cookie sheet
repeat as necessary til all are coated
drizzle butter over chicken
bake 12-14 minutes, turning half way through

great also cut up on top of salads

Until Next Time.....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Crock Pot Hungry Man Beef and Noodles

3 lbs. beef stew meat, or cubed roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 envelope beefy onion soup mix

mix all soups together well
place beef in 3-4 qt crock pot
pour soup over top and stir a little
cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours
serve over cooked, hot noodles

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baked Pork Chops

4 pork chops at least 3/4 inch thick
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/2 C bread crumbs

heat oven to 375
in one bowl combine soup mix and bread crumbs
in another bowl, have the beaten egg
dip pork chops in egg then crumb mixture, coat well
place in greased 9X13 pan
bake 45 minutes, turning once

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Thirty

Question #30: Have you ever struggled with working in a job outside the home and taking care of your family?  Describe your situation.  Have you ever been misunderstood by the people you worked with, either in your job or as a wife and/or mom?

I kinda feel like I've already answered this question, or maybe I just feel like a broken record where this topic is concerned.  If you've followed me at all you know I struggled with working outside the a big way!  For the last two years that I worked I really wasn't taking care of my family.  My job was so exhausting to me, with my health, that when I got home I felt like I was crawling to my chair.  Then once I got my feet up, I was done for the night.  My husband brought me food and medicine and I sat there until it was bedtime and the whole cycle started all over.  That meant that I had to do all of my chores on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday, while my husband went fishing, I did laundry and housekeeping.  Since there was a whole week saved up, by the time I was done, it was just like a work day.  By late afternoon I was back in my chair and my husband had to take over.  I tried to cook a meal before that would happen.  That's when the crock pot became my new best friend.  Sunday after church was looking through all of the ads and coupons in the paper and planning the shopping trip.  Once again, by the time I had been to church, done the shopping and maybe got another meal cooked I was done and back in the chair.  And the cycle began again the next morning.  Two years I did this!!

When I decided to quit and stay home, I could only name one or two people who DID understand.  Most people thought my husband must be rich if I could stay home when I didn't have children.  We are far from it, by America's standards anyway.  I have to penny pinch and do without of a lot of things.  We haven't had a vacation in about 3 years and that one was only 4 days and we drove and were very frugal with the whole thing.  Other people thought I was just plain lazy.  They said they were tired at the end of the day too, but they still got off their butt and worked.  Yeah, 'cause all I do all day long is sit on my butt!

The real question is, does it really matter if people misunderstand you?  Yes I know it's frustrating, and all I ever wanted to do was explain everything I did to everyone I knew because I wanted them to understand everything.  But it doesn't matter!  My family is more important, and without my health, what good am I to them?  But even more important is God.  If you check out the story above, where do you see my relationship with God?  Yeah, an hour and a half on Sunday morning.....and praying to get through another day.  That was about it.

For those two years, I was on a medicine for nerve pain that made me gain weight.  It also didn't help that I sat in a chair for 4-5 hours before going to bed and all I did in that chair was eat, read and watch TV.  

Now, I schedule my chores daily so they are spread out.  I also schedule in meals and exercise.  Most importantly, I schedule in Bible study!  There are even some days that I'll skip over a chore or two to spend more time in my Bible study.  I can hardly wait to get into it every day!  My husband has also benefitted a lot because he doesn't have to worry about taking care of me every evening.  There are some days here and there where I'm in that chair for a little while before bedtime, but I'm getting better at spreading things out so that doesn't happen.  This house is clean most every day instead of only once a week, and he comes home to a meal most days instead of coming home and trying to decide what to take out of the freezer.

This new life is still a work in progress, but let's be realistic, whose isn't??!!  Just remember to ask yourself what is most important; what people think, or what God thinks?  I think you know the answer.

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies

2 C sugar
16 oz can pumpkin pie mix
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 C shortening
2 eggs
4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda

preheat oven to 350
cream together sugar, shortening and eggs
add pie mix and vanilla, keep beating
mix all dry ingredients together
slowly add while mixer is still going
drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (my mom always covered the cookie sheet with wax paper)
bake 12-15 minutes

can sub margarine for shortening
can sub applesauce for half of the shortening for less fat and a more moist cookie

Until Next Time.....

frost with cream cheese frosting

Monday, April 16, 2012

1 year to an Organized Life - April Week 3

This week you can:
  • examine your large bathroom products such as towels and the shower curtain to see what needs to be replaced
  • see whether you need to do any redecorating or plan to make any structural changes
  • decide whether the current room setup is adequate for you and your family
  • take a look at your linen closet as it works with the bathroom
  • add to your shopping list if needed
This is kind of like the speed elimination only you are making a shopping list!  Yay shopping!!  Regina asks us a lot of questions on page 111 and 112 to guide us through the process.  I'm doing two bathrooms at once.  In one of them, the room is shaped so that there is some wasted space so I had added a small decorative stand with a silk plant with flowers to sit on it.  I took that out and it's going in the yard sale.  I think I would rather have open space and clean lines rather than a silk plant that just collects dust.

Then we move on to checking the walls, the tub, storage space and the linen closet.  The above pic is the linen closet in the master bath.  I'm lucky that this was built in with these pull out drawers.  The linen closets I grew up with were just narrow spaces with shelves where we stacked sheets for everyone's bed.  Since the shelves were kind of far apart, the stack was pretty high.  Of course, my sheets always seemed to be on the bottom, and I had to try to get them out without messing up everyone else's.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.  There three drawers make it so much easier!  The bottom one is sheets, the middle ones is beach towels or oversized ones, and the top one is out everyday towels and wash cloths.  The shelf above that is my husband's and then the top one is mine.  You can find drawers similar to this at places like the Container Store and Bed, Bath, and Beyond that you can install yourself.

So how are you doing so far?  We are almost done with four months!!  Can you believe it?  A couple friends have started to notice.  Not that my house was a pig sty, but it did feel cluttered in some places and now everything flows so well in the areas we have done.  I'm already much happier in my home, how about you?

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

1 Thing for Multiple Meals - Leftover Chicken

Whole chickens are a great deal when they are on sale.  I've gotten them within the past few months for as low as 69 cents per pound!  At one point I think I had 8 of them in the freezer!  I like to get out all of my crock pots and cook chicken all day.  My biggest crock pot can hold 2 chickens if they are small enough, so I could have 3 or 4 cooking at once.  You don't have to use a crock pot, you could put more than one in a large roasting pan and do them in the oven too.  Then I debone them after they have cooled a little.  Save the skin and bones, add some cut up vegetables and you can make your own stock while you are packaging up the chicken you just took off the bone.

I think I've told you before that we have a vacuum sealer.  Best investment ever!  Most of my recipes that call for "leftover" chicken call for 2 cups.  So I will take some of this chicken and cube it and some I will shred, then I will package it into 2 cup packets, vacuum seal them and toss them in the freezer.  For the stock, I like to use Ball brand plastic freezer jars.  They are very inexpensive and you can thaw it quickly by running warm water on the outside of the jar.  When it comes time for a quick meal or to make something to take to a sick friend, just grab one of those packets and while it is defrosting gather the other ingredients and you are ready to go!

Here are a few recipes that can use leftover chicken, and the way I do it in the crock pot and making stock.

Chicken Noodle Skillet (just cook onion first instead of chicken and onion)

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Baked Chicken and Potatoes

1 lb potatoes, chunked
4 chicken breasts, or 6-8 thighs
1 pkg onion soup mix
1/3 C water
1 Tblsp oil

preheat oven to 375
in 9X13 dish, place potatoes
mix together soup, water, and oil
pour 1/2 over potatoes
place chicken on top of potatoes
pour rest of soup mix over chicken
bake uncovered 50 min or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through

Until Next Time....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crock Pot Tuxedo Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts (1 - 1 1/2 lbs), cut into bite size pieces
2  14oz cans italian diced tomatoes
1 envelope savory herb and garlic soup mix
bowtie pasta
optional: parmesan cheese, fresh basil, olives or other vegetables you would like to add

Mix soup and tomatoes together (and any additional items you want to add, except cheese and basil)
place in bottom of 3-4 Qt crock pot
place chicken on top, stir slightly to mix
cover and cook on low 6-7 hours (in a newer crock pot, possibly could be done as soon as 4, check often the first time you make this)
close to serving time, cook bowtie pasta according to package directions
serve over pasta, or mix into pasta, top with cheese and/or fresh basil

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuscany Chicken

1 - 2/12 to 3 lb chicken cut into serving pieces or equiv of bone in pieces
1 medium red or green pepper cut into strips
4 0z mushrooms, jar or fresh
1 envelope onion soup mix
14oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 C water
2 Tblsp packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp Olive oil

preheat oven to 425
in 9X13 pan arrange chicken, pepper, and mushrooms
in medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken
bake uncovered 50 minutes or until chicken is cooked through

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Twenty Nine

Question # 29: How much influence do you have when it comes to your home?  What do you find yourself compromising on?  What do you wish you didn't have to compromise on?

I had to laugh when I read this section of the book (pages 127-130), did she just watch a movie of the start of my marriage?

My husband and I did a Bible study together about marriage, before we got married.  One of the activities was to go through a list of chores or roles that people take on and decide who would do what, the man, the woman or if you would do it together.  You put check marks next to things on your own then you came together and discussed your results.  We matched on most everything, but one that surprised me was "who will do the decor of the home"?  I had checked the woman, and he had checked both, together.  I thought that was so sweet!!  My heart swelled like a balloon with new love for this man that he cared so much about what our home looked like that we would do it together.  Then he opened his mouth.  "I have to make sure you don't hose this place down in purple!"  POP!!!  Pffffffffftttttt.  There went my balloon!

We went for two years with nothing on the walls and no curtains either because everything I liked had some purple in it so I didn't even bring it up, and he was perfectly fine in wall to wall beige.  I finally couldn't take it anymore and said we ARE going to find some pictures for the wall and you are going to help pick them out.  We looked around at a couple stores, that's all he has the patience for, and at Kirkland's he found three pictures that he liked.  Two were the same size and theme for either side of the glass doors in the living room and one was much larger with a frame that matched the wood of my chairs and table exactly, so it hung on the big empty wall behind them.  I was so happy that he picked stuff out that I didn't really notice the content at first.  Then when he hung them on the wall it made such a difference in the house to have something up that I still didn't notice.  Then after a few weeks, I still felt like the place was kind of naked.  I looked closely at the pictures wondering if I had chosen the right place for them.  As I looked back and forth among them it hit me.  All three were photo reprints and black and white.  We still didn't have a stitch of color in the house!!!!!

The other place I compromised was in the bedroom.  His favorite color is blue, and in case you didn't pick up on it, mine is purple.  I got a comforter and matching curtains from Target in the Shabby Chic collection, but not the one I wanted.  I got the British Rose, I think it's called.  It has roses on it, but they are light blue.  There is a tiny ruffle around the edge of the comforter, but other than that it's pretty least for linens!  I also have sheets in a matching blue from the lightest colored rose in the pattern.

Needless to say I got a little tired of this, so after about 4 years of marriage, I got 2 very light lavender valances for the home office...which he rarely goes into, and in the main part of the house (it's all open and touching) I got filmy curtains that are kind of ivory with some dusty purple roses on them.  I also got a painting of an iris on a canvas to put over the entertainment center.  After over 7 years together I am lobbying for paint in some areas.  Yep, still builder beige everywhere.  Of course, once again in the master area I am compromising.  I've chosen a silvery blue that matches the lightest rose in our bedding and curtains.  And that's ok!  I like that shade and since it is the bedroom I think the blue will be very soothing.  I also think it will really make the room once we actually do it since it pulls a color out of the bed and windows.  I would love to do purple somewhere and at this point he said I could in the laundry room...again another room he doesn't enter (ha ha).  I really think that once he sees what paint can do he will loosen up, as long as we can afford it.

And just in case you might be thinking that my husband is a meany who gets his way, first of all I let him in the above situations....I want him to be happy here too.  And secondly, I always get to pick what we watch for TV and I KNOW sometimes he really doesn't like it!!  After all, marriage is all about give and take, right? ;)

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tool Tuesday: Lose It!

Lose it! is a website and also an app for your smartphone.  When I first got it I think it was only available for iphone or an Android powered phone, if you have something different, just check wherever you get your apps.  When you use both, they speak to each other.  So if I start out the morning adding what I ate for breakfast, then I go out for lunch or if you were at work, you pull up the app on your phone and your breakfast shows up.

This app isn't just for loosing weight.  When you first put in your information, you can say that you want to lose, maintain or gain!  So this is for everyone!  On the website, you can enter in a recipe and tell it how many servings it makes.  It will add up the calories for you in a serving when you add it to a meal.  On either one you can add custom food, which could be something that is not in their database or something you make at home, but it's not a full recipe.  For example, I put taco meat in this category since it's only the meat and seasoning.

You also enter your daily exercise.  Again, you can make a custom exercise if it is not in their database and you know how many calories you burn.  

I do not put my exercise in until the end of the day, because I am loosing weight, and what this app does is when you put in exercise, say you burned 200 calories, it will add that many calories to what you could still eat today.  Personally, I stick to the allotted calories no matter how many calories I burn, unless I have a crazy busy day, and my body needs a little more protein or whatever.

On the website version, you can make all kinds of reports.  For example, if your doctor (this is me) told you to get more protein, you can click on reports and see how you're doing.  There's one that's called My Plate (the new 4 food groups, or pyramid) and the parts of the plate will color in as you get what you need and it also tells you how much at the bottom.

The only caution is if you are putting in food yourself, you have to tell it all the nutrition information if you want to make full use of this feature.  For example, when I entered taco meat I did not put in how much protein and other vitamins and minerals it keeps track of, so if I were to look at my plate I would not have a complete protein count.

And on your phone, you can scan the UPC label of a product to enter it into your meal!  That is so cool!

I have really found this to be very helpful.  I tried paper and pencil food journaling, 'cause really I like paper and pencil better, but this is way more complete!  I started on January 16, 2012 and I have lost 15 pounds as I write this.  And remember that I have a lot of physical limitations, not to mention I'm kind of a picky eater!  So if I can do it, you can too.  I plan to keep using it once I reach my goal weight to maintain.

Until Next Time.....

Monday, April 9, 2012

1 year to an Organized Life - April Week 2

From Google Images

This week you can:
  • grab a garbage bag and start pitching the junk
  • consider hosting a product swap
  • put the products you want to keep in categories
  • design a morning routine to save you time
  • start your bathroom product shopping list
I have seen the above pic all over the internet.....I also think I saw it in a magazine maybe, I don't remember.  I DO remember showing it to my husband and asking if he could do that for me.  We have our own bathroom in the master bedroom, but we usually get ready at the same time and that's a delicate dance between the shower and sink area.  I shower first, then do my hair, but by the time I'm ready to do my hair either he is in the shower or just out and we both want the sink area.  PLUS, by now I'm hot flashing again and starting to sweat, so how am I supposed to dry my hair?!  So I have started using the guest bathroom to do my hair and makeup.  It's cooler in there and then we both have elbow room.  But then I have appliances all over the sink area.  Something like this would be awesome to put my tools in when I'm done.  The only real space under the cabinet would be on top of the clean towels and who wants to use a towel that my flat iron sits on.  Let's face it, if you look really close at your curling/flat iron I bet it looks pretty gross with some caked on product!  Especially if it is as old as mine.  Yes I do clean it, but no not everyday!

Remember on speed elimination week that the secret is to work quickly, don't think to hard and don't get bogged down in what ifs.  I love speed elimination!  If you've been following along you know that I'm getting ready for a yard sale as I do all of this, so that's where some of my things will go, but some stuff belongs in the trash.  You'd be very surprised at what some people will buy at a yard sale, but don't put garbage out there!  Any eye makeup, unless you never used it should be tossed.  Any makeup that has expired should be as well.  I had a ton of makeup to throw out!  I've had some of this stuff for about 6-7 years!!  Makeup brushes too; some were brand new, but others I washed with makeup brush shampoo in very hot water, and those I'll put in the sale.  The other thing I had a lot of wash body wash, lotion and spray.  I have to get the great deal at Bath and Body, right?  So when I get "free" stuff is when I try the new scents.  If they are half full or more, I will put them in the sale as long as the bottles aren't gross from hard water stains or soap splashed on them in the shower.  AND as long as they aren't separated or have changed the scent.

So I have a pharmacy tech certificate and my sister has her doctorate, so I have to say something here about medicines.  These should never be kept in the same place where you take hot baths or showers. Moisture and temperature changes can break down a lot of medicines, rendering them ineffective or in some cases dangerous especially to people with certain sensitivities.  Please keep your meds in a cool, dry, preferably dark place.  The people in my family keep meds either in a kitchen cabinet far away from the stove, or on a shelf in the linen closet if it is in a hallway.  In my house, since I don't have either of those things, I keep them in a plastic tote on a shelf in the home office.  The meds that are taken daily or fairly regularly are in a decorative tray in the middle of the kitchen table.

I had to laugh when Regina was talking about her shower routine on page 109.  I too put out my hair goop and deodorant on the counter in the morning.  But for me it's not a gauge as to how close I am to being ready, it's so I don't forget them!!  When I was working I always kept a travel deodorant in my desk.  It was ridiculous how many times I forgot it!!

Happy eliminating!  Don't forget to make a list of anything you need to get to help you be more organized!

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chocolate Angel Cups

1 1/2 C small angel food cake cubes
1 C strawberries, bananas or other fruit
1 1/2 C cold milk
1 pkg (4 serving size) chocolate instant pudding
1 C thawed cool whip

divide cake cubes and fruit evenly among 6 dessert dishes
in medium bowl whisk milk and pudding mix together until well blended
let stand 5 minutes
gently fold in cool whip
spoon on top of fruit and cake in dishes
chill at least 15 minutes before serving

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cheater Pork Lo Mein

1 lb pork cut into strips or bite size
1/2 C bean sprouts
1 C broccoli florets
dash dried onions
1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1/4 C teriyaki sauce
1 1/4 C water
1 Tblsp soy sauce
2  3oz pkgs pork Ramen Noodles

in large skillet,cook pork vegetables and onion until pork is cooked through
add rest of ingredients, including seasoning packets from noodles
bring to a boil
reduce heat and cook another 5 minutes or until noodles are tender

Until Next Time....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crock Pot Diet Coke Roast

3-4 lb rump or chuck roast
1 glove garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can diet coke (or any dark pop really)

(optional) brown roast on all sides
place onions and garlic on the bottom of a 5 qt crock pot
place roast on top
mix 2 soups together and pour over roast
pour diet coke over all
cover and cook on low 7-9 hours

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Menu #15 - Only 1 repeat so far!

Remember that these menus are not all inclusive.  I am giving you 5 dinner ideas, plus the occasional dessert and side dish.  For ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, snacks, and desserts check the "Menu plans" tab to the left or browse through the other category tabs to the left.  ENJOY!

Easy Pork Roast (crock pot) with a side of Potatoes Supreme

Meat Hand Pies made with Pork

Red & White Turkey Chili (crock pot)

Roast Chicken in Mushroom Gravy (crock pot)

Meatball Stroganoff

Random Dessert = Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Until Next Time.....

Chicken Marsala

1 pkg McCormick recipe inspirations Chicken Marsala spices (see pic below)


1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram leaves
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil leaves
3/4 tsp parsley flakes

1/3 C flour
1 tsp salt
6 thinly sliced chicken breasts, just over a pound
3 Tblsp butter, divided
2 Tblsp olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 C chicken broth
3/4 C Marsala wine (DO NOT use Paul Masson, ick!)

mix flour with all spices EXCEPT basil and parsley
reserve 1 Tblsp flour mixture
coat chicken with most of the flour mixture
heat 2 Tblsp butter and oil in large skillet on medium-high heat
cook chicken until golden brown on each side
remove and keep warm
add mushrooms to skillet and cook until tender
mix broth and remaining flour mixture
add to skillet with wine
bring to boil and scrape up any brown bits
stir in rest of butter and the basil
cook until sauce is slightly thickened
spoon sauce over chicken to serve
sprinkle with parsley

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

the Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Twenty Eight

Question #28:  Have you ever experienced something wonderful and you worried how it might affect your spouse?  Or your spouse did not share in your happiness or felt left out as a result?  How did you handle it?

I don't know that I had an experience that exactly goes with the way the question was worded, but I'll tell you the story of what came to mind.

About 4-5 years ago I was sent to a national conference by my employer.  It was 3 days long and I had to attend one session after another and then I was to report back what strategies we could implement to make our overall program better.  The conference was held in Charleston SC.  I LOVE it there, although this was the middle of July, I was still very excited to go.  My employer agreed that I could take my husband if I paid for the lodging.  So while I went to sessions all day long, my husband went fishing.  On the final day of the conference, they were giving away free registration to the big, huge national conference in Denver.

I won it!  I was in shock.  I'm one of those people who never gets picked for stuff, and I won this expensive conference.  I could see my role at work being intensified through this and all the benefits that would come with it.  I was so excited!  Plus, I'd never been to Colorado and was doubly excited to see the sights.  I thought I could take my husband again with me and we would have a great time.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.  He couldn't have cared less.  The first thing he said....the FIRST thing.... do we have to pay lodging and transportation?  I said yes, the "free" part only covered the cost of the conference itself, which was quite a bit.  They were going to have people famous to my field there and you get meals and materials.  He simply said we can't afford that, and started talking about the fishing he did that day.

Talk about feeling deflated!  No congratulations for winning, of course it wasn't like it took skill, but come on!  No, well let's see what kind of deal we can get, nothing.  He actually forgot all about it by the time we went out to get dinner!  Plus, it was right around our anniversary so I was thinking that would be our present to each other...the "fun" part of that trip.  You would think that I would have gotten mad....especially if you knew me....but I was hurt more than anything.  Like I wasn't worth it or something.

I didn't give up.  When we got back home I did research on flights and hotels and really found a pretty good deal.  When I presented my findings to my husband and explained exactly how we could afford it and that it was not really that expensive at all, he barley even looked at me.  He just said that we shouldn't spend the money, and went back to work on his computer.

So I had to go back to my employer and explain while yes, I won us a representation at this great conference, I couldn't go.  There were no funds at work for lodging and transportation, they almost never pay for that kind of thing.  My boss was disappointed, and while he was excited about what I learned at the SC conference and I got to present it, after a few months I wasn't asked to do anything else like that again.  I got a great evaluation on my work and presentations, so why not?  Just because I couldn't afford a trip?  Then on top of it, though we tried, they said the certificate was non-transferrable, so not even someone else who could afford the transportation could go.  Maybe that's why...because such a great opportunity was lost because of me.

I buried my feelings about this and went on with my life and career as best I could.  Now of course, I'm no longer working due to my health.  So how long would I have "stayed on top" of the training heap at my workplace?  Maybe two years?  That last year at work I was just a few steps above worthless, in my opinion.  So if I look at it rationally, even though it wasn't a ton of money, we did save that expense of something that wouldn't have benefitted anyone for very long.  So I guess it's a good thing.  I still would have liked to have seen Denver!  And I wish I would have gotten a better explanation from my husband.  But we are not promised a perfect and smooth life are we?  And in the broad scheme of things, I really don't have anything to complain about!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brownie Muffins

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 15oz can pure pumpkin

heat oven to 400
stir both together until blended, will be stiff
spoon batter into 12 muffin tin
bake 20 minutes

about 180 calories each
also good with a spice cake mix!
this was originally a Hungry Girl recipe I found a couple years ago.

Until Next Time.....

Monday, April 2, 2012

1 Year to an Organized Life - April Week 1

This week you can:

  • devote yourself to uncovering the unconscious story of your life that you most like to tell
  • learn how to write positive affirmations

This month we will be working on the bathroom.  (ooo, did I just see a lip curl?  c'mon, you can do it!!)  I chose the above pic as my dream bathroom mainly because it is purple and spacious!  I'm not entirely sure I would want to clean a bathroom that big, but it sure does look pretty!

As with the beginning of other months, we will start on ourselves and our thought processes before starting the actual work.  I like how she begins this chapter with a story of a friend who realized that the story we tell people about ourselves usually tends to be in some awful thing that happened to us and that's why we are the way we are.  So true that our experiences shape us.  BUT, we are the ones who can decide HOW they shape us.  Regina says on page 104, "If you change your tune, you not only encourage yourself to better your life, you uplift and encourage others."  

Beth Moore, a leading figure in women's ministry circles, says in the midst of her teaching that she could tell you a story but it would neither bless nor encourage you.  I like that.  Of course our natural curiosity wants to hear it, but if it is not going to be a blessing or an encouragement to ourselves or the people listening, it doesn't need to be shared!  I'm not saying that you can never share anything negative about your life, we all need to vent and get things off our chest.  I'm just saying be careful how you do it, and don't let it "become your story."

The rest of this short chapter is about how to write positive affirmations.  In other words how to take that negative story and turn it into a blessing and/or learning experience.

We will get started on the speed elimination next week.  Right now just take a deep breath and relax with your journal.

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Red Velvet Cookies

1 lb 1 1/2 oz pouch sugar cookie mix
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa 
1/4 C butter, softened
1/4 C sour cream
1 Tblsp red food coloring
1 egg
1 C cream cheese frosting

heat oven to 375
in large bowl mix cookie mix all ingredients except frosting
roll dough into 1 inch balls
place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet
bake 8-9 minutes or until set
cool 2 minutes
remove to wire rack
cool completely
frost cookies
store tightly covered at room temperature

Until Next Time.....