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Showing posts from 2010

Life On An Even Keel...

On An Even Keel is an idiom that means - calm and not likely to change suddenly, balanced. This is how I want my life to be. It use to be this way 15 years ago and I'm not sure exactly what happened to change that position. Everything about my life feels completely out of balance & so crazy and I cannot take it any more! Some way, some how we have got to turn things back around and get on an even keel again!!! 

My plan for 2011 is to find that balanced and calm life again. I am working on cleaning out and getting rid of stuff. Only keeping what means something to us. I want to get started working on decorating our house and turning it into a HOME and not just a house. And I want to get our finances in a better place. As always I am open to any suggestions anyone may have to assist in this change.



I did more baking yesterday and this time it was Snickerdoodles. I used the recipe that I found on the Joy of Baking. I think they turned out yummy and were easy. Not necessarily quick but definitely easy. They have so many awesome looking recipes on that sight and it is dangerous for the hips & thighs!

Cake Decorating...

About 7 months ago I purchase a space in the fondant 1 class at Sweet Wise in Nashville. I finally went and took the class this week and this is what we made. I had taken cake decorating classes over 25 years ago but I hadn't done anything with it since then. This was the first time I had try using fondant and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought.
Here is a close up of the bow:

Christmas Cards ready for mailing...

click on image to enlarge
This years Christmas cards are ready for mailing. I saw this idea from Deena Wuest in the December/January 2009 issue of Digital Scrapbooking magazine. It was just calling out to me to copy this for our family. I used PSE 8 to change the photos to B/W and to make the photo collage and then had them printed at the local Walmart. I used kraft cardstock from Hobby Lobby and the red is Bazzill. The fonts are Pharmacy, Century Gothic and Limehouse Script.

Homemade Ice Cream....YUMMY

courtesy of Cuisinart
For a while now, I have been trying get rid of as much processed food from our families diet as I can. One area we were still eating processed was ice cream because I could not convince Joe that we needed one of these countertop ice cream makers. Last month I got lucky and found the little beauty above on Craiglist for just $15. I have already used it twice and I think it could be the best $15 I have every spent. I have made 2 of the recipes that are in the manual and I can say without a doubt that it is so much better tasting than store bought.  The basic vanilla only required 4 ingredients and 30 minutes to make. Even the strawberry was just 6 ingredients and 30 minutes. It is good the day you make it but oh man the next day is even better!
There are several companies that make these machines and I'm sure they all work equally well.This one make 1-1/2 quart but I know they also make one the makes 2 quarts as well. If your family loves ice cream and you are loo…

Win a New Lens...

I came across a contest on BlogHer this morning  for a Tamron 18-270 lens. Go to BlogHer for how to enter and win. For reviews of the lens & what it can do and to get more chances to win one of these lens check out the following blogs:

Holly at Nothing But Bonfires
Nicole at Pinch My Salt
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality 
Dana at Made
Jaden at Steamy Kitchen
Stephanie of NieNie Dialogues

I so want to win one of these lens! I've been telling Joe that I need a zoom lens for my D80 for quite a while now.

Inspiration Everywhere Class at

Jessica Sprague is offer a new class for free on her website. If any of you crafty girls are interested in it click on the image above and it should take you to where you can sign up for this class. Looks like it is going to be lots of fun!

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheeese Icing

I had some pumpkin leftover from last weeks cupcakes so I thought I would try a different pumpkin recipe. These are even better than the cupcakes were. I found the recipe for these here: Pumpkin Cookies . I again followed the recipe exact. These cookies are sort of cake like and because I didn't have a scoop the right size ended up with 24 cookies instead of the 18 it says.

I don't think that I would change anything about this particular recipe. Everyone like them and my son said he liked the better without the icing. So next time I will only put icing on part of them. This was also my first time of using parchment paper to bake with and I loved the ease of removal from the cookie sheets & the ease of cleanup too.

FYI - according to the Very Best Baking by Nestle (the maker of Libby's canned pumpkin) website FAQ you can store leftover pumpkin for 1 week in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. They recommend scooping the pumpkin into a fridge/freezer safe contai…

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I stocked up on canned pumpkin last year when they were talking about a shortage and now I have 3 cans of it sitting in my pantry that I need to use. I found the recipe for the cupcakes and the icing here: Pumpkin Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Icing . I did follow the recipes exactly except for adding cinnamon to the icing.

The one thing that I liked about this recipe over others I found was that it doesn't have oil. Some of the other ones I found called for oil and butter or to use a cake mix. These are good but I think next time I will add more pumpkin to the cupcake batter and a little more cinnamon to the icing. I need to make sure I buy unsalted butter too.

I'm still here...

even though I haven't posted in a while. Kids are back in school and I've been busy with one doctor's appointment after another in the last month. I have been contemplating crafting projects and have come up with a list of them that I want to do. On my list of things to do are: sewing more of the Jane Market bags, to crochet and quilt some blankets for Project Linus, sew a tote bag & crochet hook roll to keep my yarn & hooks together, beaded bookmarks, sewing a cover for my sewing machine and a new apron for my kitchen. I will be sharing all of these projects as I get them completed.

Guess who is Sewing...

Look what I made!!! I have not done anything creative in a very long time. Don't ask me what made me decide to give sewing a go again because I have no idea. The pattern for this bag is from Alicia Paulson and is called Jane Market Bag, you can find it on her website for only $6. It was so easy to follow the instructions. I would definitely recommend that you have a larger cutting surface and ruler to make it easier to cut the pieces out. My little 12x12 cutting surface and 6x13 clear ruler made cutting the pieces slightly difficult but not impossible.

Don't you just love the red fabric! I purchased the fabric at JoAnn Fabrics a couple of years ago to make an apron and since I had some left over thought I would use it for my first bag. The pattern calls for the use of 4 different fabrics but I decided to just use the 3. The inside of the bag is lined with the same black and white check fabric I used on the handles. These are so cute & are a great size so I will definitely …

Happy 4th of July...

5 Ways to Declutter Books and Make a Little Money

I love books! It doesn't matter the author or the length; if it is a book I will read it with just one exception. I do not read Sci-Fi. The problem is there is only so much room in my home to store all the books that I read and my library doesn't always have the book I want to read either so that leaves me to buy quite a few. Some of you know that one of my goals for this year is to declutter the house and turn it into the home we can love and enjoy. This means I am looking for ways to get rid of books on a fairly regular schedule. So I thought I would share with you what I have been doing to accomplish this task.
1. Local Public Library - I check my local library's online catalog to see if they have the books. (Our local library built a brand new building last year and they do not have a lot of money to buy new books. Also when I walked in to it the first time, I was absolutely amazed at how many paperback books it had compared to hardback. I've had a library card si…

Getting to Know Me...

*To play..copy the questions..answer them*
The questions..
1. If a person has a booger in their nose. and you can see it, do you tell them?
That would depend on who it is. 2. What are you passionate about? Sad to say but nothing lately.
3. How long have you been blogging? Shockingly 5-1/2 years. My goodness I didn't realize I had been doing this that long.
4. What is your favorite "summer" drink? Ice tea. I'm a true born Southern so there is nothing better than a good cold glass of sweet ice tea.
5. What is your favorite type of music? Classic rock.
6. Something I do before I go to bed is......? Brush my teeth. Pretty boring huh.
7. My Summer vacation plans are...? We don't have any plans for vacation this year. I told hubby that we need to start planning 1 week of his vacation to travel to all those places we've always wanted to go but have never taken the time to.
8. My favorite must have, can't live without, beauty product is? I'm going to say nai…

When it Rains...

Why is that every time I start thinking about getting serious about getting out of debt something comes up that we have to spend money for and not small amounts of money either? Hubby called this morning from work and said he found oil on top of the engine so that means he is going to have to pull most of the engine out to fix it. Guess this weekend will be spent looking for hubby a vehicle he can drive while he fixes his car. So not how I was looking to spend a weekend or money!! When it rains it pours definitely fits at our house.

We have so got to figure out how to get out of debt and still be able for me to stay at home with the kids. Over the years we have made some really DUMB financial decisions and now we are paying for them. So far I haven't figured out how to get more money coming in without me having to go back to work. Sometimes I think we should sale our house and move to an apartment in order to cut back on some of our out going expenses but not sure we could get wha…

Getting to Know Me...

This is usually posted on Sunday but this past weekend the kids and I were out of town. So here are my answers a couple of days late.

To play..copy the them!

1. Have you ever snooped around someone else's house? Nope because I always feel guilty even thinking about it.

2. Can guys and girls be friends? Yes they can in most cases.

3. Can you curl your tongue? No and I've been able to even though everyone else in my family can.

4. Have you ever stolen anything? No...Never!

5. Would you rather talk on the phone or text? Text...with 2 kids and a hubby it is easier to text and not have to worry about all the interruptions.

6. Memorial Day plans? Spent the weekend in Greenville, SC visiting family & school friends.

7. What do you do to relax? Read. There is nothing like a good book to help you kick back and relax.

8. Do you do anything to honor those that have died fighting for our freedom? Nothing special. Hubby retired from the US Navy 5 years ago and we alw…

May Weight-In and Mesaurements...

I went ahead and did my end of month weigh-in and measurements a few days early because the boys and I will be out of town for a few days and here are my results. I don't a have a photo to post this time but will try to see about getting one when I get back hom/

Neck: -.25
Chest: +.25
Tummy: +.25
Quads: +.25
Thighs: +.25 (L)
Calves: -.25 (R)/-.25 (L)

I gained 0.25 inch total this month but lost 1.4 pounds so I guess overall not too bad this month. When I get back from my trip this weekend I really need to get serious again about getting the last of the weight off. Still 19 pounds to go.

Getting to Know Me...

It's that again. *To play..copy the questions..answer them*

1. Do you have a fetish? Ummm...none that I can think of. 2. Do you sing in the shower? Absolutely not!
3. Who was your first crush? IRL his name was James Forsythe and I was probably 11. If I remember correctly my first star crush was Shawn Cassidy (lord that was a long time ago).
4. What do you think is the best manly trait a guy could have? A good job to support his family.
5. Do you sleep naked? Not since giving birth almost 17 years ago.
6. What do you do when (you think) no one is looking? Hmm the only thing I can think of is pick my underwear out of my behind.
7. What's the first thing you do when you go online? My email.
8. Summer is.....? Hot days & nights and thunderstorms & tornadoes here in the South. On a happy note it is: bbqs, swimming, suntans, flip flops & sundresses.

Getting to Know Me...

copy the questions..answer them*

1. The most expensive thing hanging in my closet is.....? Probably my leather jacket (which I need to replace with a new one.)

2. Have you ever played a team sport? Never! I am so do not have an athletic bone in my body; even though my martial arts instructors tells me that yes I do.

3. If you were a bug, what kind would you be? a Caterpillar that turns into a lovely Butterfly.

4. Where on your body is the worst place to get sunburned?. I'm going to say either your boobs or your butt. Both places are pretty uncomfortable to burn. I got both burned in a tanning bed years ago. You don't know how bad an itch can be until you burn your butt and can't scratch it in public.

5. Are you happy? Most of the time.

6. People are always abbreviating..are there any abbreviations that make your skin crawl when people use them? I think I have become immune to abbreviations at this point.

7. Do you love where you live..or could you live anywhere? I do li…

To Blog or Not to Blog...

That is the question. I know it has been almost 2 weeks since my last post and there is a good reason for that. 1) I haven't really had anything to share and 2) I'm debating on whether to continue even trying to blog. On the site reports I get each week I'm not sure there is even anyone out there that reads my blabbering and I'm trying to decide if it is worth continuing to post anything on here or not.
I've never been one of those girls who kept a diary, even as a little girl. I tried on a few different occasions to do it and just never could keep it up. My life has never really been all that interesting to me or anyone else. I'll keep ponder this and hopefully make a decision soon. Till then peace and love!

Getting to Know Me...

1. Are you superstitious? No so much. Do I think unexplained things happen yes but I don't believe any item is lucky or unlucky.

2. If you were an animal..what kind would you be? I'm going with a cat.

3. You would never catch me wearing.........? Hmmm I've worn a lot of bad things in my time but I guess I would have to say mom jeans.

4. If someone posts a you watch it? Depends on what it is about.

5. Have you ever waxed your girlie/manly parts..or any other part of your body? Only my eyebrows & upper lip. I keep saying I'm going to get the "girly parts" done but always seem to chicken out.

6. Are you a spender or a saver? Now I am more of a spender than a saver. Years ago I use to be a big time saver, not sure what happened to change that trait.

7. If you were starring in a movie..who would you want to play your leading man/woman? Oohh that is easy either Sam Elliot or Sean Connery.

8. Smoker..never smoker..or smoked back in t…

April's Weigh-in and Measurements

This month's weight loss and measurements sucked! I know it is my fault because I have had a bad month where my eating is concerned. I did increase my fitness time by adding more classes at martial arts but obviously that wasn't enough to counteract the eating. Only 1 pound lost.

Neck: -.25
Chest: -.25
Tummy: +.5
Hips: +.5
Quads: R -.5/L -.25
Thighs: R -.25/L -.25
Calves: R +.25/L +.25

Total inches lost: -.25

A quarter of an inch is nothing. I have really got to get a handle on this losing thing and get it kicked back into gear.

Nothing Going on Around Here...

Hubby and I decided that I would sign up for the XPT classes at martial arts so starting on Thursday night I will be adding a weapons class to my weekly martial arts classes. Every 3 months we will do a different weapon. They just started on bo staff so that is what I'll be learning first. This is not the exact form I'll be learning but you'll get the idea of what it looks like.

Getting to Know Me

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I will try to do better but I can't promise anything. Here is the next installment of getting to know you from Mannland.

1. If you could star in any movie genre..what would it be..romance..horror..comedy..suspense or action?
I think romance - something along the lines of Gone with the Wind.

2. Do you recycle? Not as much as we did in GA. Here you have to pay for the recycling to be picked up at your home. Our elementary school has recycling containers for newspaper & magazines that they earn money for so we do recycle those things.

3. Have you ever been to a strip club? Yes but it has been about 25 years.

4. Do you have a nickname? Yes but only my family uses it and I have always hated it.

5. What's a name you can't stand to be called? I can't think of one.

6. What are your Summer staples? Flip flops & sandals. I just love them when I cannot be barefoot.

7. What was the last thing you bought for yourself? This pair of cut…

Getting to Know Me...

I discovered Mann Land 5 blog from another blog that I read and I love the getting to know you questions that she posts. Here is my first attempt at answer some of them.

1. Mens chests..hairy or hairless? depends on the chest.
2. How often do you run red lights? I try to never run them.

3. If you could raid any celebrity's closet..whose would you raid? Angelina Jolie's because she always looks so classically dressed.

4. Would you rather have more followers/friends on Facebook, Twitter, or your Blog? Blog.

5. What makes you feel sexy? Nothing right now. Hopefully this changes as I get rid of more of this excess weight.

6. I get excited when...........? Hubby and I get to go to a hotel alone even if it is just for 1 night.

7. Are you the "outdoorsy" type or more "indoorsy"? Definitely indoorsy! I hate to get dirty or sweaty and I definitely hate bugs.

8. Would you rather have your dream home or a million dollars? A million dollars...with the money I …

No Processed Foods...

For anyone who has read my blog you know that I am trying very hard to get my weight back to a healthy level and to age as gracefully as possible. The problem is how do you completely change your way of eating and force your family to follow suit? Just let me say this is not an easy task to accomplish. Joe and I have been trying to get as much processed foods out of our family's diet as we can. I would love to say that after over 6 months we are completely processed food free but alas that is not the case. I would love to get rid of all HFCS, Saturated Fats (hydrogenated oils), and all those other chemicals that no one can ever pronounce in our diets. We have cut a large amount out but there is still just too much of it coming in the house. I don't care what anyone says I really believe that our bodies have become addicted to the chemicals in our food.

From a convenience point of view processed foods are just so darn easy and well convenient. Unfortunately they are also cheape…

Laundry Helper...

I came across an online ad for this detergent a few months ago and was very intrigued with the pump bottle as much as I was with the idea that the detergent is plant based. We are trying to not only clear out bodies of processed stuff but also to clear our home of excess chemicals. When I found this coupon on the Method laundry website I was even more excited to try it out.

I am 3/4 of the way through the large 50 wash bottle so I thought I would share my thoughts. The pros are that it is plant based, safe for my HE washer, cleans just as great as all the detergents with 2-3 times as many chemical ingredients, the bottle takes up way less room in my laundry space, and the pump bottle makes it so easy to get it in the washer with no drips. The only con I've found is that it is a little bit more expensive but the fact that is it suppose to be non-toxic makes it worth the extra expense to me. I am also planning on recycling the pump bottle once it is empty to put my fabric softener in…

Carrot Cake...

I came across the recipe for this cake the day before Easter and knew that I had to try it out. It is from the McCormick Spice website. I will add that since we are trying to cut excess fat from our family's diet I substituted 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil and I left out the pineapple since I didn't think that we would like it in there.


We decided that this was so much better tasting than the box cake mix and even better than the store bakery too. So I'm sure I will definitely be making it again sometime.

If you substitute the applesauce like I did then it drops the calories to 304, the fat to 15.9 g, and the carbohydrates to 37.4. I know it is still a lot of calories but I think even when you are watching your weight you still have to indulge a little bit.

Body Changes...

Still working on life changes and one of the biggest was trying to get to a healthy weight & size. So far so good, I think, but there is still quite a ways to go. Today was weigh-in and measurements day. Ugh...I dread the end of every month now.

Anyway now that I'm down 17 pounds and 22.25 inches I'm having a new issue. I can't figure out how to dress my body not that I was having an easy time of it before losing the weight. I am in between sizes but if I don't find some clothes to wear than I'm going to have to go naked soon and that is a vision that no one wants to have. My problem is nothing fits right especially since I'm losing faster in some parts than in others. And don't even get me started on bras. You know when your band size gets smaller your cup size should too. It should be a law of nature that both bra measurements should shrink together. In my case that is not happening. In August when I got serious about the weight loss thing my bra si…

Still cleaning out...

I cannot believe how much crap we have in this house!!! Yes I said crap. I have been sorting drawers and boxes and shelves for the last several weeks. Unfortunately I'm not finished yet either. It has felt so good to get rid of stuff. We have 24 eBay auctions listed right now of stuff we are trying to sell and some Craigslist postings too. I've also made 1 Goodwill drop-off and have started another pile of Goodwill stuff.

I'm also working on organizing ideas for the things that we do keep and I'm not planing on there being a ton of that either. Our goal is to turn the bonus room into a workout/martial arts practice/play room so I have really been focused on getting rid of stuff in that area the most. We still need to finish getting stuff out of there but some of it will be leaving as soon as our auctions end and our Craigslist posting run their course too.

Major Cleaning Out Going On...

I have spent 3 days this week sorting through all of my craft stuff and have a HUGE list of stuff that is going away and actually I'm looking very forward to getting it out of my house. I actually think that if I could I would tilt the house and dump everything out of it. Then I could carry back in only those things that we absolutely love. There is just so much in this house and very little of it is something that I could even remotely say that I love. If you've been around for any time then you know that 1 of the changes I want to make this year is to clear out and organize our home and make it a warm & wonderful place to live.

Nothing to Wear!

How many times have I stood inside my closet over the years and made this statement?! Way too many that's for sure. One of the things I am currently working on changing is the way I dress and my sense of style or lack there of most days. I don't know how many times I see other woman around town that are my age or older and thing wow they look so put together and cute/great. I want to be one of those woman just like when I was in my 20's.

Being thin all my life made clothes fun to wear and buy, but by the time I turned 30 I had gained a huge amount of weight and my fashion sense went right out the door. I think back on some of the things I have purchased and actually worn and it makes me shudder. To think I actually went out the door in some of that crap! Good grief what was I thinking. Anyway that is one of the changes I am working on making in my life.

I am trying to read books and magazines dealing with fashion, style, makeup, etc. Right now I am reading "Not…

Still working on changes...

Goodness it has been almost a month since I posted anything here. Lots of changes going on and I have to say it is so not easy but I know that it is going to be so worth it in the end.
1. Not sure where I'm at with weight loss at this point. Weigh-in and measurement day is still a couple of days away.
2. Debt is still something that we are struggling with but are hoping to change.
3. Behaviors have their days where they are better than others.
4. How unfinished our home & yard look. I've gotten nothing done in this area yet.
5. I've been cleaning out and getting rid of so much stuff and boy does it feel so good!
6. Getting healthier & Eating better. I'm still trying to figure this one out too.
7. I have determined that I HATE clothes shopping! Finding things that fit is not easy and I'm really struggling with this area of change.
8. I have put out a few application but have not gotten any replies from them at this point.


This is my word for the year of 2010. There are many scrapbookers that know all about Ali Edwards One Little Word and yes I know most everyone had their word chosen by the 1st of January but like everything else lately I'm behind. So here is my one little word of 2010...CHANGE.

Webster's Dictionary definition of Change: to make different in some particular; to make radically different; to give a different position, course, or direction to; to replace with another; to make a shift from one to another; to undergo a modification; to become different.

I use to handle and deal with change so much better. That is a definite must for a military wife. With transfers and relocation happening every 2-4 years you had better be able to handle change. Over the last 4 years with hubby's retirement I have had a harder time dealing with change.

There are so many things I want to change in our lives:
1. Me to lose weight.
2. Rid ourselves of debt.
3. Our kids and our behaviors.

Struggles and Changes...

Sometimes I think these 2 things go hand in hand. Most times it takes struggles to bring about changes in our lives. I know that most of you who have found my little corner of the world wide web don't know that I have struggled for many years with my weight and along with that my manner of dressing, among other things.

Last year I made a decision that enough was enough and that it was time to deal with these issues. I was never heavy or chunky or any of those other words we use for people who are overweight until I was about 28 or 29 and then the weight just started piling on. At my heaviest I was about 190. That weight might look great on a 6' tall man but not so much on a 5' 6" woman. When I started this struggle to get to a healthy weight and size I was down to 174 and had maintained that weight for a number of years. Still to heavy for my height and fame size. I'm working on this issue and hope that 2010 is going to be my year to finally succeed.

The st…

Sunshine's Stamps - Key to my Heart

This great image is another one from Sunshine's Stamps and is called Key to my Heart. This card is again done 100% digitally.

I used a paper sampler from Lynn Grievson, Katie Pertiet's Rejoice kit, Pattie Knox's Brad Bonanza No. 03. The font is Arial.

Thanks for looking!

Sunshine's Stamps - 71 Mustang

It time for new images from Sunshine's Stamps. This little guy is 71 Mustang you will find him and others in the Movers & Shakers section.

This again is 100% digitally done using PSE 5. I did use the burn tool to kind of "dirty" the image up. Supplies used are Katie Pertiet's Naturally Krafty No. 07 & Classic Cardstock: Christmas, Pattie Knox's Brad Bonanza No. 01, and Liv Esteban Tabby Tabs. Font on tab is Jailbird Jenna.

This stuff actually works...

I have to start by saying that I am one of the most skeptical people there is when it comes to as seen on television items so you can image my surprise when I tried this and it actually works. I spend a lot of time barefooted and that leads to dry, cracked heels and trust me when I say I have tried everything from lotions to ointments to razors, etc. In last months Woman's Day magazine the Heel Tastic was listed as a must try.

I found it at Wal-mart for $9.88 and started using it at bedtime. My heels are so much unbelievable better looking and I'm thrilled! You put it on like deodorant so you don't even have to use your hands to rub it in. Which makes me even happier about using it. If you have dry, cracked heels you have to try this stuff. Oh and it smells good too.

Sunshine's Stamps Sweet Bee 4

A new week is here for Sunshine's Stamps. This cute little image is called Sweet Bee 4. There are lots of new images for valentines so be sure to go check them out.

I used Sweet Sprinkles from The Shabby Princess. It is a freebie that can be downloaded here. The black background is from Katie Pertiet's Classic Cardstock Cleansing.