Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Tuesday.....

"You create your own stage and your audience is waiting.."
--from Chinese fortune cookie

I LOVE the book Fresh Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson. It is one of those books that I try to read once a year. It takes you through 9 "cups" in your life for a check-up to see how you are doing.
As many time as I have read this book....there is always something new that hits home each time. That chapter that we never gave a thought to the year before, somehow contains just the insight that I need this reading.

I think we all need that....a yearly check up on our lives...what is working, what isn't....what needs to be tried again and what needs to be retired forever...
So that is where I am at right now.....doing inventory. There are some tough things on the horizon and there are some things that I am excited about. But regardless of which I am dealing with....I have an amazing Savior that will sit down and drink these cups with me...cheer me on, hold me up, or just watch me dance.

Some of you may wonder what the quote has to do with this....well those of you that know me, know that I am playing with a new venture and the quote was so timely for me today. I will share more soon!!!

Hugs to you all....have an amazing week.....and grab a cup for fresh brewed, the pot is always on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Sunny Tuesday.....

Good Afternoon!!
I hope all of you are having a fun start to your Summer. Since completing my office/studio area (except the dreaded painting), I am spending more time here and getting into more trouble...LOL
There are some fun things in the works for us with Folkheart and personally......I get to meet with my wonderful partner, Hope and with a couple of the artisans from the shop next week to plan out a schedule for shows for this fall/winter season. I am really looking forward to that. And I have in the works for "From A Creative Heart" an online radio program. We are working out a schedule, co-hosts, guests and such...so stay tuned for more on that. I believe the first program will be an introduction....so I would love for all of you to call in with your ideas and comments!!! I will post the day and time as soon as I have something ready. Or if you know someone with some wonderful home, friendship, creative ideas that would make a great guest, PLEASE let me know about them. (dailygrace@bellsouth.net)
This morning I woke to the smell of fresh baked bread!!! My son had put a loaf on in the bread machine before he went to bed...it was wonderful waking up to that. I needed to put together a simple crockpot meal to go with it for this evening...so I thought I would post an old standby for our family:

This meal is easy, and I love it as even my "picky" eater will eat this.
All you need it:
Smoked sausage
2 cans green beans (I prefer french style...but use whatever we have on hand)
onion flakes or fresh chopped onion to taste
potatoes...small chunks.

I spray my crock with Pam spray. Then just dump everything in.....salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on low for 3-4 hours (till done) or on high for 2 1/2 hours (till done)...check as it seems to vary with different crock pots.

This will be great this evening....one pot for everything and a slice of fresh bread...yum!!!
And it allows me out of the kitchen and back to the fun stuff I enjoy doing.

Also, here is a shot of what my livingroom looks like on most days.....

My son's soccer team has invaded our home to watch some sort of "important" soccer games at our home....and try on their new uniforms... They are, well, a "hoot" to put it mildly!!! LOL

Have a great day.....take some time to do something fun for yourself. And remember, you are outlandishly loved by a heavenly Father that thinks your amazing!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

So What Have I Been Doing?

Happy Weekend All....

We have had some nasty storms around here lately, and after one of them, I found that my wireless keyboard and mouse had just froze up! Yes, I could use the online screen keyboard to type....but what a major pain! So it cut my computer time way, way down.

During this "down time" I have been trying to get some redecorating/organizing going on here at home. With closing the shop...and with moving things back home, I knew I had to really take some time to organize or I would be in a huge mess. We decided to go ahead and turn our two upstairs bedrooms into my studio and office...I love it. I have things moved in, but I still need to paint...which I won't be able to do for a couple of weeks...but I did manage to get the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms painted... Here are a few pictures of this "work in progress"....

This is the computer area...
Office space.....

This is my reading or "Miss Joann" area....the dolls and the wall hanging are from a dear friend, Mama Joann in Indiana...she does wonderful quilts, rughooking and more...I want to have her passion and talent for these things when I am her age!!!

Knitting Corner...

My bucket of Sweet Annie....I use this for dolls and other home dec items. I just love the smell of this!!!!

Just a teaser picture of one of the baths....as I get all the finishing touches done I will post other pictures. I just wish I could get a better representation of the color as it is my FAVORITE. The gal that did furniture for our shop turned me on to this...the color is called, Salt Fork. I got it at Wal-Mart....semi-gloss in the Kilz paint. LOVE it...it isn't as dark as a paperbag color...but just a touch lighter. It is such a great basic. I am using it as the background for prim decorating in some rooms as it looks great with navy, barn red, green (dark and sage), black accents...but it also is working in the upstairs bath that I am doing with white/cream/red accents too....very versitile!!

I hope you all have fun plans for this weekend. We are doing "simple" stuff for Father's Day...my hubby wants no fuss, just a cookout here at home.

Have a great day!!!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend Nugget....

Each person is given something to do

that shows who God is.

- 1 Cor. 12:7 MSG

So.....what's on your "to do" list?

Friday, June 06, 2008

And So On....

It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so entwined that we cannot think of one without the other.
---M. F. K. Fisher

Yesterday, I wrote about Thursdays being for "kitchen" stuff....but I had more stuff rumbling around in my head, that I wanted to continue just a bit today.

It's all this marriage of budgeting, household organizing, cooking, menu planning that has me on overload and looking for ways to do what needs to be done in the least stress inducing way!!! LOL I just thought I would share some of the things that I have found with you....

Couponing.....with the price of gas and groceries, getting serious with coupons can save us lots!! I remember my mom always having a pantry that was loaded with deals she found on everything from laundry detergent, toilet paper, can goods and more. I also remember a trip we made from Tennessee to Indiana with the car loaded down with TP.....this was very traumatic for a young teen!!! (Smile)

Several years ago, I found a great book by Ellie Kay called "Shop, Save and Share"...I truly love her take on the whole couponing thing. It is about having enough to feed your family...to know that you have stores for tough times....but also that you have extra to help others. How great to have a well stocked pantry so that if you have a friend, co worker...or someone through church that needs help, you can box up groceries to help them with or have the extra in your pantry to supply them with meals.

My own plan to get started included a trip to GA for groceries. This would not be cost effective for me if I was trying to go every week....but my hubby gets paid once a month, and I do the bulk of my shopping in that first week. Sadly, we pay 9.25% here on our groceries...and the larger chains tend to have better deals..... So how did it work???

I went to Kroger in Dalton, where milk was on sale for $3.48 a gallon!!!! (I am paying over $5 locally!!! I don't know if we are importing Parisian cows for this milk or what!!!)...and the deal was if you purchased 3 gallons, you got the fourth free!!! Can we say major HAPPY dance??? Add this to many other deals in store, and with coupons. For Kroger, you can check out their website, under the label "in store" you can find coupons. There are printable ones...and also a couple of services that were new to me, where I could sign up, pick my coupons and they would be loaded onto my Kroger card...no coupon clipping, I just printed a list of my savings to check off.

To be honest, this first trip to try this (I have done it before but it has been awhile)....I went when I was already tired from closing down the store and setting up the new booth...but I felt it was the only time I had to go. So needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed figuring out my system this first time.....there were items I planned to purchase that I forgot. BUT even with that....I spent $258....I SAVED in store savings and coupons $76......the tax was only $8 AND I got 10 cents off my gallon of gas price by purchasing at Kroger and then filling up there. Not tooooo shabby!!!!

As I said, milk was on sale......I am trying "freezing" the extra milk to see how that goes. I have never frozen milk before, but if this works well, I will be stocking up on more of that in the future as my family seems to go through it like crazy here.

That is what I am working on with the household pantry...I would love to hear your ideas or sources for info!!!!

Hugs to you!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursdays In the Kitchen.....And Other Stuff...

Good Morning All!!!

In an effort to be more organized (especially with being consistant with my posting), I want to set up a day for my kitchen thoughts, recipes and such. I just thought it would make it easier to post as I at least had an idea one day a week of what I was going to do!!! LOL

As I shared with some good friends recently, we are making an effort to get on track with our finances and budgeting. A big part of it for me is reigning in the flood of money that flows out of our house for fast food. But if I am going to cook more meals here (which I do enjoy)....I just don't always have the time to do alot of planning and then the shopping for what is needed.

For the last few weeks, as I have been driving home from Chattanooga, I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey program...and yes, he has been kicking my behind about the whole budgeting thing. But he has also talked about E-Mealz. It sounded like what I have been looking for...so I checked it out and signed up. I don't want this whole post to be an advertisement for E-Mealz...but it is just what I was looking for. Menu plans using the grocery of your choice....the menu, the shopping list and the recipes all together. You can even chose for your size family, and even if you are on a diet or vegetarian. The link for it is at the bottom of the page here...check it out for yourself. Yes, I do get credit it you sign up with my email....but that is not important to me. If you think it could help you....go for it. OR I know there are others out there, just do your google search. For me, it is a $15 very well spent for 3 months of time saved in the planning and searching for a menu, and all that goes with it. (Now, I just want to save up for that personal chef!!! LOL)

Even with the menu plan....I am always on the lookout for good recipes, especially side dishes. Seems like I always fall into a rut with those. How about sharing some of your favorites??? I would love to see what works well with your family. You can share them by hitting the "comment" word at the bottom of this post and then type in your info... I just think this would be a fun way for all of us to get some ideas for our summer menus.

This weeks theme: Side Dishes!!!!
Let me share one of our favorites around here.... I like to start the week out with some basics that I can use for any meal or just a quick lunch. For us, it is great to have a basic salad on hand.

The usual for us is:
carrot (I get them already cut into matchsticks...saves time!)
green onion
red pepper

While I am cutting up the veggies for this...I go ahead and divide everything except the lettuce into two bowls. In the second bowl, I put together an easy pasta salad. For it, I use bow tie pasta prepared per the box (I use the entire box).....add the cooled pasta to the veggies (remember all except the lettuce). Then salt and pepper to taste and add your favorite dressing to coat well. I LOVE to use the Litehouse Salsa Ranch dressing. This makes a quick side dish for alot of our meals that are made on the grill....and I just love to have it alone for a quick lunch.

Another favorite is the Crunch Salad:
2 bunches fresh broccoli (broken in small pieces)
1 head cauliflower (broken in small pieces)
1 red onion, chopped
2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in half)

1 c. mayonnaise
1 T. vinegar
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 c. sour cream
2 t. sugar

Combine dressing ingredients, mix well. Toss with vegetables. Serve well chilled. (This looks great in a clear glass bowl for company!)

I hope you enjoy these recipes...and I hope you will share some of your own!

(PS...I have had requests for info on the belly dancing class in Dayton, TN....I have some of the info, but I am having trouble getting the website addy I have to work....let me figure out what is wrong and I will post the info tomorrow!!!)

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Day, Fresh Start......

Because I am a glutton for punishment.....and always need something new to be working on. I am taking this week to finish some painting projects that have been brewing around here....and to get some things organized that I have wanted to do...but just didn't have enough time at home to complete.

The house is really ready for a redo...but I have also found there is a method to my madness in painting. My friends are always teasing me about my painting and moving furniture addiction...but I finally made the connection. When there is something going on in my life--be it good or bad---that I can't do anything about and just have to "wait it out"...I start redecorating. It gives me something positive to focus on and something I "can" do while other stuff brewing. There have been alot of changes for me lately with the business, family and such...most have been positive, but some things have been a bit tougher....and redecorating is the most positive outlet for it I can find right now.

We did make the move to the Knitting Mills...while there was alot of work getting everything handled, packed, moved, set up again. I am really happy with the results. And our vendors have been a pleasure to work with during the move...and that is a MAJOR happy dance moment!!! LOL

I am looking forward to finishing up the household projects this week...as I have several new patterns coming in the mail that I can't wait to get started on!

Hope you all have fun plans for the week....a friend told me about a new belly dancing class forming in town...now that is a new adventure worth blogging about!!! LOL

Hugs to you all!!