Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Ooops!  I forgot that I was going to post something every Wednesday.  Maybe just once a month is enough, anyway.

The group is still going strong, and we've added 2 new members since I joined, so if this is something you're considering, you can still jump in. As a group of 27, we've lost almost 300 lbs.  Isn't that amazing?

My little piece of the pie is 19.8 lbs so far. My scale broke and I had to buy a new one, and this one measures in 2/10 of a pound increments, where my last one only measured in 0.5 lbs. The jury's still out on whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Still in the same size clothes, but they fit so much more comfortably now. The swelling in my legs has gone down to almost nothing, and my knee only bothers me once in a while.  I haven't started exercising yet, but probably will soon.  Work has imposed lots of mandatory meetings lately (don't they know it's my busiest time of the year?), one of which is the annual Health Risk Assessment required to participate in their health insurance. They'll be checking our blood pressures, BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugars.  I'm anxious to see what my numbers are after 7 weeks on the South Beach Diet.

Yesterday I found another recipe we both like--and that's not easy!

It's on Kalyn's Kitchen again, and is a crockpot stew/soup, which is what the weather called for. I forgot to add the Parmesan cheese at the end, and I did modify the recipe to accomodate the beans I had on hand, but it was scrumptious! (Picture from her blog) Just looking at it makes me hungry all over again.  Thank goodness there were leftovers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Blog Hops

Finally, autumn weather has arrived!  Yesterday morning started out with thunderstorms and rain straight through til at least 3:30 this morning. I left some windows open and froze my poor husband, so had to close them and turn the heat on for a little while to take the chilll off.  Today is bright and sunny, but cool and so exhilerating.

There are some blogs celebrating fall and thought I'd share them, in case you haven't discovered them. 

Found this one over at Positively Splendid.


This one is for quilters--check it out!

And for anyone even mildly interested in Halloween Art, this is an awesome giveaway:

(You know I had to put something in about Halloween.)

I think there was another quilty one starting out there, but can't find it right now.  When I do, I'll post it!

AHA!  Found it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How I Spent my Day Off

Since we've decided to have a Halloween party after all, I looked around with a critical eye--and the first thing I saw was the kitchen floor.  Lately, no matter how much I've mopped, it still seems dirty, so I knew it was time to strip off the layers of old wax, and that meant ammonia.  Yuk. So all day yesterday was spent scrubbing the floor, with frequent breaks to breathe fresh air, despite opening the windows and turning on the floor fan and the ceiling fan. 
While I had the Hoosier partially emptied and pulled away from the wall, I decided to take a few pictures to show you. This was a Mother's Day gift about 10 years ago, bought from a consignment store in Albuquerque. I'm not sure it's the real thing, actually. The plate looks too shiny, for one thing.
And it looks as if it's been stripped and a stain wiped on the front and sides, but not the back, though the back looks to have old paint on it.
See how the top has been attached to the bottom?  It's metal, but looks as if the piece has also had a brown stain wiped on it.

But it has a lot of what I've read are Hoosier features.
The two doors on the top open to shelving.
And the one on the side has the flour grinder. (Can you see it under the mess?) This is where you load the flour, or whatever you're grinding.

Underneath is the crank, that empties into your container.

The cutout had a glass rolling pin on the rack and I added some semi-old pharmacy bottles on the upper rack.  Usually I keep my most frequently-used cookbooks standing here.

The bottom left cabinet has more shelving.

And the bottom drawer has a sliding metal top, the reason for which, I have no idea.  I just store candles and candleholders in it.

It needs a good cleaning again; it's beginning to stick.
The metal tray  on the top slides out,

and the wheels are the old small ones of yesteryear.

So, what do you think?  Is it authentic, a mish-mash of old and new parts, or just a thrown-together piece of furniture? 

I've been seriously considering changing out the hardware, because I'm sure those are new, and maybe painting the whole piece. I don't think it will change the value of the piece, and even if it does, who cares?  I didn't buy it to resale, and it's mine to enjoy, anyway.

This piece I bought at a yard sale, also when in Albuquerque.  A man had taken his childrens' old toy box and remade it, with screens in the front of each door.

He had painted a vine with leaves, and flower decals on the top.  I took the decals off and changed the knobs, but haven't painted it yet, though that is definitely in the works.  I just haven't decided exactly how. Right now it stores plastic baggies and in the bottom I used to keep potatoes and onions.

Well, everything's back in place for now.  If you look closely, you can see I still have to take a brush to the edges where the floor meets the baseboards, and clean the baseboards, too, but that was all I could manage on one day off.  Tuesday will find me on the floor with a mask, scrubbing away, and then reapplying a mop-on shine.  All the floor will need before the party is damp mopping a few times. 

Next will be both bathroom floors, and that should last for another year. It's a lot to try and get done this soon before Halloween, but we're coming up on more holidays and then hunkering in for the winter, and I like the house to be as clean as possible so all I have to do is decorate. And sew. And maybe paint the kitchen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Light's Right but the Temps are All Wrong

So I heard yesterday was the first full day of autumn.  Really? You'd be hard pressed to know it from walking around outside. Though the nights might dip into the upper 50s, daytime highs are still in the mid 80s.  Thankfully, the humidity remains pretty low, and next week the highs should be in the mid 70s, but it just doesn't feel like fall yet.

My roses are still blooming.
The celosia finally took hold.

The phlox has renewed blooms.

My coleus plants just went nuts towards the end of the summer.

I've pinched the blossoms and tiny tomatoes off the tomato plants so all the energy will go to enlarging and ripening those hard green blobs, but I don't know if that'll be enough. 

Here are the latest photos of the tipsy pots:

One of the pots below suffered greatly when we went to Birmingham for 4 days over Labor Day weekend and just never did recover.  
The vinca in the top pot stayed pretty sparse, too, though the blossoms were lovely.

That's the problem with clay pots--they dry out so quickly.  I've already talked with one of the little neighbor girls about paying her to water my plants if  I'm going to be gone for a while, but it'll be next year before that happens again.
The moss rose in the second pot from the top was supposed to trail, but it didn't really.  In the 4th pot I planted something with the moss rose (can't remember the name) and it looked much better than the moss roses. 

I might plant vinca and moss rose again next year, but not in the tipsy pots.
The chilly mornings have made some of the insects rather sluggish. 

This little wasp was just sitting there, not moving at all.  Even when I disturbed the plant a little, he only twitched an antenna.

But there are some signs the season is changing. The jalapeno plant yielded up its last pepper yesterday, so it's been pulled up and tossed in the trash.  The petunias are giving up the ghost, too, so most of them have been uprooted and I'm thinking of putting pansies in the pots instead. My neighbor planted 75 spring bulbs yesterday.  Ron the Mower Man comes by only every 3 weeks now.
It's time to pick a permanent home for the Japanese maple and decide on which trees will replace the Bradford Pears I lost last winter. But the other Japanese maple is showing those lovely burgundy tips.

 A lot of my herbs have been trimmed back or gone to flower.  It wasn't a good year for the mint or
 basil, but the lavender, parsley and chives have been outstanding. 

The afternoons are shorter and showing that golden cast that signifies the changing of the seasons. The State Fair is over for another year.

My Halloween counter says it's only 37 days til October 31, and I should be getting a little sense of urgency here.  I've ordered several items from Fright Catalog, Spirit Halloween and Grandin Road, and spent a few hours dismantling the red dresses as well as putting the first coat of paint on a display box for the glowing heart, and on the small coffin MightyMom gave me.

Last year, the party I'd planned was cancelled after Jack's hospitalization, and I hadn't given it another thought since then.  But at least 3 people have asked if we were having it this year, and one gal arranged her schedule to be off the weekend in order to come.  So it looks as if the party's on for this year. The decorations are going up anyway, so why not?  But nothing elaborate--just going to throw a couple pots of chili on the stove and maybe make some grilled cheese sandwiches,  and everyone can just bring something to share. 

A friend asked if we had a fireplace or outdoor firepit to toast marshmallows, and we don't, but I'm thinking the place in the center of the yard where the old oak tree was taken down will serve as a good place to make a firepit.  There are no trees close by, and the hose will reach as a water source, and it's right in the center of the action for this year's yard haunt, so I just need to dig out the leftover mulch and encircle it with the scalloped cement borders.  What a great place to tell ghost stories, huh? Guess I need to head back to the thrift stores to find wire coat hangers. Gee, another trip to the thrift shops. What a hardship. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yesterday was gorgeous: sunny, low humidity, and it started off cool but warmed up to the mid-80s during the day.  I'd been watching too many episodes of American Pickers, I guess, but it felt like a good day to go junkin'. 

Mostly, I was looking for Halloween items, but I found all kinds of goodies.
I've been wanting an old double boiler to use for candlemaking--well, mostly melting down those old chips of candles to make more--and just stumbled upon this one.  My next trip to Michael's, I'll get some wicks and I'm set.
At the same place, I found the book on herbs. I know I under-utilize the ones  I grow, so this should give me some ideas. There's always the internet, of course, but nothing beats a book if you're going to lie in a hammock or work in the kitchen.

Look what else was there:
I found this beauty for $15.00--and it's at least 90 years old!  After a little lubricating, I got the burner element unstuck and cleaned and she burns well. Later I'll check out the pattern in my books.
I broke one of their other lamps--not an oil lamp, but a small glass table lamp.  This place is a warehouse, with multiple small rooms, and some dusty, dark ones.  There was a rickety old staircase with lamps on one side of a narrow passageway, and a glass display case with knick-knacks on the other. I had my eye on the knick-knacks and brushed a lampshade with my shoulder. I managed to catch that lamp, but knocked it into another lamp that went crashing to the floor.  The owners were really nice about it and said the stairs were probably too crowded anyway.  They were, but I should have been more careful. Anyway, they didn't charge me for the broken lamp.

There was also this large old Ball jar, patented 1930, for $3.00.  I'm going to paint the lid black and use it for a specimen jar for Halloween.

There were 3 more places I wanted to hit, but I spent so much time in the warehouse, it was almost 5pm when I finished and the other places were closing.  Another day, maybe.

Three red dresses also came home with me. To avoid double-posting, I wrote my plans for those on the other blog.

The WNC state fair is going on right now, and I was debating going over there today, while it's not so crowded, but there are several sewing/quilting things I want to accomplish, and I'm afraid the scent of Polish sausages and baklava might be too much to resist.

Then again, there's always this weekend...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Friday, September 10, 2010

Seriously Yummy Simple Desserts

One of my nieces can cook but rarely does.  The other one loves to cook.  For this past Labor Day celebration, Bethany made one of these desserts and told her sister how to make the other.  I was a very good girl and didn't have any, but the recipes look delicious, and Jack assured me they were. 

The rat.

Anyway, I give you Bethany's recipes:


First Layer
1 C flour
1 C chopped pecans
1 stick butter, melted

Mix together and press flat on bottom of pan.  Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Second Layer
1 C confectioner's sugar
1 small container Cool Whip
12 oz cream cheese, softened

Mix on medium to high speed.  When crust cools, spread this layer on top of crust.

Third Layer
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding

Mix as directed on box and spread on top of white mixture (2nd layer).

Fourth Layer
Top with another small container Cool Whip and sprinkle with more pecan pieces.

Now, my sister-in-law said she's made this, using instant lemon pudding instead of chocolate, and coconut instead of pecans on top.  This version sounds equally tasty to me.


1 Graham cracker pie crust
1 pkg Chips Ahoy cookies
1 C milk
1 container Cool Whip

Dip cookies in milk and layer evenly over pie crust. Cover with layer of Cool Whip.  Continue with layers of milk-soaked cookies and Cool Whip to desired depth.  Crumble several dry cookies and sprinkle on top.

Could this one get any easier?

Sorry I didn't take pictures of the desserts, but I was having serious cravings and couldn't trust myself to focus on them. You'll just have to use your imaginations.

Maybe I'll make the easy one and take it to work one when I have a stomach flu or something.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day Fun

Jack and I headed down to Alabama this weekend to see family--some of whom I've never laid eyes on, and some I haven't seen in 10 years or more.  It was fantastic!

We couldn't all get together at the same time, which is probably a good thing, but we got to see all my nieces, nephews, in-laws and out-laws, grandnephews and my grandniece.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the weekend:

(This one's for you, Audrey!)

(The water was only 73 degrees, but we were all crazy enough to go in with our clothes on!)

(Well, not ALL of us.  Some had good sense.)

There was a ton of food; we are Southerners after all. Got a couple of super simple, yummy dessert recipes from a niece.  At least, I heard they were yummy.  I didn't try any myself but dang it, I sure wanted to. Don't know if I can adapt them, but I'm hoping so.  We got back this evening and I'm too tired to hunt them up right now, so I'll post them later in the week.

Hope you all had at least half as good a time as I did!