Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pantry Purge #2 - Week 2

Well, poo!

I started the week with GRAND intentions - and then... POOF! not much!  I've been busy with life and having fun baking bread so haven't done much with the pantry purge.

BUT I did make broccoli salad (used up the mayo & 1 package of the bacon pieces).

I did open up the spicy mustard and start using it on sandwiches (with my awesome homemade bread.... can you tell I am impressed with it?  LOL!!)

And we will be having ziti for dinner & make one for the freezer (use up the cottage cheese & sour cream from the freezer)

I hope to do a bit better next week because I will be out of town the week after!

Used up:
open container of mayo
1 pkg bacon pieces
1 container cottage cheese
2 containers sour cream

Last Month Leftovers: 
jar roasted red peppers
3/4 jar wheat germ

  2 containers of Laughing Cow cheese
  Last Month Leftovers:
  frozen orange juice (not to drink)
   1 bag of dough balls (for rolls or monkey bread)
   1 pkage sliced Swiss cheese
   1 box of veggie bacon
   2 frozen bananas
   2 bags frozen blueberries

    Last Month Leftovers:
   bag sundried tomatoes

       Spicy brown mustard
       Bleu Cheese Dressing
       Green Salsa
       German chocolate cake mix & icing
       yellow cake mix
       brownie mix
       Liquid Smoke (what is this, why do I have it and what do I do with it?  LOL!!)
       individual envelopes of Italian dressing
      cream of chicken soup
      canned carrots
      3 different bottles of hot sauce
      1 pkgs bacon bits
      french-fried onions
     4 ind cntrs of berry flavored applesauce (didn't care for the flavor)
     2 ind cntrs of sweet gherkin pickles
     box chicken soup
     jar pepperoncini
     tomato soup
     can water chestnuts
     jar szechuan sauce
     wasabi sandwich spread
     marinated artichokes

Friday, May 27, 2011

When is TOO nice NOT nice? Expectations

I like to think of myself as a nice person.

For the most part, I give others the benefit of the doubt.

I don't like confrontations.

AND I despise the emotional ups and downs of drama.

I have been known to put up with a LOT to avoid the confrontations that lead to emotional upset.

That makes me a nice person, doesn't it?  Too nice, right?

Hmmm...... maybe....  I'm not so sure.

I think my first mistake is when I treat everything and everybody like a potential emotional issue.  When in reality.... they are NOT!  To qualify, my background, like a lot of people's is DRAMA.  I have spent the last few years trying to get DRAMA out of my life.

My response to drama (still) is to HIDE.  When I see an issue arising that might get someone upset, I automatically begin shutting down.

The first problem in this situation is reacting to the word MIGHT.  This is not an objective truth-filled word.  This is a potential occurrence.  If I react NOW, on a MAYBE, I am not responding appropriately.  If I react NOW before REALITY happens, I do NOT allow the other party to react at all.

This is NOT nice.

The second problem here is that when I 'put up with a lot'..... sometimes a line gets crossed and I get angry.  I feel abused.... I feel like I've been hurt.  And... because I haven't clearly stated my feelings, the other party doesn't know.  And they are unwittingly hurting me.... every day that they don't know.  I am in control of this part of the situation and am not only allowing - but actively creating the situation - where someone who cares about me continually hurts me.

This is not nice.

And..... so what about possible emotional upset?  "MIGHT cause upset" should not be a factor that determines my behavior for something important.  Especially if the result is that I bear a grudge and place blame.

The third problem in this situation is that when I shut down..... I hand over control of the situation.  This is not the behavior of a talented, capable adult.  This is someone operating out of FEAR.  Someone who is choosing to be a victim.  AND it places BLAME and MISTRUST on the other party.... who, in most cases, does not deserve my anger.

This is NOT nice.

So what do I do?  I want to be nice.

I don't want to place blame.  I don't want to make people unhappy - that is what got me here in the first place.

Relationships are built on expectations of each other but we should not have to read minds.

#1.  Self-love and respect: I have a right to have expectations of others.  [AND I have a right to tell them.  This is NOT the same thing as taking advantage of others.]

#2.  Love and respect of others: Others have the right to respond to me and my expectations.

#3 - BIG ONE HERE...... others a) do not have to agree with me
       and b) can NOT respond to my expectations if I am not clear as to what they are.  [this is NOT the same thing as taking advantage of ME]

So I need to step up and take my place as an adult.  I need to be clear in what I expect of others, how I expect to be treated and make sure that any anger or resentment I feel is actually earned and justified.  I need to make sure that I do not create a situation where someone who loves me ends up hurting me because I didn't speak up. 

Nice is good..... "too nice" is NOT nice.  It leads to no good at all...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bread Adventures - Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (Batch 1)

An ongoing book review and sharing my homemaking progress...  Come along and have some laughs with me (on me?)!

The book is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Herzog and Zoe Francois

This book is awesome :-)  If you want quick breadmaking success - this book is for you!

I made the dough in just a few minutes.... few ingredients... quick mix-up & store in fridge.  There is supposed to be enough dough for FOUR loaves of bread.  So this is great.... Day 1... throw some stuff in a bowl, mix it up and put it in the refrigerator...... okay... so far, so good :-)

The next morning was baking day.  It took less than 5 minutes to pull out necessary dough, form a loaf & set to rest while the oven pre-heated!

My first loaf.....
   this one is called a boule (or ball).  Makes sense :-)

Just for fun - and because I am me - I am baking a loaf a day (or so)  following my way through the book.   For the first chapter, it's a matter of playing with shapes!

The second recipe is for a baguette and I didn't quite roll it thin enough so I ended up with results for the third recipe: a batard (in English, that is a shorter, fatter baguette :-)  I would probably dub this a sub roll and let it go at that!

Day 3 rolled around and I did get that baguette done!


And there is indeed enough dough for 4 loaves :-)

Next, they share a recipe for a sandwich with eggplant that I passed :-)  Tartine Aubergine...... nice sound to it.. but I really don't care for eggplant - and if I won't eat it, it's not a good risk in my home!

So, skipping the eggplant experience, we arrive at something called a couronne (or crown).  Again a matter of shaping and the result is awesome!  I had to snap this picture fast because the bread disappeared fairly quickly.


All in all, this book is FUN and EASY..  two things very important to me in a project.  If you are not a baker, this is a high success opportunity for you to try!  So far, it is idiot-proof but what adventures lie ahead?

I am going to bake my way through the book..... so go pick up a copy at your library and join me in the fun!  so far, if you can mold with clay, you can bake bread!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crochet post :-) Dishcloth # 53 through #58 and More!

A baby gift done!  What a great feeling :-)  This is a blanket using colors that were on the registry choices..... I followed instructions for a baby blanket in a book I have - but didn't realize that it would turn out so large!  I didn't think I would ever finish it - but this little boy will have an afghan to use for several years to come.  I enjoyed making it but am thrilled to be finished :-)  I DO like winding up a project that has taken a while to do...

I made some more lovies this week :-)  I have a goal to make 40 in the month of May and it looks like I will make it! I am halfway there :-)

And then for dishcloths!

#53 In Motion Dishcloth - pictured on the bottom left in a pretty variegated print.  This is a fairly simple double crochet pattern that would be great for beginners.

#54 Cherry Dishcloth in the bottom center... I loved the way this one turned out but of course it was more work than I usually like :-)  It begins with a variation of a granny square as the base with a pretty red edging.  The leaves and cherries are crocheted separately and appliqued on.  I did not follow the directions exactly for the stems.... the directions called for creating the stems with a chain stitch and then sewing the cherries and leaves.  That would mean (to my understanding) either that you need to stitch the stem down or leave it loose.  For me this was an extra step.  I crocheted the stems right onto the base after I positioned & stitched the leaves and cherries.

#55 Blue Rattan Dishcloth (or in this case GREEN).  This is another fairly simple block pattern.  It would be a nice compliment to a group of dishcloths.

Maggie Weldon's Dishcloth Challenge

#56 Pretty Pastels Dishcloth on the top left is indeed really pretty.  It has a lot of chains in it - which makes it easy but is not my favorite technique. 

#57 Pineapple & Leaves Dishcloth is pictured in the center on the top row.  This is another of the dishcloths that is a little tricky to figure out :-)  It turned out lovely though and reminds me of lace doilies :-)

#58 Dreams of Springtime Dishcloth is the final one for this week.  I made it in a cream and brown variegated color so it doesn't exactly look like springtime but it is nice in its own right.... the color of coffee with cream!

What handwork did you complete this week?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Depression is my Friend


My nemesis

My friend

Yes, I said it... depression is my friend.

I name it depression.... but it might be something else with another name I do not know.

It's an indeterminate time when the world is cold and gray.  There is little excitement or happiness and no joy whatsoever.  I do not have blood in my veins.... it's more like molasses.... I can't move any faster than slow motion.   I sleep a lot.... a LOT... and I eat.... a LOT :-)   I wait.   I think.

And the thoughts are not real.... I have to set them aside and look at them objectively.  I get into trouble if I think they are true.  When I believe some of the thoughts, I come down so hard on myself that I forget that I am my own best friend... and I cannot find my right to take space on the planet... much less a goal to strive for..

It's a time of faith and testing.... because with no energy and no joy... it's hard to see tomorrow.

But I know tomorrow is there... and I know that there will be joy again.  For someone who can experience joy, life is a circle.... there must be a time for non-joy...

Often I feel like winter.... like everything is alive.... just below the surface.... just waiting for the moment to emerge and bloom.

It can be a time of rest.... of getting ready... of slowing down and re-thinking my direction.  There is wisdom in a time like this.... even if I call it depression.

Depression is my friend.... one of those friends you have known a long time.. but they don't make you happy.   Their vision is skewed and they complain a lot..  But you have to deal with them anyway... fighting them is too exhausting.... believing them is not truth. 

Kind of like an unwelcome guest come to visit.... I accept its arrival and hold hands with it and wait until it is ready to leave.  I try not to give it too much attention because it will drag me under if I allow it..... but it's still real and I have to see it through to the end.

AND the time I spend waiting is time I spend preparing... nurturing myself.... and learning...

I am emerging from my winter.... I see it in glimpses.... a tiny glimmer of excitement.... a little sliver of pride in myself.... a bit of a feeling that all is right with my world..

And as the ball starts rolling, I feel more than a little curious about what I will do next!

Do you ever experience times like this?  Do you fight them or accept them?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pantry Purge #2 .... Week 1

Yay!  My favorite :-)  The day I get to post the weird list of goodies to figure out how to use!

Things don't look too bad in the refrigerator and freezer after the demise of the refrigerator.  Fortunately I am married to Mr Wizard so, while it took a few weeks, he did finally order parts to try and fix it (and succeeded!)   But we did such a good job of finishing things more regularly, that I may ave started a new good habit!

But... we do continue to purchase... and things continue to age.... so...  I do have a few items.

The pantry is where I hit the mother lode!  Last time I simply chose items that I RECOGNIZED as having been around too long.  THIS time I looked at the expiration dates... Yikes!  Not too bad but some are getting close, so they go on THE LIST.

The list is below but looking at the pantry items.... I know that the bacon bits & the open mayo in the fridge can combine with the broccoli I just bought on sale and we will have my husband's favorite broccoli salad.  I see some soup in my future to use up the carrots..... and more baking needs to happen..

At any rate.... I'd love to have your ideas for these items.... and I'll start next week & let you know how we use them!

  Last Month Leftovers: 
jar roasted red peppers
3/4 jar wheat germ

  2 containers of Laughing Cow cheese
  1 small open container of mayonnaise...
  Last Month Leftovers:
  frozen orange juice (not to drink)
   1 container cottage cheese
   2 containers sour cream
   1 bag of dough balls (for rolls or monkey bread)
   1 pkage sliced Swiss cheese
   1 box of veggie bacon
   2 frozen bananas
   2 bags frozen blueberries

    Last Month Leftovers:
   bag sundried tomatoes

       Spicy brown mustard
       Bleu Cheese Dressing
       Green Salsa
       German chocolate cake mix & icing
       yellow cake mix
       brownie mix
       Liquid Smoke (what is this, why do I have it and what do I do with it?  LOL!!)
       individual envelopes of Italian dressing
      cream of chicken soup
      canned carrots
      3 different bottles of hot sauce
      2 pkgs bacon bits
      french-fried onions
     4 ind cntrs of berry flavored applesauce (didn't care for the flavor)
     2 ind cntrs of sweet gherkin pickles
     box chicken soup
     jar pepperoncini
     tomato soup
     can water chestnuts
     jar szechuan sauce
     wasabi sandwich spread
     marinated artichokes


Friday, May 20, 2011

Diaper Cake

I promised to show some photos of a diaper cake I recently made for a friend who was expecting!

Diaper cakes are fun gifts to make and very practical for new parents.  I really enjoy making the small gifts to decorate the cake with and then putting it all together.  The end result is always SO much better than you can imagine it would be!

You need something to cover the bottom two layers of the cake - usually receiving blankets and/or a larger fleece blanket.  I usually start by finding out what patterns the new parents have chosen (if I can).  Sometimes I just have to wing it - but usually I have something to go on.  In this case, I used some hooded bath towels the parents had on their registry.  Also, I knew the baby would be a girl and that mom was not a fan of too much pink!

Then I go to my yarn stash to see what colors I already have that will work with the pattern.  I use cottons for washcloths, a bib and bottle covers.  I use either baby yarns or very soft 4-ply yarn for the other items - in this case I made a sweater, hat and bootie set and a ball.  

I also look for coordinating ribbons in 2 widths: 1/4-inch (to adorn the bottle covers) and 1-1/2 to 2 inches to go around the 'cake layers'.

Most of my ideas and a few of the patterns come from a pattern you can purchase on  Carolyn Christmas does a superb job of creating beautiful items..... mine is cute but in no way compares with her things!  If you want to make a diaper cake, her book is the best I have found and relatively inexpensive!
I get free online patterns for many baby items I make from  Bev runs a fantastic site to encourage people to sew, knit and crochet for charity.  Her patterns are tried and true and relatively quick and easy to make.

The hooded towels from my new parents' registry that I used to provide the color choices and the bottle covers (without the ribbon trim)

The little crocheted roses always take me the longest though they are not difficult to make.  They really look like icing roses on the cake and make a beautiful finishing touch.  They can be saved and added to a blanket or something later on!

The diaper rolling and building is when it starts getting exciting!  Sometimes you can add small tokens like little lotions or gifts for MOM inside!

I usually use blankets to cover the layers but tried something new this time :-)  I think it worked fairly well.  I fasten the blankets with diaper pins. 

Handmade items are attached with both diaper pins and pearl headed straight pins.  You have to warn about the pins - but you want the cake to be easily dismantled so the items can be used!  It would also be easy to create with all store bought gifts :-)

I had to finish it up in the car because I was doing this with my daughter and she had purchased the bottles that were on the registry!  We purchased a rattle in the right colors to use as a cake topper just for fun.  The icing roses make this an 'official' cake and are fastened on with straight pins.

...and so.... voila!  A pretty gift to give - that also makes a super centerpiece for a shower!

Let me know if you try any of the patterns!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question has always confused me.

Is there a 'thing to be' at the end?  Where is the end?

I still spend a lot of time wondering about what to do with my life :-)

Not so much a career now....  while I have had training for a career and worked for many years outside of my home, my focus has always been right here with my kids.  That has been my career.

Lots of volunteering, lots of taxi-driving, cooking, cleaning, mentoring..

But now I'm poised in a different place.... still needed as mom, but in different ways.

The needs are not so immediate or physically demanding.  Now there is more time to focus on my marriage.  My husband and I married after the family had begun so we never had time for just us and that is an interesting (and exciting) time to anticipate. 

I'm enjoying this year of re-assessing my skills, my likes and dislikes, my dreams and desires.... because I'm wondering what to do next!

I think that is it..... I don't want to BE anything... I already am ME :-)

But there is a lot that I want to DO...

..other than laundry, of course :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dishcloth Challenge #47 through #52 and More!

This week I finished up a crocheted diaper cake and am still working on a couple of afghans!  I will do a blog soon about the cake so you can see how that is done and will show off the other items when I finish.... and I really will finish them some day!

I also managed to finish up a few lovies to donate to our local Operation Christmas Child operation.  For more information on this project, go

We had quite a bit of novelty yarn donated that made the round in the center... most of the center rounds are fuzzy and soft, creating more of a 'lovie' touch for the shoebox gifts.  Lovies are totally 'non-necessary' items but offer something soft to 'love on' like a beloved blankie to a child who has nothing soft in his or her life.  What is small to us who are so blessed - is a HUGE gift to those who have nothing.

As for dishcloths, there were a few unusual patterns this week to have fun with!

First of all... lower left.. #47 - Pineapple and Shell Dishcloth - done in yellow variegated thread.  I like the way it turned out.. pretty and lacy.  It was not hard.. but a little tricky to figure out if you are not paying attention (which is OFTEN the way my life operates!)

Next - in the bottom row center - is #48 Windows Crochet Dishcloth.  I really like the effect of this one.  The solid color is actually raised over the variegated.... like a window (I know, duh..) But what is cool is that it was fairly simple to do and looks complicated.  I can think of several color combinations that would work really well with this pattern.

#49 - The Scrubby Crochet Dishcloth - is really unique :-)  The center is one of those inexpensive dish scrubbers.  It is crocheted first in the round and then the scrubber is stitched on to it.  I haven't tried to use it so I don't know if it is as nifty as it seems, but it's a nice idea.  Hmm.... I'd also be hesitant to throw this one in the dryer!

Maggie Weldon's Dishcloth Challenge

Top left - another beautiful one that doesn't show well in the photo!  #50 - Southwestern Flair Dishcloth - called for the colors I used.  I would never have thought of pairing hot orange and hot blue but they really look great :-)  What is hard to see is the chevron pattern in columns on the cloth.   That is what gives it the FLAIR, I think :-)

Top center - #51 - Rainbow Crochet Dishcloth - was a LOT of fun to make :-)  I really enjoyed using up those little scraps and watching the cloth take shape :-)  I think this would be a super washcloth for little ones!

And last, but not least #52 - Fun Flower Dishcloth.  This is a simple granny adaptation... quick to work up and very pretty.  I think you could make a really pretty afghan with a bunch of these squares.  I would skip the edging and probably plan on a size of 3X4 blocks for a baby afghan :-)

Go to for these patterns and many more!  Maggie Weldon is sponsoring a challenge of 365 dishcloths - one for every day of the year.... I wonder how far I will get :-)

Let me know if you make any of them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cold Turkey?

Do you play any Facebook games?  I mean Facebook itself takes more time than I ought to spend on it but I really enjoy keeping up (sort of) with friends and family so I'm not getting rid of that (yet!)

But I have a game that I love..... when it started it didn't take much time.  It was quick and easy and fun.  

It's still fun but is beginning to be more demanding  Hmm.... or am I just blaming it?

I am behind on many things in my life right now..... it seems like things are so hectic but in honesty I am not sure if they really are.  I keep saying I want to catch up with paperwork and I have projects I want to accomplish in the yard particularly.  I THINK I should free up a couple of hours a day... isn't that a crazy amount of time for Facebook games?  But I think it is true.

So in the interest of finding out the truth, I decided that I would freeze my game for 2 weeks and see if I have a corresponding increase in project accomplishment :-)
I'll let you know how it goes.... but in the meantime, if you are interested.... it's the Facebook Fairyland application... but be careful, it is kind of addicting if you like to grow flowers...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who's to blame?

My question has to do with a modern attitude.

Everywhere I go, I hear people blaming other people for simply everything.

Democrats blame Republicans, children blame parents, Christians blame Muslims....

Finger pointing with NO facts.  "Because I said so" is not a fact.

NO ONE I know is responsible.

Actually, MOST of the people I know are responsible people.... but it seems to be a prevailing attitude that it is OKAY to blame the other guy for things that we don't understand.

Complicated situations like the national budget or differing customs or global warming.

Situations where there is clearly NO one cause NOR simple solution.

It also seems okay to add harmful motive to the blame.

They did it.... THEY hate us.... THEY want to ruin my life and take my children and my money.

And, then it's okay to grab that attitude and run with it... and be paranoid about other people.

I don't understand.  When did we get so frightened?

Why do we run at shadows and not INSIST on facts before we convict people in the court of public opinion?

This attitude is all around me.. like pollen!  Are we breathing it in?

It's enough to make me turn off my computer....

ALMOST :-)  

I would turn it off but I can't.... it's not my fault though - it's my cat's fault...

she hates me and is so selfish... she likes the screensaver.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pantry Purge #1 - Wrap-Up

Okay - I confess to being a few weeks behind in my "4 week pantry purge".  I appreciate your bearing with me as I fit this new idea into my life :-)

One life happening that delayed the systematic recording of 'using up' is that our refrigerator died.  Died.... caput!    We are fortunate to have an overflow fridge in the garage and a stand-alone freezer so we didn't lose anything... but we DID have to use out of both of them a LOT to make sure there was room for the fresh produce I bring home every week!

Anyway - long story short.... I didn't focus on finding ways to use up the Pantry Purge items I have written about before .... I just used what I knew :-) - and new ideas was NOT it!  For some reason, cooking does not come easy to me and I need clear planning and direction to create ANYthing :-)

So I will wind up here with a 5th week.... and see what carries over!

I FINALLY made the pumpkin cranberry bread with this recipe

and it was really good!  We ate one and froze one.... well I ate one :-)  The boys wouldn't touch it and Don was too busy to think about it so, over the course of a week, I ate it.  He'll get some of the second loaf.  That used up a can of pumpkin and 1/3 of the frozen cranberries.......  which sent me off looking for more cranberry recipes....  I found some on-line to try and decided to make muffins.   (Sauces and jellies I KNOW my boys won't eat and I don't know how to preserve them)

When I went hunting for my muffin tins and cupcake papers, I discovered that I had 2 boxes (why TWO?) of the mini-muffin papers.  Weird for a non-baker.... but anyway...

Back to the computer to figure out how to turn a muffin recipe into a MINI-muffin recipe!  It turns out that you can alter either the temperature OR the time..... or both.... I ended up using the rest of the cranberries in both muffins AND minis.   Bagged in sandwich bags (and again in larger bags), most went into the freezer for later.  So I realized a side benefit of locating and using the mini-muffin papers and now my cupboard is in better shape and I still have plenty :-)

The second thing I did was locate a Citrus Marinade at  that I used for some frozen chicken breasts.  During the last two weeks, the stores I have visited had the bags at half-price so I stocked up. 

1 bag of frozen chicken breast made 2 dinner amounts of Orange Chicken for the freezer.  What that does for me is offer me TWO Asian evening possibilities.  I will pull one out of the freezer (either the night before or the morning OF) to thaw in the refrigerator and then at dinner, I can either cut them up for a stir-fry (family favorite) or grill them individually.  I will pair them up with brown rice and vegetables... so TWO dinner decisions MADE and waiting for me..... AND 1/2 or the freezer orange juice and 1 (of 3) bottles of lemon juice are gone :-)

Menu items for next week to finish up:
Chicken grilled with Hoisin sauce with broccoli & rice
Quesadillas with the corn tortillas
Peanut butter cookies
Chicken Barley Soup

bag frozen cranberries
can pumpkin
1 bottle of lemon juice
1/2 orange juice
corn tortillas
1/2 jar Hoisin sauce
2 bags cookie mix (peanut butter - I bought Hershey kisses for them)
1/2 box barley

What's left for Pantry Purge 2?

bag sundried tomatoes

3/4 jar wheat germ
2 containers lemon juice

frozen orange juice

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Do you have THE VOICE in your head?

You know.... the one that is really consistent (and INsistent) that you are ... too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too stupid, too smart, too lazy, too busy.... well, you get the picture..... don't you?

That VOICE.... I'm not even sure where it comes from because it sure doesn't sound like my mother... or my father.... well maybe little pieces.... but I think perhaps it's every negative thing ever said TO me... and maybe also every negative thing I ever said to anyone else!

And somehow, once we give THE VOICE permission to speak..... we cower .... and we treat it like it's REAL.

Why is it that we spend out lives chasing away everyone else's bogeyman.... but we invite our own to MOVE IN?

We are intelligent people.... is that why we think.... well... I THOUGHT it... it MUST be TRUE!

We know better!  If anyone, anyone at all... came to us saying the things THE VOICE is allowed to say.... why.. we would throw them out!  Dismiss them!  Argue back.... CERTAINLY we would never allow THE VOICE anywhere near someone we loved...

Ahh.... there it is.... self-love.... We KNOW of it..... we practice hard at it.... but many times we live just short of self-LOATHING.  Is THAT why we allow THE VOICE to thrive?

It's time to take your life back.... time to YELL back at THE VOICE!

Time to bring out the bully that lives inside and make it smaller....

The Voice!  Too stupid to act on its own..... too mean to be allowed to speak...... too far from real truth!

The Voice...... NOT as strong as I am...... NOT a positive influence...... NOT any help to me, my friends, my family or my life!

the voice.... all negative..... all wrong.... and so NOT MY VOICE!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Afraid to Succeed

How much time do you spend thinking or talking about WHY you haven't lost weight..... finished your high school (or college) studies.... gotten your dream job..... run a marathon... WHATEVER you claim your dream is?

How much time do you spend starting over?   Looking for the book or program that will answer all your questions, lay out a plan that will take you to your dream, tell you EXACTLY what to do?   How many DOLLARS have you spent on the perfect supplement, the perfect exercise dvd, the perfect machine that will pare inches and pounds off your body?

Not just weight loss..... how many want ads have you cut out?  How many online applications have you thought about filling out?  How many catalogs have you received from colleges..... that you will apply to ... hmm..... when the time is right..... when the kids grow up... when the economy changes... when the COWS COME HOME!!???

Have you thought about WHY you aren't succeeding?  Even if you move past blaming it on the kids, the spouse, the economy, the president..... I bet you've fallen into the comfort of blaming it on yourself.. (and then you get to go punish yourself - but that's another blog topic :-)

I think the BIGGEST reason we don't succeed.. is NOT the hard work of DOING IT.  I think it's the terribly uncomfortable place of HAVING DONE IT.  Once you succeed, you have to keep going!  If you run a marathon, you have to find another goal or dream..... once you lose weight and get fit, you have to STAY thin and fit... once you get that degree, you have to DO something with it.

There is a comfort in the place where you are right now. 

To move forward and claim your life, you have to let go of your FEAR OF SUCCESS.

As long as you keep your dream from becoming reality.... you know exactly where you stand and what to do. 

And the choice is yours..... the debatable comfort of BEING STUCK ..... or putting your head down and forging ahead anyway.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crochet Post - Dishcloths #41 thru #46 and grandbaby ponchos

And we keep going on the dishcloth challenge :-)  The posted instructions are through # 124 as of today and I am still plugging away :-)  I have filled a container of them already but am trying to think of a way to decorate with them while I continue on the journey.

#41 Nubby Dishcloth... this is the one on the lower left - done in the yellow, lime and blue. I LOVE this one!  It has little bobble things all over it - hence the name - and looks like it will do a great washing job!

#42 Reversible Five-Sided Dishcloth - this one is pictured in light yellow in the center of the bottom row.  What FUN to make!  Each side looks really different from the other and is equally attractive.  It's also a little bit thicker than the others... it could be used as a potholder or a hot pad on the table.

#43  Ruffled Denim Dishcloth - pictured on the bottom left.  This is another really quick one to make.   Without the white ruffles, it is a simple five-sided granny shape.  The ruffles set it off nicely and make it special!

On the top left, we start with an unusual one -#44  Popcorn Dishcloth.  Fun to make, but hard to figure out what it is until someone tells you... and then, you hit yourself on the head and say DUH!  I embroidered the word POPCORN on the 'box' part but it is a little hard to see.  The instructions were to use chains to crochet the letters and then sew them on the dishcloth... but I couldn't get the chains to work for me.  Cute, though... if I knew a popcorn lover (who could be persuaded to do dishes :-), it would be worth going over the embroidered letters one more time!

Center top - #45 - Quilted Star Dishcloth.... is probably the prettiest one in this batch in my opinion.  It was great practice carrying colors and following a chart... requiring a bit of concentration to create.  The final product though is worth it if you like quilt patterns (and I DO!)

#46  Catherine Wheel Ripple Dishcloth is the last dishcloth pictured today - in the upper right corner.  I had to work this one a couple of times before I really understood the directions... not that the directions weren't clear - they were :-)  But the technique is unusual and it took me a bit to understand it.  Once I got it - it whipped right up with a great result.

All of these dishcloth instructions can be found FREE at

In this last week, I also finished up ponchos for my grandgirls - and one extra for either gift or donation as the year progresses! A lovely spring green, an exquisite jewel tone teal (doesn't show up well in the photo) and the fall-color orange & yellow.

These are from a free Lion Brand free pattern and are very quick and easy to make from their Homespun yarn.

The bi-color one is from when I figured out that I needed TWO skeins instead of one to do a poncho!  This is what I call a creative design change :-)  The lazy crocheter rarely pulls out yarn to start over!

Anyway, it's a great pattern to use up scraps... now that I am sure I need more than one skein to make one - I will probably do stripes on the next one :-)

The fun part (for me!) was that when I gave them to my girls to choose.... the two-color "mistake" was one of the chosen ones :-)

Have fun crocheting!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April Resolution Evaluation & Goals for May

            Monthly evaluation of progress toward annual goals..... might be boring reading so I apologize in advance :-)  But I invite you to wallow in it with me... and set some goals of your own!  It feels good to see the progress I actually did make (since on a day-to-day basis I don't see much :-)

  So - here is a recap of how I did with the overall resolutions,  the April specifics & some new pledges for May!


1.      Weight, weight, weight!  Maintain loss and lose a little more.  Tighten and tone…. Develop a daily regimen to stay fit for life!  Learn to eat like a thin healthy person.

   A) EAT
     Not much progress on this front.  Some habits are good... some are a struggle.  I've picked up a few pounds this month and have been working on the WHY of some of my eating (for it has nothing to do with FUEL and everything to do with addiction!)

   B) MOVE:
       dance classes still.... discontinued martial arts in favor of walking with a friend during that time period... got 2 good weeks in of arms & aerobics.... stopped for a week to babysit my grand daughter and need to get back on plan!

     Events:  Feb - 8TUFFMILES (DONE - 15:22 pace) , Apr - Flying Pirate (DONE - 15:47 pace), May - Flying Pig (did not do for a combination of reasons.. not the least of which was the total cost for travel & lodging) , July - Breast Cancer 3Day

April pledges for this category:

#1.  Develop and Begin Core/Arm Strength Routine!
 #8. Appointment with my naturo Doctor to discuss bloodwork

Both done and blogged about :-)  Need to get back to the strength routine TODAY :-)   I also started a '60 Day Challenge' for myself to see what kind of shape I could get my body in by June 10.  Focus lost already :-( but hanging in there.  Main goal is healthy habits so I need to stop obsessing on weight and size and start putting my focus on the actual habits and trust them!

New challenges for May:
 *Depression has reared its ugly head again.  I am either wrestling with depression or I am in a state of change and haven't figured out which way to go.  Sometimes for me this looks the same.... a season of discontent!
The challenge for me will be to go way back to basics and regiment my activity enough so that I do not lose ground while my brain flounders around :-)  I will have to be strict and severe with myself in the food & movement department!
This is also a time for me that I clear my schedule as much as humanly possible to give myself time to stay home, work on the house and yard and spend time with myself and family.
AND, most importantly - be NICE to me :-)  This is a time when I tend to beat myself up for things that don't matter.... I need to focus HARD on not doing that..
              LIFE BETTERMENT

              2..   Financial betterment - reduce debt, reduce consumer spending, increase savings, increase giving, property improvement 

         I am working on learning to use coupons to see if we can realize any real savings here :-)  Net spending is down for the year (compared to last).. which is pretty cool considering we had a Caribbean vacation in February. So, I must be making some progress.  

 We needed to use some of the savings this month since our business is not doing well at all... but I am determined to manage our lives within my husband's salary by the end of the year.  Net debt is reduced a little.. not as much as I would like.. but still moving in the right direction.

              3. Life simplification: Organize, unclutter, streamline, purge!  

April pledge was:
     #4.  Continue with the shredding and categorizing paper and electronic documents -
                       Specific - hmm..   okay - I will deal with 4 folders in the filing cabinet.
 I did complete this.  4 folders isn't much but it is a good start considering that I kept up with the daily shredding while I did it :-)

       The Pantry Purge project was a good one but needs to continue each month.  It offered me an opportunity to stretch my brain a little and offer some new foods to my group.  It also forced me to use up the odd bits in the fridge and think twice before purchasing items.  It is a good project and helps with focus!

       A dumpster came to our town for Earth Dayan we did empty the first floor of a (used to be) rental home on our property.  A dumpster is coming back on May 14 and we will tackle the attic.

      I had planned to declutter and detail each room in my house over the Lenten period but I didn't do it.  It's time for redecorating and changing things around in the house though so I will be working on that starting this month.  More details on that later :-)

        Yardwork has begun in earnest and I will be spending a little part of most days in the sunshine.


4.  Cards  
   I am still on track for birthday cards!  Hard to believe I am still doing it - but that puts me a step ahead of last year :-)  I am still enjoying having them out on time... it's a pain, for sure... but it feels good to put them in the mail!

5. Read a minimum of one book per week
    My favorite resolution :-)  I am going to move 8. Spiritual reading over here since I seem to combine the two.  I usually have a spiritual book or two on my reading list!

Possibilities of Prayer by E M Bounds  (great title - lousy book!)
Loamhedge by Brian Jacques
My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline
Coal Run by Tawni O'Dell
Your God is Too Small by J B Phillips
Banana by Dan Koeppel

Lots of reading this month!  I also took a 5-week online class called the Images of Jesus which required a good bit of reading.  What I enjoyed MOST about that class though was the online interaction between members on the message boards.  I am such an online junkie!

April pledge here was:
#5. I will finish my online course and decide whether to continue my prayer / reflection blog beyond Easter
  I did this and am still unsure about the Reflections blog.  So I will continue to pray and think on it and see where I am led.  Right now my goal is to keep this blog going for the year and see where the daily writing habit leads me!
6. Crochet for charity & gifts

This has been a challenge!  I have gotten myself hooked on the crocheted dishcloth challenge and am still enjoying it :-)  Eventually these will be gifts but right now are just FUN!

My April pledges were:
#2.  Finish Baby Afghan & Diaper Cake
     #6.  Work on increasing charitable crocheting - minimum 30 lovie squares

The blasted baby afghan has turned out to be a pretty good sized one.  It will make a good gift because it will last until the baby is a toddler or maybe even longer!  Anyway - I am still a bit away from completing it.  It uses a smaller hook than I am comfortable using for long and I get bored pretty easily... so it looks nice but ISN'T done yet!  Needless to say, I won't be repeating this pattern :-) - But I WILL finish it in a couple of weeks or so...

The diaper cake will be finished this week.  I have some final stitching to do this afternoon and will do a blog on putting it together later this week.  I has to be delivered on Friday so I will HAVE to finish it up!

Charitable crocheting took a serious back seat this month!  I have made 12 lovies out of the goal of 30.   I will have to prioritize them this month and set a goal of 40 for May.

   But I also made ponchos for the grandbabies and am working diligently on a couple of other long-term projects.

            7.  Quilt projects and mending

            April pledge:
                       #3. Quilt one strip of the quilt I am making AND mend 2 quilts
                   This one will have to be a carryover.  I didn't touch it :-(
9.   Photo project

April Pledge was:
           #7.  Photo project - scan 1/3 of container full of envelopes of developed photos

Yep - I did an awesome job with this.  I have scanned more than a third.  This is a small container of photos still in the dated envelopes from when they were developed.

Unfortunately as I worked on decluttering, I also unearthed an ENTIRE large tote of much older photos that were in the room demolished by Hurricane Isabel - yes - EIGHT years ago!).  These are in all kinds of condition - many loose - that were simply gathered up in the clean-up process.  This month I will be learning about how to handle photos that are stuck together and/or damaged in some way!

May pledges:

1.  Streamline schedule and prioritize family events / requests
2.  Pay more attention to food and late night eating / continue strength routine
3.  Formalize financial goals for the next quarter re: savings and debt reduction
4.  Start room by room decluttering / redecorating.  Formulate a master plan.
5.  Go OUTSIDE most days :-)
6.  Start new pantry purge for the next 4 weeks.
7.  Make 40 crocheted lovies for Operation Christmas Child (APRIL)
8. Quilt one strip on the quilt I am making AND mend 2 quilts (APRIL)
9.  Continue photo scanning - 1/3 of container that is in good shape.... and begin process of sorting and reclaiming the older photos.
10.  Keep shredding.... dispose of 4 more folders in the file cabinet and continue habit of regular shredding


Monday, May 2, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Habits, habits, habits.....

How many of my posts have been about habits? 

Habits keep your world moving in the direction you want it to go.... especially when you don't have the energy or the brain power to make things happen!

On a Monday morning, when you are dragging and complaining, it is simply HABITS that keep your world on track.... the habit of getting a load of laundry on... the habit of making a list of things to do.... the habit of .... well, WHATEVER your habits are!

And when you miss doing the usual things.... your day is OFF.  Life slows down and dishes pile up.... bills don't get paid.... the small everyday things that make up a life... start stacking up causing more stress for less reason!

So... here I am.... way too busy for a week to sit and write... but I know better because NOW.... it's hard to get started again :-)  Lucky for me.... there are topics I usually cover... there is a monthly evaluation to do.... there are crochet dishcloth entries and photos :-) ... the pantry purge needs to be re-started with a new twist... and new ideas to try out and share...

but for today... it's 'back in the saddle'.... picking up a pen (figuratively speaking) and simply writing.  A habit.... a habit that I skipped last week and today it's almost like I never had the habit at all!

Who was the 'expert' that said that 30 days repetition makes a habit?  I take issue with this!  I can think of at least a dozen things in my life that I have done for far longer than 30 days... that disappear without a trace within a day or two of skipping!

The trick, I think, might be to decide which habits you need in your life.... and just commit.... and, if you skip..... just know what has to happen... you HAVE to get back in the groove ASAP!

So, on that note.... I have written a blog and I thank those of you who read this far... and have encouraged me to get back at it!  And I need to go eat breakfast and do a short workout... (more habits that disappear without a trace when I skip them!)

What do YOU need to get up and do now?