Social??…yes & no

I know, it’s been a long time…you can thank A.PROMPTreply for motivating me to get back to this blog.  She messaged me wondering where I had been.  I’m still a day late, since I promised her I would try to get back here on Saturday, but suffice it to say, I’m extremely busy with little to no time for blogging.

I didn’t really know what to call this post, thus the reason for my title.  I do have some very strong opinions about this Social Media stuff and will just briefly touch on them.  I am now BACK on Facebook…thus the reason for my absence here.  I have been BACK on FB for about 6 months (since Thanksgiving) and I think I mentioned my reason in an earlier blog.  Primarily to promote my quilt & cord cover making business.  In order to set up a business page on FB, you first have to set up a personal page.  It was with reservations that I did so, but so far it has been a good thing.  Nuff said.

I am very much (what many would call me) a “social butterfly”.  I love to socialize and have lots of friends.  I don’t have any problem in large groups of people, have no reservations talking in front of a group of people, and am definately an extrovert!  On the other hand, I don’t really like Social Media.  I believe it is often difficult to know a person’s true personality thru ONLY the written word and one can easily be misunderstood.  Once again – Nuff said!

The FB “business” endeavor has been a profitable and successful one – for that I’m grateful.  It has gotten my name and my creations out to a larger audience. I still sell my creations on eBay and Etsy as well, but have found it pretty hot and cold.

So what have I been up to?  Same as the last time I blogged (which was months ago).  I am still sewing in the eveniing and taking care of grandson(s) during the day.  I only have one grandson now to take care of and only two days a week.  Before I had two grandsons and had them 5 days a week.  That has allowed me more time to sew during the day and work on building my clientele.  Yep, you guessed it…still that adorable grandson, Jackson that I take care of…he’s an absolute JOY!! Our little 15 month old “ginger”…I was gonna post a pic but they have changed things up somehow on here…and I’m finding it virtually impossible to figure out how to post a pic.  Tried several (it case file was too large) and it’s not cooperating.

The bad news is I lost my mom last month.  She would have been 91 tomorrow but on May 4th she left this earth.  The good news is I was able to travel to North Dakota to see her on Apr. 7-10 and she was still lucid and alert.  I hadn’t seen my mom in 5 + years so it was bittersweet. My brother had been keeping me informed thus the reason for my trip.  I opted for a trip to see her while she was still alive rather than a trip for a funeral.  So glad I did.

If you wanna stay in touch…just look Linda Stevens up on FB…that is where I “socially reside” now! LOL

Still debating on whether I will keep my blog here (due to renew in Sept).  I would like to turn it into a “business blog”…but I’m not real sure how to do that either.

For now, just know that those of you who have commented and followed me – many fond thoughts.

An East Texas “snow day”….yeah, right!

Jerry shoveling our "snow"

Jerry shoveling our “snow”

Yeah, well that’s what they call it here!  I laugh every time we have one of these days, because I’m not from Texas originally and it just blows my mind at how quickly everything closes up when the temp drops below freezing and it starts raining! Schools were closed today and everyone was advised to stay home by the fire and not venture out onto what was once roads now deemed skating rinks!  Now I know what my husband saw in me back in 1998 when we married……

He was after my trousseau!  A snow shovel and an ice scraper!

Snow shovel & ice scraperSince my daughter-in-law is a teacher, she got to stay home with Jackson today.  That meant Maw Maw had the day off from taking care of a very active redhead!

Jackson walking toy 5which also meant that I got to do more sewing than I would have otherwise!  Love those kind of days!!  I’ve been extremely busy ever since I got back on Facebook.  Since last Monday a week ago I’ve been fortunate to sell 7 baby quilts off of a new group for baby items that I am a member of.  2 of those quilts were from existing inventory, but the rest were custom orders. 3 are done and delivered, 2 are yet to be finished.  I have two favorites that I made this week – both for baby girls…tell me what you think:

Hot pink & zebra stripe pq 2

This was made for a client’s new grand baby.  The baby came early so I had to put a rush on it to get it done because when i got the word that baby was here I was working on this one:

Hot pink chevron & polka dot crib sz pqThis one is a crib size…so it has 40 “pillows” (aka blocks) rather than 30 like the infant size above.  I’ve had a lot of requests for other sizes of these pillow quilts…so I now make them in infant size 30″ x 36″, crib size 30″ x 48″ and toddler size 42″ x 48″.

Prior to this past week and all the quilt sales I acquired from Facebook, I had been busy with cord cover sales from Etsy and eBay.  I don’t get a lot of quilt business from either.  Cord cover sales, however has been excellent.

So, my new business goal this year is to expand my handcrafted product offerings.  An idea that came from Pinterest and goes hand in hand with my cord covers are these handy little cord keepers.

Cord keepers 4I don’t know about you, but we’ve got a tangled mess of cords in drawers and cupboards throughout the house – so these have helped me to get organized!  I also love “repurposing” stuff…therefore, I loved finding a use for some of my quilt scraps!

I haven’t been on here blogging weekly like I promised either!  Just can’t seem to find time with all the other things that I do each day.  I had a thousand thoughts today on what I wanted to talk about and still do have several other subject matters that I wanted to cover – but I’m tired, hubby’s already in bed and I’m fixing to head that way!  I’m just gonna have to save the other subjects for another blog.  Bear with me – I’ll get there.

“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

A new creation.

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Weight loss myths & other misc. mumbo jumbo

If you haven’t already read my previous post, you may want to make a trip there before reading this one: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/02/a-combination-of-factors-aka-what-a-lack-of-monitoring-will-do/

Suffice it to say it’s been a good week! My first week back at embracing a healthy (not perfect) lifestyle has rewarded me with a 4.4 lb. weight loss! Yay, Me!! I’ve proven once again that taking care of grandsons, having a work from home job, eating out 2-3 times a week, having a hubby that won’t eat healthy (even though he needs to), having too many sedentary hobbies blah, blah, blah are all EXCUSES! When a person makes up their mind to eat healthy and become more fit – they can! Plain and simple! We want to make dieting so complicated! (I don’t even like using the word “diet” but it’s everywhere go nowadays, so I’ll use it.) That’s why you see so many diet plans out there! Some folks are so convinced that you should go “low carb”. Others think you should go “low fat”. Others say you need to banish all the white from your life, white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc;

As a former Weight Watchers leader I can tell you first hand that the majority of your success will not come from the weight loss plan you are on (I couldn’t really say that when I worked for them); but it will come from your determination to do the work!! How bad do you want it? Let’s just talk about this week: do you want to lose weight bad enough in this next 7 days to make better food choices and to go to the gym and work out each day? Take it one day at a time!! After you have one successful day under your belt (if you are choosing wisely), you will say to yourself, “hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad”. “I think I might be able to do that again tomorrow”. But you have to have a plan! You have to be prepared! Your frig and pantry has to be stocked with good healthy foods. If all you have in the house is cakes, cookies, pies and chips guess what you will eat?

But, I digress…remember the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own – take em or leave em, but I admit I do feel very strongly about them :-)

Weight loss myth #1) You can gain weight from diet colas!! I laughed so hard when I first heard some one say “she’s gaining weight because she’s drinking too much diet coke” that I almost wet my pants! Diet coke does not have any calories! If you aren’t consuming calories you aren’t going to gain weight from it! She meant it in the LITERAL SENSE… Let me clarify: Yes, diet colas & the artificial sweeteners in them, can cause you to crave other sweet things, thus you eat those other sweet things and gain weight – that I will agree with. But it’s the other things, not the diet coke per say that is causing the weight gain! That’s why I decided in the new year, to cut back on diet coke and limit myself to one small glass per day. (I really think it helped, because I wasn’t craving refined sugar like I normally do.) Sugar free gum can create the same cravings.

Weight loss myth #2) You won’t lose weight if you are a late night snacker or eat after 7 pm, 8 pm or some other designated time. It has absolutely nothing to do with what time you eat! It has to do with how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning each day. You’ve got to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight – it’s that simple! Thursday night (day seven of my first week) I was eating tortilla chips and Salsa at 9:30 pm. I was hungry for a little snack before bed (I went to bed at 10 pm). The scale still said I’d lost 4.4 at 6:30 am Friday morning. What’s up with that? Oh, and by the way, those were FULL FAT corn chips (not baked, or fat free)…for those of you who think everything needs to be fat free or low fat. (It’s good to watch your fat intake, but your body needs some fat for energy and other body functions).

Weight loss myth #3) Muscle weighs more than fat. Not true! While at the gym this morning I had this conversation with my friend, Maria. We were working out on the weights and she had been told and was worried about “bulking up”. Don’t take it from me, instead hear it from a trainer that works for Weight Watchers: “Muscle does not weigh more than fat, any more than lead weighs more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more. That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.

If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you will also experience an increase in lean body mass and loss of body fat. But the results on the scale will probably be more dramatic.” William R. Sukala M.S. C.S.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching. That’s not my intention. But, that being said, the best job I ever had that I enjoyed the most was working for Weight Watchers! After losing 55 lbs on their program I was a believer! Don’t misunderstand me! I’m not promoting Weight Watchers in this blog although it is a good program, it’s not for everyone. And their “points system” can be highly misunderstood and misinterpreted! It’s not all about points! It’s about making healthy, wise choices.

Some of the healthy habits that I developed as a result of being a WW leader were to choose 1) whole wheat bread over white bread 2) brown rice over white rice 3) limit my intake of saturated fats 4) drinks 4-5 16 oz bottles of water per day 5) eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes 6) hold myself accountable by writing down everything I put in my mouth 7) limit my intake of red meat BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

There are so many more that come to mind but of those listed when I “backslid” during the holidays the only thing I was still doing faithfully was drinking plenty of water! LOL

So, in closing I’d like to leave you with a healthy meat sauce recipe I made yesterday. I was in the mood for some pasta and garlic toast and so here’s what I made:

Meat Sauce:

Brown one pound of ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef in skillet. Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to meat. IMG_20150109_105006212

Dice about 1/2 an onion and add it to skillet as well, continuing to saute with meat. (I always season my meat, but that’s just personal preference). IMG_20150109_105350499

While pasta is cooking in a separate pot, I add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture in skillet. I season with some sweet basil, oregano, garlic powder etc; You can use, fresh or dried. Turn heat to low and & cover. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes so all your flavors will blend together. The shredded carrots give you a serving of vegetables and sweetens your sauce without using sugar. IMG_20150109_111259916

I chose whole wheat Ziti for the pasta. Remember, portion control is crucial! Look up the portion size, calories or points you can have prior to serving yourself! I made a nice fresh lettuce salad to go with my pasta & meat sauce and chose fat free Ranch dressing for my salad. If pasta and meat sauce is a RED LIGHT food for you, it’s better not to fix it at all!! Red Light means you can’t exercise portion control!! And, yes – I made garlic toast with REAL white french bread and used 1 T. of Land o Lakes light butter. I season my garlic toast with garlic powder, garlic salt and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese. I only made myself one slice therefore I wasn’t tempted to eat more. (Hubby had 5 slices made with REAL BUTTER!!)

I have a very healthy appetite and can put away a lot of food especially Italian food! So, I was quite proud of myself for having measured out my pasta and meat sauce and adding the salad and 1 slice of garlic toast. I felt empowered and satisfied! That is key! It’s not about deprivation or starvation and if you are hungry or feeling deprived you are doing something wrong.

I am entering a new week with new hope and determination and trying to stay focused on treating myself as a priority. That’s also why I have to make it to the gym first thing in the morning because the rest of the day I am sitting on the floor playing with this little one IMG_20150106_102504002

or in the evening sitting at the sewing machine working on cord covers, pillow shams and quilts…Baby Zoo animals PQ closeup

IMG_20141128_172011654_HDR

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Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

A combination of factors AKA “what a lack of monitoring will do”..

It’s time to get REAL!! I stepped on the scale this morning and it has given me a NEW FOUND COMMITMENT!! Amazing what an inanimate object can do! I weighed in at 171.6!! OMG!! Just one short month ago I weighed 162!! You see, around Thanksgiving time, I made a conscious (that’s right, I said “CONSCIOUS”, how’s that for ownership?) decision to give up walking, and tracking my food! In other words – I threw my “health lifestyle” out the window! A month to 6 weeks ago I was already 15-20 lbs over my goal weight…but was losing it. Now, I’m back where I started!! Well, not really because back in 2006 I weighed my highest 199.8…but if I keep justifying my 170 by comparing it to that 199 number I WILL be back where I started in no time! My ideal weight is 145. I know it’s not all about the numbers…but is also about how you feel.

Well, I feel like crap! Started taking Zantac and eating TUMS again etc; The cold weather had set in and so I told my walking buddy that I would not be walking thru the holidays and would get back to the gym after the first of the year. I’ve honored that commitment by meeting her there this morning. It’s been a good day, thus far.

So what was it? Well, this 25 lbs from goal weight to where I am today has been a combination of factors:

1) I started eating more red meat (less chicken and fish)
2) I quit weighing and measuring my food
3) I quit exercising
4) I started eating more white food again (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc;)
5) I started slathering on the butter again!!
6) I quit writing anything down that I was eating!! (thus no accountability)
7) I quit stepping on the scale (thus no accountability)
8) I stopped focusing on fruits and vegetables and ate whatever was quick and handy!
9) Even though I didn’t do a lot of baking during the holidays I ate far too many sweets! (The more sugar I ate, the more I wanted it)!
10) I started buying larger and stretchier clothing to accommodate my expanding frame (namely my belly!)
11) I stopped reading anything that would convict me of my unhealthy ways!

Do I need to go on? There’s so much more I could say on this subject since I was once a very busy Weight Watcher’s leader! My goal with this blog is to hold myself accountable and to pay it forward. I know there are going to be many “Diet blogs” this month telling you which diet is the best one to go on. All baloney!!
It’s about you, not the diet you choose to embrace! It’s about getting our head in the game!! A healthy lifestyle isn’t something you “quit” for a month or two, like I did! I knew and know better. A healthy lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle!! So, it wasn’t just one thing that created this weight gain. It was a combination of factors AKA what a lack of monitoring will do!

We can only ignore it for so long and if we will listen our body will tell us when enough is enough. So, I’m back on the bandwagon again. Wish me luck. I know it’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. I’m not going to waste any time beating myself up over my irresponsibility. I’m just going to do what I know I need to do and what I know works. Primarily it will be to put myself at the top of the list again and make myself a priority! How bout you?

An old wive’s tale….

My now deceased mother-in-law used to say that “whatever you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long”. Well, I think about that every Jan. 1 and wonder if I’ve done what I want to be doing all year long. Hmmmmm…since moving to Texas I also have heard that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s day. Blecckkk!! I don’t like black eyed peas and not being the superstitious type it’s gonna take more than the promise of good luck to get me to eat them! But, I digress…

So, let’s see what did I do today? Well, I made my bed. That’s a good habit to have all year long, I guess. I washed my face and brushed my teeth more than once so I guess that’s another good thing I can manage all year long. Hubby started a new novel today. He loves to read and I guess that’s not a bad thing either. Hmmmm…let’s see, BUT did I do anything of real significance or importance, that is the question…Well, I began my day with devotions; talking to the Lord aka praying, and reading some scriptures – I could definitely get better at that and make sure that it is not a neglected task this year!!

I had a very restless night and didn’t sleep well, therefore I slept in this morning not waking up until about 8:30 (having only fallen asleep at 4:30 am). Ugh! That is not something I want to continue in the New year! I didn’t eat “healthy” today, but plan to the rest of the year!! I didn’t exercise today, but plan to the rest of the year. So, I guess if the old wive’s tale is true I am going to have challenges in the “healthy lifestyle” area this year. That being said, I do have a plan to meet my girlfriend at the gym first thing in the morning and I do also plan to start tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) again!!

I did quite a bit of sewing today (cord covers, pillow shams and quilts). Since, I love to sew, that would be something that I would love to continue all year long. I also made a trip to the fabric store today to take advantage of their awesome New Year’s Day sale. Taking advantage of sale prices can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It rained all day today. Does that mean it’s going to rain all year long? Hope not. Hubby napped most of the afternoon. Oops!! Not so sure about that one! But, he does have a business appointment first thing Monday morning which means he will be writing some business and making some money! A good way to start the New year.

So, as I continued to ponder what Granny used to say about today, I took it to the next level. Did I say a kind word or kiss my hubby? Yep, many times! Did I show kindness to a stranger? Yep, at the fabric store! Did I speak kind things to myself? Not easy, but yep I did. How about friends and loved ones besides hubby? Did I tell or show them that I care in some way? Yes, (primarily via text) but that counts nowadays, doesn’t it?

Those are all things that I definitely want to continue all year long. I also want to add blogging to my year long “to do” list. I want to be more consistent with posting a blog at least once a week (I admire those that can blog every day) – not this girl, not gonna happen; but once a week, I think I can do that. So, as I end this first day of 2015 – I look forward to what lies ahead and appreciate the simple things in life.

Stay tuned and I will be posting in a few days the little “excursion” hubby and I just returned from. Happy New Year, friends!

A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

Normal or Nuts?

Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News has a segment called “Normal or Nuts”? that I get to see from time to time which is what made me come up with this blog title…

I’ve pondered some personality quirks that I & my hubby possess and decided that it would be a good question to ask. “Am I normal or nuts?” You see the other day when I was feeling a bit sequestered and suffering a bit of cabin fever I realized that I ALWAYS feel better when I make my bed!! My new comforter

I can be having a troublesome, stressful day and all I really need to do is make my bed and I feel better!! Is that normal or nuts? When I was pondering this, I was thinking about a conversation my younger daughter and I had recently in which she stated that she could lower her stress level by vacuuming her carpet! If her carpet has lines in it from vacuuming she feels better! Is that normal or nuts? LOL

I get so frustrated sometimes with my hubby’s little idiosyncrasies. He is what I would call “very particular” about so many things. If he’s EVER gotten sick after eating at a certain establishment (does not matter if it was 30 years ago and under different ownership/management) he will NEVER eat there again! Normal or Nuts?

The other day we were having a conversation about tennis shoes. You see, he needs new ones really bad. He has been looking for/shopping for new ones for about 3 months now!! (Do they still call them that?) Athletic shoes? Anyway, I digress. He’s looked in several different cities, shopped online etc; and still has no shoes!! He insists on only wearing Reeboks because he gets the best fit from them and feels the most comfortable. He has been this way since I’ve known him (17 years). PARTICULAR!! He won’t spend a whole lot of money (under $100) which also limits his choices!! PARTICULAR!! He has worn the same “model” for several years now and has them in white and black. (Both are wore out). Oh, did I tell you they have to be ALL WHITE? or ALL BLACK? LOL PARTICULAR!! They can’t have a blue stripe, red stripe, green stripe etc; or any other color on them!! Ugh!! He is so darn PICKY!!
Wait a minute – keep reading…I haven’t even gotten to the punch line on this one yet.…so the other day, he thought he had finally found them online and was fixin’ to purchase them…but then he discovered they didn’t have the leather upper, but were canvas. My perplexed state of mind just didn’t understand why that mattered!! My husband replied with, “it’s winter!!” like DUH!! I just didn’t understand that position! Is he NORMAL OR NUTS? or am I? You see, I lived in North Dakota most of my life and always wore canvas tennis shoes! It was snowy, 40 below zero and wet! I get it! But, we live in E. Texas where we rarely get a freezing rain, snow or cold weather! I don’t get it! To top it all off my hubby grew up in Texas, is hot natured and yet he’s worried about his feet getting cold???? NORMAL OR NUTS? Needless to say, he hasn’t purchased any tennis shoes yet!

When he eats potato salad, he wants WARM potato salad and won’t eat it when it’s COLD. NORMAL OR NUTS?? When he eats jelly, he wants it room temperature, not cold out of the fridge…so we just don’t buy it in the jar because once opened it must be refrigerated!! NORMAL OR NUTS??

The reason I like Netflix is because I can watch all episodes in sequential order and not miss one. If I miss one, it really messes with my brain trying to figure out where it left off and what I missed! NORMAL OR NUTS?

I like to do things in order of priority…if I have three sales for quilts, cord covers, embroidered towels etc; I will complete and fill the first one first, the second one second etc; I think that’s pretty NORMAL isn’t it?

This blog would be an exhaustive one if I were to continue…suffice it to say…if I’m NORMAL – that’s great! But, if I’m NUTS…that’s kinda cool too! I don’t really care…now hubby, on the other hand, well I’m stuck with him cause neither of us is going anywhere – so I’ll just choose my battles and the tennis shoe battle is not one I care to quibble about. He’ll find some shoes eventually, and if I stay un-involved I can’t be blamed if they don’t work out! LOL!

P.S. It’s gonna be a good day. My bed is made!!

Miscellaneous musings & memories

Some days this month it has been totally awesome and joyful and at other times it has been extremely stressful, but suffice it to say – I’ve not found it within my power to post anything of importance or anything I felt anyone would be interested in reading about! That hasn’t changed!! But, I’ve decided to re-trace my November steps and just share some miscellaneous thoughts, meanderings, activities and memories (in no particular order)!! I just hope I don’t bore you to tears! LOL

Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings we have had in several years. We were blessed to have four of our seven adult children present. Their spouses & kids were also present and I had the pleasure & responsibility of doing all the cooking!

After we had pigged out!

After we had pigged out!

Preparing for an event like this takes a zillion times longer than actually eating what’s been prepared! Isn’t that a funny realization that many of us have had? Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures when the table was set and we had just sat down to eat…I remembered when we were sitting around visiting with dirty plates in front of us! IMG_20141127_134621665_HDR

We have a large dining room so there was plenty of room for our large dining table as well as another 6 ft table and card table. This is not my hubby’s comfort zone, preferring small gatherings to large ones and he really relishes his solitude. He was a good sport about it all, considering the holidays are difficult for us both. We both lost our dads in December many years ago, so December is still quite challenging emotionally for us and as Thanksgiving and holiday traffic and shopping start approaching we have a tendency to get a little “funky, sad” feeling. He’s having a more difficult time this year than I am because we lost his mother and brother last year.

We had some pretty stressful days taking care of the two grandsons this month. Once they would leave in the evening, we would chat about it and try to figure out what was making it so stressful for us. I think the conclusion we came to ..was NOT that it was taking care of either ONE, Kash, the 3 yr. old, or Jackson, the 9 mo. old….but the combination of taking care of BOTH. You see, now, in the last couple weeks, Jackson has become much more active. He has gone from the famous “commando or crab crawl” to the normal “on all four” crawl to pulling himself up on the furniture and trying to walk! Adventuresome jackson 5

One evening when we were out at Applebee’s eating a greasy burger (great for a stressful day…especially if french fries are included! LOL) I was reminiscing as to why taking care of these two very active boys was so stressful for me. I realized that #1) when my now 45 yr. old son was a little tyke he was very laid back. He would play for hours and entertain himself with his Fischer Price little people and his Matchbox cars! I didn’t have to sit on the floor and play with him as much as I find myself doing nowadays with grandsons! #2) I only had ONE little boy so when he did require my attention – he got ALL of it. I feel quite torn sometimes when I take care of Kash and Jackson because I have to watch Jackson like a hawk, and thus feel like I’m neglecting Kash!! Adventuresome Jackson

Here’s both boys on a trip to the park/playground…Dble stroller close up

I have so much fun with the boys, but some days I feel like I just can’t do enough and I’m emotionally exhausted and drained when they leave!! Kash and I have awesome conversations and talk non-stop about everything! He’s so smart and so curious about everything! Jackson is such a joy to watch when he “explores” new territory all over the house and observes Kash. They both love the other even though they share NO BLOOD relation and light up like Christmas trees when the other shows up! I think the reason Jackson is coming on so quickly is because he watches everything that Kash does!

My evenings all month have been spent sewing. I was busy finishing up my grandaughter, Hannah’s quilt for her 17th birthday. Hannah's quilt finished

Hannah's quilt back

She & I were happy with the way it turned out and it will keep her very warm during these chilly Texas nights. She was the last of her siblings (5) to get a quilt from Maw Maw. I monogrammed her name on it and backed it in the zebra print.

I had several custom orders for baby quilts this month also that I had to work on and get shipped out. Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up
This one has been a hot seller. I usually make these little pillow quilts 30″ x 36″ but I had a request to make a 40″ X 48″ for someone. This is a close up. Check out my listing on eBay @

Another baby quilt I made this month was made of flannel…IMG_20141122_161706325 in a CHUBBY BLUE OWL PRINT. Have you noticed how popular OWLS are? I collected owls before owls were popular back in the 70’s. Most of them I have since gotten rid of, but at one time I think I had over 200 owls in my house!

A sweet friend from church had her second baby girl this month and so I also made her an adorable “girly girl” pillow quilt…IMG_20141115_221447558 This one is my favorite! It has machine embroidered rosebuds on it and is very feminine, don’t you think? You can also check me out on Etsy @

My cord covers were actually more popular than my quilts this month, so when I wasn’t working on quilts, I was making and shipping out cord covers. IMG_20141128_172011654_HDR

The holidays really snuck up on me this year!! I had intentions to list a lot more Christmas items on both Etsy and Ebay …some that I had made too late last year to list 20141126_143758 like these cute quilted pillow shams!

I like changing out all my stuff for the holidays. I take down a lot of the knicknacks and pictures I have up throughout the year and replace with Christmas candles, knicknacks etc; Unfortunately, due to a little varmint that crawls everywhere and pulls himself up on everything, we won’t be putting a big tree up this year! Instead, I made several of these adorable ribbon trees and sold a ton of them to my realtor, daughter for her clients. IMG_20141119_230215820_HDR

IMG_20141123_083520858

These ribbon trees are a lot of fun to make and very relaxing to work on in the evening after a long day with the boys. My daughter (Kash’s mommy) made a job change 6 weeks ago and so now Kash is with me from 7:30 til 5:30, while my daughter-in-law, Ava (Jackson’s mommy) has had to stay at the school later each day for tutoring and working extra before the holiday break. It definitely makes for a long day. I’m thankful for nap times!

When I was reminiscing (I do that a lot, especially during the holidays) I was remembering the BIG WHEEL, my son used to entertain himself with outside when he was little. I think he had two or three of them, before he had his first bike, because he wore them out cruising around the neighborhood!! Do you remember these?
bigwheel_small

Do they still make them? I know Kash doesn’t really like pedaling anything!! He has a battery operated four wheeler at home that all he has to do is push the gas pedal on. It makes pushing the little razor scooter that I bought him seem like too much work!! LOL He’s also inherited his older brother’s bike that he rides when he is at Maw Maw’s house, but that’s also WORK for him!! LOL

My baby girl & her hubby arrived from Wichita Falls, TX on Tuesday evening to spend a quick holiday with us. They left early Friday morning. Tanya always has great ideas for some quality time spent with family. Before arriving she had texted her sister, niece and I to see if we were interested in her signing us up for a Painting class Wed. evening prior to Thanksgiving here in our town. She goes to one in her home town and has really enjoyed it. Being the creative types that we are – we were all game for a fun 2 hr “girl get-together”. 2014112695210642_2

I don’t know if the reason she suggested it was because the “boys” were going fishing 2014112795072656 but regardless, a great time was had by all!!

2014112695205910

We didn’t enjoy the loud music they played thru the entire class…and for Tanya and I, at least, it would have been much more peaceful & relaxing without the music. She really wants us all to attend her class in her town now, because in her opinion the comparison would be glaring. We kept a positive attitude though, and didn’t gripe or complain until we got in the car!! LOL Still just getting together with both my girls and my granddaughter was a nice way to spend a pre-Thanksgiving.

The boys were happy to enjoy a pot of stew I’d prepared and left on the stove when they returned from a chilly night of fishing! It’s a good thing, because the one fish you see in the picture was their only catch – about a 5 lb. Channel Cat. (catfish).

I also spent some time this month re-organizing my thoughts on my “little sewing business” and trying to figure out ways I could market/promote myself to increase my sales. I haven’t been on Facebook for 2-3 years, but realized that I needed more Social Media exposure if my business was going to grow. It’s the future. So, while my daughter was in town she helped me get my business page set up for Custom Creations. My page is not complete but it’s a start and by the first of the year I hope to have it completed.

Rob & Tanya decided to have Christmas while they were here with their niece & nephews and so after Thanksgiving dinner was all cleaned up the kids got to open presents! IMG_20141127_151309193 This is the only picture I took (someone else was taking all the pictures) of Kash sitting in his little Ninja Turtle beanbag chair. Uncle Rob and Auntie Tanya outdid themselves and spoiled their niece and nephews to the MAX! Uncle Rob went out (all on his own) and bought his niece, Hannah a Northface jacket! Wow! Was she ever surprised!

Most of our family will be all spread out over Christmas and it will be impossible to get together, so it was nice to enjoy this little gift opening session with the kids. Paw Paw and I will be going away the week between Christmas and New Years just for some quiet time and reflection. We are looking forward to it and know that it will be just what the doctored ordered. 2014112795122147 Here he is with my two girls. I’m thankful that they love and appreciate their step-dad.

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