Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have. I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday). But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally. I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter). Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.
If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well. That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….and in July so far, I’ve sold 7!! I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy! That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with. But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.
A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking. She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any. We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared. I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done. I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more – and we still barely put a dent in it! I have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!
I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad. Yum! I love the creative endeavors!! I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm. I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred! Here’s a sample of my work: Another:
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren. Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren. I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”. If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!! Theresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way. We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc; My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way. She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums. It just personal preference. The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.
So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot. But, enough about scrapbooking!
So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor. There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking. We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale. I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot. It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.) I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:
Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot). Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs. (Melon ball size) I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison. (lean and delicious!) Season how you prefer. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning. Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot. Just get a good sear on them in the skillet. If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):
Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).
I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.
I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup. I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc; This again is about personal preference. Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it. Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers. This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time. The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta! I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles. If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart. Don’t like overcooked pasta!!
About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough. So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers. At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving. I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based.
And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!! My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away. She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling) LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners. I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around. My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together. The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning. It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling. Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me. I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning. First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged. I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t help matters. 4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby! I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here! When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!
In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:
For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points
24 cupcakes = 2 points each
Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:
Cake mix (your choice)
I can of diet soda (your choice)
2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.
Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist
Banana cake mix with diet root beer
Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up
Chocolate cake mix with diet coke
Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale
Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew
Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda
Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero
Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist
White cake mix with diet peach
Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red
Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer
Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke
Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke
Marble cake mix with diet cream soda
White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero
Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper
Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt
Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above. I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value). Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.
I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE. (No more points added.)
Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.