Monday, June 7, 2010

Working on Scrapbook

I do not intend to completely abandon my blog, but for the past week or so, I have been very engrossed with the scrapbook that I am doing about my husband's father.  When my sister-in-law came to visit a couple of weeks ago, she brought a couple more boxes of "stuff" from her garage, and I am having to sift through all of it and organize it with all of the information that I already have. I have decided to let everything go (as much as I can) and just get this thing done as it is really weighing on my mind.  I enjoy doing it, but it is very tiring.

My father-in-law seems to have been a romantic man during his short life, and, of course, I am eating that up. :)

In all of this, I have not lost sight of my diet.  I have lost 3 pounds! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Low Calorie Tuna Salad

Here is the recipe for Tuna Salad.  It is very good either on a piece of dry toast or with 2 slices of low calorie bread and made into a sandwich.

Low Calorie Tuna Salad
1 small can tuna in water
1 boiled egg chopped
 2 stalks celery chopped
1 dill pickle (small or just some chips) chopped
1 tbsp fat free Italian dressing
1 tbsp lite mayonnaise
Garlic salt and celery salt
Makes 3 servings at 156 calories each

Nutrition Grade from Calorie Count
96% confidence B-
Good points
# Low in sugar
# Very high in niacin
# High in phosphorus
# Very high in selenium
# High in vitamin B12
  Bad points
# High in cholesterol
# High in sodium

Friday, May 28, 2010

More Dieting

I don't intend to blog constantly about dieting, but that is what is on my mind right now. I have decided, after investigating the Calorie Count Website further, that I will not use MyNetDiary.  Calorie Count has some really great dieting tools.

My food log for today:
Breakfast: Hard Boiled egg, 1 slice of Cinnamon Swirl Bread, 4 oz. Orange Juice, Black Coffee  214 cal.

Lunch:   Tuna Salad on 1 slice of multi-grain bread, water  266 calories

Snacks:   1 slice of multi-grain bread, toasted, with 1 tblsp peanut butter, diet coke 204calories
                2 slices canned pineapple in 100% juice, 1 graham cracker  119 calories
          Dinner:  Baked Fish  265 calories
                          Broccoli Florets  25 calories             
                          Tossed Salad   33 calories
                          Light Ranch Dressing 2 tblsp   80 calories.
                          Tartar Sauce 1 Tblsp.   40 calories 

          Total Calories:  1245

We ate dinner out at a little Mom and Pop diner so I had to make a best guess as to the quantities of food that I ate.  I have about 150 calories left over.......hmmm.....what can I eat?

I really have not been hungry. Not that hunger has ever been the problem.  I am an emotional eater, but I am feeling motivated right now.  My pants are all getting too tight! :-)

 My Morning Walk - very peaceful and relatively cool.  A lot of singing birds. But I do miss my walking partner.

Diet Day 5:  Weight 178.2  Walked 30 minutes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Thing Off My List

I have made a lot of my own clothing in years past.  In the last few years, something "funny" has happened to my shape, and I don't seem to be able to fit myself anymore.   Also sewing clothing is no longer practical. It is time consuming and expensive.  I've decided that I am going to limit my sewing to making things that don't have to fit and don't take a lot of time.  Aprons fit in that category, and I like them.

I ordered this pattern 2 or 3 months ago from Mary Mulari's Patterns , got some fabric, cut it out, and it has been lying at my sewing machine for weeks now.  I decided to get it off my To Do List this past week before my sister-in-law arrived.  My husband recently put some hooks up in the kitchen to hang my aprons on. The white apron with embroidery I already had.  The apron I made is reversible and I am showing both sides of it.

Diet Day 4: Wt. 179 lbs.  Walked 40 minutes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to Blogging (and Dieting)

Well, my guest has left, and we had a great time talking and going places.  Of course, I did not want to take the time away from her to blog, but I did miss it.  Here I am again!

This week I am starting on a 1400 calorie diet in order to remove about 20 excess pounds.  I have done this before (quite a while ago) with success, but those 20 pounds always come back.  Maintenance is a problem, and I need to figure out a way to handle this.  My target weight is 159 lbs. which is acceptable for my age and height.

My neighbor, whom I walked with every morning, has gone up to the NC mountains for the summer, so I have played hooky from walking the past couple of weeks. I really did not lose any weight while walking, but it seems that I have put on a pound or two since I haven't been doing it - so maybe it did help.  I got out and walked this morning, and it was not so bad walking alone.  I used my new iPod for music, but then decided that I like to listen to the birds instead.

In preparation for dieting I have been doing some research on the computer for websites that might be useful. My NetDiary is a free online food diary, although you can upgrade it for a fee.  However, the free part is sufficient for me.  It is fairly simple to use and helps calculate the number of calories and grams of fat, carbs, and protein in foods that I eat. Of, course, paper, pencil, and a calorie counting book would work just as well if not quicker - but it's not as much fun as a computer program. :-)

Another helpful site that I am using is Calorie Count. It allows me to copy my recipes into the calorie calculator to get a total calorie count for the recipe.  There is also a lot of good information on this site.

I don't know why sometimes I simply cannot muster the willpower to diet, and sometimes I can.  Blogging about it may help me. Wish me luck!  And if anybody has any good low calorie recipes and suggestions for tips that have worked for them, I would greatly appreciate them.

Diet Day 3:  Wt. 180.2 lbs  Walked 40 minutes

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Ready for A Guest

I am busy getting ready for a guest this weekend and have a list of things to do to be prepared.  Company is always a great motivator for housework. :)  I may be a little slack about posting, but, never fear, I will be back.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lists Continued

I downloaded Ta-da, a free on-line list making tool.  I think I am going to like it.  Of course, over the past few years, I have tried several planning and list making computer programs.  I didn't stick with them. They were fun to play with, but I generally would go back to paper and pencil.  So we will see......

What I like about Ta-da is that it is simple and easy to edit.  I like the font and the appearance.  As you check items off, they are moved to the bottom of the list in faded print and do not completely disappear.  You can make multiple lists.  What I do not like is that you can only open one list at a time although you can get around this by opening multiple windows with different lists opened in each window.

I love making lists much more than I love doing what is listed on them, and I often procrastinate. You would think that after 50+ years of homemaking I would have this conquered.  My excuse is that, although I certainly have more time at this stage of my life, I don't have as much energy or motivation.  But things are getting backed up (maybe because I am on this computer too much) and are beginning to bother me.  I've got to get reorganized here!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To Do Lists

To Do Lists have been on my mind the past few days - mainly because there are a lot of things I need to do around here (company is coming!).  I love lists.  Making them always makes me feel better.  Because of that I decided to post about lists.  In doing a little research here on the net, I find that there are already loads of blogs on this subject. Here are some blogs about lists that I found:  On this blog, the book, Eat That Frog, was mentioned in the comments.  It seems to be a book about procrastination.  I immediately ordered that from the library (we are fortunate enough in this county to have Books by Mail).  This blog identifies 15 different lists that homemakers need. No wonder I feel so fragmented.  This is a post of a list for a cleaning routine by a newly wed that she copied from a website named Hyper Homemaker Cleaning.  It is a good, comprehensive list but, unfortunately, I am not hyper - wish I were - maybe I'd get something done!  Actually, this blog appeals to me and I am going back to check it out futher.

I would love input on to do lists that others of you  keep and how you motivate yourselves to follow them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New iPod

One of my Mother's Day gifts this year was an iPod and a docking station.  I've been listening to beautiful music all day.  I have also spent a lot of time on the iTunes site trying to figure out how to do everything.  I love the compactness of this system.

I guess all of my husband's stereo equipment and our many music CD's and cassette tapes are now completely outdated.  Just a few months ago, I finally got rid of all the old LP's and a turntable that we had.  Most of my grandchildren do not even know what those are.

Things keep on changing.......

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Four Seasons - A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

During a recent trip to the library I checked out  this book, The Four Seasons, A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice. I found it to be an enjoyable read. I do wish I had realized before finishing this book that the author had put a dictionary of  Italian words at the back as this would have helped with the all of the Italian words that she used in this story. The copy of the book I read also included questions for book club groups. There are good reviews of this book at Amazon  and used copies there begin at 15 cents.

The author, Laurel Corona, has a website that I also found interesting - especially this article about writing and perfectionism.  I  have a tendency to over edit which really increases the time it takes me to write anything - even emails.

In 1999, shortly after my husband retired, we were able to take a Mediterranean Cruise beginning with 2 days and a night in Venice.  After reading this novel, I got down our album of  photos of that trip, wiped off the dust, and enjoyed looking at them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ali Edwards WITL

I spent some time reading Ali Edwards' WITL plan at her site.  She is selling some of the scrapbooking items she recommends for this project (scrapbooking a week in your life), but she also gives great instructions as to how to do it and shows step by step how she did this in her life. It is a great idea though it entails a lot of work.

Quite frankly, it was interesting to me to read about her life as she is working and caring for her family (the voyeur in me is coming out :).  Of course, my life is much different now than hers - but I can certainly remember those days and wish I had recorded the life of my family as she is doing.  Of course, we didn't have digital cameras and computers then.

She also includes some great quotes in her blog. Here is one that really struck a chord with me:
As I was ending my day I came across this quote from Emerson: 
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I have been reading a blog called Cooking My Life. Maureen, the writer of this blog, is following Ali Edwards, another scrapbooker, who has given a plan for WITL (week in the life) scrapbooking. Maureen is posting some collages she has made with this topic, and I have enjoyed looking at them.  It's fun to get a glimpse of someone else's life.

Recently I found a tutorial on how to make overlays for scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements at a website named Technique Speak. I have been experimenting with this and have made my own collage using overlays. Though this is not a week in my life, it's a pretty normal morning in my life. Be sure to click the photo to go to a separate page and then click again to enlarge it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I have really been pretty lazy with cooking in the last couple of weeks. My husband would probably like it if I had a cooking blog as I would have to do some cooking!

I'm not an expert on cooking. It's a family joke  that I never sit down to a meal that I have prepared without criticizing something about it. My kids think that I inherited this trait from my mother who always did the same thing. She was a good cook - so maybe we both were just fishing for praise. :)

There is one thing that I do make that I always like - my meatloaf.  It is a recipe that I got from a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I got over 50 years ago for a wedding gift. That cookbook is long gone as it finally fell apart, but I kept a lot of recipes from it.

In an attempt to get my children, when they were little, to eat more vegetables, I added the carrots in the recipe. They add moisture to the meat loaf, and my children did not seem to know the difference. Here is the recipe.
2/3 cup bread crumbs dry
1 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup onion chopped (I usually add more onions than this.)
2 carrots, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 dash pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix well bread crumbs, milk; meat, eggs, onion, carrots, and seasonings. Form into loaf and place into loaf pan.

I use a flat pan with sides instead of the loaf pan so that I can pour off any grease that accumulates around the meatloaf. I usually start doing this about half-way through the baking. I shape the loaf with wet hands. This seems to work better and is supposed to keep the meatloaf from cracking when it bakes. I used to make my own bread crumbs in the blender or food processor but for the past few years I buy the ready made kind - much easier!

Spread with Piquant Sauce made by mixing brown sugar, catsup, nutmeg and dry mustard. Bake 1 hour. Servings: 8

This is a good dish to prepare in the morning. ( Remember to take the ground beef  out of the freezer the night before, if it is frozen.)  I cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator. Then I can just put it into the oven an hour before dinner is to be served.
Ready to stick in the refrigerator until time to bake for dinner

Baked and ready to eat.  (I started slicing it before I remembered to take the photo.) Makes a messy pan!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Grandchildren

I have not really talked about my grandchildren - mainly because of privacy issues - but they are a big part of my life. There are eleven of them ranging from five years old to twenty-eight. All except two of them are fairly close by so that I see them frequently.

This past Friday was Grandparents' day at the school of my three youngest grandchildren.  They always have a big production at their school for this particular event - with performances, food, and visits to the children's rooms where they present us with gifts they have made.
My twenty-two year old grandson was with us for the weekend as he had a job near us to do.  My nine year old grandson is with us today.  He is recuperating from being sick over the weekend and needed to stay home from school. He is on his Grandpa's computer while I am working on this blog.

My seventeen year old granddaughter is having irregular hours at her school this week because of exams. Because of that she is spending tonight with us so that we can take her to school tomorrow for an exam at 11:30 in the morning (she has a working mother - as do all of my grandchildren).

I've always felt that I never knew what love really was until I had my first child.  However, I have found with my grandchildren that love really is absolutely unconditional - they can do no wrong! :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peru Scrapbook Pages

Here are some old digital scrapbook pages that I have done.

My husband's step father would always want to show us thousands of slides of their trips every time we would go up in the summer to visit them, and I swore I would never do that to my children.  However I couldn't resist making a couple of pages of this Peru trip for my 2007 Family Scrapbook.

For some reason, visiting Machu Pichu was always on my "bucket list" though I had no idea I would ever get to go. (Goes to show - you never know what life will hold for you :)  It was a rugged trip for two old people, and I almost killed my husband with it (he developed a huge blood clot in his leg shortly after that trip). However, I think both of us would do it again.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Scrapbooking Continued

I spent all day yesterday at this computer working on that scrapbook. Barely got the bed made and - thank heavens - there were leftovers to have for dinner!  I was cross-eyed by the time my day ended.

I do feel like I am on the right road with this now. Although there are a lot of years of his life that I do not have any info for, I am scrapping what I do have in time order. This makes me feel organized.  I also changed my page theme a little.  The scrapbooks I have made before do not continue a theme - other than being about my family.  Thus, everytime I made a page, I could do something different - making it as elaborate or simple as I felt like.  That is more fun but takes longer - so, I am going to keep the page designs for this book simple and the same throughout the book.

I would love to share it here. It's certainly more fun to do things if you can show them off.  However, there are family names involved, and I feel insecure about that - though I don't know who would care. I guess I could "redact" them. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to Scrapbooking

I wrote a few posts back about my latest scrapbook of my husband's father, who died when my husband was only 3 years old. I have had all the materials (playbills, newspaper clippings, etc.) laying out on my dining room table for the past couple of weeks waiting for inspiration to hit me. Unfortunately, it didn't, and all of that stuff was getting on my nerves. Of course, I know that frequently inspiration comes if I just start working at whatever. So yesterday I spent a lot of time sorting everything and putting them into folders according to a timeline.

I really was not satisifed with the page design I had created previously and decided that I needed to give it a little more thought. Today I spent some time on  kuler , an  Adobe website with ready-made color themes. They can be downloaded to Adobe Photoshop but not to the old version of Photoshop Elements (V.3) which I have. However, it gives me the hex numbers, and I can manually put the colors in.

I chose these colors from a bunch of heritage color themes.

There are three living generations in my family named after this man - my husband, my son, and my grandson.

I keep thinking about him as I work on this book......wondering what my husband's life would have been like if he had been able to know his Dad...........wondering if he knows that I am making a scrapbook for him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old People Who Blog

I don't usually talk to my friends about this blog. Most of the women I know in my age group are not interested in anything related to the internet other than email. They look at me a little funny if I do mention that I am blogging.

Bloggers Over 50, a website I found recently, has a long blogroll of bloggers. They all seem to be in their 50's and 60's.  Looking for someone more my age, I googled "elderly bloggers"  and came up with The Ageless Project - a site where "elderly people"  -(:( I don't feel elderly) - can register their blogs under the decade in which they were born. The dates start back in the 1910's and there are some interesting blogs on this site.

Some of them have family members who are web designers, etc. and who maintain their blogsites for them.  I am patting myself on the back that I am learning to do this all on my own.   Sometimes I think that is more fun for me than the actual blogging.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review: mr. muo's traveling couch

I liked Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (see my report on this) so much that I read  mr. muo's traveling couch by the same author, Dai Sijie. I was not disappointed.

The inside flap of the book cover gives a better description than I can:
After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psychoanalsis to twenty-first century China. But it is his hidden purpose - to liberate his university sweetheart, now a political prisoner - that leads him to the sadistic local magistrate, Judge Di. The price of the Communist bureaucrat's clemency? A virgin maiden. And so our middle-aged hero, Muo, a Westernized romantic and sexual innocent himself, sets off on his bicycle in search of a suitable girl.
This book is really funny (though I do have to admit I have been accused of having a weird sense of humor). While reading the book, I kept wondering how it would feel to live with such an imaginative brain as this man has.......a thoroughly enjoyable book.

Here is the review in the N.Y. Times..

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I spent quite a bit of time reading It is chock full of information - some of which is too technical for me. Or maybe there was just so much that I could not take it in. However, I am trying to follow his suggestion of claiming my blog in Technorati......and for that I am suppose to insert this code -  7KD5VBTRMMC4I - in a post.

The Technorati Help Page says:
We realize that putting this odd code text into your feed means that all of your feed followers (and perhaps Twitter, Facebook, and other sites) will see it, but it's the best method we've found so far to demonstrate to us that you control the blog. You can remove the code once the claim is complete
I am not sure why I need Technorati  (but I will keep researching)! This blog seems to be more about my trials and tribulations in learning how to blog more than anything else............But after all I am an old lady :) and doing this on my own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blog Reading

Blog reading is more than an "Occasional Pursuit" for me. I am always curious about other people...what they are thinking...and how they do things. I guess I am an info junkie.

I can't figure out a good way to keep the blogs I subscribe to.  At present, I use Delicious tags and keep it opened in the sidebar. I first have to click on my Delicious tag, then click on the blog, and then it takes at least 2 or 3 seconds to load the whole blog. Of course, I don't want to wait 2 or 3 seconds!! :-)

I use to have IE as my browser and I really liked their bookmark and feed sidebar.  Firefox that I am using now.....not so much.....though it works much better as a browser on my computer.

I don't like Google Reader,either. Probably because I have to click to get Google's homepage, click on my Reader account, click on the blog.......It's all just too much clicking for me.

I spend waaaay too much time reading blogs.  I open one blog that I like, and before I know it, I follow links from it until I have clicked way off into the web and found at least another million blogs that I want to save. I can't spend the whole day reading blogs. I still have a house to clean and a husband to feed. But  I'm so afraid I'll miss something good!!

I know, I know - the logical thing to do is  to set a timer and when it goes off, just quit. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn't.........depending on my level of will power on that day..........and even on my best days, that's not so good.

I would like to know how others organize their bookmarks and use their blog reading time wisely.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Funeral

I have spent the last few days in another state to attend the funeral of my sister. For all of her adult life, she suffered from the terrible disorder of schizophrenia. The last few years of her life were spent in a nursing home. Needless to say her disease affected our whole family.

In the face of a seemingly purposeless and terrible existence, it is hard not to question why, but I have to believe there must be a reason.........

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Yesterday I spent some time working on the scrapbook I have started for my husband's father.  See the initial post here.  This entailed scanning old newspaper articles into my computer using Photoshop Elements. These clippings are more than 80 years old and are not in the best of shape. I did some research on the internet about how to scan them. The only useful information that I found was to scan them at a lower resolution than I normally do for my scrapbook photos. 150 - 200 dpi's were suggested and I found that this did help some.   Here are the pages that I did..........
They are not great but are at least readable when printed. Click on them and use Control + to enlarge them on your computer screen.

Our printer does not do 12x12 pages so my scrapbook pages are 8.5 x 11.  I use Pioneer Memory Books generally carried by Joann's and Michael's.  They are inexpensive and I can buy refills for them. Actually, I prefer 8.5x11  albums. They are easier to handle and store although you cannot put as much on the smaller pages.

I've decided to use a very simple design for the pages in this book - not many added elements.  So maybe I can get through with it fairly quickly.  I really enjoy doing this but it does take a lot of time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review - Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

 For most of my life, if I started reading a book, I would finish it even if I didn't particularly like it. As I've gotten older, I don't do that any more.

Here is one that I have just finished - a neat little book, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, written by Dai Sijie. It was originally published in 2000 in France with the English translation published in 2001. According to the book's jacket, the book was soon to be made into a film. Don't know if this movie has ever been made or not. 

It takes place in China in the early 1970's after Mao ordered all of the universities there closed and all of the boys and girls who had graduated from high school to be sent to the countryside where they would work and live with poor peasants to be "reeducated".  It is the story of 2 boys who were sent up into the mountains during this time essentially to live and work in poverty.  However, somehow they did seem to have a lot of free time.

They met the daughter of the village tailor (the Little Chinese Seamstress) and one of them fell in love with her.  The boys were able to steal some contraband western novels among which were books by Balzac.  The boy who was in love with the seamstress would read these books to her in their courtship - thus the name of the book.

This was a sweet book with a somewhat surprising end.  But the thing that impressed me most was the very clear, descriptive, beautiful writing of this author. It is a fairly short story and very entertaining.

Here is the first chapter in this book.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Template

I found this free header at Smashing Magazine. It is by CV Designs. Isn't it lovely?

I am trying another template from the new template designs in Blogger.  I really prefer a simple, essentially white and black, uncluttered look.  I know I have got to quit changing templates all the time. I'll never have a "brand" (I'm being funny). I'm beginning to think I just enjoy experimenting and learning how to do all this stuff rather than the actual blogging.

Also, I have added a couple of "pages" and intend to explore using pages further.
I spent several hours this past week trying to figure out Feedburner - finally got it configured in with the last template I was using.  I still don't quite understand it.  Since the Feed Chicklets still show, I am assuming it is working with this template.  However, SiteMeter is gone and I've got to figure that out again. Mrs. Mecomber, if you are out there, I could use a blog post about Feedburner! I like the way you explain things!

In my next life, I am going to Web Design school!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Beautiful Day in Sunny Florida

We have had a beautiful day. Blue skies, great weather, not too cool, not too hot. My husband, grandson, and I went to a craft fair and farmer's market.
A good photographer would have cleaned the food wrappers, etc. off the table:)  I"ll blame this on my husband as he is the one who took this picture.

Here is a photo taken today of the Lantana Bed that I was working on a couple of weeks back. They are beginning to grow and pretty soon will be covered with flowers.  Lantanas are a Florida native plant, don't require much water, and are very hardy. They come in several colors. Mine are red and yellow.  We have planted asparagus fern in the bare spot between the Lantanas and the patio.

The Bottle Brush trees here are in bloom. This photo does not really do this tree justice.  The "bottle brushes" are a vivid red.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Here are 2 interesting websites that I found with Stumble Upon. Well, one of them is kind of weird. This is the weird one.  Whoever put this website up needs to find something to do.

This one  about  how to repurpose a wool sweater into a bag is more practical.  The bag is lovely, and if I ever find a 100% wool sweater at the Goodwill Store here in Florida, I'm going to make one.

Have a Great Day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Menus - Salmon Loaf Recipe

Most homemaking and Mom blogs have Menu Mondays. I'm always a day late and a dollar short so I am having Tasty Tuesdays - at least I'm hoping the meals will be tasty. (:-) Usually I can get by with planning only 3 or 4 menus for the week as there are just my husband and myself here.  This week my daughter and granddaughter are here so things are a little different.
Here is the plan..........

Tonight:  Salmon Loaf with Bechamel Sauce/Rice/Orange-Glazed Carrots/Tossed Salad

Wednesday:  We're eating out.

Thursday:  Beef and Potato Casserole/Sauteed Cabbage
Friday:  Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole/Broccoli

Saturday:  Sauer Kraut/Pork Chops/Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sunday:   Baked Beans for Square Dance Club picnic

Monday:  I'm winging it!

Salmon Loaf with Bechamel Sauce
1 can (12 oz) salmon ; drained with bones crushed and skin removed
6 oz. buttermilk (see below for substitution)
1/2 cup cracker crumbs  (12 saltine cracker squares)
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons parsley flakes

Bechamel Sauce
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons margarine or butter

I usually start by draining the salmon, putting it in the bowl, removing the black skin, and crushing the bones with my fingers. They are a good source of calcium. Then I add the other ingredients, mix them well and pour it all into a greased loaf pan or corningware.  Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
B├ęchamel Sauce:  Combine milk, flour, salt, pepper, mustard, and brown sugar. Beat with wire whip until smooth.  Add 3 Tbsp. margarine. (Actually, I only add 1 1/2 Tbsp.) Cook, stirring, until thickened. Serve over the salmon loaf.

This is an old recipe that I have made for years.  It's good and inexpensive. If you do not keep buttermilk on hand, here is a good substitution .

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Sewing Closet

In the early years of my marriage, I had a sewing machine set in a simple cabinet. Over the years I sewed with that machine in our family room, in the dining room, or in our bedroom in the various houses where we lived.  There was always a sewing mess in those rooms.

After my last child left home, we decided to use one of our bedrooms as a computer and sewing room.  My husband has a long desk and several file cabinets on one side of the room, and I have a smaller desk on the other side.  Not much room was left for sewing.

My husband bought a new, computerized, portable sewing machine for me, and after seeing in a magazine an idea for converting a closet into a sewing space, I decided to have a shelf with a fold out extension built in the closet in that room.  My handy husband put up other shelves and lights inside the closet. It works pretty good - not as much room as I would love to have but at least I can fold up the extension and close off the mess.

Now.........if I could just figure out what to do with all the mess important stuff my husband leaves needs to keep around his computer!

Closet closed

Closet with the extension folded up

Extension down with machine set up for sewing

Fabric shelves at the top of closet

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thrifting and Firefox

I had always used Internet Explorer for my browser.  Recently, mostly from curiosity, I switched to Firefox after reading a little about it on the internet.  I had been having trouble with my internet connection flipping in and out.  My husband and I could not figure out the cause - especially since he was not having any problems with his computer.  Surprisingly, after I switched to Firefox I had no more problems...........Don't know if that information will be useful to anyone.  Probably everyone else already knows it!

This post needs some photos so here are the last of my recent thrifting at estate sales
A pretty little basket for $1.00
A bowl with a rose pattern for 50 cents. 

And a turkey basket for 50 cents.

Did I need them?  No, but they were cute and a bargain!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Website for Wednesday

I have noticed that a lot of bloggers have a "Wordless Wednesday" on which they usually post a photograph or something.  I have decided to have a "Website Wednesday".

I love to surf the web and this will give me an opportunity to share some of my finds.   Sooo------today's Website Wednesday is a tutorial for making a reusable Swiffer duster on the blog "Sew Much Ado".

I like to use those dusters, but I hate buying disposable refills. I hope you find this useful.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Menus and Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Well, today is Tuesday and though I am feeling unenthusiastic about it, I do need to figure out what we are going to eat for the next few days. Here is my list:
  1. Fried Catfish ( which my husband loves - I try not to use much oil)
  2. Grits (a good southern dish)
  3. Cole Slaw ( to use up cabbage left after last week's stir fry and sauteed cabbage)
Out with friends 

 Thursday and Friday
  1. Taco Soup (something new - should be enough to feed 2 people 2 days)
  2. Tossed Salad (if I am feeling ambitious)
  1. Pot Roast/Carrots/Potatoes (I think I have had this Pot Roast on the last two week's menu, but somehow I haven't cooked it yet - maybe this week??)
  2. Green Veggie (whatever I decide from the freezer)
Easter Dinner at My Son's and Daughter-in-law's House (Thank Heavens! :)
  1. Sour Cream Pound Cake 
  2. Strawberries and Cool Whip
  3. Brownies (or some kind of cookies for the small grandchildren)
Now off to the grocery store......What fun!! :(

Though I don't like grocery shopping, I don't mind cooking too much.  Here is an easy and inexpensive recipe that I used last week.  This one is on my favorites list and it serves 5-6 people.

Chicken Stir Fry    
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 whole chicken breast boned, skinned, and cut into 3/4 in. cubes
4 carrots, sliced
2 cups chopped broccoli
     (I use frozen broccoli florets)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 med. onion sliced
2 clove garlic minced (opt.)
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 cup coarsely chopped cabbage
2 cup water
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup sliced celery (about 2 stalks)
I usually chop everything first. That takes the most time.  Everything else is quick and easy.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and stir fry till pieces turn white. Remove from pan. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to wok and stir fry carrots 3 min. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, broccoli, celery, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry 3-4 min. until vegetables are crisp tender. Add chicken and cabbage. Stir-fry until cabbage softens slightly.
Mix water, cornstarch, soy sauce, and bouillon cube and add to wok. Actually, the original recipe called for less water and cornstarch than I use, but we like a lot of sauce with it.Bring to a boil and simmer 1 min. You may add peanuts or cashews (opt.). These really add to it, but I don't always have them. 
We like extra soy sauce with it, and I usually just serve it with chilled Mandarin Oranges from a can.  Cucumbers and Tomatoes with Vinegar and Oil would be nice also.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Starting Another Scrapbook

I have changed my template.  I need to get some graphics..............

My husband was 3 years old when his father died of a ruptured appendix and peritonitis. We have a couple of old scrapbooks that he kept.  He had a good voice and sang in the Atlanta Light Opera for a few seasons.  He also sang in a chorus in the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  In one scrapbook are programs and newspaper clippings about the performances including pictures of him.  In the other scrapbook are pages of photos of girls he knew (I don't know why my mother-in-law let him keep those though probably most of them were in the productions he sang in). 

I have been planning some time to make a scrapbook of these things, some letters that he wrote, some old photos, etc.  I finally got started yesterday.

The things that he had saved were just glued into the old scrapbook.  Some were already loose, but many were not.  My husband gently ran warm water over them and most of them came off pretty well.  A few had some tears.  I plan to scan them all.  This is going to take some time

He was a handsome man.


You can see what I have to work with.

The photo in the middle is Irene Dunn.  I don't know for sure if she is the famous Irene Dunne, but after checking her biography on the net, I believe she was. She was born a Dunn but later added the "e" to her name. She was in several of the operas that he was in.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Reading

I've been sitting at this computer for two hours this morning. My mind feels over whelmed.  I've been blog reading - mainly reseaching info on writing blogs.  Or at least that is how I started out.  There is so much information.  I bounce from one site to another......and get further and further lost in internet land.  I have got to find a better way to spend less time looking for what I want.  I do have my booksmarks categorized in folders, but there are so many of them.

Recently, I have started using Stumble Upon (just for entertainment - not for searching - well, maybe for searching what other blogs look like).  I highly recommend this if you are looking for interesting sites to read.  There are really some unusual blogs out there.

I said all that to say this:  Here is a good article about how to find a niche in blogging that I ran across in my wanderings around the internet this morning.  You need to scroll down the page to find it.

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recipe Book - And A New Follower

I have a new follower!! Thanks very much to The Older Geek.  She sounds like an amazing woman.  A mother of 4 teenagers, she writes a LONG list of blogs with current and very interesting content - one of which is about how she did the electrical wiring in her home. Her posts on blogging are written very clearly and are most helpful.

I seem to be thinking about things in the kitchen a lot this week - especially my recipes.  I have this idea that I want to make a "Mama"s Recipe Book using all of my old recipes.  I'm talking about sort of a Heritage Cookbook, I guess, with pictures and a few stories here and there.

I have all of my recipes organized on my computer.  I've used different formats for them over the years - made a couple of notebooks for them.  A few years back I decided I wanted to go back to 4x6 cards.  Now I have decided to print them and put them back into a notebook - mainly to organize them better.  I can use the pictures of them that I am using on this blog.

I have a recipe program called Big Oven that I have used for a long time.  It is very easy to import recipes from the web into this program.  It makes shopping lists and has menu planning capbilities.

How to really go about this is not really clear to me yet. Maybe as a scrapbook??

Does anyone out there have any suggestions??

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kitchen Tips

I would like to share with you my very best kitchen tip.

Before beginning any meal preparation, always fill the sink with hot, soapy water - yes, even if you have a dishwasher! You can rinse your hands off quickly, wash a bowl or utensil if you need it again, and put cooking equipment in to soak until clean-up time. I'm sure nobody ever thought of this except me. :) 

Also, here is an organizing idea I use in my kitchen for my spices.  I place them in alphbetical order in plastic trays (the kind that are usually used in drawers, but any will do).
Then I use my trusty labler to put labels on the top so that when I take them off the shelf I can see immediately what is in each container.When I empty a container, the label peels off easily and usually has enough stickum to use on the new spice top.
Here is my labeler.  I really like it - use it for all kinds   of things.  Of course, any label method will work.

Recipe: Skillet Barbecue Pork Chops

Here is my Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops. The first time I prepared this recipe was about 50 years ago.  I served it to our first dinner guests, a fellow university student and his wife. It came from a magazine, and I thought it was great.

When our children came along, they, like most kids, would not eat everything and it seems like the only meat we ever had then was ground beef - hamburgers, meat loaf, spaghetti, etc. Somehow, I drifted away from this recipe.  I have been using it again for the past 2 or 3 years.  I can't say that it is my favorite recipe.......but it is good for a change.

Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops                          
4 -6 pork chops  (I used only three which is what I needed.)
1 tbsp. Wesson oil (optional)
1/3 c. chopped celery  (I use more.)
2 tbsp. lemon juice  (Of course, fresh is nice, but usually I only have bottled lemon juice.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1 -2 8 oz cans Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard   

In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, brown pork chops in oil over medium heat about 5 minutes on each side. Actually, I omitted the oil, heated the dry skillet on medium heat until drops of water sprinkled in it danced, placed the chops in the skillet for about 5 minutes until they released easily from the pan, turned them and gave them a couple of minutes to brown on the other side.

Drain off excess fat. Sprinkle celery, (I used 2/3 cup), brown sugar, lemon juice and seasonings evenly over pork chops. Pour tomato sauce over all. Cover; simmer over low heat 1 hour or until chops are tender. It takes at least an hour.

Here is dinner served.... And it was good! The cabbage and black-eyed peas give away the fact that I am from the South.  Baked potatoes are good with this dish also.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Menus and Grocery Shopping

Yesterday, I planned my menus for the week, made my grocery list, and went to the grocery store.  This is the one thing I do that always makes me feel as if I have a handle on things (whether or not I really do), and I usually am pretty consistent with it.  Since most of the time there is just the two of us, I usually only plan 3 or 4 menus per week as each menu usually is enough for 2 meals. We eat out with friends once a week.

This is what we are eating this week:
  1. Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops/Black Eyed Peas/Sauteed Cabbage/Leftover carrots
  2. Chicken Stir Fry/Rice/Chilled Mandarin Oranges
  3. Oven Pot Roast/Potatoes and Carrots/Green Beans/Tropical Fruit with Cheese Salad
I rarely see anyone at the grocery store who appears to be shopping from a list.  I always have one. The other day I was talking with a neighbor about this. She admitted she never does - she always "knows" what she needs.  Now I am wondering if there is something wrong with me because her home and her life seem much more organized than mine.  Maybe I spend too much time making lists!

Years ago I made a project of marking down all the aisle numbers where items that I bought were located in the grocery store and using that information to make my Publix Grocery List.  This is the store where I buy most of my groceries.  Occasionally, I go to Sam's to buy meat. I have never believed that I saved much money by running around from store to store chasing sales. I don't really enjoy grocery shopping!

An objection I have heard to a list like mine has been that stores are always moving things around.  I only remember that happening one time at Publix.  (The key words here are "I only remember".  I have shopped there for years, and they must have changed more than once.) By that time, my husband (who loves to go grocery shopping) was so hooked on my list that he took a tour around the store, noted all the changes, came home and edited my chart for me.

Tomorrow I will post the Pork Chop recipe. Have a great day!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thrifting: Estate Sales

I wish that I had known about estate sales when I was a young wife and homemaker.  I could have furnished our home a lot quicker and a lot cheaper. 

Several days ago I wrote about the valentine that I bought for my husband at an estate sale.  Here are the other bargains I got at that sale.  

This cake plate and server cost $2.50.  I love the rose design.  Roses are my thing!

This floral picture (roses again) in a gorgeous gold frame was $7.50.

A teapot for $2.50 (more roses, apparently also the "thing" of the woman who had previously lived where the sale was held)..... The ivy is from Joann's. I had a coupon.

I got all of these at half price because I was there on the last afternoon of the sale when they had reduced the prices of whatever was leftover.

I subscribe to Estate Sales.Net, a web site that emails notifications of estate sales in certain areas. 

Click to enlarge the photos!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today's Pursuit: Yardwork

This time of year in Central Florida our big oaks start shedding their leaves.  I have already raked one time just a few days ago, but you would never know it. Though there were other things that I would much rather have done today, those leaves were calling me. They look messy, but they do make good mulch for our azalea bushes.

We have a lot of big oak trees on our street though not as many as we had before Hurricane Charley.  There were 8 big trees blown down across the street.

There is also a lot of work to be done in the back of our house.  My husband has already trimmed a lot of dead limbs, etc. that were a result of the freezes we had this winter.  The lanatanas that I planted around a Florida Holly tree in the back were damaged, but they are very hardy.  I gave them a haircut and they will come back. Today I did a little more weeding in that bed. The pavers that surround the bed have become buried in the ground so I started digging them up and will reposition them.

My husband had planned to spray Round Up on the patio as there are a lot of weeds peaking up between the pavers, but there is too much wind this afternoon. The patio also needs to be sprayed with bleach for the midldew on the pavers.

There are big beds along the back that need to be weeded and mulched.......a lot to do.  I don't like yardwork!

**Clicking on the photos will make them larger.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blog Reading

It is Sunday morning. My granddaughters, who spent last night with us, are still asleep on the pull-out sofa in the family room.  Our guest room is currently occupied by my son-in-law who has been staying with us. He and my daughter and granddaughter are moving to another country (oh, wait....another state....just feels like another country) and he has been in job transition while my daughter has already gone ahead.  Since I can't go out to watch news, knit, and have my cup of coffee, I am in the computer room (also the sewing and ironing room) trying to catch up on reading blogs.

My list of blogs to read and check out gets longer and longer.  I feel a little frustrated that I can't keep up with all of them.  One site leads to another and another...........I was on I'm an Organizing Junkie this morning and found another great-looking site, Reluctant Entertainer.

I here someone rattling around in the kitchen.  Guess I'd better go check.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There is a lot going on at my house this weekend, and I don't have time to here is a funny joke that I plagarized from Grandma P's blog.  She admitted she had plagarized it so I guess it will be ok if I do.
This doctor has some unique ideas that I thought you would appreciate.

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true? 
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speed up heart not make live longer; that like say you can extend life of car by driving faster. Want live longer? Take nap. 
Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables? 
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does cow eat? Hay and corn. What are these? Vegetables. So, steak nothing more than efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef also good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And pork chop can give 100% recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. 
Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake? 
A: No, not at all. Wine made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine. That means they take water out of fruity bit; get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made out of grain. Bottoms up! 
Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio? 
A: If you have body and you have fat, ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, ratio is two to one, etc. 
Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program? 
A: Cannot think of single one, sorry. My philosophy: No Pain...Good! 
Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you? 
A: YOU NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetables be bad for you? 
Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle? 
A: Definitely not! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only do sit-ups if want bigger stomach. 
Q: Is chocolate bad for me? 
A: You crazy? HELLO ... Cocoa beans! Vegetable!!! Cocoa beans best feel-good food around! 
Q: Is swimming good for your figure? 
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whales to me. 
Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle? 
A: Hey! 'Round' is shape! 
Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Menus and Blogging

I spent time yesterday writing the "About Me" post in the sidebar and working on my template - also researching some blogs.  I found a site called Blogging Basics 101 that promises to be helpful with my blogging and  also this site,  another interesting blog listing the ten top blogs in all kinds of subjects.  I have spent some time - using instructions in Blogging Basics to insert an RSS feed.  I have taken all of my "blogging time" with these things which has not left much time to post. I have to get up and start house cleaning as we are having a little company this weekend.

However, as I wrote about menus last, here is a photo of the Pinto Bean menu.  This was dinner for Tuesday night.  I ended up making just a quick tossed salad with what I could find in the frig as Tuesday nights are Little League Games right now and I did not have time to make the Columbia Salad.

Everything was good anyway.  As far as I am concerned, you can't beat pinto beans with fresh chopped onions and cornbread.  It's cheap, too!

I never use placemats.  (I do use tablecloths when we have company) This place setting would look much better with a placemat - I keep thinking I am going to make some.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Menus and Columbia Restaurant Salad Recipe

In searching the web looking for blogs by older people, I came acress this post by Nicholas Carr entitled "Blogging: a great pastime for the elderly".  He talks about a survey that says young people think blogging is uncool and only older people do it.  Oh well, everything always seems to be out before I am in.

I did get my menus planned for this week.  They are;
  1. Pinto Beans/Cornbread/Columbia Restaurant Salad
  2. Old Fashioned Beef Stew/Rice/Green Peas/Pear and Cheese Salad
  3. Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes/Broccoli and Cheese Sauce/Canned Tropical Fruit Salad
  4. Chicken Dressing Casserole/Quick Candied Yams/Green Beans/Fruit Salad
This allows for leftovers and for eating out at least once. The Columbia Salad Restaurant Salad is a signature recipe from a restaurant here in Florida.  It is very good.

Columbia Salad Recipe
1/2 head Iceberg Lettuce, torn
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 stalk Celery, diced
3 oz. Swiss Cheese, julienned
3 oz. Ham, julienned
1/4 cup Spanish Olives, pitted
2 tablesp. Romano Cheese
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Lemon, juiced
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tablesp. White Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Arrange salad ingredients in serving bowl or individual salad plates.  To prepare the dressing mince garlic and put in a bowl.. Add oregano, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.  Beat with a wire wisk until smooth.  Add the oil gradually and finally add the vinegar, beating continuously.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  When well-mixed, pour dressing over salad and toss.