Tuesday, September 15, 2015

my rooftop experience

I needed to pin rows together Saturday,
so I thought I'd go out and sit in the sunshine
and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I grabbed a chair out of the Excursion
(that's where we store our 'camp chairs')
and choose a spot
well away from shade and shrubbery
where mosquitoes would be waiting to eat me alive.

Darn it if I didn't get bit 3 times,
before I'd even been out there that many minutes!

As I folded my chair
(not very gracefully)
and threw it back in the Excursion,
I hollered that what I hate about Arkansas
whenever the weather is nice enough to be outside,
you can't go out because of the damn mosquitoes!

Tyler said I sounded just like Beverly,
and then invited me up on the roof where he and Brandon were working.

He said mosquitoes don't fly that high.

(oh, Nancy - you're going to love this ;-)
I went in the house and grabbed a towel to sit on
so the shingles wouldn't scratch me,
and up the ladder I went
with my 22 quilt rows, a tin of straight pins, and my sewing glasses in one arm
and my green striped beach towel in the other.

You know what?

He was right!

Mosquitoes won't get you on the roof.

I can't believe we've lived in this house almost 11 years,
and I've never been on the roof.

It was so nice and peaceful up there.

I could see the entire back yard
and all of my chickens wandering about.
There was a nice breeze.
The kid noise sounded like it was coming from the neighbors',
and not my own.

When the guys finished their work
 they rested a bit with me,
then went about their day.

I stayed on the roof,

Then Tyler started mowing,
so that added the smell of fresh cut grass
and the sound of a mower
 to the mix.

I might just move to the roof.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

for the girls

they called me.
It seems they recognize my love for the women and girls they serve,
and wondered if I might like occasional updates on them.

yes, please!!!

Vicki, the founder, is over there, in India,
right now.
And while she's there, 
she will be taking pictures to send to me :-)

She also wanted me to send her 
a picture of me,
with my machine,
so she can share it with the women 
who learned to sew 
on machines I've donated.

So these are the pictures I sent
(because you know I could never settle on one...)
so they will know
about the (silly) woman in Arkansas,
who loves them.

(yeah.   so everything was totally staged....)

(Thanks, Love, for supporting me and  my dream)

Friday, September 11, 2015

buns and bagel dogs

We found (and tweaked, of course)
a fun recipe to add to our lunch and Sunday Snacky Dinner options.

These everything bagel dogs are a hit with everyone.
The kids think we should bring them as a 242 snack,
which is high praise for a low carb 'bread' food, let me tell you.

We usually have a bit of leftover dough, and I'll make a plain 'bun' just for me :-)
I'll warm that bun, open faced, under the broiler
and slather on some butter.

Last time, I accidentally left it under the broiler too long and made toast.
Oh my goodness, it was good!
I'd planned to give 1/2 the bun to Tyler,
and I did,
but it was a sacrifice.
And when he offered me a bite,
I didn't hesitate to take one :-)

Her recipe says it makes 4,
but I have found that I can get 5 or 6 per batch.
Maybe we just like our bread part a bit thinner?

I don't have all of the ingredients she uses for the topping,
so I just mix together a little bowl of seeds and spices that I do have.
We've made them without any topping,
and without brushing with the extra egg,
and they are still quite yummy,
but they do look nicer with the topping.

I'll list my ingredients here,
but you'll want to go to the above link for the how-to,
and to see her beautiful pictures.
Whether you use Sarah's recipe or my tweaked (cheaper/lower calorie/tastier) version,
(or your own tweaked version)
is up to you,
but I really think you want to try them.

Bagel Dogs (or buns), our version

1/2 c shredded monterey jack
1 c shredded mozzarella 
(You can use all moz, but the mj makes it more flavorful)
2 Tbs cream cheese (or 1 oz if you like to use the packets)

1/4 c baking mix
1/2 c almond flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1 egg

In a nutshell ~ melt the cheeses together
and in a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients with the egg.

Then mix the two together.
I turn them out onto a silicone baking sheet and knead it (with wet hands)
until it's well mixed.

Divide into 4-6 equal portions
and flatten
and wrap around a hot dog or sausage, sorta sealing the dough on the bottom.
(or just shape into flat-ish buns)
(her method of spiraling looks better,
 but it's harder for the kids to do.
Plus, it's just faster to smash and wrap...)

Add egg wash and toppings if desired
then bake
(on the silicone liner or parchment paper)
at 400 for about 20 min.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

a different kind of work in progress

If you know me much,
you know that I struggle with my weight.

As in,
me and my fat
a lot.

And for the past 14 months,
despite my best efforts,
the fat has been winning.

And frankly,
I am quite sick of it.

I decided that from our anniversary (Aug 8th)
to my birthday (Sept 30th)
sugar, in any form except the occasional bite of fruit
and wheat
would not pass my lips.
At all.

It's not like I ate much of either,
but I did allow it to sneak in here and there
in the form of an occasional 1/2 of one of those skinny sandwich buns
or a low carb tortilla.
A 1/2 cup of ice cream
or maybe an oreo or two.
A buttered cracker.
A half of a protein bar.
Some peanut butter m&ms, warmed to perfection...

I am happy to report that except for communion crackers on Sundays
(I pick the very smallest piece on the tray)
and a very tiny bite of Tyler's burger once, 
after he kept insisting it was the very best burger he'd ever eaten in his life
I have ingested no wheat.

And sugar?
the same.
Except twice, accidentally.
I ordered a Southwest Salad from McDonald's.
It wasn't until I'd eaten 1/2 the salad that I thought to check the dressing.
11 grams of sugar!
Darn it!!
I really liked that salad.

And Monday, 
returning from visiting friends in TX,
(where I quietly declined on all sorts of deliciousness)
we stopped to get snacks and I chose beef jerky.
Because what could be wrong with dried beef??
that's what.

It wasn't real beef jerky : /
I had one small piece before checking the label.

Darn it again!
Even with my faux pas,
I am quite pleased with myself.

Being so conscious about what I eat (or don't eat, rather)
has caused me to watch,
more carefully,
everything I put in my mouth.

When I cook,
I am a picker.
But I've found that in the past month,
I've picked a whole lot less than usual.
Sometimes I'll have dinner completely ready and realize I haven't tasted it once!

Do I feel better? 
Has the scale been kind to me?


But I'm pretty darn proud of my willpower anyways.
I almost feel like my sister :-)

I've said "No" to 
warm fresh bread at Longhorn Steakhouse
(sitting on my counter for 3 days.
Three days, People, and not one nibble)
smore's while camping
peanut butter m&ms
banana splits
the last Ritz, taunting me in its crinkly package
Krispy Kreme donuts
and countless generous offers of "Would you like a bite of  'x'?"

I've passed on all these things,
but I haven't felt deprived
and sorry for myself;
I feel "go me!"

Friday, September 4, 2015

spur of the moment

Did you know that if you burn old Christmas lights, your flames will be brilliantly colored?


We were feeling the need for some family time.
Our first choice (the beach) wasn't feasible,
and neither was our second choice (camping at Lake Ouachita) 
so we settled on a back-yard camping trip 
last week.

The kids thought it was almost as good as going somewhere to camp,
and I got to sleep in my own bed,
(and I could use the stove in the 'hospitality center'...)
so it was a win all the way around.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ready or not,

here we go.

We begin our 16th year of homeschooling today.

I am woefully unprepared.
I guess that's what happens when you are in denial 
about school starting soon.

The good news is, we start mid week 
so we can sorta just e-a-s-e into school,
so I still have a few more days to really get plans firmed up.

Before TKD yesterday,
Brandon took the kids to the library.
If everything falls apart,
at least we have fresh books :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

this and that on a Thursday

I first read To Kill a Mockingbird on our Florida vacation,
mostly while soaking in the big ol' tub in the master bath. 
The high level of humidity created a delicious warped texture
 to the pages of my second-hand copy of the book.
I think I will keep it forever.

I wanted to re-read it this summer in preparation for the new Harper Lee book,
Go Set a Watchman.

After hearing that Atticus was a racist in GSaW,
I decided not to read it, though.
I quite like Atticus as he is in TKaM, thank-you-very-much.

It's a shame though,
Harper Lee is a great writer.


Yesterday was my Gramma Day.
(well, technically, my Gramma Day was 2 weeks ago, and yesterday's was 'Lish's,
but I traded with her to go on an anniversary trip with my man.)

I'd called her Tuesday to tell her I had a big day planned for us.
She was surprised and excited.

She called me Wednesday around 9am, wondering what day it was,
and if she had anything planned.

I got to surprise her all over again :-)

She didn't like the movie I'd picked out for us to watch;
it moved too fast for her to follow.
(She didn't really see how anybody could follow it,
and said she wouldn't recommend it to anyone.)
I told her at least she wouldn't remember tomorrow that I took her to a movie she didn't like ;-)

she'll remember that I love her.


While in NWA,
I hit a few stores.
When checking out at Hancocks,
an idiot clerk asked me if I was over 50.

over 50?!?

I'm 46, Nan. 

He didn't even have the decency to give me the damn senior citizen's discount 
to make up for the insult!


I didn't achieve the goddess part of bronzed goddess,
but I am nicely tanned.

I'm often surprised that those are my golden legs
when I swing them out of the covers every morning.
(I often tell Gramma that my brain isn't in much better shape than hers.
There's proof for ya...)


Yesterday, two different people contacted me about having a long distance shower
to celebrate Hadley.
It makes me happy that people want to love on my kids.


I have to say goodbye to my purse.
I bought it at the SA thrift store 3(?) years ago for $1.
I still love it,
but it's looking awfully ratty for a full-grown (albeit a not-yet fifty yr old!) woman to be carrying.

I replaced it with an olive green $2 yard sale find
that I feel rather 'meh' about.
At least it has a hot pink interior.
(And my new coin purse goes with it very nicely)

I could make a purse, 
but there are just so many other things to make, too....


We haven't  seen signs of the weasel 
(at least I think it was a weasel)
 that got into the coop
in a couple of weeks.
Perhaps he came up and saw me,
the night I sat out there 'til the wee hours of the morning
with a shotgun in my lap,
and decided to go elsewhere.

Or maybe,
more likely,
in a grand fit of justice,
something got him.

But still,
we've lost more chickens to coyotes.

Would somebody please remind me
not to keep buying chickens?!


I have had a terrible time focusing the past few weeks.
I honestly don't know what the deal is.
At Dr Baker's suggestion, I've been taking SamE,
which is supposed to help your brain.

Of course, I sometimes  forget to take it...

Monday, August 17, 2015

petite zip pouch

When I get change at a store,
I just toss the coins in my purse.

Since we save coins for the Anniversary Fund,
I rarely use them,
but every once in awhile,
when my purse is already heavy,
and the 'cents' part is closer to a dime than a dollar,
I'll decide to use some change.

When that happens,
I have to move the big stuff in my purse aside,
to grab a handful of coins (and bits of trash).
I always think, 'I need to make a coin purse.'
But then I don't.

But Friday, after I finished curriculum shopping,
and filled out the forms,
and turned them in,
That changed.
(haha - changed)

One of the reasons I don't make pouches/bags for myself,
is I tend to overthink it.
I think I have to have The Perfect Fabrics For ALL Time.
And  there's too much pressure.
This time I just told myself to pick fabric I like. 

Well, goodness.
There are lots of fabrics I like!
Without the need for it to be my favorite
last forever and be positively perfect in every way,
I could just.make.a.pouch for myself.
Who knew?!

(All fabrics were scraps from other projects, 
including the zipper, which came from this)
(holy cow! that was over 5 years ago!)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

silly girls sewing

The girls had a birthday party to go to on Saturday.

Their friend likes art,
so we bought a pack of 36 watercolor pencils
and 3 different sizes of watercolor paper pads.

we decided we should make a little bag to hold her pencils.
Of course....

June's favorite color is blue,
so I dug through my blue fabrics
and found one that I thought would be super.
It was mostly blue,
with some red/pink
and sorta abstract watercolor-y looking.

Lexi said it was the exact fabric she had in mind,
so I guess it was a good choice.

I cut 2 rectangles
sandwiched them with a  batting scrap,
and the girls had their first go at the sewing machine!

Taking turns,
we randomly quilted straight and diagonal lines
all over our sandwich,
then I attached the zipper,
drew lines for them to sew along for the side seams,
and let each girl sew one side of the bag.

Lily was pretty cautious,
wanting me to operate the foot pedal for her,
but Lex' wanted to do it all.
and go faster.
(Since I'd done the foot pedal for Lil', though, I went ahead and did it for Lexi, too.
Gotta keep things even, you know)

They had a great time making a gift for their friend,
and at the party,

(refer back to the top photo - note Lexi's hair....crazy girl.)

but now they want more sewing lessons.....