Thursday, November 29, 2007


For those of you who read my earlier post today, you know that I am hosting the Women's Ministry Christmas party. So of course today should have been filled with cleaning, organizing and decorating. After all it is D-Day minus 9. But is that what I did? Well certainly not!

I love to cook. Absolutely love to cook. Try new recipes, the harder the better. Interesting ingredients, you name it. Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Southern Living were some of my favorite cooks/recipes to peruse. Then came Weight Watchers. Now on Flex, I have learned that there are no foods that are taboo. I just have to count the points, some are too hard to figure and some foods just cost too much. It is a very workable plan, but it caused me to turn my back on my foodie favs. The effort and temptation were too much.

The other day I was searching for something to do with some of the 285 pounds of pork that I brought back from Oklahoma. Yes, I typed that correctly 285 pounds! I pulled out Rachel. There on page 84 of 365: No Repeats was a tempting menu and it didn't sound too bad from a WW perspective. Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops and Lemon-Butter Broccolini. Now I am going to admit my denseness, I thought Broccolini was a Rachelism kind of like EVOO. But there in the recipe it called for 3 bunches of Broccolini. Thank goodness for the internet. Sure enough it is a real item a cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale. I thought well there goes that recipe, I won't find it in my neck of the woods. I will have to wait until I make a trip to Central Market. Imagine my surprise when I actually found it at my local grocers, now I bought all they had...but they did carry it!

Today, began with good intentions. I was in the kitchen cleaning and saw some pie pumpkins that needed to be cooked, so today became cooking day. Ahh, heaven. I cleaned (yuck, pumpkin guts), baked and pureed the pumpkins. I then figured since I was already in the kitchen I would fix my special dinner...these don't happen much with our baseball schedule. I did alter the menu slightly. Rachel suggested crusty bread to go along with...I know my weakness. I didn't dare. So I made a couscous dish instead. Thanks to my friend, Glenda, I cooked it in chicken broth with a touch of poultry seasoning and added some fresh cranberries. Yum!

Now at 10:45 p.m. I have two loaves of banana bread in the oven...well I did have some bananas that needed to be used or thrown away. So I am cleaning off a counter top! I am not one step closer to ready for the party, but I sure did enjoy my day.

Ack! Parties on the Horizon

I don't know what I was thinking! Back in July it really seemed like a good idea to offer my home for the Women's Ministry Christmas party. I really do enjoy having people over and we have been blessed with our home and soooo I would like to bless others.

But evidently I didn't think of the logistics of having between 50 and 75 women here for dinner and gift exchange. I have not even begun to decorate...I can't keep the regular "mess" under control right now, thus I don't want to add trees and such. I better figure out something, the party is on December 8...9 days away.

Then as soon as the Women's party is over I must plan something for Smoda's 6th birthday. He typically wants to go to Chuckie Cheese. Works for me. This year he is wanting to have a "Spiderman Jedi" party. What is that you might ask? If you find out, please let me know! All he will say is that he definitely wants a "pie in his face, chocolate please". A pie in his face?? Like in the Three Stooges? No, like they did to Brother Richard at VBS this summer. The joys of motherhood.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Weekly Weigh-in

Well, I didn't make my goal of 1.8 this week. I actually only lost .2. I will admit I was VERY upset with myself when I got off the scale. This is the first time in this journey that I have felt failure. Even the week that I gained a pound wasn't this bad. Reflecting back on the week, I am sure the reason I am so upset is because I did everything right. As I said last week, I had gotten sloppy on journaling and lackadaisical on exercise. This week, I did everything I know to do and lost less weight than last week!

I am done with my pity party. Most people in my meeting gained weight, they were even afraid to look at their weight diary. I did have a loss. A new week has begun and a good attitude will take me a long way!

Loss this week: -0.2
Total weight loss: -48.4

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On the Home Front

When we moved into this house, I knew I wanted to paint (or have painted) the foyer. It was a massive expanse of white walls. I loved the fact that it was big and open, but when you see walls that go up for 20 feet, white can become a bit cold. And I did not want my home to seem cold and uninviting. But as with all home improvements, you have to wait for the right time, money, etc. And in this case, RacerDad was daunted by the height and I needed help. Barb from the baseball team came to my rescue. She was needing some auto work done and was willing to barter her painting expertise for the work. YEA for me!!!

Now the foyer is a lovely shade from Sherwin Williams called Camelback. The art niches became a beautiful shade of red. I think this niche (between the formal dining and family room) is one of my favorite spots in the house.

Unfortunately in the following picture the wall color becomes a bit washed out. It is not near as brown as it appears here. It is actually more in the light golden family. The mirror is one of the great things that RacerDad brought into the marriage. I saved it, he was going to get rid of "the old thing". His mother always wants to "touch it up" with gold paint (ugh!). I love the patina of the frame, it is perfect for me. I picked up the table at our church garage sale. We had the church remodeled and the ladies in charge of the new furniture wanted everything to match. Lucky for me I bought a great table with no nicks or scratches for $25.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Music

mws banner

Have you heard that Michael W. Smith has a new Christmas album?? The songs I have heard are absolutely lovely. I will definitely be adding this one to the Christmas music this year.

What Christmas music can you not live without? I am always looking for something new to add. We like it all here...carols, traditional choirs, funky and funny.

Finished Objects - November

I have actually completed two major projects this month. Fall was SOOO busy with baseball that I had lots of knitting time. I decided have knit long enough, it was time to try a garment other than socks. Obviously, I didn't have much confidence in myself I made a vest - no sleeves and very little shaping. Things went well knitting from the bottom up, until I got to the armholes. All of a sudden I developed a hole. If it hadn't been for Tasha and Lise, I would have ripped the whole thing out. Tasha ripped back and picked up the live stitches for me. Then Lise was able to figure out it wasn't me, but a fallacy with the moss stitch pattern. I was able to finish it in time to wear it for Thanksgiving. It was warm (which I needed with the cold front that came through!) and I did actually receive some compliments on it.

The yarn is Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed in Ivy. It is a 60/40 wool/cotton blend, very cushy. The pattern was from Patternworks.

The project I am especially proud of is my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole. I had seen Liz working on hers this summer and I am such a copycat I wanted it exactly like hers. So I ordered the same yarn (Jojoland - rhythm), in the same color way and ended up with a totally different look. Her stole was cooler- more blues and greens. Mine still has a lot of greens, but I have more reds.

This was a fun knit and great to do during baseball, it required very little thinking. At first I was intimidated by the fringe, but I am so glad I bit the bullet and completed it. I think the fringe really makes the project.

Hunting Season

I had never experienced Black Friday until last year. I know, I can a girl skip the biggest shopping day of the year?? Well to begin with, I didn't grow up shopping the day after Thanksgiving. My mother had usually already completed her gift purchasing by that time and my grandmother hated crowds. Holiday travel plans as an adult put me in either Wichita Falls, Texas or Coweta, Oklahoma...neither a shopping mecca.

Then came Black Friday 2006. A sweet friend knew that we would be in town for Thanksgiving and asked what my shopping plans were. I could literally hear her jaw drop over the phone line. "Honey, don't you know this is a woman's equivalent to deer season?" Who knew? I figured why not give it a try, I had nothing better to do. Marie then began giving me lessons, target practice, getting the deer lease and setting up the blind. In other words, I needed to get the ads, figure out my purchases, and then scope out the store opening times. I never knew shopping could be so complicated. She picked me up at 4:30 that morning. I believe I heard RacerDad chuckle as he rolled over, in his defense he does snore....maybe that was it.

We began at Target. The line was unbelievable. Most of the crowd was very pleasant passing the time chatting, until they saw people cutting in line. The nerve! As the doors opened all congeniality ceased. The hunt was on! People literally ran, elbows out pushing to get to the best "deals". This type of shopping is definitely not for the faint of heart. I scored on some of the biggest game, MP3 players. Pure beginner's luck I am sure. Many more stores followed, none with quite the hysteria, purchases completed ...Marie had me home at 7:46 a.m. She deemed it a success and I now knew what all the hype was about.

This year, there was only one item that could lure me out into the pandemonium again. I saw the object at the top of Speedy B's list was on sale as a "door buster" at Kohl's. Their doors opened at 4:00 a.m. I had a brief lapse of sanity, I thought I can leave my house at 3:30 make my purchase and be home by 4:30...what a deal. Off to Kohl's I went, same line scene as last year. Only this time, being alone I brought my faithful ipod with my current book in progress (an Elizabeth Peters mystery, absolutely delightful!). I went in the doors as they opened...someone in the back of the line actually bleated like a sheep, how true! I searched the store, my item was not there. It had never been there, can you say false advertising? Now I knew I had seen the same thing at Bed Bath and Beyond in Denton so I figured I would just go ahead and pick it up there. Did I mention I was in Lewisville? Just a 20 minute drive, no big deal. Off to Denton, to find that the store did not open until 6:00. What am I going to do? An hour and a half, go home? No because I wouldn't be able get back out without the boys. So I went to Penney's. Half of Denton must have been there. I don't think I have ever seen their parking lot so full. I picked up a few things I didn't know I needed and stood in a LONG line. Back to BBB, disappointment again. I hadn't seen it at BBB but at Linens and LEWISVILLE! What's a hunter to do? I had it in my target I wasn't about to let it escape. So I drove back to Lewisville. Sure enough, there was my trophy. The store coupon, my reward for being there early was for 20% bringing the total to almost $20 less than the sale price at Kohl's.

Success! But will I do this again next year? I don't plan on it. I really don't get a thrill from getting there before sunrise and I can't say there is any sale price worth it. Now maybe if I enjoyed shopping. But I will be real honest, if it doesn't involve yarn or books I would just rather not shop.

For those of you who enjoy shopping....Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Engine

The boys and I went on a bike ride today. The weather is about to change for the worst and I wanted the boys to burn as much energy as possible. We were at the end of a three mile ride headed up a long, steep hill...Speedy B in front, then Cowodie, Smoda and I brought up the rear. I could hear Smoda muttering something, but I couldn't quite make out the words. I pulled up alongside him and plainly heard...."I think I can, I think I can".

He made it, but at the end of the ride he said "I think that ride is too long for a 5 year old!"

Halloween Costumes

I know it is Thanksgiving, but I haven't shown pictures of the boys Halloween costumes that I made. Yes, you read that right, I made them....pins, pattern, sewing machine the whole shebang. Speedy B and Cowodie were penguins. Smoda wanted to be a rabbit. It wasn't too bad. It was actually kind of fun, just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weekly Weigh-in

My weight loss is slowing down, but as RacerDad so kindly put is still going down. I have consistently lost weight since the end of May but where I was losing 2 1/2 to 3 pounds a week, I am now losing .6 to 1 pound.

I think the main problem is I have not been journaling as faithfully. I would "remember" point value and keep a tally in my head. This week I have been journaling and have stepped up the exercise. I am so close to the 50 pound mark and I would really like to hit it Thanksgiving and all.

Saturday's weight loss: -1
Total since May 26: -48.2

Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday Gift Mixes

Here are two drink mixes I shared at our Women's Ministry Taste of the Holidays gathering on Saturday. One is for hot cocoa, it is a little different than ones I have seen in the past. The other is a family favorite...Russian Tea. I put individual servings of the cocoa in clear disposable cake decorating bags. The bags are cone shaped, we topped the cocoa mix with 1/4 cup mini marshmallows and 1 Tablespoon of mini chocolate chips. Tied the bag with a holiday ribbon and had a pretty cute inexpensive gift... much better price than Linens and Things had for the same item, I believe they were charging $4.99 per bag.

The Russian Tea I put in clear party bags, topped with a square of scrapbook paper and curling ribbon. Again a nice inexpensive gift for teachers, neighbors, etc.

Hot Cocoa

1 box Carnation instant milk (9 5/8 oz box)
1 10 oz jar coffee creamer
1 1lb box Nesquik
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup powder sugar

Mix all. Store in airtight container. To make, add 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

Russian Tea

3 cups sugar
2 cups Tang (or instant orange breakfast drink)
1 cup unsweetened instant tea mix
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 envelope kool-aide lemonade mix

Put 1 1/2 to 2 rounded spoonfuls into 1 cup boiling water.

You can use Splenda for this recipe, also be aware that the orange drink mix does not hold up well. The mix needs to be used within 3 months.

I enjoyed a Mexican Dip that one of the other ladies brought. It was a big hit! So if you are looking for an easy savory dish to take to a buffet you won't go wrong with this one.

Mexican Dip

2 cans of Mexicorn
4 oz. chopped jalapenos
2 cups mayo
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Mix and bake in an 8x8 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with Frito chips.

This recipe can be prepared the night before and kept in the refrigerator to bake the next day.