Monday, January 27, 2014

And So It Begins...

our journey into a new routine as I head off to work this morning.  At least for the next month or two anyway!

Yesterday, I made some No-Cook Overnight Refrigerated Oatmeal in two different flavors.

Maple Blueberry on the left and Apple Cinnamon on the right.

I'm really hoping they're edible as there is a lot of goodness packed into each half-pint jar... old-fashioned oatmeal, soy (non-GMO) or almond milk, Greek yogurt, chia seeds which is the base for each flavor then there's either maple syrup and blueberries or unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon added. 

This is the first time I'm trying these.  If they're good I'll share the recipe.  It's one of the one's I've pinned on Pinterest.

Yesterday afternoon, I also went ahead and packed my lunch...

Deli cheese, hard salami (for the German in me, wink), carrot sticks, sweet peppers, dried banana chips and raw almonds.

Do you like my lunch container?  I found it at the superstore.  It's an expandable Bento Box.  The blue thingy under the individual containers can be put in the freezer until ready to use and helps to keep your lunch cool.  Cool gear, huh?!  (Yes, pun intended, ha!)

This morning I threw a whole chicken in the slow cooker with some onions, celery, carrots and taters. 

It'll cook on low while I'm in training and by the time we get home we'll have a nice hot meal.  Ya gotta love them slow cookers!

Welp, I'd better finish getting ready and be gettin' outta here.

Till next time my friends...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Big Changes Ahead


It looks like my feet will be back in work boots again starting on Monday.  Yikes!
New boots, jeans, thermals, long sleeve T-shirts, lunch tote and bento box, cell phone & ID carrier and hat
Which will mean there will be a whole lotta adjusting goin' on over the next coupla weeks.

Adjusting for me, for CountryBoy, for LizzieBelle, for the morning routine, the evening routine, for figuring out logistics, for cooking, eating, shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, etc.

For Precious and Hunter?  I don't think they will care less about the new routine as long as they have food, water and the litter box is clean, ha!

An opportunity has arisen for me to go to work at the mine where CountryBoy is working.  Normally, I am quite content being the road wife but these opportunities don't happen too often and the money is too good to pass up.

I will be in MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) training and Site Specific training all next week then the following week I will start Fire Watch duty which means I'll be hanging around welders all day and watching for fires started by sparks and putting them out.

With both of us working long hours six days a week we'll have to come up with a plan and keep it simple.

Since simplicity is one of my goals for this year this will be a good challenge!

I plan to keep food simple.  Crock-pot meals once or twice a week for supper. Breakfast and lunch during the work week will consist of Refrigerator Oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, fruit, Sardines & crackers (for CountryBoy!), sandwiches, leftovers, etc.

The shopping and laundry will have to get done on our day off as well as any cleaning and food prep for the week.  But, with both of us working together on these things we should have a bit of time leftover to relax.  I'm also hoping to get a blog post or two written during the week to keep y'all posted.  Fingers crossed on that one!

Miss LizzieBelle will be taken care of by a friend and she'll get to spend some time with her Shih Tzu friend, Boots!

Knowing this job, for both of us, won't last forever we are willing to give it a go and make the necessary adjustments in order to be able to put away some extra money.  Which, in this economy, is a blessing!

It's been several years since I've been out in the working world so say a prayer and wish me luck.  (I'm starting the liquid Vitamin C and sublingual B-12 already!)

Till next time my friends...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Two Down

Four to go!

I finished another project the other day and crossed it off the 'Get Done' list, woo hoo!

Back in November, I took a quilting class at a (somewhat since we've moved) local quilt shop.  The pattern used was the Posh Tot which is a throw-size quilt.

I ended up making two quilts during the classes. Here's the first one...

Quilt Front
 I love these colors!  These are the colors of my living room back home.

Quilt Back
And the second one I wanted to make for CountryBoy for Christmas.

I have to tell you, the first quilt I made was a cinch.  I had no problems whatsoever during the entire process of making this quilt.

The second quilt?  A menace from the get-go.

I mean literally, one problem after the other beginning with cutting the fabric, piecing the fabric, right up to the binding.  It probably stemmed from the fact that I enlarged the dimensions of the quilt because of the pattern design in the original fabric that I wanted to use in the center square.  But, that's neither here nor there. I ended up not being able to use the original fabric which, in the long run, turned out to be OK.

I managed to finally get the front and back all pieced together ready to be quilted.  Originally, I wanted to do the quilting of the sandwiched pieces myself since it was a gift to my Hubby but after the problems I ran into and my rather small work space in the fifth wheel I decided that I didn't want to bother with it and left it at the shop to be quilted by the owner.

Unfortunately, she was not able to get it finished before Christmas so CountryBoy still had one more present coming.

He finally got it the other day!

Here's his quilt made with his favorite colors....

Here's Precious and LizzieBelle admiring the back of 'Daddy's' quilt...

And here's LizzieBelle modeling the quilt....

Isn't she cute?!

Anyway, by the time I finished the binding I was ready to donate it to Goodwill, ha!  But, I gave CountryBoy the quilt that night and he loved it!

I am finished with the Posh Tot pattern as I tend to like the more traditional and classic patterns rather than the modern ones.  Although there are some beautiful modern quilts that are truly works of art.

I found a 'Quick Classic Quilts' book at the thrift store so once I am caught up on my 'Get Done' project list I will be choosing a pattern out of there to begin working on.  I hope to use some of my fabric stash which will help the storage space issue and save me money.

But in the mean time, I now have two projects crossed off my 'Get Done' project list.  Which is a good feeling!  A really good feeling!

Till next time my friends...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Goals for 2014

Here we are a couple of weeks into 2014 already. Can you believe it?!

I've wanted to share with y'all my goals for the new year.

There aren't that many but sometimes I think it's better to have a few well-chosen, doable goals rather than a lengthy, intimidating list that will probably be forgotten already by this time of the year simply because one didn't know where to even start on the lengthy list!

For many years I didn't bother with making any resolutions or goals.  I figured what was the point when I usually forgot about them by mid-February!

Well, I discovered during my 'no-resolution' years that I usually ended up the year the same way I started.  No further ahead.  Whether that be in knowledge, or skills, or dreams, or financial....

So, I decided that while there was nothing wrong with not setting goals or making resolutions I just wanted more. I wanted to see the satisfaction of reaching towards or meeting my goals.

CountryBoy and I have definite plans for our future.

In order for those plans to come to fruition it is going to take some discipline on our part in the meantime.

That's what I based this year's goals on.

- I mentioned in my last post about my goal of minimizing my craft/hobby projects down to two ongoing at a time.  I currently have five in the works so I am going to concentrate on finishing up at least three projects and then throughout the year I will keep it at two. (I like to have a variety and choose which one to work on according to what I feel like doing at the moment!)

- Another project I want to tackle this year is to consolidate my recipes into one, maybe two recipe books.

I love cookbooks!  I like to see a photo of what the dish I'm trying to make 'should' look like, ha!, and I like to flip through and browse (and salivate) over recipes.

I also like the fact that cookbooks are tangible and easily accessible.

Along with my cookbooks, I have torn recipes out of magazines, newspapers, I'm collecting them on Pinterest and I also have several files of recipes saved on my computer.

Here are some problems I recently ran into...  I had no internet service for a while.  The recipes pinned on Pinterest?  Did me no good.  My computer 'died' on me (or so I thought!).  All those recipes I had saved on my computer?  Had no access to them. sigh.

And all my cookbooks?  While I do love them, they are heavy.  And when traveling down the road, every bit of extra weight in the fifth wheel adds up to wear and tear on our old truck and uses lots more fuel.

So, my goal is to make my own cookbook (or two) with my favorite recipes from all my cookbooks.  I want to make it pretty with photos, tips, etc. (after all, I AM a graphic designer!) and then I am going to print it out and put it in a notebook where it is easily accessible whether or not I have internet service or my computer goes kaput!

- I'd also like to come up with my own pantry and staples list.

Eating a diet that does not contain any man-made or boxed foods requires a little more thought process as to what items I should always have on hand in order to make things from scratch.

Also, being quite a ways from the nearest grocery store I can't simply 'run to the store' to get something that I've forgotten.

Therefore, I'd like to create a list of items regularly used in our diet, always have those on hand which will make any last minute menus easily doable.

- Pursuit of simplicity. I am going to continue to purge unnecessary items from the fifth wheel and the cargo trailer.

As mentioned before, weight is an issue when traveling.  You'd be surprised at how heavy things really are especially when all added up!

Another reason for simplicity and decluttering is the ease in which we can pick up and move on to the next town/job without having to go around and secure everything or pack it up and unpack it when we arrive.

We do have a system in place but any way I can make that system smoother and easier is a plus.

- Continue to research herbs and essential oils to start a home apothecary.

I'm not going into why I feel this is important and necessary but anyone that knows me knows that I like all things natural.  Including medicinal treatments whenever possible.

Please don't get me wrong... I appreciate the knowledge and technological advances of today's medicine.  Many lives have been saved including that of my husband for which I am extremely grateful!  There is a time and a place for it indeed.  Sadly, many have come to rely on synthetic drugs to sustain them rather than getting to the root of the problem which, in my humble opinion, is simply putting a bandaid on the disease or illness rather than healing it.

I also believe that we have gone to extremes in today's society and have forgotten the original medicine created by the Creator who also created us.  In His infinite wisdom, He created, in plant material, exactly what our bodies needed in times of disease and illness.  The same goes for the healing power of food to heal our bodies.  Coincidence?  I don't think so. Unfortunately, we've lost that art and knowledge throughout the years.

Thankfully, many people today (myself included) still believe in the power of prayer and many miracles have happened due to earnest prayers in spite of ourselves, our lack of knowledge and the poor way we treat our bodies.  Can you imagine what the combination of the two can do for those afflicted?  Wow!

Through research and prayer I hope to gain some of that lost and forgotten knowledge.

- Save money and pay off debt.

I think this should be on everyone's list if it isn't already!

Times are really tough right now for most people and this may seem like an impossible goal.

I'm here to tell you that it isn't.

Frugal, frugal, frugal!  (Kind of a funny word when said many times!)

I have learned many ways to save money on necessary things.  For example, I make my own laundry detergent.  For pennies!  And, it lasts a LONG time!  There are many other money-saving tips that can be found online via blogs, Facebook and Pinterest.  Check them out.  Every time I find something that I can make cheaper is money in my pocket rather than the manufacturers, woot!

Also, coming to grips with consumerism which is rampant these days. Redefining wants, luxuries and necessities will help save a penny here, a penny there.

On the debt front... I mailed the final Jeep payment last week.  And, we paid it off early!

Our only debt now is our mortgage.  I believe most people will always have a mortgage payment. We hope to one day be able to pay cash for our dream hobby farm home.  Dream big or go home! Ha!

- I'd like to improve my photography skills. Maybe come up with a signature look or technique.

- I am also going to ponder and, hopefully, come up with a work-at-home type business based on my hobbies/skills.  (And as y'all know, I have LOTS of hobbies!)

I currently have no idea where this will lead but I definitely want to give it some thought this year.

That's it!  Eight things on my list.

Eight things that I think are doable.  And, if I'm able to make some headway on each item then I am that much further ahead at the end of the year and hopefully that much further ahead to our dream hobby farm home!

I know this ended up being a rather lengthy post but if you've managed to make it to here then I thank you.  You will help me be accountable and stay focused throughout the year.  I may even 'check in' in the middle of the year to let you know what progress has been made.

How 'bout you?

Do you make new year's resolutions or goals?  I'd love to hear what's on your list!

Till next time my friends

Friday, January 17, 2014

One Down, Five To Go

One of my goals I set for the New Year is to finish up the many projects I have going on or have already planned before starting anything new.

I have always been the type person who has many projects going at any one time. Since my hobbies are quite varied the many different projects allowed me to work on whatever I felt like doing at that moment.

Well, since living in the fifth wheel I have had to come to grips with limited space... Limited storage space. Limited work space. Limited living space.

So, due to my spatial limitations I decided it was time to limit my projects to a maximum of no more than two at a time. Which means I need to get crackin'!

Here's what all was in the works at the turn of the year...

- a wall hanging that needs hand quilted and binding attached
- a quilt throw that needs binding attached
- a crocheted baby blanket half finished
- an apron that was cut out but needed sewn
- a raggedy denim quilt, jean seams are ripped and ready to be cut and assembled
- a crochet basket, yarn purchased

Six projects at some stage in the works in this tiny space.  That's four too many according to my new goal.

That being said, yesterday and today I knuckled down and decided to tackle the apron.

The easy part of cutting the fabric was already done but since I don't know how to read sewing patterns I had put off finishing it up.

I must've spent an hour (or more) just trying to make sense of number 1 on the directions, ha! No really, I kid you not. And at one point I heard myself asking why the directions weren't written in plain English!

So after a long while of reading, re-reading, looking at the image, reading it again, etc. I came up with an interpretation and gave it a go.

My interpretation seemed to have been OK and I have to say, the rest of the directions were a tad easier to follow and the pace picked up from then on.

I did make a change as I was unable to get the 'casings' on the sides of the bib to turn out right. I also decided that I didn't think I was going to like the way they had the neck strap and tie as all one piece (which was to be fed through the casing that I couldn't get right). So I made them all separate and then attached accordingly.

Here's the finished apron...

It's got two pockets on the front and ties in the back.

I love the fabric!  Chickens, woot!

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out especially for figuring it out as I go. (Note to self, I really should take Sewing 101...)

Anyhow, that's one down five to go. Or at least three so I will be within my new goal!

Till next time my friends!

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