Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP


Welcome to my first blog hop!

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags five other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag five new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Debra Allen Erfert. You can learn more about Debra on her blog, http://www.debraerfert.blogspot.com/ where you can then connect with her on Twitter, and even Pinterest. 

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about what I have published and what I hope to have published soon:

1: What is the working title of your book?

Which one??? The one I have published is The Candy Cane Queen.  The one gathering dust on an acquisition editor’s desk *bites nails* is She Came From The Hill. The one I’m not working on right now so I can answer these questions is So You Don’t Want To Be A Damsel In Distress. (That last one is a really long title. I usually refer to it as So You Don’t.) 

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I originally wrote The Candy Cane Queen for a contest about five years ago so I don't remember exactly what inspired the story, other than the opening scene popping into my head. The story was good, but it wasn't ready.  I wasn't surprised when it didn't win.  I was surprised, however, when they asked if they could hold on to it and possibly publish it the next year. I didn't hear anything the next year.  Last year I heard they were doing the contest again so I asked if I could rewrite the same story and submit.  They agreed.  I didn't win but they wanted to publish it anyway.  

3: What genre does your book fall under?

The Candy Cane Queen is General Fiction
She Came From The Hill is Upper MG Horror
So you have a super long title is MG Fantasy
One day I will pick a genre and settle down. (snort)

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I thought long and hard about this one, but my Candy Cane Queen characters don’t really fit with your typical Hollywood stereotypes. Susan is past her prime and Dylan could double for an elf if the lighting is right. If I ever have a book turned into a movie, I hope they pick some fresh new faces.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Candy Cane Queen is about a woman who gives anonymously to strangers every Christmas season, using the mysterious persona of The Candy Cane Queen. (Dramatic music, confetti, cheering)

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither! Ha.  In your face conformity.  The Candy Cane Queen is with an indie publisher called Cedar Fort.  They have been fabulous to work with and I would do it again in a heart beat. 

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

That was five years ago.  I don't have that kind of memory.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I love how these questions say “this story” I never have just one story in my head.  There are entire worlds in there.  I once described She Came From The Hill as a mix between The Graveyard book and Goonies.  Then I wondered if anyone remembered Goonies and I realized I didn’t remember very much about it, which made me sad.  So I watched it again. Sloth may be one of my favorite characters of all time. What was the question about again?

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Didn’t I already mention that I have a million worlds in my head.  They have to get out before my head explodes.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My goal with The Candy Cane Queen was to write a Christmas story that was different.  I didn’t set out to make people cry.  I like to make people smile.

Here is a list of authors who will be joining the hop for week 25 on December 12th. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author!

1. Rebecca Lamoreaux at http://www.rebeccalamoreaux-anauthorinprogress.blogspot.com/ Rebecca has a fairly new little writing blog.  I love her cute background.

2. Wendy Knight at http://writethroughthenoise.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-next-big-thing-blog-chain.html. Wendy already did the next big thing blog hop, but she was kind enough to let me link to her anyway.

3. Hayley is a new blogger at www.hmcwriter.com/blog/. She just launched her blog this week!

4. Mercedes Yardley www.mercedesyardley.com. Mercedes somehow figured out how to make her blog snow.  It is so cool.  One day I will be that cool. (Probably not, but I’ll just let myself think it.) Mercedes is also a horror writer which is awesome, because sometimes I write scary stuff too. 

5. I found someone for this slot.  Promise.  I just don’t have her blog.  I will include her info when or if I get it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

And the Winner is...

I went old fashioned and wrote the names down on little strips of paper and had my adorable 11 yr old daughter pick a name from a bowl.  And the winner is.... Kerry Blair!  Congratulations Kerry! Please send your mailing address to janicesperry @ q (dot) com.

Thank you everyone for entering my contest! If you didn't win, and don't live near a store that is stocking it, you can get it online. Amazon is overcharging on their print copies for some odd reason, but you can still buy it from the publisher for 2.99. That is less than a nice sparkly Christmas card! It even comes with an envelope so you can send it like a Christmas card.

Convenient direct link to publisher's site

Stay tuned.  I'm going list where I'll be doing author signings next month.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My first giveaway!

This contest is closed!

I am really excited about this giveaway.  The Candy Cane Queen is my first published work that isn't included with a bunch of other people's work. If you want to win a copy, leave a comment below! You can earn an extra entry if you mention it on your Facebook, blog, or tweet about it (leave links).  That's up to 4 entries! Entries are due November 29th at midnight. I will throw all the entries in a hat and draw a name on November 30th, so be sure to come by and see who won!

Here's the back cover blurb: Susan Winters has a secret. Every year at Christmastime, she abandons her solitary lifestyle and anonymously spreads the joy and spirit of Christmas as The Candy Cane Queen. But this year, something's about to change. This touching story shares the important message that at Christmastime we need each other more than ever. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ghost Masks




Halloween, for me, is a time to get crafty.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table drawing gruesome monsters and evil witches for decorations to hang in our living room windows. So it was only natural I would continue the tradition with my own children. Instead of drawing pictures we decided to make ghost masks.  They look pretty spooky on our shutters. (My kids were all surprised to learn we have shutters.  We've lived here a long time, kids. They've always been there.)
Here is what you need:
Plaster of Paris gauze. (I got this off of Amazon.)
Cheesecloth (Amazon)
Vaseline
School Glue
Hair caps (Optional.  It was nice not worrying about getting the Plaster of Paris in our hair)
If you are going to put them outside you will also want to use a water proofing spray.



Step 1: Spread Vaseline all over the face of your model.  My daughter volunteered to go first.  Be sure to get a lot on your eyebrows and any other facial hair you'd like to keep. (I realized too late that this was my opportunity to get rid of the silly mustache my 13 yr old is growing.  Seriously.  He's 13.  It's just wrong.)


Step 2: Cut your Plaster of Paris strips into smaller strips.  I didn't measure, but you can see they weren't very wide.  I used wider strips for my husband.  I'm not sure what he used on me.  I had my eyes closed.


(I hope my neck doesn't look this fat in real life.  Please don't tell me if it does.  My daughter appears to be partly conscious. I assure you she felt no pain.  I have no idea where her eyeballs went.)

Step 3: Dip plaster strips in warm water and apply to face.



I knew she still had her eye balls.  She's also sporting a lovely beard.  The Plaster of Paris dries very quickly.  The first thing she complained about was an inability to smile.



Here she is with the completed mask.  I started on the outside, framing the face, then worked my way in.  Be sure to get two or three layers down.


Here's my husband.

This is my youngest son. (He just turned 8)  I was worried he'd freak out with the mask, but he did pretty well.  He enjoyed complaining about being unable to move his face.

My oldest son.  He couldn't stop smiling so he stretched his mask a little.  The mask even has a little grin.



Me.  Note my husband didn't make mine as high as I made everyone else's.  Go as high as you can or your mask will have a bitty forehead.


Here they all are after we removed them. (No eyebrows were lost in the making of these masks. No mustaches either, dang it.)


Step 4: Let dry overnight.  We could have baked or microwaved them, but we ran out of time and had somewhere to go.  I think I prefer the overnight drying anyway. This probably would have been a good time to apply the waterproofing spray. Plaster of Paris is extremely porous so the more layers of waterproofing the better. (These masks can also be painted.)

Step 5: Cut your cheese cloth.  Mix the white glue with water (about half and half). Then attach the cheese cloth to the mask with the glue mixture.  We used little sponges.






Step 6: Distress the cheese cloth.

After the glue dried overnight, I applied 2 layers of waterproofing spray.  Our porch is covered so I'm not too worried about them getting wet. 



In case anyone is wondering, I drilled hole in the side with an ice pick to get a string through the masks. You can see the strings in this next picture.



 And that is it. It was a fun family activity that we can enjoy for years to come.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vegetarian Enchiladas for Girl's Night

Our church has an annual fathers and sons campout every year.  So, while the boys are gone, my daughter and I do a girl's night.  



Girl's night for my daughter includes painting our nails, watching Phantom of the Opera, eating food the boys don't like, and going shopping.  I just realized this picture we took of our nails make my hand look really small.  I was holding it low and taking the picture with my other hand.  I really have normal sized hands. 



This year we added hair treatments and facials.  We rubbed coconut oil in our hair and then washed it out.


Here's my daughter's hair after we washed out the coconut oil.  It took several washes.  It was pretty fun to slather oil in each other's hair and I have noticed that my hair is softer than usual. 

We also put the coconut oil on our faces.  I didn't mix it with anything.  (That would take some serious planning.) I didn't notice a difference, but it was fun anyway.  I hear that coconut oil naturally kills acne.  Neither of us have acne so I can't verify that.


Then for dinner we had Vegetarian Enchiladas.

 

I had a lot of onions, peppers, and tomatoes from my garden.  I put four small tomatoes, two medium onions, and four peppers in the food processor with two hand-fulls of spinach and processed until chunky. By using your own peppers, you can control the spicy levels. Most of my peppers are a sweet variety.

I neglected to get a picture of the beans.  I used pinto beans but it doesn't really matter.  I'm going to try black beans next time.  I avoid canned beans because of the sodium so I used dry beans.  If you can, soak them over night.  If you forget, then put them in your slow cooker first thing in the morning and set it on high. Let them cook until you're ready to prepare the enchiladas.  Drain and rinse the beans (this helps avoid gassy side effects.) Measure out 2-4 cups of beans, depending on how full you want to stuff your enchiladas. Cook the beans in a saucepan with 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 can tomato sauce, and salsa mixture on a medium low heat.  Let simmer for 30 min. (I used tomato sauce because my daughter doesn't like the taste of fresh tomatoes.  You can skip or use tomato paste.)


The reason I wanted to try making vegetarian enchiladas is because of the cholesterol in the meat. Sour cream and cheese also have cholesterol.  I found this fat free sour cream and guess what? No cholesterol. (Woot!) The sour cream is what really makes these enchiladas divine.  Spread half your sour cream along the bottom of the pan.  Then stuff your shells with the bean mixture. Leave some of the juices. Once your pan is full, cover them in sour cream. Pour the leftover juice over the top and top with a fiesta cheese mix.  The cheese is the only source of cholesterol in the entire dish.  The mix I buy has 25mg of cholesterol per serving.  



 We served them with grapes, mixed vegetables and almond milk.  Mmmm.

My daughter liked the vegetarian enchiladas but she said she prefers the meat kind.  If you like some meat, then slow cook chicken or pork with the brown sugar and vinegar.  I've also done a half meat, half bean combo and it was really tasty.

Vegetarian Enchiladas
2-4 cups reconstituted beans (depending on how full you want your shells.)
2 large or 4 small tomatoes
4 peppers of desired heat
2 medium onions
2 large handfuls of spinach (or more if you really like spinach.)
1 c. brown sugar
1 T vinegar
Fat free sour cream
Tortilla shells
Fiesta blend of shredded cheese

Chop tomatoes, onion, peppers, and spinach in food processor.  Combine with beans with brown sugar, vinegar and salsa mixture.  Allow to simmer for at least 30 min.

Spread half sour cream on bottom of pan.  Stuff tortillas with bean mixture.  Top with sour cream, extra bean juices, and cheese.  Bake @350 for 20 min or until cheese is melted.



After doing our spa treatments, eating dinner, and watching Phantom of the Opera, it was time to go to bed.  My daughter was disappointed we didn't have time to go shopping.  She really wanted to go first thing in the morning before the boys came home.


How could I say no to a face like that?  (This is actually right after she had her eyes dilated at the eye doctor a few months ago, but it's still pretty accurate of the face she gave me.)



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hey look! I'm blogging!

It's been a while since I've blogged.  My cat is not pleased. (Actually, he is never pleased.)


I thought I'd post a couple yummy recipes. They're even healthy.

Here's the first one: Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing. Mmmm.  The dressing doesn't have any cholesterol, unlike my favorite ranch dressing. It also contains olive oil, which is a source of the good kind of fat.



I got this recipe from here

The salad is lettuce from my garden (Spinach works well too), strawberries from my garden, sugared pecans, and the dressing.  I've tried both sugared pecans and sugared almonds (the original recipe used sugared almonds). I like the pecans better than the almonds.  I put all the ingredients in separate containers when I serve it.  It stores better that way and my kids like to build their own salads. (Actually, my kids will take one lettuce leaf and choke it down with much complaining.)

Sugared Pecans
Put about a cup of pecans in frying pan. (I make lots so we have extras for snacking.)
Add 1/4 cup sugar.
Add 1/4 cup water.
Stir on med heat until water has evaporated.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. mustard seed (the original recipe called for ground mustard. I didn't have any of that. The mustard seed works fine.  Just don't skip this.  I didn't use it the last time I made the dressing and it turned into a strange gelatinous mess.)
1/2 c. olive oil (the original recipe called for canola oil.  I like olive oil better.)
3/4 c. sliced strawberries
3/4 t. poppy seeds

Mix vinegar, sugar, salt, and mustard seed in blender.  Slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is creamy.  Add strawberries.  Process until smooth.  Add poppy seeds and pulse until well mixed.  Store in tight container in refrigerator. 


Here's the next recipe: Quinoa Stir Fry 


Ingredients:
I'm not big on measuring so, since this is my own recipe, I didn't measure anything other than the quinoa.  Sometimes you have to cook by taste, rather than by the rules.

1/4 c. uncooked quinoa per serving
black beans (soak dry beans overnight. Then slow cook for about 2 hours ahead of time.  I like to make an entire bag and store the cooked beans in my fridge. Canned beans have a lot of sodium added.)
olive oil
onion
carrots
broccoli
(abt 1 T) red wine vinegar and brown sugar (to taste) or your favorite BBQ sauce

You could also add meat and whatever other vegetables but this is filling enough that you don't need meat.

Prepare quinoa in rice cooker or according to directions.  Coat bottom of pan with olive oil.  Saute onion.  Add vegetables, vinegar, beans, and brown sugar.  Add cooked quinoa (and water if it's too dry).  I like my vegetables a little crunchy so I let it cook long enough for the flavor of the vinegar and brown sugar to penetrate the quinoa.  Five minutes is long enough. Cook longer if you like your vegetables softer.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

I saw it on Amazon!

I saw the Candy Cane Queen on Amazon!  Check it out here. The release date is Oct 9. This isn't my first published short story, but it is my first work published on its own.  My other short stories were published in anthologies.  This little book is 16 pages and will come with its own envelope.  Yes, envelopes are exciting.

Here's the blurb. Susan Winters has a secret. Every year at Christmastime, she abandons her solitary lifestyle and anonymously spreads the joy and spirit of Christmas as The Candy Cane Queen. But this year, something's about to change. This touching story shares the important message that at Christmastime we need each other more than ever. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together!

And I have to add the cover again because it's just so cute.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

cholesterol watch on vacation

Last week we went to Yellowstone and a family reunion in Idaho.  Watching my cholesterol at home is hard enough.  I was worried about being away from my kitchen and eating at restaurants. So my solution was to bring most of our food with us.  We had access to kitchens in both places we stayed.  In total, we ate at a restaurant twice the entire trip.  This was nice for our wallets too. Here's what we did.

Breakfasts: Homemade cereal bars. The picture below is my son helping to form the bars.  Despite his expression, he was having fun.  Really.  


Recipe: This recipe is an extremely modified version of this. I liked this version but it took way too long to make for 12 little cereal bars. I also removed the butter.

Apple Cinnamon Bars
2 c. oats
1c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. olive oil
1 c. apple sauce
1 t. vanilla

Pulse oats in food processor until a coarse flour.  Add remaining ingredients. Process until it forms a thick dough. Add flour or applesauce for right consistency.  Form into bars.  Bake @ 350 for 20 min (or longer if you like it crunchy)

These bars are pretty dense and moist and traveled really well.  I kept them in a ziplock container.



Homemade cereal


The first time I made this cereal, it came out crunchy, but slightly burned.  The second time it was too soft. It tasted right, but we like it crunchy. I'll post a recipe when I figure out the happy medium.

Smoothies


I froze the smoothies, along with everything else that could be frozen, before we left.  I  packed them with our frozen water bottles and they stayed frozen for the entire five hour drive.  Our little cabin at Mack's Inn had a refrigerator so we put all the cold food away as soon as we arrived.  The big smoothies were for me and had spinach, yogurt, and a variety of fruit.  The smaller smoothies were for my kids and had milk and fruit. I put the smoothies in the fridge to thaw the night before, but the fridge was too cold so we ended up packing them in the cooler and drinking them for lunches in Yellowstone.  I had it figured out by the time we got to the reunion at the May Family Ranch and had them for breakfast there.

We also brought regular cold cereal for my husband and the kids. I brought milk with us since I wasn't sure if we could find a store.  It did great surrounded by frozen smoothies.

Here's one of my favorite shots in Yellowstone


For lunches we brought nitrate free lunch meat (my boys get migraines from nitrates) and peanut butter for sandwiches, fruit cups packed in juice (not syrup), apple sauce, and I caved and brought cookies.  You have to indulge a little, right? 

On the second day, we realized we hadn't packed the cheese to go with the ham sandwiches. (I was planning on peanut butter) So we had lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs.  I ordered a salad and had them leave off the cheese. They had the most delicious poppy seed dressing.  If anyone has that recipe, I would love it.

Dinner:
Monday - I brought chicken, potatoes from our garden, onion from our garden, carrots from the store because I got crappy seeds that didn't grow, sea salt, and olive oil. I packed them in tinfoil, baked them for an hour, and discovered that our oven didn't work very well.  Then I cooked them in a little frying pan and we had a late dinner. It was delicious.

Tuesday - We did a everyone gets-what-they-want meal.  My husband and daughter had KFC, my boys had Arby's, and I had a subway sandwich. It was the chicken breast sandwich.  I left off the cheese and piled on the the veggies.  Yummy.

Wednesday - We did restaurant food for lunch so we ate sandwiches at the cabin for dinner.

Thursday - This was the day we traveled 5 hours to the family reunion at the May Family Ranch in  Clayton Idaho.  Here's a shot of the water slide.

We also went to a museum town where the kids panned for gold.  They even found some. (Real gold!)


Dinner Thursday night was nitrate free hot dogs cooked over a fire with fruit and potato chips.  After driving all day, I didn't really care what I was eating.  The chips don't have cholesterol but they do contain saturated fats, which I should also avoid.  One thing I decided when I chose to watch my diet instead of taking meds was that I wasn't going to deny myself the foods I love as long as I use moderation.  I can have some saturated fats as long as I overindulge.

My sister cooked dutch oven chicken Friday night.  It was so good. I stuck with one piece of chicken. (I was soooo tempted to get more.) We also had green salad, fruit, and beans.  Beans are high in iron and fiber.  I'll be eating a lot more beans.  The only problem is the canned beans contain a lot of sodium so I'll have to learn to use dry beans.

We drove home on Saturday and, with very little food in the house, had spaghetti - without meat.   I didn't miss the meat at all and my kids didn't either. We also had salad from the garden.  The lettuce still hasn't bolted so I cut up a zucchini and an onion and mixed it with the lettuce.

By bringing most of our food with us, I was able to control what we were eating.  We did have a nice lunch at Mammoth, and my daughter will tell you that her favorite part of the meal was her brownie sundae.  She told me about it often enough. I didn't have any dessert and I love brownie sundaes. My favorite part was that poppy seed dressing.  I really must find the recipe.

Here's a shot of my whole family in Yellowstone.
My youngest child was very tired.  That's the only explanation I can think of for the look on his face.  

This last picture is a place near Mack's Inn called Big Springs.  It's beautiful there.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cholesterol check

So if I keep my diet the way it's always been, I'll have a heart attack at 50.  Doctors are such downers. I've spent the last 6 months exercising more and eating whole grains, blah, blah, blah.  I lost about 10 lbs. But my cholesterol didn't go down.  It went up.  Crap.

I'm not big on medication.  The cholesterol medicine side effects aren't especially terrifying, but I'd rather avoid them.  I can't help but think they aren't the best option.  So I've decided to cut my meat consumption down to once a day.  The average adult can have 300mg of cholesterol a day.  Those trying to lower cholesterol can have 200mg.  I'm trying to stay around 100mg.  It's not easy.  Cholesterol is in all animal related foods, which are some of my favorites.  Eggs, meat, milk, cheese... Mmmm. Now we all know why my cholesterol was going up.  Ugh.

I already miss scrambled eggs.  But this isn't goodbye.  It's more of a long distance relationship.  I'm going rather drastic for six months when they'll check my blood again.  If I've lowered my cholesterol, I'll go for an occasional scrambled egg.  (Yes one.  Eggs are around 200mg each - yikes!)

I'm blogging about this because I'm hoping there are other people out there who have successfully cut down their cholesterol without going vegan or using medication.  I also thought that I'd post how I'm altering my recipes to be more cholesterol friendly. I'll post recipes if anyone is interested. I might post some anyway.

So here's my plan:
Breakfast
  Green smoothies. The fruit and spinach are cholesterol free.  The yogurt contains about 7mg.  I'm not giving up the yogurt because it does wonders for my digestion.  Any more on that would tread on TMI.
  Homemade granola bars. Oats are apparently really good for lowering cholesterol.
  Homemade cold cereal.  I'll post this recipe another day.  I made some and we ate it all before I could take a picture.  It was that good.
  I'm trying to cut out some of the prepackaged food since they tend to be full of sodium and ingredients I can't pronounce. I've been thinking of doing this for a while but since I'm being forced to change my diet, I figured now was a good time to do it.

For lunch I've been having green salad (the lettuce in our garden is growing like a weed. I've also been having peanut butter and honey on Sandwich thins. I need to find some other options.  I'm getting tired of peanut butter and salad. Suggestions? (No tofu)

Dinner is only slightly altered.  The main difference is I'm keeping my meat servings down and cutting out red meat.
  Monday - Chicken Joes. I slow cooked the chicken, shredded it and mixed it with our regular sloppy joe sauce.  We also cut up a fresh pineapple,  cooked some corn on the cob, and had more green salad. I put baby zucchini in the salad.  Tasty.
  Tuesday - Crepe dinner.  Crepes have eggs and milk in them.  I figured they have about 40mg per crepe so I only had two.  We put fresh fruit and homemade jam on the crepes.  This is super yummy but not super filling.  I dug some potatoes out of the garden, sliced them, and sauteed them with zucchini, onions, peppers, and Italian seasonings in olive oil.  I should have taken a picture.  I just don't think about photographing dinner.
  Wednesday - Chicken in homemade Rice a Roni. I boil chicken breasts in water with some Italian seasoning.  Break spaghetti noodles into tiny pieces and brown in olive oil.  Then I added rice and the water I cooked the chicken in.  I mixed a cup of skim milk with some corn starch to make it creamier and added the chopped up chicken. This recipe had the added benefit of being lower in sodium.
  Thursday - Homemade pizzas. I used Sandwich Thins instead of crust.  This helped me control proportions. Then I put all the fixings on the counter and did a pizza bar.  Here's what I put on mine. Pizza squeeze sauce - high in sodium, unfortunately, but very convenient. Jimmy Dean Sausage is 45mg for 2 or 3 oz. (It's also nitrate free.) I only sprinkled it. Pineapple and peppers.  I forgot to add the onions, dang it.  Mozzarella cheese is the lowest cholesterol cheese I can find - 20mg per inch chunk.  I didn't measure but I did only a light sprinkling of cheese.  My kids added all the stuff they like.  My oldest son skipped the sauce and just did roast beef.  My daughter also skipped the sauce and just did ham and cheese.  My youngest son piled on the nitrate free ham, sauce, pineapple, sausage, and a mix of cheese.  My husband put a little of everything.  Everyone was happy.  I kept my cholesterol levels down.
  Friday-  This is our leftover day.  No cooking for me!

Next week we'll be going on vacation.  I'll post later about how I did on the road.  I'm a little nervous about keeping track but I have a plan.  I'd love to hear how other people are lowering their cholesterol.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ugly to Cute

I have this shirt that's been sitting in the back of my closet for a while.  I got it for $5 at Walmart.  I love bargains. It fit the first time I wore it and then it shrunk and turned into this.  It was too tight, too short, and looked weird.  I didn't take any pictures of myself in it because I like myself too much to do that. The only time I wore it was when I needed something clean to do laundry in.  Then I wore something else.  But I like the color and I hate wasting stuff.  




Then I saw something on Pinterest that could rescue my shirt.  You can see their instructions here.  The only problem was their sleeves started out short.  My sleeves had to go because my arms are too fat muscularly. I decided to do it anyway and figure out the sleeves as I went.  But when I went to look up the pin the Internet was down so I had to work on memory.  I recommend following their instructions.


So I cut the shirt down the middle and chopped off the sleeves.  Later I remembered to cut around the collar.  That's actually an important step, as I learned first-hand. (It would have been nice to have those instructions CENTURY LINK.) As you can see in the picture, I slit the sleeves. My drawing below shows exactly what I did.  I cut a Y up the side of the sleeve and then sewed the slit down so I could thread my ribbon through it.



I originally tied a bow on the sleeves but it tickled my arm.  I ended up tying a knot in the ribbon. I think an elastic on the sleeves would work just as well. Here's a close up of the finished shrug. It took about an hour to make - and that was with picking out half the stitches to remove the collar. A more experienced sewer could pull this off in no time.



And here's me next to my book shelf that needs some serious organizing.  If you're wondering why there is an igloo on my shelf, I'm not really sure.  My 7 year-old must have thought it looked nice there. I'm not so sure.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What does Pinterest mean to you?


Since joining Pinterest, I've learned a lot.  Just today I learned you can  open those stupid little plastic packs with a can opener.  I hate those plastic packs.  This is genius. I've also learned who is obsessed with zombies and Disney.  It's fun to see other people's interests, although some people are a little too obsessed with pigs.  Seriously. 

My husband doesn't get Pinterest.  He likes the recipes that involve chocolate.  Not so much the healthy recipes and all the crafty stuff.



My kids are less than enthused by all the new uses I've found for vinegar.  The stuff is amazing - and cheap.  I like cheaply amazing things.
I love all the organization tips.  It doesn't mean I actually follow them.  I just like to think how great it would be if I were ever organized again.  I say again because it did happen once.  Oddly enough, that was before Pinterest.  Check out my mad art skills.  I single handedly removed like ten years from my face.  It bet there's a post for how to do that on Pinterest. 


My son took one look at this picture and said, "We don't have a banana computer and no one draws on the walls."  At least he thought my interpretation of myself was accurate.