Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tea Time

Won't you pull up a chair, grab a nice cup of hot tea and listen to me ramble for a bit?  Good!

I am excited to say that my Christmas shopping is finished.  I am one of those who starts my Christmas shopping in January.  I was a little behind this year, but caught up pretty quickly.  I did get my kiddos a few extra things today with some of the Cyber Monday sales, and I was excited that I got my son 3 items, and my daughter 2 and only spent $40!  And that is how much one thing was alone regularly priced!

I am concerned that I haven't gotten all my Christmas gifts made yet.  Which is only made worse when I realize most of my gifts this year are not store bought.  So while it seems like I have it all under control, I am really freaking out.  Seriously.  I need to make 7 nightgowns, several aprons, a few dishcloth sets, and I won't say what else.  Not. Cool.

Have you finished your shopping?  Have you started!?

I am also wondering how sales for everyone went?  I was incredibly disappoint with my sales.  Wait...let me say I was incredibly disappointed in my complete lack of sales.  Not one.  Nadda.  Zilch.  Zero.  Bumpkis.  Frustration.  Seriously, everything is 30% off, but still no sales!  I am beginning to think maybe people think I have some disease or something!

But, I will stop complaining.  I don't like complainers, so I don't want to become one.  Instead, I'll turn my little ol' computer on in the morning and start all over again.  I am trying to come up with unique ways to get my name out into the public eye more.  How do you promote and advertise?  I send a business card in with my bills, and everything I mail.  I promote on forums, and websites, as well as social networking sites.  Tonight, I created a mailer to send out to people around town, which was going superbly until I ran out of ink! If you would be so kind, let me know how you creatively get your business name out there!  Surely I am not the only one who needs a little help?!  I don't know.  And don't call me Shirley.

(A little homage to one of my favorite actors EVER)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Memory Monday

Mondays after vacations are always so....wierd!  Who really wants to go back to work and the normal, every day grind? 

Yesterday would have been my grandmother's 69th birthday.  Next to my own parents, she was the most influential person in my life.  If you haven't read about the reason my business is called 13 Plum, you can do so here.  I can't put into words how much I loved my Grandma!  I know I have said it before, but I miss her so much.  Infact, even though its been 4 and a half years since she was killed, I still find myself occasionally picking up the phone to call and ask her a question.  Its always a question about yarn, sewing, cooking, or the best way to do something.  I am pretty sure she had the answer to everything. 

This was my grandparents in the 80's, and how I picture them today.  Pawpaw played Santa Claus, and Grandma played Mrs. Claus!

The Barb Wire Man is more like my grandfather than I would care to admit, and I think I learned how to put up with a man like that from her.  (My dad is a much kinder, gentler and understanding man....maybe my hubby should take some lessons from him!!!)   My cousin, sister and I called her Grandma Sunshine, and she was just that.  I always sing to my babies before they go to bed.  Tonight, I sang You Are My Sunshine, and choked up on the first line.  My sweet little girl finished singing it to me, and said "Its OK, mommy.  You know Grandma Ryan is with Jesus, and she isn't sad at all."

And she is so right.  She isn't sad.  She hasn't a tear for eternity.  She is with my Grandpa.  She has a million stars in her crown, and an endless supply of 100% acrylic, Red Heart Yarn.  I did not get that from her. 

Happy Birthday, Grandma Sunshine!  I love you, and even though I am not sure if I believe this or not, I hope you can look down, see my sweet little family, my business and be so proud.  I never would even have this if you hadn't set such a great example. 

On a much lighter note, I am still having a sale at 13 Plum Knitted Creations!  30% off everything, when you use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY at checkout.  Like most of my listings, just contact me and I will create a special listing for you.  The discount also applies to any custom orders!  Let me know you are ordering after reading this, and I will even give you free shipping!

Dishcloths and ponytail holders are both under $10, and make great stocking stuffers!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Dear Blog Friends -

I am so sorry for not blogging, announcing winner, and basically falling off the earth for a few days.  But that is exactly what I did.  I had a few days off from the daycare, and my husband was about to begin his over the road trucking job, so I decided to devote all my time to my kids and husband.  And I enjoyed every single second of it!

With the help of my beautiful babies, we got our Christmas Tree up!  Every single ornament we own (and there are a lot of them) were on the front bottom half of the tree!  (Hey, when you are 7 and 2 you can only reach up so high!)  So, during the night, Santa's Elves made a quick visit to hang some of them higher, in order to protect the babies from reaching them.  If they knew I was the one who moved the ornaments, their little hearts would have been broken!

We spent Thanksgiving at my husband's grandmother's house.  Almost all the family was there, and it was very nice.  Their traditions are quite different from my family's.  My family is very Southern, and his is, well, Yankee and Norwegian.  So I really missed my family's style of cooking!

The Barb Wire man left for his new job early this morning, and we won't see him again until Tuesday.  Hopefully.  Its going to be hard, but I firmly believe God provided him this job, so He will see us through it.

And now, to announce the winner.....

I didn't forget about the V*Dazzled earring giveaway, I promise!  In a very highly scientific manner, I wrote every one's name down according to the number of times you entered.  I then tossed them all into my husband's Harley Davidson baseball cap that hasn't been washed since he bought it 4 years ago, and let my daughter pick a name.  And the winner is.....................

Jennifer Green Sundquist!

Congratulations!  Please e-mail me at 13plumknittedcreations@gmail.com, so I know where to send these lovely earrings!  And again, a big thank you to V*Dazzled!

I still have other giveaways!!  To those wonderful businesses that have sent things to giveaway, don't worry!  I haven't forgotten, I am just a little behind!

Also, to my wonderful sponsors....
I will be adding your advertising spots back, and will be giving each of you an additional month of advertising for free.  Thank you for being patient with me!

I finally was able to get all my listings back on my Etsy Shop, and am so excited!  I hope you will stop by and take a look at 13 Plum Knitting!  Today through Friday, I will be offering a 30% discount on every item, including custom orders. Just use the code CYBERMONDAY when checking out.    Here are a few of the things I currently have for sale:

I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoyed as much time with your family as I did!  My real life starts again tomorrow, and hopefully things will be back to normal....whatever that is!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Are You Ready For FREE STUFF!?

Good Monday morning!

Today is going to be a great day, I can feel it.  I woke up to a clean house.  I got a shower even!  Last night I started on a new knitting project, but I can't say what it is!  Its a Christmas present for my Aunt, and if she gets on here (and I hope she does!) she would find out what it is.  I'll just say that its already turning out really pretty, and I can't wait to see it finished!

So, I asked if you were ready for some free stuff.  I have a blogger friend named Deb, and she has one of my all-time favorite blogs called Frugal Living and Having Fun.  She has a ton of frugal tips, but the best part is all day every day she posts links to sites that offer free and majorly discounted items.  If you like her on her Facebook page, you will be updated constantly on some really awesome deals! 

Anyhow, today she is having her own version of Black Friday called Black Friday Giveaway Fun.  Every hour on the hour she will have an awesome giveaway!!  (Heads up...at 3:00, she will be giving away 2 sets of my dishcloths!!!)

I am personally hoping to win a TON of stuff!  Stop by and see what you can win, and tell her I sent you! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fantastic Friday!

Good morning!  I am so excited about today's blog! 

Last night, right before I went to bed, I got an email from a very sweet lady who had been working on my blog for me, letting me know my new blog layout is up and running!  I am so excited!  Literally, I dreamed about writing today because I was so excited to show of my new blog!

I'm just going to brag.  Its beautiful.  I love it.  I can't take credit for it in the least.  I can write, knit, sew, balance a gagillion things at once, but when it comes to coding for layouts like this, I know less than zilch.

But Christina at Joyful Rose Custom Designs and More hooked me up with this beautiful design!  And let me tell you, she read my mind.  All I did was tell her the colors I liked, the lettering I liked, and sent the picture I wanted at the top.  She created the rest on her own, and it couldn't be more perfect if I did it myself.  I couldn't be happier!  If anyone is thinking of having your blog layout created professionally, I highly recommend  Joyful Rose Custom Designs and More.  And I mean highly recommend her.  She got my layout done quickly, with very little input from me, and she is a small, home based business, just like I like to shop.

She offers much more than just layouts, so please take a few minutes to look around her shop!  I think you will be very impressed with what she has to offer, and the beauty of each thing she creates.  I am certain I will be going back to her in the future!!

I want to say THANK YOU, CHRISTINAMy blog is perfect now!  I love it, and thank you for all your hard work!

As a side note, I did take the picture at the top.  It was taken about 15 miles from the home my grandmother lived in, by a little town called Skellytown.  (Don't bother looking it up.  I think maybe 50 people live there, and if you blink while driving by, you will completely miss it!)  We drove by this spot each time we went to Grandma's house, and even as a child I found that spot beautiful.  Its an old cattle pen, and the wood is starting to rot and fall down.  The fence posts are still made of mesquite wood (most of them burned in the fires of 2006), and the barb wire is starting to fall a bit...to me, that is the beautiful part.  But my favorite part is the old windmill.  I have an obsession with them.  On a windy panhandle day, you can hear the whoosh of the metal turning in the wind.  (Ask any old rancher around here what a windmill is for, and they will tell you they help keep the cattle cool in the summer.  If you believe that, I have a Bridge I want to sell you.)  My other favorite part is how far you can see into the distance.  In this part of Texas, you can see for miles and miles and miles. 

**To my sponsors:  I will be adding your sponsorship spots back as quickly as possible.  Any days lost will be made up to you!!  Thanks for your patience!!**

I will be continuing to add things to the blog, and information on my extra pages will be added...thanks for understanding!

Please, visit Joyful Rose Custom Designs and More!  I know you will love her site!

Also, don't forget Winning Wednesday's post is still open for entries, up until midnight on Monday, so if your entry isn't in....better hurry!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for reading today!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Sidetrack!

Because of doctor appointments, and funky work schedules, I haven't been able to do as much research on my Thrifty Thursday subject I had intended on writing.  I also missed my Tea-Time Tuesday, which upsets me much more. 

So today, I am going to brew myself a cup of tea, skip Thrifty Thursday, and make-up my Tea-time!  In all truthfulness, I have already had 3 or 4 cups today. 

I did have a very dear friend come with her kiddos for a visit.  We try to get together every week, and I so look forward to it.  We have so much in common, and it is so nice to just be able to talk to an adult! Barb Wire Man got to come home early too, which always makes the day a little better.  Our kids are always so excited when Daddy comes home!

However, we got our best news ever today.  OK, maybe not ever, but the best news we have had in a long time! 

My husband just found out that he got the job he has been wanting for the last couple of years!!!  He originally hauled hay for a man he had known for quite some time, and due to the economy was let go.  Hay just wasn't moving fast enough to warrant the number of drivers he had.  After spending time working in Colorado during the week, and coming home one the weekends, he finally found a job closer to home.  I don't know if you know any truck drivers, but they don't get paid like most people - they get a percentage of what the load costs.  So, if Barb Wire man ran like crazy and had a lot of loads, he got paid pretty well.  However, the job he is at is very slow, meaning no loads, which means no pay.  With a family of four, that makes things pretty tough. 

But, after visiting with the owner of the new company (he has been out there more than a couple times looking for a job), they finally gave him a chance!  We are so excited, because the pay is better, and it is his dream job.  We will eventually even have the opportunity to own our own truck!  The downside is he may be away from home for several days at a time.  I am thankful we have a very strong marriage, and deep love for each other, because it is going to be hard! 

I am also excited because I have a new tea being shipped to me!  Normally my mom and I get our tea through Teavana, but you all know how I prefer to buy things that are hand made and from small businesses.  So yesterday, I stumbled across this great Etsy site called Teaman.  He hand blends his own tea.  Since I have a couple allergy issues, I have to be very careful about flavored teas, and I was able to email him personally to find out exactly what was in his tea.  I ordered  the loose tea (of course, that is all I drink) in apricot flavor!  I am excited to get it!  The tea is also priced very reasonably, since loose tea can be brewed several times more than a tea bag.  The canister is also pretty enough to keep out on my counter, which is where I keep all my tea paraphernalia.  My tea habit is akin to an addiction....

Dear Mom, if you are reading this, and don't get me an awesome camera for Christmas, please purchase every loose tea available on Teaman's site.  (excluding the Earl Grey, since I can't drink that.)  On second thought, I would really like all of it even if you do get me the camera.  Love, your favorite daughter.

I pray everyone has a super blessed day today!  This is the day the Lord has made...rejoice!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winning Wednesdays - V*Dazzled!

My Granny once told me that a lady never leaves the house without earrings and lipstick. 

Guess I'm not a lady!  I'm lucky if I have time to put on makeup, and even luckier if I find a pair of earrings in the inside-zipper pouch of the diaper bag.  But, that doesn't mean I don't have a love for jewelry!  In fact, my great-grandfather was a gemologist, and also made very fine silver jewelry inset with gemstones.  Anyhow, I am getting off topic.

Take a look at these beautiful earrings that were sent to me!

Aren't the pretty!? I just love them!  These beautiful earrings were made by Victoria Ruhl, owner of V*Dazzled on Etsy! 

Victoria, only 26, began her business in August of 2010, though she has been making jewelry for over a year.  Looking at these earrings up close, however, you would think she has been doing it for a lifetime.  Victoria has taken a class in jewelry making, although I am wondering to myself how in the world she had time, because she is a grad student, studying to get her PhD in cancer biology!  Now, normally here I would insert a witty comment about over achievers, but will refrain this time!!

Victoria spends all day in the lab studying, then spends any free time she has designing and creating her jewelry.  Victoria says this is a great way to relax, and get her mind off school.  She lives in Massachusets, which I would venture to guess is quite beautiful this time of year!

One of my favorite sections on V*Dazzled is the bracelets for cancer.  Some of you know, but some don't, that both of my grandmothers had breast cancer.  Thankfully, by God's grace, they were both treatable.  I'm thankful for people like Victoria, who are "over-acheivers".....I mean, people like me certainly won't find a cure for cancer! 

V*Dazzled also offers necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, all of which are absolutely gorgeous, so it might be hard to pick a favorite!

Now, those beautiful blue earrings?  All mine.  However....Victoria also sent a pair just like them, in teal, and they are all yours to win!  Victoria was kind enough to send a pair for me, and a pair for you!   How in the world do you win these earrings?  So glad you asked!!!

1.)  You must be a follower of my blog. That gets you one entry.

2.)  Take a look at V*Dazzled on Etsy, then come back here and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite item in her shop was.  Its going to be hard because its all pretty!!!

3.)  Tweet, Facebook, or blog about this giveaway, and include a link to Victoria's site.  Leave an additional comment letting me know you did so!

Please leave a separate comment for each thing you do, that way I don't accidentally miss something!

The contest will last until midnight (Central Time) on Monday November 22rd, so tell everyone you know!  I will announce the winner on my Tea Time Tuesday post!  Good luck, and remember the one thing I always try to remind people of....if we all make even one purchase from a small business we can change the way our economy is!  This country is run by people like Victoria and me...and YOU.  When we are succesfull, so is our country!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Memory Mondays

Well, here it is the start of another week.  I am slightly annoyed, because my much loved weekends, filled with my man and my two kids is over!  But, I have lived to see another week, so for that I am grateful!

I have three little boys here with me today, from 21 months down to 15 months, and its been quite an eventful morning.  Who would have though that such little human beings could cause such destruction and chaos?! 

And then, there was potty training.  Be warned.  I am about to talk about pee.

Yes.  My two oldest (my son and one of the daycare kids) have started showing signs of being ready to potty train.  So, I have two little potties sitting in my bathroom, and a plethora of NASCAR, Superman, Spiderman and toy car undies piled on the counter. 

I also am armed with rags and carpet cleaner. 

We have successfully gone potty on the potty twice each.  Which would be considered a success except for the fact that we have also gone potty on the floor about 5 times each.  And instead of thinking "oh no, we should have gone on the potty!",  they laugh! 

Watching themselves pee on my floor makes them laugh until, well, they pee again.  It is crazy.  They are typical males, and are flat out obsessed with what they can make those little things do. 

I am trying to remind myself to enjoy the little things about my son being little for as long as I can.  One day, I am going to look back at this, laugh, and wonder where that little boy went.  I might even miss having to clean up pee off the floor.  I know I will miss hearing his giggle and hearing "OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!!!"  when he watches himself.  Its all so new to the boys, but one day, they are going to know it all.

I am getting very little accomplished today, as we are making a game of running to the potty every 15 minutes.  We sit there and sing or play or read books until something happens. 

A passerby would think I was insane, singing "lets make pee-pee, on the big boy po-o-tty" to the tune of Iron Man. 

I figure if I have to sing about pee at least I want a cool song stuck in my head.

So, have any of you had to potty train boys?  My daughter was so much easier.  Any tips or suggestions?!  I know its only day one, but I am close to laying newspaper down on my carpets!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Fantastic Friday...with SNOW!

What a fantastic Friday today is!  My bed was so comfy this morning.  I was snuggled up with my hubby and didn't want to get out of bed because it was cold!!!  But, I did drag  myself out and poured myself a nice cup of coffee.  I looked out the window and to my surprise...SNOW!  Not your typical first snow of the Texas Panhandle, either, which is usually nothing more than a dusting.  This snow is piling up!  I rushed to wake up my daughter, because nothing will get her out of bed faster than knowing there is snow on the ground! 

The bad news...my camera is junked.  It will not work at all.  Hmmm maybe a family member will see this and get me a snazzy new camera for Christmas!?  So, the only pictures I have are off my cell phone.  I apologize for the horrible pictures....but you get the idea! 

No, it isn't deep enough to play in.  Probably only an inch, maybe two.  But still snow!  The trees are beautifully flocked, and it reminds me how no painter, no photographer, can capture the beauty of God's creation.  Only God Himself can paint such a beautiful picture in His nature. 

Unfortunately, I have lived in this part of Texas long enough to know that by 3:00 pm this will most likely be melted off, and we will be trading out sweaters for t-shirts.  But it sure is pretty while is lasts!  And at least we get to see the snow.  My cousin lives down south, in San Antonio.  Cold to her is 50 degrees, and she had a friend who, at 20 years old, had never seen snow until she brought him up here once!  Can you imagine never seeing snow!?

Today in the daycare I have three boys, one my own, and a little girl.  Each of them is standing at the window in awe, constantly yelling their new word-of-the-day "SNOW!!!!!!  SNOW!!!  SNOW!!!!"

I also get to see my Mother-and Father-In-Law today.  They are driving down from Colorado to visit us this weekend, as Barb Wire Man turns 31.  Hehe!  31.  I take solice in the fact that he will always be older than me.

My little Flower and I will have to change our plans, however.  Our Girl Scout troop is selling nuts and candy to raise spring funds for our troop, and we were to go out selling today. 

"I'm sorry honey.  I am the assistant troop leader, and spend hours helping plan our meetings, but I am not going to go door to door selling nuts in the snow.  Call Nana!"

If anyone is interested in buying some nuts or candy, please contact me and we can work something out!  Mattie has set a personal goal to sell 50 items in the next two weeks, and our troop would like to sell 250 items.

And now, I must attend to the laundry.  That is the not-so-fantastic part of today.  Oh well. 

I hope everyone has a marvelously fantastic Friday! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 10 Uses for Bread on Thrifty Thursday

Good Thursday morning, and Happy Veteran's Day!  I want to take this moment to tell every Veteran THANK YOU!  I know more Veterans than I can count...from some good friends, to family members, my ex-husband to the husbands of my closest friends.  Unless we live that life, we can never truly understand the sacrifices of these men, women, and their families.  Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!!!

My little sister is coming today to help me bake bread and cinnamon rolls today, and that got me to thinking about all the great uses we have for bread.

I try to make most of the bread my family eats, but I do buy bread as well.  You see, the Barb Wire Man is probably one of the pickiest people I know, and really the only person I know who does not like homemade bread!  Strange, huh!?  So, I go ahead and buy bread for the sandwiches he takes to work each day.  That usually amounts to about 1 loaf a week at $1.25 (I buy the cheapest loaf I can find!  If you live close to a bread store, a loaf can often be purchased for 99 cents.)  If, however, I bought all the bread  my family and daycare kids ate, I would be buying no less than 4 loaves a week.  The kids love toast, sandwiches, French Toast, and I like to eat bread and butter as a snack with my tea. That is about $20 a month, and $240 a year. 

Instead, I make my own homemade bread, and no, I do not use a bread machine.  I am a firm believer that everyone should know how to make things the old-fashioned way.  Go ahead and use a bread machine, but at least know how to make bread without one!

Now, to really justify turning the oven on, and heating up the house, I make about 8 loaves at one time, and try to do all my baking on one day.  (It makes for a pretty long day!)  I also reserve a bit of the dough to make a homemade pizza dough! 

The recipe I use is an old Amish recipe.  (I will include it at the end of this post!)  If you want some good eats, friends, find an Amish or Mennonite cookbook.....most recipes are super simple, very thrifty and absolutely delicious!

Anyhow, before I get too far off track, I will explain my process to you.  I make the bread dough early in the morning, because it needs plenty of time to rise.  After it has risen once, separate into loaves, saving a good handful for pizza dough!  Once you reach this point, you can do one of two things....put the dough into pans to rise again, or shape into loaves and freeze the dough.  (I don't have much freezer space, so I don't do this often.)  When you are ready for fresh bread, put the frozen loaf into a pan, sit on the counter, and it will rise as it defrosts. 

Part of being frugal is thinking outside the box.  Bread is a great filler, and very versatile.  Here are a few hints for using bread.

1.) Stale bread makes the best French Toast, because it absorbs the milk/egg batter better.

2.) Make your own bread crumbs.  Cube stale bread, then bake in a 350 degree oven until completely dry.  Put into a large plastic sack, then beat the hell out of it until it is crumbs!  (This is also a great stress reliever, or a good project to help kids get the wiggles out!)

3.) Use bread torn into small pieces instead of crackers in your meatloaf.  This helps cut down on the amount of meat you need, and helps the meatloaf hold together quite nicely. 

4.) Give some to the kids to feed to the birds.  This will keep them occupied for awhile!

5.)  Make your own croutons!  Butter the bread and season to your liking.  Cube, and bake until crispy.

6.) Bread Pancakes.  I stumbled across this recipe (located after the bread recipe) while looking through my Granny's old cookbooks.  I have never tried it, so can't completely vouch for it, but see no reason why it wouldn't be good!

7.) Bread pudding!! One of my most favorite things in the world!  I wish I could share my Granny's recipe with you, but I can't.  She doesn't use recipes, so I was taught by watching her and hearing "You put about this much milk in.....then about this much cinnamon,.... then about this many eggs...nope, I think we need another egg....its done when it looks like this..... (these are always the best recipes!)

8.)  When making rice, sometimes all the water is not absorbed.  Put in a slice of bread and replace lid.  This will dry the rice and make it nice and fluffy.

9.) So you burned your rice?  I do it all the time.  ALL THE TIME.  Put a piece of bread in and allow to sit for awhile.  The burned taste will all but disappear.

10.) Use a bread slice to help pick up tiny shards of glass from a dropped glass.  This goes without saying, but please throw this slice away!  (I would like to think no one would try this, but we do have to warn people that coffee is hot, and not to stick their fingers in blenders these days.)

What is your favorite use for bread?  I have so many more, but I will stick with these 10 ideas.  I would love to hear what you use your bread for!  One side note here.  This homemade bread, once baked, does not last as long as store-bought, because there are no preservatives!

I hope everyone has a very blessed day today.  This is the day the Lord has made, so rejoice!

Amish Bread
2 quarter ounce packages of active dry yeast                           1/2 C Sugar
1 TBSP Sugar                                                                         1 C. Boiling water
1 C. warm water                                                                     2 1/2 C. warm water
1/4 C shortening                                                                      10 C or more of flour
2 TBSP salt

Dissolve yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water (careful not too hot!), and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine shortening, salt, sugar, and boiling water.  Mix together until shortening is dissolved, then add 2 1/2 C of additional warm water.  Now add the yeast mixture and blend thoroughly. 

Next, add 5 C. flour, gradually mixing and adding more flou until dough can no longer be mixed.  Knead the remaining dough for about 20 minutes to add any remaining flour (or extra flour if needed) until the dough becomes soft and is no longer sticky.  Allow to rise (in a very large bowl) for 2 hours.

Punch down dough, and separate into 4 large loaves or 8 small loaves, and place in bread pans.  Cover with a heavy cloth and let rise for an additional 2 hours. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until it makes a hollow noise when tapped.

Bread Pancakes
1 cup stale bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
4 Tablespoons melted margarine or oil.

Soak bread crumbs in water 10 minutes, add milk. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, add to bread mixture, add beaten eggs and margarine and mix well. Bake on lightly greased hot griddle. It makes about 12 cakes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winning Wednesdays Featuring Sporkful Designs!

Good Wednesday morning friends!  We are halfway through this week!  I don't know about you, but after my last few days I am ready for the weekend!!!

Today, I get to tell you about a really cool Etsy shop called Sporkful DesignsSporkful Designs offers photo cards, invitations, and MUCH more!

About the Shop Owner - Meg:
Meg is from a small town in Minnesota and enjoys spending time with family and friends.  Meg can often be found on the tennis courts, cuddled up with a good book, and going for an afternoon jog. 
One of Meg’s most favorite places to be is in any of the Minnesota State Parks.  She loves nature, hiking, and camping.  Although she often gets chomped up by mosquitoes, she still loves it!
Meg’s love for graphic design began when she joined the yearbook team for high school.  She furthered her education and graduated college with a major in Marketing and a minor in Graphic Design.

Why Meg Loves Handmade:
Meg loves handmade items for several reasons, but her favorite reason is the stories behind everything.  The story of the stay-at-home mom making crafts for extra cash, the story of someone raising money for their daughter to have a cat, and purchasing items from real people and helping real families (versus corporations) is what drives her to love handmade.

Why Meg Began Sporkful Designs:
Sporkful Designs recently began in the Fall of 2010.  Meg decided to finally give an Etsy shop a chance, because of her love for graphic design.  She wanted to create an awesome photo card for her and her boyfriend this year, and couldn’t decide which to pick from…so she decided to share her designs with others!

What You Can Find at Sporkful Designs:
Photo cards for holidays, birthday parties, baby announcements, baby showers, graduations, save the dates, address changes, announcements, invitations, thank yous , and so much more!
At Sporkful Designs, you purchase the image so you can print your image anywhere and print however many you would like!
Sporkful Designs also does custom graphic design work such as background removal and custom Etsy shop banners/avatars.  Custom work is always welcome!
Where to find Sporkful Designs:
Facebook (Fans get exclusive specials!):  www.facebook.com/sporkfuldesigns
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/sporkfuldesigns

I love Sporkful Designs, because Meg has the same passion as I do....handmade.  There are so many interesting stories you learn about people, from all over the world.  Maybe I am also a little biased, that she is in Minnesota.  (Barbed Wire Man's family is all in Minnesota.  So beautiful there, but being a Texas girl...I salute anyone who lives there.  I spent one week there last Thanksgiving, and all I can say is its too damn cold for me!!!)

But, I am sure you are wondering what awesome deal is in this for YOU today?!  You know you want one of her invitations.  You know that as soon as you saw those you mentally put your own picture in there and had ideas!  I already know what I am going to get!  Well, from Meg herself, here you go!

 "Savings for the Holidays!  Get $2 off your first custom photo card order for any occasion at http://www.sporkfuldesigns.etsy.com/!  Simply use the promo code: PLUMBLOG during the checkout and your paypal account will be reimbursed $2! Valid through 12/31/2010. Limit one promo code redemption per customer."

Take a few minutes, won't you, and check out this great Etsy shop!  I am a firm believer that if each of us supports small businesses like this, our economy will change!  Drop her a note!  Let her know what your favorite thing is...THEN ORDER IT!  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tea Time Tuesday

Do you ever just feel like your life is just spiraling down around you, and you are powerless to do anything about it?

Welcome to my world.

Last week and this week has been a real test of my patience, faith, and even some relationships.  The coming weeks will be further tests, no doubt.

If you ask my family and friends who knew me when I was younger, "patience" is not a word they would have used to describe me.  Two husbands, two kids, and a daycare later, I have extreme patience. 

However....I have ZERO patience for lies, gossip, and stupidity.  Those three things I just cannot tolerate!  I call things like I see them, and I speak my mind.  I wasn't always that way, but once I started....ahhhhh......a sense of relief came over me.  I started telling people "No".  I stopped pretending like I was interested in the gossip people told me, and most people stopped even bothering to tell me their gossip.  95% of gossip is a lie anyhow. 

But there are a few who actually resented that fact that I did not cater to their gossip.  A few who even went so far as to deceitfully bring me into their stories, and cause a lot of pain for alot of people.  After a confrontation of the people involved (because I refuse to sit on my haunches and allow people to destroy me like that) a couple of relationships were lost, but you know what?  Those aren't the type of relationships I want anyhow. 

I'm thankful I have a God in whom I can place my trust. 

My husband has been presented with a job opportunity, and we are just waiting on final words back from all involved.  In a way, its going to be great for our family. A lot of financial stress will be relieved, for certain.  But it is also going to test the determination of our family.  I am beyond thankful for the unbelievable amount of trust my husband and I have with each other, and the amount of love we have for each other.  We may be going days, if not weeks, without seeing each other, and that is going to be hard.  Really, really hard.  That man is my best friend.  But God has proven Himself to me time, after time, after time.  And I have to have faith that if this is His plan for us, He will see us through it.  I am also thankful that I won't be alone.  My closest friend will be right there with me, going through the same thing.  Our husbands will be going through the same things.  This will be a totally new experience for us!  It is scary and exciting at the same time.  I feel like I am walking into a pitch dark room, having to trust that there is a floor beneath me, and someone will switch the light on!

Thanks for letting me vent today!  I'm sure many of you know how I feel!  Tomorrow, I have an awesome Etsy shop to tell you about and can't wait!  And tomorrow, the week will be half over.....YAY!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Memory Monday, November 8, 2010

Good morning!  It has been quite an eventful week at our house, and uneventful at the same time.  We did a lot of nothing, just recovering from the wicked stomach bug that attack not only our family, but all the day care families as well.  Boy, I hate the stomach bug! 

The weekend was spent sterilizing every surface of my home!  My main thought was "I should have purchased stock in the bleach company!"

I did manage to get a few others things done, as well!  I cut out 5 aprons, and managed to get 3 sewn!  I have been sewing alot lately, as I find it quite relaxing.  (I hate cutting, though!)  As I sat there listening to the clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka of my machine, memories suddenly flooded over me.  I sat down to begin sewing, and realized "crap, I left the pin magnet on the ironing board.  So, I had to get right back up.  A picture flashed through my mind of how many times I saw my mom do the same exact thing!  I remember how she so often started doing alot of sewing about this time of year, and when she did, we were not allowed to see what she was making.  We always got something handmade from mom.  My favorite was when she made me a bed cover, pillowcase and pillow for my bedroom.  I actually still have that!

Sunday was an early morning for us.  Those of us with children do not get an extra hour of sleep.  Bright and early my son was up at 6:00...oy!  But I did have a nice L-O-N-G Sunday to accomplish alot!  I sat down with my daughter and showed her how to sew.  I don't think she cared for it much.  The idea of sewing fascinated her, but actually doing it really discouraged her.  Maybe she just needs to be a little older.  She did sew a couple hems on her apron, but I finished it up.  To hear her tell the story, though, she sewed it all by herself!!!!!

Yes, it was a wonderful, lazy day spent with my family.  I love days like those.  Today, it is back to the grind....

On Wednesday, I have a great business to tell you all about, called Sporkful Designs.  I can't wait to tell you all about it! 

I do have a question for you today, though, and would love as many opinions as possibly!  My Granny recently gave me an Amish cookbook, with the most delectably delightful homemade bread recipe in it.  How many of you make your own bread?  Would you buy frozen loaves of bread from someone for the holidays, if all you had to do was let it rise and bake?  A family member has considered doing this in her hometown, and I thought it was a great idea.  What are your opinions of this?

I hope you all have a blessed week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Running to the Store on Thrifty Thursday

The stomach bug has hit my family, and in turn, all my daycare kids, with a vengeance this week.  If there is a blessing in that, it is that ite waited to hit me until I was able to nurse my kids and husband back to health!  I am hoping I get this completely written and posted today! 

It did, however, remind me of a great way to loose track of how easy it is to spend way to much at the grocery store. 

It hit my daughter, so, I ran to the store to pick up crackers and Gatorade.  I left with more than that.   Then, I had to run back to the store a few hours later for a can of soup.  The next day, I had to run to the store for a thermometer (My girl dropped ours and it broke!), thermometer covers, anti-nausea medicine, more Gatorade, more soup and more crackers. 

See a pattern here!?

Making multiple trips to the grocery store for a few things here and there is a great way to blow your grocery budget without even realizing it!  Its easy to go for a few things, and leave with a few things more than you intended. 

I am no where near as good as the pro's, who can go to the grocery store loaded with coupons and come out with $200 worth of groceries having only paid a few bucks.  But, I can buy two weeks worth of groceries for my family of 4 for about $180.  And we don't eat lightly....I have been known to make a 9x13 pan full of casserole, give my kids and I one helping, and watch my husband eat every bit that is left!

There are two simple things I do every time I go to the store.  I make a menu, and a list, and I stick to it religiously.

On Fridays, I get out my spiral notebook in which I keep all my menus and lists.  I list out Sunday - Saturday two times, then write out the meals beside them.  I go through each meal and write down everything I need to make them.  Suppose the menu takes flour, and I already have flour.  I write it down anyway.  I may not need flour now, but I might later!

What I like about this approach is that it reminds me of leftovers I might otherwise forget.  Roast on Sunday?  Great!  On Monday, I will not have to buy anything for our meal, because I will use all the leftovers and turn them into Shepherd's Pie.  (I have to re-create leftovers because Barb Wire man refuses to eat them.  He just doesn't know he is eating them!)

I do cut coupons, and rarely buy name-brand anything.  There are something things that are better as name brand, but for the most part, they are all the same!

I am hoping to one day have 52 weeks worth of menus and shopping lists compiled.  Then, I can just grabbed  lists, rather than having to sit down each time!  That will be a time saver!  Hmmm, maybe I should turn it into a book!?

I hope all this makes sense, as I am simply not feeling well today.  How do you save money at the store?  What is your approach to grocery shopping?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winning Wednesdays

Today I am changing things up a little!  On Wednesdays, I will be doing reviews, and/or giveaways.  Not always will there be giveaways, so you will just have to tune in to find out!!

Today I want to tell you about a brand new Etsy shop!!!  Please join me in welcoming:

 LavinasRoom opened on November 1st of this year.  It  is a collective shop staffed by Victoria, and her daughter, Georgina. LaviniasRoom was named after Victoria's grandmother, who was an unbelievably talented woman.  She sewed clothing without patterns, and was a champion crocheter!  (Everyone knows that will immediately put a soft spot in my heart for them!) 

Victoria has been creating, painting and up-cycling for many years. As she says, "Being surrounded by so much brick-a-brack and odds and ends, it seemed natural to create to sell....and this is just the beginning!"  Victoria's daughter, Georgina, is also talented.

Currently, LavinasRoom is open only online, but they are based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  (How nice is must be to enjoy beautiful weather year round!)  There will be art work by both ladies included in this shop!

Take a look at a few things they already have to offer!

I want to encourage each of you to stop by and look at the beautiful things LaviniasRoom has to offer!  Leave them a note!  Shop!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tea Time Tuesday

Good morning!  Last night was a long one here at my house.  It is just 3 minutes until 9AM, and let me tell you, I am ready for a nap!  The dry air here is wreaking havoc with everyone in my family, especially with my little man and me.  Just about the time I got my coughing under control last night, his started acting up.  He could barely catch his breath.  At 12:30 I ended up having to change his jammies and sheets.  Then mine hit again!  Finally, at about 2:30 this morning I went to sleep on the couch so I didn't keep my poor hubby awake all night long.  Even still, I am reminded that today is a blessing!  I certainly don't deserve to even have this day, so I will make the most of it I can!

I am so excited to tell you all that I have some awesome giveaways coming up, as well as some information on some really neat Etsy businesses! 

Many of you know I cannot stand having to go to places like Walmart   Target  Big Huge We Have It All to shop.  If it were up to me, everything I buy would be hand- and home-made.  I try to support home-owned, mom and pop shops and much as possible.  I take pride in the fact that instead of funding some huge corporation by buying chemically diapers, my son wears cloth diapers made by a lady who stays at home with her children.  I am the mom who creates things with her hands and sells them, to make a few extra bucks for my family.  My husband is a semi-truck driver, who works long hours to support our family, so I do whatever I can to help him.  Folks, there are so many other families like mine out there, and I want to do as much as I can to help them out, just as they help me out.  Sometimes it is more expensive, but not always.  But for me, paying a little bit more to know that a mom is helping support her family is WORTH it to me.

There is a huge movement leaning towards buying all natural, hand-made, locally grown, etc., and I think it is just wonderful.  I hope that you will enjoy reading about these Etsy and Hyena Cart shops I will be reviewing in the near future.  With Christmas coming up soon, I hope you, too, will consider shopping on sites like http://www.etsy.com/, and http://www.hyenacart.com/.  There is a huge world out there away from Walmart, Target, and such!  Expand your horizons!

And now, I must go.  I myself have some Christmas orders to fill for some customers!  My fingers will be busily knitting for the next few weeks making shawls, blankets, and even a few scarves.  I do have quite a lot up on my website, so won't you start your shopping now?!  Take a visit, and let me know what you think!

I hope you all have a blessed day!  Remember....this IS the day that the Lord has Made....REJOICE and be glad in it!

Want Me To Write a Review for YOU!? What you need to know!

I love anything that is handmade, home made, made by work at home moms (WAHM), and the unconventional.  Really, I just love being able to purchase something that was lovingly made by someone, rather than in a factory in Lord knows where. 

At the risk of sounding a little Johnny Cash-ish, I'm for the little man!

Having said that, can I help YOU spread the word about your business? It really is STUPENDOUSLY easy.

1.) Let me write a review about you and your business!  I don't want to only promote you.  I want people to get a feel for why you make what you make.  Your inspiration.  Your goals.  And, of course, I WILL promote you as well!

2.) Feel free to send a giveaway for my readers.  I don't not expect you to, but if you want to, it will certainly help get traffic to your site.  In return, I will give you ONE FREE MONTH  of advertisement!  Your picture, which will be placed on the right-hand side of my blog, will take readers directly to your Etsy shop when clicked.

3.) Want two free months of advertising?  That is just as easy.  Send something to give away to my readers, and one for me!

4.)  If you want to give something away, please keep it between $10-$15.  I don't want you to go broke doing giveaways, and it needs to be valued about the same as what I charge to advertise. 

5.)  Tell all your friends about the review!  I will do the same!  I talk about my blog extensively on Etsy, Hyena Cart, my personal and business Facebook pages, and on Twitter.  It will be well publicized!

Unless it is a special giveaway, the rules will almost always be the same.  Each of the following is worth ONE entry:

  • Follow my Blog
  • Visit your site, then come back and comment telling me what their favorite item was
  • Follow me on Twitter
If you have a blog/twitter/facebook and want to get more followers, we can add that as a way to entries as well!

If you need more information, please contact me at:

So You Want To Be A Sponsor.....

Sponsorship are $10 per month, or $15 for two.  My blog, as of this moment, gets about 300 views per month, and is growing rapidly. 

I accept PayPal only - please contact me for email address. 

I will need a picture emailed to me, then will take care of the rest!  Please contact me if you are interested!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Memory Monday

I hope you all had a fun Halloween!  From the time I was about 7 on, my family did not celebrate Halloween.  Instead, we would attend Fall Festivals at church!  They were always so much fun!

But, I remember when we did go trick or treating.  I remember our street being packed with kids running around like crazy.   There were more people than you could count, and no moms went with us, either!  As long as we were home by the time we were told. 

Having a crafty seamstress mom and grandma, we always had some rockin' Halloween costumes. I was Raggedy Ann one year and looked just like her!  But my favorite costume of all times was one not many people could figure out.  When I was 14 or so I dressed up as Martin Luther, complete with the bald spot and 95 Thesis.  No one put it together that Halloween is also Reformation Day, but I sure thought it was creative!

 I don't usually let my little ones go trick or treating, either, unless it is to our friends' houses.  This year, I decided that I was going to let them, because the weather was just beautiful.  Little Man was going as "The Highway Man".  I sewed yellow stripes to his black sweatsuit, then hot glued some toy cars to it!  He hated it.  You see, my son loves toy cars and trucks so much that he would choose them over food.  So he walked around all night crying for his "tuck" and trying to rip it off.  My little Flower was to go as a tornado.  We sewed individual strips of yarn to her gray sweatshirt and tied toys horses, barbies, cars, trees and house to the ends of some.  Then, when she spun around she looked like a tornado.  I stayed up LATE finishing her costume, because as you can imagine, sewing individual pieces of yarn is time consuming. 

Well, I was just about to go to bed when I heard a faint "MOMMY!" coming out of her room.  Well, hello stomach bug, goodbye Halloween.  My poor girl was up all night throwing up; consequently I was up all night.  Mattie was devastated.  The one time mommy was going to take them begging for candy and she got sick!  So, I put on my best old lady costume and walked around the house like that all day to try to cheer her up. 

We did open the door for a few trick or treaters, but it ended up making me frustrated.  Hardly any actually said "trick or treat", they just stuck their buckets out at me.  Even fewer said "thank you", which made me want to reach in and take the candy back.  I am also certain that there were lots of moms who, rather than getting their kids costumes, threw a few mis-matched pieces of clothing on them and pretended. 

But the kicker was my last trick or treaters of the night.  Two girls and a young man....had to be at least 15.  all three had IPods in their hands, ear buds in their ears.  Without so much as looking at me, the boy handed me his bucket.  That was it.  So, I gave the three of them 1 piece of candy and about 10 business cards. 

I turned the light out after that, because I was just mad.  Parents.....really?  Is this what you taught them to do!?

Last year I had a "last straw" episode too.  It was when a 13 year old came up to the door in a princess costume to trick or treat....and she was pregnant.  Oy.

But, as the Barb Wire Man reminded me, there is a plus side to all this.  We still have lots of candy left, and it just happens to be our favorite!