Saturday, November 28, 2009

Badge of honor

Complete! Well, almost...

I finished my 50,000 words just before midnight!! Woohoo! My novel isn't quite done yet, but I'm happy.

I'm in the middle of writing about the passover. They still have to eat the lamb and the firstborn sons of the Egyptians will die. :( Then the Hebrews will be allowed to leave Egypt. I haven't decided if I'm going to end the story there or if I will continue until the Red Sea crossing.

I finished two days early after trailing behind schedule for the last three weeks! I'm really excited about having finished the challenge this year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Disappearing for a couple days

Chugging along on my novel. I've written 80% (40,000 words) of it and have to finish by Monday at midnight. Blog posts will probably be very sparse until then.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and a very blessed Sabbath!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for:

  • My wonderful husband
  • This past year of being a housewife
  • Time to study the word of God
  • The Sabbath each week
  • My health
  • Hubby's job
  • Long Scrabble games

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him:
talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name:
let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD, and his strength:
seek his face evermore.
Remember his marvelous works that he hath done;
his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
ye seed of Abraham his servant,
ye children of Jacob his chosen.
Psalm 105:1-6

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, what a day. I am so frazzled that I have no idea what to post.

My novel is up to 36,211 words. If I work really hard for the next six days, I know I can finish on time.

Dinner is cooking. Yeah, we're eating late.

I still have to make a pumpkin pie tonight. Thankfully it's a cold pie and thus doesn't need to bake. Blend and refrigerate.

The house is semi-clean. I'm glad that we're going to someone's house instead of having people over.

Some year, hubby and I are going to host a Thanksgiving meal. I look forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Falling behind

How did I get so far behind? Thanksgiving is in two days and I have to make a pie from scratch. Hubby has a dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon so we will be away from home for half the day. And I haven't even done my shopping yet!

I'm way behind on my novel. I should be approaching 40,000 words today and I'm just over 31,000. Being sick really threw me out of whack and now I'm desperately trying to play catch up. I know I can reach 50,000 before November 30th but I have to write a lot every day in order to do it.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small healthy changes

Every day, I try to find some small way to improve our diet or to get some exercise. Several weeks ago, I found a way to cook onions without frying them. Today, I wanted to see if I could cook mushrooms the same way. I tossed a slice of mushroom into the pan with my onions and cooked like normal. After the onions were cooked, I bit into my mushroom. Success! I think the mushroom tasted as good, if not better, than when I fry them.

Earlier this week, I made pumpkin oatmeal to finish off my first fresh pumpkin. It turned out well, though I need to use less allspice and nutmeg next time. I'm guessing the recipe only needs 1/4 tsp of each.

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal

3 servings of oatmeal
1/2 c. + 2 T. fresh pumpkin, cooked and blended (because that's what I had left)
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. nutmeg

1. Cook oatmeal according to directions.

2. Add pumpkin and spices. Stir.

3. Eat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Still sick

I am freezing cold and my body aches. Nothing is comfortable, whether I'm sitting or walking or laying down. At least I had time to catch up on some reading. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Feel So Good

I already took a three hour nap this evening. I have a sore throat and NO energy. Please don't let me be sick. :( It's been a long time, a year maybe?, since I've been sick.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

At the half way point

Just shy of half way finished on day 15 of 30.

Day 1 - 4,065 words
Day 2 - 4,735 words
Day 3 - 768 words
Day 4 - 1,016 words
Day 5 - 2,871 words
Day 6 - 0 words
Day 7 - 0 words
Day 8 - 557 words
Day 9 - 0 words
Day 10 - 1,428 words
Day 11 - 1,995 words
Day 12 - 1,680 words
Day 13 - 1,907 words
Day 14 - 0 words
Day 15 - 3,126 words

Running tally - 24,148 words

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

There is no phrase to describe how I've felt about my latest kitchen adventures other than "tickled pink." Over the last two days, every time I step into the kitchen, I have been absolutely tickled pink. I tried something new and it was successful!

We found painted pie pumpkins on clearance the day after Halloween. I bought two. On Wednesday, I decided it was time to see if I could cook a pumpkin correctly.

First I cut my pumpkin in half and scooped out all the seeds. I felt like I was a kid again, playing in the slimy seeds and innards of a pumpkin. Picking out all the seeds by hand was easy. Then I started the more difficult process of scraping out all of the membrane.

I put the pumpkin halves face down in a baking pan and added 1/2 inch of water. Then I baked the pumpkin at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

Here's what it looked like after being baked:

After it cooled off a bit, I scraped it out of the shell, which was a very simple matter of peeling off the shell:

I threw the cooked pumpkin in the food processor:

I ran out of time to make pumpkin pie so I refrigerated the pumpkin overnight. Yesterday morning, I started making pie (this is my own recipe).

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

2 c. pumpkin, cooked and blended
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
12 oz. tofu, drained and blended

1. Cream the pumpkin and sugar together.

2. Add spices and tofu.

3. Cook at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Next time I'm going to increase the cinnamon and possibly the nutmeg. The pie turned out really well but tasted like it needed a bit more spice. I just need to learn to make pie crusts and then the whole pie will be homemade!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Miracle

I visited the library this evening and came home with fewer books than I returned. That never happens! And it should never happen again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nano update

I figured it was time for an update on my novel. I currently have 32% of it written. I'm a little bit behind my set schedule but I'm happy with my progress.

So far it's flowing pretty well. I was planning on writing from the perspective of two characters. However, doing the actual writing, I'm only finding the voice for one character. I wrote one scene from the other planned character so during the rewrite, I will either have to take out the second character or add numerous scenes from his perspective. Right now, I'm thinking I'll just write about the one character I've been working on.

I'm almost a third done with the 50,000 words but I'm still writing about the second plague. If all the other events in the novel take this many words to write, I'll have plenty of material through the end of November!

It's been interesting writing about the plagues and how God worked in Egypt. I really wonder how I would have lived during that time period, especially when there is no record of God communicating with His people after Joseph died. The Israelites were in Egypt for several hundred years before they were allowed to leave. Several generations would have been born and died since God communicated with Joseph through his dreams. That's not to say God was quiet during those years but we have no record of Him communicating with anyone until Moses was called to the burning bush.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I haven't intentionally neglected my blog. It has been an insane few days.

Last Thursday, my brother and his wife came into town and stayed with us. On Friday, I was running errands with them and then we picked up my niece. All three of them stayed with us until late Sunday morning.

On Friday night, we went to my mom's house for dinner. Sabbath morning, hubby and I went to church while my brother, his wife, and daughter went to the science museum. Then we all ate a late lunch together. On Saturday night, my mother and her boyfriend came over for dinner and I made homemade pizza.

I spent a lot of time cooking over the weekend. From scratch pancakes, sub sandwiches, homemade pizza (including the crust), cinnamon rolls from scratch for the first time ever, and scrambled eggs. There was a TON of dishes even though we ate from paper plates most of the weekend. My kitchen finally was completely cleaned today.

Yesterday was spent mostly at the church. I didn't get home until 3:30 in the afternoon. My quilt top is coming along nicely! I finished all of my blocks and sewed about half the sashing. I have another hour or so of work to do at home before the next meeting (next month) and then we'll be doing the border. I'm so excited! The church let me borrow the rotary cutter and the mat so I can do some quilting at home without having to struggle with scissors.

Because the women's ministries leader was nice enough to loan me the church's rotary cutter, she also said I could use it for a personal project if I wanted to attempt my own quilt or sewing project. I don't think we can afford to buy material for a quilt but I am going to sew up something for a Christmas present. Also, hubby said we could buy the material for me to make a skirt. I only have two and they only each match one top. I want to find a pretty brown material so that I can wear the skirt with multiple tops.

My goal is to eventually switch over to wearing skirts full time but I have to build up my wardrobe for that. Since we're still trying to pay off credit card debt, I can only justify spending so much money on things other than bills... We'll see what I can find on sale. I really want to make this skirt and this apron.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Failures and Successes

In the past week, I've had one kitchen failure and one tremendous success.

I tried to resurrect the bread dough I had forgotten to add yeast to. The bread raised a little bit but not enough to save it. Also, the loaf ended up entirely too dense and didn't cook in the middle. It was a complete failure. Next time I'll make sure to add yeast.

I also found a new method of frying onions. My weight fluctuates because my motivation to be healthy fluctuates. I'm trying to make small changes to my food preparation that will help my body in small ways. Happy Herbivore posted a recipe in which she talked about cooking onions in a skillet using water.

It worked!

Using water instead of oil lowers my fat intake (specifically the trans fats created from heating oil) and it tastes just as good as traditional frying methods. I just filled a skillet with water, heated it on high to boiling, added onions, stirred, and cooked for 4 minutes. That's it! I've done this twice and the first time I had to add some water because it all cooked off before the onions were done. But it worked!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Done! Complete! Finished!

I interrupt this normally scheduled Nano time to bring the following important announcement:

We have paid off our lowest balance credit card!!!

I sent the final payment this morning.

We have paid $1,589.25 since August 30th. Our goal was to pay off this card before November 30th and we are 4 weeks early. Wahoo!!!!

If we had paid only the minimums, it would have taken 60 months to pay off this card. Under our current interest rate, we would have paid $403 in interest over the next 60 months. The $403 doesn't even include the hike in interest that our credit card recently informed us about. Instead, we paid $21.23, for a savings of $381.77.

Hubby and I both need to visit the dentist ($95 each just for an exam and x-rays!) and we're also planning on diverting some of our snowball into savings. We are very gun shy about employment as we've suffered several layoffs in the past 18 months and would like to build up a bigger emergency fund. So we'll be taking a few days to discuss our next financial goal and then I'll post about what's next.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kitchen mishaps

Letting myself get pulled in too many directions is not a good idea.

Today I've been doing laundry, which of course means I have to line dry everything. That takes longer. I've done most of the dishes, except the ones I dirtied for lunch and cooking. I mixed up dough for a loaf of bread. And in the middle of all that, I'm working on my novel (6,600 words so far!).

The problem with jumping from one thing to another is that sometimes things don't get done properly because I'm not paying enough attention. What was the problem today? I left the yeast out of my bread and didn't realize it until after the rising time. Oops. That was the last of my whole wheat flour, too. I can't buy any more until Friday.

I'm going to attempt something that probably won't work. I just added the yeast to the dough, mixed it up really well, and I'm going to let it sit for an hour and see what happens. The worst that will happen is that it won't rise and I've wasted a tablespoon of yeast. I've made this recipe once before, a no knead whole wheat bread that tasted really good. I made this one Italian style by adding some spices. Maybe we'll get to try it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One. More. Week.

$699.82 starting balance
- $256.59 snowball payment
+ $8.67 interest
- $164.00 contract paycheck

= $287.90 current balance (82% paid)

Total paid in October: $999.37 If I had realized we were that close to an even thousand, I would have found the extra 63 cents! Oh, well.

I didn't even realize we could find that much money to send the credit card company. A good portion of that money is from my contract job so it's too bad that my hours are so unpredictable. It will be hard to duplicate months like October because I can't predict my hours and I am paid a month after completing the work.

Woohoo!! Another week and that credit card will be gone! Adios. Sayonara. We don't ever want to see you again!

We've also reached another milestone. Our consumer debt is now 50% paid. We owe about $21,000 but we've paid just over $21,000. The numbers are way too big and each month doesn't make much of a dent. But we're at the half way point and are slowly chipping away at it!