Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's On My Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

This month I concentrated on reading as many of my library books as possible so that I can start working through the Seattle to-sort pile. My library stack is now quite small! I even completed several books from the to-sort pile (marked below with a *).

Bible - I am so close to finishing the Old Testament! I can't wait to start reading the New Testament.
  • Jeremiah 15-52
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah

Children's literature

Christian Fiction


  • Nodame Cantabile V.1*
  • Nodame Cantabile V.2*
  • Nodame Cantabile V.3*


  • Fat Quarter Quilts by M'Liss Rae Hawley - 2 stars only because I didn't care for any of the quilt designs. It might be a great book for quilters who have a different taste in quilts.

Secular Fiction

April will be filled with books from The Pile. [Cue ominous music here]

The Pile

Happy reading!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Orange Tofu

We are trying a few new recipes this week and are really excited about them! Last night we made Snazzy Baked Orange Tofu, pictured above. It was missing something but I really liked the idea of using mandarin oranges instead of orange juice concentrate. I'm still in search of the perfect orange tofu recipe!

The rest of the week:
Chili Mac - new recipe
Peanut Chicken Broccoli - new recipe, we're subbing tofu for the chicken
Pasta and garlic bread
Japanese night – sushi, gyoza, udon noodles
Saturday night pizza!

Part of my moving prep is an attempt to use some of the ingredients that been sitting in my pantry for months.

Pumpkin pie

The pumpkin pie used up a pie crust, a can of pumpkin pie filling I bought on accident (thinking it was just canned pumpkin), and a box of silken tofu. Then I was in the mood to bake something so baked a loaf of whole wheat bread. Yum!

No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

Happy cooking!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

This Week's Memory Text - Zephaniah 3:17

As I read through the Old Testament, I am finding more and more promises that would be wonderful to memorize. When I find a text, I jot it down in my notes and then each week I pick one. This week, I'm memorizing a promise I read just this morning!

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing

Zephaniah 3:17.

It's such a beautiful promise. The Lord is in our midst! He is here, not distant. And He will save.

Amen! Praise the Lord!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Image: Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This morning, we submitted our final payment to the credit card company. We are credit card and car loan debt free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am absolutely ecstatic. We have been working toward this day for six years and finally reached our goal. We refuse to ever again pay interest on another credit card or car loan. Never again will we throw our money down the toilet.

We paid off $42,389.02. That is insane! Out of that, $28,064 was credit card debt. Twenty eight thousand dollars!! We could have bought an amazing car for that amount of money or a huge chunk of a house. We could have toured Europe!

What do we have to show for it? Not much. We financed most of our wedding costs on a credit card. Food. Books. CDs. A very rare cash advance to pay another credit card bill. All of it was a waste of money. I have no idea how much money it took to pay off that $28,000. I didn't keep track of how much money we paid in interest, just the initial balances. Knowing how much money we paid in interest over the life of the credit cards would be depressing. I just don't want to know. I've learned my lesson.

We used Dave Ramsey's principles to guide our journey. First we saved up a $1,000 emergency fund to cover any real emergencies. We used it several times and were always grateful it was there. Then we started paying off our smallest balance debt, throwing as much money at it as possible. When that was paid off, we took the minimum payment from the first debt and rolled it into the second debt, plus threw as much money at the debt as possible. Rinse and repeat until we finally paid off the last credit card company.

Now we can finally start saving up for our move! We're leaving Arizona in 93 days. Once we arrive in Seattle, we'll split our money between building up a bigger savings account and buying new furniture. After saving up six month's of living expenses, we'll start paying off our student loans ($41,596.16 left to go).

We are so excited! Our lifestyle does not change much because our credit cards are gone. We will still be living very simply, paying off the rest of the money we borrowed during college. The one thing we do want to change is to institute a date night and some (just a little bit) of fun money. We rarely spend any money other than groceries and bills. It would be nice to buy a new book or some nice quilting fabric once in awhile, of course fully paid in cash.

Image: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

D9P quilt - completed!

I am very happy to say that my Double 9 Patch quilt is now complete!



Bruno inspecting my work

Folded and ready to go

This quilt was a struggle but I learned a ton. Back at the beginning, I found that not all of the fabric from the church was 100% cotton. I'm not ready to mix fabrics yet and had to give up using all of the donations. Instead, I went to Joann Fabrics and purchased a lot of my own fabric to incorporate into the quilt.

I still have a lot to learn about color and value! My quilting and piecing skills improved but I can see areas that definitely need work.

Overall, I'm happy to be done and looking forward to the next project! I've already started sewing together the blocks for my denim/flannel lap quilt. While I'm excited to work on a quilt for me I should have worked on this quilt in the fall when it would have been more needed! I'll finish it just in time for the hot Arizona weather.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Week's Memory Text - Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations is another book I never thought I'd be memorizing texts from. However, when I read this passage, it really spoke to me.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23

The Lord's mercies are new every morning. What a relief! I fall short of His glory every day and have to ask for forgiveness. This text promises that He will give new mercies every morning.

Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kitty Training

I am still very slowly trying to get both of my cats comfortable with the idea of being inside a kitty carrier. I so desperately want to reduce both their stress levels and mine when we make the long drive to Seattle in June.

Both cats love taking naps in the carrier when the door is off. Today I attached the door to the newest carrier and tied it open. Then I sat back and watched to see what would happen.

She wouldn't lie down, but at least she crawled inside to take a look!

She's not sure what to think...

And, after about a minute and a half, she decided she'd had enough.

My other cat hasn't touched the carrier since I added the door. Hopefully we'll have better luck tomorrow!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sixty diamond minutes

Lost, between sunrise and sunset,
One golden hour, set with sixty diamond minutes.
No reward is offered, for it is gone forever.

Little Town on the Prairie,
a rephrase of a Horace Mann quote

I read the above quote this morning and it's been on my mind all day. Time really is valuable and we're each gifted with the same amount. It's how we use that time that matters.

Am I using my time wisely? Thoughts to ponder.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Comment changes

I think I've made some good changes to commenting, but please let me know if this is worse than it was before.

I turned off the word verification and turned on OpenID so that I don't receive the anonymous spam comments. If you have problems commenting now but didn't before, please send me an email. My email address is always available on the right side of the blog.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

D9P quilting completed

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I am finally able to join in at WIP Wednesday. I've been wanting to join ever since I found the link up but didn't have anything to show.

Quilting complete!

I finally finished the quilting on my Double 9 Patch quilt. This is only the third quilt that I've machine quilted and it's the biggest one so far. It was definitely a learning experience. Half way through the quilt, I finally figured out how to start and end my quilting lines without leaving a big knot on the back of the quilt.

Quilt Front

Surprisingly, the quilt does lay flatter than it shows in this photo. I was surprised to have no major bunches in the quilting and I think it's a case of beginner's luck! Either that or because I went overboard and used spray binding AND pinned the entire quilt.

Quilt Back

For the back, I made a mistake which I think is due to not enough pinning in the border. The pieced strip goes really crooked on the top of the quilt and it looks funny. You can kind of see it in this photo but it's more obvious up close.

Binding Selection

For the binding, I am using this floral fabric that is used in the center of each of the 9 patch blocks. I think it'll work fairly well. Tomorrow I'll be sewing strips together to make the binding long enough to go around the entire quilt. I had a scare this afternoon when I went looking for the leftover purple fabric! I only found half of it and was about a foot short. Thankfully, I dumped out a bag of fabric and found another half yard folded on the bottom. Whew! If I hadn't found the other fabric, I'm not sure which print I would have used.

I can't wait to be done with this quilt and move on to my next one! I don't yet know what quilt pattern I will choose, but I will have fun looking.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday


I'm really excited about some of my dinner plans this week. I'm going to try a few new recipes! The past several weeks we've been eating a very simple menu but this week I wanted to mix things up a bit.

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - Fajitas (bell pepper, mushrooms, onions) with cilantro lime rice and black beans

Wednesday - Hearty One-Pot Meal Miso Soup and sushi (cucumber and avocado) - Soup is a new recipe.

Thursday - Pasta and garlic bread

Friday - Basil/Lemongrass Tofu with Mushroom/Cashew Fried Noodles - New recipe.

Sabbath - Homemade pizza with pineapples, mushrooms, and black olives

Sunday - Stroganoff

Now I need to workout so that I can start making dinner. Happy eating!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Memory Text - 1 Samuel 12:24

I never thought I would be memorizing a text from 1 Samuel. But it seems really applicable right now.

Only fear the Lord,
and serve Him in truth with all your heart;
for consider what great things He has done for you

1 Samuel 12:24.

God has done so many great things for us! In return, I want to serve him with all my heart. I want Him to be foremost in my life. I want to obey Him and praise Him.

God is good!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my drawing on Leap Day! I used random.org to pick a winner.

Comment 22 was...

Nancy R.!

Congratulations Nancy!

The drawing was fun. Hopefully I have the opportunity to hold another one soon.