Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quilter's Lotion Bar Giveaway - THE WINNER

I did a random number generator which came up:

True Random Number Generator 8

PatinTenn is the winner of the lotion bar! Congrats! Please send me an email through the link on my profile page to let me know where to send your lotion bar.

Thanks everyone for visiting and entering!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Starting School

On April 6th I finally get to start school for Medical Office Technology! This is an area that I've wanted to work in for a long, long time. In 2006, when I was laid off, I applied through a worker retraining program and thought I was set to go. I took the test, got unemployment to approve my attendance at school, and had financial aid lined up. At the last minute the financial aid wasn't available in time for me to start classes. I was going to have to pay over $800 up front and then be reimbursed. I didn't have the money so I withdrew from classes.

I went to work and thought I wouldn't need to go to school. My job felt secure and everything seemed ok. Last May I got laid off and have been looking for work ever since. Since the economy has gotten so bad and the jobs are so scarce (the unemployment rate in our county is 9.9%) I decided to look into school again. I kept reading that one of the growth industries is healthcare. So I started the process all over again, praying about it, and seeking God's will.

It has been very clear to me that, this time, God is truly opening doors for me to go! I thought I had all the paperwork I needed from unemployment. I just kept having this feeling that something wasn't right - God's nudging. Come to find out there is a whole packet and process that I had to go through. I had to see a counselor at unemployment and she sent a referral to the department that approves the schooling. This will expedite the paperwork for me.

Today I went to take the entrance exam, check on financial aid, and see my advisor. When I got to the testing department they said that I didn't need to take the test as my 2006 grades were still good! Praise God! I checked on financial aid and it is still being processed - more praying needed there. I met with my advisor and found out that some of the classes I need aren't offered this quarter or in summer. I was a little bummed about that as I was hoping to be done by Fall and ready to look for work. As it turns out now I won't be done until November. I will be certified to work in a medical office so I can look for work. However, there's one class that I won't be able to get until Winter quarter in order to be certifed to work in a hospital. I can always do that as a night class while I work. That's ok too - it's all in God's plan.

I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This time next year I will be all done with school and who knows where God will have led me. It's exciting to think about what the future holds!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

I was reading Woman's Day while waiting for my daughter in the doctor's office. I came across this recipe for White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet. It was in a section of thrifty recipes, makes 8 servings and costs about $1.18 per serving. I stopped at the store tonight and got the ingredients. I had to come home and Google what Cassoulet means. It's a French bean stew. This recipe was very easy and it was so good! Very hearty and inexpensive - one bowl will fill you up. I served it with French bread. The recipe calls for Italian Sausage but I used Bratwurst instead and skipped the crumb topping due to time. Enjoy!

White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

2 tsp oil
3 links (10 oz) Italian sausage or Bratwurst
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cans (15.5 oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1⁄2 cup water
1 tsp dried thyme leaves

Seasoned Crumb Topping
2 tsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
2 Tbsp each grated Parmesan and chopped parsley


1. Heat oven to 375ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

2. Heat oil in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Brown sausages on all sides until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to plate.

3. In fat remaining in saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes.

4. Cut sausages into 1⁄4-in.-thick slices. Add sausages, beans, tomatoes and their juices, water and thyme to saucepan. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until heated through and flavors are blended.

5. Topping: Toss oil and garlic with crumbs, spread on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, tossing once, until toasted. Cool slightly; stir in Parmesan and parsley. Serve Topping with cassoulet.

My New Banner

How do you like my new banner? I've been wanting a custom one for so long. I entered a contest on Carol's blog and I won!! This is my first contest win.

Carol was such a sweetie to work with. She did about 3 edits to get it just like I wanted it. I gave her my picture but everything else she came up with. It just reflects my personality and everything that I love - down to the lilacs in the pitcher!!

Thank you so much Carol! I love what you did!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quilter's Lotion Bar Giveaway

It's time for a giveaway! I haven't done one forever. I'm sure by now your skin is getting as dry as mine - what with the drying indoor heat and the cold outside. You need a lotion bar for your hands, feet, elbows, and anywhere else you have dry patches!

This lotion bar is not just for quilter's, it's for anyone with dry skin. It's non-greasy and won't stain fabric or paper. If you work in an office or handle a lot of paper you need this too! Comes in oatmeal, milk & honey or natural - you choose which scent you want.

All you have to do is leave a comment and mention my giveaway on your blog or Twitter with a link back to this post! Drawing will be Saturday, February 28th at 6 PM!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Surprise

Happy Valentine's Day! I'll have to admit that, for me, it was kind of a depressing day. No one in my house even acknowledged it - no cards, no candy, no flowers. It hurts when you spend most of your time thinking of others and giving to them. I didn't want anything spectacular, just someone letting me know that they cared. I spent most of the day in my room reading and feeling sorry for myself. About 6:30 someone knocked on the door and Stephany answered. I came out of my room to ask who it was and Steph came up the stairs carrying this basket filled with my favorite goodies. She said that Kim had stopped by to leave this for me.

There's a story behind the Pepsi and Snickers. Last night I asked for Pepsi and Snickers. Instead I got Shasta Cola and an apple pie. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but I had my mouth all set for the Pepsi and Snickers. An apple pie just doesn't cut it when your mouth is set for chocolate.

I had told Kim earlier in the day, in an email, about my Valentine's Day being uneventful. This gift means more to me than anything because it came from a special friend who took to the time share one of her lovely roses (her hubby gave her a dozen), make the basket, and deliver it to my door. She made sure that I got my Pepsi and Snickers!!

I love you bunches Kim - you made my day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Does This Happen To You???

You get all ready to do the dishes. You start running a sink of warm soapy water. You put your hands in the warm soapy water. Then you have to run to the bathroom!! Happens to me on a daily basis! Age has nothing to do with it because I've always been this way. Although I will admit now that I'm older I have to run a little faster to get there in time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Cool Is This?

Stephany, my 14 year old, has a constant stream of kids over. They are just so amazed that her mom makes soap, lip balm, and lotion bars. If I'm working on a new recipe then she and her friends get to be my guinea pigs. A couple of weeks ago it was lip balm - I had 6 teenagers sitting in my living room putting lip balm on their lips. They were so funny.

I had given them all a push-up lotion bar a while back when I was experimenting. One of Steph's friends came up to me today and said that she has eczema and dry skin on her arms very badly. She said that she tries to use lotion but it makes her itch. She had started using the lotion bar that I gave her and it completely cleared up her arms!! No more itch! How cool is that? That's what makes all this so satisfying - knowing that someone is helped with a skin problem or finds a bit of pleasure in a bar of soap or a lotion bar! I love what I do!