Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away? Not For Me!

I used to say "Well, I may be fat, but at least I'm healthy."

I can't seem to say that anymore. It seems like every other week, I'm at some doctor for something.

I suppose it all started back in January. I had been experiencing slight chest pains for the at least a month or so before January. But it never seemed THAT bad. Plus, I had no health insurance, and I was afraid if I did go to the hospital, and get checked out, only to find out it was nothing, that I would be stuck with a gigantic bill, just to tell me that I was fine. So I ignored it.

Then it was New Years. It seemed worse. But things were pretty stressful on the home front around that time too, so I chalked it up to just a reaction to that. Then Mr. Simple got a new job, and I would be able to have health insurance again. He would start on January 18th. It seemed better for a few days. Then it was January 16th. Definitely worse. By the 17th, it was no longer something that I could ignore. It was definite chest pain. I had pain in my shoulder and down my arm. My jaw hurt. But my health insurance wouldn't kick in until the next day. I laid in bed all day and all night. And hoped. And prayed.

I got up early the next morning and drove myself to the hospital. I walked in the emergency room doors and went to the desk. The person asked what my symptoms were and I said that I was having chest pain. And then there was a flurry of activity. I was taken directly to a room, and hooked up to an EKG machine, I was given a nitro pill, they were trying to take blood and start and IV, all while they were asking question after question. When did it start? What did it feel like? How would I rate my pain? Did I have any family history of heart problems?

And when I said Yes, my dad had his first heart attack at 38, it was decided that I would be staying at least overnight. They took me up to the Cardiac Care Unit and over the next 12 hours, I had a number of tests. And one by one, the results started coming in. By the next morning, the doctors said that I was all right. I had no blockage, my heart rate was fine, even my cholesterol level was o.k. The doctors said that I did the right thing coming in because of my family history and my symptoms. They weren't sure what the problem was exactly - could be stress, could be gall bladder, but for right now, my heart seemed o.k. It was recommended that I lose weight, and I told my dr. that I had been planning on it anyway, and that I would do it. (Which I did. But it took packing on another 15-20 pounds and another two months before I started. I know. I'm an idiot.)

In February, I went to the dr. because I had a sinus infection and pink eye. He mentioned something about allergies and I said that I hadn't had any problems with allergies as a child, but the past few years, I had had lots of nasal/respiratory problems. He said I should keep an eye on it. I was sick again in April. And then I spent ALL summer hacking. Or stuffed up. Or both. And then I got another sinus infection. Oh, and pink eye another couple times in there too. And another bad one in September. I was put on antibiotics in September. And prednisone. I felt better for a few days. And then worse. So I called an allergist and made an appointment. I had my appointment in the middle of October. Diagnosis: Allergic to dust mites, pet dander, grain pollen, ash trees. Allergic to coconut and probably allergic to bees/wasps/hornets, etc. and probably some other foods.

And then there is the Meniere's. I had slight problems with vertigo over the summer, but thought it was related to my respiratory problems, or because I was working out in the heat, etc. Then I had a major episode in August. Then I started to have a feeling of fullness in my right ear. Nobody could figure out what was wrong, or if I was connected to my other nasal/respiratory problems that I was having at the time. I went to a Prompt Care dr. about it, my regular dr., and finally an ENT, who was able to diagnose me with Meniere's right away. I've been back twice now to see the ENT. My hearing loss is progressing quicker than he anticipated, and I'm experiencing more vertigo than I did over the summer. But there isn't any cure for Meniere's, so the ENT is just trying to help me manage my symptoms.

And then I'm having some issues that I needed to see my GYN about, but I'll keep the specifics of that to myself. But it was just one more doctor, one more medical problem that I've had to deal with this year.

So now although I'm not as fat, I'm not as healthy either. But don't worry, my plan isn't to gain weight to see if I feel better. I am still exercising most days and still eating healthy most days. And hoping. And praying. That one day, I will be thin AND healthy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

O.K., if anybody wants to know what to get me for Christmas?

THIS is what I want.

To go along with THIS cookbook.

I picked up the book at the library because I just liked the idea of a nice, hearty easy dinner. I didn't realize what the book was really about.

Seriously, I would love these. I've been good all year.

And while I'm requesting, I'd also love THIS cookbook. Doesn't that just look perfect for me??? And the author's first name is Andrea. It is fate, I tell you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Recipes at My Recipe Blog and New Document Here

I put the Chicken Packets recipe and the Reese's Chewy Chocoloate Cookies, and the breadcrumbs tip on my Recipe Blog. I will put the bread one up in a day or two.

I also added the "Make Ahead Meals Handout" to the Documents section on this blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Watch This Space for Recipes!

I taught a class at church this week on Make Ahead Meals/Once A Month Cooking. I will be talking a little bit about what I taught, and I'll put the recipes over on My Recipes blog for the Chicken Packets and Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies that I demonstrated at the class. I'll probably put a copy of the handout over in the Documents section too.

I've also been working on perfecting my bread recipe, and I think I have one I like a lot and I'll put that one over there too.

Speaking of bread, one of the people at the glass had a great tip for using the heels of bread, and I'll put that tip/recipe over on the Recipe blog.

I am working on my seasonal recipes - I checked out some recipe books from the library, and now I have almost too many to go through! It has been fun though! I'd like to be done with Fall seasonal meals by December 20th. (Anybody want to be a recipe tester in January?? Comment to this post or send me an e-mail.)

Funny how I've been working on losing weight AND recipes. Seems odd, but thankfully for me, it isn't.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here are the weight loss pictures although

Before Picture - Taken December 2009

Mid point picture - October 2010
I do need to clarify a bit.

The "before" picture doesn't really give you the FULL effect. I'm standing next to someone and so it is hard to tell what I really look like, and this is a before pic that was about 15 pounds away from where I finally freaked out. And I'm not sure what is up with my hair. It doesn't always look great, but this was a particular bad day.

The midpoint pic is taken by Jelly Bean on my phone. The camera completely died yesterday and so I will need to get a new camera, but that will have to wait until mid November. So you get what you get (and you don't throw a fit LOL)

I can't tell for sure if these pictures really gives you a flavor of what I look like compared to before. I do know that I've lost enough so that people I haven't seen in awhile completely freak out, but day to day people, well, some of them still haven't noticed, or at least they haven't said anything.
I'm not brave enough to give you actual numbers yet beyond saying that I've lost 55 pounds so far and I need to lose 110 total. But I'm sure that you can guesstimate about where I was and where I'll end up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Less of Me These Days

Not around this blog, at least not lately. I've been chatty lately. :)

I talked in the summer about how I've been exercising. Mostly jogging. And I've mentioned a couple times about how I've been eating healthier.

Well, guess what?

I've also been losing weight.

Yea me!

It started back in March. I mean, not really. I've been overweight for the better part of the last 14 years. I did lose a bunch of weight back in 2006. But generally, I've been around a certain weight for much of that time.

So I had been ignoring the scale and just assuming that I weighed the same as always. But I noticed that my clothes were getting tighter and that I was get winded by doing simple things. So I got on the scale.

And quickly got off.

Something must be wrong with scale. I must have leaning wrong or something. I tried again.

Nope. I weighed about 30 pounds more than my "usual." And my "usual" wasn't great either.

So I spent the weekend thinking about what I should do. I knew that I didn't want to do a crash diet. I also knew that whatever I did, it was going to take awhile to lose the weight. Probably at least a year.

So I decided that I would start walking 5 days a week, and eventually work up to jogging. I didn't want to rush into it and get injured, but I also wanted to make exercise become part of my (mostly) daily routine.

I decided that I would eat mostly fruits and vegetables and small portions of meat and bread. I would try to limit my sweets to a couple of bites. By just taking a couple of bites, I'd get the taste but wouldn't consume enough to derail the whole day. I would try to eat as little processed food as possible. I'd mostly do what I referred to the "Eater's Manifesto" diet - Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. But no foods are really "off limits." I just try and really watch my portion sizes.

And when I didn't feel like exercising, I'd tell myself to just do it anyway. (Unless I was injured.) Most of the time, if I could just get out the door, that would be enough to get me motivated to exercise that day.

I started eating healthier and exercising at the end of March. The weight hasn't always come off as quickly as I had hoped, but it has mostly consistently gone down. And by the end of September, 6 months in, I've now lost 55 pounds. I'm running at least 3 miles a day. Which is great. It is. However, it is only half of what I need to lose just to get to a healthy BMI for my height. (I'm uh, NOT tall. 5'3" on a good day.) And the definition of a pear shaped body? Well, they had my body in mind, that's for sure.

But yes, I've lost half of my excess weight. I'm proud of myself.

But mostly, it has been a little anti-climatic, but in a good way. I really have adopted a healthy lifestyle. It is just the way that I eat now. The way that I exercise. And generally, if I exercise and eat like this, I lose weight.

The other thing is that if I don't eat like this, I get sick. Like my stomach is killing me and my muscles hurt and it is all I can think is the pain in my gut for two days kind of sick. It makes it so it isn't all that tempting to overeat.

I'm hopeful that come April 1st, 2011, I will be at goal weight and that I'll be running at least 6-8 miles a day.

And I'll be proud of myself.

But I won't be celebrating by eating a huge slice of cake or going out for a huge meal. I'll eat the same way that day that I always do. I'll exercise. And I do the same the next day, and the next day.

Come back here tomorrow and I'll list some before and mid-point pictures.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, I try and be simple with my stuff around here

but anybody who has been to my house also knows that it isn't like I live in a house with say, 4 things in a room and that's it. (Especially in my children's rooms. Ahem.)

I saw this list about 9 Quick Tips to Identify Clutter over at Zenhabits. I thought it was a really helpful list.

1. Does this thing work?

This is one that I'm pretty good about. I usually just go ahead and toss stuff if it is broken. But I know that I'm not overly sentimental either and I think that this helps with this one.

2. Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need it.

Never really thought about things in this way, but I think it would be helpful.

3. Does it seem potentially useful—but never actually gets used? Something like an oversized water-bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase. Or duplicates.

I'm getting better with duplicates, or things that are oversized, but I still have a toaster oven/roaster oven that has only been used twice in the last 3 years. And I think the last time was 3 years ago too.

4. Was I “saving” it? Leaving bath gel in the tube, or hoarding my favorite stationery in a desk drawer, was as wasteful as never using these things.

I don't do this much anymore. I found I would usually forget that I was "saving" it and then I'd re-buy. So now I either go ahead and use it now, or if I think it is something that is nice and that I like but don't seem to be using, then I pass it along to a friend.

5. Does it serve its purpose well? For example, we have a lot of “cute” kitchen objects that don’t really work.

This was probably MY first step to simplifying. I try to only use things that have a purpose. Especially in my tiny kitchen. And decorating. The only decorating I do is with family photos or pictures that have significant meaning.

6. Has it been replaced by a better model? Inexplicably, I’m in the habit of keeping a broken or outmoded version of tech gadgets, even after they’ve been replaced. Pointless.

Well, if I am still using the older model then I keep it until it doesn't function anymore. I rarely get the latest model of anything (including my clothes LOL) But after I replace it, I toss the old.

7. Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?

Ohh, this one stung a bit. The whole "just because things are nicely organized doesn't mean they're not clutter" part especially. I need to work on this one.

8. Does this memento actually prompt any memories? Sometimes I automatically keep things that fall into the category of “mementos,” assuming that they’d set off some sort of response, but they don’t. The attendance trophy from my daughter’s preschool sports class—out.

Well, again, I'm not overly sentimental, so I don't have a ton of mementos, but I could do better, especially with my children's schoolwork. I'm fairly minimal already (two papers/project, etc. per month for the school year. I go through an initial pass as we go, and then cut it down further when I go through it all over the summer.) but even with that, you are talking about 24 pieces for every year - including the two years of preschool that they all did.

9.Have I ever used this thing? I was absolutely shocked to find, when I started looking, how many things we owned that we had never once used. Many were gifts, true, but I promised myself we’d either put these things into use within a few weeks or give them away.

I've sort of addressed this already, but I could also try looking at my things again with just a focus on whether it had been ever been used or not.


I also think that this list could be helpful to me and my girls when we try and clean their room. I would have to simplify the list a little for them, and perhaps be a little more flexible, but I think it would help them wade through some of those kagillion pieces of paper that seem to just breed in there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autumnal Celebration 2010 - Part 1

I blogged about this Autumnal Celebration last year. This is usually the first celebration we go to in Autumn. It is held at the university's Horticulture Center, which just so happens to be less than 5 minutes from my house. We had just been over there recently when the Horticulture Center unveiled their new sculputures, but we were still excited to be there for the Celebration.

This year, it wasn't that cold or wet, but goodness, it was WINDY. But we still managed to have a good time.

Super and Jelly Bean drinking some cider
Super running on top of hay bales

They always have a bunch of scarecrows on display and they raffle them off. Here's the one that we won. The name of it is "Preschoolers." Kind of fitting for a preschool teacher, huh?

The Simple Kids on a hayrack ride. I love this picture.

Hanging gourds

The edge of the corn maze. This corn must have been planted late because it was still mostly green. Most of the corn in Illinois has been dry and brown for a couple weeks now.

A field of sunflowers

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted - Simple Style

The Simple Kids in front of the Simple House - April 2010

We bought our home in 2002. It was new construction. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large family room, and a tiny kitchen. I was thrilled with the house (well, all but the tiny kitchen, but since it was just Me, Mr. Simple, Flower who was 3 at the time, and Jelly Bean, who was 6 months at the time, it didn't seem that tiny), especially since we were moving from a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo. That was built in 1982. I was so NOT in the Simple Life back then. Well, that's not true. I did cloth diaper. And I liked the idea of cooking.

By 2003, I was no longer working Full-Time. I was frugal because I had to be to survive (this is still a lot of the reason why I am frugal LOL) But I still wasn't really thinking about food storage. Or gardening. Or getting rid of stuff I hadn't used in 10 years.

By 2006, I was starting to get on the Simple bandwagon, but it was very hit and miss. By 2007, I was hardcore. And all I could think about was how I couldn't wait until the day that I could move out to a hundred year old house with 50 acres with goats and chickens.

But by 2007, things were starting to unravel in the housing market. Just as we were considering putting our house up for sale, things really went downhill. We decided that it would be best for us to ride things out in the current house. For awhile.

But that didn't stop me from dreaming of that house anyway. And being quietly mad that we couldn't move RIGHT now.

By last year, I decided that well, maybe if I can't have 50 acres, maybe a 15' x 20' plot behind our church might be enough to grow a few vegetables. So last year, I started planting a garden. But I still thought of it as temporary.

I put some herbs in a small raised bed at our house. But I still thought of it as temporary.

I started to get more and more aggravated with my house. It was new, but poorly designed. Especially the kitchen. The kitchen was definitely not built for someone that is starting to get excited about preserving food.

And then I started to realize that I didn't have to be miserable about not being able to move to the country.

There were still PLENTY of things that I could do right here. Right now.

1. I could keep gardening at the church AND I could put in more raised beds at the house. We don't have a huge yard at all, but we have room to put in three beds.

2. I can sew just as well here as there.

3. I can get a CSA for meat and eggs from my friends who live less than 5 miles away. They have a small farm and they have chickens. By getting a Meat and Eggs CSA, it is almost like having the chickens myself without any of the work and start-up costs.

4. I can fill in my produce with food from farmers' market. I can easily walk to the one in my community.

5. I can get wheat and grind my own flour just as easily here as out in the country.

6. I can plant culinary herbs as well as medicinal herbs at my house. And salad fixings (in those 3 beds.)

And there are some real positives to staying here in the city:

1. I can walk most places. Church, groceries, pharmacy, library, museums, friends, etc. are all less than 5 miles away. That would not be true if I lived in the country. I would put a lot more miles on the vehicle, as well as spend a lot more money on gas.

2. I don't have to go to the work to sell the house right now.

3. I don't have to buy a lawn tractor. Or goats. Or chickens.

4. I have lots of neighbors. My neighbors are a very nice bunch. We help each other out with our yards, shoveling, and watching each other kids bike in the alley. We give each other treats like canned pears, just because we had extra and thought it would be nice to share.

Now I at the point where I am not sure if I will move when/if the day comes that we can afford to move. I've learned that much of my idea of Simple Living can be done right here. And I'm starting to really appreciate my little Simple Life In The City. Well, except maybe my kitchen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quotable Sunday

Haven't done one of these in awhile. I should. I have tons of stuff bookmarked. This quote, however, isn't from something I have bookmarked. I was off to Prompt Care this morning (diagnosis: pink eye. I think I'm trying to set a world record for a person who has got pink eye the most times in their life. I've had pink eye at least 15 times. Most of that has been in the last few years.)

Anyway, I was waiting at Prompt Care, and reading an issue of Country Living, and there was this quote on one page, and I really liked it. It said:

"People are always saying Time changes things, but it is actually up to You to change things."

-Andy Warhol

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh, I gotta have these at Thanksgiving this year

Picture from Simple Bites

Over at Simple Bites today, they have a recipe for Dinner Rolls in a Jar.

The recipe sounds simple enough, and I've got jelly jars that have been emptied of their peach and strawberry jam-ness. (We still have a few jars of peach and strawberry jam but next year, I'm doing more. It appears that I need at least 24 jars of each to get us through the year.)

And they are just so cute! Not that I'm usually into "cute" food, but I love these!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall Projects for Your Home, Yard, Body and Mind

The Simple Kids at an Autumnal Celebration last week

I'm hijacking a post title from Simple Mom again. But I'm putting mostly my own ideas. But I do like what she said at the beginning about fall.

"Fall is a season of celebration and goodness, full of apple picking, baking and enjoying the crisp autumn air. Sometimes I forget that I should also be “storing up for winter” during all of the fun.
But the days are coming when it gets dark early and we spend most of our time cooped up indoors. There are things we can do to prepare our homes, yards, bodies and minds for the winter season. Make your list now so that you can do a little bit at a time and still enjoy the changing leaves and seasonal fun."


1. Change your filters now. I remember one night in late fall (it was a Saturday night too) and it was a cold night and I decided to turn the heater on. I flipped the switch and . . . . Nothing. I made some adjustments on the thermostat. Nothing. Great. I put an extra blanket over everybody and decided to call someone on Monday and hope that Sunday night wasn't too cold. On Sunday, I thought I'd go down and look at the furnace and see if I saw anything obvious. (Not likely, since I am not exactly Mrs. Handyperson, especially not Mrs. HVAC) I saw some extra filters sitting by the furnace and on a whim, decided to change the filter and see if anything would happen. I went up and turned the heat on and like MAGIC, it came on. Saved myself some money and embarrassment.

2. Check the seals on your windows and doors. I need to replace the weatherstripping on the back door. And caulk by that door too. And weatherstripping on the door to the garage. The door has been letting in water when it rains/snows, etc. into the garage for at least a year (blush). Simple Mom also suggests putting drapes up to keep the heat from escaping through the windows. We have blinds downstairs, but in the winter, I put a fleece blanket up to keep the heat in. It looks slightly tacky, but only we see it, and I am being uh, resourceful with our spare blankets.

3. Test your smoke detectors (October is Fire Safety Month!) and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries.


1. Put your garden to bed in October. Remove any weeds, and pull any remaining plants and put them in the compost pile (if you haven't started a compost pile, it is easy to start one with fall leaves and plants from the garden.) Leave the soil alone for a couple weeks, and then do a light raking. Mulch with straw, grass clippings, dried leaves, etc.

2. You can leave some vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, Jerusalem artichokes, celery and cabbage, kale, spinach and chard) in the ground. The caveat to this is if you are in a heavy snow or frost area, you need to do some preparation in the fall. Before the first hard frost, check that there is soil covering the crowns of the roots. Leave the leafy tops uncovered. When cold nights are frequent, cover with a layer of mulch (6" in an area with little or no snow, but for areas with snow, mulch at least 12 inches and cover everything).

3. Plant garlic about 4 weeks before fall frost. Choose a spot with full sun. Plant individual cloves. Using a hoe, make a two-inch deep furrow. Plant the bulbs pointy end up. Space the cloves four to six inches apart, and two inches deep with rows twelve inches apart. Top with six inches of mulch. Green shoots will appear after 4-6 weeks and then cease to grow during the winter months. It will be ready to harvest next July or so.


1. Plan winter menus now. In my area of the country, there are no winter fruits and vegetables available (except vegetables that are still in the ground), so my menus need to depend on food that I've preserved or fruits and vegetables that I get at the store. For fruits and vegetables that I purchase, I try to depend on canned and frozen food from the store instead of fresh produce since all produce during the winter has to be brought in from other states (although I do purchase fresh apples and oranges during the winter.) I do depend on more meat, eggs, and cheese during my winter menus too.

2. Make plenty of stock for soups. Nothing is better on a cold night than a bowl of hot soup. Except maybe hot chocolate. :)

3. Plan for how you will exercise in the winter. I loved being able to exercise outside this spring, summer, but my recent Meniere's diagnosis has me exercising at the gym now so that if I have a drop attack, I'm not 5 miles from home or something. However, I had planned on exercising at the gym during the winter anyway, so I'm trying to look at it as getting used to the gym a couple months early. I'm hoping that by Spring, I will have a better handle on my medical situation and will be able to return to the outdoors.

4. Look at the winter clothing for your family. Since my children are still growing (especially my 11 year old! She can't seem to stay in a shoe size for longer than a couple months lately!), we usually need to get new snow boots every year. By looking now, you can put the necessary items on Christmas lists for relatives or pick them up at when you see a good sale. Or start crocheting or knitting now for needed winter items.


1. I have a couple of Holiday Planning books that are most helpful if I read them now instead of in December. And I have a couple of "Keeping the Holidays Simple" that are more helpful if I read them now than in December. Make a list of any books, magazines, etc. about the holidays that you want to read in the fall.

2. Make a list of books you'd like for gifts. I always a huge list. LOL And the selecting of the books is at least half the fun.

3. Think of someone that your family would like to help this holiday season. This blog talks about how she was given an Advent basket the year after their family lost a child to stillbirth and how she now gives one to another family. Or you could give a monetary gift to someone. Start saving $10 a week now and you'll have $100 by Christmas.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Garden Update - Early October

So there was one more eggplant that I harvested a couple nights ago. They were predicting frost, so I wanted to try and get out to the garden one more time to pick things.

So I picked one more eggplant (although there are SEVERAL small ones on the plant. I will probably leave the plant alone and see if I get anything else to salvage in a couple weeks) and I picked the last of the tomatoes that I'm going to pick. All told, I got less tomatoes this year than last year, but I think it is because I wasn't quite as on top of harvesting in August as I should have been. But I'll still end up with about 24 pints of tomato sauce, so that will go quite a ways for us. Definitely through the fall and winter anyway. I also picked all the peppers off the pepper plants. A couple were "regular" sized, but I picked the small ones too, so in total, I picked about 8. I plan on making stuffed peppers with the big ones, and chopping up the smaller ones and dehydrating them.

I'll go clean up the garden in a couple weeks, and then I'll give a big ol' end of the season report. Well, not that big.

Monday, October 4, 2010

So next year, the weekend following the Autumnal Equinox

I am totally doing this.

I can't believe I never have done it. Me, who loves all things seasonal and local. And of course, parties.

In fact, I'm going to start before that. I'm going to have a Winter Solstice Party. Since Christmas is on a Saturday after, and then New Years after that, I'll have it the Saturday before the actual Solstice. December 18th. If you are local and want to come, comment on this post. And of course, I will do a general shout out too when it gets a little closer to the date.

Maybe a party celebrating Winter will help me enjoy the season more??? I can only hope.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thank you random person . . .

who donated a dutch oven to the thrift store a few years ago. I saw it and bought it. I have used it almost every day since then. (Dutch oven on the left. The lid is on top of my cast iron pot.) I use it to make soup (that's what in the pot there), spaghetti, and for making jam. And lots of other things. I've also taken it camping. Worked like a charm.

And while I'm at it, thanks to the person who donated

this spice rack. I love it! This spice rack holds all the spices that I use when I make spaghetti sauce. All the green ones (parsley, oregano, basil) are from herbs that I grow in the back yard.

And thank you to the person who donated

this bread slicing guide. We can finally have "regular" slices. I'm not good at slicing homemade bread freehand. I either cut them too thick or completely crooked. Now, after the loaf has cooled, I cut the whole loaf and put it in a bag.

And finally thanks to the person who donated

these glasses. It is a set of six but one of the glasses was in use at the time of the pics. (Uh, and one of the glasses is being used to hold Super's acorns. I picked up the set of six for $1. Gotta love that. The kids use these glasses. I love how they are glass, but thick and sturdy. And I love how they remind me of jelly jars.

I also got a 4 glass set of tall drinking glasses on the same thrift trip, but they were ahem, not ready for pictures at the time. (They were on the counter waiting to be washed.)