Sunday, November 30, 2008

Craft Show

On Friday of this week we will be going to set up for a Christmas craft show in Franklinville, NY. I haven't done a craft show in years and I guess I am a little nervous. I will go and help get the tables all set up, but Rachel and her best friend, Amanda are going to be there from 9 am to 4 pm on Sat. to do the selling. There is so much more I wanted to have done for it, but there is only so much time, and of course the calendar for this week is really full. I figured that what I was meant to have done, I would have done and that is that. Now, that should mean I would quit worrying...right? Ha ha, I will worry until it is over, that is just me.

I did list three new things tonight in my holiday and gift shop (, and I am still trying to get that mosaic up and running. If you check the background of my Twitter page, you will find that I did figure out how to make one photo into tiny little tiles. It is enough to make you dizzy..LOL At least it is a step in the right direction. When I finally figure it out, it will probably be really simple. :o)


I just spent close to two hours setting up a mosaic on flickr. It took me awhile to figure out how to download pictures to Flickr and then upload them into my mosaic, but I finally figured it out. After I completed it, the next step was to save it to my computer....I could not figure out how to make that part work. Needless to say, I am very frustrated. I guess the best thing is to go to bed and call Megan tomorrow :o) She is my computer fixer upper. I am suposed to be able to load the mosaic onto my twitter page. If any of my readers have an idea that might help, PLEASE lety me know. LOL

I did list three new items tonight between my two shops, plus I sold my hamburger apron this afternoon. That was great. Anyway, I am so tired and it is almost 1 am, so I best say goodnight. :o)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Black Friday Experience

Well, when we saw the great price that Walmart was selling a 42 inch flat screen t.v. for on Black Friday, we decided to break down and buy one....our gift to each other for Christmas. Our daughters left here at 6 am to start the hunt for great bargains. We were going to order our t.v. on line after Rachel called us from Walmart to tell us she was able to get us one of the t.v. stands we would need for this tv. Rachel thought she had the right stand, so Steve went ahead and ordered our tv only to discover they were out of them (of course). Rachel found out she had the wrong stand anyway...this one was almost $100 more, and they were out of the sale one (of course). So we figured we just weren't meant to have one of these t.v.s.

Steve was really bummed out about not getting the television (you know how guys are with their toys), so he called Walmart in Warsaw. They did still have some of the $94 t.v. stands but were out of the 42 inch t.v. (that I wanted) and the 32 inch(Steve thought would be better for our livingroom). My hubby then decided to call Radio Shack and see if they had either size left from the sale they were running. They were out also. They said they had a 37 inch but it was over $800. So, that was rather discouraging. Steve then had a brainstorm. I didn't even know they made a 37 inch t.v., and he hadn't thought about it. He checked and the Walmart in Warsaw had a roll back on a 37 inch and they actually had one in stock, and they still had a stand. Needless to say, Steve and Bradly took off for the 40 minute drive to Warsaw and came home with a new t.v. and stand. The cool thing is, it is the perfect size for our living room. I think the 42 inch would have been a bit big and the 32 inch would have been a bit small. It turned out to be a great compromise and we are both happy. A good Black Friday was had by both of us. :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day is Over

Ugh....I wonder if everyone is in misery caused by eating too many Thanksgiving goodies. Our dinner was really great, but as usual we ate too much...sat around complaining about how awful we felt and then proceeded to partake of pie and cake..LOL It was really nice to spend the day with our family and friends. I really missed our three sons that were unable to be with us and our son in-law. Hopefully next year we can all be together for the holidays. It was a good day for remembering all of our blessings . Sometimes we seem to focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have, and it seems nice to get re- focussed .

I have been busy getting my two Etsy shops geared up for this busy shopping weekend. I am having free shipping in both of my shops on orders of $10.00 or more before shipping. This sale will be from midnight Nov. 27th until midnight Dec. 1st EST. I am offering the free shipping to U.S. and Canadian customers. I am hoping the free shipping will generate some sales, but time will tell. All of you that go out shopping to the malls and stores on Black Friday...Good Luck!! Our daughters are heading out very early in the morning. The benefit of this is that if I need something that is on sale, they can get it for me. :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snow, snow and more snow!!

Part of the thrill of living in western NY in the winter is never knowing when you are going to get dumped on with a ton of snow. All around us, they often get very little snow compared to us. Our one daughter goes to college in Buffalo and she is home for the holiday. She could not believe how much snow we had. They didn't have hardly anything and she is less than an hour away. We got a lot more snow today on top of the foot we already had. I had to change an appointment from morning till afternoon today due to the weather. By the time the roads looked ok here, it was almost 12:30. We got halfway to our appointment and drove right into horrible weather conditions. We made it to our destination, and were relieved that the roads were so much better driving back...that is until we were about 15 min. from home. We drove right into some very bad driving conditions. We saw a bad accident and were just so thankful to make it back home in one peace.

I am so blessed that while we were off at our appointment, my hubby was home getting a cake and pies and dinner rolls ready for Thanksgiving dinner. I need to make stuffing tomorrow, but I would say we are in good shape for our holiday dinner where we will be hosting dinner to 12 friends and family. It will be so nice to all be together....that is what it is all about...enjoying each other and being thanksful. :o)

Next Christmas

My youngest daughter and my hubby and I were talking about how different next Christmas is going to be. Megan and Scott will be having their baby in June and we will have our first grand baby to shop and make things for. We are all very excited about the new addition to our family. I think Megan will just be happy when she is done feeling sick, so she can enjoy her pregnancy. Anyway, the baby should be six months old by then and really a lot of fun. I have a feeling Grandpa and Grandma will be making many more treks to Canada . :o) It is funny sometimes how fast time goes. It doesn't seem like all that long ago that we were having our babies, and now one of them is having a baby. When the kids were little it felt like they would always be little and we would always be tired, and then we blinked and they were grown. I have to say that we are proud of the people they have become, and Steve and I have truly been blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Steve and I finally did an inventory of all the Christmas gifts we have bought and what we still need to buy. We now have our notebook ready with each child's name and what we have gotten them and what is ordered. We will also add what we have yet to buy. This system works great for us as long as we can manage to hide the notebook from all the kids. So far it has not been a problem. Since we have 4 birth children, 3 adopted children and two foster children, we would be lost without our list. The kids are all required to make us a Christmas wish list. I must say that the kids are a bit behind on that this year. We normally go through their lists and cross off the definite "nos", (like those large ticket items that are not in the budget), and determine from the remaining items what we will buy them. I remember the Christmas that my three brothers and I all requested new snowmobiles. We each got one, they were about 8" long and made of plastic. My parents had a good laugh over that one. Anyway, we always have a few things that we think they need that is not on their lists..LOL

This Christmas is going to be a bit hard since Steven, who is in Texas will not be home, and Megan and Scott are holding Christmas at their house for Scott's family. I think it is great that they are hosting and making a nice day for everyone, but I miss my kids when the aren't with us. It is a mothers right...LOL

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You know it is a Good Day When......

You know it was a good day when you get a new bag ready to list in your etsy store and still have time to watch a really good movie. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" was actually very good and quite entertaining. I didn't think I would like it, but I LOVED it. The whole family felt that way. We actually just finished watching it for the second time. It has lots of action and even the few scarier scenes with the dinosaurs and the fish with the huge teeth didn't scare our 7 year old who is becomes afraid very easily. He really liked it too.

Now, about the new camo bag I made today. My youngest foster daughter outgrew a cute skirt from "Old Navy", that we had gotten her last winter. It was just too cute to go into the bag for the second hand store, so I created what I think is a really cute bag. You can check it out at this addy It is a nice feeling when you can take something no one can wear anymore and make it into something useful again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In the Cleaning out Mode

It amazes me how I can go along for months and not really think a lot about the clothes the kids have outgrown, or the items floating around the house that belong elsewhere. It seems that with the changing of the seasons I get motivated to sort and toss and hand down . I had just such a day. I cleaned and sorted the laundry room, coat closet and the kids dressers and closets. As with the day we cleaned our desk, I ended up with a huge black garbage bag full of old sneakers, shoes, sandels ect. Our youngest son who is 7 is always trying to fit his feet into one of the numerous pair of sneakers that are a size too small. He gets mad because they don't fit. It doesn't help that he has sensory issues anyway. So, I tossed three or four pair of those too small sneakers away without him seeing. He won't miss them...out of sight, out of mind!! I also ended up with a huge bag of clothes to take to the second hand store. It is such cool store because as I take over a bag at a time containing clothes the kids have outgrown, they go through the bag at their convenience, and tally up what they feel they are worth. When we go there the next time, they give us clothing shop dollars and we can turn around and spend them on the things our kids need or save them up until we do need something. I guess we haven't needed much lately because we have over $100 worth of store dollars. The great thing is that when I want to get rid of the clothes that don't fit or we don't use, I have a place to do that, and when we need a few things for the kids, we have store dollars on hand to do that. I think it is a wonderful tradeoff. So, the summer coats and shoes are packed up and moved to the basement till Spring. The winter coats have been brought up and washed and are now hanging neatly in the closet with the winter boots lined up underneath. It seems so nice to have that job done and to have that part of the house so clean and neat and tidy.

Well, now that that work is done, I can spend some time in my studio sewing. I guess that is my reward for working hard this morning!! :o) We definately have to clean our ceiling fans before Thanksgiving though. Wow, where does all that dust come from..LOL Actually, I think that is a good job for my hubby's "Honey Do List".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leftovers Can Be Great!!

Usually one night a week we have a smorgasbord for dinner. We have left overs from the two or three nights before. The kids like it and we do cooking and not much cleanup, plus we aren't being wasteful. I am not a fond lover of leftovers myself. I have to say that my hubby created an awesome casserole from last nights dinner and you could have sworn it was a totally fresh meal. We had creamed chicken and biscuits last night. He made the gravy thinner rather than thick. Tonight, he mixed about a cup of Minute Rice into the gravy which besides the chicken, had carrots, celery, onion and tender tiny frozen peas. He added some shredded cheddar cheese to the gravy. This mixture went into a sprayed casserole dish. Steve put some cheddar cheese and some buttered breadcrumbs over the top and baked it till heated through and rice was soft. It was awesome, and like eating a whole new meal.

Bradly came through his surgery fine. He ended up getting a tube in one ear as the other ear and tube were fine. Hopefully this will take care of his ear trouble. Today was the last day of school for 9 days, so hopefully I come through it with my sanity. LOL

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Etsy Shop Sales

Business has been pretty steadily improving. Last night someone bought three matching "Tattoo"pieces. This lady said that she was actually looking to Christmas shop for her sister-in-law and ended up buying herself some Christmas presents..LOL Sounds like fun to me.

I got three little children's art/chef aprons done and listed today. I think they are cute. Talked Nick into modeling them for me to take pics. He wasn't too thrilled, but ended up enjoying it. I have more all cut out, but not sure where I can get a little girl to model the girl aprons.

I discovered another place on line to sell handmade items. It is called "Artfire". I had never heard of it. I have Megan checking it out for me as she can decipher info. way better than I can. It sounded promising, but time will tell.

Guess I am out of steam tonight. It has been a long day, and tomorrow we need to be in Williamsville early as Bradly is having tubes put in his ears. We will bring him home for the weekend when he is discharged. Then I have a whole week of no school to look forward to..UGH. The highlight of that is not having to get up at 6:30 am. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and thingfs will go well. :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Found a Great New Family Recipe

Does it ever seem like you eat the same meals week after week? It just gets increasingly difficult sometimes to come up with something new and different, especially when you have picky kids. Well, the other day, while cleaning our desk, I found a Kraft magazine called, "Food and Family". There were some really delicious looking food dishes in it. I noticed a recipe for a taco bake, and knowing our kids love tacos, Steve and I decided to try it for dinner last night. Actually my husband is the one that made it as he does most of the cooking. He has been so supportive of me and my business, and has taken over many household jobs so that I am free to work. He is really a honey!! :o) Anyway, I wanted to share the recipe with my readers and urge you to try this recipe. Steve said it was really easy and only bakes a short time. I even loved it, and I don't usually care for salsa.
The only thing we will do different next time is throw the salsa in the blender first so the kids don't have to pick out tomato pieces. It was a huge hit!! Give it a try and let me know what you think. My family decided it was a KEEPER!!


Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total 35 minutes

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kraft Delux Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
1 LB. ground beef
1 pkg. Taco Bell taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups Kraft shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Taco Bell thick and chunky salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare mac and cheese dinner as directed on the package. While macaroni is cooking, brown meat, drain, and add taco seasoning mix and water to meat; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir sour cream into the prepared mac and cheese. Spoon half of the dinner mix into a sprayed 8 " square or 9" round baking dish. Top with meat and spread evenly over the mac and cheese. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the meat. Spread the remaining mac and cheese mixture over the cheese and cover.

Bake covered for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and top with salsa and remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. **We used extra cheese**. Bake uncovered and additional 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each

Jazz it up: For extra crunch, prepare and bake as directed and top with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips along with the salsa and the cheese.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keeping in touch

After talking on the phone with my sister-in-law for over 2 hours tonight, I am pondering on why I don't do better at keeping in touch with those I love. I do pretty well keeping up with my grown children, but life gets so busy that I don't keep in touch with my extended family like I should. The thing that is really cool is that the people that really love you are happy to hear from you no matter how long has gone by. Talking and laughing with those you love and care about is almost therapeutic. I laughed a lot during the course of our conversation tonight and really enjoyed myself. I am feeling great...what a nice way to end the day. :o)
This is short tonight but I need to get to bed. We have a meeting at the school at 9:30 am tomorrow for Nick. I hope it goes better than the one we had two weeks ago. Nick is doing better at home for the most part, but he is not doing well at school. The Dr. is going to try him on medication for his ADHD again and see if that helps him focus and counteract his sleepiness.
Oh, and one more thing. Today is the day I get to tell everyone that our oldest daughter and son-in-law are making us grandparents. We were sworn to secrecy for a few weeks and we were bursting to tell everyone. Megan is due in June. It is so exciting!! I will have to talk more about that another day. we will know more after her Dr. appointment tomorrow. Yippee :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why do we save so much junk??

I have always been a person who hates clutter. I like things in their place and neat and tidy. I am the one who sorts the mail because others (namely my hubby) seem to just stack up junk mail instead of tossing it in the circular file. My children have always accused me of throwing out their stuff. That has been true when they continued to leave their stuff laying around after being asked many times to put them away. I just assumed they didn't want it. I did by mistake throw away a check for $200 once while I was hoeing out. Thankfully my hubby realized it was missing and called me at work and we figured out what I had done. I have also been guilty of putting things in a "safe" place, and then having trouble remembering where that was. I must say though, that my fetish for tidiness has given my children an out of always blaming mom when they have lost things. One such instance has been when my oldest daughter needed a book from my youngest daughters college library. The book has disappeared and I got the blame for it, when in fact, I haven't even seen it. It is quite convenient to blame mom. It cost $45 to pay for the book. I hope she finds it, but I am not the guilty party this time, no matter what my gal says. I imagine we will have to agree to disagree on that point. :o) She is such an awesome daughter in so many ways, I guess I best not complain too much. LOL
The reason I got on the subject of junk is because, as I stated yesterday, we bought a new computer. We decided to totally empty our desk, and sort through the junk. Oh my goodness, we could not believe how much we had to throw away. We ended up with at least 2 black garbage bags full of trash, not to mention all the stuff that had accumulated on or around the desk that didn't even belong there. We put all of that in better places, and wow, it looks so nice now. I now have my shipping scale on the desk which is so convenient. Before when I was packing up items from my shop to ship, I had to go to a different room to weigh, another room to gather various things I needed for my business. Now it is all right at my finger tips and neat and tidy too. :o) There is even room for the hard drive (which is small) to sit on the desk. So, back to my original question!! "Why do we save so much junk"? After all of this, I bet in 6 months or so we need to do it again. LOL

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Computer

Well, we finally had to break down and purchase a new computer. We bought an ACER on the advice of our daughter, Megan. I think I am going to like it, but it is just such a pain to get all your stuff on it. We had to scramble and try an remember user names and passwords. LOL This monitor is a 19 inch and much bigger than our last one, plus it is a flat screen which is awesome. Our two cats will hate the new monitor because they loved to sit on top of the old one as it was warm. Another awesome feature is the size of the hard drive. It is small enough to sit on the desk next to the monitor. I hated trying to get the SD card for the camera into the hard drive appropriate slot. I use it alot as I am often taking pics and listing new items in my Etsy store. Now it is right in front of me and so easy. :o)
I did absolutely no sewing today. We spent the day sorting all the junk on our desk and hoeing it out. We still are not finished, but it is going to be great when we are done.
We have 2 to 3 inches of snow and they are calling for up to 8 inches by tomorrow. All I can say is they better not close school. LOL I love my children, but I am ready for some quiet time. It was a long weekend. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving week when they have the whole week off from school. :o)
Time to watch a little tv with my honey.

Bradly's Birthday

Bradly turned 11 today. It is hard to believe he is that old. He was only 4 when he came to us in foster care. He has so many problems, but he does have such a generous heart. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what he would have been like if he had been born into a family that did not abuse him, neglect him and hurt his spirit. It is so sad what some people do to their children and many of them had a bad childhood too. Time to stop the cycle.

I got a few new bags finished and listed tonight. My mom and I placed a bid on Alchemy which is on Etsy. My mom had to knit 6 pair of mittens for potatoes. This nice women is doing a sculpture and needed these mittens, which are 3 1/2 inches long...brown with red tips. We have all chuckled about mittens for potatoes, but I think Mom enjoyed doing it. She got them all finished and is now working on an order for a pair of womens pink mittens. She has sold quite a few pair of mittens.

Well, I am off to bed. Tomorrow is my day to sleep in, so I always stay up late on Sat. nights. LOL They are calling for snow here starting overnight and then heavier accumulations starting Sunday night into Monday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November is Half Over Already

I was thinking today about how fast the days are going by. It doesn't seem possible that it is already the middle of November. I am in no way ready for Thanksgiving or the kids having a week off from school that week. Of course our school is holding Parent Teacher Conferences that week also. We happened to be watching "The Rachel Ray Show" the other day and she made this turkey and stuffing meatloaf that looked delicious. Steve went on line and found the recipe. I thought I would share it. She also made sour cream and onion mashed potatoes and cider gravy. I am including the recipes for those. If anyone tries these recipes please share what you thought of it.

2 apples, peeled and cut into small dice
1 TBSP. lemon juice
2 pounds ground all-white meat turkey (or mix of dark and light)
3 to 4 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1 TBSP. poultry seasoning
1 large egg
Salt and black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups stuffing mix

Mix all ingredients together and form into a loaf on a parchment paper covered baking
sheet. Drizzle 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil over the top and bake at 350 degrees untill done (about an hour).


3 pounds (about 6) potatoes, peeled and chopped. Cook in water till done and drain well.
add: 1 1/2 cups sour cream and 6 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
season with salt and pepper


Make a rue with 4 TBSP butter and 4 TBSP white flour. Stir in 2 cups apple cider and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir well with a whisk and bring to a boil to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over turkey loaf and the potatoes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a day!

My day started nice and early today. My hubby and I had to take three of our kids for appointments. What would a trip to Springville be without a shopping stop at Walmart? The girls needed winter boots and Nick conived us out of a pair of slippers which he did need. He came home and put them on and refused to go out again with his Dad because he was wearing his slippers...LOL

I did manage to go down to my studio and get some sewing done. I bought this awesome Alexander Henry fabric a while ago and hadn't decided what to make with it. It is blue with apples and pears, so I decided to try it with a new pattern I had for a drawstring purse. I did get it half done and it is really cute. I will post a pic when it is finished.

I sold one of my owl purses was actually my personal favorite of the six I made. I got that packed up and shipped out today. It has been a fairly busy week with my shops and getting orders. I sure hope that keeps up. :o)

We cheated last night by having eggs and toast for dinner. Tonight we cheated really bad and had cereal. LOL Of course we had a big lunch at the Chinese Buffet, so we didn't need much. My brother Joe and sister-in-law Denise are the ones that turned us on to Chinese food. We went out with them and they taught us what was good. Up until then we had no clue what to order.
My personal favorite is the green beans. They are so crunchy and yummy. I also like the black peeper chicken with rice and sweet and sour chicken. That is about all I get. My tastes change every so often. I used to love lo-mein and now I don't really care for it.

We are going to watch Grey's Anatomy. Thankfully we are doing the DVR thing so we can watch it at our convenience. I have to say that the DVR is a wonderful invention. There are so many shows I might have to miss. One new show that Steve and I both enjoy is "The Mentalist". It is really good, so we DVR it and watch it after "NCIS".

Time to tip back in my chair and put my feet up. Tomorrow will be here too fast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just a Few Thoughts About Having an Online Business

First of all, I just have to say I am really excited to have figured out how to set up a blog all by myself. Please bare with me as I get the wrinkles ironed out and figure out what I am really doing. LOL
Opening a store on Etsy was a truly wonderful experience for me. When I first decided I wanted to make and sell handbags and accessories, my oldest daughter, Megan, had just discovered Etsy. Her excitement was contagious. I began sewing like a crazy women and she started learning more about Etsy. Megan set up my shop and took pics and did my listings. I could never have done it without her. Megan taught my hubby how to list items so when she wasn't here he could keep up with my listings. I have learned to do most everything myself now and it is very liberating as well as exciting. I still have to call Megan for advice on occassion, but I am getting there. It has all been a great adventure. I even had to open a second shop when my first shop started accumulating items, that although they were great, were not bags, purses, wallets or messenger bags. I decided to open "Arelel Designs Holiday and Gift Shop". I carry things like Christmas tree skirts and stockings as well as ornaments. I have barbeque aprons for men, as well as tooth fairy pillows for the kiddies and knitted mittens and dish cloths. You will also find destash items such as patterns, lace and various odds and ends. Much to my delight, that shop has taken off now also.
For those of you that create and sell your creations, you already know what a thrill it is when people start buying from you. It isn't just the money, although that is great, it is the idea that I could actually make something that someone else would want to buy. It is exhilarating !!!
Well, I guess this is long enough or my first post. Anyone care to give me some feedback, I would love it.

My Etsy Shop