Bed making

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

After a six- or seven-week hiatus, it seems I should have something a little more interesting than bed making to post about. 

But it has been a quiet summer. No vacations or travel plans, no concerts in the park, no big get-togethers. It sure has been a strange year, and things are still quite uncertain. So much turmoil and confusion. I've been reading very light, old-timey fiction and watching Hallmark movies when the news gets to be too much. And trying to rest and trust in the One Who has all things under control.

Speaking of resting, haha, I want to show you our new bedding arrangement. I'm not exactly sold on this, but my husband likes it, and there are some definite pros.

I thought about gussying up the pillows and my nightstand for this photo, but decided just to show you what it really looks like on a day-to-day basis.

The biggest change is not using a top sheet. This is just a fitted bottom sheet and a light down alternative blanket on top. It's super easy to make a bed like this. I wash the fitted sheet and pillowcases every week and flip the blanket over for the second week and wash it every other week.

I made this change mostly because my husband is a hot sleeper and has never liked tucked in sheets at his feet. Sometimes I put an extra throw on my side of the bed if I need extra warmth. In the winter of course we'll have a heavier comforter (not too heavy for him!) and I will probably wear socks.

The down side for me is that I love the cozy feeling of being tucked in. I'm getting used to it, though, and love how easy it is to make the bed.

I understand this no-top-sheet thing is popular in Europe and in Scandinavia. When my sister went to Iceland with her family, she and her husband slept on a bed that had only a bottom sheet and two twin comforters, one for each of them. I might try that this winter, with a heavy comforter for me and a lighter one for my husband.

You can see we have different pillow preferences too. I like a tiny little one under my head and a squishy one to hug.

Do any of you sleep without a top sheet? Or have any other non-traditional ways of making the bed?

I keep thinking I've done all the decluttering I can. But look what I came up with in the past few months during our lockdown. I finally was able to schedule a pick up by the Vietnam Veterans Association.

All this decluttering over the past five years or so, and I still have lots of stuff. I'm not a minimalist, although I love to read those blogs for inspiration. I still have hundreds and hundreds of books, dozens of teacups, boxes of old letters and journals . . . 

But I've been really thinking more about getting serious about questioning every. single. purchase. It feels like I've made so many bad purchase decisions and have wasted so much money when I do these decluttering rounds.

I feel I'm even more committed to making much fewer, but better, purchases in the future.

I'm sorry I haven't been around to visit my blog friends this month, and hope to remedy that as soon as I hit publish. Hope you're all staying well.

xo Deborah

Simplifying yet again and a winner!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I've been thinking about what this pandemic has taught me.

I know these past months have been so hard for many people. We know people who have died from Covid-19. We know people who have been out of work and who have lost their jobs. I don't want to minimize that at all. I was very privileged in that I simply had to stay home. 

And one thing I've learned during this enforced quiet time, and it's not new, just a confirmation, is how satisfying a simple life can be. 

Even though I've decluttered a lot over the past five years or so -- tons of stuff, filling my foyer up multiple times with donations, and throwing out bags and bags of stuff -- I still have a ways to go.

This time around, during the pandemic, I've thought of decluttering my life in other ways. Not just the physical possessions. Other things that are cluttering up our lives, complicating things, and adding up on our credit card bill.

These are the things I've cancelled since the shelter-in-place orders began:

  1. Sirius radio -- I don't drive very much, and for short distances. Even though I always talked them down to a lower monthly fee, it just isn't worth it. I can listen to the local radio stations for the short amount of time I drive, or just enjoy the silence. Savings = about $7 per month.
  2. Netflix -- yes, we will miss some of the programming. But there's a lot on Netflix I don't care to support. I'm happier reading a good book. Savings = about $15 per month.
  3. Amazon Prime -- When I saw a $126 something charge on my credit card bill for Prime, I started thinking. I realized that I only have to spend $25 to get free shipping without Prime, and that I can wait a couple more days to get my shipment. I'm also going to try and shop less on Amazon. Yes, it is wildly convenient. But I'm more and more aware of how much power a few companies  -- Google, Amazon, Facebook -- have, and am trying to withdraw support. To the extent that I can. And as far as Prime Video goes -- we just don't watch it often enough. The few movies I've watched this year on Prime have been ones I've had to pay for.
  4. Thrive Market membership. This is an online grocery store where I've found no-sugar ketchup and mayonnaise and no-sugar crackers, etc. But I've discovered several of my local grocery stores carry these items, so I can save the $60 annual fee.
  5. Auto-ship Keurig cups from Amazon. We are using the refillable Keurig cups. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
  6. Auto-ship mascara. I love the tubing mascara that just washes off with no black smudges left under the eyes. I loved a tubing mascara from Thrive (different company than the grocery store Thrive). But the drugstore L'Oreal Double Extend mascara is just as nice for less than half the price ($27 versus about $11). 
  7. Facebook. I've been thinking about this for some time. It is hard to let go of since it is the only place where I see photos of extended family living far away, and hear news of engagements and births, etc., from friends I don't see often. But the divisiveness and anger really gets me down and stresses me out. I'm sure it will continue to get worse as the election nears. It is also an incredible time-waster, as I find myself mindlessly scrolling and discover a half hour or forty-five minutes have passed. I haven't deleted my account, just deactivated it. For a few days I felt a little lost and out of it, but I've adjusted and feel much better.
  8. Instagram (sort of) -- Instagram is a lot happier place than Facebook, but it can also be a huge time suck. I removed the IG app from my phone, so no more endless scrolling throughout the day. It's still on my laptop but I rarely find myself checking it anymore.
  9. Instacart -- this was the best thing ever when I started using it last fall. I loved placing an order and then having everything delivered to my doorstep two hours later. It was like a miracle! Especially since I so dislike grocery shopping. It is great for new moms and the elderly and so many who are too busy to shop. But I decided that the monthly fee ($9.99) and tips added up to too much. The final straw was when things were so crazy during the lockdown that my Instacart order was going to take 10 days to be delivered! And nobody had time to text me about replacement items so I was only getting about half my order. I know things are better now, but I've decided I can do this myself.
  10. Google search engine. I was using Firefox for a while, but it seemed every time I rebooted I'd have to install it again. Google just kept trying to take over. Now I'm using Duck Duck Go for my search engine. I'm not too savvy about all this, but I'm trying to maintain a little bit of privacy, if possible.
Not only are we saving money, but I feel lighter.

Pizza dough set to rise. Look at that air bubble! Sometimes yeast does its own thing.

I have been further encouraged in simplifying my life by reading Cheryl Smith's book Biblical Minimalism. You can read my review of her book in my previous post. Cheryl has generously offered a copy of her book to one of my readers. Donna Nance is the winner! Congratulations to her. I know this book will be a blessing and an encouragement.

What are your thoughts re Amazon, Facebook, and Google? Do you find yourself subscribing to everything like I have in the past, or have you opted out? I'd love to hear.

xo Deborah

Biblical Minimalism book review and giveaway

Monday, June 29, 2020

Please read to the end to see how you can receive a copy of Cheryl E. Smith's book, Biblical Minimalism: Following Jesus from a Life of Abundance to a More Abundant Life.

I was so excited to receive a copy of this book. I have been following Cheryl's blogs, Biblical Minimalism and Homespun Devotionsfor a while now, and knew that I was in for a wonderfully encouraging and challenging read. Many of you may already know her, and her sweet, tender heart and her devotion to speaking words of truth and encouragement. As soon as I heard she had written a book, I knew that I could expect deep and satisfying help and guidance. I wasn't disappointed.

I have been on a minimizing and decluttering journey for some years now. No one who comes to my house would think I'm a minimalist with all my teacups and books, but I have decluttered many, many areas of my life, from clothing and decor and china to commitments and distractions, the most recent being Facebook (what freedom!).

I've read Marie Kondo with my book club and have studied and implemented ideas from a number of books, blogs, and articles over the years. All of these have been helpful in simplifying my life.

But Cheryl's book, Biblical Minimalism, isn't just another book in a long line of minimalism books that are so popular right now. She takes the whole minimalism thing to a much deeper level. This is not simply a book that shows you how to declutter your closet or how to get out of debt, although she covers these things. This is a Scripture-saturated book that really seeks to explain the WHY of minimizing and simplifying. 

Cheryl describes Biblical Minimalism as being, "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly and relinquishing all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, temporary life."

Her book is full of Scripture, and this, along with her inspiring personal story, is what makes this book so much richer than other books on the subject. In her gentle and compassionate writing style, she points the way for us as she describes her own minimalism journey, which included her family getting rid of 90% of their possessions. I had to stop reading in astonishment and ask my husband what we would get rid of if we did something like that. We came to the conclusion that it would be easier to decide what 10% we wanted to keep! This is hard-core minimalism! (Cheryl is quick to point out, however, that everyone's journey is different and she is not advocating for us all to do the same unless called to do so.)

She takes us through her family's journey of drastically downsizing, of getting out of debt, and of leaving a legalistic church. Throughout it all the cry of her heart is to follow Jesus. To allow nothing to distract her from her call to live in radical obedience to and "love for the single-minded, eternity focused, unassuming, plain-living Galilean Who laid down His life and shed His blood for our redemption."

Cheryl is not just talking about physical possessions that weigh us down and prevent us from living an unencumbered life. She talks about emotional baggage, such as unforgiveness, of mental clutter, of unhelpful or unnecessary obligations and commitments, and of all the myriad of distractions in our social-media obsessed and consumer culture.

Cheryl shares her journey with us, and gives us practical tips for minimizing. She guides us through steps to take to discover our true calling and purpose, and helps us to look at each section of our life to see where we need to be more intentional about minimizing. These are all very helpful, and I plan to re-read these sections prayerfully. But I think the best part of this book is how she continually points us to Scripture. I was again struck by how often Jesus speaks on this subject.

We're not to downsize and minimize just so our homes can have a pleasing aesthetic. We're not to simplify our calendar just so we have more time to do what we want to do. There's a purpose to all this that goes beyond having a quieter and more peaceful life for its own sake. The whole point is, as Cheryl says, "to let go of this world for the sake of a higher call."

I plan on re-reading this book. I've already marked up my copy! I know you will be blessed by reading it as well.

Please leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway to receive a copy of Cheryl's book. I will leave the giveaway open for a week, until midnight July 6. If you'd like to order a copy for yourself or a friend, please click HERE

Cheryl Smith is the author of the book “Biblical Minimalism,” the story of her family’s journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life. She is the author of the blogs Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective, and Homespun Devotions, where she writes devotionals and conducts “Inner Views.” She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write.

Weekly meal plan

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Do you ever find it tiring to try and come up with ideas for dinner? Every. Single. Night?

I know I do.

So I've come up with a plan that has really lifted that nagging question off my shoulders and made things a whole lot easier. Grocery shopping is easier, and I always know what to pull out of the freezer each morning.

Meatless Monday
Taco Tuesday
Wing-It Wednesday
Throwback Thursday
Fun Friday
Sizzling Saturday
Soup 'n Sandwich Sunday

Meatless Monday makes sense in a world with meat shortages and rising prices. It's also healthy! An easy recipe is beans and rice. I cook the (brown) rice and mix it with a can of drained black (or any other kind) beans. I add sautéed celery and onions, chopped tomatoes. You could add corn. I sprinkle the top with cheese, bake, and serve with salsa and/or sour cream and fresh cilantro. There are many variations to this simple and tasty dish. 

Taco Tuesday is anything Mexican. I make my own taco seasoning (cheaper and much less sodium) and use ground turkey instead of ground beef. We usually make some kind of taco salad, with cassava chips (for me) on the plate first, then topped with meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

Wing-It Wednesday (coined by my daughter) is not wings! My husband plays golf on Wednesdays and is home late, so it's leftovers or he'll grab a burger. For me lately, it's been a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn with butter and a movie for dinner! 

Throwback Thursday is any kind of comfort food from yesteryear. Spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken broccoli casserole, etc.

Fun Friday was going to be Fish Friday as that seemed traditional, but I don't happen to like fish, haha. So "fun" = pizza. Homemade pizza. I've been experimenting with cauliflower pizza crust and spelt pizza crust. I'd like to try making pizza on the grill this summer, too.

Sizzling Saturday is anything on the grill. Hamburgers, brats, steak, BBQ chicken.

Soup n' Sandwich Sunday.  Sometimes Sundays are a feast day with family and friends and a ham or a roast. But more often than not, it is a quiet day for us. BP (before pandemic) we usually went out for brunch after church (this is the only time during the week we eat out). So we're not too hungry for dinner. Homemade soup, made in batches and frozen, or a sandwich, is simple and easy for a quiet restful day.

So there you have it. We've been doing this for four weeks now and I'm sold!

A glittery notebook and a unicorn pen, a birthday present from my daughter. Isn't this fun?

How do you plan your meals? Do you have a weekly plan?

xo Deborah

No-sugar cookies and pizza dough

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

I really miss baking. Since I have gone no-sugar, I really haven't had the option. 

All I have been able to find, as I've researched online, have been recipes with sugar alternatives, such as Swerve or stevia, or "healthier" sugars, such as coconut sugar. 

I have tried making some of my favorite recipes without sugar. Pumpkin bread was a major fail. But gluten-free waffles, made according to the recipe but without the sugar, were a success. 

But now I've actually found a recipe for cookies with no sugar! I have revised it at least five times and this is version I like best.

No-Flour, No-Sugar Cookies

3 cups old-fashioned oats
3 bananas, very ripe, smooshed up (technical term!)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c no-sugar peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk (can use almond milk)
chopped walnuts and dates, as desired

Mix all together and drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

These are very moist, so I'm not sure how long they will last sitting out. My husband likes them so we can eat them in three or four days. I will have a few for breakfast with coffee.

These are very versatile. The original recipe did not include eggs or salt. I've made them without milk. I've used applesauce or almond butter instead of peanut butter. You could use raisins or pecans.

The sweetness comes from the bananas. The riper they are, the sweeter the cookie. Of course, this cookie is not sugar free, with the bananas and dates, but it is at least natural sugar.


I was buying the cauliflower pizza crusts until I saw they have 1 gram of sugar in them. They are also pricey. So I found a yummy recipe that has no sugar in it.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

1 lb bag of frozen riced cauliflower, thawed with extra moisture pressed out (I let it sit in a colander in the sink to thaw and drain and then press down on the cauliflower to get all the extra water out)
1/2 c shredded mozarella
1/4 c grated parmesan
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Mix together and pile onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form into a circle or square. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F. Remove from oven, add toppings and bake for 10 more minutes.

With all the cheese in the crust, you don't need as much cheese for topping. The first time I made this I 
thought it was a little rich with all the cheese. But so good!

I used a bag of riced cauliflower and broccoli for this pizza. This is before it is baked.

After baking, before adding toppings.

Now I've come to where I think I'm going to allow one compromise in my no-sugar lifestyle. And that is in bread making. I have made gluten-free, sugar-free bread and it's okay. Not great, to be honest. So, occasionally, I think I will allow myself to make yeast bread with honey.

{Am I being way too strict about all this sugar stuff? Yes, definitely. But I DO NOT want to re-gain the weight I've lost. Ever.}

We still have lots and lots of spelt berries stored in our basement from when I used to make bread on a regular basis for my family. But I sold my grain grinder years ago, and they have just sat there. Then I read that you can use a NutriBullet to grind grain. So I brought up some of those spelt berries and made a spelt crust pizza (2 tsp of honey in recipe).

Before baking, with roasted red peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, and fresh basil from my deck garden.

The crust ended up kind of heavy. I think I tried to grind too much grain at one time and the flour wasn't perhaps as fine as it should have been. Also I think I should have kneaded it for much longer than the recipe called for. (I also sold my bread maker so I kneaded it using my handheld mixer with the dough hooks.)

Hope you enjoyed these recipes. Next time, I want to share with you how I've super-simplified the "what are we having for dinner" question.

xo Deborah

Solitude and no-spend April

Friday, May 8, 2020

How are you all doing these days at home? I know that for some this solitude is extremely difficult, even depressing. And, at least here in Michigan, we've got a ways to go. Although a few are being allowed back to work (landscapers and realtors), our "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order has been extended to May 28.

I am seeing a lot more cars on the road when I go out for groceries. I think many people are so tired of being cooped up, especially as the weather is getting nicer.

But, for the most part,  I am honestly doing fine staying home. Of course, I wouldn't want to go on like this forever. I miss my friends. I miss my little grandson.

But I continue, for the most part, to be busy and happy with projects around the house.

I have all my books arranged by color, and decided I needed a few more pink books. I have a lot of scrapbooking paper that I had come across in my organizing, so decided to cover a few of my books in pink paper. This makes me happy.

I have continued to make masks. I have removed pockets from two dresses I own (those pockets added bulk right where I don't need extra bulk!). I have continued to organize and declutter and have three big boxes of things to donate. Most of these are clothes as I have gone down four sizes, from a 14 to a 6.  Yay!

I have sorted through old games and dolls and sewing and craft supplies. I have literally hundreds of sewing needles! What?! It's amazing the things I have found.

I decided when this pandemic shutdown started not to spend any money except for food and essentials. I did this mostly because everything was looking so uncertain back then (as actually it still is). This has been a really good exercise for me (as well as saving us money), and I have learned several things.

First, I've realized how easy it is just to sit on the couch and order from Amazon. As I've done another round of decluttering, I've realized just how many things I've ordered that I don't really need, and how many purchases have been made on impulse, or because a YouTuber or blogger recommended them.  Because it is just so easy to get caught up in excitement and place an order right then.

I've seen how much I really have here, and how many things I can use up before buying more. It's embarrassing, really, to see all the stuff in my house.

For example, I discovered I have seven pots/sticks of lip balm. These will last me well over a year. I have at least a half dozen bottles/tubs of body lotion, and the same amount of facial lotion. I have enough mascara and blush and eyeliner to last that same amount of time (especially since I'm not going anywhere, although I have to say I put on makeup for Zoom calls!).

This doesn't even include all the random things that I thought I had to have but that I've never really used.

I've decided that as I move forward I am going to question every. single. purchase. When I look at all I continue to declutter I feel so convicted of wastefulness. Of money and time.

Even with food purchases. When we stayed home from the stores for three weeks and didn't even have any groceries delivered I saw how much we actually had, and how, through being creative, I could still put good meals on the table.

It has been eye-opening and humbling. And very freeing.


We've had eight weeks of church at home. This past Sunday we celebrated communion. We used what we had.

I miss getting together for worship, but there has been something very special and poignant about this time. To see musicians and singers leading worship from their living rooms. Our pastor in his kitchen "serving" communion to us. I'm grateful for technology that keeps us connected.


What about you? Are you all climbing the walls and ready to get going again? Or are you finding contentment at home? Have your spending habits changed, out of necessity or just a result of slowing down and being more thoughtful about things? What things have you learned through this time?

A culinary success and more organizing

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I finally made something gluten-free, sugar-free that's actually good, not just acceptable!

My husband put maple syrup on his. The recipe did call for sugar, but I just skipped it, and these waffles still tasted great.

If you're a follower of my blog, you know I've spent a good couple of years decluttering my house. But it seems I keep finding more things that need to be sorted and organized. Like recipes.

 And look at what I unearthed, looking for ties for face masks I'm making. These laces must have come from my in-law's house. Circa 1960s probably. Even marked down to 26 cents!

Another thing I've been organizing is the stuffed animals and dolls that belonged to our children. I have gotten rid of some, but they are hard to part with.

These beanie babies (remember these?) were all stuffed in a pillowcase and tucked away so that our cat couldn't get at them. She would carry one around like it was her own kitten, crying so much it was really pathetic. I had to hide them from her to spare her the distress. She's sadly no longer with us, so I can pull these out again.

Not sure what I'll do with them eventually, but I had fun arranging them against a guest room dresser. Will leave them until my grandson can come over and see them.

This little pink snail is one of my favorites. Isn't she sweet?

 Another big mess right now is all our board games, puzzles, and children's crafting supplies. I forgot I have literally thousands of beads downstairs! Paper airplane kits, a woodworking kit, paper dolls, dominoes, cards . . . Our son in Iowa asked if we could mail him a board game. Then asked for five more. That was a big box.

We braved the grocery store after we dropped the games off at the post office. My nose always starts to run, even more than normal, under those masks! Does anyone else have this problem? And you can't do anything about it except keep sniffling.

It was so nice to get fresh produce. Everything got a lovely soapy wash and rinse. I haven't had a fresh berry in almost three weeks. The raspberries taste like heaven!

I came across mention of this soap in one of Miss Read's Thrush Green books. It sounded so lovely smelling that I ordered it (back before the whole Covid-19 thing). It is the soap that was used in the state rooms on the Titanic.

It is very nice, but doesn't quite have the smell described in the book. I've read that soap makers and perfumers have had to change their original formulations to comply with various environmental regulations, so that is probably the difference.

I've written a guest post entitled What the Pandemic Can Teach Us here at Cheryl's blog Homespun Devotions. If you've never visited Cheryl's blog, or her other one, Biblical Minimalism, definitely stop by. She has such a sweet spirit, and writes so encouragingly about our Christian faith.

Stay safe and well friends. xo

Staying busy at home part 2

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This past week I've concentrated on making face masks. I dusted off my sewing machine (literally!) and got to work. I have been making them for friends and for hospital workers. It feels good to be able to contribute in some small way during this crisis.

I know that many of you are doing the same.

The kitchen is now "Face Mask Central."

We were going to do a Costco run a couple of days ago, but decided to stay home. These next two weeks are supposed to be the worst, at least here in Michigan, so we will make do with what we have. Several weeks ago I got butter and cheese and milk and froze them. I bought some powdered eggs from Amazon, which just arrived. I froze some blueberries to have on our oatmeal, and we have frozen veggies.

The only thing I will miss is fresh fruit. But it is not worth it to me to go out and get it. I am truly grateful that we have what we need. 

 Cauliflower and chickpea masala. Spicy and delicious.
We have been able to donate food from our pantry, trusting that we will be able to replenish it in a couple of weeks.  And because I invested in a handheld bidet, we've also been able to donate toilet paper!

Like all of you, I am super conscious of not wasting anything. I have a half a block of feta cheese that isn't going to last much longer.  There's also some kalamata olives in a jar in the fridge. I have jarred artichokes and beets. I will organize some kind of charcuterie board today with crackers or bread, and that will be "dinner," along with some devilled eggs. 

I have been making some dishcloths.

I got almost halfway through one and realized I didn't have any more of the matching yarn. So I'm using what I have. This will definitely not be a gifted dishcloth!

Every time I use this dishcloth in the future I will remember this pandemic, and how a trip to the fabric store was not an option.

We just discovered a new season of one of our favorite shows, Doc Martin, is available. It is nice to have something distracting and fun to watch. I have also been reading through my collection of Miss Read books every night before bed. I just can't seem to handle any heavier literature at the moment. I don't consciously feel anxious, but I must be at some level, because I am seeking out soothing entertainment right now.

My social calendar feels quite full at the moment with several Zoom calls scheduled during the week, and many Marco Polo videos to watch from friends and family. I am blessed right now to be an introvert. And to being a homebody. This is particularly hard on extroverts and those used to going somewhere every day.

If I could block out all the news, I would be quite content doing my thing here at home.

But worries do intrude, and I know many are suffering. A friend just texted last night that she and her daughter are having trouble breathing. A family member, who is self-employed, is not working and thus has no income. I know someone working for Shipt who is constantly facing exposure risks at the grocery stores, and friends who are nurses who are on the front lines every day. My husband, who is a CPA, has clients whose businesses may never recover.

I'm praying daily for all those who are struggling and for all those who are in authority and making decisions.  I know God is still in control and that He hasn't forgotten us. I pray we make it through this with as little lives lost as possible, and that we can all, individually and as a nation, make the changes necessary to improve our world.  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:6,7

Stay safe my friends. xo

Staying busy at home

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Our neighborhood association asked us to put teddy bears in our windows so that children going for walks would have something to look for and to count. I think Mr. Bear looks slightly melancholy, stuck inside as he is.

I've been busy in the kitchen this week, planning and thinking about "make do, use it up, or do without." We're trying to avoid the stores now if possible. I did order some things from Amazon a couple weeks ago for baking.

I haven't baked since July when I gave up sugar. But my husband likes sandwiches, and all the bread has been sold out.

I had given my daughter my baking powder and yeast. It was hard going finding it on Amazon, and of course, took much longer to arrive. But as soon as the yeast came yesterday I made a loaf of gluten-free, sugar-free bread.

No kneading required. Just mixed with my hand mixer with the dough hooks. It took longer to rise without any sugar, about twice as long.

 It made a dense, kind of wonky-looking loaf. 

But we both agreed it was very tasty.

 I found some beef broth I had made in the freezer and made up some vegetable soup. It was delicious with the bread. This bread is also good toasted.

I had frozen some blueberries a week or so ago.

I tried a gluten-free, sugar-free coffee cake. This is the first time I've used xanthan gum. I couldn't get any of my favorite Rumford baking powder anywhere. These packets of baking powder were all I could find.

The muffins in the jar are gluten-free, sugar-free banana nut. These were sweeter and better tasting than the blueberry coffee cake.

Why am I being so rigid about sugar? I think it's extremely addictive. And so many negative side effects of consuming too much of it. And I don't do moderation very well.

I've lost 45 pounds since going off sugar and white flours. I've reached my goal, and sure don't want to gain any back!

I found the Christmas ham bone in the freezer. I made up split pea soup. I don't care for it, but my husband loves it, so I froze up a bunch of individual servings for his lunches.

And made some ham spread with some of the extra ham on the bone. I have used sweet pickles in the past, but here I used dill pickles. I've found an avocado mayo from Primal Kitchen with no sugar that is very good.

Rice and beans with scallions, tomatoes, cheese, and seasoning. Served with salsa and sour cream and more scallions.

We're having leftovers of this tonight.

I soak my pecans in salted water and then slow roast in the oven. According to Nourishing Traditions cookbook, this makes them more digestible. They taste way better too. I use them mostly on oatmeal.

Besides cooking, I hauled out my sewing machine, which was literally covered in dust! I made up five hand towels from some old linen cloth and some leftover lace.  This project had been sitting around for several years!

And brought out my knitting. Some dishcloths for Christmas.

Here's my answer to the current toilet paper shortage! A handheld bidet.

I love this!

I am seriously thinking of having one installed on our toilet when all this is over.

Also in the self-care department, how great are these reusable eye makeup removers? I got them in black so any mascara or eyeliner stains won't show. No more buying cotton rounds. They are super comfortable on your skin, too. Although I haven't been wearing much makeup lately ;).

Our small group Bible study is meeting tonight over Zoom. So thankful for this technology that allows us all to connect.

What have you all been doing at home these days?

xo Deborah

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs