Andy’s Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

2 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded mozzerella
fresh jalapenos
1 lb bacon (not thick sliced)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut jalapenos in half long-ways, core out centers and seeds. Mix 1st four ingredients and stuff into peppers. Wrap in single strip of bacon. Place on baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is done.

Andy’s Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos before cooking.

My Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, this is really the Tollhouse Cookie recipe with a few tweaks. I don’t use butter because it makes the cookies spread too much. If you don’t have eggs, you can substitute water (really) and you can eat the raw dough (YUM). If you don’t have brown sugar, you can substitute more regular sugar and some molasses. You don’t need a cookie scoop, although if you want perfectly round cookies all the same size, it’s a must. If not, just use a spoon 🙂

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup Crisco shortening (butter or regular)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (or 3/4 cup more white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs or 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Measure out flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. In mixing bowl, add shortening, sugars, vanilla, and eggs or water. Mix on high until super creamy – this takes a few minutes. Add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, don’t overmix. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by scoopfuls onto non-stick cookie sheet or parchment lined sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes depending on how you like your cookies. Less time makes them softer and more time makes them crisp/crunchy when they cool.


How to Set Up a Gmail Account

The easiest way to set up a Gmail account is through Google’s website.

Create a Google Account

A Google Account gives you access to many Google products. With a Google Account, you can do things like:

  • Send and receive email using Gmail
  • Find your new favorite video on YouTube
  • Download apps from Google Play

Step 1: Choose a Google Account type

For myself

Important: When you create a Google Account for your business, you can turn business personalization on. A business account also makes it easier to set up Google My Business, which helps improve your business visibility and manage your online information.

When you create a Google Account, we ask for some personal info. By providing accurate info, you can help keep your account secure and make our services more useful.

Tip: You don’t need a Gmail account to create a Google Account. You can use your non-Gmail email address to create one instead.

  1. Go to the Google account Sign In page.
  2. Click Create account.
  3. Enter your name.
  4. In the “Username” field, enter a username.
  5. Enter and confirm your password.
  6. Click Next.
    • Optional: Add and verify a phone number for your account.
  7. Click Next.

Use an existing email address

  1. Go to the Google Account Sign In page.
  2. Click Create account.
  3. Enter your name.
  4. Click Use my current email address instead.
  5. Enter your current email address.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Verify your email address with the code sent to your existing email.
  8. Click Verify.

There is a ton of help on Google’s site. Here is a taste.

Money 101

If you are in debt and struggling, you are not alone. However, there is hope. The most effective thing you can do is stop spending money. STOP. SPENDING. TODAY. No more shopping. No more Starbucks. No more shoes. Live like you may never receive another paycheck. Be stingy with your money. Pay your rent or mortgage, your utility bills, and those monthly bills you can’t avoid – think food and shelter, you probably have enough clothing. Then, take a good look at all the places your money goes. Not sure where it goes? Start paying attention.

Do you want to get out of debt or not? This is what you should ask yourself each time you get ready to spend money. Can you eliminate some bills? Here are some expenses to consider.

TV streaming services.  Do you really need these? If you want to get extreme, you could get rid of all of them. Or maybe you could get by with one or two.

Internet and phone service. Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting you eliminate these. However, you likely don’t need the fastest Internet service, the latest iPhone, or the biggest plan offered, right? See if you can reduce these expenses.

Subscriptions. Do you automatically pay for monthly subscriptions? Whether they come out of your bank account or charge your credit card, you are still paying for them. This includes things like magazines, gift boxes, jelly/book/tie/whatever-of-the-month-club, gym memberships, Amazon (you need to stop shopping anyway), apps and access to exclusive online content. They aren’t absolutely necessary, cancel them. NOW.

Services. Do you pay other people to do things that you could do yourself? Like cleaning your house, mowing your yard, painting your nails, laundry, washing your car, walking your dog, etc. STOP! Take the time and effort to do these things for yourself and save the money.

Stuff. You know, those little things you see and just buy – like craft supplies, trinkets, clothing, books, makeup, tools, etc. You can do without all of these, expecially when you are trying to reduce expenses.

Gifts. Gifts are important, but be reasonable. Try to be creative and come up with something unique, homemade, or sentimental. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Set a limit to spend on gifts, a REASONABLE limit, like $25. It really is the thought that counts. Another way to cut back in this area is to limit the people you give gifts to. You don’t really need to give gifts to your second cousin’s best friend. Seriously, limit your gifts to immediate family and give a heartfelt greeting to the rest. I know this is hard, especially during the holidays. Set yourself a stern limit for the entire holiday season, and stick to it! By stern, I mean $500 or less. Really. Do you want to get out of debt or not?

Eating out. Do NOT go through a drive though! Do NOT order delivery! Don’t spend your hard earned cash for ridiculous delivery fees or subscriptions for food delivery (UberEats, GrubHub, etc.) Go to the grocery store and buy real FOOD. Not processed and frozen junk, but real food. The more processed the food is, the higher the cost. Just look at the cost of Twinkies versus apples … see what I mean? Eat the apples, they are much better for you. 🙂 Learn to prepare simple meals to feed yourself and your family. See very easy simple meals here. You will save a huge amount of money by preparing and eating your meals at home.

Coffee. Yes, I’m talking about Starbucks, etc. here . . . If you can’t survive without fancy coffee, get a basic model Keurig and buy pods. You can get the best flavored coffee pods at ALDI’s. Seriously. I’ve tried every French Vanilla out there and ALDI’s tastes the best. You can get 12 pods for less than $3 a box. If you are just looking for a caffeine fix, ground coffee and a good old coffee pot are the way to go.

Credit cards and loans. Pay your credit cards and loans on time every month to help your credit rating and avoid late fees. Don’t get any new credit cards or loans. Pay off the smallest balance first and close the account so you won’t be tempted in the future. Pay the minimum due on everything else until you pay off the smallest credit card/loan completely. Then, add the amount you were paying along with the minimum payment to the next smallest credit card/loan balance until you have them all paid off. Pay off the store cards and close the accounts. You only need one (1) Visa or MasterCard for travel reservations and unique events.

Find your local dollar store and discount grocery store, look for Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Aldi’s, RulerFoods, those kinds of stores. Stay out of the big box stores that are filled with tempting things you don’t need.

Live within your means. Tithe 10% of your paycheck, save 10% of your paycheck, and live on the rest. Build yourself a savings cushion so you can pay your bills if you lose your income.

Speaking of income, consider your employment. If you only work part-time, ask for more hours or look for a full-time job. Pick up a second job or side hustle. Don’t pay for a job of any kind. Some scammers out there will give you all the ‘secrets’ to making easy money for only $79.95 or whatever. The secret is . . . get a real job. Go to work.

Another way to increase your income is to sell your exess stuff. Try eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, consignment shops, flea markets, or anywhere else you trust. You’ll feel better with less clutter and you can make a little of your money back in the process.

Pay off debt, don’t be a slave to it – Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Simple Meals

Basic Recipe for simple meals:

2 cans no salt tomatoes
1 can no salt added beans
1 lbs bag frozen vegetables
4 oz frozen chopped greens
1.5 – 2 cups cooked grain (brown rice, potato, sweet potato, barley, etc)
Spice/seasoning to taste
Yields 4 servings

This is all you really need! Eat simply, inexpensive, and be healthy!

Curried Indian Potato Stew: 2 cans tomatoes, 1 can garbanzo beans, 2 bags 16 oz frozen cauliflower, 4 oz peas, 4 oz onions, 4 oz greens, 3-4 cups cooked potatoes, Curry spice mix

Mexican Beans and Rice: 2 cans chopped tomatoes, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can black beans, 2 bags frozen pepper and onion mix, 8 oz frozen corn, 4 oz greens, 3-4 cups cooked brown rice, Mexican spice mix, hot sauce or salsa

Italian Pasta Primavera: 2 cans chopped tomatoes, 2 cans dark red kidney beans, 2 bags frozen California mix, 4 oz greens, 3-4 cups cooked pasta, Italian spice

Basic Burger Recipe: 1 can kidney beans, 1/2 cup rolled oats dry, 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes or salsa or barbecue sauce or ketchup, spice (try mexican seasoning or curry powder)
Mash beans by hand with a potato master, do not use a blender or food processor. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Divide into 8 or 10 equal parts and shape into a burger. Let sit for a few minutes in the refrigerator to set. Grill or broil on each side until golden brown.

Based on Jeff Novick’s Fast Food Recipes.

Shopping list for simple meals.

1 x Oats
4 x Canned tomatoes, no salt added
2 x garbonzo beans, no salt
1 x pinto beans
1 x red kidney or black beans
2 x frozen cauliflower
1 x frozen peppers & onions
1 x frozen corn
2 x frozen california mix
2 x frozen mixed veggies
1 x frozen spinach or kale
1 bag potatoes
1 bag brown rice
1 pkg whole wheat pasta
2 bunches lettuce
7 x tomatoes
7 x bananas
7 x organic gala or honeycrisp apples

Notes: shopping list is based on meals for 1-2 people. I usually eat one serving, put one serving in the fridge for another meal, and freeze 2 servings for later. This way, I have really fast food on those days I don’t want to cook.

Some additional very simple meals:

Beans and Rice – 1 can chili beans, 2 cups of instant brown rice, cooked. Mix together. Heat through. Add seasonings to taste. Serve.

Pasta with Sauce – Cooked pasta (your choice, I like whole wheat spaghetti), 1 jar no fat spaghetti sauce. Pour sauce over cooked hot pasta. Serve.

Rice and Vegetables – 1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables, heated. Add 1 bag cook-in-bag rice, cooked. Season to taste. Serve.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – 2 servings prepared instant mashed potatoes, 1 can Campbells mushroom gravy, heated. Pour gravy over potatoes. Serve.

Basic Computer Skills

Windows laptop or desktop OR Apple/MacBook

• Don’t try to do everything on your phone
• Phones are good for some things like brief emails and text messages
• They aren’t good for editing documents or training

• For Windows, click on the Windows icon on the bottom left corner, the list of programs is displayed
• For Mac, click on the Launchpad icon, then look in the Applications folder

• For Windows, open the file explorer, select file, edit, click file, Save As. Choose location, enter filename and Save. To rename a file, click it twice slowly in the file explorer window and type in the new name.
• For Mac: open using the Finder window, select file, edit, click save.

All computers have a search box in the File Explorer for Windows or the Finder for Mac. This is your best friend for finding a file you have misplaced.

Gypsy Wife Cutting Chart – Main Blocks

I was getting frustrated trying to cut my blocks using the tiny grey print in the book, so I decided to make my own chart for cutting the Gypsy Wife quilt blocks. This chart is only for the main blocks. I will post the filler blocks and strip charts soon.

Helpful information:
This chart is easier to read in the PDF you can download below.
Background/light fabrics are highlighted in light yellow.
The number refers to how many blocks to cut and the letter refers to what fabric to use. For example, 2E means cut 2 blocks of fabric E.
If it says ‘asst’ just use a mix of prints.
If it says ‘same’ use the same print for all pieces.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom as some of these blocks have strips too.

If you see any mistakes, please let me know so I can fix them.

Download the Main Blocks cutting chart here.

Quilt Alongs

Quilt Along Links

Don’t you just love a good quilt along? I know I do! While you are waiting for Christmas to arrive, here are a few fun quilt alongs to try! Some may be finished but you can still make the quilt at your own pace. And – you can see all the block patterns now, no waiting for the next one to be published. 🙂

If you are new to quilting, this is a great quilt along to get started: Ultimate Beginner Quilt Sew Along

Sewcialites Quilt Along

2020 Bloom-Topia Quilt Along

Stitch Pink

2020 Monthly Quilts with AQS

And, of course, the ever popular annual Christmas Quilt Along from American Quilter’s Society –

Twilight Flurries Christmas Countdown Quilt Along

These should keep you busy for a while. If not, just type ‘Free Quilt Along’ into Google and you’ll be occupied for years…

Christmas Thoughts

I love Christmas. Each year I try to plan Christmas gifts that I can work on throughout the  year. I find crocheting relaxing and something I can do anywhere; you might give it a try. I also enjoy sewing but I’m not fond of lugging around my heavy sewing machine so I keep that activity for when I’m home! You can also sew by hand; people have been sewing for centuries without a machine. I have many hand sewn quilts made by my grandmother that I treasure.

Try to enjoy the festivities and not get stressed out for the holidays. After all, the entire reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 🙂 There are so many things you can do during the year to get ready for Christmas that will make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful.

Just to keep track of how much time you have to prepare for Christmas, here you go.

Todd’s Macaroni and Cheese

4 cups cooked macaroni
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups shredded cheese plus
  ½ cup shredded cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix together salt, pepper, whipping cream, egg, and butter. Add to macaroni and stir. Add shredded cheese. Stir. Pour all into 8” x 8” pan. Top with additional ½ cup shredded cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.

Vegan Beans and Rice

Vegan Beans and Rice

I like to have some very simple recipes on hand for when I don’t have much time or am just tired and want to eat. This is one of those recipes. This makes a large batch that you can have for several meals, or freeze half for a quick dinner later.

3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cans mild or hot chili beans
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Mix all together in a large saucepan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. You are ready to eat!

Please remember that you can add/omit any spices or ingredients you don’t like or don’t have. This is your dinner so make is how YOU like it!

Optional add-ins: 1 cup frozen spinach or kale, 1 cup frozen or fresh corn

Micah 6:8

Sometimes I’d like an exact list of what I need to do. I can go down the list and check things off as I go. I look at most things very black and white, and literal. It’s just how I’m wired. When I feel overwhelmed and have too much to do, this verse puts it all in perspective for me. Maybe it will for you as well.

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

To make it really easy:

  1. Be just
  2. Be merciful
  3. Be humble

Just: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.
Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone who you could punish or harm
Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance (opposite of prideful)

These are things we can do every day to honor God. They are free and there are no laws against them. If you don’t like the way you are feeling today, try to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Talk to Him and let him know how you feel. It isn’t a secret, He already knows anyway, so you might as well get things out in the open and discuss it with Him. You’ll feel much better. I promise.

No More Worries!

This Bible verse really helps me remember not to worry. I tend to worry about every little thing and this reminds me that I don’t need to do that. I can spend my time doing more constructive things!

Philippians 4:6

Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.