Archive for February, 2008


For lunches this week, I’ll do turkey, ham and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I’ll also eat leftovers from dinner.

Dinners for this week:

  • Cheeseburger rolls
  • Spaghetti
  • Salmon
  • Chicken fajitas
  • Chicken noodle soup


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Out of the ten patterns that I purchased for $1 each at JoAnn Fabrics, here is the first one that I made.  It’s Simplicity 3887.


I chose a blue jersey fabric to make the white, short-sleaved shirt on the pattern above.



Here is where I’m laying out most of the pattern pieces.  I also needed to refold the blue fabric a different way for the sleeves (1 piece used to cut 2 sleeves), as well as the two curved neck pieces shown above on the upper and lower left.  In addition, I had to cut out the two curved pieces with fusable interfacing as well.



Here, I’m sewing the side seams of the shirt.  I reinforced each seam by sewing them again 1/8 from the original 5/8 seam.  Then, I trimmed the second closely.



In this picture, I’m attaching the neck to the shirt.  Before this, I had to gather the top of the shirt.  As you can see, I’ve already added the sleeves and put in elastic so that they are puffy.



 This is the completed shirt.  I’ll now show pictures of the sash I made, but I want you to know that I ended up wearing the shirt without the sash.  Also, I’m petite across the shoulders, so this one was too wide.  I had to pin my bra straps to it.  Maybe, I’ll attach some strings or ribbons with snaps to save myself from pinning it each time.  If I make another shirt with this pattern, I might try to cut the neck pieces smaller to try and fix the problem of it being too wide.



This is the sash as I was in the process of ironing it flat.  I hadn’t purchased extra fabric to make it, so I had pieced it together with scraps from cutting out the top.



This is the sash after I ironed it flat.  I also sewed along the edge, so that it would be easy to iron after washes.



 The top and sash look great together when flat on the table.  On me, it looks much better with the top alone.

In all, it took me two days to cut out and sew the top and sash.  It took a while to put the elastic in the sleeves, gather the top of the shirt, and to make the layered neckline.  It’s too wide across the shoulders on me, but when it is pinned in place, it is a very comfortable shirt to wear.


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Last weekend, I took advantage of the President’s Day sale at JoAnn Fabrics.  Normally,  Simplicity patterns sell for about $16 each.  JoAnn’s was selling them 5 for $5 with a limit of ten patterns.

It was all I could do to hold off for the two weeks I had been waiting for the sale.  I even went in the week before to write down each pattern that I would purchase.  On the first day of the sale, I went to JoAnn’s after work and rapidly filled my basket with the patterns on my list.  It was so wonderful to finally have my patterns!

I bought ten patterns.  Normally, that would be about $16o.  I got them for $10!!!  What a sale!

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Cooking Up A Storm

I knew this week was going to be a busy one. Since I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook on Wednesday or Thursday, I decided to do several days worth of cooking on Tuesday. Here’s a picture of my efforts.


As you can see, things got a bit crowded. It began Tuesday morning before work. Very quickly, I hand-washed all of my pots and pans. My husband had already been taken care of all of the dishes that could go in the dishwasher.

That evening when I got home (after swimming!), I began cooking like crazy. My stove has three burners that work. One is large and two are small. By rotating my pots and pans as things on the larger burner cooked quicker, I was able to handle several pots at once. I also used the oven.

Here’s what I prepared:

  • Pasta: bow-tie pasta, turkey sausage, and marinara sauce with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic
  • Sauteed shrimp
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted red pepper shells stuffed with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil
  • Caramelized onions and mushrooms

It definitely was a good cooking adventure. We have had food to cover lunches and dinners for at least 3-4 days. Plus, my husband helped me clean up!

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I made my menu and did my grocery shopping last weekend, although I’m just now getting it posted on the site.
Menu Plan for the week of February 18:
Main Courses –
  • Pasta with marinara sauce and turkey sausage
  • Sauteed shrimp
  • Leftover lentil soup
Side Items –
  • Caramelized onions and mushrooms
  • Oven roasted red peppers stuffed with tomatoes, garlic, spices, and EVOO
  • Salad
Lunches –
  • Dinner leftovers
  • Turkey, ham and cheese, or PBJ sandwiches

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Veil of Roses


I would like to share a favorite book of mine with you.  Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald is a lovely novel.  It focuses on Tamila, a young woman who grew up in Iran.  She travels to America to stay with her sister.  The goal:  find a Persian-American (Iran-American) husband via an arranged marriage, before her Visa runs out.
As Tamila is introduced to a variety of Iran-American suitors in the evenings, she spends her days attending ESL classes at a local university.  There, she forms friendships that will further shape her outlook on life.  
I loved reading about Tamila’s experiences of so many things that I, as an American woman, never think about.  Tamila finds joy at seeing young girls swinging on a swing-set on a public playground.  That would never have been allowed where she grew up.   
I especially enjoyed the “secret” friendship Tamila begins with Ike, a young American man who works at a coffee shop.  As they chat outside the cafe or he accompanies her to her sister’s house after ESL class.  Tamila begins to fall in love with him.  The struggle is that she is supposed to agree to an arranged marriage with a Persian-American man, yet she has trouble finding one that she would be happy with.
This was a very romantic story, yet “pure” story.  I absolutely adored the ending.  I keep going back to re-read this book again and again, just because of how it makes the rest of Tamila’s experiences worth it.  In addition, I enjoyed learning about Tamila’s culture as she constantly adapted to differences in America. 

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Last week, I did most of my cooking over the weekend or at the beginning of the workweek.  Once Wednesday rolled around, I didn’t do any more cooking!  I was quite tired and ready to eat sandwiches or leftovers.

Looking in my pantry, freezer, and fridge Saturday morning, I found a half jar of marinara sauce, 4 pounds of marinated chicken fajita thighs,  a can of black beans, and more lentil soup than I care to think about.  There’s still some leftover cheeseburger casserole as well.  If that doesn’t disappear in the next day or so, I’ll freeze it in individual portion sizes.  I’ve got more in my kitchen to eat than what I just mentioned, but these items were some of the ones that I wanted to consider when making my menu for the week.  With the giant bag of chicken fajita meat, I’ll probably cook 4 chicken thighs and freeze the rest in sets of four in vacuum-sealed bags.

I got the idea for the roasted peppers and tomatoes from watching Jamie at Home on the Food Network.  Jamie Oliver’s new show is great, because he cooks recipes according to what is ripe in his garden.  The recipes are very simple and mostly vegetarian, not to mention mouth-watering!

Menu for the week of February 11:

Main Dishes –

  • Chicken fajitas
  • Black bean tacos
  • Shrimp with brown rice
  • Leftover lentil soup (I don’t know if this will happen – it’s not exactly the most appetizing color)
  • Baked fish with vegetables (foil packets in the oven)
  • Wednesday – Church dinner

Side Dishes  –

  • Roasted bell peppers stuffed with tomatoes and garlic (Yum!)
  • Onions sauteed with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar (caramelized onions)
  • Organic spring salad(s)
  • Raw tomatoes with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Lunches –
  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Each lunch will also include yogurt, fruit, salad, or other veggies

For more menu ideas, see I’m an Organizing Junkie.

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