Pine Cone Christmas Decor


The time has arrived for Christmas decorating. Boy, it feels like I just took my decorations down a few months ago. Wait a minute, I DID just take my decorations down a few months ago!

No, I'm not quite that bad, but I did keep them up until probably late spring. Hey, we leave ours up until February 2, the Feast of the Purification, and by then I was eight months pregnant. Give a girl a break! We got the tree down before the baby came, just not the rest. ;-)

Anyway, I want to do a better job this year, so I'm making plans. Problem is, my empty wallet isn't agreeable to my plans! So as usual, I am coming up with some low cost/no cost decorating ideas, and I'll share them as I find them. And first on my list: pine cones.

Pine cones are an ideal Christmas decoration, as most people can scrounge them for free. I filled baskets with them last year, and arranged them artistically on shelves and around our Nativity scene. I also tied ribbon to them and used them as ornaments on our sparsely decorated tree. You could also hang them along the top of window treatments, dangle a bouquet of them topped with a bow from an archway, use a styrofoam cone and hot glue pine cones to it to make a pine cone tree, or find a way to string them together to make pine cone garland or swags. You can also paint them in gold paint, or roll them in glue and dip in glitter, if you want the mess (yikes). Just google "pine cone Christmas decoration" and you'll come up with many ideas.

Now, if you don't have pine trees, where do you get them? Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member who has pine trees. Or collect them from a local park or a state park. Don't trespass on private property, and find out first if it's okay to take pine cones off of public trees (I can't help you with that one). If it isn't, pick clean ones off the ground...I wouldn't think that would be a problem. Take the nice ones and leave the ugly ones to go to seed. You can also buy them at craft stores, but they won't be cheap. I got a dozen from Walmart for about $3. They were cinnamon scented, which I loved...for two days. Then the scent was gone. Don't waste your money on scented pine cones.

The craft ideas for pine cones is limited only by your imagination...pine cone Santas, snowmen, wreaths, firestarters, you name it. You don't need a lot of money to make a home pretty for Christmas.

Happy decorating!


Sorry to be away so long. I've been so wrapped up in my diet that I've neglected this blog. Too much going on: updating my Fitday several times a day, posting my weight in two or more places online, and keeping up with two weight loss blogs (and only one of them very well).

I'm that kind of person--I get obsessed with something for a while, then move on to something else. But I'm not doing that this time. I need to lose this weight too badly. The diet is going very well. I've lost almost twelve pounds in the last two weeks. The first week is always a lot of water weight. I expect to lose at least three pounds a week, although I'm hoping for more. I'd like five, that would be great. Some women have lost 6 1/2 or 7, but I don't want to get my hopes too high. I love this diet. My hunger is non-existent, and I cannot believe how little I am eating. It was impossible to eat so little on the plain low-calorie diets.

On this diet, I'm eating small amounts, but I am full. And not the Ugh-I'm-So-Full fullness, but the kind of fullness you feel when you are satisfied but not at all stuffed. I don't think I ever felt that before. I was never sure if I was satisfied or not, until I was really full. And I was always afraid that if I didn't eat enough before bedtime, I would wake up starving, and ruin my sleep by having to get up for a snack (this usually only happened during pregnancy, but I started to feel this fear all the time). I normally kept snack bars by my bedside during pregnancy or nursing in case that happened, but I had gotten to the point that I kept a box there even when I didn't really need it.

Before this diet, I was feeling completely out of control in my eating habits. I felt like I was losing it. I felt like an addict. The last few months I actually found myself going to find food as soon as I didn't feel full anymore. It was insane! Now I don't think about food that much at all, and when I do, it's only "gee, that sounds good". I can handle that. I need to make sure I eat, so I don't get those thoughts. Yes, sometimes I forget to eat! Although usually I know I need to eat, but I'm too lazy to make something, lol.

I am so much happier. I don't feel depressed anymore. I'm much more patient with my kids, and most days are good days. More importantly, on the bad ones, I DON'T go running to food. I admit there was one horrendous day where I was tempted, but I overcame it. Before, a day like that would send me running to the store for a bunch of junk food.

Not only that, but for Thanksgiving, I made a Kimkins-friendly meal for my family. My husband is on the diet too, and has been SOOO supportive. My kids eat what's put in front of them, and they liked it (they normally have high carb breakfast and lunch, so I don't always add carbs to their dinner). The only off-plan item on the menu was a low carb pumpkin custard with whipped cream. Basically a crustless low carb pumpkin pie in custard cups. They were about 6 carbs each. Now, I do admit to eating TWO :-0 but I kept my total carb count to 22 (no net carbs here), so I only went over my limit by 2 carbs. I'm really proud of myself!!

Anyway, I'll try to post a homemaking-related article soon!

Weight Loss Updates

For those who are interested, I will be posting updates on my weight loss on my other blog, Weigh Out of Control. I try to keep this one mostly about homemaking. I will definitely be updating the other blog as often as I can.

Thanks Michelle! ;-)

Happy News!

(EDIT: WildAngel6, STOP SPAMMING MY BLOG!!! Please get your own blog and trash Kimkins there. I'm not 100% for Kimkins anymore, but if I was, that would be my business. MY BLOG, MY OPINIONS...not yours! You have spammed me at least a half dozen times, and apparently you don't get the hint when I delete your anti-Kimkins SPAM/advertising comments. One more time and I'm reporting you to Blogger.)

I have started a new diet, and I think I'm really going to like this one. It's called Kimkins. It's a lower fat version of the old Atkins, with no Frankenfoods. It starts out with Kimmer's Experiment, very similar to the Stillman's diet: all meat, seafood and eggs, nothing else. Except just enough NEEDED fats to cook, if you feel you need them. I use a tiny bit of mayo for deviled eggs, a bit of butter for cooking, and a tablespoon of cream for a couple of scrambled eggs. They say it will kill your hunger and put you into ketosis. You do KE for 3-5 days, then do regular Kimkins.

On this diet, you use no artificial sweeteners, except for diet sodas if you need them. Everything should be natural foods, and you should choose lean meat like chicken or leaner cuts of steak. Minimize fats...just what you need to make your menu work. The diet should keep you from being hungry, but if you're hungry, eat. Your diet should end up being very low calorie once the hunger is killed. Last night I had 6 ounces of fish and two scrambled eggs, and I actually was satisfied. I wasn't hungry til noon today. And........

I lost almost five pounds in three days! Whoo hoo!

I started at 260, and I'm down to 255.2. The scale is my friend now. And I am feeling SOOO happy.

The best part is that this is a quick weight loss diet. You can expect to lose 4-7 pounds a week, if you're faithful. That sounds like a lot, and I know somepeople will criticize (but not here on my blog, please)but if you think about it, it's much better than weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass patients are told it is safe for them to lose up to 1 pound per day. But they take on the risks of surgery, permanent reconstruction of their anatomy, and the inability to absorb much of the vitamins and nutrients from their food. There is non of that on this diet. Kimmer, its creator, lost 200 pounds and kept it off for a couple of years now. She lost 160 in SEVEN MONTHS, then 20 more in three months, then the last twenty over a couple of years. She went from 318 to 118. Her website is

She does charge $40 for a lifetime membership to the site now. But if you google "kimkins" you'll come up with a lot of low carb forums where she previously posted advice, and where her followers still post today. I haven't joined her site. I'm doing the diet for a couple of weeks first, then if I like it, I'll join. Everyone says it's very helpful to have access to her and her forum, and if the diet works it would be worth it.

I am feeling SO happy right now. For the first time, I can actually picture myself thinner in six months! My goal is to lose as much as I can before I get pregnant, then if I do, I'll switch to Atkins maintenance. I'm really hoping I can get down to 200 before I get pregnant again. That would be AWESOME! Then I can easily wait til after the pregnancy to lose the rest.

WOW! I just realized if I get down to 200 I might be able to fit into store-bought maternity clothes. Cool!!

Mr. Clean "Menace" Eraser


If you or someone you know use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, please check out this post about a child who received chemical burns after rubbing them on his skin.

I use these on rare occasions. I plan to lock these up with other household chemicals. I'm trying to transition to natural cleaners based on vinegar or baking soda recipes, but I will keep my Magic Erasers for emergency permanent marker clean up. Just one more example about how dangerous products are marketed to unsuspecting consumers with no warning of deadly side effects.