Monday, December 23, 2013

*Round One*

We drove home on Saturday to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.  We were missing my daughter's family and a nephew, but everyone else made it and we had a great time.

This picture was a last minute activity as we said goodbye.
I had purchased these Santa hats for .25 cents each, way after Christmas a couple years ago, from Dollar General.  I had put them aside and had forgotten them until I ran across them again this year.  I grabbed the bag and took it with me to the party.
We were saying goodbye, when my sister in law announced that we hadn't even take family pictures yet. (she's the one pulling up the Santa hats in the back row) My brother (front right) set his camera to automatic timer mode, put in on the mantle, and this is what we got!  We have all enjoyed this picture. (I'm the one with the overall Santa boy in my lap.)
Round two is tonight at our house.  Our son and his family will come over to celebrate.  (daughter is in TN and won't make it home this year) I'm cooking chicken and pastry (dumplings), cabbage, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs and rolls.  We're looking forward to watching the little kids tear into their gifts tonight.

We had an unseasonably warm day in NC and the cousins were able to play outside.  This was the first time these brothers were able to really play with and get to know sweet Matti (my brother's granddaughter).  What fun!
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! I am sure we are all knee deep (or deeper) in holiday preparations this week. 

I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year.  (Last year was a disaster with the dogs... you know, dogs see a tree, they pee on it) This picture was taken at the boys' home.  They are excited and ready for Christmas to get here!!

I did bring out the nativity and I did decorate the mantel.  And yes, I hung the same ole wreath on the front door.  (it looks so sad and tired.  I think this will be its last year) I've had this nativity for almost 30 years. It was a gift from my mother in law the first year that we were married.  This table is very low in height and Chandler's little 17 month old hands love to play with the animals! I hope the animals  can survive this year without being broken.  (next year there will be a 8 month old baby sister to worry about!!! yay!!)

These two boys have stolen Grandma's heart and I  am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with them.  I (like all of you grandmothers) cannot even describe the love I have for them.  Isn't it amazing how grandchildren come along in our lives when we need them most? 

From our house to yours.... Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 4, 2013

I made bread

Do you know what's in your bread?

Just for today: I do.  I know exactly what is in my bread today, because I made my own from this recipe. Honey Oat Quick Bread

I've been doing a lot of reading on our health, our mood, our diet, artificial ingredients, GMO's, etc. etc.  I'm trying to make the switch over to organic produce and grass fed beef and pork, etc.  There's a lot to be learned in studying about these things, and it's incredible to think that we, as Americans, eat so poorly.  (even though the obesity rate is sky high)

While buying a loaf of bread recently, I started to read the ingredient list on the different brands available.  OMG... really?  you put all THAT in this loaf of bread?? Not recognizing most of  the ingredients  in the 'chemical' bread, I opted for the one with shortest ingredient list and came home.  (Sara Lee wheat bread)

I started looking around on Pinterest for bread recipes.   I have been thinking about buying a bread machine, but don't know if I need another appliance sitting on the shelves, collecting dust.  I've never been one for kneading, rising, punching, etc... taking all day to make bread.  (Mainly because I don't know what I'm doing and I spend all day to make a less than decent loaf of bread.  )

So when I found this recipe.... no yeast, no rising, no kneading, etc.. I knew I should give it a try.  So, here it is... fresh out of the oven.  The house smells yummy and I'm waiting for it to cool.  I'll update you with the taste results later.

But just for today, yes, I know what's in my bread. :)

**Update on taste** YUM!!! Slices beautifully, too.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Walk in the Neighborhood

On my quest to get away from the computer, I have taken to getting out of the house more often.  On Monday, I took my three dogs on three separate walks in the neighborhood.

I only took my camera on the first trip because I knew I would probably need a blog picture or two.  ;)  Butterbean and I had only been out for a minute or two, before our neighbor came out to greet us.  Joyce is a sweet neighbor and if I had stayed in the house all day, we wouldn't have enjoyed seeing her again. (Joyce doesn't have dogs, but keeps doggie treats in her house for the neighborhood dog.... she is 'good people')

This is my favorite house in the neighborhood.  It belongs to Fred and Shirley.  One day I will ask if I can have a photo shoot there... the yard is spotless... no weeds, just beautiful flowerbeds.

Fred also has his own beehive boxes in the back.  He brought us a jar of his honey last year... Pole Cat Creek honey is delicious.  (the creek runs beside my house and behind his house)  Look how blue the sky was on Monday... glad I got outside to enjoy it.

This is a sneak peek of Barbara's yard.  I don't go into her yard with my dogs, because she has animals and I don't want to upset the neighborhood.  Barbara is probably one of the sweetest people I have ever met; I met her at Curves, where I go to exercise (when I go).  Barbara and her husband hire professionals to help out in their yard... it's incredible.  Can you see the fountain in her pond?
Terrible picture of my finger, I know... but can you see the two side by side drives leading up into the woods?  This is the end of the culdesac... there are two very private and nice homes up there, too.  The dogs and I were too tired to go up the lanes.
An interesting neighbor mailbox.  One day I would like to do a post on interesting mailboxes.  I have a very boring plastic mailbox that came with the house.  I see a lot of smashed mailboxes in the area, so I know the plastic is the best to have around here... but a mailbox like this might be harder to smash.  Good idea.
But, I gotta keep this post real... this is what most of our walk was about... lots of peeing and marking new territory.  I even took my plastic bags to clean up our messes.

So, what about you?  Have you been out and about in your neighborhood lately?

Friday, September 20, 2013

A September week in pictures

Feels like home
Only God can make a beach
Good hubby

Be present
breaking waves
Beach erosion

I staged the shell, but only God can make those ripples!

I see you looking at me
Enlarge photo to see school of fish in wave

**  A lovely week at the beach.  So thankful for God's blessings.  And remember, depression hurts, but Cymbalta hurts worse **

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Cooking

Happy Labor Day! It's still hot in NC, but I wanted to try a new soup recipe from Linda at Home For Good blog. (we do have a/c.... why not soup?) She had posted a recipe for Sausage Corn Chowder that I had pinned to my Pinterest recipe board.  I tried it today and this recipe is definitely a keeper.  (for my DD who likes to try my new recipes, buy the 'good' sausage so you don't have a lot of fat in fav. is Neese's)

picture from Linda's blog

So after making this yummy chowder , I decided I would make a lemon pie because I needed to use an opened pie crust that had been in the freezer for awhile.   I've always made my pies from jello pudding mix and just knew I had a cook and serve lemon mix in the pantry.  Of course I couldn't find the mix after I had already baked my pie shell, so I went searching for a recipe on Pinterest.

I found Grandma's Chocolate Pie recipe from Homesick Texan.  It was very simple to make and oh, so yummy.  (very rich!!)

picture from Homesick Texan

I grew up on Cook and Serve jello chocolate and lemon pies and I still like those the best.  But this is a great  and simple recipe if you need something really rich and chocolate-y (even if you don't make the pie).  It was great to get my cooking done early this morning before the house got too hot. I plan to spend the rest of the day cleaning house.  

I had a spur of the moment picnic with these two handsome men last week.  It's amazing how simple a great picnic can be!  Two bologna and cheese sandwiches and two glasses of milk.  Let the big boy carry the bag and Grandma carries the baby and the blanket.  It was a great 45 minutes.

I received my fabric that I ordered from to make my new kitchen curtains with.  I decided against red gingham when I found this.  I hope to work on the new curtains this week.

And this picture is for my mother:  our new truck.  :))

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vintage Tablecloth Love

No one here loves it except for me.
I found this tablecloth at Goodwill on Monday.
For $2.87... perfect vintage condition.  No stains, no tears.  And it fits my large table.  It makes me smile.  I know that someone spent a lot of time embroidering this cloth... someone who enjoyed doing things like this.  I will never use it; but I will love looking at it! Thank you to whoever dontated it to Goodwill.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to get out of a rut and other stuff

I allow myself to 'get in a rut' quite often.  When most of us fall into a rut, it is usually our own fault.  For me, it's pretty easy to get out of the rut, if I just do a few things differently in my day to day life.

I rejoined Curves  this week.  It had been almost a year since I had been, and boy! could I tell I hadn't been in awhile.  I had gained way too much weight, however, I knew exactly where each and every pound had come from:  I  have enjoyed lots of ice cream and peanut m & m's this past year.  I mean a "crazy" lot of them. (did anyone else enjoy the chocolate dipped vanilla cones at McDonald's this summer??? oh my!!)   At least I wasn't surprised at the weight gain, right?  (I guess I was glad it wasn't more weight!)

On my way home from Curves today, I decided to stop by the library.  I realized that I had not been inside the library since I started using my Kindle to read e books.  Really??? As much as I like my Kindle, I still prefer paper and ink reading.  I checked out these Gooseberry books to browse through this afternoon while lounging around the house.  (it's raining here!)

On my way home from the library, I decided to take a different route.  I normally take the shortest route, but there are several ways to my home that only take an extra 2-3 minutes.  I enjoyed seeing things I don't normally see and just before I turned onto my road, I heard something on the radio that got my attention.  (I would have missed this if I had taken the regular 'in a rut' route)

Did you know there is a whole song for this chorus?  I'm not sure that I did.  Here are the words:

Some thank the Lord for friends and home 
For mercies sure and sweet 
But I would praise Him for his grace 
In prayer I would repeat 

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul 
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole 
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me 
Thy great salvation so rich and free 

Some thank Him for the flow’rs that grow 
Some for the stars that shine 
My heart is filled with joy and praise 
Because I know He’s mine 

I trust in Him from day to day 
I prove His saving grace 
I’ll sing this song of praise to Him 
Until I see His face 

This is one of my favorite songs to hum.

Last night I tried a new recipe from Pinterest: a keeper!!! 

 It was this taco salad recipe and it makes a huge bowl full and we had leftovers for today.  Very inexpensive and the kids loved it, too.  

taco casserole 
I would love to find a pretty pot like that to serve mine in sometime.  I served ours in a large wooden salad bowl which was pretty too.  But this pan is way more 'country'.  The only thing I will do differently next time is add another small can of olives to this, as we all love olives in my family.  We also added a dollop of sour cream on the top of ours.  A must try if you are looking for something different.  (It served four adults, two children, and  we had enough leftovers for another meal for hubby and I)

So, what simple things do you do to get out of a rut?? Some people rearrange their furniture, cut their hair, change jobs, etc.  I would love to hear your ideas.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy House

Please click on the link
Please click on the link below the picture to see pic's of this happy house.  I love, love, love everything about it.  I'm on Pinterest these days.  I'm getting ready to transform my kitchen into red and white gingham... pure country!  :)))

The lady who owns this house is Joy from Joy's Thoughts and Things.  Click on her link to see her whole blog.  It's adorable.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweet Pea and the Bouffant

What am I working on?

Well, that's what Sweet Pea wants to know.  What are you doing, Mama?

Let me under there, please! Oh, it's not really big enough, is it?

I'm finishing up a little bouffant embroidery done for my 'hair stylist' daughter.  I quilted  it using my machine and walking foot this morning. It was the first time I have used my walking foot.... love it.  I should have used it on Kameron's quilt.  Still learning......

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On My Quilting Table Today

Don't get too excited.  I didn't make the top.  Isn't it pretty, though?  I bought it from ebay and I'll tell you why.

Hubby is in a wildlife association that meets every September in Smithfield, NC.  There is an auction at the end of the weekend and I have been promising him for several years to have a quilt ready for auction.  Well, he told me this year is the year, because he has already discussed it with several other members and organizers.  So, what to do?  Get a quilt ready!

I was browsing through ebay, as I so often do, and spotted this one last week, that I thought would be perfect for the wildlife auction.  Hubby agreed, so I bought it. I promise not to sign it, as if it were my own, but I sure would like to take the credit for making this sweet quilt.  I'm not sure if you can see in the picture, but the ears and tails are 3 D.  Click to enlarge to see if you can see them.

Hubby and I are on vacation from each other for the next couple of days. He is playing in a yearly golf tournament with his

Friday, August 2, 2013

A new quilt top for Nancy

I had a friend to ask me about making a baby quilt for her soon to be born grandson.  It caught me off guard because no one has ever asked me to make something for them.  Several have hinted, but none have come right out to ask.  She said she would be glad to pay me.....hmmm, how do you even begin to charge for the time it takes to make a quilt?

Knowing that this friend can also sew, I told her I would put together the quilt top, but she could finish it up.  She was hesitant, but agreed.  She bought all the fabric and I used my new  'go to' baby quilt pattern.

Yes, it's JUNGLE BABIES!  I'm not sure how this quilt is going to wash, as the top is made from cotton jungle baby fabric and flannel giraffe spots.  I'm not sure how mixing flannel and regular cotton will do together.

I like the way the two fabrics contrasted with each other.  And I just love the giraffe fabric.

Nancy chose this fabric with larger face babies for the backing.  I think it's going to be a pretty cute quilt.

** I do enjoy making quilts for others, but only if it's my idea....I choose the fabrics, I choose the pattern, and I get it done in my own time.  I have so many of my own things to sew, I would never want to sew for others as a business.  I think that would take the joy out of it for me. **

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Little Kameron's Quilt

My sweet niece is having a baby boy, due in September.  His Aunt Penpen just finished up his little quilt and hopes to get it mailed off to her tomorrow:

This is the second time I used this pattern (Eleanor Burns) and it is so simple, and I love the traditional look of the design.  I quilted it on the sewing machine, but one could do some pretty handquilted designs in each square.

I chose to try straight line quilting on this one.  I didn't even switch out to the quilting foot.  I ran this little quilt through the machine and I was pleased with the tension and how the threads looked on the back side. I usually have a difficult time getting the back tension correct when free motion quilting.

I remember reading somewhere that you should always stitch in the same direction... not stitch to one end and travel back to the other end.  I think I may have done just that with a few lines... see the ripples in the middle?

I like to personalize my quilts, but never 'love' my labels.  Next time, I may try to embroider on the quilt itself, before the quilting stitch is done. (this would probably look better with an embroidered border, too)  I save labels on pinterest and found the following label recently.... I may even try this one next time.

corner label from Fresh Off The Spool blog

Click link for tutorial
I hope sweet little Kameron enjoys playing on and sleeping under his quilt.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 2013

I'm here.  I've been reading your blogs, but not commenting a lot.  And I certainly haven't been posting! It's been awhile...

We just got back from our beach vacation.  We went to a new beach (for us) this year.  It was a lot of fun exploring new places, but I missed our 'home' beach.  The water wasn't as clear at our new beach AND we saw an alligator swimming along the shore!

Avery and his dad, Will

I forgot to take my camera, so not a lot of pic's.  My I phone is just about full already, so picture taking was very limited.

Chandler enjoyed the sand a lot! 
It's hard to believe this little fellow is having his first birthday party this weekend.  He will be ONE on Saturday.

April and Chandler
Bombshell news!  This girl is getting married!  A big surprise for me and her dad (and everyone).  She is packing up and moving to Tennessee by the end of July to be with her love.

Ronnie and Chandler

She is marrying this guy!  I'm trying to be happy about it.  I will miss my best friend being just a few miles away.  She will be living near Nashville, a place I've never visited before.  So, yes, I am looking forward to visiting her there.  :)

Most of my sewing time has been limited to this quilt.  It's being hand quilted and I'm almost finished!!  I've enjoyed the process of hand quilting again and had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.  It's a slow process, but so pretty.

I've been sick with a sinus infection, bronchitis and just plain ole' yuk!  I'm much better after a round of antibiotics and steroids.  But my ribs are so sore.  I went back to work this weekend and I sure felt those ribs every time I helped to lift a patient.  Whew, glad for this day to recover!  

Our garden is just about gone.  We've had a lot of rain in NC and I think the squash just couldn't take it this year.  We still have a few cucumbers and a few tomato plants.  But they aren't the prettiest plants we've ever grown .  I think I see a trip to the farmer's market in my near future.  

Just checking in.... I hope everyone is doing well!