Monday, July 28, 2014

Sorry I've Been Neglecting You. . .

But I've been really busy.  Daughter Mary talked me into opening a new Etsy shop (She beat me and pulled my hair -NOT).  It's called The Frozen Mouse and specializes in handmade items with a Disney theme.  We decided on the name because when it's cold and snowy in Pennsylvania, I dream about being in Walt Disney World.  I should note here that I am in no way affiliated with Disney, but rather hand make my items using licensed fabrics.  If you are a Disney fan or have one in the family, stop by and check out the shop.  I've had such a good time making new wristlets and water bottle carriers with Disney fabrics.  Currently I am awaiting some fabrics from Japan and Thailand.  They are beautiful fabrics that aren't available here in the states.  I have become an international shopper and have ordered zipper pulls from China and Lithuania.  I'm surprised at how quickly they have arrived.

Today I am working on some drawstring backpacks with Disney fabrics.  I started these as birthday gifts for my grandkids, and am planning on including a pin lanyard and a gift card for them for our upcoming Disney trip.  I ordered fabric without knowing how much fabric the bag took, and was pleasantly surprised to discover than I could get three drawstring backpacks from one yard to fabric.  So, I have will have two of each to list on Etsy.  Bubby picked out this Mickey Mouse fabric, and I think it will make a really cute wristlet, too.

Jake loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and chose this fabric for his bag.  I love that it has Captain Hook on it, as I've always been a fan of Peter Pan.

And Izzy chose Doc McStuffins for her bag.  I just hope she doesn't decide to be a vet like her Mom.  I wouldn't want her to go away like Kristin did.

And I decided to use some fabric from my stash to make a few Buzz Lightyear bags.

I can't wait to see them finished.  So here I go to sew!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Luncheon is Served

I have the greatest job in the world - being a stay at home grammy.  Every day at my job someone tells me that they love me.  We do some pretty great things while the 4 grandkids are here.  We watch movies, they put on plays for me, they have dance parties, and sometimes they fight.  But I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

Once each week, I like to make them special lunches.  Most days we have lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwiches, but once a week or so, Krissy and I make something special.

The first week, we made "undersea hot dogs with seaweed noodles", and watched Finding Nemo.  We dyed Oodles of Noodles green with food coloring, added a hot dog in which we cut legs, and then added goldfish crackers and Swedish fish.  I thought it was a really cool idea, but I have to tell you that the kids were a little freaked out by the green noodles.

The next special meal was heart shaped pancakes with sausage inside.  I have a little cooker that makes heart shaped cakes, so we put the pancake batter inside and added three sausage slices to it and then baked them.  In the smallest section of their lunch containers, they each got syrup for dipping.  They were a big hit, and are on the list of things to make again.

Today's lunch was corn dog muffins.  We made up two boxes of Jiffy corn bread muffin mix and put it into regular sized muffin tins that had been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  After filling the cups 1/2 full, we pressed 1/3 of a hot dog into each muffin, and them baked them at 400 degrees for 18 minutes  When they were done, we left them sit a few minutes before removing them.  We served them with two cookies and some fruit salad.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them.

I have a few blocks of cream cheese that should be used soon that are in the refrigerator.  Since they all like ranch dressing, I think I'll add a ranch dip packet to the cream cheese and make roll ups with sliced ham, maybe a pickle, and a few soft tortilla shells.  The next day for lunch, we can slice them and voila - our own take on "sushi".  I pinned an idea for "fortune cookies" made with fruit roll ups, and think it would be a great lunch to serve while we watch Mulan.

We'll blink twice and they'll be ready to go back to school, Krissy in 8th grade, Bubba in 5th grade, Izzy in 1st grade, and Jake will be going to preschool three days a week.  I'll miss them terribly, but Izzy and Jake will stay come after school.  And as we all know, time marches on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Old People's Garden

In years past, we had a huge garden.  But as we got older and life got busier, it became almost impossible to keep up with the weeding.  And once sewage came through, we could no longer afford to water the garden so our produce yield wasn't worth the effort.  After we put the roof over the deck, we wanted some way to keep "critters" out from under the deck.  We decided to build beds with landscape timbers.  It works out pretty well, it's a small area to weed, and we don't have to bend over as far to pick the veggies.  Here's a look at this year's garden.  Click the pictures for a better look.

This is the bed of peas, with an errant canteloupe plant that just moved in.  We have already had one meal of the peas, and there's another waiting in the refrigerator.  There are still more pea pods on the vines, and the grandkids and I love eating them raw, fresh from the pods.

This bed is home to our green and wax bean plants.  They're really crammed in there, but it doesn't leave much room for weeds.  My mouth is anxiously awaiting the first pot of ham and beans.

This bed was Izzy and Jake's make-believe garden.  They had a great time digging in there before Pappy planted the kohrabi and lemon cucumbers in there.  The lemon cucumbers are new for us this year.  They are shaped like a lemon, and are supposed to have a milder flavor. There are some sweet pepper plants in there as well. What we didn't realize was that Jake and Izzy had planted seeds from a rotten pumpkin that they had found.  We haven't thinned anything out, because we frankly don't know what are pumpkin vines and what are the cucumbers. Time will tell.

This bed is the one where we planted two types of summer squash, and it appears that the kids planted some pumpkin seeds here also.  We usually plant golden zucchini, which have a milder taste and thinner skin than the green.  This year I bought seeds for a zucchini that is light green with a yellow tip.  It looked interesting, and I like to try something new each year.

This is our tomato bed.  It looks like kind of a shamble right now.  We have planted lemon pear tomatoes (which are the size of a grape tomato), we planted Lemon Girl and Big Boy tomatoes, and we also planted some Roma tomatoes.  They have blossoms, but no fruit yet.

And last but not least, a new addition this year.  This bed is sandwiched between two lilac bushes and lemon lilies, and is home to some bush baby lima  beans.  In the past, we've not had good luck with lima beans because they have a longer growing season.  But this variety is bred with a shorter growing season, so we're giving them a try.

So there's our Old People's Garden.  As we grow older, we plant to add another row of landscape timbers.  That way as we age, we don't have to bend over as far!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello June!

Can't believe it's June already.  I have no idea where May disappeared to, but at least it's finally warm.  For some reason, I had zero incentive in May to accomplish much of anything.  I had started some baby quilts, but never got around to finishing them.  What is it that they say about the best laid plans??

Last week, my get-up-and-go finally returned.  I finished 2 of the baby quilts.  They are posted on my Etsy site.  I've been getting a lot of views lately on the site, and most of them are for water bottle holders.  Today, I'm cutting new holders.  I had purchased a lot of new fabrics - angry birds, Spiderman, ninja turtles, princess, Hello Kitty and baseball just to name a few.  My plan is to cut three of each holder and cut the insulted batting for all of them at one time.  That's a lot of cutting and I'd much rather be sewing, but if I don't cut, I can't sew.

Tuesday is the kids' last day of school and then I'll have all four for most of the summer.  I've been trying to come up with some new ideas to make summer more fun for them.  We bought the Disney Infinity game for the Wii, and Jake always needs my help to play. (Grammy plays and Jake tells her what to do).  I've decided to do a movie day once a week, and have been searching on Pinterest for ideas.  Our first movie day will be for Finding Nemo.
I found this idea for Under the Sea lunch.  All the kids love hot dogs and Oodles of Noodles soup, so this will be perfect.  And for a sweet treat, Swedish fish.

Our second week will be Toy Story.  I have found patterns for felt Potato Heads with accessories that I will cut for the kids to make.  For lunch, we will have Hamm Sandwiches, and cheese puffs like Al was eating in Toy Story 2.  Krissy is cooking now, and I'm going to see if she can make some cake pops that we can ice green and add eyes and antennae to make them look like the little aliens.

For week three, I'm planning on Mulan.  Mary is going to make sweet-n-sour chicken the night before for us to warm up.  And I found this really kid healthy idea for fortune cookies:

For week 4, it will be The Lorax.  Look at this neat idea for Lorax cheese using Babybel and American cheeses. I've gotten pixie stix and cotton candy to make the truffalo trees and will serve goldfish crackers with lunch.

The kids like to do "Jammies to Grammy's" day.  So I figure we watch Bedtime Stories on that day in week 5.   And for fun, we'll have breakfast for lunch - waffles and sausage.

I've had so much fun coming up with these ideas.  And to be honest, I think I'll have as much fun as the kids this summer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is Summer on the Way??

With the amount of rain we've had lately, it's clear to see that spring has finally arrived.  And that means that summer cannot be far behind.  Staying hydrated is very important to folks of all ages.  Currently in our Etsy store, we have insulated water bottle carriers in Disney and Star Wars fabrics.  But new fabrics will be posted in just a few weeks.

For the pet lover who wants to stay hydrated while walking or playing with their pet, we will be offering bottle holders in the this fabric:

For those of you who dream of being super heroes or champion video game players, we will be offering new fabrics featuring Angry Birds, Spiderman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  These fabrics are licensed and are in no way my own creation.

For the sports enthusiasts, we have chosen neutral football and baseball fabrics (no favorite teams), and of course, camouflage.

And last, but certainly not least, we will have something new for the gals (little and big) in the way of fabrics.  First will be the always popular "Hello Kitty" and also something for the Disney princess.  These fabrics are also licensed, and not my creations.

We are hoping to have these available for sale with the next week or so.  Stop by and see.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bird Watcher

I am an avid birdwatcher.  I have a bird feeder outside my living room window where I can watch all the species that come to eat.  It sits next to our deck, and the birds line up on the top of the deck railing to wait their turn at the feeder.  All except the large blue jay, who squawks very loudly and bullies all the other birds to let him into the feeder.  He gets inside the feeder (it's shaped like a gazebo) as far as he can to insure that no other bird can push him out.  I've told you before how we have cardinals, robins, chickadees, tufted titmice (I know, a funny name), and occasionally a mourning dove will take over the feeder.  Last year, I identified one of my favorite winter visitors as a "dark eyed junco".  Previously, I had just referred to him as my snowbird.

This morning, I spied a new bird who had come to eat at the feeder.  I had never seen this guy before, and he is stunning.  I searched the internet for a photo with which to identify him and found this one:

Turns out that he is a "rose breasted grosbeak.  Isn't he beautiful?  Their song is very similar to that of the robin, and they feed mostly on berries and take turns incubating eggs in the nest.  

But one of my favorite birds that visits the feeder is the white breasted nuthatch.  He is the acrobat of the feeder, and climbs up and down the feeder pole upside down. He will even hang sideways using only one foot.  So that's my bird watching experience for today. Do you watch the birds too?

Monday, April 28, 2014

In a Rut or on a Roll?

This past weekend was the Spring train show for the eastern division of the TCA.  It's always a special weekend for Rod and I and this show was no exception.  We left Thursday evening and drove as far as Breezewood.  Then on Friday morning, we slept a little later than usual, had breakfast, and then drove to the show.  With the price of gas, I had decided on Wednesday that some penny-pinching was in order.

We had some turkey breast left over from Easter, so Pam and I whipped up some turkey spread.  We ground up the turkey, added some pickles and hard boiled eggs (also an Easter leftover) to the processor and then added some mayo, mustard,shredded cheese, black pepper, and seasoned salt.  And, voila, turkey spread was born.  I made 5 sandwiches on buns, and packed them in a plastic container.  Pat made a loaf of chocolate applesauce bread, yummy by itself, but even better when made into sandwiches with some spreadable cream cheese.  I cut the sandwiches in half to make them more finger-friendly, and then put them into another plastic box.  Into the cooler bag they went, along with two ice packs, and our drinks of choice. We stopped at "The King" for dinner on Thursday night, but our bagged goodies were lunch and dinner on Friday.  It was great that we had them since it was pouring rain when we stopped for dinner on Friday, and we didn't have to leave the car.  I love just about anything made with turkey and our sandwiches were delicious.  The next time, however, I may add a few dried cranberries for a sweet surprise.

Yesterday, we smoked a sirloin tip and it was a little dry.  Great flavor though.  After dinner, Pam dragged out the food processor once again.  Out came the dill pickles, spicy brown mustard, more leftover hard boiled eggs, cheese and mayo.  And she made what we call "roast beef spread".  It makes great sandwiches, but we like it on Ritz crackers for a healthy snack.

So now I ask you - is making two kinds of spread in three days a rut or a roll?  Well, let me tell you that if it's a rut, it's a pretty scrumptious one!