Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Blahs!

Why are some Mondays worse than others?  This is how I feel this morning - no energy.  Not quite sure why, though.  It certainly wasn't a hectic weekend!  Saturday we basically did very little.  We got a new burning barrel delivered. No energy needed on our part. Rod went to the nearby butcher shop to pick up the meat order I had placed on Friday.  No energy on my part.  We grilled some sweet sausage for lunch.  Not a hard job!  Then we spent the rest of the day watching the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family.  I never dreamed that I would enjoy the Harry Potter series of books and movies like I do.  Neither Rod nor I felt much like cooking the meal of stuffed patty pan squash that we had planned.  But we had a meal of stuffed peppers in the freezer, which we pulled out and stuck in the oven.  Not hard, no energy!  Rod made a pan of brownies - dumped the mix in the bowl, added the needed ingredients, and stirred the batter before putting it in a pan.  OK, maybe a little energy needed.  It was a great day!!!

Sunday we went to Costco and bought some much needed things.  We even managed to escape before it got too busy.  On the way home I invited the kids by text message to dinner.  Had a great meal planned.  We had seen Robert Irvine on Restaurant Impossible cook ribs by putting a rub on them, wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and baking them in the oven at 225 degrees for 2 hours.  I even googled recipe to make sure we had it right.  Robert said they were tender, moist and delicious.  NOT!!!  Oh they were moist alright, but they were so tough that you couldn't pull the meat off with a fork.  Generally, I do ribs in the crock pot and cook them for 8 hours.  Guess I should have realized that 2 hours just wasn't going to "cut" it.  (Pun intended)  We had tons left over and so tomorrow, they go into the crock pot and I'm hoping  I can salvage them.  We cooked the corn that we had received in our CSA box this past week, and it was delicious.  And we did cucumber, tomatoes and, mozzarella cheese with a little sliced onion for a salad.  Usually I add Italian dressing to this salad, but it tasted so good that we just ate it the way it was. The cucumbers were also from our CSA box, along with some small carrots, a pint of blueberries, 4 large peaches, and of course, the corn.  Joining CSA was a really good idea.

It had been rumored that free dining was becoming available for our trip to Disney in December. Supposedly it would be released today, but alas, it hasn't happened.  And I have to admit that's a big part of my blahs.  Tonight for dinner, I'm planning a nice, old fashioned, meatloaf and some zucchini fritters.  My own version of comfort food.

I always try to look for a silver lining in every dark cloud, so I guess I'll just say that if the week starts out this blah, then it has to get better.

 ** Don't forget the free giveaway happening here next week.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Give Away!

Today I am beginning a give away here on the blog.  I recently added some new items to the Etsy store.  The giveaway begins today, and the winner will be selected on August 8, two weeks from today.  The winner will be chosen by random generator, and will receive a set of pot pinchers and a wristlet.  Here's what you need to do:

1.  Click on one of the ads on the left sidebar.

2.  Click on the link to my Etsy store which is on the right side.  Once you are on my Etsy site, click to make the store one of your "favorites".

3.  Click on my Facebook Fan Page: and click "Like".

4.  Click on my friend Cindy's Facebook Fan Page:, and click "Like".  She makes some really cool things.

5.  Leave a comment here telling me what your kitchen theme and your favorite color are.

You can enter once a day.  Good luck!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Oh What a Beautiful Morning"

It has been so hot and humid this past week and, with my asthma, I don't venture out when it's like that.  I was out to go to the doctor on Monday, got a great report. Then I was housebound until Friday when I went to the dentist to have a tooth pulled. And today, it's a whole new day. The jaw feels a lot better than when the tooth was there. The outside temperature is in the mid 70's with low humidity.  And so, I decided it would be a great morning to spend on the back deck enjoying the day.  I was surprised to see how much some of my little fish had grown.  I saw one of the tadpoles, who now have legs but still have their tails.  There was a hawk circling overhead, a bunny eating grass in the upper field, and two little songbirds sat on the deck railing to serenade me.  One of the neighbors was mowing the lawn, so the sweet smell of clover was in the air.  It was wonderful.

But now it's time to get to work.  I have a quilt to finish up for the neighbor's granddaughter. And Mary put in a request for pot pinchers.  It's green beans and new potatoes for dinner tonight, so I should have some good sewing time today.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Are You Familiar With CSA?

Have you heard of CSA?  I hadn't until this year. CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.  I had thought it was available only in our area.  Here it is provided by Glade Run Adventures, a Lutheran services organization in our locale.  But as I researched recipes for the vegetables we were receiving, I learned that it all over the US. It is a wonderful learning experience for the kids, as you can see if you click on the link above. Early in the spring, we signed up for a "share".  Our cost was $324, and we are to receive $18 of fresh produce each week.  Our garden had done so poorly last year, so I figured it would be a good thing to try.  The first two weeks were a little disappointing, mostly greens - kale, collard greens, and rhubarb, strawberries, and other things.  But I tried collard greens (and liked them).  I put strawberries and rhubarb into a bread pudding (it was pretty good).  Then the shares started to get better.   One week we got a pint jar of fresh honey - I love honey on toast, and on biscuits, it's just heaven.  Last week we got blackberries, cucumbers and potatoes, and I tried a recipe for Mediterranean marinated cucumbers and it was delicious.
This week, however, was the mother lode.  Our share included 6 ears of fresh corn, a pint of blueberries, two nice sized patty pan squash, a bag of fresh green beans, and a bag of new red potatoes. I'm planning on a pot of green beans and ham (I use Canadian bacon) to use the beans and new potatoes.  But I have never cooked patty pan squash.  When I searched on pinterest for recipes, I found two for stuffed patty pan squash, one uses rice, the other uses Italian sausage.  I may combine the two so that it will be like the filling I make for stuffed cabbage.

Each week the kids who help with the program at Glade Run create a little bouquet of flowers to include with our box, last week's had beautiful snap dragons.  It's a little cup of sunshine sitting on my kitchen table each morning.  If you're so inclined, check to see if there's a CSA in your area.  You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Halloween Ideas

As a quilter, I don't think I'm rushing the seasons.  If I am going to get holiday projects done, I must start early.  I purchased a BOM package for this Halloween quilt. And I haven't even started it yet.

But last night I was looking for an applique embroidery design at, which is one of my favorite embroidery design sites, and came across these adorable Halloween cupcake appliques.  I like to do quilts with 12 blocks and sashing, so the fact that there were 12 cupcakes was perfect.  I bought all 12 designs, and they were on sale for $1.50 each.  I think these would be so cute on towels for the kitchen, too.

If you had these designs, what would you do with them?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hugs, Kisses, Smiles, Fun and Food

Mary found a summer job, and I volunteered to keep the kids.  Since I already keep Kristin's kids while she works, that means I have all 4 grand kids every day.  Mary's kids arrive promptly at 7:15 every morning (the butt crack of dawn as Mary puts it).  Kristin's kids arrive at varying times, depending on her schedule for the day.  Most days, it's tons of fun.  Other days, when one is in a bad mood or they're all fighting, not so much!  Krissy is nearly 13 now, so she's a lot of help with the other three.  Who knew that four kids could eat so much.  It seems like someone is eating constantly!!  Yesterday we decided to have English muffins along with fruit and a cookie for lunch .  Big mistake - big, big!  Just trying to get the toaster to cooperate with 4 muffins was a job.  Some of the muffins got stuck in the toaster, some popped high in the air, and one actually popped like it was supposed to. Then one wanted peanut butter, one wanted strawberry cream cheese, one wanted regular cream cheese, and one wanted half peanut butter and the other half strawberry cream cheese.   But we all laughed.

One day last week, Krissy took the sale ads from the paper and made paper hats for everyone.  Then they went outside to the back deck, hung an old cloth shower curtain as a sail, and played pirates.  There's a small tent on the back deck, and I had bought two camping sets, complete with toy lanterns, toy Coleman cookers, and some skillets and canteens.  They seemed to have a really good time, and sometimes I'm amazed at their imaginations.

I am just so blessed to be able to be so close to my grandkids.  We all have such a good time together. So, my summer promises to be one filled with hugs, kisses, smiles, fun and food.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why Do We Ask Why??

Meet my grandson, James (Bubby).  Bubby was born with Spina Bifida.  When the doctors closed the hole in his spine, he ended up with hydrocephalus, and that is when the trouble started.  A shunt needed to be inserted into his brain, and the doctor doing the surgery nicked a blood vessel.  This resulted in a bleed into the brain and subsequent aneurysm.  When they clamped off the aneurysm, it was like Bubby had a stroke.  Now he is unable to walk independently, his right side is much weaker than the left, and he has learning disabilities and a seizure disorder.  And he never questions "why".  Here he is with the Mario Brothers quilt I made him.  He loves video games.

He is a huge sports fan, and loves Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu from the Steelers,  and Sydney Crosby and James Neal from the Penguins.  One year for Halloween, he wanted to be Troy.  I thought this was the cutest Halloween costume I'd ever seen.  But Bubby never lets his disabilities hold him back.
He plays baseball with the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. He runs the bases with his walker.  He can't really run the bases, but he never asks "Why".

He swims in the pool that he got from the Make A Wish Foundation. He can't really swim using his arms and legs, but he never asks "Why".

And he can lead the Conga Line at family weddings.  He can't hold onto the others, or kick his feet like they do, but he never asks "Why".

He has just always wanted to be like the other kids, and thanks to the Variety Club and the generosity of others, he was given an adaptive bike.  Now he can ride bikes at the park like the other kids.  He pedals it himself and is learning to steer it more carefully. He can't ride a two wheeler, but he never asks "Why".
He enjoys riding roller coasters at Kennywood.  He loves chicken nuggets, french fries, bologna, and pizza.  He loves to laugh, he has a wonderful smile.  He is so full of life and love.  And sometimes, when he least expects it . . . .  he can fly.
And he never asks, "Why".  So why do we??

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Crying Real Tears

I think they might be crocodile tears, as my Granny used to call them.  Big tears!  Took the Janome machine to the shop.  Turns out that my senior moment damaged the control board, so it needs to be replaced.  The technician is trying to get it covered under the warranty, which is five years.  Since my machine is only four years old, he is hopeful that it will be covered.  So now we play the waiting game.  I got the sock monkey quilt tops for the twin babies put together, but would rather quilt them on the Janome machine.  I finished some more of the two zipper, double pocket wristlets and added them to the etsy store.  And I embroidered two baby bibs that had been ordered.  It was my first time to work with a name, and I figured it out.  And in the process discovered that my machine can do so much more than I thought.

Since the machine was already out, I decided to embroider some blocks for a quilt/snuggle blanket to put in the store.  I have this passion for sock monkeys, and had purchased some additional designs from during her July sale.  So right now, I'm working on some slumber sleep sock monkey designs.  I've already done the little boy in bed, the little boy on his back on the cloud, and as I write, the machine is working on the little boy on the moon.  Aren't they so cute?  I can't wait to see them all finished.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.