Saturday, August 30, 2008

I am so easily distracted.....

Life has been a little bittersweet lately. Laurie and her Mr. B had a mutual parting of ways, and the Big Green Closet Formerly Known as Laurie's Room, is now Laurie's Room again. Though we are sad about the circumstances, and we miss her Mr. B and Bella, we are enjoying having her with us for as long as she likes, while she gets her feet under her again and decides what her next steps will be.

One huge positive next step:

She posed for a "First Day of School" picture for me this week. She is only six credits away from an associate degree.... Whoo hooo! She's taking a tough world history class with her friend Jenny.

Another bittersweet happening.... Our "adopted-son" Patrick's parents (our former pastor and his wife) traveled back here from their new home in Alabama, to visit friends, and visit Patrick, and baptize new great granddaughters (twins!).

Here Pastor PJ is talking to another member and I caught him from behind.... it was SO good to see him again.

Here is Patrick and Pastor and Nelda.

And here is Patrick and Tijae and son Cage....

Tijae is daughter Karen's BFF (it's becoming a very small world!) and her son Cage is the most awesome young man I've ever met. My hat is off to her. She is a fantastic mom, and her efforts with her son have sure paid off - he is an outgoing, polite, happy, engaging, curious and extremely smart little boy! He really likes Patrick too - so he has great taste!! :)

Here's a picture of the twins and their parents. I didn't get a really good picture, but I think those babies would have looked beautiful no matter what!

Watching Pastor in his old position at the front of the church, hearing his voice as he baptized his great granddaughters and then blessed us, it took me back about ten years to when my kids were teens and life was (unbeknownst to me at the time) much, much easier! I felt so many emotions that day; wistful for days gone by, gratitude for how well my daughters are doing and for their presence in my home, sadness that this may have been the last time I would see Pastor PJ..... who knows where the next year or two will take us.... if the housing market ever turns, we still want to get out of here and find some land and settle down to a simpler, quieter lifestyle. So we may not be here the next time he visits. :(

I keep getting side tracked. And blogging has been way off the radar screen recently. Mr. B has complained that "all he sees are those vegetables" from the last post when he checks my blog.

I refrained from reminding him that at least I blog a few times a month, unlike a certain Curmudgeon, who had me set him up a blog a year ago so that he could blog from a political standpoint, throughout the current election. Ahem.....

Not one entry yet..... Silly Curmudgeon!

Speaking of vegetables (and fruits).... my cantelopes stopped growing at a rather petite size and then ripened. And tasted GREAT. Karen loved them!

Anyway, as you will see below, I've been pretty aimlessly flitting from activity to activity.... but I actually have accomplished a few things.

Three more blocks for my Saturday Sampler are done, including month #6, and two of the three extra squares originally included in the sampler.... I will take pictures later when I get all 16 blocks done. I have to make four blocks on my own (as I did not want to do a center medallion, and just wanted a king sized with four blocks where the medallion was). So I am thinking about making a few blocks from last year's Saturday Sampler for those four.... the finished blocks are the same size, so I will just have to see if last year's patterns lend themselves to the style of this year's blocks....

Michael sat down with some of my cooking magazines last week and started marking some recipes he "wanted to try". He even offered to do the cooking, and I would certainly be thrilled if he wanted to do that (and clean the kitchen afterwards, teehee!)....but I decided to try one recipe he found for something along the lines of "Cheeseburger Bundles". That was not the name, but I don't want to get in trouble for publishing a recipe on the blog that is from a paid subscription. I majorly tweaked the recipe anyway, so here's what they look like, and my recipe is below the pix. (He declared the recipe to be a "keeper", so I'll make them again in a month or so...

Cheeseburger Bundles

1 package active dry yeast (I used about a tablespoon from a bulk package)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup warm milk
1/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

I tossed all the ingredients above into my bread machine, ran it through mix and first rise, and then took the dough out and rolled it into a big rectangle. I used a pizza cutter to "rotary cut" the dough into 12 squares.

While the dough was in process, in the breadmaker, I made the following "filling".

1/2 pound sliced bacon, crumbled
3/4 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
salt, pepper
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, chunked

I browned the beef and onions, microwaved the bacon and then crumbled it into the beef/onion mix. Then I put the Velveeta cheese chunks in the beef/onion/bacon mix and put a lid on the pan and turned off the heat. Five minutes later, I added salt, pepper, and stirred the whole thing and that was that.

I then put about a fourth to a third of a cup of that mix into each square, and then pulled the sides up and pinched them together. (I'm a lousy pincher, as most of them came undone!) They were baked at 400 for about 10 minutes. I brushed them with melted butter before and after baking. Karen liked them too, but I'm thinking next time, I will make about half of them with just vegetables and cheese inside. That might appeal to The Daughters more, since they really are mostly vegetarian.

The dogs were running low on treats, so I made some more dog biscuits... I used a new recipe, and for a little over a dollar's worth of ingredients, I got all of these! (Recipe link below) These were a huge hit and even more popular than my usual recipe.

I found this recipe here. If you look closely (click to enlarge), you will see that a few of the treats are cut in the shape of fire hydrants. I have a traditional bone shaped cookie cutter also. But about five minutes into the cutting process, I thought - no way! The dogs don't care if they are cute! Out came the pizza cutter and once again, I rotary-cut my dough!

Yes, everything comes back to quilting for me....

However, recently I've tried something a bit new to me.... making cards! I'm having a ball, because there is "pretty stuff" involved. I am dealing with scissors, glue, paper, glitter, and coloring.....which I love, because... well, you know....I am FIVE.... (at heart). Here are some I worked on last night.

And this morning, I sat down to work, then got up and went for coffee, then noticed the remaining unfinished cabinet doors sitting on the hearth, and then contemplated the fact that it was a three day weekend. I decided to end the Great Kitchen Kabinet Adventure of 2008.....TODAY. I finished all six doors and the two drawers and the island base. It is over!

Yay. Then I lined the shelves and drawers with ladybug vinyl coated wallpaper. Just because I can!! No one will know it's there but me....

(click to see the ladybug cuteness!)

And I like it!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Morning Harvest

Got these from my garden this fine Sunday morning!

I picked some of the tomatoes a day or so early, because Karene likes them "hard" so I figure she can place them in her kitchen window and squeeze them/keep an eye on their color, until they are perfect for her! I'm taking some veggies to her and still have PLENTY for us. I am making a casserole the kids and I enjoy tonight. I simply layer sliced zukes, sliced yellow squash, sliced onion (already cooked to a nice toasty brown), sliced mushrooms, and spaghetti sauce and cheese. Only since Laurie (who is vegan most of the time) might want some for dinner tonight, I will omit cheese, and put in some cubed browned tofu... Bake at about 400 for half an hour and YUM! (Karen and I can add cheese after it bakes, or I will make two smaller ones, whichever works!)

My eggplants (6) are blooming up a storm! And my green peppers have baby peppers the size of peas! Yay!

Tuffboy and his sister Sadie got a bath yesterday. Sadi was too rambunctious for me to take a picture, but after we "raked" her coat - we had the usual couple pounds of discarded undercoat! She looks much skinnier now!

Tuffboy was insulted by the entire bathing process....

But he forgave us pretty quickly :)

Message to Le Tigre: You're next! Be very afraid!! ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I shoveled out my sewing/quilting room tonight. I managed to restore order in the room (vaguely) and I also threw out tons of papers and packaging and unwanted "stuff". Along the way, I found enough projects to fill two bins. Complete projects. With all the material needed, patterns, everything.

I basically have no excuse to shop until 2013. (Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone!)

Along the way, I found this, the oldest UFO. And it's not even mine!

I don't recall where it came from. I think it might have been wadded up in a bin of old scraps someone gave me about three years ago.

I was intrigued when I found it, and I spent some time arranging it on the floor until all the half stars seemed to match.

I think there are some of those dreaded "Y" seams involved in the completion of this quilt (shudder). At a bare minimum, I need to take apart the extra little chunk of quilt seen here, iron the pieces, and make a template for the triangles.

It looks like there is a section of just white triangles used in areas along the edge to finish it. I think I'll be removing some half stars from the bottom row, and replacing them with the white triangle portions, to give me a bottom row that resembles that top row's design.

After that, I guess I will experiment with cutting some larger triangles and try "Y" seams at the end of the rows, all around the quilt. A narrow white border might be nice to float the whole inner portion of the quilt. Then, I think I will get a nice bright navy to use for a final wider border. And maybe a deep red for the binding?

I don't have any of the white that was used here.... I wonder how hard it will be to find something that matches. It's just a plain white - no design at all. Will take a portion to the store and cross my fingers! It certainly won't take more than 3/4 yard to finish this.

I think I'd like to try to finish this one, for Michael. He loves patriotic colors and designs, and of course, he loves quilts....

While cleaning the sewing room tonight, I also unearthed pile after pile of scraps of material. I filled another entire bin with good sized scraps. So I think there is a string quilt, or five, in my future! I've wanted to try this technique for quite a while and that bin of scraps gives me a perfect excuse!

All of our blankets are getting kind of worn and tired..... so I have a goal to replace them with quilts I make!