Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stable Influence

My sister, Judy, posted this on her Facebook wall.  I really like it and decided to add it to my blog.  I feel that so many forget the true reason for this season.

Busy time of year

It's been a very busy time of year...as it is with most folks.  I've been reading two books to review and have finished reading one but have yet to write the review.  The other book that I haven't finished reading is actually the first one I started.  It is taking me longer to get through it...not a bad sign...it is a book that is making me think and read very carefully. 

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming between my reading and writing and sewing and cleaning...too many ands isn't it...I have a messy house with a pile of books to dive into. 

I do hope everyone that reads this had a blessed and peaceful Christmas.  Mine was good.  The children had a wonderful time and we were actually able to open all our gifts before we headed to church.  Admittedly we were about ten minutes late for church but we did arrive.  Phew! 

I'm working on getting my house clean and tonight plan on finishing the review on book number two and reading more of book number one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

These mixing bowls bring back memories

I saw these mixing bowls while working on Internet for a course I'm taking.  I saw them and they brought back memories of my mom's speckled mixing bowl.  Her mixing bowl was more of a brown/gray speckle but how we used that bowl.  A big bowl of ice cream jello for dessert after supper or mixing a batch of cole slaw for a picnic.  These memories are good ones of me and my mom in the kitchen.
I found the bowls on Amazon.com so I put them in my wish list.  I share the list with my family for ideas for gifts...hint, hint!
Here's the link to the amazon.com page:  http://www.amazon.com/Zak-Designs-Confetti-Assorted-Brights/dp/B0019M7IT4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321749306&sr=8-1

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Very Cute Youtube Video

This is a very cute video clip to watch.  This dog knows exactly what he's doing! 

Friday, October 14, 2011


Love this quote:

We'll be friends til we're old & senile...Then we'll be new friends!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Supper in the dust bin!

I'm in my room calming down from being mad at myself.  Supper tonight was turkey breast, twice baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.  I baked the potatoes, halved them, scooped out the "meat", mixed in cream cheese, some milk, a little bit of butter, bacon, grated cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  Mixed it all together and stuffed the potato skins and put them back in the oven.  Not hard work but time consuming.

Anyhow, I'm dishing up the meal and the tray of potatoes fell off the counter into the dust bin filled with garbage from me sweeping the floors earlier.  All the potatoes went splat and there was no way to save them.  I actually did save two, that I caught midair, so we had to split two halves of potatoes between six people.  I was so upset that I couldn't even eat.  At least they could split them between five instead of six.  What a waste of time and money.

Why did I put the baking pan where I did?  I don't know but I'll never do that again! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nervous Mother

Margy and Evie are off to Juneau, Alaska for a church youth event, The Salvation Army's Alaska Youth Councils.  After we dropped the girls off at Amber's place (youth pastor) I looked over at Lindy, my sister, behind the wheel and I could see her wiping her eyes.  I wasn't alone in the crying mom category today! 

Oh my goodness, this is the first time (other then summer camp) that I've been away from my daughter and niece.  I cried this morning as I gave them both really long hugs and lots of kisses.  I think what makes it so difficult is that this trip is such a distance away and they had to drive to Anchorage and then fly to Juneau.  One might tell me to put on my "big girl" panties and buck up.  This is what mom's have to do...to let go of their children.  I know all that but I don't like it.  It's the fact that I don't have control over the airplane and the cars and all the places the girls will be.  If they get hurt I'm over a thousand miles away!  How do moms and dads let their kiddos go off to college, get married and begin their adult lives?  Evie is 13 and Margy is 14 and I'm honestly saying that I'm not looking forward to the day when they are ready to spread their wings and truly fly from the nest.

I know that today is the fluttering and testing of those wings but it is really hard on me.  I also know that they are in good hands right now.  Their youth pastor is with them and she is a very responsible young lady.  I also know that our Father has them cradled in the palm of His hands where He will keep them safe.  I guess today is the test for me to trust our Savior with what is so precious to me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Antiques and fabric

I love antiques.  For some reason I have always enjoyed old things.  Old furniture, old pictures, old movies, just old stuff.  My dad enjoyed auctions and flea markets and I obviously learned it from him.  I must add that my dad enjoyed the flea markets of old not the flea markets I see around today.  These new flea markets are just a place for folks to sell new things at a seemingly discounted price.  That's not the kind of flea markets I grew up frequenting.  The old time flea markets were where folks gathered to sell their belongings they no longer needed...like a huge garage sale.  For me it's sad to see the "real" flea markets becoming a thing of the past.

So has the factory outlet store.  Nowadays they have these factory outlet shopping centers that really aren't outlet stores.  They are just brand names selling their wares and trying to get you to believe you're getting a wonderful bargain.

For me a factory outlet store was usually in a basement or an outbuilding next to the factory that makes the product they're selling.  My best example is a fabric outlet store.  My mom knew the best places to get fabric at discount, and I mean real discount, prices.  Where we lived near Scranton, PA there was a business that had a building filled with bolts of fabric.  Their flawed bolts and pieces of fabric went to an outbuilding where they sold them as seconds.  You could go in the outlet store and see hundreds of blots of fabric lining the walls and in bug wooden bins.  Oh my, I can remember walking up and down the aisles just breathing in the smell of all that lovely fabric.  My mom would pick out some bolts and take them up to the cutting table...a really huge table in the middle of the store. 

A gentleman would come up, usually the same one that had so nicely greeting us at the door, and take the bolts and one by one unroll them to see how damaged the fabric was.  My mom would either decide that the flaw was workable or she would have him put the bolt back.  My mom would usually get a "few yards" of each fabric. 

To this day I can see the man grab hold of the end of the fabric and whip it straight out the the bolt would start rolling.  He would unroll at least a yard or more then measure out the amount of yardage mom wanted.  When he would get ready to cut it off the bolt he would look where to cut and then move his scissors up at least half a yard and then make his cut.  The fabric would get folded and we would go on to the next bolt.

I swear that my mom always got two to three yards more then she ever asked for.

Nowadays you go into a JoAnn fabric store or another fabric store and they line up the fabric with their measure, straighten out the fabric and then carefully slide the fabric over the measure until they reach the desired yardage.  Then they bend lower to the mark and take their scissors and cut exactly on the mark...never giving even 1/8 of an inch of leeway on either end of the fabric.  Also if they get to the end of the bolt and there is even 1/16 of fabric left they ask if you want the extra and charge you for it.  I mean just inches of fabric and they charge for it.  To be honest when that happens to me I always say "No thank you".  It usually startles the employee and they tell me that it will have to be sold as a remnant and I always respond with "If you don't want to bother dealing with a remnant just give me the extra few inches."  Oh no they can't do that so they can take the time and go ahead and sell it as a remnant. 

I do long for the days where the almighty dollar wasn't always the desired prize.

Anyhow, back to antiques.  While on vacation we went to a few antique stores.  Both my sister, Lindy, and I love antique shopping and that love has been passed on to Lindy's son, Hammie.  He just loves antiques.  I hoping this love will be passed onto my children but for now Hammie is the antique buff.

While in one antique store Martin and I came upon what looked like small antique tractors.  They were so unique so I snapped a few pictures of them.  While looking at them I noticed they were made out of old sewing machines. 

Those of you interested in sewing, antiques of farming will find these quite fun to see. 

Seeing the old sewing machines made me think about who owned them and what kind of garments they helped create.  I know that sewing machines don't have a "life" but for someone they were probably something vital to their family and very necessary during frugal times.  Then I think about how they went from an important part of a family to being turned into a decoration.  I am glad that they didn't end up crushed to pieces in some dump and someone was able to create a piece of art out of them.

While looking in the same store I found a button pillow.  I don't know the real name for these pillows but that's what our family called them.  My mother made many of these and I recall with fondness the memory of her sitting on the couch sewing away with her needle and thread.  At this store they were selling this one that my son, Martin, is holding for $25.00.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer with family

Along with our vacation we had a memorable time visiting with some family.  David and Cheri Denny (our cousins) came to Alaska to visit.  We had a blast and it was wonderful for our kiddos to get to know more family.

Then we had the extreme pleasure of having a night with Scott and Susan Brooks, our cousins, living in Florida.  I had never met Susan before...much to my dismay and I hadn't seen Scott for over 30 years.  Talk about a long overdue visit!!!  Anyhow, we had supper with them at Cracker Barrel and had a wonderful time.  Hammie and Martin could have stayed for hours listening to Scott talk about his dad in the war!

It was even more than wonderful to reconnect with family.  These cousins are children of mom's brother Larry and Jeannette Brooks.  We've all gotten older but I must say that Cheri and Scott look much the same.  I wish I could say the same for myself!  Hopefully photos to come at a later date.

Vacation was fabulous

We had a wonderful vacation.  I have to download my photos from my cell phone and then I'll be able to post some for everyone.  In the meantime just a brief overview of our trip.

We flew into JFK airport in NYC and rented a minivan.  We drove that night to Atlantic City.  Some folks we met earlier told us not to go to Atlantic City since it was very run down and dirty.  We already booked the hotel so we were stuck.  I'm glad we were stuck because we had a wonderful time.  Atlantic City was wonderful...not dirty...nor rundown.  We spent most of one day on the beach and swam in the Atlantic Ocean.  All of us had a good time. 

We left Atlantic City and drove to Cape May, NJ to catch the Lewes, Delaware ferry.  By taking the ferry we bypassed the Washington, DC traffic in heading toward Florida.  We stopped off in Savannah to eat at Paula Deen's Lady and Son's restaurant.  We were quite excited to eat here since we heard nothing but rave reviews about it.  Wow, were we disappointed.  Some of the food was cold, some was dry and just not good.  It was not worth the money.  I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.  I'd take Olive Garden any day over Lady and Son's .  Oh well, at least we could say we've been there.

We arrive in Orlando and went to the Condo we rented for the next several days.  Sea World one day, Aquatica the next and Discovery Cove for day three.  All were fun but Discovery Cove won our hearts.  We swam with dolphins and learned to snorkel among all kinds of fish and rays.  The lazy river was very lazy because you just snorkel the entire river.  It was a great day.

Then we headed off to Daytona for Martin's visit to the speedway.  It was hot each day but particularly hot at Daytona.  It was an interesting visit and then headed toward Tennessee to Dollywood.

I loved Dollywood and would go back in an instant.  In fact we want to plan a full week in the Smokey Mountains including Dollywood.  The kiddos liked it to.  Martin became addicted to roller coasters!

After Dollywood we headed to Gettysburg and had a nice visit although it, also, was way to short of a stay.  We need to return to finish the tour.  The kiddos did get to see the battlefield on horseback!  That was fun even though they said their patooties were numb after it was over! 

Then back to JFK for our return flights.

I'll post more at when I've got some time and the photos get downloaded.

Take care!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garage declutter project

I have spent two weeks (off and on) decluttering our garage.  Oh my goodness, about twenty-five years of things stuffed in this garage.  I'm almost done.  I have one shelf against the wall to clean, one shelving unit over the Toyo stove not touched yet, I have to go through the pile that is on the floor of things to go inside the house (this has grown too large so I'm going to go through it again and declutter what I've already decluttered), hang some pictures that I've set on the freezer and then give the floor a good bleaching. 

We've already taken three truck loads to the dump and I've got a six person tent almost full for a garage sale.  What doesn't sell is going to the thrift store.  I'm also going to make some quick curtains for the three windows in the garage.  Chris, our wonderful handyman (he's the same gentleman that renovated our bathroom) is coming tomorrow to finish putting in a new door from the garage to the dog yard.  Now all the dogs and pups can go right from the garage to the dog yard!  I even finished replacing the final two florescent lights that went out.  Now all eight lights are working.

My next task for the garage will be to somehow get the remote garage door opener to work.  The dogs chewed the cord that runs to one of the boxes next to the door.  I can't find a tiny metal piece that hooks to the cord and slides into the box that lines up with the box on the other side of the garage door!

I also assembled a free standing basketball hoop for the kiddos.  Oh my that was and continues to be a challenge.  I have three steps left; pull the tension coil to hook on to the spacer, hang the net on the hoop, and fill the base with water to make it stable.  I'm not strong enough to pull the tension coil to the spacer.  I'm going to ask Chris if he can do it when he comes tomorrow.  Once that is done I'll do the two remaining steps and then the kiddos can start shooting hoops.

I'll try to add some photos tomorrow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Puppy Pictures!

I finally managed to get my photos off my new cell phone and into my computer. Here are just a few photos of our Newfound Mastiff puppies.  They are about two weeks old in all but one of these photos. This Friday they will be three weeks old.

Milk beard after bottle feeding

Eyes not open on this one. 
Just one week old in this photo.

Yum.  Helping Mom with feeding.
Too many puppies!

He's two weeks old and
his eyes are open.

No milk?  Hey wait, this isn't my mom.
Puppy sucking on Hammie's chin!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New driver in the family!

Margy got her driver's permit today!  She is very happy!  Here she is behind the wheel on her way home.  Lindy, her mom, is taking the picture after trading seats with her.  She's ready to pull onto the road and I think Lindy is cinching her seat belt just a little tighter!!!

Lights on for Caylee Anthony

I'm just so saddened by the verdict rendered in the Anthony trial in Orlando, Florida.  I just feel that little Caylee's life was just wiped away and meant nothing.  Well, there are many people around the world that want to bring the focus back to Caylee and away from her mother.  Go to the website below and you can participate in shining your light to remember little Caylee.  All it will take is for you to switch on your porch light tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m.  It's happening tonight and tomorrow night to represent the two years Caylee lived.  If you're still up tonight go ahead and flip your switch...it's not to late.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The psycho cat

This is Angel.  She is a cat we adopted from outside a grocery store several years ago.  Her mother died and she needed a home quickly.  We are such softies and she became part of our family.  This photo shows a very mellow kitty.  This is her favorite position for her catnaps.  However, the photo deceives her true motive.  Look at her eye.  What she's really doing is watching your every move; waiting for the chance to pounce!  She can be as sweet and the most gentle creature and then in the next instant she turns into Psycho Cat.  The name "Angel" is truly a misnomer!  She will be sitting contently on your chest purring up a storm and then if you try to move her off she brings forth a truly guttural deep growl.  It makes you tremble with fear not knowing if she'll strike or not.  My son, Martin, is one of the two people that Angel does not growl at.  Hammie, my nephew, is the other one.  They are both ten years old and somehow they've created a bond with Angel that no one else has.  I should mention that her other nickname is "Attack Cat".  That says it all!

Souvenir from the baseball game

Our family went to our local team's baseball game tonight.  First we went to see Mr. Popper's Penguins and then over to the ball field.  Our Peninsula Oilers were playing against Athletics in Action.  We brought plenty of blankets to wrap ourselves in with the weather being a bit chilly.  I'm sure glad we had them because the wind picked up and it was cold.  During the game several balls were hit right out of the ball field and I always worry about cars getting hit with one.  I know someone who left the game and found his windshield smashed.

The game was in the 11th inning and it was late so we had to go.  We got to the car, got buckled up and started driving through the parking lot when Martin shouts out that we have a hole in the windshield.  Yup, he was right.  One of the baseballs made contact with our windshield on the Subaru Justy.  Of all the many cars in the parking lot the ball had to single out ours! 

The photo below shows the hole (luckily it doesn't go all the way through but almost).  The long crack in the windshield was already there but the hole wasn't.  I have a feeling that this hole will spread all over the window.  The thought of buying a new windshield for this 1992 car is not a pleasant thought.  I'm going to call someone to see if they can fill the hole before it spreads.

Martin in now cast free

Oy vey!  Our family is so happy.  Martin got his cast off today.  He broke the elbow of his left arm back in mid-May playing soccer at school.  I'll say one thing for sure...when Martin would be whirling around...as he often does...and that cast would whack you...wow!  That cast would just smack your body so hard it felt like  piece of rebar whacking right into you. 

He insisted on bringing the cast home.  We'll keep it for a little while and then it will be going into the trash. 

His elbow is stiff as is expected as also is his wrist.  The doc said it's going to take a bit of time to get full mobility back.  His arm is pale and skinny.  He can't stop scratching it and is very happy.

New iPhone

I finally got my new iPhone.  My first iPhone broke in late January or early February.  Neither AT&T nor Apple would replace it...the software had a fatal shutdown...so I had to wait until June when I would be able to upgrade.  Now I can take photos of the puppies and other things.

More puppies!

Oh my goodness!  Annie, our Newfoundland dog had 15 puppies 7 days ago!  I certainly don't have to tell anyone how this happened except to say that Annie was secured in our very large eight foot high chain linked enclosure.  For several days a beautiful pedigree Mastiff came acourtin'.  Around the third day of this pining away between the fence we came home from work and found Annie had dug a deep hole and was free.  Needless to say the mastiff fulfilled his need and was gone...leaving no puppy support...only a smiling Annie!

I was about two weeks off on my due date calculations and Annie surprised us last Friday with 15 sweet newborns.  Of course I didn't have any whelping box ready.  In fact she gave birth under the porch.  Bless sweet Margy, my 14 year old niece who spent the entire day and evening under the porch with Annie.  She took just a few forced breaks for a rest and some food and then back under the porch she went to help her Annie.

Thanks to a friend of ours that raised Shelties for coming over and calming us down telling us that everything will be fine.  She gave us the name Newfound Mastiff's the name of this new breed!

They are truly beautiful.  Anyone wanting another love in their life just might want one of these precious pups.  They are black with some having a bit of white on their chest and/or paws.  Three have white tips on their tails.  There are seven females and eight males.

I hope to get photos shortly.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Martin is in a cast

About a week and half ago Martin was playing soccer at the school playground and a sixth grade boy tripped him.  Down Martin went on his arm.  It hurt and I said that we need to wait just a bit to see if it will feel better.  Martin tends to "cry wolf" so I don't want to rush to the ER for every little ouch he gets.  That night it was not feeling any better and I said I would call the doctor.  In the morning he was holding it pretty tight against his body.  I called the doc and he wasn't in yet.  I sent Martin to school and I would call the doc again after they were open.  I planned on picking him up if I could get him in that day.

I called again and they were able to see Martin at 10:40 a.m.  I picked him up and off we went to the doc.  X-rays were taken and Dr. Carlson felt there might be a fracture because he could see the fat pad around the elbow but he wanted a specialist to look at it.  He put it in a half cast and off we went to the specialist.  Actually I had to go to work for the afternoon and my sister took sick leave for the afternoon and took Martin for me.  The good news is that there wasn't a fracture of his arm but apparantly he somewhat squished his growth plate.  He would continue to wear the half cast until he would see the first doc again. 

A few days before the second appointment Martin was playing tether ball at recess and he was losing.  He decided that he needed power so he wacked the ball with his casted arm.  He broke the cast!!!!  When I talked to him about it he said, "But mom, at least I won."  Oy vey!

Back to Dr. Carlson with new x-rays taken and with the compression of the growth plate diminished he was able to discrern a salter fracture which is a fracture in the growth plate of Martin's left elbow.  Now Martin is in a full cast from below his shoulder to his hand.  I sure wish I would have kept his accident insurance policy after I retired!  Remember in June, 2010 he broke his left collarbone!

Happy Birthday to all our May birthdays!

May is a busy birthday month in our home.  It starts with our sister, Judy.  Her birthday was on May 10th.  She's the oldest of us three sisters.  We didn't celebrate her birthday; as she wanted to wait.  I didn't celebrate mine back on Feb. 13th since it was a very busy time with our kiddos and school commitments.  Maybe we'll celebrate both of ours together this summer. 

Margy turned 14 on May 18th.  She seemed to enjoy her day.  She wanted to go to her favorite Chinese restaurant, Golden International, which is what we did.  It was a fun time.  She got got a baritone ukele and an instructional book with a CD, a digital tuner for her uke, some books she's been wanting to read, and a gift certificate to a book store.  She got some smaller items and we all had a good time.

Martin and Hammie both turned 10 on the 18th.  Hammie is three hours older and every now and then reminds Martin that he's the oldest of the boys!  We had a Star Wars lego theme which both boys are very obsessed with right now.  Hammie wanted Cox's guloush for supper and Martin wants Chinese.  Hammie is the oldest so we had Cox's guloush on the 18th.  We're going to Chinese tomorrow after church.  Having the meals on two different days gives the boys each of what they want.  To be honest we didn't have Chinese on the 18th because the girls were volunteering for their school "Relay For Life" on the 18th.  They were busy at the high school until around 8:30 p.m.  I had Cox's Guloush ready when they got home.  Hammie wanted a peanut butter ice cream cake and Martin wanted cheesecake.  We had both.

 Hammie got several pocket knifes, which he went crazy over...he's really into pocket knives right now, along with some Star War lego toys, a portable camping saw along with a portable shovel.  Obviously Hammie is into cutting things down and making new things with the tree pieces.  Martin got the new Wii Nascar game along with a driving wheel to go with it.  He also got a baseball and baseball bat, Star Wars legos, and some smaller items.

We're all pretty tired right now so we're resting a bit now that school is out for the summer.  Give us until after Memorial Day and we'll be ready to tackle all our summer "To Do" list.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Check out this menu organizer

I found this menu organizer from Little Big Girl Studio (http://littlebiggirlstudio.blogspot.com/2010/05/spice-up-your-kitchen-meal-planning.html).  It's got the directions and tells you everything you need to gather in order to make it.  I can use up some fabric pieces I have.  This might make a nice Christmas gift for someone as well.  Here's a picture of it from the Little Big Girl Studio blog.  Go to the blog address listed above to see if it's something you might like to make.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter to all! 

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
                                         -Jesus Christ - John 11:25, 26


Hot-cross buns!

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
        by Mother Goose
We had hot-cross buns during our Easter holiday.  They were quite popular and the pan was empty in minutes!  I'm glad everyone enjoyed them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Basket Liners

Wow, the Easter Bunny must be so busy right now.  It was so nice for the Easter Bunny to make four liners for my kiddos' Easter baskets.  Here are two photos of them.

The Easter Bunny even left directions for me to make oval basket liners if I want to.  It's pretty simple.

Step 1.  Measure the inside depth of the basket from the bottom to the top and measure over as far as you want the basket to drape over the edge.  Add an extra inch for the tube/hem.  This basket gave me a measurement of 10". 

Step 2.  Measure around the outside rim of the basket and add an extra inch for the seam.  This basket gave me a measurement of 46".  If you don't want your liner to drape over your basket you probably could measure around the inside rim, making a tighter liner that you could hot glue to the basket.

Step 3.  Measure around the inside bottom of the oval basket and add 1/2" to this to allow for the seam.

Step 4.  Take the measurements in Step 1 and Step 2 and draw yourself a rectangle.  The Easter Bunny used tissue paper to make a pattern.  Cut it out.

Step 5.  Take the inside oval measurement in Step 3 and draw your oval on the tissue paper.  Cut it out.

Step 6.  In trying a homemade pattern this Easter Bunny (now called EB) always make a trial using old fabric.  On extra fabric the EB pinned the pattern pieces and cut them out.

Step 7. EB laid out the rectangle piece out flat, right side down, and double folded over one long edge about an inch or so.  I didn't measure it but eyed it to make sure I could put a safety pin through it when threading ribbon.  I sewed it near the edge so I had an opening big enough for that safety pin.

Step 8.  Then EB put the rectangle right sides together and matched up the short ends and stitched them together.  Don't forget to leave the tube/hem open...don't sew it shut.

Step 9.  Now take the oval right side up and take the rectangle with the right side facing inward and pin them together at the bottom.  There's two ways to approach this.  You could stitch a gathering line on the long raw end of the rectangle and pull to gather the fabric; then pin the oval bottom to the bottom of the gathered rectangle.  The Easter Bunny (EB) tried that first and it worked but it seemed to take forever. 

What EB ended up doing for the remaining three baskets was to mark the centers of all four sides of the rectangle and oval and pin them together and make some pleats along the way.  No measuring just eyeing it and making pleats to make both pieces fit together.  That took less time then sewing and pulling the thread to gather the fabric.

Step 10.  Sew the pinned bottom to the side.

Step 11.  Run some ribbon or elastic through the top hem.  Put your liner in the basket with the right side of the bottom facing up.  The top of the liner will lie over the basket and you can use the ribbon to tighten it and then tie a bow.

There you've got it.  It sounds harder then it really is. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snow, Snow, and More Snow!

I really am ready for the snow to go away.  Last week we had a snow storm that gave us another 14+ inches of new snow over night!  We went to sleep after I spent about an hour outside chopping up ice and snow from the walkway to the garage.  I felt good that I finally got it cleared and that we could walk to and from the garage without having to tramp through slush.  We woke up the next morning to a white out snowstorm!  I couldn't believe it.  It was if bags of fluffy white craft stuffing had been pulled out puff by puff and it had all landed in our yard.

In the following days it snows more but only for little bursts each day.  I am really feeling the pull for spring!

This picture is looking down our road from our garage.  Our Suburban is on the right burried in the snow.  Our Toyota mini-motor home is down the road partially covered and Evie is taking a walk down the road.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surprise in the Air Filter

Today we had an oil change on the Toyota minivan.  The place we go to is where we stay in the car while they change the oil.  One of the mechanics took out the old filter and we heard him say, "What is this stuff?"  He came to our car window and showed us a fistful of dry dog food!  He and two other mechanics took out four to five more handfuls of dry dog food from the air filter housing.  Oh my goodness we were so surprised.  They told us that squirrels or weasels will store their food in auto air intakes and we need to be careful that they don't chew ignition wires and other things.  The mechanic chuckled and said that we should get much better gas mileage now that the air intake is not plugged!

For goodness sake!  We keep our car in the garage which is where our three big dogs eat and sleep.  Here these three big dogs, which chase down rabbits and all types of water fowl, are allowing a weasel or a squirrel to take up residence in our garage and steal their own dog food!  What is up with that? 


By the way, that's my daughter, Evie, holding some of the dog food.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whipped candles

A few days ago there was a post from someone in one of my favorite Yahoo groups.  It was about candles.  It reminded me of a time in my childhood when my mother and I would spend Saturdays making whipped candles as Christmas gifts for friends and family. 

My mother was a crafty person.  She sewed, crocheted, cooked, and did a little bit of everything.  Every Christmas for many years my mother would pick a project and that would become the focus theme for gift making.  For a few years mom got hooked on candle making.  She made her own candles right in our kitchen with an old pan that melted the wax and different wax forms and everything else that was needed.  I loved helping her make them.

Mom also decorated those candles to make them special.  One particular project she got enthralled with was enhancing candles by whipping melted wax and applying it around the candle.

I searched Internet trying to find a photo of how her candles would turn out but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.  I did find two examples that shows whipped candles although the designs are a bit different.  Here they are so you can get an idea of what they look like.

 Mom would get flat wood for the base and then get Christmas decorations such as artificial Christmas flowers, small ornaments, little plastic fuzzy reindeer, spray on snow, etc. and column candles (ones she made at home or ones she bought on sale from the previous after Christmas sales).

On a Saturday we would set the kitchen up for candle production.  We laid everything out and got our designs ready and then we would melt the wax.  When the wax was melted we took a hand egg beater and would whip the daylight out of the wax.  As a child I was always amazed to see a clear melted wax turn into white fluffy "snow". 

While the wax was warm we would take a knife and "ice" the candle.  When all the candles were waxed we started putting our scenes together.  We left the wood base bare since it usually was a piece of wood cut from a large branch or small tree trunk and we wanted it to look natural.

Next, we would glue the candle on one side of the wood and glue the reindeer on the other side.  Then we would decorate it to make it look like an outdoor Christmas scene and the candle was the snowy tree.  A few times we made snowmen out of the candles and those were really cute.

Finally there was one Christmas season that was my mother's last season in candle making.  It was when we were melting wax and we got sidetracked on another project and we caught the kitchen on fire.  Fortunately the fire was contained to the kitchen although the fire department did tell us that the kitchen was a total loss.  My father never got mad at my mother over that.  He just looked at her and shook his head.  My mother announced a few days later that her candle making days were over!

It might be fun to try this project with my own kiddos...except that I'll make sure I wear my FlyLady timer around my neck so I don't get distracted.  That's one part of the project I don't want to repeat!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nature Quilt Square

I finished my sister's quilt square she asked me to do for her.  Judy needed a quilt square for her friend's son's graduation and she asked me to make it for her.  I only had a few days to make it so I didn't quite add everything I wanted to put in it.  I wanted to add the scripture verse that is his favorite and I also wanted to add some colonial knots to simulate snowfall.  I ran out of time.  Anyhow here's the picture.
Ross' quilt square
 Ross, the young man who will be getting the quilt is graduating from high school.  Acording to Judy, the ladies in his church make a quilt for each graduating senior.  He loves the outdoors so my sister wanted a square that would remind Ross of Alaska.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Big mistake!

Tonight when I came home from picking Evie up from piano lessons, I drove into our parking area at the house and saw the empty spot where I park the 1992 Subaru Justy.  To somewhat justify the ridiculous mistake I made...I am usually the one driving the Justy.  Tonight, however, I was driving the Toyota minivan (not all wheel drive). 

O.K. now back to the empty Justy parking spot...I saw the empty spot and my brain told me to drive into the empty spot and park.  Within seconds I realized I was driving the Toyota minivan...I'll add again...without all wheel drive.  Well, well, well, I got that Toyota minivan without all wheel drive stuck deep in the wet snow.  I should mention that it rained a bit today and with evening approaching; the snow was starting to ice up.  I tried backing up and going forward and backing up and so on but I just kept getting deeper into trouble.

To make matters worse I was now blocking our big 3/4 ton blue Ford 4X4 truck.  Sadly there would be no help from that behemoth.  I called all the kiddos outside and we started to dig.  While digging I was wondering why Lindy took the Justy out.  Of course, it didn't matter why, just that the spot was empty and my 'ole brain clicked into automatic and my hands steered the wheel into that spot.  I could have kicked myself in the proverbial backside for what I had just done.

We dug and dug and we were no further ahead (or should I say behind) in backing the minivan out of this mess.  Lindy arrived home to see five of us digging and pushing.  She must have thought I had lost all my marbles to have driven the minivan in there.  I had!

We conferred and decided that we needed to see if the little 'ole Justy could pull the minivan out.  The kiddos got inside the truck and found the tow rope.  To complicate the matter the tow rope had one metal hook missing from one end when several years ago we were trying to pull a truck out of a tight spot and snapped the rope.  I had tied a loop on the broken end and we've used it that way ever since.

Towing the minivan sounded like a swell idea until we checked underneath both rigs and could only find toe holes but no tow hooks to slip the self-made tow loop around.  Then Lindy came up with an idea...slip the tow hook end into the tow hole in the minivan and put the tow loop end into the door of the Justy and close the door.  That should do it.  Right?  Wrong!  The minivan was stuck so tight that the tow rope just slipped through the door. 

Back to the shovels.  We dug and dug.  The snow was walled up around the running boards and the minivan was somewhat high-centered.  Every so often we stopped digging and Lindy would rock the minivan while we all pushed and then Lindy would put it in reverse.  We did make some progress doing that.  For the next 45 minutes or so we dug, pushed, dug, pushed, dug and pushed and indeed we continued to make slow headway.  Sadly we got to the point that we were so close to the truck that we could barely slide the shovel between the two vehicles. 

We admitted defeat and tried calling some friends...of course it's Wednesday night...church night.  No one was home.  While my sister was calling friends, Hammie and I went to the Justy.  Hammie shone the flashlight under the rig while I lay flat on the snowy ground and examined the belly of this little beast.  We found one tow hole that might be big enough to slip the loop through which would allow us to slide the hook through it, tightening it like a belt.

I hollered for the other kiddos to bring the tow rope over and Hammie and I went to work while praying for this to be successful.  It was.  Hammie and I whooped out a yell of success and I backed the little 'ole Justy up to the rear end of the minivan.  Martin slid the tow hook end into the tow hole of the minivan and we had all kiddos take their positions at the front of the van to push with every ounce of their being.

When the kiddos gave the countdown I was like the NASCAR racer putting the pedal to the medal.  The Justy took off and quickly leapt off the ground and stopped dead in its tracks.  I failed or so I thought until I heard a cheer rise up.  Apparently the minivan gave a bit of a jump backwards too.  We repeated the process several more times until that final pop when I was able to keep the Justy rolling and the minivan was free!  Wow!  It worked!

We quickly set both rigs free of the towrope and I parked the Justy while Lindy drove the minivan into the garage.  As I was able to let all my stress go I suddenly realized that I had to use the restroom IMMEDIATELY!  I quickly surmised that there was no way I could make it inside the house to the restroom.  Yes, folks I had an accident right outside in the snow.  Once it started, there was no way I could stop it!  The dam had burst!  When everyone realized what had happened they looked at me not quite knowing if they should laugh or not.  Everyone looked around at each other and then I heard a little bit of a chuckle come from someone and then it became quite contagious and within seconds everyone was laughing.  I must admit it was funny. 

We're all inside and warmed up.  Supper is in the oven and we'll eat and then head right to bed.  Oh my, what a night.  Two nine year old boys, two thirteen year old girls and two old ladies from Alaska actually pulled that Toyota minivan, without all wheel drive, out from its seemingly snowy grave.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finished Reading a Good Book

     I just finished reading a good book called, An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor.  Barry Laverty is a brand new physician and wanting to take a job as an assistant in a rural village practice in northern Ireland.  The author paints a wonderfully and funny picture of the village of Ballybucklebo.  I wrote a review for this book which you can find on my website: http://tidbitsofliving.weebly.com/.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Woes of the worrisome automobile

We have a 1992 Subaru Justy.  This old beat up little bit of a car has such wonderful gas mileage that I try to use it for many errands.  Friday night I drove to town in it with Martin and Evie (my two kiddos).  On the way home I was pulled over by a state trooper for not have current registration tags on the license plate.  He asked to see my proof of insurance and he informed me that it had expired near the end of December, 2010.  O.K. so now I have expired tags and no current proof of insurance.  Then he tells me my front right headlight is out.  This is going downhill very fast.  I know I'm doomed.  While the trooper takes my license, etc. to his unmarked trooper car to run the plates Evie and I search the glove box for a current insurance card. 

The trooper returns (after a lengthy absence I might add) and asks if I found the current insurance paper.  I show him that I found 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and he's hold 2010 but no I don't have current proof.  I see in his hand a piece of paper that looks like a ticket to me.  I'm doomed!

He tells me that he's giving me a citation for not having proof of insurance but I can get it cancelled if I show proof at the police station within 30 days.  He ran the tags and discovered that I do have current registration tags but then are on the new license plate that we ordered and was sent in the mail.  He let me off on that one and he told me to get my headlight fixed.  I drove home constantly looking in my rear view mirror waiting for another trooper to stop me.

Monday morning I got the proof of insurance and went straight to the police station.  The officer takes the citation and comes back later and says that everything is in order and I can go to the court house to register the clearance of the citation and that will wipe it clean and I won't loose six points and have to pay $510.00 in fines.  Then he tells me that my tags have expired (which I knew about because of the mail) and also told me that my driver's license expires in two weeks on my birthday.  That I didn't know.

Next, I hightailed it over to the courthouse and waited in a, thankfully, short line to get my citation forgiven.  When she stamped it and gave me my copy I breathed a sigh of relief.  I did not want to loose six points and pay $510.00 for not having current proof of car insurance.  Sometimes I'm such a idiot for not checking these things on a regular basis.

Anyhow, next stop the DMV - Department of Motor Vehicles.  I parked and Martin and I (Martin was home sick because he was having repeated asthma attacks from a cold he was dealing with) went into the DMV expecting to have a long wait.  There was one person in there and he was being helped.  I pulled the number ticket to get in the queue and they called my number before I could even get the papers I needed to fill out.  That is one very good thing.

The lady at the DMV was very nice and I explained all the reasons I was there and I begged her to make me legal the cheapest way she could.  After filling out a multitude of forms, waiting a bit when the computers went down and then having to take an eye exam and get my photo taken I was out of there.  I am now $157.00 poorer but can drive legally about town.

All that happened Monday...move to yesterday...Tuesday.  I'm subbing a half day for Lindy while she goes to the dentist.  I leave the house at 11:00 a.m. to make the 10 minute drive so I can be there a tad early.  I hadn't really looked outside the entire morning and I was quite surprised to see quite a bit of snow coming down and a good amount of fresh snow already on the ground.  I go to the Justy, wipe off a large amount of heavy snow and plow my way out of my driveway.  The Justy struggles to stay on the road with the snow being quite deep.  The snow truly reached up to the bottom edge of the car doors.

On the drive to the school the car really struggled to make it through deep snow.  Twice the car just died while driving and I had to pull off and baby it to get the ignition to turn over again.  When I arrived at school I pulled into the entrance and the car died again.  I end up gliding to a stop right smack in the middle of parent pickup.  I will not restart.  I call Lindy on Evie's cell phone since my iPhone died and I have to borrow Evie's little phone.  I tell her that I'm at school but the car's dead and blocking parent pickup.  She says that she's got to leave and I tell her that I leave the car and let the custodial know and head right into her classroom.

When I opened the car door to get out I turned the key once more for one final try.  The engine turned over so I slammed the door, put it in first gear and drove into the first available parking spot.  While turning into the empty space I heard a pop and saw my right windshield wiper pop off the car and fly through the air.  Oh my goodness, now I've lost a wiper blade. 

I got out of the car, found the wiper blade and high-tailed it into her room.  She quickly left so she wouldn't be late for the dentist and I finished teaching her lesson.

I am fed up with car troubles.  I know I'm blessed to have a car but I must admit that I'd love to have one that is trustworthy!

I will add that after school I went to the car, put the key in the ignition and it turned over just like that.  I drove home in a nasty snow storm with one wiper blade and the other wiper blade holder nastily squeaking on the window glass for each sweep it made.  I will have to get out the good 'ole duck tape and tape that wiper blade back on. 

If that doesn't work maybe I can Gorilla glue it back on...just a thought!

Happy Birthday...I have a teenager

My Evangeline Ruth turned 13 years old today.  Oh my goodness I'm amazed that so many years have gone by since I brought that scrawny six month old baby home from China.  So many amazing and wonderful changes she has brought to my life.  Now I need to learn to deal with teenage "attitude"!

We had a nice family birthday party and Evie selected her favorite meal for supper; tuna noodle casserole and crescent rolls from the tube.  I must say that this was a very easy meal to put together.  She designed her own cake and a co-worker of mine made it for her.  It was just darling and when I figure out how to get photos from Evie's camera to this computer I'll post some pictures of it and her birthday celebration.

But for now...Happy, happy birthday my sweet sunshine.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weight loss chart

I've been wanting to set up an Microsoft Excel chart to keep track of my weight and hopeful weight loss.  I went to Excel and started.  I know that I'm Ecel challenged so I knew I would have trouble figuring out how to make my chart automatically subtract (or sadly add) my weight each week.  I tried but quickly gave up.  Then I asked myself why am I trying to reinvent the proverbial wheel so I went to trusty 'ole Google and did a search for an Excel weight loss template and found one at blog.contextures.com/.  I decided to try it out.  I downloaded the 2003 version (my computer is old) and it downloaded just fine.  The data that you will see when you open the downloaded file are dates and weights preset by contextures.com so I had to change the dates to make it current and then added my own information and it worked.  I did have to unlock the password protection in order to change the dates.  There is a link page in this download that I didn't want so I deleted it in my final copy.  Then when I saved it to my own folder I clicked "Save As" and now it's my own with my own individual information. 

I went ahead and cut and paste the information from contextures.com website and here it is. I left out the actual sample pictures since I don't think they would transfer from her site to this one.  Thanks goes to Debra the owner of contextures.com. 

From contextures.com

Excel Weight Loss Tracker

Uh-oh! I finally remembered where all the Christmas cookies went, and maybe some of the chocolates. And it’s not pretty. Apparently, when you sit at your keyboard for hours, with the occasional cookie break, it puts the “spread” in “spreadsheet.”
Time to get things under control, and I’ll use an Excel weight loss tracker. It can store weekly weight records, calculate the weight loss, and show the progress in a weight loss chart.
With some fancy programming, it could probably create some healthy menus, and zap me if I reach for a cookie, but I’ll work on those features later.
There’s a link at the end of this post, where you can download the Excel Weight Loss Tracker sample file. I’m not a trained medical professional, so use the Excel Weight Loss Tracker at your own risk, and for entertainment purposes only, etc.

Weight Loss Goals

On the first worksheet in the Excel Weight Loss Tracker file, there are cells where you can enter your personal data and goals.
In the Excel Weight Loss Tracker sample file, I’ve entered the data for my daughter’s favourite Toronto Blue Jays baseball player. He probably had a few extra cookies over the holidays too, and needs to get in shape before the baseball season starts.
Data is entered in the green cells, and calculations, such as Target Date, are in the white cells.  This shows the good news for the Blue Jays. If this player can work off about 3.5 pounds per week, he’ll be ready!

BMI Calculations

The first sheet in the Excel Weight Loss Tracker also has information on Body Mass Index (BMI) from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It calculates your current BMI, and target BMI, and shows the ideal weight range for your height.
The BMI table is used as a lookup table for the ratings for the current BMI and Target BMI. The Minimum and Maximum ideal weight range is calculated from your height, and the Normal range in the BMI table.

Weight Tracking

The second sheet is the Weight Tracker sheet, where weekly weights are entered. It also calculates the weekly weight change. Just enter your weight in column B each week, and the change is automatically calculated.

Weight Loss Dashboard

The final sheet is the Dashboard, with a simple line chart to show the recorded weights, and a summary of the weight loss. It calculates the total weight change, and shows how many weeks are left until you reach the target end date.

Download the Excel Weight Loss Tracker

You can download a zipped copy of the Excel Weight Loss Tracker (Excel 2007) or Excel Weight Loss Tracker 2003 (Excel 2003), and try it for yourself. The sheets are protected, with the green cells unlocked, and there’s no password on the worksheets.
And stay away from the cookies!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fuel Oil bill

Oh yes!!!  Just got the fuel oil bill for the last two weeks of fill up.  It totaled appro. $475.00.  That is down from the approx. $550.00 from the earlier two week fill up! 

Oh yes...perhaps all the preventative measures I did have helped.  Of course, right now we're in a cold snap and that will increase fuel oil consumption.  I'll  just have to wait two weeks and see what happens.  Just wanted to share my good news...amazing that $475.00 for two weeks of fuel oil is good news!  And the recession is supposed to be winding down...NOT.

One Week Later

It has been a week since I last posted.  I had been hoping to post more frequently than this but my "To Do" list seems to grow longer and posting on my blog seems to fall farther down on the list.  I've got a few moments between cleaning chores to take a small break and post. 

I've worked on getting today's FlyLady's Thursday mission complete...clearing off the porch of any remaining holiday decorations.  I did have three Christmas items still outside on the front porch.  Two pre-lit topiaries, one very large snowman blowup.  I've deflated the snowman and now I need to pack it up and get it put away.  It's cold outside and I wasn't looking forward to going outside and bringing them in.  In truth, it only took a few minutes to bring them inside to warm them up.  Once they're warm enough to touch, I'll pack them away. 

The other part of Flylady's Thursday mission is to inventory things running low in the main bathroom.  Our main bathroom is still in "renovation mode".  We are waiting for a toe kick to arrive at Lowes.  Once that comes in Chris, our very talented builder, will come out, install the vanity, and sink.  Then he'll put in the new faucets and seal our old bathtub faucets.  We tried having new bathtub fixtures installed but the existing pipes don't accommodate the new types of hardware and it would cost far too much to go through a wall and welding new pipes.  Back went the old hardware and we'll just live with it.  We're hoping the new sink hardware will be O.K. to install.  Once all the renovations are in we'll paint the walls and then I can get the bathroom back to 100% usefulness.  I must admit that we still haven't picked a paint color.  The tub and toilet are a bone (bisque) color and the vanity is a sea grass green.  The floor and bath tile is also bone (bisque).  We don't want tan walls but it's a small bathroom and a dark wall color will seem to make the room appear even smaller.  It's been difficult matching up the green of the vanity to a wall color.  Any suggestions? Tan is getting boring.

I just finished substitute teaching in a second grade class.  One subject they must study in second grade is penguins.  I had fun with the students learning about penguins.  Our final project was to take all that we learned and make a penguin lapbook.  Did you know that there are 17 species of penguins worldwide?  I learned that the smallest penguin is the fairy penguin.  I also learned that an emperor penguin (the largest of all penguins) stands up to 44 inches tall.  I helped the students measure their height to see if they are shorter, taller, or the same height as an emperor penguin.  One student measured exactly 44 inches tall.  He looked up at me and said, "This is just great, Miss Cox, I'm a penguin!"  Then he "penguin walked" his way back to his desk. 

I would love to post a picture of the penguin lapbook I made as a sample, while the students made theirs, but my iPhone died and I don't have any camera to use. 

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday and Tired

This weeks seems to be dragging.  My "To Do" list seems endless with little getting done. 

Martin and Hammie (son and nephew) went to Cub Scouts tonight.  They worked on making their own sleds out of cardboard and duct tape.  I stayed home with the girls so they could study for their social studies test and I could get supper started.

Lindy took the boys to scouts.  She said they had a great time.  When they came in the door both boys came out to the kitchen to tell me all about their sleds.  Lindy took a few photos so they were able to show me.  They were very excited.  Cub Scouts will be planning a sledding party in the future and they will be able to earn a badge.

Tonight's supper was Chicken Pesto Panini’s.  I must say they were yummy.  I did cheat a bit and bought ready made pesto.  I didn't have fresh basil and the price at the store was outrageous.  Adding up the price of all the ingredients caused me to decide that buying it was the cheaper way to go.  I used half the container for all six of us and I put the remaining half in the freezer for another meal. 

I pulled out my panini grill and discovered that it was broken.  I tried gluing it with a super glue but it didn't work.  In the trash it went.  With all the sandwiches made and ready to grill I went to Plan B which was using my little George Foreman grill.  I was able to cook one sandwich at a time but it was worth it.  The next time we make these we decided that we'll try pork tenderloin instead of chicken to see if we like one over the other.

It's getting a bit lighter out now that the shortest day of the year has passed in December.  To the right of this post you should see the latest photo I've posted.  This is a photo of our elementary school's parking lot at 4:00 p.m.  It's not completely dark!  Light is returning!

Have a blessed day,


Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Evening

This morning it was -7 F (-21 C) but now in the late evening it is 7 F above (-13C).  No matter which temperature it is I'm cold.  It seems the older I get the colder I get. 

For supper tonight we tried a new recipe, Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce.  It's from the Eat What You Love cookbook by Marlene Koch.  It's a cookbook of recipes low in sugar, fat, and calories.  According to the new Weight Watcher Points...they recently redid their point system...one serving of this recipe is worth 6 WW points.  The recipe says it is four servings but I made the kabobs smaller and served six with it.  I don't know how to change the nutritional value for an individual serving when I changed the number of servings from what the cookbook said.  If four servings would be 6 WW points for each serving then six servings would be less WW points per serving.  Anyway, since I couldn't figure out how to change the nutritional value to reflect the increase in servings I just added 6 points for my supper.  We also had fried rice which was from the Weight Watcher starter booklet.  I don't have it at the computer with me so I don't remember how many WW points that is worth.

My family just loved this meal...all except for me.  I liked the pork kabobs but without the peanut sauce.  The meal for me was so so.  But the other five members just loved it and said that I'll have to make it again sometime.  Making five out of six happy works for me! 

I was planning on having a geletin dessert but I obviously wasn't paying attention this morning when I made the Jello.  After around 10 hours in the icebox the geletin was still liquid.  It seems that I added double the amount of liquid.  Deep six dessert!

Even though I didn't particularly like this recipe our family has tried five recipes between last week and the beginning of this week.  This is the only recipe I did not like.  The rest of the family has like all the recipes I've used from this cookbook.

Anyhow, once in a while we want to try new foods so we pick a few cookbooks and make weekly menus using those books.  It's fun to have everyone looking through cookbooks and offering new recipes to try.

Tomorrow is supposed to be Orange Chicken from this same cookbook.  I sounds yummy.  I hope it is.

Take care and stay well,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pancake recipe

My kiddos said I make the best pancakes.  Other then a restaurant, my pancakes are the only pancakes they've eaten so they know no others.  But, that aside, they told me I should put my recipe on my blog.  Quite honestly this is a typical standard pancake recipe that I've tweaked over time to fit the tastes of my family.
Cox's Pancakes

Pancakes: (makes about about 10-12 pancakes depending on size)

Mix 4 tablespoons vinegar into 1 1/2 cups of milk to sour it.  Let it rest for several minutes. 

Combine in a separate bowl:
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

To the sour milk mixture add:

2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons melted butter or oil

Then add the dry mix to the liquid mix and whisk until the lumps are gone.  Now set the batter aside and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.

While waiting preheat your griddle.  When ready spray your griddle with cooking spray or add some oil if necessary.  Pour the amount of batter you want onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form on the pancake surface.  Flip the pancake and cook until the other side is browned.

My kiddos usually like it with some butter and good 'ole maple syrup but sometimes I'll add some mashed bananas or blueberries or even some chocolate chips.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Working On Insulating the Homefront

I spent the last several days working around the house trying to find out where we are loosing heat.  Our fuel oil bill is out of sight and Lindy and I are trying to figure out how we are spending so much to heat the house.  We did find some spots that needed some repairs so those are done.  I got out my trusty hot glue gun and glued a six inch strip of black fleece to the bottom of our garage door.  We had new weather-stripping installed along the bottom of it this past autumn but daylight was still leaking under it.  If daylight was coming in so was the cold air and the hot air heading out.  That has really seemed to help.

Then I tackled putting a quilt over the door that leads outside from my bedroom.  It's padlocked shut and now I've got a pretty quilt tacked over it.  I do miss looking out the window from the door but that's a small price to pay to hopefully save money on heat.

The kiddos discovered a hole in our crawl space that they could put their fist through.  I found it and it's like 1/4th to 1/2 a cinder block is missing.  Anyhow I took some extra odds and ends of fleece and stuffed them in the hole.  They started to fall through into the crawl space so I grabbed them.  I was trying to think of how to keep them in the hole and I saw some rocks under the eaves of the house.  By golly those rocks were a perfect fit.  I wrapped the fleece around the rocks and put them in the hole.  Then I covered the hole with more fleece and taped it to the wall of the house.  I'm thinking of going to Lowes or Home Depot and buying some of that insulation that's in a spray can and going to the crawl space and filling the rest of the hole from the inside out.

The next project was covering the old dryer vent.  We moved our dryer and moved the vent.  The old vent is now just an opening to the crawl space and we figured cold air is just flowing in.  I, again, took fleece (I have a bit of odds and ends of fleece) and taped it over the old dryer vent. 

On to the window in my bedroom.  A while ago the inside pane broke.  Basically we have just a single pane window.  It's a rather large window and I've been meaning to take out the broken glass but have never gotten around to it.  I never realized how long it would take to pry broken glass out of a window.  I also didn't realize how little pieces of glass can fly.  When I got done with the glass I had those little pieces of glass all around my room, on the bed and on the ironing board.  Everywhere I turned I would see little sparkly glints and find those tiny shards all around.  I can't tell you how long it took me to find all those itty bitty pieces of glass and put them in an old cat litter bucket.  Once I got the window cleaned up I was able to run the double sided tape around the perimeter and put on the shrink wrap plastic.  I got my hair blower, plugged it in and started in one corner and shrink wrapped the window.  I must say, it's not a bad job. 

The last thing we decided to do was to be more efficient with our hot water tank.  Our hot water tank runs off the fuel oil.  Now at bedtime I turn off the hot water tank and turn it on again before we get all the kiddos up.  After breakfast and lunches are made, after teeth are brushed and we're all bathed I turn off the hot water tank and keep it off until school is over and the kiddos are coming home.  That gives us hot water for the evening and for the early morning. 

We're hoping that these repairs plus using some electric space heaters will cut down on our use of fuel oil.  We'll have to wait a month to see.