Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Antics

Game of the day.....


Tug Of War - poor Mr. Frog!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In The Garden

I haven't been able to garden much since moving to Colorado.  One reason being is we have a 1/3 acre lot and the soil is terrible. It's more like ground rock with no organic matter.  I do have a nice planter area on one side that gets a lot of shade which I would like to use for shade loving plants.  I friend of mine gave me some divisions of some of her perennials but they lasted one night.  Dug up by either the local rabbits that are everywhere or by our dogs.  I want to put in raised beds around the back patio which should solve that problem.  Until then I am content with a few pots on the porch.  Like California, we have water restrictions which makes it almost impossible to have the lush gardens like we used to anyway.



Even though it hasn't been much, my hanging pots of petunias has been a real treat.  You see, this is the first time I've been able to grow them.  The area I lived at in California was largely agricultural.  Our small tract was surrounded by fields of almonds, hay, and peaches which means you have a lot of insects.  It was a constant battle to keep the worms and spider mites off the petunias,  marigolds and geraniums.  I finally just gave up and stopped planting them.

Well here in Colorado we don't have the agriculture in this particular area.  With our high altitude we don't have as many insects and because of the snow and cold temperatures we don't have snails.  We don't even have to treat our dogs and cats for fleas!!!

So even though it's not much right now, I'm content with my two hanging baskets of petunias.  Getting back to basics and being grateful for the little things.


Have a wonderful week!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Wise Encyclopedia of Cooking Peanut Butter Cookies

I don't know what brings back sweet childhood memories more than a plate of warm peanut butter cookies and a glass of milk.  I have had this particular cookbook forever!  I don't even remember where I got it.  I've only made one thing from it - Peanut Butter Cookies.  Let me tell you, that is enough!

This particular book was published in 1948 by Wm. H. Wise  & Co., Inc..  I don't know if they are still in business, but they published a line of "encyclopedia" books such as cooking, gardening, sewing, fishing, shooting and even a medical reference book.  I have the gardening book and I want to order the sewing book.

Back to the cookies.  These are the cookies my children remember.  When they were little I made them often.  When my son was in the Navy, these are the cookies I sent to him when he lived back east and the cookies I made for him to take back when he was home on leave.  I recently made a batch for him to take to work.  "You're mom should make these and sell them!"

I can't take any credit.  It's a great recipe.


This is not the best fancy staged picture.  But oh, are they good!!!


Here's the recipe for you all!!! One thing to note.  Since the published date is 1948 you have to remember one thing.  Back then portions were small.  No super sizing like we have today.  So the least I do is double the recipe and most times I quadruple it.  I also make them bigger than they suggest.  I have found at our altitude (5,280 feet) 13 minutes is perfect.  I also add a tablespoon more flour for each batch and smidge less baking powder.  It's an altitude thing! " If you are anywhere near being a flatlander, you should do fine following the recipe just like it is.  Oh, I also add more peanut butter than it calls for.  To quote one of my favorite chefs, "how bad could that be?

Make them and please let me know how they turn out!!



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Sewing on the Fourth Day

I've been attempting to more sewing done and also use up some of the many precuts I have stashed away.  This is a Disappearing Nine Patch, a pattern I've made many of.  Easy peasy.  The fabric is Paris Flea Market, soft and romantic.  I just have to add borders and quilt it up and it's done.

I laid it out on the couch to take a picture to send to a friend and like magic - dogs appear.  This is Bonnie on the left and Allie on the right.  We still have the Scotties, Maggie and Mollie but they are by no means as social as the pugs so it's more difficult to get their pictures.



Gotta go look for a lint (dog hair) brush!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Cooked!!!

  Those close to me know that I don't love to cook.  Eat, yes.  Cook, no.  I don't mind baking, although I'm having to work on my skills since moving to a high altitude location. I have quite an extensive collection of cookbooks and I tell people they are for staging so people won't think to badly of me. Actually, my cookbooks are more like fictional novels to me.   I think if I was living alone I'd subsist on egg sandwiches, peanut butter and granola bars.

I get too busy doing other things like cleaning and quilting and playing with the dogs.  All of a sudden the family wonders where dinner is.  What's up with that?  Our son (and his two pugs) is staying with us while his house is being built so I have to please two men and actually.......cook!  Oh, the horrors!!!

One of my favorite fictional reality shows is The Pioneer Woman on Food Network.  Who doesn't love Ree Drummond?  One of the things on my bucket list is to either meet her or win something from her.  She makes everything seem so effortless and fun!  Yesterday I watched her show and decided I had most everything to make this fabulous casserole.  I quickly ran down to the store and got the other things I needed and - voila - dinner!  Easy peasy!!!  She advised that you can make this and serve it right away, put it in the fridge and bake for the next day or freeze it for later.

Cheesy Sausage Rigatone
by The Pioneer Woman

Our son really loved it and I got a hug and a "well done, Mom!"  He even took some to work for his lunch.  I hope he doesn't think I'm going to start doing this "cooking thing" everyday!  Seriously, it would be a good idea to at least try one new recipe a week.  The recipe was easy and delicious.  It would be great for a pot luck or after church Sunday supper.  Here's the recipe.  If you don't care for Italian Sausage (I used the mild) you could use ground beef.  If you are a vegetarian, you could skip the meat all together.  Serve it with garlic bread and a salad and call it a day!

In a few days I'll share my famous peanut butter cookie recipe.  Easy peasy and addictive!

Have a fabulous week ahead!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day

People across the United States celebrate Flag Day on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption. On the same day, the United States Army celebrates its birthday.

To learn more about Flag Day in the United States visit this web site for the National Flag Day Foundation here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A New Technique in the Quilt World

I spent part of the afternoon yesterday spray starching fabric for a couple projects I'm working on.   I don't know about other quilters, but I like to try new techniques that will make my cutting and sewing more accurate.  I first read about this here on Nicole's blog of Sister's Choice fame.  She's an awesome quilter and I always learn so much from her.  Go on over and read about it.  She heard about it from everyones favorite Moda quilter, Carrie Nelson on her post here. Go ahead on over and read what she has to say as well.  There's not much more for me to add to what they wrote except to say it really works.  I had tried it on one fat quarter the day before.  After the fabric dried and was ironed I cut it out.  Wow!  The pieces were nice and crisp and cut like a dream.


I laid the fat quarters across our patio chairs and clipped them together with those awesome little wonder clips so they wouldn't fly away in the wind.


Then I sprayed the berjabbers out of them.  Yes, that's a word!


I'm trying to use up some of my pre-cuts and I'm working on a jelly roll race quilt.  I had purchased this drying rack at a garage sale ($2 - score!) so I draped and clipped the strip sets I had on it and sprayed away.


Nice and neat and organized.  It was sunny and breezy and took no time for them to dry.


Notice the long grass in the background?  We have a 1/3 acre lot and most of the back is lawn.  We have had a tremendous amount of rain this year and has rained most every day in May.  I fertilized the lawn which made it grow and grow but it rains so you can't mow.  We're just about caught up cutting it though and, hopefully, with a few dry days we can get it all mowed and looking nice again.  I did threaten to borrow my friend's llamas so they could graze it down for me but I don't think our HOA would appreciate it.....


I have two pieces of advise.  First, buy cheap inexpensive spray starch at the dollar store.  You're going to use a lot!  I know, we all love Best Press and it's my go to spray sizing.  However, this is not the time to use it.  Secondly, purchase one of these gizmos that fit on the top of spray paint cans.  They really help your hand and fingers from getting so fatigued.

Some gals at one of my quilting groups were talking about this technique the other day and, on the most part, they thought it was a waste of time.  Of course, they hadn't tried it!  To me, quilting is a growth process.  You need to challenge yourself to try new things.  Anything that makes us a better quilter can't be all bad.  Right?

Let me know how you do.  What have you learned lately that has knocked your socks off?


Friday, May 8, 2015

Flowers

No, I didn't grow these flowers.  I bought them yesterday at Trader Joe's.  $10 for a vase full of beauty. They make me happy just looking at them.


I am so glad Trader Joe's came to our little corner of the world!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Would You Like To Be My Neighbor?

We have a new furry member of the family here in our little court.  So I thought I would introduce you to her as well as a little lady who has been here a while.

This is sweet little Ginger.  She lives across the street and has been here about two years or so.  She's a rescue dog (good going mommy and daddy) and is totally spoiled.  She thinks that the court is hers and can't understand why there are other dogs in the neighborhood.  We have such a great court and most nice evenings after work everyone stands outside and chats.  I always know when they are out because Maggie and Mollie start barking because Ginger is out.  Ginger is always styling with her clothes.  She's a love!!!



Meet Duffy, the newest member of the neighborhood.  She lives next door and has been here about a week.  She is a year old auburn colored King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  The neighbors were going to get a puppy and had one all picked out.  However, it didn't thrive and it passed away which was sad.  They were going to wait for another little when they got the call that Duffy was available.  Housebroken, crate trained, what could be better.  She's a petit little sweety.


The only problem we have now is that our two Scotties and the pugs go crazy when she is out in her yard.  It's just like having children.  The neighbors have the well mannered children while we have the obnoxious and noisy ones.  I'm hoping to introduce them to Duffy at some point so they'll stop barking (screaming is the better term) but since she is new and still a little shy I'll wait.  In the meantime, the neighbors have assured me each time I apologize for my noisy hounds that it's alright.

I tell you, we have a great neighborhood!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring

I thought I should check in on this lovely spring day!  It's hard to believe that April is almost over and May is just around the corner.  Gardening is certainly different here than back home in California.  Our last frost date is officially May 15th!  It's been a tad milder this year without as much spring snow so this is the first time I've actually had my tulips bloom without getting frozen the minute they show color.  It's a mild 70 degrees here now.  I just heard that it's 92 back home in the central valley of California.  I don't miss the heat at all.  At least here when it does get too warm we can go into our cool basement and chill.  No need to run the air conditioner.

We did have a snow storm last week that was half snow/half rain.  What it does is make the snow terribly heavy.  What I should have done is gone outside that evening when I noticed it and knocked the snow off the branches of the trees.  As it was, my flowering pear took a hit and we lost quite a few large branches.  Lesson learned.  Next time I'll be the crazy lady in my bathrobe and a flash light in the middle of the night beating the trees with a broom.

I don't see as many people here gardening like I did back home.  I have a friend that does, however, and I want to go see her yard for inspiration.  This isn't probably the year to do much, though, what with the drought and all.  I know California is on water rationing but we have been ever since we moved here three years ago.  Most of the time we can water from April to September three days a week and 15 minutes per sprinkler station.  We were pushed back to twice a week for a while last year.  When I first got here I had a gardener that had me water a lot more.  Other than worried that I would be fined by the city, I stopped when I got the first water bill.  Ouch!!  We are fortunate in that it rains in the spring, summer and fall which really helps.

I keep myself happy with a few house plants in the interim.  This is one of my favorites, Purple Shamrock.  It's a tuber that can be grown outdoors in mild climates.  I have mine inside and it really puts on a show in the spring.  After that it dies back and hibernates until the next year.


Isn't it gorgeous?  I have it by the kitchen window and have to rotate it daily as it starts to "go towards the light!"


I repotted it this year in this adorable bee flower pot.  You do know I love bees, don't you?  I'm trying to find another one for one of my bee friends but no luck so far.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sleepy Time Gal



This is my grandpug, Allie, taking her afternoon nap.  I'll try to get a good photo of Bonnie, although black dogs are more difficult to photograph.  Our son will be taking them to his new house when it is finished being built. I have already volunteered to babysit them while he's at work.  I can't imagine them not being here!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pie Oh My!

I love to bake.  Cook, not so much.  Since moving to Colorado baking has been a challenge.  It's the high altitude thing.  You have to make adjustments to recipes:  add more flour, decrease the baking soda, adjust the temperature, etc., etc., etc..  Problem is, there isn't one fix for all recipes, so there is a lot of experimenting.  This involves baking for cakes, mostly, but can also be for cookies.

My son has been asking for a coconut cream pie so I finally got around to making one last night.   I must admit that I used a frozen Marie Calendar's pie crust to expedite the process.  Her crusts are really, really good so I recommend them highly.  The recipe for the pie came from Allrecipes.com and you can find the recipe I used HERE.


Oh, my goodness!!!  You have to try this recipe.  It's wonderful not to mention easy.  The filling calls for three cups of half and half so, to quote Ina Garten, "how bad could that be?"  Our son doesn't care for meringue so I used whipped cream for the top as the recipe calls for.

He and my husband thought it was the best pie they had ever eaten.  Aaron said I could sell them!  I'm certainly not bragging, but since my baking skills have been sorely lacking here, it was good for my ego.

Do you see the cute Scottie salt and pepper shakers?  The recipe calls for salt but not pepper obviously. I just wanted to show them off.  My BFF in the whole wide world, Nikki, sent them to me.

This evening I have plans that include a cup of tea, a slice of pie and a good movie.  What plans do you have?

Have a lovely day!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Presidents Day

We are having a peaceful Monday here in Colorado.  It's been snowing since last evening and is just beautiful outside.  Nothing like our friends back east are getting, however.



It's a great day to stay inside, clean house, bake a pie, do some sewing and continue my MI-5 television marathon.

I started watching MI-5 on Netflix but then they took it off of their scheduling on February 1st.  Luckily I can borrow the dvds from our local library.  Ten seasons with ten episodes each.  I only have 34 more  episodes to watch!  It's very addicting.  I love British television.  Lately, hubs and I have been watching Grantchester on Masterpiece theater.  Love it!!!  For some reason I have not watched Downton Abbey. What's up with that?

Yesterday our son and I took the metro into downtown Denver, met up with some friends of his, and went to a home and garden show.  I love riding the metro.  $4 round trip and no parking fees!!!  The show was HUGE and gave us all kinds of home improvement ideas.  By the time we were done my feet were killing me.  We ended up not even seeing all the show.  We figured after a while we didn't need to see it all as their was quite a repetition in categories.  When I got home, you guessed it, I relaxed by watching MI-5.

Have a wonderful Presidents Day.  If you are back east, stay safe!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Again

Here's another Happy Birthday post.  This time it's for our wonderful Scottie, Maggie.


This is Maggie shortly after we got her.  Isn't she adorable?  She was so cute and tiny, but boy was she a handful.


This is Maggie now.  Sophisticated, loyal and every bit the alpha dog of our little pack of fur babies.   I'm so glad that we were able to give her a home when her human mommy got sick and she needed a place to call her own.  I'm also glad we were able to rescue her little Scottie sister, Mollie who needed a stable environment after having three other homes and being cast aside.  Then there is Allie and Bonnie, our son's two little pugs who are staying with us "temporarily".  I put that in quotes because when he moves I don't want the pugs to leave.  I've grown far to attached to them.

Happy Birthday Miss Maggie!  All of us here love you so very much!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy Birthday

I'd like to wish a Happy Birthday to two men in my life:


First a Happy Birthday to my dad.  He passed away in 1996 and I can't believe it's been that long.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him.  I'm always saying, "Dad would have loved that movie." or "Dad would have loved that restaurant."  We're kind of a foodie family as mom and dad both worked at Kellogg's of Battle Creek when we were kids.  After we moved to California they opened quite a few steakhouses so eating out was always on the menu for us.  He was always telling my mom, "Doris, see if there's a western on the television."  He died just as vcr's were coming out.  Oh, he would have loved to have unlimited John Wayne movies at his fingertips!

This picture was taken when we had our farm in Hastings, Michigan.  I must have been around five years old at the time.  If you saw me now you wouldn't think I had changed that much.  I still look the same: still dorky, still love rabbits, still have the glasses, just lots more wrinkles.  LOL!


My other birthday wish is for Elvis Presley.  His birthday was the same as my dad - how cool is that!!?!!  The first time I saw Elvis was when I was around seven and we went into town and saw his movie Love Me Tender.  I was hooked from that moment on.  As his life spiraled down in his later years it really made me sad to see such a talent wasted.  Did I tell you Dad also played the guitar and also sang?  Elvis came from a poor upbringing in Mississippi and Dad was from an impoverished area in Kentucky.  They both made their way out, though.  So you see, they had a lot in common.  I can't think about one of these men without thinking about the other.  

Happy Birthday Dad and Elvis.  I bet you're making some great music together!

Good memories!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Retreat

In years past I've shared about my sewing group in California and the retreats we went on.  I sure miss going with them.  So much fun and a great time to relax and get some projects done.  One of the things we always did is make little gifts for each other.  I still make them and send them back home to my friend Nikki to hand out.  It's my way of staying connected.

The name of our group is the Busy Beas.  Not Bees, Beas.  Nikki named it in honor of our dear friend who passed from breast cancer.  We still all collect bee stuff though.  I'm always on the lookout whenever I go shopping.

I'll show you what I sent last year:

Bee Bookmarks

I got the inspiration on Pinterest where they showed pink color swatches with heart punches.  I think they turned out just perfect!

I already know what I'm sending this year but can't show you until after retreat in February.  

I had great plans on what I wanted to do today after my normal routine of morning cleaning.  I need to take something back to Sam's Club.  I also wanted to go to the movie and go visit  the local quilt shop that was having an open house.  I guess that's not going to happen.  On top of the snow we got the other day, it's snowing pretty heavily out now. Son had to get the snow blower out yesterday to clear the drive and sidewalk and now it's getting covered again. A little light snow is alright but this is a bit too much for me to drive on. I've learned that you have to be flexible here as far as plans are concerned because of the weather.   My plan B will probably be some organizing, television watching and a nap.

I hope you have a great weekend and your plans don't get snowed out!