Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A close call and Christmas is still happening here...........

I didn't share with you the exciting Christmas morning I had.  I was making monkey bread in muffin tins for breakfast and I was cooking the caramel topping in a saucepan on the stove top when I was distracted by what I do not know (it might have been Miss Peeps in the other room)....at this point I don't remember.  I then smelled something burning and ran into the kitchen to see my sauce pan on fire!  And I mean ON FIRE....flames were leaping up from it.  I grabbed my oven mitts, grabbed the pan and put it in the oven and closed the door but it was still flaming so next I grabbed a container of Bisquick, opened the door and threw it on top of it as best I could.  It still burned!  Then I went for my full flour container and kept throwing that in the oven until the fire was out.  Whew!  I was shaking like a leaf and there was terrible smoke everywhere that was making my eyes burn and my throat burn...it was bad!
I just got through seeing something on television that stated most home fires start in the kitchen and they said you should never leave the kitchen while you have something cooking!  Well, I'll tell you I learned a lesson!  I'm not even going to answer the phone!  I must admit though...the only 2 times this has ever happened to me is when I was cooking with sugar on the stove top.  The other time was years ago making some hummingbird syrup and I got called away from the kitchen.  I opened all the windows and turned on the kitchen fan but I can still smell it in the kitchen and that was Christmas Day!  I do leave things cooking in the oven and soup on the stove top but never again will I leave anything that has sugar cooking on the stovetop! NEVER EVER!  I have a fire extinguisher right there too but have never used it and not even sure if it works.  Do they have expiration dates?  I think fire departments should give classes on the use of fire extinguishers and also how and where to install smoke alarms.  That would be a wonderful community service, not that they don't do enough already especially the volunteer departments.  When the smoke cleared and I was able to go back in the kitchen to work, I finally did make my monkey bread after cleaning the entire oven and vacuuming up all the flour that didn't quite make it into the oven.  It was 1:30 p.m. by the time I had my Christmas breakfast but I feel very lucky to have been around to eat it in my home!
Here's my once pretty yellow enamelware pan and this is after soaking and scrubbing and a stint in the dishwasher!  I'm going to try that method I used on my Le Creuset enamelware and see if that helps.
 On a brighter note.........I'm crocheting these trees.  They can be used as ornaments or in a garland. The pattern and tutorial is here
I have several to make so I think I'll sew the ends in tonight while I watch t.v.  Once you make one you understand it and it is easy peasy!
Today has been garbage out to the curb, laundry and I need to pay a bill, make the Buffalo Wing dip and so much more! LOL!
Happy Trails!  And remember what Smoky the Bear says.....only YOU can prevent kitchen fires!  Be careful out there!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today would have been my Mother's 100th birthday but she died back in June of 1999. She was never afraid of death or dying and that's amazing since she saw a lot of suffering in her career as a nurse...maybe that's why...sometimes death is more compassionate.
 This is her high school graduation picture.  She is in the middle row, 3rd from the left.  She graduated with her sister who was older but my Mother was very smart so that may be why she skipped a grade or 2.  Her sister, my Aunt Alice, is the first one on the left in the top row.  This was the graduating class of 1933.
I'm not sure where or when this picture was taken.  I don't have many but this one is a favorite along with one of her on horseback which I couldn't locate.
My Mother was the youngest of 6 and was a tomboy just like me.  She would rather be out haying and doing farm chores with her brothers than in the house helping with cooking and household chores.  Although, there were times growing up when I'd wished she'd spent a little more time in the kitchen, if you know what I mean.  LOL! 
This picture doesn't even look like her unless it was the army food that fattened her up....she was always slim...this is the heaviest I ever saw her!  She served as a Army nurse in World War 2 but never went overseas that I know of. 

This is her in her nurses uniform.  She put her self through nursing school and later went on to get her masters in nursing.  She worked at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and at Children's Memorial Hospital in the burn unit.  I remember her telling me that was the hardest job she ever had as it was horrible to take care of burn victims, especially children.  She was vigilant about fire safety all her life.  She went on to become an operating room nurse and was so good that surgeons would request her to be their assistant during their surgeries.  She assisted in eye surgeries too which were extremely delicate back then before lasers.  She even traveled to different places in the U.S. to assist in complicated operations.  She originally wanted to be a surgeon herself and I know she would have been a great one.
She was a wonderful woman and a great role model.  I never heard her ever say a bad word about anyone and that is not an easy legacy to live up to.   She was strong in character and faith and gutsy and adventurous for her generation.  I will always be proud to call her my Mother and I know wherever she is now she is helping someone, somewhere!  Love you, Mom!  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

In between the rain drops!

It is wet and wild in the South this weekend!  Tornadoes in Texas and blizzards in Oklahoma and so far we've been lucky...just rain.  I did a lot of "catching up" on chores yesterday and made a great white chili from this recipe
It was really good..........
I did have one little mishap and the can of green chilies I bought exploded on me!  I'm sure it was full of botulism and I should have paid more attention but the minute I put the can opener to it....the juice went all over.  I scrubbed everything REALLY good!  So far so good but I had to go to the store and buy another can.  I've never had that happen before in all my years of cooking.  Be careful out there!
Happy Trails!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I must have been a really good girl!

I can't believe all the presents I got and such wonderful gifts!  Take a look.....
I got another long sleeved fleece jacket from Ben but it was in the wash and the one above was from Amy, Tracy and the boys. Love them both and they have pockets!
New Asics!  My favorite all time most comfortable shoe!  These are from Ben and Uriah....good taste I'd say in picking them out.
This or Turtles are a standing tradition since my kids were little.  This will be one of the few times I get to eat them....they used to give them to me as a gift every year at Christmas and then when I went to eat them later little mice had gotten into the box!  Imagine that!  These are from Amy and "the boys".
Sam and Grayson got me these which I love.......
Photo bombed again by guess who?  These are Yankee Candle firestarters and boy do they smell good.  They're from Amy.
A little stuffed Nitty girl.....ahhhhhhh.......so sweet...from Amy and family.
My son, Ben, knows I love buffalo wings, so he sent me their sauce along with some ketchup and mustard from them too. 
And a beautiful gift set of Corona items.....I'll be using that next summer.  I always like a cold one after I mow the lawn.
Look at these cute "bee" lights...LOVE!  I love all kinds of lights besides Christmas lights.  They're "the bee's knees"!  LOL!
and a great bread making issue of MEN from Amy and Tracy.  Tracy makes homemade bread at their house too.
And last but not least....the unveiling of the first piece of my new dishes for my new Hanover home (when I get there)...they are Pioneer Woman's design and they are at Walmart and very affordable.  They are mix and match which is so great because I love eclectic
and a vintage look and these fit the bill perfectly!  Amy bought me the measuring bowls.  They are SO cute! 
Aren't they precious?  What did you get for Christmas?  Happy Trails!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging but it's been a very busy season.  Hopefully, starting tomorrow, I will have regained my sanity and be back in the groove.  Meanwhile, I wish all of you the happiest, most peaceful and joyful Christmas ever! 
Holiday Hugs to all and Happy Trails!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Santa's elves are VERY busy!

Moving right along but it is hectic as I still need to do laundry and cook and clean pick up around here.  Tomorrow is Walmart as there are heavy rains headed our way the end of this week.  It's been beautiful here..sunny and warm but I have to stay inside and help the other elves...by the way...where are they?  I got the whale shark finished.......not too pleased...it sure doesn't look like the picture from the pattern but then I'm sure Uriah will like it.  I think velcro would have been better as the zipper doesn't work as well in a curve especially for little or arthritic hands.  I'll be filling it with magic markers before I wrap it.

 I wrapped some butcher's twine around some clip clothespins for my daughter....as you can see, I have plenty!
 I also baked a cake!  I wanted to try this old depression-era recipe that requires no milk, eggs or butter.  A great recipe when your sweet tooth is calling but you don't want to run to the store and you're out of ingredients.
 I had some frozen cream cheese icing from another recipe that I thawed.  It was still pretty stiff so I frosted it while the cake was still warm and it worked out great.  Best frosting job I've ever done! LOL! (I am no cake decorator).  I haven't tasted it yet but here's the link to the recipe
 I cheated and used a bowl simply because I thought mixing it in the pan would be messier knowing me.  I found a great area on Pinterest if you're interested.....I did a search on depression era and perused some very interesting pictures and stories and recipes.  There are also several cookbooks.  One is called Clara's Kitchen and she has videos on You Tube.  She passed away in 2013 at age 96 or 98 and her grandson was the one that did all the videos and he also left a beautiful tribute to her.
I hope you enjoyed your day and are getting your holiday preparations done so you will be free to enjoy them.
Happy Trails!

Monday, December 7, 2015

YOP Week #22

 A "day late and a dollar short"....story of my life!  But then there's also"better late than never" so that makes me feel better. 
I know, it looks like a whale but it's supposed to be a shark pencil case when I get done, for Uriah....the shark lover.
  I still need to crochet fins, sew in zipper and make felt teeth...hopefully the teeth will bring out the "shark".  Oh, and eyes too.
I'm putting the finishing touches on these coasters too....one done, 5 to go............it is actually gray with turquoise striping.  This is my worst one and it was probably my first one too.
I am using these Lion Brand Bonbons in the brightest colors for the striping.  I just happened to have them on hand which is good because the time for "ordering in time for Christmas" is over for me who has to mail everything.
Following Mikey's instructions for making the Corner-to-Corner blanket into a rectangle I have finished the width and am how heading for the home stretch!  But it will be longer than it is wide so I still have a ways to go!
It's getting bigger.............
 I'll probably take it another foot and call it done....do you think that will be big enough for a guy who's 6'4"????  It's for both of them but he's the bigger of the 2....lol!
Miss Peeps chewed all the tips off my shoe strings so I put nail polish on them so I could make them stiff enough to lace.  It took 2 coats but it works!  This is an old trick my Mother taught me.
Speaking of Miss Peeps..........she went this morning to get spayed.  Although it is nice and quiet, everyone seems to be wondering when she'll run through the room at bullet speed or jump out at them from behind a curtain.  We miss her but I get to go pick her up after 2:00 p.m.
I swear she was a model in her last life as she LOVES to have her picture taken (the only one in this house that does) and she always looks right at the camera, LOL!  We are missing you, Miss Peeps,  and praying all goes well.
Happy Trails!
P.S.  Sam got his cast off this week and is doing great.  It healed well and this disease/tumor thing only affects 1  in 1.5 million.....I always told him he was "1 in a million"! :) It could very well come back as it was so close to the growth plate they couldn't get every teeny bit of it but now he will have regular checkups for it and they will catch it much sooner if it does re-occur.  We are blessed for sure!

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Friday...what are you reading?

I am so overwhelmed with all that I have to do and the time is rushing by me!  That is why I haven't blogged much but I need to slow down and remember the reason for the season.  Remind me next year to not wait until November to make Christmas presents! LOL!
I have also been disheartened by all that has been going on in the world during this season of supposed "JOY" which has certainly not helped the Christmas spirit to embed itself in my soul.
But on the good side, I have been reading some really good books!  And here they are.........
This is my favorite author of the moment and I will be reading all of her books for sure!  I rate it 5 Stars!  This was her first book and although the stories she writes are each individual novels I still like to read them in order to see how an author develops.  I highly recommend her!  A synopsis of the story can be found here

Next was my audio book..........with audio books the story is important but so is the person who reads it and Richard Thomas does an excellent job!  Another 5 star read!  Synopsis here
This is really for children but not young children...maybe older children....it is very sad and gruesome in parts.  I would like my grandsons to read it someday but they're a bit young for it now.
I finished this one last night and it gets a 4 star.  It's a great story but there's more sex and bad language than I usually like so that's why I marked it 4 stars.  It's probably for a younger crowd but the story was good and kept you interested and she's a good writer.  The synopsis is here
I'm slowly reading this one and trying to incorporate some of their methods on cutting the grocery bills and their budgeting system so it's going to take awhile but it's good so far.
For my audio, I am listening to a "dear old friend", Garrison Keillor.  I used to listen to Prairie Home Companion on NPR on Saturday nights on my farm in Iowa.  What fond memories I have of those wonderful evenings on my little farm shared with the Prairie Home Companion radio gang. Synopsis is here
My new book of fiction that I will be starting tonight is this one......another highly recommended author and her first book although she has many more.  I'm looking forward to it!  I'll be sending in another book order soon as I am loving these recommendations!  I used to be such a non-fiction girl and I still do love true stories and history and nature books but there is some great non-fiction out there too!
That's all folks!  Please let me know what you're reading and especially those good ones!
Happy Trails!

Monday, November 30, 2015

YOP Week #20

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving if you celebrated it and if not I hope you had a great weekend!  I know I did but it has been very busy....more about that later and my Thanksgiving but for now I think it is Week #20 but it could be Week #21 of YOP...someone please let me know as I don't want to go back and count it out.  LOL! 
Anyway, I've been hustling around here and for as slow as I am that is probably medium speed for you normal people.  I finished the plant markers but they don't look that much different than before.  I'll probably show you next week when I get them wrapped a little cuter.
I'm panicking about now as everything is supposed to be in the mail by the 12th to guarantee delivery by Christmas and my "list" is still in my head....not good!
Here's what I have to show you.........Grayson's hat...I will finish this by today for sure!  Just the ear flaps and the i-cord ties left to do.
I started and finished a cowl for my daughter.  I just need to weave in the ends.  If I could just hire someone to weave in ends I'd be a lot farther along!  
Sorry for the lousy photos but little Miss Peeps was in attack mode and I was afraid she was going to snag things.   See that look in her eyes?  Watch out!
I have the corner-to-corner blanket as wide as I want it now and have used up 3 or 4 skeins of yarn (there are so many skeins of this stuff.....I might be able to make them a pillow to match).
 Now I have to go revisit Mickey's instructions (Crochet Crowd on You Tube) on how to make it a rectangle instead of a square.
OMG!  Is that yarn hanging from her mouth?  Someone is getting a "timeout" and it's not me!
 I crocheted 6 coasters for my son but again there are ends to weave in and they will be getting colored "stripes" in between each row.Hopefully that will fix the "blahness" that emanates from them at the moment. 
 These are the beginning of "reindeer" mittens (2 pair need to be crocheted) and then I have to find a pattern for shark mittens for Uriah as he is a shark fanatic!  I already know what I'm making for his birthday in July.  Lion Brand has a free pattern for a shark rug....oh yeah!  
 I have some sewing to do too but will I get to it?  Stay tuned!  Tomorrow I'll blog about books as I've finished some good ones.
I got this card from some friends in Illinois and that is exactly how I feel!  In case you're wondering how a person celebrates a holiday alone....here's how I did.  I got a Butterball turkey breast bone in  (I highly recommend it!  Delish!), I made scalloped corn, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy and a pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  While I cooked I watched a marathon of Anne of Green Gables that was on PBS starting at 8:30 in the morning.  I got several calls from family and crocheted and knitted and had a wonderful dinner with a glass of my favorite wine...Mad Housewife (name of the wine not me)! LOL!  It was a wonderful relaxing day filled with gratitude!  Later during the weekend, I got to actually SEE on television here in the South... the Bears beat the Packers at Green Bay and Iowa win too!  What more could a gal ask for?  It rained for the whole holiday weekend but we were cozy and full all weekend! LOL!
Happy Trails!     
P.S.  Yes, the girls got some turkey too!