Summer Fever Saturday-Addendum

Here it is 9:03 p.m. and I totally pooped! There are times when my enthusiasm overides my sensibilities and I end up over-doing…waaaaaaay too  much.  You read about my baking for Sunday School, well I discovered the recipe I tried (first time) didn’t come out half as good as I expected (that would be the chocolate filled cinnamon dough balls). I’ve made Monkey Bread before and those rise…a lot!  This recipe called for using the 10-per-tube biscuits, which DON’T rise…hence I ended up with 20 little, dinky cinnamon dough balls. Yes, they probably tasted good (I ate 2) but that’s not my point. When you’re endeavoring to feed close to 50 people, the last thing you need is less food than you thought you were making! Now it’s back to the drawing board for another try. Now I’m taking the cinnamon bundt cake and a raspberry cake (9 x 13) – that should do it for the people with sweet teeth (I hope).

  On a similar note-have you ever thought you had a great idea when cooking/baking only to find out later that it wasn’t such a good idea after all? I just did that when making dinner.  Dinner tonight was one of those ‘creations’ I came up with years ago as a frugal attempt at using good meat (turkey legs) which you can buy for lower prices.  I usually roast said legs in the oven, then take the meat and shred it and combine it with a turkey gravy, adding roasted onions and mushrooms, at times. This time I decided to extend my ‘creativity’ by using a product I love having in my freezer: already roasted and cut up frozen onions with green and red peppers.  These lovelies I added to the turkey & gravy mixture then served it over rice. My husband declared it “Great!”; to me it tasted like something my mother used to make when I was young (I should prefice this by saying my mother was NOT a good cook!)…she called it “Chicken a la King” and believe me…it was yucky! This ‘creation’ of mine tonight ranked, in my opinion, in that same area…truly YUCKY! Oh well, glad someone in our household is willing to eat it! (see my frugality coming out here???) 

   It’s been a very busy, hectic, fun, extremely tiring day and I’ve still got a few hours (and things to do) before calling it slumber time.  Sure hope this raspberry cake thing turns out…otherwise my Sunday School class is going to have pretty slim pickin’s for sweet eatin’ tomorrow…

Hugs;

Pammie

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Published in: on April 22, 2007 at 7:16 am  Comments (1)  

Summer Fever Saturday!

The weather today is just gorgeous! Last time I was out (a few hours ago) it was 70 degrees! The sun is shining it’s most glorious, the bird’s are all happily filling the air with songs, I have the windows open and am about to go put my shorts on-how wonderful is that!?  Who could be sad on a day like this?

   It’s been another of my ‘usual’ busy days: took youngest son to church by 8:45 a.m. for an all-day Youth Convention. I know he’ll be having a great time, they have ice skating on the agenda and that’s something he’s never done-he was excited! Have to go pick him up at 6:15 this evening.  Went grocery shopping with the added items to include fixings for Sunday School class snacks tomorrow and two offerings for “Simple Cooking” class which I’ll be teaching Monday.  Since I try to keep things to: (a)  few ingredients (b) cost-efficient items and, (c) (for the cooking class)-must be able to be made, cooked, and eaten in less than 50  minutes it made for interesting shopping, to say the least.  For Sunday School Snacks, I’m making a Cinnamon Coffee Cake and a Raspberry-Walnut Coffee Cake; that should feed our class of about 50 adults (not everyone indulges). For Simple Cooking, we’re making a Frito Casserole and Chocolate Bubble Bread; two very simple recipes which taste really good. The Bubble Bread is one I’ve never tried, but sounds very good and very easy-Hershey Kisses hidden inside buttermilk biscuit balls which have been dipped in butter then rolled in sugar and cinnamon! Yum!   (Have to remember to allow time later on this evening to make the two coffee cakes for church tomorrow!)

   Since today is such a ‘lazy-feeling day’ (warm weather always does that to me), I finally decided to stop procrastinating and put together a collection of all the simple knitting stitches I’ve been writing down on little scraps of paper.  Got out the 3″ x 5″ cards, wrote the directions on the cards (for those that had photos from the internet, I glued a photo on, also), then punched a hole in the left top corner and put them all on a split-ring loop-thingie (forgive my lack of a better name; it’s one of those circle key ring things that, when opened, is hinged and forms 2 “C’s”…husband just informed me they’re called a ‘snap-ring.”) This way, I’ll have all the directions in one place and will be able to (hopefully) just flip to the one I need at the time! We’ll see about it being a ‘better idea’…sometimes they just come to me and make sense….time will tell if it’s actually a ‘good one’ or not!

    My other ‘big adventure’ today was going to my first two garage sales of the season! First one was a bust, but the second one was a moving sale and I found a beautiful clear glass footed cake stand for $2., a Pampered Chef cheese grater for 25 cents, and a really large, very nice tin for 50 cents!  I happily carried my ‘treasures’ home and showed them to the family; even my husband thought I did well (happy grin inserted here).  Haven’t exactly found a place for the cake stand yet, but just couldn’t pass that one up. I said, questioningly, to the lady seller: “Looks like circa ’40’s, maybe early ’50’s?” She said: “We got it as a wedding present; you’re right about the time.” (Bingo! Can I spot an antique, or  not!). For TWO DOLLARS? IN MINT CONDITION?! What a deal!  It has a simple fluting pattern around the edge and a small foot underneath…simply elegant, to  my way of thinking.  The large tin will work very nicely for holding baked Christmas cookies; I’m always looking for nice LARGE tins for exactly that purpose, as mine seem to gather rust after a few years and have to be disposed of.  This one is a very nice emerald green with gold lines on the cover, no writing…just a very nice container.  I feel like I bought gold today…three very nice, very useful items and all to the tune of $2.75! What a deal! Do I LOVE garage sales, or what!?

   Anyway, that’s my day so far; hoping you are able to enjoy this lovely prelude to Summer in whatever way warms your heart. Enjoy the day! Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on April 22, 2007 at 2:27 am  Comments (1)  

The Gift of Patience

Here we go with another ‘Life Lesson’-remember my stating I’ve pulled my lower back muscle again? Today, for the  most part, was spent in my lovely recliner, knitting. The project is my continuing 7″ afghan squares for the Ghana afghan. I don’t know about you, but after awhile I get bored doing the same old stitches and my eye ‘goes a wandering’…through my knitting books, onto the Internet, anywhere to find more ‘easy and quick’ patterns/stitches of 4 rows or less (I’m prolific on my knitting, but not the most accomplished when it comes to complicated patterns.  I’ve said all that to say that, in the past five hours I’ve ripped out more than I’ve done in a few days! There were some wonderful diagonal ribs, a very interesting cable, several other nice patterns but all of them got the rip! One made a very lovely, lacy pattern but…the problem? The bottom was all wavy! Now that would be great IF I were knitting say, a scarf or an afghan done in strips, but definitely NOT acceptable for squares! I’ve learned, through trial and error, that sometimes you just have to ‘walk away’ for awhile!  Two days ago I tried three times to get one pattern right-“I KNOW I’ve done this one before…WHY won’t it come out?”  Answer: because there were TWO of the same named patterns that you copied and you threw away the wrong one! I remember working them both only to find that one really didn’t work for my style/type of knitting (long story, but I knit the “Continental/German” method which is diametrically opposite most other knitters). I then threw one away, not aware that I’d thrown away the wrong one…hence the “it’s not working” part! (Will I never learn???) 

   Anyway, here I am now at my trusty computer, happily doing what I love doing ALMOST as much as knitting (blogging).  For a short while, the knitting needles and yarns will just have to keep themselves company because I certainly don’t have what it takes to attempt ANOTHER pattern/stitch at this moment.  So much for my sense of adventure! (Sometimes ‘tried and true’ is really the route to follow….someday I’ll learn that!).

Hugs;

Pammie 

Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 6:47 am  Comments (2)  

Learning to Bend…

Sometimes life comes at you unexpectedly and you either ‘bend’ or ‘break’.  One of the things that I’ve tried to learn over the past few years is that I need more flexibility in my everyday thinking. For example, yesterday I was happily going about my usual routine: getting ready to do a stack of dishes, thinking about starting the laundry and also watching my 9 month old grandson.  He had just been dropped off and I was hoping he was tired enough to take a nap so I could proceed with above mentioned chores. He wasn’t, so we began ‘walking’ around the house together. I suppose I should clarify that by saying he’s new to this ‘walking’ thing, so for him it’s either grasp your fingers/hands tightly or suddenly let go and go cruising for 2-3 steps before touch-down to floor.  While we were doing this I decided that it was about time I put him in the walker so I could proceed with my earlier plan. In lifting him up, I did the unspeakable-pulled my lower back muscle (AGAIN).  This is an old injury (was never exactly sure just where this first occurred); when it occurs it renders me unable to either stand up straight or walk without alot of pain. The remainder of the day I relied on my youngest son to do any lifting required, which helped immensely. Back to my beginning phrase-“Bending”; you can probably see where this is all going, but I’ll cover that ground, anyway.  I ‘had’ planned alot of things for my day when life slapped me down and put me on my back, in a chair.  Do I bend or do I let it really get me depressed?  Well, I spent the remainder of that day in my trusty recliner with a hot pack on the painful area, doing what I’m becoming very used to doing lately: knitting squares for Ghana.  (It’s also a great place to pray or read my Bible, since the Lord obviously gave me the extra time required to do that).  Today is Day #2 of said ‘lay-up” and I’ve been spending it much the same as yesterday.  I borrowed my middle son’s CD player and listened to some Celtic orchestral music while knitting and learned that could easily become a nice ‘habit’: knitting and listening to music. You see, my son’s like to watch TV right next to where I’m ‘planted’ in my recliner and I’m not overly fond of either “Sponge Bob Squarepants” or “Ed, Edd and Eddie” (all inane shows for teens/kids), so in order to tune them out and also enable me to keep my sanity, the said CD player was put into use. 

   Anyway, back to my thread of thought here:  I’m working on ‘bending’…it ain’t easy!  For awhile it’s OK…you think: “Gee, I get to just ‘sit here’ and do whatever I like! ”  That only goes so far then you either become very bored, or start thinking about all the things you CAN’T be doing right now (not a constructive area to go into).  I’m in the “Semi-Bendable” mode right now; I’ll let you know just how far I get with it all, later.

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on April 14, 2007 at 11:01 pm  Comments (1)  

On Taxes-Today

Just a quick thought on today’s methods of paying taxes: Our tax man stopped by yesterday to deliver our paperwork. This is our normal ‘method of operation’-we take the paperwork to his house, he ‘crunches the numbers’ and then delivers our finished paperwork to our house. We’ve been friends for close to 28 years now, so it’s more of a friendship/business transaction than one of shear business. I say all that to finally say: I’m totally fascinated with what one can do these days with taxes! I’ll admit I was rather ‘concerned’ when the days rolled by, getting closer and closer to that dreaded April 15th deadline and still no papers. I called his house and gently asked if I could stop by to pick them up, thereby saving him a trip only to be told: “My daughter lives close to you; she’ll drop them off.” OK…a few days went by and, again, the “Oh, brother! April 15th is getting closer and closer! Sure don’t want to be stuck in that Loooooooong line of cars trying to get into the Post Office parking lot to deliver my ‘almost late’ filings.” (back to my main thought here) To my wonderment and surprise our tax man informed me that we’d probably be receiving our checks in the mail around next Friday and he’d already E-filed them. While talking over the paperwork with him before preparation, I know he’d mentioned E-filing to me and that quite a few of his clients had been calling him asking when their checks would arrive (as if he personally knew!), but I really didn’t THINK about that information. (read that: Boy, am I dense!) I was both pleasantly surprised and a little in amazement that all my worries over getting the paperwork postmarked BEFORE April 15th had been for naught-“The Check’s in the Mail”!!! How cool is that?! (guess I should preface that whole thing by saying this is the first year/time this has ever occurred).

Just a Tax-Time rambling from me…hope all your monies/taxes come out the way you’d hoped.

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 7:55 pm  Comments (1)  

Easter Update

Hello, again!

  I kind of thought it might be appropriate to give you an update on the ‘big’ Easter church breakfast. I arrived at church at 8 a.m. and there was already a good sized crew of workers bustling about. When I said: “I’m here to work” I was given the task of cooking Eggo waffles…in the oven. Never done it that way before, but I guess if you’re going to crank out tons of waffles in a hurry, that’s the way to do it. The time flew, we had tons of great food out there for a huge Easter feast: scrambled eggs, sausages, waffles, a HUGE amount of various egg casseroles, homemade biscuits & sausage gravy, sweet rolls and fresh fruit, plus juices, milk, coffee and tea. If anyone went away hungry, it sure wasn’t OUR fault! I love working with a group of people who are all there for the same purpose: to serve the Lord by serving others. It was a ball and the end total was somewhere around 180 people fed. I know I certainly didn’t go home hungry (a wee bit of snacking here and there…just to make sure that little cinnamon roll was ‘good’, or a sausage, just to check to flavor, you know ….wink). At the very end of the cleaning up there were only five of the original crew left and I began making a ‘line’ of leftover egg casseroles. Last year the workers ended up taking some home (I took two and froze them…this year I alerted the others NOT to freeze them; they totally lost their consistency and were terrible!). When I was done, there was a line of 12 either complete or almost complete casseroles, 2 large zip lock bags of waffles, 2 large bags of biscuits, 2 of gravy, and 3 medium bags of the fruit compote. I brought home 2 casseroles and we’re still snacking on them three days later!  With very tired feet, I joined the others in the foyer to hear the very last song in the contata (there was no room to sit in the sanctuary…total attendance: 340! That’s ALOT for our church, a normal Sunday is somewhere around 225-250). It was a lovely end to a great morning.  I trudged my very tired bones home to take a well-deserved rest in my recliner, while our ham nicely cooked itself in the crockpot.  For once I decided that I wasn’t going ‘all-out’ for the holidays; we just had ham, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, tossed salad, snowflake rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert. I made sure to purchase a small ham, thereby ensuring it would all get eaten: my crew is not too fond of ham, so it all worked out just fine; two dinners of ham and we’re done.

   Don’t remember if I told you that the knitted afghan for Ghana is now done; I’ll be delivering it to the lady who’s going on the trip April 18th-she’s the head nurse on the trip. I’ve already started working on more squares for another one, since she mentioned they make two trips a year. One ‘child-sized’ afghan is a total of 30  7″ X 7″ squares. I DID take photos of the completed project and am hoping to find out how to put photos on this blog site. When I do, I’ll post the photo. (side note: Thank you, Diane, for the suggestion of having me hold the afghan for the photo!).

    My grandson is happily napping now after ramming around in his walker. He’s now 8 1/2 months and has just began jabbering: “Blah-blah-blah”. I told his momma that’s the first real ‘talking’ sounds he’s uttered…since he’s now trying his best to stand a walk a few steps, I’m guessing first words aren’t far behind. I’m cherishing every little ‘blah-blah’ and raspberry he gives me.  For the longest, all he would do is either give raspberries or stick out his tongue and kind of spit…glad he’s now trying to talk. I love the baby stages; I remember as a Mom that they didn’t seem all that quick to go through, but as a Grandma-they sure seem to be zipping by quickly!

    Don’t know about your weather but ours here in Michigan has really been typical-goofy! It was 37 out today, grey, gloomy with tiny traces of that dreaded white-stuff (snow). Where did our great Spring weather of a few weeks ago, go? Some of our flowers are peaking above the ground: crocus, Star of Bethlehem, and the leaves for the hyacinths. Daffodils and Narcissus can’t be far behind! Like I’m sure I’ve said before: I love this time of year! Everything is almost screaming it’s joy at being alive! Birds, squirrels, flowers and blooming trees; even the air smells so much fresher! (I just have to keep that mental picture in my mind on such a gloomy day as today).

I have a few letters to get written while my grandson naps, so I’ll close here for now.  Thanks for reading;

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 12:17 am  Comments (1)  

Happy Easter (shiver-shiver)!

      It’s a bright, balmy 22 degrees outside with continuous snow, but hey! the spring flowers are trying to bloom! My neighbor’s hyacinth are in full bloom, some of our crocus are out…soon it will be time for the brilliant yellows of the forsythia bushes (my favorites). I love this time of year because it seems like all nature is straining to be the brightest and most colorful, while the air is filled with the songs of the birds. This morning, as I stopped at our mailbox, a single small bird was singing his two-note solo; it was very calming and peaceful. 

    Today is the first day of my Spring Break and I’m doing my best to enjoy it to the full. I’m sitting here in a heavy, warm sweater sipping a large cup of (Meijer’s gas station) cappochino (sp?)…a lovely blend of ‘mocha’ and ‘french silk blend’. An extra surprise was in store for me (while pumping my gas…$2.69 a gallon…what a shock!): my favorite ‘indulgence’ (the cappochino) was on sale this month (any size!) for 50 cents! What a deal! I’ve never been one for the fancy-schmancy gourmet coffees at places like Starbucks, Caribou Coffees, etc. First (and last) time I went in one of them I was assaulted by their exorbitant prices, and then totally shocked all employees by asking for some “plain-old coffee, nothing fancy-just coffee.” They all looked at me like I was some sort of a freak, then pointed to where I could dispense my own. Ok, so I’m no gourmand, so what? When I accidentally discovered that my gas station had a self-serve coffee dispensing station, I decided to give it a try and was totally hooked! Not that I do that all that often, perhaps twice a month, but for me (read that: “big skin-flint”, “frugal-queen”, etc.) it IS an indulgence, howbeit ever so small. Sometimes I think one needs those little ‘perks’-small blessings, in our lives just to make the day a little nicer. When we go to get gas and I allow myself this ‘extra’, I also purchase a large chocolate muffin for my youngest son…it’s HIS little indulgence for the day. (there IS a small price to pay for this, however: Mom gets one bite!) They are really chocolaty and filled with mini-chocolate chips, to boot, so one bite is all I really need (and I make sure it’s a small bite).  Can you tell I’m waxing poetic today? It feels really nice to know that I don’t have a fixed schedule for this day-I can relax for awhile, probably knit some, finish the laundry & dishes whenever I chose!

   Speaking of knitting…I finally finished the child’s afghan that’s going to Ghana on April 18th! Makes me feel good to know that I got it done before the deadline; I’ll deliver it to the person taking it sometime next week (hopefully on a nice, non-snowy day). Diane, on her blog site, gave me the idea of photographing said afghan before handing it over, so I’m hoping we have a nice, sunny day in which to do so. I’m going to be checking into seeing just how one inserts photos onto WordPress sites, as I really don’t have a clue!

    Is everyone ready for tomorrow-Easter? I’ll be up extra early tomorrow, as our church is hosting a large breakfast for anyone & everyone who wants to come and I’ve signed up to help in the kitchen. Last year it wasn’t too well organized and ended up being ‘whoever can help-hurry-we need you, pronto!’  It turned out splendidly, however crazy we were in the kitchen trying to pump out tons of egg casseroles, sausages, French toast sticks, etc. I’ve decided that, in order to not totally lose my ‘cool’ tomorrow, I’m baking my egg casseroles tonight, then re-heating them just before setting off for church, hence keeping me from being way-too stressed. We normally leave for church at around 8:45 a.m. but tomorrow I’m supposed to BE at church at 8 a.m., so I’m hoping my husband will see the need for us driving two vehicles, then he and the boys can leave at their normal time and arrive all fresh for the 9 a.m. breakfast before the 10:30 a.m. service.  One thing I’ve learned in life (like Diane) is that I really enjoy serving. When I was a child and belonged to a girls organization, one of my favorite times was when we would host dinners. I loved to pour coffee, run for extra napkins, cut pies, etc. Guess it’s in my nature, ’cause I’m truly happy when doing that. Maybe that’s why I’m so content volunteering with my special needs adult group. I love doing all those little things like taking a wheelchaired person to the bathroom, getting water for someone who can’t walk, cutting a huge birthday cake for 40 people, looking up Bible verses for someone who can’t read. I’m so grateful the Lord can use those little deeds to His Glory. I’ve also learned that I’m NOT good at leading a group, speaking in front of a large crowd, etc. without either losing my ‘cool’ or my temper. I’m definately NOT a leader, but I  make a great helper! (Guess that’s why I’m second in command in our special needs group, eh?)  I love all the ‘little details’ work like remembering to print out a flyer, or remembering to buy 100 cups for next weeks pop, or mailing out reminders for an event. The Lord gave each of us gifts and I guess mine are in that category.

    Hoping that all of you (my 3 readers, at this point…grin) have a wonderful and blessed Easter.

Big Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on April 7, 2007 at 8:19 pm  Comments (2)