I’m Grateful…

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My dear friends continue to amaze me with their generosity. One of my current Knit Group friends, Michelle, knit the first square you see.  She’s only been knitting a short while and I’m really proud of her efforts!  The next photo came from my friend Kim, from my old knit group. She and her family knit 230 very colorful squares and Kim’s been holding onto them for me since before Christmas! Yesterday another mutual friend stopped by and delivered the squares. I love God’s timing…yesterday found me assembling 2 more afghans (that would be numbers: 152 and 152).   I have several boxes of squares here, but they are mostly solid colored squares. When I assemble an afghan, I try to vary the squares: one varigated, one solid, one varigated (you get the idea) to make a more interesting ‘eye-appeal’.  I stopped at two because I had run out of varigated squares…and then Kim’s squares arrived. Only the Lord knew, but His timing is perfect!

Going through this huge batch of squares (to photograph them) made me, once again, very grateful to all the wonderful people who have put their time and efforts into this project. I’m overwhelmed at your generosity!  The money (to buy the yarns), the time (to knit/crochet the squares) the efforts involved in getting them to me so that they can be sewn into afghans for children who need them…makes me think of the TV commercial…the last line being….”Priceless!”

Thank you, all, once again!

Pammie

http://theghanaproject.wordpress.com

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Another Compulsion…

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Socks.  Knitting Socks.  Me knitting socks…do those words actually go together? I’ve been trying to figure that one out now for a good 2-3 weeks. You see, most of the ladies in my knit group are knitting socks! They all ooo and awwwww over all sorts of various balls of, you guessed it, sock yarn. They spend tons of time chatting about the various colors, combinations and attributes of sock yarn. They share patterns and observe each other knitting socks. Have you ever had something that sort of intrigued you but you almost felt like it was beyond your abilities?  That’s me and knitting socks. Here are the facts:  (1) I absolutely HATE knitting in a circle! (2) ditto on the using 4 needles at one time (3) ditto on using teeny-tiny needles (4) ditto on using yarn that should be used for sewing on a button, it’s so thin!  Now, you ask yourself: “WHY, if she’s so adamant about NOT liking all these things, would she even consider trying to knit socks?”  You’ve got me there…I don’t know!

Let’s put this in perspective: I’ve gone to JoAnn Fabrics (craft store) at least 2-3 times specifically to purchase sock yarn and start this thing.  Now I know I’ve told you I’m (1) Scottish by descent (2) very frugal (3) very stubborn.  THOSE attributes are what jump to the forefront when I’m faced with thinking about purchasing sock yarn. Did I mention that even on sale, sock yarn runs a good $5 a teeny-tiny skein and it would take a good 3-4 skeins to make a pair (not counting the cost of buying those 4 teeny-tiny needles?) Yesterday was another of those days where I visited the shop and spent a good half hour trying to actually leave the store with yarn and needles…(I know, I’m pathetic in this area). Oh…there’s one other facet of this process…I haven’t, as yet, found even ONE yarn I like in the sock colors/combinations! To me they’re all UGLY! I really tried! I picked up skein after skein and said to myself: “What about this one? It’s light blue, it’s soft…sigh…it’s ugly!” I guess I’m just a creature of habit; I’m that person you see wandering around stores: She’s had the same purse for years at a time, the same pair of shoes for years at a time, she wears white ankle socks…that’s me: PLAIN JANE!  To me, socks/purses/shoes are UTILITARIAN! I don’t really CARE what they look like: THEY’RE THERE JUST TO SERVE A PURPOSE! Do you get my point? I have 2 pairs of Sunday ‘church’ shoes for winter- both black and both almost the same shoe (the same for summer, only it’s one pair of white shoes); one black purse that I’ve had since I bought it at a garage sale about 3 years ago (I patch it up when it springs a small seam tear, but it’s served me well!); and probably about 8 pairs of white cotton ankle socks.  Colored socks? Nope. Fancy-dancy colored socks that took me at least 2-3 WEEKS to knit? Nope!

I guess that actually answers my question: should I knit socks? I even have 2 books on hold at the local library: “Getting Started Knitting Socks” and “Easy Knitted Socks: Fun and Fashionable for the Novice Knitter“.  I think I’m just going to turn those back in, unread. Even explored the idea of crocheting socks, but crochet and I aren’t the best of friends. I’m getting tired just THINKING about this project! Let’s see: if I DON’T knit socks I’ve saved myself both tons of time, stress AND MONEY! It’s a WIN/WIN situation all around! Let those other ladies revel in their sock knitting…I’m going to be content with my little squares knitting and get over it! Whew! I feel better already!

Who knew an compulsion could feel so good…NOT doing it!?

Ah, life…it’s great if you don’t let it get you down!

Have a great day!

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 10:15 am  Comments (2)  
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Playing Catch-Up

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(sorry, I’m in a rather crazy mood today)

It’s mid-week already and I still don’t feel totally ‘together’; ever have one of those weeks? Sunday blew by with church, lunch, a quick nap, choir practice, then church again and home to fix a quick dinner, then bed. Monday ‘was’ going to be my ‘getting things done’ day, but just as I got in my car at the grocery store parking lot after getting the shopping done, oldest son called to ask if I’d babysit for ‘just a short time, Mom, maybe 1-2 hours’.  Well, just barely got home and got the groceries in the house before I had my 2 1/2 yr old grandson. “A few hours” turned into something like almost 5. I didn’t know that oldest son was also ‘coming down’ with something and was really getting sick when he picked up the baby (another “sure hope I don’t get sick! moment).

Tuesday was another ‘get things done that I didn’t get done Monday’ day. Almost got caught up on the laundry; thought I was doing great on that when I went upstairs to youngest son’s bedroom and found a whole laundry basket of dirty clothes. At least I thought they were dirty clothes; that’s what that particular laundry basket was supposed to be for: put your dirty clothes in the basket and bring them downstairs to the laundry room to be washed instead of amassing tons of dirty clothes THEN dragging them downstairs!  Loaded the washer almost full of this basket, only to find the bottom of the basket contained nicely folded underwear and rolled socks! That was my ‘sign’ that these might NOT have all been dirty! Oh great…well, NOW they’re all clean (the ones that I’d already managed to fill the washer with). Sigh. I still have one washer full of towels to finish today, no big deal.  Last night was my Knit Group’s MOVIE night and we had another great time. Ten of the ladies joined me at a friend’s house for potluck dinner and we watched: “Marie Antoinette” with Kirsten Dunst.  My view of that movie? Lots of ‘eye-candy’…the scenes were all filmed in France at the Versailles palace. The movie? It was ok…really slow-moving, not something I’d pay money to go see; plot line was really thin, also. Can’t complain, though-great food, good company and a fun night out. We had homemade turkey chili, corn muffins, veggie tray, great spreadable cheese tray with crackers, my chili dip & corn chips, and then there was the desserts! Cheese cake in about 4 different flavors, tiny choc. chip brownies, and a homemade pineapple upside down cake. To say I went home stuffed would be putting it mildly! (pigged out on the cheese spread & crackers, mostly…there was a wonderful cranberry cream cheese spread with Tricuits! (sp?) YUM!)

Today is Wednesday and we’re already mid-week! Tonight is my special needs group which I love going to. Today, however, is the (hopefully) end of my ‘catching up’ days: last of the laundry, some vacuuming, (did house bills yesterday), finish up afghan #150, begin laying out  more afghan squares for more afghans, (write a blog-this one!), go to the drug store for another camera battery. I was going to write a blog on last Saturday’s special needs gym night but my dear camera battery died yesterday before I could download the photos to a disc…great, sigh.  (the photos were rather dark because it was difficult trying to photo the kids from a distance while they were doing their activities in a big gym).

ANYWAY…that’s what’s going on around here lately. I didn’t forget you, honest! It’s been dry and kind of chilly here but today it looks like it will rain any minute. Normally we would have rain at this time of year but so far we haven’t. I know that the rains help the flowers & trees and growing things, but having gloomy days doesn’t help my ‘sunny’ disposition (hehehe). I will attempt to “RISE ABOVE” my rather cranky demeaner, “put my big girl panties on” and “Just GET ON WITH IT!” (oh…did I say that out loud? Sorry….my ‘inner Pammie’ was asserting herself again.) hehehehe

Have a great day and attempt to smile a little! Why? BECAUSE I SAID SO! (ooops…sorry…blush!)

Hugs;

Pammie

A Good Day

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Today is one of those days where you just sort of sigh and say to yourself: “This is a GOOD day!” The sun is shining brightly, there are little patches of white, purple and yellow beginning-to-bloom crocus flowers dotting the lawn, it’s in the 40’s for temperatures (that’s getting warmer, for us!).

I spent part of the day hunting bargains for a fun event we’re hosting tomorrow evening for my special needs group. The other lady who’s my ‘partner in crime’ has decided that since it’s our last gym night for this season, we’re changing things up a bit and holding a carnival atmosphere! We’ll be having several different games the kids can play: basketball toss, bowling, knocking over plastic milk bottles, and a bean bag toss.  We’ve acquired lots of nice prizes for each of them, so they will play the games and at the end of the evening everyone will go home with a prize of some sort.  We’re starting with dinner: hot dogs, chips and pop then a short devotional, then the games.  At the end of the game time, we’ll have popcorn and ice cream cups.  It’s a very fast 2 hour evening: the kids love it and so do we.  With that in mind, today found me scouting out 80 hot dogs, 80 buns, chips, popcorn and ice cream in little cups (the kind with the little wooden spoons). Along the way I found a great deal on really nice heavy plastic plates; these were silver and also had matching dessert plates. The great part? They were getting rid of them, so packages of 25 plates were marked down to $2.00 for the dinner plates and $1.00 for 25 dessert plates! What a bargain! I immediately called my ‘partner in crime’ and now we have enough really nice plates for our special needs group’s Christmas dinner! (I bought 125 of each kind; dinner plates and dessert plates!) I love a good bargain; got 8 hot dog buns for 88 cents a pkg…that was a better deal than any of our other discount stores around (these were at Kroger).

After getting all the ‘loot’ out of the car and stored temporarily until tomorrow night’s event, I settled myself in my recliner and finished another great read. This time, I’ve discovered another great mystery writer: Daniel Silva.  I’m working on book #4 of his “Gabriel Allon” series. The man can definitely write a chair-gripping world-scope mystery.  Having checked out his total writing list, I think I have something like 8 more books before I’m up to his current writing. Now I have three favorite mystery writers: Silva, Willam Bernhardt and Steve Berry.  Today I also visited the library and picked up the latest Steve Berry book: “The Charlemagne Pursuit”. He wrote this one in 2008 but it’s taken me until now to be able to get a copy to read; his books are also in vast demand. I love a good read; one that immediately plunges you into the depths of it’s action and compels you to keep reading to the end…nothin’ like a good book!

Tonight is a quiet night (I hope…at least it is SO FAR!). Dinner will be pork ribs, oven-roasted potatoes and tossed salad.  I’ve been working on trying to restrict my diet a bit and have lost 5 lbs. The next step is to get back into walking again. When I was first diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic (diet and exercise controlled…no meds) I made it a habit to walk around the block at least once per day and try to lift weights as well. After the weather got cold, I sort of dropped off the exercise part and haven’t returned to it in over a year (yes, I know…not good, Pammie!). The blood numbers are still staying in a good range, so at least I’ve got that under control for awhile…have to get back to the old exercise regimen!

That’s about ‘it’ around here today; I love a nice quiet day that sort of meanders by. Tonight is my favorite tv watching (I’m not a tv person): Gray’s Anatomy.  Yes, I know…it’s like a sort of medical soap opera, but for whatever reason…I like it! There! Now you know my vice!

Have a great day…take time to see if you can see some of the signs of Spring popping up! (I spotted my first robin a few days ago in our yard-this was a very skinny, rather pale looking bird, but HEY! It’s a ROBIN non-the-less!).

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm  Comments (2)  
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A Very Precious Gift

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Sometimes it’s very important to stop and recognize the gifts the Lord gives to us; today I’m babysitting my fast-growing grandson. He’s now 2 1/2 and smart as a whip (don’t all grandmothers say that?). He can dump out jigsaw puzzles then re-assemble them UPSIDE DOWN, in the correct order! That amazes me! I have trouble putting them together right-side up, let alone trying them upside down! Today, while assembling a Donald Duck puzzle he said: “Look Grandma! Chickamunks!”  Yes, indeed, on the puzzle there were Chip & Dale, the Disney chipmunks! I’d never really paid attention to that before.  Today I decided it’s time to stop and breathe in the wonders of a small child; the order of their day, how they play, what they notice…all of it. It’s been two weeks since I’ve babysat him, so these things are dear to me. Right now he’s napping and I still count it a very special blessing that I’m the only one he allows to rock him to sleep. It’s been that way since he was very little. It’s nothing I’ve done; we just get his favorite blanket and then get cosy in my recliner.  I hum to him the same song I sang to his father 26 years ago: “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”; his Dad liked it sung at hyper-speed, his son likes it hummed almost like a slow hymn.  I’m still grateful he enjoys this quiet time together; for me it’s a very precious gift.

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Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (1)  

Easing into Another Quiet Week

118563270604h0hkChaise Lounge, anyone?

It’s amazing how slow-paced my house is when I don’t have my grandson to babysit! The days gradually go by with reading various blogs, the local daily newspaper, finishing another good murder-mystery, working on afghans and beginning the edging on the baby afghan.  A friend of mine from my knit group is collecting baby hats to send to “Stitches from the Heart” so I’ve been looming baby hats; have three done: (1) bright pink; (2) greens; and (3) a multi-pink/blue/white baby yarn one. I sort of feel like my friend, Momma, who reports she’s been ‘lounging’ her days away as well. Should I say I’m languoring away the days on my chaise lounge? (actually it’s a nice, comfy recliner). Just finished up dinner: homemade salmon patties, cheesy rice (courtesy of Rice-a-Roni…yes, I ‘cheat’ now and then) and tossed salad. Sometimes I just get a craving for fish of some sort-ever have that craving? (and also chocolate, but who’s asking?!)  Got to thinking it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any recipes, then remembered the days of Homeschooling and me teaching beginning cooking to a group of twelve 4,5, and 6th grade kids.  One of my all-time favorite recipes is for something which might not sound really tasty but…trust me…THEY ARE! Spicy, juicey and good! I give you:

Mexican Chicken Wings

2 pkgs. dry Taco seasoning mix

about 1 lb. fresh chicken wings, each cut into 2 pieces, thoroughly rinsed

large ziplock bag

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour dry Taco seasoning mix into ziplock bag, drop in several wing pieces and shake to coat. Cover a cookie sheet with raised edges with aluminum foil (to keep it clean).  Place  coated chicken pieces on foil and continue until all pieces are coated. Bake 30 minutes and enjoy!

(got this recipe somewhere on the ‘net, but it’s been many years and I didn’t keep the source…sorry!)

NOTE: You ‘might’ need more taco seasoning mix…depending on the size of the wing package.

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That’s the news from around these parts this week; tomorrow my oldest son will turn 26, then I’ll be the  mom of  three young men: 26, 20 and 14 1/2 !  (Just think…I’ll be 64 when my youngest graduates high school…now THAT’s a scary thought!)  Oh well…my motto is: keep thinkin’ young…it helps fool you AND the general public!)

Hugs;

Pammie

Another Great Day!

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How can one feel down in the dumps on such a glorious SUNNY day such as today? It’s now 4 p.m. and 65 very sunny degrees out; what a great day to just observe the (soon coming) Spring signs. Because of the wonderful, bright clear day I ventured out and took my first-of-the-season walk around our block, viewing all the little rivulets of water streaming in other people’s drainage ditches. In our backyard now blooms our Acconite (see  stock photo above) which is a small yellow ground cover spreading flower which blooms just as spring is approaching. I always look for it and usually, it’s popping it’s head up through a cover of the ‘s’ word (snow) but, thankfully, not this year (yet, anyway…I can never discount Michigan going from March to summer without at least one more snowfall…usually around Easter).

During my brisk walk (and through the painful objections of  my hips, which were screaming: “What? Are you nuts? Don’t you recognize that we’re in pain here?”) I was brought to a remembrance of a very old recipe for a really yummy bar cookie AND the recipe book it was in. After a brief search, I found both the book and the recipe.  For me, it’s one of those you keep on hand for times when you really don’t have much to make something sweet out of, but usually can put together enough of these following ingredients to produce a really yummy treat.

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Dream Bars

1/2 C. soft shortening (or half butter/half shortening)

1/2 C. brown sugar

1 C. sifted flour

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix above ingredients thoroughly and press into 9 X 13 pan, flatten with hand to cover bottom of (ungreased) pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and spread crust with:

Almond-Coconut Topping:

1 C. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

2 T. flour

1 C. shredded coconut

1 C. slivered almonds (or your choice of nuts)

1/2 C. chocolate chips

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Return to oven and bake 25 minutes more until topping is golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting into bars. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen 1 X 3 inch bars.

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Well, now that I’ve thoroughly tempted you with a great bar cookie recipe, I’ll wish you Bon Appetit!

Don’t forget to stop and smell the wonderful Spring-like air! (and maybe enjoy the budding surroundings as well!)

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Quick Catch Up…

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Am still trying to recover from all the many activities of the past week. The Wild Game dinner was a great success; we served 304 people all sorts of exotic fare like Duck Bowtie Pasta, Roast leg of Venison, Jambalaya, Buffalo roast, Salmon Patties, Wild Game pies and a whole lot more. I was really good this time! Last year I worked serving food and cutting pies; ended up sampling waaaay too many pies and wild meats (ended up with a upset stomach). This year I was greatly reserved (still got a bit of a tummy upset, but then venison and I don’t get along too well and that was the ‘meat’ in the wild game pies…that was the only ‘meat’ I ate!).

Sunday’s Sunday-School class snacks went over well; glad I made the Butter Coffee Cake-that was the ‘hit’ of the snacks. The Raspberry muffins went well but the Cinnamon Raison ones didn’t and for good reason: remember I got the recipe from a mystery novel I’d just finished reading? Remind me the next time I decide to NOT taste something I take, to NOT do that! They were virtually tasteless (except for the raisins) and sort of ‘hockey-puck’ textured…definitely NOT something you want to use to keep a good baking reputation with! Oh well, ya win some-ya lose some! (I threw away that recipe…sooooooo glad I didn’t post it here!)

Knit Night went well tonight; twelve ladies all chatting up a storm/eating & drinking wonderful offerings from our local coffee shop: Panera Bread, and enjoying each other’s company as well as sharing patterns/projects/yarns, etc.  I’ve had several people thank me for starting this group – we all enjoy it and I’m glad.

That’s the quick version of ‘what’s happening around here’ lately. The weather is chilly (28 degrees) but the days are clear and sunny. I even saw people today outside without coats, hats, gloves, etc! You know that Spring is on the way!!!

Enjoy your day!

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 10:42 pm  Comments (2)  
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