It’s Friday!

Yes, we’ve reached the ‘end of the week’ (for those of you who work a Mon-Fri. job). For me, it’s a kind of ‘catch-up and get ready for the weekend’ day. Catch-up/clean up is more like the way it’s going today; middle son is away for the weekend, youngest has a half day of school (end of exam week) and, to my amazement… my husband is home – again. I say ‘to my amazement’ because I didn’t even know he was here until I happened upon him at his computer in the back bedroom a good hour after I got up! (He was very quietly, happily playing one of his on-line games and chuckled pleasantly when seeing my amazement. “I KNEW you’d figure it out – eventually!” During this time of year his work load is lighter and he was able to take another ‘paid’ day off, which is nice for him. I just read in our local newspaper that this coming February is supposed to rival two other Februarys in history as ‘the coldest on record’ . . . oh, goodie.

Babysat my young grandson yesterday and, of course, he wore me out. He’s one busy bundle of energy and lately his one, constant word is: “Why?” Yes, I remember my early childhood development college classes (back when I was going for a degree in that area and running my own infant/toddler daycare) WHY is the one word they love to wear out.  I’ve taken to doing what I did with my boys when they went through that stage: simply repeat the request that I made to them, ignoring the ‘why’. That totally confused him.  For example, one of the dissertations yesterday went like this: “Kaden, let’s pick up these toys on the floor.” . . . “WHY?”  (repeat request), repeat “Why?” “What did I just ask you to do?” (long pause then answer) “Pick up the toys” . . . they got picked up. I’m getting a little old for trying to remember all the little ‘tricks’ I used to know ‘back in the days of toddlers’… sigh.

Tonight is my Special Needs group’s “Gym Night”. That finds me rushing to church to begin cooking 80 hot dogs, then stuffing the buns before everyone arrives. It’s a fun night, it goes by really quickly (at least to me) from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. We usually have around 30 ‘kids’ and some caregivers; dinner is hot dogs and corn chips & cheese sauce. (probably some raw veggies and maybe cookies for dessert . . . I didn’t plan the menu.) Our kids love getting together for these; we have dinner first, then a short devotion time, then they are free to either play basketball, play a bean bag toss game or (our new) plastic horseshoe toss game, color coloring pages, work simple jigsaw puzzles or just sit and chat. We hold these once a month during the winter.

Recently saw two ‘simple looking’ cookie recipes on several of my ‘recipe lists’ which take advantage of a pre-made or ‘mix’ item:


Fancy Sugar Cookie Bars

1 tube (16 1/2 ozs.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. flaked coconut
1/4 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften.  Press into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, coconut and pecans.  Bake for 10-12 minutes longer or until golden brown.  Cool on  wire rack.  Makes 2 dozen bars


Brownie Crackles

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix
(13 x 9 inch pan size)
1 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet
chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, flour, egg, water, and oil.  Mix well; stir in chocolate chips.  Place confectioners’ sugar in a shallow dish and drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the sugar then roll to coat.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake  8-10 minutes or until set.  Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes 4 1/2 dozen


It’s another lovely, sunny day outside (albeit very cold). Even with the cold, as long as I can see some sunshine, I’m happy; it lifts my spirits! Enjoy your day as best you can; try to remember to smile and find something that makes YOU happy!



ps: Am almost to the end of the first ‘huge’ skein of yarn (1,020 yards) on the baby afghan. Managed to get another ‘Ghana Project/Key of Hope” afghan finished yesterday – that makes #226 done and began another one (just so I don’t feel totally guilty because I’m working on the baby afghan instead…gotta ‘psych’ myself out sometimes!)

Knitting & Cooking

So far this week I don’t have a lot to write about; been working on the baby afghan for a week now and have about 3 feet done (my index finger is getting sore just from the way I shove the tip of the needle when knitting). (I hear ya . . . poor baby!) In the midst of all that, I decided that it’s time I learn how to knit baby booties to go with the afghan. Found several great/easy patterns and now have two pairs of booties: 1 ‘newborn’ size and one ‘4-6 month’ size (will post a photo when the whole gift is done: afghan, 2 sets booties and a few baby hats). The bootie pattern was fun to knit and went quickly; I’d guess I knit a pair in about an hour and a half, total. (Love learning new things!)

Our weather has still been cooperating (to my way of thinking): it’s been in the 30’s, a tiny bit of snow on the ground (the really fine kind) and the roads are clear (YAY!). Today is a bit gloomy so I’m trying to come up with things that cheer me up, like listening to music I enjoy.

On the cooking end of things, found a few yummy-sounding recipes (no, I haven’t tried them yet, but they sound good/easy/filling…those are my requirements for a new dish).


Cheesy Broccoli Bake

1 (8 oz.) pkg. fuselli pasta (think corkscrew noodles)

1 T. olive oil

2 tsp. salt

2 (14 oz.) pkgs. frozen broccoli florets

1/3 C. butter or margarine

1/3 C. flour

3 C. milk

2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground garlic

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. dried thyme

3/4 C. shredded Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil with the 1 T olive oil. Add 2 tsp. salt and pasta; wait for re-boil. Stirring frequently, cook approximately until al dente; drain. Cook broccoli in microwave 5 minutes and drain any water. In large saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour and milk and whisk until mixture boils and thickens. Add 1 1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, 3/4 C. Swiss cheese, 1 tsp. salt, garlic, nutmeg, and thyme; stir until well blended. Add cooked broccoli and drained pasta to cheese sauce; mix well. Spoon into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Cover with remaining shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

(recipe: Kroger Co.)


Inside-Out Stuffed Peppers

1 pound ground beef
1/2 C. onion,  chopped
1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 large green pepper,  chopped
1/2 C.  long-grain rice — uncooked
1/2 C.  water
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 C. shredded  Cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown beef; drain. Transfer to a greased 2 quart casserole. Add the next 8 ingredients. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until rice is tender. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese; return to the oven until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

(recipe: Sandy, Marys Recipe Exchange)


On the “Ghana Project/Key of Hope” end of things, a lady who has knit squares for me in the past brought three huge bags of squares today. This is the same lady who delivered over 100 squares just before Christmas! I’m overwhelmed at the speed at which she can knit squares! As soon as the baby afghan is done, I’m back to sewing squares together;  at this rate, she’s out-pacing me by tons of squares! (not complaining, just amazed.) I need to either send her a thank you card or call her as I’m not sure just how she took my reaction to her ‘gifts’ … upon seeing her coming up the walkway with those three huge bags, I burst into gales of laughter! (and almost couldn’t stop!) I told her I certainly didn’t expect that huge amount; hopefully she understood (I’ll have to perfect my ‘Gracious Accepting” … haven’t quite got that yet).! Yes, I can see I definitely have my work cut out for me in the future!

Have a great day, whatever the weather is doing outside. Remember the little saying: “Everything will be OK in the end; if it’s not OK . . . it’s not the end!”



Like Mother, Like Son

Yesterday found my youngest son and me ‘working with beads’ again. His young girl….friend is having her 14th birthday soon and he wanted to make her a bracelet to match the earrings he gave her for Christmas. (sorry, I forgot to photo them, but they were very nice: small blue bead on bottom, medium sized pink bead in the middle, followed by a matching small blue bead on top … hanging earrings, very dainty). In the photo you see the end result of his matching bracelet – on the left.

Over a year ago I admired a black and clear crystal bead bracelet worn by a friend  at church and decided to try to copy it. I ventured out, bought the needed beads, then promptly put them away . . . for over a year! When son came up with this idea, I thought perhaps I might be able to complete the aforementioned bracelet – you see it on the right. The beads are clear (although they photographed multi-colored). I’m happy with the results and it’s been so long since I’ve seen the original bracelet, it doesn’t matter if mine is an exact copy or not … no one else would know – including me!

I’m currently working on another baby blanket for a friend in our church choir who is due with a baby girl in March. I just learned of her baby shower this past Sunday so I’ve been frantically knitting my little fingers off, attempting to get it done in time. Originally I thought I’d just do another of the same pattern as the last two (see an earlier blog for a photo) but after attempting and ripping out 125 stitches THREE times, I gave up and put it away for the night. This was Monday. Tuesday found me searching my stack of knitting patterns for something simple that would look nice for a baby blanket – found it! The pattern is called “Cluster Ribbing” and it’s a two-row, simple pattern which works up to look fancy (when, actually, it’s not). I have about a foot completed at this time and am planning on continuing to knit some on it every day, as I counted on the calendar, I have 20 days until the shower (counting today!). I’ve already made a peach colored baby hat to go with this blanket and plan on doing a peach ruffle edging on the blanket.  (Will probably make up another baby hat as well, perhaps all white?).

Our weather has been just wonderful (at least in my mind!): daily between 25 – 30 degrees F., mostly sunny most days and NO SNOW/ICE/SLEET/FREEZING RAIN, ETC.! Today the sun in brightly shining in my windows and that ALWAYS makes me really happy! (I even asked my doctor if I might have that ‘Seasonal ??? Disorder’ where you tend to get really depressed in the winter when there’s no sunshine. He recommended getting 10 minutes of sun every day in the summer & fall to replenish the Vitamin C in your system . . . I didn’t exactly DO that (I told him I tend to avoid the sun at all cost, since I’m very fair skinned, freckled, red-haired, etc.  and have almost all the markings for skin cancer. “TEN MINUTES is not a lot of time”, he said and I had to agree. Anyway, I say all that to get to my point: It’s SUNNY today and I’m really happy!!!  (Now, didn’t you just sit on the edge of your seat to find out my ‘end point’? hehehehe)

Have a GREAT day, do something YOU enjoy doing, relax a little and take a deep breath; remember, YOU’RE ALIVE!!! Thank the Lord for this day and your health (in what EVER state it is); if you can read my message, REJOICE! (Not in my message, in the fact that you can SEE!) God has given each of us great blessings EACH DAY; we just need to be aware of them! Just breathing, seeing, hearing are things to rejoice over! Being able to walk (even with pain) is a great thing. Each day we’re alive is a blessing; each day I ask the Lord for the wisdom and strength to make it through THIS DAY. I don’t ask for my future, for I know it’s in the Lord’s hands; only THIS DAY and whatever it holds. Sometimes it means that I have to make it a few minutes at a time because it’s been a very difficult day, but even then He helps me to endure whatever I’m facing. If you don’t know the Lord, He’s not far away. He loves you and wants the very best for you.  All it takes is asking Him for His help and forgiveness for your past sins;  He’ll take it from there. If you’ve ever read the poem: “Footprints” it’s a testimony from all of us and it reminds us that when we’ve gone through difficult times it is the LORD who carried us when we were too frightened and weak to make it on our own. This coming Sunday our choir is singing a song that makes me cry every time I hear or sing it: “Do Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled” by Lloyd Larson. The words are simple and speak deeply to my heart (I don’t have the exact words, will try to write them as I remember them)


“Do not let your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid. You believe in God, trust in me – you are mine; do not be afraid.

In my Father’s house are many rooms, His promises are true; I will go to prepare a place, prepare a place for you and I’ll come again! I will come again; Yes, I’ll come again – come for you.

Do not let your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid. Simply trust in God, believe in me – you are MINE, DO NOT BE AFRAID. Do not let your heart be afraid.”


Beautiful words, beautiful music that truly speaks to my heart;  I hope that they speak to you, also. They are taken from John 14:1 where Jesus comforted His disciples:

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (NIV version)

We are all facing troubles/fears/sickness, etc. and we all having things that worry us; let the Lord help you this day to get through this day and the future. He loves you and longs for you to know Him.

Have a wonderful day;



You’re Never Too Old…

for your Momma to worry about you!  Our middle son is now 21 and ‘grown up’ (or so HE thinks!).  I remember well when my oldest (who is now 26) went through this phase in his life – the phase where you go out with your friends and don’t come home until morning.  I’ve been through that with him, so I understand. Today kind of put that in a ‘new ballgame’, so to speak. Middle son went to ‘hang out’ with his friends last night and didn’t return home …  for many hours. Now, that might not bother you, but his previous pattern of behavior ran something like this: hang out with friends overnight, return home between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. the next day. By 3 p.m. I was beginning to be concerned, by 4 p.m. getting more so. My husband placed 2 calls to his cell phone and left a message: “Hi, son – just wondering how you are; give us a call back”. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter to me HOW old you are, I’m gonna worry a bit. (To my Christian friends who read here: YES! I KNOW I’m not supposed to worry…and YES, I prayed LOTS!). That doesn’t stop all the goofy thoughts that run through my brain! Finally, at around 4:45 p.m. he called home saying he was on his way with this extra comment: “MOM! Are you going to do this EVERY time I don’t come home right away?”  You bet your behind I am . . . I’m a MOM!!!

On another note, attempted (and ripped out twice) the baby afghan pattern I did last year. For some reason (read that “worry”) I couldn’t seem to make the stitch count come out right! When you’ve cast on 125 stitches, it gets a bit ‘dicey’ having to continue the pattern and hope that by the end of that row you’ll come out even! Finally gave up, put it aside and finished the baby hat that was to go with that afghan. A friend at church is due in March with a baby girl; I just learned the baby shower date yesterday (have approximately 3 weeks!) so I need to get my ‘act in gear’ and start knitting! Checked out my other simple knit patterns and am going to ‘attempt’ to start a baby afghan using the “Honeycomb Slip Stitch” pattern . . . we’ll see how it goes.

Hope you’re having a good day; remember to call your Momma some times – it doesn’t matter how old you are, SHE STILL LOVES YOU!!!



Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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It’s Not Often . . .

in life that one gets to witness JOY. We were the happy recipients of that very thing this evening at the wedding of a dear friend and his bride. I have known this friend since 1982 and shared many family moments together, including the trial of his wife’s cancer, chemo therapy and final death over two years ago. His children are like younger sisters to me, his sons-in-law and grandchildren like members of my family. This afternoon was his marriage to a lady in our church and a grand and glorious wedding it was. Formal? Yes.  Lots of people? Yes.  Biggest thing I remember? The overflowing, beaming joy that radiated from both the groom and bride’s glowing faces!  These are not your young wedded ‘kids’;  we’re talking bride in her late 50’s and groom in his upper- mid 60’s! Their children were the attendants; their grandchildren the flower girl and ring bearer!  It is a rare and almost magical thing to see a ‘late-in-life’ wedding between two people who have gone through so much in their individual lives. Both of them had spouses who died of cancer after a long struggle;  both of them had children who also suffered from the ravages of seeing their parents fight that disease.  To see that, finally, they both came out ‘on top’, smiling . . . no, BEAMING;  radiantly happy to almost bursting was truly a wonderful sight to behold.  Both have stated that they want to make it their lives goal to minister to other people who are hurting after losing a spouse to disease; I truly believe that these two people would be the ones to do just that – they know what it’s like (she has been a widow now for over 8 years;  he’s been a widower for over 2).  I wish them all the best in their new life together – joy overflowing;  it’s a wonderful thing to behold!

Best Wishes, Jim & Pat, in your new life together!



Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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Geysers, Flowing Rivers & Food

Hello!  Hope you are having a great day; today is one of those “lots of various things to get done” days. Managed to get down on my hands & knees and scrub-clean the 5′ x 7′ cream-colored rug in front of the couch – that was a task! (I seem to be in one of those ‘gotta clean’ moods) Noticing that the two quilts which drape over the recliner & back of the couch might need a wash, I threw them in the washer.  While rinsing off some dishes in the kitchen sink I thought I heard a strange “Shhhhhhhhh” sound coming from the basement, so I went down to check.  (I should inject here that earlier I’d noticed that there was about 2 inches of standing water in our laundry tub and wondered just how that got there – this is the ‘dry’ tub which I don’t use, so it should have been dry).  Upon descending the basement steps I discovered not only what that ‘Shhhhh’ sound was, but where the water had come from. The flow-valve which is attached to the drain pipe which drains into the sump pump was spraying water everywhere at a great rate (hence the sound) as well as the sump pump overflowing all over the floor, making me feel like I was either (a) under a geyser and/or (b) standing in a rushing river!  I quickly shut off the washer and the waters slowed – I don’t look forward to telling my dear husband when he gets home that he has to somehow fix the flow valve (AGAIN).  I vaguely remember this happening years ago and know that he knows how to fix it (Thank Heavens!) but I’m positive that it won’t make him thrilled to come home to such a problem. (I’m guessing he’ll decide to get to it tomorrow, in the morning!). All I could think of while trying to mop up some of the water was: “Ah, the fun of being a homeowner!”  It’s not a major problem, just a minor inconvenience (at this time…hoping it can be fixed relatively easily) so I’m not terribly upset over it.

On the other end of the ‘cleaning thoughts’, when I get off here I’m planning on cleaning the refrigerator. Not a big task, just tedious but much needed after all the many food stuffs that resided there over the holidays.

Ran across a really tasty recipe that I’d highly recommend you trying:

Della’s Spice Cake

1 C. butter, softened

1  1/2 C. brown sugar

5 egg yolks, beaten

1 C. milk

3 C. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together brown sugar and butter. Slowly incorporate egg yolks and other ingredients; mix thoroughly and pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 45 min-1 hour, testing for doneness with a toothpick. When tip of toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, loaf is done. Let cool then frost.

NOTE: This cake is excellent by itself, but also great with icing.


Orange Powdered Sugar Icing

1 C. powdered sugar

1  1/2 T. orange juice

Mix together powdered sugar and orange juice to achieve pouring consistency (might have to add a bit more orange juice). Pour over baked cake and let dry before serving.


Tonight’s dinner was going to be the potato soup I had hoped to make yesterday but didn’t get around to (ended up babysitting grandson for 4 hours, which made dinner something simple: hamburgers!). Tonight is the ‘cleaning fridge’ dinner using the leftover pork roast, some frozen vegs (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower mix) and a orange juice glaze served over cooked rice. (Can you tell orange flavor seems to be calling me today?). Found the recipe on another site:

Orange Juice Glaze for Stir-Fry

1 C. orange juice

2 T. honey

1 T. cornstarch

Mix ingredients together then add to stir fry; mix until thickened.


That about wraps it up for me today; just hoping my energy holds up for all my ‘adventurous thinking’ – do you ever do that? Sit and think up all sorts of things you ‘should’ be doing, then have to struggle to come up with enough energy to actually get those things done which seemed so easy and effortless when you were just sitting and thinking about them? (Boy was THAT a long sentence!) Anyway, I’m off here and about to embark on cleaning the fridge! Oh, JOY!!!



ps: Ah, the fun of finding hidden things when cleaning out the fridge! For example, not only did I have to deal with the ‘water situation’ mentioned earlier, but discovered just what a lovely MESS Hershey’s chocolate syrup can make when a bottle of it tips over and pours down the back of the bottom shelf! Who knows just how long this sat before I found it, but I can tell you – it was FIRMLY stuck to every surface! At first I started using my trusty kitchen knife to try to carve it off (it was in pretty thick puddles!), but that only made a slight dent. Finally, in utter desperation I used hot water to soften it THEN carve it off like thick fudge ropes. Ya just never know what you’re going to find … sigh.

Cold Outside – Warm Tummies!

Like everywhere else in the Northern states at this time of year, our weather is cold and snowy. You’ve heard me complain enough about that already, so I won’t go into details. The one thing I AM thinking of, however, is how to keep us nice & toasty on cold days & nights.  I offer you several very pleasantly filling and warming recipes:


Crockpot Taco Soup

1lb. ground beef or turkey, browned and drained
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 envelope Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing mix
1 packet taco mix
1/3 C.  chopped dried onion
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 quarts tomato juice

Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with your favorites: fritos corn chips or tortilla chips, shredded cheese,sour cream, sliced black olives,
chopped green onions

(recipe: Sandy on one of my recipe lists)


Amish Chicken Casserole

8 oz. noodles, cooked

2 C. cooked chicken, cubed

2 C. chicken broth (can used canned)

1 C. milk

1 can mushrooms

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 C. margarine

1/3 C. flour

1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt margarine, then add flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add milk and broth, then seasonings and mushrooms. Combine chicken, cooked noodles, and prepared sauce. Put in ungreased 9 inch x 13 inch x 2 inch baking pan and top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350ºF for 35-45 minutes, or until heated thoroughly and top is browned slightly.

(recipe: CK Penner/Amish Recipes site)


Crockpot Cherry Cobbler

1 can cherry pie filling — (16 oz)
1 package cake mix — for one layer cake
1 egg
3 T. evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Put pie filling in lightly buttered 3 1/2-quart crockpot and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Mix together the remaining ingredients and spoon onto the hot pie filling.
Cover and cook for 2- 3 hours on low.  Serves 4 – 6.

(recipe: exported from MasterCook)


Not much new around here EXCEPT I finally got all the Christmas ‘stuff’ down and packed away . . . well, there ARE a few boxes awaiting youngest son’s arrival home from high school to carry the big boxes upstairs for me (nice ‘perk’!).  Tomorrow night is my Knit group’s “Movie/Knit-Crochet Night” and they’ve decided we’re having baked potatoes with all the ‘works’ for toppings, plus some sort of a dessert. The movie? What else!? “Julie & Julia”! A great movie – I laughed out loud quite a few times; several ‘in/culinary-type’ jokes.  I rarely go to the movies anymore, but this one I took myself to last summer and am looking forward to seeing it again tomorrow night.  It’s a fun night ‘out’ for the ladies and you can’t beat that: dinner, a good movie and great friendship! (Hope our weather ‘holds’ and there’s no additional snow…we’ll see.)  My husband just informed me that the weather report states we were to get snow today (already got a little) then a little warmer throughout the week – I can handle that!

Hope you’re enjoying your day; remember to rest a little, smile a little and sometimes just give yourself a little treat . . . just for fun!



Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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Happy Friday!

(How’s that for a title? I didn’t really have a specific subject for today, so just decided that wishing you a Happy day would be a good idea!) It’s January and we got one of our ‘typical winter in Michigan’ snowstorms yesterday. I must say – it could have been worse; this one was constantly falling snow ‘dust’ which ended up with an accumulation of around 2 inches. Not bad, you can still drive in it (the roads are a little slippery), it’s just the cleaning off of the totally buried car that gets you in a ‘mood’… I’ll leave it at that. The temps are hovering around 20 degrees F, but the local weather report says wind chill around 10-15 degrees . . . I’m staying “IN” today!

Have finished (except the crocheted borders) two more afghans and begun row #2 of the third.  Yes, there are ‘other’ things I could be doing with my time, like laundry (am catching that up as we ‘speak’), or taking down all the Christmas decorations, but I’m in a ‘stay at home and be comfy/cosy’ mood.

In the comfy/cosy feeling area I’ve located a nice, rather easy recipe for you which is also rather healthy (if you use the low-fat/reduced fat items in place of the ‘real deal’):


Cheesy Manicotti

1  (8 oz.) pkg. fresh sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 egg whites

1  (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained

1  (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese

1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1  (8 oz.) pkg. manicotti shells (14 shells) cooked & drained

2 C. spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently; remove from heat. Beat egg whites lightly in medium bowl; add mushroom mixture, spinach, ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; mix well.  Spoon evenly into manicotti shells. Place shells in a 9 X 13 greased baking pan and cover with spaghetti sauce. Bake 40 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining cheese and continue baking 5 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is melted. Makes 7 servings – 2 stuffed shells each.

NOTE:   you can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta and grated Romano cheese for the Parmesan, if desired

(recipe Kraft Co.)


Just so you don’t feel ‘cheated’ without a yummy dessert I decided to throw in this recipe. I must say beforehand, my mother-in-law tried valiantly to teach me how to make homemade cream puffs, to no avail. I’m NOT a fan of rolling out (or kneading) any doughs – especially BREAD. (We have a very small ‘galley’ kitchen with virtually NO counter space, so that really restricts any ‘fancy’ recipes.)  Her recipe produced absolutely wonderful cream puffs and I’m sure she was disappointed at my lack of skill in that area, but that’s all in the (long ago) past.  When I saw this recipe for cream puffs which DON’T require a ton of skills, I thought: “This one is for ME!”  See what you think!


Luscious “Cream Puffs”

1  sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17.3 oz pkg.), thawed

1 C. cold milk

1 (4 serving size) pkg. Jell-O vanilla flavor instant pudding & pie filling (or chocolate, if you desire)

1/2 C. thawed Cool Whip

1 square semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface; roll pastry out to a 10-inch square. Cut into 9 circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter or rim of glass. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Meanwhile, pour milk into a large bowl and add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip; cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Cut pastry circles horizontally in half. Spoon pudding mixture evenly into bottom halves of pastry and cover with pastry tops.  Drizzle tops with melted chocolate and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 9 cream puffs.

(recipe Kraft Co.)


Well, now that I’ve got you in a comfy/cosy mood, go treat yourself to a nice cup of something yummy (like tea/coffee/cocoa?) and relax a bit. Remember …relaxing a little each day helps make you a happier person! (that’s my ‘saying’ and I’m sticking to it!)



Cold, Crochet & CrockPots!

Hello, all!

It’s a “balmy” 22 degrees here today, a bit gloomy out (no sun) but then again…NO SNOW (that I know of, anyway!). The weather report for the next two weeks for our area is continued cold with temperatures mostly in the ‘teens’. That, to me, means snuggling down (or, as some call it “hunkering down”) with a nice, warm afghan, a good-smelling candle burning in the backgroud (got a lovely Yankee Candle Co. “Christmas Cookie” candle…smells just like sugar cookies…YUM!), some of your favorite music gently playing (have been listening to “Celtic Hymns” and “The Celtic Album” The Boston Pops orchestra) along with a nice, steaming cup/mug of cocoa or tea or coffee. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge for cocoa, which is not usually my favorite ‘drink of choice’ but it seems to warm my ‘innards’ just right and leaves me with a nice, contented feeling (know what I mean?).  Have started working on afghan #223 today; if you’re wondering how I jumped from 218 to 223 so fast, a friend from church donated 3 completed afghans she had worked on. She’s one of my regular knit squares donors but said that this time she noticed she had 4 skeins of 3 different colors that would go together ‘just right’; she thought to herself: “Why should I give all those squares to Pam to have to sew together when I could just KNIT them into an afghan, myself?!” (If you’re wondering about the word: crochet in the title, I threw that in when trying to come up with 3 words that all started with a “C”…but I did crochet the border on afghan #218 yesterday…grin).

For all of you who love to use your crockpots (like me) I just found an easy, rather inexpensive recipe from Honeysuckle White Co. :


“Pulled Turkey Leg Sandwiches”

1 package (about 2 pounds) Honeysuckle White® Turkey Thighs
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (18-ounce bottle)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
Tabasco sauce, to taste
4 whole wheat hamburger buns


  1. In a medium-size slow cooker, combine turkey, barbecue sauce and onion.
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH about 4 hours or until turkey is tender.
  3. Remove turkey from cooker.
  4. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and shred, discarding skin and bones.
  5. Return meat to cooker; stir to combine with sauce.
  6. Season with Tabasco sauce.
  7. Serve on hamburger buns with cole slaw on the side.
I like to buy turkey legs, slit the skin from top to bottom and strip off the skin (it helps to use a paper towel to get a good grip on the skin). Put the skinned legs in a roasting pan, add about 1/2 C. water to bottom and about 3 T. granulated beef boullion over top. Turn oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover legs and cook 1-2 hours or until you see the meat separating from the bone.
At this point I usually cook up about 3 cups white rice and set aside. Mixture below will be poured over cooked rice.
Remove pan and let cool, then remove meat from bones and add to a frying pan along with about 1/2 C. chopped onions, 1 small can sliced mushrooms & liquid, 1/4 C. worchestershire sauce, about 1/2 T. granulated garlic, 1 C. water and1 can cream of mushroom soup. Cook on medium heat, stirring until mixture is fully incorporated and boiling. Remove from heat and stir in 1 C sour cream until fully mixed. To thicken this, I use a few dashes “Kitchen Bouquet” which is a gravy starter & thickener (I get it at Kroger). Stir this into the mixture (it will turn the liquid a darker brown and thicken it.)
I usually serve this by scooping the cooked rice into a bowl and topping the rice with the turkey mixture.  (If you’re like me and like a little ‘zip’ to your foods, I usually stir a little fresh prepared horseradish into my bowl along with the turkey mixture).  It’s a filling meal, economical and warms you up!
If you have any questions on my turkey leg mixture recipe, feel free to write me!
Enjoy your day; try to smile at least once…it’s good for you AND others!

The End of the List…Finally!

Today marks day 2 of our New Year! AND the start of new things to come, right? For me, it was finally being able to cross off the last of “The List”…those many items that have gone ‘a wanting’ due to being sick with a nasty sinus infection for so many days. Today found me getting up early to make a quick trip to the office supplies store for another black ink cartridge for my printer and finally finishing the printing/folding/envelope-stuffing/stamping/addressing of over 50 newsletters for my special needs group. These newsletters are greatly counted on by my ‘kids’, as they contain the calendar for the next two months. Mind you, not much changes as to our ‘event’s, but that doesn’t matter to them…just knowing that this coming Wednesday will be “Music/Birthday Night’ for the group is just what they need to cheer them up, and so it goes. One big project finally done…check! Yesterday found me finishing up about 6-8 loads of laundry…clean towels folded and in the closet … check! Letters hand-written to several family members and friends who graciously sent me long, newsy letters of their families and events … check! Thank you cards to my special needs kids and their families for their thoughtful gifts at Christmas, as well as Thank you cards to those who contributed to our group (I’m the group secretary) … done and check! Photographing around 145 knit/crocheted squares which were donated to me weeks before Christmas and I just hadn’t had the time/inclination/health to get done and posted on “The Ghana Project” site … photo’d and posted; check! (I feel like a ‘project machine’! It almost feels ‘strange’ to have all of those, and other ‘list items’ done and gone (for the time being). Have a full dishwasher running at the moment, and clean/dry rugs in the dryer to go bring up, but it’s nice just sitting here writing to you (while a coat of nail polish dries on my nails…another ‘need’ done). How are things going at your house this ‘new year’? I began taking down a few of the Christmas decorations and laying them aside; the actual ‘take down’ will probably be this coming week. Think I’m going to leave the cheery red table cloth on for just a while longer; am actually considering purchasing material and making a Delft blue one for everyday – it seems to make the table a little more dressy.  Many years ago (before the boys were more grown up) I used to have a everyday blue tablecloth and a white lace runner down the middle, but with homeschooling (having to move them to ‘do schoolwork’ everyday) that ‘nicety’ got forgotten.

Dinner tonight will be beef stew; I have quite a few large fresh carrots that need cooking and several ‘almost baseball sized’ potatoes which will add to the mix. Our weather today is nice and clear; crisp 8 degrees F. with no new snow. My first trip ‘out’ today found me amazed that as cold as it is, you don’t really feel the chill like you would if it were in the 30’s. My next trip out (to the Post Office to mail all those newsletters & family letters) it had ‘warmed up’ a bit…to a balmy 11 degrees! Thank heavens for nice, warm clothes and outer garments.

So that you don’t think I forgot about you, here’s a nice recipe I found from Kraft Foods:

Taco Bake

1 box Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & cheese dinner (14 oz.)

1 lb. ground beef, browned & drained

1 (1 1/4 oz.) pkg. Taco seasoning mix

3/4 C. water

3/4 C. sour cream

1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 C. thick ‘n chunky salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare mac & cheese dinner according to pkg. directions. Add taco seasoning mix and water to browned hamburger and simmer 5 minutes. Stir sour cream into prepared dinner; spoon half of dinner mixture into greased 8 x 8 or 9 inch round baking dish. Top with layers of meat mixture, 1 C. of shredded cheese and remaining Dinner mixture; cover. Bake 15 minutes, then top with salsa and remaining 1/2 C.  cheese. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 6, 1 C. servings.

TIP:  for added crunch, prepare and bake as directed, topping with 1/2 C. coarsely crushed tortilla chips along with salsa and cheese.


Hope your day and new year are beginning to ‘shape up’ just the way you’d want them to!  Remember to relax, enjoy yourself a little and SMILE!