Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Report Card Time AGAIN!!

It's hard to believe it's that time again, but third quarter has come and gone.  Report cards are due to be sent home next Wednesday.  I don't want to work on them over the weekend, so I'm trying hard to get them done.  Check back tomorrow night to see a finished project.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Sewing

Contrary to what this blog has looked like lately, I have been sewing.  I just don't have any finished projects to share.  Bud was off at an auction today, so I had the day to do what I wanted--well, sort of.  I had to do a little shopping, which I never WANT to do.  But I spent about six hours in my craft room sewing, which I DO want to do!  I have two projects going right now, but I don't want to show them until I'm done.  Here's a sneak peek.
A baby quilt:
A cuddly flannel lap robe:
I finally decided on a sewing machine:

I hope to have time to take it out of the box tomorrow, but I really want to finish my two projects first.

Gratitude for today:  I am grateful for smiles.  Smiles have the ability to make you and the person you are sharing the smile with feel better.  Smiles can mean different things--the sly smile, the sexy smile, or the great big grin.  I love the way Bud's eyes crinkle as he breaks into a big smile.  And that first smile from a little one is so precious.  (Grayson gave Trina and Tanner his first big smile today!)  Go ahead and smile--you'll feel better!  For ten reasons it's healthy to smile go HERE.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Be Happy


Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more.

"Be Happy With What You Have" 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekend Family Time

We headed to NW Iowa Saturday morning for Bud's aunt's 96th birthday.  Alma, is Bud's "double" aunt. She is his mom's sister who married his dad's brother.  Anyway, she still lives alone in her home although she has failed some in the past year.   She enjoys having the family together.
Most of the grandkids, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-great-nieces and nephews were there.  
These are the "kids".  
We all had a great time enjoying the food, visiting, and getting reacquainted with some we don't see often.

Gratitude:  I am thankful for spring.  I love the change of seasons that Iowa offers us.  Spring is just what we need after a long winter.  It seems that just when we can't take one more cold, gloomy day we notice the days getting longer and the daffodils and tulips start peeking out.  When we get some snow like we did on Saturday night we know it won't last long.  The sunshine lifts our mood and all seems right with the world again.  Thank you God, for spring in Iowa!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

 Shepherd's Pie is an English dish, traditionally made with lamb or mutton. Americans typically make Shepherd's Pie with beef. The English (and Australians and New Zealanders) call the beef dish a "cottage pie". Naming conventions aside, Shepherd's Pie is essentially a casserole, lined with cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked.

Here's my easy, but yummy version of it!

Peel and quarter 1 1/2-2 lbs. potatoes. Boil until tender.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef 
Add a small onion

After the ground beef is browned add one small bag of frozen mixed vegetables and one can cream of mushroom soup.  Season to taste.  

Mash the potatoes and spread over the ground beef and vegetables.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.
Check out Colleen's Blog at And Baby Makes Five to find other yummy recipes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Which Sewing Machine?????

My brother and sister-in-law were very generous to me for my birthday.  Because of them I now get to purchase a new sewing machine. (Thanks Dean & Gay!)  I am currently sewing with my 1974 Kenmore 1603 ZZ.  It was my graduation gift from my parents that they gave me a year early so I could sew.  I have oiled and cleaned it regularly.  I hate to admit that I have NEVER had it serviced by a professional.  I have sewn MANY dresses, skirts, and blouse for my girls and myself, western shirts for Bud and Travis, crafts, and  quilts. I have patched endless pairs of jeans, overalls, and jackets. It has served me well, and my parents certainly got their money's worth out of it!

I have researched endlessly on the internet, and I have looked at some machines.  I have looked at  Janome, Brother, Elna, and Baby Lock machines.  Every machine is impressive.  I haven't allowed myself to look at machines over the years, knowing I couldn't buy one anyway.  Little did I know that they now thread themselves, cut the thread, have over a hundred different stitches in addition to the alphabet, can sew sideways, etc.  I could go on and on!  I'd really like to hear from someone who had first hand experience with any of these brands.  Any advice??

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IH Quilt and Gratitude

Another IH (International Harvester--it's a brand of farm machinery) for Payton.  He has the large IH quilt I made him on his bed but wanted one for TV watching.
After seeing him with it I know I need to make it bigger.  It won't be hard to do if I can match the fabric, but red and black are hard to match.  I'm putting that on my list.

Gratitude--I am grateful for my faith.  I was lucky enough to attend Catholic school for first through third grade (and just a few months of fourth).  I have many fond memories of Sister Ethel, Sister Rose Agnes, and Sister Wilma.  I am sure that many of my personality traits can be attributed to my Catholic upbringing--my need to follow the rules, my guilt, and my love of tradition.  Well, maybe I would be that way anyway!  I remember Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve followed by breakfast at our house attended by all relatives who were at Mass.  Fridays during Lent were special as we attended Mass early and then headed to the bakery for a roll and hot chocolate before going to school.  I remember the day JFK was shot and we all went to the chapel to pray until he was declared dead, and we were sent home.  First Communion was a BIG deal as a kid and as a parent.  I've been lucky enough to have a grandson who has made his First Communion.  As a child and teenager much of my extended family lived in the same area, so we worshipped together.  Gradually we all moved, and I really miss that fellowship.  I am grateful that I have my faith in the good times and the bad.  I can't imagine it any other way.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Quilt and Gratitude

The quilt that I made for Cael was pretty simple.  Not pieced, but just a large piece of fabric (Iowa Hawkeye, of course!) trimmed with black flannel and black flannel backing.  It also is tied.  And, the very goofy Cael wanted to make a face for the camera!
Gratitude--I am grateful for indoor plumbing!  I can't imagine having to use a chamber pot in the night, or going out in the cold to the outhouse.  I am glad I don't have to sit on the bare wood with flies swarming around.  The most I've ever had to use an outhouse was at my grandparents' cabin (there was indoor plumbing, but when we were wet we had to use the outhouse) and when we were camping at various places.  As a kid it didn't really bother me too much.  But as an adult it certainly did!  And the pleasure of turning the knob and having hot water run out at my pleasure, well that is sure something I am grateful for.  Thank you God, for indoor plumbing!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Ladybug" Quilt

I made each of Trilby's boys a quilt for Christmas, which I don't think I've shown before.  I was under pressure to get it done and forgot to take pictures.  Nate calls his the Ladybug Quilt.  The fabric doesn't really have ladybugs on it, but they do kind of look like them......if you think ladybugs are blue, red, green, or orange!

I couldn't get him to give it up, so he's peeking out the top!
I used flannel and tied this one.  It is very cuddly!

Gratitude--I am VERY grateful for my senses.  Our senses help keep us safe--something I think we forget about.  I have an excellent sense of smell.  It's too good sometimes, and I smell lots of things I wish I couldn't smell, but I'm glad I can!  And then there's taste. Taste and smell work together so well.  Obviously my sense of taste is in good working condition.  I'll blame my weight on that!  My eyes aren't great and I fear losing my sight someday.  It is certainly something I can't imagine doing without.  I'm grateful for the sight I do have.   I don't know how I would do my job without my sense of hearing.  I know people do, but I'm glad I don't have to.  I'm glad I can hear the voices of those I love.  And then there's touch.  I'm grateful I can feel the hugs of my grandsons, the student's hand holding mine, and the kisses from my husband.  Thank you God, for my senses.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Once again I am joining Colleen's Recipe Swap.  Check out all of the yumminess at And Baby Makes Five.

Cheesy Vegetable Soup(OR- Cheese & Meatball Soup-which is what it was named to start with)

2 c. water                                           1 c. corn
1 c. chopped potatoes                        1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. sliced carrots                            1/2 c. chopped onions
2 c. beef bullion                                 1/2 t. Tobasco Sauce
1 16oz. jar Cheese Whiz

1 lb. browned hamburger ---(This is what I use 'cause I'm lazy!)   


(This is what the recipe calls for.)
Meatballs----1 lb. hamburger
                     1/2 c. oatmeal
                     1 egg
                     1/2 tsp. Tobasco Sauce

Place browned hamburger OR uncooked meatballs along with all other ingredients except Cheese Whiz into large pan.  Boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours.  (I put mine in the crockpot.)
Add Cheese Whiz just before serving.

I've been doing some sewing, but haven't taken any photos.  I ran out of one fabric to finish a gift.  I had to order more because my local Joann's was out.  It cost more to send it than the fabric cost to purchase, but what else could I do??  I'm working on a baby quilt too.  Hopefully I'll have some finishes to share after this weekend.

Gratitudes---I am grateful for books.  I love books and can't imagine life without them.  I have many books--antique books, fiction, non-fiction, reference.  I even have a set of the Dick and Jane Books that I learned to read from.  Books can teach you things like how to cook, sew, build; they can give you guidance; they can give you information; they can give you a great escape.  I know that the Kindle is getting to be very popular, but I don't imagine ever owning one.  There's nothing better than being the first one to crack open a new book!  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude

Gratitudes--I am grateful for flowers.  Flowers have long been a symbol--different flowers for different meanings.  We give flowers at happy and sad times, to celebrate love and loss, to say "I'm sorry.", "I Love You.", or maybe just "Have a Nice Day."  We plant flowers in beds, in pots, in hanging baskets, in almost anything we can, to beautify our surroundings.  Flowers peaking out of the dirt after a cold winter are a sure sign that spring certainly will be here soon.  I am always excited to see the first of the stems popping out!  And we have some already.   We could use a few flowers outside right now.  It's muddy and ugly since the snow is almost gone and it's been raining.   Thank you God, for the beautiful flowers!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Gratitudes---I am grateful for food!  Yes, I'm sure you're thinking, "Duh, looks like it!"  But, I am grateful for the abundance of food and choices we have in the United States.  I know as we read about other countries and their lack of food or their lack of money to even buy food, I take ours for granted.  For the most part we have good quality food.  Now, if I could just learn to only eat the healthy stuff!  Thank you God for never really knowing hunger.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weekend Busyness!

Yes, it is tax time at our house.  I spent Saturday going through bills, receipts, and stuff.  YUCK!  We're thinking about doing our own taxes this year.  And  we're really not in much of a hurry since we had to pay last year.  If we have to pay again, they're not getting it until the last minute!

Bud worked on his car and played with his cattle, including his newest little heifer.
Saturday evening we stayed home watched "Couple's Retreat" (which was okay) because Bud is fighting a cold/virus.
Sunday I played with this:
It is nice soft flannel, but I ran out of one print, so I have to wait and finish my project when I get more.  I don't know how that happened except that the lady cutting it must have shorted me a yard.  I got the same amount of four of the prints, and yet this was the only one I ran out of.
I did make several of these tactile quits or tag quilts.
I first saw these when Tasha showed me some that she was making.  I personally thought she was nuts!  But, Chance, our 6 month old grandson, LOVES his!  
The ribbons are different sizes and textures which he loves to chew/suck on!  I finished the edges with a fancy little stitch.
Have you heard of these little quilts?

Gratutides--I am grateful for country life.  It isn't that I really want to live in the country, but I have gotten used to it.  I know that Bud would not be happy in town.  He enjoys looking out the window and seeing deer by the fence line and running across the property, seeing the turkeys across the fence, and the pheasants flying in the pasture.  I think he even enjoys the challenges that the ground hogs and voles present to him.  Many times he has come running into the house for his gun to "get" the critters who elude him.  Because he is happy in the country I am happy in the country.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Wow, I have really been a slacker haven't I?  We spent Sunday and most of Monday at the hospital in between a doctor's appointment for Bud on Monday.  Dale got to go home to recuperate, and Mom went with them.  Tuesday was a busy day with tutoring and literacy night after school, so I didn't get home until 8:30.  Last night I had class after school and Piecemaker's Quilting Club after that, so again it was 8:30.  I just can't keep up with these long days!  Right now I'm sitting in the hospital with Bud while he has some medical tests done.

Gratitudes--I am so grateful for transportation and especially for having my own transportation at my disposal.  After my recent trips to New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., I know that I am thrilled to have had an airplane to get us there and then cabs, trains, and busses to move us around the city.  We are so lucky to be able to travel to places far away in such a timely fashion.  But I am also glad that I don't depend on cabs, trains, and busses on a daily basis.  In talking so several different people on our travels, it is amazing the amount of time people spend to travel to and from work in the cities.  As I drive to and from school each day I am reminded of our previous modes of transportation and I am sooo glad we have evolved!  You see we live in an area heavily populated with Amish.  Many of our main roads have wide shoulders to accommodate their buggies.  I can't imagine using the horse and buggy, especially during the winter we've had.  And I'm sure, in fact, I know, I don't have the patience for the slow travel.  Thank you God, for the modes of transportation that we currently have!