Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zuppa Toscana and Carmel Apples

Do you like the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden? I love it, but we don't go there much. Bud doesn't like the restaurant. Anyway, a few years ago Trina found the recipe and has made it for us several times. I haven't made it before, but it wasn't hard at all. It was yummy.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana


1 1/2 C. spicy sausage links -- 12 (I used the sausage I had -not links)

2 medium potatoes, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1/4" slices

3/4 C. onions, diced

6 slices bacon

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 C. kale leaves, but in half, then sliced

2 T. chicken base

1 qt. water

1/3 C. heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place sausage links onto a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until done; cut in half length-wise, then cut at an angle into 1/2 inch slices. Place onions and bacon in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear. Remove bacon and crumble. Add garlic to the onions and cook an additional 1-minute. Add chicken base, water, and potatoes, simmer 15 minutes. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, kale and cream. Simmer 4 minutes and serve.

I made some carmel apples:

They look yummy, don't they? But....................

You CAN'T eat them! They are part of my fall decorations and I made some for my daughters, daughter-in-law, sister, and niece. I found the directions here and here:

They were great fun to make, but I can't decide if I should display them with wrapping on or off. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

What is better to do on a Friday night than dinner and a movie with the grandsons.....well, two of them anyway! The boys rode the bus to Tasha's Friday night. Tasha is on the edge of their school district, so that's about as close to us as we can get. Bud picked them up and we headed to IC to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Check out a trailer of the movie here. I read the book to my class many times when I taught second grade, and they loved it then. The movie was very cute, and the boys loved it. Then we went to dinner. It was quite a feat to decide where to go as Cael only wanted McDonald's! We finally decided on Okoboji Bar and Grill which he wasn't happy with. Once we were inside he was fine and actually admitted later that it was a good place to eat!

They thought they should be goofy when we took their pictures! Once home Cael played games on the computer while Payton watched TV until bedtime. Unfortunately after breakfast I had to take them to IC to meet their mom so they could go get flu shots.

We had a great time, and I hope they did too!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finally a Nice Fall Day!

Finally a break in the weather and some sunshine! We've been a little short on sun lately. I've wanted to get out in the yard and take some photos of some fall colors, but its rained so much lately that I hadn't made it out there. I did get a shot of our house which I put in my header. The two trees out front are in full fall color.
The field of corn to the south of the house hasn't been touched yet. The trees along the creek behind the field are showing their colors, but itdoesn't show up so much in the picture.

The sedums in my yard have their fall colors on. These always look nice sticking out of a little snow just to remind me that spring will come again!
I had one last rose still hanging on. This rosebush is supposed to be a climbing bush. I wanted it to climb up the fence behind it, but this spring it looked dead. So, we dug it out to replace it, but before we got it to the store it was greening up and looking better again. So, we replanted it.

The purple mums still look quite pretty.
The yellow ones are about done, and
the white ones were done a week ago.

The burning bushes always look great in the sunshine.

When we landscaped around the flagpole we put in two burning bushes--centered to the back of the space. (I like things symmetrical.) They looked great until we had several huge ice storms that winter. By spring it was obvious the rabbits had eaten off of them. One was much smaller than the other, so we dug it up and planted it here:
It hasn't changed color yet.

Then we put in a new one which was about the same size as the one we left in. But.....YUP! another ice storm, and they were food for rabbits. For some reason the original one always comes back just fine, and the other one takes the hit. Now, I'm left with this:
It drives me crazy every time I look at it. Do you think we could trim the bigger one in the spring so they could be the same size?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grandson Update!

I thought I would give you a quick update on the grandsons--
Grandson #1--Payton, is healthy and doing great! He must have a good immune system!
Grandson #2--Cael, just spent a week at home with N1H1. He was a sick little boy, but finally went back to school on Monday.
Grandson #3--Nate, just spent a week at home with N1H1. He went back to daycare today for the first time in a week.
Grandpa got to play nursemaid three afternoons with the boys.

Grandson #4--CJ, is a healthy eater and a perfect snuggling size. We got to snuggle a little Monday as we met Travis, Kerry, Trina, and Tanner for supper.
I haven't seen the other three for a while since I didn't want to catch anything. We're having the two big boys spend the night Friday night. They love to ride the bus to Tasha's and Grandpa will pick them up. I'm thinking a movie and supper out sounds good. What a fun thing to look forward to on a Friday night!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Fall Table Runner For Me!!

So, I've been working on a fall table runner for myself. This time I decided to follow a pattern, something I don't do very much of. I usually just look at something and then make it the way I think it should be made. I decided I needed to learn to follow a pattern so I could move on to more complicated things. And I have joined a quilting group that meets once a month. For this group I have a pattern to follow.

Anyway, I bought the pattern and then splurged on the fabric. I used Gobble, Gobble by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I bought two charm packs and happily I have about 3/4 of one left over for another little project!

For the backing and binding I used Flowers and Berries Pumpkin from the Gobble, Gobble line.

I don't usually spend this much on fabric, but I have admired the Moda fabrics for a long time and this time I just decided to go for it!! Now, if I were to sell this no one would pay the price I'd need to have even if I didn't get paid for any time.

I learned two new things doing this project. I know it looks easy, but nevertheless I did learn! One thing that gave me some problems was the points. I just couldn't get them to seem to fit right. I had them all pinned on and repinned twice. I then decided to sew on the three at the end and then knew it wasn't right. So I went in to Willow Creek Quilting and Gifts where the Amish girl that works there(sorry, I can't remember her name) looked and looked at it. We finally decided that I should cut them down some. So back home I went to take them off again and cut them down. After sewing and pressing I still wasn't sure they were right, but I kept on going.

I machine quilted it again with just some straight stitching. I've tried the free motion quilting and I just can't get the hang of it. That's a goal for the future.

The next thing I learned was a new technique for cutting continuous bias binding. I followed directions(or so I thought), but I knew as I was cutting that it just wasn't going to work. So I went to youtube to find a video tutorial which helped tremendously. Again, back to the drawing board. Sure enough the
directions were right I just didn't follow them correctly.
Then I was ready to put the binding on. This again was a new experience. With the points I needed to stitch to each point, back stitch, clip threads, fold the binding over to make
mitered corners FOR EACH POINT!
Using bias binding works best for this because
it has some give to it.

All in all, it was a good learning experience, and I will probably use this pattern again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Do You Embroider?

Do you embroider or at least know how to embroider? I learned to do embroidery from my Great Grandmother. She lived next door to us and I spent a lot of time with her. I guess I was in about sixth or seventh grade when she taught me how. She insisted that the back of the embroidery should look as nice as the front, but somehow I just can't manage that! I'm so glad I have this memory and skill from her. Not everyone is lucky enough to have known their great grandmother. I know that Tasha does some embroidery, but I don't think anyone else does, so I guess that's the end of this family and embroidery unless a granddaughter wants to learn someday!

I have embroidered many quilt squares. I've made baby quilts for Trina, Chansee, and Payton with embroidered squares. I've done many tea towels, and a few pillowcases, and some sayings to frame. I'm constantly using the blanket stitch to finish sweatshirts, blankets, etc. It seems like it's either feast or famine--I've gone years without embroidering anything, and then I suddenly get on a roll.

See the Gail Pan BOM button on my sidebar? Well, I started them a little late, but I finally finished all of the embroidery.

Now I need to piece it into a quilt. I have the fabric, so I just need the time!

I finished this bit of embroidery and framed it. I gave it to my daughter-in-law's mother as my fourth grandson is her first grandchild. There's nothing like the excitement of being a grandma for the first time. Don't get me wrong, every time is exciting, but the first time is a milestone.
Now, I have my next embroidery pattern ready to go. My only dilemma is which to do next---embroider, sew, or read. When I'm doing one I wish I were doing another. So much to do and so little time to do it! I really don't have time to work, but I can't convince Bud of that!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Decorating

Wow! It's feeling more like November than October! I did some fall decorating a while back and snapped a few photos to share. I do have some gorgeous mums on the porch and beside the porch, but it's been too rainy to get out there and get a picture. Maybe we'll have a sunny day sometime in the near future and I can have a little walk around the yard and take photos of my fall plants. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my little bit of fall decor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Football Saturday

Let's take a little trip to the football game! We started off tailgating at 7:30 Saturday morning. We are calm and quiet tailgaters. Travis and Kerry were with us. After getting the canopy situated so the wind didn't chill us, we visited, grilled brats and ate. (I forgot to get any photos of this.) Then we hop on our free ride to the stadium.

Today our driver looked about 12!! Honestly, Bud took me back to look at him again because he looked so young. We were relieved to see our driver after the game could actually grow facial hair!!

Our seats are on the southeast side of the stadium. Travis and Kerry have two seats in front of us. Beside us is a couple that we've sat with for several years now. They weren't there Saturday as they have a new baby.

Here's a view of the band from our spot.

The jumbotron is up to our left behind us.

The skybox is to our left. Just ONCE I'd love to sit up there. Oh, to be out of the weather and be served! But I do hear that you feel very removed from the game. I'd like to decide that for myself!

To our right you can see University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. (A place we are grateful to be close to!)
It is amazing what supposedly grown men will wear to support their team! This guy wore a goofy hat, but believe me, I've seen MUCH worse! Luckily my hubby looks as normal as he can!
I guess they start young! This kid was only to happy to pose when he saw the camera coming out.
I am a fair weather fan. I will soon start recruiting my daughter and/or son-in-laws to take my seat, so I was worried about the chilly wet weather on Saturday. It started out chilly and did sprinkle off and on a couple of times, but overall it wasn't bad. We even saw the sun a few times.
The final score wasn't pretty, but it was a win. Saturday is the Michigan game at night. I wouldn't miss this one. The night games are always more exciting! Now, I just hope the weather cooperates.

Go Hawks!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tomato Cream Soup and Homemade Croutons

It officially feels like fall this week. In fact several days have been chilly, rainy, and downright gloomy. So, it was a perfect time to try a new recipe. We used to have a B & B in town that served the BEST creamy tomato soup with homemade croutons. They recently closed and I was able to snag the recipe for the soup.

First I made the croutons. I started with a loaf of French bread that I sliced. And then used this recipe:

1/2 c. olive oil 2 lg. garlic cloves, minced 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese 1-2 tbsp. dry parsley

Mix the last 4 ingredients together. Using pastry brush, brush both sides of slices with oil mix.

Cut into small squares.

Place single layers on cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Cool; keep in sealed container. Keeps 4-6 weeks.

I kept these in the oven quite a bit longer than this recipe calls for.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Sautee about 1/2 c. onions and garlic (about 1 tsp.)

Add: a large can of tomato sauce. (32 oz.)

a can of water

diced tomatoes

Stir in 1/4-1/3 c. sugar to taste

Add 1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

Heat and simmer then add 2 cups cream or 1/2 & 1/2

Heat and Eat!

It was Yummy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Baptism --And I missed it!:-(

(I've been waiting to post about this until someone sent me more photos, but I am tired of waiting, so I'll use what I have!)

Our newest little grandson, Chance, was baptized last Sunday. Here he is with his mom and dad wearing his daddy's baptismal outfit.
His sponsors were two of his aunts, Trilby and Tasha, and his uncle, James.
Father Scott baptized him. Father was our priest for about seven years here and he was here when Travis was confirmed and also gave him last rites when he had his first surgery. Now Father has moved on and Travis and Kerry belong to one of his new parishes.

We went to Travis' on Saturday evening, watched the Iowa game (Go Hawks!), and ate pizza. I went to bed about midnight feeling great and got up about 1:00 a.m. with the flu. I was too sick to go to baptism or dinner. I stayed in bed until Bud hauled me home Sunday afternoon. I am still dealing with an upset stomach, but most of all I am so disappointed to have missed such a special occasion.