Friday, December 4, 2009

Granny Squares and the Internet

What do they have in common? Just that they are the topics of today's post. I figured out how to make granny squares and I've been mass producing them ever since. I'm not quite sure what I will make with them, but the possibilities are exciting...

Here's my very first one.

Now, on to the internet. There is an explanation to the lack of consistent posts, we no longer have internet at home. I sometimes feel at a loss without it. On the other hand I'm pretty happy with what I find myself doing that I know I would not take the time to do if I had internet access to occupy my time. And then there's the debate on the internet community verses "true" community... I haven't come to any steadfast conclusions on that, but as I stopped by a friend's house to tap into her wi-fi, we got caught up on life as we had a chance to chat and I even got a delicious cucumber hummus sandwich to boot. Not bad for building community.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hat Trick

I've been on a hat crocheting frenzy lately and thought I'd show you the results. Zane graciously took time out from his snack time to pose with Mommy for the first one. Which one is your favorite?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Backpacking vs. Camping

We used to explain our vacations as camping. Then we realized that other people's definition was a little different than ours. We don't camp, we backpack. Do you know the difference? We recently took a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks for a week. Here are some highlights. I tell you, this is the way to go for us. Hubby is so thankful that I'm even willing to spend our vacations this way and he's so into it that he loves doing all the work so do you know what I have to do? Absolutely nothing. A true vacation.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Finally a post and finally the after pictures for our yard! It's still a work in progress, but it has come a long way. My problem was I would do a little yard work here, a little there, and there was always a large patch of yard somewhere overgrown and unhappy. This summer I was able to spend an entire day on the yard and finally felt like I was making progress. So I took a bunch of pictures so I could remember what it's like to have everything looking good at one time. It's on my list of things to do to have more days that I concentrate totally on yard work. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 31, 2009

If You Love Paper...

And I do. I'm also very fond of jars. If you find yourself with the same likes check out today's easy crafty project here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Perennials are a Girl's Best Friend

For those of you who don't know, we moved into the house of an avid gardener of about 50 years. The same owners have lived in the house since it was built in the 1950's. Mrs. Miller improved and perfected her gardens throughout the duration of her living in our lovely home. Unfortunately, the last 4 years or so of her living here she was ill and couldn't tend to any of it. Enter the novice gardener into a jungle of LARGE weeds and overgrown everything. Last year my excuses were that I had a new baby, I hate hot weather, and I didn't even know what was weeds and what was the good stuff. I no longer have a new baby, the weather has been mild and now I can identify those nasty weeds in my sleep. Excuses gone, I've been enjoying cultivating, weeding, learning, and transplanting. A major perk of all of Mrs. Miller's years of garden love is that she planted all different perennials that bloom at different points throughout the summer. There's always something beautiful in bloom. The peonies are on their way out and I have a beautiful yellow lily that's just coming out now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perks of Being a Camp Wife (and Mom)

Here's a shot from the first father/son camp out of the summer. Daddy learned what he now needs to do to make things go a little smoother, so the stage is set for a summer of mommy time, I mean father/son bonding. Really, it's both. I'm enjoying an evening of wi-fi at the local Arby's for the price of a jamocha as Father and Son are on their second camp out of the season. I wonder if Zane will gather a pile of leaves in the tent this time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Brave Feller

When I was a little girl, my dreams of prince charming and my frugality in the making sometimes crossed paths. For instance, I had thoughts like, "If I marry a dentist my family will get their teeth cleaned for free!" or, "If I marry a carpenter, we'll save money on furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc!"

Well, let me share the economic value my rock climbing, repelling, hard core camp husband has brought to our family. He saved us a lot of $$$ by felling 2 big pine trees in our yard all by himself. I was a little nervous, yes, but I knew he knew what he was doing and Zane and I had full confidence in him as we watched from afar.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easiest Lasagna Ever

There's something that seems daunting to me about making lasagna. I know, it's not really that hard, but the cooking of the noodles, browning the meat, the assembly... Like I said I don't know why, it just seems daunting. But, alas, I have found the Easiest Lasagna Ever. Actually, the name of the recipe officially is Violette's Lasagna and it comes from here.

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup water
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Break noodles. Place half in bottom of greased slow cooker.
  2. Brown ground beef in saucepan. Drain. Stir in Italian seasoning. Spread half over noodles in slow cooker.
  3. Layer half of sauce and water, half of mushrooms, half of ricotta cheese, and half of mozzarella cheese over beef. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover. Cook in slow cooker on Low 5 hours.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Books to Check Out

Well, things are looking up in the book department. I've come across some great reads as of late and would like to pass them on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It's time to put away those wool sweaters, or in my case make one into a pillow because I shrank it. Some simple hand sewing was all it took to turn this thrift store cardigan into a comfy addition to our living room! Oh, and an old pillow that had stains on it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I was feeling crafty one night and decided to try out my new found hobby of em-
broidery. Found some scrap fabric, got out
my hoop and thread, and framed the results. Zane loves it and is learning to spell his name!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Loving On Your Husband

I've come to the point where I close my ears when I hear the term " the state of the economy..." Yes, we all know that our economy is in "a state". You won't hear me say one more iota about the subject after this post, I promise. But, this is for those of you dear sisters who, like myself, have been directly effected by "the state of the economy". Tightening our purse strings might be tough and at times downright maddening, but I have a feeling that it's peanuts compared to how it weighs on the souls of our dear hubbies. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, contribute to the family budget, or even if you are the primary bread winner, I encourage you to take the time to encourage your husband. Let him know it's okay that you shop at the Salvation Army, let him know it's okay that your hair is your natural color right now, that it's fun to make baby wipes instead of buying them at the store. I bet if he knows these difficulties aren't as hard on you as he may think they are, that maybe they won't be as hard on him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Garden "Potpourri"

Yes, it was 12 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday. Yes, it's only the beginning of March. And yes, the ground is still frozen (I tried to pull some weeds last week when the weather was resembling warmth so I know this). But now is a good time to start dreaming, thinking, and planning. I found some sources to get the wheels turning.

Even Etsy is a good resource here.

Of course Better Homes and Gardens has great resources. Check out the garden plans tab at the top of the page.

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere...

And this.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby Has a New Bib

Well, he's becoming less and less like a baby, but that doesn't mean he's a cooperative model. Embroidering the bib was probably easier than getting a good shot of him in it. Here's the best I could do.

Any of you recognize this look of anticipation in seeing the picture on the camera that you're trying to take?

Ok, I'll try holding him and do the self portrait. Drat that didn't work either.

Better, but could we show some enthusiasm?

All right, enough is enough.

So, here it is. I received the bib for my birthday in a cross stitch kit (along with all kinds of other embroidery goodies). I'm not really a cross stitcher so I transferred a pattern from here and voila! It may be ruined in about a week, but it didn't take me that long to do and was good embroidery practice.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Homemade Diffuser

Ok, I'm cheating. Just posting a link today. Our internet has been temperamental so I want to be quick and to the point while it is appeasing me at the present.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Bookshelf

I get good ideas from other blogs all the time and this one I really liked because I love to read. Our "bookcase" is a curio cabinet my grandfather made for me when I was a teenager. He made one for all of his granddaughters. There are only 2 of us out of 12 grandchildren, but it was no small task considering the craftsmanship that went into the curios.

You'll notice I started organizing our books by color until you get to the bottom shelf. Well, as new books came in, I wasn't about to shift all the books on every row downward to make room for a white book on top! Next time I'll remember to leave a little space on each shelf.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Secret Garden

What can I say? I'm a sucker for juvenile fiction. I remember watching the movie, The Secret Garden, when I was a lass, but I just have vague memories of a little girl dressed in black, a grumpy older figure and a boy in a wheel chair. And of course, the garden that was forbidden and locked up. This is by far the most delightful book I've read of late. It takes a talented author to have you cheering for the two most disagreeable, spoiled, obstinate children you've ever encountered as the main characters of a book. Maybe it's because I can identify with one of them, the little girl, Mary, that I'm so drawn to the book. If you love gardening, the outdoors, breathing fresh air... any of these, as you know they have the ability to lift your spirits, clear your mind, and set your mind into proper perspective. It certainly is "Magic" to witness this happen to the characters in this book as they discover the secret garden.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Exercise

I used to hate exercise. Then I hated feeling sluggish and tired even more. Now five minutes into any workout I'm always thankful I started. I love jogging, hiking in the woods, and going on walks in the neighborhood, but not so much in the winter time. For one, I find 6am to be a prime time to get an uninterrupted workout accomplished and around here it's pretty dark then and I live on a busy road. Another good option is to exercise during Zane's nap time, which means sticking close to home. I don't have a treadmill or any fancy workout equipment so I turn to the tried and true alternative: workout videos. Here's a list of some of my favorites (none of which I purchased, check out what your local library has).

  • New York City Ballet Workout I love this one because I tend to be more on the natuarally athletic side rather than the naturally graceful side and who doesn't feel graceful when practicing ballet?
  • Pick Your Spot Pilates This one has four 10 minute workouts- one for your belly, butt, thighs, and total body. I like it because you have a 40 minute workout or if you just want to sneak in a 10 minute quickie you can.
  • Basic Training Bootcamp I'm always sore the next day so I know it's working.
  • Walk Away the Pounds Express- Super Challenge I've done several of her workout dvds and most of them are nice for days when you want a really light workout. This one is one step up from that. I sweat, but it's still nice and light.
  • Pilates Weight Loss Workout for Dummies I like all the Dummies workouts I've done, but I particularly like this one because it has a 2o minute standing pilates routine in addition to the traditional Pilates floor work. I'm a big Pilates fan and I guess I'm an even bigger standing Pilates fan!
I hope you'll check out some of these dvds and learn to love exercise if you don't already. I'm always looking for new workout ideas to keep it fresh. Leave a comment to let me know what you do for exercise and/or what your favorite workout videos are.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Forgiving Friend

You wouldn't know by looking at this picture that underneath all that snow there are weeds waiting to be pulled... a hole ready to be filled... and a pile of bricks waiting to be laid out as a patio. So for that I am thankful for my faithful, forgiving friend, snow for covering up my misdeeds from a season that has past.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hot Wings In A Bowl

If you love Buffalo wings and all that go with it; the hot sauce, the celery sticks, the blue cheese sauce, you can have it all with this wonderful soup. I just love it and hope you will, too.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

2,1/4 to 2,1/2 lbs. deli- roasted chicken, skinned, boned and coarsely shredded (or 40 oz. can chicken)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 14oz. cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1,1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce
1,1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (6oz.)
1,1/4 cups crumbled bleu cheese (5oz.)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2oz.)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

In 4-quart Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in broth, milk, and the 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce.
In bowl toss together mozzarella, 1 cup of the bleu cheese, Parmesan, and flour. Add gradually to soup, stirring after each addition just until melted. Stir in three-fourths of the shredded chicken; heat through. Top with remaining chicken, bleu cheese, and hot sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hand in Hand

Thrifting and craftiness go hand in hand. I purchased a skirt from the fifty cent room at one of these stores because it matched my office/guest room. I covered an old pillow with the outside fabric (you can see it goes nicely with the pair of pillows I bought here for a buck). And my next project is to cover another pillow with the lining of the skirt.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


During this slushy season we've been directing guests to enter our house through the garage. It's just a little easier to remove shoes and such avoiding sloppy wetness on our hardwood floors. It's not a big deal to get a paper towel and clean up such messes, but let's face it, as a guest you don't want to go sloshing mud and snow into someone's house upon your arrival and I don't want our guests' first emotion as they enter our home to be embarrassment. Enter...

This area used to be where I kept all my cleaning supplies. Not exactly welcoming. I've since added some rugs under the bench and chairs at the suggestion of my husband so that you don't have to step on the cold concrete after you've removed your shoes. Sigh. Much better.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Zane's Top Ten List

My son has had better luck with books in this past first year of his life than his mama. He definitely has his favorites and if he could talk or write I'm pretty sure he would agree with the list I'm about to present to you, or list it himself.

10. You Are Brave by Todd Snow
9. You Are Important by Todd Snow
8. You Are Friendly by Todd Snow
7. Care Bears Nighty Night by Quinlan B. Lee
6. Buzz Buzz Busy Bees by Dawn Bentley
5. I'll Find You, Kitty by Richard Powell
4. Garden Colors by Anne Geddes
3. Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz
2. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
1. I Smell Honey by Andrea and Brian Pinkney

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Salvation Army

... is my new favorite store. Today I bought 5 sweaters, one short sleeved shirt, and a pair of Gap jeans for $27.43. Of the five sweaters one is from J. Crew, one from Old Navy, one is a mohair wool sweater from Italy. I have to say I don't usually have good luck in these stores, but as I walked through the parking lot I asked God to put a special blessing on my time in the store and to help me find things I would know for sure I wanted. Side note: some of you may know I have a hard time purchasing anything without tremendous calculated thought. Also, to be successful at scoring the jackpot like I did, you need to have patience and a good chunk of time to weed through all the goods to get the goodies. Probably why I never had much luck before, lack of patience. Well, it was well worth it. Retail therapy has hit a new high. There will be no buyer's remorse tomorrow!

are some more thoughts on the matter.