Thursday, January 29, 2009

Handwriting Challenge

My cousin Angela has a handwriting challenge going on right now, and I thought I should participate since she is my cousin.  I think she will probably do some kind of psychological analysis of my writing, but that's okay because I am secure in who I am (or think I am).  So there is my handwriting for what it is worth.  If you want to play along, head over there to join in!

Any Suggestions?

We found out this week that John's brother is getting married in two weeks on Valentine's Day.  It is Greg's third marriage which explains the short notice.  The trip takes us twelve hours, so we need some things to keep the children entertained.  Do you have any suggestions?  John ordered a portable DVD player last night, but I need to get some DVD's.  Are there any that you recommend?  Thankfully, Daniel turns one on the 12th, and we leave on the 13th, so he will be forward facing.  I appreciate any help you might be able to give.  This is what blogging friends are for, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WIP Wedneday

Mrs. H from the Place of H is out of town this week on a cruise, so she asked me to host Work in Progress Wednesday for her.  I was honored to accept.

I finished this doily last week.  I still don't know what I will do with it, so it will probably end up in a box somewhere until I think of something to do with it.  It measures about nine inches in diameter.  What would you do with it?  Would you like me to give it away?  

I have continued working on this blanket.  I hope to finish it this week, but we shall see.  The next few days will be busy, and then I work this weekend.  I only have two more repeats to go.

What about you?  Knitting (or crocheting) or not, leave your link to your Work in Progress.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One of Those Days

Update:  The sun is almost, but not quite out right now.  Neither child took a nap, and both were poopy.  Oh, what a day!

It is another gloomy day here.  Where has the sunshine gone?  We have now had at least five days of cloudy weather without the sun.  

Sarah Beth has a runny nose; I think it is just allergies.  However, it is hard to breathe when one's nose is stopped up, and one's mouth has a pacifier in it.  (Sarah Beth only gets her pacifier in the bed.)  I was up with her about an hour last, this morning early.  Poor thing just couldn't breathe, but the Benadryl helped.  I know the APA does not recommend antihistamines and decongestants in children under six, but if nothing else, the Benadryl helps Sarah Beth sleep.  Needless to say, I am tired this morning, but Sarah Beth seems fine other than a runny nose.  

While we were eating breakfast, Sarah Beth spilled her almost-full cup of milk all over herself and the floor.  Do you have to bite your tongue when one of your children does something like that?  I hate crawling all over the floor wiping up spilled milk.  The aggravating thing is that she did the same thing yesterday while she was eating her snack.  Thankfully, she likes using a sippy cup, so I just got one down for her to use to finish breakfast.  Lazy mommy!

We just came downstairs from my brushing my teeth, drying my hair, etc..  While I was making the bed, I heard Sarah Beth say, "Daniel need help."  (When she says "help," it sounds like "hope.")  I went to see, and I could not believe my eyes.  Our gate does not attach to the wall because John does not want to put holes in it, so I just wedge it in as tightly as I can.  I guess Daniel had pushed on it pretty hard because it was leaning over the stairs with him on top of it, and Sarah Beth was keeping it from falling down the stairs.  My little hero!  I can still here her little voice calming saying, "Daniel needs help," when I would have screamed "HELP."  

I am tired today, and I do wish the sun would come out, but we are not supposed to see it again until Thursday.  Can I last that long?  

As I was rifling through our medicine box last night, looking for Benadryl and a measuring syringe, I realized that it was time to go through it again.  I did that this morning, and I found a few expired medications which I have thrown away.  I also discovered that I need a new syringe because the ones I have do not go all the way to a full teaspoon.  Something good came out of our late night.  A pharmacist really should not have expired medications in her house, should she?

By the way, I will host Work in Progress Wednesday tomorrow.  Mrs. H is out of town this week and asked if I would take care of it.  What fun!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Informal Poll

I read this article in our paper yesterday about handwriting.  Apparently, kids these days print when they write instead of using cursive.  I used to print everything because my printing is neater than my cursive, but when I read a similar article a few years ago, I started to write in cursive.  I do not want to see this art form fade away.  People write less and less as they type more and more.  Something as simple as good handwriting will be a thing of the past soon, I am afraid.  What about you?  Do you print or use cursive?  This question is part one of my informal poll.

Here is part two:  does gloomy weather get you down?  A few years ago, I thought I was above letting something as simple as the weather affect me.  I learned differently, though.  Cloudy, gloomy days depress me.  I just want to sit and look at the wall.  Of course, with little ones, that is just not an option.  Today is a "nice," gloomy day.  Honestly, I wish the sun would come out.  I love rainy days, but cloudy ones with no rain, well, I can do without those.  Am I alone, or do cloudy days affect you, too?

I also want to give a shout out to my friend Mykidsmom who is giving away a lovely book about Anne of Green Gables.  You can check it out here.

Oh, and one more thing:  am I the only one who is bothered by having a tax cheat as our Secretary of Treasury?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Recipe Fun Friday -- Chicken-Spinach Pie with Mashed-Potato Crust

I apologize for being late today.  Fridays are my mornings out, and I just did not have time this morning to get on the computer.  

Yesterday I prepared Chicken-Spinach Pie with Mashed-Potato Crust, but I did not follow the recipe exactly.  Maybe that is what the problem was.  I don't know.  Anyway, instead of saute-ing the chicken, I cooked a whole chicken, deboned it, and used half in this casserole.   I also used frozen spinach instead of fresh, and I doubled the ricotta cheese.  The filling came out dry, and the taste was weird.  It was like I had left out an ingredient (I actually did leave out the onion, but I don't think that was the problem).  I will not make this again.  The potatoes on top were delicious, so I think I will continue to add a little olive oil to my mashed potatoes.  

What recipe would you like to share?  Leave a link, and join the fun!

I still cannot get Mr. Linky to work. Maybe he is trying to tell me something about Recipe Fun Friday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I have been working diligently on my centerpiece, and it now measures about six inches in diameter.  (I tell you that because it's hard to know how big something is from a picture, sometimes.)  I am using bedspread weight yarn; does anyone know why it is called that?  I cannot imagine making a bedspread with it.

As I said I would last week, I started on another baby blanket.  I like these colors, but they are not really "baby" colors, are they?  I bought the yarn while it was on sale, and I wanted to use it.  If you are pregnant and like these colors, or know someone who is pregnant and might like them, let me know.  Maybe I will just keep the blanket for our next baby, whenever that will be.

For other works in progress, or to join in yourself, head over to the Place of H.


It snowed down here in the deep South yesterday. It snowed almost all day long. It was wonderful...except that none of it stuck. *Sigh* I did try to take some pictures, but they did not turn out well. The snow fell in great, big flakes most of the time, and it was very pretty. Sarah Beth saw snow for the first time, but I think she was unimpressed.

Winter finally arrived down here last week. Finally. We had highs in the forties which I know is not very cold for some of my readers. Yesterday, the high was in the thirties, and we tend only to have a few days like that. Today I think it is supposed to be in the fifties which is a more normal temperature for us.

What kind of weather are you having? I seem to think that if it's cold down here, it must be cold everywhere!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Look

This weekend we effected some changes in our living room.  I had a lady come over a couple of weeks ago to give me some pointers because I still haven't done any decorating in our house except for a little bit in the children's rooms.  (We have only been here since May without hanging a single picture.)  I bought this rug at a consignment sale on Friday.  I spent a bit more than I wanted, but I love this rug.  You know you picked out the right thing when you think, "I really like this," every single time you look at it.  

I also bought these urns(?), vases(?) Friday but at a discount store.  I plan to put them on the mantle after I have cleaned off the paraphernalia that is currently up there.  You know, puzzles, crochet works in progress, a vase that was given to us.  It all has to go for our living room's new look.  At least, it has to go long enough for me to see the new look, then it will probably return.  Where else can I put Sarah Beth's puzzles and my yarn where Daniel cannot reach them?  By the way, what do you have on your mantle?

For those of you who have actually seen our living room, we also moved the couches.  We swapped them, and I think it looks much better.  The loveseat has always been placed where we did not sit, so it's cushions are still nice and firm.  Now it sits where I like to sit, and I enjoy having it there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recipe Fun Friday

Growing up, my mother would prepare this recipe occasionally, and she always called it "Yummy Chicken."  I suppose it has a "real" name, but that one stuck.  I have seen several variations of this recipe, and sometimes it is called Company Chicken.  Take your pick as to what you want to call it.  You have probably seen this recipe before anyway.  Regardless, it is yummy, and I combined my mother's recipe with one from a crockpot cookbook to come up with this recipe.  It has the delicious flavor of my mother's recipe with the ease of the slow cooker.  I forgot, again, to take a picture.  Please forgive me.  However, this meal actually does not look very appetizing, but is sure is good!

Yummy Chicken or Chicken with Bacon
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
cheap deli ham (yes, my mother specifically said "cheap")
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream

Wrap a piece of chicken around a slice of ham, and wrap a slice of bacon around the chicken.  Place inside the crockpot.  Mix the soup and sour cream, and pour mixture over the chicken.  Cover, and let cook on low for about six hours.  Serve over rice.

Your house will smell so wonderful while you make this.  And it is a nice recipe to make when you entertain.  

Do you have a recipe you would like to share?  If so, leave a link, and join the fun!  

I cannot even pull up Mr. Linky's website, so please leave comment instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips and Advice

There are a few things that I do to make my life easier, and I thought I would share them with you in case you might find them helpful, too.  I also have a couple of things that I could use some help with.  If you have anything to share, I would appreciate it.

I like to eat a nice, hot, freshly prepared breakfast.  It is so much better than a bowl of cold cereal, don't you agree?  In order to save time, I prepare pancake mix ahead of time in little baggies.  All I have to do in the morning is add some milk, oil, and an egg.  Best of all, my mix makes enough for two days for Sarah Beth and me.  

When I started finding recipes on the internet, I needed a place to keep them all.  I bought this notebook, and all I need to do is punch holes in the print out and place it in the notebook.  I do keep a table of contents list in the front of each section.  I just taped a blank piece of paper to the folder and write on it when I add a recipe.

Right after Sarah Beth was born, and I was no longer working full-time, I discovered there were lots of things I needed to do everyday, but I couldn't remember to do them.  (Does pregnancy kill your brain cells like it does mine?)  I developed my own "daytimer" because none of the commercially available ones fit my needs.  Besides, it was a lot cheaper.  I just use a spiral notebook and write in the days of the week.  I also added a section for errands that I need to run, groceries, notes, and a Wal-Mart (or Target) list.  (I do not go to either place every week, so I need to keep track of what I need to pick up when I do go.)  I have used this system for two and a half years now, and it works great for me.

Now for the help I need.  Most of Daniel's bibs are dingy and dirty-looking.  It's not from the food he eats but all the drool he produces.  (I pre-treat the food.)  Do you have any recommendations for whitening them back up?  I have tried boiling them in vinegar and soaking them in Oxyclean overnight.  I also need a good facial moisturizer.  I haven't been using one, but I know that I need to.  I just hate to shell out big bucks for something that I won't like.  Do you have a favorite that I might like?  

I hope that you find my tips useful, and I hope that you have some help for me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I finished the blanket I was working on last week, and here is a picture.  I really like how it turned out, so I may make another one at some point.  I just hate sewing seams, and this blanket has several.

Most of what I crochet are gifts for other people, so I decided to make something for myself.  I also wanted a little bit of a challenge, so I started this centerpiece.  What makes it more difficult is the size of the "yarn."  It is not really yarn, more like thread.  The pattern, though, is very easy and simple.  However, this is aggravating my "crochet pinkie."  Ugh!  Right now, it measures about 3.5 inches in diameter.  I plan to start another baby blanket soon to keep up with my New Year's goals, so I will not be working on this exclusively.

For other works in progress, or if you want to join the fun with your own work in progess, head over to the Place of H.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Need a Favor

I don't know if you have seen this or not, but I wanted to bring it to your attention, in case you have not.  A new law is going into effect February 10 which will affect the sales of all things  homemade and used for children.  Congress has passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which mandates that all things sold for children be tested for lead.  That idea sounds good on the surface, doesn't it?  However, it will affect everything sold for children on etsy and at consignment stores because it will all have to be tested by a third party.  That testing will be cost prohibitive, so these people will stop making things and consigment stores will go out of business.  Since I buy most of my children's clothes at consignment sales, I will no longer be able to do that.  I don't sell anything that I crochet, but I would like to at some point, so again I am directly affected.  

Here comes the favor part:  would you take a few minutes today to write your Congressmen and ask them to rethink this law.  If you have ever or will ever buy used clothing for your children, this law affects you, too.  I appreciate your willingness to help.

Here is a website you can access for more (and better) information.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Eclectic Post

Today is a sad day. Why? Last night, I weaned Daniel from his last nursing which was at bedtime. No more will he come to me specifically for his nourishment, and I will miss these days. I think I am sad because it means that my baby is growing up. In case you are wondering, his weaning has been harder (psychologically) for me than him. He has learned to drink from a sippy cup and has even figured out how to hold it himself. I'm very proud of him.

Last night in church, we sang the hymn "It is Well with my Soul." Whenever we sing that hymn, I always get chill bumps, especially on the third verse. "My sin -- oh, what bliss of that glorious thought, my sin -- not in part but the whole, was nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh, my soul." I got chill bumps just now typing it up.
I read Two-Part Invention:  The Story of a Marriage last week, and I really enjoyed it.  I don't know if you know that Madeleine L'Engle is a Christian, but this is the story of her and her husband's love for each other.  It is a touching love story of how they met, grew together, and how she took care of him when he lay dying from cancer.  If you are looking for a good read, this book is it.  If you are looking for a book to encourage your marriage, this is it, too.  

How late will Sarah Beth and Daniel sleep today?  I don't know, but I enjoy this quiet time before they wake up.  I have a lot planned for today, catch-up day from the weekend, but I hope that your day goes well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Recipe Fun Friday -- Ham and Spinach Pie

I'm sorry, but I forgot to take a picture.  I really thought I had.  Anyway, I found this recipe in our local paper, and it has been a favorite ever since.  It is fairly easy to make, although the contents of the pie crust do tend to run over a little bit, and it does take longer to cook than the recipe states.  

Ham and Spinach Pie
9 inch frozen deep dish pie shell
8 oz package diced, lean ham 
10 oz package frozen creamed spinach, defrosted
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 pinch grated nutmeg 
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 350*.  Throw everything into the same bowl, and pour the mixture into the pie crust.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, but as I said before, it will take more like an hour.

There are a couple of variations on this recipe, but I have not tried them.  You may substitute creamed corn or broccoli in cream sauce for the spinach, and/or Cheddar cheese for the mozzarella.

This recipe is a family favorite.  When I tell John that we are having this, he actually sounds excited about supper.  I like the fact that it has spinach in it because we all get a good dose of vegetables without a fight.  I used leftover Christmas ham last week to make it.  Usually, I pair this dish with some kind of bread.

What recipe would you like to share this week?  Leave a link, and join the fun!

I cannot get Mr. Linky to work, so just leave a comment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daniel's Doings

(Don't you like that alliteration?)  

I will apologize in advance for having no pictures of my sweet boy's antics.  If you read this post from last week, have a son, or after you read this current post, I think you will understand.  

Boys are different than girls.  Did you know that?  Sarah Beth never blew raspberries when I fed her.  Never.  Daniel cannot seem to stop, and it's been a long time since he started.  When I tell him, "no," he smiles at me and blows more raspberries.  When I continue to say, "no," more and more sternly, he starts to laugh and blows more raspberries.  When I get as stern as I possibly can, he looks at me as if to say, "Why are you taking that tone of voice with me?" and blows more raspberries.  If he sees any glimmer, any possibility of a smile, he breaks into the cutest grin.  Ugh!  When will it stop?

Our staircase is in our living room, you know, the room where we live.  Daniel thinks it is great fun to climb the stairs.  Granted, we did not have stairs at our old house, but I don't think Sarah Beth would have been so drawn to them.  Monday, while I was sorting laundry, I heard both children playing nicely in the living room, so I thought, "Good, I've got time to finish this."  Then I heard something on the stairs, and I ran into the other room, panicked.  Guess where Daniel was?  Two steps up?  Nope.  Halfway up?  Nope.  He was all the way at the top!  And when he saw me at the bottom, he smiled and started to crawl back toward the stairs to come down to me.  (I'm sorry if that is too much italics.)  Thankfully, I reached him before he reached the edge.

Now I have a baby gate that I put up.  Our stairs go up two before the landing, then all the way to the second floor.  There is nowhere to put the gate except on the first step after the landing, so Daniel likes to climb the two stairs that he can.  (Then he gets very angry when he cannot continue.  Mean, old mommy!)  The other day, I guess he decided to come back down the stairs, and he fell.  Poor thing!  But now he fusses until I come get him down which is a very wise thing, don't you agree?

Daniel pulls up on everything these days.  At least he has figured out how to get back down.  Sarah Beth didn't walk until she was fourteen months old, but I think Daniel will run, not walk, sooner than that.

Yesterday while I was bathing both children, or rather, letting them play in the tub before bathing them, Daniel pulled up.  Before I could get to him to help him down, he toppled head first onto the tile floor.  Poor boy!  At least he and Sarah Beth have hard heads.  They get them from both John and me.  

If Daniel survives childhood, he will be one tough little guy.  Are all boys like this?  I know that my younger brother was.

I just remembered that John took this picture, so here you go.  The cause of most of my problems these days!  But isn't he cute?  (It doesn't help any that his sister encourages him.)


My good, blogging friend Mykidsmom tagged me.  Here are the rules:

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder
3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 people to do the same
5. No Cheating (Cropping, editing, etc..)

Now I am supposed to explain the picture, but I honestly don't know why this picture was taken, other than Sarah Beth is a very cute little girl.  I don't even know who took this picture, John or me.  The bear is her absolute favorite toy in the whole world.  He used to have pieces of satin in her ears, but she has worn them out.  He is well-loved as is Sarah Beth.  This picture was taken about a year ago before Daniel was born, but I only know that by its placement in the folder.  

I will tag my cousins Angela and Dayna (maybe this will get her to post something new!) and my friends Laura (who has a new baby, and I hope she will get to it when she can) and Ivy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Per Mrs. H's suggestion, here is a picture of that baby blanket I was working on last week.  It's so big that I could not get the whole thing in the picture, but you get the idea.  (I had it stretched out on the floor, and I stood on the bed to take the picture!)

Here is another baby blanket I started and almost completed while I was pregnant with Daniel.  I decided I should finish my unfinished projects before starting something new.  I made this blanket with the purpose of donating it to our local Care Pregnancy Center, but it turned out prettier than I thought.  I will keep to my original plan, though.  I can always make another one since it uses leftover yarn from other projects, and I have plenty of that!  I couldn't get the whole blanket in this picture, either, although it is much smaller than the first one.

If you have a work in progress, you ought to join the fun over at the Place of H!

New Look!

How do you like my new look?  Isn't it great!  Angela's husband Dustin was supposed to re-do my blog, but I think that Angela did most of it herself.  Aren't you impressed!  Thanks, Angela and Dustin!  I really like it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Friends and Family

This past week has been a very good one with regards to seeing people I don't get to see very often.  My cousins Dayna and Angela came last Friday with their families and their parents, my aunt and uncle.  Angela and Dustin stayed at my house, and it was so good to have that extra time with them.  I baked cinnamon rolls while they were here, and I promised both Angela and Dayna the recipe, so here it is.  I wish I had taken some pictures, and I really wish I had one with both Dayna and Angela.  Oh, well.  It had been three years since I saw them last, and I hope it is not another three years before I see them again.  My bet is that I won't see them again until their brother Michael gets married, and who knows when that will be since he is not even dating anyone right now.

This morning, one of my good, good friends came over to visit.  She lives in Pennsylvania, but her parents are still here, so she is down here occasionally.  Usually her visits are too short for us to get together, but it worked out this time.  Yea!!  We have been friends since we were little, maybe the third and fourth grade.  Our birthdays are exactly 53 weeks apart which is neat, too, don't you think?  Do you have a friend that is does not matter how long it has been since you have seen her?  You just pick up where you left off last time?  Well, Erin is one of those friends for me.  

Let's see:  both children are in bed, although I do not think Daniel is asleep yet, so I think I will get off the computer, prop up my feet, and watch something good I have taped (I love our DVR) while I crochet.  I hope you have a good afternoon.  I wish those cloudy skies would turn into rainy skies.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Goals

First of all, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year!!

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  I don't, and I never have.  I figure that if it's worth doing, it should be implemented now instead of waiting until a new year starts.  Also, I know that I am very likely not to follow through with resolutions.  However, I have decided that this time of year is a good time to make some goals for the next year.  I hope that John and I will sit down sometime today and discuss ours, but here are some of my goals for this year.
  1. I would like to crochet one baby blanket a month.  You know how much I love to make baby blankets.  I only have one friend who is pregnant (that I know of!), so I plan to donate the remainder to our local care pregnancy center.  
  2. I would like to have Sarah Beth learn all the letters in the alphabet.  We are doing it a little bit differently than most people, I think.  A speech therapist in our church recommended teaching her the sounds of the letters not the names because it will facilitate learning to read.  I think that is a great idea and makes lots of sense, so that's what we are doing.  Sometimes we play with the letter blocks, and sometimes while we are coloring, I draw the letters for her.  She knows A-E, but I think I will start skipping around now.  It would be nice for her to know T so she can spell "cat."  This method confuses babysitters when she points out the letter A and says "a."  (As an aside, I don't really care if she doesn't learn to read until she is six or seven, as long as she finds it fun.  I do NOT want this to become a chore and something she dreads.)
  3. I would like for Daniel to learn to walk.  I think he will do that without any help from me, though.
  4. I need to figure out the best time for me to exercise.  I have a walking video I like, but I just can't seem to find the time for it.  First thing in the morning would be best, but who wants to wake up early to exercise?
  5. I would like to spend time more consistently and more frequently in God's Word.
  6. I would like to start planning meals monthly instead of weekly.
  7. I would like to have people over more often.  As Christians, we should practice hospitality, and that is something that I need to work on.  My goal is to have someone over once a month, even if it's just a woman from the church over for lunch.
  8. I think I would like to join Facebook.  There are people on that site with whom I would like to reconnect, and that is the only means I have to do it.
I think those goals are enough for now.  As I said before, John and I need to discuss the goals we have for our family this year.  

What about you?  Do you make New Year's resolutions, or do you make goals for the upcoming year?  Would you like to share a few?