Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas.... pictures...on Sunday.

I think she likes it.

Katie and her wallhanging. I think son Allen likes his book & money.

Tyler and Scott.

Oldest grand-daughter Ashley.

Hailey, grand-daughter #2.

He was so eager to open his gifts, but somebody decided he should be
last in every round. He took it pretty well.

Grandpa puzzles over the electronic picture frame.

And the Best Grandma, moi. That's all you'll see of me. LOL

The money was popular with all of them.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Could be...............

Had to share this. After the past few days I'd be willing to believe it's true.

Our street didn't get cleared until about 4:30 today so I took a Snow Day, authorized or not. Oh, that's right, I'm the Library Director and I authorized me a Snow Day. LOLOL Actually I was just waiting for somebody to call and ask, "Aren't you opening the library today?" And I was going to answer, "Bring your shovel & start scooping my street out. When you're finished I'll think about it." Darn, nobody called. Guess I wasn't missed at all. Or everybody's buried under snow. DH went downtown to see what he could see and told me there's still only one lane of traffic east of town and the big, state snowblower got stuck west of town, so it's possible. LOL The wind came up again too so I suppose the street will be blocked again in the morning, only deeper than before.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa's sleigh would come in handy today

These pictures are out my back window. They don't do a very good job of showing the snow coming down horizontally. The wind gusts shake the house when they're at their worst. The pictures don't show it but there is a three-ft. drift right behind the house and around the south side. Since the storm made us postpone our family Christmas it might as well keep it up.........maybe I could get a snow day from work tomorrow.

Our son called as we were eating our substitute Christmas dinner..roast chicken..and said his father-in-law was coming from Battle Creek to Pierce to get them & take them back to Battle Creek for their family Christmas. Pure insanity if you ask me. I just hope he made it to their place and isn't sitting in a ditch somewhere....I doubt if there's much traffic out there today so he could sit there without help for quite a while. Why can't people just stay inside when the weather is dangerous out?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone is somewhere warm, cozy & safe. Every weather report on this crazy storm sounds worse. Now we've been upgraded from Winter Storm Warning to Blizzard Warning until Sat. morning. Our family Christmas dinner has been postponed to Sunday. I'm beginning to wonder if we will all be dug out by then if we get a foot of snow and high winds. Oh well, the turkey is defrosted & will have to be you think the two of us could put much of a dent in an 18lb. bird???

Stay warm.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

As Promised..... is the picture of the table runner I made for my daughter.

The gifts are all finished now. I just need to download my DH's 2010 hunting/fishing license and pop everything into gift bags. I'm ready, but I think the weather might not be. Here's a picture of what my world outside looks like this morning:

If you look closely you can see the shine of the ice on the street. This is just the beginning of the predicted Christmas Storm 2009 here in the Midwest. According to the maps on Nebraska is right in the middle of the worst of it. They predict anywhere from 15-30 inches of snow by Friday night with wind gusts from 50-60mph. Looks like Christmas dinner will be postponed till Sunday at least. Please, everyone in the storm area, please stay off the roads. With the ice and predicted snow & wind it's just too dangerous to be out there. Stay safe now & celebrate Christmas later.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Still working towards Christmas

After sleeping in this morning I spent the day working on more Christmas stuff. I just about got the table runner for my daughter done. Still have to sew the turning opening shut and do a little machine quilting on it. I'll post a picture when it's finished. I think it's cute and I hope she likes the finished product.....the pattern was her choice.

I also got my Christmas cards/letters ready to mail...finally. I'm only mailing a dozen. The folks who have e-mail addresses are getting electronic cards this year. Really, I'm being "green" not cheap....though it does save quite a bit on postage, paper, ink and envelopes. Don't you think the Post Office shoots itself in the foot with the constant postage increases? The higher the prices go the less people use the mail.

Last night we had DH's work Christmas party. Supper at the steakhouse in rib, baked potato, green beans, roll, salad and my annual Strawberry Daiquiri...Yum. This year they didn't have any games so I couldn't win anything...bummer. No door prizes for the employees either. Maybe it's their way of cutting back or maybe it's because the company secretary just had a baby & didn't have time to do all the work of shopping for gifts and getting games & prizes ready. It was still nice and I enjoyed it.

I guess if I just keep plugging along I'll get it all done by Friday. Our kids and grandkids will be here for dinner and gifts and then it'll all be over for another year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Plodding on

Here's a quick picture of the little wallhanging I finished for my daughter-in-law for Christmas.

I hope she likes it. I made one like it, but with a blue plaid border, for the person who's name I drew for the FCE Club Christmas party.

This year family is getting some little thing and cash. That way they'll be able to buy what they want, in the right color and the right size. Grandma usually gets it wrong, or I get them something from their list and by the time they get here (last Christmas on the list) they've already gotten it. Viva la CASH!!! LOL

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold....Lucky....Lighting Up My Life

Against my better judgment we participated in the "Blizzard of '09" and now it's cold, cold, cold. I DO NOT LIKE COLD.

Believe it or not, I won the grocery store drawing for $50 worth of groceries AGAIN.

That makes three times in the past year. Maybe I should start buying Powerball tickets.

As for lighting up my life, here's the lovely little Ott light my good friend Flicsha sent me for Christmas all the way from Florida.

Thanks so much, Flicsha. I have just the spot for it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So....What Have I Been Doing???

Because we all know I haven't been blogging don't we? And I haven't been taking pictures because this is a photo-free post. (Photos added 12-09-09)

Let's see, since the last post we had Thanksgiving at our daughter's. Our son-in-law was (and still is) in the hospital so we brought our 6 yr. old grandson home with us for the weekend. He likes hanging out with Grandpa so they went turkey hunting one whole afternoon, put every puzzle in the house together and spent lots of time with the race car set. Oh yes, his dog came to stay too, they're kind of a matched set.

Look at that face...maybe he didn't want his picture taken!!! :)

Dec. 1st we went to the Christmas concert at school for grandson and granddaughter #2.

Tonight was my FCE (Extension Club) Christmas party. I made a little snowman wallhanging for the name I drew but forgot to take a picture of it and I'm too lazy now after the big meal to take a picture of the gifts I got. Also finally got the tree put up and decorated today. It will be my black kitty's favorite place to sleep now. She was under it within 5 min. of me getting it decorated. It's been snowing out so it's really starting to feel like Christmas. It's really cold out too and that doesn't add to anything. Brrrr.

And last, but not least, I changed my blog background to a Christmas theme. There are starting to be so many websites offering backgrounds that it can be hard to choose.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My kitties were being cute last night

Nicky decided she was going to live under this chair. I think she was frowning at me when I took the picture.

And Nuey thought he'd take a nap in the clothes basket on the clean laundry.

My laptop started giving me some aggravation on Wednesday. The sound started going out. I thought maybe the drivers needed to be reinstalled but it didn't help. The thing won't even be 3 yrs. old until Feb.

I wanted to catch up on the TV shows I like but miss because they're on Thursday night when I work or conflict with another show. I was actually looking at new laptops on the Dell site and trying to decide between a green one or a purple one. Or maybe the shiny black one with the wild, colorful design.

Then I remembered a Creative Extigy external sound card contraption I bought about 5-6 yrs. ago when I wanted to record some tapes & LPs to my old laptop. Had never even taken it out of its box. So I dug it out of a tub in the basement and hooked it up. So-so sound. Went online & downloaded the latest drivers and installed them. Now this laptop has the best sound it ever had. Turned down as low as it will go it's still a little bit loud. That's with headphones. I bet with speakers it would rattle the windows. LOL It isn't the most convenient setup but it works and I can get some more mileage out of this laptop, even though a new one would be fun. Expensive fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A full day..........

Today was one of those days where I got a lot done, as opposed to most days when I piddle around all day and don't accomplish anything.

Yesterday I got a batch of squash baked & scraped out of the shells to be ready to can today. I also got a quilt loaded on the machine yesterday, all ready for quilting today.

I was ready!!!

To start the day off, the UPS man brought this:

He was so funny. Before he got it out of the truck he asked if my husband was home. When I said yes he wanted to know if it was a Christmas present for the DH. I laughed and said no it was my very own air compressor, because the tires on my car keep going down. (the wheels are bad...pinholes, apparently it happens when they get old) I don't think he delivers air compressors to very many women!!! LOL

After that I got my jars in the dishwasher & went downstairs to quilt while they washed. Once that was done I'd get a batch in the canner, then go sew quilt blocks into rows. I hadn't canned anything on this new stove so didn't want to be too far away from it for this first run through. Of course, my blocks were laid out on my mighty fine "design bed."

I think I'm going to LUV this quilt!!!!

When a batch in the canner was done & taken off the stove to cool I'd run downstairs and quilt some more. Repeat the sequence a few more times. Multi-tasking at it's best!!!! LOL

And here are the results of my day:

22 jars of squash. There must be another 50 jars "on the hoof" so to speak. Don't think I'll can that many more.

I used the "Bayside" pantograph and it quilted up very nice. DH called it "strange." He doesn't care for the colors, but since it belongs to a friend it really doesn't matter at all.

Maybe I should start every day with a dose of Excederine. The caffeine really gets me going!!!

Happy Birthday to you................

Sunday we celebrated our granddaughter's 11th birthday.

She's so funny. Every time I asked her what she wanted for her birthday she'd say "pumpkin pie, my very own pumpkin pie with my name on it." So being the good grandma that I am, I made her a pumpkin pie with her name on it.

Also, since I'm such a good grandma, I got her an MP3 player with more room for her music. Hopefully that will end the hissy fits over not being able to get all the songs on it that she wants!! LOLOL

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grandma duty...................

I spent from Saturday after work until late this afternoon staying with my grandchildren while their parents went to Denver for the Broncos/Steelers game. The kids are growing up and pretty much do their own thing. I just need to make sure everybody gets fed and gets up and goes to bed on time. Here's a picture of Hailey & Tyler's "thing."

Isn't that a magnificent tent? Two rooms so they can both be in it but still be separated. Looks like something a Bedouin might live in out in the Arabian desert.

I was on my own all day today & yesterday while they were all at school...they were all out the door by Monday I scanned about 200 pictures that I wanted copies of (I needed scrapbook fodder for all the digital goodies I've downloaded) and Tuesday (today) I spent from 10:30am to 3pm at the library going through microfilm for obituaries & wedding write-ups. So, that takes care of scrapbooking and genealogy.

And I did get a little quilting in too. Here's my setup on the kitchen table:

And here's my make-do design wall:

Notice the corrected Bricks & Stepping Stones blocks!!! LOL

All in all I probably got a lot more done than if I had been at home. Gotta love it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

3 for 3

That's right, we're 3 for 3 for zip, zero, nada Trick-or-Treaters 3 years in a row. Next year I won't even buy any candy & leave the porch light off. Bah humbug!! Bummer!!!

Now I can start agonizing over Christmas. What shall I get everybody. I think they'd be happiest with gift cards so they can pick out their own & get what they want. But that just doesn't seem like much fun and my 6 year old grandson would be disappointed without anything to play with on Christmas Day. There will at least have to be something small in their gift bags to go with the gift cards if I go that route.

It's just all too stressful.....I think I'll go take a nap. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ghosties 'N Ghoulies....................

We'll see if we get any Trick-or-Treaters this year. The last couple years we haven't had a single one. Getting candy just doesn't seem to be a big deal for kids any more or else they're just too lazy to walk almost a block to the only house on the street to get it. Walk..........who am I kidding??? Parents drive them from house to house. Sure different from when I was a kid, or when my kids were young.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My beautiful new............... range.

I had to share a photo while it's all shiny & new. It sure is great to have more than one just-barely-working burner. Got a good deal on it too. It has a small dent at the bottom of one side so they gave me $75 off. With the difference in sales tax it comes to about an $80 savings. The cabinet beside it completely covers the dent. I LOVE my $80 dent!!! LOL

I finally finished ripping & resewing the Bricks & Stepping Stones blocks. Now I just have to pick off loose threads & press them again. Still can't believe I messed up such a simple block. The lesson here is, "read the directions" rather than just sewing stuff together willy-nilly.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


That's right, we had sunshine today. I finally felt wide awake and didn't yawn once all day. It's only supposed to last 2-3 days so we'd better enjoy it. Fall is kind of a bust this year. It froze hard so early that there won't be any "pretty" this year. And all the gloominess certainly brings a person down.

So what did I do today? Well I vacuumed & vacuumed & vacuumed some more. Then I spayed with flea spray. Yes, my cats had fleas and therefore my house had fleas. Advantage seemed get rid of them on the cats and all the vacuuming and spraying seems to have them out of the house....after spending about $100 on spray, Advantage and flea collars. They've been really bad this pets weren't the only ones in town infected and I know of people in Colorado & Florida who have been fighting them as well. Call it "flea terrorism."

One good thing came of it though. I pulled everything out from under my bed to clean & spray since one of the cats likes to hide under there and found a box with three quilt UFOs in it (is that really a good thing?) that I thought I accidentally threw out when I painted the bedrooms three years ago and switched the bedroom and sewing room around. And that's the only even remotely quilty that happened here this week. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let's take a vote....

....and here's my vote!

That's right, it's snowing again and I say it's time to vote NO on this nonsense!! Maybe Mother Nature would do the democratic thing and stop the flakes. Spring was short, Summer was weird and now it looks like we're skipping Fall. Let's vote in some sunshine, ya'all.

Keeping busy doing nothing much

This is the scene that greeted me yesterday morning.....

This is the second time it's snowed and it's not even the middle of October yet. What happened to Fall?? The Old Farmer's Almanac is said to be predicting a long, snowy, cold winter. Could they be right? It's off to a good start.

There hasn't been much quilty activity going on around here except for going to Quilt Club last night. Our friend Lori from SD & her sister joined us. Her sister doesn't sew but I think she got a kick out of watching the whole proceeding. Luanne, our hostess had us do string blocks....would you believe we got all 48 of them sewed. We jabber a lot, but we work as fast as we talk. We're well-fed too...Luanne brought all kinds of goodies and some absolutely fantastic cheesecake made by her daughter-in-law.

What's been keeping me busy lately is dehydrating apples & pears, making deer jerky and some chokecherry jelly. The dehydrator has been working overtime...the pears are getting too ripe too fast.

The picture includes the three "do-overs".....jelly that didn't set up. Wouldn't you know it was the box of Sure-Jell that I just bought that didn't set up....the 5-yr. old boxes and the boxes from last year worked just fine. Go figure!!!

Since it's pear season and pear season is short, I've been making French Pear Pie every few days. Yum. And since we've been eating so much pie it's probably a good thing the season is short.

It's really not fair to show a picture of food without the recipe so here it is:


Single pie crust to fit your pie pan.


Enough peeled, sliced pears to fill pan
3 T. frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 t. dried lemon peel
2 heaping T. cornstarch or Clear-Jel (I prefer the *Clear-Jel)

Mix thoroughly, pour into pie shell.


1 C. flour
1/2 sugar (increase both of these a little if your pan is larger than 9")
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/3 - 1/2 C. softened butter or margarine

Mix well and put on top of filling, pat it down firmly. Bake at 375 for 45-50 min.
Test with a toothpick to be sure pear filling is done.

Cool and enjoy with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream on top.

* The catch with using Clear-Jel is that it is only available on-line or from Amish bulk food stores.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eye candy

Today's eye candy is my Bricks all sewed to the Stepping Stones and pressed.

Behind them is a pile of scrap strips left over from the backings of quilts. I cleaned out underneath my quilting machine. Yaaaay me!!!! LOL They'll most likely get cut into strips for Heartstrings quilts but I AM considering cutting the cat fabric into bricks along with a bunch of my other cat fabric and making another Bricks & Stepping Stones quilt. Don't know what I'll use for the Stepping Stones yet but I'm considering an assortment of hand dyes. What do you think?? Or should I just stick to two colors? Hmmmmmmmmm

Today I've been deeply into harvest-type things again. First thing this morning I got a load of apples in the dehydrator.....Golden Delicious...and they ARE delicious. After lunch I went out to the garage and found some of the ripest pears and made a French Pear Pie. It's in the oven now. Maybe if I remember I'll post the recipe in a later post. We really like it with a good helping of vanilla ice cream on top.

.............Had to take a minute to take the pie out...looks good.

Once the pie was in the oven I pulled on my gloves & went to dig in the freezer for some bags of chokecherries I put in there more than a couple years ago (can't remember exactly) and put them on to cook. It was either they were good enough to cook or they were getting thrown out. They'd been in there long enough. They seem OK so I'll make jelly on Tuesday since I work at the library on Monday.

DH picked the squash & pumpkins today. There are only four big, orange pumpkins, just enough for each grandchild & us to have jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. The squash more than made up for the small number of pumpkins...65!!! My friends & neighbors better lock up their houses and cars or they might find them full of squash. LOLOL

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

It's a little early, I know. I found my new blog background at thecutestblogontheblock and thought I might as well get a leg up on my Halloween decorating. It might be the ONLY Halloween decorating I do!! LOL I love Halloween and have a couple of boxes of decorations stashed in the basement storeroom, but somehow or other a bunch of other stuff has gotten piled in front of those shelves that I'd have to climb over/move to get to them. How does that happen anyway??

In a way, Halloween is the perfect holiday. You can decorate as much as you want, make special treats and eat all the candy you can hold. No presents to buy and wrap, no big holiday meal to cook, no house to clean so guests to the big holiday meal can get in the door. Just fun, fun, fun.

I've had a couple Halloween/Fall quilting projects hovering in the background for a few years now. Will I get them done this year?? Probably not, but they're fun to think about and look at the patterns and pet the chosen fabrics. Sometimes that's enough, ya know? The new blog background does put me in the mood though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The week so far

It was hard to get out of bed this morning since it was so dark, gloomy & windy. The forecast is for even stronger wind for tonight and tomorrow. Maybe I'll sleep in in the morning. Yeah, right!! I never can sleep past 8:00 no matter how hard I try for later. :)

Monday and Tuesday I made deer jerky a little different than we have always made it. Most years part of the meat gets made into summer sausage but last fall we didn't need any more of that so the meat just got cut into chunks and frozen. We have always made jerky by slicing some of the meat, soaking it overnight in a flavoring & salt solution and then drying it in the dehydrator. This time we used ground meat, Jack's Links original flavor jerky cure & seasoning mix and a "Jerky Gun." It turned out pretty good, but a little peppery for us. I think for the next batch I'll use all the cure but a bit less of the seasoning mix.

Tuesday night I went to my oldest grand-daughter's freshman volleyball game at Pierce. They won in two sets. And I found out the difference in having the game at the high school gym instead of the downtown auditorium gym. When freshman games are downtown they go for three of five sets and cost $1. At the high school they play for two of three sets because the JV and Varsity teams play too and the cost is $5. You have to pay for less bleacher butt, apparently. :)

Last night I worked on my Bricks & Stepping Stones for a while. All the 4-Patches are sewed to the bricks now. My least favorite part...pressing...has to be done now. I've made a lot of blocks, now I have to decide if I want to make a twin-size for the bunk beds or a bigger one. Guess I'll wait and see how far the blocks go. Is that relaxed, or what?? :)

Today was spent at the library. There was some end of the year stuff to do and new books to unpack. Otherwise it was pretty quiet. People who weren't at work didn't want to come out in the cold wind, I guess. I go back for the evening hours but don't expect it to be too busy then either.

Sorry there's no photos but some weeks just don't warrant a lot of picture taking.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Here's my stash

Judy L. over on has issued a "Show Us Your Stash" challenge. She asked for "A Picture." LOL I needed four to show mine and there's a small set of plastic drawers off to the right of the tubs in the first picture that you can't see that holds cut squares and bricks.

The bookcase and the two tubs are overflow in the basement. The nearest set of plastic drawers under the tubs has more fabric.

Oh, yes, there's a box of scraps lurking on a shelf in the basement storeroom but I didn't feel like climbing over everything to get to it. Isn't what I've already shown bad enough???

UPDATE: Oops!!! I just realized I forgot the box of hand-dye scraps and the large tub & 3 smaller plastic tubs of hand-dyes in a basement closet. See, I really need one big room where everything can be together....not in this lifetime, I'm afraid.


I finally DID get to some sewing on Wednesday. Nothing exciting, just some black & white four patches for my Bricks & Stepping Stones.

And on Friday I pressed. It's just nice to work with fabric again.

I canned the last of the tomatoes that I intend to can this year. The total comes to 35 qts. and 21 pints. I doubt if we'll have to raise any next year. My canning for the year should be done now. DH is picking the pears now, but those and the Golden Delicious apples will get dehydrated so I'll probably be working on those for the next month, off & on. Lots of butternut squash out in the garden...hopefully I'll be able to find good homes for some of them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life in the slow lane

About the most exciting thing that's happened around here lately is getting our new furnace installed yesterday...fancy shmancy programmable thermostat and all. My husband will never be able to figure out how to set it. He's hopeless with electronics and they keep getting more complicated all the time. Isn't he lucky to have me to deal with them??? LOL

I'm still canning. The apples are finished and I'd like to say I'm done with the tomatoes, but there's still a box of them sitting here so I may do a few more. Here's what was done on Sunday & Tuesday---apple pie filling, Caramel Apple Jam [ala Judy L.] and pints of tomatoes to put in hamburger vegetable soup.

Next on the list will be dehydrating the Golden Delicious apples and the pears. The squash are pretty well ripe but they can set for a while before I have to think about doing anything other than make some pies & maybe a little pumpkin bread or bars. There's still deer meat from last fall that needs to be ground up and made into jerky so will have to get on that. Before I know it there will be more.

And here's a blurry picture of my hand with is canning injuries. You have to watch out for those sharp knives & be careful to not peel the skin right off when tightening those jar rings. LOL

Today I WILL sew. It's been way to long since I actually sat down at the machine. I have my hand-dye Bricks & Stepping stones handy & will work on that. It was started as my quilt club project but this year we've mostly worked on string quilt blocks for charity at meetings so I might as well work on it at home. Someday it might even get finished :D I'm getting kind of antsy to start on Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush. I've got the fabrics picked out and that orange is calling to me :D

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time flies..........

....whether you're having fun or not!! I checked the blog & couldn't believe it had been almost two weeks since I posted. With two "family" weekends in a row it kind of ate up the spare time. One weekend was our nephew's wedding and last Sunday was our granddaughter's Confirmation. I find it hard to believe that she will be fourteen next month. To me she's still that tiny red-headed baby who we all stood around trying to figure out where the red hair came from. LOL Now she's a blonde, but it changes from time to time. LOL

And here are a few of the things that have been keeping me busy. Tons of apples...we've given away more than three dozen 5-gal. bucketsfull already and there's no end in sight. I only need to make some apple dumplings to freeze, 1 or 2 batches of pie filling and maybe some Caramel Apple Jam (Judy L.'s recipe). I still have quite a few bags of frozen ones left from last year. Below are pictures of one of the trees from two angles. It's just loaded. There are four of these, though the other three might not have quite a many apples on. Click on the pictures to get the full effect.

As if the apples weren't enough, I have these to deal with. My tomatoes have been awfully slow to ripen, and I've complained to several people about it, so a boxful was left on my porch today. Most of these are really ripe & with what I had picked 2-3 days ago from my own, I'll have about two canners full or 14 qts. to can tomorrow. I was going to make the apple dumplings or can pie filling tomorrow, but I guess that plan got changed.

On the genealogy front, I got a reply from the gentleman in the Netherlands about his family tree. We've exchanged information. He sent me a 14-page report that's much easier to figure out than his online family tree and I sent him a report on the descendants of the couple that immigrated to the USA. I also have information on two of the names that he didn't have so I'll be sending that to him once I have time to get it organized. Maybe some pictures of the descendants as well. His report gives me another 3 generations or so of the elusive Veenkers and the von Hebel lines going back to the mid-1400s. Yay.

And now, a completely gratuitous kitty picture. Doesn't she just look very regal lying there? All 14 lbs. of her!! And that's my Double Delight behind her, the only thing quilty in this whole post.