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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Anyone?


This is what's happening at my house right now.  It IS pretty but I'm tired of shoveling.
This is what it looked like yesterday after our predicted "snow flurries" became about 5 inches.  Our snow blower has decided to not cooperate this year.  I was not happy with it when I finally got it started yesterday and the auger thingy that scoops up the snow and throws it out wouldn't turn.  Out came the shovel.

Not long after I finished outside and then took my shower, I decided to sew a bit on my 9 patch quilt squares.  I hadn't been sewing long at all, maybe 10 minutes when I noticed jagged lights in my vision. Oh oh.  I've only had three of these octicular migraines in the last twenty years but I knew what was coming.  The lights flashing is an unmistakable sign.  I grabbed my phone and a glass of water and headed for my comfy recliner. Within five minutes I was completely blind.  That lasted about an hour and a half and then the pain came.  The headache lasted all day and night and is still lingering this morning.  I feel for people that have migraines regularly.  The first time I lost my sight, it scared me to death.  Now I know what's coming and I've luckily been at home each time except the first.  I was at work then and terrified.  I was completely blind for over four hours and all alone, my bosses were both working out of town that day.  I just sat at my desk and didn't move.  Hubby was in Egypt on business and the kids were all in school.  Luckily I could see again before it was time to leave to get them from school.
The pattern for the doily I was working on was horrendous.  I got to row 15 and could not figure it out so I went online to see if there was any errata.  Nope. And everyone had the same problem at row 15.  Mind you, it was horribly written up to that point, lots of guesswork, but doable if you've made doilies before.  I ended up ripping it out back to this point and finishing it off. It makes a fine smaller doily too don't you think?
I finished two dishcloths from Knit Picks Dishie.  I really like Dishie for dishcloths and it wears very well.
I've found a similar pattern and tried it...so far, so good.  I've finished the middle and one end and am getting ready to start the other end.  This one is written SO MUCH better and it's been fun to make.
This will be a newborn sleep sack for a newborn.  It's being made for Cooper hospital which was the charity an online crafting friend donated to for years. Ginden passed away last week and several of us are making things to donate to Cooper in her honor.  Teresa, I'll include your name on the sleep sack when I send it if that's okay, since you and Dayle bought the yarn for the mitten project.
These are all of the squares that I've cut in the past few weeks. There are a lot of them!
Here are the squares that I completed before being sidelined with my migraine.
My plans, as I said before, is to try a quilt as you go blanket.  I'll sew up some squares and then cut a backing square of fabric and batting to match.  This way I can take them with me anywhere to quilt individually.  When you have them done, you put them all together.  It should be interesting!

Tomorrow we're having dinner with Neal & Jenny for our monthly "date night".  Saturday Hubby is taking me out somewhere for my birthday and Sunday I'm heading to Portland for a week to play with Piper. Next Tuesday lunch is planned with Gracie, Taci & Teresa.  Fun times are ahead. I NEED to get over this headache!  Hubby has also had a horrible head cold all week so I need to pray I don't get it.  That would put all of my plans to go to Portland on hold.  The last thing I should do is go make everyone there sick.

Have a lovely weekend my friends. I think it's time to get my shovel out again.  It's much easier to clean it off every inch or two than wait until there is lots and it's heavy.  :-)

Blessings,
Betsy



Monday, January 27, 2014

Busy Weekend

Goodness it was a busy weekend here at the Queen homestead.  I had my class Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on Friday but we did get out early on Saturday at 3:30.  I hurried home and got Hubby and we met some friends at the Spokane RV show.  We had a great time looking at all of the campers and RV's.  It amazes me the things that are in some of them...and how people can possibly afford to buy them!  Afterwards we went out to dinner and had a wonderful time visiting.

I'm not sure what my plans are with CASA. I have been sworn in and have officially completed the training. I could get a case as early as today, but I'm not sure it's for me. I want to talk to my supervisor and discuss my options as to what I can do in-house with the program.  I don't think "on my feet" very well and that is needed as a CASA.  The situations you find yourself in can be unusual to put it mildly.  I also tend to be emotional and when attacked verbally, (which is guaranteed to happen), I cry.  At 54 years old I know this about myself and I also know it isn't likely to change.  That would NOT be a good thing to happen on the witness stand and it would undermine anything I had done on a case.  So....I'm praying and asking God to lead me where He wants me to go.  I so appreciate the comments and emails of encouragement from all of you.  I am blessed indeed to have friends like you.

Yesterday we were greeters at church, (we have been all month for January), so we had to be there extra early.  Our small group provided the hospitality lunch for visitors and we served 34 people.  Hubby and I then went right out to take communion to the elderly in the church and the people who couldn't come because of illness or the weather.  We finally got home at 4:30 in the afternoon and I collapsed into my recliner.  I didn't even pick up my knitting or crochet although I finished two baby hats during my few free minutes since Thursday.  I spent the evening watching HGTV and surfing the net on my iPad.  Some would consider it wasted time, but I needed the relaxation and mindless activity.

This communion kit was made for my husband about 27 or 28 years ago by his cousin.  Isn't it beautiful with the inlaid cross?  The side joints are also dovetailed with different woods.  It is very smooth to touch. You would think it was one solid piece of wood.
He also cut out a piece of foam that fits the bottle, bread holder and cups perfectly.  We can take communion to eight people with this beautiful kit.  Can you see the little nick by the clasp?  That was where Hubby fell on the ice about 20 years ago while carrying it.
I did get some squares cut out of my leftover fabric.  These are the squares that I'll use for my "quilt as you go" quilt.  I have lots more to cut-maybe a few today or tomorrow.
I love Knit Picks Dishie for dish cloths and started a new one Satuday night.  I gave all of mine away except two.  I WILL keep this one!  :-)
The doily hasn't changed at all, but hopefully I'll have some time tonight.
I have laundry in the dryer and I've been to the grocery store and to pick up prescriptions.  I also went up to the church and raked 3 big garbage bags full of leaves from the stairwell that blew in during the windstorms we've had lately.  Funny thing is that they were all oak leaves and we don't even have any oak trees around the property.  The winds were fierce and must have blown them in from a distance.

I'm heading back to Portland and my Piper next Sunday. Yippee!  I'll be there a week and I hope I'll get to see my "blogging girls", Teresa, Taci and Gracie.  It sounds like Brad & Mandy could be moving before too long, much farther away from us, so I need to get my Piper time in now.  Mandy has been asking me to visit so off I go!  It's sure nice being retired and having this freedom.

Have a lovely afternoon my friends and I'll be back soon.

Blessings,
Betsy

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Busy Thursday

Hello my friends!  I loved all the comments on my last post and I thank you for all of the encouragement on my involvement with CASA.  I know several of you are in the professions of either social work or caring for children in foster care in some way.  Your words mean so much to me.  I've been out of the workplace for several years and haven't had to study for anything for ages so this is a giant leap for me.  So much to learn.

It's still cold and frosty here.  Remember the hoarfrost from my last post?  It's still here, only thicker now.  Many of you were concerned about my driving in it.  It doesn't seem too bad on the streets except in the outlying areas so I haven't had any problems.  The sidewalks and outside steps however, are a different story. Very slippery.

This morning I cleaned all three bathrooms, dusted and vacuumed the house and I have laundry going now.  I have to do my normal Thursday & Friday chores today since I'll once again be in class all day tomorrow and Saturday.  I also baked a Rubarb cake as you'll see in the following photos.  It is a time-consuming task as there are several steps, but it's oh so GOOD when it's done.  We'll have it for our treat after Bible Study tonight.  I usually do my baking on Thursdays so we can have help eating the goodies.  Hubby & I definitely don't need to eat a whole cake ourselves.

The first step. Read the directions. And there are lots of instructions with this cake.
Yummy rubarb from my garden last summer.
Butter
Even more butter!  You can never have too much right?  If you're paying attention it's almost 1 1/2 cups of butter total!
Yum!
The topping. It looks really dry and crumbly and that's exactly what it's supposed to do. :-)
Batter, then rubarb mix, then dollops of batter.  Looks gross doesn't it? Don't give up when you've come this far. Stay with me now!
Crumbs broken up on top.
And viola!  Baked perfectly.  It still may not look like much, but believe me, it's delicious. Even people, (like me), who don't like rubarb normally, like this cake.
Of course the kitchen was a mess, because this uses lots of bowls, spoons, etc.  but it's all clean now and back to normal.  Have I ever mentioned just how much I like this sink?  Big enough for the biggest pans and baking sheets.
This is my current project.  It's going to be a doily and it is progressing very slowly.  I finished the blanket and delivered it yesterday? Happy, happy.  Debbie loved it and was so glad to get it. I'm happy because I saw her true gratefulness.  That's always fun.
This afternoon I may get all of my cotton fabric scraps out and see of I have enough for a "quilt as you go" quilt. It will probably take years to complete but that's okay.  I've also been doing a bit of reading in the evenings in front of the fire but most of my spare time this week has been doing this....
Studying for this weekends class.  I think I may be too old for this. Teaching a old dog new tricks and all...but I WILL persevere, if only to earn the faith you all seem to have in me.  :-)

Stay warm, wherever you may be and I'll be back again soon.

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, January 20, 2014

A little of This. A little of that.

Today is a very special day in my life.  34 years ago today I became a mom for the first time.  Mandy is 34 today.  It has been such a joy to watch her grow up, become an independent career woman, wife and now a mom herself.  She loves that little girl desperately and I know she would give her life for Miss Piper if it was needed.  That's what we do as mom's right?  And now, she finally has an inkling of how I feel about her.  Today is an anniversary that celebrates a "job" that I loved better than any other career I could possibly have had.

We've had days on end of freezing fog.  I've actually lost count of how many days in a row it's been, but I know it's been a week at least. These are pictures of the buildup of frost from the fog that I took from the deck this morning.  There is about 1/2 inch or so on the chain of my wind chime!  I don't think I've ever experienced anything quite like this before.  It makes driving in the mornings and evenings quite interesting since the roads get very icy.
It Is very pretty! but dangerous all the same.

I finished my all cotton blanket last night, washed it and it is so soft!  It is really heavy in weight. I had never made a blanket from cotton before so I was surprised at the weight of it.  I know now who it is going to, a lady in our church who is ALWAYS cold.  I hope she'll like it.
I take a few minutes every day to just look at these pictures of our family.  I love them all so much and miss them. How I wish they all lived closer to us. 
 I don't remember if I ever told you about this little cabinet.  I found it at a local thrift store in absolutely perfect condition without a scratch on it for $75.  It is beautiful wood, no laminate or fake stuff here!
A sneak peek of a project I'm working on for Valentine's day.  Aren't these little knitted hearts cute?
My Scandinavian heart garland.  The pattern for the heart is free on Teresa Kastner's blog. You can find her blog on my sidebar.

On anther subject, I've always wanted one of those kitchens with perfectly clear counter tops. No matter how hard I try this is what I mine looks like.  I use most of these things on a daily basis though and figure it's a waste of time and energy to put everything away all of the time.  The counter top oven spends most of the year in the trailer at the lake. I bring it home in the winter because it's a more energy efficient way to make small batches of things for just hubby and I rather than heat up the big oven.
The sunshine you see coming through the window is deceptive. It's really just light, not bright sun. The fog is still hanging on.

I finished my first two days of CASA training and we've already lost a few people because it's pretty intense both emotionally and psychologically.  I have two more days this coming Friday and Saturday.  I have met some great people there amd most of them are in their 60's and 70's!  It is wonderful that they want to give up part of their retirement to help these children.  When you see the statistics it is just plain horrifying.

It has taken me two hours to do this little post.  The phone has rung 7 times. I have received 5 texts and the doorbell rang twice!!  I give up!

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Productivity

I was quite busy this morning cooking away in the kitchen.  Hubby and I both decided it would be nice to have some already prepared foods on hand for when we're having a particularly busy day or when I'm out of town and he has to fend for himself.  I don't like buying a lot of already prepared frozen meals because of the preservatives, etc., so yesterday I went to the grocery store and did some bulk buying and today was cooking day!
17 pounds of ground meat and onions simmering away in my roasting pan on the stovetop.
Spaghetti sauce. Yum. Can you smell it?
Onions, garlic and green peppers sautéing for the Sloppy Joe sandwich filling.
Lasagna pans at the ready.  When all was said and done, at the end of the morning I had: 3 frozen lasagna's, plus 1 to be baked for dinner tonight, 2 gallon bags of spaghetti sauce, 3 gallon bags of Sloppy Joe filling, 6 poached and shredded chicken breasts in broth for future enchiladas or pot pie, 12 marinated and grilled and then frozen chicken breasts to be used for sandwiches or salads, etc.  I think it was a good mornings worth of work.  It would have been even more fun to do this with another woman for company.  I think it would go much faster with someone to visit with while chopping and stirring!  I did have the radio turned up loud and had fun singing along.  :-)

I have a finished project to show you too.  Last night I finished and hand sewed the binding on the quilt.  I found a new method of binding that doesn't have metered corners and it was MUCH easier for me.  I think I have actually gotten over my fear of quilt binding!  I'm actually thinking of making another quilt using just the scraps I have and sewing the entire thing by hand.  It would probably take years but I would do the quilt as you go method and so I would be able to carry it along with me until the very end.
What do you think?  Do you think Mandy's friend will like it?  I love the colors of green and white together and the outside strips of pinky rose she chose, but I still don't care for the bright pink and tan together. But...it's done and I think it doesn't look too bad.
For Christmas I got two Pioneer Woman cookbooks. Have you heard of her?  I've been reading her blog for years, since long before her cooking show on the Food network.  I can't believe how wildly popular she is now.  I feel like "I knew her back when."  I'm reading these cookbooks through like a good book, page by page when I go to bed at night. She's a very entertaining writer, even in her cookbooks.  Last night I finished her most recent holiday cookbook and tonight I will begin this one.  Last night I made her "Sunday Stew" recipe for dinner and it was wonderful.
Tonight I'll be back to crocheting on my cream and white blanket.  I have a few people in mind who "might" be the recipient of it when it's done.  It's fun to think of who to give it to as I work on it and I can pray for whoever it might keep warm in the days to come.

Have a wonderful evening my friends. I'm looking forward to tasting the lasagna I can smell baking in the oven with a nice green salad to go along with it.  Yum!

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, January 13, 2014

Finishing

Happy Sunday evening to you, my friends. I cannot tell you enough how much your support meant to me with my blogger "issues." Teresa helped a lot as did several others of you with suggestions. But the one that finally worked was from Vicki at Stitchy McFloss. She suggested that I change my settings to one post per page. That worked even though I've always been able to have more than one post before. I still don't know what on earth caused this glitch but I'm very happy to have things back and working again. All of you who wrote comments helping and encouraging me mean so much to me. Blogland has really blessed my life and I'm so glad you all come to visit me.

I also appreciate those of you who said you would be praying for me this coming couple of weekends as I undergo CASA training. I really want God's will to be done in my life and if it is helping little ones have a voice in the court system then it's what I want to do.

And now to the newsy part of the post.  I've put a few springy decorations out when the Christmas things were put away.  This makes me hopeful that spring will come back to the Inland Northwest and the mountains around us.  So the first picture is of my little bird collection on a doily I crocheted last year.  This table makes me smile when I see it.  :-)

Today after church services and a yummy potluck, we took a drive up to the lake with our friends Larry & Nita.  The purpose was to check on things after the 65+ mph winds we had yesterday.  I think the real reason in Hubby's mind was to be able to use the 4 wheel drive on his new pickup he bought last year. Along with the winds yesterday we had temperatures in the 40's which melted all of our snow in town, but not at the lake as you'll notice by the pictures. We had to park off the road in an open field and hike in to the trailer as the gates were locked shut.  It was actually a nice quarter mile or so walk and everything was fine when we arrived.  We turned the furnace on, put the slide out and had a cozy couple of hours playing cards and visiting.  I would LOVE to live in the trailer year round but I haven't quite convinced hubby of that yet.  The lake is completely frozen over and yes, we did need to use the 4 wheel drive to get out of the field we parked in.  It was beautiful and VERY quiet there today.

The last two photos are a couple of things I've worked on this week.  The first is a pair of socks that I started on our Japan trip in November.  I got the first sock done and the second done to the heel flap while we were traveling, but set them aside when we got home.  They were meant for me so there was no hurry.  Then I talked to my dear MIL on Friday and she said she has been wearing the socks I made her last year every day since it's been so cold in the Midwest.  She wants another pair ASAP.  So out came this pair and I finished them yesterday for her. I'll mail them to her on Tuesday.  So much for my socks!!!!  Oh well, I can always make another pair for me.

The last picture is the cotton  afghan I'm making whenever I get a chance to add a square.  It will be done when it gets done. No hurry as I have no idea who it will belong to when it's finished.  I'm sure I'll know soon enough who it is being made for.  :-)

I've also been working on the quilt for Mandy's friend.  Her friend chose the colors and I think it looks nice although the bright pink seems to "jump" out at me.  I made the "quilt sandwich"  of quilt, batting and backing and pinned it all yesterday and started machine quilting it.  I didn't get much done though, and hope to do more tomorrow.  It won't be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be made with love just for her, so maybe that will make up for the imperfections.

I'm thinking of making up a Homekeepers Binder.  It would have meal plans for a month at a time in it along with sheets listing different homemaking tasks.  There will be Christmas ideas that I can work on through the year, a page for each person in the family with all of their information on it. (Birthday, anniversary, phone #, favorite colors, etc.). Devotion schedules and a page for prayer requests, etc.

Have any of you done this before and how did it work for you?  It will be nice to have everything organized and in one spot.  One thing I would like to do is have some meals frozen and easy to cook when a busy day comes along.

I want to tell you all again just how much I appreciate all of the help you have given me this week.  Even if you didn't have a specific idea of what to do, you still showed me through your emails and comments that you cared and that means so very much to me.  God has blessed me with each of you in my life and I'm so thankful for that.

Much love and blessings on each of you,
Betsy

Friday, January 10, 2014

Still Problems!

Well I'm still having issues with blogger and my sidebar...apparently all of it is clear at the bottom of my posts and I don't know how to get it back.

I'm going to give myself the weekendwith  Hubby's help to fix it.  Dear Vicky at Stitchy McFloss has been a huge encouragement.

Meanwhile, here's what I've been working on since Wednesday night.

Well the pictires are in a strange order since I'm using my phone but you'll get the idea. The top is all pieced.  I'll work on the backing tonight.

Also, for those of you who would be willing, would you please pray for God's will in my involvement in the CASA program?  After my observing cases all day in the courtroom on Wednesday I'm not sure my heart can take it. I was fighting back tears most of the day. Oh my, what we put these innocent children through.

Thanks for sticking with me through these blog problems my friends.

Blessings,
Betsy