Friday, February 28, 2020

Sweater Finish

I finished Dennis’s sweater yesterday morning and it is now blocking on the guestroom bed.  It is very dark and hard to see, but basically the sweater is a Knit 3, Purl 1, ribbing throughout. Lots of shaping and the crewneck has a K1,P1 ribbing.  I knitted quite a lot of Chloe‘s hair into it and so I spent a lot of time picking out her individual hairs before washing and blocking.  He definitely will not be wearing the sweater at home around the dog! :-)

I also made two pair of mittens today. I’m right on track for my goal.  These two pair were made with Bernat Jacquard’s. It was part of the box of gift yarn that I received from my friend Kim at Napier‘s Knits.

Alex and Tara are still traveling around Japan while he works and meets with clients. I believe they are in Kyoto now. Tara is due to fly home early next week and we’re praying that the borders will all be open for her. Don’t they make a handsome couple?

My good friend Nita had to have a cardiac ablation yesterday. I spent almost all day at the hospital with her yesterday and took her home late in the evening.  It amazes me that they can do something like that and send you home the same day! This was done at the same hospital that is treating four of the coronavirus patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. You would never know it though, because it was business as usual. It’s the same hospital I received my pacemaker at.

Today I had to go to the doctor myself and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. I figured that’s what it was and I had been trying to treat myself, but I didn’t want to go into the weekend with the headaches I was having. I’m now on antibiotics and hope they’ll kick in soon.

I have to admit that hearing the news about this virus is very worrisome, especially with having my children living all over the place. I’m trying to put my trust in God and leave it in His hands. I have always had a problem with anxiety and this definitely doesn’t help.

On a happy note, it was 63°F today. We haven’t had those warm temperatures since last October. Tomorrow is only supposed to be 40 so it’s short-lived but I’m certainly enjoying it. I even opened the patio door for awhile to get some fresh air into the house.

I hope you are all doing well and preparing for whatever might happen as best as you can. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. 

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  Psalms 121:2

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalms 4:8

Blessings, Betsy

Monday, February 24, 2020

Sweater Knitting and Pot Pie!

Happy Monday morning everyone. Are we all ready for another week? We had the strangest weather day yesterday. It was sunny when we went to church, but drizzling a little bit of rain when we left. We went to Arby’s for lunch with about 10 other people and while we were there the wind started blowing and the rain and snow was literally going sideways. We ended up sitting and talking for over an hour waiting for it to stop, at least a little, so we could run to our cars. 15 minutes later it was completely blue sky again and it stayed beautiful the rest of the day. So strange.

I have been doing nothing craft wise except knitting on Dennis’s sweater. Here is my progress as of this morning.

Yes, there is some dog hair on there. Chloe is shedding her winter coat all over everything. I have a feeling the sweater will only be worn when he is not at home. Ha! I have just switched needle sizes and have started knitting the bottom ribbing.

Last night I made another chicken pot pie it was so good I thought I would share the recipe with you.

You can make your own pie crust or cheat like I did. :-)  I bought two premade crust’s in the freezer section and just inverted one over the other. They are so good that I don’t even miss my homemade crusts. I have always made my own piecrust, but have had difficulty standing long enough to roll them out because of my back issues. I am so glad I discovered this because we both love homemade chicken pot pie. 

I bought a roasted chicken at Costco last week and this was our fourth meal from that $4.99 chicken. I still have enough chicken in the freezer for another meal. Not bad for five dollars.  Five meals! There was a LOT of meat on that chicken.

Here’s the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook I’ve had since we got married. I rarely make any changes to the recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut up cooked chicken or turkey
10 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables

Heat margarine over low heat until melted. Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables

This is where I differentiate from the recipe. You can make your own piecrust or pour the mixture into a premade pie shell. Invert a second shell over the first one and pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in the top for ventilation. Cook uncovered in a 425° oven until the crust is brown, about 30 minutes.

Wishing you all a wonderful day today and I hope you have some sunshine wherever you may be. I have my six month dental check up tomorrow and then I’m meeting a former blog pal for lunch. Not that she’s a former friend, but that she no longer blogs. Ha!  I’m looking forward to that very much.

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:8

Blessings and love,
Betsy

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Busy Day

It’s Thursday and I’ve had a busy morning already. I’ve been to the Dollar Store, Walmart, Costco and the grocery store, along with stopping to get gas. The frustrating thing is, I have discovered that my Fitbit does not record steps when I’m pushing a cart. So all the walking I did around Walmart, Costco and the grocery store doesn’t even show up on my Fitbit! Oh well. I know I did it. :-)

The yarn arrived yesterday for Dennis’s sweater. I love Knit Picks yarn, but they are so slow in shipping. This took 13 days to arrive and the tracking showed that it sat in Spokane for one entire week before it was delivered. I wonder why that happens every single order?

It is 100% wool and I’m enjoying knitting it except for the fact that I can’t see it at night.

This is what I got accomplished yesterday afternoon. The color above is much more accurate. It is a very dark blue, almost navy.  The sun washes it out a lot in the photo below.  I am making him the Adirondack Pullover by Elizabeth Morrison. It’s the same pattern as the one I made him last winter and he loves it. I told him I would make a different pattern and he said no, he wanted an identical sweater and just a different color.  He even chose the color on the website.

Imagine my surprise when I came home yesterday and found a box on my porch. It was from my friend Kim who has a YouTube channel called “Naturally Kim’s Knitting”. It was chock full of yarn! There are some partial skeins and some full ones too.  We both share a love for the color purple and she gave me four beautiful skeins of purple yarn. Many of these will work wonderfully for mittens. Thank you so much Kim!

There is a table in the corner of our living room that has some of my favorite pictures on it. That one in the front is Mandy, Jamie, and Alex in December 1988, the month Alex was born.  The one to the right of it is of me and my three older siblings, back in about 1965 or so.

This one is of Mandy and I and one of the Queen’s guards in London. We took a trip together when she graduated from nursing school. What a week we had! We wandered all over London, went to Bath to visit Jane Austen’s house, to Stonehenge and to Windsor Castle. It was a week I will never forget.  My goodness I was a lot thinner then and it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago!

This one was taken last time Dennis and I visited Alex. We took a trip from Tokyo on the Shinkansen, or bullet train, to Kyoto for a few days and stayed in a Ryokan.  They are kind of like bed and breakfasts here in the States.  They provided the ukata’s,  (I think I spelled that completely wrong), for us to wear in the room and do you see that mat Alex is standing on? Those were our beds. I don’t think my back could take that these days.  I love Japan and we had a wonderful time on that particular trip. I’ve been there several times and I fall in love with the country a little more each time I visit.

OK, I need to get busy and vacuum and clean bathrooms, since tonight is Bible study here at our house. I was lazy yesterday afternoon and spent all of my time knitting and I didn’t get anything else done. Wishing you all a wonderful day.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, February 17, 2020

Sunny Days

We have had some days of sunshine, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still cold.  37 degrees today.  Yesterday  Dennis had to climb back up on the ladder because he found some birds nests in the eaves that had to come down before spring.  At least he didn’t have to get back on the roof.  He put some screening in there that will hopefully keep them from rebuilding.  As much as I love birds, I don’t like the damage they do to the roof and siding when we let them build here.

This was sunset last night off of our back deck. Mount Spokane is the highest peak that you see there. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I have been knitting exclusively on this baby blanket since last Wednesday and I’m not even half done yet. I guess that’s what happens when you make a 39 inch wide blanket using size 5 needles and baby yarn. It takes a long time.

This has been a week of bad news. Two of our friends have been diagnosed with cancer.  Dennis‘s sister is still struggling with bone cancer and pancreatic cancer. She finished her second week of radiation on Friday and it completely drained her. 

On top of this, the horrible virus that is sweeping across the world has us very concerned for Alex in Japan. Tara is flying there later this week from the UK to spend some time with him and I’m worried about her flying too.  I’m trying to turn this all over to the Lord, but I am by nature, a worrier.

I’m wishing all of you a good day today, counting your blessings for the lives we have and the family and friends that love us.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”  Jeremiah 17:7

Blessings,
Betsy

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day

I’m just popping in to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day today.  I hope you all know how very much you mean to me and that you all hold a special place in my heart.

These are hearts that I stitched several years ago and I have them hanging all around our home.

A little love from me to you.

From the flock and I, wishing you a love filled day.

The miniature roses were a gift from a friend last night at Bible study and the sweet book marker and valentine card were a gift from Debra who is “As I See It Now,” over on my side bar.  I just adore the vintage looking valentines.

I hope you are all having a wonderful, peaceful day today.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”  First Corinthians 13:4

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.“ Philippians 2:5

Blessings and love,
Betsy

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sunshine, glorious sunshine!

We have sunshine today! I am enjoying it because later today clouds are supposed to return and we’re to have rain and snow clear through Sunday.  And as you can tell by these photos almost all of our snow is gone other than a  few patches here and there. Unheard of for February!

There is a reason I’m posting photos of the house. Last weekend we had a horrible windstorm that only lasted about 30 minutes or so. Dennis slept through the whole thing, but I kept hearing this weird banging noise that sounded like it was coming from the roof over by the chimney. Yesterday as I backed out of the driveway I could see that it looked like shingles were loose. After talking to Dennis and calling a couple of roofing companies and never hearing back from them, he came home early from work and climbed up there onto that peak to nail down three shingles that were hanging off of the roof. Apparently when they put our gas fireplace in, they didn’t do a very good job of attaching the shingles. I don’t know if these photos actually show just how high this roof is. Neither of us like heights, but my wonderfully brave husband went up there anyway. He said 20 years ago it wouldn’t have bothered him a bit, but the older he gets the less he likes getting up that high. He also said that you do what you have to do and with more rain and snow coming it had to be done.

I was talking to the kids on the WhatsApp chat on my phone while he was on the roof and I was on the ground watching him. From around the world they were chiming in with their advice! Dennis kept saying I’m 64, not 84. I’m still capable of this! Well, maybe he is but my heart sure doesn’t like it! He was pretty pleased that he probably saved us a couple of hundred dollars by getting up there himself. We were all relieved when he was back firmly on the ground.

One year we had to have our roof shoveled because we had about 4 1/2 feet of snow up there. Everyone was afraid of roof cave-ins that year and we had to hire roofers to come out and shovel the roof. You couldn’t even see out of those front windows on the bottom because the snow was so deep.  We have a 6 foot privacy fence around the backyard and you could literally walk from one yard to the other, up and down the block.  You couldn’t even see the fences! Thank goodness that hasn’t been an issue this year. But look at how blue the sky is. I am certainly enjoying it today.

Three more hats were finished and will be delivered to the nursing home today. I sure have been enjoying this yarn. It’s the Hobby Lobby “I love this yarn” in worsted weight.
Another dish cloth was finished at church on Sunday.
Look how pretty my birthday flowers still are after two weeks! I’m still enjoying them and the balloons!

I told you I would give you the recipe for the slow cooker chicken and so here it is. I didn’t get a picture of it and actually it doesn’t look all that great, but oh my goodness it tastes wonderful.  It’s very simple and I just used dried herbs because I didn’t have fresh and it was great anyway. I also used chicken breasts that were boneless.

French Onion Slow Cooker Chicken 


Chicken

1/4 cup butter

8 cups halved and thinly sliced sweet onions (about 3 large onions)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/ 2 cup chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)

4 bone-in skin-on split chicken breast halves (about 3 lb)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water


Additional chopped fresh thyme leaves or chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, if desired


Steps

  • Spray inside of 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper; cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften. 
  • Reduce heat to medium; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are starting to brown. Add chicken broth; heat to simmering. Remove from skillet to medium bowl. 
  • Season chicken breasts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, skin-side down, to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer to slow cooker; top chicken pieces with onion mixture. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest parts are cut to bone (at least 165°F). 
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker to serving platter; cover and keep warm. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water with whisk; beat into onion mixture in slow cooker. Cover; cook on High heat setting 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thickened. Top chicken with sauce. You can garnish with additional thyme or parsley if you would like.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. Next time I will give you the recipe for my chicken pot pie.  I thought I should probably  just do one at a time!  I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among His nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”  Psalms 105:1-2

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, February 10, 2020

A finish!

Happy Monday everyone. We have brilliant blue skies today although it’s still fairly chilly in the low 30s. The sunshine makes all the difference. I went to the mall this morning and walked four laps around it to get some exercise inside where there was no ice on the ground. Then, after running a few errands I came home and have spent three hours shredding documents. Right now I’m waiting for the shredder to cool down because I’ve overheated it twice and had to stop.

My back doesn’t seem to be much better after the injections. I’ve tried stretching exercises the last two mornings to see if that would help, but no luck so far. The injections I get are Botox, not the normal injections you get in the back for pain. I have had the other injections and they do nothing. I have also had two years of physical therapy and another two years at a pain clinic. The problem is, it’s not normal back pain.  I have spasms where it feels like someone is sticking a knife into your back and twisting it.  For some reason the nerves are signaling the muscle to spasm and no one knows why.  The only relief I have is sitting in my recliner. I honestly don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this recliner. I see the neurologist again in six weeks and if these injections haven’t helped by then he said he may have some other tricks up his sleeve. I certainly hope so.

Meanwhile, I finished my crocheted rectangular blanket. I was standing on a chair and holding the camera over my head to take this photo. It’s big enough that it hangs down a little bit on both sides on a queen size bed. I love it!  The colors look a bit muted here.

This is a more accurate representation of the colors. It’s big enough to wrap yourself up in and be nice and cozy.

I finished four more pairs of mittens and I’m one week ahead on my schedule so hopefully I will have them all done on time next fall.

Does anybody remember the sheep virtues that Debbie, who is “Araignee” on my sidebar, finished last year?  I absolutely adored her sheep virtues as she was stitching them and look what I’m starting to stitch now!  I have the wisdom block almost finished. There are 12 blocks in total.  The poor little sheep still needs his head!

Becky, who is “GrandmaBeckyL” on my sidebar sent me this beautiful gift of teas for my birthday. Wasn’t that sweet of her? I am not a coffee drinker, but I do love a good cup of tea in the morning.  She even sent the beautiful tea strainer too. I’m not sure what the little silver dish is for. Does anyone know?
Saturday evening I made a homemade chicken pot pie. I have made this recipe ever since we got married using my own piecrust. The recipe is out of the Betty Crocker cookbook. Because now it’s difficult for me to stand in the kitchen long enough to make and roll out piecrust, we hadn’t had it for a couple of years. About a month ago I broke down and bought two frozen pie crust’s at the grocery store. I made my homemade filling and put it in the one crust and then I just upended the other pie crust over the top. It works perfectly and oh my goodness it’s good. These are the store brand piecrusts and I think they’re better than the name brand.  It may not look like much but oh my goodness it sure did taste good!  I should learn how to do some of those fancy venting designs for piecrusts.  I just use a knife and cut slits all over the top!  It sure looks messy.

If any of you are interested in the recipe just let me know and I will post it next time. I also have a recipe for French onion crockpot chicken that I made last week and it was delicious too. I plan to put it in my next post.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful Monday and that your weekend was relaxing and that you had time to do something that made you happy.

I’m continuing to pray for everyone around the world who is impacted by the coronavirus. What a scary thing for the people who live in the areas that are highly affected.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double–edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

Blessings always,
Betsy

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Thank You

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful birthday greetings. Just look at all of the cards I received. Many of them were from you.

Piper sent me this notebook that she had made at school. This is her original artwork. I want to think of a very special way of using this notebook. Isn’t she a wonderful artist?

Jenny & Neal gave me these balloons at a surprise party Saturday night. There were about 25 people waiting to surprise me at a local Chinese buffet. Believe me, I was shocked. There were even two couples from the lake.  I’m  usually not very good with surprises and I don’t like being the center of attention, so they promised me that they had only invited our small group Bible study and a few people from the lake. 

Jenny also gave me this recipe book. It reads more like a normal book with a few recipes sprinkled in. I think I’m going to enjoy it.

John and Sally who are friends from the lake gave me these two signs to put in our new trailer.

Although this wasn’t technically a birthday present, I’m counting it as one! Debra, who is Araignee over on my side bar, had her seasonal soap giveaway.  There is absolutely nothing on the market as good as her lotion bars and I use her lip balm every night before I go to sleep. But that bar of soap. Oh my! It smells absolutely divine.   Thank you once again Debra for your unending generosity with these giveaways.  She makes all of the labels too.  
She also made the sweetest little snowman card, but now I can’t find the photo I took of it.

I won a gift card to Knit Picks from my friend Kim‘s YouTube video at “Napier’s Knits.” I used it to buy these two skeins of sock yarn.  They are both stroll tonal colorways. Aren’t they beautiful? Thank you Kim!

I finished the Amulet Shawl by Helen Stewart yesterday evening.  Here it is blocking.  It was so wide I couldn’t get the whole thing in the photo.  I also used Knit Picks yarn for the shawl. It is the Hawthorne fingering weight yarn in the colorways “graffiti speckle” and “kerns”.

A bit of a closer look. Look at all of those beads. I really do surprise myself at how much I enjoy putting beads into my knitting.  I just checked it and it is almost dry.

I’m still crocheting on my giant rectangular granny blanket. It’s about the size of a twin size bed right now and I’m starting to run out of yarn. I’m going to keep going as long as I can before putting a border on. I’m rather enjoying it. I would work on the intricate shawl for a while and then switch to the granny blanket that I didn’t have to think about.

We had about 5 inches of snow this morning when I had to leave to drive up “the hill” to the neurologist. Luckily, the main roads weren’t too bad I just had to navigate my way out of our neighborhood and up a few roads on “the hill.”  I don’t even have that many doctors appointments anymore, but I always seem to have them when it snows! It’s still coming down out there but I don’t think it’s accumulating much more as it’s warmed up to about 35°.

I ended up getting 19 injections directly into the muscles this morning. My goodness they were painful! He said he went a lot deeper into the muscle this time. It’s kind of a last ditch effort. I go back to see him in seven weeks and will decide what the next course of action is. I’m hoping against hope that these injections work.  It was fairly painful driving home and leaning against the seat. When I got home and took my shirt off and there was blood all over it! That hasn’t happened before. This afternoon I’m going to just take it easy and sit in my chair and do some crocheting.

I’m keeping people all over the world in my prayers regarding this coronavirus that seems to be spreading at an alarming rate. We are hearing of more and more people every day who are affected by it in one way or another. I pray that it can get controlled quickly.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday afternoon.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand on the earth.”  Job 19:25

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”Psalm 16:8
Blessings,

Betsy