Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sewing, Crocheting and Ironing

It was a full afternoon the last time that we met with the girls! Our time together began with the girls writing down the recipe for the oatmeal cookies that we had made a previous week, and then we started sewing on the potpourri sachets. The step that we are working on now with the sachets is sewing up the side seams, and the girls who had already finished their side seams, began crocheting dishcloths. When all of the girls are once again at the same point with the sachets, the crochet projects will be set aside and everyone will work on step two on the sachets. So far this arrangement has been working out well!

e had tried to teach crochet a few years ago (back when we had around ten girls), and as far as we were able to get with them was the beginning chain. We then had to retire teaching crochet as it was a little too much to try to teach this skill to so many girls at once, especially since several of the girls were having difficulty grasping the concept. But we kept looking for opportunities and trying to figure out a way that we could eventually teach crochet again. And now the opportunity has presented itself!

With the arrangement that we currently
have, we've been able to work with one girl at a time on crochet since they are finishing the side seams on their bags all at different times (it also helps that our group is smaller now.) Having this time to work with them individually has not only been enjoyable and fun, but it has also made it easier for them to learn how to crochet. So far three girls have begun dishcloths, and they are doing so well!

Enjoying time together while teaching and learning crochet

Working into the chain for the first time - she did a wonderful job!

Once I had the 'crochet girls' to the point that they could work for awhile on their own, I took one girl out at a time to do ironing with them. Meanwhile, Leah helped the girls who were sewing and gave assistance to those who were crocheting when/if they needed it. We've done ironing of simple items before with the girls, but this time they ironed men's long-sleeve shirts - not the easiest thing to iron! They did a good job with them though, and I had a pleasant time visiting one-on-one with them while they worked.

Cheerfully ironing away

Our time together went by so quickly, and a lot of progress was made on everyone's projects! And in addition to all of that, we at one point gathered in the living room for prayer and for reviewing/discussing one of our recent lessons. It was a lesson that at the time it was originally taught, it seemed to make quite an impact on a number of the girls. Because of that, Leah and I felt led to go over it once again, bringing in some new thoughts, clarifying a few things, and providing opportunity once again for the girls to ask questions. This time of teaching, discussion and sharing was a wonderful one!

And by the time we brought it to a close, it was time to say our goodbyes. After the last girl had left, Leah and I turned to each other with thankful hearts and smiles on our faces and said something about how well everything had gone! It has been so encouraging to see the progress that is being made in our relationships with the girls and also the significant growth that we are seeing in several of their lives. How thankful we are that the Lord has blessed us with this opportunity to know and spend time with these special girls!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Recipe Binders

Quite a few years ago, I put together a recipe binder that was filled with our favorite recipes, and over the years, recipes have been added, notes were scribbled on pages, and the front sleeve was filled to overflowing with miscellaneous papers, recipes lists, and the like - a little disorganized! Recently, Leah began making a binder for herself which inspired me to work on reorganizing mine, as well as to add some new favorite recipes to it.

This was a fun project to work on together! Going through the cookbooks and finding recipes, sitting at the computers together typing them up, putting the recipes in our binders and then finally, making cover pages for the binders. That was the most fun part! Leah is so creative and not only did she make a cover for hers, she also helped me fi
nish mine. (Thank you, Leah! :)

Leah's finished binder

And as Leah said after finishing her binder . . . cooking and baking seem more fun now! And the kitchen has been busy! But not just because of the new binders. :) This past week has been one of Leah's and my cooking weeks, and we've been having fun doing some experimenting and trying of either new recipes or ones that we have not had for a long time . . .

Slow-cooker Vegetable Beef Soup

Parmesan Rolls

It is so nice to have all of our recipes compiled into one location (or I should say, two :), and menu planning will be easier now with Leah having her own binder and with having mine organized again as well.

So that's a project that we had both been working on a bit at a time over the past several weeks! And now we've been having fun going through our other cookbooks to find new recipes to try. As I type, I can smell the delicious smell of baking rolls . . . Herbed Oatmeal Pan Rolls . . . a new recipe that Leah is making to go with our meal tonight. There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread filling the air!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Weekend with Friends

A photo of one of the farms that we passed on our trip this weekend

It has been a little while since I last posted, and a lot has been happening during that time. Sewing filled quite a few hours last week; on Friday, Leah and I had an enjoyable time together in the kitchen baking pies; and then Saturday our family left to spend the weekend with some dear friends of ours. And what a special and enjoyable weekend it was! Though it went by way too fast!! And sadly, once again, I forgot to take many photos at all . . . there was just so much else going on that I rarely thought of it! But here are a few that were taken by either my Mom or I that give a tiny glimpse into our wonderfully full weekend . . .

Working in the kitchen

Some of the guys played ping pong together (above) while we girls played music (below)

It was so nice to be able to play together again! (And even though we look rather serious in this photo, we were having a wonderful time! :)

Having fun doing dishes together

Preparing the Sunday afternoon meal

From the many, many wonderful conversations, to playing games (Uno and Dutch Blitz), to taking a walk outdoors (it was so nice on Saturday with the temperature in the 50's!), to the encouraging fellowship, to the special Sunday morning of singing and studying the Lord's Word together, and much, much more . . . what a great blessing it was to us to be able to spend this time with friends and like-minded believers!

And if you all see this post, thank you so much for the special and enjoyable weekend!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brother and Sister Time

One day last week, I joined Ryan on one of his evenings working out at his place. It was after the cold spell that we had had and the temperature was up around 40 degrees, though it sure looked cold with the heavy gray skies and remnants of snow and ice . . .

Heading down into the river bottoms . . . at one point along here, a large flock of snow geese flew over. I really like their call and it had been awhile since I heard it so I rolled down the window (briefly :) and enjoyed listening to them as they flew fairly low right over us.

One of the creeks we drive over - the ice is slowly melting!

One of the many large snow drifts along the highway

Ryan's place

Once we arrived at his place, we drove part way down the driveway, but then had to walk from there to the house since the ground was too sloppy to drive on. The only thing is, there was a lot of wet snow on the ground between the truck and his house, and a certain someone had unintentionally left her snowboots at home and was only wearing tennis shoes. And the thought of having wet feet for the rest of the evening was not especially appealing! Ryan, however, solved the 'dilemma' by going first, and I just followed in his footsteps. :)

When we got to his house, we turned on the lights, started up the heater, plugged in the CD player we had brought along, put in some southern gospel music, and then got to work . . .

Ryan working on putting in things that I cannot remember the name of. :)

While Ryan worked on that, I swept and swept and swept some more. After all the of drilling for wiring, sawing of boards and other such things, there was an abundance of wood chips, sawdust and dirt all over the place. So most of my evening was spent sweeping while going room by room moving things, organizing, stacking boards, etc.

All nice and clean

Ryan also did some wiring which he let me help with which was fun to do. So not only did we have an enjoyable evening together, but progress was able to be made on his house as well!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Change of Plans

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had planned to start caning one of our chairs soon, and one day last week I got everything set up for it and started working on the chair by first removing the old seat . . .

Once the old cane was off, though, a discovery was made . . .

Underneath the old seat was a significant crack that goes all the way through the wood, right along the holes, about 3/4 of the way up; and with a crack like that, it's not possible to cane the chair unless it is fixed. After looking at it with my Dad, we think that we figured out a way that we might be able to repair it, and I hope that it works!

One other discovery that was made, and this was an exciting one :), was a signature underneath of the chair . . .

Even after being refinished (which my Mom did when she was a teenager) some of the signature still remained! And it had gone unnoticed until now. As the signature goes underneath the front piece of decorative wood, I'm guessing that it is the signature of the maker of the chair (and the chair is over a hundred years old - we're thinking at least 120.) I was quite excited upon finding it and have been trying to decipher what it says . . . so far I haven't been able to figure it out for certain, but there does appear to also be part of an address and something else underneath the signature, but the words are either too faint (or missing all together) for me to tell what it is. Sadly, it will probably forever remain a mystery!

After all this took place, we started wondering what the chair that Leah was going t
o re-cane looked like underneath the caning. So we pulled that one out too and Leah took the seat off of it. Thankfully, that one is fine!

So it doesn't look like I'll be doing any caning any time soon as I'll have to wait until we have time to fix the chair. I was able to start on another handwork project, though, which has been fun . . .

Almost finished . . .

We had found some old-fashioned iron-on transfers awhile back, and then my Mom had gotten us some tea towels to embroider them on. With them, Leah and I are each planning on doing a 'days of the week' set. It had been awhile since I had done embroidery, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Wonderful Afternoon

After a significant cold spell here in Missouri, the temperatures have been warming up this week and yesterday it got up to 46 degrees . . . a whole 60 degrees warmer than what it was Sunday morning! (It was -16 with a -31 wind chill then.) It was so beautiful outside!! Leah and I spent part of the afternoon enjoying the warmer temperatures (without needing coats, gloves, etc. :), and playing with our dogs in the snow. What a very fun time we had!

Leah and Mandy

Lassie and Me

Mandy and Lassie . . . there must have been something 'interesting' under the snow as both were smelling and pushing their muzzles through the snow like crazy at this spot.

This was the start of some fun . . . wanting to play with Lassie, I made a snowball and pushed a piece of dog food into it with the thought that I would throw the snowball and then she'd chase after it and find the dog food piece (we've done things like that before.) Only thing is, she got so excited she didn't want to wait!

Anyone who knows Lassie will know that she is one of the most laid back, unexcitable dogs there is, but yesterday, she was bouncing around like a puppy (not like her eleven years of age!), and it was so fun watching her! But unfortunately, her retrieving skills are quite lacking ;), and Mandy found the snowball and treat first . . .

Finding the dog food (I gave a piece to Lassie, too :)

After playing, Lassie headed over to a place underneath one of the trees where the snow had all melted and did one of her favorite things . . . roll . . . and this is what she came up looking like! Somebody needs a face cleaning I think . . . :)

Mandy on a mission

Leah and Mandy
At this point of our time outside, Mandy must have been feeling rather unphotogenic and was being quite entertaining in her attempts to not do what Leah wanted her to do! From not looking over at me (purposefully!), to having the most pitiful expressions on her face, to trying to lay down and roll over instead of sitting up . . . but we still managed to get a decent photo. :)

And then she could lay down. :)

Lassie and I walking down our driveway

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lots of Yarn and Many Hours Later . . .

. . . and all eight strips for the afghan were finished, and it was time to weave them together . . .

I worked on this over the weekend and then this morning, the last strip was attached, the rest of the yarn ends were woven in, and the end result was . . .

A completed afghan! So that's one of my wintertime projects that is finished, and now it is on to another . . .

This one is to re-cane another of our chairs that have been passed down through our family. The chairs are over a 100 years old, and their seats have worn out over time. So far two have been re-caned, and there are two more left to go. I'm looking forward to getting started on this one! (which I hope to do this week. :)

And as a little update . . . back when I baked and pureed some of our winter squash, I mentioned that I was going to try to use the squash puree in place of pumpkin in our pumpkin butter and pie recipes. Well, I tried this several weeks ago (but forgot to post about it!), and . . . both were a success! Now if the seeds that I saved from the squash will just grow and produce this coming gardening season . . . :)

A squash pie that Leah and I had an enjoyable time making together this morning.

Friday, January 8, 2010

After the Storm

This past Wednesday, we had a winter storm come through here, and it left in its wake beautiful snow and also quite cold temperatures. The windchills have ranged from -2 to -16 with highs in the single digits to low teens. And . . . it's going to be even colder over the next few days. If this is global warming, I sure would hate to see what global cooling is! :)

As is usual after a new snowfall, I took a walk Thursday morning and had an enjoyable time photographing for a bit. Before that, though, the animals needed to be taken care of . . .

The dogs patiently waiting

The chicken coop before the chores were done - thus why the snow is still fresh on the steps. :)

Once the animals were fed and had fresh, warm water in their waterers, then I went for the walk . . .

Looking out across our neighbor's pasture with one of the few remaining wooden fence posts in the foreground.

Snow covered Mugo Pine

Once green and blooming, now all that remains of the summertime Queen Anne's Lace are their dead and shriveled flower heads . . . yet they fit well with the wintertime scene with the snow on them.

Someone, or I should say, something, was here before me :) . . . it's always fun after a snow to see all of the animal tracks! These particular ones were deer.

Snow caught in the bark of a shagbark hickory tree

Looking down part of our driveway

It isn't quite as pretty out now as the strong winds have blown much of the snow out of the trees. One thing that's nice, though, is that with the wind, it doesn't take long for our footprints to be covered so it almost has the feel of having a fresh snowfall each time we go outdoors!

And now I'm off to once again head outside to take care of the animals . . . :)