Wednesday, February 24, 2010

24 on the 24th

Today marks the day when I turn another year older, and I am looking forward to a wonderful day spent with my family! Thankfully, Ryan made it home safely from South Carolina last evening so he'll be here today, too. It was quite an adventure for him coming home as he had one flight canceled (due to plane maintenance) and the second flight he missed due to the airline giving him misinformation; so instead of coming home Sunday, he came home Tuesday. I don't think he and Ashley minded too much, however. :) (It is kind of funny, though, as when he was trying to get down there, he had three canceled flights due to weather! So he had a total of five rescheduled flights with this visit!)

It's so nice to have Ryan home again, and also very nice to hear firsthand all about his special visit down to South Carolina and about all the wedding plans that he and Ashley have made so far. Needless to say, we were all up late last night talking! (late at least for us. :) Because of that, I had probably the earliest birthday greeting I've ever had before as Leah and I went to bed after midnight and shortly after the clock turned, she wished me happy birthday. :) She's so sweet!

This past week or so has been brimful with different things happening, and I have so much to post about and so many photos, but alas, our computer is still 'sick'. It looks like it has a virus so when Ryan has the opportunity, he'll see if he can fix it for us. So as of this point, I still do not have access to my photos! Because of that, I'll have to wait to share about things like girls group, working on repairing an antique chair, nature photos taken on a recent walk, a family outing taken to Ryan's place, and much more. Once the computer is up and running again, there will be a lot to catch up on! So stay tuned, and hopefully 'picture posts' will be coming soon!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Very Exciting and Wonderful News!

It is with great joy, thankfulness, and excitement that my family and I are able to share with you all that Ryan and Ashley are engaged!!!


How very excited and happy our family is for both of them!!! And as a sister, I could not be happier for my brother, Ryan, or for my dear friend, Ashley. To see two young people whom I dearly love brought together in such a way that it could only be of the Lord has been amazing and wonderful to see! We stand in awe of what the Lord has done and are thanking Him for bringing Ryan and Ashley together. His hand has been clearly seen through their relationship from the very beginning to where they are now, and we have so much to thank Him for!


Congratulations to you, Ryan and Ashley!!! May the Lord richly bless you both during these coming months and may He guide your footsteps as you embark on this special and new season in your walk together. I love you both so much!


*To see the beautiful post that Ryan and Ashley did together announcing their engagement, simply follow this link.* :)


Thank you so much Ryan and Ashley for e-mailing me the photos! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pictureless Post

The computer that I use (as well as the one that has all of my photos on it and the one that has my camera's photo download program on it) has something wrong with it . . . as in, I try to do something on the computer and it shuts down. So . . . that means blogging will be put on hold until it gets up and running again. Which hopefully will not be too far down the road!

Here is just a little update, though, of some the things that have been filling my time here this week and hopefully I'll have some photos to share later . . .

~Layering my quilt and pin basting it (now it's ready to quilt!)

~Making a flower arrangement out of some of the goldenrod and grasses that I dried this past summer.

~Planning another two week menu with Leah

~Making a grocery list

~More embroidery (three tea towels are finished now [save for embroidering on the day of the week] and the fourth has been started.)

~Playing out in the snow with Lassie

~and much more!

All in all, it has been a pleasant week so far!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Saturday

Saturday was a busy and enjoyable day! The morning was spent running errands some of which included picking up a number of things for different projects. It feels so nice to have those things as now I can begin working on many of the projects that I have wanted to do! Such as quilting . . .

All of the supplies for the quilt

Yes, I found quilt backing! It is just a plain brown fabric, but it is a close match and is a good quality fabric. But most importantly . . . it will work!! I am really looking forward to starting on the quilt again. The first thing that will need to be done is to press all the fabric, piece together a back, layer the backing,
batting and quilt top, and then pin the layers together. I always enjoy the layering and pinning! Though, it does get kind of hard on the fingers after awhile. :)

Another thing that was picked up on Saturday was wood glue . . .

The wood glue with the 'test sample' I did with scrap boards (which were clamped together while the glue dried)

The carpenter's wood glue is to be used for the chair repair that was mentioned awhile back and is the result of quite a bit of research that I had done a couple of weeks or so ago on what would be the best glue to use (there are a lot of different wood glues!) It finally came down to just a few different glues, but the only way to find out which would be the best for the job, was to try them. So I ended up getting the one that was the highest on my list due to the fact that it was supposed to be a thinner consistency (and thus, would go in the cracks better.) But on the downside, it also has a quick set up time which could be quite the negative if I can't get the glue down in all the cracks and clamp the two pieces together quickly enough!

So on Saturday, I did a 'test sample' to find out 1) how well the glue 'ran' down a board
to find out if the consistency would work, 2) to see how much working time there would be before the glue set up, and 3) how strong of a bond the glue made. One and three came through with flying colors; number two, however, showed that the working time before the glue begins to set up is not very long, but . . . I think it will be long enough! The chair repair is something that I have been looking forward to working on, and now that I have a glue that should work, I likely will be able to start on it soon!

While at the store where we picked up the wood glue, we also got a shop light, which was to go over the seeds that we wanted to plant indoors. I had been wanting to start seeds inside this year, but didn't know of a place where we could do that. Then Leah thought of a place in our room that would work perfectly with just a little setup! So after we got home from town Saturday afternoon, I got the area set up, hung up the light, and then Leah and I planted seeds.

Some of the seeds

Getting everything ready

Leah and I had such a wonderful time together doing this! From the set up to the cleanup, the time was filled with pleasant conversation and some teasing and laughter as well. :) I just love doing things like this with Leah . . . I am blessed to have a sister like her!

Planting seeds (these ones were celery, and they are so tiny!)

The seeds we planted were ones that were left from previous years, so we sowed them thickly just in case they have poor germination rates (then we'll just thin them if necessary.) As our space is limited, we only planted two trays with the majority of the seeds planted being tomato. I am hoping to do a lot more canning of tomatoes this summer (tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, salsa, ketchup, etc.) so hopeful
ly the plants will grow well inside! We also planted green peppers, hot peppers, iceberg lettuce and celery. We've never grown iceberg lettuce before, and celery I have only tried once before (and was unsuccessful with it), so it will be fun trying to grow these new things. Now the trays are sitting up in our room, and it will be exciting when the seeds begin germinating!


So that is a glimpse into our Saturday, and now there are a number of things that will be filling my days over the next several weeks!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Photos

While I am beginning to anticipate spring, I have still been very much enjoying the recent snow that we've received. It's actually snowed just about every day this week, though most times it has been just flurries. Yesterday afternoon it was so beautiful out as the sun was shining through, and these big, beautiful snowflakes were gently falling to the ground. And then it was especially nice the day that it first began snowing (when we received about five inches or so) as it was right around freezing so it felt pretty nice out, and then as it was quite still out, I had the pleasure of just standing outside and listening to the snow falling. I love hearing the sound of it! There's just something about it that is . . . well, peaceful I guess. It's difficult to describe. :)

Yesterday morning I took another walk around our place and down in the woods, and had a wonderful time enjoying the beauty as well as trying to capture some of it in photographs . . .


A snow scene

A fallen tree covered in snow (does anyone else think that it sort of resembles a face? For some reason, that's what I'm reminded of when I look at it!)

The end of a pine tree branch

Looking out across our neighbor's pasture

Another pine tree branch (I always enjoy photographing the pine tree branches, pine cones, etc. after we get snow or ice.)

Hmm . . . I wonder if anything lives in there?

Frost coated grass

Yet another pine tree . . . only this one is a different species.

In addition to the snow, we've also had frost some mornings - the designs that it makes are interesting to see!

One thing that is always fun about snow, is seeing all of the animal tracks. And since the snow has been on the ground for quite awhile, the tracks have really been accumulating! So far, we've seen opossum, rabbit, bird, mouse, and cat tracks as well as the ever present deer tracks. The tracks in the above photo were from deer, and it looks like there were a lot of them around!

Right now, outdoors is primarily gray, white, and brown with kind of a dreary look to it all so this fallen leaf stood out in stark contrast.

So that is a glimpse of what it looks like outdoors here, and as I type, it is snowing again with more light snow in the forecast through Sunday. This is one of the snowiest winters that we've had in Missouri in quite some time, and it has been very much enjoyed so far!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Update

This blog has been a little quiet recently as there just hasn't been too much to post about as of late . . . yes, I've been busy, but nothing too noteworthy. :) Sewing has been the main theme with housework, laundry, taking care of the animals (three times a day now as our temperatures are quite cold again), playing music, working on embroidery, reading, baking/cooking and other miscellaneous things taking place as well.

Yesterday, though, I did something a little out of the ordinary and something that was a first for me . . . washing quilt batting. For the quilt top that I recently finished, I decided to go with a cotton batting with which it is optional whether or not to prewash it before using. If not, when the finished quilt is washed for the first time, there will be some shrinkage, but if the batting is prewashed, there will be minimal to no shrinkage. I decided to go with the latter option. But where to soak and gently wash a piece of king sized batting? (The quilt top is about queen size, but queen size batting was just a little too small so I'm using the next size up.)

The bathtub ended up being the place where the prewashing occurred . . . the tub was partially filled, the batting unfolded and then the attempt was made to get it all wet which took some time! Once the batting was entirely wet, then it was supposed to sit for twenty minutes. Then came trying to squeeze the excess water out of all of that batting . . .

That took awhile! But little by little the water was squeezed out and the pile of batting grew at my feet on the towels that were laid out on the floor. The batting was then dried in the dryer as I didn't have a place large enough to spread it out to air dry. So now the quilt top is ready, the batting is ready, the thread is sitting on the thread rack ready to be used, yet there is one essential item that is still missing. Quilt backing! I still have been unsuccessful in my search for a fabric that matches and fits with what I am envisioning. I'm getting to the point that I'll go with pretty much anything as long as it matches the rest of the quilt at least somewhat! So hopefully, the next trip to the fabric store will result in a quilt backing that will work so that I can get started on the actual quilting. I am really looking forward to that! (And I did decide to go with machine quilting as hand quilting would just take me too long on a project of this size.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

By Request . . . Recipes

Here are the recipes that were requested . . . hope you enjoy them! :)


Herbed Oatmeal Pan Bread


-1-1/2 cups boiling water

-1 cup old-fashioned oats

-2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

-1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)

-1/4 cup sugar

-3 tablespoons butter, softened

-2 teaspoons salt

-1 egg, lightly beaten

-4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour


TOPPING:

-1/4 cup butter, melted, divided
-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

-1 teaspoon dried basil

-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


In a small bowl, combine boiling water and oats; cool to 110°-115°. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, oat mixture and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch dough down and press evenly into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. With a very sharp knife, cut diagonal lines 1-1/2 in. apart completely through dough (a pizza cutter works well. :) Repeat in opposite direction, creating a diamond patter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Redefine pattern by gently poking along cut lines with a knife tip. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and garlic powder. Brush bread with remaining butter; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake for 5 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.
Yield: 8-10 servings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

*we didn't follow this recipe exactly, but added extra of the
some of the spices, all the vegetables, etc.; we also used a 5-qt. crock pot.

-1 pound boneless round steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

-1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

-3 cups water

-2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

-2 medium onions, diced

-3 celery ribs, sliced

-2 carrots, sliced

-3 beef bouillon cubes

-1/2 teaspoon dried basil

-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/4 teaspoon pepper

-1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables


In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 12 ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 6
hours. Add vegetables; cover and cook on high 2 hours longer or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Yield: 8-10 servings (about 2-1/2 quarts).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Parmesan Rolls

-2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

-1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)

-1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)

-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

-1/3 cup butter, melted

-3 tablespoons sugar

-1 teaspoon salt

-1 cup cornmeal

-2 eggs

-4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour


TOPPING:


-1/4 cup butter, melted

-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, Parmesan cheese, butter, sugar, salt, cornmeal and eggs; mix well. Add 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Shape into 24 ovals; dip each into melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.