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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well, I did it....



I entered my first quilt contest.   I'm not sure why, because I know that it it was closely looked at, it's far from being a quality piece of workmanship.  I'm still learning. ;-)   But, I really love this quilt and on Friday it's going to be packed up until next Autumn.  So, I thought I'd give it a shot.  The contest is being hosted at Quilting Gallery and this weeks theme is "Thanksgiving" so I am going for it.  I entered.  lol

If you'd like to stop by their site and vote, that would be wonderful, even if it's not for my quilt!  ;-)  There are so many talented quilters out there.....and it's a great prize that's up for grabs!  Voting starts on Friday. :-)

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

I spent this morning doing some cooking for Thanksgiving.  Yep.  Already.  I know that there is no way that I can handle standing the entire day on Thursday cooking, so I've decided to break things up into three days worth.  Today I made my grandma's candied cinnamon apples, a cheese ball and got the cucumbers soaking for sour cream cucumbers.  Tomorrow, I'll finish the cucumbers, make two pumpkin pies and a real cheesecake.  Then, I'll just have casseroles to bake up on Thursday.  The wonderful thing is that my husband smokes the turkey, so I have my oven to myself all day!  

I'm really not looking forward to being pregnant on Thanksgiving. Well, I'm not looking forward to my next OB check the first Monday of December and getting on that scale! lol  I had my check-up yesterday and somehow I gained 4 pounds the past two weeks!  I'm not sure what happened, because I haven't been eating any different or worse....I've only been gaining about 1/2 a pound each visit my whole pregnancy.  So, as I'm doing all of this baking and looking at all of the containers of sour cream, cream cheese, and butter.....ugh!  lol  It's just not fair!  But, I'm pretty sure that at least one of those pounds that I gained was in the clothes I had on.  I was so cold yesterday and had a cam on, a t-shirt, and two sweaters, not to mention knee highs and jeans.  That all adds up, right? lol 

Are you all ready for the big day?  Before we know it, it will be Christmas......this time of year always goes by so fast!  

Take care and God Bless,
di


Monday, November 22, 2010

My Plan Monday.....

Okay, here we are!  It's the week of Thanksgiving!  I just can't believe it.   We've already had a long morning here.  GG was up before 6 a.m. (she usually sleeps until 10 a.m.!) because she had a bad dream.  I had been up since before 5 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep because I just couldn't get comfortable and my stomach feels a little icky.  So, we've both been up and way too early than we are used to!  I'm just hoping that she takes a nap soon, so that I can try to rest as well.  My stomach still feels icky and I'm hoping it's just because I'm overly tired and not because I'm catching the stomach flu. Oh, that would just be horrible!  29 weeks pregnant with the stomach flu and during the week of Thanksgiving!  That would not be good!

I've been getting really anxious to start bringing out Christmas decorations, but I refuse to put any out until after Thanksgiving.  ;-) Plus, I've been enjoying the Autumn table topper quilt that I made so much, I'm going to hate to put it away.  It's been chilly here in the Heartland and I'm not liking it too much.  It always takes me a month or so to get used to it.  I've been freezing for the past few weeks, to the point of wearing my Long John's underneath my clothes!   But, by February and we're having 30 degree weather, I'll be running around without a coat on, because we had just gone through December and January with below freezing temperatures and blizzard-like winds!

I had a pretty productive weekend.  I even did our weekly grocery shopping by myself this week.  I know, it sounds silly, but usually my husband goes and that means that our 3-year old goes, too.  He always keeps her and they go get things, but I must admit that it sure was nice to go by myself this time, especially since I was doing some serious, Thanksgiving dinner shopping.  I only bought food for meals through Thursday.  Our grocery budget is actually for Friday through Thursday.  So, it's been hard for me to share menus for Monday-Sunday, because that's now how I plan them.  I might just start sharing them the way that I do them, because it will just be easier.

So, here's the menu for this week!

Sunday- Szechuan Noodles with Chicken (stirred in afterwards, since I don't eat chicken!), Green Beans in Miso Sauce
Monday- Guiltless Alfredo Sauce on Fettuccine , Steamed Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce, Lettuce Salad
Tuesday - Hashbrown Quiche, Fruit Salad
Wednesday - Best Tuna Melts, Roasted Heirloom Potatoes
Thursday - Thanksgiving Day- Smoked Turkey, Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Chicken Patties with white gravy for me, Golden Corn Bake, Green Bean Casserole, Stuffind, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Cucumbers in Sour Cream, Grandma's Candied Cinnamon Apples, Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake with Cherry Topping
Friday - Leftovers!

And, to snack on Thursday through the weekend football games:  Relish Tray, Vegetables with Ranch Dip, and Creamy Cheese Ball with Crackers

I'm going to break things up and try to cook a few things on Tuesday, Wednesday and then the rest on Thursday.  The best thing about my husband smoking the turkey is that it doesn't hog up oven all day!  But, I figure that I'll make the cinnamon apples and cucumbers in sour cream on Tuesday, because they get better after a day or so.  Then make the pumpkin pies and cheese cake on Wednesday.  Then I'll just need to bake the corn casserole and green bean casserole on Thursday.


As far as other projects for this week, all my free time will be spent finishing up my Ritzy Cracker Quilt. I finished the quilt top and backing last night.  Now the fun part, pinning the sandwich all together!  Ugh.  It really tries my patience!  I'm really excited about machine quilting this one and hopefully getting it done by this weekend.

Time to try to rest up a bit......

Take care and God Bless!
di

Friday, November 19, 2010

WIP's for Sew and Tell Friday :-)

Good afternoon everyone!  Well, it has been one crazy week here at my house.  My poor husband has been working non-stop since Saturday night.  I'm talking, up at 4 a.m. and working late into the night, once until 1:30 a.m. the next day!   I'll just say that he's been working so much, I almost think it would have been better if he had gone out of town for business.  At least that way it would have been easier on me.  I know that sounds strange, but it's hard when he has to work so much like that, but I know he's still here in town and not far away from me.  It seems worse when he's close by, but I still can't see him.  At least when he's out of town, I KNOW that I can't see him. lol  I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but I don't feel like anything makes much sense this week.  I'm tired and worn out from my week-long, no breaks from my no-napping, non-stop talking three year old, sweetie, GG.  I'm just incredibly grateful that tonight is my FarmGirl meeting, so I get some time away tonight with the girls!  FarmGirls are groups of ladies who enjoy the magazine Mary Jane's Farm and I'm lucky enough to have an awesome group of ladies who get together once a month.  Sometimes we make things, sometimes we cook, sometimes we just sit, chat and laugh a lot.  It's wonderful!

I spent this week finishing up a baby quilt.  I can't share it just yet, but hopefully I will be able to soon!  Now it's just waiting for it's recipient to be born!  I am also waiting because I want to put his name, birthdate and such on the label.  I'm really excited how this quilt turned out, too!  I was excited at first, then started doubting my color choices, then started liking it again, then more doubt started sinking in, but now that it's all together and finished, I'm just thrilled to pieces with it! :-)

With that project finished, I was able to start working on my Ritzy Cracker Quilt by Mary Lane Brown from the Tulip Patch through the Moda Bake Shop.   I'm using Moda Fruitcake charm packs by Basic Grey.
I've been working on this one bit by bit each day.  One night I cut the charms....

The next night I sewed the first part of the block together and yesterday I sewed the patterned triangles on to each block.
Today I've been working on sewing all of the white triangles onto each block.  I'll be working on this tomorrow, too, since I'll be gone all this evening.  This is the most involved block that I've worked on to date.  And, my first time using triangles!  So, I've been going slow and making sure that I have them centered and such.
Here is what one of the finished blocks looks like.  I just have 41 more to do! lol  Then the fun part.  I get to decide how I want to lay them all out.  This is the first time that I get to make a decision like this!  There are several different layouts for this block to make the quilt top, so I guess I'll just play around with them and see what I like the best.  I've never had choices like this before and I'm used to being told how to lay each block out, so this is another first for me!

Oh, and look what I got in the mail yesterday!!!!!  Isn't it beautiful????  Oh, I just can't wait to open this up and see all of the amazing fabrics!


Another first......my first time purchasing fabric on-line.  I bought this jelly roll through The Fat Quarter Shop and had a great experience with them.  I ordered it late on Sunday night and it arrived in the mail Thursday afternoon.  Great service!  I am going to turn this into a quilt for the living room.  Hopefully I will get it done before Christmas! lol  I am just swooning over this jelly roll and couldn't live with out it.  It fits our color scheme perfectly, with the bright reds and greens to the blue, which matches the walls in our living room.  I can't wait to start working on this!  Now the hard part though, deciding which pattern to use!
I guess I have a semi-finish to share this week......I finished up this embroidery one night when I just couldn't sit at the sewing machine anymore.  My belly is getting too big and my ribs start killing me if I sit too long.  So, I picked this up and finished it up one night.  I love it to pieces and I am going to put it on a mug rug.  It's a free pattern from Wild Olive.

So, that's it for my rambling today!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and have some time to get crafty!  Can you believe that it's almost Thanksgiving?????

I'm linking up with Amylouwho's Sew & Tell Friday's......be sure to click on the image below and visit all of the other wonderful and amazingly talented ladies out there who are sharing this week!


God Bless,
di

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{Virtual} Coffee.....


Good morning......thanks for joining me for coffee today....well, I have to admit that I forgot to buy myself some decaff coffee beans over the weekend and I'm still coffee-less....so, it's a packet of instant spiced apple cider for me this morning.  For some strange reason, I can't drink hot tea in the morning.  I haven't ever been able to.  It makes my stomach upset.  So, thank goodness I have these cider packets.  I really needed something warm and comforting this morning.

If we were sitting down for coffee today, the first thing that I would do would be to thank you for visiting with me.  Especially if you stopped by last week and talked to me.  Last week wasn't going well for us at all as a family, and I had to do some real-life venting.  I sure hope I didn't scare anyone away!

I'd tell you that things are going better this week and we actually had a busy weekend running here and there.  We had big plans of going to our new Trader Joe's and when we went outside Friday night to get in the car, we were greeted with a thick blanket of snow that was covering everything!  Oh, it was so icky out, too!  It was that sleeting/snow mix and the roads were covered with slush.  So, we put off going to Trader Joe's, but trekked out in the muck to get our Indian carry-out. lol  I do love the snow, but I hate the cold.  And boy, does it ever get cold here in the Heartland in the winter!  Last year, we were covered under many feet of snow the entire winter.  It was awful!  This year, I'm due with Peanut right in the middle of winter......I'm just very, very grateful that we have a 4-wheel drive SUV and live only a few blocks from the hospital and it's pretty much down hill most of the way. lol

I'd tell you that last night I was able to finish a baby quilt for a dear friend.  I'm so excited to have it done!  It's in the washer right now and after its' all dried, it will be all snuggly and have those fun wrinkles in it from the machine quilting.  Then I'd whisper to you this silly secret.....that every time I wash and dry a quilt that I've made, I get so afraid that I'm going to open the door to the washer or dryer and it's going to have fallen apart. lol  Isn't that the silliest thing?  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because I've sat for so many hours sewing all of those pieces together.....but when I open that dryer and see my quilt still in one piece, I always breathe a sigh of relief!  I also have fabric washing for my next quilt which is going to be made from Christmas fabric and kept on top of our dinner table through Christmas.  I can't wait to get started on it!

I'd also have to confess that I bought another sewing book.  I just haven't been able to resist all of the amazing books out there that are full of fun and beautiful sewing projects.  Thank goodness for Borders coupons!  I also ordered my first jelly roll of fabric......it's Christmas-themed too and I am so anxious for that to come in the mail!  I think that quilting has been my form of nesting, because I've been sewing up a storm for the past few months.  :-)

I sure hope that you are all doing well and had a good week.  I still can't believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I wonder if we're going to have a White Thanksgiving?  I just got our weather update on my phone and they are calling for snow early tomorrow morning......we still have a bit left in the shadows here and there in the neighborhood.  And I ready for winter?  Are you? lol

Take care and thanks so much for joining me for coffee, well hot  spiced apple cider, this morning!

God Bless,
di

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Plan Monday


Well, here we are and it's Monday again.  And, we're getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving!  I just can't believe that!  Have you started planning your Thanksgiving Dinner yet?  I haven't!  And, I'm not quite sure what to do either.  My son is working all that week, including Thanksgiving Day, he has a steady girlfriend and I'm not sure if she's going to make it over at all, my mom isn't going to be able to come up this year, so it's just us.  My oldest daughter will not be joining us because of the horrible conflict she insists on bringing into our house, which is sad but necessary.  I will probably make what I always make, and those things all make copious amounts, so we will be able to live off of left-overs for at least a week after our big dinner.  lol

We ended up having a very busy weekend.  Friday night we were hit with our first Winter Storm Watch.  My husband and I decided to get carry-out from our favorite Indian restaurant, opened up the garage door to run and get our food and everything was completely covered in at least an inch of snow!  It was pretty icky driving, but that didn't stop us from getting that food. lol  I adore Indian food and that warm, spicy dinner was just the right thing on a snowy, cold night.

We did all sorts of running around with errands on Saturday and Sunday.  Which was good, because we got a lot done, but bad, because we didn't really plan meals too well, so we went to the grocery store both of those evenings to buy things for dinner that night.  I'm really not quite sure why, but if I had planned those two meals and bought the food with our weekly groceries, we would have been fine with our budgeted money for that week.  But for some reason, after getting our grocery money on Friday, getting carry-out on Friday and then shopping Saturday and Sunday for meals, we have about $40 left for groceries until next Friday!  So, needless to say, there won't be a nice menu plan for this week for me to share.  It's going to be "scavenging in the kitchen" menu week. lol  Which is probably good, because I do have things for meals that will last us through till Friday and no matter what, we are determined to stick to our "cash only" budget.

So, just sitting here and thinking about what I have on hand in the kitchen that I can make for dinner the next few days, I can sketch out this meal plan:

Monday- spaghetti and sauce, veggie from freezer, french bread
Tuesday- oven BBQ chicken, oven fried potatoes, biscuits
Wednesday- tuna patties, rice, fruit salad
Thursday- pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit
Friday- Yeah!  Time to run to the store!  We did it, back to real menu planning and sticking to it!

Going through weeks like this really helps me see how important menu planning is for us to stick to our grocery budget each week and to just keep me sane.  It's just too stressful for me to wake up in the morning and think, um....what should we have for dinner tonight?  If I have it all planned out ahead of time, I wake up, look at my paper on the fridge and it says, "You're making this today for dinner!" and I say, "Great! Guess I'm making that for dinner tonight!  No worries!" lol


As for things on my "To-Do" list......well, I'm still working on that one quilt that I shared a little peek of on Friday.  This morning I pinned the binding strips together and as soon as my little one wakes up, I will sew them together.  I just don't have a place where I can go sew quietly.  Not that my machine is loud, but I want her to sleep as long as she can!  So, my goal is to get that binding on completely today and it's finished.  Right now it's sitting on a kitchen chair all folded up and it looks so neat.  I really need to stack up the few quilts that I have here that I've made and kept and get a picture.  I absolutely love the pictures I see on other quilter's blogs of stacks of folded quilts!

Then, it's time to start working on the Christmas table topper quilt.  I have the charm packs cut out and waiting.  I just need to cut out the white pieces of fabric and I can start sewing the blocks together.  This is a new block for me to try and a little more involved.  I'm moving into working with a new shape, triangles!  So, I'm going to take it slow and do my best to keep my seams all nice and happy.  

In our running around over the weekend, we stopped by Borders and I had to buy another sewing book, of course.  It's turned into an addiction!  But, I had $10 in Borders Bucks and a 33% off coupon.  I had to use that $10, right? lol  So, I picked up "Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials" by Betz White.   I've picked this one up several times, but always ended up buying something else instead.  I'm so glad I got it!  It has some great projects in it and I can't wait to start sewing some of them up!  I also got the Winter 2010 issue of Quilts and More.  I absolutely love this magazine and I sure wish that I was published more then 4 times a year.  It's always fun of a great variety of projects.  I'm so excited, because I found a quilt in it that I am so excited to make!  It's actually the quilt on the cover.....the version of the quilt that's inside the magazine is what sold me on the pattern.  I'm pretty sure it's the colors that sold me on it, too. lol   I have been eying the Bliss jelly roll for awhile and this is the quilt I'm going to make with it!  I think it will look great in our living room!

Well, I've rambled on quite a bit this morning and not my little one is awake, so I had better go and start my day!  I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and are able to spend some time today doing something crafty!

God Bless!
di

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread with Streusel Topping


Yes, another pumpkin recipe......are you getting tired of me sharing them yet? lol  I just had to try this one, because I LOVE cranberries.  I have to admit that I even eat them raw, by the handfuls.  I have since I was a kid......they are so tart, but I just love them.  ;-)

So, yesterday I knew that I was going to have the oven on later to make cornbread muffins, so I decided to go ahead and make this quick bread, too.  I found the recipe at All Recipes and after reading through some of the comments, I went ahead and used some of their suggestions for changing up the recipe.  You can find the original recipe here at All Recipes.  As I was making this, I discovered that I had less than 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.  Someone said they used half applesauce/half vegetable oil and I didn't have any of applesauce either.  But, I do have a cupboard full of Cranapple Butter that I made in August, so I used that.  I also decided to add a streusel topping.  I absolutely adore streusel and couldn't resist putting it on top of this bread!  When I make this again, I will probably add more cranberries, because I love them so.  You could also add some chopped walnuts or something like that, but I'm not a huge fan of nuts in my quick breads. ;-)

This makes two loaves, so I sliced one of them up for my husband to take to work today.  I told him to share and make some friends. lol  They always love getting homemade treats there. ;-)


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread with Streusel Topping:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, sliced in half

streusel topping:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, apple sauce and orange juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

Mix together the sugar and flour.  Using a large cheese grater, grate the butter into the bowl with the flour and sugar.  Add in some ground cinnamon.  I didn't measure it, I just added it until it looked good. lol  Using my hands, I mixed everything together until it started coming together in large pea sized pieces.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of each loaf.  

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


This smells so good when it's cooking!  I sliced one up last night for my husband.  It was still really moist and a little hard to handle.  But, the slice that I cut this morning from our loaf was just perfect!  So, letting it sit overnight really helped it a lot.  

I hope you enjoy this one!  It's so yummy!  Humm.......now, what pumpkin recipe can I try next?

God Bless, 
di

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sew and Tell Friday.....

I had to go on a bit of a sewing hiatus this month, because my dear husband took over my sewing machine.  He volunteered to make my daughter this coat for Halloween.   I must admit, it was the hardest thing I've done in a long time!  It wasn't the having my husband sew it instead of me, because he is actually a good sewer and has sewn several of my son's costumes from scratch......as in he designed and constructed it without a pattern.  Something that I could NEVER do! lol  The hard part was sitting in my living room and listening to him at the dinner table trying to sew that coat.   Let's just say that the coat was made of vinyl, my machine didn't like it and didn't want to sew it nicely, the thread and tension was all messed up no matter what setting it was on, and he was very frustrated.  (I would have been, too, and have since promised myself to not touch vinyl unless it was a life or death sewing situation. lol)  So, just imagine sitting in a different room, listening to your poor sewing machine rev, hearing needles break, and having lots of not too nice words being said to it. lol  I tried to read, but it didn't work.  I tried to watch TV and that didn't work either.  But, he finally finished it, my daughter loved it and she looked great on Halloween!  

Whew.

Now I have my dear sewing machine back.  I've been treating it gently and giving it positive words of encouragement.....it's helped me sew 3 quilts in the past 2 months!  It's a trooper and needs a little TLC now. lol   

So,  I started out with an easy project that I've been wanting to make from a tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew!  A case for my new cell phone.  The case is designed for a camera, iPod, etc., but it actually works just fine for my phone.  I guess I could have taken the sides in a bit, because there is quite a bit of wiggle room for my phone, but that's okay.  It was a fun and easy project and a great way for me to get back to sewing.  This project only took me an hour or less to make, and would have come together real fast if I didn't have my little helper by my side getting into all of my supplies. ;-)

I dove into my scraps for this project and used some Amy Butler fabric that was left over from a baby sling I made for my daughter.  I also used 2 vintage buttons stacked on top of each other and adde a bow to the elastic loop, because I didn't like that so much of my loop showed when I had the case shut.  Silly, I know, but I had to make the loop a little big because the button was so wide.  And, I do like bows anyway! ;-)

After I made the case, I started and finished a car seat blanket cover that I shared the other day and you can see it here.   Now I need to figure out what project I'm going to start sewing for Peanut next!  I have a very long list to choose from! 


I'm also excited to say that I finally started machine-quilting this quilt today.  I need to finish it soon and have had it pinned and ready to go for a couple of weeks.  Now it's time to get to work and get this one quilted and finished!   This is a special gift and I don't want to show any more of it until it's safely in the hands of it's recipient.  ;-)  


While I was in no-sew limbo and not working on the quilt I just showed you, I started cutting two Fruit Cake charm packs up to make this quilt from the Moda Bake Shop.  I'd really like to get it done by the beginning of December, so that we can enjoy it all month long.


And I just had to start this......I just couldn't resist.  I absolutely ADORE Pumpkin Spice Lattes and it was just a requirement for me to stitch this up!  I think I'm going to put it on a mug rug.....something else that I've really been wanting to make for quite awhile.  I just love all of the amazing mug rugs that I'm seeing at so many blogs!

So, once again, I have several things going on at the same time....lol  I'm not really sure if I can function with only one project going.  I need the fun and opportunity to switch from thing to thing, if I want to.  Guess that's just my side-tracked, right-brained nature. lol

I'm linking this up to Sew and Tell Friday's at Amylouwho's!  Be sure to visit her site and then go see all of the talented ladies who are sharing their amazing creations!


Take care and God Bless!
di

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple Pleasures and a recipe share.....

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. - Hebrews 12:11


Dayle, from A Collection of This and That, has a wonderful link share every Thursday called, Simple Pleasures, and I'm so happy to be participating this week for my first time.


I chose the Bible verse above, because I have honestly been struggling with disciplining my prayer life for quite awhile now.  A lot of struggles have been hitting me one after the other and instead of sinking myself into prayer and trust in the Lord, I've been wallowing in despair and sadness.


When I started thinking about my Simple Pleasure for this week, the first thing that I thought of was pumpkins.  I've been making all sorts of yummy goodies since October using this humble squash.  And, pumpkins naturally make me think of Autumn and harvest.  So I went to my favorite online Bible resource, Bible Gateway, and searched on the word Harvest.  This verse from Hebrews really spoke to me, because discipline is exactly what I need and has been the hardest thing for me to do.  Reading this verse and it's promise of righteousness and peace for those who practice discipline is exactly what I needed to hear.  Isn't that the more important and special Simple Pleasure of all?  When the Bible speaks to you about what you really need to hear?


And, since I have been making so many pumpkin desserts lately, here is one that I made yesterday.....and has definitely been a Simple Pleasure for my whole family.....Spiced Pumpkin Fudge.  It is simply delicious and smells heavenly!



Spiced Pumpkin Fudge - 
(original recipe can be found here at All Recipes)



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Line 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil.

  • Combine sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F to 240 F (soft-ball stage).

  • Quickly stir in morsels, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until morsels are melted. Immediately pour into prepared pan. Let stand on wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate tightly covered. To cut, lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 3 pounds.


Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you try the Spiced Pumpkin Fudge.  It's really yummy!  Also, be sure to visit all of the wonderful blogs who are sharing their Simple Pleasures at A Collection of This and That, you will be be happy you did!



Project Simple Pleasures2

God Bless, 
di

{Virtual} Coffee.....


I stumbled upon a really neat blog a week or so ago called Lucky Number 13 and every Tuesday Amy hosts {Virtual} Coffee.  Well, being a coffee addict, I naturally fell in love with this idea and after visiting a few of the blogs in this weeks link party (I haven't finished visiting them all yet!), I knew that this was a wonderful group of ladies who I'd like to get to know better.

I have to admit though, that I have struggled all day with trying to decide if I should sit and share coffee with you all or not.  Or  wait until next week or the week after that.  I don't want this post to turn into a pity party on my behalf and pretty much just a real downer for any one who might read it.  But, this is real life that we are talking about and it surely isn't always sunny and perfect.  So, since we are sitting down as friends and having some coffee and conversation, I guess I will slightly touch on what has really been going on in my life.

If we were sitting down for coffee......I would probably hesitate to tell you about these past few months.  More so from embarrassment and shame than anything else.  I'd tell you that I never thought it would be so hard to be a parent and that when I was holding my first child, I would have never believed that she would be putting us through the things that we've gone through the past 5 years.

I'd tell you that my embarrassment and shame doesn't come from anything that I did.....but from the effects of felling responsible for the things my oldest daughter has done and is still doing.  That we, as mothers, always feel responsible from what our children do, how they act, how they treat people, what they say, etc.....it's just part of being a mom, right?  We raised them, we taught them what was right and wrong, we nurtured them......how can it not be our fault when they decide to turn to the dark side?

I'd tell you that nothing has been harder than accepting that I am not responsible for my child's behaviors now.  She is 19.  She's an adult.  She moved out this past June.  She's making her own choices and she is the one who has to deal with them.  Not me.  Not anymore.  I have to move on.  I did my best and it's out of my hands now and only in Gods.  I have to make peace with that.

Then, I'd probably try to change the subject to something happier, like how wonderful and amazing it has been to watch my two other teenagers grow up into respectable and responsible young adults, who are caring and kind people.  See, I did okay.  I'm not a failure of a parent.  That's what I'd be telling us both.....trying to reassure myself that that's the truth.

Then I would probably start feeling a little guilty for taking over our conversion with such a deep topic.  I've been dealing with all of this hurt and pain for so long and it seems like the only thing I have to talk about.

But it's not.  So, knowing me, I'd be staring on my second cup of coffee by now.....either Pumpkin Spice Latte or an Egg Nog Latte (oh how I love the Autumn fun coffees!)  Do you need another cup?  I tend to ramble sometimes...... ;-)

So, I'd sit back and tell you of all of the blessings in my life that have been keeping me going and helping me stay strong.  My son, who is a senior in high school, who has a great job and an amazing girl friend.  My "bud man" who's grown up to towering at least a foot over me and still doesn't seem too embarrassed if I hug on him.  lol  Of my daughter, who is a freshman in high school, who is the kindest girl I know, an amazing artist and writer.  Watching her blossom into a young lady has been a joy.  I'd tell you about my little, surprise blessing GG, who's 3, and every bit a 3-year old. lol  She's my little helper and always by my side.   And then I'd tell you about Peanut.  Our little man who's kicking away happily in my belly right now.   I was so afraid we wouldn't be able to have him, because I had problems conceiving this time for some reason.....well, I have a feeling a lot of it was because of all of the stress I was going through with our oldest.  But, he's on his way, looking perfect in all of his tests and measurements, even though I'm high-risk since I'm over 40 (how I got over forty is beyond me! lol)

As we chat, I'd start feeling better......there isn't anything nicer than having a friend to talk to, especially over coffee.  And then I would be anxious to hear all about you.  Do you have older children?  Have you had any struggles?  How about a wide gap in children, like I do?  Are you thinking about Thanksgiving yet?  What are you plans?  Are you trying any new recipes?  Oh, how I love to cook and bake and try new things!  Do you have something yummy you could share with me?

Before we finish our coffee, I would thank you whole-heartedly for visiting with me.  I'd thank you for being there to listen.  Even to all of the yucky things I had to share.  I'd thank you for sharing about yourself and ask you to meet me next week for coffee.  I promise I won't always be this deep in my conversations.....it's just been one of those weeks. ;-)

Take care and God Bless,
di

Sewing for Mr. Peanut

Good morning!  We had a rough morning here with my little one, so I'm up and in a quiet house at 9 a.m. which is very rare!  She woke up at 4 a.m. with a bad dream and my husband ended staying up with her in the living room all morning.  She's asleep beside me on the couch still, so I have some time to share with you some of the projects I've finished these past few weeks for our little man who's arriving in February.  

I have been on a massive sewing book kick.....I'm pretty sure that I'm Border's favorite customer.....and this first project come from the book, "Simple Sewing for Baby" by Lotta Jansdotter.   This book has some neat projects in it and there are several more items that I am planning to sew soon.  I made the baby snuggler and the author has actually shared this pattern for free on Craftzine blog here.  This was a pretty easy to sew together and if I hadn't had my 3-year old helper with me, I could have finished it in a day.

Just some cute fabric I found at Hancock for the outside

And some snuggly flannel for the inside.  I am planning on making several more of these!  Especially since we're having a winter baby and it's frigid here in the Heartland during the winter.

The next thing that I made were these burp cloths.  I just couldn't resist.  It was the chenille that lured me into this project and just the pure snuggliness of these cloths.  The tutorial on how to make these can be found here at the Craftaholics Anonymous blog.  GG was playing well while I was making these, so I got four of them done in an evening.  My only recommendation is to use your walking foot, if you have one, to sew these together.  It's pretty much like sewing a quilt sandwich together (2 layers of fabric and one layer of batting) so my fabrics wanted to shift and move around a lot when I was using my regular presser foot.  As soon as I switched to my walking foot, the problem was pretty much solved.  Once again, saved by my walking foot!  I tell ya, it's the best sewing purchase I have ever made and worth every penny!
I used some super cute flannel that I found at our local quilt store for the front and light yellow chenille for the back.  I bought the chenille at Hancocks, because it's very pricy ($12.99 a yard!) and I'm a sewer on a strict budget.  It was kinda stiff when I bought it and not cuddly at all, but as soon as I washed it, wow, it's soft and I can't wait to make some more of these!

The last project I want to share with you is this car seat blanket/cover.  I was so excited when I found this tutorial at the Make it Do blog.  This is our 5th child and we have gone through many severely cold and blustery winter days toting around a little one in their car seat with a blanket draped over the top.   A lot of times the wind would blow it off and it was hard to hold the blanket in your hand as it was laying on top of the handle while you carried it.  Well, this great blanket attaches to the handle on your car seat with Velcro!  So, no more blanket flying off or hand full of fabric.  Plus, it's just super cute! lol


I lined mine with red fleece.  The tutorial calls for cotton fabric or flannel, but I know that two thin layers of cotton fabric is not going to keep out the horrible winter winds we get here.  So, I went with fleece.  I am planning on making another one of these in lighter weight fabrics for the spring and summer months. GG loved playing with the car seat and putting her babies in it, as you can see. lol
Besides adding the top-stitching around the outside edges, like the tutorial states, I decide to top-stitch on both side where the two different fabrics meet.  I think this makes it look a lot more finished, plus it helps keep the cotton and flannel layers from shifting.  I am just swooning over this vintage cowboy fabric, too!  It's another find at a quilt store.  The horse shoe fabric was a perfect surprise find at Hobby Lobby.

Well, that's all that I've sewn, for now. lol  I have a very long list of things that I'm hoping to complete before Mr. Peanut arrives.  I need to get busy, too!  These last three months always fly by, it seems.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have been able to do something creative, too!

I'm linking up to all of these wonderful blogs link parties!  Be sure to visit them and all of of wonderful people who are sharing their projects this week!


Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


NightOwlCrafting






Take care and God Bless!
di

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Plan Monday

Here we are, it's already Monday again!  I'm not sure what happened to last week, but it really flew by.  The best part of the week was making a quick trip to visit my good friend Jennifer and hand-deliver Mighty Max's quilt!  It was a short visit, but I am so grateful to have seen Jennifer and all of her beautiful children and to meet little Max.  What a miracle he is!

My plan for this week still isn't totally figured out.  ;-)  I spent all day yesterday doing laundry.  I mean ALL DAY!  I had really let things get behind and then being out of town for two days helped pile on to the mountains of clothes.  I actually did too much yesterday, because this morning I am really sore and still tired.  Sometimes I forget that I'm almost 7 months pregnant and carrying around this little guy.  The hardest thing that I did yesterday was to through all of my GG's baby clothes.  She's 3 now and we had 3 huge tubs of clothes in the basement full of her baby clothes.  I was hoping to find some neutral things in there, but EVERYTHING was PINK! lol  So, I need to start buying some clothes, bit by bit, for our little guy.  What made this hard, was that I boxed everything up to donate to charity.  Seeing all of her cute, little clothes and knowing that we weren't going to have any more children after Peanut is born was really hard. Well, unless God blesses us with another child, but in all honesty, I am just getting too old to have another one.  :-(   But, I just kept telling myself that all of these things would help someone and their little blessing and that before I knew it, I'd have drawers full of cute, blue, little boy clothes.

Our menu for this week is pretty simple, because we are recovering from our mini trip we took last week.  Plus, it's just getting to be too much for me to fix huge meals every day for dinner, so this week is an easy one.

This weeks menu:  

Monday - Cheese Ravioli with spaghetti sauce, whatever yummy veggie is on sale, French bread
Tuesday- Waffles, fruit salad
Wednesday- Taco Soup w/ sour cream and Fritos, Cornbread
Thursday- Grilled cheese, French fries, Pasta Salad
Friday- Payday- Carryout Pizza
Saturday- Still deciding on this one!  It's college football game day and our team plays at 6, so I'm trying to decide what fun snacks to make to eat while watching the game. :-)
Sunday- Three Packet Crock-pot roast, Loaded baked potatoes, Salad, Biscuit

Just for fun goodies:

Libby's Pumpkin Cranberry Bread from All Recipes
Spiced Pumpkin Fudge from All Recipes (I tried a recipe last week from my recipe file that I thought was what I had made before.  It DID NOT turn out. :-(  I had to throw it in the trash.  It turned into a grainy, pumpkin carmel.  So, I'm trying a different recipe this week and crossing my fingers!  I can't believe I didn't have the right recipe filed!)

Things to do:


There is only one thing that I'm putting on my to-do list for this week and that's because I need to get it done as quickly as I can.  I need to quilt and bind a baby quilt that I'm making for a friend who is due this month.   So, even though I have tons of things I'd like to work on at the same time, I'm not even going to write those down, because I don't want to tempt myself and get distracted from what's most important this week!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a good week ahead!  I am hoping to share some baby things that I have made these past few weeks with you all soon.  I have the pictures taken and ready to go, it's just finding the time to write out the post! :-)

Take care and God Bless!
di