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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Busy as a bee

Last week I was very busy. I found some old egg crates the kind of foam you put on a bed and I cut them and squeezed them into the window frames like this:





I also cut some to fit the above windows in the ceiling. They sell similar ones in camping catalogs for $15.



Then I took our old camping pads that we used in the tent and slid them behind the living room curtains like this:



With the curtains in place, you don't notice the blue pads.

I also went into our house and removed all the old doors. I propped them up on the outside of the camper along with the crates I use for recycling. In the cracks, I put empty 2 liter bottles and it has really helped with the heating bills!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Garden Designs




Here are some new dishcloth/washcloths I've been working on.

Can you spot the hidden design in the variegated one?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh happy Day!

When we got back from our trip to Kansas, I was going through the mail and happened to pick up the Walmart ad. We got the ads before we left and it never occurred to me to look through them to see what kinds of sales would be happening on Black Friday.

For some time now I've been wanting to get a small crockpot. A 2 quart sized one to be exact. Walmart had one and it was $10. It was exactly what I was wanting except I wanted it to have a warm switch. It only had a high and a low. So, I didn't get it. Then a month or two later the price went up to $12. In Olathe, I noticed that same crockpot was $16. I was so mad that I didn't get it when it was $10.

Well, leafing through the sale ads after our trip, I saw that they had some 2 quart crockpots on sale on Black Friday only for $4!!!! Not only that, but my sister had gotten me a food chopper and it was the same brand as the crockpot. They had the crockpot, food chopper, and hand mixer all for $4 each. It never occured to me to go look at the appliances when we were at Walmart that week. In fact, we went to Walmart several times in one day!

Needless to say, I was quite upset with myself for not checking the ads beforehand. I tried to tell myself that it was over and no point staying upset about it, but you know me... I couldn't let it go. I was so mad!!

We had to go to Walmart today to pick up some groceries and while we were there we looked at some of the christmas items for sale. I told Nick I ought to check to see if by chance they had any of the crockpots left. But I figured there was no way they would have it and it wouldn't be the same price anymore. I saw the aisle they might be on but I was too lazy to go and check. I went and looked once more at the $12 crockpots and thought to myself that I'd just buy that one... knowing I wouldn't be happy with it because it lacked the "warm" switch.

About this time, Nick comes up to me holding a box. Yes! It was the $4 crockpot I had been wanting!!! They were out of red, (which is what I originally wanted) but they had a few white colored ones left. I was sooooo happy!!! I looked at one of the boxes that had been previously opened and it was the exact thing I was wanting. The only thing it didn't have was some recipes in the instruction booklet, or so I thought. When I got in the car, I opened the box to make sure it was all right and found that on the last page were some recipes!!! Quite yummy sounding ones too!!!

Now, I can't wait to start using the crockpot! Yay!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

There is no need to worry about buying presents for people who are hard to shop for and may or may not like your gift. The decorations are simple. It's also the least commercialized holiday. There is no "character" to represent it. It needs no one.

There is no need to run yourself into a frenzy to celebrate this holiday. It is a time to relax and be thankful for what you have. It is the one holiday that brings out the good in one another. It doesn't matter where you are in life, you can be thankful. It is a time to be with family.

The fall season is a time to watch the trees change their colors. And how beautiful are they!

The food is great. Not to mention the yummy desserts. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pumpkin and pecan pie. Why is it that you can eat pumpkin pie year round but it never tastes as good except on Thanksgiving day? Fluffy rolls, green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Mmmmm. And the leftovers! I enjoy eating the leftovers as much as I do on the day of.

It's a time to focus on the good things in our lives. It doesn't matter how bad of a year you might have had, you can always think of something you're grateful for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello!

Has it been that long since I last posted? I can't believe it's almost the end of November already. Time just keeps flying by!

Got settled in the camper and I must say I really love living in the camper. At times I forget I'm not in a regular house because the camper is so roomy. Other times, I feel like I live in a tree house, though that's not a bad thing. It's just our bedroom is elevated and I can look down at the ground. I like the feeling it gives. My favorite place to sit is in the bedroom with the windows/curtains open on both sides and a nice sunbeam coming in.

It used to take me a very long time to settle my mind down and go to sleep. So much, that I swore I would not use the bed for reading or knitting so that I would associate it with sleeping time only. I have not had that problem for years though and as soon as I lay my head down to sleep, I'm out. In fact, Nick often forgets how easily I fall asleep now and will often wake me up within 10 minutes of laying down, convinced I cannot possibly be asleep that fast. I was!

I think it's because I stay more active during the day. I try to get at least one type of physical activity in every day. I do like to knit right before I go to sleep, as it makes me quite drowsy.

Last month around Halloween time we went to see my sister. We had a great time! As usual, I stuffed myself silly! The kids dressed up in their costumes and Matthew had a mini parade at his "school". We went to a bunch of cool stores and ate way too many egg rolls! We tried california rolls for the first time and both are hooked on them now. Thanks, Angel!

The thing I like most about my sister's house is the stairs. I'm always going upstairs to get something it seems and it's a perfect way to exercise. I'll bet I went up and down the stairs during our last visit at least 50 times!

We're planning on going up there for Thanksgiving this month and I can't wait! My parents will be there and it will be nice to see them again. Maybe it will be like it was in Branson and we'll all get to hang out together. Bryan is usually at work when we come and neither Nick or I hardly know him though I'd like that to change. I remember when we all played Balderdash except Nick as he was being a hermit :P and it was so much fun to see Bryan and Angel laughing their heads off. My dad was too!

I promise myself though this time when we go that I won't try to do too much. I don't want to be exhausted when we get home. Speaking of not being exhausted anymore,

Nick started doing yoga and got me hooked on it too. I love the way it makes me feel when I do it. And I haven't even done a full lesson! We plan to take some yoga classes soon. I just need to get me a yoga mat now. More space to do yoga would be nice too, but we haven't decided yet what we're going to do about living arrangements. Plenty of time to think about that though.

Today I'm hanging out at the library while Nick does his bus driving. I'm supposed to be busy at home knitting but I'm almost done with an order that I thought I'd take a break today. I had hoped to have a whole stash of dishcloths and sudsy sacks to offer those interested in buying some for christmas, but I just haven't had time! My goal is to knit plenty up starting next year and offer monthly specials. And if no one buys any, no loss on my part. I just love to knit them period! I told Nick I wanted to sell them in the first place just to keep my yarn stash is full supply.

Speaking of full supply, Nick's grandma found a huge box of yarn for me at a recent garage sale outing. I was thrilled! I also posted a want ad on freecycle and got several new skeins of 100% wool yarn and other types. I'm set when it comes to yarn for now. I'm using the yarn from Nick's grandma to knit teddy bears and other animals. So far, so good. I am stuck right now but a quick question to the knitting club members and I'll be on my way again.

I've got so many projects going on right now it's almost ridiculous. A hat for Tori, a teddy bear, set of washcloth/sudsy sacks for an order, dishcloths for some newlywed friends, a lap quilt, hooked rug, and a cross stitch project for Nick that I'm still working on since 1999.

Nick's off today as he was yesterday and I have to say I'm getting quite spoiled with him being home. I love that we've been married for over 12 years and neither of us is sick of the other! We still value our alone time, but we love our together time more.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why should I try?

I'm the kind of person that if it looks too hard to do, I don't even bother trying. So, when I went looking for knitting patterns to make soap sacks, I steered clear of any that looked difficult. I thought I'd try my hand at crocheting some until I remembered why I hate crocheting. I tend to pull the yarn too tight and then my hand gets all sore and stiff and aches. I tried making soap sacks out of various crochet patterns, but no matter what each one I made turned out very different than the next. (even though I followed the same pattern) It was quite frustrating!

So, last night, I looked through various knitted soap sack patterns again and thought I'd try my hand at trying to figure at least one of them out. I figured if nothing else my knitting friends from the knitting club could help me if I got stuck. I started at 7:30 p.m. and started knitting. By 9:50 I was done! Well, almost. All I need to do now is sew the ends together and add the drawstring part. The hardest part that I was worried that I'd get stuck on, turned out to be the easiest part! I'm so glad I took the time to try the pattern as it is now one of my favorites.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I remember...

Memories from childhood. Not in order.

I remember walking through a field with my sister, we would find snails crawling on the blades of grass and place them on our arms and watch them crawl up and down leaving a slimy trail. I remember goats at a zoo that we would feed stalks of grass.

I remember catching bumblebees with jars and being careful not to get stung. I'm not sure what we did with them after we caught them!

I remember playing a game called Airplane (something my sister and I made up, I'm sure!) on our family's black recliner in the living room. And a game called statue where we had to stand really still in awkward positions.

I remember wading in the neighbor's backyard "creek" after it rained. I always wanted the older girls to carry me because I was worried about stepping on worms.

I remember going to Dairy Queen and being sent in to buy kiddie cones. (because I was the smallest? or maybe the cutest?) lol

I remember running down the basement stairs as fast as I could and tumbling across the mattress doing somersaults. I'd pretend I was a great gymnast.

I remember playing with my rabbit Bunnicula and running barefoot in the grass.

I remember teaching doll classes with my sister to the neighborhood children in our basement crawl space. It reminded me of an indoor tree house. There was a ladder that we climbed to get to it.

I remembered a surprise birthday party my parents threw for me. I was so shocked and surprised! That was the year I got my first pound puppy. My sister liked mine so much she got one too and named hers Sniffles because she was sad that she didn't have one.

I remember playing with my Popples and cabbage patch doll.

I remember taking my doll "Tracy" and my sister's doll "Cassandra" on trips and having people ask us if Angel's doll was real.

I remember eating vanilla pudding in a can and sneaking bites to my dad.

I remember making mud pies with my sister and dissecting worms we'd find by overturning the brick lined walkways.

I remember playing hide and seek with my neighbor friends and playing the game "Ghost in the graveyard".

I remember taking our walkie talkies and "talking" to the airplanes that flew by.

I remember lemonade stands and walking to school.

I remember pretending to be a dog in my sister's classroom and feeling embarrassed when her teacher walked in the room.

I remember pretending to be a dog and lapping water from a bowl. I'd throw my cereal on the carpet and eat if off the floor! My mom sewed me various animal outfits and I practically lived in them.

I remember going to the movies with friends and buying the popcorn and snacks afterwards. My sister and I thought that was so strange that we didn't get to enjoy them while we were watching the movie!

I remember asking my sister to correctly answer a Sunday school question for me so I could get a free piece of candy. And she did!

I remember sneaking into the pantry to eat kool-aid powder and trying to deny it with dyed lips.

I remember making vanilla milkshakes in my toy blender.

I remember climbing up on a stool to reach a jar of raspberry candies at my aunt's house in Texas. They were so delicious!

I remember eating biscuits with chocolate gravy and thinking it was weird that I could eat sweets for breakfast.

I remember making gingerbread houses at Christmas time and sneaking pieces of it to eat.

I remember opening up a chocolate advent calendar and eating way too many pieces in a day.

I remember getting chocolate covered cherries for Christmas from my dad. (he enjoyed them year after year)

I remember going to the hospital when I shoved a pea up my nose.

I remember going to see a movie with my dad and sister and going to the pet store afterwards and coming home with a puppy!

I remember running through the woods to check on my sister who I thought was in a tree house during a storm.

I remember going to the Hydro-Tube. (water park at the mall)

I remember road trips and my mom feeding my sister and I beef jerky and sticky rice. We'd pretend we were birds.

I remember Alpine sledding.

I remember re-enacting stories from the Berenstain Bears books in the condo.

I remember tricking April (my cousin) that I could magically disappear into another room. I'd hide under the bed and then sneak out when she wasn't looking into the secret cubbyhole. It worked!

I remember jumping on the trampoline and doing flips and teaching our cousins square dancing lessons.

I remember Emory, their Great Dane. I loved that dog even though her size scared me!

I remember skateboarding with my dad. His skateboard had a skull on it with a worm coming out of the eye.

I remember he took me to a secret place to go skateboarding. It was beautiful!

I remember big HUGE nets that you could climb up and down on.

I remember going to my other Aunt's house for thanksgiving meals and playing with the cousins.

I remember family reunions in the building next to the library in Farmersville.

I remember walking on the railroads looking for squashed turtles and flattening coins when the trains went by. I remember running after the caboose and yelling "WATER!" and having folks throw us little jugs of water.

I remember going to the Dairy Queen for ice cream.

I remember going to the laundry mat with my mom.

I remember showing up at Granny's house and "surprising" her. She always knew we were coming, and often had a pot of beans and cornbread waiting for us.
She'd open up the hide-a-bed and Dad would find a shriveled up dead mouse inside. Her room smelled like the perfume she wore.

I remember going to the senior citizen center with her and playing dominoes and Skip bo.

I remember receiving a grocery sack full of paper thin taffy from the neighbors. I wonder if they still make that stuff to this day?

I remember sewing pillows with April, Leslie and Kristen and going door to door selling them.

I remember a girl got mad at me at school and when she told me she was going to beat me up, Angel showed up and scared her off.

I remember tricking my sister into thinking I used up all the pancake syrup and her "threatening" me that she was going to dump the plate of pancakes on my head. And then she surprised me and did!

I remember going to school with syrup in my hair and having kids laugh at me.

I remember my two pet turtles as big as half dollars. They were always escaping their aquarium and climbing out. When I'd get home from school,
I'd find their rocks piled in a corner and they would be found under my bed in the farthest corner.

I remember when Angel brought me home a box turtle she found. It mysteriously disappeared one day. I found out years later, my mom set it free.

I remember getting a pet hamster and it died. So I got another, and it died. And another, and it died. I decided it wasn't meant to be.

I remember our cat Toby and how crazed he was from all the catnip we gave him when he was a kitten.

I remember our bird, Mr. Rogers and how I was afraid he would peck me.

I remember the stories my mom would tell us of her childhood and how their dog found its way home.

I remember my mom's favorite phrase. "What you sow is what you reap" and how Angel and I made up a song about it. Something about chickens. Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!

I remember learning how to ride a bicycle without training wheels and not knowing how to stop I just kept circling around the neighborhood. I remember feeling proud and looking back at my parents and hitting a parked car.

I remember speech therapy and the man asking me to tell him the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears all because I was pronouncing "Chair" as "Share".

I remember sitting cross-legged in a circle on the floor and the teacher teaching us how to meditate.

I remember my sister taking my bike from me and how I hopped on her new ten speed bicycle surprisingly everyone including myself.

I remember my sister and I shuffling our feet on the white carpet and shocking ourselves.

I remember my dad spending time with me teaching me how to draw and paint.

I remember picture day and the promise of a donut at Dunkin donuts if I smiled nice. I remember the photographer trying to get me to smile by saying "Cheese". I'd say the word really fast and quiet and then go back to looking at them like they were the idiots.

I remember my first day of school.

I remember piano lessons at the purple lady's house. Everything in her house was PURPLE! Everything.

I remember tap dancing lessons.

I remember running outside in my wonder woman outfit.

I remember when I asked for a Michael Jackson doll and a transformer car.

I remember getting in trouble at school for talking too much and being told to write a 1,000 word essay typewritten on the computer. I had no idea what an essay was and thought I had to write, "I will not talk in class" 1,000 times by hand. My sister showed me how to save time using the computer and all was well until my dad walked in.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Transitioning

It took a while for Nick to find a job at first to put food on the table and a couple new ones after that. But thanks to a friend's recommendation to look into being a school bus driver, Life is great!

Nick subs for the school during the week and in the evenings and weekends he works at Walmart.

When we first moved here, we pitched a tent in the backyard and found out that we liked camping in a tent! We didn't care for all the neighborhood dogs that liked to bark and howl every time a train would go by, but for the most part, we loved living in the tent.

Even listening to the rain pelt down against the sides of the tent was peaceful. I'm surprised at how well the tent worked considered we won it in a drawing and it's not an expensive tent. We bought some camping pads and laid blankets down on top of that for padding. Our yard is not the most level thing either and I found that I preferred a harder sleeping surface over a soft mattress.

Listening to the owls hooting at night reminded me of sleeping in our slide in camper that we had in Kansas. Looking up to see the moonlight shining in the tent was also nice.

Knowing that we couldn't stay in the tent through winter made us look around for other choices for living. We had thought about getting a cabin. Either building one or buying one pre-made. But my thoughts always turned to a travel trailer or motorhome. My hopes are to take trips this summer in it.

It was quite the yo-yo experience in finding the travel trailer that we did. I won't bore any of you with that story! The thing I like to remember is that God does give us the desires of our heart.

I love the roominess and feel that I have when I'm in it. It reminds me of the first time I was in a camper as a child when I knew that I wanted to live in one.

And so another chapter of our life begins.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Grass cutting game

We live in a neighborhood where everyone tries to outdo the other neighbor in who can cut their lawn first, the fastest and the shortest length. Or so it seems. The neighbor to our south thinks he has to cut the grass every other day. Sometimes even every day! And on the days he's not mowing then he's weed eating the yard. Then the neighbors to our north cut theirs making our place look like a jungle. And if the neighbors to the south cut theirs, then the neighbor south of them get out and cut their grass. And so on down the line it goes.

Our once peace and quiet little acre is now a noise factory for lawnmowers and weed eaters! Just when you think you're going to lay down for a nap or settle in and read a good book, think again! There goes Lou dragging out the lawn mower. And it doesn't matter if it's dark outside, he'll still be out there mowing!

The one nice thing I love is that when we go to cut our grass, the only sound you hear is a nice peaceful swishing sound of the grass being cut. I can go outside and talk to Nick as he cuts the grass too. No yelling over the lawn mower. No standing so far back as to not get hit in the head with a rock. No, the only thing I have to watch out for is flying snakes. Nick found a snake the other day as he cut the grass. And then proceeded to fling it clear across the yard. Thank goodness I was clear on the other side! And when Nick is done he doesn't have to worry about his hands shaking from the vibration of the mower. Nor does he have to take any ear plugs out of his ears or feel like his head is spinning from all the noise.

Yes siree! I love our scythe!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Granola

We enjoy eating granola for breakfast. I make it in small batches in my toaster oven and it lasts a few days. We like this recipe because it's easy to make.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For a half batch (the size I make), melt 1/4 cup butter plus one Tablespoon with 1/4 cup honey in saucepan on low, stir so it doesn't burn. Add 1/4 cup flax seed, 1/3 cup raisins, and a handful of nuts, if you prefer, and stir well to coat all ingredients. I bake it in a glass pan that looks like a miniature 9X13 pan that fits in my toaster oven. I dump 2 cups of oats in that pan and pour the wet ingredients on top of that to save myself from dirtying another pan. Give it a few stirs to mix everything together and bake for 10 minutes. Take it out, stir it together, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let cool, and stir it occasionally, otherwise, you'll have that granola stuck in the pan! When it's cool and dry, I store it in a canning jar.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wintry woes

I'm ready for warmer weather. I don't remember it being this cold like this last year. I mean it was cold but not for days at a time. Maybe I'm wrong though. Luna has been enjoying staying inside more. She seems much more cuddly than usual. I think it's because she knows how life could be for her if we didn't allow her inside. She used to never sleep at night when we did and we'd have to kick her out at 2 in the morning, but now she sleeps with us for almost the whole night. She still has her usual sitting on our bladders in the wee morning waiting to be fed. Of course, I have to get up to go the bathroom and might as well feed her while I'm up.

Milo thinks the whole situation is unfair. He has to sleep in a box on the floor. Our bed is just too high for him to climb up anyways. Plus, he can't just sleep. He has to get up several times in the middle of the night and shake off and then burrow right back under the covers. And when he doesn't have me tucking him in at night (I only do it once) he has to moan and make such a racket to try to tuck himself back in. It gets pretty annoying every thirty minutes after midnight!

He used to sleep in our bed when we had our other bed, but like I said, he just doesn't know how to keep still. Up and down, in and out all night long! So, I made him some fleece pajamas. Yes, I know. He is one spoiled pooch! I took an old fleece jacket of mine and with his harness on it creates a sort of belt to hold it all in place. He knows what it means when I put it on him. I mean, he knows it's time for bed and he gets in his little bed which is a box full of cut up blankets. If I don't tuck him in, he'll just sit there and stare at me.

He's gotten the hang of telling me when he has to go to the bathroom too. He used to get up in the middle of the night and go on the floor by one of the doors. Now he just gets up and whines a bit. Usually one of us hears him which is good. I'd like to think he'd bark or something if we slept through his whining. Even though I consider myself able to sleep through most anything, I've got myself trained that as soon as his toenails hit the wood floor, I'm up and listening to see what he's doing. Same goes for Nick. Guess that's why I don't cut his nails that short. And good reason we don't have carpet!

Well, even though it is still cold outside, we're toasty warm in the house. We've got our two favorite reading chairs pulled up close to the woodstove and the animals are sitting near the wood stove nice and toasty too.

Until next time...