Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cause for Thanksgiving

My computer has been having major difficulties, which has also been a reason for my gap in posting. My dear husband has offered that I post from his computer for the time being until the problems can be rectified or I shoot my computer (which ever comes first). That's not my reason for giving thanks. That's just a FYI -- a sort of "heads up" for any further gaps that might occur in my posting. You know shared computer time and all that.



Now... during my posting gap ... one of the things that happened but I was unable to share because of the aforementioned glitch is that

MY DEAR HUSBAND HAS PERMANENTLY SAID GOODBYE TO THAT HORRIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE LEG BRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His knee-flexure was last measured as 107 degrees unassisted. Hooray!!! Physical Therapy continues, and he still has some limitations. Yet, we TRULY have cause for thanksgiving and rejoicing. His recovery has progressed much further than was expected. He continues to be bulldog stubborn as he works to gain every last bit of benefit from his therapy!


Thanks to all who have remembered him is prayer! God has been so gracious to us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pause That Refreshes

I am ashamed to say that it has been so long since I have posted anything that I barely know where to begin. I can hardly believe that my last post was nearly 2 weeks ago. We have crammed a lot of activities and visiting into those two weeks. For the first time since we began homeschooling (8 years ago), I have decided to take off the ENTIRE time between Christmas and New Year's Day. In fact, I threw in two more days for good measure -- the day before Christmas and the day after New Years. This past year has been a difficult one for our family, and we need a break.

During this little "vacation" of ours, I have done a good bit of sewing -- some of it has been gifts, some of it is just things that have been neglected and need to be done. My oldest daughter has picked up her needle and thread, also. It has been so busy this past year with the unexpected things of life, and she realized that she had not sewn anything since before school started in the fall. So she shared the dining room table with me. I sewed at one end and she sewed at the other. This was rather nice, because we could talk the whole time we were working on our separate projects.







Using the tutorial for the doll tote and enlarging it, she created this tote for her horse-loving friend who is away at college. It was a great hit when she gave it to her yesterday.


In addition to the tote, she has started a new cross-stitch project with some cross-stitch supplies that she received for Christmas. I can't wait until she completes it, and I can show it to you. It is one of my favorite designs. I, myself, have wanted to stitch it since the first time I saw it in a book.


We hope that all of you are also enjoying this time doing what you love to do and visiting with those you love to be with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sew Crafty Wednesday (I Mean Friday)

'Tis the season to sew until I am cross-eyed and sleep deprived from staying up too late finishing projects. Oh, and did I mention baking? In the end it is all worth it to me because I love to give gifts that have truly come from ME -- gifts that have my planning and thought and love intwined with their very being -- gifts that no one else will receive a twin of this year. Something unique to someone unique.




These totes and I have been spending some late nights together. The hot pink of the ribbon and lining is just not coming out true; the pictures make the ribbon have an orange cast which it definitely does NOT have.


I especially love the main fabric in this bag. It's rather like a Harrington Plaid. I like the unexpected playfulness that hot pink, polka dots, and rickrack bring to the sophisticated, business-like fabric of this bag.



This bag for my sister-in-law is a little more tote-like. It will be a perfect tote for all the things she carries with her to church. I decided to applique her initials on it to give it a special personal touch.



It may not appear as though it is, but the color of the lining and the ribbon are the exactly same. I made several pockets in the inside to hold pens, cell-phone, and note pads.


These bags are just larger versions of the doll tote I showed in my tutorial. Instead of putting the pockets on the outside, I put them on the inside lining. I also added the tabbed closure and button to the first bag above. So you see you can get a lot of diffent looks and sizes from one basic plan.


What have you been creating lately?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sounding a Warning


I believe this post at Winter's Edge is well worth your time to read. If you grieve, as I grieve I ask you also to link to it. The more exposure of this type of strong-armed government intrusion the better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome, Aaron Thomas

A new covenant child has been added to the church. Aaron Thomas S**** arrived a little early, making his debut on Tuesday, December 9th and weighing in at 6 lb. 11 oz. Mama Jess and Aaron are both doing well.


I was happy to have finished his blanket and hat in time.



Here you see the hat more clearly. I always believed that knit items have a more supple feel to them, so I knit the main portion of the hat in a K1 - P1 ribbing. Then I added a crocheted cuff to match the afghan and little flaps to keep those little baby ears warm.

I plan to ammend this post later to include the directions for the ripple afghan (and perhaps the hat), but for right now I thought I'd just show the finished product for Sew Crafty Friday.

For those who might be interested I did notice that Shereen posted an update at her blog last Thursday. While we wait for Shereen to resume her Sew Crafty Friday posts, you might want to visit another Sew Crafty Friday project posted by


http://homemakingdreams.blogspot.com/2008/12/sew-crafty-friday.html

sortafrugal - crocheted doll jumper and tee

Great Stocking Stuffer or Small Christmas Gift

My older daughter has entered and won several blog giveaways, and through this we have become acquainted with some blogs that we really enjoy visiting. I need to publicly thank those who have given such lovely giveaways.

The first we would like to thank is Megan at Halfpint House. These cheery tea wallets are great for a tea lover like me to carry my tea bags and sweetner in my purse. No more having nothing to drink, when the only thing being offered 1s coffee. (Love the smell but hate the taste of coffee).

I also wanted to tell you that she is still selling some tea wallets here. They would make great stocking stuffers or a small exchange gift for that tea lover in your life. I can attest to them being very well constructed.

THANKS, MEGAN!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More of the Same

Like his mama my manchild is extremely uncomfortable in front of a camera. Very few photos of him portray him as he really is -- a fun loving kid who is always smiling. The moment the camera is pointed at him, he freezes or gets a weird look on his face or worse yet gets a forced or pained smile on his face. It is almost impossible to get a portrait of all three of my children together, because he just can't relax enough before camera to get a nice, natural look.

























Having said that, I want you to take a good look at my boy -- you may never again see another picture of him as he really is. What ever could have caused him to give such a naturally broad smile in a picture?

Actually, he couldn't quit grinning after bagging his deer on Friday. I thought he was going to burst. That dimple he flashes is a heart stopper.

I've cropped this picture to spare the faint in heart the reason for this smile.


So last night, HE got THE FIRST BITE of the venison steak -- THE VICTOR'S REWARD!!!!!

... and another night of canning and packing kept us all busy. His deer provided us with

  • 5 quarts of cold-packed meat
  • 9 - 1 pound bags of hot italian sausage
  • 11 - 1 pound bags of sweet italian sausage
  • 3 - 1 pound bags of venison burger

Great job, Buddy!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Many Hands Make Light Work

Each year we have a family tradition, although it may not QUITE be what you might expect it to be at this time of the year. I've already explained deer hunting season around here. It not only entails missing two days of school, rising at the break of dawn -- no, make that BEFORE the break of dawn, and freezing your gluteus maximus off in 20 degree temperatures; but also includes processing the deer after bringing it home from the butchers. And WE are the processors!

So, back to the family tradition. Hubby starts by cooking a couple steaks with lots of spices. The first bite goes to the one who harvested the deer then the rest of us begin to "pick at it" -- in other words, we nibble at it until it's all gone. Then we get down to business.

Manning our work stations, we ALL begin cutting the meat, trimming the fat, and packing it in quart Mason jars.



We're looking pretty intent here as we work, but we really DO have a good time laughing and making dumb hunting jokes.



With us all pitching in, the work goes quickly. We can prepare and cold pack the meat in the pressure canner in an evening. Next we ready the ground venison for the freezer.



Our older daughter missed part of the evening's festivities (she volunteers at our local library), but when she got home, she twisted up her hair and jumped right into the fray. With the cubed meat in the pressure canner, she manned the vacuum packer as the rest of us took up our separate stations weighing the meat, placing it in the vacuum bags, flattening it out, and labeling the bags.


The final tally was 12 quarts of cold packed venison and 15 one-pound packages of ground venison ready for the freezer. Not too shabby for an evening's work. Many hands do make light work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ham Chowder

Traditionally, I try to make some comfort food for when my hunters come home in the evening. However, it is difficult to know just what time supper will be -- that depends on God's Providence. Sometimes they come home early -- having shot their deer in early afternooon. Just as often as not, they shoot their deer in the very late afternoon. This means they are tired and cold by the time they return.

If the weather is warmer, they must get the deer to the butcher quickly (before eating supper). Other times Bill is dead tired after a day of hunting and would prefer to take the deer to the butcher and get it out of the way before he settles in to relax a little before bedtime.


I need a filling meal, that's easy to keep warm and serve -- whenever. This was our very late meal Monday night and it received rave reviews. A recipe to be kept for our family cookbook.



Just in case this sounds good to you, here's the recipe. It only serves 4, so I double the recipe when I make it for our family.

Ham Chowder

½ cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, (cubed)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup cubed potatoes
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
squirt of prepared mustard (to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 vegetable bouillon cube
¼ cup all-pupose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
12 ounces of cubed ham

In large saucepan, sautĂ© onion in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, potatoes celery, carrots, mustard, pepper, and vegetable bouillon cube. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth; add to soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheese and cooked ham and stir until cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

State Holiday

Yesterday morning found our household up and moving at 4:30. You can believe me when I say that this is not our normal time for a wake-up call, but the first day of deer season is something akin to a State holiday to many Pennsylvanians. First day of deer means NO SCHOOL (not just for homeschoolers but for public schoolers as well). People who move here from out of state are oft taken aback that schools close and the work force is depleted as people take off work just to go hunting deer.

Although I don't hunt, I always rise early on this hallowed day to get breakfast and help my "deer" husband and children set off on their quest. I don't really function well that early in the morning, but I wouldn't be able to sleep with all the hub-bub that goes on anyway. (I wish my kids showed the same enthusiasm for getting up on a school day).

Now, yesterday morning's weather is not what was wished for. Deer hunters like a bit of snow on the ground (easier for spotting deer and tracking).


As you can clearly see, snow was not the order of the day. Instead it was sort of freezing rain.
This picture is to show off Bill's latest accomplishment since his September accident.
Yes, that IS Bill climbing into the driver's seat.

Our son rides shotgun, while the eldest is reduced to a backseat passenger. Oh, the shame of it all! I've consider auctioning the privilege of riding shotgun to my offspring. I figure I could make a small fortune from their grappling for this coveted seat. I am sure no other mother out there has such a problem with this!

Late morning, they returned empty-handed and a bit downcast. They had not even spotted a deer, and it had begun to rain harder. They had come home to dry off, get warm, and EAT! Around two o'clock the rain had stopped, and so off they headed once more while our younger daughter and I remained comfy at home.

It had been dark when the headed out that morning and dark when they again returned home. This time the object of their quest -- a nice sized doe -- accommpanied them. Bill had harvested this one, the young man missed a shot, and the young lady still had seen nary a deer. However, we were all grateful for the meat this would put in our freezer.

Both kids still want to get one, and we rely on the venison, so they will probably be heading out again on Friday since Bill has the day off work.

And that ends the saga of my "dear" hunters and their first day of deer season.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - The Last 4 American Girl Doll Outfits



A sigh of relief passes my lips as I post that I have finally finished my AG Doll & Clothes Lot Project. After a decidedly hard push these last two weeks, I finished the last four outfits and today set up the auction on Ebay.




I designed the pattern for this lavender gingham nightgown. I'm pleased with the results; I like that it is frilly and feminine. I also crocheted a pair of fluffy, white slippers with little lavender bows to go with it. Teddy will snuggle with her as visions of sugar plums dance in her head.



Although this might look like a dress, it is actually a top and twirly skirt. I made it that way so that it could also be mixed and matched with the other items.





This trendy white eyelet lace shirt is also my pattern design and is teamed with pink slacks and a pink visor (embellished with a purple butterfly).



You've seen the top before, but I finished the cuffed, lavender shorts.

C'est finis!!!



So what crafty things have you been up to this week?

The Whole Kit 'n Kaboodle - AG Doll


Monday, November 24, 2008

Groman's Chinese Theater

Groman's Chinese Theater has nothing on us. A check on our bird feeder station this morning sent my younger daughter racing back into the house for her camera. She wanted to record the footprints that she found in the freshly fallen snow.


Aww...A cute litte tweety bird!

I t'ot I saw a puddy tat. . .
I did, I did, I did see a puddy tat!!!!!



So, she left her own footprints to stand guard . . .

just as a reminder to that mean ol' puddy tat.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

REASON TO GIVE THANKS

I was just musing on the many reasons I have to give thanks. Among those at the top of my thanksgiving list is a sweetheart of a girl who volunteered to ferry Bill back and forth to work until he can again drive. Chas always has a smile on her face and has been so pleasant about going a little out of her way each day to pick Bill up. She has saved me countless hours that I would have had to drive (about 3 hours a day). So you can see why I am so thankful for her and her willing spirit. So this week, I intend to make a pumpkin roll for her as a thank-you gift ESPECIALLY FROM ME.

Bill had a check-up with his orthopedic surgeon this past Tuesday and the report was truly encouraging. Bill now has 80% flexion of his knee, no pain, a 8 inch surgery scar that is barely visible, and . . .

permission to set aside his crutches and EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE & HEAVY brace whenever he is in the house. That means sleep at night, because it also means that he may sleep without that extremely uncomfortable brace. Sleep is a sweet thing! He must still wear his brace when he leaves the house.

The doctor is WELL-PLEASED by his progress and said that at Bill's next check-up in 4 weeks he should be able to say good-bye to the brace for good.

So, although I have MANY, MANY more reasons to give thanks to God for His blessings, these two are definitely high on my list.



Friday, November 21, 2008

Thank You Melanie


You may have noticed that there is a slight change in the appearance of Brambleberry Cottage. I have really wanted to have three columns here, but had no idea how to go about achieving my desire. Well, yesterday Melanie at Merchant Maidens was sweet enough to do it for me. So you will begin to see other little changes as I begin to rearrange things a little here. (Do not expect to see the changes tomorrow -- too many other projects to work on right now, but perhaps this will be one of my goals for 2009.) Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge Melanie's kindness and to thank her.
After Christmas, I'll have a little something else to share with you about Melanie and a certain give away. In the meantime, click on the Merchant Maidens button above and check out her blog. It is full of money making endeavors you can do from home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - Edwardian Style Dress for American Girl Doll

Wasn’t it Saturday just yesterday? Can seven days REALLY go by that fast?

Truth of the matter is – I just have TOO many craft projects going on at the same time. They are all gifts (except these I am sharing with you today), and I haven’t even started those that I’d like to make for Christmas. I’m working on each project in the spare moments I have between homemaking and homeschooling. Hmm, is there such a thing as spare moments between the two?
I have completed two of the items on which I was working – the red, cuffed shorts for the mix and match and the Edwardian era dress I wanted to add to my American Girl ebay project. (You can see all the items for my AG ebay project here and here). This is the outfit she will be wearing when she is sold. I am really pleased with it as I designed the dress from an illustration in one of the early publications of Samantha Learns a Lesson. I chose to make it from a cotton fabric that has cream and salmon roses on a dark burgundy background. The fabric just reminds me of Christmas in that bygone era. The blouson bodice is accented with a self-fabric collar trimmed in white lace. The drop waist is accented with white satin ribbon and bow in back.

This is the actual doll that I will be ebaying with the clothes lot. I still have to buy shoes for her, as the ones she is wearing belong to Molly. And that just would not do!

I’m really going to have to get moving if I want to auction it in time for Christmas. If not I’ll have to wait for next year.


So what have you been crafting recently?

We are still anxiously waiting for Shereen's return to
SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY .

Until then, if you would like me to link to your project this week, just leave a comment telling me where I can find your blog and project and I'll add it to this post.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

KISHACOQUILLAS VALLEY

Like many others all across our country, I have been slightly unnerved by this past week. Although I realize that those things that come to pass are the providence of God, and that no one rules without the consent of the Almighty; still I wonder what treasured rights and privileges have we just handed over without a second thought. Restless, perplexed, and contemplative has been my mood these past few day, yet still I rest in my Savior and trust in His Word.
When I am in this frame of mind, it is good for me to step away from it all. Often for me this means a day trip with my family. Today, Bill and I, along with our kiddos took a ride to one of my favorite places, a wonderful area that is almost like a step back to a quieter, gentler place and time -- Kishacoquillas Valley.

It was overcast today; so these pictures are a VERY POOR representation of this beautiful, wide valley that is checker-boarded by mile after mile of small, orderly Amish and Mennonite Farms.


One peaceful farm blends into the next.

Work horses pulling plows and cornstalks bound in the field are commonplace.



You can see why the locals call this Big Valley.


At many of the farms are small signs that announce a cottage industry such as quilts, rugs, woodworking, or leather work. My excuse for going there today was a visit to a fabulous bulk dry goods store. I picked up some wheat bran, molasses, cheese, and meat.



With such a large Amish population, horse and buggies are a common sight. In warmer months, Wednesdays are livestock auctions and market day. Then you see countless buggies on the road and tethered at the small local shops.

.................

I came home feeling quite relaxed (as I always do) if not a bit wistful for a simpler way of life.





Thursday, November 6, 2008

Something Is A Little Squirrel-y !

What's This?

Harvest Pumpkins?

Y Nope, just my pumpkins Y
It was Saturday afternoon and squirrel hunting season to boot! Bill could sit still no longer! So Dad - armed with his walking stick - and the kids - armed with their firearms - headed off to the woods to hunt squirrel together!




That's when this little fellow stopped by for a snack.

When the hunters away the squirrels will play!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - Cross Stitch Baby Quilt

Well, it's nearly two o'clock and I have just come back from checking to see if Shereen was hosting Sew Crafty Friday yet, but the last post there is still from the first of October. I'll be glad when she is able once again to give us news of what is happening in her life. Since I rather like posting a craft each week, I guess I'll do just that.

Let's see. . . the last Sew Crafty Friday project I shared with you was the baby afghan I was working on for a baby gift. Thanks to all the traveling I have done in the car lately and my older daughter who is more than willing to chauffer, I almost have that completed. However, I think I'd like to wait until it is completely finished before sharing that. Also, I really have to get moving on my AG doll project that I want to put on ebay (time is running out).

So, I guess I'll show you a project that my older daughter has been working on for the past year. A friend of mine had a printed cross-stitch baby quilt she had planned on making for her grandbaby. However, like happens to us so many times, she never got it started and now the grandchild is nearly three years old. So my friend passed the kit to my daughter, who has been diligently stitching it in her spare time. At last, and with great satisfaction, she has put in the last stitch. She did a fabulous job (as she always does; she is extremely particular about her needlework).




You can usually view craft projects shared by other bloggers or share your own creations at SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY on Shereen's blog.

Until she returns here are a few links for other blogger's Craft projects from this week. Just click on the projects below to view them. If you would like me to link to your project this week, just leave a comment telling me where I can find your blog and project.

home making dreams - a quilt binding tutorial -part two

home making dreams - Christmas Wallet & Bag

Only Good News

Don't you love those days that have no bad news?
I'll give a real quick summary of yesterday and today for those who were concerned for us and have been praying for us. Before I do that, though, please know how grateful we are for your love, concern, and prayer.


YESTERDAY, Bill had his first exam by the doctor that will be treating his blood pressure. It is still slightly elevated (140/90) but the first dose of the prescribed medicine was a low dose. After a very THOROUGH exam, the daily dosage was doubled. Because of the price of the medication, we had hoped that the prescription could be changed to a less costly one. However, the doctor wanted to keep him on the one prescribed at least until Bill's blood pressure is stablized. THE GOOD NEWS IS...he gave Bill a month's worth of the medication (sample packets) at no cost to us. Bill will return for a check up in about five weeks. In the meantime, he has to have some blood work done. All in all, it was a very "up" doctor's visit. (He will also return to the retina specialist around the same time to see if (hopefully) the problem with his eye is being resolved by the treatment of his blood pressure.
Okay, that takes care of yesterday. TODAY in physical therapy for his leg, the therapists have unlocked his leg brace giving him the ability to flex his leg 40 degrees. That will not give him full range of motion yet, but it will make getting around a bit easier. It will definitely enable Bill to sit a little more comfortably. Bill called me immediately after therapy, and I could tell that he was unmistakably pleased. Funny how just a little bit of progress can encourage us, isn't it.


So, "there's all the news that is news" around our house.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Which Do You Want First?

The Good News or the Bad News?

You’ve all had this query presented to you a thousand times. Each of us probably has a preference as to which we will choose first. For me, 95% of the time I will choose to be given the good news first. For a few moments, just let me savor the untainted good news before you poison it with the bad.

Yesterday was a very eventful day for this household. Because I believe in “doing to others as I would have them do unto me” I will present the “good” of each event before the “bad”.

Event #1

The Good News is. . .
Bill took the day off work yesterday, and we spent it together as a family.

The Bad News is . . .
He took the day off because he was seeing an ophthalmologist who specializes in retina problems. His optometrist whom Bill saw on Saturday because of a blurry spot that was marring his field of vision referred him to the ophthlmologist. The optometrist also told him to make an appointment with his family doctor because this could be the result of high blood pressure. Of course, Bill didn’t have a family doctor; thus I made him an appointment with the doctor that my children go to (don’t worry – not a pediatrician), but the first appointment for a new patient was for next Monday.

Event #2

The Good News is. . .
On the way to the ophthalmologist whose office is over an hour away, we saw a most beautiful and unexpected sight. A gorgeous, sapphire-blue, male peacock walked in front of our car not more than fifteen minutes down the road from our house -- out in the middle of nowhere. I actually had to stop the car to let him amble across the road AND (JOY OF JOYS) I HAD MY CAMERA WITH ME!!!!!

The Bad News is. . .
Notice that there’s no picture of the peacock. I grabbed my trusty project basket (you know -the one I told you I always carry with me) to get my camera. All the while this peacock is just placidly strolling across the road. Just as I had found the camera, I glanced in my rearview mirror only to find that several cars had caught up with me and were now lined up behind me. The peacock had now cleared my lane. “The do unto others” stipulation forced me to go on without the picture rather than hold the others up. Sighhhh

Event #3

The Good News is. . .
My older daughter, who is working on completing her requirement of fifty hours of driving time before she can take her drivers test, drove. This would give her a little over an hour toward reaching her goal.


The Bad News is. . .


Bad Weather.

Event #4

The Good News is. . .
We had no difficulty in finding the Retina Specialist’s office.



The Bad New is. . .
After having driven for over an hour and having spent two hours in that doctor’s office the only thing accomplished was photographing Bill’s retina. Oh yes, in the course of all of this, Bill’s blood pressure was taken and was now in the 168/110 range. The doctor’s advice, after informing Bill that he could have a heart attack or stroke at any moment [a statement which could only set his mind at ease and serve to lower his blood pressure = ) ] was to see his family doctor that same day. We explained Event #1 to her.

Event #5

The Good News is. . .
She called the family doctor to have him move Bill’s appointment from next Monday to that same day (yesterday).

The Bad News is. . .
The family doctor’s office was CLOSED for the day. Now she instructs us to drive home and go to the emergency room near us.


NOW, BECAUSE I DESIRE TO END ON A GOOD NOTE HERE. . . I HAVE DECIDED THAT THIS WILL BE THE 5% OF THE TIME THAT I WOULD RATHER GIVE THE BAD NEWS FIRST.

Event #6

The Bad News is. . .
The emergency room doctor wants to admit Bill to the hospital.



The Good News is. . .
He was able to stabilize Bill’s BP and decided to call the doctor with whom Bill has an appointment on Monday. That doctor in turn prescribes medicine to hold him over and moves Bill's appointment to today. Thus no overnight hospitalization. Bill shouts, “HOORAY”!!

Event #7

The Bad News is. . .
After taking Bill, home I go to the pharmacy to get the prescription. I am told that the co-pay for the medicine after insurance is $57. It is at this point -- after traveling over 3 hours in the car, spending 2-1/2 hours in the ophthalmologist’s office, 4 hours in the emergency room, missing lunch and supper -- that I am not quite ready for another blow. I know that $57 might not sound like much in this day and age, but the past four years have found us financially challenged. Four years ago Bill lost a good paying job and has taken a job at less than half his former pay (all the time applying for hundreds upon hundreds of jobs to regain his former level of employment). Anyway, after the day I had had, I was a little emotionally drained, and I could feel the tears beginning to well up in my eyes. “Please Lord, don’t allow me to humiliate myself by crying!” was my silent prayer.

The Good News is. . .
First, my tears were kept at bay. Second, the dearest, sweetest young pharmacist I have ever met was filling the prescription. She must have realized my turmoil and devised a way that she was able to give me 5 tablets to hold Bill over until he saw the doctor today. Then she tried several methods to get me a discount and I finally ended up paying $11 for the medication.


The Very Best News of all is. . .
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. . .The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” -- Psalm 46: 1 & 11
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” -- Philippians 4:13


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - "To Wrap My Baby Bunting In"

The beginning of a baby afghan -- more undone than done

I've not participated in Sew Crafty Friday for a couple weeks now -- other tasks have prevented me from being very "crafty" of late. However, as always, when it's been too long since my hands have molded and shaped the imaginings of my mind into tangible pretties, I become restless. So although there are other duties to which I could (and should) be attending I started this baby afghan. A young family at the church is expecting an addition to their family in the near future. So now I have the needed excuse that allows me to once again submerse myself in a creative project.

The new arrival is to be a boy. While I adore little boys, I always find it more difficult to think of something to create for them. Myriads of items to make for little girls pop into my mind. However, where I am concerned there is a great blackhole which ideas for baby boy gifts are sucked in and lost forever. After racking my brain for something to make in celebration of this little fellow's arrival, I finally settled on a ripple afghan using a "baby boy" palette of yarn.

The first time I ever made a ripple afghan, I was sixteen years old and I made it in anticipation of the birth of Dana, my oldest niece. Although I have crocheted innumerable items since them, I probably haven't crocheted this particular pattern in nearly thirty years. When I began to crochet it, the memories of that first afghan and all the excitement in preparation for Dana's arrival came tumbling down upon me.

You can usually view craft projects shared by other bloggers or share your own creations at SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY on Shereen's blog.

Until she returns here are a few links for other blogger's Craft projects from this week. Just click on the projects below to view them. If you would like me to link to your project this week, just leave a comment telling me where I can find your blog and project.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bed and Breakfast







Two weekends ago, we had very special house guests. I wanted to serve decent meals, but did not want meal preparation to take away from the precious little time I would have to enjoy this dear family. I scoured the Internet for make-ahead meals that could be frozen and prepared them before my guests arrived on Thursday night. I did the same with deserts.

Friday & Saturday morning breakfasts were easy to plan because I knew I could rise before everyone else and prepare breakfast. In addition, we would have plenty of time to sit and eat breakfast at our leisure. Sunday morning breakfast was a little more thought provoking, because there would not be as much time to prepare and eat it. People would need to get ready for church. It would also be difficult to keep something warm since we would be coming to the table at different times. Hmm…what to serve? I preferred not to just plunk a bowl of cold cereal down in front of them, but what would be filling and still not have to be kept warm?

Suddenly, I thought of a recipe I had not made in nearly a decade -- a wonderfully delicious recipe for breakfast muffins. The batter can be made up ahead of time and keeps in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. Because the batter could be made up ahead of time, all I had to do was pop the muffins in the oven on Sunday morning -- talk about convenient.

Now you might be thinking that a muffin does not seem very filling or nutritious, but these are! They are made with wheat germ, whole-wheat flour, bran, and you can add just about any nut or fruit you desire. In addition to the muffins, I served flavored yogurt, fruit, and some pumpkin bread and apple crisp that Rebecca had made and brought with her. I felt satisfied that I had provided a filling (yet extremely easy) breakfast for our friends and that everyone had enjoyed it.

Now that is only the beginning, these muffins have also solved another problem that has been plaguing me for some time (especially during the school year when I need my children to have a QUICK breakfast before we start the school day.) My son likes cereal, hot or cold alike. (No problem there) My daughters are another story – neither of them particularly likes cereal. So they either try to slip away without eating breakfast at all or nibble at something that leaves them hungry by mid-morning. The good news is they really like these muffins.

Since making them for our friends, I have been baking a half-dozen or so of these muffins (from the pre-mixed batter stored in the refrigerator) each evening before I go to bed. Voilá – fresh muffins in the morning. Breakfast problem solved!!!!

If you would like to try them for yourself, you can go here for the recipe.
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