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.


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.

Recipe for Breakfast Muffins

Serves: 30 regular-sized muffins


2½ cups All Bran Cereal
½ cup wheat germ
1½ cups whole-wheat flour
(I use King Arthur All-Natural White Whole Wheat Flour)
1 cup white flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup honey
1 cup boiling water
½ cup oil
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
(I use a dry cultured buttermilk mix that I found in the baking section of the
grocery store. It will reconstitute to make 3 ¾ quarts of liquid buttermilk.)
2½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
(I use a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon)

Extras: This is what makes it so delicious!

Add raisins, nuts, apples, etc. in the quantities you desire.
My favorite combination is 2 large apples (diced), 1½ cups walnuts, and 1½ cup raisins)


Place 1 cup All Bran in a bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water.
Let stand 3 minutes.
Add all other wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
Refrigerate overnight before baking.
Fill muffin papers 2/3 full. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Tick of the Clock - Update III

Many of you know about Bill's accident nearly six weeks ago. I wanted to let you know about the most recent developments.

At Bill's check-up last Thursday, his doctor released him to begin physical therapy and return to sedentary work. He does not need to return to see the doctor for 4 weeks. So today was his first day back at work.

Bill's place of employment is 45 minutes away, AND he is unable to drive. (Just getting in and out of the van is an ordeal because his leg is locked in an extended position by the brace he wears.) This means that I would have to drive him to work and pick him up each day. If you do the math, that's 3 hours out of my day.

This is the Sword of Damacles that has hung over my head from the time I first realized that he would have to return to work before he was able to drive. I have wrestled with questions such as "How am I going to take three hours out of my day, especially when I'm homeschooling the kids?", and "How am I going to do this with all the extra tasks I am doing because Bill is unable to do them?".

To my shame I must say that I seem to shut down when I get overwhelmed. This only makes the situation worse, because instead of attacking the mounting piles of necessary tasks -- I seem to sit immobilized or flit from one task to another without getting anything accomplished. All the time my mind races.

I prayed for God to calm me, to let me see reason, to trust Him for the needed strength. I reminded myself of scripture that encouraged me to take one day at a time, to be anxious for nothing, and that His plans for me are not for calamity but for a future and a hope. One moment I would be trusting God for the needed strength, the next moment I would be wavering.

Finally, yesterday I was determined to take each day as it came and wait upon the Lord.

This morning, I got up early and helped Bill with his morning routine. I didn't feel overwhelmed; I even chided myself for having made a mountain of a mole hill and brooding over this for all these weeks. We climbed in the car while it was still dark and I drove him to work. I walked him to his office, carrying his satchel for him. Everyone was gathering around him welcoming him back. In turn he was introducing me to those of his co-workers I did not know. After many other introductions, he introduced me to a young woman who was almost the last to walk up to us.

She asked if I had had to drive Bill to work. Bill replied that he was still unable to drive. To which she said, "Well, you know I live rather close to you. I can go past your house on the way to work, and you could just ride with me until you can drive again."

My jaw nearly dropped to the floor. I wasn't sure if I was going to laugh or cry with relief. Of course, Bill thought this was very agreeable. So it's all set -- she brought him home this evening.

Again, I realize that God is so good to His people. I had thought several times over the past few weeks, "Oh, if only there was someone nearby that worked with him. He could get a ride. But there's not -- so I am just going to have to adjust to the extra expense of gasoline and 3 hours on the road." Not for one second did I see this as a viable solution.

When I returned home and told my children about what had happened, together we stopped to thank God for His goodness to me. My youngest prayed, "Thank you Lord for putting it in this lady's mind to take Daddy to work!" -- Out of the mouth of babes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October's Bright Blue Weather

If my mother were living, she would be 95 years old. She attended school in a day when much emphasis was placed on memorization of poetry and recitations. All through my childhood I remember my mother reciting poems she had learned as a young girl. Frequently an event or a word would trigger her memory of a few lines of poetry; but as often as not she would be able to recite the poems in their entirety.

October never comes 'round that I don't reflect on a few lines of a poem she would often recite on beautiful days in October. Sunday was such a day; and gradually the first verse of Helen Hunt Jackson's poem that I had heard my mother recite to me countless times came trickling into my thoughts. I cannot recite the entire poem as my mother could, but I do have it written down and would like to share it with you.

October's Bright Blue Weather

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather.

When loud the humble bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tights,
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
and count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - All the Pretties

I've been rather swamped this week, so I was not originally planning on posting anything for Sew Crafty Friday. Shareen, who is the hostess of Sew Crafty Friday, has recently moved (I believe she said 40 hours away from her previous home). Although she posted that the family has arrived at their new home, Sew Crafty Friday was not posted. Although it is little wonder that she was unable to host it this week, I must say I missed it and went wandering around blogdom looking for some craftiness.

So, for all of you (who like me) cannot stand to miss out on all the PRETTIES, here's what I found:

across my table - cookbook & cross stitch

winter's edge - a cute patchwork & lace apron

After seeing everyone's projects, I decided to share these hangers that I made a while back. They are hand painted and are ornament size. My favorite is the sheep at the bottom. But I must admit that I really like the mitten with the barn at night, too.

If I missed your project and you would like me to link to your post. Just let me know by leaving me a comment. The more PRETTIES, the BETTER!

Shereen, hurry back with your SEW CRAFTY FRIDAYS. We Miss You!!!!!!!

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