Monday, December 29, 2008

Animal Personality Test

Okay, I just found this funny. Thanks Michelle for sharing this with us.

You Relate to Eagles and Whales

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.

Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Color Christmas Lights Are You?

You Are Green Lights

Your holidays are a time of rest and solace.

You take time to reflect on the year that's passed.

You also enjoy connecting with friends and family you've lost touch with.

The holidays are your opportunity to remember what's important in your life.

Oh yeah, this is me to a T

Another Knitting Project

My friend at work has a beautiful private office to work from and it has two beautiful big windows looking out onto gorgeous fields and wildlife. The only down side is that those two big windows are COLD. She never complains, but when she comes out of her office rubbing her hands together trying to warm them up I know she's cold. We've talked about her needing gloves to work with, but then how would she pick up papers? Well, after giving it a lot of thought I came up with these.

I just worked up a pattern and I think they'll fit. They really warmed up my wrists and hands when I tried them on. I'm sure they'll look a lot better on her tiny little hands and hope they make it easier for her to work.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I've Been Knitting

Bet you've been wondering why I've been so quiet. Well, I've been busy. My son and DIL are having a daughter in March and I like to give a gift to the baby at Christmas time even before she's here. So, once I found out it was a girl I started knitting up a storm. For Pocohauntus (as they loving refer to her now) I made a sweater and hat in size 6 months.

Of course I couldn't forget lil Peanut. For her I found a quick little pattern for mittens complete with an idiot string lol. This is my first attempt at mittens and they weren't perfect, but I'm sure they'll keep her little fingers warm. Her coat came with mittens, but they were the little sock kind that don't have thumbs.

I made another little something for a friend at work so I'll have to post that later after I give it to her.

But there you have it, I've been busy getting ready for Christmas, knitting and working full time. That'll keep you away from the blog world if anything will. What have you been doing to prepare for the Christmas Celebration?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Poem written by terminal young girl in New York

I got this in an email today and was really moved by the fact that I am trying to do way too much and I need to slow down. How about you?


Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask how are you? Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste, not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time to call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music before the song is over.

This kind of reminds me of when my kids were very small and my daughter asked me to read to her and I said "no, I don't have time right now." and a few minutes later someone came to the door and asked for a minute of my time. I told her "I'm sorry, but I just told my daughter I didn't have time to read to her and if I don't have time to read to her I definitely don't have a minute for a stranger". I think I did sit down right then and read to her, it just kind of all came into perspective for me. We all need to remember to "JUST BREATHE"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Time for Baking

Last night was all about baking cookies and making fudge. I worked for 6 hours and was then too tired to sleep...go figure. First up were the Chocolate Chip Cookies. I got this recipe from a wonderful gal, Renee, that I've taken some community education classes from.

All American Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 c butter
1/3 c shortening
1 c packed brown sugar
½ c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts
In large bowl cream butter, shortening and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets. Bake in 350F oven 8-10 minutes, just until edges are golden (centers will still be soft). Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cast of Ingredients

Yummy warm cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c butter
1 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla
3 c flour
Pinch salt
2 t baking soda
Cream together butter, vanilla and sugars. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in peanut butter and then sifted dry ingredients. Form into little balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and press down with the tines of a fork creating a criss-cross design. Bake in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.

Just a few changes to make these

I used all the colored sugar I had to kind of dress them up a little.

Walnut Crescents
1 c butter, softened
Confectioners’ sugar
2 t vanilla
¼ t salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 ¾ c flour
Cream butter. Add ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, the vanilla and salt; beat until light. Stir in nuts and flour until well blended. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill well. Preheat oven to 300F. Divide dough in 8 equal pieces. On lightly floured board, shape in thin rolls about ½” in diameter. Cut into 2” pieces, taper off ends and shape into crescents. Put on ungreased baking sheet and bake 18-10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool. Sift confectioners’ sugar over tops. About 5 dozen.

Just a few ingredients here

In case you noticed, I didn't exactly follow the directions for shaping these, but they are still delicious. Do as I say not as I do. These are great with a hot cuppa...

Sugar Cookies
4 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, 1 separated
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbls lemon juice
Ornamental frosting
Mix flour and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add whole egg and beat well. Add egg yolk and beat. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice. Add flour and mix with wooden spoon. Divide dough in 4 parts and wrap each part in plastic wrap. Chill several hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface roll one portion at a time to 1/8” thickness. Cut with small floured cookie cutter shape and put on lightly greased cookie sheet. Slightly beat egg white and add 1 tablespoon water. Brush onto cookies before baking. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Went through a lot of butter lol

Got a little lazy here and didn't do a lot of designs...and only one color of ornamental frosting...think that was in the plan?

Fantasy Fudge
3 cups sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine
1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 ½ pkg (12 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups Jet Puffed Marshmallow Crème
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
Line 9 inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and marshmallow crème; stir until completely melted. Add walnuts and vanilla; mix well.
Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1 inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. Makes 3 lbs or 40 servings, about two squares.

This recipe is off the jar of marshmallow creme and melts in your mouth.

I had some smaller gift size containers that came in very handy.

I might make a few more things before all is said and done, but I wanted to get at least this much done for some gifts that I needed this weekend. I always love this time of year and it's getting to be about the only time that I really bake. It's not that I don't love the stuff, but I just don't need it and if it's not in the house I don't eat it. What are some of your favorite things to make for this special time of year?

Things That Make Me Ponder

I was just visiting The Journey of a Writer Danica Favorite and she had on there a post about working out. Now I'm not really big on working out, but I do try to fit it in three or more times a week because I know it's good for me. What gives me pause for pondering is that we never want what we have and we miss it so much when it's gone. Case in point, my Mom (86 years young) is confined to using a walker and then as little as possible. She is always saying "I wish I could walk and drive.". When she could walk I don't know that she ever really worked out. My friend at work (also an older woman of 70) is currently having issues with her knee and as I left for my lunch workout she says "I wish I could go". I don't think she was a big advocate of working out before the injury.

So, for all of us that just don't want to exercise for whatever - fill in the excuse or 'reason' - just remember 'USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!'. You'll miss it when it's gone so take advantage of everything you can do because there is someone out there that can't do all the wonderful things that you are capable of. I don't mean this to sound preachy, I know it's just plain old human nature. Why do we do this?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What A Hoot

I've just entered a fun contest over at My Charmed Life. Today is the 11th Day of Christmas Giveaway and it's this adorable What A Hoot Owl Pushpin set. I would love to be a winner, but if not me then you.

Wish me luck.

Lemonade Award

My friend irl Tammy has awarded me the Lemonade Award for showing gratitude or a good attitude (from "if life hands you lemons, make lemonade")! I really try to have a good attitude, but sometimes it's hard. Thanks Tammy you are such a good friend.

Here are the rules:

Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.
Each of the women listed below has impressed me in a different way. All truly deserve the Lemonade Award for having a great attitude. Here are the ten I've selected.

Since we are friends irl we have a lot of the same blog friends too so I'm putting this award our there for those of you who know you have a positive attitude and work at it all the time too. Here's to you!

I Got My Dismissal Today

I got a dismissal from Adsense today. The letter stated that I made illegal clicks. Knowing that I didn't do any 'illegal' clicks got me to wondering. A friend at work also got the same letter stating - While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we've decided to disable your account.. We think that because we are on a server that services the whole building that anyone viewing our sites and clicking showed up to Adsense as if we were clicking therefore creating an 'illegal click'. Unfortunate, but nothing I can do anything about. I did no 'illegal clicks'!! Has this happened to anyone else? Just wondering. The real unfortunate thing is that I was just about to get a check. Do you think they just don't want to pay? Good thing I'm not relying on that money lol.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fun New Apron

In our travels this summer I found this really cool apron at a quilt show in Oregon. I bought all the stuff to make three for hostess gifts. I've been holding off posting about it til I'd given them all away - and the last one will be gifted out on Friday. I love the vintage-look of the fabric and I especially like the little glitter stones I've put on the Christmas tree for added bling. The picture doesn't pick it up much, but trust me it is really cute.

I haven't checked to see if I can get the fabric in my area, but I really like it. It has a large rick-rack trim that also gives it a vintage feel.

What do you think? What hostess wouldn't love to receive this? Cute huh?

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Does Your Home Say About You??

Don't know how true this is, but it was fun.

What Your Home Says About You

You come across as very intellectual. People take your wisdom seriously.

You have amazing hygiene, and it shows. You are sparkling clean!

You are a very domestic person. You enjoy decorating, cooking, and making things homey.

You are a very nurturing person. You find meaning in taking care of others.

You feel settled in your life. You have enough time to focus on little details.

You are a very self sufficient person. You can get along well without much help.

Your friends see you as courageous, dynamic, and bright.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent by Candlelight

Every year I enjoy going to an Advent by Candlelight to better prepare and celebrate the Christmas Season. Some years I have co-hosted a table at our church and this is the second year that I was invited to one sponsored by my sister's church. We had a great time. I picked up Mom (bringing the wheelchair again - it's so much easier on her) and this year it was at a local banquet hall. The hostesses had to bring a centerpiece and the rest was provided by the hall. I really liked the new arrangement. They served dinner rolls with a tossed salad and chicken and for dessert there was sorbet. Everything was delicious and the serving staff was most accomodating.

There was singing and a testimony(very moving)and the message was given by Dr. Dennis Henderson who is well known for illustrating Biblical truths through a graphical interpretation to reach a visual learning generation. His talk was about angels and he told of how he was taught to personalize the scripture John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." After talking he put on music and started to do a chalk drawing of a shepherd seeing the angels. I was able to get one of the pictures (my batteries were dying), but then he changed the lighting and there were angels in the smoke of the fire. You couldn't see it without the special lighting - it was awesome!! It's hard to express what I saw without a picture - wonder if anyone else got a good shot of that? It truly was amazing!

It was a great evening of fellowship and preparation for the coming of Christmas.

Thanksgiving Day

I just realized that I didn't post anything about my wonderful Thanksgiving and it was wonderful. We were invited to my son and dil's new house. I think we were all anxious to celebrate in new surroundings and to see how they have decorated for the holidays. They have a beautiful staircase that they garlanded up and the mantel had stockings hanging along with a beautifully decorated tree. All of my immediate family was there - that always makes it special. We picked up Mom and brought her wheelchair to make it a little easier and our daughter, sil and lil Peanut came too (in a seperate car).

The turkey was done differently this year, they marinaded it in a brine overnight and then my dil put lots of herbs and stuff under the skin. It was DELICIOUSLY MOIST!! Gotta get that recipe in case I do the turkey next year. She also did her traditional 'White Castle' stuffing (if you haven't tried this yet you need to). I did the sides - potatoes (I forgot sweet potatoes :(), broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and a relish tray. My daughter did the desserts - pumpkin pie and this wonderful chocolate mousse in little chocolate cups with chocolate leaves. I think we all agreed it was a wonderful mix where no one was overworked. Oh yeah, my dil also made a favorite appetizer of cream cheese covered with shrimp sauce and crab meat served with crackers.

We had a wonderful time visiting and exploring new things they have done - the nursery - as well as hear all about their recent cruise. It was wonderfully (there's that word again lol) relaxing. Peanut loves exploring Uncle and Aunties house and playing with the dog (the cats were locked up for GG) - she especially loves the dog's water dish lol. After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood to make room for dessert. It was fun seeing all the ourdoor decorations. We're learning how independent Peanut is - she wants to walk on her own and in her own direction lol. She was really good for the whole visit - no meltdowns at all. After our walk we sat down for dessert and then I remembered that we hadn't taken any pictures to remember the day, so around the tree we went. I love the new mix of our family as it grows - we are wonderfully BLESSED and THANKFUL!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poll Results

I recently ran a poll questioning when the Christmas tree went up. The results were kind of what I expected. I usually try to have mine up Thanksgiving weekend and this year I kind of achieved that goal. The tree is up and most of the lights are on...we need another strand or two of lights. So I guess I fall between two catagories.

Before Thanksgiving 11%
Thanksgiving Weekend 61%
In the weeks before Christmas 16%
Christmas Eve 11%

A few years back I discovered that if I got the tree up early then I had lots of time to relax and do the other 'stuff'. My world is a little different this year too because hubby is retired and some time that I had to myself is now always being shared. Not that I mind that, it's just different. Hopefully I'll finish decorating the tree this week and have pics later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Truth About Gratitude

I recently read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and find that I keep going back to it for daily or weekly reminders of how to live 'The Secret'. The following message is an excerpt from The Secret Daily Teachings

The greatest thief of human happiness and abundance is ungratefulness. Any lack in our lives - whether in money, health, or relationships - is simply the evidence of a lack of gratitude. If you focus on lack you are not being grateful, and that will bring more lack into your life. Yet the simple state of radiating gratitude summons everything to you.
No matter who you are or where you are, you can change your life with gratitude, but you must feel it with your whole heart and radiate it from every cell. Gratitude is not a mental exercise, and in fact, if you simply use your mind for gratitude it will have little or no power. True gratitude comes from your heart! You must think gratitude through your heart, speak gratitude through your heart, and feel it intensely in your heart.
Then practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a short time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. To celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to share an excerpt with you from The Secret Daily Teachings, which is being released in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia on December 9th. This excerpt presents an easy way to start using gratitude and integrate it into your life by making every Thursday "Thank You Thursday." As you "Thank your way through every Thursday" you will open the most powerful receiving channel within you.

From The Secret Daily Teachings - Thank You Thursday
"Today is Thank You Thursday. Today and every Thursday is your day to say and feel "Thank you" in as many ways as you can.

Write a list of all the people and events you want to give thanks for.

Return thanks today to those who have done things for you.

As you walk say "Thank you" in your mind with each step you take.

As you drive, make each time you stop your cue to say "Thank you."

At various times in the day, think and feel "Thank you" inside you seven times in a row.

Look for every opportunity to say "Thank you" to other people, and say it with so much meaning that the person looks right at you.

Thank your way through every Thursday, and make "Thank you" your predominant thought, feeling, and words of the day.

"Thank you" - two words, inconceivable potential power, and all they need is you to put the power into them by expressing them.

Thank you!"

I hope this leaves you with the feelings it leaves me with - I am truly thankful for all that I have and do in my life. I am truly blessed.

What Holiday Are You?

Harmony always has such fun things on her blog. I had to see what holiday I am.

You Are Easter

You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.

Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.

You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.

For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.

What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone