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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Back Again, Mom and a Recipe

It has been too long, has it not? I think so, and now I find myself in the midst of the month of February celebrated with hearts, candy, flowers and love. Where has the time gone? I feel it has just slipped through my fingers, like so much of my life. There has been 10 deaths in my family in the past 5 years, that is not counting those friends who have had losses too. Sooner or later it all comes to us and we have to face it. I'm starting to know a lot of widows and widowers, but love stays doesn't it, and life goes on. 

I did not want to come back here with a depressing subject, but life is not all about roses. My mother passed away the end of October. By the way, her name was Rose. She was 84, would have been 85 this past December 10th. She lived a good life for the most part and was able to live in her home up until in July when she fell at home and broke her hip. As with so many of the elderly she went down hill from there. It is a blessing to know that she is no longer suffering, and I hope in a better place. And with that I will let this story lay to rest as I hope she is at rest now too.
So, I imagine those of you who have been faithful to me are wondering what I have been up to, what I have been doing. I have been busy. I still babysit for my grandson 2 days a week. Just plain and simple, he is a joy. I can always depend on him to make me laugh and to brighten my days. I have also done some knitting and plan to share with you soon the most recent projects.

Another thing I have been up to recently was doing a bit of cooking. I got the bug up my butt to teach myself to make egg rolls. I have a sister-in-law, Pawnee, we call her Penny, she is from Thailand. She makes excellent egg rolls. Years ago she made some for us and they were delicious. I know they are time- consuming, I know they can be expensive to make especially if you don't have the ingredients on hand. I found dozens of recipes on Pinterest. I went to Meijer in Sandusky (I love that store) and loaded up on what I needed. If you are ambitious, the recipe follows all the pics.

Chinese Egg Rolls

1/2 lb. ground pork or chicken, beef, or omit meat and use veggie filling
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, or 2-3 tsp. ground
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
1/4 c. soy sauce
16 oz. bag shredded coleslaw mix, I used Dole
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
veg oil for deep frying
1 tsp. sesame oil
12 egg roll wraps

Brown the meat with ginger and garlic in pan, drain grease.
Mix salt, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add meat and mix well.
In large bowl combine cabbage mix and green onions.
Pour hot meat over vegetables and stir well. Let cool slightly.
Lay wrap in front of you so it looks like a diamond.
Place about 3 tablespoons filling in center of egg roll.
Pull bottom point up over filling and roll once.
Fold in right and left points.
Brush beaten egg on top point.
Finish rolling.
Continue with remaining filling.
Heat 2-3 inches of oil in frying pan to about 350 degrees.
Fry egg rolls for 3 minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels.

 Just a few hints, you can use a head of cabbage, but the bagged coleslaw makes it a less messy job and a nice short cut. I used the minced garlic in a jar. I measured out what I needed and left it drain on a paper towel to get rid of the extra liquid. I forgot the fresh ginger and used 3-4 tsp. of ground ginger that I had on hand. The first batch I did I forgot to do the very first roll of the wrap (that is what happens when you don't read instructions very well), but they turned out okay. I also tried deep frying them in more oil, but once I tried to flip them they kept flipping back to the side that was done. The following week (second double batch), I tried 1-2 inches of oil in a large frying pan and that problem was solved. I made egg rolls 2 weekends in a row. I loved doing them. I didn't count how many I had the first week, but I had enough filling for 51 the second weekend. After they cooled, I divided them up into quart freezer bags and into the freezer they went. Of course I am sharing with family. The only down side to all of this was the mess it made on my stove top. Next time I am going to try baking them and see what happens. My brother Mike and his wife said they were better than the ones at the Chinese restaurant :) If you make them you will not be sorry, they are great!
By all means check out Pinterest, they have tons of different egg roll recipes, and you could even tweak them to suit yourself.

Do you know what this is? It was one of the things my mother brought from Germany when she came to Ohio back in the early 50"s.

I highly doubt that anyone uses these any more, but back in the early days you needed one cause socks needed mending.

It is a darning egg, not your usual shape. Do you have one from your mom or grandma?
I found it among mom's sewing things. It is a treasure.

She said she kept these little tights she made me. I searched for them, but it was my brother Ralph who found them.

This is the back view of them. She didn't have a pattern, just a great love of knitting and a little girl who needed to be kept warm in the cold winter days in Germany.

Here I am in Germany wearing the tights that my Mutti made me.

I wanted to keep them safely tucked away and went on Amazon and bought this Herbal Moth Repellent that I can add to the storage bag I put the tights in. It does not have the odor of  moth balls and actually has a pleasant smell. The little tights are safely tucked away now in a dresser drawer.

It feels good to be back here again. I have missed all of you so very much. I don't think anyone who spends time on here can not get attached to those people who spread their kindness and loyalty to others. I have seen it written so very many times that blogger friends are the best, and I have to agree 100%. No where else can one find people who share in all the happiness and give support in sad times. It means so much to be able to escape to the keyboard and visit people who have only known you a short time, yet it feels like old friends are so close. Thank you for visiting me, thank you for being a friend. God Bless you all.
I am truly blessed.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Meghan's Hot Dog Birthday Bash, Mom

Back in June my youngest, Meghan, gave her annual birthday bash. This year it was a hot dog bar with all sorts of recipes for various hot dogs. I was unable to download the pics cause for some reason I couldn't steal them off of Rachael's Facebook page cause she took them with her cell phone, bummer.

Meghan always makes her parties interesting. There were prizes and I won this pretty blue bowl and some seed pods, bottle of fertilizer and potting soil. She had also included some gardening gloves and small tools. The plants were for an herb garden and included sage, basil, dill and cilantro. Look how pretty the seeds did. I put the bowl on the deck rail and they got plenty of sun and rain.

I don't know if you can see what was going on with the hummingbird feeder, but one day I looked out and this large bird was hanging from one of the perches. It could be that it was after the ants that always find their way to the sweet nectar. I hesitated about even posting this pic.

I'm sorry you can't see him better. I never have my big zoom lens on the camera when I need it. If I was better at cropping my pics and getting a blow up you could see this better. I am such an amateur.

I need not explain this at all. Everyone loves a rainbow, including me. 

I have to explain my absence again. For the past 3 weeks I have made daily visits to the nursing home with my brother Mike. My mother has been so sick and her health is failing. Her new hip is again out of place thanks to someone on the nursing staff. No one seems to know how this happened but we all know that she has been bed-ridden and unable to get up, so she is not responsible for this. I am sure when the staff sees me walk in they cringe and say, "Oh no, here she comes again!" There is a list of complaints and I am so tired of making excuses for staff. The brothers are upset too but more forgiving. Being a nurse myself (for over 30 years) makes me aware of dos and don'ts. I have been on both sides of the spectrum and know what it is like to do this kind of work short-handed. I know what it is like to be a patient and again what it is like to be the concerned family member. Two weeks ago today they thought she was dead. They couldn't get her to respond and could barely get a blood pressure. She did come around finally. Of course we had all come flocking into the nursing home when we were informed. She refuses to eat, but will take liquids for us. She drinks like she is dying of thirst and we wonder if they even offer her anything to drink. She was never a water drinker but now she even agrees to drink that. I could go on and on, but it would get me nowhere. The choices for nursing care facilities was limited. I honestly wish I was able to take her to her home and care for her there but I am not able. I care for my grandson and the brothers are all still working their jobs. Since I became a widow life here at my house has doubled on my shoulders. I am seeing no alternative but to speak to the Director of Nurses and make her aware of the complaints. My brothers are like ducks, they allow things to roll off their backs. I do not. Also not being surprised one bit that they are all a bit passive aggressive, where I am not.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Out of the Mouth of Babes; HOLDENISM and A Little Bit of This and That


Out of the Mouth of Babes

July 1982, a month before I went to nursing school. Busch Gardens.

In my lifetime I have had the privilege of spending time with 3 small children during their toddler years.
Two of those children were my own of course and the third is my grandson Holden.
As a mom we all realize that we don't always spend as much time listening to our little ones when there is work to do, and if we work out of our home even more time is lost with them.
I suppose if I thought hard enough I might be able to remember some of the cute things my children said, but in reality, I remember the actual things they did more than the things they told me.
That saddens me. I look back on those years and it was most definitely the happiest time of my life. I was so blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom right up until the day my youngest started kindergarten and I started my first day of nursing school.
That year was the most difficult. I spent that entire year studying. My children discovered there was no Santa. They found unwrapped Christmas presents because both my husband and I didn't have the time to wrap them yet. The clothes got washed but most times they were still in the clothes dryer and not in the closet or drawers where they should be. My husband bought us our first microwave. The kids ate a lot of nuked food like hot dogs. The three of them went all kinds of places without me. I was left behind sitting at the kitchen table with my nose in school books on nutrition, anatomy, fundamentals in nursing, pharmacology, and the books that described laws and nursing practice. There were drug cards to do and nursing care plans to write out.....and there were always 1-2, maybe 3, tests the next day, so what do you study first? I basically neglected my family. Had it not been for my husband cheering me on I would have quit, plain and simple. I wondered just what the hell I had gotten myself into that first day as I carried the huge box of books down a long flight of steps to my car. What fresh hell had I gotten myself into anyways?

Then years passed and my children grew up. They went to college. Then came marriage. And as time went by we finally got our first grandchild, a boy.
I spend a lot of time chatting with this child and he chats back to me. He is a joy and he is funny. I should have written down some of those things that have made me laugh and have vowed to do just that from here on in. So, from time to time I will share those funny little things he says to me or anyone else in the family.
Face it, little children are truthful, humble and most of all innocent. Keep in mind he turned 3 in March.

Last week he and I are watching cartoons. A commercial comes on for all things but Fungi Nail medication for toe nail fungus:

Holden: "Mamaw, do you have toe nail fungus?"
Me: "No Holden, I do not have toe nail fungus."
Holden: " I bet that would hurt."
Me: "Yes Holden, I'm sure it would."

Earlier that week his mommy is spraying weed killer on a patch of stones where they had 3 pine trees removed. He was made to stand away from the spray out in the yard:

Holden: "Mommy, what are you doing?"
Mommy: "I am spraying weed killer to kill these weeds."
Holden: "Mommy you shouldn't do that. You shouldn't kill things God made."

This past week my mother returned to the nursing home by ambulance from Toledo.
The orthopedic surgeon there managed to pop her new hip back in place without doing surgery. They kept her for a couple days just to make sure everything was going to be okay.
She came back with 2 different devices to prevent her from moving that hip causing further damage. Basically they are both considered immobilizers, one made of thick foam that rests between the legs and is fastened to the legs with velcro straps. That one is for bedtime. The other is a more hard copy actual brace for the left leg that has a bar and a heavy plastic plate that rests against the stomach. That one is to be worn during the day and when she is up. She does not like them. Face it, none of us would want either one of those contraptions. She asked me how she got in such shape in the first place. I reminded her that she got that way, and to quote her because her words verbatim, " I am very careful." that is what you said mom. In reality she was just the opposite, she refused to use either walker or cane when she was at home (she has both). Picture, Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down, well this Weeble fell down. It was only a matter of time. She refused a Life Alert to be worn around her neck in case she fell. She refused her $6,000 hearing aides. She refuses to answer her phone. She refuses to eat nutritious foods. Her foods of choice were junk and sweets. She complains about her bottom being sore, and there is a bit of skin breakdown that a wound nurse is attending to. She is restless and up and down constantly. I sometimes wonder if her lack of appetite is because she is starving herself to die. For anyone who doesn't know, the #1 way the elderly commit suicide is by refusing to eat. Her Living Will clearly states, "No feeding tubes."
Then this week my good friend Barb (and her family) in Fort Myers are dealing with Hospice being called in for her husband. Her husband and mine were in Vietnam together and that is how she and I became friends. Both our men were exposed to Agent Orange along with the other thousands of troops. Her husband got sick about 10 months after mine was diagnosed with the cancer. It has been a hard time for them because they were well under way building a new home when they found out he was sick. They had also just moved back to Florida after selling another home they built in North Carolina. I know what she is going through. I have walked that same path, wearing those same shoes and it is so hard to watch a strong man reduced to what cancer does to the body and spirit. My prayers are not enough to bring a miracle, but maybe God can bring comfort to this family and peace to their loved one.

I have found some free time in the evening to knit. This was my next to last project. A stash buster scarf of all colors left in the RH stash. Some rows were more rows than others, no definite color scheme. The pattern was cast on 20 stitches on size 6 knitting needles, then knit 2 rows then the next 2 rows were knit 2, purl 2 across. Repeat those 4 rows for entire scarf pattern in length desired. 

I still have the ends to weave in and no, I did not use all the yarn up yet.

I made up a quick diagonal stitch baby blanket because I wanted to use up a skein of worsted weight pink. As my luck would have it I ran out and had to make a trip to Joann's to get more. I will donate this. I have one project, another skull cap, on my circular knitting needle. It is my on-the-go-project. I have packed the rest of my yarn away and do not plan to get it out again until maybe well into this winter. I want to play around with my stash of fabric and finish up some of my sewing projects I have started. I am burned out on the yarn.

It is that time of year again. I stopped at the fruit market last Friday with the prime intention to get a few salad veggies and ran across a lug of Roma tomatoes. That led to buying 3 pounds of onions and some banana peppers. I had garlic bulbs at home. I have made my own spaghetti sauce for almost 43 years. The recipe can be found on my September 3, 2012 post. I got 13 quarts total. 

The sweet corn was just too pretty to pass up so I bought a dozen ears. I blanched them and put 10 ears in the freezer. I figure you can guess what happened to the other 2 ears. 

I never thought the time would come when I would be saying I miss the garden my husband use to put out every year. It was so easy to walk out there and pick fresh veggies right off the plants. When I saw the price of that lug of tomatoes was $20 I about flipped. When I got done doing my shopping I had spent close to $40. When we had our children at home I use to can and freeze everything I could get my hands on. Nothing in the garden went to waste because we both came from parents who had made it through WW2 and the Depression. We heard about people starving and waste not, want not. One year I had a goal to fill every canning jar and every freezer container we had, and I did exactly that. We always bought a 1/4 of a beef and half a hog for the freezer too. We hardly went out to eat. When you are married to a meat and potatoes guy you better learn to cook. Life is so different now. Cooking for one person is a whole new ball game. I hardly cook at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Organizing/Removing All the Clutter & Trixie Belle

I love this dog, my little Trixie Belle. She will be 10 years old on September 4th. We all know what that age would be in dog years, 60 years, little old lady. I took this picture of her some years ago. She is grayer now, especially around the muzzle. She is slower too, of course. I have to take all that into consideration when I let her in and out. My dogs are not allowed down in the yard. They get treated for heart worm but last year Chewy came in with a tick. They have never had fleas. I have the medication to treat them but do not like applying it. I have an aversion to chemicals. Giving them the heart worm medication is bad enough, mosquitoes fly, they can still get at my dogs. We went all the way to the other side of Indiana to get her. She was about the size of your fist. She had a bit of a cough and came with a bottle of medicine. I fussed over her like a mom would her small child. I still do. The life span of these dogs can be 14-15 years. 

Last evening was spent at the ER. Mom fell at the nursing home and dislocated her new hip. They tried to pop it back in but was unsuccessful. Her surgeon was out of town, his associates were unavailable, so they shipped her by ambulance to Toledo. They got the hip back in place without doing surgery. She will remain there for 24 hours and then back to the nursing home. Those who thought she would be safe to go home or to an assisted living are seeing things a bit more clearly now. I have thought all along she was not safe to go home and way past appropriate for assisted living environment. Things do not look so good for her. She does not follow instructions and I am sure her comprehension is at a low point. She does not want to eat the wholesome healthy foods for her nutrition, but prefers the sweets. At this rate she will not get stronger. 

I mentioned in my post heading that I am doing some organizing and removing the clutter. On and off I work on my sewing/craft room. I'm sure you are thinking, "when will she ever get that done?" Well, since I have been basically pecking away at this little by little, I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. The room is small, there is not a whole lot of places to store stuff and I am still relying on totes. There is a closet that is jam packed with all sorts of things, and more totes. Getting to a bottom tote requires moving the ones on top and what a headache that can be. That is where I often get myself into trouble especially if I am in a hurry and don't put everything back the way it was. Heck, I have to snap a pic just to see how I had it all in there at the start. The clutter removal, well, I ran into 2 more blogs that were made private and so I removed them promptly. That brings the total to 3 so far. I refuse to clutter up my sidebar with useless stuff. 

That is how things are going for me on this Sunday. I did so little yesterday that I considered that my Sabbath, plus I spent 4 hours at the ER with mom, my one brother and his wife. I got home late and got to bed at 3am. I was up by 7:30 this morning. I will be wrapping it up soon in my sewing room and I think I will give Trixie a good brushing. I will have to pen Chewy up because he gets all rowdy because it always has to be about him. He can be a royal pain in the butt.

Happy Blessed Sunday to all of you.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

PBS Television, Oh Yeah!

I don't normally discuss what I am watching on television, but PBS Masterpiece is one of my favorite programs.
Recently I watched Season 1, the first 7 or 8 episodes (forgive me, I lost count) of Poldark.
I love anything British, Scottish or Irish, especially those movies that are historical in nature.
 Actually they can be just about any time period, I'm not fussy. This is the first part of a series of historical novels written in 1945-1953 by Winston Graham. 
Aiden Turner, who is actually from Ireland, plays the handsome Ross Poldark.
Swoon ladies, he is 32 years old (oh to be young again, *sigh*).
The lovely gal who plays Demelza, his kitchen maid, is Eleanor Tomlinson. I will not spoil the story for anyone who might like to watch the programs. There is more coming months from now in 2016 and I can hardly wait. Of course you can purchase Season 1 and also the 12 novels that comprise the series. Have any of you seen the program? and what did you think?

Other programs I have loved to watch are the Sherlock Holmes episodes and Downton Abby. I broke down and treated myself to some of those DVD's. 
I have some catching up to do on Netflix.
The spin off "Better Call Saul" from "Breaking Bad" is another one I got hooked on in the past several months. I started watching Breaking Bad one winter night when flipping through channels on DISH. As usual, 500 channels and nothing good to watch, and plenty of re-runs. I happened upon it mid-season and had ignored all the people who claimed it was good. When Better Call Saul started I made sure to faithfully record the show.
I also love to read, I just never have the time to do it. Reading has always put me to sleep. When I was younger I would fall asleep and then wake up hours later with the bed light still on and the book under my hand. Nothing better than a good book to read. Back in the 70's when "The Thorn Birds" came out we belonged to a book club. Anyone who ever belonged to one knows how that works, they send a card, you opt to accept or reject the book of the month. If you neglect to send in the card the book will come automatically and you can be bothered to send it back or be lazy and keep it. I got the book, yes, I was lazy. I glanced through it and after reading the dust cover/jacket I was convinced that this book was going to be a boring story set in Australia. I started reading and was glued to the pages, my book came up missing and I was having fits hunting for it. It turned up at the bottom of my clean laundry basket under a pile of clothes that needing folded. My husband!!!
Good books and movies will do that to you. They hook you in and you just can't put them down or stop watching. Oh, by the way, I named my youngest daughter Meghan after the female character in that book,
as did a friend who read the book too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What Next?

When I was a young gal we had a next door neighbor who had a tractor tire-sized fenced in area where she planted nasturtiums. 

If you glanced over toward her back yard it was hard to miss the sight of bright orange, yellow and red blooms. 

They required a lot of watering, especially when the weather was dry.

They bloomed profusely. She tended her little flower garden with much love and care.

It seems like forever that I have wanted to plant some of these flowers.
So weeks ago I did 4 flower pots that would be easy to maintain.

I don't know if it was not enough water or too much that caused the brown patches on the leaves.

I did some leaf removal.

Now I wait for the bright red ones to bloom.

Do you know you can eat the blooms?
The pickled flower buds contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten in large quantities. 
The blooms are pretty on cakes and some people add them to salads.
I had really hoped that my plants would have more of a trailing vine. Why do I remember the neighbor's plants as being that way?

My front stoop geraniums look good, my poor concrete porch does not. 
Look where it is chipping away on the right front corner and towards the middle. 

My goose is naked even though I have several outfits to dress it in. 
Most are faded from the sun and need replacing. 
The shrubs are still an issue and this week I have researched more people who do that kind of work.
I have a call in to another one. Hope I get some action going with them.

Since I have finished with the scarves I am at a loss of what to do next. 
I have plenty of things I could do, but finding something that keeps my attention will be the real test. Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat.
Hope this week is going good for all of you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scarves, Patterns

The scarf count has reached 24 with one more to make. I am debating if I should actually make the last one or just get it from some made and packed away, the ones I made ages ago for gifts. Am I that ambitious? I have enough stash yarn to make another.

Julia asked about the patterns and I will try to do my best with answering that. First off I will say I did not add any edging borders or fringes. Of course you can do what you want. I just did basic patterns with no frills. All my instructions are US terms. I used knitting worsted weight yarn for all the scarves and either a J crochet hook or size 8 straight knitting needles depending on pattern. I followed no gauge so you can do whatever works best for you. A regular skein of RH (7oz.) will yield about 2 scarves. I used crocheted V Stitch for the ones in the above pic, mainly because these yarns (Home Spun) were so bulky that trying to knit them was a headache. You can go here for stitch instructions. I tried to get all foundations as close to 20 stitches as possible. The lengths varied because of how much yarn I had on hand to make them up, but I wanted all the widths to be as close as possible.

Crocheted Shell Stitch. 
Fast pattern. Just a variation of the V stitch only you make the shell with 2dc, ch1, 2dc, all other directions are the same as the V stitch.

Moss or Rice Stitch. 
Knitted, cast on multiple of 2 stitches.
K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this pattern all rows.
If row ends with K then the next row will begin with K or vice versa.
I'm adding some more info here, from what I researched this can also be called seed stitch.
I just know that whatever you did on the first row, that you do the very opposite for the next row.
You will knit in what was a purl stitch in the previous row and purl in what was a knit stitch in the previous row. That will give a small overall bumpy appearance to the scarf. I don't mean to make this sound harder than it is. It is basically one of the easiest knit patterns.

Garter stitch. 
Cast on 20 stitches.
Knit all rows.

Oh I loved finding this knitted pattern on Pinterest. There was no name.
Cast on 20.
Row 1 & 2: K across row.
Row 3 & 4: K2, P2 across row.
Continue by repeating these 4 rows until desired length. Scarf pattern is reversible. 
Edge at beginning will be different than at the opposite side. 
No worry, it is suppose to turn out like that (see below for close up).

In this close up you can see the pattern design just by repeating these 4 rows. 
I warn you though, I had to keep a piece of paper handy to keep track of what row I was on and more than once I had to back track because I messed up. 

The Diagonal Stitch.
It starts out by chaining 6, then you dc1 into 4th chain from hook and then dc in the 2 remaining chains. 
Then comes the tricky part so I will send you here. 
This gal has an excellent picture tutorial on this stitch. 
It works up fast. 
Below is a closeup of how it should look.

Look at my photo bomber. We are in the kitchen.
He is on high alert for anything that remotely sounds or looks like food.
Even with the hair covering his eye he still sees everything. 

This pretty much sums up the scarfs. 
This endeavor has warmed my heart.
The entire time I was doing these I kept thinking I should have made some caps too. 
Maybe next time. This is by far one of the things I have done that was not a chore.
If it helps to keep someone warmer this winter then it was well worth the time and effort. We can all be loving people who practice random acts of kindness for those less fortunate.
I do not expect, nor do I want anyone to feel they have to repay me.
I just ask that they thank God for His goodness to them.
The thought came to me one day out of the blue.
I take no credit. God whispers do this.
Everything belongs to Him, He has provided and I am just the vehicle. 
I have been blessed to be able to have hands that are able to be productive.
Blessing are given not to keep, but to share.

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