Monday, February 24, 2014

The Sandusky River Winter 2014

I am sure many of you have similar situations going on where you live. This is the Sandusky River, it winds though Northern Ohio out toward Lake Erie. It can get pretty scarey at times and over the years people have drown in that water. For the most part it stays pretty calm and through the hot summer months the water level often gets very low and you can actually walk across it on the river rock bed. Like all waterways it has a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation. In the Spring the walleye come in to lay their eggs and it is a fisherman's paradise. It brings people from all parts of Ohio and surrounding states. This photo was taken by my oldest daughter Rachael. It is where the road forks to go out to her house. If you go off to the left fork you wont get very far, that is River Road and it floods. I am sure there was a HIGH WATER or FLOODING ROAD sign there. This same river also runs through the town where I grew up. There are low lands in that town often subject to flooding. I am sure all those people who live in that area are in a panic. I sure know I would be.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Valentine's Day & Cupcake Purses/Baby Dolls

My Valentine's Day was a quiet one. I mentioned in my last post that my youngest daughter got me a card and a carnation. The card is a water color and I have always loved that medium in art work. I do like carnations, they are not a wimpy flower and stand the test of time. Thank you Meghan ♥

Then my guy Holden gave me a pretty little flower pot he painted and his mommy helped him decorate. It had some chocolate suckers and a cute picture of him in it.

He was more than happy to help me eat those candies, lol. Thank you Holden and mommy ♥

I have been busy making the little cupcake purses. These two were for my sister-in-law Faith. She has 2 small granddaughters and when she saw these she was so excited.

Inside are little baby dolls complete with a crocheted outfit and a blanket.

The dolls are jointed and their heads, arms and legs can be moved in various positions.

My friend Debbie also wanted 2 for her granddaughters. Below are her cupcake babies in various poses.

I bought these little dolls many years ago. They have the prettiest, most real looking blue eyes. I do have some that are smiling too. Their expressions are so sweet. They were quite pricey, but they are adorable. When they came in the mail and I opened the box I immediately got a whiff of the scent of flowers. The babies all smelled like roses!


The cupcakes have been fun to make but they are not the only thing I have been occupying my spare time with. Here is my latest WIP.

Mom called and commissioned me to make her another blanket. I have made her 2 already, I'm surprised she wants another. I asked her what she wanted and she said she didn't care. Now, this woman is a lover of browns and beige so I about fell out of my seat when she told me she didn't care what I made her, just make it colorful. I love this stitch found here. It is a moogly site and has a chart for different sizes, pictures to help get you started doing the first several rows. It is called Leaping Stripes and Blocks Pattern. This is the first time I have ever done it. It makes a good, solid, afghan. It is definitely not a lacy pattern if that is what you are looking for. I love this stitch!

I made up my mind I was NOT going to buy more yarn, I would use what was in my stash and I started with that thought. Friday I found myself heading to Hobby Lobby in Perrysburg Ohio. Now mind you, that is about an hour away from where I live. I went there because I needed to match up the one red I was using in this project. I won't even go into what all I threw in my cart, but I went to get more "I Love This Yarn" in a certain shade of red. On the UP side fortunately I found it, the DOWN side was the longer I stayed in the store the more stuff went into my cart. Finally good sense took over and I told myself it was time to go home. But enough about my moment of temporary insanity, I want some honest opinions now.....look at that color scheme, can you see what I am doing here.....near the top of what I have got done so far, there is a forest green stripe with a yellow stripe above and below it. I am back-tracking now, that green stripe is the center of the blanket, now I am going back in the reverse with the colors so I will end the second half of this thing with blue, ivory, pink and gray being the last 4 colors. Do you think that will look okay? I know from experience that things don't always look good when you look at them close up, you often need to stand back to make decisions. I am my worst critic, and one of my worst faults is not planning a head with a color layout. I will go head strong into something and just go with the flow, then often I will be unhappy with the results and find myself ripping out hours of work. When I look at this picture I think way too many colorful spots at the start, but the center is BORING!!!! But then I think, well the second half will be just a repeat of the first half only in reverse, just keep on going. You rip all that out and you are back to square 1, do you really want to rip out all that work? Of course not, but then if I ask all of you for your opinions then the majority wouldn't steer me wrong.

Yesterday morning I got the vacuum out. This house was needing to look like someone who lived here actually cared. I need to be in the mood to clean. I took the brush attachment and gave a few things a good swipe (why does the DVD player and the all the rest of the stuff sitting on the shelves on the tv stand have to always get so dusty?????). Then my sil Faith came and we went over to Meghan's to see how she is coming along with her renovations. This child of mine, by herself mind you, gutted her upstairs bathroom and master bedroom also the kitchen located downstairs from the bathroom. She started this well over a year ago. She had her whole house rewired and new plumbing, but more on all this later, it is a future post. The 3 of us went out to eat Chinese at The Golden Dragon. The food is always excellent there and we had a wonderful visit. Of course I was in such a hurry I forgot my camera. I wish it was more attached to my hip like some of you are with your cameras. Now back to my original point... this morning I go to get on my iPad to listen to my Bible app and it tells me there is no connection, yet everything with the wifi hookup seems to be flashing the usual lights. I hate that, my only thought is that sometime during all my cleaning efforts I did something to the connection. Now what??????? I absolutely hate to call DISH about this hookup because when I called them to put a security password on my wifi that was an absolute waste of time. They always have to forward your call to "someone who knows something more" than the person who answered the call. In the end of that ordeal I still didn't have a secure lock on the wifi and it was my oldest daughter who finally helped me out with doing it. That feeling of the blind leading the blind is in the back of my mind. WHERE IS THE RESET BUTTON!!!!!! Calling them may be my only choice. A person pays a small fortune and then gets crap service. The bundle package of  DISH tv/internet combined just went up $5 a month and about a week ago some gal calls and wants to know for another $6 a month I can add this and that. Needless to say, I try to keep calm, but I told her this, "You just raised the price $5 a month and now want another $6" CLICK! I hate to be rude. I didn't give her time to even answer, so upsetting, there is no end to everyone wanting the whole pie. Sometimes I hate technology.

Well, here is hoping you have a lovely, restful Sunday despite my rant.  Thank you for coming to visit with me. God Bless you all. Peace ♥

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thawing Out, But Not Idle & A Comfort Food

Beautiful isn't it? Even at my age it is still hard to believe that something so delicate and seemingly harmless can also be so deadly. It is also so unimaginable that each and every one of the tiny flakes that make up this winter wonderland are as uniquely different as you and I. So, I move on and say, yes, I know it has been way too long since I posted. I am also finding it near impossible to catch up with all of you busy friends. If you watch the news then you know what most of us in the colder climates have been dealing with. I know that we are not insensitive to the rest of you. Our friends in California and other states are needing rain. The good folks down south suffering through winter weather that they are just not accustom to, putting them virtually at a stand still and stranding them under terrible conditions, miles from home. Then I watch the news and see our friends across the pond suffering with flooding. As for the rest of the world, I believe they have all gone mad with war.

We have had a terrible winter. The snow started around Christmas time and has not relented. Combine that with sub-zero temps going down into the 20 to 40 degree below zero (wind chill factor) and it makes for a long hard time for all. Cabin fever, sure have a dose, there has been plenty to go around. You say you want some snow, wait a minute, let me find a box, I will send you some.

I started out with the snow shovel way back when this craziness started and haven't turned loose of it since. Yes, there is a snow blower, but I used it 2 times last winter and forgot how to start it by this winter. Several friends have helped with snow removal mainly the last 3rd of the driveway out toward the road. I got to the point that I didn't even attempt shoveling that part because the snow plow would just come by a bit later (usually right after I got it shoveled out) and plow it closed again.

There is almost 2 feet of snow all over the back decks. It comes all the way up to the doors. There is no place to put the snow and the back sliding patio door froze shut in its track. There is another door off the laundry room I can use to get out and also the man door in the back of the garage in an emergency, but the dogs are use to going out the patio door to do their business. Now we have to use 4 potty pads (taped together, they slide around otherwise) by the door and if that hasn't been fun. The snow is way higher than my little Yorkies. I thank God they are not big dogs and their messes are easy to clean up. They are like Play Dough machines, ugh! It takes a lot to turn my stomach, and I owe that all to being a nurse for so many years.

About the only things stirring out there has been the beautiful winter birds. I have 3 feeders and one suet holder. I do believe the entire bird population in this county has found them and I have been having to fill them up every 2-3 days.

Sorry, but I took these pics through the French door blinds. It is a whole ordeal just to go outside, putting on all that clothing just to shovel snow, get the mail and feed the birds is a pain in the butt. My friend in Florida called me the other day and told me she was sitting in her shorts and sunning herself. I told her to "HUSH, don't make me come down there and smack you!" She just started laughing and reminded me that she has a guest room. I did fine through most of these weeks but one day, while filling the bird feeders, I was attempting to push snow off of the deck steps with one booted foot and the next thing I knew I was smacking the steps with my butt, landed on my back and I heard a crack. Okay, was it my back, the steps or the ice? I paid for that one for a good week, sore butt and side. How I came out of that without any bruises is beyond me. Had I broken my back I would not be here right now. No doubt I would have been a casualty, all this happened inside of the privacy fence, no one to see me, I would have laid there and froze to death. Guess it just wasn't my time to go. I have started to carry my cell phone in my coat pocket when I go outside to do anything now. Problem solved, lesson learned.

See all that snow, well, that is part of the driveway, the turn around part where we always back out of the garage so we can pull out on the road. It will accommodate 3 parked cars so that kinda gives you an idea how big it is. I finally got so tired of cleaning it off I just started piling the snow on it.

That was all good and well, piling the snow there until I remembered that the propane delivery guy would have to get to the tank to fill it sooner or later, so I started shoveling a path through that heap of snow, all the way over to the yard........

down to the chain link fence.......shovel enough Sue to get that gate open......

through the gate to the tank. I have been keeping my eye on the fill gauge, a bit worried with all that dreadful cold, making sure it would not run out. I closed off 2 of the bedrooms way back in December to save on fuel, there has been shortages of propane. That is another reason I have not been blogging. My pc is in one of the rooms I closed off. The kids got me an Apple iPad for Christmas, I do have wifi and I have enjoyed that, but to do my postings I prefer to come use the pc. My fuel guy came 4 days ago. My tank was 60% full yet and he filled it the rest of the way. I am pretty proud of myself for being frugal with the fuel. It has been the coldest winter on record for us here.

This pic was taken the week before the previous ones were taken. A couple of good souls came and pushed the snow from the end of my drive to across the road. The sun comes out and it hits the asphalt and the snow melts right fast. I stand about 5'1" and the snow piles on the side of the drive are up to my chest. What follows are just some more of this wintery blast of snow and the efforts to keep a clear path from the house and garage. This is for all of you folks basking in sunshine and wishing it would snow where you are. Personally, I think I can safely say we are very tired, very tired indeed of it all.

The good news it is warming up. It actually got up to 37 degrees here today and the snow is starting to melt. The bad news is we are to get rain showers tomorrow and that means flooding. Lake Erie is over 80% frozen. The ice is 18 inches in some places. The rivers have plenty of ice and that will lead to ice jams and cause flooding. The ground is frozen and covered with snow. They have even suggested to prevent basement flooding to go all around your house and remove the snow about 3-4 feet back away from it. That makes me just want to sit down and drool like a mad woman. There is no way I can do that and I don't see anyone else out there doing it. For those of you who are seeing your spring bulbs popping up I do envy you. It will be June before we will be rid of all this snow. Heck, it will almost be about the time to grab the snow shovel again. It has been a long winter in more ways than one. With my husband gone it has been lonelier. On Valentine's Day my youngest came and we did homemade pizzas and watched Downton Abbey. She sent me a card and brought me a carnation :)  I will be sure to get a pic of those for the next post even though Valentine's Day will be long over. I should have got the plastic container out and set up all the Valentine cards I saved over the years from my husband, maybe next year if I'm still living?

Well, this post needs to have something to cheer it up. I am sure you are all brought to tears with all these snow pictures I have thrown at you, so how about something yummy and definitely NOT good for you....some "save the last bite for me" comfort food.

If this doesn't make your mouth water and your arteries clog up I don't know what will, oh be still my heart! The recipe can be found on the inside of the Velveeta box lid, but I will save you time cause I tweaked it a bit, as usual.

Mac & Cheese

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted (I used 6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs (I used Kellogg Cornflake Crumbs, about 6-8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 pound (4 ounces) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 package (8 ounce) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked, drained (I used an entire small box, 1 pound box I believe)

Heat oven to 350 degrees, spray baking pan with Pam.
Melt butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Remove half of butter and mix with bread crumbs. Set aside. Stir flour and salt into remaining butter in saucepan, cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk until well blended, cook and stir (I use a whisk) until thickened, add Velveeta and cheddar cheese, cook until melted stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni, coat well. Pour into a 1-1/2 quart casserole. Top with remaining  buttered bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and top is golden). 

Now the recipe makes enough for 4-6 people but I made a smaller separate serving for myself and then I put the rest in a glass baking pan (smaller than a 9x13). I did not put any bread crumbs on it yet. I covered it and put it in the freezer for a later time when I have some company to help me eat it. When that time comes I will butter up the corn flake crumbs and add them to the dish for the last 20 minutes of baking. I can not tell you how good this was during all this cold weather and how good it made the house smell while it was baking. Like I said, I did tweak the recipe a bit to suit myself. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.

Next time I will share with you all the things my hook has been doing. I have been busy making cupcakes purses with their babies. I had 4 orders and that made me happy. My mother called me and wants me to make her another afghan/blanket, she added she will pay me to make it. Thank goodness it is not another flower one, lol. So, until next time, I hope all of you have been well, and doing what you love. I will try to catch up more on your blogs and will try and promise that I won't be so long in coming back again. So sorry it has taken me awhile to return, but life happens when you planned something else. Love you all. Be good ♥

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Still Here

Hi everyone. I'm still around and will be posting soon. I haven't forgotten about you lovely friends. I have just been so busy with SNOW and all those below zero temps. Working on a couple orders and finishing them up. Will share with you on the next post. I am so far behind reading blogs. It will take me days to catch up. Hope everyone is doing well ♥
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