Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge



We’re over halfway through the last week of February … blink a couple of times and we’ll be in March.  So let’s wrap up February with another Hodgepodge!


1.  When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.

Cruise & Orange Beach - January, 2012 002Last month … we faced the Atlantic and the Caribbean.  There are so many words that describe how I feel when I’m at the ocean/beach, but if I have to choose one, I’ll choose renewal.  My spirit is renewed whenever I’m at the beach.

2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?

A door slammed in anger, a baby/child crying, the squeal of slamming brakes.

3. This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

I’m not a fan of “brick and mortar” shopping, so in order to minimize the shopping experience, I buy, try on at home and then return what needs to be returned.

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

Nope, not a fan of the pistachio.

5. When did you last have to compromise with someone?  Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary?

When you’re married, life is full of little compromises … but when love is the driving force, all those compromises become expressions of the “two becoming one”. 


6.  Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

No, I’ve never written a letter to an elected official.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

In any given year, a highlight of March would be our trip to Florida for Spring Training.  But this year we’re foregoing Spring Training … our spring travel budget has been maxed out, funding our cruise in January and our trip to Disney/beach in May with DD and her family.  But I’ve got several other things on our March calendar that will make me smile, one of which is having T#3 and T#4 here this weekend.  We’ll have a full 2 days of the littles, and I can’t wait.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I woke up to a dusting of snow and a few falling flakes this morning.  It’s supposed to continue all day with no significant accumulation.  Winking smile   

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up



Our weekend got off to a busy start.  I mentioned that we got 5 1/2 inches of snow Thursday.  Since he came back from his 2-month stay on the Alabama Gulf Coast on Saturday, DH and I went out Friday to shovel his driveway.  We didn’t want to take the chance that he’d get a “wild hair” to get out there Sunday afternoon and clean that driveway, so we beat him to the punch.  Let me tell you that snow was heavy!  My arms and shoulders are still feeling the effects … and DH is “down in the back”.  He’s already told me that if we get the snow that is in the forecast for the next couple of days, I will have to shovel our driveway.  Winking smile 


And speaking of my dad returning from the Gulf Coast, we were supposed to meet him in south-central Tennessee and drive him back home.  Turns out he left the Gulf Coast Friday afternoon and drove clear up to south-central Tennessee where he stopped late Friday afternoon.  Rather than have us drive until midnight or later so I could drive him back home or sit for 6 hours waiting for us to arrive Saturday morning, he chose to return come on home on his own.  I have to say that I didn’t mind not having to get up at 4:00 in order to be in Tennessee by noon.  And instead of spending 12 hours on the road, I was able to do some more quilting on T#2’s quilt … plus I finished up shoveling our own driveway (DH wasn’t able to finish it due to his back issues).


Sunday was a quiet day … perfect way to end a weekend.  After church in the morning, we had a quiet afternoon … which I spent quilting.  We had a treat for dinner … a Papa Murphy’s pizza.  They were hosting a fundraiser yesterday … buy a pizza and 30% of the proceeds goes to H.I.S. Kids … I didn’t have to cook dinner, and we helped support a very worthy cause - a win-win situation.  We’re not fans of awards programs, so we skipped the Oscars and watched Tootsie and Kramer vs Kramer.



It’s going to be a pretty busy week here at Chez Nana … helping with Ts today and tomorrow, going out to visit my dad on Wednesday, having the 2 little Ts here Friday through Sunday.  I’m worn out, just thinking about it!  Winking smile


Saturday, February 23, 2013

“Keepers” from Pinterest


Several have asked if I’d share some of the “keepers” from my Pinterest recipe search.  Since it seems that I’m not the only one who’s looking for new recipes to try, I’ll be happy to share my “keepers” … if you all will share some of your favorites so I can add to my repertoire. 


DH and I both liked the Baked Fried Chicken from 



We also liked the Smothered Chicken from

I will say that the next time I fix it, I’ll double the amount of creamed spinach.



I would add the Parmesan Chicken Bake from

I liked it better than DH did, but he doesn’t complain when I fix it.



I’d include the Easy Garlic Chicken from

My only “complaint” was that with the oven set at 450, the sauce burnt a little.  I’ll try it again with a lower oven temperature.



And our favorite is Ina Garten’s Chicken Piccata from


Now it’s YOUR turn to share a few favorites. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fragments


Mommy's Idea


It’s Friday … what better way to kick off the weekend than with some Fragments!


We got snow – a REAL snowfall!  We got 5 1/2 inches here yesterday!  I just LOVED sitting in my warm living room, quilting, and watching the snow fall.




Tomorrow we’ll head out to meet my Dad and help him with the drive back home.  Seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that we helped drive him down.  Thankfully the roads we’ll be taking already are clear (from yesterday’s storms).



I’m making progress on quilting T#2’s quilt … I’m wondering how I’ll quilt the borders. 



I’ve been perusing Pinterest trying to find some new recipes.  I’m getting bored with the same old recipes.  I found a new one that I tweaked to make a little healthier … it was good, worth trying again (with some more tweaking to suit our tastes).  Right now I’m “batting .500” with the new recipes … I’ve found 2 that are keepers and 2 that I probably won’t make again. 



I finished Team of Rivals, and none of the books on my Kindle are screaming “Read me! Read me!”.  <sigh>  Guess I’ll just quilt instead.  Winking smile



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Is it really Wednesday already?  Not only are we halfway to the weekend, it’s time for some Hodgepodge!  If you’d like to play along (the more the merrier) or if you’d like to see how others answered these questions, just click on the button above.

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.
Literally?  I don’t know.  We were in the Rockies when we visited Estes Park a few years back, but we didn’t get to the TOP of any mountain.  Figuratively?  I’m sure that there are more recent “mountaintops”, but the one that came first to my mind was seeing T#1 baptized 3 years ago.

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?
We have a budget but I wouldn’t say that it’s a strict one … I’d say that our budget is more of a “moving target”.  The financial advice I’d give someone starting out is to save … save for retirement, save for children’s education, save for big expenditures.  Not only will he/she be prepared financially for life’s big moments, but he/she will be able to avoid the pitfall of credit card debt.

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one.
I’d have to say that I’m not a huge fan of cherries, so I’ll say cherry pie.  I love pies, especially fruit pies.  And there’s just enough tartness to pie cherries to keep a cherry pie from being too sweet.

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?
I grew up in an era when it was considered poor taste to discuss religion and politics, and while I’m more than willing to share my faith as I’m called to do, I’m still not comfortable discussing politics.  In the last 8-10 years, it seems that politics has really polarized this country.  It seems that so many (on either side of the “fence”) have closed their minds and are unwilling to logically and rationally discuss political issues.   

5.  When you take a road trip, do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?
I prefer to be the passenger, but I’m willing to take a turn behind the wheel.  Thankfully DH prefers to drive, so I’m the navigator, something that I have to admit that I’m pretty good at.  Not bragging, just stating a fact.  When I was growing up, my dad needed a navigator, and my mom just couldn’t read a map … so the job fell to me.  ;-)   Our last road trip was to Florida and back for our cruise. 

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?
It appears to be a toss-up between red and peach/coral.  I would have guessed the peach/coral (I’ve been told that color flatters me, so when shopping, I always reach for those colors), but I was surprised by the amount of red in my closet (although I guess I shouldn’t have been … between some red pieces, some Christmas tops and some Cardinals t-shirts).

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?
I would have to say my dad …although he is far from perfect, he’s still my dad. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
We’ve got a winter storm coming tomorrow … 6” of snow and ice (freezing rain/sleet).  I’m excited about the snow, but the ice?  Not so much.  Sad smile

And as I mentioned in my Weekend Wrap-up, I got my quilt sandwiched and ready for quilting Friday evening.  Unfortunately, DH had already gone to bed so I had to resort to taking a picture of the quilt while it was on the table for basting.  I wasn’t able to get a good angle, and the lighting isn’t very good … but I did get a picture of it to share.
T#2 quilt 2

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The History of Quiltmaking


Ok, not THE history of quiltmaking … MY history of quiltmaking.  Winking smile 


I have a love of needle and thread.  I came by it naturally … my mom was a sew-er and quilter and was determined to teach us girls to sew.  When I was around 9, she signed us up to join 4-H.  In addition to learning how to bake brownies and snickerdoodles from scratch, I learned to sew … my first project was a simple A-line skirt.  During high school, I learned to embroider … I remember making several sets of embroidered pillow cases – from pre-stamped pillowcases.  This came in handy when embroidered jeans became popular in the late 60’s … I could embroider my own jeans! 


When I was 18, my grandma gave each one of her grandchildren a hand-pieced quilt top.  My mom told me that she was not going to do all the quilting on my quilt and insisted that I help.  At 18, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at the quilting frame … and I’m sure that my stitches would have borne that out.  Winking smile


In 1982 I decided to make DD a quilt.  I don’t remember what possessed me to make a quilt … nor am I sure how I decided on a quilt pattern, fabric selection, etc.  But I do remember going to a quilt shop way over in West County St. Louis (probably an hour’s drive?) to select fabrics … I chose blues and pinks of varying shade to make a log cabin quilt.  Since I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I purchased the book Log Cabin Quilts by Bonnie Leman and Judy Martin to use as a guide.   I remember cutting the fabric into long strips (with scissors, not with a rotary cutter) and assembling the blocks from those strips.  I hand quilted it (with a hoop – no room in my tiny apartment for a quilt frame), and it took me a good long time.  I remember setting it aside for a while, and when I started in again, I caught the “hand quilting bug”.  Here’s a picture of the quilt today … if you click on it, you can see that the colors have faded and the edges are frayed … it’s definitely been loved and used.Robin's quilt 001


My next quilt was a double wedding ring wall quilt – a wedding present for two dear friends.  I know, I know … I must have been insane … I don’t think I had enough “quilting sense” to realize that I should have been too intimated to try to make a double wedding ring that soon!!  I used Mary Ellen Hopkins’ The Double Wedding Ring Book


I also made a simple patchwork baby quilt when a good friend’s son was born a few years after that.  It was at this point when quilting took a back burner in my life … working full time, raising a pre-teen, and a new husband took up most of my time.  I discovered counted cross stitching … and certainly the shorter completion time for most projects had its appeal. 


It wasn’t until 2001 when DD shared the good news that she was expecting T#1 that I got back to quilting … I just knew that I had to make my first grand a baby quilt.  Of course, when we got news that she was expecting T#2, I had to make her a baby quilt, too … and with the arrival of another baby, it was time for T#1 to “graduate” to a “big boy bed” which meant that I needed to make him a quilt for his “big boy bed”. 


I had definitely rekindled my passion for quilting … and now I start a new quilt just as soon as I’ve finished the last stitch in the binding of the previous quilt.  I finished T#4’s big girl quilt Fall 2011 … since that meant all the grands had baby quilts and big boy/big girl quilts, it was time to make a quilt for us … finally after quilting for almost 30 years. 


My quilts are certainly not masterpieces and will never win any awards … in fact, if the “Quilt Police” ever inspected my quilts, I’d be serving a life sentence in the Quilt Police Jail.   Winking smile  But it really doesn’t matter to me … my quilts are labors of love … made to be used and loved.  I love seeing DD’s first quilt … faded and tattered and used.  Plus, a worn-out quilt means that it’s time to make another quilt! 


I hear and read so many who are intimidated by quilting … to which I say, if you can sew (by machine and by hand), you can quilt.  There are so many resources available today that weren’t available back when I started quilting: books, magazines, You Tube videos, in-store classes, quilt guilds.  Making a quilt top is simply cutting up fabric and sewing it back together.  There are so many simple patterns out there … made up entirely of squares or rectangles.  And if a bed-sized quilt seems too intimidating, start with a smaller project (such as a table runner or wall quilt).   Hand quilting does take a fairly long time … it can take me 2-3 months to hand quilt a twin-sized quilt (and that’s with “just” a moderate amount of quilting).  And to many, handwork is tedious.  Many quilters today do nothing other than sew together quilt tops and have them machine quilted by someone else.  There are just so many possibilities when it comes to quilting. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up


Weekend Wrap Up



Another weekend has come and gone … how quickly time flies when we’re having fun.  Winking smile


My weekend started on Friday … in the sewing room.  This quilt for T#2 took a lot more time and effort than I expected it to … I mean, it’s a simple patchwork laid out in a trip-around-the-world design with 3 borders.  How difficult can that be?  I already described my troubles with putting together the borders … I failed to explain how I sewed the patchwork together in 2 sections and then sewed the 2 sections together incorrectly.  I had to rip out and re-sew the 2 sections together.  And even though I carefully followed the instructions for mitering the borders, I couldn’t get my corners to lay nice and flat and smooth … I had to re-do them as well.  Now I’m sure that my mitered corners issue was operator error, just like the patchwork issue and the borders issue, but that’s small consolation when it took me a full 2 days longer to get this quilt ready to sandwich together with the batting and backing. 


And even the sandwiching and basting didn’t go as planned.  I had hoped to have it all basted together in time to get in some hand quilting while watching the Blues game Friday evening.  But because DH and I spent Friday afternoon/early evening shopping for a new minivan, I didn’t even start sandwiching the quilt together until the puck dropped at 8:00.  I did get it all basted and ready to go by the end of the game (which the Blues won … in case anyone cares – ha!). 


Saturday morning, I started quilting.  I decided to quilt in concentric diamonds around the center patch … to draw the eye to the trip-around-the-world layout.  I got a good bit of quilting done Saturday … it was a sunny but cold day … a good day to stay inside and quilt.  Winking smile


Sunday morning, I was asked to help out in the toddler nursery at church.  Since T#4 is still in the toddler nursery, I didn’t have to have my arm twisted.  After church, we went out to lunch with DD and her family and her dad/his wife to celebrate T#1’s birthday.  We had a couple of hours at home before we had to head back to E-town (the larger town 5 miles to the north, where DD lives) for T#1’s birthday party for the family.  We met up at a new entertainment/game center where we played several games of Laser Tag … my legs are certainly feeling the effects of all that Laser Tag. 


What a weekend! 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fragments


Mommy's Idea


The week is winding down and the weekend is rapidly approaching, … and that means it’s time for some Fragments.


I spent ALL DAY in the sewing room yesterday, working on the borders for T#2’s quilt.  I’m adding 3 borders, the outer one of which is from a striped fabric.  I’ve never sewn with striped fabric, and let me say that what an adventure!  Because I’m going to miter the corners of the borders (something else I’ve never done before – I must really be crazy, huh?), my instructions recommended that I sew all the borders together and add them, as a single border, to the quilt.  After I sewed on the last striped strip, I thought to check to ensure that the stripes on 3 of the 4 border sets are a little wonky … and I had to rip them apart and re-sew them.  Confused smile  Today I hope to get the borders sewn on so I can make my quilt “sandwich” and maybe even get in some hand quilting.



Because I was still working in there after dinner, I thought I’d turn on my favorite movie of all time Gone With the Wind … only to discover that TCM no longer airs in analog – it is now being aired in digital format.  Now, I don’t know exactly what that means except that our old dinosaur TV in the sewing room (and not hooked up to a cable box) can only receive/display analog programming.  I popped in a DVD of Now Voyager so we still had our movie night. 



Am I the only one who had to look up the difference between a meteoroid and asteroid or wondering if there’s any connection between the meteoroid that crashed into Russia and the asteroid that’s going to be coming incredibly close to earth today?



Although it’s going to be cold here, at least the sun is shining.  And speaking of weather (yes, I know I’m a weather geek), we’ve gotten enough rain (no snow Sad smile) this winter to relieve the extreme drought conditions we were in.  I’m praying that this summer won’t be another hot, dry one so we won’t find ourselves back in an extreme drought … and that the rest of the country will get some relief from this widespread drought.



Tomorrow T#1 turns 11 – HOW did that happen?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we sat in the waiting room at the Women’s Pavilion at the hospital and waited and waited and waited? 



Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

I haven’t done a Simple Woman’s Daybook for a long time, and today seems like a good time for a Daybook.

Outside my window... it’s just starting to lighten up.

I am thinking... that I’m glad our taxes are done (well, almost done … DH will review our returns today, and then if everything looks ok to him, I’ll file our returns this evening).

I am thankful... that DH is so tolerant of my passion for quilting and doesn’t begrudge my time in the sewing room (or my purchase of fabrics).

In the kitchen... there are a few dishes on the counter that need to be put away.

I am wearing... blue jeans, long-sleeved t-shirt, black Sketchers.

I am creating... a quilt for T#2’s bedroom makeover … I’ve got the body of the quilt pieced … now I just need to piece the borders and sew them on. 

I am going... to get back to the Y today.  I gave myself a bit of a break the last couple of days … time to get back on track.

I am wondering... whether we’re ever going to have a “real” snow this winter.  

I am reading... Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I am hoping... to be able to get the borders T#2’s quilt on so I can start quilting today.

I am looking forward to... our trip to Florida in May … 8 days at Disney World and 4 days at the beach … 12+ days with DD, DSIL and the grands … perfect!

Around the house... it’s peaceful and quiet … I love getting up early in the morning like this.

A favorite quote for today...
Valentine's Day

One of my favorite things... is spending time with my Ts, which I got to do last night. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: Today is Valentine’s Day. DH and I will keep our celebration rather low key, with dinner out and a movie at home. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up



And oh what a weekend it was … one that I was sorry to see end. 


We got to spend Friday and Saturday with our sweet T#4 … while Mama and Daddy took the bigs to T#1 and T#2 to a swim meet in Hannibal, MO.  Friday evening, we watched Beauty and the Beast, played and colored in our Cinderella coloring book (I’ll let you guess who colored what Winking smile).photo(5)

Saturday for breakfast, she asked for bacon and “dippy eggs” (soft cooked eggs in T-speak), so what’s a Nana to do but to serve “dippy eggs” and

Yes, she ate it all … and no, I didn’t have any “dippy eggs” and bacon.  We colored some more, played some more and watched a Dora the Explorer movie.  I’m not sure who had more fun … T#4 and me.  Winking smile


Sunday was a dreary, rainy day so while DH was delivering communion to shut-ins from church, I spent my afternoon in my sewing room.  I finished sub-cutting my strips into blocks … and even got a few rows stitched together.  After he got home, we went to the Y, and I got in 30 minutes on the treadmill.   


It was a crazy, busy, fun weekend … it’s certainly going to be a quiet week in comparison.