Friday, February 29, 2008

Three Things

Hmmmm...got this in an email this morning and thought I would share it with you all. Kind of interesting (funny,interesting) to think about, don't you think?

Three Things to Ponder:

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments



C O W S


Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.



T H E C O N S T I T U T I O N


They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.



T H E 1 0 C O M M A N D M E N T S


The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this:

You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.

The Icing on the Cake

I'm having my cake and eating it too. Well, not for long though. You see, because I used my powdered sugar for coffee this week there wasn't any left for icing. So the cake I made on Tuesday sat underneath a kitchen towel until yesterday. Not good for a cake. Not good at all.

BUT...I did ice it and I learned some things in the process. That I did. (Make sure you have powdered sugar in the cupboard before you begin the cake)

First, I prepared the counter to make the icing. And, as always, I had my little helper with me to sample each step of the way and ensure that the icing tasted satisfactory)

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Second, I set the cake on the table with my "model" next to it.

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I made a chocolate cake but instead of vanilla extract I used a teaspoon of cloves. Talk about yummy. Ummmm. I love spices! Notice my cake didn't make it out of the pan in one piece? See that rugged little bit there? That plays an important role in this story later on. (many of you already know what happens, but let's not get into that now. We'll talk about that later)

Now onto the actual icing part. This was actually pretty hard. Alot harder than it looks. I had to ice the sides of my cake and smooth it out but for some reason mine wouldn't smooth out. I guess it would be helpful to purchase that Wilton's spatula the book said I should have. I thought I could just use what I had but unfortunately, it didn't work.

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I did my best though and that's all that matters. Now the decorations. Shells. These were not fun and it took some practice to get them even halfway decent.

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And then the fun part. The stars on top. I practiced those a couple of times on the wax paper and then felt confident enough to cover the cake with them.

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Pretty good for my second ever attempt at decorating. This was my first time ever using proper instructions. The last time I was just going by my sister's instructions and it was about an hour before Chloe's first birthday, so needless to say the cake looked pretty awful. Let me see if I can find a picture of it to show you.

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And the new one...again.

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My stars got better. Only thing was, I didn't read the instructions thoroughly enough. I was supposed to turn the bag slightly with each star so the points would be inset in the previous star, hence the chocolate cake peeking through the stars on the cake. Oh well. I learned and I will do better next time. I think I will practice at least one more time before Chloe's birthday cake. Maybe even just on wax paper to get the techinque down.

The issue with the rugged bit perturbed me. You see, it was like icing a mountain ridge and boy was that hard. Do I turn the bag at an angle to ice it? My stars turned out all bumpy and uneven because of it. I will have to figure something out for getting the cake out of the pan better. Maybe I will splurge and get that Wilton grease stuff. They said its the best...maybe it really is. And maybe thier colors are better too. I didn't like the colors my dye produced and the book says that Wilton colors come out beautiful and bright. Golly...this could quickly become an expensive passtime.

Well, I am off to do who knows what. Have a great day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pretzels

No baker can call themselves a baker until they have made a pretzel. Unfortunately, until yesterday, I was in that category of unbakerness. Now, I can proudly call myself a baker, thanks to my lovely Bread Cookbook given me by an old secret pal. I don't own a bread machine, nor will I ever. I don't believe in them. But, I have been making bread since I was a child and there are just some things that you cannot change. Hence, I can interpret a bread machine recipe and come out with a regular loaf of bread, fashioned in the old-fashioned manner.

Flipping through this treasure-trove of recipes (many of which I have been making quite regularly lately) I ran across a couple of recipes for pretzels and I thought to myself, "why not?". Really...why not? So, I did it.

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I shaped the dough into pretzels and coated them with some lovely, buttery goodness. Don't they look splendid? Half the batch became sesame seed covered pretzels, which at the time of typing this post, have disappeared...all six of them...in less than 24 hours, no doubt.

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And you all know I just couldn't leave the other half alone, didn't ya? Nope. If it is good with sesame seeds on it then it must be better with sugar, right? (nod your heads...because it really is) I sprinkled some granulated sugar and cinnamon on top. All I have to say is YUM! (half of these are gone too)

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This was so much fun. Next time I think I am going to try the German pretzels. That one looks interesting. It seems that you boil the pretzels before baking them. Should be fun. I am curious to try out more of these recipes. This book is chaulk full of good recipes and aside from the Rye Bread, they all have been delicious. Today, the plan is to frost a cake I made on Tuesday, but alas, it was library day and a book I ordered came in today...so I don't know if I can get the icing done or not. I have already read the first 6 chapters this afternoon. Great book. Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl. I am not finished with it yet, but I can honestly say that aside from any LM Montgomery book published this is the best book I have ever read. (and, mind you, I have read quite a few books)

Well, I am off to do who-knows-what because all I wanna do is read this book but I know I shouldn't because I need to let what I have already read sink in. Just to fill up my time, I wrapped Chloe's birthday gifts already. (can you tell I am excited about it??? Two weeks and two days left) Now...gotta go do something. Guess I might as well ice that cake before it gets to old and dried out to eat. Have a glorious day and don't forget to thank Jesus for something today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Catching Up on Things.

With my shower completed and a trip to Toy R' Us got thrown into the mix as well, I am now ready and excited for Chloe's upcoming birthday party. I can't wait. But more on that later. Right now I have a few things to show you.

The dingy appearance of my current set of dishcloths begged of me to make new ones. So, instead of making my favorite pattern, which I have made a zillion of in the past few months, I took it upon myself to design one. Its a simple one and I figure it would make a great free pattern for my site. I am calling it Frilled Lace. (I couldn't come up with anything better at the moment in which I named it)

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And then I went and made two more. (Because I did say I needed new ones)

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Well, then...Sunday I was feeling pretty good about things. I don't like to work on my business on Sunday (my day of rest) so I got out my thread and started playing with some stitches. I wanted to get a good base stitch for a new dress for Chloe's birthday.

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I picked one of those and it will be the base for the dress. You will have to wait to see which one it is. (mwahh ha ha. Eveil, aren't I?) Monday I did something I should have done months ago. Years ago, in fact. (well one and a half years ago, really) You see...I had some fabric lying on my bedroom floor since we moved into this house. In our old house, it used to hang as curtains, but it was just fabric drapped over the curtain rod. I didn't own a working sewing machine back then so that wasn't an option for me. Now that I am the proud owner of a Bernina (the world's best sewing machine) I have no excuse for hanging curtains without being hemmed. So...instead of hemming them like any normal person would do, I left them on my bedroom floor for a year and a half. (lazy, eh?) I must make mention here that I am not a filthy, dirty person. Quite the contrary, in fact. I do like my house clean and picked up. I can't have things lying around. But for some reason, I got over that and was completely willing and able to vacumn around these curtains for a year and a half.

Not any more. Monday I hemmed them and produced this...

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Tuesday the yumminess continued. I see a theme from the past month emerging that I wasn’t expecting. FOOD. I seem to have made more food or kitchen related items for this thing thingie than any other thing. And pretty much nothing was on my original list of things to create. Oh well. Food is good, right? Anyways, I made some yummy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Scones for my Tuesday thing. Oh boy. My mouth salivates just thinking about those scones sitting up on top of my refrigerator. Can I resist the urge to gobble one up right this minute? Tie me down, someone! Quick!

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Okay, then. I am off to clean up from supper. Be prepared for some more yumminess in my next post. (because what I made today is extremely yummy) Have a great evening everyone.

Yum! Maple Syrup!

Better late than never, right? I have pictures of our Maple Sugar expedition last Saturday. We had so much fun learning about maple syrup and how its made. Let me tell you, I learned a thing or two. Here. Let me show you.

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First you have to cut a piece of wood and bore out the middle to make the tap (or spout) which will later be tapped into the tree. This was our guide who walked us through how maple is collected. I found it humorous when he stated that the hole on the end of the "spout" must be wittled down to something like 7/16 of an inch. He explained that the government has standardized the size of the hole you can bore into a tree to collect sap. Hmmmm...the government standardizes everything they can nowadays, don't they?

Anyways...moving on.

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You need to bore a hole in the tree. Our guide used the old fashioned method of a hand drill to bore into the tree. he recommended using an electric drill though for modern day use. Anyways. He then inserted the spout and wa-la...

Nothing happened. It has frozen the night before so the tree he bored into wasn't producing maple sap. Oh well. We learned, right?

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A plastic milk jug is used to collect the sap.

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Or, if you wanna go high tech, you can used a galvanized bucket. Even better were the big multi-gallon sized garbage cans with plastic tubes running from the trees. The gravity pulled the sap down into the garbage can. Interesting.

What I found most fascinating was that the sap that runs from the tree is over 80% water. Yup. I didn't know that. I am used to pine sap which is very thick and sticky. Not so with maple sap. It looked like water and when you tasted it, there was only a slight hint of maple flavoring.

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So, of course, I had to get me some of this real, honest to goodness maple syrup. YUM! We had pancakes Sunday for breakfast. YUM!

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They had a Native American station set up to show us how they used to "sugar off" thier maple syrup. We missed the explanation of how it worked though. Drats!

Here are some other things from our maple sugaring trip that had nothing to do with maple sugar.

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Black vultures live in this area and they love to live in old, abandoned houses. Well, the orginal houses from the old mining days were in such a state of disrepair that the government ordered them torn down. That meant no more homes for these black vultures. The nature center is in the process of building them a tree house. A brand-spanking new abandoned tree house. (they might even throw in a dead animal or something to attract the vultures)

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Inside the nature center we got to see some birds, turtles and snakes and such. Our favorite was the possom a young boy brought out. He was tame and we got to pet him. His tail was sort of scaly and looked like a rat tail, only larger and much stronger. It sort of felt like a snake once I was dared into touching it. (by my loving hubby, no doubt)

Well, I am off to shower and then eat some pretzels. I will have to show those to you after I get back from my sorjourn. Have a wonderful afternoon.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

This morning was no exception to that rule.

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Above you see James sleeping on the couch about 10 minutes after he got out of bed. Chloe is next to him.

We had a late night last night. We didn't get home until after 12:00 midnight and apparently James figured the perfect end to our evening of Shakespeare would be a Cav's game. Yes, a very fitting conclusion, I must say. Of course, I only stayed up for about 20 minutes of the game and then I went to bed, read a couple of chapters of Miss Read Village School, and finally, when I could no longer keep my eyes focused on the page, fell asleep.

My little angel of a girl awoke at 6:23 am, a whole 67 minutes before the scheduled wake up time, climbed into bed with us and there concluded our abbreviated slumber. Needless to say that coffee suddenly became crucially important this morning. In my groggy state, I brewed my pot of coffee and proceeded to "doctoring" it up. I went to the cupboard and alas! No sugar!! (remember yesterday and my ordeal with the sugarless scones? Yup...still no sugar) Well, that's okay because I can always use brown sugar. I've done it before and it wasn't so bad that time. Upon opening the cupboard a second time I realized that I used the last of the brown sugar yesterday in those Cowboy Candy Bars. Oh crumbs! I GOTTA HAVE SOME COFFEE...and I do mean NOW!!!

I did what any caffine-deprived mama would do.

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I used confectioner's sugar.

Hey! It wasn't so bad. In fact, I am gearing up for a second cup. So, now we are on our way out the door to watch maple sap be turned into sugar. FUN! I will be sure to take plenty of pictures to share our adventure with all of you. Ya think I'll be able to buy some real maple syrup?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cowboy Candy Bars and Other Things

Its Friday. Most normal people would be celebrating today, and for good reason too. Its the last day of the week, tomorrow is the weekend, 2 whole days of freedom. Who wouldn't want to celebrate that?

For some reason though, I don't like Fridays. Don't get me wrong. I love weekends with James. This weekend starting tonight will be particularly exciting. We have a theater show to go to tonight (our friend's daughter is acting in it) and then tomorrow we will be heading out to see a maple sugaring. Fun, right? So what is my problem?

I have no clue as to the why's of this, but I always wake up on Friday dog tired. Maybe its the long week I've had. Maybe its all in my head. I don't know, but I have an extremely hard time getting out of bed on Fridays. Worse than other day, because getting out of bed can be a very difficult thing to do on any morning, not just Friday. I have yet to figure out why my issue is Fridays. I am also prone to headaches on Fridays. Another weird one that I simply cannot figure out. (nor have I tried)

Anyways, seeing as how its Friday and all, I thought I would share a little update with you on our second week of homeschooling. We had a delightful week, Chloe and me. Perfectly delightful. We learned about jungles. It took Chloe 3 days before she would acknowledge that any of the pictures I showed her were, in fact, jungles. No, she claimed they were trees. Simply trees, with a sly, mischievous grin on her face. What a crackup this kid is. I knew that she knew what it was, she just refused to admit it to me. She has yet to admit that vines are indeed vines. They too are simply trees, also with a sly, mishievous grin.

But, on a good note, I found her counting last night. I never taught her how to count. Oh...well...I guess in a way I did, because as any mother of toddlers will tell you, once you have a toddler in your midst for any extended period of time you find yourself counting everything out loud. From walking up stairs to putting blocks into the toybox, everything becomes a counted game. I don't know why we mothers do this (or any caregiver of toddlers for that matter) but somehow it must work, for Chloe counted out my styrofoam balls last night, much to my surprise. She counted all the way to eight, by herself, with no prompting from me. Then she skipped to ten. Then back to five.

Her fine motor skill for today was to hide an elephant in the grass. I cut out the grass for her and this is what she created.

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As you can see, it took her a while to grasp the concept that grass goes up and down, not horizontal. But she came to that conclusion on her own, so I am quite proud of her.

I must say that after our second week of school, I am much more comfortable with her abilities in it. She is getting used to it and actually enjoying it. Yes, she is. She knows whats coming now and she smiles and grins and does it willingly and cheerfully. We have alot of fun. (she really liked this elephant project)

So, I mentioned in my last post that I was to make some Cowboy Candy Bars. I did it. Now I am having my tea.

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The Cowboy Candy Bar tastes quite good. Wanna know something weird about me? I love peanut butter. Its one of my favorites. I love chocolate. Its another one of my favorites. I love desserts with peanut butter and chocolate together. (as is the case in these Cowboy Candy Bars) Ready for the weirdness? I don't like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Nope. I will eat them if I am desperate for sugar, but I will never choose them if something else better lies within my reach. (meaning two mile radius)

Anyways...about these Candy Bars. The recipe called for crunchy peanut butter but since I didn't have any I used creamy instead. Worked just fine. When I went to retrieve the chocolate chips fro my cupboard, lo and behold, I only had white. So, I used those instead of regular. These candy bars turned out delicious anyways. What a clever idea. One thing troubled me though. The recipe said to mix the base "just as you would a pie" with no other explaination. That would have been fine if the ingredients had been similar to that of a pie crust. But no. This was oatmeal and corn syrup and butter and brown sugar. Now tell me...how on earth do you cut that together? It didn't work very well. But I got it done and it tastes wonderful.

So now I must update you on my Things. I am so far behind on updates with this so beware...there will be many things listed here and not alot of info about each one. (I don't want this post getting too terribly long now, do I?) The Candy Bars were my thing for today so that would make them Thing #22. Now I will start back on Thing 15. (remember, I had to skip Thing 14 because my Chocolate Lace Eggs flopped)

Thing 15 (which you've already seen in my Winter Wonderland Post)
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Thing 16 (I was sick all day Saturday with a migraine so I actually did Thing 16 on Day 17)
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I installed coat hooks on the wall and hung my aprons from them. Doing this cleared up a whole half a drawer that I can now fill with other nonsensical gadgetry. James doesn't like it and claimed that it makes the kitchen look cluttered, to which I replied that it was MY kitchen and since I am the one who stands in it for more than half the day every day that doesn't it stand to reason it should be laid out in the manner best suited to me?

He left.

Thing #17 (done at the same time as Thing #16)
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The other half of the drawer now hangs on my new rack installed on the cabinet door under the sink. My only problem now is what am I going to fill this drawer with?

Thing #18
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Now we move on to the cupboards. I installed little cuphooks along the bottom of the shelf and as you can see, hung some cups from them. This didn't clear up as much space as I was hoping it would, but oh well. Looks good anyways.

Thing #19
I don't actually remember what Thing #19 was so I will have to get back to you on that one after I browse through my photo organizer. (where I am sure the picture of that Thing is)

Thing #20
I don't have a picture of Thing #20 because its not something you can take a picture of. I went through all our photo files from the past 3 years (yes...from the time Chloe was born until the summer we moved here) and renamed the folders and moved all the pictures into different folders. This took me about 4 hours. So I know this "Thing" thing is only supposed to take 45 minutes but once I got started, I had to continue until it was done. Thats the logical thing to do.

Thing #21
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This is my Mother Daughter apron set I designed...oh...last fall or something. Anyways, the funny thing is...I crocheted my own design wrong. What? Aren't I the designer? How can I crochet my own design wrong? Well, leave it to me, I did. The adult skirt didn't have the right amount of increases so it looked funny. (and didn't fit around my legs properly) I re-crocheted it for Thing #21. Yay! And since I finished my something new (the Winter Wonderland Ensemble) I needed to work on a WIP next so it was this apron. The pattern made it through testing already so it should go up on the site by the beginning of March. (I know some of you have been waiting for it)

I am off now to play Jaguar Horse with Chloe - a game in which we take turns acting like a Jaguar followed by a horse and back and forth like that. Its her new favorite game now that we learned what a Jaguar was this week. Its quite a fun game of prancing around the house, bouncing off the furniture and you really should hear Chloe winney. Her "neeeiiighhh" beats all. (and cracks me up everytime) Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Hyacinth Bucket

I've always felt that I should have been born in England. Well, after we lived in England, that is. Before then, I only knew I should have been born at least 100 years ago. Or, maybe its 150 years ago. I'm not sure the exact year, but I do know that I am a tad bit old-fashioned in my mannerism and deportment. Well, upon moving to England, I realized I was not as old-fashoined as I thought. I was just born in the wrong country. England is civilized. They do things the right way. Er...I mean Proper way.

I found a beautiful book today written by Hyacinth Bucket. You should read this book. (its online) We could all learn a bit from dear Miss Bucket about how to serve guests in our homes.

Hyacinth Bucket's Book of Better Class
British Cookery
(for the socially unfortunate)


More specifically, you should read Chapter 5 on Tea. A very useful chapter if you are interested in entertaining guests for tea. Now I am off to figure out how to make Scones without sugar. Impossible? Well, I guess I shall have to wait until James arrives home with my sugar. In the meantime, I think I will make some Cowboy Candy Bars. They only call for brown sugar, which I have. Have a great afternoon...and don't forget to have yourself a good cup of tea.

P.S. the above book is best read with a British accent. If you don't have one, that's okay. Just read it normally. But if you do have one, it would be better that way.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

About the Sheep

John 10:14
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me"


Growing up in a Christian home, I am familiar with many passages from the Bible. Passages like the one above. Even the whole first half of John chapter 10. Its a very nice chapter. One of those passages that makes any Christian go "Ahhhhhh" and then a warm, fuzzy feeling enshrouds their heart. Yes, I know that feeling and I usually get it each time I read that verse. Ahhhh...my Shepherd knows me. Ahhhh...how nice is that??? Ahhhhh, yes. A comforting verse, right? *sigh*

I read this verse for my devotions last night. I left it at just that one verse. Then I laid down and thought about this verse and prayed for some meaning from it. What could I take away from reading this simple verse.

A question entered my head. "Do you know Me?"

What? Who said that?

"Do you know Me?"

Of course I know you God. Your...well...your God, after all.

"How well do you know me? Do you know me like a sheep knows its shepherd?"
Well, I hadn't thought of that before, Lord. Let me think on this. I'll get back to you.

John 10:3-4
"The watchman opens the gate for him [the shepherd], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."


Then I read this verse this morning, trying to get a better grasp on what God was telling me. He said it again.

"Do you know me? Do you know my voice?"

Okay Lord, I could know you better. I want to know you better. Is that what you are getting at here?

"If you know me, then follow me."

That was it. I got it. A sheep knows its shepherd's voice because a sheep is with the shepherd everyday. A sheep follows the shepherd. It goes where the shepherd calls it to go. So, now I guess I better get to know my Shepherd more.

Prince Charming

As a little girl, I used to dream that I was a princess. This was easier for me because I was adopted and somehow I just knew that my birth parents were somehow tied to royalty. I just knew it. Now, I was not a very "girly" girl growing up. I didn't wear the frilly, lacy dresses (like my little girl wears) because my parents couldn't afford them. We wore simple, homemade clothes that were quick and easy to make. We also wore alot of hand-me-down clothes given to us by families in the church. I was a tomboy and wore my clothes out. We were the kind of kids who didn't mind getting dirty. We would climb onto the roof of our barn/garage and jump off. We would play in the chicken coop (when it was chicken free, of course) and we also had a tree house in the back alfalfa field. This tree house was so cool. Along the fence line of the property was an old rock wall that was crumbling and falling down. This rock wall was completely overgrown with trees and shrubs (of which I have no clue what are). It was the perfect place to play. And can you believe that my parents let me go barefoot out there? Yup. I used to run around the alfalfa field barefoot. (This girl does NOT like to wear her shoes. Oh...I like shoes...I just don't like wearing them.)

Anyways, even while I was tomboying around, I would dream that I was a princess. More for the royalty treatment that I felt I deserved than for anything else. I wanted to be waited on hand and foot. I wanted to climb trees instead of setting the kitchen table or chopping vegetables for salad. I felt that these chores were beneath my "royal status".

Now that I have a little girl I am beginning to see more of this "princess wannabe" attitude everywhere. It is much different from my princess wannabe attitude. This one is pink. (which is lovely...perfectly lovely) And its girly. And its...well...its mostly Disney, I thinkand fairytale-like. But the attitude is there.
I am a princess and I expect to be treated like one.


We even see this in Christian books. (not that its wrong, mind you) We are God's Little Princesses. Right?

Well...now we are grown up. We are married and have families and homes. But that attitude is still there. How many of us want our husbands to treat us like princesses? Oh yes. I know you are out there. I'm not the only one. We want the chocolate...the flowers...the undying devotion. We want it all. And aren't we entitled to it? I mean, after all, we are God's children and God is the King, right? That makes us princesses. So, why aren't our husbands treating us like the princesses we are?

Let's turn the tables a little bit. What about our husbands? Surely, if we are princesses, they must be princes. Right? They are royal too. (although I doubt they dreamt of being fairytale princes when they were 9 years old) Do we treat our husbands like a Prince? Honestly? When they walk in the door after a hard day of work (and yes...even working in a stuffy office all day is physically draining...and emotionally...and mentally) what greets them? A grouchy wife who complains about the leaky faucet in the bathroom and the tantrum from the kid who is now sitting on their bed waiting for their "father to get home"? A house filled with clutter and choas? Dirty laundry on the floor, clean laundry covering the couch, dishes piled in the sink and counter, toys strewn from one corner to the other? Is this the sort of palace your Prince comes home to?

If a real prince walked in your door right now...how would you greet this man? Instant awe, instant respect. It would not matter whether you agreed with his politics or management of his country...just his title alone would deem respect and you would give it to him. The fact that he graced your doorstep would be enough to send you to cloud nine. Why is it not so for the men we married? Why do we not treat them with the respect God has place upon them?

I have been thinking about this sort of attitude the past couple of days. Instead of focusing on myself and what my husband should be doing for me, I have tried to focus on my husband and what I can be doing for him. So, I ask you. What can you do for your husband to treat him like royalty. I would love some ideas in the comments section.

I started a new thing this week. My husband loves it when I wear makeup. I don't wear it very often because I don't like it and it takes too long to put on. (can you tell I am lazy?) But he really gets a kick out of it and finds me attractive when I do wear it. One problem. If I shower in the morning and put my makeup on, by the time he gets home, my hair has been pulled back in a ponytail and the makeup is all rubbed off. In order to look good again, I would need a re-shower. So...I put my "Prince Charming" attitude to work and came up with a solution. I have started showering in the afternoon during Chloe's naptime. Most of my major cleaning chores are done, so my hair will stay nice. James comes home shortly after that so my makeup is fresh. And guess what! It works. He smiled...I mean really smiled at me when he came home two days in a row. He even told me how beautiful I was. I felt like a princess. And why? Because I had taken the time to make him feel like a Prince. If it were up to me, I just wouldn't wear makeup. But because he likes it and asks me to, I will do it for him. I want to please my Prince Charming.

So, got any other ideas of how we can treat our husbands like royalty?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland Ensemble

My masterpiece is done. Its finally done. This is the most gorgeous thing that I have ever made. EVER. It really is. I can't get over this one. Its my favorite design. Ohhhh...I'm drooling just thinking about this dress.

Let me explain something. About 2 and a half years ago, I got the notion to begin designing my own patterns. I wanted to design thread baby dresses. That's what tickled my fancy, so to speak. I had a few ideas for dresses rolling around in my head as I was contemplating starting on this designing journey...this dress being one of them. I also had a whole slew of names and collections picked out before I even began one stitch. I even had the name of this ensemble in my head before I named my business...Lullabies and Lace. Yup...before I even had this blog. (I used to have a Yahoo blog before this blogger one)

So...wanna see this masterpiece? I know you do. Here you go...

Winter Wonderland Ensemble

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Chloe was such a doll baby today. She was so compliant with the picture taking session that she even posed for me multiple times. I would show her to do something and she would do it. I got so many good pictures of her in this dress that it was difficult for me to narrow it down to a few for the website.

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I made a mock petticoat for this dress. That was part of the whole design that was rolling around in my head. The pattern will have two options...one for a mock petticoat that starts just above the snowflakes and the other for the full petticoat. This pattern is a little daunting so I doubt many will opt for the full petticoat once they get to that point.

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This dress certainly has a TON of ruffles. It is pure girl. I love it. The bonnet is quite unique, I think. Its actually a half bonnet. There is no back. I was going for something a little more like a headband but that covered more of the head. I like the end results. It looks a little Victorian to me, don't you think???

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So this pattern will be going into testing in the next day or two and it should be ready for sale by fall. That is the plan anways...get it out there in time for next winter. (seeing as how its called "Winter Wonderland" and all) Now I am going to take a little break from dresses for a day or two to recuperate and then I had better begin Chloe's birthday dress. I aim to get it done in time for her birthday. (this was supposed to be her Christmas dress...opps) Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Oh No!

We don't watch much television in our house. We have a television but its seldom on. When we do watch it, we usually watch a movie on the dvd player. James does love his sports though, which is the sole reason we have cable television. We watch pretty much every sport known to mankind. Most are not on a regular basis...who really follows jump roping anyways...HONESTLY! (we have watched it on occasion because they really are quite good at it)

Anyways, the other night I happened to see that Pollyanna was on television. I loved this movie as a little girl and have been dying to watch it lately. Everytime we go to the rental store though, Chloe picks out something else...she seems to have a thing for the Aristocats. We were able to catch half of Pollyanna the other night. Now, let me remind you that we don't watch television aside from sports...so that is what Chloe is used to. She knows sports tv and knows what happens when. It was different the other night. Way different.

There we were...mother and daughter...sitting on our couch watching our movie when all of a sudden I hear,

CHLOE: "Oh No!"

ME: "What. Sweetheart?"

CHLOE:"Oh No! Broken!" (pointing to the television set)

ME: "Its not broken, honey. Its a commercial."

CHLOE: "Oh No."

I think it would be good for me to explain here that this dialog is very similar to our "cd is skipping and won't play" dialog. She continued repeating this for each and ever commercial break during the whole movie. Towards the end I replied that it was indeed extremely annoying to have your movie cut off right in the middle of a good part to watch some mop on trial in a court of law. I felt for her. I really did.

Well, I am off now. I will try to get another couple of posts here for you soon. I have some things to show you. *wink*

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Week in Review

Well, it certainly has been a week and I am glad we have made it to the end. Somehow, my brain got left somewhere between Tuesday evening and Wednesday mid-morning so I am not functioning fully today. Add to that a semi-late evening last night (it was Valentine's Day, ya'll) and you have a fairly scatterbrained lady on your hands. I don't think you should even be reading this post. I fear what you are getting yourselves into.

I am sitting here with a cuppa Ahmad English Tea NO.1 and after taking a sip of this piping hot tea (which is delicious, I might add and you MUST go check out their website for some stunning countryside pictures - refresh the first page a couple of times and the pictures will rotate) the notion overtook me to describe a bit about our week in my post today.

The Things Thingie Update - I crocheted a simple little teacup cover for Thing 13 the other day. I needed a break from that Winter Wonderland Ensemble pattern which I had spent a good couple of hours typing up so what better way to spend my breaktime than designing something dainty and pink?

Thing 13
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Okay. That picture turned out a little blurry so I must retake it and come up with something better. But it really is sweet.

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You see...during our garden tea party the other day, I realized that once the weather gets warmer, it might behove me to place a cover on my teacup to ward off any creatures of the flying sort who might land in my tea. So anyways, I have a couple more ideas I would like to work out as well. Maybe something sort of flowery for the center and then something a little more intricate and lacy? We'll have to see.

Yesterday was the 14th which means I was supposed to create my 14th item for the Thing-A-Day Challenge. Well, I am sorry to say that Thing 14 did not see the light of day. Oh, I attempted it. I really did. I bought the chocolate and raspberries, I covered the styrofoam balls with plastic wrap, I melted the chocolate (which is where the issues started for me...it didn't want to melt appropriately), I spooned the melted chocolate into a cake decorating bag and tried to squeeze it out onto the styrofoam balls in a delicate filigree type manner. It didn't work. The chocolate squeezed out in clumps. I gave up. No Thing 14. (Oh well..It was Valentines Day, afterall. They can't expect me to actually create a whole new thing on a Holiday do they?)

School Update - I mentioned to you on Monday the weird looks from Chloe when I started her on our new school curriculum? (I advise you mothers out there not to try to "milk" your toddler on the first day of school when you are pretending to be cows in your living room. You WILL get some weird looks. Chloe actually turned and walked away from me as if to let me know she had enough of my shenanigans.) Well, I didn't think she comprehended much of what we did on our first day. But I have to say...that little girl is one smart cookie. We learned a new vocabulary word on Monday (Calf - baby cow) and for the rest of the week she has been saying "bay-bee caou" all day long. Its her new favorite phrase. This has convinced me that she is learning something. It might not be what I thought it was going to be, but it is something.

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This week we learned about cows and calves, we learned the shape of a square, we learned the letter A and traced it in a pan of rice with our fingers, we learned the number 1 and drew one square on our poster and placed one sticker inside our square. We also learned how to sign "I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever". Once she gets better at it, we may videotape her doing this. We began learning a Bible verse too. Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Chloe also learned to sign the word "cow" which she is very proud to show anyone who asks.

Fridays we are supposed to work on a fine motor skill. (the whole playing cow in the living room routine was our gross motor skill) So, for our first fine motor skill we were to make a cow out of square shapes. Here is Chloe's interpretation of a cow. (and yes...I did have a picture of a cow in front of her)

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She seemed to think that all the squares needed to be piled up on top of each other. I tried to direct her where to place her squares without hindering her "creativity". Ummm...maybe we need to work on this a little bit. (Don't they call this sort of thing "abstract art"? I do believe there is money to be made in this sort of art. Maybe I've got something with this...)

Book Update - I started and finished reading Miss Julia's School of Beauty this week by Ann B Ross. It was truly a delightful read. Miss Julia is certainly an entertaining lady, full of southern charm and hospitality.

Now I am reading Miss Reed ~ Village School. This is an older series that my mother read when she was a girl. They are re-printing them and I must say I am hooked. The setting is a little village in England complete with thatched roofs and stone gardens. I will let you know how I like this book when I get done.

I am also halfway done with my St Francis book. The chapters on Simplicty and Solitude really have me thinking about my own life. Here is a quote to ponder upon.

"Although North Americans make up only a small percentage of the world's population, they consume a large amount of the world's limited resources. Ours is a world in which few possess much, while many don't have enough to meet even their most basic needs. This chasm of disparity calls out for a compassionate response, and part of that response can be found in simple living."
~ John Michael Talbot


In light of this, I am contemplating so many things in my life that I feel are necessities and yet are merely luxeries. Can I live without some of these? Thus allowing me to spend my money more wisely in furthering God's Kingdom? So, I decided that I am going to try to form one new habit a week in order to bring more simplicity into my life. My habit for this week has been to wash my dishes by hand instead of using the diswasher. That thing uses up so much electricity and water its not funny. Plus, I have found this week that it is pretty nice to always have clean dishes when I need them. I don't have to wonder where they are only to realize they are sitting dirty in the dishwasher. It doesn't even add that much time to the dishwashing process.

A few other things I am contemplating doing without are...
electric tea kettle - I can just as easily heat tea up on the stovetop
microwave - I reheat most of my food on the stovetop now or in the oven. We also prefer popcorn cooked on the stove as opposed to the microwave
coffee maker - this will be quite a while before it leaves my kitchen. For one...I don't know how to make coffee any other way. For two...its programmable. A very hard luxery to give up, I must say.
Clothes Dryer - once James fixes our clothes line outside, I will re-start the habit of hanging our clothes out to dry.

Do you have any ideas of how to simplify our hectic lifestyles?

I am off now to work on a headpiece for the Winter Wonderland Ensemble. It is started and I do believe I can possibly finish it today if I could ever stop typing and get to it. Maybe it will be my Thing 15. Who knows. I do need to make some bread this afternoon. That could be Thing 15 too. Have a wonderful day everyone! Don't forget to hug someone you love today.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As James Prepares to Go

The time is getting closer and closer for James to be leaving for his deployment. (3 months away now) I wanted to share something with you. Grab a hankie...its a tear jerker but it gives you a VERY good glimpse into what it means to be a military family.



I am PROUD of my husband. I love him. I WILL miss him! I am honored to be able to say "I am his wife."

Pray for a soldier (or airman or marine) today. They need us.

Happy Valentines Day

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-
for your love is more delightful than wine.

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!

Take me away with you-Let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers."


~ Song of Solomon 1:2-4


How beautiful! I read this passage this morning in my quiet time and thought "How fitting for today." God really is amazing in the verses He chooses to speak to us with and how pertinent they are in our lives. Wow! He amazes me.

Love between a man and his wife is a beautiful thing and a treasure from God above. Cherish that love and never forget that Love Himself came to earth to die for your sins and mine so we could spend eternity surrounded by His Perfect Love in heaven!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Please Pray...

I ask all of you to please pray for my dear, dear friend Lea. She has recently found out she has cancer. She is my dear sister in the Lord. I weep for my friend. Lord, hold Lea in your arms. Give her strength. Give her peace. Keep her hope focused on You Alone! Be her refuge Lord. Her Quiet Place where she can go to get her rest, away from this weary world. Jesus, surround her with Your Love. Just surround my friend Lord.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thing 12

This Thing-A-Day thing has taken on a mind of its own, it would seem. I had planned on spending the whole of week 2 learning the fine art of calligraphy but due to the fact that my calligraphy pen was meant for drawing instead of writing, I have found myself in the kitchen instead. Fascinating.

Why in the kitchen? I could just as easily crochet something up, right? But, then again, I have been working like mad trying to get this Winter Wonderland dress done and I also somehow got sidetracked with finishing that doily yesterday so that would sort of explain why I would be reluctant to start (and finish) yet another crochet project.

But back to the task on hand. To show you what I did make today instead of what I should make, or was going to make, or made yesterday or am in the process of making. Are you ready? Grab a napkin to wipe the drool from your chin because you will be salivating when you see this next picture.

Thing #12
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"Ahhhh...that just a cake!" I can hear you saying. But let me say, "Oh, no its not just a cake". That what you see pictured above is a Banana Cake. Ahhh...the drool is beginning to drip...I can see it on your chin. The cake is, of course, frosted in Banana Frosting. (can you frost a banana cake with anything but banana frosting? I highly doubt it. It just doesn't seem right somehow) And since I am eating a piece of it (the piece pictured above) as I type this, I can honestly tell you first hand just how delicious this cake is. I have never made a banana cake before. Whenever we have overly ripe bananas on hand I always whip up some banana bread. Commonplace old banana bread. Let's see....I would have to say that on average I made banana bread about 2 times a month. 2 loaves each. Needless to say after 9 years of marriage, we are getting a little tired of banana bread. So, when I saw the black bananas on the shelf today I decided to go for something different. (to be perfectly honest though...you could probably make the icing and put it on your banana bread and get the same effect. But you know me. Different is different so making a cake, no matter how similar to banana bread it is, means that I have made something "new".

Now do you notice the tea in the picture? Its maple tea. Yup. Maple. This stuff even smells like maple. When I bring the cup up for a sip, I get the feeling I am going to take a swig of pancake syrup. This tea tastes nothing like syrup though, which might throw your mind for a little loop the first drink. My dear friend Amy gave me this tea when she was here visiting last week. You know what that means, don't you? This tea came all the way from Canada. See the cute little french words on the box? That tickled me when I saw that on a Celestial Seasonings box. Thank you Amy for the lovely tea. Its kind of fun drinking maple tea with banana cake. Hmmm...breakfast at 9:30 pm.

I am off to bed now. Good night ya'll. Sweet dreams! I'll have an update on Chloe's schooling for you in the morning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunflower Bloom Doily

At long last, a doily for you. I don't recall when the last time I completed a doily was...let alone a doily for myself. It would seem that imposing my Anne of Green Gables 37 doily challenge on myself I have withdrawn from crocheting doilies altogether. That has to stop. I love doilies. I need more doilies. I must crochet doilies.

And what better doily to crochet than a good ole Patricia Kristofferson doily, I ask? NONE. There is nothing better than a PK doily. So I present to you Sunflower Bloom from the book Absolutely Gorgeous doilies by Patricia Kristofferson.

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I used some vintage Coats and Clark size 30 ecru thread for this doily. I love this thread. Its truly "vintage" in both color and charm. Did I mention that I love this thread? I used a size 10 hook for this one. She turned out quite lovely and just...oh...just so...ummm...Perfect.

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I am off now to decide where in my home to put her. I am thinking my built-in bookshelves at the bottom of my stairs.

Things 10 and 11

Thing #6 picture has been added to the Thing-A-Day post. I don't feel it neccessary to go clear back in time and show you what it was I crocheted way back on Day 6. Partly because I didn't get the bloomers finished so I am unsure if they really count as a whole thing and partly because I am lazy. I kind of figure all those days that I made multiple items (3 dishcloths in one day) justifies one day of not finishing, right?

Anyways, Thing #10 was a disaster. I've contemplated not even showing you this. It even crossed my mind to make something else today and pretend that it was for yesterday. I can't do that though. Somehow I feel the need to be honest in this "thing-a-day" thingie. I am NOT proud to show you my calligraphy practice.

Thing #10
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I realized after I got started that my pen stated on the package that it was for sketching and drawing. I am beginning to wonder if maybe that means its not meant for writing? I used parchment paper and the paper claims to be smooth and easy to write upon. Hmmm...I guess I will going for a new calligraphy pen. I hope ink doesn't matter though. It didn't say anything on it about being for drawing. I think I will also get a calligraphy book. I don't think drawing lines and swirls is going to get me very far in learning calligraphy. I did have fun though. That is until the pen started "sticking" in places and then splotting ink all over the paper.

Now we move onto Thing 11. Thing 11 is my favorite thing so far. It is gorgeous. It is lovely. It is SUGARY. (which is the best sort of thing you can have.) Yup! Thing #11 is food.

Thing #11
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Cream Puffs.

Need I say more? Now cream puffs don't have to be "sugary" mind you, but you know if they are in my house there will be sugar in them. These were actually very simple to make up. Melt boiling water and butter together, stir in flour till it forms a ball, beat in four eggs and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake. Then cool. Cut the tops off and dab some filling in them. This is where I added my sugar. You can put pudding in here but I decided not to since James doesn't like pudding. I figured he would eat cream puffs if they were filled with whipped cream. So, I added sugar to my whipping cream and the result was perfection.

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I made myself a cup of some Gyspy Love tea Kisha sent me and ate my cream puff while editing the photos for this post. YUM! (Thank you for the lovely tea Kisha) It is my firm belief that cream puffs are best accentuated by pink therefore I used my pink rose china for tea today.

Now its time for me to think about dinner. Leftover Corned Beef and Rye bread. The rye bread will be for James (seeing as how Annas don't like rye bread and all) Chloe and I will have baked sweet potatoes instead. (because James doesn't like potatoes) Add some salad and some corn and wa-la...dinner in an instant. I just love quick dinners. Leftovers are the perfect quick dinner. Can you guess what's for dessert?

First Day of School

Blech! Anna's do NOT like Rye Bread!


I have been reading The House at Pooh Corner to Chloe every day. I love this style of writing. I find myself laughing so hard I can't continue reading and then Chloe starts giving me weird looks because she has no clue what the issue is. Mama's are just nuts. That's all.

Anyways, Tigger is introduced in this book and upon introduction Pooh tries to help Tigger find something he likes to eat because Tigger is hungry. Pooh offers Tigger some of his yummy honey and Tigger replies, "Honey is what Tigger's like best" and proceeds to eat it. After a few sticky bites Tigger proclaims, "Tiggers do NOT like honey!" This continues with each and everything Pooh finds for Tigger to eat. From Piglets haycorns to Rabbits carrots. Tigger says such and such is what "Tiggers like best" but upon eating it he always states "Tiggers do NOT like" such and such.

This is exactly how I feel at the moment. I was so excited to make my Rye bread the other day. It was something new and I just knew it was something that "Anna's like best" being homemade bread and all. But when we sat down to supper yesterday and I took one bite of it I said, "Blech! Anna's do NOT like Rye Bread." Not even with butter. The only way I could get it down was to smother it in mashed potatoes and gravy. SMOTHERED, I tell you. I didn't waste what I put on my plate though...I do not wish to waste food. I am just so very thankful that James actually likes this bread. I don't know how or why, but he does. So...guess who is going to get some in his lunch every day? You got it.

On another topic (and more related to the title of this post) we started school today. I know, I know...we were going to start last week but we had a surprise visitor so I put school on hold for a week. Not that big of a deal seeing as how Chloe is only 2. (soon to be 3)

So, today was our first day of school. Real school. Sort of. I am using this Preparatory curriculum. Our first day didn't go quite as well as I had expected it would. It would seem Chloe would much rather run around the room like a crazy cat (complete with meowing and all) then sit down and color a picture. She cried when I brought out the crayons and set them before her. I didn't want to push her so I didn't force the issue. I did tell her that she needed to stay at the table though and she complied willingly. I guess that was a good thing and comes from the fact that we have been having "school" for about a year now where we sit at the table and do different things. (like color or playdoh or something) Now its different though because we have things we are "supposed" to do based upon a theme.

I don't think Chloe will cause to much fuss in the future. I honestly believe this will just take some getting used to on her part and once she understands it a bit better, I think she will enjoy it immensely. We have both been fighting colds this weekend so that could contribute to her sour mood this morning as well. I am not going to give up this easily. I will press on for at least another week or two before I decide whether she is not ready for this or not. I will keep you updated.

I thought I would show you our poster we started today. Each day of school we will add something new to the poster. (which you can see from the squares)

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By the end of "school" Chloe was getting more into it. She loved learning her vocabulary word "calf" which means baby cow. I asked her later as we stuck the picture of the calf on the poster what a calf was and she pronounced "bay-bee caoo". Today we introduced the weekly theme of Cows and I attempted to get her to color the picture (notice the green on the side??? That's all she did other than color one of the cow's eyes brown) Then we read a poem about cows, read two books about cows and sang Old MacDonald had a farm with cows. Then we crawled around the living room and pretended to be cows. This is where it got a little weird for poor Chloe. She didn't quite take to the idea that we were supposed to be cows. I think she wanted to be a cowgirl because she kept climbing on my back to ride me around the room. When I bent my head down to eat grass, she laid on the floor beside and me and gave me a half grin that said "What on earth are you doing mother?" I even tried to "milk" her and drink the milk but she wasn't having any of that. She ran away, laughing, and I knew at that moment that Chloe was not going to be a cow today. Ahhh well. Maybe tomorrow.

I am trying to figure out a place we could go on a field trip this week that would involve cows. I think its important for children to learn "hands on" when it comes to certain things. Only problem is...I don't know where to find cows in a city that would welcome us. Any ideas?

Well, I am off now to do some work around the house. I also have an issue with my Lady Guinevere sweater pattern that needs fixed so I will attempt to work on that today as well. And then maybe...just maybe I will get to work on the Winter of Wonderland Ensemble a bit today. Have a lovely day everyone! God bless you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Things 7,8 and 9

I am missing Thing 6 for my Thing-A-Day challenge because I have been too lazy to photograph it. Its upstairs and my camera is downstairs and oh boy...if that's not lazy, then I don't know what is. I mean, I do go upstairs every so often...I don't know why I can't just grab it and bring it down with me.

Anyways, I finally photographed Things 7-9 and I will proceed in showing them to you.

Thing #7 ~ 3 dishcloths using my utmost favorite dishcloth pattern in the entire world.

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Thing #8 ~ even more dishcloths...this time in bright colors that were leftovers from a previous project. (probably a dishcloth related project)

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Thing #9 ~ I went for something different yesterday and decided to make some bread. Okay. So I make bread all the time, but I thought it would be fun to try a new kind of bread. An old secret pal of mine sent me a delightful bread recipe book and so I browsed through it for bread I had never made before. (of course, let me say here that there are many recipes in this book I have never made before...I had to find one that had ingredients I keep on hand.) This is Swedish Limpa Rye Bread.

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We are going to have it tonight for supper with some corned beef and maybe a side of mashed potatoes and some salad. YUM!

So, now I am off to figure out what Thing #10 will be. According to my schedule, I should have started calligraphy yesterday...so maybe I will do that today. Hopefully I will have something finished by tonight. (because that is the whole purpose of this isn't it?) And you might also get lucky and I will photograph the bloomers I made for Thing #6. Who knows.