Not All That Glitters…..

kaboom-game

It may be true that “Not all that glitters is gold.” I think the reverse is also true….Not all gold is something that glitters. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever…..it just sounded kind of profound.

I have many things in life that are really pure gold….family and friends being at the top of the list. My daughter-in-law posted the picture of the two grandkids on Facebook the other day. It just made my day to see those two little ones.

They are the real gold in my life. Those two bring such a joy to life. Everything they do is done with everything they have. They really know how to live life to the full and they sparkle from the inside out.

I did have to do some questioning about the Kaboom game after seeing the photo. I first thought they were knocking down the blocks with marshmallows. Turns out those are white painted blocks…..which is a good thing; as I am not sure about the shelf life of a game that would use marshmallows as game pieces.

I digress (which I often do). I also have some amazing friends. One of them truly does glitter! We have often called her the glitter queen. Wherever she goes she has a sparkle about her….literally. I should explain. She is a craft wizard and loves….(did I say loves?) to use glitter. There are times her husband even sparkles. (I am not so sure how impressed he is with the thought of sparkling.)

There is a down side to glitter. Once it gets loose in your home it attaches itself to everything. My daughter-in-law once gave me a Christmas present wrapped in beautiful paper that had glittery snowflakes on it. It did not take long and everything and everyone had a slight sparkle to and on them….maybe more than a slight sparkle. It was actually quite wonderful in a Christmas sparkly kind of way.

My daughter-in-law started to snicker and informed me that the clerk who had sold her the paper explained to her about glitter.  According to him, and I quote, “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world…….once you have it…..you can never get rid of it.” That is a quote that has firmly planted itself in my brain. It comes to mind every time I see a tube of glitter, a card with glitter or anything sparkly and glitter related. That quote is somewhat like glitter….I don’t think I will ever be able to erase it!

I am so glad that there is so much more to my family and friends than just temporary , external sparkle. They are “Real” and their beauty and worth comes from who they are inside and not what they look like outside. They are beautiful, wonderful people….inside and out.

I pray that you have a friend or family member who sparkles and shines from the inside. I pray this friend or family member spreads a little “internal glitter” over your life and brings you joy. I also pray that you, in turn, spread a little glitter over those around you.

 

“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…
beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle,
or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit.
Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside,
somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL,
it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”

Mandy Hale, T
he Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

 

 

 

Nailing Jello to a Tree

IMG_2963.JPG

Years ago when we were raising our sons I read somewhere that raising children was rather like nailing jello to a tree.  I always thought that was a pretty apt description. This weekend I once again got to experience that feeling with two different groups of kids.

Sunday morning, after church, I filled in for a Sunday school teacher who needed to be gone. I taught (or should I say I attempted to teach) a group of nine first and second graders. If one could bottle the energy in that room it would be truly amazing what could all be powered by it.

I will say it was a tremendous amount of fun. Bribery of candy canes (not the missing ones from previous posts) was incredibly successful in keeping some semblance of control. They seemed fascinated by the story of Jesus and Matthew the tax collector. (It could have been my peanut butter jar of pennies that was fascinating….I am not totally sure.)

The peanut butter jar of pennies was for class participation. Each child was given some pennies prior to lesson time and told to hang on to them. (This had the added benefit of keeping their hands busy.) At a certain point in the story I became Matthew and collected their pennies. (The pennies were also returned at the end of class time as they had been attentive.) I recognize that some will not appreciate using bribery….but, at times, bribery will get you everywhere.

My other endeavor was being the “craft” lady for the 7th grade GEMS that met this Monday night. GEMS is kind of Christian Reformed Girls Scouts. They earn badges, do crafts, have Bible lessons etc. I was asked to help with the 7th graders as the craft was going to be making cards.

It had been a long time since I had been in the company of 7th grade girls.(And it has been even longer since I have been a 7th grade girl!)  I had kind of forgotten how giggly that age can be. After raising boys, this was an entirely different perspective. Never once have my sons “giggled”. They have guffawed, belly-laughed, snorked as they laughed but…..never ever giggled.

The card making went fairly well. Most of the trash ended up in the trash bin and most of the ink was stamped on the cards.  Everyone went home with three completed cards so I feel we were quite successful. For the cards; I basically went through my paper stash and used what I had on hand. The stamps used were all from Stampin Up as were the punches.

It would be kind of entertaining to know what perspective both of these groups had about “that lady” who came to class. Then again…..perhaps I don’t want to know! I have a feeling that the women who regularly teach these classes stay young at heart from dealing with those that are actually young.

I do admire those teachers. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment to teach and give your best to train kids. I have done the Sunday School job and it is not always easy. While it is not always easy……  it is always rewarding.

 

“We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open.”
Harry Edwards

“There’s nothing more contagious than the laughter of young children; it doesn’t even have to matter what they’re laughing about.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

 

 

Dishcloths and Memories

Knitted Dishcloth.JPG

One of my first posts I ever wrote; spoke of my yarn stash and how I was trying to use it up. I have been somewhat successful in that endeavor. I say somewhat because it never seems to totally disappear. It might be a little like the story of the widow’s oil in the Bible.

I should confess that it probably never disappears because I tend to keep purchasing yarn here and there for various projects. It never fails that you always end up with some extra from any project you do. At least I end up with some extra each time.

When I ventured over to the stash and looked through it I found some Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. I thought I should probably turn it into a couple dishcloths as mine are getting pretty tacky.

Years ago, my Grandma made dishcloths and taught me how. I never knew what a YO (yarn over) was until she showed me.  I even have her pattern, in her handwriting, on a 3 x 5 index card. It is very special, at least to me, to be knitting a dishcloth from that pattern. Her spidery handwriting brings back more memories than just dishcloths.

In looking back she taught me way more than just how to make dishcloths. She taught me that there is a satisfaction in making something with your own hands that can be used in your home. She taught me that even things like dishcloths can be beautiful and colorful.

I can still see her sitting in her kitchen, on her chair with the wheels on it. (I personally thought that was pretty neat as our dining room chairs did not have wheels!) She would be hunched over the table, reading a pattern, a pile of yarn in front of her and a bowl, in the middle of her table with a single rose floating in it.

When she saw you come in the door she always made sure you sat down for a visit (at the table) and were served a piece of cake, cookie, banana bread or some new muffin she had tried. I learned at her kitchen table that a person could visit, eat lunch, and knit at the same time!

Grandma shared easily and so in the spirit of my Grandma I would like to share the dishcloth pattern with you. These are not too difficult to make if you can knit and do the YO thing.

They are a great project to take along when you travel; as they don’t use a lot of yarn or take up half your car with needles and balls of yarn. It is a pattern that works up quickly and is not overwhelming.

I also love how these clean my dishes. They have a slightly “bumpy” texture to them, which works great for scrubbing. I have also discovered that if they become stained or tacky looking; they make wonderful cloths for scrubbing the floor.

Knitted Dish Cloth
Sugar ‘n Cream or other cotton yarn
Size 10 knitting needles

Cast on 4 stitches
*K2, YO, K to end
Repeat from * until you have 45 stitches on the needle.

**K1, K2 tog, YO, K2 tog, K to end
Repeat from ** until you have 4 stitches on needle.

Bind off.
Weave in loose ends
K = knit, K2tog = knit 2 stitches together, YO = yarn over
NOTE: Grandma always made them with 45 stitches.
I tend to knit looser than she did so I do 40 stitches.

I hope you have as much fun making these as I do. I also hope you find them as useful and pretty as I do. If you do give these a try….let me know how they turn out for you.

In looking for a quote to go with this post I ran across a bunch of them by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. They are so funny …..perhaps because so many of them are so true!

“Achieving the state of SABLE is not,
as many people who live with these knitters believe,
a reason to stop buying yarn,
but for the knitter it is an indication to write a will,
bequeathing the stash to an appropriate heir.”

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
“SABLE- A common knitting acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

 

 

 

The Lost is Found

candy-canes

Sometimes a snowstorm has a silver lining. Sometimes….though not always.

The past two days, our area has had snow, wind and cold. They tell us that we have anywhere from eight to ten inches of snow on the ground in our area.  I believe them!  I shoveled a trail for the girls today so they could get from their coop, to an open front shed where they love to take dust baths.

For the last couple days the weathermen had been warning us that this system was going to be coming through. Yesterday morning we decided we should believe them and did some prep work in anticipation of the storm.

We filled buckets with corn so I can easily get to them for feeding the chickens. My husband made sure we had adequate wood for the wood stove. We also always fill gallon jugs with water just in case the electric would happen to go out. The pump in our well will not function without electricity.

My husband had things in his pickup he needed for these tasks. While he was digging behind the pickup seat he started to laugh and shake his head. I asked what he was laughing about and in response he reached behind the seat and pulled out a box…..the missing candy canes!!!!

For those of you who have been reading my blog you may remember the post I did on the Missing Candy Canes.   In that post I told you I was very sure we would find those candy canes at some odd random moment. Yesterday was that odd random moment.

Perhaps I should try pawn this one off to brilliant planning. That somehow we just knew they should stay back there till there was a snowstorm. You know……just in case we were stranded in the middle of nowhere and we needed to have emergency rations? Maybe we should just shove them back behind the seat…..just in case.

I am afraid if we chose that plan we would probably never find them again. ( Kind of like lightening striking twice in the same place.) I think perhaps we should just eat them and enjoy them before they become really old. Is there an expiration date on candy canes?

I am just happy we found them.  I was beginning to doubt I had ever purchased them. I was also starting to think they had maybe not made it into our grocery bag? My faith in our minds has been restored. (Big sigh of relief!)

What have you been searching for?  What have you put in such a safe place that you cannot find it? Does it make you  little bonkers wondering about that item? I have a feeling I am not alone in this. At least I hope I am not alone in that…..it is always more comforting to have company with stuff like that.

 

“The only thing faster than the speed of thought is the speed of forgetfulness.
Good thing we have other people to help us remember.”
Vera Nazarian,
The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Enjoy the Day

Sparkling Trees.JPG

What a difference one day makes on the weather in our area. Today was an absolutely beautiful day……yesterday morning not so beautiful. We woke up yesterday to a yard that resembled an ice skating rink.

My husband was highly amused at me when I was ready to venture outside yesterday to let the girls out of the coop. I don’t think he actually realized how incredibly slick it was out there. Our standing joke is that we might fall and break a hip….realistically we aren’t kids anymore; so that isn’t too funny!

I first went out with the ice chipper gizmo that we have. I opened the door and tried chopping through the ice layer that was on the driveway so I would have somewhere to step without sliding.  I quickly discovered that was not a good technique.

I was starting to think I might have to crawl out there or somehow sled my way over to the coop. (Now there is a visual image!) After a little brainstorming I decided to try using the ashes that had come out of the wood stove just that morning. They were still hot so I found a tin can to scoop them out with.

I am here to report that using hot wood ashes on ice is a great way to go!  It kind of sizzled it’s way into the ice layer and gave a very nice path to walk on. The only downside was the tin can I was using to spread the ashes kept getting pretty toasty. I was pretty tickled with my ingenuity! Even my husband was slightly impressed with how well that worked.

Our trees hung onto their ice coating till this morning. Once the sun started hitting them it looked like it was raining under the trees. Huge drops of water and bits of ice kept sparkling in the sun as they dropped to the ground. There was something exquisite about a rain shower that resembled diamonds.

By this afternoon you needed boots to get across the yard as the ice had turned to mud.  I think this might just be a really early foretaste of what spring will look like on the farmyard. It was wonderful to be outside and not have your fingertips get so cold they hurt.

The day just seemed to be issuing an invitation to venture out and see what it had to offer. That was an offer to good to pass up. My husband spent the day catching up on outdoor chores that had been put aside on the cold winter days. I also did some catching up with chicken chores. I must confess to several (okay more than several) long pauses spent just stopping and enjoying the day.

Today was a gift in it’s own way. It was a small vacation from the gray, cold that is winter. It was a promise of the seasons to come.  I know it will not last.  I know that winter is still here and will grace us with snow and more icy blasts before giving way to the warmth of spring. But for today, I will take the sunshine and the promise of days that smell of growing things and warm spring breezes.

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.”
Lilly Pulitzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatballs

crockpot-meatballs

In the last while I have been reading various blogs written by busy moms.  Their posts have made me laugh with the memories they brought back.  They have also made me remember how very tired and discouraged a woman could be as a mom and particularly a stay at home mom.

I just want to give a word of encouragement to those who are feeling like they will never again get to use the bathroom without an audience. Someday will come and you will be able to once again lock the door, get in the tub and sit in there till the water gets cold.

Yes…..You will be able to use the toilet without an audience and a 2 foot tall person handing you your toilet paper. You will also be able put your makeup on, fix your hair and even get your teeth brushed before you go out.

I will never forget the Sunday morning when my husband and I were sitting in the “baby benches” (benches reserved for those with small children) in our church. I looked down and could have cried. I had put my sweater on backwards that morning and in the rush to get everyone ready, out the door and alive to church …. I had not noticed till it was too late.  (You may wonder about the alive part – we had three small sons and a 10 mile drive – enough said.)

Once I realized I had not gotten my sweater on correctly; I grabbed a child, took him to the restroom, prayed people would think the kid needed to go, and put my sweater on the right way. In looking back, I am very sure that I am the only person who even remembers that I did that. Now if only I could forget.

Raising children can make even the most capable of people feel totally inadequate. For those of you in those busy years please know that the time will go faster than you know. Know that children are very good at forgetting and forgiving and remembering the good things.

They probably won’t remember how many meals of mac and cheese they had. They will remember that they loved mac and cheese. They will remember the craziest things. Our boys recall (a little too fondly) that their dad would do “kitty-butts” on the farmyard when it had snowed and become icy. They also remember their mom getting dizzy from all the spinning around.

Our sons also recall quite clearly “the Meatball Incident”.  (For some reason they and their dad’s version are different than mine.) The incident occurred one Sunday as we were going to my sister for a potluck dinner. I had made a crockpot full of meatballs and I also had along a decorated cake for my Grandma’s birthday.

We had plugged the meatballs in by my folks house in town while we were at church. After church we stopped to pick them up and I put them in the trunk next to the cake. As we left my folk’s driveway our three sons started encouraging their dad to “peel out” and lay some rubber. I reminded them of the cake in the trunk.

We drove about half way down the block when the whiff of meatballs started wafting through the car. My husband stopped and we all piled out to take a look. It was not pretty. The meatballs had flopped over onto the cake. Hot tomatoey meatball sauce on top of a white decorated cake tends to melt decorator frosting.

I think I would have been fine, had they been apologetic. They started to snicker, it turned to snorts and then full blown laughter.  Someone commented it now looked like potatoes and gravy…….it was a quiet ride to my sister.

We salvaged the cake, no one went hungry, a good time was had by all and no one died due to a slight taste of meatball sauce with their cake. Looking back, I should have laughed with them……I do now.

I am going to share the meatball recipe with you. Just a hint – They are better when they stay in the crockpot till you are ready to eat them…..but if they do land on a cake, it is not the end of the world.

 

Crockpot Meatballs
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups oatmeal
chopped onion (to taste)
2eggs
dash salt
dash pepper
Roll into balls and place in Crockpot
Cover with Sauce

Sauce:
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pour over meatballs
Cook on high for 4 hours.
NOTE: I tend to make 2 ounce meatballs and get approximately 20 – 21 per recipe.

With this recipe I cook them all and then freeze what we do not eat for a quick reheated meal later. This works great as it doesn’t really take any extra time to cook all of them at the same time.  You can also make mass quantities of these and freeze them to be cooked later.

 I love this recipe because it gives me time to spend with my family. I can make it ahead, toss them in the crockpot and forget them till they are done. I have not tried it but I think they would also be good with a cream soup over them instead of the tomato type sauce.

Extend grace to yourself this weekend. Give yourself the gift of spending time with your family  and enjoying those times. If it doesn’t turn out to be a Norman Rockwell moment; it will still be okay and still turn out to be a great memory.

“A family is a place where principles are hammered
and honed on the anvil of everyday living.”

~ Chuck Swindoll

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian…
and most of all, his family ought to know.”

~ D. L. Moody

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-family-20-uplifting-scripture-quotes/#ixzz4ViFLeUpx

 

New Years Resolutions

IMG_1858 New Year.jpg

I used to make resolutions for the New Year. I try not to do that anymore.  I guess I have resolved not to make any resolutions.  I am not sure how that actually works out when you try to make logical sense of that concept.

My husband has never made resolutions for the new year. His view is such that if an idea is good enough to try…..why wait till New Years day to implement it. I think he might be on to something with that idea.

He gets a little bent out of shape by the thought that most of us don’t worry about how much we overeat during the holidays and gain weight (himself included). Suddenly January 1 hits, the sweets disappear, ads for gym memberships are everywhere and Marie Osmond keeps telling us how to lose so many pounds in just one month. I am not sure why this bothers him but it does.

In googling quotes on New Years Resolutions I found this one (which I must confess I really understood):

My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with
the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds.
Nia Vardalos

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/resolution.html

 I think the three thousand pounds works out when you add up all the pounds lost, regained, lost again, regained…..you get the idea.  I have yet to hear anyone resolve to gain weight in the new year…..or anytime for that matter.

I think that when it comes to age and our physical condition; the Jello theory kicks in. When you see Jello in a pan or in a mold it looks really pretty good.  You take it out of that container and put it on a plate it kind of splats out and loses that nice form. My advice to those of us of a certain age and physical condition……keep the Jello in the pan.

My husband thought it would be a fine idea to resolve to hibernate for the winter months. When the weather gets below zero around here I think that is a brilliant idea….now if we could just figure out how to make that one work.

I also hear about resolutions to start certain projects for the interior of the home and/or craft projects.  I think I should just resolve to finish the projects I have started….some from several years ago. (Anyone else have this issue?)

I have boxes of blue jeans that are ready to either be made into blue jean rugs or cut into squares for blue jean quilts. Perhaps I should resolve to start cutting and sewing squares together.

Then there is the box of yarn in the closet. In my defense on that topic….I have been making a dent in that box and turning the yarn into covered coat hangers, dish cloths, and pot holders. I am feeling pretty good about my box of yarn. It is slowly dwindling.

My latest project is a little bigger and involves participation from my husband.  I have been painting cabinets that we took out of a house that is going to be torn down. These are destined for my laundry/craft room. I cannot wait to get them finished and put in. I am hoping it brings some organization to the chaos.

When I do get those cabinets in and organized I am going to have to invite Anne and Malcolm over to critique my efforts. The floor will still be plywood but hopefully they will be gracious and overlook that detail! I will just be grateful to have cupboards!

For all of you (and me) who really don’t like New Year’s Resolutions but still really want to get something accomplished in this coming year….take heart.  We still have 364 days left in this year to get things done! (If you are like me……we should start this week.)

Happy New Year a little late!

Resolution One:
I will live for God.
Resolution Two:
If no one else does, I still will.
Jonathan Edwards

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/resolution.html