“Lo” is Good

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My husband always finds it funny that we spend hours baking and preparing treats for the holidays. We spend time eating all those sweet treats…usually to excess. Then suddenly it is January and we are all worried about the holiday pounds that have appeared out of nowhere….(well maybe out of our fridge and into our mouth).

Today I figured I would check out the scale so that I might either be impressed to keep it off or depressed to take some weight off. (Like that is going to happen these next few weeks!!)

When I stepped on the scale I was pleasantly surprised. The only thing it told me was “Lo”. I have decided this scale is a wonderful scale. I did go purchase new batteries for it, but part of me really wants to just leave the old ones in till after the holidays have come and gone.

You have no idea how good it is for your esteem to find your scale telling you your weight is “Lo”. At least I thought it was great.

This past weekend we attended grandparents’ day at my grandson’s school. As we were standing in line with my grandson I overheard the best conversation ever. Two fellow first graders were looking at a drawing one of them had done. The drawing resembled and apple with a head; and a couple sticks coming out of it. The conversation kind of went as follows:

1st boy: “What is that?”
2nd boy: “My grandma.”
1st boy: “hahahahaha…..your grandma?”
2nd boy: “Yea….she’s fat.”  (this was said very matter of factly)

I love that little boy. It did not seem to matter to him if his grandma resembled an apple. It was a great reminder that children see with eyes of love and that is a great lesson for us all.

That child looked deeper than his grandma’s shape. He looked at the love they shared for each other and the beauty of that love.

That being said……I really don’t want my grandson drawing me as an apple shape!  I think it is time to go put those batteries in that scale…..

I’m in shape….
round is a shape.
Unknown

My favorite exercise
is a cross between a lunge and a crunch….
I call it lunch.

Anonymous

 

 

Memories and Recipe Cards

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Have you ever spent time going through old recipe cards and books? Part of my day was spent doing just that. I have a book at my house that is filled with old recipe cards from my husband’s grandma.

The book will be sent to my sister-in-law as she is the only girl in the family and it just seems like it should be hers to have and cherish. I did decide that I would also like copies of those recipes to keep; so I spent some of this snowy day, making copies of them.

It was interesting to see what kind of recipes our grandmothers thought were good enough to keep and to make for their families. I found cards for cookies, cakes, desserts etc. I grinned when I noticed the overwhelming majority of the recipes were for sweet things. Obviously, sweets have been popular for a very long time.

The recipes were from women named Tillie, Marietta, Alice, Darlene, Gerdena, Zelma and more. Even the names seemed to fit those faded cards that were filled with wonderful cursive writing. Some of the recipes were not even written on cards. I loved the one that was on the back of a bank deposit form.

I can just imagine those women, sitting together discussing what they should make for the next gathering. One of them remembers a recipe but cannot find anything to write it down on. After rummaging through her purse….she pulls out a bank deposit form and proceeds to write it on the back. I am so glad grandma did not transfer it to a fancy card but left it as it was.

Those women were prolific when it came to keeping recipes to use for future meals and treats for their families. They seemed to take great joy in providing food for their families, neighbors and fellow church members. I know my grandma did and I know my husband’s grandmas did as well.

Those grandmas loved to share their good recipes. I remember the big smiles they gave, when I would ask for a recipe from them. There was a joy in that sharing, there was a joy in the passing on of knowledge accumulated through the years.

There is something so valuable about grandmas passing on their knowledge….not only for making food, but of life. There is much wisdom to be learned from the generations that have gone before.

There is a wealth of information on raising children, serving others, being a person of compassion and just generally living life; that can be gained from those who have lived many more years than we have.

It is my prayer that you are all blessed with someone who has that type of wisdom. It is a wonderful thing when someone like that has a place in your life.

I am reminded of those who have gone before, every time I look through the cookbooks that my grandma used to own. Her handwritten notes, next to certain recipes have never steered me wrong. I have a feeling the heirloom recipes I gained today will also find a place among those cherished cookbooks.

 

My grandma’s old cookbook is aged and forlorn.
The pages are grease stained, each faded and worn.
The spine is collapsed and the cover’s askew,
revealing, in no way, what this book could do.
A barrel of cookies, sweet, fresh lemonade,
roasts, casseroles, salads this ancient book made.
It brought love and caring to both young and old,
delivering happiness not bought or sold.
Its owner and user breathed life to this book,
by sharing herself with each recipe cooked.
True gifts from her heart were delivered with love,
presented on earth for her Father above.
Her gentle, sweet kindness was blended with care.
A silent reminder that she had been there
to welcome your newborn…
to ease every ill…
true unselfish gestures of love and goodwill.
So don’t be deceived by the physical book,
but rather… rejoice in the wonderful cook.
Just cherish and honor each frayed, weathered page,
for pure, loving kindness has brought forth its age.

by Jane-Ann Heitmeuller

Dishcloths and Memories

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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

 

 

 

Crocheted Coat Hangers

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The last couple weeks have been spent working on prepping cupboards, painting cupboards, installing cupboards, installing counter on the bottom cupboards, putting cupboard doors on the top cupboards and now sorting through the boxes and stashes of craft items that I am going to be putting into those cupboards.

I think that by the time I get it all put back together and organized; I am going to be very ready to start crafting again instead of organizing crafting supplies.

There are some things I do like to work on at night as we just sit and watch TV. I do like to do crochet or knit projects.  These projects only involve needles or hooks, the yarn and a pattern. It is a pretty tidy way to do crafts…..except when the ball of yarn rolls over the floor and tangles through stuff.  Last month I spent evenings crocheting coat hangers. I should probably say crocheting coverings for wooden coat hangers.

I was fortunate to have a Grandma who crocheted and knitted and was incredibly thrifty. When my Grandma Boogerd was still living, and before she developed macular degeneration, she knitted and crocheted an unreal amount of hangers.

Every Christmas each grandchild and great-grandchild received a set as a gift. She and Grandpa had at least 20 grandkids and many  many more great-grandkids.  Those coat hangers were more colorful than Joseph’s coat. She used up every leftover scrap of yarn when she made them.

I really took a shine to those coat hangers; as they are wonderful for keeping clothes from slipping off the hangers. I have not yet started to make them every Christmas for my kids and grandkids…..I might have to consider that as a project!

I have made them as gifts for various occasions from playing bingo on Christmas Eve to birthdays. I have a sister who loves it when she gets a set. They are a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn when you don’t have quite enough for a large project.

If you would like to give them a try; here is the pattern I was taught by my Grandma.

Crocheted Coat Hangers
Size F crochet hook
wooden coat hangers
any 4 ply yarn


Directions:
Chain 80
Row 1: 5dc in 4th ch from hook.
*Skip 3 ch, sc in next ch, skip 3 ch, 6dc in next ch.
Repeat from * ending with sc in last ch.
You will have made 10 half shells.


Row 2: Turn * 6dc in bottom of half shell, sc in bottom of sc.
Repeat from * to end of row.
You will have made 10 full shells.
Fasten off.

For each hangar you will need to make two of these.
I use a contrasting color for crocheting both sides together.


Put both sides together with right sides facing out.
With contrasting yarn color, sc in each stitch, starting in center where the hook of the hangar will be.
Once you have sc  half of the “top” portion and all along bottom edge, insert hanger and finish sc around to hook of hanger.
I like to leave a long tail of the contrast color. I cut two more pieces of yarn and tie a bow around the hook of the hanger to finish off.  Weave in any loose ends that might still be hanging around.


My Grandma used to make pom poms to tie at the base of the hook ;but I have never mastered that art so I stick with an easy bow.

Grandma always made these scalloped ones for the girls and she knitted very plain ones for the guys. I usually just make all scalloped ones as my husband really does not care what his clothes hang on.

I do enjoy making these hangers.  I love using them in my closet but I also love the link it gives me back to my Grandma. I can still see her sitting in the nursing home with yarn strewn all over her bed. She was choosing which colors to make for specific people.

She felt so bad when her eyesight became too poor and it became too difficult to keep making them. That was the year I learned to crochet coat hangers; as I finished the Christmas hangers for her.

Maybe someday I will have a granddaughter who decides she wants to try doing some of the things this Chicken Grandma did. I think that would be a very fine thing.

“The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children”
Philip Carr-Gomm

Mammographies

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For some reason October has been chosen as Breast Cancer Awareness month. I have no idea if there is a significant reason for choosing October over any other month of the year.  I do know it is good to have a reminder to get your mammogram.

One of the favorite stories on my mom’s side of the family has to do with my grandma and mammograms. Grandma was a women who took staying healthy kind of seriously. She had surgeries to correct things like carpel tunnel, bad hips and gallbladders gone bad. She also made sure she had her annual physical.

When Grandma was into her upper 80s or 90s (I am not sure which) she made her annual trip to the Dr. to get all the necessary checking and testing done. She came home ticked off……really ticked off. She called my mom and voiced her complaint. They had not even given her that “mammography” test! Mom tried to calm her down by telling her that they wouldn’t do them at her age because if they found something what would they do? Would she be physically capable of going through surgery if something was found?  Mom got off the phone (Grandma still mumbling) and relayed the conversation to the rest of us. It has become one of my favorite mammogram stories about a family member.

I remember one very memorable “mammography” where I was the victim patient. I followed all the instructions…..changed into that very fashionable attractive gown, sat and waited in a little room with a big machine and waited a little longer.

Not too much later, the technician came in and had me take my place by the machine. We went through all the steps and she took her place behind the shield to start the process. (I always kind of wonder how much radiation I am getting and shouldn’t I have one of those shields too? I have a friend, Carolyn, who wonders what would happen, at this point if an earthquake hit?) It didn’t take long and she told me I could take a step back from the machine. I stood there for just a bit and pondered how I was going to do that…..I was still firmly held in the grip of the machine!

I calmly informed the tech of that fact; and how if I could step back that would be a pretty neat trick. I have never seen someone move so fast to punch the appropriate buttons to release me. I have also not heard anyone apologize so profusely!  I had to laugh (which amazed her). I was told there were women who would NOT take a circumstance like this with humor. I did think that was too bad as most of the good stories come from crazy stuff like this and the ability to see the funny side of it.

My thought was that if this was the worst life dealt me I had better get on my knees and thank the Lord. If you do have concerns about having a mammogram; I love this advice from Barbara Johnson – Breast Gymnastics. If you are still concerned and need something to calm you down make sure you open a bottle and take a big whiff of Stress Away…..maybe even apply some to your wrists and just keep sniffing.

However you feel about mammograms just make sure you get one done as it could possibly save your life. I have friends who have had breast cancer and it is a hard road to walk. Have your mammogram and catch it early.

Happy Preparing and Happy Mammogram!!

.

“Whoever thought of the word mammogram?
Every time I hear it I think I am supposed
to put my breast in an envelope
and send it to someone.”
-Maxine