Thursday, January 31, 2008

I learned today from Deb at Mountain Musings that May from Krisp-Quilt is having a drawing to celebrate her 50th post. All you have to do is leave a comment. May would also like you to post the story behind your first quilt and link it to her blog, but it's not a requirement to enter the drawing.

So I had fun going through my old pictures to find one of my first quilt. Here it is. This is Navy housing in San Francisco, CA. Mike and I had just gotten married (1983) and I was uncomfortable in his bachelor-style, modern furniture. (Mike is nine years older than me, so he'd had his home set up for a while already.) So I went about trying to country-tize our home.

I had always wanted to learn to quilt, so when PBS started airing a quilting series by Georgia Bonesteel called, "Lap Top Quilting," I was hooked! I still have the pattern book (published in 1979 by Simplicity) that I used for my first quilt.
I also made the matching pillow (and the floral pillows, curtains, and afghan ~ Hubby was on sea duty and gone 87% of the time). Actually, I only hung the quilt like this for a month or two, then took it down and did a lot of handstitching on it. I couldn't find any pictures with the elaborate stitching.

So what happened to that quilt? It got worn out! I hung it for two years in San Francisco, then another four years in San Diego, then started using it for picnics. Just didn't last long then.

BTW, it only took me two years to get rid of every piece of Mike's bachelor furniture:-) Now we have solid oak, amish-made, country-style, furniture, and some oak Thomasville furniture. Much, much better!

When Maggie was in Texas, she watched a cooking show that featured a salad made with orzo and lettuce. So tonight she made her own version and was it ever yummy! It contains lots of spring mix lettuce, squash, orzo, sliced almonds, and a vinagrette dressing with lots of spices. Everyone agreed this recipe is a keeper!

Hope you had a good day.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mr. Joe's Homegoing

Our church will miss one of our dearest elderly members who went home today to be with the Lord. I think Mr. Joe was 92 years young. He always had a smile for everyone and rarely missed a Sunday morning service. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Jane.
Today was homeschool co-op day at church. Mr. Owen and Mrs. Bonnie teach an art class. My twins are learning soo much in that class. Certainly much more than I could ever teach them. They are using rulers and protractors. Even I am learning a lot since I try to come into the class when I am finished cleaning the dishes from cooking class.
This is Mrs. Bonnie standing between the twins. This husband and wife team do many of the behind-the-scenes work in our church. What an example they are. While most people their age are living for themselves during their golden years, Mr. Owen and Mrs. Bonnie lead busy lives totally devoted to the Lord's service.Maggie had a fun time in cooking class. Here she is teaching them how to make cupcakes. (They were dairy free and egg free.) Last night Maggie made a bunch of mini cakes for her students to practice icing. They had a great time with the different tips. Maggie wishes they had had time to make different color icings.
Here's Lizzie icing her cake.
This is Anna's sign language class. Each child is signing the letters to spell church.
And here is Anna in Pastor's Bible class. Anna says she LOVES this class. Pastor was my Bible teacher for grades 9-12, so I guess he's come full circle! My brothers and I were taught by my mother's 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade teachers. I enjoyed hearing about my Mom from my teachers.
This is Allen's chess class. The boys really enjoyed the chess for four people.
This is Ruthie's crochet class. It's a winning combination for Ruthie because she loves Mrs. Gibbs and she loves crochet!

We stopped at the Farmers' Market on the way home and bought a bushel of apples to dry, a bushel of naval oranges, and two trays of strawberries. The strawberries are from Mexico which doesn't thrill me, but I only paid $5 for two trays because they are very ripe.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweet Tea and Scriptures

Tonight was a night of serious business for our family. We had hamburgers for dinner, then made a pot of tea for our Bible reading for the day (Gen 43-47). We had to read two days' worth because we got home late from church last night.
For tea we chose Celestial Seasonings' Tangerine Orange Zinger. This is one of our favorites. (It's also Grandaddy's favorite and we fix it for him almost every time he comes.) Walmart now sells this for $2/box. I saw it online for $4.49/box!

After Bible reading we got out the calendar and committed ourselves to certain dates. We want to have a hymnsing, a game night, the XYXers from church for dinner, and some individual families for dinner. We also need to schedule some service times such as visiting our church shut-ins. It was hard working in everyone's schedule.
After that, Maggie made us do some serious singing practice. Sounded so good. My heart was so thankful for God allowing my children the gift of singing. It is a true answer to prayer for me.

Today I took Maggie to a dreaded Dentist appt. After we sat in the office reading some really good cooking magazines, they informed us that we were a week early. I'd goofed! Oh well. Better than being a week late!

The next two days we will be having a heat wave in the low 50s. If it's not gonna snow, might as well be warm!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

I enjoyed seeing this redheaded woodpecker trying to eat out of my feeder this morning. He looked funny with his head reaching up and over. I wasn't able to capture that on camera because my tea kettle was whistling loudly and poor Woody was trying to determine what kind of bird was singing so desperately!
This is Ruthie with her birthday doll. I just realized that Anna made both the dress and the doll. She made the doll years ago. It's time I dug out the pattern and got Ruthie making one. I'm not sure if you can see in this closeup, but Anna added two pockets and a bow. So adorable.

Last night Sarah and Ruthie were playing dollhouse and Sarah was enjoying herself immensely as she recounted to Ruthie the many hours of fun she had playing with all the different pieces. Within the half hour, they were sewing little blankets and mattresses (the old ones were worn out!) and planning great things. I have enjoyed having 5 daughters. I was too tomboyish as a child and never played dollhouse. I did have one dollie, but I used her for target practice with my BB gun!

My brother sent me these pictures of someone's diligence in building a lego church. There are two more pictures that refused to copy. If you'd like to see them also, email me and I will forward them to you.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ruthie's Birthday!

Today is my baby's birthday. Ruthie was born 8 years ago when we had 16 inches of snow on the ground. She was almost a home birth. She was the fifth baby that my midwife delivered within 24 hours (because of the change in pressure systems). Ruthie was born 4 weeks early, my one and only early bird:-)
Ruthie had a really fun day today. She opened her gifts. The picture below shows a gift we gave her for her art supplies. Ruthie is very artistic. She enjoys crafting with Anna and Maggie.
One of Ruthie's favorite birthday traditions is going out for lunch with Sarah. They went to Panera bread. Then they went shopping for shirts. Ruthie and Sarah love to shop and spend time in town. Two peas in a pod.
Ruthie's second favorite tradition is making a fancy birthday cake with Maggie. One thing you can count on with Ruthie's cakes is that they are always horse or western themed. Last year Ruthie and Maggie made two cakes shown here:

This year's cake has a Momma horse and her foalie:

Maggie enjoyed using her new tip #233 to make the grass. She also enjoyed making the sun (closeup below).
This morning I cooked some bacon and decided to try making bacon gravy. I had heard about bacon gravy from my Tennessee friends, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Well, they can have their artery-choking gravy. I was surprised at how bland it was considering the bacon, but even after adding salt and pepper, it was nothing to rave about. Never again.
Tonight we are eating leftovers ~ sourdough biscuits, ham, gyros, BBQ, salad and rice. Something for everyone!

Anna also made Ruthie a little dollie dress for her doll, but I haven't taken a picture yet. Cute as a button. I'll try to post that picture tomorrow.

Have a worshipful Sunday.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chess time!

Allen enjoys the game of chess immensely. He's really good at it too. He belongs to the chess club at homeschool co-op, which is a lot of fun for him. Some day he hopes to go to the county's chess night at the library. Anyhow, I thought Allen would enjoy this large version of chess that I found cheaply on Amazon.
I also bought him this Chess for Four game. Many years ago I spent a lot of time reading about strategy games and how they help children become critical thinkers. My children who have the most common sense also are the best strategists. So I've always encouraged strategy games.

Since I spent a bit of time surfing for chess games this week, I thought I'd share with you a couple that I enjoyed looking at.
These are heavy duty plastic pieces. Same with the pieces below:

The above is probably my favorite. Looks elegant. There are many different "giant" games online. Checkers come in 11" round pieces (3-1/2" thick). The good thing is that these games can be bought cheaply for under $100 if you buy from Amazon or eBay (regularly $300-500).
Sarah made dinner tonight. I almost forgot to take a picture, as usual, so pardon the lack of focus. We had Bourbon Chicken, baked mushrooms, brown rice, and sauteed napa cabbage. It was delicious and disappeared quickly.

I went ahead and ordered another base for my food dehydrator that stopped working. Since I had invested in the 12 trays, spice tray, and 6 fruit leather trays, it was worth it to buy another base for $30. It came today, so tomorrow I hope to buy a bushel of apples at the Farmers' Market to dry for snacks.

Have an enjoyable weekend. Keep warm and drive safely.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, January 24, 2008

They're home!

The girls got home late last night from Texas. I am so glad to have them home! I don't know where Maggie was when this picture was taken, maybe she didn't have a *Corpus Christi* sweatshirt:-)

I finally found my camera last night. It was awful. I searched the church, the car, the path to the car, the garage, etc. I finally remembered that I took Maggie's Sunday School tote bag to church and sure enough, it was in that. Whew! I can't stand to misplace things!

Today I needed to sharpen my scissors, so I remembered the trick of cutting with aluminum foil. It worked like a dream.
Maggie is home, so we're eating well again. Tonight we had gyros. One of our favorites.
Every time the girls go to Texas, they bring home western gifts for me. This time they brought me the wonderful Mexican blanket from Mexico.

Last time they gave me a set of wonderful longhorn steer coasters. I love them. But please don't use them ~ when I place a cup of hot tea on them, the room starts to smell leathery (and that's putting it nicely). So they're just for looks!
The girls also gave me some Mexican placemats and coasters. So what do you think ~ is my home starting to look Texan? All I need now is a Roy Rogers lampshade and I'll be set! The girls are convinced that once I visit Texas (hopefully in the fall), I'll never come back. Suits me!

Anna spent the day reclaiming the quilting room. Looks nice.

Our snow was short-lived. The woodpile is disappearing quickly in these cold temps.

Oh yes, before I forget!! My friend Joan from Wyoming (writing about cold temps reminded me of her!) where it is -34 degrees (!!) enjoyed the sheep game from my earlier post, so she sent me the Rice game. Gotta try it! Thanks, Joan.

Have a good Friday. Keep warm.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Computer Woes

Our computer was down all day on Monday. After many hours of working on it, Mike finally has it back up...but not entirely. Our cookies are disabled, so I have to use all my passwords, my email is hard to get to, and I can only open 2 windows at a time. And I could only get to my blog through Google! I had the worst case of computer withdrawal...!

To top it off, I forgot my camera at church on Sunday. But today UPS brought my new sourdough crock! Yippee! So I decided to show you my new sourdough crock in a roundabout way.
I chose this basic crock from Now that I see it, I should've bought a basic crock from our local Apple Basket store (antiques store) and had Maggie make me the simple wood lid. I still think this was the best choice available. I've read many articles and websites on sourdough, and the one constant recommendation was a stoneware crock with a loose-fitting, preferably-wood lid. This fits the bill! (Especially can't use any metal around sourdough.) Here were some of my choices: The above crock was probably my second choice. Here's one from King Arthur Flour: I am surprised at this one ~ I read many times to never use a rubber sealed top to keep your starter. And this one is too small for my 3-cup starter.

This morning was my annual mammogram. The Woman's Health Center is so wonderful. They have several waterfall fountains placed throughout the building. Soft soothing music is playing. And there is a very faint smell of something good. Couldn't figure out what scent it was. So the whole experience was calming. During the 5 minutes of getting the actual mammogram, I got to read some of the most hilarious comics that poke fun at the whole mammogram process. Wish all my appointments could be this nice!

Later on this morning we went to the thrift shop to drop off four bags. I found this quilt book for 10 cents, and it will be wonderful when I get home from Lizzie's violin lesson to cozy up with my hot tea in front of the fire and pore over the pages.

I looked in the credits of this 1993 book, and sure enough, Susan Ramey Cleveland is listed there! I enjoy reading Susan's Blackberry Creek blog.

Well, it's time to take Lizzie to lesson. Hard to leave my toasty home.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dehydrator Week

This week I plan to teach my cooking class about food dehydrating. My plan is to take a bunch of already-dried foods so they can see and taste the end product. Then I will show them how to prepare the foods and set up the dehydrator.

So this week I marinated the ground beef for beef jerky, then when I tested my 20-year old dehydrator, I found out it no longer gets hot enough for meat! So I laid the strips of beef on cooling racks in the oven and dried it that way. What a time-consuming, babysitting job! (The above picture shows my old dehydrator.)

So I posted a "Wanted: Food Dehydrator" post on and waited. Sure enough, a friend of mine saw my post and gave me her Ronco dehydrator! (Freecycle has yet to fail me!) I wasn't sure I was going to like this Ronco. The reviews on it range from "hate it" to "love it" on However, I have decided that for meats, it is a sure winner. The Ronco is merely a heating element with no fan. It is this slow heat that makes it wonderful for meats.

Doesn't this beef jerky look delicious?

This is the beef jerky made from ground beef. Our family actually prefers this jerky to the strips made from bottom round. I used 97% lean ground beef that I bought on sale for $1/lb. My trusty jerky marinade is simple:

Beef Jerky for 2# of meat

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Of course, you can add more of any one spice depending on your preference. This recipe is child-friendly. Just use the worcestershire sauce from the Dollar Store.

Since my old dehydrator still heats up to 125 degrees (need 145 for meats), I can use it for fruits. So I am drying apricot halves, peach halves and slices, pineapple slices and chunks, apple slices, and pear halves. I was going to dry some grapes, but at $3.49/lb I decided not to!

These fruits should be dry by Monday morning. Then I will make fruit leather.

I have been known to keep my dehydrator running nonstop for a month or two. Sure keeps my home smelling yummy!

The girls are having a lot of fun in Texas with my parents. They visited the Alamo this week and enjoyed it. They tried to visit Vision Forum, but they are only open on Fridays.

I spent the afternoon cutting fabric and listening to Rudy Atwood and the Old Fashion Revival Hour Quartet. I keep humming the words to Nothing Between My Soul and My Savior:

Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
Habits of life, though harmless they seem;
Must not my heart from Him ever sever;
He is my all, there's nothing between.

I am so thankful for our toasty home in this bitter weather. So much to be thankful for. Have a worshipful Sunday.

Many blessings ~ Kathie