11/1/09 - 12/1/09

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Rebekah in Civil War Ball Dress

It took me six months to sew this dress! It includes french puff sleeves, cartridge pleats, six rows of hand sewn bias trim eight rose corsages and six rows of ruffles plus a very complicated bertha coller. She was one of the runner's up in the Most Beautiful Victorian Lady contest at Dicken's On the Strand in Galveston last year. Doesn't she look beautiful?


Thanksgiving Day

I'm so glad we take a special day each year to thank the Lord for all he has done for us.  We don't do that often enough!  We always have plenty to be thankful for!  We had a great Thanksgiving celebration although we were disappointed that Nanamom, Heather, and George could not join us. We actually celebrated a day early so Rebekah could spend the whole day with us. She is working this evening, even though it is Thanksgiving today.

Andrew and Elisabeth came over with Lena and that made the holiday a lot of fun.  We had dinner about 4pm after Andrew got off work.

  I put the turkey in at 7am which was an hour later than I usually do, and had just dropped off to sleep again when the phone rang. It was Matthew!  He put me on the speaker phone and I talked to him and Amanda. I also chatted a little bit with Colin. He's growing up so fast! It was good to visit with them via the phone.

Elisabeth brought the sweet potato casserole and Rebekah made the green bean casserole. The boys did a lot of the miscellaneous chores and dishwashing which made it a lot more of a holiday for me.

Everyone enjoyed the dinner but no one enjoyed it quite as much as Lena when she got her first taste of stuffing. It was so funny!

If she doesn't like something she's being fed, she doesn't make a sound. She just purses those lips tightly together and won't let the spoon in.  If she likes it, she opens her mouth as wide as is humanly possible!  She is just getting to eat bits of people food now and when she first tasted stuffing today, she actually made mmm-mmm! sounds!  She did it over and over again and we all just about died with laughter.  She could not get enough!

After dinner, we went for a long walk and Rebekah rode Tex.  That's not as 'leisurely' as it might sound--Riding Tex is hard on the leg muscles.  Plus, he always wants to go home after about five minutes.  Sometimes he balks at things in the road, and then she just pulls his head to one side and makes him ride in circles which is a form of discipline.

She actually rode him bareback and without the bit, but he pretty obedient in spite of that.  He does spook a little along the trail, but this is probably the fifth time she's taken him down the rode and he's getting used to all the sights and sounds along the way.

Lena looked so cute in her little pink coat and loved the walk.  She kicked her little feet in the stroller all the way to the mailboxes and back.  That's about a mile by the way. The weather is cool but I was pretty warm by the time we got home.  We opened the windows to cool off and then had pie. We had pecan, apple crumble and mince.  Too bad nobody but me likes mince pie...I always have to eat it all by myself!  Of course, it takes me about a week to finish, but it sure tastes lovely! 

We watched the new remake of Godzilla afterwards.  At first I thought it was going to be some awful gory show, and in a way it was...but the cliff hangers came one after the other and finally I quit worrying about whether or not anyone was going to get hurt or not.  It was a very well done remake and actually made the story seem plausible...it had a 1920's 'flapper' feel to it that made me think of Sky Captain but it was also pretty funny in a way--it was pretty sci-fi.  There were a couple of really graphic violent scenes which the boys warned me about.  (Ok...what sense does that make...my kids screening movies for ME? Oh.. mom...you better skip that scene..it'll be too much for you! Right.)  I'm glad to know the boys are looking out for me. :o)

Lena was getting tired pretty early and since Andrew and Ebeth have been visiting quite a bit and still had several days of visiting to go, they decided to get her home before the movie was over. They are coming back on Sat. evening and then we will have a big bonfire...there's always a need to burn something around here!

Rebekah was nursing a cold and had to work the next day, so she went to bed early. Tim and the boys played another group adventure game on the computer...and I blogged a bit about the perfect Thanksgiving dinner on my homemaking blog.  Perfect means...easy, delicious, and not something you eat every day leaving time for visiting and playing with the grandchildren ( I have a blog with lots of homemaking how to's and good advice for new homemakers. 0

All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving Day!

In Everything Give Thanks

 For this new day that You have made,
Each detail you have planned.
The pleasant and the difficult,
Remind me to be glad.

For everything I need to live,
my food, my clothes, my home.
For all the blessings that You give,
my thanks to You I owe.

I thank you for your Holy Word,
to light my path each day,
and grace to follow you, Oh Lord,
if only I will pray.

Let no ungrateful words be said,
and may it never be,
that I would carelessly neglect
to give my thanks to Thee.

In everything I will give thanks,
For this is the will of God.
Since all things work out for the good,
to those who love the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

What makes the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner?  Well, it doesn't take much...  It should be easy, not what you eat every day, taste great, and have friends or family to share it with.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Lots of gratitude to God. He's the reason for the season!!
  • visiting relatives, children, grandchildren, or friends--lots more fun!
  • a place to take a walk after dinner
  • games and perhaps a movie no one has seen yet
  • a camera!! 
  • pets (like horses, cats or dogs to eat scraps or play with)
  • football or frisbee
Those things make the holiday fun and special ...

But seriously, for dinner..the following things are great but substitutions are allowed.  :o)
  • one defrosted turkey or other poultry and some foil
  • a few cans of green beans and some kind of sauce (cheese or soup), plus anything crunchy to top it with
  • a few cans of sweet potatos, brown sugar, and butter (nuts optional)
  • 5-10lbs white potatoes and some butter
  • cranberries or sauce (optional)
  • a pie or any other nice dessert (whip cream is nice too)  (or pour a can of fruit pie filling in an 8x11 dish and cover with a box of cake mix, dollop with butter and bake about 30min. at 350 for easy cobbler--my daughter-in-law's recipe)
  • favorite drink for dinner, and coffee to go with dessert
  • instant stuffing (optional)
  • rolls optional 
  • 2 -3oz boxes lime jello, 1 8oz pk. cream cheese, 12-20 oz whip cream and 2 13oz cans crushed pineapple  (totally optional...but really yummy!)
Our dinner hasn't changed in 20 years! We have taken a cooked turkey and the cans of veges and soup and some frenchfried onions to have Thanksgiving while camping.  We bake the potatoes in the coals.  Even my 19yr old cooked Thanksgiving dinner!--(actually it was Christmas but we do the same menu.)  Too bad we all had the stomach flu that day. 

I start early..I get up at 6 or maybe as late as 7pm and get the turkey in the oven. That way he'll be cooked by 1-2pm.  I do give him a bath the night before...it's a family ritual!  We put him in a tub of cold water to defrost overnight.  Then in the morning, I take off the plastic, rinse him, pat him dry, rub him with oil and salt and rub a little salt inside.  Then I sit him on a rack in any pan big enough to hold him.  I cover him loosely with foil and turn the oven on 325.  My cookbook says about 6-7 hours for 25 lbs. He was well done today when I took him out and the meat was falling off the bone!

Click here for roasting times per pound of turkey

Frankly, when we can all smell him...it's probably time to take him out!  I cover him with foil ASAP and don't carve him up until we all sit down for dinner. That keeps him nice and juicy! (Poor Turkey..He gave the ultimate sacrifice and we appreciate it. :o). I'm afraid I'm a little sentimental about poultry!)    I do drain off all of the broth and fat.  I pour the fat into a can to discard later and save the broth for gravy.     Once the turkey is in the oven, the time critical element is over.  I jump back into bed for another hour of snoozing.  Ahh....Nice!

Cooking dinner for a holiday is like cooking any other except that it's more important to cook the things that take the longest or need to cool, first.

Here are the steps and schedule for our family:

7am TURKEY: Start turkey. See above instructions. Go back to bed for a while!

9am CRANBERRY SAUCE: Cook Cranberry sauce...1 cup sugar, 1cup water, 3 cups frozen cranberries. Bring to boil, simmer for 10 minutes, let cool on the deck. Cover with towel so the cats don't lick the top layer off and the honeybees will leave it alone!!

9:30am JELLO SALAD:  Make lime jello salad. (Not on the list, but we all love it!)  Boil 4 c. water in hot pot, stir in 3 3oz pks lime jello till dissolved. Stir in 8oz pk cream cheese till melted--or use blender.  Stir in leftover juice from two 20oz cans crushed pineapple.  Let set in fridge until it starts to thicken.  Then stir in a med. size cont. of whipcream and the pineapple and let set in fridge until dinner.

10:00 am MASHED POTATOES: Peel and cut in chunks, the white potatoes.  I fill the pan. (I don't want to cook the day after Thanksgiving!).  Salt and leave setting in water on stove to cook later.
10:30am SET TABLE, MAKE DRINKS: Set table nicely. Make iced tea early so it can cool and won't need so much ice or make homemade lemonade (1c. lemon juice, 1c. sugar, 2qts water). Get coffee ready so you only have to push a button. Put butter on plate to soften, put sugar in sugar bowl.  Ask kids to help!  For a festive drink, you can stir together carbonated water and frozen juice. Nice!

11:00am STUFFING: Set bags or boxes of stuffing near stove until ready to make. (Takes 5 min. or less). Stir pineapple and whip cream into jello to set the rest of the way.  Put cranberry sauce in fridge to cool.

11:15 GREENBEAN CASSEROLE: Stir together 2-4 cns greenbeans, 1-2cans mushrooms soup, salt, pepper, 1/2-1 c. milk and 1/2 a container frenchfried onions if you have them. (Substitute any soup you like or make white sauce and stir in grated cheese).  Pour in 8x11 pan to wait until turkey is out of oven. (Top with crackers or corn flakes or potatoe chips and butter if you don't have FF.Onions about 5 min. before you take it out of oven.)

11:30pm SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE: Stir together chunks of canned sweet potatoes, generous amount of brown sugar and 1/2to 1c. walnuts or other nuts (if you have them and like them).  Top with dollops of butter all over. Cover in foil and set aside to cook later.

12:00pm  LIGHT LUNCH BREAK: Have a little snack like fruit, applesauce, eggs, or toast for lunch,  if you plan to eat by 2-3pm. Take a break!

12:30pm. BREAD/POTATOES: Put rolls or frenchbread etc on cookies sheet and brush with butter to cook right before dinner.  Start white potatoes cooking.
1:00pm  START CASSEROLES: Take turkey out of oven and put sweet potato casserole and greenbean casserole in oven at 350 to cook for 30 min.

1:15pm. GRAVY:  Pour broth out to make turkey gravy.  Cover turkey in pan completely so juices can't get out. Don't cut until ready to serve.  Let cool a bit.  Make gravy.  About 3 T. cornstarch per 2 cups broth. Add as much water as you have broth to double gravy.  Salt and pepper gravy. Stir in cornstarch or mix twice the amount of flour(vs. cornstarch)  with water and whisk into broth.  Make sure broth has cooled down so as not to make lumps. Stir continuously over high heat with whisk until thick and bubbly. (If you need to add more flour,stir it into cool water in a small bowl or cup, then whisk that into the hot gravy to avoid lumps...never add dry anything to hot gravy!)

1:30pm Follow package directions for stuffing.  (A hot pot heats the water quickly.)  Usually, you heat the water and butter (I substitute turkey drippings) to boiling, remove from heat, stir in dry stuffing mix, cover, set aside for 5 min. fluff and then bake for a little while in you want.

1:45pm FINISH POTATOES: Take out casseroles and set aside. Drain water from potatoes, mash, add butter, whip with beaters. Salt and pepper to taste. (keep warm)

2:00pm SERVE DINNER/HEAT ROLLS. Put food in containers with serving utensils. Fill glasses with ice.  Cook rolls.

You are done.  This schedule leaves plenty of time for breaks, washing and drying dishes so you don't have to do them later, and visiting.  Don't make this complicated! And say yes if anyone offers to help. If no one does, ask them to. :o)

After twenty years of always doing the WHOLE dinner...I can do this in my sleep.  I'm all for GREAT TASTE, EASY COOKING and lots of visiting!

The family ALWAYS loves this dinner and it never gets old.  Holidays are for fellowship and hearty, easy, good tasting dishes that you don't eat every day.  So what if they aren't super healthy!  It's time for feasting not fasting!  Eat healthy the rest of the year, and the pies and whip cream won't hurt you. :o) 

Pray before dinner and thank the Lord for all your blessings. Take a walk after dinner...and save the dessert and coffee for later.  Play games, visit a lot!,  play with the babies, and take lots of pictures to preserve the special memories.  And remember!...No dessert unless everyone helps with the dishes!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Like Me

A squirming babe lies in my arms,
with adoring eyes, so quick to charm.
Chubby cheeks, a precious pout,
capricious curls, legs short and stout.

She's a miracle in every way,
like a flower, blooming day by day.
A gift from God, yet just a loan,
since a baby's soul one cannot own.

Though I teach and train so carefully,
I find, instead, she's watching me!
How much like Jesus I must be,
if a Godly child I hope to be.

As our days wing by in rapid flight,
I pray for God's grace to be.
A living light, a beacon bright,
for a child who'll be ...so much...
 ......Like me..

Happy Thanksgiving!.....and a poem

My dear daughter-in-law, Elisabeth Rodgers, and I have been painting glass today. She's teaching me how to do it.  She painted the plate on the right and I painted the crystal candlesticks to match my favorite dishes...just in time for Thanksgiving!

I will be posting a little tutorial later, but for now, I just want to share a poem/song I wrote several years ago especially for this holiday.  Click here to listen to a recording:   http://www.box.net/shared/8hdj1xa5zi

In Everything Give Thanks..

For this new day that You have made,
Each detail you have planned.
The pleasant and the difficult,
Remind me to be glad.

For everything I need to live,
my food, my clothes, my home.
For all the blessings that You give,
my thanks to You I owe.

I thank you for your Holy Word,
to light my path each day,
and grace to follow you, Oh Lord,
if only I will pray.

Let no ungrateful words be said,
and may it never be,
that I would carelessly neglect
to give my thanks to Thee.

In everything I will give thanks,
For this is the will of God.
Since all things work out for the good,
to those who love the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Darcy Anne Ramos' Baby Quilt

Last month, I was privileged to be able to finish sewing a baby quilt for Darcy Anne Ramos, who lived only 14 days. The family asked me to make a 'family tree' quilt with all seven children's names and their own embroidered on it. In the picture below, I had just finished piecing the top. In the picture above, you see Darcy Anne under the blanket with her special square on top. Her block was the only one with blanket stitching and ribbon on her name leaf. I used a block from Quilter's Cache called, Baby bud for the blocks on point, and designed my own coordinating block to allow for a 'tree' pattern. The idea for leaves for the names came from the need to have something to embroider the names on that didn't have such a busy background print. Darcy Anne had trisomyie 18 so we knew she would not live long, but still it was so very sad to have to say good-bye. Please keep her family in your prayers! The family put her foot prints on her block after she was born which made this a very special quilt indeed. If you would like to read more about the story of this incredible family and their baby, check out www.darcyanne.weebly.com. The top two photos were taken by Shona Cole. She is a fabulous artist and photographer. See her work at http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/.


How to Make a Cottage-Inspired Apron

I spent the day working on this apron and had such a hard time of it, that I thought I might better give you some pictures for making this.  It is darling and after I finished it, I realized how easy it was. Have fun, but don't forget to put your skirt on the fold!! I couldn't read the fine print and ended up cutting out a daughter size apron.  Click on the link for a downloadable pattern and instructions.  I have numbered my pictures to go with their instructions.  I'm missing pix for the waistband because that part of the instructions didn't print out.  Hmm.  so I didn't end up taking pictures.  I'll upload some later since I will be making several of these.
To get started, pick some coordinating fabrics, download the pattern and instructions, cut them out and cut out the strips for ruffles, ties, and piping.  A rotary cutter makes this step a lot easier!

Step 2 Make the piping.    Sew it to the lower edge of skirt.        Step 3 Make the ruffle and hem it. 

1. Hem the two ties. 2. Make the points and sew in place.  3. fold a small pleat so the unhemmed edge is only 1 1/4" wide.  Stitch in place.  Continue with the instructions for making the waistband.

Now we make the pockets!  1. Make piping for pocket.  2. Hem sides and lower edge of pocket ruffle. 3. Gather upper edge of pocket ruffle.  4. Lay piping and pocket ruffle on upper edge of lower pocket and stitch.

Ruffled Skirts and Ribbon flowers

Here's a cute project for Spring!
If you are following my blog and recognize these dresses, please don't mention it to the family who wore them as I wanted it to be an anonymous gift. I know hardly anyone is checking this blog. :o) Making skirts from cotton krinkle cloth makes a nice skirt with so little effort! I used a ruffler foot to gather these layers of a tiered skirt and a rolled hem foot to do the hem for each layer. It took quite a bit of practice to learn how to use the sewing feet which can be purchased at any sewing store. The ruffler foot costs 30.00--ouch! But we make a lot of square dance clothes, so it was worth it. (You could use a coupon at Hancocks to get 40% off.) Also, great for curtains and anything else you want a ruffle on.

This was so easy! I bought the beautiful scalloped cloth on clearance last summer. No hemming required! I roll hemmed the upper edge and than gathered the ruffle and then sewed it onto the bottom of an inexpensive baby t-shirt.
I had made yo-yo flowers before but found another neat way to do these flowers quickly. Just make a quick basting stich along the upper edge of a 12" strip of grosgrain ribbon, pull the loose ends to gather and then tie in a knot to make the circle. Then stitch it down really good, especially if it's for small children. I pinned the rickrack in place then topstitched it to hold it. The leaves were difficult. I had to fraycheck the whole leaf to keep it from coming apart. Grossgrain ribbon is not good for this! I pinked the edges and then zigzagged the leaves on to applique them to the shirt. I also decorated a cheap canvas tote bag with these flowers--so cute!! and quick! The blouses were on sale at Walmart and cost very little and coordinated very nicely with the krinkle cloth skirts.
“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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