Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As you are snug in your beds and the visions of sugar cookies dance in your heads, may all your Christmas dreams come true and your New Year's wishes bring hope and happiness to you and your family.  

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caramel Corn/Cracker Jack Anyone?

I've had a little break.  A blogging break again, that it!  It's obvious that blogging has not been a priority lately but I should at least make an effort to do some type of holiday related post. 

In an effort to decorate our little tree in a way that will be safe for little fingers to explore, only one casualty occurred.  And this was the fault of Grammie.  Too bad it was a souvenir from our trip to Ireland a few years ago.  But at least I have this record of  it's beauty - even if it is broken!  And so far, the Christmas tree has been enjoyed by this little elf without any more mishaps. 
An early winter (not even officially winter) ice "event" kept me in the house today.  So it was a good day to get a little holiday baking accomplished.  If there is one recipe that I would say has become a tradition in our family, it would be Caramel Corn - or Cracker Jack as my mother would've called it.  Every year I get out my trusty old hot air popcorn popper (a gift from back in the seventies!)  and Grandma Mary's big ol' (most likely an antique!) roasting pan and mix up a batch of Caramel Corn.  The smell alone is worth every calorie!

Caramel Corn

8 quarts (approx.) popped corn in a large oven roasting pan

2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup white corn syrup (regular pancake syrup will work fine)
1/2 t. salt
      Mix sugar, butter, syrup and salt together in large saucepan and bring to boil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and  add 1 t. vanilla and 1/2 t. baking soda and be prepared to stir quickly as this will foam.  Pour over the popped corn and stir gently.  Place in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Make sure your roasting pan is big enough!

Don't forget to stir every 15 minutes while baking.  Make sure you taste test a kernel or two every time!

 After 1 hour, dump out on large clean surface to cool and break up any large clumps.  Taste testing is optional, but I dare you not to!  When cool, package into plastic storage bags or storage containers and hide until ready to serve to snack starved family or package and give as holiday gifts.  Enjoy!

Do you need a quick recipe?  Try these little Faux Turtles.  Simply stack a small pretzel with a Rollo candy and a large pecan.  Place in a warm oven and when the candy is soft, press the pecan down to smush together.  If you want to dress them up a little, drizzle a little melted white candy coating across them and place in the refrigerator until set.  You are done! 

Have a blessed Christmas holiday this year!

PS:  Christmas miracle.  My laptop recovered on it's own accord!  The resident computer geek had determined that the hard drive was okay but the keyboard and mouse would not work nor would the battery hold a charge.  Then out of the blue, it started to work again!  Guess it just took an extended vacation! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Please Bear With Me!

Is anyone still out there? Or has my blogging negligence lost any of my followers that still take the time to read what little drivel I might finally produce?

Last night after a nice encouraging conversation with my daughter E, I finally found some desire to update this little blog. After all, this is my 300th post(!!) and we just returned from another wonderful trip so I have some great photos from our trip to New Orleans and Oklahoma where we spent Thanksgiving with my sister's family and also our son and his family. Plus tomorrow is my 56th birthday(!).

But yesterday was the day my laptop hard drive decided to take it's last whirly breath :(. I'm trying to not be too concerned, after all we've got a new iPad, a combination birthday, Christmas, anniversary present. So after transferring several photos to use I logged onto Blogspot only to discover that it's not supported on the iPad! My blogging desire is slowly dissipating and and this, my 300th post, is published by using the email posting function of Blogger.

So until I get my PC repaired, my NOLA and my cute grandson photos will have to wait until later. And while many of you are posting your pictures of holiday decorations, quilts and cookie recipes I'll be reading your blogs and working up to posting my 301st blog entry. Hopefully it won't take as long!

One photo to share. Grammie and Papaw with little J and his "little" brother B in my sister's OK backyard.

Thanks for bearing with me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Ramblings

I was doing pretty good, managing to post at least once a week for awhile.  That didn't last long. It does seem like the days slip by so fast and before you know it, the pretty leaves have all fallen, the time changes and the stores have stocked the shelves with everything Christmas!  But not a lot going on around here. Even though this is the best time of the year for some nice motorcycle rides, unfortunately the Harley is spending some time at the shop again.  We are hoping it will be home in time to get one good ride in before the snow flies! 

In the meantime I have managed to get the binding on this quilt.  D was kind enough to hold it up so I could get a photo but the sun was kind of at the wrong angle and with his silhouette behind it, the colors are a little off. 

 Do you have an iphone?  And like me, do you have dozens of apps on it that you never use?  While blog hopping earlier today, I think I found one I actually might use!  Sue at Alderwood Quilts mentioned this quilting calculator app from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  It will definitely come in handy when trying to figure out how much fabric to buy for the bindings or backings, plus some other neat things!  Just search the apps for Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  Thanks Sue!
I've been re-visiting my crochet skills.  This is one of my little projects.  Even though there are no little girls around this house anymore, I wanted to make something feminine.  Just hoping maybe it will fit  our friends' new granddaughter!   Of course, there's a boy version and hopefully someday soon I'll be able to post some pics with real live models instead of my arm!!

Have a good week everyone!  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Here's a Treat for You!

While blog hopping a few days ago, I found this recipe.  For the life of me, I can't remember whose blog it was on!  So, if you are reading this and are that blogger, or if you saw it yourself and know which blog it was, please let me know!  These Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies are so easy and so cute, I wanted to share them with you.  If you need a quick treat for Halloween this weekend, this is my suggestion. (I say quick, but the recipe says three hours - that's including the chill time in the fridge.  You could probably speed that up a bit in the freezer.)  You can click on the link to get the recipe.  Enjoy!! (We did!)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bakerella I'm not. But I tried.

Have you seen the cute cake pops that Bakerella is famous for? If you haven't, you must pause right now and head to her website ( and check them out right now.  Once you've done that, you can come back here and see how to have fun TRYING to make them. 

The premise is easy.  Bake a cake, crumb it up, add some frosting, make cake balls on a stick and decorate!  (I learned to make a photo collages just so I could show you all how I made a mess of my kitchen!)  After I baked a  Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix and used my decades old food processor (Christmas 1979 or thereabouts) to turn the cake into crumbs, I added about 2/3 of a container of cream cheese frosting.  One mistake here was probably not waiting until the cake was completely cool.   But proceeding along, I used a little ice cream scoop to make the balls, rolling them around in my clean hands to make them completely round.  I chilled them in the freezer slightly before "sticking" them.  You can see that there must be a better technique to this step.  I found that they stayed better once I put a little of the candy coating on the stick first. Styrofoam did help stabilize them while they waited for their turn to be dunked in the container of orange candy chips that had been melted in the microwave.  I found some food safe markers at Michaels that I thought I could use to draw cute little jack o'lantern faces on each one, but they didn't work.  I resorted to mini chocolate chips and green tic tacs.  After about three hours of this, I only had about four good ones and several ugly ones.  Since little D was coming over for a few hours, I placed the remaining cake mixture in the fridge to tackle the next day.  My cake pops might have been ugly, but they definitely passed his taste test!
Moving on.  The next morning I decided to take the easier route and turned my cake pops into cake truffles.  This I could handle!  I see some possibilities for Christmas cake truffles here.  Maybe red velvet cake mix, white candy coating and any number of holiday sprinkles or decorations.  Bakerella has lots of ideas on her website.   While I was there, I found this recipe for Pumpkin Butter Dessert Bars.  This is more my type of baking!  Our subdivision had a fall festival/potluck supper last evening so I took a plate of the bars and cake balls/truffles to share.  A good excuse to make a mess of my kitchen and try a fun new recipe !

Other than these kitchen adventures, I spent some time in the sewing room this week too.  Now that they've received their package I can show  the three little embroidered shirts for three little spooks.  Do you know how hard it is to find nice plain colored t-shirts for little kids? 

Have a good week !

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finished Something!

Done!  This little kit was purchased from Daisy Cottage Quilting this summer and I finally finished it up this week. (See, Sharon? !!)  At least it's still a few weeks until Halloween so I can leave it out for a while.  The fabrics are Minick and Simpson's Halloween Night. Got to love that purple mixed in with the orange, black and chartreuse!

I had enough scraps left to make a little runner for my hall table too.  The pumpkin guy has been hanging around for a couple of years so he found a home here too. 

 We've had some beautiful weather here the past few days - once the summer temps finally left.  We haven't been out on the motorcycle as much as we'd like lately, but last Sunday we did take a short trip up through the Jackson - Washington County State Forest.  Most of the trees were just beginning to turn, but we found this one portion of a little scenic road that was in full color.  Pretty nice - huh? 

                                                                         HAPPY FALL!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scenes From the Weekend - and Today

We had the pleasure of attending the wedding of the daughter of our friends this past weekend.  The new Mr. & Mrs. L are an adorable couple!  The wedding and reception were both touching and elegant. The mother of the bride knows how to organize a beautiful event.   Some of us think she should begin a new career as a wedding planner!

On a completely different note - we ventured out to an area flea market on Sunday.  To be honest, flea markets aren't really my "thing".  My father-in-law is visiting this week and helping us out on a few little projects so we were happy to give him a break and explore "The Most Awesome Flea Market in the World"!
I tried to take a few photos of some of the more interesting junk booths, but some of the vendors were looking at me strangely, so these are all I got. 
This booth had quite a collection of well loved Tonka trucks and tractors.

There were more vendors inside than out. At least it was a nice breezy fall day for wandering around the grounds but we actually came away without purchasing anything.  But I think the guys enjoying poking around the booths and doing a little reminiscing.

One of the projects my FIL is working on is the (faux) rock on the bar front in the basement.  I'll post a photo when it's complete.  Today he had help from a little great grandson! Just carrying on the family tradition of being another talented craftsman! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Camping in the Smokies

I guess I'm guilty of taking an extended blog break. We recently enjoyed a few days camping and riding in the Smoky Mountains and now I'm having trouble getting motivated to update anything here.  We stayed at Moonshine Creek Campground which is halfway between Waynesville and Sylva, North Carolina.  The weather was nice our entire stay, but unsually hot in the afternoons for September in the mountains.  The campground is a little out of the way for   some activities, but nice and quiet since it was in between busy seasons.  I'd probably give this one a OTRWJ rating of 8.   We didn't really spend a lot of time at the RV since we rode the motorcycle all day every day and returned at supper time.  But we enjoyed our stay here. 

On one of our excursions we sought out some of the waterfalls in the area.  This is Dry Falls, near the town of Highland, NC.  It is easy to get to with a nice trail down to and behind the falls.  Very nice on a warm day! 

 Nothing rounds out a motorcycle trip more than a stop at a quilt shop!   Maggie Valley might be known for motorcycle rallies, but it is also home to Quilter's Quarters.  The photo of the pine tree quilt doesn't do it justice.  The quilting and stitched in crystals made for an impressive piece. I believe they had taught a class on this - and might have had some kits. 
There were lots of kits and samples, and of course I had to add to bring one home to add to my collection!

One more quilt I found on the trip was at the Folk Art Center's Heritage Weekend exhibition.  It's a wonderful representation of our favorite ride, the Blue Ridge Parkway!

I hope to find my blogging "mojo" and be back again soon!  Have a great weekend!

(And  a special wish to my sister  for a Happy Birthday today! )

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Barn Quilts and Back Roads

If you've visited here before, you know we're often cruising some of the back roads (and sometimes not so back roads) of the areas we visit.  And you also know that I love quilts.  So when I spy a Barn Quilt, I try to quickly catch a photo as we drive by.  Sometimes I'm not successful and the picture is blurry or crooked or I miss my subject completely and end up with a photo of a telephone pole or road side weeds.  If you really want to see some great photos and stories of Barn Quilts, check out Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail

I really need to document a little better where my barn quilt photos are taken.  This one is somewhere in Western Kentucky in May of this year.

This one is at the Stream Cliff Farm just a few miles north of us. And I actually was able to get off the bike to take this photo!

I'm not sure where this one was taken, but it was somewhere near here, either in northern Kentucky or Southern Indiana on DH's birthday when we rode with friends in these areas.

This barn quilt was found in Michigan on our vacation there in July.  I believe it was in Peninsula Township north of Traverse City.  I'd hope to add to my collection of Barn Quilt photos because I know there are several on the roads we hope to travel next week.  But right now, with one motorcycle in the Harley hospital and the "back up" Yamaha ( the one that DH is supposed to sell but I guess maybe it's a good thing he hasn't) needing a new tire, my photos might be taken from the passenger seat of the RV !  

Hope everyone is having a great September! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Welcome Aboard!

I've had a few requests for some photos of the interior of our new (to us) little motor home.  This past weekend we took a short camping trip to try pulling our motorcycle trailer and to get a "feel" for the new RV. So before it got the camped in look, I took a few pics. Welcome aboard for a little tour!

Here's the boss behind the wheel.  The entire van is only twenty-five feet long, so things are pretty compact!  There are no slide-outs either, but still room enough for just the two of us.  The two bench seats will make into a second bed when the table is removed.  Just room enough for two or three little grandsons maybe!

This is looking from the front bench to the back.  The bed is almost a queen size, so plenty big enough for us.  One project this weekend was to install a memory foam mattress topper and now it's much more comfortable.  Someday I'd like to make a quilt to replace the brown ultra suede bedspread. 

There's really quite a bit of storage inside. And we found that for just a weekend trip we had more than enough room.  That is a microwave/convection oven.  I haven't tried the convection part of it yet but I was told that brownies bake nicely and meats can also be roasted.  It popped popcorn  very well though!  The sink and cook top both have glass covers that make for more counter space when those aren't in use. 

The full bath is back in the corner and though it's small it's nice not to have to rely on campground facilities.  The holding tanks are pretty good sized, so we could probably make it several days without having to take on water or dump the tanks.  There is also a generator if we ever need to "boon dock" or spend the night in a Walmart parking lot!  (Yes, most Walmarts will allow rv's to "camp" overnight in their parking lot for free.) Check out the monogrammed hand towel.  That's a project I completed in a machine embroidery class that week.

There's a nice  television and home theater system.  Although we've still got an issue with the antenna that needs to be diagnosed, we're able to watch movies or cable.  I've got no doubt that my handyman hubby will eventually figure out the problem get the show back on the road. 

So here we are at our campsite at Clifty Falls State Park.  Note the motorcycle trailer hiding behind. We purchased a  new little Weber Q120 grill to use which fits nicely in one of the outside storage compartments.  We have the larger version here at the house which we love but have just about worn out.  I was even able to cook some awesome pancakes on a griddle on the little grill.   We're not very familiar with the Indiana State Park campgrounds  but we were more than pleased with this one at Clifty Falls.  The sites were huge, most looked pretty level and ours had lots of shade.  There was a fire ring and a picnic table and the bath house/restrooms were much nicer than some at more expensive private campgrounds.  So on the OTRWJ rating, this one gets a 9 !  This is a nice park too, especially if you like hiking and it's near one of our favorite Ohio River towns, Madison. 

Now we're home again, trying to figure out our next destination!  But for the next few days, we're looking forward to a visit from daughter E and some relaxing time around here for all us.  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Taste of New England

We were supposed to take another motorcycle trip last week.  But our plans changed when D was browsing ebay and came across something we've been looking for the past few months. 
Meet our new toy!  It is a 2007 LTV (Leisure Travel Van).  It's small enough to maneuver around town, up and down hills and back roads, but yet powerful enough with its diesel engine to pull our motorcycle trailer.  We're hoping to take some longer trips where we can park and camp and venture out on the bike to explore the area without all the long hours on the bike to get where we want to be.  One little glitch - it was in MAINE!  What else to do - but fly to NH, rent a car and drive to Booth Bay Harbor to make sure this was as good of a deal as it seemed and drive this little cutie back home.  Of course, neither one of us had been to Maine so we didn't have to think too long about making the trip.
Beautiful Booth Bay Harbor!  It seems as though it must be quite a tourist destination, as this little town was quite busy with families taking the whale watching tours and enjoying the shopping and the sights.  Since we didn't get to Maine until Thursday morning and we had to be home by Sunday evening, our sight-seeing time here was limited.  But now that we have a taste of the area, we'll definitely be back! 

So we did get a taste!  My one goal if I ever got to Maine, was to have fresh lobster at dock side.  We were lucky to find the Lobster Dock (not sure that this link will work though).  And now I can check that one off my list.  It was delicious, as were the crab cakes (a Bobby Flay Throwdown contender) !  Our first night in the RV was spent at Shore Hills Campground near Booth Bay.  If we're going to do much camping, I probably should start a campground review page like so many rv'ers have done.  So I would give this one maybe 8 1/2 stars out of 10. Our campground experiences are slim and from several years ago but this one is pretty good, except for the pay showers.   

Our long drive home began the next morning and  was broken up by a few stops along the way.  The L. L. Bean Flagship store in Freeport took a couple of hours just to see everything and I could have spent more time browsing some of the other stores in the town center.  At least with the RV, we have lots of space to load up on souvenirs - but we didn't! (But what we did for the grandsons are adorable - wish I could show you but then I'd spoil the surprises!)
After dropping off the rental car back at the Manchester, NH airport, we took some back roads for awhile to wind our way back to Indiana.  The towns along the way were just what you would expect in New England. Pretty white churches and houses were nestled in the wooded roadsides.  I was able to catch a photo of this classic New England (United Methodist!) church as we headed across New Hampshire. One regret from this trip is that we didn't have time to stop and soak in the  beauty of the area and take many photos.  Most were caught out the window as we drove home (similar to the motorcycle trips we take, except I was able to use the big camera).  After a quick overnight stop at  Hinsdale Village campground near the NH/VT border we were back on the road.  We weren't at this campground very long so rating is difficult, but they were very accommodating about getting us a site at a late hour and the bath house was nice with separate shower rooms and clean, modern restrooms.  You have to drive quite a ways through a nice "trailer park" to get to the campground and the sites are level but the roads aren't paved.  So I guess I'd give this one an 8 on the OTRWJ rating scale!


We crossed the lower part of Vermont across some beautiful hilly, twisty roads.  It's not far across this little state at this point and we were quickly into New York.  But along the way we stopped at a little store to buy some maple syrup and cheese,  then at Hogback Mtn. where we saw dozens of motorcycles (this is a great road to ride, we'll keep that in mind!) then a another stop at the little town of Wilmington where I found this great quilt shop, Norton House, and the wonderful County Store full of everything (including fudge!).  Oh, how I wish we'd had more time here!

The rest of the trip home was pretty un-eventful.  We abandoned the pretty back roads and traveled I-90 across New York (a fortune in tolls for an rv!).  We spent our last night at a KOA south of Buffalo near the shore of Lake Erie (probably only a 6 on the OTRWJ scale) with a friendly office staff and good wifi.  We got up early for the long trip the rest of the way home.   Now that we're home again, we'll start to plan some trips where we can pull the motorcycle and then do some day trips out and about from our campsite.  D is even planning on working from the road a little so good wifi is important to where we plan to camp.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to take my sewing machine along, but maybe the embroidery machine or else just plan on doing some type of handwork to keep me busy.  I'm sure some of you think we're crazy but we're looking forward to this next adventure.  We don't really think of this as a new hobby, but as a better way of doing what we love to do and seeing more of this beautiful country! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Two !

Last weekend was the Big  Birthday Party for two special two year olds.  Grandson J has a friend who is just a few days younger, so the moms combined forces for a fun filled party. 

Here they are with some of the gifts we brought.  Grandpa made the little bench using his newest woodworking machine and I made the little "princess-in-training" t-shirt using my new embroidery machine.  So we're finally putting them to good use!  I think I've been more productive with mine since I've embroidered several kitchen towels and pillowcases lately.  Of course, D would argue that his is much more complicated - and he's probably right!

We had a wonderful weekend visit with these two grandsons! 
Someone is growing up soooo fast and showing lots of personality!

A couple days of babysitting this busy grandson are in store this week.  His favorite thing to do is annoy Beamer (who is gradually becoming more tolerant of tail pulling!)

Like most of the country, we "enjoying" some steamy summer weather these past several weeks.   I've given up on most of my flowers in pots and the ones in the ground are suffering.  Our grass is starting to become slightly "crispy" and even though I said I wasn't going to, I dragged out the sprinkler and tried to green things up a little.  Today a few thunderstorms popped up with a little rain relief but the rest of the week is predicted to be just as hot.  We're supposed to participate in the Home Front Fight Memorial Ride this Saturday but with temps in the upper 90's, I'm not too excited about riding.  We might just go by and drop off our donation.  Yes, you may call me a wimp!  There is a trip planned in the near future, so I'll have some more blog material coming! 

Stay Cool!