Monday, March 31, 2008

Goodies in the Mail!

I cannot tell you how much I love getting good things in the mail (not bills, or boring things like that, you understand). Today I got some seriously good things in the mail. All the way from the UK from the fabulous MonkeeMaker! All I did was help name her new pigeon. Wow! I'd hate to think what she'd do if I really did something:)
Good things just kept coming out of the package......
A cupcake! Uh oh, he doesn't look too happy, does he?
Oh, a sweet little bunny!
Ooooh, what can be in that elegant box?
Oh, be still my heart-----------chocolate! And would you just look at that lovely scarf!Thank you so much, dear MonkeeMaker, for making my day!

I've been working on another project (You know I have several, or maybe more than several, going at the same time.)

Don't you love the bright colors!

Seems like I may have a couple of helpers?

Or maybe they're just homesick for MonkeeMaker's yarns?

Hope you've had a nice surprise today, too!

Have a great evening.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Chicken Breast/Pasta Recipe

Today for dinner, I sort of invented a new chicken/pasta dish. I had bought some chicken breasts on sale, so the first thing I did was cut the meat off two of the chicken breasts. I've cut it into about 1-inch pieces.
This is not the recipe, but since I do not like to waste anything, I put the bones remaining after taking the chicken off, along with some chopped onions and celery in water to simmer. That I will strain later for broth and save the cooked chicken breast for other uses.
For my recipe I'm cooking about a cup and a half of large shell macaroni according to package directions.
While that is cooking, I saute the chicken breast pieces with some red, yellow and green pepper and onion.
Then I add a can of diced tomatoes, Italian style.
Stir, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve over cooked, drained pasta. Add a nice salad, a glass of iced tea and maybe a whole wheat dinner roll and you're good to go!

This little recipe made two very generous servings - one for me and one for my Honey. (The dogs were very happy to take care of what we couldn't finish.)

Have a great evening!


Christmas in March?

I had on my Christmas socks the other day when it was much cooler than it is now, and I started thinking (always dangerous). Perhaps I should start making a few Christmas gifts early, instead of waiting until the last minute and trying to do it all at once.

Anyway, I happened to look
down and saw one of the coasters a friend had given me several years back. She said that she and her sisters had done a lot of them for Christmas gifts, and they made them together while they were visiting.


I looked closely at the coaster and decided it would not be a hard thing at all to make.

Here are the steps:

First of all you will need six - 4" squares of fabric and one - 4" square of quilt batting or flannel, or whatever you can get your hands on for an absorbent filling.

Now make a little "sandwich" of two of the pieces of material, with right sides of fabric facing outward and batting in the middle. Sew all around the edges. I zig-zagged around it, too, just to be secure.

Take your remaining four pieces of fabric and fold them in half to make triangles, and press.
Now start layering on top of the "sandwich", with the corners of your triangles each going to a corner of the "sandwich".

It's a little hard to explain, and I hope you can see how it works from the pictures, but you overlap the triangles as you go.

Keep going until you have all four triangles layered on top of your "sandwich". It should look something like this:

Pin securely, because all these layers will really try to slide around on you when you're sewing:).

Sew all around, close to edge and finish up with zig-zag stitch. Turn and press. Make as many as you want. I made four this time around.

After finishing these last night, I decided I would work on my quilt for a while. I was stitching along like mad:

Then I discovered that the bobbin thread had run out. Time to quit. :)
How about you? Started Christmas making yet?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Growth

I just came in from planting some seeds in the garden - nasturtiums here and there, "Borlotto Solista Beans" along the front and left side fence, one hill of "Pearl Hybrid Cucumbers" and one hill of "Eureka Hybrid Cucumbers" on the back fence. I decided to just train the cukes out from a hill this time instead of individual plants in a row. We'll see how it goes. I also planted some miniature pumpkin seeds in one of the buckets beside the chicken house.

On the other side of the chicken yard, the muscadine vines are beginning to really put out new growth. If the pesky rats will just leave them alone I might actually get some muscadines! Joy! Muscadines are a sort of wild grape that grew in the woods at our grandparents' farm when we were kids, and our grandmother made the BEST preserves from them. They were tart! I'd love to try making some myself. My husband and I bought some muscadines and scuppernongs (another southern grape) at a little farmers' market when we were in Mississippi several years ago. After eating the grapes I planted a lot of the seeds. Those that survived have been growing in a pot by our front door, and this year I finally got them planted in the ground. I'm not at all sure which kind are growing or if it's both, and there are not that many vines, but I live in hope! All gardening is an experiment, in my opinion. I am always surprised at what will or will not grow and prosper. (I'm also really glad that I don't have to depend on what I can grow to live.)

This is our "Celeste" fig tree at the back of our yard. Isn't it amazing how quickly it has leafed out! We always have LOTS of figs from this one. I "put up" (can) fig preserves every year. None of my family here likes figs in any form, but my mom, sisters, brother and nieces and nephew all like the preserves, so they are happy to share in my bounty:);)...

And this pretty little baby is a miniature dogwood that a neighbor gave me a few years ago. It had just been sitting there sullenly all this time, but this year it decided it would grow and thrive and blossom. I love it!

I'm excited about all the new growth I can see and that I can't see yet.

Have a great evening.


Oh, be careful little mind what you think!

"The subconscious mind makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it, through our thought impulses. The sub-conscious mind will translate into reality a thought driven by fear, just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by courage or faith."
-- Napoleon Hill

Now, I know you can't always help what you think, but you CAN help what you allow to stay in your thought processes. It is so easy to dwell on the negative and as Mr. Hill says above, those negative thoughts can translate into reality.

There are so many things in my life right now that have the potential to be destructive in major ways. If I choose to dwell on those things in my thoughts, I honestly believe it could actually cause that destruction.

I choose instead to dwell on the most positive outcome possible. I choose instead to believe what the Bible says about those things. I choose to believe, and to think on, and to speak the report of the Lord!

I believe that the thoughts God has toward me and my family are for good, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 The Living Bible).

How about you? Are you trusting God, or are you allowing thoughts of fear and doubt to torment you?


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I was just out doing a little watering and found these really lovely roses on the "Blaze" climbing rose bush on our back fence.

Do you ever just get a little pain in your heart when you see something so beautiful? That's what felt when I saw them. I had to bring them inside where I could keep on looking at them.

Hope you have something just as beautiful to gaze on, too!


Leftover Ham

Ah, the age-old problem of what to do with leftovers. When you have a big ham, like we did, there is usually a lot left after you've eaten all you can. First thing to do is package and freeze some for use later.

Then, still having a lovely big ham bone left, it's time to make some bean soup.

Get plenty of all kinds of dried beans, peas and lentils.

Rinse those and add to the ham bone.

Now add some sliced carrots and chopped celery and onions.

Add enough water to cover vegetables.
Then cover pot and cook on low for several hours, checking from time to time to see if you need to add more water.
Now, enjoy a nice bowl of delicious bean soup.
And feel virtuous for making such good use of those leftovers!

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Enjoying a beautiful day

Today has been so pretty. And so productive. Mr. Perfect and I have been busy out in our back yard. We added a roof over the chicken yard so our chickens will have more shade from the heat this summer. They like it already!

That's a small fig tree in front of the chicken yard and an angel trumpet to the right. I was not sure it would survive the winter, but I covered it on the worst nights, and as you can see - it is thriving. The blooms should start up again soon. Directly behind the chicken yard are blackberry bushes and the new blueberry bushes and a pear and a plum bush we've planted this year.

Mr. Perfect tilled the small garden, and I'll put our tomato seedlings out this evening when it cools down a little. Even this early in the season it's too hot to plant during the heat of the day. We worked in a lot of composted chicken yard soil. Our chickens work very hard to compost every scrap of vegetable peels, grass clippings, weeds and just about anything else edible we can find to put in there. It makes a very rich garden soil and the plants love it.

These are "Early Girl" tomatoes I planted a couple of weeks ago. I picked 4 of these up at our local hardware store, and they already have tiny flowers on them! My mouth is watering. There is just nothing like fresh-picked tomatoes from your own back yard! I really like to grow our tomatoes from seed, because I can't always find the varieties I want locally. I am a little slow this year though, so these Early Girls will help carry us over till our seedlings start producing. I will also plant some cucumbers and green beans in this garden next week if I don't get them in this afternoon.

Here is a view of our back yard. It is really small, so we have to squeeze every little bit of good we can out of it. The buckets have the bottoms cut out and rest directly on the soil. I plant vegetables in those as well, usually tomatoes, but I have some new eggplant in the one closest. It's a "Hansel" hybrid. I'm standing under our "Celeste" fig tree. It is BIG, and always has a wonderful harvest of figs each year.

And in case you're wondering why there are fences around everything ......... we have two big dogs who cannot be trusted not to step on things growing. So we protect those things;).

This is the other side of our house. There are flower beds to the left and right (yes, more fences). Also on the right are banana trees and a bunch of pomegranate seeds planted together that have grown up into a large bush. There actually are pomegranates on there every year!

Here are some of my sweet little spring flowers enjoying themselves behind their protective fence.

I cooked our Easter ham today, so tomorrow will be an easy dinner. I bought one of the spiral sliced hams, and we really like it. They do a better job of slicing than our usual butchery:)

Hope you've been enjoying your day as much as we have. Have a very Happy Easter!