The Never Ending Cookie Jar

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Our cookie jar is not hidden. I don’t think I could get away with that even if I tried. Believe me I have tried to hide goodies. Have you ever tried hiding chocolate chips from the kids? Or your husband? I tried. It was always a really good spot way back in the freezer. Wrapped with rubber bands and in a plastic bag. They always found it. Always got into it and replaced the rubber bands just so and put them back in the plastic bag. They probably could have gotten away with it had I not noticed the amount getting smaller and smaller each time I needed some. So our cookie jar is on our kitchen counter. It is usually full or almost full. Yes the cookies get eaten. How does it stay full? It isn’t a secret. It is the ‘cook more than you need’ method.

I have a big mixer. The mixer has a 7 qt bowl. We use it to make lots of good things like bread, muffins, mashed potatoes and most definitely cookies!

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The plan is to make a huge batch of cookies. Fill the cookie jar up, after the cookies cool of course. Then put the rest of the cookies in the freezer. Usually we make a batch of cookies every week. (I love that the girls enjoy cooking!) Most times there are still cookies in the freezer when we make a new batch. What is good about this plan is that whenever you go to the freezer to fill up the cookie jar there are a variety of cookies so the jar ends up having a nice selection.

I have to say I am pretty sure everyone in this house loves the never ending cookie jar. One of the first things my boys do when they come visit is head for the jar, take off the top, grab one (or three) and place the top back on. I love being able to always have cookies on hand to offer people if they stop by.

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Now isn’t that one of the better things in life? Yummm!

Hope you have a nice Thursday!

 

 

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Afternoon Birding

The girls and I try and assign each day a subject. Sometimes we cook, sometimes we visit friends, sometimes we learn geography. Tuesday we try and do something artistic. Yesterday we needle felted some birds. We have been seeing so many at the feeder lately and  it being Spring made me think of birds.

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I think mine, the bluebird came out a little cartoonish. The girls’ came out much better.

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We put them out on the feeder to be funny. At one point the wind uplifted mine and it looked like it flew away!

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We were busy at it for most of the afternoon. It was the perfect thing to do on a windy, cool March day.

Happy Crafting!

 

What’s for Dinner – Menu & Recipe

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as I did. Both my older boys came home for the weekend so the dinner table was full again. It was loud and fun with music, conversation, and lots of eating. We all got outside for a while on Sunday as it was a beautiful day.

We all hear that question, ‘What’s for dinner, or what’s for supper’. I even get ‘What are you making for breakfast today?’ I don’t plan out the breakfast menu. When I wake up I decide what we are having. It depends on our schedule, what time it is when I make my way downstairs and what time my husband leaves. Anyway this post and every Monday’s post is about dinner, or supper as some of us call it. Every Monday I will post a menu for the up coming week. I love getting meal ideas from other people and I hope that my menu may help someone. I also will post about a meal that was successful and offer a recipe. We all love recipe’s!

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We had a turkey dinner for Easter this year. I served all the fixings that would normally go with a turkey dinner. My husband always does a dry brine on the turkey and it is so very good. It locks the juices and flavor right in.

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Yummy broiled potatoes (both sweet and some russets) were a hit. I love adding a vidalia onion to the potatoes.

I had to change my menu around a bit last week, since we decided to have our big meal on Saturday instead of Sunday. My sons needed to leave Sunday to go back home to get ready for work and I didn’t want to stress with a big meal. On Sunday after a big breakfast we had egg salad sandwiches (use up all those hard boiled eggs!) for dinner and snacked off and on.

On Friday I made chicken enchiladas. Those are always a hit. I thought you may want the recipe. It is very easy and super yummy!

Chicken Enchiladas:

Package of 10 large tortillas

2 TBSP oil or butter

8oz cream cheese

1 large onion

Can of black olives

1/2 cup of salsa

2 to 3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

1 TBSP cumin

1 TBSP garlic powder

1 TBSP chili powder

salt to taste

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

One can of enchilada sauce. (We use mild and it has a bit of a kick, but if you like it hotter look for the hot!)

Cook onions in oil, add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add chopped olives and spices. Add salsa and chicken. Stir to incorporate. Add chicken and stir until chicken is covered in creamy sauce. Take off heat. Take about 1/4 cup of mixture and put inside tortilla. Roll to wrap and place in a greased glass dish that has edges. When the pan is filled pour the enchilada sauce over and top with a little more cheddar cheese if you like. Since the mixture is hot these won’t take long to cook. Cook in oven at 350 degrees until bubbly. If there happens to be leftovers these will reheat very nicely.

Here is my dinner menu for this week.

Monday: Salmon, basmati rice, and broiled brussel sprouts

Tuesday: Open faced turkey sandwiches with whole wheat bread and broccoli

Wednesday: Stir Fry with pasta

Thursday: Hamburgers on the Grill French fries and fried zucchini

Friday: Baked chicken parts with brown rice and green beans

Saturday: Beef roast, potatoes and carrots and cauliflower

Sunday: Spaghetti and sauce and crusty bread

Enjoy your week! If you have any meal ideas let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Smith Farmer’s Wife 1930’s #74

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I finished Mrs. Smith. It was pretty difficult. I did not paper piece it. I pieced it in sections. I cut the pieces, drew 1/4 inch lines on every piece, pinned the daylights out of them and then sewed them together. I am not going to do a tutorial in this post but a photo journal of sorts. I took my time with this block. I used reproduction fabrics by Jo Morton, and a line from Marcus Fabrics. If you haven’t heard about it I am using the book Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt. I apologize if some of the pictures are not crispy clear. I am not much of a photographer.

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I cut all the pieces out exactly the size indicated in the directions. I have read that some people have been cutting the pieces out bigger and then trimming them down. I think that is a great idea. I just didn’t do it with this block. I may try that technique with other blocks.

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Like I said I really pinned these babies. I put a pin at each point then one or two depending on the size of the piece in the middle. As you can see in the photos I made sure the pin stuck in at the drawn line on both sides of the fabric.

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These are the four corners of the block. I sewed these first. I put a penny in the photo to show how small these pieces are. I love sewing these small blocks. It is a challenge but it feels good when you see it coming together.

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I kept adding to the first four patch pieces. So cool to see the block getting bigger as you go.

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More pinning! Awful photo, sorry!

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I took the sewing very slowly. It was very nice having the pencil line to go by. I found it hard to take the pins out without moving the pieces. I did everything very carefully.

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Here is the block with most of the pieces sewn together. It was very exciting to be able to see the star in the middle. I had to contain myself a little at this point. I started getting anxious to see it done but was afraid I would make a mistake it I hurried.

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I press every piece after I sew it. I press my seams open. I had a nice conversation about open seams with the woman that I buy this fabric from. Her name is Cyndi and she owns the shop Busy Thimble.  She explained that this is how the women did it back in the old days. She says it allows the block to lay flatter. Since I am using reproduction fabrics and the book I am using is a 1930’s sampler I figured I should do it the old fashioned way. My stitch length is very short too so this ensures there will be no pulling away from the seams when I press them open.

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It is so satisfying to see how pretty the block looks even from the back.

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Eventually I got the block down to three pieces. It was so exciting. Lot of oohs and ahhs and giddy giggles! Good thing no one heard me, it was a little ridiculous.

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For a wonderfully satisfying finish! I really liked working on this block even though it was a hard one. Not sure which block I am going to do next but maybe I should pick an easier one.

Are you working on these Farmer’s Wife 1930’s blocks? How are you liking them?

I am  joining Amanda today for Finish it Friday! And Sarah and her Whoop Whoop!  Happy Quilting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Mitts & A Great Book

Getting away for a little while was so good. I am fortunate that my husband works on the road. This past weekend he had a show to go to in Rhode Island. He asked if we wanted to come and stay overnight with him and find something to do in Providence and then also visit his family in Connecticut. Of course I said Yes!

I got a lot of knitting done on the ride and in the hotel. Being trapped in a car is so good for the hand work projects. I was able to finish the fingerless mitts that I was working on.

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My sister in law offered me a bag of books that she had finished reading. The first one I tried is so good! I was hooked the second page in. That hardly ever happens.  I am only on the second chapter and it is one of those books that I don’t want to put down. Unfortunately I do have other things that have to be done so I can’t read it as fast as I want to. Maybe that is a good thing. Many times when I read a great book I am disappointed that it is over. So if I read this one slowly maybe I can savor it. The book is called the Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. It takes place at the turn of the century (20th). So far it has talked a little about this man Talmadge who is the main character and in just one chapter he has had some tough times!

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Rhode Island was much warmer than Maine. There were trees in bloom and daffodils in full color! It took us five hours to drive down there, so I wonder what that equates to the warm weather getting here and the flowers starting to bloom up this way?

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Happy Knitting and Happy Spring!

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along today! Can’t wait to see everyone’s projects.

 

 

Happy Spring… Snowstorm!

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As it often happens here in Maine, we were met with a snowstorm on the first day of Spring. It was not a bad one but we got several inches on the ground. It is pretty out there again. Gone is all the mud. The snow has covered all the fallen twigs and forgotten leaf piles. You would think that after all the warm mild weather we had that it would be a shocker for us all. Nope. The cats, kids, chickens, birds, even the little green shoots just looked like they expected it. I am sure it will be gone in a day or so. I expect we will get a few more of these little storms before Spring is really here.

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Back inside we go, back to the cozy warm wood stove, back to the knitting and sewing. That is the way it goes here. Pretty normal. I made a banana bread today and caught up on laundry after a weekend away. Every so often I would look out the window and see that it was still snowing. The nice sunny warm weather will come. For now I will enjoy this early spring cold and snow.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

On the Menu Board & Recipes

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Mmmmm Fried Chicken! This is a favorite here in this house. It is relatively easy too. Here is the recipe:

Parts of chicken (I use legs and thighs)

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup corn meal (adds crunch)

1 TBSP paprika

1 TBSP garlic powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp thyme

Enough oil or shortening to fill a skillet up about an inch high

Soak chicken in yogurt for several hours

When ready to fry chicken mix dry ingredients in a paper or plastic bag (without holes)

Start to heat up oil in a frying pan or skillet. Don’t let it get too hot though. If it starts to smoke take it off and let it cool a bit.

Take chicken out of yogurt and shake off excess yogurt. Place a few pieces of chicken in the bag of spices and shake to cover chicken. Place the chicken in heated pan of oil. Fry at medium heat for 10 minutes or so on each side.

Serve with sides of your choice.

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Another favorite this week was home made spaghetti sauce and garlic bread sticks.

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Lots of carbs I know but also lots of taste. It is okay to load up on the carbs sometimes! Right?

Here is my recipe for Garlic Breadsticks

Use any pizza or bread dough that you enjoy. You could even get some of the frozen dough that they sell in the store.

After the first rise separate the dough into 16 balls. Shape into logs about the same size and put on a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You could spritz the logs with water at this point too, but you don’t have to.

Melt some butter while the bread sticks are cooking.

When they are done pull out from oven and brush breadsticks with butter and sprinkle salt and garlic powder over the tops. Then return to the oven and broil on low for a few minutes keeping your eye on them so they don’t burn.

Serve with pasta and sauce.

Here is the menu for this week:

Monday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes and broiled carrots

Tuesday: Home made chicken nuggets and salad

Wednesday: Shrimp and asparagus over angel hair pasta

Thursday: Squash & Zucchini broiled with soy sauce over rice noodles served with pot stickers.

Friday: Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday: Baked salmon with home made french fries and broccoli

Sunday: Baked Turkey and fixings with birthday cake

Yes there is a turkey in the menu. I have had it in the freezer for a while now and I want to cook it up before it gets too warm to do it. Since Easter is this weekend and it is my oldest sons birthday I thought it was the perfect thing.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

Playing With Liberty

The first time I ever felt and saw Liberty of London Tana Lawn was in a kit I bought from Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy . She had used the cotton lawn for the clothes for a bunny. I was amazed at the feel of it. I did a blind test with my family to see if they also could tell the difference. They could of course. It really is the most amazing fabric. I have been dreaming over it for a while and last month I finally joined one of the clubs that are online. There are a ton. Just type in Liberty Fabric club in your search bar and you will see how many.

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I get a fat 16th bundle every month. Doesn’t sound like a lot but really it is more than you would think. I was able to make a 12 inch block with the Liberty and some Kona solids. I loved the block so much I had to make more. I thought maybe I would make a table runner but when I realized how easy the block went together I thought maybe I would make a Liberty scrap quilt.

I really have no business starting a new project since I am working on the Farmer’s Wife blocks. I am working on some fingerless mitts and also a sweater. I couldn’t resist these fabrics though!

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I decided to try the friendship block. It is a pretty simple block and I felt it would be easy enough that the chance of me messing up and wasting fabric would be low. I have heard that people have cried when they waste Liberty!

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I cut four 5 inch squares out of the Liberty and the solid for the points and one 4 1/2 inch block out of the Liberty for the middle.

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Then I used the quick method for making half square triangles. Which is placing a solid square on a Liberty square and drawing a line on the diagonal and sewing a 1/4 inch on each side of the line. Then I cut on the line that I drew. Perfect half square triangles!  I sewed all the squares together for each row and then sewed the rows together. It was so easy and fast. I love the finished product. I finished three blocks. Now I really should stop and work on something else, but it will be so hard!

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Happy Quilting!

I am joining Amanda for Finish it Friday! And Sarah for her Whoop, Whoop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Them Be

The girls have been out in the woods all year but have been spending many more hours out there since the snow is gone and the temperatures are warmer. They are searching for edible wild plants. The ones that come up on their own where ever they want or need to come up. The ones the Indians used to use for medicine. The ones that take a trained eye to find. I myself know nothing about these sorts of plants. I remember as a child eating the mini pickles (as we used to call them). My daughters tell me that is Wood Sorrel and it is very good for you. They tell me there is Plantain, for cuts and burns. Violets and Dandelions for salads. Jewelweed (Spotted Touch Me Not) for treating Poison Ivy. Sumac for making a nice lemonade drink. There are many others. No one told them to study this. No one told them to check out the books and memorize facts. They are doing it because it interests them.

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I could capture this interest and package it all up and create a ‘Unit Study’ on Medicinal Plants or Native American studies but I won’t. Experience has shown me that is the very thing that will turn them off from what they are doing. If I poke my nose into this and create a ‘learning moment’ it will back fire. What I do is listen to them. When they do ask questions I direct them to where they can find the answer. I encourage them with my interest (not too much) and my ignorance. It is quite fascinating to them that they are telling me things I don’t know.

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I have been spending more time outside as well. It is that time of year that a lot of us are thinking about getting outside and getting into the dirt. I took a trip out to my hoop houses today and was happily surprised that my lettuce that I planted a couple of weeks ago is up! The Spinach is looking very healthy, enough to pick I dare say. The onions are up and thriving and there are broccoli plants doing very well after being dormant all winter long. The garlic is just starting to poke up through the soil. This is the time that I start to get excited. Things are happening out there!

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Except for the lettuce all these vegetables were planted last fall. I cover them with my hoop houses and they ‘sleep’ until the sun starts to get higher and stay out longer.

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Isn’t it amazing what can grow when you leave it alone? Gardens and children do need to be tended to but often both will more than thrive if you sit back and just let them do their thing.

 

 

Lots of Knitting, and Reading!

My girls are getting in on the act of today’s knitting post. Yesterday they both surprised me when they asked me to cast on a project for each of them. They both have matching stuffed seals and they both wanted to make the seals a shawl. So sweet!

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The Four-Story Mistake is a classic children’s story. We read the Saturday’s by the same author earlier this year and my daughter wanted to read more about these four siblings. For her knitting she is using a wool, acrylic mix in blues and gray.

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I probably cannot say more about By the Shores of Silver Lake. Most of us are familiar with the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. It is so wonderful that children are still excited about reading these books. This knitting project is being done in a soft pink alpaca, acrylic. It is super soft.

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My fingerless mitts project went from bad to worse this week. I started these mitts in alpaca and wanted to try my hand at making it up as I went along. It didn’t really work out. The alpaca proved to be a little too loose for mitts. I changed to a hand spun wool that someone gave me and it is hard for me to work with. Either that or I am having a bad knitting week. I have started over several times. I keep messing up on the ribbing. With this yarn the ribbing pattern is hard to see and when I put it down for a while then pick it up I tend to not see where I left off. Now I am using a pattern from Ravelry from Calypso Knits. I am hoping I can get these mitts done by my son’s birthday on the 26th! Good thing I am traveling this weekend. Lots of time as a passenger is good for knitting! Right now I am reading these short stories by John McPhee. I am actually reading them to a client who just turned 92! She loves to be read to. I love to read. Can’t complain about a job like that now can I?

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A good update to report is my sweater! I have started the sleeves and it is going very nicely. I work on it at night when it is quiet. I am so excited to finish this project.

Happy Knitting and Reading!

Joining Ginny again today for the Yarn Along.