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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wildflowers - Dandelions and Violets


I love wildflowers!

I picked them as a child and brought bouquets of them to Mom, especially Sweet Williams. And I loved the Jack in the Pulpits. I haven't seen either of these yet, but our yard is full of dandelions and violets.

Some people think of them as weeds. But I consider these colorful flowers one of God's beautiful creations.

After a long winter of drab and dreary landscapes, these yellow and violet creations pop out of the ground for us to enjoy.










What is a dandelion? It is a wild plant with a large yellow flower, deep taproot, and deeply notched leaves, that changes into a fluffy white ball of seeds.






From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.




This is a dandelion craft I made a few years ago. It says "Some see a weed, others see a wish come true. Make a Wish!"

We were told as kids,  "If you blow a seed head of a dandelion, the number of seeds remaining are the number of children you will have."

I've never tried it, but they say you can make violet jelly. If you would like to give it a try, here is a link to how you can do it. 

And, of course, here is the little poem about violets:

Roses are red
Violets are Blue
Sugar is sweet
but not, as sweet as you.
 

Do you know any dandelion or violet folklore or trivia?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Free Kindle Download and a No Sew Mask


Hi everyone!

I would like to announce that my newest book,

Fun Through the Seasons Volume Two 

is available for FREE  download through Sunday, April 19, 2020.

I would love it if you take this opportunity to download it and enjoy.

It is always free on kindle unlimited, but if you don't belong to it, this is a great time to get my ebook.

It is a good book for kids and adults, especially during this Pandemic when we are encouraged to stay at home and the kids are home from school.

It is filled with easy recipes, poems, fun and informative articles, and interesting facts. It also has colorful photos and illustrations.

If you download it, I would appreciate an honest review on Amazon.

click here to get the free download.  Remember it is only free through Sunday, April 19!

Reviews are one of the best gifts you can give an author.

Thanks and keep safe and healthy! 

A while back I showed you how you could sew a face mask. Below is a no-sew one.

I've sewn a few, but here I am in one of my no-sew masks. 
They're easy - get a large man's handkerchief or a piece of material
at least 16 x 16
fold in half once
then fold in half again
slide a child's ponytail elastic over both ends
push in a few inches and then fold the material on the ends toward the inside.
Put up to your face and slip the elastics over your ears. Adjust to fit.
Voila!



Sunday, April 5, 2020

Easy Peanut Butter Easter Eggs



Easter is almost upon us and we never bought any homemade Easter Eggs. Churches in our area usually make thousands of them and distribute them to different businesses for sale. A few weeks ago they had to stop making them because of the corona-virus outbreak.

Peanut Butter, cherry nut and maple nut are our favorites.

I have a recipe in my cookbook, Cook with Family Recipes and Remembrances, for Buckeyes. I thought I would use the recipe to make peanut butter eggs.

I halved up the recipe, because I didn't want to have a lot of them here at the house. I knew I would not be able to resist them.

In case you want to make an entire batch, the original recipe calls for -

1 cup of peanut butter
1 stick of butter
1 pound of powdered sugar
melted chocolate

Mix butter and peanut butter, stir in powdered sugar. Roll into small balls,. Melt chocolate bark in microwave. Dip peanut butter balls into chocolate until almost covered. Place on wax paper until chocolate is set.

I used 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 stick of butter (room temperature), around 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and melted chocolate bark. This made three eggs about 1/4 pound each.

These are quick and easy!
 
peanut butter and butter

after stirring in powdered sugar


I put 1/3 of the mixture into these egg shaped pans I happened to have. 
I had made bunny rabbit cupcakes in them a long time ago. If you don't have a pan like this, shape them into an oval shape - flat on the bottom.

Here are the three after I took them out of the pan.

I melted the chocolate in the microwave and spooned it onto the eggs. 
Place in refrigerator until chocolate is hard. This doesn't take very long.
 If you want, you can wait until the top firms, turn them over and put melted chocolate on the bottom. 

 I melted some white bark and squirted it on the top of the egg for decoration.


These turned out really good. They are not real rich, which means you can eat a lot (tee hee)!

Unfortunately, I think Charley and I could eat one between us in one setting. We keep going back and cutting off another slice to eat.

What's your favorite flavor of Easter Eggs? 

Enjoy the eggs and I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this outbreak. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sewing Masks and Keeping Busy


Charley and I are pretty sociable people. But there was . . . 

no Writing Group Meeting this week

no Conducting Craft Class at the Senior Center this week

and a locked door at our water company which is almost in sight distance of our house, so we dropped our bill into the slot in the door.

I talked to my cousin last night and she is making pretty masks. She sent me pics of hers and I liked them. I have tons of material, so I decided to make a few today to pass the time away.

They are very simple to make. Here is a pic of the pattern that I cut out of card stock. Cut two 6" pieces of elastic for each one, also.

They are reversible, so you cut out four pieces of material for each mask. Bend over the 2" side about 1/4" or so and iron. Sew two sets of the material across the 6 1/2" end of the pattern. Then put the two sets of material together (right sides facing each other) and sew up the 5" sides. Leave the 2" sides open, and turn right side out. Iron and insert the elastic and sew across the ends.


fold over small 2" side and iron

with right sides together sew the long 6 1/2" sides together
after sewing 2 sets of longs sides together, pin them together and sew. Leaving small ends open.
turn right side out and iron. 
Insert elastic into openings on each end and sew all the way across. 
As you can see, I back-stitched the row of sewing to make it secure.

Here are some of my finished masks. They are reversible and washable. You can't tell, but I put different coordinating fabric on the back of some of these. There is a somewhat light solid brown on the back of the one I did above. There is a light gray material on the back of the owl and cat masks and the black one. I'm just using what material I have on hand.


You may have to adjust the measurements a little, depending on how big or small your face is.


I don't know how good they are at keeping out germs, but they might help keep your hands from touching your face so often, which they say is how you spread germs. They might also be good to use when you have a cold or out walking when the pollen count is high.

I hope everyone is healthy and you don't get the corona virus.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

SANTA SIGHTINGS


Here is an excerpt from the 'winter' section of my soon-to-be published volume two of FUN THROUGH THE SEASONS Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids.




SANTA SIGHTINGS


NORAD tracks Santa.
In December 1955, a Sears’ ad printed the phone number of a Colorado Springs store so children could tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The phone number was a misprint and children ended up calling the red phone of the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD. Colonel Harry Shoup answered the phone and a small voice on the other end asked, “Is this Santa Clause?” He thought it was a joke, until the child started crying. The children kept calling, so he assigned airmen to answer the calls and act like Santa. On Christmas Eve, when the colonel walked into the room, there was a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer coming over the North Pole. The colonel looked at it for a while, and next thing you know, he called the radio station and said, “This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh.”
THE ASTRONAUTS track Santa.
On December 16, 1965 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra on Gemini 6 sent the following message to Mission Control and children around the world. “We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south; probably in polar orbit . . . I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot is wearing a red suit. The astronauts then proceeded to sing “Jingle Bells,” accompanied with a harmonica and bells, which they secretly smuggled aboard.
CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE tracks Santa.
He announced Santa’s arrival to his children in his 1822 poem titled, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” He saw a little old driver so lively and quick. He said, “It must be Saint Nick.”
CHILDREN track Santa.
Come Christmas Eve, bake a batch of cookies and place them beneath the Christmas tree with a glass of milk. After midnight, sneak a peek and you might have a Santa sighting of your own.

PEPPERMINT COOKIES

1 cup sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
1 ½ t peppermint flavoring
2 cups self-rising flour
2 T milk
Red and green colored sugar
Junior Mints

Mix sugar, butter, egg and flavoring in large bowl until well blended.
Alternately add flour and milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Dough will be crumbly. Work with it and shape dough into one-inch balls.
Roll in red or green colored sugar.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes until cookie is set. Remove from oven and cool two to three minutes. Place a Junior Mint into center of cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Makes three to four dozen.




 

These colorful cookies are sure to delight Santa on Christmas.


Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.




Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas Time of Year


Hi everyone!

I don't post a lot anymore, but I used to post a lot!

I thought I would direct you to some of my older posts to put us in the Christmas mood.

Do you like to craft?  Go here to see how to make gumdrops for your tree. This is one of my most popular posts this time of year. It gets a lot of visits.

Click here to see all my cookie cutters and learn how to make cinnamon dough ornaments.

Click here to see all kinds of Christmas craft ideas.

Click here to see how to make Scrabble Christmas ornaments. I used to make these and sell them. 

If you look on my sidebar, you will find lots of recipes you could try out on Christmas. Click here to see how to make my applesauce stack cake. Grandma made the best one ever!

On my sidebar is a link to my cookbook on Amazon. It has a pic of my stack cake on the cover.  Cookbooks make great gifts for people who like to cook!

I hope you have a nice Christmas and make lots of memories. Click here for a couple of posts about my Christmas memories.

I read on the internet somewhere that Christmas Eve is the most popular day to get engaged. That is one memory I forgot to write about on my blog. I got engaged on Christmas Eve 1977. Six and a half months later we were married!

I think it surprised our families. We had dated for years and I don't think they thought he was ever going to propose. But I knew better.

What's your favorite Christmas memory?


read Christmas story books

decorate with holly

make angels out of songbook pages

make m & m icicles to put on packages


Merry Christmas.







Sunday, November 17, 2019

Getting Your Thanksgiving Cactus to Bloom


I have discovered the secret to getting my Thanksgiving Cactus to bloom!


I had just about given up on getting my cactus to bloom. For two or three years in a row it never bloomed.

I wanted to give them away.

I wanted to put them in a yard sale. (I used to have two - one small and one large)

My husband wouldn't let me, even though I suspected he was partly the reason they never bloomed.

Why did I suspect he was part of the reason?

I had researched online about how to make them bloom. I tried doing what they said, but they like coolness and they like darkness.

My husband likes a warm house in the winter and he leaves lights on at night. I was fighting an uphill battle.

Well, last year I put my cactus on the front porch for the summer and I kept it there until the nights started getting a little too cool for comfort. I didn't want it to freeze. I brought it inside the garage and placed it on our chest type freezer until I had somewhere to put it in the house.

Well, after a few weeks I noticed red buds developing on the tips of the plant! More and more buds developed and they started turning into flowers.  Yeah!

I brought it in the house and it bloomed beautifully.

I did the same this year and it is in full bloom again.

The garage gave it the environment it longed for -- cool and dark.



I used to think it was a Christmas Cactus, but it has convinced me that it is a Thanksgiving Cactus. Either way, they are beautiful!

Do you have one?

Does it always bloom for you?

 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Feeding the Squirrels


We enjoy feeding the squirrels around our house. 
Next to chipmunks, I think they are the cutest critters.
We feed them corn, peanuts and hickory nuts.
They've really fattened up over the summer. 



Munching on a hickory nut. 


Nibbling on a corn cob. 



Look close and you will see two squirrels in this picture. In addition to the one hanging on the tree, one is on the ground eating the kernels that have fallen onto the ground. 
That's called teamwork.



They are such acrobats! 
And if you notice, squirrel and hummingbird are friends.
 Maybe I should write a picture book about that.


See what I mean about being so cute! 


The bees in our yard also get fed. In this picture, Mr. Bee is covered up in pollen from one of our Rose of Sharon bushes.

Do you feed any critters in your yard?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Traveling West Virginia - Hawks Nest - New River Gorge Trail



We don't do as much traveling as we used to. But we recently took a day trip to southern West Virginia.

Our first stop was Hawks Nest State Park. If you have traveled there before, you know where they get the expression half the fun is getting there - that is unless you are prone to motion sickness. If you are, then I would advise you to sit in the front seat of the car.

We have been to Hawks Nest many times, but this is the first time we ever rode the tram down to the river.



We wanted to ride the jet boats, but they were all booked up.


 So we did the next item on our list. We went on a hike. My husband has a bad knee, so he didn't go with my son and me. He loves to talk, so he stayed and talked to the tram guys.



The hike was beautiful - a path filled with large rocks, rhododendron, foot bridges, caves, snakes . . .

Of course, my son had to climb up onto the first big rock we came to. Boys will be boys.










And speaking of snakes. This is where I encountered a baby snake wriggling under my shoe. I didn't stay long enough to see what kind he was, but he wasn't a black snake.


On the way back down the trail on this neat little foot bridge.



Our next stop was at a trail we had never walked on before. You drive over the New River Gorge Bridge, which is an experience I never tire of, and then travel a local road to a set of trails that take you to a great place for a photo op of the bridge.

I never took any pictures along the trail because we were in a hurry. We even sprinted in a few places. I never walked a trail so fast in my life. It was late and given the length of the trail we were going to be walking back in the dark. Thank goodness for cell phone flash lights!

The first mile and 3/4 was a fairly easy walk. But the last 1/4 mile was a heavy breather. This is approaching the end of the trail. And believe me when I tell you the view was well worth the huffing and puffing. 


This was as far out as I would venture. My son said that I couldn't fall off unless I just walked off the edge. I said different --- You could trip. You could slide. You could get woozy. So I played it safe.



We still got some great pictures. My son even took a few selfies.










After enjoying the view and taking a bunch of pictures, we started back. And yes, it was in the dark. I kept imagining encounters with wild animals, but none appeared.

My son said, "If we see Big Foot, shine the light while I take the picture."
I told him, "Please make it a clear picture."
For some reason all the pics people take of Big Foot are blurry. 😊

Press this link to a list of trails in the area. I would like to try them all out. The name of the trail we took is the Long Point Trail.

 Hope you enjoyed this Traveling West Virginia.

Have you ever been to either of these places?

If not, I hope you get to visit some day.