Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Resolutions

Nice, MOSTLY EMPTY, family room!!

As I take a break from putting Christmas decorations away, cooking and cleaning, I think about what I want to accomplish during 2009. Not all my goals are sewing related or even quilting related:

1. I want more time to ride the horses;
2. I want to have a garden that I keep up with and harvest. Not live off the land, but not be buying wilted salad greens, tasteless tomatoes (not that I will eat them anyways:)) and mushy peppers;
3. I want to finish 18 quilt projects this year. Whether they be pillows, lap quilts, wall hangings, bed quilts. I think I did pretty well for 2008 - my goal was to finish 12. and I finished 16. Not bad considering I took a 8 year break while having both kids;
4. I want to start making Christmas gifts in January - none of this staying up until 12:45 Christmas morning for me - or still madly quilting to finish my Mom's gift;
5. I want to donate several quilts/lap blankets to Akron Children's Hospital. They were so good to Jessie during her stay/visits there.
6. I want our calves to do good at the County Fair - and for the kids who are showing them to have fun. I don't want Jessie to get Grand Champion this year - I believe it's something she needs to work for - not have it handed to her because her calf is groomed the best or has the most hair (and I think she will appreciate it more as she gets older and does more of the work herself).
7. I want to continue to cut back on our spending - we currently spend about $200 a month on groceries - I think we can do better since we don't buy meat from the grocery store;
8. I want to continue to improve my cooking skills - there is a lot more I could be doing to feed us healthy meals - I just need to do it.
9. I want to loose some weight. Not a lot, just the 10 or 15 extra pounds. Riding the horses would help with that in a hearbeat. (And as Todd pointed out when he realized a week ago that I do have a blog, and was reading a lot of my back entries - there are no pictures of me on this space - it's all the kids, Todd and the animals. Maybe this year I'll put a picture of me on here. Maybe.
10. I want to save some more money up - and I will be taking part in Gill's savings plan. Every little bit will help in these tough economic times. And I am afraid it will only get worse. I am a big one for that cappucino is only $1.29 - but that adds up every morning....so today I brought my last one from the gas station:) It was very good.
11. I want to learn how to hand quilt. I have the quilt frames, the needles, the thread, backing and batting. All I need is the courage to JUST DO IT.
12. I want to enjoy my family and friends more. To spend time having cookouts, campouts, hangouts and whatever we can come up with. I don't want to worry so much about if my bed is made, is the house clean enough, are my floors vacuumed (OCD or anal retentiveness coming out again).

I hope everyone has a bright and blessed New Year. It has been so wonderful meeting new people in blogland and visiting with all of you. See you all next year.
Love,
Todd, Kris, Jessie and Tyler

PS - and for those of you wondering - we had 1 empty egg slot in the carton yesterday, Jessie had 3 dippy eggs for breakfast, I had 2 scrambled eggs (I couldn't eat the 3rd one, so she had to - has to be an even # for me), we collected 14 eggs yesterday, so I have a carton with 8 eggs in it now, which I was happy with as of last night. Then this morning Jessie ate 2 eggs, and we so far today have gotten 5 eggs - so I'm back up to a carton with 11 eggs. But there are 5 hens sitting in nest boxes right now, so all should be right in my little world shortly, and I will be done with this odd # egg carton. hehe


What I consider essentials for going out to gather eggs -
a calf bottle for water, a basket for eggs, and a cappucino for me!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive

I tend to be rather anal...obsessive compulsive....picky about certain things. One is how the beds are made. Another is how the house is vacummed (I vacum the main living areas of our house every day). I will only eat an even # of any given snack (whether it be potato chips, cookies, french fries...). Just don't ask me to wash windows or dust the house regularly. Or even semi-regularly....

But these chickens. Are. Freaking. Me. Out.

Why?

Because they don't lay the same amount of eggs every day:



See, I am obsessive enough to keep track of how many eggs they lay every day.
Some of these hens are SLACKERS!!!

I know this is nature, and I am thrilled (really, I am!) that they are even laying like gangbusters here the end of December. Except for the Aracana - we haven't seen a 1 colored egg. And I don't think the Jersey Giants are all laying just yet (but both the Aracana hen and the Jersey Giant hens are only 23 weeks old - and I think since they are a heavy breed, it can take them up to 30 weeks to lay pretty regularly).

But you would think they would pop me out an extra egg every once in a while so I would have an even dozen eggs, rather than 13 one day, 15 one day (the night before they laid 15 eggs in a day, Todd went out behind the chicken coop and shot off his muzzelloader before going hunting Saturday - to make sure it was working. We joke that he scared eggs out of most the hens out there as I found 3 eggs laying on the floor of the coop), 11 one day, 8 one day, and then 12 for a couple days? I know these are excellent numbers for the end of December in a 17 layer hen flock.....

This empty hole in this dozen eggs is killing me! Just killing me.


Now I'm off to sweet talk them before the days' laying begins. Maybe they will gift me with 13 eggs today, and I can breath easy for a couple days. And FYI - it doesn't bother me to have an egg carton with 6 or 8 or 4 eggs, but 11? For 3 days running? C'mon.

Kris
PS - and I have tried to talk the kids into eating an extra couple of eggs every day so it doesn't bug me so much but....we still somehow manage to end up with 11 eggs in a carton.
PPS - and Abby is running along. She's apparently not in any pain from the congestive heart failure - we talked to Todd's uncle (who is a vet in Western PA) - he said she most likely will just go to sleep one night and not wake up. She was out chasing bunny rabbits on Saturday when it was 64 degrees out here so....hopefully she will enjoy each day to the fullest until she goes peacefully in her sleep. Unfortunately, there is no "miracle" cure and 11 1/2 is pretty old for a dog. I'd rather have her for the 14-15 years that Jack Russell's can live for, but that may not be.....Thanks everyone for your kind wishes!
PPS - if anyone wants to see the apron I made out of my batik fabrics before I made my quilt top - go here. This was for my brother's girlfriend for Christmas and it was HARD to give the apron up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tyler's Lots of Squares

Since I did a post for the sheet quilt I made for Jessie, it seems only fitting that I do a separate post for Tyler's sheet quilt.


These were Christmas presents, and I procrastinated BIG TIME on this one. Seriously, I was up until about 12:45 a.m. Christmas morning getting this one done. And I still have the outside 4" all the way around the quilt to quilt. But the pieced binding (from my stash) is on and he can use it. Which he has. Continuously.

I haven't washed it yet to get it all crinkly, because I haven't finished quilting it, but I had to sneak it away from him just now to take a couple photos - Tyler loves his blankets.


It measures 49" square. And I quilted it in a big square pattern, starting from the center. Since I started quilting it Christmas Eve about 3:00 p.m., and had to break for 4-5 hours for family Christmas and also take a break to finish wrapping presents and put out all the gifts, I had to do something quick. The top is all sheets, and the backing is blue camoflauge.

I loved making these two quilts for the kids. I just might have to find a couple more kids/babies to make some for. So soft and cuddly!

Kris

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wild Zen

Another quilt top:


It measures 46" x 61". I would have liked it to be a couple rows bigger each way but......I worked with what batiks I had on hand, and this is what I could get out of them. The plain squares finish 6 1/2" by 10" - those take up lots of fabric.
I need to find a batik for the backing - hopefully I'll get another quilt top or 2 done, and I can go to the quilt shop or JoAnn's. I do have a bunch of little pieces of these batiks left - I'm thinking I need to do a pieced back to use them up (maybe with a solid blue batik).
Off to the next quilt top in progress that is going to get finished.....
Kris

I started another quilt.....

but this one is going together quick.


Todd brought me (or rather, I brought myself for him and the kids to give me for Christmas) some civil war reproduction fabric and a quilt book:



But I am so darned wishy washy on making up my mind about which quilt to do first!


Then Mom gets me a magazine and some sewing notions and I see this project:



Not my style, not my colors, but.....I have about 6 yards of batik fabric that I brought for Jessie's flip flop quilt that has been sitting there. The fabric isn't even calling my name saying use me. But I thought - maybe I can get it out of my stash (and then I can go buy more civil war reproduction fabric) and I can think on what special quilt I want to make with the fabric that Todd and the kids wrapped up for me.



Of course, Jessie comes into my sewing room, and says she would like this quilt for on her bed. Not sure if I have enough fabric to get it big enough but.....maybe.


Kris

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fantastic

I'm back. And we had a FANTASTIC Christmas. Of course, I had to run here and there every day before Christmas but....it was great.



We had my parents, brother, grandmother and uncle over Christmas Eve. The kids got a Wii from my grandmother, and are having so much fun with it. Jessie got the High School Musical III game, and it does lots of dancing - she works up a sweat doing it! I'm thinking of getting the Wii Fit set sometime here before too long.


We were home Christmas morning which was nice. We typically get the kids 1 big present (in the $50 range) and then get them 4 or 5 littler presents, plus their stockings. Due to some great deals, Tyler got an MP3 player for $14, Jessie got a cordless mouse for $12.....The kids LOVED their sheet blankets, although I was up until 12:30 finishing Tyler's, and there is about 5" around the very outside that I still need to quilt.



Then in the late afternoon, it was off to Todd's parents for more food, more family and more presents.



It was a fun filled two days, but I am so glad it is over until next year. Now we'll see if I can leave the tree up until New Years, or if it will come down this weekend. I love Christmas, but I want my house back.....


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Yesterday we had to take our inside dog, Abby, to the vet. She has been coughing and hacking over the last few weeks, and then Christmas Eve she just coughed and passed out a couple times. So off to the vet we went, where we found out she has extreme Congestive Heart Failure. She is old (11 1/2) so it's really no shock to us but today I will be going to Wal-mart to get her some medicine (they actually give dogs human meds for this condition) and we'll see what happens. She still gets outside and chases the guineas and rabbits so....

I'll be back later with my homemade Christmas presents and a new quilt that I started last night!

Kris

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!



Just a quick stop here - I still have 2 presents to finish sewing today.....a house to clean and a last minute trip to Buehler's grocery store. My SIL called yesterday - asking if I wanted to go in on a gift certificate so they can go out to eat at the local grocery store restaurant - and to be honest, the adults on that side of the family normally don't exchange gifts, unless they are handmade - YIKES - who forgot to tell me??????




Oh - and Todd put in a request for more Whoopee Pies - so I'll try and quick get them done for him - since as of this point, his Christmas present has not arrived:(



I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!!!! I'll be thinking of all of you as we celebrate tonight with my parents, my grandmother, uncle and brother - but I don't think my sister will be here:(



Back later,
Kris

Monday, December 22, 2008

0 degrees

It is freaking freezing here. When we got up this morning, 0 degrees. We had to jump start Todd's truck. We've know the battery was getting weaker but.....you tend to put things off that aren't an absolute necessity - especially in the winter and at Christmas time. Today he will go buy a new battery.

Yesterday was extremely cold. Come to think of it, Saturday was cold here too.
Saturday was spent at play practice - and cleaning and doing a little sewing. I'm making headway on the gifts. Todd also went hunting and shot an 11 point buck - at 8:30 a.m. Which was perfect - then he didn't have to sit outside all day!
Our church's Christmas Play was yesterday - here is a video of 1/2 of 1 of the songs they sang. I would have so loved to video the entire thing - but I left the video camera sitting at home on the kitchen table (when I put it down to go get the camera - rather than put it in my pocket!?!)

video

Afterwards I tried to get a nice picture of Jessie and Tyler in front of the tree they decorated during the play - and this is what I got:

Afterwards, my parents came over because we had seen these birdies. Mom cut them out, and I sewed them. Then Jessie wanted one - so I did the bright pink one for her. They are now sitting in our Christmas tree on the branches - but I forgot to get a better picture. Hopefully my Mom took better pictures (of both the Christmas play and the birdies!)

I would show the gifts I have finished so far, but someone showed Jessie how to get onto my blog, and she was reading back posts and I don't want to show what I have finished that is hers or Tylers. So on the 26th I will do a show and tell of every single present I've made.

And next year.....I'm so starting this in January. or February.

Kris

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where have I been?

I've been at play practice (the performance is on Sunday and this is going to be hysterical):




I've been canning venison (6 quarts so far - hopefully 12 more to go):



I've been at Tyler's school Christmas Party:



I've been making sugar cookies for Jessie's school party that was for today, until they canceled school. (OOPS - don't have a picture of the cut out cookies).

And we had calling hours last night for a friend's dad (again, no pictures).

I am so grateful it is Friday - I only have to work til noon, and then work Monday (8-2) and then I am done working until next year.

YIIIPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEE!
Kris


P.S. And I have been tagged for a picture tag - I'll get to it this afternoon when I'm home from work:) Thanks guys!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I should be doing chores....

.....before the winter storm hits, but intead, I'm eating the last of the homemade cinnamon rolls. It looked lonely sitting on the plate. And this was the smallest cinnamon roll.

I made these last night, oh so yummy. And so much better than the little tubes you buy in the grocery store! 13 of these babies lasted just under 12 hours.

I only made half of the dough - which made 13 BIG rolls. The rest I put in the freezer. May have to make more tonight. This dough also makes yummy dinner rolls (you know the kind you buy at the store in the bags that you just stick in the oven and bake - just like those!)

Butter Rich Roll & Bread Dough
1 cup water
1/3 cup butter
4 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp. dry milk
2 tsp. yeast


Dump in bread machine. Set to dough cycle. Come back 2 hours later. Divide in half. Roll each half into 8 inch by 9 inch rectangle. Spread surface with 1/4 cup butter, thinly sliced. Sprinkle surface with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinamon. Start at 8 inch side and roll up - slice 1" thick. Put on greased cookie sheet, cover with damp towel, let rise 40 min. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.
For the glaze:
2 sticks Parkay
1 scoop Crisco (yes, a scoop - use a rubber spatula and get a nice big old scoop)
2 lbs. powdered sugar
enough milk to make it the consistency you like.
This is my sugar cut out cookie frosting. Works wonderful and tastes yummy!

Enjoy!
Kris

I should have been making Christmas gifts

But instead I made myself a new wallet, using a tutorial I found from Sew Mama Sew.


And it matches my checkbook cover - what more can I ask for? (just ignore how faded my checkbook cover is!!)


So that was my evening last night!
Kris

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fire Department Christmas Party

Busy, busy weekend. But so much fun.


I feel like I am FINALLY getting a handle on the Christmas gifts to give. Couple big ones to finish up and I will be set.



Yesterday was the fire department Christmas party. Of course, there were crafts:









And food (no pictures there). And a visit from Santa (played by one of the firefighters).






Tyler guessed right off (again) which firefighter was playing Santa. His response when we asked how he knew that it wasn't "Santa" - well, of course it's not the real Santa Claus - he is much too busy to come to a party right now. So he hires helpers, and John happened to be the only one who would fit in Daddy's Santa suit, which the real Santa Claus rents off of Daddy for parties like these. (This is actually Todd's Santa Claus suit, made for him by his mother 18 or so years ago).

Wish somedays that I had an imagination like Tylers!


And....Todd shot a button buck while Tyler and him were in PA - so this weekend he can shoot 1 or 2 more in Ohio, and we should be good to go for winter:)
Kris

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We would have gotten 8 eggs today

but I broke 2.

Apparently, turning the dogs' water bucket upside down and jumping up and down on it while you have 4 eggs in each pocket is NOT a good idea.

Off to wash the coat.........
Note to self - next time, take the stupid basket with you or even better yet, run the eggs into the house before doing chores.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ok, I'm back. And I'm busy making shepherd and angel costumes for the church's Christmas play. Not terribly hard, but not terribly exciting either. Fortunately, it's just 3 shepherd costumes and 2 angel costumes. I've had Jessie's and Tyler's costumes done for some time now, but have to get the others done here before Wednesday. Tomorrow would be better but.....I'm not counting on it.

And here are what the teacher gift coasters will look like:


I tried to make the coasters coordinate color wise with the mugs (and also use fabric from my stash. This fabric is left over from my tree skirt.). Obsessive compulsive, yes.....

I decided on a mug, a coaster and a packet of either hot chocolate mix or cappucino mix for all 4 teachers. Quick, simple yet nice looking. The mugs I found at Pat Catan's for $1.00.



And Tyler and Jessie painted salt dough ornaments a couple weeks ago - I'll attach one of those to each mug. Voila.

In fact, I just may have to make a coaster for my computer desk. Being oak - it would sure benefit if I wasn't setting a hot mug of cappucino on it 24/7......
Kris

Success

I DID IT!!



I made a coat similar to this one, for my niece for Christmas. Now to find her a pair of jeans, and she is set (and I heard through the grapevine that our local Children's Place has little girl jeans on sale for 97 cents. I will so be going there this afternoon to see)!



The coat still needs hems in it and 2 or 3 buttons on the front, but I'll try it on her when I see her this week - so I don't make it too short or too long. Hopefully my SIL will like it!
I don't know why blogger is rotating my pictures - sorry bout that!
Kris

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Chores

I thought it'd be interesting to document what I do round here in the winter. Which is basically in my book, get as many layers of clothes on that I can, get out, do the chores, and get back inside.


Todd and Tyler left for PA for the last weekend of deer season this morning. So chores were a little easier on me tonight - but not much.

2:30 - get home from work. Get the fire going, start pizza dough for dinner. Jessie is having 2 girlfriends over to spend the night. Both are great girls, but the 1 doesn't have much of a home life. Really, really nice and polite girl, but.....she was amazed the last time that she was over that people do try and have balanced meals, and dinner in our house is not frozen tv dinners every. single. night. In fact, Jessie probably doesn't know what a t.v. dinner is. From what other kids have said, you cannot get inside the house there is so much Junk/trash/clutter and they don't eat dinner at a table. They eat in the living room with the T.V. on. So I try to cook good meals when she is here, and the last few times she has even wanted to learn how to cook.




Get dressed to go outside. THis means heavy socks, sweatshirt, Columbia jacket, carhart bibs, insulated muck boots. I lost my gloves and haven't broken down and brought a new pair yet. The old ones would show up if I ever had a moment to clean out my closet.


3:00 - The chickens are laying 7 eggs a day most days. Go out, take them water. Collect eggs. Get out the 1/2 bale of shavings left, dump round for them, bring a bag of layer mash up to the chicken coop. Try to carry 50 lb. bag while also carrying a flake of hay in other hand (do you know how akward it is to bend down with a bag of grain on 1 shoulder to pick up a single flake of hay - might have been easier to carry a whole bale up there, but then Todd would know I was feeding the chickens his premium steer calf hay. Not a good idea). Give the chickens feed. Try and get a picture of my favorite rooster.





While I was in the barn getting the hay, I put hay in the horses stalls and fed the cat. We don't give our horses much grain. They are way to fat as it is. Here in another month, they may start getting a handful. We'll see how I feel about it and how they look condition wise. They do get 1 1/2 bales of timothy/alfalfa hay a day between 3 of them.



Outside dog #1



Outside dog #2

Start the water trough for the cows. Put hay in for the heifer calves. Run and get dog food for 2 outside dogs, feed them and break the ice in their water buckets.


Go back and turn off the water for the cows. Walk to barn #2 and check on the steers back there - Todd gave them hay and water this morning, so I should just have to do grain.


Back in the house by 3:25. Take off many layers of clothes. Put more wood on the woodburner - I want it cranking in here!





I'll go out about 5:00 - let the horses in, give the heifer calves and the steer calves 3 buckets of grain between them and I AM DONE FOR THE NIGHT.


The first round only took me 25 minutes. Of course, I spent about 5 minutes trying to get a picture of my favorite rooster:)



And now I have a couple hours to sew - and if the girls behave, I can sew most of the evening!

See ya,

Kris