Friday, December 29, 2017

DIY Gingerale

Ever made ginger ale?  I found a recipe online and have made the 'bug' or starter.  This evening I made the ale.  It is supposed to sit out for 2-3 days get fizzy, then you can put in in the fridge indefinitely.  It isn't that bad flat.  Can't wait to see if it actually does fizz.  The starter was a little fizzy but I'm not sure it was enough before making the ale.

Time will tell.

UPDATE:  Nope, the ginger ale never got fizzy. I don't think my starter had gotten yeasty enough.  I think I'll try again later in the year when it is warmer.  Maybe it was just too cool in the house to let it do it's thing.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas day, celebrating the birth of our Lord. Ours was very low key.  Our Christmas Eve dinner with my brother and family was cancelled because they had been fighting the stomach bug.  We saw Darkest Hour on Saturday night and last night we watched It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, and parts of A Christmas Story. Slept in today, visited our friends with the four children at home, then took off in search of a place to do some target shooting.

We found a place on the Catoosa Wildlife Management area about 50 miles away, but it was a nice drive.  Not many out today on the roads.  Our Christmas present to each other was a Henry .22 lever action repeating rifle.  The reason?  We had, what we believe to be, a coyote snatch our big lovable cat early last week.
This makes the third cat lost this way since we've lived in this location (15 years).  Our neighbor told us he had heard several and seen one.  There are too many around here, so I hope to eliminate at least one.

Not bad!  We set our targets about 30 yards away.  I'm ready for that varmint!

On a lighter note.....Merry Christmas from our little family in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Miss them so.


Saturday, December 23, 2017


Don't you just love the newer, imperfect types of calligraphy people are doing?  I sure do.  I wanted to take some cookies to my neighbor.  Just a small gift to let them know we were thinking of them. I pulled some images off google and did this on a gallon Ziplock bag.

I don't think it's too bad for my first try!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Little but hearty breakfast and other musings

My breakfast for years has been a piece of homemade honey wheat bread and various toppings - butter and jam, cheese, peanut butter and honey.  As I age, I'm finding it is SO EASY to gain weight so I am trying to eat a bit, just a bit, more healthy.  I am, by no means, a foodie, or health and fitness nut, although I am trying to keep my weight down and exercise regularly.

Anyway, I've found something that I love for breakfast.  On my workdays I get up at 4:30, have coffee/tea and breakfast, then head to work.  By 8 I'm starving.  Since I've started this, I don't get hungry until about noon.  That means no morning snacking. I like that.

Mamaw's Oatmeal (named by my granddaughter, who also loves this recipe)

1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup milk (and a dash more, of milk or water -- just a tad thick with only 1/4 cup)
Microwave for 1 minute
add 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter (or almond butter)
add about 1 1/2 tsp (almost a T) of Nutella

Stir and eat.  Lately I've also been adding about a 1/2 tsp of coconut oil, to add a healthy fat.  It doesn't make much, but 1/2 cup was too much for me.  This is the perfect amount, for me anyway. And definitely use milk rather than all water.  It is creamy and tastes just like a chocolate oatmeal drop cookie.

Quilting -- I've been asked to make another one block wonder quilt for a magazine!  Yay! So I am looking at various panels, thinking they have the best variation.  Here are a couple I'm considering.  I like one with light, dark, and colors.  The first has a lot of light, which could be good.  The second doesn't really have dark, but I thought the blue and green would make a nice contrast.  If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say One Block Wonder, check this out...

In other news, I received some great pictures from my daughter-in-law.  They took another trip to the highlands and recreated a scene from the James Bond movie, Skyfall.  Although I am not a movie buff, I thought this was neat.
They also posed in the same location as a scene from a Monty Python movie.
They are having such great adventures in Scotland.

Another topic-- anyone have bees?  One of my co-workers retired and is now into bees and has enough honey to sell.  He is using the Flowhive.  I want to do this so bad!  The hubby has said when we get in our new house, with it's big lot, I can have a hive. I know there is lots to learn and it isn't easy but it is so interesting and you get your own local honey!
 The picture below is of me in the early 90's.  My DIL made my day yesterday.  My sister had posted the picture on Facebook and when my DIL saw it she was "weirded out" because she felt like she was looking at an adult Emma (my granddaughter).  Well, goodness gracious, that certainly made my day!  I think she does look like me, but she definitely has her mother's smile and chin.

That's about all I know for today.

We still don't have a Christmas tree up that bad?  No kids to enjoy it, don't have plans for a Christmas get together here either......

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Whole Lot of Nothing!

That's what I feel like I've done lately --  a whole lot of nothing!  I sold my big sewing table to make room for a new one.  Made me kind of sad to see it go.  The new owners have added trim and it really looks like a nice piece of furniture.  I'm happy for them.
 We had ordered a custom made table for our new home, which we won't be in until late next year.  So, now I'm stuck without a table in my upstairs sewing room.  The new one comes this week but it is so big and heavy we really don't want to move it upstairs just to move it back in less than a year.  I've not got a sewing project going now, and I feel so unproductive.  I've got to figure out how to move the table inside. Certainly don't want to leave it in the garage for months, or store it in a storage unit.  Might just move a bed out of the extra downstairs bedroom and put it there.  Decisions, decisions.

 And, then I might have been spending hours on Pinterest looking at kitchens, bathrooms, paint, dining rooms, and under the stairs offices.  House planning isn't really productive at this time.
 Thanks to my DIL I have some great pictures of my little Emma.  I miss that girl and her little brother so much. I hope to make a trip to see them after Christmas.

 She has started rolling her R's like a true Scottish lassie.
The hubby and I went to eat at a local bistro last night.  Five course meal with friends in a small, quaint atmosphere. It was fun.
We have a few Christmas get togethers planned.  I am an introvert.  I'd much rather stay at home, sewing or on my computer....but I know it is good to have interactions with others......a friend who knows me well sent me this the other day.  I literally laughed out loud.  This is SO ME.
Any of you like that too?  I have a theory about bloggers.  I think lots are introverts.  We'd much rather share our projects, ideas, feelings, to groups of readers by typing them out on a computer than do it face to face.  Comments?

Friday, November 24, 2017


The hubby and I were asked to join a friend's family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  We had a great time  There were 28 people there! Lots of food and fun.
Our this woman!
After the big meal....
We love their dog too.
 I know holidays can be difficult for some.  When your kids are not able to come home, or your parents are now gone.  This is the first holiday season that both my parents are gone.  The last couple of years has been difficult trying to figure out how to celebrate since my mom was in poor health and hardly able to get out of the assisted living.  But this year, she is gone.  It was nice to have friends that invited us to join their family celebration.

Today I was thinking of my Daddy, who has been gone eight years. He loved anything chocolate.  For years I'd make chocolate pies just for him, and sometimes chocolate fudge cake. So today, I decided to make chocolate pies, in his memory.

Feeling like an orphan today.  I've got so much to be thankful for, but I still miss my parents.

Now, to end on a happy note.  My son celebrated Thanksgiving my submitting his doctoral thesis! I'll share what he posted on Facebook.......

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, but one thing is one of the most significant. This morning, I submitted the fruit of over 3 years' full-time work, my doctoral thesis: "The Gospel of Matthew in a Sixth-Century Manuscript Family: Scribal Habits in the Greek Purple Codices 022, 023 and 042."
Upon submission of a PhD thesis, it is customary at the University of Edinburgh to take a sweet from the sweetie jar. I thought it most appropriate, given the subject of my research, to take a purple lolly.
Our time in Edinburgh has been amazing, and I am deeply thankful for everybody who has been there for us and helped us survive it. One person in particular deserves special mention. I could never have done it without Katie (who took these pictures). Not just taking care of our children and keeping us fed while we're here but I mean her presence in my life. I wouldn't be the person I am now—someone who had the ability to undertake doctoral research—if it weren't for her. For her I am more thankful than for my completed and submitted thesis.
Soli Deo gloria

Of course, I am one proud momma!

I'd love to hear how you spent Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Half Marathon and New Recipe

I did the Secret City Half Marathon on Saturday.  It was tough, as usual, but also as usual, so thankful I can do it, and very glad I did.  My friend also ran it, and it was her first half marathon.  She did awesome and finished just ahead of me in 2:37.  My time was 2:39 and I was almost 3 minutes behind her.  She's a natural (and a couple years younger than me).
We finished 10 and 11 out of 16 in our age group.  I had been having a few knee problems, so I knew I wasn't going to PR.  Evidently, I didn't train as I should have, and done more leg lunges to build my legs, which helps the knees. Man, it's tough getting older.  You have more overuse injuries, takes longer to heal, and you invariably get slower with each year...but I am not stopping!
Our pre-race selfie.
And one more at the finish line.

Now, on to the new recipe.  Ok, don't think this is gross, it is incredibly delicious!
Chicken crust Pizza.  It's aaahhhhmazing.  I've been trying to make a really good home made pizza for years.  It seems I never get it just right.  This will be my go to from now on.  And the best part is ---- it is only about 150 calories and 5 carbs per slice. Want the recipe?

Chicken Crust Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Keith McDaniel  11/18.2017

The crust is one can of chicken (12.5 ounces), 1/3 cup of grated parmesan and one egg.

Chop the chicken up really fine and spread it out on parchment paper and bake it for about 8-10 minutes at 350 to help get the moisture out.

Once I take it out of the oven, crank the oven up to about 475. Then mix the chicken with the egg and parmesan. Then put it back on the parchment paper, put another piece of parchment on top and spread it out with a rolling pin, about 10-12 inches in diameter and about ¼” thick.

Bake the crust at 475 for about 8-10 minutes, then take it out of the oven, spread about a 1/4-1/2 cup of pizza sauce on it, add some shredded cheese (mozz or any kind of cheese blend - I usually use a pizza blend), add toppings (onion, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), add some more of the cheese on top and bake it at 475 for another 8-10 minutes. Take it out, let it cool and then slice it.

The entire pizza is only about 20 carbs and is enough for two good servings (4 slices).  Normally one serving is very filling and enough for me (Rachel).

Below is what the crust looked like before I did the first 8-10 minutes in the oven without the toppings.
Then when finished....
It really was delicious when I made it last night, so much so that I made another one for our dinner tonight. You could use fresh chicken I'm sure, and I probably will the next time. I'll just have to decide who to cook it and chop it finely. My brother has lost about 100 pounds on a low carb diet and has all kinds of great recipes.  This one is definitely a winner.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bread Makin'

Cloudy, rainy, fall day - perfect for a bread makin' day. We had a busy weekend so I was very thankful to have this Monday off work to do whatever.  Haven't made bread in a while, so this morning that was the first thing on my to-do list.

I use the recipe from for Simple Whole Wheat Bread.  I've made bread for about 30 years and this is our favorite recipe. I love that it makes three loaves and freezes very well. Great for little gifts too.  It is a heavy, very filling bread, sweetened with honey. Sometimes I'll make six loaves at a time, if I have a few gifts to give, or I want to have plenty for the holidays or special times.
Yes, it does make a mess in the kitchen, but the house smells so yummy when it bakes.
And yes, it takes several hours to make.  Still, it is worth it.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Now, off to do some cleaning, a little decluttering, and maybe I'll make it upstairs to do some sewing. Love my semi-retiree Mondays.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ginger Tea

I get a little bored with coffee every morning.   I am not one of those who just love their coffee. I drink it to wake up usually.  Tried something new today.  Ginger tea.
Very easy to make.  Pour boiling water over a 2" piece of ginger root that has been cut into small pieces.  Add a couple slices of lemon and let steep for 10-15 minutes.  Some people add honey or sugar to sweeten it, I didn't need to. Ginger tea is supposed to be good for you for all kinds of reasons - aid in digestion, reduce pain and inflammation, boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, help with nausea.  I was just looking for something different to drink for breakfast. It was pretty yummy with this.....
Sara Lee Artesano bread, almond butter, and apple butter.  Remember that apple butter I made a few weeks ago? Ummmm.....delicious.  Everyone raves about this bread.  It is good, that is if you don't have any homemade bread on hand.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Dyeing Jeans

Ever dyed anything?  This was the third time I have dyed these jeans.  They are my all time favorites.  Loft skinny curvy. With little side zippers on the legs.  I wore and washed them so much, the color had really faded.  Dyed them.  Worked pretty good but the color seemed to fade out pretty fast.  I don't think I let them sit long enough in the dye.  Dyed them again and made the mistake of not constantly stirring for 20-30 minutes and some places didn't take while others were dark.  Just too weird looking.

So, I decided to try one more time.  Dyeing clothes in a bucket isn't for the faint of heart.  This time, I stood for 30 minutes stirring, then it took another 30 minutes of rinsing. I kept telling myself, one hour of my time would be worth it to have my favorite jeans back and wearable.

 I think it worked better this time than the previous two.  Nice and dark. even though still wet in this picture. I know other people dye on the stove or in the washer.  I was way too afraid to try the washer, and my laundry sink is more suited with very hot tap water than the stove top for me.

In other hobby news, I ran my longest training run yesterday.  In two weeks I'll do the first of two fall half marathons.
Sometimes I get discouraged that I am not any faster and I seem to be getting slower each year. I do some heavy self-talk....

- you are out there trying
- it's good for your heart
- it's good for your mood/stress
- it helps keep your weight down
- you are doing something not many your age can do
- be thankful you are able to run no matter the pace
- remember the fabulous endorphins!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Apple Butter

Ever made apple butter?  It's been years since I experimented and made some.  Probably after tasting the Apple Barn's apple butter in Pigeon Forge.  It is so very yummy.   I attempted on Friday night, cooking the apples on low in the crock pot all night.  I used a recipe found online.  It was pretty good but not nearly as good as the Apple Barn's.

So, I just had to try again. I had wanted to can it, but I didn't have the lids so I froze the first batch.  On the next recipe I remembered that the Apple Barn's didn't have much taste of the other spices (nutmeg, cloves, allspice, etc) but seemed to just have a wonderful taste of cinnamon and apples. This time I increased the cinnamon and used only a pinch of cloves, then added 1 T of vanilla, which I'd seen in another recipe.  I also cooked it down more.  First batch I had seven half pints, this one, only five, :(  It is much better than the first and more like the Apple Barn's recipe.

I wish now, that I had kept adding apples as they cooked down to make a bigger batch.  Now I know I have a good recipe, and can always make more. I think it would make a great gift along with a loaf of homemade bread.

My recipe:
~ 12 apples of various kinds
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Peel, core, and chop apples. Mix with sugars and cook on low 8-10 hours or overnight.  Then remove the lid,  add cinnamon, salt, cloves, vanilla.  Puree with an immersion blender.  Let cook without lid until it gets thick and will stay on a spoon, a little thicker than applesauce.  Can be frozen or canned in a water bath canner.

The apples and cinnamon cooking in your home gives off a wonderful fall aroma.