Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today is the first Sunday in advent. We light the first candle, the candle of Hope. We are waiting and hoping for Christ's appearance.

"In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life: and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. " John 1:1-5

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Day

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The oldsters played Pitch.

Cousins laughed and played UNO.

I brought the requisite "Marty" Roca.

My sister-in-law brought her candy popcorn, neither one of us were allowed in without these traditional treats.

And "bestest" cousins ate and played board games.

When asked what the best part of Thanksgiving was, Sam (on the right) said, "The banana pie!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The past couple of days I've been thinking about how I've been blessed and all the things I'm thankful for, so I decided to share my list. It's far from complete, but some of the things that have been on my mind lately.

First, I'm grateful for modern medicine. My father-in-law had a bad back, bad heart, and colon cancer that contributed to his early demise. He had his first heart attack at the age of 39 and was never in really good health after that. Stan has inherited all those traits. But-we have wonderful cardiologists that can insert a stent in minutes or totally rebuild a heart in a matter of hours. There are superb back surgeons (we have one of Montana's best right here in Bozeman) that can relieve a person of much of the debilitating numbness and pain from bad discs. We also have that diagnostic tool-the colonoscopy-that can see cancers and even little polyps BEFORE they become cancers. So I am grateful that there are ways to keep my hubby healthy and strong way longer than his ancestors ever dreamed.

I am grateful for my kids and my grandkids. They keep me grounded, they challenge me, teach me things like patience and what's hip, and they've even gotten me interested in football. I'm especially grateful that Gracie is healthy and strong, and that even though we weren't sure she would even survive the first weeks of her life, she is a perfectly normal, smart kid.

I am grateful for my relatives and in-laws, even though the word "dysfunction" can come into play once in a while. Even while we bicker and tease, we love each other and love BEING together.

I am grateful that my mother-in-law is healthy at the age of 93. I am grateful that she can still spoil her great-grandkids just like she spoiled her grandkids. She wonders sometimes while she's still on this earth, but I can't imagine life without her.

I am grateful for all my Internet friends. I have regular contact with people all over the world-what a blessing. I love that we are all alike, even though we are different.

I am grateful for my local friends, especially Diane and Jan. We all seem to have a sixth sense about when we are needed, and will be at the coffee shop waiting when someone feels it necessary to talk. We can also be apart if that is what's needed at the time.

I am grateful for the women who make my sons' lives complete. Three sons with different needs and different personalites, with partners who fit those needs. I appreciate the fun times we have as "the girls."

I am grateful for what I have materially, and that I have more than I will ever need. We're not rich, but we have been provided for and are abundantly wealthy with God's love and blessings.

I am, most of all, grateful that we have a loving God, and no matter how rebellious we are, or how bad things get, He's always there loving us, enough to give His Son for us.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving-I hope all of you have a wonderful day and live lives of gratitude in whatever circumstances He has placed you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Holidays

Christmas will be different this year. My son and daughter-in-law, after much consideration, and realizing that they are grown-ups, decided to stay home all day on Christmas this year. Usually they come to our house all day. They are, however, spending Thanksgiving with us, which they usually spend with her parents. They just decided to mix it up. I certainly don't blame them-I wish I would have had the guts to change how we celebrated our family holiday celebrations when the kids were young. I finally did, and when I invited my mom to my house, she said, "Of course, your kids never get to stay home and play with their stuff, and besides you don't have a tradition yet." What a wise thing to say!

Anyway it will feel weird, but it'll be nice anyway. Maybe there will be a change in how we do Christmas day, too. We are getting older, and at some point the center of the celebration is bound to shift. One other son will be here, and possibly our good friends Wayne and Connie. My sister for sure, and who knows who else will be here-my door is open. Our house isn't that huge, so maybe we can all fit around one table. We'll still miss them but life just has to change sometimes.

We have never spent Christmas day with Stan's family, because back then I had to give equal time to my family. My mom's gone now, and I'm the old person so I foresee that soon we will be the ones packing up the pumpkin pies and taking them to someone else's house. Not yet-there are others in the family that still count on coming here, but there will come a day.

In the meantime, we have Thanksgiving, and that is an affair to remember! We rent a local Senior Center, show up around noon, mash our potatoes, make our gravy, and carve the turkey. The rest show up, usually between 25 and 50, and we dive into the biggest feeding frenzy you have ever seen! Anyone is invited-we have in-laws and outlaws and the occasional stranger at our door, who usually come back the next years simply because it was such a memorable celebration.

There are traditions involved. I have to bring my homemade Almond Roca. I am not allowed into the building without it! My sister-in-law has to make her heavenly popcorn balls, which she started making the first year she was married and couldn't afford a lot of fancy ingredients for fancy desserts. Stan usually makes the rolls-we're probably neck in neck as to who makes the best ones. Understand that most of these people are fabulous cooks, and many of them have made their living doing that.

After dinner and clean-up, we bring out the games and snacks, including the candy and popcorn balls. Along about 6:00 my mother-in-law will wonder if anyone is hungry. Of course not, but we get food anyway. We heat up the gravy and cut the turkey up into it. We serve it over the rolls, with a big slice of onion, a term commonly known in Stan's family as "turkey buns." THEN we eat the pie we were too full to eat earlier, and look over all the Black Friday ads to decide if we will be alert enough to go shopping the next day. I am cooking a 23 pound turkey, and my sister-in-law is doing the same, and my mother-in-law was worrrying that there wouldn't be enough food. I HAD to say it, "Gram, when have we EVER run out of food?"

I love to cook, so I do look forward to the holidays, stocking up on fancy candies and other treats. It's nice to have a plateful of goodies to give to someone at the last minute. It's also nice to be appreciated for what I do. Well, the holidays are almost here, so away we go!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome, Winter!

We got our snow today-in some areas of the county they got three feet. Here in Manhattan, we get much less-probably about 5". It was beautiful, but what a headache. My daughter-in-law works at the University. It took her 45 minutes to park this morning, after getting stuck three times. She was in a 2 hour zone, so she went out to move her car after 2 hours and got stuck again. She went into her office, got her work and went home to work for the day. That was on top of having a bad cold!

I have been sewing, just not blogging about it much. I'm making a black cardigan out of a nice interlock-kind of a wardrobe stretcher, and I have all the grandkids' PJs cut out:

Now to work through that pile.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

...And the rest

I finished the other jumper and pants this week. I used embroidery patterns I had downloaded. I have a Huskystar embroidery machine-a basic machine that just embroiders and monograms. No thread cutting, no quilting stitches, no regular sewing. I also have Viking 500-bought it 1996 if memory serves. It still hums, so why get one of those $8000 machines that does everything? Besides, quite often I sew or serge another project while I'm waiting for an embroidery design to finish. The Huskystar does just fine-someday I'll trade up but for now it serves me well. (As long as I stay away from the dealer when she demos those big machines-drool!) My serger is ready to be traded, it's a White (Viking) that Stan got me for my birthday in 1990, but I still nurse it along and it still is willing to work for me. I'd like to get a serger with a differential feed and a rolled hem that's easier to get to, so I'll be looking soon.

I kind of got off the subject. Here are the two garments I just finished:

The pants that were the reason for the meltdown only had the flowers on one leg, but I'm the kind of person that likes symmetry, so the new pants got it in both legs:

The desgn I put on the jumper-in the center, of course:

I also finished Sam's hat and mittens. I used a camo colored knitting worsted with a sport weight yarn as the second thread. They went together nicely. I'm working on Isaac's mittens right now, then will do Sydney's. I'm getting a little tired of mittens, but all the grandkids will have warm hands this winter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stuff for the Girl

A few weeks ago, Gracie had a before-school meltdown. Her VERY FAVORITE pants, the tan ones with the pink flowers embroidered on the legs, did not fit anymore-she couldn't even get them snapped. The only way Mommy could settle her down was to promise that Grandma would make her a copy.

So off to Jo-Ann's we go. I found the tan corduroy, but I also found another piece that Gracie liked. This one is a soft gray with tiny purple and burgundy flowers already embroidered on it. It came home with me too-I took what what left on the bolt. That meant that I could cut out a jumper for the girl as well.

I spent a bit of time looking for a burgundy or purple turtleneck with coordinating tights, but gave up and just gave them to her. I made a point of telling her that the pants and jumper were not made to wear together! She is really into layers and Mom has to monitor what she wears to school.

I also made her a pair of mittens and a hat. She got a new winter coat and snowpants that are chocolate brown and pink, so I made the hat and mittens to match.

This really is chocolate brown and a pink/white variegated. My camera was in a mood.

I make mittens really warm by using two strands with my favorite mitten pattern. One strand is worsted weight and one is sport or baby weight. Check your gauge and make adjustments in the size. Gracie is 5 and I made the child's size 6 so I'm not too far off. The pattern calls for worsted weight. It takes a bit of trial and error, but these mittens are some of the warmest you could knit. I could use a super-bulky yarn, but I feel the two strands creates that air pocket that is much warmer. (Kind of like layering your clothes)

I'm working on the other kids' hats and mittens, and I have Gracies pants embroidered, so hopefully soon I can blog about the rest of my current projects.

Update: Mommy just took this mobile picture of the girl in her jumper. Gotta love technology!