Saturday, March 30, 2013


Happy Easter Eve!  Is there such a thing?  I don't think so, but why couldn't there be?  I will be "unplugged" as far as the computer goes tomorrow so I am having to wish everyone a Happy Easter a day early.

We have forecast one more reminder of winter Monday and Tuesday with even the possibility of some snow, but the temperatures are at least spring-like for a couple of days until then. 

Yesterday was beautiful with the sun shining (It's hard not to be beautiful to me if the sun is shining.) we had clouds and chances of rain in the morning, but the 60's are a nice warm up and the sun did finally come out mid afternoon.

Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, is supposed to be even warmer and I think the sun will be shining.  So it will be a beautiful day to me.

I thought I would show you a few pictures of our Easter inside at least.  Bulbs are coming up outside and my daffodils are even blooming under the silver maple tree in the back yard, but  there are no other indicators of spring outside.

I love my old ladder that I hung horizontally on the wall and use as shelves.  I like to change out things for the different seasons.  Here are some of the things I have on it now.  If you would like to see my tip for hanging the sign, you can check it out HERE.

These little rabbits were given to us by my husband's mother.  They were painted by a man who held the paint brush in his mouth or with his feet to paint them.  (We can't remember the particulars.)  I am glad I found a special place to set them to remember her and the season by.

These Easter blocks I got at Hillcrest Thrift Shop where we volunteer. The letters are metal and are attached to the block with a spring.

The Hope Chest that we inherited from my husband's family is another favorite place to showcase "treasures".

They don't show in this picture, but above the mirror that I got at an antique mall, are two framed counted-crossstitch pictures I did for my for my daddy and one for my mother.  They are there to remember them by.

The glass basket with the eggs piled high in it was my mother's.  She or someone in the family crocheted the pineapple doily I have it on.

The bunny in the antique highchair (no not used by our sons) I also got at Hillcrest.  He looks like he is ready to eat.  Not sure where I got the two rabbit candles.  They look like wood until you get close enough to see the wick coming out of the heads.

On an old bench by the fireplace is our friendly farmer rabbit.  I just like to see him sitting over there when I come into the room.

I bought some dogwood-like sprigs and laid them in the back of the shelves on each side of the fireplace.

Can you tell I like birds, especially cardinals?

The cup on the pedestal is one I won (became owner of) at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  The Forever Cup was created by British Artist Clare Twomey and reproduced 1345 times by Hartley Greens & Co. Leeds Pottery, a ceramics factory in northern England and were all on display at the museum in KC.  Each cup had particular characteristics of hand-applied handles, individual surfaces and unique numbers.  During the exhibit you could find a number that was important to you and fill out a Deed committing to caring for the Cup Forever(the name of the cup).  Each week owners were selected and I was one of those lucky 1345 people.  As an owner I promised to care and value the Cup.  I have this small pedestal that I keep the cup on. 

In the center of the mantel over the fireplace is this framed print my husband found of hummingbirds.  It's a nice picture.

On the left is another picture of birds on a plate that I like.  I filled the lantern globe with "Easter grass" and then plastic eggs.

I got these three glass jars at an estate sale.  I'm not really happy with the plastic eggs in the largest one, but had to settle for the eggs.  I have a whole year to come up with a better plan for next year.  I will be looking for something to put in them after tomorrow even though the eggs could just symbolize "Spring".

I almost forgot my female cardinal on a nest on the dining room table. If you can't figure it out from the picture, they are on my glass cake stand with a cake cover.

After Madison and Tyler woke from their naps, we drove up to Platte City to see our son, Patrick, and his family.  Patrick was playing fetch with their dog, Dakota, and Lori was on a blanket with Madison and Tyler in the front yard.  Madison was so excited when we pulled up in the driveway.  We had a fun hour playing with them outside.  

Here are a few pictures I managed to get.  They don't seem to like to have their pictures made.  At least they don't have the fixed smile you are so accustomed to seeing on children's faces.

I didn't get a picture of Madison playing t-ball, but did get out the camera when she started playing golf.

Tyler still isn't walking, but he does stand holding on to things and even manages to walk behind things.

Lori said Madison insisted upon wearing this pretty dress today.  Lori insisted she add a few layers underneath.

Looks like she is giving herself a big hug.

Tyler had fun pushing around his toy instead of riding it.

Grandad snapped this picture of Madison and her grandmother.  Lori even tried to get her to show us her beautiful smile (that you see when the camera isn't out.)

One last picture of Madison rocking in the big rocking chair on their neighbors, Martin and Jamie's front porch.

After we left, my husband and I went out to enjoy BBQ at Dickie's BBQ and took a short drive "out in the country" before heading home.

It has been a good Easter Eve.  Hope it has been a good one for you.  

Friday, March 29, 2013


A couple of years ago I bought this pan at an antique show. I liked that it was granite and obviously had been used (and abused).  Because the cups are not as deep as a muffin pan, I wasn't really sure what to cook in it. I think Janice told me her daddy liked his cornbread cooked in a pan like it.
I think I used it one time right after I got it, but don't remember what I baked in it. 

I keep seeing recipes for muffin tops and finally remembered this pan. I decided it would be perfect for them.

At an estate sale several weeks ago, I bought a cookbook called Mad about Muffins by Dot Vartan. There are quite a few recipes that I want to try in it, but for my first one, I chose a recipe called Peanut Butter Chocolate. I basically used her recipe except that I substituted a sugar and stevia blend for the sugar and reduced the amount by half. I also used dark chocolate chips for the semi-sweet ones. The muffin isn't real sweet, just the way my husband likes them, but if you like a sweeter muffin, you might want to use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chocolate chips.  I also used soft wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour.


1-3/4     cups soft wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
3           teaspoons baking powder
1/4        teaspoon salt
3           tablespoons cocoa
1/4        cup sugar and stevia blend (or 1/2 cup sugar)
6           tablespoons margarine, melted
3/4        cup creamy peanut butter
2/3        cup skim milk
1           large egg
1           teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2        cup dark chocolate chips (or your favorite)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray shallow muffin tin with cooking spray.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add cocoa and sugar. 

Beat peanut butter, melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla with mixer until smooth scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Pour in chips and flour mixture.

Stir. (batter is thick)

Divide evenly in muffin tin.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of a muffin. Toothpick should be clean. (Try to avoid a chocolate chip) Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 2 - 3 minutes.

Remove from pan and continue to cool on rack.

Great eaten when still warm with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

Thursday, March 28, 2013



I check out every recipe I see for it.  Most of them have more calories than I need to eat though. But the other day I saw one from Taste of Home that I decided I would make that I could make "skinny".

I LOVE IT!   I reduced the calories every way that I normally would. It may not taste as "rich" as some I have eaten in restaurants but it is just right for me. And I don't have to feel guilty eating it either.

I made the recipe and had so much that I had to run to the store and buy another pie crust. So it made two pies for me. I plan to freeze one for later.


2        pkgs (1 - oz each) instant sugar-free vanilla pudding
2-3/4 cups skim milk
1        teaspoon coconut extract
1        carton (8 - oz) sugar-free Cool Whip
3/4     cup unsweetened coconut
toasted coconut (about a tablespoon)* See below
2        ready-made reduced-fat graham cracker crusts

In a large bowl, whisk the pudding mixes with the milk and extract til it thickens, about 2 minutes.

Add the coconut.

Fold in the whipped topping.

Pour into two pie crusts, dividing evenly.  

Sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

Chill until ready to serve. I made mine the day before.

*How to toast the coconut....

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Spread about a tablespoon of the unsweetened coconut on a small cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet in oven for about 2 minutes. (Start watching after a minute.)

The next day we cut it.  Perfect and only 233 calories per 1/8th pie serving. (Most of the calories are from the unsweetened coconut.  I could reduce the calories if I would make my own graham cracker crust....oh well...that's for another day.)

My friend Janice suggested making the second pie with the small 1-serving size graham cracker crusts and freeze them.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


After I finished a scarf for my granddaughter Sadie, I decided to make one for her older sister (my oldest granddaughter) Hallie.  I had some yarn in the attic, but decided it was easier (warmer, anyway) to just go buy a new skein.  

I checked a book out of our wonderful library of different patterns to knit to choose one I haven't tried before.  After seeing several that I thought would look good with the yarn, I finally decided on a pattern called "Sand Stitch".  

I thought since I had bought a variegated yarn, it would show off pretty with the pattern.  If you look closely at it, you might be able to see the interesting pattern it made every other row.

I like to use simple patterns because I am usually knitting while watching television and I hate "taking out".  This one fit my bill.

Sand Stitch

Cast on a multiple of 4 

Row 1: K1, p1
Row 2: Knit
Repeat these two rows.

I cast on 20 stitches for Hallie's scarf.  

I used size 8 needle.

The yarn I used for Red Heart Super Saver (5 oz) worsted medium (4)  color name Bikini 

This is what it looked like when I had knitted it as long as I wanted it to be.  I could flatten it out, but it would curl back up.

So I decided to block it.  

I haven't "blocked" anything that I had knitted since college.  Back then I would lay my project on a towel and spray it with water or wet it with a wet cloth.  My friend Fran had just finished a scarf (that I will be sharing as soon as she gives me the pattern) and blocked it.  So I called her and asked her how she did it.  

She told me she pressed her scarf with her steam iron.  I would never have thought about using my iron.  It was certainly fast and easy.  

Flatten (may have to pin if project doesn't lay flat or is big) on your ironing board with wrong side of work up.

Check setting on your iron to match yarn and set it for "steam".

Hover over knitted piece touching lightly if necessary to flatten piece.

The picture is the wrong side of scarf.

After I had the scarf "blocked", I decided to add fringe on the ends.  Here's how I did that:

I found a booklet that was 5 inches wide and wrapped the yarn around it about 20 times.

Then I inserted my scissors in the bottom and cut.  This made my strips 10 inches long.

I wanted to use two pieces for each set.  I chose two that were different colors.

I inserted a crochet hook from the backside of the scarf between two stitches and caught the two strips in the middle.

I pulled the strips through to the backside....

and inserted the loose ends through the loop and tightened by pulling evenly on the threads. (Don't worry if the ends aren't the same can trim them even at the end)

When I had worked across the scarf, I trimmed both ends so that the fringe was the same length.

Here is how I did that.

I laid the end of the scarf down on my cutting mat.  I had the end of the scarf on a line on the mat.

Then I laid my cutting ruler for the length I wanted the fringe to be.

And using my rotary cutter, I cut across the ends.

If you don't  have a rotary cutter, just use your scissors.

I repeated with the other end and was finished.

I guess my grandson Colby will be next.  (Nothing like getting an early start for next winter.)