27 August 2014

Itching to get started

I think it's time to get this puppy rolling... I keep putting it off because of the HPKCHC but I want to work on it now.
I want to work on something different.  Yeah, I have a fair few fibery projects in the works but I honestly want to do something different for a little while.  I want to work on my cross stitch.  I was going to take it with me on vacation since it's easy to pick up and put down but I can't wait that long.   I think I'm going to spend the morning cutting my cloth, taping the edges and getting started.  I really just want to work on something sweet and simple - and this totally fits the bill.

Yarny goodness can wait a few more days... it's time for some floss fun.

26 August 2014

Enough already

po·lit·i·cal cor·rect·ness 
noun: the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

I swear, you can't do or say anything without someone getting their knickers in a twist because they are 'offended'.  Everyone is so hyper-sensitive and they feel that others should pet their delicate souls.  Since when has this become okay?  When did the world get to be so pathetic?

I find blonde jokes offensive.  I find fat jokes offensive.  I find Southern jokes offensive.  I don't like listening to others talk about things are against my core values and beliefs when it comes to drinking, drugs, and sexuality because I find it offensive.  I find it offensive to have to choose #1 for English in the phone tree.

Here's the deal though... I don't whine about it.  I simply remove myself from the situation or area and get on with life.  I don't push my positions or beliefs on others because I don't want anyone to do it to me.  I simply smile and go to another area where I am not subjected to it - even in jest.

There are people that I work with - both in my paid and volunteer positions - who I find completely offensive in their manner of speech, lifestyle choices, and demeanor.  Do I whine about it?  Nope.  I simply ignore them.  This whole garbage about it being a "global community" is just that, garbage.  We've always lived in a global community.  The difference is, people used to just suck it up and move on with life.  Now, instead of doing that, they whine about it... incessantly... oh how offended they are because you said something they don't like that doesn't even directly pertain to them.  To make it even better, instead of discussing it directly with you, they whine anonymously to anyone that they believe has 'power' because by golly, they've been wronged.

It's all just a load of junk.  I long for the days when people had thicker skin and weren't extremists.  Mr. Smith lived his life.  Mr. Jones lived his.  They didn't sit around finding reasons to be offended at one another.  They simply went about their days, ignoring those items in the world that they didn't care for and got on with the business of living.

So let's do each other a favor and just move on with life.  Don't sit around being pathetic because you don't like what someone said.  Ignore it.  Don't make others bend to your desires, remove yourself from the situation if you don't care for it.  Grow up.  Get over it.  Move on with life.

This is George Carlin. He said it like it was. This video will definitely offend those who are afflicted with political correctness - and I do apologize for the few bits of obscene language so please don't listen to this with children in the room or at work - but what he is saying, the message in the madness, is true.

25 August 2014

Dare to be unique

Dare to be unique. Dare to simply be yourself. Not what others want you to be or how what you think others wish for you to be - just simply be yourself. The beauty and uniqueness that is solely your own.

Embrace it.

Celebrate it.

There is no one on this Earth like you.  You were made special and unique and beautiful.  It's not easy to always be yourself but you will never regret it.  If you have to change who you are - by appearance or actions - to 'fit in', then that should tell you something.

You are special.  For anyone who can't see that is blind and anyone who doesn't honor that is a fool.  

1 Samuel 16:7 says -

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  

Let the beauty of your heart shine through - outward trappings can't hide what is truly going on inside.  If you follow your heart in all that you do, and always be yourself - in look, actions, and demeanor - then you will always be beautiful... and that is the beauty that is most important in this world.

21 August 2014

You'll slap your mama!

Y'all remember how I've been bored with my normal rotation of recipes?  Well, these last two weeks, I had an "I wonder" moment and went for it - oh my goodness, it was so good you'll wanna slap your mama!!  I'm calling it BBQ'd Mac n' Cheese.  Here's what you'll need...
It is so delicious - my entire family loved it!

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 15.25oz can of corn, drained
9 ozs of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Bull's Eye original)
1 14oz package of Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste.
Parsley for garnish

1. In medium skillet, brown your beef.  Don't forget to season it with the salt and pepper.
2. While the beef is working, prepare the macaroni and cheese per the instructions on the box.  You can make it from scratch but I was being lazy yesterday so I simply grabbed a box.
3. Drain the meet and place in a separate bowl.  Add the corn and BBQ sauce to the beef and combine until it's completely worked through and wet.
4. Once the macaroni and cheese is completed, add the beef mixture and combine.  Sprinkle parsley on top.
5. Place in a 300*F for 12 minutes to heat the corn through and marry the flavors.

I have done this with chicken and pork and it's all delicious.  I have even added crushed red peppers and chili powder to the ground beef to give it a bit of a kick and it's fabulous that way too.

It's a quick and easy way to have a delicious dinner that everyone will enjoy.

20 August 2014

Ham, Cheese, and Hexagons

Not bad for a first go on a developing pattern.
I'm going to spend the day watching Elvis movies and making hexagons for a test crochet that I'm signed up for to help a friend.  We've already made a few design improvements to the pattern so it's been productive.  This hexagon was the first one - before the modifications were suggested that brought it to be in more of a straight line for seaming instead of the pretty swooping effect which would pucker.

I've let it sit by the wayside for a few days and now I'm going to spend the morning making these little suckers while I watch several of my favorite cheesy movies - all Elvis musicals.  Did you know that one time, there was a ham sent to him as a joke on the set of one of his musicals because he "hammed it up" on camera.  Seriously, it's true.  Funny thing was, he loved ham so he would cook it up and have a great meal.  He knew his films weren't much more than fluff but they made people, like me, very happy so he was alright with that... for a while.  Granted, he passed when I was only 4 years old but my daddy was such a huge fan that he shared him - as well as John Wayne and many others - with me to make sure I had a well rounded music and film experience.

So today, I'm going to ham it up with The King and tonight, I'm making something he would have loved - BBQ'd Macaroni and Cheese.  I'll share the recipe tomorrow - you're gonna love it!  In the meantime, enjoy some "ham" on me...

19 August 2014

Not my fault...

I laughed at this more than I probably should.
My friend posted this hilarious picture on her page this morning and so I've been giggling and singing it since then.  I mean come on, it really is funny and the it's a good tune too so it works well.

Today, we can all thank my fabulous friend her wacky sense of humor for the selection.  We're going old school.  So have a fabulous Tuesday and enjoy a good giggle on us - it's the perfect way to start the day.

18 August 2014

And so it begins

Oh my stars, it is so nice to finally not feel icky.  I had been fighting a horrible headache since Thursday - you know the kind that make your neck and shoulders hurt too.  Yeah, it was one of those.  It got the better of me over the weekend - complete with insomnia and tummy challenges.  Today is the first day where I feel like a human, though I have headache hangover but a good night of sleep should cure that.

It's good that today is the day I feel better because it's the first day of school around here.  I had to be ship shape to send her off, ready to face her new role in the Gifted program.  She left today as excited as I've ever seen her.  I can't wait to hear about her adventures.  I think she's probably having her lunch right about now, which means she found the surprise little card I put in there.  I wanted to tell her how sweet, kind, and fabulous I think she is but first day jitters can be deafening so while I did tell her, I wrote her too - just to be sure she knows how wonderful she is and how proud of her we are.

I hope her first day went well - if her mood is any indication, it should be perfect.

My precious little baby on her first day of 4th grade.  So grown up for being just 9-years-old... my little genius.

17 August 2014

Sunday Snaps

School starts tomorrow.  We're picking Hobbit up from my folks with a special delivery!

13 August 2014

Wednesday Wound Up

We're fixing to head out the door for Orientation with Hobbit's school but I have a few spare minutes before Pokey gets here to pick us up so I thought I'd share what I've been working on...

These will be a part of a curtain that I am making to surprise Hobbit when she gets back from her weekend away.

I am determined to make a shawl with this TIG yarn and I think I've finally found the right pattern for it.

I'm at the stagnate stage of my twisted shawl - 36 rows without increases!  I'm so proud of me.
So that's what's been keeping me busy lately.  I've got to say, I'm loving each of them so it's been easy to keep working - the hard part is wanting to work on all at the same time!

Off to the school - wish us luck!!

12 August 2014

Something new

I get tired of eating the same old things... what's worse is that I get tired of making the same old things over and over again.  I've decided that once a week, I'm going to attempt a new dish - either from my favorite Better Homes and Gardens "Celebrating the Promise" edition Cook Book or from Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course... and today is the day!

I've decided on "Fresh Tomato and Arugula Pasta with Chicken", found on page 425 of the BH&G cookbook.  The only thing I'm lacking is the arugula so I'm going to sub out broccoli instead. I'm also 86ing the pine nuts because I simply don't have any.  The other things is, I'm going to make this as economical as possible, meaning I'm going through my pantry with what I have on hand, so that means instead of actual onions and garlic cloves, it will be minced onions and garlic from the spice cupboard.

This is the bit I'm not sure about - I don't have any tomatoes on hand so I'm debating on whether or not I can simply substitute a bit of condensed tomato soup instead.  They basically stew the tomato to release the juices so if I can get the right consistency, this might work.  Granted, I will have to doctor the soup to get the sweet out of it but that's not hard.

My noodle selection consists of penne, rigitoni, and elbow macaroni.  The recipe calls for ziti or mostaccioli so I'm going with my garden rigitoni to add some color.  I've got the crushed red pepper, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese on hand so that's good.

I'm excited to try this - I think it will turn out really well... and if not, there are fish filets in the freezer as a back up plan!  Always have a back up plan on Experimentation Nights.  Hopefully Hobbit will enjoy it.  I know Pokey will eat anything so I never worry about trying new things on him.  It's mostly Hobbit - and me - that have a challenge with new foods.  I know it's odd, considering how much I love and appreciate food, but there is a difference between appreciating food and actually enjoying some of the tastes and textures of the dish.  I'm trying to step outside my comfort zone and expand my palette to match my passion.

I'll let you know how it turns out.  In the meantime, let's groove...

11 August 2014

Funny what motivates

The last time we had a "super moon" was back on 19 March 2011.  I had gotten my current camera for my birthday, not three months prior.  I had very gleefully taken my camera out on the back stoop and tried to shoot the moon.  I was so proud of my photograph that I shared it with a photography group I was a part of on a mommy forum.  That's when I was insulted.

Ever since that day, I've taken those words from that angry soul and used them to fuel my passion.  Not in a bad or malicious way, but in more of a productive fashion.  I have a better understanding of how my camera works, what setting work best for which type of moon, and how the position of the moon effects the final outcome in regards to color and clarity.

Last night, we had another "super moon" - the first one since that fateful night... and look at how far I've come!

I took this one around 9:30 pm, not long after the rains stopped.

This was taken just around midnight during a break in the cloud cover we had last night.

The change in color is due to cloud cover and filtering of the light being reflected from the surface.
When you are presented with something nasty, you have two choices... you can either get upset or you can simply get better.  I chose the latter.

09 August 2014

A delicious tale of heartbreak

Get it.  Read it.  Trust me!
I promised you a tale about the book I just finished, didn't I?  My stars, I swear some days just vanish with a blink.  So the book, yes - it was fabulous!

Hobbit has been wanting to read The Fault in Our Stars for a while now but I was afraid that it was a bit too worldly for her so I was going to read it first, just to make sure.  It's what you have to do when your 9-year-old reads on a high school level.  Just because she can read it and understand it, doesn't mean she should be reading it... you know?

We went to the bookstore last Saturday after I got off work and we ate supper.  When we got there, I gave everyone a $20 limit and we wandered around together, finding each other books. Pokey loves his Nook so he spent his $20 on Starbucks for us all. Hobbit picked up two stories - The School for Good and Evil and Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin - and I picked up two stories - The Jane Austin Marriage Manual and The Fault In Our Stars - though I was sneaky about it because she didn't see me pick it up when we were there!

It took me two days to read the book - I'm sure I could have gotten it done in one but life required my attention, forcing me to place a bookmark in the pages for several hours.  I don't know how to summarize my feelings on this book...  I’m still recovering!! Oh my goodness, what a deliciously optimistic and mournful tale. I have not encountered such well crafted characters in very a long time. Their banter was beautiful, relatable, and real. I only stumbled on it because of Hobbit and all I can say is wow… my heart was broken by it. Truly a wonderful tale.

My sweet girl is currently on the floor with her nose buried between the pages.  I'm sure she will be in tears before the weekend is up but it really was a wonderful story and I hope it touches her, the way all magnificent tales should touch a soul.

06 August 2014

Wednesday Wound Up

I bet you thought I shared all of my projects with you yesterday when I was playing catch up... nope, I've been busy!

I added a few more rows to my knitting while I watched the CMA concert on television last night...

We rearranged Hobbit's room and hung a canopy that she loves...

and I got all my supplies together for making something spectacular - can you guess what it will be?
Plus, I finished a fabulous book that I'll tell you all about tomorrow.  It was a quick read - just two days - but it was time very well spent.  Hobbit was wanting to read it, which is the only reason I read it in the first place - to make sure it wasn't too worldly for her.  Oh my goodness, what a book!

So what things do you have going on - creative or otherwise?  I hope that whatever it might be, it brings you joy.

05 August 2014

How have you been?

I know, I was gone for forty forevers - at least that is what it felt like for me - so I have to ask... how have you been?  Us?  Well, we've been busy that's for sure!

The bottom line is that we now have Hobbit all set (sans the school bus finalization) to attend a new elementary this coming school year.  This changes comes about because of her being accepted into the Gifted Program.  She was tested at the end of last year and her results were off the charts fabulous!  Hobbit was given the choice of having an aide come in and assist the teacher with special studies just for her or we could transfer to another school that has a dedicated Gifted Program classroom.  We left the decision (mostly) up to her since it would be she who would be dealing with it in the long run.  She opted for total immersion into the Gifted Program classroom.  Her logic and reasoning for it were sound so we went with her wishes - which thankfully matched our own, though we didn't share with her want we hoped for since we wanted her honest opinion on the decision.

After we made that decision, the mountain o' paperwork followed which was also followed by the bazillion organizational phone calls to get the ball rolling and things in place for the start of the school... which just so happens to be one day shy of a fortnight!!  We have completed it all - including meeting her teachers (whom we love!), writing her EP for the next two years, and doing our best to get the bus situation taken care of promptly (whom we have yet to hear from and it's killing me).  So long story short, Hobbit is super excited about the upcoming year and so are we... the ducks, they are in their rows!!

What does a stressed out, OCD, control freak, type-A person do when she has to wait on others in order to move forward?  She crafts!!  Here are a few of the items I had going to keep my hands busy...

This is actually going to Hobbit for Christmas - just need to line it.

This is going in the gift bucket - but I need to line it too.

I took that orange from the above bag and started on a baby outfit - broke out in horrible hives!

I'm debating if I like the pattern but I am trying to use my TIG Bellini again. I do like how it plays up.

My husband's 'lead' at work asked for a Captain American shield "doily" for her sofa.  She loved it.

I am attempting to knit again... painfully slow but better slow than not at all.
So that is what I have been doing lately.  I also just got back from the store yesterday with supplies to work on a Christmas cross-stitch collection.  Oh yeah, it's going to be awesome.  I'll share with you when I've had a chance to get it going - which more than likely won't be until after she goes back to school.  Right now, I'm off to spend some time with each of the projects I still have in progress.   How about some "mood music" to craft by...

04 August 2014

Allergic to orange

The color, apparently, not the fruit.  Sounds silly doesn't it, but I swear it must be true since I've been using that particular brand since it came out a few years ago.  Here's what happened.  I pulled out my copy of Crochet For Baby All Year and I was settling in to make the sweet outfit for a little girl found on the month of August.  I loved the bonnet and little lace tummy on the top.  I had picked up the most gorgeous shade of burnt orange that ever existed because I figured that it would work great as a top or a jumper and the color would work through the cooler months as well.  It was squishy and soft and beautiful... and it made my arms break out in a most horrible and painful rash!!  Just like when I was working on that hooded wrap for Peanut last June - all itchy and painful and less than attractive.  It was so bad it hurt to move my arms.

Isn't this going to be the most fabulous little bonnet!!

It seriously took about two weeks for my arms to not be totally disgusting but as soon as they were good to go, I was back in my stash shopping for something new to make.  I loved the patriotic set that I shared during my review so I figured I'd start over with the hat - just to be sure my arms wouldn't flare up again.  So far so good and I've made some serious progress in the hour that I had to work on it last night.  I plan to have it finished and sent within the week.

The thing I love about these patterns is that they are written so clearly, you can just pick up your hook and go to town.  There is no need to sit and study the lines, wondering what exactly they are trying to convey because the designer makes everything plain and simple... and the finished items are just too cute for words.  I secretly want to make this bonnet big enough to fit me!

I've got so much to share with you about what I've been up to but for now, I've got to get going on the day. I hope y'all have been having a lovely time and I'll be back tomorrow!
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