20 May 2016

Middle of May

Last year, for my daughters' birthdays, we didn't celebrate. We didn't do our usual, the whole day is her day celebration. Why? My mom was in the hospital and getting too far away was stressful for me and for my husband. So this year was make up for last year. The girls combined their choices and decided that they wanted to go to Hershey and make a chocolate bar and ride roller coasters. Hershey is in Pennsylvania and is a wonderful place to spend time. We went to the main building and signed the girls up to make chocolate bars and they went in and made their bars and came out and couldn't find us. This prompted them to send us a text message and one to start trying to call us, but the noise level was so high she couldn't hear us answer our phones. So I went in search of them and brought them over to where we had been waiting and my wonderful, loving husband got them drinks. After they had hydrated, and had some chocolate (yep, I bought a small bag of chocolates and divvied them up), they were in a mood to go over the amusement park. They loved the rides. There were some for everyone and they rode roller coasters and rides that allowed them to see the whole park and we walked and walked and walked. We even went to Zoo America! What a nice little zoo. Yes, it is little and your pass to the amusement park is the pass for the zoo, too. The bears were my absolute favorite! They were active and would sit and wave. They were so fun to watch. The zoo stays mostly to North American animals. That made it fun. The girls got to see road runners and partridges and so many other animals that we hadn't seen at a zoo yet.

We came home and started working on all the things we needed to work on, which means I don't have a lot of time on the computer to clear out my emails, so they are growing again, but I plan on trying to get to the computer before the girls in the morning and just do a little at a time. Between that and getting the rest of my mom's recipes onto the blog for her recipes, I will be busy.

Striped Star Afghan
Bright Ripple Throw
Parcheesi Afghan
Eliot Square
Yo yo square

Breaking Bad Bear - actually it is quite cute.
Owl Stuffy

Cat Bed - I have 4 cats. I really think I need a few beds for the cats.

Summer Crochet Tote
Crochet Coin Purse Fair Isle Technique
Owl Pouch
Plastic Bag Keeper - I need to make a dozen of these! For me, for friends. Who doesn't have plastic bags from a store. We use the plastic bags to clean up after the dog, but I have started collecting some of the bags, to make plarn with, yep, I did that!
Water Bottle Holder - Summer is upon us and if you have kids you usually don't have extra hands, but this would be a great way for the kids and anyone else to carry water with them, to stay hydrated.
Crochet Stash Baskets - a great way to store things, use up yarn and have something that will be easy to clean.
Crochet Bathroom Set - sort of like the stash baskets, but these would be for the bathroom.
Ereader Cozy - Many people have ereaders or tablets, if you use a thick yarn it could help keep the ereader safe.

Crochet Icicle Angels

Swiffer Cover - I love these. I made one for myself and liked it. I made another (was supposed to be for me), but I left it at a friend's house. Well worth it!

Crochet Unicorn Hat
Sunset Slouchy Hat
Rainbow Beanie
Slouchy Hat
Montera Slouch Hat - This is a free pattern, but you have to log in and "buy" it, but well worth it.
Slouchy Hat - Listed also as Fair Verona Slouchy Beret
Ava Hat for toddlers or babies
Mini Brim Hat - my oldest girl would love this hat.
Puppy Dog Ear Flap Hat - my cousin's son would love this hat. He is just a little guy, so it would be perfect for him.
Baby Bird Hat 6 - 12 months old.
Circus Scrap Hat
Dad hat - good for any man in your life....your father, husband, boyfriend (it is not a sweater and therefore okay to make as a gift), son, nephew.
Fox Hat - baby (I know a baby or two who could use a new hat)
Bloomin' Purple Beanie

Braided Winter Headband

Just for Fun:
Gratitude Stones
Indoor Fairy Garden - I have seen this many times over the last year, but this was in my email from January 2014 (remember I mentioned my email box was "full" and I needed to empty it).
Draft Dodger - cute long dog shaped stuffy that you can put in front of doors or windows to keep the cold out and the heat in.
Slow Cooker Cupcake Cozy - this is from Moogly blog and covers a round medium sized crock pot.
Tissue Box Cover - My grandmother used to make these. They were so fun. I wish I had taken time to sit with her and learn how she did it, because they didn't look like this. She was so very talented.
Crochet Windsock
Kid's Crown - seeing these a lot this year, too for babies.

Beginner Mittens
Ailhbe Fingerless Mitts
Toasty Fingerless Mitts
Social Media Mitts
Stashbuster Mittens
Toddler Mittens - Yep, I think I need to make a few of these, too, for the cousin's kids.

Candy Stripe Scarf
Dragon Stitch Scarf
Flower Motif Scarf
Subway Scarf
Colorful Block Scarf
Old Flames Scarf

Flower Triangle Shawl
Summer Morning Shawl
Silk Handmaiden Wrap
Mystic Forest Shawl

Women's Loafer Slippers - you can print a pdf form of the pattern for $1.50, or just print the whole things for free, without a pdf.
Rainbow Sherbert Socks
Yoga Socks

06 May 2016

Mr Lemoncello and Dr Libris

Chris Grabenstein, wrote three books that are a lot of fun to read. The first book that I read by him was "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library." The story follows a group of pre-teens who get invited to a "lock-in" at the library that just opened. Mr. Lemoncello is an eccentric millionaire who was upset that his favorite place (the library) had been closed and torn down. So he rebuilt the library with many improvements. At the end of the book, is a list of books that mentioned or were used as an inspiration to write the book. Very fun.

I noticed in the book that Chris Grabenstein had written, "The Island of Dr. Libris." Loved this story, too. A young man and his mother are on vacation at the cabin of Dr. X. Libris (have to read the story to get the joke on this one). There isn't a television or video games and the young man has to read books from Dr. Libris library. He finds a key to a section of books and as he reads, he hears noises from the island. He goes to investigate and finds that what he read has come to life on the island. But what does he need to do to save his family and friends. This book also has a list of books at the very end that were mentioned or used as an inspiration.

Then we (my children and I) found that Chris Grabenstein had written a follow up to "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library." We found "Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics." Fun and interesting. Learning to get along with others and helping each other. This book, also, has list of books at the back. I think they are something that would help inspire a child or children to read some serious classics.

05 May 2016

How I Choose Books

I was looking at books that I have read and I realized I have an unusual way of choosing a book to read. I was looking at the books by Donna Andrews. The first book I borrowed written by her was "Crouching Buzzard Leaping Loons." It was fun and enjoyable and the cover art was goofy. It was a cozy mystery. So, yes, I chose the book on the title alone and the art work on the cover! After I read this book, I borrowed the rest of the books by her and read them all! Loved the stories. I am waiting for the next book to come out.

Another set of books I picked up just for the title alone was "The Gunn Zoo Mysteries." These were written by Betty Webb. I picked up the book because of the title, "The Koala of Death." I am sorry, it made me laugh. Loved the story and read the whole series, too. Great reads. There are some things that I know other zoos do not do because it is considered dangerous. But it was a fun read. It is another series of books that I recommend.

I also borrowed a book by Dorothy Cannell, called, "How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams." It was another title that just made me laugh. It raised eyebrows when I borrowed and I pointed out that it was just funny. The librarians told me the names of some other books with funny titles. One suggested by "She Needed Killing" by Bill Fitts.

I was talking with my girls about how much fun walking the stacks of a library can be. You can find a book and find something wonderful, just by looking at the book. If you want to find a book for me, it can be one of my favorite authors (and even Agatha Christie comes into that list). It can have a fun or funny picture. Or how I have picked up books, a funny, laugh out loud title!

I have discovered Camille Minichino because of the titles of her book, starting with "The Helium Murder." I have read one of her other books, "The Oxygen Murder." I really want to read the rest of her books in this grouping.

I found "Book Clubbed" by Lorna Barrett and loved the story. Now I am working my way through her series, too.

I spend a lot of time at the library. I take my children to book clubs (for their age groups) and I take them to events (for their age group) and I get to spend a lot of time walking through the books and finding fun books. In fact, I found Joanna Carl and her Chocolate series. I am loving "The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up." I think I will be reading as many of her books as I can.

Another fun group of stories comes from Peggy Webb. The first book I read from her was "Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse." I have read a couple of her others books and got one for my Kindle (for free) from Amazon. They are fun stories and Elvis is a dog who is supposed to be the reincarnation of Elvis Presley.

So how do you choose books? What books do you recommend?

03 May 2016

"Rule of Three" Trilogy

"Rule of Three" by Eric Walters, was an assigned book in the book club my daughters participate in. They attend a Teen Book Club at one of our local libraries and the librarian who runs the program assigns different books each month to the teens and they read and discuss the books. 

I try very hard to read the books my girls are reading and once and awhile I find a book that really starts me thinking. This was one of those books. I really enjoyed the story and enjoyed the book. Basically, while everyone is going about their daily lives, suddenly everything that runs by computer (and in today's world what isn't) stops working. Nothing works, runs or can be used if it had a computer for a brain. But one young man has a very old car is able to help his friends get home and they learn that a neighbor has been preparing for this eventuality. He helps his community to become able to survive. They build walls and form patrols and bring in people who can help with different tasks to keep the community alive. 

Recently, I learned that Eric Walters had written two more books as a follow up to the first. I devoured the 2nd and 3rd books of this series. They are "Fight for Power" and "Will to Survive." I highly recommend these books to everyone. Very thought provoking and powerful stories. 

01 May 2016

May and Flying Pig and Socks

OMG! May 1st, it is here! My oldest will be 14. My sister-in-law, aunt and many others are having birthdays. My sister and her husband will have an anniversary and my nephew will be leaving for 3 years to teach English. To that end, he requested that I make him socks. A simple request and one that intend to get finished with before he leaves. The best part is that they are small and portable. The bad thing, I can't knit when I am driving and I can't knit socks when my husband is driving...I guess I will knit in all the in between places. He needs to have a pair of socks to take with him. I will make him another pair and send them to him, but I need at least one pair for him before he leaves. My emails are filling up again. I just need to find time to sit and got through them and reduce. I was doing okay, but there is so little time with everything else that I do. It may not seem like a lot to many, but it can get overwhelming at times. But I just want to make time to do a little every day.

Today, my girls, husband and I worked a water stop at the Flying Pig Marathon. They had a good time and the new shoes helped my ankles a little, but they are still not stable and I did get hurt at one point. I ended up resting the ankles for a bit and then got up and worked a little more. The day started wet and dreary, but got better as it progressed. The sun came out and the day warmed up. It was fun, fun cheering the runners, telling them they only had 4 more miles to go. This is not the 1st marathon we have worked, it is actually our 5th! Our 3rd time at the Pig. We have helped at a few others, when my brother-in-law called for extra bodies to come out and help. We do enjoy the time at the runs and we do enjoy cheering for others to achieve their goals. I really hope that the one couple who were running their 1st ever marathon (without training) made it all the way and that they are actually okay. I know that the husband was having trouble, but his wife was with him and they were doing this together, good job.

We have so much planned for the month. We will be celebrating the girls birthday by going to the Hershey Amusement Park and Zoo America! The girls are so excited about this trip.

We will be finishing up our school year and since we went with traditional homeschooling, we will have to do some testing at the end of the month.

Traditional Cable Knit Afghan
Cinnamon Twist Afghan
Lizard Ridge Afghan - I like the name and the pictures are really intriguing.
Marshmallow Fluff Afghan

100 Books to Change Life and/or Thinking

District 12 Cowl Wrap - Reference would be to the book "The Hunger Games."

Cross Stitch:
Dated Angel Ornament

Crochet Brioche Hat
Quick Kids Hat
Very Hungry Caterpillar Hat for child
Driggs Avenue Hattitude

Just for Fun:
Flower in a Pot
Irish Rose
Mr and Mrs Snowman
Crochet Frosty the Snowman
Crochet Orchid

Tea Cozy Links
20 Cat Patterns

How to Make Classic French Macarons

Basic Cable Scarf
Bluebird Scarf

So Simple Shawl
Simple Lace Shawl
Amazing Mitred Shawl - this is one that I want to make, as it has a skill that I want to master in it.

Twisted Socks this is from the blog by Chicken Stitches. She is a very talented knitter/crocheter. Love looking at what she is making and her patterns are so well written.

30 April 2016

April Coming to a Close

Hard to believe that April is ending. It has flown by. We had snow, very little rain (usually my backyard is a swamp) and lots of sun. We had a lovely storm on a Friday, with a little bit of hail and beautiful rainbows!

We have cut the grass many times this month (usually we have to wait for it to dry out before we can cut and then hire someone to cut the swamp). We have gone on field trips and seen butterflies. We watch the birds as they gather around the bird feeders, calling them welfare birds, but knowing that we will continue to feed them, as they entertain the cats throughout the day (and us, too).

It has been such a pretty April and we have been enjoying life of open windows and being outside and grilling out. I am looking forward to grilling through the summer! Experimenting with different recipes on the grill.

I really cannot believe we have come to the end of April. It seems like the month just started and now it is ending. Wow! May is around the corner. We have birthdays to celebrate! We have Mother's Day to celebrate. Last year, we celebrated it in the hospital with my mom. She was in the CCU for that one, her last. But she was surrounded by her family. That hasn't happened in awhile. I will usually call, but I didn't go down. Last year, we went down. It was very crowded in the room with all the family. This year, we will go our own way and celebrate my daughter. Without her, I would not be a mother and she came early, so I was able to celebrate my first Mother's Day 14 years ago. Last year, her birthday was not celebrated the way we had in the past. I was afraid to go too far from home. It seemed just when I thought I could go somewhere, I would receive another text saying something else had happened. I ordered her cake from my friend's cafe. She makes the best cakes. So inventive and tasty. Her name is Sabrina and she owns The Nook Cafe in Maineville, OH. If you are in Ohio, you need to check out her cafe.

Pixar Ratatouille This is a fun link. I will make some version of it as I love veggies and this looks fun.

Country Star Afghan
Square Stripes Baby Blanket
Hexagon Afghan with tutorial
Garden Gate Afghan
Joyous Squares
Mountain Mists Afghan

Spicy Crab Cake

Garden Tote Bag

Crochet Orchid

Just for Fun:
Lollipop Angel
Gopher Golf Club Cover - this would also be a wonderful Father's Day present for dads who play golf and possibly love the "Caddyshack" movie. My husband used to play golf a few weekends during the spring and summer and fall months, but hasn't played as much.

Starburst Dishcloth
Crochet Placemats

Zodiac Scarf

Bridal Shawl

Anatomy of a Hand Knit Sock

20 April 2016


I have seen a lot about happiness and finding your own happiness and how eating at the office makes you unhappy and steals away from contentment. I started reading about what people think make them happy.

I noticed in the article about eating at the office making someone unhappy and I thought back to the days I worked in an office. One of the places I worked was not convenient to places to go buy food or even to run out and get food. The person who ran out had to eat at their desk if they got food for the others. But that didn't take away their happiness. We would take turns. When we ate together, we ate in the lunchroom and joked and teased and played cards or read a book or crocheted (yeah, that was me). My friend taught me how to do counted cross stitch and we would work on that together. Happiness is not something someone can give you, it is something you have to create for yourself. You have to want to be happy and you have to find it in the simple things. I find happiness in listening to my girls, listening to them talk, play pranks, laugh and just be together. My girls are great. I find happiness in watching my cats play with an ice cube (in their water or on the floor). I find happiness in listening to my dog dream (her howling in her sleep in the funniest thing ever). I find happiness in reading a book, listening to a book on tape, music, singing (even if it isn't great), or just making something to donate or give to a friend. I find happiness in silence and solitude (yep, I do enjoy silence and solitude). I find happiness being next to my husband, partner or friend. Toward that end, I think I would like to share some tips for happiness:

1. Dream!
    I dream all the time. I dream of when my girls will be grown up and creating lives that make them happy. I dream of places I would love to go (with them or with just my husband). I dream of rescuing cats and dogs (not living in a place where we can do that, but I would love to have a nice big farm filled with rescues). I dream of owning a yarn shop and continuing to teach others how to make things with string and sticks (or hooks) or needles. I love to teach what I love. Also, if you have a dream, nurture it and figure out how to make it come true. Don't depend on someone else to make your dream come true, it isn't their job to make your dream come true, it is your job to make it come true! Research your dream, what will it take to make this happen!

2. Give!
   Yeah, there is the rule, it is better to give than to receive. Do that! Give. It doesn't have to be big, just something you can do! Give with your talent, give with small things. Maybe you are waiting in a drive thru to get a drink or something, pay for the person behind you (maybe that is all they are getting, too) and let them know to have a great day. I can guarantee, that small gesture will have made someone smile. If you can make things, make things and donate them to places, for instance, there is a group that makes prayer shawls and they are given to nursing homes. There are groups that make baby hats and baby blankets for new moms. Sometimes these are only given to the moms who lost a baby, sometimes for all moms, it depends on the group. I have even heard of a group that makes cute outfits for the moms who lost a baby. The nurses will put the baby in the outfit and when the moms have had a chance to hold the baby, they remove the outfit and give it to the moms. I remember after I had my first child, the nurse told me that moms who lose their baby keep everything (staples from ER C-section, instruments that would normally be thrown away, etc). You could help pack meals for kids who don't have enough to get for weekends. Ours is called Warrior Backpack and they accept monetary donations, help packing, help unloading the truck of food. Great program and I really love helping them out.

3. Don't try to buy happiness.
    You cannot make yourself happy going out and buying new shoes, new clothes, new purses, etc. Happiness is not in the stuff you buy, but in taking care of yourself. If you need something buy it, but don't go out shopping just to spend money. I love to read. I go to the libraries frequently and borrow books. The girls borrow books. I have found that I enjoy having a Kindle, it allows me to carry many books with me, books for the girls to read (for when they forgot theirs or the charge is too low), books for me, books for my husband (he likes biographies). I found that I can search on Amazon and some other sites and find the books for free and if the book is horrible, I can delete it. I don't need to buy things to be happy. I can go outside and enjoy the sun, or open a book and enjoy the story. Sometimes even listen to a book on tape (in the car while I am driving) or a movie with my girls.

4. Find a balance.
    It is not your job to make someone else happy. Find out how to be where you want to be and with whom you want to be, when you want to be. Be where you need to be when you need to be there.

5. Abide by the Golden Rule (Treat Others As You Wish To Be Treated).
   I was always told this growing up. Treat others as you want to be treated. I would do that at school. I would treat people as I wanted to be treated and they would beat me up, call me names, in one case, push me down stairs. I was called Poison Ivy. I remember the boys hitting me until I was black and blue. I cried a lot when I was in school. When I got to high school, some of my classmates were not very nice to me, one girl got really nasty when I wouldn't buy drugs from her. But as far as what they did, it was nothing. I actually liked high school. I made some friends. I had fun and life was good. These girls had nothing on grade school. They only called me names.

6. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (and it's all small stuff).
    A year or so ago, my middle wanted a CD from Celtic Thunder. We ordered it and checked the tracking to see where it was and when it would show up. She got upset because it would say it was in Cincinnati, and then it was in Florida. It didn't come to us on the day it said it would. It traveled the US more than she had. But I couldn't get her to understand that the store would ultimately be responsible for sending a new one if it didn't show up in a certain amount of time. Eventually, the time passed and the store had to issue store credit to her and she got something else and the CD that she wanted finally showed up after travelling through the south.

7. Don't compare yourself to someone else.
    When I teach someone to knit or crochet, I tell them, don't compare your work to someone else's. You don't know how long they have been at it or how many hours they put in. If you compare yourself to someone else, it will only make you unhappy and frustrated. Compare your work to what you started with! Keep the first thing you made and compare to that. That is where you will see your best efforts and most improvement. This life is not a race! It is an endurance. You want to get to the finish line no matter how far away it is.

8. Take responsibility.
    When I worked in one office, I learned something great from a wonderful lady I worked with, if you make a mistake, own it! I know that at times, I get frustrated with my children (who hasn't gotten frustrated with their children). I will yell at them to get their attention. After I have worn myself out in my fury (they weren't listening until I yelled), I will calmly ask them to come to me, I will give them a hug and tell them I love them and that I am sorry, but I am tired of them not listening when I tell them something. People are more important than gadgets (or books or TV). We should always pay attention when someone talks to us. I know that if I am reading and a daughter says something, I stop what I am doing and look at them (helps me to hear them better, as I am hearing impaired and sometimes have to read their lips to understand all their words). If the TV is on, I turn it down or silence it. I am also in the process of getting out of the habit of looking at my phone when it chimes (got into when my mom was so ill).

9. Smile!
   I read a story about a young person who was so very sad, that he/she had planned to kill him/herself. They said that they just felt that they didn't matter any longer and that he/she wished someone would just notice him/her and smile at him/her. I have always encouraged my girls to look people in the eye and smile at them and greet them. Just a friendly hello. I have noticed that that small gesture has been good for the person and for me and the girls. I know that when I am in a business where the person has to wear a name tag, they often forget that they are wearing their name, I greet them by name. They often stop in shock and say, "How did you know my name?" I will often remind them of the name tag. Many people don't greet them by name. If someone introduces themselves to me, I will remember their name. But I do have a bad habit, I developed working in one office. I worked in doctor's offices and learned to recognize people and greet them by name when they came in, but when I would be out away from the office, I wouldn't recognize them. I compartmentalized because in medicine, especially psychiatric offices, you have to protect the person's privacy. They would have to greet me.

10. If faced with a challenge, find a way past it.
     If you encounter a problem, try to figure out how to get around, over, through it. Do you need help? Ask! We are not islands all alone in the ocean. A few years ago, our water heater broke and we needed to replace it. We found a plumber and a new water heater. We had to go elsewhere for awhile to get showers (thank God for YMCA and friends), and on the day he was installing, I had to take 2 of the girls to practice (they played basketball) and he was still working in the basement. I asked a really wonderful neighbor to help and a friend hung with the girls while I went back and forth. We really do have good neighbors.

11. Live for today.
    Don't live in the past, "if only I had done this, instead of that." Don't live in the future, "one day I will do this or that." Live for today. Today is the gift. Thank God for all the things you have. I remember one time reading that if you are only left with all the things you thank God for, what will you have? I thank God every day for everything. I thank Him for friends, animals, children, husband, food, housing, clothing, etc. He has truly blessed me with many great things and people.

12. Lift others up!
    If you have to destroy a person in order to feel better about yourself, you actually won't feel better. I was listening to my children (again, I do that daily. They have so many lessons for me to learn from them), and my middle said something and her sisters started laughing. As they laughed, they said to her, "Don't ever change! We love you just the way you are!" Think about that! Yes, they were laughing at her words, but they also said, "Don't Change!" Stay true to yourself! They could have torn her apart, but they didn't, they lifted her up! They loved her just the way she is and was! We have family stories, stories that have meaning for us and the girls love to retell the stories. I think because they love the innocence of those words from those times.

13. Don't allow negativity.
    There are lots of negative people in this world and they can pull you down. Surround yourself with happy people, with positive people. Allow them to love you and love them, too. I have some wonderful friends. As our lives have changed and grown, it is not as easy to be with them like we used to. But we keep in touch. My favorite quote comes from a friend who has adopted children, "It will be funny in 24 hours." I wish when my girls were little, I had had that quote in my life. There were times where I just wanted to cry. It seemed no matter how hard I worked to keep a clean house, the children didn't care and neither did my husband. I was trying to live to my mother's standards. (Another thing for being happy, don't let others change you into someone you don't want to be.) Then I realized, I was only making myself and the children and husband unhappy. I may not have the cleanest house, but I have happy children. In fact, it took longer than 24 hours, but the day the girls dumped a container of Kool-Aid on the floor and added water (the carpeted section, not the kitchen) and stained the carpet is a lasting memory. I was careful of silence after that. I also started spending more time with the girls. Instead of spending so much time cleaning and being unhappy when I was the only one who tried to keep the house to other standards of clean, I took the girls to parks, zoos, museums. I would watch them play. I would listen to them laugh. I would enjoy every moment with the girls, because they would not be small forever!

14. Most importantly: Be Happy.
    Many years ago, a person came out with the song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" What a great thing to remember. Be Happy. You must choose to be happy and go after it. I choose to be happy. I choose to enjoy every day. I choose to love my family, friends and any animal (cat or dog) that crosses my path. And, I choose to be thankful for everyone and everything!

Now it is up to you. What do you want to do?