Sunday, June 21, 2015

Humming Birds

The humming birds have been very active in the yard this summer.  Christopher wanted a close up view.  I think the birds are magicians; they are capable of convincing a 10 year old boy to stand still and be quiet for prolonged periods of time. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Monroe

Today Miss Monroe turns 14.   Happy Birthday baby girl!!

Today the weather was perfect; 70 degrees with a little breeze to keep the bugs away and to bring the smells in the air to the birthday girl to enjoy while she relaxed in the yard.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Knitting A Christmas Elephant and Some Easter Bunnies

For Christmas I knit a little elephant doll for my new granddaughter.  It turned out cute and everyone liked it.  So for Easter, I knit an Easter Bunny for each of my granddaughters.  The patterns are written by Julie Williams and are available to purchase from Little Cotton Rabbits on Ravelry.  I highly recommend Williams' patterns.  They are incredibly cute and well written.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Allergy Free Chocolate Wowbutter Eggs for Easter

Having grandchildren with life threatening food allergies has required some creative food substitutions in the kitchen.  Holidays are often especially difficult as so many traditional holiday candies are not allergy free.

I decided this year I wanted to make chocolate covered peanut butter eggs for Easter.  WOWBUTTER is a wonderful peanut butter substitute and Enjoy Life makes a variety of great non-dairy chocolate chips.  The recipe I created for chocolate covered "peanut butter" Easter candy uses these great allergy free foods.   For a good butter substitute that is dairy free, I like Fleischmann's unsalted vegetable spread.  The stick variety is great for all types of baking so I try to always have some on hand (most margarines have dairy in them - I didn't know this until I started cooking allergy free for my grandkids, so be careful what margarine you choose if dairy is one of the allergens you want to avoid).  My recipe isn't rocket science, but I thought I'd share it for anyone who may be looking for an allergy free substitute for Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs during the Easter Holiday.

Allergy Free Chocolate WOWBUTTER Easter Eggs

1 lb powdered confectioner's sugar
16 ounce jar of WOWBUTTER
1 stick of Fleischmann's unsalted margarine
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
 9 ounce package of Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels
1 Tbsp Crisco shortening

Melt the stick of margarine and cream together with sugar, WOWBUTTER, and vanilla.  I used a stand mixer and mixed until completely combined.  Take the mix and roll into egg shapes about an inch and a half to 2 inches long.  Place eggs on wax paper on cookie sheet and freeze for 1 or more hours.

In double boiler, melt chocolate with shortening, stirring until smooth.

Remove eggs from freezer and dip into melted chocolate returning them to the wax paper covered cookie sheet to cool.  I tried using tooth picks for this procedure and did not have a lot of success.  I ended up using my fingers and made a bit of a mess.  Clean up was easy enough, though, so I recommend using your hands as it is much easier to cover the eggs that way.  After the eggs have set for a bit, I drizzled a little extra melted chocolate on top to add a decorative flare - and to hide some of my imperfections.  After the chocolate solidifies, I placed the eggs in small paper cups in a decorative box.  

I made 20 of the chocolate eggs.  In the future I think I will look for the small cupcake paper cups and try this recipe as a WOWBUTTER cup instead of an easter egg.  I'd use a mini cupcake pan instead of a cookie sheet.  I think the WOWBUTTER mix could be shaped into discs and then some of the melted chocolate poured into the paper cups, the discs could then be placed into the cups and covered with more melted chocolate.  I envision this to be somewhat less messy to do than my current egg shaped version.  But overall I am happy with how things turned out.  I will say I didn't have quite enough melted chocolate to cover all of the eggs I made, I had a few left over.  If I was going to try the paper cup version, I'd expect to need two packages of the chocolate chips.

I'm hopeful my grandkids will be happy with these Easter candies.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Saige Mavis

A couple weeks before Christmas I was able to witness the birth of my youngest daughters first baby.  A beautiful little girl named Saige Mavis.  To have a grandchild carry my name is an honor that fills my heart with joy.  Saige is a perfect little girl.  My daughter and son-in-law live an hour and 40 minutes away (on a good traffic day) and have made the trip to our house several times in the past three months so that I can be a part of Saige's life and watch her grow.  For this I am very grateful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tissart Tapestry Loom

In October, my daughter and I drove to Toronto, Canada to pick up a 60" Tissart tapestry loom I had found on Craigs List.  We drove my son-in-law's Honda Pilot.  My daughter was pregnant and we  enjoyed a fun 3 day trip together before the baby was born.  We did a little sight seeing along the way and met up with a friend in Toronto that I knew through the German Shepherd Lovers forum on

Getting into Canada proved much more difficult than getting back into the USA.  We were detained at the immigration office before we were allowed to enter Canada.  My daughter and I  were interviewed separately and I had to provide evidence that our mission was a short trip to buy a weaving loom.   I guess two women in a car full of blankets going to Canada for a day to meet people we knew from the internet was suspicious?  Perhaps the fact that I can't remember things like names of people or places when I feel on the spot and had to consult my notes for information?  Perhaps we were just a random car selected from the line of people entering the country?  I'm not sure, but the experience nearly gave me a panic attack and that didn't help matters much.  Once the border officers decided that I was in fact just daft enough to drive 9 hours into another country to pick up a weaving loom, that something like Ravelry did exist (an onlne knitting group?  What is THAT?)  they accepted that I didn't pose a real threat to anyone, and we were allowed to get back into our vehicle and given entry into Canada.

Once inside Canada our visit was quite enjoyable - not counting the bumble bee that we found in my daughter's french fries in the restaurant we had dinner at.   We found the location of the loom owner's home and spent a little time with her before loading up the Pilot.  We visited the Shoe Museum in Toronto and went to a cute yarn shop called Lettuce Knit where we met my Ravelry friend and purchased yarn for a baby sweater.  On our way home we visited Niagara Falls and took a horse and carriage ride through the Canadian Botanical Gardens.   While at the Botanical Gardens, we visited the butterfly Conservatory.   It was a fun trip.

Once home, my husband and I put the loom together.  I thought I'd post a few pictures of the assembly process.  The Tissart Loom is no longer made, but an old owner's guide was available on line.  We were confused at a few points along the way, but thankfully my husband was capable of figuring everything out.

I have the loom warped and the first project started.  I have restarted the project three times as I fiddled with things and tried to remedy issues along the way.  I replaced the warp apron rods and tie on rods in an effort to minimize the bowing that occurs when the warp is under tension.

I am looking forward to many future hours weaving at my new loom.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Beautiful Girl

Took a few pictures of Monroe this month, even at 13 1/2, she is incredibly beautiful.