Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope you and your family have had a wonderful, safe Christmas. We are winding down at our house, but having an 11 year old and a 2 year old here all week has made it very fun!

They and their parents arrived last Friday night and after dinner since it was such a nice night we drove down to NC to this light display. Nikki was fascinated with all the lights, little decorated cabins, train sets, etc. It was great to see her enjoying it so much.

Saturday night we celebrated Nikki's 2-year birthday! She didn't really get the concept yet, but loved the cake, being the center of attention, and the presents!

Knitting and blogging have definitely taken a back seat to cooking, trying to keep enough clean towels for the next shower and clean dishes for the next meal. That and playing have occupied most of my time!
Christmas pictures later!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookie Exchange

Yesterday a group of friends got together for our annual Christmas brunch/cookie exchange.

These were my cookies - cranberry/macadamia nut cookies dipped in white chocolate. I made some with dried cherries and some with cranberries. Both were delicious.

Doris, our hostess, had her house beautifully decorated.

First things first, let's open the wine!

Our brunch was delicious - filet mignon bites wrapped in bacon, Jewish coffee cake, cream cheese cinnamon pastry (sorry Peggy - don't know correct name, but it was wonderful), sausage pinwheels, cheese pinwheels, ham/cheese brunch bake, cheesy apples, spiced cider, wine, coffee.

The whole group - we missed those of you who couldn't come.
From left, Doris, Donna, Kathy, Evelyn, Peggy, me, Judy

After eating, we played Dirty Santa and exchanged small gifts.

Just a few of the fun gifts.

Our cookie assortment!

Just before we made our way around the table dividing up the goodies.

Good friends, good food, a great Christmas tradition I hope we have for many years.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Knitting Today

or much of anything else. I had the day off yesterday (Friday) and planned to help daughter move. I got up feeling a little queasy, but kept thinking it would go away. I managed a shower and got dressed and then it all started - both ends - I know TMI! Amy had this last weekend and husband had an abbreviated version on Tuesday so I should have expected it, but I thought somehow I had dodged the bullet. Not so.

I made my way to the couch and wrapped up in a afghan and told my daughter & husband I would come to help as soon as I felt better....well, that never happened. I had one of the most miserable days of my life. In between trips to the bathroom I wrapped up from head to toe on the couch just to keep my teeth from chattering. I couldn't stand lights on, or noise from the TV and later when husband came home and turned on the TV I had to move to another spot! I slept for hours and still went to bed at 9 pm. I'm better today, actually drank a little ginger ale, ate some crackers and tonight had part of a baked potato, so I'm back in the land of the living.

I can't knit though, not yet.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend Update

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I'm still recuperating. Amy has been sick since Thursday night with the dreaded "stomach virus". Since the rest of the family couldn't come till Friday, we didn't have Thanksgiving dinner till Friday night, so she totally missed everything. In order to not spread it around she pretty much isolated herself in her room and we Cloroxed and Lysol'd everything in sight. We are all holding our breath that nobody else comes down with it.

On Thanksgiving Day, N, the almost 2 year old fell into the corner of a coffee table and hit the corner of her mouth and cheek so she looked like a bruised chipmunk! Poor little thing didn't seem to be bothered too much by it, but she looked pitiful.

Even bruised and battered, a girl has to have her necklace and purse!

A girl just can't have too many bags!

Of course we had an appointment for Christmas pictures Saturday morning! Her mom was a little upset about it, but she still looked cute! Saturday was very busy at the photographer's and we waited an hour for our appointment - not easy for a little one, but she did pretty well.
Here she is waiting for our appointment.

"I'm tired of this waiting bear, let's get out of here!"

I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of her sister. I thought I did! I'll do better Christmas. B was great keeping little sister posed during the pictures, for the first set. After that N was pretty much through! We were lucky to get a few good poses!

Dancing while watching "Camp Rock".

I was exhausted today. After they left I made myself pick the trashed house up a little and get some laundry started then I crashed on the couch for 2 hours. I'll never get to sleep tonight.!

What Holiday are You?

You Are Thanksgiving

You are a bit of a homebody who enjoys being in the company of people you love.

It doesn't take a lot to make you happy. You're enjoying life as it is.

You have many blessings in your life, and you are grateful for each one.

You believe that life is about what you *do* have. You feel like you have enough of the good stuff.

What makes you celebrate: Family, friends, and the changing of the seasons.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The host of the party

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Spend so much energy preparing that it's a full time job

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finished Knitting

This past week I concentrated on finishing a couple of projects that were on the needles.

This is the short sweater for my granddaughter (really hard to get a good picture). This pattern was from Knit Simple and sized and designed for Tweens to knit and wear (which is a real ego-buster when you have problem after problem with it!) I had terrible problems with sizing. The yarn my granddaughter picked was bulkier and fuzzier so I swatched (several times) and ended up going down a size and down from size 6 needles to size 3. I still think it is too wide. After the pieces were finished I had a terrible time getting it all to match at the neckline. I ended up ripping back one sleeve and the back and reknitting them till they fit, just ignoring the directions. I think it will be cute if it doesn't swallow her, but needless to say, my next few projects will be using the suggested yarn, and my next sweater will be top down!

This is my other granddaughter's blanket. It is knit on large needles with two strands of yarn and turned out really thick and cushy and should be warm. She loves the knitted blankies she has, but I wanted to knit her one that wasn't too babyish since she will be a grown up 2 year old soon! If I have time I'm going to knit her a doll blanket with the leftover yarn.

As you can see, the blanket was a hit with Onyx while it was on the needles. Everytime I worked on it this is what I dealt with!

This weekend I haven't gotten much new knitting done, but am working on another pair of fingerless mitts, this time in black (very hard to see the pattern!). Yesterday morning a friend and I went to the local farmer's market for a holiday bazaar. I bought a new Christmas centerpiece for my dining room table and a Christmas hairbow and a couple of necklaces for the girls.

There were lots of crocheted items, but not many knitted and I wasn't too impressed with the few I saw. I was hoping to get new ideas, but not so much. One booth was all knitted scarves, very simple pattern and many done in school colors. They seemed to be doing a big business. They had all the local high school colors, plus many of the colleges in the area.

We won't be having our Thanksgiving dinner till Friday since that is when everyone can come. I have my turkey and am getting my recipes out and making my final shopping list. I have some old favorites everyone expects, but always like to try something new, too. Anyone else brine their turkey? I never have but watched a couple of Food Network shows about brining and am thinking about it!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Do you like my new blog design? Thanks, Amy! My daughter offered to update the look of my blog and I love it.

If you need a blog re-do shoot her an email.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brunswick Stew

When we first moved to Virginia, Brunswick stew was a new thing to us. In Kentucky we had Burgoo, which I think is pretty much the same thing, but it wasn't as big a fundraiser as Brunswick stew is here in Virginia. Every Saturday during the fall and early winter and sometimes again in the spring, stews are held by churches, civic organizations, and anywhere else a group of people might gather. They are big fundraisers and my family has grown to love it.

Usually the stew is sold ahead of time and just picked up on the day of the stew, although I think they always make some extra for last minute customers. Often the same organization has a bake sale that day too and lots of goodies can be found.

Today was pick up day for stew I had bought ahead of time and so tonight supper was easy - brunswick stew and grilled cheese sandwiches. I buy a lot of stew and keep in the freezer for easy lunches and suppers all winter!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fingerless Mitts

A couple of years ago I would have said fingerless mitts were the silliest idea I ever heard of. However, last year (our first year in our new office with computer controlled thermostat) I changed my mind. The receptionist and I had freezing hands all winter, and since we both have to type, gloves are not very productive. Also, these are apparently the new hot accessory, so I had to knit some. These were fun & quick. The pattern is Velvet Curtain Cabled Gauntlets and I actually used the suggested yarn, ValleyYarns Stockbridge, from Webs, which is 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool and was great to work with.

Knitted on straight needles and easily sewn together, leaving a thumb hole. I will knit more of these.

This past week the leaves finally peaked here and it was gorgeous. It was short-lived however because we have had some rain and wind and now most of the leaves are off the trees and on our lawn.

This was the burning bush in my front yard about a week ago (sorry for the spots) .

This is from this morning. The burning bush has been reduced to mostly berries and our front yard is covered with leaves.

And more leaves.......

And these two trees at the edge of the woods, which were beautiful burgundy and yellow are sadly fading away.
The leaves falling and the time change (which I hate! - to me we change it in the wrong direction) means winter is coming soon. We haven't had a bad winter in several years here in our part of Virginia, but the weather people say this winter may be much colder. I love that the weather changes, and I like some snow, but don't like being cold, so not sure how I feel about a harder winter. We'll see!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Most of us have a lot to be thankful for everyday. Like most everyone else, I usually don't stop often enough to take stock of all my blessings and be thankful enough.
October is breast cancer month. It reminds me to be thankful for my health, thankful that I had wonderful doctors and nurses and was able to receive the best treatments to help me live a long, long time. I'm thankful for my local friends Bonnie & Evelyn who went through the same junk as I did - losing our hair, laughing at crooked wigs, getting through crappy chemo and radiation. I'm thankful for my online friends who also went through all of these crappy things but came out healthy too. They all helped me get through it.
We lost two of our online friends along the way, Karen & Frances, who both died much too soon. I'm so thankful I was able to know them.

30-something years ago today I gave birth! Moms never forget that day. I'm thankful for a wonderful daughter and so glad she now lives near us and not 600 miles away as she did for 10 years. I've quit holding a grudge for going 2 weeks past my due date and the 30 hours of labor!

Tonight we had a great birthday dinner at a Japanese restaurant and met a couple here from Illinois to work at the VIR racetrack this weekend. We found out the husband had once lived about 45 miles from our hometown in Kentucky and we all agreed the Moonlite BBQ restaurant in Owensboro has the best BBQ we've ever eaten! I'm thankful for "small world connections" no matter where you are.
It's been very sad this week at the nursing facility where I work. A wonderful nurse died suddenly leaving us all in shock. It seems impossible that she was working last week and this week is gone. Life is precious and you never know what tomorrow will bring, so be thankful!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a Hard Life!

My two 12 year old cats have never had their own beds. It just never seemed necessary, as they have always slept wherever they wanted and had their own favorite places. Lately however, they seem to want to be wherever I don't want them and yesterday I found Magic on a placemat on the kitchen table! Later in the day we went out shopping so I decided it was time for them to have their own special spot. I picked some with cozy bottoms, (catnip zips into a pocket underneath) and brought them home.

I showed Magic his bed, but he wasn't interested and preferred the sun on the back deck.

Onyx wouldn't even come in to look at his bed!

This morning however, I found Magic happily lounging in one of the beds.....

Then the other..........

I'm sure he is staking out his territory before Onyx gets a say. He's always the bossiest brother!
Notice all the hair already in the empty bed. This is the main reason I wanted him especially in one place as much as possible. I brush as much as he will let me, and I could get a basket full of hair off with the fur-ender, but he only tolerates it a few minutes at a time then gets very irritated! Maybe if I can contain it just a little it won't be everywhere!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catching Up

The leaves have not all turned yet, but maybe the cooler weather this weekend will help. Here are a few around my neighborhood and on the way to work. I love this time of year.

I've been a terrible blogger this week. For the past few days I've had a cold and just doing my normal activities is about all I can drag through!

Wednesday I had my 6-month check-up at Duke. Since I had breast cancer in 2004, I have been seen there first every 3 months, then 6 months, and Wednesday I graduated to a year! Yeah! I have to say everything about Duke is wonderful. I love my oncologist, surgeon, the chemo nurses were exceptional, and the nurse practitioners great. But, the drive and the wait for tests and doctors appointments makes it a long day, so moving to once a year is welcome.

I had a great check-up. Mammogram read "no sign of cancer" no better words for a survivor to hear. My bone density showed a 3.5% increase in bone in my spine which means I won't be getting too much shorter soon! It was all a great relief.

For BC month, volunteers had a table set up with lots of materials and give-a-ways and provided a delicious lunch for all the breast cancer patients and their families with appointments that day. I've been so fortunate to live close enough to Duke to have the opportunity to get all my treatments and follow-up there.

Last night I watched the movie on Lifetime about the doctor who developed the drug Herceptin, which has made such a difference in the diagnosis of breast cancer for some women. I fall in that group and was selected for a clinical trial for Herceptin. My clinical trial was to see if it would help prevent cancer from returning in women whose cancer had not spread. At the time I started the treatment it would have not been covered by my insurance so I would not have gotten the treatment had I not been selected. It was surprising to me in watching the movie how long this doctor had worked on Herceptin and hard it was to get support for it. I'm very thankful he kept trying!

Starting Thursday night I came home from work just wiped out - later that night my throat got sore and nose stopped up. I rarely have a cold and hope this doesn't last too much longer. I haven't been out of the house this weekend except for yesterday afternoon when we went to see The Secret Life of Bees. I had read the book and was not disappointed by the movie. It is wonderful! I heartily recommend it.
I have done a little knitting this weekend (when I am not napping). I am now on the sleeves of B's sweater. On yeah, an update on that. If you remember I was worried about the size. When she was here last weekend I had her try it on, and even though it was big, so wanted it that way so asked me not to make it any smaller. I hope it will work.
And I leave you with a picture of my little helper from last weekend. She loves to help her Mama clean, and she loves to dress up! She was a little diva with the knitted fun fur scarf.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Visit

We had a special treat this weekend. Since they had Columbus Day off, our son and his family got to come for the weekend. It was a beautiful weekend - here the girls enjoy they front porch.

After a full hard day, N couldn't stay awake another minute, grabbed her doggie, and fell asleep on top of her toys!