Sweet Thursday This and That

May 21, 2015

I don’t have too many kitchen tips that I think are worth sharing, so I usually avoid the topic and appreciate what other folks do. But today I will share a couple of my ideas in case someone would like to use them.

Before I begin, though, don’t sign up to follow my blog based on this post. I’m a widowed grandmother raising my granddaughter, a knitter, and a nerd, so I won’t be much help to you in the kitchen. ūüėĒ

First of all, let’s talk pasta.¬†It was on sale today, so I stocked up on manicotti. I use it this time of year more than winter because I stuff them with chicken salad, egg salad, any seafood salad, and taco salad. It’s a nice alternative to eating some of those salads on bread, or in the case of the taco salad, with chips. They are easy to pack for picnics or to-go snacks too.

Tonight I am serving chicken salad stuffed manicotti for dinner. I will top it with a garlic chive-cranberry aioli. The cranberry part of the aioli is cranberry syrup from a shop in the Wisconsin cranberry bog area and the garlic chives are from my garden! I will make the aioli later, but I just finished stuffing the shells.


My second tip is something I came up with for my husband. Officer Friendly had a partial plate in his mouth and he did not eat celery because of the strings. I know how to remove the strings, but I think the toughness of celery bothered him, too.

I used the ribs of Romaine lettuce. That way, if I was serving a dip, he could enjoy it too, without getting celery strings in the wrong places. I just trimmed off the leafy part of the Romaine, saved that for wraps or salads, and plated up the ribs for OF. The ribs below are not celery. They are from Romaine lettuce.


My third tip is something I wrote about yesterday: my “Toss in the Candy” Tea. I like to drink tea and for the most part, it’s either black, green, or red . . . all plain, no cream, no sugar. But when I want a flavored tea, I don’t buy a boxed version. I toss a hard candy (or two) into a hot cup of black tea. The number of candies depends on how long I steep the tea. ¬†I stir until the candy melts. I get the aroma, interesting flavor and a hint of sweetness. It saves on space in the cupboard and it’s less expensive as well.

This morning, my tea has cinnamon in it, but I keep butterscotch, anise, lemon (lemon, whew that light yellow is almost invisible!) and peppermint candies in the house for my tea.


I thought of the idea a long time ago when I was sick and didn’t have any lemon juice and honey for my sore throat. I did have lemon drops and tossed one into some tea and . . . I still do that even when I am not sick.

As for the rest of my Sweet Thursday This and That . . . 

Goodnight donated her first pint of blood this morning at school. Thank you, sweetie!


I will be listening to the NHL hockey game tonight and while Indybro and I text back and forth. We start with our opinion of how the singing of the anthem went and then move on to stats and nerdy stuff like the time delay between the online NHL Ice Tracker feature for game visuals and the app I use for the audio broadcast of the games. (I know, I can listen to the audio directly through the Ice Tracker feature, but I like certain hockey play-by-play guys better.)


And my final Sweet Thursday This and That item is the ‘Sweet Thursday’ part!!!

After all these years, I only recently learned that John Steinbeck wrote a sequel to my favorite of his stories, Cannery Row. I loved that story, but it’s also where I learned how censorship¬†took care of the F-word in print. Mac used a similar-sounding word when talking to Doc. The title to his sequel is Sweet Thursday!

I’m a Thursday Child and as long as I have “far to go”* it may as well be sweet! I ordered a copy of the book through my favorite discount bookstore and they transferred the copy to the store closest to me.



Have a Sweet Thursday from John Steinbeck and me!!

*From an old English nursery rhyme: “Monday’s Child is fair of face . . . “








Just In Time . . . Part Two

May 20, 2015

Let me begin this post with greetings to all the knitters who are visiting today! My stats are showing  huge surge in traffic already this morning. Most of you are here for my Vintage Flowers Illusion Knit Table Runner . Please do try it. It is a very lovely project. Thank you for stopping by today! image


Another Saturday, another church breakfast and rummage sale. They come just in time for me! I am so grateful that I get a break from cooking and washing dishes.

This most recent church rummage sale did things a little differently. Saturday was their bag sale Р$4/bag! 

The bags were the grocery store paper bag size, but it is amazing what one can fit in a bag that size! I don’t know if it was the only wool sweater in the sale, but it was the only one I found on Saturday morning. Just in time, too. It has been very nippy¬†POLAR-LIKE in the house lately. I folded the sweater and put it in my bag!


In another room of the sale, I found a pair of hand-knit wool socks. Plop! Into my bag they went.


I went into the “Hardware and Tools” room of the sale and as luck would have it, there was a dryer duct elbow, something I actually needed for one of the chores on my ‘to do’ list. Not to waste any bag space, though, the wool socks got stuffed into the dryer duct part when I put it in my bag!


I ended up with three books, three videos, a fashion scarf, a lovely mug and several items for Goodnight . . . all in my $4 bag!


Just in time . . . for all of the items I brought home!

I am still resting on the couch in my rearranged living room. I’m watching movies, reading, knitting and telling several of my lumbar discs to calm down. Seems they didn’t care for the rearranging binge. I injured them 43 years ago and so far have managed to keep them where they belong, though I make them crabby once in a while. They are pretty peeved this time!


And the lovely glass mug from the rummage sale . . . is filled with some hot peppermint* tea to celebrate my twelve hundredth post! Some of you might call it one thousand two hundred, but around here, we like twelves! 





*My tip for the tea is to make black tea and toss in a peppermint candy and stir until it melts. My ‘toss in the candy’ method of making tea works for other hard candies, too. Butterscotch, lemon drops, and anise are my favorites.

Just In Time . . .

May 17, 2015

I have been trying to resist the urge to rearrange my living room – no time with work, after-school sports and regular chores. I write it off to the spring “nesting” I feel after a long school year and a very¬†long winter, when it’s time to open the windows and get a fresh perspective on ‘home’.¬†

I finally gave in to the notion of moving things around. The books came off the shelves and the very heavy shelves got toted to the opposite wall, dusted and then restocked. With the bookcase moved, I could vacuum that empty part of the room and wipe down the wall.

You know how the rest goes. This went here and that went there. Dusting and vacuuming continued. The couch got tucked into a cozy corner where I have never had it in the fifteen years I’ve been in this home. When the heavy moving was done, I made minor aesthetic changes as well.

I think I have that nesting thing out of my system now. It took A-L-L day! I finished just in time, too. I am feeling under the weather today. I’m not sure, yet what ‘weather’ I’m under, though.¬†

So, that couch I just relocated to the cozy corner of the living room is where I have been all day . . . in varying stages of wakefulness. I have all my necessities within arm’s reach: a box of tissues, a good book, the TV remote, water, and my knitting.

I am working on a mohair scarf and in case anyone has not seen these needles, for the photo below, I turned on the lights of my LED knitting needles. I seldom use the lights, but I LOVE the notion that I can knit in the dark it I want to. It’s rainy and overcast today, so the pretty blue and maroon colors are muted. The yarns were in my stash and they were next up in my stashbusting rotation.


I think I will be in this cozy corner of the freshly cleaned, rearranged living room for the rest of the day. I can’t complain, really. I have been relatively healthy all winter.

I feel another nap coming on.~

This, That, and Music

May 15, 2015


My free and repurposed tea rack made the commute to work with me yesterday. It now resides in my cubicle.



It took me a bit longer than a week, but the purse I started last week is finished. I used the Balme Knitted Pouch pattern from Berroco. The purse matches a pair of mittens I made when I first purchased the yarn.


I used a camel/sheep wool blend that was sold at the Minnesota Zoo gift shop years ago. The camel hair was harvested from the Bactrian camels at the zoo and sent to Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill to be spun with sheep wool. 


I am anxiously waiting to listen to two live broadcast concerts by the Minnesota Orchestra. These are historic broadcasts because the orchestra will perform in Havana, Cuba tonight and tomorrow at the invitation of the Cuban Ministry of Culture. I will listen on my local public radio station, but the concerts will be live-streamed online, as well. Click the link to get the broadcast schedule and listen with me!



Repurposed and Free!

May 13, 2015

Not long ago I attended one of my favorite events of the year. A local church has an annual giveaway and pancake breakfast. The breakfast is free and so are all the items in the giveaway: a free rummage sale, if you will.

I enjoy going to breakfast there because I don’t have to cook, or clean, or pay for it and it comes close to the end of a long school year.

The members of the church clean house and donate many different things: clothing, furniture, books, movies, housewares, whatever one can image at a church rummage sale. There was even a 100-lb bag of potatoes opened up with a sign on it that said “FREE”. The implication was not to take the entire bag, but to take FROM the bag. I took three potatoes.

Among the few items I brought home was the item shown in the photo below.


I really didn’t know what it was, but I brought it home with me. I was confident the piece would tell me what it wanted to be. I wonder whether it was for organizing a desk, or for the bathroom. I’m guessing someone will have an idea.

It didn’t take me long to decide how I would use the item. My project required three small boxes, some colorful origami paper, and a little bit of tape. I turned the ‘free white item’ into a tea rack (with apologies to loose leaf tea users) for my cubicle at work.


From top to bottom: black tea, green tea and red bush or ‘rooibos’.

Now . . . here’s my question. You can feel free to tell me what you think the white piece is really intended for, but I would rather hear your creativity and tell me how you would repurpose it.

Not For Lack Of Effort

May 12, 2015

Last week was purse week for stashbusting and I gave it a good try, but . . .

some of my chores took longer than usual and I didn’t mind because they all involved working in¬†my garage and…



it was too nice to be indoors knitting on Saturday, which is when I could likely have completed the purse I have in progress, and . . .


it has been a crazy whirlwind of work and after school sports shuttling, (only two more nights of lacrosse) and . . .



I went to a movie when I could have been knitting, and


I must confess to a nap or two when I guess I could have been knitting.




The good news is the knitting will be there when I get to it. I have one piece to finish before I can put the purse together. It will happen.


May 9, 2015

I don’t post much about books.

I like to read! I like to blog hop and see what other folks are reading. I like to go to the library. I like to go to bookstores. I like the Little Free Libraries. I like the Cloud Library. I like to read to my granddaughter and I like it when she reads to me. One of my aunts was a librarian. Books, books, books!


One of my blog buddies had an interesting post that I just read. Carol at Giraffe Dreams showed the page where she created her own Ideal Bookshelf and it got me thinking about what mine would look like. So I gave it a try.  

Before I show you what I came up with, let me just add a note. When I started blogging, it was more about learning the technology for me than the journaling or the social networking. That has changed a bit because I have actually met some folks who have left comments on my blog, or whose blogs I have visited, but I still like the technology challenge, too.

Having said that, the actual Ideal Bookshelf template was online and I downloaded it and tried to figure out how to use my computer to make my shelf look spiffy. I used MS Paint to edit the template.



The books I’ve added to my shelf¬†vary quite a bit.

Les Miserables taught me compassion. Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl taught me courage. And Quiet Flows the Don taught me tradition. Flick, Ricka, and Dicka¬†taught me to read. Ella Minnow Pea reminded me that I am a word nerd. Elie Wiesel and his book,¬†Memoirs, taught me humility. Heidi taught me the love of a Grandfather. Halfway Home is my favorite autobiography.¬†The Peasants is my favorite saga. I reserved the final book spine to name a few authors who gave me hours of escape or pleasure at various stages of my life.

Thanks, Carol E.  for your post that took me for a stroll down Memory Lane!

What would your ideal bookshelf look like?


It’s Purse Week

May 7, 2015

It took me some time to settle into what I wanted to knit this week in my stash-busting year, but I finally settled on a pattern that I think looks very attractive. I have begun knitting the Balme Cabled Pouch from Berroco. There is a free pattern online, or you can download the PDF pattern from the site.


balme_lgPhoto credit: http://www.berroco.com/patterns/balme 

Because I am stashbusting, mine is not brown, but it will match a hat that I have already made. If it keeps raining on and off here, I should make good progress on my knitting!

How I Spent My Day Off

May 5, 2015

It was a legitimate day off, not hooky. I am allowed a floating holiday each year and I always put it off until there is very little time left to use it. I put in my request, got it approved and made plans to enjoy my day.

But . . . I had a motive.

There was a function going on at work this afternoon and being terribly introverted for the most part, I intentionally requested the day off so I had an excuse to miss it.

I woke up at my usual early hour of the morning, puttered and putzed until GN woke up. I got her to school, packaged up my Mother’s Day gift for my mom, went to the Post Office to mail the gift.

Then I called my mother to have a lovely chat. She answered the phone and when she knew it was me, she started to giggle a bit. She had been knitting and I interrupted her and she knew I would appreciate her hobby. We chatted nonetheless and I told her to watch for my package.

After chatting with Gr8, I went to the grocery store to get the fixings for a yummy supper for Goodnight to eat before the lacrosse games tonight. I made her a steak, potato, broccoli wrap and got lemonade ready for her too.

I looked at the clock and started feeling a little guilty about missing the event at work, but I wanted to go to a movie.

I didn’t go to a movie.

I got myself into the shower and then into some respectful clothes, appropriate for accepting my service award and pin for my twenty-five years at the college. Turns out I will get a clock, too!



I wasn’t the only employee getting a service award today and my absence would have been understood due to the pre-approved use of my floating holiday, but I like the work I do. I like where I work. I have never been late to work. So, I guess I will try for a few more years!



Daisy Week is Over

May 4, 2015

Last week was Daisy Week for me in my stash-busting¬†year. I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish much at all because I had such a full week of appointments on my calendar. Despite the hectic pace, it still worked out the way I hoped.

Daisy Week required some knitting, which is the whole idea behind my stash-busting year, but it required some shopping, too. I wanted to find some lovely Mother’s Day gifts for Gr8 (my mother is GN’s great-grandmother and she has been calling her ‘Gr8′ since she was a little tyke.)

I had such fun knitting my Easter¬†placemats¬†with Daisy buttons on them that I got into a Daisy kick and wanted¬†to share that kick with my mom, but not by sending her¬†placemats.¬†I can’t say that Daisies always jump out at me. My favorite flower is the peony, but my Daisy mission was fun!

I had planned to knit leaves for Gr8’s Daisies, but I could not resist adding antique beaded leaves instead. Luckily, I found them before I had begun knitting leaves! I know they are not the shape of actual Daisy leaves, but the flowers themselves are not made from yarn, either, so I suspended reality in lieu of whimsy.

Interestingly enough, the little shoulder bag, the handkerchief, and the bracelet all came from the same little shop. The shop stocks a mixture of new, used, and antique items. They were not in the same location within the shop, so I sent myself on a scavenger hunt!


Here’s what the Daisies look like after assembly. I think the beaded leaves added a touch of class.


I have not decided what knitting project is next for this week. I have time to come up with something, but first, my morning coffee!

Have a great day!



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