Friday, August 31, 2007

Have a great weekend!

Just a quick note to let you know I won't have computer access until Wednesday morning - so look forward to catching up with everyone then!

What says, "Welcome" to you?

After the quote I posted yesterday, there were some great comments. I thought we should continue this discussion today if you are all up for it!

Katie shared that she loves Psalm 127 for encouragement on this topic, so this morning I read it and was encouraged by this:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." ~ Psalm 127:1a
I agree with another commenter, Andrea, that it is not simply how clean the home is if it feels welcoming. So, what is it that gives us that take off your shoes, relax and be yourself kind of feeling when we go into someone's home?

I love the above painting because it says, "welcome" to me. Why? I love the cozy look of the rain with the glowing windows. There are lights on in every house shown. Someone is home and cares enough to turn the lights on to welcome those who are coming.

I always picture that I am in the house in the front right corner. I am at the stove preparing a warm and comforting soup and homemade bread. There are children playing happily (!) and soft music is drifting through the house. The table is set with a touch of beauty and above all, love is served.

Yes, this is an idyllic scene I'm creating here in my mind. But - really what is it that makes us feel truly welcomed and at home in another place? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Kind of Home I Want

"When home is ruled according to God's Word, angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Cinnamon Topped Oatmeal Muffins

1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 T. baking powder
1 c. oats (quick or old fashioned)
3 T. oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk

Stir only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar on top. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Potty Training: Input Requested

I know - I may be sorry for opening up this topic. But, I need some input. I realize there are as many opinions and options as there are children and I will wade through your comments with the goals and temperaments of our family in mind. And, I will continue praying about all of this.

We have a nearly three year old that is more than capable of going on the potty. But, she never wants to.

Here's an example: if you can get her into the bathroom and to sit on the potty - she will go nearly every time. She will tell me when she went in her pants and she can identify if she is just wet or is also dirty.

She has received nothing but praise when she goes and gets an M&M for her success (one for remaining dry, one for going, etc...) She never seems to mind going, but if you ask her if she needs or wants to, you will NEVER get a "yes" response.

The thing is that she is a very good listener and good at following directions. I know that she if fully capable of accomplishing this. And, I think she is being lazy about it. My husband and I both feel that she could continue on like this for an indefinite amount of time.

With all that said, I have heard nothing but encouragement not to push children into potty training and that they will train easily when they are ready and interested.

So, here is my question - should we just take away the diapers and require her to stop being lazy about this and learn to go potty? Or, should we continue to wait it out? I am weary of this inbetween stage and feel like we are making no progress. It would be a huge blessing to have her potty trained before the new baby comes, so that is why we're thinking about this now.

I almost just went cold turkey today - but realized I needed to be better prepared and have a better sense of what is right for our family and for Emily.

Ok, here's your chance - let me hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Great Read

Joy had a wonderful link yesterday and I just want to share it here too as it has been on my mind a lot since I read it. If you have a chance, read Sarah's article on Sneaky Idols...

Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner

I finally had my first success with the Crock Pot! I've heard so many sing its' praises, but I've struggled to make meals that we like in the Crock Pot.

So, I was excited to try this recipe my Mom sent me that has become a favorite of theirs. It was SUPER easy and very tasty!

I served it with steamed green beans and homemade rolls (from the freezer) ~ yummy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner (from Taste of Home)

6 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used baby carrots)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I used three)
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup, undiluted (my Mom reports that this substitute works just fine!)
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
2-4 Tbsp. mashed potato flakes, optional (I did not use these)

Place potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with chicken. Combine the soups and garlic salt; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. To thicken if desired, stir potato flakes into the gravy and cook for 30 minutes longer.

Yield: 4 servings

Weekly Deals

Wow! I don't know about all of you - but while I simply thrive on getting a good deal - I'm finding that it is an enormous amount of work and the cashiers don't seem to like people like me very much. Sigh.

Anyway - here are the deals I found this week:

Walgreens: (I had a hard time finding some of the free items, so you will notice they are not in the picture, but make sure to check your stores!)
* Alka-Seltzer Plus Immunity Complex: sale price $6.99 - cash register rewards $6.99 = free
* Pantene Pro-V Texturize! Hair Care: $4.99 with $4.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Rimmel Renew & Lift Makeup: $8.99 with $8.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Aquafresh Toothbrush: $3.99 with $3.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Zantac 150 8 count: $4.99 with $4.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Clear Care Contact Solution 4 oz.: $6.99 with $6.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Children's Tylenol and Children's Tylenol Plus: 2/$10 with $5.00 mail-in-rebate and $3.00 mfr. coupon in yesterday's paper = $2.00 for two bottles (an amazing deal since they are normally $6.99 a bottle!) NOTE: I was overcharged on this, but note that both items are shown in the ad and I did get my money back.
* Suave Professionals products: 5/$10 with $5 mail-in-rebate and two $1.00 mfr. coupons off of two bottles each = $3.00 for five products
* Deerfield Farms cheese: sale price $0.99 - no extra coupons on this one, but it is a good deal. NOTE: Make sure to carefully check the dates on cheese products at Walgreens. Both my Mom and I have seen expired products on sale.

* Targus Ladies Essential tote: $49.99 - $36 instant savings - $11 easy rebate = $2.99 (ours was already out!)
* 8-pack #2 Dixon yellow pencils: $0.01; limit three

Eckerd's/Rite Aid:
* Zantac 150 8 ct.: $4.99 - $4.99 mail-in-rebate = free
* Duck EZ Start Packing Tape: $1.50 - $1.50 mail-in-rebate = free (this is a repeat, you may only qualify for one offer during the month of August)

* Zantac 150 8 ct: $5.49 - $5.49 Extra Bucks printed at register = free
* Rice Krispie Treats 8 ct (Pop Tarts and Yogos snacks are on sale also): $1.69 - $1.00 off 2 mfr. coupon = $4.76 for four boxes
* Kellogg's Cereal: $1.99 - $1.00 off 2 mfr. coupon = $9.94 for six boxes
There was a mail-in-rebate in the paper a couple of weeks ago for $10 back on ten Kellogg's products - so my total for all of this will be: $4.70

* I also bought a couple of other sale items and used my $20 Extra Bucks coupon from all the cereal that was on sale a couple of weeks ago - so I paid $1.29 cash out of my pocket for everything I bought and got $2.00 in Extra Bucks at the register - so I came out on the good end!

I am really trying not to buy sugary cereal, but honestly - this was a deal I could not pass up and I will set aside one morning a week for cereal so that it does not become our norm. Also, David loves Rice Krispie treats and as much as I prefer homemade items, mine just aren't as good as these. So, these will be special treats for us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Grocery Experiment

I have always done my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. But, I have been growing weary of both the experience of the trip and the quality of the food available. So, I decided to conduct a little experiment this week.

There is another local grocery store that I always enjoy going in ~ you guessed it ~ less convenient and more expensive. I decided to do my grocery shopping there with the goal of spending the same amount I would have at Wal-Mart.

I prayed about it on the way over because I felt kind of guilty even trying it. What if it was so much more expensive that our money did not stretch as far? Was it worth the extra 15 minutes each way?

We pulled in and Emily spied her favorite kind of cart - you know the kind with the little car on front that she can sit in and steer?! So, she was excited right off the bat. Lots of retired people were shopping this particular morning and many stopped to talk to the girls and admire them. Every employee we encountered was friendly and helpful.

I found that some of their sale prices on name brand items were cheaper than the Wal-Mart brand comparable item. I looked for the best deals I could get. I even felt like it was such a provision when I found a "Try Me Free" bag of chicken!

In the end - I got everything I went in for (minus one item they did not carry) and my total was $4.00 less than my grocery budget for two weeks! I was thrilled.

The clerk helping bag my groceries did not ask if I needed help out - she just informed me that she was going to help me out. And, while I put the groceries in the car, she stood and held Rachel and both of them had a wonderful time smiling and giggling together. Who knows what a blessing that may have been in her day as well!

My conclusion is that while some items were a bit more expensive, others were less expensive on sale. And, the overall shopping experience was vastly more enjoyable. The girls were happy and pleasant when we left as well. The food is better quality and their produce is gorgeous! So, I left a very happy shopper who can't wait to go grocery shopping again!

Weekend Update

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

We joined some friends for dinner on Friday night - for Family Night - and tried a new place. A favorite was the cheese muffins ~ here's a recipe to try them!

Then we went to Michael's where I had my first coupon that did not exclude Martha Stewart products, this was my special treat! (Grace, want to come make these with Melissa and I?)

The winner of the stamps is: Amy!!

The winner of the birthday supplies is: Kristin!

Congratulations, ladies - these will be mailed out this week!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fun Mail!

I just have to show you all what came in my mail box today! My sweet friend, Grace, sent me these most delicious kitchen towels! I love them!!! Can you see the cute ric-rac trims on the bottom?! And, notice that the tag at the top says, "Pack a Picnic ~ A basket full of fun!" Love that too!

Isn't it just the best thing to have a friend who has great taste! Thank you, Grace - these made my day!

Rainy Day Trunk!

I love Sarah Ban Breathnach's idea in her book, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions, about having a Rainy Day Cupboard. Her idea is that these craft supplies and time occupiers are saved for days when the weather is dreary and children cannot go out. I may end up using ours as a Heat Advisory Trunk instead - but still the same idea!

I have had my collection building over the last several years and think that Emily is just now getting to an age where I could implement this. However, when we cleaned it out earlier this week - she had a ball looking through all the trims and goodies!

My supplies are stored in our living room "coffee table" - which is actually an old steamer trunk. I have paper, old forms (I used to love to play with these), art supplies, a big box of old trims and ribbons, egg cartons and meat trays, etc...

Do any of you have such a spot?

I came across a bunch of these while going through a box of craft supplies David's aunt sent me - are these for embroidery or red-work?

Blog-Style Baby Shower Update!

Remember the baby shower we had for Joy? Well, hop on over here and read her account of what just arrived at her house?! Such fun!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Broccoli Chicken Lasagna

Wilma - this is for you! And for anyone else who would love to try it! This recipe was published in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook about a year and a half ago. Hope you enjoy it!

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. chicken bouillon granules
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 c. milk
2 c. shredded Italian-blend cheese
1 c. cooked chicken, diced
2 c. broccoli flowerets, cooked
4 strips prepared lasagna, divided (this oven-ready lasagna works great and is very simple!)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat; stir in flour, bouillon, pepper and Italian seasoning. Gradually stir in milk; cook and stir until thickened. Add cheese; stir until melted. Mix in chicken and broccoli. Spread 1/2 cup mixture in the bottom of an 8"x8" balking pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Top with half the lasagna. Top with half the remaining sauce; repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fresh Apple Muffins

Fresh Apple Muffins

1 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. chopped apple
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Combine all ingredients and spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes: one dozen muffins

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Little House Stocking: Homemade Doll

"...Laura was the happiest of all. Laura had a rag doll. She was a beautiful doll. She had a face of white cloth with black button eyes. A black pencil had made her eyebrows, and her cheeks and her mouth were red with the ink made from pokeberries. Her hair was black yarn that had been knit and raveled, so that it was curly.

She had little red flannel stockings and little black cloth gaiters for shoes, and her dress was pretty pink and blue calico.

She was so beautiful that Laura could not say a word." ~ Little House in the Big Woods
I decided to start the stocking process with a homemade doll - like Laura's Charlotte doll! So, Sunday afternoon - here is what I came up with. I used all materials I already had - so the total spent was ZERO! I will need to buy one more piece of felt to finish Rachel's doll - but, Emily's is already done.

My disclaimer: I am NOT a good seamstress - so you will find that I probably did not do this the way I should have or could have if I was better at sewing. But, I did take what I knew how to do and use it to create this little doll.

Here is what I did:

Draw a doll body onto a piece of plain fabric. Cut out two pieces.

Stitch around the entire body going through both pieces of fabric.

Cut a slit being careful to go through only one layer of fabric.

Turn doll right side out and stuff with cotton filling. Use a pencil eraser to help press the filling into the arms, legs and head. Stitch up the back opening.

Lay doll on a piece of felt. Note: I used felt instead of cotton fabric because I knew that with my sewing skills, I could not successfully make doll clothes that were sturdy enough to be taken on and off. So, I sewed these clothes right onto the doll.

Cut a dress using the doll as a pattern.

Now use the one piece of the dress to cut a second piece.
Stitch the dress around the doll using a buttonhole stitch. Cut an apron that is double the width of her waist and run a thread across the top pulling to gather. Sew a small pocket onto the front of the apron and cut the bottom edge with pinking shears. Stitch to the doll. Cut a thin strip of felt and sew that around the gathers to form a finished edge.
Cut small strips with pinking shears and form into a bow for the back of the apron. Stitch to the back.

For her hair, cut small strips of felt with pinking shears and stitch on in bunches all over. I know, I went wild with the hair. Stitch on buttons or beads for the eyes and dab cheeks with blush. I had some crocheted flowers left from this and decided to stitch one onto the front of the dress. Isn't she cute?

I don't think I'm going to do a mouth or shoes - I just love her just like she is. Also, I thought of taking a fine pen and writing on her leg, "Made with love for Emily by Mama - 2007"

Deals This Week

Here's what I found this week - make sure to check the comments because others have been leaving some great tips on other good deals!

Eckerd/Rite Aid:
* Avery Advantages Big Tab Pocket Insertable Plastic Reference Dividers 5 pack: sale price $1.00 - in ad coupon $1.00 = free
* Bic Mark-It Permanent Marker (one or two pack) : sale price $1.00 - mail-in-rebate $1.00 = free
* Post-it Flag Highlighter (look for one with a free bonus highlighter!): sale price $1.99 - mail-in-rebate $1.99 = free
* Adidas deodorant: $3.29 sale price - mail-in-rebate $3.29 = free
* Duck Brand EZ Start Clear Mailing Tape (this is a repeat from last week, if you already bought it, you can only submit one offer): $1.50 sale price - $1.50 mail-in-rebate = free

* Adidas deodorant: $2.99 sale price and buy one get one free - manufacturer's coupon in Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago for one free = two free

* McAfee Total Protection 2007: $79.99 sale price - $30 and $50 mail-in-rebates = free
* Webroot Spy Sweeper with Antivirus 2007: $34.99 sale price - $35 mail-in-rebates = free

* Sea Breeze Astringent 10 oz.: sale price $3.99 - Extra Bucks Reward $3.99 = free

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Update

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on ideas you have and inspirations that we share! What fun it will be to see some of these projects completed and enjoyed by our families!

We had a fun and relaxing time with friends and the girls enjoyed playing with other children! We were away for Family Night so there is not a specific idea to share - though we enjoyed being together!

Here are a few pictures from the girls playing at the park!

Back To School

Emily seems ready to do something, however small, for schooling this year. So, after talking with a few friends and doing some research myself - this is what our plan is. We will have school 2-3 days per week beginning after Labor Day and our goals are:

* Establish school routines
* Learn to use scissors, how to hold a pencil and start tracing letters. Learn to recognize lowercase letters (she currently recognized uppercase only).
* Continue Scripture memory.

Our material will include:
* Letter of the Week Curriculum
* My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts
* Animals Animals, by Eric Carle
* The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays and Chants
* Music that goes with the rhymes: CD
* Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills (found for $1.00 at Goodwill!); selected pages
* The Pledge of Allegiance, Pledge to the Christian Flag and Pledge to the Bible

I know already that there are MANY options for homeschooling and that some of you will have different opinions on what to choose than what I have selected. This is what seems right and good for Emily and for our family.

But, I am excited about getting started and trust that God will use whatever we do to teach and train Emily to know and love Him as well as be educated in the process! I know that I will also learn things I may want to change in the future - but that is part of the learning process.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ideas Swirling...

The girls and I are headed out of town today for a brief overnight trip to see a friend and her children! Should be lots of fun!

And, while I don't really know what to post today (this rarely ever happens!) I thought I'd just post some things that have been swirling around in my mind...

* I've been doing tons of Christmas crafting to fill orders! So fun!!

* I'm working on David's birthday which is coming up early September.

* Planning a girls night in at my house over Labor Day involving a viewing of this and some yummy treats!

* Pondering how to make a Little House on the Prairie themed stocking for each of the girls this year - a candy stick, a rag doll, simple and homey.

* Thinking ahead to the 2nd Annual Homespun Harvest party!

* Crafting and working on goodies for my shoebox swap! FUN!

* Making more dishcloths.

* Bidding on old Big Ben clocks (non-working is fine) on ebay to re-create an awesome idea I read about on Curious Sofa.

* Buying clear vinyl to make these super neat "wallets" featured in September issue of Country Living.

* Starting to menu plan for a trip to Florida in October!

* Have you seen the Fall Land's End Kids catalog? I was very impressed by the little girls clothes - cute, feminine and modest! Yes, they are out of my price range - but I just want to say that I'm impressed by what they have to offer!

What ideas are in your head right now?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mitford Moment: Being Together

I love the description of Father Tim's time at Meadowgate after dinner. They all curled up in front of a cozy fire and enjoyed conversation and then Marge asked Father Tim to read aloud. What a comforting idea to spend this kind of quality time together without needing to be "entertained" ~ what is your idea of a cozy and comforting time together with those you love?

Trees In Threes

Several of you suggested grouping the trees in sets of three - so now that I have made lots more, here are the pix! I've been busy making these to fill orders and a couple of ladies ordered two green and one red tree as a set - I think the ones with the stars are my favorites!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Homespun Meal

Is there such a thing as a Homespun Meal? I don't know - but if there is, this is what would come to my mind! I was so excited to make a big and "old-fashioned" meal on Monday night - it was worth the effort!

Our Menu:
Cynthia's Roast Chicken (with rosemary from our yard)
Twice Baked Potatoes (I combined several recipes and came up with my own)
Steamed Zucchini
Homemade Dinner Rolls (new recipe)

The chicken just coming out of the oven:

And, ready to serve:
Twice Baked Potatoes: Wash and bake 2 potatoes on 400 for about one hour or until tender. Slice a small piece off the top side of one potato and scoop out all the insides.

Saute 2 Tbsp. butter and 2-3 Tbsp. fresh chopped onion. Mix cooked potato, butter and onion mixture, 1 1/2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, scant 1/4 c. shredded cheese and about 2 T. whole milk. Blend with mixer or potato masher. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill potato skins with mashed potato mixture and return to 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon if desired.

Dinner Rolls:

Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls:
1 c. warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
4-4 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about five minutes.

Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in flour, 1 c. at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (I did not need all 4 1/2 cups). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to four days.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 24 equal portions. Shape into a ball and place into greased 9x13 baking pan. Note: I froze most of mine on a tray with waxed paper to pull out and use in the future and only baked what we would eat last night or today)

Cover and let rolls rise until doubled, about one hour. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Break rolls apart and serve. Rolls will be fluffier in height if baked closer together - since I did not bake the whole batch, mine were a bit more spread apart and therefore spread out instead of up!

These were also delicious reheated the next morning with butter and apple butter on them! Yummy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

America Garland

One of my lovely readers wrote me and asked how I made the America Garlands - so here are all the details for anyone who wants to make one!

Trace a cookie cutter or other star shape on alternating red, white and blue cardstock. Cut out stars. Make two smaller stars for the ends out of same paper and cut out.

I used a metallic pen to decorate each letter - the small stars do not have a letter on them. Just the big ones - put one letter on each star and then decorate the border as desired:

Cut a piece of twine to the desired length and hot glue a loop on each end to hang the garland by. Glue the small star over the ends of the loop to hide the cut end. Then, evenly space the other stars to spell A-M-E-R-I-C-A and glue them on to the twine. Hang and enjoy!

When I had my first guest room as a single girl, I made a "canopy" out of sheer fabric and lots and lots of these stars made into garlands. I used a star hole punch to create a hole in the top of each star and then tied them on to lengths of twine, they are now hanging over our windows in our family room:

Deals of the Week!

Here are the deals I found for this week, as always - please add others that you know of!

Eckerd/Rite Aid:
* GE 2-pk light bulbs: sale price 2/$2; mail-in-rebate for $2 = free
* Duck Packing Tape: sale price $1.50; mail-in-rebate for $1.50 = free
* Fructis Color Shield shampoo or conditioner: sale price $2.99; mail-in-rebate for $2.99 = free

* Colgate Toothpaste: $2.99 sale price; $2.00 Extra Bucks Reward at register; I also had a manufacturer's coupon for 0.75 = 0.25 paid
* Advil PM: $4.99 sale price; $4.99 Extra Bucks Reward at register = free
* Schick Quattro single razor with single cartridge: sale price $2.00; manufacturer's coupon in Sunday's paper for $2.00 = free
* Buy 3 American Greetings cards and get $2.00 back in Extra Bucks Reward; check out the 0.99 cent cards for a great deal!

NOTE: you can use your Extra Bucks from last week to pay for these items making them truly free!

* All Laundry Soap 100 oz.: $3.99 sale price; buy $15 in participating UniLever products and get $5 back in Register Rewards to be used on your next purchase making these $2.75 each. (If you have coupons, the deal is even better!)
* Lysol Sanitizing Wipes: 3/$6 sale price; $3/3 mail-in-rebate = $1.00 each (I also had a $1.00 coupon making them 0.67 each and then I went to Staples and saw them for $4.99 each!!!)

* McAfee Total Protection 2007: $69.99 sale price; $25 and $45 mail-in-rebates = free
* Trend Micro Internet Security: $49.99 sale price; $10 and $40 mail-in-rebates = free
* CA Internet Security Suite 2007: $39.99 sale price; $20 and $20 mail-in-rebates = free
* Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0: $69.99 sale price; $25 and $45 mail-in-rebates = free

Monday, August 13, 2007

Family Night: "Bowl" Night

Our outdoor idea from last week is just going to have to wait, I guess. We were under a Heat Advisory all week and didn't think we should be outside much - so, we had a "bowl" night.

I served "bowls" of pasta, salad and bread:

Then, we "bowled" with two-liter bottles and a plastic ball:

For dessert, I found these waffle "bowls" at the grocery store:

We all had fun - doesn't this photo just capture why we have Family Night?!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Crocheted Dishcloths

Here is another project I've been working on lately - I told you I had the crafting bug! I decided I wanted to do a project out of Mary Jane's book and after looking through, I decided this was the one!

Following her instructions, this would be about a 4" square dish cloth - so, I ripped lots of it out and added more width and lots more rows.

First, select your yarn (she says it should be 100% cotton). Look at these delicious colors and combinations I found at Michael's! They are called Sugar 'n Cream and were $1.49 a skein. I am estimating at this point that I should be able to get three dishcloths out of two skeins making them $1 each. A far cry from my current favorite dishcloth - a treat from my Mom!

To make:
* Chain 33 (or desired size), skip the last one and do a single crochet in each of the others creating a total of 32 single crochets. I used a size "J" hook.
* At the end of the row, chain one and skip that stitch repeating the single crochets in each of the stitches on the previous row.
* Repeat until it is the desired size. Tie off and weave ends into stitches.

I have enjoyed making these so much. This ranks right up there with canning as far as a wholesome activity that contributes to my home. I felt like Ma Ingalls. Yes, these still turned out considerably smaller than the dishcloths I usually use. But, I got to thinking - why does it need to be so big? How much of the dishcloth do I actually use at once?!

One of my favorite things about this project (and any crocheting project I have done) is that the crochet hook I use was my Granny's (my great-grandmother) and I love that it is from a previous generation still getting enjoyment and use. I wonder what she made with it?

I think these will make such fun stocking stuffers and will be a great inclusion into the nursery workers goodie basket! Here are two wrapped up and ready to go complete with tie-ons!