This is a fun pattern to follow from The Little Crochet Farm, if you want to whip up a turtle someday. It seems like children can never have too many stuffed animals.
Have you ever noticed the different ways children hold onto their stuffed animals? A rabbit will dangle towards the ground except for the arm that is being held onto very tightly. Others can be cradled like a baby. Some get so much love, they need to be repaired. Our family went through a streak where stuffed critters were coming over to our house on a regular basis.
“It needs surgery, Grandma,” my grandson announced one day, as he opened a big bag and pulled out a large, gray elephant. “It’s starting to get too skinny.” I carefully placed more stuffing inside and did a tiny repair close to its tail. It was practically back to normal. Only a few of us know where the stitches are. The ones that need mending are the most loved.
This turtle is living with my grandson now. I noticed, this newest critter gets held close, tucked in between the fold of his arm. I’ll hold onto the extra yarn, in case it needs some extra stitches someday. 🙂
I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us. ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, 1840
Last week, Hubby, a/k/a Papa, and I watched our two grandchildren while their mom went to run errands. I desperately wanted to play Chutes & Ladders. It’s a game Papa and I gave the kids for Christmas, but they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Did they know I truly bought it so I could play it with them?!
We got busy playing hide and seek and checked out the other gifts the kids received, while their two dogs looked on or followed us up the stairs and back down again. After running around, the kids settled down and went to find the crayons, markers, and coloring books in the basement. My grandson drew a treasure map and my granddaughter made a colorful design. While digging through the bin, I found three crayons (blue, red, and green) to use while coloring a page out of a coloring book. My creation was nearly halfway done, when the kids decided to go onto their next activity. Up the stairs they ran. I followed along, leaving my coloring project behind.
Soon I heard a whimpering sound coming from the direction of the basement door. Did I close the door, leaving one of the dogs stuck in the basement? When I got to the door, Leo looked up at me. I opened it to find Kona sitting on the top step. Her tail went thump thump on the stairs. How cute it was to see how Leo looks out for Kona.
The dogs didn’t used to watch out for each other. When Leo joined their family, the summer before last, Kona didn’t seem too excited. The German Shepherd hid in different rooms or on different floors of the house to stay out of the Cockalierpoo’s way. After a few weeks, they became friends and are like two peas in a pod now.
The dogs went outside together for a short time. Before we knew it, Mom was home and we chatted. I reluctantly put Chutes & Ladders back in the cupboard where I found it, because it was time for our visit to come to an end. Maybe we will get to play it next time.
Do you ever buy gifts for other people that you really want? 🙂
(This post is in response to WordPress #dailyprompt: Do you play in your daily life? What says “playtime” to you?)
After tidying up a little after Christmas day, I thought about the cookies and how I wanted to condense them into a smaller container. This year, I baked two kinds: almond and shortbread with sprinkles. I also made Yum Yum Balls,* fudge, and turtle bark (almond bark, caramels, and pecans). My daughter and her children helped by baking and sharing peanut blossoms, molasses, and snow on the mountain cookies. We had a lot of cookies! Each household went home with a filled goodie bag. The few that were left behind were stored safely tucked inside the large tote in the garage. (Some Minnesotans like to store their Christmas cookies that way. Cold garages keep cookies fresh and hidden.)
When I went to the garage and saw the container that I had securely fastened the night before, had come askew, I thought, “I hope there’s not a mouse in there.” I peeked inside, and there he was – a small little guy that scurried to and fro – from one side of the tote to the other. Silly me – I secured the top and brought the mouse and cookies inside the house. Feeling quite flustered, I yelled upstairs, “There’s a mouse in the house!” My husband came running down, while I thought about how dumb it was that I brought the large container inside. I quickly moved it back into the garage. My husband thought a mouse was running around the house. Any person would, right? I explained the situation, and Hubby went into the garage to meet the mouse.
My husband let the mouse out to greet the blustery day. The mouse zipped along the outer edge of the house and disappeared to who knows where. Most of the treats were in tins except for the peanut blossoms and molasses cookies. Upon further inspection, I saw little teeth marks on the plastic bag that held the peanut blossoms. Smart mouse went straight for the peanut butter, but it didn’t look like he got a bite. So much work, with so little reward.
Of course, the cookies in plastic bags had to go in the garbage. I couldn’t help but be angry at myself for not hiding the cookies better, but I thought they’d be safe since the Christmas celebration was over. Everyone seemed as if they got enough to eat! Slowly, I forgave the culprit who didn’t fasten the lid, but I felt bad for the mouse. So many mice are in Christmas stories! Now, the cookies are almost gone, and I wonder… Could I have left the peanut blossoms outside for the little guy?!
Life will be interesting only when there is an element of surprise in it. ~ Hamsalekha
Melt butter. Blend in peanut butter. Stir in Rice Krispies. Work in enough powdered sugar to hold mixture together. Refrigerate one hour; form small balls. Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in double boiler. Put chocolate chips and vegetable oil in top of double boiler the same time you put cold water in bottom of double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate (use two spoons to twirl around). Put on wax paper; cool. Enjoy!
It’s a strange phenomenon. Friends have experienced it too. When we see the leaves change to their vibrant colors and the temperatures begin to drop, we dig in our treasure chest of leftover yarn and take an inventory of our crochet hooks and knitting needles. Spending more time inside, helps us get creative.
This fall, the weather thermometers didn’t drop like they usually do. We were greeted with many sunshiny days, and my yarn closet was left unattended.
A few days before Christmas, I managed to stay tucked away in our cozy home. The temperatures stayed below zero for days. There were two more gifts that needed to be created during hibernation. Last year, I crocheted snowmen ornaments for my grandkids. I wondered if making ornaments for them would be a yearly tradition. The closet held plenty of red, white, and green yarn. I admired a reindeer ornament pattern, but the yarn closet didn’t contain those colors. A trip to a store would ruin my plans of staying in hibernation. Plenty of white yarn spilled out to greet me. I began crocheting a snowflake ornament from a pattern I found online. The next morning I woke up and thought, “What kid wants a snowflake ornament? Kids want something fun.”
Luckily, after scrolling through many patterns on Pinterest, I found a cute Santa pattern on the Crochet for You Blog. The ornaments were completed on time without having to make a trip outside to get more materials!
The grandkids’ smiles were a treasure to see, when they opened their packages to find the Santa Claus ornaments. 🙂
(This post is in response to #dailyprompt: “How are you creative?”)
Around the time I was nine years old, my mom decided she no longer wanted to deal with a real tree. It was also the time when, a few days before Christmas, Dad placed a huge, beautifully wrapped box topped with a large red bow next to the artificial tree. My mom, two brothers and I were shocked and couldn’t wait to see what was inside. We never recalled a time when Dad got such a large gift for Mom.
Mom had a little spring in her step, after the box appeared. It seemed as if daily chores didn’t seem as tedious, now that she had such a marvelous present sitting by the tree.
Finally, Christmas Day arrived. Even though the present waited by the tree, we continued to follow our custom of eating dinner first, then opening presents. Mom made a turkey with all the fixings. We enjoyed her cooking and stuffed ourselves until we could hardly move. We all felt like we couldn’t take another bite, but we found room to choose a treat from a silver-colored platter that Mom presented to us. It contained Mom’s homemade assortment of cookies, fudge, fruit cake, peanut brittle, and Swiss croffin,* which was a family favorite.
We all wandered to the living room and found our usual spots after the presents were arranged. Mom’s gifts were piled high on top of the big box. We begged her to open it to see what was inside. After she set the smaller packages aside, Mom stood up and ripped the paper off as fast as she could and tossed it aside. As she pulled at the tape that sealed the box, we waited patiently. She peaked inside, looked up at the chandelier with wide eyes, and loudly said, “A vacuum cleaner?” She repeated that phrase over and over again for days, months and even years. The rest of us couldn’t help but laugh. (Sorry, Mom.)
My father was a soft-hearted, yet practical man. He also liked to tease people, so I’m not sure if the present was supposed to be a joke. Joke or not, Dad seemed to learn something from that experience. The rest of the gifts he gave Mom came in much smaller packages! It’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂
Do you have a memory of when someone you know received a shocking gift that continues to bring a smile to your face?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, filled with presents in smaller packages!
* Swiss croffin, or Swiss kuchli, is the size of a small donut and is a pear-filled pastry. It contains anise seed, dried pears, walnuts, and sugar. The mixture is simmered for two hours. After cooking, the water is drained. The mixture is mashed and placed in a pie crust that is separated with a cookie cutter. Each pastry is sealed and fried in a deep fryer until lightly brown. The last step is to cover it all with powdered sugar. I’ve never made this recipe, because of my fear of deep fryers! Plus, it’s a lot of work.
When our daughter Katie was 10 years old or so, she proceeded to tell me about her school day, while I was busy getting dinner ready. I nodded and replied with my usual “uh-huhs” at what I thought were the appropriate instances. Those instances were in between her breaths and in between my chopping of vegetables. I tried to get the vegetables chopped while trying to listen, but Katie noticed my lack of attention. She abruptly stopped talking, looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re not listening with your eyes.”
It was a true statement, which made me think back to the best piece of advice I’ve ever received. The advice was from my husband’s grandmother. She once told me to “Always listen to your children no matter what you’re doing. If you do that, you shouldn’t have any problems. It worked for me,” she said. Plus, the words “listen with your eyes” are from an old song sung by Peggy Lee entitled, I Can Sing a Rainbow. When I was younger, I played that tune so many times on my Mom and Dad’s phonograph it got embedded into my memory. Once the song was over, I lifted the arm and situated the needle back to the beginning of that song. At that time, I didn’t know it would become a favorite lullaby for me to share in my future days with my lovely children. I didn’t think of it as a lullaby back when I played it on the phonograph. I mostly liked how Ms. Lee sang the song, which is quite different from her other tunes.
I said, “You’re right, Katie.” I left the vegetables by themselves and sat down at the kitchen table next to her. I looked into her eyes and said, “I’m listening now.” Dinner got on the table a little later than usual, but I heard every word. I’m unable to recall what the conversation was about, but I remember it was important. It reminded me to listen with my eyes.
Have you ever heard that old song? I like how it gets sung to our grandchildren now! You never know when you’re learning something even if you’re just doing it for fun… What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Silent” and “listen” are spelled with the same letters. ~Author unknown
P.S. Today, I couldn’t think of anything to write, so I went to Writer’s Digest Presents A Year of Writing Prompts, by Brian A. Klem and Zachary Pettit. “April 24 – What’s the Best Advice You’ve Received? Everyone is always offering advice on everything. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?”
As long as I can remember, we’ve colored eggs by gathering coffee mugs and placing the little dye capsule in each mug. We added vinegar, water, and the boiled egg and waited for the eggs to turn different colors. Sometimes we dunked the eggs in different cups, which made them look psychedelic. This year, we tried something different with our grandchildren. We used the Eggmazing Easter Egg Decorator Kit. The egg spins around inside the contraption while the artist holds the marker, which dyes the eggs to make different designs. It was fun entertainment that lasted a long while. There were no cups to wash or a big mess to clean up afterwards.
Our grandkids were very proud of their creations. Papa and Grandma each got to color our own egg. We were happy to watch the kids have fun, but later next week, Papa and I will boil eggs and make our own!
Easter is the only time when it’s perfectly safe to put all of your eggs in one basket. ~Evan Esar
This week, our daughter visited us with her two children for a few days. We invited our other daughter and son-in-law over for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. After a tasty dinner of Irish stew, green jello, rolls, and shamrock butter cookies, the boys went outside to hit a golfball around in the melting piles of snow. The girls stayed in and chatted around the dinner table. Our granddaughter sat in front of us, the brightest centerpiece ever to adorn our table. My two daughters and I began to sing songs with her. Granddaughter acted as our conductor and sang along with us. Her favorite song that day was “Happy Birthday.” We sang the song many times. Granddaughter’s bright blue eyes shone with her cheeks puffed up in a smile, looking as though she was happy to be the centerpiece. Once the song was finished, Granddaughter “blew out” the battery-operated candle, with her mom’s perfect timing of flipping the off switch. The minute the candle was “blown out,” Granddaughter immediately said, “Again.” The candle got switched on, and we started the song from the beginning. Singing the song many times didn’t seem like a broken record. We were happy to follow her instructions and enjoyed each little vignette.
Our singing went on until our conductor was ready to explore other opportunities. The first thing she found was the bottom of the candle and how the switch operated. Once she figured that out, we were off to the other room where all the toys waited. None of us wondered how she managed to wrap us all around her little finger. We followed our little conductor to see where her curiosity would lead us.
While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt
About a year ago is when the shelves at the grocery store looked unattended, when actually there were shortages. There were either shortages of people being able to put items on the shelves, quickly enough, or shortages of people being able to process food and many other reasons. There were only a few times I had to substitute something with another item. It’s nice to see the shelves filling up at the store now.
Imagine my surprise this week, when I walked down the canned meat aisle and couldn’t find Spam. All the other shelves were pretty well attended, except for where the Spam usually sits. There were some cans of turkey Spam and Spam with Bacon, but that’s not the classic Spam we usually pick up about once or twice a year.
We checked another store – no Spam. When I went in search of Spam on the Internet, I learned there’s a shortage due to the pandemic. Demand is very high. Right when I was appreciating fuller shelves, Spam went missing. There is obviously no replacement for Spam. Thankfully, when we checked Target, we found three cans and we happily purchased one. My husband likes to make what he calls “Spams.” Here’s the recipe:
Spams 1-12 ounce can of classic Spam 1-8 ounce brick of cheddar cheese, mild (use about 3/4 of a brick) 1 medium yellow onion 1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip 1 dozen hamburger buns Meat grinder
Cut the Spam, brick of cheese, and onion in quarters and alternately rotate through meat grinder into a large bowl. After the mixture is ground together, stir to mix, and add enough mayo until it sticks together well, but don’t overdo it. Spoon mixture to cover an open faced bun. Place open faced bun face side up under broiler and broil until cheese is melted. Make as many as you want. Store unused portion of Spams in the refrigerator. Use up leftovers within three days.
Lila loves the crumbs that fall to the floor, which happens during preparation. A little taste for dogs is okay, but I wouldn’t give Lila a bunch. That could lead to disastrous consequences.
My husband’s mom made these when her kids were younger and now my husband is carrying on the tradition. Some of our children do not care for Spams, but I find them to be just as delicious as Lila believes them to be! Do you have any favorite Spam recipes? If so, please share in the comments!
Months ago, I found a pattern on Pinterest for a Valentine’s Bear. It’s so cute, I decided to try to make one for each of my grandkids. I felt like I was doing a good job of getting the stitches right, but when I sewed the pieces together, they looked crooked. Plus, the heads were floppy. After completing the two bears, I looked up the reviews on the pattern, and many people commented on how the bear’s head was too big for its body, and that they were having a hard time getting the head to sit up straight. (Note to self: Read reviews before attempting any patterns.)
Projects likes these are an investment in time. It’s difficult when it doesn’t turn out the way you like. I sorta felt like tossing the little bears in the trash, because they weren’t perfect, like the picture on the pattern. Then I thought how everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and that maybe they would love them because their grandma made it. I wrapped the bears in gift bags and gave them to the grandkids yesterday.
My little granddaughter hugged the bear tight, close to her neck, which warmed my heart. She called it bunny, and pointed to her brother’s bear and said her brother’s name. She wanted to let us know he got one too. “Heart,” she said, when she pointed to the chest.
My grandson liked his bear too. “It’s so soft,” he said, when he hugged it. “How did you make it, Grandma?” he asked.
”I crocheted it.” The bear got a good looking over and another hug. Funny how the bear’s head doesn’t flop around when it’s being hugged! Hugs straighten everything out, right?
Most of the time, I work on simple blankets, so I can stitch away, without counting or keeping track of stitches. Once you learn the pattern, it sticks in your mind and becomes automatic. Whatever! Now I think I’m going to try to crochet a bunny, because Easter is on its way. I found a pattern that has good reviews! Besides, practice makes perfect.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️
It is not the gift, but the thought that counts. ~Henry van Dyke, Jr.