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Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Busy, Fun-filled Week

It was a busy, fun-filled week here at Cottage Headquarters. My brother, sister-in-law, and niece, Sydney, came for a visit from their home in California. I forgot what it was like to have a four (soon to be five) year old in the house, but we loved every minute of it, and it was a sad, teary goodbye when they left for the airport this afternoon. She was plastered to my son's side the entire week, and she and I have declared ourselves BFF's.

They flew in last Friday, and the family fun started right away with dinner that evening at my sister's house. Saturday we went geocaching. Sunday was fossil hunting at the fossil park. After the fossil park we went out for pizza and ice cream. Monday night my brother and sister-in-law had a date night, which they never get to do at home. So we took Sydney out to dinner, and then we went to the grocery store to pick up what we needed for her birthday party, and she picked out a birthday cake. Tuesday was birthday party day. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, had cake and ice cream, and opened presents. Wednesday my brother, sister-in-law, son, and Sydney, spent the day at Imagination Station, a hands-on science museum, and that evening my sister took Sydney to Build-A-Bear for her birthday. Thursday we met up with my cousin and his wife for lunch. After lunch my son and I took Sydney to the playground as a reward for being so patient as we grown-ups sat gabbing and laughing in the restaurant for almost 2 1/2 hours. That evening my cousin and his wife came to my house for a couple more hours of gabbing and laughing. Friday morning we all went out for breakfast. After breakfast Sydney and I spent some one-on-one time together. That evening we grilled out for dinner, and then went to the planetarium at the University of Toledo. Sydney is a total solar system junky. She can name all the planets and knows more about the solar system than any four year old should. It is her life.

It was a great time, and we jammed in just about all we could. It's a lot of work keeping an active four year old busy and entertained, but I think we managed to do it, and the visit was a complete success. She cried when it was time for them to leave (and she was not alone) and told me she wanted to stay with me forever. I love that sweet little girl and miss her already. We have made a date to Skype every Sunday, and I can't wait to see her and talk to her tomorrow. Until then, I will be napping. I'm pooped!

Until next time . . .
 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bad Blogger . . . Bad, Bad Blogger

My last post was almost one year ago!?! My name is Janet, and I'm a bad blogger. I admit it, and admitting that you have a problem is the first step to correcting it, right?

Actually, nothing too earth shattering has happened around here since my last post. Our son made it through his first year of college. He's majoring in chemical engineering, with a minor in chemistry. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him, but he's determined to get through it, and we are very proud of him. He took this summer semester off as it will be his last chance to take any kind of a real break. When the fall semester starts the end of August he will be taking classes or working a co-op (interning) year round. So this is his last hoorah. Welcome to the real world, son!

We did experience the worst winter in the history of the world! Well, that might be a bit dramatic, but let me tell you, it was not a fun time. We live in Northwest Ohio, right on Lake Erie, and I've lived here all my life. So snow and cold temps in the winter are no surprise. But it SNOWED (close to 90 inches), and it was COLD. In fact, cold doesn't even begin to describe some of the temps/wind chills we had. I hate winter, and this last one just solidified that feeling. I was never so glad to see spring in all my life. Now the sun is shining, the weather is warm, the flowers are in full bloom, and we can actually step outside without our nostrils instantly freezing together. Life is good.

Through it all, not surprisingly, I crocheted. I mean, what else do you do when you can't bear to go outside for five months. Here's a little peek at a few of the new items I added to my Etsy Shop.

 
 
 
I recently discovered kumihimo. I think I might be a little late to the kumihimo party, but I really like it. It's a lot of fun, and really gets my creative juices flowing. Lately, everything I see I think, "hmmmmm, can I kumihimo that?"
 
I'm making a vow to give this blogging thing another try. However, I'm just a fairly normal girl from Ohio who prefers to live life simple and undramatic. Emphasis on the undramatic. I crochet and kumihimo when I should be cleaning a toilet or something, but I promise to keep it real. I also can't promise that my posts will not consist of anything more exciting than "I ate a hot fudge sundae yesterday," but sometimes that's all it takes to make my day complete.
 
Great. Now I want a hot fudge sundae.
 
Until next time . . .

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hello Stranger

Hello there! Did you miss me? Did you even notice that I was gone? Well, I'm back. I didn't leave the country, or the state, or even the county. I didn't go on a wild safari, or to the beach, or anywhere fun and exciting. Just been at home, crocheting, and enjoying the summer.

Our boy graduated high school in May. Why and how did this happen?!? I had been dreading this day since he started kindergarten. Time has passed way too fast for my liking, and now he will start college in four weeks. Four weeks! I'm excited and nervous for him. Thankfully, he chose the University of Toledo and will live at home and commute. That makes me happy. I'm not quite ready for him to leave home. Will I ever be ready for that? I think not.

We had a small graduation party for him last month. He didn't want a huge blow-out, so we had mainly our close family and a few friends. It turned out to be a great time and was just what he wanted.

A few weeks after that was July 4th. We had our annual backyard party. We live within walking distance to view the fireworks and have a party every year, and whoever wants to come over for some food, drinks, and fireworks is welcome. It's always a "blast!" Get it? Okay, I'm moving on now.

 I added some new items to my Etsy Shop since my last post. These ruffled scarves are so fun and versatile. I have a couple of my own, and I love them.

I also added a couple new baby beanies. An Ohio State (Go Bucks!) and a Detroit Tigers. I'm planning on doing some other teams with the little baseball applique. I also have a really cute little football applique, and am going to do some football teams. I tend to stick to my family's favorite teams, and the teams that are in our local area. Got any suggestions for me? Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite team(s).

 This is what I have been working on lately. A baby boy ripple afghan in light blue, chocolate brown, light brown, and white. I love, love, love ripple afghans. My Grandma (who taught me to crochet) made them, and I remember one in particular that was always draped across the back of their couch. I think the reason that I am drawn to them is because they remind me of her. This will be added to my Etsy Shop when it's finished. I have a couple afghans listed there already, but they are both for girls. This one is all about the boys.

Well, you are now pretty well caught up. I've just been hanging out at home, enjoying the summer with our son before school starts, and, as always, crocheting. Nothing too exciting, but it's all good.

Until next time . . .

Monday, March 11, 2013

You Can't Eat Hot Banana Bread

I made this bread Friday afternoon, and by Saturday afternoon, it was nothing but a delicious memory. My son scarfed down three-quarters of it by himself, after I convinced him that he couldn't eat it hot out of the pan. I'm still not sure he believes me.

This is two banana bread recipes from an Amish cookbook, that I combined into one. They were similar, but different. So I mixed parts of one of the recipes with parts of the other one, and ended up with a very good bread. I had used this recipe combination several times, until one day I had a stroke of genius and added chocolate chips to the batter. I then made a vow to never make banana bread without chocolate chips again. Ever.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 or 3 large bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Mix well. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased bread pan. Bake for one hour. Insert a toothpick in the center. If it doesn't come out clean, bake for another five minutes, and check it again.

Oh, my goodness!

Until next time . . .

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five on Friday

I'm going to get right to it. Here's this week's 'Five on Friday.'

1.  It was a busy week here at Cottage Headquarters. I sold one of the Watermelon Afghans I have listed in my Etsy Shop. I'll be granny squarin' for the next few weeks. This was originally a custom item I designed at the request of a friend for her granddaughter. It's my own original design, and I'm pretty proud of it, as I don't really think of myself as a designer. So I was very excited when I received the order.

2.  The sun is shining today, and the temperature is above freezing for the first time in quite a while. That snow you see between the bricks will soon be melted, and hopefully won't be back until next winter. They are forecasting temps in the 50's tomorrow and Sunday. Maybe I'll do some granny squarin' outside on the back porch this weekend.

3.  I'm going to make some chocolate chip banana bread later today. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait. Bananas usually don't last this long in our house, and I have a confession to make. I hid these three in the back of a cabinet. I figured it was the only way I was going to have bananas long enough to make some bread. I have to say, I was pretty happy with myself for being so resourceful.

4.  I found the Stompeez! that my niece wants. She told her mom and dad that she wanted them, and they told her no, they were too expensive, or gave her some other lame excuse. So she did what any smart girl would do, she called her aunt, who she knows would never tell her no.

5.  Somebody must have told her I got the Stompeez!

Until next time . . .






Friday, March 1, 2013

Five on Friday

It's Friday, and you know what that means. Time for this week's 'Five on Friday.' I know you've been waiting all week for this. So, here it is.

1. We had a very wintry week here. It rained/sleeted/snowed for three days, and now it's just cold. I was happy to turn the calendar over to March this morning because that means Spring is just that much closer.

 2. I came up with a new crochet design this week. I started out making a round dishcloth, but now that it's done, I think it looks more like a doily/candle mat type thing. It will probably end up in my Etsy Shop eventually, but I have to figure out what it is first.

3. One of my favorite things. Ever.

4. I made this hand sanitizer cozy last night. I found the big blue button while looking for something to put on it to give it some pizzazz. It was a total accident, but I now have a hand sanitizer cozy in Detroit Tigers colors. These will probably go into my Etsy Shop too, eventually. I just need to find the right clip to put on them so they can be attached to backpacks, diaper bags, etc.

 5.  I made it to the half-way point on my infinity scarf.

Looks like Sydney has Spring Fever!

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Like Grandma Used to Make

I'm sharing another recipe today. My Grandma's sloppy joes. I make them on a pretty regular basis because my son loves them. They are so easy to make, you can hardly call it a recipe. All you need is five ingredients, which you probably already have on hand. That's right. Five ingredients. Well, six if you count the water.

So, the next time you have a hankerin' for sloppy joes, I hope you give Grandma's a try.

Grandma's Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. yellow mustard 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion and some salt and pepper. Drain off any fat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat until it really starts to bubble. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until it's the thickness you want.

If you like diced green pepper in your sloppy joes, go ahead and add some to the ground beef while it's browning. I don't think Grandma would object. She would want you to be happy. That's just the kind of girl she was.

Until next time . . .