Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Project Done

I've been trying to catch up on all those "inside" projects that need to be done while the rain delays my working in the garden.  I got the aprons for Mary's family done two weeks ago.  I promised Fred a new pair of summer PJs so I thought I'd get to them.  They were fairly quick as he wanted me to use the same pattern as I did for the winter ones only making shorts and short sleeves.  As I was cutting out the pattern Fred made a comment that it was too bad I didn't have enough fabric to make me a pair too.  Well little does he know that I do but I'll be making a nightgown, not shorts and top.  That's the next project.  Then I have a few embroidery projects and then I can finally get back to my quilting.  By that time hopefully the weather will be cooperating and I can be working early mornings in the garden and afternoons in the sewing room.  Fred brought the boat home this week with Chuck's help so hopefully he'll be spending his days fishing!

I wanted to also share a recipe with you.  This chowder tastes soooooo good and is sooooo easy to make.  I hope you like it as much as we did.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

2 Tbl butter     1 Cup chopped green onions    1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbl finely chopped serrano chili    1 (4.5oz) can chopped green chiles, undrained
3 Tbl flour    1 1/2 cups milk    1 1/2 cups chicken broth   1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups frozen Southern style hash brown potatoes, diced, thawed
1/2 tsp cumin   1 (15 oz) can Mexi-corn, drained    1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, bell pepper and serano chili to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender stirring frequently.  Add canned chiles to pan; cook 1 minute.  Add flour to pan, cook 1 minute stirring constantly.  Stir in milk and next 5 ingredients (through corn) bring to boil.  Simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick.  Stir in shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Remove from heat, stir in cilantro.  Makes about 6 cups.

Now, having said that we only drink skim milk and I didn't want to use that and I always have fat free half and half on hand so I used that.  I also only had jalapenos, (I bought serranos just for this recipe, forgot and used them in something else!)  And I didn't have fresh cilantro so I took 1/2 box of frozen spinach, thawed it, squeezed it dry and put it in at the same time as the shrimp.  Those are the changes I made and we just loved it.  And so so easy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Well with the warmer weather and all the flowers, forsythia, red buds and bradford pears in bloom we got the bug to get out and do something.  Fred is finally feeling better.  He finally listened to me telling him that if he got up and started moving he'd start to feel better.  He did and he does.  The only problem now is that he is very weak from having been idle all winter so he is taking it a little at a time.  He's really doing good!  Stronger every day.  We had our neighbor and best friend Bill come over and cut down these awful trees we had in the back yard.  They would have these nut like pods grown on them in bunches like grapes and make a real mess all over the yard.  Plus the berry that popped out of the pod is suppose to be poisonous.  So Bill cut them down and then cut them up into smaller pieces.  I've been moving them some each day.  I've also got the garden all weeded and cut down ready to be tilled.  Fred took the tiller in for a tuneup and today he went to Lowe's and bought 40 bags of cow manure and several bags of sand.  I unloaded the bags throughout the garden but didn't open them yet.  We are suppose to get heavy rain and wind later today and I didn't want all the nutrients leaching out in just one spot where the bag lay.  While Fred was in town picking up the bags I hauled away 11 loads of wood from the trees.  So we are bushed but excited....ready to get that garden in.  Once it dries out from this rain coming we will be in there tilling and planting.  I already have peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts and several herbs planted in pots in my little back deck greenhouse.  And you know what?  I think I've decided that I finally like living in Tennessee!  Never thought I'd say that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a Winter

What a winter this has been.  Fred and I were both sick for 3 weeks and it still hasn't ended for Fred.  He's had to endure 2 procedures for shots in his back, 3 on each side and with that not giving the amount of relief they had hoped for he then had to endure 2 procedures to burn the nerve endings in his back.  This seems to be working and should last 18 months or more.  He's also had to have his stomach procedures for his "watermelon" stomach, which basically was the lining of his stomach was bleeding.  The first procedure they used a flat paddle that went in and cauterized the entire lining of his stomach.  Then 30 days later he went in and they used a pencil laser to zap any small places they missed.  The good thing about all of this?  The doctor said it looked way better than expected and he just wants to see him in 3 months to do a check and that should be that.  And if all that weren't enough I had to take him to the ER last Monday with severe abdominal pain on his right side.  Come to find out after 6 hours in the ER he has a kidney stone.  It's the size where they say he might be able to pass it or he might not.  The soonest we could get him in to see a urologist is the 23rd of March and then he could only get in to see the nurse practitioner, not the doctor himself.  And of course with all of this he's constipated.  He went last night (after a few embarassing procedures I had to do) the first time since Monday morning.  So if you will please say a prayer for my Fred that he might find some relief.  With all this warm weather coming up we want to get the garden in full swing and get the boat ready.  I feel so bad for's a happy picture of him...I hope he's back to his ol' self soon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Kids are Coming!

We are finally feeling somewhat better, thank goodness.  Still very tired, but at least we are not coughing 24/7 anymore.  So I called Mary last night and asked if we could get the kids this weekend.  We miss them so much and after being sick for so long it's been way too long since we've seen them.  So as soon as Dwight is finished signing up for softball on Saturday they are going to drop them off and they'll stay overnight.  We are so looking forward to this!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Tired....

That's what we tired of this @%!@#$ cold or flu or whatever we have.  It started the day after Faith's birthday party so I thought I caught something from one of the kids.  I had it for over a week and Fred still hadn't gotten it.  Then it hit him.  Then for 2 days I felt a little better.  Then it hit me back with a vengeance.  I don't know if it's just hanging around or if Fred had something else and I caught that too.  All I know is that it's been over two weeks and we are both tired of having our body sore all over from such heavy coughing, so wore out that walking in to the kitchen for a cup of coffee means stopping at the kitchen table and sitting for a few minutes to get your breath back.  We don't feel like eating but with Fred having such problems lately with his sugar I make sure we are eating something, but full blown meals?  No way.  More like bowls of cereal or rice.  Fred had to cancel his appointment with the spine specialist to have the nerve endings burnt out of the left side of his back.  So that saga continues.  And we wanted so badly to have the kids this weekend.  I hate to chance it because I am still running a 101 fever.  Plus we are so wore out we wouldn't be able to do anything with them or for them.  We are praying we will be well enough to have them at least on Sunday.  We miss them grandkids so much!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day and Bragging Rights

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day so I am going to brag a little about my special valentine Fred.  He is my very best friend.  He's a good listener (well, if you talk loud enough), he's compassionate, faithful, loving, kind, giving and just an all around nice guy.  Some people think he is self centered and a little rough.  Well all you have to do to see that he is none of that is watch him with the Grandkids.  Or with me for that matter.  We are celebrating Valentines day late this year because we are both down with pretty bad colds.  But a movie and dinner night is in our certain future.  Speaking of Valentines day, I think of it like my daughter does, as thanksgiving.  On Valentines day I think of ALL the people in my life I love, not just my spouse.  There is Fred, Mary, Chuck, Tom, Faith, Dwight, JJ, Tim and Cathi and a host of others.  I hope each of them finds this Valentines day healthy and happy.
Now for a little more bragging.  I have to say something about our Peanut.  We always knew he was pretty smart but he is amazing us more and more every day.  He would do things like ring the bell for Ruby when she has to go out, sleep tight against Fred's back when it was hurting, things like that.  We were worried he'd be a little jealous of the new puppy, and he was....for about 24 hours.  Now that puppy is his.  He watches over him, worries over him.  When I am in my sewing room the puppy tends to want to chew on the electric cords for the sewing machines and computer.  After telling him "no" 3 or 4 times, Peanut took over.  Every time the puppy went to the cords Peanut would bark at him.  If that didn't work, Peanut would bark at me.  If that didn't work Peanut would go get a toy to distract the puppy.  If the puppy gets something he's not suppose to have we tell Peanut to go get it away from him and he does.  We tested Peanut last night when the puppy was playing with one of his own toys and told Peanut to take it away from him.  Peanut jumped down from Fred's lap, looked at Lincoln, saw it was a good toy, then turned to both of us and looked at us as if to say "are you nuts?" and he did not go get it.  I could go on and on about the things he does.  So if anyone is looking for a truly intelligent dog (Animal Planet says they are the 2nd smartest, behind only the Border Collie) try a poodle on for size!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ruby and Lincoln

I promised Fred I would get a picture of Ruby and Lincoln on the blog as soon as possible.  Poor Ruby.  She is trying to put up with Lincoln, but when Peanut and Lincoln are playing together they tend to do so with all their toys in Ruby's bed.  Then Ruby has nowhere to lay down.  Poor girl tries to fit in Peanut's bed but as you can see she doesn't quite fit.  At least when it's naptime Ruby is happy to share her bed with Lincoln.  I have to go in several times a day and remove the abundance of toys that have been deposited in Ruby's bed.  I do have to say we are truly blessed....our pets are the best!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Introducing Lincoln

 This is our new baby Lincoln.  He is a 9 week old Boston Terrier.  Isn't he just too cute?  We had a terrible time trying to name him.  At first I thought of Cracker Jack so we would have Peanut and Cracker Jack, but Fred wasn't fond of that one.  Then I thought of Bugsy Malone.  That was ok but didn't really ring any bells for either of us.  Then Mary came up with Baby Face Nelson and it seemed to fit perfectly except for one minor problem.  Every time I went to call him "Lincoln" came out of my mouth.  So Fred said that there is a reason for that so we should just name him Lincoln and we have.  And he seems to have taken to it quite readily so I guess we made the right choice.
 Even though my boots are nearly as big as he is Lincoln is not deterred.  He does seem to catch on to things quickly, such as the word no.  And if he is chewing something and sees me coming towards him he runs and chews as fast as he possibly can.  But all in all he's been a very good boy.  He sleeps in his crate at night and doesn't make a sound.  He is getting potty trained little by little and yesterday he rang the bell!  Only he rang it when he came in from going potty, not to let me know he wanted to go out!
Well at least we know he can ring it!

 Peanut was put off by the new puppy for maybe the first 24 hours but they have quickly become best buds, playing for hours at a time.  In fact it is Lincoln who gives out first and goes off to take some nap time before Peanut is ready to stop.  They play tug of war, It, and Hide and Seek.  Fred and I have actually been watching TV and turned the TV off to watch these two play.
OC has been very good with Lincoln.  Now anyone that knows OC knows that our big boxer Ruby is so scared of him.  Well I guess OC is that way with dogs bigger than he is.  Because OC is really good with Peanut and now with Lincoln.  They play together, sleep together and relax on Mom together!
I haven't included a picture yet of Lincoln and Ruby yet.  They are still working things out.  Ruby definately is not happy with the new puppy but we've only had a few incidents where we've had to intervene.  Hopefully as time goes on they will become fast friends also.  I can't wait for Dwight and Faith to get over here and see him.  I know Faith is going to go nuts over him!  We sure have!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Running, Running, Running

Well that's what it feels like as if we are always running.  Fred has had 4 doctors appointments this week and it just seems to never stop.  I haven't posted anything lately as it just seems we are always so busy and when I get to the computer at night I check my email and Mary's blog and then I'm done for the day.
There is new news though.  We've added a member to our family.  He's an 8 week old Boston Terrier puppy.  We originally named him Baby Face Nelson with a call name of Nelson but everytime I called to him "Lincoln" would come out.  I don't know why or where it came from but Fred said there had to be a reason why I continually call him Lincoln, so Lincoln it is.  He's adorable.  Peanut loves him, OC likes him and Ruby tolerates him.  I haven't posted any pictures yet but will soon.  So far most pictures aren't turning out well as he never sits still.  I do have a few of him sleeping, usually cuddled up with OC, but you don't get an idea of his size or how cute he is in them.  So soon.  If you want a quick glimpse of what he looks like, take a look at Mary's blog as she took a few pictures when I stopped by the school to show her while she was waiting for Faith to get out.
Fred had the nerve endings in his back on the right side burnt out on Wednesday and will have the left side burnt out in two weeks.  It's supposed to take 4 to 8 weeks for him to realize the total pain relief this should give him so keep your fingers crossed.  On Friday he had his stomach lining cauterized which should stop the internal bleeding.  He's pretty worn out right now after everything he's been through this week.  Poor guy.  All he wants is a day of feeling good the whole day.  Hopefully that day is right around the corner.
Nothing new with me....trying to work in the sewing room with Lincoln around.  Not getting much done!  LOL! And I've got a cold.  Been doubling up on the zinc so it's not as bad as it could be, just enough to make me feel terrible.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


SNOW! Yes, it's pretty.  But when we moved here we were told...."if you get snow you won't be able to go anywhere but just wait until the next day and it will melt and be gone".  Perfect.  I get to enjoy the beauty of it and really not be concerned with it.  Well that lasted a few years, but not this year!  We've had more snow in one week than we usually get in an entire winter.  The poor kids lost a whole week of school before Christmas break and then another whole week after.  I know, I know it doesn't look like much, and it really isn't.  The problem is that the roads here have a few problems.  There are so many extremely steep grades along with the roads are sloped incorrectly, no shoulders, no guard rails and drop offs that are 100 to 150' down.  Match that with the fact that our county will only use gravel, no salt and that many of the roads don't get a lot of sun and you have us being stuck inside for a LONG time!  Now I do have to give credit, the mail lady made it here all but one day.   The UPS man on the other hand...grrrrrrr.  I had my embroidery machine and serger coming and it was on his truck all week, not arriving until Thursday.  Oh well, this too shall pass and in a few weeks when it starts to climb into the 50's again, we will have our coffee on the front porch and we will forget it ever bothered us this much. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Illinois Family

 This is Fred's nephew Tim and his wife Cathi.  After we retired down here in Tennessee it was fun to learn that Tim and Cathi actually spent their honeymoon down here in the Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg area.  They love it down here and have bought a lot just a stone's throw across the lake from us (but about 30 minutes by car) to build on when they retire.  I wish they'd hurry up as we really miss them.  They are so much fun to be with.  Tim and Fred just harp (lovingly of course) on each other all day.  And Cathi is just a wonderful person and a good friend.  The guys can go fishin' and Cathi and I will go antiquing!  Shhhhhh don't tell Tim.     The picture below is of Fred, Tim and Tim's son.  Do you see any resemblance?'s the hair, or lack of......

Wisconsin Family

This is my brother Bob and his wife, my very best friend in the whole entire world (other than Fred) JJ.  My brother passed away on December 14th quite unexpectedly.  It's just so unbelievable to imagine going up to Tomahawk to visit and not see my brother sitting in  his recliner watching Nascar and listening to his scanner.  We always teased my brother that we thought JJ was my sister and he was the "in-law" as JJ and I are so close and share so many of the same interests.  JJ is an exceptional seamstress and an avid Girl Scout leader.  JJ and I both love scrapbooking but we hardly ever get anything done unless we are scrappin' together.  Then you should see the pages we put out. 

Ruby and OC

This is Ruby our Boxer and OC our domestic long hair cat.  Both are rescues.  Ruby came to us several years ago as a companion both for us and our other Boxer, Amos.  Amos has sinced passed away.  Ruby is maybe 5 or 6 years old.  She looks and acts mean but really isn't.  She's a pushover.  Although she plays really well with Peanut she is scared to death of OC the cat.  She will take a wide berth when walking in the same vicinity as OC.   OC, which we assumed was for "Orange Cat" is best friends with Peanut.  They will sit and groom each other for a long time, curl up and sleep together or run around the house like crazy first Peanut chasing OC, then OC will turn and chase Peanut.  Faith calls OC a "she" because she says that OC is too pretty to be a boy.  I have to agree, don't you?


 This is my son Tom.  He lives in Knoxville with the love of his life, his Siberian Husky Ally that he rescued.  Tom loves bass fishing, shooting, paintball, watersports, snowboarding, mountain bike riding, motocross and most extreme sports.  He is currently working on training Ally.  He and his buddies at the shop are building a sled for her to pull and in February he and Ally are enrolled in a class to teach  him to teach her to pull the sled.  He was at Mary's house on Christmas and they hooked her up to the kids sled.  She could pull with ease and enjoyed it but as he has been training her not to pull on the leash she would stop pullling.  So they have to learn how to overcome that. 

Mary's Blog

It was too funny.  I sent Mary an email asking her to check out my blog and she called laughing because she just started one two days ago!  Check her blog out at  This is a picture of Mary and Chuck.  We are so tickled to have Chuck as a member of our family.  Not only does he treat the kids great and puts up with all of Mary's interests, he is simply just a great guy!  You can also check out Mary's website at 

Dwight, ALL BOY

Yes, Dwight is all boy.  He loves cars, trucks, trains,, building stuff, tearing stuff down, crashing trucks, cars and trains, fishing, shooting and baseball.  He was the Player of the Year (2010) for his Little League team.  He is proud of the fact that his coach would use him as an example to the other team members on how to do things.  He is also into Karate and has earned his second belt and is 2/3 of the way onto his third.  Yes, he is all boy but he can sure give his grandma great hugs and kisses.

Faith Riding

This is Faith this past summer (2010) practicing her riding.  She has become a very accomplished rider, competing in shows and winning over riders much older than she is..  She likes to ride Hunter/English and does very well in those classes (as her roomful of awards will testify) but she also loves putting that western saddle on and turning some barrels.  As a matter of fact, she won Champion Barrel Racer of the Year in 2010, winning a beautiful breast plate and matching bridle.  She has her own pony and her trainer is none other than her mother, my daughter Mary.  Mary runs a training program you can visit on 

And this is me

Here I am....this picture was taken while waiting to board a dinner cruise up on the Willow in northern Wisconsin.  I am amazed that people still recognize me up there.  We were up there in December and people came up to me knowing who I was while I struggled to come up with who they were!  Quite embarassing.


This is our little Peanut.  Fred and  I were out on photo safari one day and passed this place that sells poodles.  We'd passed there many times but never stopped.  For some reason we pulled in there.  As soon as we were inside I told Fred "this is a puppy mill".  Apparently he didn't hear me.  So we got back to the nursery section and there sat Peanut with his little brown nose and patch over his eye.  I didn't care for him but Fred had love at first site.  He had to have that puppy.  At first we thought he was dumb as a rock but in reality he was just a lot younger than the breeder told us.  He is extremely intelligent and loves to play, be hugged, cuddle.  He is just one great dog.

Faith and Dwight

These two are also the loves of my life.  This is Faith and Dwight, my grandbabies.  Dwight just turned 6 in December and Faith will be 8 the end of this month.  These two are so special to Fred and I.  They are smart, loving, caring and so much fun!  Dwight loves boy things, cars, trucks, (especially if they are smashing), shooting, building.  Faith loves all things girly, makeup, music, friends, clothes and horses.  They both are very talented.  Well I don't want to start sounding like every other Grandma but we know just how special these two are!

The Love of My Life

This is Fred....the sweetest, nicest, most loving man I have ever know.  He truly is the love of my life.  He brings me up when I am down.  He laughs along with me and holds me tight when I cry.  He tells me all my recipes taste great, until I give him "the look" and they he tells me the truth.   We are starting to think a lot alike, many times finding out we are thinking the same thing at the same time.  That just tickles Fred.  He loves my kids and grandkids as if they were his own.  And they love him back so very much.  I am so blessed to have him in my life.


You know I used to be the person people would ask about new technology.  Heck when I got my first "real" job they were using mainframe computers so I ran out and bought a Commodore 128, the top of the line home computer at the time.  I got it with a 1 gig hard drive even though the salesman said I should go for the 4.  I thought how would I ever use up even the 1.
But in the last few years technology has really gotten away from me.  So I find myself here, trying out setting up a blog.  Why?  I don't know.  I doubt anyone would ever visit it or be interested.  I just thought it was time for me to try something new.  Yea I know....blogging is not new.  But it is for me.
So here I am, sitting in lovely eastern Tennessee, stuck in the house because a whole 1 1/2" of snow fell and they've never heard of salt here.  And rather than work on my quilt, or try a new recipe I am writing on this no one but myself. 
To be continued.....