Sunday, September 9, 2018

August Has Been Cancelled

I really wish I could permanently cancel August!!  The last 3 Augusts have been really bad for my husband and I.  In 2016 he had to have open heart surgery and a by-pass.  In 2017 I had surgery for lung cancer and this August I had Cataract surgery in both eyes.  The good news is we both survived the surgeries and I CAN SEE!!  I didn't realize how bad my eyesight had gotten until I had the second surgery.  What a blessing eyesight is!

Even with the eyesight problem and the surgeries I did get a lot done.  We started a new quilt for Lydia Circle at the church.  I had to get the pattern done before the first surgery so my cohort could do her lesson plan.  It is a really pretty quilt - a log cabin variation that ends up with curves when you assemble it.  I haven't done the second month's pattern yet so I don't have a completed block. 

I've gone on a mug rug kick - using up some of the scraps that are laying around the quilting room.  This one is for my chair side table for the fall - or at least for September.

I'm also into making drawstring bags.  This one was made to carry all the crazy eye drops and assorted things I needed for my surgery.  They would also be great as gift bags as they could be made in any size you want - they are cheap and quick.  I'll post the pattern as soon as I get it transcribed.

My reading list for August was extensive and varied - when you realize I couldn't see well after my first surgery.

Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler
A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L Maier
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flowers
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
Gone Gull by Donna Andrews
The Girl on the Train by Paula Harkins
Waves of Deception by Hope Callaghan

There are some old favorites like Clive Cussler, Donna Andrews, Hope Callaghan, and Janet Evanovich.  There there are some new ones like Sara Gruen - Wow I was impressed - very good book.  Paula Harkins was also a surprise - good mystery - even I was shocked at the ending and I usually have them figured out by chapter 2!!  Paul L Maier was a very interesting author - I had the mystery figured out - but how he got you there was great.  He has another couple of books with the same characters so I may try them also.

Looking forward to September and some cooler and hopefully dryer weather.  It's only the 9th and we have already had like 6 inches of rain.  The farmers are having fits because the crop won't dry down well if there is too much rain.  It is dry and sunny today but the ditches are still full of rainwater. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Chicken Gumbo Soup

Chicken Gumbo Soup

I found a recipe for Chicken Gumbo Soup years ago and lost it and then found it in my files a few weeks ago.  I've always used Chicken Gumbo Soup to make my version of Sloppy Joe's,  but found out I'm terribly sensitive to MSG so could no longer use canned soup.  The Organic soups didn't include Gumbo Soup and they just didn't have the flavor I wanted.  So I took the old recipe and reworked it for my family.

Chicken Gumbo Soup
Servings 10

1 whole chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 - 3/4 cup carrots, sliced thin
4 cups diced tomatoes or tomato juice
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice - Not Instant
3 quarts of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups fresh or frozen okra
2-3 tablespoons broth base (*see note)

Place chicken in a large kettle or stock pot, cover with water.  Bring to a boil and turn down to medium/low heat and simmer until done.  Remove chicken and allow to cool.  Set the broth aside to use in the soup.  When chicken is cool, remove from the bones and chop.

Strain the broth and measure.  If you don't have enough broth, add a little water and a little extra broth base.

Add the onion, celery, carrots and tomatoes bay leaf and bring to a boil - add rice and turn the heat to medium.  Cook until the rice is done - about 20 minutes - stirring occasionally.

Add okra and chicken.  Simmer until okra is well cooked.  I like to simmer mine for several house.

It is great in recipes or as a main course for dinner.

*Note:  I prefer Orrington Farms Broth Base, it is organic and has no MSG or unpronounceable ingredients,  and it has wonderful flavor.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

It's a new world!!

Well, It will be a new world for me soon.  So many things are happening.  I had to have cataract surgery a week ago Tuesday - and another one next Tuesday.  Seeing is a bit difficult right now - but surprisingly - out of my left eye - I can see pretty well - which only makes the right eye seem worse!!  By this time next week I will have a bright new world. 

I have finally completed a couple of things.  After my disaster last year, not a lot got done.  But the other day I made a pattern for and made a vinyl lined bag for when I am able to return to water aerobics. 
I still need to make a couple of drawstring bags to put in it for my shower gel and sundry things - just procrastinating on that. 

I also just finished a quilt.  I quilted it on my domestic machine in a version of quilt as you go that I worked out myself. 
I've called it Stars on the Prairie.  It started life as a BOM but there were some things I didn't care for so I redid them to my liking.  It is 90" x 90".  I know it will be gifted to someone, I just don't know who yet.

Working on the pattern for our Lydia Circle Guilds new BOM for this year.  Have the quilt designed, just need to get the first month's pattern together.  It's called Life's Journey. 

Well I need to get some things accomplished so be ready for my eye surgery next week.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Lovely Summer for a change.

The last two summers have been a trial for us as a family.  It started 2 1/2 years ago when my husband nearly died from Pancreatitis.  He was airlifted to Iowa City University Hospital where he spent nearly two weeks between ICU and a regular room.   While he was there they discovered a heart murmur which had to be addressed.  It turned out he had a leaky heart valve that needed to be replaced and a partially blocked Vein that needed to have a new grafting!  He was back in the hospital for open heart surgery in August and was not fully recovered until after the first of the new year.  Nearly a full year from his first attack.

My episode started a year or after his first attach, when I went to the emergence room with pain in my chest.  An EKG showed nothing wrong with my heart - thankfully.  Further tests showed a shadow behind my heart.  At that point I was sent to my regular doctor - then to a  pulmonary Doctor for evaluation and biopsy. 

It was cancer.

After months of daily radiation treatments and weekly Chemotherapy treatments, the tumor was reduced enough for surgery.  A month after surgery I started another round of Chemotherapy - much stronger stuff.  That ended right before Christmas.  I've been back once and do to return in another month for some evaluation.  Been praying that all continues to be well.

Dave and I are working on our bucket lists - so far this year we have been to Gettysburg:

Little Round Top

Scenic Tower

Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge.

   After Gettysburg we drove down to Antietam which is in Maryland. Had a great time there, learning about what happened.

It was a great trip.  Later this year we want to go to Vicksburg and Shiloh and my friend and I want to go to Paducha , Kentucky to visit the American Quilt Museum, Hancock Fabrics of Paducha and whatever other trouble we can get into!!  LOL  

In the meantime I have done some reading.  Not a lot when I was on Chemo, but later when I was in recovery.  

The Last Chance Olive Ranch & The Darling Dahlias and the 11 O'clock Lady by Susan Wittig Albert
The Fix,  The Fallen, and No Man's Land by David Baldecci
Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon, Down Under & Detective by Nancy Atherton 
Lord of the Rings by Donna Andrews
The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Borderline by Nevada Barr
A Large Number of books by Hope Callahan
Pirate by Clive Cussler
Murder at the Book Fair and Body on the Porch by Steve DeMarre
And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris
Partners in Crime by Gallager Gray 
Sanctuary by Celina Grace
The Tarnished Chalice, To Kill or Be Cured by Suzanna Gregory
Rock-a-bye Bones by Caroline Haines
Among the Mad, Mapping Love and Death, & Lessons in Secrest by Jacqueline Winspear

I didn't get a lot of sewing or quilting done.  Chemo just takes it all out of you,  but things are getting better and I am starting to get things accomplished.  I'm working on two Quilts of Honor for Veterans and have two more planned.  I also taught a quilting class and have another one or two in the planning stages.