September 1 2017

Neighbor (Five Minute Friday)

Your neighbor may be the anchor in your neighborhood. When we lived in our little house, our first house as a married couple, we had neighbors who we considered an anchor. This couple was in their eighties and could tell us about when the big church across the street was built and what a mess the cutting of the stones made in the form of excess dust in their homes. This couple took excellent care of their home and yard. They cared about what happened to the neighborhood. When the house we ended up buying went on the market, they made sure their new next door neighbors would be a good fit for the neighborhood by introducing themselves to anyone who came to see the house. We thought they were so friendly and just an adorable old couple. He was tall and thin, she was less than five foot tall and not thin, but not fat either. They made such a cute couple. They had been married for over sixty years and were obviously completely devoted to each other.

They made us want to do a good job taking care of our yard so it would look good next to theirs. We loved chatting over the fence with them. They had friends over all the time and spent a lot of time on their screened-in carport. When it snowed, Orville would get out his snow blower and clear his driver way. Then he would do the one on the other side of us because she was an older single lady, her parents had been friends of theirs. If he still had enough energy when he was done with both those driveways, he would often clear ours too because he knew we were busy working and raising the kids. He was just that kind of neighbor. His wife, Opal, would share starts of her plants and freely give advice if asked on how to take care of various garden plants. It seemed they had lived in their home well over fifty years and had watched with interest as many of the houses nearby were built. Some might call them nosy neighbors, but we thought of them as protective of their home and those nearby. We felt safe knowing they were on duty watching over the goings on around their home. When they grew older, Opal was the first to go. Orville was never quite the same after she died. He seemed sadder and moved slower. Not long after, Orville also passed away and the house went on the market. The new owners planned to rent it out, what a shame. The neighborhood was never the same once these wonderful anchors were gone.

Are you an anchor in your neighborhood?

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Neighbor
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

August 31 2017

Karen’s Turkey Meatloaf Muffins Recipe

Karen’s Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

(My adaptation/combination of several different turkey meatloaf recipes)

Makes 36 muffins @ 120 calories each

3 pkgs. (20oz each) Ground Turkey 93/7
3 large Eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups old fashioned Oats
4 Tbsp Dried Minced Onions
3.5 cups (entire 10oz bag) frozen chopped Green Bell Peppers
3 tsp. Minced Garlic
1.5 cups diced Carrots
1.75 cups diced Celery
1 cup Open Pit Original BBQ Sauce

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Generously grease muffin pans.
Mix all ingredients with clean hands. (remove rings first)
Fill muffin cups to about 1/4″ from the top.
Bake at 400°F for 17-20 minutes until internal temp is at least 165°F.
Allow to cool then pack into freezer dishes with foil in between layers, allow to cool then freeze. This helps with portion control, counting calories and easy reheating of single portions.

I used frozen green peppers because that was easy and I had them already. I was out of frozen onions, so used dehydrated instead. Fresh could be used in both cases.

Enjoy!

Ok, we made and tested this recipe and it was good, “a keeper”. We all agreed we would totally make these again! So be brave and try something new. The meatloaf recipe would be easy to cut into 1/3 of the recipe if that is too much, I wanted to do a bit of investment cooking to have some to freeze.

I was cutting veggies for a salad that night anyway, so diced up the celery and carrots then got them made and baked also. The muffins can be quickly reheated or eaten cold. (Meatloaf is sometimes better cold.)

I wasn’t sure about the carrots in meatloaf myself but since I have no objections to eating carrots, I decided to try it as one recipe had zucchini AND carrots in it, you will note I didn’t bother even trying zucchini. I diced them smaller than 1/4 inch so they added color and flavor and were small enough to cook through. I was amazed how quickly the muffins baked!

See photos. I fit 6 in a layer, then used foil for next layer and it looks like I could have put in a 3rd layer, but figured 12 muffins per box was enough. This is a 64 oz/8 cup rectangular generic container. Love having these in lots of sizes around the house, they are very inexpensive and when they get gross you can throw them out guilt-free!

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August 26 2017

Guide (Five Minute Friday)

When I was growing up, it seems I heard “Let your conscience be your guide.” all the time. That served me well because a little guilt goes a long way. When I became a parent, I had to consider what I did and what sort of example I was setting for the little ones. Sometimes knowing I was setting the example for them changed the course of action I decided to take.

When I need guidance now, I pray about what to do and wait to see what guidance God gives me. Sometimes the guidance comes in the form of a phrase or verse. I try to let the Word guide my writing.

One of the most reassuring verses I have found is Jeremiah 29:11. It calms my inner perfectionist and helps me to simply say, “Thy will be done.”

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Guide
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

August 24 2017

Crochet on a Plane

When we were getting ready to fly to London in September 2015, I began researching whether or not I could take my crochet hooks with me on the plane. I knew I was a nervous flyer, so I figured that crocheting hats for the homeless would allow me to focus on something, anything but the fact that I was on an airplane for the next few hours and would not be able to move around much. For someone who is claustrophobic, this is a daunting prospect.

The great thing about crocheting hats is that the supplies needed will fit into a quart sized zip top plastic bag. I can carry yarn in my carry-on and have the hat I am currently working on in my purse so I can pull it out when ever I find myself with some extra free time. Unfortunately, the quart sized bag with yarn and hook can be rather round and puffy inside my purse. I looked on the TSA website and the one for the airlines we were going to fly with to make sure they would allow my crochet hooks on the plane. As was reading the guidelines, I was surprised to see that knitting needles were specifically allowed but crochet hooks were not mentioned at all. I figured a knitting needle was much longer and pointier than a little six-inch crochet hook that wasn’t particularly pointy, so I took my chances. I picked one metal hook that I was fairly certain I could easily replace to take on the plane. I also chose to keep my extra hooks and scissors and such along with the set of plastic hooks I bought just in case metal wasn’t allowed in a plastic sliding pencil case. This worked very well. I highly recommend grabbing a few of these in the fall with back to school sales for traveling. They make great cases for headphones and charging cords they are safely stored and easy to find, plus they stay tangle free and won’t break or short out as easily if stored in a sturdy case of some sort.

So, as it turns out, focusing on the stitch counts needed for the beginning part of my hat pattern was very helpful for not stressing out during the take-off and landing times. It also helped me relax while we were flying over that little puddle that some folks call an ocean. I managed to make something like eight hats in the seven days we were gone. I became known as the lady who makes the hats amongst our twenty-nine person tour group. It turns out crocheting works well as an ice breaker and stranger felt perfectly comfortable approaching me to ask what I was making. Some of the men on the trip were surprisingly observant and noticed that the hat I was working in today was different colored than the one I was making yesterday. Many of the ladies expressed regret that they hadn’t brought along their yarn projects. A few went so far as to say they didn’t think it would be allowed but admitted they hadn’t thought to research to find out for sure. I admit I brought the inexpensive plastic hooks along with the idea that I would be willing to give some yarn, a plastic hook and an extra copy of the pattern I was using for my hats away to anyone who seems genuinely interested in learning to make hats. Unfortunately, it never got that far. Most people were just curious what I was making and many thought I was knitting. I can’t believe people don’t understand that knitting requires two long pointy needles and crochet needs only one short hook.

During my research about what I could bring, I learned that the scissors were the thing that you had to be especially careful about. They had to be small and have blades less than four inches long. I found a small folding pair that claimed to be TSA compliant on the package, so I bought those and still carry them in my crochet on the go bag.

So if you are going on a trip anytime soon, consider how much time the traveling will give you to work on your WIPs. I would recommend taking small easy projects that you wouldn’t be terribly broken up about losing or having taken from you. I also read that you should be ready and willing to demonstrate the fact that you can crochet or knit on demand. Leave the intricate sweater or afghan and the hand-carved one-of-a-kind hooks at home, they are too valuable to lose.

Don’t be afraid to be seen knitting or crocheting in public. You never know when it will lead to a lasting friendship.

August 21 2017

Speak (Five Minute Friday)

This week the prompt is speak. I admit that I have had difficulty figuring out what to write on this one. Nothing immediately comes to mind. The thing that kept popping into my mind was Mom saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Yes, that is good advice and it stands the test of time, but it didn’t speak to me, you know?

Yesterday, Sunday, I attended the showing for the husband of a friend. I had never met her husband, but wanted to go to support my friend and be there for her if she needed me. I kept thinking, there, but by the Grace of God, go I. One day it probably will be me. I thought that if you knew your spouse had only a few days left to live or that you yourself had only a very limited time left, what would you say to your loved ones? We don’t always get the chance to speak to our loved ones “one last time” and that can leave us with questions and regret once they have passed on.

So my message today is that only God knows the number of our days and it is up to YOU to speak to those you care about and let them know how much you care. Tell them all the things you have been meaning to tell them. Don’t leave things unsaid assuming they know how you feel. Take the time to speak to them in person, tell them you love them because you never know if today will be their last day or maybe even your own. If you can’t speak to the ones you love for whatever reason, perhaps you could tell them how you feel in a letter instead. Speak your heart. Speak your mind. No matter what, just speak.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Speak
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.