Monday, November 29, 2010

A Christmas Recipe

There are FOUR Mondays for me to share my favorite Christmas recipes with you before Christmas.  The one for this week is one we had for Thanksgiving but I will be making them for Christmas as well.  Hope you like them as much as we do!

Squash Rolls

Dissolve 1 Tbsp yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.
Blend 1 cup scalded milk, 1 cup squash, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup coconut oil (or shortening), 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Add to yeast.
Add 1/2 cup wheat germ and up to 5 cups unbleached white flour.
Knead.  Let rise till double only once in bowl.  Shape into rolls.  Let rise in pan till double.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

These rolls are VERY yummy--melt in your mouth!  

What is your favorite holiday recipe?  Would love to try some new ones:)  Kat

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Jars

I just finished reading a tiny little novel (122 pages) called Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright!  What a wonderful book to read during the holiday season or any time for that matter!  It is a book about jars of money that mysteriously appear when and where they are most needed and one young woman's search to find the origin of the Christmas Jars.  Putting this book on your reading list this holiday season will be the best gift you could give yourself.  Then, most likely, you will have a strong desire to share the book with others.

Jason Wright has a website devoted to the Christmas Jars--what is it, miracles involving the Christmas Jars and a place for you to share your own Christmas Jar story--receiving or giving.

Please share with me your opinion of the Christmas Jars book and your own Christmas Jar story.  We are starting this year's project now with a quart jar on the counter but hope to start next year's Christmas Jar on January 1.

Happy giving!  Kat
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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Lithograph, Home To Thanksgiving, published by...Image via Wikipedia
I got up Thanksgiving morning ready to write a post about the things I am thankful for.  NO INTERNET!  Our internet didn't come back on till I was elbow deep in dinner preparation for our guests.  So, needless to say, I am thankful for the internet when it's working!!!

Our guests were fun, gracious, insightful and as thankful to be at our table as we were to have them.  It was truly a Thanksgiving that I will compare other Thanksgivings to:)  Oh, and did I get pictures of our guests or the food?  NO!  Next year I will have to put someone else in charge of that little detail!  It's obvious I can't be trusted!

I am thankful for:

    Ben Jerry Cherry Garcia          Image via Wikipedia
  • A wonderful, caring God who knows my needs and provides what's best for me
  • My very own Bible to read.  At one time Bibles were hard to come by and people held them as precious when they finally got one.  We need to hold ours as precious too because it is God's love letter to us.
  • My husband (most of the time anyway)
  • My children and precious granddaughter
  • Two very special children who are as dear to me as family
  • My warm, comfortable (not fancy but very comfortable) home
  • Friends--the keepers!
  • Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream (did I really write that one down?!!!)
  • My iPod Touch!  I know this one sounds silly but my hubby says it's my best friend.  I have had it for almost three years now and would be lost without it!  When they say, "There's an app for that!", they mean it!  My iPod Touch has three+ versions of the Bible; Strong's Concordance; hymnal; devotionals; prayer list; books (lots of books); dictionaries, listmakers; games--I love word games; cookbooks; the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights; lots of references such as zip code directory and world maps; and an IKEA shopping app (if you've been to IKEA, you know WHY I need this one).
  • The readers of my blog.  Where would I be without YOU?!!!  I love your comments and suggestions.  Though I don't get many comments on the blog, I do get them in person and via email.  
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you will keep a thankful heart each and every day!  Kat
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wanna Be Balanced Mom

Crystal Escobar
My favorite website of the week is Wanna Be Balanced Mom, a blog authored by my friend, Crystal Escobar.  Crystal is a wife and mother of two who is trying to find balance in her life and enjoys sharing with others who are desiring the same.  Crystal is absolutely gorgeous but don't hold that against her.  She has a truly beautiful heart as well. On her blog she shares economic and stylish fab finds, meal planning, giveaways, decorating tips (you've gotta see Lily's bedroom reveal) and struggles.  This would be a great blog for any mom with young children to read on a regular basis.  Hey! I'm an old mom and I read it cuz it's fun and informative.  Check out Crystal's blog soon:)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

Brussels sprouts before roastingImage by johnsu01 via Flickr
Brussels Sprouts--a holiday tradition at our house!
My favorite food for Thanksgiving and Christmas is Dressing (or Stuffing if you're putting it in a turkey)!  Over the last 30+ years since becoming a vegetarian, I have developed what I think is a delicious recipe for Dressing.  Let me know what YOU think!

Kat's Holiday Dressing 

1 box of Mrs. Cubbison's Cube Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth ( more

Put Stuffing Mix and cooked brown rice in a large bowl.  Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter or margarine till done; add cranberries.  Pour sauteed ingredients into bowl with stuffing mix.  Add vegetable broth. Mix well. Pour into oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes covered.  Remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes for a crispier top.

Sometimes I add a meat replacement called Fri-Chik and you could certainly add any meat you want to this recipe.  However, this year we will have it just as written above.

Our Thanksgiving menu this year:

Roasted Vegetables (potatoes, onions, garlic (lots of garlic), carrots, butternut squash drizzled with olive oil and rosemary)
Brussels Sprouts (fresh, cut off the stalks just before cooking--yummm!)
Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Squash rolls (you NEED this yummy recipe!)
Pie:  Vegan Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple

Happy Cooking!  Kat

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Two Posts for Today!

Christmas in the post-War United States                       Image via Wikipedia
I will be sharing two posts today because I couldn't resist sharing with you the ONLINE SPECTACULAR that Stampin' Up! has going for the next NINE days!

Wow!  What a sale!  The ONLINE SPECTACULAR runs November 22-30!  You can view the sale flyer by clicking HERE .

Time to purchase Christmas gifts for the Stampers and Quilters (great price on fabric) on your Christmas list!

Door Buster sales include:
  • My Digital Studio 50% off
  • Designer Fabric 50% off
  • FREE shipping on orders that reach $150.00 (before s&h and tax).  FREE shipping is for online orders only.
  • PLUS when your online order reaches $150.00 or more remember you get the Hostess only items as well as FREE money to spend!
You can order online by going to my website at!

Well, after my next post, I am off to do some online shopping!  Kat

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoroughly Thankful

Scarves all packaged up and ready to go.  I used the stamp
set Thoroughly Thankful to stamp on the tissue paper as
well.  Ribbon from Current.

Place cards for Thanksgiving
Last week I shared my scarf addiction with you.  Well, the scarves are off to the ladies at my husband's office as we speak.  To accompany the scarves, I made little 3"x3" gift cards using Stampin' Up! cardstock in Old Olive and Pumpkin Pie.  The stamp set I used is a retired set called Thoroughly Thankful.  The Stampin' Up! punches used were the small oval punch for the pumpkin and the Two Step Bird punch for the leaves. In addition to the gift cards, I made place cards for our Thanksgiving table now that our guest list is finally stable (oh, my, a rhyme!).  The Stampin' Up! punch I used is the new Decorative Label Punch and I love it!  And, no, I did not letter the place cards, I printed the names on the computer.

Gift cards to accompany scarves. 
Be sure to tell your loved ones how thankful you are for them.  Kat

This is the image I stamped on
the inside of the gift cards and
the place cards.  I am thankful
for YOU too!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Putting the Garden to Bed #2

GroCover from Veggie Care 
The GrowCover from Veggie Care is finally in place and it looks like this weekend will be a good test as temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-30s for highs and in the mid-20s for lows.

The GrowCover fabric is imported from Italy and sold by Veggie Care owned by John & Kate Walters in Australia.  Because overseas shipping costs can be expensive, John & Kate are hoping to have a United States distributorship in the spring.

"GrowCover and GrowCover HD are knitted from thin, but amazingly strong, high density UV stabilized polyethylene thread (see picture below). Despite it's light weight it is extremely strong and with normal use will protect your plants for many years.  The manufacturers claim up to eight years.  VeggieCare has experience of using GrowCover for 5 years, and it is still as good as new." from

Close up of GroCover
"Summary of benefits
GrowCover and GrowCover HD will:

  • promote healthy natural growth in your plants and seedlings;
  • allow ventilation and rain penetration;
  • allow through 86% (GrowCover) or 81% (GrowCover HD) of sunlight;
  • help retain moisture in the soil and warm the soil in spring for early sowing;
  • protect from frost down to 25 degrees F;
  • help reduce insect attack;
  • protect plants from strong winds, heavy rain and hail;
  • protect from pets and young children;
  • be easy to handle as it is light and strong and will last many years; it is UV resistant;
  • be able to grow vegetables without using pesticides making your family's vegetables healthier to eat;
  • help reduce food miles and benefit the environment."  from
As I said in my blog post last Wednesday, we have covered one of our square foot gardening boxes with DIO-Betalon and the second one with GrowCover.  We will be testing them regarding protection from from wind and frost both now and in the early spring.  Though we have had some pretty high winds that last few days, both covers are intact and providing protection to the veggies planted in the square foot gardening boxes. We will also be interested to see how the two products perform in the summer as shade protection.  I will keep you posted periodically on the performance of both products.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dave Ramsey, the Money Guru!

Financial Peace University Lifetime Membership
Financial Peace University Lifetime
Membership, $99 ($100 off original
price of $199),  a great gift to give
to your grown children.
At a time when you and I are being encouraged to spend, spend, spend, and when credit card offers with six months FREE interest arrive in the mail weekly if not daily, Dave Ramsey steps up to motivate us to have an Emergency Fund, cut up our credit cards and pay off our debts! Dave says, "If you really want to get out of debt, you've gotta get wired up and fired up.  You've gotta sell so much stuff, the kids think they're next."

Dave Ramsey, the voice of reason in an unreasonable world is funny but hard-hitting when it comes to debt.  Under the Tools drop-down menu of his website you will find information and forms to print out and use.  Check out the "specials"!  Currently, Dave's Financial Peace University Lifetime Membership is half price at $99 and worth every penny of it!

<em>Act Your Wage!</em> - Board GameJust in time for Christmas giving, Dave Ramsey has a new board game available 11/22 called Act Your Wage! "Be the first to yell 'Debt Free'".  Imagine playing a game with your children or grandchildren (ages 10 and up) that will actually teach them to manage money responsibly. A gift that keeps on giving:)

If you or someone you care about wants/needs financial education, check out Dave Ramsey's website.  Would love to hear what you think!

Let's all have a debt-free Christmas this year:)  Kat


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Poorman's Cake

As I was growing up, one of my favorite cake recipes was Chocolate Poorman's Cake.  It has also been called Depression Cake because it doesn't use milk or eggs but the typical Depression Cake is a spice cake.  I hope you like this cake as much as I do:)

Chocolate Poorman's Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups water
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl then pour into 13"X9"X2" greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

My mother used to mix the cake ingredients right in the pan.  Works good either way.

See you tomorrow with another of my favorite websites.  Kat
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

When I'm Stressed, I Knit!

Pattern for Lotus Leaf Scarf
I have shared with you about my love of and addiction to YARN.  About a year ago I purchased a scarf pattern from and have enjoyed making these scarves sooo much.  Every skein of yarn is a new adventure to see how the yarn will look made up into a scarf.  Last winter I made and gave away about 30 scarves.  I currently have 12 scarves on consignment at the Victorian Rose in Heppner.  And I recently made six more.

A couple weeks ago my patient hubby and I went into a relatively new yarn shop in The Dalles, OR called The Whole Ball of Yarn.  Sisters, April Bachofner and Paulette Brook opened their yarn shop on East 2nd Street last December.  They have a beautiful assortment of very nice yarn plus offer knitting, crocheting and spinning classes.  No ladies, that's not spinning as in exercise class, it's using a spinning wheel to spin yarn:))) If you click on their link below you will see new yarn arrivals plus special sales.

Four scarves on left made from Elsebeth Lavold's
Silky Flamme` yarn.  Top right made from Lion Brand
Homespun and bottom right made from Deborah Norville
Serenity Chunky weight yarn.
Okay, now to the reason for our visit to the yarn shop.  I wanted to make scarves for the ladies at Hire Electric where my husband works.  They are always so helpful to Bob and I love doing things for them. We were looking for some nice bulky weight yarn that would knit up nicely into scarves for the ladies.  I ended up purchasing Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme` made from 50% Peruvian Wool, 30% FS Alpaca and 20% silk.  It is sooo soft and I just knew it would be nice and warm.  The yarn has varying thicknesses so didn't knit up as smooth as I had hoped but still very nice.

One of my daughter's dearest friends just had surgery this week so she asked me to make her friend a scarf in blue--just finished it this morning. Will mail it out today.

A scarf takes me about six hours to knit.  I am not a speed knitter.  While knitting I feel relaxed but productive.  I knit everywhere--in the car (not while I'm driving), in bed, at meetings, while "watching" TV or a movie, while visiting with friends.

Recently I gave two scarves as gifts that were not appreciated:(  At first my feelings were hurt but then I was reading an article by Belinda Acosta called "Changing the World in a Stitch" (Knit Simple magazine, Holiday 2010 issue) and she captured how I feel when I knit or crochet something for someone I love and I guess my "friends" missed the point.  Belinda said, "Is there a better way to show tangible evidence of love than by knitting someone a pair of socks or mittens to protect them from the cold?"  I would add scarves.  So know this.  If I knit you a scarf, it is my way of showing you I love you.  Simple as that!

I am so thankful for each one of you who take your time to read my blog.  One of my Thursday blogs will have to be on the enjoyment I get from writing this blog.  Keep warm!  Kat

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Putting the Garden to Bed

I am not a gardener but my hubby is and I truly enjoy the fruits of his labor (pun intended)!  But now it is time to put the garden to bed.  I, like many, used to think that once the garden was finished producing for the year the work was over till next spring.  Wrong!  The experienced gardener knows that next year's gardening success starts now.  So my hubby has been pulling out old plants, rototilling the beds, putting fulvic acid and gypsum around trees and in beds.  Of course the amenities you put on your garden will depend on where you live.  I am told that having your soil tested is critical.

Closeup of DIO-Betalon Screen
This year my husband made two 3 foot by 8 foot square-foot gardening boxes.  They were great!  We grew radishes, broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, nasturtiums and marigolds in the boxes.   Now they are planted with broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens.  Hubby has decided to cover these boxes to prolong the life of these cold weather vegetables so is experimenting with two different crop covers.  The one pictured here is called DIO-Betalon Screen.  It is "made of hygroscopic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) film which is outstanding in heat retention, light transmittance, weatherability, and heat resistance."  Light and rain are still able to get through but when it frosts, the moisture seals off the web-like surface to protect the plants down to 25 degrees.  That should give us a little more growing time--maybe till January?!!!  Hubby purchased another product from Australia that he is going to test on the 2nd square-foot gardening box to see which product he likes best.  Just received the one from Australia so don't have it up yet.

Square-foot gardening box covered with DIO-Betalon
2nd box awaiting product from Australia
Grow boxes with Lexan covers
We also have two grow boxes that have Lexan covers with solar arms that contain wax that melts to raise the cover when it gets warm and solidifies when it gets cool to lower the cover.

We often get an early start with tomato and pepper plants in these boxes but currently have lettuce and mustard greens growing in the one pictured here.

Next Wednesday I will show pictures and share information of the product from Australia so stay tuned!  Kat
(I am a HUGE fan!)
(everything you want to know about DIO-Betalon)
(where we purchased product)
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dawn's Stamping Thoughts

My Photo
Dawn Griffith
Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
On Tuesdays I will be sharing some of my favorite websites with you so you can enjoy them too!  This first website is one I check five days a week before I read my email!

Dawn's Stamping Thoughts is a blog by Dawn Griffith, Stampin' Up! Demonstrator since 2006.  She is very creative and shares a new card idea or technique five days a week!  I don't know where she gets all these great ideas but I love using them.  On Thursdays and Fridays she normally has a how-to video.  Many of the ideas I bring to our monthly stamping group come from Dawn's Stamping Thoughts.  She had her website professionally designed and it is easy to maneuver, informative and attractive.  Dawn also blogs about her family and friends.  Currently she has some pictures of a bathroom remodel that is turning out to be more than they planned:(  She has quite the sense of humor!

On Dawn's website, there is a "tip jar".  Since I enjoy and use so many of Dawn's ideas, I left some money in the "tip jar".  I was overjoyed to receive a Thank You card made by Dawn!!!  How fun was that!  It was like receiving correspondence from a celebrity:)

If you enjoy paper crafting or just want to check in with Dawn to see what's up, you won't be disappointed.  Let me know what you think!

PS. If you have trouble posting comments or want to email your comments privately, my email address is

Dawn Griffith's website:

Monday, November 8, 2010


I am not a fan of lentils but the recipe I am sharing with you today is delicious--even if it does use lentils!  Try it and let me know what you think.  A great recipe for company:)


2 dry lentils
4 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. chicken-like seasoning
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf

Bring above ingredients to a boil on the stove then reduce heat and simmer till done (about an hour).

2-3 cups cooked brown rice
chopped sweet onion
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped avocado
chopped olives
sour cream or plain yogurt

Assemble ingredients on individual plates as you would a tostado:

first layer--rice
second layer--lentils
then chopped onion, lettuce, tomato, etc.
top with salsa and sour cream

Enjoy!  Kat

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Met the Challenge

My Friday posts are going to be reflections and other miscellaneous topics that don't fit in the themes for the other days of the week.  Today I want to share with you about a challenge that I recently tackled.

A dear friend and former coworker of mine, Cheryl Tallman, undertook a project to make an angel wall quilt in memory of our friend Donna Schonbachler who died in the spring of 2007 (somebody correct me if I'm wrong).  Donna was a nurse for Pioneer Memorial Home Health and Hospice, a loving wife,  devoted mother and faithful friend.  We all still miss her dearly:(  Anyway, Cheryl asked various quilters to help with the project by making the squares which involved various amounts of applique and embroidery.  I really wanted to be a part of this project so asked for a square to do.  Let me interject at this point that I don't quilt and have never done applique.  What was I thinking?!!!

Fast forward four months of procrastination.  To get the right dimensions for the block I had to rip out three times.  I had been planning to hand applique (love hand work) but discovered some of the pieces were too small to turn under the amount needed to applique so turned to Plan B--machine applique.  Well, let's put it this way, my block will not be the most beautiful block in the quilt but I did it.  Many of the blocks were done by professional quilters and mine was definitely done by an amateur.

What have I learned from this experience? 

  • Don't procrastinate--it doesn't get any easier with the passing of time.  
  • Don't say you want to do something you know nothing about!
  • Take a picture of the finished product--oops!
While working on this project I had time to reflect on my friend, Donna.  First of all, she would have wanted me to make a quilt block.  She would have applauded my efforts regardless of how feeble--I did my best.  She frequently challenged me to be a better person--stretch, grow, learn. 

Cheryl still has to get the quilt put together, get it quilted and then there will be an Embellishment Party where those who choose to will get together and put the final embellishments of the quilt.  Will there be food, Cheryl?!!  The quilt fill hang in the hallway of Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, OR in memory and tribute to Donna, a true angel:)

Therapy Thursday

I love thrift stores!  Actually I have an addiction to thrift stores!!  There is a thrift store in Condon, OR that is only open on Thursdays.  When I worked in Condon, I visited this thrift store EVERY Thursday both for the values I found there and to visit with the staff.  One of the ladies starting calling it Therapy Thursday because we got so much pleasure from our visits.  So when I was trying to think of a theme for Thursdays posts which are about things I love to do and that bring me pleasure, I decided Therapy Thursday fit perfectly.

Adorable box/bag 
Gift tags galore!
This week I have been paper crafting.  Tuesday, I did a Stampin' Up! workshop for a friend and they made Tea Bag Holders--cute!  Everyone had a good time, including me:)  But, before I went to the workshop, I wanted to make some Christmas items to give them ideas of what they could do with one of Stampin' Up's! cutest Designer Papers, Jolly Holiday.  I made a gift box/bag (directions at and used the leftover designer paper to make gift tags--3"x3" card type, 2"x2" card type and tags.  The stamp set I chose for the tags is called Tags til Christmas. I have had sooo much fun.  Well, of course, everyone oohed and ahhed over the adorable box/bag and the tags are just too cute!  At the Happy Stampers stamping club this month we will be making the box/bag and gift tags.  And for the first time ever, I have all the supplies cut out and ready to go two weeks before stamping club!  High five for me!!!  My stamping buddies will get a preview of their very fun projects for November:) 

Now that the fun is over, I need to clean up my dining room table and get some cleaning done:(  Is that supposed to be part of the "therapy" or should I save the cleaning for tomorrow--hmmm!
See girls! Here's proof that your projects are ready to go!

Tomorrow's post theme is Reflections so see you then:)  Kat ( be sure to email me at if you need a catalog or want to place an order.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning and Growing!

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More FunOne thing I vowed to do when I retired was continue to learn and grow!  I am like a sponge--can't get enough learning about all types of subjects.  On October 21 I listened to a teleconference of an interview with Gretchen Rubin.  She once clerked for Sandra Day O'Conner but then decided to pursue a writing career.  She started her blog called The Happiness Project in 2006 and has since written a book by the same name.

Listening to the interview with Gretchen I gleaned some great tips for writing my blog.

  1. If you have trouble writing one or two days a week, write six days a week.  The idea is that doing something every day is easier than doing it sometimes--it's just what I do:)
  2. Be true to yourself.
  3. Don't bash people (my paraphrase).
  4. Select topics for each day of the week (Wednesdays will be highlighting one of my favorite websites)
  5. Be informative.
  6. Be fun.
Sooo, I will be writing more often--sometimes short, sometimes longer.  Writing this blog is one of my Happiness Projects.  What are yours?  The Kat is Back!
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