Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Too Much to Do Tuesday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We certainly enjoyed the visit with my folks and I'm now ready to greet the New Year. Well, that's not entirely true, but ready or not - here it comes! I have always heard "things will slow down after the holidays". Hmph. I must have jumped on the wrong train because I feel like one of those cartoon characters that is holding on to the end of a caboose attached to the train that is speeding down the mountain. See that little blur flapping in the wind? That's me.

Suddenly, my list of things to do seems to have grown much too quickly and being up at 3 in the morning is not even on there! Argh!

My folks left on Saturday. 4 hours later my brother-in-law pulled in with his 3 little rascals. They were on their way to visit Granny and Grandpa and stopped in to stretch their legs for about 4 hours. They'll be back this evening for 3 or 4 days. I spent Sunday cleaning up the post-Christmas mess, catching up on laundry, and taking a much needed nap before hitting town yesterday to run errands. The boys were gone helping the neighbors work cattle so DD and I didn't worry about getting back for dinner. We came home with a truck filled to the brim with groceries - hopefully enough to keep us from making another trip into town for a good, long while!

While we were knocking things off of our list, the hired hand's wife called.
She's coming over this morning to pick up some beef so we'll get to enjoy some time to visit although I hope she doesn't mind if I'm multitasking.
Then DH phones and says that a friend is coming from Texas to pick up a couple of horses.
Is he bringing his wife and daughter?
Who knows?
When are they coming?
They'll be here for dinner.
My brother-in-law will be pulling in this evening with his 6, 8, and 10 yr olds.
Oh, and tomorrow is DH's birthday.

So here's my list for today:
1.Make Sopapilla Cheesecake for dessert and hope there's enough left for Friday.
2.Make Smothered Steak, rolls, potatoes, and salad for dinner.
3.Kick DS out of his room-again- sorry Bud - and make it up for BIL and 3 children for 3 or 4 days
4.Bake Auntie's Chocolate Cake for DH's birthday
5.Wrap DH's gifts (pick up the TV tomorrow morning)
6.Bake a batch of gingerbread cowboys because they're DH's favorite and I didn't get around to making them for Christmas
7.Write a letter and mail a friend's birthday card
8.Order Christmas pictures (this one might have to wait)
9.Make spinach dip for New Year's
10.Make Guacamole for New Year's Eve (DH loves this)
11.Oil dining room table
12.Mail check for DD's Driver's Ed
13. Mail 8x10 Christmas card photo my parents requested
14. Search for a snowflake cookie cutter on the Internet
15. Order subscription for quilting magazine
16. Clean up the 'sure to be chaotic' kitchen
17. Haul out the Christmas tree and clean up the pine needles for the next 6 months
18. Make Wednesday's list and hope it's shorter than today's
19. Collapse from exhaustion and wonder how people do this on a regular basis.
20. Dig a longer dirt road - this one is getting too short - the craziness is getting too close for comfort

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From the End of the Dirt Road!

Just a quick note to wish all of y'all a very Merry Christmas! May your holiday be blessed with the beautiful gift of God's love as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Prayers for safe travels for everyone on the road and in the air. Sounds like many of you will be enjoying a white Christmas! Hope the good Lord send a little of that this way!

DD and I were pretty sick for a couple of days, but we've recovered and by God's hand, everything that needed to be done, is done. I didn't think we would get a Christmas Photo taken to include in the cards this year, but that too, finally, worked out. This one is a bit different, but I love it.

So as per, tradition, here's the final product along with the silly Christmas poem I keep getting requests for:

2008 Holiday Greetings from the End of the Dirt Road

Don’t blink – the year has come and gone;
Each year it only moves faster.
Didn’t I just write one of these -
Seems last week instantly morphed into last year.

Even so, we happily greet you this season,
With our update on family news.
The kids are still growing and we’re getting older,
With ranch life there’s no time to snooze.

We’re busy baking Christmas goodies that quickly disappear;
must hide them when they leave the range -
Too many eager hands always sneaking a taste -
some things never change!

Tyler is 18 and reaching 6’4;
his guitar never far from his side and it shows.
He just joined a band and plays day and night;
Where he got his talent –nobody knows!

Caitlin is 15 and taller than I
She’s still happiest on the back of a horse.
She’s starting young colts, still playing music
And writing cowboy poetry of course.

Both kids are still shooting alongside their Dad;
They can often be found at the range.
Its family time we all enjoy;
That’s one thing that will never change.

Gary still logs in lots of long hours;
Always working in 5th gear.
With prices sky high and fuel out of sight;
Ranching has been quite a challenge this year.

I’ve recently discovered a passion for quilting,
And can often be found with needle and thread.
Just completed my very first quilt,
But already have numerous others gathered in my head.

We are simply, abundantly blessed,
With family and friends we adore.
We’re happy and healthy and enjoy time together;
We couldn’t ask for anything more.

So that concludes my dirt road ramblings,
To friends both far and near.
We’re sending along prayers for a joyous Christmas;
May you be blessed in the coming New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My First Quilt!

Yes - the quilt is finished! Hurrah! Yippee! WaHoo! I'm so excited! It has been a long journey. The fabric has been patiently waiting on a shelf for some time now - 3 1/2 years to be exact. The curtains have been made for years and were quite lonely waiting for their companion piece to grace the bed, but the little family is now complete.

The process of making and completing a quilt can be compared to giving birth. It may not be quite as painful, but it takes a really long time before you are able to gaze lovingly at the finished product! LOL!

It took some finagling, but I am quite proud of the fact that DD's quilt sports 4 very clean mitered corners! Wahoo! I am so excited - I feel an acceptance speech coming on. There are so many people to thank!

~I must thank google for the video that showed me how to miter those pretty corners.
~The NFR, for televising 10 days of rodeo that gave me an excuse to sit for hours and quilt.
~My Scrapshare quilting buddies, who patiently answered my never ending questions about batting.
~My DD, who patiently, and sometimes not so patiently(grin) waited for the final stitch.
~DS and DH for enduring endless days and weeks without freshly baked cookies.
~The various and numerous quilt store personnel who patiently waited as I fretted and toiled and struggled over fabric selections.
~Cottonpicker, who without her generosity, this quilt would not be possible (thank you for lending me a sewing machine when mine took an early retirement)
~Ranch Wife, who went above and beyond the call of duty and held my hand throughout this lengthy process and still remained my friend. You can now breathe a sigh of relief. I feel as if I have sprouted quilting wings and you can now safely shove me out of the nest! Aren't you glad?!I think you created a monster. Oh - and I will one day learn to step away from the browns!

I feel a strong desire for a trip to a quilt store coming on...

Love, Dirt Road Scrapper - who is off to start another quilt and continue her search for a sewing machine!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Oh my! We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and dined on lots of wonderful, yummy things. This cheesecake was the best and she graciously sent us home with the little that was left. DH said it made the best breakfast the next morning! LOL! I have been so blessed by her friendship...and her recipes!

I visited with Ranch Wife this week to see what I could bring for our Cowboy Fellowship Christmas Service and I told her I had just discoved a great new dessert. She said she had one as well and it made me laugh when we both said "Sopapilla Cheesecake"! Just goes to show that great minds really do think alike! I know that this will be gracing our table during Spring Works - I'm pretty certain that the crew will give it a thumbs up!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened - not low fat - go for the good stuff!
2 C sugar (divided)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C butter
ground cinnamon

*Roll one can crescent dough into bottom of greased 9x13 baking pan.
*Stretch dough and pinch seams together to form crust.
*Blend together cream cheese, 1 C sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
*Spread over dough - not too close to edge
* Stretch second can of crescent rolls over cream cheese layer to form top crust
*Melt butter and 1 C sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and pour over crust
*Sprinkle with cinnamon
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

This same friend once had a restaraunt in Houston and now has a catering business here. We're helping her with a couple of parties next week so it'll be fun to see what else she has up her sleeve! I love to cook so I'm really looking forward to this! Be sure and remind me of that when I come back here later this week and complain about how much my feet hurt! It'll be hard to keep up with S! Maybe some of her energy will rub off on me. I can hope, can't I?

Y'all enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Can No Longer Deny it - I'm Getting Old

Age has never bothered me. I have friends and family who cringe and fuss over each consecutive birthday. Not me - I think birthdays are a cause for celebration and I even handled the dreaded '40' without a second thought and 2 pieces of cake! It always takes me by surprise when someone asks my age and I have to think. 44? Really? When did that happen?

Well yesterday I was rudely kicked into the real world and I realized that my age was starting to catch up with me. Recently, I have come to realize that my eyesight isn't what it once was. My new found passion for quilting has made me keenly aware of my faltering vision. It has come to the point where I cannot thread a needle and I have become a source of much amusement for my family. The other evening we were all gathered in the living room watching the NFR and I was working on DD's quilt binding (yes, I am STILL working on her quilt!). As I was attempting to thread the needle, I could hear small snickers and feel the darting glances of my loving family who apparently enjoy picking on their poor, Mama. Finally DH says (with a chuckle) to DD, "Go thread that needle for your Mama". Sigh. She does so with an amused expression on her face, a chortle, and eyes filled with laughter. Gee thanks, dear!

Alas, I was convinced to make an appointment with the Optometrist. After much air blowing, eye prodding, light flashing and chart reading he sat back and announced his diagnosis: "My dear, you have been diagnosed with a common ailment known simply as age." Hmmm...at least he didn't say 'old'.The good news is that I have 20/20 vision! I don't see how that can be since I can't read without adding extensions to my arm, but he chuckled; I submitted to the professional and he recommended a pair of simple reading glasses. I've never worn glasses. Well, you will never catch me without my sunglasses on my head, but REAL glasses? Sigh.

Dr Greg also recommended that I pick up multiple pairs of glasses. He assured me that I would now be in constant 'search' mode and forever more be asking everyone, "Have you seen my glasses?" Either he knows me better than he should or he's was making a not so subtle point about the fact that my mind was taking flight right along with my eyesight.

I began to feel myself break out into a cold sweat as I stood in front of the glass display and contemplated my choices. While waiting at Dr. Greg's office, Cotton Picker phoned and I moaned to her. She laughed. While pondering my selection of eye wear, I phoned Ranch Wife and whined to her. She laughed. Humph. Some friends. Can I get a little support here?

So after apprehensively shelling out $20 bucks for these new optical devices along with a reminder from my dear friends that I could be dropping 100s of dollars for prescription glasses, I headed home. I learned very quickly to only use these for close work and reading. Looking up at anything more than 2 feet away is guaranteed to make my stomach lurch and my head spin.

I suppose I have now officially entered middle age. Ack!

No problem - I'll always be a kid at heart and if you feel the need to call me 'four eyes' you'll be safe if you run, I can't see you if you're more than 2 feet away from me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Reaching for That Panic Button...

Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God. Be still...

My sewing machine has finally died it's last death. At this point I wish it were a cat because it would still have 3 lives left. I spent the other evening weeping over its lifeless body. The large pile of unmade Christmas gifts wept alongside me. They were now destined to spend another year folded on a cold, dark cabinet shelf. The baby will no longer be a baby when the baby quilt is finally completed. Countless blouses, tops, and pants will be ruined because of their apronless fronts. How many hands will be scorched because the potholders are unfinished? My darling daughter will sit looking forlornly at her quilt with the unmitered corners. It's a sad day at the end of the dirt road.

And as if that's not bad enough, our big upright freezer decided to join the sewing machine. I guess it doesn't matter that it is home to about 100 pounds of beef. Honestly, you would think that freezer would be a bit more thoughtful - after all, it is the holidays!

I guess it figured I needed something to do since... I WOULDN"T BE SEWING! So now I am cooking up huge amounts of beef. Yes, I know it will be a time saver in the future, but that's really not what I want to hear. Sigh.

I'm also in need of poetic inspiration. Each year I write a silly Christmas Poem and each year I receive at least 30 cards that say how very much they look forward to it. I even get phonecalls and my parents get cards about it! So now I feel obligated to include it in my Christmas mail. Each year I stress over it. This year is no different - I can't find a rhyming stanza to save my life. Think all those people will accept this:

It's been lots of fun
I've enjoyed the run,
But sorry folks, the well has gone dry
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodbye.

So although I am quite tempted to reach for that panic button, I hear a soft voice that is gently prodding me...Be still and know that I am God.

So all is well and God just reminded me where I stashed the chocolate!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Newest Additions to Santa's Team

I've been up to my elbows in reindeer these past few days. I've been busy adding to what has recently become a herd and the numbers are increasing daily. Actually, I think I'm about to wind this up. Aren't they cute though? I made several of these years ago, but I decided that they needed to make a second appearance. They are just as cute the second time around.

The tag reads:
Christmas is coming and so are the deer
Listen closely and bells you will hear
And along with them comes a special treat
Reindeer droppings for you to eat!
(Lift Tail)
Last night I set them on the buffet in the dining room once my eyes began to grow bleary. This morning I found our resident feline curled up amongst them. Soon her rascally companion joined her and I have found one or the other, or both of them, curled up in the midst of the red nosed critters all day.
Hope they haven't grown too attached to the one I'm sticking in the mail! You know how cats have issues with separation anxiety!

You just want to make sure you cut the hole in the back large enough when you stick the pom pom on. A few years back I gave one to the superintendent of the school and come to find out it was constipated! LOL!

These were so much fun to make. I can't help but smile when I look at them, but thank goodness I don't have to clean up after them!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis' the Season

Whew! coming up for air! Seems as if things have exponentially sped up around here lately! I'm blaming it on too many trips to town - one every day this week - Monday through Friday! Ick! So far, I'm handling it well although I may need an intervention by the end of the week!

Between guitar jamborees (2) , mandatory shooting sports safety meetings (4), piano recitals (1), music lessons (2),and a horse sale (1), we are spending way too much time in town! I've got so much to do here at home and it's not getting done!

I joined in on a Secret Santa on an online scrapping group I belong to. What fun! I received a gal who is so much fun to shop for! I've just about got everything together and ready to get in the mail. Just have to figure out a way to get that reindeer to fit into the box and get those Rolo- Pretzel-Pecan thingies made.

I'm still wrapped up in the quilt although I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm working on the binding and if the corners will cooperate and I can find some time to stay at home, I might have it finished this weekend. The National Finals start on Thursday so I'll make time to sit and watch that and quilt. While working on this quilt, I have come to the realization that I am in dire need of an eye exam. I seem to have become the object of much amusement when I am trying to thread my needle so I finally gave in and made an appointment.

DD is spending every morning out with her Dad. They are working with the colts until noon. Then, as soon as we finish with dinner, we're generally out the door and headed for town. I've been leaving supper for Grandpa and DH and trying to keep them in cookies and dessert. Let me tell you - I would get so much more accomplished if I didn't have to spend so much time baking and cooking!

I've started pulling out the Christmas boxes - one or two a day because that's all I've had time for and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Can't wait until we can make our annual trek to the mountains to cut the tree! I've toyed with not even writing a Christmas Poem this year, but I can already hear the complaints. I didn't send one the year we moved between Christmas and New Years and believe me, I heard about it! So I'll have to start mulling that over.

Whew! Are things absolutely crazy for y'all too? There are so many things I want to do and there just doesn't seem to be enough time. It may have something to do with that character trait I am afflicted with.. you know, that thing called procrastination? I should have worked on the nativity sets I wanted to make in June. Alas, they will remain unmade this year. On the bright side, I know what everyone's getting next year!

Despite the long list of things to do, I am not stressing out. I refuse to succumb to the overpowering forces to do so. I'll just dig in my heels and keep my eyes on the Lord. He'll let me know what needs my attention and every time I think about putting my priorities in order, I realize that He should always be at the top of that list. So, I'll just remember to stay focused, breathe deeply, and pray my way through. I LOVE this time of year! How very blessed we are that we have such a beautiful reason to celebrate. Christ's birth is truly a cause for celebration -and not just during the holidays!
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