Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Miracle Whip or Mayo?

There's no accounting for taste.English Proverb

Growing up, my sister and I would get into my Grandma's fridge, open up the jar of Miracle Whip and lick the inside of the lid. Two things about that; first, this was something that we could only get away with at Grandma's. We never did it at home. Second, Ewww! Gross! I hope that she threw the jar away after we'd been there. And now that I think about it, perhaps that is why there was always a bit of Miracle Whip on the lid. A bit of cause and effect? She always had a new jar in the fridge because we kept licking the lid and she kept having to throw them out.

Though it would seem that I liked the taste of Miracle Whip, I considered it a necessary evil. When it came to spreading sandwiches, I would scrape some onto the bread and then scrape it right back off. Then I'd put copious amounts of mustard on the sandwich to cover up the taste. And as far as I knew, Miracle Whip and mayonnaise were the same thing. Or possibly, mayo was even grosser than Miracle Whip. So it was with much protestation that I bought my first jar of mayonnaise, at Mr. Bug's request, after we were married. It was then that I discovered that there is a huge difference between Miracle Whip and mayonnaise and that mayo is superior in every way. My mom still keeps Miracle Whip in her fridge, but I am definitely Team Mayonnaise. And I definitely do not like the tangy zip of Miracle Whip.

And now, I must ask . . . Which do you prefer? Miracle Whip or mayonnaise?

Last week, I asked about favorite colors. Not one single person picked yellow as their favorite. Blue and Green tied for first as stand-alone colors and all colors made a three-way tie for first. Pink & Red tied for second. Awesome. Thanks for voting!

I love reading your comments and meant for this little series to be a sort of virtual chat, where I reply to your comments and we discuss our answers. However, work, summer, my quilting addiction and life in general are kicking my butt lately and I have 117 unresponded to comments in my e-mail inbox. Please keep commenting, with the knowledge that I am reading and intend to reply, but that reality gets in the way. A lot.

Next week, I think we'll look at butter vs. margarine. I have this to say about that; I trust cows more than I trust chemists. Can you guess which is my spread of choice?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snowball Quilt № 2: Finished At Last!

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. –Henry van Dyke

93 Snowball blocks made from fabric pulled from stash: free
{45 baby, 48 regular}

903 Seams: 25± man hours

723 Sashing Swirls: 7 man hours

192 Corner Curlicues: 6 man hours

1700 yards of quilting thread: $11.43
Batting and backing: $16.30
Total Machine Quilting time: 35± man hours

7 yards of double-fold bias binding: 3 man hours

Making a quilt start to finish: Priceless

Posts about the creation of this quilt:
A Quilt-Along
How One Quilt Became Two
The First Snowball Quilt Finished
Work Begins on the Second Quilt
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Back at it After A Long Break
Construction Nearly Completed
Preparing For Machine Quilting
Machine Quilting in Progress
Machine Quilting Almost Finished
Snowball Quilt Tutorial

Today's post brought to you by:
My 2011 Finishes Myra's Ph.D Challenge

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sabbath Songs: Simple Gifts

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
–Alma 37:6

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Must Ask . . . What is Your Favorite Color?

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. –Claude Monet

Today is National Pink Day. How about that? A whole day to celebrate everything pink! Pink is an awesome color. It is bright and cheerful and full of beauty. I like pink. A lot. My iPod is pink, I have lots of pink flowers growing in my gardens, and even my house is pink. When I was a kid, I wanted my room painted pink — really pink, and not the palest shade of pink conceivable that I ended up with.

And then I started to like blue. Blue is a really awesome color and it comes in such a range.

But what about red? Red is really striking and looks good on nearly everyone.

Then there is yellow, so sunny and cheerful.

And orange. Orange is completely underrated. It really brightens up a flower garden and looks beautiful in a quilt.

You can't leave out green. I love green in all its varieties. Someday I'm going to paint my kitchen the most mellow and serene, almost-neutral shade of mossy green. It will be awesome.

Color really brightens our world. I used to think I had a single favorite color, but honestly, I like them all. Even the quiet ones, like brown and grey. Each one does their part. Today, I must ask . . . what is your favorite color? Can you pick just one? Tell me why it is your favorite.

{The Rainbow Square}

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or weighed on on the poll about high school reunions last week! I'm still thinking about whether or not I'll go, but I really appreciate everyone's input.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Barbecue West of Wherever They Have Really Great Barbecue

Give a man some barbecue and feed him for a day. Teach a man to barbecue and feed him for the summer. –Unknown

This is one of our favorite barbecue recipes. I made it for Father's Day and it was so good, I skipped the photo op so I could get down to eating.

Barbecue Sauce
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

• Combine ketchup, onion, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, chili powder and garlic in a medium saucepan.
• Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally; reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
• Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 cups

• Use with beef, chicken or pork.
• For grilling, brush on meat during the last 5 minutes of cooking; serve with extra sauce on the side for dipping.
• Mix sauce with shredded chicken or beef or pulled pork for great barbecue sandwiches.
• For baking, see below.

Barbecue Ribs
2 lbs. country-style boneless ribs {beef or pork}
2 cups barbecue sauce

• Heat oven to 275˚. Place meat in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour sauce over meat and cover baking dish.
• Bake, covered, for 3 to 4 hours.
• Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, veggie of choice and fresh watermelon.
Serves 4

• For baked barbecue chicken, bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes {until chicken is no longer pink}.
• For large groups, use a ratio of 1 cup sauce to 1 pound meat.

I made strawberry shortcake for Mother's Day and meant to post the recipe a while back. Since I'm sharing great food that makes days to celebrate the special people in our lives a little bit more special, I'll throw this one in too. We celebrated Mother's Day with Mr. Bug's family. I estimated that there would be about 40 people there. I think there were 38. To make sure I had enough for everyone, I used 3 dozen eggs and 10 pounds of strawberries. It was quite a party.

Angel Food Cake
1½ cups egg whites {10 to 12 large eggs}
1½ cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup sifted flour {cake or all-purpose}
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar

• In an extra-large mixing bowl, allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar and flower together 3 times; set aside.
• Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed till soft peaks form {tips curl}. Gradually ad sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating till stiff peaks form {tips stand straight}.
• Sift about one-fourth of the dry mixture over the beaten egg whites; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in remaining dry mixture by fourths. Pour into an ungreased 10" tube pan. Gently cut through batter to remove any large air pockets.
• Bake on the lowest rack in a 350˚ oven for 40 to 45 minutes or till top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake {leave in pan}; cool thoroughly. Loosen sides of cake from pan; remove cake.
Serves 12

• The recipe calls for a tube pan, but I used a Bundt pan instead and it came out just fine.
• The powdered sugar and flour are sifted no less than five times; remember to sift them before you measure them.
• When you turn your cake, if it is too high to set the pan down, use the built-in legs on the pan. If you didn't use a tube pan {or it doesn't have legs}, invert over a metal funnel or a glass bottle with a slim neck. If you don't have a glass bottle or a metal funnel, you can get creative and use books of equal height tucked just under the rim of the pan to prop it up so you don't squish the cake while it cools, hanging upside down.
• For chocolate Angel Food Cake, add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder when sifting powdered sugar and flour together.

Strawberry Shortcake
3 lbs. fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar

• Wash strawberries and remove stems. Cut strawberries in quarters {or more, for larger berries} vertically. Sprinkle with sugar and gently stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour {up to overnight}.
• Stir strawberries before serving; serve over Angel Food Cake, topped with whipped cream.
Serves 12

• For more {or less} strawberries, use a ratio of 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 lb. of strawberries.
• If you're going to go to all the trouble of baking an Angel Food Cake from scratch, you darn well better make the whipped cream too {instructions on container of cream}. It just tastes better. Unless, of course, you're dairy-free in which case you'd just leave it off all together.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Snowball Night: Week 55½

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there. –Josh Billings

I'm glad I didn't wait for the water soluble thread. Because I would still be waiting instead of really close to finished with the quilting.

OK, so 'really close' is a relative term. I estimate that it will take me about 6 hours to do those flourishes in the corners of the snowballs and then two or three hours on the borders, depending on what I do {I'm thinking feathers, but does anyone have any suggestions?}. When you consider that I've already spent between 23 and 25 hours on it, nine more hours is 'really close.' And with that, I'd better get back to it.

Today's post brought to you by:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Sermons: Moments That Matter Most

We would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Did You Go To Your High School Reunion?

There's a big world out there. Bigger than prom, bigger than high school , and it won't matter if you were the prom queen or the quarterback of the football team or the biggest nerd. –Unknown

I went with Mr. Bug to his 20-year high school reunion eight years ago. He was really excited to go and so we went. My 20-year reunion is in seven weeks. But I'm not sure if I'm even interested in going. I mean, high school wasn't that great the first time. Who wants to go back?

I haven't been to any of my class reunions. I registered and paid for my 5-year reunion. I was single, happy, confident and totally OK with going alone. I started dating Mr. Bug after I registered and he asked me to do something else the weekend of the reunion, so I didn't mind skipping. At the 10-year reunion, we moved just after the registration information came and it was lost in the shuffle and I missed the deadline. I obviously wasn't too worried about going then either.

So now it is the big 20-year reunion and I'm not sure whether I want to go. There are some people I would like to see, but I have to wonder if the jocks will still be jocks and the cheerleaders will still be cheerleaders and the nerds {me} will still be nerds and if the people I would love to see again will even be there?

I'm happy with my life and who I am, but I wonder if it is like when you go home to visit family and everyone falls back into their roles as oldest child, middle child, youngest child, red-headed step-child. Will the person I was back then hinder my confidence and make going a miserable experience? Or will it be lots of fun to see old friends? As a side note, where did the last twenty years go?

Today, I must ask: did you go to your high school reunion? I'm interested in hearing if you attended any of them {not just your 20th} and what your experience {good or bad} was.

Last week, I asked about favorite seasons. Spring won by quite a large margin, and surprisingly winter tied with fall for second favorite. In all honesty, I have to say that there is something that I love about each season and hearing what you love about your favorite season swayed me a little towards choosing that season as my favorite. Thanks for voting and sharing with me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grandma Week Day 4: Hogle Zoo

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. –Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce

Our last day of Grandma Week was spent at the zoo. The weather was beautiful, barely 70˚ with a light breeze to keep us all comfortable. The kids had a great time!

My favorite animal at the zoo is the giraffe. I'm not sure if it is their tallness, or their grace, or the cool pattern on their skins. Maybe it is their tongues, which are long for reaching for leaves and blue to keep from getting sunburned. My kids have almost grown out of saying those funny things that kids say, so I was amused when Grasshopper provided the quote of the day when he said, A sitting giraffe. Simple, yet effective.

There is so much to see at the zoo, we hardly knew where to go and what to do next. We were there just after opening and stayed nearly to close. We watched the animals. We rode the Conservation Carousel and the Zoo Train. We went to the World of Flight Bird Show. We snacked, we laughed, we visited. We had a really great time. I tried to pack as much as we did at the zoo into this one photo. It was a busy, fun day.

My mom did a really great job with the activities for Grandma Week this year. The kids just loved it and I really loved watching the kids love it. This is our fourth year and I hope that we keep this tradition for a good many years to come.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grandma Week Day 3: The Bouncy House

Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun. –Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Grandma had a bouncy house delivered to her house early, early this morning. It was set up and ready before any of the kids got up. The bouncing began before breakfast.

{Illustrated} Quote of the Day
Roly Poly: Stand by me. I will read you the rules. No glasses. And two kids. Naughtiness not allowed in the bouncy house. C'mon. Let's go!

There was lots and lots of bouncing. And lots and lots of giggles. And then some more bouncing.

After the bouncing, there were popsicles poskibles, because Grandma is cool {ha, ha, pun totally intended} like that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grandma Week Day 2: The Treehouse Museum

If you want your child to be intelligent, read him fairy tales. If you want him to be even more intelligent, read him more fairy tales. –Albert Einstein

We spent our entire day at the Treehouse Museum. There is enough there to keep you occupied for several days. The exhibits are interactive and educational and just so much fun. I can't decide which is my favorite part; the kid-sized costumes for everything or the Madame Alexander First Lady doll collection {which was difficult to photograph behind glass}.
{Illustrated} Quote of the Day
Pixie: Don't eat yet. We have to say the prayer.

Upstairs is a little area set up for plays. There are puppet show windows on either side of the main stage area. The kids thought it was fun to stick themselves up in the puppet show windows. I guess we all got into the spirit of it.

Our week, so far, has been so much fun. I have really enjoyed watching the kids interact with each other. Miss Butterfly and LadyBug are thick as thieves, spending nearly every second together. And Grasshopper looks out for the little boys. I love it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grandma Week Day 1: The Aquatic Center

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. –Stacia Tauscher

Every year my mom invites all her grandchildren {and their parents} for a week of stay-cation fun. Our 4th annual Grandma Week got underway with a day at an indoor/outdoor aquatic center. It was a fantastic start because Kids + Water = Fun. And because most of the fun stuff is indoors, we all came home sunburn free {my favorite part}! Meet our splashy crew.

LadyBug and Grasshopper

Miss Butterfly, Cap'n Underpants, Mantis and Roly Poly Bug

Lizard Boy and Mouse {and his mom}

Pixie and Woodland Sprite {Woody for short}

Conversation overheard
Mouse: Sometimes when we were inside, I used Woody's boat.
Pixie: You should come in my boat with me. Come on. Let's go.
Mouse: Does it have a back seat?

Quote of the day
Lizard Boy: I already know how to get rock star hair. You move around in bed and it gets messy. Then you have rock star hair. Or, more likely, bed head.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Various and Sundry Monday: Vol 11

Continuous effort is the key to unlocking our potential.
–Winston Churchill

Monday = Rain = Music Spot
Okay, so it wasn't as rainy as the other rainy Mondays. It was just a 10-minute shower and the sun came right out after. This is was more in line with what we expect as far as rain goes in Utah. But it is Monday and it did rain today. So I thought I'd mention it and post a song that is vaguely related.

Snowball Night: Week 54½

The ditch work is done; let the fun begin!

The water soluble thread I ordered is on back-order. I was going to use that for stitching in the ditch because I really like the stability that it provides. But with a little encouragement from Lane {and because I didn't want to wait any longer}, I decided to get to it with the quilting thread. I even did the 192 starts and stops on the diagonals on the snowballs. It took forever. But if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Right? Here's a peek at one of the blocks from the front.

Peony Lve

{First-time bloomer: Barrington Belle}

{Long-time favorite: Félix Crousse}

{First-time bloomer: Gay Paree}

500th Post
This is my 500th post. That's a lot of writing. A really lot. I'd planned to have a little something in the way of a giveaway to commemorate, but I only got to the planning stages. 500 is kind of a huge milestone, so maybe we'll commemorate after Grandma Week {which starts tomorrow} is over. Thanks for hanging in there with me, for reading and commenting and being a witness to my life.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Sermons: Good Things to Come

Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. My declaration is that is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. –Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Family Fun

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. –Gertrude

Our second day of Art City celebrations started with the parade. Don't you just love a parade? My favorite are the Rodeo Queens riding their horses in fancy western gear. Love it! And pretty high up there on my list of what makes a great parade are the pageant royalty floats. Round it off with a good marching band and you're set. The Little Bugs and I had a great time at the parade this morning. I gave Grasshopper my old camera and let him loose on the floats as they came by. He really got into it. If this were the old days, he would have filled 5 rolls of film!

We also visited the car show. Local auto enthusiasts brought their collections and it was held at an auto body shop. My favorite is that little cream Porsche in the bottom right corner. I have about four pairs of shoes that would look great with that car. The green truck on the top center was also of particular interest, except it is the wrong color and year.

One of my favorite Art City Days activities is the Quilt Show, sponsored by the local quilt guild and my favorite LQS. It is very informal and not a judged show, except the guild picks two winners overall and two youth winners. A viewer's choice award is also given to the quilt that gets the most votes during the two days at the show. It is so fun to share quilts and see all the amazing things other quilters in the community have done. This year, I took Mr. Bug's T-Shirt quilt.

We ended our day with the fireworks display at just after 10:00 pm. We got a great parking spot and a great place to watch the show and it only took us about 20 minutes to get out of the tangle of traffic and back home. I think that this year's Art City Days was a success. We had lots of fun, used copious amounts of sunblock, and came out the other side tired but happy. Until next year!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Family Fun

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
{emphasis added}

As a kid, summers were filled with hometown entertainment; parades and fireworks and activities that made you really enjoy the 'stay' in stay-cation. As a parent, I like doing those same kinds of things with my kids. It really isn't about the money spent. It is about the time doing fun things together as a family.

Springville is home to Utah's oldest art museum. Bronze statues and sculptures dot main street. And our festival days are called Art City Days. We enjoy taking advantage of the great activities that are offered by the city and local sponsors. We have certain favorites we do every year and this year we're doing a few things we haven't done before.

The Little Bugs and I were off to an early start this morning with a hot air balloon launch. Crews started setting up at 6:30 am and as they filled their balloons, there was hot chocolate and doughnuts and music. There were eight balloons and it was interesting to watch them as they expanded and began to rise into the air. As the balloons lifted off the ground and drifted into the sky, the occupants in the baskets threw out candy and prizes. It was quite an amazing sight.

But that wasn't the best part of the morning. After the field cleared, a ninth balloon was filled, tethered to the ground and the pilot gave rides to anyone who wanted one. Although we didn't go very high {perhaps 40 or 50 feet}, it was really fun and left you wanting more.

This morning we also enjoyed breakfast at the fire station; pancakes, eggs, ham and juice or milk prepared by our city's very own fire department. This wasn't one of the free activities, but the money went to a good cause and we had a nice time hanging out in the fire station.

Our last stop for the day was at the Children's Art Festival. This has been a favorite activity of ours and we never miss it. This year was the best yet. There were more booths than usual and the art projects at each booth were really fun {not to mention free!}. The Little Bugs were pretty tired, though, and we didn't stay as long as we usually do. The Mama must have been tired too, because I don't have any photos of the Art Festival.

Tomorrow morning there will be another balloon launch and breakfast at the fire house and I'm thinking it might be really fun to do those activities all over again. The parade is also tomorrow morning and we'll be going to the car show in the afternoon. There is a carnival going on {which we'll definitely skip} but we might swing by the craft and food boutiques. The scones {fry bread} that the Kiwanis club sells are legendary. There are a couple of concerts in the evening, which we may or may not go see and the grand finale will be fireworks tomorrow night. So my favourite thing for this Friday is time spent with the Little Bugs participating in some really great family fun.

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Must Ask . . . What Is Your Favorite Season?

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. –Henry David Thoreau

Where I live, we enjoy the four seasons, each in its extreme. Winter brings cold and snow; spring, a renewal of life; summer, the need for air conditioning to keep from melting to the sidewalks; and fall, the turning of the leaves and the earth quietly going to sleep for another winter. Of those four seasons, winter is my least favorite and I could skip it every year. Some people who live around here do. They're called 'snow birds' and they have winter homes in the southern part of the state, where it stays pretty mild. I love the fun that summer brings and autumn is definitely beautiful as all the leaves change color as they burn out their last bit of life.

For me, spring is my favorite season. I love spring. The weather is mild, the days get longer and the earth is comes to life. Long-forgotten plants push up through the ground and bloom anew. Spring is really a miracle.

And not to miss an opportunity to show off my peonies, here's what is blooming today. This is called Bowl of Beauty, and it really lives up to its name. Not only is it nice to look at, it smells beautiful as well.

There are three different peony plants here. In the bottom right corner is Karl Rosenfield. The pretty pink blooms in the center are Alexander Fleming {named after the man who invented penicillin} and the dark pink bud in the back that is just starting to open is one that I picked up from a neighbor. She didn't know the name of it and I haven't been able to tell for sure what kind it is {there are about a zillion different peonies, and unless you write down what they are when you get them, you'll never remember which is which}. Behind them are some pretty peachy irises.

Now that I've shown you why spring is my favorite, I must ask . . what is your favorite season?

Last week, we did eye color. Hazel and blue tied for the lead. I have to say, I really like having blue eyes. Thanks to everyone who voted!