Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent, Christmas Trees and Wind!

It's a beautiful sunny day here in southern California but boy was it windy these past couple of days!  The Santa Ana winds blew cold and the house felt the cold with very strong wind gusts.  Needless to say, the pool was filled with leaves this morning but it's almost cleaned.  Luckily, that we didn't suffer any damage.

Every year after Christmas, I love to find bargains.  When I got out my Christmas decorations this year, I found I had bought an advent calendar from Barnes and Noble.  As you can see, it's a house and the windows are little drawers that slide out to reveal a surprise.  It took me a bit to put it together and I've filled it with chocolates and other little goodies for my grandson.  He is thrilled with it although I think his dear Mom may think it's too much sugar!  That's what Grandmas are for!

Speaking of my dear daughter, she has been busy creating these beautiful pillows for the holiday season.  She is busier than ever this year with her online store.  I love the bright colors that are perfect for Christmas.

There's a real tree in the family room that was put up the day after Thanksgiving.  Please don't laugh at the two tree toppers!  I'm afraid to plug in the top angel since the wiring is not so good.  So, I decided to just sit her upon the tree to look down.  Lilly insists to sleep under the tree and play with the bright shiny balls.  That's why I placed some of my vintage Christmas balls on the top portion of the tree.  Lilly is sometimes worse than a child. . .

Here's the tree in the living room - it's fake.  It looks the same year after year although it's starting to shed needles.  Maybe it's time to look for a new one.  I think we've had this tree for 20 years now.

 
As I mentioned, its been cold here especially in the evenings.  Lilly has enjoyed snuggling in her little bed (it amazes me how she stuffs her body in there). 

Now that the decorating is done and the Christmas gifts are almost completed, I will enjoy wrapping the presents and making the Christmas cookies.  My dear brother will be joining us again this year for Christmas so I'll be making some traditional Danish Christmas foods from our childhood.  It should be a fun, family time.

Do you have special traditions for Christmas that you look forward to each year?  I'd love to hear about them.  Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wish my best wishes,

Pat

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stunning Sunrise to Start the Day

Hello my friends.  I just wanted to share with you a little bit about my week.  I was called to jury duty and I had to appear on Monday.  The courthouse is about a 25 mile drive from my home and luckily all information regarding parking, etc., was given to me ahead of time.  If you ask my children, I LOVE government offices; maybe because they are run by a strict set of rules and regulations!

The jurors sign in and wait in a huge room.  There is an orientation and then the juror's names are called as needed for each specific court case.  My  name was called for the second case. There was a total of 65 jurors from which 12 were chosen to serve on the jury.

 
I found the process fascinating!  I had been called twice before for jury duty but never served on a jury.  Once for a small county court and once for Federal court.  But this was the county superior court.  After we were seated in the courtroom, the judge gave us some instructions and then the first group of names (18 names) and those people took their seats in the jury.  They each had to answer a set of questions that were provided. The case involved two subjects; police and drunk driving.  Right from the start, a juror was excused due to her answer to the set of questions.  This question and answer period lasted until the afternoon.  New prospective jurors were added if one of the original 18 juror was excused.  Finally, by 3:45, 12 jurors and two alternates had been chosen.

The exciting part for me was to see the district attorney on one side along with the defense attorney and the defendant on the other side.  It brought to memory watching Dragnet or Perry Mason.  (I believe the modern equivalent would be CSI).  My father was a policeman so maybe that is why I respect and regard law enforcement.

There was an interesting story given by one of the judges during the jury orientation.  She was Russian ethnicity and her mother and grandmother had immigrated to the United States via Ellis Island.  My grandmother immigrated to the US via Ellis Island. This judge went onto say how fortunate and blessed we are to live in this county and exercise our right serve on a jury and to a trial by jury.  She listed how we are a unique nation in that (1) the elected leader of our nation would never change the laws so that he could rule forever, (2) the army would never have a coup against our government and (3) We are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Although I was not chosen to serve on the jury, I received a first hand look at how our country works. And it made me come home with a good feeling.  There's been lots of not so nice things said regarding our past election.  In blogland, I sometimes feel that others have judged or boycotted someone's blog because they don't think the same.  But, we need to remember that we have a right to vote, something that many countries don't have.  We don't live in a dictatorship.  We need to embrace our differences and reach out to our neighbor even though they may think different than us. Lets share and celebrate the things we do have in common!

Oops, I almost forgot - the photos above are of the sunrise this morning.  I was up at 5:00AM thanks to my adorable little grandson who spent the night.  The colors are amazing!  And, better yet, my day is amazing!

Thank you for visiting and I hope that your week is going well wherever you are!

With my best wishes,

Pat

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey & Stuffing Pie

Hello Everyone.  I'm writing this from a cold, windy and rainy early afternoon here in southern California.  The rains arrived yesterday and it's glorious to see it coming down from the sky.  I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and you might still have some turkey leftover from the holiday meal?  If so, here's a simple, fast recipe that can use up that leftover turkey.

It's a simple stuffed turkey pie made with ingredients you may already have in your pantry.  I cheated and used a ready made pie crust and stuffing.  Here's the ingredients:
Pie crust for top and bottom
1 Pkg stove top stuffing  (add celery if you wish)
Approximately 2 cups cut up turkey or chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup*
1/3 cup milk or water
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried fried onions (or use sauteed onion)
spices of your choice; salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, etc.
7" deep dish baking pan, greased well

I started off by making the stuffing mix according to package directions.  I added approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup more of broth/water to the stuffing mix since it needs to be moist since it will bake and can dry out. 
*You can substitute cream of chicken soup with cream of mushroom or cream or celery

Cut up the turkey pieces and place them in a bowl along with the soup mix, some milk or water, onions and herbs and spices of your choice. Mix together.

Grease the baking pan and line the bottom with the first sheet of the pie crust.  Place turkey/soup mixture in the bottom of the pan.

Next, add the stuffing on top of the turkey mixture.

My top sheet of pie pastry was too large, so I cut approximately 1" from around the edges and then carefully tucked in the edges of the pie pastry around the pan.

Here is my turkey pie before baking and before I added the leaf decorations.  Go ahead and add decorations if you wish from the leftover pie pastry.  Bake in a preheated 350F degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until pastry becomes golden brown.

Remove pie from oven and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before taking out of baking tin.  To remove, I invert the pie into a large shallow bowl, remove the baking pan, and turn it onto a serving plate.

I hope this recipe works for you.  If you don't like the ingredients, you can switch it around to your taste.  It provides a quick and easy dinner dish accompanied with a nice green salad.

I'm going to sign off now to enjoy this rain and warm up with a cup of tea!

With my best wishes,

Pat

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Readers

That special time of year has arrived again for loved ones to gather and give thanks for all the blessings and to remember and do our part for those in need.

I baked my favorite pumpkin pie recipe today as it's my son's favorite dessert.

I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Pat


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weather, Shawls, Holidays & Lilly!

Hello my dear friends.  It's been a busy fall season for me with the usual business.  My husband and I are both retired but the business isn't retired.  It's become a bit of a joke between my husband and I as he is always telling me things will slow down and become easier.  I think he's dreaming as it's been busier than ever around here with selling property, managing property, setting up new accounts and everything else.  We've had the same bank for over 41 years - that's a long time.  And, we just completed moving our accounts to another bank.  It all came down to customer service and we are so, so happy with the move.  How I miss the old way of how things used to be.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that although my blog world consists of my knitting and other fun things, my real life is centered in the business world of things.  I know my way around the business world quite well because I have to.  But, my heart is really in my home and family.  So, at the end of the day, when my work is done, I so look forward to picking up my knitting needles and enjoying the world I love.  I don't know how I managed all those years when I had a real paying job and children to raise.  Maybe I survived because I was younger? Enough said. . .

My husband absolutely loves the water but I am more of a rain and clouds person.  We have had such a long, hot summer and fall here in southern California.  I am really looking forward to cooler temps.  I'm probably the opposite of most people as I like clouds, rain, mountains and trees; most people prefer sun, sand and water!  Keep your fingers crossed as we're suppose to get some rain on Sunday and Monday :)


In a previous post, I shared about this shawl I made.  I completed the shawl and just needed to block it but I was not happy with the size of it.  The photo above shows version #1 of this shawl.


Since I had so much yarn left over, I frogged the border and made the body of the shawl longer. I altered the design of the border.  It turned out great as you can see in version #2 above.  I just need to block it now and add the tassels (one day!)

One day this week, we took our lunch to the lake and ate by the shore and watched all the wildlife.  This is a manmade lake in our little city but it's so pretty; especially with all the different birds who flock to the shore.  The city will soon be hosting their Christmas tree lighting at the lake.  It makes for a beautiful site.

Speaking of Christmas, the holidays are fast approaching.  My family will be celebrating at my daughter and son-in-law's home.  She already has her menu printed and ready to go.  Isn't it lovely?   And, it's our family tradition to play monopoly until the wee hours of the morning.  Why?  Because, there's a pot of money the winner gets to take home!  I am in charge of making appetizers.  I'm thinking of doing some type of cheese puffs and maybe a meat empanada with dipping sauce.  

Ah, Lilly.  What can I say?  She is my constant companion.  I can't believe that she is 11 years young!  Poor little kitty, she has been a bit confused with the time change as her little built in clock tells her when it's time to eat.  Cats are such amazing creatures. 

That's about all that's happening around here.  Thank you for your kind comments and for visiting Lilly My Cat.  Lilly always loves to hear from you! 

With my best wishes,


Pat









Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fall. . . A Time for Family and Friends and Knitting of Course!

Hello my dear friends.  I'm writing you from hot, windy, southern California.  Those Santa Ana winds are still at it and the temperature is reading 95 degree outside this afternoon and it's November!
Warning:  don't worry as there are no political statements included in my post today :)

My dear aunt made me these cute little pilgrims years and years ago.  I still put them out each year for my fall decor.  They are filled with dried beans and their little heads are made out of wooden balls.  I love them because I have such wonderful memories of my dear Aunt Allene.  She was such a talented lady and could make anything out of whatever she had.  Her crochet work is exquisite as she crocheted with thread - not yarn.  And, of course she knitted and was also excellent at embroidery.   I had three aunts and she was the most talented.  And, may I add, that she worked full time all those years and raised her family.  She was favorite aunt and so special . . .

I celebrated my birthday last week and my dear daughter took me to the Purl Soho warehouse. I don't know if you are familiar with Purl Soho, but basically to me it's like the Pottery Barn for knitting and sewing.  They're located in NYC and my daughter was just in NYC last month.  I tell my daughter, who has impeccable taste and design skills, that if she knit, she would be addicted to Purl Soho!  It was by chance that I found out that Purl Soho's warehouse was in California, about 20 miles from my house.  I received five skeins of the lucious pure alpaca yarn shown above for my birthday gift from my children.  I can hardly wait to cast on for this project.
The Purl Soho warehouse was a warehouse setting and yet, there amid the shelves, where all the items that I see via your emails/newsletters/website.  Awhile ago, I had seen these unique bulb shape pins and there they were at the warehouse beckoning to me to buy them.  Of course I had to bring them home with me!  What am I going to do with them?  Maybe just admire their shape and color!

Speaking of knitting, I really don't have a yarn stash - just a handful of miscellaneous yarn that lives in my craft closet.  But, I had one skein of King Cole Comfort Chunky that was left over from another project.  I found the perfect pattern for this yarn and I'm so pleased with this little, teeny, tiny baby sweater that I knitted.  The designer of this pattern is Danish so of course, being Danish/American, I had to knit this.  You can find the pattern link here via my Ravelry page. 


Ah, Christmas . . . that special time of year that will soon be arriving.  I think I have the majority of my shopping done.  Basically, I ordered online from Nordstrom since they have free shipping - yah!  And, if something doesn't fit, it's easy to return it.  But, I ordered the SALE items on Nordstrom.com.  I always love a bargain.  This year I ordered for the family a Fortnum and Mason Christmas hamper.  Since I had to pay 30 pounds shipping, I added on a few more items to my order.  But, after I signed into my account, they discounted almost every item!  I was so pleased because basically, it made me feel like the shipping costs were very reasonable.  I think the family will enjoy these goodies this holiday season. 

That about wraps it up as to what's been happening here at Lilly My Cat.  Monday morning I'm suppose to report for jury duty at 7:45 AM.  I've been called before for jury duty; once for superior court and once for federal court and both times I was excused.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and as always, I appreciate your taking your precious time to visit Lilly My Cat.
With my best wishes,

Pat
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Winds of Change

It's a sunny, very warm Wednesday morning here in southern California. And, the Santa Ana winds are blowing gusty.  The election is over and a decision has been made.  I stayed up last night until 1:30AM while texting my sister-in-law in Michigan where it was 4:30AM!

A lot of people are very happy and a lot of people of very sad.  But, America has voted and we have a new president.  I don't want to "ruffle any feathers" discussing politics but it was amazing to see America's democracy still works.

I say this because I feel I had been fed pure propoganda all these months.  I come from a family that on one side were staunch republicans and one side were staunch democrats.  And, I have voted both party lines throughout all these years.  And, I love labor unions!  But, I really feel there has been a "dumbing down of Americans".  I say this because if you work hard, save your money, invest your money or do anything out of the "norm", you have a hard time fitting into the mold that has been made these past few years.  And the tax laws are totally unfair to those who make money.  People need to wake up and learn how to understand their federal tax return.  That is why these past few years I sided with the Republican platform; to keep more of my hard earning money.  

But, there was a quote from one of the candidates from years ago that kept popping up and I felt totally disconnected...it was something like not staying home to bake cookies and have teas. It made me feel that my chosen path to be a wife, homemaker and stay at home mom was not meaningful.

I may be wrong, but I really feel it came down to the little guy and small town America who made this change.  On the west coast, where they are all blue states, you will find something interesting.  Washington state is blue because of Seattle, Oregon is blue because of Portland, and California is blue because of San Francisco and Los Angeles.  If you look outside these areas in each of these states, you will find that there are huge red areas.  The same thing throughout the US; red areas.  These are agricultural, small town, mom and pop towns.  

I do feel bad for Hillary; I hope that she can find her niche for her causes.  I was thankful that both candidates gave gracious speeches and I hope that our great nation of America can continue to work as it was set up to work.

Again, please do not be upset with my post today as I just wanted to share some of my thoughts.

My best to you,

Pat