Friday, December 27, 2013

Future plans?

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)
RV Life
Audio Book Review
RV Mod
Product review (update)

Our time is running out here in the Valley. Even though it's been cold and very little time spent outside, I've so enjoyed my time here. I'm very content. Nothing to sight see, not a lot of places to shop, not many restaurants. So just staying cozy in the RV. Having this "down" time has enabled our foster reservation dog, Dina to acclimate to our routines. She is truly a great dog.
The laundry is close by, which is a cozy area with garden murals painted on the walls.
The pot lucks have been fun, as well as bingo. The crafting meet up is kind of a bust. It's supposed to be 2 hours, but after one hour, people are leaving. No one really does a show and tell. We all just sit and do our own thing. Eh. I'd rather sit in my easy chair with a cup of good coffee and do my crafts.
It is so easy to settle down in one spot. I'm still so torn whether to settle in a house or not. 

There is still so much to see, but I can be content in my own home with my own wooded, private backyard. 

I fear accumulating "stuff" again, but I also regret giving some things away.

I'd like to be able to be settled and know the neighborhood, have the same vet and Dr.'s. But, it is fun checking out new grocery stores and restaurants while traveling.

Do I want the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining a house? I can easily fill up my day and not be bored living in an RV with little responsibility and chores.

Are we able to take on the finance burden of being "house poor" again? I do not like that feeling. Living in the RV, we can easily control our expenses. If we need to be careful, then we stay in one spot for a longer time. We get a reduced rate for longer stays, and we don't gobble up gas. 

I'm afraid of the commitment to owning a house with all the separate bills...taxes, water, sewer, electric, heat, etc. Now everything is paid via credit card with one payment in full per month.

Decisions, decisions. I hope to get a better feel for what I/we want when we look at houses and property in Tennessee in the Spring.
Here are some photos of a home and property we've had our eye on for about a month. It has just been reduced by $10,000. But, we will not think too much about it unless it is still available in the Spring when we are in Tennessee. 10 acres $205,000.
A lake with a mini island. What a great "getaway" spot!
I love wood interior!
Some grass to keep Scott busy.

Even fenced around the house for the dogs!!!!

Large covered porch...ahhhh!

I'm trying to develop a more detailed itinerary. What a PIA! It is so much nicer to just wing it week to week. I enjoy no timeline. We stay someplace for a week or two and while there, decide where to head next. But since we "have" to visit family and "have" to attend a Cedar Creek RV Owner's Rally, we are on a time schedule, even though the rally is not until June 2014. We have a lot of ground to cover. My parents are in Florida, Scott's parents are in NJ as well as my brother. Along the way, we'll visit friends, in Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, NJ, and Massachusetts. Plus, we want look at real estate in Tennessee. And finally, the rally is in Missouri. Phew! That's a lot of mileage, so deciding how much distance to cover and how long to stay at places is very time consuming. I'm especially concerned because I'm not sure if we plan to return to this part of the country again, so I'd like to visit the Gulf shores of Texas.
An Irish Setter breeder we know from Jackson, NJ was awarded Breeder of the Year by the AKC. We don't know them personally, but have watched their son grow from a chubby junior handler to a now 29 year old handler and breeder following in his parents footsteps. This family was quite easy to keep track of since Dad and Son would dress very loudly at dog shows. They would wear bright pants and large plaid sports jackets, was their signature.
How to tell if your dog is involved in a sex scandal...

A Dog Named ChristmasA Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love reading books about dogs as long as it's a happy ending.
This is a sweet book. But as a seasoned dog rescue volunteer, there were parts in this book that drove me bonkers.
The attitude of a dog owner that dogs are free to come and go and choose whom to live with. They called this type of dog "A walk in". These dogs walk into your life and just as easily walk out of your life. Well, duh, if you don't ensure the fence is high enough and secure enough, yes a dog will wander. Not all dogs are velcro dogs. It is our responsibility to keep them safe.
The story is about taking a shelter dog home for the Christmas holiday and then returning afterward, if you haven't fell in love. Good ole' Dad was following the rules and insisting on bringing the dog back after Christmas, because that was the deal. Well, duh! Shelter dogs need homes. He didn't realize he could adopt the dog? Grrrr! Little things like that was the reason for only 3 stars.
But overall, the book kept my interest. The love of family and community was like "Mayberry". I wanted to give the special needs boy, Todd a hug. This is a feel good book, with an educational story about all the dogs in need of homes and what we all can do to help.

Still working on my felted Ravelry tote bag. Instead of knitting intarsia (changing colors while knitting), I opted to do he design in duplicate stitch (cover stitches with embroidery). I'm not happy with the coverage, but hope after felting it will all blend in.


When we lived in a house, I would stock up on items that were on sale. One of the items being, toilet paper. Toilet paper rolls can take up a lot of precious storage space. Our RV has a closet for the toilet area. Our shower and sink are open into the bedroom, so just the "throne" is enclosed for privacy. Cosmetically, it is not a nice set up, but it opens up our bedroom rather than having the 3 piece ensuite a completely separate area. We used to buy just 3-6 rolls at a time. Now we can EASILY store 12 rolls of toilet paper. And yes, we use Scott 1000. We have never had a problem with clogging toilet paper in our black tank. But where to store this bulky package???

Ta dah! Think up! This inexpensive and easy mod holds 11-12 rolls of toilet paper. I also use it to keep our jumbo roll of handi wipes...handy.  It takes up very little floor space and is convenient. If you can see right above the wallpaper border to the left of the dowel, I've attached a command hook and a bungee cord. I wrap the bungee around the dowel during travel, so it doesn't tip over. But even if it does, nothing bad really happens.

3-4 foot 1" round dowel
an approx. 4" square medallion corner molding piece


Just drill a hole in the bottom of the medallion and screw the screw into the dowel. Done!
In our never ending effort to downsize and keep things small and light, we got rid of our Keurig One cup coffee maker in July 2013. We won it at as a raffle prize. It had a good go and did a fine job of brewing coffee. It was fun being able to have a variety of coffees to choose from, especially since Scott and my taste in coffee are different, just like wine. We switched to a cone drip method. This freed up a lot of counter space. So after 6 months of using the drip method, I'm very happy with it. It may not be for someone who has to rush to work, or who makes a pot of coffee for multiple members of the family, but for us it fits. 
We've been using the Cuissential  SlickDrip Collapsible Silicone Coffee Dripper. It collapses flat so will fit in a drawer. We stopped buying whole bean coffee, so was able to clear the bean grinder off the counter also. I am somewhat particular about my coffee. I like a dark, strong coffee, but NOT BITTER. But, my pickiness does not seem to be affected by whole or pre-ground beans.
Since Scott and I like different types of coffee, and Scott gets up much later than I do, there is no need to make a pot of coffee. I can make one or two cups at a time for myself and reheat if needed. I'm very happy with this compact coffee brew system.
Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friends and Food for the Holiday

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)
"If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning." 
Catherine the Great 
You meet the nicest people at Hidden Valley. We had a Christmas Eve Pot Luck dinner with the RV park supplying Ham and Turkey. Yum. Scott made candied sweet potatoes. What a huge buffet of food! What a great time. Even the little 2 year old girl sitting in the high chair next to me didn't bother me.

After dinner we had a camper sing a couple of songs while we were waiting for the special guest.
Santa (another camper) handed out gift bags to the 8-10 kids that were there. Santa is truly amazing that he can take time to hand out gifts to the kids at Hidden Valley on Christmas Eve. They must have been extra good this year.

Another camper donated a door prize in which Scott won!
A crocheted afghan. But not just "any" afghan, this one is made with the colors of the Irish Flag, so that was appropriate for an IRISH Setter owner to have.
Thank you Sherry. That was thoughtful. Sherry also makes WONDERFUL biscuits. I took 2 extra home in a doggie bag but they aren't for the dogs.

Scott is putting the afghan to good use already. He was overcome by sleepiness, ya know, after eating turkey? Or at least that is what he's blaming it on.
And dear Dina had to keep Scott company. Dina is still up for adoption.

I love it here, but I am itching to move on. A month in one place is long enough. I do like the idea of staying a month instead of a week or two. But I'd only want to do that at a place that we visited before and like or comes highly recommended by friends with like tastes.

Our neighbors brought us over a "thank you" gift for recommending this RV Park to them. They are planning on staying until March. And what a delicious gift it was. I mentioned earlier that Mike ordered a smoker. Well he broke it in by smoking two beef briskets. One for him and one for us! Wow! Our travels have introduced us to smoked meats and fish. We have become spoiled by this process. When I think of BBQ now, it must be smoked first, or it's just not worth it for me anymore. It's not all in the's in the finesse of smoking it just right, with a great marinade and dry rub. Thank you so much Mike and Maryanne. The brisket was HEAVEN!
Dog Sweater

I put a tub out at the office with some of the things I've crocheted. I was hoping that people would purchase some items for Christmas, plus that would free up some space in the RV. 
Bucket hat

More mint green than blue.

I sold these items as well as a few other small items.
Total money raised to donate to Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue? $47.00. Not too bad.

I finished blocking my lace Mystery Knit-a-long Scarf. I'm reallly, really happy with it. Blocking your knitted and crocheted items makes them really bloom.  It makes a piece go from wrinkled to beautiful. It stretches out the fabric to really show the stitch definition.

As stated in my prior post...
The photo does not do this scarf justice! The yarn is so light and lofty. It is Luna, by S. Charles. It is lace weight, 71% mohair, 20% silk, and 9% metallic (glitter). There are also blue glass beads worked into the lace. I am so proud of this beautiful piece.
I am willing to sell this piece. I love to knit, but can only use so many scarfs, hats, etc. The yarn cost me $37. (remember mohair & silk). I am willing to sell this work of art for $60. including shipping. That only $23. for my hours and hours of labor. I probably am making $1. per hour on this. But the thought of someone else appreciating it and enjoying it makes up for the almost non-existent hourly wage.

I also crocheted another dog sweater by request for Bubbles, the long haired chihuahua.
Think Like a Man, 2012, Romantic Comedy
My rating 4 out of 5
A very cute movie. Four friends conspire to turn the tables on their women when they discover the ladies have been using Steve Harvey's relationship advice against them.
Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lace Scarf

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)
"The belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, 
it always wants more tomorrow." 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Snow on the mountain tops, cold wind, temps in the 30's & 40's. Yep, it's Winter. I don't mind, well, maybe cut out the wind and it would be nice and brisk out.
Life is good in the Valley. 
I'm becoming a senior citizen. I turned 57 this month. But  also, I'm enjoying playing bingo and hanging out with the other old ladies on the ranch.

Our neighbors, whom we first met in Port Townsend, WA ordered a smoker! A few days back when the weather was nice, Mike was assembling his beloved smoker. His wife, Maryanne is almost giddy with the anticipation of having some smoked bbq soon. And I'm giddy too because they like to share!

Go Pet Friendly is a nice little website with info about traveling with dogs and what places are pet friendly. This couple travel full time in an RV to explore places to take our dogs. 

Another pot luck dinner this past Friday. Scott made Hobo beans and I made Cheese crescents. Both turned out excellent. My crescents were a hit and I was asked for the recipe.
Easy peasy...
2 pkg. crescent rolls
2 pkg. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter (melted)
Instructions at above link.

Scott made Hobo Beans, which are more than just baked beans. They can be a meal in itself since it has chopped beef in it. We picked this recipe up from an Escapees member while staying at the park in Livingston, TX.

Hobo Beans
1/2#  ground Beef
1 chopped onion
1/2#  Bacon
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Pork and Beans
1 can Butter Beans
1 cup Ketchup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Mustard
1 Tbs Vinegar

Fry Bacon till crisp.
Remove from skillet and crumble.
Brown Ground Beef with Onion in bacon grease, add bacon back to skillet when near done.
Combine other ingredients in casserole, add meat mixture and stir.

Bake at 350, about 1 Hr.
No review. Just taking notice of an occurrance that happens quite often it seems.
I am usually "reading" two books at the same time. One is actually being read, the other is an audio book being read to me. I'm surprised how often I end up reading two similar books, or two separate books that have similar or the same character names. For instance, right now I'm reading "Rules of Crime" and listening to "The Snowman". They both have to do with a missing person and they both have a character named Lyla, which also happens to be the name of my English Setter. Hmmm. I've decided to put the audio book "The Snowman" on hold and listen to some mushy romance instead. It's just too confusing with the two books being so similar.
Beautiful Creatures, 2013 Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Young Adult
My rating 4.5 out of 5
Alden Ehrenreich
Alice Englert
Jeremy Irons
Emma Thompson
The trend these days seem to be Zombie (yeck) or Vampires & Witches. This movie is to do with Witches. It started out slow, but seemed to be a good "rainy day" movie to just sort of pay attention to while I knit. After the slow start and realizing this is about witches, it really caught my interest. It is a "young adult" movie so keep that in mind. But so is "Twilight" and you know how huge an audience that has gotten.
I liked the two main teenagers in love characters because they weren't Hollywood beautiful. They were nice looking in a normal way. Of course when Jeremy Irons appeared all dressed in a beautiful still my beating heart...he is still a handsome man after all these years. Emma Thompson was as ALWAYS wonderful. Just about any film she is in is worth watching.
I saw Emma Thompson on Jimmy Fallon this week. She is down to earth and funny, plus a wonderful actress. She can look pretty or homely. In "Beautiful Creatures" she had an American accent that was done so well, I had to check to make sure it was Emma Thompson.
A really enjoyable light movie.
How to wrap a cat for Christmas...

Another project...COMPLETED!
I really enjoy Mystery Knit-a-longs as long as I know what kind of item I'll be knitting. Shawl? Wrap? Socks? Cowl? Blanket? Hat? Scarf? I pick and choose according to what yarn I have on hand (or not), how large a project, and is it something I could use. I don't want a large shawl, but the shawlettes are very popular now and can be worn as a scarf accessory. I've never knit socks but if the opportunity arises, I may try. Blankets are too large, too long to knit, too much yarn and I can't use it because the dogs go on our bed and it would be ruined. The next two Mystery Knit-a-Longs will be a cowl and a shawlette. Just right. And no, I didn't have the yarn for the shawlette, so yep, I purchased more yarn through Knit Picks. BUT, for the cowl, I'll be able to use some yarn I have on hand.
Here's a preliminary photo of my finished project. I'm finished knitting it, but to bring out the beautiful stitch work, I have to block it, which spreads out the stitches and flattens the scarf instead of curling.
The photo does not do this scarf justice! The yarn is so light and lofty. It is Luna, by S. Charles. It is lace weight, 71% mohair, 20% silk, and 9% metallic (glitter). There are also blue glass beads worked into the lace. I am so proud of this beautiful piece.
I am willing to sell this piece. I love to knit, but can only use so many scarves, hats, etc. The yarn cost me $37. (remember mohair & silk). I am willing to sell this work of art for $60. including shipping. That's only $23. for my hours and hours of labor. I probably am making $1. per hour on this. But the thought of someone else appreciating it and enjoying it makes up for the almost non-existent hourly wage.
Off to complete the tedious job of blocking this beautiful project.
Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Poker run

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)

HVR (Hidden Valley Ranch) organized a Poker Run to raise money for the local needy families and the local animal shelter. And the local grocery market, Peppers, will match whatever is raised! Good deal!!! Peppers even features in their weekly circular and on their website, Pet Corner showing a pet in need of a home. Wow!
Lianne and Dick, long time (11 years) residents here at HVR have done it again! We didn't think we'd be participating since we do not have an ATV, or 4 wheel drive vehicle. But Lianne knocked on our door and asked if we had signed up for the Poker Run. We had tried to rent an ATV, but surprisingly, there are no rental places around. Sigh. Lianne offered up her own ATV to us, since she had to stay behind, since she volunteered to help organize. Yipee! She did the same back in February of this year after only meeting us at the pot luck. Such friendly & trusting people here at HVR.
It was a cold day, but luckily, not one of the coldest and also no wind. The sun was shining which gave us the false impression that it was nicer out than reality. We all bundled up in hats, scarves, and gloves. I even had a blanket draped over my legs. For the most part, it was not too cold as long as you were bundled up. Dick (Lianne's other half), led our group of five vehicles. He said he hasn't worn this heavy coat since living in Minnesota!

We drove the back paths through the desert for 18 miles with 4 stops along the way to pick a card...any card.
 Lots of old mines back here and the ruins of some homes from a previous erea.
Lots of flat land, with mountains in the background
Love seeing the free grazing cattle
After the third stop, I was pretty chilled and ready to head back. But, I had no choice but to continue. It sure felt good to enter the warm clubhouse and lunch of BBQ sandwiches. We had a great time.
Oh, did I win anything? Nope. I only had two pair.

Although I love the family atmosphere here, I am once again missing green. But not too badly. There is something about this park, that even though it is desert and open, I am relaxed here. It is quiet and clean. Plenty of areas to walk the dogs and even let them loose if trustworthy. I've been reading Cozy Be Gone and Beluga's Excellent Adventure blogs. Cozy is on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Beluga is on the coast of Florida. Both enjoying beautiful weather. I wouldn't mind being in one of Florida's wonderful State Parks right about now. If we could take HVR and put it in another part of the country, I think we could settle there...but it's in the desert, so not an option.

Thank you to Tom, our driveway host in Tijeras, NM for introducing us to "Cuties". I'd seen the commercials on TV, but paid no real attention. Little oranges that are seedless and sweet. Yum! So we look for them here in Deming, and all we see are "Halos". They look like Cuties. We'll try them. Yum!
Seems there is a big controversy going on between the producers, distributors and who knows who else. Rumor has it, Cuties are being weaned out and Halos are in. Then there is the question, are these delicious little mini oranges, Clementines? or Mandarines? or Tangerines? I don't know, I really don't care. I just know they are a satisfying little snack that are good for you.

HVR had a cookie exchange this morning. Double Yum!

I kept my contribution simple. I made two different batches, but both drop cookies. One was Chocolate Crackle cookies made from packaged chocolate cake mix and the other was Lemon-Ricotta cookies. I didn't expect much from the cake mix cookies, but they were really good and chewy. A VERY easy recipe. The ricotta cookies were from "scratch". The cookie itself had very little lemon flavor, but the lemon glaze made up for it. These cookies grow on you. They are not very sweet except for the glaze. A very cakey texture. After my second cookie, I decided I like them, but probably not enough to make again.
We had good participation.
Nice variety.
 See the red chili pepper cookie on the left? Well, we ARE in New Mexico only 30 miles from Hatch, NM, known for their hatch chilis.
And dear to my heart, the doggie cookies. These bakers took extra time and care. Thank you!

My take home platter!
I'm not so patiently waiting for the final clue for the Mystery Knit-a-long Scarf.  It comes out tomorrow.

Home Improvement (Pajaro Bay Short Story)Home Improvement by Barbara Cool Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the continuation of characters through the series, but you can read each book on it's own. This was a short story that was still able to have good character development.
This is only my 2nd Barbara Cool Lee book and they are definitely "Harlequin Romance" type books.
I really enjoy the Northern California small town coastal setting, where everyone knows your name...and business. Sweet books.
The Shell SeekersThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From the book (not audio) reviews, this is an excellent book. The 600 page book condensed to a 3 hour audio book is a total disappointment.
I think I've finally learned my lesson and will not listen to abridged books any more.
I suppose there was not enough time to really develop the characters. The family dynamic was there, but just passed over so you got the idea, but not enough to be really invested in them. I will read the  book to do this author justice.
Narrator, Lynn Redgrave did a fine job.
Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Congrats on the new addition

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)
My life has a superb cast, but I cannot figure out the plot.  
Ashleigh Brilliant - This humorist's output is almost entirely epigrams,
which he tries to limit to seventeen words apiece.
This post's contents:
RV Life
RV Mod
Book Review
Ahhh, what a life. We've again been going through a cold spell here in the desert, so we've been spending a lot of time inside. Still reading and crafting. Scott has been enjoying a new computer game, World of Tanks.
He spends hours playing on the computer, I spend hours knitting and listening to audio books. Like I said, ahhh, what a life!
Here at Hidden Valley Ranch, there is just enough social activity. Not too much that I am burn out from the pressure of having to be "on" for being around people.
Pot Lucks every Friday, crafting together every Wednesday, ATV rides, country music, clear starry nights. Ahh, what a life!
I finally ventured a "quick" trip into town to purchase supplies for the cookie exchange. Yum! Scott wants me to make a tried and true oatmeal cookie, but I like to try new recipes. My results in a future post.
Yesterday, the temps reached 60° and sunny. I, of course took the opportunity to head outside. Read a little, knitted a lot and finished listening to an audio book.

Congratulations are in order for Jerry & Carla of Cozy Be Gone. They started full timing earlier this year in an itty bitty Casita. I was very worried for them. I know I could not full time with a spouse in that small an area. I would mention periodically that they may find it difficult and ruin their full time experience. But after a few months and some mods, they seemed happy. Good for them!!! I'm impressed.
Well, not that I would ever say "I told you so", BUT, they have now upgraded to a much more reasonable 26RLS Keystone Sprinter travel trailer! I am sooooo happy for them. The Casita is fine for weekends and temporary stays, but their new rig will feel more like home. There is a huge difference in what you want in a rig for full time,compared to vacation time. We chose a 5th wheel for the ceiling height. It feels more like a house than a trailer. But if a Casita is all you can afford, tow, or want, then that is fine. I have friends that lived full time in a Casita for 2.5 years and only stopped because family needed them.

You meet the nicest people while RV'ing...
As I mentioned in the previous post, Mike and Maryanne from Kansas City, KS are parked near us. We met them earlier this year in Port Townsend, WA. Mike is a BBQ judge and is really into smoking meats. Since they are now full time RV'rs, they gave away their large smoker. They finally cannot take life anymore without a smoker. So they ordered a smaller smoker that they can deal with while traveling in an RV.
Yippeee! That means good stuff will come our way also!
Because we have shown an interest in smoking and BBQ, they lent us a "few" books about BBQing.
I guess we have some studying and scanning to do! Thank you Maryann!

Outdoor motion lights
With the anticipation of boondocking, Scott thought it a good idea to get some outside lighting that would work on solar and/or battery. The question we want the light so an intruder will think twice? or do we not want light, so we won't be so visible boondocking alone? Anyway, Scott purchased 4 lights, one for each side of the RV. Two are battery run and two are solar run. We've had them for about a month now and I really like them. They are great when walking the dogs at night.
Our rating 5 out of 5
These are always lit dimly at night. When it senses movement, they get brighter.
Our rating 4.5 out of 5
These only come on when motion is detected. Run on 4 AA batteries.
Both lights are sufficient to light the way and safety, but not so bright that they would disturb our neighbors. 
I've been doing some quick crafts to use up more acrylic yarn. I must admit, I DO like Caron's Simply Soft. It is a drapey, soft, washable, inexpensive, easily available yarn. This is much nicer that Red Heart Super Saver acrylic which is VERY scratchy, so much so that my fingers actually get a rub burn from it's use. Caron One Pounder is similar to the Red Heart, but maybe a tad less scratchy.
I'm sending a knit and a crochet cocoon with matching hats to Bella's Babies. They try to send a going home outfit to all babies born at Southside Hospital in Long Island, NY. What is a cocoon? It is basically a sack that you place the baby in. It's supposed to feel like it is being swaddled, and gives the baby comfort & warmth.

Only Clue #1. It gets more interesting

I'm still working on a MKAL (Mystery Knit-a-long) sponsored by Boo-Knits on Ravelry. This MKAL was appealing because it was "only" a scarf and only about 3 weeks long in time. There are 5 clues and we are on clue #4. Since this is a mystery knit, we do not know what it will look like, only that it is a scarf. Each "clue" is a portion of the pattern. A group all doing the same project, finish the clues/pattern sections and then post to see what they all look like. This scarf is lace with beads. It's a fun project to do, but I've enjoyed other lace knits more, such as this Lace KAL that I did in 2010 and won first place at the Monmouth County Fair.
Courtesy of Panopticon

How many of you crafters make things for Christmas gifts?

How many wait until the last minute?

Here's a flow chart for you to use to see who is handmade gift worthy.

So, who do you make the gift for and who do you just buy for?

Scott & I have made it easy on ourselves. We do not exchange gifts with ANYONE. When we first got married we exchanged gifts with each other, family, friends, co-workers, etc. I eventually cut out friends and co-workers. Then as our relatives' families grew, we cut them out also. We are not "kid people", so just buying for the kids was not an option for us. I do not enjoy buying for kids. If I do, I try to make them educational and fun gifts.  Pardon me while I generalize...most kids do not appreciate gifts. It's all "what did I get?", "is it good enough?", "will my friends be impressed?" No inkling of the time and money and thought that went into the gift. Kids are selfish beings. And I can be a selfish being also. That's why I never had kids. We just wouldn't get along.

Nothing much to report about our reservation foster dog, Dina. She continues to be a wonderful dog. Very loving, obedient and easy going. She handles life in the RV beautifully. Dina is still looking for a home. She would probably do great off leash and maybe even make a good agility dog. She listens well, is quick and spry.
Devin makes each RV site home as long as he has his blue mushroom chair to chillax in.

10th Anniversary (Women's Murder Club, #10)10th Anniversary by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have not read all the books in this series, but a few and enjoyed the characters. 4 women, in 4 different careers that intertwine and sometimes should be opposing, but they respect each other and it works.
A pretty good "who done it", with details of the personal and professional lives of the ladie's murder club.
As far as the author, James Patterson, I have become disappointed in his later writings. It drove me bonkers in this book that a chapter lasts no more than 3 or 4 pages. He starts a new chapter in the middle of a court scene! Huh? It really only needs to be a new paragraph. Another author that has seen his time of fame come and go.

The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic OceanThe Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean by Philip Caputo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was given a complimentary copy of this book. I'm assuming because #1, I have a blog of our US travels in an RV. and and #2 we have Setters as the author does.
I was excited to read this book with common interests. The author was out to discover the different lifestyles and attitudes of the American people in different areas of the country. Interesting concept.
Unfortunately, I was very bored with the book. Maybe because I'm living it or maybe because I've read many RV travel blogs and this seemed more of the same. Yes, there were interesting parts and yes, he speaks of cowboys in Florida, when I thought they were only in the SouthWest. Yes, he speaks of entitled youth. Yes, he gets you thinking outside the box, meaning instead of looking at typical touristy things, to look at the community, the people, the history. But still, this book just did not hold my interest. I'll stick with the bloggers and read their travels and their take on the varied areas of our USA.
Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

2nd book in series:
Another version of vampires, witches, and demons. Some are not as bad as we formerly thought.
Some unusual romance and family dynamics.
This 2nd book is Matthew & Diana's trip back to the 1500's. Interesting, but definitely sugar coated life back then.
This book SLIGHTLY reminded me of a tame "Outlander", by Diana Gabaldon, which is an EXCELLENT series.
I liked the first book, A Discovery of Witches better. BUT, I'm not invested in the lives of these characters and will HAVE to read the third book.
The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, does an excellent job of male and female voices, as well as accents. She makes it very easy to distinguish characters, just by her tones.
7-Up Biscuits

The photos looked like these would be absolutely wonderful biscuits. They were easy enough to make. Only four ingredients, bisquick, sour cream, 7-up, and butter.

Mine didn't look so pretty, but they were pretty good tasting. Normally, Bisquick biscuits turn out very dry and heavy. These biscuits were still heavy, but not so dry. They would make a great base for biscuits and sausage gravy. I will probably make them again.

Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

Our Travels