That One Magical Place. SCOTLAND!!!

I don’t know about you, but most people I talk to have one place  in their heart and mind that is their magical place. Maybe it was a place they used to live, a place that the celebrated a great memory, maybe a place their family lived at one point, or just a place they have visited or want to visit.  It is that one place that when we think of it, our worlds fade. Our hearts begin to slow their beating, and we can feel it. We can smell the scent of the air. AHHHH! It is purely magical. Is it not?

For me it is a place that I had always wanted to visit. I had dreamed for years, lets say decades. I can date myself. Yes decades. I just imagined how lovely it would be. And then we went. In 2010, I was able to convince my ranching husband that the cattle would be fine. We had grass that summer. The weather was great, so hopefully no fires. Things were good to go to the place of my dreams. I booked our vacation and in August we boarded a plane for SCOTLAND!! Oh, I threw in a visit to a cattle ranch so that he would be getting his rancher needs met. It was going to be glorious.

I am an avid romance novel reader. I have always been a reader, but highland romance novels as corny as they sound are just fabulous. I can read it in one night and enjoy a little mind vacation to the place of my dreams.

When we arrived it was just as I had imagined only better. It was the most glorious place my eyes have every witnessed. It was so green, with sheep grazing on the hillsides. The coast was amazing. In our 8 days of driving, we only had rain once. It was just awesome.  I took over 700 pictures, and not a one does the country justice. I hope one day to return to take my kids, when they are grown.

The people, although hard to understand at first, were downright the nicest ever. I felt right at home even though I was a silly tourist. There is not one bad thing I have to say from our experience, except that we weren’t there long enough.

Scotland is definitely one place that has never left me and I find myself going their in my mind as often as I can. I have told my husband that when he dies, which will surely be before me, that I am going to move there and live out my days.

Do you  have a place like that? A place that pulls to you. A place that you can never full shake out of your system. It seems to creep up in one too many conversations, until you know you begin to annoy people with your fascination with it.

Oh, even now. I can see it, I can feel the damp air, smell that aroma of stone and history. I don’t have family from Scotland. So sad for me. Irish yes and Wales, but no Scottish. Lots of German and some English, but no Scottish. Oh to be a proud clan from Scotland. Don’t get me wrong I am very proud of where my ancestors have come. But they are different there. To be a member of a clan and to have that heritage on your shoulders. Oh, Heaven would be mine. I dare say it would.

I think I am going to have to settle for a romance novel tonight and dream of my Magical Place!!!

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First Time Potato and Ham Soup!

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When it’s cold out I want soup. When I am stressed I want soup. (Well I want to chop stuff up and soup lets me do that.)Last week was just cold, damp and gloomy. So I was in the soup making mood.

When our last week of hunters drive away. That is my cue to begin cleaning out the hunting house and bringing all the food back to my house. With the power outage, I had more than my usual amount of food to bring home and some needed cooked. I had two bags of the diced ham. I use it for a ham, egg, cheese, and hash brown breakfast casserole. My kids won’t eat it, and I hate eggs. (Yes, long story, but I detest them.)  So I needed to use it up.

Searching online I found several ham and potato soup recipes. I am notorious for reading 10 recipes and then using parts of all of them. It usually works out okay, until I go to make it again and have no idea what I did. This is one of those instances, but I think I remember pretty good.

Well I pulled out the pot and away we went.  I actually turned out delicious. My overly picky son, devoured it. He even took it to school in his lunch the next day and wanted it for supper. So it is a make again recipe.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ham and Potato Soup

  • 3-4 large potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 6 cups water, or enough to cover the potatoes
  • 1-2 pkgs diced ham,
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Watkins Chicken flavoring or bullion granules
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp flour to thicken
  • 3 cups, milk or more to thin

1. Combine the potatoes, onion, ham, and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, cook over medium heat until tender.  Stir in the chicken flavoring, salt, and pepper.

2. Stir together butter and flour until combined. Add to the soup mixture.  Stir until dissolved. Add the milk. Stir over medium low heat until thick and soup is heated through.

3. Adjust with more thickening or thinning until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste.

This is a great soup because you can add to it with more ham, maybe cheese. Serve it as thick or as thin as you desire.

John’s Pajama Project

How many times do I need to start a new project? Who knows? But it is often. I have baskets of yarn that I was crocheting and knitting last fall. However quilting has been my latest craze. It is time consuming, mind boggling, extremely tedious, and absolutely fun!

My dear son, who has the sweetest soul, has been saving all the pajamas his Grandmother Tennessee has made him over his ten years of life. (I am originally from Tennessee and the kids started calling my parents Pop Tennessee and Grandmother Tennessee when they were little. It has just stuck) All for his mother to make into a quilt someday.  He has worn all of these. Some are thread bare in areas, while others were only on his little body for one short lived slumber.  They are all sorts of patterns from Christmas, to western with horses,  to pink with skunks for Valentine’s Day and everything in between.IMG_00000504

Look at that pile of pajamas! And the Mess! I should have cleaned that up. But sewing is messy right?

After I finished my mom’s Christmas present of the Carpenter’s Star quilt. John set me up to begin his quilt.  Oh dear I have dreaded this. We went through pattern after pattern on the internet and he finally decided on what he wanted.  I gathered up all the pajamas and took them down stairs to the table.

Oh Dear!! The kids were upstairs and I must say I was a sight to behold.  I unfolded those little pants and tops. I can remember him wearing each one and how adorable he looked.  The more I looked I found smaller and smaller ones and the tears just flowed and flowed. Is he really almost 10! Has he really outgrown these. Surely not!

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See this little shirt. I mean could you cut that up.

I look at that and I can see that little boy wearing it. I’m crying again.

I laid the spiderman pants down on the cutting board. Your kidding me! I have to cut these up!! I really have to cut these up.  I can’t. I couldn’t. They are perfect. They are not even worn out. Someone could wear these. John can surely wear these. It was a hideous battle in my head.  Then I took the cutter and Zip. Away went the elastic and it started. I cut up the pants into as many six inch squares as I could.

Then I looked at the top. I don’t think that I need that much. So the tops were spared. Yes I know it is silly. But I just couldn’t do it. What is it about being a mother and keeping these baby clothes.

Pajama Squares

I made progress. I cut up three different ones.

It’s amazing I got that far with all the crying and holding and crying. Did I mention I was crying.

As I began to sew them into half squares. I realized that the little pajamas would be made into something that would last much  longer than his ability to wear them. Once the quilt is finished, he will be able to take Grandmomma Tennessee with him always and see all that she made for him. He will look at those squares and remember that outfit. (and if he forgets, I can show him the pictures). He will snuggle under the warmth that is provided by all those years of winter night garments.  How could I not see that it is even better than storing them just to take out of the box and cry over. I will be giving new life to his little clothes.

I admit progress is slow on this one. I will keep you updated, but for now I am at least cutting!

It will be interesting to see if he sticks with the pinwheel design. I think I will keep all the squares free before I sew them together. Just in case he changes his mind.

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