Life really can be a picnic!

Everyone loves a picnic! This blog is about some of the things I love the most, and the term "picnic" just about covers them all. First of all, a picnic has to include food; simple food that is easy to fix. Next, you need someplace fun or different to visit; a nice, peaceful location. And of course, you always need to take along a good book to read and a well-used quilt to spread everything out on. So, there you have it! Easy recipes, good books, fun quilts along with some interesting, down-to-earth places to visit. You can even take your family or a friend or two if you want.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Closing in on April!

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."--Thomas A. Edison

     I can't believe Easter is in two weeks.  Just when I think it's going to be Spring the weather turns and it's cold again.  Hopefully, there are sunny days ahead.  Here are a couple of recipes to help us feel warm inside. 
     Start a new Easter tradition and make Hot Cross Buns for your family.  They are delicious!  I have been making this recipe that I found on for about 7 years. You can use raisins instead of the currants but I really prefer the currants.  I also like to smear the icing all over the top and not just in a cross shape.



  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons milk


  1. Put warm water, butter, skim milk powder, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, and yeast in bread maker and start on dough program.
  2. When 5 minutes of kneading are left, add currants and cinnamon. Leave in machine till double.
  3. Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
  7. To make crosses: mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush an X on each cooled bun.               

     It just isn't Easter unless you have some Deviled Eggs on hand.  It's a great way to use up some of those colored eggs.  For even more variations go to

Deviled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. mustard
1/8 tsp. salt

Cut hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks.  Mash yolks with a fork.  Stir in mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard and salt.  Stuff egg whites with yolk mixture.  Garnish with parsley or paprika.

Italian-Style Deviled Eggs
Prepare Deviled Eggs as above, except omit mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard.  Add 3 Tablespoons Italian dressing to mashed yolks.  Stuff egg whites with yolk mixture.

     This is a fun quilt for April.  Since we're still waiting for the tulips to appear in our yards we can at least experience them in fabric form.  This quilt is called Tulip Trellis.  It was another one of those free patterns I got in the mail.  Yeah!  We love free!


     I read the book Christy by Catherine Marshall when I was in High School (We won't say just how long ago that was.)  It was one of my favorites.  It was also one of the things that inspired me to get my teaching degree.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Windy St. Patrick's Day to You!

"May the road rise to meet you,
 May the wind be always at your back,
 May the sun shine warm upon your face,
 The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
 Until we meet again,
 May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
                            --Irish Blessing

     I thought this was an appropriate quote for this day.  We have weather warnings for 50 mph winds today.  I like to spend the days indoors anyway.  My kids started out their day in the usual St. Patrick's Day tradition of having Lucky Charms for breakfast.  (Hey, it's a holiday for me as well.) 

This is one of the first pieced quilts that I ever made.  I learned how to do needle turn applique on the vines and leaves.  I used up a lot of scraps for the pinwheels and I was happy with how it turned out.  The pattern was one of those free patterns that I got for signing up to take a quilting magazine.  McCall's Quilting Magazine is one of my favorites.


Tonight my family will be eating corned beef sandwiches on rye bread and some hidden pear jello.  The jello salad has a beautiful light green color and makes the meal festive.  Not to mention, the family really likes it.  You can also try it with peaches instead of pears for a refreshing salad or dessert for Easter that has a pretty peachy color. 

Hidden Pear Jello Salad

1 (15 oz.) can pear halves                                 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1 (3 oz.) package lime flavored gelatin            2 cups frozen whipped topping,

Drain pears and reserve 1 cup liquid; if needed add water to equal 1 cup.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine liquid from pears and gelatin.  Bring to a boil and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat and chill until partially set.  In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese and pears until smooth.  Add gelatin mixture and whipped topping, blend until smooth.  Pour into mold or leave in bowl.  Chill for 3 hours or until firm.

I read a book called The Leper a few months ago and it was a sweet story about a man with leprosy and how he tries to save his family the grief of living with him and his disease.  I was amazed that it all turned out well in the end.  The author is Sigmund Brouwer.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snowy Beautiful Day!

"A handful of skill is better than a bagful of gold." --Irish Saying

I don't know about April but March came in like a lion.  But it did leave a beautiful morning behind.  This is the view from my backyard.

Today I was remembering back to the days of being sick and pregnant and I thought of the books I used to read way back then.  One of my favorite authors was Janette Oke.  I could read her books and completely forget my troubles.  Two of my favorites were Love Comes Softly(there is also a movie by the same name starring Katherine Heigl in her younger days) and Roses for Mama.  Her books are mostly in the genre of inspirational fiction.  These are nice, clean, well-written books.  Most of them take place in the Canadian Prairie.

Here's a quilt to get you in the St. Patrick's spirit.  It's a basic 9 patch with shamrocks with woven plaid 4 patches for the background with ragged edges.  I wanted it to look rustic.

Everyone loves potatoes and what's more Irish than that.  This is a recipe that my mom made when I was young.  It's oh so easy but tasty as well.

Seasoned Potatoes

          Peel and cube about six medium sized potatoes.  Boil in large

 saucepan for 20-30 minutes until soft.  Drain.  Add ¼ C. butter or

margarine and about 1 tsp. seasoning salt.  Stir together and serve


I hate to have to admit it but I add more butter than that and more seasoning salt.  I also leave the peelings on.  The nice thing about these potatoes is that they go well with any kind of meat.  Here's another meal we enjoy in the winter that is so easy.

Quick and Easy Sloppy Joes
1 lb. ground beef                                              1- 4 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can condensed chicken gumbo soup             1 T. prepared mustard
            Brown ground beef in frying pan.  Drain off fat.  Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve on hamburger buns with cheese slices.    

Did you know that on February 24th and 25th of this year the Snowgoose Festival was held in Delta, Utah?  I went there with a friend for the first time.  We went to the craft fair and the quilt show.  Then we went to lunch at The Pizza House.  We took a quick peek in Mom's Crafts and Fabrics store and enjoyed seeing the collection of antique sewing machines.  Then we had our own little wild goose chase looking for where the snow geese were.  We finally found them.  Due to the winds and all the dust flying around in the air the visibility was not good.  The geese were mostly hanging out together at the very end of the reservoir where we couldn't see them very well.  Once in a while a flock would fly overhead.

The white line is the snow geese.

The little dots are the geese in the air.
This is an adorable cat quilt from the quilt show.  Love the rick rack whiskers.