Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Orgainzed: Knitting Needles

For those of you who knit, you know the mess that can ensue in a drawer when all your needles are put there.  Straight needles, circular needles, odd bits of yarn...  It quickly becomes a tangled mess that does nothing to encourage one to pick up some needles and start creating.

That was exactly what I was facing yesterday when I opened my knitting drawer.  But my daughter wanted to knit something, and so I knew I needed to deal with ... the mess!

As I started to untangle everything and spread it across the kitchen counter, I knew there had to be a better way.  I hopped on Google, hoping to find an answer to my problem.  Ah, for $60 (plus shipping) I can buy something that hangs on the back of my door to put needles in.  Um, no thanks.

I kept searching, but nothing struck me.  So, I returned to the kitchen to finish the untangling.

Now, I'm the kind of person who likes to solve a problem by using what I already have onhand.  As my mind was going through different options of storing these needles, the thought hit me: Most of these needles are pretty colors... different colors... bright colors...  What would it be like to put them in a vase?  So, I went to the self where I keep the vases, and I grabbed a big one-- the one you'd get if someone gave you a dozen roses.  I put all my straight needles in it, and they fit beautifully.

But that left the question of what to do with the circular ones.  After all, the straight ones are easy.  They fit nicely in a drawer.  It's those pesky circular ones that make the mess.  Some people put them back in the original bags, but I don't like the cable between the needles to "remember" its previously kinked position!

That's when I thought about using bread tabs (the plastic ones) to tie the cables together near where they meet the needles.  The needles could go into the vase and the cable could flop outside the vase.  I tried it, and it looked okay, but something wasn't right.  The needles needed to be more securely tied together.

Enter: our oldest son's leftover rubber bands that he wore when he had braces.  (He had a bunch left when the orthodontist told him he didn't need to wear them anymore.)  I slipped one on the ends of the needles.  They still wiggled a bit, so I added another rubberband.  It worked beautifully!

So, instead of a mubbled drawer of knitting supplies, I have a vase filled with beautifully-colored knitting needles.  Hmmm.... makes me want to go knit something...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cooking Bacon!

I enjoy bacon.  Different people like bacon prepared in different ways.  Wayne and I both like ours extra crispy.  The problem is cooking it.  If we cook it in a pan, the grease splatters everywhere.  Someone once told me to try cooking it in the oven on a cookie sheet.  I did that, and it worked well, but I wondered how much grease was still splattering around inside my oven.  And since I hate cleaning the oven, I didn't embrace that method whole-heartedly either.  There's always the paper towel in the microwave method, too.  But I always found it hard to gauge between half-raw (which is how some people prefer bacon) and burned to a crisp.

The other day I was cooking hamburgers on our George Foreman grill.  (It's what I turn to when it's a bit too nippy outside for grilling, or when I just want to cook up enough for lunch.)  And I thought to myself that a chunk of bacon would be good on my hamburger. 

I knew there was bacon in the refrigerator.  So, I pulled it out and sighed, thinking about the splatter mess it would make.  Then the thought hit me!  "I bet I could cook this on the Foreman!"

Once the hamburgers were done, I put the bacon on it, and 4-5 minutes later, it was cooked to perfection.  No grease splatters anywhere.  And all the grease just ran out of the Foreman to the little grease collection tray!

So, from now on, I'm pleased to announce that bacon will be served regularly at our house!  While I still don't enjoy washing the Foreman, I can cook up a bunch of bacon at once and keep it in the refrigerator for those times when a piece of bacon would just "make" a sandwich!

Our Brethren in Chains

A few days ago I mentioned The Voice of the Martyrs.  This is an organization that works to help those people who are persecuted because of their love for Jesus.  They are also a voice for these people to those of us who live in America and other "free" nations.

One of the ways in which people can help is to send letters to believers in other countries who are in prison because of their faith.  This is something that I have decided to do once a month.  It's not that hard, and it doesn't cost that much-- only the cost of postage to mail your letter.  (And of course two pieces of paper and an envelope!)

To start, go to Writing Prisoners.  From there you can click on "Writing Prisoners" at the top, and it will give you some helpful tips as well as some things to do and not to do.

Then back to the first page where you can write a letter to the "featured" prisoner or scroll to the bottom to write to someone else.  Once you click on a name, you will learn more about that person, the charges against them, and a map of their country.  To the write will be a place to click to "Encourage" them.

You may then choose twelve phrases in English.  (Don't fret.  When this prints, it will print in the language of the prisoner!)  You may arrange and rearrange these twelve phrases in any way you wish.

Then just follow the directions to print your letter and the address of the prisoner.

Before mailing it, be sure to cut off the web-address at the bottom.  (Sometimes this prints, and sometimes it doesn't.  It depends on your printer settings.)

Then take it to the post office to mail it.

What a small price to pay to share the love of God with Christians throughout the world who are willingly imprisoned because of their love for Christ!


“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”                ~~ Matthew 25:30-46

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I did it!  I finally did it!  For a needle-phobe, donating blood was a major accomplishment.  But it's something I've always wanted to do.

Wayne and I went out yesterday-- just the two of us.  We were going to go on a nice hike, find some geocaches, and stop and visit a few shut-ins.  We were on our way to the park where we wanted to hike when we saw a bunch of signs at a church.  When we got close enough to read them, we saw that they were having a blood drive.  We looked at each other, and Wayne pulled in.

Honestly, it was probably better doing it spur of the moment because I didn't have to get nervous about it.  ~smile~  I really don't like needles.

We went in and read all about who can and can't give.  Then we had to have our blood pressure taken and our iron levels tested.  After filling out a brief questionairre about any "shady" activities we might be involved in that would eliminate us from donating, we found ourselves being led to ... the tables!

The gal who drew my blood was very nice.  She stayed with me the whole time.  I don't know if that's typical or not, but for someone who was nervous, it was a good thing.  And honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

We learned some interesting things:

1- Plan on about an hour from when you walk through the doors to when you walk back out.  (More if you or your spouse faints.  But I'll leave you guessing as to which one of us fainted.)

2- They take a pint of blood.  That's two cups.

3- With that two cups they can help three people.

4- A normal donation time is between 5-10 minutes. 

After enjoying a couple cookies and a glass of OJ, we were on our way.  We were both more tired than we anticipated, so we decided to save our hike for another day.  But we both left feeling like we had done something good for someone else.

So, if donating blood has always been on your bucket list, the next time you see one of those donation signs, pull in.  It'll take about an hour.  And you'll feel good about yourself when you're done.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Light Painting!

As many of you already know, I love geocaching.  ~smile~  It's fun to match wits with someone to see if I can find something they have hidden.  Or to see if I can solve a puzzle that they have made.  I enjoy spending time with my good friends while driving to a cache location or hiking the trails to a cache.  I enjoy visiting new parks and seeing things I never would have seen otherwise.

But another fun part of geocaching is meeting other geocachers.  Most of them are a lot like us.  They enjoy spending time with people.  They enjoy being outside.  They enjoy the "thrill of the hunt."

Geocachers have many opportunities to get together.  One such opportunity was last weekend.  One of our local geocaching teams, AddHam, decided that we needed to try our hand at light painting.  I had never heard of it before, but I was game to give it a try.

The rendevous point was a large tunnel about twelve miles from our home.  The tunnel ensured that we would have darkness.  (Not that we often see the moon in Michigan in the winter!)  Everyone brought their own flashlight, and the geocachers in charge supplied colored gels (flexible pieces of plastic stuff) and rubber bands so that we could rubber band the gels over our flashlights.  This is what would make the different colors in the picture.

They had also built some frames from wood and had put wires in them so that the "artists" merely had to trace the wires with their flashlights.  Some of the shapes needed to be colored in.

The person manning the camera had it set on a tripod and the shutter was open for a long time.  I would guess that to paint the whole thing took 3-4 minutes.

The result was the above picture.

Wayne and I had fun trying our hand at this and are looking forward to further light painting events hosted by AddHam.  While this did take a lot of prep work, if you're looking for a memorable group activity, this might be exactly what you're looking for!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Ground-Hog Day Present!

Last October we went on vacation and our van decided it was having so much fun it didn't want to come home.  (Blown head gasket)  Since then we have been getting by with one vehicle.  But because of my husband's odd work schedule, this meant saying no to a number of things.

We've been looking for a vehicle, but we hadn't seen the right one.

Imagine my surprise when my husband came home from work with a new-to-us van!  Then we went out for dinner.  What a lovely evening!

I'll post a pic in the morning.  I haven't seen it in the daylight either!  But I am thankful for one of the best Ground Hog Day gifts ever!  ~smile~

This is the view from my front door this morning!  :)