Friday, February 8, 2013

Sick days (again)

I've been doing a whole lot of nothing the past few days. No, I'm not sick again. This time it's the GB, who has had a fever and terrible cough.

She's been a trouper, all things considered, but I have to admit that I am frustrated at being back in the house and unable to do very much after my own recent illness. She has missed preschool, which means less time for me to get things done. The nights have been difficult too. But we are making the best of it and trying to enjoy the unexpected downtime and togetherness.

Our days have been long and leisurely, with only trips to drive the LB to and from school. We're staying in the house so she has a chance to rest. There has been much reading, coloring and drawing. I've been crocheting too, working on the handmade component of my swap package for Ravelry. I'll share that item soon, after my partner has received it. I'm happy with the way it turned out, especially since I tried something sort of new to me.

I have been using my slowcooker this week. It makes life so much easier when you don't have a lot of time to cook. I use it often under normal circumstances too. This week, I did two different soups (a minestrone and a split-pea), as well as a chicken and vegetables dish that we really enjoy.

I'm proud to say that the chicken recipe is something I came up with on my own. It's very easy - I put cut-up veggies in the pot (in this case, carrots, celery and green beans), then skinned bone-in chicken breasts on top of the veggies. In a bowl, mix the contents of a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup (I like the Healthy Request variety) with about half a cup of bottled lemon-pepper meat marinade. Add a little water to help it whisk together and pour it over the contents of the pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Thicken gravy before serving, if desired. We like this dish with rice; it gives the gravy a place to go. Easy-peasy and very tasty.

I've been making oatmeal for breakfast all winter. We've been having it with brown sugar, walnuts and dried cranberries. And half-and-half, when we feel really indulgent. Otherwise we have it with plain milk, which is good too. Over the past year or so, I've been trying to make a healthy breakfast part of my day. I have been guilty of skipping breakfast in the past, especially since we had children. There's just so much to do in the morning. But I'm doing better with it now.

I'm reading, of course. I finished And the Dead Shall Rise, by Steve Oney. What a book. It remained dense but the story is shocking and very sad. Now I'm reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This novel is engrossing so far; a little chilling, even.

I'm beginning to think about my next sewing project, to be made with the stack of fabrics I shared awhile back. I've been feeling inspired by bloggers I follow who are participating in the Scrappy Trip-Along, which is a sort of quilting challenge featuring the around-the-world quilt design. Hen and Kerri are two of my favorite bloggers and they are both creating beautiful examples of this design. I'm far less talented than they are, but I want to try it too.

I'm thinking about making a smallish piece to use as a decoration on my dining room table. I'm not sure if other quilters do this, but I was taught by my mother to sketch out my quilt design with graph paper and colored pencils first. My mother helped me to make my first quilt, a twin-size for my own bed, when I was fourteen years old. I have always sketched my design first, it's just what I'm used to.

I plan to use shades of yellow, pink, white, aqua and pale green. I went for a more random look, having the colors repeat randomly instead of in a regular pattern, and I'm going to try having each side of each round be made with a different fabric in the same color. I'm probably not explaining it well, but I think I know what it would look like in my head.

The weather is turning colder this weekend and there could be some snow. I'm already missing the warm, sunny days of the early part of this week, when everyone was healthy too. But spring is around the corner and hopefully there will be less illness in the Thistlebear home. I'm looking forward to it.


I wanted to say hello and thank you to my new readers. I am thrilled to have been mentioned by Rhonda on her blog, Down to Earth, which is one of my favorites, and so glad you stopped by to see me. :)


  1. How have I missed all your posts recently?? I need to check my blog is working correctly I think! I've been considering reading The Snow Child and will be interested to know what you think of it. Thanks for your lovely comments on Mad Maison x

    1. Hi Claire! It's a good book, I think you'll like it. You're welcome, I really enjoy reading your blog. :)

  2. Just visiting from Rhonda's blog. :)
    The chicken in the crock looks wonderful. What is the sauce you're cooking it with. :)
    - kristin

    1. Hi there! It's so nice to have you. Thank you, the chicken comes out really good. What I do is mix the contents of a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup with about half a cup of (liquid) bottled lemon-pepper marinade. I don't know where you live, if those are available where you are, but it works really well. The soup makes it creamy and the acid in the marinade makes the chicken very tender.

  3. Hi Jennifer,

    I have made a few patchwork quilts. They were only tied I do not machine or hand quilt, only tie quilt. They have lasted amazingly well though and the ties have held up. Anyhow, I usually make a chart before I make the quilt. I don't color it in, I have my own crazy abbreviation deal I use to chart my fabrics. I also don't like to rotary cut I use templates and cut the fabric by hand. I know it is weird but it is how I made the first one and it is still how I prefer to do it. I think your crockpot chicken looks great.
    Happy Friday!

    1. Hi Softie! I have done some of each, hand-tying and hand-quilting, but I haven't tried machine-quilting yet. I've had a machine capable of it for almost two years now so I really should give it a shot. I prefer not to use the rotary cutter myself, but this piece is going to have so many squares I may have to do it with the rotary cutter. We shall see. Thanks, the chicken is delicious! :)

    2. Your machine sounds like it is top notch. I will be interested to hear how it goes when you try the machine quilting on it. Good luck cutting all the squares. Your design will look just beautiful.

    3. Thank you. I got one-fourth of the squares cut out yesterday afternoon. I'm going to sew each quadrant and then sew the quadrants together. It seems like an easier way to do it. I did end up using the rotary cutter some after awhile.

  4. Oh no, not more sickness. I hope your GB gets over her illness soon. Good idea to sketch out your quilt plans first. I have only ever made one quilt and it wasn't that good. Love the look and sounds of your chicken recipe.

    Gillian x

    1. Thanks, Gillian. She is doing much better now, thankfully.


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