Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018 Goals

In this new year of 2018 some things I want to accomplish are as follows...
  • Sew a bunch of doll clothes, both for an 18 inch doll and a baby doll
  • Sew aprons.  Pretty and sweet aprons.  I also want to get a non tie or Mobius apron pattern and make some of them.
  • Help my niece sew her diaper stash for her coming little blessing
  • Try to remember to send a card for everyone's birthday.
  • Exercise more.
  • Continue to down size my stuff.
  • Decide on a floor plan for my retirement home.  Specifically the kitchen, dinning and living-room areas.
  • Hire someone to paint the walls and ceilings in my house.
  • Hire someone to lay new flooring in my house.
  • Sell a lot of my crafts on Etsy (this will also help me downsize that area)
  • Make twiddle mats for elderly nursing home patients.
I'll have to come back and add to this list and see how I am doing on it.

Do you make goals for yourself for the next year?  If so, what kinds of goals do you strive for?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Christmas Party for us this year

Last year we decided not to attend the company Christmas Party for who knows what ever reason.  This year we decided to attend.  For the party you get to go to a town a couple hours away and check into a nice hotel, then go to a fancy steak house.  I don't understand it exactly but something about they bring the meats around and you choose what you want.  There is also a salad and vegetable bar the way I understand it.  Last year it was in San Antonio Texas and after the meal they all went and rode the river boat which I heard was a lot of fun.

So, we decided to go this year and made our reservations according to company directions.  Then work happened.  The party is supposed to be today in San Antonio.  Yesterday at 4:30 am, my husband got a call and had to get up and work on his computer until it was time to go to work.  Then he went to work and came home at the regular time.  About an hour later he got another call and had to work until 11:00pm.  So he basically worked from 4:30am to 11:00pm with a couple hours off in that time span.  Then he gets another call at 6:00am this morning and is still working 6-1/2 hours later.  It looks like we will not be going to the party.  Oh well, he is making extra money for over time which we cant complain about.

I used the extra time to sew and clean a bit in my craft corner so it wasn't a total bust for me.  I am a little disappointed but I also feel like there is a reason we were not supposed to go.  In my life I always feel God has his hand on me and my family and protects us from things even when we think things are not going our way.  I keep getting the feeling that today is just such a day and there is another reason besides the work that is keeping us from attending the party.  It could be that we might have had a car accident or something like that.  In any case I am grateful to God for always watching out for us and that he cares about our lives.  Even though we were made to serve Him doesn't mean he doesn't care about us and our lives.  

A good thing that came from this is I got to buy a new blouse for the party and now I will still have a new blouse.  Its red.  I always go to holiday parties and a lot of the ladies are wearing red blouses or sweaters.  Now I have owned red sweaters in my life but for me a sweater mean (Debbie is going to sweat)  I don't care what the temperature is.  I have always been hot blooded my whole life and require much less heat than most people.  And now that I am at the lovely stage of life where the heat is turned up a sweater is not a good idea for me.  So, I found a pretty red blouse in a stretchy fabric with 3/4 sleeves and long hemline which I like.  Now to have an occasion to wear it.  : )

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bowl cozies or bowl hot pads

A nice lady called me and asked if I would make her 20 bowl cozies for gifts for Christmas.  I said yes and began making them.  I had so much fun that I made several extras to give as gifts of my own.  Tomorrow I take these to her and she can choose the 20 that she wants and I will have the rest for my own gift stash.

These work well with cold food like ice cream just as good as they do with hot food like soup.  They are washable and reversible.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Today is pie baking day here.  I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving for several weeks.  I love turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy and all the rest of the great foods we get to eat.  We will only have four at our table this year but we will cook the traditional meal just the same.  Just not as much.

Today Hannah and her friend Flor are coming and I think they may want to bake the pies.  I'm also trying to decide if we should bake the turkey today and slice it and just warm it up tomorrow.  The advantage to that would be we wouldn't have to get up so early tomorrow and I can make broth from the carcass to use in the dressing and gravy tomorrow.  If I am careful and cook and cut it properly it should retain the moisture.  I'll talk to Hannah and Flor and see what they think.

My big task for today is to clean off the dinning room table.  Its a mess because its where I cut up my old jeans for squares and use the computer and just about every thing else.  At the other end of the table are some cotton snowflakes I crochet drying and starching.  You can see where I am going here I'm sure.   It's a mess.

Here is a turkey cooking chart in case any of my dear friends need it.

I remember years ago cooking my first turkey and how scary it was.  It turned out fine and in the last few of years I have learned to save the carcass to make broth.  I used to take the turkey carcasses home when we had thanksgiving at our old church.  I think some of the ladies thought I had a screw loose.  But I just added a few carrots and onions and cooked those carcasses in a big ole pot for several hours and then I had the best turkey broth I could want and it is basically free.  So many people throw away their chicken bones and beef bones and turkey bones.  If I don't have time to make the broth right then I just put the bones into a bag and keep it in the freezer.  I also save carrot scraps, onion scraps, celery scraps and so on the same way.  Then when I'm ready to make some broth I just roast my bones in the oven, then either put them in a big pot filled with water on the stove along with the vegetables and a splash of apple cider vinegar or I just put them in my crock pot and let them cook for several hours.  I then strain the broth and cool it.  Its keeps for a few weeks in the fridge if you leave the fat on top.  If you want to remove the fat and are not going to use it right away its best to freeze it or can it.  Remember its dangerous to freeze items in glass so use plastic containers or even zip lock freezer bags.

OK, back to the pies.  This year we are just making one or two pumpkin pies and one pecan pie.  But while I was at the chiropractor I was talking to the ladies up front and they mentioned German chocolate pie.  Oh my that sure sounds good.  I will ask for their recipe next time I go in and maybe I can make that at Christmas time.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving and what are you thankful for?  I am especially thankful for family.  Even though I don't get to spend the holiday with them, I know they are well and safe so that is the most important thing I have to be thankful for.

               Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Spiced tea and Chai tea mixes

     I love the smells and taste of winter teas.  Spiced tea and Chai tea to name two.  There is something about cinnamon simmering that makes me think of winter and warm mugs of tea.

     This weekend I plan to make a small batch of spiced tea and a small batch of Chai tea.  I'm learning to make smaller batches of things as I get older.  With a mostly empty nest its not necessary to make huge batches of whatever I'm making any more.  That has been a hard lesson to learn.

     The is the recipe I am going to use for the spiced tea.
1-1/2 c. Tang ( I will use my orange juice mix from the cannery)
3/4 c. instant tea
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ginger
I will divide this up between Hannah and I so we neither one have too large a batch.  To make this just add 1 tbsp. to a cup of hot water and stir.
Image result for spiced tea pictures
For the Chai tea I will have to look on Pinterest to get a recipe.

Etsy Store

     I used to have an Etsy store a few years ago and never really tried to make it work.  I am thinking about trying it again.  Do any of my readers have an Etsy store and what are your thoughts on it?  Is it a good way to go to sell my handmade items?  Leave a comment please.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Machine embroidery again

I have had my embroidery machine for many years.  I have enjoyed it very much throughout those years.  Its not a fancy one where you can transfer directly from your computer but instead you must pick your designs and put them on a card which is then inserted into your embroidery machine.  I have managed to learn this skill many times and forget it as quick as I learn it, it seems.  Anyway I have gotten back into doing machine embroidery and so I wanted to show you what I made this morning.
This design takes 32 minutes and 9 color changes.  That 32 minutes is just sewing time, it doesn't include changing thread time and replacing the bobbin time.

The designs I use give suggestions for colors to use in the design but you can change them up to your liking.

Here is the paisley design I am making today nearly finished.

Trimmed and off the hoop.  What a pretty tea towel it made.  Down here in south Texas they call tea towels (cup towels), I had never heard them called that until I moved here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

My latest crochet projects

I have made several hot pads but I thought these two were cute because one looks like a watermelon and the other looks like candy corn.
I saw this on Facebook when I was still on there and recognized both the stitch and the yarn.  I copied the picture and I love how it turned out.
This baby afghan is done in white I love this yarn from Hobby Lobby.  The pattern is called, Call the midwife.

This pattern is the virus pattern and is a pink and gray baby afghan.

This is a C2C or corner afghan.  The completed afghan is below.

The completed C2C afghan.  I made this for my daughter Brooke on the occasion of her marriage. 

I also made this afghan for Brooke and Alex on for their wedding.  They get married one week from today.

This is another C2C afghan.
I have also been crocheting hats for children who are less fortunate than us.  I will try to take a few pictures of the hats one of these days.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Missing in action

     I know that I have been MIA for a while here on the blog and I apologize.  I have closed my facebook account and all other media accounts.  I found I was spending far too much time on them.  I could check my phone for the amount of time I was spending on them and it was out of line.  Plus the controversy was getting to me.

      I have found I am getting a lot more done around the house now that I don't spend so much time reading about other peoples lives.

     As always I have been enjoying my crochet and when I last went to Dodge I brought along 35 hats I had made and donated them to a friend who teaches at one of the poorest schools in that town.  I hope they warm many children's heads this winter.  I am working on many more hats to take along with me to my daughters in Missouri for them to distribute to needy children.  It saddens me that so many children don't have the basics like a warm hat for the winter here in our own country.

     I have also been crocheting baby blankets.  I now have several made up and need to figure out what to do with them.  I have a niece who is expecting but one will be sufficient for her I am sure.

     Jeff and I have been working on writing our Wills.  Do you and your husband have Wills?  We are making Holographic Wills.  Do a search to see if they are valid in your state and how to prepare one.  Then it would be a good idea to get it done.  We are not promised tomorrow.

     For my extension club I am putting together a program about hurricane preparedness.  I think it is a good time since we just went through hurricane Harvey.  There is so much devastation in our area its unbelievable.  Fortunately we just had high winds and not floods like Houston and that area.  High winds are bad enough but at least there isn't the MOLD to contend with.  Our house only suffered a few trees down and singles blown off the roof.  We do get a new roof but really we were fortunate.

     Bill and Christina Derixson our friends and former pastors church was flooded and they had to quickly rip out the carpet from the sanctuary and that was a lot of work to unbolt all the pews and then remove them and then the carpet.  Then the water wicks up the sheet rock so that had to be removed as well.  They are having service in the fellowship hall and are working on redoing the sanctuary.  

     Hannah worked with a turtle capture and then they took scientific measurements and released the turtles.  That is right up her alley.  She is studying range and wildlife management at Texas A&M Kingsville.  She worked for the state park for 3 summers and last summer worked for a graduate student doing controlled burns and plant collection, identification and measurements.  She would really like to work on a cattle ranch this summer so if any of my friends who read this blog know of a place she can work this coming summer please let us know.  She is interested in range management but also wants to learn cattle and other stuff like that.  she has always been an outdoors girl.

     I will try not to be such a stranger and post more often.  Y'all take care.

Missionary News

Bush Beat BlogF



At 2 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, thieves broke into Manuel’s home.  Manuel is our long distance truck driver, and he was in Meluco District on an overnight run to deliver food to the 520 orphans in that area.  Manuel’s wife totally depends on that motorbike for her job as she teaches school in a village 15 km from Balama.
We are very thankful that the thieves did not harm anyone during the robbery, but the loss of the bike was a horrible blow to this family.
  With Manuel gone, the YOUTH GROUP from his church, some of them members of our BBC team, met at his home to pray.
They specifically asked the Lord to show them “where the bike was hidden”.  Most times, stolen bikes are taken to another town and immediately sold, making them very difficult to recover.
GOD ANSWERED QUICKLY for out of nowhere, a man they didn’t know showed up at Manuel’s gate.  He told the Youth group that he saw a man PUSHING a motorbike past his home at 2:15 a.m.  The man showed them where he saw the man going, so the men started talking to everyone on that road.
When they got near our construction site for Orphan House #3, the night guard came forward to say that HE SAW A MAN PUSHING A BIKE into a fenced yard not far from where we are building orphan house #3!  The Youth members and police went to that house and recovered the bike!  Folks, I can tell you that this is a GOD THING for sure!  It just doesn’t happen that a stolen bike is recovered so easily and in only 6 hours!
TALK ABOUT A FAITH LESSON!  All of us were super encouraged, and it showed our many “doubting Thomas” staff members that God truly answers prayer.  It was the talk of the whole community that day, making both the saved and unsaved “take notice” of God’s power to answer prayer!



Senhora Directora Anastancia Lidimba toured the Balama health facilities on Friday.  She requested to personally meet with me for she wanted to know who this “Brenda” is who helps the Balama hospital.  We assist in many little ways, and will be providing a Land Cruiser and driver this next week to help distribute deworming medicine to all the children in Balama District.  For the hospital staff to accomplish this massive feat in 30+ villages in 5 days (over 50,000 children in the target group), the Balama Hospital Director calls on everyone with transport who lives or works in the District to help transport the medical teams to the villages.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting this joyful and very powerful woman, who has the responsibility of overseeing every  medical facility in Cabo Delgado’s 17 districts.



1.       Capena, office manager and my very versatile “right hand man” along with the Balama food distribution team spent the week gifting over 25 tons of corn and beans to 577 orphans in 15 remote villages.


2.       Manuel made 2 trips to Meluco District (9 hour drive each way) to provide the corn and beans needed to support these children through the fast approaching rainy season (Nov.)  He will make another 3 loads this coming week, to complete the amount of food needed until May, 2018.

 WHY THE RUSH?  A main bridge is out on the only road leading to our Meluco mission station.  To get there, Manuel drives through a  deep river bed on a temporary road of large rocks that provides trucks a dry season crossing.  Once the rains begin, that option will literally be under water.
This large bridge has been repaired twice after the last 2 rainy seasons, but each rainy season this river receives even larger amounts of fast moving water that damages it again.
To say the least, it has been a hectic but rewarding week. Keep your prayers coming.
Bush Bunny Brenda Lange
And the Balama staff


562 S. HWY 123, BYPASS, #301
SEGUIN, TX 78155

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Learning to grow microgreens

A microgreen is a green that is between a sprout and a full grown green or plant.  The tiny stalks are tender and full of nutrients.  Some say between 5 and 40 % more nutrients than a full grown plant or salad green.  With a sprout you eat the seed pod and the sprout.  With a microgreen you eat the stem and leaves.

I decided I wanted to learn to grow microgreens because where I live the season for growing greens is very short or they must be grown in the winter.  I like salads more in the summer than winter so I needed a way to get them without buying salad greens all summer.  I get plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers and so on but I needed a way to grow the greens.  I watched several you tube videos and read about growing microgreens online.  I decided the best approach was to start small, so I bought a few of these clear containers that go under potted plants at the Dollar Tree @ 4/$1.00.  I poked holes in the bottom and filled with organic potting soil.  I then  spread alfalfa seeds thickly over the soil and wet it down real good.  I then covered it with a damp cloth and kept it damp by misting it twice a day.  On day two when it looked like most of the seeds had sprouted I removed the cover which by this time I had been using a plate.  I put the greens in the window sill so they could get their chlorophyll or what ever it is called. 

This is day four.  I have a feeling that the alfalfa greens are going to be a smaller green.  They have the cotyledon leaves right now.  As soon as they get the first set of true leaves it will be ready to harvest.  I have ordered more seeds to try this with.  I have beet, pea dun, sunflower and kale seeds coming.  I will eventually try to have a variety of microgreens growing to make a more colorful salad. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tasty squash dish

Yesterday I made a really good squash dish.  I used zucchini and yellow squash and tomatoes.  I sliced the squash and quartered the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment paper lined pan.  I sprinkled minced garlic over and sprinkled seasoned salt and Italian seasoning over them.  I then squirted olive oil around on them.  I baked these at 350 for 15 minutes.  Then I sprinkled parmesan cheese over top and baked for another 15 minutes.  It sure was good.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hope you had a happy Mothers Day

My mothers day was very nice.  I heard from all five of my daughters and I called my mother and mother in law.  My husband even called my mother.  Then my niece and her husband called.  It was a very nice day.

Hannah was home and brought a friend along and they cooked stir fry, Mexican rice, guacamole, Pico sauce, and lemonade.  It was so very good. 

Hannah had started they day by weed eating the entire yard.  I had mowed yesterday so now the yard looks very nice.  After she did they I started the water on the lawn.  We usually get a fair amount of rain and seldom have to water but occasionally we do and this is one of those times.

I continue to read via skype with Sammy and J'tihya Monday through Thursday.  First they read their assigned story to me and then sometimes I ask them about the story and then I read a chapter to them.  With Sammy I am reading Hank the cow dog and with J'tihya we just finished The Secret Garden and will start Little Women this week.  I already have bought the Little house on the prairie set so that will be up next.  I really enjoy reading with these kids.  It helps them in their reading and keeps me connected to them.

Well its Sammy's day to read so I will close this for now.  May everyone who reads this have a blessed day, filled with health and happiness.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The garden looks good so far

So far, my garden looks good.  We've gotten a few cherry tomatoes to eat, a couple of green peppers, a few jalapenos, some cilantro, onion tops and basil.  I'm really hoping for a good tomato year because I have NO home canned tomatoes left.  I need to restock.

Its my first time growing herbs so its a learning experience.  The basil is beautiful.  I have been drying it but a friend said I should freeze it instead so the next batch I pick I will freeze and see which way I like it best.

I have been trying to spend a little time in the garden each morning before it gets too hot.  That is hard to do because it gets hot pretty early here.  Its 8:30 am right now and its already 77 degrees out.

I have been trying to eat healthier so this week I made zucchini spaghetti.  It was really good.  I think I like it better than spaghetti pasta because it has a good flavor and doesn't sit heavy in my stomach.
I used nutritional yeast and shredded cheese on top along with a few sprigs of basil from my garden.

I also bought a spaghetti squash which I will cook this weekend and eat with the meat sauce.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sprucing up the kitchen with the pioneer woman

I just love the pioneer woman's stuff.  The other day I was in Walmart and noticed her table cloths.  I decided to buy one for each table and an extra one to make curtains out of.  I also bought a 4 pack of her kitchen towels.  Here is the result.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My lemonade wasnt so sweet.

The adventures of being me. 
As many of you know I gave myself a challenge of getting rid of 40 bags of stuff in 40 days.  I didnt last the whole 40 days but I got rid of way more than 40 bags.
While I was cleaning my pantry I came across a 2 quart jar of (sugar)  I tasted it and everything, I thought.  So trying to consolidate things I poured the (sugar) into my sugar canister that holds 10 pounds of sugar.
A few days later I made up some sugar water for the hummingbirds but they never came to drink.
Today I made a gallon of pink lemonade to take to club.  I proudly served my pink lemonade to my friends.  One friend took a sip and said wow, thats tart.  I thought, thats strange, I put a little more than 2 cups of sugar in that.  It should be sweet enough.  Another friend asked if it was real sugar and I said of course.  I dont use that fake stuff.  Well once everyone was served I sat down and grabbed my glass and took a big swig.  Blech.  It was salty.  How could that be?  So everyone else tried theirs and they all said yuck, ick.  blah blah blah.  One friend said are you sure you didnt put salt in instead of sugar?  I said of course not, I got it out of my sugar container.  Then it hit me.  I had poured in two quarts of salt into my sugar container. 
No wonder the hummingbirds didnt come.  LOL
Then we had role call and we were suppose to answer with our worst cookig mistake.  We sure got a good laugh out of that one.  
Oh my

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fancy baby afghans

I am working on the third fancy baby afghan in the same pattern.  Its the hardest pattern I've ever made.  It's quite pretty but sure is complicated.  Of course by the third one I'm getting the hang of it.  I will tell you that when I finish the last blue one I will put away my crochet hooks for a while.  I have concentrated on these afghans because I am on a time frame.  But I am longing to get back to the sewing machine.
Here is the first afghan I made with this pattern.

I think its just as pretty on the reverse side as it is the front.  It is suppose to have a ribbon threaded through the pink part just inside of the ruffle, but I am going to let the customer pick out her own ribbon and place it there.
Here is the first blue afghan completed.  Again the customer will add her own ribbon.

This is what the main body of the afghan looks like, here I am nearly done with that part.
I am almost done with the second blue afghan.  I started the gray last night so just a few more evenings and it will be done. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Productive Saturday

This has been a busy and productive Saturday at our house.

First Jeff and I finished the drip irrigation system in the garden.

Then, Jeff and I worked on attaching the lattice that we had just had tacked to the deck in a permanent manner.  Its not done but we got a good start on it.

Meanwhile, Hannah was busy building a new step platform to replace the little steps coming out of the deck on one side.  They were too small and hard to navigate.  She did a real good job.

Sandy was so proud of Hannah, she just had to give her a kiss.  Another job well done.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Non GMO, organic, heritage seeds and plants.
They are having a sale right now 20% off.  Free shipping on orders over $30.00 and only $3.95 on orders less than $30.00

I placed an order today.  I have been hunting non GMO. organic, heritage/heirloom seeds and I believe I have found a source.  If they grow in my area I will be one happy girl.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Missionary update

Bush Beat BlogF

DATE: MARCH 18, 2017


On Tuesday, 5 officials representing the Departments of Health, Social Services, Administration, Justice, and Public Works (building inspectors) walked from house to house, visiting our families and seeing first-hand what our program is all about.  They were very happy to know that our children are be given a good education complete with proper school books that your Love Gifts provided, as well as having top notch care by our foster mothers. 

Our 4 babies impressed them all with their recovery from a malnourished state.  We were blessed by their visit, as it was great to get to know these people, and show them all we do to help the orphans and abandoned children of Balama.


Fatima Jorge, 15, in the 8th grade, received a full scholarship to one of the finest professional training schools in Chimoio, Mozambique. 

  Equal to a student going to a Jr. College while still in high school.
We were all taken by surprise at noon today when we got the call.  It means a whirlwind of activity for Capena and I as he must organize many documents this week so Fatima is eligible to leave by next weekend.
Fatima gets to choose her study courses, so we will have to “fill you in” once she arrives and gets settled in.
This is a truly wonderful opportunity for this VERY INTELLIGENT young lady.  It is a 2 or 3 year school depending on what major she chooses.
God is moving! Fatima will be missed, but we plan to organize her a cell phone so she can call home.  Since she will know NO ONE at the school, we want her to be able to call us when she needs to hear a familiar voice.
The only cost is her transport, and we plan for Pastor Fred to escort her by bus on this 2 day journey to the school.
Balama is her home, and we expect to have her return to us during the major holidays.



  The roof extension will be added next week, as we took this opportunity to expand this house by adding a 4 meter (12 foot) wide bedroom. 
Still have to mount the doors and windows, as well as build a kitchen and new “outhouse” (longdrop) and bathing area, but know we hope to have it all finished well before the end of April.  This house will serve each of our families as a “temporary” residences while we renovate each home that needs a MAKE OVER.


Bush Bunny Brenda Lange
And the Balama Staff