Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beachcombers.. Part 2

Hey Y'all!

I hope that each one of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday! We are still enjoying our holiday decorations, I just can't find the heart to take them down! Although, I think my live tree will have to come down tomorrow. It is VERY dry. I am nervous about the lights on it. But, I plan on leaving up my cupcake tree and other artificial tree for a while. I just love the lights!

Today started out gloomy, doomy and rainy. I met my Uncle Richard and Aunt Brenda for lunch and then came home to settle in for a nap. When I woke up from my nap, this is what I saw. LAZY!

Luckily, the sun had just made an appearance. I grabbed Pitty Pat's leash, Mitzi Mazda's keys and we hit the road. I felt a beach walk coming on!

Today was a little cool, but Pitty Pat had his fur and I had on a fleece jacket. I was quite toasty and Pitty Pat had a ball!

Things we saw on our walk today:
1. A WEDDING! I didn't want to take a picture, but Pitty Pat and I were witnesses. It was very sweet! Pitty Pat even sat through the 10 minute service!

2. A TREASURE HUNTER! I hope that he finds something good!

3. A FEATHER. It was cool. Pitty Pat chased it down the beach!

4. The beach was really flat today. Almost like another planet. This picture makes me think of Pitty Pat on the moon. "HOUSTON... WE HAVE A CANINE!!!!!"

I have really enjoyed these walks we have been taking. After our time on the beach today, I noticed that every part of me was warm, but my ears! On the way home I thought.. wow, I should really buy a "Beachcomber Hat" to wear on our walks when it is chilly. Duh. I am an idiot. I am knitter.. why not knit myself one? I am so quick to knit for others, but not for myself. This is on my needles right now! It will be too chilly to walk tomorrow, but I hope to have this ready for Thursday when it is warmer.

Well, I will leave you with one last picture from our adventure today. My happy beach bum!!!

AND..... this is my 100th post this year!!! YAY me!!!!!

:) JKP

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all!!!

Merry Christmas from Casa de Pitty Pat!!!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Hey Y'all!

Well, the weather here has been very warm, so Pitty Pat and I decided to take advantage of it yesterday!
I had to get my hair cut and colored yesterday and then I had to make a quick run to the knitting store, The Knit and Purl.  After those errands were out of the way, I decided that Pitty Pat and I needed to go for a walk on the beach.

It was much needed! Here's some pics from our beach adventure yesterday. It was so nice. The fog was rolling in and hardly anyone was out. Pitty Pat had the best time running and jumping. When we took a moment to rest, I got a big 'ole wet sloppy kiss across the face. I think he was pleased!

And I was RUNNING!!!!

I likey the beachy!

Happy Baby!!!!

To top off our special beach walk, we went and got some ice cream afterwards. One of my sweet students gave me a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery. I got the Berry, Berry, Berry Good in a waffle bowl. YUM. The ice cream was yummy and topped off a great day!

My Mom just called from Charleston and is heading this way! There's no telling what we will get into today! I am hoping that tonight we can go look at Christmas lights. I just love to look at lights!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!
:) JKP

Thursday, December 22, 2011

She's a Knitting Maniac!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Y'all!

'Tis the season for last minute gifts. I realized yesterday afternoon that I was getting my hair cut and highlighted today and I didn't have a thing for my hair dresser. Trust me folks. That is one person you HAVE to bring a gift to at Christmas time. And. I love the way Tiffany does my hair, so I knew I had to resort to a quick knit!

About a month ago, I was on Ravelry and came across a quick and easy fingerless glove pattern that was actually posted on You Tube. Go figure. But, it was made with bulky yarn and size 9 needles, so I was game.

I used Lion Brand's Tweed Stripes to knit a "test" pair and they came out very cute. Although, let me say, that you have to hack this yarn to pieces to get it to stripe properly so that both gloves will match.

Here's the fist pair I knitted up. They will be going in my Mom's Christmas stocking! Hi Mom! She knows this. She tried to steal them at Thanksgiving! :)

So, I rooted around in my ever growing yarn basket and found out that I had another skein of Tweed Stripes in the Prism colorway, so I casted on for a pair of quick knit gloves to take as a gift today.
I did modify the pattern a bit. Instead of casting on 24 stitches like the pattern calls for, I casted on 28. I then knit 18 rows of 2x2 rib, 14 rows of stockinette stitch, and then 6 rows of 2x2 rib. I casted off and sewed the sides, leaving a space for the thumb.

Here's the finished pair.

I literally casted on at 4:00 this afternoon and was sewing these puppies up at 6:30. NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!

If you want to make your own pair, check out the You Tube video below. It walks you through step by step!

Happy Knitting!
:) JKP

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

White Chocolate Covered Popcorn Goodness

Hey Y'all!

Well. I finally made it! I am sitting here in my jammies, drinking coffee and blogging. Ahhhh..... I am so happy to finally be on Winter Break! Pitty Pat even let me sleep in until 8:15 this morning and that was such a gift! He is very excited that I am home. He keeps following me from room to room to see if I am leaving for school!

I woke up this morning, turned on the Christmas Tree(s), brewed some coffee and just took it easy. Every year, right after I get out of school, I always meet my college roommate Rose for lunch. We are carrying on our tradition today! So, I had better make this blog post quick because I am sure she does not want me picking her up for lunch in my jammies. Even if they are cute! :)

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I participated in our school's annual goodie exchange. There were 29 folks who participated this year. I really didn't feel like baking (yes, I think something is wrong with me), but I wanted to do something that was festive and different. So, logged onto my new favorite pastime (Pinterest) and found some great ideas! I finally settled on a recipe for White Chocolate Popcorn. Because let's face it, who doesn't love salty and sweet?

To make the White Chocolate Covered Popcorn you will need:

2 bags of microwaved popcorn (you can use butter, I used light butter!)
16 oz of white chocolate chips melted (melt these over the stove, not in the microwave)
1 cup of M and M's (I used green and red)
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups of pretzel sticks broken in half, not crushed
About 1 cup of melted dark chocolate (I got a bag of meltable chips from AC Moore and used those!)
*You can also use about a cup of peanuts too. Since I am allergic to those, I left them out!
2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans

To start, pop the popcorn according to your microwave directions. Place the popcorn in a big bowl and make sure to remove any unpopped kernels or ones that don't look edible. In another bowl, combine the M and M's, pretzels, and marshmallows.

Over low heat, melt the white chocolate chips. Stir constantly. When melted, pour the mixture over the M and M's, pretzels and marshmallows until evenly coated.

Now, for the next part, you can use a really big bowl, or a huge gallon size Ziploc bag. Since I was making two batches I did both, and they both worked well.

Add the white chocolate covered mixture to the 2 bags of popcorn. Stir or shake well.

Once you see that everything has been covered and there are no clumps, spread the mixture out on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. You will need two because the batch is large.  I covered mine with parchment paper. Break up any clumps with your hands. While the mixture is "resting" melt the dark chocolate chips in the microwave. I started at 30 seconds and stirred well after each session. It only took about two 30 second intervals for my chips to melt.

Using a spoon, drizzle over the popcorn mixture. I have a heavy hand and I was very LIBERAL with the chocolate. The more, the better!

Now, pop the trays into the fridge for about 15 minutes. This will allow the chocolate to harden. When you remove the trays from the fridge, you can break apart pieces of the popcorn. Kind of like brittle! Then place in goodie bags if you are giving them away as gifts... or stand there and eat it all!!

Yum!!! Also, have you noticed? I have been cataloging and organizing stuff on the blog! So know you can tell the knitting posts, cooking posts and crafting posts apart!

I hope you have all of your Christmas shopping done... or KNITTED!!

:) JKP

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Look Who I Met Today......

Hey Y'all!
Look who my friend Dana and I ran into at school today!
We promise we have been VERY GOOD this year! Now, may we please have a winning lottery ticket? SANTA, I KNOW HIM!!!! I KNOW HIM!!!! And this one was real... no beef and cheese smell anywhere!!!

A Scarf For My Granddaddy

Hey Y'all!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter.. all you heard about this past weekend was a scarf that I was knitting up for my Granddaddy Abe. Back in October when all of the holiday knitting magazines were coming out, I got it into my head that I wanted to knit my Grandaddy a scarf. I found a pattern, but couldn't find the yarn. I ended up trolling the Lion Brand website one night before bed last week, and I found a quick knit, thick scarf that would be perfect for him!

So with needles in my hand I got off to a good start Wednesday night. But by Saturday afternoon, this was all I had!

So I found a good Christmas movie on TV, had a snack, and knitted into the deep dark night. Well. For three hours anyway! At the end I had a five foot scarf made of stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border. I washed it up, blocked it, and prayed it would be dry in time to give my grandaddy at our annual family Christmas lunch on Sunday.

And the verdict.........

HE LOVED IT! The look on his face when he opened the bag made all of the knitting hours worth it. He was so excited that I made it for him! My mom bought him some new hats that matched the scarf, so he is quite the man about town right now!

Happy Thomy's!!!

The pattern is a free one from Lion Brand. It is called The Basic Scarf and it is a free pattern if you join Lion Brand. com. I used two skeins of Lion Brand's Hometown USA in the color Cincinnati. I used size 15 needles and I am a very loose knitter.  The whole scarf will take you about 3 and a half hours to knit up.

I hope you can make someone's holiday this year by making something from the heart!!!
:) JKP

Monday, December 19, 2011

Popcorn Cake!

Hey Y'all!

Well, there has been a FLURRY of holiday activity at my house over this past weekend. I had a scarf I had to finish knitting up for my granddaddy, goodies to make for a goodie exchange at school today, and a munchie to make for munchie day today too! Throw in there a quick road trip to Lake City yesterday for our family Christmas get together and two more school days. And... on top of it.. my stomach has decided to throw a MAJOR wrench into things. I am not sure if this is a virus or my Crohn's making itself known, but whatever it is.. IT IS NOT NICE!!!

This is the first year that I have actually done the goodie exchange at school. I thought it would be a great way to get into the spirit of the season and have some wonderful goodies on hand throughout the Christmas holiday! I will post that recipe tomorrow.... The one I am going to post today is the munchie I brought for Munchie Day... Popcorn Cake!  My main ingredient for both goodies was..... POPCORN! Which, happens to be a no-no for me right now!

If you need something quick to bring to a holiday party, with little or no fuss... this is it! I found both of these recipes while hunting on Pinterest one night. If you want to lose a few years of your life, join Pinterest!

To make a Popcorn Cake you will need....

2 bags of popped microwave popcorn (sift through the popped corn and toss out any unpopped  
   kernels. No trips to the dentist over Christmas!
2 cups of M and M's (I used red and green to be festive)
2 cups of pretzels (broken, not crushed)
1 stick of butter
1 bag of 16oz marshmallows
A bundt pan (We have a BIG joke about this in my family... if  you have ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding.. you will get it!)

Combine the first three ingredients into a large bowl.

Then melt one stick of butter on LOW heat. When the butter is melted, add the bag of marshmallows.

 Make sure you are on LOW heat. Marshmallows burn very easily. And, don't forget to STIR!

Just about perfect!

Now, drizzle the melted butter and marshmallow goodness over the popcorn, pretzel and M and M mixture. Mix well with a spoon. It is WARM.

Transfer the mix to a bundt pan and press down so that it forms against the pan. Let it sit in the bundt pan for about and hour. It will still be gooey.

Run a knife along the inside to loosen the "cake" a bit. Then flip it over onto a plate. I let mine sit out for a few hours more so it would solidify.

Before you serve it, cut into "cake" pieces. Enjoy! This is the perfect mixture of salty and sweet and a great crowd pleaser!

I'll be back soon with my White Chocolate Popcorn recipe. OMG. GOOD! Now, y'all say a prayer for me! Tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas break!!!

:) JKP

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cough, Cough, Blow, Blow.... Knit, Knit!

Hey Y'all!

ACHOOO. I have picked up a nasty cold from my munchkins. These past two days have not been fun! This morning I am feeling much better. But, let's face it, when you go bed at 8 pm for three nights in a row, you have to have some improvement! There's so much sickness going around that I only had 16 kids at school yesterday. And. We still have two more days until we get out for Christmas Break!

My knitting needles have been on fire. :) I had a baby sweater set that I had been commissioned to do for a friend at school. She and her family are BIG Ohio State fans, so my instructions were to do a sweater set with an Ohio State theme. This is what I came up with!

The pattern is Bitty Bump by Gina Bonomo. It is so cute!

Sorry my photography skills aren't  that great! You probably would never know that my Granddaddy is an awesome photographer!

The hat is just a simple pattern... I casted on 44 stitches did 4 rows of knit 2, purl 2 rib, then stockinette until the hat measured 4 inches. Then I did decreases and knit and icord top to knot. I wasn't exactly sure how big the baby's head (well one year old) was, so I mad the hat big! But knotting the top will make it adjustable. I used Lion Brand's Hometown USA yarn in the colorway of Cincinnati. I like this yarn. It is bulky and washable. I had some yarn left over, so I am knitting up a scarf for my Granddaddy. Let's hope I get it done by tomorrow, because we are having our Very Thomy Christmas tomorrow!

I still have a cowl to finish up for my Grandmother and some fingerless gloves to knit up for family members and friends. My only deadline right now is finishing up my Granddaddy's scarf!

So, do you have all of your Christmas shopping done? I am finished, I didn't have a lot to buy. For my friends at school I baked mini loaves of Friendship Bread and gave them some coffee. We have a big goodie exchange at school on Monday, so I have to get ready for that. You guys are going to love this recipe. Not only is it yummy, but it is quick and great for last minute prezzies!

Well, let me run. I have a few errands to run this morning and then I need to get KNITTING!!!!!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Snowman Enchilada Soup

Hey Y'all!

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy during this busy holiday season! Many of my students have been sick with one virus or another and I keep saying.. HAND SANITIZER!!! We still have this entire week of school plus Monday AND Tuesday next week. Lord help me! I am so ready for some time off to spend with friends and family! Everyday I come home and Pitty Pat and I turn on our Christmas trees. We love to look at the lights, turn on the fire place and watch a good Christmas movie!

It has finally turned cold here, well for a few days anyway, so I thought I would share a recipe I tried about a month ago. This soup is creamy and has a bit of a kick to it! But it is very quick to make and feels great in a tummy on a cold day!

I got this recipe off of the Kraft website.. it's original name is Santa Fe Enchilada Soup.. but I am really wishing for some snow (see miraculous events) so I wanted to use snowman in my version!

Here's what you will need for Snowman Enchilada Soup

1 lb.boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (not pictured, still in the fridge)
1 tub (10 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Santa Fe Blend Cooking Creme (this stuff is AWESOME!)
1 cup milk
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
1 can (11 oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, drained (This is Mexicorn in the corn aisle)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional right now... especially with the recall.)
Start by cooking chicken in a skillet for 8 to 10 minutes or until done. Make sure to spray your skillet with nonstick cooking spray first!

After chicken has finished cooking stir in the cooking creme, milk, corn, beans and tomatoes. Stir and simmer on medium/low heat for 6 to 8 minutes.

Make sure the soup is heated thoroughly. Serve the soup with a side of tortilla chips and cilantro.
Enjoy!!!!! :)
Also, you may have noticed I have a new widget on the ol' blog! I am back to trying to walk my 10,000 steps a day and I thought y'all might like to see my progress! I have found that the weekends are hard, but the school days seem to be easy! My steps include 3 Pitty Pat walks, trips around school, errands and usually some sort of exercise walk. Let's hope I can keep this up!
I have also updated my Reads From the Beach Chair.. I love to read stories that take place during Christmas during this time of year!
:) JKP

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Begining To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Hey Y'all!

This past weekend my best girlfriends were here for a visit.. or what we like to call Girls Weekend Christmas Palooza 2011. And, boy did we shop! Miss Mitzi started out in Surfside Beach and by lunch time we had crossed the state line into North Carolina for lunch in Calabash! We were women with a mission!

Although this weekend was awesome, we did have a scary moment Saturday night when we returned home for a quick pit stop. My front door doesn't always close real well, so I always use the deadbolt to make sure that it is secure. On our way out Saturday morning, the door did not close well. It was windy on Saturday. So, you can guess what happened. About 2:30 my neighbors across the street heard Pitty Pat barking like crazy in the front yard. They figured something was wrong and came across the street. Luckily, Pitty Pat refused to leave the front yard and was using his bark to let folks know that something was wrong! After checking the house (my door was open) and making sure I wasn't hurt, or something else was wrong, they put Pitty Pat back in the house and left me a note in my mailbox. I don't have to tell y'all that this situation could have gone wrong 100 different ways, but thank God it didn't! I ended up baking my kind neighbors some yummy pumpkin spice muffins as a thank you. I am so happy that this story has a happy ending. I would just be devasted if anything ever happened to Pitty Pat. Sob.

Anyhoo... to end the weekend, we took the annual Julia and Pitty Pat Christmas Card, which hit the mail today! Aren't we cute?!

We took this at the Market Common, in one of Santa's sleighs.

Well, let me run. I have to finish up a baby set I have been comissioned to knit up and various knitting projects for Christmas are chilling in my knitting basket. I am going to fire up a good Christmas movie and relax!

:) JKP 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Girls Weekend Christmas Palooza 2011

Hey Y'all!
It's Girls Weekend this weekend! Check out our breakfast spread I made! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Pretty!

Hey Y'all!

As promised, here's a peek at my Christmas decorations. Enjoy!

A peek at my kitchen window. Sweet baby trees and a Santa screen!

My bakers rack with my Department 56 Houses and a small tree with candles.

Polka dot tree. Didn't show up well, but you can see some of my favorite Hallmark ornaments!

Our "live" snowman and cardinal tree. I love my garland with the pinecones and sticks! Sorry it's blurry!

So do you have your trees up yet?

:) JKP

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I LOVE Cupcakes!

Hey Y'all!

I hope where ever you are, you are getting to see some snow! Where I live, we only see snow once in a blue moon, so it is really special when it happens. I just love snow and how white and fresh it makes everything look. My Christmas wish is to go somewhere where it snows during Christmas. I would love to take sleigh rides, go caroling and stay in a big ol' lodge. And. Drink hot toddies! :) Anybody out there have a winning Powerball ticket???

Anyhoo. Since I don't live where it snows, and for that matter, where it gets cold very often, I have to create a Winter Wonderland in my house during Christmas. This year I have three, yes THREE Christmas trees in my living room. One is real, the other two are artificial. I have collected Hallmark ornaments for YEARS, so I have plenty of ornaments for all of the trees. However, this year, I wanted to shake things up. One of my trees is an aluminum green tree. It is like metallic tinsel. Over the past two years, y'all have heard of my love for cupcakes. They are the perfect treat for someone like me because I can't eat a lot of dough-y foods with my stomach. I can still have a sweet treat and not feel sick! So I decided that one of my Christmas trees this year needed to be dedicated to my love of cupcakes. I started to poke around on Pinterest and I found the most amazing craft project. And, y'all know how I LOVE the craft projects. So with some Styrofoam balls, artificial snow, regular glue, hot glue, ribbon and some plastic holly berries, I made some precious cupcake ornaments!

If you would like to make your own cupcake tree (and let's face it, what girly girl wouldn't want one?) here are the craft supplies you are going to need:

2.5 inch Styrofoam balls (use a coupon and get them half off at the craft store)
Artificial snowflakes ( I used regular and iridescent to get a sparkly effect)
Cupcake liners.. foil ones and Christmas themed ones
A hot glue gun and glue sticks
Craft or school glue
A foam brush, a paper bowl, and toothpicks
Christmas themed ribbon
A Solo cup or Styrofoam block to hold the snowballs as they are drying

To start, combine the regular and iridescent snowflakes in a bowl. You might also want to spread paper towels or newspapers out on the table you are working on. The snowflakes get EVERYWHERE! :)

Next, poke a toothpick on the bottom of one of the Styrofoam balls. Coat at least 2/3 thirds of the top of the ball with glue.

Then roll the ball in the snowflake mixture.

While you are making the other "snowballs" you want a place to put the finished ones to dry well. I stuck mine into a Styrofoam block.

I let mine dry overnight to be safe. If it is not dry enough, the next part won't work.

Once the "snowballs" are dry to the touch, plug in your hot glue gun. If you are making this craft with little ones, make sure you take over here.

Separate out your cupcake liners. I did a combination of foil and Christmas themed ones. Simply line the side of the cupcake liner with hot glue. Then, place the "snowball" into the liner, cupping your hands around the ball. Don't push the ball down to the bottom. The hot glue will grab the sides. Your "cupcake" will look rounded on the bottom if you push it down to far into the liner. *Side note.. the foil liners get REALLY hot with the glue, so be very careful!*

Now, once the cupcake liner has cooled, we get to have some fun! Cut one of the holly berries off of the bunch, but leave a stem. With a toothpick, tuck the ribbon down into the cupcake. Insert the stem of the "berry" into the hole made with the toothpick and ribbon. Add a dab of hot glue and push the stem in all the way into the cupcake.

And viola!!! You have a cupcake ornament!

You can also leave the stem "up" and make it more cherry like.

Now you can make enough for a whole tree!

And, a close up!

And here's a thought... if you find a white tree on clearance AFTER Christmas, you can use a Valentine's day theme and keep it up longer! You can also use smaller Styrofoam balls and liners too! :)

I'll be back tomorrow with some pics of my Christmas decorations around my house. I just love to have on my lights in my house at night. It is so peaceful and relaxing to me!

Tootles and happy crafting!
:) JKP