Tuesday, May 22, 2012

World MS Awareness Day, May 30

Next Wednesday, is World MS Day. It's the only global awareness fund raising campaign for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Em and I are going to bring awareness (again) to our workplaces. I'm always amazed at the number of people that I work with that don't have a clue what MS is. I guess I just think that everyone knows someone who has MS because my mom had MS, two of my neighbors have MS, my best friend's sister has MS, my cousin has MS, one of my co-worker's wives has MS and so many more connections. Maybe these folks have "heard" of MS, but since the contact isn't as up front and personal as mine they haven't dug in to learn more. I guess that makes sense, I know of other dibilitating diseases but don't really get "involved" in all of them. But, Multiple Sclerosis has been an important part of my life. MS you are not my friend, but you have helped make me a more compasionate person. I do not like you MS, but you have helped me with my struggle with patience. I want you to go away MS, really really far away and never come back again MS, but you have introduced me to some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. Now take the hint MS, beat it, buzz off, get lost, leave me and my friends and my family alone!

I'm taking my old MS Walk and Bike shirts and repurposing them. I made a messenger type bag with my long sleeved MS Challenge Walk shirt.

I just cut off the bottom, chopped off the sleaves and sewed it into a bag shape, opened up the neckline and then cut the sleeves lengthwise to make the snazzy shoulder strap.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Remembering Kathy

It's been a little over a year since my friend Kathy passed away, but this post is not about the loss, this post is about celebration. I met Kathy 24 years ago at work. A petite woman with blonde hair and a wicked laugh. Kathy was all about celebrating, she was married to a great guy from Italian heritage and Kathy had learned the secret to great meatballs and sauce. Kathy would make hundreds...I mean hundreds of meatballs and homemade sauce and bring them in to feed her co-workers. She loved that we loved them. I remember that I made a cake for one of these occassions (which weren't any real occasion at at all), it was called the better than ...(I'll let you fill in the blank) cake. In the version that I made, you poked holes in a chocolate cake (after baking) and poured in marichino cherry juice, topped the cake with a layer of chocolate pudding and then a layer of real whipped cream with sprinkled chopped marichino cherries on top. That's when I found out how much Kathy loved chocolate covered cherries...she loved that cake.

A few weeks ago, right before Kathy's birthday, another co-worker and I made 300 meatballs. We never did get her recipe, but we knew the basics, we made some sauce and I made the cake.

We printed up photos that we had of Kathy and chatted with everyone that joined in our luncheon about the "good old days".

I don't have a "real" recipe for that cake, but we did bring in another dessert that I'd like to share with you. It's a lighter version of a cheesecake, not less calories, just fluffier.

Frozen Cheese Torte

24 squares, crushed, cinnamon grahams
1 stick of butter melted
3 spoonfuls of powdered sugar (rounded tablespoon would work)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter, add the rest, mix it up and line the bottom and sides of a spring form or 13x9 cake pan.

Filling Part 1
16 oz mini marshmallows
3/4 c milk (not soy)
Melt together over low heat, stirring constantly

Filling Part 2
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream, whipped. You can use storebought from the freezer section. If you choose this method, buy the 16 oz tub and thaw it out.

Filling Part 3
16 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Using electric mixer, cream together until smooth.

Add Filling Part 1 to Filling Part 3 and then fold in Filling Part 2.

Pour the whole lot into the graham cracker crusted pan and freeze overnight (or at least 6 hours). Thaw before serving (4 hours if left on the counter.

Keep refrigerated when thawed.

You can refreeze the leftovers (as if).

You can also cut the recipe in half and use a round cake pan (8 or 9") or pie plate.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Stitch n Pitch

We received some exciting news last week...Miller Park and The Milwaukee Brewers are going to let us have a promotional table at Stitch N' Pitch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

We can't sell products at the game, but they're going to let us display our stuff, hand out order forms and business cards. Whoo hoo!

That's a photo from last year's outing (not us).

So, I'm busting out the fabric and making some sample dresses in Brewer colors, USA and general cute patterns. I also have baseball caps for the kiddos. I'll post some photos soon.~mpr

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ella is tan bonita

Ta da...we have a baby model. I made this dress and matching diaper cover for a co-worker's new granddaughter. Isn't she beautiful?

The pattern for the dress is based on one of my favorite blog's tutorial. I did shorten up the measurements for a new born, instead of 11 inches, I made the strips 10". No sense in making a diaper cover if you can't see it, right? Check out the blog here

There are plenty of tutorials out there for diaper covers too. I followed the instructions here With a few modifications. I used the 3-6 month size pattern and just made the elastic strips 1 inch shorter for both legs and waistband for a newborn. Worked great. One other modification I made was to sew those pesky seams down after zig zagging, why you ask? Two reasons, decreases the likelyhood that the seams may rip open AND when you run your elastic through the leg openings, the safety pin doesn't get caught up on the seam. And it looks good to boot.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

I was channeling my inner Nancy the other night when the phone rang. Normally I check to see who's calling, but it's usually one of the girls or my husband. So, I blind answered the call.
The young woman asked me if I had a few minutes to answer some questions about food shopping and I would get $5.00 in return. FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS! I thought, what the heck, I can donate the money to my MS Walk fund and so I said yes. She asked me about instant mashed potatoes, have I bought any in the last 6 months and yes I had. Then she asked me to name instant mashed potato brands and my mind went BLANK. Uh, I have Idahoan in the pantry, that's all I can think of. That's the only brand I buy. "Have I heard of Betty Crocker's Instant Mashed Potatoes?" Oh yes, I have (dumb brain). "How about Butter Buds?" Sure, I've heard of them. "Have you ever used a store brand?" Can't say I have, but I've seen them on the shelves. And we went on and on like that for a few minutes.

The young woman picked out three for me to further review, Idahoan, cuz that's what I use...the store brand and Betty Crocker. Rating them from 0-10, 10 being the highest.
"it is a good value" "The Idahoan?" I say 10, "Betty Crocker" I say 7, "store brand" I say 3, because I really have NO CLUE. The questions go on and on, for 30 minutes. I did tell you that I got FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS for doing this, right? I have to tell you that the poor woman had to suffer through my laughter at some of the questions when she asked me if the potatoes added value to holiday gatherings...THEY'RE POTATOES, how can potatoes add value?

Anyway, I got the check in the mail on Saturday. Whoo hoo.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It did rain yesterday, buckets and buckets of rain, but thankfully we were all home safe and sound by the time the skies opened up. Another MS Walk sucessfully completed. They did shut down the walk early though, only walked 3.5 miles instead of 7, but I'm not complaining. In fact, it was nice to get out and meet new faces, get a little exercise, pet a few hundred dogs (I love that they allow dogs on this walk) and still have time to listen to the Brewers game while I sewed my little heart out.

I decided that I had to deal with my scrap drawer. Is there enough material in this scrap to make something or not. I am not going to hang on to bits and pieces in the hopes that I will sew them all together and make something out of them, cause that just aint gonna happen. I made 3 diaper covers yesterday, adding to my collection that I hope to have on Etsy in a short while. Thus far I have 5 dresses, 8 diaper covers, 1 baseball type hat (prototype) and 4 dippy hats

All proceeds from the soon to be created Etsy shop will also support National MS Society. In the meantime, you can click on the link to go right to my participation center and donate, not begging, just saying.

That's me flashing the "rock on" sign from the back row.

I need a real photographer to help me out, or at least a better camera...here's some shots of some of the dresses with coordinating diaper covers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MS Walk, Sunday, May 6 in Milwaukee

This is our first walk of the year, a little warm up for our summer training to do the 50 mile walk in September.

My first memory of doing the local MS walk was in 1986, the "Spring" walk was in the end of March and it SNOWED. The walk was 15 miles back then. I had never participated in a organized walk and scoffed at the walkers that were warming up and stretching. I remember thinking, it's walking...how hard can that be? 15 miles, in the snow, about 5 hours later I was singing a different tune. My toes were cracked open and bleeding (yuck). I rode the school bus back to the start line, drove myself home and went to bed. I remember leaving a note on my feedback sheet-make it later in the year if you can.

26 years later (is that possible?)and I am a whole lotta smarter. Not only do we train to walk, we warm up, stretch and then stretch at the end. My daughters usually go with me now and sometimes other friends and family are able to join in. I think I've missed 3 or 4 walks since 1986. In 1987 I was 9 months pregnant and didn't think it would be a good idea to go into labor that day, so I volunteered instead. In 1988 I volunteered again and then in 1991 when I had my third daughter I did the same. I seem to remember missing another one in there somewhere, but it doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that we're doing it again this year!

I'm excited that the walk is in May, pray for sunny skies (or at least no snow)~mpr