8 Pointed Round Ripple Afghan

My husband asked for an afghan for his truck that was not the usual shape or design, so off to the internet I went to find a pattern. I found this and fell in love with it, lol. Because of the shape, the exact pattern of colors doesn’t really matter as much. He chose light blue, gray and white for his colors since those are the colors our bedroom at home is done in and it helps him feel a little more at home, plus he likes to have something I have made with him in the truck (how sweet, lol).
So, off to JoAnns I went to get the yarn for the afghan. I am using Red Heart Super Saver Worsted weight in light blue (so far, 2 7 oz skeins, plan on using 2 more), Red Heart Classic Worsted weight in Nickel for the gray (so far, 1 1/2 skeins, 3.5 oz each, I plan to use 3 total) and Caron Simply Soft in White (total will be 2 6oz skeins, using the softer yarn for a little contrast and since it is an accent color, I wanted to use it as a slightly different texture). I have used an H/8 hook and mainly double crochet stitches. The afghan will be large enough for a twin size bed, but can be made larger or smaller if you would like.
This is a perfect for someone like me who only has a few hours a night to work on hand made gifts or who does not like working with a long chain when making an afghan.
Don’t forget, when making an afghan with yarn that has a dye lot, buy enough to make the entire project and get the same dye lot whenever possible. It is also always better to buy too much yarn and have left overs then to not have enough to finish a project!
Now, without further ado… The afghan.



8-pointed Round Ripple Afghan


Ch5, slip stitch into beginning chain to form a ring

Row 1: Ch2, 12 hdc into ring, slip stitch to top of first ch2 to join

Row 3: Ch3, dc into same stitch, 2dc into next stitch and each stitch around, slip stitch to first ch3 to join a ring – 24 dc

Row 3: Ch5, skip next 2 dc, sc into next dc, ch5, skip next 2 dc, ch5 round to first ch5, slip stitch to first chain of ch5 to join – 8 ch5 spaces

Row 4: Slip stitch into first ch5 space, ch3, 2dc into space, ch2, 3dc into same space, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch5 space repeating around to first ch3, slip stitch to join – 8 (3dc, ch2, 3dc) points

Row 5: Slip stitch into next dc, ch3, dc next dc, (3dc, ch 2, 3dc) into first ch2 space, dc into next 2 dc, skip next 2 dc, dc into next 2 dc, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space repeating around, slip stitch to top of first ch3 to join

Row 6: Slip stitch into next dc, ch3, dc into next 3 dc, (2 dc, ch2, 2dc) into next ch2 space, dc into next 3 dc, skip next 2 dc, dc into next 3 dc, (2dc, ch2, 2dc) into next ch2 space repeating around, slip stitch into top of first ch3

Continue on with the pattern in this way until it’s as large as you want it. Make sure that once you’ve slip stitched to join the rows that you then slip stitch into the next stitch. As you go, be sure to alternate the number of double crochets in your “shells” (the “shells” are the series of stitches places into the chain 2 spaces on the points). The pattern begins with 3dc, ch2, 3dc, then switches to 2dc, ch2, 2dc, and then should switch back to 3dc, ch2, 3dc on the next row, and so on. This will ensure that you don’t get any an uneven puckering effect in your blanket.

School Lunch Guidelines…

Ok, so whenever you hear a debate about school meals, you hear that they need to be provided, and there needs to be a program for people to get these meals for free (breakfast and lunch) because this is the only way some of these kids get to eat a hot meal during the day at times. Some of these kids, yes, that is true. I have heard several parents around me who have said they are so broke and have no money to feed their kids, and they don’t really care as much about grades, they don’t care that the kid might be failing or falling asleep during class, or disrupting the classroom, in their minds, it is easier for them to just send their kid to school to let the school feed them.
Now, my son does eat breakfast and lunch at school, he eats the hot meal they provide, but we pay for the meals. It is his choice to eat with his friends because he is in different classes and does not always get the opportunity to see them during recess. This is a choice, and I always have a snack for him when he gets home in the afternoon.
But, now you have these kids who you have already admitted this may very well be the only food these kids get all day. In many cases, there isn’t even a slice of bread for them when they get home. Most children around the country are not lucky enough to come home to a parent who is there with a snack and/or supper cooking when they get home. So many of them go home to an empty house with empty pantries and fridges. So many of these kids don’t even have a glass of milk available at home.
Cue school meal reform. Their pet issue, childhood obesity, has taken over and has caused them to consider extreme measures. Now, instead of providing a meal program that will actually feed these kids, the kids these very people advocate for and say they need to reform lunches so these kids are able to eat and be full and be available to survive without malnutrition and starvation on only these two meals serves in schools, what do they do? They put in a MANDATE LIMITING CALORIES! Does that seem like idiocy to anyone else?
Instead of giving these kids enough to eat, they would rather limit what they can eat, offering additional “Fat Free Skim Milk” to those who “need more calories” instead of actual food. And it has to be fat free skim, because everyone knows an extra pint of whole milk will lead to childhood obesity.
Instead of taking a look at the issues, both childhood hunger and childhood obesity, and figuring out the underlying causes, they just throw more laws at it, trying to regulate it away instead of really solving it. They call for limiting the calories in school lunches, they call for a limit to the fat free skim milk, they call for cutting after school athletics, they call for limits, limits, limits.
How about this for a simple solution, instead of spending all this money trying to find the reason/solution to childhoos obesity, put that money back into after school athletics and even PE classes. Instead of just telling kids to get fit and healthy and counting on a video game most of their parents can’t afford (yes, Wii Fit) to make them get active, teach them how to properly exercise, teach them how to stay fit, instead of mandating it and just expecting it to happen or putting their BMI on their report cards (the BMI is another issue completely, according to the BMI charts, John Cena is obese). Force these parents to be parents, it is our responsibility as parents to get out kids outside to play, away from the video games. Don’t encourage the kids to stay inside in front of a video game.
Put PE back in the schools, let the kids learn how to exercise, don’t require reams and reams of paperwork to make the schools have no liability for a child who plays an afterschool sport. Teach the kids how to make healthy choices while at school. Don’t limit calories for a student who, as you admit, is only getting the meals the school provides. No child can be healthy and survive well on 1,000 calories a day.
I am willing to bet that, as soon as more filling and better meals are available at schools, the kids will be more alert during class, they will have more energy to play and run around during recess, they will be better able to focus and test scores will go up.
That is just my opinion. Will it change anything? Probably not, but I guess I am doing something right, since my son is fit and healthy and well fed.

Replacement Refs…

I wanted to take a moment while having a cup of coffee to give my thoughts on the replacement refs in the NFL. As a retired soccer official, I have to say I am on the side of the refs. It is a thankless job, for the most part, and you never hear anything until you make a mistake.
Now, the replacements may not be too bad at the level they worked BEFORE the lockout, but one who works high school or NCAA Div 2 games is not trained to work NFL level games. They are not equipped to handle the rules that are different when officiating a professional game. They are not equipped to officiate on a national level with millions of people questioning and second guessing their every call.
It is a lot easier to be confident in your calls when you don’t have to contend with very vocal Monday Morning Quarterbacks.
You can’t expect an official who, only a week before, was getting ready to work high school games in Mayberry, population 4,000, to not make a mistake when he is thrown into a game between the Lions and Titans in Nashville, TN, in front of millions of fans on TV.
Every official thinks about every call they make and we, as a collective group extending over every sport at every level, are often the most critical of ourselves. When you make a big call that could change the outcome of the game in favor of a team that will effect your own favorite team’s standings, you question yourself, when a player is hurt seriously during a game you are working, you question if you could have called the game differently, showing a harsher stance on behavior that could cause injuries. When you miss a call that changes the outcome of a game, you question your knowledge of the rules.
I think I am more critical of every game I ever worked because, when I started, we worked games as a single official, we didn’t have officials on the sidelines with the flags in uniform, we didn’t have a double official system, we didn’t have an officiating crew who worked together every single game.
I have been that “head official” at a newer sports complex where 4 games were being played at a time and I was the most senior official there, the most experienced. I have had to take a stand against parents and spectators. I didn’t have the benefit of instant replay or “booth reviews” when I wanted to double check a call. I have been chased with a cane, I have been cussed out, I have been insulted, I have been told I needed to stop working the games.
These replacement refs are human, yes, they are professionals, yes, but they are not trained to work the level of game they are working.
My first game that was a higher level, a travel soccer game, I was working alone, my hometown team (coached by one of my sister’s former coaches), I made a huge call against my home team, I disallowed a goal, that goal would have been the winning goal, for a moment, I was scared for my own safety, but I stood by the whistle and the coach actually complimented me after the game for the call. That one moment of validation is something that I carried with me whenever I worked other games.
There is still a parent banned from the league for an attempted assault because I didn’t make a call he felt I should have made. These are the things these replacement refs are used to dealing with. They are not used to the big time games like this, and the only reason they are there is because of a lockout from the refs who di deal with the NFL world.
The refs at the level I worked all know their own abilities, we all know what level we are capable of working, we all know our limits. We all knew if we wanted to move up to the higher levels, we would have to attend additional training and additional certification. We would have to learn new “house rules.” Every league has different rules specific to them. Every official has their own style, their own way of running a game. When you watch a baseball game, you know a particular umpire’s strike zone, and you know how that person calls a game. When you watch basketball, you know a particular ref’s travel zone and how that ref calls a game. When you saw I was working a soccer game back home, you knew I wouldn’t allow you to get away with the soccer equivalent of roughing the goalkeeper, that was how I called a game. I was good at it, I knew what I was doing. But I would never think I was capable of working a World Cup game or an international game. In fact, I turned it down once. I was at a game to meet a female referee who was the first female to work a men’s World Cup game, and one of the sideline refs got ill and I was asked to step in, I said no because I wasn’t ready for that kind of work. These replacement refs were not given that choice, they were not given the option to say no, it was, really, fill in and work the NFL games or there would be no season. They are working these games without ever having met their crew, or having only met them an hour before the game. The regular refs work with the same crew and have years of experience together.
Are they blowing big calls? Yes, there is no arguments there. It is more obvious as the season progresses. Do they need to never work again? No, they just need to be able to return to the level they are comfortable.
Ed Hochuli they are not.

Coffee lovers!!!

For me, one of the tell tale signs of the impending Holiday season is not when Walmart displays the Christmas lights, oh, no, my friends, its when the special coffee creamers start popping up on the shelves. When you can get Gingerbread Lattes and Pumpkin Pie Creamer.
But, what about people like me, who start getting ready for the holidays now? With so many birthdays between now and the new year, I start my crafting now. So, I mae my own creamer.

Peppermint Mocha Creamer
Hershey’s baking coco (the bitter powdered stuff) about 1/2 cup
Ground up peppermint hard candies (I use a food processor to grind those red and white mints, about 12 at a time, until they are a powder like the coco) about 1/2 cup
Powdered milk about 1/2 cup

Blend all three together and store in an air tight container. Adjust the ratio until you get the strength you are after. I love it! Lol.

Smells soooo good in here!

I am sitting here writing this while the house is filling with a wonderful smell! I have the oven on and there is fresh rasin bread in there baking! That’s right, everyone, it is fall and it is time for baking, pumpkins, soup, and sweatshirts!
I have to say, out of the two appliances I put into the kitchen, my KitchenAide and my Bread Maker are the two essentials. I usually only use the bread maker to make the dough since I have taxed my mixer too many times and had too many close calls with it to risk using it for bread any more, lol, but they both get used at least 2 or 3 times a week each.
When Little J gets home from school later, we are going to bake something, not sure what, but something, probably banana nut bread, one of our favorites, since I have some bananas that are getting mushy.
When I think about the fact that he loves to cook and bake with me, I feel so blessed. Not many boys will admit to enjoying cooking with their mom, and I have such great memories growing up of all of us gathering around the kitchen table, the mixer closer to overheating then any of us probably realized at the time, making hundreds of cookies for the holidays, or making Thanksgiving dinner together, and looking back now, I really wish I had taken advantage of those moments of family more.
But, some of my best persoinal memories growing up were in my grandmother’s apartment and she and I cooking together. Grandma was the best cook I have ever met, and I still carry the lessons she taught me today, teaching my son the same ways she did me.
I value the time I am getting with him right now because I know he will not always want to spend time with his mom in the kitchen.
And, the tradition is continuing. Every time I watch my son, covered in flour, butter streaked across his cheek, I am reminded and instantly transported back to when I was the 9 year old baking and cooking with my mom. I think ahead to the next few years and know he will not be this little and this innocent forever, I know he will grow up, and I know I will be right there to watch him, to watch this young man who is developing before my very eyes, and, before I know it, I will be the one cooking in th ekitchen with my own granddaughter, teaching her the way my grandmother taught me.
But, not for another 20 years, I hope. Until then, though, I will cok and bake with Little J, creating those treasured memories for him the way they were created for me,.

Yes, please, Ma’am

I am still amazed when I talk to someone from back home and they compliment me on Little J’s manners. Then, I think, and I remember, things like that are different up there. Don’t get me wrong, we were expected to show respect for our elders, we were expected to be polite to our parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, etc… But, it is a total different thing around here.
I have seen 20 year olds who still blush if their parents catch them cussing. It is not heard of here. I love that. It sounds better. Even I do it, too. My son calls people Sir or Ma’am until told otherwise, he calls adults he sees often Miss or Mister, even without me reminding him. He called one of our neighbors Sir until this gentleman told him “Please, I work for a living, call me Sarge,” and even then, it was Mister Sarge (Sarge is a retired Army Ranger who even calls my husband by his rank still, lol).
But, I was thinking about it, how much nicer could people be if they took a moment to think about the person they are speaking to? Even I call our neighbor next door Miss Vivky because she is older than I am.
Some people from back home think I am too hard on Little J when it comes to his manners and being polite, but, you know what, my Yankee influence does show. We are a lot more lax when it comes to Little J and how he speaks. Many people do not allow their kids to use an adult’s firt name, even if Miss or Mister is before it.
Without being prompted to, Little J will still be quiet, stand, and put his hand over his heart when the Anthem comes on, even if it is while watching a game on TV, he will show that respect. Every morning at school (a public school, no less) they do the Anthem, Pledge, and a moment of silent reflection in homeroom, and they teach the kids that you don’t enter a room in the middle of any of it, that you don’t leave the room in the middle, and you show the respect.
About 90% of the businesses around here are either closed or don’t open until noon on Sundays. They take the day off and, even if you are not a church goer, you use the day to relax, visit, and be with loved ones.


Every blog needs an introduction post, and this one is no different.
I was born in NYC and lived there with my four younger siblings and our mother until I was 20. I am the typical NYC Broadway Baby, I prefer to go to the theater on a Saturday instead of the mall. You are more likely to find showtunes as ringtones on my cell phone, that sort of thing.
When I was 20, I left home and joined the Air Force, where I met my husband, Big J. I was captivated by this man. It was an instant attraction, I felt at home around him, and, if I am being honest, I loved his drawl. He is, to me, they typical tall, handsome cowboy. He spoke slower and softer, the complete opposite of my family, the often loud voices and quick conversations of the NY Italian family dinners replaced by quiet, polite supper conversations. He held doors open, got my jacket for me, made sure to walk me to my dorm room at night, refused to honk a horn to get my attention, and never had a mean word for anyone. Needless to say, he swept me off my feet.
We were destined to live in the country. From the start, our life together began in the country. We met and were married in West Texas on a warm December morning. We have lived in San Angelo, TX, Anchorage, AK, Hampton, VA, Memphis, TN, and, now, Central Arkansas is home. I feel comfortable here, I feel safe raising our son here,
We are the proud parents of a wonderful young man who will turn nine in October. He is so adventurous, has no fear, inquisitive, bright, and friendly. He is the best of both of us.
Big J is a truck driver now, the typical cowboy occupation, lol, and I do all the home making things. I sew, crochet, cook, bake, read, blog, and I am learning to quilt. I prefer home made bread over Wonder Bread, brownies from scratch, and right out of the oven baked ham. Oh, and, of course, the Razorbacks, lol.
When Big J is home, the three of us will fish, hike, sit outside and watch the stars pop up, spend the day at the zoo, or drive to the ends of a back road and explore what we find out there. The Natural State has so many amazing views and hidden gems that we can’t help but take advantage of them. From the Hog Trail to the diamond mines, the beauty takes your breath away and makes you glad to be alive!