Author Archives: dpenguin

3-Column Baby Blanket

3-Column Baby Blanket

Dawn’s 3-Column Baby Blanket

Blue-Ribbon Winner at the Jackson County Fair!


This is the first pattern I’ve ever created. There are some places where I adjusted when crocheting, but I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t follow my own pattern, or if I just messed up… if the instructions don’t appear to line up, just add or subtract a stitch as needed 😉 There are three ‘columns’ vertically, which should line up. I used a size J crochet hook and some ordinary pink yarn. The label was already off when I got it, so I have no idea what brand. Additionally, it was partly used when I got it, so I have no idea how much it actually used, but I’m guessing an average skein would be pretty close. The finished project measures approximately 24″ x 24″.

The Pattern

Chain 75.

  1. Ch 3 (first time only), [sk 1 ch, dc next ch] 12 times, ch 1, [sc, ch 2, sk 1, tc, ch 2] 6 times, ch 2, sc, ch 1, [sk 1, dc] to end (12 dc), ch 3, turn.
  2. [dc in ch sp, 3 dc next ch sp] 5 times, dc next ch sp, ch 1, sc, [ch 1, tc in sc, ch 1, sc in tc] 6 times, ch 1, tc in last sc, ch 1, sc top of next dc, ch 1, [dc in ch sp, 3 dc next ch sp] 5 times, dc again in last sp, ch 3, turn.
  3. [tc top of single dc, ch 2, sc top of middle dc in set of three, ch 2] 5 times, tc top of next dc, ch 2, [dc next ch sp, ch 1] 16 times, dc top of sc, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 2, [sc top of middle dc in set of three, ch 2, tc top of single dc, ch 2] 5 times, ch 1, dc in last ch sp, ch 3, turn.
  4. [sc top of tc, ch 2, tc top of sc, ch 2] 5 times, sk 1 ch sp, [dc ch sp, 3dc next ch sp] 8 times, dc next ch sp, ch 2, [tc top of sc, ch 2, sc top of tc, ch 2] 5 times, dc last ch sp, ch 3, turn.

Repeat rows 1-4 11 more times, for 12 sets.

Repeat row 1.

(The border pattern is snitched from here.)

Without tying off, sc as evenly as possible around the edges, working 3 sc in each corner. When you get back to the corner where you began the sc, sl st, then [ch 3, dc in same st, sk 2 st, sl st] around, adjusting as needed at the corners. Finish off.

I made a headband to match using My Merry Messy Life’s pattern.


June 2015 Update Letter

June 2015 Update Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Since it is already the sixth month, and I’m horribly behind on update letters, I’ll just cover this year so far.

In January, Nate turned 15. He is currently about 6’2” – which is the same as his paternal grandfather. Everyone in our house has to look UP at him!

In February, I turned 44 – love the symmetry of that! Also, we got 10” of snow! The kids were very excited about it, and it lasted a couple days, so they got to really enjoy it! The nice thing about the south is that it didn’t stay on the roads at all, really; by 10am they were easy to drive on, if not completely clear.

In March, Sarah Ruth turned six, making her old enough to sit in a regular car seat, which made her very happy! She still uses the built-in car seat in my car, but isn’t legally required to. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years already! She’s a little princess.


And with that birthday, for the first time in almost 22 years, we have nobody under 6 in the house. It’s different!

Also in March, we discovered Khan Academy – an internet-based learning system that teaches math, primarily, and has courses also in art, science, and history. I decided that it might be fun to learn Geometry (I never took it in high school) and signed up. When I got to where it was confusing me more often than not, I got the idea to start at the very beginning and see how fast I could get through the elementary math. I got through the K-2 in an hour, the 3rd grade in another hour, 4th grade took a couple days, 5th grade took about a week, 6th grade another week or so, 7th grade took about a month, and I’m still working on 8th grade – I didn’t realize how much math I’d forgotten (or never bothered to learn, as my focus in school was more on words). I’m really enjoying learning, though!

In April, Bobby turned 22. He also was awarded a scholarship to the University of Alabama, Huntsville, which he will be using Fall 2016. He finished his second consecutive semester at Northeast Alabama Community College with a 4.0, making his cumulative GPA 3.813 so far. He’s taking summer classes in order to be where he wants to be before transferring to UAH.

In May, Timmy graduated from high school! He’s the third to graduate from our homeschool, and we have three to go. He intends to take some classes at NACC in the fall. We were delighted to have Rachel and my parents in attendance for Timmy’s graduation, and took the opportunity to get a family picture.


Speaking of classes, Rachel has decided she would like to become a Deaf Interpreter, and is looking into taking classes this fall, as well. 🙂

Also, in May, I won a gift card at a local branch of our bank. I rarely win things, so that was fun! And, Robby’s parents invested in a new-to-them vehicle, and agreed to sell us their ‘old’ one. I put old in quotes because it is newer than any of our other vehicles! We are very thankful they were willing to do that.

On Memorial Day, our church held a cookout, and it was a lot of fun! The kids did big bubbles, the adults (and some of the bigger kids) played horseshoes, and there were a couple balls for the kids to kick around or play catch with, too. There was a lot of good food, and we had a great turnout! It started at 10:00AM, but we were a bit late. On the way there, we passed an RV by the side of the road. We stopped to see if they needed help. Turned out, they had a flat tire. Robby called around and found that nobody was open – it was Memorial Day, after all! So he, Bobby, and Nate stayed to help the guy change his tire while I took the younger kids on to church (Timmy was already there).


We went to two other graduation celebrations this last month. A lot of my friends’ children are getting into graduating age now! Funny how that happens, isn’t it? One of them was held at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. We had never been, except at Christmas to drive through and see the lights, so we had no idea how neat a place it really is! I was able to purchase a membership using money I got for some writing I do online, and we fully intend to make good use of it while it lasts!

Also, Nate has a sort of summer job, taking care of the weed-eating of the lawn of a friend at church who is unable to tend to it himself. We take him over there every other week so he can trim the edges and corners. He enjoys the work, and likes getting a little pocket money occasionally. He is using some of it to maintain a prepaid cell phone, which he enjoys using mainly to text Rachel.

We were given a little rectangular pool (the 4-foot by 6-foot, 18” deep kind) that is set up in the driveway, and the kids enjoy playing in it when it’s hot out.

John Luke is the only one I haven’t really mentioned. He has mostly finished 3rd grade (he’s just finishing up the math). He’s a good helper around the house and likes to cook.

Sam – the redbone coonhound – is now about eight years old. He’s a very good dog, and is starting to get white around the muzzle. He gets annoyed at the cat (oh, in case you hadn’t heard, we got a cat late last year) when he tries to play with him. We got the cat (Scout) when he was about five months old, and he is just over a year now. We have really enjoyed having a cat again, even though he isn’t the hunter we’d hoped he’d be.


Robby’s sister, who is a graphic designer by trade, created an ad for us this week that we plan to put up in the store windows of some of our customers. Hopefully, this will help to increase our business and allow us to pay off debt and get our bills ahead a little.

All in all, it’s been a very nice year so far. God is good, and we are blessed!

I hope that you are blessed, as well.

Think it Through

Think it Through

Like a bushel of acid-dipped feathers released into the wind, so are thoughtless words: never to be fully retrieved and each causing damage to the surface on which it lands. This damage may be irreparable; one might never know the final result of some of the strewn pieces.

One would think after 43 years of life (most of that with the ability to talk), I would have figured this out. Unfortunately, with the speed of the internet, I still have (too many) times when my fingers start typing without my brain in gear and I say/post something and don’t realize until later just how it sounds – “later” usually being when the person to whom I sent it (or someone else in the thread, if it’s public) says something about it.

I have, however, discovered that attempting to explain myself generally only makes things worse, especially if I do so while still feeling deeply embarrassed at my faux pas. Unfortunately, simply apologizing is also usually ineffective, as the other person often feels (or, maybe, it appears to me, in my admittedly oversensitive state at that moment, that he or she feels) that my apology is insufficient to atone for my error.

Perhaps it would be wise to step back from technology and go back to pen and paper – where it takes more time to put into words one’s thoughts.

I think part of my problem, personally, is that I try to follow the saying on the “rules of men” that I saw on the internet several times – the one that says, “If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.” If someone says something to me (in text, which has no vocal cues) that appears it could be snarky or sarcastic, I generally choose to take it at face value instead, whenever possible. Perhaps that means I miss some genuinely snarky or sarcastic moments that would be indicators that I had done something to offend, and missing that could mean I also miss my opportunity to make it right.

I tend to be rather gullible and face-value in most cases. If you have a problem with me, I’d really rather you just say so, because if I haven’t apologized for whatever I did to offend you, chances are that I don’t even realize I offended you and you are not helping either of us by not telling me. If you tell me, I can do my best to make it right with you, AND it may help me to stop myself from offending someone else in the same manner.

Back to School

Back to School

We started back to school this morning. It doesn’t look the same for us as it does for some, as we homeschool. Sarah did a lesson in reading and worked some math problems. The boys had curriculum to work with. We also took time to visit with friends. No, not everything got done that I’d hoped; but we made a start, and that’s what counts, right?

First Fiction Friday of 2015

First Fiction Friday of 2015

I asked my kids for words… they gave me the following:
word, chivalrous, peanut butter, Yoshi, pony
So what follows is what I came up with from those words.

The light brown pony, who was just about the same color as peanut butter, stood chewing calmly by the fence as he watched the other ponies play in the corral. He wasn’t in with them because his leg was still healing. He had broken it attempting to jump a cliff like Yoshi, and, like Yoshi, he missed while his rider managed to leap off and land on the other side. It was surprising that he only had a simple break that was easy to set.

His attention was drawn to his primary rider, who had just dismounted and stepped out of the corral. He joined his sweetheart, who had been awaiting him near the gate. In a characteristic chivalrous act, he opened the barn door and allowed her to precede him into the dim interior. As the door swung shut behind them, the word “beautiful” floated out to tickle the pony’s ears.

Running, Running

Running, Running

Along the path I daily tread
From morning until time for bed,
Step by step, a couple rungs,
A burst of speed, refill my lungs,
I watch the path as it goes by.
The end will get here, if I try…
Keep pressing on, yard by yard,
Some steps easy, some steps hard.
It seems a mile, or maybe two,
I draw along th’entire crew,
‘Til at long last, I stop to rest,
Lift up my head from off my chest.
I look around – to my chagrin,
I see the hamster-wheel I’m in.

-Dawn Harvey, 9/29/2014

“Just Kidding”

“Just Kidding”

Proverbs 26:18-19 KJV: As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

Or, to put it in today’s language:

As a psycho who throws molotov cocktails, shoots bullets, and causes death, so is the one who tells a lie and then says, “Just kidding!”

When I was a kid, I was an exceptionally trusting type (still am, to a large degree, but not as much as I was then). This made me a target for the type of person the verses above describe. I can’t tell you how many times people told me things then laughed at how gullible I was.

To those of you who do this, let me give you the perspective of the other side.

See, people like me believe you, and trust you, the first time you tell us something that isn’t true. You then proceed to laugh and ridicule us for believing you. While slightly more wary, we will often trust you a second time, since we have a hard time believing people aren’t trustworthy at first. But once you’ve ridiculed us for TRUSTING you twice, most of us will then stop believing you.


Since you made it quite clear that we were stupid to believe your lies, we are taught BY YOU that you are not trustworthy, and we should assume anything you say is a lie that is meant to bring us to further ridicule.

At this point, you start getting annoyed with us for NOT believing you, when you are telling the truth. But, think about it – how would we KNOW? You acted like you were telling the truth the other times, too, only to say “just kidding” and laugh at us for believing you.

If you are the type who likes to do this sort of “joking,” may I strongly recommend that you think twice before the next time you are about to lie to someone, and then ridicule their trust in you?

Books and Movies

Books and Movies

tvI love books. I’ve loved books ever since I began reading at 2-and-a-half years old. There is a recent trend in which famous books are being made into movies. (Case in point: The Hobbit, which is currently playing in my living room.)

What I can’t figure out is why they bother naming the movie the same as the book, when it is obviously “loosely based” (at best) on the book, and not an actual depiction of the actual events and characters in the book. The Hobbit and its predecessors, The Lord of the Rings movies, are the closest to the book of many, but even these are more their own stories than they are J.R.R. Tolkien’s. Much is left out (obviously, it would be impossible to include EVERYTHING or it would be a six- or seven-movie series rather than one movie) and, more unfortunately, things are added.

Most of these books are SO GOOD in their own right, that adding things is really not necessary to make a good movie. We don’t NEED extra violence, or extra stupidity, or extra humor. What is already there is fine!

Of course, there is also the fact that there is no way that a movie can compete with the human imagination. Sometimes I wonder if the movie makers have ever even READ the book. The layouts are often incorrect, characters have the wrong hair color or style, the wrong eye color, maybe even the wrong skin color!

This is not to say I dislike movies, nor that I think they should stop making movies of books. I just think they should either try to match the book better, or stop saying that the movie is the story in the book, when it so obviously is not.



You hear it everywhere these days. “It’s reverse discrimination!” “That’s reverse racism.”


Discrimination, according to, is “treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.”

Racism, from the same source, is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

Note that neither is specific regarding which thing or ‘race’ is affected. This is because it applies regardless of who or what is affected. If a Mexican person is trying to put down a Chinese person, that’s racism. If an olive-skinned person treats a person badly simply because they have reddish skin, then that’s discrimination.

There is no such thing as “reverse” of either of these. If it’s discrimination, it’s discrimination, plain and simple. And if it’s racism, then it’s racism, plain and simple.

July Update Letter 2013

July Update Letter 2013

Dear Friends & Family, July 15, 2013

It’s been four and a half months since my last update letter (sorry!). A lot has happened in that time!


In March, my oldest daughter became my second graduate. We had a full ceremony followed by a reception for her. She gave a speech, which she also did in American Sign Language for our Deaf friends that attended. We are very proud of her, as she overcame a lot of difficulties to reach this milestone.


At the end of March, Sarah turned 4! She was very excited about it, too. She loves to tell people she’s four.


April began with Bobby’s birthday – he is now 20! Our first to be out of his teens.

Me, counted to 20 with Sarah: “That’s how old Bobby is today.”
Bobby: “I’m old.”
Sarah: “REALLY old!”


For Mother’s Day, Bobby spent several hours deep-cleaning in the living room and kitchen. That boy knows what his mom likes!

At the end of May, my mom & Dusty came to visit and to pick up Rachel, who was going to stay with her and help in her church’s VBS. My mom & Dusty went out of town on vacation with her brother for two weeks, so Rae was there to feed the pets and watch the house. She decided she likes it there and plans to stay indefinitely. We miss her!



In June, we got the delightful news that Rachel accepted Christ as her Saviour! We were thrilled to hear it! There is no greater joy to a parent’s heart than to know that the children will be spending eternity in Heaven.

The first weekend in June, Bobby & I attended a science-fiction show convention in Huntsville (primarily Doctor Who, if you have heard of it). He dressed as one of the characters. It was a lot of fun! We got to meet one of the actresses for the show.


Also in June, Timmy began taking piano lessons. He is doing very well so far.


We were able to take a trip to South Carolina over Independence Day weekend, and were able to spend a couple of days there with Rachel. It was very nice! We got to visit with my brother & his family while we were there. We also stopped by our campsite in Dahlonega, briefly, but it rained all week, so we chose not to try to camp.

We switched our cell phones to Verizon from AT&T, but kept the same numbers, so if you have our numbers, don’t worry! They’re the same.

Robby’s sister & her husband are here visiting (here in Scottsboro, not here at my house) as I type this. It is great to get to see them and spend some time with Renee & Joey. He is preaching at our church while they’re here, and they have also done some special music and Renee taught in children’s church.

Speaking of special music, Bobby surprised everyone Sunday night. Timmy arranged to sing a special (“Sweet Beulah Land“), and was joined on stage by Bobby and the violin he has been teaching himself to play for the last few months.


Summer here has been quite mild so far, only getting into the 90s rather than the hundreds being suffered in other areas, and we are thankful for that! I hope that you are doing well. God bless you!


February 2013 Update Letter

February 2013 Update Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

February has been a fairly mild month, weather-wise, here. I know you might not have had weather as nice as we experienced, but I hope you did!

Early this month, Rachel took the ACT test. She got her scores on the 25th, with a score that is solidly average. I’m very proud of her, as she has overcome some serious health issues to reach this point. As you will see (or perhaps have seen), she will be graduating on March 16, 2013, with a nice ceremony and reception at the church.

Bobby got a letter this month inviting him to join Mu Alpha Theta, a national honors math club. He hasn’t decided for sure, but I’m encouraging him to go ahead and join.

My brother started several new blogs, in order to separate his writing by genre. He included me as a contributor to a couple, but I haven’t contributed much, yet.

I turned 42 this month. Robby got me a new dresser made of real wood, which is a great blessing! He bought it unfinished and his dad stained it for us. It looks very nice! Also, the church threw me a very nice birthday party after church the Sunday before my birthday. It was very sweet!

I was also able to get three more bad teeth out of my mouth, and now have them added to my partial plate. It is a blessing to have teeth that don’t hurt, even if they are fake!

We were able to get a family membership to Sci-Quest again, this month, which will allow us to visit as often as we like for the next year. This is a hands-on science museum that we enjoy; plus, we have homeschooling friends who also have a membership, so it will be nice to be able to spend more time with them, also.

And, I finally took down the Christmas decorations. I guess it was about time, huh!?

May God bless you!

January 2013 Update Letter

January 2013 Update Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you are well. I am hoping to do better with keeping up with updates this year, so I’m hurrying to do this one before January is over!

December was pretty nice. The Christmas parade on the first Monday of December actually saw some reasonably warm weather, for the first time since we moved here in 1998. Usually, we get freezing weather starting the day of or the day before the parade.

We went to a birthday party for a friend’s son on the 2nd Saturday, and then the following Tuesday, we attended a special memorial service that the funeral home hosted for those who lost a loved one in 2012. While it was a beautiful service, I hope that it will be many years before I “qualify“ to be invited to another one.

We took pictures so I could make a Christmas card (which is enclosed—sorry I didn’t get it to you sooner!!)

I made peanut butter fudge and divinity, which everyone enjoyed. I used the recipes Robby’s grandmother gave me.

We visited with a friend, who wasn’t home when we arrived. The interlude when we were waiting provided us with this adorable photo of Sarah:

Sarah, waiting

Rachel had a Christmas tree in her room this year—a small 3 or 4 foot tall tree. She and Sarah decorated it together. I believe it was the first time Sarah decorated a tree, since we have had a tiny 2-foot tree on the piano that more or less stays decorated for about as long as she has been alive.

Rachel's tree

On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at Robby’s parents’ house, as we do every year. After eating, his dad read the Christmas story from Luke. After that, we opened presents, then fellowshipped for a while.

Bobby & Mammaw

On Christmas morning, we opened family stuff at home. John Luke was quite pleased with his police set and “Perry the Platypus“ pajamas. (It’s a character from a cartoon.)


After Christmas, Robby’s oldest sister, her husband, and two of their children came to visit. It was really great to see them!

And then, the new year arrived! We started out the year with a visit with some good friends. We played games and generally had a pleasant time. We have already planned to visit again, though we haven’t set a date (yet!).

In the second week of January, Timmy finally got his permit (“learner’s license“ here in Alabama). He hasn’t driven much, yet, but is excited about learning how.

Nathaniel turned 13—another teen in the house! He got a guinea pig for his birthday, which he named Frodo.

Bobby is taking a full load this semester, including a drawing class (at which he excels already) and a programming class. Most of his classes are Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, but one of them is Tuesday-Thursday, and one is online (no on-campus class meetings).

Rachel now has 12 of her paintings for sale at a consignment art shop. It would be very nice if her paintings sell. She will be graduating this spring, but isn’t sure yet what she plans to do after that.

Robby is doing pretty well, in general, and is keeping quite busy these days, which is a good thing! I am also keeping busy with computer work as well as housework and children, but it’s a good busy! My health has improved a lot, but my eyes are still not great, but it may be that I just need a new prescription for glasses. I’ll find out in March.

I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy, and may God bless you!

FYI: Craig cmp741e tablet reset information

FYI: Craig cmp741e tablet reset information

We had a customer who had purchased a 7″ tablet – a Craig cmp741e – and whose grandchild had entered a pattern password and then could not remember it. She was looking for a way to reset it. We searched all over the internet, including Craig’s site, to no avail.

We have just been called back with the proper procedure by this customer. She said that one must simply insert an SD card, then power on, and the tablet will be reset. It will not do it without the SD card.

I hope this helps someone else out there!

October Update Letter

October Update Letter

Dear Friends,

Sorry I have not updated in so long! A lot has been going on. My last letter was sent the end of January. I definitely did not intend to wait until October to send another one!

At the time of the January letter, I had just found out I was pregnant with what would have been our seventh living child, following two miscarriages last summer. The pregnancy went along uneventfully through the spring and summer, with our 20-week ultrasound showing a healthy girl, who we named Hannah Grace. We were eagerly anticipating her arrival around the end of September. However, as most of you already know, we instead ran into some complications resulting in a stillbirth August 26, four weeks before Hannah’s due date. We had her funeral on the 28th, and I ended up back in 9/1 with eclampsia for a week, followed by another stay the end of September for blood clots in both legs and both lungs. I am now recovering, with most of the issues resolved. I still have an issue with my eyes and possibly a pinched nerve in my neck that I am praying will resolve over the next few weeks, though I’ve been told it can take up to a year.

The children weathered the time without mom (and without dad, to some degree, since he was with me) pretty well. Bobby pretty much took over the business and Rachel ran the household, and both did wonderfully.

Other things that have happened since the last letter include:

In February, I turned 41.
In March, Sarah turned 3.
In April, Bobby turned 19.
In June, Bobby graduated from high school officially.
In September, Robby turned 46 (while I was in ICU… what a birthday!) and Rachel turned 18. We had an ice skating party for her in between my hospital stays— I am so glad we were able to do that!

Rachel has also seen amazing improvement in her health since May. We are pleased with her progress.

Additionally, Sarah has shown interest in John Luke’s schoolwork (he is in 2nd grade), so I tried doing “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” with her — and so far, she is doing wonderfully with it! We are only on the 4th lesson, but she is having no problem doing the sounds of the letters. The two littles may BOTH be reading by the end of this school year!

Oh, and another side effect of being in the hospital half of eight weeks, and unwell the other half — I have lost over 40 pounds. I intend to continue to eat right and get exercise, in hopes of losing about 60 more. So far, so good!

I hope you are doing well. Thank you for being patient with me and my lack of communication over most of this year.

Sad news

Sad news

Hannah Grace was stillborn at 36 weeks. I’m thankful for the 36 weeks I got to love her, but of course I’m sad that I never got to hold her alive. She was physically perfect; it was a placental abruption that resulted in her stillbirth.

Apparently, I had HELLP syndrome, followed by eclampsia (due to the HELLP not being caught and treated).
My husband made a powerpoint of Hannah, which you can see at