Wednesday, April 29, 2015

He's Here!

Apple Nachos served on the new baby's quilt
Once again, happy times call for a special dessert! My readers may remember that on February 9th we celebrated the birth of our 10th grandchild with a special dessert served atop the quilt I made for her. If you missed that fun blog post, then you need to click here.

Today we are celebrating the very early morning birth of our 11th grandchild, a boy and we are partying here on my blog with another special dessert served on top of the quilt I made for him!

Like  his many siblings, he has been given a name from the Bible  made up of two Old Testament, positive role models. Due to reasons of privacy, I am not sharing his adorable!!! photo or his actual name. Just trust me on this, he is carrying on the tradition of very cute babies born to my family.

Grandchild Number 11 has tipped the gender count in his family so there are now 5 sons and 4 daughters. He is a little guy, at 6 pounds 2 ounces and only 18.5 inches long, but when a fella is born at 37 weeks, that's to be expected. We know he will catch up in due time and be an important addition to one of the family's favorite sports of kickball in the back yard.

We haven't had opportunity to talk to his mother yet, but his dad has sent me a text or two and all appears to be well with everyone. For all of these blessings we sincerely thank our Lord!

I am not showing my readers a full screen photo of the quilt yet since we won't be giving it to the little guy until we get to see him in person, but I will tell you that the design is a free baby quilt pattern called "Childrens Delight." I think I got it from the Martingale website (a publisher of quilt books and patterns) but I'm not entirely sure. At any rate, the finished size is about 33 inches x 45 inches and it came together very fast with only 5 fabrics and no curves or triangles.

This is the second project that I have had professionally finished on a long arm quilting machine at Holly's Quilt Cabin.  I recommend them for their quality work and reasonable prices (plus their shop is a lot of fun to visit!).

Well, so much for the baby and the quilt. Let's eat!

Apple Nachos
I am 99.9 percent sure that Surfer Girl shared this recipe with me and she got it from a blog called Trial and Eater. As the author of that blog states (and she got the recipe from Pinterest), this recipe has endless possibilities, so it's a good one to have in your collection.  

Beloved and I enjoyed it the first time while watching a movie on a Friday night, a time when we usually have something fun for a snack when the plot thickens. (gluten- and dairy-free, of course!)

Today, for the photo shoot with the quilt, I made this treat for our lunch. Beloved had a sandwich and I had a small but nutrient-dense green salad. Then we shared this plate of the nachos and it was delicious. 

Go check your pantry, you probably have all the ingredients without having to run out to the store: 1 apple, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.  I used melted Almond butter, and you can find dairy-free chocolate chips at a health-food store, making this not only gluten-free but also dairy-free as well! 

To see the recipe on the Trial and Eater website, click here.

Celebrate with us!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Breaking a Habit

graphic from Printshop for Mac
For a long time it has been my habit after breakfast to turn on the television in my bedroom while I got dressed and ready to face the day. I didn't watch it so much as just listened to it.  I wanted to know what had happened in the world of news while I slept through the night. There's nothing wrong with that.

But as time went on, and the stories became more gruesome, I began to see that the benefits of this habit were decreasing while my anxieties grew. Instead of leaving my dressing room with a positive perspective on the day ahead of me, I was feeling doomed before I started.

The fear level in our nation is up 51 percent from this time last year. That is not surprising. Bad news is everywhere. If we don't hear it first thing in the morning, it will find us  throughout the day.  

The earliest of my morning needs to be spent remembering God and His love, His grace, and His mercies (for they are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23). Focusing on our wonderful Lord fortifies and prepares me for whatever lies ahead. I am weak and puny by myself. I need to be reminded and restored every single day.

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
Romans 5:20b

God is giving me what I need to face the news of the day. No, that doesn't mean all will go well in human terms, and it may not be pretty,  but it does mean He will get me through to the other side.

If we haven't before, now is the time to take our Lord seriously. Believe, count on, depend on Him to come through for us.  That is our blessed hope as Believers in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rice, Rain and Recyling

metal wall decor in our guest bathroom (from Hobby Lobby)

Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 218 I can't believe it! One of Joyce's Hodgepodge questions this week led me to post a photo of my kitchen trash cans! Is this crazy or what?!

1. Have you ever had to wear a uniform? If yes, tell us more. Did you love it or hate it?

Yes! There were the uniforms for gym class grades 7 through my junior year in high school (I don't think I had to take Phys. Ed my senior year). The worst gym uniform I wore was for the short time my family lived in Westfield, New Jersey. The uniform was a white blouse, white shorts, and this dumb little skirt thing on top of the shorts.  It felt like something out of the 1940s.

2. April 22nd is Earth Day. What is one thing you do personally to be a good steward of planet Earth? 

We are good about recycling. The house we live in now came with 2 trash cans on a rolling rack inside one of our lower kitchen cabinets. One is for recycling and the other is for trash.

(I'm not blowing up this picture for you -- you get the idea!)

3. Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous ... your healthy grain of choice? How often are one of the three on your menu at home? Given a choice between white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and fried rice which would you go for? 

Quinoa is my healthy grain of choice, although technically quinoa is a SEED. We have quinoa or brown rice about once every week or two. As for rice, I like a mixture of brown and wild rice together. Unfortunately, couscous is not gluten-free.

4. In your opinion, who has the best job ever?

I do! At this stage of my life my house is easy to keep clean because it's just Beloved and me living here (no kids or pets anymore); and as a full-time keeper of the home, I'm my own boss!

5. What's a situation in your life currently requiring patience?

The several road construction projects going on in my town are a trial to us all. Sometime next year our small town will have a new exit/entrance ramp to the Interstate that runs smack through the middle of everything. That will be glorious. But in the meantime, the traffic backups and detours are a real bother.

6. Do you live your life around days of the week? Explain.

I suppose I do live around the days of the week. Routine is comforting to me, and especially as I get older. Sunday we go to church; Monday I wash our clothes; Tuesday is Bible study; Wednesday I wash towels and clean house; Thursday is for grocery shopping, and Fridays and Saturdays are flex days for everything else.

7. In a nod to the A to Z challenge happening around town this month, what 'R word' best describes your April?

Rain. We've had a lot of rain -- although at our elevation of 6,309 feet above sea level, most of our rain at this time of  year quickly turns to snow.

It was raining when we went to bed Thursday night.
We woke up the next day (last Friday, April 17th) to 9 inches of snow on our deck.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today (Hodgepodge Wednesday) is Grandson #5's second birthday. Then next Tuesday he will become a Big Brother with the birth of Grandson #6 (and our Grandchild #11). I'm putting the finishing stitches on the baby quilt... I can't show you the entire quilt until it's given to him when we visit in a couple of months.

My daughter taught me to use black metal hair clips to hold the binding in place while doing the hand-stitching.

To see how other bloggers have answered these same questions, click on Joyce's link, From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Taxing Set of Questions

This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge falls on Tax Day, so our clever hostess has given us taxing questions! To see how other bloggers have answered these same questions, click on the link for Joyce's blog at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Speaking of April 15th...what's the most 'taxing' thing you've done recently?

Learning a new application on my computer.

2. When did you last take a taxi somewhere and where was that somewhere?

About 4 1/2  years ago we took a taxi from Boston’s Logan International Airport to our downtown hotel where we met up with our tour bus people for a week-long “leaf peeping tour” (that’s what they called it). Here are some glimpses from Beloved's camera  of what we saw that week:

Jackson, New Hampshire in October 2010

Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine in October 2010

Kennebunkport, Maine in October 2010

3. What's something you can do today that you couldn't do a year ago?

This year I can say I have 10 grandchildren and one more due to be born in less than two weeks!

4. How often is chicken (in some form or fashion) on your menu at home? About once a week I serve chicken to my husband. I eat completely vegan at home. Which of the following would you most like to see on your table tonight...a chicken salad sandwich, your mom's fried chicken, a Chick-fil-A meal, Cracker Barrel's chicken n' dumplings, a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, or 'hold the chicken, I'm a vegetarian'...?  I eat vegan for health reasons but if that were not necessary, I would take triple portions of Chick-fil-A!!!

5. What was your favorite television program when you were a kid? What characters do you remember the most?

It’s really hard to narrow it down to one. I guess my very favorite was Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights with the Lennon Sisters. (loved their harmony!!)

6. What was the last piece of 'art' you made?

Uh… I rearranged the flowers in a vase on my dining table yesterday. Does that count?

7. What frustrates you most about the Internet?

Face Book can be a mystery at times.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

altar table at Cornerstone Church SBC

Just another reminder of the beauty of the Easter season ...

He is not here;
he has risen,
just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.

Matthew 28:6

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Lego Americana Roadshow

The Statue of Liberty made entirely of Legos

This weekend included a variety activities for Beloved and me with one of the more remarkable being a stroll through our favorite local mall where there was a notable display of patriotic buildings made of Legos. 

As we parked our car, we saw TWO semi trailers that had apparently delivered this traveling roadshow to our mall. We suspected we were in for something special and we were not disappointed.

The show is currently at the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, Colorado from April 11-26. After that, I'd say you should be on the lookout for it to show up at a mall near you!

I share my pictures because I know some of my readers may not ever have the opportunity to see this display in person.

The Washington Monument

American flags at the base of the Washington Monument
The White House

the Old North Church

the Jefferson Memorial (but no cherry blossom trees)

the Liberty Bell, complete with crack
close-up of the Liberty Bell

another Statue of Liberty

the Supreme Court

close-up detail of the Supreme Court

another view of the Supreme Court

The Lincoln Memorial

(with the help of photo-adjusting on my computer of the light)
Lincoln can be seen inside his Memorial

approaching the Capitol Building - note the size, how tall it is

the United States Capitol Building - this would be my vote for Best in Show

the Capitol Building

back of Capitol Building

Independence Hall

a whimsical tribute to Colorado's ski industry
There were several other displays of non-patriotic scenes that the younger children would appreciate more.

The entire show was very well done and absolutely free. I won't be surprised to see school groups viewing it during the next couple of weeks, it is that remarkable. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Food for the Soul April 11-12, 2015

The regular readers of my blog may remember that I love to see sunshine streaming in through the windows of my home. This past week the sun had moved to just the right spot that after breakfast its rays hit the windows of my neighbor's house across the street and then reflected through our sliding glass door onto the fireplace mantel.

This brightness doesn't last for very long, but it cheers me to see it and reminds me of how our Lord brightens our darkness with His Presence.

For thou wilt light my candle:
the LORD my God will
enlighten my darkness.

Psalm 18:28 KJV

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Linking Up With Hodgepodge #216

This is Wednesday and I'm linking up with Joyce at My Side of the Pond and her weekly Hodgepodge of fun questions. Click on her website, here, to see how other bloggers have responded.

1. Besides left over Easter goodies, what's something currently kept in a basket at your house?

There is a basket on my desk that holds papers I need to deal with. I make it a rule to not allow the stack of papers to get higher than the top of the basket (about 3 inches).

2. 'The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.' ~Michelangelo Buonarroti 

So which one are you...the one who aims too high, or the one who aims too low? Have you ever seen The Sistine Chapel? Did you know Michelangelo's surname prior to answering this question?

Well! I  thought his last name was Michaelangelo and I had no idea as to his first name.  Obviously, I've never been to the Sistine Chapel, or I would have known better.

As for aiming too high or too low, it depends on the subject area. I’m an under-achiever in some things and an over-achiever in others.

3. April 7th is National Beer Day. Hmmm...wonder how that's celebrated? Do you like beer? Have a favorite? If you're not a beer drinker do you have any recipes you enjoy cooking that call for beer?

Born and raised as a good Southern Baptist, I don’t drink alcohol and I’ve never tasted beer. When a recipe calls for alcohol of any kind, I substitute water, vegetable broth, or apple juice.

4. When did you last travel somewhere new? Tell us where? How'd it go?

Since all but 2 of our family members live 900 or more miles away, our vacations usually are composed of going to see relatives; and with one exception, they don’t move much.

But with that said, in the last 9 years we have been to both Alaska and New England, just the two of us. The most recent of those 2 trips was when we flew to Boston and then took a Globus bus tour through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine to see the changing leaves. It was a fun trip with beautiful scenery and great food. Our traveling companions on the bus, all strangers to us, were very pleasant.

Oh twist my arm! Here are a couple of pictures from our Princess Cruise to Alaska's Inside Passage:

Me, taken as our ship departed Seattle and cruised through Puget Sound.

Beloved stands on the balcony in our room as we sailed through the Tracy Arm Fjord.
Note the many small ice bergs in the late summer water.

5. The value of  [fill in the blank] is greatly overrated. 

Haircuts for women at walk-in salons

6. What's a pet peeve of yours when it comes to restaurant dining?

I dislike it when the bus person leaves the table and seats/chairs damp after wiping them down. 

7. It's Poetry Month...share a favorite poem, either the title, a few lines you find meaningful, or the whole kit and caboodle.

(forgive me, but this is the first one that came to mind…
and I think I've shared this before!)

I sneezed a sneeze into the air
Down it fell, I know not where.
But dark and cold
were the looks of those
in whose vicinity I had snoze.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

While I'm thinking about that Alaskan cruise, I want to share one more picture we took early on our second full day aboard ship. I wish I could relive the moment... It was just before dawn as the ship slowed down and oh-so-quietly glided into the harbor at Ketchikan. The mountain on our side of the ship was dotted with twinkling lights from the houses as people were waking up and getting their morning coffee. So silent, so still, so incredibly peaceful. It is probably my favorite memory of the entire trip.

Ketchikan, Alaska on August 29, 2008

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Scrapbooking My Easter Weekend

Today's post is dedicated to my family, those living both near and far. Although it would be preferable that we all be together for these meaningful holidays that celebrate the faith we share, I am so thankful for technology that enables us to share our thoughts and pictures. 

Add caption
This is that time of year along Colorado's Front Range when the wind blows often and hard. After setting up the silk lily cross by our front steps early last week, I quickly realized my best efforts to keep the cross upright were not enough. I finally had to tuck it into the alcove beside the front door. It was important to me to not let the cross look tipsy or bedraggled in any way, to show proper respect.

My Egg Tree also experienced some weather related transformations. The day the plastic eggs were hung by sewing thread on our [already very dead and soon-to-be replaced] Maple tree, the air was warm and the sky was sunny. But then a front moved in with strong (very strong!) winds, followed by rain that turned to snow.  But by Easter weekend the weather had come full circle to warm sunshine again. However in the process of all that, 8 eggs blew off the tree. No worries. We started out with 48, so losing less than a dozen didn't make a whole lot of difference.

Neighbors who drove by gave us the nicest of compliments about the tree, so I think we'll need to continue this every year.

While we're on the subject of eggs, that was my primary decorating element this year. They had a huge variety of them at Walmart and the prices were very reasonable.

Surfer Girl and Grandchild #6 decorated their home and sent these cheery pictures...

While Ford Guy sent this photo of one of his protégées in Ninja training...

Once Grandchild #9 loses the pacifier under his mask, he will be scary! 

On the evening of Good Friday, we attended communion service at our church and then came home to watch the first half of Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments movie with Charleton Heston (a family favorite), and enjoyed Orange Chocolate Ambrosia for dessert. To see the recipe, click here: Orange Chocolate Ambrosia

Of course, a big part of Easter celebrations includes the food. As the years and employment have relocated many of our family members, resulting in fewer people around our holiday dinner table, we have been buying part of our menu at the Honey Baked Ham Company. This year we got their roasted turkey breast and Au Gratin Potatoes. 

Those purchases enabled me to not feel rushed in making fruit skewers for the church brunch on Easter morning, and setting the table for our dinner guests.

Easter morning dawned bright and clear for us, but we skipped the sunrise services and held to our usual Sunday morning routine of breakfast while watching Dr. Charles Stanley on his TV program, In Touch Ministries. 

In spite of the careful work by the Easter Bunny, Beloved found his one Cadbury egg on Saturday night! It was tucked into one of the inner pockets of his new sport coat.  He saved it for breakfast and had to eat it while Lambie Pie stared at him.  

Beloved commented that all weekend long, no matter where he sat down, that sheep was in his face, staring his beady eyes at him!... we know how to have fun around here.

Of course we had to take the obligatory pictures of each other in our Easter clothes. I wondered all week long if I would be wearing my new black skirt or black jeans to church, with our weather being so erratic. 

Beloved selected his entire ensemble himself at Kohl's this week while I was at home!! He used his cell phone camera to take pictures of the clothes while he stood in line to pay, seeking my opinion.  Technology!!!

We attended the earlier of the two morning worship services at our church and then helped greet and serve at the brunch held between the services. 

This church is remarkable because for church dinners they always have a separate room and table for the gluten-free dishes (picture on far right).

Shortly after we got home from church, Fritttz and the Lil' Red Haired girl arrived to enjoy dinner with us. 

Beloved showed them the changes he made on the raised flower garden.

We took them to the Philip S. Miller Park to see the new athletic attractions, which include 200 challenge steps that climb 178 feet up the side of a mountain and zip lines with 10 stations (which were closed today for the holiday).

In case you might be wondering, when it's not snowing in  the high altitude of Colorado, we often have blue skies just like what you see in these pictures. We seldom have haze and humidity to hide the pristine clear blue above our heads. 

My last two pictures were taken at the park in the playground area, for kids big and small. 

It's been a wonderful weekend with family, friends, each other, and most of all the celebration that because Jesus Christ lives, we can face tomorrow.