Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Goodbye to September

Golden Aspen trees near Cripple Creek, Colorado
photograph by Beloved
It's the last day of September -- already -- when it seems to me the month just began! It is a fact that time marches much faster as we age.

I'm linking up today with many other bloggers at Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond with her usual Hodgepodge Wednesday questions. Let's see ... what's she asking us this time?

1. Something on your October calendar that makes you smile? 

We often get our first snow flakes in the month of October.  LET IT SNOW (as long as I have all my sewing supplies ready before the storm hits).

2. Food for the soul or music for the soul... which camp are you in?

Can I be in both camps? Music is often the food for my soul, especially if it is related to hymns and is something to which I can harmonize.

3. What are two or three things you've learned recently as the result of an online search?

Wow. I do on-line searches just about every day. How did I ever get along without the Internet?  Today I read an article about the negative effects of dehydration on the body. This past weekend I learned specifics about the Blood Moon/Super Moon/Lunar Eclipse.

4. Share your favorite game day recipe. You can describe it, post the how-to, or add a link to the actual recipe.

I don't have a specific favorite game day recipe.  I just like to eat! However my default snack is often my gluten-free and dairy-free trail mix:

Rice Crispy cereal
non-dairy chocolate chips
roasted and salted pistachios
dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apples)

5. What are your 5 essential steps for creating the perfect morning routine?

1) get into bed the night before no later than 10pm

2) drink a cup of hot green tea and read Our Daily Bread before making breakfast or checking any social media sources
When we spend quiet time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer at the start of the day, we are better prepared to meet whatever comes flying at us throughout the remainder of the day.

3) prayer time with my husband 
He prays over me and I pray over him. 

4) have something fresh and green for breakfast, which is usually a green smoothie made with the Vitamix or a pudding made in the food processor of smoothie ingredients (using much less liquid)

5) get dressed, put on make-up, and have hair styled no later than 8:30am (and earlier if possible)

6. What small thing have you taken note of today?

If I want to avoid rush hour traffic, don't get onto C470 at 4:30pm.

7. Sum up your September in seven words or less.

"Swiftly flow the days" -- a phrase from Fiddler on the Roof 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Last week I bought The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

It is wonderful for those of us who keep to a gluten-free and dairy-free way of eating. The recipes are delicious and hearty. Thus far I have made the following:

Broccoli and Cashew Cheese-Quinoa page 159
Caesar Salad w/Nutty Herb Croutons page 109
Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole page 149
Empowered Noodle Bowl w/
Orange-Maple Miso page 153
Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette page 283

Beloved really enjoyed the Tex-Mex Casserole. This evening I had the Broccoli and Cashew Cheese Quinoa. I have been happy with everything so far!!

Broccoli and Cashew Cheese Quinoa
Yes! It was a cheese made of cashews and a host of other ingredients. The flavors in this dish were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
To see the other bloggers who are linking up today with these same questions, click here: From This Side of the Pond

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend Rewind

This past weekend I was able to enjoy one of my favorite annual events when I  trekked up to Longmont, Colorado for the Quilt-a-Fair. 

I have lost track how many years I've been attending this popular event. Beloved used to go with me until Diana came along. Then after Diana moved to Nevada, I went by myself. 

Happily, this year my next-door-neighbor came with me. California Quilter is new to Colorado so she enjoyed getting acquainted with what local quilters like to do. We went on Friday when the crowds weren't so big. (and no strollers were allowed; you can bring a stroller on Saturday)

On Saturday Junior donned his fishing clothes and went with Senior (also known on this blog as Beloved) up to the South Platte River in search of dinner. But alas, in spite of literally dangling the bait in front of the fish, not a one took advantage of the offering! They came home sun-kissed and empty-handed. We had spaghetti for dinner with the homemade marinara sauce given to us by Katy-of-the-cul-de-sac.  It was delicious and we didn't miss the fish after all!

Sunday morning was spent in church and Bible study class where the fellowship was sweet and the preaching good. We came home to change our clothes and then headed down the road to Texas Roadhouse for a late lunch (peanuts for the appetizer, as always).

The plan for the afternoon was to see the changing Aspen trees in the mountains. But the drive before entering the high places is always a treat along I-25, which follows the east side of the Rocky Mountains. 

Along that route we passed by the United State Air Force Academy (seen in the distance with my zoom lens). My family has some rich memories tied up with the USAFA over the span of many years.

We stopped at the "scenic overlook" on the south-bound side of the Interstate, which is located just east of the Academy air strip. In the distance is Pikes Peak hovering over Southern Colorado at over 14,000 feet in altitude.

Familiar landmarks are everywhere for us as we enter the Colorado Springs area. We have lived there twice, once when our kids were pre-school. Years later we moved back and all three of our children graduated from high school there.

We still have some smoky haze hanging in the air from the fires on the west coast. We have been to the summit of Pikes Peak once. It's a long drive up and the return trip is even longer. You have to be careful to not burn out your car brakes.

Just to the right of Beloved's nose is Pulpit Rock. It is a comfortable hike from the last house we owned in the area. I am proud to say my kids talked me into climbing the "summit" of this rock, but I'll be honest and tell you I did it on my stomach! 

We have not been atop Cheyenne Mountain, but Beloved used to work inside of it! I was privileged to go on an officers' wives tour in about 1977. Very interesting place.

As we turned onto Highway 24 to head west out of the Springs, we could see some of the red rock formations of Garden of the Gods.

Traveling west on Highway 24, we can see the sparseness of trees on the mountains where the Waldo Canyon Fire ravaged a few years ago. 

We continued on through Woodland Park and up to Divide, Colorado. Turning left toward Cripple Creek, we knew we would see a lot of the turning Aspen leaves.

... and we were not disappointed!

The town of Cripple Creek was started by miners in the 1800s but now is known for its gambling. However, we don't gamble. There is plenty of gold for everyone in these trees!

Leftovers from the historical mining days can be seen in many parts of Colorado.

We stopped at the Heritage Center at Cripple Creek. Across the road is the Molly Kathleen Gold Mine. For $20 per adult, you can descend one thousand feet into the mountain, a depth roughly equal to the height of the Empire State Building in New York (so says Wikipedia). This is the world's only 1,000 foot vertical shaft gold mine tour. We did not take advantage of this. (call me a fraidy cat)

Wild flowers are competing with the Aspen trees.

The Heritage Center at Cripple Creek was free, had clean restrooms, good historical displays, and great views of the mountains, trees, and more gold mining operations.

The sun would be setting in a few hours, and we looked forward to another show later in the evening. We turned around and headed for home, still marveling at the beauty we enjoyed on this perfect day.

As we descended in altitude, the number of gold trees decreased. We are hearing there may be snow in the high country this next weekend!

Like so many Americans, last night I watched the spectacular show provided by our Holy Creator God.  I sat in a patio chair on the driveway for most of the spectacle, using the binoculars until I got tired of holding them up to my eyes.

Of course this is not my photography. Our feeble attempts to capture the weekend's grand finale with our phone cameras were pitiful. This photo is from He climbed our town namesake rock to take these time-lapse shots.

It's a marvel how many things I got to see and do this past weekend. I thank the Lord for the health and resources He's given to me to enjoy such a variety of blessings.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Strong on My Behalf

Pikes Peak on the horizon as seen from Castle Rock, Colorado

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro
throughout the whole earth, 
to show himself strong
on behalf of them whose heart
is perfect toward him. 

II Chronicles 16:9

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Welcoming Autumn

front porch

Yesterday was the first official day of Autumn.

Note: I don't like to call it "fall." Signs that say "Happy Fall" are an oxymoron to me. Rarely is a fall a good thing, unless of course you're talking about falling in love. Then it's wonderful!!!

Anyway, we bid farewell to Summer. Gooooodbyeeeee! 

I love Autumn. Although Summer was great around here, I love my warmer clothes (socks, long jeans, sweaters, scarves, hoodies). I also love the colors and all the cozy things that come with this season... tea, cookies (gluten-free, of course), the red leaves on the Maple in the front yard of The Brown Bungalow, craft shows, flipping on the switch to the gas fireplace... and so much more!

Today I'm sharing with you the Autumn decorations I brought up from the basement this past weekend. I'm not at all into Halloween witches and ghouls, but pumpkins make for a cheery theme.

As for the Pilgrim People, they will be making the climb up to the main floor on November 1st, so I'll feature them some other time.

Before I forget, I need to share with you the completed cover I made for the Vitamix. (see the unfinished photo in a previous post, here)

a different colored star on each side

family room wreath

This cute Pumpkin guy hails from a quilt show in San Antonio about 11 years ago.

fireplace mantel
table topper

Coffee table

bar stools - there is a safety pin inside each of the towels to hold them in place.

This pumpkin quilt was made for our fireplace mantel but it gets very hot
if we have a fire burning, so now I put it on the back of the pew in the hall
when we get closer to Halloween, I plan to replace the floral centerpiece
with a black bowl full of Kandy Korn. I can't do that now
or the candy would never last!

dining room
This past summer the owner of these bears did not have room for them
on the moving truck to Texas, so they came to live with me! 

in the entry hall

This is about as scary as it gets around here --
unless, of course, I'm having a bad hair day!
Post Script

My little Mary Engelbreit doll stands on my desk all the time because she's cute and I like her. The pink beaded pumpkin was an impulse purchase of about a month ago because it is so pretty and goes perfectly with all the pink in my study.  It will probably stay there year around!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bring in Autumn with the Hodgepodge

our Maple tree in the front yard of The Brown Bungalow is just starting to change

Today we bring in Autumn on the Hodgepodge. The questions this week are from Volume 236 by our hostess Joyce over at her blog, From This Side of the Pond. Let's see what she's got in store for us this week:

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?

Just this afternoon Denise sent a photo of her new nephew puppy (her brother's dog) and I am head-over-heels in love with the little guy.

2. What's something you're squirreling away' for later?

Christmas gifts.

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crispy? Cooked? Apples are one of the super foods for fall ... how often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety?

I will take my apples any way I can get them. I always have some in the refrigerator drawer. Golden Delicious are my favorite but I like all kinds.

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are - Aspen Colorado, the  Catskills New York, the Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why? 

Aspens in South Park, Colorado in 2014

Given the time and the money, I would be happy to visit every one of these places. A few years ago Beloved and I took a "leaf peeping" bus tour in New England (including the Berkshires in Massachusetts and Vermont). But we don't have to go far here along Colorado's Front Range to see autumn beauty. One of the most stunning sights is to see large patches of the golden Aspen on the mountainsides. The picture I am posting does not do it justice, but you get the idea.

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?

Unhappily, the state I call home has legalized marijuana for recreational use. I voted against it. There are many sticky and uncomfortable problems and ramifications that come with marijuana for recreational use. The local news often features stories about the marijuana-laced brownies, cookies, and such that are out there.  There are arguments about how (or if!!!) to label these products with warnings. People (kids, in particular) can eat them without being aware and then get sick.  There are other problems about people smoking the stuff on their private property, like on their patio, and the neighbors having to smell it. The whole issue is a mess!!

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?

I really prefer to start at the beginning with anything. Even when choosing a book to read, if it's part of a series, I want to read them in order.

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips  you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most? 

This isn't a big issue for me. Maybe my readers need to tell me my punctuation mistakes. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

one of my favorite projects, completed in 2006
Enough said! (smile)

Hodgepodge Wednesday is a weekly meme where Joyce comes up with the questions and bloggers respond. Then we all link up at From This Side of the Pond. We form friendships and make enriching connections all across the USA and beyond.