Monday, July 14, 2008

Just Plain Fun to Read Award

This post marks my 300th. Three hundred doesn't seem like that many to me now, but there was a time when I was quite certain that I was all done with blogging. Some of you reading today are feeling that way now. I want to encourage you to just keep on keeping on. Write when time and the muse allow and write about anything. Anything can be blog worthy and you never know what topic sparks someone's interest.

July 22 will mark one year of blogging for me, which, for reasons stated above, I never thought I'd see. I'm planning a fun giveaway to combine both 300th post and my first year anniversary. Stay tuned!

Gee, it's so hard to concentrate when one has just been whirled about the room in a little waltz. This is a different way to begin the morning. :D

Okay, back to business...

NanaTrish @ and Pat @ both gave me this wonderful award. It's cute and what a great sentiment! So many blogs are just plain fun to read.

Now I get to award six blogs and I am choosing six that make me laugh. Not that they don't also make me think or make me cry, but mostly they make me laugh. And I'm not worrying one fig if these bloggers have already received this award either because whether one chooses to accept it is entirely up to her. Entirely!

* Suzanne of At Home with the Farmer's Wife

* Chocolate Chic @ Chocolatechic

* Sandi @ Holding Patterns

* Kari @ Just Livin' Large

* Linds @ Rocking Chair Reflections

* Lovella @ What Matters Most

I'm not sure that this one comes with any rules so make up your own! (I've checked, truly, but can't find any.)

Enjoy this fantastic Monday!

(On a side note, I'm going to attempt answering a few questions in yesterday's comments, if anyone is interested.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Deeply Grateful

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer

Your friends will know you better in the first minute they meet you than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. ~Richard Bach

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Pleasant words are a banana split and a hot fudge/caramel sundae and healing to the bones if not to the hips. ~Vee's paraphrase of Proverbs 16:24
Both John and I wish to thank everyone for the sweet comments and the support that has been shown over the past several days. He tells me that he understands my love for Blogdom and so many of you now.
I am not sure what it is about the community of friendship that has been created here and why it doesn't exist in my real life. Perhaps someone with a background in psychology could explain it to me. All I know is that without you, I'd be diminished.
Have a wonderful, blessed Sunday for it is the beginning of another delicious week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Magazine for Me

This was a fun little diversion for a quiet Saturday. Visit Mary at Little Red House for the particulars and join in the fun!

Friday, July 11, 2008

This is the Man

Some weeks ago, my dear friend, also known as "the Carpenter" and "the Hand" was visiting. A headache and a sore neck were plaguing him so he was lying on my sofa one leg over the side with his foot firmly on the floor and his arm akimbo as his hand rested on his forehead palm up.

While he dozed, I puttered about in the kitchen putting away dishes and tidying up. I think I was humming some tune as I listened to my playlist, which had about six songs at the time. (The list is on the sidebar if you wish to hear it. ETA: Nope, Imeem is not cooperating today. Yup, I added a few to "the other one"... you'll have to press play if you'd like to listen.)

In one of my circles about the room, I found myself behind the sofa gazing down at this tired, hurting man. As I stood there, my heart opened and filled with such love for him. An incredible thought came to me — why not this man?

This thought was quickly followed by another — this is the man who. This is the man who...has listened to all my woes, laughed and cried with me, has brought me thoughtful gifts — food, candy, books, and a special bell. This is the man who shoveled my roof, kept the driveway clear of snow, built a large portion of this home. This is the man who prays with me and for me, the man who sings to me and shares the stories of his life. This is the man...

How I shared all this with him, I really don't recall. Things became a bit hazy when I began floating a bit like in a dream where one discovers she can fly. Somewhere along the way, after a declaration of love whispered breathily into my ear, I asked, "how much?" (Gosh, I can be such a teenager by times!)

Here are a few of those responses...

A lot

Very, very much

With all my heart

With everything that's in me

More than peanut butter

More than marshmallow fluff

More than s'mores

More than p'nut butter and jelly sandwiches

More than a smooth road in spring with no pot holes or frost heaves

More than the scent of apple blossoms

More than a hayride through the apple orchard in autumn

I love you more than our playlist

I love you more than I have words to say...

Ahhhh, much better!

Some of you saw all these things before I did. I marvel at that now. Yes, Judy, he is the man at the tea party; he is the man who pulls the winners' names from bowls and jars; he is the man whose mind is all stretched out from trying to figure out how to please my quirky wishes for the addition; and the man who sat with me one sad evening last fall looking at all his work circling the drain and which post I can't find just now. (October 17 and the first paragraph is wonderful if I do say so myself. ;>)

We have actually known each other for over 25 years and even attended the same church at one time. We were casual acquaintances who, over many years, became friends; we'll be friends forever.

Some who have read this blog from the beginning and know the story between my sister and me will wonder how that relationship is going. Well...let's just say that since I married after a six-week engagement, my sis is off the hook for marrying after a six-month one. She told me once that time is foreshortened at our ages. I didn't believe her then, but I do now.

Thank you for reading our story. I promise that I shall not write about our schmoopiness any more!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vermont in July

It was wonderful to get away for a little vacation to Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire over the beginning of the week; it has been equally wonderful to return home.

Wow! You gals have been amazing with all of your comments...hope to answer a few more of your questions today even as I share some photos of beautiful, quintessential Vermont.

Vermont equals every mountain you've ever seen, every church steeple in a valley, every red barn, every cornfield, every inn, every sloping hayfield. It's a wonderful place!

Stowe was our first stop. It's impossible to adequately describe such a charming town. You may be more familiar with it because it is the Trapp Family's home...

the Trapp Family of The Sound of Music fame. This is a photo of a small portion of the main lodge. One can certainly see why they chose Stowe as it reminded them of their home in Austria.

There are so many photos to share that I'll stop with this little picture of our souvenirs.

A jar of jam, a green pitcher with VERMONT stamped on it, some books from the wonderful bookstore in Manchester, a cheeseboard and what's that on the right?

Some souvenir, eh? Tomorrow, if you return, you'll find more of the back story. Then we'll leave the poor man alone and allow him to return to his quiet ways. He never asked for any of this blog business.

Have a wonderful Thursday, Everyone!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Images from Paradise

Just a few images from the yard today. Gosh, is everyone as crazy busy as I am these days? Summer has a way of taking on a life all its own, doesn't it?

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Poem, A Fairy, and a Promise

Remember when every Monday meant that I posted about some sort of craft? Well, I haven't been doing enough of them lately, but I do have three things to share today.
The first is Mari-Nanci's prose titled "Happy July" that I have framed and I just love...thank you, M-N, for permission to do this. The second is a fairy in a idea I stole from Dawn at The Feathered Nest. Thanks, Ladies! Oh, just so that you'll know that no fairy has been harmed and that she seems as happy in the jar as she was in my
jewelry box...
Finally, there's a new apron hanging along with my others...well, there will be just as soon as Suzanne (aka The Farmer's Wife) shows me the next steps. (See July 3) She's already shown us a lot so run out and get yourself a good man's shirt. I found mine at Goodwill for $4.99...a little more pricey than Suzanne is willing to pay, but it is an extra large, tall.
It's going to be such a busy week that I don't know when I'll be able to visit all my blogging buds again, but I will just as soon as I can.
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Constant

When you took high school chemistry, you learned that in order to make an experiment work you had to have a constant. Every variable must, in some way, be connected to a constant. The same is true in our lives. Without a constant, we cannot make this experiment of life work. There is nothing constant about us. We are nothing but a walking variable. This is why it is necessary for us to recognize our need for a constant in life — and the only constant in this world is Christ and His Word. ~ Victory Over Depression by Bob George

I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit, apart from Me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

Okay, so I've had a few questions about "the hair." I'm going to prove what a generous soul I can be by posting a pic of the back and front. (Gotta love dull Saturdays when no one is around to see this.) I LOVE the back — it's the front that's a concern. I've already been whacking at the bangs and I'm turning so gray and it's frizzy and, well, nothing makes me happy anymore with my hair.

At least I appear to be happy with the one taking the picture. That would be true and leads to the next question: Who is he?

Ever take a photo and find that you've captured something very special? I do quite often...a raindrop, a bee, Marilyn Monroe in the moon (and you think that I'm kidding!)

Do you see what I've caught?

Stay tuned, there'll be more to share on this in the days ahead, which will answer the question "Why have you been shopping so much?"

Hope that everybody is enjoying a wonderful weekend!

ETA: I wasn't kidding!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic — have always blown on free men. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

The 4th of July has dawned blue and glorious here. I enjoyed being out early this morning decorating and, of course, have taken some photos to share. Even the breakfast table looked so pleasant that I took a photo of that. A lone turkey vulture soared above my flag this morning and I tried to talk him into pretending to be an American eagle, but he was having none of it.

For more scenes of Americana, please visit Kari and Kijsa for their Fabulous Flag Flying Fourth!

To those who live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, I wish you a joyful, blessed holiday!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day Three of Shopping and Counting

Yesterday, the one who matters most and I headed off for the entire day to find the perfect outfit. We gathered many things, but there isn't an outfit in the lot. At least he understands what I am up against given the styles and colors and my figure challenges. So now I'm off for yet another day of shopping on my own. This is the last day that I am devoting to this particular challenge. The. last. day.

Leaving you with a photo of a rose. How very Mary of Little Red House of me! :D

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Old Love Letters

Kathi of Lavender, Lace and Thyme has generously passed on the Arte Y Pico award to four wonderful Bloggers and me. I really loved how Kathi described my blog, especially the part about my love for nostalgia. Thank you, Kathi! (I'll be passing this award along soon.)

It's true, I wax nostalgic a lot. This may be because, even though I am a woman in my 50s, my grandmother is alive and doing well. She binds me strongly to the past I believe.

Which reminds me, yesterday was my afternoon with my grandmother. It's when I do her nails and her hair, play a game of cards, the little things. I noticed that there was a stack of letters sitting on her dresser tied neatly with a string. There was a bold message written across the top letter that said "TO BE DESTROYED." Curious and curiouser I became until I just couldn't help but ask.

Nan told me that they are all the love letters written to her by my grandfather and that they'll be destroyed because they are none of anyone's business. I think my heart nearly fell to the floor. On the one hand, I understand her thinking; on the other hand, I am thinking that all that family history now has a dreaded appointment with the shredder.

What do you think? Would you mind if future family members read your love letters?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Creative Concealment, Etc.

Although I'd really like to be participating in Melissa's event today, I am not doing anything unique to disguise the eyesores in my home. Lots of gals are so, if you want to check out some great ideas, visit Solving Flaws: Creative Concealment.

What I have been attempting to do is solve my figure flaws. I've been shopping and nearly wore myself into a frazzle yesterday afternoon trying on one outfit after another. I finally settled on a black skirt with a flowered hem and a black jacket plus an orange shell. Doesn't that sound heavenly? Apparently, my head was not in gear because the one for whom it matters most was not impressed. Definitely not. More shopping to ensue tomorrow.

Hoping to get it right, I went shopping again last night after supper out. Still couldn't find any clothes to wear so I switched tacks — who can't find something wonderful for the house at T.J. Maxx? I found another apothecary jar! I'm so excited about it, too, because it's heavy, uniquely shaped, and a great price. Still can't find a good cloche, but a good apothecary jar is not to be despised.

Enjoy your Tuesday, Everyone!

Monday, June 30, 2008

I Remember Laura Week 5

This will wind up the blog-a-thon with one last link up featuring your cherished family heirlooms. Ma Ingalls most prized possession was her little china shepherdess which rested upon a hand carved bracket made by Pa Ingalls as a gift. Show us something or more than one thing that has been handed down to you that you cherish and plan to hand down to the next generation. Tell us the story of how it came to be in your family, why it is special, and who you plan to gift it to. Anyone is welcome to join in, linking instructions are as listed below.

Oops! And I thought last week was the final entry. I know that I have discussed family treasures over the past eleven months. One of my favorites is the cocoa pot that my great-grandmother gave me when I was a teenager. That story along with a picture of her and the pot is located right *here* on October 5, 2007.

However, I do have an old violin that I cherish as well...a gift from my grandfather who was a self-taught fiddler. I am able to play simple pieces by ear. Discovering that, my grandfather hoped that, if I just had a violin, I would be able to duplicate what I was doing on the piano and the harmonica with it. It never worked out that way. These days I display the violin even though its strings are long gone and the horse hairs of the bow are few. I display it and remember the music and the love of my grandfather. Here's a reenactment...use your imagination as I must now, though I have added some music to the top right for a bit of help with imagining fiddle music, if you'd like to click there.

Treasures of former days fill my home from photographs to old high-top boots. Tea cups, an odd assortment of dishes, old linens — all the things that most women have in their homes. I hope to visit all of you to see your treasures before week's end. Please join the tour by clicking on the description of this week's event above.

Also, I just want to take this opportunity to thank Miss Sandy so much for all of her hard work and all the enjoyment and education that this blog-a-thon has provided us.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

~Thomas Chisholm

For this is God, Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide even to death.
~Psalm 48:14

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Morning Treat-Cinnamon Rolls in a Skillet

ETA: Disclaimer...this recipe is a work in progress; I am not happy with the progress...stay tuned!

ETA Again: They're not pretty, but they're tasty. That they're not pretty is my own fault, but some adjustments definitely are in order. My tips are added in red below, along with some pics.

My son called last evening to say that he was bringing the boys over this morning around ten. Yippee! I am up early to get busy with this day. Right after I toddler proof the downstairs and get dressed, I'll be slapping these Cinnamon Rolls together.

I often search The Cake Mix Doctor for recipes, but I don't know where I got this recipe. It's not my own; it's not from another blog; that's all I know. Later, I should have a pic or two to add, but how bad can it be presented in a skillet and created from a cake mix?!

Cinnamon Rolls in an Iron Skillet


* 1 box yellow cake mix pudding
* 5 cups all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur unbleached, unbromated)
* 1 package dry yeast
* 2 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
* 3 sticks of butter at room temperature (No, no, no! Two sticks will do!)
* 1 1/2 cups brown sugar firmly packed (What?! I followed directions below and never found where the additional cup of brown sugar should go. So that's 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar period.)
* 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or nut of choice
* cinnamon


* Dissolve yeast in warm water.
* Add dissolved yeast to cake mix/flour mixture.
* Mix with wooden spoon or just use hands.
* Allow to rise in warm place for an hour.

* Divide dough into two equal pieces before rolling out

* On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Butter the dough with 1 entire stick of butter or each half with a half stick of butter.

* Combine 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle over the buttered dough.

* Roll lengthwise and cut into about 24 rolls.

* Butter bottom and sides of two 10-inch skillets using a stick of butter per pan. (No, no, no! A half stick per pan will be more than enough. I only used half a stick per pan and you can see below that it was MORE than enough.)

* Sprinkle buttered skillets with the remaining brown sugar and nuts.

* Put the rolls in skillets and allow to rise an additional hour.

* Bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn rolls out of skillets onto plates. Use any remaining caramel in the skillets to spread on the rolls.

As you can see, a half stick of butter per pan is more than plenty.

This should have been divided for ease of handling, but the recipe did not say that. Don't make my mistake because there is no way to create beautiful cinnamon rolls this way.

I made some of Lovella's Paska frosting to go with the cinnamon rolls. You can find that recipe right here on March 13.

Here are two of my eager guests. In the end, I had five eager guests. You bake it, they will come.

Have a happy Saturday and a great weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prickly Communication

Sometimes when we're under life's stresses we just don't realize how prickly we can become. I have, apparently, been quite prickly. No one in my usual sphere told me this, but I realized it all the same while talking with Verizon HELP yesterday.

You see, it seems that MSN and Verizon (recently purchased by Fairpoint in my area), aren't getting along as far as technical matters specifically email and MSN messenger. A friend has been telling me for days, weeks, to call MSN and get it worked out. Her philosophy is that I'm paying good money for the service and it ought to be top notch. Yup. I agree.

Many calls have been made this week. I've spoken with a very nice young lady named Vijay from India, I've spoken with Michael, and Whoever-It-Was yesterday. All were eager to help. All didn't help much at all. It was causing my patience to experience a blow out.

The final straw came yesterday when I realized that Michael from MSN had removed my Verizon account from my MSN page. What?! Simply outrageous! My accounts had been combined on the same page for six years.

Ooookaaay, I braved calling again (I really hate calling and sitting on the phone for an hour while someone goofs around not even listening to me and then decides on his own what needs to be done without telling me.) After finally getting through on the second try, I reach a pleasant enough (albeit an idiot) young man — Whoever-It-Was — who made precious little attempt to hear me out. On the fourth or fifth try to "fix" the problem, he asks me, "So what exactly is the problem?" I sigh in my most exaggerated way and say, "You appear to be quite slow. The MSN email account no longer has my Verizon account on the same page and I want it baaaaaaaccccccccckkkkkkkk." At which point, he began to laugh. This almost made me laugh and that would've been no good. No, I didn't want to appear all soft and wishy-washy that late in the game.

So Whoever-It-Was called MSN again and relayed this information: MSN is having big troubles with POP3 servers and they are doing a major upgrade sometime in July and all should be well after that. Until then, I shall just have to visit Verizon email on their site and visit MSN email at the usual site and everything will be cool. As for MSN messenger, well, who cares if one is bounced off gazillion times while attempting a pleasant cyber chat. It's a free service, after all. Sigh. Deep Sigh. Deep Deep Sigh.

I'm going to revert to some truly old-fashioned means of communication here very soon...a tin can and some string...sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Friend Vanilla

Yippee! It's Thursday at last!

Would you believe that there are home remedies that work quite well for toothache? I did a little Googling and I discovered two very promising things: oil of cloves and vanilla. I didn't have any oil of cloves, but vanilla...well, I have tons of that.

And it is working! No fuzzy head, no whacky side effects...nothing but vanilla breath.

I hope to visit everyone at some point today. By the way, if I've visited your blog and sat there stupefied for hours or if I slipped in and out without commenting, I hope that you'll forgive me. Just had to know what everyone was up to and thanks to my little friend Vanilla, I'll be good to go today. And no, I have not been drinking the vanilla...just dabbing it on that tooth.

No more reports after this...a simple thumb's up will suffice. Catch you later...

ETA: The deed is done; the tooth is gone; the vanilla really worked. Thank you for all your support, everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Roof

Ever drive by a scene where a home sits high in the hills and looks so charming that you must take the photo? This happens to me all the time. I'm going to start calling it the "Safe Drive-by." Now, thanks to cropping and zoom features, we can actually hope to see what the home really looks like.

Thank you so much for all the comments, concern, and prayers. I had a further setback yesterday afternoon when the dentist's office called to say that my appointment had to be rescheduled for Thursday instead of today. The tylenol with codeine isn't quite cutting it, needless to say, so I have spent as much time as I can sleeping. It's not good sleep, but it is a sort of sleep. Catch you all as soon as I'm back on my feet!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If I Had a Hammer

I may be looking for advice, but first I'll whine a bit. You don't mind, I hope.

Over the weekend — naturally — I got a toothache from the pits of hell. It started in one spot and, by Monday morning, I couldn't tell where the pain originated as my entire left jaw, both up and down, was involved.

So I called my dentist right after posting yesterday morning and, praise be to God, there had been a cancellation and I was told to get right over there. Fine. Then several x-rays later, I am told that there is no cavity in the suspect tooth, but the nerve is dying and this will require either a root canal or an extraction. Not so fine. Really not so fine at all. A root canal will cost $2200 and the cap an additional $2500. So for the grand total of $4700, I can have my tooth back if the root canal doesn't fail, which they have always done in the past.

Okay, so I decide to have them make an appointment for an extraction and perhaps I'll go the implant route or perhaps I'll have a partial plate made. Partial plate?! Me?! Ackkkkk!!! The partial plate will be the least expensive and also the least satisfactory, I think.

So the question is this: what would you do? Have you had to deal with any of this stuff yet? What was your approach? (I am dental insurance.)

Oh, by the way, the extraction is not scheduled until tomorrow. TOMORROW. Does anyone have a ball-pene hammer?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Remember Laura Week 4

Week four will be about sharing books and music. Laura had a great love of books and music. Books were a rare treat in Laura's young life and she devoured them when she could get them. Music was a part of her every day life be it Ma humming as she worked, Pa's fiddle playing in the evenings, the family singing together, or Mary's organ music. What songs and books are special to you. Do you have a favorite memory that you associate with a book or song? Link up this week and share it. Also, tell why you love the Little House books and any memories you have associated with them.

First of all, I can not believe that this is the final week of "I Remember Laura." This has been so much fun and I have learned so much and I don't want it to end! I may have to get out my tissues and bon-bons after this posting and have myself a moment.

Like most folks, I have collections of books. You may be surprised to see what they are. I have all of my mother's Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins books, but I also have my grandmother's collection of Ruth Fielding. Ruth was the Nancy of my grandmother's day. It isn't a complete collection, but these were wonderful fun for me to read when I was a girl partly because the language was a bit more challenging and I enjoyed that aspect and all the adventures.

You can see that by the time Ruth was headed for college and living at Cameron Hall, the book covers had been updated.

Here are a few illustrations...

The series began in 1913...

The last book in my collection is dated 1928, which means that my grandmother was reading them until she was at least 19 years old. Interesting...

I also collect basal readers. When I was learning to read, I loved them. Of course, they have fallen way out of favor now, but there was nothing more charming to me than Tuffy, Boots, oh Dick and Jane, too. Perfect homes, perfect families, perfect pets, perfect clothes, perfect, perfect, perfect. :D

I've saved the best for last. This Laura Ingalls Wilder book was given to the school library by a former teacher who was especially fond of the series. I rescued it when it was about to be culled. (I'll have more to say about this in a few weeks. ;>)

Music? Miss Sandy included music in this week's assignment? I am certain that I've discussed this before somewhere...

Some of my earliest and fondest memories were of falling asleep listening to my grandparents play all the old music. My grandmother is a skilled, trained, pianist having studied for 12 years and my grandfather was a self-taught fiddler. She learned how to chord so that she could accompany his many tunes from "Turkey in the Straw" to "Down in the Valley." It was always magical to drift off that way. I am certain that Laura and her sisters found it so when Pa played his fiddle so long ago.

Thanks for reading today...please join the tour at Quill Cottage!