Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nothing But Blue Skies

Is there anything more beautiful than a vivid blue sky against snow?

Today is an adventure day. We're off for breakfast and wherever the mood strikes us. We won't be going in the truck, but I thought I'd give you an idea of what our plowing day was like yesterday. You'll see two houses that are probably very familiar to you by now if you have visited me before. Have a fun day!

(Edited to Add: For whatever reason, I can't figure out how to get a video on the same post. Still, it's just below so not so bad.)

Nothing But Blue Skies~Video

Monday, February 23, 2009


Don't you just love a good game of Scrabble? Me, too, but that's not what's making me so happy about this two-dollar Scrabble game. Nooo, not at all. Now I can do this:

...and in case I forget where it is...

Best of all...

Create a wonderful and warm day...

Edited to Add: And doesn't Scrabble provide the perfect way to wish a very special blogger this?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crème Brûlée and Butter Chicken

The crème brûlée was so good! For Christmas I gave John a Crème Brûlée Set because I'd he'd been dying for one. Turns out that I shouldn't have bothered with the set because the ramekins that came with the set are ridiculously small and the butane "torch" is as well. When it came time to fire off the brown sugar topping, John used the great big torch. Very exciting! As you can see, I'm just using Pyrex custard cups, which gives a more reasonable portion. In case you've never tried making this dessert, let me assure you that it was very easy and the results were over the moon. If you ever need to impress guests...

Here's the recipe that I used, which I've had floating about so long that I don't know where it's from. (Perhaps an old Country Living magazine?)

Crème Brûlée


√ 2 cups heavy whipping cream
√ ½ cup sugar
√ 1 TBS real vanilla extract
√ 5 large egg yolks
√ 12 tsp brown sugar


* Heat oven to 325°
* Place six ¾-cup ramekins in a 13x9x2" baking pan.
* Mix cream, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy medium saucepan.
* Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer.
* Cover pan and reduce heat to very low and simmer gently for ten minutes.

* Whisk yolks in bowl until blended well.
* Gradually whisk yolks into hot cream mixture (after the mixture has already simmered for ten minutes) until just blended.

* Divide custard between ramekins.
* Pour enough hot water into the baking pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the dishes.
* Transfer the baking pan to the oven.
* Bake custards for 35 minutes. Custards should be nearly set in the center when gently shaken.

* Use tongs or a spatula to remove the custards from the pan.
* Cool for 30 minutes.
* Chill at least three hours and up to two days.

* When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 tsp brown sugar over each custard, place on baking sheet for added protection and either broil to brown or use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar.

All I have to say is yummy!

And, just because a couple of you mentioned the Butter Chicken, I'll toss in that recipe, too.

Butter Chicken


☺ 2 beaten eggs
☺ 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (What's fun about this is that any flavored cracker works...I've tried many different kinds and they all work, just be sure to use a cracker as that's the texture crumb you're looking for.)
☺ ½ tsp garlic salt
☺ ground black pepper to taste
☺ 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I prefer to cut them into strips creating a chicken finger...more sides to coat, in which case, you'll need more crumbs.)
☺ ½ cup butter cut into pieces.


* Preheat oven to 375º
* Place eggs and crumbs in two separate bowls.
* Mix cracker crumbs with garlic salt and pepper.
* Dip chicken in eggs.
* Dredge chicken in the crumb mixture until well coated.
* Arrange chicken in a Pam sprayed 9x13 baking dish.
* Place butter over the top of the chicken.
* Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until juices run clear.

Have a happy Saturday and, if you try either of these, please let me know!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Gratitude List

Maybe I didn't exactly celebrate, but I did consider being grateful...this is my gratitude list for a snow day (we're enjoying another today). I really should do these more often because even though a few nasty things crept into the day, a few disappointments, they were far outmatched by the delights. This really must be remembered.

1. After my beloved had been out plowing, shoveling the roofs and the walks, I made him some hot chocolate...from scratch.

2. He brought home some donuts.

3. And together we enjoyed a mid-morning snack. We used our Mr. and Mrs. mugs saved for special occasions. John's daughter sent those to us for a wedding gift.

4. I received an email from my daughter-in-law with a photo of my grands attached.

5. I was able to do a little decorating and some cleaning and organizing.

6. We had Butter Chicken for supper and my dishwasher cleaned up!

7. It was still light outside after five pm.

8. In the evening, I made crème brûlée...

9. using the new ramekins.

10. Such a cheery yellow...can't wait to taste one.

11. It was a wonderful and cozy jammie day.

Have a great weekend, Everyone. I'll catch you another day.

( Blogger always makes creating lists so much fun! Not. =} )

Celebrate Winter?

Spring is the only season that does not arrive a month early.

How pretentious can one be? (That's my own quote.)

It hasn't been a long, hard winter, though my heart hasn't figured that out. I am in some sort of winter in my mind that has lasted much too long. So this morning's snow matched my spirits...chilly.

After Valentine's Day, I changed the message on my little chalkboard immediately...

This morning, I was reminded to slow down, wait, abide, resist the urge to wish time away...

(You may read exactly what we did by following the link to Our Daily Bread on my sidebar.)

Check back tomorrow to see if I was able to do any celebrating.

Enjoy your day whether it be a spring one or, like mine, very much a winter one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Oh boy! Look what came in the mail on Valentine's Day!

Er...let's try again...

If I could just move Fioré's behind a bit...

There! Johnny's Seed Catalog is a delight through and through. This year, I'm most interested in these...

If you visit Johnny's, they'll send you a catalog of your own. I'm certain that you'll love it as much as Fioré and I do.

Oh, and see why I'm in love with herb disks right *here* on this video. Fascinating!

While we're discussing plants...let me share this info on Christmas cactuses/cacti.

Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. - 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November.

Guess my sister was right after all! And, guess what just hit the basement this morning? I'll report back in a month. Will that be in time for Easter?

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Power of Suggestion

Did you have a good Valentine's Day? I'm scooting around this morning to snoop and see what you have to say about it. My day was lovely, but I want to tell you about my Valentine's Eve. Don't get all **twitterpated, it's just funny. At some point in the night I became aware of my beloved standing over me offering something, something that smelled just like peanut butter. I'll use dialogue as it's so much easier that way.

I: What's that?!

He: A peanut butter sandwich.

I: Why?

He: (somewhat surprised) Because you asked me for one.

I: I asked you for a peanut butter sandwich? When?

He: Just now, you asked me for a piece of bread.

I: Are you kidding me?

He: Nooooo, and I repeated that back to you and you added 'with peanut butter on it.'

I: Well you know what you can do with it!

He: (muttering) Guess I'll be eating a peanut butter sandwich.

It's true love when your beloved eats a peanut butter sandwich that you ordered in the middle of the night. I was telling my son and daughter-in-law about this and my daughter-in-law told me that my son talks all the time in his sleep and that she just has to ignore it. Good advice for my darling, too, I guess. I truly had no idea that I talk/issue orders in my sleep.

Yesterday, I realized once again how powerful my suggestions are. I asked my sister how her Christmas cactus was doing. (Mine has one measly bud and I have followed "the rules" perfectly.) Again, dialogue...

She: Oh my yes, thank you for telling me how to take care of that cactus...it's loaded with blooms and has been blooming for months.

I: It has?!

She: Oh yes! Why within days of bringing it out of the basement it was blooming.

I: Out of the basement?

She: Yes, just like you told me. You said to leave it down there for a couple of months and forget about it.

I: Noooo, that's for geraniums, not for Christmas Cactuses.

At which point, my niece interjected...

"That Cactus was so happy to get out of that cold, dark basement it was willing to do anything."

Hmmmm, in that case, I think mine has earned some time in the basement!

Have a wonderful Monday, Dear Ones.

**twitterpated: excited for no account such as some (you know who you are) were wont to be over my Valentine Tea. Check comments for my response.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Prayer is the language of a person burdened with a sense of need. It is the voice of the beggar, conscious of personal poverty, asking of another the things that are needed. It is not only the language of lack, but of felt lack, of lack consciously realized. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," means not only that the fact of poverty of spirit brings the blessing, but also that the poverty of spirit is realized, known, and acknowledged. Prayer is the language of those who need something — something which they, themselves, cannot supply but which God has promised them, and for which they ask. In the end, poor praying and prayerlessness amount to the same thing, for poor praying proceeds from a lack of the sense of need, while prayerlessness has its origin in the same soil. Not to pray is not only to declare there is nothing needed, but to admit to a non-realization of that need. This is what aggravates the sin of prayerlessness. It represents an attempt at instituting an independence of God, a self-sufficient ruling of God out of the life. It is a declaration made to God that we do not need Him, and hence do not pray to Him.

'Do you expect to got to heaven?" asked some one of the devout Scotsman.

'Why, man, I live there,' was the quaint and unexpected reply. It was the pithy statement of a great truth, for all the way to heaven is heaven begun to the Christian who walks near enough to God to hear the secrets He has to impart.

~selections from The Classic Collection on Prayer by E.M. Bounds

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

...or as my daughter used to say, "Happy Valentimes Day!"

If you have not yet visited Warm Pie, Happy Home, please do; it's always a happy place where Ruthann dispenses excellent advice and ohhh, that playlist!

Picture Source

Friday, February 13, 2009

Planning a Valentine Tea

I am planning a Valentine Tea for my Beloved. He's pretty much a coffee drinker to the core. Hot chocolate every now and then and, just recently, I've been able to introduce tea. The Chocolate Raspberry Bliss shown is going to feature prominently at my tea party. You can find the mousse recipe I'd like to try at Celestial Seasonings. I've been wandering through Blogdom looking for something to complete the menu...perhaps some tea sandwiches such as my own Garden Patch Sandwiches (in the recipe section of my sidebar) and something more for dessert. Alice at Tea in My Cup (even if she is on an extended break from blogging) is my first stop. Also there are some delicious sounding coffee drinks posted at Kettle and Cup.

I did bake some cookies last evening...not a hit with the man...oh dear. Maybe that frosting will spiff them up. It occurs to me that the most romantic thing about these cookies is not that they are in the shapes of hearts and strawberries, but that they were baked on a silpat "made in France."

Today, I am busily working on Valentines...most especially the one for my grandmother as she is the one who adores this holiday. I'll be selecting one from Quill Cottage because Miss Sandy always provides great tutorials.

Have a wonderful Friday...gotta skate!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Favorite "Bulletin" Board

A week ago, I was feeling much less than enthusiastic about blogging. Today I am positively giddy about it. The joy of blogging, for me, really depends on whether systems are up and at'em. I am sure that all those who read and love blogs appreciate Blogdom for the tremendous bounty of ideas. Creativity thrives in Blogdom.

I find plenty of material to think about and lots of ideas at WindLost, one of my favorite blogs. And it's not because Terri and I share similar tastes either. In fact, her taste is much more elevated and sophisticated than my own. Spending time there is a delicious escape, which I tremendously enjoy. But don't let that fool you as she can write with such poignancy that she'll break your heart. That's how I first found her when I read of her experience on a plane in danger of crashing. (See September 26, 2007)

Lately, Terri's been doing a series on office makeovers and she's working on her own home office, too. You'll find the above photo on her These Are a Few of My Favorite Things post on January 2, 2009. Well don't you know that this idea just kept spinning around in my old head until it finally resulted in my going to actually look for the wonky old frame. I knew I already had one, but where?! Found it in the basement in pretty tough shape and home to a spider or two.

This is where John came in..."John, this old frame...can you fix it?" (Course I know that he can fix anything!)

I didn't think much more about it until a few days ago when I visited John's house where I thought he'd be working on ceilings or something. No, poor man had taken the frame all apart, recut each section, and glued it all back together using some special exterior framing to hold it together. Until today, I didn't even realize all that he had done for the sake of my request. I feel so loved...

Yesterday morning when I propped my "new" frame up in the bay window, I was so happy with how it looked right there that it almost didn't make it the rest of the way to the sewing room wall, but it did and I just love it! It's the best bulletin board I've ever had.

The rest will be a little picture story — simple and sweet.

(First bulletin photo allowed to stand after much consideration.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Kitchen Story

Sure. Like I'm going there again...

Okay, I'll tell you this much of what I learned. Supposedly, the number one way to tell that a kitchen is outdated is if the appliances are anything but steel. While steel appliances are not in my budget, this doesn't prevent me from putting my best foot forward to decorate my refrigerator.

There's that charming calendar thingy that we use for writing notes. Important stuff like the mortgage is due! Then there's the handy-dandy scissors holder. I just made that today as the other one cleverly crafted from a pot holder belonged to my sister. So did the red-handled scissors that were in them for that matter. They're packed now. For mine, I used one of those crocheted dishcloths that are ubiquitous. I have a lovely number of them and use them in many different ways, but never as dishcloths. I defy any one of you to tell me that it's not simply sweet!

Then there's that darling little sampler there...

Alison at Posie Gets Cozy tells all about how to find and do one of your own on her January 18, 2009 post. I think it's a great way to design an embroidered pillow or something. If nothing else, it's a great way to waste an hour.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine Idea from MGCC

Do you need a quick and easy, delicious and fun idea for Valentine's Day? Visit Mennonite Girls Can Cook and snag the Five Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug recipe posted by Betty R. Purchase a sweet Valentine's mug from the dollar store and make a mug kit using the dry ingredients from the recipe. Cover with some red plastic wrap and attach the recipe directions with a pretty bow. I'm definitely doing at least one this week. It'll surely look better than this original that we enjoyed. I think that there's room for experimenting with the recipe, too!

(If I'm not already known for my wild leaps in all directions, I will be after this post.)

All week long I have thought about the Elizabeth Goudge book that I left behind at the Book Nook of the local flea market. I could've just kicked myself because at a $1 these books fly off the shelves. I visited A Woman Who Is and noted that she was reading one and Barbara so often touts them. I couldn't believe my stupidity. Would you believe that I even prayed that no one would buy it before I did?

So Saturday afternoon, we followed our transfer station visit with a trek down the road. I held my breath entering that nook, I lost heart as I couldn't find the book anywhere, but then! Then! I saw it on an end rack; I grabbed it; and clutched it to my heart.

It's titled Thorns of Truth by Elizabeth Goudge. What? What's that you say? It's not by Elizabeth Goudge? Eileen? Eileen who? Who in the world is this E. G. imposter?!

Nuts! Foiled again. For a dollar, I hope that I haven't gone too wrong.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heaven Is...

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

~Elisha A.Hoffman

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -I Peter 5:7

When we pray to the Lord asking for comfort in times of stress or times of loss, it is good to remember that He actually died [and rose again] and so has gone ahead of us to prepare the way. This is not true of any other counselor or grief expert. He understands death in a way that none of them can. ~Philip Yancey paraphrase

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. -John 14:2

I've got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we'll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold

~Ira Stamphill

"Stillwater Cottage" by Thomas Kinkade is an image that suits my imagination of Heaven. (ETA: You'll have to do your own Googling to see it...sorry about that!) See Jesus walking across the pond or feeding the swans and it would be nearly complete. Peek through the window and see the family seated at the dining room table and the fantasy fills out even more. But whatever our ideas of Heaven, they can not begin to compare with what Heaven truly is and how wonderful it will be to see the Lord face to face.

Have a blessed Sunday and a wonderful beginning to a beautiful new week!

picture source

Saturday, February 7, 2009

So Happy to Find...

Quite often when I hear about our "famous friends" being published and writing articles in magazines, etc., I am not able to find the magazine. You should have heard me as I stood at the counter checking out at Joann's Fabrics when I spied apron*ology on the rack. I squealed...out loud. Oh my! Then I did the unthinkable as the clerk looked at me curiously. I said, in my proudest voice, "That's my friend's apron on the cover!" Dawn would be mortified. I am mortified...kinda. ;>

And oh what a delicious little break I had reading it in the sun-warmed car a few minutes later. I was waiting for John to come and join me for coffee at Tim Horton's. Anyway, he arrived much too early so now I must find more time to finish reading this gem. What a chore, right?

Thank you very much for your sweet comments about my loss. I haven't seen this precious lady for several years. The last time was outside the local grocery store when she shared with me some personal and meaningful things to me. I consoled her and she consoled me and we told each other that we understood and that it was okay and that it would be all right in heaven. (One of her daughters was my labor and delivery coach when my daughter was born so you can see how close our friendships once were.) She and her husband employed my father many years ago and were a tremendous help to my family at that time. Sadly, things changed and it was not her nor her family at fault. Well, enough said about that. The point is, I know where she is today. I know that her passing released her from many years of a debilitating disease and I know that her family is rejoicing to see her safely home — even her dear husband of nearly sixty years, though his heart is breaking. I am rejoicing, too, except for that part of me that wishes that somehow things could've been different.

This woman was such a saint of God...her son-in-law, himself a pastor, accused her of "terrarium" living. She always saw the best in every situation and in every person. I wish that I had a tenth of her optimism and positive outlook.

It is not unusual for me to have vivid dreams and I dreamed of her two nights ago. In my dream, she was walking along the path near her home. She was wearing shorts and a cotton shirt in true 1965 style. There was a bounce in her step and, though she did not turn to look at John and me, she lifted her left arm and waved. I said, "Oh, John! Look! She knows we're driving by." It's good to remember her that way with the years between all gone.

Guess this might be a good time to go read my magazine...

Friday, February 6, 2009

His Eye is On the Sparrow

His Eye is on the Sparrow never comes to mind without my remembering Ethel Waters singing that great old song at Billy Graham crusades. How I loved to hear her sing! I was just a kid then, too, but I recognized the love and tenderness in that voice. The last time I tried to find a video or clip of Ethel's singing, it was not available. Recently, I found this from YouTube. Though it's not a Billy Graham clip, it's wonderful to hear this voice again singing one of my favorite hymns. In light of the loss of one of my "other mothers" in my real life this week and the losses that have even reached Blogdom, it's a sweet, sweet reminder. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Winner Is...

So much for getting away from the computer. I was on the phone and at the computer for nearly six hours yesterday. The only thing that I successfully stayed away from was this blog until last evening when I retrieved the names for the apron giveaway.

Without further drama the winner is...

Ahem, I said, NO MORE DRAMA!

Yay! It's Lovella @ What Matters Most! Lovella, I have your email addy and I will be in touch. Don't be surprised when the subject line says "It's me — Vee."

(Seems those of you who have been sending me email all this time at MyName@Verizon.net have been wrong. My real name has been vzeo----@verizon.net all along. Anyway, I'll be in touch. Talk about troubles...oy vey.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sometimes Blogger is a Bugger

I spent the entire day yesterday working on my Kitchen Musings Part II. Last night at nine, I hit the publish post button and received an error message. Then *poof* it was all gone except for two lousy paragraphs. All the photos, all the links, all the remaining words. Yes, I had faithfully saved everything throughout the day as I worked on it, but apparently Blogger had not. I am so frustrated that...well, I won't go there. And it doesn't stop there. I'm one of the 260 thousand whose email account is in limbo because my stupid, incompetent provider (Fairpoint) couldn't handle taking over from Verizon. And I've been dealing with stupid and incompetent from the top levels in government to the little things like blogging. Sometimes I think God is trying to tell me something. Yes, indeed, I think He is. I'm off until further notice. Oh, I will return tomorrow to announce a winner...that I will do.

Sorry for the vent... Hope that you enjoy your day. I know that I'll enjoy mine doing anything but being anywhere near this computer!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kitchen Musings Again

Tuesdays seem a good day to discuss kitchens once again. This is a photo of my kitchen taken last night and not an especially good one.

It is open to the dining area and the living area. This may change how I think about the kitchen as time goes on. Right now, I'm thinking about function, function, function. Later this morning, I'll try to pop in a daylight photo of a different angle so you'll know what we're up against.

So many offered suggestions on last Friday's post about this topic. Pat suggested that I visit Picket's Place. I found a wonderful and funny post about a cabinet redo on January 24, 2009. This looked very doable. I am quite certain that my beloved would have the very same reaction that hers had except for one thing, my cabinets are already painted.

Heather Bullard was suggested by K. Ashcroft. Heather's kitchen redo appears on January 29 and is a delight.

Also, Melissa at The Inspired Room featured this post on Creative Unique Kitchens, which makes so many helpful suggestions. And I loved the Perfect Pantry post (almost as much as I love alliteration). I really want to incorporate the screen door for my pantry one day soon.

Next Tuesday, I'll delve in a little deeper. I'd love to have an I'll show you my kitchen if you'll show me yours post, but my techie abilities are no match for Mr. Linky. ;>

ETA: My this morning photo with only some of my concerns noted. I'm changing that "next Tuesday" bit to tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'll revisit kitchen concerns with a list of his concerns and a list of mine. This could get interesting...

Wishing everyone a fun day!