Saturday, March 6, 2010

Springing it Up

Spent the morning roaming around looking for spring things and Easter things. Time to put away the Friendly Village dishes that I used all winter in favor of pastels. A week or so ago, I was wondering about forcing forsythia. It was just as easy as anything. I cut off the ends of some branches and put them in water. In just a few days they began to green up and then the blooms came shortly after. Since my forsythia lives behind the garage, I don't have much benefit of it without doing this.

A few more images for you to enjoy this lovely Saturday...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Packrat's Package

The most beautiful spring-like day has arrived. We'll even suffer the breezes to enjoy such a day. The past few days have been spent in the sewing room where I've been able to enjoy the scene you see in my header. Must say that I was surprised to find so many buckets this morning when I took the picture. For now my sewing is done so I'm going to go for a walk.

Packrat, it's on its way!

Comments are off today so that you may scoot along and enjoy your day, too! Oops! Got caught with my comments on. Happyone just wants to give me a little encouragement to get out for a walk.

Edited to Add: Just in case anyone wanted to see what was in the package, visit *this post* at Swatting at Flies.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Massachusetts

My daughter-in-law's family originates from Cape Cod so perhaps that's why she picked up this primer for my birthday last week. That and she actually listens to what I enjoy.

Clicking on the title of this post will take you to Google Reader where you can take a peek or two, if you are interested. It really has been a fun read.

I want to tell you yet another story about the grands who are old enough now to enjoy the excitement of someone else's birthday. They were happy about sharing some time having cake and ice cream and visiting last Saturday. (Not my birthday, but close enough.)

When they arrived, they made a hasty advance on the picnic basket where the toys and books are kept. After opening my gifts, I offered to read a new book I'd found for them, but Sam wanted me to read them Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Massachusetts instead. Oh I'm sure that he thought he was in for a great adventure.

So I read from the front flyleaf in my best keep-their-attention voice.
Wise advice for husbands: Husband, counsel with your wife and be assured that light will flash upon your darkness. Woman is far more a seer and prophet than man if she is given a fair choice. If you are in any trouble or quandary tell your wife all about it at once. Ten to one her invention will solve your difficulty sooner than all your logic; what is wrong of your impulse or judgment, she will detect and set right with almost universally right instincts.
Sam sat very quietly throughout and when I finished he said, with the foggiest look imaginable on his cute little face, "Uh?"

We all cracked up laughing, even Sam. Finally, he asked through his giggles,"Nonni, what's so funny?"

I reenacted his "uh moment" and we all laughed again.

It wasn't two minutes later when I said something else and Sam responded with an "uh?" Again we laughed. Okay, his poor parents. Though laughing, I could see them begin to realize what they were in for. I can only imagine what the week has been like. I'm afraid that Sam has likely had his first lesson in "what is funny the first time, isn't so funny over and over again."


Went shopping for a month's supplies yesterday afternoon and wheeling that non-functioning cart around Wal*Mart (there's not a decent one in the entire store) nearly did me in. I'm seriously considering a chiroman.


It's someone else's birthday today. He's celebrating many anniversaries of his 26th birthday. I really did rob the cradle now, didn't I?!

He's asking for strawberry shortcake today so I will certainly oblige. He's an easy man to please.


Fioré in the Window=Automatic Win

By way of explanation concerning my little sidebar picture and caption...we used to play the "Animal Game" on car trips when the children were bored. Teams are divided by sides of the car and sides of the road. Right-seated passengers must look for animals on the right side of the highway while left-seated passengers obviously look for critters on the left side. Each time anyone sees an animal on his/her own side it's a point. Birds are the exception as they fly left and right and go all over. No birds! A cat in the window equals an automatic win. Anyone else ever play this game?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Matching My Marches

Let's see, it's March 3, 2010 and I'm just getting around to changing the calendar. As much as I love my Laura Berry calendar this year, I did not like what I saw this morning. In fact, I uttered an audible "oh yuck." Perhaps this March picture would be better suited for New Yorkers or even Georgians, but not for me! ;>

After all, this is what I'm seeing beyond my windows — maple syrup season in full swing. Note the two means of collection: old-fashioned buckets and the new-fangled tubing.

My little problem was solved by going back through my stash of calendars (I'm especially fond of "Country Welcome" ones apparently, though I do have Sandy Clough tea themed ones and Americana ones, etc.) I found my answer with Fred Swan's 2002 Country Welcome calendar.

Ahh yes! That's a much better match. Wish that all of today's troubles would be so easily solved. Yours, too!

Have a lovely Wednesday...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tea Cozy Winner

The names are gathered in...

Honey, I need you! (He's not nearly as excited about playing the role of "the hand" as he used to be.)

But he's still a pretty good sport...

Just announcing the winner of the tea cozy. It may be that I buried that giveaway too deep as few there were who found it. So it's as it should be and as I like it. One who reads here regularly and comments often has won — Packrat @ Swatting at Flies!

Packrat, please email me your information and tell me a little more about yellow, white, and blue. The Tetley black tea I understand completely.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Wish that I could make you all a tea cozy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

My "Flea Market Style" Story

By now, I'm quite certain that many of us have one — a Flea Market Style story that is. I've been waiting patiently through February for my golden opportunity to slip out of the house with money in pocket and head for the marketplace. Last Friday evening was the perfect time. Mother had come out to visit for the afternoon and stayed for supper; I took her back to "the city" to meet her ride home; I didn't turn right out of the parking lot to go home; I turned left instead and made a beeline (in a driving rain no less) for the bookstore.

The magazine was found on the shelves right off quick. And, though I almost made it outta there without spending another cent, wouldn't you know that I had to trail by the Christmas discount shelf so now I have a lovely Christmas box, too. Oh well! The hazards of shopping.

Although I was sorely tempted to sit under the parking lot street light and have at least one peek, I was well aware that I would be expected home at any moment. Sure enough. I was. Not only that, I was "overdue." (John had had a lot of calming to do to get a certain someone to call off the all-points bulletin.)

My neighbors' outside lights shine through the trees

So I didn't have much of an opportunity to look at Flea Market Style that evening, but Saturday morning I was out of bed at six a.m. It was still dark. No matter. What's more cozy than a snowy morning, a fresh cup of coffee, Blue Boy (my chair), my beat-up hassock, and a brand new, brand-new magazine?

Such a lovely cover and not pristinely staged — I noticed the unfluffed pillows immediately. (Of course, every aspect was thought out, just saying that it looks real.)

I discovered right off that my tastes lean more to Matthew's sense of decorating style. Why I even have a platter similar to his. It's just that he has so much more of a collection.

Matthew's collection of blue and white dishes in a magazine rack

My "collection"

Does one piece a collection make?

OOps! I see that my tiered table may be in a bit of trouble if I try this idea and it was a good one. I won't be doing enough entertaining or serving enough cupcakes to make it worth my while to chop it up, however. Who knows? Maybe next year.

Time for a second cup of coffee

One thing that I noticed about reading this magazine is that it took time. TIME. It was not a quick read. I was not done in half an hour. I am not done even now after reading for an hour and a half. The attractive and subtle advertising really helped, too. It was so tastefully done. I find it jarring to see an ad tossed into a magazine willy-nilly with no thought for context.

And lastly, it was great fun to read more about the women that I have come to know in Blogland and to see their pictures. I hope to find many more bloggers featured in the next issue, too. Oh yes! There is room for this magazine in the publishing world! Hearty congrats to all concerned and may we all get to see a fall issue and a winter issue and a spring issue and a...

Check back tomorrow for giveaway news!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I learned this as a child in first grade in a little red brick schoolhouse just down the way. That little red schoolhouse was a public school, but in 1960 teachers still taught scripture and this one was recited daily along with the pledge of allegiance. I learned it in the King James version so no other flows so beautifully from the tongue. I found it comforting as a six-year old and I find it comforting fifty years later.

Be comforted today, Dear Ones...

Friday, February 26, 2010


Yes, as I was saying, I've been going back through my posts and doing a bit of tidying up. One post has been lost to me. Oh, yes, it's still there buried somewhere in a pile of oodles of posts and with some title that means less than zip. Searches yield nothing, but I am not going to waste my perfectly wonderful permission to feature this artist. Her name is Tamar Mogendorff and you can find her work here and her blog here. (And now you also know the reason behind the title of this post.)

My former post includes a swan and we collect swans at the Haven. I'd love to collect one of Tamar's. She is a sculptor, an artist, a delight. I love her work!

Well, do see for yourself...

* used by permission
*hi vee,
thanks for your lovely post and e-mail.
and thanks for letting me know.. before the google alert.. :)
best wishes,

Before the Google alert? Wow! I am comforted to know that artists and photographers and anyone who'd like to so do can set up an alert. Still, how thoughtful of Tamar to give me permission. It's much appreciated. And, when I find that buried post, I'll be sure to put a link back to this one.
Have a wonderful Friday evening and a relaxing Saturday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Em's Boys

It was great fun to be interviewed by Lisa at Grandma's Briefs. She had a way of asking questions that made me think. If you want to see some better photos of my grands and even one of me with my recession hair facing forward and wearing my hubby's shirt (Leah, check it out!) please visit Lisa right *here.* (Don't let all of Granny's underwear on the line scare you!)

Please tell Lisa that I sent you, if you'd be so kind. Thanks a million!

Go, thou, and have a great day...

Comments are off

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Have we been hair before?

As promised, this is the hairafter picture:

Striking difference, say what? Is this what I asked for? Not unless I asked to look like Little Lord Fauntleroy (hope that you can imagine that image), which I didn't.

As for turning around...hahahaha, silly gals!

Just a Note About My Use of Google Images

Having had it brought to my attention that sourcing "Google Images" is not sufficient, I am taking on the painstaking task of removing all images that have not been properly sourced. In some instances this means that entire posts are gone as they no longer make sense. Never has the "delete blog" button looked so tempting! Nevertheless, it is good to have one's feet placed to the flames even when it doesn't feel so good. I have learned my lesson. My blog will never be as lovely as it has been, but that's a minor problem given that some find my blogging behavior illegal, immoral, and unethical.

Comments are closed nor do I want email about this issue as my ego is still a bit bruised. Thank you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Too Soon Again?

Last Easter, I started a little early and perhaps I've been thinking about Easter a little early this year as well. This year Easter will fall on April 4th, which is six weeks from yesterday. If one is thinking about projects and rounding up items, though, this really is the time to begin. These three things are tops on my list for 2010.

1. Easter eggs tie-dyed What a clever idea! I have a few of these things on hand without going to Goodwill.

2. Easter Garland at Creative Breathing. So adorable!

3. Martha Stewart-Easter Oh yes! I can see that I'm early when I beat Martha Stewart. She's beginning her Easter fling on March 1st.

Hmmm, wondering when I can start forcing the forsythia...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not Good Enough?

In all my years as a Christian, I have never heard anyone say, "I've had it! I am sick to death of the love and grace of God. I'm sick of other Christians loving and accepting me. I'm giving up this Christian life." No I've never heard that. But I couldn't count the number of Christians I've known who have given up because of being under law, who have been broken by the crushing burden of trying to be good enough to earn God's acceptance, who have been mangled by the competition, the judging, and the demands to conform to some group's standards. "We'll accept you if you look like, walk like, talk like, and act like us." And the implication is always, "And God will, too." So what are we to do?

Jesus Christ came to free us from the burden of the law by calling us to a life united with His. We are beloved, accepted children of God, who have been called to His "banquet table" to experience Jesus Christ living in and through us every day. Abundant life is not "pie-in-the-sky" or nebulous theory. It is real, and it is ours for the taking if we will only believe. Let's not settle for anything less.
~Bob George

...for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27–29

Besides the Bible itself, few books have challenged me and taught me as well as Classic Christianity by Bob George. I highly recommend it.

ETA: quotes used by permission

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blogging Annoyances

This photo, taken a few days ago, has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. Okay, maybe a little whatsoever. After all, pileated woodpeckers can be very annoying and repetitive just like the spammers I've been finding here lately, ten or so just this morning.

You'll not believe what I've been doing for the past twenty minutes. I've been knee-deep in manure photos because that's what I really want to talk about this morning—c.r.a.p.

"So," I can hear you say, "tell us what you really think, Vee." Sure!

I think that spammers are lower than the scum off a lizard's hind tooth. I think that Blogger should have figured out a way to dispatch them long ago. I think that it is unfortunate that bloggers must add word verifications, etc., because it prevents many good comments from coming in and bogs down blogs in annoying ways.

This blog will not accept "anonymous" commenters any longer. This is a problem for me because I have a few friends who sometimes wish to comment, but do not have Google accounts and so forth and I will miss hearing from them in this forum. As for word verifications, I'll rail against them forever and pray that I don't have to wind up using them myself.

So that's my rant for the day. Have any of you come up with alternative solutions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

China Cupboard Before and After

I can ignore problems staring me right in the face. Pam Tillis may think that she is "The Queen of Denial," but actually I am. This is true of every situation across the board. Yup, Vee is my name and Denial is my game. Not so very good on sooooo many levels. Okay, moving right along because I am also the Queen of Vague. Specificity always makes me a titch nervous. ;>

First china cupboard. You've seen the top decorated just so...
What you haven't known is its secret inner life. (I should save this for a Sunday analogy. :D )

What a disaster! I dared not put the following picture in first or you'd not have stopped by. Every time I opened it, something fell out. That might have been an indication for a normal person that it was time to do something. Not for me. I've lived this way for months.

Yesterday, I finally concluded that enough was enough. I removed every single thing placing what was going back into the cupboard on the right side of my dining table and what wasn't going back on the left side. I washed the cupboard with Murphy's oil that stuff...and placed my dishes back inside. Some fine day, perhaps I'll paint the interior something nice and light so my dishes show up better.

The only problem was that now I had a pile of stuff
that wasn't going back.

What to do with it? How about this?
I've seen this often in Blogland, but my mother was the first woman I know to do it with a big old punch bowl filled with ephemera and goodies gathered from kitchen drawers and hiding spots.

So there it is...

Oh, one last thing...
This is a little decorating idea that I love. I found it at Brocante Home on a post called The Quiet War. Her six-year-old son Finn came up with it. He has an excellent eye for charm just like his mother.

(Yes, you eagle-eyed, folks. This was before I put all my stuff in the apothecary jar.)

Have a splendid day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Little Bikers

I'm sitting on top of the world,
Just rolling along
Just rolling along

I'm quitting the blues of the world
Just singing a song
Just singing a song

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Food

On Valentine's Day, I described how I would honor the day with red food. That was it. No flowers, a little candy, a few cards, and a kiss here and there. Nothing more special than that.

Since I had already lined up Monday's post, I didn't respond to Aunt Amelia's suggestion to provide a menu, until now. Soooo, as one who aims to please and as one who needed a Tuesday post...

How's that for product placement? Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger tea is fast becoming a favorite around here. Since I am sipping on that very cup of tea writing this post, I can assure you that it is delicious.

And the sweet Valentine? Made by none-other than the very talented Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage!

The cookies? Oh, they're my "go-to" cookie anymore. You may have your chocolate chip, I'm taking Boggles. Boggles is a cookie recipe taken from a Hannah Swensen mystery written by Joanne Fluke called Fudge Cupcake Murder. Nan was reading it last fall and recognized an excellent recipe when she saw it. Well, as I say, it's incredibly delicious with just the right texture for me — crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. (The recipe will be at the end of this post.)

Nan has lots of ideas about good recipes. Not long ago, she told John and me that we eat "funny." She wondered about all the chicken. She didn't have chicken only once or twice a year before she landed here. Ha! She carried on about some recipe for tomato scallop from her childhood that she loved and fervently wished to have again.

Serendipity struck when I mentioned this to my mother and she gave me my grandmother's own recipe. I've been saving it for Valentine's Day. It was also amazingly good and Nan was very pleased. There's none left so that's a good indication of how wonderful it was.


A *Hannah Swensen* recipe


* 2 cups melted butter
* 2 cups brown sugar
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp salt
* 4 eggs (beaten)
* 2 tsp vanilla
* ½ tsp cinnamon
* ¼ tsp nutmeg
* 4 cups flour
* 3 cups Craisins or dried cranberries
* 3 cups rolled oats


* Preheat oven to 350°
* Melt butter
* Add sugars and allow to cool a bit
* Add salt, vanilla, and spices
* Add eggs
* dd flour and mix with electric mixer
* After the above ingredients are well incorporated
* Stir in cranberries and oats and mix all together
(Dough will be stiff)
* Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheet with a cookie scoop and bake for 12–15 minutes.
* Allow to cool on pan for two minutes
* Remove to cookie racks for further cooking.

This makes a nice large batch of cookies and good luck keeping them on hand!
Printable Recipe

Snappy Tomatoes

A Nana Recipe


* 2 cups canned tomatoes
* ½ cup cracker crumbs
* 2 TBS chopped onion
* 1 tsp salt
* 4 TBS melted butter
* ½ cup finely grated cheese of choice...I used cheddar
* dash of paprika
* dash of pepper
* 1 well-beaten egg


* Reserve some of the cracker crumbs for the topping
* Mix all together
* Place in a 6×9 inch pan
* Top with reserved cracker crumbs
* Bake in 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Now, as I took a lot of pictures for this post and didn't use them, I'm tossing in a mosaic. I can't waste them!

Enjoy a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Show and Tell

Do you remember Show and Tell day from kindergarten or first grade? I do. Very well, in fact. I even remember the one item that I most loved showing — my dolly. She was all dressed in a coral crocheted number that my mother made for her. It included the dress and a little sweater with pearl buttons and a hat, too. Plus booties. Oh she was a vision was that little doll baby of mine.

Anyway, perhaps it's because I know the quality of my mother's workmanship that I have a difficult time making things for her. I know that I can't do as well as she does. Case in point...tea cozy #2. The design is a bit off center and it stands a bit wonky, but I did double turn it so that the inside seams are not raw edges. That's an improvement over mine. As John likes to say, "By the time I get these projects perfected, I'll be on to the next thing."

Still, I was terribly impressed with myself for creating this pot holder for my sister. It's partly made from a vintage tablecloth that used to be on our childhood home's table. It's a lot of fun to make, too. *Here's* the link for figuring it out for yourselves or you can watch it below. This gal does a great job of explaining! I think she used 8-inch squares, but I used 10-inch squares for a nice big one.

Did you think that I was going to make you look at tea cozies every few days for nothing? Noooo, it's time for a giveaway! (The drawing will be March 1, 2010 at 7 pm EST.) I'm offering a tea cozy like one of these wonky ones pictured. Nothing special and only for those who find this post and read this far shhhhhhhh. All you have to do is tell me what your kitchen/dining room colors are and what your favorite tea is. (Yes, and don't you know it, this is really a test to see if people actually read my posts. I've had the sneaking suspicion...)

So that's my Monday story, I'm eager to hear yours!

Edited to Add: March 1, 2010 @ 7: 08 pm Comments have closed, which feels ridiculous to say since no one has commented in days and days. Guess tea cozies don't make the best giveaways. ;>

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Create yourselves the day that you'd most like to have! (I'm making red food. That's it. Red food.) And, to set a romantic tone, especially if you're of a certain age because my playlist is definitely vintage, feel free to listen to it multiple times.

God bless!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Believe in Love

I don't believe in superstars,
Organic food and foreign cars.
I don't believe the price of gold;
The certainty of growing old.
That right is right and left is wrong,
That north and south can't get along.
That east is east and west is west.
And being first is always best.

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.

Well, I don't believe that heaven waits,
For only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He's down below, He's up above.
He's watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn't care.
And I'm an ordinary man,
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.

Well, I know with all my certainty,
What's going on with you and me,
Is a good thing.
It's true, I believe in you.

I don't believe virginity,
Is as common as it used to be.
In working days and sleeping nights,
That black is black and white is white.
That Superman and Robin Hood,
Are still alive in Hollywood.
That gasoline's in short supply,
The rising cost of getting by.

But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.

Yes, well, that pretty much sums up my philosophy with a few extras tucked in and a few left off. This is one of John's favorites and he's still likely to grab me by the hand and whirl me around in a little sway dance, to which this song easily lends itself. Perhaps you and your beloved will give it a whirl this weekend yourselves.

And that's why you hear it playing on my playlist this weekend (and only this weekend as I usually keep the playlist turned off). Scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the off button if you don't want to listen. ♫ music

Have a great Saturday and enjoy those Olympic games!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tea Cozy

Thank you all for your wonderful comments, which have buoyed me considerably. I know that behind those comments are a lot of prayers. I can sense them and am so grateful for them.

And, I am taking your advice to heart. It may not be possible to get out of the house for a getaway very often, but I can get away in the house. It had been weeks and weeks since playing in my craft room. Though I'm not a very good crafter, I do enjoy my puttering time. Nan had her silver bell to ring for me and that gave me a few hours upstairs. She read. I sewed. It worked. She only rang once. ;D

So now I am in the tea cozy business (do not take this too Etsy shop in my future). My hope is to make all the ladies in the family a nice tea cozy because I have been enjoying my tea times tremendously. Chamomile is wonderfully calming and I need all the calming I can get.

Using Insul-Bright, yesterday's project was a repurposing of a torn pillow sham. Since it was going to be the prototype and the pillow sham was a gift from my daughter and I was keeping it, there was little fretting and lots of fun. I mean, look at it! What could I possibly have done to harm it? Ha!

Here's the finished cozy sitting on the jelly cupboard with a rooster button covering a patched hole...

Next up...

The thing that is really floating my boat is that there's enough old pillow sham to make a kind of matching cozy for my daughter. She doesn't drink tea, but who knows? One day, she may want to give the cozy a try.

Hope that if life should become stressful, you'll try a project and a cup of chamomile tea. A blessed day to you...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cheesy Corn Chowder and Dessert Too

What a beautiful day has dawned here in the Northeast. My corner missed all that snowy mess even though the storm clouds were gathered. It reminded me all day of a quote I like: For every ten problems you see coming down the road, nine roll harmlessly into the ditch before they arrive. ~ Calvin Coolidge

Yesterday morning was busy with taking my mother for treatments, but yesterday afternoon she surprised us by wanting to come here for the remainder of the day. After lunch, she sent John and me off with a good wish for enjoying the afternoon while she stayed with her mother.

John and I so enjoyed getting away. We ran some quick errands, took a drive through the back country and found the most wonderful new business sprung up...a maple syrup I shall be sharing more about that once that season has arrived. We drove through Kentucky Fried Chicken and ordered some of their apple pies. Love those things! We ate them in front of the public garden closed for the season, but we enjoyed the winter view all the same. Then we went to the flea market.

Back home, I put on the potatoes for a delicious cheesy corn chowder...recipe to follow. Then it was off for a walk with John. A walk! Oh joy unspeakable and I remembered to take my camera and so I experimented with some of Ree's techniques. You do all know that she gives great tips *here in the photography section*. Anywho, for seeing some truly beautiful photography submitted by her readers, take a look. It's enough to make one very humble.

Here are my pitiful offerings. (NOOOO! I did not submit these. ;> )

High Aperture (Background in focus, subject blurry)

Low Aperture (background blurry; subject in focus)

Then back home for the putting together of the chowder and the making of corn bread or Johnny cake. We enjoyed a tummy-warming meal together and then I quickly made my dear friend Mrs. G's Gourmet Pears for dessert. Since I have modified it, I don't think that Mrs. G would mind my sharing my version. (BTW, Mrs. G., should you be reading...hope that you and yours are well.)

Finally, it was back to the city with my mother so that she could catch her ride home. My sister was working until six, but her twelve-hour shift turned into a fourteen-hour one. (Nurses have brutal shifts!) It gave mom and me lots of time to chat.

So here are those recipes...

Cheesy Corn Chowder

(This makes a huge batch so don't hesitate to divide it for a family of four.)


* 4 lbs potatoes
* 1 onion chopped fine
* 2 cans evaporated milk
* 2 cans whole kernal corn
* 2 cans creamed corn
* 3 cans Campbell Cheddar Cheese Soup (1 can for a halved recipe will work fine)
* salt and pepper to taste


Cook potatoes and onion with enough water to cover potatoes. Cook until tender. Drain off the water and add remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until piping hot.

I also added some ground sausage to this pot for an extra taste sensation. Yummy!

Gourmet Pears


* 2 cans drained pears (14 ounce cans)
* ½ cup plain yogurt + 1 TBS sour cream
* 3 egg yolks
* 3 TBS brandy, rum or sherry. Yes, vanilla extract will work, too.
* 4 or 5 TBS brown sugar


In a small saucepan, combine yogurt, sour cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Cook stirring constantly until the sauce is'll know...about three minutes. Stir in brandy or whatever you're using. Place drained pears in an ovenproof dish, pour sauce over the pears, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil for three or four minutes. (A toaster oven works well for this.) May be served hot or chilled. (We ate ours delicious!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Setting a New Tone

As women, we set the tone for our homes. This I firmly believe.

And it's some tone that I am setting of late. I do not wonder why my beloved is stressed or why I am stressed or even why my grandmother is stressed. It's my fault. All my fault.

Why does it seem as if every little thing she does is aimed at creating maximum annoyance...from the bathroom visits that last over an hour to the scraping of her breakfast bowl dozens of times? This morning, I asked her to please stop. "It's getting on my last nerve. It's unnecessary because it's not helping. You're not getting any more oatmeal that way. I'll make you another bowl if you want more." She was offended; I was irritated: Great combination.

So today I will call a support group. A social worker who visited last fall thought I'd be a candidate one day. I loved that social worker. She was the one who said, when Nan shared that she worries that her cat will smother itself, "You can't possibly believe that your cat would be that stupid!" Actually, she slipped and said something even more to the point, but that's my little secret.

And in other news, my mother is having a port placed today for nutrition and hydration purposes. She is in jeopardy just now in that regard and so we are praying that this will tide her over until she is able to have surgery next week. Lots of things going on all the time around here.

Anyway, back to Nan... One day, if we are blessed, we shall live to be old. Actually, my opinion of living to be old has changed drastically since caring for my grandmother. I'd rather not live to be old (Well shoot! It's already too late for that.) And even saying that is putting my will first and that is the problem in the first place. It is not about what I want. It is about what the Lord has planned. Surely, I can rest in that.

For now, I need to realize that it is important to treat the aged with the respect that they deserve and with tenderness...great tenderness. I am standing in the need of providing both. Today.