A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Awards and Honors and Gratitude and Oh Help

Recently, I've received two delightful awards. The Sisterhood Award comes from my dear friend Barbara @ Ramblings from an English Garden. Barbara and I have been visiting back and forth consistently for two years come September. That's a long time in Bloggy Years! I appreciate her so much and I'm glad that she thinks of me as a member of the Sisterhood.

The second award comes from a new-to-me blogging friend Lisa @ A Cottage to Me. I like its sassiness. It comes with requirements: List 10 things about yourself and then pass it on to others.

1. The Award Issue is a sticky one for me. I never follow the rules; I have often left awards on the table; I'm honored and pleased, yet, at the same time, conflicted. I am conflicted because to pass them on has always felt awkward. It would be like walking through Keukenhof Gardens and selecting just one tulip. Impossible!

2. Therefore, I have been most snobby and have appreciated most those awards that were created by a blogger and not meant to be passed on such as the two you'll find on my sidebar for today only. Yes, if I'm going to say what I'm about to say, I think that even they must be placed in my file of treasures.

3. File of treasures? Oh yes, I do have a file filled with these awards. It is much like the file I've kept of all the drawings and letters my children have given or that my students gave me or even my love letters. Some things are special, after all.

4. So from now on, if I should receive an award, I will kindly thank you for even thinking of me. I'll take it and place it in my treasure file, but it won't be mentioned here; so there'd really be little point for anyone to give one.

5. This little button is going to sit in my sidebar, down low and away, and after a while, even he will fly off.

I'll be like Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti who says that your comments are her awards. I find that the same — your visits and your comments are my reward. Actually, my visits to your wonderful blogs are truly my reward.

6. And see? I just can't follow the rules.

Enjoy your Tuesday...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Consider the Tulips

a photo of Keukenhof Garden from Gardening Illustrated (allowed to stand)

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28–29

Hope that you'll have time to enjoy this video of Keukenhof Garden. It's good for lowering blood pressure. God bless your Sunday!

ETA: Having just come from morning devotions and the reading of Streams in the Desert, I want to say that I did not sneak a peek prior to my post this morning. ;>

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Future Burp Cloths

How fun to be visiting Homemade by Jill again and find just the thing that I need for the future generation of my beloved's family — a tutorial on making burp cloths. Currently, Jill has quite a number of tutorials for making wonderful infant items so I may become tempted with other things if I hang out there too long.

Speaking of infants...perhaps you've heard that *Linds* and *Dawn* are brand new, for-the-first-time-ever paternal grandmothers. I think it's just so cool. If you want to see pictures, all you have to do is click on their names.

A blessed weekend to you all!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Penny Postcards

My son and daughter-in-law gave me a genealogy program with three months of online membership to Ancestry.com. It's been sitting on my shelf calling my name. Thing is...once the research bug has bitten...it's hard to shake yourself free. I know. I've been bitten before.

But little things like looking for *penny postcards* (eta: this link no longer works) can be a lot of fun. I'm sorry that this will only work for the U.S., but you might find it interesting to click on your state, find your county, and see what's there. I found ever so many things of interest even if I was unable to find my own hometown.

Let me know if you find something fascinating!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Day of Crafting

It's always a good thing to get away to putz. Create would be the better word, of course. Personally, I get a little antsy if I haven't been able to do something different and fun after about four days. How about you?

There are a few things in my craft room that I haven't shared...like those cute hankie curtains. It's an idea I stole from Linda at Blue Gate Blog; I've lifted some of my best ideas from Linda.

Oh, and the apron tied around the chair (which you can barely see)? I lifted that from Linda at Restyled Home right *here.* I must have a thing about stealing from Lindas.

Four of you should be able to find some little things that you may partially recognize. Yup. I'm playing games again today. Look around...it's a "Where's Waldo" kind of day.

Oh, I've been meaning to show you these cute little buttons that I found in the stash my mother gave me. They're peg clothespin buttons! I know, I've got so much stuff on my bulletin board that they're hard to see plus the quality of the photographs isn't so hot today. (I may be such a perfectionist that this pic and a few others will change at some point.)

My number one errand of the day is getting to the post office. That and making my beloved his dinner. Have a great day everyone!

Edited to Add: Just dropping in a better daylight photo of the aproned chair. I see that my take on it is a bit different from Linda's...my chair is more bibbed than aproned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mackintosh Toffee and So Much More

It was another delightful day here in my corner. Another day, another package. This time from Lovella of What Matters Most! (Oy vey...the cost of postage.)

Check out this loot! Since my family is one with strong Canadian ties...half the family here, and the other half there...we know something about Canadian candy. The best! Coffee Crisps are, I believe, the number one candy bar in Canada. We love them! My son has been known to drive six hours one way to get some. (I'm tossing one of these his way.)

But this is the candy bar that started it all. My personal favorite — the Mackintosh toffee bar. Just gaze for a while on its creamy toffeeness.

Beautiful, isn't it? Yes, I've displayed it against the terrific dishcloths that Lovella sent as well so as to enhance its sweet, sweet self. The thing is, Lovella tells me that Mackintoshes will no longer be made in the 56g bar. What is the world coming to?! I've enjoyed this candy all my life!

Such fond memories I have of buying a bar so stale that it would split into lots of toffee shards upon impact. Yes, this was the candy bar that required a good smacking and could be shared with at least a dozen kids. What's not to love about that?

Yesterday, I shared my last toffee bar with my nana and my mom. We cut it carefully into strips for it was as fresh and soft as could be. We savored it. Thank you, Lovella!

Oh, not to be forgotten, I also have two wonderful magazines to enjoy. I've had the chance to read them both and I will reread them until they are dogeared. Then I will pass them along to my mother who is quite excited to think about a current Chatelaine. She showed me some of her vintage copies yesterday.

There was so much tucked into that package, but what I mostly sensed was friendship, thoughtfulness, and charity. Thank you again, my friend!

Now for the burning question of yesterday: Just how many bags of jelly beans did it take to fill the jar? Three!

Unbeknownst to my readers, this was a real contest with real prizes. Sort of a silent giveaway, if you will. I'll be notifying the winners later today. Thanks to everyone for playing and making it fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jelly Beans

Eventually, everything comes full circle to jelly beans, Peeps, and Cadbury eggs. You can not argue with that logic! We've had our share of Cadbury eggs and Peeps, but no jelly beans. Since they're not a favorite, I felt it would be safe to send my beloved out to fetch some for the empty jar you see above.

Can I just say that I love a man who'll run to the store? I've never known one of them until now. It's so nice to be married to one.

Doesn't that bag look a little heavy?

Well, no wonder. Seven bags of jelly beans!

The jar is definitely filled.

Now, you've seen these little contests all the time at banks, car dealerships, you name it. Let me know how many bags you think it took to fill the jar. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Weekend Story

This is my weekend told in pictures.

There was some crafting.

Some visiting with my son and grands.

(Yes, that's my sneakered foot. I'm multi-talented. I can take photos and keep a toddler on the sofa at the same time, which is, from the amusement on the grand's face and the concern on the son's, perhaps not something I should try often.)

Some baking.

This is the regular straight-off-the-bag recipe, which I've included below just in case. The thing is, I love to play with the two or three cups of added ingredients at the very end. For example, my cookies have one cup of chocolate chips, ½ cup crasins, and ½ cup chopped walnuts. I didn't mess with that third cup thing, but you could. Sometimes I add peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, Rice Krispies, oatmeal, you name it, it's fun to play with different combinations. I do want to say very clearly right now before some wise guy comes in here and asks — I.did.not.use.any.onions. What combinations do you use?

Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts optional

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


A wonderful Monday to you! Yes, you!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two Ways of Looking at Things

We're reading Beth Moore's The Beloved Disciple in the evening. I'm enjoying it tremendously and think that it's an especially good book to be reading in this Easter season.

For morning reading, in addition to Bible reading and devotional reading, we've just completed Awakening Your Sense of Wonder where one paragraph in particular zinged into my heart recently. Yes, of course, I'm sharing it!

"...pay closer attention when you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears. They are telling you something about the secret of who you are or where you're from or where you should go next."

For several years now I've been practicing thinking about any given situation in a "different way." Imagine my surprise to find that this is so eloquently expressed in the Word of God. Read this and try to imagine which camp you might fall in...

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:
"He is good;
his love to Israel endures forever."
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

Ezra 3:10-13

Have a happy day filled with much thanksgiving and praise!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Delightful Site

*This site* was sooo much fun to see that I must share it. It all began with a Google search for swans. I never expected to find all these delights plus this swan. What an incredible doll maker!

By the way, Easter is on its way and last year I made bunny rabbits for the grands. If anyone sees something sweet and doable, please share. I'll thank you in advance.

Enjoy your weekend, Dear One!

*Pictures used by permission of the artist Tamar Mogendorff

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Proper Centerpiece and a Beautiful Gift

It's that season once again known as the dreaded tax season. My dining room table has been a fright show with papers piled here and there. Plus there was much shredding to be done. The only decoration was the tray of vitamins and salt and pepper shakers. Not a charming look. Fine for a kitchen table, but not so fine for the main table in the home.

After I visited LaTeaDah at Gracious Hospitality and read her post entitled Centerpieces ala Spring, I received fresh insight into why it's important to have a beautiful centerpiece on the dining table. I promised myself that once that chore of paper pushing was complete I'd be able to do my table right.

By late afternoon, most of the shredding was complete, most of the bills had been paid, and most of the paperwork had been properly filed. When I opened my mail, I found further reason to get it together because my gift from Karen Harvey Cox @ A Scrapbook of Inspiration had arrived.

This gift is very special to me because it was given at a difficult time for Karen and her girls. They were about to lose a precious family friend named Dapper. Karen was following a lesson her mother had taught her that in difficult times one gives a gift. Talk about an amazing life lesson. It's one that I won't forget. Thank you, Karen, for your generosity in a grieving season.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Potato Peeling 101

Last night found me trying this new method of peeling potatoes. I first saw it on a Japanese site a few years ago and promptly forgot about it until... Well first the photo showing me peeling a potato.

Yes, I test everything I present to you. The point is that it really does work! You can see Dawn Wells do it even better on the video clip from You Tube. It's less than two fascinating minutes long. (The other fascinating thing is that Miss Wells was born in 1938. Sigh.)

When it comes time to making potato salad, I hope that I remember this one. Oh wait! I don't peel my potatoes for potato salad. Hmmm, this may just work to amaze your friends the way the banana trick did.

Heading off to do a little dance of joy that winter is so nearly done... Perhaps you'll be doing a happy dance, too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What in the World is Going On?

Things are happening in the oak grove next door just in case you don't think that anything ever happens around here. What would give you that idea anyway? Is it because I never have anything exciting to report? No matter, all of that has changed as of last Saturday when two people were discovered hugging a tree on my neighbor's back lawn. I could not imagine what they were up to. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Hmmm, still not quite close enough...

Ahhh, I see a bucket! Huh? What?

This one's almost full...

So this oak grove that I've been living in for over 15 years is really a bunch of maples? Where did all those squirrels and acorns come from? What kind of maple syrup does oak sap make?

Guess that I've been laboring under some false impressions. I do that a lot it seems. How about you?

Have a fun Wednesday! I think I'll go call my neighbor...

ETA: Mystery solved...see my comment in the comment section.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Feel Irish

Wishing you all a Happy St. Patty's Day. I'm wearing a sign today that says "Kiss me, I think I'm Irish."

I wish that I were making Pat's Irish Stew, but instead I'm making Campbell's Creamy Potato Soup.

Creamy Irish Potato Soup

From: Campbell's Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

Serves: 5
This rich and creamy potato soup is subtly flavored with celery and green onions. It's the kind of soup you'll want to savor slowly...even though it's ready in just 35 minutes.


2 tbsp. butter
4 medium green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth OR Natural Goodness™ or Certified Organic Chicken Broth
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups milk


HEAT butter in saucepan. Add onions and celery and cook until tender.
ADD broth, black pepper and potatoes. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 min. or until potatoes are tender.
PLACE half the broth mixture and half the milk in blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining broth mixture and remaining milk. Return to saucepan. Heat through.


Of course, I'll bake soda bread, too. I wish that I were baking Carol's. Mine will be a less tasty version I can tell already.

Just wanted to share a photo I took last night of a certain husband wearing a different shirt. One of my commenters, who'll remain unnamed, suggested that my hubby's wearing the same shirt in every photo was more the photographer's fault. Well I never!

In case you missed the wall hanging velcroed on the piano, I did pop it into yesterday's post at the end. My niece says that she'll give me four songs and I can do a poll and she'll practice and then I can take a video for my blog. What a fun offer! I'm going to take her up on it, too.

Well, I'm off to find a Swede who feels like being Irish for today so I can give him a big kiss. Have a great day!

Photo Source: Dover Publishing

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Gift for My Niece

Over the weekend I worked on the project for my niece's birthday. It's been one of those things that came together so slowly and was so vague that I feared whether it would come together at all. Flea market visits were always made with "the project" in mind and several purchases were made that were not used in the end...a daffodil plate, a small vintage bottle, some lace; they'll get used in other projects, I'm sure.

It began with the gathering of quotes using my niece's favorite singers and tossing in one that I especially loved.

I used Dawn's method and can't recommend the purchase of her tutorials enough...$10 is a bargain for all the information one receives. I'd have had to take a class to find all these tips.

I know that these sorts of images can be done on PhotoShop, but I don't know enough about PhotoShop to accomplish it. The photo above is a sheet of my music with cut images from other sources...both The Feathered Nest and The Vintage Moth, I believe. I literally copied them and printed them and cut them by hand and placed them on the sheet music and scanned them into the computer. It took forever! Good thing that my beloved was reading to me all the time. His voice is so soothing.

Then I played with the layout. At first, I thought that I'd be using painter's cloth for the background, but in a moment of serendipity when I was using placemats from the table for a size reference, I thought to purchase a placemat and alter it. This helped tremendously.

That vintage birthday card is the one that I also tucked into the pocket. Doesn't it look like a great March birthday card for my location? P.e.r.f.e.c.t. Even the quality of the light is the same and the level of snow and every little thing about it.

Yes, that's my favorite quote, which I stitched front and center. I also tucked a quote made into a bookmark into the pocket made from a crocheted doily or antimacassar. I created some tabs to hang the entire piece by and in the end this is how it turned out...

My niece is a very special gal who taught herself how to play the guitar and the piano. She had taken a few lessons as a child, but had hated them. Even though she sounded great, she really wanted to know how to play the piano properly so began taking lessons over a year ago. She found a teacher who respected her talent and ability to play along with her need to know the basics. It's been a great combination and I'm very proud of her. She says that she is going to hang this on the end of her piano and use it to hold some of her music notebooks. I'd love to see how she's planning that and if I ever get a photo of it, I'll add it to this post.

Thanks for visiting me today! Have a wonderful Monday...

Edited to Add:

Nothing that a little velcro can't handle!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

~Frederick M. Lehman

Some weeks ago, God and I were having a rough go of it. Strike that. I was having a rough go of it and took God along for the ride. I spent an entire morning speaking ill of the Father. (This is going to shock a few of you.) I said things like "God doesn't care. God doesn't come through when we need Him. He never has done a thing when I've asked him to. He always takes His own sweet time." And on and on I went. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't faith-filled.

Somewhere in the middle of my rant, I heard that still small voice. You'll be surprised at what it said, but first let me say why I think that a still small voice was heard in the first place. I don't often hear it; it never sounds like anything that I would say or think; and it redirects my racing, stinking thinking. It's always so quiet that it amazes me I can hear it at all given my whirling thoughts.

Okay, this is what the voice said: Say 'You.'

Me: Say what?

The Voice: Say 'You.'

Me: Okay, I don't get it.

The Voice: Say You. Talk directly to me.

Me: Ahhhh...

"You don't care. You don't come through when I need You. You never do anything when I need You to. You always take Your own sweet time."

Only thing is, I didn't get past "You don't care." My hard heart was melted like snow. He allowed me to know smack in the middle of my complaints that He did care. Has my situation changed? No. Do I think that it will? Yes, it must. Do I believe that God has my best interests at heart and is on the case? Absolutely.

Listen for that still small voice. You may be surprised by what He has to say to you today.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Veezie's Easy Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken

Veezie's Easy-Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken


* 4 boneless chicken breasts
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* ¼ cup water
* 1 package Stove Top chicken stuffing
* ½ cup melted butter
* Swiss cheese slices


* Arrange the chicken in a 13×9 pan sprayed with Pam.
* Place a slice of Swiss cheese on each chicken breast.
* Mix water and soup together and pour on top of chicken.
* Sprinkle dry stuffing mix on top of chicken.
* Drizzle butter evenly over the top.
* Bake at 350° for 40–45 minutes.

My notation for this recipe: This was just yummy!
It was a definite two thumbs up and very easy to modify for two. Try it; you'll like it!

Edited to Add:

Oh my! Manuela just mentioned in comments that Stove Top stuffing has a lot of sodium. I checked! Yes! TOO much.

The next time I make this recipe, I'll be trying the following recipe for the stuffing mix. Way less sodium!

Home Made Instant Stuffing

6 cups cubed bread
3 tsp. vegetable, chicken or beef bouillon granules or 3 cubes
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried minced celery
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350*F. Bake bread cubes for 8 to 10 minutes or until dry. In a large bowl, toss bread with remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Store in airtight container. It will keep for 1 to 4 months or 12 months frozen.
To prepare, combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbls. melted butter.

Yields about 7 cups


Thanks, Manuela! I appreciated the head's up.

And now, just because I have a better pic of my beloved...

Disclaimer: This man has gazillion shirts! Why he always settles on this one... Must be a comfort thing.

Edited to Add Again:

Thanks to Miss Sandy's offering this dish for supper tonight at the Quill, I have photos to share.

Yummmmmmm, makes me want to make it all over again. Thanks so much, Miss Sandy!