Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year With New Possibilities!




2015 has been a year of many comings and goings, leavings and beginnings, renewals and goodbyes. Thankful for the knowledge of eternity, versus this life, I am ever grateful for each day to learn and grow. We wish you all a Happy New Year filled with dreams made a reality, love overflowing, and peace. May God bless all of you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup - Leftover Magic


Sometimes keeping all courses on track at the same time is a bit of a challenge. Last night I overcooked the broccoli just a tad, so it wasn't that lovely bright green any more. It still tasted good but I knew reheating it would only turn it to mush, so sometime in the middle of the night I decided to turn it into soup. It's easy, and yes, there are cans of food involved. That's okay, as a meal doesn't always have to be 100% from scratch.

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup

1 c. cooked broccoli
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 4 oz can mushrooms
1 can full of milk
1/2 cup each pepper jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan or pot combine the broccoli, soup, and milk. Mash the broccoli to get rid of the big chunks. Place on burner set to medium low and heat. Add mushrooms, liquid and all, and then add the cheeses. Melt cheeses, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, serve sprinkled with green onion. 4 servings


Monday, December 28, 2015

Angels Among Us - Caring In the Midst of Pain


Sometimes we forget that this life is so short, and those we love will not be around forever. When they go, our pain, especially when it's due to a tragedy, is overwhelming. I know of two dear ladies who have lost a loved one in the same tragic way over the past year, one within the last few months. Having been there myself I marvel at their strength.
It would be easy for either one of these sweet women to sit around wallowing in their misery. Instead they go about their days taking people to doctor appointments, bringing meals in, going shopping for them, and visiting those who can't get out on their own.
We hear so much about how conservative people just don't care, are selfish, and don't help the poor and needy. My experience is the opposite. Even in the midst of overwhelming grief and pain, they serve quietly, giving of their time, their substance, their hearts, to be there for others. They don't expect the government or anyone else to do what they can do themselves, to make life a little easier for someone else. These ladies are two very conservative, but true angels among us, who are an example of Christlike love and service. I'm in awe of their ability to do what needs to be done, not complaining, not thinking of themselves, just doing, and doing it with love.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Angels Among Us - So Shines a Good Deed In a Weary World

In case you haven't seen this story, it's one of incredible courage, faith, and kindness in the face of death. I am humbled by the bravery of these Muslim women who stood up to the terrorists who attacked their bus. If you think all people of one belief or non-belief are the same, take some time to really read from their own words, what they stand for. Or, better yet, be observant, be willing to look beyond what the mainstream right or left leaning news sources share to find the good news. There is much out there to give us all hope. Here is the story from CNN : Their M.O. is a tried and terrifying one: Launch a raid, single out Christians, and then spray them with bullets.
But when Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a bus Monday, things didn't go according to plan.
A group of Kenyan Muslims shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.
The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses said.
The bus was headed to the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia.
The journey is such a security risk that most buses travel with a police escort.
In this case, however, the police car broke down and the bus continued on its journey, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya's interior cabinet secretary, said.
A few hours later, the militants attacked. 
In the Monday attack, the gunmen ordered Muslim passengers to come out of the bus and separate themselves from the Christians.
There were more than 100 passengers on board.
The Muslim passengers refused.
They gave the Christian women their hijabs and helped others hide behind bags in the bus, passenger Abdiqafar Teno told CNN.
"They told them, 'If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here," he said.
A Christian man who tried to run away was captured and shot dead, Teno said. The driver of a truck, which was trailing the bus, was also killed.
The gunmen left, but warned they would return.
Nkaissery, the interior cabinet secretary, told reporters security forces were in "hot pursuit of the criminals."
Then he commended the actions of the Muslim passengers.
"We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion," he said. "We are one people as a nation. And this is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Angels Among Us - Without Recognition


The other day I had the opportunity to help shop for, put together, and deliver Christmas baskets. Most of the folks we visited were widows or single elderly. One particular woman lives in a very humble abode, sparsely furnished and decorated, but very clean and neat. She's at an age where health keeps her from doing much physically, so she spends her days crocheting hats and scarves and such for others. She was so happy to see us, and thrilled to receive the food and treats we brought, but what was interesting was that she had to tell us of her good fortune. Someone, two different folks, had left for or mailed her money anonymously. This probably made Christmas for her so she could do something for family. Her children are all grown, and do help her a lot, but sometimes folks just don't tell you what they really need, so some observant someone sent her a gift of love, not needing recognition in return. She was so tickled, I wish I could share a snapshot of the look on her face as she told us what happened. To whomever that angel was, THANK YOU, for bringing a little bit of joy into this woman's life. 
The more I dive into looking at the people I'm so very blessed to know, the more excited I get to share with you. I hope you enjoy these little snippets I'm sharing of the angels among us.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Angels Among Us - Called to Serve, Going the Second Mile


This post isn't about Santa Claus, but in essence about the many giving men out there in the world today, men of faith, who do what they do without monetary compensation, because they've been called of God, to serve their congregations as bishops or in other leadership positions. Most importantly, they do what they do because they carry the light of Christ in their hearts.

One such man was my in-law's neighbor. He has been bishop several times over the years, most recently of a young single adult congregation. At the time he still had a full time job, yet he was also in charge of a a group of young adults of probably around 300 members. He and his two counselors not only saw to the spiritual needs of the congregation, but their physical and emotional needs as well. Our church has a unique leadership organization in that there are never just one person taking care of a group of people. Each leader typically has two counselors, and each organization whether over the women, priesthood, children or youth, have designated positions to help the bishop in his role as "father" of each ward, or branch, our terms for each congregation.

While this particular man was tending to his "flock" and working full time, caring for a wife who suffers from a debilitating illness, he still took the time to do things such as install guard rails for my in-laws after dad took a tumble. He would clear their driveway after each snowstorm, along with their sidewalks and the neighbors around him. Any time mom and dad needed something, he was there, and you can be assured that he kept his eyes open to their needs as they didn't ask for help unless it was an absolute emergency. What a blessing for us as we lived over 100 miles away at the time and couldn't be there all the time to help.

He is one example of the many men I've known, and known of throughout the years who don't get paid to serve their church, yet there they are, whether they live in Australia, or Iceland, Malaysia or Africa, sacrificing their time, their talents, their means to lift others. They are men, rich and poor, who will see a need and fill it, not caring about race, or religion or economic background. They work their full time jobs, they tend to their families, they serve in their communities, and they serve their congregations. They go beyond what is asked of them, because they care. They truly go the second mile.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Angels Among Us - Part 1

I would like to share a little something about the people I'm so fortunate to know. There are so many in my life that are good, honest and decent people. People of faith, love and true willingness to give their time and means to lift and edify others.
One such person, well actually her whole family is amazing, but she in particular is incredible due to her willingness to lead us as our choir director. Some may say, "big deal!", and yes for her it actually is because she wears hearing aids. She's a young mom of 4, who, along with her husband just purchased a local motel. They are busy trying to be a part of the community, such as opening up their conference room to anyone who didn't have a place to go for Thanksgiving, or couldn't get out of town to be with family. They couldn't go back to their home state, so they made the best of it. I hear everyone who attended had a nice time, and there was plenty of food, provided via potluck.
I didn't realize this sweet young mom had a hearing issue as she sat behind me in church one Sunday and her voice was clear and sweet and she hit all the notes perfectly. After that Sunday we were gone for a bit traveling and when we got back that next Sunday the choir did a number during sacrament meeting which was so lovely. It was only after I joined the choir did I happen to notice her hearing aids, and that she sometimes needed a measure repeated so she could "hear" the music to better lead us. She has picked out the perfect piece for us to do for Christmas, a lovely version of The First Noel/Pachelbel Canon. We are very lucky to have her, and by the way, no one gets paid for what they do to in our church, so her sacrifice is a great gift to us.
Just one of the many angels among us I'm grateful to know.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hot Buttered Cider Batter

A blast from the past for me, this recipe is easy and so delicious it's hard to not indulge all the time. When we lived on Adak Island, 1400 miles off the coast of Alaska, our dear sisters at church were all sorts of creative geniuses with food and home decorating ideas. I was introduced to this recipe through them, yet didn't take it with me when we left as I was calorie conscious and a bit silly, really. As we get older though we think back on fond memories and times with good people, so this tasty treat surfaced from that back corner of my little brain. Where does one go to find anything these days but Pinterest, so of course I found my way this recipe there, hurray!
I did a test run on my dear hubby and daughter the other night, which was a hit, so I'm back at blogging and sharing with you. I hope you give it a try, it's a wonderful way to warm your holiday nights, or days.

HOT BUTTERED CIDER BATTER

1 Stick of real butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. each cinnamon and nutmeg
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

Sweetened whipped cream

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the spices and and blend, then add the ice cream and mix. The butter, sugar mixture might stick to the bowl so be sure and scrape it down as you mix in the ice cream. Spoon into a freezer container and keep frozen until ready to use. Add two heaping tablespoons to each hot cup of cider and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. 16-20 serving portions.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

To Ponderize -

 In our church, we have General Conference twice a year, once in April and once in October, where our prophet and leaders share with us messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement. In a talk by Kevin G. Durrant titled "My Heart Pondereth Them Continually", he shared a term he and his family have coined regarding pondering and memorizing scripture. Once a week they choose a new scripture to study and memorize as a family. I love that they are learning together for one, and memorizing verses as well. He challenged us to consider doing the same, and so I have started, albeit a bit slowly, to implement this idea as well. My first verse comes from the Pearl of Great Price

 For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Moses 1:39

I've been thinking about this for awhile, the notion that our Heavenly Father loves all of us and wants us to have what He has. I've often wondered if people who aren't members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but are still Christian, if they've ever wondered why we are here on earth to live in a mortal body if they believe we will be spirits only for eternity. My question is first, do you believe that you were a spirit before you came here to earth? We believe we were before the earth was formed, and we will continue to be spirits after we die until the final resurrection. Then we get our bodies back, whole and perfect, to live out the eternity we prepared for. if you think about it, a spirit can't eat, touch, or love quite the way a soul can, body and spirit together. If all we were ever going to be in the eternities is just spirit, there would be no purpose for going through this earthly life in a body. Spirits can't be tempted the way a mortal can, or do any of the other things a mortal can. What I love most is that Heavenly Father has a plan to bring us back home. For those who haven't had an opportunity to know of His plan before they passed on, we have the opportunity to help, through temple ordinances. There isn't any base He hasn't covered in giving us what He has.

What do you think? What have you learned in your faith about our Father's plan for us?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Yellowstone Adventures Day 1 Part, ?

 I had never been to Yellowstone prior to this so forgive my excitement over what you may yawn at. 
The first day out it was foggy and damp. The sort of day made for spooky adventures in a magical forest. One of the first unusual sights to catch my eye was wisps of steam curling up from holes in the hillsides. It rather unnerved me to think that you could potentially step into a steaming hot hole and not even know it until it was too late, but it's fascinating to see.
 Most of the mist floating through this valley came from steam vents in the rocks and hills, along with a little from the river.
I tried to capture the jewel like droplets of water glittering from bare shrub branches. It sparkles a bit, don't you think? You can see that the sun was starting to come out here, and brighten the day. 

There will be more to come, as I can't figure out why my edited photos aren't showing up here. Good night for now. Sweet dreams all you in blogger land.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dr. Kent Parsons' Cllassroom Management Survival Guide

 

I have to say I'm so proud of my husband for writing this book! He is so good at education, especially helping teachers manage and run a smooth and well planned classroom. Discipline is his strength, and keeping it simple, which is key to running a great class. When following the tips in his book, yes I've put them to the test with great results, discipline problems will be at a minimum so learning can be maximum. This is in ebook format, for Kindle or using a Kindle app on your device. I urge you to check this book out if you are in education, and please, share with your friends.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Chickens That Flew the Coop

 Soooo.... my chickens are a bit spoiled in that they get to free range in the evening before bed time. Because of that they think they should be able to roam whenever and wherever they want. Add to that the fact that at least two of them are starting to lay eggs and you have a chicken revolt going on as they look for places to drop their eggs. They are always looking for ways to escape and or hoping I'm coming out to let them out. Yes, they have nesting boxes but that doesn't stop them from wanting to try and lay an egg behind the chest freezer in the garage, or the stack of bricks against the fence. My kind and helpful cousin brought us this much larger coop for the girls as I was plotting a bigger abode for them. The story behind the giveaway of this coop is best saved for another day.

I was getting things put away and happened to walk into the laundry room and spied Penny and Betsy on top of the coop. This is the second time I've caught them up there and I wanted to get a photo so I stepped out on the back porch only to have Penny fly straight toward me and land outside the pen. Betsy, who is still on the coop in the photo, followed suit immediately and they both came running up to me to see if I had a treat for them. Yes, these girls are spoiled. I was contemplating going to buy some sharp shears to clip their wings when it dawned on me that the ramp on the back of the coop is their launch pad to getting on top of the coop. What you don't see is that the other side of the coop roof is a lift top with corrigated tinted sun room plastic which they would never be able to get up on. So I've removed the ramp you see to prevent another escape. You have to give them credit, they are smart enough to plot an escape for sure.
Two of the three eggs I found this morning. The one on the right is called a jello egg as the shell is super soft. The other one was dropped by the feeder and was another jello egg, so this tells me they are starting to lay and trying to get it right. I might need to boost their calcium intake a bit, although Penny has been laying eggs for a month now and they are getting larger all the time.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer's Fresh Bounty Enjoyed - Smoked Chicken & Tomato with Basil Openface Sandwich

 My first full summer here in beautiful Wallowa Valley and the garden gods have been pretty good to me.
Our tomatoes are doing better than I had hoped, as the weather here can be rather unpredictable, but in spite of that I've been able to put up a batch of delicious pickled beets and roasted tomato salsa. I have a nice crop of Basil of different varieties, so pesto will be in the near future here. We are lucky to have a local grocery store that does smoked meats which is nice for those days when you want something simple and easy. The other day I had a craving for Italian something, anything, but I'm in the middle of a sculpting and painting frenzy in order to get ready for Hallowbaloo in Seattle. So I rummaged around my kitchen and fridge and this is the result. Nice nutty, whole grain bread topped with a smear of mayo and thin slices of fresh picked tomato, topped with shredded smoked chicken, topped with minced fresh Basil and a sprinkle of course ground pepper. Mmmm! Heaven!

Smoked Chicken & Tomato with Basil Openface Sandwich

Sliced whole grain bread of your choice
fresh, thinly sliced tomato
mayonnaise
smoked chicken
fresh minced Basil
course ground pepper.

spread mayo on bread, top with a single layer of sliced tomato, top with shredded smoked chicken, sprinkle with fresh minced basil and pepper. Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Meatless Monday - Italian Quinoa Patties

Alrighty then! I've been gone so long from my blog that I took Google by surprise. I will have to start posting more often. Anyhew, I'm baaaack! From moving and getting a big garden in to baby chicks and tearing out flooring to chasing stuff from room to room so the new flooring could be installed..... to tearing out cabinets and having to find a place for everything that was in the old cabinets to painting and more, I've been way too busy to even think about blogging. We are almost at normal now, and am so happy with the results. Will post pictures when all is done.
For now I want to share a recipe I found on Pinterest and tweaked of course, that filled the bill for our meatless Monday plan. Quinoa is a super food grain that is also very versatile. We had these delicious patties, accompanied by fresh from the garden salad and baked potatoes. I made a creamy spicy mayo to top the patties with and even Nature Guy went back for seconds. We will do this again, perhaps as little meatballs for marinara. So yummy and easy as well!

Italian Quinoa Patties
1/3 c. quinoa cooked in 2/3 cup water according to package directions.
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon each fresh minced parsley and basil
3 tablespoons each fresh minced chives or green onion, and yellow onion
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Rinse your quinoa and add to small pan with the water. Bring to boil and turn the burner to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool. After cool beat eggs and add those along with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Let sit 5 minutes. Using wet hands form 4 patties about 1 inch tall. In a frying pan place 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and turn burner to medium low. Once hot add patties and cook covered for 5 minutes on each side. They should be golden. Serve with spicy mayo, recipe below.
6 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon spicy chile sauce, and teaspoon sweet chile sauce.Whisk together and serve with patties.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Here Chick, Chick Chick.....

We recently acquired some little chicklets, that started out cute and tiny. They were just little balls of fluff and super sweet. Betsy is the black one, and Prudy is the one up front, with Penny behind her.
 We also added two more, who are growing quickly. Here's Bella, the terror of tiny town, although I think the other chicks are putting her in her place without me having to put her in time out as you see her here. You can tell she's not happy...lol.

Here's sweet Daisy, the quietest and prettiest of the flock. 
Betsy has grown quite a bit in the last week, with full feathered wings and a tail to boot. Chickens aren't much different than humans, in that they like company, like to be noticed, and love to eat. These little darlin's are all laying hens, at least we hope they are all hens. Penny was stretching her neck earlier, looking as if she was going to crow, oh dear! If any turn out to be a rooster by mistake, they are looking at cold storage, but that's the way of the world on a small farmette. We have two Gold Sexlinks, two Ameracaunas, and one black Austrolorpe. All are purportedly good layers of large eggs, and supposedly good natured and hardy. Hardy I believe as they took a 600 mile journey with me last week. I hope they are as sweet as they are supposed to be.
So the fun begins, with heat lamps, changing bedding daily, poop patrol in the brooder at least twice daily and water changing. I figured out that if I elevated their food and water a bit, the feeders tend to stay cleaner. Bella and Daisy love to scratch and toss things behind them with their feet so this has been great. I've found a great forum for getting questions answered regarding raising chicks at Backyard Chickens Forum. If you have started a similar journey into Chickendom I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Breathe

Sometimes we need a reminder to breathe as we dash through our day tending to our tasks. Here's an uplifting and pretty reminder, complete with pearls and lampwork beads. Find this at:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tropical Breezes

Palm trees and breezes...
shells on warm sandy beaches,
wait to dress pretty girls.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Broken China Heart Pendants and a Statement Bracelet

 Reality has limits, imagination is boundless.... a great way to lift your spirits any day! This bracelet can be sized to fit anyone.
Amongst all that junk mail,
It feels so divine
When someone cares enough
To send a Valentine!

Have you thought about what you could give that special someone? Well, I'm hear to give you some ideas. So for all you see here, and more stop by Simply Sheryl's

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pretty in Pink Bracelets and more...

 Leather and glass are a great combo in this pretty bracelet. So pretty in pink! Here's the link Simply Sheryl's
A beaded cuff bracelet that is made to match anything. Another lovely one of a kind you can find here: Simply Sheryl's

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sweetheart Jewelry

 Filling up my shop for Valentines Day, with sweetheart deals on hand crafted earrings...
 a hand woven bracelet...
and necklace. You can find these at Simply Sheryl's