Back to blogging....
I thought I might share with you the events of the last several months, but attempt after attempt has been foiled. So, in the interest in just getting back on here, I am going to post a few pictures and short vignettes, to give a condensed and limited overview of the last few months. At that point I can get back on here and do some blogging! I am excited about that. This blog is going to finally be used for what I had originally intended it to be for, to share those things that are going on in my life, that are on my heart, and important to me, with friends. Speaking of which, I have the privilege of starting this comeback entry with some really wonderful news. For those of you that followed my blog, you will remember my friend, Kim. For those of you that are new here, I am excited to introduce you to her.
This is, Kim. Earlier last year, Kim took a short sabbatical from blogging. But, she is back!! You can visit her anytime you like. Her blogging is rich in warmth, loaded with practical living advice and tips, and now she is on an exciting journey, a quest taking her to an exploration of her, Christian faith. So, as she would say, grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and spend some time with her. You will be glad you did, and I think you will visit regularly. Welcome back, Kim!!!
One thing I suppose I'd like to show you, is something that is just a little new for me. You may recognize this photo from an earlier "profile". I am posting it here to just say that my hair has looked this way for years.
Not too long after the football season started this year, my husband bought me this wonderful sweatshirt. So, this photo is a twofer. I get to show off my favorite NFL team, and of course the real purpose here is to show you a new hair style that I had cut at the onset of autumn. It was fun, and I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it so much that I did this.....
I am completely enjoying this new do, and don't plan to change much about it for quite some time!
I started this little section off mentioning the earlier "profile" photo. I guess I could give a little explanation about the current "profile" photo. When I started to put together a "comeback" blog entry, I got on my computer one Saturday, morning and as soon as the coffee was ready, I got right on it. My husband thought it might be cute to take a picture of me so that I could use a realistic "blogger" photo. I was yet in my nightgown, merely slipping on an old grey sweatshirt, and yes, I had done the ritualistic teeth brushing, face washing and barely skimming a brush through my hair, but that was it. That photo is as real as it gets, and I thought him nuts to suggest it be a "profile" photo. But, when I dropped the insecurity that vanity begets, I realized he was right. It is a perfect profile photo for a blogger. It is real, and so will this blog be. I hope you enjoy visiting here.
This blog will be so very real. Why? Well, why bother if it is not. Also, the new hairstyle is not the only change in my life. After quite a wait, I am back in school. This time I will be completing my course work and receive my degree. I am noticing that I am so consumed, happily and gratefully consumed, with my course work that my devotions and time with God, have been too brief. Occasionally, I skip a day entirely. Using this blog as a way to share those nuggets of life producing wonder that I find while spending time with God, will do two things. First, it will keep me on track to spend that time daily with the, Lord. Second, it will keep me blogging. Will I be exclusively posting my faith journey. No, of course not. But, in doing some of that I will stay on track. I love twofers!
Also, the style of my home is rather a cottage layout. I have begun to update it, room by room and transform it into a cottage home. I will be posting photos of my progress. Next to sharing ones heart and faith, it doesn't get much more real than being invited into someone's home. Consider yourself invited. I only wish we could visit, and have tea and biscuits together.
A little catch up on my daughters.
Last October, my oldest daughter Angela, was on the Today Show. If you are interested in a link to watch that interview, I will send it to you. I am sure you understand why I would not post that publically, and this is not a private blog. Zumba, is rapidly growing in popularity, and extremely effective in meeting it's goal of helping anyone who wants to achieve better health, do so. The philosophy behind Zumba, is that people don't like to exercise, but they love to have fun and dance. We enjoy a good party. The way the movements are designed, anyone at any level of health can join in and begin. The result of people enjoying what they are doing is that they will continue doing it. Having that activity be proven for results in health and appearance is, people keep doing it and become healthier. My daughter struggled with eating and hated exercise. Sound familiar? She attended one Zumba class. When she got there she was heavier than she had ever been, and had no energy. Six months later... well you will see the results below. She did not do anything in the way of dieting. Zumba, gave her such energy and a feeling of accomplishment within herself, that modifying her food intake came naturally. Zumba used my daughter as their poster child last year. The Today Show, did the segment on her journey with, Zumba. Oh, so you know, this daughter is an R.N., and has been for several years. She endorses Zumba to the degree that she is now a certified instructor. Personally, I think she is considering opening a Zumba, studio. Without further adieu:
Before.... and after.
This is my daughter with the Zumba, owner, Beto.
The Dayton Daily News, featured her in their newspaper. Angela, is actually very quiet and has never liked the lime light. I'm not sure she has absolutely loved all of the spotlight that has been on her, but she knows Zumba, works, and she has a passion about feeling good and helping others to do the same. She feels great! She looks amazing~ and I am so happy for her. Oh yeah... I'm very proud of her.
Last summer, and since my last post, my daughter Melissa, and her two daughter's, drove out from Oklahoma, to visit. We had a really nice time. She always has so much she wants to go and do and see. And, I am pleased to say, she actually wants me to go with her. The next time she visits, I have my own little list of go and do and sees, to do with her. :-) Okay, maybe we will alternate, her thing... my thing, her thing... then my thing. Fair is fair, and she is the one that drives all that way, so her thing can be first. :-)
This is my daughter, with her two daughters.
When making and, or eating Strawberry Shortcake, some like Sponge Cake, some Angel Food cake, some Pound cake. BUT... it is called..... Strawberry Shortcake. And, this is one of the few times that I am a traditionalist. The traditional Strawberry Shortcake had strawberries, whipped cream and, Shortcake. Since it is early summer when this delicacy is best made, I do vary from the traditional whipped cream, and buy really good Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream. I rarely, maybe twice a year, actually buy ice cream, but this is one of those times. But, did I mention the Shortcake is non-negotiable?
Sponge Cake - They are similar to angel cakes in that they use many eggs and no shortening or leavening. Sponge cakes use the whole eggs, while angel cakes use only the whites. THINK TWINKIE.
Angel Food Cake – Angel Food Cake is also known as foam-style cake. They are made with a large quantity of egg whites and no shortening or leavening. Angel Food or "angel cake" is thought to be a takeoff of the cornstarch cake and the sponge cake. I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of this cake. Truth be told, well............... yuk.
Pound Cake - This cake gets its name from the amounts of the ingredients used in the original recipe. One pound of each; butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Through the course of time, baking powder has been added to some recipes, as have flavorings such as lemon and almond,etc. This one is not a yuk, it is a huge.... YUM!!! Alas, it is not, Shortcake, and I don’t use it as if it were.
There is something called, Cottage Pudding. I have run across recipes for it in the last couple of years. It is suppose to be more of a cake than pudding, and is apparently used as the base cake for, Stawberry Shortcake dessert. I do plan to try one of these recipes, but......... you got it, I love my Shortcake with that strawberry flavor, texture and syrup... so.........
Shortcake - Short doughs bake up rich and crumbly. Think a sweet biscuit. Properly made, they are this way for three reasons. First, they have a high ratio of fat to flour. As always, I use only real butter, and for shortcakes I use unsalted. I also use whole milk. Second reason, they are made with low-protein flour that contains no, and produces little gluten. I only use cake flour. And third, Shortcake is to be tender and flaky much like pie crust, so handle it like pie crust... a little as possible. Bread gets its soft pillowy texture from kneading; That is not what you want here. Then, bake high and fast! 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes max.
Since they were here when strawberries were good, my daughter wanted homemade Strawberry Shortcake. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to teach her older daughter the ways of Shortcake. I talked to her about the different styles of cakes that you just read about as she made the the shortcakes. I had her use the Jiffy mix. It makes great shortcakes that are impossible to foil, and I knew the first time making them she would enjoy that. Besides, her mom keeps it on hand for pancakes. She could make these again for her daddy, when she got home.
Seven and one half years old, and putting the families dessert together. Strawberries are already sliced and in the refrigerator.
Proud of her tasty finished product. She really did it all by herself. I was busy telling her the Shortcake tales. Next summer we will pull out the cake flour, etc.
I forgot to mention that my daughter brought their Westie, Sassy. Baxter had his 2nd birthday while they were here, so he and Sassy got some really special birthday treats. Yep, we celebrate Baxter's birthday every year, this year was just extra special since his cousin was here. Actually, Westie's and Scotties really are Scottish cousins. :-)
Here are a few more photos of these two cousins. Silly? Maybe, but I love 'em and its my blog.
And now it's time to go home. I love this picture of Melissa, and, Baxter. They have been close since.... well do ya believe in love at first sight??
Last, but certainly not least...
As you can imagine, I have an abundance of photos of my daughters, and their families. I limit posting them as this is a blog and not a photographic journal. Blog... a place to put my thoughts and what is important to me. I went to Texas to see my daughter Tara, in November. Once again, my son-in-law.... I really don't like that term. My son-by-love, Marty, has been deployed to, Iraq. He left early November and will be there, bar an R & R, for 15 months. The pictures I will post of this daughter are going to surround that. I see no reason to give explanations or comments. If ever the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words.", is true, it is here. I think these photos speak for themselves.
These are photos taken the day Marty's, unit was deploying.
I know children are to such an amazing degree resilient. I also know that Tara, is a wonderful mother, and these children are being handled, nurtured and reasurred, very well. I am sure however that you would understand why I am sobbing, and why my heart is so desparately broken. Marty is a good father and these children need him. They will survive this as well as any will because of how Marty, and Tara. have handled all of this. But, I just want that family in tact and back to normal Those children need him, so does, Tara.
I took the following photos while in Texas, in, November. Telephone calls are precious right now. I wanted to capture that, and was delighted that Tara, did not seem to mind.
This is one of the last pictures I took while visiting in, Texas. The night before, my grandson asked if we could have apples cut up for a snack, and have a little caramel and chocolate to dip them in. OH YEAH!!! No problem. The next day after school, that is exactly what they had. All three of these kids liked this after school snack.
Friday's in the park.
Summer time in this little town I live in is really wonderful. May, through October, we have an European Market, the dunes of Lake Michigan are closeby, and every Friday night there is a live concert and movie in the park. The concerts begin at 7 pm and each week they offer different performers with different styles of music. As dusk gives way to dark, the movie begins. They are children's movies. The last one I was aware of was, Curious George. I loved that monkey as a kid...... okay, still do. One evening the concert was given by,
Northwest Indiana Pipes and Drums . They are a very good group of bagpipers and drummers. They participate in competitions, and place well. I took pictures of them when they performed at our little park. One of the members that manages their web site spotted me. She asked if I would send her some of the photos. I did, and they actually used them on their web site. I was flattered. I had the pleasure of spending some time with the Pipe Major, Bill Smillie. He is the most delightful man. He comes to a nearby city and gives private bagpipes lessons. I was so taken in with his passion and Scottish accent, I considered taking lessons. Ridiculous... I know.
Oh yah, tis me lad Baxter, ye be seein' in the photo.
End of summer brings Melissa's birthday. In our family, golden birthdays are really special. Melissas', particularly so. For one thing, she is the biggest fan of nostalgia. For another, her golden birthday was especially unique. She was born at 8:29 pm, on 8/29. Every year I call her at 8:29 pm regardless of where she is. Due to a family situation, on year I missed that. She was adult about it, but it she did miss it. Like I said, the nostalgic one. Anyway, she wanted more made of this one than we usually make of the 3oth birthday. So Jon, Baxter and I went to celebrate with her.
Happy Golden Birthday, Sunshine!
After being there several days, we headed home. We stopped to see friends in Shawnee, Kansas. Mary has the best coffee. She buys it online, I think. I need to email her and get that information so I can order some of that coffee. Baxter, especially enjoyed that visit. Mary and her husband have two Scotties. The last time Baxter, saw them there were three. Their Duncan, passed away last year. That was gut wrenching. Angus, and Montgomery, are wonderful playmates though. Montgomery, is the wheaten colored Scottie.
Baxter, Montgomery and Angus.
Baxter, Montgomery and Angus.
Baxter, bringing up the rear.
Angus, Montgomery and Baxter.
Rosemary and Thyme
In the midst of all of the events since my last post, I have discovered... yes another British murder mystery series. This one is the cleanest as far as language and content goes that I have found thus far. Not that the others had anything lewd, graphic or particularly violent in them. I mean after all, Brits do polite and genteel murder... for the most part. They tend to focus on drama of plot and not on dread of horror. Of course one must overlook just a small handful such as, Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. :-/ Those of you that indulge as I do in British who dunit's, know what I mean. Those of you that don't might want to take a look into it. :-) And, here is a great place to begin, especially if you also enjoy gardening. I, with great enthusiasm present to you, Rosemary and Thyme. I really, really... really, enjoy this series. I have had to travel to a branch of our county library that is not as close to my home as some of the others, and is not in a direction I tend to travel in to see the entire series. It has been worth it! And, I would do it again but, since I now own the complete collection, I guess that will not be necessary. ;-)
While in an embroidery shop here in town this past summer, I found some wonderful patterns. All but one was at least 20 years old. The newest one was one I was actually considering buying, I just did not want to drop $11.95 for a Tote Bag, Backpack, Purse and Cosmetic Bag pattern, no matter how cute or functional they were. The good news is, they were all $1.00 each, including the new one. I have not done anything with this pattern other than buy some fabric for the coat view. Since I found it a little challenging to find anything with Scottish Terrier's on it, I just have to post the pictures of this pattern.
The next two patterns I did not take pictures of the pattern envelopes. Instead, I took pictures of the finish products. The sizes on these patterns was off, but altering was a snap. They were so much fun to make. Melissa, sent me pictures of the little Oklahoma, cowgirls wearing the costumes from the two patterns.
The costumes were such a hit at the older one's school Fall Fair, that she has asked that I make her costume next year. Oh the things a Nana gets to do! :-)
And for now last (there is a small separate post below this one), and least, I will post just a few cards that I have done since my last post in, July. There is something I am going to say at the end of these photos about card making, and I guess I said it best to a dear friend of mine on her blog not too long ago.
The dear friend I mentioned earlier is an absolute artist when it comes to rubber stamping and card making. As far as I am concerned, artistically she is the best. However, she was struggling with a desire to lay it down, at least for the time being. She needed to give herself permission to do so, and I did not want to be a pressure point in her life. So, I put the following italicized portion below on her blog. I believe it expresses where I am at with card making as well. I do enjoy it, but for now, I have put it down and will not pick it back up until if and when it feels right. And, although purchasing ready made cards was a little difficult at first, I am so enjoying the freedom it offers me. I am a card sender. I have been since I was a girl. To make each and every one is just too much right now.
I really enjoy stamping and as you know, much of my inspiration came from you. Your cards are beautiful and I have enjoyed them. I've searched SCS for cards done by you, not because I thought you "should" be stamping, but to see how you were doing. I missed you. Your cards often, nearly always reflected where you were at whether it be your state of being, or state of doing. Over the last few months I have made cards that I enjoyed making, but they seemed to demand time I truly wanted to devote elsewhere. Will I stop making cards... not forever. Have I put my tools, ink and pencils away for a season? Yep! I realized that although the card making was good therapy for me, it had become a self indulgent activity that interfered with life. Truth be known, it was my way to ignore life. I want a full life and anything that threatens to deny me that... is history. So, I have for now put the card making down. I will do it as it seems and feels appropriate, no more... no less. If you feel like it is time to put it down, you Go Girl!
I want to thank those of you that have gently, and some that have a little more firmly asked me to get back to blogging. It is good to be back!