Sunday, April 11, 2010

Words to Live By

mom holding child 2

All children need a laptop.  Not a computer, but a human laptop. Moms, dads, grannies and grandpas, aunts, uncles - someone to hold them, read to them, teach them.  Loved ones who will embrace them and pass on the experience, rituals and knowledge of a hundred generations.  Loved ones who will pass to the next generation their expectations of them, their hopes, and their dreams.

                                                                         --  General Colin Powell

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Strawberry Cream Crepes

Strawberry Cream Crepes

Back in high school, I took a gourmet cooking class -- funnest class ever! I still  make some of the recipes from that class; here's one of them...

Perfect for Spring. Perfect for strawberry season. Perfect for breakfast or a fancy dessert! This is an easy recipe that gets me lots of 'yums!'



Strawberry Cream Crepes

12 crepes

2 pints sliced strawberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1   3 oz. package of cream cheese

1 cup whipping cream

sugar to taste

Prepare crepes using your favorite recipe. Toss the strawberries with the 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside. With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in whipping cream until smooth and thick, but not stiff. Add sugar to desired sweetness.

Place a some cream in each crepe and roll up. Chill. Serve strawberries over the crepes.


♦  I double this recipe, especially if company's coming over.

♦ Use a *hand* mixer, not a stand mixer for this recipe.

♦  Sometimes we like strawberries inside the crepes, too.

♦  I've seen this recipe done with chocolate crepes. Oo-la-la! Try it!

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Words to Live By

resurrection morning

He is Risen!

Mr. H's favorite picture of the Savior...
thinking of our friend Jason today...
feeling very blessed...
Happy Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A New House

Its a Wonderful  Life Housewarming gift basket

No, not for me! For my sweet brother and his wife. These two have been through hell for the last few years, and today they move into their own home and get a little heaven! I am so happy for them!! These two are my heroes. I hope I can be like them when I grow up.

Here's a little housewarming gift basket I put together for them: it's based on the house blessing from "It's a Wonderful Life".  (you know I *love* that movie!) Do you remember that scene where George and Mary Bailey welcome Mr. Martini and family to their new home?

Mary: Bread... that this house may never know hunger.
[Mary hands a loaf of bread to Mrs. Martini]
Mary: Salt... that life may always have flavor.
[Mary hands a box of salt to Mrs. Martini]
George Bailey: And wine... that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini Castle.
[George hands Mr. Martini a bottle of wine]

Bread Salt and Wine

Here's what's in the basket:

  • ♥  salt, yummy specialty bread, and wine Sparkling Grape Juice (no one in my family drinks alcohol)
  • ♥  tags with Mary's house blessing attached to each item
  • ♥  a housewarming card

A housewarming gift basket -- simple and inexpensive -- but full of love and happiness for these two wonderful people! I love it when good things happen to good people. Bliss!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


soldiersmarchingclipart_lgThe month of March sure lived up to its name for me -- it's been a crazy month! The to-do list getting longer, and the calendar filling up until I was crying 'uncle', but no -- the days "marched" on!

With a lot of help, I pulled off a big event for the women in our church, but, oh my goodness, there was so much to do! This new church job is keeping me pretty busy from day to day.

I also got our Sweet Girl registered for her (gulp) junior year of high school, and Mr. H and I have attended her winter guard performances on the weekends. She is thriving -- we are *so happy* to see her strong and healthy and active. Hallelujah! :-)

Mr. H finished up his "bird in the hand" 6 week contract, but not before another 10-month contract came along. So, for a couple of weeks he was working two jobs, and I never saw him! (I know -- feast or famine, right?) He's done with that now, and back on an 8-5 schedule. He's got a bit of a commute. Oh well. We are beyond thrilled that he has some work. Hopefully this contract will get us through to the time when the job market is stronger...

Please don't think badly of me when I say I've felt a little down since he started working this longer temp contract -- there is a part of me that is so weary of just surviving and just wants a "real" job and real security (is that even possible anymore?).  Health benefits that actually benefit my family. Is this too much to ask? Although I am *thrilled* he is working, I guess I wanted a "finish line" at the end of this trial. Kind of a "you made it through, against all odds, and here is the payoff -- a permanent job with benefits"! **Trrrrr-ing** (that would be a magic wand sound-effect)

The reality is that we are going to have to sacrifice, be disciplined and work hard to recover financially from these unemployment/underemployment times, not something a weary person especially wanted to hear. So I had a little pity party.

That didn't get me anywhere, so after a bit, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and had a good talk with Mr. H. We can't control much in the job market, in the world, or in Washington -- but we DO have control over our household and our little kingdom. That is a good thing. We are healthy, and have the strength and power to change things. Those are blessings -- not to be wasted.

So we cracked open our Dave Ramsey books (loooooove him!) and made plans and became proactive.  Boy, it feels good! They are all just baby-steps, but they. are. steps. Couple this with my firm belief -- that you do all you can on your end, and the Lord will bless you -- and I know life will improve, and get better and better. It's not perfect. (I doubt it ever will be, even with a fortune at our feet!)  But it's better already.

Baby-steps! March!

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Friday, February 19, 2010


february snowflakes 


me love cocoa


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Table for my Valentines

Valentine table setting

I didn't do a whole lot of decorating 'round the house for Valentine's Day this year, but to ignore the holiday completely at our house, would be a cardinal sin to at least one of our family members! Valentine's Day is the #1 holiday to our Sweet Girl. She's loved it her whole life. Look -- she even has valentine PJ's! :-)

Valentine jammies

Since the kitchen is truly the heart of my home -- we travel through it when we come home, and you can see the table from the front door -- decorating our table with a valentine theme was the perfect idea. I 'shopped the house', and came up with some sweet ideas. Here's what I used:

Valentine place setting-1

My trusty red tablecloth. He's the star at Christmas *and* Valentines. I try to buy a color of tablecloth I can use for multiple holidays.

Lacy placemats.  Can you believe they're vinyl? Easy-peasy to clean. Love it. Again, these are used for multiple holidays. I pull these out for Mother's Day, Easter, Spring dinners, etc.

Red heart plates from Target. ($2.99? Be still my heart!)

Aww, that looks like a valentine right there! But I added just a couple more touches to the table...

Valentine colors in apothecary jars. No budget for filling these babies to the brim with candy. (Although I love that look) Pretty tissue paper provided lots of fun valentine color for free!

Valentine jars 

A personal touch.  My favorite. A Valentine picture drawn by our daughter when she was five added such a sweet touch to the table and paid homage to our Valentine fangirl!

 Valentine art

There you have it. A table for my valentines...

Monday, February 15, 2010

I ♥ Valentine's Weekend

Really -- does it get any better? Last weekend was the perfect storm for Valentine's Day. It fell on a Sunday, and so you had Friday, Saturday AND Sunday to be spoiled! And I hope you were!

Our weekend was filled with lots of family activities -- our Sweet Girl had a show on Friday and lots of family came to see her perform. She was thrilled that aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents would come to see her, and I think they enjoyed the show, and seeing what color guard was all about. Saturday, she was off for a Sadie Hawkins dance at the high school (the theme -- Sadie's in the 80's -- in other words, my Sadie's experience! LOL) and had so much fun.

homemade pizza

Sunday, we had a family Valentine's Day. I *did* get a few eyerolls from the teenager, but she jumped in anyway, and had fun with old Mom and Dad. ;-) We made home-made heart-shaped pizzas and decorated Valentine sugar cookies together (for the no-fail recipe I use, click here). I made sure the table was all decorated up for the occasion, and I'm not sure, but I think it made the food and the conversation even sweeter... ;-)

Valentine cookies more Valentine cookies

A romantic classic Cary Grant movie was planned next (the family voted for Father Goose) , but the Olympics trumped that, and we went with the next best romantic thing -- the pairs figure skating competition! We watched married couple Shen and Zhao stun the crowd with a beautiful performance and stay at # 1 all night -- pretty dreamy stuff! 

A perfect ending to our Valentine's weekend. Hope yours was fun, too. ♥

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine place setting

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Cat Who Came to Dinner

the cat who came to dinner

Don't you just  love the simple, sweet things that happen in a day to make you smile? These little things -- my 'sweet nothings' --  make my life rich and full no matter what our circumstances are.  Here's one of them: Gracie coming to dinner. Every. single. night. Before we all  have a chance to sit down, Gracie takes my her place and gives me that look you see.  "What? I'm here for dinner."  We won't mention the reproachful look I also get every time I "excuse" her from the table...

What are the "sweet nothings" you enjoy in your everydays?
I'd love to hear about them...

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Bird in the Hand

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


That's the motto for the week.  Remember I was telling you I felt hopeful? Well, there *was* a little light just around the bend.  Mr. H signed up for two very small contracts today that will get us through the next several weeks.  Just in the nick of time, too --  we were just about down to our last dollar!  Yesterday's quote was perfect, don't you think? 

It's not our dream situation (and boy, am I ready for a dream situation!)  but my hope is that these little piddly contracts will help get us through until we hear back from the bigger and better opportunities we're waiting on. In any case, a "short-term-contract" bird in the hand is worth two "waiting-to-hear-back-interviews" birdies in the bush...birdie in the hand 2

Speaking of bird in the hand, this whole situation and its well-timed blessings brings up another thought:

That I am so thankful for a watchful and loving Heavenly Father who notices when even the smallest sparrow falls.  I have felt powerless like a small sparrow many times this year...   But I'm reminded:

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)

There is One who hears the pleadings of my heart and holds me safe in His hand.

I guess that makes me a bird in the Hand. :-)

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Words to Live By

vintage_keys 2

Don't be discouraged. 
It's often the last key in the bunch
that opens the lock. 

                                                          -- Author Unknown 

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Dreaming of Warmer Days...

I *know* you're like me. You've gone from the January "blahs" to the January "blehs"! I am officially tired of winter. All I can say is thank goodness for February and Valentine's Day: reds and pinks, doilies, hearts,  sweet-nothings to hear and sweet-somethings to eat! Just in time.

I found one more thing to get me through these grey, cold days -- look at this picnic basket I found thrifting...

Picnic Basket-1

...with all this inside. Now I'm *really* dreaming of warmer days!  ♥ And a picnic with Mr. H. ♥  

C'mon Spring -- hurry up!

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm rebelling. I'm here, when I should be working through a very long to-do list. But it's late, and I'm tired...

Bloggy-time has been scarce today - this week - this month! It's been one big thing after another -- remember that train I boarded at the beginning of the year? Yeah. Still chugging away -- but we will check off the last big January to-do item this coming week, when Mr. H's mom and sister come for a visit.

When that visit is done, life should slow down...a little...I hope...


I just love this picture. It totally captures my life right now.  The new year has brought much more interest and many more calls,  job-wise, for Mr. H.  I'm so thankful for that. I would rather we were past 'interest' and more into the 'making offers' stage, but I'm doing okay -- things just "feel" different out there now, and I feel hopeful.

I feel just like this picture. We're certainly not out of the woods (in fact, the wolf is closer than ever), but is that a light just around the bend? Are we almost there? Or is this just slightly desperate, wishful thinking? I want to shake my head and be wise and prepare for the worst. That's practical.

But I just can't shake this feeling...



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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crispy French Toast

Crispy French toast closeup Not too long ago, I (who never wins anything) won a giveaway at our family's recipe blog. (Thanks, Deb!) One of the things I won was a  calendar filled with delightful, delicious, decadent breakfast recipes.

This is one of those calendar recipes:  Crispy French  Toast. Think State Fair meets breakfast: there's a crispy coating and some deep-frying involved.

Yummy -- and  a fun change from regular, ol' boring french toast. Give it a try...


Crispy French Toast

8 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

6 thick slices of white bread (Texas toast)

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 cups cornflakes

Preheat deep-fryer to 375° F. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar. Beat well. Place cornflakes in separate bowl. Dip bread slices in egg mixture and press into cornflakes.

Carefully slide coated bread slices into hot oil. Fry on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.



► It doesn't say to crush up the cornflakes in the original recipe. Do it. Smaller cornflake pieces make for a more uniform, crispy coating.

►  More eggs, a little less milk -- the coating will stick better.


original recipe: Beyond Oatmeal, 2010 calendar from Carlene Duda

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Words to Live By



One joy scatters a hundred griefs. 

                                                                           --  Chinese Proverb

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Monday, January 18, 2010

All We Really Need to Know...

Miss Rumphius

Say hello to a big fan of children's literature. When I came across this the other day, I knew I had to share it. Enjoy...


All We Really Need to Know We Learn from Children's Books


Do something to make the world more beautiful.

Miss Rumphius


Clean up the house when you're through playing.

Cat in the Hat


You don't have to fight if you don't want to.

The Story of Ferdinand the Bull


We're meant to need each other.

Missing May


Believe in yourself.

The Little Engine That Could


Best friends are terrific!

Charlotte's Web


Eat balanced meals.

Bread and Jam for Frances


There's no place like home.

The Wizard of Oz


Don't go uninvited into other people's yards.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit


Don't cross the street without your mother!

Make Way for Ducklings


Don't open the door to strangers.

Lon Po Po


You don't have to be perfect at everything you do.

The Chicken Sisters


Adapt to a new situation.

Don't Laugh, Joe


What have you learned from children's books?

picture: Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Words to Live By




Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct thy paths.

             -- Proverbs 3:-5-6




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original post idea from  Christine

Thursday, January 14, 2010

She Made It!

Top of the world, girl!

No more pillows, no more 'looks'

No more wheelchairs or stacks of books.

No more leaning, no more pain

No more surgery, or feeling drained.

No more doctors, no more ...


...ah, forget it -- you get the picture! She made it! Say hello to our healed up girl! 

She is busy and active, and a member of the school's winterguard team (you know, a team that does routines with flags?).  Her ever-present pillow has been retired. Woo-hoo!  This has been a long time coming (details here and here and here), and I'm SO counting this as a belated Christmas present! Life is good. ♥

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chugging Right Along...

train coming around the bend

So, how's your 2010 so far? Mine is chugging right along!

When I think of the new year,
<-----  this is the image that pops into my head. The new year has been busy, busy, busy!

I feel like I'm a passenger on a train and life is whizzing by the windows, and the train is carrying me along, like it or not!

I got a new job at church -- after 10-plus years of working with children and their leaders in Primary, I'm now in the women's organization (RS). Talk about a mind shift! I've been scrambling to learn the new duties, but I finally feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it now.

Those aren't the only changes. As my 'Words to Live By'  have been hinting, (click  here and here ) other mind-shifting changes are looming for me. Perhaps at the next station, even.

In spite of many calls and interview opportunities in the past couple of months, nothing has really panned out, and it's time to make hard decisions. I'm pretty good at making things stretch, (almost to a magical level, I was told...LOL) but it can't go on forever. Resources dwindle down, even with the tightest budgets.

Our plan of having me go to school, and then jump into a career of my choice once the Sweet Girl's flown the nest, has changed. It's time to enter the workforce now and help out the family. I am more than willing to roll up my sleeves and do what needs to be done, but privately, quietly, deep down in my soul, there is heartbreak over this.  I don't want to give up any part of my labor of love.  I could write a post all by itself on this, but I won't.  Just know that words like "infertility", "you'll never have children", "you're expecting!", "I only have one", and "Mr. H, being able to be a mother is a gift to me from heaven", and "I don't want to miss a *minute* of this!" ... are involved. Enough said.

So, I tuck these feelings away and give myself a good talking to --  I'm trying to be positive and proactive and see what's around the bend for me. The challenge will be to see if I can trust in the Lord's will, and be open to this journey -- and stop checking my ticket to see if I got on the wrong train!

I've found out by experience that when you do what's right, good things happen. Even when it's hard. I have to believe that good things are just around the bend...

Wish me luck.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Words to Live By


Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.

- Max Frisch

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