Sunday, August 30, 2015

little ones

Can you imagine a grown woman doing a photo shoot of these little baskets?
Yup, that's me and I did!

I've been addicted to crocheting these little ones lately.
I have plans to use them as gifts.
 I am so in love with all the colors. 
I thought it would be fun to gather them together to take their picture.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Heart's Desire

I warned the Gardener before we ate that this is truly the oddest thing I have ever made. I wondered how it would taste, but since it was filled with some of our favorite foods, how could it be wrong?

Sometimes I make something up and then forget how I made it. We liked this so much I decided to write it all down. I even made it into a recipe card on my P*nterest so I could refer to it and named it Heart's Desire What's for Dinner.

The recipe is so versatile you could really add anything you want. But here is how it went:

Mix four eggs with 4 oz softened cream cheese, spread with a dash of grated cheese into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

Meanwhile cook trimmed cauliflower until just soft and drain well. Spread cauliflower chopped small on the top of the "crust."

In large bowl mix finely chopped onion, red or yellow pepper, sliced black olives, a can of artichokes drained and chopped small, a can of (or fresh/cooked) mushrooms drained, two grilled yesterday chicken breasts thinly sliced, 1/3 or so Cup mayo, 2 tsp curry powder, pinch salt and garlic or other spices as desired. Spread this mixture over cauliflower and top with grated cheddar or other cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Served with our garden tomatoes and fresh blueberries, it was a low carb hit for sure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

take along

A few years after our college graduation, a friend from nursing school was kidnapped by enemy soldiers while she was working as a nurse in East Africa. Updates about the kidnapping were frequently in the newspapers. I was a public health nurse at the time and as I traveled from house to house, my patients would bring the news articles to my attention. The end of the story is that after a month her captors released her and she rode out of the camp on a camel. They had taken good care of her. She was four months pregnant when kidnapped and after her release, blood tests showed she was healthier after the ordeal.

From what I remember, she had nothing but a comb, a towel, a bit of soap, and a white shawl which served as a sheet. Somehow she got a needle and would occupy herself pulling threads from the multi colored towel and embroidering scripture verses on the shawl … scripture she knew from memory. I've often wondered what I would do in a similar situation.

There are certain things I like to take with me whether I'm gone for a day or three weeks: a small Bible, my camera, a book, something to write on, and my crocheting. I like to have my large cozy shawl or wrap that my son brought home from India; it serves as a light blanket. I guess I'd include my phone.

But I could reduce the list to a Bible and crocheting. I do love having handwork with me.

On a somewhat related subject, don't we all think from time to time about what we would take if we had to leave home quickly? The first things I always think of, as in the case of fire, are photo albums. But let's say the bag is very small--what would be on your list? If a challenge came to us such as my friend experienced, I think many of us would deal with the situation just as she did. We never know how strong we are until we are tested.

Monday, August 17, 2015

dog days

The heat seems relentless … large cracks line the hardened clay where grass has 
died from the drought … and no end in sight.  I call these the "dog days of summer."
A day in the mountains brings some relief though the heat seems to have followed us.
A little ice cream sure helps.

Joining in Monday Mosaics.

Friday, August 14, 2015

the baby that wasn't ours

When the Gardener was in graduate school we had a baby. We actually did, much farther along in his studies, but the baby I'm talking about wasn't ours. We subparented this baby.

"Subparenting" was a common term back when the Gardener was in seminary. On the school bulletin board were many job offers for parents wanting to go away for a night, a week, or even a month. The school had a good reputation and I guess they trusted seminary students. We subparented a lot; it was a good way to earn money and gain experience. Once we cared for a family of three children for a month while their parents traveled the world. Another family hired us several times while they went out west for ski vacations. With both of those jobs we dealt with after school activities, homework, household chores, cooking, etc.

But the most wonderful assignment was caring for four month-old Abigail while her parents and big sister went to Israel for a whole month. At the time it didn't seem strange, but I can't imagine it happening now. I don't remember any background checks or technicalities like that. We met the parents once or twice before they left. They must have really trusted us.

Of course I fell in love with Abigail and totally delighted in caring for her. I was so anxious to become a mom myself that I savored every moment with her. We took walks with her stroller, enjoyed bath time, played on the floor together … we easily fell into her routine. We appreciated living in a house rather than our tiny apartment, but most of all we loved caring for our sweet baby-for-a-month. It was like playing house.

Abigail changed a lot in the month her parents were away. When they returned I'm not sure how much she remembered them. And of course it was hard for us to say goodbye to her. I think we babysat a couple of times after that, but then eventually lost touch. I hadn't thought about this experience for a long time when suddenly--boom--it popped into my mind. I wonder what Abigail is like today. She must be about forty.

I sometimes reflect on whether we had even the slightest bit of impact on wee Abigail when her life intertwined with ours for a brief month. I like to think so.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

a mixed sprinkle

I knew my young friend K loves old things so I brought out Mom's 72 year-old crystal ice tea glasses for her little sprinkle. We were having a small shower (sprinkle) for K's new baby boy. Because her first is a girl, we thought some boys' books would be just the thing to help celebrate his arrival. So along with the crystal, I arranged some old books, matchbox cars, and candles in recycled olive jars--an eclectic mix to celebrate this boy--with aged beauty along with simple and casual, and trumping all, a love for books. (Little One helped me arrange the table and thought the match box cars with "pizazz" should be front and center. She has a good eye.)
We read some children's books aloud, and then watched as K opened
one book after another--a mix of baby board books and story books for later. 
I think they will need to build a book shelf.

I usually give books for baby presents and often include this quote with the gift.
It's a favorite of mine. If only young parents could slow down and
realize the great value in reading to their kids!

"Reading aloud is the most intense, exclusive, intimate and powerful thing you can
do with your children. When you read to them you can't wash the dishes, you can't
drive the car, you can't make the beds. You can only read aloud.
That speaks powerfully to young children. And to older ones.
The great books open the way for conversation about all the important issues of
life in a way that what happened on a television show or even in a schoolyard doesn't."
--Eldon Ross Lipson

Sunday, August 02, 2015

In the pink with some chocolate

I didn't go to a favorite little resale shop looking for a pink covered dish.
(But I do love pink and it reminds me of my mother who loved the color.)
And when I saw this sweet pink serving bowl and lid for a song,
I was drawn to it.
I always see friends when I go to this shop, so I must have spoken
of my attraction to this dish because others heard me say it.
Before long women I don't even know were telling me I should buy it.
Talk about pressure! But it did seem to keep calling out to me.
Sure enough it came home with me and I have
enjoyed using it as I actually kind of needed a serving piece like this.
And it certainly makes a statement!
I probably should give it a name.
Thank you for all the comments on my "growing older" post.
Those kind of comments encourage me to continue blogging.
It's a goal list, rarely all accomplished, but when I do get close to it, 
the day is a better one. As to the chocolate comments, yes.
I do partake for "health reasons" but am conflicted
right now in my attempt to avoid sugar.
Certainly dark chocolate contains very little sugar, right?

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