Monday, May 18, 2015

A completed project


As many of my regular readers know, I take on a writing project every spring.  Sometimes I start it in late winter, but it always needs to be finished around the end of May.  The project is a summer devotional book for the sailors in our church's Patch the Pirate Club.  It has a daily devotional page for each day of the summer, plus coloring pages, word searches, recipes, crafts, and sometimes even a science experiment or two.  Oh, and a memory verse for each month.

This all came about because the club material provides daily devotionals -- "Sailor's Logs" -- for the school year when the club is in session, but nothing for the summer.  Long ago our club leaders at the time decided that if daily devotions are important for kids during the school year, they are important in the summer too.  I agreed to try my hand at writing a devotional book -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

I've written enough of these by now that I can just re-use some of my older manuscripts.  (This one, with an Adirondacks/outdoor theme, is from 2008, so you see the kids who will be using it will find it all new material.)  However, sometimes -- like this year -- the way the dates fall for the ending of Patch the Pirate Club for the summer, and the starting up of the club again in September, I find myself adding a few pages.  This year I added eleven pages: ten daily devotional pages, plus an additional craft.  It's always a challenge to come up with material that's interesting and fresh and will hopefully be applicable to the kids' lives.  Always a blessing, too, though!

And what a great feeling of accomplishment to have finished the writing, to pick up the books from the print shop, and then eventually see them in the hands of the children.  I'm so thankful for the strength and encouragement God gave me all along the way.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Identity of the mystery flower


If you haven't happened to read the comments on my "Mysterious Flower" post, you won't know that a positive identification has been made.  A reader, Susan, identified the pretty blue flower as Siberian Squill.  Thank you, Susan!!

I wanted to know more, so I did an online search to see what I could find out.  Scilla Siberica is absolutely beautiful, but some say it is invasive ... others, only that it naturalizes easily and is very hardy.  This post -- Be Careful What You Wish For at Garden Sense gives both sides of the story.  There are many folks out there who have been trying to eradicate this plant from their gardens for years, and it just won't die but keeps on spreading!

I do think it is pretty, and as you can see it's in a pretty inhospitable spot.  Rocky, leaf-covered, and not really in our yard at all, but down below it.  If it spreads in the woods down there it can do no harm.  Still, I can't help but be reminded of two other pests -- periwinkle, which I may finally be rid of, and jewelweed, which I may never be rid of.  I must say this is prettier than both of them, though!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mystery flower


Yesterday I was hanging clothes from our balcony and saw a flash of brilliant blue, I thought, far below me on a leaf-covered slope.  Many times things are deceiving from up there and I have been tricked by sunlight and shadows into seeing colors that really aren't there.  So later in the day when I had a few minutes, I went out to investigate, taking the camera along.

There were actually two plants that I saw.  This small one is the second:

Later, I had my hubby take a couple more pictures.  His photography skills are much more advanced than mine, but neither of us is used to the new camera yet.  It's one we had bought on a Black Friday deal just because it was a really excellent price.  We had barely used it.  But last fall, our other camera died suddenly and we had to start using this one.

The pictures don't do the color of the flowers justice.  It is much deeper and brighter than forget-me-nots.  I have no idea what this plant is.  I do know it's not anything that I ever planted.  Could it be a wildflower?  It seems more as if it's from a bulb, but we have no close neighbors that a bulb could have migrated here from.


What do you think?  Can you identify my mystery flowers?


Monday, May 04, 2015

A delicious gluten free coffeecake!


Photo from Taste of Home
A few weeks ago, long-time friends of ours were in New England for a quick visit.  Although they had very little time to visit anyone other than family, they wanted to get together with us before returning to Florida, where they now live.  We decided to get together for breakfast, either at our home or at a restaurant.  As it worked out, due to time and energy constraints on their part, we ended up meeting at a restaurant closer to where they were staying, which was just fine.

But the day before, still unsure where we would be eating, I planned a brunch menu just in case.  I took some time to hunt for a good coffeecake recipe that would incorporate some fresh blackberries we had been given.  When I saw this coffeecake recipe I'd clipped from a Country magazine years ago, I decided to try it using blackberries instead of blueberries.  And I went ahead and made the coffee cake, thinking to have that much done ahead.  Here is the link:
New England Blueberry Coffee Cake.

The recipe went together very quickly.  I try to avoid wheat, so I made this using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
Photo from Bob's Red Mill
This is a terrific flour from Bob's Red Mill which is formulated so you can just use it cup for cup in baking recipes that call for regular flour.  The xanthan gum is already included in the blend.  I have tried it in cookies, brownies, bars, muffins, and coffeecake and have been very pleased with the results.  I'm so glad that I didn't throw away all of my old, wonderful recipes, because this means I can still use them!

The coffeecake turned out absolutely delicious.  It was a little on the moist/damp side, but I think that had to do with using the blackberries.  Another time I would use blueberries as the recipe specifies.  Even though our friends ended up not coming for brunch, we greatly enjoyed our time with them at Cracker Barrel -- and we enjoyed this coffeecake at home for several days!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

May 1953


Each month, I'm going to try and share the calendar page from the Woman's Day 1953 calendar.  Here is the one for May.  A mountain trail meanders by a rustic bridge.  Reminds me of the little bridge where my daughters and their friends liked to play Poohsticks!

The Scripture verse is lovely too.  Such a good reminder of the importance of well-chosen words!

Friday, May 01, 2015

May goals

Graphic (minus lettering) is a wonderful free art print from Free Pretty Things for You, an absolutely fantastic resource for anyone who loves pretty vintage things.
 Wow, a new month, and time to set some new goals:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day.
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  (just a few questions to go now)
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Continue study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times.
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night.
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Organize kids' summer devotional and get it printed
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible
* Continue writing blog posts for Christmas in July
* Finish last handmade gift for April birthday
* Make a larger superhero cape for one or two grandkids
* Make some handmade gifts for May/June birthdays
* Celebrate April/May birthdays
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Decide on wall decals for our freshly painted bathroom wall
* Continue planning for visit from our Nevada family
* Do some baking for events in May
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic
* Transfer important items to new computer
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law
* Celebrate our pastor's retirement with our church family
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating

MAY'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water/exercise

WORD FOR 2015: RENEWAL

And here's how April went:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day -- DONE!
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study -- missed a couple of weeks on these
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- DONE!
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart  -- DONE!
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn -- haven't done much with this in April
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times -- maybe managed 8-10 times
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night -- not done consistently
* Limit sugar -- not done consistently
* Drink enough water each day -- DONE!
* Write 8 pages for kids' summer devotional -- DONE!
* Have a getaway with my hubby -- DONE!
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- DONE!
* Continue writing blog posts for Christmas in July -- not done
* Create several handmade gifts for April birthdays -- DONE!
* Celebrate April birthdays -- still have one to go
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects -- DONE!
* Continue planning for visit from our Nevada family -- DONE!
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- not done consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- -- DONE!
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- not as much as I'd have liked to
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE!
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad -- DONE!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic -- not done
* Transfer important items to new computer -- not done
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law -- not done
* Celebrate Easter with our church family -- DONE!

MAY'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Nurture creativity/healthy eating/exercise

WORD FOR 2015: RENEWAL

Monday, April 27, 2015

Looking more likely all the time!


Spring, that is!

We still don't have any green grass or flowers here at our home, but that isn't surprising.  We are in a very shady location and are just fortunate and thankful that our snow is gone!

These pictures were quickly snapped by me today at my dad's.  He has daffodils in a very sheltered area and they are blooming beautifully.
There are a few of the flowers with the yellow petals and frilly orange cup.

Daffodils bloom so nicely (and so early!) in this sheltered spot next to the chimney.
And then he also has some daffodils blooming in a field below his house.  Long ago, a pot of florist daffodils was tossed "over the bank" by my mother.  In later years, the daffodils came up and bloomed. 

They have spread over time and still bloom profusely in this inhospitable spot.  A good object lesson for blooming where God plants us...

Hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse of Spring's possible arrival!