Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Remembrance is the sweetest flower"

These forget-me-nots are not from our garden, but from a favorite place up north.  They just seemed appropriate for this post.
In my grandmother's house or at her summer cottage, I can't remember which, there used to be a cross-stitch sampler with these words:  "Remembrance is the sweetest flower that in a garden grows."  I think of that every spring and summer when different flowers bloom around our yard.  I am not much of a gardener (although I get points for trying), but when these perennials bloom year after year -- for the most part, anyway -- I think of friends.  So many of our little plantings came from generous friends.  It's especially sweet to remember friends who are now enjoying the beauties of heaven, but so enjoyed flowers in this life and wanted to share them with others.  I have been wanting for awhile to share a post about this, so will try and do so right now.
We actually "planted" this apple tree ourselves when we threw out a lot of apple cores and peelings from pie or jelly making.

My good friend Marilyn (who is very much alive) gave me these irises.  After awhile I  divided them and shared with a neighbor.

I need to divide them again.  They are long overdue for it.

My dear older friend Peggy, now in heaven, gave me the peony plant.

Peonies are so beautiful!  I must make it a point to plant some more.
Marilyn gave me this bee balm.
The hummingbirds love these.
The bee balm has since been choked out by the jewelweed (which Marilyn also gave me).  She warned me that both would spread, but the jewelweed is much more invasive.  I did plant some more bee balm this year, however, in a very different place, so I hope it thrives there.
"Bird-on-the-Wing" (fringed polygala) from Grampa T, now with the Lord.
Another iris

Lily-of-the-Valley, from my mother, now in heaven.

Primroses, from Marilyn.

More primroses.  I look forward to their cheery yellow every July.

White violets.  I think these may have been from my parents' yard originally.
Wood anemones, from Grampa T.  He shared many wildflowers with us.
Hope you have enjoyed this look at some of our "sweetest flowers"of remembrance!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Goals for week beginning 7/29/2012

How about a nice glass of iced tea for a summer day?
Another week ... and almost August!  How the weeks of summer are flying by!  Here are my tentative goals for this week:

*  Spend time in 1 Samuel Bible study
*  Limit sugar
*  Keep up with crafting goals for UFOs and Christmas, plus maybe a dress for a granddaughter
*  Exercise 5 to 6 times
*  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post regularly in one or both of my blogs
*  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for Zone 5, the living room (for the first part of the week) and then Zone 1, the front porch, entry and dining room
*  Do better at staying in touch with friends and faraway family
* Add 2 pages to prayer journal
*  Weed garden and move 2 plants
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do.

Here's how last week went:

*  Try to finish Sunday School lesson 11 --DONE!
*  Limit sugar -- didn't do too well with this
*  Keep up with crafting goals for UFOs and Christmas, plus a dress for a granddaughter -- nope
*  Exercise 5 to 6 times -- DONE!
*  Keep up a good water intake -- DONE!
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- managed this most nights, so DONE!
*  Post regularly in one or both of my blogs -- DONE!
*  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for Zone 4, the bedroom -- did some work here, but not all I planned
*  Do better at staying in touch with friends -- DONE!
*  Keep up with Bible study/adding to prayer journal -- nope; concentrated on my Sunday School lesson
*  Weed garden -- managed to work on this 4 days out of 7, but it still needs a LOT of work
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do -- DONE!

So all in all it was a fairly good week.  A lot got done, but I often tend to beat myself up about what didn't get done rather than being happy about what was accomplished.  I'm thankful for how much more is getting done as I faithfully set goals and try to schedule my time!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Morning by the campfire

Recently a friend of mine shared that she and her husband had been having their morning quiet time by their campfire in the back yard.  Her hubby doesn't leave for work as early as Mr. T, so that works for them -- but not for us, at least on weekdays!

In years past when we camped a lot, we always loved having our morning coffee and quiet time by the campfire.  We do have a campfire permit and a fire ring in our back yard, so when my friend mentioned what they were doing, my ears perked up.  Last Saturday we decided to try their idea.

Mr. T built a campfire and we took out our camping chairs and a little table. 
What a tranquil way to begin a Saturday morning -- relaxing by a campfire with coffee, Bibles and prayer journals at hand!  We had a campfire again this morning and will probably do so each Saturday, weather permitting.  We're so thankful for this peaceful start to our Saturday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Strawberry decor ... and more

In August, I'll be decorating my hutch with some seashore-themed items, but for now I wanted to quickly show you all my strawberry decor.  In addition, I know I never posted pictures of my spring and Easter decorating, so I will show those now as well.
These items are all parts of my strawberry collection.  I like to group many of them together in June and July.

Notice the strawberry bug and the McCoy teapot!

My newest strawberry item -- a Mother's Day gift from my daughter and son-in-law

The other side of the mug

Even a strawberry inside the mug!

Notice the lovely hot mat at the far left made by my friend Ruth!
Now, on to (or should I say back to) Easter and Spring!
Easter hutch with a maple sugaring motif on the middle shelf

Maple syrup can full of daffodils

Springtime hutch

I made the felt bunny last year

Love that tiny little bluebird dish

Teapot from a friend; Fiesta® salt & pepper shakers; tin pepper shaker from my childhood

The Bunnykins mug and dish were mine as a child.

Daffodils in a maple-themed mug.  Those daffodils really got around this spring!
Hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my spring and summer decor!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

California Quiche

(Photo by Taste of Home)
Here's a simple crustless quiche recipe I tried a few weeks ago:  California Quiche.  It's made with California blend frozen vegetables -- a medley cauliflower, broccoli and carrots -- and I suppose that's why it's called California Quiche.  The vegetables in this blend tend to be in large chunks, so I did chop them a bit after thawing.  The recipe calls for Havarti cheese in addition to cream cheese.  I used Cheddar instead of Havarti since that is what I had on hand.  This is a very simple and delicious recipe and I recommend making 2 quiches while you are at it.  It's great left over.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A fabulous frozen dessert -- Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Dessert!

(Photo by Jamie Cooks it Up!)
I recently tried this amazing recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up! and just had to share the link with others:Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Dessert.  It went over really well at the church potluck I took it to, and the next evening we shared the leftovers with my daughter's family, who loved it too.

I changed a few things.  Since I'm not eating wheat or gluten (and couldn't find gluten-free graham crackers locally) I had to make a substitution for the graham cracker crumbs.  I used a combination of crumbs from gluten-free vanilla sandwich cookies and Rice Chex®.  I'm sure the graham cracker crumbs would be tastier, and certainly easier, but this substitution worked out fine.

Since I couldn't find raspberry spreadable fruit (think the store I looked in was all out),  I used black raspberry.  I also found that for my microwave, heating the spreadable fruit for 1 minute was way too much.  The fruit was hot -- too hot, I felt, for adding to the top of my just-prepared cheesecake mixture.  It would definitely have melted the mixture below it.  So I let the spreadable fruit cool to lukewarm before dropping spoonfuls of it atop the cheesecake mix in the pan.

Also, I used lower-fat Neufchatel cheese rather than regular cream cheese, and I used fat-free sweetened condensed milk.  Both of these worked out fine.  And I used frozen unsweetened raspberries rather than fresh ones -- just the store brand.  With so many costly ingredients in this dessert, I wasn't about to spring for fresh raspberries too.  And, I reasoned, the berries are going to become frozen anyway, so why not just use frozen ones to begin with?  People actually thought the berries were fresh, so obviously that substitution worked too.

My daughter and I were thinking that this would be great with blueberries as well -- or even strawberries, though they should probably be chopped or cut up.  A frozen whole strawberry would be a bit difficult to eat.

Maybe your family and friends would enjoy this fabulous dessert as well.  While you're at Jamie Cooks it Up!, check out her other recipes as well.  This lady is one amazing cook!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quinoa Tabouleh

(Photo by Taste of Home)
This refreshing salad features quinoa, a nutritious grain that may be new to some.  I have tried a few different quinoa recipes in the past few months and we have really enjoyed it.  This particular recipe, which I found in my newest issue of Healthy Cooking, includes cucumber, parsley, chopped sweet red pepper and lemon juice -- very cooling flavors for a hot day.  You can find the recipe here:  Quinoa Tabouleh.

I had forgotten to buy fresh parsley and so I left it out of the recipe.  I took the salad to a potluck at church and was surprised and pleased that people enjoyed it so much, even without the parsley.  I will definitely buy parsley the next time I prepare this dish.  It was good without it, but I know it would be even better with parsley included.

Maybe your family would enjoy this simple salad, too!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goals for week beginning 7/22/2012

How can another week have rolled around so soon?  The month of July is flying by!  Here are my goals for this week:

*  Try to finish Sunday School lesson 11
*  Limit sugar
*  Keep up with crafting goals for UFOs and Christmas, plus a dress for a granddaughter
*  Exercise 5 to 6 times
*  Keep up a good water intake
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night
*  Post regularly in one or both of my blogs
*  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for Zone 4, the bedroom
*  Do better at staying in touch with friends
*  Keep up with Bible study/adding to prayer journal
*  Weed garden
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do.

And here's how last week went:

*  Try to finish Sunday School lesson 11 -- got a lot done on it but did not finish it.
*  Limit sugar -- not as much as I should have.
*  Keep up with crafting goals for UFOs and Christmas -- worked on some things but didn't accomplish much.
*  Exercise 5 to 6 times --DONE!  (I managed 6 times and am thrilled about that.)
*  Keep up a good water intake  -- DONE!
*  Get to bed by 9:30 or 10 pm each night -- nope.  Managed this maybe half the time.
*  Post regularly in one or both of my blogs -- DONE!
*  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for Zone 3, the bathroom plus 1 extra room (this week, the home office) -- did accomplish quite a bit with the bathrooms, but not with the home office at all.
*  Do better at staying in touch with friends -- not as well as I'd have liked to.
*  Keep up with Bible study/adding to prayer journal -- nope.  Spent most of the time on my Sunday School lesson instead.
*  Weed garden -- this is an ongoing project, of course.  But I did weed every day, so I'm calling this DONE!
*  Make a daily time schedule for the things I need to do -- DONE!

I'm not sure exactly why so little got done last week, but am hoping for a much more productive week this week. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summertime Tuna Rice Salad

 Here is one of our favorite summer suppers, on the menu for next week.  I found this recipe in the August 2000 issue of my favorite cooking newsletter, Cook & Tell.  It was sent in by a subscriber, Judith Woodbury, to whom I owe a debt of thanks for this wonderful recipe.

Half of a 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
1 6-ounce can best white tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups freshly cooked rice with butter and salt, cooled to room temperature*
1/3 cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds
1/3 cup mayonnaise
A bed of greens to serve the salad on

Lightly mix together everything except the greens.  (Sometimes I like to add lemon pepper to taste.  It seems to enhance the pineapple and tuna flavors. -- Mrs. T)  Arrange a bed of greens on a serving platter or in a large serving bowl and pile the salad on top.  May be served cold or at room temperature.  Serves 4.

*  I often omit any butter.

And I usually double the recipe so there will be some left over.  We simply love this summer salad and I hope that some of you will try it, too.

(Maybe you would also like to try subscribing to Cook & Tell, for many more great recipes.  Link is in the sidebar if you'd like to check it out!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Of tree toads and tree houses ...

Lunch in the tree house
I've been wanting to post about both of these things for awhile, but oh, time is in such short supply these days!  (For one thing, I need to spend time in the garden each day or the weeds will completely take over.)

Last summer we found a tree toad in our above-ground pool.  Mr. T moved him to a tree and all was well.  Now this summer we heard a particularly loud tree toad for several evenings.  We knew he was quite close by but assumed he was in a tree.  Finally Mr. T happened to look in the pool and there he was.

The toad was moved to a nearby tree and wasn't seen in the pool again for several weeks.  But Sunday he was back there, just under the rim of the pool.  So he has been moved again!

As for the tree house, our 9-year-old granddaughter had asked Grampa if he could build one out back.  As you will see -- I am just going to share a bunch of pictures with captions -- he granted her request!
Mr. T has worked in the forest industry most of his life.  He hates to find nails in trees!
So he picked out 2 supporting trees and built the tree house around them.  No nails in these trees!
The girl who got her wish

Her sister
Reading in the partially built tree house
As work began on the roof

2 in the tree

Shows the forested location of the tree house
Work ongoing on  the roof
Metal roofing (recycled) going on.
I blogged earlier about finding luna moths in the tree house
Grampa has lunch with 3 more grandkids
The picture window used to be in our living room.  The kids loved watching the antics of squirrels as they ate.

So that is some of our summer fun.  What's been happening in your backyard this summer?