Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19 Hodgepodge


 Can it really be Wednesday again, and time for another Hodgepodge?  It must be, for Joyce has new questions.  Why not go on over and snag them for yourself at From This Side of the Pond, post the answers on your own blog, and then go back there to link up?  So here we go with this week's questions:

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

My paternal grandfather died long before I was born, and my dad's mother, who lived several hours away, was busy earning a living as a practical nurse.  So I didn't see her much at all.  I appreciated and enjoyed her, but wasn't close to her.

My maternal grandfather died when I was four.  I have very few memories of him, other than he stopped by to see me often (they lived next door) and he always had candy in his pockets.
My maternal grandmother was the matriarch of a large family and successfully ran a farm and business after her husband died.  I'm not sure I'd say we were close, but I did spend a lot of time with her and I learned a great deal from her, especially in the kitchen.  I know I was also greatly impacted by her love of beauty and her creative bent.  She also had a beautiful singing voice, and I loved it when she would sing in the car or around the house.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

Evidently Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was just becoming famous, for I'm told I had a Rudolph toy.  I don't remember if it was a stuffed animal or some sort of soft plastic, but apparently I did love it.  No idea what happened to it, but I expect it's probably still at my parents' home.
No Rudolph here ... looks like a baby doll.
3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

I see the forest, literally.  We are surrounded by woods here.  I think (if I understand the saying correctly) that I also see the forest, figuratively.  I think that I tend to be more of a big-picture type person -- and for me,  that's a good thing because it's important to remember that God sees the big picture and He wants us to look at things that way too.  Of course, God is also a God of detail, and so it's good to look at individual trees as well.  We need to take time to notice the details and thank God for how He works in them.  But we never want to get so caught up in the details of a situation that we fail to step back and consider the big picture.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 
Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

 I don't particularly like sour candies, other than a lemon drop occasionally.

Of the foods listed, I guess my favorite would probably be grapefruit, but I also love lemon.

I have never eaten a kumquat.

Here's a great lemon recipe:Lemon Trifle.

Photo from Taste of Home
Or, if you would like something more savory using lemon, how about the Lemon Pasta that's a side dish in this recipe?

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

It's become a very challenging year with much time spent out of my comfort zone.
Now this is IN my comfort zone -- at a favorite ice cream place.
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Too many thoughts going through my head to choose one, so I'll add a verse that's all about random thoughts:  "In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul."  (Psalm 94:19)
Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

Monday, July 17, 2017

Butterfinger Blonde Brownies


Photo by Inside BruCrew Life
I was sure I had already posted about this recipe, but apparently not ... just mentioned I had taken them to a recent church potluck.  It's Butterfinger Blonde Brownies from Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life.  Jocelyn is a reliable go-to source if you want to bake something that people will love.

I've made these several times now and they always go over well.  I use a couple of secrets to make them just a bit easier.

1) Instead of crushing up Butterfinger® bars, I use about half a bag of the crushed Butterfingers that are sold for baking.  You will find these near the chocolate chips and other baking chips at the grocery store.

2) Instead of making a chocolate glaze for the top, I just sprinkle the chocolate chips called for over the top of the brownies when they come out of the oven.  Let set 5 to 10 minutes or so, and you can then spread the melted chocolate over the top to form a glaze.  This works very well!  Saves a few calories too, since you are not using the cream the glaze calls for.

If you need a potluck dessert people are sure to enjoy, you'll want to bake up a pan of these blonde brownies.  Happy baking!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12 Hodgepodge

 Another Wednesday!  I'm a bit late getting this posted, but want to get in on the Hodgepodge fun at From This Side of the Pond with Joyce and friends.  If you've never joined in on the Hodgepodge, head  on over and snag the questions Joyce posted yesterday, then answer them on your own blog (or here in the comments, if you don't have a blog).  It's lots of fun, I promise!
1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

Hmmm ... it has been a long time since I chatted with a neighbor.  Could it have been Christmas time when our neighbor brought over a loaf of his fabulous sourdough rye bread?  Or maybe it was some time this spring when he happened to be outside and I went to the mailbox and we chatted about the weather.
2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why?

Which one am I most like?  Good question.  I love the ocean, but of all four I probably like lakes the best.  However, I realize that wasn't the question.  How about this?  A spring-fed lake, like some we have  here in New Hampshire.  Only this lake is fed by the springs of Living Water.
3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. 

I have been through Delaware but my only real time spent there was at a scenic overlook at the end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, where we got out to sight-see and inadvertently locked the keys -- both sets! -- in the car.  Should you be interested in reading "the rest of the story", you can find it in this post: Comfort and Joy, a rather lengthy Christmas devotional piece.
What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?

Our state is nicknamed The Granite State and yes, that does make sense to me.  I wouldn't change it.  Lots of granite here and our folks have a reputation for being rock-ribbed.
4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?

I brought a Greek Pasta Salad (a main dish salad using chicken, although you can leave the chicken out and serve as a side salad) and a pan of Butterfinger Blonde Brownies, a recipe I thought I had blogged about but apparently haven't.

We have a potluck lunch at church every Sunday, so I have a stack of go-to recipes and enjoy trying new ones as well.
5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

Get all the rest you can, however you can.  You need sleep more than anything else and you are going to be sleep-deprived for at least a year.   (Edited to add: don't neglect a quiet time with the Lord each day, even if it has to become much shorter or at a crazy time of day.  You need that to handle sleep deprivation and all of the rest with grace.)
6. Insert your own random thought here.

For those who may be interested, I'm featuring Christmas in July every day this month over at my Christmas blog,  Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen.  I know, most people would rather not think about Christmas right now, but check it out if you are so inclined.  Lots of short, simple ideas and inspiration there!


And so ends another Hodgepodge!


Monday, July 10, 2017

From the July archives, Part 1


Just sharing a few links from the July archives.  Enjoy!

From 2006, Words to Wash Dishes By shares some quotes I have pinned up above my kitchen sink.
On Working Efficiently, from 2007, will not be a revelation to most organized people.  But it was a lesson I was excited to see myself beginning to catch onto.

I love it when God shows me Spirit Lifters in  the course of my daily routine.  They're always there.  Do we have eyes to see them, and do we know whom to thank?
When you are overwhelmed could be an encouragement if you find yourself overwhelmed by life for any reason.  These are lessons God taught me during a season of life that could have felt impossible.
 
You might also be blessed by this devotional thought: Trees of God’s Planting.

Want a perfect summer pie to share with family or friends?  Strawberry Lovers’ Pie is a good option.
Photo from Taste of Home
Finally, these Vintage-Style Pillowcases from my Christmas blog are a simple, fun sewing project to do in July.  They make nice gifts for either kids or adults.

 Later in the month I'll probably do a second July archive post.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

July 5 Hodgepodge


 Wednesday again, and Joyce is kindly hosting the Hodgepodge over at From This Side of the Pond.  Joyce asks the questions; bloggers copy, paste, and answer them on their own blogs.  On to this week's questions!

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? 

I've seen fireworks in a lot of different places, because for years my hubby's vacation time was always the week of the Fourth and was our only time to travel.  We saw fabulous Fourth of July and Canada Day fireworks in various locations. 

I took the photo at top last night at a Fourth of July party we traditionally attend, at the home of my husband's boss.  They always have wonderful fireworks and I felt fortunate to capture this with my Kindle and no expertise whatever.  These backyard fireworks are the best to me because they are shared with friends and family in a beautiful place.

One year we watched the fireworks in Elko, NV from the back yard of friends and that was a very special time and great fireworks as well.  Our hosts brought out a beautiful cake decorated in red, white and blue and we all sang Happy Birthday to America!

Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?


 I know that being easily irritated is one of my character flaws, so it's something I pray about frequently.  I know that God doesn't want me to have a short fuse.

"He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly."  (Proverbs 14:17a)

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."  (James 1:19)

 That said, things that can really irritate me are: gossip; inattentiveness; lack of courtesy -- things like that.
                                                            
 2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

We have not hosted any outdoor summer parties yet this year, but we still might.

 Yes, we enjoyed a wonderful outdoor graduation party for a girl in our church in June; we had our church 4th of July picnic this past Sunday afternoon; and then last evening attended the Fourth of July picnic and fireworks at the home of friends.

 I think a great outdoor party includes as few flying insects as possible and has both sun and shade available, with seating in both areas.  There is plenty of good food (potlucks are the best!) and ice cold water and non-alcoholic beverages.  There's good fellowship and conversation, with old and new friends and maybe some family as well.  If the evening ends with a campfire or fireworks, even better.

3. What does freedom mean to you?

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."  (Romans 8:1-2)
🌿🌿🌿

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."  (John 8:36)
🌿🌿🌿

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1)
🌿🌿🌿

I can't say it any better than that!

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

Talking (or worse, texting) while driving even when it is against the law.  I also find it annoying (or maybe more sad) that people seem to be looking at their screens every waking moment and respond instantly to incessant beeps and chirps.
 

5. What's your current summer anthem?

A hymn has been going through my mind a lot this past week:

"When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries, May Jesus Christ be praised!"

 
6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Summer in New Hampshire is simply glorious.  Fall is my favorite season, but New Hampshire on a perfect summer day -- blue sky, puffy clouds, sunshine, low humidity, and just enough breeze to keep things comfortable -- is beautiful and -- simply glorious.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A glorious Fourth to you!

This lovely vintage image is courtesy of Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
From our home to yours comes a wish for a glorious, celebratory Fourth of July 2017!

Our day is off to a great start as Mr. T went out early to kayak on a quiet lake,
while I did some baking for a 4th of July cookout we'll attend this evening. 
 Photo and recipe from Five Heart Home
I'm making two of these Peanut Butter Cookie S’mores Pizzas.  You can read here:  S’mores Pizza about changes that I've made in this recipe to make it work with the pans I have.  I'm planning to slice it and serve on round trays rather than on the pizza pans it baked on.

Later, I'm also going to make this Texas Confetti Rice Salad to take along as a main dish.

Currently, Mr.T  is setting up our new above-ground pool (the liner for the old one was in tatters, and it was going to be more cost-effective to get a new pool -- inflatable, this time).  A free day means time to set it up.  I'm occupied with kitchen pursuits, laundry, and other tasks.

We anticipate a wonderful time with friends at today's gathering.  It's a glorious day weather-wise, too!

May we all take a moment sometime today to thank God for the freedoms that He has blessed us with in this beautiful country.  Let's never take them for granted!

"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Monday, July 03, 2017

A fun summer find at Dollar Tree!


On Saturday we made a quick stop at Dollar Tree to pick up some items we needed to get for church -- cleaning supplies and paper goods.  While browsing the kitchenware aisle I came upon the nifty item pictured above.  These cute red-checked waxed basket liners are the type you might see in those classic red plastic baskets like they use at take-out places.

I could see myself using these in a number of ways, not just in the summer.  They could be useful at Christmas time as well, for wrapping breads or for lining boxes or baskets to hold kitchen gifts.

Dollar Tree sells the red plastic baskets too, and I think this would be a fun way to serve hot dogs or hamburgers from your backyard grill.  Lots of atmosphere!

As you can see, there are 15 sheets of red-and-white checked waxed paper in each package.  That's a deal in my book for only $1.  And a nice plus is the fact that this product is made in the USA!