Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Completely random

View from my window right now
Okay, I am going to try for a blog post today.  I warn you, it will be completely random and helter-skelter because that's the state of my brain and life right now.  But here goes!

The above photo (from a previous year) depicts just what I am seeing from our bedroom window today.  A window completely filled with apple blossoms.  Glorious!  At the far right of the picture, you can just glimpse the road far below.
Our neighbor's wild cherry tree was in bloom this past weekend, but heavy rain and wind soon knocked the delicate blossoms off.
Let's see.  Some time back, I mentioned feeling the need for a getaway for Mr. T and myself.  My blog friend Arlene at Nanaland sent me this lovely card:

It refreshes me every time I look at it, so I keep it handy on the hutch.  It is slightly reminiscent of our one-hour getaway a short time ago:

which will have to do until we can book some time at the lake up north.  I so appreciate Arlene's thoughtfulness!

Speaking of Arlene, I recently won the May giveaway at Nanaland: a Vera Bradley makeup bag.Isn't it gorgeous?

You can't really tell the color from this photo.  The bag is a very pretty red.
Inside of the bag -- such a pretty print.  I love it.
It will be going along with me on that getaway whenever we can manage one.  Thank you, Arlene!

I wanted to show you a few of my recent crafts.  Simple, simple things and only a few, because my time has been so fragmented of late.
phone charger holder for my oldest granddaughter -- and a hook to hang it on
This is a gift card holder I made for my local daughter's birthday.  I got the idea from Gooseberry Patch.  You pull the ribbon and out comes the gift card.  We got her a Lowe's gift card to buy perennials with.
My granddaughter who turned 10 requested a Lego sack ... in her favorite color, of course.  This is how it looks gathered up and hanging from a doorknob.
And here is the Lego sack opened up as it would be used for playtime.  For those who are interested you can read about Lego sacks here: Lego Sack Tutorial.  I've made loads of these.  My grandkids love them.
I've managed to complete several of these-- love the color of this one.  The variegated yarn in the middle is called "Candy Sprinkles".  Fun.
I've completed two in this color combination and a couple of others as well.
You can find the pattern here: Scalloped Potholder if you should be interested.  I leave off the hanging loop and use them as hot dish mats on the table. 

And then here are a couple of scans of recent vintage finds, both of these from my parents' home.
This is about the actual size of this vintage card.
This is the cover of a coloring book published in 1970.  The designs look as if they could be from today, don't they?
 Pretty neat designs on that coloring book cover, don't you think? They are a combination of embroidery and applique.   I'd love to copy the snowman on something, and the other designs are nifty also.

Here are a few photos of spring wildflowers:
My dad's backyard abounds with these large white violets.
They even grow in concrete!
Painted trilliums are out in our back yard
Lots of violets about
I noticed yesterday that the clintonia, or blue bead lily, is starting to bloom.
 Spring is "birthday season" in my daughter's family.  They have one in March, three in April and one in May, so we have been at their home a lot these past couple of months.  One evening we saw this lovely sunset on the way home:

 Do you ever prepare chicken in a slow cooker? To my mind this is the easiest and best way to cook a chicken when you find a good deal on whole chickens.  They were 88¢ a pound at our local supermarket this past week, and I wanted to make chicken salad wraps to take to a get-together.  Cooking the chicken in a crockpot gives you meat and broth in one easy step.  Here is how I do it:


1 roasting chicken or young chicken (I have also done this with bone-in chicken breasts)
Seasoning of your choice

Remove the bag full of “innards” from the chicken and discard it. Rinse the chicken with cold water. Place the chicken in the crock pot. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning of your choice. I prefer the Montreal Chicken ™ seasoning blend, but Greek seasoning or lemon pepper are two other tasty possibilities. That’s it -- you don’t need to add anything else.

Cover the crock pot and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. You will have falling-off-the bone, beautifully seasoned chicken and nearly a quart of good broth. You can freeze the broth to use later for another purpose, or use it as a start on a soup with leftover chicken later in the week.

I want to quickly share another recipe with you.  I love these Al Fresco chicken sausages.  They are quick, healthy and delicious.  I find they are pretty pricey in our local supermarket, but very reasonably priced at Walmart, so that's where I usually buy them.  The Italian version is also very good.  I haven't tried the other flavors, but there are several more.

This would be a fantastic supper for those busy days.  It takes an hour in the oven, so you could put it in the oven and then go do gardening or yard work while it bakes.  I found a similar recipe in a magazine originally, but have tweaked it quite a bit, so here it is:


1 package of chicken sausage (fully cooked type such as Al Fresco) -- in the sweet apple flavor
1 large sweet onion
1 large apple (Honeycrisp is the best!) or 2 smaller apples
1 tube garlic and herb polenta
Olive oil
Salt & pepper (optional)

Have a 9 x 13-inch baking dish ready and just add the ingredients as you prepare them.  Slice up the chicken sausages.  I slice each one lengthwise and then cut them into about 1/4-inch slices crosswise.  Peel the onion, cut it in half and cut each half into wedges.  (Or cut them smaller if your onion is really huge.)  Wash, core and slice the apples into wedges.  Don't bother to peel them.  Then slice your polenta.  I cut it in quarters lengthwise and then slice it between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick.  Now drizzle some olive oil (at least a tablespoon, but it's up to you) over the ingredients in the baking dish.  Salt and pepper to taste if you like, but it's really optional.  I forgot it last time and the dish was still wonderful.  Stir everything together well.

Bake at 375º for 1 hour.

I think you could make endless variations on this dish by using other flavors of sausage and including different vegetables like peppers, zucchini, etc. rather than apples.

When I take this to our church potluck, I bake it in the morning, timing it to come out of the oven just before we leave the house.  I cover it with foil.   Then when we get to church I place it on an electric warming tray where it holds just fine until we are ready to eat a few hours later.

And finally, have you ever eaten Fiddleheads?
Photo from UVM Food Feed
An acquaintance of my hubby's harvests fiddleheads every spring and gives bags of them away.  He gave Mr. T a bag at his job site.  We did some investigating online and found the best way to prepare them -- they need cleaning and blanching.  We then sauteed them in olive oil and garlic as his friend suggested.  Absolutely delicious.  Some people say they taste like a cross between asparagus and spinach.  Well, we enjoy both of those vegetables -- but honestly, we decided fiddleheads are better than either one!
Not the best photo -- I took it spontaneously with my Kindle.  It doesn't do these delicacies justice.
We had never cooked or eaten fiddleheads before, but wow!  We hope he gives us another bag next year!  (I think we will leave the harvesting to him, though, as many ferns are poisonous.)

Lastly, but it really should be first -- remember my word for 2016?  It was Faithfulness.  I never did get time to set or even think about any goals for the new year as I usually do.  Things have been utterly crazy with eldercare and accompanying concerns, not to mention other responsibilities.  I concluded at the time, in the post referenced above, that even if I didn't get to set any goals, that just being faithful in all that God has given me to do, and trusting in His faithfulness day by day, would be sufficient.  Has that ever been tested!  To remind me, I recently took this graphic, which I made some time ago, and made it my desktop wallpaper.  (My readers are welcome to borrow it.)

What a blessing to be reminded of God's faithfulness for every step of our journey, every time I log into the computer and when I shut it down at night!  This view of one of our local lakes, with scriptural truth imposed over it, just is such a great reminder.  Yes, He, our all-wise, all-powerful Creator, is faithful!

Sharing this motley post today with Sandi's No Place Like Home and Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage and Garden Blog Party.  Also with Vintage Charm and Share Your Cup Thursday.


  1. Dear T:
    Visiting this post was like a journey into home, garden and cooking and it was wonderful! I have never had the fiddleheads but heard about them. Amazing. I also loved your white violets and will keep looking for some myself! Thanks for sharing and linking.

    1. Bernideen, I am so happy you enjoyed the post. It is my life right now, random as it may be! We were surprised, really, at how delicious the fiddleheads were.

      Yes, the white violets are so lovely. My dad has a concrete area out back of his house where my mom always had a clothesline. There is a big crack down the middle of the concrete and it is simply bursting with those large white violets. There are many in the surrounding grassy areas as well. What an example of blooming where you are planted!

  2. Wow! What a great post filled with lots of good things including recipes! I LOVE fiddleheads and I used to pick them down by the river when we lived in New Brunswick. They really are delicious. I think the scalloped pot holder in aqua is so pretty. I would use them as hot dish mats too. You are so crafty! Pretty flowers and sunsets as well. Thanks so much for sharing this with us and enjoy your day, Mrs. T.


    1. Oh Sandi,

      I am so happy that you enjoyed the post. I almost didn't link it up because it was so very random and disjointed.

      How neat that you also used to pick fiddleheads by the river in New Brunswick! Do you have them in PEI?

      Yes, that aqua mat is a favorite of mine too. Love the soft summery colors.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment!

  3. I must live under a rock as I've never even heard of fiddleheads. enjoyed the journey roundabout your home and kitchen. thanks for the recipes.

    1. No, not under a rock, just in Texas, right? I am not sure but I would expect to find fiddleheads mostly in the northeast.

      Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table, and please visit again anytime, won't you?

  4. That's a beautiful lake! friend Pam in NB was preparing fiddleheads today. Almost everyone I know loves them, but I am not a fan. As I was telling Pam, my mother loved harvesting fiddleheads, but would never tell me where it was for fear I'd let it slip. Ha! Now I am going to try your crockpot chicken idea. We like having chicken on hand for wraps, soups, et cetera. I like having the broth for the soups, too. And I always take not of your crafting...the Lego sack sounds like just the thing!

    1. Thanks, Vee!

      It's one of our beautiful Lakes Region lakes here in NH. An easy hike leads to this view.

      I wouldn't have expected to be a fan of fiddleheads either. We probably wouldn't have tried them had my husband not been gifted with a bag of them. Isn't that funny about your mother and her secret fiddlehead harvesting spot? I read in the Hannaford Fresh magazine that they have people who provide them with thousands of pounds of fiddleheads each spring.

      Hope you do enjoy the crockpot chicken if you try it. So quick and easy!

      Just finished two more Lego sacks for birthday gifts. They are not that difficult, just time-consuming because they are so large. My crafting time is severely limited these days.

      Thanks for your visit ... always a pleasure to have you here!

  5. So glad you won the giveaway Mrs T. You are a special blog friend indeed. And as I know what all is going on in your life right now I am amazed at all the craft projects you complete and still manage to cook up yummy food for your family!! My mother in law told me once that she crocheted all her problems into the piece she was working on at that time. I understand that as I find my cross stitch does the same for me...calms and comforts me as I see beauty emerging! Hope you are going to get that GETAWAY sometime soon.

    1. Thanks, Arlene. Keep praying for a getaway for us ... no idea, really, how soon we could take the time. That is so interesting how your mother-in-law crocheted her problems into the projects she was working on. Crocheting can be very calming. (Although I didn't think so when I first learned!) Yes, cross stitch can do the same. I think cross stitch satisfies my ridiculous need to be in control -- ridiculous, because God is in control and I don't need to be! -- but cross-stitch can depict a perfect, beautiful little world where the outcome is predictable. Like you, I love to see the beauty emerging as the picture or design comes together.

  6. I love your completely random post! I have been doing those as well lately... seems like is made up of random at times, isn't it! You certainly have been very busy with grandchildren' birthdays, and I loved the ideas of things you made for them - the leg bag is darling! Isn't spring delightful with all the blooms! We are enjoying it here too, and it is so lovely. Your vintage cards are delightful too. Hope you continue to have a lovely week!

    1. Thank you , Marilyn! It's encouraging to realize others are dealing with randomness too.

      Yes, Lego bags are fun to make and the kids seem to really like them. I finished two more today and will be waiting to post pictures until after they are in the recipients' hands. I found a very cute jigsaw puzzle print fabric for one, and then a superhero words (like pow!! bam! and so on) print for the other. They came out very cute.

      Thanks for visiting and please stop in anytime!

  7. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post at SYC! :) Jo

    1. You are welcome, Jo! Thanks for hosting Share Your Cup!

  8. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. You are very welcome, Carol! Thanks for hosting!

  9. What a gorgeous sunset! I have never eaten or even seen fiddleheads to buy. I think I first saw them on chopped. :) You have been busy creating things and your makeup bag is so colorful and fun. Congrats on winning and thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. They sell fiddleheads in the local supermarkets here in season. Right there in the produce section with all the more usual veggies!

      Yes, I love the bag. So pretty!

      Thanks for hosting SYC. At some point I have high hopes of joining in again. When life slows down...


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