Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The next post for Nanna's Kitchen will be Wednesday, August 10.  I will be helping my youngest daughter decorate her home and repurpose some furniture.  Pictures will be coming!

Marriage Tip #11 - Communication is essential to a healthy relationship.  According to Les and Leslie Parrott, there are two fundamental skills of communication.  Too many times, when spouses are discussing issues, we make assumptions that can cause misunderstanding.  So the first skill to develop is to ask questions to make sure you understand what your spouse is thinking.

The second skill is described as, "reflecting feelings."  This simply means to ask your spouse what they are feeling.  Are they angry?  Are they frustrated?  Are they sad?  Their feelings are not wrong! 

The goal is to understand, not to be understood!


One of my daughters gave me this hurricane for my birthday a couple of years ago.  You never know where it will be and what it will contain.


Decorated for fall:

Yep, those are hazelnuts!  You can also use layers of feed corn, beans, peas or lentils instead of the nuts.

Today's Recipe - Green Beans and New Potatoes
 Barbecue Biscuits & Beans - Chuckwagon Cooking

Fresh-snapped green beans used to be a treat, often saved for Sunday dinner.  Today, they're available year-round.  If you must, you can substitute frozen green beans, but never canned.

 8 cups snapped green beans
5 cups new potatoes, skins on or 4 medium, cubed
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
8 slices thick-sliced bacon, diced
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper

Wash beans and put into 2 cups boiling water.  Cover and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.  As beans are cooking, brown bacon in heavy pan adding onions just before the bacon is done.  After onions are soft, add potatoes and stir often with bacon and onions.  After 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 cup of water.  Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften.  Add beans and bean liquid to potatoes, bacon and onions.  Add salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Tip:  The dish can simmer on low heat if more time is needed for other food preparation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two brains...

Marriage Tip #10 - Your spouse's brain is not wired like your brain.  There used to be some things about my honey that really frustrated me until I watched "The Tale of Two Brains" by Mark Gungor on You Tube.  It was one of those "Oh!" moments for me.  Now what used to frustrate me, just amuses me.  Really!  Check it out and watch your frustrations melt away.

You can also get Mark Gungor's book, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, for more humorous but practical help.


The seed pods I had in the hurricane on the mantel would work with my fall decor, but they just aren't colorful enough.

So, I took them out, cleaned the glass and fill it with the jeweled pumpkins and a few silk fall leaves.  Much better!

Today's Recipe - Pinto Beans
Barbecue Biscuits & Beans - Chuckwagon Cooking
Pinto beans are a must at every Texas barbecue, as they were on the long trail drives to Kansas.  Chuckwagon cooks knew they could stretch a pot of beans through at least a couple of meals - they were easy to serve in a tin cup if a cowboy didn't have time to sit for a meal.  And they had a medicinal use:  if a cowboy had a bad tooth and couldn't chew, mashed up beans kept many from starving on the prairie.

2 pounds pinto beans, picked over and washed
6 thick slices bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 dried red chile peppers, crushed (I replace with a 7 oz can of diced green chiles)
2 Tbsp kosher salt or sea salt

Soak beans overnight if preferred.  Brown bacon in pan used for cooking beans.  Place beans, onion, garlic, chile peppers and salt in pot.  Cover with water about 3 inches above beans.  Bring to a vigorous boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Place lid on, but do not cover completely.  It normally takes 3 to 3 1/2 hours until beans are soft.  Check about every 30 minutes.  If water is needed, add only very hot water.  Taste and add more salt if needed.

Note:  Beans and cornbread are what my honey requests for his birthday every year.  You can replace the dried beans with canned pinto beans, if you'd prefer.  Just drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the pot. You can also cook this recipe in your crockpot on low all day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Don't be selfish...

Marriage Tip # 9 - Don't dismiss what your spouse wants.  Selfishness is the number one enemy of a healthy marriage.  No one has to be taught to be selfish.  It comes naturally!
Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.  Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.  Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Philippians 2:3-4
The Message


I know that technically fall is not here for another three weeks.  But haven't you noticed that the sunlight is changing from lemon yellow to a golden yellow?  Well, I'm going with it!  Fall is my favorite time of year and I am hoping that we will have a long beautiful fall.  So...I pulled out my fall decorations and have begun setting some of them out.  Ah...I love fall!

This is my fall centerpiece for the dining room table.

My kitchen table is sporting a new wreath I picked up last year at a greatly reduced price at the beginning of Christmas season.  I also changed out the clear glass beads and blue candle in the hurricane for dried beans, peas and lentils along with a fall candle.

Today's Recipe - Hawaiian Rice
My own original recipe

20 oz can crushed pineapple
4 oz can diced green chiles
2 cups Minute brown rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp each - salt, pepper, Tony's Creole seasoning
1/2 - 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix in pan and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes or until rice is tender.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Little foxes...

Hurricane Irene is barreling towards the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where my honey and I spent the night at a quaint bed and breakfast near the beach on Ocracoke Island this last May.  Other than the beautiful lighthouse at Hatteras, Ocracoke was the only other thing I enjoyed about the Outer Banks.  There was just too little land and too much wind and water on the narrow islands for my taste. 

The village of Ocracoke has a population of only 800 people.  We saw people riding bicycles around town and enjoyed dinner on a deck overlooking the harbor during a beautiful sunset.  A lot of the homes would be considered cottages and have been there for years.  And there are unique items scattered around town that add to the quaint atmosphere of the village.  It saddens us that Ocracoke Island might be greatly changed by the hurricane.

The hurricane is a big thing that can cause major damage.  Big "storms" can occur in marriages that cause destruction, as well.  But usually, it's the little things that can ruin a marriage if they are not dealt with quickly. 

"Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines..."
Song of Solomon 2:15

Marriage Tip # 8 - Don't let your personality become a frustration for your spouse.

Every personality type has strengths and weaknesses.  If there is something about your personality that irritates your spouse, it can become a little fox that destroys the vineyard of your marriage.  Spouses have to work together to identify their "foxes".  This is true of EVERY marriage. 

The Outer Banks are facing destruction right now and there is not a lot they can do about it.  Every marriage is vulnerable to little things that can become big destructive things.  But you can do something about it!


Hanging a floating shelf is fairly easy.  You will need long screws (they have to go through the cleat and drywall into the stud), a power screwdriver, a pencil, a level and a stud finder.  Find the studs in the area on the wall where you want to hang your shelf and lightly mark them with a pencil.  Put your shelf cleat against the wall where you want the shelf hung and make sure it's level.  Mark on the cleat where the studs are and put light marks on the wall with a pencil at both ends and the top of the cleat.

Drill pilot holes in the cleat where the screws will go.  Put the cleat against the wall, using your marks to place it and attach it to the wall with the screws.  Slide the shelf over the cleat with the pilot holes on the top.  Screw the shelf down onto the cleat.  Using a soft cloth, wipe off the shelf.  It is ready to decorate!

Today's Recipe - On the Border Style Vegetables
My original recipe

1 medium zucchini, cut into long thin slices
1 cup of frozen corn
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped 
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Tony's Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

Saute the vegetables in the butter with the seasonings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Different personality types...

Marriage Tip #7 - Learn about and accept your spouse's personality type.

It doesn't take long to figure out that you and your spouse have different personality types.  (Of course, this is a generalization, as some spouses have the same personality as their spouse.)  The differences can cause a lot of frustration and misunderstanding, but they don't have to be destructive.

There are several personality tests you and your honey can take to help you understand one another's strengths and weaknesses and enjoy your God-given personalities.  Dr. John Trent characterizes the four personalities with animals. 

Lions are those who take charge. They tend to be bosses and lovers of challenge.  These people need to add softness to their interactions with others.

Otters are outgoing, fun, always looking for a party and love conversation.  Otters need to teach themselves to think and be more realistic. 

Golden retrievers tend to be more laid back and are caring and compassionate.  These folks need to learn to confront others when it's necessary.

Beavers tend to be organized and detailed and love to follow the rules.  What they need to realize is that their relationships are more important than being right.

Do you recognize your spouse?  Do you recognize yourself?


Building a floating shelf can be intimidating the first time.  But, my honey says they are pretty easy - he can build several in an afternoon.

First build the framework out of the 1x2s, remembering that there will be a pocket at the back of the shelf to allow for the 2x2 cleat. (The following pictures show the cleat pockets in shelf frameworks that are already covered by MDF.  Look at the plans that were posted yesterday, for clarity.)

Then cover the framework with the MDF pieces with brads.  Drill pilot holes for wood screws (must be smaller than the head of the screws) every 6-8 inches, 1/2" in from the back edge of the shelf. (You will put screws in these holes to attach the shelf to the cleat.) Fill in nail holes with putty and sand all outsides of the shelf until silky smooth.  Use a tacky cloth to remove any sawdust.  Prime the MDF (KILZ 2 is excellent) then paint the shelf with the color of your choice.  I like using sponge rollers to paint the shelves because they leave a smooth surface - no brush strokes!  Let the paint dry completely and put on a second coat, if needed.

Tomorrow:  Hanging your floating shelf

Today's Recipe - Chocolate Pie
I saw the movie, The Help, last night.  It was really good, in spite of the spurts of bad language.  In honor of the wonderful story, I figured it would be appropriate to share my mom's yummy recipe for chocolate pie...minus Minnie's secret ingredient.  Hahahaha!

3/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 Tbsp cornstarch
dash salt
2 cups milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan.  Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.
Pour the pudding into a baked pie pastry crust, a graham cracker crust or crushed cookie crust.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quick and slow...

Marriage Tip #5 - Be quick to hear and slow to speak.

Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

Marriage Tip #6 - Seeking to understand your spouse's point of view is wise.

A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.
Proverbs 18:2  


My honey got the idea for his floating shelves when watching one of his favorite diy show hosts, Ron Hazelton.  He tweaked Ron's idea and came up with these drawings:

Basic Shelf Materials: 1x2 boards (inner frames), 2x2 boards (cleats for wall mounting), 1/4" MDF, 1/2" brads and wood glue
Drawings of 2 shelves - a 48" long shelf and a 72" long shelf

Note: Notice that the longer the shelf, you will need more "ribs" inside the shelf for strength.

Close up of measurements:

Today's Recipe - Yummy Mixed Vegetables
My own original recipe

Frozen mixed vegetables
Minced onion
Minced garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Tony's Creole Seasoning
Salt and pepper

Saute onion and garlic in oil in a skillet.  Add seasonings and spices to taste.  Stir and cook until heated through and vegetables begin to soften.  If the skillet gets too dry, add a little bit of water.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Get help...

I was appalled when reading an article on marriage that talked about studying your spouse, that I couldn't answer some of the questions about my honey's favorite things.  After all, we had been married 29 years at that point.  I was also dismayed and a little frustrated when I recently learned that a meal I had been preparing most of our married life wasn't to his liking.  My response, "Really?! We've been married this long and you're just now getting around to telling me?!"  In reality, he just had not wanted to hurt my feelings. 

We are much more open about our opinions and feelings now than we have ever been during our married life.  I think it has a lot to do with us being more secure in our relationship because of "help" from books and videos and two things God has brought into our lives:  talking to each other as we walk several miles together at least 5 days each week and Financial Peace University.  Have I told you how much I love Dave Ramsey?!

Marriage Tip #4 - Get help for those difficult areas in your relationship.  If you both desire a better marriage, sit down with your spouse and make a list of the things that are irritants to the peace and unity of your relationship.  (You might need to remind each other, if tempers flare or feelings get hurt, that the purpose is to eliminate the frustrations so you can have a better marriage.)   Determine which item on the list is the most troubling and seek out help. Once that area is improved, which can take some time depending on what it is, get your list out and work on the next item of irritation.

Help comes in many forms - counselors, videos on marriage, books on marriage, pastors, a more mature couple.  Some of my favorite resources are by Norman Wright, Mark Gungor (Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage), Gary or Greg Smalley, John Trent, Les & Leslie Parrott, Gary & Barb Rosberg, and Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages).

If your spouse is unwilling to talk about your relationship, you are still responsible for your part of the marriage.  Get help!


My honey made some floating shelves for our grandson's nursery that became an instant hit.  Five family homes now sport floating shelves of various lengths.  They are fabulous!  When I told him I was going to write about them on this blog, he was concerned that I was letting out his secrets.  I gently reminded him that he has a demanding job and is involved in ministry during the week and weekend, as well.  He does not have the energy or time to make floating shelves for everyone!

As a result, this week I will be giving instructions and showing pictures on making your own floating shelves.  They can be painted (cheaper and made with MDF) or stained (made with "stainable" wood.)  At our house, I have white painted shelves in my craft/study room and he made a long oak shelf for the den on which to display his travel momentos. 

Floating shelves:

My mom's painted shelves (chocolate brown):

Stained oak:

Tomorrow:  Instructions on making a floating shelf.

Today's Recipe - Fried Green Tomatoes
Martha Stewart

Slice green tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Dip in a beaten egg, then cornmeal.  Fry over low heat in olive oil until golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel.  Serve with sour cream mixed with a little dill.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Being happy...

"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."

I have to admit that I used to be guilty of thinking everything had to be perfect in order for me to be happy.  My honey did not share that mindset!  There have been a few conflicts over the years because of my disconnect from reality.  I have learned that happiness is a choice.  Really...really!
Marriage Tip #3 - Choose to be happy.  Waiting for circumstances or people to be perfect to make you happy is not reality.  Choose to be happy with your life as it is - that doesn't mean things can't change. Just be happy right now and embrace the changes as they come.  Choose to be happy with your mate as they are.  Remember that God is in the process of changing both of you. 


My daughter put balloons around her living/dining room for her daughter's party using unexpected fun things to anchor them.  Check out how she decorated a simple clear flower vase.

Today's Recipe - Mashed Carrots
I have no clue where this recipe came from, but I was obviously at the doctor's office or on vacation somewhere because it is written on paper from the small notebook I keep in my handbag.

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook carrots in a covered saucepan in a small amount of boiling salted water for 12-15 minutes until tender.  Drain and return carrots to saucepan.  Add lemon juice and olive oil.  Mash and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well, not every day...

I've discovered a new website called Pinterest.  It is an amazing source of tons of creative inspiration.  I do have to warn you, though. There is the occasional off color saying or picture that I find to be in poor taste.  But, I just scroll on by, taking in all the great ideas with a notebook at my side.  It is easy to spend hours on this site...I think I will have to set a timer or I won't get things done!

I just signed up today and my understanding is that I will be able to "pin" any ideas I like to my own web world bulletin board.  My daughters have been "pinning" and soon I will be able to see what each of them chose and the projects they would like to complete for their own homes.  I love that it is another way to stay in touch.

Today, I found this quote on Pinterest and had a hearty laugh at the reality it exposes.

"Every day I fall in love
with you more and more.
Well, not every day.
Yesterday you were
pretty annoying."

Marriage Tip #2 - Be realistic.  Don't expect your spouse to be perfect or to live up to your unspoken expectations.  There are going to be days when they are annoying.  And there will be plenty of days when you annoy them, too.  Apologize or forgive as needed!


My daughter threw a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party for her little girl.  Here are a few pictures of her fun ideas.

Menu - chocolate dipped marshmallows, Starburst candies, kettle corn and chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate sprinkles.  She placed strawberries on the rim of each glass in which she served small ice bits with ginger ale mixed with pink lemonade.

The birthday girl wore a Minnie Mouse blouse.  Cutie patootie!

My daughter made a large flower pendant out of pink and white polka dot tissue paper to hang from the chandelier along with the black and pink streamers and used zebra print wrapping paper as table runners.  Solid pink and zebra print dessert plates and napkins were used for the snacks for the afternoon party.  I stacked the napkins - pink, zebra, pink, zebra... - and then holding the bottom two napkins in the pile, pushed down on the top napkin on the stack with my fist and twisted until I got the spiral effect I wanted.  Easy as pie!

Tip:  To save money on party goods, buy most of your paper goods in a less expensive solid color.  Buy small packages of the more expensive prints for your wow factor and intersperse with the solids.  She also bought a bottle of helium at Hobby Lobby to fill the balloons.  It was cheaper than purchasing pre-filled balloons and my son-in-law filled the balloons right before the party so they didn't have any droopy sad balloons. 

Today's Recipe - Tators with Shrooms and Peas
Taste of Home Cooking for Two

2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh sugar snap peas

In a one quart microwave-safe dish, combine potatoes, butter, salt and pepper.  Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Stir in mushrooms and peas; cover and cook 2-3 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.  Makes 2 servings

Note:  I do not like to microwave food, so I would cook this in a pan on the stove.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mewidge, mewidge...

Does a certain priest from "Princess Bride" come to mind?  That is a funny movie, but marriage is not always fun and games.  It can be tough and selfishness often overruns truly loving your spouse.  Throughout the rest of August and September, we will look at some marriage tips that will hopefully make things a little easier between you and your spouse.

Marriage Tip #1 - Be nice!  What goes around, comes around.  You have to be determined to be nice to your spouse, regardless of their response.  Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to hold your tongue rather than give a sharp or sarcastic retort.  Ask Him to give you ideas of things to do that your spouse would consider nice.  It could be fun!


The painting apron I made for my granddaughter was a big hit.  And, just like the website claimed, she was able to easily put it on all by herself.  

Go to for a free printable pattern - Basic Child's Apron.  
Note:  I added a layer of thin clear vinyl to the front of the apron along with a 1" grosgrain ribbon across the front, even with the waistband, to hold the vinyl in place.  

 Today's Recipe - Yummy Black Beans
My original recipe

1 medium yellow onion
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Tony's Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can mild Rotel with lime and cilantro
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water

Saute the onion and poblano pepper in the olive oil until soft.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbly.  Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  You can serve the beans with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

 To make a complete meal, add 2 cups of corn and serve over cooked brown rice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We just got home from a workation - yes, you read that correctly.  Normally, when we visit Colorado it is considered a vacation.  This trip was different, but good.  We purposely went to help our moms with home maintenance and my daughter with her daughter's birthday party.  We got a lot of projects done and my granddaughter's birthday party was fun and so cute (pics to come).  So that's why Nanna's kitchen was quiet last week.

Here is the promised picture of the finished project for my friend's little boys' bedroom.

 Oops!  I tried to turn this picture so it would be right side up, but the program on my new computer deleted it.  Arrrrgh!  So, I downloaded the pic again and this is how it imported...sorry.  I will get it figured out!!!

Today's Recipe - Mark's Caramelized Onions
Note:  The recipes the rest of this month through September will feature side dishes.

1 whole yellow onion, sliced

2 tsp flour
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp each pepper and salt
pinch of cinnamon

Saute the onions in a little bit of olive oil until softened.  Add the mix and continue to saute until the onions turn a nice caramel color.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The stock market...

Five years ago I would have never written about the stock market.  I could have cared less about what was going on over on Wall Street.  But, a couple of years ago, we went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it totally changed my perspective on money. 

My honey had always handled the money and when he paid the bills, I had to answer for every dollar I spent.  He loves graphs and money software and kept track of every penny and what we spent in each category of his budget every month.  I had to turn in every receipt with notes on what was spent and the categories in which they fit. Money was really the only thing about which we consistently had "strong conversations".  Ok...we fought about money.  It usually ended with him being frustrated because he felt out of control and me being in tears and feeling like another one of his children that he had to manage. 

I've never met Dave Ramsey, but I love him!  I went kicking and screaming to the video classes, but left the first class feeling like I would possibly learn something and my honey and I would find peace in this particularly tumultuous aspect of our marriage.  I found out that I am, financially, a free spirit and my honey is a nerd (hahahahaha - I love it!).  Dave taught us that both of us with our unique financial perspectives could successfully handle our money together. 

The thing that has made the biggest impact on our marriage is that after we rewrote our budget, we decided to go to a cash basis for the purchases that I usually made.  When the cash is gone, I am done shopping. I have learned to plan my purchases and really enjoy the freedom of handling money within a plan.  And I get what Dave calls "blow money" each pay period that I can spend on whatever I want.  When my honey pays the bills, he no longer has to wade through a pile of receipts to enter into the money software on the computer, which saves him hours of time. 

Our only debt is our house note, which will be paid off in three years or sooner.  We have invested in the stock market but are not rattled by stock market plunges, because Dave taught about investing as well.  We do have a financial adviser who is certified and recognized by Dave Ramsey and he is great about answering any questions we have. 

In this uncertain world, it's best to get your debts paid off.  And spend money only on necessities - food, clothing and a roof over your head.  Be a mature adult and tell yourself, "No!!" You can buy new "stuff" and really enjoy it when you are debt free.  For more information you can buy Dave's book or check him out on the web.

Because I have a monthly budget for gifts, I'm a little more creative than I used to be with gifts.  One of my precious young friends just had a baby boy who will be sharing a room with his big brother.  So, I looked for two Bible verses that would be appropriate to make some artwork for their room.  I purchased two wooden plaques, painted them blue then started layering. 

The next step was to add some scrapbook paper and, using an ink pad, I inked the edges of the boards and the paper.  It gave the project some nice dimension.

I painted two wooden "L"s green, then used Mod Podge to glue green scrapbook paper that I had cut to fit on top of the "L"s.  I also glued coordinating scrapbook paper onto chipboard stars. 

The next step was to lay out all the elements on the plaques.  I added coordinating strips of blue scrapbook paper and leather letter stickers for their names along with partial circles with the Bible verses.

The last two steps were inking all the elements and gluing everything down with Mod Podge.  I will post pictures of the finished gifts tomorrow...

Today's Recipe - Blueberry Tea
This tea is so refreshing and is naturally sweet.

4 Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry tea bags
1 gallon of filtered water

Put 2 cups of the water in a small saucepan along with the tea bags.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  (Or you can put in a glass container and heat on high for 3 minutes in the microwave.)  Pour the tea and the tea bags into a gallon pitcher and add the rest of the water.  Serve over ice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rain, rain, come and stay...

I just looked out my window as I started typing.  It's raining!!!!  Thank you, God!  The land is so thirsty - please give it a good soaking.

Rain - it's one of my favorite sounds in the world.  God first revealed himself to me in a rain storm when I was a young girl.  My room was on one of the back corners of the house and the wind would whip around and rattle my window.  For some reason, I needed to know that God was really there one stormy night.  So, I asked for something I knew rarely happened in my short experience - rain without the wind.  About 10 seconds later, the wind suddenly stopped and all I heard was refreshing raindrops pattering on my window.  I knew then and have known ever since that God is there and he cares about me.

Fun Tip

Do the tips of your fingernails get discolored?  I know mine do, especially when I'm working on craft projects or cutting up vibrantly colored vegetables.  A quick search on the Internet produced this simple recipe for a paste that is applied with a Q-tip.  (Make sure your nails are bare and free of any polish.)  Mix 1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide and 2 1/2 Tbsp baking soda together in a small bowl to make a paste.  Using the Q-tip, push the paste up under each fingernail and over the top of each nail tip.  Let the paste soak in for 3 minutes.  Rinse with warm water.  You can repeat the treatment every 6 weeks. It really works!

Craft - Child's Painting Apron (free pattern for basic child's apron)

My granddaughter is turning three and we are putting together the supplies for her to become a budding artist. I bought a Rubbermaid box with a lid and filled it with all sorts of Crayola painting supplies.  Then I searched the Internet for a cute pattern for a painting apron.  My granddaughter couldn't have just a regular apron, you know!  

I found a free pattern on the above website and printed it on my computer printer.  It wasn't difficult to figure out which pieces went together, as there are only three pieces to this pattern. Because it is an apron for painting, I added a layer of thin transparent vinyl that I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics. I also added a 1" grosgrain ribbon to the waste to make the vinyl lay flat.  You will notice a circle in the picture with the pattern pieces.  It is for yo yo flowers.  I was going to put different colored yo yo flowers with button centers on the apron - it would have been so cute - but ended up leaving them off because it seemed to me they would just be paint magnets. The apron was easy to sew and turned out really cute.  Kids can put the apron on without help because the neck has elastic to go over their heads and the waist band attaches with velcro.

Note:  Because of the clear vinyl, I could not topstitch around the perimeter of the apron.  It just bunched up so I whip stitched the bottom opening by hand.

Today's Recipe - Easy Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Betty Crocker

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
sugar for dipping glass

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large bowl, stir cake mix, butter, vanilla and egg with spoon until dough forms.  Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into balls.  On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2" apart.  Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.  Bake 9-11 minutes or until slightly golden on edges.  Cool 2 minutes, carefully remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

 These cookies were almost as good as my mom's Christmas sugar cookies.  They taste even better with a simple glaze spread over the top or decorated with butter cream frosting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two little boys...

Two precious little boys were born to friends in different cities today.  One weighed 9 pounds and the other just over 4 pounds.  Both are doing well and both have potential to be men who will someday influence their world for good. 

I can't help but think about the potential for influence I have in the lives of the children I come into contact with.  I'm Nanna Jo to my own grandchildren, but God has also blessed my honey and me with spiritual grandchildren, who call me Nanna Jo as well.  They have all changed our lives and our home reflects the change with children's books and toys in baskets on the lower shelves of the nice bookshelves in the living room.  The back yard no longer sports a volleyball net, but contains a jungle gym with swings, a slide, a rock climbing wall, and a fort.  There's lots of comfy chairs for the adults to sit on and visit while the kiddos play. 

The funny thing is, the kids love most to play with the landscaping rocks and kindling wood for the chiminea and they never tire of climbing the hill and racing down to the bottom.  The water in the dog's dish holds a fascination for them, too.  Go figure! 

It's amazing to watch them grow and go through stages, some more difficult than others (two year olds are just crazy!), and to watch and encourage the parents as they train these precious children with unique personalities who can scream and hit and pitch fits and be naughty as all get out.  Most of all, I just want all these children to know that they are loved at Nanna Jo's house! And I will never get tired of little arms wrapped around my neck or my knee.  I love little people hugs!

Tomorrow I need to make my granddaughter's painting apron for her birthday which is coming up quickly.  I will post pictures.  We are getting ready for another trip and I have not organized my August blogging yet.  So, this is it for today.  Hopefully, I will be able to sit down with my day timer tomorrow and get things planned.