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Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Up? (An Early Arrival)

Typically, we wait for pictures like this until July.  I always remember because about mid-July, the time of our son's birthday, we are always wondering if the Black-Eyed Susans will be blooming for his party -- or not.  It's always within days one way or another.

My sweet niece at our son's July birthday a few years ago.

This year could be a different story, though.  Look what I found peeking at me when I walked around the yard yesterday... MAY 30th:


 My, won't the goldfinches be happy?



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's Up? 5.30

Coral Bells


It seems so odd to have the roses blooming in May!
They don't typically bloom this early in NEOhio.


Hellebore.  Thanks Dad.  I love the flowers!

Delphiniums - I love the iridescence purple-blue color.

Blue sage always takes such an interesting picture.

That's what's up in my garden.
What's blooming in yours?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recipe: Spanish Rice Pronto!

Did ya'all have a nice Memorial Day Weekend?  We sure did.  We have family that visits traditionally every year, staying with my parents.  We typically gather together a couple of times while they are here.  We really enjoy one another's company, and look forward to this tradition so much!

cheese popcorn goody bags 

TODAY, we are chill-axin' around here.  We thought this coming Wednesday would be our son's last day of school, but by the time he got his exam schedule figured out, he realized that he would be finished on Friday.  LAST Friday.  Isn't that happy news?

So, I'm kickin' back today and relaxing with NOTHING on the schedule.  I thought I'd share an easy post, and an easy recipe with you.

This is an old family stand-by -- a recipe that my mom often made for our family.  I believe it came from a cookbook that was compiled by a mom's club that my mom used to attend when my sister and I were small.  "Spanish Rice Pronto" (always just known as Spanish Rice to us) was an inexpensive meatless dinner for us - as Mom served it as a main dish. Nowadays, Mexican food is so popular.  This could easily be used as a side dish, accompanying your favorite Mexican food.  It's not "hot" -- but could easily be adapted to add more heat.  Remember the key words:  inexpensive, and EASY.  It's also a quick recipe to put together with ingredients that you might often have on hand.  Here are most of them:

[looks like I forgot the salt]



Spanish Rice Pronto (makes 4 generous servings)

¼ c. margarine
1 tsp. onion flakes
1.5 c. Minute Rice
1.5 c. hot water
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
½ tsp. prepared mustard
8 oz. tomato sauce

Melt margarine in skillet.  Add onion flakes and rice (uncooked).  Cook and stir over high heat until you see a few grains of rice browning lightly.  Add hot water, salt, pepper, mustard, and tomato sauce.  Mix well.  Bring quickly to a boil, reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered for 5-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Let it bubble away on simmer until the liquid is absorbed.  Stir occasionally.

Taa-daa!  Spanish Rice.  Pronto!

linking up here:
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

 --remembering those who have paid freedom's cost

with their lives.




Friday, May 25, 2012

Fifty Things About Me (21-30)

{See my motivation and items 1-10 HERE,
11-20 HERE.}

21. My favorite color is green.


22. Favorite book read recently: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

23. Favorite music: worship genre.

24. I love words and quotes.


25. I love cooked broccoli.  One time my dad told me that I could add a little lemon juice to the water when it's cooking so it doesn't smell so bad.  I told him the smell doesn't bother me. (LOVE broccoli!)

26. I'm a little offended to keep receiving mail that pertains to "50 and over."  Is any of this information really meant to be helpful to me - a new 50 year old, or am I just a new target?

27. I am a first-born child.

28. I re-charge on ALONE time.

29. If we sit down to watch a movie, and we turn out all the lights (as certain people around here like to do), I can promise you that I will fall asleep during said movie.

30. I love the PBS series "Downton Abbey" and have never fallen asleep during it -- to be sure!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There Were Never Such Devoted...

Sisters!

Today is my sweet sis's birthday.  You might remember, her name is Jill.  I won't tell you how old Jill is, but she's four years younger than I.  You do the math.  In thinking about a "sisters" post, I visited a favorite site: quotegarden.com.  The "sisters" quotes run the gamut.  From sweet and sentimental to ornery and obnoxious.  

Ideally, I was looking for something sweet, as Jill and I really are dear friends to one another.  So, there were quotes like these:
  • A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.  ~Marion C. Garretty
  • What's the good of news if you haven't a sister to share it?  ~Jenny DeVries
  • In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.  ~Author Unknown

However, which of us would be honest enough to say that there are days when you also feel like this:
  • If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. ~Linda Sunshine
  • I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness.  ~Emily Dickinson  (oh Emily, that stings!)

But, ultimately -- the question comes from Sara Corpening: "How do people make it through life without a sister?" Yep - that's the question.

Indeed.

Happy Birthday Jill!
What a blessing to have
you as my sister!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Here's to New Friends!

I have a new friend... The Blog Guidebook.  Oh, we've been introduced before, but... never really taken the time to get to know one another.  Recently, I was re-introduced, and in a "duh" moment I thought, "Why didn't I make The Blog Guidebook my instant best friend the first time we were introduced?"




Okay, seriously though... if you are a blogger, there is SO MUCH INFORMATION at this site.

One thing that I just read was that every three or four months, the average blogger gets a new set of readers.  And who knows, today might be the day that you are stopping by for the first time.

So, let me introduce myself.  I am Sally - a sinner, saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  I've been married to my sweet hubby for almost 20 years, and we have two awesome kids.  Our son is almost 18, and finishing his first (junior) year in public school. Prior to that, we homeschooled, and in fact -- still homeschool our daughter(14), who will attend public school next year.

You can read about some of my interests over there to the left in the sidebar.  I've been blogging for just over a year-and-a-half, and LOVE the blogging community!  Also in the sidebar, you'll see all the places you can "follow" me.

If you really want to get to know me, you might be interested in some of these ABOUT ME  posts.

I confess, I am not a "follow me and I'll follow you" kind of blogger.  I just don't think that's the right way to go about things.  I follow blogs because they interest me - and that's the only reason I'd want you to follow along here.  Also -- I'm not in this for the ratings.  I do have to admit, though, it IS fascinating to see all the STATS and realize what it is that people like to read about, or what they have searched for that has led them to my blog.

I try to reply to most comments, either via e-mail -- or by commenting back-atcha on your blog. People who stop here are the sweetest, and I love to hear what's on their minds!  If you're stopping by for the first time, I'd love to know what brought you here.

I got the idea for the name of my blog from a poem that I was given at a Mother-Daughter Tea.  I understand that there is also a song by the same name - though I've never heard it. Have you?

I try to be honest about things I'm thinking or feeling when I write about them here.  The better bloggers will tell you that it's important to be "real", and not just present a perfect little life.  Life around here isn't perfect, but it is pretty great, and I do believe a positive attitude counts for a LOT!

By the way, are you a collector?  Really?  Of what?  I collect bowls -- but I've heard that some people collect BUTTONS (as in Blog Buttons.)  So, wanting to accommodate my new friends, of course, I just want to let you know about my blog button.  It's also on the sidebar, but I've included it here in this post as well.  If you like the things you read here, feel free to post my button on your blog to let other's know what they're missing.  (chuckle).

I'm glad you stopped by.  Have a great day!
~Sally




Just copy the code into an HTML "gadget" on your blog, and the button will appear.
And thank you... for spreading the word!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today, I am Thankful

A while back, I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I am, on a daily basis, so thankful for the gifts that God gives to me.  However, I have come to realize that I am really crummy at writing down the things with which I have been gifted.  Today, the cup is running over into the saucer, and I had to pick up my list again...
  • for sunlight streaming in the morning windows
  • for being nearsighted with healthy eyes
  • for a summer job for my son that is just the right fit
  • for successful open heart surgery for my aunt
  • for a summer haircut, and no wait!
  • for a speech given, an assignment completed
  • for six end-of-the-year exam exemptions for my son (hello!)
  • for volunteering before being volunteered
  • for people who go beyond the call of duty to serve others
  • for fluffy chocolate chip pancakes

  • for excitement building
  • for people and places that give sweet relief from the everyday
  • for items checked off a to-do list
  • for laundry, caught up
  • for sunshine and blue skies
  • for affirmation along life's road
  • for after-school snacks and discussions
  • for our kitchen table where we sit and see one another, hear one another, appreciate one another
  • for surprises




















Matthew 12:34b

"...for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."


Monday, May 21, 2012

Pinterest Board: Gardening & Outdoor Living

Well, 'tis the season, as they say.  Of course, "they" are usually talking about Christmas.  But today, I thought I'd explore another Pinterest board of mine: "Gardening and Outdoor Living."  As I remind myself of some goodies I've found, maybe you'll find something helpful too.

Let's start with cilantro, shall we?  It's the latest and greatest thing around here.  Yes, I know.  We're usually late to the party.  Oh well.  I use cilantro in these three recipes lately:

* Easy Veggie Couscous
* Slow-Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
* Black Bean Salsa

These are all relatively new recipes to me, and so I feel as if lately I am constantly buying cilantro.  Click on the photo/link below to find out about a better way to grow cilantro.  I've gotta try it this summer!

Source: sunset.com via Sally on Pinterest






I love this milk-jug bird feeder.  Seriously, how easy is this?  We may have to try this one as soon as we empty our next gallon of milk.  That shouldn't take too long.  =/



And how about this for when those nasty weeds pop up?  Or for when the gardener calls off sick.  That happens all the time at our house -- how about yours?  Well, an easy solution is vinegar, lemon juice, or boiling water -- not for the sick gardener, mind you.  For the weeds! One commenter at Martha Stewart.com said she used vinegar, and her weeds were gone the next day.  I'm thinking I might need to use this on the sidewalk that leads to our front door.



ALSO, I WANTED TO SHARE THAT I've learned a little trick about using Pinterest pins here on my blog.  Next to each pin on Pinterest, you should see (on the right) a bunch of options like: tweet, embed, report, e-mail.  If you click on the "embed" feature, you'll be given a code to embed that pin on your blog.  When you do so, you are automatically providing your readers with the proper source info -- like what you see beneath each of the pins I shared today.  Of course, you might want to take a minute yourself to verify that the source you pinned from is correct.

Of course, if we're all playing nice, then we want the proper person/site to get credit for their own ideas.  This is an easy way to make sure that happens.  Also, if you click on the photo, it will take you to Pinterest where you can click through to the original site. Capisce?

Enjoy your Monday -- and Happy Pinning!



Friday, May 18, 2012

Fifty Things About Me (11-20)

{Read about my "motivation"
and see items 1-10 HERE.}

11. I am a "Googling" fool.  Really.  I "Google" things all the time.  It's amazing the things you can find out just by typing in a few search words these days.  However, here are a few googly mottos:  "Google-search and click responsibly" - and - "Don't believe everything you read!"

12. I am crazy about Yoplait Light Apricot Mango yogurt.  Crazy.

13. I love dangling (wire) earrings... not too long -- but dangling!  Which reminds me... look at this neat idea I saw on Pinterest -- a way to hang/display wire earrings.  An embroidery hoop and a doily.  I know I have an old embroidery hoop that belonged to my Grandma.  I might have to try this!





14. I fall into the "LIVE TO EAT" category of people rather than the "eat to live" category.

15. My very favorite family vacation spot is the North Carolina beach.  We've gone to the same spot off and on since 1997.  There is no better place to "recharge!"


16. I am not old enough to be the mother of an almost 18 year old and a 14 year old.  Okay... you know this one isn't true.  I was just seeing if you were paying attention -- because... I don't feel old enough -- and that's true enough.

17. My family and very dearest friends call me "Sal."  If they call me Sally, I know something's up.

18. I dislike long toe nails.  Mine are always short, and only painted in the summertime.

19. I almost never wear shoes around the house.  That whole "get dressed to lace up shoes" concept messes with my head (and also with my feet!)

20. Favorite meal my mom used to make for my birthday: Skillet Beef Chop Suey.  I'll have to share that one sometime...  I still make it for my family, although -- they would probably tell you I make it for me.  But that's okay.  I'm allowed to have favorites too!

How about you?
Have a birthday coming up?
I double-dog dare you to make a list.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Now Read This...

Posts that have encouraged me lately...



beautiful infinity-style pool/fountain at The Cleveland Clinic



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New-to-Me Chairs

When our family was quite young, we scored a oak pedestal table for our kitchen through a newspaper ad. Unfortunately, it was just the table... so, we had no matching chairs.  When my parents purchased new kitchen chairs, they offered us their old ones -- and we finally had matching chairs!  In the 13-or-so years since then, the chairs (which have served us so well) have finally given up, and given in.  Only one of them remains.  Needless to say,  in the past several years, our kitchen chairs have been sadly mismatched.  Well, let me explain what I mean by that: one remaining (Hitchcock) chair, one wooden chair with a woven seat (purchased at Gold Circle thirty-some years ago), and two metal folding chairs.  So, we're not talking a "cute" mismatch, we're talking a SAD one.

When we planned to have my family (11 of us) here for Mother's Day lunch, and were down to about 3.5 good chairs, we realized that this was going to have to be a B.Y.O.C. party. Seriously.  Sad, sad, sad.  My family willingly toted their own chairs to the occasion.

Obviously, my dad knew we were "in a bad way," so when he learned that their local library was having a silent auction on some furniture, he sent me photos.

The wood: slightly lighter than the wood of our table.

Hmmmm, not what I was looking for exactly... and probably rickety and all used up (we already HAVE chairs like that!)... and probably not the correct height for use at the kitchen table.  Right?  I almost passed them up.  But then my dad used the word "sturdy" in his description, and at the last minute, the kids and I drove over to the library to see what was what.

Here's what:  about 15 of these chairs with a starting bid (silent auction) of $5.  When we arrived, there was no crowd, no buzz, no interest whatsoever.  We looked around and discovered that the chairs that were a possibility each had a bid of $5 on them.  The bidding went up in $1 increments.  So, I bid $6 on four chairs.  The floor-to-top-of-seat measurement looked good, afterall.  As I sat there and waited for the bidding to close, I wondered why I wasn't bidding on 6 chairs.  I mean, c'mon.  At $6 each.  Why not?  So, I bid on two more, and sat back down to wait.

The fabric: a small gray/tan geometric pattern.  Basically, neutral.

At 8:00PM, the silent bidding ended.  My dad and a sweet Indian couple showed up to await the outcome as well. And... we were all winners.

Okay - now THAT's my kind of auction!  No announcements.  Nothing loud and intimidating.  No worries about raising your hand at an inappropriate moment.  Not even an announcement over the library P.A. system.  Nothing.  Just quiet winnings.


Today, I am the proud owner of 6 new-to-me kitchen chairs.  (Let's just pretend they were always meant for the kitchen, shall we?)  There are knicks here and there.  Such is life.  I have a few upholstery spots that I need to work on.  Who doesn't?  Perhaps someday I'll recover them.  But for now, they are just the ticket.

What I'm excited about is that:
   * we have six matching chairs for our kitchen!
   * our entire family will be seated at the same height for dinner tonight!

p.s. They are so NOT "lilac!"

As an interesting side note... As we were loading them into our van, I noticed a tag on the bottom of each chair-seat.  After we got home, I ripped one off to check it out.  (Don't worry, I OWN these chairs now, the tag is mine to rip - LOL!)  These chairs were made by the Jasper Chair Co. Inc. of Jasper, Indiana.  Turns out that they have promised to build furniture to last a lifetime, using superior products (read: everything made under their roof since 1921, and no imported parts).  I did a little checking around on their site, and it looks like these chairs were somewhere in the $200-$300 range.  EACH. Let's call it $250.  Times 6 chairs = $1500.  But, I only paid $36. What a happy ending.


Thanks Dad!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's Up? 5.15

Oriental Poppies
(usually not open until Memorial Day weekend, or just after)


Chives


and Daylilies. 

What's up at your house?


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Weekend Review

This weekend was a whirlwind.  Saturday started with food prep and doing our first big spring clean-up in the front yard.  The backyard will come soon enough.  There was lots of errand-running, and then a family birthday party, which ended around a fire pit.  Beautiful evening!

I didn't take half the pictures I thought I would.  But I enjoyed living in the moment, and that's what counts.... so I'm good-to-go.  Here are a few shots that I did manage to capture from Sunday:

My sweet hubby surprised me with a visit to Krispy Kreme -- a good start to the day, causing me to slow down and enjoy the coffee (or the donut as the case may be).

Here in NEOhio, it was sunny and warm, although the temps did start to drop off a little Sunday afternoon.  Still, it was a beautiful day.  The cousins played outside, and there were lots of giggles heard and shouts of "run!!!" as they shared a make-shift game of baseball with four.

We enjoyed a nice meal with family.  My sister, Jill, brought this beautiful strawberry-spinach salad with parmesan cheese and sliced almonds.  Delicious!  Mom brought dessert - an angel food cake with a pumpkin filling -- so good!  With each family bringing something to share, my prep time was not overwhelming.  This is how we do most of our family get-togethers.







My contribution was Crock Pot BBQ Chicken, shredded for sandwiches (a new recipe spotted on Pinterest.)  Nice of me to make my family guinea pigs for a new recipe, huh?  Lucky for me, everyone seemed to enjoy the chicken -- and so, another Pinterest success! [See original source listed below photo.]


{Click here to join the Project Pinterest FUN!}



I received a sweet card from my parents, and a special one made by my daughter with a precious message -- and then (from my hubby & kids) new charms for my Pandora bracelet. I love the little camera, and the sweet ring of roses!


We sat around the table for hours and enjoyed one another's company.  This year, Jill and I have been doing some genealogy research, and shared our findings.  We learned about a relative who was a tavern owner with a brother who was a minister (interesting family dynamics!) -- and about places that we hadn't known were part of our family history. Fascinating stuff.  Oh how I treasure our times together!

I hope your weekend was filled with tidbits
and treasures and lots of memory-making!!

~~~~~~~~~

How nice!
In the hills of North Carolina


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