Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flowers on Saturday

The Poppies usually open Memorial Day weekend.
They are right outside my kitchen window
where I can enjoy their brilliant color.

One was open yesterday.
Today, there are three more.
I'm hoping that we will get to enjoy their brief lifespan
before the rains come again.

Have a great weekend!

{These photos were edited only for resizing, and for watermarking.}

Friday, May 27, 2011

On Forgetting

Sometimes, we forget ourselves for the good of others.  And that is generous.  It is gracious.  It is how God would have us live.  But sometimes (and hear me say "sometimes") we forget ourselves to such an extent that deep within ourselves, we are damaged, hurt, and burdened.  At that point, we are no good to others.

Sometimes (and again, hear me say "sometimes") we have to go to a place where we can forget others (so to speak) in order to heal ourselves.  I think that God understands this.  I think that He can use this time to make us a better person -- so that we can better serve others.  So that we can be a better friend.

The struggle may be in getting ourselves to "that place" -- where we can be alone with our self, and with God -- and heal.

Don't forget -- even the Lord our God RESTED.  Shouldn't that be our model... our example?

Don't forget... It's okay to rest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recipe: Pie Filling Cobbler

Okay Friends, it's time for a recipe.  This one comes to me from my mom, and was given to her by my aunt-who-was-not-really-my-aunt.  She was, in fact, the wife of my dad's cousin.  But, we called her Aunt Kathy.  I remember one time I told one of my cousins that "she isn't really our Aunt!"  Aunt Kathy overheard me, and let's just say:  IF LOOKS COULD KILL!  So, of course, after that she was always REALLY my Aunt.  I remember her in a bigger-than-life kind of way.  When we were at family reunions, I didn't want to be with the kids - I just wanted to sit near her and listen to her talk.  She was lots of fun, and had a wonderful laugh.

Well, that was a nice little walk down memory lane (sniff).  Someday, I will tell you about my Aunt Kathy's recipe for "Beans."  It's a classic.

Today, I want to share her Pie Filling Cobbler.  You won't believe how easy and delicious this is.  The ingredients are simple ones to have on hand too, so - as long as you have enough baking time, you're good to go in a pinch.  Here we go:

Pie Filling Cobbler
2 cans pie filling (your choice)
cinnamon (if desired, depending on pie filling choice)
1 white or yellow cake mix (I get the cheap store brand, and know that Aunt Kathy would be proud.)
1-½ sticks melted margarine
  • Preheat oven to 350F.  
  • Grease 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Put both cans of pie filling in pan & spread to cover bottom of pan.
  • Sprinkle w/ cinnamon if desired.
  • Sprinkle dry cake mix over pie filling, breaking up large pieces to cover evenly.
  • Drizzle melted margarine over dry cake mix.  It will puddle naturally -- that's okay!  Don't worry about it covering every square inch -- really!
  • Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes or until browned & bubbling.
  • Serve hot or cold with whipped topping or ice cream.
 To scale down: use 1 can of pie filling, 1 stick of margarine, and only 1/2 of the cake mix for a 9" pan.

This is a big favorite in our family.  Apple and cherry are our standards.  We've even been known to do BOTH in one pan.  Each gets their own side of the pan, and it works out well.  My sister has made the recipe using homemade peach preserves, and raspberry too (which was rather awesome!) 

I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Happy Baking!

Somewhat SimpleA Mommy's Sweet Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Disaster Relief: How You Can Help

Have you heard of Samaritan's Purse?

"Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization
providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.
Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs
of people who are victims of war,
poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine
with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The organization serves the Church worldwide
to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Samaritan's Purse has responded to needs in Haiti and Japan.  They have served in North Carolina and Alabama, helping victims of the devastating tornadoes there.  Currently, they are moving into areas like Joplin, Missouri as well, and we can help.

You can find out about volunteering for disaster relief HERE.

You can find out how to donate funds HERE.  You can direct your funds by choosing which project to donate to -- domestically or internationally, as you are led.

I share this information because I know so many are wondering how they can help -- and Samaritan's Purse is such a reputable organization.  Led by Franklin Graham (son of Evangelist Billy Graham), this organization also oversees the Operation Christmas Child shoebox project at Christmas-time -- which you may be familiar with.  I first learned of OCC at our church, and volunteered to box up shoeboxes for shipping.  In addition, our family has chosen to give to Samaritan's Purse for various relief efforts.  These are my only affiliations.  Samaritan's Purse has not asked me to post this information.

Posted on Twitter this morning:
Franklin Graham giving a short message about the response to the tornado in Joplin, Mo

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prosciutto and Schokolade

My thoughtful mother-in-law went on a trip to Germany -- with a little side trip to Italy.  She shipped Prosciutto and Chocolate home to share with the family.  Mmmmm, I've always wanted to try Prosciutto. So, I have this nice little nugget of Prosciutto, and no clue what to do with it.

Ironically, at the deli today, I was behind a lady who ordered some of the same.  It was (hold onto your seats!)  $18.99 a pound.  (Did you KNOW this?)  The person working at the deli was kind enough to give her the super-saver discount since the ham's expiration date is tomorrow.  Cha-ching.  Now a "bargain" at just $8.99 a pound.

This lady had a printed recipe in her hand.  She had her act together.

I have no act to pull together.  No arsenol of Prosciutto recipes.  How about you?

Calling all recipes using Prosciutto.  Please and pretty please.

Feel free to leave a link in the comments or e-mail me a recipe!
Thank you - in advance.

I think I'll have a little treat while I wait.

Also, I am the "Google Queen" in case you didn't know it,
and I found the Academia Barilla site
which told me how to store my Prosciutto:

"Deboned and vacuum-sealed, Prosciutto di Parma should last up to 6 months in the refrigerator or a cool place with a steady temperature of 40 to 46°F. Only bone-in Prosciutto di Parma can be hung and left at a room temperature of between 62 and 68°F for up the 12 months.   Once you begin slicing the meat, if can stored in the refrigerator for up to a month, as long as you cover the exposed part with plastic wrap."

Now you know.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Warm Fuzzies!

It hasn't been a creative week around here,
and I'm not sure where the time has gone.
The last few days I've found a few blog posts
that have really been an encouragement to me.
So, thinking that perhaps you might also need a "lift" this day,
let me tell you about them.

Do you know my friend Teresa at Meadowbrook Farm?
I've bragged on her blog a few times around here.
On those days when I feel strangled by the weight of things that need to be done,
I click on her blog, and know that I will see photography that transports me
to a different place -- even if just for a few minutes.
Go there and see for yourself.
All I know is, I've never seen those mountains or that scenery.
If you told me "Pack your bags and let's go,"
I'd say, "Who needs bags?  I'm ready."

Susie is another friend.
We encourage one another (apparently).
It seems like every time I leave a comment
telling her how much she encourages me,
she comments back to me that I do the same for her.
It's kind of a lovely "vicious circle." (smiles)
The other day, Susie wrote about peace,
and about the choice we make each day upon waking.
This is real stuff folks, and it cuts right to the chase.
There's a reason Susie is called the "Good News Girl!"
I'm just sayin'.

Read this post by Ali Edwards.
It's really just a quote, but it's a good one,
and it spoke volumes to me.
See if it speaks to you.

Some thoughts to ponder --
taken from my handwritten notes at the front of my Bible.
These are not my original thoughts,
but rather, thoughts pastors and/or friends shared with me.

"Our problems may be bigger than us,
but God is bigger than our problems!"

"The one who controls it all is totally committed to me!"

"Praise the Lord" by The Imperials

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tongue Twisters, Expressions, and Classic Lines

When our kids were younger (maybe 2 and 4), if we said something that they took too literally, we would tell them, "It's just an expression...." - to assure them that we were, in fact, not speaking literally.

You know, like:

"That guy really gets my goat!"

My daughter from a very young age "got" that, and if she was ever unsure of what we meant, she'd say, "That's just an expression, right Mama?"

Flash forward to several days ago.  My daughter (13) and I were talking about a teen couple who had broken up - and wondering if they were still friends.  Since my daughter has not had a boyfriend yet, I bestowed this knowledge upon her:  "You know, sometimes when a guy and girl break up, it really hurts -- and it's hard to be just friends."  She just looked at me incredulously and said, "Mom, I DO watch T.V!"

Oh, well pardonnez-moi.  Sheesh.

Anyway, we had a good chuckle over that.

My, how she's grown up!

Today, my dear Hubby brought home a book from the library entitled Instant Genius (Fast Food for Thought - bite-size morsels of essential [and not so essential] knowledge) by The Knowledge Commons (2008 Portable Press).  We have barely scratched the surface of this book.  But, here's one factoid that we've learned:

Q:What is a gnomon?
A:The part of a sundial that casts a shadow.

So, at the dinner table, we brought up sundials, and asked the kids if (in relation to sundials) they knew what a gnomon was.  Our dear daughter said, "You mean like "Gnomon Ruminals?"  (Say it a few times out loud with a long first "o" in gnomon.)

Yes, Roman Numerals!!!!


We laughed because "Roman Numerals" has always been a tongue twister for her.  It made me think of all the other times we've laughed with her about the things that come out of her mouth.  Here are a few classics (apparently she was on a roll when she was 8 because I wrote them down!):

8 yrs. old:
  • She said to Mommy, who was wearing cute p.j.'s at the time... "You are so adorable!  You must take after me!"
  • Approaching Mommy, she says very seriously, "What does baby fat look like when it comes off?"
  • "Children have so many questions on their minds.  That's one of my favorite parts of being a child!"
  • After doing some Christmas shopping together, she said, "Did I ever tell you that apple-cinnamon is my favorite holiday fragrance?"  (seriously? -- you're eight!)
    Then there was the time that we were talking about someone who was curious, and we said, "You know what they say, "Curiosity killed the cat!"  After a moment, she said, "Mama, whose cat was it?"

    Oh, there is never a dull moment around here.  We never know what she will say next.

    By the way, the sweet 13-year-old of whom I speak has approved this post.  (Quick, hit "publish!")

    Angelica's Awesome Adventures
    These family moments make me smile!

    A "no rules" blog hop.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Psalm 96:12

    "Let the fields
    be jubilant,
    and everything
    in them.
    Then all the trees
    of the forest
    will sing for joy."

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    A Tip, A Turtle, & Twine

    {tip} One of my favorite ways to take pictures of flowers in nature is from the underside - with the sky as the background.  It often makes for an interesting picture.  Sometimes you get a clear blue background.  Other times there may be interesting clouds that add to the beauty of the photo.

    {turtle} We had a little surprise visitor at our house today.  Dear Hubby was out mowing, and then poked his head in the door to say, "Does anybody want to see a baby turtle?"  Well, YES!  We went hurrying out to the front yard where said visitor had made his appearance.

    He was quite annoyed with us - even jumping from my son's hand at one point!  AND - just so you know, it's a TORTOISE that's slow, NOT a turtle.  This little guy could really move!

    ALSO - it pays to look at things from every angle... Check out the pretty color of his bottom shell!  {Hmmmm, are you seeing a theme in this blog?  It's unintended, and I am chuckling to myself as I type this... (clears throat)  Moving right along...}

    Check this out. (Love it!)
    The Twinery caught my eye the other day on the side-bar of Twitter.  I clicked, and I read that they sell 100% cotton, eco-friendly twine that is made in the U.S.A.  Who knew that twine could be so pretty?  This twine comes in colors like Honeydew, Charcoal, and Maraschino -- 11 delicious colors in all!  I scanned the screen over and over again, trying to rationalize a purchase.  The Twinery site suggests these uses:  "Wrapping Baked Goods, Product Packaging, Gift Wrapping, Embellishing Stationary & Gift Tags, Party & Wedding Decor, Scrapbooking & Card Making, Embellishing Favor Bags & More!"  How would YOU use it?

    ALSO - you can visit The Twinery Blog for ideas, tutorials, projects, pictures, recipes, printables, and more!  They even have their own Flickr group so that people can share photos of creative ways they've used twine!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Recipe: Pizza Rice Salad

    (and some giveaway info!)

    I haven't shared a recipe in a while, so I thought I would share one that I stumbled across recently, and have been craving ever since.  It's super easy - but nobody in my household especially loves it, so I haven't made it in ages.  I decided to grab all the ingredients on my recent grocery run, and I made it for lunch today (tomorrow, and the next day -- unless somebody joins me!)  I confess to "sampling" it once I had all of the ingredients mixed together.  It was yum-o, but it'll be even yummier after I add that second 1/2 cup of dressing.  Oh my - is it lunch time yet?


    Pizza Rice Salad - (original recipe from a Minute Rice ad in a magazine)
    1.5 cups Original MINUTE Rice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    3/4 cup sliced pepperoni, halved
    1 large tomato, diced
    2 cups sliced vegetables (green peppers, mushrooms, ripe olives, green onions)
    1 cup Italian salad dressing
    • Prepare rice as directed on the package; cool.
    • Lightly toss rice with remaining ingredients in large bowl, using only 1/2 cup of the dressing.
    • Chill.
    • Just before serving, toss with remaining dressing.
    • Makes 6 servings or so...

    No Rules Blog Hop

    And now for the giveaway info! 
    This giveaway is now over.
    Check this out.
    (Love it!)
    Do you know my friend Cha Cha?  She's got a giveaway going on at her blog "Sit Relax and Read" this week.  Cha Cha just got back from the Woodstock Outdoor Market, where she had a booth. You should see all of her special creations.  Her keychains (which she makes out of silverware) were her biggest seller.  Head on over to her blog, and read the post about her outdoor market experience and her giveaway.  Cha Cha wants to give away a fantabulous keychain to one lucky winner.

    You can also head over to Cha Cha's Treasures (Etsy) to check out her Bible Memory Verse Pillows, adorable Rosette Brooches, and other goodies!

    {The keychain winner will be announced Sunday on Cha Cha's blog.}

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Take a Walk!

    The other day, my daughter and I talked about the need to "get moving" this spring.  We decided to hold one another accountable to walk each day.  One mile.  More is okay, but one mile is the commitment.

    Then, when it became this gloriously sunny day, I told her that we would go to the 1.2 mile path at church to walk.  Big grin.  That was like a reward for the work we hadn't even done yet!

    I decided that I would tell-not-ask my son that he should accompany us.  I think he might have argued - except that it was such a gorgeous day.

    When the kids were done with school, we got our act together and headed out the door.  My daughter, I noticed, was collecting things like her iPod.  Whaaaa--aat?  "No iPod!" I said.  "You're really going to make me walk along beside you guys without any conversation?  No."

    I think she was a little put out.  Hmmpf.  Me too.

    But we went.  We walked.  We talked.  It was great.  We even left our cell-phones in the car!  (Not as hard for me as for my son...)

    TODAY, I read "Ways To Show Your Love To Your Children."  The very first idea says, "take a long nature walk together, at their pace, let them lead the conversation."  My suggestion?  DO IT!  Some of the other ideas on this particular list seem geared for little ones, but a walk?  That's perfect for any age.

    And trust me.  Even if they are not happy when you are pulling out of the driveway, they'll be happy when you're pulling back in.  In the busy-ness of life, we sometimes forget that we can do something as simple as give someone an hour of our time to make their day a little brighter.

    Believe me, I am not naive enough to think that my kids came home and started telling their friends that I made their day brighter.  But, grab the moments.  Take the time.  Maybe it will be your day that gets a little brighter!  I know mine did.

    Check this out. (Love it!)
    Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone
    Walk in the comfort of your own home, rain or shine!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    You Capture: Motherhood

    Lilacs in a cut-glass bud vase --
    or dandelions in a plastic cup?

    On Mothers Day, my mom told about a young(er) mom who spoke in church paying tribute to the women in the church that had influenced her over the years.  She mentioned that she loved it when my mom prayed.  As my mom thought back to WHY this might be, she remembered a Bible study group that they had been in together several years back.  Most of the women were younger, and hesitated when it came to praying out loud.  Usually my mom was called upon to pray.  When one of the ladies commented that she felt self-conscious about praying out loud, my mom recalled a story that she had heard on the Christian radio station, and shared it with the group.

    When we bring our prayers to God,
    we can be compared to a child bringing a dandelion bouquet to her mom.
    Of course, the mother is not going to turn the bouquet down.
    Rather, she will accept it lovingly from her child,
    and say how beautiful it is,
    regardless of it's imperfection.

    God does not turn away our humble and simple prayers.
    He accepts them lovingly,
    and is glad for our openness with Him
    - regardless of the imperfection of our thoughts or words.

    As a parent - I can certainly relate to this comparison.

    As a child of God - I am thankful that God loves me even in my imperfection -- a much bigger and more perfect picture of how we love our own children.


     Photo Prompt: "Motherhood"

    I love this series of photos of my mom on Mothers Day.
    My 12-year-old nephew made a card on the computer for her
    that said: "Grandma, You Rock!"
    Needless to say - she loved it, and she gave him the thumbs up!

    Totally, unrelated --
    I love this quote that my sister spotted & shared with me the other day:

    "Life is like photography.
    We develop with the negatives."

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Hurray for Spring!

    Yesterday, was a glorious, sunshiny day,
    and we headed out for a 1.2 mile walk on the paved path
    surrounding our church's property.

    I stopped to take a photo
    of every bloomin' thing (pun intended)
    in celebration of the day.

    I even enjoyed
    a McD sweet tea on the way home.
    I realize that was probably counter-productive,
    but hey, I was celebrating!

    Sweet Shot Day

    What have you done to celebrate Spring?

    Photo Contest

    My dear dad, who also enjoys photography,
    entered a photo contest last summer at the library.
    He encouraged me to enter as well, but time did not permit.
    This year, he's got me thinking about it ahead of time
    so that I can prepare something.
    I have it narrowed down to these 13 at Flickr.

    Narrowing it down further is the trick.
    Flickr Members, can you help? 

    If you have a minute,
    would you stop by my Flickr account and take a look?
    Let me know if you have a favorite by leaving a comment.
    [You must be logged in to Flickr.]

    Thanks so much!  You're the BEST!  ~Sally


    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Lamb Cake

     {Read on!  Complete instructions included!}

    On Easter Sunday, my mom, sister, and I got to talking about the "Lamb Cake" that my grandma made for Easter when my sister and I were kids.  I inherited the unique pan for this 3-D cake, but I thought that there were no instructions included, and I have never tried to make the cake.

    I did a search on-line, and found out that there are other people who are looking for instructions -- as well as people who offer their help and suggestions.

    Before I searched too far, I decided to make sure that my pan contained no instructions.  When I dug the pan out,  I was so surprised to find out that the plain(?) piece of cardboard that was sandwiched in between the two sections of pan actually had printed instructions on the other side!  I'm sure this was cut out from the original cake pan box.  Though the blue ink isn't faded at all, the cardboard is quite yellowed.

    I'm sure the pan is old - probably more than 50 years.  My grandma was "famous" for keeping things in their original boxes - so I have a feeling that this pan was handed down to her - since it only came with the cut-out instructions.  There is nothing identifying it as "Wilton" or any other manufacturer - just FYI.

    Here are the instructions
    (copied exactly from my printed cardboard!):

    ".....Here's the way to bake a LAMB CAKE

    2 cups sifted cake flour
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2/3 cup milk

    Heat oven to 375F.  Grease pans well and then flour.

    Mix flour (which has been sifted and then spooned into cup for measuring), baking powder (tartrate or phosphate type), and salt.  Sift together three times.  Cream butter, add sugar a small amount at a time, and continue creaming until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add beaten eggs and extract.  Add flour and milk alternately.  Be sure to mix lightly and keep the batter smooth.

    Pour batter into FACE HALF of the mold.  Fill to the top being careful to get batter into nose and ears of mold.  Left over batter may be baked as cup cakes.  Place BACK HALF of mold on the top -- bake face down -- place on try and bake from 40-45 minutes.  Remove from oven after 40 minutes and gently remove back half to test.  If done, replace back half and allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing the cake.  If not done, replace back half and return to oven for 5 minutes.

    When removing cake from molds, remove back half first and then front half, carefully.  Allow cake to cool standing erect.

    When the Lamb Cake is cool -- ice with a boiled icing, cover with cocoanut if desired -- use 1/2 raisin for the eyes and a small piece of cherry for mouth.

    For a white cake, substitute 4 egg whites for the 2 eggs and use lemon or orange extract in place of the vanilla extract.

    If a spice cake is desired, substitute one cup brown sugar for one cup of white sugar and add spices to dry ingredients.

    • Cake sinks in center - inferior butter, improper mixing, improper oven temperature, over-baking or inferior flour.
    • Cake sticks in pans -- pans too dry or haven't been washed clean enough.
    • Never store your molds closed.  Leave them open so the air can circulate.
    • When you use molds for the first time wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water.
    • It is advisable to grease the molds with your hands to make sure all the contours are covered.
    • These are hard strong aluminum molds made by a special process so that they won't pit, stick or discolor.  With ordinary care they will last for years and years.

    You can expect perfect results when you use your own favorite cake mix!"


    {Isn't that the best news you've heard all day?  You can use your own cake mix.  Hurray!  That means you don't have to sift the flour THREE times as they suggest!}

    And there you have it.  Maybe these instructions will prove helpful to one of you.  I debated about posting them after Easter (since Easter was the time that our family would've served this cake).  However, in my on-line hunting, I found people that also made the cake for 1st birthdays, and for Christmas.  My sis suggested a baby shower, too!  Cu-ute! 

    When I got the cake pan and instructions out to show my mom and sis on Mothers Day, my niece and nephew seemed very interested in the possibility of making this cake.  They are the kiddos that came over for some cupcake baking in January.  I love that they're already looking forward to the next time they can come over and bake with Aunt Sal.  Love, love, love that!

    Happy Baking!

    If this post was helpful to you,
    And...if you've ever baked this cake,
    I'd love to hear how it worked out!

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