Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here We Go II

I am a blogger!

After being respectfully chewed out reprimanded yesterday by my good friend and fellow blogger (Thanks, Tami!) I decided to go public!  You see, I have been a sort of closet blogger since last fall. 

I started out last October by locking the doors, pulling the blinds, turning off the lights and hiding under the covers as I typed that first post, trying my hand at this new blogging thing.  You can read about it at Here We Go! 
But since I didn't tell a soul what I was doing the only traffic sources originated from Siberia and Eastern Europe.  Weird!
After I decided I kinda liked blogging I crawled out from under the covers and clued my family in to get their responses.  All positive. 

Then I turned the lights back on and let the extended family in on the "fun".  Again, positive feedback.

Slowly but surely, the blinds were lifted as I let the "secret" be known by a few others. So far so good.

And now, 

TA DA!!!!!

I am unlocking the doors and letting the whole world know--I am a blogger. Not a post everyday kind of blogger, just a post when the urge strikes me kind. And as you may notice I don't always get the urge to post the same type of info each time.  Variety is definitely the spice of my life so the stuff that makes me Mary is all over the place.  

So enjoy, World!  And, really, thank you Tami for the nudge.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Christmas in...April?

Why am I thinking about Christmas in April, you ask.  No, I am not planning for Christmas 2012.  Well, not directly anyway.  But I am FINALLY crossing something off my list from Christmas 2011.  I may not be prompt but better late than never I say.  (And I say that often because I can be sloooooow at getting something finished sometimes.)  

I ran across this idea on Living Solutions Interior Designs blog and tucked it away until a rainy? day.  Actually it was quite sunny today as I worked on this.

I love the photo Christmas greetings we receive every year from friends and family but after the holidays I am always wondering what to do with the special memories of such special people.  

I have tried papering the refrigerator with them.  It is fun to have all those smiling faces greet me each day but after a month or two those faces start to look a bit worn from the wear and tear of opening and closing the frig and eventually I end up picking them up off the floor again and again.   

The only wall space that would accommodate every photo is in the short hallway at our back door which can be dark and less noticeable.  Not such an honorable spot for my dear friends and family.   

Sadly, the pile of photos that represent all the time and effort each family put into choosing the right outfits for and selecting the perfect design for and addressing and stamping and sending usually ended up in a pile on the computer desk somewhere.  (I pause here to offer my deep apology to each and everyone of you who remembered us at Christmas with your lovely cards and sentiments.  You all deserve more than a dusty corner of my desk.  There, I feel better now.)  

To solve my dilemma I made a Christmas Card Photo Book.  

All you need is:

Photo Christmas cards

Book Rings (I bought 2" rings but I think 1" would work too)

Hole Punch (Either the one-at-a-time version or the larger 3-at-a-time version)

I stacked the cards so that all the smiling faces were facing the same direction, with two edges lined up (top and left edges, in the instance)

I began by punching holes in 3-4 cards at a time but then realized that some of the photos needed to be lined up a bit different to avoid punching a hole in someone's head.  (Again, I offer my apology to anyone whose head I mistakenly punched before making this adjustment!) So I switched to punching the holes in one photo card at a time.

Once the hole punching was completed, I fed (is that what it's called?) the cards onto the book rings and WHA-LA! 

A Christmas Card Photo Book!

This will not end up in a dusty corner but probably on the table in the family room. I am going to enjoy flipping through this throughout the year.  

And no more guilty conscience! 

Pinned AND Did It 3

(I discovered that this post did not show up correctly on the blog so I am reposting which explains why Pinned and Did It 3 comes after Pinned and Did It 4.  I really can count!)

I am a part time healthy eater.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.  Increasing my water consumption is one of those on again, off again habits that I am working on.  I hope that as I drink more of the healthy stuff (i.e water--which I like--alittle) I will drink less of the less healthy stuff (i.e. Diet Coke and coffee--both of which I like--ALOT!).
I pinned this idea for Sassy Water and gave it a try.
Lemon and cucumber slices and mint leaves are added to water in a pitcher. 
I was given this clever pitcher with a cylinder insert that worked perfect for this idea.

The water "brewed" in the frig over night to let the flavors mingle.  The next day I tried a taste and thought it tasted mostly like cucumber peels. EEEEEWWWWWW!  But after a little stir it tasted much better.  

A web search came up with some sites that claimed Sassy Water helps promote weight loss and reduce tummy bulge.  I can't endorse that claim but if a pitcher of Sassy Water in my frig gets me to drink more water I'll be happy.  

Maybe even Sassy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pinned it AND Did It 4

I picked up my first box of fresh produce from the CSA farm last week, about three weeks earlier than usual.  But then nothing has been usual about our spring this year.  

The goodies included a few stalks of rhubarb, asparagus, spinach, winter storage potatoes, and fresh herbs.  The spinach and asparagus were devoured as soon as possible after getting it all unpacked but the rhubarb was put on hold until I had time to decide what to whip up with it.  Last year I baked up a blueberry-rhubarb concoction, probably a crumble or brickle or cobbler or something like that.  I couldn't remember exactly what it was but I DO remember how delicious it was.  I give you this year's version of Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble. 
Chopped rhubarb, frozen blueberries, sugar, flour
I made a smaller version of the original recipe as I only had half the called for rhubarb. 
Combine chopped rhubarb, frozen blueberries, sugar and flour and pour into greased baking dish.
 I used an 8" square dish for my downsized crumble.
Oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cold butter.

For the crumbly topping, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon in mixing bowl.

Oh, look! It's the same pink alien hand that helps the Pioneer Woman with her kitchen tasks!
Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two forks until it is incorporated evenly into the dry ingredients.
 Spread the topping over the fruit filling. Bake at 350ยบ.

 The Crumble will come out all bubbly and brown on top.

This picture doesn't do it justice.  The Crumble is more appetizing than it appears here.  
Blueberry and rhubarb make such a delicious duo.  

Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble


  • 6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
  • 4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • Whipped cream, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  • For topping, in a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit mixture.
  • Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm; dollop with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 12 servings. 

Recipe adapted from  Taste of Home

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Misplaced? Verse

When last I "visited" Ninevah, the people had received the news from Jonah of God's pending judgment and had donned sackcloth and ashes, repenting of their ways.  God relented of His anger and compassionately granted a reprieve.  

But alas, the Ninevites' change of ways didn't last and 160 years later, the prophet Nahum delivers the message of God's judgment once again.  However, this time there will be no relenting from God.  He is "slow to anger" as Nahum states in verse 2 of chapter 1 but He is also "great in power" as the verse also states.  

Nahum begins his book telling of the wrath of God that was coming down upon Ninevah.  This rebellious people would experience whirlwind and storm, drought and withered crops, quaking mountains and dissolving hills.  God's wrath would be poured out like fire and the rocks would be broken up.  An overflowing flood and darkness would consume the land.  Distress would not rise up twice because the first round of destruction would be complete.  

Not a pleasant picture.

But wait!

What is this little verse 7 doing in the midst of all this talk of destruction and wrath?

The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble, 
and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

A comment about God's goodness and protection from trouble seems very out of place right in the middle of this passage. It is as though the one who received God's inspired message made a "cut and paste" mistake.  Surely these words don't belong here, in Chapter One of Nahum?  Don't they seem more appropriate somewhere else? 

Wrath.  Vengeance.  Whirlwind.  Storm.  Drought.  Quakes. Desolation.  Upheaval.  Indignation.  Burning anger. Fire. Brokenness.
Goodness.  Stronghold.  Refuge.
Flood.  Complete end.  Darkness.
Isn't this bad editing, Nahum?

I think not.  This small, three line verse nestled here in the description of calamity and judgment offers a reminder of God's goodness, of God's protection in the midst of trials.  He is my safe place, my refuge when life causes the mountains to quake and the hills to dissolve around me.  This verse offers a respite from the heaviness of the verses that surround it.  It acts as a "word from our Sponsor" to interrupt the drama of life.  

And that is what God does for me.  He gives me a safe place, a respite, a refuge.  The calamity may rage on around me but just as verse 7 in Nahum Chapter 1 breaks into the heaviness of God's judgment of Ninivah, God offers me a break in the action, too.

"Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28      

Perfect editing, God!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Bedtime Workout

I'm still making my way through the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament; those 12 smallish books that follow Daniel and come before Matthew.  

One thing I have concluded so far is that I am not applying for any "Minor Prophet Needed" ads.  These guys did not have a cheery job.  Most of their messages dealt with doom and gloom, bringing God's message of "You people are messing up big time and are going to pay a price unless you turn from your wicked ways NOW!"

Micah had the privilege(?) of carrying this news to the towns and people along the Mediterranean Coastline of Judah and Israel.  At least that's the conclusion I came to as I did a bit of research.  

One of the warnings Micah delivered was:

"Woe to those who scheme iniquity,
who work out evil on their beds!
When morning comes, they do it,
for it is in the power of their hands."
 Micah 2:1

The word "woe" usually gets my attention so I "whoa" and take time to think about what follows that word "woe". 

Micah was addressing those late night thinkers who were planning mischief in the wee hours of darkness.  I imagine them lying there making their plans for the next day.  And as they fall asleep dreaming and scheming, the plans materialize in their heads and by the time they awake the next morning, they are convinced that they can pull it off and then proceed to do it.

Whoa!  So what am I pondering as I fall asleep at night? No, I don't make it a habit of lying there plotting what mischief I could possibly bring upon my little world the next day. But still, what do I go to sleep "scheming"?  What plans are on my mind as I drift off into dreamland?  

Sometimes I think about "ALL" I need to accomplish the next day and think "Woe is me!"  For some reason I seem to have that mind set on Sunday nights that precede Monday mornings.  

Mondays are often: 
  •  spend-time-with-Hubby-because-it's-his-day-off Days
  •  get-the-laundry-caught-up Days 
  •  start-or-work-on-or-finish-up-the-4-Bible-Study-preps-   I-have-for-the-week Days 
  •  get-out-of-the-house-early-for-MOPS Days 
  •  finish-reading-the-book-for-Book-Club-that-night Days
  •  get-the-first-workout-of-the-week-in Days
So on a Sunday night as I hit the hay I can have a mindset of "I hate Mondays" or I can be thankful that I have a productive day awaiting me in the morning.  I can fall asleep thinking "I can't do all that" (as opposed to the Micah guys who were thinking "We can do this evil stuff we are planning") or I can dream about all that I can do through Christ tomorrow.  

Somewhere I remember reading or hearing someone say that a good morning starts the night before.  Even though the night thinkers in Micah 2:1 were planning evil I think the same principle can work in planning good.  

So as I lay me down to sleep tonight, I will purpose to have thoughts of praise, thanksgiving and joyful anticipation so that "when morning comes, I will do it, for it is in the power of their hands."

Sweet Dreams, Everyone.